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22:46 <KevinB> Nyumetsu walks quietly into his bedroom- then to the closet, in the floor of which is the door to his basement. In the floor of the basement, is the secret door to his "Nyu-Cave", which he then descends down the stairs from- to go meet the Anathema he's been sheltering for a Lesson.

22:46 <@Carreau> The Prince's destination lies past a single bridge from the park. The many-storied garden monastery of the Immaculate Order rises from the northern side of the Heartworks, built on a slope up the carcass' spine, each new level built on top a segment. The limestone monastery is walled off at each level, hugging a long staircase that leads up to the temple itself. The temple is three stories tall, with five >

22:46 <@Carreau> > statues on top of pillars surrounding it representing the iconic aspects of the dragons. Dozens of robed monks with their heads shaved go about their business, contemplating the mysteries of the Immaculate Way.

22:50 <TDS> Silent Leaf is clothed in a simple robe, waiting in the middle of the room for him."Good, let's start your first lesson, then. Today, I will summon a demon, both as a demonstration of how summoning and sorcery in general works and to serve as an example. Hearing that demons have strange minds or behaviours is one thing, it is quite different to see them yourself."

22:52 <KevinB> He nods slowly as he steps closer to her- looking around as he stands in rather plain garb- but then, that describes most of his clothes. Plain. "I see.... how strange are we talking here..?"

22:54 <TDS> "Oh, it depends. The demon I'm planning to summon, for example, is a Neomah, a Maker of Flesh, sometimes also known as a Demon Courtesan. They can weave a new flesh to create new life, producing children of sorts, but they feel no affection for their children, leaving them behind to survive alone."

22:55 <TDS> "Other demons have no other desire but to sing, for example."

22:56 <KevinB> He crooks an eyebrow. "I.. see. So they desire to make new life- but dont care about it..? That's.. disgusting." He states quite calmly. "To abandon ones children seems... to be among the worst things they could do..." He trails of- then shrugs. "Then again, thats why their demons."

22:58 <TDS> "Don't blame them for it, it is in their nature. Do you blame the trees for having leaves or the dogs for barking? The key to using demons is to understand what they want or like to do, and then find a way letting them do it benefits you."

22:59 <KevinB> He nods slowly. "..I'd just summon only ones I liked the natures of."

23:03 <TDS> "But enough talk, the time approaches of sundown approaches. Weak demons like Neomahs can only be summoned by a ritual starting at sundown and ending at midnight, so no matter how much time you invest, you can only summon one demon per day. I will now start shaping the sorcery, do not interrupt me or the ritual will be ruined. You can ask questions afterwards." With that, she extinguishes all but a single candle, plunging the room into deep 

23:03 <TDS> shadows. As she begins shaping the spell, she feels her tattoo become alive, winding and moving in tune with her essence.

23:04 <KevinB> The man nods slowly- stepping back and crouching. Keen green eyes look over the ritual- and to the woman forming it, for that matter. He notices the tatoo shifting on her form, and crooks an eyebrow as it draws attention to the rest of her, before she looks from that- to the ritual- then back to how she forms it.

23:09 <Alany> The Prince of Blades takes a moment to admire the scenery, standing upon the bridge as he observes the Immaculate monk statues. He had heard a few things about it's leader Halcyon Mistral, of her patience and kindness. As he observed the monks moving by, he wondered exactly where he would go to arrange a meeting. Taking steps towards the Temple's entrance, holding his blade close to his side, with a smile across his face.

23:10   | Crane [Crane@97-030-420-78.static.tpgi.com.au] has joined #lathe-ic

23:10 <TDS> Leaf ignores the man as best as she can as she focuses on the ritual, drawing power from shadows, drawing it into her through the tattoos and applying it to that unseen crack between worlds that she knows is there, momentarily weakened by sundown. Slowly, a tiny crack is formed and inch by inch opened, showing itself as a pool of darkness in the summoning circle, slowly growing in size.

23:11 <KevinB> The man stares at the gradual process, stroking his faintly stubbly chin as he does. He speaks no words- merely staring at the woman and the ritual she's performing, green eyes blinking in the shadows.

23:12 <@Carreau> A young woman, head shaved and hands in the long sleeves of her robes, comes to meet the Prince. She bows her head a little. "Welcome to the temple of the Immaculate Dragons. How may I assist you?"

23:15 <Alany> "My name is The Prince of Dancing Blades" He stated, mirroring her slight bow with a little bit more flaire "I have not known much but word of mouth about the Immaculate order in my life, I was curious as to if I could meet someone to teach me, and demonstrate the martial arts it is famed for."

23:15 <TDS> Then, after the shadow circle has reached the edge of the summoning circle, it starts growing upwards ever so slowly, turning into a column of shadows. Finally, at the stroke of midnight, the shadow column parts, revealing a sleek, humanoid being. Hairless and androgynous, it still seems to radiate a seductive, elegant grace. For several moments, it just stands there, meeting the eyes of Silent Leaf as Summoner and Summoned seem to be engaged 

23:15 <TDS> in some mental battle for domination.

23:18 <@Carreau> The woman bows her head respectfully. "Unfortunately we do not organize demonstrations like that. The Immaculate Arts are sacred. If you wish to join the order, you need to enter the cloister as a member and cast aside the life you've had before for the duration of your tutelage."

23:19  * Alany repeated the gesture again, unsure of it's significance but simply responding in kind "Hmm... In that case, may I challenge someone to a duel?" He further asked.

23:20 <@Carreau> "I do not think seeking such a situation would be wise." She responds calmly, bowing her head once again.

23:22 <Alany> This time he did not bow back "Indeed"A smirk coming across his face as he spoke back, just as calm "Thankfully I am not known for being wise."

23:22 <TDS> After a few moments, the demon breaks eye contact with Leaf and bends it's head. Leaf relaxes and turns to Nyu "It is bound, you can ask some questions now if you want"

23:24 <@Carreau> "If you truly wish to pursue such a path, today's sermon has just ended. You might be able to catch someone of rank from the hall." She takes a step back and bows toward the temple proper.

23:25  * Alany bowed back and stated "Thank you very much, before you go however, may I ask your name?"

23:25 <KevinB> He nods slowly, as he rises from his crouch in the side- looking from her to the demon, then back to her.. and speaking softly. "Does this require some inborn ability, like Thaumaturgy is supposed to..?" He inquires, as he straightens out- directing his first question to Leaf, rather than the demon- as a chill runs down his spine.

23:26 <@Carreau> "I am Ledaal Minju, acolyte." She smiles faintly, blushing the slightest bit at the attention he shows her. "N-now, if you excuse me, I have duties to attend to."

23:27 <TDS> "No, in theory everyone could learn this." She steps closer to the demon, as if to show Nyu how harmless it is."And you can come closer, it doesn't bite. Well, unless you're into that."

23:27 <Alany> "Thank you Ledaal, I shall remember your name!" With a laugh, he turned and set off to challenge someone who looked high ranking.

23:27 <Alany> And then turned back "Wait, which way is the hall?"

23:27 <KevinB> He chuckles faintly at her calm manner- stepping towards them both, as he rises in a smooth, fluid motion from the ground. "I see... so why /doesnt/ everyone..? I suppose it's harder than you made it look."

23:28 <@Carreau> She points right through the doors in front of which you are standing and scurries off.

23:32 <TDS> "Yes, it is hard. You need to either dedicate years to studying it, find and master some ancient artifact, make a pact with a powerful spirit or something equally hard. You can count yourself lucky to have me as a tutor, really. Most academies and the like charge outrageous fees or demand something else from their students."

23:33 <KevinB> He nods slowly, as he turns to the Demon- then inquires something of it. "So.. your bound, right? That is- incapable of doing anything she doesn't want you to?" He inquires- gesturing to leaf as he mentions her- before looking back to Leaf. "....And I see. This is going to be difficult- but I take it this is a useful enough tool to be worth it, if it is indeed so difficult?"

23:38 <TDS> The demon walks toward Nyu, getting uncomfortably close before she whispers seductively."Yes~" Leaf ignores the Demon's actions, long since used to eccentric demons. "Of course it is a useful tool, it lets you build up your own, private army of perfectly loyal spirits. A Blood-Ape for example makes a perfect distraction if a job goes bad and you have to run, like what happened to us."

23:44 <Alany> The Prince of Blades gives her another small smile, before brazenly walking through into the hall, keeping his eyes peeled for anyone who looked important.

23:47 <KevinB> He nods slowly, as he feels the presence come close. He coughs a bit as the demon comes in close- then turns to look at Leaf- nodding slowly. "I see... are there other uses?"

23:48 <KevinB> "That is- I mean. Just how many kind of demons are there..?"

23:49 <@Carreau> The temple proper is a large hall with a high, arched ceiling, hundreds of scented candles lit on various platforms and pedestals. Several rows of pillows are placed on the floor before an altar in the shape of five dragons embracing each other in an elaborate knot, their scales decorated with thin strips in five different colors of jade. By the altar stands a tall woman in a long, flowing blue robe, a >

23:49 <@Carreau> > hood pulled over her head. Her form is lithe and elongated, her face breath-takingly beautiful. Her eyes are covered by a blindfold of fine silk, embroided all over with diminutive calligraphic glyphs extolling the Immaculate virtues. She is quietly talking to a slender dynast man, perhaps 5'7" tall, dressed in pauldrons and armguards of black jade, a deep crimson gi and a windswept scarlet hair. His >

23:49 <@Carreau> > facial features are foxlike and angular, eyes almond-shaped and the hue of sunset. Two short sheathed daiklaves hang from his hip, scabbards emblazoned with the resemblance of Heshiesh.

23:51 <TDS> "I don't think anyone has ever tried counting, there are probably millions of them."

23:52 <KevinB> He nods slowly. "I see... so I take it there are risks involved in this, yes?"

23:53 <Alany> Prince holds back from charging straight in and making a scene, instead he waited by the doorway for them to stop talking. He did not however hide behind the door, making himself boldly obvious as he stood waiting for them to finish.

23:54 <TDS> "Well yes, if you fail to bind the demon and fail to banish it, the demon is free and in the same room as you. A Neomah will probably not harm you even when freed, but some demons would gladly kill you and feast on your bones or possess your body and use it to sing."

23:55 <@Carreau> After a while the red-haired man nods, makes a small mudra with his hands and turns around, starting to walk out of the temple. He gives the Prince a sideways glance as he moves past, quirking his brow a little. The woman turns toward the altar and bows her head in what looks like prayer.

23:55 <KevinB> He nods slowly. "So the stronger the demon summoned, the more risk entailed."

23:56 <TDS> "More or less, yes. But the stronger the demon, the stronger the servant you gain if you succeed."

23:56 <Alany> Prince gives the man a little wave as he goes by. However, he waited further still. He wasn't entirely sure what she was doing, but he felt it polite not to interrupt. 

23:57 <@Carreau> The man looks at the waving hand, scoffs, and moves out of the temple. After a few moments, the woman lowers her hands and starts moving toward the back of the temple at a very relaxed pace.

23:57 <KevinB> He nods slowly. "Risky but rewarding.. time limits, if any?"

23:59 <TDS> "A yes. When binding a demon, you have a choice. You can either bind it to be your personal servant, in which case it will do everything you tell it to and be completely loyal for a year and a day, or you can bind it to some task, such as 'build this bridge' in which case they are bound until the task is completed. I tend to use the first kind of demon almost exclusively, as the second kind is only worth it if you have a task in mind that 

23:59 <TDS> would take more than a year to accomplish."

--- Log opened Thu Mar 12 00:00:51 2015

--- Day changed Thu Mar 12 2015

00:00 <KevinB> He nods slowly, stroking his chin.. and edging away slightly from the uncomfortably close pseudo-succubus. "I see... a year and a day, eh? And I suppose if your smart, you can re-summon it shortly after it runs out.."

00:01 <Alany> The Prince after being scoffed at and finally ignored(?) by the praying woman had finally had enough. Jumping forward, he called out in a striking voice "Wait!" Jumping forwards loudly "You there, I have come to challenge Halcyon Mistral to a duel!"

00:03 <@Carreau> The woman stops, turning toward the sound of the shout. The quiet whispers of the temple have gone entirely silent, the few monks staring at the man in what seems to be shock. She lowers her hands down to clasp over hip, waiting for the man. She is blindfolded, but seems to be facing the prince's location very accurately.

00:03 <TDS> "Yes, some people prefer it so a demon can't betray any of their secrets after being summoned by someone else. But enough of that, let's talk about this demon species in particular. As said, they are Courtesans and possess some abilities to help with that. They can, for example, change their shape." She turns to the demon and orders her:"Demonstrate!"

00:04 <Alany> The silence persisted for a moment, followed by yet another moment "I trust there is not a problem with this?" The Prince asked.

00:07 <@Carreau> Two monks, visibly angered, start taking hasty steps towards the man. The woman stops them by lifting her hand slightly, before lowering it down. She then speaks, in a quiet voice that still seems to echo through the temple. "I am High Priestess Halcyon Mistral. It is customary to announce one's name if they are to challenge someone to a duel."

00:09 <KevinB> He blinks a few times at her statement- listening to her words and nodding slowly- before pausing.. as the demon does indeed demonstrate- shifting into a lithe, beautiful woman with a lean build. He coughs a few times, and blinks as he stares on at the stunning female. She doesnt quite fit what most would call classic beauty- rather being a strongly built woman with soft features that contracdict that build.

00:11 <Alany> Holds his hands together and bows lightly "I ask for your forgiveness for not realizing you were the High Priestess, and I ask again to forgive me for not giving my name." His voice lowering down to her level "I am The Prince of Dancing Blades, I apologize for my rudeness."

00:12 <TDS> "She can also spit fire" She stops talking and snaps her fingers at this, an unspoken command the demon follows by spiting fire at a wall."and take flesh and fluids form people to create a child. I don't think we need a demonstration of that last one"

00:13 <KevinB> He nods slowly, stepping back as the beatific woman.. spits flames at a wall. "...I see. Interesting..." He says softly- trailing of. "I wonder how they do as body doubles, if they can shapeshift."

00:14 <@Carreau> "You have challenged me to a duel. Why?" She then asks, not moving any closer to the man, her expression remaining stoic. Her lips are pale, as is her skin. She seems to be from the North, based on her build and complexion.

00:16 <TDS> "Oh, they can only change shape to seduce someone, they can't really imitate a certain person or stay like that for long, sadly. Seducing people and making children is pretty much all they're good for."

00:17 <KevinB> "Rather limited scope, dont you think?"

00:18 <TDS> "Well, feel free to come up with more uses for her, if you want. I'll probably have her stick around here in your house while I'm out, can't always bring her with me."

00:19 <KevinB> He nods slowly, then shrugs. "I mean. Do they have any other real capabilities? Spitting fire sounds not half bad in a fight."

00:19 <Alany> "I know little about the Immaculate Order, nor have I studied it's texts or known a member of it's organizations." He started with, slowly unsheathing his bright and golden blade "I have been told by many of my soldiers and military friends one can learn much of a person and their beliefs through their blade or fist, I have heard much ill of the Immaculate order, but much positive as well. I hope to learn the truth as we exchange pointers."

00:20 <TDS> "They are not bad in a fight, but there are other demons that are just better. I suppose you could use them as assassins, seducing a target and then killing it when they are alone, for example."

00:21 <KevinB> He nods. "Mmm... For example, someone I'm not quite the right gender to get in close with."

00:22 <TDS> "Well, feel free to burrow her if you want to, I don't mind"

00:22 <@Carreau> She makes a small gesture at one of the monks with her right hand. The monk, a stocky man, walks up and peers at the man at close range, eyes finally moving toward the sword.

00:23 <@Carreau> There is something strange in his eyes as he does this, like some certainty the man did not seem to possess as he was walking closer.

00:23 <KevinB> He shrugs. "We'll see if it comes up. Anyway... so how exactly...?" He trails of.

00:23 <Alany> The Prince holds it forwards "Do you wish to look at it more closely?" He inquired earnestly.

00:24 <TDS> Leaf leans forward. "So how exactly what?"

00:25 <@Carreau> "That is quite the weapon." The woman then speaks, calm, before lifting her hand toward the man, two fingers parting slightly. The temperature of the temple drops noticably, and some of the flames of the candle waver.

00:25 <@Carreau> *candles.

00:25 <KevinB> "Do I actually gain the ability to do that."

00:27 <TDS> "The easiest way for you is probably to make a contact with a powerful spirit, but you'll need training in the occult before you can use such a pact. I can give you the training and even put you in contact with a spirit when you're ready."

00:28 <KevinB> He nods slowly. "I see... how safe is that." He inquires as he stands across from her, crossing his arms over his chest.

00:29 <Alany> "So I have heard" He paused for a moment, looking at her before he asked "Would you prefer me to utilize another blade in the battle?"

00:29 <TDS> "Reasonably safe."

00:29 <KevinB> He nods slowly. "And- a pact. That implies selling something for something- a two way deal. Right?"

00:32 <TDS> "Yes. But I'm sure a resourceful man like you can find something they want without too much trouble"

00:33 <KevinB> He chuckles faintly. "I suppose it'll have to depend on the spirit.." He admits softly, trailing of then shrugging as he turns to her. "Mm.. Interesting.."

00:36 <TDS> As they are talking, Silent Leaf sits down, the Neomah moves behind her and starts giving massaging her neck."I'll admit Neomah have some other, small uses, too. You were saying?"

00:38 <@Carreau> "I refuse your challenge." She then says calmly, lowering her hands to her lap once again. "Please escort the Prince of Dancing Blades out of the temple." She then turns, about to leave.

00:39 <KevinB> He chuckles a bit- trying not to be aroused by a woman massassaging another woman, and failing miserably. "Mm. Nothing, I suppose.... so. What do I need to know, then."

00:39 <@Carreau> The temperature of the temple returns to normal, and the monks start moving to circle the man, respectful but stern.

00:41 <Alany> "I understand." He bows lightly and moves to the entrance "I apologize for the disruption." However, it would not end thee. As he finally exited the temple, re-sheathing he sword he took a kneeling position outside of the temple, facing towards it's entrance. Holding his blade at his side, he sat there waiting. 

00:42 <TDS> "Oh, you know. Some things about the nature of the world and of essence. Secret knowledge about how the world really works on a fundamental level, about spirits and gods and elementals and the like. It's hard to really summarise like this, I mostly pierced it together from reading stolen tomes and scrolls from private Dynast libraries."

00:45 <@Carreau> An hour passes and the monks seem to ignore the waiting man completely. Finally, there's a familiar sound, a rustle of black robes as the shaggy-haired sorcerer who gave him a lift earlier squats down next to the Prince, quirking a brow. "Whachya up to?" He has his mask tilted on the side of his face, chewing on a dried pod of a vanilla bean that sticks out of his mouth.

00:46 <Alany> Prince hardly moves from his position, still facing the Immaculate temple "I wished to duel Halcyon Mistral, to test the strength and good will of the Immaculate order, I was however declined." He stated, explaining the situation "Now I am waiting."

00:48 <KevinB> He nods slowly- then busts out laughing- and grins widely. "I see. Stealing from Dynasts? Always something to be proud of. Let's sit down to get to reading and puzzling, then, shall we?" He states with a warm grin on his relatively handsome face.

00:49 <@Carreau> "Waitin' fer what? That she change 'er mind?" Gale chuckles, ruffling his hair with one hand, before glancing at the temple. "'s not like ya can just waltz in 'n expect 'er to pick up a sword. They be busy souls, 'em 'maculates. 'Sides, ya dun think it moight be bettah to git some food 'n maybe a bath 'fore playin' stoic?"

00:50 <TDS> "Sure, let's start. Speaking of, I'm investing quite a lot of time into this, would you mind telling your sharkheaded friend that I can be trusted and should be allowed in his secret Inn, even when you're not there? I'm afraid they don't fully trust me yet."

00:51 <KevinB> He chuckles and nods. "Aye. I'll bring you over for another trip, and re-assure him." He says simply.

00:52 <Alany> "You are likely right." He openly stated "Especially about the food." He seemed to ponder the situation a moment, before shaking his head lightly "But no I will wait, even if they are busy I believe they will come."

00:56 <@Carreau> "What makes ya say so?" Gale pulls out the dried bean from his mouth, turns it around and sticks it back into his mouth. "No offense, m'lord, but ya ain't 'xactly the Scarlet Empress. These 'maculates be real patient like. That's their whole thing. They dun give one shit 'bout a pretty guy like yaself wantin' to clash swords, pardon me Seatongue."

00:59 <KevinB> And thus, several hours are passed in interested study, and a man oggling both a woman and her pet demon. Several hours later- he stands up, and smiles. "Well... I figure that's all for the day. I need to go up- Cassandra should be home from her lessons soon." He says warmly- before turning to head up, ready to greet the seven year old he adopted.

01:01 <Alany> "My gut instinct" He responds, almost carelessly "That's all." With a pause, he considered Gale's other words "But what of yourself Gale? Why do I see you outside of the Immaculate temple?"

01:02 <TDS> "Wait for me, I want to meet the person I'm sharing a roof with." She gets up, gives the Neomah an apologetic look, orders her to stay in the Nyu-cave and follows him.

01:02 <KevinB> He nods slowly- then waits a few as he walks up to go be in the living room. He thinks idly about the lesson he just finished- and sighs faintly.

01:04 <TDS> Leaf suppresses a giggle. "Oh, don't worry. You'll see more of the Neomah soon enough"

01:05 <KevinB> He blushes a bit at that- and just shakes his head quite stoicly- as he moves to sit down on the couch, and sighs faintly. "Mmm.. Indeed. Anyway.." He looks to the door.

01:05 <@Carreau> "Oh, am 'ere all official like. 'eard there was a disturbance at dis 'ere temple, 'n am tasked to keep peace 'n the 'works." He motions around the Heartworks with one hand to show his area of responsibility. "Since ya ain't inside, 's my problem. Fancy, eh, meetin' again so soon?"

01:08 <Alany> "Oh?" He smiled "I didn't realize you were so important." Pondering it for a moment, he asked "They called you for a person sitting outside of their temple?"

01:08 <TDS> Leaf sits down on the coach as well and asks. "If you don't mind me asking, where's the child's mother?"

01:10 <@Carreau> "Am just a humble keeper o' peace, m'lord." Gale grins and stands up, stretching and pushing at his lower back before glancing at the man. "'s not that ya are sittin', 's because ya ain't o' the faith and ya wanna rumble with 'em 'maculates. Looks like ya want to cut 'em down iffin they decide tah come out, see?"

01:13 <KevinB> He pauses for a moment- then speaks softly, closing his eyes. "..Dead, at Jagamaru's claws at that." He says wearily- before pausing. He hears footsteps reaching the door- and the most honest smile Leaf has seen on his lips returns, as he stands and laughs happily. The girl who enters the door, <

01:13 <Alany> "Oh." Prince raised a hand and smooshed it into his face "Please give them my apologizes for appearing as such." He turned, pointing at the bridge "If I stay at the other end of the bridge, would that still be considered as disturbing them?"

01:14 <KevinB> Is chestnut haired and amber eyed- looking nothing like the man who calls himself her father- as she runs in, and smiles. "Nyu! Nyu! You wont belieeeevee what I learned today!" The innocent little girl exclaims cheerfully- as he laughs and grins. "Is that so?" He inquires- the back of his mind wondering >

01:14 <KevinB> How she'd react if she knew her tutors where paid for by death.

01:16 <@Carreau> "Aaaan' it ain't just that, m'lord. See, am real fond of ya lady friend 'n she ask'd me tah keep ya handsome self safe. Am humbly suggestin' ya abandon ya stoic sittin' and go eat sum, 'cause there's one fella who is real fond o' the high priestess 'n 'er safety too - even iffin they dun be talkin' much anymores. Big fella, dun wanna git on his bad side."

01:16 <TDS> Leaf raises an eyebrow as she notices how the child looks and can't help but smile a bit at the her enthusiasm. She remains silent, waiting for the child to notice her or Nyu to introduce her.

01:19 <KevinB> The man laughs warmly and grins as he puts her down. She laughs and nods. "Uh-huhh! I learned allll about the ocean, and creatures inside it- and Mister Sensei-San said it was really important cus we live out where we live, and s- huh? Whose that?" She says- blinking and looking to Leaf. Nyumetsu smiles softly. "That's Leaf, a freind of my fathers- and of mine. She's going to be starying with us for a while, before moving on

01:19 <Alany> "Her safety?" He asked "Someone thought I would be harming her?" An expression of confusion flitting across his face.

01:20 <TDS> Leaf leans forward. "Hello, sweety. I hope you don't mind me staying here." and ruffles the kid's hair.

01:23 <@Carreau> "From what I 'eard, ya march'd in and shouted that ya want tah rumble wi' 'igh priestess Mistral without announcing yaself or ya reasons. Two fleet-footed monks shot out instantly to warn the satrap 'n us in the 'crest." Gale reaches out to pat the man on the shoulder encouragingly. "Les' jus' go eat, eh?"

01:26 <KevinB> The girl smiles and nods- then frowns as her hair is ruffled- hands flying up. "Heyy! Dont mess with my haiirr!" She says with a frown, as she reaches to fix it after it's messed with... then giggles a bit. "But yeah! I dont mind another person! Maybe Nyu will stop moping!~" The seven year old says with a grin- bringing a frown to Nyu's face. "Hey, I dont mope.."

01:27 <TDS> "I've known you for maybe a week now, yes you do mope."

01:29 <KevinB> He rolls his eyes.. then grins at the kid. "Well, maybe. But not around her."

01:30 <TDS> "So, kid. What do you want to do when you grow up?"

01:34 <Alany> He remained still, letting out a little sigh "It seems I have made a fool of myself, too caught up in the moment I did not realize to specify the terms of the duel..." He reaches up and pats Gale upon the shoulder "I am sorry for the trouble friend, however if I am to leave, then I ask of you to help me right this misunderstanding."

01:36 <KevinB> The child pauses for a moment to think- then grins. "I wanna be a Doctor!" She declares out of the blue, smiling. "Just like my Tutor! Cus Doctors help people, y'knowww?"

01:36 <@Carreau> "Sure, let's just go now 'n sort it out laters, a'ight?" He looks about the district, starting to get tense, his brows furrowing a little. "Dun wanna be 'ere when that one big fella comes lookin'." He then starts motioning toward the garden monastery's wall. "We go sneak behind that monastery over yonder, 'n am gonna call us a cloud."

01:37 <TDS> "What a noble goal, I'm sure you'll help many people" Leaf says as she ruffles the child's hair again.

01:37 <KevinB> She giggles and nods. "YOU BET!"

01:38 <Alany> He shook his head "I will leave the way I came. If he truly has a problem I will right it." Prince smiles, patting him on the back as he stood "What could possibly go wrong?"

01:41 <KevinB> Nyumetsu sighs happily, as he sits back and watches. "Heh.. glad to see you two getting along."

01:43 <TDS> "I usually can't really deal with children, but she's just adorable. Have you thought about hiring a nanny or something, to get the girl a female parental figure?"

01:43 <@Carreau> Gale looks to the sky and seems to mouth an apology, before offering the man a bemused smile. "Iffin that be what ya want, m'lord. Am gonna go on record 'n say that proppa warnins were given. Am not gonna rumble 'longside ya iffin it comes to it, am 'fraid." He then takes a few steps back and slides his mask on front of his face, five ruby slits staring at the man before he gestures toward the long >

01:43 <@Carreau> > staircase leading down to the bridge that leads to the park.

01:44 <KevinB> He blinks at that. The girl blinks at that. They both stare at each other. The girl grins. Nyumetsu gulps. "..Not really, no...I have a few people who I make sure are around for her when I'm not, but not a nanny per se.. although one of those people is a woman.." He trails of- and the girl speaks up. "Tutors are not nannies!"

01:46 <TDS> "So, you have many different tutors, huh. What do they teach you, then?" She asks the child

01:47 <Alany> The Prince of Blades turned to Gale as if he said something odd "I do not expect you to fight alongside me, my battles are my own here." Grinning as if nothing was wrong, he slowly began to walk down the staircase "What do you have in mind for us to eat then?" He inquired.

01:49 <KevinB> Nyumetsu leans back- chuckling a bit. The girl smiles faintly. "Well! Mostly things like math, and reading, and languages and stuff!" She says brightly, Nyumetsu having arranged for her to be educated from a young age. "And how to deal with people and be polite and stuff.

01:51 <@Carreau> "... We'll talk 'bout that iffin ya make it." His voice is cold, as the sorcerer splits from the man's presence to the other side of the staircase. At its bottom stands a man, seven foot tall, his long red hair cascading down to his lower back. He stands unarmed and unarmored, his muscular torso unclothed, wearing only a black sijan skirt and a pair of sandals. There doesn't seem to be anyone else >

01:51 <@Carreau> > around, even the people who were having a picnic before have vacated the park's premises. Jagamaru, the Tiger of Lathe, stares up the stairs at the Prince descending, his expression twisted to that of hatred.

01:52 <TDS> "And what do you like to do for fun?"

01:54 <KevinB> She smiles and then giggles, sitting down on the Couch. "Uhm.. well I like mosttt of my lessons- Except Maths! Maths is BORRRRINGG! But I like running around outside sometimes, and climbing things- and reading, reading is fun to!"

01:57 <Alany> The Prince of Dancing Blades looks across at Jagamaru, and kept walking until they were only five paces apart. Not taking a step further, he waited for Jagamaru to eact first, his eyes looking across Jagamaru's body with interest.

01:57 <TDS> "Climbing, huh. What do you climb on?" She asks. Maybe she can show the kid some tricks to climbing buildings and the like.

01:58 <KevinB> She smiles. "All sortsa things! Whatevers in the way of where I wanna go!" She says with a giddy grin. Nyumetsu sighs warmly- just happy to see someone innocent and happy.

01:59 <TDS> "Do you climb on the buildings sometimes, too? I could show you some tricks if you want and your father allows it." Leaf looks at Nyu.

02:01 <KevinB> Nyu chuckles, as the girl nods. "I dont usuallyyy get up onto buildings- but sometimes it's nice to go on the roof to get a good view!" Nyumetsu chuckles. "Well, so long as your safe.."

02:03 <TDS> "Really? You'll have to show me the spots with the best view when you have the time, I'm new to the city."

02:03 <@Carreau> The towering dynast slowly extends his hands to his sides, fingers spreading and curling. His shoulders lower and he takes a small step forward, his body tensing with a surge of predatory prowess. The air about him ripples from invisible heat, blurring his silhouette as his skin then starts to darken around his shoulders, red stripes starting to appear in symmetric, curved patterns to his chest, sides, >

02:03 <@Carreau> > stomach and biceps. His fingernails elongate and extend out into vicious red talons, steam roiling from his mouth that opens to let out a long exhale. The humidity in the air starts to condense into wisps of white steam that rise in striped patterns about him, forming his iconic anima.

02:06 <KevinB> Nyumetsu sighs happily... even as The girl nods happily. "Sure!~ "

02:08 <TDS> "But only if you do good with all your tutors, even maths, understood?"

02:09 <KevinB> The girl pouts for a moment. "Hrmph. Yeah, your a grown up alright.. but okay!"

02:09 <@Carreau> The ground beneath the dynast cracks as he launches into action, moving up the staircase in leaps of five steps at a time, hands extended to the sides, eyes fixated on his target. His pupils are but slits, steam flowing about him in a vortex.

02:16 <TDS> Leaf keeps her eyes open as she walks down the busy street with Nyu. She is getting a feel for the city's streets and feels a lot safer knowing she has her two demon servants with her in case anything goes wrong, even if the Neomah is more useful for distracting Nyu than for anything else.

02:19 <Alany> The Prince of Blades elegantly unsheathes his Orchalcum blade, the Starmetal symbols upon the blade glaring with the prismatic light, creating the constellation of The Lover. The iron sheath flying up the stairs. Taking up his stance upon the stairs, lowering his body it almost appeared to be the start of a dance as Jagamaru approached.

02:19 <Mad> A man wanders through the same street, searching for something. He's tall, and carries a katana in a black wood sheath. He looks over and sees Nyu, and his face lights up, and starts wading through the crowd towards him.

02:20 <TDS> Leaf notices the man suddenly heading towards them and subtly nudges Nyu, asking wordless if he knows the man and if they have a reason to worry.

02:23 <@Carreau> The Tiger of Lathe, arage with savage hatred, closes the gap between the two with blinding speed while reaching for the swordsman's throat. His hair flares out in a halo about him, scalding steam bursting out in the imagery of a feline predator's maw in his wake.

02:23 <KevinB> Nyumetsu blinks- and then waves at the man- responding softly in a whisper to leaf. "My Swordsmanship Sensei, and a good man." He'd explain to leaf- before smiling warmly, and speaking louder. "Hail!" He announces, before bowing his head respectfully.

02:28 <Mad> "Nyumetsu, Nyumetsu! How have you been these past few days? Since I last saw you, the dojo has been filled with activity. I have 10 new students, and 10 experienced practitioners. I even have another skilled sensei to spar with!"

02:29 <Mad> Clearly happy, he goes on, "Do you remember that noodle shop you told me about? I've been looking for it to no avail"

02:31 <TDS> Leaf clears her throat and whispers to Nyu. "Aren't you going to introduce us?"

02:32 <KevinB> He chuckles a bit- then blushes at Leafs talking- then grins. "Ah! Sensei, this is Silent Leaf- a freind of my family, staying with me at my home for a while."

02:34 <TDS> Leaf holds out her hand with a slight smile. "A pleasure to meet you."

02:34 <Mad> "Oh, forgive me for ignoring you. It's a pleasure to meet you." He cheerfully holds out his hand

02:35 <KevinB> The man smiles winningly at them both.

02:36 <TDS> "So, you have a dojo in the city? What do you teach?"

02:37 <Mad> "Iaijutsu, mostly. For those who show promise, I teach them in the style of the Single Point. Are you a practitioner of the martial arts?"

02:37 <TDS> "Oh no, I'm not really good at a straight fight, I'm afraid. I prefer to solve my problems through other means."

02:40 <Mad> "True, not everyone can be skilled in the art of battle. I hope your means do not rob your foes of their dignity." As he says the last words, Platinum lets out a hint of steel in his voice.

02:41 <Mad> "In any case, where are you two headed?"

02:41 <TDS> "I leave my foes exactly as much dignity as they deserve, nothing more, nothing less."

02:43 <Alany> The Prince starts his performance, signalled by the short clang of iron upon the stairs. Time seemed to slow down, his blond hair moving through the air as he twirled on the ball of his foot, facing the same way as Jagamaru as he stepped backwards into his body. Utilizing the blunt side of his blade, pushing lightly at Jagamaru's outreaching arm downwards into the stairs beneath them. Hopefully then after that taking a second step out of his 

02:43 <Alany> reach.

02:45 <KevinB> Nyumetsu chuckles. "We're headed to an Inn, to have a drink and speak to some freinds of mine- but I wouldnt mind showing you to the noodle shop quickly before we part ways, eh?" He says warmly, arm still looped to hold Leafs, as on the previous trip.

02:46 <Mad> "That would be wonderful, thank you. Let us be off"

02:47 <TDS> "Yes, let's go"

02:49 <KevinB> He nods- and procedes to detour to the noodle shop, humming.

02:52 <@Carreau> The claws sink into the stair, sending forth rubble and a cloud of dust, before he pulls backward to let out a hiss through his teeth.

02:52 <TDS> "So, you must really like noodles if you keep looking for this shop. Most people would probably have given up."

02:54 <Mad> "Oh, I love noodles. I've made it a small goal to try every noodle shop in this city." His voice drops to a whisper, as he goes on, "I hate to admit it, but you could probably bribe me with a new type of noodle"

02:55 <KevinB> Nyumetsu chuckles faintly, as he walks on towards the shop, leading them to it. "Mm.. You dont say?"

02:55 <TDS> "Hmm, I'll remember that. So, what brings you to this city beside the noodles? What do you hope to accomplish here?"

02:57 <@Carreau> As the Prince spins around, the predatory dynast's eyes follow his movements, waiting patiently like a crouched tiger, hand still sunken into the cracked stairs.

02:57 <@Carreau> He seems to be waiting for the man to make a move, any kind, ready to react.

02:57 <Mad> "Well, the Lintha attacked my home island, and certain... circumstances forced me to leave. Right now, I'm finding myself again, and who knows, maybe I can get that good-for-nothing Realm to properly deal with those damn Lintha"

02:58 <TDS> "Yeah, I know that feel. I was forced to flee my home and am trying to build up here, again."

02:58 <KevinB> Nyumetsu chuckles at that- mostly focused on guiding them both, rather than the conversation. "I see.."

03:00 <Mad> "Do you mind telling me why? We might be in similar positions, after all."

03:01 <TDS> "I do mind, actually. A lady has to keep a few secrets, you know. I'm afraid I don't know you that well yet."

03:03 <Mad> Chuckling, Platinum nods. "Well, so long as you're not a friend of the realm, I'm sure we won't have much trouble getting along"

03:03 <KevinB> Nyumetsu nods warmly. "I agree fully."

03:04 <Alany> The Prince of Blades stays perfectly still, waiting for the Dynast's next attack. The air between them solid with tension as their gazes met. 

03:04 <@Carreau> Jagamaru suddenly lunges with his free hand toward the man's leg, testing his reflexes and forcing him to commit to more defense.

03:05 <TDS> "Oh don't worry, I'm not a friend of the realm at all."

03:13 <KevinB> And eventually- they come to a small noodle shop, with a plain wooden sign over the rickety building. Nyumetsu leads the way in- and the smell of assorted cooking hits them. It's a warm, freindly atmosphere.

03:14 <KevinB> Inside the shop, and the room is suprisingly well lit, as the air hangs heavy with spices and seasonings.

03:15 <Mad> Breathing in deeply through his nose, Platinum exclaims "What a wonderful smell! Thank you Nyu, we'll have to eat together here at some point!"

03:16 <TDS> "Hmm, I must admit I was sceptical of this Noodle Shop of yours, but this place does look halfway acceptable. But we really should go, don't forget, we have things to do."

03:17 <KevinB> Nyu nods. "Definitly some time. BUt for now- I have family mattters to atend to." He says warmly- moving to leave with Leaf after bowing to Platinum. "May you enjoy your time here!"

03:20 <Alany> Servant jabs his blade into the ground, catching Jagamaru's wrist as it approaches, diverting it's course with the length of the flat sword while Prince himself took steps in the opposite direction, bringing his sword with him.

03:26 <TDS> While leaving, Silent Leaf turns back and says "It was a pleasure meeting you, I hope we meet again and enjoy your meal."

03:26 <@Carreau> The swipe misses, but the Tiger does not mind. His tactic is to wear down his prey and the consume him, forcing the enemy to commit to his defense until he is too tired to continue. He stares at the man with savage hatred, dedicated to his demise.

03:33 <@Carreau> The tiger lowers down to his hunting stance, his leg scraping along the stairs much like a great cat's tail would, waiting for the twirling swordsman to run out of breath.

03:37 <Alany> The Dancer slowly moved across the area at the bottom of the stairs, circling his opponent. His moves whimsical as his improvised dance continued, the golden blade slicing through the air as he did so.

03:38 <@Carreau> The predator follows the man's movements patiently, looking for openings more than paying attention to any sort of a performance.

03:43 <@Carreau> Jagamaru squares his jaw, bowing his head a little lower before he explodes into action. The stairs shatter as he leaps up, bringing up two claws at the same time to go for the man's throat, matching his speed exactly.

03:54 <@Carreau> The Tiger of Lathe matches the man's twirl, spinning around on his heel. Using the torque of his twisting pelvis, he then brings up his hand and seizes the sword-dancer by the throat, lifting him off his feet.

04:03 <@Carreau> Staring at the man from below, the Tiger of Lathe holds the Prince by his throat. There is nothing but sheer, bitter hatred in his eyes - the kind of a man who has lost everything but the memory of something he once loved. His claws curl around the man's neck, steam flowing down from his open mouth, droplets condensing on his shoulders before they turn into wisps of white as well. "Anyone but her." He >

04:03 <@Carreau> > growls in an almost guttural tone, before his finger runs along the man's carotid artery and his thumb flashes over the man's laryngeal prominence. Then, there is blood.

04:45 <Alany> Prince almost began to grin as Jagamaru grappled him, his plan almost working perfectly. Soon that smirk contorting into an agonized mask, the Tiger of Lathe's claws gouging out his eyeball. Squirming as he kept quiet from the pain, panting as he tried to resist screaming. With a little prayer to the Unconquered Sun to aid him, he opened his mouth. Only for blood to come from his lips, spilling over Jagamaru's hands. Coughing lightly, he 

04:45 <Alany> finally managed to speak "G-Good martial arts." He spoke, before initiating the last step, his words overlayed with charms. "I am glad I managed to fight today, Halcyon Mistral denied me the pleasure of sparring with her."

04:46 <@Carreau> Pushing his clawed thumb deeper into the man's socket, Jagamaru simply snarls in response, his hair tossed about by the rising steam of his anima that encircles him.

04:59 <@Carreau> Realizing that he is about to kill his sparring opponent, Jagamaru grunts and haphazardly flicks the man aside, releasing him from his killer's grip. The stripes of red on his skin start to fade, his elongated claws shrinking to their normal shape. "You cannot win a fight by keeping away." He offers this piece of advice, before turning to look at the temple rising at the top of the stairs. He stays quiet >

04:59 <@Carreau> > for a moment, as if longing, before turning around. "But this is the last time I serve as her champion." He then starts descending down the stairs, his wrist still covered in the Prince's blood for where he punctured the man's eye with his thumb.

05:01 <Alany> Prince kept himself aloft, grinning like an idiot as blood poured down his cheek. Coughing up blood, he shouts out to Jagamaru's back "Thank you for your pointers, Tiger of Lathe!" Before doubling over coughing once more, sending blood over the steps. He turned to Gale who had been watching the fight with a blood covered smile.

05:01 <@Carreau> Gale rushes over to the bleeding Prince, sliding along the sloped edge of the staircase before hopping next to him, scratching the back of his head.

05:03 <@Carreau> "Gotta say, m'lord, ya kind of walk'd into that one on ya own." He then lets out a small 'eesh' under his mask, focusing on the missing eye. "That's no good."

05:07 <Alany> Prince shrugged "A brother is like a good limb." He raised his arm, slowly clasping it and unclasping it "Although my sacrifice will not end here, this will have it's benefits." Prince yawned, wiping his brow of sweat and replacing it with blood "You said something about a bath and food, did you not?"

05:10 <@Carreau> "... Yeah, les go." Gale shakes his head a little bit before leading the wounded Prince away from the Heartworks.

---

05:13 <Mad> Back in the Haunches, Platinum finishes his third bowl of noodles. Tossing some coins to the counter with a smile and a promise to return some time, he leaves the shop. Walking down the street back to Jade Soma district, he then remembers that with all the new students, he'd been running out of practice swords. While a bokken was well and good, it wasn't the same as an actual katana.

05:26 <@Carreau> A flash of white light emanates from the windows of an octagonal building, the sound of hammer on metal echoing from within as Platinum passes. Inside, a tall woman with deep ebony skin works a forge and anvil, hammering a curved piece of red-hot metal that takes on an orange tinge very much akin to the color of her hair.

05:32 <@Carreau> She beats the metal with three quick strokes, folding it onto itself before hammering it out flat. She then repeats the process and lifts the blade up, assessing it up close. The shape is very familiar, making Platinum remember the weight of his sword at his hip.

05:34 <Mad> Intrigued by a sword so similar to his own, one that he knows is more than just steel, Platinum looks for a door, or a sign describing who works there

05:36 <@Carreau> The door is ajar, and heat emanates from within. There is no sign or any sort of an identifier, but the place is empty except for the woman working the forge.

05:37 <Mad> Slightly hesitantly, Platinum enters the door. He makes his way to the forge, and stands in the doorway, waiting for her to reach a break in the forging process

05:40 <@Carreau> She quenches the blade in a barrel, wiping her brow with her wrist absently and then noticing the man. She doesn't react, giving the man a thorough look before noticing his sword. She makes a small gesture with two fingers toward it. "Quite the blade."

05:44 <Mad> "You can tell without even seeing it? Quite the eyes you have there. The one you're forging now seems similar, in a way. But before I say more, I would like to know your feelings on the Realm. You're clearly not a Prince of the Earth; you'd be in their territory if you were."

05:46 <@Carreau> She laughs dryly at that and shakes her head. "Its tsuba has orichalcum and meteoric metal." She pulls off her gloves and unhooks her apron, tossing it aside before turning to face him. "And no, I'm not Dragon-blooded. I'm just a girl who likes the warmth of the forge. Enough, apparently, to be blessed by the divine."

05:51 <Mad> Seeing the truth in her words, Platinum relaxes. "In that case, may I show you the blade? I wish to know the past behind this sword. For years, I saw it used in kata, and not until I drew it in desperation did it look as it does now"

05:51 <@Carreau> She takes a few steps forward, with interest, extending her hands out to receive the sword.

05:53 <Mad> Bowing his head, Platinum removes it from its sheath, the blade glittering, and carefully placed it horizontally in her two hands

05:55 <@Carreau> She picks up the blade routinely, but with reverence. Turning the blade around in her hands, she runs one finger along the length, nail tracing the indentations. She then flips the blade around, sets the blade down and takes it into a half-grip, as if testing its weight. "... I hate to admit, but I doubt I could make a weapon as fine as this. It has... a spirit in it, I think."

05:58 <Mad> "That's quite the admission, especially to one you've only just met. But, that's not all there is to this sword. My sensei, who would use it in our kata, always told me it was far too heavy to be a real weapon. But whenever I swing it, it feels more balanced than the best weapon of the best smith of my isle"

06:04 <@Carreau> "It is an ancient artifact that requires that the user harmonizes their flow of Essence with its movements. Not a task for mortal men." He gives the man a quick, meaningful glance, before pulling up the blade and taking a rather strange stance, blade lifted over her shoulder. She bends at her knees and hums to herself.

06:08 <@Carreau> Her style seems to be all about countering with her left hand and following up with lightning-quick killing strokes from behind the shoulder, using the leverage gained by redirecting a blow and rotating her body for more momentum to the blade. It is likely she'd use her palm to deflect an enemy's attack aside and with the same twisting motion decapitate them.

06:10 <Mad> "You got me. Now, that's quite the interesting stance you have there. Does it have a name?"

06:12 <@Carreau> She glances over to the man and offers him a nod. "You have keen eyes. It is the form of the Susurrous Calamity style."

06:13 <@Carreau> She lowers the blade and twists it to the side, nodding her head a little bit. "This blade was made for the art perfected by Eternal Nova, the greatest of swordsmiths."

06:16 <Mad> "Eternal Nova? I've heard the name, but I can't for the life of me remember where. What was his art?"

06:18 <@Carreau> "He was the mythic creator of the style, known as the Sword Priest to some. He vanquished his own shadow with a single cut and carved a path out of oblivion. A single point... Shining into the void."

06:20 <Mad> "Oh. Ahaha. Ahahahaha!" Platinum begins laughing, realization coming to his mind. "Aha, ha. Forgive me, but the irony was too rich. I am a practitioner of Single Point, and I have almost mastered the style"

06:21 <Mad> "I remember where I heard his name now. Back when I was first learning the basics, using my iaijutsu roots, my sensei told me the history of the style"

06:22 <@Carreau> She glances at the man and offers a faint smile at his laughter. "I would expect so. I'd say you have a long way to go before you truly master the art of Single Point Shining Into the Void." She then offers the blade to the man, hilt first. "This blade can teach you things about Eternal Nova and his style that transcend its limitations."

06:28 <@Carreau> "Come to me if you ever master its techniques without having to rely on the guidance of the blade itself. I will... assist you." She then picks up her apron and pulls it on. "I should get to work."

06:30 <Mad> Platinum accepts the blade, and sheaths it again. He responds, "Thank you, for your time and advice. I won't hold you from your work any longer. One final question: would the Dragonbloods realize this blade is no ordinary steel?"

06:32 <@Carreau> "With ease. But carrying one ... does not make you anathema." She says after a moment's consideration. "Simply suspicious. If you were attached to one of the Great Houses by loyalty or friendship, though, nobody would question you having it."

06:34 <Mad> "Then until or unless I gain the favor of one of the Houses, I will take care in using it. I wish you luck on your current blade." He bows, and leaves the forge and house

06:35 <Mad> Platinum heads back to his dojo, happy with his commission of 10 practice swords, and the advice the woman gave forefront in his mind

---

06:40 <Crane> Triumph sits, admiring the fresh scorch marks on the walls. Her precision is increasing, as it needs to if she wants to compete with that other woman. She could tell that she would have been outmatched if they had fought back in the shop. After a moment's contemplation, she turns to focus on the canvas before her, brush at the ready. Slowly and delicately she writes, making sure that every letter is perfectly formed and framed, each word 

06:40 <Crane> delicately chosen for maximum impact. Finally she stands back to admire her work.

06:40 <Crane> "LATHE IS UNDER SIEGE! Enemies of the Realm are everywhere! Do YOUR part by opposing these insurgents!"

06:40 <Crane> Triumph smiles. A bland piece of pro-Realm propaganda on the surface, but the precise phrasing and careful positioning of her words conceals a far more subtle message.

06:40 <Crane> The next day she makes three copies of the poster, assembles a quick disguise, takes a small letter - undoubtedly written by the Most Enlightened Mistral - asserting that she has permission to display them, and walks up to the Heartworks to spread her message to the people of Lathe.  

---

[17:48] <Iri> <-->

[17:49] <Iri> The hustle of the blue esplanade does not abate for anyone. An veiled archer at the end of the pier ruminates on the thought as she stares out into the sea. Trade doesn't stop for the fallen; life goes on despite the dead. The lesson is difficult to stomach for someone who wishes the world to stop for a moment and give her time to catch her breath.

[17:49] <Iri> Pluck draws herself back to the present, and gives a stern but poignant reprimand to herself. Her profession demands a certain apathy towards death- at least a tolerance. She is not so old to be drawn easily into reminiscence, not yet. She turns to face back down the pier, where, to the lonely tune of a dozen flutes, a procession of her black-clad soldiers marches towards the end. Borne on their strong shoulders is a small barge, laden with straw, glazed with oil, and containing the pale corpse of Perttu. The young unfortunate is veiled in white. Behind them walk the boys parents, who- she is displeased to note- have worn bright yellow sashes across their darker mourning garb.

[17:49] <Iri> On land, at the base of the pier, other members of the family and assorted guests have gathered beneath the shade. Servants pass about wine-horns, and the mood is a sort of restrained festivity. Nearby, a pair immaculate monks watch silently. Not invited to the funeral nor part of it, the bald men still have found time to survey the formalities. They have a way of showing up to events that key into the people's spirituality, for what is religion, if not a way to answer and justify death?

[17:50] <KevinB> Among the crowd of watches, having already given what comfort he can to the boys parents- stands a man dressed in naught but black. He wears a simple garment- plain, functional, unadorned- and with it, a cloak and hood. He looms at the edge- a spectre in black, hood thrown back to show a vibrantly youthful face, >

[17:51] <KevinB> Locked in a scowl as he quietly looms near the edge of the festivities, emerald eyes peering out over the crowd as he stands, leaning against a pole and watching from the edge of it all.

[17:53] <Crane> Also near the edge of the crowd, dressed in black and her hair dyed a plain brown, is Unyielding Triumph. She was not invited to the funeral, but her talent at appearing unassuming has got her into more private events than this. She does not know the deceased, but she is quite familiar with the killer. This would be an ideal place to find new recruits dissatisfied with the current regime.

[18:05] <Iri> The barge makes its way to the edge of the pier. Pluck nods at her lieutenant, who leads the proceeding of lowering it into the water, and whilst they do she raises a hand. The flutists- who stand at each edge of the pier- cease their music. She looks once again at those yellow sashes born by the deceased parents. A colour that promises justice, vengeance. She must be careful not to become over-entangled, despite their loose connection.

[18:05] <Iri> "Master Pertamo has requested that I say a few words," she says, and the murmuings at the end of the pier grow silent, for she, Pluck, is the Orphan-Taker of Lathe. Captain and owner of the Whistlers, foremost archers upon the isle; consort of the late Swift Raven, she who has not missed her mark in a year and ten. "I am no priest. I cannot speak of the underworld with authority. But I can indeed talk of regret, and of a life rich in strength and generosity. Of a life that has been wasted. For our departed friend, Perttu- oh, his arrows could pierce the sun; he was worthy to stand amongst us as a peer, and even if it is after death I would elevate him to our ranks. Not only martial skill but kindness did he hold, and succor has he granted to those unloved within the bowels of our fair city.

[18:05] <Iri> "I remember well our meeting. To my door he came, a dozen children in tow. 'Captain, I have found twelve more who can be saved,' he said, and we did administer the tests, and they were not found lacking. Twelve lives of worth he recovered from the Pits, risking life and health with every venture." She gestures to the end of the pier, where twelve boys and girls, around eight to thirteen years apiece have gathered. Each wears a trainees uniform, and each has a bowed head.

[18:05] <Iri> "He shall be remembered through these lights he has brought out of the dark."

[18:08] <KevinB> The man at the corner sighs wearily, frowning darkly. He remembers the life of an Orphan in the depths of the pits- and who found him. A moment of idle wondering- what would have happened if he had been found by this group, instead of the Assassin Master Mor'dral?- passes through the mans mind- followed by a bitter laugh, as he pushes himself from the pole he's leaning on- and heads towards one of the >

[18:08] <KevinB> tables to grab a wine horn- eyes dark as he stalks up, and sighs wearily after listening to the speech. "...He was a good man." He murmurs to himself- still regretting his own inability to even do anything about the murder, as he found himself simply.. watching.

[18:11] <Iri> The barge is pushed out to sea, and the tide begins to drag it away. Pluck turns back to face it for a spell. She stares after it for several minutes whilst the flutes play on, until two of her men bring forth a burning cauldron. Into it she dips a single arrow that swiftly ignites, and then she arches backwards, aiming towards the sky. The arrow is loosed, burning feebly against cloudy skies. Soon enough, it lands upon the barge, and it roars up in fiery appreciation.

[18:11] <Iri> The funeral-goers raise their horns as one.

[18:12] <KevinB> And the black-clad man by the table raises his own horn in the salute, then downs it hard as the salute ends.

[18:14] <Crane> Triumph sidles over to Nyumetsu, looking at him with sympathy in her eyes. "A damn good man. And what will happen to his killer? Nothing." The bitterness in her voice is clear.

[18:17] <KevinB> He nods, then sighs. "Aye." He says- a twinge of guilt in his own voice as he agrees, as he sets down his wine horn, and turns to face the woman adressing him. "A bit of a drunken fool, and thats what got him killed- yelling down with the satrapy while drunk because a pretty girl sang about tyrants aint wise at all.. But a good man, certainly."

[18:19] <Iri> "It's not fair!" one of the trainees pipes, young eyes fixed upon the sea. "Why did big brother have to be mur-" One of the others, an older girl, quickly covers the boy's mouth with her palm.

[18:21] <Crane> Triumph carefully studies the man's face as he talks, looking for any faint clue that may give away his allegiances. Solid information is the foundation of any successful mission, and knowing how many allies she already has is key here.

[18:21] <Iri> With the proceedings completed, Pluck steps towards Pertamo and his wife, in order to escort them back to the docks. He weeps opnely, whilst his wife is remarkably stoic- what was her name? Jacinta? It escapes Pluck. She recognizes that hard look, though. Even if they did not wear sashes of revenge, their desires would be clear. "Captain," she breathes. "We would be honored if you join us tonight." Unable to refuse, Pluck merely nods her head in acceptance, and the three of them begin to make their way back to the dock.

[18:25] <KevinB> Nyumetsu is a young man- but the scowl on his face shows fangs, and he is clearly... unhappy, about things. His usually guarded expression is wrought with emotions, as he looks back at her.. and begins to try and read her almost by reflex, simply a habit picked up- he does it mostly out of reflex from his career..

[18:29] <Crane> Triumph holds back a smile. She has found someone willing to fight for the same cause as her, and perhaps, with a bit of convincing, they could work together. She allows her thoughts to show openly on her face.

[18:29] <Iri> "But it's true!" one of the other, younger girls says, angrily. "I heard he just got drunk and was shouting too loud! You can't kill people just for that! That's what I heard, anyway." Across the pier, Pluck hastens her step. Two of her older recruits quickly move towards the children, but the immaculate monks have already noted the outburst.

[18:31] <KevinB> Nyumetsu smiles faintly- his scowl breaking- and then his ears perk up. He turns to look to the monks, a frown on his face as his hands go under his cloak- to finely polished hilts of blades, as he frowns; having heard the childrens outbursts. "...Mmm. I think we have things to talk about- but... this seems to merit keeping an eye on." He murmurs softly- eyes flickering rapidly to the outburst- then the monks.

[18:35] <Crane> "There's no need to make a scene," Triumph announces to all present. "His death was unfortunate, but we gain nothing from fighting about it." Concealed within her words, though, is a rather different message. All those present except the Immaculates can hear from the precise inflections and exact choices of words something else entirely: "Not with the Immaculates here. Follow me when this is over and we will find justice."

[18:38] <Crane> "Don't worry about the monks interfering," she adds. "They can't hear any of this."

[18:39] <Iri> The immaculates indeed looked as though they were about to intervene, but one of them places his hand on his comrades shoulder and murmurs restraining words. Jacinta makes a beeline from the pier towards Triumph, followed by her tearful husband and the stony-faced Pluck. "You speak words of wisdom indeed," Jacinta states, peering curiously at Triumph. "But I do not believe I know you. One of my late son's paramours?" she asks, with a regretful smile.

[18:40] <KevinB> Nyumetsu meanwhile- looks to the monks carefully; green eyes weighing their response- as he murmurs softly. "They heard enough to report back to Jaggamaru and have a child sent some strange place to be 're-educated' or some such nonsense." He says of the monks- before smiling softly and looking to the merchant and his wife, bowing slightly. "...I'm sorry for your loss."

[18:41] <Iri> "Nyumetsu," greets Pertamo, bowing in return. His wife extends her hand for a perfunctionary kiss, but her burning curiosity has latched onto Triumph.

[18:43] <KevinB> The man of course recieves the gesture graciously, bowing to do so with his usual grace and elegance- something he doesn't even think of at this point, as he performs the smallest actions with barely-human simple grace. "Lathe has lost a good man, this day."

[18:46] <Crane> Triumph smiles at Jacinta. "I never had that pleasure, no." She is grateful when Nyumetsu speaks, giving her a chance to avoid revealing why she truly came. "I can protect the children, if their parents will allow it. I can hide them away long enough for the Immaculates to lose any interest they had in them."

[18:50] <Iri> "They do not have parents. They are orphans from the Lily Pits, given into my care," Pluck says, peering at Triumph from behind her veils. "You need not worry, my lady. The Immaculates know me as an auxilary to the satrap legion. The careless words of a child within my fold will be easily forgiven. Besides, it would seem as though they have bigger problems."

[18:52] <KevinB> Nyumetsu smiles. "Glad to hear their in safe hands." He says wearily, looking to Pluck, bowing his head. "Nyumetsu, a pleasure to meet you."

[18:52] <Crane> Triumph nods at Pluck's words. "They do. Justice will come to them, and soon. But only if the people of Lathe are brave enough to stand up to them."

[18:56] <Iri> Pluck glances sharply at Triumph. "Is that how you see things? I have heard that it was the death of a dynast that inspired the Tiger's rage in the first place," she replies. "Should the people of Lathe choose a path such as that, enough blood will pulse through Lathe that the beast might awaken again, fresh with vigor." Jacinta shakes her head, rather sternly. "And what you say, my dear Pluck, suggests that the dynasts ought remain beyond the reach of heaven altogether."

[18:58] <KevinB> He shakes his head. He sighs faintly- and speaks softly. "The man was a drunkard in a bar, speaking hasty words. He had naught to do with.. whatever the Tiger was in such a rage over."

[18:59] <Iri> "All I mean to say is that when one blow is struck, no matter how precise, the hammer of retribution follows. And the hammer is a careless weapon," replies Pluck.

[18:59] <Crane> "Shall we instead cower from the rage of the Dynasts and wait for them to die of old age? How many young men will die while we wait for this tyranny to end itself? And is it not better to die with your head held high than with your tail between your legs?"

[19:05] <KevinB> Nyumetsu quietly nods, crossing her arms as he looks on- emerald eyes flashing from the darkness of his hood. "...Mmm. Well, I'd say it's best not to die at all. Victory is rather preferable to Martyrdom." He states dryly.

[19:07] <Iri> Pluck looks slightly conflicted. "I cannot deny that their capriciousness is an affront to order," she acknowledges, closing her eyes. "Yet Lathe relies on the dynasty's strength, as well. How else could it contest the Lintha of Bluehaven, or the Anathema?"

[19:08] <KevinB> Nyumetsu's eyes flash- as he finds the first thought to pop on his mind being to ally with the Anathema against the Lintha.

[19:08] <KevinB> "...Dunno."

[19:09] <Crane> "The people of Lathe are strong. United we can stand against any threat. Fighting amongst ourselves and cowering from the Realm we are weak."

[19:13] <Iri> Pluck frowns. "You... no, you could not know," she says, shaking her head. "You have not seen the Lintha fight, I am sure. It is the might of the Terrestrials that dissuades them from the vilest of depradations. I am an officer; I know these things. I know the disposition of our forces, and those of the threats that face us. I have fought under their banner, and I have fought with purely mortal arms as well. The difference is vast. Even my arrows fly truer at the command of a Dragon-Blooded." She scowls. "We must make them pay justice unto themselves, but how?"

[19:14] <KevinB> He thinks for a long moment. "..The Terestrials aren't the only ones with supernatural powers, nor even those with the greatest." He whispers quietly- then he shrugs.

[19:15] <Iri> Pluck scowls. "So you would have us put our trust in- what, exactly? The vile cults said to lurk beneath the pits?"

[19:16] <KevinB> He shakes his head. "No, not at all. The Gods, perhaps." He admits with a shrug. "But not those cults, no." He trails of- and things quietly, about how to word it.. then shrugs. "..Besides that. Tell me. What have you seen of the Anathema's atrocities- or heard, that wasn't from the mouth of a Dragon Blooded monk..?"

[19:18] <Crane> Triumph looks shocked. "Tell me you aren't saying what I think you are, sir." But Nyumetsu hears something different. "And we are indeed greater than the Dragon-blooded. It is with that power that I intend to return Lathe to its rightful rulers - its own people."

[19:20] <KevinB> He shrugs, and then speaks softly. His face twitches a bit, suprise running through his features- completely shocking him momentarily, even- but he does his best to hide that suprise, that shock. "...I'm saying I dont know enough about what might be truth, and what might be lies to keep folk in power, to know whose right at this point."

[19:21] <Iri> "I am sure he is not," says Pluck, pursing her lips. "I do not pretend the Dragon-Blooded are the pillars of moral fortitude the Cult would have us believe, but the Anathema are of the same ilk as the Lintha. They would sack this entire town and hang the bodies of all within it upon tall pikes. Someone who would deliver Lathe into their hands-" Jacinta claps her hands. "I think that is enough dangerous talk for such cold weather," she announces. "My Lady, would you care to join me at our estate?" she asks, glancing at Triumph with sparkling eyes.

[19:25] <Crane> "That sounds lovely. My name is Unyielding Triumph, by the way. Triumph for short."

[19:25] <KevinB> Nyumetsu nods- and turns to her. "..And I'm Nyumetsu. Nyumetsu Sashin."

[19:28] <Iri> "I'm afraid I won't be able to join you," says Pluck, glancing back at her trainees. "My apologizes, Lady Jacinta. I am sure justice will come for your son," she notes. She turns to Triumph with a long and wary eye. "Unyielding Triumph," she echoes. "What a forceful name. Is the the one your parents granted you?"

[19:32] <Crane> Triumph frowns, clearly taken back by Pluck's rudeness. "My name is my business."

[19:34] <Iri> "As you say, Lady Triumph. Until we meet again." Pluck bows for a moment, and then turns away to rally her men together. The archers form ranks in unison, and are soon marching through the Haunches, where the crowds part at their coming.

[19:36] <KevinB> Meanwhile- the Shade of a man turns to the merchants wife, and then to Triumph. "Might I be welcome for the discussion at the estate?" he inquires- one of the two women at least, knowing who he is and what his trade is, from a past hiring. That being the merchant's wife, of course.

[19:39] <Iri> Jacinta and Pertamo leave the Haunches, trailed by a number of other relatives. Their estate is not in the best of shape, by appearances; the paint is flaking, the fence is unrepaired, and there are no guards posted. Perhaps it is the runt of the low nobility that dwell in Jade Soma District; even the guardian statues are cracked, as if to say theives would be welcome inside. The atmosphere within is tense and angry, as cousins mutter angrily to one another over the injustice of it all. Their mumblings grow in intensity as the amphoras run low on wine, but even in the privacy of one's own home there is a reluctance to openly rage at members of the dynasty. Around the wide table, it is easy for one or two people to find a moment to converse in private.

[19:42] <Crane> Triumph takes a seat and indicates to Nyumetsu that he should sit next to her, so they can discreetly discuss personal matters.

[19:43] <KevinB> The assassin slides into the seat beside him with that casual poise, sitting down next to her, and crooking an eyebrow- as he looks to her. .and the first thing he whispers is simple. "Are you sure this is private enough?"

[19:46] <Crane> "Nowhere is private enough to safely discuss these matters, but this place looks safer than most." Triumph gives the man a curious look. "So tell me. What is your story? What events have led you here?"

[19:47] <KevinB> He crooks an eyebrow at that- then chuckles. "Oddly open ended question, dont you think..? I think my life story would be out of place here, but it seems to be waht your asking for."

[19:49] <Crane> Triumph laughs for a moment. "I'm sure that would be fascinating to hear, but no. I was simply wondering - few people would choose to come and talk with me, after our conversation earlier. What has happened in your life to make you so bold in your choice of companions?

[19:52] <KevinB> He smiles sadly. And then speaks simply- trying to imply things without saying them outright, still worried others might listen. "Your not the first of your Ilk I've met and had dealings with... and the first was the woman I loved. She's dead, now... but I figure that with how she was, most of what the Immaculates say can't be true."

[19:57] <Crane> Triumph looks clearly surprised for a moment, then sympathetic. "I'm sorry for your loss." She sighs deeply. "I don't know what I am - what we are. But I know we're not what the Immaculates say we are." Triumph's expression becomes curious once again. "I've never met another of my... people. If it's not too much to ask, what was she like?"

[19:59] <KevinB> He becomes pensive, for a moment.. unsure how to answer that question. He's fully aware it wont be without Bias that he speaks, as he closes his eyes breifly. "...She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in this world. I grew up in the Lily pits, in the shadowy depths of this city... I grew up in this cities dark underbelly- doing things most wouldn't dream of doing, wouldn't wish to know /where/ done.. and then- I.. I

[20:00] <KevinB> move into a home up, in the Haunches- and it was then that I saw the sun for the first time in my life. A few days later, I saw her- and decided she was even more beautiful. We began to talk and.." He trails of, sighing. "I've never met anyone so kindhearted, so gentle. Her greatest desire in life was to help others, to simply... " He trails of again..

[20:00] <KevinB> "..She talked a lot about making the world a better place. About... a lot of things I didn't really... dont really... understand..."

[20:04] <Crane> Triumph smiles faintly. "It seems she and I had more than one thing in common, then. I... I don't share her gentleness, I'll admit. But I am trying to help all the people of Lathe. The true people of Lathe. That quest is the only thing that's ever mattered to me, and I have sacrificed much for it. Family, friends, wealth, even my name and face. What you see is not my true appearance, I dare not walk through the city undisguised."

[20:05] <Crane> "But one day I believe that will change, and nobody will walk through the streets in fear. Will you help me to make that dream a reality?"

[20:05] <KevinB> He sighs wearily, as he looks back to her.. and then chuckles faintly. "I don't share her gentleness at all either. I loved her, but I never really understood her. But then- how /could/ a sword understand a woman..?" He muses softly- before breaking out into a quiet laughter, as if deeply amused. "..Sorry. Sorry.. Funny. I never used to pause to think about things, before her.. in this way, at least.. hrm..?"

[20:05] <KevinB> "..Well. I can't see any good reason /not/ to at least give it a shot."

[20:07] <Iri> Jactina sashays through from the leftmost wing, having changed into a sheer dressing gown that is downright indecent. She drinks from a long jar of wine, before locking onto Triumph and slowly striding towards her. "My poor husband is overcome with grief, and will not leave his bed," she laments, sliding onto a chair next to the pair of them. "Are you enjoying our hospitality?"

[20:11] <Crane> "Very much, my lady. Thank you." Triumph produces a small piece of parchment and a brush, quickly writing with impeccable precision and grace, and hands it to Nyumetsu. "Before I forget, here is where I have been staying. Should you wish to discuss this matter further with myself and my associates, come whenever you please."

[20:11] <Iri> "My, a secret rendezvous!" Jacinta takes another swig from her bottle.

[20:12] <Crane> The address written on the parchment is for a house nearby, but another message is concealed within the words, for Nyumetsu's eyes only. It reveals to him the true location of her current residence, within the Lily Pits.

[20:12] <KevinB> The man inclines his head slightly. "..I will." The hired killer says- before flickering his eyes towards Jactina with a warm gaze. "And I'm sorry to hear your husband has taken ill with grief. I hope he soon recovers." He says with a warm grin and a faint chuckle. "Though- perhaps you had best keep your wits about you, even in your own home, with times as they are." He advises her- the woman who knows what he does for a living

[20:16] <Iri> "That is good advice. I had best do so," she agrees. "Still, it may be up to me to handle business in the near future. I," she adds. "Might have a proposition or two for you soon, young man."

[20:17] <KevinB> He chuckles faintly and bows his head slightly. "Indeed?"

[20:19] <Iri> "Indeed!" She presses the jar of wine into Nyumetsu's hands. "Let us discuss it tomorrow, after the festivities are over. Time waits for nobody. It is cruel," she admits. "That life continues after death, but we must bear it nonetheless, no?"

[20:32] <Iri> Jacinta leans closer to whisper in Nyumetsu's ear. "When the pelt of the tiger and his brethren adorn my wall, my soul will be at peace anew."

[20:33] <Crane> Triumph takes another piece of parchment and briefly composes a cheerful poem that speaks of the joys of life and strength in the face of adversity, then hands it to Jacinta. "Give this to your husband. Perhaps it will cheer him up."


[20:33] <Iri> Jacinta smiles brightly at Triumph, upon peeling away from Nyumetsu. "I shall do so. My thanks, Lady Triumph."