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Imrama paces gently through the air of the Labyrinthine Cascade.

Imrama He has come to a tenuous hold on it patterns and inter-workings; just enough to set out on his latest errand without asking for directions.

Imrama Lately, he has taken to routing all of his trips through the little-used kitchens; an important hub of the manse' pathways. Twice on this journey, he takes a wrong turn and ends up in one of the gardens. The blossoms are lovely, but today he is looking for a rose by a different name.

alsoquin The room Imrama is looking for -- a fairly small one, with an unassuming door -- seems to be sitting near the central water-path today; it'd be easy to overlook for one with slightly less information on how to find it.

Imrama stands on the air just outside the door, and knocks twice on it, loudly. "Betrand!" he calls inside, "May I have a word?"

alsoquin A few moments and the sound of shuffling from within pass by before a voice answers... "Uh... come in..."

Imrama opens the door and enters, bowing to the room's occupant. "Salutations, Bertrand. I am Imrama Stromfound. I have come to introduce myself, and to share words with you, if I may."

alsoquin The room -- a fairly small cell my cascade standards -- seems to be in a state of complete upheaval -- papers, items of clothing, raw food ingredients, and small potted plants are strewn about in an utterly unpredictable order. At the midst of it stands Bertrand Tallani, a shockingly nondescript man with a look of comic worry drawn across his face. (...)

alsoquin He's wearing some sort of green, vaguely military uniform that it looks like he probably made himself, and a short sword of green and brown metallic wood is awkwardly held at his belt. One hand is holding a giant sack of rice and the other a small azalea, both of which he drops to bow to the Solar.

alsoquin "Gr..greetings, sir."

Imrama offers his hand and gives Bertrand a hearty shake. "It is good to meet you. I've come to see how you are, and find out more about how our Traitor Supreme fits into the vast web that is the government of the Sunlands. Do you have a moment to indulge my curiosity?"

alsoquin "Um... sure, I'm not doing anything right now...." He walks over and moves a large sack of potatoes off of an intricately carved wooden chair, and offers Imrama a seat.

Imrama "Thank you." Imrama takes the seat offered him. "So, officer Tallani - you've had a lot longer than I to adjust to this place and this nation. How do you feel about it? How do you find your place here?"

alsoquin "It's, uh... it's very... nice." He pauses. "I never lived in a city before." It looks like he's probably been shopping in Solaria quite a bit, based on the distance from which some of his botanical samples range. "I guess it's not so bad to, uh... get up every morning... work on my projects... as long as th...the Empress isn't in one of her moods..."

Imrama smiles and turns his head in interest. "What sort of projects are you working on?"

alsoquin "I, uh, made that chair." He pauses for a moment.

alsoquin "And, uh..." He looks around at his vast collection of strange flora.

alsoquin "I've been investigating the... latent Essence properties of, uh... native wildflowers...."

Imrama leans back and forth, looking down to examine his chair. "You made this? Its a rare chair that both looks appealing and feels comfortable. But tell me, honestly please: is this research what you want most to contribute to the cause of the Sunlands?"

Bertrand looks taken aback that someone has asked him a question about what he wants.

Bertrand After a moment, he manages to answer: "....no."

Imrama nods. "Thank you for your honesty, Bertrand. Tell me, is there something else that might suit you better?"

Bertrand seems to think for a moment. Imrama notices that a few of the potted plants seem to be subconsciously reacting to his mental state, some of the closed buds opening up as something vaguely resembling a hint of self-confidence crosses Bertrand's mind.

Bertrand "Well, uh... you see..." He pauses again, and then, something seems to snap inside him and the words come out like a violent torrent.

Bertrand "I used to live in a little village, where nobody ever did anything, except maybe get eaten by wolves, and we never really had a lot of food, and everything, and then I joined up with the Red Lily because they promised the mayor that they'd do all this great stuff for us and make us into heroes who could come back to town and make it better than ever but

Bertrand "Then I got sent off into the army here and I just sat around and drilled with Rannath every day and at first it was so terrible but it started to get better after a while and I actually learned to use a sword and fight and I was just starting to get good at it and thinking maybe the Sunlands weren't so bad and I should stop reporting to the Lily but THEN

Bertrand "That scary guy with the sharp knives and he was covered in mouths" -- he visibly shudders at this -- "grabbed me and dropped me off in front of the Empress and she told me I was a traitor and just kept calling on me so she could make fun of me and threaten to KILL ME and

Bertrand "It's not so bad to live here and now I have all these powers and I can do things I never could before and eat great food and not have to work on a farm but nobody ever stopped to ask what I wanted before and I haven't been able to leave the city so I haven't been able to go back to my town or see what's going on there and

Imrama listens with a sympathetic expression, nodding and grimacing at each of Bertrand's recounted misfortunes.

Bertrand "Nobody even CARES or asked what they could do to help them out or if I had a family or ANYTHING so I just sit here and work with these stupid plants all day and hope someone will pay attention to me someday but NO the SOLARS have IMPORTANT ADVENTURES to go on and WAR COUNCILS and none of them even knows who the PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THEIR COUNTRY ARE AND OH MY GODS I JUST GET SO ANGRY SOMETIMES I WANT TO KILL SOMEONE"

Bertrand Bertrand's face is bright red and he's hyperventilating at this point; he kind of peters out and collapses to a sitting position on the floor, breathing heavily.

Imrama puts his hand on Bertrands shoulder. "There, there. I can see that you've been through quite a lot."

Bertrand huffs a little, then fumbles for a big glass jug and takes an extremely large gulp of water.

Imrama "The Sunlands are gifted with mighty guardians and stewards. They have kept this land and people relatively safe in a time of great tumult. But I can see also that that blessing is, for our nation, also a burden."

Bertrand nods, still chugging water.

Imrama "Your experience suggests an internal danger to the Sunlands - the risk that its people will come to feel too alienated from its leaders. This is a problem that should be addressed."

Bertrand nods again and looks up at Imrama.

Imrama furrows his brow, purses his lips for a moment, and then looks Bertrand in the eye. "Bertrand Tallani, you once acted in secret, gathering information about the Sunlands for the Red Lily."

Bertrand nods.

Imrama "What if you were to gather information publically, instead, reporting the mood and concerns of the people to their government? Would that interest you?"

Bertrand sits there for a moment before nodding once more. "That... does interest me."

Imrama gives a short, happy laugh. "I am glad it does, Bertrand. I am glad it does. I am very new to this place; I don't have any official responsibilities yet. But I will mention to the Empress that you have devised a way to be of service to her nation."

Bertrand nods warily. After a long moment, he says: "Sir?"

Imrama "Yes?"

Bertrand "Thank you."

Imrama "You are very welcome, Bertrand. Thank you for your hospitality." Imrama rises from his chair, gently pushes it back into place, bows, and leaves the room.

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