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Old 06-17-2019, 08:42 PM
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Chapter 2 - The Empress' Will

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Old 06-19-2019, 09:37 PM
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Date 45th of Azaëlle, 7453 (Winter)
Time Noon
Weather Outside -10 degres C., clear

Selarya - The Holy Imperial Capital
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Selarya's streets
Sunalya was a relaxing interlude before the Serenity continues his journey across the sea of Myst toward Selarya, the holy imperial capital. This time no assassins or unpleasant surprises made it onboard, the disguises and all the party precautions finally pay off as the enemy lost track of them for now. Every hundred miles closer to their goal, the temperature begins to drop again, dancing around minus ten degrees as they get to the long river that leads to the crystal lake. Besides a moderate snowstorm, nothing really delayed them on the way. They saw several ships on the way, most of them merchants and occasionally the navy patrolling thoroughly the area between Camorya and Asterya. This is one of the safest areas of the world for a ship, pirates rarely make it that deep into the imperial water.

They make it to the city safe and sound, however there's no way they can find docking space immediately as hundreds of larger ships are flooding the harbour. The procedure is to anchor and wait for inspection and instructions. It takes a full day before finally someone shows up and board them. A small ship with the colour of the port authorities shows up with eight-man aboard. A lot of questions is asked and their documents are looked at in details by two of the officers. The Serenity crew talk their way out of the difficult queries with tack after each crate, box and book are opened and checked. The authorities are on high alert, not a surprise with the political instability since the death of the Empress. Finally they got a stamp and signature that they are authorized to dock for 50 gold fees. They are also informed that the trade tax for their cargo will be 200 gp to unload it for trade. The officer assigns to them a port name and a dock number, as there are several ports in the island city and this can easily get confusing. Feet on the ground, nobody is trying to kill them. The city is the same as the last time Dante was there, however there are much more patrols and those are not simple militians, this is the military. The port district is full of life with hundreds of people arriving and leaving. They can smell the nearby fish market that is a large open area.

Selaryan city folks are very heterogeneous. After the city was created, people from very different ethnic backgrounds and races migrated there. However, a large part of the population has pale skin and auburn hair colour. They are not particularly tall or small, pretty much average built. There's plenty of dwarves, gnomes and halfling who are part of the original races that fought the elves a long time ago. Since the end of the wars, there are also large communities of elves who adapted to live with humans. Freedom of thought and religion is one of the prime value of the city, most of the cult and religion of the world are somewhere represented within those walls, even evil religion are allowed to have temple as long they follow the laws of the city outside their sanctuary.

SelaryaThe legend says that the city of Selarya was built by the four elemental gods Celesya, Efreety, Vangelysa and Miranas on a mountain to create a perfect city with their followers for mortals to worship and defend themselves from the elvish empire who at the time enslaved most of humanity. They gave birth to Eryka with their essences who became the first queen of the great city. Selarya is more than a city, it is a symbol of the strength of men, dwarves, gnomes and other races of origin. That's why the city is known as holy and divine. Many of the important buildings of the city are made of white crystal strong as iron. The city is protected against dimensional spells and conjuration of creatures, many buildings are also warded against evil.

The metropolis is divided into seven districts who are built on different elevated landform of different levels of altitude. The first at sea level is the port, while the highest one host the palace and great cathedral. The population of the city is 180 500 permanent inhabitants and more than 250 000 inhabitants in total during the summer. The city is huge and the aqueducts are very efficient so that we do not feel a phenomenon of overpopulation in the city. The city usually contains the bulk force of the imperial army in time of peace with a reserve of 40,000 soldiers.

The first district is the ports. The city has five large ports, the largest is oriented towards the North and is the port which is dedicated to the merchant ships, at all times the port is at full capacity, which requires efficient and well-calculated management by the authorities. The other ports are smaller, but vital to the city, one of them is oriented to the northwest and is the one for the military. There are a total of about 50 warships of all kinds that are used primarily to patrol the Crystals Lake, including three galleons which are capable of flight. Apart from the port itself the district is very large and is composed of hundreds of large warehouses, almost one hundred inn and tavern, the great guild of sailors, the shipyards and guilds of warriors. The half of this district a little deeper on the side of the city are middle-class residences of Selarya.

The second district is the economic engine of the city, the bazaar. Half of this sector are shops and stall, one of the largest in the world next to Birone. Merchants come from all over the world to come and sell their wares all year long even in winters. The place is patrolled by multiple patrols of the city, and very little criminal manage to make a living there. There are several inns, restaurants and leisure area still affordable for all sociable classes, but a little more expensive than the port. In this district, there are also public baths, art galleries, theatres and the merchants' guild. There are hundreds of residences in this district, most are larger than the port. Most merchants, craftsmen, officers and other wealthier social classes live there.

The third district is called the imperial park because half of it is composed of various parks which contains a lot of flowers, summer gardens and trees. There are dozens of monuments dedicated to Selarian heroes, in memory of wars and other important events in the history of Selarya. One of the most important monuments is dedicated to St. Adeleryanna who defeated the elvish emperor Balkalas, Eryka the first queen Selarya and great goddess of the city, Jaer the husband of Eryka and great founder of the Knights of Selarya and a very beautiful monument in honor of Rysth, Justin, Ulrick, Dareth, Orphé and Adèleryanna who liberated the city of Selarya from a curse. The other part of the district is composed of very rich residences, the richest residents of the commoners are there, it is also in this district that there is the big cemetery of the city with several hundred crypts. There is a very large underground complex of tombs under the city. Obviously since with the generations, the grounds of this cemetery became rarer and at a cost too high for the middle class, there is a big cemetery outside the walls of the city for the common folks that is just as beautiful and majestic.

The fourth district is that of the gods, since one finds most of the temples of the city. Most of the good and neutral gods are represented in the city, here is the list of some of the most famous religion represented, in bold are major temples of more than 250 acolyte and priests. Alashra, Maëlla (The eternal), Miranas, Al-Zuna (The Bronze Ziggurat), Celesya (The Tears), Efreety, Eryka (The Hall of Roses), Galliant, Isaelle, Jaer (The Tower), Ludya, Miranas, Nanyl (The gentle repose), Phalian (The radiant home), Ophëlyëlle, Tellah, Vangelysa , Vystanyelle, Xalastar, Ryst, Kenzaki. Although this district is dedicated to temples and places of worship, there are still shrines and smaller churches in all the districts. A total of 25 temples of Eryka can be found in the city for example. We find in this district the large and prestigious castle called the shield, which is the castle of the imperial Knights of Selarya. Along the streets, one can find several statues of gods, saints, divine heroes, creatures and animals such as dragons, griffins and other noble and legendary creatures. Several fountains and a small river flows in this district.

The fifth district is named the guardians, which makes reference to the nobles of the city. There are about a hundred mansions ranging from fifty to one hundred rooms. All the nobles of Selarya and the realms of the empire have a residence there. Once a year when the city is not in wartime in the middle of the summer, all the nobles offer a day open door or everyone can freely visit part of their mansions and garden, obviously it is supervised by the guards of the Town and small items are neatly tidied up, but the people enjoy this day immensely, the palace of Selarya, and the Shield are also accessible during this day. We also find in this district the richest inns and shops one can think of.

The sixth district is, the called the bath of knowledge because it contains the legendary Ludya's huge library which contains so many secrets of the original races that the goddess Ludya offered as a gift to the elemental gods and humans for their victory over the tyrannic elven empire. Everyone can access the large library, but there is a significant fee of 5 gold for a week pass to access the library. The district host the majority of the imperial administrative buildings, such as the place where all the properties are registered, the courts of justice, the headquarters of the army, the mint, the office of the tax collectors, and many other government buildings. Finally the other important buildings are the embassies of pretty much all the known nations, such as Valkara, Birone, Camorya, Yuukan, Sunalia, Patrenia, Asteria, Imadyr and so on.

Finally the last district and not the least, that of roses. There is a huge palace of Selarya that is actually built around an immense cathedral dedicated to Eryka and the elemental gods that can host 10 000 people. At the top of the monument is a statue of Eryka 50 feet high which serves as a beacon for the city since it shines with a bright light visible a hundred kilometres around for the boats. Legends said that there are many chapels in the cathedral with a portal that leads to other planes of existence such as heaven and the elementals plane, but also some portal that leads to other cities in the world. Those are well guarded by an elite force but also with the most powerful magic one can afford. Of course, one of the area of interest of the palace is the hall of the roses, where the imperial throne is located. This is also where the council of the guardians host their session, which is a group of nobles from all over the empire that represent their people to vote laws and discuss important matters. In the absence of an emperor to force decisions, this place is very dysfunctional at the moment.


OOC250 gp reduced from the pool


 
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Last edited by MoonZar; 06-20-2019 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:10 AM
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PachoWhen a spy under guise spots a tail, his safest reaction is not to flee, nor fight, but to just continue on being whatever he is pretending to be. He is to carry on his facade in such droll detail until boredom convinces his stalkers the spy is not who they believe and move on. If the legion had anyone watching the docks, keeping their eyes out for a ship full of pampered nobles ready to rush to the palace and claim their imperial inheritance, they were likely sorely disappointed to find carpet carrying sailors hauling fine Mazullian rugs to market. With the sheer number of ships needed to be watched Pacho doubted even a well manned spy operation would waste more than an hour or so watching them deliver rugs, much less most of the day. This might be tiring work, but it was also likely saving their lives.

This left little time in the evening for scouting, but between their spells and numbers they would not need much time. Besides Pacho's task was simple enough, inspect a few routes and like everyone else check their contacts within the city. If this was Patrenia he would have a vast network of so called friends, both Selaryan and Petrenia to call upon, one of the perks of playing two sides. In this Imperial city though, the one he supposedly serve, he had almost none, well almost none, there was always family.

The Dead Sage Inn, the paint on the sign peeled and hinges creaked as it blew in the breeze. Compared with many of the other taverns in the port district, begging for the patronage of traders and sailor this establishment had a rather unwelcoming air and dilapidated but rustic finish, a feel his father paid handsomely to keep. Just busy enough to provide cover, but vacant enough to keep track of prying eyes. Pacho had accompanied his father here in his youth, and many more times alone as he grew older, to drop and collect reports. Pacho wondered how many of the Empire's dirty secrets had passed through this ugly little inn.

Pacho strolled pass the inn under guise, not lingering, nor directly staring at the establishment as he walked, letting the peripheral of his vision collect what he came to collect. In the corner of his eye he saw what he came to find, the ugly old chestnut mare his father kept in their small Manor from the Guardian district. It was the sign, the signal to the old man’s contact he was there on business. Wonder if it is for me he thought to himself as he pondered if he could trust the old man. The old man had arrived safe and sound in the capitol for the reading of the will, his boat never attack by pirates nor taken by desert assassins. Pacho’s transportation however had not been so lucky.

Did you come father because your dear boy had been taken or had this been the plan all along Pacho snickered to himself, his deep insecurity and mistrust of his father digging up long buried spite. He had never trusted the man but somewhere deep in his soul he clung to a son’s naivety of some special trust, some foolish belief that their complicated mess of a relationship stood for something, but now even that last thread tore with doubt. Pacho spit at the ground in front of the inn and carried on back to the boat, taking a turning and confusing route, just in case he was followed. He boarded the ship in silence, doubt weighing heavy on his shoulders as he sat himself below deck and waited for the others to return. When it was his time to speak he spoke like his training taught him, quick, objective, and concise.

"Heavy security but routes clear until the rose district, which is a fort no way in or out. There are tunnels but they are likely heavily guard and leave little escape if fallen upon by the legion. And..." Pacho took a deep breath and his voice stuttered as he pushed his spite down " Fath… Spy Master Corrello has stationed himself at the Dead Sage Inn, he could get us in, if..." Pacho stopped short and let the sentence die unfinished, his gaze instead fell on whoever was to speak next hoping they would save him from elaboration. He did not wish to explain his mistrust, and reasons why, his games of playing both sides for love.

As the other spoke he listened carefully, the monk intrigued him the most. Pacho prided himself on knowing, and this order of assassin monks eluded even his most far flung knowledge. When the monk had finished speaking Pacho laid out the question he had been wondering about since they met him. "Your actions have done more than earn you our trust. By now you know who we are, and what we seek but I must ask, Who are you and why do you and your order assist us?" Pacho said, wanting to know how far they could trust this shadowy organization.

 



 

Last edited by gotha; 06-23-2019 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 06-23-2019, 01:34 PM
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RanaAfter landing at Selarya, Rana was expecting a full compliment of soldiers ready to execute them for one reason or another. It seems the mundane camouflage and disguises they worn could ward off the Legion being told they were coming. But sooner or later the nobles here would have to expose their true face to be present for the reading of the will. She came above deck as Madara to survey the situation, and then supervised the moving of the crates of tea and spices she had purchased in Birone to sell for a decent price, an investment paid off. Now she has the personal resources to enhance some of her magic items to make this trip easier.

So far, Rana has been proven to be idealistic, but her words of advice did get them directly to the capital unscathed, aside from assassins that plagued the party before leaving Birone. It is confusing to her how much pride she should have regarding current events. So she was easily dissuaded by her companions to not push their luck in taking residence in the city, though Rana herself loathed to stay in cramped quarters again, she slept on the ship by Sayyida's side once more.

Rana had begun, that night, working on the Hat of Disguise->Greater Hat of Disguisediadem that she had made in Birone to assist her in her guises. Once this item is complete, her changes in form would be polymorphic, rather than illusionary, much like the formula Pacho had used in the battle against the assassins, however there is likely more permanency in this magic.

Pacho had brought up the topic of seeking out his father. By duty he spoke of his parentage with distance of a professional. One of the possible routes to the keep was through tunnels. Rana herself was unsure how far they could even get just by sneaking about the capital. While she did, herself, say the Legion was waiting at the goal, what precisely that entailed was vague to her. Would they be at every guard post? Would they patrol the streets? Or were they there to read the will itself? The thoughts and paranoia behind them were entirely maddening, but she could do nothing to change things. She spoke up, and looked to Dante as Pacho queried him, "Moreover, if your order assists us, could they feel out the presence of persons without loyalty to the empress in the ranks of Selarian military that we are bound to go through?"

 

Last edited by Vaerdis; 06-23-2019 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:26 PM
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Dante Dante went to work hauling carpets. It was good that life in the monastery had taught him not to begrudge manual labor that was beneath him. For there was no task beneath him when carried out for the good of the Empire, and for whatever reason the Empress had dubbed this group her heirs, and so they were assets. For now.

Dante went about moving carpeting from place to place, his mind wandering over what fresh hell was awaiting them here in the heart of the Empire. Surely those wretched Legionnaires had managed to slither into positions of power throughout the city. They were quite the insidious bunch, if the circumstances were different Dante would be impressed.

The day muddled on and though Dante tried to put it out of his mind, he couldn’t help but thing of the lone wrought iron and stone monastery housed on Mt. Jaer. Home. Dante couldn’t help but smile at the thought of returning home. He stopped to catch his breath, the smile – one full of longing and sadness, painted on his face, but only for a moment. Dante soon realized he was standing in the middle of the street grinning like a buffoon and quickly went back to work.

Dante was relaxing with a cup of tea. He had developed a taste for Po Cha when he was deployed to the mountains around Yuukan, but of course Yak butter was in short supply in the Empire – so he had settled for milk in his tea. It wasn’t as good but still soothing. Most people would have chosen alcohol after a day of labor, but the monk didn’t care for alcohol unless it was being used as a tool. It happens to be an excellent solvent.

Your actions have done more than earn you our trust. By now you know who we are, and what we seek but I must ask, Who are you and why do you and your order assist us?

Dante looked up from his tea. It took Dante aback for a moment, somehow he had expected more… subtlety. And before Dante was even able to answer Rana chimed in, Moreover, if your order assists us, could they feel out the presence of persons without loyalty to the empress in the ranks of Selarian military that we are bound to go through?

Who am I? Why my name is Dante and I’m a monk; I thought we’d already established that. Dante smiles as he takes another sip of tea.

More to the point, I assist you because I was ordered to. The Order assists you because the Order is the will of the Empire – and you, the heirs. In the interest of fairness, I should warn you that I was never sent to rescue you, but to collect information – which bodes poorly. Usually information gathering is left to the Spy Master and his ilk, and as we had very little intel gleaned from their files it is unlikely that the legion has not already infiltrated high levels within the intel gathering community. I was since ordered to see you to the capital not doubt to try and hold the Empire together. With war brewing to the south no doubt many of my brothers and sisters have been sent to Matazula, Imdyr, and Patrenia, to redact certain orders and hawkish order givers.

That’s enough, I think for the spy, can’t risk too much reaching his father.

Dante sipped his tea.

As for sniffing out the betrayers, that is not usually something we do. Such tasks are left to others, though if one or two needed to disappear, that could be arranged. We don’t have the numbers to investigate the way the intelligence gatherers can. Over half the monk’s in the order are no more than ordinary monks devoted to the empire. We focus on specific tasks that require grace and mercilessness. While I’ve never seen the dossier on Spy Master Corello, I’ve been told it is a considerable read, if anyone was to know his true loyalty, The Iron Bell would, perhaps more so than the Spy Master himself.

Dante left the implication hang in the air.

He was hoping against hope that he would be sent off on some other mission now that the heirs were here, but something in Dante told him he already knew better.
 
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Last edited by wodine; 06-25-2019 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:26 PM
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Date 45th of Azaëlle, 7453 (Winter)
Time Evening
Weather Outside -12 degres C., clear

Selarya - A night on the serenity
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Sir Owen spent the day in silence carrying crate and assisting Lady Rana in the transaction. Raising the high collar of his cloak when older people were staring at him, he turns his back to lift another box. He used to be a legend to those people, now his face is unknown to the younger generation and almost forgotten to the elders. Time is merciless. The veteran knight shares tea with Dante. - " Who knows what is Corello's agenda now that his mistress is not around to hold his leash tight. I'm fine to seek counsel at the monastery or the temple of Eryka in the gods' district. Worst case, I still know a few old knights still on duty at It's where the imperial knights liveThe Shield. " Olesia appears to be restless since they arrived. - " I don't like the idea of trusting a spy, we should go straight to the temple of Eryka. How could they lie or betray us, this is the goddess of truth we are talking about. " Taevar is sipping a bottle of Rhum he bought in town and push a wise comment. - " Well, I don't think the problem is if those places are trustworthy or not, we need to ask ourselves if those place could have a spy from the legion in their rank. " The dwarf groans and punch the table. - " This cloak and dagger game is getting on my nerve grrrr... !"


OOCSerenity's crew: Dante, Sayyida, Tatsuo, Pacho, Rana, Owen, Taevar, Olesia, Korag.


 
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Last edited by MoonZar; 06-24-2019 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:25 PM
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NewsLegion of Steel
The locals never heard about them. This topic is unknown to common folks.

News about those summoned for the will
The locals never heard about who is summoned for the will, they only know that the empress last wishes were not read yet.

recent Armond Corello activities/projects
He arrived in Selarya a week ago and have spent each day at the Dead sage Inn. The local folks doesn't know that he's a spy, they think he's a high imperial bureaucrat of some kind that like to drink and talk to people. Few knows that he actually worked for the empress directly.

-ninja-monk of the bell order recent activities/projects
They have a monastary located in the gods district, rarely they are seen in the street. They mind their own business and mingle little in the city. People in the city think they are harmless, studying ancient philosophy and theology.

-local Erykan clergy recent activities/projects
There's a ton of information easily accessible. There are tens of thousands of followers of this religion in the city, and hundreds of clerics, acolytes, paladins and warrior. It's the middle of the winter and they are hosting the winter carnival that will begin next week, actually many part of the city is decorated with red banners, winter flowers and ornamental lamp. This is a lot of fun for children since cake, ginger cookies and fruits are usually offered for free in abundance.

-Knights of the Rose recent activities/projects
The Crusader of the roses are idle, waiting for the next emperor to be designated, like many imperial knights and other elites of the city, they won't answer to the other nobles.

-Reasons/groups that gate guards allow passage into the Rose District
The local folks think it's because the Empress is dead. The palace doesnt take in ressuply since then. It take a writting permit from the chancelor office to leave or enter. The clerics inside are praying day and night since the passing of the empress.

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Last edited by MoonZar; 06-28-2019 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 06-27-2019, 07:37 PM
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Sayyida sat midway along the bowsprit, back against a taught forestay, leg dangling toward the water. The work of moving their cargo had been done and even in the cold weather she had become heated with sweat under her arms and across her forehead. The others had business within the city, bu Sayyida stayed with the Serentiy watching the sailors along the pier and the business of an average winter working day. She had found a small dirty girl hunting for food in a trash cart, grime smeared across her bright cheeks and exposed knees. She could be no more than eight or perhaps ten. Thin. Cold. Nervous. Sayyida convinced her she meant no harm and gave the girl just enough coin to fetch her a pipe and some weed with a promise of food and warmth and safety, at least for a time.

Looking toward the prow, she spied the girl asleep amid some rigging and folded sail. Her belly full from the reward that Sayyida promised her if she could manage finding Southern Isle weed and a fair pipe. Sayyida turned the pipe in her hand. It was less than fair but serviceable. She had cleaned the shank, lip, and bit with rum and let it dry some before putting it to her mouth. The weed was excellent, which she expected this time of year. The Southern Isles would be in the height of summer by now, opposite of the cold that lay about Selarya, and their main export was tobac. Sayyida packed the pipe a few times - she was out of practice - until she could draw easily thru it despite a full packing. She dried it out with a false light and let it dwindle and expire before lighting it again for a true smoking. The smell of Southern Isle tobac enveloped her then for most of the afternoon. She'd smoke some, drop the remains in the sea, then repack and let the salt air tell her when it was time again. She wasted a whole afternoon doing nothing but listening to sailors along the pier and docks, smoking her pipe, and checking on the girl.

She stood quietly as the others discussed options, occasionally looking up to the crows-nest where the girl had decided to climb up into and make herself a bed of a small torn rug that could not be sold and a couple blankets Sayyida had found. Sayyida doubted the girl could sleep up there thru the night, but then again it was likely warmer and safer than any other place the urchin had used lately. But it didn't matter much. Sayyida and the girl had come to an unspoken agreement. She could stay and do work as was necessary. Food and fair treatment were her wages. Which suited them both, Sayyida and the girl.

Returning to the discussion, Sayyida wrinkled her nose at Sir Owen, Olesia, and the dwarf. It wasn't a wonder why those three had been trapped and needed saving. Taevar, on the other hand, had just had the bad luck of getting stuck with them.

"I say we proceed with caution. If there is a way to make the reading without advertising out presence I'm all for it. Risk is in any plan. Walking in the front door is hoping whoever is manning it for the day is on our side or at least not being paid by someone against us. If there are contacts that we may have more safety with, regardless of a risk they may be false, then I say that is better than walking thru the main gate."

The way Sayyida sees it is that if whoever they trust turns out to be false it will happen in a place that they will have ample ability to fight back. Something that she thinks will be far less an option if they are surrounded or 'taken' at one of the gates.

 
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Last edited by GeneT; 06-27-2019 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 06-28-2019, 01:49 PM
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Tatsuo - SelaryaThey arrived and in one piece. Tatsuo gave a reflexive sigh. While the wait in the harbor was admittedly nerve wracking, the step onto dry land brings a comparable sense of relief. There is no city quite like Selarya in all the realm. Even if other jewels are looked on fondly, no jewel compares in glittering splendor to the imperial capital in both beauty and civilization.

Tatsuo labors diligently as part of their cover. Apparently, Mozara's investment is paying off as well as she claimed. That makes the grunt work all the more bearable. Even without that extra pecuniary bonus, it gives the disguised group some time to get a feel of the city. The quiet moments also lend opportunity to stretch his Ears of the City spell (as already addressed)spellcraft for some much welcome intel.


Tatsuo sips on a foreign tea blend. As soon as he smelled it in passing, it reminded him of his mother and her home. It was among his more comforting memories and one that did not elicit wonder how his father managed. Even in their private setting, the mystic spy's Silent Table spelldampening ward is still in effect as a further guarantee. They can afford precious few mistakes at this point.

Tatsuo gives a tsk-tsk sound. "I believe that precisely the problem, Sayyida," begins Tatsuo with a thin smile. "The front door is the only way in. The other options are being watched even more thoroughly & suspiciously. Nay, if we want inside, we have to walk through the front door without anyone realizing who we are." Setting his cup down, he leans back. "Therein lies our dilemma. We have to obtain the chancellor's permission under false pretenses ... or go along with someone else, preferably undercover, who already has that permission." He chuckles, "As to the former, I'd love to meet the snake oil salesman that can pull that off with security on edge as it is."

Gesturing toward some of the suggesting comrades, "The easier option would be an ally as recommended. But we have to think, not only of trustworthiness, but also who already has reason to enter the palace. We have to choose carefully as we want to minimize the number of people who know we are here." His professional mask cracks with a small frown. Tatsuo is clearly not all too fond of Spy Master Corello. "Having worked under the spy master some, as well, I concur with Pacho and Sir Owen. He is an unknown in a sea of unknowns."

Resuming to more promising options, "Taevar points out rightly. Our pick has to be themselves discerning enough that a spy is an unlikely risk, even if the groups normally trustworthy. I tend to find monks and clergy rather talented at sniffing out deception and obfuscation, so they are among the lower risks, I wager. Plenty of Erykan clergy are still in the Rose District, so I imagine some level of traffic by them." He eyes Dante and asks, "Any reason your brethren would be making trips to the palace?"


 


 
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Old 06-28-2019, 02:00 PM
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Dante Dante chuckles at Tatsuo's question.

I found all of you didn't I? I found the pirates, and the Legion with little more than my robes. Will we be able to walk in as a herd no, but I'd bet my weight in gold that my brethren have ample ways into the palace. Servant entrances, sewers, loose cobbles, bribed guards, there is never any shortage of routes into a place; if you know where to look.
 
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Old 06-28-2019, 04:01 PM
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PachoLoyalty was never a concept his father ever gave much credence. A make belief fancy of the naïve, useful for exploitation, if Pacho remembered his words correctly. Pacho doubted even Eryka herself could divine the man’s true loyalty.

If Pacho had to guess the man was hedging his bets, from the Legion to the Monks, with the Empress dead god only knows for what purpose. Pacho would not be surprised if had given himself over to Ariakas, lying, deceiving, and corrupting for the sheer fact that being what he was.

"If the monks are skilled enough to keep themselves unmolested from my father’s coruptive grasp they are likely our safest bet. The Erykans might be good at sniffing out a liar, but far less so with the reserve. I would not feel good entrusting our safety to the dishonesty of followers of truth's divinity. No offense my lady." Pacho said with a feign bow at Olesia.

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Old 06-28-2019, 05:07 PM
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RanaAs they were below deck, Rana had yet to take upon her Madara guise once more, hopefully that one would only be used for some fight or counter spy work. Rana offers her suggestion on the destination, "Since we are a rather large group for travelers, why don't we split our guises, a group to visit the spymaster, a group to visit the monks and..." She looks about, grateful that Sayyida kept her adopted ruffian above deck, for the most part. She looks back at the group, "Our last group can try to see what getting into the palace entails. I will be taking the guise of a guard, we shall see how well that serves us on entering. Our goal is the reading of the will and I doubt it will be done upon our arrival, but we can at least hope there is some form of protection for persons in the palace from the order."

 
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Old 06-28-2019, 06:09 PM
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Tatsuo - SelaryaTatsuo does not quite look convinced at Dante's assurance although Pacho may have a convoluted point ... maybe. Then, Rana brings up an unusual possibility. His head sways thoughtfully. "I had thought about that. It brings greater risk of potentially alerting a spy in one of these groups to our presence in Selarya. Maybe, we could minimize the risk by not revealing the others. Say, Dante checking with his order but not mentioning where or how many of us are initially."

Shrugging, "Probably, Lady Rana, but we can figure out survival in the palace when we get there." Shaking his head, "I don't think the spymaster a good option, and Pacho seems no more enthusiastic, if not less." Lifting his teacup, he swirls the liquid before sipping. He ticks off a finger in turn. "That leaves these options: Dante visiting his monk order, Sir Owen the knights, Lady Olesia the Erykans, and perhaps also the chancellor office. We could leave it as only one testing each venue; we could send pairs. Do we split? Along what lines?"


 


 

OOCA split possibility:
Monk order - Dante, Pacho
Erykans - Olesia, Tatsuo
Knights - Owen, Traevar, Korag
Chancellor office - Rana, Sayyida

Thoughts?
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Old 06-28-2019, 09:36 PM
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Date 1st of Elystryëlle, 7453 (Winter)
Time Morning
Weather Outside -5 degres C., clear

Selarya - Order of the Iron Bell
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Liam
It's a pleasant morning in Selarya, a bit cold but nothing like the northern infernal winter they went through weeks ago already. This is a very large city and it takes a couple of hours on foot to reach their destination. The gods' district is one of the most impressive, a contest of the biggest cathedral kind of happened here so many years ago. Each building is a piece of history of it's own, built in the honour of one of the multiple gods of the pantheon the Selaryan workship. It defies human imagination how much manpower, time and resources it took for each of those holy castles to be built. At dawn, there's a lot of movement here as the faithful are in a hurry to don't miss the morning ritual of their respective god before starting the day. The Selaryan are spiritual and making an offering to gods for favours, protection and forgiveness is part of the day to day.

In retreat, in the shadow of the two hundred feet high Bronze Ziggurat of Al-Zuna, there's a humble building not visible from the main street. The place is exactly as it was when Dante left that place months ago, calm, unremarkable, yet clean and well maintained. The place has a large courtyard behind for training, with a very high cliff over the sea at the edge. Only an old bearded man is at the front door, brooming the few stairs. He nods at the group as they enter the building. Owen and Taevar enter last after Dante and Pacho. Once inside the nave begins. The nave forms the bulk of the building and reaches very deep until the high altar that is dedicated to elemental spirits and not a particular god. To their right between the columns they can see the inner garden prisoner in the middle of the place, it's very green and peaceful, few people are meditating or reading there.

They are greeted by a bald young man dressed in a monk robe. - " Welcome back brother, you finally returned from the north... " He looks at Dante companions. - " ... and with friends. Greetings, you can call me brother Liam. " Liam joined the order about the same time as Dante, they trained together for many years, and have about the same standing in the order. He usually operates in the southern countries, yet somehow he was recalled since he's there. - " May I offer you shelter and food as long as you'd like? I'm curious about your journey. " Owen salutes politely with a fist on his own chest. - " Thank you, my name is Owen and that's Taevar. " The later do a nice bow while removing his hat, they could have provided false name yet the monk would have probably see right through them. It's never been Owen cup of tea to lie as an imperial knight. - " Sir Owen in the flesh, I'm honoured! "


OOCMonk order (Gods District) - Dante, Pacho, Owen, Taevar
Erykans (Gods District) - Olesia, Tatsuo. Korag
Government buildings (Den of knowledge) - Rana, Sayyida


 
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Last edited by MoonZar; 06-29-2019 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 06-29-2019, 07:54 PM
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Date 1st of Elystryëlle, 7453 (Winter)
Time Morning
Weather Outside -5 degres C., clear

Selarya - Cathedral of Saint-Adeleryanna
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Holy Father Guillaume
It's a pleasant morning in Selarya, a bit cold but nothing like the northern infernal winter they went through weeks ago already. This is a very large city and it takes a couple of hours on foot to reach their destination. The gods' district is one of the most impressive, a contest of the biggest cathedral kind of happened here so many years ago. Each building is a piece of history of it's own, built in the honour of one of the multiple gods of the pantheon the Selaryan workship. It defies human imagination how much manpower, time and resources it took for each of those holy castles to be built. At dawn, there's a lot of movement here as the faithful are in a hurry to don't miss the morning ritual of their respective god before starting the day. The Selaryan are spiritual and making an offering to gods for favours, protection and forgiveness is part of the day to day.

Saint-Adeleryanna Cathedral is in a prime location in the middle of the district. Constructed with red stones and crimson crystals, the main building has five high towers constructed in a circle around the body of the cathedral that is an immense dome. The facade is magnificent with three large rose window letting the light in, and exactly one hundred life-size statues encased in the wall of different holy warriors that followed Saint-Adeleryanna in battles against evil. There's a total of eight massive crystal doors. The place is packed with thousands of people listening to mass, Olesia, Tatsuo and Korag find a rare spot where they can stand and attend the ceremony. Wearing red robes and silver armours, six middle-aged women are assisting the old high priest performing. There's a choral of teenagers wearing white vestments with red roses broderie that releases their crystalline voice in the building. The event lasts about one hour before the people slowly swamp the streets and begin their day.

Olesia is from Athenya, and visited Selarya as a pilgrim many times. Knowing her way around she knows how to request properly an audience with the high priest of the cathedral. With a bit of patience and multiple conversations and pleasantries, they finally carve their way to the holy man. His name is holy father Guillaume Ducharme, according to Olesia he's a hero that fought with the Emperess in most of her battles in the four corner of the empire. He's now over sixty years old and the second highest authority of the religion next to the Rose Mother that lead the cathedral of the palace on the top district. The old man receives them in one of the chapels of the cathedral, located under one of the great towers. The spire is actually hollow, only containing the chapel with a very high ceiling finishing in a pyramid shape with a massive crystal chandelier hanging over their head. After kneeling and bowing they can finally have a conversation. - " I'm listening my children, it's been a while I didn't meet a prince from It's where Korag lives, the center of the underworld for manyGardalia. " The dwarves lower his head. - " The honour is mine. " Leaving the talking to Olesia, he takes a step back. - " Holy father, we had official invitations to attend the reading of the Empress' will, regrettably we were attacked at sea by pirates, and captured on our journey. Eryka gave us the strength to make it back alive. We humbly request your intervention to let us enter the palace if you find us worthy. We lost our letters of invitation during this ordeal and it's unlikely that they will let us in without it. " She explains also their visit in Birone, the Matuzalian assassins, and leaving out for now the Legion of Steel and that they were clearly targetted because of the Empress' will.


OOCMonk order (Gods District) - Dante, Pacho, Owen, Taevar
Erykans (Gods District) - Olesia, Tatsuo. Korag
Government buildings (Den of knowledge) - Rana, Sayyida


 
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