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Old July 1, 2019, 07:14 PM   #16
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Hetman Chernyshyov, in the meantime, was definitely wearing clothes.

He was an older man, past his younger years if not quite to the point of being middle-aged. He looked as if he would have been far more comfortable among the ranks of Aslangrad's Cossacks, honestly, sporting a military uniform, tall fur cap, very impressive mustache. Certainly not the look typically utilized by the academics that Mona worked with.

"Of course, a pleasure to meet you," the man noted, stiffly extending his hand towards her in greeting. "Tea would be just fine. No need for any additions to it."

The order for tea would go out. Some crumpets to go with it? Or perhaps some cookies.

The man doffed his cap, running a hand through his messy black hair, tucking it underneath his hand. He was here to talk, after all, whether the tea was here or not didn't matter. It was just a nice bonus was all. "I've been told that you might be interested in the opportunity that came from Prime, in regards to the research they've been doing" he began. "I'll get right to the point. What's your background in arcana or magic in general? What sort of knowledge do you possess?"
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Old July 1, 2019, 08:56 PM   #17
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The removal of his headgear, while certainly polite indoor manners, was a kindness to the diminutive elf who felt very much dwarfed by the man's exaggerated height. Her spine stiffened in an attempt to further level the playing field as she reached out for his hand but proper poise still only carried one so far and the best she could manage was an elegant silhouette as she ushered him further into the room.

His question caught her off guard but Eri' covered her surprise quickly, her visage schooled to calm, a slight smile on her lips. It was very forward for a gentleman who had just come into her acquaintance to probe as to the extent of her abilities. If not for his credentials, and an endorsement from Mona, she would have rebuffed his query.

A wooden table and chairs rested under the window and it was to there that Eri'lariel directed her guest. Before she joined him there, she moved to the writing desk to one side of the room to retrieve a well worn, and obviously oft read book. Coming back to the table, the winged elf situated herself in the seat facing the door. Her petite frame perched on the edge of the chair with her crimson wings straddling to frame her.

By way of answer, Eri'lariel laid the book out on the table between them so that her companion could see the title, A Study of the Planes and their Denizens. The pages within were ear-marked and annotated with two distinct scripts, one male and the other with a flourish that could only be female.

"You'll forgive me for saying so, but you must not be very familiar with my kind. We cut our teeth on arcane tomes and value magic prowess highly in my country. I have raised six children with four arcane spheres between them. My husband was once the Headmaster of the Academy here in Arconis and an Archmage in Sorcery. As for myself, I proudly boast two arcane spheres, though I will admit it is unorthodox in my culture. The finer points of archanomechanics has oft been a topic of morning conversation in our house over rosyun."

Though her words could be taken as proud and even slightly defensive, there was nothing in her tone that even hinted at condescension. It was a mere statement of fact given as directly as she knew how to say it. Her head tilted slightly to one side sending a cascade of auburn hair falling over one shoulder as she looked at him inquisitively.

"May I ask what that has to do with this project in Prime?"
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Old July 5, 2019, 01:25 PM   #18
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Firm handshake.

Chernyshyov followed Eri'lariel as directed. He glanced at the offered book with a nod, before turning his gaze back towards her and listening to her explanation. "You are correct," he noted bluntly once she was finished. "There are none of your kind in Aslangrad. I am not familiar at all. It is good, then, that I have come to Arconis instead. Now I have met you, and already I have learned." He smiled, apparently quite happy with that.

There was plenty of information that she provided that he could go over with a fine comb. At this point, it was hopefully obvious that Chernyshyov was gauging whether Eri'lariel was a good candidate and whether there was any need to linger. He wasn't really the sort to dance around and waste time - there were plenty of other matters he could attend to in the meantime, after all.

She did have a rather impressive pedigree. While it was obvious that she was in an environment that had plenty of magic in it - married to a mage, and obviously having sired a gemblooded lineage - the most important thing was whether Eri'lariel herself was capable. The scholarship wasn't being extended to her husband, after all, even if he was available to her for counsel and advice.

Instead of picking at these things, for now, it seemed more courteous to explain matters to her first. Chernyshyov didn't seem like he'd taken offense - she'd merely answered his question, after all.

"Apparently there was a breakthrough in planar geography in Prime," Chernyshyov revealed, leaning forward conspiratorially and speaking in lower tones. It wasn't really 'sensitive' information, but something about the topic made the Hetman feel inclined to treat it as such. "Not even we have all the details. All we know is that the Academy there is in need of resources to further dive into it. Supplies. Reagents. Manpower. Obviously, the Planes extend beyond those related to arcana and magic, but it's always good to have people on hand who can assist in those areas. Some of their people, maybe, are shuffled around, and so they need more people in those places, who have experience with the arcane."

"I don't suppose," he continued with his line of inquiry, "that you have any experience with planar geography as well?" Less necessary than experience with arcana, but good to have nonetheless.
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Old July 5, 2019, 03:10 PM   #19
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A soft rap on the door saved Eri'lariel from further interrogation. The lady could have remained seated and Pete would have, doubtless, let himself into the room after a polite pause, but Eri' took advantage of the distraction to gain a moment to compose herself. Her guest had no way of knowing that his line of questioning seemed altogether too personal for her comfort. Most of his conversations on the topic were purely academic, she had no doubt, but for Eri'lariel, he may as well have asked her to disrobe and bare her soul.

The winged elf's hands were trembling as she moved back across the room. She paused before the door, her back to the academician as her hands pressed her buttery skirts flat over her hips. Visions flooded her thoughts, memories that she hadn't thought about in eras. The plane that she had been abducted to was full of flames surrounding her. It had resembled Krypta more than anything on Telath.

The Juive'lea opened the door to permit the chef entrance. The cold metal of the door's knob grounded her to this reality. Behind her, she heard the clink of porcelain tea cups as Pete laid out the tray on the table, but she made no move to rejoin them until he had retreated to the kitchens once again.

Closing the door behind the cook, Eri' finally turned back to her guest, a mask of placidity well in place on her visage. Only her eyes still hinted at how haunted her relationship with the planes was in reality. The winged form moved with such measured grace back to her seat that she may as well have been floating. The treasured book was reclaimed and set next to her table setting and then the hostess moved to pour the service, filling her guest's cup before her own. The delay only served to buy her time to put her emotional armor back in place. Then, she held her teacup before her like a shield as she finally returned to the conversation.

"Sage Moncalm's work excepted..." One hand extended to indicate the book she had already referenced. "...and, of course, what knowledge I've managed to glean from the beings summoned from other planes... I'm afraid my personal experience is limited to a single visit to the Plane of Power." 'Visit' might have been a generous description as she had been abducted there and brokered for sale, but it was more experience than most could boast. If there was a contingent who was mapping the Planes, she would have a personal interest in studying it.
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Old July 5, 2019, 08:18 PM   #20
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"Mmm, fascinating. Intriguing. That might help." It did seem that Chernyshyov had picked up on the fact that, perhaps, it was not a matter to pry further into. The man left it there, instead moving the conversation elsewhere.

"Regardless, I'm sure that if you were to be selected, that whatever they would have you do in Prime would be beyond anything we could imagine. If it were so easy to simply acquire a researcher who already knew everything about what they were working on, after all..." They had to be realistic about how much a person could know coming in. If there were any experts on planar geography in the Imperium, well, most of them probably already worked for them!

"In any case, I think you make for a fine candidate," Chernyshyov noted, clapping his hands together. "A group of us have come together and made a resolution. Imagine the prestige for somebody who worked with our Arconis Academy, being selected to go to Prime! A collaborative project with the candidate at the head, showcased to our comrades, and with any luck they will be impressed enough to want to bring you over. We'll tailor something to fit you specifically, once we get a good idea of what your... mmm, spirit, perhaps, the dukh and dusha, I do not know the right word. Something that is... you."

Granted, there probably weren't exactly all that many candidates in Arconis to begin with, but Eri'lariel didn't need to know that. They had to at least appear selective, to at least say she was a 'candidate' and not just "well, there wasn't really anybody else, so you know..."

"I came here to get an idea of whether or not you'd make a good nominee, but this goes both ways. We can only proceed if you're willing to work with us as well," Chernyshyov clarified. "This will definitely keep you busy in the coming days and weeks. Some of the people at the Academy will be your competitors - some of them will be very unhappy with that. And even if you get to Prime, you'll have to deal with all of the politics and such nonsense there." Not everybody was interested in social maneuvering and the intrigue involved.

"Are you still willing for me to bring your name forward when I meet with my cohorts about moving ahead with this?"
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Old July 6, 2019, 03:40 PM   #21
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"I'm glad to hear you say so," Eri' intoned politely.

A bright smile shone over the cup of tea she held between both hands before she put the cup to her lips and sipped of the hot liquid. Mercifully, Chernyshyov steered away from asking for details that she didn't really wish to revisit.

The Juive'lea didn't really follow when he spoke of tailoring to her spirit, however. Tailor what? Her work? A garment? Something had been lost in translation but she didn't pursue it.

Mention of social maneuvering saddened the smile on her lips. It was just such jockeying that resulted in her exile within the Empire. Even coming here hadn't protected her from it. There had been plenty of intrigue within the Combine, though Eri'lariel had done her best to avoid it.

"I think maturity is accepting that one really cannot avoid politics, save for hermits and oracles, perhaps. As for going to Aelyria Prime, I would be willing. Word would have to be sent back to Arium to let my husband know but I have several months free before I have to be back home. How soon will we know if I should pack my things to go?"
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Old July 10, 2019, 12:40 PM   #22
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Chernyshyov needed to have a bit of a think on that. Whether or not the 'several months' would be enough for the work in Aelyria Prime... well, they could worry about that once they actually got to that point. Never mind packing up Eri'lariel's things, there was plenty still to do before then.

"It will be difficult to know as there is much to do before then, he conceded. "First it must be decided that you will be our candidate - although truthfully I do not think that will be too difficult. Most importantly, however, is the completion of the project that will be used to present you to them. And then, waiting for them to approve."

There was a lot in between this discussion and Eri'lariel potentially being sent to Prime.

"Even if everybody were to actually do what they were supposed to in a timely fashion," which was entirely wishful thinking, "I would guess a few weeks time. For now, at least, we should focus on getting you the spot as our candidate."

There was a lot still up in the air, but this was the first concrete step they needed to take. That would mostly be Chernyshyov's responsibility for now, however - once it was done, they could properly bring Eri'lariel in.
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