Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

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Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Graybeard » June 26th, 2011, 10:22 am

[OOC: OK, picking up around midnight of the night after the end of the original Temple of the Divine Dwarf thread, i.e., 30 to 36 hours after that one ended. PF, hope you don't mind if we've dragged Jin-Liu along ... /OOC:]

Well, time to go over to the offensive, Layla thought as she arrived at the rear of the liquor store by the Temple of the Divine Dwarf.

Preparations had gone about as well as could be hoped. Zachary was back at the vineyard, safely cuddled up with his grandmother. (It was good, Layla reflected, that he was making the transition to solids so easily; she wasn't sure when she'd be home to feed him the old-fashioned way.) Galina and Oxana were there, too, after Galina had spent the whole day tutoring a batch of newcomers from Rinkaiel. That was just about perfect; it gave her some "plausible deniability" for what was about to happen, yet she could be awakened and summoned if something went wrong.

Things at this end didn't look bad, either. Adroit relabeling of some of the Rising Moon wine that Layla had brought with her, to bear the brand new Bad Ass Wines label she'd improvised, had convinced the liquor-store proprietor that there was business to be done -- and had allowed Layla and Joe to case the joint. She liked what she saw. Security was surprisingly lax; she should be able to get in the back door with a simple lock pick, as she now did. Furthermore, and the surprising part, there didn't seem to be any magical security features around. Least defended liquor store I've ever seen, Layla thought. They're probably under someone's protection, maybe even that Oshima outfit's -- but we're not going to be doing any burglary here anyway.

Jin-Liu's work at the vineyard had been as good as expected if not better, and they'd succeeded in getting him here for the tunneling, with the promise of good pay and assurances that he wasn't doing anything illegal. This was even correct; he wasn't doing anything wrong, and apart from the breaking and entering, nobody else was either. (Yet.) Joe was along to escort the kid back to the vineyard once he'd done his part of the operation. Everything looked ready.

Layla turned to the Silver Hands and Jin-Liu. "The tunnel needs to run about two hundred feet northeast, just below ground level. We can go deeper if we have to, we don't want to pop out in the temple accidentally, not until we're ready. The first time in, we're listening and fact finding. The time after that ... let's see what happens."

She took a deep breath, blew it back out. "Let's get on with it."
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Jack Rothwell » June 26th, 2011, 12:19 pm

Eve grinned and smacked a fist into the palm of her hand, behind her, Jade, Leo and Bert of the Silver Hands stood looking as though they were equipped for holding off a determined invasion force. A faint crackle emanated from the mana rifle slung across the blacksmith's back. Jade reached back unconsciously and tapped the gun with an absent-minded affection as Eve replied.

"Just one condition." She said. "If we run into that sorcerer who set his dog on me I want the first shot at him."

OOC Did Lay opt to take up Jade's offer about the second rifle?/OOC
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Graybeard » June 26th, 2011, 2:50 pm

[OOC:
Jack Rothwell wrote:OOC Did Lay opt to take up Jade's offer about the second rifle?/OOC

Not sure we ever resolved that, but let's decide the answer is yes. /OOC:]

"If we run into that sorcerer who set his dog on me I want the first shot at him."

"Deal," Layla answered, "but fact finding comes first. We learn what they're up to, then we kill them. Hope that isn't too inconvenient." She spared the girl a wink as the golems began to dig.
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Jack Rothwell » June 29th, 2011, 2:57 pm

Eve sighed, but there was a note of playfulness concealed within it.

"This is why I avoid contract work. If we were still knocking off merchant caravans we could've shot first and asked questions later."

"Like where they wanted to be buried, and if there were any spare valuables we missed..." Leo added.

Jade face-palmed at Rufus' students and looked helplessly at Layla.

"You see what I have to work with? They keep this up and I'll be asking you for a job."
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Graybeard » June 29th, 2011, 8:19 pm

Layla rolled her eyes. "We all have our crosses to bear. The way things were looking at the vineyard a week ago, I almost wondered if I'd have to be looking for a job myself." Just to be away from the mayhem at the shed, and the attack on the airship. I still need to get back to that -- nobody tries to kill my son and gets away with it -- but first things first.

She turned her attention back to the tunnel. The digging was going quickly; remarkably quickly, in fact. Jin-Liu's golems seemed to be as good as advertised. They'd want to shore up the tunnel walls if the thing was going to get used regularly, but that wasn't what it was for; one or two crawls through it should do the trick. Just getting under the temple would suffice for now.

"I don't think we're going to have any trouble here," she said, "but cover me just in case. I want to go up and see what's going on." She took off the shawl that had concealed her "working" jump suit and started to crawl into the hole in the floor of the liquor store.
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Jack Rothwell » June 30th, 2011, 11:54 am

Jade considered the mana-rifle strapped across her back... considered the size of the blast area when she'd fired it in the past... considered the width of the tunnel layla was crawling through... and drew her revolver instead.

Eve fell in next to her with a nod and mirrored the blacksmith's gesture. Jade fought down an urge to laugh, the nature of the women's relationship had just about done a 1-80 since they'd first met some years back. Jade saw in her mind's eye for a moment a sparring session the pair had had in the early days which had finished with them rolling around the floor and trying to throttle each other unconscious.

'Things change all right...'

She glanced back at Leo and Bert behind them, standing poised to lend their assistance. Jade didn't think that would be needed just yet, but she found herself tapping on the wooden handle of the knife in her boot in an uncharacteristic display of superstition.
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Porcelain Fish » June 30th, 2011, 1:42 pm

Jin-Liu was no fool, and being over forty, he certainly hadn't been born yesterday. Any impressions he'd entertained about Layla being nothing more than an entrepeneur interested in learning a little magic had been entirely dismantled within minutes of meeting her cohorts. The lockpicks she'd used to get into the back of the wineshop were an unnecessary confirmation.

On the one hand, he was wary of getting involved with individuals perpetrating activites that obviously were less than legal. On the other hand, they were well-armed individuals, and people he really wouldn't to be on the bad side. There was also the added impetus for making friends with said well-armed individuals in the eventuality that well-armed elves showed up or he ran into some other kind of trouble.

Besides, he was getting paid (and paid well) and he didn't have another stream of income at the moment anyway.

So he didn't say a word as he followed Layla in, except to quietly instruct Pai-pai to remain silent unless there was an emergency, and when his new employer indicated the spot where she wanted him to start digging, he gave Saiho its orders, and stood back.

He'd already given up any hope that there wasn't anything dangerous on the other end of the tunnel, but he was willing to settle for getting out of this wealthier and alive.
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Graybeard » June 30th, 2011, 5:49 pm

The tunnel still wasn't very high or very wide, but at the moment, it didn't need to be. Layla slithered forward, catching up to the digging golem quickly ... and almost immediately, she knew that the exercise hadn't been in vain. She rapidly reversed her field and crawled out of the hole.

"I could hear voices up there, beyond the tunnel," she said softly. "Shut down the digging. We have some listening to do."

[OOC: Gonna be out of touch for a few days, dealing with fire stuff, then back to routine access Sunday.]
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Jack Rothwell » July 4th, 2011, 2:42 am

"What are-" Bert began, until Eve reached back and punched him, none-too-gently, in the ribs.

"Hush." She snapped.

OOC Obligitary post, woot!/OOC
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Re: Temple of the Divine Dwarf, part 2

Postby Graybeard » July 4th, 2011, 11:33 am

[OOC: Big long "reveal" coming here. Yeah, it's a little unrealistic, but ...]

Layla motioned to Eve. "Crawl forward with me," she whispered, "and keep it dead quiet. We're not far below them, apparently."

Moments later, the women could make out voices from above.

"... Report from the brothel?" a male voice was saying.

"Fully satisfactory, Orpiment-san," a female voice replied. "Our contact in --"

"Don't call me that," the male voice growled. "You know I hate using this cover to blend in with the gaijin. Continue, please."

"Yes, sir," the woman said, sounding slightly abashed; Layla could almost image her blushing. "As I was saying, our contact in the gaijin police says there were no survivors. Better yet, the gaijin are glossing over the whole event. Apparently a highly-placed politician was among the customers of the brothel. Discovery that he was there would be inconvenient." Several voices, Layla couldn't tell how many, expressed approval of this evaluation.

"And what of the gaijin bitch who tried to kill me?" a different male voice asked, anger evident in his tone of voice.

"Her body has not been found," the female voice went on. "The debris is still unstable in many places. Some bodies may not be recovered until they have had time to corrupt. We are confident she was there."

"Very well, then," a different, hard-sounding male voice, with the edge of command, said. "I understand that our informant was among the dead. He was ... expendable." Layla could almost imagine a hand being waved dismissively. "And that damnable Kitaura's man?"

"Confirmed dead, Oshima-san," the woman said, once again to approving sounds from the others.

"Well, then, a nice piece of work," the voice who had been called "Orpiment-san" to his displeasure said. "We have succeeded in eliminating at least three different threats to our organization at once. This almost compensates for loss of our warp gates. Well done, Seishou Toshiko."

"Thank you, sir," the female voice answered, an obsequiousness in her tone that Layla didn't like at all. "Shall we prepare a strike against the vineyard as well?"

"Not at this time," the hard-sounding man said. "A second explosion, so soon after the first, might raise uncomfortable questions with that bastard Kitaura. Besides, we do not know the full capabilities of the gaijin guild. In this regard, the loss of our informant was unfortunate; we should have extracted more information from him before he was removed. Well, there will be other opportunities. And now, let us celebrate our success with rice wine from the Homeland..."
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