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Zahara neatly folds her extra changes of clothing, putting them in a suitcase. Normally she would have servants do this, but today she finds the activity soothing.

Thirteen A few sharp raps come from the closed door.

Zahara "What is it? I'm busy."

Thirteen "It is Thirteen. I have some things to discuss with you regarding the renovation of our armies."

Zahara "Lovely. Can't it wait until you walk to the Pole of Ice?"

Thirteen "The sooner you begin working on these devices, the sooner our strategic situation will become even moderately reasonable."

Zahara sighs. "Fine. Enter." She releases the Essence lock with a thought and a click, then resumes her packing.

Thirteen pushes the door open lightly and steps inside. He immediately doubles over and retches up a few sheets of paper.

Zahara pauses, quirking an eyebrow, "I hope you know that's disgusting. You should not do such things in polite company."

Thirteen "Thank you for your advice."

Thirteen "These are the performance specifications. The design and construction is your bailiwick, of course."

Zahara "Of what?"

Thirteen "For our armies to coordinate themselves effectively, we will require a communications device. It should be easily useable and capable of being overriden to either the on or off position from our headquarters."

Thirteen "Every officer will need one."

Thirteen "That is the most important item."

Zahara "I see. And I alone should create such things? How is it that I have the time and resources on hand?"

Thirteen pauses.

Thirteen "We all must contribute our particular strengths if we wish to win this war. I am a strategist unparalleled in this world. You are an artisan reknowned across Creation."

Thirteen "We are both aware that your peerless crafting techniques are sufficient to accomplish tasks much greater than this with little effort or concern."

Zahara eyes him warily, "I can only assume you do not like what I have already accomplished with said skills."

Thirteen "They are ideal for their purposes. My tactics create new purposes, which mean new devices are necessary to fulfill them."

Thirteen "I do not expect you to anticipate every desire I come up with in my plans. Nor should you expect this -- if you did, you would not need me."

Zahara "I see." She pauses. "So what you are looking for is, say, a small artifact, that would allow communication between all wearers of like artifacts, and that one could focus on a single person, a group, or broadcast to all wearers?"

Thirteen "Essentially, yes. It is important that mortals can use them, and that they can be controlled by a central artifact, so that if one falls into enemy hands, it can be deactivated."

Zahara "Ah yes." she says drily. "That would be a good idea."

Thirteen "How long do you anticipate this taking?"

Zahara "Indeed, I have already created ten artifacts that work quite similarly to what you have described."

Thirteen "Ah."

Zahara They, however, do not work on mortals, although I believe I could modify them to do so.

Thirteen "I must apologize. I underestimated your tactical acumen."

Thirteen "Excellent."

Zahara "Pardon?"

Zahara seems slightly taken aback

Thirteen "As I stated, I assumed you would not have thought to create these devices. I was in error."

Zahara "I believe that may just have been a compliment."

Zahara "Something I thought never to hear from your lips."

Thirteen snickers. "I do my best to recognize virtue in others as well as myself. It would be mere foolishness to deny the capabilities of the Sunlanders."

Thirteen "After all, I did come looking for you."

Zahara "In that you are correct. Which is why I was so surprised that the first thing you did was just that, hardly taking a breath before criticizing us and our works.

Thirteen "I do my best to keep an objective view of my capabilities. I am a peerless tactician, a powerful warrior, a brilliant sage, and a poor diplomat."

Thirteen "I hoped, and hope, that you would do the same. I cannot criticize your accomplishments, which are impressive, nor your resources, which are vast; merely your planning."

Thirteen "Nobody, after all, is perfect."

Zahara looks him over, eyes narrowed for a moment, then seems to relent. "Cerin assures me that you are worth having as an ally. If you were to work slightly harder on your diplomacy, it would be...more palatable. I require the respect of those who surround me, or things do not go well. (...)

Zahara Now, I make you this offer. We shall start over. These seven days to come, we will work together. We will do our best to be polite to each other, and offer suggestions rather than pointing out wrongs. If, after those seven days, this has worked out to both ouf our benefit, we shall thus remove these," she touches the collar around her neck, "until we wish to share Essence with eachother in the future."

Zahara "If not, you may leave, as you stated earlier."

Zahara "And,"

Zahara smiles slightly, "I promise not to make any more observations about your habit of walking places, although I will offer you alternate modes of transport."

Thirteen smirks at the last comment. "I am willing to attempt this, although I warn you that regardless of my efforts at diplomacy, it is still your strong suit, not mine."

Thirteen "And fear not: I welcome access to high-speed travel."

Zahara "Indeed. I shall make allowances."

Thirteen "There is one other device necessary for me to properly mobilize the barbarians."

Zahara smiles. "Do you like demons? I have these lovely wasps that are absolutely wonderful for riding."

Thirteen "To be honest, I have never encountered demons before. But I welcome new experiences."

Zahara "Well, we shall have to discuss their various capabilities, as they will be useful in the upcoming war. Now, what is this device?"

Thirteen "The barbarians are natural skirmishers and powerful warriors, but they are...wasted in formation fighting; it plays directly away from their strengths."

Thirteen "I propose dividing them up into small units of approximately ten or twelve; to maintain command coherency, each unit will have its own officer with a communications device."

Thirteen "In order for these units to project meaningful force, they will also need some form of high-powered weapon."

Zahara "Such as?"

Thirteen "I am not sure. Ideally, it would be a powerful projectile weapon that requires little training, along the lines of firewands, but without the ammunition issues."

Zahara "Hmmm, such a thing has not been seen this Age."

Thirteen "True."

Thirteen "Perhaps its time has come."

Zahara "I could create such a thing, given the time and materials. But, usable by mortals.. that presents an extra challenge. A purely mechanical device may not work as well as an essence-fueled one."

Thirteen "Hm."

Thirteen "Would it be possible for the devices to draw Essence out of the surrounding area? Or perhaps out of some sort of provided Essence-containing chamber."

Zahara "Hmm, That may be possible. I would require a factory to make them in usable amounts, however. Hmmm. I suppose I could make one of those too."

Zahara "It may be most efficient to simply modify the arrows that they can fire, and possibly make the bows faster to draw. Many of them have experience with archery, and slings."

Zahara "That way they do not have to learn a new technique, merely improve on an existing one. It would take much time to train them all in such new devices."

Thirteen "This is also a possibility. All that is necessary is that they be able to apply significant force even in small units. As the crafter, the details are yours to determine."

Thirteen "Although of course I will provide advice and consultation if you so desire."

Zahara "I will come to you with prototypes, to see if our visions align."

Thirteen "You do me honor to consult me, sister."

Thirteen "Lastly, these small units should possess an even more powerful weapon for dealing with hardened threats. One per unit should suffice. If necessary, two people may be required to prepare and utilize it."

Zahara smiles, and inclines her head.

Zahara "I worry if such a thing should fall into enemy hands, though."

Thirteen "Perhaps they can be made, hm. Volatile? Such that experimentation with such a weapon would bring drastic results."

Zahara "But with safeguards for our troops, of course."

Thirteen "Indeed."

Thirteen "Even should they possess such a device, they will not have the strategic presence necessary to apply it most effectively, nor the execution speed to reconfigure their armies."

Thirteen "My current campaign strategy calls for us to begin our primary offensive when Birds-of-Trinity returns to us."

Zahara "And where would you have us strike?"

Thirteen "She and you are the pivotal elements in our battle plan."

Zahara "I?"

Thirteen "Indeed."

Thirteen "I shall reveal the plan when we are prepared to begin. I would not want to, eh...spoil the surprise. " A grin is clearly evident in Thirteen's voice as he dips his head and exits Zahara's chambers.

Zahara raises a brow and watches him go. "A strange man, that one," she says as the door locks behind him. "But intriguing."

Tags: (:tags War Plans, Telepathy Rings :)

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