EXPANSE: The City V3 (Fantasy Epic) - Main Thread

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MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11:00 AM

Marcus didn't answer Aleister's question right away, seeing the woman engage in conversation with another on the streets below. Soon, the pair entered the cafe. "Looks like that problem solved itself, come on." Marcus beckoned for Aleister and his butler to follow as he made his way down to the lower floors.

Soon, he saw the woman and the rough-looking man sitting at a table, apparently conversing. "Pardon the intrusion..." Marcus took it upon himself to intrude upon the scene, hoping a good sense of tact would be enough to forgive his rudeness. "...but might I have a few words with you, miss?"

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11:01 AM

Whilst waiting for a response from either Marcus or Sebastian, Aleister caught a better glimpse of the two people who were running about on the rooftops; it appeared that they were a pair of women who looked as though they were in their early twenties. The first was a tall thin blonde who dressed in rather simple and basic clothing; whilst the second looked roughly a little taller with a jet black ponytail and wearing a rather form fitting black leather outfit with a long cloak behind her.

"Looks like that problem solved itself, come on." Marcus said as he caught a glimpse of the lady downstairs entering the cafe. As Aleister left the table and followed Marcus downstairs, he caught another look at the ponytail lady; something about her looked familiar, like he had seen that face before, not that it was important at the moment.

They soon arrived at the lowest floor of the Upper Crust, where the lady was sitting at the table with a rough looking sort of gentleman. The pair obviously looked as though they weren't together, perhaps the man was trying his luck to garner her affections. Whilst Marcus went up to talk with the woman in question, Aleister and Sebastian went to sit at a nearby table.

YIAS LOVE

Yias turned her head to the new individual that came to the table, "My- my... I appear to be quite popular today. I wonder what I did to deserve it," she stated before standing up.

"I guess you can," she stated and stood up, "I guess I will be back Telnor, or not, and if so thank you for the tea."

"Now then, lead the way or are we staying here?"

Telnor Ghests

"I don't think so," Telnor said standing up, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword. "I don't like the look of this sleaze ball one bit. Whatever he has to talk about, he can say it in front of me."

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11:01 AM

Marcus raised an eyebrow at Telnor's outburst, keeping the rest of his face placid. "Your judge of character must be very shallow, as my friend here..." Marcus gestured to Aleister and Sebastian sitting at a nearby table. "...and I simply want to discuss the lady's business so far from Lian."

Marcus knew he was stepping on eggshells here, the man obviously had the hots for the redhead, and was willing to fight for his prize. So, he figured it would be best if the lady herself was on his side. Ever so delicately, he leaned in close to Yias' ear and whispered softly. "We need to talk about Lorel."

Kain Whitestroke and Marco Peloski-Middle Section-Upper District-Upper Crust Cafe-11-01 AM

"Should we get a drink sir?" Kain mentioned to Marco and pointed to a nearby cafe. Marco nodded and both of them entered the cafe with the intention of taking a break when Marco took notice of of a small scuffle going on at a table over a girl.

""I don't think so," said a young man standing up from his seat next to the girl. " "I don't like the look of this sleaze ball one bit. Whatever he has to talk about, he can say it in front of me."

The other man replied, ""Your judge of character must be very shallow, as my friend here..." As the man pointed to Aleister and his butler, both Kain and Marco took interest and hurried over to enter the conversation as the man finished, ""...and I simply want to discuss the lady's business." as he leaned in to whisper to the young woman's ear.

Marco stepped forward and put his hand on the angry man reaching for his sword, "Hang on there son, keep your pants on, no woman is worth dueling over in a cafe before lunch time." Tapping the other man who wasn't angry and was whispering to the girl he said, "Noticed you were with Aleister, do you mind? There's something important that we probably need to discuss, I assume you can make a guess on what."

YIAS LOVE

She looked at him, Lorel? Just who was this man? But then she saw the other man and knew who it was even if he didn't know who she is. Aleister Crawford. But before she could get another word out, two more men entered the fray. "Geez, can we get some space here? All of you are drawing a lot of unneeded attention." She noticed the large amount of stares they were getting from the other patrons.

"Either we find a table we can all sit at, or we go somewhere else," she stated as she looked at each of them, "I don't want to be kicked out because of the actions of others."

Telnor Ghests

Hang on there son, keep your pants on, no woman is worth dueling over in a cafe before lunch time."

"Yeah because there is no way what you guys are doing looks at all suspicious to me. Coming up to a woman in a cafe, acting all strange and secretive and whispering who knows what in her ear," Telnor paused for a minute, "I mean sure thats how many people pick up women but still, this all reeks of something that I ain't going to let a nice girl like her to get mixed up in."

"Either we find a table we can all sit at, or we go somewhere else," she stated as she looked at each of them, "I don't want to be kicked out because of the actions of others."

"I don't care what anyone else says. I'm staying."

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11:02 AM

Aleister remained quiet as the disagreements between Marcus and the man who was with their red haired target was slowly drawing unwarranted attention from the other patrons, which made the young noble quietly sigh to himself; obviously this other gentleman was going to make things difficult. It was a small relief when Marco and Kain arrived. Eventually the young lady herself spoke.

"Either we find a table we can all sit at, or we go somewhere else." She said as she looked at each of the main talkers. "I don't want to be kicked out because of the actions of others."

"I don't care what anyone else says. I'm staying." Spoke the young man who was acting antagonistic towards everyone, which was understandable.

"I quite agree with you there my good man, but I also agree with the young lady here. How about we take this upstairs, there were some larger tables up there as well as fewer people."

Could this one be deleted please.

Kain Whitestroke and Marco Peloski-Middle Section-Upper District-Upper Crust Cafe-11-02 AM

"Ma'am, that sounds like an excellent idea and I quite agree Mr. Crawford." Marco said after the two suggested moving upstairs. The hostile young man was going to get them kicked out, especially since everyone is so tense after having a genocide right next door on the Ion estate. "Now son," Marco said to the young man, "I assure you that we are not here to court this lady and if you would like to stay and listen to what we were to talk about than you can rest easy

"I don't care what anyone else says. I'm staying." The man indignantly stated. Marco jokingly waved goodbye and beckoned for people to follow him upstairs to book a seat. As Marco went up to reserved a large table, Kain turned to the man and beckoned him to follow, "If you would like to sit here, alone and angry, as we walk off with the after you just voiced your suspicions then go ahead. Bye bye!" He said with a wave before continuing, "If not, we'll be sure to reserve a seat for you."

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11:02 AM

Doing it so often it should be his trademark move, Marcus closed his eyes for a brief moment as his masked a roll of them. The whole situation had become quite the annoyance, mainly with the mercenary not taking a hint when he isn't wanted. "Let's go." The trader muttered aloud as he followed the rest upstairs, his desire for information from the redheaded woman the only thing keeping him in the cafe at this point.

YIAS LOVE

Yias turned to Telnor, "Oh come on- we can't just stand here and talk. More so if the conversation is going to be long. But if you wish to stay, then I assume we're done talking?"

"Alright lets go," Tenlor said as he followed the rest upstairs, his left hand resting on his sword.

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe (2nd Floor) - 11:03 AM

Aleister breathed a sigh of relief as the other man finally agreed to head upstairs with everyone else. He then got up from the his table with Sebastian in tow.

"Well, glad we finally got that out of the way. If you could all follow me, the upper floors of this place are much quieter than down here; it means we'll have far fewer distractions when asking any questions." Aleister said politely as he headed towards the stairs. Reaching the top floor, he could see a large table in the center of the room, with a lone waiter tidying up.

"You there, if its at all possible, when you head down, could you make it that no one else comes up; my associates and myself have important business to discuss, and we'd very much prefer to have it not interrupted. I'm sure this would suffice." Aleister said as he pulled out a small bagful of coins and placed it on the table in front of him.

"Consider it a tip for exquisite service, to be shared amongst you and the other staff members of this fine establishment." The waiter stood there to think about it for a moment, before walking over to pick up the bag.

"Of course sir, and thank you for your generosity." The waiter said before disappearing downstairs.

"Think nothing of it my good man." Aleister said with a smile before taking a seat, followed closely by everyone else, with Sebastian sitting to his right.

"Now then, since that is out of the way, onto the business at hand. You there Miss, what is your connection to Lorel Ion? And just who are you? No doubt we are all curious." Aleister asked to the group as a whole.

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11:03 AM

Marcus slightly frowned, feeling that Aleister verbally forced the topic, and decided to provide better context. "I saw you talk to him last night, before he got back to the Ion estate. What did you say to him?"

Well this plan wasn't working, cheap skate southerners. Feeling rather dejected and remembering she still doesn't have any money she considers her options. Shame she'd never picked up an art, though did she really have time? She had a full time education and a full time truancy to keep up.

She could do trick bets, those were usually fun, some of the most useful things she'd learnt.
So first things first needed a mark, or she could just leave it open, people will be less suspicious if she didn't pick any out.

Pulling an empty glass over from a near by table.
Producing a vile from her pockets, it was a clear colourless solution bit of a stench to it, and another, clear orange.

"Tell what colour you get when I mix these and I'll buy you a drink, anyone who gets it wrong has to get me one."
She said to no one in particular, but she got some attention. "You may inspect the two separately however you like but if you can't figure it by the time they mix I win."

YIAS LOVE

Yias leaned back in her chair and responded to the group, "Oh, nothing that important, I can assure you that. But, should I be at liberty to disclose everything? Aleister, I know what group you're part of- but for the rest of you lot. Your unknown variable. To unleash all of my knowledge would be a fool's gambit. But as for whom I am? I am Yias Love, pleasure to meet you all."

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe (2nd Floor) - 11:04 AM

"Aleister, I know what group you're part of - but for the rest of you lot. Your unknown variable. To unleash all of my knowledge would be a fool's gambit. But as for whom I am? I am Yias Love, pleasure to meet you all." The young lady said as she leaned back in her chair. At first Aleister was surprised that someone was able to discover the existence of S.I.N, but then a smile crept on his face; perhaps this could prove to be useful he thought to himself as he began to clap slowly.

"Impressive. I must say Miss Love, I am surprised, yet intrigued as to how you found out; as it would take a group equally as secretive, or should I say talented, to find that out. Be that the case, if you know what group I am from, then you know what we can accomplish."

YIAS LOVE

She nodded, "Indeed. I say after this chat here, we must talk alone. But as you can see, this conversation is still on going. I still don't know if I can trust the rest of you. So- speak up, let's see what you got. What groups are you all from? What's your angle?"

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11:05 AM

"You're really going to say that in front of all of us, and expect us to let it go?" Marcus sighed as he could plainly see that there were others who knew more than he, and weren't going to share.

However, there was always a chance some information could slip, so he continued. "I'm Marcus, a trader from Trinkets and Gold, a pleasure." Marcus made sure his smile was as sarcastic as possible, seeing as he was being shunted aside in the inner circle of details. "From what I've been told it's clear that something is up, I've heard from a source that arms trafficking has gone through the roof. Obviously there's going to be some fighting soon..."

Marcus trailed off as he thought of the circumstances, the Ion family was always the more "approachable" of the Nobles, and seemed to genuinely care about the welfare of the City as a whole. In stark contrast to the other Nobles, who, at best, were only concerned about the welfare of the Upper District. "The Ion family were always the generous sort, that's not a crime in and of itself, but when you consider their position..." Marcus was now just thinking aloud, sliding in variables that made his conjecture more comfortable. "...is it possible they were helping the Steel Hearts?"

KAIN WHITESTROKE AND MARCO PELOSKI

April 22st, 6267-MiddleSection-Upper District-Upper Crust Cafe-11:07 AM

The two stayed quiet after taking their seats at the table upstairs. They listened politely to Aleister and Yias talk before she stated to everyone at the table, " I still don't know if I can trust the rest of you. So- speak up, let's see what you got. What groups are you all from? What's your angle?" They listened to Marcus talk for a minute before deciding to chime in.

"Astute observation Marcus, exactly what I was thinking." Marco commented. Deciding that he and Kain would begin talking, he decided to make his introduction.

"I am Marco and this is my subordinate, Kain. We are two travelers who decided to come to town to watch the arena fights for fun." He stated before continuing, "We are not involved in any groups and do whatever we like, the Ions seemed like nice people and it would be terrible for Lorel to be butchered like his parents." He finished with a nod to indicate he was finished.

Telnor had insisted on staying with the group for reasons he was unsure of himself. Sure there was the matter of protecting Yias but Telnor suspected that she could care for herself. The only reason Telnor could think of was that she reminded him of Julie. The same red hair, the similar way they stood, her voice, they all reminded Telnor of his old love back North and it drove him the fact that he would never see her again.

She nodded, "Indeed. I say after this chat here, we must talk alone. But as you can see, this conversation is still on going. I still don't know if I can trust the rest of you. So- speak up, let's see what you got. What groups are you all from? What's your angle?"

"I'm a Freelancer," Telnor said as he stood by the table, beside Yias. "I do odd jobs, mainly guard duties or getting involved with faction conflicts. I don't work for Nobles and I don't agree with the practices of the Mage Hunters."

avouleance2nd:
Well this plan wasn't working, cheap skate southerners. Feeling rather dejected and remembering she still doesn't have any money she considers her options. Shame she'd never picked up an art, though did she really have time? She had a full time education and a full time truancy to keep up.

She could do trick bets, those were usually fun, some of the most useful things she'd learnt.
So first things first needed a mark, or she could just leave it open, people will be less suspicious if she didn't pick any out.

Pulling an empty glass over from a near by table.
Producing a vile from her pockets, it was a clear colourless solution bit of a stench to it, and another, clear orange.

"Tell what colour you get when I mix these and I'll buy you a drink, anyone who gets it wrong has to get me one."
She said to no one in particular, but she got some attention. "You may inspect the two separately however you like but if you can't figure it by the time they mix I win."

By sheer chance, the "Baron" Gerald was just on his way out the cafe when this strange girl offered up a challenge to the room. Feeling like being entertained, and seeing the girl wasn't that bad looking, Gerald approached. "I say purple." The Baron smirked as he spoke, he truly was no chemist and had no clue what color the mixed liquid would turn. However, buying the girl a drink didn't sound like too much of a hit on his wallet.

YIAS LOVE

"But why so interested in Lorel may I ask?" she questioned to them as she looked around the table, "I know why Aleister would be considering him and Lorel were friends. But as far as my Intel states, he doesn't know any of you. That's my last question."

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11:08 AM

Marcus shrugged as he leaned back in his seat. "Curiosity, guilt, a mixture of conflicting emotions, it's hard to explain. Lorel could be critical piece in the game that's being played, or just another pawn. I'd like to find out, if only so I can find out where all this is leading before it blows up in our faces."

Purple, well it wasn't the answer she expected but it wasn't any right than that one so it didn't matter so much.

"Let's see shall we."


((http://www.chemguide.co.uk/organicprops/alcohols/oxidation.html))
She was hoping for a better green but what could you do.

"Looks like someone owes me a drink.
No need for alcohol though, I've got enough of that already."

She wasn't sure if she rejected on religious or medical grounds. Maybe if she had stayed in education she'd act differently. Part of her felt satisfied that she'd accomplished something with no need to balance it out with her powers.

OLEANDER GUBBINS

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Volsta - Foelview Hotel - 12:25 PM

If anything described the journey to Volsta it was uncomfortable. The guards at the border checkpoints were on high alert after what had happened the night before; too bad Oleander was asleep during the pandemonium he could have secured some lucrative deals from the paranoid citizens of the upper district - if he could get in. He just about got out of the middle district, the guards were searching most of the carriages for the missing Ion boy, good thing he had left earlyish - he had to iron his suit and look at least a bit more presentable than the day previous - and that grouchy old woman hadn't specified what time in the afternoon she wanted to meet. He didn't want to arrive too late though.

The hotel that he was told to meet at was quaint, something Oleander hadn't really pegged that old boot for, he wondered what she meant about the job being different than most, but shrugged it off as a bit of senility, if it was that different what of it? Variety was the spice of life, that and it sounded like it payed well. He stepped out of the carriage, shirt slightly ruffled from being searched - did he really look that suspicious? However, the rest his suit was intact, slung his sword over his back and went in search of the woman in the hotel.

SVETLANA POLZIN

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Volsta - Foelview Hotel - 12:32 PM

"Dear me..." She muttered as she heard the news.

Even in the quaint, and rather tranquil district of Volsta, one could not escape news of the Ion massacre and the missing Ion boy. One had to wonder who were behind the attack, and why the Ion family? Then again, that was another story compared to the chronicle of a desperate grandmother trying to find her grandchildren. Then again, the two may be linked in a some manner. Who knew? Not a matter for today, anyway. Now Svetlana had to deal with that mercenary and his rough, but over-friendly manner. After getting dressed and fed, it was simply a matter of waiting. She puffed some smoke rings as a mean to waste time, expecting the lout to take 'in the afternoon' as something like 3 o'clock or some such. Everyone expects rowdy boys to be tardy...

...But it turned out that this rowdy boy was not so tardy after all. The sound of horses' hooves and a creaking wheel was a dead give away. The sight of a dolled-up Oleander even more so. She eyed the clock, it was still before one o'clock. Svetlana chuckled to herself, and emptied the pipe. Perhaps she should take this opportunity to investigate the disappearance of the Ion boy as well as that of her own blood? It was too tempting. Mr. Gubbins would simply have to be paid a little bit extra, but before that, it had to be seen whether he would accept the job or not. The prospect of looking for missing mage children would probably put off most mercenaries. Regardless, it would be wise to have a bodyguard of sorts for the inevitable trip to the South.

"That getup suits you as much as that smile." She said, then quickly switched to small talk, "Heard the news about the Ion lad?"

Kain Whitestroke and Marco Peloski

April 22nd, 6267-Middle Section-Upper District-Upper Crust Cafe-11:08 AM

Marco chuckled at Yias question regarding their interest in Lorel, "So let me get this straight, a family of nobility is found murdered in their home, the son of this family is missing, and you find it suspicious that people are interested? If it's considered normal for people to not care about a murder when it seems as if a coverup is in progress then quite a bit has changed since I was last here it seems."

Kain leaned forward to give his opinion, "As Marco said, a teenager is missing, the situation as a whole is very suspicious. Hell, the smart thing to do at this moment would be to stop questioning each other, everyone here seems trustworthy, if we want to truly get something done then we should start talking about the situation itself. We should start talking about the murder now before its too late for something to be done."

Before taking a sip of coffee he asked, "Is that a good enough response miss?"

YIAS LOVE

She chuckled in response, "I do believe you're misunderstood. Before the days end, everyone will know the truth- but then there is the stuff around the truth. Secrets that if leaked could cause trouble for everyone. If you all just wanted the most basic truth you wouldn't be here would you? It's not suspicious to want know what happened- everyone yearns for it," Yias replied to the two of them.

"However... The thing is that out of anyone you could have asked it was me. So sorry if I seem suspicious of people, the enemies have ears everywhere and would you just leak information to a stranger because they seem nice? Part of my job is knowing who I can trust and who I can't- if I just let every single curious person get this information then I would be fired or worse. I don't personally know any of you- I don't know if you're telling the truth and I don't know if as soon as you leave that you won't go tell the nearest guard or higher official and ruin everything."

She let that sit for a moment as she looked around the table, but then she addressed the whole group, "Lorel is alive, and in the hands of the Nobles, specifically Amelia Foel. His parents were killed because they were found out to be aiding Steel Hearts. That is the most basic truth. You say you're curious but anyone with commonsense wouldn't go around snooping around in places they don't belong. That's why I am cautious- I came here and sat down and am expected to tell you everything. A normal person wouldn't do that- those are people who have a plan and based on what Kain just said now, the two of them would act based on what I say- but what would that action be?"

LOREL ION

Sitting there for a while he let his mind race and debate. His loyalties divided down the center, between Upper District and his family. On one hand he wanted to strangle Amelia for what she had done, but then on the other hand his family did betray them and he didn't want anyone in Upper District to die but that is exactly what could happen if the Steel Hearts win...

He also knew of the rumors of the Nobles, their evil deeds that they have been doing for a very long time now. But he wasn't so sure that a rebellion was the answer that true change can come from the inside and not through force and needless killing.

Sitting there he began to make one last choice... Was he going to convince Amelia to let him aid the Nobles or succumb to whatever punishment they see fit?

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe (2nd Floor) - 11:10 AM

"Working for the Steel Hearts were they? Interesting." Aleister said as he leaned back in the chair. Sebastian meanwhile was noting down everything that had been written, for future examination.

"We had heard that someone high up was working with them, though I hadn't expected it to be the Ion family; though now that you mention it, that makes a lot of sense. Both parties were concerned with the safety and well being of the less fortunate, so naturally an alliance of sorts would be forged." Aleister then began to think, as his eyes darted back and forth across everyone seated at the table, obviously he was planning something.

"Miss Yias, first may I apologize for if I sounded or acted rather demanding or forceful during the questioning at the start; it was just given the subject matter, I was rather concerned, and wished to know more about what was going on here. Now that we have an answer to the question of who has him, now we need to find out where; unless of course you also know that also. Regardless, we will need to make a plan."

Telnor sat there staring at the others as they sat there in silence.

"Um guys? Is it just me or does anyone else get the feeling we have been sitting here in silence for weeks?" Telnor stood up and tapped on a panel of glass, starring outside.

"HELLO! IS ANYONE OUT THERE! WHY IS NOTHING HAPPENING! HELP ME"

"Then let's make something happen..." Marcus stood up from the table with such speed that the chair behind him fell over. "We're sitting here with several skilled individuals, along with representatives from influential organizations. If we all seem to want Lorel, why don't we go get him?"

One rousing speech later, the people around the cafe table were reinvigorated and started compiling all the facts they had. Soon, it became clear that Lorel was being held by the smuggest bitch in the world, Amelia Foel. Knowing her, Lorel had to be secreted away somewhere in the Foel compound.

Using his connections in the Upper District, Marcus was able to confirm this. So, late into the night, a coalition of SIN, Steel Hearts, and mercenary forces stormed the Foel estate to rescue Lorel, leaving none alive. Amelia herself was done in the day before, her morning tea being poisoned by the very men who supplied her with it.

Finally, with enough blood spilled to paint the entire Foel mansion red, Lorel was found. In the aftermath, the League of the Cafe Table, as the coalition called themselves now because no one in the group was very good with creating names, shattered the power base of the Nobles and ushered in a democratic system with the support of what remained of the Ion estate. The resulting peace and prosperity that spread across the Middle District was so convincing that the North and South joined of their own free will.

Now protected from the Mage Hunters thanks to the powers-that-be, the collective guilt of the Mages brought them all together with the common goal of restoring the world to its former glory. The Academy of the Magi worked tirelessly for generations, and finally there came a day where the miasma that almost choked the world to death could be dispelled. Life returned soon afterwards, and the denizens of the City spread across the globe, now able to live rich fulfilling lives for the rest of their days.

Even hundreds of years later, those that founded the League of the Cafe Table are remembered as stopping the war that never was and beginning an era of unity and peace.

THE END

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