Background noise

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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » October 30th, 2010, 10:43 pm

Every time Bauti had seen that dark smile on a non-elven face, someone had been about to die, usually without expecting it. Another quick glance around left her with no illusions as to who that "someone" might be in this situation.

For the first time in almost two millennia, Peregin Bauti felt fear.

She tried her best to keep the emotion out of her face and demeanor as she answered. "Well, then, let us consult. Your people and mine are on good terms." (At least that was what the member of the last diplomatic party into Tsuirakushiti had said when Bauti slept with her afterward. One could do a lot of good intelligence work in bed.) "An enemy of ours is therefore an enemy of yours. My intelligence source who said the Errant passed through the castle was impeccable." [OOC: Remember, Bauti isn't the brightest light globe in Praenubilus Astu... /OOC:] "So you have an enemy around here somewhere too."

A vulpine smile crossed her own face, not entirely an act any more. "A collaboration to find and dispose of that enemy might be ... pleasurable."
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » October 31st, 2010, 10:26 am

Goto's smile was equally dangerous. She had seen the fear flicker in the elf's eyes, and knew that she was in control of the situation. However, why hold that over a possible ally? Diplomacy was always far more effective at getting what you wanted. "Incredible. Apparently you elves DO have mind-reading ability." Not that any probe would penetrate her defenses, but never explain the joke, after all. "As it happens, professor Kurou and I have been tracking a rather... unusual... party." At this, Kurou gave her a curious glance. He hadn't had a chance to be briefed yet.

"A most curious party, indeed... containing people of interest to all of us. One of them, I would like to add... is one of your own." And Bauti's look of surprise, she added, "As well as more than one half-elf. Interesting, isn't it? It almost looks as if your colleague is escorting them some where..." Goto had to smile at Bauti's expression. "Tell me... what is your thought on THAT matter?"

Kurou couldn't help but marvel at how masterfully this elf was being played.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » October 31st, 2010, 10:01 pm

Now that was interesting. Peregin Bauti started to put two and two together ...

... And got five.

"Now I know where the bitch was going," she thought out loud. "I should have seen it before."

The looks on the two Tsuirakuans' faces made it quite clear that they weren't in on Bauti's deductions, so she spelled it out for them. "For a long time we've wondered where the Errants come from, and where they go if we don't deal with them. There must be a colony out there somewhere. It can't be in Veracia, we've locked the whole damn country down, crisscrossed it rooting out Errants. It certainly isn't in your country. Farrel? Maybe, but we've got people there too. Up north is nothing but a wasteland. So that leaves ..."

Yes, it all fit together. Why else would that band be heading into the wild south of Veracia? So they could make an unobserved sea voyage, of course. They'd probably tried to find passage in Lorenzel, and couldn't find anyone to take someone as -- contaminated as an Errant. But there were small ports down south that could get them all passage ... It had to be.

"The Southern Continent."
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » November 3rd, 2010, 1:55 pm

Kurou and Goto stared at the elf for a long time. A very long time. Bauti was almost starting to feel uncertain, when Kurou was the first to break the silence.

"What."

"It's not impossible," Goto said, uncertainty tainting her voice. We don't know where this group is headed, and they have made use of warp gates before. It's entirely possible that the elf traveling with them is leading them to some sort of long-range warp gate." She seemed to steady herself. "It's certainly worth investigating. I intend to observe the targets for a bit longer, but if at all possible, scouting where they're going can't hurt at all."

"Following your targets from the front," Kurou noted, still uncertain as to this sudden revelation.

"Indeed. So..." he she returned her attention to the elf in front of her. "As I was saying, we each have an interest. Would you care to lend us your assistance. There's no sense in letting a chance like this slip by you."

Was Haniko Goto willing to toss a colony of half-elves into the flames just to achieve her goals? Hells, yes. It was something all three had in common.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » November 3rd, 2010, 8:26 pm

It took a lot to get two upper-crust Tsuirakuans to cringe, but Bauti managed, as her face lit up in a veritable parody of an evil leer.

An Errant village, all tucked away where they think they're safe, she thought. They probably won't even have any defense set up down there ... unless that damn bitch Drusia tips them off. I'll just have to stop her. The leer widened. Then it's on to the slaughter. I'll probably get a medal for this, and who knows, they might even let me sleep with Councilor Skena! I'll have to find my cuffs, clamps and ball gag...

The expression on the Tsuirakuans' faces brought her back to the here and now. "Oh, sorry, I was just -- thinking about tactics," she said. "You're right, we can work backward. I bet I even know where they're going to land, and you know what? We can get there before they do."

The elves had never fooled around much with the Southern Continent; the parts of it that they could easily reach reminded them too much of the stinking swamps of the Anuban Archipelago, and there were far more interesting parts of the world to expand into (until the Errant War, at least). However, there'd been at least one expedition to the northern coast that Bauti was aware of, and they'd have left a travel platform there for emergency use. A travel platform that the bitch would probably know about, at that. Yes, this could all work out very nicely...

"I believe we have a collaboration, then," she said, her smile softening just slightly, but staying of a nature to curdle milk and cause fruit to rot. "If we can get to Farrel or Veracia, I can take care of logistics from there."
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » November 18th, 2010, 9:40 pm

(OOC: Skipping ahead a little while after this event)

Revyl Dirienzal was feeling a little nervous. Anyone would, really when faced with a Tsuirakuan Security officer with a fearsome reputation, a professor with an equally fearsome reputation, and a strange woman in a black cloak who basically screamed 'DEATH.' He did wonder if the bloodthirsty smile on the latter's face was truly necessary. It wasn't much better then the dead look in the professor's eyes, or the aura of doom that surrounded the officer like a shroud.

"Um, may I help you three?" he asked, somewhat nervously.

"Professor Dirienzal, I am Haniko Goto of the Tsuiraku Homeland Security Department. I'd like to ask your assistance in locating certain individuals of interest."

"Oh...yes?" he asked, somewhat stupidly. It was hard for the man to put on any airs when he was basically confronting three of the most terrifying people he had ever encountered in this life.

"Recently, you were in contact with one of them. Argus Cleiviein." At this, the Professor- Arsoro Kurou- looked thoughtful. Dirienzal thought that he actually seemed rather surprised and intrigued. In fact, Kurou was still somewhat astonished that his attacker was associated in some way with Dr. Cleiviein, but Dirienzal had no way of knowing that. But that was rather beside the point at the moment.

"The exile?" Dirienzal scoffed. "I had the misfortune of talking to him briefly. Fortunately our conversation didn't last long. Really, I'd rather not bother with the man..." Ah, there. It was good being able to feel contempt for someone. Even if that encounter had ended in a horribly embarrassing way. "If I may ask, why are you bothering with him at all?"

Kurou spoke up at his. "Because it would seem that the good Doctor and his associates are heading to the southern continent. We would like to know why, and how they plan to get there."

Dirienzal was confused. Why would they be coming to him to ask about the exile? Unless...

"The southern continent," he mused out loud. "Could it have something to do with that artifact? The one that was in the table?"

He had the satisfaction of seeing the three of them looking shocked.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » November 29th, 2010, 10:03 am

[OOC: In case anybody is wondering what's going on up in the mountains in the Snamish thread, as of the end of November. This culminates a couple of hours before Rose, Argus, etc., get there, and SPOILERIFIC...]

Spoiler: show
Wilbur Hamael was near death as the balloon finally came to rest on the slopes of Bishop's Cap.

He'd been without food ever since he'd taken the thing from the trolls, and without water for most of that time as well. If the balloon hadn't passed under a couple of rainstorms, he certainly would have died by now. As it was, he was terribly, terribly weak as he extracted himself from the gondola -- and as the balloon deflated without him doing a thing to it. (Dwarven technology, he retained enough consciousness to realize, despite his delirium. So why hadn't the dwarves included something in the damned thing that produced food? Of course, it didn't occur to him that maybe they had, and he just didn't recognize it.)

He was lucky: that night there was another shower. He drank enough rain water to fend off death from thirst, then pulled the fabric of the balloon over himself and slept. When he awoke, he crawled off into the woods at the side of the slope, painfully dug up a few grubs to eat, and tried to orient himself before going for help. However, the voices he heard in the distance didn't sound inclined to be helpful, quite the contrary, it was a military party making noises about the "intruder" -- and that could only be himself. There were also two or three of them, so that he couldn't simply use the death word and kill one of them for his food and water. The other(s) would see him, and he would be in no shape to use his knife.

It might have occurred to him, if he'd known where he'd landed, that the people of Snamish were so peaceable that even this party would be more inclined to help him rather than kill him. However, he didn't, and the old ways died hard in a man whose brain was barely functioning anyway. He didn't leave his hiding place in the woods until they were gone, and by then, he'd fallen asleep in his weakened state. He slept for hours -- more hours than he knew -- until the light of day woke him again, and he crawled back to the balloon.

He lay there for quite some time, trying to get his strength back, and to figure out where he was. He'd grown up in the mountains of northern Veracia, but this didn't look like anywhere he'd ever seen before. The slope where he'd landed steepened drastically below him (part of the defenses of Snamish that had been so carefully crafted over the decades, although he couldn't know that), and there would be nothing to eat or drink in the rocky talus field -- and too many opportunities for a badly weakened man to turn his ankle or otherwise hurt himself before getting down to the trees. An injury that made it impossible for him to travel would surely do him in, and that was without even thinking about the cliffs below the talus and trees. That left nowhere to go but up, on grassy slopes leading to a low pass ... and once he struggled to the top, he knew his efforts had not been in vain.

Sheep were grazing in a peaceful, verdant valley. The scene looked almost too idyllic to be true. He could dimly make out the shape of a town in the distance, perhaps three or four miles away, and a few thousand feet below him. Once he got his strength back, he could try to make it down there to civilization ... but first, he must survive.

Sheep are not noted for their intelligence, and even in his weakened state, it didn't take him long to sneak up on one, pull out the knife that was the only weapon he'd been carrying when that teleport trap had inexplicably functioned, and cut its throat. The spurt of blood was like the blessing of a god (appropriately enough, he thought), carrying both the water that he needed desperately, and the nutrients that he needed even more. It would be the perfect nourishment to get his body functioning well enough that he could tolerate solid food. He lapped greedily at the dying animal's blood, drinking until he could drink no more, or more accurately, until its heart gave up and stopped pumping the liquid out for him to reach.

He was revived just enough to cut a hunk of meat off the dead animal's leg. He'd gnaw on it for the next few hours, but he knew it could kill him to eat too much now. He took a single, incredibly delicious bite of the raw meat ... and then came the shepherd. "Hey! What do you think you're doing?" the half elf said. "You killed one of my --"

"Die," Wilbur Hamael commanded, his eyes blazing.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » December 5th, 2010, 9:06 am

"I'm not buying this. It feels like a wild goose chase."

This was said by Arsoro Kurou in the depths of Haniko Goto's personal sanctum. Hell, lair; might as well be honest about it. He stared at representations of the southern continent on a variety of monitors and maps and shook his head. "It's just too out of nowhere. It doesn't feel 'right,' do you understand me?"

Goto, from her large chair in the center of the room, frowned. "I understand what you're saying, but Bauti is an elf who apparently has been hunting enemies of her people for centuries." Kurou just sneered at this. He couldn't care less about what happened to half-elves, but hunting down random innocents just because they had funny ears didn't exactly demand respect in his eyes. "Regardless of our doubts, she commands respect. Any leads she gives us are probably worth looking in to."

Kurou just sighed in resignation. "I suppose we don't have any other option." Not since Goto's tracking had mysteriously failed. "Do we have any contingencies?"

"A few," Goto began, when Bauti entered the room. "Ah, Madame Bauti. Did you find the shower acceptable?"

"It was fine," Bauti said dismissively, "I needed to scrub up after a long haul. Now what was this about contingencies?"

Goto pressed her fingertips together. "I have been following our quarry for some time via conjuration magic. Summoned creatures serving as natural relays to my command center." Lair, Kurou corrected mentally, but he nodded. It had been impressive work on her part. Indeed, Goto gestured and brought a series of images up around the dark room. Images that included a couple of familiar faces. "Unfortunately, at some point, I ran into some interference and completely lost the signal. Since then I've been trying to regain our group both magically and with operatives. I haven't had much luck." What Goto didn't say was that this felt a little off to her as well, so she was keeping an eye on Veracia in case the crew turned up there again.

Kurou sighed, forced to admit it. "A powerful teleportation spell might have caused such interference." Bauti smiled at this, triumphant. She was absolutely convinced that she had the answer, and damned if Kurou could refute her. Bauti walked up to one of the images of the party and regarded it for a moment.

"I'm closing in on you and your little commune, Drusia. Do you hear me?" Drusia. Kurou was at least grateful that he had a name to give to his foe. Drusia glanced over at Goto. "Who did you say the others were?"

Goto rattle off details matter-of-factly. "The nun is Rose Nuria-Lucas. Former military, according to my sources. Special ops, in fact, and may be following their orders in this instance. I'm not sure what the overall objective is, though. The young man is Maduin Lochlear, scion of a well-off family. He was sent to keep an eye on Argus Cleiviein." And it was here that a slight change came over Haniko Goto. Her eyes became like hollow pits burning with black flame. Her voice took on a darker quality, as though pure malice was rising up in her. For a moment, her hands gripped the seat-rests hard enough for the knuckles to show white. It was a momentary slip, however, and she was quickly back under control. Bauti missed the incident entirely. Kurou didn't.

"I don't know how dedicated he is to his task, however. As for Cleiviein, he's a Tsuirakuan exile, thrown out for excessively dangerous experimentation." Kurou almost snorted, but held back. There was much more to the story there, he dared say. Especially as pertained to Goto. He would definitely have to look into this angle some more...

"I don't know who the others are, but I'm looking into it even now. We might get some answers as we continue our primary investigation." Her part said, Goto looked at some other readout.

Investigation. You mean 'wild goose chase,' Arsoro Kurou thought miserably.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » December 5th, 2010, 11:23 pm

To Kurou's and Goto's surprise, Bauti chose this moment to pipe up.

"I know another one," she said. "There's an elf traveling with them. Our people know her as Drusia, but when she's traveling among humans, she uses a double name. I never bothered learning what it was, though." She snickered. "It didn't seem worth the effort. She's part of our security forces, but unreliable. She's also a stuck-up bitch, and sneaky as hell. She'd rather back-stab you that meet you in open combat -- what?" Now why was Kurou turning that peculiar shade of purple?
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » January 7th, 2011, 2:37 pm

(OOC: Sorry for neglecting this thread for so long. Life been busy and all that.)

"Drusia, you say?" Kurou said with a strange, sick smile. "Thank you, Bauti. I truly appreciate that revelation." Now he had a name for the elf he was going to slowly murder. "Now, then, if we're going to do this, shall we get underway?"

Goto, who had been watching Kurou with vague interest, nodded and stood. "Agreed. Let's begin our investigation."
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