alsoquin The dawn is cut short by the encroachments of Luna across the Sun's disk, as Imrama stands with the Western Circle upon the striking Black Salt Cliffs. At the moment, Saraj is staring out at the sea with a distant look, while the others appear to be milling about with differing amounts of nervousness.
Imrama "Silver Luna now becomes Gray - standing betwixt day and night."
alsoquin Revan nods at Imrama's words. "Ominous."
Imrama "Now is our hour: yours, mine, the Empress'. Our two circles take on guardianship of it as the two circles that mark the sky."
Imrama turns to Saraj. "What is our course, Captain?"
alsoquin Vasha smiles. "That is very glorious." He salutes the sun.
alsoquin The Captain turns around. "Let me go into it, then. Saraya, be a dear and bring the map out?"
alsoquin The Night Caste mutters an epithet regarding Saraj's intimate proclivities and goes to retrieve a small stone from one of the nearby houses, which when placed on the ground projects a detailed, three-dimensional map of the West into the air.
alsoquin Saraj moves to point at the map. "By our most recent measurements, the Lurking Horror is located here," he says, pointing to a location some distance south of Abalone. As he points, a stylized grey-tentacled-thing symbol appears on the map.
Imrama "Beneath the waves?"
alsoquin Saraj nods. "By our count, it sleeps about four miles below the surface, in the Jarliz trench. But when the Sun enters its fullest state of eclipse and its hated rays can no longer harm the beast, it will rise, and set loose its spawn upon the entirety of the west."
Imrama "In ancient days, Admiral Leviathan would have called every ship of the line to that spot." Imrama points to the tentacle sigil. "All the force of the Deliberate Navy would have been brought to bear upon such a danger to Creation. Now, it is to us to stop such a fate from befalling the West."
alsoquin Revan nods. "You've dealt with Leviathan before?"
Imrama "My predecessor, Askaru, knew him. The two lords of the Admiralty: Leviathan the sea, and Askaru the air. They were great allies, once, great friends."
alsoquin Revan responds quickly. "Maybe you'd have had better luck dealing with him, then."
alsoquin Saraj puts one hand up, palm open. "Let's not get into that right now."
alsoquin "Now, if all we had to do was deal with this, matters might be a little less worrisome."
Imrama gives a quizical look, but lets Rezan's words pass.
alsoquin Vasha picks up. "Yes. Unfortunately, the forces of darkness have a tendency to draw together in times of strife."
alsoquin Saraj continues. "So we're looking at at least three other possible problems here."
Imrama pales, if just slightly. "Three?"
alsoquin Saraj nods. "Yep! Exciting, isn't it?" He grins.
alsoquin "First, we have the thrice-damned Lintha family."
alsoquin "We've tangled with them too many times to count, now, and we've always come out on top, but... we have reason to believe they've dredged up the Crimson Skull Fleet and staffed it with their own forsaken dead."
Imrama "The Crimson Skull Fleet?" Imrama's eyes fire at the talk - it promises thrilling adventure!
alsoquin Saraj nods and adopts a ghost-story expression as he speaks. "Long ago there were nine giants, behemoths who tended the nine seas and dwelt peacefully in the West."
alsoquin He scrunches up his face a little as he continues. "It is said.... that the founder of the Lintha family slew them all... and made vessels of their skulls."
alsoquin Saraj pauses dramatically.
Imrama watches and listens intently, demonstrating his facility as an audience.
alsoquin "They were sunk, long ago, by a single Solar hero... but at last, the Lintha have dredged them up and set them to float again."
alsoquin Vasha nods in agreement.
alsoquin "They're opportunistic, greedy bastards," Saraj says, slipping back into more vernacular talk. "They won't hesitate to use the opportunity to take out a threat to their plans."
Imrama "Do you know, or suspect, what those plans are?"
alsoquin "If I had to guess? They have something they think can be used to control the Horror, and want to turn it to their own purposes." Revan nods slowly in the background.
Imrama "So, as we work to defend Creation from the Lurking Horror, the Lintha are our natural opponents, as they seek to control it. You mentioned at least two other threats?"
alsoquin Saraj nods. "Number two...."
alsoquin Vasha interrupts. "The Black Omen."
alsoquin Saraj: "Are you familiar with the Bodhisattva Anointed by Dark Water?"
Imrama "He is the preeminent Death Lord of the West, is he not?"
alsoquin Vashu continues. "Yes. He has constructed a mobile fortress powered by the souls of the unrighteously slain. He seeks to slay us regardless, but preventing us from stopping the Horror will serve his plans as well."
Imrama "That sounds to me like the sort of foul strategy a Death Lord would devise. I am not surpirsed to hear that you have already made an enemy of him - indeed, it would be a surprise and a disappointment if you had not. But there remains at least one further threat, yes?"
alsoquin Revan nods. "Yes, at least one."
alsoquin Saraj continues on. "And then we have the Kelarthic Seal."
alsoquin Vasha points to five locations on the map, and intricate, rotationally-symmetrical characters appear in red.
Imrama "Deeper and deeper, I follow the maze."
alsoquin Saraj: "There was an ancient work of sorcery applied to the Fourth Sea, anchored by these points, that allowed control and influence over its waters -- a powerful weapon, in the hands of the Deliberative."
alsoquin Vashu: "Unfortunately, someone has seized control of it, and the Horror sleeps right at the heart of that sea."
Imrama "Unfortunate indeed. When you say 'control', what precisely do you mean? What is this weapon capable of?"
alsoquin Bitter Elm, who has been quiet thus far, speaks slowly from one side. "When it was used in the Azure-Black Confrontation, a hole was opened in the water beneath a fleet of three hundred vessels."
alsoquin She keeps speaking, still quietly: "Those aboard fell three miles, through razor-sharp blades of ocean water, to their deaths at the sea floor, and the water covered their bodies for all time."
Imrama "A mighty and terrible weapon indeed, then."
alsoquin Saraj nods.
Imrama "Something that would, no doubt, be very useful against the Lurking Horror. But it has fallen into the hands of someone or something. Any clue as to who?"
alsoquin Revan shakes his head. "We only discovered its existence recently, and each of the control-isles is heavily guarded."
Imrama "The work of heroes is rarely easy, is it?"
alsoquin Saraj grins. "Never."