Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

For in-universe game play. Journey through both familiar and foreign settings, explore lost ruins and forgotten cities, and try to bring light to the darkness of the world... or, you know, blow stuff up. Either way.
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Jack Rothwell
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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Leo was busy frying eggs when he heard a thud behind him. He didn't turn around.

"Still climbing down the balconies instead of using the stairs like a normal person?"

"It's good practice." Eve replied, strolling past him and opening the pantry door. "What happened to Red?"

"Pulled an all-nighter and crashed out. Be a dear and don't wake her up."

"I make no promises. We got anything on today?"

"I was about to ask you same question. Rufus didn't say anything?"

"Well, the caravan job went off without a hitch but the company who hired us won't be making another delivery for a week at least. The old man asked me to whip the new boys into shape if I had a spare minute. You?"

Leo felt a momentary surge of sadness at Eve's plans, only a year back the old man would have been the one in the training yard teaching his recruits the finer points of how to wield a sword. Now, thanks to his rapidly advancing arthritis, he winced when he sat down too quickly.

"I'll cast around town. Have a chat with Officer Liepzeller and then swing by the vineyard and see if Ms Sorensen has any more work for us."

"Visiting a strange woman all by yourself? Maybe I should wake Jade after all."

Leo grinned and returned to his breakfast.
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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It took a moment for Layla to re-establish her equilibrium, but she managed not to do anything counterproductive. (I'm either growing up or getting lazy and slow, she thought.) The Homeland Security honcho and his people had an obvious, overwhelming tactical advantage, so there really wasn't anything to do but play along. "What can I do for you?" she asked. "Would you like some -- tea?" If she remembered correctly, Kitaura was a tea drinker who didn't drink coffee.

"Thank you, you are very kind," Kitaura answered unexpectedly; she'd been sure he'd decline the offer. Faye didn't wait for a summons, and scant seconds later, the whistle of a boiling teapot could be heard through the kitchen window.

While they were waiting for the tea to steep, Kitaura motioned Layla to one of the chairs on the porch, then took another one unbidden, while the two men with Yuuki staffs stood at attention. "A thing has arisen requiring an interview with you," he said, still as calmly as though they'd met at that weird little food stand. "You, other employees of your vineyard, and certain other people were enjoying a brief vacation outing for the last two days, to a small town west of here that I shall not name." Layla thought briefly about denying it, but there was no point; this man had obviously done his homework. She simply nodded and he went on. "Certain things occurred while you were there that are of interest to my country, and as their humble representative in a foreign land, it falls to me to investigate them."

Ace brought the tea, and Layla made the polite gesture of offering Kitaura his choice of teacup before pouring; that should make the point that none were poisoned. After a silent sip, she turned back to the Tsuirakuan. "We were indeed engaged in a -- salvage operation," she said. "As you know, the laws of this country permit this, whenever a prehistoric, maybe dwarven site is found. We were operating entirely within the law." For once. "If you don't mind my asking, what concern is that of yours?"

Kitaura took another sip of tea, exhaled. "If I might advise your worthy mother," he said, "your choice of tea leaves is excellent, but it would be best to steep them for about thirty seconds less. The tea should serve to enhance the water, not to dominate it."

Get to the point, Layla thought. "Thank you, we'll keep that in mind. But what interest do you have in an excavation where we were behaving entirely legally, and your own countrymen were calling the shots?" Surely he'd know that too; they'd probably summoned him.

Another sip, and then Kitaura set down the cup and steepled his hands in a gesture Layla had seen from him previously. "Our interest is not in anything you did at the site," he said, "nor in any artifacts you succeeded in bringing back for your own use. Your analysis is quite correct: that is no concern of Tsuiraku, as long as our citizens in your country are unharmed as a result."

Was Reverend Orpiment a Tsuirakuan? Of course he was, she realized. Kitaura might have been hinting that he was off limits, even though the ransom note had warned Layla against talking to the Homeland Security people. Damn. That may complicate things. Well, that was a problem for another time. "Then what can we do for you?" she persisted.

Kitaura nodded, and the tiniest hint of a smile might have turned the corners of his mouth upward for an instant, or maybe not. "All that we require," he said, "is a conversation with you and your colleagues regarding another airship that passed through while you were hard at work with your excavations. Your own airship is of no interest to us ... but that airship is quite a different story." The other two Tsuirakuans looked with surprise at their commander; both the smile and the slight emphasis in his voice were ... unusual. Very unusual.
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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"Morning officer. What's the word?"

"Mr Dashwood!" Liepzeller greeted Leo with the fake name he'd introduced himself as. "You're up bright and early! To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Leo cast his gaze around the street they were on. Rinkaiel was still relatively quiet at this time of morning. Bleary eyed workers were making their unsteady way to their jobs, a few homeless and drunks were scattered around in sprinklings of social outcastery (OOC A made up word but it fits the bill :D /OOC) but otherwise there weren't many people to observe the crooked business transaction.

"Just wondering if there were any things of interest going on in town."

"That's difficult to say." The officer replied with a knowing wink. The clink of coin brought his memory back quickly. "I heard word that there was a group of mercenaries in town."

"There's always groups of mercenaries in town."

"True, but these gentlemen were casting about for some thieves."

Leo gritted his teeth, a sinking feeling in his stomach told him were the dialogue was going before Liepzeller confirmed it.

"I didn't get all the details from the militia but apparently there was some theft out of town involving some ruins. People say they might have been of dwarven origin."

"You don't say?"

"They're offering a reward for information of their location. I doubt they're here to give the thieves a stern talking to."

"Duly noted. Anything else?"

"There was an airship battle over the ruins. No-one's sure who was involved in that one but there's speculation that one of the vessels was there to aid the escape of the people who stole from the ruins, apart from that... not much."

"Much obliged, officer." The sinking feeling in Leo's gut was now coupled with a realization. The handsome merc made a note to pay Layla a visit sooner rather than later.
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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OOC:
Jack Rothwell wrote:"Morning officer. What's the word?"

"Mr Dashwood!" Liepzeller greeted Leo with the fake name he'd introduced himself as. "You're up bright and early! To what do I owe the pleasure?"[...]

"True, but these gentlemen were casting about for some thieves."

Leo gritted his teeth, a sinking feeling in his stomach told him were the dialogue was going before Liepzeller confirmed it.

"I didn't get all the details from the militia but apparently there was some theft out of town involving some ruins. People say they might have been of dwarven origin."

"You don't say?"

"They're offering a reward for information of their location. I doubt they're here to give the thieves a stern talking to."
As just discussed by Layla and Kitaura, Farrel, being the Libertarian to lawless place it is, doesn't generally consider excavation of dwarven ruins to be "thefts." As long as the artifacts are at those ruins, and the ruins aren't under Farrelite control (as are, for example, the elven temple ruins on the outskirts of Rinkaiel), anybody with the wherewithal to make off with them is entitled to do so. This changes once they're in someone's ownership (e.g. removal of artifacts from the Temple of the Divine Dwarf or that museum where Faye was held would be considered theft), and of course, nationals from countries other than Farrel could have very different feelings on the subject.

Lots of ways to reconcile what Liepzeller is saying with what happened in that village, the easiest being that he simply got his facts garbled (and/or doesn't know the law saying the excavators, of either group, were within their rights and not thieves). But the Silver Hands, let alone the Gewehr, should not be considered under official suspicion of stealing any artifacts there -- although the possibility that they stole stuff from the other party doing the excavating can't be ruled out. Of course, they didn't; that was the handiwork of Jamie and crew. As will be seen shortly, that's what Kitaura is on about -- with a twist.
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

Post by Jack Rothwell »

OOC I'll edit the dialogue in a while. I was just coming up with an excuse to get Leo over to Layla's quicker, and have a few disgruntled employee's of the researchers looking for the people who ripped them off./OOC
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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[OOC: OK, don't bother retconning unless you want to; we'll just assume that the conversation succeeded in launching Leo toward the farmhouse. So to take it from there:]

Layla thought about it for a moment. Would Kitaura have lie-detection magic up? It seemed likely. On the other hand, as long as he stayed away from why the Gewehr people were at the site, there really wasn't anything to lie about. She took a sip of her own tea; Zachary could handle a bit of second-hand caffeine by now.

"Thank you for that clarification," she said. "We'll be glad to tell you what we know, but unfortunately, it isn't much. My -- boyfriend was underground when that other ship came by, and it sounded like he was in trouble, so I was starting down after him. That took a little while." She chuckled. "I'm not exactly used to rappelling into a dark hole in the ground with sounds of mechanized violence coming from the bottom." That's truth. Much better to rappel up here topside, where I can see what's going on, and shoot it if I have to. "By the time I climbed back up, whoever that thing had let loose was running back to it, and I didn't get a clear look at them." Another chuckle. "By then we just wanted to get the hell out of there, so I wasn't paying much attention anyway."

Kitaura dipped his head slightly. "Thank you. You are most helpful. Mrs. Sorensen, do you have anything to add?" He turned to Layla's mother.

Faye didn't look quite as happy about cooperating with this man as her daughter, but she'd figured out the lay of the land by now. "I was inside for practically the whole time," she said. "I heard the other ship come in, from somewhere to the south. It was funny, though -- they circled for quite a while, as if they didn't know where they were going. That, or they were looking for something."

"And what might that have been?" Kitaura pressed, but Faye's (and Layla's) attention had been diverted by a noise in the lane: Leo's hack was pulling up near the house. Layla cursed inwardly: it would have been nice to let the man know what he was getting into. But it couldn't be done.

Kitaura followed the women's eyes, turned. His face developed a thoroughly fake smile, as a rattlesnake might have as it started to eat a rabbit it had just bitten. "Why, Mr. Dashwood!" he said. "How good of you to join us at such an early hour. We were just talking about you..."
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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"Why, Mr. Dashwood! How good of you to join us at such an early hour. We were just talking about you..."

'Mr Dashwood' returned the Captain's smile and made a bow as if he were a diplomat as court rather than a mercenary in a farmhouse. He wasn't entirely sure who the man Layla was talking to was, and so letting him know he was surprised would have been the worst move he could make.

"Well, they say any publicity is good publicity." He replied, affecting a more cultured voice. "I believe you have the advantage of me, sir. Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing this morning?"
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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If Kitaura was impressed at Leo's courtesies, he didn't show it. The smile receded from his lips, to be replaced by his usual emotionless expression. "My card," he said. No card was obvious, but he snapped his fingers, and momentarily a business card materialized between them. This he extended to Leo, his gaze flat, reptilian and unchanging.

He turned his attention back to Faye while Leo studied the card. "If you please, shall we return to the question I asked you before the arrival of your visitor." Despite the phrasing, it clearly wasn't a question.

Faye and Layla had taken advantage of the distraction to exchange looks and subtle nods; Kitaura would have approved -- a subdued, almost Tsuirakuan gesture. Faye cleared her throat. "Honestly, I have no idea what they were looking for. The site is easy enough to see from the air, no need to look for it. If there was anything else of interest around there, we didn't know about it."

Kitaura looked skeptical for a moment, but after concentrating for no more than half a second, his face relaxed; most likely he'd been using a lie-detection spell and had concluded that the women were telling the truth, as indeed they were. "I see," he said blandly. "And after they concluded their -- business in town, they returned the way they came?"

"Oh, no," Layla answered. "They kept on going, to the north and out over the ocean."

Now that, Kitaura hadn't been expecting. "That is most interesting," he said, rapidly smoothing over the momentary breach in his demeanor. He subtly adjusted his stance to include Leo in his field of view along with the Sorensens and Ace. "Is there any possibility that your worthy group would know where they were going, and why?" Even Kitaura couldn't disguise his body language well enough to obscure the fact that that was the question he was really interested in.
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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Leo raised his eyebrows in surprise at the card, further at the unexpected question. He drew himself up and tried to calculate what the best answer would be.

"if you're talking of the airships that appeared over the site yesterday, then you already know more than I do, Captain. I could not guess their intentions beyond shooting at each other. I would, however, speculate that money was a motivating factor in the aforementioned battle."

"Why?" Ace's question.

"Money's a motivating factor for damn near everything." He said, barking a laugh which stopped abruptly when no-one else joined in.

OOC Is that a tumbleweed rolling through the vineyard?/OOC
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Re: Rinkaiel: Kidnappers

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[OOC: I'd actually imagined the airship "battle" to have happened far enough south to be hidden from the dig, but we can work with this just fine...]

"Money's a motivating factor for damn near everything."

Kitaura turned his reptilian gaze on Leo. "No, Mr. Dashwood," he said. "There is another force that surpasses even money as a motivating factor."

A mother's love, thought Layla, impressed. Certainly there were things that she'd do for her son that money would never, never, never suffice to cause to be done. Kitaura wasn't exactly one of the people she'd ever expected would get that.

However, she would soon be disillusioned. When no one else would ask, Faye spoke into the silence. "And that is?"

Now she was the one impaled on the Tsuirakuan's gaze as he answered.

"Madness."

While everyone else was trying to figure out what to say to that, Kitaura spoke again. "You will not speak of this encounter to anyone outside your organizations. If you do think of anything else pertaining to that most unusual incident, please be so kind as to call at the consulate. You have my card." Without further ado, the three Tsuirakuans vanished with a soft pop.

The resulting silence was punctuated only by Zachary's giggling and cooing; he'd apparently found that little noise entertaining. Layla, however, had not. She spoke into the void created by the disappearance of the three men, or their projections or illusions or whatever had just happened. (No, couldn't have been illusions; the business card was tangible enough.) "What was that all about? Any ideas?"
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