Geometric Archipelago:Dragons on Semicircle Island/Chapter 17
Chapter #17: The Gang's All Here
<mainstreet> ---BEGIN SESSION/BUYSELL---
<mainstreet> The pawnshop seems to have most commonly available items. The lady watches you all look around.
- Vivi_ pulls a mithral breastplate out of her backpack and sets it in front of the pawnshop lady. "How much for this?"
<Vivi_> "It needs a paint job, I'll grant, but it's very...special...armor."
<mainstreet> She looks at it, mutters something under her breath, and hmms to herself for a minute. "I'll pay 2500 gold for it."
<mainstreet> The lady sighs. "This is a professional establishment. I have rules from Kelda. I don't haggle."
- Vivi_ deflates a bit. "Fine. $2500. How much for this?" She pulls a crossbow out. "It's also...magically effective."
<mainstreet> The lady goes through the same routine. "650 gold"
<Vivi_> "What kind of *pawn* shop doesn't haggle?" Vivi mutters under her breath. She pulls out another mithral breastplate and two more crossbows. "So...6,950 gold for all of this, then?"
<mainstreet> "Yes. Also," she sniffs. "I'd haggle if you were *pawning*, but you're *selling*. That's not the same thing."
- Vivi_ considers this for a moment, then nods. "Fair enough. Now I'll need to look at your scrollbook supplies."
<mainstreet> "What, specifically, are you looking for?"
<Vivi_> "The special ink that lets me copy someone else's spell into my spellbook."
<Ascii> Ascii waggles his fingers. "Maaaaagic ink."
<Vivi_> "Magicae atramento, if you will," Vivi corrects.
<Ascii> "You wizards and your spellbooks."
<Hildyr> "Spellbooks? Magic ink? All I need to do my work is an axe. Well, or a rapier, I suppose."
<Ascii> "And armor. And a shield would be handy."
<mainstreet> "Yeah, I got plenty of magic writing ink. 100 gold per page, as is the standard pretty much everywhere. I'm not out to gouge my customers."
- Vivi_ selects 24 vials of the magic ink, in every color, but especially in blue and purple shades.
<mainstreet> "2400 gold," the lady comments.
- Vivi_ hands back some of the gold she just received.
<mainstreet> The lady takes it back.
- Vivi_ splits the remaining gold equally among the four humans in the group, giving 1,138 to the three others.
<Ascii> "One thousand, one hundred and thirty eight? Heh. Heh heh."
<mainstreet> The lady looks strangely at Ascii.
- Vivi_ also looks strangely at Ascii.
- FluffyRaven yawns as he stretches out, as if only now waking up.
<mainstreet> The lady turns her attention back to Vivi. "Anything else, ma'am?"
- Vivi_ shrugs. "I think that's all the pecuniary transactions I needed for the moment."
<mainstreet> She looks at you expectantly, clearly thinking you're going to leave.
<Vivi_> "In the non-pecuniary vein," Vivi says, then stops. "Well, maybe pecuniary, if you need it to be." She taps the red ink that she just bought. "Would you happen to know where the best place to go is, to find a young lady named Kaitlin?"
<mainstreet> The lady shrugs. "There are a lot of people around these parts. I wouldn't know anyone in particular."
<mainstreet> Lauren mentally sighs. ("Of course she's not going to outright tell you. If she even knows.")
<Vivi_> ("Your sister might be going by another name.")
<Vivi_> ("The only way I can think to narrow this down, in case she IS willing to talk, is to show her your face, for comparison.")
<mainstreet> ("You've not given her a whole lot of incentive to tell you about important people anyway. And she's not likely to be simply bribed either.")
<Hildyr> ("Hmmm...there are general meetups in this area every night. Anyone important has a good chance of being there, but I don't know where tonight's is.")
<mainstreet> ("Worth a shot,") Lauren comments. ("Assuming you can convince them to talk.")
- FluffyRaven leaps up on the table and sitd up as dignified as possible. "Pardon me, but my wizard is not the most social of creatures. Would you happen to know of any of the locale meeting places where we may find a run away fellow college friend of ours?"
<mainstreet> The lady frowns at what was said... then blinks. "A talking cat... that's awesome!"
- Vivi_ breathes a sigh of relief and lets the cat talk for her.
<mainstreet> "It's not a talking robot, but it's still pretty awesome!"
- FluffyRaven oh so dignifyingly licks his forepaw to wash over his muzzle. "Well indeed, could you help point us in the right direction?" When the heck did this stray learn to do this.
<mainstreet> She takes a breath. "In any case, yes... I think Danielle will be *very* interested to meet a talking cat, at a minimum. Leadership will be at The Dusty Ribbon tonight. I don't really need to say any warnings against causing trouble, do I?"
<Ascii> "It's not that awesome. We seem to find a lot of them."
- FluffyRaven gives a bow and begins to softly purr in affirmation. "It goes without saying fair one! Thank you for helping us meet up with an old friend."
<mainstreet> She nods. "Anything else I can do?"
- FluffyRaven smuggly faces the rest of the party he barely knows. .o0(anything?)
<Vivi_> "No, but thank you for your time, help, gold, and ink," Vivi says gratefully.
<mainstreet> As you head out of the store, you realize you have several hours before nightfall, when The Dusty Ribbon will be open with the meeting.
<Ascii> "...fuck. Now what?"
<Vivi_> "Go there early and try to drink without getting drunk? Scope the place out?" Vivi says doubtfully.
<Vivi_> "Try to contact a different sibling in the meantime?"
<Ascii> "We'll stand out like a sore thumb hanging out at the meeting place all day. Perhaps we should see if we can track down one of the other siblings in the meantime. Lauren?"
<Vivi_> "Where would Heather be this time of day? YGP Inn?"
<mainstreet> ("Yeah, Heather would be in the YGP Inn. But that's right in the heart of the city. I don't want to be human over there right now. You could also go find Allen, just go to the Party office and find the Dragonagent for Voranath here in Rainbow City. It's Rachel.")
<FluffyRaven> .o0(Does anyone else need supplies?)
<Ascii> "Nah, I'm good. What's say we hit up the office?"
<mainstreet> You make your way to the Yellow Party offices in Rainbow City. It looks very similar to the offices in Moosehead, except there are five offices, not three. Lauren waits until you close the door behind her, then instantly shifts human. She looks at the intern gnome, "I need to see Rachel. It's urgent."
<mainstreet> The gnome shrugs, "Go right ahead. She's in," he gestures at one of the doors. Lauren nods and opens it. Rachel is a slender woman dressed in a mix of yellow and green. "Can I... oh, hi Lauren. What do you need?"
<mainstreet> "I need a meeting with my brother," Lauren replies.
<mainstreet> Rachel sighs. "Yeah, that's not happening today. The Lady is... not exactly in a mood to talk. I think she and Allan are going to be... focused on each other. But, I should be able to get him out here tomorrow. At least, my next scheduled conversation is tomorrow. What's this about?"
<mainstreet> Lauren sighs. "There's some impostor posing as *me*. And Dad believes her and now thinks *I'm* the impostor. With all my siblings he might stop..."
<mainstreet> Rachel frowns. "That would include Kaitlin, yes?"
<mainstreet> Lauren nods. "And?"
<mainstreet> Rachel walks over to a cabinet, opens it, and pulls out a file. She hands it to Lauren. "This."
<mainstreet> Lauren reads it. Her eyes widen. She wordlessly hands it to Vivi.
- Vivi_ raises an eyebrow and reads the file.
<mainstreet> Vivi: It appears to be a proposed order by the President that involves a massive local crackdown on gang operations. This is a major policy change, and a curious one, because the Island forces are simply not capable of taking out the Kelda and Lodrano gangs without massive casualties all around. It also specifically mentions not taking leadership as prisoners, and would engage attacks at meeting sites -- starting the very night it's approved.
<mainstreet> "In case you're wondering," Rachel adds, "I expect that to be approved sometime this afternoon."
- Vivi_ 's jaw drops a little. She hands the file around to the others to read. "This...this..." Vivi shuts her mouth and tries to think.
<mainstreet> Lauren growls. "Father knows better than this. This *has* to be the impostor's work."
<Ascii> "This...is going to be an interesting meeting tonight."
<Vivi_> "If it's a shapeshifter angling for the Presidency...but still, to devastate your own future troops..."
<mainstreet> "We don't know what her motivations actually are," Lauren points out.
<Vivi_> "Yeah." Vivi frowns.
<Ascii> "Vivi, for all we know this imposter wants to *destroy* the government, not assume control of it."
<Ascii> "Still, how the hell would she have convinced your dad to do this? He's not *that* stupid, is he?"
<Vivi_> "But what would they get out of that? Take over with their own crime syndicate?"
- FluffyRaven rubs his muzzle with a sigh. "Things are never easy enough to take casually are they.."
<Ascii> "It's not always about gain, Vivi. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
<Vivi_> "Could she have forged it?"
<Vivi_> "Some, yes, but there's more that have motivations that help you understand their plots."
<mainstreet> Lauren frowns. "It's possible, but it's just as possible that she fooled him on the implications. Or what this actually is. Or something. This is ultimately the slight problem with democracy. The rest of you," she looks at the party. "might understand this. We're all very competent individuals. My Father is a great politician, but his personal defense skills are nothing special."
<Ascii> "Personal defense skills? Are you saying she beat him up?"
<Vivi_> "Or charmed him with a spell?"
<mainstreet> "I'm saying that things like his willpower aren't necessarily the greatest. I *could* beat him up if I wanted to, but I'm not sure what she's capable of, not knowing who she is. In any case, I need to contact Captain Kerth. Yes, Rachel, schedule that meeting for tomorrow if you can. I'll be here. For tonight... I'm going to proceed to go get Kerth. I may or may not be back in time tonight... but GATO needs to be aware of this.
<mainstreet> Fluffy, you'll represent the organization while I'm gone. We'll deal with Heather when we get time. She has to be of limited priority now, though you may not need me to talk to her."
<mainstreet> Lauren transforms into an Eagle and makes her way for the open window.
<Ascii> "What are we supposed to do about the meeting?"
<mainstreet> ("I'm sure you geniuses can figure something out.")
<mainstreet> Rachel shrugs. "You can keep that copy. If you really care about the gangs, you can show them that. If you can convince them it's genuine, they'll be prepared and the guards will raid empty clubs tonight."
<Ascii> "We may need to. Otherwise Kaitlin could end up getting killed in the crossfire."
- Vivi_ nods
<mainstreet> ("I doubt that. Kaitlin's more likely to kill than to be killed. She's good. Don't underestimate her.") Lauren flies off.
- FluffyRaven earperks, being given charge? That is mew to him. "We could also use the information as a means of gaining face and preventing death by crossfire ve relocating early."
- Vivi_ takes charge of the copy, thanks Rachel, and leaves, heading back toward Keldar territory.
<Ascii> "You know, with this, we have a legitimate reason to ask for a meeting with the gang leadership."
<Vivi_> "Now we just have to find them." Vivi starts looking for anyone on the streets who is dressed in red.
<Ascii> "I say we go back to the pawn shop and tell her we need a meeting *now*. The welfare of their continued existence is at stake."
<Vivi_> "Ok. There then."
<Ascii> Ascii raises his finger into the air. "To the pawn shop!"
<mainstreet> After a brisk walk, you make it back to the pawnshop. "Back again?" the lady asks.
<Ascii> Ascii slaps the bill on the countertop. "We have a problem. And by 'we' I mean 'you'."
<mainstreet> She looks at you and frowns. She takes a look at the paper. She barks a laugh. "I'm supposed to believe this? The President's not a moron. They'd be crushed."
<Vivi_> "We believe the President has been charmed, tricked, bullied, or forged into this...but it really will happen."
<Ascii> "They're coming tonight. They plan to catch you during the meeting."
<FluffyRaven> "You know, what do you have to lose from taking an extra precation?"
<mainstreet> She sighs. She looks at the paper again. "This is urgent enough I can take this directly to Kelda. However, you are coming with me and explaining to Them how you came by this, and swearing to its legitimacy. If it's not... the disruption will almost certainly *not* be appreciated. At that point, it will be out of my hands, what They choose to do with you. Do you understand?"
- Vivi_ nods.
<mainstreet> The lady goes to the door and flips the sign so it now says "CLOSED". "Follow me," she commands, leading the way out of the shop.
- Vivi_ follows. "By the way, what's your name?"
<mainstreet> "I'm Melissa." She leads you through a few different alleys and eventually into a small single room shack.
<Ascii> "This is your headquarters?"
<mainstreet> She shakes her head and leads you inside. You see a cabinet and not much else. She pulls out a key and unlocks the cabinet, unspooling a rope. "For obvious reasons, non-members are not allowed to know where exactly They live. This is an isolated room we use as a checkpoint. From here, we shall teleport."
<mainstreet> "So grab on."
<Ascii> "Again with the ropes? Sheesh."
<Vivi_> "Sensible," Vivi says approvingly as she takes hold.
<Ascii> Ascii rolls his eyes and does the same.
<mainstreet> You all grab on. "Mansion," she comments, and you are all teleported.
<mainstreet> You find yourselves in a windowless room with a single exit, a closed wooden door. A guard is stationed on either side of the exit, and there are two more guards at opposite corners of the room. Everything here is painted red.
<mainstreet> "Commander Melissa," one of the guards acknowledges, cautiously. "Why have you brought these... individuals here?" she queries.
- Vivi_ nods approvingly, again, at the security.
<mainstreet> "They bear an urgent message," Melissa replies. "I need to take them to see Kelda. Immediately."
<Ascii> Ascii waves. "Hi."
<mainstreet> The guard scrutinizes your group, and slowly nods. "You may proceed to the living room. I will alert Kelly of your arrival."
<mainstreet> "Thank you, Elite," Melissa replies, bowing. She opens the door and gestures for you to follow. You proceed through the house. Still everything is painted consistently red. There are quite a few active guards throughout the place. You get a brief glimpse of the kitchen before finding yourselves in a large room. A central table is surrounded by multiple couches. Two of the couches are quite tall and ornate, and the other three are much more ordinary. Melissa sits down on one of the latter couches and gestures for you to take the others. There is a guard in each corner of this room.
- Vivi_ sits.
<Ascii> Ascii refuses! ...to stand any longer and takes a seat next to Vivi.
<mainstreet> "This might be a few minutes," Melissa notes. "Kelda tend to be a bit hedonistic, and if they were playing... well, it'll take time for Kelly, at least, to fully dress and get out here. She always appears with full armor in public -- though it never looks like it. Not that this is public, but since you're all here, it might as well be."
<Ascii> Ascii tries not to let the mental image distract him.
- Ascii is only partially successful.
<mainstreet> "That's as may be," a voice can be heard, "But while my sister requires time, I do not." A figure strides through the doorway behind you. She's a full six-foot-three, a mottled mix of flesh and red scale. Her eyes gleam an eerie yellow-green, as her flame-red hair floats easily downward, with not-quite-points on the tops of her ears barely visible. She appears to be dressed in a sleek black bodysuit, showing off herself in a tasteful manner. She cuts a quite impressive and potentially intimidating figure at first sight.
<Ascii> Ascii blinks. ("Dayum.")
<mainstreet> "I'm Danielle, and my word is the true form of law here. As is my sister's," she declares, settling down on one of the fancy couches. "My sister, and our pets, will be along shortly. In the meantime, please summarize why you're here." You can tell this is not a request, and this is not a woman that is in the habit of making things as mild as requests.
<Vivi_> "Those Stop Dragons Now lobbyists are *really* not getting their way," Vivi says, grinning and stroking Aeth.
- Vivi_ hands the papers to Danielle.
<Vivi_> "We just became aware of this. We got it from Rachel, Voranath's contact here in the city."
<Ascii> "They're coming tonight to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And they're all out of ass. ...wait, I got that wrong. Well, you know what I mean."
<Vivi_> "We believe that an imposter has convinced the President that she is Lauren and is influencing him somehow. We figure she's behind this."
<Vivi_> "We don't yet know what she wants, other than, most likely, to take out Kaitlin, one of the people who could finger her as an imposter."
<mainstreet> "Someone that looks like Lauren... convincing an attack on us... I wonder..." Danielle drifts off in thought.
<mainstreet> Danielle shakes her head, frustrated. "I should know this. Argh! Maybe Kelly can help."
<mainstreet> "Or, yes, Kaitlin, as you say."
<mainstreet> "Ah, there she is now," Danielle points towards the passage she came out of.
<mainstreet> Another figure, similar enough to the first to clearly be a sister, strides before you. But while the previous one had a balance of physicality, there is nothing of the sort here. You can see that this woman is all about sheer strength. Her outfit looks like a simple red dress, but she's practically bulging with musculature out of it in practically every place. Hildyr gets instant envy as she realizes her strength isn't even close to this woman's. She sits down on the remaining couch without a word.
<mainstreet> She's followed by three women and two men, all of whom seem to be wearing very little, just enough to make the minimum bounds of propriety. All of them look quite naturally attractive model-type figures -- hard to miss. They settle on the couches surrounding the half-Dragons. A couple of them start stroking their Mistresses.
<mainstreet> "As you may or may not have figured out, I'm Kelly. As I'm sure my sister already informed you, what I say goes here. Now... I heard your conversation from the hall. It is most curious."
<Ascii> Ascii blinks. Joining this gang is starting to look more and more like a good idea.
<mainstreet> Ascii, Vivi: The blonde woman there looks a lot like Lauren, actually. She has several tattoos on her body, and you can tell is likely at least a couple of years older. But that certainly looks like someone you're looking for.
<Ascii> "What's curious?"
<mainstreet> You see her whisper something into Danielle's ear. Danielle's arm heads for her head, and she carefully puts it back down, having resisted a facepalm. "Of course! Cecilia! It has to be!"
<mainstreet> Kelly whistles. "Yeah, that would make sense. Cecilia is a master of disguise, and she looks a lot like you do, Kaitlin. She probably could pass for one of you without too much effort. Well, Danielle and I have our way of knowing *you*, but you know what I mean."
- Vivi_ looks inquiringly at them.
<mainstreet> Kaitlin nods eagerly. "Of course Mistress. If it's Cecilia that's doing this, then... Mistress can I see the paper directly?" Danielle hands Kaitlin the paper. "It doesn't say whether Lodrano's getting attacked as well, or just us. If it's just us, then Lodrano is making its play. If it's both, then she's turned traitor."
<mainstreet> Danielle sighs. "I can't blame Cecilia either way, really. Leo is not known for treating his pets nicely."
<Ascii> "Okay, I'm lost. Who the hell is Cecilia?"
<mainstreet> Danielle turns to Vivi. "It's like this. Cecilia is a very skilled master of disguise, and likely a spellcaster as well. She's the personal pet of Lodrano's guildmaster Leo. Much like Kaitlin and the rest of our pets... are ours." Danielle gestures at those on her couch and Kelly's couch. "But, unlike us, he doesn't exactly respect his pets. Cecilia might well have snapped and betrayed him, using this to get rid of all of us. Or, this might be an operation on Leo's orders, to get the Island forces to get rid of us, and largely destroying themselves in the process, making his gang the only functioning power in the city."
<Vivi_> "See," Vivi says, looking at Ascii. "Motives."
<Vivi_> "Do you want our help getting ready for this fight tonight, or do you got that covered, now that you know?"
<Ascii> "It's not just tonight. Now that they have the order they'll be preparing for long-term conflict until this gets resolved, one way or another."
<Ascii> Ascii blinks. "Hang on, 'guildmaster'? What kind of gang are these Lodranos anyway?"
<mainstreet> "There will be no fight," Kelly replied coldly. "I'm not letting my girls assemble to get attacked like that. They will find an empty bar tonight," she looks at one of her pets. "Natalia, go cancel the meeting, have everyone disperse."
<mainstreet> Natalia nods and kneels at Kelly's feet. "Yes Mistress."
<mainstreet> She gets up and hurries out.
<mainstreet> Danielle shrugs at Ascii. "Lodrano calls itself a Thieves Guild, like they can somehow hide their crime organization through crime. I find it stupid. But it is what it is."
- Vivi_ accidentally writes "Thieve's Guild" in her notes, frowns, and corrects it.
<Ascii> "Wait, so are they actual thieves, or just saying they are?"
- Vivi_ looks at the Dragon ladies. "We have done you a service, yes? May we, in turn, erm...borrow Kaitlin? Once we have the other siblings in place, we would like to have them all there to expose this Cecilia as an imposter. It will obviously be in your interest to have her so exposed, too."
<mainstreet> "Well, yes, they're thieves. But that's not a huge portion of their operations. We steal stuff on occasion too. Or at least, perform operations that the law would consider theft," Danielle replies.
<mainstreet> "So in that respect, we're really similar."
<mainstreet> Kelly frowns at Vivi. "Kaitlin's our pet, but that's very much her choice to be such. This sort of thing... do you even want to do this, Kaitlin?"
<mainstreet> Kaitlin looks around nervously. "I don't think Father's going to react well to my presence, period. It continues to escape his grasp that despite his politics, three of his four children have surpassed him in actual talent. And he might well try something stupid like attack me. Which would mean I would kill him in short order. I would prefer if one of you were to come with us, Mistresses."
<Vivi_> "He would attack his own daughter? Just because you're stronger than he is?" Vivi asks.
<mainstreet> Danielle shakes her head. "I'm sorry, love, but no. If we were detected that *would* guarantee this conflict accelerates."
<mainstreet> "No, he would attack me because I'm Kelda's pet and a disgrace to his upstanding family," Kaitlin replies sourly.
<mainstreet> Danielle grabs Kaitlin firmly. "You are not a disgrace, love. Your father is a shortsighted fool that only obtained any power in the first place because he's propped up by a true dragon."
<Vivi_> "We could help you beat him up," Vivi says, in a tone that clearly implies she's not actually suggesting that, but would like to.
<mainstreet> Kaitlin laughs. "Thanks for the offer, but no. Loss of the existing power structure -- such as assassinating the President -- might cause open conflict between Voranath and Lamaranth. It would consume the Island. And while that wouldn't be terrible -- I'm confident that the end result would be Mistresses on top -- that's a lot of pointless life loss."
- Vivi_ nods. "Still, I think you may need to be there. Lauren doesn't think we can convince him of the imposter's ... imposterness, without ALL of you. You can hang back behind the others, though?"
<Ascii> "And if anyone tries anything, we'll be there to kick his ass. I always wanted to clobber a sitting president."
<Vivi_> "We do have some Wands of Hold Person, so if he attacks you, we can try non-lethal methods of restraint until he listens or until we leave."
<mainstreet> Kaitlin looks down and sighs. "I... I need some time to think about it. Can you come back tomorrow? I know you won't have everyone ready to go until then anyway."
<Ascii> "Yeah, we're waiting on some other things anyway."
<mainstreet> Kelly nods at the group. "I believe that concludes our business. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. You do not need to do anything tonight. Tomorrow you can return here, and you will be rewarded for this -- if your intelligence proves correct. And then Kaitlin will let you know if she's willing to come."
<mainstreet> Melissa stands up and bows. She pulls out the rope and hands it to the Party.
- Ascii ropeadopes.
<Vivi_> "Thank you." Vivi stands and grabs the rope.
<mainstreet> "Checkpoint," Melissa comments, and the rope returns you all to the shack you originally teleported from. Melissa grabs the rope and returns it to its shelf in the cabinet. "See me in the morning, I'll direct your transport again," Melissa instructs.
- Vivi_ nods.
<Ascii> "Well, that was fun. But now we're stuck waiting, aren't we?"
- Vivi_ shrugs. "Tonight's meeting is off. We can talk to Allan and Kaitlin tomorrow. If you want, we could go find Heather now."
<mainstreet> ---END SESSION---