5827/An Unlikely Silver Tongue

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An Unlikely Silver Tongue
Date of Scene: 04 May 2018
Location: Contaminated Flatlands
Synopsis: Pending
Cast of Characters: 1124, Staren, 1129, 1161, Starbound Flotilla, Tomoe, Carna, 1153, All-Seeing Eye, Sir Gawain


Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    For those not currently in the know (i.e. whom All-Seeing Eye hadn't told), the Abyssal diplomat/spy going by the name 'Typhon' (rather than a sobriquet), formerly working for the Mask of Winters and having adroitly changed to the winning side when beat, had promised that he'd hook him up to a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. After a surprisingly short time, it seems he has been able to follow through with it, and sends a notice out to the weird Multiversals that he has a guy ready to talk.

    Despite being perpetually posted in the Scavenger Lands in the east of Creation, and specifically centered around Thorns, for the many years, Typhon's man turns out to be on the /literal opposite ass-end of Creation somehow/. The Warpgate people are directed to is out in the great western ocean, a little inland from the dark and gravelly shores of a volcanic island, spread out from an ostensibly dormant or extinct mountain at its center. It isn't a small one either, something like Earth's Northern Ireland in size, and is clearly quite heavily populated, with several fishing and trade villages around the coast, and a fairly significant city (at least by Creation's standards) up on the foothills of the Volcano.

    The feeling of the cool, sluggish, and faintly tingly air, along with the heavily overcast skies, dark and glossy water, and the incredibly thick mist further out to sea, makes for no doubt that they've just been taken from a shadowland to another shadowland, but then really, where else would most of an Abyssal Exalted's primary contacts be? Despite its kind of creepy haunted fisher village vibe though, it's nothing much like Thorns. The smell is mostly salt and brine and ash and sea air, rather than death and decay and despair. The natural vegetation isn't withered and stunted, but apparently adapted to the place, with odd mixes of dark weeds and black kelp growing alongside teak and ebony trees. There are even signs of (weird) animals, giving the place a very old, and strangely sort of natural (if spooky) vibe, rather than one artificially created via murder and Necromancy.

    Typhon guides them most of the way up the beach and into the foothills, walking ahead of the group with his back to the mountain and chatting amicably along the way to the walls of the main city. Said walls are constituted of the bleached bones of some gigantic sea monster of ages past, and divide a shanty town outside city limits from the surprisingly well-built architecture inside, hewn predominantly from volcanic basalt and sided and shingled in teak and obsidian tiles, lending it a very dark but relatively fancy, rustic air.

    He takes enough time to explain (between more than a few jokes that are actually quite witty) that this island is called Onyx, and is part of the slightly edgily named Skullstone Archipelago. The shadowland here is incredibly old, predating the Deathlords by millennia, and possibly even the first of its kind. It's one of the most populous cities in the west, and having been built on a shadowland ages ago, it has a society that regards death, ghosts, zombies, and the like as an ordinary fact of life and has a very pragmatic approach to them. A lot of it comes down to telling people not to equate the place to Thorns and get all on-guard; indeed, any glance around the streets confirms that the people are (albeit really pale and prone to dressing in black) surprisingly well off. It's no First Age wonder city, but it's bustling with commercial and luxury activity.

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    In addition to stores, workshops, smithies, granaries, butchers, and the usual, there are schools, churches, ministries, public housing, hospitals, theatres, bordellos, galleries gambling parlours, and surprisingly modern urban planning overall. There are ghosts absolutely everywhere, but instead of being either secret police or debauched opportunists, they dress and act exactly like the citizenry, and clearly work a number of jobs. A significant chunk of manual labourers are incredibly well-preserved and apparently highly well-coordinates zombies, performing the sort of work a modern Earth would use robots for --a far cry from the rotting, cannibalistic war hordes of the Mask. He winds up making the approach a short tour around the city (where people get lots of stares for not wearing enough black), before eventually ending on the reinforcing notes of 'be polite' and 'don't freak out okay?'.

    Eventually the Deathknight bows out at the gates leading up a road on the side of the mountain, pocked with shrines almost every few steps, and into an honest to god skull fortress carved into the side of a mountain, of the pirate island ride variety. Whoever Typhon's guy was, he apparently got them an audience with someone important, rather than just intending to serve as a personal contact. After all, a random informant could just send messages, and probably wouldn't be very useful for the prize Typhon's new pal has set his sights on.

    They end up being let through by numbers of ghostly guards at various checkpoints on the path, and allowed to enter through the mouth of the giant basalt skull fort, clearly stepping over the boundary of a Manse due to the spike in ambient magical energy. They're guided through a number of lavishly appointed halls, hung with huge rosters of names and wall-to-wall portraits instead of real art, and eventually lead to a hearing room. The only thing seemingly untoward about it is that the rather burly and well-dressed ghost at the door asks that they remove 'all recording devices' and put them in a china bowl by the door to retrieve later. This is apparently a thing now. The guy who runs this place seems to be less egotistically ignorant of the Multiverse.

Staren has posed:
    "Huh." Staren comments, upon arriving on a volcanic island. He has a relative who lives on a volcanic island, who's shown him pictures of the black sand, so it makes him think of her, briefly. He doesn't think she'd like a shadowland, though. He's arrived wearing his old power armor -- it's lighter and more familiar and comfortable, not that he's /expecting/ a fight but when you have a shady meeting in a place as dangerous as creation you come prepared. Not being confronted with the usual smells of death, though, he leaves his visor open to smell the sea air.

    "Nngh." He grunts in vague discomfort as they approach the ancient sea monster skeleton. A city built inside a skeleton is just kind of unsettling. Typhon's explanation piques his interest, though. A society and culture built in a shadowland that predates the deathlords? How would that shape a society? He's actually kind of curious.

    He stops, briefly, after stepping into the manse, wanting to examine the essence flows... but he decides it's not worth slowing down for and also he forgot to put essence goggles in this armor.

    And then he's presented with a problem. "Uhhhhh... real talk, /I'm/ a recording device. I mean, it's built into my brain. If you're willing to take my word that I've turned it off, or have some kind of anti-recording spell, great, but otherwise..." He's ready to turn around and leave if they refuse him, he recorded the way here obviously. If they'll let him just turn off all his cameras, though, he proceeds, or removes his armor and leaves his bag behind if asked, revealing a bodysuit underneath which reshapes into his usual clothes.

Miari (1129) has posed:
    After everything that's happened, Miari has resolved to make no further contact with Bloody Revelations's operations. But she's always keen to hear more information... and so she has once again donned her Dragon-Blooded Wood Aspect aura masking the truth of her Infernal nature.

    As usual, she's quiet but VERY observant during most of the trip. At several points - especially noting the industrious, pragmatic usage of the Undead to do hard labor - she actually browquirks approvingly, a hint of a pleased smirk showing briefly.

    She can DEFINITELY appreciate such an approach to things.

    Still, she's dressed in her finest regalia, in old Shogunate style. A flowing and formal kimono, primarily green but displaying thin floral patterns of golden flowers. It seems she just can't drop the green-and-gold motif!

    At being asked to turn over recording devices she simply smiles, displays her empty palms and that she has absolutely no pockets to speak of... and then quietly eyerolls at Staren's admission, biting her lips at the matter.

    She's, of course, not going to mention the exacting amount of Essence-bolstered focus that she's cultivating just before the meeting, so she can commit the exact events and every last detail to memory for later analysis.

    "News travels quickly through certain channels. Who knew events all the way in the East would have reached the last refuges of humanity in the far West within a week?"

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Through one way or another, Ryu ended up tagging along with this little visit. His reactions to the city have been subdued. He's in his human form, and so his facial expressions are easily read. He looks around with unease not because of any innate sort of fear of the place or its inhabitants, but because if the anathemic reaction they could have to his presence. He frets about making a bad impression on these apparently functional death-aligned people, and overall keeps his head down so that he doesn't cause any problems for their evidently peaceful way of life. The eerie but natural air to the place is a fantastic change from the grim shadowlands he's experienced so far, and the other experiences with the deathly beings inhabiting Creation.

    Ryu answers the bouncer at the door with a shrug, since he doesn't have any recording devices. He pauses to watch the others remove theirs if they have any. He opens up his satchel for the bouncer to take a look inside if he would like, showcasing that the contents are almost exclusively medicine and travel supplies, since he likes to think of himself as a wandering doctor more than anything else. He smiles to the bouncer, even, since this whole place's context has made him hopeful that this will take him in a little more productive of a direction.

    "Nice city," he mentions, even. "I wasn't expecting something so peaceful. I think I'll visit here again and talk to the ghosts, I need the perspective..." He glances aside at the others. Particularly at Miari. Her comments get him to look around, brows lifted, then direct his gaze back to her. "They might just have multiverse-capable radios here," he tells her, "They seem to know their stuff." Ryu indicates the bouncer.

    "Might even know most of our names at the least."

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
"Now, I would /very/ much appreciate being given room to work."
"We know."
"Aside from Seft and only barely George, each one of you has surely made quite a mess of this business already."
"Confused. Biteblade didn't do anything."
"That's not the point. The point is that for once, let us not be the ones who turn this into an incident of violence."
"Not taking responsibility for anyone else."
"A fine policy, one I wish I could share."
"It's chill. Let's see what we can do."

    The Flotilla enjoys the trip over here, and they chat among themselves and with Typhon without discomfort, at least those who are so inclined. Albert may be a little wary of the idea of another death city, but not so wary that his thoughts won't be quickly dismissed by the proper sight of it. It's not an awful hellhole. It's hardly even a hole to begin with. Nice place to settle down.

    "I am always polite, Mr. Typhon. And I am never 'freaked out'." Moonfin assures his guide on the way up, and then slips on into the area after all six Flotilla captains quickly take the helmets of their gear out of their Matter Manipulators and detach the recording equipment therein. Given the nature of Seft's memory -- that is, being equivalent to the memory of a human -- she makes a brief case that her ears don't count as recording equipment, which George makes fun of her for on the way in. And Moonfin makes assurances for Staren: "He works for the Concord, within which we have the rank requisite to promise that all due consequences shall be levied if he engages in deceptive subterfuge." He then gives Staren a look that says he doesn't expect that to be a problem, though not in an unfriendly way.

    They're eager to head in, and even more eager to get started on hearing this business itself. Well, everyone except Albert, who never feels good about being at any kind of official event like this.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe is wary, after the battle at Lookshy? Tomoe has become quite disheartened and starting to wonder if even getting involved in creation was a bright idea, and she started to understand something about a few of the older Union Elites who had faded into the private sector after the multiverse barfed. She would hear this out even if she didn't hold much hope for this. It's another shadow-land? That does not seem hopeful for her personal prospects. She also wondered what caused this shadow-land in the first place then thinks she doesn't want to know. She does notice this place is not a hellhole, just kinda of Gothic. Still the jokes do a little for her. This place has a far different feel but she is still wary and the undead, well mindless unead, the art the guards? She takes it all in as she goes she's not sure what to think.

She's also thankful in an odd way right now she can't FRAPs anymore when she's out and about.

"Yes it does seem to travel fast but I think Multiveral infulence may be a factor in that Miari."

She does fork over her smart phone after locking it, and that should be that, right?

Carna has posed:
    Carna would like to know exactly who she is working with and to what ends. She is willing to do so, but Bloody Revelations' sarcastic dismissal when she questioned her motives did not endear her, and she has been given no reason to trust her since then. Whispers in her mind tell her she should aim to kill the Abyssal if the opportunity arises, but not to rush into it. Her soul tells her that, at the very least, the act was dishonorable, necessary or not, and that is evidence enough that there should be no further cooperation and no trust extended. The other half of her tells her that she should try to gain more information that might allow her to make a correct judgment, and that the knowledge of the powers she saw at work could prove useful, regardless of any alliance or lack thereof.

    On the whole, she is undecided, but leaning towards antagonistic. Her interest is more in this world than the one who has acted as their contact with the Underworld. She has, at Enark's suggestion donned her 'old' attire, rather than the red gothic steampunk courtly finery mish-mash she has been going about in. Even with that overly large hat, she is less likely to stand out.

    Enark, for his part, is likewise wearing his old, worn, blood-stained robes, threadbare in places, the blue so leeched from the fabric that it has become black. This is an information gathering mission for him and Carna. Even if the scholar has accepted the reality that he will repeat his failures over and over and over again, he has also accepted that he will never stop trying either. Beyond that, however, there is more to him and his desires than saving people. For those other objectives, he needs information, and physical materials.

    As he walks alongside the Lantern that once terrified him, as comfortable with her as he would be with Count Kord, or Priscilla, or as he is with Staren and Tomoe, he reminisces in the spooky fishing village they pass through. He nods to Ryu and says, "This reminds me of the coastal towns and cities surrounding the base of the Second Coin. A vast, dark sea extending far beyond the distance the eye can see. The Dead working and playing and living alongside one another without fear or hardship."

    He looks out across the gray waters. "If there were an assortment of ships, with hanging lanterns and luminous spheres adorning them, or vast towers with enormous telescopes and spotlights and radio transmitters for observing and contacting the various Black Isles, I could almost believe we were there." He looks up, but finds no towers, nor any gargantuan cliff face of solid granite, with a crimson palace visible as no more than a red line above.

    His eyes come back down. "Perhaps I'll return there soon."

    He is silent the rest of the way. Carna has said nothing, merely writing down what she sees so that she will remember it later. When confronted about 'recording devices' she quietly and subtly slips the book away within her cloak. She is not handing that over to anyone, though she is content not to write in it for now.

    "I can stab you in the brain until it stops working, Sir Staren." she offers, in the naively serious and emotionless tone the old Carna used to use all the time. A grim demeanor she has apparently been practicing with Enark's coaching. She allow Moonfin and others to handle any talking beyond that. She's out of her element, even if she has vestiges of recollection of courtly mannerisms. Which she is, ironically, not allowed to show because Enark thought this meeting would be of a very different nature. Enark out-planning himself again!

Batou (1153) has posed:
Batou arrives, Tachikoma of course nearby as he looks over the suprisingly well-kept city. Considering Lookshy was, in his opinion, absolutely and utterly fucked, this place is a sight for sore eyes. At first he's hesistant with all the ghosts and zombies wandering about, but ultimately relaxes as he sees them acting... pretty much normal. Ish.

Tachikoma is fascinated in the overall city design, and is cheerfully waving to passersby. "Mr. Batou, I didn't know we would be going to such an amazing place!" Tachikoma whirrs happily.

Baotu just chuckles, looking behind his shoulders at the zombies working diligently, hardly even looking dead. "Huh... Necromancy obviously has a pretty wide gamut in terms of... evil..."
That's all Batou has to say that is even remotely positive when it comes to the dead reanimated. Anti-ghost protocols are still in place.

Upon these ghosts asking for "recording devices" Batou chuckles and points to Tachikoma.
"Ahh shit, sorry Tachikoma... You'll just have to stay and keep these guards company. Hope you fellas don't mind too much."
"Aww, lemme in lemme in!" Tachikoma complains as Batou passes the guards and opens a line of communication to Tachikoma, remotely allowing Tachikoma to examine and upload. Considering how the rest have had to "get rid" of their own recording devices, he figures he'll be the one making the most grandiose "effort" to follow the rules here. But, down to business. Let's see what the informant has for us...

All-Seeing Eye has posed:
     Along the way, Eye behaves himself, largely because Typhon is the reason this meeting even happened in first place. There is clearly something that is bothering him, as he follows along the guided tour. He spends much of the way there distracted, only providing his input when absolutely necessary. Even his allies don't get much from him. Everything about this place is different than every other Shadowland he's seen. When he arrives at the final checkpoint, he doesn't surrender any devices.

     Instead, he simply waits to be shown the door. "Hello, hello," says the Exalt convivially, extending his arms wide. He pauses, just to make sure there's someone actually in here. If not, he'll be very cranky about wasting such an exuberant entrance on an empty room, and onlookers can absolutely expect an indignant huff should this be the case.

     Assuming there is someone, whether lying in wait or springing forth in some grandiose, wizardly display, Eye continues, with a grin. "My name is All-Seeing Eye. The very one Typhon surely told you about?" His smile widens, and he nods in a humored, knowing way. "Do you mind if I ask a few questions, before we properly get into things? I'm just... curious about why this place seems so... natural, for lack of a better word. We have nothing like your Underworld, where I'm from. Do you mind indulging a tourist's curiosity?"

Sir Gawain has posed:
Gawain is quite surprised by this place. All of his experiences with Shadowlands have been very negative, and he doesn't like them even slightly. But this place feels more...natural. He smells the air, looks at the trees, looks at the vegetation, and is clearly just sort of stunned. But he takes it in stride, laughing at some of Typhon's jokes, and glancing around the bones the city has been built out of, as well as watching the locals. Huh, this place is actually...kind of nice.

When they part ways with Typhon, Gawain tips his head, and moves to the door. "Ah, yes, I understand." He removes his cellphone from his pocket (wearing a black suit with a gold tie, as it's supposed to be a discussion), and places it in the china bowl. Standing at a creepy death castle is a bit unnerving, but Gawain can handle it.

Gawain joins All-Seeing Eye, tipping his head and letting his fellow Warden do most of the talking. "Sir Gawain, Warden of the Paladins, Knight of the Sun. It's a pleasure." Hopefully the Knight of the Sun mention doesn't get him in trouble. "Yes, I'm curious as well. It's quite a beautiful city, for what it is!"

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    Regardless of the level of mild bickering and awkward attempts to be convincing that happen at the door, the bouncer isn't all that insistent upon triple checking, frisking, and running the lie detector over people. They're actually let in without too much fuss, albeit with a couple of sketchy looks at the weirdos, and then a long, awkward one at the big excitable robot he's suddenly left with like a hotel receptionist with someone's dog in the lobby. This is all well and good, since once everyone steps over the threshold and into a vast sort of combination conference and throne room of black marble and cold blue light coming through huge drapes, any currently active recording devices, or attempts to turn them on, meet with said device sputtering and probably blowing up with little pops of sparks and feedback overload. Apparently, removing them at the door was more of a 'please turn your cellphone off before the movie' suggestion rather than a serious security checkpoint.

    'Someone important' may have been an understatement. It looks like they've had an appointment arranged with /the/ important someone. One look at him communicates instantly that he is the head honcho of this entire island, and not just because he has an ebony and onyx inset throne all to himself. He is tall and imposing in a way that Mask of Winters never was --authoritative and regal rather than crudely terrifying-- and is clad in voluminous silver robes that are probably an equivalent expense to a custom luxury car. There is soulsteel incorporated into his outfit, from what is visible underneath of a sort of king's maille, but it isn't screaming or squirming with tortured faces, so there's that. He also has a mask, though a more relatively ordinary one, made of ivory, however he removes it as people step into the room, revealing a pallid but ruggedly handsome face and long, princely hair.

    If someone is going to let off sparks for cheekily trying to record the meeting anyways, his reaction is remarkably sedate, constituting an airy wave and a "My apologies, but you were asked quite politely. I hear you are individuals with a keen dislike of dishonesty, and so I wish to be entirely forthright with you. That does quite probably entail a number of state secrets, however, so this is how I compromise. Take it as you will."

    Getting down to business, he leans forward in his chair and steeples his fingers slightly. "Well met. I am aware of who you are. You've done more than enough to garner the attention of anyone with both spies and sense, after all, and the Mask of Winters had many in my court who were eager to reveal themselves and defect afterwards. This is actually the unusual situation wherein I am quite certain only my guests to not know who /I/ am." For a moment, he stands up, and then gives a rather cordial bow (albeit, he's still on higher ground than everyone else). "I go by the Silver Prince. I am the autocrat of the city of Onyx, and the society of Skullstone as a whole. The harmonious state you have no doubt seen on you way in is my creation, and so I hope you will find that sufficient credibility to lend your ear for a few minutes."

    He sits back down, slowly. "The shadowland that envelops these island goes by the moniker of the Web of Shadows. It predates even the Usurpation of the Solars of the First Age, having arose very early into their rule. The first of its kind, in fact. A tiny little novelty, quarantined from the world, and ignored by the Shogunate that came after them. I'm sure at least some of you have heard of the Great Contagion. Perhaps fewer have heard that the disease holds no power inside of the Underworld, and so very little in old shadowlands. The original population of this island were refugees of the Contagion, fled from surrounding islands, who built their lives here in relative safety."

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    "The massive death toll of the Contagion itself spread the shadowland in size to cover the entire archipelago, certainly, but that's simply a fact of life. The flora and fauna that survive in shadowlands have long thrived here, and mortals have made their living from them, as well as the rich wrecks of the First Age that litter the surrounding waters, and have done brisk trade with their neighbours for many centuries. It was a self-made community, you see. All I've done is elevate it into the economic powerhouse of the west, via my civil philosophy and design."

    "I know you have your own notions of what shadowlands mean, but ultimately, they are just places. Simple geography. Here you will find public schools, housing, and health care, with the highest level of education and standard of living in the entire Direction. You'll find that everyone has housing and none go hungry, and that men and women no longer perform hard labour, working only forty hours a week and with the rest dedicated to luxuries and entertainment. Money is hardly an object, all are looked after by the state, the law is extensive and robust, and most importantly, the programme of the New Order sees that those who have lived righteous and productive lives are brought back as ghosts without fail, nobly delaying their reincarnation so they may continue to serve their fellow man, and enjoy all the rights of a living citizen and more. The ways of the Underworld are what you make of them --nothing more, nothing less."

    "You understand, then, why the Mask of Winters has been an issue for me, in terms of public acceptance of the idea that the dead can coexist with the living, owing to his little sham drama. It was also true, however, that his theatrics distracted Heaven and the Realm to an extraordinary degree, and now I find myself with in the problematic position where attention I would rather not have may turn the people of Skullstone at any moment, and look upon them not with a favourable eye. Simply put, someone who spreads the conception of the Underworld as a force of primal evil out to destroy the land of the living is no friend of mine. Put again, someone who is apparently capable of /making good/ on that promise is a severe obstacle I cannot abide. Do you believe that puts us on some common ground, then?"

Carna has posed:
    The supernaturally aged scholar's attention, if it was not already focused on their host, becomes even sharper when he begins to speak of this 'Great Contagion'. He listens very intently, but the details are scarce. Eventually, what appears to be a... Death Lord? Something of that nature? He informs them of the situation, his policies on death and life and their interactions, and lays the groundwork for what their operational relationship might be. He wants to see eye to eye with them, if he can.

    Carna is looking towards Enark for some sign of what to do next, some cue or signal. The wizard is too fixated on the speech however, and the familiarity it brings to him. "Yes, this all sounds quite reasonable. There was a similar situation back home before people started messing it up. If this is functioning as intended, preventing disruptions that could endanger it sounds as though it would be in both our interests." He pauses and looks around at the others.

    "At least, that is how I feel. I assume that the one you speak of as being disruptive is Lady Bloody Revelations?"

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe gets that feeling she's in over her head again, she knows even if she doesn't take this deal? She's going to keep whatever goes down to herself. She listens to what the Silver Prince has to says, "I heard of it in passing once but nothing more." She tilts her head with interest this land was not what she expected she has to admit. "I only seen Thorns and the new one in Lookshy, before today."

She cringes a bit at the last one, it's not a good memory. Worse she almost threw the coin away, and that would have answered some questions she'd really wouldn't have wanted to know the answer to.

"You don't want prying eyes here messing up the balance the people living and dead here have obtained? I take the few the underworld has primal evil habituating it, not that it's evil in and of it self. Most of the religions on my world have some concept of a afterlife where the dead dwell. At least that's my basic understanding of it. There is some common ground, I will admit."

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "I am sure you are quite aware, indeed. Though it is fitting that I answer an introduction with my own. I am Haruto, Moonfin of the Hylotl, First Captain of the Starbound Flotilla, Hand of the Concord. You certainly have all the credibility you need." Moonfin says, stepping forward into the chamber. "Life finds a way, and where it does not, at the very least the act of living does. I have seen many lands that seemed inhospitable, and though they may not be quite as death-shrouded as yours, they have long taught me to understand and accept that balance can be found in the strangest ways and the strangest aesthetics. You seem to have it here."

    His thoughts turn uneasy, and his forehead creases with three eyes worth of frown. There's a glance to Albert, and a knowing look is exchanged between the two, before he focuses on Silver Prince. "I can certainly understand why Mask of Winters was a disruption to your interests, and even more why you may now be concerned. I cannot say for sure if our ground is yet common, but it is surveyed and mutually understood as much as it may be. I'd know what you might yet ask of us, before I claim to be supporting what is here."

"How's those feelings?"
"Floran isss trying to decide."
"I don't like it much. Seems like he's gone too much with the flow. Taking the best he can get, not fighting the world for a proper better deal."
"Critical. And, what, take Revelations' methods? Embracing a status quo like this is just sensible, and trying to protect it isn't wrong."
"His status quo depended on the cancer growing in Thorns. Don't like it."
"You know what, fuzzball, agree with you for once. Not sure I like where this is headed for a couple'a reasons. Let's watch the speed dial and ready our brakin' ankles."

    The Flotilla murmur among themselves over their network, discussing what the ruler had to say in the classic way that politicians would chatter behind their diplomat. They're still quite open to hearing more, of course, especially what might be asked of them.

All-Seeing Eye has posed:
     All-Seeing Eye is one of the ones to discover the true nature of the advisory. And, as promised, it's received with an annoyed huff. An attempt to turn on his recording device is met with a very obvious spark and an audible, terse pop. He of course pretends it's just his eye irritating him, rubbing his face and discreetly swapping it out for a prosthetic too dull and lifeless to be convincing. He smiles sweetly at the figure before him. "Of course," he says. "I'm simply doing my job, and you're doing yours. I don't take it personally!"

     "I've heard of the forty hour work week," he notes with what might be approval. "That, and what you've set up here are noble things, indeed. But isn't it..." He searches for the words, eyes glancing upwards briefly. "Contrary to the standard operating procedures of Creation at large? Even if you wish it no ill will, you said yourself it wasn't a part of Creation's original design, by way of giving its history. And the dead Breaker who fancies itself your master--surely you have one, whether you recognize its authority or not. Surely /that/ being doesn't want peaceful coexistence. Can you ignore its will so easily?" Yes, the cyborg thought police needs a little more convincing before he can drop his suspicion.

Sir Gawain has posed:
The Silver Prince certainly makes an impression. Gawain remains calm and smiling as the autocrat speaks, paying close attention to everything he says. There's a nod at various points that make sense, as Gawain wonders whether this man's a Deathlord or something else, though the presence of soulsteel makes it highly possible he is one. The knight waits until he finishes speaking and addresses them before speaking himself.

Sir Gawain has posed:
The Silver Prince certainly makes an impression. Gawain remains calm and smiling as the autocrat speaks, paying close attention to everything he says. There's a nod at various points that make sense, as Gawain wonders whether this man's a Deathlord or something else, though the presence of soulsteel makes it highly possible he is one. The knight waits until he finishes speaking and addresses them before speaking himself.

"If what you say is true, and from what I saw, I have no reason to doubt you, then what you rule here is quite admirable. I see no reason not to support such a society where people can just live, and then continue to support when they die. I myself am a legendary hero brought back after death, and have met others, so I can understand the concept." Gawain speaks, in case the Silver Prince didn't know this much. He nods in Carna's direction as she mentions Bloody Revelations, obviously assuming the same thing, though he does add another comment. "I do apologize that we have made things difficult for you. That wasn't our intention. For a Shadowland, this place seems quite pleasant, so it must be in how they are cultivated that they can become abhorrent?"

Staren's comment gets a reply from Gawain in his direction. "I'm actually quite interested in knowing more about these ways and this New Order. The name is quite interesting. Is it simply a program where noble souls become ghosts, or is there more to it?"

And then, a glance to Moonfin. "Ah, yes, I am curious about that as well. What do you need of us, Silver Prince?" All-Seeing Eye gets Gawain looking his way, watching his words, but no clear response except for a slight frown.

Miari (1129) has posed:
    "You are surprisingly knowledgeable about the Web of Shadows..." Miari states, eyes widening a little at the history lesson being given here! "Indeed. Legend has it that the Web of Shadows was formed when the first Primordial fell in the ancient war, long, long ago. Try as they might, even the brightest of the Solar Exalted could not purge the deathly power that touches this place. Perhaps, a lasting moment to the sin of striking down the architects of this world."

    She returns the bow with a gesture of her own, bow-nodding deeply, but it's obvious that formalities are not her strong suit beyond watching her words.

    "Skullstone surprises me. I did not think it possible for people to thrive this well. No doubt, the bounties of the seas are to thank for some of it. Unless... have you discovered ways to farm worthy food?" The question's asked with a considerable bit of piqued interest, the sort of curiosity that only a scholar can have!

    But it becomes apparent what the Silver Prince's intentions are quickly enough. She purses her lips thoughtfully... and offers a smile in return to the long monologue.

    "Your words ring true. There is more civilization here than you will find across most of Creation. Save, perhaps, the Scarlet Empire itself... and then, none of it is to be enjoyed by the common man or woman. What I've seen of Skullstone deserves high praise."

    She goes on to state, "When the Underworld first appeared, and the first Ghosts with it, many of the Chosen and Gods considered it an aberration. An abomination. The gaping hole at its heart was, and still remains, a most troubling quandary. Beyond its influence, I have no particular qualms about the Underworld or Shadowlands, o Silver Prince. But worse fates than death can befall those who tarry in the Underworld. The Timeless Order of Manacle and Coin. The Soulsteel forges. The Whispers of Oblivion. It makes the prospect of having the Underworld on one's borders a mite worrisome. Only great care, and mighty power can ward those off."

Batou (1153) has posed:
Batou regards Eye with a curious smile as he makes his grandiose entrance, chuckling as he attempts to begin relaying the recording. The Tachikoma's icon gets more and more garbled until the connection is severed. As he reattempts connetion with the spider-bot, he realizes that his tech isn't gonna let him get these words out digitally, as much as he'd like to.
Batou grumbles but doesn't say anything, considering Staren's gripes about honesty as a paladin. Psh. Either way, Eye obsiously ran into the same type of rooadblock, considering that he's replacing his recording eye with a fake.

Outside, Tachikoma attempts to strike up a conversation, telling the guards how impressed it is with the city. The mileage of Tachikoma's success may vary, depending on the awkwardness of them with a giant robot emoting and whirring at them.
"Oh! It's so amazing here! Please, tell me about all these zombies and ghosts! We ran into some /real/ baddies earlier. Scary stuff!"

Batou makes a move to speak directly"Good to meet you, Silver Prince. We're here to help, but we still have our reservations, as my allies have stated. What /kind/ of attention scares you? And considering that you and your citzens had it good for so long... how can we be sure that it was just your steady hand and not something nefarious? Apologies for the lack of trust, of course."

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu is brought into a room with someone that gives off an air of incredible importance. This immediately rankles him. His form shifts in a flicker of light from human to dragon, and his wings shuffle on his back. He stares with monstrous golden eyes toward the Silver Prince with a silent, unwarranted ire that is definitely sudden. He apparently doesn't like people like this in the slightest. His head tilts softly and his eyes lid, and his mouth droops in displeasure. He makes sure his posture is high and his own power is quite clear here, like a threatened animal.

    "I don't give a shit about the in-fighting."

    Ryu's brusque tone continues in his crass way.

    "I don't trust you. Bloody Revelations comes to us with honesty, too, and if that's the precedence I have to go with, you're gonna have to do a lot more than this. I'm not in the business of furthering the goals of people that are aligned with death and put themselves above others by their very nature. But!"

    He holds up a claw. "I want to help your people. If some divine dipshit kicks over your sand castle, I'll try to help. If only to keep the normal folks you've got here from getting ground under the wheels. They don't need that."

Staren has posed:
    Staren frowns at Carna's suggestion. "If you do that, not only will I have to be restored from backup and I'll be out a clone body, I'll /still/ miss the meeting, making it pointless."
    Staren remembers his clothes can look however he wants, so he adopts the local colorscheme on the way in, changing his coat to a black military-style one and making his pants match.

    When Eye's eye sparks, Staren is very glad he turned off recording. That would have been... bad.

    He regards the ruler curiously -- he wasn't sure what to expect, but so far this guy isn't setting off any alarm bells. He /sounds/ like a reasonable, benevolent ruler... which could be a deception, of course, but the deathlords they've met so far wouldn't have even cared to do such.

    He nods as the Silver Prince introduces himself. He looks surprised at the news that the Great Contagion doesn't affect shadowlands. That's interesting.

    The description of society here -- with what he saw on the way in -- is also tantalizing. It sounds far ahead of the vast majority of creation. Second perhaps only to Bloody Revelation's hypothetical, transhumanist ghost society. But what this man promises is already here, rather than being deferred to the desires of Sixteenth Night's Silence, and it should be easy to fact-check for records of this place elsewhere in Creation, if it's existed so long.

    The catboy rubs his chin thoughtfully, then starts to pace. After several moments trying to wrap his mind around this, he speaks: "Bloody Revelations claims that she wishes to build a society such as this, but that necessity requires that the ghosts of Lookshy work as slaves to Sixteenth Night's Silence until the deathlords' conquest is complete." Obviously Silver Prince already knows who he is, so he doesn't think it important to introduce himself. He stops pacing and looks at the Silver Prince. "How long has your society been this advanced? Why not spread these enlightened ways to the rest of Creation?"

    Bloody Revelations's plan requires the death of basically all Creation, after all. Including this place. If this place already exists... there has to be a better way to fix Creation.

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    Several people have their suspicions, but All-Seeing Eye comes out with it, and when he does, the Silver Prince only laughs. That is, not a maniacal, bone-shattering laughter of pure evil like the Mask of Winters, or the shrill, freakish, deranged tittering of Eye and Seven Despairs, but something smooth and heavy as black velvet curtains. He coughs quietly into his glove, and his appearance briefly shifts, losing some of its opacity and visual 'weight', making his skin faintly translucent and luminescent, and his voice stirs with the deep, placid, impenetrable fathoms of a black and mirror-still lake, still and resonant and unhurried.

    "Of course, of course. Though the Silver Prince is my official title, and the one I would prefer you use, my Neverborn name is the Bodhisattva Anointed by Dark Waters. It's true, I count myself amongst the thirteen Deathlords, though even you should be quick to admit that only the two you've met so far have been radically different. There are many reasons that the Thirteen seldom ever work together, and most of them are ideological."

    He waves a hand over his face, and it all switches back. "It is true that my patron, Perfected Principle of Consumption, wishes to see Creation's total death as well as any other of the Neverborn. I've told him everything of my plans as well. The fact is that he will have to be patient."

    "All of my rivals have their own grand visions for how Creation will eventually go out, but they all share the same critical flaw. Whether it's marshaling armies and rampaging across the face of the four directions, plunging the world into massive civil and religious strife, unleashing horrific plague and the scourge of the Fair Folk once more, or subtler ruin, the fact is that if any of them were ever to gain any traction --and I mean really, credibly threatening to succeed-- all of the universe would be their enemy. Every single last Solar, Lunar, and Sidereal Exalted, all the gods in Heaven and of the Terrestrial court, every legion of the Dragon-Blooded, every mortal and spirit and most likely even the servants of the Yozis, would turn against them, and the only thing they could count on from their peers would be swift sabotage so that they might steal the glory of finishing off a weakened Creation."

    "I like to think that I've taken the practical approach to this eventual goal. Creation will not be killed by force, and it will not die any time soon. Success comes to those who are patient and make no enemies. If I may be so plain, the Web of Shadows serves as my show room model --my pitch for my philosophy of the New Order, where the people of Creation learn to accept death, to live side by side with it, to strive for the status of the righteous dead rather than resigning themselves to the wheel of reincarnation, and after embracing death as an alternative lifestyle, it is inevitable that the last mortal will one day walk into the Underworld of their own volition. No heavenly powers of armies of the Exalted can fight a social movement with blades and magic, after all."

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    "The destruction of Creation is also a popularly misunderstood goal. Our masters, the Neverborn, wish to see Creation annihilated because it anchors them still to the world of the living. As long as Creation exist, it fetters them to existence as well, withholding them from fully descending into Oblivion, and ceasing to linger eternally on the precipice of death. That much is all /they/ care for, and it is abundantly understood between us that, though Creation must disappear, the Underworld need not necessarily follow so quickly. Everything will cease to exist /eventually/, but that could be hundreds of thousands of years, and in the long, long time it takes, all of us would like to be in a position to enjoy it. Do you follow?"

    "None of the Deathlords /actually/ want to throw themselves into the Void. All of them scheme and sabotage one another because their ultimate goal is to be the de-facto ruler of the Underworld at the end of it all. The king of the universe when the game is over. The idea of gleefully throwing oneself into the Void is a fiction perpetuated by the utterly mad --those whose minds were cracked by exposure to the Neverborn-- and those who profit from having others do it for them. Please, give even /us/ a little credit. If we were so keen on existential suicide, certainly we've had enough time to enact it. The desire to rule the world as a benevolent god-king is hardly an uncommon one, even if you find it distasteful, and certainly not as dramatic as my peers and their sense of theatrics. If you would begrudge me even that, consider the fact that you would have literally centuries to stop me. I assure you, you don't have that long to stop the others."

    The Silver Prince re-laces his fingers and leans forward again with a more intense expression when they get to the second, substantial chunk of the subject matter. "I raised this island out of borderline poverty five hundred years ago. I've taken many different forms and worn many different faces to ensure that the people of Skullstone were educated and provided for and correctly guided by the tenets of the New Order Philosophy, so that they could build all of this themselves. This island wouldn't be possible at the hand of a Deathlord who simply ordered all of it built. The Mask of Winters does, or I suppose did, the exact opposite: conquering a helpless city by force, then putting up the flimsiest sham of a necro-utopia to keep the diplomats away."

    "More importantly, the Mask of Winters was an absolute fool. Prior to his invasion of Thorns, none of Creation knew we Deathlords even /existed/, and the few giods and mystics that did knew us only as wise, ghostly sages. Any number of plans could have continued subtly and uninterrupted for millennia, but he wasted the advantages of time and secrecy all to vaingloriously conquer a single city. The Deathknight you seek the death of was not wrong to castigate him so. He was the most widely hated of the Thirteen, even by his peers, and perhaps his death could be interpreted as the approval of his patron to punish him."

    "Because of him, armies drill in fighting zombies, monks learn to exorcise ghosts, martial artists learn the ways of light and fire to harm the undead, and Yu-Shan sends its spies across the face of the world to gather every piece of information they can about their new enemy. The entire world prepares for war with the Underworld, and that loud fool was an open book into his methods, absorbing all the attention of the great powers, where it was all on display. After his death, they'll be emboldened that all the other Deathlords can be defeated, and set their sights on new targets."

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    "You may be correct that Bloody Revelations has some slight ideological overlap with my own vision for Creation. I've read some of her works out of idle curiosity before. From what I've gathered though, she is not prepared to wait for Creation to embrace death as its friend and inevitable transition. She sees every soul that enters reincarnation as irretrievably lost, and so endeavours to kill and destroy as much as possible, to 'preserve' it in the Underworld. She sees death as a refuge, and the Underworld an ark, and kills with the air of a self-appointed saint."

    "You've worked for her. I know that. I know that she directed you with a concerning amount of intelligence that she should have had no way of knowing, and also that you essentially did all the hard work. You are capable, you are reliable, and forgive me for saying this, but you wear your motivations on your sleeve. Therefore, I am willing to trust you in helping me be rid of that walking match in the powder keg that is currently Creation, and having her neutralized or disposed of before her madness sets something in motion that cannot be stopped. There are things I can offer you that she cannot. I know things that she will not tell you. Most importantly, I know why she needs you, and why without your aid, she cannot succeed."

Carna has posed:
    It appears that there's a great deal that Enark wasn't aware of. A great, great deal. Beginning with talk of the Silver Prince's 'masters', and continuing on to confirm himself to be a Death Lord, Enark mentally chastises himself for being so quick to trust appearances. For someone adept at manufacturing deception in the form of mimics, he should know better than to assume.

    The tale told of Creation, the Underworld, these Neverborn, the politics of the Death Lords, and this particular individual's spin on things is one that Enark would, were he alone with the man, be glad to sit down and talk about for many days and nights.

    But the fact of the matter is, he's not alone, he has to watch what he says, and the ultimate goal being to annihilate everything forever, even if 'eventually', is a threat that Enark can not work with. Sure, the universe would eventually die and become nothing but massive blackholes that span the full extend of the space that the current universe comprises. But there's no reason for Eternity to die too.

    Abandoning the physical universe is a necessity, but ceasing to exist forever...

    Still, the man makes a lot of sense. So the scholar approaches it from an academic perspective. "Even after hearing more details, I have not changed my answer. I am personally willing to work with you. However, I have conditions. The first among them is that I would like to speak privately with you. I have some questions, and I have more I can offer you than my involvement in dealing with a disruptive influence."

    Carna looks suspiciously at Enark, and even more suspiciously at the Silver Prince. "I have an interest in learning as well. I have no allegiance to Bloody Revelations, and I won't claim I am prepared to offer any to you. But if you are willing to make a deal, and accept that I do not trust you any more than I do her and will act accordingly at the first sign of betrayal, you can count me as an... Agent as well."

Staren has posed:
    Staren stares in disbelief when it's revealed they're talking to a deathlord. A deathlord who would, albeit much more slowly, ALSO see Creation replaced by the underworld.

    He thinks this over, but... it doesn't sound so great. "So... You want us to stop Bloody Revelations from finishing /your/ job, so that you can take a longer time to replace Creation with an underworld paradise. And you probably don't know how to fix blind or frail ghosts like she can." He turns and looks at Dark Waters. "If what you say is true, you have no reason to fight her. You've got this archipelago well in hand, and once she takes care of the rest of Creation, it's not like she has to go THROUGH you to make this place finish sinking into the Underworld, right? You'd have no reason to hold her back."

    He points at the deathlord. "Prove that you're better than Mask of Winters and Eye of Seven Despairs. Instead of squabbling with eachother, work /together/. If you and Bloody Revelations worked /together/, I bet you could usher in a better age so fast Creation won't know what hit it."

    He folds his arms. "Assuming, of course, that what you and she speak about an underworld paradise is truly possible. But certainly your city is even more convincing an argument than what Bloody Revelations has shown us."

    "Although," he strokes his chin again, "wasn't there some problem with ghosts having their feelings dulled, and not really living? You say their existance here is even better than that of the living, but how'd you solve this problem? Bloody Revelations talked like it was a big deal that she was even working on /theories/ about how to fix that. So one of you is lying."

    Staren folds his arms and frowns at the deathlord.

    And then it slowly dawns on him that he told off a deathlord, he doesn't even have his armor, and he starts glancing between Silver Prince and the exit, and sidling a bit closer to one of the bigger, tougher elites so he could maybe try to dodge behind them if Dark Waters decides to attack.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu frowns continuously and crosses his inhumanly proportioned arms. His claws rest on his elbows, and his ears flicker, and an almost imperious air falls over him as the Silver Prince speaks at length about the difference between his plan and the plans of the others. He doesn't seem to be buying that this is somehow the more advantageous route, based off of the rigid and hostile posture he's maintaining, like he's more likely to growl or shout than hold a polite conversation.

    His snout wrinkles at the idea of working to kill Bloody Revelations.

    "This is just more of the same. 'My plan is better! Help me kill my rivals,' it's the same bunk she's dragging us into. None of you can work together because you're all self-absorbed idiots that think your ideas are more important alone than together. I'm glad you're all having trouble with each other, honestly, and I don't care that your form of worldly death looks gentler. It'll still mean the death of an entire world."

    "What happens afterwards, huh? This dark kingdom just exists forever? With you as its ruler? Why wouldn't the Neverborn just drag you all down with them? They don't seem very FRIENDLY. They don't seem like the sorts to just go 'yeah, we're done, thanks, we'll leave you alone.' If they're responsible for all of you, or a product of mortal actions, they are basically pure spite and will jump at the chance to drag you morons all into Oblivion with them."

    "I'm gonna help your people, but I don't want to get embroiled in a fucking war again. That'll make all of this worse. Look what happens when you push one of your own into a corner. A city is /gone/."

    He sweeps an arm violently. Fwoosh. "Just like that."

    "You all should be looking for different solutions. A way to free the Neverborn of their pain without screwing over everyone else in the process. It's like none of you want this to get better, you've just given up."

    "I'm done." Ryu puts up both of his paws, and turns to leave. He goes slow enough that he can be stopped if someone does, but he's not inclined to get into the cyclical game of murder that this is turning out to be.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Gawain's eyebrow raises as the Silver Prince laughs and his face shifts, and he reveals his true name and identity as a Deathlord. However, the knight remains patient and allows him to speak, even with his clear unease. As he continues speaking about his goal, he shifts slightly uncomfortably, but the knight doesn't seem like he'll grow hostile. In the end, though, he takes a breath and nods to the Silver Prince, moving to take the chance to speak his own thoughts.

Gawain takes one step forward, and remains nonhostile. Instead, he gestures his arm over his chest. "I do not agree with your end goal, Silver Prince, but I do accept that Bloody Revelations is a more dangerous threat, and seek to slay her myself, so I am willing to work with you on that regard." However, then Staren speaks up. Gawain doesn't see an issue with him talking back to the Silver Prince, but his problem is different. "Staren, Bloody Revelations slew Lookshy, and feels utterly no remorse for doing such. Why would anyone work with someone like her? Though..."

Something of what Staren's saying does make Gawain wonder, even though he still seems rather firm on his opinion of her. What was Staren referring to? He'll have to ask over radio, instead saying something else, cutting himself off. "I refuse to work with her or recommend working with her. She's too dangerous." Ryu's strong show of his feelings does get Gawain's attention, and a nod to the dragon, whispering to him as he passes by. It's not secretive, he's just not trying to be showy or loud inside the Silver Prince's quarters. "Ryu, I know you mean well. If I can assist you in the future, please contact me."

After that, Gawain turns back to the Silver Prince to see what he has to say in response to all of this.

All-Seeing Eye has posed:
     That the Prince is willing to wait, and to use ideology in his war on Creation, makes him a dangerous enemy. But... he's a less immediate threat. Typhon predicted correctly--he doesn't like the prospect of working with this Dearhlord. But, as he said during the visit to Lookshy's ruins, he can handle a little black on his hat.

     "Forthcoming," says the Exalt musically. He wrinkles his nose and smiles. "I like that. The pertinent question is... how exactly would we help you deal with Revelations?" No point in questioning the loyalty of someone who openly claims to be an enemy.

     "Ah... if only it were so simple. Creation was built upon the base assumption that the Neverborn /wouldn't/ die... And, well." He smiles at Ryu, circling a hand around. "Something like that would be... uncharacteristically altruistic, for the Neverborn to allow. To wit--they themselves probably don't want to go without some passing revenge." Ryu's remark is answered thus, but he does add in a little question for the prince. "Am I wrong?"

Miari (1129) has posed:
    Confirmation that the Silver Prince IS a Deathlord is... not as shocking to Miari as it ought to be. She does take a half-step back - rather gracefully - when he begins to shift forms... but maintains her poise otherwise.

    ".... I truly despise it when someone convinces me to do a thing I'd be inclined towards already. Three times, it's backfred on me." The young woman exclaims with a hint of playful exasperation at the fair-speaking Deathlord. She does, however, seem to be taking some time to digest the great deal of information on offer.

    No doubt, thinking hard and long about just how much of that information is honest and how much is calculated to sway everyone's emotions. And the answer is... unclear.

    "A pragmatic view, all things considered. Though... if there were to be a third answer, with the Neverborn able to slip into Oblivion, if that's TRULY what they want, while Creation remained... if such an opportunity existed, what would your stance be, Bodhisattva?"

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Moonfin cups a webbed hand around his chin, and his face scrunches up like he's been out of the water too long. "I see." He says. "To strike down Bloody Revelations herself directly is certainly a direct approach." He glances to his companions. Seft seems stressed. Biteblade seems indecisive. Albert and Pavo look determined. George... Winks to Moonfin, whatever that means. Moonfin seems to be tallying something in his head.

    He steps forward a bit and puts a hand on Staren's shoulder, trying to get him to ease back apparently. "You are escalating a bit intensely. There are means of reconciling such mutually exclusive facts that do not involve lies." And then he gestures plaintively, saying, "But he brings up certain relevant facts. There are some ways in which her approach offers a certain sort of longer-term benefit to offset the danger and risk inherent in the early stages. Would you disagree?" He seems... disgusted at the idea of considering that, but it's relevant.

    Albert gives Ryu a glare on his way out. Because Albert's a shithead. But he doesn't mess with Ryu at least. Their business will get dealt with later.

    Moonfin continues. "I can little assure you that we will join your cause." He says, frankly, and honestly. "But there may yet be ways we can respect the intentions of the other, or see our mutual goals accomplished more effectively. You say that you can offer us things she cannot, tell us what she will not, and that she needs our help. She has made quite a point of claiming that our help is hardly a necessity in a broad series of scenarios; what do you know of all this?"

Batou (1153) has posed:
Batou's expression doesn't change as the truth is revealed about this city's patron. He listens to the deathlord, and lets out a long sigh. This isn't... ideal. Upon quiet discussion with both Gawain and Eye, the paladins come to agree that the best course of action may be accepting this compromise.

"Quite hopeless... but intriguing. Maybe it's my human side telling me you're the same evil, but thinking on human timelines... they won't see your kind of evil. Quite a philanthropist you are to them."
Batou goes quiet, and nods, thinking back on the people he's worked for in the past. This is... what, an evil that admits iself (to the elites only, of course) and doesn't veil in diplomacy and "righteous" wars? People have died for less. What a funny conundrum this place has encountered.

Tomoe has posed:
Well the person who called them is another Deathlord and is being honest about what he is, she will live the Silver Prince that but there is a chill of fear running down her spine. The hole is getting deeper she thinks about she will keep hearing them out. She thrusts the fear and panic down as hard as she can. The Iron Lily is lost in thought as she listens for a moment.

"That is logical few sane or insane being wish to be erased."

Tomoe listens more. as she comes to understand an important point. The Mask of Winters full on theatrics really did sound the alarm to the rest of Creation about this.

"I will not lie the concept of reincarnation here scares me a lot and I can't lie about that. I'd just have been an office lady if things hadn't gone on their head one single night."

Had they not had enough copies, had she chosen to wait for the next day, had she not ended up getting into the exchange program. She also suspects some may stick it out with Bloody Revelations too.

She looks over to Ryu for a moment as he speaks.

"Find a way to bring the neverborn the end they crave, the peace of the grave they wish with out damning everything else. It is a big multiverse out there."

She sees Ryu getting up she does not fault him at all, she knows his points she knows this mess, a part of her is screaming deal with the Lookshy POW exchange and then never go near creation ever again.

"I am willing to consider it given you have been upfront about this. Silver Prince."

She looks to Gawain and seems to think abit more.

"I'm willing to set on this course of action."

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    If Staren is worried about being splattered up and down the place by the Bodhisattva, those worries are certainly quite reasonably founded, but ultimately futile, as the Deathlord keeps up a surprisingly patient face. "I'm afraid cooperation isn't possible." he says to Staren. "In fact, it's quite probable that the two of us cannot continue to exist at the same time. The Mask of Winters and Eye and Seven Despairs are easy casualties to justify. It could be argued even by a devout servant of the Neverborn that it was necessary to overthrow them --that their ineptitude and indolence was exposing all of us, and that they deserved to be punished for their actions. It could be presented as a demonstration. A message. Something to galvanize the others into action and show them that the Neverborn are serious and will not tolerate wasted time."

    His brow furrows darkly as he continues. "That Deathknight is different. Frankly, I can't decide whether she is a true loyalist or not. Surely, she chose those two first because they were the easiest to justify, but she won't stop with them. She won't stop until the entirety of the Thirteen surrender or are destroyed. Aside /possibly/ her own liege lord, she hates the council of Deathlords. I haven't been able to ascertain quite why, but she really, truly, vehemently hates Deathlords with every mote of her being. It doesn't seem that she's ever been abused by a Deathlord, nor have I found any hints she had experience with one in life. Sixteenth Night's Silence is reclusive and secretive in the extreme and interferes with his peers very little. I would call her hatred religious or indoctrinated, were it not that there are no records of her ever joining any sect or school relating to the Underworld, Necromancy, or the Neverborn."

    "Whatever it is, you won't convince her to give it up, and sooner or later, she will decide I should be next, and become my immediate problem. This isn't a mere possibility. She has made her intentions quite clear for years. On almost any occasion she makes an appearance at Stygia, it involves choosing one or more embassies of the Thirteen to file threatening letters, post castigating and defamatory notices and artworks, stage public demonstrations, or generally rail at and abuse their personnel, like some kind of psychotic personal hobby." He takes a special moment to look at Ryu. "Even if you have no particular liking for myself, you must realize that this kind of hatred will become the people of Skullstone's problem as much as it became Lookshy's."

    "Your defeat of the Mask and Eye has seemingly just emboldened her theatrics at the embassy plaza, and her supporters as well. There is no small faction of Stygians sympathetic to her simply for her ostentatious public disdain of the Thirteen, and the current lack of consequence for it. They take it as proof of righteousness, rather than the reality of being politically untouchable due to certain . . . complications. Even if you were to somehow convince her to step down from her well-known position on Deathlords, it wouldn't halt the issue, only delay it."

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    He lets that sink in for a bit, letting a little bit of the gravity of the fact that this place could be the next Lookshy to settle a bit. He appears absolutely and completely deadly serious, and so far at least, he's lied about nothing yet. It seems that most have just about made up their minds, so he lowers his hands and gets on a little more briskly, about concrete facts. "The Neverborn do not have the kind of power you imagine. Not that specific kind, anyway. They lost their ability to act physically and directly when they were redefined as dead things, but their power over minds and Essence grew tremendously. They have to act remotely, through proxies, their servants, and their corrupting, dreaming whispers. If they were capable of sucking the Underworld into Oblivion with them, they'd have done it. The city of Stygia was in fact built as a geomantic to guard against the Underworld's preexisting gradual slide into the Mouth of the Void, and so it is a procedure that we know works."

    "To the heart of the matter, all servants of the Neverborn, whether Deathlord, Abyssal Exalted, Nephwrack, or otherwise, report to them eventually in some way. Those who borrow power from the Neverborn invite them into themselves in some part, and so they eventually come to know of all one's deeds. There is a code of conduct that all servants must follow: the Sins of Life and the Sins of Death. Committing a Sin is cause for the Neverborn's ire, and there is much they can do to gruesomely punish unruly subordinates once they've sold their souls, as it were. The most egregious of these Sins is to directly make war on another servant of the Neverborn, thus the Deathlords cannot openly oppose each other, nor can their knights. Bloody Revelations is bound by this the same as I am, which is why she needs you, and I'm certain she hasn't said so. You are absolutely necessary as proxies, to do the actual fighting and sabotage, or else she risks extreme punishment. Without you, she can do nothing against me. Likewise however, my hands are tied in regards to her without suitable proxies of my own."

    "This wouldn't normally concern me, save for two details. One is that Bloody Revelations knows extensive details about the private machinations of multiple Deathlords that should be impossible to realize, and she has directed you with them to great effect. The other is that, I apologize, your killing of Eye and Seven Despairs and the Mask of Winters shouldn't have worked. I imagine throwing the former into the Mouth of the Void was her way of experimentation, to see if another plan would be necessary, but the Mask of Winters would surely have been resurrected by his own patron, He Who Holds In Thrall". There's that creepy, resonant tone again, slightly different from the last. "She has discovered or invented some means to circumvent or overcome the issue, and only relies on you to deal the initially finishing blow, before her work is done to prevent their return. Such a thing shouldn't be possible. The only thing I have to go on is this:"

Bloody Revelations (1124) has posed:
    The Silver Prince reaches into his robes and drops a literal printed photograph (confirming that he has indeed been looking into Multiversal communications tech) on the table, not even pretending to be some kind of First Age !camera Essence-film somethingorother. The lighting in it is absolutely horrible, and it's been taken by an excessively shaky hand, but it nevertheless depicts the Abyssal Exalted ascending a tremendous flight of stairs in the dark, covered in horrific burns and drenched in blood, only smeared away from her face, but clearly wearing an ecstatic grin. "This was taken by a loyal Nephwrack an hour after she entered the tomb of He Who Holds In Thrall, the direct superior of both Deathlords. It would be sensible to assume this is the result of her being disciplined for that transgression, but whatever she did, my own patron was quick to inform me of their permanent demise, an unsubtly urged me to hurry my timetable along. The Skullfolk of the archipelago are part of my domain, and thus technically targets forbidden to her, unlike the people of Lookshy, but I am obviously concerned this case may not hold water, if she is somehow skirting the Sins."

    "Of course, any Deathlord has myriad spies in each others' work, and so there is a limited quantity of information I can divulge about her and what few holdings and allies she has. I have much more extensive information about the entirety of the west; its populations, hazards, gods, monsters, lost wonders, shadowlands, fleets, militaries, and which of them could be wielded against Skullstone and how. I have ships, navigators, spies, resources, artifacts, able men, and protection against Necromancy and the dead that would aid you in tracking her down and fighting against her, which you will not be able to find elsewhere. I would personally recommend against tackling her blindly. She seems to have done a satisfactory job of keeping you in the dark about her true capabilities and designs."

    He finally gives it a rest after that. "Private meetings, payment, promises, whatever it is you desire, I will see that it is obliged. If you have any concerned for the people of the west, and aren't hopelessly arrogant and conceited in ideas of your own power, I'm certain we can arrive at something mutually beneficial."

Sir Gawain has posed:
Gawain glances at the picture as it's presented, frowning. He's already frowning at everything about Bloody Revelations, but seeing this and hearing what she did...she did something, alright. Gawain bows to the Silver Prince again as things seem to be wrapping up. "I'll do what I can to coordinate. I require no reward. I only seek to stop this madness." And then, when it's time to part, he'll do so, making sure to grab his phone. Things to think about. Things to consider.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe has a lot to think on and is plainly aware that There is no good soultion to this mess, still she could walk away? Maybe she should? For now things seme to be over she will think on things but she doesn't think she'll ask for a darn thing out of the death lord. No this isn't about money, or reward...

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Moonfin comes to his decision wordlessly, nodding in a decisive way. "Thank you for the proposition, the knowledge, and the hospitality, Silver Prince." He says, bowing deeply. "We shall take all due time to consider your position and your offer, and do all we can to respect your intentions and needs. By your leave, Silver Prince." He rises from his bow with a knowing smile, and turns to leave, rejoining the Flotilla members who murmur together in quiet tones.

"Urgent. Please don't."
"I despise what was done to Lookshy. But the facts simply cannot be denied."
"Wasn't good, but it's salvagable. What's here isn't."
"Mmmmh... Like a Greenfinger without ambition. Tribe diesss like that."
"Fact is, Skullstone isn't rich enough to match the loot she's been giving us."
"Disgusted. Pavo! She's trying to destroy the entire world!"
"Remaking the world in a better image is the sort of thing a god would do."
"She acts with vision and ambition against a status quo. The choice is simple."
"She's doing what's necessary, what well-meaning, stagnating people won't."
"And it'd give you an excuse to hammer out your hate-on at the dragon?"
"That's quite enough."
"Mmmh. Yeah, dumb fish isss right. Done with thinking about thisss. Not gonna figure out any more until Floran findsss out more."

"Then shall we decide properly, between the rogue and the king?"
"Distressed. There's... I suppose not any point putting it off."
"Second Captain?"
"Revelations."
"Third?"
"Rev, for sure."
"Fourth?"
"Desolate. Silver Prince."
"Fifth Captain."
"Floran abssstain."
"Sixth Captain."
"Revelations."
"I must vote in her favor as well. Four in favor, one against."

"Well, then. We shall see what the Concord thinks."

Staren has posed:
    Staren listens. So, it seems that Bloody Revelations would refuse to cooperate with the deathlords that she claims to despise BECAUSE they don't cooperate. Well, asking her about that next time they meet should be enlightening. Someone's lying, obviously. Possibly both of them.

    He's relieved that Dark Waters isn't wrathful.

    "Noted." he looks skeptical. "You didn't answer my last question, though, and it's the one that underpins the palatability of the whole 'plunge Creation into the underworld, release the Neverborn, and create a wonderful underworld society' plan. There is, supposedly, some kind of issue with ghosts. I admit that I'm no necromantic scholar myself, but there are supposedly reasons that everyone's not in a hurry to become an immortal ghost. I've heard of a ritual that allows a necromancer to enslave ghosts by giving them a taste of what they've lost for a day, which is so addicting they can't bear to give it up. Bloody Revelations seems to believe, or at least claims, that she's the only one with any idea how to /permanently/ restore a ghost to such a state. So... What's the deal here?" He holds up his hands in a questioning gesture.

    "How did you make being a ghost here so great?"