Malic drops into his customary seat at Gia's Manse after a week in Creation, attempting to locate the Lunar Exalted Tamuz with his contacts in the area. Puffing out his breath in a great whuff. "Well, I met with a bit of success. What about the rest of you?"
Gia summons a small spider. "Where exactly is the Lunar Exalt known as Tamuz?"
<Gia> When it disappears, she grins at Malic. "I did this earlier too, but I just want to make you feel silly."
<ST`> The spider walks across the air, moving around odd green items. "Tamuz is located aboard the ship Western Trident, en route to Chiaroscuro."
Malic smiles at Gia "I had a nice time down South, I don't mind."
Malic stretches idly. "Don't mind at all. So, would you like to visit Tamuz aboard his boat so he can slaughter us without getting his lair all bloody..er?"
Arkadi rummages around and plops a few files in the table
<Gia> "Or we could wait in Chiaroscuro for the boat to come to port."
<Arkadi> "Why would he slaughter us?
<Arkadi> "Every single account dealign with the guy I've dug up says that he's pretty even-handed...not big on the instant slaughterings"
<Malic> "Reasonable and even-handed for a Lunar.."
<Arkadi> "Yes, for a Lunar..."
Osprey returns from the other room, carrying a tea service.
<Malic> "Hi Osprey. Did you have fun while I was gone? Remember to smile at least once?"
<Osprey> "I had a very pleasant time," replies Osprey, setting the tray down on the tea table.
<Osprey> "It was quite... peaceful."
Osprey pours tea for the other three Exalted.
<Malic> "You're hopeless."
<Malic> "Tea, Ember?"
Arkadi sips the tea gratefully and sighs
<ST`> Forge declines, but Ember accepts two cups. The rhino oftem decides he's thirsty after the fact.
Arkadi arches an eyebrow and chuckles
<Arkadi> "My week was fine, thank you for asking."
Gia sips her tea quietly. "If we wait in Chiaroscuro, perhaps we could avoid spending too much time outside civilization."
<Osprey> "So, brother Malic, what have you learned during your sojourn?"
Malic looks up, apparently confused. "Learned? Oh. Right. I made contact with some of the nomads that trade with his tribe and tried to find a way to get to talk to him peaceably..but, as Gia told us, he'd left by that point."
<Malic> "I don't think we should just walk up to Tamuz and start talking. It might be disrespectful. Or insult Luna. You could ask her if she'd be insulted."
Osprey nods. "I am curious to know where Tamuz was going. It seems strange for an elder to abandon his tribe in such a way."
<Malic> "To Chiaroscuro, at the moment, she said."
<Osprey> "But he must be coming back from somewhere," Osprey notes mildly.
<Osprey> "It does not take a ship to travel from the Southeastern savannah to Chiaroscuro."
<Malic> "Maybe he had to go slaughter some villagers really far away."
<Arkadi> "Oh, would you come OFF the slaughtering villagers already.."
<Arkadi> "Not every fucking lunar is a bloody-handed murderer."
Osprey sighs. "I see that your journey has not changed you in any way, brother Malic. Why would a man who can transform himself into a fish need to use a ship in the first place?"
<Gia> "And besides, we're not villagers."
<Arkadi> "Well, it's mroe comfortable, Ossie."
Gia raises her eyebrows. "Brother Osprey has a point, now that I think of it."
<Malic> "He likes to sail?"
<Malic> "I ride for enjoyment."
<Malic> "I'm sure some very strange people enjoy sailing."
Arkadi feels the eyes looking at him
<Arkadi> "Don't look at me, I prefer handball."
<ST`> "Maybe it isb't his choice to do so," Ember volunteers.
<Arkadi> "I never crashed any dragonboats."
<Malic> "That's not what the paperwork says."
<Arkadi> "I can't sail for ym life, why would I steer a dragonboat?"
<Malic> "You can see the paperwork if you come to my office. I'm in charge of colliding Dragon-Boats."
<Arkadi> "Anyways, Ember's right."
<Arkadi> "for all we know, someone invited him...and provided the transport."
Malic looks up from his argument. "What? Oh..right! Well, that seems odd. Who but a Lunar would invite him anywhere?"
<Malic> "And they'd expect him to be a fish."
<Arkadi> "...a fish can't hold a conversation."
<Osprey> Instead of sighing, Osprey sips his tea.
<Malic> "Well, we know where he is. And I know where his tribe stays and can get us there. Which do you prefer? The Lunar of Ages Past or his Warrior Tribe?"
Osprey sets down his teacup. "Regardless, we should give careful consideration to how we are going to present ourselves."
<Gia> "I vote for the Lunar."
<Osprey> "This is a being of phenomenal power and wisdom; we cannot rush in and simply trust to our wits to carry us through."
Osprey shrugs. "Even if he is not with his tribe, he surely has lieutenants."
<Osprey> "It might be easier to deal with them first."
Malic nods. "I would prefer the tribe of unkempt warriors. No offense to you Ember. I'm sure your tribe is well-groomed."
<Gia> "True. But approaching Tamuz directly makes more sense than hanging out with a bunch of tribesmen he may not be returning to immediately."
<Malic> "We have time. We only have one life."
<ST`> Ember sips hre tea without comment.
Gia looks uncomfortable about the prospect of spending an extended period of time among the barbarians.
<Malic> "Anyway, I like the tribes, generally. They only robbed me half as often as the Guild and the Lunars."
<Gia> "There are many of us, and only one of him."
<Malic> "And they have this really great coffee.."
Osprey gives Gia a sharp look. "Would you lay odds on the four of us defeating Master Haddad, or your sifu?"
<Osprey> "This Lunar is probably just as experienced as either of them."
Gia chews the corner of her lower lip, her expression almost petulant. "Chiaroscuro is better. We'll fit in more."
Malic looks at himself and Osprey. "We would?"
Osprey give Gia a reproving, but not unkind look. "If we are to have any hope of winning Tamuz' respect, we cannot appear to be weak city-dwellers."
Gia is too busy drinking her tea to comment.
<Gia> She wrinkles her nose delicately at Osprey and sighs in defeat. "But the city is so NICE. Ah, if you really think this is the only way.." Gia looks uncertain.
<Osprey> "To many tribesmen of the Threshold, a city is a cage," Osprey explains. "Who would respect one who locks herself in a cage of her own free will?"
Malic nod. "I think we'll have to get you some new clothes, Gia. Ember has some already, I think? You're about the same size.."
<Gia> "But, I mean.. running water, real buildings.." she sighs.
Osprey smiles. "The wilderness has a beauty all its own. You might find it suits you better than you imagine."
Gia raises both her eyebrows at Malic. "You want me to tress like EMBER?" She turns quickly to the outcaste. "No offense, dear."
<Malic> "Burning golden sands, blue skies without a trace of cloud or rain.."
<Malic> "The brilliant sun above, beating ceaselessly on your body without mercy. It's lovely in the South."
<ST`> "None taken," Ember replies.
<Arkadi> "...the total lack of any water for miles on end, the endless quantities of screwed-up critters that'll kill you with but a single poisonous bite..."
Gia looks down uncomfortably at her pale skin. "Burning is what I'm worried about."
Malic smiles, putting a bronze arm around Gia's shoulders. "Don't worry, we can swath you in layers upon layers of cloth so none of you is exposed to the sun. People do it all the time."
Osprey nods. "The tribesmen of the Del'Zahn do so quite frequently."
<Malic> "Black cloth. So it deflects the light." Malic smiles.
Gia looks curiously at Osprey. "Malic has his arm around me, Brother Osprey. He's really not up to something?"
<Osprey> He pauses. "Of course, their women do tend to dress in much more revealing fashion."
<Gia> "Okay, okay, the layers can work."
Osprey looks at Malic. "Of course, there is always..."
<Gia> That was all Gia needed to hear.
<Malic> "Some nice woolen black layers."
<Arkadi> "...BLACK?! Are you insane?!"
<Arkadi> "That'll soak up all the bloody heat."
Malic waves away Arkadi's concerns. "Says the Lookshyer. How long have *you* spent down south?"
Arkadi looks up from the pile of paperwork in front of him
<Arkadi> "6 months."
<Gia> "Wool is itchy and thick."
<Arkadi> "My unit was rotated there."
<Arkadi> "Worst 6 months of my life."
<Malic> "No, no. See, you sweat and it gets wet and keeps you cool. You'll like it."
<Gia> "You're telling me that I'm going to enjoy being sweaty in a place where there's no running water?"
<Gia> "You're daft."
<Malic> "Well you obviously can't wear silk, Gia. You'd attract bandits."
<Gia> "That's why I have a eunuch bodyguard."
<Malic> "Arkadi looks the part, I'll grant."
<Malic> "But, aside from bandits, the tribesfolk don't wear silk robes. Ember, why don't you help Gia find something suitable? I'm sure she has enough money to get the right sort of clothes made. I'll find you some too."
<ST`> Forge grunts. "When my people get too hot, they cover themselves in wet mud."
<Malic> "You could do that, Gia."
<Gia> "Mud?" Gia sighs and looks at Ember and musters a smile. "I think I'd rather go shopping with you."
<ST`> Ember looks up from blowing bubbles in her tea. "Sure."
<ST`> Clothing Montage Scene
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "Hmm... such fine skin..."
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> The tailor-god clicks the many needles, scissors, and various other sharp implements which make up his fingers.
Gia glares ruthlessly at Arkadi.
Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki snick-snicks his largest pair of shears. "Bring me twelve yards of linen!"
<Arkadi> (actually, that was on ooc snicker)
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> His servants, a pair of enormous crabs, scuttle off sideways to do his bidding.
<Arkadi> "...Err...what do you have in earth tones?"
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> The crabs scuttle back, claws held high, trailing the thin woolen cloth like a banner.
<Gia> "Thank you for doing this for us on such short notice, sir." Gia tries to sound proper and respectful.
Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki deftly scoops up the cloth with some darning-needle fingers.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "Take off your clothes," he instructs offhandedly, as he begins to do complicated things to the bolt of cloth.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> The crabs tic-tac up to Gia and extend their claws, ready to accept her overclothes.
Arkadi almost spits his coffee across the room
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "You, too," the Deadly Tailor tells Arkadi.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> More crabs appear and approach the Lookshy detective.
<Gia> "Arkadi, turn and face the wall or I'll be glad to take a few decades in the cage for what I'll do to you."
Gia smiles sweetly.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> One of them takes Arkadi's coffee cup from him.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> Up close, it becomes clear that what at first look like unusual markings on their shells are actually finely-tailored dress vests and cravats.
<Arkadi> "Likewise, Gia."
Arkadi turns a full 180
Malic sits on a couch, providing native opinion.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "Chop chop!" Onizuku snaks scissor-fingers.
<Arkadi> "I don't look, and you don't look...deal?"
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> Scraps of cloth fly through the air.
<Arkadi> "And Malic...GET OUT."
<Gia> "As tempting as a glance at your pasty flesh would be, Arkadi, I think that's a deal I can live with. And go away, for Venus' sake, Malic!"
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> Osprey puts a hand on Malic's shoulder. "Let's wait outside, shall we?"
Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki tossed the bolt of cloth up into the air; it spirals down, obscuring him completely. A multitude of sharp metallic sounds come from within the billowing mass; it jerks and twists as the Deadly Tailor works his magic.
Malic snorts and waves, heading out with Osprey
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> The linen whirlwind parts, falling in two pieces to either side of Onizuki.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> The god snaks his fingers, and the well-dressed crabs scuttle up and seize the newly-made garments.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> Making their way over to Gia and Arkadi on crustacean tiptoes, they begin nimbly sidestepping around the two Sidereals, wrapping them up in the cloth.
<Arkadi> "This is decidedly...weird."
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> In moments, Gia and Arkadi are enveloped in flowing desert robes.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "And now..." Onizuki pauses dramatically.
<Gia> "That's the first sensical thing I've heard you say in a while."
<Arkadi> "Aside from 'get out, Malic' ?
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> He flicks out his hands with an audible *scha-sching*. Light glints from various pointy metal digits.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "I will need to ask you to both refrain from moving for the next... ten seconds."
Gia almost answers Ark, but swallows thickly and freezes in place when the tailor speaks.
<Malic> "Do *you* have clothes prepared, Osprey?"
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> The crabs quickly scuttle back to the edges of the room, clearing away the furniture and fitting dummies as they retreat.
Arkadi stays totally put
<Malic> "Your Eastern stuff isn't the right sort, you know."
Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki freezes for a moment... his eyes gleam just like his blades!
<Malic> "All those feathers and such might make them think you're an ostritch."
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> Then he explodes into motion!
Gia closes her eyes and waits for it to be over.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> In a blur of speed, scissors and needles whistle by Gia and Arkadi,.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> Both of them can feel their clothes becoming better-fitted as the Deadly Tailor alters them with blinding speed.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> With one last snip, Onizuki spins away from Gia, coming to a halt in a dramatic pose in the center of the room.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> A single snippet of sand-colored cloth floats slowly to the ground.
Gia opens one eye uncertainly.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> The crabs clack their claws in appreciation at their master's marvelous work.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "There! You are ready!"
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "No finer robes will you find anywhere in heaven or earth!"
<Arkadi> "...if you EVER have a blade pass THAT close to my jugular AGAIN...."
Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki extends his hands. Crab-servants scuttle up and begin manicuring him.
<Arkadi> "Gonna need a mirror
Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki makes a sudden motion -- a throwing knife flies out and neatly severs a rope.
<Gia> The somewhat-frightened Sidereal glances down at her new outfit, turning this way and that to try and take it all in while picking stray threads out of her unkempt hair.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> A large cloth screen slowly falls down, revealing one whole wall of the room to be a a gigantic mirror.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "Behold... the work of Deadly Tailor Onizuki!"
Malic sticks his head back in "Are you done?"
Gia looks decidedly bemused.
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> The crabs quickly clear away the fallen curtain. Three of them form a living tower to pluck the knife out of the wall.
<Arkadi> "Well, the robes look fine..."
Arkadi tries to maneuver a bit in them
<Gia> "Thank you very much, Deadly Tailor Onizuki."
<Arkadi> "Not too restrictive..."
<Arkadi> "And I'm not tripping over them..."
<Arkadi> "Good enough for me."
<Deadly`Tailor`Onizuki> "It was my pleasure to clothe one of your loveliness," demurs the Deadly Tailor. He bows to Gia, as the crabs wrap his hands in silk handkerchiefs.
Gia bows in return and looks to Arkadi. "Come on, let's go finish our preparations."
<Malic> "What about Osprey?"
Malic looks around for the Easterner
<Arkadi> "Right...huh...better get the bigass canteen."
<Malic> "You'll have other things to drink, Arkadi. There's always cactus water. Cactus fruit juice."
<Arkadi> "...the REALLY bigass canteen."
<Malic> "You won't die of dehydration, seriously."
<Malic> "I used to spend my life travelling the desert, sometimes people paid me huge amounts of money to take them with me. I'm not going to let anyone in the South with me die. Of natural, preventable causes."
<Malic> "You'll have plenty of water, wine, coffee, whatever. Really."