Imrama Sitting in his office in the Deliberative's Air Fortress, Imrama finishes dictating his message to the newly appointed representative for New Atomnos, sends the songbird made of yellow essence off to deliver it, and waits patiently for a reply.
EmberOfGlory After a short time, a rather heavy-sounding knock sounds upon Imrama's door.
Imrama From behind his ebony and teak desk, Imrama calls out, "Come in."
EmberOfGlory The door opens, and Isabel, the duly appointed representative of the newly-founded Atomnosi state, walks gently into the room. (...)
EmberOfGlory Her form is that of an utterly perfect woman, cast out of the purest gold; her feet step lightly and her robes flow about her with a practiced grace; her long hair falls about her hips in a sort of controlled disorder that takes years to perfect. (...)
EmberOfGlory Two glass daggers and the sign of her sodality -- a scepter and a spear, crossed over the heart-symbol that represents her nature as an Orichalcum caste -- are the only decorations that alter the pure white of her outfit, and her striking green eyes the only mark of color upon her gold frame.
Isabel "You requested to speak with me."
Imrama rises respectfully as his guest enters the room, and bows with his left arm before him and his right behind - a gesture which would be slightly cheeky by the standards of the Old Realm. "That I did, Isabel. Thank you very much for coming. May I offer you a seat?"
Isabel nods and seats herself with the utmost of class.
Imrama "Your nation's membership in the Deliberative affords a great many opportunities for cooperation and profitable alliance. I would like to discuss one such possibility with you." Imrama pours a dark, sweetened coffee and offers it to his guest.
Isabel takes the cup and takes a single sip, then holds it neatly on her lap. "I am listening," she says.
Imrama gives a smile and a nod. "Then I continue to speak. I have observed many remarkable qualities in your nation. Of these many particular characteristics, two are immediately relevant to the case: the first is your prodigious capacity for military conquest, and the second is your relative inability to produce enough food to feed your population."
Isabel "You are correct in both assessments," she says. "This place lacks the resources we draw upon in Atomnos to feed our people, and we lack both the tools and knowledge to do so in the fashion of your people."
Imrama Behind Imrama, hangs a painting of the Fable, with the lonely spire of the Terminal Aerie visible in the background. "Quite understandable, given how new your culture is to this world. As with all other nations protected by the Deliberative, we wish to see your people prosper rather than starve. So I would like to broker an agreement which would address this problem, and one other."
Isabel nods. "Tell me what you are proposing."
Imrama "Partners of yours in the Deliberative, the two nations of the Blessed Isle, are presently faced with an invasion from the lands of the Dead. The necromantic forces of the First and Forsaken Lion have conquered and blighted a large portion of that great island-continent.(...)
Imrama "The farmers and fisherfolk of the Blessed Isle and the very land itself, call out for justice, and a relief from the reign of slavery and murder. Before the assault by the Lion, this land was some of the most fertile in all of Creation.(...)
Imrama "What I propose, is that your nation should devote its military might to the destruction of the Lion and the liberation of the Blessed Isle. In return, the people of that land, and of the two nations thereupon, would pledge a portion of their produce to your government, to keep your brave and valiant citizens fed, so long as the Isle remains free.(...)
Imrama sips his coffee. "How does this arrangment sound to you?
Isabel considers the matter for a moment, her head tilted at what is most likely a carefully chosen angle. "What resources does this Lion have to bear? What strategic information do you possess regarding the vulnerabilities of his forces?"
Imrama "Though his rank and file undead soldiers are below the grade of mortal troops, they are extremely numerous, and he has many powerful commanders, including perhaps a score of death-polluted Solar Exalts. He also possesses war machines and automata from the First Age and necromantic marvels of his own design."
Isabel "Based solely on this description, it seems that fighting him with our forces would be a fool's errand."
Imrama "In addition, he has tremendous personal power, and is a capable sorcerer and necromancer. In short, he is an opponent worthy of your strength."
Imrama "I do not propose that his defeat would come easily; quite the opposite, I believe that to truely erase this threat from the face of Creation would be a prodigious and heroic undertaking for those nations who lent themselves to it. It is for this reason that the rewards I offer are so correspondingly high."
Isabel "A worthy opponent for Atomnos, certainly. But we have been without food for some time, and much of our might still lies beyond the planar barrier." She pauses in consideration. "If we go to battle, we cannot simply grind our soldiers against the gears of war to no avail, while a better-equipped foe laughs at our struggle. We must have an edge." (...)
Isabel The tone in her voice makes it clear that the overall package is desirable, but she's still waiting for something that will seal the deal.
Imrama "Of course, I do not mean that you and your people should fight alone, only lend your strength to the cause of freedom that the people of the Blessed Isle are already devoted to. Furthermore, you would have the benefit of assistance from myself and my circle, as we dearly wish to see the Lion dispatched.(...)
Imrama "We have intelligence that could be of great value to such a campaign, including the Underworld location of his fortress-capital, which corresponds closely with the area you now inhabit in Creation, making for a potentially devastating flanking campaign.(...)
Imrama "And finally, while your nation has demonstrated a limited form of cross planar commerce, at least in Essence, I can offer the restoration of real, physical transport between planes."
Isabel One eyebrow goes up at that last comment. "You don't say."
Imrama 's smile is reflected in several of the adamant and brass clockwork airship models that decorate his office, and in the glass eyes of the Lionfolk head that hangs on the Southern wall, a gift of the people of Harborhead. "In point of fact," he says, "I do."
Isabel She pauses to consider the offer again in light of this further information. "Very well. I believe this offer has merit and I shall recommend it to the War-Cardinal directly." She pauses. "I trust that our people might have our proposal regarding purchase of surplus food fast-tracked as a sign of good faith, for our willingness to throw ourselves into the proper defense of Meru against its enemies?"
Imrama "That matter has already been decided; your people are hungry, we would not starve them to gain political advantage. The caravans are already on their way. We can hammer out the specifics of payment at our next meeting."
Isabel nods. "Excellent." She stands and smiles, a smile that is quite striking and intensely charming -- and one that, in this case, might even be real. "This has been a productive meeting," she sas.
Imrama rises and bows, his right hand cupping his face as he does so, in a display that is considerably more flirtatious than his last one. "Thank you for listening."