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 State of the Union (Open)

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PostSubject: State of the Union (Open)   Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:36 pm

March 17
A sentry outpost on the shores of Lake Michigan

It was a beautiful spring day at Outpost 3. The sun was out and many an Avian was basking in its rays. Humans needed a few hours of sunlight to trigger the synthesis of vitamin D, but solar radiation was the main source of energy for the avian body. Sure they fished and foraged, but nothing came close to a good solar soak. Seinshun had already taken in his breakfast's worth of light and was waiting patiently under the main pavilion for the outpost. His Auroral armor would have blinded everyone around him had he not. For now, it looked as though the battlemage was wearing a massive fun house mirror on his chest.

A notice had come from Parun Garen that an envoy would be arriving today to tour Celestis. Seinshun had been recalled from Librium to escort these VIPs and even give the tour. The stormcaller was no official diplomat, but Seinshun had a lot more experience dealing with these types of guests while the real diplomats were lobbying human and Other governments for trade agreements. He wasn't sure how he felt about showing off his home to them, but he understood the desire for a combat caster to be their guide. During the war, Seinshun had to think quick on his wings and act. If any of the guests tried anything sneaky, he would be the city's first line of defense. No non-Avian weapons would be allowed on this tour, but Seinshun's expertise in magic could prove quite useful today if the guests had abilities of their own.

His keen eyes caught sight of a dust trail heading his way. The sentries on either side of the outpost's gate raised signal flags to tell everyone their guests were almost upon them. A crack appeared in the symbol for Celestis as the gate it was painted on slid apart. The first vehicles to enter belonged to the delegates. They was followed by a caravan of big rig shipping trucks which headed straight for the docks. Flares, the army of Celestis, ran the drivers through security measures while others inspected the cargo. Once unloaded, the rigs took their leave. The Flares and the drivers had a good arrangement going. Get unloaded, get paid, and get ready for the next job. A little more care was directed towards the delegates.

Seinshun stepped forward. He opened his salt and pepper wings just wide enough so that the sun didn't bounce right off his armor. Today, his armor was a sign of status. It was the most official outfit he possessed. Tomorrow, it might be used for its intended purpose. He gave a pleasant smile as the driver opened the passenger door. The stormcaller crossed his arms so that both thumbs interlocked and his palms were splayed against his chest. The gesture was meant to look as though a bird had opened its wings in greeting.

"Good morning, friends of Celestis, and welcome. I hope you had a pleasant drive." Seinshun dropped his right hand but used his left to show the way to the pavilion. "My name is Seinshun, and I will be your guide for today. We will head out to Celestis the moment you are all ready, but first I must ask you all to check in at the desk and submit to a security check. All weapons, even ceremonial ones, must be handed over before you are allowed access to the city. I assure you that all your belongings will be returned once you return to this outpost."
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:59 pm


Stepping out of the vehicle the Guard had provided for them, Neona pressed a hand to her head to hold her deep blue sun hat in place. She had dressed specifically for the occasion, knowing most of the Avian city of Celestis would be open to the air and she would be doing a lot of walking. An elegant, if very simple, tight fitting, bright blue dress of her own design hugged her curves. Over top of that was a pale blue, pin striped, trench coat that had been cut to resemble a sun dress. Her jewelry she kept low key, small, and most of the stones were simple fake versions of the real thing. It could be hard to tell they were fake unless you were looking incredibly close but on her salary she really couldn't afford to be splurging on frivolous things like jewelry. The large blue bag she carried at her side held a variety of much needed paperwork, including a sketch pad, a notebook in case she needed to remember anything specific, and any writing utensils she might need.

Her blonde hair had been gently curled to fall around her shoulders, the top part held back in a simple braid which held her ornamental push knife most would assume was only a hair decoration. It had been a gift to her by the Director of the Guard himself. Not that she needed the weapon seeing as she could be a very dangerous one herself if she was angered. Her companions climbed out of the car after her, and Neona dutifully waited for them to join her before showering Seinshun in waves of what most came to know as "Neona's overwhelming charm". Mitchell Grayson and Kale MacAllen had been assigned to accompany her on this mission seeing as the Diplomats of the Guard were generally not trained soldiers. The position was referred to as "Diplomat Babysitting" by the members of the Guard lucky, or unlucky, enough to gain the illustrious job of following Neona around all day. Their job was to protect her in case things went wrong. While she couldn't be sure as to Mitchell, she knew Kale would do exactly that.

She had been perfectly aware that she'd need to turn over all of her weapons upon arriving, and Mitchell and Kale had been warned as well. She hadn't had the chance to work with Mitchell much, often choosing not to take escorts with her as they could be doing far better things with their time then babysitting a Werewolf. There were only a select few of the Guard who even knew of Neona's secret, Kale being one of them, and she preferred it that way. The Elven blood tempering the Werewolf inside her often made it difficult for others to see the signs, though the gold glint of her eyes often tended to give it away.

"It is a pleasure to meet you Seinshun. I am Neona Tiran, Diplomatic Liaison to the Terran Guard. My Elven name is Nys-Elmiy if you would prefer." She had often found that the Others preferred her Elven name over her human one, and that she even had an Elven name afforded her a bit more respect on their end then other Diplomats. Her smile seemed to brighten the already sunny day. If Mitchell or Kale chose to introduce themselves, she would wait for them before heading to the indicated Pavilion to turn in her ceremonial knife.

Last edited by Neona Tiran on Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:13 pm

"As you wish, My Lord", he said as he knelt on the black marble tiles. His eyes peered through the shadows to meet the gleaming orbs of the powerfully muscled figure who sat atop the obsidian throne. The Veil of Whispers, a magical spell that allowed those who occupied the thrones to hear all things spoken in the audience hall, hung through the center of the room separating it from the brightly lit half of the audience hall that belonged to the Court of Light. Few people could raise their eyes to upon the Emperor of Shadows, and fewer still could meet the gaze of the fearsome dwarf who bore the title. Thade refused to look away. Dornorn was the only member of the Court that Thade called 'My Lord', because he had pledged himself to the dwarf. Everyone else was simply referred to as 'your highness', a respectful honorific that became a slight because Thade made no secret of where his loyalties lay. With that he rose and left the audience hall.

The scene played over and over in his mind as the vehicle rode across the vast expanse leading up to the fallen city of Celestis. The Emperor of Shadows had given him his task: travel to Celestis as diplomatic envoy of the Courts, and assess the Avian's 'potential'. That was all he said and left the rest up to Thade to carry out. The caravan of vehicles sent out by the Avian government to retrieve diplomats had trudged on for days, growing larger the closer it came to the city. Finally the grounded wonder of the old world stood before then and massive gates opened to show them just how much enlightenment cost everyone. Though he had never been to the city before, tales and renderings of its beauty were common among the Children. Even the city of the clouds had not escaped disaster. It was enough to make the elf's stony heart ache for his brethren. Even stones could bleed it seemed. The humans had taken so much from so many.

When the convoy's doors were opened, Thade stepped out into the light and found a sight to behold. One of the Guardians of the Sky in full regalia. Fierce fighters who held the sky against the earthbound and their death machines. Kept aloft by only what they were born with, they bested the humans until Terra ripped them from the sky in her rage. They should not have been punished for what mankind wrought. They had not fought side by side but they fought the same war. Thade bent at the waist and crossed his hand across his heart. "You honor us with your greeting, brother," Thade said in a voice that was raspy for an elf as he straightened.

With so many other diplomats for their guide to attend to, Thade didn't monopolize his time. There would be plenty of time to get acquainted with the storm caller. At the moment he had a show to put on. Moving over to the checkpoint with the rest of the diplomats, Thade waited until he got up to the receiving table. He ceremoniously removed the weapons belt from around his hip, and placed it upon the table. It bore two sheaths, in them were a matched sword and dagger set. It was known as an Elven leaf and petal blades because of the thin agile blades, and the broader width of the dagger. They were popular among elven nobility, and carried during the war. Even though skilled with them, they were not Thade's primary weapons. They were just for show. He knew that weapons would be confiscated from all the diplomatic envoys and their guards. If he came without guard or weapons of his own to give up, it would cause suspicion. Let others seem him as disarmed, it would be their disadvantage.

While waiting for the disarming to run its course, Thade looked over the other diplomats and noticed a woman clad in an abundance of blue. She also wore the insignia of the Terran Guard. He knew this woman by description and by reputation, but never had the opportunity to meet her. She was one of the Treaty Guards, but unlike the others she was a true pacifist. Thade didn't trust pacifists. His own experience with his own experience with his father's cowardice had tainted his opinion of them. That however would remain unspoken. He was a noble after all, and knew well how to show proper manners. The greater part of diplomacy was discretion. "You are the Terran Guard diplomat?" Thade asked as he approached. "I am Thade Aran Fey'rial, representative of the Courts." That discretion was born of more than ettiquite. This woman, even though a pacifist, had a reputation of being as fierce in her convictions as the former soldiers she served alongside. He would refrain from prejudice and know her, lest he place himself at a disadvantage.
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:23 am

==Mitch can still jump in if he wants to.==

{Ever the diplomat,} Seinshun thought as Neona stepped out. He was relieved to see the liaison wearing something other than heels. For the most part, this was going to be a walking tour. She waved like a kid a sugar high. Seinshun smiled and nodded while she gathered her many things. He would never carry so many objects if he could help it. Purses and jewelry hindered flight, not that he'd ever carry a purse.

"It is a pleasure to meet you Seinshun. I am Neona Tiran, Diplomatic Liaison to the Terran Guard. My Elven name is Nys-Elmiy if you would prefer."

"The pleasure is all mine, Miss Nys-Elmiy. I hope you enjoy your visit today." The stormcaller waited to see if her escort said anything. He wouldn't have been insulted if Mitchell kept quiet. It wasn't standard for Avian guards to introduce themselves at diplomatic affairs.

The next man, another elf from a quick glance of his ears, bowed and crossed a hand over his heart. "You honor us with your greeting, brother," he said in a raspy voice.

Seinshun returned the bow. "It is you who honors us, brother." The Court of Shadow could be shady in their dealings, pardon the pun, but support from them could advance the Civics' timetables significantly. Of course, Thade was representing both Courts today.

Fortunately, the Flares reported everyone had complied with the security measures. Seinshun gathered the delegates' attention and indicated the dock behind the pavilion. "Lady and gentlemen, our chariot awaits. I know the last thing you want to do is travel again, but I promise you will still be able to stretch your legs."

The Auroral led the way to a catamaran tied off at the end of the dock. Boats of other sizes and configurations were being loaded up with the supplies that had come in with the delegates. Several demilitarized amphibious crafts stood idle. There were some other flightless guests coming in later to assist with the repair work on the outer sections of the city.

Seinshun assisted the surface dwellers onto the fancy boat and signaled for the dockhands to shove them off. He stood behind the vessel's sail and gave a mana infused flap of his wings. The heavy cloths swelled forward as he generated a wind, bringing the yacht closer to Celestis. Lake Michigan was calm, so the sailing would be good.

"Our trip will be another ten minutes. There is a restroom below deck along with some refreshments. Flotation devices are located under the seats."

{Hopefully, no one will need them. I was just required to say that.}

==A section of the post was removed for the next round. Here is a larger view of the city as seen in my signature: http://www.instablogsimages.com/1/2012/03/06/heaven_and_earth_floating_city_bsqe3.jpg ==
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:58 pm

Celestis. It was not the first time Kale had been to the city of the Avians, but it was the first time he had arrived in the city openly. The previous times had been off the record; a decade ago they had also been far less pleasantly-intentioned, to put it mildly. It was not the easiest mentality to avoid, looking for soft targets and other opportunities, and it wasn’t a habit Kale intended to break himself of. The best way to find and repair vulnerabilities was from the eye of the attacker, after all, and few people knew better how to strike for the soft points of a city or government than someone whose job had been to wage exactly that sort of shadow-war. He was exactly the sort of person who might perpetrate the ‘something sneaky’ that the battlemage greeting them had been sent to prevent, in fact. Whether or not they knew that was different entirely.

Kale’s duties during the war had never been declassified, as was typical of soldiers of his type across all the nations, though of course the Guard itself had access to those records and had in fact chosen him for them exactly. That didn’t mean the information was readily available to people outside the Guard however – nor did it mean the information was impossible to obtain, or that his identity had not been known (or at least suspected) by the intelligence services of some nations even before the end of the war. That had been fine, and in fact expected. Any sufficiently successful operative could only count on their anonymity for so long after all, but it was important not to let what was suspected become confirmed. Kale had never had family to threaten, which gave him an edge in that game.

The elves had given him that weapon before he was even born. No, the old hatreds were not gone. It would be a great many generations before that was true, he suspected. Of all the old veterans, Kale did better than many at burying those feelings, he was no zealot and did not think of himself as such a racist, even. Neona was the daughter of one of his better (and ever fewer) remaining friends, and her mother was an elf. He had never hated her for it. Her mother was a lovely woman.

She also looked entirely too much like people he had been trained to see as little more than silhouettes on a paper target. It was not an intentional dislike, or in fact a dislike at all… more a reflex, one he needed to fight actively. He did so now, as he stepped from the vehicle, showing no sign of this inner compensation, keeping in the open and nonthreatening when his instincts said he should be elsewhere, or at least accompanied by a larger contingent. Not this time… war was long over. The only trick the old dog needed to learn was to remember that without having to remind himself. The Colonel stepped from the vehicle first, hazel eyes sweeping the area with a quick precision that was one of the hallmarks of his long training and experience. For this duty, he made no attempts to conceal what he was. He was alert, focused, always balanced just slightly off-casual, ready to become a lethal attacker at a moment’s notice. In short… a proper bodyguard. Not threatening, but always with the potential to become so in an instant.

The Avian and the Elf received brief nods, but he was not here to be the diplomat. Only to watch her… and for his own, other reasons. A full-bird Colonel had little reason to be escorting a diplomat in truth, if not as a favor to her father. A man in charge of the Guard’s small, elite intelligence service even less so, but more information could be gleaned from such a tour than most imagined. Kale refused to hole up in an office and analyze incoming information. Some things, he needed to see for himself, and today he would be on a bit of a field trip with young Neona… particularly in case anything decided to go awry.

He did step to the others as Neona parted with her small, concealed weapon, and gave up his own – Kale had rather more to give, one heavy automatic pistol, the other a smaller and more easily concealed pistol, and two knives. He wasn’t shy about it – had there been a situation on the drive over, he wasn’t going to be under-equipped. With that finished he followed at Neona’s side to the boat, glancing around as they did, though as always he kept an eye more on the other people than the scenery… the elf in particular. There was a malice to him. It didn’t seem to be the wariness Kale felt in himself, more an old hatred… He could be imagining it, but it was better to be overly careful than allow a potential threat to go un-noted.

Lake Michigan… His father had been from Michigan. There was a part of him that was not entirely satisfied to see it in Other hands. Of course, he had never known his father, it was only records that told him that. Perhaps his father wouldn’t have cared.
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:40 am

“Master Dawn, I don’t understand why you’re sending me to the fallen city,” Vincent said sullenly. “I’m an Enforcer, not a diplomat. Taking a tour of the city would be a waste of time.” Not completely true, but there were better suited people to this sort of job than Vincent was. “Mistress Eve, surely you agree with me?” Vincent looked from Master Dawn to Mistress Eve and back. Neither of them spoke, however, and Vincent jumped slightly as a thin, reedy voice spoke behind him.

“Claymore, you have been chosen for this job. You’re not going to sit here questioning your orders when you should be preparing, are you?”

“Of course not, Mister Dark,” Vincent spun around to face the old man, thin as a rail with barely a wisp of white hair left on his head. “I’ll be on my way now if all the pertinent information has been shared with me.” Vincent pressed his fist to his heart in salute first to Mister Dark, then to Mistress Eve and Master Dawn, before leaving the small hotel room that served as a meeting place. The hotel was run by Umbra, and was as much of a headquarters as the company could be said to have. Vincent knew this was but one of the many buildings like it around the world. Umbra didn’t have a central location, but was spread out around the world in small cells. The three people Vincent left were the highest ranked in this cell, as far as Vincent knew. How such a mismatch of people and locations created what was possibly the biggest knowledge base in the world was beyond him. Somehow, each cell managed to work seamlessly with the others regardless of who was in charge of who.

As Vincent walked into the lobby, he was stopped by the receptionist at the desk. “Claymore, one last thing from the Three. They suggest not bringing your sword with you on this mission. Chances are good you will be disarmed upon arrival regardless.” Vince merely nodded and unbuckled his massive sword from his back. He gave it to the receptionist knowing full well it would be cared for while he was gone. “Your car is waiting outside for you.” That simple line felt like a punch in the gut to Vince. Vehicles. Vincent couldn’t be in one for more than fifteen minutes without feeling intense motion sickness. “I need some sleeping pills if I’m going to make it to Celestis without dying.” The receptionist had a bottle of the pills ready and waiting in the car, he was told.

The car pulled up as he walked out the front doors. He quickly hopped into the back seat, and sure enough there was a bottle of sleeping pills on the seat next to him. He popped the top off the bottle and downed four pills. "Don't wake me until we're there, please."

It felt like he had just fallen asleep when the drivers voice invaded his slumber. "Mister Harper? Mister Harper, please wake up. We're arriving now." Vincent rubbed his eyes as he woke and looked out the window, seeing the city of Celestis across the lake for the first time. He could only imagine the splendor of the city when it had been among the clouds where it belonged. A few moments after passing through the gates the long train of vehicles that his had joined along the way stopped, and the diplomats all began exiting. Vincent wasted no time getting out of his car, glad that today would be mainly a walking tour. He didn't understand it; he could fly around a city with Iron and Steel, hardly touching the ground at all, but as soon as he got into a moving vehicle he was hit with the most severe motion sickness he'd ever known anyone to have.

He quickly moved ahead with the diplomats to their tour guide, following a rather attractive blonde wearing blue. Judging by the two men with her, one of whom Vincent recognized from the incident in Librium's slums a week ago, she was there representing the Terran Guard. Before he could attempt to speak with her, however, he caught sight of the Avian who was to be their guide. It took all of his willpower to not burst out laughing on the spot as he recognized their guide. Another acquaintance, if you could call it that, from the slums last week. It almost seemed like someone was playing a bad joke on him.

As Vince awaited his turn to greet the guide, he turned to scan the rest of the diplomats behind him. He could see the emblems of most of the big corporations. It seemed no one was going to let a tour of the city pass them by. He could see the emblems for Omni, Paladin and New Dawn, as well as the Church and the Academies, even the diplomat from Bastion. What he didn't see was anyone from the Courts, although at that moment he heard a raspy elven voice on the other side of the Terran Guards. He glanced over to see Thade make his greeting to Seinshun. There was the Courts representative.

As Seinshun turned to face him, Vince saw a flash of recognition on the Avian's face. Vince gave a warm smile and a quick salute of fist over heart. "I thank you for your warm welcome. My name is Vincent, representing Umbra Corporation." After greetings were through, Seinshun led them to the security desk. Vincent only had his Gemini daggers on him, as well as a couple of coins in his pocket. He hadn't brought any vials of metals with the assumption that he wouldn't need them today.

Once the security screening was complete they were led to a dock, and onto a boat. Vincent's face fell a little bit as they boarded the boat, knowing that any trip longer than ten or fifteen minutes would put him under the weather for the better part of the day. Seeing the blonde Terran Guard diplomat standing at one of the boat's railings, he decided to go over and introduce himself. He opened up with something generic, a wide smile on his face. "Lovely weather, no?"
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:04 am

It only took her a moment to remove her sun hat and pull the ceremonial knife from it's hidden sheath in her hair. She couldn't remove the sheath without being forced to pull her hair free from it's confines so she simply had to hand it over as it was. The Elven blade was marked with ancient runes, though they were not magical, simply decorative. Replacing her hat, Neona turned just in time to be greeted by a fellow elf, an elf she had never gotten the chance to meet though she had seen him across various rooms from time to time. Compared to him, her station was so far below him she was surprised he even bothered to talk to her at all. As he addressed her, Neona's smile would turn on him, genuine in every facet, with no hint of insincerity. "It is a pleasure to meet you Thade, I am Neona Tiran. Most of the Elves call my Nys-Elmiy, whichever you would prefer is perfectly fine with me." She had nothing to hide, lest of all from an Elf who publicly served the Court of Shadow first. As she tilted her head, the sunlight would catch her dark eyes, causing them to flash an ethereal gold for a few moments.

Their conversation was cut short however, as their Avian guide announced his intent to lead them to a rather large and lavish catamaran anchored not far off. With her Elven grace mixed with the agility of the Werewolf, Neona had no trouble making her way onto the large boat. This was the part of her job she loved the most, traveling, seeing new places, and with Kale so close, she could actually take the time to enjoy herself. Just because she didn't believe in killing, or violence in general, didn't mean she was stupid. She understand that such things happened, and she was one of the pacifist who refused to let someone else take her life before she decided they could. The cycle of violence had to be broken yes, but her voice could not be heard if she allowed it to be silenced too soon.

Moving off to the side of the boat facing Celestis, Neona brought her forearms up and set them on the railing. This was the first time she'd seen the city, as they rarely let humans this close, and saying she was excited would been a vast understatement. She barely managed to resist the urge to hop up onto the railing, a feat no human in his right mind would attempt for fear of falling off into the water. She needed to maintain some decorum after all, despite that mischievous part of her she kept hidden so well. A voice at her elbow caught her attention, and the fact that he'd managed to get so close without her hearing him forced her to admonish herself mentally for not paying attention. Still, he would be greeted with one of her signature smiles as she turned to face him.

"The weather is just gorgeous, absolutely perfect for touring Celestis." She tilted her head as if studying him a moment. Handsome, fit, but the wolf within her gave a warning rumble, though she noted it wasn't all a warning. Deep down, Neona Tiran was a predator, and she recognized such traits in others. Thade Aran had oozed danger, she was sure he had women swooning over him constantly, but Neona wasn't the swooning type. "Neona Tiran, Diplomatic Liaison for the Terran Guard." As he was human, Neona held her hand out to him in the ancient human tradition. Her long nails had been painted a deep blue with gold flecks, and tiny golden suns along the edge.
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:51 pm

Both life and combat experience combined served the covert operative of the Terran Guard well. There was indeed an animosity within Thade and he did very little to conceal it. Whether it was against a single group, or towards the world in general was unknown. The war and the Enlightenment both left their mark on the people of Terra. Some learned that there was need of a new path while others were hardened by the experience. In truth Thade harbored ill will towards the world as a whole. Individuals were given the chance to prove themselves better than the rest, but only one chance was given. It was good to see another battle seasoned individual among the diplomats even if he was from the opposing camp. He could trust a soldier to do what he was trained, diplomats in his experience shifted with the wind to easily.

"An honor to meet a keeper of the peace that protects us all." he said to the woman in blue and then turned his attention to the protector that kept vigilant watch over her. "It is not an easy task that you have. Your dedication is commendable." There was no mocking in his voice. The sentiment was sincere and he meant every word. It took true strength to stand for something when the world was against you. Even though he was not a fan of the peace that the world had found, he understood the need for it. In his opinion, the current peace just couldn't last.

It was then that their small group had finished being disarmed, and their tour guide spoke up for their attention. Thade joined the group in turning to the shining messenger and following his lead towards the boat. He hadn't been expecting a boat ride during this tour, but life was always full of little challenges. The elf didn't have a fear of water, or an inability to swim. It was the motions of the water that presented an obstacle for him. His training would change the way he moved on water if he did nothing to correct it. It would be a dead giveaway to someone who devoted themselves to fighting as an art as he had. The rest of the individuals that they were grouped with seemed to be simple diplomats, but he would take no chances.

Stepping off of the dock and on to the boat, Thade made himself aware of his every movement. The only way to counteract muscle memory and training was to over think every minute detail. He felt the motion of the deck beneath his foot and moved everything counter to what instinct told him. The result was a simple stumble that any person could have made, in fact some of the other diplomats had. Thade even went as far as stopping his hand in mid motion of reaching for the railing of the hull. No self respecting swordsman would show such weakness and he made sure he didn't.

Once on the boat his stride normalized as he came in rhythm with the waves on the windy lake. It wasn't hard to do, just uncomfortable thinking about things and holding what came naturally at bay. If left to his own devices, Thade would have adopted a natural rocking motion to use the motion of the water to keep his balance and add to the force and power of his own movements. This however wasn't a fight and he wasn't the only one who was uncomfortable on board the vessel. The elf's eyes moved to one of the more muscular members of their party. He was a very fit human, possibly a former soldier though his face looked far too young. Appearances weren't a very good sign of age and experience among elves, but humans tended to show their years more readily. The man who identified himself as a delegate from Umbra seemed to suffer from motion sickness, an affliction that travel by water was hardest on.
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:30 pm

The stormcaller sized up the recon/bodyguard. Like Thade, he too respected another soldier of the war. Seinshun was more used to swatting human airplanes from the sky, however.

"I thank you for your warm welcome. My name is Vincent, representing Umbra Corporation."

{You again. Umbra.....explains a lot, actually.}

Seinshun gave a respectable bow of the head to the man who had sicced a werecheetah upon him. He would have to keep a wary eye on this one.

"A word of warning, Vincent. There are many trees where we are going. It might not be wise to do your jumping trick," he said so only Vince could hear.


On the boat, Seinshun tried his best to hide a coy smile. It was humorous to see some of the surface dwellers weeble wobble on the deck. He had taken a while to gather his 'sea legs' the first several trips to the mainland. He'd rather just fly the distance to the city. But duty had requested the winged one take the same method of transport as his guests. He let the guests mingle, figuring they'd rather talk amongst themselves after spending so long cooped up in ground vehicles.

The catamaran made an easterly arc around the pseudo-island. The skyline of trees slowly became more industrialized. Anyone with extremely good eyesight, or someone who could squint hard enough to bring distance into focus, would be able to see an extension of the polished metal underbelly dropping off into the water. It was a water dock that had added on to the drydock where dirigibles were currently anchored several stories over their heads. The airships were the merchant fleets of the Avians, exporting goods and bringing in the construction supplies that would surely sink any of the Great Lakes vessels. Their helmsman piloted the catamaran into an empty slip on the lower dock. Avians in jumpsuits were quick to tie the craft down and pull out the gangplank.

Seinshun waited for everyone to regain their landlegs before leading the way to a freight elevator. The bay doors were already opened for them. There was also a winding staircase that led all the way to the top as well. It was a remnant from when the pier was originally built. Still functional but rarely used.

"Welcome, everyone, to Celestis. Just up ahead is the hub of all trade with the rest of the world. I thought it was only fitting that we start the tour there." The bay doors closed once everyone stepped onto the elevator. Its walls were glass, so they could look out at the shoreline. "Local trade is shipped directly to the mainland via the dock we just arrived from. Everything else comes in by dirigible. One is coming in now, actually."

An almost cloudlike blimp started its descent. It was just about in place when the elevator reached the top. The rear bay doors opened just in time for them to see the rest of the docking procedure. Avians in the same jumpsuits as the ones that roped them in rushed out to greet to the airship.

"This is the Northeast Pier even though it isn't exactly facing northeast at the moment. We're hoping to correct the city's alignment in a few weeks. The flooded sections of the city have been sealed and drained, so that will just be a matter of time. You all are more than welcome to take a few moments to see the pier. All personnel are available for questions, but I do ask that you keep them short. We have a lot of shipments coming in today, hence why we didn't approach the city from the air.

When you are ready, we can move on the civil and governmental offices. Each of you has an embassy for the nation or organization you represent. We can go into those if you wish."
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:35 pm

There wasn’t much to be said for this sort of event, as far as Kale was concerned. He’d already seen these particular sights a few times, and as for boats… well, he’d been on enough of those, too. And so it was that he spent most of his time watching the people. He returned the brief greetings from the two that granted them, otherwise he remained ignored for the most part. Which was, more or less, how he liked it. Of course, the one person did look toward him after greeting Neona and say something. Kale turned his eyes over to him and gave a very slight smile.

"Yeah, well. Old soldier has to make a living somehow." he said, his tone dry. It wasn’t in mocking, simply a deflection, something relatively common with Kale at least. Then again, not many people knew him well enough to know that. Eh. Neona was the people person, that’s why she was the diplomat. He wasn’t going to stay hung up on it. He gave the man a nod as a last sort of acknowledgement, and let him go about his way.

As for the rest… well, the boat didn’t bother him. He crossed his arms and positioned himself next to and just behind Goldie to keep watch. That was why he was here. Not to be sightseeing.

((sorry this is so short – wrestled for a while with what to post, never came up with anything good… Kale’s not much interested in the sights.))
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:15 am

As Neona responded to his question, Vincent quickly went through everything he had heard of her from Umbra's analysts. There wasn't much; she was part of the Terran Guard, and Umbra and the Guard didn't always see eye to eye. Elven Heritage, and by all accounts, a pacifist. Also, one hell of a diplomat and negotiator. That was pretty much the extent of Umbra's information on the woman. He watched her as she studied him in turn, almost seeing the keen mind working behind her brown eyes. What was bouncing around in that mind would obviously remain hidden to Vince as nothing showed on her face. Even with her smile, which from what he'd seen in the short time they'd been out of the vehicles was on her face as often as his own was, she seemed all business as she extended her hand in introduction.

Instead of shaking her hand, as most people would expect, he instead brought her hand up and lightly kissed the back of it. Archaic, yes, but Vince didn't care. "It is a pleasure and honor to meet you, Miss Tiran. My name is Vincent Harper. Temporary Umbra Diplomat." At that moment, the wind gusted and rocked the boat slightly. In the brief back and forth with Neona, he had managed to forget he was on a boat in the middle of a lake. Now, as he released Neona's hand, the fact that he was indeed on a moving boat came crashing back to the forefront of his mind. A small groan escaped him as he grasped tightly onto the rail. He turned to look toward the center of the deck, where he couldn't see any of the water flowing by. "Forgive me, Miss Tiran. Moving vehicles of any sort do not agree with me. Perhaps we can continue later, when we are no longer on the boat?"

Vince spent the remainder of the short boat ride facing the center of the boat, breathing deeply and focusing on trying to once again forget the movement of the boat. Finally the boat was docking, and thankfully not moving anymore. He waited for the docking process to complete, as patiently as possible, and was one of the first people down the gangplank onto the pier. Once on solid ground again, he finally took a good look at the city of Celestis, watching the blimp land and surveying what he could see of the city. He grouped himself up with the rest of the diplomats and waited for their guide to lead them into the city proper.
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:05 pm

Goldie managed to hold in her girlish giggle as Vince so chivalrously kissed the back of her hand in greeting. Surprisingly, it wasn't very often Neona met a male with such respect for other people, most heard Terran Guard and instantly stopped talking to her. Her smile faded a bit, turning into a soft frown as Vince showed signs of being sick. She didn't have to worry about that now, being a werewolf came with a lot of perks, her body instantly corrected for the swaying of the deck. Neona barely even noticed that she did it. "I would enjoy that very much Mr. Harper." she responded to the male as he scurried off, most likely in effort to keep from sicking up all over the deck. She turned her gold tinged eyes to Kale, sharing a look with him as she arched a brow.

Being so personally close to her guard had it's advantages, growing up amongst soldiers, Neona had picked up the small silent signals they used to communicate when talking wasn't an option. Kale and Goldie could speak just by looking at each other, and they shared their own private joke at Vincent's expense. She then turned her attention back to the city that loomed before them as they got closer and closer. She didn't let all of the excitement she felt at seeing this mythical place reach her face, though she couldn't wipe the smile off her lips even if she tried. This was what Neona lived for, exploring fantastic places.

The ride was over before Neona would have liked it to be, the weather was so perfect she could feel the wolf within her lounging about in the warmth of the sunshine, something she wished she could do without worrying about decorum. She noticed that Vince all but ran for the dock and felt sorry for the poor male, she wasn't sure how she would have survived if she suffered from motion sickness, all of her favorite things would be ruined. Goldie knew Kale would be right behind her as she floated down the gangplank to the dock. While others may have needed time to adjust, Neona certainly didn't, and she kept her eyes constantly moving to take in all of the splendor around them.

Clutching her blue bag in her lithe fingers, Neona listened to their tour guide as he explained what was going on around them. Tilting her head up to regard the airship, Neona made a personal promise to some day ride one of those things, it looked as if it would be a fantastic experience. She was intrigued to see the architecture of a city built for humanoids with large wings, it had to be different to make room for the majestic additions to their anatomy.

Neona wasn't like most diplomats, the majority of her counter parts thought of themselves as divas, constantly demanding things simply because they had immunity. Neona preferred to observe and learn, often immersing herself in the cultures she found rather then demanding they change to fit her. She rarely complained, seeing all of this as just another challenge and a chance to learn. She knew Kale would be looking over this city from a tactical stand point, so she let herself see it for the wonder that it was.

She had not need to bother the pier personnel, instead she watched them, learning from their actions and their speech exactly what each of their jobs were. Her blue shimmering flats barely made a sound as she moved along the dock, careful not to stray too far from the group so she could quickly rejoin them whn it was time to move on.
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:27 am

Silence was the comfort of Thade's journey across the water. He watched the others and took a quiet amusement in seeing the discomfort of a human on water. Something that was so fundamental to life, such an integral part of Terra, and it causes humans to suffer. He took it as a sign that humans would never be in tune with her as a people. Having seen enough, Thade turned his stormy blue eyes back to the rippling waters of the lake, and the docks which they were drawing closer to. Great air ships descended from the sky and showed him yet another marvel that he could not truly fathom until he saw it with his own eyes.

He braced himself as others would have while the ship docked. Knuckles turned white as blood fled them in tight grip. Once the vessel came to a stop and the ropes were tied off the gang plank dropped and allowed the diplomats to disembark. The elf waited for everyone else to leave first, and then made his way ashore. The delay gave him the chance to study the workings of the dock and its many moving parts. It was like a puzzle and the solution lay in understanding its parts. At the moment it was only building supplies and raw materials. The City was still mending itself and not yet ready to take flight. This would be told to his Lord, but this was just the surface. There could be more hiding beneath.

Following their guide, Thade did not take the offered opportunity to question the dock workers. Instead he entered the elevator that took them up into the higher levels of the city. His ears shifted slightly and he turned his head when Shun spoke of the Embassies. It peaked his curiosity to see the state of the Court's Embassy here in Celestis. The King of Light and the Emperor of Shadow would be interested to see how their people fared so far from home. "I would like to see the Court's Embassy here in Celestis. I do not wish to hold up the tour for others. Perhaps I could be allowed to make my visit after we are done for the day?"
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:21 pm

Guests were arriving at the pier shortly. Raina wasn't exactly fond of "guests." She could actually care less about their well-beings during the trip. In fact, it was better that none of them came. Her lips pursed with her contempt, white-gray eyes watching the approach of the airship from the distance. Seinshun was their tourguide for the Avian's beloved city. The light mage was ready to conjure any weapons for any miscreants on board.

Trust was not easy. She hoped that Seinshun knew what he was doing, or else she'd assume him bloody mad. The feathers, dark and light were ruffled from her time spent in the air. She'd been training for hours on end, working to the peak of her limit until it was time to rest. Then she'd get back in the air again to train in magical combat. Light was her greatest ally, but darkness was her greatest adversary. She made up for such weakness with honing her physical strength. Ground battle was also something she needed to work on.

However, upon learning about the tour, the caster ended her flight. Her white eyes moved across the busy city that once graced the sky. It was still beautiful, but in the wrong place. Raina landed at the docks after a sharp nosedive that she pulled out of at the last minute. A graceful turn had her black hair flowing about her visage, until she was on her feet, wings furled behind her back. She was not a part of the welcoming committee, although the other Avians were looking at her as if she were.

Raina hid her frown, and found it difficult to wear a smile as she walked to the group. Her armor was on, but slightly different from Seinshun. He was the warrior, and she the defender. She remained close to the city, and protected the other Avians. If need be, she would venture to war, but that was Seinshun's calling. Her own is to defend their fallen city with her magic. Symbols marked her shoulder pads and gauntlets. Silver with tones of black. She moved toward Seinshun, eyes flicking past each guest before pausing on Thade.

She didn't say anything, nor revealed any expression before she looked up to Seinshun with a slightly bemused expression. Shaking her head, Raina simply nodded to the guests, discomfort rolling in the pit of her stomach.

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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:58 am

==Sorry for Jumping in so late. This will be a bit brief just to get Mitch into the scene==

Mitch has said a total of a dozen words the entire trip here. He was so frustrated with his predicament that saying anything would come off rude and would land him in more trouble then it was worth. He and his superiors had had a shouting match for nearly an hour about this assignment, his displeasure at the ‘babysitting’ gig known by all but the ‘kid’ he was babysitting. There was no need to complicate things to much.

He had been willing to play along with this job until he found out he would have to do it without his partner. That had been the straw that broke the camels back and thrown him over the edge, pushing the envelope just a little farther then he should have. In the end he was told to do the assignment and suck it up. So he did, and he had decided he was going to hate every minute of it.

When he had been forced to give up his gun and his blade he merely sighed, just one more thing to rain on his parade. He didn’t fight it knowing he would lose so he has pulled his pistol from its holster, slammed the spare clips on the counter and then reached behind his back to unfasten his blade and laid it down with a bit more reverence.

From there he kept to the back of the group, his eyes and ears open to everything. He absorbed his surroundings and those close by, sizing up threats and looking for exits and cover positions. He had been a soldier before he was a peacekeeper and old habits were hard to break, especially for him.

He had met two of those here before, the avian he had questioned at the scene of an explosion and Mr. Harper who he knew as a former suspect of that very bombing. While Seinshun was strong and more then capable of handling himself in a fight he figured the bird man wouldn’t even dream of starting one here. Harper on the other hand was a bit more up in the air for him, forcing him to concede he would have to keep his eyes on him. This Thade gentleman on the other hand gave him an ill feeling. Mitch couldn’t put his finger on it and would never act on it without evidence, but the man would have a sizable amount of his attention for this trip.

Communicating with looks and brief motions of a continous ‘all clear’ with the man assigned to work with him, Mitch took a bit of the sights around him, waiting to see if anything would go wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:28 am

No one wanted to interrupt the dock workers. The Civics didn't really want to answer questions anyway. Too many shipments to bring, cargos to check the manifests, etc. Seinshun was the only one watching the observers. That was until Raina came in for her own landing. He wasn't surprised by her body language, although she gave no obvious signs that a surface dweller would pick up on. He acknowledged her presence with a quick head nod.

They were both Casters devoted to defending the city. Seinshun and his Aurorals rushed headlong to meet any attacker. Raina observed from the battlements and took down any opponent who happened to streak by. Their respective squadrons didn't mingle all that much, but there was no competition between them. In fact, it was casters like Raina who had proved instrumental in repelling countless attacks during the Conflagration. Aurorals use sun glare to their advantage by reflecting the light into the eyes of their foes. Humans got smart real quick and decided to attack at night, when the solar powered defensive grid wasn't at its peak. Photokinetic casters served as searchlights and turned the Aurorals into night time disco balls of death. Their light spells bounced off the mirrored armor of an Auroral, and any fellow warrior in range, to duplicate their daytime tactic. It was only fitting Raina be within line of sight just in case someone managed to overtake Seinshun.

Of course, the stormcaller was hoping everyone here was serious about helping the avian people. He was still taking a chance letting these wingless ones see the city. The older human male had the posture of a soldier. Seinshun had an inkling that a strategic mind hid behind that mask of indifference. The representative from Umbra was a trickster, and not so helpless as he led them all to believe. However, the avian soldier could count on the diplomat's other escort to make sure no hairless monkey business ensued. He felt the calmest around the elves....the Others. Thade had said he was with the Courts. Like Umbra, no one could really be sure what the Courts were up to these days.

"I would like to see the Court's Embassy here in Celestis. I do not wish to hold up the tour for others. Perhaps I could be allowed to make my visit after we are done for the day?" Thade asked.

"Of course," Seinshun bowed his head. "I can make arrangements for you to stay the night in one of the dignitary quarters if you wish to see both." He turned his attention to the entire group. "That offer is extended to all of you as well. Some parts may still be under construction. We haven't entertained much the last few years."

The last part was to lighten the mood. Everyone else worried about the construction of Librium, or keeping the humans out of Elryia (or the Others out of Bastion for that matter). Seinshun's people just wanted to go back to the clouds where they could leave the squabbling of imaginary lines on the ground behind. Celestis had served as a neutral meeting point for Other politics in the past. There were many buildings set aside just for those governments. Now that Celestis was playing an active role in foreign diplomacy, those buildings had been renovated to make their guests more likely to empty their coffers.

"I'm sure you all are itching to see the city proper. Right this way." Seinshun extended an arm to reveal a forty foot tall set of double doors. It's construction appeared to be stone but yet metal at the same time. Like a Midevil iron portcullis of solid stone. A thrice repeating duo of notes, too high for a human male to produce, emanated from Seinshun's mouth reminiscent of a bird in a tree calling out to a friend. A similar reply came back after a slight pause. Raina would recognize the birdsong as her own language requesting for the gates to be opened. The stone/metal doors swung away from with an astonishing speed for that much matter.

A line of light formed in between the sections which gradually morphed itself into a sprawling district beyond. The monotonous pier gave way into a clay colored cobblestone road. A circular expanse of cobblestone served as a welcome plaza for new arrivals. A vehicle resembling a three-wheeled truck came up from behind them and made the right at the plaza, quickly disappearing behind the still widening doors. It was full of crates that had just been unloaded from the dirigible. The humans in the group would probably have a brief attention span deficit as they saw the actual view of the governmental district.

The welcome plaza was a wide terrace without a guardrail. A rail would only impede the comings and goings of the Avians. Several were seen flitting about with messenger satchels. These were the Messengers, the couriers of the Celestis. The ones here were only the 'interdepartmental memo' messengers. It probably wouldn't be very long when one of their compatriots would go out to the dock with an official letter to the Courts or a Human government. Knowledge is extremely important to Avians. They are the keepers and the sharers of it. To some cultures, a mail man is a menial job. Avians are honored to be given such an opportunity.

"This district was one of the first to be reconstructed after the Enlightenment. All that's really left is to do a few cosmetic touch ups here and there. From here, it looks like the structures were carved seamlessly from stone. You will see fine etchings in the facade when you get much closer. We value the arts and use every inch available as a canvas. There are a few museums in this district, but they are mainly in the city's south of where we are now. This section houses the major governmental and civil offices. If you look to the upside-down spire at the top right, that is where the Spheres, or guildmasters, hold the council sessions. That vantage point allows them to see the majority of Celestis."

Speaking of vantage point, Seinshun turned around to see his guests' faces. He was hoping for awe. Awe would mean sympathy and support. He suspected much of that support would come from Neona.

==I don't know if the link showed up in "governmental district." Just in case, here is what I'm using as the layout: http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=flying%20city&order=9&offset=48#/d2vgl79 ==
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PostSubject: Re: State of the Union (Open)   Sat May 05, 2012 11:23 am

((I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was my turn... I'll work on something, but everyone can please skip me if they're ready.))
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