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--- Log opened Wed Mar 11 00:00:58 2015

01:23 <KevinB> A knocking comes to the door of a certain Dojo. The man knocking is hooded and cowled, his figure hidden almost entirely by a heavy brown cloak, of which he wears the hood up- as the rain pours down in a heavy hail outside. A mess of black hair is hidden beneath the hood- and green eyes stare out- as he knocks with his right.. his left clenching a beautiful note

01:26 <Mad> A tall, lean man, tanned from a lifetime in the sun answers the door. His attire is that of traditional martial artits, a gi and loose-fitting pants. Bowing, he says "Welcome. Please, remove your shoes and come in"

01:32 <Alany> The soft sound of the prow parting water could be heard, slowly the din of both the harbour and those in the grand ship filtering up out of it's bowels. Most of them poor and from wartorn parts of the South, unable to go anywhere else, Though The Prince of Blades  did not know if they would seek the respite they were searching for here. Bringing his sword with him as he turned, he waded through the eager crowds of peasants in awe of the dead 

01:32 <Alany> beast. Holding onto his gaudy blade, although it was covered with an unassuming iron sheath, the hilt was quite obviously one fit for someone even above his station. Golden and gem encrusted, his fingers tightened around it as he walked towards the area of the boat fit exiting and entering the dock.

01:41 <KevinB> The man nods- as he  bends over to remove knee-high boots, before stepping in. He sighs faintly, as he enters. He wears a Katana on each hip, as he strides in and bows back. "Greetings. I heard there was a Dojo of the style my own Sensei taught me founding in town. I am interested in the possibility."

01:44 <@Carreau> The docks are busy with sun-browned sailors helping unload cargo, lugging crates and spooling up ropes. Only one person seems to be completely still, a lithe young man with shaggy brown hair and blue eyes, sitting on a pier post with his legs crossed. He's dressed in a long, open robe of raven black, a sijan skirt of matching color and a purple sash wrapped around his waist. In his hand he holds an ornate

01:44 <@Carreau> > white porcelain mask, calmly resting it against his lap. At the sight of the man departing from the boat, he calmly stands up and moves to place the mask over the side of his head; its featureless visage bearing five red eyes in a star formation. He then lifts up two fingers as a greeting, to try and catch the newcomer's attention.

01:46 <Mad> Leading the guest into the dojo, the man nods. "Yes, I am Platinum Daimyo, a yon-dan sensei of iaijutsu and the Single Point Shining into the Void style. Do you wish to learn?"

01:47 <KevinB> He nods slowly. "I wish to further my own skills in the Single Point style. Though I am... incapable, of the highest levels of it- I have what most would call a reasonably deft mastery of most of the principles. Oh- names. I am Nyumetsu." The man says softly- as the cloak and hood are removed, set on a coat rack by the entrance- to reveal a leanly built man in a light robe, with a pale face.

01:50 <Mad> Entering the dojo, the man responds "Tell me then, when you left your last sensei, what formal rank had you achieve". Sitting down in the seiza style at a small table in the corner, he pours a cup of tea, and offers it to Nyumetsu

01:53 <Alany> Striding out onto the docks, he quickly moved to avoid the flood of the other passengers. His own light, but colourful robes swaying in the breeze. His blue eyes narrowed at the figure, but he took it with hope that they meant no harm. Driving a hand through his shoulder length blond hair, he approached the figure. Waiting for him to speak before he himself did.

01:55 <KevinB> He pauses for a moment. "I have no idea. It wasn't a formal school." He answers softly- as he bows his head to accept the cup of tea- and sits with it, before taking a gentle sip. His gait is one of simple grace- efficient movements, and his casual standing stance is one ready for a fight.

01:59 <Mad> Pouring his own cup and taking a sip before continuing, Platinum says "Hmm, that is indeed a problem. In that case, give me a demonstration of what you have learned, and I will see where you lie. Before you do, however, please, change into these". Platinum pulls out a set of clothing similar to what he's currently wearing, and offers it to the man across the table

01:59 <@Carreau> "Glad'ya could make et." The young man blurts out with a rather common accent that clashes with his groomed attire and serene expression. "Ah 'eard the 'intha were out'n full force yesterweek." He squares his jaw and glances North-East, before his gaze locks onto the man's attire. "Noice. Ah go by Gale. Grand 'ruspex Juuka sent meh to grab ya. Seems ya 'ave sum frens. Quite noice. D'ya need 'elp with ya >

01:59 <@Carreau> > stuff?" He motions toward the ship, before taking a tentative step away from the pier and toward the city proper.

02:01 <KevinB> He nods slowly. "There a room I can change in?" He inquires softly. His tone is calm, quiet- but a quick eye might notice something rather unnerving as he opens his mouth to speak. He might also note something a bit odd- for a member of the Shining point style, at least. He's wearing two swords, on his hips.

02:03 <Mad> "Of course. There is a changing room in the back", as he points to a door on the left of the back wall

02:04 <KevinB> He nods slowly- as the Sensei of the Dojo notices his prospective student must be some kind of a Wyld Mutant- he has fangs in his mouth.. as he moves to the changing room- and after a few moments, emerges in the Gi.

02:05 <Alany> Prince was taken aback by the man's casual words. Shaking that off of him he attempted to decipher what he was actually saying. Shaking his head at his question he simply stated "I am but a commoner now, all I own you see on me." Pointing with his hilt, he motioned towards the exit of the docks "If you would lead the way to this... Juuka then."

02:06 <Mad> Standing up, Platinum motions for him to move to the center of the dojo floor. "Excellent. Now, demonstrate each kata twice please"

02:07 <KevinB> The man nods slowly... as he walks out into the center of the Dojo floor. He does not slide into a stance before striking- he stands as he would in a natural walk, and a hand goes to his right hand Katana's hilt. He takes in a breath- and begins to flow through the Kata; demonstrating an easy skill and grace.

02:11 <@Carreau> The black-robed man steps into the center of the pier at that, glancing at his feet and tiptoeing for a moment, before he breathes in deep and crosses his wrists over his loins. When he exhales, he brings his hands up, unfolding them in a curved motion, like a lotus opening its petals. A thick, purple smoke follows his expelled breath, a serpentine fog that curls around his form and spirals down to his >

02:11 <@Carreau> > feet. The smoke circles around his ankles for a moment, thickening into a disc-shaped cloud. The man's feet get lifted off the ground, and he lowers his hands down to his sides as he steps on top of the disc. Miraculously, it seems to carry his weight. "C'mon then, we'll be takin' a sightseein' route." He quips and motions for the man to step on the summoned  purple cloud.

02:15 <Mad> After watching him go through the kata, Platinum had a good idea of where he lay. He was good, yes, but his movements had hints of a second style, and his bearing showed he had experience in applying the art to combat. "You may stop now. Whoever your last sensei was, I must praise him for teaching you this well. I place you at san-dan. Also, did he teach you a second style? I see hints of another in your movement"

02:16 <KevinB> He nods slightly, as he turns to face him- relaxing back into a standing posture. "He taught me the rudiments of steel devil, after noting I was naturally ambidexterous."

02:18 <Mad> "The steel devil. Not one I've experience with, but I have heard of it. Now, I am happy to welcome you to the Mani iaijutsu dojo." As he says the last sentence, Platinum bows deeply

02:20 <KevinB> He nods slowly- bowing his head. "Thank you. I simply wish to perfect my knowledge of that style, shortly."

02:20 <KevinB> "I will be honored to train in a proper Dojo, for once."

02:25 <Alany> The Prince smirked, he didn't expect a sorcerer of all people to be the person to greet him, nor for such a bumpkin to be the one to have such ability. He took a step onto the disc, each little movement of his body suddenly becoming so much more alluring to anyone viewing as he shed the upper part of his robe, revealing the low-cut shirt beneath it and his rather colourfully flower décor Hakama covering his lower body. Slipping a hand around

02:25 <Alany>  Gale's waist, a smirk across his lips as he stated "Enough of a view already."

02:26 <Mad> "Excellent. Now, as you may have noticed, I am new to Lathe, and this is my source of income. About half an obol per month is my training fee. Is that acceptable?"

02:27 <KevinB> He nods calmly. "It is within my means." He says placidly, as he sits back down and picks the teacup he was given back up.

02:30 <Mad> "Good, good. Would you like to continue practicing today, or is your time required elsewhere?"

02:31 <KevinB> He thinks, for a moment. "I would request a single session, before I move on to other business in other fields, if that is acceptable."

02:33 <@Carreau> "Good, ya should probably hold on lik' so, dun want ya fallin' off." Gale beams the man a friendly smile and then the cloud shoots up twenty yards into the air with both passengers on board, compensating for the inevitable swaying from reclaiming balance by tilting to the side. The sorcerous cloud leaves behind itself long wisps of purple smoke as it begins its ascent at a leisurely speed, soaring over >

02:33 <@Carreau> > the outdoor docks of the Haunches and starting to rise along the outer carapace of the corpse. Unphased by the man's closeness, he seems to be in a good mood. "Ya ever talk'd tah wicked powahful sorceresses like our Juuka befor'?" He asks casually, steering the flying cloud toward the gigantic Spear of Triumph protruding from the thorax of the slain behemoth.

02:33 <Mad> Nodding, Platinum responds, "That is fine. As an aside, do you know any good noodle shops here in Lathe? I've been so busy setting this up that I haven't had a chance to look for them"

02:35 <KevinB> He strokes his chin. "I know a place in the Haunches- though mostly, I cook my own dinners." He explains calmly.

02:36 <Mad> "Perhaps we could go there after we practice, if you have time. Now, let us begin"

02:36 <KevinB> He nods- moving to stand across from the man, after procuring a pair of Bokken rather than his steel blades, and sliding them into the sheathes at his hips after setting his Katana on the tea-table. He turns to face his new sensei, and bows.

02:41 <Mad> "I recommend you leave the second one, if you wish to master Single Point. It has no use here". Platinum enters a one legged kneel, his left foot flat on the ground. He enters the kata, quickly standing up and striking, and from there smoothly moving into the next part from the previous, finally ending by sheathing his bokutou and returning to the kneeling position.

02:43 <Alany> Prince simply smiled back. Holding onto him more resolutely as they began to fly up. His eyes climbed across the landscape, scouring it for anything of military importance as he did so. He took a moment to answer Gale's question as they flew "Sorcery has never been the specialty of those under my command, nor have I had the pleasure of meeting one." He turned, facing Gale "I'm not sure why one would want to meet me either."

02:44 <KevinB> The man smiles faintly. "You may be suprised." He says with a playful smile- as he mirrors the mans motions- not yet in the sparring match, as he completes the ritual- and sheathing the single weapon he used, before returning to his own kneeling position across from the man.

02:51 <Mad> Platinum, body relaxed, shouts "Begin!", and immediately strikes from the kneeling position with a slash at Nyu's stomach

02:52 <@Carreau> "Said ya had mutual frens, 's all. Ah'd 'commend keepin' ya head bowed, 'er eyes got mighty magics woven into 'em." The cloud moves into the opening through which the spear enters the corpse, the vast multi-layered district of the Heartworks spreading out in front of them. Bridges that span hundreds of yards connecting platforms built on monstrous ribs. The cloud starts descending down toward a lush, >

02:52 <@Carreau> > tropical park dominated by an artificial lake, dozens of colorful birds bathing in its waters and chirping in the trees. Men and women in colorful silk robes and tunics are sitting on the grass by its shores, enjoying picnics, games of gateway and more. A fancy marble gazebo seems to be their destination, rising next to a paved path that circles the lake. The cloud slows down, bumps on the grass and >

02:52 <@Carreau> > then flashes into its previous serpentine form. Gale inhales deep and the smoke draws back into his lungs. "'ere we are. Enjoy." He motions over to the gazebo, and the woman there sitting by a small table, one seat empty next to her. She seems to be enjoying her tea.

02:53 <KevinB> The man smiles warmly- as he moves a breath later, swinging his own blade free in the same moment.... his left blade. He moves the left to parry aside the strike- even as his right braces to swing up towards the other mans chest- both Iajutsu strikes.

03:02 <Mad> The parry was good - but it was too late, and Nyu's bokutou was forced against his stomach by the strike, the force jarring his arm

03:03 <KevinB> The man loses no focus- jarred slightly by the strike to his gut- even as his other Katana is freed in a blur of motion- arcing towards his foes arteries on the arm extended to strike- what would be a maiming strike in a real fight- even as he is prevented from sheathing the lefthand blade by the jarring force- and he seeks the void within his mind.

03:07 <Mad> Seeing the attack, Platinum pulls back his sword in an attempt to turn it aside, shifting his feet back half a step

03:10 <KevinB> The man bounds back, as his blade briefly clashes with his foes- and he pulls back a half step himself.

03:12 <Alany> Prince raises a thin eyebrow at the mention of magical eyes, but eventually thought nothing of it. His eyes widened as he saw the artificially created lake. The display of architecture and prowess certainly impressing him. As they landed Prince turned to gale, offering him a hand (to shake) "Thank you, your name was Gale correct? I will remember it." 

03:14 <Mad> Moving faster than should be possible, Platinum moves in to strike, thrusting for the other man's throat. What would be a lethal strike in a real battle will instead stop right before, a bid to end the fight

03:15 <@Carreau> Gale looks at the hand, then at the man and lets out an amused chuckle without taking the hand. "This hand 'ere be quite sweaty, m'lord. Ya should prolly not keep 'er waitin'. See ya 'round." The man grins broadly and turns away, tucking his thumbs into his sash as he starts making his way toward one of the bridges.

03:19 <Alany> "If you say so." He turned, moving towards the gazebo. Striding up with the sword in hand, he gestured to the other seat with his free hand "May I take a seat?" he asked, looking directly at her, regardless of Gale's warning. 

03:21 <Mad> The bokken stops millimeters before Nyu's throat. "You're dead"

03:23 <@Carreau> High Aruspex Nellens Juuka's chiseled features are as expressive as granite, her purple-and-black hair that reaches her jawline combed over to the left of her face. She is dressed in a black cherry blossom-patterned cheongsam with a high collar, seven thin purple sashes wrapped around her waist with their tails descending down from her chair. On her shoulders she bears a mantle of grey and mauve feathers, >

03:23 <@Carreau> > two additional sashes sliding from underneath it down to her shoulderblades. Her exposed arms are covered in cryptic tattoos, winding glyphs of black and purple that seem to move on their own when the light hits them right, delicate hands decked in multiple white and black jade rings and bracelets. She gives the incoming Prince the smallest sideway glance, and it is as if the world about him drains of >

03:23 <@Carreau> > color when her eyes - if they can be called such, more reminescent of infinite pools of spiritual absence made flesh - are cast his way. Making eye contact feels like someone is trying to tear at your very nature, an infinite and bottomless hunger that twists the world into concave, curvilinear perspective.

03:28 <Mad> Pulling back the bokken and kneeling back down, he remarks "Your instincts and skills are good. However, your pre-battle reflexes need work. A large part of my win was because I struck first"

03:29 <KevinB> He nods. "As it usually is. My mind was on other matters, and I was unable to find the calm nesascary to launch myself fully into it."

03:44 <Alany> Prince stared directly back into her eyes. Keeping eye contact he walked over and got onto one knee, collecting her hand in both of his, he pressed a kiss onto the back of her hand. "Your eyes are as dazzling as Gale said they would be, High Aruspex Nellens Juuka. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. He moved slowly, keeping their eyes connected in the meantime while he sat upon the chair. Waiting to see who would break eye contact first.

03:48 <Mad> "Considering the skill you currently have, then once you find that calm, you will be among the greatest of the Single Point practitioners."

03:49 <KevinB> He chuckles softly- and nods. "I find it much easier to find in a real battle, to be honest."

03:49 <@Carreau> Perhaps not even realizing that her gaze was about to tear into his free will, the woman offers but a nod at the expected etiquette to acknowledge his presence. Her hand detaches from his and moves over to pick up the tea cup, bringing it to her lips as she loses interest and glances over to a bird passing by. There is no pot, nor is there a second cup on the table. Her lips then part and she speaks in a >

03:49 <@Carreau> > very calm, surprisingly low tone. "The Prince of Dancing Blades. Quite the grandiloquent name. I was told by our mutual acquaintance that your father is a God of more... temperate nature? Truly interesting, the genealogies of the gods." She sets down her tea cup, before giving the man's attire a half-hearted appraisal.

03:51 <Mad> "Then let us get back to training, so that you may find it anywhere." Standing back up, Platinum beings leading Nyu in kata, and the two practice for some time

03:52 <KevinB> He chuckles and nods- before joining him for a time.

04:02 <Alany> Prince began to smile at her, speaking normally as if nothing were happening. "Unlike yourself, genealogies are far beyond my expertise, although I expect if you know my origin you know where my expertise do indeed lie." He paused, moving his hand over to her cup and taking a small sip from it as well, before placing it down right back where it was before "I have heard many positive things about the Nellens family, from our mutual friend as 

04:02 <Alany> well" He then asked "Should I be expecting to have the same opinion by the end of this day?"

04:10 <@Carreau> The tea has a strange, bitter taste to it that seems to burn in your throat and sends forth surges of vitality through your limbs for the briefest moment. Nellens Juuka quirks a brow at the man's audacity, but doesn't react beyond that. "That is to be seen. I promised to organize accommodations for you on our friend's behalf. Do you have any preferences as to nearby services? I have three different >

04:10 <@Carreau> > residences at Jade Soma. One next to a popular spa and tea house called Sapphire Font, one next to the Alembic - the alchemists' consortium - and one next to the ramp leading to the Haunches."

04:21 <Alany> Prince considered all of the options for a moment, before shaking his head "Your generosity  is to be recommended" The man started with, still contemplating the taste of the tea "Although I believe I will be able to find my own lodgings, I apologize for declining your generosity, however I do not wish to be a drain upon you or your family, no matter how small that drain may be." He paused for a moment "Although since you seem to be a good 

04:21 <Alany> friend of our mutual friend, I would very much like to meet you again." His eyes finally left hers as he looked at the cup of tea on the table. Curiosity radiating out of him at it's blend.

04:26 <@Carreau> "As you wish." She doesn't seem to take offense, moving on and forgetting the whole thing apparently. "I am quite occupied with my duties, but there will be a gala in two week's time or so, if I recall correctly. Consider yourself invited, as I must be there to represent my House." She looks actually a little annoyed, then sarcastically adding; "Should be the social high point of this season."

04:34 <Alany> Prince pondered the situation for a moment, before nodding. "Thank you very muhch for your invitation, I will most certainly attend. However, I must ask, may I escort you?"

04:40 <@Carreau> Nellens Juuka slowly pushes herself up to stand, the sashes on her waist moving about as if by invisible wind. Looking out to the lake, she then very calmly answers. "No." She turns around and the tea cup flips around on its own, its remaining contents still inside, flying after her upside down. Without saying goodbyes, the long sashes then flash out into a spiral formation around her thighs and with >

04:40 <@Carreau> > blinding speed, almost too fast for eye to see, she flashes forward. Walking calmly, step, step, FLASH, she moves dozens of yards at a time, as if skipping the part where she crosses the distance.

04:42  * Alany smiles, watching her go as much as he could. Slowly he turned back to the table. Sighing at the fact he didn't know what the tea was. Standing up, he headed for his next objective. The Immaculate Temple.

---

05:30 <@Carreau> The Powder Flask is one of those shops that everyone seems to overlook when they're making their way through the Haunches. The kind that doesn't bother with windows, just an open door and a thick waxcloth curtain over it to keep the wind from blowing in. The kind that smells of old leather, local tobacco smoke and the distinct scent of greasing jelly used to keep firewands and flamepiece triggers smooth >

05:30 <@Carreau> > and functional. It's easy to walk past without as much as giving a second look at the old, wrinkled man sitting behind the glass display case that serves as a counter. It's easy to forget it even exists. And that is why the ones who try to steer clear from attention and have a penchant for firearms use it. Today, two customers are on their way to restock their supply of fire dust. Their weapons might >

05:30 <@Carreau> > not need maintenance, but ammunition is something that they both run out of. The elderly man, affectionately called Old Chui, is sitting on a big fluffy pillow in the corner of his store, smoking his pipe and stroking his long, white beard with two fingers. A deep orange nuga, old like its keeper, glows faintly on top of one of the display cases, bathing the place in soft, dim light.

05:38 <Crane> A ghost passes through the shop, investigating the wares. Despite her remarkable appearance and good looks Unyielding Triumph blends perfectly into the background, diverting attention away from herself with her unassuming body language.

05:38 <Maidu> The woman known to certain communities as the Devil makes her way towards that very store today, a thin cloth scarf drawn up over her face for so many purposes; to cover herself, to filter out some of the awful smells, and to discourage people from talking to her.  The wide brim of her hat is pulled down low, and her clothes are very basic, earthy tones, loose-fitting and fit for traveling...

05:38 <Maidu> ...long distances.  Well-worn boots adorn her feet and clomp gently on the ground with every step, and a large cloak covers most of her torso and arms, although the clasp on it glitters in the dim lighting, suggesting a precious metal.  Regardless, she approaches the store confidently, swiping aside the waxcloth and taking a few steps in, skimming both the wares and the patrons.

05:46 <@Carreau> At the sight of two people in his store, Old Chui rouses from his beard-stroking, his mouth opening to reveal a row of mismatched yellow. He lets out a wheeze, before starting to fill his pipe again from a small jar. Once finished, he croaks; "Twenty years ago, twenty long years ago, the Lintha came. On that day, before the attack, twenty years ago, a man sold me that flamepiece." He then points his pipe >

05:46 <@Carreau> > toward the ceiling. There is a wooden display supporting a rather bent and rusted flamepiece that probably wouldn't fire these days. "It is a special piece. It smells of hope. I keep it up there so my shop, too, would smell of hope." He then pulls out a small stick with some crusted green substance at its tip, scrapes it against the wall and a few blue sparks fly out before the tip lights up in a blue, >

05:46 <@Carreau> > flickering flame. He uses this to light his pipe, shaking the eerie flame until it disappears. "Smells heavy, today."

05:50 <Maidu> The Devil looks up where he'd pointed, pulling down her mask to reveal feminine lips, although without makeup.  She takes the piece in, then a faint smile graces the edges of her lips, and she looks down towards Old Chui.  "It might have a better effect if you polished it up.  What good is hope if you can't use it?"

05:55 <Crane> With a subtle shift in her demeanour, Triumph shifts into the foreground. "A symbol is mightier than a thousand weapons, ma'am."

05:55 <@Carreau> "Truly, truly." He nods toward Triumph, before looking back at the gun. "It's an old fogey. It remembers old days. It's done its duty. It is not as fancy as these new ones, but it doesn't need to be. There are better arms these days. It just remembers, and reminds." Old Chui takes in a long inhale of his pipe, and blows out a wobbly circle of smoke.

05:59 <Maidu> The Devil inclines her head, pushing her hat up with one hand, which opens her cloak up a bit more, revealing one of the "newer arms" he might have been referring to in a holster at her hip.  She smiles politely, but since she's not trying to hide it, her tone probably adequately portrays that she disagrees with him.  "You can remind the younger folk with actions as well as words, but maybe...

05:59 <Maidu> ...it's better to retire sometimes, hm?"

06:02 <@Carreau> "Mmm." Old Chui ignores her rhethoric and leans closer, squinting a little. "White jade inlaid with blue jade. Balanced for the left hand. Maybe a part of a pair. Dynast make, Blessed Isle. I'd say, I'd say, Ledaal Murakuni's workshop. But unorthodox." He then leans back, and takes an another hit from his pipe.

06:03 <Crane> Unlike Old Chui, Triumph does not let the Devil's rhetoric slide. "Words mean everything. Why does the man Ogata rule this city? Because he is satrap. That one word gives him the power to control all the people of Lathe, to grant life or death. No actions can speak as loud as the right word in the right place."

06:08 <Maidu> The Devil nods to Old Chui appreciatively.  "You have a good eye, sir."  Then she'll turn to Crane, and give her a pleasant smile as well.  "I know well the power of words, stranger, I meant no offense.  But older folks retiring to only advise is... well, it's not something I want to think about, getting on in years as I am."  Here she laughs behind her hand, letting some of her old party...

06:08 <Maidu> ...humor shine through, though she quickly stops.  "Besides, a firedust store isn't the place to argue philosophy."

06:12 <Crane> Triumph shrugs. "If you say so."

06:16 <@Carreau> Old Chui slowly stands up and sets his pipe on the desk, starting to crouch to start piling tiny pouches of fire dust onto the table from a low drawer. He moves with difficulty, letting out wheezes and pants, before standing up as straight as he can with his hunched back. "I'm afraid my usual supplier was unable to deliver me as much as I had ordered. Seems like a lot of the firedust was commandeered by >

06:16 <@Carreau> > the Imperial Navy. Things are afoot, I say. Like twenty years ago."

06:17 <Maidu> The Devil nods, feeling like she's won.  It's best not to argue with her, she thinks privately, and she nods happily to Chui.  "Oh, goodness knows they need it.  My boys are out there, you know, making names for themselves.  I do hope they're alright."

06:18 <Crane> Triumph's expression remains entirely emotionless. "Your 'boys' are in the Imperial Navy?"

06:18 <@Carreau> The woman still has her jade dynast-make repeater relatively on display.

06:19 <Maidu> "Oh yes, they're officers, now, I think.  I haven't been able to get letters from them in a while, but the last time I heard from them, they were doing just wonderfully."

06:22 <@Carreau> Oblivious to the conversation, Old Chui keeps talking to himself while packing up the tiny firedust pouches on the counter. "It's no good, it's no good. They say an entire Imperial convoy on their way to the Caul was taken, pulled down under by the war sirens of the seas. The Pearl Court and their grottos, their ships of whale bone."

06:25 <Crane_> "The Pearl Court has been a serious thorn in the Realm's side for some time now." Triumph's voice remains flat and neutral as she speaks.

06:27 <Maidu> The Devil gives pause for a moment, but confidence wins the day.  "Hmmm... it's a good thing they weren't over there.  I wouldn't want them to get hurt.  Have you got any children, shopkeep?"

06:32 <@Carreau> Old Chui's expression saddens, the frown bringing his bushy eyebrows down so low his eyes disappear under them. Not at the question, exactly. He seems to be staring past the two customers at the door, and the boisterous laughter emanating from the street. His shoulders hunch and his knees give a little, as if wanting to hide behind the counter but resisting the urge.

06:34 <Maidu> The Devil is decent enough at reading people, presumably, to pick up on this, so she glances over her shoulder at the waxcloth door.  After a quick glance back at Chui, she'll walk over and pull it aside to peek out into the street.  "Hm..?  What is it?"

06:37 <@Carreau> "Oy, oy, easy there lady. Wouldn't want you to TRIP." The man's voice coming from the street emphasizes the last word, the sound of a woman's yelp followed by the sound of a crate falling and breaking. Her voice is drowned out by the burst of laughter from perhaps three to four other men. Old Chui then looks at the two, eyes steelen, and croaks. "Shop's closed. Come again later." He picks up his pipe and >

06:37 <@Carreau> > starts shuffling toward the back room, but doesn't make it in time. The wax cloth covering the door gets thrown aside and the silhouette of a tall, muscular man appears to it. "Old man, forgot your tea pot on!?" The man at the door dressed in a loose cotton kimono of dark red, two golden chains around his neck, a sheathed slashing sword in his hand and a lopsided grin on his blocky face. Behind him are >

06:37 <@Carreau> > grinning three other men in similar attire, long sticks over their shoulders. "Don't you remember what day it is?"

06:39 <Crane_> Triumph backs away, trying her best to appear uninterested in the confrontation, and waits for the situation to develop further.

06:44 <@Carreau> Old Chui very slowly opens a drawer propped against the wall and pulls out a small spare trigger, pretending it was what he was going for in the first place. He then turns around and places it on the glass surface of the counter, swallowing so that his adam's apple takes a deep dip. He gives the old flamepiece up on the top shelf an almost melancholy glance, before putting his hands together and >

06:44 <@Carreau> > reluctantly, afraid, bows his head.

06:45 <Maidu> The Devil stands in their path, of course, smiling politely but trying to peer over their shoulders and see what kind of commotion they'd caused outside.  Still, she'll give them the once over, and when she speaks, her voice is chiding and admonishing.  "Pardon me, young man, but you've almost bumped into me.  Is it a special occasion today, for everyone to be so excited?"

06:52 <@Carreau> The leader of the gang looks down at the woman and flashes a broad, amused grin. "Oy, oy, this your daughter, old man?" Old Chui interjects with a quick cough, before letting out a croak; "They are customers, Jaw, just about to leave." The big man is unconvinced, glancing at the wares on the table. "Without paying? You do have my money, old man, don't you? Three obols. You sure you can keep up if >

06:52 <@Carreau> > your customers leave without buying?" Three obols is at least year's pay, on a rough estimate. If the business was successful, that is.

06:57 <Crane_> One of Triumph's hands casually drops down to her side, where her flame piece lies hidden underneath her dress. She has seen enough to know that these men deserve death. Now she simply waits until the right time to deliver it.

07:40 <Maidu> The Devil puts a hand on her hips, cocking them out to the side and tilting her head at the ruffians.  "That's an awful lot of money.  Why does he owe you so much?"

07:42 <@Carreau> "Oh, the old geezer had a bit of a problem with his shipments a while back." The three men behind him openly laugh at the blatant lie. "We borrowed him some money, and now he owes us." Old Chui grits his yellow teeth and squares his jaw, but says nothing.

07:44 <Crane_> Triumph's eyes narrow. The Realm's interference has cost this man dearly.

07:45 <Maidu> The Devil cocks her head again, this time listening intently -- she's watching their faces, their mannerisms, and listening to the way they speak very, very closely.  "That sounds a little fishy, it's not polite to lie to a lady.  Are you boys harassing this poor old man?"

07:49 <@Carreau> "Harass? The old geezer is lucky I gave him this much time to pay. Aren't you?" The man grins broadly at Old Chui. He is not lying about the money, but they are definitely extorting the grandpa. "Maybe you'd like to pay his debts? With interest." The last two words come out with a specific implication, and the three hyenas in the back howl and slap each other on the back at the idea.

07:51 <@Carreau> The man then grins and looks up to the bent flamepiece on the shelf. "Because if you can't pay, this time I have to bend something more than your precious trinket."

07:53 <@Carreau> The three men behind Jaw, the leader, are almost in tears from laughter, bending over and smacking their knees.

07:53 <Crane_> Triumph has had enough. She pulls Penance from its hiding place and ducks behind a shelf, taking advantage of the idiots' laughter to catch them unawares.

07:54 <Maidu> The Devil narrows her eyes, but quickly becomes an "it".  That was all it needed to hear, really, before throwing out diplomacy.  Wasn't its style, anyway.  With a flutter of its cloak and a loud and VERY noticeable click, the Devil readies itself for some pretty serious battle -- its face scarf is back up and its brim is pulled low again, removing the shred of humanity it possessed, and its...

07:54 <Maidu> ...hands are now filled with two very deadly hunks of jade: its Twins, the repeaters that were previously at its sides.  One is kept low, but the other is pointed right at the leader boy.  "You wanna run that by me again, boy?"

07:59 <Maidu> The Devil doesn't give him a chance to answer: the look on his face is enough.  It pulls the trigger of the repeater pointed right at his chest, unleashing a burst of violent flame with full intent to cover his whole body and fill the door with deadly heat.  "Just who do you think you are?", asks the Devil, not expecting an answer as its other pistol levels at its target.

08:05 <@Carreau> Jaw blinks, quirks a brow, and then tries to jump outside, but gets caught in the burst and gets tangled in the waxcloth curtain, unable to do so properly and losing his footing.

08:09 <Crane_> While the Realm-lover deals with the leader, Triumph goes after his minions. Sneaking around to the door, she envelops them in a cloud of flame before hopping backwards and away from her prey.

08:12 <@Carreau> A burst of fire engulfs the three unwary minions, their clothes and ridiculous hairdos on fire. There's screaming, running, and three human torches scampering away from the scene as fast as they can.

08:14 <@Carreau> Jaw manages to tear down the curtain, enraged, face red and cheeks puffed, before he draws his sword and lunges at the woman who just shot at him, letting out a primal howl of frustration.

08:17 <Maidu> The Devil watches him become enraged -- despite its justice being dispensed in the form of flames, it was calm and perfectly collected, so as the man rushes forward, he finds himself only swinging at a fluttering cloak in the air, as his sword just barely scrapes by the Devil's stomach and meets only air.  "How unbecoming of a young man."

08:19 <@Carreau> The man gives out a surprised "huh" as he moves past woman like a bull drawn to a toreador's cloak, temporarily losing sight of her.

08:22 <Maidu> The Devil raises its repeater, bringing it into the light for it to be fully seen -- beautiful white jade, with carvings inlaid with blue jade running all over the barrel and grip.  The blue jade seems to shiver as it is exposed to the air, making it seem as if the patterns are actually moving and swirling, and the Devil gives only a moment's thought... then chooses not to pull the trigger,...

08:22 <Maidu> ...but rather to make a demand.  "That's enough, kiddo.  Put down your weapon, and you don't have to lose your life today.  Go home to your family, and leave these poor folks alone."

08:27 <@Carreau> Jaw drops his weapon instantly and then starts very slowly backing away, unable to break eye contact with the barrel of the weapon. He bumps into the wall, sidesteps, and then starts moving back to the street.

08:27 <Crane_> Triumph shakes her head at the Devil's weakness and steps forwards. She fires three quick blasts of flame into the retreating thug's back.

08:33 <@Carreau> The first blast turns the man around just as he was turning to run, his eyes widening in surprise at the sudden fire. The second blast lights up his clothing and the hair of his chest and head, skin peeling back. The third misses, because the man has collapsed, screaming and trying to pull his burning clothes off, failing. Crawling forward while wreathed in flame, he reaches out toward something in the >

08:33 <@Carreau> > distance and dies on all fours like a dog as the fire takes his life.

08:34 <Maidu> The Devil wheels on her new target, immediately pointing one of her pistols at the killer and sending her cloak fluttering behind her, brow furrowed in anger.  "Why?!  He was surrendering!"

08:37 <Crane_> "And now he will never bother anyone again, no thanks to you. Your weakness would have led to more people suffering from his actions." Triumph casually walks over to Chui. "How much for two pouches?"

08:39 <@Carreau> Old Chui makes a gesture with his hands that might mean something along the lines of "I have no idea what is happening." The old man has his back pressed against the wall, mouth agape.

08:39 <Maidu> "He could have been working for someone.  I could have questioned him.  That was somebody's SON."

08:43 <Crane_> Triumph sighs. "Old Chui, was he working on his own or does he represent an organisation?" She glances at Devil briefly as she adds, "Doesn't make him special. Every man in the world is someone's son."

08:44 <@Carreau> "Ah, well, f-from what I know, he just showed up one day and happened to know t-that I had lost a shipment and offered to lend me m-money. I would've l-lost my shop otherwise..." He mumbles, before reaching for his pipe and his magical tinderstick.

08:47 <Maidu> The Devil grits her teeth, finally dropping the persona, and spins her repeater twice before reholstering it and its twin, sneering for a moment before finally relaxing... a little bit.  ".. How'd you lose your shipment?"

09:01 <@Carreau> The old man rubs his hands together and sighs deep. "The Realm, they're preparing for war. With the Pearl Court! Fools. They commandeered the cargo of the supply ship that was bringing in firedust and other supplies as such. Ebonwood arrows, An-Teng tincture strips." He sighs and bows his head a little bit.

09:06 <Maidu> The Devil nods.  "They probably need it if they're fighting the Pearl Court, but... there's not much to be done, there.  It's a pity that thugs try to take advantage of it.  He bent your firewand, did he?"

09:08 <@Carreau> Old Chui looks away at that, holding back old man tears, but putting on a brave face. He wrings his hands restlessly and pushes the pouches of fire dust over. "I n-now." He clears his throat. "I now have enough jade to start selling my daughter's marble-dyed scarfs instead of weapons. Here, take these."

09:11 <Crane> Triumph takes her pouches, hands over somewhat more jade than they were worth, and turns to leave the shop. "I'll see you later," she says to Devil as she leaves, a faint hint of a threat in her voice.

09:12 <@Carreau> The old man looks at the jade on the table, then at the back of the departing woman, his anxiety lowering noticably once Triumph is gone.

09:14 <@Carreau> "T-that piece." He then whispers, extending a crooked finger toward where Triumph left, swallowing heavily.

09:15 <Maidu> Devil follows the woman as she goes with her eyes.  "What piece?"

09:18 <@Carreau> "... Her gun. Each has its own, unique sound. Like a wave crashing to the shore, like a rumble of thunder, like a roaring tiger." The man turns around and starts moving toward the back room. "Her gun's sound was a tortured scream, the kind that keeps the dead from dying." And with that, Old Chui disappears into the back room.

09:20 <Maidu> Devil leans on the counter for a moment, contemplating what he'd said, then turns towards the exit.  That was a harrowing statement, coming from the gunsmith who'd been able to figure out quite a lot about her own weapons -- she didn't like the sound of it, in any case, but her time here is pretty much up.  She'll head for the exit, glancing back to the room into which Chui had disappeared...

09:20 <Maidu> ...briefly before exiting.

09:22 <Crane> As she walks away, Triumph mentally plans out her next work. The story of Chui, an honest man forced into dealings with shady individuals by the Realm's warmongers, who won't even protect the man they steal from with their ill-gotten goods... It has great potential.

09:23 <Crane> And she thinks for a moment on the other woman, greatly skilled with flame pieces similar to Triumph's own. That one will need to be dealt with, and soon.