Imrama In the light of what passes for day in Netheos, the Fable hangs high over the Curse Isle, making its way toward Stygia and the site of Zahara's fallen airship. The weather is quiet in the land of the dead, and there is little work for Imrama's crew. Mr. Iggles-lux serves canapes.
z tries the canapes, "Did you cook these yourself, Msr. Iggles-Lux?"
The golden aalorai shakes his head sadly; to make canapes is not within his nature. (...)
As the Fable flies over the Cursed Isle, it is clear that the damage of Pluto's resurrection is still quite present: the areas ravaged by magma rains are still visible from far in the air, as is the particularly large crater -- in what was, luckily, a largely unused distant corner of the vast city of Stygia -- left by the crash of Zahara's once glorious airship.
Imrama peers over the rail, pipe clenched in his teeth. "A sorrowful sight, Empress."
z sighs, "Yes... I did not have the ability to save it." She scowls a bit. "Stupid Incarna."
Imrama "Well, my friend," Imrama claps Zahara on the shoulder. "We shall have to pick up the pieces and bring them home, then. So that your beautiful construct can be put once again to rights."
Imrama The Fable begins its descent to the crash site.
This region of Stygia had fallen into Netheos a long time ago, already in a state of partial destruction -- in matching the city that once stood on this location on the Blessed Isle -- and so this district was relatively unsettled, filled mostly with those who could not help being the dregs of even ghostly society: squatters, junkies, and other lowdeads. (...)
The region of the crash is perhaps a quarter-mile across, and debris from crushed hovels and ruins is intermixed in the streets with brightly (for Netheos, at least) shining fragments of elegantly curved clouds and bold, striking beams of solidified light.
z "And so it goes."
Imrama marvels at the beauty of the craft, even in its wrecked state. "A truely wonderous design, Empress. A worthy testament to your skill, and one which deserves to be restored. But it seems to me that you have more despair at this calamity than befits it; why so glum, Zahara?"
z "Perhaps I am irritated that by restoring Pluto to life I have had my first Airship destroyed, almost died, and have seen restored to... Exaltation if not exactly Life... several of my enemies. Perhaps I am a little jealous at the ease with which you protected the Fable when we first journeyed here."
Imrama "Ah. You paid a high price on Pluto's behalf, and saw that cost compounded when the Shadeborn were restored. It may be that we should call both the Indigo Incarnae and his children to account for this."(...)
Imrama "As to your admission of jealousy, let me match it with my own: I have often wished that I could do even a tenth of what you can, to forge wonders and works of might and magic. It is true that I can keep a ship safe when aboard her, but I can do nothing for a craft once it is broken. That art is your field of mastery, and I bow to it." Imrama bows.
z nods, still frowning. "Indeed. I was not particularly pleased with him, and have so far regretted bringing him back at all. Perhaps later he will prove...useful or some such." She half smiles at him. "We all have our different strengths, yes. It is why we work so well together and feel the loss of our compatriots so keenly."
Imrama nods. "Indeed. It will be an honor and a pleasure to put one of my strengths to use in restoring the product of one of yours." Imrama's crew of Hundredfold light constructs throw several golden lines over the side of the ship, and he makes to begin facining them to pieces of wreckage.
MaskOfWinters The work is relatively easy, now that it has begun: for the airship split cleanly, along major faultlines, leaving its wreckage in large pieces -- and the breezy and bright nature of the pieces helps them easily stand out from the relatively dour environment in which they have fallen.
z "Thank you for your help, Imrama." She smiles finally. "We make a good team, I think."
Imrama "I heartily agree." Imrama smiles. "With regard to your area of strength, I have a matter of artifice which I wish to discuss with you."
z "Oh yes?" She watches the lines pick up the large pieces, casting a look about to make sure there is no one attempting to interfere. "What is it?"
Imrama "As you may know, I have recently initiated a religious revival in the nation of Harborhead, and struck a deal with Ahlat to ensure that he will stand among our allies rather than our enemies. As a consequence, I expect shortly to be named as the Leopard, the monarch of Harborhead."
z "Congratulations on your new monarchy." She grins. "Though I am still sure we could have killed the bull god if he hadn't run away"
Imrama "That may be so, but to everyone's benefit, it is no longer necessary to find out. During the war with the Lily, much propaganda was distributed in Harborhead vilifying you, our circle, and the Sunlands as a whole. The two attempts at assassinating Ahlat did not help matters. It is my hope to reverse this and to align Harborhead staunchly with the Sunlands."
Imrama "As a step towards this, I would like to invite you to be the guest of honor at my coronation."
z "Ah, it is better indeed this way." She pauses, then tilts her head to one side. "You... would? Do you not think association with me would cast a pall on your ceremony?"
Imrama "I have hidden nothing from the people of Harborhead. I would wish to have you there as a tangible sign of friendship between your nation and mine. And speaking of tangible signs of friendship," Imrama produces a scroll of parchment and unfurls it display a set of mediocre scematics accompanied by beautiful text. "I would like to talk to you about an artifact of regalia."
z nods thoughtfully. "I think I could do that, yes." Then she looks at the parchment. "Interesting..."
Imrama The object depicted appears to be a woven sash of equal parts Orichalcum and Soulsteel threads. Together, they form a print similar to a leopard's coloration. The object's intended purpose, the notes indicate that it is meant to collect Essence from both direct sunlight and the absence of sunlight. Owing to Imrama's relitive ignorance of Occult matters, however, no mechanism for this is offered.
Imrama "My thought is that the Leopard Banner should serve, ever more, as the symbol of office for Harborhead's political leader. I believe it would send a powerful message to have the Empress of the Sunlands present such an important item as a gift the people and their Leopard."
z "Fascinating. I think I can work with this."