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[13:50] <Pluck> After bestowing another gruelling set of lessons upon his unsuspecting students, Platinum finds his meditation interrupted when one of his students passes him a letter. It requests that he head to a beach near the tail of Lathe that evening for a short meeting, and is merely signed 'Pluck'.

[13:54] <Platinum> Wondering what this could be about, Platinum turns the letter over a few times in his hand. Deciding it's not worth worrying about, he puts it aside and begins his own practice. Finally, once the time comes, he sees his advanced students out and locks the dojo door, before heading to the beach.

[13:59] <Pluck> He doesn't seem to be the only one looking to catch up on practice. It's not immediately obvious what Pluck is trying to shoot at, but the archer is standing alone on the beach, firing at something distant, far down the coast. She holds several arrows in her grip, three dangling downwards whilst the other is smoothly drawn back. "Master Platinum. I wanted to ask if you'd thought about our previous conversation," she says, turning slightly to acknowledge his approach.

[14:05] <Platinum> Moving about five feet behind Pluck, and turning around, Platinum takes out his sword and practicing his swings. "Only a little, I'm afraid. I spent the last day of Calibration seeking greater enlightenment, and I've been busy with my most advanced students. I may even send some your way."

[14:10] <Pluck> "I'm obliged by that. I have bigger work coming up. Elite swordsmen fill a hole in my deployment. Even if, as duelists, I would need to give them more free reign than I'm usually comfortable with." Pluck purses her lips. "Well, that aside, I have thought about the situation a little on your behalf," she says, turning to him and resting on the bowstave. "And the first thing I think you should do is seek an audience with the High Priestess, and find out what she's playing at."

[14:14] <Platinum> Platinum whistles, his sword striking the sand and resting there. "And if I find her game's goal ends with my death, what then? What if she calls a Hunt when I go to her for audience?"

[14:16] <Pluck> "Why would she? She already knows about you, and you're a public figure with enough standing that it's not so strange for you make the attempt. Just tell one of the monks you seek to meet her," replies Pluck. "A dinar says she'll arrange to meet you on her terms, so she feels safe." The captain smirks. "So long as you don't threaten her, I think you'll be alright. Don't you think it's fair to ask her what she wants? Or how you can help?"

[14:19] <Platinum> Platinum nods. "I suppose that's true. Still I'll need some kind of pretext for the meeting. Any ideas?"

[14:25] <Pluck> "Oh, anything will do," replies Pluck. "You could say you admire the principles of the Immaculate Order and want to learn more, and to lend it your sword. Or you could say you were hoping to make a donation of some kind, in return for some sort of acknowledgement or conferal of status." She shrugs. "The important thing is to put some terms together. Think of it like forming a treaty. You might even get a concession beyond being allowed to live on, here in Lathe, but the main thing is to start building trust. I think if you stay away from her, she will naturally gravitate towards thinking badly of you."

[14:30] <Platinum> "Hmm. I could offer my services as an instructor of martial arts, but I'm not sure whether the she and the immaculates would be willing to learn from a 'mortal'."

[14:31] <Pluck> "They may balk at learning from your feet; it's more about what you can actually do for them. She must have concern she'll need you in the future, some idea of the threats she wants to throw you at. Better to find out as quickly as possibl, hmm?" Pluck fishes in her belt for her pipe. "Do you smoke?"

[14:33] <Platinum> "No, thank you. I think I'll offer to fight the Fae, or Deathknights, or any other fiends that attack Lathe. I'm sure she would take twisted pleasure at sending me to kill another Lawgiver."

[14:37] <Pluck> "Twisted pleasure?" Pluck snorts. "Probably about as much as I did seeing you fight that Lunar Anathema. Which is to say, more a sense of grim desperation than anything pleasurable. Anyway, that is a start." She doesn't hesitate to light the pipe for herself. "What's this about deathknights?"

[14:40] <Platinum> "The day we returned to Lathe after the fight with the Lintha, the ship I was on was transported to the underworld by deathknights. We slew one, but Nyumetsu's adopted daughter was taken by them. Once we arrived back in Lathe, Nyumetsu told me that his mentor, his daughter's tutor, and her nanny had all been slain and sewn together in a monstrosity." Platinum shudders. "He's enlisted me to help find her once he gets back from wherever he is."

[14:42] <Pluck> "Would these be the same people responsible for that zombie attack, earlier? The fire in the Haunches?"

[14:43] <Platinum> "Most likely"

[14:47] <Pluck> "See, there you go- Lathe should retaliate against this sort of thing rather than endure attacks without recourse. What are the authorities planning to do?" Pluck scowls. "I sometimes think our satrap consists of paper tigers. All their work is in being a mighty force that frightens scavangers picking at our bones. But when it comes to actually fighting back, they appear to fold rapidly."

[14:54] <Platinum> "Has it always been this way?"

[14:58] <Pluck> "Hard to say. We were never seriously challenged, and the Sword of Danaa'd had never revealed so much as a scratch in public," replies Pluck. "The Navy held its own against whatever rivals showed their heads. The Lintha were a persistent threat, but they were hunted just as aggressively. I suppose things started to decline after the Empress disappeared, but not immediately. When the new satrap took power, though, I think that's when discord started to become more evident. And now Lathe has a bloody nose, but who calls to strike back? Nobody in the Caldera."

[15:01] <Platinum> "And if the satrap was replaced by another, do you think it would help?"

[15:07] <Pluck> "Another Dynast? Hard to say. If the current satrap were to lose his position, I've no idea who would end up replacing him. Whoever it is, however, will need both an army and the support of the Aruspicy to truly call themselves the ruler of Lathe."

[15:12] <Platinum> Beginning his swings again, Platinum muses. "I guess we'll have to deal with the fae, the Lintha, and the Deathknights ourselves, then. Tell me if you find any leads, I'm always happy to kill Lintha. As for the Deathknights, Nyumetsu would probably appreciate your help."

[15:20] <Pluck> "Of course. I'm sure he would. I suppose I will have to go and see Leaf after all about it."

[15:22] <Glory> Lady Wilsome Rose's mansion buzzes with the sound of people having a good time. Many of them are friends here to celebrate the Lady's recent engagement, but just as many are strangers who came simply to enjoy the famed parties she throws, a habit their host has seen no reason to discourage, as long as they seem polite and attractive. In different rooms of the house one can find small gatherings sampling canapes and fine wines and

[15:22] <Glory> having intense discussions about political matters or arguments over historical texts, or exuberant partying with loud music, dancing and food and drink more intended for quantity than quality. Shining Glory drifts throughout the house, sampling the different atmospheres (and snacks). She isn't a personal friend of Wilsome Rose, although they have met briefly before, or any of the other guests she's spoken to so far, so as she walks

[15:22] <Glory> she scans the crowds for familiar faces to talk with.

[15:23] <Platinum> "Everything comes back to the Factor, doesn't it." Platinum shakes his head.

[15:25] <Pluck> "Mmm. What do you think of him?"

[15:26] <Platinum> "I don't... dislike him. He is a member of the Guild, after all."

[15:27] <Alvuea> There is a face familiar to the entire room, as Radiant drifts through Lady Wilsome Rose's mansion.  She has come to well-wish upon the recent engagement, despite not really knowing the Lady, though apparently Tomo doesn't like her, but that's hardly unusual of late.  In any case, she'd gone to spend a bit of time with her family, leaving Radiant without the

[15:27] <Alvuea> partner who has been so attached to her of late at the party, giving her a bit of opportunity to trade about dance partners, leading to quiet, subtle battles to become the next to rotate in.

[15:29] <Pluck> "You should be careful. It's unwise to end up entirely in the pocket of one entity," replies Pluck. "I don't intend to be reliant on one benefactor; neither should you." She quirks a smile. "Another reason to get in the good books of our much-loved High Priestess. The order is much more popular than the satrapy, you know?"

[15:33] <Platinum> "I can imagine. Hopefully the next Satrap will work with the Immaculates, rather than at odds with them. And ignore me"

[15:34] <Glory> Glory hesitates for a moment when she spots Radiant. The last time she spoke with the famed singer ended poorly, and if the Dynast were to walk in on them talking again she may react even more angrily than she did before. But she owes it to Radiant to apologise for what happened, so she takes a deep breath, composes herself and walks over. "Hello again. How have you been?"

[15:36] <Pluck> "Mmm. Hard to say if we even will have a satrap in the next five years." Pluck shrugs, and starts walking away to gather up her arrows. "Do take care. And let me know what the High Priestess has to say, hmm?"

[15:37] <Platinum> "Oh, I will. Thanks for the advice." Platinum stops swinging, and begins walking back to his home.

[15:38] <Alvuea> Radiant turns to Glory, and does not seem the least nervous or put out, instead pleased to see the woman, "Hello!  I have been well, how have you been, oh Glory?"

[15:44] <Glory> Glory feels a rush of relief. Clearly Radiant's relationship didn't suffer too much after their last meeting, or she wouldn't be happy to see Glory. She's also pleased to note that Radiant wasn't turned against her by Spume, or at least not for long. Glory knows well what kind of power that can be carried in the words of a supernatural being. "Same old. Lots of rehearsing and... well, just rehearsing, actually. Until now, of course.

[15:44] <Glory> I needed a break from all that."

[15:48] <Alvuea> Radiant laughs, and says playfully, "So, you snuck off, escaping rehearsal, just to come here and speak to me?  How terribly sweet."  She looks curious, "What else do you do... when you aren't practicing, Glory?"

[15:58] <Glory> Glory laughs, shaking her head. "Not just to see you. I've also been making very good friends with the crab paté. You should try some, it's delicious." She smears some on a biscuit and shoves it in her mouth, continuing to talk as she chews. "I spend my free time at nice parties, talk to lovely people. I've attended a few of your shows, actually. I'm a big fan. But most of my life is practice and performing. I'm sure you understand

[15:58] <Glory>  what that's like."

[16:02] <Alvuea> Radiant smiles, "I suppose that is another reason to pay a visit."  Radiant nods, "I have not had any.  I must be honest, it certainly had not called to me, but I cannot simply throw away such a stirring recommendation."  So, Radiant follows suit, smearing a bit of the paté, then taking a small bite, "Oh!  That is quite good."  She turns, "Oh, thank you!

[16:02] <Alvuea> I'm glad to hear it.  I've seen a show... mmm, I suppose merely one of yours, but I look forward to seeing you perform again.  I'm curious what sort of touring you do?  Or does your production only play here in Lathe?"

[16:10] <Glory> "Only in Lathe, at least for the moment. Travel can be awfully expensive. It would be nice to tour elsewhere, see foreign lands and meet new people, but I'm happy here for now. And, um," Glory looks uncomfortable for a moment, "I wanted to apologise for before. I hope I didn't cause you too much trouble with your beloved."

[16:14] <Alvuea> Radiant looks uncomfortable for a moment following Glory's apology, "You have... nothing to apologize for, we were but having a conversation in the font."  She smiles, "She is a woman of many wonderful and spectacular qualities.  Alas, her jealousy is decidedly not one of them.  I hope we can all meet again and have a more pleasant relationship all around."

[16:14] <Alvuea> Then she takes another bite of her crab on biscuit, before commenting, "I'm sorry to hear that.  I love touring, visiting all those other villages to sing, it's honestly ever so much more fulfilling than most of the shows here."

[16:25] <Glory> "I would like to meet her again on better terms. I don't like having enemies," Glory grimaces, "especially when the person in question is a Dynast. And I feel like she does consider me an enemy, after we got off on the wrong foot like that." She grabs a rice ball from a nearby platter and takes a huge bite out of it. "Performing makes me ravenous," she adds, apologising for her poor etiquette. "So what is it that you like so much

[16:25] <Glory> about touring?"

[16:32] <Alvuea> Radiant nods, "Yes, it is much better to have allies than to have enemies.  I try to ensure I'm always mostly making the former and avoiding the production of the latter."  She pauses, "I'm not certain she thinks of you as an enemy, so much as... she's rather protective."  As Glory digs in, she answers, "There's something wonderful about going on tour, the

[16:32] <Alvuea> audiences are much different.  I can play wilder sets... and they will love it.  Here in Lathe, everything must be so careful and controlled, I'm playing at least as much to the audience of what will be said later as the audience I'm actually singing for.  It's... further from the truth of the music."

[16:39] <Glory> "The truth of the music, huh. I've never seen it that way. But maybe that's the point of acting, I'm always pretending to be someone else, something else, doing something I wouldn't normally do. Putting on a mask and not showing the truth is half the fun." Glory pauses for a moment, contemplating something. "So... what's it like, being a mortal who's romantically with one of the Exalted? It sounds like it would be exciting and scary."

[16:43] <Alvuea> Radiant nods, and she considers, "Mmm, I suppose after a fashion, what we do may be a sort of opposites, I'm trying to... show the deeper truth."  She pauses, then adds, "Though I suppose you may be getting people to consider it, through those sort of lies."  She laughs at the question, "Oh, it can be very much exciting and scary.  It was *tremendously*

[16:43] <Alvuea> scary when I had not quite such the name for myself I do now, not getting swept up into just being a tiny bit of her orbit."  She bites her lip, "I... think she's a bit angry that in the end, we seem to have had things align... the other way around."

[16:51] <Glory> "I can see how that would be hard for her. I hope you sort things out in a way you're both happy with."

[16:57] <Alvuea> Radiant nods, "I think we will.  It will just take some time." she answers gently, then asks, "Now that I have told you far too much of my romantic life, I don't think I've heard any stories of who the lovely Glory has been found with."

[17:07] <Glory> "All manner of people, none for more than a night. I was chatting with a gorgeous lady not long ago, I think I have a chance with her. But I don't like the thought of tying myself down to one person. Not the lifestyle for me."

[17:11] <Alvuea> Radiant laughs, "Well, that is certainly one way of doing things."  She nods, "One that I have taken up something of... though, I think you should keep yourself open to a stronger connection, if it develops.  There are delightful things about having one person be particularly close."

[17:19] <Glory> "I've considered it in the past," says Glory with a shrug. "Never seen the appeal though. I'm still young, so maybe that'll change. And maybe you'll grow out of your hopeless romantic phase and stick to more casual encounters," Glory says with a teasing smile.

[17:41] <Alvuea> Radiant laughs, "Perhaps.  If I didn't know better, I'd think you were flirting with me, my lady Glory."  She smiles, "However, while it has been a delight to talk with you today, my presence is promised elsewhere.  Don't be a stranger, though, mmm?" [17:44] <Glory> "Beautiful as you are, I'm not quite that bold." Glory waves Radiant farewell with a smile, and begins to walk off to mingle elsewhere. "I'll be seeing you around."