Background noise

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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » July 28th, 2010, 6:45 pm

(OOC: This sequence is the discussion between Rose and Argus after parting company with Professor Indianiel)

Argus walked down the street a ways with Rose, curious. She seemed strangely intent. He had to admit, that focused look of concentration was rather becoming on her...

He shook off those thoughts. "What was it you wanted to talk about, Rose?"
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » July 28th, 2010, 10:38 pm

[OOC: What follows here is potentially rather spoilerific for some of the action going forward. It won't compromise things too badly to read it, but it's being treated as spoiler material just in case...]
Spoiler: show
"What was it you wanted to talk about, Rose?"

Sister Rose took her time in framing an answer. The more she thought about it, the less sure she was that her idea was good, or at least necessary. Was she getting paranoid after all that had happened on the road? Maybe. At the same time, all that stuff had happened ... and having Elgin Bindiel show up in town just seemed like too much of a coincidence. No, we'd better do this, she decided.

"Argus, I'm getting nervous about the thing we're supposed to be picking up," she said. "There are just too damn many people around here that I don't trust, and I'm afraid that one of them is going to make a grab for it -- maybe with help. I'd been feeling that way ever since I visited the Orthodox temple here, and the head priest hinted that there were other players in town beside Kurou. I thought at first that he meant Porpington Bree, or whatever that poet's real name was, but when Brad saw the Millenarian military man, I started worrying about a Millenarian attempt to grab the thing too. Blue hells, I'm not even sure the temple is to be trusted completely. They acted strangely when I was there..."

They'd reached the inn by now, and Rose motioned Argus upstairs, getting quiet as she passed the few employees in the common room and kitchen. When they were alone again, she continued, "So, I'd like your help in creating a decoy. We picked up that probable dwarven artifact back in Centoriel, and I still have it in my bags. Maybe we can turn it into something that some would-be robber might mistake for the thing we're supposed to transport. I wish I knew what that thing was, and what it looks like, but I don't, so we'll have to wing it. Can you help?"

It occurred to Rose, as she opened her room to let Argus get a look at the weird, heavy cylinder, that if anyone had told her a month earlier that she'd be inviting a handsome Tsuirakuan into her bedroom, she'd have either thought they were crazy, or thrown something from her limited inventory of offensive magic at them. However, times did change...
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » July 29th, 2010, 2:09 pm

Spoiler: show
Argus handled the heavily cylinder thoughtfully, carefully. "I may be able to help," he said finally. "What you want, then, is a red herring of sorts. An object that has the look and feel of an artifact of ancient power, while being just junk in actuality. I assure you, I've seen samples of flashy objects that have amounted to nothing."

Argus turned the object over and over in his hands. "The first trick is runes. Lots and lots of bizarre scribblings. They don't have to mean anything, either; just make something up that looks like it could be ancient elven, or dwarven, or whatever. Make them glow a little bit, and maybe give off a sound when stimulated with magic. Add a couple of incantations that look like booby-traps, or even a couple of actual booby-traps. Some embedded magic to make it feel magical, and you have an 'artifact.' The most important thing, of course, is treating a piece of junk like the world turns around it." His spiel finished, Argus looked up at Rose. "That went a little long, but does this sound like what you're looking for? With a little effort, I can make something quite convincing."
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » July 29th, 2010, 8:54 pm

Sister Rose nodded. "That sounds about right, but there's a little more to it than that." She took the odd artifact from Argus, hefted it a time or two, thought about what she was about to say -- and didn't like it much, because of the deceit it involved. But it had to be done.

Spoiler: show
"Argus, it's necessary for the charade to be convincing to the bad guys, whoever they are, but it isn't sufficient. It also has to convince us. I don't mean you and me; like it or not, we're always going to know that what we're looking at here is simply a strange thing found on the road, with no real powers that we know of, and no more interest than lots of other old artifacts, and we're going to have to do the best acting job of our lives if somebody stops us. But it also has to convince Lillith and Brad and Kim and Drusia and Suriah, and above all, Maduin. He's the one that worries me most. Lillith saw us pick the thing up to begin with, but she's sufficiently awed by unfamiliar magic that she'll react the right way to a big show." I think. "She also trusts me ... us ... enough that if we make our own act convincing, she'll react appropriately.

"But Maduin ... he's very bright, and you can't slip anything by him when it comes to magic. I worry about how to do this in a way that will have him reacting as though this is a real, valuable artifact that the wards and such are protecting. How are you going to do that?"
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Re: Background noise (Tsuiraku-town)

Postby Graybeard » July 30th, 2010, 9:05 am

[OOC: Two bits of background noise going at once here. This one is connected to events in the Tsuiraku-town thread, not the Gervasiel one, and I've modified the subject line to show that. /OOC:]

At the entrance to the Tsuirakuan consulate, the evening receptionist's eyes got big when Layla showed her the token. "Most -- unusual," she got out. "If you do not mind, I wish to check the authenticity of this item. Few outside Tsuiraku are in possession of such a --"

"Thank you, but that will be unnecessary, Gyoza," a quiet but commanding voice came from the door at the far (interior) end of the entrance building. Kitaura stepped forward and astonished the receptionist by giving a short but respectful bow to the Sorensen women, who did their best to respond in kind. "So nice of you to come at this late hour," he continued. "If you would be so kind as to follow me..." He turned on his heel as Layla, Faye and Zachary fell in behind him, and as the receptionist sat transfixed in a mouth-open gape.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » July 30th, 2010, 1:54 pm

Spoiler: show
Argus sighed. "That... will not be easy. Maduin is an extremely sharp individual, who continually manages to surprise me. My forgery will have to be beyond perfect in order to fool him." He paused. "The alternative, giving his acting abilities, is to bring him into our confidence. This begs a few questions: how far do you want this secret spreading, and do you trust Maduin that far?"
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » July 30th, 2010, 2:31 pm

Sister Rose didn't like the answer she felt compelled to give. "We're already at my absolute limit on how many people should know a secret, Argus. I'd really rather not bring him in on it, if we don't absolutely have to. But quite possibly we will have to. You understand the man better than I do. I'll defer to your judgment."

Spoiler: show
She bent back to the artifact. "If you can do some cosmetic things with it, there's a spell called Luminosita's Seal that I want to apply to it afterward. It produces certain, shall I say, pyrotechnics when the seal is broken. Nothing that will deter a really determined thief, but it's the kind of thing that would certainly put a highwayman with a background in the Veracian Church pretty seriously off his food for a while. Of course, who knows what the interaction of that with Tsuirakuan magic is likely to be like..."
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » July 30th, 2010, 4:48 pm

Spoiler: show
Argus shrugged. "I'll tinker with the wards so that everything meshes properly. As long as I'm thorough, we should have a perfectly serviceable ancient artifact to show off. With any luck, Maduin will be fooled. If not... we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. On another note, how do you intend to conceal the real artifact?"
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Re: Background noise

Postby Graybeard » July 30th, 2010, 6:14 pm

Spoiler: show
"On another note, how do you intend to conceal the real artifact?"

That really is the big question, isn't it?
Sister Rose thought. Only one answer was possible. "I don't know," she said. "The problem is that I have absolutely no idea what the damn thing really is. The church hasn't told me a blessed thing about it, except that we need to pick it up. The information that Drusia and Harker got is all I have, and that isn't much. We know it's not very large, 'smaller than a breadbox' -- I don't know where that expression entered the vernacular, but at least it limits things somewhat. And other than the fact that it's obviously being handled with great care, that's really about all."

She hefted the metal cylinder again. "If it's about the same size as this thing, then two approaches are possible. Either we can try to create exactly the same kind of wards, runes, and so on around the other artifact, or we can try to hide it in plain sight -- stick it away in my luggage the way this one has been, ever since Centoriel. We'll have to make that decision when we see it. On the other hand, if they've already done some packaging, option #2 goes out the window, and we'll have to surreptitiously make some changes in whatever we do to this one to make it match, or at least make it convincing. That, too, will be something we have to work out if and when."

She hefted the cylinder yet again. I think I'm stalling here, to avoid the thing that really concerns me ... so might as well lay it right out there where we both can see it. "One last question before we get started. Do you think we're running any risks by messing around with this thing? I'd like to think not -- it's been banging around in my luggage for days now, after all. But you're the expert on magic, and on inorganic manipulation. What do you think? I guess I'm kind of putting my life in your hands here..." She smiled to show she wasn't entirely serious, but the smile was tentative enough that it was clear she wasn't entirely joking, either.
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Re: Background noise

Postby Drannin » July 30th, 2010, 8:19 pm

Spoiler: show
Argus considered the object. "I think we'll be fine. Whatever it is, it doesn't feel magical, so there shouldn't be any interference. I'll just have to go carefully. If I feel any resistance or disruption in the magical flow, I'll stop what I'm doing and we'll think of something else. I guess it's just a matter of trial of error at this point. That doesn't particularly please me, but we'll just have to make do."
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