It’s late, two days after the attack on the Trent-Taniguchi lines. Dogwood held that night but there have been similar attacks elsewhere. The demons are still probing and their numbers seem endless.
Jericho is at the top of the Spire, the pre-rifts facility that has planted itself outside the Factory. It’s night. The view from up here isn’t too bad. Dogwood is visible in the distance from this height. As are lights marking out small villages and towns. Islands of light in a sea of black.
Natsuki spends some time up here of course and Jericho has invited a couple of others up as well. A man from Vesper he trusts, and the prince trusts, as well as one of their more reliable mercenaries.
He has wine. He is rather enjoying it while he waits.
Natsu is looking out of the window at Dogwood, back to Jericho and the door. Her long dark hair hangs down her back as she sips the wine from the goblet she’s holding.
“Our people are scared, leannan…” she says quietly, though he’ll hear her. “Cook said those we sent to Dogwood are concerned.” For weeks now they’ve been operating on skeleton staff. The only ones present are those who are necessary, Natsu’s banners and Jericho’s CorSec.
The news of the demon attacks out here have been rather distressing, even knowing- or perhaps ‘believing’ is the better term, that his friends would be able to take care of things. Dogwood’s forces are formidable, but after hearing that even they had started poking around for formal assistance from Vesper, well, that would be adequate cause for concern.
It’s with great cheer that Varos has accepted the invitation, making haste in coming out here, a trip that many in Vesper would not be nearly so eager to take. He arrives dressed in immaculate tones of gray accented with black, a cloak tossed over one shoulder, his mask his favored silver accented with its six eye-like amethyst slivers. Once shown up to the top where the others are, he wastes no time in greeting the two, arms outstretched as though he were the one receiving them in his own place.
“Baronet Trent. My lady Taniguchi! So good to see the both of you again. It was most relieving to receive word from you.”
“I know.” Jericho says. “I wish we could give them something that would reassure them but as long as that demon horde is out there…”
They’re right to be concerned. Everyone knows there’s a war on. And its for Dogwood’s very survival.Varos. Good to see you.” Jericho rises and spreads his arms wide. “Welcome, come in, come in. How was your ride up?”
It was long, probably. The elevators are quick but this tower is taller than most in the modern, post apocalyptic era. Though Vesper does have some pretty tall spires.
“Have a seat. Wine? I trust your journey out here wasn’t overly dangerous.”
There’s a twinkling of a ring on his hand. On… Natsuki’s too.
He’ll let Nat address the Lady Taniguchi part ,though.
“We can’t, leannan, you know that…” Natsu sighs and turns, eyes so lavender now. “My people were, at least, happy to hear our news …” as she’d suspected it had given them some hope.
As Varos enters, Natsu smiles brightly and goes to great their guest. “Varos. It is a pleasure as always to see you.” The ring on her finger is a pink sapphire. Not overstated but hard to miss. “And it’s Dame Trent … now. Well, again… ” She let’s that lay for a moment before adding “But to you, it will always be Natsuki or Natsu, I hope.”
“Unsettling,” comes the sometimes-clothier’s response to the inquiry of his ride up, the answer at odds with the brightness of his tone and the smile on his face. Fast as the lift might have been, being in a small room without any visual reference and but the vaguest sensation of movement made him more anxious than anything else.
“Ah, yes, please and thank you,” Varos says to the offer of wine as he smoothly moves to take a seat at their behest, but not before moving to greet Natsuki with a kiss to her hand. The new additions to both of their fingers does not go amiss, especially not if those rings are a shift of focus for them both.
“The trip wasn’t so bad. You know I love to travel, but thankfully nothing happened on the way.” His smile turns sly as he tilts head from Jericho to Natsuki and back. “But me aside, it seems congratulations are in order. And perhaps one might even say it’s about time.” The light catches his mask as he tips his head slightly, making his crooked smile all the more mischievous.
Given her role as occasional bodyguard, Elpida no doubt noticed the rings at some point. She herself has made no comment on it. Seems she doesn’t think it’s her place. After a recent perusal of the area, she’s returned to them to nod in greeting to Varos.
This nod is accompanied by a grunt.
Her snakes are more talkative than her at the time being. Hiss. Hiss.
“Thank you Varos. Ah, welcome back Elpida. Have a seat. Take some wine.” Jericho’s in a good mood but that’s not always indicative of him having good news to share. He pours wine for Varos, for El, for Nat and for himself.
“I’m hearing disturbing things from Vesper. Or, well, Gabrielle is. We opened up a dialogue there not too long ago. Prince Kai is speaking with some of the important locals there. We hope that will bring Vesper into the war. But my sister’s spies have told us that elements of the College of Free Thought have activated agents in Vesper to delay that process as long as possible.”
Varos at least should remember them. They were not fond of him at all, those terrorists in Richmond. Elpida might remember them too.
“Natsuki has heard other news from her own network of spies.” Wait. She has spies?”
“They are indeed. I finally decided to make an honest man of him….” Natsu winks and returns to Jericho’s side just as Elpida arrives. “That’s who accosted myself and Baldur when we went to Vesper to meet with Mister Greymane.” she nods, accepting the top up of her goblet as she does.
“My … agents … have also heard that certain members of the Senate are not enamoured with the idea of aligning with us. Whether that’s driven by the College or not, we can’t ascertain yet. I suspect that in part, it might be.”
An approving nod from Elpida when the ‘honest man’ line comes up. She offers a smile, though most of her attention is at the moment on ‘keeping an eye on things’. She has lots of eyes in her snakes so she does it better than most, no doubt. She does not seem slightly surprised to hear about them having spies, though.
“Well. How can I help?” she asks.
Varos after tossing a small wave at his fellow almost-promoted-to-deityhood, accepts the wine, sipping at it before nodding his approval, but then it’s not like they ever serve bad wine. His expression sours noticeably at the mention of the College, and he releases a sigh as he sits back in his seat, folding one leg over the other.
“Well, I suppose it can’t be all too surprising,” he murmurs. “They’ve been quiet enough for some time.” He’d rather things would stay that way but he knows better than that. It’s not terribly surprising to him that Natsuki has spies, but he lifts his head as the half-elf touches upon more details of the College’s involvement.
“Ah, I’d heard something about that. Idiots,” he snorts. “Just as well it was Mister Greymane who had met with you, although I’m surprised his winged associate wasn’t with him. Still, either or both, very formidable. I’m glad you weren’t harmed.” He swirls his wine glass, frowning about the Senate. Politics. He’s never been terribly crazy about it. “And here I was hoping this would just be a pleasant visit for catching up and taking a celebratory break.” His smile is brief but bright.
“Well it is that but while we’re here I wanted to ask you a favor. You and Elpida are able to move about freely in Vesper without attracting too much in the way of attention. Natsuki and I are not. Quite aside from the fact that we have a war to deal with, the scrutiny we would garner would prevent us from investigating the matter appropriately. I am hoping you two will be able to act on our behalf.”
Natsuki may have more to add but this IS after all a celebration. “Oh Nat you’d… gotten something special for the occasion I believe?”
“We would, of course, reimburse you for your time and efforts.” Natsu does indeed have something to add. “I’ve prepared a briefing document of what we’ve gleaned if you say yes.” She, herself has prepared it. Well … it’s her network of informants.
How she came by that is an interesting discussion.
“I did, leannan, if you two would join us. Cook prepared a cake and my Captain pulled up two bottles of vintage sparkling from our cellar. He says that Grandpapa had laid them down for such an occasion.” Vintage indeed. “And Grandmama has sent a bottle of nettle whiskey.”
That’s probably news to Jericho.
Letting out a breath, Elpida says, “Well, I’m not sure what I can do. I’m not a politician and I’m not exactly…savvy at that kind of intrigue, but if I can help, I’ll help. I mean, I don’t exactly have a whole lot of influence but I’ll do what I can.” She pinchers the bridge of her nose for a moment, a glance towards Varos. That look says they’re gonna need to talk. She then has a drink.
A long one.
Oh, Varos isn’t annoyed by it. He’s intrigued, even if the troublemakers are of an unruly bunch. “But of course. I will gladly do whatever I can,” he says, grinning over at Jericho after another sip from his glass of wine. He sets his feet down on the floor again as he straightens in his seat, head turning from the Baronet to his intended.
“I’m certain you’ve already anticipated my answer, dear Natsuki,” he chuckles. He won’t be able to go over the contents of the document himself, but he’ll just borrow a pair of eyes.
Upon seeing himself brought into focus by the other Vesperian in the room, the visored one smiles over at Elpida. For all the news and this potential mission he seems rather chipper about it, but then this is about normal business for him, not that the Gorgon might know it. He raises his glass towards her before turning his attention back towards Natsuki.
“Cake! I do love sweets, and your drinks never disappoint,” he chirps as he all but bounces to his feet.
“Your grandmother does know good gifts.” Jericho smiles.
“Wonderful. Well then, my friends. Let us celebrate and forget about the war, if only for a few hours.” These times, Jericho knows, are precious. They’re fleeting. And they should be taken while they can.
Jericho and Natsuki have news to share with Varos and Elpida, as well as business to be discussed.
May 08, 2412
The Spire, Dogwood
Ardul, Baldur, Hunter Greymane