Mana P4y1s07

And so it was written: Pokiehlmeber 4th, Year 1, Undine's Day. In the depths of the shade, more than a stone's throw away from the Salamander Palace.
Like, way more than Theodore would walk.
Because he doesn't know shit about dick about what's going on because he's eating Veracruz's lunch.
Oooooh yeeeeeaaaah
Yeah I read that plot point at the end of their session.
Anyway so there's some cafes and stuff? KKC undergrads gather there and the grad students don't gather there because they don't move off of campus, so Toth sitting around a table looks kinda out of place.
[The Cafe Double Noir Noir]
Vladislav is on his lonesome again, making his way through the Shade. He slips into the cafe for reasons unknown. Presumably they involve refreshments though as he rolls up to Toth and sets down two drinks. "Brooding to yourself, now are we?"
Toth: "Oh who doesn't love a good brood after turning over stones."
Toth: "Anyway, this is about the time where I desperately ask you about what happened down in the Pure Land."
Toth: "Because with how it interacts with Mana…" He shakes his head. "It's probably all really relevant."
Vladislav sips on his drink before offering a shrug in return. "Where do I begin? There's another set of services down there, for starters. A different ship, so to speak."
Toth: "Sounds like a good place to start as any. Have they made a mess of the place?"
Vladislav: "Not at all. They're actually living with the inhabitants peacefully. Once they land on a planet they cannot set off again and the land has no mana for them to siphon. They are essentially trapped."
Vladislav: "All of their ships hold a similar goal however. Their home was destroyed. They are looking for a new place to remodel and our Services are attempting to do so with Titania."
Vladislav: "Should they succeed all but the pure of heart will be erased and more of their ships shall migrate to here."
Toth: "Well, at least we'd have a place post-takeover, right?" He sips at his coffee, makes a bitter face, and adds two sugar and some cream.
Vladislav: "You haven't happened to have heard of a Bernard R. Bright by any chance?"
Toth: "Can't say so, no. Important?"
Vladislav: "He was the Pure Heart who was assigned to the ship on the Pure Land. Supposedly after realizing there was no mana for him to create artifacts with he left the world and abandoned the Services to travel to a whole new world. While his own role may not play importance in the story, it does tell us that each ship is assigned a Pure Heart for the intention of remodeling the world."
Toth: "They're each equipped for remodeling… I suppose I shouldn't be surprised."
Vladislav: "I do not believe that this Pure Heart in Titania is Millions however. Their goals do not match up unless we're being played for fools. Which opens the possibility for another."
Toth: "Oh I'm pretty sure there's more than one Pure Heart running around in Titania."
Vladislav: "Outside of killing somebody and them coming back the next day however I do not believe a concrete way has been found to discover them."
Toth: "I watched Millions ransom off an Apathia to Nara Odeheimer."
Vladislav: "Do you have an inkling as to why this exchange happened?"
Toth: "For money, presumably. Nara didn't seem to happy about forking over ten thousand- no, twenty thousand for the beast. I shouldn't have bid against her, it was poor form."
Toth: "But that value was reached pretty much by Millions through jesting and insinuation."
Toth: "Said she caught it deeeeeeep within Shade, closer to Luna."
Vladislav nods in turn, taking another sip of his drink. "I must warn you that the Pure Land is incredibly dangerous. Monsters there far exceed the strength of Titania's and there is no telling what reprucussions using magic in a manaless land could have in the big picture."
Vladislav: "When I cast magic there my jewelry started to heat up to the point of burning skin. Rather than drawing from the land, it seems to place an unsafe strain on the piece itself."
Toth: "Did you try not casting from the jewelry?"
Vladislav: "Even the gated spells seemed to borrow energy from it to perform the casting."
Toth: "Mmm."
Vladislav: "Where else would it get the energy from? The land is manaless."
Toth shrugs. "Ourselves?"
Vladislav: "It is a land of no color. I hope you are not blinded by white."
Toth: "Though I'm pretty sure that's an easy way to start growing hexagonical veins. And white isn't really my color…"
Toth: "Did you get to see any other Justifications?"
Vladislav: "There was an entire fortress of them."
Vladislav: "A city so to speak."
Toth frowns. "Really…"
Vladislav: "They are quite technologically advanced. They paid for purchases using some sort of card swipe system that tracked your funds."
Toth runs the idea through your head. "But how would…" He shakes his head. "Nevermind."
Vladislav: "Most of their weaponry is effectively useless however. They lacked both the mana and the Pure Heart that was assigned to them forsook the world. So the Pure Land is in no danger from their artifact weapons."
Vladislav: "I wish I could say the same for Titania."
The road sighs, after having its back walked across by the departing undergrads, heading back to campus. Its back soothed, it streeeeeeeeeeetches out, displacing the cafe closer to the Salamander Temple and Phantom Labyrinth. Like, way closer.
Walking distance, even.
Toth: "Wonder where Bernard went, then."
Vladislav: "When engaging the services, if you ever see your surroundings suddenly change Mr. Toth, I suggest even you should run."
Toth: "Why's that?"
Vladislav: "The Services deploy artifacts to avoid collateral damage. They also have weaponry that only functions in an artifact. When dealing with rogue Pure Hearts they can use such means to erase their existing home point and alter it to keep them in quarantine if need be."
Toth: "…"
Vladislav: "The weaponry is rather potent, but their primary goal is to habitize the planet so they create a landscape to use it on."
Vladislav: "That way they can remove it from existance afterwards and no damage is done."
Toth: "That…"
Toth leans back.
Vladislav: "For their purposes you mightest well think of an artifact as a simulated battle ground."
Toth 's eyes widen, obvious that his brain is working overtime.
Vladislav: "So as I said before Mr. Toth, should you get cocky and engage and this happens… you may wish to consider your options carefully."
Toth: "That is amazing," he says, in awe.
Vladislav: "There is little we understand about Artifacts, Mr. Toth. If we had it figured out we would be creating far more interesting things."
Toth: "I've gotta try thi- er… hrm. If there was a way I could, uh, test it in a more controlled environment…"
Toth shifts his shoulders.
Toth: "Maybe -outside- of Titania…"
Vladislav: "Another artifact has just been placed inside Titania. I doubt there is little that was actually controlled outside of its location however. There is no saying what went on in Veracruz's mind as he placed it."
Toth: "Maybe something like… 'hey, why not, what's the worst that could happen…'"
Toth: "'Here's a good a place as any…'"
Vladislav: "I would refrain from engaging in actions that would end the narrative at this juncture."
Vladislav: "There is still more to discuss."
Toth: "Sure there is. What else is in the Pure Land, aside from white and Services?"
Vladislav: "A small village is a small walks away from the fortress. The path is full of silktails however. Think rabites, only they hit much harder than a goblin. It consists of a mix of people who existed in the land prior to the fleets arrival and those who got lost in the Pure Land after.
Vladislav: That is another thing you must take concern with when travelling there. The only way to get out is through death. It is how their Pure Heart abandoned them and how we returned to Titania. "
Toth blinks. "Sounds… rough. Where the heck was Bernard's, um… where he woke up? Home point?"
Vladislav: "I haven't the slightest. I just have his credit card. Should I find out his 4 digit identification code I believe I will have a lot of the Services currency."
Toth: "Sounds like a worthy endeavor, then!"
Vladislav: "There is a point of interest in the Pure Land I wish to explore, however."
Vladislav: "Our world and mana others with mana. You know the foundation on which it is built, correct?"
Vladislav: (*many)
Toth: "Uhh… I think, given recent events, you should probably go ahead and lay out the foundation for me."
Vladislav: "We have a mana tree. A gift from the goddess of mana that gives to the land so we may take in turn. Instead in the Pure Land time does not flow. Or better said, it does not exist. Their Tree is called the Tree of Life."
Toth: "With you so far."
Vladislav shrugs offering a simple grin in return. "I can't say I've figured out much about their foundation yet, Mr. Toth. This is why I need you, among others. I plan to get up close and personal to the Tree of Life to find out more tonight. I was unable to before since it was crawling with monsters and I knew my limits."
Toth: "Aha."
Toth: "Well, I'm interested. Either we get there or die trying, eh?"
Vladislav: "I think finding out why their land is manaless however could prove as useful information to counter the draining of mana from our own lands."
Toth: "Right…"
Toth: "Uh, well, about that."
Vladislav narrows his brow at Toth as he sets down his glass.
Toth: "So… Wil and I found Sage Joch's… house? I'm not really sure if that's where he lived or what."
Toth: "Anyway, uh."
Toth looks around a bit, lowering his voice.
Toth: "He's not dead."
Toth: "But he's… it's hard to say he's alive."
Vladislav: "I talked to him prior to his staged execution, yes."
Toth: "I'm not sure if he's a Pure Heart or what."
Toth: "He's not dead but we're not gonna run into him on the street or anything."
Vladislav: "I take it you have read the prophecy in full now?"
Toth: "Read…told… it was something like that, yeah."
Toth: "He's pretty convinced that winter is already festering well deep under Titania and it's just a matter of time- which he's extending by calling all sorts of disaster to Titania."
Vladislav: "I cannot argue the theory in its entirety. Winter encroaches on the worlds that no longer have any mysteries to solve."
Vladislav: "Were I to find out the mysteries of the universe and saved Titania from all of its problems there would not be much to be written would there? For the purposes of the story winter is the next chapter."
Toth: "It's frustrating, yes."
Toth: "There's a knot to be cut here, though I'm… admittedly not sure how at the moment."
Vladislav: "Many worlds have fallen to such a fate. And then the Pure of Heart, they wander off and start anew. A different tale, perhaps with a less vital role."
Vladislav: "I suppose it is kind of sad for those tied to this tale, though?" He offers a small shrug.
Toth rubs his temples. "We pushed back the winter by placing the liquor. Originally thought to be a factor of the services, the Dispassionata had nothing to do with it, though it seemed little disturbed by its presence."
Toth: "But… if such a resource to eliminate the winter is finite, once mysteries stop and all stories end…"
Toth sighs.
Toth: "Surely the end can't be -that- close."
Vladislav: "How much attachment do you hold to the people here, Toth? You have to consider a frightening truth behind the power of artifacts. When we open up new worlds new people also show up to inhabit them. These worlds just as easily can be erased. They are not like you and I. They are placeholders, background noise that exists to serve its purpose in the next story."
Toth: "I was once taught that the places we place aren't new in the exact sense, they've always been there… though I guess the fortress sort of offsets that theory? Or not, because things moved -awfully- quickly overnight…"
Vladislav: "If there is anyone around that can explain the unanswered questions behind artifacts, it would be the Services."
Toth: "Sorry Vlad, but I'd like to speak with them a bit before we investigate that Tree of Life."
Toth: "…not that we couldn't return, but it seems like it'd take a while to get back, eh?"
Vladislav: "Did you not hear me before? It is a timeless world. Once we enter we can take as many detours as you'd like."
Toth: "I'm too used to living in a time-full world."
Toth: "Do forgive me." He sips his coffee.
Vladislav: "I suppose I can this once." His expression doesn't seem to be joking.
Vladislav: "In other news I've come across a few interesting trinkets in my travels. Deep in the lost tomes of Exmillia there was a record of the lineage of Emperor's. I haven't looked into it too closely, but I have a feeling it must have held some sort of fallacy for Prince Snake to keep it in his vault."
Toth: "If the emperor's name ends up being Bernard I think we'll make a visit."
Vladislav: "That would be a rather amusing twist, wouldn't it?" A small chuckle.
Vladislav: "The other is a book about angels. Stories of the known ones and the names they went by."
Toth: "What's their deal?'
Vladislav: "I'll let you know when I finish it. I'm not flipping through pages as I walk around for show, you know."
Toth: "Oh, I just overestimating the reading speed, is all."
Vladislav: "The others went to investigate the new artifact placed beside the Salamander Palace. If you have time perhaps you should pay them a visit."
Toth: "I should make an appearance, yes. It's been too long since the morn' that I haven't conversed with a spirit."
Vladislav: "Given the spirits close proximity I believe that would be an appropiate course of action. I have business of my own to attend to at the Tower of Jinn, I may catch up at a later time however."
Toth nods.
Toth: "Heaven was built by men of ice. Heaven is lit by the flame of a heart. Heaven's gate is a wound deep beneath the earth. Heaven's nail is a curse against the sky."
Toth: "What do you figure this means, off the cuff."
Vladislav: "Paradise."
Toth interlocks his fingers, elbows on the table. "It was part of Sage Joch's prophecy that I thought felt… out of place."
Vladislav: "My own personal interpretations have always been that Titania and Paradise have to be seperated once more."
Vladislav: "It is a place that was never meant to exist."
Toth: "It -does- go on to say Titania must be shred apart, And returned to the light of the sun. Where Heaven cannot reach it."
Toth: "Which is … well I can't reconsile that at the moment, but…"
Toth shrugs. "Would Paradise be a good place for the Services?"
Vladislav: "I suppose I should mention this plainly right now as it may cause confusion. My goal from the beginning has always been to close the gates of Heaven, Mr. Toth."
Vladislav: "Only the Pure of Heart may venture past their tale."
Toth dismissively waves a hand. "I've no argument at the moment against that, no."
Toth: "In fact, my first impulse was to hurl the hatchet into Paradise itself, but, well, it didn't happen."
Vladislav: "I am a patient man. Immortality is a gift we were given, after all. The Emperor has yet to see my face and I doubt he shall until I make my move to destroy Paradise."
Toth blinks, as though struck by an idea.
The road shrinks once again, as being a road is kind of stressful. Seems it only stretches out for 20 minutes after breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and after poetry nights.
Toth: "Yeah, yeah, I'm not stopping you there."
Vladislav: "I do hope the buildup produces a meaningful result. Don't let your cognitive functions take too long."
Toth: "Do you think it's unreasonable for a Pure Heart to venture past their tale? I'm not convinced that death is the only thing that could stop things- winter, of course, consumes all."
Vladislav: "The Pure of Heart can travel to a whole new world as they please. Winter is a hurdle to their environment. Nothing more, nothing less."
Toth: "Hm hm."
Toth: "Well, this has been enlightening for me, at least. Killing sure does seem to solve a lot of the problems."
Toth: "Except for the whole enemy Pure Heart thing, but even -that-?"
Vladislav: "It is rather terrifying when you think of it, Mr. Toth. Your curiousity drives you forward now. But with the gift of immortality what will happen in decades past? Once this story is over. And then the next. We cannot die, Mr. Toth. At some point it will be a curse."
Toth: "Then I'd better do as much as I can before I hate myself for existing."
Toth: "If I figure out how to kill a Pure Heart, permanently, do you want me to tell you?"
Vladislav: "By all means. I am sure it would be better than the alternative. With our power we can just as easily change the world into a barren wasteland."
Vladislav: "Who is to say what a Pure Heart would do once they have lost all hope. No vision for the future."
Toth: "Who is to say, indeed."
Vladislav: "Rather than wasting your key points on experimentation I suggest holding on to a new artifact for the right time. It would be wasted here."
Toth: "And what would be 'the right time?' My best interest now is figuring out how the Services figured out how to weaponize them. There's a silver sword with a kP's name on it out there somewhere, and then an unsuspecting Rabite. Or another Pure Heart, should we find them."
Toth: "Or I could just ask them… somehow I don't know if that'll really work? Playing this one close to the vest."
Vladislav takes one last sip of his drink before pushing out from his chair. "You're welcome to test on Millions. But given your last experience with artifacts I fear she may outplay you again."
Toth grins. "The pointy end goes in the other man."
Toth: "That's as simple as it gets."
Toth: "Maybe the musket would be better…"
Toth shakes his head. "Anyway. Be seeing you."
Vladislav: "I suppose I'll hear about it one way or another. Do make sure the lot of them don't get killed, Mr. Toth. I have an agenda tonight and I fear for them every second they roam about unsupervised."
Toth: "Have they stopped by the hotsprings yet?"
Vladislav: "No. They are low on resources and exploring territory unfamiliar to them."
Vladislav: "If they do not get out it could end equally as disasterous."
Toth nods. "I'll haul them out."
Toth: "Just gives me an idea of how much trouble is too much to recover from."
Vladislav: "So long as they don't use their hot springs visit until our delve into the Luna it should be adequate."
Vladislav: "For your sake however I hope you stocked up on walnuts. They do not sell such things in manaless lands."
Toth: "So noted."
Toth finishes his coffee and also stands.
Vladislav offers a final nod. "Another time."
Toth: "Mm." And he stalks off towards the Salamander Palace.
And so it was written.

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