5969/Gold Gathers Greed

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Gold Gathers Greed
Date of Scene: 02 August 2018
Location: An-Teng - The House of Drowned Lilies
Synopsis: The Golden Brothers eat, drink, be merry, and plan the next move against the Lintha.
Cast of Characters: Empty Tidings, 1161, 513, Tomoe, 6384, All-Seeing Eye

Empty Tidings has posed:
The House of Drowned Lilies has been made the temporary headquarters of the Golden Brothers, largely due to the sheer number of them inside it. The back-alley tea house, accessible only through city canals and boat traffic, has been filled with boistrous men and women as warriors old and young gathered together to talk, drink, and celebrate their victory over the demonic Lintha.

Today, the House looks a little more... alive. Tables appear to be enormous blossoms of brass and polished wood, with vines of greenery entwined about the central columns beneath and around the legs of the matching chairs around them. The silk curtains that normally divide them have been replaced with hanging moss dotted with flowers, and with lanterns that glow with a warm golden light. The rock garden in the middle of the building has similarly been changed, turned to a shallow basin filled with water with designs in a colorful oily sheen seemingly painted on the surface. Veiled men and women in gauzy, barely decent clothing serve food and drink and, occasionally, disappear behind one of the curtained doorways at the far end of the room with one of the patrons.

Due Giang, the tall, spear-wielding man in red, sits at a table in the back of the House. His many subordinates fill the rest of the building and pass by to speak with him, which he does with clear warmth and welcome. Still, they know he's waiting for something, and they leave him to his task, letting him drift back into a state of stone-faced alert.

He's waiting to see if the information acquired during the raid was good. Supposedly, the proprietress of the place can verify it, and that's what she's doing now. He looks like he'd rather be anywhere else while he waits, though.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu steps into this establishment in human form, his blue hair and unusual golden eyes giving him the slightest inhuman appearance, and anyone with any sort of sense for it would know this is merely a disguise to keep from causing a commotion. He shuffles over to where Due Giang is, and settles in for a seat.

    His eyes close, his ears attuned to the room around him. His nose twitches, checking for unusual scents on the air. He otherwise keeps alert, and keeps his mouth shut. He hasn't been involved as much as he could be, but it's his understanding that this is where he goes for dealing with the Lintha.

    "Hey," is the only greeting he gives to Due.

Finna (513) has posed:
    Finna bolted and laid low after her appearance at the water's edge as a clear Chosen of Luna on a rampage.

    But now there's a new person amidst the group that's gathered. A young woman who's on the edge of her seat, clearly impressed at the waitstaff (snickering playfully more than once at some of the obvious... matchmaking taking place). Her black hair's cut short in front and away from her face, but a few locks reach down to her waist along her back. She has a look of mixed heritage - a hint of the darker skin of the South mixed with vague Blessed Islander features, among things from the East. She's dressed in a one-piece crimson outfit of floofy 'harem pants' and a sleeveless top that's held in place by being skin-tight and linking to a decorated collar featuring a small blue gemstone of low quality. Around her waist is an elaborate silver-and-gold corset and skirt-of-decorated-strips that's purely for show, if anything.

    It would seem that if anyone's going to notice her, they'd only notice her now. But... was she here at the table the whole time?

    Whatever the case, she's showing a jovial, childishly enthused face to the whole wide world. A big smile that mildly baby-faced features amplifies for extra heartwarming-ness!

    She takes note of how tight-lipped dragon-boy-blue's being, and reaches over to clap him on the shoulder good-naturedly! "'Hay' is for horses, not heroes! Loosen up and join the fun!"

Tomoe has posed:
Shorlty after the Dragon? Comes a Salamander she's tall she's clad in armor but she's wearing a traveling cloak. She pulls the hood downa s she enters she looks about the house for a momnt. She takes it int but seem uneasy? Then again she's never at ease in Creation these days, the world is like anti-matter to how her native world works even after Cardinal's update patch to it.

She too makes for Due Gaiang now and sits down getting slightly less on edge.

"Sorry for the delay on my end. I have had issues back home."

Orchid (6384) has posed:
     Dragons, salamanders, lilies, and now, a flower of spiders, made of gears and wire. Or to put it less poetically, Orchid arrives. She had some doings in the gaining of the documents, sacrificing the skin on one of her hands to do so. So with that investment to protect, she wants to see this through to the end.

So she arrives, if with less fanfare than some. She is here to see more than to fight, and takes in the interesting people and decor here.

All-Seeing Eye has posed:
     Amidst the bawdy exclamations, raucous boasting and rough-cut warriors, a foreign Exalt sticks out like a sore thumb. He looks as if he was plucked from a dynast's dinner party, wearing a purple silk kimono. That the garment is open at the chest suggests a certain theme to this hypothetical party, but his extravagant manner of dress belies the ease with which he assimilates into the company of warriors. Nursing a small cup of tea, he lends his soft, lyrical voice to the din of the teahouse, making quite a few soft-spoken boasts of his own. One of the flowers decorating the place has been surreptitiously plucked, now resting in his long raven hair as an accessory.

     Ryu's taciturn greeting draws a smile, and Finna's goading only sees it widen. "I concur," says All-Seeing Eye, not bothering to turn and face either new arrival. He's seated at a table nearby Due Giang, but not at the leader's table proper. "Certainly, I'd have preferred the complete..." Sip. "Cessation of hostilities," he coyly utters. "But progress has been made, nonetheless. Have a seat, relax!" The Exalt eyes one of the passing servants, a deliberate gesture given the scope of his vision. He smiles, setting the cup down and giving a little wave, waggling his fingers.

     This is the same man, some will note, who attempted a city-wide extermination of Lintha just to get hazy information on the location of Bluehaven. He appears none the worse for wear--externally, at least. He pats an open spot beside him, welcoming either Finna or Ryu to take a seat. He seems the very picture of ease.

     "At least," muses Eye, "Until we get the information our host awaits." He nods towards Due Giang at the neighboring table.

Empty Tidings has posed:
The Islander doesn't get any more notice than anyone else around. Not!Finna gets included in a couple of jokes and asides before she partly breaks away, showing that whatever she's doing, it's working pretty well. The crowd is fairly well-behaved thus far; the party hasn't done any property damage, and some of the veterans in the building are making sure it doesn't get out of hand. They're also sure to make Eye feel welcome, generally of the opinion that even the extremely dangerous should be treated with comraderie and respect when they're on your side.

That's probably why he gets egged on, too, when one of the servers seems to return his appreciative look with one of their own. Nothing like trying to help your new pal get lucky to solidify the bonds of friendship.

Due Giang gives Ryu a long, appraising look. For a second, there's tension. The last time they met, they did not do so on the same side. Ryu can even see a red mark above one of his eyes that looks like a burn scar, likely leftover from that very meeting. Still, he doesn't seem to recognize him, and he gets a short nod of acknowledgement instead of a big damn fight.

"She should be out here any minute now," Due Giang says. "Make yourself comfortable. I suppose this place is at least that." He glances around, then gestures at one of the servers, who comes over with a bottle of something clear and strong-smelling. He pours himself a small amount and downs it, exhaling with a bit of a sigh in his voice. "I'll be glad to be on my way and done with this pirate business. The seas of the West are no friend of mine." The spearman eyes the foreigners near him -- all of you, that is. "I don't suppose any of you are interested in fighting an army of the dead?" he asks, offhand.

Orchid (6384) has posed:
     "Depending on the context, I might be able to provide support," Orchid says in reply to Due Giang. She knows his heart is basically in the right place, and it'd be another opportunity to learn more about this strange corner of the multiverse. If a drink is offered, she'll accept, trusting in her robot physiology to keep from getting drunk. She nods to All-Seeing Eye.

Finna (513) has posed:
    And naturally, at this invitation, the merry girl immediately hops to take the offered seat next to All-Seeing Eye... and doesn't do a single thing to hide the raw animal attraction driving the decision. A move of pure delighted impulse.

    A hop and a swing and she's IN THAT CHAIR no questions asked! "Well hey there, handsome! You sure know how to liven up things."

    Well... no questions asked of Eye, anyways. The sudden questioning from Due Giang DOES get her swinging about to give HIM a look. One that ALMOST questions if he's serious. "Hm? First the demon pirates, and now the dead?" The jovial manner quiets for a bit as she leans in to peer a little more carefully at the unusually brave man. "An ARMY of the dead...? Whose army...?"

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe looks to Finna. "There is no fun when dealing with things like this." She nearly said world but managed to keep that from slipping out. She seem to be very much in business mode for a moment. She looks to Dun Giang and nods. "Thank you." She's about as comfortable as she can get. So she'll just wait for the moment.

"I have experiance with fighting the dead."

She notes but there's no real joy to it and she takes a look at Eye as he arrives, she greets him but without name. "Hey good to see you made it here."

All-Seeing Eye has posed:
     Eye endures playful shoulder-punches and ribald jibes with the fortitude of a battle-tested comrade-in-arms, despite having only arrived but a scant hour or so past. He waves a few half-hearted 'oh, stop' gestures, before Finna's remark draws his amusement. "You have no idea," says the Exalt with a small smile. His golden eyes gleam, briefly. Come to think of it... "Then again, perhaps you do." Her voice does sound remarkably familiar--the attack on Luthe, perhaps? He strategically places a hand upon hers, making eye contact for a moment just to gauge her reaction. Will she give some tell and reveal her identity? His smile threatens to widen.

     The Exalt wrinkles his nose at her, flipping his braid over his shoulder and offering a response to Due Giang. "Oh, now you know full well I'm not one to turn down a fight," he merrily replies. "And I /do/ have experience dealing with the dead!" He finishes his tea and sets the cup to the side, quietly motioning for a refill to the next passing servant.

     "The question is, do you want to fight them, or destroy them? Give me one engagement and an officer," he says, with an almost bored certainty. "Someone important. I'll find their base of operations and... handle it.~"

Finna (513) has posed:
    Ohoh? The young woman notices Eye's unusually expressive gaze. Blinks at the hand embracing hers. And responds with a private sideways grin that features... unusually sharp teeth? Yep. This girl's more than she appears. Although, maybe that was a trick of the light.

    Clearly she IS enjoying this though, for some reason or another.

    Because she glances over her shoulder and makes a 'ch' Tomoe's way. "On the contrary! When you face death everyday, you can either be all doom and gloom about it, or take life by the horns and knee it into submission!"

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu opens his eyes to regard Due, remembering the fellow with a sudden dawning. But he doesn't startle. Instead, he stares in silence, the way more taciturn individuals might do, and listens in on the topics at hand for an opening to provide his input. When he speaks up next, it's clear his voice is not masked, and it might be familiar from the very fight that scarred the man before.

    "That's why I'm here," he answers Due, "The dead are my direct enemy in these realms. Were you meaning any specific army, though, or just speaking... in general?" He makes a circular motion with one hand, his lazy demeanor emphasized in the slow movement.

Empty Tidings has posed:
Due Giang is fairly polite. He makes silent motions for the others to join him and have a drink if they so desire. This isn't any of the House specials, with the strange taste of emotion and memory; it's just good, strong liquor.

"Destroy them," Due Giang tells Eye immediately. "Unfortunately, I doubt it will be quite that easy." He glances at Ryu, eyes narrowing fractionally. "The City of Dead Flowers was the capital of An-Teng more than a thousand years ago, before... well, all the flowers died. It's been sealed up with shrines to the Pale Mistress ever since." A couple of the nearest warriors, upon hearing that name, make a little motion like they were crossing themselves. "But there have been ghosts creeping out and attacking innocents recently. I want to find out why and put a stop to it. And, given what I've heard about Lookshy..."

"You suspect an army of restless dead," Empty Tidings cuts in, stepping up to the table from the back of the room, "and want to heroically step in and stop it before there's a repeat here. Am I right?"

Due Giang smiles thinly at her. "Do you have what we're waiting for?"

Tidings puts a slightly acid-eaten box on the table. "Yes and no. We don't have Bluehaven, but we do have something... else. Before you go gallavanting off on your ghost-hunting expeditions, why don't you set your sights on something smaller? Say... the rescue of dozens of hostages being used as leverage by the Lintha? I'm sure there'll be someone /there/ who can point us at the real prize."

Orchid (6384) has posed:
     "The real prize is measured in lives saved, lives improved," Orchid notes, her eyes on that box. "So, I take it you were able to decode the documents?" She pulls the drink into her mouth, to better enjoy the flavor, before letting it trickle down her throat. The exact details of what happens to it later... are for later. But given what it cost her, she's going to get the details on what's in that paperwork.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    "Hostages? Alright, I'm in."

    Ryu is an easily predicted fellow. He smiles in confidence, even! And reaches out to take a drink when it's offered to him. He's slow about it, and the potent scent of alcohol does make his nose wrinkle, but he's not going to be rude to this guy. Ryu remembers his encounter with those hunters, and he'd prefer to stay on friendly terms with people that have similar interests to his own.

All-Seeing Eye has posed:
     All-Seeing Eye isn't called that because he's nearsighted. There is no moment of uncertainty hanging in his eyes when Finna flashes her fangs at him, no doubting what his optics recorded. His soft features merely draw up in interest, and the moment passes.

     Due Giang's sobering assessment draws a gentle shrug. "Frustrating, but true," admits All-Seeing Eye. Indeed, things in Creation are seldom solved as quickly as one would like. "Even /I/ can't undo millennia of power games and mismanagement with a few well-placed nudges." Empty Tidings' entrance not only draws a wolfish grin, but offers him the opportunity to further promote himself. "But!" Without turning to face Tidings, he inclines his head in her direction. "I am making progress, and I'm not done." His tone adopts a merry, lilting quality as his hand squeezes Finna's. "If someone in that den of roaches knows where Bluehaven is, so too will I!~"

     "If not--well, we'll have robbed them of valuable resources." The fingers of his free hand drum the table idly. "And either way, I doubt your great, big box of undead is going anywhere anytime soon. If it bothers you that much, I could perform a teensy little risk assessment? Pop by, do a little preliminary scouting, provide some actionable intel." He brushes a bit of fallen moss off of the table absently.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe listens as things are laid out to them by their contact. "I see so an old ruined city has undead swarming from it? What you heard about Lookshy is likely an understatement, of the horror that happened there." She looks to Finna for a moment. She shoots Finna a look that might set something on fire. She's not in the mood for Finna's jokes at all. She does seem focused on the mission at hand though. A Rescue operation that sounds like it would be a good warm up and lets be honest the dead will keep a bit longer than the hostages will. I'm in."

Finna (513) has posed:
    "Hostages?" Blackhaired-Finna grits her teeth. "Why'm I not surprised..." She can only shrug helplessly in a 'it cannto be helped!' manner at Tomoe's rejection of her joviality, but she purses her lips at the issue.. all until Eye shows a little affection.

TThen the grin returns! "Seems these pirates don't learn any lessons. I'm in!" ... Whoever this girl is.

Empty Tidings has posed:
Due Giang nods towards Orchid's intentions, apparently in agreement with her, while Tidings simply quirks her brow very slightly. She says, "I have, yes. I have been working on deciphering Lintha communications for quite a while. It's nice to see that my own efforts might actually pay off." She helps herself to a seat at the table, making a quiet noise of amusement and mirroring Eye's inclination of the head. She works a hidden compartment inside, opening the guts of the box and removing some of the contents. Part of it is a detailed map of the coast, marked with gibberish characters indicating what are probably routes.

"Here." She points to one. "This comes close enough to the Shore Lands in a week's time that you'll almost be in sight of dry land at the point where you can intercept it. It seems to be some sort of prison transport; this is its route, and the times and dates it makes it. You would have to hunt it in blue waters after that, which would make it easier to reinforce with other Lintha vessels."

"I don't like it," Due Giang grunts. "This seems too straightforward for the Lintha... but a deal's a deal. Most of my men aren't deep-water sailors, so they'll have to remain behind. We'll need a ship..." He trails off, giving Tomoe a slightly concerned look, and then nodding towards Eye. "If you have a means of quickly scouting the limits of the shrines, that would be helpful. We can plan around the location of the break once we've returned."

Empty Tidings nods a little. "I'll make sure we have a vessel fast enough to get us near. Your men and my House shouldn't be without us for long, if all goes well."

Due Giang looks at her like she just revealed she had three heads and spat fire.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe says "I'm able to fly at a fairly high speed, I could attempt a flyover if it's needed." The Salamander notes before going quiet again and listening to their contact and her allies for a moment. She looks to Empty "We could look ingo using our contacts to get something speedy from off world if it comes to it."

Finna (513) has posed:
    "Mmmmmmh. I can scout it pretty well too. One view from the air, one from the ground, we'll be up to our EARS in useful intel!" Finally, someone whose plan involves ACTUAL RECON, the blackhaired youth's gleaming eyes seem to sugges! She's very quick to hop aboard with that role!

Orchid (6384) has posed:
     "Us?" Orchid asks the Mistress of the House. "Then you are planning on coming with us?" She looks over the charts. "I can handle water down to the continental shelf," she muses. "But blue water means it's over the ocean's abyss... Hmmm." Her finger traces the route. "We'll want something big enough to carry several people. Do we know how many crew would be on this ship?" she asks, being the sort of person who likes good intel.

All-Seeing Eye has posed:
     Does /he/ have means of quickly scouting? "Of course I do," Eye states matter-of-factly. "In fact, I could begin immediately, provided I get some helpful directions!" Due Giang is given a winning smile. He takes his hand off of Finna's and stands up, demonstrating his sincerity in so doing. "Once our business here is concluded, I'll drop in, have a little look-see, and hurry back to our intrepid companions for a bit of spirited heroism." He places a hand upon his chin, tilting his head inquisitively.

     "How does that sound?"

Empty Tidings has posed:
"Of course I am," Empty Tidings tells Orchid. "I want to see this venture through. Besides, I've personal experience in the matter of Lintha hostage-taking; you'll want me around when it comes to ensuring they all walk off that ship alive."

Due Giang visibly swallows his objections, followed by another slug of his drink.

"Nothing solid," Tidings admits. "We don't know what sort of ship it is, but we know it will have to be quite large, judging by the number of prisoners held. If they're merely being transported, it's likely the number of captives will outnumber the crew by a fair amount. It's more likely you'll have to deal with a small number of skilled fighters rather than a small army of armed sailors."

Due Giang eyes Eye for a moment, then Not!Finna for a longer one, and finally nods. "I'll point you in the right direction, if you're certain. We'll need to make our way downriver quickly if we want to catch that ship, though. I hope you're as fast as you say."

Orchid (6384) has posed:
     "Then maybe we should plan to capture the ship," Orchid muses. "A number of small craft, maybe? Throw the guards overboard, take the whole thing home. It may be easier than getting a craft both large enough and fast enough to get out there." Yeah, she's fully into the puzzle this presents.

Empty Tidings has posed:
"Well, I expected you'd simply kill every Lintha aboard and work it out from there," Tidings remarks, somewhat offhandedly. "There's a lower limit to how small a ship can be and still be reasonable to catch it, though. Do you expect us to chase it in dinghies?"

Orchid (6384) has posed:
     Orchid shrugs. "I've got a rocket surfboard, and I've got the feeling that a few of these fine people have their own ways to get out there. So no, I didn't rule it out." She seems both serious... and not insulted. She's here to learn out the way things work locally.

Finna (513) has posed:
    "Hmm.... scouting a ship. That makes it mildly trickier..." Finna furrows her brow a little, but doesn't obviously outright declare 'no, not really, I can shapeshift and use weird anathema magic' for plain-as-day reasons!

    "But doable!"

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe has nothing to add at this point save for nodding in agreement to Empty's experiance with these guys in taking hostages. She doesn't seem to have much else to say she can fly nearly at mac speeds when not in combat so she can really hoof it so she has no issues at least in planning she can keep up with this ship.

All-Seeing Eye has posed:
     The Alchemical rubs his chin thoughtfully. "It depends on how far apart the two points are, I suppose! Assuming a no-hostile environment, I can traverse eighty miles per hour. Of course," he says with a pointed look at Empty Tidings, "I don't mind making it an extended surveillance mission, if that's insufficient. My friend here has proven remarkably efficient at solving the Lintha problem." She's given a coy smile, as he recalls their first encounter with the seafaring marauders.

Empty Tidings has posed:
"A..." Tidings shakes her head. "Alright. Well. I'll see about transport, then, shall I?"

Due Giang grunts. "You shall." He lifts his glass towards her. Tidings stands, smiling warmly down at him and Eye in turn and then retreating from the table. She takes everything but the chart with the route map on it, which Due Giang leans over and examines when she's gone from the place. His expression is knit with concern.

"Do your best to get back to us, then. Assuming a normal rate of travel..." Due Giang touches the map and the river, dragging his finger along it. "Morning. Midday. Sunset. We should make good speed. The city in question is here..." He taps the chart, near the shore but off the river. Strange, considering how all the big cities in An-Teng are on the water. "...so you should have no trouble with that speed, assuming there isn't anything dangerous in your path.

He returns to looking at the route, and just shakes his head. "This is going to be trouble. I can feel it. But..."

Due Giang trails off, refilling and emptying his glass. The noise of the other Golden Brothers drowns out his concerns.