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Thread: Witchcraft Actors (IC)

  1. #1
    後継者 Successor zikari8's Avatar
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    Witchcraft Actors (IC)




    The year is 1570.

    It is the Golden Age of England, an era where the culture and prosperity of the nation are in full bloom. But beneath the surface, the flames of conflict embroil the Moonlit World hidden beneath the shadows of peace.

    Years of political tensions and religious reformation in Europe have led to an explosion of anti-heretical sentiment among the secret organizations of the Holy Church, now directed towards their eternal enemies, the Mage’s Association. Over the past few years, the Church’s inquisitions have increasingly grown in intensity, wiping out many magi families one after another. At this point they have all but declared outright war against the Association as they launch direct attacks on the headquarters of numerous Association branches spread across the continent.

    Now, as the sparks of war have finally reached England, where the headquarters of the Clock Tower are located, the time to strike back has arrived. In this era of great peace and prosperity, beneath the noses of the ignorant masses, the agents of both organizations stalk through the shadows as they hunt and are hunted. Thus, the curtain rises for the battle that will determine who truly rules over the Mysteries of the World.

    Let the Witch Hunt begin.




    Ella Alderman & Hanserl Albenheim
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Clock Tower – Spiritual Evocation Department


    Of the dozen separate departments that make up the Clock Tower, the Spiritual Evocation Department has to be one of the nicer ones when it comes to its campus. Compared to the dreary halls of the Curses department or the impoverished streets of the Archaeology department, the Spiritual Evocation buildings are spacious and ostentatious, not losing whatsoever to the extravagant mansions of the magi who studied there.

    This meeting room is one such example, decorated from floor to ceiling in marble, velvet, and gold. A long, mahogany table sits at the center of the room, capable of comfortably seating over two dozen people at once. All the stranger then that only three people are occupying it at the moment.

    “Thank you two for coming on such short notice.” One such person says, addressing the other two people in the room.

    Her name was Ghislaine Beaudet. She was a magus of noble lineage and a high-ranking member of the Spiritual Evocation Department who held no small influence over the faculty’s inner workings. But that fact alone would not have been enough to gather the other two people here.

    Ella Alderman and Hanserl Albenheim. These two magi, now seated on the other side of the table, were not members of the Spiritual Evocation Department and hence had no obligation to answer Ghislaine’s summons. No, what had called the two of them here was a letter directly from the Desk of Eulyphis, In other words, an official request from the Spiritual Evocation department itself. Which meant that Ghislaine had not called them here for personal business but was instead here on behalf of her superiors.

    “I’m sure the both of you are wondering why we have called you here, and I shall answer your questions very soon. But first, let me ask you a question.”

    Ghislaine states with an elegant smoothness to her voice, indicative of her refined upbringing.

    “As you likely know, the Clock Tower is effectively at war with the Holy Church at the moment. The Church has already launched multiple attacks on spiritual land that we own all across the country. Many local families have been forced to flee their estates, and some have been even less lucky. This is what I’d like to discuss with the two of you.”

    With almost daggers in her eyes, she leans forward onto the table and presses the question towards the two of them.

    “What do you think of this conflict?”




    Altis Laramie Falstaff & Cuthbert Ronwedehouse
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Westminster – Collegiate Church of St Peter


    Altis Laramie Falstaff is a busy man.

    It had been just last night that he had completed his last mission and returned to London only to receive this morning a brand-new set of orders, part of which involved coming here to the Collegiate Church of St. Peter for a meeting.

    The Priest Hunters truly knew how to keep their men occupied.

    This church was once known as St Peter’s Abbey, a catholic monastic church, until its dissolution and re-establishment by the Queen as a church of the Church of England. Now, it was responsible directly to the Queen herself and was devoid of any of the Holy Church’s influence. As such, it had also become a hub for a lot of the crown’s shadier dealings, particularly those that surpassed the material world.

    After a brisk walk through the gothic halls and stained-glass windows, Altis arrives in front of the door he had been instructed to go to.

    “Come in.”

    A familiar voice answers him after he knocks, inviting him inside. Stepping into the room, Altis finds two gentlemen waiting for him, both of them seated in lush chairs with a tea table between them.

    “Ah, Falstaff, thank you for coming. We’ve been expecting you.”

    The one on his right is John Dee, court astronomer and close advisor to the Queen. He could be said to be one of the most important and influential people in the entire country, yet there is an almost disarming air to his frail smile. He is also the one who greeted Altis upon his entry.

    The man on his left is one that is arguably equal in importance as Dee, at least as far as the World of Magic was concerned. Although Altis had never met him in person before, he is vaguely aware of him too.

    “First of all, let me introduce this gentleman to you.” Dee offers in a kind voice. “This is Lord Cuthbert Ronwedehouse. He is the Lord of the Clock Tower’s Spiritual Evocation Department and a dear friend of mine. He is here today in regard to some important business that I found it prudent for you to be here for as well. We are hoping that you will be able to help Lord Ronwedehouse with his request.”

    Then, with a courteous motion, he motions his hand towards a third chair and an empty teacup already placed on the table.

    “For now, why don’t you take a seat, Falstaff? We have a few things to discuss.”




    Virginia Gilbert & Sahar Pneuma Artamenes
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    The Judith

    “All hands on deck! Prepare for docking!”

    At their captain’s beckoning, the crew bursts into frenzied activity as their ship, The Judith, nears the port of London.

    The Captain herself, a woman (?) of ambition and fortitude, stands at the bow of the ship, both barking orders at her crew and eagerly watching the dockyard near. She is known as Francis Drake, a relatively young and up-coming ship captain with quite a few naval accomplishments already under her belt.

    “Drop anchor. We’re here, boys, get ready to unload the goods!”

    Eventually, the ship makes it to port and docks. Without missing a beat, the brow-beaten crew begins the unloading process.

    Just then, two women come out of the ship and step onto the deck: an aristocrat named Jane Nowell and her travelling companion, Virginia Gilbert.

    “Ah, ladies, how are you doing? Was the voyage to your liking? No seasickness, I pray.”

    Drake greets them as soon she notices them emerge from the ship. She abandons her position at the bow to properly receive the two women with more manners than one would expect from a man of the sea.

    It had been yet another of the captain’s questionable whims. Back at Kent, just as The Judith had returned from a minor trading expedition with plenty of valuable cargo, the captain had happened to meet the two women in town and taken a liking to them before promising that she’d ferry them to their destination, free of charge. As she always said, there were rules for the ship but no rules for the helm; their destination itself was always a journey.

    “As you can see, we’ve made it to London. Halfway there! We’ll be staying here for the rest of the day as we unload our cargo and do the whole shebang, but we’ll be setting off once again before noon tomorrow. And I promise you we’ll be in Oxford in no time. Sound good?”

    With her trademark smile, she makes them an absolute promise.

    At the same time, standing in the crow’s nest of the ship, a member of the ship’s crew, Sahar Pneuma Artamenes, watches everything from above. With a sharp eye, he overlooks both the rest of the crew unloading the ship and the captain’s conversation with the ship’s guests…




    The Rover & DIOMIDIS
    Night (Phase 0)
    A Certain Castle

    It is a castle made of pure gold.

    Even for a supernatural creature of legend, it seems like an absurdity.

    Hidden away in the sparce woods of Buckinghamshire was this gaudy anomaly of a territory, so flashy of a spectacle that it would’ve been impossible to hide if not for the layered boundary field. An indispensable asset as well, considering that the castle’s location was practically right next door to the Clock Tower, practically hiding right beneath the Association’s nose.

    Undeterred by said boundary field, though, The Rover walks through the dark woods alone and arrives at the golden castle.

    He comes bearing not hostility nor bloodlust, but instead orders from his superior that have led him here to meet the owner of this golden castle.

    “Yeah, there’s a golden weirdo in the forest over there. Could you go pay him a little visit? Just pass on the message to him if you’d please. Thanks a bunch.”

    So said the princess off-handedly while trying (and failing) to embroider a cushion.

    It was only for such a reason that The Rover was here now on what amounted to a glorified courtesy visit.

    Perhaps recognizing this, the castle doors open for him, and he is allowed to enter unhindered.

    As he steps into the castle foyer, he comes face-to-face with the vampire named DIOMIDIS.




    Nomine Aeve-Retinansia
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Aylesbury – Outskirts

    “We’re here.”

    The man in front of her announces as he tilts his head towards the carriage window.

    Outside, beyond the glass, the rustic landscape of Aylesbury could be seen quickly approaching. After more than three days of travel by carriage, they had finally arrived at their destination.

    Instead of elation at their arrival, though, the man’s expression turns solemn, and he turns towards Nomine with crossed arms.

    “Hey, gufo, you remember the briefing at Canterbury, right? This is an undercover mission. We’re eliminating all the heretics in this area secretly. You understand that, right?” He rudely confirms without a hint of levity in his voice. “Don’t do anything that’ll get us discovered.”

    It was customary for Executors of the Holy Church to work in pairs and that apparently still held true even in these wartime-like circumstances. The man sitting across from Nomine in the carriage, Giovanni Battista, was the partner that had been assigned to her for this mission. For the rest of the war, their fates were joined at the hip.

    Though why they had chosen this strait-laced priest to be Nomine’s partner was anyone’s guess.

    After a while, the carriage finally comes to a stop just on the perimeter of the town.

    It was a quaint little market town that had only just recently become the county town of Buckinghamshire. It was primarily a commercial center for the region, linking London to the southwest, and saw many bustling merchants come and go on the daily. This hub of travel and commerce brought much life to the town… and at the same time, made it all so easy for people like them to infiltrate.

    And at last, they had arrived.


  2. #2
    Flying Fairy Sunny's Avatar
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    Virginia Gilbert
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    The Judith

    Virginia Gilbert most certainly did not have sea legs. Rather than naturally adapting to the motion of the boat, she took each motion as it came and seemed to react on the spot as best she could. That meant her steps frequently stumbled, and she often needed to brace herself against the nearest wall or support.

    That was common enough for passengers unacquainted to the rhythm of a ship at sea, making their movements slow and inept. But in Virginia's case, while no one would call her movements elegant, she adapted quickly, and moved with a persistent energy that made up for the lack of poise, covering ground as quickly as if she was on a steady surface.

    When she stumbled, she caught herself and kept moving, cheerful and unfazed, all but bounding up the stairs that led from the ship's insides to the deck.

    Virginia was about to run over when she saw the Captain, but paused suddenly, planting her boots on the dock and waiting. She had to remember that she was not alone on this trip, not like she so often was.

    "-------"

    So, with a conscious thought, she stopped herself and stood at the doorway, holding out a steady arm to offer the woman coming up the stairs behind her. They had only met the day before they had departed Kent, as it seemed they had been called there for fairly similar reasons. So, it only made sense for Virginia to protect her, being the more experienced traveler.

    Her companion Jane Nowell's steps were comparatively slow, assessing her footing and only moving when she was certain of her next step. It was no surprise, as compared to the rough-and-tumble attire of her companion, Jane's clothing was much more becoming of a noble for whom travel was the exception, not the norm. Jane had put on a cloak for traveling, but her dress was fine material in comparison to the rough slacks and buttoned blouse Virginia wore.

    As such, the aristocrat took the proffered hand with a bashful smile, and with a strong grip on her, Virginia made sure she was escorted off the boat safely, and the two made their way to the deck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Francis Drake
    "Ah, ladies, how are you doing? Was the voyage to your liking? No seasickness, I pray."
    “It's more water than I've crossed in... well, my whole life, as a matter of fact," Virginia responded straightaway. At the same time, her eyes were alert and scanning their surroundings, a matter of habit before returning her gaze to Captain Drake and giving a firm nod. "But you and your vessel made the passing as clear as a bell."

    "Truly, we could ask for no better, Captain. Really though, Virginia? And here I had thought you were..." Jane began, then trailed off, tapping her chin. "Oh, how did that go? A popolo di navigatori? A 'nation of sailors', I believe? I do recall reading that in many books."

    "Hah, that's Italy, not all Italians, Miss Nowell. Back home, I could outswim my brothers in any swimming hole by a long chalk, but that was it," Virginia chuckled, her tone warm as she patted the nearest part of the ship she could touch. "The oldest looked like a wet rat if he even got near the beach, and not one of us had ever crossed the sea. They wouldn't believe I've been on a boat, never mind a grand one like this!"

    The lady covered her mouth with a giggle as Virginia realized she had been recounting a childhood anecdote, scratching her cheek a bit sheepishly. "Where are my manners? Somewhere, I expect, but regardless..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Francis Drake
    As you can see, we’ve made it to London. Halfway there! We’ll be staying here for the rest of the day as we unload our cargo and do the whole shebang, but we’ll be setting off once again before noon tomorrow. And I promise you we’ll be in Oxford in no time. Sound good?
    "Excellent! Oh, it'll be so good to see Oxford again," Jane clapped her hands. "And an evening's stay sounds delightful. Doesn't it, Virginia?"

    Virginia nodded, taking in the Captain's explanation. She needn't promise them anything, but she did. So, when Virginia Gilbert smiled, the expression was an affirmation as absolute as the promise the Captain had given.



    "You have my thanks, for a good voyage and good company. If there's anything I can do for you and yours in the meantime, I'll be glad to."
    Last edited by Sunny; May 16th, 2022 at 12:28 AM.

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  3. #3
    wwwww Spartacus's Avatar
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    Nomine Aeve-Retinansia
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Aylesbury – Outskirts


    Quote Originally Posted by Giovanni Battista
    “Hey, gufo, you remember the briefing at Canterbury, right? This is an undercover mission. We’re eliminating all the heretics in this area secretly. You understand that, right?” He rudely confirms without a hint of levity in his voice. “Don’t do anything that’ll get us discovered.”
    "I get it, I get it. You know what I'm capable of already, so what can I possibly do?"

    Nomine let out a very audible sigh. It seems that the partner she is paired with is not a fun one.

    She begins to wonder do accepting this mission was a good choice or not? How many times has she told the Church what she wants is simply freedom with honesty? From the very start, what she wants is just simple fun. There is no plan of betraying her partner or the Church, such a complicated thing was never been her forte, she has always been an individual that goes with the flow.

    Well, all things considered, it's not like she has the choice to decline to begin with. May as well enjoy the occasion while she at it.

    "Besides, I have a name you guys gave to me. Nomine, No-Mi-Ne, at least address me properly. We are going to be together for a while, it's the best for both of us to get along, no?"

    Losing interest to persuade Giovanni any longer, she decided to keep quiet and entertain herself. It's been so long since she has seen the sun, that she can't exactly remember when was the last time she is able to see it with her own eyes. Nomine has always been an individual that enjoys simple things in a simple way, even the hustle and bustle sight of towns like Buckinghamshire easily brings a smile to her lips.

    "Pretty."


    The well-paved stone road their carriage currently runs on.

    The carefully built brick houses breathe life into the city.

    The lovingly constructed classical offices show the great architect's passion.

    The concretes. The pillars. The statues. She can't help but marvel at what she sees.

    Everything is something she always feels proud of and wanted to preserve. All of it has been photographed in her eyes in their utmost beauty. Never let it go and never be forgotten.

    "Ah, such a nostalgic view. The world is as beautiful as always."

    It's such a shame that only she can see it that way. If only the world can see the same thing as she does.

    That said, she is not carefree enough to completely forgot the duty she has been bestowed with. When the carriage stops, she knows her work is about to begin.

    "So, where is exactly my father at? Here?"
    Last edited by Spartacus; May 16th, 2022 at 06:31 AM.

  4. #4
    不死 Undead GilgameshKingOfMemes's Avatar
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    Ella Alderman
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Clock Tower – Spiritual Evocation Department


    From the day we are born we prepare to die. With dedication, regardless of origin, we harden are hearts for deaths embrace. Ella had seen her fair share of funerals in her time. Even the cold hearted magi that crowd these halls have the capacity to mourn, and like all humans act in ways they hope might alleviate that misery.

    With numerous cultures and backgrounds all convening within the Clocktowers sphere of influence no practice is the same. From scattering their bodies to burning them, death is treated with a myriad of powerful responses, but they're all plagued by the same sort of desires and feelings. Ella would know, as nobility the nature of ones death is often the biggest reflection of status and power. It's often only with death that the nobility show the most pride and arrogance.

    Thus with the demise of Clocktowers various wealthy families, despite the often secretive and seclusive lifestyle of these magi, elaborate displays can come about because they simply cannot help but be human. Humanity has been molded by death in such a way that the living cannot be complete without its cruelty. In the end it all highlights one important fact. Death and mourning are tools of the living.

    When war comes, death follows in excessively extensive floods which erode the social and political landscape. Those waves of sorrow were now unmistakably piling high outside her doorstep. These loud performances both sides make at its arrival resemble the unmistakable rot of corpses, and with that stench of vile decay do maggots spawn and vermin and beast alike come crawling to claim their prize.

    Originally Posted by Ghislaine Beaudet
    “What do you think of this conflict?”
    "Conflict remains and inevitability in life. Those who are not prepared for when malicious action is taken against them, regardless of the logic involved, would not be able to maintain their titles for long here. The meaning behind the Churches actions remain just the idealistic babbling of zealots beneath my worry. I care only for their reasons in the most pragmatic of terms. If their ire is now encroaching upon my estate, then I shall simply make the most use of it. Efficiency is one of the most important values of any magus."

    The church had considered her kind to be the scum of the Earth for a long time. Even as a little girl death at the hands of the church was a real concern for many magi associated with the Clocktower. They were never a group she was particularly interested in, but if they could offer her something, even if it was their lives, then she would have to take notice. Still, Ella couldn't help but wonder just how interesting things might be if they felt the need to even drag her out into the light of day to be involved. Idly she played with one of her rings as she looked the women over. Whatever that woman was gonna ask of her, Ella had the intuition that she would agree to play along.




    "So if you want something from me darling, don't worry about being straightforward with it. "
    Last edited by GilgameshKingOfMemes; May 16th, 2022 at 07:27 PM.

  5. #5
    後継者 Successor Bugs's Avatar
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    Altis Laramie Falstaff
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Westminster – Collegiate Church of St Peter


    Beauty has historically been a difficult concept to define in a way that satisfies any kind of majority.

    Prescriptivists sought to form an ideal from the outset; something that could be filled in when the proper future arrived. What they espoused was no less than naming a god before it had been born, molding a shape for reality before that reality had ever existed. With this model in mind, the architecture of this very church could be described as something truly "beautiful."

    Others believed beauty could only be confined to the realm of the physical. Something like a moment in time could only ever be beautiful due to its relation to those who participated in said moment or happened to be its observers.

    If anything, Altis Laramie Falstaff is an observer.

    Worn leather boots struck loudly against the church's weathered marbled flooring, as Altis approached the room he'd been told to visit. His last mission had gone well enough, the upstart sect of Catholic radicals hadn't been able to offer him any more resistance than the others. It wasn't that he disliked the work, but he always found himself far happier when he was allowed to return home to wander the halls of Saint Peter's. Standing in front of the meeting room's simple wooden door, Altis reflected on this minor happiness as he awaited leave to enter.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dee
    “Come in.”
    Dust motes danced in the startled air as Altis entered, drifting in and out of visibility between the panes of afternoon sunlight that dyed the meeting room with a warm glow. Pausing wordlessly immediately behind the chair offered to him, the tall blonde man took stock of the scene before him.

    The man with the gentle smile needed no introduction.

    But this new face...who was he, exactly?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dee
    “This is Lord Cuthbert Ronwedehouse. He is the Lord of the Clock Tower’s Spiritual Evocation Department and a dear friend of mine. He is here today in regard to some important business that I found it prudent for you to be here for as well. We are hoping that you will be able to help Lord Ronwedehouse with his request.”
    Lord Cuthbert Ronwedehouse…is it? The name was familiar to him, of course–as with all Lords of the Clock Tower–but only vaguely. Master Dee had once suggested that Altis option some classes at the Clock Tower, but the Department of Spiritual Evocation was a complete mystery to him. How intriguing.

    Anyone else could have recognized this situation as picturesque, or at the very least worthy of being taken seriously. Two powerful men framed by the grandeur of the church, perhaps it would make a particularly compelling entry in one’s diary.

    But Altis is simply not that kind of person.

    Instead he noted the way the two men were positioned, how comfortable their seating arrangement was, the presence of any sweat at the side of their brows. Were either of them clenching their fists? Distracted by some figment of the eye? Annoyed? Ahhh how he longed for the free time to attend another of the Clock Tower's galas, the pressure built up during those silent conflicts was always the most divine.

    Unfortunately, Altis Laramie Falstaff is a busy man.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dee
    “For now, why don’t you take a seat, Falstaff? We have a few things to discuss.”
    He could hardly keep himself from smiling as he bowed.

    “Pardon my intrusion, then. Altis Falstaff, reporting.”

    In one fluid movement, Altis vaulted over the chair. Hanging in the air for but a moment, the man landed with the languid ease of a cat, one leg crossed over the other. Offering the court astronomer his own gentle smile, Altis turned and finally addressed the other man for the first time since arriving.

    “Yo~ Could it be that you need my help with something, Lord? Tell me all about it, I’m just dying to know!”

  6. #6
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Ayr's Avatar
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    Hanserl Albenheim
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Clock Tower – Spiritual Evocation Department



    In the great list of things that cause Hanserl Albenheim stress, uncertainty is chief among them. He had built himself a fairly regimented life here in London, serving as a lecturer in the Department of Botany. He is neither especially liked or disliked by those around him, which is helpful when one wishes to keep their schedule clear of all but the most necessary of social engagements. The less time he has to spend navigating the treacherous political landscape of this institution is more time he can spend on what really matters to him.

    He is therefore quite displeased to find himself sitting in this unfamiliar building with unfamiliar people, for reasons that have thus far not been made clear to him. Across from him is Ghislaine Beaudet, who he understands to be the representative of the Department of Spiritual Evocation set to the task of running this meeting.

    Were he to turn to his left he would see his fellow guest, a woman by the name of Ella Alderman. Neither her face or name sparks any sense of recognition, so he feels certain in saying that they were completely unacquainted before today. This begs the question of what common reason would bring the two of them - and just the two of them it seems - to this room. His hopes that others might still be to join them amount to nothing as Lady Beaudet addresses the room.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghislaine Beaudet
    “As you likely know, the Clock Tower is effectively at war with the Holy Church at the moment. The Church has already launched multiple attacks on spiritual land that we own all across the country. Many local families have been forced to flee their estates, and some have been even less lucky. This is what I’d like to discuss with the two of you.”
    The mention of Holy Church and its terrible crusade causes Hannes' irritation to flare, but he is able to subdue the feeling before it can quite reach his face. While he holds no illusions of fooling anyone for long, his pride demands at least an attempt at stoicism. Yes, a refugee such as himself is quite aware of the Holy Church's recent surge in aggression. What else could have driven him to flee from his ancestral home, from his life's work, from -

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghislaine Beaudet
    “What do you think of this conflict?”
    But now is not the time to mourn what can never be returned, nor are these people to whom he can afford to show such vulnerability, so he pushes down the bile in his throat and attempts to form a more acceptable answer. Preferably one that will allow him to keep this war at an arm's length for even a little longer.

    "I suppose I have it to thank for driving up attendance of my lectures on field medicine and wilderness survival? The students of this generation are thoroughly preparing for every possibility, it seems. I can't say I'm at all surprised the Church's dreadful ambition has designs on these isles, but I must confess my dismay to hear so much of their success lately. Is the Clock Tower not meant to be the centre of the magical world - an unassailable fortress where those who seek Truth can carry out their noble work unmolested by these outsiders? Academics such as ourselves shouldn't have to live in fear of being persecuted by ... by those who can't understand the beauty of what we pursue here."

    It amounts to little more than small talk, really - a cobbling together of some popular refrains embedded with just enough personal embellishments to sound like he might have come up with them himself. But there was no doubt he had answered the question, and if that answer sounded trite, unoriginal and all-too-common amongst his fellows, then it was all the better for it.

    "Well, I doubt I've any more insight into the situation than you could gather among those of your own department. Which just about brings us back to the question of why I am sitting here."
    Last edited by Ayr; May 16th, 2022 at 09:29 AM.

  7. #7
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    The Rover
    Night (Phase 0)
    A Certain Castle


    If the buzzing of insects really was God's way to remind humans of their mortality, then thoughts were the Devil's way to remind them of eternal damnation.

    Such ridiculous nonsense to waste my time on a fool's errand - even though a fool I be, for all time and beyond.

    Such obstinate idiocy on my part to continue to persist with my pledge. What use more life to a walking corpse? I should just lose myself in the woods and gorge myself until time runs out.

    No - beasts make for poor prey. The horrors of my youth, they're all gone. It is but a pale world I will leave behind, and that gladdens me.

    This war... Can it make my heart beat again? Can it make me thrill once more to the crunching of bones and the tearing of flesh? Yes... Hotter than Hell, sweeter than sin, such is the taste of heroes and cowards alike!
    Spoiler:
    To sleep, to dream no more. Yes.


    Such were the thoughts playing like an endless refrain in The Rover's mind; truly, he could ask for no worse minstrel than himself.


    Not that any of them marred his features in any way: the centuries had seemingly dulled his flesh's ability to mimic even basic human reactions, for rare indeed had been the times in the last two hundred years his face displayed anything more than mild annoyance at his surroundings. Even now as he crossed the threshold of the gaudy spectacle of a golden castle in the middle of the woods, none of his contempt was shown - nor the brief amusement he felt as he imagined the castle melting into so much wasteful piss if it were set on fire.

    Even so...

    Perhaps it was one of the wind's melodies that he just happened to catch; more probably, it was nothing more than a passing fancy, a fantasy fed by knowledge of what was to come.

    Or maybe it was something in the cruel princess's voice as she last spoke to him.

    As he stepped into the castle's foyer and came face-to-face with the vampire DIOMIDIS, his thoughts weren't really in the moment. They weren't in his perfunctory bow to the castle's lord, nor in his rushed, dispassionate greeting:

    "Hail, DIOMIDIS. I bring you a warning from Altrouge Brunestud. The Church's forces will march through your lands on their way to attack the Clock Tower; she said you will 'probably die' if you don't run away."

    What did he care for this DIOMIDIS's existence? Nothing. Even fulfilling what was probably his last obligation to the Vampire Princess didn't give him any satisfaction.

    Underneath all the verses his mind couldn't let go of before, sweeter words than any he had heard in close to a millenium were sung with a voice not his own:

    “I’ll listen closely to your dying gasps."

    Do you promise, lady?

  8. #8
    Cuthbert Ronwedehouse
    Afternoon (Phase 0)

    Westminster – Collegiate Church of St Peter

    The hardest times to live through are not necessarily those presenting the harshest challenges and circumstances but rather those that are the most propice to excite people's fears.

    It was not that they necessarily were wrong to panic as each story and rumour coming to their ears seemed to confirm that their world was on the verge on ending but truth to be told, as they had neither the means nor the time to influence those events or properly understand their scope they were only torturing themselves for no real reason.

    Cuthbert Ronwedehouse, who occupied the dignity of Lord of the Clock Tower’s Spiritual Evocation Department, had in measured amounts more of both of those qualities that are “time” and “means” that could give him the ability to “influence” events. As such it wasn’t unreasonable for him to feel a certain amount of that panic brought by the spirit of the times.

    As if at the best of times, the charge of a Lord wasn’t quite stressful by itself ! Young magus and ancient families both needed to be guided and supported in their efforts to attain the Universal Truth was as rewarding as it was tiring and time-consuming. And now that dark days were showing their ugly heads and giving hungry looks at the Clock Tower, it was a Lord’ duty to leave their office to preside upon some harsh but necessary clean up.

    But of course, no one said he had to do it alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narrator
    This church was once known as St Peter’s Abbey, a catholic monastic church, until its dissolution and re-establishment by the Queen as a church of the Church of England. Now, it was responsible directly to the Queen herself and was devoid of any of the Holy Church’s influence. As such, it had also become a hub for a lot of the crown’s shadier dealings, particularly those that surpassed the material world.

    And if today Cuthbert was able to sit and enjoy tea and rest within the Collegiate Church, it was thanks to his friend next to whom he was being seated. When it seems that everybody is rushing towards making tomorrow as bloody as possible, even a few minutes spent with a cherished person was enough to bring back the sight of a brighter tomorrow.

    And what a tomorrow was to be seen ! His own vision of the future was often quite ‘original’ but John’s ? John truly was a genius able to conjure ideas of revolutions for both the World of Magecraft and the mundane world and defend them in passionate and rational ways.

    And wasn’t this place quite the proof of it ? In those trying times there was a certain type of comfort being brought by an incontestable sign of the so-threatening Holy Church having been humbled, expelled where it can threaten neither the kingdom or the Clock Tower.

    Quote Originally Posted by Altis
    Instead he noted the way the two men were positioned, how comfortable their seating arrangement was, the presence of any sweat at the side of their brows. Were either of them clenching their fists? Distracted by some figment of the eye? Annoyed?
    Altis’ arrival in the room had taken Cuthbert out of his reverie, making him smile at both his own giddiness. While he politely nodded as a greeting and readjusted his posture ever so slightly, as the comfortable meeting with a dear friend has now evolved to become quite more formal and potentially crucial, he still didn’t feel the need to utter a word yet.

    As heedless as he may be from time to time when left to indulge into his own daydreams, he wasn’t so dizzy as to forget that he was into the territory of the Crown and its servants. He would play his role when he would be called upon and in the meantime, he would be content to simply wait and enjoy some more moments of silent musings.

    If anything, the man seemingly not even looking at him was quite comforting in its own way. He simply had a certain train of thoughts in the back of his head that if pushed just a little further -

    Quote Originally Posted by Altis
    “Yo~ Could it be that you need my help with something, Lord? Tell me all about it, I’m just dying to know!”
    “ I am afraid that we are not meeting simply for the pleasure of making acquaintances. “

    Brought back to reality, Cuthbert was quick to offer a warm smile to his new interlocutor. The cavalier attitude was enjoyable in its own right as if suddenly, he was back lecturing in a classroom and had to justify his position behind the desk. But now was the time to focus, not to reminisce !

    “ You are not mistaken: we are meeting because help such as yours is needed. The Holy Church is intensifying its efforts against the Clock Tower, threatening to interrupt our quest for the Truth and enabling dangers to rise from the shadows, allowing chaos to creep into this kingdom for the sake of petty ambitions. “

    “ I do not have the pleasure of knowing you and so, my request cannot be anything but cavalier. But would you agree to join the war effort as an ally of the Clock Tower, alongside our very best and those willing to support us in times of troubles ? “

    “ I am sure you have questions and as much as I am able to, I will aim to provide answers so you can make an informed decision. "

    Last edited by King Prussia; May 17th, 2022 at 02:56 PM.

  9. #9
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    DIOMIDIS
    Night (Phase 0)
    A Certain Castle

    "...Oh?"

    There was a noise. Nothing here moved unless he moved it. Nothing here lived; the walls, the furniture, the rats, everything in this guided cage he called a "Castle" was gold. Slowly, the giant one was roused from his torpor. A noise meant something new was here. A servant of his perhaps? No, no, no. There was not enough groveling for his liking. Whomever was here was... new.

    A stranger? Lost wanderer? No, the common folk would be marvelling at where they stood. Naturally as they should, for naturally in the domain of DIOMIDIS. High, mighty, radiant even. A castle was a place of vintage beauty, gold was the most wondrous material there was, a union of the two would call the masses. Therefore by process of elimination the person here at least knew of him and came here with a purpose.

    Slowly, the great lord of the castle stired. Sitting in his throne, shrouded in a shade that protected his visage. as a
    brave
    foolish
    wandering stranger walked through the foyer. Though unseen through his helmet, the golden lord narrowed his eyes as he examined his guest. It was a man, rugged and aged by times passing. His attire was likely aged from a different era long passed, though not that of a true magus nor executor of the Holy Church. This man walked with purpose, his eyes dispassionate, teeth gritted.

    Ah, there it was. A silent contempt.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpoonyViking View Post
    "Hail, DIOMIDIS. I bring you a warning from Altrouge Brunestud. The Church's forces will march through your lands on their way to attack the Clock Tower; she said you will 'probably die' if you don't run away."
    Ah, a plaything of the doll playing princess. Quaint.

    As the lights of the sky traveled onwards, through the gaps - slowly the great figure became visible. He was large, exceedingly tall with a grandiose presence. In turn, the vampire spoke out in a needlessly loud and boisterous declaration.


    "Hail stranger. I, DIOMIDIS, acknowledge your message."

    Ah, was that too loud? His taste for the dramatic had seemed to age like a fine wine.

    He hadn't spoken to people in a while, at least holding conversations with people that lasted longer than a few sentances before turned and swiftly walked away. If this person even counted as 'People'. At this point, the vampire was thankful he wore a gaudy set of full plate armour. This was quite tiresome, how did he used to be able to talk to people every day? Hidden by his helmet, he slowly took a deep breath through his nose and exhaled slowly in a quiet - yet overtly dramatic sigh.

    "Relay to Brunestud that I shall indeed move for their assault. Their war with the Mage Association and Holy Church sounds rather amusing. How much chaos are your masters willing to conduct in order to achieve nothing as usual... but never mind that! The destruction will be quite something for I, DIOMIDIS to observe. I shall treat their foolish squabbles as tribute for passing through my Golden Land."

    Ah, these squabbling nobles - whether alive or dead - never made sense. But then again, destruction never made sense after all. It was only fun when senseless.

    Maybe, I will be entertained finally after so long.

    Slowly the deranged Dead Apostle began to smile.

  10. #10
    後継者 Successor zikari8's Avatar
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    Nomine Aeve-Retinansia
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Aylesbury – Outskirts

    Quote Originally Posted by Nomine
    "Besides, I have a name you guys gave to me. Nomine, No-Mi-Ne, at least address me properly. We are going to be together for a while, it's the best for both of us to get along, no?"
    “Tch.”

    Giovanni clicks his tongue. His face scrunches up and he tightens his arms at the mere mention of them getting along.

    It is a reaction that hasn’t been uncommon in the few days that he and Nomine have been travelling together. From the outset, it was obvious how little he liked the decision to make them partners.

    But after a moment of silent straining, he sighs in a resigned manner.

    “Fine. Nomine, it is.”

    That’s all he says as he quickly sinks back into his seat with a look that made it clear he wouldn’t concede any more.

    As Nomine gazes out into the townscape, he remains silent, watching her smile with a disinterested look, until finally the carriage comes to a stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nomine
    "So, where is exactly my father at? Here?"
    “Presumably. He was spotted here by one of our local informants. That was two weeks ago. A Dead Apostle of that caliber won’t show himself unless there’s a good reason. So, he’s either nearby… or still here.”

    Giovanni answers seriously, far less reserved now that the topic had returned to business.

    “We’ll have to gather intel to confirm whether he’s still here or not and then decide on our course of action. If there really is a Dead Apostle nearby, there will no doubt be The Dead too, so we’ll have to be careful. But while we’re at it, uncovering any other heretics who might be lurking in this town’s shadows is our main priority.”

    While talking, Giovanni pulls out a piece of parchment from his tunic and quickly reviews the notes he had recorded back during their briefing at Canterbury.

    “Our allies will be joining us in a few days. Not fellow executors, but Cunning Folk. Allies of the Church, apparently. Before they get here, we should secure a base of operations and do most of the legwork. That’ll make the latter half of the mission go much smoother. There’s plenty to do, so let’s get started right away.”

    Without wasting anymore time, Giovanni opens the door to the carriage and takes the first step onto Aylesbury soil.

    Once he’s out, he spins on his heel and turns back to stretch out a hand for Nomine, the chains around his hand jingling like bells.

    “Well, then, what’s our first course of action, Nomine?”

    Perhaps he was showing deference to her (technically) superior rank. Or perhaps it was a concerted effort to try and “get along”. Either way, it seems that he’s willing to let Nomine call the shots for now.


  11. #11
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six SpoonyViking's Avatar
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    The Rover & DIOMIDIS
    Night (Phase 0)
    DIOMIDIS's Castle


    "Why stop there?"

    The Rover's eyes had started to wander around the room even before DIOMIDIS had finished talking. Not out of contempt - though contemptuous such a gesture was, inevitably -, but sheer boredom. Though he usually avoided dealing with his "brethren of the night" - vainglorious fools, the lot! (And I, the worst of them) -, it had been inevitable at times, and never had The Rover formed a positive impression of one.

    He supposed that, too, was inevitable. It wasn't just blood which reanimated the corpses of the creatures known as Dead Apostles, but also the sheer, overwhelming strength of their obsessions. Magic, power, lust... The Rover had no idea how many walkers after death roamed these lands and others, but all he had known were consumed by such petty desires. Who still possessed of a half-way sane mind and at least a bird's egg worth of wits would tolerate their company for more than the strictly necessary? Tedious creatures, almost worse than sheep.

    Then DIOMIDIS mentioned "destruction", and The Rover stopped.

    "The destruction will be quite something for I, DIOMIDIS to observe. I shall treat their foolish squabbles as tribute for passing through my Golden Land."
    "Why stop there?" said The Rover - then he blinked, for he hadn't intended to speak at all, and barely even realised he had done so.

    What did he care for this DIOMIDIS? Nothing. The princess's message had been given, and he didn't even need to leave his name; he should just turn around and leave on his merry way.

    And yet...

    He was a failure of a human and a failure of a monster. This brewing war between the Church and the magi... He cared even less for both than he did for his "fellow" vampires, but wouldn't such a conflict attract powerful people? Maybe people powerful enough to give him the pathetic closure he disgracefully needed? That was the whole reason he had returned to that forsaken island, after all.

    Perhaps because the topic had become dearer to his heart than he had realised, or perhaps because his impending doom had jumbled loose vestiges of human feelings from his rotten soul... But The Rover shrugged, then carried on.

    "Why stop at observing? Why not take part in the destruction yourself?"

    He was a failure of a human and a failure of a monster, and he cared nothing for this DIOMIDIS or any possible answers... But still he wanted to know. Curious.

    It seemed even - no, especially himself was all made of fantasy.
    Last edited by SpoonyViking; June 6th, 2022 at 12:33 PM.

  12. #12
    wwwww Spartacus's Avatar
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    Nomine Aeve-Retinansia
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Aylesbury – Outskirts


    Quote Originally Posted by Giovanni Battista
    “Fine. Nomine, it is.”
    "Yaaayyyy~! Courtesy is how you get into Empress Nero's good side! Keep it up and I guarantee you will quickly rise through the ranks smoothly!"

    Did she just say something outrageous out loud? Oh well. Nomine gives an occasional slip of the tongue that contradicts the known history from time to time. Perhaps knowing useless trivia unknown to any man is the reason why she is the gufo, the Owl.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giovanni Battista
    “Presumably. He was spotted here by one of our local informants. That was two weeks ago. A Dead Apostle of that caliber won’t show himself unless there’s a good reason. So, he’s either nearby… or still here.”
    "Ah, that sounds like him. He hasn't changed at all since we last met~"

    Isn't it lovely when you know that your parent is still the same as always, the same as how you loved him almost a millennium ago? Nomine certainly thinks so. She especially likes it when the truth is truly aligned with her perception.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giovanni Battista
    “We’ll have to gather intel to confirm whether he’s still here or not and then decide on our course of action. If there really is a Dead Apostle nearby, there will no doubt be The Dead too, so we’ll have to be careful. But while we’re at it, uncovering any other heretics who might be lurking in this town’s shadows is our main priority.”

    “Our allies will be joining us in a few days. Not fellow executors, but Cunning Folk. Allies of the Church, apparently. Before they get here, we should secure a base of operations and do most of the legwork. That’ll make the latter half of the mission go much smoother. There’s plenty to do, so let’s get started right away.”
    "A correction, Giovanni. It's not a matter of 'if', this is the Apostles we are talking about, it's a matter of 'when' and 'where', they definitely are present among us and waiting for the right time to kill."

    The carriage stops, and the young man took the lead and stretch his hand for her. Such a slight gesture of respect makes her raise an eyebrow. Considering he has been very apparent in his disapproval of her, or she doesn't expect him to be the type that honors hierarchy. or he put aside their opposite nature as living beings, or perhaps he simply doesn't pay attention to what kind of being she is; regardless, his action makes her confused.

    "Oh my, you should save this kind of thing to someone more deserving, such as the charming Queen this kingdom had. Don't waste it on a common folk like me. Besides..."

    Nomine looked back inside the carriage, making a point toward something that should be obvious to her temporary partner.

    There is something odd about the carriage that they ride in. For something as bright as today's good weather, the inside of the carriage is unnaturally dark, almost pitch black. Whenever the sunlight pierces through it and shines on what is inside, the shadow expands and once again shrouds the interior from light. As if trying to hide something from eyes to see.

    But what exactly is it trying to hide?

    "You want to play this secretly, right?"


    Despite Nomine hasn't gotten off her seat nor reached the door with her own hand, the door somehow closed by itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giovanni Battista
    “Well, then, what’s our first course of action, Nomine?”
    "With that in mind, we better choose the darkest place and most accessible area we can find to stay. Places with a lot of alleyways and sewer access will be ideal."

  13. #13
    後継者 Successor zikari8's Avatar
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    Ella Alderman & Hanserl Albenheim
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Clock Tower – Spiritual Evocation Department

    As the two magi answer, each in their own way, Ghislaine listens to them intently and, at the end, acknowledges their responses with a curt nod.

    “I see. At the very least, I’m glad the both of you are not ignorant or dismissive of the current events. That will make things easier. And since it seems you both would like me to get straight to the point, I will. To put it simply, we would like to request your assistance in resolving the conflict.”

    A simple request, indeed, but far from an easy one. Knowing full well of what she’s asking of them, Ghislaine quickly and gracefully raises a hand to cut off any immediate reactions.

    “Before I receive your answers, allow me to first fill you in on the current situation and why your assistance is desired. But keep in mind that the information I’m about to share is confidential to some degree.”

    Ghislaine stands up and a map of England and Wales is unfurled over the table. With a hunting crop being used as an impromptu stick, she points out particular parts of the map as she gives them her explanation.

    “You may already know this, but the majority of the battles between us and the Church have been fought here in Kent and in other areas within the southeast of England. This is because the Holy Church has been using Canterbury as their primary base of operations. Most of our associated magi in this area have already fled to take shelter here or elsewhere safer. It can be said that this is the frontline of the battle, one we are quickly gaining control over.”

    Of course, when she says frontline of the battle, she does not refer to battlefield in which troops engage in mass combat. Instead, it is a more generalized area in which many conflicts and battles have taken place within the shadows. Being between two secret organizations, the war has not been fought through open warfare, but instead with agents of the two groups being sent out to hunt down any members of the other group within the key areas.

    Suddenly, mid-explanation, the pointing stick moves upwards and now points to the west midlands.

    “However, we have recently received intelligence that the Holy Church has been secretly gathering its forces in the North, drawing upon local remnants of their institutions prior to the dissolution. According to what we know, once they’re ready, they plan to march down these troops and launch a direct attack on the Clock Tower. So, while we’re busy and distracted fighting in the southeast, this army will attack us from the northwest.”

    Ghislaine pauses for a moment to let the information sink in, to let the image of the Church’s forces knocking on the Clock Tower’s door take form in her guests’ minds.

    “I do not believe I need to explain why it would be disadvantageous to allow the Church’s forces to launch a direct attack on our stronghold. Though it is unlikely they will be able to penetrate our defenses, a siege could easily impair our operations significantly. It would also greatly affect the battle in the southeast. Which is why, we won’t let it happen.”

    Once more, the hunting crop moves to another point on the map, this time firmly slapping down on it with dramatic poise.

    “Right here! Our plan is to intercept the Church’s forces before they can reach the Clock Tower. We will set up a fortified base in their path and block them off completely. The current plan is to place it somewhere here, between Oxford and Aylesbury. Though it will have to be a makeshift construction, it must be a fortification from which our forces can defend against any attack the Church may launch. And that’s where we would like the two of you to come in.”

    The pointing stick leaves the table at last as Ghislaine looks back up, straight at her two guests.

    “I understand that the two of you are first and foremost academics. Which is why I am not asking you to fight on the frontlines or directly face any of the Church’s murderous zealots. We simply request that the two of you lend us your knowledge and particular expertise to build this base. It should be a simple task for magi of your abilities. And that is all we will ask of you.”

    Ghislaine stops her speech there. Slowly and carefully, she moves her head to read the expressions of the two magi before her, before finally relinquishing the floor back to them.

    “Any questions?”


  14. #14
    後継者 Successor Bugs's Avatar
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    Altis Laramie Falstaff
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Westminster – Collegiate Church of St Peter


    Green eyes watched the Lord of Spiritual Evocation stumble his way into a properly rousing speech, flitting fireflies that danced in the afternoon sun as they drank in this fresh source of rousing entertainment.

    The information that was being relayed was only dully being processed in the back of Altis’ head, parsed and filtered for any relevance at the highest speed possible so that he might give more of his attention to the task at hand. What was truly important to him at this moment. And that was peering as far behind the veil that was Cuthbert Ronwedehouse as he possibly could.

    Ah, no. It’s a bit too early for anything like that. A mystery is inherently more entertaining than a plot that has already been revealed, after all. But once the shackles of obscurity have been thrown off, there’s no going back to how things were. As he considered his conduct, Altis steeples his fingers together in contemplation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cuthbert Ronwedehouse
    “ I am sure you have questions and as much as I am able to, I will aim to provide answers so you can make an informed decision. "
    “Hmmm. Can I tell you a story, Lord? I think you’ll really like it.”

    With a knowing look towards the quiet and reflective John Dee, Altis settled in and flashed his best disarming smile towards the bearded Lord.

    “I’d like to tell you about my most recent mission, if you don’t mind. There was a certain priest in a certain part of the country who had been causing issues for Her Majesty for several months by means of religious misinformation. Mm, I should clarify that we don’t exactly discriminate when it comes to those who would get in the way of Her Majesty and the wider Church of England.”

    “Anyway! This particular priest, rather than face justice, attempted to seek refuge on a deserted island just off the coast of Cornwall. I was already in the area, so I was dispatched to settle the matter. We take care of mundane things like this too, you see.”

    Altis paused, closing his eyes to allow the scene to unfold before him once more before continuing.

    “I promised him leniency if he complied. He must have been quite hungry from all of his dallying about, because he was awfully quick to come crawling back. The island was so close as to be within earshot, actually, don’t you find that somewhat humorous?”

    “Regardless, the second he stepped foot on my Queen’s beach, I separated his head from his shoulders.”

    The sunny smile that emanated from the blonde man did not falter at all with this revelation. It may be a trick of the light, but it might have actually widened somewhat.

    “You understand, don’t you? You can have all of the ‘power’ and necessary ‘information,’ but without the ‘mindset’ to take what you want, you will never be a victor in this conflict. Of course, the man responsible for such an ancient and illustrious department as Eulyphis should hardly be wanting for power or information.”

    “Therefore, Lord, the only thing that I want to know is if you have the proper mindset for this expedition. Ah, sorry, but it seems I’ve answered your question with a question of my own. But don’t worry, I have confidence in your ability!”

    As he finished his declaration, Altis exchanged the leg seated over his lap with the other. Of course, he could already predict Cuthbert’s answer would be one he approved of. After all, why come to someone like Altis if certain methods were deemed unnecessary?

    “If that’s the case, please tell me what you would like to do first. A play requires more than a single actor, and a battle is no different. If I could make a suggestion, it would be to put a face to the name of your enemy as quickly as possible. It would allow me to better serve the Clock Tower’s mission that way.”


  15. #15
    So Many Ideas, So Little Time SleepMode's Avatar
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    Sahar Pneuma Artamenes
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    The Judith


    Atop the crow's nest, the Judith's "Pilot" took in the docks of England's capital.
    Not just the sights, no; as an alchemist of Pneuma, taking in the airs is tantamount to surveying the land and more.

    Sahar breathed in.

    The scent of brine swathed itself with the portside air, and its sharpness washed away the humdrum of the deck below, a refreshing departure from the ship's cramped halls. Not to mention the dampened musk, but that was expected - - proper naval ventilation was still ways off at this current time.

    Sahar breathed out.

    He always liked the sea breeze. It had a clarity not even desert winds of his home could match - - while no less cutting with its salt-tinged currents, a gentle caress soon followed in its coolness. The tremendous expanse stretching across this star, hiding wonders of all kinds above and below that mankind will one day cross in full — the thought alone fills the alchemist with boundless ease.

    Sahar breathed in again- and coughed.

    Ah, there it was. Wafts of smoke from burning wood and coal, of wanton waste and consumption. Fetor of refuse and spittle, of foul words and desecration. And, of course, the faint but noticeable stench of blood - - of butchery, backstabbing, and lurking predation.

    Taking a kerchief to his nose, the Pilot sniffed.

    Aye, all coalesced into the airs of Man. All-too-familiar in its signature, present across each of mankind's vaulted civilizations. To think this stench is born of the same millennia-old existence his people dedicated lifetimes to protect…

    Oh, how it always revolts him so.

    Frowning, Sahar took further note of the other currents onshore.

    The ever-present swirl of prana beneath its cobblestones and leylines separates London from the rest of civilization. The ones behind his arrival to this hive, his "reason" for interfering once more; the tenuous peace between magi and faithful was broken, now escalating into all-out war. At least, the Animusphere's correspondence so states. Being a scion of Atlas' Founding Six, he was tasked to aid their cause against the Church's hounds.

    The Pilot could only scoff. Once again, it all came back to petty divisions; the inability to coexist with minute differences, a well-tread pattern throughout the human tapestry - - something not even their side of the world was immune to. In times like these, Sahar could almost understand the hermits of the Wandering Sea.

    Worldly affairs notwithstanding, the other "reason" he was here is the crux of his arrival beyond mere obligation…

    Peering down the main deck, Sahar spots "him" conversing with two passengers, whom the alchemist recall was picked up out of the "his" whim. Of course. Francis Drake, "he" was called. The Judith's captain. The crew's superior. His designated charge.

    In anticipation of the impending conflict, the acting council back home left him with a second directive no less pivotal:

    With all that is at your disposal, ensure the subject lives another day.

    To think this gregarious fool warranted the undivided protection from back home… The Pilot could only barely stifle a sigh with what lay ahead in mind. It didn't take extensive calculations to see the troubled waters ahead.

    "An awful storm looms before us; that much is clear."

    Forcing a tight-lipped smile, Sahar eyed London's closing docks in morbid anticipation. No doubt an aide of the Association would be meeting him on-shore, and he would like to tend to the formalities in due haste -- with Drake being Drake, the alchemist easily surmised the captain would up and get into trouble somehow.



    "Just what kind of storm awaits us, however, remains to be seen."
    Last edited by SleepMode; May 21st, 2022 at 04:44 AM.
    The Act of dozing off in the afternoon is a luxury indeed.
    Coffee would be nice, though.

    [Collection of my Servant Sheets]
    Now Revamped!

  16. #16
    後継者 Successor zikari8's Avatar
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    Virginia Gilbert & Sahar Pneuma Artamenes
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    The Judith

    Quote Originally Posted by Virginia Gilbert
    "You have my thanks, for a good voyage and good company. If there's anything I can do for you and yours in the meantime, I'll be glad to."
    Immediately, Drake bursts out into a hearty laughter at Virginia’s virtuous verse.

    “Ahaha, I knew from the moment I met ya that ye was a good lass. All righty, miss, if there’s something I need, I’ll let you know.”

    She cheerily pats Virginia a few times on the shoulder in rhythm with her own laughter, before winding down into a friendly smile.

    “But that won’t be necessary today. We’ll just be unloading some cargo till the sun sets – standard procedure really – so I won’t be needing your assistance. Instead, why not rest up those wobbly legs of yours in fine London for now?”

    Drake grins a little teasingly, in reference to the girls’ inexperienced steps earlier. Indeed, in the eyes of an experienced sailor, the ladies’ clumsy actions were worth a small chuckle or two. After the decent length of river faring up to this point, Drake figured the ladies could appreciate a night of solid ground.

    In fact, partway through her speech, a look of brilliance abruptly flashes across her face as she comes to a sudden idea.

    “Oh, I know. I have a great idea. Oi, Sahar! Come down here! I have a job for you!”

    Drake suddenly calls out to her pilot up in the crow’s nest. Though cheery, her shout still holds the authority of a captain and beckons Sahar to come down immediately.

    Once he does, she strides over to him confidently and places a hand on his shoulder along with her trust.

    “Alright, I’ve decided. I want you to escort our two guests into town for the night and show them a good time. Entertain them and make sure no harm comes to them, got it? I’m counting on you!”

    She says so as if it were the most natural things in the world. And then, without even waiting for his reply, she spins around and addresses Virginia and Jane again.

    “Well, ladies, that’s how it is. He might not look like much, but let this gentleman of ours accompany you for the day. London’s a fine place, but a little wild at times. The people here are almost as fickle as the sea. But as long as you’re guests on my boat, it is my duty to make sure you are both satisfied and safe. So, I’ll be entrusting this guy with you.”

    She speaks loudly and boldly without any fear of anyone who might hear her questioning her decision. Once she’s set her mind on something, it was already set in stone so thick, even the waves of the sea couldn’t erode it.

    Such is the abrupt whimsy of Captain Francis Drake.


  17. #17
    不死 Undead GilgameshKingOfMemes's Avatar
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    Ella Alderman
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Clock Tower – Spiritual Evocation Department

    Originally Posted by Ghislaine Beaudet
    “Any Questions?”
    The biggest mystery remains the why? If they didn't want her specific skills they could have asked for any ape with the capacity to draw a magic circle to build their makeshift fort. She was the witch many magi only knew of as rumors born from the invisible hand of nobility. Yet they wanted her with an admittedly only an average knowledge of things like bounded fields and defense to help build them a fort. It was an odd and obscure pick. There was an uncomfortable feeling of familiar paranoia gnawing at the back of her mind.

    She had done her best to stay hidden away but the eyes of the Clocktower could never be underestimated. Was this all a ruse to test her? Had they finally deemed her worthy of her highest honor? For a moment her confidence faltered as her mind considered the worst possible scenario.

    She quickly removed such an idea from her head. It was unreasonable to worry. The more reasonable assumption is that they simply desired her general foundation to play support. She can easily imagine how they might help their cause. Thinking things out in detail always helped her nerves and confidence. Perhaps she had been inside too long she thought. She wasn't quite as used to these interactions as she was used to so it was inevitable she might have an unreasonable assumption or two. Turning a pretty penny is nice and all but this scenario might prove fruitful in other ways.

    There was a sea of other questions worth her inquiry far more than something she was already reasonably certain of the answer to.

    For example, who was the man next to her? What did he have to offer? Why call them together rather than individually? Was it simply to save time? Did they have some unexpected synergy?

    Numerous question were quickly considered and tossed away as she considered if there were any truly worth asking.

    After much consideration she arrived at what she imagined to be a fair question to put forward. It's one they surely would have expected, but it would prove useful to test the waters going forward. It was just a simple question beyond specific logistics or fishing out hidden intentions. Ella supposed it would be fair for her to also be straight forward with her wants and thus asked the woman fairly bluntly.

    "What is our compensation for our labor. We are not slaves after all, surely they do not expect magi of all people to work out of the kindness of their hearts?"

    Ella had become interested in this war either way, it did not matter too much what exactly the wished to offer only that they offered anything at all. It is a war. She would not be surprised if they wished to strongarm her into the battle instead. Either answer gave at least a little insight into their situation and approach. She could be satisfied with that. Though, that's not to say she wouldn't prefer payment.

    Already prepared to accept the request Ella was now more interested in the great preparation she would surely need to maximize her chance here. Tools must be prepared and research must be done. It's all intensive work.

    The nature of the battle was still a mystery to her. It was practically impossible for the church to pierce the defenses of the Clocktower if they arrived, but forts are not their residents. As with many sieges, assaults upon supply lines and the like can prove far more effective than simply taking it with force. Not that would even need to take to get whatever it is they may want. She'd have to do some better research into what those supply lines and goals might be. She was most intrigued however by how they might be prepared to hunker down for the long haul out in the shadows. Her partner here too, it would surely be unwise to not dig into his history as well.

    Bringing out her inner academic, Ella already began to carefully consider her present scenario and the excessive work she'll need to put into it when she returns home.
    Last edited by GilgameshKingOfMemes; May 22nd, 2022 at 07:23 PM.

  18. #18
    死徒(下級)Lesser Dead Apostle Ayr's Avatar
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    Hanserl Albenheim
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    Clock Tower – Spiritual Evocation Department


    Quote Originally Posted by Ghislaine Beaudet
    "We simply request that the two of you lend us your knowledge and particular expertise to build this base. It should be a simple task for magi of your abilities. And that is all we will ask of you.”
    So that's it, a defensive line against the northern assault? Hanserl supposed he could see where his talents might be of use to such a project.
    But while these answers may have sated his curiosity, they did very little to ease his trepidation. Even if they were not to join the battle directly, they would nonetheless be placing themselves directly between their home and the enemy, a space where the risk of sudden violence was ever-present. Aside from that, he highly doubted his contributions were to be so essential that no other magi could substitute for him. If they were to ask for volunteers, surely some overeager fool would be happy to go in his stead.

    Still, he suspected these objections would be insufficient to actually refuse the request. A foreign lecturer who's overstayed his welcome, without any ties to the great houses entrenched in this land, could hardly get away with rejecting a call to action from this high up - not if it specifically asked for him. If there was to be any reprisal for disobedience, none would come to his defence, nor to avenge whatever misfortune might befall him as a result. That he knew for sure.

    Had that been why he was chosen? Because he was deemed expendable? Because his lineage had nothing left to offer this fine institution but his life? The tree that no longer bears fruit should be cut down and cast into the fire, is that it? The more he thought about it, the more brazen this whole affair seemed to him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ghislaine Beaudet
    “Any questions?”
    But whatever Hannes might have felt about it, the fact remained that he simply wasn't in any position to negotiate. Better then that he at least present the appearance of willing cooperation. And so, letting loose a small sigh, he conceded defeat.

    "... Very well, if that is all you require of me then I have no cause to refuse. When are we expected to depart, and for how long should we expect to be occupied with these preparations? I may need to make some arrangements."
    Last edited by Ayr; May 23rd, 2022 at 02:22 PM.

  19. #19
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Bird of Hermes's Avatar
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    DIOMIDIS
    Night (Phase 0)
    The Golden Castle

    "Why stop there? Why stop at observing? Why not take part in the destruction yourself?"
    How. Very Interesting!

    DIOMIDIS would confess to no one that he was a failure of a human and a failure of a monster. He didn't create anything, he didn't live. He just ate and hid. He just sat around in his castle, how long had it been since he had fun? And this individual... the proposal was certainly intriguing.

    Ah, the thrill of battle. The aches and pains of the body, to taste your own blood, to put your life on the line, the thrill of the hunt. Ah, he had almost forgotten how sweet it tasted! How it brought a smile to his face... but reminiscing was a hollow flavour.

    "At first you had my curiosity, now you have my attention good sir. Perhaps you could guide me to the centre point of the conflict so that I may feast on the heart of the discord. I'm certain the princess' chosen envoy has a means of adequately defending himself as the barest of minimums."

    For the first time in a long time, he stood up out of his chair.

    "But please, forgive my rudeness. Could you tell me your name first of all before we old fools have our fun later?"

  20. #20
    Flying Fairy Sunny's Avatar
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    Virginia Gilbert
    Afternoon (Phase 0)
    The Judith

    Virginia blinked for a moment as the Captain burst into laughter, but after a momentary pause, she returned the laugh with a grin of her own, rubbing the back of her neck. It was true the captain had offered them free passage, so she did want to respect the spirit in which it was offered, but she'd offered without even thinking about it. Traveling wasn't a cheap habit, especially when you didn't have much in the way of coinage to your name or a guaranteed roof over your head when you get there...

    So, as a result, Virginia was used to finding ways to make herself useful, seeing where she could lend a helping hand, or extra body, or sword as the case may be. Well... It was pragmatic, but it was also what she genuinely wanted to do, so she always made a point of offering.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Drake
    "All righty, miss, if there's something I need, I'll let you know."
    But it seemed that wouldn't be needed today.

    The Captain made a good point, the work of unloading cargo was something routine and well-practiced for her crew, and she would like as not only slow them down if she tried to lend a helping hand there.

    "Still, that was very sweet of you, Virginia," Jane commented beside her, clasping her hands together brightly, then turned back to the Captain and gave a polite bow. "And you, Captain, my thanks, and may God reward you."

    "...Yeah, as she said!" Virginia added quickly, going with Jane's lead, and giving a rougher bow of her own in imitation of Jane's. Miss Nowell was a well-mannered one, though that wasn't any surprise, given the finery of her clothes. As far as Virginia could tell, the lady was from a pretty well-off family, which wasn't the sort she often dealt with by any measure. If they hadn't been heading to Oxford for the same reason, they probably never would have spent even this much time together.

    Well, that was also a good reminder, in any case. it wouldn't be good manners to leave the lady accompanying her to fend for herself in the city. While they had only met by happenstance, they were united in purpose and destination, so Virginia wanted to see her to safety as surely as the Captain had promised to deliver them there. She nodded to herself, setting on a course of action, which is why...

    She missed the instant where the Captain went on the attack, as quick as a storm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Drake
    "Instead, why not rest up those wobbly legs of yours in fine London for now?"
    "Eh?" "Oh."

    "Ah, you saw that..."

    Both women remarked at the same time, followed by a chuckle and giggle respectively as they glanced at one another. It was true that neither of them had their bearings on the ship, though Virginia had more bumps and bruises to show for it, having refused to sit still on the voyage.

    Virginia's face flushed just slightly, and though no colour came to her own cheeks, Miss Nowell covered her face with a show of embarrassment as well.

    "Heheh, I guess there's no hiding anything from you... It's your ship, after all."

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Drake
    "Oi, Sahar! Come down here! I have a job for you!"
    At the sudden shout and call, Jane's eyes darted around, looking for the recipient of the Captain's latest whim. By contrast, Virginia's eyes shot upwards straightaway, locking on Sahar's location. She did this immediately, as if already painstakingly keeping track of the location of all the individuals her eyes can see.

    Which was, after all, precisely the case. It wasn't like she had any reason to do so, nor did she wish to... But it wasn't like she could help herself from doing it either.

    It simply was what it was.

    Putting aside that unnecessary vigilance, Virginia quickly gave a relaxed smile as she watched the Captain beckon over this "Sahar" - no doubt one of her crew members - and she tried, almost successfully, to stifle a mirthful expression as Drake immediately put him to service and declared him their accompaniment for the day. It seemed like the Captain's crew were always braving one storm or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Drake
    “Well, ladies, that’s how it is. He might not look like much, but let this gentleman of ours accompany you for the day. London’s a fine place, but a little wild at times. The people here are almost as fickle as the sea. But as long as you’re guests on my boat, it is my duty to make sure you are both satisfied and safe. So, I’ll be entrusting this guy with you.”
    "I appreciate the warning about the city, haha... Wild isn't a problem, not for me any way, but it's always better to walk the wilds with someone at your side. Any man on your crew is a treasure to have alongside us, so we'll take good care of each other, yeah? So, Mister... uh, Sahard?"

    She frowned, just for a moment, chewing on her bottom lip with an expression of unfamiliarity. No, that wasn't quite right...

    "Sahar, Virginia," Jane corrected her gently.

    "Oh, thank you!" With that, Virginia's eyes turned to the stranger directly, her eyes darting over him for a second before settling on his face. She'd never heard of anyone with a name like Sahar before, and it felt funny on her lips, so she had to guess he was from pretty far off. A foreigner, to be sure, and no mistake.

    It sounded like one of those Turkish names, maybe... People were always talking about folks from that direction.

    "Okay, then, Sahar."

    But frankly, none of that really mattered to her. No matter where he was from, or what brought him to the same shores as her...

    She held out her arm with a bright smile, her hand open and eager to make his acquaintance.

    "Virginia Gilbert. It looks like we'll be walking together for a bit."
    Last edited by Sunny; June 1st, 2022 at 01:05 AM.

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