Cocktails And Croquet
  • HollyhockGod opens the curtain.

<HollyhockGod> When last we left the Familia Odylla, they had recovered Nusakan, the Third Jewel of the Corona Borealis constellation. But not without complications.
<HollyhockGod> Prices to be exacted, leads to be followed up on.
<HollyhockGod> In fact, there was a promise made to deliver some vague recompense for Aisling's miraculous intervention with Hallifax Tamberlane.
<HollyhockGod> (errr…Hallifax Meriwether)
<HollyhockGod> And, as if by some magic, exactly a week has passed.
<Irina> Yep, I think going for a nice social call to Manners was the general plan.
<HollyhockGod> A week wherein Aislingand, to a lesser extent, the entire familyhas been bombarded with invitations!
<LadyAzure> (One sec, I seem to have halucinated makeing a character sheet..)
<HollyhockGod> Unfortunately, these are all invitations to the same event: a brunch at Sharpthistle Manor, hosted by the Meriwethers.
<LadyAzure> (Found it.)
<HollyhockGod> The invitations have been coming in increasing volume each day, all of them perfect little things of calligraphic script on tasteful ivory cardstock. Yesterday's arrived in bushels; this morning's seemed to stream in like a river of stationary.
<LadyAzure> Is this the same Meriwether as James Meriwether?
<HollyhockGod> No.
<HollyhockGod> Not unless James was secretly named Tamberlane and also was a God of Good Manners.
<HollyhockGod> You have about an hour left before your (prompt) arrival is expected. Any preparations for this meeting?
<LadyAzure> Do the invitations make clear what kind of gathering this is?
<HollyhockGod> The exact wording mentions "Fancy brunch."
<Irina> Irina is generally just going to make death threats if Aisling appears to be trying to dodge it.
<LadyAzure> Lady Azure's clothes shift to apropriate ware, but still wispy and blue.
<HollyhockGod> Define appropriate.
<HollyhockGod> You're relatively certain that the vagueness of the invitiation is, in itself, a kind of a trap.
<Astara> I bow to Irina's expertise with reference of how to dress. I'm still new at this.
<LadyAzure> Hmmmmm…something that would look good in a fancy brunch in a romanticised view of Imperial China.
<LadyAzure> Or possibly Victorian England.
<LadyAzure> So either way lots of layers.
<LadyAzure> and fairly skin covering.
<LadyAzure> (And hard to move in)
<Irina> Irina displays remarkable restraint in dressing Astara! Although she still chooses an outfit that looks like it could pay for a few houses.
<Astara> As long as I can conceal my crowbar in it somewhere, because if you think I'm leaving it behind that's silly
<LadyAzure> (Mechanically I use Inspiring Daydream Muse (IS 3) and aspect 2.)
<Irina> Would Irina's previous experiences with Manners leave her to suspect anything? I would think that he himself would find it a bit hard to do anything *too* terrible to invited guests.
<LadyAzure> (Actually I cant't use aspect on that I think..)
<HollyhockGod> It's probably just a matter of trying to embarras you. Which is something that the Lords of Good Manners have done throughout the eons.
<LadyAzure> "I do hope its outside…or at least with a good window."
<LadyAzure> "Have you been to were we are going Domina Astara?"
<HollyhockGod> Has she?
<Astara> "My first time at any kind of of Noble function, actually. Unless you count my welcoming party."
<Irina> Irina will appropriately warn people, then.
<HollyhockGod> Any other thoughts and worries?
<LadyAzure> "Really? Oh, they can be quite fun. Dangerous..but fun."
<LadyAzure> (Not on my part.)
<Astara> (Aisling? Ina? You there?)
<HollyhockGod> (Yes. This next part will be quite difficult sans Aisling, I just realized)
<LadyAzure> (Is Gayo Aisling?)
<Gayo> (I'm just lurking)
<LadyAzure> (hmm. we have a problem then..)
<HollyhockGod> As the Familia gathers up their things into what can only be expected to be a vast platoon of purses, they discover something slightly amiss.
<HollyhockGod> Namely, that one among their number was missing.
<HollyhockGod> A rather important one, in so far as the 4.3 tons of invitations currently filling the westernmost region of the Chancel were all addressed to Aisling.
<HollyhockGod> If she was hiding, she was doing a good job of it.
<HollyhockGod> And so, the question was clear: be lateor absent!to the brunch or show up without the guest of honor.
<LadyAzure> "Oh dear."
<Astara> "Well, if we show up late he'll take offense at /all/ of us instead of just one of us."
<LadyAzure> "Yes..I think we should go. Though it would really be best to have an escuse on hand for our missing member."
<Irina> "I was considering that. It might be best to let Aisling fend for herself if we can't find her quickly."
<HollyhockGod> So say ye all?
<LadyAzure> (So say us all.)
<Irina> (Is Ira Flarelord on the site?)
<Irina> *Ina
<Astara> (Flarelord seems to be having trouble connecting. Flarelord is Maili)
<Irina> (Aha.)
<Ina> (I'm really sorry. I got stuck in traffic. Give me 10-20 minutes to get ready, please?)
<LadyAzure> (We can do that I think.)

  • HollyhockGod motions for an intermission.
  • HollyhockGod continues to watch a british sitcom featuring Ian McKellan

<Irina> (Head down to the lobby for some delicious popcorn! And Sno Caps!)

  • Astara finishes updating character page on Chancel Aleph, gaining 150 Hollyhock point
  • HollyhockGod awards them according to the ancient precepts.

<HollyhockGod> (There may or may not be a giant hourglass involved)
<LadyAzure> (As the points fall through like our life falling though time towards death?)
<HollyhockGod> (These are the points of our lives)
<HollyhockGod> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicious_(TV_series) )
<HollyhockGod> (If you have not seen this yet, it is glorious)
<LadyAzure> (I havent I'll try it sometime.)

  • Ina is now known as Aisling
  • HollyhockGod fires a gun into the air, like at the start of a marathon.

<Irina> Or a bank robbery!
<Irina> Now I want to make an excrucian bank robber. "Everybody on the ground, put your hands in the air! We're just here to erode the theoretical underpinnings of your being! Don't make any sudden moves and nobody will get hurt, except maybe metaphysically!"
<HollyhockGod> If you were expecting something elegant and Victorian from a name like Sharpthistle Manor, you're bound to be in for a disappointment. It's tall and sunny and utterly pink; a mixture of modern American southwest, art deco, adobe pueblos, and Babylonian temple.
<HollyhockGod> There is also a surprising lack of thistles.
<Irina> "Don't tell them I said this, but I like our chancel better."
<LadyAzure> "Perhaps the name is metaphorical?"
<HollyhockGod> A small contingent of butlers meet you at the door and escort you to the wide, airy courtyard at the heart of the manse. Flowerbeds with groomed blossoms assault the eye with color and the nose with scent at every turn, and beside a great fountain, you see the guests assembled at a table hewn from polished stone.
<LadyAzure> "I mean its tall and tall is sort of like sharp.."
<Astara> "That's Old Babylonian columns mixed with Assyrian era architecture! That's just wrong."
<HollyhockGod> Allegedly, there's an Andy Warhol painting of Cneph hanging in the Eastern wing. Or so one of the chattier butlers offers, probably to Astara.

  • LadyAzure covers her mouth at Astara's line.
  • LadyAzure subtly invites the butlers to anounce her, then goes to sit down.

<HollyhockGod> "Announcing her grace, the Duchess of the Blue Sky, Azure of the House of Odylla."
<HollyhockGod> It continues on in that fashion for quite some time.
<HollyhockGod> Standing beside the table with a mojito in hand is Tamberlane Meriwether, dressed in immaculately pressed linen shorts and an argyle sweatervest. His wife longues beside him, a martini at her lips and her eyes fixed on Aisling.
<HollyhockGod> "So good of you to join us," Tamberlane offers.
<HollyhockGod> He's even good enough to make introductions!
<Irina> Irina's dressed in, like, a nightgown. A nice one, but still. "It's an honor to enjoy your hospitality again."
<LadyAzure> "It was the least we could do after your invitation."
<HollyhockGod> There's an older Indian woman at the table dressed in a bright yellow saari. She sips primly at tea as Tamberlane introduces her as Naya Walia, the Marchessa of Brute Force.
<Aisling> "Hello everyone." She seems like she's trying not to appear bored.
<LadyAzure> Azure bows, just a little bit.
<HollyhockGod> She's got a young, lithe man at her side in a leather jacket and toussled hair—Tony Mack; if he's a power, Tamberlane does not see fit to give his title.
<HollyhockGod> Across the table, you also see Susan Orb, the Queen of Fashion, a dottering woman with graying blond hair snuck neatly under a flowered hat.

  • LadyAzure smiles at the young man.
  • LadyAzure bows towards Orb. Hiding the slightist tightness in her smile.

<HollyhockGod> Finally, Tamberlane introduces the final guesta salt and pepper gentleman in a seersucker and the most glorious malamute you have ever laid eyes onas Alexi Ivanov, the Power of Dogs, and his eternal companion James.
<LadyAzure> "Oh!"

  • Astara attempts a curtsy. It is passable.

<HollyhockGod> "Of course, there's one more coming," Tamberlane's wife, Hallifax reminds, gently, eyes still fixed on Astara as she sips her drink. "But clearly, we musn't stand on ceremony. What will you all be drinking today?"

  • LadyAzure bows again, and says "He is so adorable!"

<Irina> "Well! This is quite the occasion. We may yet make up for a year worth of missed socialization."
<Astara> (eyes fixed on Aisling, right?)
<HollyhockGod> (Oops. Aisling, yes)
<HollyhockGod> "Rough stuff, this whole celestial mess," Naya offers. "Any ideas as to the cause, darlings?"
<Aisling> "I wouldn't mind some unicorn milk if you have any."
<LadyAzure> "I'll have some Lychee wine."
<Astara> "Haven't had too many leads so far. There was a theft the same night, however. Though I'm sure Mrs. Meriwether here could tell you about that."
<Astara> "Ooh, canapes"
<Irina> "Tea will be enough, thank you." Irina turns to Naya to answer her question, then just sort of freezes as Astara upsets the whole thing. "… ah, but of course, our investigation is only very preliminary so far," she adds for quick damage control.
<Astara> (Astara is not very good at subtle)
<HollyhockGod> Hallifax takes umbridge at the accusation. "And whatever would you mean by that, Astara? I do hope you don't mind me using your name so casually; we're very casual here."
<HollyhockGod> She says "casual" in a way that seems somewhat evocative of the Spanish Inquisition.
<Astara> "Well, perhaps I should not have assumed that you knew where the thing you were guarding came from. My apologies."
<HollyhockGod> Hallifax leans forward, setting her glass on the table. She steeples her fingers and sighs dramatically. "And I suppose it is the Cammora's fault if you misplace a star? Our job is already onerous enough and I'd hate to think you're accusing us of something."
<Irina> Irina clears her throat. "I'm afraid that my own investigation was interrupted by an oni who confessed to possessing our stolen star. It would be premature to accuse anybody else at this point."
<Astara> "Oh, I wouldn't dream of accusing the Cammora of commiting a crime. These are really good by the way. My compliments to the chef."
<LadyAzure> "Who is our last guest?"
<LadyAzure> "So have you met Lord Entropy?"
<HollyhockGod> "What DID you do to Yoshi, anyway?" Hallifax asks Irina, moving from defensive to accusatory.
<HollyhockGod> "Our last guest has no name," Tamberlane says. "And would not have been invited had he not made a nuissance of himself."
<Irina> "Oh, I just had to render him into a less efficient rib breaker. I'm sure he'll turn up again one of these days."
<LadyAzure> "Missing a name can be a hassle."
<LadyAzure> "I didn't have a name for my first year of life. It made conversation akward."
<HollyhockGod> "We would be grateful to have him back, all things considered. He was a valuable contractor," Hallifax says, then turns to Azure. "And yes. I have met the Darkest Lord. On the day he gave me this," she adds, pulling back her long brown hair to reveal a dark, charred mark where the back of her neck meets her head
<LadyAzure> Azure reaches out and brushes her hand against it, her face sorrowful.
<HollyhockGod> Hallifax is surprised by Azure's boldness, but doesn't pull away. It still feels warm to the touch, like the last embers of a fire.
<LadyAzure> "If you ever grow tired of his touch. Look up." she says, seeming to not be able to help her self.
<Irina> "I suppose he's paid his dues by now. And perhaps even learned a lesson, if oni are even capable of that. Perhaps we can strike a deal afterward, but it would be a shame to discuss business over this fine meal."
<HollyhockGod> "I agree," Tamberlane says, brightly. "It wouldn't be Good Manners."
<LadyAzure> "Queen Orb, is Paris still the home of Fashion?"
<Astara> (Are we standing or seated at a table? I'm slightly confused)
<HollyhockGod> (I assumed you had all taken a seat)
<HollyhockGod> "Paris. Is that the place with the Alhambra? Oh, what delightful silk things they used to wear there. All embroidered with their golden words."
<HollyhockGod> "No, m'lady," the gentleman in the seersucker replies, "Paris has the tall metal tower. And the Frenchmen."

  • LadyAzure stops her self from blinking in suprise.
  • LadyAzure thinks 'Is it a act?'

<HollyhockGod> "Oh, the Frenchmen! How could I forget them! The ones with the leather breeches and the jerks. And those devilish little helms."
<HollyhockGod> "Are they still around?"
<LadyAzure> "So where do you hail from? I'm from central China."
<LadyAzure> "The helms?"
<HollyhockGod> "Hail from?" Susan asks, then flexes her fingers as if counting on them. "I don't know what you would call that place. Names were not yet a large concern. We were just gathering around the fires."

  • LadyAzure opens her eyes in suprise and genuine respect.

<HollyhockGod> "What, praytell, did you lot even do to deserve a fate as bad as this brunch?" Tony asks jokingly, despite looks from the hosts.
<LadyAzure> "My familia were looking for a star that had gone missing, ran into the Merieweathers"
<HollyhockGod> "Stars are notoriously hard to find," the malamute offers, his voice regal and proud.
<LadyAzure> "Rest is acusations and investigations."
<LadyAzure> "We seem to be able to most of the time. Then again having Lady Astara helps."
<Irina> "Besides, we've been stuck mending the heavens for a year. A social call was in order."
<HollyhockGod> "Investigations indeed," a menacing voice says from the foyer.
<HollyhockGod> The man strides into the courtyard with a black trench coat, collar popped dangerously high, face obscured by darkness and possibly bangs.

  • LadyAzure bows slightly.

<HollyhockGod> "My lords," a butler begins, "may I present…errrm…"
<HollyhockGod> "No names. No titles. At least not around these…distinguished guests."
<HollyhockGod> He looks for a seat, but finding none, coughs menacingly at the man in the seersucker.
<HollyhockGod> "I believe this is a table for the Mighty. And, of course, our hostess."
<LadyAzure> "Oh you can have my seat."

  • LadyAzure stands up.

<HollyhockGod> The dark man shrugs and takes Azure's seat readily.
<HollyhockGod> "I'd say your an honorless dog, but I wouldn't want to cheapen my Estate," the malamute says, staring him down disapprovingly.
<Irina> (Which is he directing that to?)
<HollyhockGod> (To the new fellow)
<HollyhockGod> The dark man pays no mind and pulls out a tiny moleskin. "So, 'Astara.' I was hoping we could go over the events of the night of your enNoblement. Perhaps figure out how much the Excrucians offered you to sabotage the Wheel."

  • Astara blinks
  • LadyAzure fades into the background. (Aspect 2 + "most of my self is in my estate" 3 bond.)

<Astara> "Sure, why not?"
<HollyhockGod> "So, what was it? Gold? Dreams? Men? Women? Horses?"
<Astara> "Hmmm, what would I do with any of those?"
<Irina> "Very exotic pornography."
<Astara> "Means: yes in theory. Oppurtunity: doubtful. Motive: lacking. But of course I'm biased."
<HollyhockGod> "Facts do not lie, Star-Child."
<LadyAzure> "What facts?"
<Astara> "Oh, facts lie all the time. They're little bastards like that, really."
<HollyhockGod> "Did you know that since the breaking of the Wheel, Excrucian activity has increased 14% above even the centinniel high-marks?" he asks. "Or that on the evening of your ascent, one hundred dead bodies were found across Canada that, when laid out on a map, form a perfect pentagram?"
<Astara> "Well, I guessed at the first considering how many I had to hit with my crowbar. The second is news to me."
<Irina> "Surely those have more to do with the breaking of the wheel than Astara's ennoblement."
<HollyhockGod> "Water in Bristol suffered a 5.6% increase in floride levels. Ten speices of wolf have gone extinct. And a very small girl in China has grown six extra arms."
<Astara> "Aglets. Their true purpose is sinister."
<HollyhockGod> "She jokes," the dark man says, tucking the pad in his coat. "But I've dealt with more hostile witnesses."
<Astara> "I was joking?"
<LadyAzure> "So, none of those point at her. Just that breaking the wheel was a victory on their part."
<LadyAzure> "Actually a hundread dead bodies…you sure its not a new chancel?"
<HollyhockGod> "I suppose I shouldn't even be investigating the pawns when there's still such a rotten queen on the board. And I know the difference between an abomination and a Chancel."
<LadyAzure> "Well some Chancel's are abominations.."
<Irina> "Lavender wallpaper with mint tile. I've seen it with my own eyes."
<LadyAzure> "I mean a number of angels and devils and true gods like pentagrams."

  • Irina nods and takes a sip of tea.

<HollyhockGod> "Mmmm. Pull the trigger, Tamberlane," the man says.
<HollyhockGod> Tamberlane doesn't seem enthused.
<HollyhockGod> "I suppose the time has come…for croquet."
<Astara> "While we're on the subject, That mural is Old Babylonian; /that/ one is Neo-Babylonian, from Nebuchadnezzar's time. They're, like, 12 centuries apart. That's just tacky.
<HollyhockGod> Susan takes umbridge at Astara's comment; she wilts, a little.

  • HollyhockGod CROQUET!
  • HollyhockGod SPORT OF THE GODS!
  • HollyhockGod SOURCE OF MANLY AND WOMANLY VIRILITY!

<Irina> Easily the third most suggestive of sports!

  • HollyhockGod A GAME PLAYED, BY THE NOBILITY, WITH HAMMERS! AND FLEDGLING STARS! AND THE BLACKEST OF BLACK HOLES!

<Astara> "What are you /doing/ to the poor things?!"
<LadyAzure> "Yes…"
<HollyhockGod> The butlers arrive with lots of heavy boxes made from superdense materials, and begin the dangerous task of setting up a pair of black holes at either side of the vast courtyard.
<HollyhockGod> Next, they set up a host of tiny stars that hang in mid air, each one small and warm and blue as the night.
<Irina> Now that things are a little more casual, Irina engages Tamberlane in idle discussion. "I believe you and I have an oni to discuss."
<Astara> Astara is still complaining "How would /you/ like it, James, if we were knocking around dogs with hammers?"
<HollyhockGod> "I don't think I'd like that very much, no," James says, standing and straightening his seersucker.
<Astara> (Isn't James the dog? That's who i was talking to)
<HollyhockGod> Tamberlane sighs. "Yoshi was…never quite my favorite dinner guest. All things considered, you did me some favors. He was supposed to be around two nights ago, and the kitchens never smell the same after making ogrefare."
<HollyhockGod> (They were introduced as Alexi Ivanov, Power of Dogs, and his companion James.)
<Irina> (Heh, yeah, I was under the impression that that meant that James was his BFF dog.)
<Irina> (But I guess that's a pretty big assumption, looking back!)
<HollyhockGod> :D
<Astara> (Astara was still talking to the dog)
<HollyhockGod> "It is barbaric a bit, yes?" Alexi offers, still unconvinced but sympathetic. "But it is the way of things. And these are stars that would never be, taken from places that can't and won't begin."
<Irina> Irina nods. "Well, I've gotten my dues for the inconvenience he caused me, so I won't hold you responsible for his behavior. I'll try to return him to you this evening."
<LadyAzure> "Interesting. Like me then, perhaps."
<HollyhockGod> The dark man rushes to take a malleta heavy thing made of some kind of superdense gold culled from the dying breaths of neutron stars. He tosses another to Astara.
<HollyhockGod> "It's appreciated," Tamberlane says, smiling. His teeth are frustratingly white and square and perfect. There's even a glint!
<Irina> (She's totally going to interrogate him, though.)
<HollyhockGod> "Who do you want on your team, traitor girl?" the dark man asks Astara
<Astara> "And this is what's considered Good Manners, is it? Tossing little ones with blunt weaponry?"
<HollyhockGod> "Unfortunately," Tamberlance concedes. "Not my choice, though. It was literally written in stone."
<Astara> "Then you'll have to excuse me, but I refuse to participate."
<HollyhockGod> The first power of Good Manners wrote her legendary Manual of Conduct in letters five stories tall on a sheer rockface on a planet orbitting, ironically enough, Nusakan.
<HollyhockGod> "Hmm. Suspicious," the dark man says. "But if you object so strongly
perhaps overmuch—we could always play with something else.
<LadyAzure> (Where's Nusakan?)
<Irina> "Ah, but you must understand the satisfaction a black hole feels when it devours a star." Black holes sorta fall under Irina's estate, so she's sympathetic to all of this.
<Astara> "I'm not objecting to the black holes, I'm objecting to the hammers. It's undignified."
<HollyhockGod> "Don't try to convince her," the man says. "She cannot be seen to sympathize with the predators. That's the whole point of this act."
<HollyhockGod> Susan perks up at this: "Whatever's so undignified about orichalcum?"
<Astara> "The act is undignifies, Milady, not the hammer itself."
<Astara> "I'm quite partial to orihalcum, myself."
<Astara> undignified*
<HollyhockGod> "Mmm," Susan says, taking up a malette of her own. Alexi, for his part, trots over to Astara and tugs at her dress. "If I may offer a compromise?"
<Astara> "Of course, Milord."
<HollyhockGod> He turns and lets out a great, loping howl. The stars move to the sides of the courtyard, resting on branches like shimmering birdlings. In their place, a hailstorm of red rubber balls descend upon the makeshift arena. One hits the dark man square on the head, but he seems utterly unphased.
<Irina> "… do they squeak when you bite them?"
<HollyhockGod> "If they didn't, I could not make them."
<LadyAzure> "That seems useful."
<Irina> "Ah! Wonderful," Irina says without an ounce of sarcasm.
<LadyAzure> Half the balls turn blue. (Spending one pmp on an enchantment.)
<Astara> "Very well, I can live with that. Thank you, Alexi."
<Irina> "I might offer voids for the goals, if you would prefer to not lose the balls to black holes… but it's been so long since I got to toy with a genuine black hole. They're so hard to acquire."
<HollyhockGod> The dog wags his tail and then skitters off, grabbing a malette in his mouth.
<HollyhockGod> At the table, Hallifax has finished her drink and is staring down Aisling.

  • Aisling has dozed off.

<HollyhockGod> "Do you know that the Cammora are taught a certain technique from Meon, who is Desecration?
<HollyhockGod> "A way to resist Noble magic though pain, each in its proper proportion."
<Aisling> (I'm sorry for not being more active, I'm having some RL issues to deal with that I keep thinking I'm just about done with. Like I think now, hopefully I'm right this time.)
<HollyhockGod> (Not a problem, I just didn't want you to feel left out, since this is, kinda, your whole deal :( Let me know what needs to happen)
<Irina> "One would imagine that has limited applications to croquet!"
<Aisling> "… huh?" She wakes up enough to seem to get the gist, "I imagine that could be useful, if you're a masochist."
<HollyhockGod> Back at the makeshift pitch, the dark man is calling the shots, having declared himself and Astara as team captains. And as his first pick, he chooses Azure.

  • Astara shrugs

<Astara> "Ookay..Tamberlane is on my team, then."
<HollyhockGod> "You have to be good with pain if you have any hopes of being Cammora. But I don't enjoy it, no. Do you know what we are, child? The Cammora?"
<LadyAzure> "Ah..um i'm not very good at actually moving things." Azure says as she seems to pick up a ball, but no the ball is still there.
<HollyhockGod> Tamberlane seems surprised but not unhappy. He takes a mallet in hand. "I expect a good, clean, friendly match!"
<HollyhockGod> Undaunted, the man calls for Naya to join his team.
<Astara> "Alexi."
<HollyhockGod> The dog-god rushes over, happy as ever.
<LadyAzure> (My "most of my self is in my estate" bond. It makes me kind of ghost like, or hypothetical.)
<HollyhockGod> "I'll take the Voidbringer."
<HollyhockGod> (He don't seem bothered)
<Irina> Irina curtsies and accepts the choice.
<Astara> "Aisling."
<Aisling> "The guys who work outside the law, right?"
<Aisling> "What's up, Astaradara?"
<LadyAzure> "Is that like Exporadora?"
<Astara> "You stuttered. Also, you're on my team."
<HollyhockGod> "Poor Aisling still seems a bit tired," Hallifax calls back. "Might I suggest Tony? You'll not be disappointed, I guarantee."
<LadyAzure> "I wounder if the backpack would look good on Astara. Dara the astara.."
<Aisling> "I didn't stutter, that was quite intentional, Astaradara~"
<Astara> "I have a backpack. Incaluable in dig sites."
<Astara> Invaluable*
<Astara> "Well, would you rather sit this one out, Aislingadingaring?"

  • LadyAzure says "Now that just sounds silly, or.." blushing.

<Aisling> "I think I would need to know more of what's happening, Astaradarasarakara. And I would have to make sure my conversational partner doesn't mind."
<HollyhockGod> "Go on, if you want. But I have something I think you might want. Information."
<Astara> "Al right then. Who's Tony?"
<LadyAzure> "Well she should come too! I mean if anyone should be involved in a game of croquet to prove innocence it should be a Cammora."
<Astara> "When did this become a trial by arms, exactly?"
<Aisling> "I'll come play in the second round then."
<Aisling> "There /will/ be a second round, right?"
<HollyhockGod> "This isn't a trial by arms," the dark man says, balancing a red ball atop his mallet masterfully before sending it humming into one of the black holes. "This is just a friendly game!"
<HollyhockGod> He says friendly like most people say "hungry" or "sexy" or "dead." You're not sure which fits best.
<Astara> "Oh good. Because I have /no idea/ how to play this game, so I was almost worried for a moment there."
<LadyAzure> "It isn't? That sounded exciting."
<LadyAzure> "I've read about it."
<HollyhockGod> The Dark Man, Azure, Naya, and Irina
<HollyhockGod> against Astara, Tamberlane, Alexi, and Tony (who appears to be Naya's, well, boy toy. Although he certainly isn't having any trouble with the orichalcum mallets)
<HollyhockGod> Goal is simple!
<HollyhockGod> Get as many balls as possible into your team's goal!
<HollyhockGod> There are some obscure rules about what constitutes a personal foul, but they're generally limited to Greater Miracles.
<HollyhockGod> And so, of course, it's Naya who gets things rolling by creating a burst of pure force that sends all the balls scattering throughout the yard!
<HollyhockGod> And possibly some of you!
<HollyhockGod> Back at the table, Hallifax is talking on and on about the Cammora. Blathering, really. They're apparently ancient and noble and dark and mysterious and they pee heroin and they smell like butterscotch and also, they didn't steal Nasukan. Which is probably news to Aisling.

  • Astara gets hit in the head with several squeaky rbber balls, which cause her to shrug and knock one of them towards her goal with a mundane action.

<LadyAzure> "So time to shine." and there's something odd about the other teams goal, the way it parallaxes is wrong. (Enchanting it with "Looks like a place but isn't there when you get there" spending 1 pmp on it.)
<Aisling> "You didn't? Then do you know who did?"
<Aisling> "I mean, I hate to sound like a suspicious type, but it'd help me believe you if you give me a credible alternative."
<Irina> Irina would normally be cheating her butt off, but since she's not on Astara's team, she'll take it easy.

  • LadyAzure is knocked into the air and only with great effort does she fall back to the ground.

<HollyhockGod> "Let's get one thing straight, darling," Hallifax says, leaning in with a shark smile, "our credibility is not in question here. In the eyes of Noble law, we are without blemishes. But I can tell you this much—we did not steal Nasukan. At least, not from you."
<HollyhockGod> Tony makes a surprisingly good show of things, getting at least a few balls into the goals through the sheer distracting nature of his perfect physique. Seriously, what is up with this boy? He's not even sweating, he's glistening.
<Aisling> "Being unaccountable by the law does not make you credible. It just makes getting reparations for acts that defy credibility a lot more difficult."
<Aisling> "I'm sure you must understand that difference."
<HollyhockGod> "Cute. Indignant. But cute," Hallifax says. "I understand, of course. But I don't sympathize."

  • LadyAzure watches appreciatively, he is rather hansom.

<HollyhockGod> Back on the pitch, Tamberlane is far less effective, displaying none of the monstrous physical power from the encounter at the plant. Still, he asks nicely and a ball flies true.
<Astara> An instant before that ball hits the goal, it multiplies, becoming as numerous and uncountable as the Stars themselves.
<HollyhockGod> "You're not even trying!" the Dark Man barks at Irina. Balls seem to disappear under his mallet, reappearing at the event horizon of the black holes.
<HollyhockGod> Overhead, a scoreboard comes into view
<HollyhockGod> Writ in golden light, there are two scores:
<HollyhockGod> 34a highly respectable score in any game of Croquetand n.
<Irina> "Ahh, but it's a simple friendly game!" Irina replies pleasantly. Although she starts up an Aspect 3 'lose without being obvious about it' miracle.
<HollyhockGod> The Dark Man doesn't seem pleased at all. He throws his mallet through one of the nearby windows, which vexes Tamberlane.
<HollyhockGod> "The Cammora recovered Nasukan from a third party. I do not know if they procured it personally, or by some other proxy. They are…a strange order, who call themselves the Children of Kteb. I suspect that those bodies in Canada had some small connection. And I would be willing to give you their whereabouts, child."
<LadyAzure> "Ah I liked that window."
<LadyAzure> (The Dark Man says this?)
<HollyhockGod> "I suppose I've seen everything I need to see," the man said. "Thank you Tamberlane, I have had a perfectly lovely evening." He shook Tamberlane's hand mechanically, made one ironic bow, and was off.
<HollyhockGod> (No that was Hallifax; sorry)
<Astara> "You know," Astara called after him
<Astara> "If you just asked straight questions instead of making vaguely accusatory statements I'd be happy to answer them honestly."
<HollyhockGod> "Why would I ever want you to answer me honestly?" he replied, stepping into the darkness. "The whole idea's just the biggest sham the Excrucians ever got away with."
<LadyAzure> "Honesty is an Excrucian Lie?"
<Astara> "What happened to 'Facts never lie, Star child'?"
<HollyhockGod> "Nevermind him," Susan says, absently. "His Imperator is…well, you know. Not all there." This judgment, coming from the woman wearing a blouse over a dress over a tracksuit
<LadyAzure> "Ohh..thats too bad."
<Aisling> "And what would you desire for it in exchange? If it's free, then say so, if not, name a price."
<HollyhockGod> "I'd like for you to become one of my agents. I must say, dear, we pay a fair sight better than your Imperatrix."
<HollyhockGod> On that offer.
<HollyhockGod> I think we'll close, leaving Aisling to consider the opportunity.
<LadyAzure> "So Lady Astara, I haven't had much a chance to talk to you outside of work. What do you like to do?"
<LadyAzure> (Okay)

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