Kailastia has a set of rooms adjoining the main debate chamber of the Thirty, more properly known as the Council of Arcane Advisers. Of course ‘office’ is doing that space a disservice. Its cavernous, and well it might be for it’s designed to keep Kailastia in sumptuous comfort while she works either in dragon OR mortal form. So to say that this set of rooms could be a whole government office in and of themselves is not at all inaccurate.
The front room is the most human of the group and it is here in its carpeted, silk-decked azure confines that she usually receives visitors. Today she has sent for four. Slaine McClellan, Aiden Frost, the Gorgon known as Elpida and a ‘Tailor’ named Varos Jenek.
At present the dragoness is in her usual elfin form, golden hair with a long, sparkly dress. Almost a gown, really. Her arms are decorated with golden bracelets, bangles and such, many of them draconic in motif. Despite the fact that she looks like she could fit in at a formal gala, she definitely projects a businesslike air as she goes over documents at her large polished dark wood desk.
It’s not a summons that one expects to receive, but one that certainly can’t be ignored. Varos has no idea why he’s been called, and for its short notice, he can’t poke around his usual means to try and figure out what might be the case. Just before he’d left the shop, he’d smiled at Raksha, his parting words being, “Well, at least it should be interesting.”
His collar upturned, his outfit with nary a wrinkle, Varos in his business grays steps into the luxurious reception room. He turns his pewter and amethyst visored visage casually this way and that in the act of looking around while his other senses do so from more unnatural means.
“Lady Kailastia,” he says, stopping at where he perceives to be a respectable distance until invited closer, offering the elven woman a sweeping bow. “I must admit curiosity as to your inviting me here. How might I be of service?”
Slaine enters the office after being escorted there by a Justicar. She’s looking older, more tired. Like she’s been on the road for many months – though that can’t be possible.
Dressed in her usual travelling leathers, the small redheaded Mystic pauses near the doorway, watching Kailastia for a moment. “Ye wanted to see me, Kailastia?” she asks directly but politely. Varos gets a smile and a nod from the Mystic, his greeting is much more appropriate.
And of course Elpida arrives!
She’s a bit later than the others, perhaps, but she’s showed up on time, snakes draped around her and seemingly a little more placid than ordinarily for whatever reason. That does not last long, however, upon her arrival. They perk up and begin to wiggle and writhe.
“Welcome all of you.” She pauses. “Where is Mister Frost?”
As if on cue Aiden arrives at the back of the group. He looks at Slaine and then Elpida and Varos. “What’s all this?
“Ah. There he is. Come inside. Make yourself comfortable. Wine?” At a gesture a wine pitcher and goblets float up, offering the fruit of the vine to any who seem interested. Aiden takes some.
“As you are no doubt aware our city is currently hosting ‘guests’ from the Coalition States. They’ve made a splash in the city, I know. The good news is at present we do not appear to be under immediate threat of war from them. However they are demanding a rather sizable chunk of resources to deal with a ‘existential threat in the immediate theater’.”
The dragoness pauses to let that sink in. “Given their track record I am not inclined to accommodate them and am a bit suspicious that they are telling us the truth. Which is where you all come in.”
Come in somehow to be sure but clearly she’s waiting to make sure everyone is on the same page here.
Varos turns his head to properly greet the others with a nod in acknowledgment. An interesting assortment indeed. Elpida gets more of a smirk, Slaine an arch of a brow but accompanied with a friendly smile nevertheless.
“A question we all have on our mind I’m sure,” he replies to Aiden when the man makes his entrance, smiling crookedly as he goes to accept a goblet of wine along with the other psychic. He sips politely after raising it slightly towards Kailastia. All smiles fade to a more neutral expression as the dragoness goes into the details of her calling them here, or at least the preamble.
“Interesting that they make such demands despite this supposed non-threat of war,” he murmurs. “What you say seems to imply that they have something else troubling them.” Despite only being able to see half of his face for the visor he wears, it seems clear enough by mouth and tone how dubious he is about the Coalition States’ intentions, and he can’t blame the dragoness for having her own doubts in the matter. He nods as she says as much, lowering his goblet from another sip as he waits for her to go on, or for the others to say something if they will.
Slaine gives Aiden a look when he comes in, offering a little smile to psychic. “Hello El.” she says, stepping out of the way to let the Gorgon through.
“Are ye suspicious because of their track record? I would have thought they wouldn’ be lookin’ for support from the likes o’ us…” she’s grumbling a bit and glances at Aiden. “I don’ care much for how our guests treat my friends…” She takes a glass of wine though and a seat near the grey eyed psychic “What is that ye want us to do?”
Elpida gives Varos a bit of a dirty look at his smirk. She grunts.
“Well, better to use someone you distaste to get things done as part of weakening them for later, I’d imagine. Making Vesper use resources, instead of Dogwood, seems to suit their aims better in a roundabout way, especially if what they’re talking about actually exists and is a problem for Vesper as well, right?” She glances between the others, pinching the bridge of her nose for a moment. The snakes are up and waving, yeah, and she doesn’t seem thrilled. “I’ve only ever heard of these pricks right up until now.”
Elpida also does, in fact, go for the wine.
“Your friend has killed a great many of them. I believe the feeling is mutual,” Kailastia points out as Aiden sits. The grey eyed psychic shrugs and takes another drink of wine.
“I’ve had them spied on, naturally. No offense Slaine. I know your Grandmother takes her hospitality seriously but there’s no way I wasn’t going to have them spied on. They’ve been very interested in a particular part of Vesper down near the southern border. It’s sparsely inhabited and they claim to want to send a team to collect timber for building projects further north. Fortunately I’ve already read your report on what they’ve done in DC.” She smiles a little.
“So I’ve looked into the area myself. It turns out that there may be an illicit robotics part business running out of a secret pre-fall factory that was buried for many centuries until it’s discovery by members of what I can only presume to be Vesper’s criminal element.”
She pauses and glances almost casually first to Varos and then to Elpida before fixing her gaze back on Slaine and Aiden. “I want it shut down so it can’t be used to mass produce skelebots.”
“Oh, they have seemed to be pushing their influence about in the past months, although up until recently I have’t seen nor heard of any representatives here,” the visored clothier says, head tilting slightly towards Elpida. The aerial display a few weeks back had been difficult to miss, and he has plenty of outlets to hear about any CS presence in the city itself.
Varos idly turns his wine goblet back and forth between his fingers as he listens to Kailastia go on. Internally he envisions a map of the area as she describes the area in question. He doesn’t even look towards her at the dragoness’s glance, instead sipping his drink. Really, if he were surprised that Kailastia might have any ideas of his connections and darker dealings, Saphra would probably call him an idiot.
Looks like he’ll have to look into the usual avenues for some more information about these factories. He finally raises his head, if only to pretend to look about at the others as he observes their reactions.
“Ye jus’ had to ask and I’ve would have done it.” The small Mystic mutters. Gran does take her hospitality seriously and Slaine knows it but she’s not very comfortable with the CS being around. “An’ he did durin’ the war and they seem to forget to that…” Talking back like this, isn’t really like Slaine at all. Still, she subsides and listens as Kailastia talks.
At the mention of the criminal element, Slaine snorts softly. She’s rather amazed it wasn’t Leo that found it to be honest but she does note the very casual glance that’s given to Varos. That brings a faint smile to her lips.
“Shut it down? We can do that. Won’ be easy I imagine, but it can be done.”
It’s … that simple?
“…yeah, okay. I have no idea what a skelebot is but that sounds bad. I’m in,” says Elpida.
She drums her clawed fingertips on one arm after she has a drink of that wine. Good wine, so far as she seems to be concerned, anyway.
“What kind of factory are we talking about here?” Aiden seems quite concerned so it is potentially very bad. “And just ‘shut down’?”
“Something compatible with the Coalition’s methods and highly automated I should imagine. That would be, I must assume, why such a small group of criminals can run it without anyone noticing them prior.”
‘Noticing them’. More like they just weren’t important enough to deal with before.
“As for Shut Down.” Kailastia continues. “Destroyed would be ideal. But the key thing is that it not be used against us. I’m going to stall the Coalition envoys for a day or two before granting permission to head out there. I don’t have a reason to deny them beyond sheer intractability. I want it resolved before they get there, so that there’s nothing to find.” She smiles thinly. “And no, I don’t expect it to be easy. I wouldn’t ask all four of you to do it if it were.”
Wonder if he knows any of them? The criminal underground is such a vast network, and even then it wasn’t a guarantee that these criminals might have particular Ties. That would make them easier to deal with, in Varos’ opinion. You didn’t have to worry about any terrible backlash. He wishes he could say that those invested in the Nighthand would be more reasonable, but even then he’s not about to even suggest it. They operated on an entirely different level of priorities, politics and influence.
“Hmm,” he muses, swirling his remaining wine. “Well, I’m not so sure why you’ve included me for this meeting, but regardless, I shall do as I can to the best of my abilities,” he says, bowing his head in Kailastia’s direction. Oh, he knows exactly why she’s included him now, but his words are all for formalities’ sake. A ‘for the record’ sort of statement. He can’t go having everyone start pinning him for such associations, after all, although he has a feeling that at least Slaine if not Aiden as well might have their suspicions by now. He’s already proven himself more than just a fashion consultant.
Slaine frowns a little as she drinks her wine. That a small band of criminals is running it isn’t a surprise neither is the fact that a blind eye was turned. After all, there’s only so much the Justicars and Guardsman can do and there’s a lot that goes on in the area.
“I’m all for it. I’m sure there’s a way we can make it fritz out and the facility migh’ jus’ accidentally collapse. The mountains are stable after all…” the Mystic says mildly. Had Kailastia expected she’d say no?
“…right! Okay, then,” says Elpida, scratching the top of her head through ehr snakes. “Well, I don’t know the firwst thing about robots, but I imagine we can ask the guys there to, you know, stop it. And make them listen, probably. Right?” She flashes a grin at Slaine. Then finishes off her wine. “Well, I’m game, anyway, like I said.”
“Well, Mister Jenek, even poor benighted souls such as these need to look good while they sort problems out,” the dragoness says wryly, glancing down at her papers.
“In truth, Elpida, I asked you here because a young man by the name of Lysander suggested you’d be good.” Kailastia shrugs one shoulder. “I looked into your reputation and yours is quite solid.”
That… should possibly worry Slaine and Elpida both though if Kailsatia knows that she doesn’t say.
“At any rate, Slaine, whatever it takes. I know you and Aiden are generally good with whatever it takes.” And Elpida is good at turning things into stone. And Varos is good at… finessing things.
“I don’t think there’s anything else. Now if you’ll pardon me, I suggest you get started. Soon.”
Aiden swallows the last of his wine and stands up. “Always a pleasure, Kailastia.”
“Mister Frost.” She nods. “At some point you and I will have to have a chat about that spear you’ve been seen with.”
Gulp. Aiden nods and glances to the others.
Slaine snickers at Kailastia’s comments and finishes her wine. “We’ll get it done, Kailastia.” She says as she rises. “I’ll go get supplies and things ready so we can leave as soon as possible. This afternoon, Aiden or in the mornin’? Ye’ll see to the transport, won’ ye?” If he doesn’t, she’ll call in some favours.
To Elpida and Varos, there’s a tired, small smile. “Meet at Grans in a few hours and we’ll go over the details…”
Varos flashes Kailastia a grin. “But of course,” he replies with a chuckle, allowing for a mischievous smile in the direction of the other three. He has a final sip of wine and sets his goblet down before offering a parting bow towards the dragoness. Then he turns to face Aiden, Slaine and Elpida. He tilts his head just a touch as though to accent he otherwise unseen arch of his brow beneath his visor as Kailastia calls after Aiden. Coughing politely, he hides a smirk behind his hand.
“Yes, that sounds good. It’ll give me some time to put things in order at the shop,” Varos says to Slaine, nodding. He needs to give Raksha the rundown and do some quick information trolling to see what all might be known about this old technical facility.
“See you all later, then.” Smiling, he offers a two-fingered salute to the odd trio and then heads briskly out of the office.
The mention of Lysander just makes Elpida groan.
Really, audibly groan. She sets her glass down and sighs. Nods.
“I’ve got the guy practically on standby now.” Aiden mutters to Slaine as they exit. “Yeah, I’ll take care of the transport. See you all in a bit.”
This will have to be sorted out and fast.
Then he can explain to Kailastia exactly why Gae Bolg is floating around her city like a very pointy puppy following after him.
Kailastia waves her hand as the quartet exits and the doors shut behind them silently.
Kailastia summons a somewhat unusual group to discuss her concerns of the recent Coalition State presence in Vesper.
June 18, 2411
Kailastia's Office, Downtown Vesper