Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice.   Posted by Storyteller.Group: archive 2
Storyteller
 GM, 896 posts
Sat 21 Nov 2009
at 17:40
Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
2nd Day of Resplendent Earth, RY 768
Location - Skullstone flagship, Last Will and Testament
Time - Late evening

The Cobalt Alliance delegation reaches the Testament unharmed, their rowboat lifted up to the deck level by Moray's undead crewmen. The mix of nemissaries and war ghosts are eerily silent, watching the living among them intently, and in some cases intensely, as if contemplating the possibility of devouring them. However, they remain obedient to Captain Darktide, who stands on the main deck with Silver Shell and Bittersea to greet the Alliance members.

"Captain Leomaris, and friends." Moray steps forward to clasp Lasuri's hand firmly, and meets the gaze of Kareth, Kiana, Darel and Tageru in turn. Beside and a step behind him, the beautiful Shell offers a warm smile, her green eyes lingering slightly on Tageru. She at least acknowledges him, but a single glance is not enough to explain why she is keeping such sinister company.

Bittersea Blackfalcon is also a slender blonde, with curly hair chopped shorter than Shell's, but very much unlike her counterpart shows off her curves in a revealing corset top and leggings snug enough to be a second skin. She looks somewhat sour at the presence of Shell near Moray (apparently the man has a taste for blondes) though otherwise remains at her best behavior, watching the proceedings with a wary curiosity.

The Skullstone captain continues, "I'm thrilled you've decided to continue our negotiations. Come." He gestures, then turns abruptly and starts striding toward the quarterdeck along with the two women. During the brief walk across the deck of the Testament, those attentive to such details notice that the ship's make is so similar as to be near identical to the Dryad, but obviously in top condition. Skullstone, then, may well already have First Age materials and workshops available to maintain its fleet. Or so one would assume, for no savant has ever heard of a new warship of this make being built since well over a thousand years ago.

Moray leads them past a pair of silver-masked nemissary guards and into a luxurious cabin carpeted in a lush blood red, the polished dark wood panels intricately embellished with gilded molding. The entirety is generously lit from above with essence lighting emanating from ornate fixtures, the sort one might see in a Dynastic palace, not in a warship at sea. A rectangular table of carved mahogany stands at the center of the room along with a number of chairs, six on each side and a thirteenth seat at the head of the table, which Moray swiftly claims.

"Please, sit. Would you prefer wine or tea? Or will we simply get to business?"
Cynis Tageru
 player, 181 posts
Sun 22 Nov 2009
at 17:49
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Tageru bows lightly to everyone present as he arrives on board, with just a bit of a pause and a deeper bow for Shell. He tries to stay "official", as he is one of the representatives for the Alliance now. Still, it's not easy staying calm with the person that changed your life present, but Tageru tries his best...

He keeps silent for a while, waiting for Lasuri to speak first, as is proper for a leader. There will be time for him to talk later, he is sure. Proper decorum must be kept.
Storyteller
 GM, 898 posts
Mon 23 Nov 2009
at 01:08
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Moray surveys his guests for a moment, then laughs, quirking an eyebrow at Lasuri. "Are they so obedient to you that they cannot even choose for themselves whether to sit or have a drink? Such a slavedriver!" he quips.

Once he is seated, Bittersea and Shell take the two chairs immediately beside him. He reaches under the table and taps something that emits a sonorous chime.

Moments later an eerily attractive young woman enters, unnaturally pale with black hair in twin ponytails and dark eyes with a dead, empty look to them. She wears a rather risque looking black and white maid's outfit, contributing to the monochrome, doll-like image. In her hands is a tray with a bottle of red wine and several gilded goblets. Stopping at the corner between Moray and Bittersea, she fills two of the goblets and deftly distributes them to the two Skullstone captains without a sound.

Another quiet woman, her perfect twin in appearance, emerges with a steaming pot of tea and several fine porcelain cups. Moray and Bittersea both prefer the wine, but Silver Shell requests of the doll-like woman a cup of jasmine tea with honey, which is summarily poured, sweetened and rested in front of Shell on a matching porcelain saucer.

The pair will obediently pour drinks for whomever else may request it.
Storyteller
 GM, 899 posts
Mon 23 Nov 2009
at 01:17
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Silver Shell seems relieved to have her tea, savoring the warmth it provides. The chill that seems to permeate the Testament is one of its only aspects that leaves something to desire... at least for the living.

"Business may be what they prefer, Moray. I would not blame them for wanting to keep their visit here short."

The beautiful blond pauses then, waiting a bit longer for their guests to get comfortable before continuing.



OOC: Will wait another 18 hours or so, then continue, as it seems at least two of the people involved in this scene are either absent for some reason or not particularly talkative.
Lasuri Leomaris
 player, 200 posts
 "The Sea Drake"
 Setting Sails for Freedom
Mon 23 Nov 2009
at 01:37
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
At the quip, Lasuri shakes his head, peering at the people around him. "They're free to do as they please, of course. Maybe they put a bit too much weight into what I'd decide, but I'm not requiring that - not here, anyways. Their voice counts too, as far as deciding what we'll do with this burden I carry with me."

Lasuri, perhaps to reinforce the gesture of goodwill he had first proffered, accepts the offer of tea when it is given to him. For a moment, he looks at the woman who brought the drinks, as if trying to figure something out, but quickly returns his attention to Moray and his associates. He does make certain to thank them for their hospitality first and foremost - no matter what the issue of this talk ends up being, Lasuri would not be said to not have respected the principles of the parlay.

After a long sip from his drink, Lasuri finally speaks, regarding their hosts carefully in turn. "Well, if no one else has anything to say, then let me breach the topic right there. You know that we've recently claimed something that the Lintha are really looking for. You've come to us because you say you know about the Chalice, and that you can help us destroy it."

"Again, I think everyone here is aware of your rivalry with the Lintha, so I don't think it's a surprise that you'd be interested in helping getting that thing destroyed. So that's one question that pretty much answers itself. Now, like I said earlier, I can't just show that object without certain precautions being taken. If it comes to that, I'll show you the actual thing - but for now, I think we should try to clarify some things before we get there. Namely... What do you know of that Chalice we carry, and what information do you have that would help with the destruction of this thing?"

"I guess what I'm getting at is this - before we can even seriously consider your proposal, Captain Darktide, we'd have to know exactly what that proposal is."
Isole Kareth
 player, 214 posts
 Fire Aspect
 Magitech Engineer
Mon 23 Nov 2009
at 03:16
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Kareth boarded the testiment along with the rest of the alliance.  He engaged in all the formalities to the extent as was polite, but mostly chose to sit back and observe the people sitting across from him.  At the offer of wine, Kareth politely accepted a cup.  He would not have normally drank from goblet, but he felt it would be a sign of trust should he do so.  He began to slowly sip on the red substance.  After the red substance touched his tongue, he nodded his approval to both the serving girl and his hosts and waited for Skullstone's response to Lasuri.
Darel Arwan
 player, 153 posts
 Aspect of Air
 Emissary of Perfect Water
Mon 23 Nov 2009
at 17:30
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Darel had remained quite silent during the journey, having come on foot from the Hammerhead, and while he showed no hostility towards Moray or any of his crew, he did not fake warmth or pleasure at being here.

Finally he sat down, and ordered some wine. He sipped at it tentatively, nodding at Lasuri's words. He was attentive to the people present here, trying to ascertain the powers of any hearthstone or artifact they might be displaying. If some of those provided advantages in a negotiation, or could influence thoughts, it could prove somewhat awkward...
Kiana White-Fist
 player, 214 posts
 Heir of the Crimson Isles
 Earth-Dragon Princess
Mon 23 Nov 2009
at 19:52
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
"Tea would be very nice."  KIana said softly.  She sat at the table with a certain bearing that, upon close inspection, was almost regal.  Her back was straight and she was very attentive to everyone as they spoke, especially Morray and Lasuri.

She let the quip slide by--though the Alliance was certainly a democracy, Lasuri was still their leader.

"It needs to be stated very clearly, Captain Darktide, that the Chalice is incredibly dangerous.  Unless you have seen what it is capable of yourself, there is no amount of words that aptly describle what horrors it is capable.  Though you are certainly no stranger to darker shades of creation..." She said, turning her head toward the door that lead them here, to the ghostly crew that the man kept, "The chalice is not to be underestimated, or idly tossed about without concern or respect.  Not that I am suggesting you would do such things--I am simply trying to convey why we are so cautious when concerning the Artifact." 
Kiana finished, taking the offered tea and take a long, then satisfied, drink from it.  Then, as a bit of an afterthought--

"Your ship is very beatiful, Captain, and your hospitality--and your tea--a very welcome delight." 
Storyteller
 GM, 900 posts
Mon 23 Nov 2009
at 20:57
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Moray looks as if he's about to open his mouth to answer Lasuri and Kiana promptly, but Silver Shell shoots him a glance that politely conveys, Let me handle this. The Skullstone captain frowns slightly, clearly he's used to being in control. But he still relinquishes and lets Shell speak first.

"We are not unaware of the Blood Chalice of Kimbery's power, though unlike yourselves we have not seen it in action personally. However, I and my colleagues have been seeking this Chalice for several months now. What we know of it..."

Silver Shell takes a deep breath, her sincere green eyes meeting Kiana's, as she had emphasized the dangers inherent in the Chalice. When next she speaks, her voice is grave and solemn, and even Moray leans forward in interest. Has Shell even spoken to him at length about the artifact they seek, yet?

"We know it is in the shape of a cup forged of pure orichalcum, then baptized in vitriol to make it pleasing to the Yozis. We know that bound within that chalice is one of the souls of Kimbery herself, a Demon of the Third Circle, who among other things is a master of poisoning minds as well as bodies, and is able to assume control of those who touch it and are unable to resist his power."

"We also know that with the proper blood ritual, this cup can be used to bind a mortal, Exalted or otherwise, as a servant of the Yozi Kimbery, the Sea that Marched Against the Flame. In other words, it can create akuma from the willing -- or those fooled into being willing."

Shell shakes her head emphatically, as if aggrieved by her own revelation. Moray looks downright disgusted, and rises abruptly from his chair, staring accusingly at the Dragon-blooded. "Wait a damned minute here. If what Shell says is true, how does the Alliance even own such a thing safely? You ought to all be mindless servants of that cup by now! Prove to us that you're not actually in collusion with the Lintha and Kimbery," he demands, thumping his hand on the table.

This time Shell doesn't immediately shoot down his interjection, though she says, "Give them time to explain themselves. We know that the Lintha have branded the Cobalt Alliance enemies after their defeat of the Dara-Said." Her gaze shifts to Lasuri, her poise admirable considering Captain Darktide's attitude. "Once we've gotten this matter cleared up, I will speak about the proposal. But I will say one thing now: I don't intend to take the Chalice from you. I intend to accompany you in ensuring its destruction."
Isole Kareth
 player, 215 posts
 Fire Aspect
 Magitech Engineer
Wed 25 Nov 2009
at 23:54
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Kareth smiled at the accusations and demand for proof.  Paranoid as he might be, he did like bragging on hims handywork when the opportunity presented itself.  "Simply put, Captain Moray, the Chalice hasn't effected us because we took precautions.  One of those precautions was limiting access to it.  Another was to build various containers made of jade that would be difficult for it to corrupt.  Even more recently, we placed the Chalice... Elsewhere.  That being said, your demand that we prove what we are not is somewhat offensive to me.  Free men should be innocent until they've been proven guilty.  So unless you have some sort of evidence that we ARE Akuma, then I will thank you to not throw around accusations of infernalism."  Here the engineer pauses and thinks to himself, "Due to its danger, I haven't tried to study the Chalice.  If what you say is true and that it contains a sub-soul of a yozi then it explains many of its powers we encountered."
Kiana White-Fist
 player, 215 posts
 Heir of the Crimson Isles
 Earth-Dragon Princess
Thu 26 Nov 2009
at 02:32
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Kiana nodded toward Kareth as spoke, agreeing with what the man said, and a proud smile growing on her face as Kareth pointed out that they were, in fact, free men, and would be treated as such, especially under the proper tenants of parlay.

"I, too, am offended at such an outburst, Captain Morray, and surprised as well.  We've hardly given you any reason to suspect our intentions are anything less than honorable.  If you could have seen the Chalice at work for yourself...you would easily be able to tell that we are no under its spell.  The first sign of that would obviously be that no one here is currently holding the cup, and from what I've observed, direct contact is needed for the foul artifact to exact its control."


"As for the Lintha, I can assure you that we have no love for them.  Many brave men and women were lost to their blades and demons.  I would gladly rip my own heart out then dishonor my Father's lineage by becoming tainted, or even associated, with those scum."
  Kiana spoke strongly, and felt assured that she spoke for the Alliance as a whole, though certainly for Akihiro and his crew.  She took a long sip of her tea, and then at hearing Shell, gave a very curious look to the woman.  Yes, that would make more sense--staying with Captain Moray as a temporary measure, which made her presence more mysterious, yes, but a bit more understandable now, given the backdrops of the ship and its crew.  Still...

"Our reasons for destroying the Artifact are fairly obvious.  We cannot allow such a powerful thing to fall into the Lintha's hands.  It is an affront to everything that we, as the Cobalt Alliance, stand for--Freedom.  But if I may be so bold as to ask, Miss Shell...what are your reasons for destroying the Chalice?"
Storyteller
 GM, 905 posts
Thu 26 Nov 2009
at 20:32
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Again, Moray shoots a glance toward Shell. Apparently, he trusts her assessment of the Alliance even more than his own. Bittersea reclines back in her chair looking apparently unconcerned with the entire exchange.

Silver Shell pauses, and then nods slowly. "They are not deceiving us, Captain, as far as I can tell." Then she addresses Kareth and Kiana directly. "And I apologize for the insinuation. One can never be overly cautious when one knows what power that Chalice holds. Certainly we would not believe that any of you would willingly be supportive of the Lintha or any Infernal scheme."

Moray doesn't bother to apologize, but he does sit back down. "I have no proof, save that you were in contact with the Chalice, and may have wished to procure it for your own reasons. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt for the moment. It is of utmost importance to Skullstone that the Chalice is secured, and you are the strongest lead we have."

"As for my reasons," Shell replies to Kiana, "They are as straightforward as yours are. The Lintha are a scourge, they cannot be allowed to claim an artifact that would strengthen their power to the the extent we know the Chalice can."

Silver Shell keeps the talks moving rather than dwelling on the uncomfortable accusations. "Now, Kareth was it? I assume you are referring to a Cache Egg, which is a creative temporary solution. What I have arranged with Captain Darktide is to have the Chalice brought to be examined by artifact experts I know personally in An-Teng. Iyadali and Horus are my friends. I trust them, and they have been in the business of tracking down and destroying dangerous artifacts for several years."

"After that, you'll be bringing the Chalice back with me to Skullstone before any plans of its destruction are finalized," Moray interjects emphatically. "The Silver Prince's orders are clear on this."

"Yes, of course," the blond negotiator replies, her expression carefully neutral. "But as I explained, Captain, the reputation of Skullstone is not well-received in the Shore Lands. Thus, my role in this as a third party representative of your interests." She does not turn her face toward Moray or Bittersea now, turning to implore the Alliance members assembled.

"For now, Cobalt Alliance, I must ask you to trust me. I will accompany your fleet on Captain Darktide's behalf, and arrange the meeting with my colleagues in the City of the Steel Lotus. If our common goal to thwart the Lintha is not enough for you to trust me, I offer you this: I am Exalted by the Sun, a Solar of the Zenith Caste, and I am at your mercy. At any time while I am in your company, you may reveal me as Anathema to the Realm's agents in An-Teng, and they would have me killed."

As Silver Shell proclaims herself 'Anathema', the full gold circle of the Blasphemous appears on her forehead, shining brilliantly.
Darel Arwan
 player, 155 posts
 Aspect of Air
 Emissary of Perfect Water
Thu 26 Nov 2009
at 22:28
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Darel raised an eyebrow at the displayed caste mark. It was one thing to know that you were dealing with Solar Anathema, quite another to see their nature displayed so blatantly. But he supposed that having accepted Hera as a companion, he should not be so uneasy around them.

He was, however, growing extremely irate at Moray Darktide. He refrained himself from making an especially scathing comment towards the captain. That the Solar was a pawn of Skullstone was already bad enough, but his arrogance at demanding the Chalice's custody was unsufferable. The smell of ozone and faint air drafts started to surround him - the Air equivalent of an angry-red face, though his complexion remained unchanged.

He waited for Leomaris and Kiana's retort. As the Hammerhead's representative, he was to watch his tongue.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:29, Thu 26 Nov 2009.

Lasuri Leomaris
 player, 202 posts
 "The Sea Drake"
 Setting Sails for Freedom
Sat 28 Nov 2009
at 02:00
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
When Moray makes his accusation, Lasuri lets the other members of the Alliance step in - perhaps both to hear their convictions on the matter, and to prove to the Skullstone envoys that each member of the Alliance delegation is a full-fledged individual with their own reasons and drives for being here. As Kareth and Kiana speak, Lasuri merely stares into the direction of Moray and Silver Shell, as if to drive the point in further. Surely, if they doubt the Alliance at this point, there would be no point in continuing these talks further.

As Silver Shell speaks, Lasuri finds his respect for the woman growing. She seems much more tempered than Moray, and seems to think things through much more thoroughly than the Skullstone pirate. Her demeanor makes it much easier to understand the validity of her point than Moray's righteous and impetuous statements, and for a moment the Sea Drake wonders how they can work well together. The thought occurs, however, that it might be because of these differences that they work together at all, and that they might be counterbalancing their own weaknesses.

Somehow.

When Shell makes clear her nature, Lasuri raises his chin and lifts an eyebrow, looking directly at the woman. Knowing that Moray is a Chosen of the Unconquered Sun, the woman's revelation does not come as as much of a surprise as it might have otherwise - but still, the display is impressive. For someone who has grown up in the Realm, it isn't easy to just let go of the innate reflex of being in awe and in fear - although time spent away from the Immaculate doctrines has gone a long way in eroding Lasuri's preconceived notions of the Solars. For now, and until Shell proves herself unworthy of this judgment, she is only a woman putting all her cards on the table, nothing more and nothing less.

"That's quite the offering of trust you make, Miss Silver Shell." The Captain says, putting down his tea cup and looking the woman evenly. The Caste mark makes it rather difficult to do so, but Lasuri does his best to remain level and even, as representative of the Alliance. "It's true that revealing what you just did could put you in grave danger, when we get to An-Teng. I still can't say if you have an ulterior motive in helping out with this task... But what I can say is that I can't argue with that gesture of trust. You're pretty much putting your life in our hands, so as for myself, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. If my fellow members of the Alliance agree, then we'll take you along with us, Miss Shell."

Lasuri does turn towards Moray then, and furrows his brow slightly. "As for plans for the Chalice, Captain Darktide... I'm not sure I'm inclined to make such far-reaching plans yet. We're agreed to meet you here, and to talk about joining forces in the hopes of taking this damnable thing away from the Lintha for good. I don't think any of us has yet agreed to submit to your patron or yourself. I'm willing to have Miss Shell along, and meet with her contacts to see what can be done about the Chalice. This, I can accept as a gesture of help and good faith. But I'd be grateful if you didn't act like the Chalice was yours - if you're serious about joining forces and extending help, then you'll take our opinion in consideration in that matter. I know you're under orders, but we didn't seek you out, Captain... You came to us."

Lasuri turns his attention back to Shell then, and nods sharply. "Your leads and contacts in finding out how we can destroy the Chalice are promising, however. What I propose is that we let you come along as you suggested, meet with your people, and once that is done, analyze that information and meet again with Captain Darktide to see what we should do from there. I think that's a reasonable course of action, if we're all here for the same reason, which is the destruction of this cursed object."
Kiana White-Fist
 player, 217 posts
 Heir of the Crimson Isles
 Earth-Dragon Princess
Sat 28 Nov 2009
at 02:37
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
The revealing of her Solar Exaltation was not a surprise, as they had known they were dealing with Anathema...but seeing the cursed mark was something else altogether.  The mythos of the Anathema was well known through out the Realm, and the Crimson Isles were very steeped in those ways, if not an outright member.  As so, Kiana knew about the Anathema just as anyone else from the Realm would--but hers was a unique situation.  She was trained in the ways of the Immaculate Style of the Earth Dragon...one of the many styles that was designed to destroy the Solars.  This didn't taint Kiana's view of Shell, though...it merely reminded her that, Zenith or not, she was still a very powerful being.  The tales of the Solar Exalted were, frankly, legendary.

"You are very brave to make such a revelation, Miss Shell.  It would be foolish of us not to recognize such bravery--and trust.  I agree completely with Captain Lasuri, and would be happy to have you along with the Alliance.  Any assistance you can give us in analyzing and destroying the Chalice would be welcome."  Kiana said, looking at Shell with unflinching eyes.  The caste upon her brow was dazzling and, despite her upbringing, Kiana couldn't help but think it was beautiful as well.

She then turned her attention to Moray who has been much more difficult to bear during this negotiation than Shell.  Shell, as a matter of fact, was actually somewhat pleasant, and had a very genuine vibe about her.  Moray seemed rash and impudent...and the other, Darksea Sharkfin, or whatever her name had been, seemed more than happy to simply sit at the table and brood...or was that lounging?  With her back straight and at attention, Kiana couldn't be sure--she was unfamiliar with both actions.

"I understand the pressing need to follow orders, Captain Moray, from both sides of the chain, but please realize that your orders are not our orders.  Miss Shell is very correct in that the reputation of Skullstone is hardly pristine, noble intentions or otherwise.  The composition of your crew alone would give most cause for concern.  In fact, though Miss Shell has given us ample reason to trust her, you have done very little in the same regard.  The Cobalt Alliance is not a mere rabble to be ordered about--not by you, or by your Silver Prince."  Kiana's voice was not harsh when she spoke, but firm and solid, like the Element she so personified.  These were not opinions--these were facts.

"However," She continued after a moment, "Just as we did not refuse a meeting with you, I do not see why we would refuse a meeting with your Silver Prince, if our combined efforts carry us that far.  I agree with Captain Lasuri. We should meet with Miss Shell's contacts, analyze what information that can be gleaned safely from the Chalice, and then reconvene from there."  She looked between all of them, then, before finally adding, "If we can truly come together to accomplish something as meaningful as the destruction of such a vile artifact...such things would carry much more powerful ramifications than a simple victory over the Lintha."  She said softly, almost to herself.
Isole Kareth
 player, 217 posts
 Fire Aspect
 Magitech Engineer
Sat 28 Nov 2009
at 16:11
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Kareth arched his eye brows at the mention of taking the Chalice to the Silver Prince before its destruction.  "Captain Darktide, from all accounts, your Silver Prince is strong, is he not?  If we were to take him the Chalice and he decided to use it to his own ends instead of trying to destroy it, then would we have any hope of stopping him?  Because if there is no hope of recovering the Chalice under those circumstances, then I see no reason to assume the risk of bringing the cursed cup to anyone.  I would just as assume leave the thing Elsewhere until we have all the tools we need to destroy it."  With that he turned to address Shell.  "Yes, Madam Shell, it is stored in a Cache Egg, meaning right now only one person among us can so much as access the Chalice.  That being said, I am willing to meet with this artifact experts you mentioned."
Storyteller
 GM, 909 posts
Sat 28 Nov 2009
at 21:45
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Bittersea gives Lasuri and especially Kiana a stern look that indicates she's not pleased by how they've been speaking about Moray, or perhaps the Silver Prince. Still, it seems that she's only here to observe, not to participate, so she just scowls and drinks her wine.

Moray himself, perhaps surprisingly to those unimpressed by his attitude, seems to take the words of the Alliance to heart. "I see I've really started on the wrong foot. You can see why Shell is the more adept speaker," and he smiles toward the lovely Zenith Caste, which only seems to make Bittersea frown deeper. Shell herself only bows her head slightly, allowing Moray to answer the Alliance's concerns with his own voice. "I hope you'll accept my apologies for being so fervent about wanting what's best for my homeland, and indeed all of the West. The sooner that Chalice is dealt with, the better for all those who oppose the demon-spawn. And the Silver Prince has both the resources and the desire to aid in its destruction. In fact, I believe his participation in this act is instrumental to its success."

Kareth's comments elicit an odd reaction from Moray, a tic starting up in his cheek as he continues to smile. Something darker brews under the surface of that forced levity; he is clearly his Prince's man, and does not care to hide it. "I understand that Skullstone and the Silver Prince are often the subject of gross misunderstanding, due to his efforts in creating peaceful cooperation between the living and the dead. It is a controversy, to be sure, for people fear what they do not understand. They cannot accept that living on after death does not automatically make one untrustworthy and evil, and that in fact many men and women have given their greatest service to their people after death."

Deciding this doctrine is likely lost to his audience, though, Moray abruptly nods to Lasuri, then to Kiana. "But I digress. Indeed you are correct, the Silver Prince's orders are not yours. I spoke too soon. So long as we do reconvene after your business in An-Teng is done, with the Chalice and Miss Shell still in your company, I believe we still have a deal."

"Just understand one thing." And here the Skullstone Captain gives into the emotions seething under the surface, his voice hardening once again. "Do not judge the Silver Prince's intentions until you have met him yourself, personally. Yes, he is powerful, awe-inspiringly so, but that in no means indicates he will wish to use the damned Chalice for his own ends. Just as you would not have me accuse you of infernalism without proof, do not presume to do the same to my liege."

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:51, Sat 28 Nov 2009.

Storyteller
 GM, 910 posts
Sat 28 Nov 2009
at 21:50
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
Finally, Silver Shell intervenes, touching a hand reassuringly on Moray's arm as he roughly picks up his goblet and drains the rest of his wine. By now she has released her Essence, though the golden circle on her brow does not quite fade. "Captain Darktide, you knew that when we formulated this course of action that you may have to ally with those who are unfamiliar, or uncomfortable with your beliefs. Whether Skullstone or the Silver Prince are worthy of trust and respect is not the current issue here. As Captain Leomaris pointed out, it is our common goal that is the focus of this discussion, and in that I believe we have already come to an agreement."

"From now on we should move swiftly." Again she address the Alliance members directly, particularly Lasuri, Kiana and Kareth, who have contributed the most to the discussion. "Assuming Captain Darktide's permission," and she seems confident that it is all but assured, "I will immediately join the Cobalt Alliance and be transferred to their flagship. We are still a few days' travel from reaching the City of the Steel Lotus, and I hope to contact Horus and Iyadali as soon as we arrive. Given the status of Skullstone in An-Teng, the Testament and the Bride will not be able to join us, but we will reconvene at a neutral location, time and date to be arranged as soon as we've had the Chalice evaluated. I have the means to keep contact with Captain Darktide in the meantime, during which he should secure our audience with the Silver Prince."

Shell rises gracefully to her feet. Driven by purpose, the attractive blond almost seems eager to be moving. "I am already ready and packed, so unless there are any last words or protests, I move that we conclude these negotiations and be on our way. Any last remarks, Skullstone and Cobalt Alliance representatives?"



OOC: A rather wordy conclusion, but I wanted to move us along quickly. I will wait no more than a day for last reactions then get you reunited with Jadira, Treon and Zeru again. (Finally!)
Kiana White-Fist
 player, 218 posts
 Heir of the Crimson Isles
 Earth-Dragon Princess
Sun 29 Nov 2009
at 21:03
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
The pressure of leading a vessel, little less composed of ghosts and the undead, was a stressful job.  Kiana was lucky in that her own vessel was unique in the ways it had to be cared for, and her crew easily sustainable as well, but that did not remove all of the stress.  Far form it.  Elemental's had their own unique traits, and some of the issues that Akihiro faced were bizarre to say the least.  So despite not trusting Moray completely, she wanted to trust him, and so gave a nod to his words.  "Apology accepted, Captain Moray." She said, standing from the table after draining the last of her tea, looking to Shell.

"It is a pleasure to have you among us, Miss Silver Shell."  She said, giving a small bow.  "Perhaps all of us, together, can destroy the horrid artifact.  The world could use some good news for a change."
Darel Arwan
 player, 156 posts
 Aspect of Air
 Emissary of Perfect Water
Mon 30 Nov 2009
at 00:04
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
"Please allow me to extend the welcome, my Lady," Darel commented. "On behalf of the crew of the Hammerhead." She certainly was a fascinating creature. He found it hard to distrust her, but reminded himself that the seductive powers of the so called Solar Anathema were legendary.

He was not so keen on meeting the Silver Prince, though. The Emissaries of Perfect Waters kept tabs on the movers and shakers in the West, and the Prince, for all his seductive propaganda, was a very worrisome figure.

"Very well, ladies and gentlemen. I will hereby report the results of this meeting to Treon and his crew. Have a pleasant day, and may the wind blow in your sails."

And drive you far away from us.

He then made his way towards the Hammerhead.
Lasuri Leomaris
 player, 203 posts
 "The Sea Drake"
 Setting Sails for Freedom
Mon 30 Nov 2009
at 00:46
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
"That, we can do, Captain Darktide. You've respected our ways and our opinions, and thus we will do the same. I'll give a chance to hear what will come next, and will reserve my judgment for when we meet with your lord." The Captain nods then stands up from his seat, as befitting the conclusion of the talks.

"It's a pleasure to see we could find a common ground and a peaceful conclusion to all this. That fact alone does honor to you, Captain Darktide. And as for you, Miss Silver Shell... I'll have a room readied for you on the Dryad for your use. We'll discuss the details of our coming travels once on board." Lasuri bows then, to signal the end of the parlay session to the Skullstone forces. "Thank you for your offer and your hospitality, Captain Darktide."

With that, Lasuri nods to his fellow Alliance members and to Silver Shell, and turns to start heading towards the door. As Darel speaks his farewell, the Captain nods slowly, turning his gaze to meet the sorcerer's. "Mister Arwan... Please pass along to Captain Fireblade that the talks went on peacefully, that the alert mode is to be lifted and that we are to get ready to leave as soon as possible. Mister Kareth, pass the same to Miss Thornbloom, if you please - and request that she relay this message to Captain Zeru as well."

"Allright, Alliance - let's move out."
Storyteller
 GM, 912 posts
Mon 30 Nov 2009
at 08:35
Re: Chapter 3, Phase 1 - On the Fate of the Chalice
"Well, Miss Shell, you've made these plans and I applaud you for being so thorough. I've no reason I can think of to keep you from following through." Moray rises as well, followed by the saucy Bittersea, who just smiles pointedly and says to Shell, "Good luck." She doesn't seem much like she means it.

Moray chimes a hidden bell, and the pale twin 'dolls' that served the wine and tea before come back in to reclaim cups, saucers and glasses. Leaving them to it, he and Bittersea escort the members of the Alliance out onto the deck.

"We'll see each other soon, I'm sure, Captain Leomaris, Kiana..." The handsome Skullstone captain seems to be a loss as to the names of the others, so shrugs and trails off. Either that or he doesn't bother to address them, since they are neither fellow captains nor ladies. "And the rest of you Cobalt Alliance men. Fine men, I'm sure, but in any case, take care of Silver Shell and that Chalice in the meantime. They both mean very much to me, and to Skullstone."

The Cobalt Alliance members are once again surrounded by the eerie ambiance of the undead crewmen, and the not-so-pleasant smell of dead bodies kept chilled enough not to rot... too much. Fortunately the 'enjoyment' of their company lasts only long enough for Silver Shell to join the others stepping onto the lifeboat the Alliance arrived on, carrying her belongings in a single bag.

"Farewell, Captain Darktide, Captain Blackfalcon." Shell makes sure to include the woman despite her testy behavior. Then with a signal from Moray, the small boat is lowered onto the waves by a pair of silent war ghosts so that it may be rowed back to the Alliance fleet. Cray and Rowe look thankful beyond belief to see their Captain and officers, pulling at the oars eagerly to get back to the company of a living crew.

Moray steps up to the bow of the Last Will and Testament, crossing his arms and keeping his eyes on the rowboat until it returns where it belongs.



OOC: That's a wrap for this scene, will reconvene in 'Chapter 3, Phase 1 - Reunion and Darktide'.