5683/What One Values

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What One Values
Date of Scene: 05 February 2018
Location: Bayern Region
Synopsis: Those who know the missing Count Kord venture into his home to locate items that may be used to find him
Cast of Characters: Count Kord, Tanya Degurechaff, Staren

Count Kord has posed:
    Yveltal Peak. It's the recorded residence for Count Kord, the strange noble that has been a part of the Concord since the faction was initiated about a year ago. The castle is built into a fairly defensible location, and seems to have pretty thick walls, with bricks so finely cut that it's hard to see the seams. Everything seems scorched black, or made of some dense, dark stone. The Dragoni flag -- a red and yellow flag with a simplified depiction of Yveltal's wings spread out -- hangs off of the various flag poles, and two great banners sit before the main gate depicting the various god pokemon of Bayern.

    There are two guards here. They're wielding pikes, and adorned with reinforced leather armor. Standing at their sides are demonic-looking dogs... Houndoom, wearing metal collars inset with a single red gem. The gate, an enormous iron door with yet another symbol of Yveltal etched into it, sits behind them.

    The weather is cold, and the sky is overcast. This region only hosts the most rough-looking plant life.

    Well, best to find a way inside, then.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Yveltal Peak. The mysterious home of the Concord's Hand, Count Kord. Nestled in a land that a certain blonde pre-teen has never visited before. Given the medieval surroundings, the most out of place thing is a military personnel truck trundling along roads meant for horses and carts. Which is not a ride unfamiliar to the passenger.

    The truck pulls to a stop short of the gate, illuminating the guardsmen in the headlights as the side door opens. Immaculately shined black boots emerge, followed by... a twelve year old girl in a dark green dress uniform. Major Tanya von Degurechaff wastes no time in donning her peaked cap, closing the door behind her and approaching the guards at the entrance to the castle.

    She ignores the soldier who exits the opposite side, who seems more interested in lighting a cigarette than accompanying her.

    Instead, Tanya produces a leather wallet and holds it up, flipping out the insert with her credentials as Hand of the Concord, "I am Major Degurechaff. Representative of the Concord, the organization served by the master of this castle." The wallet is closed with a practiced gesture, lowered away, "Stand aside. I and my associates have important business here relevant to your Lord."

Staren has posed:
    So this is where Kord lives! Staren's hitched a ride on Tanya's truck. He'd ride his broom, but ONE thing sticking out and calling attention to itself is enough.

    Honestly, he assumed it was just, y'know, a house, and that they could come check it out. The idea that there are PEOPLE here didn't occur to him -- although in retrospect, he himself has an AI that would check on anyone coming to the spaceship, and Kord is, after all, a Count, which means he probably has servants and stuff.

    Still, upon seeing the guards, his second thought is that they're here as allies if not friends of Kord's, and on completely legitimate business to help the missing man. There's no reason NOT to be let in, unless the guards somehow don't know about the Concord. He hops out of the truck and follows Tanya, trying to look official or something while she does the talking.

Count Kord has posed:
    The soldiers look at the vehicle with a grand amount of confusion, as they aren't used to vehicles of that nature in this world. One of the soldiers shifts in his footing so he can reach over to pet his hellish dog to keep it calm. The other leans his pike on his shoulder as the two soldiers emerge from the vehicle. They're obviously some form of trained militia, as their military decorum is questionable. But they don't budge from their spot, and they don't look awed or afraid of Tanya... and they don't seem to care that she's a young girl, either.

    One of them leans in to get a look at the credentials. He knits his brow in momentary confusion, but then recognized the Concord symbol for Hand. He straightens and calls up to the guard tower, "We got visitors! The Count's con-tem-po-raries, from those other worlds he talked about." The deliberate way he pronounced that word and his THICK accent suggest this is a fairly typical medieval soldier.

    The doors click, clack and then grrrriiiind as they rumble open. The iron door slides upwards into the stonework, and reveals a large courtyard, with all the major buildings built into the cliffside the fort is built in front of. They leave the door open after they all enter. There are soldiers placed evenly throughout the fort, and in the center of the structure there is a large stone-skinned creature that sits patiently and chews on an enormous steak. It's a Tyranitar. All it does is give them funny looks.

    A woman in modest black and red priestess clothing hurries up to the group. She barely looks in her adulthood. She has a necklace with a little red gem hanging from it. In fact, that's a consistency: The red gems that everyone has. Pokejewels, like what Kord gave to everyone he knew. Everyone here would've gotten one, so it's easy to recognize them.

    "G-greetings! The Count isn't present right now, and he usually sees his guests, uhh... How can I assist?" She's such a mousy woman, and so pale. She smiles easily enough, though, and seems eager to help them.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    At least they're trying. Tanya can respect that, at least, though she does tilt her head down slightly to glower beneath the brim of her cap while she waits for the gate to open. Only once it's risen does she nod once to the guard who addressed her, "Thank you. Please continue the good work." With little else to say, she steps between the guardsmen and their intimidating guard dogs, into the castle itself, all with her hands folded behind her back.

    Once inside, she glances over her shoulder, "Staren, Maaka, your thoughts?"

    A person of elegance appears, attracting the small Major's attention from her compatriots. She nods once in acknowledgement of the hurried greeting, returning it in kind, "Thank you for welcoming us. It is in fact the Count's absence that we are here about." Might as well be straightforward about it, "Though it may be best that the guardsmen continue to think your Lord is on a work-related trip, you seem to have the station and wits about you to understand the gravity of the situation."

    Her gaze dips, concealing her eyes behind the visor of her cap, "The Count is currently missing. While we of the Concord are not yet certain how the abduction took place, we have clues as to what is needed to locate him, and you can be of considerable help in this endeavor."

Staren has posed:
    Staren is slightly surprised that went off without a hitch! Not that he had any particular reason to expect a problem besides general paranoia. He walks on in and looks around at the fort, just... taking it in. So this is Kord's home? He was expecting a castle or a manor, so this is pretty close.

    At Tanya's question, he shrugs. "I'm not exactly close to Kord... I dunno what'd have special meaning to him..." Perhaps this woman might? Tanya seems to be persuing that line of inquiry anyway.

Count Kord has posed:
    The priestess clasps her hands in front of herself, taking an idle and attentive posture as she's spoken to. The shock on her face is apparent, but she silently nods when Tanya mentions that she can help. She looks to Staren after that, and looks terribly confused about what Staren is saying just then. She hasn't really had the dots connected for her, so she decides to do her best, smiling gently at all of them, "I'm not sure what you're asking for here. If you would dare to guess, though..." She lifts a hand and grasps the Pokejewel at the end of her necklace, and holds it up for viewing. It shines with arcane light.

    "A first partner is often considered someone's most important possession, especially here in Dragoni. I'm sure you saw the partners of the guards outside. Those were raised from infancy to protect those men, before we even knew they'd be soldiers. It's tradition for everyone to catch their own Pokemon."

    "Beyond that... The Count never really liked Yveltal's order, so he didn't tell us much. I fear he is the only nobility in all of Bayern to balk at his religious ties."

    She shrugs helplessly.

    Then she turns to point at the two of the three buildings. The largest she indicates after those, explaining, "Those are the barracks and other rooms. The other two doors are the Count's quarters, and the armory and kennels. Whatever he values would be in those two areas of the fort."

    "Before you start searching, I must know... are you collecting this personal effect for a divination?" she wonders.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Tanya nods at Staren's statement, listening to the priestess intently at the same time. A hand comes out from behind her back, cradling her chin thoughtfully as she considers the traditions explained to her. Yes, a cherished pet would doubtless suit the need. And these ones seem to come in a convenient carrying case. The slightest tickle of a smirk crosses her lips as she drops the hand to her side with a gesture.

    "Divination, I'm not certain about that. We have a general idea of where he is, you see, but getting him out is more complicated. Think of it as a key." She glances towards Staren, then, "His quarters are a likely location. Most likely in one of the gems like our friend here is wearing. Get started, I'll be along shortly."

    Hand folding behind her back, Tanya returns her attention to the woman, though she starts walking at a leisurely pace, indicating her to follow, "Tell me more about the Count. Did anything seem strange about him before his recent departure?"

Staren has posed:
    Staren gives the priestess a confused look for a moment. First partner? Is polygamy the norm here? OH RIGHT POKEMON YES that makes sense. "Did... did he not take his first partner with him, though?" Now he's considering the trouble of trying to manage a pokemon without its trainer.

    He shakes his head. "Not a divination... we think. It's... he's lost in a strange world, but we've been told that he might be guided to us if we bring something important to him there." Staren looks to Tanya. "It's not the gem. It's what's inside the gem." Staren turns back to the priestess. "Um, where are his quarters?"

Count Kord has posed:
    The priestess looks at Staren for a second, and decides to ignore his second question, because they're already walking toward where Kord's quarters are, and she already indicated where they are. "He leaves his Murkrow here," she explains for the first question, "She's a very old Pokemon, and I think he fears for her safety."

    She retrieves a key from somewhere in her robes and unlocks the door, leading them inside and shutting the door behind them. She stands at the door and waits. Kord's living quarters are... military. He doesn't live in decadence in the slightest.

    Kord has a small bed with simple wool blankets, and a modern mattress, with a well-used pillow. His desk has papers neatly stacked, and a few letters pre-sealed with his wax symbol, a crow's foot. There's a small box with a simple latch on it sitting on his desk. There's a wardrobe in the corner, and an armor stand. There's a small table and a chair.

    The room is alit with Litwick, floating candle-like Pokemon that sparkle with eldritch blue fire light. They sit here and there, or float through the air. The ceiling is pretty tall. The room looks like it was purpose built for something other than living in, and there's a hatch on the ceiling with no easy access to it.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    "A very old ... pokemon," Tanya hesitates on the word. It seems so strange that an ostensibly European country uses such an obviously Japanese word, and that's tripping her up a bit, "... is a good candidate for being Count Kord's first partner." When the door is unfastened, she waits patiently, then steps inside with her hands still folded behind her back.

    Eyes immediately lift to the ghostly candles floating around to provide light. Eyes narrow slightly, before she turns her gaze back towards the priestess, "I never did catch your name. Or your answer regarding the Count's behavior before he departed." If she just hadn't seen him before he left, that's fine, but Tanya will press on this a bit more. The desk looks promising, but she'll leave the initial searching to Staren while interrogating the closest thing Tanya believes Kord had to a friend in his home country.

Staren has posed:
    "Hmm." So they may be bringing an old and feeble pet into dangerous Lumiere. At least it can stay in its pokegem most of the time. But will they be able to keep it from attacking or flying away once released? It's an animal, after all...

    Staren is mildly surprised by the candle pokemon. That's new. And they're left in here even when the door is locked? What do they eat?

    Well, they obviously get along fine, and right now the important thing is finding Kord's first partner. Staren looks around the room. Smaller and less ornate than he expected for a noble, but then Kord doesn't seem like one who cares about such things, especially in the privacy of his own home where he doesn't need to impress anyone. "Huh."

    "I worry, though... how will his Murkrow behave, without him around? I'm not exactly an animal handler... Even if we can mostly keep her in the gem, we don't know if we'll need to release her for the full effect."

Count Kord has posed:
    "He had an everyday routine. He would check in on us through the 'radio' he left with us, looking for updates, if there were any. He's given one of those to each of the lieutenants. If I'm honest, he is always a little strange. He talked to himself, sometimes... he says it's a conversation with Yveltal, but that couldn't possibly be true." The woman looks uncomfortable recounting it. She also adds, "I am Attendant Teresa. I'm the gravekeeper here. I watch over the ghosts..." She gestures up to the Litwick that float around the room. "And make sure they stay out of trouble. It's my duty as one of Yveltal's vigilant followers."

    "He hasn't checked in for a while, though. That doesn't happen often. He hasn't returned for a few days, either."

    Staren's concern prompts her to say, "She's as tame as a Pokemon can get. Once they've been captured in a Pokegem, their wild ferocity is quelled and they grow attached to their owner over time. Murkrow are among the most intelligent Pokemon that aren't also psychic, or human-like."

    "She should be fine if you keep her in the gem. Pokejewelry is very durable, and should keep her safe if you don't do anything strange to it."

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    "Major Degurechaff," the little blonde offers in exchange, "Thank you for your insight, Gravekeeper Teresa." Her eyes wander to the ghosts flitting about the room, once again, "So these are yours, then. At least they serve a welcome purpose." Providing light. And presumably not burning the place down.

    Seemingly satisfied, Tanya steps away, further into the room, looking with just her eyes. She can relate to having a daily routine. It's something she also adheres to rather rigidly, and breaking that routine should be the first sign to someone else that something's wrong with her.

    At the desk, Tanya pauses. A hand reaches out and she shifts the letters around lightly, though makes no move to un-seal them, "With radios to his lieutenants and attendants, who would he correspond with... Hm." Eyes wander to the box. This seems valuable. She thumbs the latch and lifts the lid. Would a cherished pokemon's gem be in here, resting on a velvet pillow like some kind of monument to a nostalgic youth?

    It could just be full of pens, for all Tanya's expectations are.

Staren has posed:
    Oh, they're ghosts. Ghosts don't need to eat, except possibly emotions. That makes sense. Staren nods, "Yes... if he could check in by radio, we wouldn't need to find him this way. ...Probably." The Murkrow is friendly-ish, good to know. "So... do you know where he keeps her?" While Teresa retrieves the pokegem or they start searching for it he asks, "So, Yveltal-worship isn't unique to Count Kord? Why do people from this world seem to dislike him so? I heard a pokemon the other day call him 'dark' .. and there was something about burning a village, actually..."

    He looks around the room, and since Tanya's examining the desk, decides to look through the wardrobe. Maybe there's a compartment inside it for small objects?

Count Kord has posed:
    The box that Tanya inspects doesn't have the gem in it, or pens for that matter. It has letters from other nobility. The seals are varied, but not a single letter has been opened. They look like they've sat in the box for a while. It looks like he doesn't keep up contact with his neighboring nobles. Some of them look like they've sat in there for years and years, with the way they've yellowed and the wax seals have cracked. The letters Kord has written are addressed to various Bayern addresses or family names. The script is germanic, and translated easily enough. They seem new enough that he must've just not gotten around to sending them yet.

    She's looking at the equivilant of a cluttered email inbox and outbox.

    Staren discovers that Kord has a variety of clothing, as well as several identical sets of peasant-like outfits. Modern attire, even beach attire. They've got a lot of pockets.

    "Well... Yveltal is a god of death, sir," Teresa tells Staren, "And in our scripture, it is said that Yveltal's contribution to the war against Regigigas was so destructive that it threatened to do the same amount of damage as the very thing it was fighting. Mi'lord's behavior falls in line with that... I am not sure why, though. He doesn't seem to agree with us, or with uhm..." She struggles to say this, since she finds it absurd, "With Yveltal herself."

    She steps over to sit on the bed and lets out a sigh. She looks around the room... "The man is getting very old," she explains, "He's almost sixty. He's said so. He doesn't look it, but the elder gravekeeper say he's telling the truth. He hasn't married, he's ignored all the other nobility... And he had our people march on our neighbor, Archengart. It was for a noble purpose, the Hollowed were going to awaken one of the Regi there, and that would have destroyed the city anyways, but... No one has forgiven him for it."

    "They're all afraid he'll attack them."

Staren has posed:
    Hmm. No obvious spots for the gem, but there's a possibility it could be in one of the pockets.

    Or in a secret compartment under the floor they haven't even noticed yet, for that matter.

    Staren nods slightly at the explanation that theirs is the faith of a death god. That certainly would spoop some folk. It's jarring to him to hear sixty referred to as 'very old' -- even before he thought of cheating death... he expected humans with decent medical care to live at least to their 90's, longer if you replace everything that fails with cybernetics.

    "So they don't believe the Hollowed were involved, then, and think his attack was without justification." Staren turns towards her. "Say... if he were to keep the gem in the pocket of one of these outfits, any idea which one it might be?"

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Tanya frowns. That was beyond a dead end. The box's lid is closed and she gives it a shove to convey annoyance. Though the disinterest in the neighbors is noted. As well as Teresa's story. "Sixty is approaching retirement, where I am from, but many capable minds are pushing that age. Experience and flexibility are important." She pauses, cradling her chin in one hand as she regards the desk again, "As for that... A country with a sharp sword is right to brandish it. But be certain doing so doesn't merely inspire the enemy to make a sharper one in response."

    She won't break into Kord's personal correspondance. The seals are safe. For now. But she does go for the loose papers. If the Pokegem they're looking for isn't here, perhaps the clue to something else that will serve their purposes can be found here.

    "My own Empire has a similar problem. We brandished our sword, and vanquished our enemies. But the other countries not in our line of fire are now gearing up to go to war out of fear that they are next. Learn from that mistake."

Count Kord has posed:
    The Gravekeeper laughs lightly, and a little nervously, at Tanya's words. Staren receives a shrug in response. "I don't know the man very well, and we all keep our first gem in a different place," she tells him. She won't be of much help there. She drums her fingers on her leg, looking around the room in curiosity. Then she looks up at the Litwick, and she asks them, "Have you seen it?" One of the candle-like Pokemon float down, and she holds out her hand for it to land there. Then she leans in to listen to it.

    It seems to talk very slowly, and she lets out a sigh while she waits for it to get to the point.

    The papers that Tanya examines are unfinished letters. A few for people that Kord knows. A finished letter of congratulations for Tanya, in fact, can be found in there. Most of them are fairly neutral or cordial. Does he just not have the nerve to send these out?

    Teresa goes "Oh...!" And then she leans over and picks up the pillow off the bed. She picks up the Pokegem she finds beneath the pillow, and settles the pillow there on her lap to get a look at the gem with her arms comfortably resting.

    "This was carved by a gravekeeper," she murmurs, gently. "This must be it."

    "... he sleeps with it under his pillow," she murmurs, taken aback by how strange that is. "It means he trusts this Pokemon to help him battle nightmares. Or, uhm... that's how tradition goes."

Staren has posed:
    Staren is mildly frustrated that Teresa has no ideas, and goes back to looking at the clothes.

    But then she has another idea: Of course, ask the light fixtures. Why didn't he think of that.

    Staren nods at the explanation. "Well... if ever he needed help escaping something nightmarish, it's now."

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Tanya hesitates on the letter addressed to herself. After a moment, she smirks. From the evidence here, Count Kord is shaping up to not only be an intense and private man, but a shy one. When Teresa calls on the candle critters, she glances towards the Gravekeeper, though when this seems to go nowhere she returns to the desk in front of her.

    The exclamantion prompts the Major to jump, and she shoots a look back over her shoulder. Something between surprise and a scowl, until she realizes the discovery at hand. Eyes closing, Tanya reaches up and rubs the side of her head with a sigh, "Being someone who lacks in superstition, I never would have thought to look there."

    Even if it makes perfect sense given the Count's recent issues, shared with the Concord in relation to prophetic nightmares.

    "No harm will come to it," she states, approaching and presenting her hand, "But we will need to borrow that for a while." Her head tilts and she forces on a convincing smile, one she feels to look empathetic, "We'll return it with interest-- one Count."

Count Kord has posed:
    The gem gets placed in Tanya's hand. It's warm to the touch, and when she touches it she can see a little black bird sleeping inside of it, with a yellow beak. It's a projection of some kind, only visible to the one holding it. There's also a little black crow foot pattern that appears on the surface.

    "I don't know either of you. And Dragoni will remember, if this is a deception," she warns, with a smile of her own. "But I'm trusting you to find him and bring him back. We haven't been as safe, as tightly knit as a people, as when Kord brought us together. Even if he's very strange, and hard to talk to."

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    "Rest easy," Tanya states, examining the gem. Satisfied, she tucks it into the breast pocket of her uniform, "I have nothing to gain from decieving you. I only ask that you do your best to help keep this place together so he as a home to return to." She nods briefly, which winds up being almost a bow, "The sooner we can get to work, the sooner we can resolve this. Until then, good day, Gravekeeper Teresa."

    She shoots a look at Staren, waiting for him to say whatever piece he may want to say. Only then does the little Major turn on her heel and make for the door.

Staren has posed:
    Staren nods. "We can't know everyone, alas... If you fear this is deception, perhaps talk with Kord about better security measures after we bring him back. We'll..." He rubs the back of his head. "We'll do everything we can to bring him back." He's not going to promise success. Heroes have failed too many times. Where is Niv-Mizzet? Where is Mizuki? Staren may believe in trying no matter how impossible something sounds, but despite his usual manner of speaking, he knows the chance of success is not 100%. "...Good day. And thannk you very much for your help." He follows Tanya out.