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Session Two

>> It has been about a week or so since the rescue mission that Soran handed to you four. Security around The Lap was tightened up just a tad as a result, but despite that there hasn't been any major setbacks or anything of the like. As the afternoon begins to take hold and The Lap continues to bustle with the usual traffic, each one of you four are told to come to the common room of the Half Past, either by a normal messenger or a whispered message from Syla.

Number Ten Camel has been lurking there a lot of the time anyway, flicking through various books of Soran's. Trying to understand his situation.

>> For the record, Soran is not yet in the common room himself. Odd that.

Five Pillars is there as well, having arrived a day or so early, to chat with Syla on matters Arcane.

Five Pillars sits in the common room, and enjoys a heaping bowl of rice.

Scarab is sitting across from Five Pillars, pilfering some of his rice for herself with a playful grin.

Number Ten Camel sips his wine, struggling with some of the longer words.

Diamond has been busy making contacts, and extending his social circle. That this circle may or may not involve officers of varying rank in the local military, as well as the more gorgeous young women of the Lap, is really just a perk.

Diamond arrives, once the other three are all settled in, and with a warm smile at Scarab and Number Ten Camel, takes a seat. "So! Anyone know what this little get together is all about?"

Number Ten Camel responds, "Not the foggiest. Soran's been walkabout."

Scarab says, "Not a one. I hope it's planning something exciting."

Number Ten Camel nods. "I'm growing soft here. The sands call to me."

Five Pillars says "There is strength in purpose, my friend. As well as in dealing with hardships."

Diamond thinks but does not say just how purposelessly vague that comment is.

>> After a few moments you all hear the sound of horses outside the inn. There is some talking, and the sound of a door of some sort opening and closing. After a few moments there is silence, before the door opens and Soran steps in, holding it open. Beyond him, you see a carriage, and someone else.

Number Ten Camel relaxes a Soran comes in, after having snapped his book shut and grabbed the hilt of his sword at the noise of the carriage pulling up.

Scarab's eyes naturally wander and strain to see just who's arriving.

Diamond turns and stands right back up, to greet whoever is about to enter.

Ciel steps forward, at Soran's side, a faint smile on her face as she holds his hand. Holding her other hand she fans her face with it gently, "I really don't know how you live here, Soran... it's rather warm."

>> Soran manages a faint grin. "You get used to it after a while." The carriage moves off without a word, as Soran shuts the door.

Diamond's face is lit with a smile at least as warm as the heat she left outside. Locking eyes with the newcomer, he bows slightly, as is considered polite in the town of his origin, and says with no small amount of admiration, "Your taste in companions grows ever more exquisite, Soran!" Stepping up confidently, he's the first to greet the woman at Soran's side. "I am Diamond of Summer. The pleasure of making your acquaintance is unspeakable." Diamond bows again, keeping that silly grin on his face.

Number Ten Camel greets, "Sun and Shade greet you warmly, Soran. And your guest."

Five Pillars pauses a moment. And then goes back to his chopsticks. After all, there are priorities.

Number Ten Camel makes a low whistle at Ciel's entrance. Though it's more of an afterthought.

Ciel shakes her head, silvery hair skittering about her shoulders as she laughs softly before settling her hat back down on her head. She glances around, and then down at Diamond. Performing a faint bow of her own, "The pleasure is all mine, Diamond of Summer. Are these the companions you spoke of, Soran?"

Scarab raises an eyebrow, studying this new face carefully. .o( Soran's girlfriend? That face could stop an army in its tracks. )

>> Soran nods once. "Yes, Miss Ciel." He glances over to the side, hrming. "Syla, are we clear?" For a moment you'd think he was talking to thin air, until she fades into sight with a slight giggle. "No ears on these walls." Soran nods once before turning back towards the group. "In that case, everyone, this is Miss Ciel. Another person that I contacted for this. The message was delayed due to... unforseen circumstances however."

>> Syla meanwhile moves to grab a seat at Five Pillars and Scarab's table, humming a tune.

Scarab says, "Ciel, eh... Scarab's the name. If you're Soran's friend then you're one of mine as well."

Five Pillars nods to Syla. He set down his chopsticks gently, and turns. "I am called Five Pillars." He bows, slightly.

Number Ten Camel says, "A pleasure, I'm sure. They call me Number Ten Camel."

Ciel smiles and nods to them both, walking forward to pull out a chair at the communal table, "It is a pleasure, to be among such companions, yes..." Despite Syla's announcement, she glances around cautiously anyway.

Diamond beats her, by just half an instant, to pull out a chair for Ciel. He says nothing, just allows that smile to stay on his face.

Scarab nods her head once as Syla sits down. You can tell she's still a bit nervous dealing with spirits in general, though she's not rude or anything either.

>> Soran grins slightly as he watches before grabbing a seat as well. Syla meanwhile glances over at Ciel. "I'm Syla, the resident wind spirit around here." Soran motions to the bartender, who quickly pulls out a paper and brings it over to him. "Well then, now that everyone is introduced, on to business." He unfurls the paper on the table. If you look, it appears to be a map of The Lap and surrouding area.

Ciel gracefully takes a seat without missing a beat, sparing a grin up at Diamond. She folds one leg over the other casually, "Soran did speak of you as well, Syla... oh, well, I guess we'll get to the plesantries later."

Number Ten Camel grips the hilt of his iron sword for reassurance, and keeps an eye on Ciel, frowning.

Five Pillars looks over the map, sliding his steaming bowl of rice aside.

Scarab perks up at the mention of "business", leaning over her rice stash for a closer look. She's obviously begun to memorize the maps at this point, but the physical article is always reassuring.

Diamond takes a seat next to Ciel, as he slowly allows his mind to shift gears to higher matters. Mmmm. Her legs are nice, yes, and the waist is just simply perfectly well-formed, but what of her breasts?

Diamond may take a little while to work his way over the top of her head, so forgive him if he's a bit slow in responding to tactical matters.

Number Ten Camel asks, "So. What needs doing?"

>> Soran nods slightly as he pulls out a writing utensil. "As some of you might already have heard, there is a Realm investigator being dispatched from the Blessed Isle to look into recent events here. He is due to arrive by tomorrow, and is being escorted by about a fang's worth of troops, and a Dragon Blooded."

Number Ten Camel responds, "Hm. Do we know if he's competent enough to be a threat?"

Five Pillars says "And is he, himself, one of the Princes of the Earth?"

Scarab looks a bit dismayed at the mention of a Dragon-Blooded afoot.

Ciel looks over the map curiously, obviously not being from the South at all, pale skin and whatnot. She frowns a little, but not a Diamond. It's only expected, after all. "I hope this isn't already in relation to what you're doing here, Soran."

>> Soran manages a faint grin. "Part of the objective of this gathering is to help free this town from the Realm, Miss Ciel."

Diamond considers Number Ten Camel's point in silence. Soran might stand in the way of the traditional approach to some matters--what if he doesn't want to share? In such a situation, he must account for some competent resistance. Hmmm... this does bring some matter of priorities into question--are the fruits of an extended 'friendship' worth the risk of offending useful (not to mention powerful) contacts? Hmmm.

>> Syla meanwhile shakes her head. "The investigator isn't a Prince of the Earth either. The escorting one however, according to what rumors we've heard, is being sent here as part of a punishment of sorts. He apparently was one of the top students as far as combat goes."

Scarab says, "A combat expert? Not exactly music to my ears."

Five Pillars says "House of Bells, I'd think." He frowns.

Ciel folds her hand carefully in front of her, pursing her lips, "We might do best to lie low and let them come through town on their own. Wouldn't want to attract their attention until we have a real following."

Five Pillars says "On the other hand. How loyal are your soldiers, Soran? Can they stand up to torture?"

>> Soran nods to Five Pillars before smiling at Ciel. "I have a sizable group already, and these four recently managed to free a good number of our comrades from a prison a week ago." He frowns at Five Pillars. "Quite loyal, Five Pillars. Though I wonder why you're asking if they can withstand torture."

Diamond manages to shake out of his reverie at the sound of Five Pillars saying 'torture'. He locks eyes with the older man, and says, "What, exactly, is that supposed to mean?"

Five Pillars says "The Realm will not be gentle, if the investigator determines there is a credible threat to it's most prized satrapy."

Number Ten Camel says, "I'm sure he means that if we leave the investigator alone, our men are in danger, and a danger to us."

Five Pillars says "... Exactly."

Ciel shrugs her shoulders lightly, "It is what they should expect, if they were caught." She drums her fingers on the table, looking around at the others, "We could stop them from ever even reaching town... but that is only a temporary solution. Or convince them ourselves that nothing is amiss."

Scarab sighs, but nods in agreement. "If I was in their position, I'd do whatever it takes. This is the breadbasket of the Realm. No food, no empire."

Number Ten Camel says, "After all, it's not like the men and women of the Lap are citizens, or anything."

Diamond frowns in consideration, a moment of silence. "So we must either intercept or divert him." He looks up, and over at Soran. "I take it you've already thought through this, and have a plan? I know you've been informed for a while about the new arrival."

>> Soran nods. "I see. Syla's allies figure that he is about..." He places a mark on one of the paths leading to The Lap, a fair distance away from the town. "There. I was thinking that you five, with Syla watching in case there is trouble, could ambush the group. I would like to capture the investigator, whatever guards they have, and possibly the Dragon Blooded. The investigator is a must, however." He taps the table. "If you cannot capture the Dragon Blooded, you'll more than likely have to kill him, I'm sorry to say."

Five Pillars considers. "How many others, with the two of them?"

"Hmm. The investigator's death will lead to an escalation we aren't ready for?" Number Ten Camel runs his fingers along the path on the map, considering.

Scarab says, "Bold move, Soran! Are you sure we can get away with that?"

Ciel glances sideways at Number Ten Camel and shakes her head briefly, before looking back to the map, "Perhaps we can, but would they not send another after him? With more reinforcements. Unless you have someone skilled at forgery, Soran."

>> Soran nods slightly to Number Ten. "I also want to see what the general feeling is about the situation here, before we make another major move."

>> Soran glances at Ciel. "Perhaps. I'll be able to decide with a better idea of the situation back on the Blessed Isle, and how much trouble they consider us at this point. That'll dictate our moves."

Ciel leans back a bit from the table and holds up her hands in defeat, "Of course, do as you think best, Soran. I admit this is not my area of expertise."

Diamond says without hesitation, "You said he is fresh out of school? We capture him, there's no question to it."

Five Pillars says "... the House of Bells is not a school, Summer. It is a combat academy, training the best warriors of the Realm for generations. Dozens of Exalts die in it's halls each year, or are crippled beyond repair."

Five Pillars says "Take the Exalt seriously."

Number Ten Camel says, "If we can get the jump on him and drop him quickly, the rest are more likely to surrender.

>> Soran glances at Diamond. "As Five Pillars says. Also, he isn't fresh from the academy. If you can capture him, it would be great. If he gets away, and figures out your true natures, we'll have the Wyld Hunt on us in a flash."

Diamond looks at Five Pillars, and answers with a smiilar tone of severity. "I'm quite /aware/ what the Realm considers education. That we will take him seriously is not a question--neither is his value as a captive, nor the tragedy of wasting such talent, at such an age."

Five Pillars shakes his head. "Have you ever even /been/ to the Realm?" He sighs. "Nevertheless, we will try to take him alive. We'll need some form of chains that can hold up to his elemental aura."

Scarab folds her arms. "I don't know about capturing him, but there's no way I'd let him escape. I'll hunt him down for you to the ends of Creation if I must."

Diamond indicates the place on the map, where the interception is supposedly to take place. "We need to know about their lookouts, as well. It's important that we know exactly how much of... a display we can risk."

Number Ten Camel says, "Depending on how sand-savvy the group is, might be able to jump him with a throttling cord. Risky to guy holding the rope though."

Five Pillars says "Camel. My friend. Are there barbarians who roam that area?"

Number Ten Camel responds, "Too far north for me, old man. My wandering grounds were far to the south."

Diamond shakes his head, "There wouldn't be, too close to the satrapy. Say what you will about the Realm, they look out for the paths of commerce--and when they don't, the Guild will."

>> Soran nods. "If captured, I'll have to ask you to knock him out." Sorang alnces at Five PIllars. "We're looking at about a fang's worth, maybe a bit more." He then turns his attention back to the group. "Lookouts on that end are those friendly to our cause, so you can afford some displays. Try not to unless there is a major need for it, of course. After you're done, move here." He draws a line to a point off the paths marked by the map. "There will be an old barn, and doors to a cellar on the outside. Take the doors. Syla can guide you if needed."

Scarab looks over the path, nodding. "Safehouse. Right."

Five Pillars says "Alright, then." He frowns. "We should move fast, and try to reach here" he points "And set up an ambush there."

Five Pillars says "Or somewhere near there with some cover."

Diamond considers, for a moment. He looks at Ciel, then at the map, then back at Ciel. Strangely, his mind isn't on sex. "Hmmm. All matters of morality aside, it would<i/> be difficult to capture the dragon-blooded with his men to support him. But, I think we may be able to seperate him from them, and outnumber the boy."

>> Soran glances at Diamond, nodding. "That would be best. If you can manage it out there, your task will be that much easier."

Ciel looks a little uncomfortable and fidgets in her chair, preoccupied, "It would be preferrable. I had been hoping we would not need to resort to skill at arms so... immediately."

Diamond grins, and looks at Soran. "We'll need the finest carriage you can afford losing, and as much jade jewelry as you can spare." Turning to Ciel, he asks with a smile, "Do you think you could stand for a little game of impersonation?"

Ciel smiles brightly and bows her head, "It's a hobby of mine."

>> Soran nods to Diamond. "Consider it done." He glances at Syla, nodding. She grins and with a giggle fades out of sight as a breeze blows.

Scarab looks quizzically between Ciel and Diamond.

Five Pillars wrinkles up his already wrinkled face. "Back into my old robes again, I suppose"

Diamond rises to a stand, and rubs his chin. He walks around Ciel, behind her, then also Soran and Five Pillars. "Yes... the 'monk' guise should lend credibility to the illusion. He may have problems entering a carriage with an unknown Terrestrial, but no sane man refuses an invitation from a lady so beautiful."

Ciel rises and steps around her chair, setting her hands over the back while leaning forward a bit, "If we can just get my pack from the carriage, and smooth out a few wrinkles, I should have a suitable dress."

Five Pillars says "Also. Any spare uniforms, Soran? We might as well fit the others out as hired guards."

Scarab finally turns her puzzlement into a smirk. "Great thinking. You're handy in a pinch, Diamond boy."

>> Soran nods. "We have a few, yes." He grins at Diamond as he sees what he is up to. "She's right, Diamond. You're quite the boon to this group."

Diamond smiles, and sends Scarab a wink. "It's no effort at all with such capable allies."

Number Ten Camel grimaces. "Can we get a carriage behind them in time? Not much point offering a lift if we are going in the other direction."

Diamond shakes his head, and says, "No, no, it's not a matter of convenience--he's from the Dynasty, he would never expect that from his fellows. No, it's politics. We'll intercept and 'offer a ride' back to the Lap, so the lady can discuss some false political manuever or another... yes, that'll distract his mind with possible duplicity in the conversation, rather than wondering about duplicity in the offer itself."

Number Ten Camel asks, "Leaving the investigator to walk? Or is that part to be played by ear?"

Five Pillars shrugs. "We'll be walking. To keep him company, of course."

>> As if on cue, Syla steps into the inn through the door, holding Ciel's pack while a carriage visible outside behind her. "One carriage and plenty of jewelry ready to go." She walks over and sets Ciel's bag on her chair, smiling.

Five Pillars says "... I do hope that's yours, and you've been saving it for a special ocassion."

Five Pillars gives Syla a bland look.

>> Soran smiles. "The carriage? One of a few that we possess, yes."

Scarab leans back from the table, her devious mind at work on some plans of her own.

Ciel grin at Syla, and looks down at her pack, suddenly freezing up. She glances back up slowly, "... if I may ask, what am I to do with the Dragon-Blooded once we've ridden away? I can't keep him occupied forever, and he would certainly find me false if his charge vanished into thin air."

Diamond asks Soran, after a moment's thought, "What do you know of his charms? If he's a capable combatant, he might not've focused much attention to awareness or perception abilities. It's very possible we can ride ahead with him for but a minute, while a number of our little Circle here deals with his escorts. After a minute's distance, it would be difficult to hear the sounds of a well-placed and quick ambush."

>> Soran considers for a few moments. "From what I've found out, his abilities lie in combat and leadership."

Five Pillars says "The carriage will slow enough for us humble hangers on to follow on foot. If out of earshot."

Scarab I can also arrange for a little "accident" to occur in front, should you wish.

Number Ten Camel Heh. Get me a suit of jade and I'll challenge him for Ciel's honour.

>> Soran manages a faint grin. "I don't think I'll be able to get something like /that/ before they arrive."

>> Syla giggles a bit. "It'd be great to see though."

Ciel bows her head, "I'll trust to you, then." She puts a finger to her lips, and glances over at Ten, "I would hope he would not come to that so soon, either."

Number Ten Camel responds, "If he goes too far, kick 'im where it hurts and push him out the door."

Diamond considers. "Who can we trust to drive the carriage?"

Five Pillars notes "You have a way with females."

Five Pillars stands. "As for me, I shall walk, as a humble adherent of the dragons."

>> Syla considers. "I can, if needed. It'll let me keep an eye and be on hand if something goes wrong."

Scarab shakes her head. "I'm no horseman. That's more up camel jockey here's alleyway."

Number Ten Camel asks, "Why not yourself, Diamond? That way you are on hand for the deceptions."

Diamond frowns, "I must admit, I've never handled horses before. It might not be wise to risk that. Syla, as well, would be disastrous if he is able to discern spirits--no offense, m'lady."

Number Ten Camel shrugs. "Sit on the bench, flick the reins. Not too hard."

>> Syla nods, smiling slightly. "None taken, since you're right. If you weren't though..." She winks.

Five Pillars says "But you, Camel, can pass as a tired guardsman. I doubt Summer could restrain his ... enthusiasm enough to be boring enough to be quickly dismissed."

Scarab sncikers softly.

Number Ten Camel responds, "I'll do it if you prefer though. I don't guess many carriage drivers wield hooked swords."

Ciel just shakes her head, and lifts the pack up to her shoulder, "I'll leave the rest of the deliberation to you. Just tell me where to sit." She glances around for somewhere to get changed.

>> Soran and Syla snicker. Syla meanwhile stands up. "I'll show you to your room upstairs, Ciel." She begins to head for the stairs.

Five Pillars says "However. Now that I have my part to play, I will go change and prepare for the coming conflict."

Number Ten Camel syas, "I'm not sure if that is a critism or a compliment, Five Pillars, but fair enough. I shall drive the carriage."

Diamond grins, just a little, at that. "Then we just need to arrange for the ambush. Number Ten Camel, could you keep an ear open for Ciel's safety, just in case something turns bad within the carriage? If so, we three, Scarab, Pillar, and I, should be able to disable his escorts."

Five Pillars nods. He says, "Unless someone else has need of me?"

Number Ten Camel asks, "What is your plan Diamond? Skulking in ditches?"

Diamond smirks. "Stealth, I leave to our most capable Night caste. Five Pillars is obvious... and I, perhaps, could simply pose as the lady's humble attendent. Dynasts are known for keeping... ah, shall we say a pretty face or two around?"

Diamond bows low, mockingly, "As lowly as I am, though, I would be excused when it came time to discuss matters of state and House."

Number Ten Camel responds, "As you like. Someone get me a uniform, if you want me in one."

Scarab just sighs to herself, throwing out her hands. "Don't worry.. I've got it covered. The trees alongside the roadway should be adequate enough."

Ciel trails along behind Syla, whispering to her as they go, "Certainly a varied group, are they not? Not entirely without merit, of course."

>> Soran motions to the bartender, who opens up a cabinent under the counter and pulls out a couple of uniforms and brings them over. "If needed, my friends." Syla meanwhile nods as she ascends the stairs, grinning. "Yep. They are some of the best though."

>> Syla leads Ciel to her room, opening the door. "Here you go, miss."

Ciel smiles and steps inside, already beginning to unpack, "I know I haven't know you long, Syla, but could I press on you to help me with my hair? It would help for the part, and time in general."

>> Syla nods, grinning. "I'll be happy to, Ciel." She steps in and shuts the door behind her.

Number Ten Camel grabs a uniform, and goes to his room to change into it.

Five Pillars goes to change as well, coming out as his Immaculate Self, complete with a large tome of the Imamculate texts.

Five Pillars reads while he waits for the others.

Number Ten Camel returns in the uniform, his hair, long for the south, hanging about his shoulders, black and slick.

Scarab doesn't seem to change much at all. She's gotten a different overcloak now, this one a dusty green hue.

Five Pillars says "Tell me, Camel. Can you read?"

Number Ten Camel responds, "Mostly. I know my letters, if not all my words."

Five Pillars says "Fair enough. It's a harsh world. But if you've the wish for it, I'll teach you to read."

Number Ten Camel nods slowly. "It might help. I can't read some of the texts. Old realm, I think."

Five Pillars says "I can teach you that too. It helps, from time to time. Or dealing with Spirits."

Five Pillars stands, and closes the book. "But that's for later."

Number Ten Camel sighs. "I still don't know.. what I am, really. Or if it matters. For now though, the job at hand."

Five Pillars says "Well. The time for that's not now. But see me later, if you want. And I'll tell you what I know, and then you can make up your mind."

>> And so, the five of you prepare for the task at hand, in your own fashion. Quite fashionably, in Ciel's case, with help from Syla. Once you all are decked out, you assemble at the carriage. Ciel also has been provided plenty of jade jewelry to heighten her allure.

>>It is evening now, by the by.

~ * ~

Diamond claps his hands, done reviewing the map and plotting contigencies. "Okay, guys, everyone know their roles? Five and I escort Ciel to the Terrestrial, and Number Ten Camel drives. We drop off with the soldiers, Scarab waiting in ambush."

Diamond continues, "Five and I leave our superiors to their most auspicious negotiations, and once the carriage is safely far away, jump the escorts."

Five Pillars nods. "And then we hurry like hell to catch up."

Diamond nods. "That we do--Scarab, I want you behind us and watching out for any surprises. If you can manage it, in our haste, take to a hidden position when we get ready to ambush the dragon-blooded. Unless we're in real trouble, I'd rather you sit out the first volley, and just keep your eyes peeled, in case something goes terribly wrong. If one of us is hurt too badly, jump in and pull us out."

Diamond locks eyes with her, "I'm trusting you. Of course, if everything goes well, feel free to let loose a couple potshots." He smiles, then, to break the tension.

Scarab shines up a folding blowgun, checking it to make sure it's not clogged. "If you want to do it that way, fine. How about I fire a confusing shot across their noses?"

Number Ten Camel has his bow across his lap and his sword sheathed on his back as he drives the carriage. "Ciel? If I knock on the roof three times, I'm about to overturn the carriage."

Ciel is looking rather fetching in pale blue silk and velvet, her hair up in fine ringlets and bedecked in jade. She's also looking rediculously hot under all those clothes and fans herself vigorously, "These aren't really made to move in, but I shall do my best."

Five Pillars says "Talk on the road. This gets alot harder if we have to do this in town."

Ciel swishes her skirts across her legs, fanning them as well and returning Diamond's smile, "I'm counting on you all. This is a first, for me."

Diamond nods. "Let's go." With a smile, he approaches and bows ever-so-low to Ciel, before presenting his arm, "My most revered lady--have you thought of your Dynast name yet?"

Number Ten Camel tosses Ciel a little talisman of iron.

Ciel catches the talisman and takes Diamond's arm, all at once, looking up at Ten in confusion, before tucking it about her person. And in a dress like that, there's lots of places to tuck things. "... I haven't, no, Diamond. Perhaps you could suggest something suitable?"

Five Pillars says "Nellens"

Five Pillars says "No one knows how in the dragon's name they manage to exalt anyhow. So a new one won't come as a suprise"

Five Pillars says "Pick a name of your own choosing, for the last"

Five Pillars begins walking, behind the carriage. This certainly feels familiar.

>> The horses whinny, pawing at the ground.

Number Ten Camel makes soothing noises to them, as he seats himself, and flicks the reins lighty. "Come on girls.."

"Hmpf. Guess she's not after all. Should have guessed, considering." Number Ten Camel drives the carriage through the darkening gloom, carefully and surely

Five Pillars says "Never hurts to check." He follows.

Ciel pulls out the little iron talisman, looking it over before raising an eyebrow at Ten, "A good luck talisman?"

Number Ten Camel just drives silently.

Scarab follows along, waiting for her stop to take the more scenic route...

>> And so you set off, easily passing through the gate and out into the countryside surrounding The Lap. The horses seem to be in good condition, and you make good time.

>> The evening continues to darken as you go along.

~ * ~

>> After some time, Scarab might notice a group walking on the road ahead. They don't appear to have seen you yet, and there appear to be ten in total. Meanwhile, Ten misses a nasty bump that jostles the people within the carriage.

Number Ten Camel asks, "Woah! You okay back there, ma'am?", but neither of his passengers respond.

Scarab relays the sightings to Diamond and Five Pillars. "Heads up boys."

Scarab dashes off afterwards into the foliage...

Scarab blends into the night so well, her companions don't even have a clue just where she is. This is probably a good thing.

Five Pillars continues walking behind the carriage, eyes peeled. He nods, and begins speaking the scriptures. "And so, Hesiash saved his essence for the moment it was most needed. And so must you save you strength, for never do we mortals know when we too, will be given a mighty task..."

Diamond chats amicably with Ciel, inside the carriage, going over their routine, and reassuring her about how WONDERFULLY she's going to do.

Five Pillars stops speaking scriptures and simply walks, now.

>> Scarab lives up to her Caste's reptutation as the rest of you trot along. After some time the group becomes fully visible. It appears to consist of eight guards, all wearing breastplates and armed with blades, surrounding the two within in a protective circle. One of them must be the investigator, guessing from his noble attire and tired face from the walking. The other is a young man decked out in a jade breastplate, and two sheathed blades at his hip, both large but one far larger than the other. The noticable thing has to be his nice crimson hair and eyes, however.

Five Pillars takes in the man quickly.

Number Ten Camel stops the carriage slowly. "Milady? Are these the gentlemen?"

Five Pillars says "Most assuredly. They travel with a Prince of the Earth."

Five Pillars bows.

Diamond hushes Ciel, to make sure she herself does not answer. Instead, he opens the carriage door and strides out, looking his imperious best as he meets the eyes of the foremost two guards, smiling very calmly, before approaching the dragon blooded.

Diamond immediately takes on the body language of humility, and his eyes drift down.

>> The group stops, as the man clad in jade steps forward. "Hail, friends" The investigator mutters under his breath as the guards stand at the ready.

Diamond bows, deeply, and says, "Most Honored Prince of the Earth: The Revered Lady Nellens Chechi requests a momentary, private audience within her carriage."

>> The man tilts his head slightly. "Is that so? I'm afraid I can't leave this escort until we arrive into town, however."

Five Pillars waits behidn the carriage, calmly. he might be mediating, with his bald head bowed like that Scarab is off somewhere beyond sight, scouting out the roadway for optimal ambush points and making sure there are no more fighters in the entourage out of sight.

>> Scarab finds no one lurking in the dark besides her. A vertible monopoly.

Diamond says, "Please forgive my presumption, honored one, but the Lady did anticipate your response, and humbly requests that you but come to visit her for a moment before making such a decision. If I may be so bold, your imminence, I have never known a man mortal or Exalted that has turned away her offers after laying eyes upon her."

Five Pillars prays silently, his lips moving as he concentrates.

>> The man considers for a few moments before nodding. "Very well then. I request that some of your men escort in my place in the meantime, however."

Diamond remains prostrate before him, "My Lady has already allowed for such measures, and offers the services of myself and a mortal immaculate adept of her acquaintance. Both of us are quite capable, My Lord."

Five Pillars bows, slightly.

>> The man nods. "Alright then." He glances at his soldiers. "Men! Continue escort to The Lap with these two! I'll be nearby just in case!" The men salute, and the Dragon Blooded nods. "Lead me to her, then."

Diamond rises, still not looking at the Dragon-Blooded in the eyes, and turns, leading him towards the carriage. "My Lord, the Lady Nellens Chechi."

>> He follows Diamond, and enters the carriage once the door is opened. You can hear Ciel speaking some greeting or another in quite the alluring voice before the door is shut.

Number Ten Camel clucks his tongue and brings the carriage around to gently travel back in the direction of town

>> The carriage reaches a fair distance away, and Ten can hear laughing and other such talk from within.

Five Pillars moves next to the man who was in the center. "Tell me, my Lord. What call of the Dragn's brings you here, to this Satrapy?"

>> The investigator glances at Five Pillars. "I've been dispatched to look into matters here. The local leaders seem a bit antsy, so someone has to calm them down."

Five Pillars says "Ah." He nods. "May the true reason for their paranoia find you."

Five Pillars walks beside the man, telling him of some of the local situation.

Diamond makes his way back towards the troops, looking much more relaxed... perhaps even jocular, as he loosens his shoulders. He smiles at them, broadly, in turn, and says quietly to a nearby trooper once the carriage has begun to turn and move away, "Ah! Now that the formalities are out of the way..."

>> The guards and investigator begin walking as well, at a slower pace. The man nods as he listens, interjecting with a question or two.

Five Pillars answers him, until he's sure the carriage is far enough away. He lets diamond talk to the guards, while he draws the invesigators attention to a cliffside, slowing down. "Does that look like a demense to you? I've walked this road a hundred times, but I don;t think the Satrapy has ever sent anyone important to check" he lags behind, pointing out a twisted rock spire.

Diamond grins at soldiers, "... you must tell me all about your travels--and that must be a genuine Realm-forged sword at your waist! Do you mind if I take a look? The smiths here are excellent, of course, but they have nothing on the imports. Goodness, you must have some interesting stories to tell!"

Diamond bulldozes over any sense of propietry or insecurity the guards might have, with raw enthusiasm and personality.

>> The guard nearest to Diamond blinks a couple of times before pulling out his blade and showing it to Diamond. "Erm, sure, sir." The investigator slows with Five as well, blinking as he looks. "You don't say... that is foolishness on their part, then."

Five Pillars nods. "Indeed. Why, if you stand over /here/" He guides the man to one side. "Tell me. Do you think it looks like a sheep?"

Scarab begins returning to the closer foliage, listening to the setup and smiling beneath her headdress. Like a snake, she is poised to strike.

>> The investigator is guided, tilting his head. "Hrm.. I suppose it could. Hard to tell in this evening." The guard meanwhile allows Diamond too. He's a nice guy, after all."

Diamond starts haraunging another guard, as he looks down the blade, "Would you look at that! The balance is impeccable--but then, yours must be the same. You don't mind if I compare, do you? I hear all your swords are nearly identical."

Diamond spins them in his hands, expertly, and continues to examine. He moves over to two other guards, and chats before saying, under his breath so that the two of them can hear--"Don't say anything--I think I spotted an ambush."

Diamond smirks, and the moment they turn their heads, he jumps down, onto his hands, and backsprings straight up. His legs jut upwards, and his heels smack the two poor fools under the chins, once they're distracted.

Five Pillars says "Tell me." He assumes the Water Dragon Form behind the man, and away from his guards. "Does it look like an investigator, about to be knocked unconscious?" He whispers the last, as he brings his bare hands forward in a flurry of strikes, aiming for the vital pressure points to ensure a soft unconsciousness.

Five Pillars drops the man silently, with the second strike, catching him silently and lowering him to the ground as he turns to face the guards.

Scarab unleashes her pent up fury at last, exploding out of the nearby tree in a dazzle of distracting leaves. Within the shower of green comes a solid piece of metal, right for the rear of the nearest's guard's exposed neck & back of the head!

>> One guard gets knocked back a few steps by Diamond's sneak attack, while the other just flies up and lands in a heap. Another gets clocked in the head by Scarab's strike, stumbling forward. The rest let out a shout!

Scarab bounces off the guardsman after the strike, arcing gracefully through the air and landing some distance away. She braces as she hits the ground, preparing to charge through the formation without another word.

Diamond sinks to the ground, at first, his elbows actually bending as he releases his grip on the swords and simply pushes on the ground. Then his arms PUSH, as hard as they can, and he is sent vaulting through the air! He draws his swords as he falls, performing a complete backflip before he lands, feet on the shoulders of two unwounded guards standing near one another. Kicking off of them, he springs through the air at another two, letting loose two precision blows with the flats of his blades!

>> One guard crumbles from the multifaceted assualt from Diamond as another one gets clocked across the side by the blade!

>> Three guards are battered, two are disarmed, and two are downed, leaving one unharmed.

Scarab runs back into the battle once again for another charge, but this time she hits the dirt and slides right through the melee in a rolling maneuver. As she twilrs, one of the injured guards finds their already shaky shins being taken out from under them with a hard blow!

>> He goes down with a shout, then is out like a light as he thunks on the ground!

>> The disarmed guards rush and reclaim their blades, while the other three draw their own blades and charge at Diamond, screaming for VENGANCE!

>> One of them trips and knocks himself out.

Diamond spins, suddenly, in an effort beyond human effort, and as he twirls his blades manage to intercept both blows. After his graceful maneuver, he drops back into a ready stance, a brilliant gold circle now glowing through his headband.

Diamond looks up, manages a moment of bemusement, and puts his finger to his lips and says, "Sssshhh!"

>> The two are deflected. They notice the circle. They open their mouths to shout, then stop and nod. they go pale though.

Scarab recovers her balance, and watches as the guard she hit on the head knocks himself out. If her scarf didn't prevenet you seeing all but her eyes, you'd see the very satisfied smirk on her face.

Five Pillars charges forward, emulating the fierce and lethal spin of the whirlpool. He lashes out with both arms, as he spins, battering his enemies with the force of the tsunami, their armor availing them little. He is the Storm.

>> Two go down in the storm, another gets clocked across the head!

Five Pillars says "What happened to being discreet, boy?" He, it should be noted, is not glowing, at all.

Diamond somehow works a non-commital shrug into his complex kata, a display of acrobatic prowess and fancy footwork that weaves him through the remaining guards like a needle through thread. He says, with punctuation of his blows against the heads of the three mean, "That's why *SMACK* I checked *SMACK* about sentries! *SMACK*!"

>> All but the first crumple. He doesn't look too encouraged as he sees he is outnumbered.

Scarab charges swiftly at the remaining guard, bearing down on him like a carraige about to run a poor sap over. Right at the last possible minute she dives right under his legs, and using the fear and delay to advatnage, nails him from behind with a well placed stunning strike to the kidneys.

>> He goes down with not much protest. Looks relieved, really.

>> Eight guards downed in mere seconds, the carriage merrily moving down the road. Sometimes it is good to be a Solar.

Number Ten Camel looks over his shoulder.

Five Pillars winces at the anima display of Diamond.

Five Pillars takes off at a dead run for the carriage.

Diamond remains hopping lightly, back and forth in the rhythm of his art, swords at the ready. His head sways back and forth, and he cracks the vertebrae of his neck. "Mm. They're not bad, all things considered." Let's go! After that moment's hesitation, he takes off after Five.

Scarab proceeds to the next stage of the plan, giving one of the downed men one final kick for good measure. She takes to the trees, moving ahead after the carraige with singleminded intent.

Number Ten Camel slows the horses to a stop, drawing his sword.

Diamond mentally says, as he runs, . o O (That's your cue, Ciel, get out of there... )

>> Camel hears the Dragon Blooded saying something once the horses stop, and Ciel responding with a laugh.

Number Ten Camel raps on the roof of the carriage.

>> A few moments later the door opens and Ciel dives out, prompting a surprised shout from the man!

>> Ciel gets the heck away from the scene of the incoming fight. A dress is not something someone fights in.

Diamond shouts, with the pants of his breath, as he approaches. "Your Honored Imminence! (huff) I am pleased to announce! (huff)..." He pulls to a stop, behind the carriage, and takes the form of the mantis, his swords held forth as foreclaws. "It is <i>go time." His anima burgeons into a swelling but dim golden flame.

Five Pillars slips his claws on, as he runs, ice frosting over the blades as he tumbles in front of Ciel.

Number Ten Camel leaps off his seat, bow in one hand, sword in the other...

Scarab readies her blowgun from afar, helping to usher Soran's precious Ciel to a safer location if possible.

>> A few moments later, a very angry looking Dragon Blooded bursts out of the carriage, a jade daiklaive in one hand, a shorter jade blade in the other! His eyes scan before he locks onto Diamond, and with a shout charges at him and lets loose an attack that seems to burst into flames as he slashes!

Diamond breaks into a chortling laughter, as clear as springtime dew but as hearty as an old tavernkeep. He meets the blow with his polished ancestral blades crossed, Storm and Drought to quench and dry the fire. He shouts, as their strength and skill are matched against one another, "Your father was an oaf, and your mother a patrician!" A wicked grin and challenging eyes lock with the dragon-blooded's own, and for perhaps the first time, in a long while, the Dynast is faced with an opponent who shows no fear.

>> The man growls as this pitiful ANATHEMA manages to deflect his attack. Nevertheless, he remains near Diamond, holding himself at the ready now!

Diamond smirks, face to face with a fiery daiklave stopped mere inches from his brow. "I can't decide what's more flaming--your sword, or that outfit."

Number Ten Camel steps onto one of the wheel spokes of the carriage, the moonlight glinting off his hair and sword, with a grunt of effort he leaps onto the roof, and from there across to dragon blooded!

Number Ten Camel slashes his sword back and forth, crying out wordlessly like a hawk!

>> The Dragon Blooded's short daiklaive comes up to weave a series of parrying motions against Camel's attack!

Number Ten Camel shouts, "Hey! That's cheating!"

>> Both blows are deflected with an artful twist of the blade as he grins.

Scarab crawls up a convenient piece of the leafy scenery, sticking to it's trunk like a tree frog. Whipping out her folding blowgun in her one hand and flashing a tiny dart from her waist belt, she combines the two into one deadly implement. Pointing it towards the Prince of the Earth she takes a deep breath, sucking in the flows of Essence all around into her mouth like a hungry ghost. With a shrill cry she exhales forcefu

We're missing part of Scarab's Emote here

the shimmering projectile with deadly accuracy!

>> The short daiklaive comes up and attempts to deflect, but doesn't quite manage it! Fortunately for him, it bounces off his armor harmlessly.

Five Pillars lunges forward, water essence gathering around his claws in glowing green-and-blue swirls, with whitecaps at the edges of the spirals, as he slaps a hand to the chest of the Dragonblooded. "Illiberate Churl! May the water which gave you life, take it away!"

>> The Dragon Blooded growls as his movements flicker like fire as he attempts to dodge. Flames suddenly spring around him as well as his anima begins to flow throughout him! Five finds his attack suddenly aimed at Camel!

The water essence dissapates, and Camel takes no damage!

Number Ten Camel grits his teeth and his purple eyes scowl as he takes Five's blow, unfraid.

>> The man grins as he snaps the daiklaive up in two rapid fire strikes at Five Pillars, firey essense infusing the second blow!

>> Clunk. Clunk.

Five Pillars grins. "Weak, boy. Weak. You sure you didn't go to the tousand spirals?"

Number Ten Camel spins his sword in one hand, fingertips tugging at the curved hilt to make it go twirlinng backwards into the air, he drops down and backflips away from Rak, pulling two arrows from his quiver and firing them before raising his hand to catch his sword once more.

>> The man snaps up the daiklaive to parry the arrows!

>> One of the arrows manages to scratch!

Number Ten Camel says, "Looks like you're getting hot under the collar. Surrender now, and we can give you a nice bath."

Diamond 's right foot turns slightly, in the midst of melee, and he swivels so that the passing arrow which scratched the dragon-blooded doesn't hit /him/ on the way out. With a smirk, he winks at the lovely Night and Eclipse in the woods he's now facing, and springs into action.

Diamond charges forward, his swords swung at once in an impossibly fast arc that forms a gleaming crescent of reflected light, burned in the eyes of all who witness it. As it fades from residual sight, he ducks and thrusts up again in a jump, spinning in the air and slashing at his opponent one, two, three, four more times!

>> Flames engulf the Dragon Blooded as he desperately attempts to evade Diamond's assault!

Diamond thrice strikes ineffectively against his comrade, in the Dragon-Blooded's attempt at battlefield deception, but two of his attacks against the Terrestrial strike true!

>> He growls as more wounds are inflicted. He's outnumbered. Badly.

Scarab watches from afar, and readies two more lovely little darts with a certain Dragon Blooded's name on them. Steadying herself on a branch, she releases two more bullets of pointy doom into the fray, looking for blood. One of them throbs with gilded eagerness at tasting Exalted flesh...

Five Pillars erupts into motion like waterspout. He is everywhere, and nowhere. Like the storm, he rages , and his waves batter upon the dragonblooded like crashing wave swells. Like the hurricane or the typhoon, he strikes, battering against his oponnent too fast for the eye to see. once, twice, he strikes, with his right claw. Threee, and four times, his left claw sings. But the storm is not yet over. Three more blows ring out, left, left, right, as he hammers his foe with a relentless assault.

>> Two draw blood.

Five Pillars says "I'm not even using /essence/ yet."

Five Pillars flicks blood of his claws disparagingly.

Diamond looks vaguely disappointed, saying, "I used more on the mortals..."

>> He turns as flames engulf his blade as he lashes at Diamond in one, two, three..four strikes! Flames engulf is very being as he attempts to strike down the Anathema before him! ( Diamond OOCly notes: This attack was very, very scary to anyone who could hear the raw number of imaginary dice hitting the metaphoric table )

Diamond smirks silently, and lets the very winds take him. His body seems as light as a feather, as he not only deflects the Dragon Blooded's blows, but flows around them as if he were half man, half spirit. Where he can oppose the might of his enemy, the gusts respond to his blows with the force of a gale where the fire burns brightest, he seems to simply sway away harmlessly, to the nearly inaudible sound of of familiar giggling.

>> Each. Strike. Is. Evaded.

Diamond sets down on the ground, the assault ended, calmly and politely stating, "You might want to give up now." Around him, essence roars in a brilliant storm of swirling sand, his anima in full display.

>> The Dragon Blooded meanwhile looks like a vertible bonfire.

>> While the daiklave does no harm, the flames have managed to crisp Diamond slightly.

Five Pillars flares his own anima against the Dragonbloodeds, and proves the stronger.

Number Ten Camel flings his sword over arm into a nearby tree, and leaping up grabs the branch with one hand, swinging himself up, from this position he flicks two fowling arrows from his quiver firing first one, then the other.

>> The man is too distracted by his fiery rage and incompetence.

Scarab grits her teeth as this battle drags on, hoping it would have been over by now. Discarding her position, she focuses all of her might into a flying leap from the treetops. Like a flying squirell of the forest, she sails through the air, extending her arms to glide to the other side of the road. But instead of merely zooming across the scenery, she drops a hail of four pointed shurikens as a memory of her passing...

>> He staggers. The Dragon Blooded just turns to face Five as he braces for the coming attack.

Five Pillars launches another flurry of blows, pulling them at the last second, as five attacks lash out at the dragonblooded. One for each elemental dragon, Five Pillars lets his claws be their claws, as he mercilessly batters his oponnent towards unconsciousness. "You have fought well. There is no disgrace in loss to a superior foe."

>> He collapses, dropping his blades.

Five Pillars lashes out twice, and then catches himself, as he finishes the five dragons kata in the empty air, turning in silence.

>> The terrestrial also smolders, as blood flows from his wounds.

Five Pillars says "The Chain we got from Soran. Rope won't do."

>> Are those people in the distance near The Lap? Yep. Better hurry.

Diamond breathes, heavily, his anima banner fading to a level just barely enough to read by, now. "We'd best be on our way. Camel, Five, take care of the Dragon Blooded. Scarab, come with me!"

Diamond dashes back towards the others. They've got more hostages to take, after all.

>> Syla flickers into sight sitting on the carriage. "Not bad. Your lightshow attracted attention though." She leaps off the carriage. "Ditch this, we've got to get moving to the safe house now."

Scarab slides out of the tree like a raindrop off a leaf and shadows Diamond.

Five Pillars wraps the DB in chains, careful of his hands, as the fiery aura fades from his foe. "Syla, Darling. I don't suppose you know a charm to get you, and I and our friends" He hefts the bound DB "Back to the barn, do you? He's awful heavy"

Five Pillars says "On second thought, take Diamond. Before he gets us all killed."

Five Pillars points to the glowtastic one.

>> She hops off the carriage, quickly moving to untie the horses and let them run loose. No sense in letting the incoming investigators from the town get them. She then moves to catch up with Diamond.

Scarab says, "Blazes, he's a regular candle..."

Number Ten Camel tugs his sword from the tree, sheathing it. Hopping down he grabs the chain from the carriage and wraps up the fallen exalt in it. "He probably had to to survive that assault. It's done now."

>> Ciel lingers near the others as she watches.

Five Pillars hustles the DB toward Syla, between him and Camel.

Five Pillars says, "Keep him out, Diamond. And stay inside, and away from any windows!"

Diamond struggles for a moment, and pauses as Five instructs him. He stops, looks back at the nine mortals, then looks at Five. "Don't kill them needlessly," is all he says before he dashes to Syla.

Five Pillars says "We don't have time to argue. The investigator /must/ live."

>> Syla motions Diamond over, and with a massive gust of wind she, the Dragon Blooded, and Diamond disappear!

Scarab runs over quickly to grab the fallen unconscious guards and sling them over her shoulders like sacks of rice, as many as her Exalted strength can muster.

>> Ciel just follows and does whatever she's told.

Number Ten Camel asks, "The others?"

Five Pillars frowns. "Bring them, for now. Lets move" He points downt he road, and takes off, pretty fast for an old guy.

Number Ten Camel does what he can.

Scarab nods and books it with a few low grumbles that Realm guards eat far too well these days.

>> Syla reappears with another gust, beginning to look a bit tired. "Anyone else?"

Number Ten Camel says, "We can walk."

>> She nods. "Follow me, then."

Five Pillars nods. "Just show us the way to the barn. Dematerialize, if you want. I can follow you, and it leaves less trace."

Five Pillars opens his eyes to the essence flows, with the last of his personal essence.

Five Pillars shoulders two of the guards, and makes his way after Syla.

>> She just nods and flickers out of sight. To Five Pillars, she begins to move off the road itself and towards where she brought Diamond.

Scarab begins to waver in a thin purple haze and becomes decidely lighter on her feet, her purple anima erasing some of the tracks her boots leave in the dirt.

Number Ten Camel take his time to muddle their tracks, as they go.

Five Pillars continues forging on towards the barn, making sure everyone can keep up.

>> Soon enough you arrive at the barn, and she flickers back into sight as she points down the doors to the cellar. If Diamond hasn't gone down yet with Bonfire, they are there as well.

>> She gestures for the rest of you to get in as well.

Diamond is down there, but not too deep, just as instructed

Scarab makes for a rather intriguing picture... considering a woman barely over 5' is carrying 3 full grown me over her shoulders and in one arm.

Number Ten Camel grunts, and enters. "That went well."

Five Pillars is of course, in the cellar.

Scarab hurls her charges to the cellar floor with a curse or two on her lips.

>> Syla shuts the doors as she joins the rest of you once you're all in, and then moves ahead to begin leading you down the stairs, light provided by Diamond's anima and the Dragon Blooded's flame.

Diamond meets him there, carefully watching the secured DB, even as he offers to help with the soldiers.

Five Pillars says "Moderately so." He says "But that will bring the Wyld Hunt, and Immaculate and Prefecture Attention, even if the messenger going missing didn't."

Five Pillars sighs, heavily.

>> Syla nods. "More than likely. Which is why we're going home this way. Follow me."

Five Pillars sighs a moment, then picks his two back up. "I'm getting to old for this." He notes, to Camel.

Scarab blinks then picks them back up. More carrying. Joy.

Diamond frowns, not commenting for a few moments. After a little while, he asks, "What happened to the sentries?"

>> "You lit up a bit too much."

Diamond mutters under his breath, "I really need some cheaper charms."

Scarab says, "You two were glowing so bright, I think farmers in the Lap thought dawn came several hours ahead of time."

>> And you continue walking down the stairs, until suddenly the walls and floor turn to stone and the stairs end. Syla continues walking, as you notice there are now lit torches along the tunnel walls.

Number Ten Camel notes to Five "Hey, I feel like I already am"

Five Pillars says "Old and tired is still better than dead, though." He grins. "Dragons. i think this fat investigator weighs more than the guy in armor."

Five Pillars soldiers on though, following Syla.

>> The trip seems to take forever, but of course, you're coming out of combat and lugging a bunch of dead weights. After what seems to be a few hours of walking, you come to a steel door, which Syla places her hand on, closing her eyes.

Scarab continues on, step by step. She's starting to slow up, but shows no signs of tiring just yet. She listens carefully for any signs of the sleeping beauties awakening.

>> It swings open without much more ado, and she steps through, gesturing for you all to follow.

Five Pillars follows, curious.

Diamond does so, not saying much! Yay, ruminating!

Five Pillars looks around

Number Ten Camel follows, not very talkative whilst carrying

Scarab tromps on. She amuses herself thinking about how much the DB's jade equipment might fetch in the market.

>> As you step in, you find yourselves in quite the well-lit cavern. Various boxes and weapon racks are in the room, and across from you there is another door, and two more. One on the left, and one on the right. In the room itself you see the elite guard from the prison instructing a couple of men in swordsmanship, while others talk in the room. All heads turn to face you however as you walk in and the door shuts behind you.

>> Syla doesn't waste anytime however. "Rastov! Nine cells, one that can deal with a Dragon Blooded! Also need some of your healers to look at them once we've got them secured!" He just nods and begins barking olders as the place becomes a flurry of activity.

Diamond doesn't even so much as acknowledge the LITTLE things, like the fact that he's currently glowing. Instead, he puts the dragon-blooded down on the ground, followed by dropping his daiklaves. Preparing to utter orders, he's so completely pre-empted by Syla it isn't funny.

Five Pillars sets his burden down, wearily, only now finding the time to remove his bloodstained claws, as the ice on them melts, and the blood with it.

Five Pillars says "Let me have a look at the jade, and I'll sorcerously check it out tomorrow. Make sure it's safe, and not boobytrapped.

Five Pillars sighs. "Tomorrow."

Number Ten Camel sets his charges down gently, then leans against a wall, sighing.

Scarab remarks, "Funny how the tables turn isn't it? Looks like we're the ones with prisoners now. Heh heh."

Diamond looks towards Syla, "What are we doing with the Investigator? He makes ten."

>> Syla nods. "We take the investigator with us to the Half Past. We've got more walking to do."

Diamond picks him up from where Five put him down. "Make sure you check him for hidden artifacts and hearthstones once the fire dies down."

Scarab flops the three men in a convenient corner, brushing off her hands.

>> Various men and women of the resistance take the eight guards and the Dragon-blooded off your hands after removing their armor and weaponary and bring them through the central door.

>> Syla nods as she moves to follow those heading for the center door. "Come on then. Almost home." She glances at Rastov. "Full guard on them, especially the Dragon Blooded."

>> He salutes and continues tossing orders.

Five Pillars wipes his claws on one of the guards, cleaning them, and then puts them away. He takes posession of the gear from the dragonblooded, and makes a quick mental inventory of hearthstones, however long they last, and then packs them away in his bag, headed after Syla.

Diamond follows Syla, but turns before he leaves completely. Shouting, he says, "Make sure that Terrestrial is in solitary confinement once he attains conciousness--your men might not be safe in direct interaction." Diamond would, know, after all. He once convinced someone to untie him, and he was gagged at the time.

Diamond doesn't mention this, of course, because it was in a bedroom and not exactly the kind of war story you share with the guys.

Scarab stretches once, before falling in step. She removes her scarf to get some air flowing, revealing the last small tingles of a golden circle on her brow.

>> As you step through the center door you find yourselves in a cell block section apparently, which are recieving their first occupants. They seem quite comfortable, especially considering we're underground. She continues to another steel door on the far side of the area, which she places her hand on. Without much ado, it opens as the other one did, revealing another long hallway lit by torches. She continues walking.

Five Pillars follows. What a lot of walking. He's silent though, as he moves through the corridors, though he marks them in his mind.

Scarab says, "Quite a nice hideout you got here."

Number Ten Camel says, "Impressive."

>> Syla nods. "We have two others, and another being worked on at the moment. I hate going in these places though."

Scarab muses, "Wind spirits must get claustrophobic easy... figures."

Five Pillars shrugs. "It's the essence here. or lack of it. This place is almost empty of it."

Five Pillars follows Syla, and trucks on.

Diamond says nothing, bearing his load and uncharacteristically keeping his thoughts to himself.

>> And we're walking...and walking... until finally a set of stairs leading up to a wooden trapdoor. She quickly climbs the stairs and shoves the door open, propmpting a shout of surprise in a familiar voice. She clambers up, and you can hear her going "Sorry, Soran. You should know better than to sit there." "Right right."

>> Once you all go up, you find yourselves back in the Half Past.

>> Soran is on the ground, along with a tipped over chair next to the trap door.

Five Pillars takes a seat, wearily.

Number Ten Camel leans against a wall, his arms crossed. "Anything else tonight?"

Five Pillars says "I hope not"

Diamond sets the man down, and immediately checks for open windows. The golden fire about him has died, but his castemark still shines through the now bleached-looking headband. Damn, he'll have to get a new one. Or invest in /white/.

Scarab inspects the chair, satisfied with Soran's chocie of mundane cover of a trapdoor.

Number Ten Camel says, "Well, need a report on what happened, Soran?"

Five Pillars takes a sea,t and is too tired to say anything, at the moment, though he'll probably bring up any objections first thing in the morning.

>> Ciel just sits, somewhere. The DM can't be buggered really doing much with her.

Diamond speaks quickly, "No deaths, but obviously a little too much theatrics--were we betrayed by the sentries, or was it just too much to fail to notice?"

>> Syla shuts it once you're all through, then helps Soran up. He brushes himself off before gesturing, and two men come to take the investigator upstairs. The windows are all shut, as well. "Alright then..." He shakes his head. "Syla relayed it to me. As did my men on the sentry." He glances at Diamond. "Miles, Diamond. Syla's spirits are saying that people all around noticed."

Diamond curses, and moves to see if that map is still out. "I'll need to make some noise on my way out then--we can't afford to have this linked to you, but if I skip town as soon as possible and make it to the desert, they won't catch me."

Scarab says, "Both man and dragon child are safely in our custody, with minimal casualties. I'd say all in all it was a success, compared to last time. But that lightshow is gonna be a problem."

>> Soran shakes his head. "No. I promised protection and the like in exchange for you helping, and I'm sticking by it. Hide here for now and all of you lie low until the hunt moves on."

Diamond looks at Soran in disbelief. "You can't be serious. It's the Wyld Hunt--they've got astrologers and more besides." From the way he says it, you'd think an astrologer to be the scariest thing in the world.

>> Soran frowns. "I'm not abandoning anyone who lands in trouble due to helping me to the bloody Wyld Hunt!" He seems quite... forceful about that.

Scarab says, "He's got a point, Diamond boy! We stand or fall together right now..."

>> Syla just frowns and shakes her head, muttering. A quiet warning finds its ways to Diamond's ears, and his ears alone.

Diamond looks around, and looks up. "We'll talk, Soran. In an hour. Let's get out of these clothes, all of us, just in case, and change into something else. Something that isn't bleached, for me."

Number Ten Camel says, "Your loyalty is noted, Soran. I will try to be worthy of it in future."

>> Soran nods. "Spare clothes are avaliable upstairs. I suppose once our captives wake up, you'll wish to talk to them? Also, I must congratulate you on managing to capture the Dragon-Blooded."

Diamond says without humor, "Yeah," and rubs at his hands. While his clothes are much whiter, his skin has slightly blackened, up to his elbows, where the heat of the terrestrial's aura left its mark. With his dark skin, it's less noticable than it might otherwise be.

Scarab takes her green cloak off, revealing a petite orichalcum breastplate underneath that catches the dim firelight on it's gilded edges. "I don't know about you, but I'm going to take a bath. I've got dirt everywhere from playing in the woods."

>> Soran nods. "If anything, at least stay in the complex. Only Syla, Rastov, and I can manage to open those doors." He sighs as he sits down, suddenly looking a lot older. "At any rate... rest up, people. I'd advise laying low here for a good while, either way. We need to lie low after tonight. A Dragon Blooded, Realm investigator, their escort, and that flare won't go unnoticed."

Diamond just makes his way over to the map, and studies it intently. People, he knows, and he knows them very well. Tonight, though, has driven home just how much like a war this will be, and he's left wishing he had a better head for tactics.

Number Ten Camel nods gravely. "I am at your command, if anything comes up, Soran."

"Just give me a holler if our little flaming prince needs introducing to a few lovely pointed instruments. You know where I'll be." Scarab doesn't wait for comments and heads up the stairway and out of sight.

>> Ciel follows wordlessly, and on that pleasant note, we once again leave this Circle. A bittersweet victory indeed, they succeeded magnificently, but have attracted plenty of undue attention. As night passes and the sun rises, one thing is certain. Dire events in the future have been set into motion by this night.


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