A World Without End (Inactive)

Game Master pinvendor

Free-form RP in Alternate Earth.

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Gentleman Adventurer

"Emotions," Vorian says grimly, stepping toward the dock slowly. "The entire purpose of the theater was to provoke emotion in the audience, so that the colorsteam could harmlessly absorb and store them. Those emotions kept the theater alive. I do not know why, but it went berserk tonight. It was able to take far more than it was supposed to..." The noble shudders, glancing back towards the facility. The implications of emotion being so easily detached and contained were disconcerting.

"It must have been manufactured here, by the Van der Graff Corporation. I can only imagine what other horrid things they must have researched."

Dance-oholic Minx

Vorians' words make her blanch; 'I can guess what, but am afeared to say. she shivers slightly not due to the inclement weather. Unconciously she leans into Drake and his charge, rough his clothing against her exposed skin.

"I do like to feel, but to be manipulated so..." she shakes her head softly. Auburn tresses flick back and forth in a honied haze, releasing the mellow scent of spring flowers.

Squirrel gently makes a sound drawing the decadent nobles attention; "He will be alright?" she queries Drake softly, tinged with a sadness and compassion that a touch excessive. "I did push him hard."

Soundlessly the boat glides through the pitch lake heading out of the cloying mists and towards the bright lights of civilisation. An enigma, for whilst the populace rested soundly such tumultuous politics and ploys lie in wait.

Female Helmet Cat

"Manipulated! That's what entertainment is, specific manipulation to make you feel emotions, nothing but lies on a stage to make you believe something that's not true for a moment. It's always towards some sort of end, maybe sending a message and maybe making a buck. This mighta been the latter, with a little bit of 'mad science' mixed in. I should know. I'm a mad scientist and an entertainer," remarks Mittens.

Male Human

Drake looks to Cassie with a closed expression as he notices her reactions towards Squirrel's condition. Inwardly he sighs that the rag-a-muffin has caught her attention so well but he also feels pleased by it as well. It was good for someone to have caught the delightful woman's heart whether it be for short or long term. He could only wish he'd rubbed off on the horned beauty but alas he felt that would not be. Too bad really.

"I would have liked to have known what made those colour streams but I believe that he will be fine. What colour hit him and what was his reaction, if you noticed any?" He considered the fact that she was likely just as caught up at the moment as he had been if the two were hit by the streams at the same time.

His eyes twitch towards Mittens and he remarks, "I should see your works, Mittens. I am sure that you are well versed in your endeavors."

The doctor goes back to checking his instruments to keep the other man comfortable and alive.

Gentleman Adventurer

Vorian nods in agreement with Mittens, idly dividing his attention between Squirrel and the roiling waves around them. "But the fear that Wowbagger provoked in them was genuine, perhaps more so than anything the performances ever accomplished. The theater could not resist preying upon it." The colorsteam that touched those two must have already been saturated with emotion... A few moments pass, before the noble turns his attention to the matter at hand.

"So then, where should we go?"

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"Out of the cold," Rashida says, glancing at the shivering Cassie, though the cold doesn't seem to bother her as she wheels the launch and heads it out away from the island. "I'm not sure what direction to go except 'away'. I hope it will warm up once we leave this mist." She holds the course steady on one compass heading until they clear the freezing cloud, standing to stay clear of the icing windshield.

"Me, I vote for taking the Phantom back."

Gentleman Adventurer

"A sound plan, but not one we can likely accomplish in our present state," Vorian replies, pointedly glancing at the others, all of them worse for wear.

Dance-oholic Minx

"We must." Cassie says weakly, knowing what she has left behind aboard the ship and how precious the cargo is to her.

"It'd be a good place for Drake to treat Squirrel." she says lethargically.

Then turning to the doctor, her big brown eyes warm and passionate; "He was bathed in the melancholic blue light, the sorrows of the past. A deep ocean of sadness washed against the shores of his psyche..." she pats the doctors leg languidly, in a sub-concious manner. "I know you can help him."

Female Helmet Cat

"What? You think I should go back to the Phantom even though I just left there? Okay. That sounds about par for the course," decides Mittens, realizing that she's never sure if she wants in or out. "It should be like. One guy. Or girl. I can't tell. Humans all look the same to me..."

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"I'm certain with Mittens' brains and my brawn, we can subdue any unsavory types on the Phantom," Rashida says, leaning on the throttle until the launch slips free of the freezing cloud, the warm humidity of the Bodensee suddenly flooding around the battered nobles. The lights of the city glisten on the shore, surprisingly distant.

Gentleman Adventurer

"To the Phantom then," Vorian says reluctantly, not having nearly as much faith vested in the young helmetcat as Rashida seems to. Nonetheless, if there was truly only one assassin, then their chances were significantly better.

Male Human

"To the Phantom then." Drake says as he continues to watch the small machine he is using to keep track of Squirrel's vital signs, "If it is melancholy that he felt then ... hmmm."

The doctor's eyes narrow as he considers possible ideas of how to help the man under his care.

Ophelia's tail lashed as she stood on a parapet looking down from the floating fortress of Neuschwanstein. Roren was busy dining some of the Assassin clan heads who were of course all there to make an attempt on either each other's or Roren's life. That's just how it is with assassins. Even as she watched, various agents were trying to sneak around the various towers, arches, and belfries. Ophelia had never understood why Roren tolerated this nonsense. He had made it well known that he did not hold grudges for assassination attempts. He rightly boasted that if anyone could ever actually assassinate a Rorenson they deserved to do it. An assassin could actually walk up and announce themselves and be let in the gate. Of course, they would probably be killed immediately. Neuschwanstein didn't take kindly to attempts on the Rorensons' lives. As long as there was some attempt at subtlety, would-be-assassins might even get a meal before they died.

The figures below her looked mouse sized. She resisted an urge to swat at the distant images as they were currently the right size for her to play. Assuming that distance was not relative. But then being a helmetcat, it was indeed relative. Small could mean far or close and long and sideways or even diagonal. She could see which vector she could slide along in order to catch that particularly mousey looking fellow near the Nightmare Garden. She felt her claws flex out and a feeling of murder came to her.

Suddenly, what would have seemed a giant Vlad appeared over the edge of one of the arches and pounced on one of the random agents. The man's screams were awful...ly satisfying to Ophelia's ears. Vlad's claws made short work of the man leaving wounds of claymore caliber rent into his soft flesh. Vlad began to tear strips away for fun, blood splattering all over his fur and on his centurion style helmet. As always, Vlad took it too far.

Ophelia cuffed him with her paw and bent the corner of size bringing Vlad back to standard acceptable helmetcat dimensions. This had the disorienting effect on any who witnessed as Vlad simultaneously was the same size but in a new location relative to the viewer's perception or shrank in size but was in the same place. Either way once everyone's sense of time, space, and distance was suddenly restabilized leaving sanity crippling questions about the nature of reality, Vlad was hopping to his feet just below where Ophelia sat.

He hissed at her angrily. A tremor of irritation sent a small surge of energy through the "veil" of her helmet.

"Do not test my patience, Vlad. We have no time for foolishness. The timestream has suddenly begun displaying the Doctor's emotions. Blast that Mittens! It's confounding how she consistently finds ways to muddy up the stream and distort the frequencies."

Vlad chuckled and began cleaning the blood off of one paw. "You only say that because it keeps you from being able to control more helmet code than you have a right to, Princess Ophelia."

Ophelia's eyes narrowed at this. The Meowselsworth brood had long been a thorn in her paw. She was certain that butler was somehow the key to the Duchess' undoing. "That may be, but we are certainly no closer to permanently solving the von Ryuko problem. Roren is certain that if he lets this situation with his son and the Massri girl play out, von Ryuko will make a mistake...I have strong doubts of this."

Vlad pauses mid lick and gives Ophelia a sly grin. "Oh? Didn't I tell you? Taraz was spotted several hundred miles away from the last sighting of the Massri. He's in Spain...with the prototype."

Ophelia mrowred. "He must be going to see...! No! She wouldn't actually help him would she?"

Vlad flicked his tail in answer and continued to clean himself. His attitude suggested he could very well believe it. Ophelia whirled in a huff and was gone, leaping back several minutes to a previous moment of her own in order to have those narcissistic conversations she had as she really only trusted herself to argue with herself. Vlad placed the lightest whisker touch on the timestream to wait until Ophelia had crossed the seconds just before the agents had begun crawling on the castle. Again, Vlad saw himself as he leaped to pounce on the fool assassin. He abruptly stopped cleaning himself as he now knew no one was watching him. He stretched and released his claws mightily. Then with what would transmute into a roar like angry turbine, Vlad traveled back into a size and time and proceeded to slaughter the fools thinking they could actually assassinate a Rorenson...

Dance-oholic Minx

The boat glides speedily across the lake, driven upon quiet motors. Cassie looks overboard into the dark callous depths. How many lives have been swallowed by it.

Gently she taps the side of the boat, "Could you start a transfusion doctor? I have every confidence in one as charming as he is competent." she tries to smile winsomely although her voice is still shaky, the laboratory has shook her up. "I could donate my essence if needs be."

From the mists they have slide, quickly approaching the docks though still a few minutes away.

Agent of the League of Aristocracy's Internal Review Committee

Richard wheeled the small waste bin out the side door and down the ramp. One of the clockwork figures was reattaching itself to the wall of the Theater's exterior. It paused and its telescopic eyes seem to zero in on Richard. It gave him a once over and then a mechanical gurgle of Identity accepted was heard, and the machine completed its transition. Suddenly, it looked like nothing more than some of the random bits of clockwork that were already spinning and whirring. One leg and arm actually seemed to fit right where two pipe joints met up. The thing was basically invisible to anyone who hadn't witnessed the clever camouflage.

Richard tried to suppress an involuntary shudder. The soiled linens in the waste bin shifted slightly.

"Not just yet..." the man muttered under his breath. The linen's movement subsided.

Richard continued nervously down the ramp and came to the walkway leading to the Theater's perimeter. The Tesla Field was emitting a small hum, not the deadly zapping and violent sparking of earlier. Richard's eyes shifted from side to side waiting for them to flare up. The linens seemed to make small sniffing and snorting noises. The ozone from the Field must have brought that on, Richard surmised. As he passed the barrier without incident, Richard let out an audible breath he hadn't realized he had been holding.

"Oh, we're through. Phew," Richard sagged visibly.

The linens exploded up in a mess, and uniforms for the Theater staff (some mysteriously burnt, wet with odd substances, or stained with vibrant colorsteam) were sent all over as a kobold shape object burst from the interior.

"Waaaaaaugh! Ze opera! Ze opera! No moor opera!" the investigator burst out. "We were almost keeled in zer!"

Clousuk leaped to grab the side of the waste bin and fished around inside while holding his small reptilian body of copper scales with one claw. Astonishingly, he pulled his slightly rumpled silk hat out of the mess. Dropping back down to the ground, Clousuk clapped the woebegone hat onto his head.

"Ze Zpirit Zief Girl got away again! But we will prevail, Reeshard! We must regroup, and find out what we can about zis Aleece."

Richard's mouth opened flabbergasted and he couldn't stop a reflexive look back at the imposing structure of the Clockwork Theater. "B-b-but...the Theater...!"

Clousuk waved away the concerns with a clawed hand. "Oui, oui, ze Theater iz a problem. Zey do not know ze difference between un dragon and un kobold. We will deal wiz zat later. Come, we have much to report to ze League regarding zis. We are zooo close! Ze Zpirit Zief Girl had assazins waiting for us!" The plucky kobold marched off into the early morning mists towards their office.

Richard sighed and started to follow with the bin. His melancholy only grew when he realized two blocks later he was doing so.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida steers toward the lights of Friederichshafen, scattered along the shore like odd, flickering insects. In the utter darkness, it is impossible to tell water from land from sky, making it feel like the boat is traveling through a great, black void - a disconcerting feeling. The chugging of the motivator slows as the driver suddenly eases off the throttle.

"Do you see that?" Those who follow the line of her dimly-seen arm outstretched towards the approaching shore, seeming to float oddly in the darkness of the lake, may notice that dark shapes eclipse the lights - many of them, moving at different speeds. "What are those, do you think?" Uncertainty tinges her voice as she tugs the throttle lever even farther back.

Rashida's eyes gleam in the dim running lights of the deck as she looks back to the injured and weary nobles. "Should we go a different..."


Garish light floods the boat for an instant, just before the concussion of a huge aerial explosion thuds through the night air. Rashida ducks involuntarily and yanks the rudder lever hard to one side, bringing the little launch into a hard-heeling turn.

Above, sparkling lights leap high into the sky and flutter down, winking out before they reach the water as a huge, distant cheer rises from the shore. As if it were a signal, dozens of lights spring up across the water between the nobles and the shore as a flotilla comes to life, each boat fantastically decorated. One beats colorful butterfly wings as its eyes glow red. Another snorts brightly-lit colored steam from gaping, toothed jaws, plumes of feathers adorning its gunwales. Gouts of flame leap from yet another, drawing screams from a few onlookers until it becomes obvious that the craft is in no danger.

"Oh. A party. Lovely," the Egyptian woman breathes, voice weak with relief.

Dance-oholic Minx

The French-woman sighs softly, the motes quickly dying upon the soft breeze of time. 'If only the sparks could float eternal,lest they be lost as ashes upon the breeze.' the melancholy thoughts drift gently across her mind.

"Party? A regatta. No party is locked to me, though it not our objective maybe there is some advantage to be found. Allies and safety from assassins." her thick tongue rolls, giving a small shrug knowing that soon they must get back to the grandiose Opera ship.

Gentleman Adventurer

"Safety from assassins? Impossible," Vorian comments with a wry grin, averting his gaze from the extravagant light show. With a groan he closes his eyes and rubs the bridge of his nose.

"Do the people in this city ever sleep?"

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"Never mind them. We can go around... bah. They've blocked off the main docks. I'll take us out to the shore near the airfield. Unless you care to attend the festivities?" Rashida urges the boat to a darker area of the lake, towards the twinkling spires of the airship docks.

Dance-oholic Minx

"As loathe as I am to pass up a party..." Cassie sighs softly; "Squirrel is injured, I am tired and it may not be safe. We cannot expect the beautiful doctor to work wonders." there's an edge to her voice, of worry and weariness.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"When I was at University here, I would look out of my window at the fireworks and envy those who had the time to attend all the festivities here. It seems they take any excuse to hold some sort of fête: Zeppelin's birthday, the King's ascension day, Van der Graff's birthday, the city's founding. But now..." her voice hardens "... I find it quite irritating."

The launch approaches the shore and slows, but there are no dock lights. "Here, Lord Ritter. Take the controls. I will return with aid."

With that, Rashida vaults the gunwale and splashes into the dark water. A moment later, a faint gleam of gold appears in the darkness on the shore. It rapidly dwindles and is gone.

Perhaps a quarter of an hour later, as the boats circle before the city's shoreline and fireworks dot the skies, a half-dozen bobbing lamps appear in the distance and grow rapidly larger. "Here. Over here. For heaven's sake, can't you see?" Rashida sounds impatient as she directs the crewmen to the launch. "Throw a rope and warp them in, then bring them to the ship. You two, take the young man on the stretcher. The rest can walk, I think."

The crewmen hurry to obey, relief and curiosity warring in their voices as they greet the wayward nobles and aid them ashore. By the time they are all back on dry land, Rashida is nowhere to be seen.

Dance-oholic Minx

"Lady Rashida, you went to University. That must have been interesting? What did you study?... Sorry read?" Cassie asks as she disembarks, having not gone to University herself.

Dance-oholic Minx

Forlornly the noble looks to the crowd where Rashida has vanished. Her face drops as she realises her only friend has run away again. Letting out a soft sigh she looks around the area.

Alyce rushes to Cassie's side as the noblewoman prepares to depart, taking her elbow solicitously to help the injured woman to the shore. "Here, Lady DuSollier, let me help you. You are hurt, as are most of the gentlemen. I seem to be... well, almost fine."

She leans and whispers into Cassie's ear.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida storms into the lobby of the Grand Hotel alone, not bothering to hide the loss of her wrap nor the mess of her hair and makeup, which are both in slight disarray.

"Ah, Lady Massri, wel-..." the desk clerk begins, smartly tapping a nearby bell, but Rashida interrupts.

"I have returned from the Opera. But not in my carriage," she says to the hapless man, now stiffly friendly as his alarm begins to grow, "I exited the theater after the performance and what did I find? Do you know?" Her voice, though quiet is intense and rather ominous.

He shakes his head cautiously, the elaborate curls of his mustache fixed and unmoving.

"NOT. My CARRIAGE!" Rashida's fury is plain in her rising voice, though the clerk had no way of knowing that she had not exited the theater by the proper doors. He begins to stammer an apology when the manager appears at his side. Relieved, he steps back.

The manager's walrus-whiskers bristle, his blue eyes shining from between the twin thickets of brow and beard. "Madam, Lady Massri, there is no excuse for this outrage," he begins smoothly but is as interrupted as the poor clerk.

"You are absolutely correct. This is an outrage. Do you know what I had to do? DO YOU? I was forced to flag down public transportation like some sort of street urchin and ride here in it! Now just look at me!" A sweep of her slightly smudged hand emphasizes the lost wrap and the specks of dirt marring the hem of her gown.

Male Human

Drake takes Cassie's arm in his and smiles gently at her, his eyes speculative and concerned, "Let's get to where we can help Squirrel better. I'm sure your lady friend will return soon."

He then looks to Alyce who has gotten her other arm, "Are you ready to keep up with these men with our friend in tow? Let's be at it then."

The doctor keeps the men with Squirrel close and almost steps on a heel as he makes them go to a state room so that he could get to a spot that he could work on the other man and have a clear access to making sure no one can come or go without his notice, "Ok my dear. Let's get to the blood transfusion before he forgets he's wanted."

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie smiles taking in all that's happened; 'Oh my, could it be that Squirrel has the healing touch....' she looks to where the man is being helped and carried. 'If he was psychic before, then it may have been my touch that unlocked it. What does that mean?'

The bustling streets are intriguing as the French-woman idly ponders what they are celebrating. The handsome doctor's arm hooked with hers, with Alyce upon the other-side she leans in.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"Penthouse," Rashida snaps at the clockwork man, who nods with a ratcheting motion and rotates his arm to close the folding gates of the elevator in the face of the breathless and flushed manager. "I need no help of yours tonight and will be off first thing in the morning," Rashida snaps to the hapless man as the elevator rises smoothly, carrying its irate passenger out of sight.

The dark woman watches the dials click up through the floor numbers until the floor before the anticipated 'P', then glances at her key. "Ah, I do not have the penthouse tonight. I am three floors down. Take me there, quickly."

The head-nodding rachet sounds again as the elevator halts only for a moment at the top floor, then descends without opening either the elevator car's gilded grate or the locked floor doors. Rashida steps out on the lower floor and makes for her rented room as an elderly couple steps onto the vacated floor. The hydraulic elevator attendant performs its function and directs the car to the lobby, uncaring about the vagaries and errors of humans.

Gentleman Adventurer

The rest of the crew members of the Phantom seem to be in a stir as everyone arrives. Those that do not greet the returning nobles stand on the deck, their apparent object of interest being a fresh corpse lying at their feet. Raising a brow at the development, Vorian walks towards it, his gait having regained some sense of normality.

Vorian looks down at the lifeless body with a frown, idly spinning the shuriken he had acquired early around his finger. He had hoped that he could make some sense out of Mittens’ story, but to no avail. The dead assassin was a simple-looking man with black clothing, not unlike the outfits of the ninja he had seen at the theater. And yet, asides from that, the man did not have single thing on his person. Far too tired to put any serious thought into the matter, the nobleman turns to a nearby crewman and gestures toward the body.

“So you just found the assassin here on the deck, with his neck broken?”

“Yes, milord. We... were not even certain that he was an assassin,” the crewman says, possessing enough stamina to look bewildered. Other crewmen around the body nod, confirming the man’s statement. “All we knew was that the captain had vanished. Some of us had gone out to search for her, but there was no trace to follow.”

Confounded helmetcat technology, Vorian thinks to himself, letting out a sigh. For all he knew, Mittens could have killed the man without even meaning to. Is that even possible? He certainly did not know. All that registered to him was that for once, one of the people trying to kill one of them was dead.

Donner Wolfkrone cared little for the fact that these meetings consumed exorbitant amounts of energy, that said energy was being siphoned from several city blocks, or even that said energy could very well cause some very expensive equipment to explode. The technology suited his impatience, and it would get things done far faster than having a physical summit. He would be damned before delaying such an important matter by a whole week just to see the others in person. It was why he now sat at a round table with six chairs.

“Now, if only they would show up,” he growls to the only other person in the room, a tall, dark-skinned man with a long, braided beard.

“Here come two of them now,” Sefu Ajani says calmly, his voice deep and robust.

Indeed, the forms of two women blink to life almost simultaneously, immediately filling up half of the empty chairs. One of the two – a larger woman – by far, fanned herself almost vigorously, her expression flustered. The raven-haired woman beside her seemed just the opposite, smiling slightly while hugging her fur coat around her.

“Oh, I am terribly sorry!” Eleanor of Montresor says exasperatedly, looking to her fellow nobles with over exaggerated shame. “I was held up at a showing of Don Giovanni; such a lovely show, it was! Wasn’t it, Alexia?”

“Quite,” she says simply, smiling for reasons the other woman would be unable to comprehend.

“Yes, yes, I am sure it was lovely,” Wolfkrone says with a scowl, less than interested in the arts, “Now, may we please officiate this meeting?”

“Montresor, present!” Eleanor starts, all too happy to take initiative. She was not quite sure what this whole deal was about, but it certainly sounded scandalous.

“Veritas, present.”

“Ajani, present.”

“Wolfkrone, present,” the Margrave finishes impatiently, before looking to the last two seats at the table expectantly.

They were still empty.

“Where in blazes is Tyranis, anyway?”

“Occupied with other business,” Ajani answers, “He will not be joining us tonight.”

“And Blackmoor?”

“Absent as usual. No reason given.”

Donner Wolfkrone wanted to smash his head against the table.

“What was the damned point of me calling an emergency meeting if no one is going to bother showing up?” the Margrave says loudly, a grating edge to his voice. The leather in his gloves creaked audibly as he balled his hands into fists.

“Now, now, Donner,” Alexia says soothingly, reaching out to the man without actually making contact. “If your call to action is strong, then the four of us is more than enough to take action. The others will follow suit when they receive the word. They are well aware of this, I am sure.”

“That does not excuse their absence!” he snaps back, far too annoyed to be swayed.

“Nor does it excuse tardiness. I apologize,” says a fifth voice scathingly, from one of the chairs that was previously empty.

On it now sat the form of a gaunt, grey-bearded man, dressed in garish robes. Each of his ten, bony fingers bore a different ring, encrusted with a variety of stones – some precious, some not. The old noble rests his elbows on the table, lacing his fingers together. Resting his tired yet ghastly eyes at the host, he speaks once more.

“Blackmoor, present. Now then, Margrave Wolfkrone, tell us what you found on Ritiro del Gigante. I am most interested in what you have to say...”

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Grand Hotel:

Rashida plumped down on the luxurious bed with a sigh of relief and began stripping off her clothing, smiling a little at the thought of donning the leather again. One benefit I didn't expect was freedom. I won't go back, ever. I'd rather die. But I can send her there.

She wadded the glorious golden dress, now sadly tattered and stained, into a tight ball, pondered a moment, then laid it flat on the floor and rolled it up, finding the resulting bundle much more compact. It stashed quickly into the leather backpack, as her braided and beaded hair did under the leather cap. She slid into the rest of the outfit and tugged the boots on.

I'll be glad when tonight is over and I can get some rest, Rashida thought, as she trotted over to the window and slid it open, then stopped short with a sudden realization. I'm... I'm not really tired. I could go on for hours, I think, maybe longer! A slow smile spread across her face as she watched the parade below and the line of boats in the lake. Another benefit. This wasn't going to be so bad, after all.

Leaning forward until her hipbones rested uncomfortably on the windowsill, she surveyed the side of the building for a path down, blessing the occasional glare of fireworks for flashes of excellent lighting. The easiest would be the fire escape, tacked onto the side of the building several windows back. Perhaps the window ledges, if she could manage the drop. She tested her grip on the top of the window frame of her room, finding a good inch of solid material to hold with her fingers. Can I possibly make this climb? It's not like I've been trained. Maybe I can get to the fire escape from here. Oh well, not going to find out by standing here.

She ducked back into the room to look around and ensure that everything was packed or discarded.

Gentleman Adventurer

Vorian makes his way to the cabin his suitcase had been taken to, leaving the corpse with the confounded crewmen. He was sure that the captain of the ship would do something about it. Hell, perhaps they will just throw it overboard. It was hardly a sound plan.

Thankfully remembering how to get to his room, Vorian reaches to open the door, only to pause. Were the others going to want to discuss what happened? he wonders with a frown. There was certainly plenty to discuss - information that needed to be traded. The day had not quite been as eventful as the one spent on Von Ryuko's island, but at least for him, it was definitely more exhausting. I'm sure they won't mind if I just get a little rest... he decides quietly, opening the door and stepping in. After all, they must be preoccupied as well...

Vorian barely has the dexterity to prop his cane beside the door as he approaches the bed, his body feeling heavier by the moment. His steps are more labored without his crutch, even more so when he attempts to pull off his jacket, an endeavor he quickly abandons. He was not too keen on sleeping in such an expensive outfit, but he could not bring himself to care. Just... too tired... I... The noble never quite makes it to the bed.

He falls to the floor like a lead weight, losing consciousness before even hitting the ground. There was no comfort - just sleep. It would have to do.

Secret Meeting:
Margrave Wolfkrone found himself speechless, driven to silence by the mere prospect of Count Blackmoor’s arrival. His revulsion of the recluse’s ghoulish appearance contributed to his hesitance in part. Nonetheless, with four pairs of eyes now looking to him expectantly, he had little choice but to gather his wits. This was his show, after all. Inhaling deeply as subtly as possible, he nods to audience.

“Very well then,” he begins businesslike, his mind and body finally relaxing. This was the very last place he could afford to show weakness. “I will start from the beginning.”

“Approximately twenty-four days ago, Baron Eichorn Von Ryuko publicly announced that he would freely distribute his oil fields to any nobles whom would attend his masquerade ball, which would be held three weeks later. It was to be held at his manor, Enigma Perfetto, on his personal island in the Atlantic, Ritiro del Gigante.”

Everyone else at the table nodded – this was old news.

“A silly prospect, really,” Alexia states, idly inspecting her nails, “Certainly only the most desperate nobles would rush into such a blatant land grab.”

“Nearly thirty desperate nobles took him up on his offer,” Wolfkrone continues, “But, only fifteen actually arrived on his island.” This last remark earns various expressions of intrigue from his audience, as well as an exaggerated gasp from the Dowager Duchess. “Two days ago, I organized an expedition to the island. En route, my men found evidence that several airships had crashed into the ocean. What little wreckage they could find suggested that sabotage was the cause. From there, I continued onto the island.”

“Pray tell, what made you decide to make this ‘expedition’ in the first place?” Blackmoor asks lazily, raising a bushy white brow, “I take it that you did not do it for the dear Baron’s oil.”

“Of course not,” the host retorts, without actually looking at the man, “I was keeping an eye on an important asset. Our perspective seventh member – he was in attendance.”

“Duke Leto Atreides?” Sefu Ajani says with a skeptical tone, his expression disbelieving. “What on Earth would he want with oil? The spice from his mines is one of the most precious commodities in the economy, far more valuable than mere fossil fuel. It has been a driving force in the world markets for nearly a decade – the very reason we were going to extend the invitation to House Atreides!”

“What aren’t you telling us, Donner dear?” Eleanor asks, looking as though the suspense would kill her on the spot.

Though his desire to flip the entire table over is strong, Margrave Wolfkrone instead opts to tell them exactly what he was going to anyway, albeit as bluntly as possible. For good measure, he makes sure to pound the table with his fist as hard as he can.

“The Duke is dead!”

Dance-oholic Minx

Looking aghast at the black clad man; 'More assassins... and I was not here to protect the ship. I cannot protect Rashida, like I promised him...' she looks to Squirrels tired body forlornly. 'Nor him...everyone around me, well....' she smiles lonely.

"You know where the medical bay is, Drake?" she says her accent thickened by emotion. Then turns to Alice, "If we could talk, I think it could be helpful... just give me a moment. Meet you in the medic."

She rushes off down through the corridors of the ship like a wounded doe, the limp obvious to crew she passes. With a thud she gets to her cabin, the door swinging open - a mausoleum knell as it bounces off the wall. Frantically she looks to the closet, then lets out a sigh of relief.

The swirl of the mist in the glass tube, seems to read her emotion and becomes agitated. A faint buzz emanates from the power source. "No, I'm sorry for leaving you... leaving you." tears of relief slide down her face, whilst her shoulders heave as she laughs remembering their last time together.

After cleaning herself up, she heads over to the sick bay to help care for Squirrel.

All the jostling and movement as he's brought onto the stretcher and carried about, slowly push some consciousness back into Ralph. The youth slowly becomes aware of the surroundings as he brought into the med bay. He doesn't recognize the people moving him along on a stretcher, but they sure were in a hurry, they didn't seem to notice he was aware of them as they talked of blood loss and bullet wounds... couldn't they be quieter and let him rest? Suddenly a realisation hit him 'Oh no, I'm in a hospital... I can't stay in a hospital they'll give me away.'

When the attendants carrying his stretcher weren't looking Ralph tried to move, he found it possible, but difficult, and sluggish, like trying to swim through a mass of gelatin. He was certainly doing better than before, either Drake or Cassie must have worked some healing magic. After the people carrying him switch him over to a bed from the stretcher, and attached what must be monitoring devices the majority of them must have left. The young street urchin listened carefully, he was pretty sure there were only a couple people left in the room, but his heart was pounding so hard it made hearing difficult, he started to think it might actually punch through his chest. He needed a chance to escape, but in his current condition that was certainly impossible, especially with someone watching him. He decided to just feign unconsciousness for now, get some strength back, and wait for his chance.

Psychic gamble:

Forced Recovery: 1d20 ⇒ 16

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie stands nearby Squirrel in the Sick bay, the man appears so young and pretty unconscious. Quietly she slides over to him, palming a few folded notes. Bending over him to check his shallow breathing, she subtly slides the notes into his trouser pocket. Elegant fingers brushing the threadbare material taut against the strong lines of his firm body.

Then turns around to face Alyce; "I think he'll be alright. We need to talk, some momentous things are occurring. I believe it's to do with the great houses - they seem to be acting against the Masons." she openly ponders hoping for the privacy of the medical area.

Male Human

He had walked within the shadows taking care of the urchin adult as he had completed the work he needed to do. Now he was staying right near him making sure nothing happened to his patient. The attendants left without making him concerned but he still kept to the shadows of the room to make sure no one untoward would show.

During this time he had been keeping tabs on Squirrel using his instrument but when Cassie came in and started to talk with Alyce a brow lifted "The Mason's and the great houses, yes? I may be interested in that." He stated while leaving the darkness behind by stepping forward.

Alyce, who had leaned in to listen to Cassie, gasped and spun to face Drake, having surmised he had left the cabin, so quiet was he in the darkness away from the gas lamp dangling over the examination table. She calmed quickly upon seeing who it was, flipping her hair back and standing hipshot in unconscious mimicry of her adjacent idol. The similarity between the two, rather than being diminished by proximity, was accentuated by direct comparison, Alyce's hair being a touch lighter than Cassie's, but both displaying the same high cheekbone, the identical slight tilt of lustrous eye and fullness of red lips.

"Oh, Drake, I didn't know you were still here. Do you... do you think the League may be acting against the best interests of the world?" she asked breathlessly over the thundering of her startled heart, which she was certain was audible to all present in the low-ceilinged room.

Dance-oholic Minx

As always Cassie had sensed the Doctors presence, so she doesn't start unlike Alyce. However, Squirrel upon the table manages to have masked his conciousness for her.

"The league always act in the best interests of the world, at least in their view. As they are the world." she gives a sly wink, the Gallic amusement and passion returning to her.

Unthinkingly she flicks back a lock of hair from her cheekbones, not realising the similar appearance of the other lady. "I don't know what's happening, however I have a ledger from the lab.... they were doing." With a slight shrug of exasperation, "It looked freaky."

"Who knows how much the League has involvement with them. Certainly Von Ryuko is." there's a strong emotion as she says the Baron's name.

"A ledger? What sort... financial? Some sort of experimental records? We should comb through it with every tool at our disposal. And maybe it's in code!" The young woman's eyes shine with excitement. "But really, I can't believe the entire League is corrupt and villainous. They're so damned secretive, though, and it's hard to figure out who is doing what. But you think... Von Ryuko? He's not in the League, is he? Do you think they're working together on that lab? What is the facility for? Why is it hidden?"

Her pretty face wrinkles in concentration as she ticks the names off on her long fingers. "Ajani, Blackmoor, Montresor, Tyranis, Veritas, Wolfkrone. Those are the League families. What's publically known is that Ajani holds most of subsaharan Africa; Blackmoor had North Africa but that's been almost taken over by the Massris, so the Blackmoors established their new steamworks in East Asia; Montresor has the opera house here as well as other 'entertainment' holdings throughout Europe; Tyranis their hooks into banking and stocks - they very quietly turned from a minor noble house to League members by means not entirely known; Veritas has Iceland and Puffin Power; Wolfkrone their arms factories and mercenaries. What does Von Ryuko have to do with this... and which family runs that sinister lab?"

Grand Hotel:

The dapper gentleman looked up from his conversation with the bartender, blue eyes taking in the divine tantrum in the lobby. Typical entitlement of the rich. No consideration for the people doing the work. He gives his waitress a bright smile, not oblivious to the effect it has on the young woman. Such a shame, but there are always unavoidable casualties in war. He watches as the Massri scion enters the elevator, chats a while longer, finishes his drink slowly, and pays, leaving a generous tip for all his servers. Then he takes up his cane and top hat, tipping it to the ladies and gentlemen alike, and drifts into the festive streets. Strolling to a nearby park, he watches the fireworks for a few minutes, then smiles and twists the head of his cane. Time to show the people some real fireworks.

The distant booms of fireworks end with a mighty concussion which everyone on Phantom can feel in the pits of their stomachs. The ship jolts sideways, rocking in the wake of the pressure wave. The deck watch gazes at the town in awe as the top floor of the Grand Hotel erupts, flaming debris flying in graceful, dreamlike arcs to land in the crowded streets below. From those streets, the sound of screaming swells, audible even at the shipyard.

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie nods as Alyce describes the various houses, "Ah I have been to some parties that they held. But I try not to involve myself in politics, too much. Not be to obvious." her words bely her general showmanship; "I learnt that from the Pimpernel." she looks away guiltily, having said something she shouldn't.

Trying to segue into something different; "The laboratrois is run by Van der Graaf corp, not as big as Tesla. They do experimental engines and machinery." there is a hint of sadness, "In the ledger is proof of their unauthorised experiments, murder and..."

The explosion rocks the ship and Cassie goes pale, "Are we being bombarded? Again?" there is a panic in her eyes that leaks into her voice; "Where's Rashida?" she asks plaintively looking around the medical bay. 'I'm meant to protect her...'

Male Human

Drake listens, as he always does, with an expression that holds his feelings and curiosity in check. He analyzes the facts about the womens' likeness and all that is being told to himself and the younger minx who stands beside the more refined minx and wonders within his mind about everything that is going on.

They look so alike. He ponders then turns his attention back to the words instead.

"That is something I need to check out as we need to avoid such mad scientific adjustments and figure out how to deal with them. So we have homework to do but it will have to come secondary for myself as this Squirrel comes first in my books. Maybe the two of you can ..." His speech is cut off by the sounds of the Grand Hotel being attacked in some form and his mouth opens wide with an "O" of surprise.

"Dammit." He snarls, his face turning to one of aggressiveness, a vicious sneer upon his lips as he steps forward to look out the door then his head turns with his body as he looks back to Cassie. Dark brown eyes are almost black with anger and hatred then they close and he growls, "Dammit again. I do not know where Rashida is but ..." The doctor looks back to his medical charge then sadly towards Alyce, his lovely charge and shakes his head, "I must stay here to take care of my patient."

The man's voice is lackluster with guilt for not being able to leave but he is also proud of his stature as a doctor so it struggles against itself, the pride, dedication to his charges and guilt for not being able to fix another problem, "The ledger should stay hidden until this all is completed."

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"Litterer. Show yourself. Litterer." "Litterer. Show your-..." "Litterer. Show yourself..."

They'd only discarded two little cigarras... why were all the patrol mechs... steam chickens she thought with amusement... going crazy? And why was she lying down?

Rashida opened her eyes a slit to see a halo of orange around a dark shadow. Confused, she lay still a moment while memories of the past evening filled in the gaps. All the aches and pains seemed to be fading rapidly, so she rose to hands and knees, then to a crouch. The Grand Hotel towered above, crowned in flames, and she realized she was atop a nearby building, leather outfit a bit tattered but mostly intact. She remembered the attempted leap to the fire escape, then a roar and gust of scorching air pushed her from the hotel.

She raised a shaking hand to touch the side of her scorched face, only to find no trace of injury there. Well, well. There are benefits to this situation after all. Her leather cap was lying a few meters away, so she retrieved it and resettled it atop her head, tucking up the braids again.

She peered over the edge of the roof to watch the patrol mechs do battle with the litter of bricks and roof tiles dotting the streets as the fire brigade hustled into the Grand. At least I'm down from there. She found a drainpipe and slipped carefully over the roof's edge away from the glare of the flames, descending into the chaos in the streets and making her way towards the main campus of the University.

The voices around him seemed familiar, one was unmistakably Minx's, the man they referred to as Drake must be Chuck, he probably insisted on being Ralph's doctor, that was nice, he wouldn't ask so many questions. The other girl was young, she must be Kit good he'd have not been happy with Drake if he'd left her.

The bed ridden young urchin listened quietly, his heart skipped a beat at the mention of the name Tyranis, and he hoped it didn't register on the EKG. Being fairly certain that it was only the three others in the room and there were no untrustworthy types Ralph carefully peeked out with one eye after they're rocked by the explosion just to make sure, no one else was there. "Ne'er a dull moment wit you Joes is dere?" He pushed himself to a sitting position finding it already easier to move, despite the lack of any real treatment so far.

With a warm smile towards Alyce "Kit darlin, glad ta see yer ok, I wuz wurried aboutcha." The peers towards Drake when the man says he has to stay "If ya wanna go so bad den go Chuck, make sure ya keep my Kit outta da danger dough, I's still gonna hold ya 'sponsible if she gits hurt. Feels like ya fixed me up purdy good, I shood be ok now, Kit, maybe yu'll stay wit me?" He looks at the ledger they're speaking of "Ya cin leave da book wit me too if ya want, 'll make sure it ain't fall inta da wrong hands; er give it ta chief, she seems purdy reli'ble."

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie gasps as Ralph awakes, his slight voice bringing her comfort. 'At least he isn't in a bad way.' she thinks with some relief.
"Do you feel any better, you still look...." the Frenchwoman says with a shrug as she tries to compliment him to raise his spirits.

"Don't you agree, Alyce." she gently puts an arm around the woman's shoulder. However her other broken hand clasps the ledger, not letting it go. "Though a woman shouldn't compliment a man too much, lest he take her for granted. Don't you agree, Doctor?" she adds to the much lusted after gentleman.

"Now, I promised Lady Rashida. I should have gone after her..." her words hold annoyance at herself, though from the twinge in her hip she knows she couldn't have run to keep up. "I'll go upon deck, see if I can see what that was..."

Alyce smiles down at Ralph and brushes his hair back from his eyes with a swift, gentle, tentative touch. "I'm fine; everyone kept me safe, Herr Squirrel. But you, Lady DuSollier, you should seek the aid of the good doctor here." Alyce sets a gentle, solicitous hand on the Frenchwoman's back. "I saw you limping. A lady like yourself must not wander around hurt. I'm sure the Lady Massri will be fine. Nobody dares trifle with a Massri."

She worries her lower lip between white teeth for a moment. "I should go home. I will go look for the lady on my way, if you like."

Dance-oholic Minx

"You are too kind..." Cassie replies trying to down-play her injury. A melancholy shadow remains across her face, despite her apparent light-hearted act, at the thought of Rashida alone in the explosive city. The French-woman is still unsure what to make of Rashida, it seems they have drifted apart despite her trying to hold onto the companionship. The enigmatic Goddess slips away like smoke, though the dark voice at the back of her mind reminds Cassie why this must be... momentarilly she silences it.

Shaking the thoughts away, her coiffured tresses bounce and she looks to Alyce; "Would you like an escort, I'm sure one of these gentlemen would be gratified if you would do them the honour of an escort." She looks between the pair of handsome gentlemen, intuitively feeling that they are honourable and upto the task.

Twisting a lock of auburn hair around an unbroken dexterous digit, lost in thought she adds; "Are you lodged alone? If so then you must stay here, at least for the night. It would be safer and we will not be moving on - not at night." there is concern for the maidens safety in her voice.

Ralph nods towards Cassie "Yeah whute'er it wuz dat Chuck did seems ta be werkin, feelin be'er an be'er, not e'en so tired no more." He wonders a bit what the French woman was going to say when she trailed off.

At Alyce's touch she gets a smmile from the raggamuffin and he chuckles softly at her words "Ain't nobuddy dat calls me Herr sweethart. Jus' Squirrel's good." The youth considers Cassie's words of people being taken for granted, and shakes his head "I ain't tink ya gots ta wurry too much 'bout me takin eider o' ya fer gran'ned, it gen'rally ain't com'liments purdy dames 're trowin at me 's more like disgus'ed sneers, 'r rocks. i ain't want da couple dat treat me good ta tink it don't matter."

The sighs softly and nods agreeing as Cassie says Alyce should maybe stay there. "I ain't real keen on da idea o' sendin ya off on yer own Kit, if ya needs ta go I oughta walk ya home." He starts to make his way to the edge of the bed "I aint' really wanna leave ya dere all on yer own eider... not after whut's all happined t'night."

Alyce grimaces prettily. "Well... you're all hurt, and Drake needs to stay here with his patients. I don't want to put any of you out. And between the festival and whatever's happening at the Grand Hotel, the streets don't look too safe. If it's not an inconvenience, I will stay. I will go find a place to spend the night, unless there is something I can do to help anyone...?" She trails off with an uncertain query.

Dance-oholic Minx

"There's plenty of rooms here, you should stay." Cassie tries to reassure Alice; "It's better than a Hotel, isn't that correct Acting-Captain?" she looks to Squirrel with a nod, acknowledging the position that Mittens gave him.

Casting an assessing glance at the pretty woman, she can see the nervousness of a young sparrow, or maybe even a kitten like the ragamuffin calls her. Alice's demeanour just makes Cassie want to reassure and comfort her, which is advantageous as it drains her own doubts.

"If it's not too much trouble," Alyce concedes shyly, "I can go find an empty cabin. But where did Lord Ritter go? Was he uninjured?"

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