The demon wasn't quite sure how to react to the salutes, so he simply clasped his hands together and nodded. "Good, good. A pleasure to meet you." he states with a warm tone. "I am ready to depart whenever you are, though I am in no rush, truthfully."
Jäger nodded. "Kahlee is outside waiting at the vehicles. You can speak to her directly if you wish." With that said, Jäger bowed his head and walked with Yarah. "So, what did you feel?"
Gavrilov and Fallstrom nodded at Therasmus. The two soldiers both appeared to be around thirty years of age with Fallstrom being a bit more slender than Gavrilov. Gavrilov had sharp features and dark hair, hinting at his Pavlovian background, while Fallstrom had fair features, blonde hair and blue eyes- much like Jäger himself.
Both men wore the standard fatigue, trenchcoat and plate armor combination with their helmets hooked up to a belt-loop on their hips. They wore dark-brown berets on their heads. Gavrilov was armed with the standard-issue 7mm rifle while Fallstrom carried a submachinegun.
"We can depart right away sir or we could wait for the rest of the convoy. For your safety I think it is best for us to wait," said Gavrilov. Fallstrom opened one of the rear passenger doors and stepped aside.
"See you tomorrow, captain." Fontaine said to Krantz as the later was leaving. He looked to see who else was leaving when he noticed his first mate. Must have been a short conversation then. Before he could wave him over, Karam walked to where Jäger's men were waiting. 'What is he doing now?'
"Miss kahleen?" Karam calmly spoke to get her attention "Do you have a moment?"
Kahleen, who was standing inbetween two of the Gothian trucks and observing her men, turned around. She bowed her head. "Mr. Vaikar, correct? A pleasure." She gestured with her hand in an apologizing fashion. "You'l have to forgive me, my mind is elsewhere at the moment." She clasped her hands together. "How may I help you?"
"It's in regards of your stones." He began"I do not wish to pry too much if you do not wish to disclose, but I've had some experiences of my own while traveling through this sea, premonitions and visions if you will. I'm trying to figure out if there is a connection somewhere. It would do me an honor if we could meet in private so I can gain a better understanding."
Kahleen looked at Karam in silence. Is this a sincere request or yet another attempt to slander my name?
She grunted. "Very well." She gestured for him to follow as Kahleen started to walk away from the convoy and towards a section of the consulate walls. A tree provided ample cover and shade from curious eyes while also allowing Kahleen and Karam to spot anyone approaching. Once the two of them stood next to the tree Kahleen turned around. "This should be private enough."
"Very well. Let me begin by saying that I believe you and Ackerman. I couldn't say anything due to my own captain being sceptical on such matters and well, you heard the rest of the fleet. I believe you, despite the lack of evidence because of my own experience last night with creatures of legend manifesting themselves in front of me during an evening prayer, pushing me root out corruption on board our ship. So you can see why I believe you." He looked towards the direction of the guards then his captain to make sure nobody was coming, then back to her.
"I need to know if this has happened before to others under similar circumstances. Because I'm beginning to suspect that there are not just gods and devils at work here. So please, miss Kahleen, describe to me how the ritual works and how your gods revealed the truth to you. And if you wish to know about what I saw, I will share."
Greetings captain. We will depart shortly.
Fallensteller nodded affirmatively at Högborg. "Good. We have a busy day ahead of us aboard the Zuflucht and so the sooner we arrive, the better." She glanced over to Kahleen, who was stepping away from the group to speak with Karam privately. They were far out of earshot and, quickly, out of sight as well, and Fallensteller silently wondered whether she should be concerned. The Zuflucht and its crew had made very little contact with the Eye of Horus' crew to her knowledge, so she assumed this was a matter that didn't concern her. Still, the secrecy bothered her after such an intense examination moments earlier. When she looked back, the other men nearby were explaining the safety rationale of waiting for the rest of the Blixtvåg's accompaniment before departing. "Ah, of course, we can spare a few minutes. We wouldn't want to risk attack by any late-coming cultists..."
Mesahri stood by idly, trying to seem unconcerned with the general tension in the air. When Schuster explained that there was suspicion and disagreements within the fleet, she had suspected treachery, but the flying accusations of murder and torture were far worse than she expected. Still, it appeared that the Admiral was an even-tempered man, and that if Fallensteller really was a criminal of some sort, that she would be removed without retribution being taken against the rest of the ship, bats included. She closely and curiously examined the jeeps as she stood there, as It would be her first time riding in a motorized land vehicle, and she was highly curious about the inner workings. She didn't quite feel comfortable asking the Captain whether the engine was powered by coal and steam, like the Zuflucht, and how such a motor could be installed within such a small frame. Fallensteller didn't seem as patient as Commander Schuster.
Therasmus looked between the soldiers and the vehicle as the door opened, standing there in silence as it stood ajar as he was trying to piece together that they meant by the gesture. Eventually he realized it was an invitation to sit inside, so he gently moved past Fallstrom and gave him a nod in thanks as he seated himself. Hands resting on his knees, he gave yet another nod of acknowledgement before speaking. "You gentlemen are the experts, so I will take your advice. Let's wait for the rest of the convoy to get moving and then we may depart with them. I am in no rush, after all." he said, truthfully. Any and all thinking he had to do could be done most anywhere, so it made no difference to him whether there would be a slight delay or not.
Kahleen looked at Karam with a neutral expression. It was impossible to discern what the Zamerian was thinking. She shifted her weight from one hip to the other and crossed her arms. "I believe you as well and I will help you," said Kahleen.
She opened one of her pouches to reveal the small sack of prayerstones. "This is how they work," she said while placing the rocks on the ground before them. Kahleen then kneeled down while motioning for Karam to do the same.
"[Does Karam Vaikar speak truth or lies?]"
Torsson spotted Mesahri observing the jeeps. He excused himself from his men and approached the... bat? He laughed nervously and nodded towards the jeep closest to the two of them. "Your first time seeing a car, yeah? Do you want to take a look inside?"
Karam nodded and kneeled as instructed. After she spoke again, he waited to see what follows with growing curiosity.
The Dawnbreaker's entourage had left the meeting a few minutes after it had adjourned for the day, leaving Dobbs in a state of confusion and doubt as they
made their way back. He wasn't sure what to think after all this, it was a right mess. Was I wrong to bring it this early? he furiously thought to himself as they
made their way back to the Dawnbreaker, Ackermann in tow. As the landing skiff made it's way back to the vessel, Dobbs stared intently at Ackermann.
"We played our cards too early."
Vunor sighed as the meeting adjourned, shaking his head. It looked as if perhaps the admiral's fleet was not so united as it seemed. If we are incapable of
holding even a small sliver of unity, how can we hope to prevail? he whispered in his mind. Thoughts of disappointment and frustration entered and clouded his head as he excused himself and slowly left for his quarters. Walking through the consulate towards his destination, he could not but help feel growing doubt on what was to come.
After arriving at his quarters, he closed the door behind him softly and locked the door and turned to face his room. It was an empty room save for a few cushions lying around, with covers over its windows which would leave the room shrouded in darkness except for the soft glow of candlelight near the center. A small assortment of candles littered in a broken circle around a lone altar: a small black stone with glowing blue runes engraved onto it surrounded by offerings of incense, earth, and herbs in bowls. Other bowls also lay empty nearby from previous uses for offerings as well and, most noticably, a bloody knife made of bone. He took one of the cushions and placed it before the altar, before sitting it on cross-legged.
He breathed deeply, before taking one of the spare bowls and flickered his hand to it, muttering an incantation. Water condensed from the air and clung into
the bowl, coalescing more and more until it formed a shallow puddle. He gently placed the bowl near the stone, arranging it neatly and orderly among the other current offerings placed in there. He moved a hand to the bone blade next and grabbed it, bringing it close to him. He shivered, as this was never the enjoyable part of the ceremony. He brought another empty bowl close to him and placed a hand over it, knife etching along its leathery surface.
The blade dragged on his skin, cutting deep as Vunor brought it across with force and letting loose his blood. He kept the blade moving until it went across his entire hand and quickly placed it down. The blood seeped slowly, the dark red liquid falling and collecting into the bowl below until a pool of blood was formed. As soon as it was deemed enough, Vunor took his hand away, blood still dripping and small droplets staining the floor and cushion below him as he rubbed an ointment on the wound and wrapped it in a cloth bandage from one of his pouches before returning his focus to the altar. The blood bowl was now put into its respective place near the stone and Vunor focused ahead. He brought his hands together, then slowly apart as he made a deep humming.
"Vh'rem stra ir poish kazazsh." he started before pausing. ["I deliver an offering to the Five. I seek guidance."]
Nita exited the balcony, practically crawling on her hand and knees as to not attract attention of her position. She gleefully exited, excited of what had transpired. Intrigue and mystery. Betrayal and plots! she thought to herself. Of course, she didn't have any stakes in this so it was fun to watch the human visitors bicker among each other. She didn't dare make herself known however, for fear of angering them, especially Vunor. She had not been invited, but she still overheard it all.
She walked down the halls of the consulate thinking to herself on how so much more fun this was than the everyday doings of her life. Gather this, look at that. Don't be too hasty Nita! Nita, don't do anything I tell you not to do. Ugh. she fumed to herself in her head. I'm so sick and tired of this. Why does it seem like everyone else does important things while I'm stuck with this tedious shit? Of course I wasn't invited to this meeting... he doesn't think I'm ready. Why can't I do
useful and interesting things- Her train of thought then came to a sudden stop upon a realization. What if I went with them? A childish smile formed on her
lips. Why yes, that sounds FUN.
Eventually, Váradi returned to the Eisenstrasse with the group of soldiers tasked to travel with him. He made his way aboard via the cargo elevator, and promptly made his way to the front. Luckily for the group that Ephraim, Gawain, and Kass brough aboard, he hadn't seen them yet.
Krantz and Von Strauss would arrive minutes afterwards, boarding silently and heading straight for the bridge as well.
As soon as Krantz stepped onto the lower bridge, he looked to Váradi. "Inform the rest of the ship of what's to come, and instruct them to begin preparations for our future battle." he stated, strolling over towards him. "Yes, sir. Right away." responded Váradi, before quickly stepping over and using the intercom mounted on the wall.
Krantz eventually turned back to Von Strauss. "How long, Strauss?" he asked, locking his eyes onto Von Strauss's shades. "...The night before we left Blackstone, sir." she responded. Only a few days. And since then, she's been acting odd but hasn't done anything against the ship or the fleet.
Krantz eventually sighed. "I expect you to prove yourself loyal to me and the crew. Whatever I ask, you do it. Understand?" he said after a moment, to which Von Strauss nodded. "I will, sir. There's no need to worry." she responded, standing at attention and folding her arms behind her back like normal.
Krants nodded, before turning to gaze out of the observation windows. "...You'll still be going to the Zuflucht later. We still have our obligations to keep an eye on Fallensteller. This evening, I'll be going to the Admiral's ship alone. You will remain here with Váradi. Understood?"
Von Strauss hesitated for a moment, before responding. "Understood, sir." He doesn't want me to go with him? Damnit. And he'll likely keep whatever the Admiral tells him from me. I guess its better than me going and having to reveal who I aligned myself with and my motives.
Lanzo's slightly disorganized tour of the Eisenstrasse was nearing its completion when Váradi's voice was heard from the intercom. He, along with Dagobert, Ephraim, and maybe Gawain, all got shivers down their spines, as they knew what this meant... they were back and these guys were still on board. Ephraim was looking visibly panicked when Lanzo spoke up and suggested they commit more heavily to watching the incoming hallways, since the officers were likely moving about. Dagobert nodded firmly, and he and Ephraim joined Gawain's watching.
They'd have to somehow make it to the cargo elevator, lest they get uncovered, but there was still somewhat of a way before they could reach it. They could only hope they'll make it unscathed.
Your first time seeing a car, yeah?
Mesahri turned and peered at Torsson with her large, spooky, yellowish eyes from beneath the wide rim of her hat. "Oh yes, it's quite unusual. It's a bit like gazing into the future, in a way..."
Do you want to take a look inside?
"Actually, I was planning on riding with Captain Fallensteller, so I was going to get a look anyway. I figured I was invited, that is, since... you know, it's just us two from our ship." Mesahri smiled a bit nervously. "Was I invited? Or should I glide along?" she asked quietly. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to impose."
Eventually, Krantz allowed Von Strauss to return to her duties aboard the Eisenstrasse for the time being. Which was greatly needed due to what was coming a few days from now. She departed from the bridge, head up into the airship towards the barracks.
As she travelled, she noticed a group of unknown individuals being lead around by Lanzo, Dagobert, Ephraim, and Gawain on the upper levels of the airship, moving between the inner hallways of the ship via the catwalks that only the crew really used. Apparently the unknown group were locals. No tours of the Eisenstrasse had been granted, so technically they were trespassing. She raised an eyebrow, before climbing up to the upper catwalks to reach them.
Once she reached them, she spoke up. "Would you mind telling me what's going on?" she asked, stepping up behind them on one of the catwalks.
All of them froze on the spot hearing Von Strauss' inquisitive question from behind, with those of the Eisenstrasse slowly turning around to face her. Lanzo seemed to be unable to get words out of his mouth, while Dagobert attempted to say something:
"M-ma'am, t-this isn't what you think!" he said nervously, hoping she didn't misunderstand them as smuggling folks onto the ship. Gawain was trying his best to help Lanzo get his words out when a loud, audible sigh could be heard from Ephraim.
"Landolt," Ephraim began as he took his hat off and rubbed his eyes, "as great as you are with people, as you told us what your parents said, you're terrible with following authorities. I can explain what's going on, Von Strauss," he said in a tired fashion, Lanzo looking utterly dejected by the vagabond's honesty.
"After helping out with affairs on the docks last night, these fine people here," he motioned towards the Cattan group, "wished to personally thank us for specifically looking out for the destitute. Kass ended up noticing them outside, and he woke us up and brought us outside to meet. We talked, it was kinda disorganized but it was civil, and then Landolt suggested they come onboard for a tour and a meal, before you, Krantz and Váradi returned from the meeting. As you can tell, this didn't really work out," Ephraim explained, with the homeless gang suddenly looking excited, as Kass had just explained that the lady was Von Strauss.
Dagobert nodded sadly, confirming what Ephraim said, and Lanzo managed to finally speak: "T-t-that's right... I..." he could barely say.
Von Strauss listened patiently as Ephraim explained, looking amongst the group. As Lanzo started to speak, she simply smiled. "Don't worry. Its perfectly fine in my book. If anyone asks, just say that I authorized a tour of the ship to some of the locals. Be glad that it wasn't my captain or my subordinate." she said, looking between Ephraim and Lanzo.
She looked to the rest of the group and did a slight bow. "My name is Luna von Strauss. First Lieutenant aboard this massive zeppelin. You may call me Von Strauss or Luna. Whichever you prefer." she said, before straightening up.
The shaman performed his little ritual as he had done numerous times before. With the bowl sufficiently filled and placed, he made his incantation and prayer. Minutes passed as nothing happened. This wasn't surprising - there had never really been responses in the past. But it had helped him meditate and guide him in what he always perceived to be the right path.
This time, the silence felt deafening. Was there any meaning behind this? The elements were often responsive to his magic, but he and the others had never really heard from Oraya. With all of this business concerning the admiral, things felt so uncertain now. The doubt which crept into his mind was stronger than ever before.
Outside the walls and shaded by a tree, Kahleen and Karam examined the rocks the former had set on the ground. Things should be safe here away from prying eyes. The stones moved fairly slow, though their speed seemed to vary. The only time they moved at a constant pace was at Shalo's shrine in Niakoma. Sluggishly, the several rocks she had placed out arranged themselves to answer her query: truth. The rocks left little trails in the dirt from how they moved. Despite having seen this several times before, the entire concept of the moving rocks being connected to the divine was still surprising to Kahleen.
Admiral Mannfred stood alone in the shade of the inner courtyard wall, lost in thought. To just about anyone it looked like he was simply examining the vibrant array of flowers and plants which decorated the sides of the courtyard. He seemed to be a man just enjoying the afternoon to himself. However, from across the courtyard, Captain Murdoch could tell that Mannfred was not in a particularly good mood. The way he rubbed his fingers against his palms as he held his hands behind his back, the way he paced around the shade and the garden, the occasional scowling at the flowers.
Finally, she left the table where the Brunswick officers were still sitting and approached him.
"Viktor, what happens now? Did things with Captain Krantz and Lieutenant Von Strauss go well?"
"It went... well enough. My hand is being forced more and more and I'm not terribly pleased with it. Prior expeditions had all gone well enough, though it seems everyone in this fleet is highly opinionated. Of course, most of this stems from the trouble with the Messenger. This business with Fallensteller is no better. I cannot believe Dobbs made such accusations without even consulting me, or attempting to develop a more thorough case. Talking rocks? Good god, these people hardly believe anyone, why would they believe a woman and her talking rocks? Fallensteller also put up a good defense. Outrage, desperation, some logic, and pushing the boundaries enough. I've bound myself into a corner and it makes dealing with her all the more difficult. So it is perhaps time that I discard my facade, at least partially. I'll be seeing Krantz later on our ship, and I'll more than likely reveal my nature then. Jager has my interest as well. Showing up with a succubus, of all things. I know Shalo tempted him into doing so."
Murdoch nodded, also looking a bit exasperated from all the business going on. "Do you really think it is wise to let some of them know that you are what you are? Things are certainly different this time around. We can't just... eliminate them if things go poorly as we have done before. Unless you're planning to sail us to the Swallows, but thats dangerous for everyone."
"Some will be more understanding than others, I think. As it stands, Krantz and Jager are in my mind for numerous reasons. Both are decent officers, and both have good vessels. If worst comes to worst, I rather the submarine and war airship on our side. But still - I think Krantz understands just how important this business is, and Jager seems to be one that we can string along with the usual goods. He wants power. That is plentiful here. And if he is taking a liking to demons, then he will undoubtedly be swayed towards us."
"Factions already," Murdoch sighed. "I suppose it can't be helped with how things are going now. What about Dobbs?"
"He's on our side, though it will waver if he knows the real truth. That will be an issue when we approach that point."
"And Shalo? Isn't she considering joining us this time around?"
"Yes, she is. I'm sure she'll like to make a fine entrance when she does."
"I figured. And besides, if she wants her body back, she'll have to come with us regardless. And she won't be as limited like Farryn."
"Quite so," the admiral nodded, though he let out a sigh of his own. "I had hoped that we would be able to help him and Shalo well before we had to deal with Raum. As things are turning out, that may not be the case."
Lanzo simply looked surprised, as Gawain patted him on the shoulder whilst the destitute Cattans were told via Kass what Von Strauss said, causing them to approach her in excitement as to greet her properly, allowing the First Lieutenant to really see the three Umae, two Hera, two Agios and sole Vulkaine. As Kass introduced them, Dagobert approached Ephraim, who was sighing in relief.
"You could've been a bit lighter in your tone, Rem," he told him, prompting the vagabond to put his hat back on and look him dead-on.
"You know as much as he does that I've got more to lose if things like this are pinned on me by accident. I've seen it happen before back where I'm from," he explained in a sad tone, as he noticed Lanzo approaching him. He just joined Gawain in patting him on the shoulder, showing he's not mad, just remembering worse times.
Kahleen looked up from the prayerstones and smirked. "Well Mr. Vaikar, it seems that tje gods believe your words to be true."
After studying the rocks in silence she spoke once more. "Tell me about the voices that spoke with you. Did they whisper the truth?"
Torsson nodded. "Of course you will be joining us. If you are part of Captain Fallensteller's crew then you are also a guest of our ship."
He gestured towards Mesahri. "Tell me, how good can you fly? Can you fly for hours? Seems like an amazing ability."
In the back Marksman Dahl- Kahleen's right hand- studied Mesahri and Fallensteller from underneath his hood. He looked inconspicious enough as he leaned against one of the trucks.
Jäger laughed and smiled as he approached Fallensteller from behind and placed a hand on her right shoulder. "Sabine," he said as he kissed her on both cheeks. For a mere second his eyes twitched in surprise to the cold touch of her skin.
"This brunch seemed to be an impossible task considering how busy we've all been."
He gestured towards Yarah. "Sabine, this is Yarah. She is of the Zamerian tribes and a diplomatic envoy."
After greeting each of the members of the group they had brought onboard, Von Strauss finally looked back to Ephraim and Lanzo. "You should probably be getting these people back down to the city. We have to start preparing for a major battle in a few days, so that means all hands will need to prepare. Including our recent recruits." she stated, before looking to Kass and Gawain.
"Oh, not for hours," Mesahri replied, trying not to brag. "It gets exhausting if I have to keep beating instead of gliding, and it gets even harder if it's raining. I suppose when we're out at sea, I'll be able to travel from ship to ship, as long as they're within sight of each other, although it'll be a bit dangerous since I don't know how to swim. Commander Schuster mentioned that a lot of the humans aboard the Zuflucht aren't very good swimmers either, so at least I'm in good company." She grinned.
Behind her, Fallensteller stalked up to the conversation, her lips parted in a dark smile. "Excited for the submarine, Mesahri? I'll try to convince Captain Jäger to take us below the surface once we're out and about."
"Oh, that's..." Mesahri replied, uncertainly.
Fallensteller chuckled at the bat's nervousness. "Haw, haw, oh, dear, I'm only kidding you. I doubt very much the ship will be moving at all while we're inside." She gave Mesahri a reassuring pat on the back. "Still, it will be quite a sight... and I can't tell you how ready I am to see it without those green glasses. I was so tired of those damned things; at this point I'd rather have been put to the stake and burned as a witch if it meant giving the bridge of my nose a relief and seeing the world in proper color again."
As she heard Jäger's voice, Fallensteller brightened up even more. She hadn't expected him to simply grab and kiss her like that, especially in plain view of most of the fleet, but it wasn't entirely unwelcome, either. For his own reputation, he ought to be more careful, though... Realizing that her skin must have felt cold to the touch was a secondary thought. She tried to appear playful, as she had been at Campo Diablo. "Now, now..." she cautioned, bashfully, "I told you once before, you'd earn the right to call me by that name once we've gotten to know one another privately."
Jäger didn't react much to her deathly chill, and was now introducing her to Yarah, at last. "Zamerian...?" Fallensteller replied skeptically, and with a subtle shake of her head, replied very quietly, "no, I don't think so. But... I don't believe that will be an issue for us," she said, outstretching a hand.
Jäger chuckled and bowed his head. "Of course Captain Fallensteller, please forgive my mistake." As he finished his sentence Jäger winked playfully at Fallensteller before turning to Mesahri. "Greetings Miss, I don't believe we've met?" He gestured towards Torsson who stood with his arms folded against his back in silence.
"I hope Sergeant Torsson have answered your questions so far."
"It began last night, before the fires erupted at the docks." Karam began to recall the events of the previous night. "It started as a faint whisper, calling my name. At first I thought I was losing my mind, my sanity. I retreated to my quarters, lit prayer candles and began a prayer." He laughed slightly "I realise how it sounds when I say it out loud, but that particular one has been passed down from my kin generation to generation. It always had a calming effect on me. That's when they appeared." He looked Kahleen in the eyes "Creatures of myth and legend. Ones who made the sacrifice so humanity can prosper. Appearing as clouds of smoke, eyes bright as stars. They called to me. Revealing a warning about those on board the Eye of Horus who would not only split the crew, but would split the fleet with their malice and foolhardy endeavors. After the creatures departed to parts unknown, I set about to do something about their warning. But before I could do anything, I knew I must gain the absolute trust of my captain for it to work. And fortune was in my favor."
Eye of Horus, the previous night
Karam opened the door to the head physician's cabin. A quick look around the room revealed that said phisician was busy these past few days or he wasn't, but was too lazy to clean up after himself. The instruments were clean and neatly placed, but notes and papers were scattered around.
"Mr. Snitskey, are you here?" He got his answer when he heard a grunt from behind the desk. A sorry sight, but drunkards are far from the most well looking people. Columbian ones especially.
"W-what do you want?" The man ached. "Can't you see I'm busy."
"I see that you are drunk enough to not be able to stand." Karam moved behind the desk "But not drunk enough to pass out and avoid answering a few questions."
"Not yet, I aint!" Leopold raised the bottle he was holding and proceed to drink from it. Karam yanked it from his hand and held it above his head "Hey! Give that back!" He tried desperately to reach for that bottle that was now so far away.
"You will have it back when I have what I want. Now will you answer my questions or not?"
"Who the fuck do you think you are? F-fontaine will hear about this!"
"I'm the second in command and yes, why don't I wait for the captain to come back and see you in this pathetic state. I'm sure he'll appreciate it."
"Fine." Leopold spat out. "What do you want to know?"
"Why did you tell Mallery about the plan?"
"That? Ppppssssshtt. She was going to find out regardless. Did it really matter when it did?"
"Captain Fontaine specifically told us that night not to leak this information to anyone until he said so, you drunk dog. You know that he chooses his words carefully when giving orders. You've been with him for longer than me. Don't pretend."
"I have no idea what you're talking about." He answered with a playful tone "So I spend some time with her and talk about things and I let it slip. Big whoop."
"That's conf-confiden... confidential! Can't say." Karam lifted his foot and brought it down on Leopold's arm. The former let out a shriek and gripped his hand as it was now pulsating with pain. "What the fuck is wrong with you? I need this hand to operate, you maniac!"
"If I wanted to break it, I would have stomped harder. Besides, you can use the other one."
"I need both you bearded savage!" Leopold looked up to Karam from his point angrily and was met with nothing but a menacing and hateful glare. If the pain wasn't sobering enough, that look would force him to try and get it together for a little while at least. "Fine, you win." He said, defeated, a tone that would dominate the rest of his side of the conversation "When Reginald told me to look after her after that incident, I took my job as seriously as ever. I began to ask her the usual questions. You know, doctor stuff. And then she began to ask me questions. Questions about him. About this ship. It's crew. And the people he keep around. I'm not sure you've noticed, but he runs things like a street gang with him at the top. So she proposed a way to lessen that control. A way for us to work like an actual corporate ship should be ran."
"So you started sharing information with her."
"Not just. I was withholding information from him in my reports. Did you know that she suffers from night terrors? Started before we even left the port in Columbia, but would it matter here? Then there was the list..."
"A list of everyone on this ship that had potential to be turned on Fontaine. She kept it in a booklet somewhere in her own quarters. You were on the top of that list funny enough. Guess we were wrong."
"You were. One last question. Why did you do it? Why turn your back on the captain?"
"Who would you rather come back to Columbia under? The control-freak, who has a gang of murderers wrapped around his finger or the one that puts the company's interest above their own and salvages the job."
"So simple greed is your motivation."
"Call it that, but I call it survival."
"It's called cowardice." Karam dropped the bottle next to Leopold. "I'll be leaving you to sober up Mr. Snitskey. Do try to look presentable for tomorrow." He walked out of the cabin and shut the door tight. Before he left to return to the bridge, he locked it shut. He wasn't about to risk the drunkard running off to give away his own blabbering.
"Had I not been spurred into action by our formless friends, I never would have found out about the conspiracy until it was too late. The idiot's confession made for a fine lead for us to pursue. And if they are right, the rat we cornered is a servant of Raum."
Vunor stared at the altar quietly. Silence. It felt as if a void had appeared as it clawed into him like a mole digs into the earth. As time passed, Vunor twitched slightly in frustration. This wasn't normal. Maybe he did something wrong? Impossible. He checked his ingredients and placement. It was all correct, just as he had done it countless times before. Maybe I'm just being impatient? Vunor thought to himself. He waited longer. The silence continued. The stillness was almost maddening to him as he waited for a sign, anything.
He then took the knife once more and positioned his bandaged hand over the stone now and made another deep cut. A mix of impatience and doubt clouded him as the blade dragged over his skin again, opening another wound. The blood dripped onto the stone itself before Vunor stopped and retreated his hand back. His effort was greeted by yet more silence. Impatience was replaced by fear. The blood dripped onto the floor as he stared at the altar.
After returning to the Dawnbreaker, Dobbs had Ackermann escorted back to his quarters. "I want two guards by his door at all times. No one goes in or out, aside from me and the research team, without my permission. Do you understand?" he told two of the marines that had accompanied him and Wollisfend to Cattapoli who only responded with the usual "Yes sir." As he began to make his way to the bridge, he was intercepted by Lonstray who had carried with him some sort of samples in tubes.
"How did it go sir?" he asked cautiously, noting Dobbs' somewhat uneven mood.
"Practically the entire fleet called Ackermann a madman... perhaps they have some merit... I..." Dobbs stammered slightly, shaking his head. "Whatever the case may be, something had to have happened to the man on the Zuflucht. That much is sure. I just don't know what is the truth now."
Lonstray thought for a moment, peering down awkwardly. "Perhaps, er, you should discuss this with the Admiral himself. I'm sure he'd be open to speaking with you on this in private."
Dobbs hesitated, "The admiral is perhaps displeased at my discourse. I let my zealotry nearly run the committee off it's course. Nonetheless, yes... that is the proper course of action. Go talk to Ackermann as well, please."
Lonstray looked somewhat displeased at the request. "I have tests to run... but if you insist."
Dobbs took it as a yes and immediately continued for the bridge, leaving Lonstray behind. Upon arriving at the bridge, Dobbs motioned for one of the men at the radio. "Send a message to the Revenant, tell Admiral Mannfred that I wish to meet him to discuss certain important matters."
Lonstray returned to Ackermann's housing after some time, having put his samples back in the makeshift lab he and his assistants had constructed. The marines let him enter in. The room was left as it was earlier, though Ackermann perhaps wasn't after today. "Mr. Ackermann, might I inquire as to what happened?"
Nita exited the Consulate somewhat discreetly, putting a cloak on herself as she made her way out. No one seemed to really care and she couldn't find Vunor anywhere to stop her so she felt that she was in the clear. Silently she giggled to herself and felt butterflies in her stomach as she walked down the streets. The prospect of being on a real adventure, actually doing things! It was going to be like the adventures the clan elders used to tell around the night fires, and now she couldn't wait to be in one of those stories herself.
Soon enough, the docks came into view, along with the foreign vessels and aircraft that made it their temporary home. So many options to choose from! She observed from a distance, thinking to herself. What better way to be in a story than in a flying ship! she thought to herself. Imagine what everyone will say!
She took a closer look at one that caught her interest, its name emblazoned on the side: Eisenstrasse. She grinned and took a note in her head before heading off to Felis' House of Wine.
Kahleen looked at Karam with a concerned expression. It was clear that her concerns were too deep to hide. She shook her head and sighed. "The fleet is walking the fine line between Heaven and Hell," said the Marine Officer while removing a strand of dark hair from her face.
"We need to work together. Root out the corruption. Salvage that which can be saved before we are all cursed." Kahleen leaned in. "We need allies. How many men do you trust with your life?" Kahleen looked away for a moment deep in thought. "I have eleven men that I know to be pure in heart and soul."
"That is the tragedy of my situation I'm afraid." Karam's voice had a hint of sadness "Those on board the ship with good souls don't carry guns." He looked towards his captain again, then back at Kahleen "But maybe that's not what is needed from us. As black as his heart is and as evil his soul may be, Fontaine isn't one to bow to a demon's will. I wouldn't say this if I hadn't seen him defy the gods time and time again. If a man does not fear the gods, demons would only present competition to him." He sighed "Perhaps that is my duty. To guide the dark heart to the right targets so it would hopefully do some good."
Kahleen nodded. "I understand" She collected her prayerstones. "In the end it may fall upon our shoulders to carry this burden. We will need to ensure that the light prevails But first-" she grabbed Karam's hand and studied it in detail. Kahleen nodded. "Strong. Good." She smiled nervously before pulling back.
"I would like to combine our two rituals. Our ways of communicating with the gods are merely a call for action. What we need is something stronger."
Kahleen looked Karam in the eyes. "We need to open a door."
Karam looked at Kahleen quizzically
"What do you have in mind?"
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