Scene One
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Scene Four
Scene Five
Scene Six

Chapter Four: The Sapphire Court

Scene One: Procession
mgrasso> A squat, completely bald elderly boggan herald steps on a wooden box and blows a zinc horn which raises its tinny tune to the rafters. He then shouts, in a deep basso profundo voice, "All rise for Her Majesty, Queen Mabel, Lady Sapphire and Duchess of the Southern Protectorates!"
mgrasso> With dark tousled hair hidden by a veil ringed with irises, this sidhe lady at first strikes the very image of sophistication and a commanding regal presence. But you can soon see what the veil attempts to conceal: the scars of horrible burns ringing her left cheek and neck, her delicate flesh toughened into pink rings of dead skin.
mgrasso> Rasa whispers: "Her Majesty encountered a steam-powered assassin a few months back. It was only through Jirem's being by her side that she survived." Jirem is the next to walk in. Also sidhe, this tall and stony-faced man is dressed in the classical robes of a wizard, except that he carries at his belt a captured Alson League weapon: an ornate and exquisitely etched brass firearm of some sort.
mgrasso> His face, lined but handsome, reminds some of you of Jeremy Irons or perhaps John Malkovich: cold grey eyes, broad mouth, and greying, thinning hair tied back into a queue.
mgrasso> Behind them are a retinue of sapphire-clad warriors; their translucent gem armor glinting in the thousands of magickal illumination spheres which float motionless near the ceiling the vaulted chamber. Striding beside them is a giant, grey-pelted wolf-man, at least nine feet tall, wearing complicated spectacles with multiple lenses set in their works.
mgrasso> He wears robes of state, like Jirem and the more senior knights. Assembled to their rear are the freebooters; sailors, pirates, and refugees from the Conquered Worlds who have thrown their lot in with Queen Mabel.
mgrasso> That's where I left it. Court had not yet officially begun.
mgrasso> You all are standing near the back, with the Sapphire Knights and the officers of the Jagged Edge.
mgrasso> Queen Mabel walks over to her grand sapphire and ivory throne and sits, with Jirem standing at her right hand and the wolf-being adjusting his complicated headset/spectacles as court commences and the bald boggan herald shouts, "For their service, the crew of Her Majesty's Ship The Jagged Edge shall come forward to receive the Medal of Freedom!"
* Travis looks at Kirby.
mgrasso> Raisa and her lieutenants move through the throng to come into Queen Mabel's presence.
mgrasso> Lieutenant Arx motions for the five of you to join them, to be introduced to Her Majesty.
mgrasso> "You can stand at the end of the receiving line, where Captain Raisa will introduce you. After court is finished, we will have an audience with Jirem."
* Kirby follows close behind the Lieutenant.
* Travis follows Kirby, gaze fixed on his butt.
mgrasso> "I believe that the sages of the court will have much to discuss with you all."
* Artemisia makes her way to the receiving line.
* Solangia likewise tags along
* Aranth motions to the girls "ladies 1st"
mgrasso> Who stands first in the receiving line?
mgrasso> First among you five, I mean.
Artemisia> I will.
mgrasso> Following Artemisia?
* Kirby steps aside to let Artemisia pass and follows behind her.
Travis> I often bring up the rear, so I might as well do it now.
* Aranth steps aside motioning to travis "beauty before wisdom"
* Aranth smirks
* Travis waves airily, "Pearls before swine, darling."
mgrasso> So, then, Artemisia, Solangia, Kirby, Travis, Aranth.
* Artemisia smooths her hair and her skirts.
* Travis straightens his cuffs.
* Kirby draws himself up to his full height (what little of it there is).
mgrasso> The Queen takes about 20 minutes to inspect the troops and pin their exquisite Medals upon their uniforms (a five pointed golden star with a small perfect star sapphire in the middle).
mgrasso> Then, Her Majesty comes to Lieutenant Arx and Artemisia.
* Solangia runs her fingers through her short hair and straightens her clothing out
mgrasso> "Your Majesty, may I present five travellers from beyond who we encountered being attacked by Alson automatons. This is the Lady Artemisia."
* Artemisia bows to the Queen.
Artemisia> An honor, your Majesty.
mgrasso> The Queen notices Artemisia's bearing and says, "It is quite good to see that travellers have not forgotten our realm. You come from the Autumn Lands?" At this distance, it's very easy to see the burnt, puckered flesh of the Queen's injury and it is quite disconcerting on such a perfect sidhe visage.
Artemisia> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Artemisia rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 7 3 2 5 10 4 3
mgrasso> "Your Majesty, these are her traveling companions... Solangia, Kirby Haruspex, Travis, and Aranth."
mgrasso> She makes her way down the line... (does everyone emulate Artemisia's etiquette?)
Aranth> (no)
* Kirby bows slightly at the waist. "Your Majesty".
mgrasso> All right, let's do this by person, then.
mgrasso> Solangia first.
* Solangia dips into a formal curtsy (as best she can in pants)
Solangia> Your majesty.
mgrasso> The Queen nods to Solangia.
mgrasso> Kirby's next.
* Kirby bows, bending at the waist. "You honor."
mgrasso> Travis...
* Travis bows with a flourish.
Travis> "Your majesty."
mgrasso> And Aranth.
* Aranth waves a hand "hey... Nice place." jos eyes twinkle with devious mirth for a second, but he says nothing else
Aranth> (jos = his)
mgrasso> (hold on)
mgrasso> (still holding)
mgrasso> The Queen looks at Aranth distastefully and simply walks back to her dais.
* Travis murmurs, "Oh, sweetie, that is *not* how you address a queen. Of *any* persuasion."
mgrasso> She dismisses court and before doing so, Jirem announces there will be a meeting of the War Council in 15 minutes.

Scene Two: War Council
mgrasso> Captain Raisa, smiling her disturbing grin, comes over to you. "That's us. Come on, we've got to get to the council room."
Kirby> War Council?
Kirby> Sure...whatever...
mgrasso> Raisa says, "All of the Queen's top advisors and admirals will be there."
Aranth> alright...
mgrasso> "It's where we'll get our next orders."
Artemisia> Off to the War Council, then.
* Travis raises his eyebrows at the word "orders."
* Kirby is content to follow Raisa
* Artemisia folows the captain.
* Travis follows Kirby.
mgrasso> The council room is dominated by two pieces of wooden furniture: a gigantic 50-seat deep oaken table and a huge copy of the very same map you saw in Captain Raisa's navigation room.
Kirby> (what's the URL for the map, again?)
mgrasso> The map here stands at an angle on a huge 10 foot tall easel and has various brass and wooden ships pinned to it.
mgrasso> The War Council takes its seats, and Raisa is given a place quite close to Jirem at the table.
* Kirby walks up to the map and begins studying the tiny wooden ships.
Solangia> Oh, wow. Aranth, look at that table. We could do ten times as much 'food prep' on that table as we did on your kitchen counter.
mgrasso> Also here from court are a number of captains and admirals, and the wolf-man from the court as well. And Jirem.
Travis> Many things could be done on that table....
mgrasso> Kirby, seemingly in a daze, walks up to the map as Jirem prepares to address the council. He looks at Kirby strangely.
mgrasso> ( :D )
DiceWell> ( is not a valid number mgrasso.
* Kirby looks around and then slides into the closest empty seat.
mgrasso> Well, the meeting goes along for quite a while. Who's paying attention and who's not? :)
Travis> I'm paying attention to the clothing.
Aranth> I'm paying *very* close attention
mgrasso> (Well, all the official Sapphire admirals wear their best dress uniforms, but the freebooters are a far different lot.)
* Kirby gets out a composition book and starts taking notes, just like back in college.
Artemisia> I'm paying attention.
Solangia> I look like I'm paying attention
Travis> (I'm far too shallow to pay attention)
mgrasso> Well, all right then. Basically, Jirem runs the meeting.
mgrasso> He first introduces Old Glass Eye, the wolf creature in robes of state who addresses the assemblage for 15 minutes on technolgical research and development.
* Kirby knocks out a sketch of the star map and the positions of all the ships.
mgrasso> A quote from his presentation: "Even though the Alson Star Cruisers are much more resilient than our own ships, their manueverability in close combat is almost nil," he says in a rough, barking voice. "I fully expect our new line of 8-man steam-powered fighters to be able to cripple them."
Aranth> what kinds of things does he talk about when it comes to "technology"?
* Aranth pipes up at the mention of steam
Aranth> why do that?
mgrasso> There's a grumble in the crowd when he mentions "steam-powered" fighters, but Jirem says, "Gentlemen! We've been through this! We need to match the Alson threat with commensurate force! You may not like steam power, but without it, we will lose this war!"
mgrasso> "We have to use the captured Alson technology against them!"
Aranth> there's a better way than steem
Kirby> I'll bet you're not talking about passive resistance, Aranth.
mgrasso> The admirals turn around and see Aranth at the foot of the table. The wolf-man says, "Yes, little tinker? What do you mean?"
Aranth> sadly, kirby, i don't think that the techniques of ghandi and king will be effective. What I'm talking about is FUBARS
Aranth> (are fubars?)
Kirby> F'ed Up Beyond All Recognition? I don't get it...
mgrasso> The admirals look at each other quizzically as the wolf-man says, "The bending of magic to our will." He nods soberly. "I'd be willing to talk to you about it, tinker."
Aranth> I'd appreciate it, sir.
* Aranth give Kirby an "I'll explain later if you want" glance
Travis> (brb)
mgrasso> "Very well." And Jirem gets back to the strategy meeting. Supply lines and trade routes are mentioned.
mgrasso> Then, at the beginning of the second hour, Jirem drops a bomb.
mgrasso> "Gentlemen, with the completion of the fighters, Her Majesty has decided now is the time to strike."
mgrasso> "The League has expanded beyond its ability to defend its borders. We are going to execute... the Three-Day Strike."
* Artemisia is suddenly wide awake.
mgrasso> This prompts outrage from the captains, especially the pirates and freebooters. Several up and leave the conference room.
mgrasso> "This plan..." Jirem shouts over the din, "This plan has been on the board for months now. We knew there'd be a point when Alson patrols lessened to the point where we could break their lines and liberate the Conquered Worlds. This is it."
mgrasso> "We will need, however, every ship. Traders, schooners, supply ships... all will have to be mobilized. Our prediction is that we can be launching attacks from the Bronze Worlds by next week."
mgrasso> The older Sapphire admirals, heavily bearded and mustachio'd, wheeze and flumph in outrage. "Poppycock! Balderdash!"
mgrasso> A couple laugh loudly at Jirem... that is, until Queen Mabel enters the conference room through the back door. Everyone rises.
* Kirby stands up.
* Artemisia rises too.
* Travis stands up.
Travis> (back now)
mgrasso> "I assume, my loyal admirals, that by your laughter you are merely indicating joy at the imminent liberation of those long-held thrall worlds, yes?"
* Solangia stands
* Aranth suddenly notices everyone is standing and stands too.
mgrasso> The admirals and freebooter captains, and even you yourselves, seem in awe of Queen Mabel's presence here. She has called upon all her rightful powers as monarch to come before this Council, and Jirem merely stands to her side, silent.
mgrasso> "Very well, back to your preparations, Jirem." "Yes, Your Majesty."
mgrasso> "Debriefings begin tonight. Report to the skydocks for your battle orders."
mgrasso> The meeting is dismissed, and you can see Old Glass Eye talking with Jirem for a bit.
* Kirby stands a respectful distance from Glass Eye and Jirem, waiting.
mgrasso> Old Glass Eye then walks out the side entrance of the conference room, and vaguely motions to Aranth and his companions to come along.
* Aranth follows
* Artemisia follows Aranth.
* Kirby looks at Jirem, then back at Old Glass Eye, and back again. He turns and follows Old Glass Eye.
* Travis follows Kirby.
mgrasso> The wolf-man, fully nine feet tall, fills the corridor with his healthy, stalking presence. He seems more like an animal when he strides purposefully. "Your name, tinker?" he says, as he walks quickly down the hallway, leaving you all in his wake.
Aranth> Aranth
* Solangia trails along behind the group
* Aranth says doing his best to keep stride
* Kirby hangs towards the back of the pack and tries to get Artemisia's attention.
mgrasso> "Aranth?" He stops at a door and throws it open. "Welcome to my lab."
* Travis skips along.

Scene Three: The Lab
mgrasso> When Aranth and the others walk into this huge, hangar-sized "lab" built into the base of the castle, it is like being at home on a robotic assembly line.
* Artemisia notices Kirby waving and hangs back.
* Kirby whispers to Artemisia.
Aranth> oh wow
mgrasso> Huge cranes and other machines are in use. Numerous sidhe and nockers labor here, working at work areas as varied as workbenches, anvils, and a few are trussed up and scaling the sides of a huge captured bronze Alson ship, which hangs from the ceiling.
* Solangia watches Kirby and Artemisia
mgrasso> It's almost a bit like when they reconstruct crashed airliners in the Banal world; they've pieced together this 50 foot long Alson ship and have tried to find out what makes it tick.
mgrasso> There's also a conspicuous vehicle-sized and -shaped lump under a white sheet at the back of the cavernous lab.
mgrasso> (I need a typing break)
Solangia> (should we just hang back and talk to each other in-character for a bit?)
mgrasso> (Thank you, Mellie, yes, that sounds excellent. I can also handle Aranth's convo with Glass Eye in msg.)
mgrasso> Old Glass Eye takes Aranth aside and you four are left at the entrance to the huge R&D lab.

Scene Four: Aranth and Old Glass Eye
mgrasso> Okay...
mgrasso> Old Glass Eye starts with a sigh in his voice and says, "It was 600 years ago the fae came to this part of the Umbra. At the time they were exiled from Earth. Not all went to Arcadia. Some walked the Dreaming, which my kind calls the Umbra."
Aranth> and you are a? (he he he!)
mgrasso> "I am of the Walkers of the Twilight."
mgrasso> "I settled here many years ago because I recognized the goodness of these beings. I learned what I could of their magics, but not one tinker in all their history has been able to harness the forces of lightning."
mgrasso> "Myself, I gave up such... powers when I decided to walk the stars."
Aranth> yeah, it seems that they're a little technologically retarted... or maybe it's inhibited.
Aranth> but I can do it.
mgrasso> "Exactly. Which makes this Alson fellow all the more... suspicious."
mgrasso> "Great leaps and bounds like this steam power do not happen in stagnant societies."
mgrasso> "I believe he brought something from Outside."
Aranth> It seems so... but even then, why steam... why clockwork men?
Aranth> If he could access the outside, he had so many more options... FUBARs, arsenaults...
mgrasso> "Perhaps it is all that the paradigm here can currently handle. In case you haven't noticed, you can breathe in space here." The wolf smiles, bearing huge fangs.
mgrasso> "And, I assume, you also want to go home."
Aranth> yeah, but I mean, it's the dreaming not space...
mgrasso> "No, it's the Dreaming *or* it's space. It all depends on who *believes* in it strongly enough."
Aranth> if I can breath, ride a pegasus, ignore gravity within feet of a planet which is all blue... it's the dreaming
Aranth> i do want to go home... but I don't know how, and I want to help.
mgrasso> "Ask your astronomer friend. She'll tell you that the Alson League is brown dwarfs, and that Sapphire is a blue giant... in your world."
mgrasso> "You do wish to help, eh? Well, I could certainly see to it that you can have one of these new fighters for you and your companions."
Aranth> i know, in the world... but things overlap- anyway, enough metaphysics for now, that's more kirbys bag I think...
Aranth> really? I'd need to talk to them... and I'd need to try and make some modifications
Aranth> have you looked at the sucess ratios for the asault?
mgrasso> "I'm sure you'd like that. Perhaps you could be an escort vessel for Captain Raisa."
mgrasso> Old Glass Eye sighs. "Yes, I have. It will succeed, but it will be immensely costly, in terms of lives and resources."
mgrasso> "Jirem has been a proponent of the Three-Day Strike for a long time now."
Aranth> why three days?
mgrasso> Because Jirem boasts he can end the war in three days or less.
Aranth> you don't sound too confidant... and he sounds like an arrogant cock sucker.
Aranth> I could talk to some of your nockers, oh um tinkers, we could end up with better weapons, with more advanced technology... maybe.
mgrasso> "Jirem plans to start the assault in two days. You'd have time, maybe, to refit your own fighter, but that's it."
mgrasso> "I can't go against him. He has the Queen's ear."
Aranth> balls to that. he's furking nuts...
Aranth> I think I need to talk to my companions now, I'm not sure how receptive they'll be to what I want to do.
mgrasso> "Yes, well... excuse me." Old Glass Eye notices a tinker and a sidhe at a forge who seem to be doing something wrong. "I'll see you later, then."
Aranth> right

Scene Five: Divination
Artemisia> All right. I'm going to wander over to Sol and Travis, and Aranth if he's there.
* Solangia meets Artemisia halfway, then slowly circles her
Solangia> Art, who's your tailor?
* Solangia bends down to flip at Artemisia's skirts
Travis> Boldly going where no man has gone before...?
Solangia> I need something like this. I should be a dainty girl, don't you think?
* Artemisia lightly kicks Solangia's hand away.
Artemisia> I don't think you have it in you, Sol.
Travis> Oh, honey, you're divine the way you are.
Travis> You almost make me wish I liked girls.
Artemisia> Listen you two, I have a question.
* Solangia stands up again, raising Art's skirt as she straightens up
Artemisia> Did either of you notice that it sounds an awful lot like they might want us to fight?
Solangia> What kind of underwear do you wear with this?
Artemisia> In this war?
* Solangia drops Art's skirt
Solangia> Fight?
* Kirby crosses his arms and listens intently to the conversation.
Travis> I believe I did hear that, yes.
Artemisia> Well, how do you feel about that?
Travis> I'm a lover, not a fighter.
Artemisia> One vote for no, then?
Solangia> Kirby?
Kirby> So far, no one's asked...
Solangia> I'll have to go with the boggan's answer.
Solangia> No one's asked, so let's not answer.
Kirby> It seems an awful like they're assuming that we're along for the ride.
Artemisia> Well, are we?
Solangia> Hell no.
Kirby> Well, I'd think that waiting until you're on one of their vessels with a sword in your hand and one of those mechanical monsters bearing down on you is a lousy time to bring it up.
mgrasso> Johanna pipes up, "I'd like to travel and explore here, but not under a gun."
Artemisia> Maybe we ought to mention this to Aranth, before he joins up.
Kirby> If he wants to join up, that's great.
Travis> I agree.
Solangia> Oh, let him join up. We can kick back here and watch you shmooze with the other sticks-in-the-muds.
Kirby> I mean, this is a decision everyone is going to have to make for themselves.
Artemisia> Yes, I suppose you're right, Kirby.
Kirby> It seems like the Queen's people are on the side of the angels here. I'm willing to help them out however I can. I'm just not willing to take up arms in this conflict.
Kirby> Not that I'd discourage others who feel differently from doing so.
Travis> (what is Kirby and Artemisia wearing?)
* Solangia sits indian-style on the floor and leans back to look up at the rest of you, supporting herself on her palms
mgrasso> (Probably their standard voile.)
mgrasso> (I'll let them describe it)
mgrasso> (Guys?)
Artemisia> feminine diaphanous slips of fabric, layered, yet outlining her
Artemisia> figure in shifting iridescent colors.
Artemisia> (um, sorry. That pasted in all at once. I was going to edit it, but there it is.)
* Kirby is wearing slightly faded and slightly ragged tan pants that are just long enought that the back hem of each pant leg is getting frayed from being stepped on by his brown leather shoes. His pants are cinched with a belt that seems cinched a size too small and he is wearing a maroon shirt that looks like a mock turtleneck.
Kirby> So what are you going to do Artemisia?
Travis> (what's Solangia wearing?)
Artemisia> I don't know, Kirby.
mgrasso> FEMMY RPG!
Artemisia> (you say that like it's a bad thing. :)
mgrasso> (nah... by the way, guys, we're going to end at 11:30 tonight.)
mgrasso> (Mellie, you there?)
Solangia> (sorry)
mgrasso> You hear Old Glass Eye laugh, more like roar, from the other side of the room.
* Travis draws his maroon handerkchief from his breast pocket. He looks at Artemisia. "Darling, may I borrow some piece of your clothing?"
* Artemisia turns to look.
Travis> Something small but distinctively yours.
* Travis looks at Kirby. "Mmmm. Perhaps your belt? Only for a moment, I promise."
* Solangia is wearing a pair of black leather pants and a clingy, long-sleeved, low-cut black shirt. On her left wrist is a bracelet made of delicate platinum wires with a brilliant saphire clasp.
Kirby> Well, I guess we know one thing. If bitterness and sarcasm are effective weapons against these enemies, they've found their secret weapon in Aranth.
Artemisia> A piece of my clothing?
Kirby> Hmmm... I don't know that I trust you with my belt, Travis. Something else, perhaps?
Travis> Trust me, dearest.
Artemisia> Um, how about a scarf?
Travis> Your shirt, perhaps?
Solangia> Well, it won't be her panties. She's not wearing any.
Travis> A scarf would be divine.
mgrasso> (*snort*)
Travis> Solangia, may I have something from you, as well?
Solangia> Why?
* Artemisia tugs a scarf from her waist and hands it to Travis.
* Solangia reluctantly stands
* Kirby digs around in his pocket and produces a handkerchief. "How's this?"
* Aranth rejoins the group
Travis> Ah, fine.
* Travis examines the handkerchief with poorly disguised distaste.
Kirby> Careful with that. I'm saving some of those...
Artemisia> Well, it is distinctively Kirby's.
* Artemisia smiles.
mgrasso> Johanna gives Travis a strand of the rope belt around her monk-like robes.
Travis> Charming.
Aranth> um, what are you guys doing?
Kirby> Travis is taking up a collection for the Salvation Army...
* Solangia heaves a sigh, slides her backpack off of her shoulder, and takes her shirt off, revealing a plain black bra. She hands the shirt to Travis.
Solangia> We're playing strip poker. Travis won./
Travis> Oh, sweetie, if I were only hetero...
Solangia> Thank god.
* Solangia adjusts her bra straps
* Aranth pats sol's tummy gently
* Travis takes from his breast pocket a Bob Mackie Barbie and stands it on the ground. He carefully stands the Barbie on the ground, and the drapes the articles of clothing on and around it. He then leans over and carefully places his head next to Barbie's mouth.
Kirby> Oh yeah, and we were talking about whether we're going to fight, if asked.
Aranth> oh, kirby, about that...
* Kirby watches Aranth patting Solangia's tummy with great interest.
* Artemisia ignores everyone but Travis.
Kirby> You didn't put anything in there, did you Aranth?
Solangia> Art doesn't like my taste in lingerie.
* Aranth takes of his vest. "don't I count?"
Travis> !dice 1 4
* DiceWell Travis rolls 1d10 at difficulty 4. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 5
Kirby> What were you going to say, Aranth?
Aranth> i'll wait untill he's done...
Travis> !dice 3 4
* DiceWell Travis rolls 3d10 at difficulty 4. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 6 4 9
Travis> "Talk to me, darling. Tell me" Travis' voice trails off into a whisper.
* Solangia snuggles up to Aranth's side and wraps his arm around her waist, clasping his hand to her stomach
Travis> Oh dear.
* Travis stands and with no expression returns the articles of clothing to their proper owners.
* Kirby nudges Artemisia...
* Artemisia accepts her scarf and leans down to listen to Kirby.
Travis> Barbie tells me that we'll end up stained with one of two things. Tea, or blood.
* Solangia nuzzles Aranth before putting her shirt back on
Aranth> mmm... maybe we could nuzzle some more latter babe?
Kirby> Well, I vote for tea.
Artemisia> Make that two for tea.
* Solangia gazes lovingly at Aranth, "Of course."
Kirby> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 3 3 6 1 7 2 3
* Artemisia shudders ever-so-slightly
mgrasso> All right. I need Intelligence + Enigmas rolls for everyone. Here's how it breaks down. Kirby: diff. 6. Aranth and Artemisia, diff. 7. Solangia, diff. 8. Travis, diff. 9.
Travis> !dice 2 9
* DiceWell Travis rolls 2d10 at difficulty 9. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 3 3
mgrasso> (You tried, Travis. :) )
Solangia> !dice 5 8
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 5d10 at difficulty 8. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 4 8 8 2 2
Aranth> !dice 5 7
* DiceWell Aranth rolls 5d10 at difficulty 7. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 1 2 9 9 2
Aranth> (I'll spend a wp for 2 successes)
Artemisia> !dice 4 7
* DiceWell Artemisia rolls 4d10 at difficulty 7. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 6 8 7 10
Travis> (Like I said, Mike, Dicey giveth, and Dicey taketh away :-) )
mgrasso> Heh.
Kirby> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 4 successes.
* DiceWell 7 1 7 2 8 6 6
mgrasso> Quiet. :)
Kirby> Tea and blood...
Kirby> Odd, isn't it.
Artemisia> Tea.
Solangia> Just sounds like a bad party.
Artemisia> Have you ever seen tea-stained linen?
Aranth> yeah, well, um.
Travis> I have.
* Travis shudders at the memory.
Travis> A new suit, ruined! By that clumsy waiter....
Artemisia> It looks like old, dried blood that's been washed a couple dozen times.
Aranth> Travis- focus.

Scene Six: Refugee
mgrasso> Just as you are discussing these things, a man bursts into the lab.
mgrasso> He is of Asian descent, apparently. He is barefoot, and seems to have run for his life from somewhere.
* Kirby turns to look
Travis> Oh, I'm focused, stud. Just trying not to be.
mgrasso> He wears simple robes and is bald. He is young, probably only about 30.
* Solangia stares at the man
Kirby> What the?
mgrasso> "Glass Eye!" he croaks, before collapsing to the ground.
Aranth> this man needs medical attention, stat!
* Kirby kneels down next to the man and looks him over, feeling for a pulse.
Artemisia> Aranth, go get Glass Eye!
mgrasso> Glass Eye and a few of his tinkers run over. "What... Blue Ghost? What are you doing here?"
mgrasso> Kirby Int + Medicine, diff. 6
Kirby> !dice 5 6
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 5d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 2 9 1 9 3
mgrasso> The Asian man starts to convulse.
mgrasso> Shaking in a grand mal seizure, his body begins to... change.
Kirby> Everyone step back...
* Kirby takes a step back from the man.
* Artemisia moves back, never taking her eyes off the man.
mgrasso> He metamophoses, his body gaining bulk and rough grey hair growing on his face, arms, and legs.
mgrasso> He soon lies on the ground, about 9 feet long, looking like a younger brother of Old Glass Eye.
mgrasso> When this happens, he looks better: he regains consciousness and seems ready to speak.
mgrasso> "I ran... I ran as fast as I could, through the stars, Brother." He whispers in a hush to Old Glass Eye. The five of you are crowded around as well.
mgrasso> "What is it, Brother?" says Old Glass Eye.
mgrasso> "The stars of our old Hunting Grounds... they are gone! The Vacuum has taken them! It is... our people have perished! Only I could outrun the Vacuum as it stole into our space."
* Artemisia glances at Aranth.
mgrasso> Old Glass Eye seems to quake in his robes. "How did it happen, Blue Ghost? What was it?"
* Kirby looks on intently.
Kirby> This is bad...
* Aranth raises an eye brow back at art
mgrasso> "The Alsons came. And he came with them. We fought so valiantly, but Alson stood on his flagship... he had before him a machine the likes of which I'd never seen before. He... simply waved his hand, and the vacuum rushed in."
Aranth> a black hole?
mgrasso> Johanna steps forward. "What did the machine look like?"
Kirby> The stars of your hunting ground disappeared?
Aranth> good question, could you sketch it?
Artemisia> This doesn't sound good.
Kirby> It's starting to make a lot more sense, though.
Aranth> (do we know *what* alson is?)
mgrasso> Blue Ghost answers Johanna first. "It gave off such light, but not natural light, like a candle or torch. It was... dead light. Pure white, but dead. He smiled as it set forth like a beacon of death in the void."
Kirby> Just like a halogen lamp.
Solangia> So they're being attacked by a lamp?
mgrasso> Old Glass Eye says, "All my brethren... our brethren, Blue Ghost... they are gone?"
mgrasso> "Gone." states Blue Ghost, and falls into unconsciousness.
mgrasso> And that's it for tonight!
Kirby> Damn...
Kirby> (Cool, Mike...)
Travis> argh. Another cliffhanger. :-)
Artemisia> Geez, Mike!