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01:42 <Pluck> ---

01:45 <Pluck> After a jolly old week escorting Radiant through Lathe's sister villages, Pluck finds that her dutiful lieutenants have, in fact, completed most of her paperwork on her behalf. As she is in a remarkably indulgent mood- (she smiles within sight of her soldiers, prompting some to wonder if she has been kidnapped and replaced)- she allows half the company a day of leave, and retreats to the Sapphire Font. Half the day has already flo

01:45 <Pluck> ated away, and she soaks in one of the heated springs there, a towel on her head and a glass of wine resting by the poolside.

01:48 <TDS> Silent Leaf makes her way to the Sapphire Font as well, but more for business than for pleasure. She wants to finally meet the head of the Whistlers and has heard from reliable sources that this is where their captain can be found. A tall glass of rice wine in her hand she enters the main chamber and looks around for Pluck.

01:51 <TDS> Finally spotting Pluck, she slides into the spring next to her and asks: "Is this spot free?"

01:52 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu is found in the Font- meditating near the baths, rather than soaking in one. Radiant suggested he try relaxing and 'going with the flow' here some time- so the two women will likely notice him meditating near the bath they are in- though he has yet to notice them.

01:52 <Pluck> "If you like," the captain replies, turning her head. The towel wobbles ominously, allowing a single grey hair to slip out from its embrace. "My time is free as well, a rarity as of late. I fear I may become addicted to luxury."

01:54 <TDS> "Addicted to luxury? Then you will be happy to hear I may have something to keep you sharp, another job. I was actually looking for you, you see. I'm Silent Leaf and I've heard many great things about you and your men."

01:58 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu crooks an eyebrow open- and a chuckle escapes him as he looks at the two in the baths, grinning faintly. "Oh, my. This is a bit of a suprise. I wasn't expecting you two to show up here today!" Says the man who told Leaf where Pluck would likely be.

01:58 <Pluck> "Ah, I see. When you run away from the work, the work comes to find you!" laments Pluck, gesturing histrionically. "But I do not mind when it comes with flattery attached."

02:00 <Pluck> Pluck reaches to cover her eyes. "On the other hand, some interruptions are lacking in appropriate grace. You followed me here, didn't you, Master Nyumetsu?" she complains, staring at him through her fingers. "You are so good at following people. A master follower! Always showing up at the oddest times!"

02:01 <TDS> "Oh, I'm sorry if I ruined your relaxation. How about I pay for your visit here today, as compensation?" 

02:04 <Pluck> Pluck shakes her head langouriously. "No need. I am not so poorly off, and if I began charging for consultations I would soon be out of business. I am merely indulging a long-suppressed habit of unwarranted complaining. Ever since I took command it has been difficult to find people willing to put up with it for long. Complaining is traditionally the privilege of the subordinate, you see." She turns to face Leaf properly. 

02:04 <Pluck> "So, tell me about yourself, if you would, Lady Leaf. Most clients come with referrals, but you are unknown to me?"

02:04 <Nyumetsu>  Nyumetu's face is a study in calm, his smile utterly relaxed as he shrugs back at Pluck. "I'm wounded that you don't enjoy my company." She says with a warm smile.

02:10 <TDS> "Nyu, this is less about enjoying your company and more about being a business meeting, sorry." Turning back to Pluck and slurping her wine she answers: " I came to the city around a month ago. I do some freelancing but at the moment I work for guild factor Adhyasa, he wants to organise an attack on the Lintha and has tasked me with finding the manpower."

02:13 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu sighs faintly- as he lays back against the stone and hums. "...Right. Which is why I told you where Pluck was most likely to show up to relax, so you could have the business meeting." He says in a relaxed tone. "Anyway.. I'll leave you to it, for now- but I have something to talk to you both about when your done."

02:15 <TDS> "Oh please, don't pretend you aren't just here to enjoy the sight."

02:16 <Nyumetsu> He grins wide. "I can be here for multiple reasons, beautiful Leaf."

02:18 <Pluck> Pluck seems about to respond to Leaf, but frowns and reaches for her glass instead. "I've never met someone so insistent on revealing his secrets," she says, shaking her head in bemusement. "You must really learn about taking the appropriate time and place to make your move, Master Nyumetsu." She turns back to Leaf with a faint frown. "Now, the Lintha," she says, attempting to adopt a businesslike tone. "An attack, you say? Do you

02:18 <Pluck>  have a specific target in mind?"

02:21 <TDS> "Oh please, it's hardly a secret that he's a pervert. If he wants to waste his hard-earned money on getting into a bathhouse and then not even taking a bath, let him. As for our target, we are going after the commander of the seventh Gajui fleet."

02:23 <Maidu> Alira enters the Sapphire Font wearing nothing but spandex and a bathing top!  Her hands are upon her hips, and no doubt Copper is making a commotion outside!  In any case, Alira looks around for a moment, squinting, then heads straight for Leaf, waving and being obnoxiously loud!  "Heyyyy!"

02:24 <Nyumetsu> Meanwhile, the Raksha slayer takes Leaf's bait nigh instantly- shruging of his airy robe to slide his extremely lean and well muscled form into the baths near them- a short ways away. He blinks at the girl in spandex walking up- and tilts his head to the side as he sees her approach leaf- this doesn't seem like one of Leaf's usual crowd..

02:24 <Pluck> "A Lintha Commander? Wonderful! I have pikes that long for the heads of such folk-" Pluck frowns, and folds her arms. "You see? This is the problem with having business meetings at popular leisure spots," she says, shaking her head.

02:24 <TDS> Leaf notices the waving and waves back a lot more reserved, preferring not to draw everyone's attention.

02:25 <TDS> "W-what are you even wearing? You're not planning to enter the water like that, right?"

02:26 <Maidu> Alira looks at Leaf confusedly, as she starts to disrobe.  "No, of course not!  You're s'posed to bathe naked, right?"

02:26 <Pluck> Pluck drains her glass. "Hello," she says, staring at Alira.

02:27 <Maidu> Alira gives her a winning grin right back.  "'ello!  I'm Alira Whitefeather, monster hunter.  Nice ta meetcha."

02:27 <TDS> "I would have done this meeting somewhere different, but you were away for a week and I really needed to talk to you."

02:28 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu hums calmly as he rests against the edge of the bath, sighing. He for one, is going to calmly wait for Leaf and Pluck to be done- so he gives Alira a roguish, wide grin and waves. "Pleasure to meet you, Alira. Names Nyumetsu- I'm an ah... comrade in arms, of Leaf's." He offers with a hand held out to shake despite them being in a bath.

02:29 <TDS> "He's just a pervert that likes handing around a crowd of naked women. Ugh, I should start doing this in more exclusive locations."

02:30 <Maidu> Alira slaps his hand in a friendly manner, finishes disrobing, then slips into the bath, sinking down low so that even her chin dips under, and sighing happily.  "Ahhhhhh.  Haven't had a nice bath in aaaages."

02:30 <Maidu> "What're we chattin' about?"

02:30 <Pluck> Pluck shrugs. It's really up to the client if she wants to divulge her private business.

02:32 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu seems unperturbed by Leaf's statement, as Alira slaps his hand aside- and he himself rests in the water; enjoying the others enjoyment of the heat. "Oh, their talking business- though.. if you don't mind, I have a proposal for you involving some Raksha that need slaying- a task I need help with. I came here to ask these two for a hand- but their a tad busy."

02:32 <TDS> "Hmm, we can keep discussing it, if you don't mind. They've both already agreed to also come on the Lintha hunt, you see. I'm trying to hire every adventurer and mercenary I can, because this will be a tough fight."

02:33 <Pluck> Pluck purses her lips. "I see. I can reach out to my contacts as well." She peers curiously at Leaf. "So your factor is essentially looking to form a small army out of the denizens of Lathe?"

02:35 <Maidu> Alira blows some bubbles into the water, enjoying her pleasant bath, then looks over to Nyumetsu, raising her head to speak to him.  "I'm always interested in huntin' Wyld nasties.  What's the pay?"

02:36 <TDS> "That's essentially it, yes. He's trying to recover an ancient heirloom artifact and make the region safer for trade." She takes a sip of her wine and stretches a bit. "I'm sure you have worked for the guild before, they like using mercenaries, since it's cheaper than maintaining standing armies."

02:39 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu thinks for a moment. He hasn't thought about pay- as he certainly wasn't expecting to get paid for it. "...Well. There's the gratitude of the city, a notion of notoriety and good reputation locally... whatever we can harvest- and I suppose we could talk monetary compensation."

02:43 <Pluck> "So it is," replies Pluck. "The dynasty would be offended by the establishment of any serious professional force that purports to represent Lathe, in any case. Even if it is for the purpose of our self-defense. So, a single contract it is." She gestures to Leaf. "Even a temporary army, however, must have a sole individual placed in charge, and a robust chain of command to ensure its smooth operation."

02:43 <TDS> "I assume by your tone that you see yourself in that position."

02:44 <Alvuea> The staff of the Sapphire Font are hired primarily based upon appearance, ensuring there are plenty of lovely young things for the spa's wealthy clientèle to pull back into grottos for a bit of fun.   However, they are rather severely outshined by Radiant's presence, one of the pretty girls following behind her, carrying a few towels for when she might

02:44 <Alvuea> desire such a thing.   However, for the moment, she instead desires to slip herself into the pool, to sigh at the feeling of the water on her skin. 

02:46 <Pluck> "I know my value, and that of the Whistlers," replies Pluck. "I have command experience and am used to working with very different groups. I have also witnessed many incompetents take charge in my time, invariably leading to the ruin of their command. If your guildsman seeks to place another in charge of this operation, then I would like to meet him and assess his value."

02:47 <Maidu> "Oh, yeahhh!  The Whistlers are those archers I heard about, right?"

02:51 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu's eyes veer away from the woman he was talking to- towards Radiant as she enters. He smiles softly- already up to his chest in the hot water himself, as he almost sheepishly looks to her with a happy smile. "Oh, hello!"

02:52 <TDS> "The person the factor put in charge of this operation is me, but I must admit I don't have any experience with commanding troops. I would be fine letting you have command of everything battle related, if that works for you."

02:52   | Anonymoose [Iago@96-941-941-57.dhcp.plbg.ny.charter.com] has joined #lathe-ic

02:55 <Pluck> Pluck's face lights up. "Yes, we are the marksmen of Lathe. They once called us fools for mastering the bow within an underground city, but no longer!" She nods to Leaf. "I am pleased at your understanding. In that case, I shall not disappoint you." She purses her lips. "We can discuss costs at a later date, but I'm sure the factor will not have issue meeting our commission. What can you tell me about our target?"

02:59 <Maidu> Alira nods happily at being told she had indeed found the Whistlers.  She waits politely until they're done talking, though, because interrupting is rude and she's now distracted by the incredibly beautiful Radiant!

02:59 <TDS> "Well, it's a fleet of Lintha ships, with everything that entails. Supposedly strong enough to hit escorted guild convoys, but the factor covers the naval side of the engagement. They probably have a good number of pureblooded lintha, sorcerers, demons and similar assets, so expect anything. The admiral of the fleet wields an artifact daiklave, it must absolutely be recovered"

03:05 <Pluck> Pluck nods slowly. "An entire fleet, eh? We will need many conditions to come together to succeed," she says. "I will require the guild's records about the Lintha. The timeline of their raids and assaults. Any accounts from survivors. Their projected field of operations. Do we know if they have a dock or a hideout they use to base themselves?"

03:07 <TDS> "I can certainly arrange for that. You know what, why don't you come by Factor Adhyasa's mansion later so we can work this out in detail? Incorporating you closer in the planning process would probably be a good idea. We can discuss your payment there, too."

03:08 <Pluck> Pluck nods. "Very well. And here I thought the guildsman preferred to keep their soldiers at arms length," she replies, sounding amused. "We will also require sorcerous might," she continues. "To counteract the Lintha and provide us with a few aces in the pocket. Please convey that to the Factor as well; I know these things take time to arrange. I shall attend with my staff officers, if you do not mind?"

03:10 <TDS> "Hmm, we should have some sorcerers and some bound demons, I think." Leaf thinks for a moment. "Hmm, I suppose bringing some officers should be okay, too."

03:11 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu to, is staring at the most beautiful woman in the world, smiling dopily.

03:11 <Pluck> "Bound demons? Is that safe? The Lintha have demonic blood in their veins, I have been told."

03:12 <TDS> Leaf can't quite stop herself from smiling a little. "Of course it is, that's what the word bound means."

03:15 <Pluck> "So it does. I hope I will have the chance to review these creatures before we set out." She clucks her tongue. "And this... daiklaive-wielding captain. He is not one of the Forsaken, I hope? How powerful is he?"

03:16 <TDS> "He is just a lintha with strong blood, I think. I can't really tell you how powerful he is, I'm afraid."

03:17 <Pluck> "Another question for the Factor, then."

03:17 <TDS> "I suppose so. I was jsut supposed to gather people."

03:18 <Pluck> "Ah. Then I will cease our discussion here and save my many queries for the correct occasion," replies Pluck, stretching her arms. "Send the invitation to my compound." She clucks her tongue. "My glass of wine is empty! This will not do."

03:20 <Maidu> "Ehm, now that you seem ta have a moment, if you're the commander of those master archers and stuff, I, uh.. I've been on the hunt for a nice bow, since my last one snapped.  Would you happen to know where I could find one, miss... uhh...?"

03:20 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu looks over to Pluck and Leaf. "So. Leaf. About that Nest I found in the pits.. would you perhaps be inclined to aid me with it later, once we're done resting and enjoying each others company..?"

03:21 <TDS> "Hmm, then the business part of this meeting is done for now? Excellent, time to enjoy this bath a little." Leaf visibly relaxes some more and calls over one of the employees to wash her back.

03:22 <Pluck> "Pluck," replies Pluck, lighting up. "Certainly. In fact, we have surplus supply at present," she remarks. "What kind of bow do you favour?"

03:22 <TDS> "Oh yes, the nest. Sure, we'll deal with it. Maybe we can even salvage some magical components from it. You should make sure to get some iron weapons, by the way."

03:24 <Nyumetsu> He nods, coughing a few times. "Yeah, definitly." He agrees as he relaxes in to the tub- sighing as he enjoys the warmth of it all.

03:28 <Maidu> "Well, I prefer one I can fire from horseback, y'know, but I ain't got that great of a pull, yet.  I'm workin' my way up to longbows.  And uh, maybe I could.. yknow.. do some... contractin' for the whistlers sometime, or somethin'... "  She rubs the back of her head and looks away at that, a bit shy about trying to get new connections.

03:29 <Pluck> "Horseback?" asks Pluck, surprised. "Out here?"

03:29 <Alvuea> Radiant smiles to Nyu, and gives him a slight nod, "You just seem to be everywhere don't you, Nyu?" she says with a laugh, and then... looking to Alira who seems to be staring she, smiles, and beckons for her to come closer.

03:30 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu chuckles and shrugs at her words- then blushes faintly. "I'm getting busy, what can I say."

03:31 <Maidu> "Well... raptor-back, really.  Copper can fit through the tunnels and such."

03:32 <TDS> "My my, Nyu. You have many friends I really wouldn't expect." Leaf says while getting her back washed by one of the pretty boys of the bathhouse.

03:33 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu chuckles as he looks over towards Leaf for a brief moment. "And just whats that supposed to mean?"

03:34 <TDS> "I don't expect someone like you to move in such circles, that's all. For someone of your profession you really draw lots of attention, you know."

03:34 <Pluck> "Ah," replies Pluck. "I can recommend you a decent bowyer, if you like. I'm afraid we don't train with such things- the longbow is our preferred tool," she explains. "As for contracting- well, the Whistlers already have many archers. But cavalry is unusual out here, though, so there might be a scouting role you can fulfill. What other skills do you possess?"

03:35 <Maidu> "I'm pretty handy at trackin', I'm not too shabby with sword and axe, and uh, I like to think I'm a good singer!  I can swing a hammer, too.  Blacksmithin', that is."

03:37 <Maidu> "Uh, hang on a sec."  She'll get up, still stark naked and dripping with water, and stalk over to Radiant, beaming happily.  "Uhm, hallo there, ma'am."

03:37 <Pluck> "A singer! Then you're in good company! Lady Radiant herself gave lessons to a unit of my men," replies Pluck, not quite realising that her ladyship is in fact present. "Ah, what a dream that was. To think that such an individual would show an interest in the common soldier- they have not stopped smiling, you know?"

03:38 <Pluck> Pluck looks after her a moment later, and blanches, before sliding down the bath until her head is submerged beneath her towel.

03:39 <TDS> Leaf looks at Radiant, enjoying her first real look at the star of Lathe. "I can see why she's so popular and I haven't even heard her sing."

03:40 <Alvuea> Radiant isn't very much far away, having found a spot where she can hear, but isn't right next to that group, and she smiles to the dripping girl, "I apologize for interrupting, I just thought to say hello, I don't think we've met.  And... I couldn't help but overhear, you have a raptor?  I don't think I've ever actually... met one."

03:41 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu hums faintly as he looks at /that/ scene.

03:44 <Maidu> Alira rubs the back of her head -- she's bashful about being noticed, but not about the bath house.  "Ahh, well, I mean... we haven't, I just thought you stood out, and I, err, sorry for starin'.  And yeah, I've got me a strider.  His name's Copper, he's right outside."

03:46 <Alvuea> A laugh from Radiant, "I don't mind, really.  It's flattering, and you're hardly the first... or only one to be doing so.  Well, when you're ready to go, would you mind introducing us?  I'd very much like to see it.  Though first, important questions... what is your name, dear?"

03:54 <Maidu> Alira looks down, having forgotten she was naked in the presence of a superstar!  She laughs a bit nervously, then smiles again.  "Oh, uhm... I'm Alira.  And uh, since Miss Pluck already said she'd help me find a bow, I... guess I can go now!  Just gotta get dressed."

03:57 <Alvuea> To be fair, everyone is naked, and Alira is enjoying a delightful opportunity to oggle a similarly bare superstar, as she relaxes in the delightfully heated water, as she laughs, "That seems like an odd choice of timing.  Did you really come into the bathhouse in search of a bow?  I think you may need to work on your sense of direction, Alira.  Why don't you

03:57 <Alvuea> sit with me, tell me of yourself, first?"

03:58 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu meanwhile, is staring over at Radiant and Alira with a warm smile- looking almost protectively towards Radiant.

04:02 <Maidu> Alira does so!  She slides back into the water, still looking sheepish, but more comfortable now that she's submerged again.  Baths are awesome, after all.  "Well, my name's Alira Whitefeather, uhh... I'm from the North, if ya can't tell by my accent.  I'm settin' up an Odd Jobs slash courier service store... or, I was."

04:06 <Alvuea> A smile comes from Radiant as she nods, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Alira Whitefeather.  What brings you to Lathe from the distant North?  It certainly seems a long way to travel to find yourself in such a strange city." she laughs, "That sounds like a strange sort of shop, you've changed your mind?"

04:08 <Maidu> "Well, I was chasin' after a boy, since he went off and did somethin' dumb and never came back.  Trail's gone pretty dry, so I'm puttin' down roots to earn some money before I move on.  And uh... no, but the place I was buyin' got destroyed in a freak knife accident."

04:10 <TDS> "Hey, it wasn't destroyed, it was just redecorated with a knive-heavy decor and I told you I'd pay for it!" Leaf shouts as she hears this totally unfair retelling of the story.

04:12 <Alvuea> Radiant lifts her head up and looks over to Leaf, as she shouts, and gives a laugh, "Oh?  I would love to hear the tale, would you mind telling it?" she calls over, gesturing slightly for Leaf to come over, though she looks back to Alira, "Chasing a boy.  Ah, that does always seem to be a road that leads to trouble.  Where are you trying to go from here?"

04:14 <Maidu> "Well, uh... I dunno.  I'm tryin' to pick up his trail again, but to be honest, I'm enjoyin' the adventure.  I used to be all cooped up, so bein' free is great."

04:15 <TDS> Leaf comes over, taking her rice wine with her and sitting down next to Radiant. "Oh, it's not much of a story. Adhyasa wanted me to check up on her to make sure she settled in fine when she was bothered by some thugs, so I dealt with them. In the process some of my throwing knives may have slightly damaged her shop by accident."

04:17 <Alvuea> A little laugh, "Fair.  A bit of adventure can provide all sorts of excitement into your life." Radiant comments, as she slips a little further into the water, and comments, "Would you mind rubbing my shoulders?" she asks, expecting to have the girl carrying her towels do so, but in no way making that terribly clear.

04:18 <Alvuea> At Leaf's arrival Radiant laughs, "Oh, that actually sounds like it may, in fact, be quite the story, if you told it in a slightly longer form, you know.  It's important to properly introduce the characters in a story you tell... to let the story guide through who they are... and what happens to them."

04:20 <TDS> "Oh, but who says I want to tell everyone who I am? I am a woman that has her secrets, I'm not such a public figure as you, I'm afraid."

04:22 <Maidu> Alira assumes that it's her being talked to, and slides over to rub on Radiant's shoulders without much of a second thought -- not entirely because it's a superstar, but rather because of her upbringing, where group bathing was common.  Other than that, she listens to the conversations happily.

04:24 <Alvuea> "I do not expect to find all of your secrets today.  Just a few, such as your name, and the tale of the destruction of lovely Alira's shop.  Because it sounds like it is quite the tale." she sighs as she feels Alira's hands, "Thank you, dear." she says softly, turning a bit to help Alira have easier access to her back.

04:26 <TDS> "Hmm, that looks like fun." Leaf calls over someone to rub her shoulders too. "Well, I suppose I can give you my name, at least. I'm Silent Leaf. As for the tale of Alira's shop, how about we do a little trade? A story for a story?"

04:28 <Nyumetsu> And Nyumetsu promptly rubs over to apply firm, gentle hands to Leaf's shoulders if not stopped- not making a big deal out of it, just rubbing her shoulders as she requested.

04:29 <Alvuea> "It is delightful." Radiant echoes to Leaf, "You are tremendously good at this, Alira." she comments, as she smiles, "Silent Leaf.  It is a pleasure to meet you.  Mmm, I am willing to entertain such a trade, certainly.  I usually tell my tales to music, but I suppose an exception can be made for the moment."

04:34 <TDS> "Hmm, sure, deal. Do you want to start, since I already gave you my name?" Leaf leans back and enjoys Nyu's gentle hands. "You know Nyu, you're surprisingly good at this, maybe you should switch profession and work here, hmm."

04:35 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu chuckles in response to Leaf's words- speaking simply. "It's not that hard, really."

04:36 <Alvuea> The reply comes from Radiant, "I'm not certain that's exactly a point you can push on, you already knew my name before you even walked in here.  I know not what sort of tale to tell you.  It's important to know something of the audience, to provide the right melody.  Silent Leaf, destroyer of shops is not quite enough to know what sort of story you might

04:36 <Alvuea> enjoy."

04:40 <TDS> "Hearing you tell a story may help me tell mine better, since I'm not much of a storyteller, but fair enough. Just don't complain when my story is badly told. Hmm, it all began when the young, innocent and beautiful heroine of our story, Silent Leaf, was sent on an important mission."

04:41 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu just keeps rubbing her shoulders gently, as he listens in quietly. He's smiling pretty calmly, as he sits in the scene.

04:44 <Alvuea> Radiant smiles and laughs slightly at Leaf's opening, "That is a strong start.  Bring us in with the relatable innocence of our dear protagonist."

04:45 <TDS> "She had heard that a fair maiden by the name of Alira was new in the city and needed help, so she made her way to the shop Alira had bought. But alas, as she arrived at the scene, she saw the fair maiden threatened by vile blackguards trying to threaten her purity. Our heroine had no choice but to intervene and save the damsel in distress. She was strong and fast and clever and so the villains were defeated and the damsel saved. But 

04:45 <TDS> unfortunately Leaf had to resort to her secret weapon, a throwing knife that splits into hundreds when thrown and some of them hit the shop. Of course she immediately offered to pay handsomely for any damages and furthermore offered to even invest in the young maiden's new business."

04:49 <Alvuea> Radiant seems very much interested, and perhaps a bit excited as she chimes in, "That sounds like a terribly dangerous weapon!  Very much impressive.  However did you come across such a thing?  Is it some impressive work of sorcery, made of jade and strange alchemical materials?"

04:50 <TDS> Leaf smiles. "That, my dear Radiant, is a story for another time. I think it's your turn now."

04:59 <Alvuea> "I do still think you should tell.  I am very much interested to find out more.  However, you are correct, I do now owe you a tale.  I try to maintain a bit less adventure in my life than you keep in yours.  You see, I do not have the good fortune of owning a magic knife that can turn into many.  No, instead, all I have is the simple power of my voice. 

04:59 <Alvuea> However, there have been a few times that it has been put to good use.  For example... some months ago, I was touring... and was visiting and performing at the small village of Plithara.  They were a village that struggled terribly under the weight of the demands of their local spirits."

05:11 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu just hums. His feelings don't much change from the reinforcement of something he already felt- however.. he is more than capable of feeding on the feelings of those nearby, as he feels it through the refracted mirrors of others minds- emotional fuel to his magical fire.

05:14 <Alvuea> Radiant's story continues, "I came to this village to perform, the little place was in such disarray, I felt simply awful for the villagers, for their situation, but... fortunately, the village was... such a small place, and the local spirits so involved with it, that... they, too, came to the show... and what a show it was, despite the lack of a proper

05:14 <Alvuea> stage, no... but the whistling of the wind through those buildings, everything seemed to have a delightful harmony with the Great Music Of Creation.  So, I sang... I sang songs of the delights of small villages, of the spirits who would watch out for them, protect them, and claim from them in keeping with that very same spirit of help and generosity and

05:14 <Alvuea> togetherness." she pauses, giving a little happy 'mmmm' as she feels Alira's fingers on her shoulder, and she sighs, "But... in keeping with not having the story go on for too terribly long... I was there again... this last trip, just a few days ago.  It was unrecognizable.  Their harvests have been impressive... all of those ramshackle buildings the wind

05:14 <Alvuea> whistled through only whistle now because they were designed to, the whole town has a sort of hum that keeps that local spirit happy and their fish oh so plentiful."

05:17 <TDS> "And you fixed everything with music? Really? I have a hard time believing that."

05:20 <Alvuea> A laugh from Radiant, "I don't know about all that.  I just like to think that I guided the Spirits there to a... different way of seeing things and interacting.  Obviously, the villagers had a great deal of work, fixing their town, and... those local spirits were... making a sort of amends, I think." she sighs, "It isn't truly as though I've been there more

05:20 <Alvuea> than a handful of times."

05:22 <TDS> "Hmm, I see. An interesting tale, to be sure. But I'm curious, what is this Great Music of Creation you talk about?"

05:24 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu chuckles as he keeps rubbing and soothing at her shoulders; letting his firm hands work what wonders they can upon Leaf's flesh, as he speaks softly. "I can't say I understand her about the 'great music of creation', but I can believe her song had such an effect, having heard it before."

05:25 <Alvuea> "It is... all around, it is eve-" Radiant stops, in the middle of her sentence, "I will tell you a bit more about it, but first, you must tell me about your dagger.  Since you are so terribly concerned about tales being a sort of trade, rather than a free-flowing exchange of information."

05:29 <Maidu> "Bein' able to guide the spirits to places with your  voice is a pretty important skill, y'know.  Up in the North, no happy spirits means no survival through the winters.  That's really impressive, miss," says the girl as she continues her massage, more than happy to bask in the warmth of both the water and the superstar.

05:30 <TDS> "Hmm, information is valuable, you shouldn't just hand it out for free, especially in my business. I suppose we'll have to talk about daggers and music another time." She enjoys Nyu's massage for a while and then adds: "Oh, how about Nyu and Alira tell a story too? They've been quite while we talked so much. I'll even switch with you, Nyu, and wash your back if you want."

05:37 <Maidu> "Oh, I love tellin' stories!  Me first!"  Alira doesn't wait to have her dibs acknowledged, and launches right in -- her speaking is somewhat rhythmic, but it isn't particularly beautiful or song-like.  It's more like she's reading a ballad than singing, really.  "So I'll tell ya about how I got Copper.  Y'see, I was in the Thousand Kingdoms, and I was lookin' for work."

05:39 <Maidu> "I wasn't findin' any, but there was some auctions goin' on!  Lots of fancy stuff.  Jade swords, flyin' boats, a really nice axe I wanted... but then I laid eyes on him.  A Claw Strider, with beautiful blue feathers for crests, standin' proud at the end of the auction line.  I just had to have 'im for my own, since my horse was startin' to get worn down."

05:40 <Maidu> "But my pockets were empty!  And these things were goin' for big chunks of jade!  So I ran up to the man who owned it, turns out he was a Guild type, figures, an' I asked him, I asked him, Friend, how much for the raptor with the waggly tail?  He told me too much, girly, too much, so I said, what if I challenged you?  An old challenge from my tribe, a battle of wits."

05:41 <Maidu> "He said, I'm pretty witty, girly, I'm pretty witty, but I'll take that bet!  So we started, and let me tell you, it was the greatest lyrical throwdown in the history of throwdowns!  We had ta take turns subtly insultin' the other, without bein' outright offensive or rude, while drinkin' the hardest drink we could find nearby.  Of course..."

05:41 <Alvuea> Radiant smiles, delighted at Alira's burst of enthusiasm for storytelling.  Since she's no longer telling stories and there appears to be a bit of a rotation in people, she turns gently about, and doesn't really ask, but runs her fingers across Alira's back as she tells her story, caressing across it, squeezing at her shoulders, and running fingers across

05:41 <Alvuea> her sides.

05:41 <Maidu> "I can't remember just how I won.  I musta said some dastardly things, though, 'cuz at the end of it, he was blushin' and I had the reigns to a brand new, super cute claw strider!  That's when I found out he had WINGS."

05:45 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu has, eventually, apparently massagged Leaf to sleep- as the woman starts snoring, and he gently lets go of her shoulders to slide to the side of her- smiling faintly at the women still awake. "Ah.. do I /have/ to tell a story/"

05:48 <Alvuea> "No, there is no compulsion that says you must tell a story, Nyu.  Though, to be honest, it is likely we will all think less of you if you do not."  Radiant continues caressing across Alira's back... sides, and up... and down the girl's arms.  "So you really should tell us a story."

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05:49 <Maidu> Alira sinks into the water with her story done, enjoying the attention.

05:51 <Nyumetsu> The man leans back- chuckling as he looks on at Radiants carress of Alira. "Well, if you insist.. Mrm. I've a few. There's the time I slew the Raksha... the time I went to hunt the Lintha... or.. Mm.... There's the story that's not quite done, which I was going to come here to enlist aid in finishing, where I go to hunt a Raksha nest.."

05:51 <@Carreau> Leaf is recalled from the scene by the sudden appearance of a centipede-shaped coiled ring of black metal on the edge of the pool. She slips out of Nyumetsu's reach, apologizes, snatches the ring and withdraws from the bath.

05:52 <Nyumetsu> He chuckles faintly as Leaf slides out of his reach- and leaning against the ring of the pool, he rests with his muscular chest above the water. His body is a honed weapon; and it looks the part. Muscles and lean, rippling flesh are easily on display; as he continues to speak. "So.. how to decide which to tell. I warn you- I'm no singer, so it'll be a different kind of storytelling from your ballads and woven songs."

06:24 <@Carreau> Silent Leaf returns after a while, placing a rolled scroll next to Pluck, implying it is for her, before leaving. The contents of the scroll are as follows:

06:24 <@Carreau> "Greetings, Silent Leaf. I've managed to score you three ships with basic crews; one fast-attack craft with a lateen sail and two blue-water merchant ships from Azure that have been used as troop transports before - they can carry around one hundred fifty soldiers each. I have also acquired two hundred enchanted arrows from the sorcerers of Whitecrest, woven with the essence of air that lets them home in

06:24 <@Carreau>  >

06:24 <@Carreau> > on far-away targets. Being able to lay down a volley before the lintha are in range seems to be a good way to leverage advantage."

06:24 <@Carreau> "Your target's full name is Lintha Gajui Brother Xula, commander of the seventh pirate fleet of the Gajui Greatsept. He's known to be insane, even on Lintha standards. Howls at the moon, attacks his own without provocation, talks to imaginary people. Brilliant strategist, though, and a master swordsman - when he's not driven to eccentric behaviour by his delusions. He wields an ancient House Tepet >

06:24 <@Carreau> > heirloom blade that houses the bitterly cold winds of the Blessed Isle's mountaintops, able to rapidly freeze its surroundings. You might get in trouble if he utilizes it in naval combat against your ships."

06:24 <@Carreau> "According to my sources the seventh fleet is currently docked in Sharkskull, a former buccaneer outpost some hundred and fifty nautical miles north of Lathe. With the coastal wind at your back, it should only take a day to get there. The ship that recently attacked Greensand Cove was a part of the fleet, which puts them at four ships remaining. Two cutters and two frigates. The frigates don't actually >

06:24 <@Carreau> > use sails, but are pulled by monstrosities of some sort - elementals or worse. The two frigates have a crew of three hundred total, the cutters at two-three dozen each. Lintha use a special kind of footwear that allows them to run on water for small periods of time, which means you will likely get boarded at longer distances than you'd expect. From what I've gathered, they have two sorcerers on both >

06:24 <@Carreau> > frigates, and at least one of them is capable of changing the weather drastically."

06:24 <@Carreau> "I know it's a tough mission, but I have faith in your ability to recruit the people necessary to win the battle, Silent Leaf. Do share this information with the Whistlers and whoever you see fit. Best of luck. -Factor Adhyasa"

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12:12 <Pluck> ---

12:15 <Pluck> After consulting the letter and ruminating over the future for a little while, Pluck eventually begins to gather up her things. After changing into her uniform she starts to leave the bathhouse, but pauses for a moment upon seeing her most favoured of clients, and veers towards her. "Lady Radiant, would I be able to take a moment of your time?" she asks.

12:18 <Alvuea> Radiant isn't pulling on a uniform, instead, some of the attendants at the bathhouse are... dressing her, pulling the dress into place, fluffing and priming and tying that perfect bow that is to be on the ribbon about her waist, and she smiles to Pluck, "Oh, certainly, dear Pluck.  Whatever do you need?"

12:23 <Pluck> "I noticed you are acquainted with Lady Leaf, who has contracted the Whistlers for a large-scale operation against the Lintha," explains Pluck, momentarily hating herself for bringing talk of such violent things to Radiant. "It seems our opponent this time is a captain of substantial repute. "I am wondering if I might beg your assistance in locating souls who might contribute supernatural 

12:23 <Pluck> might to this venture... our opponents control unknown sorcery, and while my new employers will do what they can, I am sure, there is no such thing as too much help."

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12:33 <Alvuea> Radiant laughs, "Only slightly.  I do not know her terribly well, but yes, I suppose we are now introduced."  She pauses, then considers, "I think I might know... at least someone who can help.  I do not, alas, know very many sorcerers, but I'll bet To-rrr- Little Spume is itching to go hit somethings after having spent all this time stuck in her family's

12:33 <Alvuea> compound." she laughs, recalling the mostly recovered woman's tales of being practically forced to stay bed-ridden from her visit the day before.  "So, yes, I know at least someone.  And... I can see who I can talk to about getting some more sorcerous assistance.  Though I would rather need to know what you're offering, other than an opportunity to battle

12:33 <Alvuea> the Lintha." she pauses, and then seems to realize something, "Oh!  And... um, I think Little Spume might rather demand to be in charge of something.  Probably all the ships.  You might be able to convince her down to just one, if you're clever.  Though maybe it would be best to let her.  I know not."

12:38 <Pluck> "My client is not poor. There is wealth in the offering, and a chance to capture Lintha warships as well," replies Pluck. "Is Little Spume, perhaps, a captain without a ship?"

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12:41 <Alvuea> Radiant pauses, "I... must be honest.  I will make the offer to her, and I think she is likely to accept, but I do not actually know that she will.  Perhaps she cannot, perhaps she will have another ship.  But... last I saw, her ship was missing several masts and I believe she will be with little to do until it has been repaired."

12:45 <Pluck> Pluck blinks, before raising her eyebrows. "The Sword of Danna'd! Yes, ultimately she would be bound to the chain of command. But such an individual would certainly be the elite, even amongst the navy- she was its captain? Or a regular officer?"

12:48 <Alvuea> "Why don't we hold that conversation off for the introduction?" Radiant responds, as she suddenly feels she may have presented an offer that was rather stronger than one she is certain she can actually bring, "I will talk to her.  When would you like to meet?  It sounds like youa re preparing to set sail rather very soon?"

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12:53 <Pluck> "As soon as possible. Tomorrow morning would be ideal." replies Pluck, without hesitation. "Time is critical to our success, so if your friend is indisposed then there is no need to worry further."

12:57 <Alvuea> "Oh.  Well, that is very much a hurry.  I will see what I can do.  You're leaving from the docks early tomorrow morning?"

13:03 <Pluck> Pluck smiles. "No, we would leave a little later than that, most likely the following day," she explains. "Tomorrow morning I intend to discuss our strategy, so all know their role and tasks before we depart, and then after that we shall be all a-busy with organizing our troops and equipment. We must also find time to make appropriate sacrifices, and beckon the favor of the gods."

13:07 <Alvuea> "Oh.  I see.  Well, I'll see what I can do.  With that... rather restrained timeframe, I don't think I'll be able to manage any additional assistance, but I will certainly talk to Little Spume." Radiant responds, "I'd be interested to see what sort of battle plans you have.  It is a strange thing, warfare."

13:15 <Pluck> "My battle plans? My lady, they are cruel and simple things. Once I have told them to you, they will not seem strange, nor palatable. But I pray they are effective enough that we return to sing songs of them. I will tell you this, though the presence of Alira Whitefeather has improved them dramatically."

13:15 <Pluck> *ex the 'though'

13:19 <Alvuea> Radiant recalls the northern girl, she seemed sweet, a bit naive, and tremendously excitable.  There are situations she thinks those qualities sound quite delightful for.  They seem, however, much more suited to the font than the battlefield.  "Why might that be?  She was asking to simply find a bow at all.  That seems... rather unprepared for a battle

13:19 <Alvuea> against the Lintha."

13:25 <Pluck> "Imagine, my lady, if during one of your performances, a member of the audience produced a trumpet and played a loud, strong, and long note that was off-key, to boot. I intend to visit that level of frustration and dissonance upon our foes. Alira makes it possible, for she has a flying steed, and we have arrows that can be used from far out of ordinary range. Do you see?"

13:32 <Alvuea> A slow nod, "So it is... Copper that so improves your battle stratagems.  I see.  Well, I do understand, it is quite the strange and wonderous creature."

13:35 <Pluck> "Miss Whitefeather must be a rare and talented woman in her own right, to be able to ride such a creature! Can you imagine how terrifying it must be to hurtle through the sky? It must take nerves of iron."

13:44 <Alvuea> Radiant laughs, "Yes, it must be quite the wild adventure, soaring through the clouds in such a way."  She pauses, then muses, "I wonder if she can take someone with her."

13:45 <Pluck> "My lady has just discerned another point of my strategem," replies Pluck, her eyes lighting up. "Indeed, there is no end to the utility of a flying steed. I must hope Master Nyumetsu does not have a fear of heights, of course."

13:50 <Alvuea> "I look very much forward to hearing about what all your plans are.  However, for the moment, Miss Whitefeather promised me some time to meet her creature, and I would like to take advantage of that.  I will speak to Tomo and will probably arrive with her to the meeting tomorrow."

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