Tom D01s06

TheTale: Day One - Morning.
TheTale: Strange things, at times, get carried through the waterways, from the mountains.
TheTale: Usually the detritus of the fortress' eternal constructon - grit and mud and rubble - but at times, strange clay shards come pouring out the pipes, or glittering gold, or billowing clouds of scarlet or green.
TheTale: Even the strangest things fit in well with the other garbage.
TheTale: The markets are still in full swing. It's a pleasant, sunny morning. What's everyone up to?
Dog: Dog is hanging out with Luc still, obviously. You know. A boy and his dog. That entire trope.
Lucnephwyr is sunning himself on a rock. Or at least that's what it looks like he's doing, as he's sitting on a plinth at one of the many corners in the marketplace, swinging his hanging legs. Tosses the ball up, catches. Up, catches. Up, catches, pauses… lobs!
Shiba is probably leading Zaqana around, making entirely no sense and speaking of things beyond her ken. "But there are these other people you just -have- to meet, they're going to be important too - "
Zaqana 's attention is completely broken by having a ball hit her in the face.
Dog‘ runs off after the ball, quick as lightning, and before they know it they’ve bowled into a caterpillar lady.
Lucnephwyr: "Oh!"
Zaqana: "Ow!"
Dog: "Fwuh!" Dog yelps. "Sorry, sorry!"
Lucnephwyr hops off the plinth, and hurriedly scurries over to the collision.
Shiba raises her hands in exasperation and turns around. "Right on cue. It's like they were listening, I can't even - "
Lucnephwyr: "I
Lucnephwyr: "I'm so sorry! Are you okay?" His big eyes well up a bit, earnestness in his tone, concern on his claws.
Zaqana puts a palm up to her forehead "Owow…yeah, I'll be fine, it didn't hit me hard."
Dog: Dog whines, and then wags their tail a bit. "I'm glad you'll be okay!"
Lucnephwyr: "I was worried about dog barreling into you too-" of which he squats to ruffle Dog's fur a bit, it wasn't their fault "-it's just, y'know, I knew that was coming afterwards."
Zaqana stares at the Dog for a moment.
Zaqana: "…This is just one of those days, I guess."
Dog: Dog looks up at Zaqana with a sheepish doggy grin. "Hi! I'm Dog!"
Shiba: "The first of many!"
Lucnephwyr: "A day as bright as any other! Sorry again- I'm Lucnephwyr!" He smiles a wide, close-eyed smile.
Zaqana: "Um…name is Zaqana. And it's really no problem."
Dog: "So are you Shiba's friend?" Tail wag, wag, wag.
Zaqana: "I…guess so!"
Lucnephwyr: "Do you also live out in the Mana Lands? Are you in for the morning meat market? Have you used a BBS before?"
Shiba: "I doubt she does; I think she was; I - don't think we ever gave her a pamphlet." She looks Zaqana over.
Dog: "We can get you a pamphlet!" Dog adds.
Zaqana: "Well, I'm here for some meat…?"
Lucnephwyr orbits both Shiba and Zaquana once- taking care not to step on their lengthy back-halves.
Dog: Dog dances around in the other direction. Tailwagwagwagwagwag.
Dog: "I like meat too! Let's be friends!"
Shiba flicks her tail up to at least give Luc and Dog some more leg room.
Zaqana can only scrunch up a bit. "Why not? Are you a fan of cooked Frilledebeast?"
Dog: "Yup yup yup!"
Zaqana: "Well, since you seem to know Shiba, and I'm still wrapping my head around everything, why don't you all let me make you dinner? I have lots for today, and I have a bad feeling that the ones I originally invited won't show…"
Shiba: "Who'd you invite?"
Zaqana: "Well, just a few of my girlfriends-mostly from my book-and-potluck club."
Zaqana: "it's funny, we talk more about food than books, now that I think about it."
Dog: "What if you got books about food? Then you could do both!" Dog barks, pleased with their clever solution.
Shiba: "You mean like a cookbook?"
Lucnephwyr: "They're both great subjects, yeah!" He now paces about slightly ahead of the group, trying to lead towards the butchers.
Zaqana: "I have a cookbook with me right now, actually…"
Lucnephwyr: "Does it mention how to cook human?"
Dog: "You can't cook humans! They're all bones!"
Zaqana: "…Probably. Let me look."
Shiba: "Aren't the humans afraid of us eating them, though? We should probably form a diplomatic emissary, clear that misconception right up."
Zaqana pulls out a huge old book bound in leather and starts reading while absentmindedly following Lucnephwyr. "Ham, no…Happiness, no…Hounds, definitely no…"
Lucnephwyr: "I agree, Shiba! Just… I was…" Shuffles claws. "People -talk-."
Lucnephwyr: "They say a bunch about eating humans but I don't think anyone has actually done it!"
Dog: Dog whines. "… well, it's a bad idea!"
Shiba: "I'm sure some brave souls have tried."
Shiba: "Anyhow. After you pick up ingredients, we've … still got the rest of the day until dinner."
Shiba swivels to stare at Luc. "You seem like you're itching to learn something today. What about?"
Lucnephwyr: "It's interesting, isn't it!" he answers, like a trap sprung.
Zaqana: "There is a page listed, but mostly blank. It just says 'Not worth the effort, try'…Darn I can't read the rest in this writing. At any rate, I don't think it's really what any of us want, now is it?"
Lucnephwyr: "Not -eating- humans, I mean."
Lucnephwyr: "But there's this huge thing about how we do it, and some monsters go 'yeah we do it,' and some monsters claim to have done it, but…"
Lucnephwyr: "There's not a lot supporting it!"
Dog: Dog's tail has long ceased wagging. "Well… it's probably to intimidate the humans, or make them feel powerful, or cool?"
Zaqana: "Oh, fear! That's what it says."
Zaqana: "'Try their fear instead.' I wonder what that means?"
Lucnephwyr: "Weird!"
Shiba shrugs. "Fear's all just empty calories. All junk, no nutrition."
Lucnephwyr: "Feed off of this, instead!" He hugs Dog! And Shiba! And Zaqana!
Zaqana: "A much heartier meal!"
Dog: Dog's tail starts wagging again! "I like this a lot more!"
Shiba isn't entirely sure how to respond.
Shiba: "Anyway. I think something was going to happen at Ark Mien soon. After we pick up your food, did you want to check that out?"
Zaqana: "I don't see why not!"
Dog: "Yeah, yeah! Let's check it out!"
Lucnephwyr: "Ooh! Let's do that!" He's excited, the tip of his tail twitching left and right.
Shiba: "(Now you're excited. Didn't catch the hint earlier.)"
Shiba mutters, slightly above a whisper.
Lucnephwyr 's mind is already going a mile a minute so he doesn't catch that either.
TheTale: To the Arkhouse, right…?
Zaqana has so far only managed to catch a ball to the head. Everything else is sailing right over.
Dog: Right, to the Arkhouse! Dog trots off in that direction.
Lucnephwyr ambles!
TheTale: Colored smoke curls out from the entrance. The ancient temple's frescoes, carefully edited, still have the shapes of heroes defeating monsters - as much as the heroes have been made monstrous, the monsters given humanity. Tread quietly.
TheTale: Court is in session.
Shiba waits up for Zaqana and lets her go first, giving her a shrug.
Zaqana slithers along cautiously.
Lucnephwyr takes care not to make his feet go clack-clack on the stones underneath!
TheTale: All its rooms are quiet - even the morning's exercises have ceased. Some of the squires are still running along, sneaking into the back of the auditorium. The heat coming from inside its stone doors strike you like a hammer.
Zaqana briefly wonders if it's more of a slither, or a slink?
TheTale: Come, come inside.
Dog: Dog pads along carefully so their nails don't click on the stones, either.
TheTale: The auditorium encircles a tremendous bonfire. Whenever someone stands from their seat to make their case, their shadow - WHOOM! - is cast, tremendous and great, upon the hanging cloth on the far wall, like some knightly aura that extends far beyond them.
TheTale: In glory clad!
Shiba glances around - and wordlessly points at a squire, following them to the auditorium.
TheTale: Ykare, rainbow-feathered, the voice of young passion: "There's a knight missing and your swords are sheathed. Am I dreaming, here?"
Lucnephwyr perches on one of the top-most levels in the auditorium, looking down, down, down. Snuggles in a bit next to Dog.
TheTale: Falsnweir, who is smoke, caged: "When we all draw our swords in different directions, well, we gut only eachother."
Dog: Dog ends up just hopping on Luc's lap, because, well, Dog's pretty small and can do that. Ears perked!
TheTale: Ykare paces. "C'mon, Fal. Have I forgotten some aspect of the thing that makes you a blithering idiot all of a sudden?"
TheTale: A voice, heretofore quiet, a newt-shape stretched around a hulking humanoid guise. It draws from its pipe, leaving circles in the air with its first few words: "It's not a settled thing."
TheTale: "A skulking killer goes down into the deep aqueducts. A knight follows."
TheTale: "Neither emerges."
TheTale: "We imagine him skulking, killed…"
TheTale: "…But his soul hasn't bubbled up from the earth, hasn't it? He isn't, embarassed, in some new shape?"
TheTale: "…And the watches on the deeps find no one coming up, no skulking killer skulking out to kill anew."
TheTale: "Nor have we had a sudden plague of corpsegetters."
Shiba: "Business would be a lot better for me if we had."
Shiba nods affirmatively.
TheTale: "Habeas corpse. Blood for blood needs blood, Ykare."
TheTale: Ykare fumes. She gestures with her sword, holding her point to the newt's excessively large throat. Neither flinches. It, in fact, is not even taken as a threat.
TheTale: "He's not down there having a picnic!"
Dog: Dog whines to Luc, "(As always, Ykare's really fired up…)"
Lucnephwyr: "(I know, she's so cool…)"
TheTale: "He extracted oaths from most of us to leave this matter to him and him alone. He wanted to prove himself very badly, if you remember. And, I believe, that's something to which you agreed…"
TheTale: "Something's wrong!" Ykare counters, her wings flicking, feathers shedding - rainbow, burning in the bonfire.
Shiba: "(Is there no one investigating the aqueducts now?)"
Lucnephwyr: "(I… guess not? And that's why they're here?)"
Dog: "(No… oaths are very serious.)"
TheTale: The newt inhales, puffing himself up - there's a lot of room for puff in that sack of skin he consists of.
TheTale: "Funerals, fires, winters long - but we do not break oaths for something's wrong."
TheTale: Ykare is quick - overly, perhaps - to respond: "Are your hands tied and your legs lame? As his heart stills you're to blame."
Shiba: "(I don't remember making any such oath. Maybe these knights are beholden, but…)"
TheTale: "Still your hand," says the newt. "And belay your choice. Why not hear his death in his own voice?"
Dog: "(He didn't ask me, either…)" Dog whines quietly.
Lucnephwyr: "(They started rhyming? Is the first to break the one who loses?)"
Lucnephwyr: "(Er, I mean- I didn't make promises either!)"
TheTale: "In some tomb his voice speaks not - living, bleeding, bathed in rot."
TheTale: "No bones, no body, and yet a tomb? Build you your story on some strange loam."
TheTale: Ykare paces, tail rattling, before: "Oaths are for courage, not a torturer's lash. You can stuff your oaths up your very own-"
TheTale: "…Ykare." Says a fourth.
Lucnephwyr: "We can do it!" he calls out.
TheTale: The newt beams.
Shiba: "Nicer than I would have done it."
TheTale: "Haven't sworn any oaths, have you?"
Shiba shrugs. "None that I remember."
Dog: Dog yips. "I wasn't here when he was collecting all those oaths!"
Lucnephwyr: "Other than giving at least three pets and two scritches a day, nope!"
Dog: (Tailwag!)
TheTale: "The matter to the dog and that dog's guests, then. The glory of technicalities."
Zaqana silently watches, as confused as ever
TheTale: "You're a coward and an ass," Ykare says.
TheTale: The newt puffs himself up. "Overly considerate of a not-yet-perished friend's final wishes, perhaps. And an ass. Yes."
Lucnephwyr nods vigorously! "-Something- has to be done, right?"
Lucnephwyr: "We won't let any of you down!"
Shiba: "And yet you're here, instead of properly breaking your oath in lieu of your beliefs. Why bother with court when you feel so passionately?"
Zaqana: "(When you say " we "…)
Dog: Dog hops off of Luc's lap onto the seat beside him, wagging their tail at Zaqana. "(We're gonna go look for that guy in the aquaducts! Wanna come?)"
Shiba spoke towards Ykare, not the newt, that is.
TheTale: "…Because I'm still a knight, dammit!" Ykare says.
Lucnephwyr turns to Zaqana and is positively beaming, proud of himself. "(You don't have to, if we've been untoward! But it's something I feel like we can help!)"
TheTale: the newt narrows his eyes at Shiba. "What Dame Ykare means, I believe, is that for all her spittle, she still respects me… just a little."
Zaqana: "(I…just don't know how much help I would be! But if you think I could, and someone could use the help, I don't see why not…)"
Lucnephwyr: "(That's the spirit! Sort of!)"
Zaqana: "(…my little fish is going to be so unimpressed with me…)"
Lucnephwyr gives Zaqana a comforting pat!
Dog: "(It's okay. I'm just a dog, but I think I can help, and so can you!)"
Shiba cracks a grin at the newt. "That's what I was trying to tease out of her, yes."
TheTale: The newt tilts his head. "Such things need not be said."
Shiba: "Still. You're stuck here in court when there's something that could be done, if not blood for blood."
Shiba: "Greater obligations than your oaths exist."
TheTale: The newt burbles a little. "The matter neatly delegates to the Good Dog and that dog's company. Saving Ykare's tail from a little knot, not that she'll thank me."
TheTale: "We'll dispense an operating purse for the matter, meet with me about it at your leisure."
Dog: Dog hops up on Dog's hind legs and does their best at a bow. It's not very good, because Dog is a dog, but Dog tries.
Lucnephwyr stands on an auditorium seat, and raises his walking staff high. "(Get equipped!)" he excitely whispers to himself.
Lucnephwyr: "So! Um!"
TheTale: Ykare rolls her shoulders, giving Shiba a little glare. "The newt's earned a fat sufferance you haven't, tree-witch."
Lucnephwyr: "Sorry for interrupting the court!"
TheTale: The newt waves gently to Luc. "Oh, it's expected."
Lucnephwyr: "Next… item on the agenda?" He smiles, somewhat cockily.
Dog: "We'd better get moving," Dog suggests, with an anticipatory whine.
TheTale: "Next is the matter of the Narthelius, and the poison-of-bodies after that…"
TheTale: …(But I mean, you could just go.)
Lucnephwyr nods to Dog. "(Let's swing by the quartermaster and then be off!)"
Dog: Dog wags their tail and hops off the chair, padding off towards the quartermaster. (They look over their shoulder to make sure everyone's coming, of course.)
Zaqana slithers along. Or is it more of a slinking?
Shiba smiles wanly, her spirit defeated. It's not worth posturing over - she turns and follows the other three.
Dog: "Don't judge Ykare too hard," Dog says, once they're out of the auditorium. "Ark Mein's full of her people, so of course it's where she'd turn to get help."
Dog: "She's a good girl."
TheTale: The Newt's holding court, so there's a member of the rear guard (A shieldmaiden, looks like, her mouth full of wolfish fangs.) handling the desk.
Shiba: "It's the newt and the order's oaths that I'm judging."
TheTale: The (temporary) Q.M: "Oh, you're chasing Nerswul? Daft bastard, but Ykare's been chewing doughnuts in the carpets over him, so…"
Dog: "Honour is important here," Dog says. And then, to the quartermaster, tail wagging: "Hi! That's right! Can you help us out?"
TheTale: "We sure can!"
Lucnephwyr: "Yup!"
[OOC] TheTale: Contract Made: Ark Mien. Resupply at your will (Healing and recuperating) and stock up to 15B in goods, and again after reporting progress. Though you can't get revive items, spare weapons are free.
TheTale: Anyway, she sorts you out!
Shiba: "They neglect their duty for the sake of honor."
Lucnephwyr points and takes that, and then that, and some of this…
Shiba chuckles. "It's easy to see which of the two I prefer."
Lucnephwyr sequesters away items into his pack, and sorts some out to the rest around him.
Dog: "Sometimes it's hard to weigh the two. They've done things the same way for a long time!"
Dog: Dog peeks in at what Luc's chosen, and wags their tail. "That looks good! Oh, thank you!" To the quartermaster.
TheTale: "We're all hoping for a victory… even if Nerswul's ticked."
Dog: "It's okay, I'll make sure to apologise, and how could he stay mad at me?" Dog wags their tail.
Lucnephwyr: "If that's the worst, then it's for the best!"
Shiba: "I'm lucky I have you two to play 'good cop' for me."
Lucnephwyr grins! "Know the closest or best way into the lower areas?"
Shiba turns around, pondering to herself. "I'm forgetting something - oh! Hmmm…"
TheTale: "The Condemned One on lowest Thorn Street."
Dog: "Thanks!"
TheTale: …The Condemned One…
TheTale: …Was, well, once a public bath. But the trash piled up, and its walls collapsed, and now all that remains are friezes and gates and a path into the Deep Aqueducts.
TheTale: A jelly-knight (with a little helmet!) nods, jiggling, to you. It's keeping watch to make sure no one leaves or enters, but…
TheTale: You can head right on in.
Lucnephwyr salutes the knight and heads on through, chest out, arms swinging!
Dog: Dog whines a little as they pad in. "Let's be careful, okay?"
TheTale: As you head in…
TheTale: There's something in the cracks in the flagstones.
TheTale: There's something around the roots, overhead.
TheTale: Thin strands of blue-black stone beads, taut, tangled like brambles, fitted into spaces where they can find, spackling up cracks, wrapping around what they can.
TheTale: The ground shifts underfoot like the world itself has a throbbing, migraine headache.
TheTale: …What happened down here…?
[OOC] TheTale: In Which Ark Mien Holds Court - Complete

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