Saren’s Rest is a lively place in the daylight hours and especially so now. Between recent rumors of a ‘big score’ somewhere in the city and the bounty on Rethen Shan and his stolen Ley Taps from Vesper, the place is positively hopping. There’s a noteably influx of newcomers from the mainland today and the market stalls are doing brisk business in supplies and necessities for teams preparing to go in.
Aiden Frost has made his preparations, not that he often needs much. He has less kit that needs attending than most people. It’s one of the advantages of being him. At the moment the grey eyed former soldier is watching the hubbub from the patio of one of the several places to get a hot meal in town. The remains of his breakfast are in front him, bits and pieces scattered about his plate like a vanquished and slightly eggy army.
As to what has his attention, well it’s not the crowd itself. It’s the deputies. It’s natural that the influx of people would attract more attention from what passes for the law but there must be a dozen here. It’s almost as if Saren’s enforcers are looking for something.
Aliana’s attire doesn’t change a lot, something that seems true of most adventuring tpes. The hood of her tunic is down, the sleeves pushed up. She’s looking at Leo with a mixture of amusement and ‘wtf’. She gives his comment the answer it deserves. She sips on her coffee.
Slaine hasn’t breakfasted where Aiden is. She’s been busy all day doing who knows what it is mystics actually //do// in Sarens’ Rest. Or anywhere for that matter. The bright curls of the redhead can be seen though, just beneath the shoulders of most of the crowd as she slips through it, the hilt of a sword peeking over her shoulder
Aliana and Aiden will note that she’s managed to avoid being knocked over this time – or perhaps, so far would be a better descriptor.
Climbing the stairs to the patio, the pint sized mystic just catches the last of Leo’s words, bringing the faintest look of amusement to her face as she nods to the others present.Aiden eyes Leo with the same mix of caution and bemusement that one normally reserves for high explosives and crazy people. He’s not exactly surprised to see the weapon oriented techno-wizard here. After all, a lot of people from Vesper are here. Also he caught the same ferry over as Aiden did. He is perhaps a bit surprised to see him at his table, so there’s that.
Slaine gets a nod as he leans slightly in Aliana’s direction. “You seeing what I’m seeing?” That being the eagle eyed deputies spread out amid the market crowd. They keep getting looks from the vendors who know how odd it is for them to be there. “Think they know something we don’t?”
As he’s watching one of the deputies glances over at his radio as if hearing something, then pokes his partner and gestures further into the crowd. The two disappear in the press as they start moving.
Aliana looks over to Aiden. “They //are// one of the better-equiped groups to do a large search.” There’s a group of them, they all have radios. Unlike the teams that go in and out of Vanished Point, which tend to be small and more geared for war than talking.
Slaine gets a nod as well, and another free chair kicked over towards her.
Slaine doesn’t have any compunctions about butting into the conversation, even though the ex-soldier hadn’t included her. “They’re everywhere this morning, quartering the ‘Rest. It’s not so hard to believe they’re looking for Shan, or something at least. There’s enough scuttlebut on the street about him – some of my regulars say they’ve seen him. ‘Course, I don’t really trust what they say – the mix of the bounty and their already addled heads …” Slaines’ got some interesting contacts.
As the two deputies slip into the crowd, the mystic rocks on her feet. She’s known in town and could likely follow them without it seeming to far out of character. And only get herself into a modicum of trouble. “Want me to follow?”
“Guess not, hey …” she says as the chair is kicked out and she slides into it, blue eyes watching where the deputies had gone – as if hoping the press of beings will reveal something.“You kidding? You’ll get trampled in there.” Aiden says perhaps a bit dryly. Slaine has a tendency to get run over. Or into. A lot.
“I could believe that Saren wants the taps. Or Shan.” Or both. He does, after all, get a cut of any loot coming into his town and he’s quite willing to enforce that.
“Could be a problem for us potentially.” Sneaking through the town with Shan might be possible if difficult. Given the implied size of the ley taps though, that’s probably outright impossible. And even if they could do it, it’s dangerous if they want to keep operating here and Aiden suspects Aliana at least does.
“There’s places to tie up a boat further down, in the Zone…” But as Aliana had pointed out in a conversation before, no one who has tried that has ever come back or at least not so far as anyone is saying.
“If you find Shan and the taps, Saren’s going to want his cut. Which’ll be the man or the taps. So if anyone did find him here, the dragon is still likely to get what he wants…” Aliana says, thinkging out loud. She worries her lower lips a bit, thoughts turning over in her head. “I wonder if this was pre-arranged… and Shan’s gone MIA along the way. That’s certainly information the dragon wouldn’t want to get out.” She sips again on her coffee and then peers at Leo. Then peers at Aidan. “Did you pick up another stray?”
“Maybe.” Slaine shrugs at Aidens dry voice. The man has really only seen her getting tripped up or the like and then she’s looking at Leo again “Slaine, Leo… From Vesper.” There’s a degree of resignation in her voice, like she might have this conversation with the man somewhat regularly.
“He’s right. The taps are a big prize but people who can make them are few and far between. Saren could well want that for himself.” For her part she tries to keep //out// of local politics. There’s enough work for her that it’s normally possible. Aliana though gets a narrow-eyed, thoughtful gaze “The dragon from Vesper said ‘a couple of days’ they’d noticed they’d been missing. It’s possible it’s been much longer. Also, getting the taps out of Vesper needed help. If Saren, or someone connected to him, is involved – that makes sense.” Whether the Dragon of Sarens Rest would have such a direct connection is questionable. “Shan might be missing, or he might just be being kept on the down low. This…” there’s a wave of her hand to the crowd “…could just be for show. Y’know? A lot of expense and drama, but … the payout’s worth it, yes?”
Turning to Aiden, the mystic shrugs one shoulder “Further down in the Zone. People have tried. People I know, or rather, knew. They’ve not come back. With a big enough group and armed appropriately, could be worth a try. At the least, one of has the ability to beat a quick retreat.”
“For some definitions of picked up.” Leo had come of his own, it’s not like Aiden had asked him along. For that matter while he knew the techno-wizard was in the city he had absolutely no idea he was – for example – getting breakfast at this particular place. Nor that he had such a fascination with lobsters and scorpions.
“And if someone finds just the taps or just Shan… Saren’s still going to want his cut.” Meaning it’s find both or come away with nothing. Hardly an ideal situation especially if you want to //get// something out of all the risk of going into the zone.
“Could be it was pre-arranged and that Shan went missing. Would explain the lag in discovering he was gone and why the bounty isn’t ‘dead or alive’ part. What I’m trying to figure is what he could get in Vanished Point that he couldn’t get some place with a lot fewer demons.” Pause. “Unless a deal with a demon lord is why he went missing.”
It’s a bit of a stretch, sure, but it’s certainly possible. If magi seem more prone to demonic corruption it could be just because demons have more to offer them.
“You’d want a big armed boat to try something like that. Or you’d want to arrange a pickup, maybe on signal.” The trick is finding a crew you trust not to double cross you. Of course there may be other options. With Aliana present they might be able to ‘jump’ out. Chancy thing though and Aiden hasn’t broached the topic yet.
Turning back to the actual problem… the blonde looks over to Slaine. “Do you happen to know the lay” (heh) “of the Ley Lines through Vanished Point? I didn’t bother to get any sort of map of them because getting to any in the city wasn’t really an option. But if you have Taps, you’re gonna want a Ley Line to go with ’em.” If they can figure out the reason and motive, it should help the figure out where Shen might be going.
“Well, yeah … I do anyway…” Slaine answers Leo, squinting at the man as he shakes his fist at the sky. “Otherwise you tend to wake up days later, several miles from where you started.” Her lips twist wryly at that thought “Well, the lucky ones do, anyway.” The redheaded mystic knows she was lucky and it could have been a lot worse. Or so she thinks anyway. Aliana might have other thoughts.
Aiden gets a smirk “I don’t want to try going in further down the river. My friends haven’t come back. But if you want to try, there’s a couple of guys I know that might be trustworthy – you’d have to assess them for yerself but I’ve used them for other things before.”
As to what’s in Vanished Point that could be worth the risk, Slaine shakes her head “Vanished Point is a pre-rift City. Whilst the people are gone, there’s stuff in there that is Pre Rift Tech. Not many of those around and the number of demons kinda becomes secondary, don’cha think?” She’s thinking hard – having been in a couple of times – about what it could be. “If they think they could use the power of a line to … ahem … power something pre Rift. It doesn’t have to a weapon either. Somethign that changes the economic balance of the area is strong incentive.”
Aliana’s question gets the blue-eyed mystic focussing again “Yeah, a few of them. I was telling Aiden last night there’s a few places that Shan could hole up in. The first is the basement in a building … and it’s right over one of the lines. Which is why I was suggesting we hit it first. I can bring up a ‘map’ if you like … ” but whether they want her to do that //here// … well, that’s another question.“Pretty good motto for someone who can change her reality if the one she has doesn’t suit.” Aiden replies to the blonde in a sotto voice. “Or is there a reality in particular you find doesn’t meet your expectations?”
At the thought of powering a pre rifts device, Aiden shakes his head. “Everything I know about the Ancients says there wasn’t any magic in their time. Powering something of theirs with ley power would be… a bit roundabout. Especially in a city like Vanished Point where you might be able to find //actual// power sources for it.”
No magic in their time. Aliana seems like the well read sort, mostly because she seems like the sort who //can read//, which is unusual in the world these days and not to be taken for granted even in places like Vesper or Dogwood. The notion may very well be a bit alien to someone like Leo though. Magic just is. And it’s everywhere. Well okay, there’s more of it in the ley lines but still.
On the other hand, Vanished Point is right over several fairly juicy ley lines. That’s why it vanished to begin with, sucked into a rift to who knows where. That it came back at all is kind of a miracle. That it came back without people is a mystery and a mixed plessing. “It’s not like other people don’t know where those lines are, probably.” He doesn’t, but Vesper’s a city of mages. Odds are good people know where the lines around here are. So yeah, go ahead.
Leo may have grown up with magic, but he did it at the knee of a scientist. Lands without magic are not so hard for him to fathom… /people/ without magic however remain entirely alien to him. Outside of his saintly mother of course. Excepting her, all non-magical people are clearly handicapped and miserable. “Don’t have to power them directly, just gotta build an adaptor. Cars weren’t made to run on ley lines but gimme an afternoon and my workshop and I can make it happen. If you had some taps, a big enough convergence, and the knowledge, I suppose you could power a fairly large portion of a pre-rift city if it were just residentials. Maybe a factory or two tossed in.” he shrugs, “Lotta ‘if’ coming off of you guys.”
Aliana Knight gives a soft snort of amusement Aiden’s way. “I didn’t say it didn’t lack for things happening. Just that they’re disappointing. And no matter how far away you go, you still carry your past with you.” The blonde notes in an off-handed, and yet not so snarky, reply.
“I think we should check the city out. the Rest is crawling with eyes. We’re not likely to be the ones that snag him here, especially when he’s days ahead of us.”
“As I understand it, Pre Rift power sources required fuel.” Slaine notes to Aiden “You’re right that they didn’t have magic but they had resources that are in extremely short supply for us today.” Gesturing to Leo, who’s made a good point, she shrugs and lets the topic drop. Until they get in there and see what the hell, ahem, is going on, it’s all conjecture.
Whilst most people might have a ‘paper’ map, the mystic does not. With a little concentration and a murmur, a glowing relief of the area where Vanished Point returned shows, and then a layer with the city itself. There are several lay lines that cross the city, culminating somewhere near the center at what looks like one of the tallest buildings in the area.“Same fuel as in a lot of the powered armor and robots you see.” Which is to say reactors that can run for decades at a stretch if not longer. Which isn’t to say that Slaine and Leo might not have the right of it, but it does beg the question why bring ley power to a city that has plenty of the regular kind? The city itself doesn’t seem to need power. Maintenance yes, and repairs, but not power as a rule.
Unless of course you plan to do something else with all that ley line energy. It’s good for a lot of things that regular old nuclear fusion just can’t hack.
Aiden gives Aliana a brief glance and nods. “We should yes. Today, after this lot gets going, perhaps.” The map that Slaine ‘produces’ is quickly studied.
“Looks like we might be able to take one of the sublevels out. Which will avoid at least the notice of the demons that fly and roost.” There’s plenty more in the mega-city’s lower reaches so it really is a question of trading one risk for another.
Leo looks from one person to the next, though his gaze sort of settles on the map maker for a moment, “Oh… we’re gonna talk, you and I, about some sub contraction conserning topigraphical maping constructs. You and me figure out a way to link them to targeting systems and boom, we can revolutionize the artillery ga-Ooo. Pretty color!” he reaches out with a fingertip as if to poke the map. “You guys gonna need some firepower?” he asks curiously as he tries to poke.
Aliana Knight leans over the map a bit, and then turns her gaze on the area around them to make sure no one is giving them too much attention. People tend to give the Shifter a wide berth to start with, but she doesn’t want to rely on that.
A nod is given to Aiden. “Good idea. You, me, Bite-sized…?” She trails off to see if he’s found any others he’s willing to have guard their back.”
Leo’s question gets a peering look from the blonde and she smirks at him. Instead of asking what he might have, she asks, “How much is it gonna cost?”
As Leo’s glance lands on her and he makes his assertion, the mystic actually flinches and the map ‘flickers’ a bit. She clearly didn’t like that suggestion. Might she be more pacifist than not and the idea of using her ‘talents’ for something quite so aggressive don’t sit well with her? At least Leo’s distracted by the glowing map, that’s something. Aliana though, may sense something stir around, or perhaps within, the redhead. Something that rather likes Leo’s idea.
The map, as Leo pokes at it, is translucent blue and shimmers as his fingertip ‘touches’ it.
Frowning at Aiden and twisting her lips, Slaine considers “Why take out a sublevel?” She is not, particularly miltaristic and whilst she’s been in to stop others absconding with tech and artefacts, hasn’t had anything that might resemble a full on battle. Her methods differ. “And there’s still plenty of demons in the city proper. How do you propose to deal with them?” Again, there’s a gesture to Leo and his question. Maybe Leo should come with them … if they think they can handle the randomness of the Techno Wizard.
Aliana’s use of Bite-sized gets a soft snort from the other woman. It’s better than some things she’s been called.Aiden might say pint sized but in truh Slaine is a bit more like ‘half pint’. “As in take the sublevel out to the site, not blow it up.” He rolls his eyes a little. “And because I’d rather not deal with a hundreds strong swam of flyers if I can avoid it.”
Get up high enough in Saren’s Rest and you can see them on any given night. If there are any doubts who most of the city belongs to that sight alone will settle them.
“There’s a Blood Lizard hanging around that’ll probably work for food, and it sounded like ‘Tux’ was negotiating for some backup when we left the market.” Meaning he might be here. “So we might run into him, but…” And then Leo is offering… firepower? Aliana has already asked but he’s most interested in the answer. What will it cost?Leo looks around curiously, “Cost? Really? In the stories the adventurers always stop by the shop of a wise old man who sells them something that, in the end, is worth far more then they bargained for.” he nods sagely. “Depends on what you think you’ll need.” he shrugs out of his backpack, the thing that made the most noise when he took his seat, and flicks open the leather flap so the organized but complex folds of gears and steel inside can be seen. “Portable heavy turret. I call her Princess.” he looks up, “Also there’s questions about transpo and personal weaponry, explosives,” he rolls his hand on his wrist as if to say etc, etc, etc, “flmfrer.” the last word is mostly mumbled unclearly, “Depending on what you’re taking I’ll take a percentage of the reward as due my involvement and we’ll discuss approriate dispensation of a personal ‘favor’ to be paid at a later date. Prolly something small though, like help me carry something or reach a top shelf.” he offers his best innocent little boy smile which is shockingly good if completely insincere and transparent. Like a puppy for table scraps this one, utterly lacking subtelty, but just to cute. Aliana Knight’s lashes lower, giving the blonde a narrow-eyed look at Leo’s suggestion of a price. “It’s amazing what happend when you give someone a future favor.” Her words carry elements of her usual mocking but this time it feels more… sinister. “Everyone’s idea of ‘small’ is amazingly different.” She leans over towards Slaine, bringing up her free hand, thumb and forefinger held a small distance apart. “Should have seen this one guy’s idea of six inches…” At least that last bit doesn’t hold the almost chilling edge of her earlier words.
She turns her attention back over to Leo. “I tend to come with plenty of my own firepower.” Mostly in the forms of flaming demons.
Slaine has the good grace to colour a little as Aiden explains. The ex-soldier might roll his eyes, but it was an honest mistake given he seems so … soldierly.
“Leo, we’ve spoken about ‘personal’ favours.” The wording, might be deliberate. As Aliana leans over and drawls, the redhead snickers … evilly. “Well some guys do have an inflated sense of … proportion, I suppose.”Aiden snorts, somehow not at all surprised that the shifter was the first one to pick up on the unrestricted favor. Favors are a currency… but handing out one like that is rather like giving someone a blank check. On your soul.
In any case the point’s a rather well made one. “Don’t know how often that works around here though but I usually just agree to split the proceeds. Speaking of the proceeds are compensation by the Thirty.” Leo and Slaine know who that is much better than he does, but any group powerful enough to run a city state is probably fairly well off. Certainly Kailastia had implied that there would be favors involved on that end.
And whatever else that may mean it was enough to send the locals scrambling.Leo nods his head at Aliana, “Six inches is actually an imperical measureing device not open to much in the way of interpretation, not to mention who THE FUCK uses the imerpial system anymore? I mean seriously. Base 12? What were they? Retarded? No no nononononono. You shouldn’t settle for less then 33 milimeter.” he beams at Aliana, “Which is the size of the apeture lens of my personally designed thunderbolt cannon.” he brows bounce at the woman Marx style.
He shoots Slaine a look, “Yes. We have. And you still owe me two.” he pauses, then hand waffles, “Okay, like… one and a half.” he snappoints at Aiden, “And to be fair /that/ was the favor to which I was refering, but if you wanted to hand out personal favors of your own to me I won’t turn them down. I like it when people owe me things.”
Aliana Knight mutters to herself, “Don’t we all…” The blonde shakes her head and goes back to sipping on her coffee. “Lotta interest in this. We should head in soon.” She stands up, turning the chair back around so she can push it back to the table properly. “So I should go see what favors of my own I can pull.” She has a few demons she deals with regularly, that don’t mind being summoned if they’ll get something out of it. She’d prefer to have those negotions in place before she needs them.
Slaine rolls her eyes at Leo, letting the map disappear “Now Leo. I paid those favours back when I last came out of Vanished Point. Bought you those crystals, remember?” This seems to be another discussion between the pair.
“I’m ready to go whenever you are. I take the boat’s off the roster…” which is probably good. She doesn’t really want to deal with those people … well, much. “You know how to find me, now.”Aiden snorts again and rises. “This afternoon then.” He’ll grab Hezqak if he can and if not, well they’ll do what they can with the four of them. “I’ll check a couple people myself. See you in a couple hours.” And no, no favors.
Leo makes a face at Slaine, “Meh. Fine.” he waves it all away, his expression somewhat sad that she remembered the crystals. Dammit. “Sure thing… If anyone needs a new toy stop by the shop, and …” he pauses seeming to consider, “I might make your little trip too, if only for a vacation.” and he could test his new toys!
The deputies in Vesper seem to be searching for something. Or is it someone? A group of adventurers discuss how they might find the missing leyline taps.
October 15, 2409