Background noise

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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » October 17th, 2010, 10:04 pm

[OOC: Part 2 of this little diversion, and at its end, Drannin, I'd like to exchange some PMs with you...]

Bauti's senses went to full alert, physical and magical, as she approached the keep. The place was quiet, eerily quiet, too quiet. The only sound was of wind whistling through the decaying buildings; not a bird or mouse stirred. There were no signs of illumination ... but there was one thing that spoke of habitation. A smell -- the smell of fire, wafting down from the highest tower.

Bauti smiled to herself. This should be easy. A quick, magic-assisted climb up the outside wall of the tower, a Fireball flipped through a window, and the Errant within would be incinerated before he knew what hit him. She gathered her energy, cast, and rippled up the side of the tower like a stream running backward ...

... To be met by a surprise. The highest chamber had been blackened by fire, all right, and the air stank of flame ... but there were no ashes, no embers, no indication that anything had been present to combust and produce the smoke. So: a magical fire, perhaps? Well, that would be consistent with an Errant having been there; their capacity for wild, uncontrolled magic was one of the things that made many of them dangerous, after all.

She decided to try something she hadn't done in centuries. Summoning more magical energy, she cast a spell that had been useful back at Malacia, where she had lived for a while before -- that Errant had destroyed it. Its function defied a simple name, but had the effect of tapping into the magical "memory" of the place, to reconstruct the magic (if not the physical artifacts) that had been present before the flame. It was an arcane spell, even by elven standards, but she'd saved lives with it when Malacia began to sink beneath the waves ... and by helping her destroy an Errant, it would save the lives of her people now.

Not to mention produce some good hunting.

Aha. Yes, the fire had been magical. She could detect the outlines of strange apparatus whose function she could not guess, their physical form now collapsed into ash and dispersed to the winds. And there ... there was what could only be a magical trap door. A predatory grin crossed her face. The Errant had thought he was safe when he covered his tracks, and disappeared through this thing. He was wrong. She could already see, and savor, the look on the half elf's face when his killer burst through the aether into his sanctuary, to take his life.

Preparing a Force Bolt for instant use, she sprang onto the magical doorway ...

... And moments later, emerged at Arsoro Kurou's bolt-hole.

Oh, shit, she thought, but the golem didn't seem to notice her. Still, precautions were always good. She had plenty of strength left to cast invisibility on herself ... and continued to follow the magical trail.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » October 21st, 2010, 8:43 am

Paranoia was a fascinating thing, Arsoro Kurou reflected. Most regarded it as a hindrance, a psychological infirmity. Well, maybe. But being slightly paranoid had always helped him out. If he hadn't been paranoid and set up an emergency escape-route, complete with a couple of golems, he would be dead now. But Haniko Goto...

Well, being in security explained some of it. Extreme paranoia explained the rest. Control freak wrapped it up in a nice bundle. But regardless of the sheer bile that imbued the woman's soul, he had to admit that her personal headquarters was impressive.

No. No headquarters. Lair. There was no other term for it. The place had the feel of being extremely private. Kurou wouldn't be surprised if he was the first outsider to set foot in here in years. The place was dark, somewhat circular, with a number of consoles and other pieces of machinery carefully organized around the circumference. Goto evidently sat it the middle, in a large throne-like chair, Empress of her own small empire. Albeit an empire with impressive information-gathering-capabilities.

The central throne was studded with dozens of control knobs, switches, buttons, and weave knew what else. These apparently controlled the various consoles in the rooms, which were hooked up to surveillance equipment and databases. With the flip of a switch, Goto could bring up displays of varying sizes around the room, or even around her chair. Actually, she was doing this right now. Hands moving like a blur, she went through countless views, her gaze one of disinterest... that missed and forget absolutely nothing. Glancing around the room, Kurou noticed a number of other displays that had apparently been forgotten... for the moment. Interesting... How did she did a live feed THERE?

His speculation was interrupted by a sigh from Goto. "Done," she said, "I just needed to keep tabs on a couple of things. And people. SO, what do you think of my headquarters?" She didn't seem to care what Kurou thought, but was asking to be polite.

Might as well be honest. "I think it paints you as a paranoid control freak. Also, I find that I'm horribly envious of this setup. Where can I get some of these things?"

Goto was amused. "Being a paranoid control freak is a survival skill around here, Doctor. And I have my sources... which also tell me that you have access to resources that I don't." Kurou just chuckled. Well, yes, his research had uncovered some ancient relics which he had adapted to his own use that would likely be of benefit to the lunatic before him. And the reverse was true as well. This alliance of convenience could be very profitable, indeed.

He was about to ask where some of the views were coming from when his earpiece chimed, sending him a warning. Goto noticed his change in expression immediately. "What is it?" she demanded.

Kurou frowned. "Interesting. Someone has found my Gervasiel bolt-hole... and has just emerged through the warp gate..."

Goto was already moving.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » October 21st, 2010, 4:42 pm

5000-year-old elf rangers are generally not the easiest people to impress, but Bauti couldn't help shaking her head as she walked away from the golems. At least they weren't paying her any attention. That was good. Fifty years back or so, she'd been part of the honor guard accompanying some elven ambassador -- Rarune, she thought his name was, but she really remembered him just as "that arrogant prick who sleeps with humans" -- on a ceremonial trip to Tsuirakushiti, and part of the entertainment for the visiting dignitaries had been a demonstration of war golems. She thought should could take care of a pair of them without serious risk, but there were no guarantees. Besides, that wasn't what she was here for.

But where, exactly, was she? And where was the Errant, and what was he doing with Tsuirakuan golems guarding his escape? Those seemed very interesting questions. She had emerged from the magical transport system, whatever it was, in what looked like uninhabited forest (apart from the golems, of course). Furthermore, it was very different forest from anything she'd seen near the elven homelands. Few of the trees were familiar. She paused to rummage through thousands of years of memory for anything that might match what she was seeing ... and after a while, she found something. It couldn't be ...

What am I doing in Tsuiraku?

At least that was what the humans called the islands; the elven name had long since faded from her memory. Anyway, there weren't supposed to be any Errants there. No ranger had set foot in the islands for decades, except as members of diplomatic delegations. There simply wasn't any need to.

Until now.

This hunt could be very interesting indeed, she thought to herself as she followed the magical spoor toward a well-concealed shelter cave.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » October 21st, 2010, 7:00 pm

"Why the hell is there another one?" asked a perplexed Haniko Goto.

Kurou shrugged. "Presumably there are any number of elves wandering the land. I never thought about it. I never cared. Still, this is a new elf than the one that... attacked me." Goto didn't respond to this, which Kurou appreciated. They both knew full well that 'attacked' barely covered it. Seduced and backstabbed, maybe. But never mind that.

"I commend your surveillance equipment, by the way," Goto commented. "I'll refrain from pointing out that you called me paranoid earlier, because I took it as a compliment." The two of them looked at the ranger on the screen, clearly an elf judging by garb and the it... no, she... moved. "She looks like she's hunting."

Kurou nodded. "I have a remote gate terminal there. It hooks into the city's main teleport lines, and leads to Tsuirakushiti itself. Could be quite a commation if she shows up interrupted."

"Just as there was when you appeared," quipped Goto. "I've already dealt with that, by the way." She considered. "Can you hook into the lines to take us there directly?"

"Easily. It'll take moments." He glanced over at her. "Do you think she's connected with the other one?"

"I don't know, but she might know something. And I'm not letting an elf penetrate our city uninvited. I DO have a job to do, you know." Goto stared at the display for a few moments, looking thoughtful. "...However, I'd like our first meeting to be... diplomatic." Kurou looked up in surprise at this statement, pausing in his calculation of gating frequencies. Goto gestured to a wall... which opened up, allowing five war-golems to stomp out. Definitely non-standard. Defintely a personal upgrade. Definitely lethal. She saw his surprised look. "When being diplomatic, it always helps to let the other party know that you could crush them if they got out of line. Hence my personal projects here. Now then, have you finished your calculations, yet...?"
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Re: Background noise

Postby Porcelain Fish » October 22nd, 2010, 8:28 pm

[OOC: Just backfilling a little character backstory for NPC Bryce in the Artifact of Absonial thread and fleshing him out a little bit. This was actually something I was planning last night, but I didn't get around to it.[/OOC]

Bryce lifted his lips from Maduin's, looking down at the young Tsuirakuan mage with dark green eyes lit from within by passion, but also by understanding. His lips quirked in a small, rueful, faintly crooked smile. "You're not ready."

Maduin thought about lying, pushing his own inner turmoil away and trying to pretend it wasn't there, except he wasn't certain he was in enough control to pull it off convincingly. Instead he let out a small but heartfelt sigh, and shook his head slightly, fingertips running over the short, dark red hair at Bryce's temple, gliding down his cheek, down to a broad shoulder dusted lightly with more dark red. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

Bryce captured Maduin's fingers in his own and pressed them gently to his lips. "It's okay. I get it." He smirked. "I'm still hornier than hell, but I get it." He disentangled himself and sat up, adjusting his boxers, and after a moment Maduin sat up as well, wrapping the thin robe he wore around himself and leaning against the big red-head's muscular shoulder. He thought maybe Bryce was going to give it a second go when powerful arms pulled him into a warm lap, and he reflected that Bryce hadn't been lying about being incredibly horny, but Bryce just wrapped him in his arms and leaned back against the headboard.

"Ask me something," he said after a moment. He grinned down at Maduin, and gently tugged on a curly lock with a pair of fingers. "I know what you're thinking about right now isn't any good."

“Alright.” Maduin rested his head against Bryce's hard, hairy chest and listened to his heart beat out a smooth, steady, reassuring rhythm. It took him a while to think of what to ask. “Why were you there in the ruin?”

“That's easy.” Bryce shrugged. “I was a lieutenant in the Veracian military. Got caught with a colonel's son, who was studying to be an orthodox priest at the time. Colonel Pops was a real devout churchman, swore up and down by Luminosita and all his scriptures. Busted me all the way down to private for “seducing his upright son into iniquity” but let me tell you, junior was pretty bent most of the time. I was just the one Pops caught.”

Maduin pursed his lips, and then asked anyway. “Do you miss him?”

To his surprise, Bryce chuckled. “That was actually after I'd broken up with him. But I couldn't resist hitting it just one more time. I should have known he had something planned. I don't think he honestly wanted to be a priest in the first place.”

The silence lengthened between them as Maduin hunted for something else to talk about.

“You know,” Bryce said, voice deepening “usually I get asked how big I am.”

Maduin took a moment to gauge what he was sitting on, and was suitably impressed. “I think I have a pretty good idea.”

“Oh?” Bryce smirked playfully. “How big?”

Maduin tilted his head back and lifted himself to murmur into Bryce's ear.

Bryce's voice tone was smug. “Add two inches.”

Maduin's eyes widened.

As they lay there together later that night, he earnestly debated giving it another try. Truthfully though, he was slightly intimidated as well as excited, and he fell asleep before he mustered up the courage.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » October 23rd, 2010, 10:54 am

Bauti's senses were tuned to a high pitch as she approached the shelter cave.

Errants in Tsuiraku. The thought was positively mind-blowing. For years, decades, centuries -- ever since the cloak came down -- it had been a basic article of faith that the elves didn't have to worry about that. The original Errant infestation of the sky city had either died out or been diluted into nonexistence, and there just weren't enough humans living on the ground to support an Errant population. That was the prevailing wisdom in Praenubilus Astu ... until now.

She'd get a medal for this.

Of course, she had to survive the encounter first. An Errant capable of the high-level magic needed to set up and operate that transfer system shouldn't be taken as lightly as the contemptible, defective beings she'd dealt with in Veracia. Well, she mused, that was what explosives were for. They'd been useful in taking out other high-functioning Errants, so why not here? If her victim was holed up in the cave, the setup would be just about perfect. Extending both her physical and magical senses, she confirmed that the spoor of the other being's passage led right to the mouth of the thing. No corresponding trail came out. He had to be in there.

Her invisibility spell still working, she approached the entrance as stealthily as a Peregin could manage. It was strange, though. Of course, she couldn't see the Errant; he was probably back in the gloom toward the rear of the cave, she could see that it didn't extend deep into the hillside, but there were still nooks and crannies for him to hide in. But she couldn't hear him, either, or catch the distinctive smell of sweat. She liked to catch the scent of her victims before they died; when sweat mixed with adrenaline with the essence of sheer terror ... like perfume to a Peregin. But there was nothing here. She decided to risk a quick peek into the entrance itself ...

... Just in time to catch a large swatch of the cave floor starting to glow with magic.

Dropping the invisibility, she dove for cover, just in time for her to sense the characteristic WHSSHH of a warp gate functioning.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » October 23rd, 2010, 12:27 pm

Haniko Goto did not fuck around. Especially when the object of concern was an elf, who by definition was several millennia worth of 'dangerous' wrapped up in a humanoid body. Hence, she appeared in full battle-robes, holding her personalized yuuki staff, and surrounded by war-golems. It was fear that made her come so prepared. It was simple acknowledgment that elves were very dangerous, and had to be handled carefully. Carefully meaning maximum available force, naturally.

Arsoro Kurou had come along for the ride, and was dressed more simply, in fairly standard Tsuirakuan clothing. Concealed were a rather impressive selection of protective runes, offensive devices, and other assorted magical items. Kurou had learned his lesson the last time. His default setting when dealing with elves was now 'liquefy.' It was a compliment to the elf he had encountered that he was being so careful now, and he just HAD to thank her in person. With something sharp and superheated.

"I know you're there," Goto said blandly. "And I assume you know how many treaties you're violating right about now."

"Three, if I recall correctly," noted Kurou, "Though one them is a bit iffy in this circumstance. However, I don't think she really cares all that much."

"Probably not," she shrugged in return. "Doesn't matter. Where is she?"

Kurou pointed to a low spur of rock. "She's hiding behind that stone. And not even invisible." He paused. "Seriously, would you please come out now? You're just starting to embarrass yourself."

"And kindly put your weapons away," sighed Goto, "There's really no reason to have them out. Non-aggression pacts and all that."
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » October 23rd, 2010, 4:58 pm

Those definitely weren't Errants.

"Wh -- who are you?" Bauti said, about as nonplussed as an elf ever gets.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » October 28th, 2010, 11:24 pm

OOC: D, we should probably move this along. Do you want to take the next turn with the Tsuirakuans, or should I? (And should we continue to do it here, or offline?)
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » October 29th, 2010, 1:58 pm

(OOC: Sorry. Been busy with other things. I'll move it along.)

"Haniko Goto, Tsuirakushiti Homeland Security," said the one.

"Professor Arsoro Kurou, specialist in anthropology," said the other. "And may I ask why you are messing around with my network?"

"YOUR network?!" Bauti sputtered. "But... what about the errant?!"

The two Tsuirakuans just stared at her. "The... what?" Kurou asked blankly.

Goto frowned. "I think it's some sort of elven term for half-elves. I'm uncertain as to it's origin."

"YES! The half-elf!" When her response was further blank stares tinged with annoyance, Bauti sighed and continued. "Look. I'm on the trail of an erra- a HALF-ELF that was holed up in an old castle in Gervasiel. One clearly in possession of some fairly powerful magic, given how that place was outfitted... Just why the hell are you rolling your eyes at me?!"

"Because here WAS no half-elf," Kurou said, faint contempt coloring his tone. "That was MY set-up, my magic you discovered, and my escape route you've been tampering with. No doubt you were drawn there by the battle I was involved in. The key here is that was me, and not a half-elf." And Bauti's stunned expression, he continued, "Incidentally, I'm completely human. If there are any half-elves in my ancestry, in was a long, long time ago. Now, would you kindly tell us who exactly you are?"

His response was a rapid-fire stream of profanity in at least eight different languages, some of which he didn't recognize. Fascinating. "Lovely name," he commented dryly to Goto, who was observing the elf with a curious expression.

When the storm of swearing had subsided, Goto spoke. "Can you tell us more about whomever it is that you are pursuing? Perhaps... we can be of assistance." She smiled, a very dark smile. And at last, Kurou knew what this woman was thinking. And approved of it, wholeheartedly.
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