Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Stern Algorithm
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Shen LinMu

Dr. Shen's House of Healing

It had been a few days since the now ambassador of Tian had visited Dr. Shen's House of Healing. In the days since, the House of Healing had been running a massive advertisement campaign for the House of Healing's opium addiction rehabilitation program. As drug use in the city was rampant among both the rich and the poor, such a service could help set people back on track with their lives. They had already gotten several customers. For well-connected nobles, they treated them in earnest, earning the House of Healing a steady profit, as such rehabilitation would require many repeat visits. This also boosted the reputation and perceived efficacy of the House of Healing's rehabilitation program, thus establishing trust and bringing in more customers. For the less fortunate and easily forgotten, they were 'disappeared'. For those in between, opium was prescribed to wean them off the substance, but they were given a special, far more potent breed of the drug. This was so their addiction would worsen, until they ruined their lives and severed their connections to others. Once vulnerable, they could be 'disappeared'. Certain samples were also distributed among various street gangs in an attempt to incite gang wars and increased drug use. The destabilization of poor neighborhoods would mostly go unnoticed, while pushing the residents to desperation, thus getting themselves further involved in gang violence and drug use. In this way, entire communities could be 'disappeared', and the explanation that the authorities would arrive at would be that they succumbed to gang wars. Granted, this was the long term plan, and some of this had yet to take place, but undisturbed, it would continue smoothly, thanks in part to the negligence of the nobles and the well-to-do, and plenty of live bodies would be provided for the Ambassador's needs. Of course, Dr. Shen had had to merge into the building to expand its underground storage capacity to accommodate the sudden influx of people.

Overall, plans were going smoothly and business was good, LinMu reflected. But something still ate at the back of his mind. He was sure that at some point, worshipers of the Old Gods were sure to pay him a visit, probably to assign him some task involving some slaves; victims of the Iron Decree, and nobles with knowledge of the Old Gods. He still found the idea distasteful; working with ancient, outdated religions. 'Let sleeping gods lie', was Dr. Shen's motto concerning religion; that and 'all you need is love'. He decided that instead of sitting inside and of worrying about something he might never have to see or experience, he should take his mind off things and take a walk, and absorb the chaotic beauty of the city of Venedig. Perhaps buy a snack from a street vendor. Getting up, he headed out into the bright light of the bustling city.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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Franziska

Venedig Library
@Aqutanama



"Questions yes, any healthy person should ask plenty of them." She replied with a low chuckle. "Now whether you find an answer, that is of course, entirely up to oneself as well! Handing out answers doesn't make one smart. It makes one indulgent and lazy." Huck would have likely learned that she liked speaking in tongues, riddles, or answering questions with questions of her own. By now, they had moved some distance from the auction block, away from all the ensuing hubub and mess that was currently happening. She was quite grateful they had made a swift exit - she disliked any sort of attention.

"...clean oneself?" Franziska echoed. "Ah...yes, I suppose you could use a little touch up. And...are you sweating? A fever?" Before he could say anything, she stopped in her tracks rather abruptly once more, placing a hand on his forehead. "Hm. Warm. Sweating. Ill? Or just a nervous reaction to being in unfamiliar land? Hold still." The mage placed a hand on his chest, uttering a few quiet words as his body was enveloped in a subtle, soft white glow. His body would feel much lighter, any grime and dirt that had been on him seemingly vanished in an instant.

"There, clean!" By now they were in front of the Library. "Come along then. We'll give you a quick lesson in the generalities of Venedig and the histories as I can." She led him into the library proper, past the large double doors that served as its entrance, and into the maze of books on the inside.

The library was big by normal standards to be sure. In fact most people thought it was the largest, but those fools simply hadn't seen the Library of the Illuminated. Histories, lost and recorded. So many books - she would take him there one day, but this would do for now.

Finding a vacant table in the proper section, Franziska inhaled.

"Here we are. This should be good. Historical records, maps, and other such things should be located here. Pick a place and start, but would suggest focusing on three things - Learning the Church of Existence, the Illuminated, and recent histories. While you do that, I shall see about getting you some proper attire, as well as see about dinner."
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Solaris
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Solaris Accursed Blasphemer

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Too much was said



The Heretic listened to Brizzi's words with intent as he spoke. The crime boss’s body language caused that stink of pride to wash away, erasing the boy's facade of bravado. he became more serious as he realized that things would not be so simple in this coming raid. By the time Carlo finished, his predatory gaze stared into the void as he was immersed in his own thoughts. Without shifting his eyes he said "give me a moment to think" contemplating two concerns that he developed as he listened to, and observed that fat geezer. First he reasoned that since he was dealing with a seasoned con man and probably told him more than he should have, about the ring, which had obvious value, and what his possession of the ring could possibly imply about himself. Though he couldn't judge the others who sat at the table, he knew for certain that he couldn't fully trust Brizzi. He decided that he would play along with his schemes for now, he quickly devised a protective measure for if things go wrong. Second, he had no way of disarming the magic traps with his spells alone. with this he sat in thought for a couple of minutes, contemplating his options. "Thats impractical... No I can't do this. That type of spell wouldn't be there. I could try this, but it would be bad news if it fails........... think.... think... That voice talked about that inscription thing, but i doubt I'd have time to learn.... oh.... I see..." His heart sank when he realized that he only had only one feasible option. He cringed visibly and despair poured out of his eyes which he squinted subtly. He whispered something inaudible, then said in an apathetic monotone "I know what to do".

He knows what he must do


He stood up, emitting a strange and terrifying magical aura, and walked towards the doorway, stopping in the frame "give me five for preparations, and don't even try to stop me, and don't leave this room while I'm out there either" he spoke as sternly as a veteran officer. He then called in all of Brizzi's "employees" to the backroom in the same manner he just scolded those who were already there. After they piled into the room, fearing the brand of "Heretic", the boy shut the door. What happened then could not be fully described in the languages of mortals, only that those sorry patrons left in vegetative states by their addictions so severe that there very souls were shambles, found their salvation in their slaughter. As the heretic did his rounds, reluctantly plunging his dagger into the hearts of those wretched fools, he prayed an ancient prayer.

The dragon feasts


When he was finished, he held a flask full of a glowing orange and volatile substance, of powerful magic, and the main room was littered with ash and embers, and every last patron had “disappeared”. The Heretic was whispering something into the ear of a man who was pale with fear, handing him a letter as he was grabbing his shoulder. The moment he let go, the man stumbled off, running out the door as fast as he could. Afterwards the Heretic walked outside “Lets get a move on!” he shouted to those inside. He then cloaked himself in a black robe and wrapped bandages around his face to conceal his identity. Afterwards he "Borrowed" a black stallion, mounting it, the horse rearing as he awaited his comrades.




@Rune_Alchemist
Hidden 3 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Aqutanama
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Jonathan Paul Huckaby
The Library


He nodded as she informed him of laziness by just getting answers thrown at him. She was right again. Knowing himself better than most, he would have to learn by trial and error. His mind started to race again but he stopped it by focusing on her words… trying to. Her concern is what bought his mind out of its argument. He started to grind his teeth when she touched his forehead and his eye started to twitch in the corner. Letting out a sigh he calmed himself. She was obviously trying to help him.

When she touched his chest he was a bit surprised. Furthermore, goosebumps moved throughout his body. That was just before the magic hit him, seconds, milliseconds. When the magic hit him he could feel it wrapping around him and somehow within him. Like it was connecting to him somehow and when she was done he felt clean. This was a clean unlike any he had ever felt. It looked like his clothes were clean as well? He wasn’t sure but smiled and the goosebumps doubled as the wave went through him again.

When she beckoned him to follow he nodded and couldn’t hide his smile. This feeling reminded him of when he was a child. It made sense considering he knew nothing of this realm. When he was in school and the teacher or a friend would help him. The goosebumps would occur. The more they helped the more they happened. It was a strange thing that happened to him but he liked when people helped him for no reason, other than to just help. She explained that she would help him learn general knowledge of the world and again his smile didn’t fade.

“Thank you.” He said clearly, his voice honest. Once they got inside he started to giggle and then started to laugh. He pinched his left arm in order to stop laughing and tried to act as the stoic and serious student. He only bowed his head to her and then looked around. His eyes were alight with life as if a passion deep within him awoke.

He slowly moved over to the records, maps, and other assorted information. Slowly, he moved around the room and picked up the book of the Church of Existence, a few on Illuminated, or so he thought, and some history, economic, financial, courting and law books. Once done he sat down and started flipping through the pages. First, was the Church of Existence. As much as he wanted to learn about magic, he would first need general knowledge.

“Food sounds great. Thank you again. I could have most of this saved soon.” He explained as he pulled out his phone. If she asked about the device he would explain it as clearly as he could. He would even take a picture of her and show her how she looked. Of course, paintings could do the same thing, perhaps some magicians with specialized spells. However, this was taken in an instant. Going over his plans to read each book into the phone so that he could listen to it while they worked out or did other sessions. He would eat, breathe, and live these books for the next few days. Eventually, he would memorize each book word for word.

Purposefully, he sat in an area that was blanketed by the sun. Nice open roof at the top of the building washing light in one of the schools of the Illuminated. He thought there was a good pun here but dismissed it for his thirst for knowledge. After that thought, he pulled out his solar charger and plugged his Fitbit into it. Unfortunately, it was the device he forgot to turn off, or perhaps he was keeping track of time with it.

Once he settled the book in front of himself he opened the voice recorder and started to read out loud. It took him a few tries before he got a great recording voice. When he messed up he would rewind and try again. Eventually, he was reading the book, front to back or was it back to front? He couldn’t tell but his body naturally opened the book and turned the pages in the correct direction. It was strange, as if he had reached a second wind while within this place. Perhaps, it was the spell she cast on him before. He didn’t know or seem to care at this moment. He was reading like a demon-possessed.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by MagusDream
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City: Venedig
Location: Fragarach Manor - Stables


BGM: Smile-less soiree

Libero walked in the stables, only to find Noel petting the horses. Once he arrived, his little brother stopped what the was doing and walked towards him. "So we're departing... I'll get inside the carriage then." Noel said, sounding hopeless. Nina pecked him once more so he could lighten up. "... It's going to be fine, Noel. You don't need to stay so depressed." Libero said, trying to cheer him up. However, nothing could make Noel feel less than miserable at that moment. He sluggishly went inside the carriage as one of the butlers came by. "Are you sure of this, Lord Libero? This will incite fury upon the Duke." He commented. "Any wrath coming from my father is worth it if my brother is safe from this mess. The Fragarach family is composed of nothing but devils. He needs to get out of here." Libero said. "But the Church of Inquisition isn't exactly pure, my Lord! Isn't there any monastery where he can stay in peace?!" The butler questioned, worried about Libero's idea. "I have faith in the Church. Besides, if they're truly so corrupt, perhaps Noel might be a good thing to cleanse them." He said.

The butler still couldn't believe in Libero's idea, but had no more ways of questioning his methods. "... Very well, my Lord. I will take you there, as instructed." He spoke. Libero nodded and went inside the carriage as well. Once the butler sat on the outside seat, he ordered the two horses to move, with a single lash of his whip. And so, Libero and Noel departed from the manor, going to the Church of Inquisition.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Letter Bee
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City Event - Mostly for the Main Party

Mergoux, Louise, Rote, Jehenne, Tamlorn and Noel

Rote blinked and said, "Well, this was anticlimatic!" He was not going to answer Tamlorn's question as Jehenne had to do it herself. Facing the mercenaries, the redhead then said, "So, who sent you and where are you taking us so we can be free?"

A one-eyed, heavyset mercenary with long stubble was the one to respond. "The Inquisitor is waiting beyond this 'here alleyway, along with a squad of elite guards set to watch us if we stab 'im in the back, all metaphor-like. As for where, I presume the 'Black Cathedral'."

Then a nod as Rote said, "So the Church of Existence is risking themselves to save us. I never thought one of their Inquisition's Headquarters will mean safety in my lifetime."

A brief history of the Church of Existence's Inquisition that most nobles and a few commoners should know - Like all religions, the Church of Existence has had its share of heretics and deviant members, and while it takes a light stance towards the former, that is only if the heresy did not involve notions such as 'Existence is Suffering, therefore we should destroy everything that exists' or 'Existence is amoral, therefore morality does not exist and we can do whatever we want'. When those notions are involved, the Inquisition is sent to unearth and destroy those who hold such notions lest they lead to large-scale murder.

As the wind blew across Rote's still-naked body, the young man said, "At least someone is finally doing something about this situation - Now civilization can be saved and a higher cause can be followed!"

Another mercenary handed over a set of robes and underwear to Rote and Jehenne, the former who put them on reluctantly - He actually liked the nudity. Once both were clothed, the mercenaries - Mergoux may or may not have slipped out of the band during this time - would lead the former slaves into a set of alleyways. Rote made sure to pick up his own 'sealing stone' on the way, of course.

The alleyways led to a small canal, where a gondola and a dozen guards waited for the two ex-nobles. But the most striking figure was the man in a tall hat and long overcoat who carried a holstered pistol and a sword.



"Greetings," he said in a mixture of Reich and Native Venedig accents. "My name is Inquisitor Malamocco. I am here to bring you to the Black Cathedral for 'safekeeping', safekeeping from the greater conflict soon to come." He then looked at Tamlorn if he had chosen to come with them. "What's this? An unexpected arrival?" His guards - Ex-Marine Knights all - raised up their cutlasses and pistols. "You are lucky I am in a forgiving mood right now, Lord Winter-Rose."

He then gestured for Tamlorn, Rote, and Jehenne to go to the Gondola - The guards had boats of their own. Inquisitor Malamocco then muttered, "My, my, between you three and the Fragach boy, the Black Cathedral is seeing unexpected guests - Yes, Rote, Noel is here and he's turned agianst the family legacy. Or rather, he will be arriving at the same time this Gondola arrives at the Black Cathedral."

------



Libero, Noel, and their Butler were in a position to see the Black Cathedral from afar, even before they reached the place itself. An ominous edifice, it was nevertheless a place of unexpected safety, especially with the Inquisition having better things to do than repression...

@Smike@Stern Algorithm@Overlord Thraka@Aqutanama@Rune_Alchemist@Zoey White@Landaus Five-One@Solaris@jdh97@MagusDream:
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Landaus Five-One
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Landaus Five-One The Sadist Insaneous One

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Location: The Streets – Dreadful Circumstances




Louise had found herself in a dreadful circumstance, in with what she heard from Jehenne’s lips. In terms of the turn of events, she couldn’t really help but sigh. She didn’t want to do what so many other von Hammerwhirl’s would do in the case of being surrounded. Her father wouldn’t have been scared of death since he isn’t afraid of mages or anything, she hated his stubbornness over everything else. ”I do hope you are right, Jehenne about that specifically. I do hope you have a nice time where ever the people whom saved you take you.” Louise said, with a slight smile on her face. It was pretty much an obvious thing, however, it’s pretty much obvious she’ll have to tell Cocheta about this and hope she won’t be in a sour mood about it.

In this moment, which she heard none other than the flower headed Noble speak about him not being apart of said ambush. ”I guess, I should thank you then not being apart of this event. And I suppose I should be grateful of the small things I suppose...” Louise said to Tamlorn. However, she forgot one important person, however, it was no other than the very tall half-elf, which she didn’t know the name of. The half-elf was the primary reason why she surrendered in the first place. It caused her pause when the large half-elf was right next to her and spoke about changing from anything but a slaver. She looked up at the half-elf in question and sighed a bit, not in regret but for other things. ”Guess you hate slavers that much, Half-Elf? Don’t know your name but I suppose that’s something I don’t want to know anyway.” Louise said, with a tense tone in her voice. She is showing that she’s pretty much afraid of the half-elf in question, but there’s many more things to be afraid of.

Louise was hit in the nose after specifically the speech from the anti-slaver half-elf in question, it was definitely a specifically hard hit. She quickly fell unconscious because of the hard hit of a concussion, it was definitely not something she was prepared to be hit by. However, the last words out of her mouth, where. ”Father… go to hell please?” Louise questioned. It was obvious her hate for her father was deep within her own soul compared to everything else. She was definitely unconscious after that. Her left hand was on the Goreflame Staff gripping it tightly.

The Goreflame Staff completely stopped to disperse the spell, which it was empowering. It had no idea when Louise would awake from the concussion, which the Half-Elf gave her. It crackles, pops a bit and speaks with a distinct tone within its voice, which sounds like an older woman that sounds quite motherly and protective. It heard specifically what Rote asked of the mercenaries, which came to save him and Jehenne. There was a laugh from the staff in question, the Existence Church. It is the one constant in the entire empire, the religion of said empire. ”How usual, the Existence Church. She wouldn’t have joined a slaver guild. But the hand she was dealt in trying to make a name for herself is always ever present. I will tell Louise, your name Half-Elf if you are willing to give it that is. Therefore, she can make her mind up better than what she had done.” The Goreflame Staff’s motherly voice. The staff eerily looks directly at the Half-Elf in question, it knows of how awful half-elves are treated in the world.

@Zoey White @jdh97 @Overlord Thraka @Letter Bee




Location: The Streets – Waking up, which she needs to go to the HQ to report.





Louise woke up a hour later as everyone had left the scene, which made her feel the concussion that the half-elf had done to her. She looked up and noticed the Goreflame Staff still there as if it was guarding her from any unwanted attention. It was mostly because of the fact the staff in question was eerie and too much of a hassle to deal with. She very slowly got up since the concussion and she did remember whom hit her since it was pretty much obvious. The half-elf’s strength was definitely much to handle and deal with. ”Damn… this sucks… I hope Cocheta won’t be mad at me.” Louise thought to herself, with a slight annoyance in her face. She was holding her nose in question since it hurt a bit too much. If it wasn’t for the fact her family in question has pretty great endurance, she would’ve been killed by that hit instead of knocked out.

She shakes her head slightly but that makes her slowly regret that since her head still hurts painfully. It takes her a bit to put her left hand back on the Goreflame Staff in question. She knew where she has to go to report what had happened specifically about what had happened in not having Rote nor Jehenne with her. It was specifically because of what Rote had said about the Old Gods, which worried her. She starred at the Goreflame Staff while walking a bit more faster towards the HQ. ”Ugh… Guess I should have done something more than surrendered… but I am not like my father...” Louise thought to herself, with a definite regret within her. But she wanted to live and not die, which is the reason why she surrendered so quickly and not fought against those odds.

The Goreflame Staff crackles, pops a bit and speaks in a distinct tone in its voice, which sounds like an older woman that sounds quite motherly and protective. ”The Existence Church involved themselves in the affairs of those slaves in particular. It’s pretty obvious in why they were prepared to ambush you in particular. Does your mother have ties to that same church?” The Goreflame’s motherly voice questioned Louise. It knew that Raina is tied to the Existence Church but marrying into the von Hammerwhirl family definitely did hurt her standing in society because of Steven’s actions nonetheless.

Louise heard the staff, while she was walking towards the HQ, which she could see it in the distance finally. It was a shock to hear the ones that ambushed her were no other than Existence church mercenaries. ”Uhh… that’s a bit odd. And yeah my mother Raina is a worshiper of that church in particular...” Louise said, which caused her to have suspicious thoughts towards her own mother because of being a worshiper of that church. She had never really thought of anything but her father mostly and his actions that caused her to be this way in everything. However, she washed away those thoughts since her mother Raina was the only actual parent in that dynamic that kept her alive.

She sighed when she approached the entrance to the Headquarters of the Company in question. It took her a bit to walk to Cocheta’s office, which she decided to knock on to see if she was in. ”Cocheta are you in? I have something to report to you. Uhh, I kinda failed in my assigned task because of an rather unseen dreadful circumstance of being ambushed on my way here.” Louise said, with a slight urgency to her voice. She was hopeful that Cocheta was in so she could speak to her. However, she didn’t know or want to know if there was any consequences for failing to do what she was tasked with. Many things was going through her head because of that specifically, however, the thoughts of her burning hatred of her father definitely didn’t help pour into her head.

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Zoey White
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Jehenne Alcroft




Jehenne flinched as the young woman Louise was onto her back by a wicked punch. After a moment the Hammerwhirls' eyes fluttered shut and she went limp, mumbling something about her father. She would be out for a while. For a moment, Jehenne's face was flat as she considered her next words carefully. The Church of Existence. Well, this certainly made things more complicated. Worst case scenario, she would be recaptured and would simply start at ground zero once more. Claiming she was kidnapped by the slave-freeing lunatics would be an easy to make claim. So, Jehenne put on a relieved smile as she palmed her sealing stone in her hands.

"My, my. The Church of Existence. You people really are mad, you know that?" She said, cocking her head to the side and smiling. The smile died on her lips when she saw Tam. It had certainly been a while. It was inappropriate for him of all people to see her like this. Speaking solemnly she quickly put on some robes.

"No, you won't be seeing him again. Rodrick is dead, Tamlorn Winter-Rose." There was an unusual coldness in her voice that Tamlorn wouldn't recognize as normal Jehenne felt gratitude, relief, embarassment, and perhaps even resentment. Many feelings to strangle out of her heart.

"We have to get moving, don't we?" Jehenne followed the idealogues down their winding dark alley ways and eventually came to a gondola, and a man named Inquisitor Malamocco. Jehenne placed one hand over her waist and raised her other hand just over her shoulder, and bowed, as was the customary show of respect of her people.

"And greetings to you, Inquisitor. I thank you for the speedy rescue." She'd ask what he had in mind for her and the boy- or young man, rather- Rote. Probably something. She doubted they tried to rescue every miserable captive that was brought through that market. She carefully stepped into the gondola, adjusting her robe to make sure nothing unsightly was revealed, and crossed one leg over the other. It was a refined an elegant pose for the poor circumstances. As the Black Cathedral came into view, the last Alcroft raised an eyebrow. It certainly didn't look like a place of sanctuary...but it would have to do. Anything was better than with that rambling pyromancer, or where she intended to take her.

"It seems we've stumbled into something quite extraordinary." She said, looking over at Rote. They had shared a common experience. He was the person she knew best other than, well, Tamlorn. But she wasn't sure she wanted to talk to him right now. Jehenne had vowed to forget the past and focus on the future, and here was this walking reminder of a time that was lost to her. So instead she focused on Rote.

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Overlord Thraka
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Mergoux glared down at the girl, then turned on the Mercs. "Leave her be." she said.

And with that, the Warrior walked away, vanishing into the crowds, ne'er to be seen again.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by jdh97
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Tamlorn Winter-Rose

Jehenne’s eyes caught Tam, like a memory. Up close, it seemed she hadn’t changed. Her hair, those eyes, the sculpt of her shoulder...

Then she spoke, and ice had touched inside his chest. The spell broke. The breath he had not realised he’d been holding escaped. He blinked. Then his eyes flitted away, to the floating staff, the ground, his feet, anything else. Remorse stabbed its thin fingers into his heart and began tugging it downwards. Reluctantly, his face rose again to meet hers. There she stood swaddled in a motley of emotions and simple clothes, all beneath the dread-coloured patina that was fear.

He dredged words from murk of his mind, “I’m sorry,” he spoke lamely, his words clipped, his mouth twitched. He kept watching her, “For everything.”

Blessedly, Rote caught his attention. The man was a mystery, appearing at once mad yet also in possession of all his faculties. It was not clear whether his mannerisms were born of delusion or his noble upbringing. Perhaps both.

He followed them to the canal. He knew not what else he could do, seemingly trapped within the thoughts of his own mind, memories, words forming and reforming in a hundred iterations of a sentence and coming no closer to what he wanted to say.

The damp smells of flotsam and refuse clung inside his nose.

Danger sharpened his mind like a stone knapping flint. A wandering mind was a dangerous thing; now he stared down a dozen barrels of a dozen men. He recognised some of the faces, once fellow knights. Victory was a slim possibility, yet Tamlorn gripped his weapon, ready.

But, conflict was avoided. He bobbed his head at the Inquisitor, a small smile playing across his lips, “And house Winter-Rose will not forget.” He stepped onto the boat, equal parts curious and concerned of Jehenne’s fate. He was not sure he could leave even if he wanted to.

It was not until the black scar upon the cityscape, the Cathedral, reached up before them as if defying the heavens, that Tam spoke once more. Jehenne had pointendly ignored him the entire journey, so Tam had stewed in his own thoughts.

“Does the Church want anything with them?” Tam asked the Inquisitor, “Beyond their freedom?”

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by MagusDream
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City: ???
Location: Black Cathedral - Entrance


BGM: Melody of Water

Libero, Noel, and their Butler were in a position to see the Black Cathedral from afar, even before they reached the place itself. An ominous edifice, it was nevertheless a place of unexpected safety, especially with the Inquisition having better things to do than repression...


The carriage soon reached the outskirts of the Black Cathedral, an edifice one could call the Church of Inquisition's "base of operations". Ominous as it was, this was the goal behind Libero and Carmilla's plan. Away from Venedig's corrupt ideals, they would hide Noel from the corruption of the slave market and trade. "We're arriving at the destination." The butler spoke from the outside. Noel opened the curtains, curious as how they had arrived at somewhere supposedly five days away from Venedig in such a short time like three and a half hours of travel. When he opened it, he saw the cathedral and was immediately brought in shock. "T-That's... the Black Cathedral. Big brother, weren't we supposed to be going to the Reich's capital as Father ordered?" He asked. "There is no way I would hand you over to the emperor. This isn't what either me or Mom would want for you, Noel. We don't need another slave trader in our home." Libero explained. "Then... your plan was for you to take me here to the Cathedral? To the enemies of Venedig and the whole Iron Decree?" Noel asked. "Yes. From here, you'll be able to learn the opposite of what Dad has been wishing. You'll be able to pursue the dream you always wanted, Noel. The dream of making an institute for magic research, learning and control for all people." Libero spoke, happy.

It's true... Noel's wish was to create an institute academy where people could research, learn and control magic. An organization not solely for the nobles of the Reich, but for all who wished to learn it. It may be an utopic dream, but it was Noel's dream. "Libero, I... I don't know what to say... but if Father finds out, then you'll be-" Noel spoke, speechless and worried about Libero. "Don't worry about me. I did this knowing of all risks. I'd rather be dead but with a clean conscience that you are safe than alive regretting that you became another of us." Libero said. Still, this worried Noel. However, he had no arguments to tackle his brother back. Soon, the carriage stopped. "My lords, we have arrived at the Black Cathedral!" The butler spoke.

Noel and Libero left the carriage inside and were now at the entrance. The river seemed to flow underneath it, as if it was a secret entrance. In the distance, Noel saw a bot coming their way. "Look, there's a boat with people coming our way!" He pointed it out. "My contact has arrived. Let's wait a little bit before getting inside." Libero spoke.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Letter Bee
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City Event - Mostly for the Main Party

Mergoux, Rote, Jehenne, Tamlorn and Noel

"That we have, Milady Alcroft," Rote said to Jehenne as the Gondola docked at a side entrance of the Black Cathedral. His face was solemn, solemn and sad. "I'm sorry about all this tragedy - I wasn't lying or deluded when I said what I said on the slave market about its cause, but I wasn't expecting to have additional proof so early. Assuming that our good Inquisitor here has additional proof, of course."

Inquisitor Malamocco looked at Rote and said, "Not now. Inside the building first. Although if you want small talk with the Alcroft woman, you should do that - It seems you don't know how to talk to women or what to talk to them about."

Then turning to Tamlorn, the Inquisitor said, "Haven't you been listening to Rote's words? We're on the brink of the greatest crisis since Wolfram's Cataclysm! Whoever won the Nobles' Rebellion, Noble or Crown, was going to play into the hands of the enemies of civilization itself! Now no more delays, we have to go in!" Inquisitor Malamocco frowned deeper, and then entered the building, muttering about, "These young folk nowadays..."

Once inside the Black Cathedral, Inquisitor Malamocco continued, "The Nobles' Rebellion was instigated by the Cult of the Keeper, who wanted to return the Old Gods back to Erde. The Cult also had agents in the Royal Court in Kaisersdat, whose job was to ensure that if the Crown won, it would come down hard on the rebels. As I said, whoever won, Noble or Crown, was going to play into the hands of those who want to destroy civilization - Only by bringing Humanity down to the level of savages can the Old Gods expect regular worship once more."

A pause as the Inquisitor waved to the just-arrived Libero and Noel accompanying them, before he continued, "If the Nobles won, the Reich would have fallen apart. If the Crown won, all that was needed was to provoke the Emperor into overreaching with the Iron Decree, thus compromising the credibility of the Crown and the Reich as a whole. Either way, the sense of security of everyone in the Western Continent would be impacted in some form. Do you people get where I am going with this?"

"I do," Rote said as he noticed Noel and Libero's presence. "Now, give me a break from business to meet with an old friend, please." And with that, he ran up to where Noel was, tackle-hugging, the young man and saying "NOEL! I'm so happy to see you! Heck, the only thing that'd make it better is if I had an excuse to be naked -"

Inquisitor Malamocco rolled his eyes and cleared his throat. "Young men nowadays." He then looked at Libero and said, "Greetings, Fragach scion. Your actions have brought the approval of the good aspects of Existence today." A frown as he continued, "Here is something that might stay your father's anger - We have the identity of the Cult of the Keeper's agent in Kaisersdat. As I said, the Cult of the Keeper is a group trying to bring down civilization as we know it so that the Old Gods can be worshipped due to everyone forgetting they are mere mortals with great magical power."

The Inquisitor smiled, "Her name is Katherine Sophia Gotha, and she is the one who planted the idea for the Iron Decree in our sovereign's brain."

Louise

N/A for now, waiting for Smike.

@Smike@Stern Algorithm@Overlord Thraka@Aqutanama@Rune_Alchemist@Zoey White@Landaus Five-One@Solaris@jdh97@MagusDream:
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Zoey White
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Jehenne Alcroft




Jehenne nodded at Rote and followed behind him and the others, absorbing and observing as much as she could.

Jehenne furrowed her brow and rubbed the bridge of her nose. It seems she had landed in a group of people trying to save the world. People who probably intended on throwing themselves at whoever whatever until they saved the day. They'd probably need help. This Keeper Cult sounded like it was bad for business. If they succeeded in their plan of sewing chaos, Jehenne would get eaten alive by whoever was left. Probably. Either way, the end of civilization as she knew it would be an obstacle on her path of vengeance.

Path of vengeance? She let that stew for a little bit. She would need time for self-reflection.

The thought remained.

Pushing out of her own mind Jehenne tuned back into the conversation at hand.

"So, Inquisitor, this Katherine Sophia Gotha, she is your target? You aim to kill her, capture her? I also still don't know why you bothered to rescue Rote and I. After all, it didn't matter of the Nobles or the Crown won that war."

Jehenne already had a guess as to why Rote and herself were rescued. They were displaced. Wronged by this group they were, with not the means of truly escaping or settling back into the apathy that often consumes commoners. Prime recruits for they're little cause. Surely manipulative, but effective nonetheless. Jehenne had nothing else to do, and perhaps she could offer some assistance. These people had connections and a cause, and they could potentially be useful. They both had things to gain from an alliance.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by MagusDream
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City: ???
Location: Black Cathedral - Entrance


A pause as the Inquisitor waved to the just-arrived Libero and Noel accompanying them, before he continued.
(...)
And with that, he ran up to where Noel was, tackle-hugging, the young man and saying "NOEL! I'm so happy to see you!"


Noel was taken aback a little by the tackle-hug. He looked at the person who hugged him, a little confused. But once the voice came out, he finally remembered.

BGM: Beneath the Hollow Moon

"... Rote? Is it really you...?" He looked at his face. It was indeed him. Rote Kaufmann, another noble of Venedig and a childhood friend. The Fragarach and the Kaufmann maintained contact ever since Libero was a kid, so Noel and Rote met each other while being very young. They were inseperable and stood playing at each other's houses for as long as they can remember. That is, until both completed 15 years. At that time, the relations between both families suddenly stopped, without any reason being given to them. And after that, the duo never saw each other. Once all memories flooded back, Noel hugged Rote back. "I... I can't believe this!! Where were you?! Do you know how much I missed you?!" He spoke.

Noel was the sort of smart and quiet kid. The kind who got easily bullied at school. He never talked much with other children and always stood back studying. Rote was someone who never left him at silence, though. He always pulled Noel to play with him and the other kids at Venedig, that being the only way Noel could make any other friends. But they were always together, as if they were brothers from separate families. It's thanks to Rote that Noel decided to muster some strength and become more sociable with people. Time passed and Noel became who he was today.

"We were always together, ever since we were children... played together, chatted together, studied together and... just passed the years by. After your family stopped coming back and you just vanished, I... I felt like something important was missing..." He spoke a little. "I... don't know what happened for you to become a slave. I can't even imagine why something like this would happen, but... I'm just... happy to see you again, Rote! You're like family to me... the brother I never had, so I... I missed you so much!!" Noel spoke, crying in his shoulder.

Libero could only look and smile at the moment. He was really happy that Noel wouldn't be alone with just strangers in his new home. "I'm happy that you two are now together again, Noel. It heartens me to know you're happy." Libero spoke. "*sniff* I... I said I wouldn't cry if I saw you again, but... I'm just too happy, so I'm sorry!" Noel said at Rote.

*BGM fades*

"Heck, the only thing that'd make it better is if I had an excuse to be naked -"

Inquisitor Malamocco rolled his eyes and cleared his throat. "Young men nowadays."


BGM: My Homie

Libero scratched his head and sighed. "This is Rote being Rote. You better get used to it." When Noel heard Rote speaking about being naked and Malamocco clearing his throat, he finally paid attention to what they were saying. He was fully naked, with only some rags. His face began to flush out of embarassment, as he pushed Rote away and broke the hug. "Y-You... you're... only with rags...!" He spoke, nervous. However, he also got a little angry, because this... was common, just like Libero said.

"You... y-you haven't changed at all! A-And what do you mean by "excuse"?! You always ran around naked at your home ever since we were 13! E-Even at home, when I leave my room for one second and when I'm back you're... already without your clothes and looking at me!" Noel spoke. "That's... true. The many times I caught you at Noel's room naked and I had to close the door before someone caught him..." Libero spoke. "Y-You saw him?! And you never told me?! W-Why?!" Noel exclaimed to Libero. "I do enjoy when my little brother gets flustered over this, sometimes. It's rather cute." Libero spoke, with a little yet tender smile. This didn't make Noel less angry, though. On the contrary... "W-Why you... UGH!! Y-You two are the worst!! Teasing me like this is not funny!" Noel complained while looking away.

He never liked this... hobby Rote had of staying stark naked without any problems. For him that was completely indecent. "Hey, you need to understand that he was a slave not a moment ago. It's not Rote's fault this time." Libero tried to cover for Rote. "I-It doesn't matter! Slave or not, he always wants to... to stay like this! T-This is rather normal for him and... and... ugh!!" Noel opened one of his bags and took out one of his spare robes, pushing it onto Rote without looking at him. "W-Wear this, please! It'll cover your body for now!" He spoke, still flushed and not looking at his friend.

Libero could only laugh at the scene. He missed this sort of peaceful and familiar feeling. Then, Malamocco began speaking with him.

He then looked at Libero and said, "Greetings, Fragach scion. Your actions have brought the approval of the good aspects of Existence today." A frown as he continued, "Here is something that might stay your father's anger - We have the identity of the Cult of the Keeper's agent in Kaisersdat. As I said, the Cult of the Keeper is a group trying to bring down civilization as we know it so that the Old Gods can be worshipped due to everyone forgetting they are mere mortals with great magical power."

The Inquisitor smiled, "Her name is Katherine Sophia Gotha, and she is the one who planted the idea for the Iron Decree in our sovereign's brain."


BGM: March

"Greetings, Inquisitor. Believe me, my reasons for doing this are more selfish than what you would believe. All that I want is to safegaurd Noel so that he won't become another slave master. I want him to keep his heart pure and away from that." Libero spoke. Then, he spoke about something that would stay any anger from Grandalt. It was about a woman named Katherine Sophia Gotha, member of the Cult of the Keeper and responsible for making the Emperor believe and create the Iron Decree. However, he thought differently about it. "My father sold his soul and mind to the Decree, only because to maintain connections with the Emperor. Bringing this woman's name on my home will bring nothing to stay his anger once he discovers mine and my mother's actions. You can consider him your enemy and I, a rebel to his will." Libero spoke.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by jdh97
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Tamlorn Winter-Rose

The weight of words pressed against his mind and trickled into comprehension. Slowly, a frown bloomed across his face, and he chewed the corner of his mouth in mute consternation.

“Moreover,” adding to Jehenne’s points, “would this Katherine not have herself placed in a position of power and trust if she could influence our sovereign so? And would a move against her not also threaten to divide this realm further?” He shook his head, as if trying to shake loose the clotting disbelief.

A weighing eye measured the Fragarach brothers; Libero gave away a lot during his pledge. Unlike Jehenne. She was a guarded secret.

“Inquisitor, whilst I hold my country and name as utmost, at present it is you and yours who seem the danger to both,” he breathed in, and then, out, “I hope whatever evidence you have is substantial.”

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City Event - Mostly for the Main Party

Rote, Jehenne, Tamlorn and Noel

"We plan to kill Katherine, yes," Inquisitor Malamocco said. "And as for why we rescued you, it's because you and Rote are important to the enemy's plans." He looked at Jehenne, then Rote, "Rote's father made a bargain with Growthseed, the 'Goddess' - And by Goddess, a Mortal who drank from the Golden Ghral to gain power - of fertility and growth to make himself fertile enough to sire Rote. This made him a pawn of the Cult in the futture, as Rote himself knows."

He then looked at Jehenne once more, then continued, "You, on the other hand, were born under a celestial alignment, a celestial alignment in the heavens that marks you as suitable to be impregnated by the essence of Mansbane, the God of Desolation, the one killed by the First Xul. The Cult of the Keeper's plan is to possess you and Rote, with the latter having his mind obliterated so that he can serve as a vessel for Growthseed - Who can change genders as necessary - While you are to give birth to Mansbane reborn, dying from the pregnancy."

Inquisitor Malamocco paused to let the horror of his words sink in. "This, by the way, means that you two have to be kept safe - Although I will be candid, many among my order argue for killing the two of you now rather than risk the destruction of all that is dear to civilized society."

Rote then put in, "But you are not one of those people. Rather, you want us to fight alongside you. More to the point, we can be used to bait the Cult of the Keeper into revealing themselves." A pause of his own. "Well, I definitely don't want to have my mind obliterated, and no one deserves to be impregnated with a 'God' of Slaugther and Desolation. And I know what I witnessed before the Rebellion as well as my father's last words - I believe you." Then he looked at the Inquisitor, "But aren't there weapons that can kill Gods around? The Axes of the First Xul?"

Inqusitor Malamocco nodded, "Quite scholarly, I see. And that is our first job, to secure one of those Axes for our own, hopefully with the Xul's consent."

Then back to Liberio and Noel's antics as the Inquisitor said, "I would like to remind you that while the Church of Existence has few to no laws on sexual matters, such things are still not... Seemly to discuss. Either way, Liberio, I will respect your wishes, but Katherine Sophia Gotha still needs to be brought down. We'll just have to find some other way. Now, back to allying with the Xul - It has to be an alliance, as the Xul are some of the best fighters and druids I know plus the most zealous against the Old Gods' followers."

Back to Tamlorn as the latter asked for evidence. Frowning, Inquisitor Malamocco extended his hand, opening a small Timespace portal to his private study. He then took out, from said portal, several letters and documents, a few in the handwriting of Rote's father, Braun Kaufmann, while others were written on stationary exclusive only to the Imperial Palace.

The Inquisitor would also include a small booklet containing a key to deciphering secret codes as he handed the letters and documents to Tamlorn.

"Here," he said gruffly, "This is enough evidence to discredit Katherine Sophia Gotha, but not enough to ensure her death."

Louise

N/A for now, waiting for Smike.

@Smike@Stern Algorithm@Overlord Thraka@Aqutanama@Rune_Alchemist@Zoey White@Landaus Five-One@Solaris@jdh97@MagusDream:
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Dragon In The Slums

Brizzi and his compatriots were at the least disturbed by what they saw, but being seasoned criminals, they shook it off. The members of the crew then mounted their horses and followed the heretic to the central bank. As they rode, the heretic barked commands “Brizzi, use your connections to gather a crowd! Send rumors that the bank will run out of coin soon so that many will flock here! Edith and Claudette! Once the crowd has gained sufficient size, use your magic to cause a riot! Oscar! Wait near the rear gate! We will open it for you! Elia! You’re with me!”. As they approached the bank the Dragon spoke “I hope that you realize that you didn’t need to kill those people… Although it was likely for the better.” His voice was mellow compared to its usual boom. “After seeing the degeneracy… suffering… and despair first hand… I knew for sure.. That you are right” His tone was solemn. The dragon then spoke softly “do not fret my child, for you are but a fledgling warrior, and you are not used to drawing blood. Howerver, with time your mind shall become calloused, and you shall gain the power that will attain everlasting peace, as it is in our homeland.” The heretic smiled softly “A homeland that I don’t even know” a seed of doubt re-emerged, is he being fooled? Is he really doing the right thing? He studied the maps and continued to form his plan as he rode onward.

Brizzi broke off the formation as the Heretic and his pendant conversed. “What a quack” he muttered as he rode to a small building. When he went inside he disturbed a congregation of opium addicts. He waddled to a corner and lifted one of the floorboards, revealing a stash of marks, which he promptly snatched. He returned to his horse, riding to an orphanage. He walked inside and a tall, fit middle aged man with a moustache stared at him blankly “Hello Brizzi” His voice was hostile. “Save the attitude, I need something done NOW” He slammed the bag of marks on the table. “Send your quickest runners to the merchants and let them know that the first fifty to spread the rumor that the bank’s coffers are about to run dry will receive one token of imperfect electrum.”. Looking at the bag for a second, the man reluctantly accepted and sent his children off to the markets. Soon rumors spread through the slums and middle district that the bank will soon run out of coin and the mark will crash. Brizzi left the orphanage, and rode off to attend some other business before returning to spectate the raid on the bank.

“If you must kill again, do not fret. This place is corrupt, no matter how you look at it, so do what you must to gain influence” spoke the dragon. As they finally reached the bank they all stopped at the same location, where they would retrieve their horses when done. The mages waited at the courtyard for the crowd to gain mass “Come to the rear entrance when you’re finished” the heretic said to them. Oscar walked to an area where he could see the rear entrance. Elia and the Heretic went to the side of the building, waiting for the chaos to begin.



@aqutanama

Dual paths

There was a man outside the library, nearly seven foot tall, and heavily muscled. He wore the armor of the city, and had an arming sword at his hip. He had strong features, and had long, slightly curly hair that was just beginning to grey. He was accompanied by others who wore the same type of armor that he wore. His face was filled with rage, eyes widened with insanity, teeth bared. He snarled as he delivered a crashing punch to a lieutenant’s face who fell to the ground, clutching his visage, in agony.

He stormed off, kicking down one of the doors to the library. As he entered, all froze. He began to pace back and forth muttering all sorts of profanities that were unknown to Jonathan. He had just received the news of the attack on the Ahlret-Liu company’s representative, and the loss of some very valuable commodities, he was absent for the raid and knew that the failure would fall onto him. His fist fell onto the table which the outworlder was sitting at, causing it to jolt. The large man did not make eye contact at first, but hyperventilated due to the stress he was experiencing. His attention was then grabbed by the man’s equipment, clothing and hairstyle, which was when his look of rage and insanity shifted to one of utter perplexment. He then said in a firm, but condescending tone “By existence, who the fuck are you?”
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Aqutanama
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Jonathan Paul Huckaby
The Library


Jonathan sat finishing the last line of the first book he was reading out loud. He had created a Chapter break between each audio file he created. Slowly he closed the book and looked tiredly at the ones around him. One-off to the side, three million to go. He thought as he looked at all of the books in the building. Leaning forward he pulled up his Fitbit. It was oddly fully charged after only one book. At this point, he knew the basics of using the restroom and how currency in this world worked. Letting out a sigh he turned on some music as he gathered his belongings and placed them in his pockets. His phone wasn’t as low as he thought it would be either. Strange. He felt like listening to music and pulled up some video game music. Chrono Trigger seemed like a good option as he was in another world. Well, the game was about time travel but this was close enough.

BGM: Other World

Once he picked his song he made sure it was as low as possible. Then placed his ear buds into his ears and let his hair down. After that he leaned against the table with a book propped up in front of him. Several books under it so that it looked like he was reading. His body was fatigued, he was hungry and thirsty. Where was his new master who promised him food? He thought as his eyelids slowly closed.

A loud noise erupted from behind him? He shot up taking a few inches into the air but landing back into his seat. He was now awake… probably only a few minutes of sleep. Then again the drool on his face told a different story. It had caught some strands of hair, both facial and head. He thought this was just normal for this building and would mind his own business. Unfortunately for him, someone sat next to him. It wasn’t a normal sit either. The entire table moved as did his seat. Looking over he noticed a giant of a man. He was around the same height as his younger brother but built like a mound of muscle. He didn’t look all that well either, as if something was troubling him.

“By existence, who the fuck are you?” The man asked as Jonathan fixed his glasses. His mind was still catching up to what was going on. He wasn’t trying to ignore the man and even looked around the room thinking he was talking to someone else. His natural reaction was to point to himself with a dumb look on his face. He pulled the earbuds from his ears and shut off his song, via his fitbit.

“Names Jonathan.” He answered simply. He had noted that this man was of some kind of rank, and didn’t want to mess with someone who could probably snap him in half.

“Fuck is such a great word isn’t it? It can be used for so many things and in so many ways. You complimented your sentence with “the fuck”, instead of simply asking a stranger “Who are you?” I hope I’m someone who can help. You seem stressed.” He started rambling. STOP TALKING! He thought as his mouth continued. “Perhaps with my limited knowledge I could assist you, or just listen to your woes.” He calmly stated. His eyes were fighting to stay focused as he looked at the man. Slowly he started to fix the mess on his face. As he did that his stomach roared like a lion, protesting the famine it was being forced through. All he could do was smile and cover his stomach embarrassed as to what had just happened.
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Jehenne Alcroft




Not at all amused at Rote, Noel, and Libero's little discussion, Jehenne stayed focus on the task at hand. A disgusted, indignified sneer crept onto her face as Malamocco described the nefarious plans of these false God lunatics. As if someone had just asked her to clean up their spilled drink. Just her luck. Jehenne was having a hard time settling in anywhere. All of her plans were to be tossed out the window as soon as she began drawing them up. These cultists would have to die, too, it seems.

Jehenne's face reset to one of contemplation. After a few moments of silence, the ex-aristocrat spoke. "Is there any way to safely sterilize Rote or myself? I've never looked into it, personally. Nonetheless, I have no interest in bring a child into this world. Especially not some warmongering, disgusting creature that plans to kill me." This was preferrable to the alternative. Being assassinated by these people trying to save society, or being enslaved, raped, and murdered. The latter sounded far worse than the former, but the end result was the same, and Jehenne would very much like to live. For now, anyway. Perhaps she would be satisfied after...whatever she planned on doing. She still had to figure that out.

"Whatever the solution may be," Jehenne continued before the Inquisitor could answer her previous question, "Since you've been so gracious as to not have me killed, and since these people are also trying to kill, it would appear as if I have no choice but to help you. This Katherine woman will die, and I will do whatever I can to help orcestrate her timely demise. You've my word." She eyed the blackmail.

"Perhaps we could use that information as blackmail. Lure her into a trap of some kind."
Jehenne offered. Katherine would suspect political espionage, rather than actions being taken against her by her most determined enemies. Whatever this little group was called.
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