• Now talking in #scrollandsword

Gia has joined #ScrollAndSword

Darth Tom? is now known as Arkadi

willows: In this office of the Division of Secrets, the walls have been lost behind stacks of paperwork three and four layers deep. Many gods sit quietly at desks, writing out precise descriptions of themselves in their "Continuance to perform job tasks" applications, so that they may return to their regular labor.

Arkadi scowls at the floor layout schematic at the entrance and walks up to the receptionist...

Arkadi: "Yeah...I'm here to see Esara Gia?"

Gia sits crosslegged in her own small self-made "cubicle" of sorts-- basically, a large spot of floor surrounded by low walls of files that she's slowly going through.

willows: The receptionist fills out a short file, which vanishes and replaces itself with another. This she hands to Arkadi. "Fill out, return to me."

Arkadi blinks

Arkadi: "You're kidding, right?"

Gia blinks, and stands up. "Did I hear my name?" she calls, looking around, but unable to see anything through the paper maze.

willows: She fills out another small application with practiced speed, and replies, "Perfectly serious. If you would like to sit down as you work, there is an application for that on page 3."

Arkadi: "..."

Arkadi: "Screw this..."

Arkadi: "Gia? You in here?!"

Gia: "..Ark? Is that you?"

Arkadi: "No, it's the Fairy Clinkerbell!"

Gia: "Keep talking. I'll follow the sound of your voice, you follow mine."

Arkadi: "...Marco!"

willows: The receptionist cannot find and complete a pursuit order in time to stop Arkadi.

Gia nearly knocks down a wall of paper and mutters an apology to the man whose office she nearly destroyed. He merely glowers at her over a ceramic goblet of sorts.

Gia: "POLO!"

Arkadi: "MARCO!"

Arkadi hops over a mail cart, almost landing on the small orange glasses-wearing cat close to it

Gia turns a corner and nearly runs smack into Arkadi. "PO-- oh. Hi."

Arkadi: "...and they bitch about the Panapoly?"

Gia: "Our ways are not your ways." She gives Arkadi a half-grin. "So are you here to buy me lunch? What's up?"

Arkadi: "Lunch works...but we have to talk."

Arkadi holds up an enveloppe

Arkadi: "My contact in IA sent me this."

Gia: "I didn't deliver that to the wrong person, did I? Hold on."

Arkadi: "No, right person."

Arkadi: "Let's talk somewhere a little quieter than here,"

Gia digs through a pile of papers and finally produces a thick file. "My lunch paperwork. I spent a day filling out enough for the whole week."

Gia: "After you." Gia gestures to the way out of the bureau.

Arkadi carefully makes his way through the jungle of paperwork, almost bowling over a short balding man holding a coffeecup

Gia breezily drops the entire folder into the wire basket on the receptionist desks and makes a hasty retreat, despite the receptionist's protests.

Arkadi pauses for a moment at the door, before blowing the recpetionist a kiss, and leave

Arkadi nods to the serving...girl? guy? thing?...the curiously androgynous serving being that just took their orders and menus in the very nice chiaroscuran-style restauant a few blocks away

Gia smiles and folds her hands on the table. "So what's in the envelope from IA?"

Arkadi: "Oh, it's a letter from my ex-partner...the man you delivered my letter to."

Arkadi: "I've got to ask you a question...do you trust me?"

Gia chews on the corner of her lower lip, thinking for a long moment. "Honestly?"

Arkadi: "Honestly."

Gia: "I wish I trusted you more. But I do hold more of a measure of trust for you than I do for most people. Why?"

Arkadi: "Funny way of showing it."

Arkadi tosses the letter on the table

Gia blinks and silently gestures to the letter, as if to ask if Ark wants her to read it.

Arkadi: "You ever hear of a little trick some people use? In the folds of a letter they write, they sprinkle salt in its folds before putting it in the enveloppe."

Gia: "Why? Does it keep the letter fresh?"

Arkadi: "That way, the recipient will be able to tell if someone's read it before they did..."

Gia: "Ah."

Arkadi: "See, if someone unfolds the letter, the salt sprinkles out."

Gia: "And it's not there, if the recipient is looking for it later. Good thinking."

Arkadi: "Mind explaining why my companion's letter was salt-less?"

Gia: "If you'll answer me one question: before this incident ever happened, completely discounting it.. why don't you trust me?"

Arkadi: "It's not you specifically..."

Arkadi: "It's what I wanted looked at...I've been stung before."

Arkadi: "and considering what I'm investigating, I don't particularly want to get shafted a second time..."

Arkadi: "I'm a suspicious son of a bitch, Gia."

Arkadi: "I do it with *all* my letters."

Gia: "So many people think that people from my bureau are snoopy know-it-alls who have to pry into everything. They think we have to KNOW everything, and that's not it at all." She sighs, running a hand through her hair. "My job is to KEEP SECRETS, Ark. I am here to help you, I am here for you to trust me. You are a part of my circle. And don't you think looking into records inconspicuously is something I might be good at, considering the the thousands of times I've had to do it?"

Arkadi arches an eyebrow

Arkadi: "Gia...you read my mail...what part of 'trust' does that imply?"

Gia: "I don't know, probably the same part of trust implied by persuing something that is probably dangerous on your own, without the knowledge or assistance of your friends, and hiding it from them." She shakes her head. "You can't use the 'I've been burned' excuse on me as the reason you don't trust me and then turn around and demand I trust you fully. We have to meet halfway."

Arkadi scowls

Arkadi: "You wanna know what I don't want you involved in this?"

Gia: "Please."

Arkadi waves her in closer

Gia leans in warily.

Arkadi: "By telling you this, you have to realize that you're gonna be in it deep..."

Gia: "Do you honestly think we aren't knee-deep in things that could get us censured anyway? Go ahead."

Arkadi: "And I swear to Mela, if you so much as try to fight me on this one, I'll do everyhting in my power to see you strung up next to those whom I'm going after..."

Gia arches a brow. "Enough with the posturing. Spit it out, Detective."

Arkadi leans in and whispers "The head of Internal Affairs is part of a ring helping demons infiltrate Yu-Shan."

Gia glances up at the member of the waitstaff who appeared with their food right as Arkadi confided in him. "Don't listen to him, he just came back from one of Burning Feather's parties." The waitperson/thing nods blankly, leaves the food, and exits.

Gia: "Okay. That's really not good." Gia blinks. "What evidence do you have?"

Arkadi: "Aside from two demons singing like a pair of Nexus doves? Bits and pieces..."

Arkadi: "The line I sent to my partner, whom is one of the few people I *do* trust is looking into a few innocuous deposits made around the times of 4 or 5 incursions in Yu-shan within the past 2 years."

Gia shakes her head. "There's not really anyone higher-up to audit the head of IA, is there?" she quirks a wry smile. "This is great. Do you have a plan?"

Arkadi: "Aside from dig up the stone cold certainty? none whatsoever."

Arkadi: "When I started prosecuting the Maiden of Missed Opportunity...I'm sure you know her, the ex from the 7 Hells? Is when I got the firs tinklings..."

Gia: "Ahh."

Arkadi: "That's not true...she tried to bribe me, I didn't take, and the whole thing caved in like a tonne of bricks."

Arkadi: "Thus my constant re-assignments, my bureaucratic shit-fits, and of course, the fact that a third of my being is currently being docked as punishments."

Arkadi: "and no, this is not an elaborate conspiracy theory that they're all out to get me...I'm suspicious, not paranoid."

Gia drums her fingers on her lips, thinking for a moment. "What we need to do is really not screw up this thing with the Lunars. Kejak deferred to our judgement, and if we do this well, we'll have some measure of his trust. Honestly, he may be the only contact we have important enough to shield us, and important enough to bring down the IA chief."

Arkadi: "That works..."

Arkadi sighs Arkadi: "Joy, playing one bastard against another."

Arkadi: "..wait, that's just like I did back home." Arkadi shrugs

Gia: "In this world, there are good guys and bad guys. It just happens that almost all of them are bastards. Luckily, we know a good bastard."

Arkadi raises an eyebrow Arkadi: "You're starting to sound like me."

Gia: "I'm just trying to speak your language." She grins.

Arkadi sighs and lights a cigarette for a monent, blowing the spoke politely over his shoulder

Gia: "Seriously though, in the future? I'm the first person you go to. Elaborate, dangerous conspiracies, startling information, especially anything that might get you killed. Someone in our circle has to know, if only to know where to start looking for your body."

Gia takes a drink of water. "You may not like trusting me, which is fine, but you're going to have to."

Arkadi: "In the future...don't read my bloody mail, okay?"

Gia: "In the future, if you trust me, I won't have to."

Arkadi: "Just be glad I didn't do what I usually do that time."

Gia raises a brow.

Arkadi: "I used to sprinkle an alchemical compound that caused a person's skin to turn light green on certain spots of the paper."

Gia chuckles. "Does it wash off, at least?"

Arkadi: "Er, it sort of fiddles with the person's metabolism"

Arkadi: "It eventually fades...in about 2 weeks."

Gia: The chosen's eyes go wide. "Ark, even accidentally, if you ever make me get fat, I swear to Mela.."

Arkadi: "er, no...the change dyed their ENTIRE skin green."

Arkadi: "That's sort of why the Duchess of War Chariots broke up with me."

Gia: "Ahhh. Well, yes, that would have been unfortunate."

Gia giggles. "Oh, dear." Arkadi shrugs "It was a letter to the guy who runs my bar...she shouldn't have been reading it...but she was *convinced* I was cheating on her."

Gia maintains a total deadpan. "She thought you were cheating on her with the guy who runs your bar?"

Arkadi: "Ayup." Arkadi: "...for the record, I wasn't. She was a rather...jealous type."

Gia: "I'd imagine."

Arkadi: "For the record, I don't see what you women *see* in us."

,Arkadi: "..'course, all women *are* crazy, so that explains things."

Gia: "Some of you are nice to look at."

Gia: "We're not CRAZY, we're just beyond your comprehension. Over your head, as it were."

Arkadi: "...no, I investigated it."

Arkadi: "See, men are dumb, and women are crazy."

Arkadi: "The reason men are dumb? They don't understand the crazy people."

Gia: "I think there's more to the general stupidity of Man than that, but I can see your point."

Arkadi shrugs

Arkadi: "what're you gonna do anyways?"

Arkadi: "I'm not exactly into the alternatives, and I very much doubt *you* are."

Gia laughs. "No, women talk too much."

Gia: "I'm more into the strong, silent type."

Arkadi: "Well, that nixes Malic and I..."

Arkadi grins

Gia: "There's a LOT MORE than that which nixes you and Malic." Gia grins back and takes a bite of her sandwich.

Arkadi: "You mean aside from my rugged good looks and raw masculine virility?"...his *own* eyes almost roll as he says that

Gia: "Yeah. I just cannot deal with your sheer humility and low self-esteem."

Arkadi: "Hey, Malic's the egotist. I'm the pessimist, remember?"

Gia: "So, worst case scenario.. What do you think will happen if your 'friend' in Internal Affairs finds out that you know his secret?"

Arkadi: "I figure I'll be staring down a baker's dozen of Blood Apes in my manse one morning."

Arkadi: "But the fact is, he knows I'm onto him..."

Arkadi: "That's why I'm buried like this."

Gia frowns. "Is there a reason he hasn't tried to kill you yet, do you think? Is there something you have that he needs?"

Arkadi: "I have no clue why I'm sitll alive, to be honest."

Arkadi: "Could be that it's a lacky of his that buried me."

Arkadi: "Maybe I saved the life of a nephew of his, I dunno."

Gia: "I doubt it's anything as honorable as that, if he's letting demons into Yu-Shan."

Arkadi: "Maybe I'm more valuable to him alive than dead."

Arkadi: "A living, breathing example of why you don't fuck with his affairs."

Arkadi: "For all I know, he thinks my spirit is crushed."

Gia: "Or maybe, when his activities come to light, he plans to pin them all on you."

Arkadi: "...oh joy."

Gia: "See? If you had told us this in the beginning, you could have used my intellect earlier."

Gia: "I think we need to bump this up on our list of priorities, just in case I'm right."

Arkadi: "That might be a good idea."

Arkadi scratches his chin

Arkadi: "I suggest we get Kejak on our side ASAP."

Arkadi: "That failing...find a circle of Solars to buddy with."

Gia: "I think it might be easier to get Kejak on our side than to find a circle of amenable Solars. I doubt we could do both."

Arkadi: "As I said, that failing."

Arkadi: "Better the devil you know."

Arkadi sighs

Arkadi: "I didn't want to tie myself to a faction...FUCK!"

Gia chews her lip. "My Sifu has been courting me for the Bronze Faction for some time. Maybe it's time to choose up." She scratches the back of her neck thoughtfully. "I can't say I agree with them completely, but Bronze is definitely where the power lies. And the paycheck, too."

Gia: "Honestly, Ark, with as much as your career has been buried and sidetracked, I am unsure that aligning yourself with any one group would really be a cause for that group's celebration. No offense, of course."

Arkadi: "None taken."

Arkadi: "Plus, i think they're a bunch of autocratic power-mongers, but that's nor here nor there."

Gia: "Power may be the only thing that can save your grumpy butt."

Arkadi takes a sip of his drink

Arkadi: "Tell me something I don't know."

Arkadi: "...I should've been a solar."

Gia: "Ha."

Gia thinks for a moment.

Gia: "Look, my Sifu is having a party next week.. Sort of a celebration for those of his students who have reached milestones in their training over the last year. Since he's a pretty prominent figure in the Bronze faction, I wouldn't be surprised if Kejak's there."

Gia winces for a moment.

Gia: "I never thought I'd say this, but if you want to be my date to the party.."

Arkadi blinks

Arkadi: "..."

Arkadi: "...er, okay...I guess."

Gia: "PURELY business. We already discussed that you're not my type."

Arkadi: "Of course, purely business."

Gia: "Good."

Arkadi: "You're not really my type either."

Gia: "I realize. I'm too smart and pretty for you. And I'm not some scruffy guy who runs a bar," she adds with a grin.

Arkadi: "...You'll pay for that."

Gia: "Hey, your secret is safe with me."

Arkadi: "...I hope so."

Arkadi sighs and drains his drink

Gia: Her teasing smile fades. "Seriously."

Arkadi: "I know."

Arkadi sighs

Arkadi: "Well, I guess we'd both better get back to work."

Gia: "Yeah, I'm going to have to fill out a Tardy Document as it is."

Arkadi: "I do not envy you..."

Gia: "Eh, I was only there for the week, tracking down obscure paperwork for the Circle. I'll be back in my own office tomorrow."

Arkadi: "At least you aren't dealing with Cliff Westwood, God of Desperate Militiamen..."

Arkadi: "that guy is a certifiable headcase."

Gia: "Yes, I'd imagine. I've never been into organized violence."

Arkadi: "If he ever asks you if you feel lucky...RUN."

Gia: "Sounds delightful."

Arkadi: "A thrill a minute."

Arkadi: "I'll settle the bill for this..."

Arkadi: "you should head back, I've got some contacts to hit up."

Gia: "Thanks, awfully nice of you." Gia stands and stretches before turning to leave. "Oh, and Ark?"

Arkadi: "Yes?"

Gia: "I won't have to keep sneaking and reading your super-secret missives if you do the right thing and just let me read them first." She grins and leaves.

Arkadi shakes his head and grumbles

Arkadi: For what is likely the first time, Gia has set foot in the mansion that is Arkadi's manse. As per usual 3/4 of the furniture is covered in various dropcloths and shows no signs of ever being used. Only in a few keys rooms are things well-lit, comfortable and well-appointed

Arkadi: Arkadi has spent the better part of 90 minutes now cleaning himself up in his bathroomm the occasional muttered curse having emerged as he, miracle of miracles, shaved...

willows is now known as Birds-of-Trinity

Gia sits on the tarp-covered chaise lounge, idly picking lint off its surface. "For crying out loud, Ark, you take longer than a.."

Gia looks up and blinks, wide-eyed.

Gia: "Girl."

Arkadi: "Bite me!"

Arkadi: "The last time i had to get prepped like this was 3 years ago!"

Arkadi: "You're not the one who had to make another trip to that psychotic scissor-slinging crab.'

Gia: "Easy, tiger, no propositions. This is strictly business, remember?" She stands, brushing her silk gown carefully, hoping that it didn't wrinkle in the NINETY MINUTES she sat waiting.

Gia: "Are we ready to go?"

Arkadi finally opens the door (8 xp spent, now he's app 3)

Arkadi is in an extremely well-cut suit, with a somewhat militaristic flair to it, he face is cometely smooth, his hair amazingly immaculate for likely the first time in YEARS he looks like a million jade bits...

Arkadi: "Well?"

Gia turns her head extremely carefully as she hears the door open, so as not to disturb her coiffure of ridiculous size and intricacy. She chews her lip as she examines Ark critically.

Gia: "My, my. You almost look like someone I'd actually bring to one of these things, detective." she grins. "Nice going."

Arkadi: "Down girl, don't get any ideas..."

Gia wrinkles her nose. "I said ALMOST. Now try not to make a scene like the LAST Yu-Shan party we went to, okay?"

Arkadi: "He offended my delicate sensibilities!"

Gia regards him fully, remembering Ark slamming Malic against the wall. "His Illustriousness is going to be there, so not even if someone offends your DELICATE sensibilities."

Arkadi nods "I'll behave..."

Arkadi: "Anyways, Malic won't be there, so with any luck that situation won't crop up again."

Gia: "Good. Now open the door for me like a good date and let's go."

Arkadi opens the door, ahead of her and gestures her through

Gia shrugs her shawl back onto her shoulders and walks out.

willlows has joined #ScrollAndSword

willlows: In some god's confused conception of mortal life, this party is held in a dance hall. In reality, it is not! The hall is built in feverish imitation of an Immaculate cathedral, decorated wird friezes of dragons on every surface.

Instant Hell Spectator? has joined #scrollandsword

willlows: The guests have already begun to help themselves to the large variety of delicious, Ambrosial snacks.

Birds-of-Trinity has quit IRC (Ping timeout )

willlows is now known as Birds-of-Trinity

Arkadi blinks a few times...

Arkadi: (as he walks in of course)

Arkadi whispers '...you're sure this is the place and we didn't wander into some cathedral in Imperial City?'

Gia smiles broadly as they stride into the room, speaking smoothly and quietly between bared teeth. "Remember: we are here to make friends and influence people. If you embarass me at all, if you embarass me as some sort of favor, if you embarass me just a little, I will destroy you utterly."

Arkadi nods a few times 'Roger that..."

Gia: "There are so many people here, I have no clue where Odystos would be.."

Birds-of-Trinity: Odystos appears out of nowhere, winking.

Birds-of-Trinity: He greets his student and her companion with a perfunctory bow. "You're terribly late. I'm glad that you could be bothered to attend my unworthy event."

Arkadi returns the bow, deeper, due to the man's higher status

Arkadi: "That would be my fault, sir."

Arkadi: "I had some trouble..'

Arkadi clears his throat nervously 'Getting dressed.'

Gia: The student's shriek of surprise turns into a giggle, which she stifles, keeping a straight face. "He dresses like a woman, Sir," she states as she bows.

Gia: "Er, that's not to say, in dresses, but.."

Birds-of-Trinity: Odystos chuckles and rearranges some dishevelled locks of hair. "We all have to ...preen...sometimes." He is wearing smoked glasses for no apparent reason.

Arkadi shrugs "I'm afraid that in my case it was 'for once'"

Birds-of-Trinity: "Then you understand what it's like to be out of practice. I'm sneaking in late myself."

Arkadi chuckles "All too well, sir. All too well."

Gia puts her hand to her chest in mock surprise. "You mean, that sneaking up behind me wasn't part of my training?"

Birds-of-Trinity: "If it was, would i tell you?"

Gia laughs in response.

Arkadi: "This is...quite the location."

Gia: "Yes, and the decor is lovely."

Birds-of-Trinity: "My party planner has interesting decorating ideas."

Gia: "Really? Who did you go with this time?"

Birds-of-Trinity: "That one that likes to pretend he is a mortal, what is his name? Despairing-PHRLAR-who-cannot-be-escaped, I think"

Birds-of-Trinity: Odystos is clearly challenged to pronounce this.

Arkadi sorts that through his head

Gia: "Really? You went all out for this. I went to a party for my supervisor's millenial birthday that was planned by him. It was certainly an event."

Birds-of-Trinity: Triumphal Ivory and his lover Valiant Topaz pass by, followed by their small, fashionable clique of young Bronzes.

Birds-of-Trinity: "This year has been very eventful!"

Birds-of-Trinity: The sifu is obviously more pleased with his students than he wants to say, but it would not do to throw an inferior party.

Arkadi tucks an unruly strand of hair behidn his ear...maybe he should've gotten a different cut...

Birds-of-Trinity: "I had to do /something/ to allay my sorrow, at my students' massive failure."

Arkadi: "...failure?"

Arkadi seems slightly clueless about this

Gia: "Yes, we failed to be as mediocre as his older students," she says with a wink.

Arkadi: "Ahhh...well, that's...good..."

Arkadi feels like he's on thin ice here, and slowly slipping...dammit, he's a COP, not a socialite!

Birds-of-Trinity: "Tursina Flags-of-Treachery nearly killed herself and lost the Essence-Shattering Typhoon just last month!"

Arkadi: "You're kidding me..."

Birds-of-Trinity: "She and I are the only survivors of the Citrine Poxes lineage who know that technique."

Arkadi: "Ahh...that particular style..."

Birds-of-Trinity: His facade crumbles. "But overall, this year has been a huge success, for myself and for the Bronze Faction."

Arkadi: "Well, that's excellent news then."

Arkadi has to strongly resist the urge to ask how the search for the Empress is going

Arkadi chokes it down...be diplomatic, don't push buttons...

Gia: "..For the Bronze Faction as well, you say?" Gia asks, trying to worm her way into Faction business.

Birds-of-Trinity: "Oh yes! The North has all but fallen into our hands."

Arkadi: "Really?"

Arkadi: "You finally put the clampdown on the Bull?"

Birds-of-Trinity: "It has been suggested to me that the Bull is easily manipulated."

Arkadi: "...he's always seemed to be more of a force of nature to me...how do you manipulate someone like that?"

Birds-of-Trinity: "Forces of nature come to mind."

Birds-of-Trinity: The chthonic party planner passes by almost as if to punctuate the statement; the air ripples like heat haze with his passing.

Arkadi shakes his head "That's pretty clever, I'll say that..."

Arkadi: "What kind of forces of nature are we talking about here, though? A blizzard won't stop them, as they're long accustomed to extremely adverse conditions..."

Arkadi instinctively slips into his old Lookshy training

Birds-of-Trinity: He aims a significant look at a nearby elemental dragon.

Arkadi takes a good long look at the dragon...who is he?

Arkadi smooths out his hair somewhat...he feels awkward in this suit

Gia has been remaining quiet; at first, simply to be amused by Ark's floundering, and then in near-speechlessness when the floundering didn't happen.

Arkadi supposes it's the suit that's keeping him from getting his usual 'alone-in-a-crowd- feeling...he actually *looks* like he belongs here

Birds Of Binary?: The elemental dragon in question is Humble Blossoms of the Night's Silence

Arkadi files that through his head a bit...trying to remember what the heck that dragon's job is...

Arkadi: 'Err...if it's not prying too much, what precisely do you expect Blossom to do with the Bull?'

Gia follows Arkadi's eyes, lighting on the Elemental in front of him.

Arkadi: "An audit won't have much of an effect on the man, after all..."

Arkadi flashes a slightly wolfish grin

Birds Of Binary?: "Troops must eat. And it is most distressing when they suddenly see their commander as influenced by the enemy."

Arkadi chuckles

Arkadi: "Logistics...smart."

Gia raises crimson eyebrows in understanding.

Arkadi: "Generals study strategy. GOOD generals study logistics."

Gia: "So when are you planning to implement this particular plan? I assume the groundwork has already been laid.

Birds Of Binary?: "And the best?"

Arkadi: "Politics."

Arkadi: "Both internal and external."

Birds Of Binary?: "Spring. I do hope they enjoy the sudden profusion of supplies."

Arkadi: "Oh, that's gong to be an *ugly* year for them...'

Gia cheshires happily.

Birds Of Binary?: Odystus has a fairly solid grin himself.

Arkadi: "I'll have to keep an eye on it as it develops."

Birds Of Binary?: "So, what prompted this meeting? It seems that at least one of you is engrossed in living dangerously."

Arkadi: "A desire to stop doing so, I'd say."

Gia: "Since you were so kind to throw this party in honor of myself and youir other students, I have a bit of a gift for you."

Birds Of Binary?: "A proper attitude. I'm sure your sifu will be proud."

Birds Of Binary?: Odystus raises a well manicured eyebrow in very mild surprise.

Arkadi chuckles "Master Aramis Ber? I've always been of the impression she was somethign of a rabble-rouser herself...albiet far more mild than myself."

Gia presents Odystus with a small, delicately-wrapped package, smoothly elbowing Ark in the side as she does so.

Arkadi does a suprisingly good job of hiding his grunt of pain

Birds Of Binary?: At a gentle caress, the wrapping unfolds of it's own accord, and reveals the intricately crafted chime. The eyebrow falls after a moment of gentle appraisal, a hint of appraisal sneaking through the smoked glasses.

Birds Of Binary?: "Thoughtful, and appreciated. I have the perfect spot in mind already."

Gia: "It's just my token of appreciation for the faith you've had in me, and for giving me a direction and purpose," me smiles, gently emphasizing the bit on direction and purpose.

Birds Of Binary?: "I see. Planning on stealing my thunder?"

Gia grins broadly. "There is enough thunder in the heavens for us both, Sir. And besides, wouldn't one of your brightest pupils finally joining the fold bring you more accolades anyway?"

Birds Of Binary?: "Perhaps. Unless the spirits here have dulled my wits, I see two before me, and not one. Is this an announcement with strings attached?"

Gia: "He's just.. my date." She obviously tries not to sound pained by the words. "My announcement is mine; what he does is up to him. Perhaps I'll prove a good example," Gia says, sounding entirely too innocent.

Arkadi chuckles "I would be a liar if I turned out not to have somethign of an ulterior motive."

Arkadi: "It seems that a man can only rail against 'the system' for so long before he finds that he msut someday become a part of it."

Birds Of Binary?: He nods, small half-smile irritatingly inscrutable. "Well, then you have some new people to meet. Perhaps the experience will be properly edifying for the both of you."

Arkadi: "We hope so, sir."

Gia smiles gratefully, a hand instinctively going to smooth her hair, which she is certain is beginning to come loose of its ornate confines. "Indeed."

Arkadi gives her a stage whisper 'It's fine.'

Gia: "I know," she answers coolly.

Birds Of Binary?: An observant person would notice the pattern followed by the introductions as a minor mandala and a slow working up the ranks, names both known and unknown to you passed as the gladhandling commences.

Arkadi scowls and bites back the 'geez, bite my head off, why don't you?'

Birds Of Binary?: You can't be quite sure, but the introduction as his student and her paramour may be intentional.

Birds Of Binary?: This, however, drops off as time goes on, the joke wearing thin long before you catch the piercing gaze of The Man himself approaching through the crowds.

Gia valliantly fights against her blush with each new introduction as she hopes that this is the extent of her hazing.

Arkadi takes a deep breath....it's just The Boss of All Bosses...but still feels the drop of sweat working its way down the middle of his back

willows: Chejop makes a portly little bow. "Odystus! I had been wondering when you would turn up." His eyes alight on the two younger Sidereals. "Good evening."

Gia curtseys deeply, beaming her best smile. "A pleasure as always, your Illustriousness."

Arkadi gives a lookshy salute to Kejak...right fist over the left side of his chest and bows deeply 'And good evening to you, sir.'

Arkadi 's voice has seemingly got a little crisper...more military

willows: "It has been some time since I have encountered you both. I'm glad to see that you were successful in bringing Ten Bears back to the fold, little sister, and that you have chosen to join with us."

willows: The green is behaving a bit tipsy tonight. It seems like he has had a good deal to drink, and is more talkative than usual.

Gia: "It makes me glad to hear that, Sir. We aspire to help the world, such as you have done."

Birds Of Binary? is now known as Odystos

Arkadi: "Just doing our jobs, sir."

willows: "Excellent, excellent. I saw you at the Slug's Calibration party, but did not get the opportunity to say hello."

Arkadi blinks and his voice actually stammers a bit "Y-you did?"

Gia laughs musically. "I'm surprised you saw us at all, with the ruckus that Malic was making."

Arkadi: "I'm certain he saw *Malic*."

Arkadi: "Hard to miss him."

willows: "Oh, certainly. The Immaculates always try to use the party to cause trouble.

Arkadi: "Oh?"

willows: He nods.

willows: "It's relatively easy to make political coups when the whole Scarlet Dynasty is in one place."

Arkadi: "Heh, very true."

Gia: "And less than sober, as well," Gia grins.

Arkadi: "Oh Mela, don't remind me..."

Arkadi chuckles

Arkadi: "I cannot recall ever having witnessed so many mind-altering substances consumed in such a short period."

willows: He sighs wistfully. "So true."

Arkadi: "With all the dynasty there, I suppose I shouldn't be as surprised as I am that you were there."

willows: "I make efforts to tend my garden, yes."

Gia: "Your attention has wonderful effects, it seems."

willows: The four spend much of the rest of the party drifting about, getting increasingly drunk and rowdy.

willows: Chejop tries to slip past some probing questions, but they are not always as subtle as he had hoped they would turn out to be.

Arkadi: "NONONONO! I'ma telling you...the song goes 'I used ta work in Delargo, at an ol' general store!'

Gia: "Leave Kejak alone, Ark, he's got seniority." Gia giggles. "He can sing it how he wants." She gestures at her empty glass. "Can you make us all another round of those... thingies? The ones you invented at your bar."

Arkadi: "I call 'em...Kaboom"

Arkadi grabs a few bottles from behidn the bar they've situated themselves at and begins mixing the strangest concoction of hard liquors, juices...and there seems to be some sort of hot sauce in there, too...

Gia whispers tipsily to Kejak. "Can I ask you a.. personal.. question?"

willows: He looks up from his empty cup. "Sure."

Gia squints her eyes probingly. "What's the best part about.. you know.. being you?"

Gia: "Honestly."

Arkadi somehow manages to slide the glasses right down to their respective drinkers

willows: He lifts up the little spear of fruits decorating his...wait...this is not his drink. Oh well. He eats them.

willows: "That's a good question."

Arkadi: "It'sh gotta be da wimmin!'

willows: "....mmm, Ocean Pearl...."

Gia hits Ark on the arm to shush him.

Gia: "Ocean Pearl is the best part about being you?" Gia grins.

Arkadi tries to process this information

willows: "...she IS pretty, but, no..."

willows: He taps his fingers.

willows: "I couldn't pick one. It's ALL the women."

Gia grins and holds up her Kaboom for a toast. "To all the women, then. We really are quite delightful."

willows: "To all the women!"

Arkadi: "To the women!"

Odystos: "To all the women!"

Arkadi downs the drink in one clean shot

Gia does the same, mentally cursing herself the whole time. How many of these has she had, anyway? She can't recall.

willows: Chejop spills a bit on his shirt.

Arkadi blinks a few times...even HE has lost count over how much he's drunk

Arkadi: "Whaddabout you, Gia...what's the best part 'bout bein' you?"

Gia picks up a silk napkin and begins dabbing at the spill on Kejak's shirt. "We should do this again sometime, the four of us.

Arkadi: "Yeah!"

Gia: "The best part about being me?" She tilts her head to one side, almost comically.

Arkadi nods

Gia: "My friends. Or my hair. Probably my hair."

Arkadi chuckles

Gia pats her carefully-placed coiffure, which is in a state of slight dishevelment from the revelry.

Gia: "Your turn, Ark!" Arkadi chuckles

Arkadi: "Lesse here...discountin' the fact that I own a bar, and am surrounded by pretty ladies and great guys..."

Arkadi: "I guess that I can help folks better now..."

Gia leans and whispers into Kejak's ear. "That thing about pretty ladies? Yeah. He was SO referring to me."

Arkadi 's seemingly omniscient ears for once...don't hear that

Gia: "How about you, Sifu mine? What's great about being you? Is it the whole ninja element, or what?"

Odystos: "The best part of being me..." He pauses and eyes the assembled group from behind crooked glasses. "That I can steal what everybody else's best part is like that!"

Arkadi tilts back in just chair, breaking into big rib-wracking guffaws

Gia giggles.

Odystos holds up what he expects to be a demonstration, but just winds up with yet another drink, and better hair.

Gia applauds! "Nicely done, Teacher."

Arkadi: 'We've gotta do this again sometime...maybe at my bar...it'll be great...free booze!'

Gia nods ar Kejak. "His booze really IS free, you know."

Arkadi: "Hey! Whaddya mean by *that*?"

Arkadi bops Gia on the arm

Gia: "I mean that you don't charge your friends. Or me." She grins woozily. "Free: something which you do not have to pay for. It's a wonderful, wonderful word."

Arkadi: "Ah...yah...yer right! I don't."

Arkadi: "And I thout you were a friend..."

willows is now known as hermod

Gia: "That's totally up to you, Ark m'boy."

Gia: Downs another drink; it's not Kejak's, but it's also not hers.

Arkadi drapes an arm over her shoulder 'Of course yer my friend, I wouldn't get you free drink otherwise, eh!'

Gia raises someone else's glass once more. "To free booze!"

Arkadi: 'Amen!'

Arkadi hefts a shot glass he mysteriously produced

Arkadi ponders

Arkadi: "To toasts!"

Arkadi hefts the glass again

hermod: "To ..uhm..spiders!"

Arkadi: "Er...don't think gia'll like that one..."

Gia: "My friend, there are some things even I will not drink to."

Arkadi chuckles

Arkadi: "Toldja."

Gia: "To things which are not spiders!"

Arkadi: "Hey-hey!"

hermod: "Right!"

Arkadi FINALLY downs the drink

Arkadi ponders for a moment

Arkadi: 'Who's payin fer all these drinks, anyways?'

hermod: Odystos bursts into tears.

Arkadi: "oh...right."

Arkadi: "sorry, man."

Arkadi pats him on the back

Gia: "Hey, at least you have pretty windchimes to console you."

Odystos sniffles sadly, then has a bright idea. "Wanna expand into catering?"

Arkadi: "...me?:

Arkadi: "I can't cook..."

Gia: "I think maybe Osprey can, I don't know. He's awfully domestic for the quiet warrior type."

Arkadi: "Can't see him bein' a cook..."

Gia: That stew he made out of our survival homework in the South wasn't so bad."

Odystos scribbles a contract down on a napkin, and hands it over. "You handle the rest of the party. And drinks. Mostly the drinks."

Arkadi chuckles

Odystos: "Hey, your first official assignment! That deserves a toast!"

Arkadi: "hold on a moment!"

Arkadi reaches over the bar, and grabs a bottle

Arkadi: "THERE!"

Gia puts her arm around Odystos and raises her glass.

Arkadi pours the drinks...reaching up to fill gia's empty glass

Arkadi: "Ya don't make it easy, do ya babe?"

Gia: "That's not my job, Arkie."

Arkadi: "'sa good thing yer cute, or I'd never let you call me that without some serious repa-reperea-consequences!"

Arkadi finishes pouring his drink

Gia: "Damn straight I'm cute." She elbows Kejak. "Right?"

hermod: He grunts in agreement.

Gia: "Excellent."

Gia folds her arms on the bar, puts her head on her forearms, and promptly falls asleep.

Arkadi blinks

Arkadi: "Heh...she can't hold her liquor can she..."

Arkadi chuckles, downs another drink...promptly before his eyes roll back in his head and passes out