[18:45] <Alvuea> Calibration draws ever so close to its completion. That means something a bit more in Lathe than it does in most of creation. The important part, though, isn't truly that Whitecrest and Heartworks - major areas of the city may soon again be available for some slight form of habitation, no... something far more important coincides with the conclusion of
[18:45] <Alvuea> Calibration, something that teams of workers have been working tirelessly lately to set the stage for... Radiant's Calibration Concert. Much of the haunches has filled with people, crowding the streets, as there simply was no venue remotely near large enough for the scale that this concert is aiming for. However, the moment has finally come, the curtains
[18:45] <Alvuea> have drawn, and the music begins, as Radiant fills Lathe with the sound of her voice, fills it with a sort of beauty, an entire concert dedicated to music itself, to the beauty if its sounds, to the perfection of the instruments and people who produce it, to the clarity of sound that is produced by music produced by everyday sounds... and perhaps a bit
[18:45] <Alvuea> heavily dedicated to the perfect magnificence of Radiant's voice as she tries to play to all of Creation.
01[20:09] <Pluck> Far too busy to roam around the streets herself in search of random opportunities, Pluck has told the men she has patrolling the Haunches to be on the lookout for Fox-Tail-Weaver, in hopes that he hasn't vanished into the crowd forever. Luck seems to strike her; Estrell rushes into her room to tell her his whereabouts. The sharp-eyed trainee who spoke up too loudly during Pertamu's funeral seems delighted to have performed a service, and is promptly rewarded with a sip of wine and a sugared tart from Jade Soma. Pluck then decides to go and see the boy herself. It would be a waste to let a skilled combatant drift away when she could put him to better use...
[20:13] <@Carreau> Fox-Tail-Weaver is sitting on a barrel by the Blue Esplanade, talking to one of his brothers, resting after loading up the ship. Section-staff around his neck as usual, he seems a little tired but still keeps smiling. Getting his shoulder squeezed by his brother, the man is then left to his own devices as the other man departs toward the piers.
01[20:15] <Pluck> A chance! Pluck approaches the man, all formality. "Esteemed champion," she says, walking towards him. "Are you leaving today? If so, I am glad I've caught you."
[20:18] <@Carreau> Fox scratches the back of his head and shrugs his shoulder a little. "We were thinking of leaving as soon as possible. Don't feel comfortable leaving the old homestead unprotected for long." Pushing up, he brings his hands to his hips and stretches his back, quirking a brow. "Need something shipped to Redmoon?"
01[20:20] <Pluck> "I intend to take a trip there in the near future," remarks Pluck folding her arms behind her back. "But actually, I was rather interested in you. I am always interested in skilled people." She gestures to the man. "The one who can defeat Master Platinum in any sort of battle is quite rare. Have you considered making coin from your from your martial talent in a more professional capacity?"
[20:25] <@Carreau> The man snorts, part amused and part embarrassed, before shaking his head. "I find my talents are most useful when put to protecting those I care about. Even if I could make good coin outside home, it'd be for naught if I can't be with my family. They need me, and I need them."
01[20:27] <Pluck> "Is your family in some sort of trouble?" asks Pluck, curiously.
[20:31] <@Carreau> "Who in Redmoon isn't? The Inhumer-Errants are getting more aggressive by the season. We only take the trip here during Calibration, for that is the only time of the year we know we're safe." He makes a small, dismissive gesture with his hand. "We've asked Lathe for help, but seems like the city is too busy with its own problems."
01[20:34] <Pluck> Pluck raises an eyebrow. "It's remarkable that you'd consider Calibration the safe time to travel," she says, shaking her head. "I have not heard of this menace," she remarks. "A cadre of rapacious burial agents?"
[20:38] <@Carreau> "Redmoon is built on an ancient battlefield. The legends exaggerate, but supposedly in ages past one hundred thousand men were killed in one eyeblink by an anathema. To keep the place from turning into a land of shadows, ancient magics were woven to create these creatures, poor imitations of priests, whose only function was to bury the dead. It's been six years since they woke up again, and have
[20:38] <@Carreau> ever since prowled the island - seeking for corpses to inter. When they don't find them, they make them." His expression has gone grim, giving the woman a quiet look.
01[20:44] <Pluck> "Ah. Then I can see why your skills would be most valued and necessary," admits Pluck. "It is unfortunate that Lathe has not been able to assist you, but as it happens we have recently been granted a slight reprieve from the black forces that embattle us. Still, our noble satrap is unlikely to part with his forces, but..." She hums to herself for a moment. "For appropriate compensation, I could offer you my services instead. It is within my ability to dispatch troops to Redmoon."
[20:48] <@Carreau> Fox scratches his stomach, in thought. "I'm glad you are willing to offer your services, but we're more in need of sorcerous aid. The Inhumer-Errants are relatively easy to dispatch with large numbers because they are slow, but the real issue is that there seems to be no end to them. They dissipate when slain, only to come back again the next night. We're fighting an immortal enemy."
01[20:55] <Pluck> "Which would mean every additional loss will see you hurt, whilst your enemy is ever-strong." reflects Pluck. "And you cannot be there all the time. It must create a terrible sense of dread throughout your people. I understand." She clucks her tongue. "I am not entirely unacquainted with sorcerers here in Lathe. I'm sure the details of this particular menace are locked up on the beast's brain, somewhere." She hums to herself for a moment. "I could begin an investigation on your behalf, and perhaps even prepare a response."
[21:00] <@Carreau> "... That would mean a lot to me." Fox finally says, with a lowered voice, brows furrowed. "Our king has sent for many sorcerers around the South-West and beyond, but none have managed to contain the scourge. Lathe doesn't bother because they're bound to the island and won't be a threat. The only thing this city wants from us is rye beer, and only once per year." The man could be bitter, but
[21:01] <@Carreau> instead his tone is a lot more accepting of the situation being as it is. "Everyone has their own problems."
01[21:13] <Pluck> "So we do. We thrive when we come together to overcome them. Now, Master Weaver, I should like send a fang of archers with you to Redmoon, if you do not mind, so that they can assess the situation on the ground and see what sort of compensation your king is offering to those who solve this dillema."
[21:18] <@Carreau> The martial artist seems a little uncomfortable with the idea, trying to figure out some way to get away from such direct help. "I think it might be best to see if you can get a sorcerer to help. No offense, but Redmoon isn't all that friendly to strangers, your archers will likely feel very unwelcome. Gah, look, just... forget about it, alright?" He starts getting visibly anxious, starting to
[21:18] <@Carreau> push past. "We'll deal with it."
01[21:22] <Pluck> Pluck raises an eyebrow, and regards the man cooly. Perhaps their problem is not so bad... if they felt truly threatened, wouldn't any help be seized with open arms?
[21:30] <@Carreau> The man gestures an annoyed goodbye before tucking his thumbs under his belt while wandering off toward the dock, shoulders a little hunched. Tell a lathean what you want, and she tries to sell you what you don't need. Figures.
01[21:33] <Pluck> Pluck clucks her tongue, and draws her pipe from her belt for a moment. Well, it will cost her nothing to ask about it, she reasons as she lights it. The captain turns to walk back up the Esplanade. A lesson learned; she shouldn't try to sell a solution until she has a concrete one.
[22:20] <Crane> "I'm sorry, sir, but you'll need to present some proper identification as part of your registration. Please leave, you're holding up other people." The speaker is a plain-looking woman of an indeterminate age, barely restraining a sigh as the man finally leaves. The docks office smells of the salty sea air, reminding her of her the old days. It's a pleasant reminder, as long as she doesn't concentrate too much on it. The rest of the
[22:20] <Crane> building is far less pleasant though. It's small and dimly lit, with old furniture and a constant patch of mould that nobody's ever managed to completely eliminate. Isami scribbles down some notes, then looks up at the queue. "Next please."
03[22:20] * Crane is now known as Isami
01[22:28] <Pluck> Pluck strides in through the door, whilstling a tune to herself overhead during Radient's last performance. The mercenary has gained a small degree of notoriety around the docks. Her soldiers seem to have taken it upon themselves to ensure that the pier and taverns by which some of her ships are docked are trouble-free, ensuring that those seeking to make trouble swiftly find themselves dumped into the sea or left to sleep the night off in piles of refuse near the esplanade. "Good day," she says, bowing lightly to Isami and revealing a faintly scarred face. Twin lines drawn by her eyes give the woman an impression as sharp as the dirk on her hip. The woman has a bundle of papers under her arm. "I have some ships to register with the office. I understand that any ship possessing a certain degree of armament or restricted cargo must have their routes cleared in advance?"
[22:35] <Isami> Isami is surprised to see Pluck, but years of training keeps her expression perfectly smooth. She's seen this person before, when was it? ...No, she hasn't. Shining Glory has. Twice, and recently. Irrelevant. Her strange visions have no place while she works. "Yes, and I'll need you to tell me what sort of armament or cargo you're bringing with you as well as the route."
01[22:42] <Pluck> "It's all here," replies Pluck, setting the papers on the table. The mercenary shows no recognition at Isami. Such an ordinary woman can't possibly have a connection with the Lady Radiant's only real rival for local fame. "Six cutters and the Jora's Surf. They're collectively armed with ten ballista, using envenomed bolts, and they're carrying a significant load of firedust each. Sailors are typically armed with firewands," she replies. "They're being put on manuevers around Lathe and the local archipelagoes. I'm not hunting anything- yet- just keeping the boys exercised and an eye on the waves whilst the Sword is in dock."
[22:52] <Isami> "That's, ah, a significant force." In the back of Isami's mind, she calculates what this woman could do with those ships. Overkill for mere pirates, even for most Lintha raiding parties going by her experience, easily enough to raid nearby towns, possibly sufficient to even be a thorn in the Realm's side. "You'll need to speak to one of the higher-ups in the Navy if you haven't already, make sure they're on board with this."
01[22:58] <Pluck> "Is this a formal requirement of the harbourmaster's office, or more of a caution?" replies Pluck, raising an eyebrow.
[23:03] <Isami> "A caution, but if the Navy doesn't know that seven heavily armed ships with heavily armed crews are going to be in the area they may attack on sight rather than take any chances." Isami shrugs. "Your choice." For a moment she imagines herself leaping over the desk to join Pluck, take her place on one of those ships and fight whatever good fight the mercenary's signed up for. But she forces those thoughts away. This is her life now.
01[23:03] <Pluck> Pluck snorts. "Well, thank you for being candid with me, Miss..."
[23:08] <Isami> "Isami." She begins the long process of writing out registrations for each of Pluck's ships.
01[23:10] <Pluck> "Isami," repeats Pluck. "Well, the navy is certainly on edge," she acknowledges. "Does it not collaborate with the harbourmaster's office at all?" she muses, as if the thought just occured to her. "I suppose they must do all of their own tracking, but it seems inefficient."
[23:15] <Isami> "They cooperate some. But you know how bureaucracy is, trying to send important papers between two different organisations is unreliable at best. Maybe half the time they'll get the papers before something unfortunate happens, I wouldn't bet my life on that."
01[23:17] <Pluck> "Figures." Pluck glances at the papers. "I suppose everything that happens in Lathe is written down somewhere, then filed carefully away such that nobody can make use of such knowledge."
[23:18] <Isami> "Likely. Now, was there anything else you wanted?"
01[23:28] <Pluck> Pluck drums her fingers on the table. "Immediately? No, but I'm always on the lookout for news, and for work," she replies. "You must see a great many captains here, coming and going, and they may bring both with them. Staying abreast of regional conflicts is necessary in my profession, to say nothing of securing escort jobs. Navy is less across the trade routes these days, even if they are pricklier."
[23:42] <Isami> Again Isami has to suppress a flicker of emotion as Pluck speaks. Digging up expensive information, convincing people to part with their hard-earned jade with smooth words and a smile, just like the old days. The old, old days, back when she was... how young was she then? In her teens still? For a brief, exhilarating moment she can feel the thrill of the chase, the rush of a successful job. And she'll still be keeping her head down,
[23:42] <Isami> staying out of trouble. She'll just earn a bit more money while she does it. How could she refuse? "My employers pay me for my work. I'd expect the same from you if you want me to work for you."
01[23:49] <Pluck> "Of course." Pluck peers at Isami with a half-grin. "I suppose you use those lines a lot down here. That was right off the cuff." She fishes in her belt for a small pouch of silver. "Here's how we can work. I'll pass you this token of my appreciation for now, but for the most part, deserved payment follows results. Thus, every tip you give me that leads to work or opportunity, you'll get the same and a bit off the job's commission when its done. Same share as one of my boys would get from the job, none of the danger, sweat, tears or blood." The captain has clearly come here with the offer all worked out in her head beforehand.
[23:53] <Isami> Tears and blood. Isami remembers them well. The seas stained dark, drawing in the children of Siakal to feast. Tears of the still living, shed where they thought nobody else could see. After a moment she takes the pouch. "Thank you. I'll see you again soon?" 01[23:57] <Pluck> "I hope so. For me, these ships are only a beginning," reflects Pluck, retrieving the papers. She might have just throw coins into the sea, as far as the likelyhood of getting a decent return goes- but, sometimes a message in a bottle or even a long-forgotten chest does wash up on shore. "Good day, Miss Isami."