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 Of Conspiracies and Revelations

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PostSubject: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:57 pm

Pieces of debris tumbled and swirled listlessly in low circles on the ground as the wind grew stronger. The streets were filled only with the low murmur of voices from within the buildings and hooded figures moving like shadows across the worn paths of the streets. Curtains were drawn, weapons were a common sight, and the sign of the Condesce now fluttered above them in the form of crimson flags. Here, unease and suspicion reigned.

Point Ardenwell shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot as she surveyed the scene, most of her face hidden from public scrutiny beneath the hood of a plain black cloak. She'd slipped her dagger into her gloves, fastening it in place with the leather catches. No use in going out unarmed, especially in a place so unpredictably dangerous. She doubted that anyone on Derse would want to kill a Commander, especially in wartime, but again, the Condesce was a wary and ruthless ruler.

Today, she'd opted for a noble-blooded type of look, which meant a dress and high heels. Of course, she'd cheated by ditching the heels in favor of her boots. The downside was that she was forced to wear a floor-length dress, and the fact that she'd had to leave her sword back in her quarters left her feeling foolish and defenseless. Even though it wasn't much of a disguise, it was more subtle than wearing a suit of armor and a sword.

The reason why she'd done all of this?

She needed information.

Ever since the Condesce had taken the throne, her entire world had been thrown into chaos. The Commanders had been separated, not allowed to hold conferences unless the Agents were present, and some of her soldiers- the lower-blooded troll and human dissenters- had been executed when they did not agree to the Condesce's orders. Added with the fact that they had been trying to prepare for a war without being able to properly contact one another, she had been reduced to nothing but a pawn for the Black Queen, and she hated it.

Though the Agents had done their best to keep her in the dark, she had heard the rumors and ran with them. Whispers of a rebellion had surfaced, and she was determined to help them. She needed to find someone who would give her the opportunity to strike back against the Condesce without endangering her brother's life.

She sighed and stepped out from the alley, her cloak swirling about her legs as she strode down the street. Noise assailed her from all sides, the wind distorting and carrying words, but she forced herself to walk at a slow and leisurely pace. The high-blooded trolls barely even spared her a glance as she passed them, but out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that an Agent had turned to look after her.

Clenching her teeth, she hurriedly strode on. She didn't know what she was looking for, and she didn't know how she'd find someone who would dare to help her, but there had to be someone.

The Agent had started to follow her. Walking faster, she pulled her hood farther down her face and started running as soon as she hit a T in the road.
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:31 pm

Gog, dealing with everyday peasants was so tiring. They rarely had anything she didn't know. For example, the mid-class troll Nirana was currently talking to. She could tell he didn't have anything important. For one thing, he'd tried to tell her that a rebellion was being arranged. She'd almost slapped her forehead in frustration - any fool who hadn't been living under a rock for the past few years could tell her that.

She supposed this troll was truly desperate. He'd met her at this intersection to ask her to find out where his friends were being kept by the Condensce. Halfheartedly, Nirana maintained a polite smile and copied down the names and descriptions he provided. This seemed to give him some sort of relief, and he promised her a lot of cash in return for her service, which she also wrote down pointedly.

A pattering of feet interrupted the transaction, and the troll tore off, muttering hurriedly about Agents and highbloods. Unruffled, Nirana stared down the street to see a blonde woman striding down the road, wearing a long dress. As she watched, the young woman pulled her hood on and broke into a run. She really seemed like she was running from someone, and down the street, Nirana could see an Agent following at a distance.

Who was this woman? Why was she being followed? Nirana knew most of the nobles on sight, but she'd never seen this one before. As the lady ran, her dress lifted above her ankles - was she wearing boots? This was most certainly interesting. As the woman drew level with her, Nirana picked up her stride, then grabbed at her wrist and pulled her down a side alley, motioning her to stay silent with a finger to her lips.
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:53 pm

The Agent was getting closer. Damnit. Point narrowed her eyes, picked up her speed, and ran for all she was worth. Trolls and carapaces stared as she flew down the T, when suddenly a strong grasp wrapped around her wrist and dragged her to the left. Smoothly changing her gait, and not waiting to see who had helped her, she slid inside an alley along with the stranger and hid, not daring to breathe until the Agent had passed by. As she watched, the mysterious figure raised a finger to his? her? lips. Point yanked away her wrist and whipped out her dagger.

Her heart was thundering in her chest, as ashamed as she was to admit it. She easily straightened- she wasn't even breathing hard- and looked at the figure in front of her. To her surprise, a troll leaned against the brick wall, already inspecting her with curious eyes. She was slim, with a strange brooch pinned to her clothing. A pair of fins peeked out from a curtain of jet-black hair.

Though she looked fairly harmless, Point still backed away, wary. "A seadweller who would help me escape from an Agent?" she asked lowly, poised for flight. "Who are you?"
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:29 pm

Nirana giggled. "I could ask the same of you," she countered. "A human noble strolling the streets of Derse alone? No, not alone, but followed? You must be someone important," she said while gesturing to the woman's dress, eyebrows raised. She wasn't even winded; Nirana was impressed. Clearly she was very fit, but this somewhat contradicted the fact that she was wearing such a long dress... maybe this was some sort of special occasion? Or a disguise?

She caught the other lady taking a glance at her rebel informant pin, so she made to brush her lapel while she wasn't being watched, in actuality plucking the pin off quickly and slipping it in her pocket. Unconsciously, she lifted her hand to her mouth as she settled her features into a more serious expression. "Escape from the Agent? Oh, no, he's not gone yet. Agents are much more difficult to shake off than that. We're going to have to find a safer place. Would you follow me?" Nirana gave her a glance. "Don't worry, we won't go far. We just need to make sure he won't be able to track us."
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:28 am

Point sighed. She knew it was a weak disguise, but she couldn't very well have tried to paste on horns onto her head and paint her skin gray to pass as a highblooded troll. That would have been ridiculous.

Nevertheless, she tugged at the ribbons on her dress and spoke. "I'll answer your question if you answer mine first." The dagger had never left her hand, and she listened to the seadweller's offer.

So she didn't know who she was; that was a good thing. Anonymity would serve her well, but it was unwise to follow a complete stranger to gog-knew-where. She could handle herself; she was certain of that, but there were always certain risks to accepting offers from people she didn't know.

And the troll was right. The Agent would most certainly be back. She risked a quick glance to see if the Agent was anywhere near, stepping into the street to scan the people. Nothing except for a pair of female seadwellers giggling over a handful of pearl necklaces. She raised a single eyebrow and ducked back into the alley.

They had to hurry. She turned back to the troll and nodded quickly; it would be her only way out if she accepted. She didn't like it, and something in the back of her head told her that she was making a juvenile mistake, but the troll was, for now, the lesser of two evils.

She had already started moving, beckoning for her to follow. Point hurriedly tugged the hood back on and slid the dagger into her sleeve. The wind whipped wildly at their clothing, but for now, they blended in with the crowd. Hopefully they wouldn't encounter with another Agent.

That brooch of hers kept bothering Point. She'd never seen anything of the like before, especially something that still bore the crest of the former Black Queen.

Something told her that it was what she was looking for. Point just hoped that it was right.
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:40 pm

She could tell the other woman didn't trust her at all. Nevertheless, she answered her comment with a smile. "I'm just a girl who does her own thing."
They walked in a tense sort of silence. Internally, Nirana flinched at almost every little disturbance she was hearing, but she managed to keep her composure set. She rounded corners and strode down alleys, all the while maintaining her watch in all directions.
As she led the hooded woman on, her mind was working. Who could she be? Mentally, Nirana ran through lists of names and faces she knew, but none matched. Well, she would find out soon enough. She crossed one final road and motioned the other lady into an old, dilapidated building. It really wasn't ideal, but they were quite far away from their original starting point, so she felt safe having a talk with the stranger here.
Seating herself on a table and staring up at the other person, Nirana stretched comfortably. "So. Why was that Agent after you? What did you do?"
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:56 am

Her vague answer frustrated Point, but she kept her composure as they wended their way through the streets. The seadweller's brisk pace was smooth, practiced, quick enough to carry them efficiently but discreetly enough as so not to attract unwelcome attention. The woman was alert, glancing every so often around them, but her mind was divided.

What the heck was she thinking? This could've been a test- a big mistake, if it was, since the Condesce already had her brother and her power at stake. Point could care less about her life, but the repercussions, should the Condesce order them to be carried out, would be inflicted on not only her but on her soldiers and her fellow Commanders. Sighing, she made one last turn and stopped as the woman pulled on the rusty chains of a rather run-down looking building. The door swung inwards without a single squeak. The hinges must have been oiled and kept in good condition. As they walked further in, Point noticed that the roof already had parts that had caved in, allowing the pearly-gray sky of Derse to send patches of light streaming in. Patches of grass and weeds had grown where the dirt had broken through the floor, and ripped drapery fluttered forlornly in the breeze. It altogether made for a prickling, uncomfortable feeling at the back of Point's neck, as the entire thing looked ready to collapse on them.

As they sat down face-to-face on seats with the stuffing half ripped out of them, Point marked an escape point- several of them, should she need to run.

Focusing on the woman- no, just hardly a slip of a girl, she arranged the damn dress around her legs, waiting a few seconds to answer the casual query.

"I am Point Ardenwell." she began, drilling her blue eyes into the girl's own, "Now, if you please, I would appreciate it if you dropped that mysterious act of yours and introduced yourself properly, because I have everything to lose if you're not the person I'm looking for."

She straightened, throwing back her hood as she swept her hair to one side. Making sure that the girl was listening, she continued. "Forgive me if I don't have time to explain all of this because they will be looking for me in an hour. To answer your question, the Agent you saw in the street probably barely recognized me, and for your information, I didn't do anything. I simply pose as a potential threat to the Condesce- and yes, that probably caught your attention.

As you can tell, I am unused to being seen- and wearing- a dress. That aside, how many nobles do you see walking the streets of Derse late evening? Not very many, I'm thinking." Point allowed herself a small but wry smile at the girl. "It was foolish of me to think that I would not attract much attention. I shouldn't have run in the first place, but I wasn't thinking clearly enough.

I'm telling you only part of the story, but shall we make a bargain of sorts? I'll answer one of your questions every time you answer one of mine. I'm sorry if I come across as far too paranoid, but I have to make sure."
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:49 pm

Point Ardenwell. Point Ardenwell. Nirana felt like she'd heard the name before, but had no idea who had mentioned it, much less what they had said about Point. It was too bad, but getting to know a complete stranger was always very interesting. She wasn't too worried for her own safety. For one thing, she had her dart gun with her, so she was covered on that front, and for another, the rundown shack was definitely not a building she had selected at random - she used it often and knew every inch of it inside and out.

Nirana could tell that Point was a bit annoyed, and probably more than a little on edge, so she dropped her smile and adopted a more serious, professional attitude which, really, suited her much better. She sat properly as Point spoke, and held her gaze. Nirana was thoroughly impressed by Point's almost impeccable composure and strong stare - they gave her a sense of exactly who she was dealing with. "All right, Point. My name is Neera Vee. Since the Agent was after you, I think it's safe for me to tell you that I work with information. It may not sound important, but during times like these, real information is practically invaluable. So, if you are looking for someone in particular, I can probably help you."

She steepled her fingers and leaned forward as Point continued on. A noble, a potential threat to the Condensce? This just got better and better. Surely, then, Point knew more than the average person off the street, maybe even the inner workings of the Condensce's reign. She would not miss this opportunity.

Nirana couldn't help but break into a smile when Point stated her proposition. How had she known that this was Nirana's favourite of games? "A question for a question? That's fair enough. I just asked one, so I believe it is your turn. If what you said was true, then we don't have much time, do we?"
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:59 pm

Her eyes widened. An informant. They were rare, and good ones were even harder to find.

Daniel.

If Neera Vee spoke truthfully, she'd be able to find her brother again. Against her will, a painful hope blossomed in her chest. Seven years of silence, and she'd finally rescue Daniel from what she'd condemned him to. It was her duty, and despite the pang that ran through her chest, she bit her lip to keep from asking Neera outright if she could find Daniel for her.

She looked at the lithe troll with newer respect. If things worked out, they could both benefit from this.

"I swear that everything I've said to you is true. An informant..." Point shook her head and laughed softly. "Alright, then. If you really are an informant, you ought to know where the Condesce keeps all- or at least most- of her prisoners. You're right. I am looking for someone. He's someone very important to me." Her smile dimmed a bit. "However, I can't rescue him until I meet the leader of the Rebellion, or until we at least escalate into a full-scale war." She leaned forward, resting her forearms across her knees, troubled. "I won't force you to give me your real name, but I need a guarantee that you aren't lying to me. I truly need help, and if you can, I'll give you all of the information you need on the Condesce's battle tactics- and more in exchange.

So here's my question: whose side are you really on?"

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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:06 am

Nirana eyed the woman with renewed interest. She noticed the slight hint of desperation that tinged Point's voice. Prisoners... had this person been a rebel? Why was he imprisoned? If he was a political prisoner held by the Condensce... he would be held in the prison with all of the others. But if he was more important? Nirana thought she had an idea of where he would be, but she didn't mention it just yet.

She was glad Point was so straightforward. It saved her a lot of time. When Point posed her final question, Nirana was expecting it. How many times had she been asked?

"You could say I work for the Dersite rebels. I phrase it that way because I don't technically work for them, more with them. They trust me, and I trust them, that's all I need."

As usual, she lied only through omission. It was much easier than telling outright lies, which were difficult to come up with on the spot. Then she returned to the other things Point had touched upon.

"As for your missing friend, I have an idea of where he might be. But you are absolutely correct. It would be completely suicidal to try and rescue him without the support of the rebels, or the cover of outright warfare. For now, I will keep my hypothesis to myself. You seem reasonable, and I know you are too smart to go looking for him now, but who's to say pressure or panic won't cloud your judgment in the future?" She let the rhetorical question hang. The reason she had provided for withholding the information was really only a small factor in her decision. She needed something to keep Point coming back, a reason for Point to need her service. It wouldn't hurt, anyway, because what she had said about the danger of the situation was completely true.

"If you would like to meet the leader of the rebellion, I hope you understand that I do not hold the authority to arrange such a meeting singlehandedly. Doing so would put our leader under a great deal of risk, and I would prefer both to let them arrange the conditions of your meeting, and for them to be told in advance. I'm very sorry - I mean no offense. I can, however, arrange for the leader to contact you on their own terms, if you'd like." Dirk wouldn't mind. In fact, Point was such a valuable asset that Dirk might give her something in exchange for her find. Before she went to Dirk, though, Nirana wanted to extract as much information from Point as she could.

"Now for my question: What is the Condensce's military planning?"
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:24 pm

Point blinked. Informants were usually neutral, but it was always nice to know that the person she was giving information to was with the Dersite rebels.

She listened as Neera explained that she might know where Daniel was. She raised an eyebrow; she was right about needing the war as cover to rescue him, and even she knew that she wasn't stupid enough to go hunting for Daniel when countless lives hung in the balance. Nevertheless, she shoved that thought aside and continued on to the next one.

Still, the very thought of knowing where Daniel was... Time was of the essence; if the rebel force acted out before she could retrieve her brother, she would have no choice but to obey the Condesce- and to lead to the possibly unpleasant result of having to crush the rebellion. If she got to Daniel too early, the Condesce would order her found and executed, and her sway over the army would be lost- she would have found her brother, but lost her position in the army in return.

The rebel force was important. If she got hold of whomever was leading it, she could lend them the power of her troops, many of whom she knew had been unhappy with the Condesce but had wisely kept silent. The rebels could not possibly take down the Condesce alone, not when she was so powerful, and the fact that the soldiers were a constant threat was probably a big factor as to why the rebel force had to be so careful.

Point shrugged good-naturedly as Neera explained about the rebels. It would have been too much to hope, and she knew it. "Thank you," she said to Neera. "And none taken. I would be grateful, however, if you could pass on my offer of help to your leader. I assure you, it would benefit the rebellion greatly." Here she briefly pondered telling Neera who she was just to save time, but she needed to keep her interested. Informants, after all, were notoriously known for losing interest after learning of all of your secrets, which Point had no intent of doing anytime soon.

As for Neera's question. She frowned, drawing in a breath before speaking. Here, she had to be careful.

"The Condesce, for now, is simply gathering her troops together in order to prepare for the war," she said. "As for the rebellion- Rest assured, she does not know that there is one-- yet. That is an advantage I have a feeling you will want to keep. However, she is a wary and ruthless ruler. Over time, you will have to be careful with whom you speak with, particularly with anyone who could possibly be an Agent or someone who has been coerced into working for them. She is anticipating a revolt, and you will have to be careful. You probably already know that the Condesce has declared war against Prospit. During that time, the troops already on Derse will be halved- or possibly even gone, and you will have greater freedom to plan. The Commanders do not have the ability to hold private meetings, but sometimes, w-they- are able to slip past the Agents in order to talk."

She paused, partly because out of worry that Neera had caught the slight makings of 'we' at the beginning of the 'they.' Nevertheless, she smoothly covered up the mistake and forged on. "The security around the palace will be even more heavily enforced, but I'm sure that with bribes offered to the right people, you will be able to slip past them. After all, most of the soldiers wouldn't be adverse to seeing the Condesce lying in a pool of her own blood." Point chuckled grimly. "I know that for a fact. Now, your question was a little vague, seeing as what the Condesce is doing isn't going to affect the rebellion since she doesn't know about it at all." She spread her hands in apology. "Sorry if it's a little confusing, or if you already know all of this, but this kind of information is best shared with the leader of the rebellion."

She was going to keep pressing at the point since it was integral to her plans, not to mention that tricky little part of getting Daniel out at the right exact moment.

Point folded her hands again. "Our hour is nearly up. I should be returning soon." She paused, considering what she should ask. Daniel was mostly the only thing she'd needed to know about. "Do you know of what the rebellion needs help with? If they're struggling to do something, that is."
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PostSubject: Re: Of Conspiracies and Revelations   Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:27 am

Nirana smiled. "All right, I will let them know you would like to contact them." Her brow furrowed as she listened to Point outline the Condensce's plans. She had been trying to find out exactly how much the Condensce knew about the rebels for a while, but because she had to do it in a very roundabout way, wheedling information out here and there, she had never really gotten a direct answer. The movement of the troops on Derse was vital information. Not only would it benefit the rebels greatly, Nirana herself would find some way to put it to use. She showed no sign of noticing Point's little slip of the tongue, but her mind worked. "We", she thought it must have been. Point was a Commander? That would explain a lot.

"No, no, that was... enlightening, to say the least. As for the rebellion..." Nirana thought about how to answer Point's question. There was a multitude of things that the rebellion was having issues about, as far as she knew. Preparations were being made, but really not at a pace Dirk would like. Nothing was really for certain just yet. "I would say organization would be a large one. Maybe your insight would help them with their plans. I think they would benefit greatly from someone with inside knowledge."

Nirana gave Point a genuine smile, a rare occurrence. She had enjoyed their exchange. "You're right, time is pretty much up. I will message the leader relating to getting you in contact. When I receive their reply, I will leave it... hmm. Under this floorboard right here." She motioned at a spot on the floor, which she knew concealed a small hollow. "Check back in a little bit. I'm sure that if they agree to meet you, they will provide you with a time and place to meet."

Nirana stood, dusting off her dress. "Well, it certainly has been pleasant. I hope I see you again soon, Point Ardenwell. Take care." She reached out to shake Point's hand, then nodded goodbye and made to leave through the front door. She paused, remembering that the Agents were still around somewhere. "You may want to leave through the back door, it's safer that way!" she called through the house.

The exchange had been fruitful, and Nirana was very satisfied. She walked home to begin her letter to Dirk.

(OOC: Thanks Point I had a lot of fun with that one! I'm going to be sending the letter to Dirk in Correspondances, so check there later for Nirana's "message under the floorboard." Hope to rp again sometime soon :D)
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Of Conspiracies and Revelations

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