Summary:Imrama continues his campaign for neighboring nations to join the Sunlands, and discovers one obstacle that has interfered.



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Imrama Belyuvhan - the City of the Fruited Plain, capital of the nation of Kero-Yu. It is a city of low, wide buildings colored in browns and greens; from a distance, it seems almost to wave in the wind, following the motions of the surrounding fields. The city is entirely of Second Age construction, and its lack of tall buildings leaves few options for places to anchor an air ship. After circling...

Imrama ...once, Imrama decides on the clock tower in the city square, and bringing the Fable to rest, disembarks.

Imrama It is noon on a market day, and the pillar of spiraling sunlit birds walking through the air overhead seems likely to attract attention.

Gawkers from the fields below point and stare at Imrama as he disembarks, and it is not long at all before he has begun to attract the more official sort of attention -- a group of green and yellow-clad police show up at the bottom of the tower and, shielding their eyes, stare up at him.

Imrama waves and calls down to the welcoming committee, "Good day, Officers Felav, Marip, Gishil and Peman. I have come to meet with the Marquis. Perhaps you could point the way?"

There is a long pause while the officers go back and forth between themselves figuring out what to do about this situation, and then finally, Gishil looks up and shouts, warily: "Um.... over... this way?"

Imrama follows in the direction given. As he walks overhead, he opens a large box he is carrying to release a cloud of tiny, key-wound flying toys to float down to the crowd below.

The children beneath seem quite enthused by Imrama's gift, though some of the adults (presumably attached to said children) look up at him with an air of grumpy disapproval.

After a moment, Imrama arrives at the Marquis' office, a rather more elegant ("more" being the operative word here) building, a whopping single story taller than those surrounding it, with two clearly ceremonial guards in uniforms of darker green paired with blue, silver, and black standing by the double-door entranceway.

Imrama walks down a set of imaginary steps in order to meet the height of the entranceway, and bows deeply to its two guards. "I come in the spirit of peace and friendship, to speak with the Marquis d'Kero-Yu, on behalf of the Empress of the Sunlands."

The two guards look at each other for a moment, but don't take long to make a decision. "Um. Please enter, sir." They push the doors open gently, giving Imrama easy access to the dual stairways within and a clear sight of the door bearing the opalescent sign that marks the Marquis' office.

Imrama inclines his head again to the guards in gratitude, and strides directly to the door of the Marquis' office. He knocks sharply three times, and waits.

After a long minute, a man in a (relatively) fancy robe who looks like he's pushing up towards 60, and who has an extremely long moustache, opens the door. "Yes?"

Imrama "The esteemed Marquis d'Kero-Yu. It is an honor, sir!" Imrama throws his arms wide and embraces the nobleman in a traditional Harborheadian greeting. "I hope that you can spare a moment to speak with me." The dazzling light show of Imrama's iconic anima continues to dance about him as he smiles.

"Aaaah... yes, yes, I suppose I can do that," he says, trailing off a little at the end of his sentence. "Do, please, come in."

Imrama "Thank you, thank you. Very kind of you." Imrama enters the room and sits in the most comfortable looking chair. Once the door is closed, his affect becomes less boisterous, though still warm and polite. "I have come in person, dear sir, because I have yet to receive a reply from you by mail."

"Oh, um, yes, yes," he says, reseating himself behind the desk. The whole room has the dark, olfactorily-strong quality of an old veteran's well-lived-in space -- frequently opened snuffbox on the desk, well-oiled mahogany and leather furniture, old faded paintings of what must be war buddies (probably from a Realm satrapy division) hung on the walls...

"I, uh, well..." He seems to be having trouble formulating himself. "We're, um, we'ree just not really sure about this, I hope you understand."

Imrama produces his pipe and begins to smoke it. "Well I am aware, now that you have informed me, that you're privy counselors, I assume? That you are not 'really sure' about the offer of union with the Sunlands. It is quite fortuitous that I have come to meet with you, therefore, as I am well-positioned to address any questions or uncertainties you might have on the subject." Imrama...

Imrama ...puffs out a dark purple smoke ring.

"Well, well," he says. "We have a..." He pauses, looking a little nervous, and stops his train of thought. "Hrmph." He reaches subconsciously for the snuff box, which proves a little difficult given his current seating position and causes him to have to lean over to reach it successfully.

"We have a problem," he finally says, after availing himself of the box's contents.

Imrama nods and gestures with his pipe for the Marquis to elucidate.

"We've always been a small, rural country," he says. "This is not a place of, ahem, great excitement," he adds, his eyes looking to the colonialist trophies he's placed on various shelves around the room. "But, uh, ahem."

"We've needed some extra cash, you see, to, ahem. Keep matters up and functioning, I'm sure you understand."

Imrama "The demands of state can be quite great. But I assume from your tone that they have led you to incur some lasting debt?"

"Well," he says. "Not, uh.... not, ahem, what is the best way to say... not just that."

Imrama looks at the man before him with sympathy. "Marquis, you sound like a good man stepped in waters now over his head. Perhaps you should tell me of your situation, starting at the beginning."

The man sighs, and his moustache droops to match. "Well, ahem, it's, hrmmmph, it's like this."

"We've had a few, ahem, infrastructure projects, you know, bring things up to snuff. Had the backing of some old army buddies, made some purchases in through the Guild." He shakes his head. "Fell through. Not our fault, of course, but we were left with the bill."

"So, hrmm, we were, uh, in rather a good bit of debt, of course, I mean nothing that we could not have found a way to pay out eventually, but there was a war on and all, made the whole business a bit trickier and all... So we were a bit concerned, until, ahhh, a, ahh, benefactor came by."

Imrama "Mmmm. And who was this generous and timely soul?"

The Marquis looks back and forth nervously. "Well, uh, well, uh, hrrrrm. He, uh, he represented the, uh, the interests of, hrrrm, uh, Lookshy." His eyes get a bit wider and he folds in on himself as if saying something secretive. "New Lookshy, uh, I'm sure you understand."

Imrama "I see." Imrama extinguishes his pipe and puts it away without looking at the Marquis. When he looks towards him again, all levity is gone from his face. "You have done something very foolish, Anton. My friends and I may yet be able to save you and your nation from this folly, but you will need to tell me exactly what sort of agreements you have made with the enemies of life."

Imrama "We have now encircled the Mask's dominions, expanding into Lookshy's immediate neighbors. We are positioned to protect you, should the Mask attempt to collect on whatever devil's bargain you have struck - he cannot cross our borders, and all of your neighbors, from Tesr to Arosh have now joined our fold. You and your people can be kept free and safe, snatched from the jaws of the underworld. That

Imrama is, if you are agreeable to this."

The Marquis looks rather defeated in general, but there is also the glimmer of the slightest bit of relief crossing his face as well. "I, ah, hrrm. I think I will have to be," he says, and shakes his head.

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Page last modified on February 08, 2009, at 03:07 AM