Tom D03s07

TheTale: Day Three - Afternoon. The returning army has reached the sands of the Denmarche. Cutting out into a side-trail to evade the gaze of the fortress, they emerge out into the shadows of huge steel canisters, buried into the sands.
TheTale: Was this once a refinery, some ancient era ago?
TheTale: Ykare nods to Luc.
TheTale: "We'll cut forward a ways, then head back onto the main road."
Lucnephwyr nods. "Thank you, again, for believing."
Dog‘ wags their tail! "You’re pretty great, Ykare!"
Shinzou is walking alongside Luc, a little to the side and behind. "Everyone's had to be willing to go on a bit of a journey to get here. Thank you."
Shiba: "Tell your mom and Marzel we said 'hi,' yeah?"
TheTale: "Yeah." She smiles. "I guess I'd better."
Lucnephwyr gives Ykare a quick little squeezehug. Absorbing a little shine.
Lucnephwyr: "Alright! Reverse march!"
TheTale: "Yeah!" She smiles. "Be quick about it."
Lucnephwyr: "Will do!"
With that, he tosses up an Escape Rope!
Dog: "We'll be done quicker than two shakes of my tail!" And off they go!
Shiba: "Oh, uh."
Shiba: "Don't look in the bathroom until I take care of something."
TheTale: The rope spirals up into the air and -
Lucnephwyr nods knowingly. Even nagas have to poop!
TheTale: The party follows it, tangled up in its coils, dropped down in the Pure of Heart.
TheTale: Alice gives Shiba a look.
Shiba: "Not in front of the kids, dear."
Shiba slithers into the restroom real quick.
Lucnephwyr gives Alice a look- it's a smile!
Lucnephwyr: "Hi again!"
Dog‘ looks over at Shiba, back to Alice, back to Shiba’s retreating form, back to Alice.
Dog‘ wags their tail and doesn’t say shit. "Hi!"
TheTale: Alice swivels to watch Shiba.
TheTale: The washroom is clean.
Shinzou is trying excruciatingly hard not to laugh.
Lucnephwyr rummages inside the Escape Rope basket to replenish their stock.
Shiba steps back out. "Someone beat me to the punch, apparently."
Shiba: "What do I owe ya?"
Shinzou also goes to rummage through the escape rope basket just to do something with his hands but he's also trying not to look at Luc's face because if he does he'll probably start to giggle.
TheTale: "Hell, start with an apology."
Shiba: "Sorry for leaving a mess you had to clean up. Time and information both were of the essence. It's the only friendly place I knew here, though."
Shiba: "In hindsight I could have just taken my hood off around some guards, but."
TheTale: Alice sighs. "Yeah, yeah, apology accepted."
Shiba bites down a million other petty comments - from stories elsewhere and elsewhen. The spark behind Alice caused so much trouble in so many other places, and she has the gall to get upset about this? … but bringing that up wouldn't be productive here.
TheTale: "Ugh, put up a sign next time."
Shiba: "I'll just have to get more creative, I think. Didn't think it'd bother you."
Lucnephwyr ambles back over. "How's Prospero been, in the few hours we've left?"
Shiba: "Does Kline have to deal with this? Seriously."
Shinzou: "Doesn't -sound- like there's been mass panic, at least."
TheTale: "Kline's got a big pit to fall into!"
TheTale: "And…"
TheTale: "Well, knights are gathering up plague victims and bringing them to the Palace, that's weird."
Lucnephwyr: "Hm… is it?"
Lucnephwyr: "Where did they go before?"
Shinzou: "Oh, are they finally listening to us about the 'principle of contagion'?"
TheTale: "…I mean, they used to teem in alleys and in abandoned houses, I guess…"
Lucnephwyr: "Didn't we have a conversation before about affixing human souls to fiend shells?"
Shiba: "For what purpose, do you suppose?"
Shiba: "Quarantine? Or just torching them all?"
Shinzou: "I mean, comfort and treatment are also possibilities, I imagine. The Monastery never had enough safe houses."
TheTale: "Well, I haven't smelled any charred flesh recently."
Dog: "That's a good sign, right?"
Lucnephwyr: "I mean, even if the Doctor wasn't gonna fix problems by doing that, it might not mean the humans didn't individually come to that conclusion…" His wings flutter, and he crosses one arm under the other, and brings a claw up to the tip of his snout.
A very statuesque, thoughtful pose.
Lucnephwyr: "Well… I suppose we could ask once we're inside!"
Lucnephwyr: "Couldn't hurt!"
Dog: "We may as well investigate!"
Lucnephwyr: "The monster army has turned back for now- though you probably knew that."
TheTale: "Thanks."
TheTale: "We might just make this one work, you know!"
Lucnephwyr: "We're here to arrange peace talks, probably… in the Manalands, somewhere. They're holy ground, don'tcha know."
Lucnephwyr: "…actually is that a terrible idea?"
Lucnephwyr: "Considering…?" He plucks a coin out of somewhere.
Shinzou: "It -would- be awfully convenient, gathering everyone in one place like that. Think we'd be able to protect them?"
Shiba: "You've got the enemy in the branches and down below."
Lucnephwyr: "Somewhere in the Glozenfeld, then?"
Lucnephwyr: "It's… closer to Prospero, so the humans might feel safer, though… it's melting."
Lucnephwyr: "Gosh!"
TheTale: "We're a little low on neutral ground, aren't we."
Lucnephwyr: "Yeah."
Lucnephwyr: "Well."
Lucnephwyr: "Let's at least talk to the royalty and see what they'd consider."
Lucnephwyr: "I'm just thinking ahead a little!"
Shiba: "… though the statue gardens should be fine …"
Lucnephwyr shrugs and then finds his traction. "See you around, Alice!"
Lucnephwyr walks forward and presses something into one of Alice's palms. (It's a matchbook, from Spark-kickers.)
Lucnephwyr looks to the bathroom, back at Alice, winks.
TheTale: Out in the city -
TheTale: There's murmurings of worry among the populace.
TheTale: "Without that fiend to defend us, how are we supposed to…?" "If they'd open the damn gates, we could at least flee north…" "Into what?"
TheTale: "Can't they just cook up another one?"
TheTale: …It gets a little heated.
TheTale: Knights, faces covered, are indeed rounding up the yellow-swathed sick, bringing them up to the Palace.
TheTale: The line to get into the Palace Quarter is clogged with them, even.
Dog‘ whines. "I wish there was a way to put everyone at ease…"
Shinzou: "A royal proclamation of cease-fire would probably help."
Shiba: "You wanna field this one for a bit, Shinzou? Somehow I get the feeling one of us three going ’Hey fellas take it easy' won't be taken too well."
Lucnephwyr lets out a sigh. "So do I. I mean, my sweets storage is running too low." Pause. "Um, nevermind what I said."
Shinzou will try to spread calmness behind them in his wake, yes. Rumours from the front of the monster army turning back, that sort of thing.
Dog: "I believe in you, Shinzou!" And Dog will try and keep to tail-wagging after that. Perfectly normal dog!
TheTale: "They just turned back?" "Why would they do something like that?"
TheTale: "If they hadn't, though, wouldn't they be on us by now…?"
TheTale: …Murmurings, murmurings.
Shinzou is a doctor-monk, 90% of his job is being able to generate Someone Else's Problem fields at will. "Maybe the Queen will give an address?"
Lucnephwyr watches, silently cheering him on. Sometimes he squeaks.
TheTale: There is, in fact, a gentle shift in tone. Eventually, the line moves up - you reach the Palace Quarter.
TheTale: Icy canals snake up into the castle's upper reaches.
TheTale: In the shadow of a frost-flecked fern, Millevich - you know, from the Service! - nods to you.
TheTale: "Ah, it's the other set of emissaries. How do you do?"
Lucnephwyr waves back!
Lucnephwyr: "We're… we're doing okay, considering!"
Lucnephwyr: "It's been busy and will get ever busier."
Dog: "We're working hard!"
Lucnephwyr: "How are you?"
Shiba gives Millevicha a level stare.
TheTale: "Well enough." She smiles. "The weather's certainly turning, isn't it? Come, come, walk with me."
TheTale: "Seeking… the Queen, I imagine?"
Lucnephwyr: "Yes. I don't think there's any higher office, is there?"
Shiba: "'Goddess.' Though, that's speaking in greater terms than just Prospero's government."
Lucnephwyr looks to his friends, sort of hesitating following Millevich.
TheTale: "'Judge', I imagine. On occasion." She strides forward, her fur-coat gliding behind her.
Shinzou nods at Luc and pats him on the shoulder, and follows.
Lucnephwyr nods and skitters forward to match the foreigner's strides.
Lucnephwyr: "I suppose so! Though he's probably still busy with the corpse court."
TheTale: Millevich leads the group to the Queen's audience in the Hall of Games -
TheTale: (Its golden tables silent, its pieces not moved for ages-)
Dog‘ follows along, claws going tack-tack-tack on the floor.
Shiba doesn’t budge from her spot for several moments, giving a low growl as she contemplates - then follows. She follows, but she doesn't like it.
TheTale: "Announcing the Monstrous Delegation, your majesty."
TheTale: "Is that so…? Do come in." The Queen says.
Dog‘ tack-tacks in, wags their tail, lowers their front half down in the closest approximation a dog can get to a bow.
Lucnephwyr enters upon command, trying to not swivel his head about taking in the sights… too much. He bows before he gets too far ahead of Dog.
TheTale: What sort of game was once played here? The boards are irregular. As for the pieces, no two are alike.
TheTale: …They’re all of the same material and color, too, so it's hard to tell if they're on different sides.
It's a stooped-over bow, though he reflexively stretches his wings out as he does so, and there's a moment of 'uhh no wait wings down- no wait one wing down- hang on the other one, no wait both-' that passes as quick as it comes.
TheTale: "You are the ones who spirited my son away from me, are you?"
Shiba: "-Our- intentions were peaceful, at least."
Lucnephwyr: "We… thought to keep him safe, for now."
Shiba: "Set him on a path to make amends without the need to sacrifice himself."
TheTale: "Be that as it may."
TheTale: She looks out the window for a moment.
TheTale: "…But these are yesterday's things, aren't they? We look to the future."
TheTale: "Peace, yes? Peace with the Monsters."
Lucnephwyr straightens up.
Shiba nods.
Lucnephwyr: "Yes."
Lucnephwyr: "A peace that can survive the ages."
TheTale: "I cannot imagine what concessions we will have to yield to make this possible."
TheTale: "Disarmament, I suspect, at least. Dissolution of the Institute."
Lucnephwyr: "I won't lie and say that Holmat Roo wouldn't come bounding up to the table demanding that and many miles more, but…"
Shiba: "Do you know the nature of their attacks on Prospero prior? What drove them to such actions in the first place?"
Lucnephwyr: "I don't plan on this peace being a swathe of reparations."
Lucnephwyr: "It wouldn't hold if it were simply that."
TheTale: "They say that our Fountain of Wishes is crafted from some long-lost treasure of theirs, yes."
Shiba: "From the heart of Yhe Holmat's daughter herself."
Lucnephwyr: "That's basically true, yeah."
TheTale: "Through some quirk of magic, I suspect."
Lucnephwyr: "You'd have to ask the Prince for full details."
Lucnephwyr: "It's part of what's threatening to tear the world apart, too."
Shiba: "Magic wrought by your son, taught to him from a travelling doctor too cowardly and principled to take up arms himself. It is he who I hold responsible for this mess, not the Prince."
Shinzou: "A brilliant piece of craftsmanship, for all that it's starting to slow down."
TheTale: She picks up a piece, turns it in her fingers. "I see."
TheTale: "Then, I suppose we shall simply have to meet Holmat Roo at the table."
TheTale: "I'll open my gates to his party, and my Palace to his retinue."
Shiba: "This is hard to hear, I imagine."
Shinzou: "Probably easier to hear than an eternity of continued warfare, really." Beat. "Is there anywhere you'd accept as a neutral ground? In case they insist."
TheTale: "I'll play the host, of course."
TheTale: "If they insist, I'll insist as well."
Shinzou: "We'll do our best to make sure that isn't a problem." He smiles.
Lucnephwyr: "Right." He nods.
TheTale: "You have my thanks."
Dog: "Thank you, too!"
TheTale: "It's a show of good faith, of course. Vulnerability and sincerity."
Lucnephwyr: "I promise that won't be taken advantage of."
TheTale: She smiles beatifically. "Yes."
TheTale: "To the future…!"
Shiba: "To the future."
Lucnephwyr: "To the future, your majesty."
TheTale: She gently tosses a game-piece to Shiba.
TheTale: "I await the news of the King's approach, then."
Lucnephwyr: "…so…"
Shiba catches it and stows it.
Lucnephwyr: "Um, just… for my curiosity."
Lucnephwyr gestures about the Hall of Games.
Lucnephwyr: "Is this… all about the war theater, or that and greater- of like, the cities and people within and… and so forth?"
TheTale: "Oh,"
TheTale: "It's not about anything."
TheTale: "Some games are just games."
Dog: "Just for fun, huh?"
Shiba: "Yeah, it's why I didn't ask what the symbolism was behind the piece you tossed me."
TheTale: "No, no, not just for fun."
TheTale: "But still just a game."
Lucnephwyr contemplates. Upon contemplation… he doesn't fully get it. He nods all the same, though.
TheTale: Millevich slips away from the doorway.
TheTale: "Will that be all, then?" The Queen asks.
Lucnephwyr: "Yes, that will be all. Thank you again for the audience!"
Shiba: "Hopefully so. What do you think the Service will think of this?"
TheTale: "They shall manage."
TheTale: "They always do."
Shiba: "Yeah, they're a stubborn lot."
Shinzou: "I'd like to find some resolution to all of this that has room for them, too, really. World's wide enough, don't you think?"
TheTale: "The world, indeed, is awfully wide."
TheTale: And that seems to be all she has to say about that.
Lucnephwyr turns to leave, taking measured, respectful steps… until he's through the doorway, then it's back to the shuffling.
TheTale: And that, perhaps, is that.
Shiba: "It will be, once winter's over."

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