A World Without End (Inactive)

Game Master pinvendor

Free-form RP in Alternate Earth.

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Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith makes a dismissive waive,

"I'm tough.." She croaks, indicating they should head on to where Rashida believes they should be going.

"Would like me staff back..." She adds conversationally...though her faint, raspy voice shows Gunther's hands have had their way with her throat.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida regards the odd brass device with some amusement. "I was just starting to become fond of this thing. What is it made of - lead? It weighs a ton." Using two hands, she holds the thing out towards Ysillith.

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith wraps her arms around Rashida and hugs both the staff and the woman. (Ysillith is actually far stronger than she looks. Those horns don't hold themselves up, y'know. (^_~) )

She lets Rashida go, steadying her a little,

"C'mon. Let's get t'ye freinds. Could use a lye down." She whispers hoarsely.

Dance-oholic Minx

Through a crack in the door, it crawls...

In the poor steamy visibility no-one can see it as it enters, then it stretches iridescent wings breaking from it's carapace. Then it alights, a rainbow of colours and golden carapace it continues it's rapid but erratic course across the steam room.

Suddenly it wings towards Vorian, no Cassie!

With a solid thump it lands upon the curves of the soft white towel, she gasps looking down at it as mechanical claws come out. It hooks onto the loops of the towel and tries to crawl up the peaks of her bosom to delivery it's message.

Cassie grabs the hem of the towel as the Servo-bot drags it down under it's weight. "So you must have been programmed by Taraz." she says lightly as she recovers the note from it.

"The Phantom, but that was destroyed! Vorian, I have instructions from Rashida, when we are done." She picks up the servo-bot and uses it as a scarab clasp to secure her towel.

Ysillith follows along behind Rashida. As the smaller woman works her way through the narrower side streets, th4e better to try and obfuscate their path, she cant help but notice Ysillith trailing her. Though, whether this is because of the greater freedom of movement her trouser-ed legs have or Ysillith's post-fight state she is unsure...

As she furtively glances back, she wonders if the taller woman was resting her weight upon the strange brass staff quite so much before...

Male Human

Drake pretends not to be listening but his eyes and ears are as sharp as any other's in the room. He notices the pink stain and the movement that Cassie makes, clasping the towel secure and raises one brow at her as she does so. That had not been there before and neither had that pink stain.

He touches the pink spot upon Cassie's towel and leans towards her to speak quietly, "Tis just a flesh wound, m'lady?" He teases knowing that it is not severe.

The doctor sits up more stolidly and looks towards the authority they have been speaking with and rubs his chin with a hand. It looks like he is considering questions but has decided that he is not well enough informed to know exactly what to ask so waits for the others to do their speaking first.

Whispering is a good excuse to lean into Cassie so Ralph does it again.

"Well shur I can do it myself, but dat ain't no fun. Ya need a boat huh? Hate ta be a stickler sweethart, but I don' tink dat was part o' da deal. Listen yer a solid dame 'n all, I'd like ta help ya out, but stealin a boat's a lil more attention dan I like ta put on myself. Dem guard're just waitin ta git me fer sometin dey cin really come down on me wit. Hate ta leave ya hangin dough... maybe we can work sometin out." He seemed to consider it, then turned a little more towards her a hand moving to her thigh over the towel supporting some of his weight, unless someone stops him. "You an' dese joes ain't from 'round here are ya Minx? If'n I go stealin a boat 's gonna be trouble fer me here, but I ain't exactly attached ta dis place. Tell ya wot, ya get me outta dis crummy town an' I'll help ya get a boat, well dat an if ya give me anodder peek." He adds cheekily "Not right now dough, five's a bit of a crowd. Well I better get started on dat bath." he gives her thigh a little squeeze before moving away from her.

Ralph stops his whispers for a moment seeming to consider something, then leans in further to Cassie to continue, his hand moving to her leg to assist in supporting him. Assuming he's not stopped from touching her he leaves a smeared hand print on her fluffy white towel.

"Yous guys gots me lost wit all dis talk 'o clones, an' secret facilities." Just as he stands the Servo-bot comes in and lands on Cassie's towel seeming to try to pull it down. He raises an eyebrow at it 'She's even got robots after her? Sure is an interestin dame.' Shaking his head, he starts on his way out of the steam room "Well my Minx when yer finished yer business wit Chuck, Jack an' Ringo here ya know where ta find me. Don' be too long dough, I might get impatient." As he moves past Vorian his hand goes to clap the man on the shoulder "Take 'er easy Ringo" After making sure the coast is clear he slips out of the steam room.

Gentleman Adventurer

"He never did tell me what his name was..." Vorian muses aloud after the young man takes his leave. How many more people will I be expected to trust? Considering that there were so few people he trusted before the mansion incident, the thought that he now had so many to rely on was unsettling. He then looks to Cassie and the serv-bot. "I believe we are done here. We had best not keep her waiting."

"Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Hartley," he says to the gentleman, lifting himself off his seat, "I believe your information will be of great benefit to our cause. It would perhaps be best if you laid low for a little while. It would be unfortunate if harm befell you on our accord. Our enemies have proven to be most... unscrupulous."

He then looks to Drake, cocking his head to the side. "I would offer you the same advice, but I have a feeling that you are awfully attached to Madam DuSollier here."

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida glances over her shoulder at the flagging satyxis and frowns with concern, then flags down a horsedrawn cab. "Take us to.. uh, the airfield," she directs the driver, then pulls Ysillith inside. "Sit, relax, and we'll get you to your quarters. What was the name of the ship again?" she whispers to her protector.

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie gives a half grimacing smile at Drakes query; "Think I may have popped a stitch, probably all the squeezing with the Squirrel." she looks down with a quirked eye-brow at his hand. And subsequently watches him go.

"That's why I call him Squirrel, he's a cunning one. But I am quite sated by the number of handsome men about." she smiles softly.

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith does not groan very loudly (It's the leather of her new coat, honest.) as she settles into the peddle-cab, tucking the staff into one corned. At Rashida leaning closer and whispering

"Sit, relax, and we'll get you to your quarters. What was the name of the ship again?" she whispers to her protector. Ysillith lets her head loll back, even as she looks sideways at Rashida from slowly closing eyes,

"I met ye not more'n whut..? Half a day ago an' ye're askin' me whut th' name of a vessel I only seen few a few minutes is named?" Ysillith croaks.

(Unless I've completely mixed up who Rashida is talking too...?)

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"The new one. It just slipped my mind in all the excitement. I thought maybe you'd remember. Look, just relax. We'll find it." Rashida watches the airfield approach, looking around the streets nervously, as if for more assailants. Once the cab stops, she pries Ysillith out of the seat and lets her lean on her shoulder. "Can you walk? Lean on me. We'll find it."

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith waves rashida away,

"I in't been shot. I int' been stabbed. I just got a little roughed up by a mechanika-man.....Which, I must admit I in't never had done t'me afore...." Ysillith's voice trails off as she thinks back about the encounter.

Using the staff Ysillith levers herself out of the cab, straightens and looks out across the tarmac.

"Here? Where d'they haul the tings t'get 'em out of the weather?" She rasps, bemused that such large vehicles can seemingly disappear.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"In hangars, of course," Rashida points at some huge structures, "They repair and refit them inside those buildings, where there are no internal supports to get in the way and no weather to interfere with the work. It's why we can't see the Ament anymore."

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith grins, "See? not thinkin' about the thing yer tryin' t'think about always works!" Ysillith smiles and offers an arm to Rashida,

"So....which one of them over sized barns would be the one ye seek?" She asks conversationally as she moves to escort Rashida to their destination. (^_^)

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"Is Duchess Meowselsworth's ship damaged? I thought it was fine," Rashida replies with some bafflement.

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith shakes her head.

"I in't seen enough of yer gizmo's t'make a cal on that luv." Ysillith, though standing straight and tall seems to be using the staff and Rashida for some support.

"More'n like, they've tucked it away out of sight. Since ye are such looky at folks, hey?" She reminds Rashida. (^_~)

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida looks quizzically at Ysillith for a moment, then gives a little shrug. "There are easier ways than randomly choosing," she smiles, "Stay here a moment - lean on your big stick there - and I'll be right back."

She hustles over to a nearby office building where an official looking sign reading "Passkontrolle" dangles from a spear-like piece of wrought-ironmongery. An officer at the pedestrian window speaks with her for a moment. She hands him a tiny folder, and the soldier straightens, plume on his shako bobbing as he does. He counsults a large book and speaks briefly to Rashida, who graces him with a nod and a smile before hurrying back to Ysillith.

"It's the Phantom, mast C-8, just this way..." She walks slowly beside Ysillith, taking the pace from the taller woman, until they reach the Phantom, where she hesitates a moment, then calls out.

"Ahoy, the Phantom! Permission to board?"

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith watches Rashida's actions with a slight air of bemusement. She does also do as Rashida bids and does lean slightly upon her staff as she waits. While Ysillith remains upright and 'prim' Rashida can tell the taller woman is walking stiffer at the moment before. No longer is she showing her normal, previous, feline like grace.

As the pair await the crew to acknowledge their presence, Ysillith's eyes take in the shape, form and possible functions of the craft before here. The Satyxis' eyes also wander farther afield, sweeping out occasionally to watch the other activities about the airdrome.

"Do they have tubs on this boat? Hot water? I am feeling in need of a very long, very hot soak." Ysillith croaks conversationally as they wait.

Female Helmet Cat

"Permission to board, granted!" speaks Mittens von Meowselsworth through the speaker, using her announcer voice, and giving access to the ship to Rashida and Ysillith.

She hops down from the com and looks towards her mother. "You do a good job of being inscrutable. I'm so proud of my mom, what a proper helmetcat. I promise that I won't bring anything up in front of your friends. I've done my part to protect them, by giving you a second chance at life. They're your responsibility now. I have my own crew to look after now... You'd never think that I would grow a soft spot for hardened criminals. I feel like a bruised peach."

"I'm still not sure what to make of that, my dear kitten, but even if you are stark raving mad, I will do what I can for you," comments the Duchess in return.

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

As the gangway lowers from the aft curve of the ships' gondola, Ysillith nods and limps aboard. Here yes always shifting and darting about as she observes the details of the interiors.

"About that bathing?" Ysillith asks, though an eyebrow arches.

"Where be all the crew?" She ponders, then leans closer to Rshida,

"Who's ship were I t'be Captain of, again?" She asks Rashida.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida shrugs. "Don't look at me for answers about the Phantom. This isn't my ship! We'll have to speak with the Duchess about quarters and suchlike. As for what ship we're using going forward, we've no idea yet and won't until the rest of the group assembles. Who knows, one of them might have their own ship or two around. You never know with nobles. They are full of surprises."

She nods at Mittens and Meowselsworth. "Have you heard anything back from the others? I'm afraid we were attacked and Ysillith injured. If there's a place she could rest and soak...?"

"I think the attack - by a Von Ryuko replica and some new models of mechanical men - was set up in advance. There are probably similar teams biding their time in other ports - or were, until Ament was reported here."

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith nods and waves in greeting to the Mechanika-cats.

Female Helmet Cat

The Duchess bows her head slightly towards Ysillith in return. "I have not heard anything from the others, no... And yes, there are places that she could rest and soak. Mittens can lead the way. If you need medical tools, we have those as well..."

"As for the crew," says Mittens, "Well... We don't have much. I can control a lot of functions with my brain, though, but that's not super efficient. Not that my brain isn't super efficient. I'm pretty much 90% brilliance, 9% fur, 1% je ne sais quoi. But it's a lot of strain."

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie stands; "Time it slips through our fingers so quickly. Lost like motes in the breeze, try to capture it and it escapes your grasp." She moves over to Vorian and knowing his knees aren't the best Cassie profers a hand helping him rise to his feet.

'Hopefully it has done him some good. The whole point to arrange it here was that it might relieve his ailment, well that and Von Ryuko's machines might not funstion in the steam. Although Mimi was remarkably water resistant.' she thinks.

She turns to Drake, with a cheeky smile upon her face. "Please, I would be honoured if you would come with us. I did promise you a dance!" Hartley harumphs at the boldness of the woman.

Then quickly checking the changing room and finding it clear; Cassie leaves and opens the lockers. Finding a suit in the third she begins to put it on, the cut is trim and sharp. With a waistcoat bearing fine embroidery, tails and a top hat. She dries off and gets changed into it rather then her dress. The tight pale britches mean that her pistol stays in her bag; rather than it's customary position strapped to her thigh. 'Ahhh, so this must be the difficulty of bring a man.'

Moving back to the others, she bids Hartley a farewell with a courtious trifecta of pecks to the cheek in Gallic fashion. "I'll just go and get the Squirrel." Then she moves into the bath area.

Cassie dressed in manly clothes walks into the bathing area; "Squirrel, I am afraid we are leaving soon. I have your payment and am ameniable to your conditions for future employment."

Cassie may hardly even recognize Ralph, now that he is clean, he really looks like a different person. He looks over towards Cassie and furrows his brow moving over to the edge of the bath closest to her. Even if he does look different his speech probably gives him away. "Whut's dis? A Minx in wolf's clothin? Dems are an interestin choice ta wear in da bath."

He considers when she tells him they're leaving, and laughs at her way of telling him she agrees to his conditions for helping. "Y'ain't gotta use dat hoity-toity talk wit me Minx, ya can just tell me how it is. Ya agree ta my terms fer helpin ya right?"

He eyes her suit "I don' s'pose ya gots one o' dem fer me too. I'm gonna stick out lika a giraffe inna cage fulla monkeys walkin around wit you hoity-toities in da mess I came wit." He smirked towards her "'r maybe ya prefer me like dis?" He motions to his unclothed body though his lowers still under water.

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie gasps slightly, reaching for a fan that isn't there. An affectation that she is clearly used to, as her eyes flick across his body despite her attempting subtlety. Taking in the sheen and the graceful manly curves to his body, down his delightful torso, until her heavy-lidded gaze is disrupted by the water.

She pulls her eyes away as her face flushes; "Yes, I mean.... we'll find you some clothes. The lockers are easily openable, we are sure to find something in your size." She quickly turns her back in case he exits the water. 'Don't get involved. Remember what happens...'

Cassie starts to move back to the changing room to find some clothes for the clean young man.

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith again nods in reply to the Mechanika-cats words, though the sable haired woman does seem distracted. With an absent wave she walks off...slowly moving towards the read to the ship...instincts taking her towards where, on a naval ship to which she's grown up with, the masters cabin would be. As she walks she checks cabin doors, opening those she can and glancing in.

Eventually, she comes to one who's furnishings catch her eye and she steps in to explore its environs.

Just a small post to move things a little. I shall allow the Meowselsworth's to elucidate upon their decor. *Bows*

Female Helmet Cat

The Phantom is a great opera ship, crafted from old and strong wood and decorated on the outside with blues and purples. It is a massive ship, able to not only house a great performance within its finely decorated auditorium that sits in the centre of the ship, but also house the entire orchestra and all of the actors and actresses who were present in the halls to the opposite side of the auditorium. Towards the back of the ship, there is a dining hall. In many places hang not only classic French and Italian paintings, but some more modern pieces of industrial art, showing that this opera ship, during its golden age, was accepting of both classic and more modern artistry, not only in its décor, but in its repertoire of performances. One of the pieces is a portrait, of an old woman with the Duchess von Meowselsworth in her lap, eyes half lidded. Many of the windows are stained glass, likely engineered not to break in the sometimes hostile sky, as none of them seem damaged in the least. If this ship was truly damaged, then whoever restored it did a magnificent job.

Some of the rooms still have elements of personal flair complementing the classic style of the sturdy old wood ship, which might be a bit sad and hollow, as this is the only remaining ghost of the former crew. Some are decorated with classic weaponry, the room of the lead male actors, who just had a love for such thing. Perhaps it is a bit excessive, and to an art lover may seem cluttered next to the sights that are about. Some are just empty, people who have come and gone but never had the time to make it their own. Many are something in between, enough photos of loved ones to be a reminder of what has been lost, perhaps other personal items such as a music box here, or a chess set there, without painting such a detailed picture of the person who had lived there. The rooms are seemingly without end down the hall, though, and each is either just slightly or radically different. The beds, however, are all pretty well the same. Red covers over a comfortable mattress, usually for one or for two, depending on the person in question. The more space spent on the bed, however, the less space there is for other personal effects, such as dressers and chairs and end tables.

The halls are almost eerie in their emptiness, and with all the portraits that are about, it can be hard to shake the feeling that one is being watched. But the ship is called the Phantom, and perhaps there is a reason for that.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"While Ament is being repaired, the crew could be reassigned to this ship," Rashida suggests to Mittens and Kittington, "Do you know where the others went? I could go seek them."

Satyxis, Captain Adventurer(In Disguise)

Ysillith wanders the halls...the brass staff tucked tight under one arm and it seems the woman favors this as, out of sight of her companions, she limps far more noticeably.

Coming to the lower stern rooms, she selects the one with the largest bay windows, though it is not the view she seeks, but seeming more the 'familiar' of what a captain would be used to in the placing of their cabin.

She finds the largest desk available and slowly, methodically, begins to remiove her gear. The new bought coat is cast off onto a chair. then her smaller est. The item clinks slightly as some of its pocketed contents bump against each other. At the small of her back, upon a wide belt cleverly fashioned to meld oer that of her corset, is the device which she'd been flicking on and off with deft motions of her hand.

Once unbuckled she gently, gingerly lifts it around and onto the desk. The device is scorched now, scratched from the brusque manner in which she'd been treating it in her duel with the minions of the Baron to which she pledged her arms to fight against.

Attached to either side of the device upon the belt are two other items. Unlike the rounded curves of the 'power egg' these are square -One actually seeming to be a small, slightly larger than a cigar box- case like device.

It is the 'cigar' box she removes from the belt...setting into a larger clear space and, with a deft flick, turns a hidden switch off. The change in the box is immediate. It's size increases sixteen fold. Becoming the size of a medium sized chest.

As Ysillith works the hidden combination catch she smiles as the lid complicatedly unfolds/unhinges. One panel being some sort of mechanikal keyboard and it is to these inset controls she now works. With muffled clicks and clanks in response to her manipulating of the keys quickly a number of different items are disgorged from within the chests space.

A pistol of considerable size. A large, curved blade sword. A box of felt held together with leather strapping. a smaller wooden case which she quickly opens and sorts through a number of vials, jars and philters. Finding the phial she's been hunting Ysillith quickly uncorks it and downs the contents in a single gulp.

(>_<) "GLAH!" She hisses and swears softly, "Fekkin' ELVES!" are the final epithets she settles on before tucking her 'medicine' bag away and then exploring the chamber for the 'amenities'. At the sight of the bath Ysillith sighs...before very quickly getting about the business of running and then fully enjoying a therapeutic hot bath. Her remaining equipment (Including her boots) is placed carefully about the large desk. her clothing is simply discarded in a trail from there back to the bath.

It is with a very satisfied sigh that she lays back, settles and simply relaxes within the stinging warmth of the bath's waters.

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie comes out of the bath area after a minute, her face flushed. "He'll be out in a moment, I'll get him some suitable clothes." The French-womans hands fiddle with another locker before she gets out some clothes, laying them on a bench.

A few minutes later Ralph exits, a towel wrapped around his waist. He nods to everyone before going over to the clothes andmoving away to change them on. They seem slightly baggy, but are of good quality. The man is hardly recognisable, scrubbing up well.

Checking herself in a mirror, Cassie bundles her hair under the hat and draws on a fancy moustache. "Shall we be off?"

Female Helmet Cat

"Yea, you should probably do the reassignment thing," says Mittens, "I'm more used to a hot air balloon that this fancy prancy airship nonsense. That will cut down on my awakening time."

The Duchess looks towards Mittens and then says, "I am uncertain where the others went..."

Gentleman Adventurer

Vorian raises a hand when Cassie proffers her own, shaking his head as he stands with little effort. Hoping that he has not offended her, he offers her a smile before she leaves the room. She does not know the truth about me like Rashida does, he contemplates plaintively, left alone in the room with Drake and Hartley, But I cannot afford to be treated like a cripple. I must not show weakness again! Nonetheless, his stay in the saunabereich had been quite pleasant. "Perhaps I'll thank her later," he remarks quietly, before taking his leave.

Quickly retreating to his dressing room, Vorian is more than relieved to find his belongings intact. Nonetheless, he acts with caution. He runs his hands through the folds of his clothing's fabric before putting it on, aware of the ideal hiding places for tracking devices. Once dressed he gives his flask a few shakes, and pulls on the head of his cane by just a sliver, exposing a sheen of sharp metal. With a sigh, he pushes it back down, restoring the deception. Nothing.

Emerging from the dressing room is his garb from before, he freezes briefly at the sight of Cassie's state of dress. "I thought you said that you were joking," he says to her teasingly as they start to move on, "Though I must say, I was wrong. Those clothes do suit you..."

Male Human

Drake removes himself from the showers but has noticed that Cassie helped Vorian up and the movement it took for him to get up. He does not mention it at the time but he keeps the information locked away in his head for later. Just in case.

He stands out in the dressing room waiting. The man says nothing as Cassie sets upon looking like a man or when this Squirrel gets cleaned up and ready to go as well.

"If you wish I can check your stitches later to make sure that they are ok." He looks her up and down and grins, "It is just as I thought. You make a handsome figure in that outfit."

The doctor nods, "Lead and your harem of men shall follow." He teases.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"I guess... I should find Ament and get the crew here..." Rashida frowns in thought, "And you wanted to go to the Opera, didn't you, Duchess? We may end up going to a performance tonight, if those slowpokes don't hurry. I hope they have not gotten into trouble." She rises to pace.

Dance-oholic Minx

She preens slightly at the compliments, although she seems to receive more of them dressed then unclothed. 'I hope that it was because they couldn't focus.'

She looks at herself not too convincing, slightly pigeon chested and effeminate; but from what she had seen of the fops it's was passable. "You are all too kind. A harem of handsome gentlemen...indeed!" she winks before leaning into Drake to air-kiss his cheek.

"You just want to look me over. Well, that would be delightful." she whispers softly, her hair smelling of fruit. "Thank you."
D'oh, just got it Doctor Drake Ramoray?

Moving towards the doors, the rotund moustached men walk naked from the baths and Cassie quickly looks away and leaves the bathing area. Walking down the plush corridors the rest of the men in tow, the quietness is eerie. Hartley stops and bids them fare-well; with a triple-kiss from Cassie.

Then soon they are at the entrance, the officious porter looks the group up and down. "Harumph." she says in the deepest bass she can before pushing her way past him. The Porter looks strangly at the female clutch bag she is carrying; however she just rushes outside.

Soon she is on the street, looking up to the pale sky she carries on moving at a rapid pace just in case. However there is no call of alarm. She hails a taxi and soon they are at the airfield.

"Phantom?!? The Ament should be in a hanger being repaired." she looks across the open space as the pylons reaching out like fingers to the sky.

Dance-oholic Minx

The Servo-bot drags Cassie forward through the air-field to their destination.

"Merde!" Cassie exclaims; "Is that the Duchess' ship!" she says having seen The Phantom!

Slowly she approaches it, turning to the new pair; "It was destroyed by artillery fire, like my own ship. I am not shocked by every air-ship I see." she explains.

"Guten-tag, Bonjour, Hello!" Cassie calls awaiting permission to come aboard the extravagant Opera-ship.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida peers over the gunwale, hair up under a new black leather cap and tall, slim frame wrapped in black leathers. "Welcome! I think to be proper only Mittens can invite you aboard. I hope your day has been productive. We didn't even make it to the Opera."

A man sits in a very upright position at the edge of a rather antique chair in a lavish waiting lounge. He has the bearing of one used to genteel society, but he himself seems to almost overcompensate with his airs in the need to be taken as one. If one looks closely, the clothes are just a tad worn, perhaps slightly out of date...maybe even the clothes tailored for *gasp*, a servant.

Across the room sits an unmoving helmetcat. An observer may not even notice it or assume it is actually of the taxidermied variety. This would be belied if one listened to the occasional low hiss or the subtle display of claws that occurred almost reflexively for the briefest of moments. Its pattern of extremely dark blue almost black fur is very unusual especially as there is an almost cream color fur in a very thin line that seems to run down the edges of the helmetcat's defining lines almost like an outline. It watches the man intently, as if waiting for the man to make one wrong move.

The man for his part is thankful for his training, thankful for his years of servitude as a butler to allow him to be accustomed to be stoic in the face of...well, nobility. Nevertheless the tension in him mounted. Every minute he endured that helmetcat's stare - accursed creatures! - the more he felt the sweat bead on his brow. The silence and time stretched. He could hear the ticking of the grand clock on the mantle above the unlit fireplace. The sweat beaded up and became too heavy. A thin line of moisture ran down his temple.

The door to the room suddenly creaks open causing the man to jump. The helmetcat almost leaps up, haunches lifted ready to pounce. Its hissing is very noticeable now. The tail lashing is almost audible. The man arrests his reactionary jerk as his heart begins to pound. A very old wrinkled woman with much too serious eyes enters. Despite her apparent extreme age, she moves without hindrance and seems to have no infirmity.

"The Archduke will see you now." She says crisply. The man notices the lack of courtesy or appellation though it's almost as if he can hear what she wanted to say by the appalling hissing filled silence following that statement. Dog.

With a struggle, he maintains his composure though his face is somewhat ashen and his hands tremble. "Very well, I am ready. Lead on Miss Haversheim."

Miss Haversheim arches an eyebrow as the man "commands" her causing him to swallow hard, but she then turns briskly on her heel without a word and takes him through many labyrinthine halls. The sheer amount of wealth he sees is staggering, and he realizes how petty his own unfulfilled ambitions really were in the service of his Duchess. Nevertheless, he was here to get what was rightfully his....what should have been his! Revenge would be had.

She leads him to what appears to be a large library. Books and scrolls and data slates are all carefully placed in some cataloged order of precision that makes the man gasp in admiration. At the far back of the immense room stands an imposing figure of a man. Dark hair long and pulled back into a braid draped over a deep emerald green coat with a trim of gold thread is all the man can see of his host. Only the slightest touch of gray seems to wing the temples of the figure. The coat has a large crest of the figure's house embroidered across the back.

"The...butler...Your Grace," Miss Haversheim announced, her voice dripping with disdain.

With lightning speed, a black streak whips past the man's face and a slight sting scores his left cheek. He cries slightly in alarm only to see the devil helmetcat perch on a cushioned stand to the figure's right. So blue it seems black streak, the man's mind corrected. The helmetcat stared at the man, its tailing swishing in a self-satisfied way. He touched his face, and the shallow scratch burned. Suddenly he realized that he was also watched by a white helmetcat with a pattern of gold fur that resembled a decorative women's jewelry chain that ran along the top of its legs, back and tail. It peered at him inquisitively, it's large golden eyes seemed to look inside him. It tilted its head, and the man found himself mesmerized by its fascination with him. His hand began rubbing the scratch despite the burning sensation. The eyes of the helmetcat almost seemed to become alight with a fire, an internal sunburst that coursed its way through him. The pain in his cheek seemed to intensify, but the man couldn't figure out why. The helmetcat's head tilted further, and the man felt himself want to turn in response. He began to feel he needed to keep the helmetcat's eyes level, and not allow it to give him such an increasingly alarming stare. Yes, yes he needed to...

"Enough Ophelia. Let him be," said a rich baritone.

Suddenly the world came crashing back. The man found himself on his knees, his right cheek pressed to the floor. His own hand was furiously scrubbing at what had been a slight scratch, but now seemed furrowed by his own nails. The white and gold helmetcat eyes seemed a normal size and color now, and it watched him impassively from its perch on the figure's left, its fur pristine and beautiful. The man's mind now free and aware of the intrusion it suffered screamed at him to flee, to run screaming from the presence of these terrible helmetcats. Trembling, he managed to to swallow it by reminding himself that this was just further proof that all helmetcats were a blight, an abomination allowed to fester throughout history. He hated them. He hated all helmetcats! They had brought him to this most desperate act. He raised his head from the floor with a snarl marring his lips.

"There we are," the warm, inviting voice said again. "Now I can feel the anger, the need to redress the wrongs done you. Now you are ready to tell me everything. Aren't you Edgar?"

The figure raised a hand. A serv-bot in the form of an imperial soldier Edgar hadn't seen deposited a crystal wine glass into the outstretched hand. The figure took a sip and turned. His visage was stern, the eyes almost black were cruel and lips twisted sardonically. Edgar couldn't put an age to the man if his life was at stake. Lineless he could have been in the prime of youth, but the maturity, intelligence, and bearing all spoke of age. The figure had an aura demanding...respect was too light. Obedience was more appropriate.

Edgar's voice failed him. His inner voice however was not silent, praying to every deity he could think of, even the Massris avatars of whatever they might be.

The figure's eyes grew more inviting, a warmer smile played on the youthful seeming lips. "Edgar, dear man, tell me everything you know about the Duchess Kittington von Meowselsworth II and her kittens, Tell me of your fight over the late Duchess' estate. Tell me everything, complete with musical numbers. Yes, I even know of that. Tell me now, or I will loose Vlad upon you." The blue-black helmetcat to his left smiled in that creepy Cheshire way with much much too many sharp pointed teeth.

A floodgate of words began to poor out of Edgar the Butler. As he spoke, Vlad began to hiss angrily and Ophelia's golden eyes glowed gold once more. But Edgar found he couldn't stop his story. And as he spoke, the eyes of the figure before him grew crueler, darker. And Edgar prayed. For very few live who have seen the anger of Archduke Roren of Austria, Baronet of Bavaria, Viceroy of Crustavia, Supreme Lord of Neuschwanstein, the Floating Fortress of Dreams.

...a middle-aged woman adjusts her goggles and drops some more crystal coal in her M-tek bike's spirit engine. She looks at her son once again.

"You're sure that wanton French hussy really said Massri?" Chasta asked. A small growl escapes her throat. "Gods, I wish I could avoid delivering this message."

The young man nodded, a blush suffusing his features as his memories of the 'hussy' betrayed him. "She said that the note was to be hand-delivered to no one other than a Rashida Massri. She gave enough gil for thirty times the delivery cost." He looked sheepish. Fool boy, she chuckled. A pair of pretty eyes and a shapely form had had him tripping all over his words.

Chasta looked around the humble messenger outpost where she and her family lived at the outskirts of the H'rel'kr Wastes between France, Spain and the Protectorate of Shusti. She had a feeling it would be a while before she returned...but 120,000 gil was enough to keep her family fed and the crystal coal bin full for more than a year. Grumbling she seated herself on the bike and whispered to the spirit. The engine roared to life.

"Be good my boy. And no sassing your father or your Papa. Help your sister with her studies. That money is going to allow you both a chance to get better learnin'. You best be ready. So study." She leaned over and kissed the young man barely old enough to be called that despite his protests. Then Chasta put up the kickstand, and began the long journey to where she was told Rashida Massri would be found.

It was a very long road...to Rome.


The "hussy" stands on a cliff overhang high above the outpost. She glances over at the dark haired man next to her. She opens her mouth to speak, but hesitates. She finds herself shy even now. Ever since he had whirled her through the air and pinned her to that bed...she found herself a little in awe of him.

Eventually as the bike's dust trail goes off into the distance, she asks, "Do you really think Rashida will go to Rome? Do you think Cassie, Vorian and the Duchess, too?"

The man simply smiles and watches Chasta and her bike fade from view. A serv-bot runs amongst the rocks chasing a golden serpent slithering around the man's feet. He glances over at the pretty visage of a woman with whom he once shared a mutual...fondness. What a wonderfully awful temptation she is. Once, he may not have withheld his interest, but now...since the Lady Rashida...

"There is something you will learn about life in Neuropa. Rome is the center of the Cultural Arts. And in Neuropa...all roads lead to Rome."

Dance-oholic Minx

Crossing her arms over her chest she says in a bass; "Hello Miss."

Before Cassie doubles up in laughter not being able to keep up the pretence of masculinity. "Sorry. Like my disguise, I went into a Gentleman's club." she explains as she climbs onto the ship as if it explains everything. "This is Drake he is kind, cute and a Doctor. Whilst this is Squirrel, he is cunning and handsome." she introduces the others; feeling quite light-headed after the lack of food and steam bath.

Gentleman Adventurer

"We don't all sound like that..." Vorian mutters as he boards the ship, having been treated to Cassie's silliness the entire way back. But surely enough, asides from an odd stare or two, she had not attracted nearly as much attention as she had when she was in more risque clothing.

As Cassie introduces their new comrades, Vorian gazes at the Phantom in amazement. He was almost certain that it had been nothing more than a slag heap back on the island. How was it that it was here now, in one piece? "Who was responsible for this?" he finds himself asking aloud as he rubs his chin in thought.

Female Helmet Cat

"Come on up aboard," invites Mittens, allowing Cassie and friends up into the ship cheerily. The tuxedo cat seems rather pleased with herself. Once Cassie is on board, she introduces herself, "Mittens von Meowselsworth, the most brilliant, beautiful and humble cat you could ever find, because as much as I boast, there is so much more I do not!"

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"Nine percent fur, 91 percent awesome," Rashida murmurs in agreement, sizing up the newcomers warily, "I guess the party has moved aboard this ship? I will pass; this ship needs a crew and I'm going to get it. Duchess, do you want to go to the Opera now or tonight and make an evening of it? It appears Lady DuSollier brought dates for us all."

Male Human

Drake was smirking along the way as Cassie acted silly and shrugged at this Squirrel when she started to get more silly. He was pleased to see the ships and the area as he had not been to this particular area in a while.

He went with the others while making no humble considerations as he gawked at the ships and everything on the field and then smiled as they got onto the ship, "Thank you, Cassie and I must say Ms. Mittens that you are quite the beauty of a cat." He puts out his hand to give her a scratch under the chin if she so accepts it, "I am sorry to be rude but I believe my newest patient requires some food and attention to some stitching. And Squirrel would probably appreciate a bite to eat as well. Is there a dining facility about?"

For once the doctor is taken aback and gulps, "The Opera. Ah ... well ... I ..."

Female Helmet Cat

"Flattery will get you everywhere, Drake!" says Mittens, "Though I am both a bit too young and a bit too cat for you. Oh well!"

The Duchess eyes Mittens for a couple of moments. That kind of talk is certainly nothing she picked up from her mother! Duchess Kittington speaks to Rashida, "Ah, yes. I would like to make an evening of it, that would be quite lovely. But perhaps not the stealthiest option..."

Dance-oholic Minx

"You are looking gorgeous, I love the new look." Cassie exclaims as she boards the ship. She goes for a trifecta of air-kisses, whilst whispering into her friends cheek; "Drake is a nephew of the Mason & Squirrel a rapscallion. But they seem relatively trustworthy." Though Cassie is often way too trusting.

She turns to Mittens and with a little bow to the hostess, "A pleasure, Mittens. I am sure you are." she says with a wink.

A delighted look crosses her face at the thought of an evening at the opera, "True, a suppose it's only fair to share my harem." she replies jokingly. "Yes, we should have a nibble and maybe some food."

(Satyxis, Captain Adventurer)

Ysillith continues to soak and slowly soap/rub/rinse/repeat as she luxuriates in the bath. (^_^)

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida watches Cassie with a mixture of bemusement and mild fascination. "Your new look is... different," she remarks dryly, "Sadly, the Duchess is probably correct, given our run-in with the 'Baron' and his men today. I think it highly improbable that he has more forces here; however, they certainly know we have arrived. It is only a matter of time before he rallies against us. It would be best if the Duchess met with her people quietly and we departed swiftly. Yes... yes, that makes sense."

Apparently decided, she squeezes through the crowd of newcomers to the head of the gangplank, nodding at the strangers in greeting. "I will go to the Ament and send the crew here. There are a few things in the cabin there I need to pick up. I shall return." With a flurry of creaks and squeaks from the new leathers, she hurries down the ramp to the pavement.

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