Tom D01s08

TheTale: Day 1 - Morning. Yesker left you on the rocky shores just outside Prospero, in the shadow of one of the palace's spillways - that pouring out from the Vault of Wishes. Frothy, cold seawater glimmers and whispers as it drains back over stony sand.
TheTale: There are a few shacks here - looks like they belonged to fishermen - iced over, wood rotted, exposed to the wind. A twisting path winds up a back entrance to the city, with the shadows of the Lost Quarters further south.
TheTale: Fresh air…!
TheTale: It seems so new.
Shinzou takes a deep breath, collects himself a little. Shivers against the cold.
Maria: "It's good to be outside again," she says, stretching a bit as she looks around.
Shinzou: "Mm. It's good to be again."
TheTale: The shadows of the palace, and the Monastery, far above you.
Maria: "I'd agree, but I didn't really notice the interim…though what caused it has started coming back to me."
Shinzou: "Mmm. I can't decide if I envy you, or feel lucky."
Zen takes in a deep breath, looks upwards "Hope it wasn't too bad"
Shinzou: "So…"
Maria: "Monster ambush."
Maria: "But anyways…"
Shinzou: "Mmm. I'm sorry."
Shinzou: It's not clear whom he's addressing, here, but: "So, what are our options at this point? I wonder how long it's been, exactly."
TheTale: The wind moans, carrying little furrows of snow and ice and sand over the beach.
Maria: "It sounds like something's up with this 'Pure Heart' business now. Where do we want to check things out? Up top, street level, or outside?"
Shinzou: "Streets are always the best way to catch yourself up, I've found." He glances at Zen; any objections? They can hit the monastery later; he knows there are protocols in place for his absence anyways.
TheTale: Protocols.
TheTale: That's a fun way to put it.
Shinzou: It's still the natural way he thinks about such things. Some habits die hard.
TheTale: It's a wind-checked climb up a serpentine path - you could probably go straight up were it not for the slush, there's a more direct path worn in the underbrush - to a little archway in the Centreville's walls.
Zen shrugs "It's a good way to start"
Shinzou leads the way, offering a hand if necessary, although the other two both seem quite capable.
TheTale: There's a barricade - a makeshift one, of piled carts and crates hammered together - and a man in a yellow scarf notices you coming, lends a leather-gloved hand to lifting the makeshift wreck aside to let you in. His hair is grey-flecked, tied back behind his head.
TheTale: "Out in the snow? C'mon through. Not too close, now. It catches."
Shinzou: "Mmm. It's gotten worse, then?"
TheTale: The man steps away, letting you through, pressing his back against the archway - it seems there's a little tent-city here of the invalid, lit by torchlight.
TheTale: "For me, or…" He gestures vaguely to the assembled company. They come into focus as you step out of the cold, into the low light.
Zen looks at the tents, and sighs. "Well, in general"
Shinzou scans for symptoms, for signs, for omens and portents. Is it the plague he remembers?
TheTale: It's always been a scourge. This spot is fairly crowded with them, but…
TheTale: …It's just the dust plague, as it's always been the dust plague, running through the gutters, racking up the bodies.
Zen looks around, then looks at Shinzou.
Shinzou sighs, and shakes his head. He doesn't have his plague-mask, and Zen and Maria probably haven't got any resistance… "Dust plague. Stay close."
Maria nods.
Zen nods to Shinzou "Let's see what else is happening around… I don't think my skills are quite fit to fight an epidemic"
Shinzou does make note of things - no sense passing through a plague zone without keeping one's eyes out. The monastery will want to know.
TheTale: The grey-haired man holds his hands to himself. Some of the others scuttle out of your way to let you leave.
TheTale: Some grumble and sit where they are, making you climb over them, or edge awkwardly against the alleyway.
TheTale: They seem more tired, you know.
Zen is willing to dodge around than make them move
Shinzou is polite, is kind when he can be. Unafraid. It's the least he can do, right here and right now - to treat them like people, to meet their eyes. (There's something detached about him - like he's seen too many victims, or worse. But still: kind.)
TheTale: That look he gets back from one of them…
TheTale: He'll remember it.
Zen: "Hrm… I haven't been in the city in a long time, how long has this been going on?"
Shinzou remembers all of them.
Maria: "A long time now."
TheTale: Out into the Centreville. All cities can be crowded, but Prospero is unique: It's often crowded with people going nowhere, doing nothing. The ropeways sway overhead in the morning wind.
TheTale: You're sort of on the south side of it - close to the Institute and the embassy.
Zen: "Hrm… Were you going anywhere in particular?"
Shinzou seems to be trying to keep his distance from the Institute, for some reason.
TheTale: You can keep strolling, of course - past the little awning of the Pure of Heart, towards the road up into the palace quarter…
TheTale: …Of course, as Shinzou strolls down the street, he does notice something different about the plague these days:
TheTale: Once, there were a few houses boarded up, either out of quarantine or out of fear. Now, it's almost all of them, most of the nicest townhouses all along the streets.
TheTale: The little camps that crowd up in front of them have become omnipresent, now.
Shinzou: "Damn. It -has- gotten worse." That means… tch. No time for being dead. Let's not do that again.
TheTale: Some of the Foreign Service have set up behind the iron fence of one of these houses, on the front lawn - handing out some things. Mostly food, it looks like. There's quite the line.
Zen: "This looks very specifically bad…"
Zen looks "Foreign Service, huhn… Say, have any of you dealt with them?"
Zen: "I was considering getting a few jobs from them"
Maria: "No. As much as they're helping fund us, I can't help but distrust them…"
Shinzou: "…they're not bad people. A little too willing to escalate against the monsters, for my tastes, but their hearts are in the right place."
Shinzou: "…metaphorically, at least. I'm not sure about physically. I've never done an autopsy on one." He smiles blandly.
Zen chuckles "Maybe they truly are that foreign"
Shinzou: "It wouldn't surprise me."
TheTale: There's another foreigner in the crowd - wearing a beaked mask neither 'plague' nor 'masquerade' but somewhere in between - dressed in flamboyant, golden robes, buttoned tight with sixteen buttons. He looks absurdly out of place.
Zen raises an eyebrow at the foreigner, he looks and back at the party, then approaches, just looking for a moment
Shinzou follows behind Zen. Easier to make contact when you've got backup, right?
TheTale: "Good morning." The voice is light, airy, confident.
Zen: "Hello, sir. I hope you don't mind the commentary, but you seem decidedly lost"
TheTale: "Looking for someplace difficult. Though, the woman with you…" He narrows his eyes, lowers his bushy eyebrows. "…You're of Altsie, aren't you? One of the houses?"
Shinzou turns towards Maria, tilting his head to one side.
Maria nods. "Yes. Anything I can help you with?"
Zen looks at Maria, that true?
TheTale: "Yes, yes, you would be, you would be…" He paces, in the middle of the street, almost bumping into someone carrying some goods - he apologizes quickly, fervently, then turns his attention back.
TheTale: "Would you terribly mind inviting me into the Palace…? There's something I need to see for myself."
Maria: "And what, praytell, might that me?"
TheTale: "A friend of mine once contributed a sculpture to the royal family, for the birth of their daughter."
TheTale: "He had never shown it to me, of course, but his style is unmistakable."
TheTale: "I was hoping to wander their gardens and see if I can't find it out on display."
Maria glances at the other two.
Zen: "Sounds like a reasonable request"
Zen: "As… Someone who once did infiltration missions, i've gone by with worse excuses, of course. But it sounds reasonable"
Shinzou does something with his eyebrows signifying interested, bemused skepticism and which rounds off to 'sure, why not'.
Maria: "It's not like he'd need an excuse with me, but…. Very well."
TheTale: "Well," he tilts his head, "You did ask me why, no?" And he heads straight for the gate up into the Palace Quarter.
Maria starts heading towards the Palace then, a destination set.
Zen raises an eyebrow, and follows. His armor doesn't quite allows him to cross his arms but you can see they are, spiritually, crossed.
Shinzou follows, still with that bemused smile on his face.
TheTale: The man bobs his head back and forth as he walks, strolling idly along towards the gate, waiting his place in line, until -
TheTale: He catches sight of someone in the crowd. (Someone? There's no one unusual there…)
TheTale: - And shrinks a whole foot in height, slumping down behind Zen.
Maria gapes at the sight for a couple of seconds.
Maria: "Okay, I'm gonna need a bit more information from you before you get anywhere near the Palace now."
Zen blinks, looks at the stranger behind him, he stands as he is still and looks around for anyone suspicious. Aside from his client right now, that is
Shinzou: "(Clearly he's embarrassed about his desire to see a particular statue, and doesn't want his friend to know.)"
TheTale: Like a bolt of red out of the crowd, Alice Zarin marches over to him, stands up on her tip-toes, and lifts him by the scruff of his neck off the ground.
TheTale: "You-!"
TheTale: The foreigner kicks and swings in her frightfully strong grasp. "H…heavens, what is the meaning of th-"
TheTale: "Yeah yeah, save it. You three, come with." Alice hauls the foreigner over her back and drags him through a (quickly parting crowd) past the door of the Pure of Heart.
TheTale: A pleasant, if… completely deserted… cafe.
Maria raises an eyebrow, but follows.
Shinzou cracks a smile, starts laughing, follows, lounges in one of the chairs like he owns the place.
Zen blinks… And goes along "Well"
Zen: "I'm going to need a couple of explanations if you don't mind?"
TheTale: Alice flounces into a seat, shedding her coat onto a rack to reveal her apron dress.
TheTale: "Alright, okay, let's move quickly. First. Introductions."
TheTale: "I'm Alice. This guy is -Orom-. You met Yesker, right?"
Shinzou grins a bit. "You could say that."
Zen: "More like he met is but yes"
Maria nods.
Zen: "Name's Zen. I think you may know that already"
Zen: "So, was he trying to do something or owes you something?"
Shinzou: "'Shinzou', these days."
Maria: "Maria Altsie. Charmed, I'm sure.
TheTale: "I owe her something, alright." Orom says, grumbling.
TheTale: Alice waves a hand. "Alright! So I'm taking over from here. Those with pure hearts can go to a whole new world, right?"
TheTale: "Right," grumbles Orom.
Zen 's spiritual-armcross gets even more intense "Go on…"
TheTale: "What, are these first-timers…?" Alice says, quickly, to Orom, before kicking into a spiel:
TheTale: "Okay, there's some sort of… ancient defense system, or something, lurking underneath the world. And that's why I made sure you guys got brought to life."
TheTale: "I mean, you shouldn't be dead in the first place. Something's going wrong."
Shinzou: "Much appreciated, by the way." He -tried- to hide his obvious interest with the evasion, but he didn't do a very good job.
Zen: "So what do you want from us?"
TheTale: Orom lifts his mask-covered nose. "She wants you to kill something, I imagine."
Zen: "I figured, that's what you want when you contact mercenaries"
Zen: "But I like knowing my actual target, y'know, to ensure customer satisfaction"
Shinzou: "Gosh, give her the chance."
TheTale: "It's… something called D2."
TheTale: "I think it's just waking up. It's after us, it's after people like us, and it doesn't want them to leave."
Shinzou: "Mmmmm. I've heard rumblings. Literal and metaphorical."
TheTale: "I suspect like, ancient, eldritch shit…"
TheTale: Orom shakes his head.
Zen: "Hrm… Sounds like… Everyone, ever, wherever people like us exist to be honest"
TheTale: …But Alice continues, having not noticed: "But it has said that it's ending the - people like us, huh? Waking up, are ya…?"
TheTale: "…Good to have you with us."
TheTale: "Anyway. It's ending the world in ten days."
Zen: "I wanted so bad to not get involved in this but since it already happened"
TheTale: "This is where you keep your stuff, right? Let's take it out."
Zen: "I take it you have a lead?"
Shinzou: "Why's it ending the world? Wait, I bet someone decided the skein would be better off without pure hearts and thought this would be a clever way to solve the problem?"
TheTale: Orom clicks his tongue. "She doesn't. If she did, she'd tell you more. She has a name and… that's it. No motivation, no hint of its nature, no eye-witness reports. No symptoms, no diagnosis."
Zen: "Ah, yes, totally like her"
TheTale: Alice shoots Orom a fuming look.
Shinzou: "Doctor, please. You know as well as I do how important names can be."
TheTale: "Thank you, Shinz. Anyway. It's… associated with black stone. It lurks beneath the earth. I think it's actually omnipresent, but it has to have a heart."
TheTale: "It reeks of something human-made. It tries to catch souls when they die, and I gave it the slip once."
Shinzou: "Shit, like, obsidian?"
Zen finally takes a seat, thinking "Well, here, everyone who dies has a new chance at life, be it through the water of life or negotiating with a new body"
TheTale: "Like it's… symmetrical, or some shit." Alice snorts.
Zen: "It, thus, may be the cause of that. Seems like it's ensuring everyone has the same chance, and if that was all it did, i'd rather it stay right where it is. Why, then, would it attempt to end the world within ten days"
TheTale: Orom wrinkles his nose.
TheTale: "The source of the waters of life, the source of migration?"
Zen: "Well, it's a theory"
TheTale: "In that case, D2 would have to be… what makes monsters, monsters."
Zen: "What makes humans human, as well"
TheTale: Alice gets a weird expression, like an angry smile, at Orom: "See! Now we've got you on board."
Zen: "After all, isn't what makes you a human or a monster defined by what happens to you when you die?"
TheTale: "It sparked my curiosity. That's all."
Zen: "Hrm… So…"
Shinzou frowns at Zen but doesn't really say anything.
Zen: "Things are happening, since we are running on a timer and things of import are happening, the idea is that they are related"
Zen: "If our timer has a name, D2, and is our opponent…"
Zen: "It would stand to reason that the important things are caused by or influenced by it"
Zen: "So shouldn't we follow one of those little threads to their end, provided we do not take far too long, to ascertain what influences it may have and from there maybe have a hint as to it's nature?"
TheTale: "Yeah. Not a bad plan."
TheTale: "Chase down the weird stories, see if it's pulling any strings…"
TheTale: "And find the hole it's hiding in at the very end of it."
TheTale: "Something ominous like that… just has to be the bottom of everything, doesn't it?"
Shinzou: "I have a question."
TheTale: Orom nods to Shinzou.
Shinzou: "Where's everyone else?"
TheTale: "Three of them went out into an expedition into the lost quarter."
TheTale: "…Wanna go meet em?"
Zen: "Sounds like a good start"
[OOC] TheTale: …Pausing here~
Shinzou: "Ah, good, so they're batting at dangling plot threads as well."
[OOC] TheTale: Back bac, do I still have players
[OOC] Zen: I'm… Here.
[OOC] Zen: But kinda dead momentum it's been… Two hours
[OOC] TheTale: Yup yup, I just had family drop in~
[OOC] Zen: Eeeeerrrhm…
[OOC] Julian: Sorry like- Death of momentum too hard
[OOC] TheTale: Yeah~
TheTale: Alice Zarin leads (the two of them? the three of them? The four, perhaps, even-) out into the ash and smoke of the Lost Quarter. A thick wind howls, the ruined buildings all about creaking. A bridge crossing. And then, Alice calls, as she sees a figure in the fog:
TheTale: "Eris!"
TheTale: "Brought you some pals!"
Eris‘ pauses, turns around. Stares at Alice for a moment, then glances over the other three. "A… deviant of some kind, a monk, and a princess playing at being a knight…?"
Eris: "Well I suppose that’s not terribly worse than having not one, but two maids as is…"
Zen follows Alice, throught the Lost Quarter. He raises his right hand to shield himself from the wind "A mercenary, Zen is my name. I take it you already have a diverse party"
Shinzou glances at Zen, briefly trying to figure out which of them read as 'deviant' and which as 'monk', although it's really more obvious than that.
TheTale: Orom, bringing up the rear, clicks his tongue a little. "I see you've been acquainted."
Eris: "Ah, that's where you went off too. Yes, we had a bit of a chat at the cafe."
TheTale: Alice Zarin walks up and gently taps her knuckles into Eris' shoulder. "Yup. Did my best to bring em on board though. So…" She puts her hands in her coat-pockets, leans against a lamp-post.
TheTale: "Anything you think I should mention that I didn't? How are we doing this?"
Eris: "Well."
Zen: "I take it she's employed you in the same ordeal she mentioned to us?"
TheTale: Orom shakes his head. "I don't see why you need to entangle these poor souls in this."
Zen sighs, looks at Orom "Because she's lacking patience which, I guess I can understand."
Eris: "You appear to be delegating. I am acquiring provisions for when we leave. In the meantime I suspect from here to point B will involve a terribly large amount of wonton violance."
Eris: "Well I suppose it's not wonton if it's directed…? In any case."
Shinzou: "We're already entangled."
Shinzou: "Haven't you noticed?"
Eris: "And, ah, not as such." She nods towards Zen. "We're on a job for the palace."
Shinzou: "…haven't you 'observed', I should have said."
Maria: "They made sure we were involved."
Shinzou tilts his head at Eris. "What sort of job?"
Eris: "Property reclimation. And more than likely murder."
Eris: "Retaking a military outpost, really."
Charlotte: "So, the party grows?"
Eris: "Apparently so."
Zen: "That sounds like my sort of job"
TheTale: Orom gives Alice a look: "You're as clumsy as ever, aren't you?"
Shinzou: "Mmm. Not my sort of job, but beggars can't be choosers."
Zen: "Which outpost?"
Eris: "Well luckily for you they only requested us, so if it offends your sensabilities… Although I am rather good at it."
Eris‘ thinks, pauses, makes a vague hand motion in Charlotte’s direction.
Maria: "I'm okay with it."
Zen: "Hrm… To retake a military outpost. It might not require any shed blood, given the right circumstances"
Zen: "Perhaps we could try our hand at it"
Eris: "Given our first encounter with the ones involved I sincerely doubt that."
Eris: "Glozenfeld, I believe, also."
Zen: "Glozenfeld… Is my unit there? I wonder"
Charlotte: "We're heading towards the Narthelius, moored in Glozenfeld."
Eris: "They did not mention anything about a band of misfits dressed up in the hide of their enemies, at least."
TheTale: Alice raises a finger and reaches into a satchel on the inside of her coat. she takes out six coils of rope - it's spun with a single red thread at its center.
Shinzou makes a face at the mention of Glozenfeld. "…no, I'll come along."
Zen: "Oh, no, i'm the only one in the unit that dresses like this" he pats his armor "And I will have you know these are my own scales, made from my own hair"
Eris‘ gives Alice a sidelong glance.
Eris: "Ah, no, that’s a bit too adventurous for my taste."
TheTale: "Ver-y funny. No, you were looking for supplies, right?"
TheTale: "Well, Surprise."
[OOC] TheTale: 1x Escape Rope, each.
Eris: "Did you somehow manage to secure additional sup - ah, I see."
Eris: "Well I suppose it's better than nothing." She gives Zen a bit of an odd look, then shrugs and takes a rope.
TheTale: "I've got more of them at the Pure of Heart. So, I mean…"
TheTale: "…If you ever need a place to meet back up, or report back, just come back there. I'll try to gather information on what's going on. We can set up like, a little bulletin board on one wall, or something."
Zen picks up the rope, looking at it "An interesting item"
Shinzou opens his mouth to say something, thinks better of it, accepts the gift.
Eris: "Sounds good."
Eris: "Give me one more for the elf."
Eris: "She seems to have gotten misplaced in the snow."
Shinzou: "Sounds unfortunate. At least there'll be footprints?"
TheTale: "Yeah, of course." She hands over another.
TheTale: Orom shrugs. "None for me?"
TheTale: "Uh, yeah, I don't want you arriving at all hours."
Zen: "I think she'd rather you get lost"
Eris: "My, my."
Charlotte taps a finger to her chin, mentally reviewing. "So, the mission we'll be doing is mostly scouting and trailmaking, which is why we're heading to that for more specific orders. But yes, their overall strategy is to go through the Mana-lands and invade the Denmarche, or something like that."
Maria: "That sounds about normal."
Zen closes his eyes for a moment to think "That does not sounds wise"
Zen: "Though I suppose that is why they are sending scouts ahead"
Eris: "Oh, was that all we were offically asked to do for the supplies?"
Charlotte: "Uh, I think basically they're supplying us and the Caravan in exchange for us offering our services to the Narthelius and their efforts, so I guess we'll have to see what tasks they have for us when we get there."
Shinzou sighs. War never changes. Still… this might be his way of being in the right place at the right time. "Caravan?"
Eris: "We're from out of world."
Zen: "Ah, I thought you did look a lot like a monster"
Charlotte: "I think your glowing might have tipped them off on that, Eris."
Eris: "It's not that bright."
Charlotte: "It's still inhuman."
Eris: "Also I look nothing at all like a monster, you cudlark." Eris shakes her head.
Zen: "If you think so"
Eris: "Well at any rate."
Zen looks at the distance, and you can feel that spiritual armcross agian
Eris: "I suspect you will probably not be joining us, doctor…?"
TheTale: "Nine, though. Not bad." Alice says, examining those assembled.
Zen: "We should probably take some time, think a little. With all the changes of plans and combination of groups going on"
TheTale: The doctor nods to Eris. "I'm going to look into some other matters."
Zen: "Then we can head out somewhere"
Eris: "Mm. For myself, there's nothing to think on. I've been paid for a job and intend to see it done. Simple as that."
Zen: "I meant more figuring out strike teams and stuff"
Shinzou honestly hadn't noticed the glowing. Shows what kind of people -he- hangs out with. Out of world, though, that's interesting. And, choice of job notwithstanding, he does like this group's approach.
Eris‘ rolls a shrug. "I destroy things in my path way, Charlotte assists from my side, the other provide assistance from the rear. Feel free to take a place anywhere but in front of me, moleman."
Charlotte raises an eyebrow. "Moles don’t usually have armour."
Zen: "That tends to be exactly where I stand. It'll be interesting to see how this works"
Eris: "Yes well 'armadillo man' doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely."
Zen looks at Charlotte "I wasn't expecting much out of her
Eris: "In any event." Eris turns and starts walking once again, to go catch up with Linlea. Wouldn't want to lose her in the snow.
Charlotte: "Gee, thanks."
Shinzou pats Zen's shoulder. "You can stand between me and 'the enemy' any time."
Charlotte: "I guess someone doesn't want patching up."
Zen chuckles "I'll be sure to help you too"
Eris: "He ment me, dear. You've been nice enough, I'm the blunt one."
Charlotte: "Oh, whoops."
TheTale: Alice Zarin whistles a spritely tune, stuffs her hands in her pockets, and heads back to town.
Zen: "This is definitely an amusing team"
TheTale: "Doc, you better come with, ain't nobody else gonna splat any monsters that want your head."
TheTale: "Do take good care out there." He waves a goodbye - mostly to the other caravaneers - and heads back with Alice.
[OOC] TheTale: The Gang is Back in Town - Complete

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