She arrives dressed for Business. No better way to explain to a group without experience than by making a clear visual impression.
That means wearing her very best suit in the Terenian style: a fitted pants/jacket combo in the deepest blue imaginable, more serene than a lake too wide to see across lit only by the distant twinkle of stars as they wove their stories overhead. The shoulders, elbows, waist, hips, and the middle of the thighs have all been cut out in wide diamond shapes to show off her snowy fur and a selection of her very best and most desirable stripes. The back of the jacket has been trimmed down to a series of thin ribbons that wind across her in a perfect helix. She wears no shirt underneath this jacket, the better to emphasize its absolute perfection, and secures only the top button (of three): a stylized thing of shimmering, textured gold that begs to have a finger run across it to feel the stimulation of the outfit's richness.
She wears the pointed shoes of the TC upper echelons, the ones with the pointed heels that raise her a full head and a half off of the ground. She is unusually tall for her kind already; now she is unquestionably a goddess. She has gathered her long hair up around her neck and the back of her head and tied it into a severe but messy, spiky bun held in place with two black prayer sticks dangling golden bells off of their tips. She wears a necklace, a gaudy thing made not with bones and smooth stones or diving weights and bits of fish bone (like one would if they wanted to be beautiful), but threaded of minuscule golden links looped over top of one another so they cascade down her chest like a tiny waterfall. Across her neck is also a tight choker featuring some manner of jet black stone in its center. On her face she wears a pair of large, oval spectacles with an opalescent frame. Looking through them, her genetically modified eyes are even more striking than usual.
She has painted her lips. She has lined hear ears with piercings and rings. She is perfect. She is divine. It is impossible to look at her and not believe she is an expert in the field she has dressed for.
"As you are aware, the Terenius Consortium contains a variety of religious expressions across its borders. But there is one principle god to whom all of their kind pay a special fealty to above all other manifestations, no matter how misfit they may be otherwise or what walk of life they claim as their own. It is a shapeless, formless god entirely unlike the great beasts of the Zaldarians or our own Goddesses, who shape our lives intangibly but nevertheless have made their bodies and their presence quite clear to us. I speak of course of the great god known as... Finance."
In the years since first contact, many (and especially the important) Hybrasilians have received crash courses in the bizarre world of TC economics. Certainly the far ranging mercenaries needed to get very good at understanding basic bartering very quickly if they wanted to be taken seriously in negotiations. Nowadays even most kittens wouldn't tilt their head at the mention of a 'credit' or the idea that it might be exchanged for something like food or a manufactured good without interacting with the complex series of promises and social expectations that underpinned the system of exchanges in their own empire.
But to all but the most hardcore fangirls of the TC worlds the specifics and especially the deeper mysteries of how these people lived their lives was a total black box. The Hybrasilian language contains zero even equivalent words for things like 'finance', 'corporation', 'CEO', or 'profit' and if anyone wanted to express these concepts they needed to use the TC words for them, full stop. The Hybrasilian, and especially the Fisher accent is very maladapted to the sounds these words are comprised of. To the sharp ears of a Child of Hybrasil, the attempt generally sounds impressive, and it has become popular to insert them into the lyrics of popular songs. To Terenians, however, the deficiencies border on insulting.
This is to say that if the likes of Isabelle or Marcina or Angela were here for this meeting they would likely have killed themselves giggling, and Mirror might not have had the bravery to continue. Luckily, her audience was cats. Cats all the way down.
"The currency you have dealt with in your work or mine is a tool to procure hospitality and aid, true, but its true purpose is a talisman of prayer to Finance. A holy man explained it all to me when he offered to help me create a 'bank account' to house the collected rewards I had been accruing for piloting for Terenian causes and benefits: Finance is a fickle and capricious god but it is pleased by strategic applications of this resource, and with enough successful supplications it will intervene on your behalf to grant boons beyond what an individual could offer for your exchange. Essentially, as your number of prayer slips increases, you or a skilled priest working on your behalf can cause miracles to occur. The creation of a new mecha, for example, or the forging of an alliance against historical clan interests. My personal favorite is the sudden manifestation of festivals outside of marked holy days, but supposedly these powers extend far beyond that to the truly devout."
Mirror nods and pulls out several tablets from a bag she's kept at her feet this entire time. She sets them on the table in front of her, displaying a pie chart, a line graph, and a spreadsheet. Each of these were painstakingly crafted by hand, which is to say they contain absolutely zero numbers or labels or identifying data of any kind, but they are all extremely colorful and evocative in a way that Mirror knows is corroborated by several anime she's seen dealing with the subject. It is not difficult at all to make the leap from these displays to a Hybrasilian priestess, even a bride beseeching her goddess for a good hunt with these offerings to dazzle her into compliance. Nor is it at all difficult to imagine certain goddesses absolutely devouring these offerings and assigning High Meaning to them.
"The greatest concentrations of holy power in Terenian society are found inside the grand temples that Finance feels most at home inside of. You have likely heard of Companies, yes? Perhaps by another name, the concept is so important that Terenians have as many words for this single concept as we have for reeds. Corporation, LLC, Conglomerate, Subsidiary, Co-Op, and Collective Bargaining Agreement all refer to the exact same type of temple. They combine the powers of supplication of a great many individuals under a single structure, where power within the cult is determined via a new type of prayer called 'stock'. It is an ascetic demonstration wherein a devout cultist demonstrates her belief in Finance by refusing to spend her accumulated credits on material comforts and instead spend all of it on the company itself. This creates 'stake' inside the temple, and the god rewards those who can deny themselves immediate gratification by returning it to them later multiplied a hundredfold or more."
Now she switches her teaching tools to something truly indulgent, something so wasteful she actually looks around the room for a moment to see if Finance would manifest for her in appreciation for her superior insight into its machinations. She uses paper. One hundred sheets of the creamiest, most beautiful paper she's ever seen, all of which she has spoiled by drawing the exact same flower blossom on. She sighs.
"Whatever anyone may tell you, these temples contain exactly one hundred instances of this prayer. They may require greater or smaller amounts of 'investment', depending on how powerful the temple is among the Cult of Finance, but what you see is all there is. And whoever performs the ritual best and who can make the most stable alliances gains the right to be called this temple's high priestess, though they mostly use other words for it. These priestesses command enormous powers in their society, including the ability to compel behavior against the wishes of the ones they demand it of or creating oaths of loyalty among whomever they choose. They can even cause entire Skyscrapers, those enormous glass spears Smokeless Jade Fires and I fought among recently, to rise up from the ground where they live. This is the power of the Lozano Matriarch, whom I have declared war on."
She gathers the papers together into two separate lots and divides them with a line of string, then does this three more times on the right side of the division until she's created several smaller lots against the one larger one.
"But these powers are not hereditary or inherent to the priestesses' being. Their god will turn on them if they ever grow lax in their duties or prove themselves an unworthy servant by allowing another cultist to usurp their power. If nobody controls the majority of these sheets in front of us, then the temple must ask for consensus among every cultist who has performed the ritual to have one. With fifty one out of one hundred to a single name, a high priestess' power is absolute. Within her temple she may alter reality as she sees fit and her god will enable her without fail. Conversely, if those fifty one sheets align against an individual, her voice goes completely silent. The god will not heed her even if she washes herself in holy water and slays a [Creature of Ten Thousand Mouths] with the droplets still fresh upon her body. Do you understand?"
Mirror pulls the strings away from the smaller lots and lays them across a single sheet of paper on the larger one, changing the arrangement completely.
"The Lozano Matriarch has her fifty one sheets, but she holds them via alliance. Any sufficiently advanced temple usually requires too much of a demonstration of devotion per sheet for a single person to feasibly hold a majority all by themselves. This is one of the ways their great god fosters competition in their society and keeps its children strong. But this woman has held her position for long years, in part by having her children each hold a small number of the sheets she needs to control the magic Fifty One (this being the holiest number of Fiance, you understand). I have been corresponding as best I could since the party to find people with sufficient devotion or at least connections to other holy men like my 'banker' who could be convinced to help buy up the other fourty-nine from their various owners. If I am successful, which is to say if they are successful, all that we need do to topple Isabelle Lozano Distant Gate's supposedly invincible and monstrous mother is to convince even a single one of her children to bargain for the sheets that they hold and her power will be broken utterly.
She will be the high priestess still, but she will need to bargain with a collective in order to continue enacting her will as she has for these many years. I do not believe she knows how. She will sink deeper trying to cling to her rituals without the backing of her god. Even if she manages to recover without shattering herself on her own temple, she will have been taught fear. And that, I think, will be enough proof of sincerity that I will be able to trust the Distant Gate to help me defeat Solarel, even after she fails her own test of single combat. Do you agree?
Mattara? Selin? My darlings and my hearts? Kiriala, my squire? Can you sweet talk a Lozano child out of their alliance for me? I wish to compensate them fairly according to the traditions of their home, of course, but I do not seek the power it represents for myself. I have already contacted Ada Smith, Unseen Goose about the possibility of heading this new alliance within this particular cult. I have done this because I believe it is the funniest result possible, and therefore the best. And that even if she quickly 'cashes out', as they say, she will walk away from our brief partnership with more resources for her family than she could get for herself in a hundred and one raids. I think it is worthwhile, personally. Will you help me? Can you spare the time for my sake? My plans are balanced on a spear tip right now, it will be difficult to adjust without you. But if it is too much for any reason at all... say so. I will abandon my vendetta and search for another way to give you my dream."