Background noise

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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » January 18th, 2011, 11:26 pm

[OOC: My turn to be slow in responding. Life has been weird since before Christmas...]

It had been a long time since Bauti had been through a human warp gate, particularly a clandestine one like Haniko Goto's. Really, what was the point? Anywhere she really wanted to travel to could be reached comfortably enough via the elven travel platform system. Well, almost anywhere. The elves had never managed to set one up in Tsuirakushiti, and they were skittish about using them in most places on the main island of Tsuiraku. But there was that one ...

"If you can get us to that town of yours on the southeast side of Tsuiraku, I can take it from there," she said. "I think you call it Kiyoka. I'll have to swear you to silence on how we do the rest of the trip, but I think we understand each other, don't we?" Her smile had just enough menace to it to make sure that the "understanding" was in place for now.

And in the long run ... well, if she had to silence them permanently, it wouldn't be the first time. Who knows, it might even be fun ... not as much fun as blowing up an Errant, but still.

She was still smiling her secret, threatening smile as Haniko Goto activated her well-concealed warp gate.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » February 12th, 2011, 11:02 am

[OOC: It's been a long time since there has been any "background noise," but these three nasties are by no means done. To move things along a little, and in the process, re-visit a couple of old friends:]

Brother Farley, from the Kiyokan mission, and his fiancee were enjoying themselves, talking about wedding plans as they held hands and walked along a stretch of secluded beach south of Kiyoka -- a very secluded beach.

"So there won't be any problems having a Veracian priest do the ceremony?" Farley said.

Kristi smiled. "Not at all. Most Tsuirakuans aren't very religious, including my friends and relatives, and they won't pay much attention to how the thing is done or who does it. Maybe that nice Father Redmond, your new abbot, could do it, or your friend Sister Rose if she gets back from her mission. That might be good. I liked Sister Rose, and it would show my people that not all Veracians have a stick up their ass about women's roles."

Farley chuckled. "Fact is, most Veracians do have a stick up their asses about women's roles. Our branch of the Veracian Church is considered weird by most of the country. We have a constant bureaucratic battle not to be declared heretical. Anyway, yeah, I like that idea. I'm sure Rose would be happy to preside."

"Sounds good, and don't worry about heresy." Kristi smiled again; she did a lot of that. "Pretty well anything would work ... although I'd draw the line at a priest of the Temple of the Divine Dwarf."

Farley doubled over laughing. When he came up for air, he said, "Oh, don't worry, to say we consider them heterodox would understate it quite badly ... Hey, what's that?"

Ahead of them, the sea was bubbling and churning a hundred yards or so offshore. It frothed for a minute, then settled down, although a more focused observer than the happy couple might have noticed a thin stream of bubbles making their way from the disturbed spot to the shore.

"Hmmm ... I don't know," Kristi said, squinting into the morning sun. "This stretch of beach used to be a naval research site a long time ago. It's been abandoned since before I was born, but maybe there are still weird gadgets out there. It's still theoretically off limits to outsiders, although we have permission to use it for special purposes."

Farley was intrigued, and also amused. "And what special purpose are we using it for?"

Kristi stopped, turned to face her fiance with that look on her face. "Just what purpose do you think we're using it for?" And she started to take off the top of her bathing suit ... pausing to cast a Contraception spell, of course.

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Bauti was impressed. "I must admit, I've never used a warp gate or travel platform into an underwater site before," she said. Somehow the gate had developed an air bubble over it, perhaps twenty feet in diameter and ten feet high. Curious fish could be seen passing by, some pausing to goggle at the side of the bubble.

Arsoro Kurou's facial expression rather resembled that of the fish. "Let's get the hell out of here," he said. "Secure or not, I don't like it. I'm not a strong swimmer..."

"Not to worry," Haniko Goto said, keeping a straight face -- as she always did when she'd just discovered something about a potential rival that she might be able to use against them. "The air will hold until we reach the shore." She snapped her fingers, and another, tubular bubble extended from the gate toward the island, angling slightly down into the sea floor to become a buried tunnel that the three started to follow.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » February 12th, 2011, 12:50 pm

"Over here," Goto said as the trio came to the end of the tunnel. A seemingly nondescript plaque sat on the ground, with a tunnel stretching vertically above it.

"Magical lift," Kuour noted.

Goto nodded. "This tunnel is part of an old underground military complex I appropriated for my own usage. There's more to it, but it's not important right now." Bauti and Kurou glanced at each other. Both wondered just what Goto had secreted away down here. What secrets was she hiding...?

The lift took them quickly upwards, and a solid metal plate slid aside to allow them entrance to a nondescript room in a clearly abandoned building. "Another part of the complex?"

Goto nodded, leading them outside. "It simply ceased to have any purpose. It makes for a fine warehouse, though, and by keeping the defenses intact, I ensure that there are no unwanted visitors." As this Kurou glanced back at the building, sitting unimportant in the middle of a clearing, so nondescript that most would forget about it as soon as they took their eyes away from it.

"Goto... just what do you have stored in there?"

Goto smiled glacially. "A variety of delightful toys. Pray you never see them." Without another word, she turned to Bauti. "Where do we go from here?"

The blinked, then looked around her getting her bearings. "Ah... this way. Follow me." Leading the way, Bauti turned into the forest, seeking out an old warp gate she recalled. It should still be in working order. "Incidentally, do we have enough supplies?"

"I have arrangements. Don't worry." The other two glanced at Gotom then away. Not for the first time. Kurou wondered just how far this woman's reach extended...
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » February 12th, 2011, 3:14 pm

"The platform is about a mile from here," Bauti said as they passed the perimeter of the abandoned base (she took a mild interest in the set of wards Goto rather casually applied to the gate; this woman had some serious magical power...). "Hope you don't mind a walk. It's up in the hills, but the grade isn't steep, it shouldn't be too strenuous."

She did not add even for mere humans; she didn't need to. Still, these were urban dwellers; they might not be ready for the bushwhack that was to follow. For some reason, the Tsuirakuans had never expanded far beyond the city boundaries. Bauti couldn't quite understand that. The elven cities had been oppressive enough, or at least they were when there were enough elves to fill them to overflowing. (Elves and ... vermin.) But she'd been to Saus, Ysabel, Port Lorrel, and even Emerylon in her long life, and she knew that the noise, the squalor, the caterwauling of human babies (she shuddered at the thought), all drove most humans to want to "get away from it all" from time to time. The cities were constantly overflowing their capacity. The rich humans (to the extent they could lay in significant wealth in their fleeting lives) all looked for ways to have at least a second home in the country, if not to move out there entirely. That was true in Farrel and Veracia, and she guessed it would be true in the blasted wastes of the Northern Confederacy, if anyone could live there, as opposed to just surviving.

Yet it didn't seem to be true of Tsuiraku, particularly the floating city itself. She'd only been there once, as part of the retinue of some obnoxious ambassador a few years back. Officially, she was part of the "honor guard," not that the concept of "honor" meant much to that old bastard. Unofficially, of course, she was looking for Errants. Needless to say, there hadn't been any. Tsuirakushiti remained uninfested as far as any elves could tell. That was good, and it contributed to the warming of relations between the elves and Tsuiraku in recent years. It also left her time for other, more entertaining pursuits while she was in town.

Anyway, the Tsuirakuans seemed happy to stay in their cities, or at the most bucolic, in the farms and fields that surrounded them; even a magical culture had to eat. It was therefore with some surprise that, about half way to the platform, the trio stumbled across the remains of a campfire. Bauti paused in her hike up the hill, partly to check the site out, partly to let the humans catch their breath. "Odd," she said. "I want to have a quick look at this. If people are getting too close to our platform, we'll have to take some extra measures to conceal it." (Which might not be a bad idea anyway, if she decided to let these two live.) "Give me just a second ..."

Magic flared from her fingertips, and she got a surprised look on her face. She turned to the humans...

"Would either of you happen to have any idea why there might have been a troll here?"

------------

Brother Farley and Kristi Yugawa were aware of none of this, being ... otherwise occupied.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » March 15th, 2011, 9:03 am

As Bauti puzzled over the troll campfire, Arsoro Kurou decided to take a chance. "I'm not so sure about this," he whispered to Haniko Goto.

The flat look on the woman's face told him his worries were justified; she was obviously assimilating this sign of weakness and deciding how to use it to her advantage. Well, the die was cast. <"Use telepathy,"> she spoke in his mind. <"More secure when there's an elf around, and I'm sure your magic skills are up to it. Anyway, I have doubts too, but consider: we may not learn anything about the people we are looking for by using this gate, but we will learn something about the elves. That too is ... useful."> A thin smile crossed her face now.

<"Point,"> Kurou thought back, just in time to see the elf straighten up. "Whatever the story with this fire is," Bauti announced, "I'm not going to worry about it. If trolls start to be a problem in somewhere we care about, we'll just kick their asses back up north again. Now let's get going."

A few minutes later, they were standing in a rather harmless-looking clearing in the woods. Without further ado, and certainly without explanation, Bauti said something unintelligible in the elven language. Before the humans could answer, there was a flare of magic, and they were elsewhere.

[OOC: And with that, a connection to the Southern Continent thread has been made...]
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » July 8th, 2011, 11:41 pm

OOC: Following an off-line conversation with Drannin, there is going to be some kind of unmentioned (and presumably unmentionable) Noodle Incident that sends Bauti, Goto and Kurou back to terra cognita with their tails between their legs, there to resume bedeviling (perhaps literally) the main characters. Anybody want to see them do anything before/as that all transpires?
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Sister Bree's journal (part 1)

Postby Graybeard » September 28th, 2011, 8:57 am

[OOC: For the incident in the main threads that is behind the next few entries in this thread, start here. We have no idea what the calendar in the Poe-verse looks like. For simplicity, the year is omitted here, and the months are assumed to be the same as in our “normal” English-speaking calendar – although, of course, they wouldn’t really be so. Same with days of the week, where we know, from the early stuff involving smitings, that at least it includes Wednesdays … So installment 1 of what Rose and Argus see in Bree’s journal: /OOC]

The text of the journal came into focus, with the magical encryption dispelled, and Sister Rose began to read. She had no particular desire to snoop on the dead woman’s personal life, instead leafing through the pages to find the first mention of either the Artifact of Absonial, or Avner Indianel, or Gervasiel or Father Blaise or any other topic relevant to her final, fatal mission. Truthfully, though, Sister Bree didn’t seem to have a personal life. Every entry that Rose skimmed en route to her destination was about life in the church. To be sure, this was a “personal” journal, not a “professional” one; there were plenty of entries with things like commentaries on other priests and nuns (almost invariably in a vitriolically negative tone) that no Luminositan priest was ever intended to read. But of sources of personal satisfaction outside the church, there was nothing.

So sad, thought Rose. I’ve seen this before, and it’s almost always the nuns rather than the priests: they enter service thinking they’re going to be “married to Luminosita,” and then, when they find out that the marriage runs only one way, they get permanently bitter. She smiled wistfully, prompting an inquisitive look from Argus. Better to be married to someone who not only loves you, but shares your bed … Anyway: The skimming continued, until finally she found the first entry that contained what she was looking for.

5 September: [OOC: Of the previous year -- /OOC:] News from the heretics’ nest across the river. (Must be Emerylon University, Rose deduced; the most conservative Orthodox people, of whom Bree clearly was one, would be inclined to think of them that way.) They think they have found a site that might have some artifacts dating to the first appearance of Luminosita’s Person! That surely must count as a significant find, even if it was made by a bunch of near-infidel. The Cardinal says a security party is going to go down and make sure they don’t do anything stupid with it. We should be able to slip someone into that who can keep us posted on what they’re doing. Meanwhile, there’s a smiting tonight at the Temple that I’m looking forward to, very much…

Rose skipped Bree’s details of the smiting – why do the Orthodox people get so fascinated with those? – and paged forward an entry or two, to the next one that seemed to bear on their mission.

7 September: Damnation, damnation, DAMNATION!! That scum-sucking bastard Bryce Canion is going to be on that security party that goes south to Gervasiel! After what he did to me … Well, we’ll just have to insert someone who can keep him in line. The Cardinal tells me he has someone in mind …

Rose paged forward again.

8 September: We have found someone who can at least keep us informed of what is going on down there. Now if I could just get him to arrange a little “accident” for the bastard that did me wrong. Patience, I counsel myself, but I don’t listen to the counsel. Anyway, there is time.

[OOC: More windows into the unpleasant mind of the late Sister Bree when I get home from work.]
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Sister Bree's journal (part 2)

Postby Graybeard » September 29th, 2011, 12:14 am

There didn’t appear to be anything more in Bree’s journal pertaining to the Artifact of Absonial, or the inquest into the deaths of Avner Indianel and Rebekah Codoin, for several months. Possibly, Sister Rose speculated, things had largely shut down for the winter at the excavation site near Gervasiel; despite its southerly latitude, it was at a high enough elevation to get significant snow.

Rose paged through the journal, trying to move forward to something significant, but found herself developing a morbid interest in some of the other entries, for what they revealed about their author. Bluntly put, Bree seemed altogether too interested in inflicting pain and humiliation – particularly on males. What they did to that poor kid in Germaniel who thought he’d seen a miraculous face of Luminosita on a potato … that was completely uncalled for, and inappropriate for any agent of our church, she thought. I wouldn’t blame his surviving family if they became permanent, insatiable enemies of the faith, the Church, the country, everything. Eventually the whole thing started to develop a nearly pornographic feel. What was it that that ancient writer had said about pornographic stage shows? “After the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw. After the first twenty minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live.” Rose had never had an interest in those shows, but she’d seen enough porn in the hands of her troops to understand the sentiment. Bree’s passion for injury got to the twenty-minute stage for Rose almost before she had turned the third page. It came as a distinct relief when she found the next Gervasiel reference.

12 January: Word from the half-heretical big-brains about Gervasiel. Somebody snowshoed out of the dig and got to town to pick up supplies and pass news. Everyone is alive and well. (That means Bryce hasn’t frozen to death or been buried in an avalanche. Damn. My prayers are not getting answered.) The site is covered in booby traps and other “security” systems, which is slowing down the digging. Still no word on what is behind the doors. This may be the last we hear of them until late spring, because snow melt and flooding is going to make the slot canyon impassable.

Yes, that all made sense, Rose thought. Transportation in the wilds of Veracia wasn’t well enough developed for there to be any more access to the dig. Bree’s prediction was correct: there were no further notes in her diary about Gervasiel or Avner Indianel or Bryce (why did she hate him so much? Rose wondered; no answer was apparent yet) until late spring … and then things got interesting.
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Sister Bree's journal (part 3)

Postby Graybeard » September 30th, 2011, 2:44 pm

Just because Gervasiel, or Bryce, or the Artifact of Absonial, or whatever, didn’t appear in Bree’s diary through the winter months, didn’t necessarily mean it was uninteresting or not useful, as Sister Rose was finding out.

“Look at these notes,” she told Argus. “Just about every time she goes out on an investigation, it’s with Father Gaetan, the original priest that was supposed to be coming with her to interview us. And look at the way she talks about him and the inquests. It looks like he’s just providing cover for her to go out and abuse men.” She ran her finger across an entry describing a trip to Saus, to question a smuggler who’d been bringing in pornographic books featuring priests performing “unnatural acts,” as Bree put it. It was quite clear that she enjoyed the “neurological thaumato-stimulation” she’d applied to the man rather more than an inquisitor really should, Rose thought. “And here.” A Calfornican priest who’d become rather over-fond of the … vegetable substances that their strange cult used in worship ceremonies. Gaetan had worn the official Inquisitor’s hat, but it had been Bree who … corrected him. Rose shuddered at the description. If she’d ever done anything like that to Kenny, I’d have killed her, eternal damnation or no eternal damnation. And she got such a lift out of it …

She shuddered again and got back to looking for entries pertaining to her own mission, and finally, around the beginning of May, she found one.

2 May: Floods are done at the slot canyon outside Gervasiel, so Private Ratherton has been able to get a message out. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he doesn’t know much. (I wish I had been able to find a contact who was, I guess I have to say, smarter.) He says Professor Apostate and his bimbo are being very closed-mouthed about what they have found up at the dig. I wish I could get down there; I’d take care of that. But I can’t. Meanwhile, there are some prospects for fun up at Nuromiel…

5 May: News from Gervasiel. My contact says Professor Apostate came running down the trail all excited about something, but he wouldn’t say what. He picked out a pair of the soldiers to go back up with him and post a guard on the dig itself. Unfortunately, Ratherton wasn’t one of them. Even worse, that damned Bryce was. Well, maybe he’ll fall off a cliff or something, the terrain at the dig is supposed to be steep and difficult. Dare I try to get Ratherton to arrange it? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. I’ll have to settle for some extras when Father Milquetoast and I leave for Nuromiel tonight…


“Father Milquetoast,” Rose repeated, disgust in her voice. “She doesn’t – didn’t – even have any respect for Father Gaetan, even though he seems to have been sort of a mentor, a father figure to her, not to mention letting her get away with abusing the subjects when they made inquests. My respect for that woman goes down a little every time I read one of the things in here … but you know what? I still wouldn’t have wished that death on her, any more than on Wilbur Hamael or the altogether too many other people who’ve died while we’ve been involved with them.” She chuckled humorlessly. “Hey, maybe we’re the agents of death here – and I’m almost not sure whether I’m joking or not.” Her face turned grim, and she resumed reading.
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Sister Bree's journal (part 4)

Postby Graybeard » October 1st, 2011, 5:24 pm

As distasteful as the insights into the inner workings of this very disagreeable woman were, Sister Rose thought, they were finally starting to get topical.

She skipped past Sister Bree’s trip to Nuromiel, feeling a certain ironic satisfaction at the idea of this thoroughly nasty woman going there – if there’s one place on earth that deserves a Bree, she thought, Nuromiel is a solid candidate to be it. (Speaking of which, had the Inquisitor done anything yet in connection with the corrupt town of Mazantzel? She made a note to herself to check for references in the diary, but of course, the Inquisitor had other resources at his disposal besides Bree and Gaetan.) The action picked up again when the pair of inquisitors got back from Nuromiel, having levied certain … corrections … that, for once, Rose almost found appropriate. Almost, but not quite … She focused back onto the entries relevant to what had happened here in Umbertiel – maybe.

12 May: Back from Nuromiel, and I must say, the place left me feeling unclean. (Fair enough, Rose thought.) A message from Ratherton was waiting when we got back. Professor Apostate still isn’t talking about what he’s finding at the ruin, except maybe to his trollop. Ratherton thinks it might be something dwarven, but Indianel would neither confirm nor deny. I wish I could get down there; I’d find a way to loosen his tongue …

14 May: Met with the Cardinal today. The pompous old ass isn’t as interested in Gervasiel as I am, dammit. I tried to get him interested in the possibility that the heretics’ dig has something to do with Luminosita’s Person, and that we should keep an eye on it as a result, but he wouldn’t hear of it – “Luminosita will choose what He wishes revealed,” “it is not our place to inquire into the inner workings of Our Lord Luminosita,” blah blah blah. Has he no curiosity? It would be weird for an Inquisitor not to, but I felt like he was blowing me off. The old goat is getting senile, I think. It might be time to remove him. Hmm – has there ever been a time when the Cardinal Inquisitor’s office was occupied not by a Cardinal, but by a Mother Superior? Because I’m beginning to wonder if that time might have come …

Aha, Rose thought. Maybe there was something to Maduin’s conjecture, that a power struggle lay behind events on their journey and in Gervasiel, after all. She kept an eye out for that theme in the next few entries, but they were on mundane business of the Inquisitor’s office, until she got to the 21st of May – a day that she herself remembered well.

That was the day I met Argus. It seems so long ago … like we’ve known each other our whole lives.

She mentally shook herself, focused back on the matter at hand.

21 May: Ratherton says they’re starting to get excited at the dig. The diggers have, quote, “found something” there, but they still won’t say what it is. Evidently Professor Apostate has a private agenda, and he is keeping it very private. “That is suspicious, don’t you think, Luci?” I tell my only friend, but she just sits and purrs. I wish I could do that … Maybe I can manufacture a reason to make a trip down there myself; this definitely sounds like there is a heresy to stamp out …

[OOC: Presumably this is where Rose and Argus pause and go downstairs to meet Brother Timothy.]
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