Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1.   Posted by Gatekeeper.Group: archive 1
 GM, 986 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Mon 22 Jun 2009
at 15:22
Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
The drive into the City of Pasiap's Resolve is not exactly a direct one. The Freerunners have their own protocols concerning covert entry in and out of the city. Perian can see that they are an efficient team, advantaged by the fact they are comfortable working with one another and adapting to a wide range of scenarios with little direction, allowing them to split quickly and efficiently into small working groups. They are nowhere as rigid as the Peace Corps, yet their inventiveness and flexibility as a team contributes greatly to their survival.

That is not to say that the journey goes completely without trouble. At most, the Freerunners have approximations of the patrol schedules. Now and then there are discrepancies thrown in, and people can be caught -- and likely as not in these trying times, arrested on sight if they are associated with Free. So they move carefully. The teams on foot now and then draw off suspicious patrollers (particularly the insidious little sentries, the Spider-Eyes) while the vehicles move at an unhurried pace along the regular shipping lanes, passing successive checkpoints with various documents (seemingly authentic) and false pleasantries (it seems the driver, Crow, is at least known in these parts).

Perian, fortunately, is not 'wanted' enough that he needs to hide, and remains in the passenger seat with the driver. Volya and the others remain with the cargo, fitted in cramped spaces while Crow schmoozes with the guards and reassures them that everything is as it should be. Once, a stubborn guard captain insists on checking the cargo, something he quickly regrets when he opens the first barrel of fermenting pickles and is nearly knocked out by the scent.

And so it goes, until they reach the outskirts of the city itself. Pasiap's Resolve is actually walled, along the entire perimeter, though there are hovels and tents pitched on the outside, occupied by the dregs of society. Crowther stops the gliding caravan at one point, handing down a quarter-obol of jade to a kid who runs ahead. "He's got our number," says the driver, and they continue on, making it through the gate in record time (with a nod from the guard on duty, who was just recently informed of their coming.)

This message was last edited by the GM at 07:35, Thu 25 June 2009.

 GM, 1006 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Thu 25 Jun 2009
at 07:42
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
By the time the Freerunners and Perian enter the city, most of the team has already been accounted for. Rather than gather together (and thus arouse suspicion) the team proceeds to blend into the crowd. Most of the beasts of course wear hoods, keep out of the way, or stay in the caravans. Volya chooses to stay along, but due to her wolf-side has to be more covert about it; she leaves behind all but a single weapon, a sword she places at her belt, dons a coat to cover her lamellar and a hooded cloak with a wide cowl to hide her features in its depths. Some pinch of Essence, as well, a trick she learned from Free to disguise the beast in her. Even so, it's not flawless, but "I'll be damned if I can't walk around in my home city," she says stubbornly.

The meeting with Kigal Alivia obviously avoids the Peace Force buildings by a wide berth. Besides Volya, Perian is accompanied by Agomir the blacksmith, and two humans out of the sniper team, a twin pair going by the code names Random and Camilla. Volya and Agomir, who are most familiar with the city, lead the way through the streets of Pasiap's Resolve. It's not the first time Perian has been here, but nonetheless it's a sight to see -- not quite thriving, and much dirtier than the cities of Fire and up, but nonetheless thronging with a variety of people. Laborers from the Conclaves usually leave their families in the bigger City while they work out in the mining camps and refineries, and those fortunate enough to earn a license open up businesses in the vicinity. They're limited in scope, as the Council law restricts or outright prohibits many items, but then again this just means that the black market is all the more healthy.

The saying around the city is that the black marketers are like weeds... no matter how hard you stamp them out they always find a way to grow back.

One such 'weed' operates with a licensed tavern as a front, known as the Last/Lost Literate. It's an old establishment, one that sprung up long enough ago that people can no longer decide for certain if it's "Last" or "Lost". So now it goes by both. As taverns go, it is a clean and well-maintained establishment, as Perian can see when Volya and Agomir step through the door with him into the warmly lit common room, the two snipers (currently carrying no obvious arms) trailing behind.

[Private to Kares Perian: ok, first of all, apologies for the HUGE amounts of text, but this is the first time I'm introducing the City and the Freerunners' operations so I went all out a bit. And skipped ahead of stuff that could have been difficult or dangerous, but we'll just assume for now they performed wonderfully.

Next, I'll tell you a bit of what to expect in the next few posts. You'll need to make contact with the owner of the establishment. He'll be at the bar, of course. Volya would have told you that his trade is in selling booze with hard jade (rather than the voucher system) and restricted/forbidden books, and he's a Freerunner contact. An odd combination, but the man's a literary aficionado AND a criminal! I'll be having another person play him to lighten my load which is why I've not introduced the guy yet.

Anyway, he's just the frontman. Kigal Alivia is actually in the back room. Heh, your classic clandestine bar meeting. Hopefully with some social opportunities for you.
Kares Perian
 player, 21 posts
Thu 25 Jun 2009
at 08:18
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
Perian walks into the Last Literate without a hint of nervousness, acting as though he belongs there, and so utterly convinced of the fact that no further disguise is necessary. A friendly smile and companionable features ensure that any attention focused on his group falls on him, and he seems too innocuous a fellow to pose any real threat.

All of which is true - Perian harbours no ill will for the tavern goers, or even a passing Peace Forcer. After all, they will all be shown the path to Freedom soon enough, and until then they are, if not innocent, at least unopposed.

After shaking his head briefly, noting that the time has spent with Free has him woolgathering at the most inopportune times, Perian heads for the bar. He has the bearing of one who intends to have a drink, and is in no mood to deal with fools until suitably lubricated. Since it is an attitude shared by many of those fortunate enough to partake of the Lost Literate's beverages, his path is not overly obstructed.

[Private to GM: No problem! Introducing the land is good for me too. And if you want to assign motes spent / wounds taken / supplies used for getting here after the fact, feel free. Perian could have done some Charm enhanced convincing, if needed.

By making sure that he is the most interesting person of the group, even if not overly memorable, Perian is doing his best to draw eyes away from Volya. No reason to stare at her when Perian is there, after all.

I'm ready to go ahead whenever your assistant with the NPC is - or I can wait, as is convenient.
 GM, 58 posts
 Assistant Gatekeeper
 Master of Secrets
Fri 26 Jun 2009
at 15:54
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
Perian's assessment of the patrons' attitudes does in fact prove correct, and his path to the bar goes completely unobstructed. Apparently, customers within the establishment have a tendency to keep to their own affairs, as the Solar's approach does not even seem to raise many heads along the way. Perhaps this is the reason why patrons stubbornly still cling to this old establishment, in fact.

Upon arrival at the bar, Perian can easily find a seat at an unoccupied stool. From this position, one can clearly hear music being played - a sparse piano piece with a refined, lounge feel to it, the perfect backdrop for the type of establishment the Literate strives to be. The sound is neither loud nor obtrusive, and yet provides a pleasant shield for otherwise naked conversation.

Two people seem to be minding the bar at the moment. One of them is a tall, attractive woman with short red hair and amber eyes. She wears a white dress shirt under a wine red vest and matching suit pants, as well as black gloves and a bow tie. Currently, the woman is speaking to one of the patrons while serving him a drink, her expression the epitome of calmness and professionalism. Perian does note that once in a while, she does cast a glance towards the main room, scanning the entire perimeter with a short gaze before returning her attention to her work.

Alongside her, a man also offers some drinks and exchanges words with different patrons, some of them seemingly offering compliments and goodwills as well as engaging in more serious conversation. The man seems to be almost in his thirties, with slicked back dark brown hair and long, expertly trimmed sideburns tapering to a sharp point, accenting his angular features. He is dressed impeccably, with a high collared ivory shirt with billowing sleeves and adjusted wrists, a forest green vest with delicate dark green ivory work, matching forest green pants and polished shoes. The man has a short scar on his left eyebrow, and as he turns to speak to customers, Perian realizes he wears a silver filigreed earring in his left ear.

The man glances sideways and, catching sight of the new arrival, takes a step towards Perian's seat while working on cleaning a short rounded glass. "Pleasant evening to you, sir, and welcome to the Last Literate." The man utters, his tone rich and pleasant enough but still carrying a certain edge in it. The man lifts the glass he is inspecting upwards, inspecting its cleanliness through a nearby light. "What would be your poison, sir?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:55, Fri 26 June 2009.

Kares Perian
 player, 23 posts
Sat 27 Jun 2009
at 07:21
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
Perian settles comfortably on his stool, and nods in the man's direction. "Glad to be here, with business as it is. What do you have? Never mind. Something with a bit of kick to it." As he reaches towards the bar, there is a fleck of jade between Perian's fingers, suggesting that he's willing to pay.

"The Last Literate, eh?" Perian says softly when the bartender draws close. "Brings some of the old stories and verses to mind, the name does. How did that verse go? Let me think."

"Words alone remain
Of graceful perfumed beauty
Yet I shall not yield

With a lopsided smile, Perian shift his attention to his hands on the countertop. "At least, that's how I think it went. What do you think?" Having recited a goodly portion of what he can remember from his earlier browsing of the works of Lady Aoi, Perian waits for the man opposite him to respond.
 GM, 1025 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Sun 28 Jun 2009
at 11:42
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
While Perian deals personally with the man at the bar, Random and Camilla step in casually, finding themselves seating among the tables of the common room. They choose corners with as little obstruction as possible to maximize their view of the area.

Volya remains closer to Perian, though says nothing, wrapped up in her hood and scarf as she is. She stays out of the way, finding a nearby wall to lean against, her arms crossed in an outwardly relaxed stance. Agomir is the only one that takes on a position of obvious bodyguard, his stature impressive enough to keep most overyl curious folk from edging closer to listen into the exchange.

A male and female couple get up from one of the central tables and step outside, the man holding the woman's waist protectively. They aren't the only ones who decide to leave. A short statured man in a cloak decides to make himself scarce as well. After a moment, Camilla also slips out.

OOC: just some NPC posing while we wait for Loremaster. :)
 GM, 59 posts
 Assistant Gatekeeper
 Master of Secrets
Sun 28 Jun 2009
at 21:57
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"Then a kick it is." The man answers, grabbing one of the many attractive - and expensive-looking - bottles from behind the bar. Expertly, he drops three ice cubes in a short, carved glass, causing a pleasant tingling sound to arise. In the same motion, he deftly flicks open the bottle, and pours a deep amber liquid within the glass. He does not touch the drink anymore, instead popping the bottle closed once more, and nods towards Perian. "One something with a bit of a kick served, sir." He says with a deadpan tone.

At the recitation, the man's expression turns slightly pensive, and he nods appreciatively once the verses are completed. Although his expression remains one of perfect professionalism, he does seem interested in the things Perian has to say, at the very least. "I do think that is correct, sir." He says, shifting his footing to indicate the spot across Perian as his new position behind the bar, thus subtly signaling to the other patrons that he is now engaged in conversation.

"Unfortunately, just like the name indicates, the true aficionado of the verse and prose is a dying animal. Many would much rather spend some time in a loud and busy tavern rather than in an establishment such as this one, I am afraid." The man leans back, flipping a white towel over his left shoulder, before addressing the man across him once more. "But is is always a pleasure to meet one who is familiar with the works of Lady Aoi. I do not recall seeing you here before either, sir. If I may be so bold, could I ask how you came to find our humble establishment?"
Kares Perian
 player, 25 posts
Mon 29 Jun 2009
at 08:16
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
Perian picks up the glass, begins with a small sip, then empties the glass in one quick motion. "Not bad," he states, as liquid fire tries to burn its way down his throat, and meets its match.

"Well, I can't say that I've had the free time to learn much of either," Perian confesses, "Though I'm told I have something of a knack for telling tales, which I picked up when I was younger, running around and getting into trouble. Though I've recently come by some of Lady Aoi's works, and been quite inspired."

Perian shifts forwards over the counter, bending towards the man opposite him. "As to finding this place, why a reliable colleague of mine mentioned it, as a locale where one could do discrete business, and find friendly, peaceful folk with whom to drink and talk about things. Literature, alcohol, and sometimes more. I'm glad to see that's the case."

Edited: typo!

This message was last edited by the player at 07:14, Thu 02 July 2009.

 GM, 60 posts
 Assistant Gatekeeper
 Master of Secrets
Wed 1 Jul 2009
at 17:15
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
The man at the bar listens intently, although his expression does not change. At the end of the statement, he nods in assent, and stands straight once more. If he caught the message embedded into Perian's speech, he does not show any signs of understanding or even acknowledgment... At least at first."That is a good thing to hear. Even if we do not see our customers for a while, they do remain our customers, you see. Our establishment likes to prize itself on not only accommodating patrons, but also on building links with them. And thus, it is always a pleasure to hear about some of our old contacts, even if it is through new faces."

The man pauses for a time, grabbing the white cloth on his shoulder before he speaks again. "If you are a friend of a previous patron, however, perhaps you would not be adverse to a conversation with me, if I may be so bold." He tilts his head to one side, gazing at Perian carefully. "As I said, we do prize ourselves on forging links with our patrons, and usually offer like-minded individuals to join our little... Well, 'gentleman's club' I would say is an appropriate term. I am usually the one to do the introductions when one is inclined to do so."

"Of course, feel free to turn down the offer and tell me to run along - I shall not take offense to it. But should you wish to become a part of our regular clientele, and would wish to join us or at least see what it entails, feel very welcome to do so. I will gladly take you through the necessary procedures."
Kares Perian
 player, 26 posts
Thu 2 Jul 2009
at 07:25
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"Why, certainly!" Perian replies with evident enthusiasm. "Making new contacts and friends is always worthwhile, and renewing old bonds even more so." Moving so that he is partway out of his seat, he casually looks about the room, eyes flickering over his associates and spending a bit more time on anyone else. Though he does not expect trouble, Perian has had it hammered into him that it never hurts to pay attention.

Finally, he leaves his seat completely, and directs a friendly, open smile at the more reserved bartender. "Well, first things first. This," he sets a few bits of jade coinage, a recent Freerunner sigil scratched lightly on one bit, "Should cover the drink. With that out of the way, I am entirely at your disposal, for conversation or other procedures."
 GM, 61 posts
 Assistant Gatekeeper
 Master of Secrets
Sat 4 Jul 2009
at 08:48
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"Glad to see you agree, sir." The man says, lying down his towel on one of the shelves below the bar, and quickly signaling to the woman tending the bar alongside him. "Lena, I will go and introduce this gentleman to our establishment and its cogs and gears. The bar and front area are in your hands in my absence. Do make certain everything runs smoothly and everyone gets along, yes?" The red head does not reply, but the expression on her features and the sharp nod she gives say it all - there is no word in her vocabulary for failure.

Without even a second glance - perhaps a testament to the confidence he places in the woman at the bar - the handsome man gestures in Perian's direction. He steps out of the bar area with a certain sense of quiet grace, then starts to make his way across the labyrinthine arrangement of tables and wine red velvet chairs, leading the Exalt towards the back of the establishment, until they finally reach the room's far perimeter. At the back wall, a lit fireplace sends fragments of crimson and amber across the room, its natural light giving the whole area a warm, inviting and somewhat mysterious aura. On the wall proper, Perian can immediately identify a few portraits, although the figures on them are unknown. Their modes of dress suggest they are from a time long ago, or perhaps even from somewhere other than the Coils Proper.

Due to clever design and ingenious architecture, it is easy to miss the heavy-set, dark wood door close to the fireplace; somehow, the eye is attracted by various things around it, resulting in the door itself becoming rather forgettable. If Perian's guide had not started to fiddle with it, silently unlocking it with a silver key hanging from a chain around his neck, the Solar might have missed it altogether... Or at least, at first glance. Once the door is unlocked, the man signals for Perian and a single escort to follow.

Inside, the handsome man exchanges a few whispered words with what seems to be a servant or butler, waiting at the ready by the door. With a short, graceful nod, the butler acquiesces to whatever has been said, and heads away from the door to another side room. Once Perian is inside, the door closes behind him, and his host gestures to the room ahead. It is a cozy yet luxurious private boudoir, with chairs in the same motif as the main room set around a carefully carved lacquered table with elegant, curving legs. Many different bookshelves line the back wall, the shelves closer to the side walls embraced by plush wine red draperies. A smaller bar adorns the right side of the room, its stock not nearly as impressive as the front bar in terms of bottle amounts, but no doubt surpassing it in term of drink quality.

"Normally, there is a test to be granted access here." says the man, stepping slightly to Perian's side. "But my evaluation is that you pass it nonetheless. Let us say our talk revealed what I wished to know in that regard."

The man passes Perian and gestures towards the comfortable-looking seats with a broad gesture. "Do make yourself comfortable, sir." He says, as he heads towards the bar. "It should not be too long." What should not be too long, he never does specify. But within a moment, he is at the post behind the bar, manning it much like he has with the front counter. "If you fancy a book or another drink as well, feel free. You will be finding what it is you sought in just a moment."

This message was last edited by the GM at 11:58, Sat 04 July 2009.

 GM, 1090 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Sun 5 Jul 2009
at 19:00
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
A small, silent exchange passes between Volya and Agomir concerning which of the two of them will remain outside. Finally, Agomir defers to the wolf-woman, settles himself contentedly on a barstool, and starts to engage the front room bartender in what seems to be light, casual conversation. The broad-shouldered ex-blacksmith with bright red hair is definitely unusual among the average clientele of the Literate, but he and Lena seem to know each other comfortably by name.

Camilla has yet to return, but Random stays in his vantage point, keeping an eye on the common room and the tavern entrance while he nurses his ale. No one seems willing to join the young man at his corner table, which suits the blue-haired Freerunner just fine.

Volya steps through the door into the backroom, joining Perian before the door shuts securely behind them. She takes care to walk slightly behind the Solar, for now acknowledging that this particular aspect of their mission is more Perian's specialty than her own. Despite her gruff mannerisms and primarily martial training, though, Volya is not necessarily a liability to Perian. She may have limited knowledge about high society etiquette, or the difference between a Ledaal Milena Elemental Cycle original and an Immaculate copy altered for non-secular use, but she does seem more than capable of understanding when a situation needs finesse rather than force.
Kares Perian
 player, 28 posts
Tue 7 Jul 2009
at 07:15
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
Perian follows his host without any betraying signs of worry, pausing at suitable moments to indicate his appreciation for the quality of the locale and its contents. "It is always a pleasure to deal with men of good taste, in furnishings as in acquaintances," he murmurs in response to the man's welcome.

"Having partaken of the first of your wares, I would be an ungracious guest not to essay the other," he replies, and moves towards the bookshelves, looking at the trove of accumulated works with respect for both their commercial value in the District, and their contents.

Carefully, he passes a hand over the accumulated tomes, surveying titles and the state of each, pausing from time to time as a name draws his attention. Finally, the text he selects isn't one of the better known and carefully preserved rarities, but Travels and Tales an assuredly apocryphal collection of stories and descriptions of strange lands within Five Coils. Or perhaps outside.
 GM, 62 posts
 Assistant Gatekeeper
 Master of Secrets
Tue 7 Jul 2009
at 19:31
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"Right away, sir." The man at the bar responds, immediately getting to work at preparing another drink - this time a rich, ruby-colored liquid with accents of rust hues, which spills gracefully from an ornate bottle into a crystal snifter. Obviously, this sort of drink is not readily available at the front... And if it was, it would be at a very hefty cost.

Once the snifter has been half-filled, the man walks over to the ornate table, and deposits the drink in front of one of the seats without a prompt. He stands there for a moment, not wishing to disturb Perian's book selecting. When it is done, the man inclines his head gracefully, taking a step back. "Do make yourself at home. You will be attended to in just a moment - please excuse the delay." With that, he bows, then respectfully leaves Perian to his book and drink, retracting to his position behind the bar.

Travels and Tales, a strange collection of stories from apparently fictional locations, seems to have been penned by someone called The Gray Wanderer. The locales it depicts are varied and numerous, and most of them share a common trait - they all seem to be locations sitting under the open sky, away from the floors and walls of Five Coils. The locales are depicted with much beauty and grace, but with a distinct tint of wistfulness - from the melancholy rain in deep jungles of lush and green vegetation, to the faded hue of a majestic ruined city of crystal when the sun disappears behind the horizon.

The Wanderer's journey finally comes to a place Perian can identify as Five Coils through the last chapters of the book - particularly the somewhat stylized rendition of what can be construed to be the Earth District. The tone and the way the tome is written makes it difficult for one to take it as anything but a work of fiction - and yet, despite the lack of names (perhaps due to censorship?) or even cardinal directions, the feelings behind the recollections are so vivid that for a moment, Perian can actually wonder whether the Travels actually took place, sometime in the distant past...

[Private to Kares Perian: The book actually depicts many real Creation locales like Halta, the Coral Archipelago, Chiaroscuro, and many many others, but no names are ever given. Perian, having never been to the surface either, would not know of these locales, but this should still give you an idea of what is described inside.]
 GM, 1099 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Tue 7 Jul 2009
at 20:29
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
While Perian is engrossed in his book and drink, and Volya does her best not to twitch her tail in restlessness (now and then eyeing the books on display, particularly what appears to be a 'Shogunate war treatise'), the side door finally swings open. The butler, an unassuming man with dark brown hair greying at temples and clad in a formal tailored suit, steps out to guide another pair of individuals to the table.

One of the pair wears a blue woolen cloak with graceful white scrollwork embroidery around the edges. The voluminous overgarment parts now and then to reveal fitted dark blue pants and laced up boots of a solid brown, white sleeves with ornate, sculpted bracers of blue jade, and a scabbard holding what is likely a daiklave with a silk wrapped hilt.

The cloaked one's companion is a man in a deep violet, long-sleeved damask coat and dark pants. He has jet black hair worn in a top knot jutting up from the back of his head. He carries no obvious weapons and seems to defer to the one in blue, who approaches the table undauntedly, pulling down the cloak hood fully. She is an attractive woman with pale brown hair, azure blue eyes and a fair complexion. "I hope you've not waited long," the woman says carefully, her eyes shifting from Perian to Volya. She speaks in High Realm, and repeats in Low only if she gets some sign of a lack of understanding. "If it is any assurance, I have waited even longer. If only because I have been reluctant to have this meeting in the first place, and my heart has been in conflict. Yet here I am, and here you are."

Apparently wanting to get to the point, the woman takes the seat across from Perian. Volya and the man in violet are both still standing, and eye each other quietly for a moment. Not hostile, not challenging, though still sizing one another up. "I am Kigal Alivia," she introduces herself, then gestures to the man, "and this is Najalin Verad. To whom may I be speaking?"
Kares Perian
 player, 29 posts
Wed 8 Jul 2009
at 06:50
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
When the newcomers arrive, Perian sets aside the book that has been drawing ever more of his attention with a pang of regret. He rises, greets them with a motion partway between a nod and a bow, and settles into his chair while the woman opposite him does the same.

"I am Kares Perian," he replies calmly, "My companion is Mori Volya." After a beat, he adds, "Though the latter is likely no great surprise."

Gesturing expansively at the room around them, Perian continues. "First, a gesture of respect, for yourself and our host." Moving slowly, he sets the simple box containing the inkbrush on the table, where the woman opposite him can reach it easily if she so wishes. "A token of the weight we set on your regard, and of what may come."

After a moment for Kigal Alivia to respond to the gift as she sees fit, he finishes. "I appreciate the risk you're taking in coming here, so I'll do my best to be frank and to the point. Unrest is rising in Paisap's Resolve - because the higher Districts do not value, do not understand the people of Earth. Yes, we've been taking advantage of it, but that isn't the point. The people are the point. They want more, they deserve more, they need more, and we think you realize this."

"So we are here, to talk, to see how we might act together to shape the change that is coming, so that it will be for the best."

"At least, that's my view of the matter. What do you say?"

 GM, 1107 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Thu 9 Jul 2009
at 01:56
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
Alivia nods in greeting to Volya, as well, and smiles graciously enough at the offering of a gift. She seems a little bit surprised. Perhaps she hadn't expected the Freerunners to be so mindful of etiquette?

She has Verad step forward and open the box for her. He does so silently and without complaint, revealing within the antique calligraphy brush with silver bristles that Perian had Riven Shard prepare earlier. After handling the brush, the silent man finally hands it over to Alivia, who examines it closely. "Why, this is... I am certain there must be an orichalcum core in this brush. Quite the gift, and I thank you, though it remains to be seen what I can do for you." The brush goes back into the box, and into Verad's hands, for a time.

"Perian, I have become aware of the unrest in the City, and how it has grown in recent times. I know that Water District has become incommunicado, and several of the, ah, Collared have gone free, or missing. And after the Freerunner's strike on the Shrine of Mela -- and another shrine in B25, I hear -- it seems many citizens have become inspired to take the law into their own hands, or ignore it altogether."

Alivia exhales sharply, leaning back in her chair. "I am not completely satisfied with the decisions of the Council, the treatment of the citizens, the corruption among my peers. Nor am I particularly supportive of the enslavement of An... of... Celestials," she corrects hastily. "There's plenty that I have in common with your organization in terms of ideology. Plenty of doubt that has led me in the past to discreetly offer support to the Freerunners."

"Before I can tell you truthfully I wish to help you now, I need to voice a few concerns. And before that, I need to know exactly what Free intends to accomplish in these tumultuous times. So let us start with that." She gestures to Perian, a signal that the negotiation is to begin, perhaps.

[Private to Kares Perian: I'm not going to roll Join Debate or anything like that. For now we'll just RP this out, and if I feel a roll is needed, I'll do the roll and judge stunt. Or, if you wish you can roll what you feel is the most appropriate combination for your post (I will correct if I think otherwise)

You can of course also try to roll to see if you can assess her emotions/motivations, too.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:02, Thu 09 July 2009.

Kares Perian
 player, 30 posts
Thu 9 Jul 2009
at 08:20
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"It isn't a matter of doing things for me, or Free," Perian interjects softly. "Just of doing what is right. That, at least, is one truth that remains."

Once Alivia has presented her position, Perian leans forwards, catching her eyes, his words intent and animated. "What does Free want? Freedom - which does not answer your question. Now, I won't go so far as to say that I'm familiar with Free's thoughts, but I understand him, and my companions."

Perian's voice takes on a rhythm and cadence suited to reciting an epic, as he launches into his explanation.

"Water has been awakened already, to follow its own path, where all within it may seek their own destinies. They dream of life within the Coils, and without, of peace, properity, and justice. Because they dream, because the Celestials walked there, their destruction was prescribed."

"And yet, they live for now, and seek freedom in their own ways."

"Now, a wave of change is lapping at the edge of Earth, and it will not be stopped. Whether destruction or renewal, death or freedom, follow is up to us. The people, whatever affiliations we may belong to. Faced with this choice, the Runners will do what they always chose to before - seek freedom, for themselves and others."

With a half apologetic smile, Perian's tones become conversational once more. "I beg your pardon. Old habits... Still, the point remains. The free Celestials pose too much of a threat to the current order for them to be allowed to live, or escape. And that same corrupt leadership will not hesitate to sacrifice the entire District if it means they can remove them, us."

"So we are going to fight. We need to reach the Gatekeeper, or Earth will be decimated and broken, at best."

"We want to save the people of Paisap's Resolve, of Earth, as much as possible. The dead don't have choices, are not free. For that, they need to be resolute, ready to defend themselves - and they will have to."

"We plan to do what we can to help them face off against the first wave of killers from the higher Districts. With your help, they'll be organized, innocents will be away from the frontlines, and we can direct the invading troops, force them to go where they will do the least harm."

"Without it, we will still fight, and likely die, to give them a chance."

[Private to GM: Rolled 1 success on reading mindset, so probably nothing.]

This message was last edited by the player at 08:21, Thu 09 July 2009.

 GM, 1112 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Thu 9 Jul 2009
at 22:44
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"What you have posed seems very, very enticing. I am impressed." Kigal Alivia appears intrigued by Perian; it is after all the first time they've met, though not the first time she's dealt with the 'Runners. "I see that Free is very intent on gaining my support, sending a skilled negotiator my way this time. I mean no offense of course," she says with a small nod to Volya, though it's quite clear she thinks of Perian as the superior at the moment.

"I can believe that the Council may attempt to contain the Celestials in a way that would endanger the citizens. From our childrens' stories onward we are warned against the Celestials' power. 'They are the Ruiners who forced us underground, and now they are here with us, in our own sanctuary, running free and wreaking havoc on the society we built.' And so on. Even among the common folk there are many who are afraid of the Celestials. It is only in recent times that the balance has swayed. For many of us it has been a slow realization of which of the evils are lesser: the Council, or the Anathema."

Alivia rests her hands on the table, palms down, gazing intently at the man across from her. "You speak of doing what is 'right'. In this case, 'right' essentially asks me, and my soldiers, to openly betray our fellow Dragon-blooded and take up arms against them, should they unfairly seek harm to the populace. In the past, we have only been kind enough to look the other way, as the Freerunners have done their business. Now, we are at the point of open rebellion."

"There are a few issues in this case -- besides my dilemma of loyalty, which we will address. First of all, the matter of manpower and resources. My official rank is as a Talonlord. I may be able to arrange for the people to be armed, but my unit alone will not avail against the best the Fire District can send at us. Therefore a reassurance of greater numbers from the Freerunners or elsewhere is necessary."

"Second, the matter of securing the Earth District before one can use it as a base against Fire District attack. Control of the Gatekeeper will swing things sharply in your favor, but what of the other major opposition the Freerunner-Celestial agenda will encounter, the Immaculate Monks? The Philosophy still holds sway upon much of the populace. What is being done to address how they will impact your plans?"

"Lastly, assuming you do succeed in an Earth District takeover. What do you and your people intend to do with it afterward? By then you will have dissolved what hierarchy of order has been in place. Will those that wish to seek Freedom above, simply leave the Earth District to repair itself? Will the District thereafter be run by Celestial dictators, or rebels ill-suited for governance?"

"I am no stranger to the desire to reach for the sky," the Dragon-blooded in blue finally winds down to a conclusion. "But there must also be thought placed into what is left behind. What have you to say to this?"

[Private to Kares Perian: Nothing on her emotions/motivations, yeah. As for the speech you gave, I made a roll initially, but decided it was awkward, as I already know in my mind what Alivia would find appealing or not. You happened to hit upon her first point of contention before I even had her say it, that being that the Freerunners actually gave a damn about the fate of the citizens and not just their agenda. Therefore, I'll just assume that you 'passed' with that first post, equivalent to ticking off a WP from her.

This post gives you multiple points to 'attack' from, therefore giving you a chance for what I suppose amounts to a 'social flurry'. Again, though, being a flexible ST I am going to rule more by what you write than what dice say, unless I feel it's ambivalent enough that dice alone would decide it. :)

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:50, Thu 09 July 2009.

Kares Perian
 player, 32 posts
Fri 10 Jul 2009
at 07:53
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"No offense taken - and if all goes well, we will work together in the future, so working out any friction early is for the best. And I suppose I am a negotiator, at that." Perian replies amiably, then focuses on Alivia's issues and opinions.

"Among the miners of this District, there are those who are brave, foolish, adventurous. They seek the deepest shafts, travel for days on end in parts that have not been visited before, vanish for days, weeks and more. They'll tell you they are looking for a perfect lode, seeking solitude or some other tale. And yet, they come back, once the urge to discover new places has been satisfied."

"They have homes here, however far they might travel. As do we. They care for their folk, even when they can't bear their company. And so do we. They want the freedom to discover their own paths, to try for their own dream. And we do too."

After a quiet moment for Perian to regain his composure, he continues.

"The core 'Runners, those you hear about in the city, those who raid and show that freedom is possible... are by no means all there is. After all,"<Yellow> Perian smiles briefly, <Yellow>"Some of them could be negotiators, for instance."

"When Earth shakes off its shackles and becomes free, I expect the people will do their best to set their own fates. We'll be there, to try and make it a better place. But Free is not a ruler, and as you pointed out so well, the 'Runners are malcontents, not power seekers."

"For authority and leadership, I expect your people might well end up in a position to take the reins. We don't mind - so long as the people are treated well, and free to make their own way, we'll even help as we can. We care about the people, enough to know that our way of life isn't the one they'd choose - and we won't force them to change."

"Mistrust me if you wish, consider me Anathema, reject what I believe is true. I will not hate you for it - that is your free choice, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Though I will try to convince you of my views, as you might of yours. And even if you will not listen, I will try to help you attain what freedom and peace is possible."

"Not for fame. Not for power. Not even to prove that the tales about me are wrong. Simply because it's the right thing to do."

Again, Perian pauses, visibly relaxing himself after growing overly intent on his words.

"If I'm not careful, I'll end up a speechwriter rather than anything else. Well, then. All that remains is military matters - and loyalty."

"Here, and now, the 'Runners are done with hiding. Earth is home to enough of our numbers that we won't let it fall if we have anything to say about it. So we'll fight, welcome those who want to stand for the District, and try to protect those who can't."

"I don't know what forces the freed Celestials have, but I expect they'll have the backing of Water - which has more than its share of people who know their way in a brawl. All I can tell you about them for sure is that their allies are a match for a fair number of 'Runners, and expecting a fight."

"Even then, the militant incarnation of the Immaculate philosophy poses a risk, as the longer the Gatekeeper is in their hands, the more power they can bring to bear. We are aware of this, and plan a surgical strike, to reach it before it is too late. I cannot give you any details until you commit to us, for obvious reasons. Suffice to say, the Celestials will also have a part in this. Again, a small force, applied where it is needed, means that we will deal mainly with those who wish to see Earth ended. The philosophers are free to talk all they want - once their lives are protected."

Perian straightens, and stares directly into the Dragonblood's eyes.

"To summarize, in the order of your points. We will bring all we can to the table, because Earth matters to us, above and beyond considerations of long term freedom. We will strike to reach the Gatekeeper as soon as we can, to minimize the Fire forces that can reach Earth - this should help with loyalty, as well. When we succeed, the 'Runners intend to leave the people of Earth free to choose their path. Those who continue to believe in Anathema and the Immaculate path will be free to do so. But we will not let them enslave others, or revel in corruption and unjust power. If you wish to help or guide this process, you are free to do so."

He finishes his speech, stating at last, "The freedom we seek is that to be, to create, to travel, to learn, as we desire. We've seen enough destruction and corruption that we will do wat we can to stop it. Much as you have, I suspect."
 GM, 1120 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Sat 11 Jul 2009
at 00:29
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
Alivia lets Perian talk, hardly interjecting. She purses her lips or tilts her head thoughtfully at times but is more or less a rapt listener.

"Truly?" she says, tapping her fingernails on the table, at the tail end of Perian's summary of points. "You are to tell me for absolute certain that Free, the Freerunners and the Celestials with them have absolutely no desire to rule here, and would happily offer it to me, or anyone like me who would rule in such a way that considers the rights and freedoms of the populace? Honestly... I will have to see it for myself."

"I am not a governor, though. If it came to pass, I would not be my own first choice. There may be others... but..." The dragon-blood takes a deep breath that is almost a sigh, rubbing her head just above the bridge of her nose. "That all assumes you will even succeed. Though with the Celestials, the entire might of the Freerunners, any other allies you may draw to your side..." Perian notices she does not include herself in that just yet. "And the Gatekeeper of Earth to block the Fire District from sending more troops, you just may have a chance."

"One thing I object to, is the idea that the freedom you fight for can be achieved without significant change. To achieve it, you will have to challenge the beliefs that have held the Coils together for so long, and the organizations that enforce and protect them. The monks, who truly believe the Anathema are Creation's Destroyers, will stand in your way. The soldiers, who fight their hardest out of pride for their home and all it represents, will stand in your way. The engineers, who coerce Celestial crafters to design advanced weapons of war to destroy the Destroyers, will stand in your way. The innovators in Wood District that experiment with genetics and sorcery, stealing Celestial memories and magic so they may harness greater levels of power, will stand in your way. And the Council, who controls truth and information, who wishes to emerge back to the surface triumphantly, taking back the Realm and their divine right to rule Creation -- they, too, will stand in your way."

"The peace you create, will not be the peace the Council wished. It will not be the peace the Immaculate Philosophy supports. The Gatekeeper of Earth may be willing to support you, and the mistreated workers of Earth certainly have a case to do so as well... but the majority of Dragon-blooded of Coils, as well as the mortals who benefit from and believe in their rulers, will want to go to war with you. That conflict, and the truths it may well reveal, will alter the face of Coils whether you want it to or not."

Alivia smiles sadly, and a touch apologetically. Her hands, resting on the table again, almost look as if they are trembling. "You can see I have thought this out a great deal. But I am not saying all this as an outright refusal to your request. I want to know whether you understand as well as I do what is at stake, before I help you destroy the foundations of Coils and build them back up again."
Kares Perian
 player, 34 posts
Sat 11 Jul 2009
at 10:00
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"I could say that, but then, were I other than I am, I could tell you any number of convenient lies for the sake of my personal comfort. And we would not be here."

"Free is sufficiently himself that I can assure you that he has no intention of ruling, or trying to. At some level, he is aware of his limits, and he does not tolerate hypocrisy. As a group, the 'Runners do not intend to rule, nor does Free. As individuals... people are people, whatever alleigeance they swear to."

"Next, myself. I do not know how to rule. I can lead, I can listen, I can tell tales about thw world within the Coils and beyond. But not rule. Insofar as I have a goal, beyond freedom, I want my insights to be understood. And the situation before us shows that the best way for me to teach is by example."

"So, if you do not trust me - follow me. Guard me, or against me, if the Immaculate philosophy as it is taught here contains a grain of truth. I can't offer you more reassurance than that."

"And the other Celestials... I do not know them. I cannot speak for them, but I know the same things you do, and have reached similar conclusions. They could have fled, hidden, ignored the fate of the people in their path. They have not. In that, at least, they are better than the current order. From our common traits, I can hope to influence them in turn, if things go for the worst."

"And if you do not trust them afterwards... trust me. Or follow me to reach them, and me, as you will."

"And why am *I* trusting you, you might, and should ask? Because I think change is possible. Because I am not convinced that my insight is the truth. Because I believe the same things matter to both of us."

Perian smiles grimly, fully aware of the irony of trusting his fate to the hands that have betrayed it in ages past - and imprisoned it far more recently.

"As to change, and war... I think that change was inevitable, even if the Celestials were not free, even if Free were absent. The people, and the Coils themselves, cannot be abused and exploited forever. This way, there is a chance that things may be better, that there *is* a future. Rather than wrap ourselves into ever narrowing circles in the dark, hoping that the end will strike later rather than sooner."

"I do not *want* war. I do not think that Earth, Water, or even Fire, Wood, and Air have any idea of what will follow. I know that the people above us live for more than destruction - however corrupt the Immaculate Philosophy has become, it is not void of virtues."

"But the facts remain. Coils has to change, if it is to become what it can be - or even simply survive. I have been in the mines that fuel Coils. I have spoken to those who know this place better than we can imagine. And they are afraid. So what choices did I have? To allow the corrupton to continue, until there is nothing left? I can't. To seek the sky and abandon the Coils to those who cannot imagine otherwise. I won't. To try for change, for hope, despite the odds. No choice, really."

"And if I am hated for it, at least it will be for the things I have done, for the future I have helped make possible - rather than a senseless terror, wrought by the Immaculates, which seems to pervert all it touches."

 GM, 1124 posts
 Exalted Storyteller
 Five Coils Artificer
Sat 11 Jul 2009
at 22:51
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
Alivia's expression hardly changes as Perian speaks of trustworthiness, change and conflict, though her hands gradually stop trembling and her posture becomes more certain, more resolute. She straightens in her chair, formulating her reply carefully.

"Perian, you are correct that I cannot judge a person simply by the words they speak. Your motives are inscrutable to me, though you speak well and believably on the surface. That said... here is as far as I am willing to go right now."

"You will take Najalin Verad with you." The dark-haired man, still holding the calligraphy box, inclines his head tersely. "Verad is my most trusted colleague. He will be on hand at all times to observe the actions and behavior of yourself and the Freerunners. He is discreet and will not interfere in what you do, merely report it to me."

"I, unfortunately, cannot come with you right at this moment. As you may understand, I am in an awkward situation at the moment, and do not wish to arouse further suspicion. And I have still not made a final decision, though I will say that it leans in your favor. Therefore I will judge your situation from afar, and assess which local Peace Forcers I believe will be most sympathetic to a shift in ideology and policy, those who do not believe blindly in the Philosophy or the right of the Council."

"Now, to address your last statements, I do not think anyone truly wants war just for the sake of doing so. However, people will fight to protect what is theirs. Whether it is futile, or unnecessary, does not apply when it comes to having one's core beliefs threatened. If I thought there were some way to avoid conflict, I would suggest it. But for many Terrestrials, even ordinary citizens, those beliefs are deeply ingrained."

"The Immaculate Order is much, much older than the Coils. The Philosophy has been the foundation of society since the time of the Scarlet Dynasty. It places the Terrestrials as mortals' rightful guides and rulers, and demonizes the Celestials as harbingers of despair and ruin. And the ruin of the Dynasty, the cataclysm that led to the Descent, has etched that belief indelibly into our minds. The fear that the 'Anathema' destroyed not one age, but two, has turned us into a people for whom the 'end justifies the means' -- and, I believe, paved the path to corruption."

"I do want to believe that this path can be altered, Kares Perian," Alivia says, starting to drawing up her hood as if she means to leave soon. "But it's not something that can happen instantaneously. I hope you understand that I will need more time."

[Private to Kares Perian: This isn't necessarily the end. You could try to make a case that there isn't really more time to be had, for example. Or that this isn't a time to be indecisive! Even so, she will still need some time to put together troops, but what you say here may determine whether she will do it asap, or vacillate for days.]

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:58, Sat 11 July 2009.

Kares Perian
 player, 35 posts
Mon 13 Jul 2009
at 02:12
Re: Floor B23 - City of Pasiap's Resolve, North Sector 1
"I am not sure you understand, Kigal Alivia," Perian replies as he continues to stare at the Dragonblood.

"Scant days ago, the Coils were as they had always been, slowly falling to corruption and sectarian hatred while those who saw what was happening were either unable or unwilling to act. For the best of reasons, of course - the people are not ready, it's too expensive, the time isn't right, what if there is retaliation, there are other matters to deal with, it isn't within my purview, they might deserve better but the ones I met had to be put down... and so on. The endless thread of excuses and distractions that is what the Immaculate order relies on to retain control and justify its excesses."

"Even the 'Runners are prone to this - focus too much on surviving day to day, succumb to the temptation of force when the people opposite you simply won't listen or understand, play at opposing a notably corrupt commander... But we have Free, who at times seems ot exist to challenge our perceptions and habits, so perhaps we were not falling."

He makes as if to rise, to empathise his words, then settles down.

"And then, things changed. At once. The largest outbreak of Celestials ever, threatening to take over Water."

"And changed again, the cold choice to sacrifice the entire District, rather than risk challenging the comfortable, corrupted, way things were. A decision made in hours, a doom that would take scarcely more time to be complete."

"And changed again, in minutes, when the Celestials brought over the Gatekeeper and allowed Water to continue asit freely chose."

"And changed again, when the threat of Celestials caring for people rather than being maddened killers forced itself into the awareness of the leaders of the higher Districts. So now Earth must be isolated, cleansed, scourged - before the taint of truth is spread."

"And is changing even now, when the 'Runners join the conflict, giving the Celestials a chance to reach above Earth, to make this be more than 'the first great atrocity that marked the visible downfall of the Coils'. If any historian lives to record what follows, that is."

Perian gazes directly into Alivia's eyes once more, naked truth and honesty n his words.

"What trend do you see in all these changes? Not the obvious - Celestials bring new things wherever they go. No. The lesson to learn here is that the changes that occur are *fast* and ever more far reaching. And that the only ones who stand a chance of benefitting from, or guiding, them are those who are commited to their cause."

"So if you wait for the time to be right, the changes will happen before you are ready. Perhaps, if you wait, the problem will vanish. The Celestials and 'Runners mostly dead and in hiding, your firm command praised by the higher levels, a chance to run the District in a more just manner... But you don't believe that, or you would not be here."

He gestures in Verad's direction, and goes on.

"I'll accept your companion's company and investigation. Because I believe this has to be done, and am staking everything I have on it anyway. I have made my choice - I am trusting you, though you merely 'lean in my favor'. If I could, I would give you all the time you need to decide, so that we might meet as allies, or even foes, with clear hearts and minds."

"But the changes are happening too fast to make this possible - once the melee has begun, any arrows still in your quiver are so many wasted lives, as a drill instructor of my acquaintance is fond of saying. You need time, you say. To rally your men, find others who will side with you, and prepare, yes."

"To decide which side you will be on, or wait to see how the conflict goes... No. It is already too late, almost."

"Again, unlike the Immaculates, I'll be as direct as I can. You have met me, there are many things I know which would be useful to your superiors. If we part without shedding blood, you may as well condemn yourself in their eyes - for honor, for a lack of cruelty, for caring."

"If we part and I do not know that I can rely on you when needed - as close to now as can be managed - we will have to act without your help. And the death and destruction will be the greater for it."

"This middle road you walk, of conversing with each and holding your own counsel, is wise. But there is no time for wisdom left."

Perian rises in turn, and nods in Verad's direction. "Even so, the choice is yours. Assuming we do not come to blows, Verad is welcome to join me, and I'll try to do things your way - unlike the Order, I seek to convince, not compel. And to warn, even when such is not welcome."

After a moment's consideration, he adds. "You say that you have no idea what I truly am, and so whether I can be trusted. Perhaps - but you know of my companion, at least, and can understand her, I trust."

"Volya, please tell Kigal Alivia what you think. Have I lied about the 'Runners plans and long term intentions?"

Once the Freerunner has had her say, he asks another question. "In the time you've known me, or known of me. Have I ever dealt unfairly with you or gone back on my word?"

This message was last edited by the player at 18:35, Tue 14 July 2009.