Old June 11, 2018, 03:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Jaedaxia] All Mail Is Blackmail If You Use Enough Ink

Midsummer, Era XXV

Three figures spilled out into the Trillan rain. They huddled for a second. "That didn't go well," said Aernoud Sinclair. He was the architect, a tall lanky human with a slightly drippy nose. The call thudded in the back of his head, letting him know there was another dracon present. "Not well at all," retorted the second of the three men. Alabaster Lockman, the surveyor, a portly fellow with large moustache. In a futile gesture he cleaned his glasses and put them back on, the rain catching them just as quickly.

"No," said the third man, Harold Petrel. The lawyer, a squat balding man wearing a hat that protected his own glasses from the rain. Between the three of them they were the team sent by CMN to negotiate the necessary property rights needed for an expansion to Trilla. Alabaster struck a match and lit a pipe, shielding it as best he could from the downpour. The other two considered their options for a second.

"Plan B," the words came from Petrel, but the other two nodded. Without another word, they all split off into three different directions.

* * *

By the time he got back to Jaedaxia, messages had already been sent to the appropriate parties, letting them know to expect him. As such a carriage was waiting at the docks and delivered him to the mansion of his boss, the elusive president de Aquinas. Harold Petrel took a brief second to check if anyone was watching and then he unlocked the door, stepping inside he did a careful hopscotch on the floorboards, moving from one to another in an exact, geometrical pattern. There was a slight creaking as the various traps set around the house slowly wound down and disarmed themselves.

He walked down a corridor that pulsed with heat and took a left up a flight of stairs. This was where Adrian de Aquinas lived, up here there was definitely less alchemical equipment trying to take over the space. This place was too large a place for only one person and it was easy to tell, here there were many rooms that were empty and probably would remain vacant for a very long time. Nonetheless he made his way to an austere bedroom, a bed that hardly had a mattress in it at all served as the centrepiece and there were a few other pieces of interest here. But this was a room where one slept, not a room where one spent time.

He walked right through it into a small, walk in cupboard sporting a selection of different clothes intended for someone a fair bit taller than Petrel. Each one of them sporting the red and the alchemical insignia of professor Aquinas. Not one of them interested the erstwhile lawyer. He picked the last jacket and twisted the toggle it was hanging on slightly.

Without so much as a creak the back door of the cupboard opened up into a much larger room. There were no windows in here. Light came from alchemical lamps that dangled from the ceiling. As Petrel stepped inside his face started bubbling. Bone ground against bone in a painstaking change. Clothes lay like discarded pieces of exoskeleton behind him as he half crawled, half collapsed inside. Changing shape was difficult at best, but it was always painful.

Half an hour later, a new man arose. Taller. Balder. He looked at his nails with disapproval for a second, and they shrunk back into his body. All around him in this room was everything he needed. The walls were adorned with huge portraits of rulers and nobility past and present. Clothes hung everywhere, for all manner of heights and sizes, for all manner of races and bodies. He looked into one of the many mirrors for a second. Not satisfied the paunch grew slightly, and his eyes set themselves slightly deeper in his face.

He took a new set of clothes off the hanger. Nice, but not nobility or merchant rich. A set that said he had a wealthy master, but wasn't actually in the money himself. He covered his hands with a pair of black gloves. The clothes didn't quite fit, he was a little too wide over the shoulders. With a grunt he concentrated and his shoulders dug in slightly until he was satisfied with the fit.

This was not the kind of business he could send Adrian de Aquinas out to do, nor would Harold Petrel do the job, Hawke was a little too hot, Rufus Flycatcher was entirely the wrong type for this, Merimax Goldfinch had potential, but no, he needed someone else. "Plover," he said, his voice a little deeper than usual, still a little unsteady from the transformation. "Caspian Plover."

The suit he had picked was lined with a series of small potion vials, should he need to get into something. Still, for now he was just out to gather information. It all started right here in Jaedaxia. If he was to find something that would convince the Baron to change his mind, he would need to start here. Tugging on a black jacket Plover left the confines of the Aquinas estate under the cover of darkness.

Champroi had always been a gem blooded house and they had gone underground during that idiot Moonstar's attempt at banning arcana in Jaedaxia. Of course, it had not lasted, nothing that idiotic would have been allowed to stand. Still, that meant going looking for mages. The alchemist was not the greatest fan of mages, not by a long shot. Too much power, not enough good sense. There had been several of them that had hidden in Jaedaxia Beneath when all this was going on.

If there was something embarrassing in the history of the Champroi family, these missing years seemed like a good place to start. For now he started with a simple plan, a small alchemical light and two flight potions. One to get him up there, one to get him down. When the university of arcane sciences had returned it had been as a floating castle, they had later moved down because getting up and down there had been something of a pain.

Caspian drunk his potion. It was not a pain for him. Although expending a potion on getting up there was a pain. These things were not cheap. Still, he floated up there under the cover of darkness. All he needed to do was switch on his goggles, they told him the truth of things, and hopefully tell him if anyone had left any concealed traps around the place. All he had to do was find a ledger, maybe the Champroi rooms, something to give him a direction to start prying into.
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Old June 14, 2018, 05:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What was the saying? Nothing worth having comes easy? Thwarted as he had been in Trilla, the not-at-all-dead dracon had retreated to Jaedaxia to lick his wounds activate the back up plan. Which, in the dark of the night, seemed to be breaking into the University of Arcane Science to see what he could discover of the Champroi dynasty.

No longer floating above the city of Jaedaxia, the University was still an impressive building. A great dome of coloured glass, tall spires reaching skyward. Enough to make it a daunting proposition to approach for those untested.There was a slight luminescence emanating from the building, as if to prove its arcane credentials, now its glory days of aerial suspension were over. And of course, the Champrois, gem blooded as they were, had long affiliation with the place. In fact, Rowan Champroi had been teaching there for some eras now. Perhaps Mr Plover might find what he needed in the man’s office?

It was a bold plan, even for one as accomplished as the dracon. Those in possession of talents did like to use them after all, and what a fine opportunity for showing off to their fellow practitioners, rigging the campus with a variety of arcane alarms, each an attempt to outdo their colleagues’ last efforts.

But, it wasn’t as if Caspian Plover had just plunged into this unthinking, no. He chose not to enter through the front door, nor even by the ground floor. But, because he was cunning, he instead ascended through alchemical means to a window on one of the tall spires. It was sensible, for one was less likely to be concerned about break-ins so far above ground, and as such the window was left ajar. Perfect. And of course he was wearing those truth goggles, which would alert him to anything being deliberately disguised.

What could possibly go wrong?
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Old June 15, 2018, 04:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A lot of things could go wrong.

Still, he was not interested in the magical laboratories, the research archives, the classrooms, the cells, the vaults or anything that was of high importance. So theoretically, he should be able to avoid the most extensive security. All he needed was a little bit of luck.

The alchemist did not like relying on luck.

For now he slipped from shadow to shadow, hovering over the floor to avoid making any unnecessary noise. If he was lucky there would be a large bronze sign saying Champroi but he did not expect such luck. Most likely he would need to find some kind of ledger to find out what dorm room they had been cooped up in during their hidden years.

So for now it was a question of listening carefully at the doors, and waiting for an opening. He did not expect to run into anyone, but complications tended to happen and the alchemist would prefer not to deal. This was the opening gambit, he would prefer not to have things go south at this stage.
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