Mana P3y1s11

Mana: And so it was written: Pokiehlember 3rd, Year 1, Luna's Day. A dry, chill wind ripples through the woods of Dryad, as the sun slips low in the sky, the blue overhead growing darker.
Veracruz keeps his eyes in the road ahead, he doesn't quite knows the way to Luna yet but he's certain that Vlad knows "Ever been to the Luna before?"
Vladislav: "Of course not. Why would I waste time in a place like that without reason?"
Vladislav shakes his head with a hint of disgust in his voice as he makes his way towards the lift and the Undine gate.
Theodore: "A place like what?"
Veracruz: "You just sound like a well-travelled man"
Mana: The men in straw hats at the gates lower the lifts for you.
Vladislav: "Luna District." He doesn't offer Theodore a glance when he issues his response, instead nodding to the men handling the lifts.
Theodore: "Right but… what is Luna like?"
Veracruz waves at them, getting on the lift and setting down his backpack. He starts rummaging with it for a moment
Mana: With a heave, the lift is lifted up towards the top of the wall as you board it -
Vladislav: "Loonies. The faeries worst of all. Or so I've heard. Ever seen someone suffocated by getting stuffed with food?"
Theodore tilt shis head to the side. "Does it count if I saw it in a play?"
Vladislav: "You have queer tastes."
Veracruz is actually just busy adjusting his stuff so it's easier to carry "Guess there's a reason you don't want to go there"
Veracruz: "Suppose we better not take anything too seriously there"
Theodore: "How else would you depict gluttony at it's worst!"
Mana: A tremendous iceberg, glinting in the sunlight, looms large in the harbor, its pinnacle hooked like a crystalline claw.
Vladislav shakes his head at Veracruz. "In the sense of taking offense to things, perhaps. But their customs are strange and specific. To cross them could prove troublesome."
Veracruz furrows his eyebrows, standing up and getting his backpack back on his back "I meant more in the sense of being very careful because it doesn't sounds like a place that makes much sense, but" he stares at the enermous iceberg "I don't quite like that either"
Vladislav: "Was that always there? I don't recall it standing out so well."
Theodore: "The iceburg? As long as I've been here anyway."
Veracruz: "Not sure it was that close"
Alexander: "No. The ice-pick men should have taken care of it by now."
Vladislav nods in agreement with Alexander.
Veracruz: "Guess there's some more troubles for later"
Theodore: "They've uh."
Theodore: "Been on strike, haven't they?"
Aurora frowns. "About what, now?"
Theodore: "I duno, some slight or another. I wasn't paying a ton of attention when I overheard it 'cause it didn't make a lot of sense at the time. (Titania is weird)"
Mana: And the lift descends on the other side.
Vladislav: "Those outlaws deserve any slight that has come to them."
Alexander: "The way they get away with crimes is a travesty."
Vladislav: "Very much so, Alexander. You must be discreet about these things. They do so openly."
Theodore scratches ta the back of his head.
Alexander just sighs.
Vladislav: "Or do you mean to say an assassin does not share that opinion?" He chuckles softly to himself.
Veracruz: "Wonder if nobody else is willing to do their job"
Alexander: "I just don't like that they get away with killing anyone that steps on 'their' island. The worst that happens is they burn an effigy of an ice-pick man."
Veracruz: "That'd certainly make life easier for everyone"
Veracruz: "Actually did anyone ever ask them why do they do that?"
Aurora: "You'd need a lot of replacements to clear out that iceberg there…"
Veracruz: "Well, of course"
Vladislav: "Don't be getting any idea, now. We have business to attend to."
Theodore: "To…. keep the port open?"
[OOC] Vladislav: *ideas
Vladislav makes his way into Undine proper. "Have two stops to make in Gnome. Hope you weren't in too much of a hurry."
Theodore: "Well, we were most goin' for your benefit yeah? So not really."
Aurora nods. "You're the one wanting to go into Luna, so…"
Mana: The streets of undine are mostly empty - it looks like a few more buildings have been boarded up.
Mana: A sudden gust of wind blows in from the harbor, strong enough to loudly ripple clothing.
Veracruz: "More or less going same path as you, yes"
Theodore: "Hmm…"
Vladislav: "Is something amiss, Theodore?"
Aurora frowns, holding her skirt down, though her cape flaps in the wind.
Veracruz: "It's too empty for this time of the day" passes a hand on his hair "That is going on"
Theodore: "Well, no it's starting to get late it's just… less lively in general. Duno." He shrugs slightly.
Vladislav: "With this breeze in the evening I can't say I would wish to idle about outside instead of eating supper." A careless shrug.
Veracruz shakes his head slightly "Look the at the buildings"
Mana: Though, a small procession of the Silk People does head past, having finished business somewhere in town - four of them, draped in blue, carrying a pallet of goods on their shoulders.
Vladislav: "If you care to investigate, feel free to speak to someone."
Veracruz: "Well, we still need to head to Luna, faster we get there the better since we're on time constraints"
Vladislav shakes his head with a disapproving look before making his way to Gnome.
Theodore: "Eeeh I can ask the guys what's up when I turn in for the night, but the soliders do seem to be gone now so maybe it'll turn itself around."
Mana: Below the foot of the statue - the water, heading into the passage, is icy-cold.
Mana: The blue stone cavern winds downwards to Gnome.
Theodore winces slightly after hopinh down. "Man this pathway kind of sucks at night, haha."
Vladislav: "Be glad we do not have to swim proper."
Theodore: "Very true!"
Vladislav: "Show me to this hot spring you spoke of. I still ache from our last encounter."
Theodore: "Ah right on we can do that yeah."
Mana: Halfway down the cavern:
Mana: One of the resident monsters, an octopus hiding in a pot, eyes you, waiting for you to approach, sitting on a ledge.
Mana: Flanking it, however, are two strange, crystalline wolves, frosty as if chiselled from ice.
Theodore puts two fingers to his eyes, then points them at the octopus.
Vladislav scowls. "Be forewarned I am out of tricks still."
Veracruz carefully heads down the cavern, and as they move he looks at the octopus, does this young beast does not remember the people who killed the last octopus and are now using it's pot as a weapon? Still, there are two wolves
[OOC] Vladislav: HP: 206/382, [TMP: 50] MP: 60/418, SoS: 95
Mana: They circle at the base of the ledged cliffs leading deeper into the cavern, waiting for you to come into range.
Veracruz: "Hrm, i've no desire to fight either right now, very tired…" he stares at the wolves "They are quite eager to become dinner though" he sighs
Veracruz: "Come on we just fought a giant snake, can't you give it a rest?" as if the beasts would understand, but
Vladislav: "This is the only way to Gnome, correct?"
Veracruz: "There are other ways"
Theodore: "The only fast and easy way, that I know of."
Theodore: "There's some weird backwards way through the shade, but I figure there'd be even more stuff there…"
Veracruz shakes his head "Actually there is one pathway that should be mostly devoid if anything if you're willing to crawl a little bit"
Vladislav chews at his lip. "So much for not having to swim."
Theodore: "Hah."
Veracruz pulls out a compass from one of his pockets and puts it over his bracer, looks at it "C'mon, let's turn around, just follow me" he takes the party through a rather [Impossible Road], they can't be quite sure what turn he took or where he is actually going, at some point they need to go through a small bit of crawlspace to get through a wall, but he guides them to Gnome nontheless
Theodore: "Are you *sure* this is - oh, hey yeah it is! Awesome."
Aurora: "…Quite the path."
Mana: - Through a thin fissure - through an ancient, forgotten basement - through the wall of Gnome - into the rafters of a third storey opium den in Gnome District - out onto the walkways.
Mana: Gnome District!
Veracruz grins "Told you there was a way. It's a bit hard to follow but it gets there"
Vladislav: "And here I thought you only knew your way around Salamander."
Vladislav: "I suppose you -can- be full of surprises."
Veracruz: "You earn a few tricks over time"
Vladislav: "Don't let me lose this opinion of you however." A wide grin. "You still have to take me to the hot springs."
Theodore: "That one's easy, you just loko in the direction all the people with towels are coming from, to the building with the weird statues!"
Veracruz chuckles "Been there before, just find the building with the turtles" he points Theo over
[OOC] Veracruz: … Vlad
[OOC] Veracruz: Because Vlad has eyebrows and Theo doesn't
Vladislav nods in reply. "Feel free to mingle amongst one another until I return, then."
Mana: The springs are easy enough to find, after all.
Vladislav says this as he begins to walk off and out of sight.
Veracruz stares as Vlad goes in "I can't even picture that man relaxing in the hot springs"
Veracruz looks at Theo and Aurora "Well, guess we got some time, anything we needed done around here?"
Theodore rests his hands behind the back of his head as he glances towards Aurora, "What else would we do, yeah?" HE then turn to Cruz. "I knwo right? But then gaian it was hard ti imagine him with friends, and you saw those guys in the house, so… who knows?"
Alexander: "I was thinking of picking up a few things from the Curio Cafe."
Aurora shrugs. "I was thinking of getting some more candy before we head out, at least."
Theodore: "Sounds fancy!"
Veracruz: "I am in fact down to just one, could use one or two more"
Mana: The Curio Cafe. Its proprietor isn't in the front - is she busy with some matter? A waitress smiles at you from behind a thin, plaster eye-mask as you come in. "Good evening!"
Theodore leans towards Alexander, "(What's with the mask?)"
Veracruz: "Hello"
Mana: It's fairly crowded right now - six old men are all crowded around two pushed-together tables, arguing at a fevered pitch about the state of modern education.
Alexander: "(I couldn't say.)"
Alexander: "Evening, ma'am."
Mana: She bows gently. "Tea? Medicine? We've got a cart of hot rocks up to heat, if you wanted to try them."
Theodore: "Whadda ya do with 'em?"
Veracruz just kind of has to stare at the men for a second and then turns to the waitress again "M- Well, guess he's got a good question"
Mana: "We put them on your back, actually. Relieves muscle tension, harmonizes the breath."
Theodore: "Oh, huh."
Theodore: "Sadly we're kinda in a hurry, maybe next time!"
Veracruz: "How interesting. We could definitely use that some of those days, how often do you prepare them?"
Mana: "If you'd like, we could keep them around tomorrow."
Veracruz: "Hrm… We'd likely end up in need of them tomorrow later in the day. Heavens know we need that with some frequency" he smiles
Veracruz: "Though, I guess right now we need some medicine on the go"
Mana: "Of course! Just write your order down here, and we'll fill the prescription right away." She hands a slip of paper and a stubby pencil to Veracruz.
[OOC] Mana: Shop away.[
Veracruz writes down an order for two Candies himself, then passes it on to Theo
Theodore slides it over to Alexander, he's good!
Alexander: "I was thinking of getting a few Candies, a couple of Chocolates, maybe a couple of Cups of Wishes?"
Mana: "Of course!"
Alexander writes this down, though.
Aurora will be ordering 5 candies to replace the ones she bought earlier in the day; eating them on the way here brought her up to close to healthy.
Vladislav slips into the cafe quietly, but doesn't opt to take a paper to write anything down with.
Veracruz: "How was it?"
Vladislav: "An effective use of my time."
Mana: After a moment, the waitress lays out a few paper bags filled with your orders for you.
Mana: Cups of Wishes always on the top, so they don't break.
Veracruz nods to her, putting the bag of candies in his backpack
Vladislav: "You are ready to go, then?"
Theodore: "I always wondered, how do they keep the liquid inside the chalice? Hmhm! Yeah I think so."
Veracruz: "Just ready, yes"
Vladislav nods in return before making his way down to Mudslide street. "Have one more stop, then."
Aurora nods. "I'm good now, yes."
Theodore: "Right on."
Veracruz nods at Vlad and goes on to follow him "Gotta be prepared, no doubt"
Alexander: "I should be good. Lead on."
<????> "Alexander! Such that I thought you would be leading, eventually."
Veracruz turns around and looks at Toth "Aha, hi Toth"
Alexander: "Greetings, good sir."
Toth is just outside the doorway to the cafe, one foot in the street. "Sorry for disappearing earlier, but I got wrapped up in another investigation."
Theodore: "You missed a chance to blow a snake up!"
Toth: "How did the business with the cat go- oh?"
Veracruz: "Yeah, we went to figure out where a cat was and ended up killing a snake"
Vladislav chews at his lip slowly looking Toth over. His statement is to the point. "Findings?"
Veracruz: "We definitely could have used the help"
Theodore: "Yeah we found Prince Cat, but it turns out he was the good guy and Prince SNake was the villian so we had to kill him after he tried to eat me!"
Aurora: "It was a… painful experience, to say the least."
Toth: "You all look no worse for the wear- and that you won! That's wonderful news" !
Theodore: "Lots of incense and candy."
Toth nods and winks slyly to Vladislav. "Small talk."
Mana: An encounter just on the edge of Mudslide Street - a harshly tilted, tiled street that's harshly sloped down to one side towards lower streets, lined with cramped shops and convenience stores.
Veracruz: "A lot of medicine, as Theo said. We're all dry as it gets"
Mana: A neon light buzzes on one of them, starring a smiling dog.
Toth: "Ah, well- I'll attempt this anyway, then-"
Mana: Next to it, there's a dingy tea-house with a trigram painted over its awning.
Alexander: "What's new with you?"
Toth: "I've visited the venue that's holding the 'Last Auction' in Gnome- if in name only, the place is Shade as all get-out."
Vladislav: "I am in a bit of a hurry, I trust you have no objections to following along to get your small talk in? There are other matters that must be attended to."
Veracruz: "Sounds like a shady place, really"
Toth: "Among the pieces being sold is a jewelry piece that would allow one to talk to spirits."
Veracruz nods "We're in a bit of a time limit, need to make our way to Luna"
Toth: "Of course, of course." He walks along with them.
Toth: "I'm looking for financial backing and support here, plain as day."
Vladislav glances over at Toth as he makes his way into the tea house. "How much does this sort of auction typically go for?"
Veracruz: "Well, haven't had any particular need for all the lucre I have right now and, we do need to be able to talk to spirits"
Toth: "Depends on the item. The jewelry, it's been said, should go for about three to four thousand."
Vladislav: "Significantly less than the flashy shop it would seem."
Toth: "It's a fairly dangerous piece too- but it also has the potential for great power."
Veracruz: "Sounds like a pure heart"
Theodore rummages through his pockets, then tosses Toth 1500 gil.
Toth: "Speaking of." He catches the gil.
Toth: "They're also selling an Apathia."
Aurora: "An Apathia?"
Theodore: "What for?" Theodore blinks
Toth: "Lowest of the Services, a lumbering, smiling hulk."
Mana: The tea-house. It's nameless, apparently. Barely adorned. Some of the chairs still have dropcloths over them. A stooped young man with a pointed red goatee, dressed in a drab hakama, leers at Vladislav as he enters.
Veracruz pulls out a small bag with a bunch of lucre, also one exceptionally large coin "Here" he gives him the bag and the coin "Coin came from a pretty important person, spend it wisely" another 1500 lucre
Toth: "The seller caught and can see it. There's already a bid of 1000 for it, in absentee."
Alexander also passes Toth another 1500 lucre, just in case.
Theodore: "Woah woah someone other than us can see it?"
Veracruz: "Sounds like someone we want to meet. Also the one who wants to buy it"
Toth: "Ms. Verris Millions."
Toth: "Not her estate, but a seller of many things."
Theodore: "Is she….?"
Veracruz: "Don't quite want to have an Apathia around? But. Whoever deals with them is important one way or another"
Toth: "She very well might be. She claims she caught it in the Deep Shade, around Luna."
Vladislav: "I can't say the name rings a bell." He offers a nod to the man with the goatee. No doubt this crew looks strange tossing thousands of lucre into the pockets of Toth as they walk into the tea house.
Toth: "So, if you're going that way, do be careful.
Veracruz: "Hrm…"
Toth: "Finally… there's also an Artifact for sale."
Veracruz: "We are heading to Luna, yes. I hear they are going to seal the place, which is why I want to visit it"
Mana: "Seat yourself wher'eva." He says, barely looking up from some sort of puzzle. It's not a crossword, or a sudoku. Something involving drawing walls on a grid?
Veracruz will take Vlad's cue on where to go or what to do, he can almost certainly be sure that something shady is going on here
Theodore plops himself into a chair. "Although she'd be about two days late if she is… hm."
Toth: "If nothing else, I must see who is bidding on that. Though of course, I'll try to win that, as well>"
Aurora nods to herself, pulling out 1,500 lucre herself and handing it to Toth. "Just in case."
Toth: "It's appreciated. Thank you all." He nods deeply to them.
Vladislav gestures to the chairs for the others before pulling one out himself. "Cheya sent me your way."
Veracruz takes a seat as well
Toth: "I'm going to see if I can get backing from Jinn as well." He grins. "Being sanctioned by the Emperor -must- come with some sway, I figure."
Vladislav: "You would be surprised how little that means to some people."
Theodore: "You think? I thought they didn't like jewelry. … Maybe for the invader, though."
Toth: "Oh, I imagine I'll frame it like-"
Mana: He softens, drawing himself up, giving Vladislav an incredulous look. He points a finger at you - he points a finger at himself. He looks down at his hand.
Toth: "'I need some bags from the coffers of the government, if'n I'm to help stay unexpected change in Titania.' Except with more direness- I'll think of it on the way there."
Toth: "I'll grab a beancounter, maybe, charge it to their tab."
Theodore: "Wait - they pay people to count beans here?" Theodore stares at Toth.
Vladislav: "These people are accompanying me. If you close up we should be able to talk freely."
Toth: "Sure do."
Theodore: "Weeeeeird."
Toth: "That is almost the essence of Jinn."
Theodore: "And here I thought it was pragmatism!"
Toth: "Wisp."
Toth: "Which is also the element of pure class."
Theodore: "I thought *that* was directness. Hm."
Toth: "In any case… I'll leave you all to the journey. Still much ground to cover."
Mana: He looks the group over - pulls a sign out from below the counter, stalks with his hands behind his back up to the door - waits for Mr. Toth to leave.
Veracruz: "Much luck"
Vladislav: "Your investigations are with the others correct, Toth?"
Toth: "Take care, everyone. And congratulations."
Toth nods to Vlad.
Vladislav: "Alexander may have something of use to you."
Toth: "All others accounted for."
Toth: "Oh?"
Alexander: "Ah, yes. Rigo is travelling with you, correct?"
Toth: "In his own Rigo-way, yes."
Theodore waves to Toth.
Toth: "He travels between me and a bar and back to me and then over to a fair lass, then with her to a bar, you get the idea. Something about a date tonight, too."
Alexander: "Ha. Well, the Snake had something he might be interested in," he says, handing a silver diadem, the Only Principle, to Toth. "In any case, you are more likely to run into him than I."
Toth accepts the Only Principle. "I'll ensure he gets it."
Vladislav: "Good day, Mister Toth."
Toth: "Good day, and good night, everyone." He waves and turns to leave.
Mana: And the man puts the sign up in the door - "VERY CLOSED" .
Theodore glances between Vladislav and the man.
Mana: Then he stalks back to the counter, raps his fist on it, and a wooden slat in the wall slides back. Two dark eyes blink at you.
Mana: "These guys! They're from our local friends."
Mana: The two eyes swivel, looking at the group, and then the wooden slat slides back.
Mana: "…She don't socialize."
Mana: "…Anyway." He sits on a barstool, kicking his feet up on the table opposite. "How can the glorious kingdom of the Moon…"
Mana: "..-ex patriata-"
Theodore leeeeeeans forwar din his chair towards the eyes.
Mana: "help you?"
Vladislav folds his hands on the table. "I want all the information you have on the I.S Swimming Toad for starters."
Vladislav: "Word has travelled far of the ship that has shown up in Luna from the Moon Kingdom."
Mana: He sighs. "Yeah. They're us. And as far as I can tell, the sailors serving are all… you know, veritable citizens. No false flag."
Veracruz , not being fully up to par with the business, lets Vlad do the talking
Mana: "News from the far country is hard to get, but from what we've got so far, Captain Millions strolled into the palace back home, impressed the queen with a tale of a daring sneak attack by an impossible road, and got given a ship and a brace of soldiers for a privateer mission."
Mana: "Which is… ridiculous."
Mana: "I mean, we work a long game, we send all these polite little reports back, we skim, we sabotage, we play nice with the local resistance, and that laced up daughter of a -"
Mana: The wooden slat slides back with a click, and the eyes glare at the man.
Mana: He calms. The slat slides back.
Mana: "…And that captain starts stomping on all our hard-earned work for who knows what."
Vladislav: "It seems the name likes to pop up today."
Mana: "She's running an auction. Goddess knows why."
Theodore slips out of his chair, then crouches walks towards the slat and eyes, giving them a nod.
Veracruz: "Hrm… She's running a very dangerous auction that makes me sure that she isn't a trustworthy person"
Vladislav: "These goods she has acquired, they are from out of Titania, then?"
Mana: "Must be. Could've picked them up. I mean, if she really managed to find a route onto the Luna…"
Mana: "…Then she could have brought anything in."
Vladislav: "Have you seen her interacting with Yesketi at all? I have my doubts that two unrelated people would know of a supposed impossible road between the Titania and the Moon Kingdom."
Mana: "Well, apparently, a few of Yesketi's cultists got sent to the Auction to scope things out."
Mana: "Millions had em tied up and booted out on sight, dumped back in Gnome's square gagged."
Mana: "Some kinda weird grudge, looks like."
Veracruz wants to say something, but doesn't. Those guys are a little bit out of synch with eachother
Theodore: "…Huuhh."
Vladislav: "So the possibility that they both were involved in the transport of the firearms exists. If that is the case though, I wonder what caused bad blood?"
Veracruz: "Presumably they have different objectives in mind"
Vladislav: "At any rate, we were going to head down to the Luna to get a first person perspective on things."
Theodore taps at the slat that the eyes eye behind twice, flicks it open, then waves a single finger in the direction of the opening in greeting. "Maybe they just hate each other and aren't actually together?"
Vladislav: "Both of them came from the Moon Kingdom so at the very least I believe both know of the route the other used."
Mana: The eyes blink, then a hand reaches up to close the slat again.
Veracruz: "Hrm… Figure since you're on good terms with Vlad, is there anything you'd like us to tell or do to those guys when we meet them?" that was aimed at the man whose name he did not catch quite yet
Mana: The man steeples his hands in thought.
Theodore: "Are you sure the Priestess was, though? She didn't mention the Moon Kingdom, I don't think. Maybe they ran into one another on a job?"
Mana: The slat slides back, and a woman's voice barks: "Nigel, you idiot!"
Mana: The man turns - "Wha - what?"
Theodore leans towars the slat, "(IT's okay, we don't bite.)"
Mana: "Yesketi's not one of ours!" "I… I know that!"
Mana: "So why were you letting them go on and on like -"
Veracruz: "He might have not paid enough attention to the name we gave her"
Veracruz: "Truth to be told we just assumed since it seemed to make sense at the time, if she isn't it means we have ever bigger problems brewing I guess"
Mana: Nigel clears his throat. "…Sezaya Yesketi, appearance of a woman of about 25 years old, is the leader of a Goddess-worshipping religious movement from Lysander who arrived in Titania recently, preaching a philosophy of absolute freedom."
Theodore: "And also, muskets." Theodore nods.
Mana: "…Having distributed weapons among Salamander and thrown in with one of the local gangs, she is to be considered a rogue political agitator with designs upon the throne."
Theodore: "She can also talk in blue, don't forget that!"
Mana: "Recently, we've seen evidence of her making concilatory entreaties towards Vush of the domestic army and Mr. Magata of the Vipers…"
Mana: "And… what?"
Aurora: "She can, it's weird."
Theodore: "The uh - hold up I know this one."
Theodore rocks his head form side to side.
Theodore: "Right! The voice or protent, or something like that."
Veracruz: "Of, not or"
Theodore: "That's what I said!"
Veracruz: "Also… Vush and Magata… Great"
Vladislav: "She's got her claws in Vush now?" He grins.
Theodore: "I think he was listing sparks in Salamander, 'cause Mr. Magata wanted her dead more than anything. She's with King!"
Theodore: "Or - huh? Hm."
Mana: "Huh is right."
Veracruz: "Something changed from yesterday to today. Everything changes so fast"
Theodore: "Maybe he listened when I asked him to chill out a bit to keep things from imploding…? Or to consider working with King instead of fighting him…"
Mana: Nigel sighs.
Vladislav: "Where is Millons right now, out of curiousity."
Theodore: "It was about to get real messy!"
Vladislav: "And what is the current state at the Lower Shade Gate?"
Mana: "Still wiii-de open. And Millions is still shacked up in that crypt in the oldtown here. Haven't seen her come or go."
Vladislav chews at his lip before glancing at the others. "Have any questions?"
Theodore tilts his head towards the slat, then Nigel. "What's your problem with the Princess?"
Veracruz: "Not really, but Theo does"
Mana: "Our princess, right?"
Theodore: "Yeah."
Mana: He inhales. "…She's a weird political toy, one of our nation's most beloved dignitaries, a capricious storm in her own right, and the closest thing to an ear at court we have."
Vladislav: "Not that she has the chance to attend it."
Mana: "Not that court's been in session. The quarantining…"
Mana: "…Though the Judge has just got out, from what I hear-"
Mana: "It has all the air of a bizarre power play."
Theodore: "Well yeah I know who she is, I was just wondering why you were getting ready to bad mouth her before ya got cut off, is all."
Mana: Nigel looks a little bit caught-off-guard. "No, I was talking about Millions. I mean, as far as we can tell, she is…"
Mana: "She does…"
Mana: "…Outrank us…"
Mana: "Not that I think she even knows we exist…"
Veracruz: "Well, not like you can't badmouth your superiors, they just have to deal with it or do their job better, really"
Veracruz: "Doesn't seems like she's doing that fine of a job, too"
Theodore: "…Ooooh, okay. My mistake then!"
Theodore: "Sorry about that. So Millions is the daughter or someone important then?"
Veracruz: "Tkaie it she's some kinda sort of high officer"
Mana: "Well, I can't call her a son of a bitch, can I?"
Theodore: "You totally can! That's how insults work."
Theodore flashes Nigel a thumbs up.
Mana: He looks cautiously over his shoulder at the slat in the wall.
Mana: No response.
Vladislav: "She ever going to come out of there?"
Mana: "…Probably not."
Theodore: "Don't forget to feed her!"
Mana: "Yeah, I did once, and she never let me forg-"
Mana: …
Mana: "…-et it. Maybe she left to do something?"
Theodore chuckles to himself.
Vladislav: "Any parting words of advice for when we go to Luna? We've never been down there before."
Mana: "Try to fit in. Fake it till you make it, basically."
Mana: "Keep your head down. Don't cross the Ordinators."
Theodore: "Ordinators?"
Mana: "Foreign machines and secret police."
Mana: "You see any come ashore you can't handle, let us know. We'll take them out A.S.A.P."
Mana: "…Part of our bargain with the Painters, basically."
Theodore: "Kinda like the um …" Theodore motions vaguely in Alexander's direction
Vladislav: "Come ashore?"
Mana: "Yeah, except with more deep-seated hatred for all life."
Theodore: "Oh, that's no good at all."
Veracruz: "Sounds like something we want to either avoid or kill, presumably the latter is very difficult"
Mana: "Touch Fa'Diel, I mean." He explains to Vladislav.
Alexander is not sure if he should feel complimented or insulted.
Theodore was looking for the name of the souless suits of armor actually but if it works… D
Vladislav nods in return before pressing off from his seat. "Thank you for your time. Hopefully your situation with your new captain improves."
Alexander would have said the Iron Legion of you had actually said anything at all.
Theodore nows knows things he once knew but forget through mysterious means of assimilation. Exciting! Theodore does a little dance while seated.
Theodore then stands up and heads for the door. "What he said!"
Mana: "New captain… eesh."
Mana: "Yeah. Best of luck out there."
Veracruz nods, standing up "Thanks for all the help, too"
Vladislav makes his way to the door, flipping the sign around again on his way out.
Mana: Gnome District.
Mana: The dusky light shines overhead.
Vladislav: "Apologies for boring you with that."
Vladislav: "Miss Millon definitely seems like someone we need to keep an eye on."
Veracruz: "IT gave us interesting information, so no problem. I also could definitely use any instance of sitting down right now"
Theodore: "Yeah! Especially if she might be a belated Pure Heart."
Vladislav: "A pure heart from the Moon Kingdom would be quite dangerous. I am sure I do not need to tell you that their goals would not align with ours."
Theodore: "Well, they mostly just want their Princess back right? I think I'd be okay with that."
Veracruz: "And yes, she seems dangerous" he looks at Theo "Well, we know the emperor shows some Pure Heart traits but he says he isn't one? Not like I really believe him, but she could be a weird case too."
Theodore: "Hmm."
Vladislav: "If the Emperor was a Pure Heart he wouldn't have needed to kill Joch for scripting the future of Titania he would change it himself."
Veracruz: "Yet he seems able of a few Pure Heart things"
Veracruz: "Which my point is, hopefully Millon is just like that and note a Pure Heart herself"
Theodore: "I wonder what Joch's deal was, anyway."
Vladislav: "I doubt you'll find out anytime soon."
Veracruz: "It was terribly confusing"
Vladislav: "After all, so long as we're engaged in this tale of the disasters it will be written. But his grand reveal would never be penned like that."
Theodore: "Well, I mean, why start seven apocolypses all at once anyways? Dude must have really hated Titania."
Mana: Gnome's gate. Not much traffic right now - only a few going in or out.
Vladislav: "Fair warning. Once we get to our destination I won't be much help for directions."
Veracruz: "It's cool, we rarely have any help for directions"
Theodore glances between Veracruz and Alexander. "I think we'll be alright."
Veracruz: "Yeah, worst case I'm pretty good at finding my way"
Vladislav gets in line at the gate.
Mana: You're quickly passed through.
Mana: (…It's barely a line, anyway.)
Veracruz follows after Vlad, he knows where to go after all. From there, they'll improvise
Theodore: "Man, I like not gettin' hassled as we pass through those now."
Veracruz: "It's so much nicer"
Vladislav: "I travelled with Alexander so I can't say I encountered such difficulties. Even prior to that when I wished to meet with Joch… I was able to get to Jinn through the gates through a touch a creativity."
Mana: The guard looks down. "Uh, it's not like it's a proper gate, anyway…"
Veracruz: "Well, it's in the way anyway"
Theodore pats the guard on the shoulder.
Vladislav: "I'm sure you'll be able to guard a real gate one day."
Mana: "Pssht. Like I'd want to."
Vladislav: "Easy job, huh?"
Mana: She shrugs.
Mana: A spiralling highway leads downwards, downwards, into the Deep Shade.
Vladislav: "You have been down here before, I trust?"
Theodore: "Yeah, but things got weird."
Veracruz: "I think that weird is the overarching theme of Luna"
Theodore: "Those stupid sheep ghosts almost made me thing we fell seventy years into the past!"
Mana: White mist rises up all around you.
Veracruz: "Oh, I remember that"
Vladislav: "Sheep… ghosts?"
Veracruz: "At least we learned of the old jewlery story"
Vladislav shakes his head and keeps on going.
Veracruz: "They made a lot of Theodore, it gets really, really confusing"
Alexander: "It was quite strange."
Theodore puts two fingers to his forehead like horns, nods in Vladislav's direction. "Theodore theodore theodore."
Vladislav: "Forget I asked."
Aurora: "…Ugh, that was crazy."
Theodore laughs.
Veracruz: "Fairly certain we will end up with some similarly weird situation. I can't even explain it rightly"
Veracruz: "It was like a lot of stuff was just missing"
Mana: The fork in the road - the chilly passage in towards Hexagon Land, or deeper still.
Theodore: "Stupid hexagon land, doesn't even have a rollercoaster."
Vladislav heads deeper into the Shade. "It is a silly place."
Theodore trails behind him.
Mana: Whisper Causeway spirals down into the deep gloom. Soon, it comes into sight: the [Forest of Monuments] - a street corner of flickering lamp-posts, sheltered underneath an enormous, toppled tower, which rests on the far cavern wall. A wind-mill, in front of it, slowly turning, creaking. A pile of statues, beyond it.
Mana: There's a chittering noise from the street ahead, and a multitude of small shapes skitter out of sight, squirming into cracks in the road and the ruins.
Veracruz scratches behind his head "Interesting place"
Mana: …It looks like a place where buildings go to die.
Theodore: "…Woah."
Theodore: "This place is neat! I wonder why they built over it."
Veracruz: "It's like many cities ended here"
Mana: Shattered spires. A flickering lamp over a staircase descending into the earth.
Vladislav: "First time down here, I take it?"
Mana: In the distance, there, a broken ship smashed through one of the cavern walls.
Theodore: "Yeah.:
Veracruz: "Yep"
Mana: Seems there's a highway heading out, too. It isn't clear where it goes.
Theodore: "Oh man they even left ships here. How would a ship even get here?"
Vladislav: "The same way one ends up in the Luna, I would presume."
Vladislav: "Impossible roads live up to their name."
Theodore: "Through the gate…? Oh."
Theodore: "Oh! Kind of like how I got here?"
Vladislav: "Very much so."
Vladislav makes a point to address the first local he finds for directions to the Lower Shade Gate.
Veracruz: "Interesting, mabe we'll figure out the way that took you here"
Aurora: "I think that would be a quest in and of itself."
Mana: Going to poke around a bit to find someone, Vlad?
Vladislav is going to have to go to a dead building since he certainly isn't familiar with the way from here and if he picks wrong it'll have wasted more time than if he had found someone to begin with.
Theodore nods towards Aurora, "Yeah it doesn't make much sense to me at least."
Veracruz will attempt to assit Vlad in finding someone. He might not be the most personable person nor having tracking skills but he can… Do something?
Mana: In one of the ruined buildings…
Mana: …You do find someone, stooped over a blue campfire, draped in a dusty cloak.
Mana: Eyes blink up at you.
Mana: "You, you're our kind of people, aren't you…?" A dry voice.
Mana: "…What do you want?"
Theodore tilts his head to the side.
Vladislav: "Was looking for the Lower Shade Gate, to be frank."
Mana: "…Do you wanna walk for ages, or go through goblins?"
Theodore: "Goblins!"
Veracruz: "We often go through a lot of goblins, but up to Vlad"
Vladislav cracks his knuckles. "Goblins are fine. We have had our rest."
Mana: "Head straight out, take a right."
Mana: "There's a long highway."
Mana: "The Goblin City's right there."
Veracruz: "Uhn, a Goblin City. Nice to know"
Aurora: "…They have a City? Oh dear."
Theodore: "Yeah, what she said."
Mana: "…Do you have any food?"
Vladislav nods slowly before reaching into his bag and pulling out some tape and blank paper. He gets to work taping a sign to his spear and then places it on the ground to write 'Totally not humans' on it. He jabs the butt end of his spear at the ground before nodding to the others. "Okay, let's go."
Theodore reaches into Veracruz's satchel, digging around until he finds a biscut, which he then tosses to the man.
Mana: There's the sharp sound of a smile.
Mana: "…People who live forever…"
Mana: "We're the best kind of people, aren't we…?"
Mana: "Have a nice night."
Theodore: "Well, I'm pretty fond of funny people myself, but it's pretty high up there yeah!"
Mana: He grabs it and swallows it in a single bite, his mouth and face a dark, shadowy blur.
Veracruz: "Well, we're a kind of kind of people, i'd like to think" he nods at Theo "A pleasant night to you too"
Vladislav nods to the others before making his way towards this supposed Goblin City.
Theodore opens his mouth to ask, then decides thta would probably detur them far longer than is strictly necessary and so he trails after Vladislav, "What was up with that guy?"
Veracruz follows after Vlad "Hrm… Should I even try to make sense of things here? That person was… I don't know, a little creepy"
Alexander: "Welcome to Shade."
Mana: Heading along the highway…
Aurora: "…We're in Shade, I think it's better not to ask."
Theodore: "But I like asking!"
Mana: The spires of Goblin Territory rise in the distance, dusty brown, thin and knobbly like finger-bones.
Mana: Even the mist here has a vague, dusky tone.
Mana: A seam in the highway has been carefully stitched up with thread. It quivers as you cross it, seemingly ready to burst.
Theodore: "I uh…. that's proabbly not good?"
Veracruz stares at the seam, avoids it as much as possible, while still moving forward "It will probably spew a bunch of goblins if we step on it, let's not break it"
Mana: Eventually, you arrive at the gate.
Mana: A grotesque depicting a winged demon is sculpted of bronze and sits upon the gate, the knocker hanging in his claws.
Mana: "Oh, you guys." He says. "Doing the sign trick, right?"
Theodore pauses, then grabs a knocker and proceeds to knock.
Mana: Knock, knock.
Mana: "Yeah, yeah, I hear you. So, you know, who goes there, and for what purpose."
Veracruz: "Seeing if it'll work, mostly. We're trying to reach the Deep Shade gate, heading to Luna"
Theodore: "Oh, I'm Theodore, and we're going into the Luna for…" He glances back in Vlad's direction, who'sbeing slow to get to the door, "Uh, loking for something I think?"
Mana: The knocker eyes all of you.
Mana: "…Gimme candy."
Veracruz pulls out a candy and hands him
Mana: The gargoyle gobbles it up.
Mana: …
Mana: "Yeah, yeah. Come on in."
Veracruz: "Good enough?
Theodore: "Awesome."
Alexander: "Thank you."
Theodore heads on in!
Mana: The gargoyle reaches out and raps his hand on the wall, and there's a shout from goblins inside -
Veracruz nods "Thanks" goes right in
Mana: And the gate is lifted.
Mana: The Goblin City!
Mana: …is, it seems, where goblins live. Punching one another, squabbling over the prices of caged lizards, playing complicated dice games. There's a tavern - there's staircases winding up the side of buildings, goblins marching along them rightside-up and rightside-down.
Veracruz: "More normal than I thought. Not as normal as it could be"
Theodore rests his hands behind the back of his head, and is momentarily glad Xsai is otherwise occupied, because he wiould have a hard time getting the looking of wanting to destroy them all off his face.
Veracruz looks around "We just gotta go across or… Hrm… Maybe someone can direct us to to the gate"
Theodore: "Huh? S'perfectly normal."
Veracruz: "Don't see people walking rightside-down in Salamander!"
Veracruz: "Just about that only detail's a bit off, though"
Mana: There's a tremendous crowd at knee-height - goblins rushing through carrying crates of goods, riding around on huge, shaggy, floppy-tongued dogs.
Veracruz just stares at the dog-riders. That is definitely cute
Theodore: "Yo, which was was that weird ass gate down into the Luna again?" Theodreo shouts towards a crowd fo dice rollers.
Mana: One of the goblins snorts and laughs dismissively, rolling another hand of dice.
Theodore shakes his head, then just keeps walking in the direction they had been.
Veracruz just follows along for now, they'll ask further at further stages
Vladislav: "Presumably at the other exit of the city, keep following the highway." He makes sure his sign is in clear view as they walk around.
Mana: The center square of the goblin city - a huge, stone-lined pit, too deep to be seen what lies at the bottom of it.
Mana: Beyond it is the approach up to the citadel.
Mana: Weapons are for sale, displayed on gleaming racks, next to luridly painted signs showing them carving through beasts and humans.
Theodore glances through the racks to see fi they have anything cool.
Aurora glances to see just what kind of weapons they actually have.
Theodore you know, as they walk.
Veracruz looks at the racks, are there in fact useful things here or antyhing that looks special?
Mana: The proprietor smiles behind his skull. "Eh, you have a fine eye. I'll sell it for a good price, see?" He taps a particularly vicious-looking barbed axe.
Mana: "This good little buddy's Bite-the-Blood. You should take him with ya for 500 lucre."
Mana: "Maximum sex appeal and groovy feeling."
Theodore: "Oh yeah?"
Mana: "Well, you're humans, so you don't get it…"
Veracruz: "Hah, sounds like something a friend would like"
Mana: "…You know, you're only strolling around here 'cause the boss said it was okay!"
Mana: "Shh, what've you got that's so tough?"
Mana: "You think you've got a weapon as good as Bite-the-Blood? Let's see it!"
Theodore: "Al-Aldin? I totally took out Frenzy, dude."
Mana: "You…. you…!"
Theodore pulls his musket out, showing it to the goblin.
Mana: The goblin folds his arms and pulls a cord, and curtains drop over all his wares. "CLOSED."
Theodore: "I didn't really *want* to, but she wouldn't back down, y'know? He brought her right back though."
Veracruz grins, looks at Theodore, who does pulls his musket out "Also think the spear is pretty cool too"
Mana: But then he spots the musket.
Mana: He grabs it, inspects it.
Mana: "…Yeah, this is nothing special. We could make these, easy!"
Mana: "We just don't feel like it."
Mana: He throws the musket back into the air.
Theodore catches it. "Yeah that's fair! I could do a lot of stuff, but I don't always feel like doin' a lot of stuff."
Veracruz scratches his chin, he has an idea, says nothing still "Well-" he looks at the ongoing convo
Mana: "But…" The goblin remembers himself, and sulks, turning around.
Mana: "No sale."
Theodore: "Well, good luck on the axe sale yeah? Sure it'll make someone look good." Theodore waves before head back down the highway.
Veracruz just… Looks at the poor goblin, and goes after Theo becaue clearly Vlad already took off way the hell ahead because that is what Vlad would do
Mana: The highway doesn't continue straight through. Though, it might be past the citadel - continuing upwards towards it?
Veracruz looks up at the citadel "Maybe we should go around it"
Theodore: "Around, through, either way."
Aurora: "Around's probably better."
Theodore nods to Aurora.
Veracruz: "They probably would object to us going through"
Vladislav: "Wouldn't know unless we tried."
Mana: As you stand chatting, a phalanx of goblins in mismatched armor, carrying heavy pikes rush up to encircle the party -
Mana: …Soon followed by Al-Aldin. "Shoo. Shoo. They're guests."
Theodore: "Heya."
Veracruz: "Oh- Hey there"
Mana: He smiles, tapping the ground with a cane, wearing a sleek, fur-lined coat. "So, now that you're my guests, what brings you to my beloved of demesnes?"
Theodore: "Just passing through to the Luna, really."
Veracruz: "We were just trying to make our way to Luna"
Mana: "Then I am, of course, honorbound to send you on your way."
Veracruz: "Sorry if we caused any disruption"
Mana: "Come with me." He whistles sharply - two fingers in the mouth - and two goblins run in out from an archway, carrying a roll of carpet.
Mana: They fling it down the stairs, and it goes rolling out towards the main square.
Theodore: "Oh man, rolling carpet."
Mana: "It's a city of goblins. If it's possible to disrupt, I think they'd do it first."
Mana: He sashays down the carpet.
Veracruz whistles, a carpet, nice. He just kind of follows
Aurora shakes her head in amusement, following.
Theodore saunters after Al-Aldin.
Mana: He walks up to the pit, clicks his cane against the edge, and gestures to it.
Mana: "Just head straight down there, my dear friends."
Mana: "…Or would you like me to come with you?"
Theodore thinks, then glances over at Vladislav questioningly.
Mana: "Do make sure to come back, of course."
Mana: "Titania would be a crueller place without the lot of you."
Theodore: "Of course!"
Theodore: "Oh,"
Veracruz: "Oh, we definitely will"
Vladislav: "Al-Aldin, what is your stance on the Emperor requesting your head."
Theodore: "By the by, Toth was looking into a way of communicating with spirits, so we should be able to get that sorted out soon."
Veracruz: "Hopefully yeah"
Mana: Al-Aldin places a hand on Vladislav's shoulder, smiling. "It's a dicy matter, but I think I'll have to support my constituency and be against."
Vladislav grins back. "I figured as much. I'll just write that you were resistant and opposed to the idea on the ledger and call it a day."
Veracruz meanwhile is looking down the hole
Mana: Veracruz: …it's a long way down.
Veracruz: "Hrm… We'd need a rope or hopefully a rope ladder to go down there"
Mana: Al-Aldin turns his head. "…No?"
Theodore: "Hmm, yeah I'm not waitin' for that."
Theodore jumps down the hole.
Theodore: "See ya, Al-Aldin!"
Vladislav: "He's got the right idea. You can go back if you want." He jumps down after Theodore.
Veracruz sheugs "I guess not" he jumps down as well, sliding down the wall
Mana: It's a long, long drift down through the darkness…
Mana: …Down to…
Mana: A stone tunnel. An arrow, painted in white, is marked, pointing upwards where you land.
Mana: The walls of the tunnel are lined with carved hands.
Mana: You can see, glinting in the light from here, the [Lower Shade Gate] -
Mana: Circular, slung wide open, surrounded by the impaled bodies of the Dark Guard.
Vladislav: "Chicken pox, eh?"
Veracruz blinks, raising both eyebrows "Seems like that pox got worse than last I saw it" he makes a contorted face
Theodore: "Look a lot more like murder to me."
Veracruz: "Knew this was bad"
Vladislav makes his way to the corpses to identify the make of the weapons.
Mana: Thin, long, metal spikes.
Mana: They seem like they'd snap in your hand unless you drove them in perfectly straight.
Vladislav: "What do you make of this, Alexander?"
Veracruz looks at the the damage "Now the matter is, did they cause this themselves or did someone needlessly strike them"
Theodore: "…Why would they skewer themselves?"
Alexander kneels down next to one of the bodies for a closer look.
Mana: The strikes are at weird angles - they all hit vital regions, but they all came from bizarre directions.
Mana: No other wounds on any of them.
Veracruz: "By that I mean wether they provoked an attack on themselves or if something else attacked them out of malice"
Theodore: "Aha."
Alexander: "Well-placed strikes, but…they seem odd. The angles don't even match up for attackers of the same height."
Mana: A soldier dressed in a red coat approaches through the gate, carrying a lantern - he points it at you, then at the bodies.
Mana: "Oh, yeah, these guys? Pre-existing condition."
Theodore: "Oh?"
Veracruz blinks, looks at the man "Hi. Also, what?"
Mana: "They were like this when we got here. More of em, too."
Mana: "One of them's bones just fell outta the body. Gross as hell, is my take."
Mana: "Titanian, right?"
Theodore: "Eesh. Yeah, they were at least."
Veracruz: "Yes… Bones falling out of the body, that's terrible"
Mana: "That's a magic way to die. Could be fiends."
Vladislav: "Do you patrol down here?"
Mana: "S'about dinner time. Come with me."
Mana: "Yee-up. Just keeping our door open."
Veracruz: "Ah, I was about to ask something like that"
Veracruz: "Sure"
Theodore: "Right on."
Vladislav seems suspicious but follows after the stranger.
Mana: Out past the gate…
Mana: A shore on the edge of the Luna - shards of bluevine choke the rock like roots, holding stray bits of island that float out into the space.
Mana: From beneath shines the light of the Sister Moon -
Mana: A tremendous arc of blue light, painting the world, to the horizon, in a crystal glow.
[OOC] Veracruz: … Wait am I reading this right. Luna is basically outer space?
[OOC] Veracruz: Unless i'm having my englsh driver crash hard on me here
[OOC] Mana: Yup, or the Sky Ocean.
Theodore lets out a low whistle.
Mana: Moored on the shore…
Veracruz looks… Just awed "Well… then…"
Veracruz: "Was… Definitely not expecting this here"
Vladislav: "Welcome to the Luna."
Mana: The I. S Swimming Toad, a huge steel ship, fitted for sand, sea, and, it seems, the Luna as well.
Mana: Squat, cannon-ports lining its iron broadsides.
Mana: It flies two flags - one the downwards crescent of the Moon Kingdom…
Veracruz looks at the ship "How can it even sail in there…"
Mana: And a brilliant red banner, a pirate flag, depicting a curled, barbed, black stinger-tail.
Aurora: "…It's Luna, I don't expect much to make sense."
Mana: "That's what the boss told us, anyway. C'mon up."
Mana: The soldier walks you up to a small camp posted around the gangblank of the Toad.
Mana: "We've got guests."
Veracruz heads on up to the camp, hopefully they're off to a good start
Vladislav eyes the pirate flag and frowns even harder.
Mana: The soldier leads you down below the deck of the ship - onto the steel-grated mess hall, lit from beneath by a red glow.
Mana: He speaks into a tube - "Get the second. We've got extra mouths to feed."
Mana: Soon enough, the second in command arrives - a young woman in a long red cape, fastened over her front with a bright button. her blonde hair elegantly shining with a bounce and a slight curl to one of her bangs. She laughs as she sees you.
Mana: "So good to see you!"
Mana: "Pure Hearts, right?"
Theodore: "Yeah, and you?"
Mana: "We're the Scorpion Army!"
Mana: And so it was written.

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