Mana P2y1s12

Mana: And so it was written: Pokiehlember 2nd, Year 1, Gnome's Day, the rooftop patio of the Empty Axle bar. Not much of a view, really.
Julian: It just used the 50% CoS of +1 thing, 436 damage
Mana: Somewhere, up above, the sun is setting - beyond the maze of pipes that run up along the ceiling of Salamander District. But the bright red shine of the City Heart, far in the distance, is a decent facsimile, with all the lights extinguished as they are.
Rigo is walking… mostly… sorta… Look Amataerasu gave him scotch OK, don't judge the poor man.
Toth sits in a chair atop the patio, a foamy mug of the local brew untouched on a nearby table. He stares out over the many and varied rooftops, looking past them at nothing in particular, lost in thought.
Rigo drops into a chair across from Toth without warning. "You…" A pause. "Look like a man with a lot on his mind."
Toth breaks from his trance and looks over at Rigo, sizing the man up. "You look like a man who's three sheets to the wind." He grins.
Rigo: "Two, two and a half, tops. At //most// two and three quarters."
Toth: "How's your afternoon been?"
Rigo: "Lots of people in white, now that you mention it. The funeral, then Amaterasu… I'm not sure if she gave me scotch because I said I liked her outfit, or if she only gave me the cheap stuff because I said it in a way that implied most people probably didn't. On the plus side, I volunteered us to go kill Prince Hawk."
Rigo: "How's your afternoon?"
Toth: "Sweating my ass off down in Shade, of all places, saving a Salamander spirit from some sword-wielding beast from another place and time. Can't talk to the spirit though, it's all bells and whistles and a few other instruments I can't play. Then we smuggled ourselves into Salamander and have been rubbing elbows with the local gangs, trying to untangle this pretzel of a predicament."
Rigo: "That sounds kinda interesting, actually."
Toth: "It's been a blast…" He pauses, an unsaid 'literally' wafting in the air "-up until the last part, yes."
Rigo: "The gang diplomacy not going so well?"
Toth bobs his head around. "Well… no, it's actually going along easily? At least, meeting with them. Haven't fought once since we've entered the district."
Rigo: "And yet you haven't even touched your beer."
Toth sighs. "Yeah… it's not just the gangs we're dealing with. I'm sorry, let me start at the beginning, I'm still musing over something that shook me, which I'll get to-"
Rigo: "Of course."
Toth: "So, there's the gangs. The Vipers, who seem to be some sort of overall muscle. Then there's the Enchiladas, who we haven't spoken to, but their gig is apparently petty theft and drug sales. Finally, the Rats, who're the best smugglers and do a lot of labor too."
Toth: "This is just sort of a general overview."
Rigo: "Mmhm."
Toth: "They all talk like they're a savior face to face, o'course. I imagine it doesn't work to terribly bad, if it weren't for Commander Ibex, who's taken up a fortified position in Salamander."
Rigo raises an eyebrow.
Toth: "Well, that's twofold-"
Toth: "First, Salamander is effectively quarantined off."
Rigo: "Because of…?"
Toth: "They're moving- and by they, I mean the Titania guard in general- plague victims, supporters, harbors, and so on, into Salamander."
Toth: "A few of us witnessed part of it last night, guards banging on doors in Undine, to cart off those who had harbored the plaguesick."
Toth: "We were able to stall them… for the time being."
Toth: "But it's happening regardless."
Rigo: "Wow. That… That is an incredibly dumb idea. OK, go on. Fold two."
Toth: "I know, right? Salamander, of all places?"
Toth: "Anyway."
Toth: "Ibex is here to take charge of the situation, but the problem is the courts seem to think he's taking too -much- charge."
Rigo: "And with him holed up they have to come get him which is… not the ideal solution."
Toth nods. "With him leading the guard, and most of it here, the courts… can't really do -much- about it. Likely they could send an assassin, but who knows when, or even if, that'll happen."
Toth: "Or if it'll even work."
Toth: "Not doubting Alexander's ability, but even so."
Rigo: "Nah we should use whatherface from the funeral instead."
Toth: "Another problem is the Salamander gate guard, Vush. It is… possible, that he would be released or charged in fighting Ibex, under court order."
Toth: "This is what we want least, since apparently Vush's thrist for blood, especially of innocents, cannot be understated."
Toth: "Overstated?"
Toth: "There'd be a -lot- of deaths."
Rigo: "Sounds right."
Toth: "Vlad has intimated that Erinee has Vush under control, or at least that she could very easily slay the man- though as to the nature of 'how,' he has no idea."
Toth: "How, or how fast, or anything."
Rigo: "The ways of the Court Witch are mysterious."
Toth: "Meanwhile, the Rats have joined up with the 'Red Dust Priests.' Seen them about?"
Toth: "They're followers of the Mana Goddess, looking to bring the teachings of said goddess back to Titania."
Rigo: "Ah. Huh. Is that… what that's all about, then."
Toth: "Reportedly, they've got priests and healers that are helping the sick and wounded. They're also importing a new type of weapon which has the Vipers none too happy."
Rigo: "Mm."
Toth: "It's called a 'musket.' I'm to see it for myself, in a bit."
Toth: "And to even take one."
Rigo: "Sounds very strange."
Toth: "The Vipers aren't happy about it because it sounds like it goes beyond even the most powerful of enchanted weapons they have. Plus, it… sounds like, undirected, it can cause a lot of damage." "
Toth: "We've been asked not to 'fire' them while in-district."
Toth: "Which is fine by me. I have other plans for them."
Rigo: "What in the world do these things do?"
Toth: "As described to us by Mr. Magata, 'a sword goes where you put it. A musket rips through three homes adjacent.'"
Toth: "Veracruz said something about a slingshot that fires fireworks."
Rigo: "That sounds… like a lot of really interesting and bad things waiting to happen."
Toth: "And I'm not even done. Apparently, there's a cure." Pause. "Of sorts." Pause. "For the manadrained."
Rigo looks at Toth over the tops of his glasses.
Toth: "If their soul is fused into an Ironclad, they… 'regain consciousness and functionality.' That's how it was described, at least. Should probably keep that under wraps, for now, you know?"
Toth: "Again, heard, not seen."
Rigo: "Right, right. Nnnnot sure it's much of an improvement, all told. But it does open the groundwork to some theories… Heard from where, if you don't mind my asking?"
Toth: "Vlad, and how he heard it, probably Erinee. So…" He picks up a salt shaker, taps some granules along the edge of his mug.
Rigo blows air between his teeth. "I sometimes worry about that boy. He needs better friends."
Toth: "Oh, at least he might get a date out of it."
Toth: "So… we've got a mansion full of manadrained and those who are not, fortified by Ibex and more guards than one feels safe shaking a stick at. Three gang factions at each other's throats, though at least two of those might have better relations once we've appropriated some of the muskets and smoothed over their not-use as a diplomatic point."
Toth: "But that's all we can expect from the leadership up top- the thugs on the ground can be much harder to rely on."
Toth: "To not, y'know… snap."
Toth: "And then there's a chained slaughter at the gate."
Toth: "So many paths end in so much blood, so much that I feel we should be able to avoid."
Toth steeples his fingers and rests back in his chair. "And this- is what bothers me."
Toth: "With the world as it is… there's no path forward that doesn't end in blood. That is what Yesketi, the Red Dust Priest… aide, I suppose, to the Rats, said."
Toth: "And…"
Toth: "We're Pure Hearts. Changing and shaping the world is what we -can- do."
Rigo: "Mm. Maybe." He takes a pull on his gourd. "On the other hand… we have a certain knack for making the world be not as it is."
Toth: "I'm just having the hardest time thinking of how we can do this. With the least innocent deaths. Without tearing Titania apart. The power is right there, but I'm not sure how it can be wielded so."
Rigo: "Well, for starters, take a step back. That is only one tool in an entire arsenal."
Rigo: "It may be that we can solve this without even needing to swing that particular hammer."
Toth: "Oh, I'd absolutely love to. It's…"
Toth: "So long as we can get Ibex out of Salamander, that is what I'd call a win condition… at least, for the moment."
Toth: "We'd still have to deal with the gangs, but I believe it's something that could be done in-house, so to speak."
Rigo: "Have we tried talking to Ibex yet?"
Toth: "Vlad plans to in the morning."
Toth: "He said he…"
Toth: "Oh, apparently Ibex wants to speak to Erinee about something. I suppose he's counting on going 'I have come from her' as a way of getting in."
Toth: "There's a lot of guards on a perimeter around the mansion grounds where they're keeping people."
Toth: "A -lot-."
Rigo: "Ah. Hm."
Rigo: "The only problem is… if we kill Ibex, what do you reckon the odds are that someone in the tower takes it personally and decides to flatten Salamander anyway?"
Toth: "Depends on how many friends Ibex has. If we're going completely on the word of Vlad- I know, just work with me here- that number is either dwindling quickly or already turned against him. Someone will have to step up very quickly to fill the vacuum- probably through hierarchy, and the courts will presumably, work as fast as they can to get the guard back."
Toth: "If anything… I think we'd have to go about killing Ibex alone, without the gangs."
Toth: "My reasoning is- if too much of a solidified front is shown against Ibex and the guards, that could possibly spook Jinn into said flattening into an all out civil war, which- trying to avoid."
Rigo: "At the end of the day Ibex is an appointed Imperial General. Regardless of his personal supporters, there is zero odds of escaping without backlash if we put his head on a pike. Metaphorically and/or literally."
Toth: "Even then, -killing- him might be too much of a problem. The cleanest way I can see this going on is getting Ibex to Jinn, -somehow-, and then also rescuing and/or resolving those in the mansion."
Toth nods to Rigo. "We're coming about to the same idea, yes."
Rigo: "Vlad's not wrong, but he's also decidedly not squeamish from what I can tell. Seems like he's willing to let the blood flow if it gets him to his endgame. I can respect that, but I don't particularly agree with it right now."
Toth: "I'd believe it, were he to raise a finger in effort."
Toth: "But- that's why we're here." He grins.
Rigo: "Well not everyone can be as impressive as we two, Mr. Toth."
Toth chuckles. "In all seriousness he -is- sharp. But there absolutely must be a way we can pull this off and be able to sleep through Viglum."
Toth: "It's not impossible. It -can't- be impossible."
Rigo drums his fingers on the table. "Nothing is impossible. Just varying degrees of highly improbable and supremely difficult."
Toth exhales through his nose, looking down over the street.
Rigo: "Alright, so." He starts ticking things off on his fingers. "Ibex needs to leave Salamander and go back to Jinn. He's got a whole bunch of mana-drained victims hanging out in his compound that need to be transported elsewhere. These things need to happen without the gangs getting involved, otherwise Vush gets to paint the town. The gangs are already on edge because of this mana
Rigo: goddess cult. Which is importing weapons that are much more indiscriminate than anybody should be comfortable with. "
Rigo: "Why are they importing weapons?"
Toth: "Well, all the gangs are importing weapons. It's just harder to do so as of late, but the Rats still have the upper hand about it, and with the Red Dust Priests having access to muskets, however they got them from the distant east-" He gives Rigo a knowing look. "-it just seems to be business as usual, with a sheen of 'things can get really hairy really quickly.'"
Toth: "I suppose I should also tell you about moon dust, just to cover everything."
Rigo: "Might as well."
Toth: "Provided by the Enchiladas, named 'moon dust' but nobody has even the slightest inkling of where it comes from. No alchemists know what its deal is, a few from Luna don't recognize it. It induces euphoria, heightened and blissfup delirium, and it occasionally dovetails into violence."
Toth: "And… reportedly, it tastes salty."
Rigo smiles. "I don't suppose you have a small sample? Or know where I can get some?"
Toth chuckles. "The Vipers might still have a sample floating about. Theodore suspects that it's literally just ground up rock."
Toth: "Moon dust in the most literal way."
Rigo: "Well, I can't promise anything. But I have a friend who knows a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to recreational substances."
Toth: "We'll see if we can't get him a vial or two. Hide the cutlery beforehand."
Rigo: "Mm. Well, I'll talk to her first, she might not even need the samples."
Toth: "The theory -has- been bandied about that it's possible that those of the Red Dust Priests are also linked to those supplying the moon dust- perhaps not directly, but in a larger orchestrated movement."
Toth: "But for the most part we're stuck in the now."
Rigo: "Yeah."
Rigo takes a drink from his gourd. "Well, let me think about it. Maybe we can head this off." A pause. "I'm not sure its possible to get away complete bloodless though."
Toth finally takes ahold of his mug. "I reckon," he says, before taking a drink.
Toth: "But damned if I'm not going to try."
Rigo: "I know you will. And I'll help."
Toth smiles and raises his mug.
Rigo gently clunks his gourd against it.
Rigo: "We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."
Rigo drinks. "Domini, domini, domini."
Rigo: "It's not an exactly accurate quote as regards us nine, but I like the general philosophy behind it."
Toth laughs. "We do what we can."
Rigo: "Exactly." Another long pull from the gourd.
Toth drinks, flicking the foam off of his mustache.
Rigo: "Compared to all that, I feel like I'm slacking off. All I did today was reunite two brothers and offer to kill Prince Hawk."
Toth: "We're all in that last one together."
Rigo: "I certainly hope so. I'm good, but even I have limits."
Toth: "Prince Hawk. Prince Lion. May or may not be killing Prince Cat."
Toth: "Are we reforming Dryad piece by piece or what?"
Rigo shrugs. "That's Vlad's house, he can put it in order after we break the furniture."
Toth: "Sure, sure."
Toth: "Now, though- let's go see a nun about a gun."
Rigo: "You go ahead. Being an unknown, I might do your odds more harm than good. I'll chase down a thing or two from my end and see if anything exciting pops up."
Toth: "Be seeing you. Keep safe out there."
Toth nods and stands from his seat. He signals from the waitress to Rigo, this man is clearly parched, bring him something, please. He pays for it on his tab.
Rigo: "Nobody ever wants to mug the obviously harmless drunk. I'll be fine. You watch yourself, too"
Mana: And so it was written.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License