Zomaris:Khanate Rising/Chapter 24
Chapter #24: End of the Beginning
<mainstreet> ---BEGIN SESSION---
<mainstreet> You find yourselves still on the road, with a bunch of corpses, and one knocked-out warpriest of Apep, lying at your feet. The box seems to be fine. The cart still bears the scar of Mercy’s axe, but is otherwise okay.
- Fir hands out little vials with plusses on them for anyone who got hurt in the last battle.
- Nil quickly chugs down two of the vials
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy eyes one. "What's it taste like?"
- Nil shrugs indifferently. "Like some plants or whatever."
<Fir> "Peppermint and rhutabaga."
<Capn_Mercy> "..." Mercy makes a face, but takes a swig. Then she makes an even worse face. "Ulp..."
<Capn_Mercy> She swallows hard. ".....thank you, sir. May I have another?"
<Capn_Mercy> There's a twinge to her voice, like someone who just dropped a bowling ball on their big tow and is trying to pretend nothing is wrong.
<Fir> "Molly," Fir says to her invisible friend, "hand the big one another vial, willya?"
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy gulps this one down as if she's a child choking down cough syrup. ".........thank...you..."
<Capn_Mercy> After recovering for a few moments... "Alright, so. They wanted the box, which means their...leader? Mistress? ...wanted it. That's not good."
- Fir gently pokes one of the pack animals to see if it will resume moving.
<mainstreet> "Uh, do you want to start us up again, Fir?" Kenny asks.
- Fir hops onto the cart. "We should start up, yes." She looks at Kenny closely and comments, "You're still here."
<mainstreet> "Yes. What's your point?"
<Fir> "You drive."
<Capn_Mercy> "Hya, mule."
<Fir> "I was telling you to drive, since you're still here."
<mainstreet> "While none of you are even in the cart?"
- Nil gets in the cart. "One of the attackers is still alive."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy goes to climb in, only to stub her toe against someone who groans in pain. "Oh, hey, one of them isn't dead. Should we do something...?" Her tone of voice suggetst that 'something' could be either 'interrogate' or 'kill'.
<Fir> "*I'm* in the cart," Fir tells Kenny. "The others can catch up. They have giant legs, like yours."
<Fir> "See, now they're in."
<mainstreet> Kenny looks at Fir weird. He pulls on the reins and the horses start to go.
<Nil> "Bring the not-dead one with us. I can extract information later."
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy tosses whatsisface into the back of the wagon before it takes off.
<mainstreet> You proceed down the road through the forest. It's another good hour of driving, but you eventually start to approach the river, and Quillspire City.
<mainstreet> Quillspire City is a huge, thriving metropolis. The city appears to run endlessly into the distance as you approach. You know this is an illusion, technically, it’s bounded by the confluence of two rivers, but you are still impressed by the sheer size of it. It looks like you can find anything and everything here in Quillspire City… if you are willing to spend the time looking for it.
<mainstreet> There is a single large stone bridge from your general area leading into the city. The bridge is guarded by two elves dressed in full battle armor. As you prepare to cross the bridge, one of them informs you, "The toll on this bridge is 1 silver. No exceptions."
<Capn_Mercy> "Well, pay them, Kenny."
<mainstreet> Fir: You notice that there's a stack of maps nailed to one of the posts. Given how complicated the city is, you may want to acquire one.
<mainstreet> Kenny sighs and pays the toll. "I'll be expensing this to the Khan," he mutters.
- Fir digs around in her bag until she finds a gold coin. She hands the coin to Molly. The coin floats in midair over to the guard. "Can we get one of those maps, too?"
- mainstreet erases Kenny's line
<mainstreet> The elf nods. He hands Fir a map. "The fee is one silver, so your change is... eight silver," he pulls a pile of coins out and hands them to Molly, taking the gold.
<mainstreet> You proceed up the bridge and across the river into Quillspire City.
<mainstreet> The streets of the city are packed with a strong hustle and bustle. You see individuals of so many different species running around. It’s definitely not a city to walk casually in unless you want to get run over. Your cart is allowing you to maintain a decent pace, but you’re not going much faster than the runners.
- Fir hands the map to Nil. "Here. I dunno where we're going anyway."
- Nil studies the map for a bit
<mainstreet> Nil: You now have a very good understanding of where everything is and the ability to get there.
- Nil starts bossing Kenny around in regards to directions
<mainstreet> Kenny follows Nil's directions, resisting the urge to slap him when the directions get condescending.
<mainstreet> You soon get to the museum. The museum is a bright yellow building, three stories high, standing in the middle of what is otherwise a largely residential area – you can see various apartment complexes around you. You proceed around back to the entrance marked DELIVERIES.
- Fir looks around for someone to deliver the box to.
<mainstreet> You make your way around to the back, and there is an old man who appears to be standing guard here.
<Fir> "Hey, you!" Fir calls out. "Want a box?"
<mainstreet> He is able to see into your cart, and lights up when he does. “Ah yes, the box from Kayla, very good, citizens," he comments brightly. "I'll be back in a minute!"
<mainstreet> A minute later, he comes out, followed by a pair of well-dressed orcs. The orcs carefully pick up the box and start to move it inside.
- Fir peers intently at them to make sure they aren't theives disguised as not-thieves.
<mainstreet> "You may inform the Duchess Camsell that her generous donation is much appreciated," the porter informs your group.
<mainstreet> Fir: They appear to be museum staff simply doing their job.
- Fir sits back down in the cart. "Ok, that's good. What's next?"
<mainstreet> "I believe the intent was to meet the Queen. You have the letter to get in now," Kenny reminds the group.
<Capn_Mercy> "Oh, right."
<Fir> "To the Queen!" Fir says, pointing one finger dramatically upward.
- Nil eyes the box one last time with that psycho look before it's out of sight
<mainstreet> You now make your way towards the Royal Palace of Quillband.
<mainstreet> The Royal Palace of Quillband is a gleaming blend of crystal and stone that’s actually difficult to look at. At first you had thought, on your approach, that people were being careful to look away from the palace either out of fear or reverence, now you see they just have the practicality of not wanting to get blinded by the reflection of sunlight off the various crystal facets. The guards are all wearing tinted glasses, probably to avoid this very thing. The overall shape is vaguely pyramid like, but not completely so. It has a broad base and gently sloping sides before reaching a central tower with a hemisphere top.
<mainstreet> You approach the main gate. A guard approaches your cart. "State your business, citizen."
<Fir> "To the Queen!" Fir says, pointing up dramatically again.
<Nil> "We have a letter."
<mainstreet> The guard holds his hand out for said letter.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy forks over the letter.
<mainstreet> The guard reads it and nods. "You and your companions may enter. The cart will need to stay here. There is a parking lot across the street," he points to said lot where there are already a handful of carts.
<mainstreet> Kenny nods. "Yeah I'll head over there once we unload."
- Fir hops down and starts heading into the way-too-bright palace.
<mainstreet> You proceed through the gate then past the outer yard and into the palace proper.
<mainstreet> The interior of the palace, at least, appears to be much more practical and functional. You have no problem at all walking straight through the simple halls to the Audience Chamber. The Chamber itself looks somewhat similar to the Chamber in Castle Camsell: you realize you’re directly under the central tower, and sure enough, the throne – wide enough to sit three individuals, and very opulent and luxurious – doesn’t appear reachable by foot. There are a pair of large couches (at ground level) facing the throne, one of which has a desk in front of it. There are several entrances to this room, though the one you came through was the largest.
<Capn_Mercy> "More airborne highborn."
<mainstreet> “Her Majesty will be with you shortly,” a young elfmaid servant informs you as you stand there. “Please feel free to sit while waiting for her.” She doesn’t wait around to see what you do, quickly departing down one of the side hallways.
- Fir looks around for houseplants.
<mainstreet> Fir: No houseplants are visible in this room, sorry.
- Nil hesitantly sits on one of the couches
<Fir> "Aw, fooey." Fir sits on a couch and begins holding a one-sided conversation with Molly about the imbalance of plant to animal ratios.
<Capn_Mercy> Mercy appears to be dozing off on her feet. "Zzzz..."
<mainstreet> You find yourselves waiting a good few minutes. Eventually, you hear a guard's announcement: "Presenting Her Divine Majesty, the Queen and Matriarch of House Quillband, Duchess and Countess of Quillspire, High Priestess of Isis, Jennifer Victoria Quillband the First, and accompanying consorts.”
<mainstreet> This time, you are well prepared and look up.
<mainstreet> Despite the fact that she is making a similar entrance to Duchess Kayla, they look to be very much different people. She’s a deep forest green, wearing a breastplate proudly adorned with a large golden symbol of Isis, as well as her actual crown, a nine-pointed crown, each point with a different jewel. Beyond that, you spot a couple of rings on her but no other noticeable jewelry. With a bow at her side and what are clearly combat boots, you can tell she is a lady used to battle. Two zoma men, one green and one blue, are holding her hands as she floats down towards you. They are dressed similarly to her, although their breastplates are unadorned and you only can spot a couple of rings on them as well. The three of them settle on her throne with a surprising alacrity.
<mainstreet> The Queens voice has a firm but strangely lyrical quality to it. “The Duchess Camsell has recommended you receive an audience with me, and I am thus here to receive your questions, requests, or other such… elocutions. I am aware you are not from Quillband, and my time is generally spent helping my own citizens, but I respect the effort you put into see me. I am quite busy, though, so please be succinct and efficient, travelers.”
<Fir> "You should let me handle this," Fir whispers to the others. "I'm always way more succinct than you all."
<Nil> "Do you know what succinct means?" Nil whispers back
<Fir> "Of course, it's those plants that hold water."
<Capn_Mercy> "Nil, you up for this?"
<Nil> "...are you aware of the situation in what is now the Meterrian Khanate?" Nil asks the Queen at a conversational volume
- Fir pouts plant-style, which involves closing up open flowers so that they cannot release their normal fragrance.
<mainstreet> "I am aware there have been massive upheavals in the northeast of Almara, yes," the Queen replies cautiously.
<Nil> "Xalrin and Mylgate have a new ruler, one Nergui Khan. Exiled Metros royalty, from what I understand. She is seeking good relations with nations who might stand opposed to the Meterrian Empire."
<mainstreet> "Xalrin was ruled by a couple of petty tyrants who cared about nothing but themselves. Is this any different?"
<Nil> "How many petty tyrants build orphanages?"
<Nil> "She also explicitly seeks to make non-humans more accepted. Her council includes multiple non-humans already."
<mainstreet> Jennifer nods slowly. "And what does the Khanate desire from me, ultimately?"
<Nil> "The Khanate desires its independence guaranteed against the Empire. Conflict between them is inevitable. You would not be alone in aiding the Khanate, either."
<Nil> "She also seeks an alliance against the drow. I wasn't there to witness it, but it seems she has had an unfriendly encounter with one 'True Queen'."
<mainstreet> Jennifer lets out a low hiss, as do her companions. "So they are trying to return to civilization, are they? Well we'll see about that. Yes, you will have your alliance. And we will utterly destroy this... abominable evil," Jennifer proclaims loudly.
<Fir> "Kill the abominable snowman," Fir mutters to herself. "Wait, what did he do to us?"
<mainstreet> ---END GAME---