Sunday, February 24, 2013

Isle Imperium 1.40 -- The Black Number?

As AUDEN, CINELIS, TERENTIUS, and the Ninth arrive in support, the First learn that VEDA has come not to abduct them, but to return mounts of the Diamond Red that she has managed to rescue and bring with her, in the form of her tears. The three ruling warders attempt to speak to Veda, but she departs quickly, leaving the swiftly-growing ‘tears’ in the Diamond Grey’s hands. Through KHIMERE’S obsidian glove, CATALINA is able to break the tears open, revealing the unsharded but living forms of BARTOLOMUS, CLEMENS, JERENUS, TORRENCE, URSULA, INEA, and NICOMEDES.

The night passes while these individuals are tended to and observed by the first tier. In conversation with their colleagues from other numbers, the First learn that:
  • PIEZO attained the eighth rank of squire in the Silver Legion (and that ROGELIO reviles him).
  • Inea was recruited directly into the Circle of Ten from the 17th number, due to the fact that shards vied to mount her. Further, she was in the 17th with OLIVERUS, whose simultaneous elevation she made a condition for her agreement. Ollie declined the offer and the two are known not to have been speaking since.

Nearly everyone stays awake into the wee hours of the morning before MANTIUS realizes that most of the remaining people are forcing themselves to wait until VARIAN turns in for the night.

Ian hastily retires to their dormitory, and speaks to DIONES about making the latter the pride shard of the Diamond, thereby learning that:
  • Diones and Canar “hid knowledge within” the Prodigious Scholar’s (Iya’s) scholarship.
  • The Diamond needs to build a certain minimum of impressive structures in order to attract legendary shards, which will be particularly needed since the Blight Speakers are only the outriders of the legion’s opponents.
  • Canar must be part of a number, otherwise he is liable to lose his mind.
The next morning, ARCTURUS goes off to pray with SER ORLANDO, who tests and confirms his theory that Arc is one of the Elect, extremely rare mounts that are capable of bearing any shard. Arc is thereafter bombarded by offers from various shards, led off by the Ascendant Champion. Desperate to avoid yet another battle of wills with a shard, Arc removes the Ascendant Champion, leaving him shardless until sunset. He shares the information revealed with his number, and they agree to keep the matter among themselves for now.

Updated by Ian and Mantius, ALECTO attempts to convey the warning regarding Canar to Cinelis, but their conversation is once again preempted by a disturbance outside the dome. The First go to investigate, and soon find themselves escorting ISAACUS (mounted by the Deviant Scholar), BENJAMINUS (mounted by the Eminent Soldier), and the very elderly and irascible LADY SOLACE (mounted by Master Mirage of the late Steel Grey Legion) into the dome so as to meet with the ruling warders.

This is scheduled to occur after the general call at noontime, during which it is announced that:
  • The returned mounts, although still in custody for the time being, will most likely be reintegrated into the Diamond, but no numbers will be displaced as a result.
  • The dome currently surrounding Peerdin will soon be lowered, with a network of less costly defenses, arranged in cooperation with the Peerless Warder, put in place instead.
  • Payment of reward will now be issued every seven days, instead of the previous monthly schedule. (Yes, everybody loves Kenjiro.)
Following the general call, Terry and Auden escort the trio of new arrivals into the shadow corridors. Most of the First go to the Undercity for various reasons (including Ian’s examination of the plans laid out by ERASMUS, mounted by the Pinpoint Architect) and Aly goes to leave word with Cinelis before trysting with KENJIRO and then rejoining the troupe.

The visit to the Undercity is interrupted by a scream from Cinelis, over warder communications. Everyone rushes back to the shadow corridors, where, as Cat learns through ideation, a disagreement between Nicomedes, Inea and PATRICUS--since only one of the former two can be placed in the first tier—has led to the pair acquiring and assembling available mounts and shards as follows:
  • Nicomedes: Renegade Warder
  • Inea: Grey Speaker
  • Bartolomus: Torrent Academician
  • Jerenus: Daughter of Sorrow
  • Torrence: Fellmind
  • Ursula: Flesh Scourge Harrier
  • Clemens: Fell Paladin of Ash
thereby possibly forming the Black Number of Vindar’s vision. Cat further sees that, notwithstanding Ursula’s protests, the newly-formed number then proceeded to attack the shadow corridor and its inhabitants, leaving fire and chaos in their wake.

The First respond to the crisis in their respective fashions.
  • Cat plunges into the inferno of the shadow corridors, controls the flames left by the Grey Speaker, and, having helped free Kenjiro from the Torrent Academician’s imprisonment, works with him to locate and rescue the injured within.
  • Ian takes Mantius to ensure the safety of the Diamond Writ (successfully defended by JUDEA), assigns the Eighth to assist the incoming Fifth (injured due to encountering the Renegade et al on their way in), and gets the shardless personnel evacuated.
  • Mantius works with the Bleak Soul Alchemist Master Orinus to undo the ability-crippling circumvention left by the Renegade Warder, and pinpoints still-living individuals in need of aid.
  • Aly organizes the numbers onsite, heading up the healing and resurrection efforts. (She is helped by Ben to revive LADY ADRIA, killed trying to rescue Leontes the Younger, who was kidnapped by the Renegade’s number.)
  • Arc calms the distraught and confused, directing them to where they can be of use and managing the disposition of injured personnel.

Fortunately, Erasmus arrives from the undercity to prevent the complete destruction of the shadow corridors, and matters are eventually brought under control. There are only thirteen casualties—all shardless serving staff—but Patricus and Cinelis are both in prolonged shock and obviously traumatized from the events that occurred.

Days of recuperation follow, during which Kenjiro leads the legion, as the only ruling warder in adequate health (despite having been blinded throughout the crisis). (Oh, and Cat and Terry finally do it.) On the fifth day, the First are summoned for a caucus with the first tier, in order to decide the new roster of ruling warders. (Auden nominates Terry for oversight and Ser Orlando for strategy, but is outvoted in both cases).

The new lineup is announced on the sixth day, immediately after which ARSELUS ARTILIAN once more blindsides Ian with the announcement that the new pride shard is to be revealed then and there. Nevertheless, Ian acquits himself respectably—in front of attending dignitaries TEL TIN TOR of the Ivory Legion, SER ILDANE of the Silver, and M. RASELDAN of the Ruby—and all appears stable, if far from ideal, again.

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