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--- Log opened Thu Mar 26 00:00:18 2015

00:37 <Silent_Leaf> After setting her affairs in order, Silent Leaf makes her way to the lily pits, descending into the bowels of the city. For a while now she felt something when channelling her Essence, as if greater understanding was just out of reach. Finally, she reached a dark corner of the Pits and settled down, ignoring the heat and humidity. She sat down in the lotus position and focused on her own body and the subtle flow of Essence between her 

00:37 <Silent_Leaf> chackras. She took her power from the sun, but was most comfortable in shadows and darkness, most often suppressing her anima. Yet she still felt that spark of sunlight within her, empowering her every move. So she came here, to focus entirely on the light within her, away from any other source of sunlight, for in the darkest night a tiny spark is visible like a bonfire. As she sat there unmoving, she saw and felt that divine spark 

00:37 <Silent_Leaf> like never before.

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06:05 <Nyumetsu> Nyumetsu is in the basement of Leaf's home- meditating as she's shown him many times before- grasping at the weavings of the spell she explained to him. He ponders the sturdy nature of Bronze- of metal in general, in all honesty. It is strange, to filter it through the bizzare mind he has gained as of late- and he keeps finding the bronze in his mind, shifting to something more crystaline- still.. 

06:06 <Nyumetsu> He has made some progress- his mind pondering the task in his spare moments- but it is only now, before he begins to arrange a trip planned.. that the idea crystalizes in his mind. He gathers the magic in the air- twisting and weaving motes about him, rather than drawing on his carefully nurtured pool of false emotions.. and begins to attempt to hold it in the weave he was shown, his relatively average intellect having tak

06:08 <Nyumetsu> into his form- as his body shifts for the first time. The spell takes effect- and he finds himself formed of interlocking bronze crystals- metallic crystalline form flowing like real skin- catching the light and refracting it about his form. He gleams in an eerie fashion after rising to stand.

06:08 <Nyumetsu> "...Fascinating.." He murmurs- before going to meet the boatman meant to take him to the strange place known.. as the bordermarches.

06:17 <Nyumetsu> And so it is that sometime later that day- he sails towards the Bordermarches alongside a single member of the band known as the Whistlers.  There is only one other being aboard this vessel, beyond the black clad Fae-touched sorcerer making his path to the bordermarches- a young sailor. Still..

06:18 <Nyumetsu> Neither was prepared for what awaits them- as the sky burns, and the waters begin to distort and twist- the wyld's chaos visible before them as they make their way into the bordermarches.. into the land at the veil's touch- where the Wyld begins to bleed into reality. The sky burns a vivid violet, near the edge of night.

06:26 <Nyumetsu> The boat sails into the strangeness- as rainbows connect from the sea to the sky, shimmering with strange Colors. Nyumetsu's eyes drift about the scene before him- and he gestures to a verdant island near the Horizon, a spot of green. "There, drop me there- return in two weeks." He says to the man sailing the ship. "I'll be fine- but you should not tarry long." He warns him- as they sail over a sea of oil and crystal.

08:08 <Pluck> ---

08:15 <Pluck> There are a million things to do. After the successful meeting with Adhyasa, the wheels are set in motion for the Whistlers to acquire a small fleet; the Jora's Surf as a flagship, and half a dozen or so cutters that can carry light ballista along with a 20-man raiding party each. Sailors have to be hired to crew them and teach her men the tricks of the trade; sailwrights must be comissioned 

08:15 <Pluck> to weave the Whistler's emblem into their cloth. She herself spends a great deal of time with her lieutenants, sketching out the hierarchy of her auxilary-to-be, developing procedures, organizing supplies, planning training routines. An army requires an endless amount of logistics.

08:15 <Pluck> When her preperations are completed, new recruits will be able to get drawn right in. She knows she must not expand too hastily, for rapid expansion will attract unwanted attention and someone will stymie her efforts. Her growth must be smoothed with the blood and silver harvested from great victories. Lathe has no shortage of foes for the facing. Sooner or later her services will be required.

08:15 <Pluck> With all of that, Pluck still finds time to fit in a regimine of physical training for herself. If she is going to be battling powerful creatures (or battlign alongside them), she must be at her absolute best. She runs the Gauntlet at least once every three days- a crushing obstacle course, set up by the Whistlers in the jungles that lie outside of Lathe. The object is to carry a flag from 

08:15 <Pluck> one end to the other, but one's efforts are stymied by overgrown vegetation, puddles, man-made obstacles of wood, flying foxes- and a number of snipers, including at random intervals throughout the course and armed with soft-headed fowling arrows that drip with paint. The course sharpens the body and the senses.

08:15 <Pluck> After running that course in the morning and changing into a uniform that is not smeared over with red ink, Pluck decides that enough is enough, however. She makes her way to the Anathema Dojo.

08:24 <Mad> From inside can be heard the sounds of wood clacking, students shouting, and the occasional stomp. The door is ajar, to increase airflow, or perhaps to advertise or invite passerby.

08:29 <Pluck> Pluck walks inside. The Whistlers train with swords and bayonets, and all too frequently have been forced out of their element to use them. There, it is their stubborn resolve and sheer discipline that sees them through rather than superlative skill. Thus, she can appreciate those who dedicate themselves to close combat, an arena where battles seem to be resolved much more quickly and bloodily 

08:29 <Pluck> than her own. "I am seeking Master Platinum," she tells the first student she passes by. "Is he in?"

08:31 <Mad> Nodding, the student responds. "Yes, he is. He's been gone for some time, so the past few days have been filled with training. He's taking a break now, in there." The student points to a door on the right of the back wall of the dojo.

08:32 <Pluck> That seems to be an invitation, so Pluck walks over to the door and knocks on it.

08:33 <Mad> From inside, she hears, "Come in, come in."

08:35 <Pluck> Pluck pushes the door open and steps inside. "Good afternoon." The Captain looks substantially different; her uniform is of much finer quality, and the burns on her face have been accented by thin lines of black paint that cast it in a sharper mold. "I see you're still with us. We were a little worried."

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08:42 <Mad_Rubicant> Platinum is sitting crosslegged, and eating lunch. He wears a practical gi, and has clearly been practicing, if his sweaty hair is to be believed. "I'm glad to be here too, I was worried myself. Anyways, what brings you to this fine establishment today?"

08:43 <Pluck> Pluck studies Platinum for a moment. She closes the door behind her, and folds her hands behind her back. After a long moment of contemplation, she speaks. "What do you want?" she asks, curiously. 

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08:46 <Mad> Putting down his food for a moment, he responds. "Dead Lintha and to spread my style to all who will listen, mostly. I'd also like to be in a position where the Satrap and Immaculates can't just get rid of me."

08:47 <Pluck> "The former position is nothing intrinstically problematic, but the latter position is revolutionary by default," points out Pluck, after a moment. "That does make things refreshingly clear to me."

08:51 <Mad> Intrigued, Platinum raises his eyebrow a bit. "Oh, how so?"

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08:56 <Pluck> "To live in Lathe, you must eventually conquer it," replies Pluck. "You have no other choice. It would be different if you had some other agenda that you sought to achieve before departure." She shakes her head. "I think there are three ways to ward off the Dragon-Blooded without a fight. Anonymity, servitude, or through threats to the decision-makers involved. They might balk at facing an 

08:56 <Pluck> Anathema if they know their heads will be the first to roll. The first option is stable as long as the Wyld Hunt does not find you. The remaining two options can only ever be short-term solutions. Sooner or later someone would see political capital in exposing you, and then you would have to overcome all the Terrestrials or flee Lathe."

09:03 <Mad> "There is another way to stop them without a fight: Become so powerful that they can't call down a hunt on me because the cost would be ruinous. Of course, that's something for the far future. Until then, I plan on concealing my identity to the best of my ability."

09:07 <Pluck> "If you become powerful enough to effectively dictate Realm policy, then you have conquered Lathe. Your power would have to be demonstrated before they restrain themselves, no?" She shakes her head. "They will not tolerate it. Terrestrial hegemony depends on eliminating all serious competitors. Why do you think they keep sending disastrous operations into the Lunar Anathema forces near Faxai? 

09:07 <Pluck> They will try, and keep trying until they are impotent. Cathak Ogata and Jagamaru, at least, are not the types to be daunted by a dangerous foe." She pauses. "As for your anonymity, I wanted to ask about that. What is your relationship with the High Priestess?"

09:10 <Mad> "If it ultimately takes the removal of the satrapy, then so be it." Sighing, as he'd prefer not to talk about the high priestess, he goes on. "I... don't know. Do you remember the day that the immaculates executed an Anathema who was working with Fae, and put the city on lockdown?"

09:12 <Pluck> "I do. I was nowhere near the scene, but everyone heard the priestess put on a magnificient display of power."

09:15 <Mad> "Yes, well, I knew the Anathema who was executed. One of his friends, I believe, was waiting for me at the dojo, and told me some of my students had gone to fight the fae. On my way there, I ran into Mistral and two of her men, and..." He shudders. "She's terrifying, moreso than the Lintha I slew. Her voice like a glacier, she told me 'leave Forsaken. Defend Lathe with all your might, but do not get caught'."

09:20 <Pluck> "You felt fear?" asks Pluck, wryly. "It is good to know we have another thing to relate over. As for Mistral- well, the Realm have a saying. 'Let the barbarians fight the barbarians.' This is a policy she will continue until no other threats hold a comparative amount of danger. At that point-" Pluck kneels on the floor, adopting a passive position. She focuses on Platinum with unusual intensity. 

09:20 <Pluck> "At that point, they will come for you. You casually discuss removing the satrap as an option, should they pick a fight. I am prepared to believe you are capable of that, or at least that you will be, one day. But do you realise that their defeat would also entail the effective destruction of the Hall of Aruspicy?"

09:24 <Mad> "I know not the workings of sorcerers. Tell me, why?"

09:26 <Pluck> "The head of the Hall belongs to House Nellens and thus is strongly affiliated with the Realm. In the event that the Satrapy is genuinely threatened, Ogata will call upon her aid. It is well-known amongst native citizens that the Augurs are bound to the Hall via a series of powerful, binding oaths that compel their service, so to conquer the Satrap one must not only overcome the Terrestrials, 

09:26 <Pluck> the legions, and the loyal auxiliaries, they must also rout the bulk of Lathe's sorcerers. Without those sorcerers, Lathe itself will collapse. Magic sustains the city and it cannot survive without it."

09:33 <Mad> Platinum leans back, letting out a long sigh, looking dejected. "I was afraid it was something like that. Hopefully it won't come to that. My plan if everything comes tumbling down is to flee or hide. At least for now."

09:43 <Pluck> "I think you need a better plan. Your power, Forsaken- or would you prefer me to call you 'Lawgiver?' It is less antagonistic, let us go with that. Your power, 'Lawgiver', has placed a responsibility upon you to be far-sighted. Now that you know the dangers intrinsic to just residing here, I hope you will put a bit more thought into the future. Violent conflict between powerful beings in 

09:43 <Pluck> Lathe means that the Haunches and the Pits will suffer for it. I have a responsibility to protect those locales. The people of the haunches make my arrows, and if I am denied good noodles- there aren't any in Jade Soma- I will be very upset."

09:49 <Mad> "I've never been good at long-term planning, so I guess I have to learn. I do agree with you about the noodles though."

09:53 <Pluck> "Quite." Pluck cracks a grin. "If you are not misleading me over Mistral, then I might as well go all the way and assume that the story of Thousand Song is correct, as opposed to the Immaculate variant. I need only be concerned about you for reasons of politics and power, Master Platinum. If you are truly the soul-eating, mind-bending monster of legend- well, I pray to the God of Orphans, 

09:53 <Pluck> not the Immaculate Dragons. He will shepherd my soul regardless."

09:54 <Mad> Smiling, he beats his chest. "I haven't eaten any souls yet!"

09:54 <Pluck> "So you could, if you wanted?"

09:56 <Mad> "I have no idea, actually. That was a joke"

10:01 <Pluck> Pluck frowns. "I advise you not to make such jokes." She shakes her head. "Understand your raw power adds weight to your words."

10:03 <Mad> "Sometimes I wish it didn't."

10:04 <Pluck> Pluck snorts. "Well, it does. Where do you even get it from?"

10:07 <Mad> Platinum shrugs. "No idea, I just have it."

10:07 <Pluck> "That's bullshit!"

10:10 <Mad> "I agree." He faces his palm at the sword on leaning on the wall and concentrates for a second. The blade disappears from the wall, reappearing in his hand.

10:11 <Pluck> Pluck glances between the blade and Platinum with an angry scowl. "And you just woke up one day, knowing how to do that? Or did you spring into the world with all these powers fully-formed?" she complains, angrily. "I thought it might be a product of your martial discipline, or some pact with a god or demon. Sorcery, perhaps. But you have no idea? Do you have amnesia?"

10:12 <Mad> "Some Lintha attacked my island one day, after this sword no doubt. All was nearly lost, then I just started killing them. And now here we are." He lays the sword down next to him.

10:14 <Mad> "So yes, I know when I got them, but I don't know the source. Except for the connection with the Sun"

10:15 <Pluck> "Did your village pray to the sun?"

10:17 <Mad> "Not really, just the local island's god, and a few who followed the Immaculate Teachings."

10:21 <Pluck> "Who was your island's god? I bet he has something to do with this. Power does not just happen to people," replies Pluck, seeming terribly offended by the very notion. "Talent plays a part, but for most of us it is routinely a matter of dedication and practice. When exceptions exist, there is an explanation. The Dragon-Blooded lineages, for example. I have heard the gods sometimes elect 

10:21 <Pluck> champions as well and grant them blessings. Sorcerers. And so on." The archer shakes her head. "Did you never try and figure it out?"

10:24 <Mad> "Sorry Pluck, it just happened one day, and I've never been interested in figuring it out."

10:25 <Pluck> This time, Pluck is genuinely flabbergasted. She startes at Platinum with a gaze that suggests she can hardly believe he actually exists, mouth slightly agape.

10:28 <@Carreau> Their discussion is abruptly interrupted by the sudden appearance of a dark wisp of smoke that curls up into the shape of a black ring in the shape of a coiled centipede. A neat piece of paper has been rolled and tucked inside it. The ring and the note flash into existence from thin air in front of pluck, and gently drop down to her feet.

10:29 <Pluck> "What the-" Pluck looks down at the ring and note suspiciously, before snatching up the letter and peering at it.

10:34 <Mad> "Something sorcerous?"

10:35 <@Carreau> The note's corner bears the stamp of a purple lotus flower with a stylized carp overlaid on top, the Factor's signet. The note itself reads; "Dearest Pluck, I forgot to talk to you about the tournament you are organizing when we dined together. I think it is a fantastic idea and I have a few ideas relating to it. In addition, I have to talk about the transferring of your payment, the Guild's treasurer is

10:35 <@Carreau>  >

10:35 <@Carreau> > trying to make my life difficult when it comes to withdrawing such a large sum of silver and transferring it from the physical coffers of the City of the Steel Lotus to Lathe. Please come see me as soon as possible so we can organize the transfer of your well-earned funds in a way that spares us from the woes of logistics. I will be disposed from tomorrow onward, so if only possible, try to come today.

10:35 <@Carreau>  >

10:35 <@Carreau> > I apologize for such a sudden summons. Please bring the ring with you. - Factor Adhyasa"

10:38 <Pluck> Pluck scowls. "I'm afraid I must go," she says, pocketing the ring and the letter with a shake of her head. "I- I cannot believe you. You have no consideration for your situation!" she exclaims, rising to her feet. "No awareness of what you are going to do to Lathe, nor any interest in what has happened to you! I am just a humble archer," she continues, forgetting that her uniform is actually 

10:38 <Pluck> quite smart- "-but even I have a broader understanding than you! For your own sake, if nothing else, think about what you are a bit more! I will call again soon." The archer is talking loud enough to be heard through the walls, but she simply bows a moment later and turns to make her exit.

10:41 <Mad> "Goodbye, Pluck. I promise to think a bit on my situation. Have a nice day!" With that, he goes back to eating his lunch.

10:49 <@Carreau> Adhyasa's mansion in the Heartworks seems to be under a bit of renovation, multiple workers on the rooftops and near the walls inspecting and repairing various parts of the building. A guard lets Pluck in as she arrives, pointing toward the familiar terrace. There, wearing a simple shirt and a sarong skirt, paces Adhyasa, discussing some details with a few workers before turning to meet the woman. "Ah, >

10:49 <@Carreau> > Pluck, wonderful that you got here in time. We're just doing our last minute preparations before Calibration."

10:52 <Pluck> "I could not hasten here fast enough. Not only is sorcery most interested used to summon me, but it is a matter of money as well," replies Pluck, bowing. "What can this humble one do for you, honored client?"

10:53 <Pluck> *sorcery most interesting

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10:58 <@Carreau> Adhyasa dismisses the few servants and steps next to Pluck, leading her toward the railing overlooking the park by the shoulder. "As I mentioned, the treasurer is giving me some hard time. So here is what I propose; I can easily allow you the use of my signet for any of your business transactions, thus paying with the Guild's letter of credit. Smaller payments like the salary of your men we can arrange, 

10:58 <@Carreau> >

10:58 <@Carreau> > of course, but transferring even a dozen talents of silver is too risky with the current situation in the Cinder Coast. Do you have a dedicated accountant for your organization?" The man lets go and sets a hand on the railing, looking over to Pluck with his eyes of swirling teal and dark aquamarine.

11:12 <Pluck> Ah, so this is what Sugar was trying to warn her about. Accepting, here, is just like becoming a guildsman; it will tie their fortunes together to a degree. The vines will grow like the arrows from the Vase of Wicked Tangles, however, pulling her in tighter as time goes on. 

11:12 <Pluck> Nonetheless, she finds herself discreetly approving of the way the man assumes his original premise is just going to be accepted right off the bat. "We do indeed, Factor," she muses. "But before we get the counters involved, might I suggest that you may not need to ship the entire balance as silver? I understand you have a degree of privileged access to speciality goods, right here in Lathe."

11:21 <@Carreau> "Indeed, I do. And Jora's Surf and the scout vessels are easily organized from your payment without a hassle." The Factor leans against the railing properly and sets his hands over his lap, fingers interlocking. "The Whistlers are specialized archers, and you are - from the recounts of the in Greensand Cove and the attack on Sharkskull - one of the brightest strategists of our era." He looks over to the 

11:21 <@Carreau> >

11:21 <@Carreau> > park in thought, before continuing. "You plan to host an archery tournament to increase your numbers. I find this a splendid idea. Your interest in forming a navy is also very inspiring - to the point that I have been mulling over certain slightly more risky ventures." He turns over to look at the woman, friendly as ever. "As you might know, I have been sponsoring Master Platinum's Mani Iaijutsu dojo >

11:21 <@Carreau> > essentially from the start. His first master-level students are graduating on Calibration, from what I heard. They are capable of teaching swordsmanship at an extremely high level. And as important marksmanship is, not all engagements can be handled at range. Do you see where I am going with this?" 

11:26 <Pluck> "It seems as though our most honored client requires a larger force at his disposal, consisting of the most skilled soldiers Lathe is capable of producing. Short of the legions and the dynasty, of course."

11:33 <@Carreau> "I am more interested in being a..." He ponders for a moment, before picking a word. "...Partner, than simply an employer. My obligations to the Guild are tenuous at best, strange as it might seem." He unclasps his hands and pushes a stray lock of deep violet hair behind his ear. "The Realm is tearing itself apart. I expect bloodshed in the Caldera within the next two years. When that happens, I do not >

11:33 <@Carreau> > want to be the one who suffers the backlash, but rather the one who seizes the opportunity." His expression does not change, forever friendly, forever smiling.

11:44 <Pluck> Pluck's eyebrows raise in consteration. "The Factor's designs are grand. He seeks to control Lathe in the wake of a dynastic breakdown, and thus the gateway to to the Caul. In doing so he would place himself in a position from which he can safely bargain with a wide range of factions. And once it is held, it is difficult for any outside force to take Lathe, should it possess a unified army. 

11:44 <Pluck> The behemoth is all but impregnable."

11:49 <@Carreau> There is the tiniest, tiniest increase in his friendly smile as the woman spells out his plan, before his lips part: "As I said, a risky venture. Not something I can pull off on my own, though. I need leaders --" He gestures toward the woman, eyes twinkling. "-- as well as allies." Adhyasa then relaxes his gaze on the garden-monastery of the Immaculate Order in the far side of the Heartworks. "Not that I

11:49 <@Carreau>  >

11:49 <@Carreau> > scheme against our rulers, I am simply making contingency plans IF such a tragedy should befall our fair city."

12:03 <Pluck> "This humble one desires the strength to protect our city. Sometimes, this one wishes she could protect it from itself, but that is somewhat beyond the strategy I have studied," Pluck glances across the Heartworks with tight lips. "The Factor knows much I do not, for I am just a humble archer who knows little of what lies outside Lathe. The politics of the Realm, or the distant West, or even 

12:03 <Pluck> the strings being tugged from far-off Nexus are entirely invisible to my eyes.

12:03 <Pluck> "Such a difference in vision makes it difficult to consider us partners on a similar level, though this one is flattered for the comparison. I can, however, assure the factor that I am a guardian of order, here in Lathe. I will protect against all foes external and look kindly upon those who aid me in this endeavour. Within it, I will keep the peace and construct trust between my forces and 

12:03 <Pluck> the citizens. On this I am sure we can come to many an accord.

12:03 <Pluck> "What I will not do is take any action that weakens the fabric of our society, or threatens the magical weavings that hold this dead thing we call home together. The Factor understands my meaning?"

12:14 <@Carreau> Adhyasa bows his head a little at Pluck's question. "I understand it all too well. My greatest concern is that Lathe becomes weak - in truth or in the eyes of its enemies - and susceptible to invasion. As you are very aware, I went to great lengths to organize the demonstration of strength that you led in Sharkskull. With the Sword of Daana'd immobilized, it was imperative to show that Lathe will not >

12:14 <@Carreau> > recoil even if it receives a blow." The Factor then, for a moment, openly expresses emotion, a frustrated exhale. "I am sorry, I must attend to the final preparations of my estate before the district is evacuated. May I have the ring?" He extends his hand, palm up, not looking at the woman.

12:22 <Pluck> "Certainly." Pluck pauses, as she retrieves it from her pocket. "This one has a question pertaining to the defence of Lathe," she muses. "What is to become of the daiklaive we recovered in Sharkskull? No doubt a great champion of the city shall wield it? An outcaste, perhaps, or a god-blooded?"

12:23 <@Carreau> "We will talk about that after Calibration." He smiles a little bit, pockets the ring and offers a nod. "Goodbye for now, Pluck, and enjoy the Calibration festivities."

--- Log closed Fri Mar 27 00:00:20 2015