Aiden has… a sky ship. He’s a bit nonplussed about this but a small miscommunication between he and the being he’d secured the ship from has resulted in him becoming the owner and not the temporary renter of a ley schooner. It’s rather nice. Made out of a rather fine wood. The former owner told him that it has the necessary hardpoints to mount force shield generators if they could be secured. Even laser cannon. Aiden had rather rolled his eyes.
Still, sky ship. It’s in the docks at the moment and Aiden is, er, making sure it doesn’t go missing. He’s also… thinking. Justicars came to transport the wounded to the Restorium but not before he’d had a good chat with Sanka’a. What she told him was… disturbing.
After his rather abrupt disappearance from the shop, Varos had made a hasty departure once they’d come back in to let his associates know he’d returned, suffer through the tongue-lashing he expected, and then slip out again as soon as he was able to. Summer tends to be their slowest season of business, and he preferred to let Raksha and Anyn hold down the fort, which they were perfectly okay with handling…so long as he let them know when he’d be away.
Walking briskly towards the docks, Varos can already see that things have settled down around the area, as well as that the other psychic is still lingering about.
“Thinking about where to go for a romantic getaway?” he asks, once within earshot, a foxlike smile on his face.
Slaine … is still quiet and still wearing that band around her head. She’s been back to Grans to check on things and is now lounging on the bow of the ship watching the water.
It might be telling that she hasn’t teased Aiden about owning a timber leyline ship or owning it at all for that matter. They’ve had enough need of it lately, it’s probably not a bad thing. “Hello Varos …” she says as she glances over to him. “Romantic getaway with …. who?”
“Certainly not the half-satyr former owner.” Aiden mutters. “Careful, there’s still hair everywhere.” Mostly in the indoor spaces. He’ll have to get someone to clean that out. Or he’ll just think it out himself, later.
“You two care for something to drink? There’s a hell of a liquor cabinet in the cabin.”
“A drink sounds marvelous.” The voice is a woman’s and it belongs to an ‘elf’ in a shimmery blue gown. Her black hair tugs in the breeze, long and straight and enviably wispy in some ways.
“Permission to come aboard, ‘captain’?”
Aiden winces. Captain. He’s not a captain. “Granted.”
Kailastia steps onto the deck. “Hello Slaine. Hello Varos.”
“Well, I know a pair of twins who would love to go on an outing with one of their favorite customers,” Varos says, smirking behind his fingers. He waggles them in greeting at Slaine as he steps aboard. There’s just the slightest wrinkling of his nose with the mention of the previous owner’s shedding.
“Ooh, that–” he starts, but he’s beaten to the invitation by a dragoness, startled but quickly recovering with a smooth turn and bow towards the elven woman.
“Greetings to you as well, madam. What brings you to the captain’s humble ship?”
“Not with anyone…” Slaine mutters, turning her attention back out to the water, the gem on that band seems to wink brightly, but it’s probably just the light catching on it, right?
Kailastia’s arrival claims the Mystics attention again. At least it’s not Sanka’a to make her feel unkempt and untidy. Though Kalastia’s appearance comes close. “I’ll have a drink please, Vargr. Somethin’ strong. And hello to ye to, Kailastia.”
The Dragon-made-woman’s presence here probably doesn’t bode well but Slaine’s not going to ask, not just yet.
“I wouldn’t want to make you jealous, Varos.” Aiden half smirks and motions to the party. Come on back into the accommodations, such as they are. I’ll get some drinks.”
The accommodations aren’t too bad. The ‘half satyr’ former owner clearly liked to be comfortable so there’s a rug to soften the hardwood floor, a crystal chandelier to provide light and ambiance, a desk, a bed (big one), and enough room to seat people in comfort with a view out the back of the ship.
Aiden goes to a large liquor cabinet and produces in turn scotch, brandy, sherry, champagne and a couple of oddly colored spirits that are clearly not of this earth. Varos gets a brandy. Slaine a scotch. Kailastia indicates for a bright green drink. Everyone is served soon enough.
“Make yourself comfortable. There’s chairs and such.” And there are.
Kailastia does so and only then does she smile in greeting to Slaine and nod to Varos’ question.
“I’m here for a couple of purposes. First to thank you all for rescuing those you rescued. The… joint operation between the Armsmen and the Agents was an unmitigated disaster but it could have been worse if we’d lost those few who did survive it.”
The clothier slides a ‘look’ in Slaine’s direction at the comment, but as they’re invited inside he lets the women enter first, following behind them.
Accepting the drink from Aiden with a smile, he holds the glass as he steps back to find himself a chair. “-in regards to earlier, I’ll be happy to tag along if it’ll make you feel better,” he says, taking a sip of his liquor. His head is tilted in Kailastia’s direction once she’s settled and ready to answer his inquiry.
“We did what we could with such abrupt notice,” he says after another drink. “I’m just glad there were survivors at all.” A pause, and he turns his head as though to glance between Aiden and Slaine before directing his visored face towards the elven woman again.
Slaine gives Varos an apologetic look as he looks in her direction, hopping up off her place on the bow. Following everyone into the cabin, she accepts the scotch and settles back into a chair – not checking it for the hair that Aiden had just mentioned.
“Of course.” she smiles faintly at Kailastia “We said we would help as we can. I’m sorry we couldn’ get there any quicker. Did you find anythin’ from those we bought back?”
“Yes which is the other reason I’m here.” Kailastia takes a sip of her drink, sits down and crosses one leg over the other.
“What Captain Sanka’a and the others encountered was known as a Subjugator. They’re of a type of demon called ‘world slayers’ and they always appear in fours. From the descriptions, at least one of it’s usual three partners is operating in the area. The fact that it has even found ONE of it’s cohorts is extremely disturbing. To be blunt, none of them stood a chance against creatures like those. And yet… we must be thankful for their sacrifice. They’ve given us some little time to prepare.”
Aiden frowns. He knows a lot about demons. He’s never heard of these and they sound capital B bad.
Varos is inclined to agree with Aiden there. Any business with demons is best filed under bad, although he’s no expert of such, and his experience in dealing with them has been more specific but all the same, not fun at all.
“World slayers,” he murmurs over his glass, frowning. “That’s…ah, a troubling sort of name.” That’s probably quite the understatement.
“A … what?” Slaine asks, green eyes fixing on Kailastia with concern. “World Slayer doesn’ sound good and it sounds like ye’ve heard of them before… What more can ye tell us?”
Letting out a long sigh the small Mystic shakes her head. Something’s nigglingly at her but she can’t say what. Maybe it will come to her or maybe not. “And ye say prepare… wha’ do we have to do?”
“It’s pretentious and overblown.” Kailastia chuckles grimly. “Bigger threats go for more subtle themes. Horsemen, for example. But World Slayers are extremely powerful make no mistake about that. The people who lived in this area battled a quartet of them shortly after the golden age ended.”
That would have been in the chaos of the Fall. A dark time about which little is written.
“To answer your question Slaine… I don’t entirely know. This is not a threat I can simply overpower. There must be a way to deal with them… and the answer… must lie in the past. Hence, you three.”
“Us three?” Aiden quirks a brow.
“Yes, you three. I need answers. You’ve proven adept at getting them.”
Having moved to finish his drink, Varos pauses, glass still tipped to his lips, and although his visor would hide his eyes (had he any to hide), he appears to be looking back at Kailastia again, a curious smile of sorts visible as he lowers the glass.
“Pardon?” he says, chasing Aiden’s own question. His smile vanishes as he taps fingers against his empty glass, and he leans forward slightly in his chair. While he’s not adverse to taking on another job, usually the place to seek such is more…substantial?
“Wait, you said the answer must lie in the past. So….”
He has a feeling Kailastia’s not simply telling them to go poking through library books.
“Depends on who gave them the labels, doesn’ it?” Slaine murmurs in response to Kailastia. “If they gave it to themselves then it’s pretentious but if someone else did after encounterin’ them ….” she shrugs. It’s more demons they have to worry about and … really, how bad can it be?
They pushed Nxla back, an old one. With the right tools, they’ll do this too.
“Ye wan’ us to time travel and find out wha’ happened?” she’s being a little flippant. She has been really since she and Aiden disappeared from Gran’s dining room for several minutes a few weeks back. “I migh’ have learned to read bu’ I don’ read that well…” She doesn’t think the Dragon of Vesper wants book work done. It’s just a question of how and where.
Probably a cave somewhere up in the D-Shifting mountains.
Kailastia smiles at Slaine’s sass and Aiden and Varos’ incredulity. “I’m going to let you in on a secret that can get you killed if you tell it to the wrong people. The civilization of the Ancients didn’t completely fail during the cataclysm. Members of their military coordinated and fought their way to safe locations where they could rebuild, bringing whomever they could rescue with them. History remembers them as the ‘Nemeans’ but I remember them better. NEMA. The Northen Eagle Military Alliance. They were the ones who founded the fortified settlement in the ruins of Old Chicago so very long ago.”
Chicago, which hundreds of years later would become the coalition state of Chi Town…
“But they did not start there. Their leader came from the city of Atlanta…”
Slaine’s response does get a bit of a smirk from Varos as he leans back in his chair again, bringing one leg over the other. His attention shifts back to Kailastia as she speaks on, brow arching beneath his visor. Well, he’s no stranger to bearing secrets that could get one killed if brought up in the wrong places.
“NEMA,” he muses, stroking his chin. The names the dragoness mentions are either foreign, ancient, unknown, or all of the above. At least, if what he’s remembering is correct. He hated studying history.
“Why would knowin’ that get us killed?” Slaine cocks her head in Kailastia’s direction. Something at least has her attention now. “An’ which wrong people?” The CS maybe, she thinks. All the questions might drive Aiden and Kailastia batty but she doesn’t abate.
“It doesn’ surprise that some of the ancients survived. How did we come to be here if they didn’t? Not everyone is a D-Bee after all.” She’d say ‘like her’ but she knows differently now.
“Where the hell is Atlanta?” Let’s just say that book learning isn’t something that Slaine does well. “An’ ye wan’ us to go there an’ find the base that they started in?”
“The Coalition States likes to preserve the fiction that it’s rise was independent of the old order and especially it’s technology was derived from it. That way they can preserve the fiction that all of that technology is theirs. If they invented it, it is, after all.” Kailastia says grimly. “Here, you’re safe enough. But say that kind of thing to a CS soldier and they’ll shoot you for sedition without even bothering to think if you’re right.”
“Pleasant.” Aiden mutters. “I’ve heard of Nemeans. But not NEMA.”
“I’m not surprise. Only an echo of their deeds has survived, and their name sadly has not been among hte things preserved.” The dragoness answers. “But yes. They fought these things. I am hoping somewhere along their trail there will be a record of how they won. The trail starts there. So that is where you must start.”
“Ah,” Varos says, nodding slowly at Kailastia’s clarification. Well, with the Coalition States, everything seemed to be taken pretty extremely. His head turns towards Slaine, lips quirking.
“Atlanta…would be southwards, wouldn’t it? I could be wrong, it’s been a while since I’ve studied anything of old territories.” Geography was something he’d been slightly better at, at least. Not that he’d ventured very far until recently.
“Still, that’s a rather broad area to seek something so specific.” Who knows if anything’s left standing of the place Kailastia’s mentioned, but then it’s their best bet rather than going up against these Subjugators blind. Cough.
“It would be yes. South and in what’s known as dinosaur swamp.” Kailastia murmurs, setting down her own now empty glass.
“That area is pretty flat now.” Aiden muses. “But there’s still the bones of a city in some places. We can look. A lot of military installations would have been underground so there’s a better chance they survived. It’s a long shot though, Kailastia, you know that right?”
“I do, Mister Frost. But long shots are the only shots we have right now. We’re entering very dangerous times. I’m happy to answer any question I can if it will help convince you to do this.”
That alone underscores just how serious it is. Knowledge is power and Kailastia hoards it like gold.
Well, if there are underground areas, then the chances of finding something in tact did make sense as Aiden put forth. But Varos would still agree that it’s a bit of a stretch. Insert analogy of needles and haystacks here. It’s just as troubling that Kailastia is setting this task for them as the only real potential.
Varos smiles grimly, resting an elbow on the armrest of his chair, chin propped upon a fist. Questions they might have, but the task set is rather clear before them. Could they really say no?
“Anything more on the movement of the demons? About them in general?” he asks, flicking his free hand vaguely. “Potential timeframe before everything goes?” He has no idea what one asks under such circumstances, really. Normally this isn’t the kind of thing he’s ever found himself to be rounded up in.
Well that makes sense to Slaine. About the CS and NEMA that is. “Northern Eagle … I wonder if that’s what that symbol is that other facility, Vargr…” she’s musing and won’t get too distracted thinking on that. “I don’t know how the CS can think anyone would think they created all that – so much was lost in the Dark Ages, including knowledge.”
She shakes her head. The CS.
“It’s a treasure hunt. Dinosaur Swamp is fairly big, is there a generalised area we should look? I mean, when we went into the old Washington, most of the facilities were in one area. Migh’ help narrow things a bit, at any rate.”
Varos’ question gets a nod as well but Kailastia doesn’t have to convince Slaine. If anything, the Mystic seems to be more eager than usual to find trouble.
“That’s an excellent question.” Kailastia nods. “It is… yes, a treasure hunt. I understand that the tribes down in that region are very in tune with it’s history. There’s also something of an…”
The dragoness pauses and puts finger to chin. “… illegal artifacts trade that still operates in that area.” Similar to a certain robotics factory, really.
“People with the right contacts might be able to get in touch with it. Heavens knows who they are, though.”
Surely none of the fine upstanding people in Aiden’s cabin.
Aiden snorts, but nods. Kailastia herself doesn’t know where to look specifically, if she did she’d tell them. But she knows who to ask.
It’s the strangest smile to make way on Varos’ face, almost similar to the one he’d worn when Kailastia had told them that she wanted the three to find her answers.
Ah, I guess I can’t take offense if I’m being strung along by a dragoness, he thinks.
“Interesting,” the visored clothier says, nodding thoughtfully. “Well, we could try to ask around the marketplace as well, although it’s not the trading season so those from the Dinosaur Swamps are very few.” He shrugs, sighing.
Slaine doesn’t really have a connection with the Vesper underground, despite having grown up here. “Maybe we could find a village on our way in, then and ask them. Though from I’ve heard, the villagers can be a little a … closed mouth.” But that’s hearsay. She doesn’t travel to the Swamp often – there’s no need.
If she’s aware of Varos’ connections, she doesn’t show it.
“Maybe Leo or Sterlin’ know somethin’ abou’ the illegal trade.” Leo might. That’s the sort of thing he’s into.
“Are we goin’ to take ye’re new ship, Vargr? If so, ye need to get the hair removed …”
“Yes we are, and yes we do. Unless you want to walk or rent sky cycles. At least this thing I don’t have to keep arranging.” And as much as he travels it’s about time he got a more permanent solution. He just didn’t expect it to be made of… what did that hairy legged guy say? Wooo-sheeeer wood?
Something dumb like that.
“There’s a few people we can ask and I’m sure Ghost will help. Hell he’ll probably come along just to see the ship.” Maybe the twins might like the adventure or Slaine’s friend Cassandra. At this point, Aiden isn’t going to turn down help.
“Well, anything else we can do for you, Kailastia?”
“Yes.” The dragoness smiles slightly. “You need a tricorn hat and puffy sleeved shirt.”
Aiden groans. He. Is. Not. A. Captain.
Of course Varos will do his own asking around. It’d be silly not to, especially when one does have the resources. It’s always nice to check in with the Raggedy One anyway.
Kailastia’s suggestion to Aiden has him cough in an obvious failure of masking a laugh. “The Twins would be happy to oblige on that for him, I’m sure,” he says, not trying at all to hide a grin as he rises to his feet, idly dusting himself off. Raksha is going to have to run a lint brush over him when he gets back.
“Well, I guess if we’re doing this, we’d better make preparations and so forth. If there’s nothing else..? Then I suppose I’ll take my leave.” He steps towards the doorway, turning then to bow towards Kailastia, then offers the same to Slaine and Aiden.
“Lady Kailastia. Miss McClellan.”
Wait for it.
“I think ye would look very dashin’, Vargr. In a puffy shirt that opened to the waist …” Slaine actually blushes as she teases the psychic. “If ye want to get the twins working on that, Varos, I’ll pay …” Aiden might brain Slaine particularly after getting him time-napped recently.
Cassandra isn’t really a friend of Slaine’s. They’re relationship is too volatile. But if she were asked, she would come along. Someone might need to suggest that to the redheaded mystic.
“Take care, Varos…” she says as the tailor heads to the door. It doesn’t look like she’s planning on going anywhere unless Aiden runs her off his ship.
“I need another drink.” Aiden mutters as Kailastia also excuses himself. He pours Slaine another without asking if she’s staying. Someone needs to help him drink this scotch, after all.
He’ll wonder later where on earth that half-satyr found it. Right now he simply wants to not think too much.
After the recent demon attack in the mountains, Kailastia wants answers in how to deal with this new threat, and she charges Aiden, Slaine and Varos to find them.
July 24, 2411