Background noise

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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » March 13th, 2013, 7:17 pm

"Where is he going?" Goto wondered as she stared at Kurou's form on a monitor.

"Obviously he needed a bit of time away from the heart of beauty itself," Bauti said sarcastically, tossing her hair.

"That, and something relating to a message he just received," Goto noted.

"Message? what do you mean?"

"Some sort of offer. Something inviting him to the southern continent." Goto glanced over at her prize, leaning against the corner. "I fear he may have lost interest in out little agreement."

"I can't blame him," Bauti growled. "Every last one of our target has disappeared. Except for yours, no surprise..."

"I think I know where they're going to wind up," Goto interrupted. "Things seem to be congregating on the southern continent. We'll finish things there."

"Finish?"

Goto turned a cold glare on Bauti. "I'm going to get Cleiviein once and for all. And I will personally help you torture that half-elf until she squeals what she knows. Hell, I'll burn the information out of ALL of them. You get to have your little slaughter. I accomplish my goals. And if Kurou decides that he's no longer interested in our agreement, I have five personally modified war golems that can replace him."

Bauti hesitated, and nodded. Mad though this human was, she made such enticing offers...
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » March 14th, 2013, 8:56 am

"Passage for one to Grendel, on the Southern Continent, please," Arsoro Kurou told the agent at the Tsuirakushita airship terminal.

The agent (more accurately, the projection of the agent's image) looked at him in surprise. "Sir, are you sure you want this? Even before the Artifex Incident, we only had weekly service to the Southern Continent, and it may be a few days before we get our service to the more -- remote locations back to normal. It may be ten days before you can even use this rune."

Kurou produced the meek smile that had served him well as cover for years. "Yes, yes, I understand," he answered. "No hurry, my business associates there are patient." The transaction was completed with a blur of magic, and Kurou pocketed the travel rune.

Which he had no intention of ever using, of course. He'd chosen his "destination" carefully. That paranoid Goto would know within hours, if she didn't know already, about this purchase, including the commentary about the business associates. She'd put two and two together, and conclude that Kurou had had some reason for buying into the nonsensical "reasoning" that the stupid elf Bauti had used to send them off on a wild galdy chase down south, something that she'd now devote her energies to winkling out. She'd figure that she had the time, since the airship to get there wouldn't go for several days. She would be wrong.

Whistling a jaunty tune under his breath (but loud enough for Goto's sensors to hear), he walked out of the terminal and caught a magical people mover that would take him close to a certain house of ill repute, one that was particularly meticulous about preventing magical snooping on its customers, where a more detailed message from Shiggy would be waiting, as regards his real destination in the Far North.

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

The selfsame Shigetoshi, however, had just expired messily in a torture chamber in a most disagreeable place ... which didn't mean that his Crystal-net address wouldn't be sending that message, merely that he himself wouldn't be the one sending it.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » March 17th, 2013, 12:12 pm

Regardless of what had happened earlier with Drusia (or of what he planned to do when he caught up with her again, the thought of which always brought an evil leer to his face), Arsoro Kurou's sexual tastes were generally rather conventional. After partaking of what the Teahouse of the Seventy-Two Cannons had on offer, he found a quiet nook (so to speak) and fired up a Crystal-net connection that very few people knew existed. When the crystal ball lit up, a single word was visible.

GONA.

Satisfied (in more ways than one), he broke the connection and secured the clandestine ball. How appropriate, he thought, that this code system that he and Shiggy had worked out would now produce such a satisfying false lead. They'd been browsing Tsuipedia one day and had noticed that there were a number of tiny towns down on the Southern Continent with two-syllable names -- Gona, Buna, Coma, Cera, and so on. It had been straightforward to work out a code system based on those names that would map them onto similarly tiny fishing villages in Tsuiraku. Now, having seen the message, he knew exactly which of those villages to travel to, to meet Shiggy or his man and arrange passage to where he really needed to go.

Whistling a soft, happy tune, he left the brothel, occasionally muttering under his breath, "Gona ... yes, let's go to Gona." That, he knew, would make it back to those two crazy women, and they would find out that there really was a Gona down south. Nothing interesting would be there, of course; nothing interesting ever happened in towns like that. But Bauti and Goto would go haring off to the place, and by the time they got there and figured out that there was nothing there except a band of aborigines and monkeys, he'd be well on his way to the Far North. What could possibly go wrong? It was perfect.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » March 20th, 2013, 12:27 pm

"Where the hell is Gona?" Bauti asked, as she looked over Goto's surveillance data.

"According to records, it's a town on the southern continent," Goto replied.

"Huh. Heading south, is he?"

"Maybe. Or he could be trying to throw us off." Goto shrugged. "As if I'm not used to dealing with deception every damned day. No, we'll just wait and see what Kurou is up to... and then respond. But I want to keep an eye on the southern continent regardless. My agents there have uncovered some interesting developments..."
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » March 20th, 2013, 10:16 pm

One of the problems of using fishing villages as rendezvous points, Arsoro Kurou reflected as he left the "teahouse," was getting to them. To be sure, some of the larger settlements on the coast had basic warp gates, and a few of the barbarians who lived there were being trained to operate them. (Proof that even a monkey can learn magic if you give him enough help, Kurou thought.) Needless to say, none of the code-named villages had anything like that nearby; even before he met that bitch Goto, he'd realized that warp-gate travel would pose an intolerable security risk. Instead, he'd made arrangements for a personal airship some time back, but after the Artifex Incident (he was still trying to figure out how to turn that to his advantage), airship travel would be scrutinized carefully too, and would surely fall within Goto's web. So it was time to resort to plan B ... a means of transportation so absurd and contrary to the way things were done in Tsuirakushiti that nobody from the sky city would ever expect him to use it.

Fortunately, not only had he foreseen this possibility, he'd taken steps to prepare concealment for it. A small investment some years back in a franchise that catered to the children of Tsuirakushita had made some friends that he could now call on, as he'd had occasion to do a few times previously. He walked in the door of the business, chatted with the manager, and arranged a "rental." It would be coming empty, rather than with its usual accoutrements, but that would be just fine; he could simply smile and say he was sold out, if anyone tried to stop him and partake of the services the thing usually offered. A snap of his fingers then covered his normal clothes with the illusion of a uniform; the illusion wouldn't stand inspection, of course, but the people who patronized his conveyance would be used to such illusory outfits, and wouldn't suspect a thing.

Whistling jauntily, he set off, pedaling his Goodumalu tricycle slowly through the streets of Tsuirakushita ... at least until he got beyond the edge of the city and out of sight, after which a Haste spell would propel the thing at speeds that would have amazed any small child hoping to flag it down for an iskremkonu.

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

Meanwhile, a similarly incongruous (if technologically very different) vessel was pulling into a secluded spot along the coastline of the Northern Confederacy, where the Stagpooles would pass their dazed and incapacitated cargo to other, rougher hands.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » March 26th, 2013, 12:17 pm

Goto had to give him credit. Kurou almost got away. Almost. But she could sense when someone was trying to elude her, could almost taste it. Kurou avoided her net for a while, but it finally closed back over him as he was leaving the town, riding his new form of transportation.

"You're kidding," Bauti said in a flat tone of voice.

"Apparently not," Goto chimed in, faintly amused.

"Do we go after him?"

"No. There are other ways of monitoring his movements. For now, we wait." Goto stood up and picked up her hard-won prize. "I want to see who all the players are in this little game. And when I move, it will be the final move. For anyone."
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » March 27th, 2013, 10:38 am

Somehow, Arsoro Kurou couldn't shake off the uncomfortable sensation of Haniko Goto's eyes boring into his back as he invoked the spell -- just magical energy, not chronomancy, even Kurou wouldn't mess with that -- to push the iskremkonu cart up to remarkable, and rather unsafe, speeds. Well, screw Haniko Goto. Her net was everywhere in Tsuiraku, but it wasn't everywhere. The place where Shiggy had been working would be most decidedly off-net -- Luminosita's Great Glowing Manberries, even the Tsuirakuan military didn't have good charts of it, and their charts covered almost the entire planet. Not quite, though; there were still areas way up north where the coverage was spotty, partly because of the logistics difficulties in going there, partly because prevailing military wisdom was that there was nothing up there worth mapping.

In this, of course, they were wrong.

It had been easy enough for Kurou to pull some strings (he was attached to plenty) and convince that semi-barbarian General Izayoi that this white spot in the maps should be remedied, and to get Shiggy some funding for an expedition. Additional "funding" from Kurou, who knew some of the man's weaknesses that would most definitely NOT be supported by military money, had ensured that certain discoveries that might be made up there would be reported to Kurou before the military got them. And one such discovery, if he understood that first, cryptic message correctly, had been made.

He was back to whistling a jaunty tune, Goto be damned, as he made camp for the night, using a tent similar to the one erected earlier by Maduin. An easy half day's journey the next day would get him to the village, and untraceable transportation north. He didn't know how Shiggy would handle the transportation once they made landfall, but he'd have worked something out; the man was good. And a good archeologist, too, based on what he'd found...

The Burial Shroud of Exitialis really exists, Arsoro Kurou thought as he tucked into his sleeping bag. And soon it will be mine. On this happy note, he fell sound asleep.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » March 28th, 2013, 11:56 am

[OOC: Feel free to interpret this as putting an upper bound on how much longer the Veracia/Southern Continent thread complex is going to last. (That's part of its purpose, after all.) /OOC:]

The "delivery point" on the coast of the Northern Confederacy had its advantages -- privacy, an underground railway entrance nearby -- but it also had one significant drawback: it wasn't really a harbor. Not only was it not enclosed, which could have been a problem if the weather had been worse when Brother Dalton was delivered, it also had shallow water extending a considerable distance offshore. (Of course, it also meant that they wouldn't have any problem with Seeadler or other warships snooping around, so there were also advantages.) Mr. Stagpoole's attention was fully occupied as he maneuvered his craft through the shoals, at a far lower speed than it could manage on the open sea.

Elke remained quiet until the tricky part was done, but then she addressed her husband. "There's one thing that's bothering me about all this. We've always assumed that the people we were gathering for the rite were going to be fully on board, or at least, that we could co-opt them. We went to a lot of effort to do that with the Porter girl, for example." She shuddered at that thought. "Is it all going to work correctly if some of the participants are unwilling?"

Mr. Stagpoole nodded. "I've wondered the same thing myself, but you know what Stohomiel Syndrome is, right?" Elke nodded back, having heard the description (and wondered why it bore the name of a tiny town that had ceased to exist eons ago), and he continued. "A week with them locked up, and Kurou and the priest will be fully on our side, and we can proceed."

Elke persisted. "Yeah, I think it'll work with them. But how about the Terror of the North? Trolls don't see the world the same way we do."

The older man shrugged. "Some things, my dear, we must just leave to fate ... and the big boss. He says he knows how to get the troll to cooperate. Now excuse me, it's time to set this thing running." He twiddled some controls, and the hydrofoil rose on its "legs" and commenced its high-speed dash across the open sea toward Tsuiraku.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » April 28th, 2013, 11:48 am

[OOC: Time to move this one notch further along, since events in the Southern Continent are also moving. We want all the players on stage for the grand finale, after all...]

Arsoro Kurou awoke feeling refreshed and happy, his dreams of his plans for the Burial Shroud of Exitialis still in his head. After a quick Hygiene spell and a magically-prepared hot breakfast, he stowed the magical tent back in his travel kit, which in turn went into his Pocket Dimension. Finally, he dispelled the anti-detection runes he'd set up at the camp (although not without leaving a little... distraction). Even if the crazy women somehow succeeded in homing in on him, a few hours from now it wouldn't matter, as he would beyond even Haniko Goto's reach.

In this he was correct, albeit for reasons quite different than he intended.

Whistling happily, he started the iskremkonu cart rolling down from the coastal mountains where he'd camped, toward the little town where his transportation to the dig would be waiting.

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

With, however, a rather different crew than he expected.

"You make a truly dashing Northern Confederate," Elke teased her husband in his new outfit; she was probably the only person on earth who could do so and live, and she enjoyed taking advantage of the distinction, more than she'd anticipated. This marriage thing was looking like it might be fun after all.

Mr. Stagpoole grunted acknowledgment. "Actually, it doesn't matter a rat's ass what you or I look like -- although I must say that your outfit is fetching too." Elke was dressed as might a barista of the north, with just enough loose space in the outfit to hide a pregnancy that may or may not have been just beginning to show; it certainly was enough to hide both a gun and a particular magical gadget that a real barista would have been even less likely to carry than firearms. "Just make sure that that thing is ready to go when the boys bring him in, and I'll have some old-fashioned backup at hand." As they both knew full well, Farrelites trusting a Tsuirakuan gadget to subdue and immobilize a Tsuirakuan mage might take international cooperation a little too far, but extensive testing had convinced them that the nationality had no particular immunity to the good old blackjack.

The pair waited in their "special" boat while their minions went to deliver the message to the inbound man. It wouldn't be long now.

[OOC: OK for Goto and Bauti to do whatever, however, D.]
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » May 23rd, 2013, 7:31 pm

[OOC: OK, scene change, but we'll come back to the Nasty Trio and the Stagpooles soon enough. First, something needs to be prepared for Drusia's return to Praenubilus Astu, so...]

Commander Numilo's day of duty on the Peregin watch started just as every other such day had for the last several hundred years. That was fine with him; Cimmerii valued routine more than novelty, after all.

"Anything new I should know about?" he asked the elven lieutenant he was relieving, hoping for a negative answer.

"No, sir," she said. "Sarine is still out doing Anilis alone knows what in Veracia. She reported in overnight but didn't say much, as usual." She and Numilo both rolled their eyes; presumably the "didn't say much" part was because she was off sleeping with some human, as usual. (They were wrong about that, but it didn't really matter.) "The only other report we've had was from Paukii," she continued. "Some rumor about an Errant with webbed hands and feet in Farrel that can swim like a fish. She's checking it out. Nobody else has been in contact at all."

"Very well, then, I'll take it from here," Numilo said, and the night watch was dismissed. He settled in for the day's utterly routine monitoring of ranger communications ... but it didn't stay routine for long.

A magical signal indicated that the Peregins' communications net had been activated and was announcing the imminent arrival of one of the people in the field. He took one look at the message and whistled softly, catching the attention of the underling who'd come on duty with him. "Sir? Shall I send a party out to the platform?"

"No, that won't be necessary," he said stiffly. "I'd better handle this one myself. She ... won't be at the platform anyway, with that damned warping magic of hers. I just hope she remembers not to warp through the entrance to the city, and stays outside the way she's supposed to. If she doesn't, we'll have every damned intrusion alarm in the place going off at once." He chuckled humorlessly; Cimmerii laughter rarely had any humor in it. "By Anilis' tits, that would be her style, though. Besides, it's been a long time... No, I'll meet her outside, and if she forgets and shows up here instead, drag her kicking and screaming out to where she's damn well supposed to be." He got up and headed for the entrance.

Drusia.

What damn fool thing has she done this time?
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