A Science Fantasy Space Opera

  • Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

Chapter 8: Negotiations

Ray of Meep

Administrator
Co-authored by: Ray of Meep (GM), CadetNewb, TheCountryWarrior, Wallflower

Solaris Lihana (Dawn Star System), Planet Lihana (Planet Vermillion Bird)

The air shuttle landed on a high rise building at the center of the city. At their altitude, air was noticeably thinner here, cooler. There were also more of those buzzers around, flying in perfect formation around the buildings here. As the Aos Si stepped out of their vehicle, their eagle eyes could spot humans in shades dotting the interior of the building, outside. At their hips were concealed shapes, shapes of firearms, giving them flashbacks to the girl with the gun that night. Their gaze occassionally landed on the Aos Si, but otherwise they were surveying the surroundings in general.

A woman stepped out of the building, leading a group of three others. Two men were wearing shades on the sides, black, long sleeved shirts with knots lining the middle, collars carrying gold floral patterns, along with black pants. It seems they were armed as well, slight bulges at the sides of their hips.

In constrant, the two women in the middle were wearing y-collared black dresses, long sleeved, that went down to the knees, cuts at the hips to access pockets underneath, gold, white, and red floral patterns sewn onto the entire clothing. They were wearing a black shirt underneath, along with black pants.

The leading woman stopped in front of the Aos Si with a small, confident smile on her face. It was difficult to tell her age; her facial features were wrinkless, no doubt with a generous application of makeup. However, a strand of silver streaked across an otherwise perfect head of black hair. Then there was the pair of faint, trenched lines that ran from the corners of her lips that ran up to her cheeks, then sharp turns down to the corners of her jaw.

"Welcome of Cloud Watch (Yun Wang)." She opened her mouth in a professional, projected voice. "Capital of the State of Dawn (Li Ming), and the Heaven Forged Republic as a whole. On behalf of my country, I, Governor Lv Wen, greet you."
 
Gwaed stood like the picture perfect model of a Commander, back straight, face stern, eyes dark and intelligent. He didn't necessarily want to be the first to talk, but standing there saying nothing wasn't an option. He responded similarly to her, letting his voice in their tongue be heard. "I am Gwaedcryf Hewyllys Anorchfygol, last surviving noble of the House of Hewyllys Anorchfygol, Commander of an Army that no longer exists." He spoke harshly, a diplomatic way of accusing her entire race of these failures. "Let us home we can speak this time around. The last meeting of our two kinds went disastrously." He stared directly at her, his gaze never letting up. Let these parasitic cameras watch.
 

CadetNewb

Administrator
Wiki Moderator
"Only out of necessity," Amisra was quick to remind Gwaed, her eyes then turning to the Governor. "Amisra av Yvresse," she introduced herself as well, lifting her skirt ever so slightly as she curtsied in Aos Si fashion. "The 'helicopter' was not very reassuring, and had to be 'encouraged' to leave," the redheaded woman had since looked up the word for the flying war machine. "I hope that this inconvenience will be overlooked," the ranger referred to their very first meeting with the professor. As eloquent and polite as her words were however, there was the faintest of implied barbs. Not necessarily for the governor of course. She had to have already known. Amisra pondered how the onlookers that she couldn't even see would react.
 

FloweryDream

New member
Sai felt like it was something she would never get used to, the strange quiet of the ships that floated through the sky. She wanted to say that it was something foreign and alien, but supposedly even her own people had once achieved similar results. That fantastical past was long behind them now, yet today it seemed closer than any other. The metal beasts flew through the air with stunning ease, and as she looked out the window to the bizarre pallet of the grand city below, something that endlessly did seem alien, she felt like the stars were not out of reach of these vessels. For the first time in her life, she was struck by the idea that the museum she saw was but a brief glimpse into the culture of these people. They were a mere fraction of what existed, and somewhere out there were cultures and people so foreign to her that she would struggle to find common ground between this city and there.

It was a warming thought, to think of that much music, that much art. Things that united the people as a whole outside their squabbles and politics. The bare soul of humanity thrust forth upon the Galaxy, different in every person, different in every people.

She stepped off the grand vehicle cautiously, her confidence in doing so rising from the last time. The air was thin, and as she looked around, her view increased by the lack of walls, she was struck by the grandness of it. Up here, even the endlessly uniform city structure seemed like a strange texture pattern of fabric and silk. An odd form of braille that told more than just the words it produced. She turned, slowly, to the ornately well-dressed people that approached them. She eyed the outfits for a moment, realizing that she had seen some like it briefly in crowds, but hadn't paid much attention to them. She imagined, based on these people alone, that only the wealthy or powerful had access to such clothing.

She had to admit the strange beauty they possessed, if only because she had scarcely seen anything like it.

Listening to the woman, the Governor who had summoned them, give her introduction, Sai gave her practiced bow as she stepped forward. While she didn't want to make assumptions on how the others wished to approach this, it seemed that the others had taken a more standoffish approach.

"Good Morning, Governor Lv Wen." She began, taking a more dignified position quickly. Her clothes were more basic, survivalist in nature while still maintaining strong touches of a distant, but closely held culture in its weaving. "I am Sai Aias, of House Ornstrum." She knew that the Ornstrum clan, or what was left of it, was particularly brutal in its response to the invasion. She wasn't a part of it, last she recalled spending those years in hiding, nursing wounds that never seemed to fully heal. That was her childhood. She did not mention greater detail, knowing greater exposition would ultimately fall on deaf ears.

"We've been informed that you've been witnessing our..." She paused, trying to find the right word, definitions suddenly failing her. "Experiences, of your culture and history." She decided to cut straight towards the point. There was no reason to hide it, that a specific event spurred the meeting. "If you would not terribly mind my asking-" Her verbiage was polite, almost overly so, especially given the opinions she had expressed before. She had admittedly little interest in the expressed power of this woman, only in how she used it. "What made you decide to call upon us?"
 

Ray of Meep

Administrator
The Governor raised both eyebrows, her eyes leery as she examined the Aos Si, listening attentively to their introductions, statements, and questions. She first replied to Amisra and Gwaed with a reassuring tone, too reassuring. "We've moved beyond the tyranny, the reckless of our ill-fated predecessors." She spoke with a projected voice, as if she wasn't just speaking to the Aos Si. "I am confident that this meeting, the first formally, between our peoples, will be fruitful."

"Speaking of 'harvest' (results)..." The Governor then answered Sai. "First of all, we are honored that our music can be appreciated across species lines. That is a grand human achievement. As for our purpose here today, I'd like to discuss how you'll live among us, should you enroll in Cloud Watch Institute's education program."

She gestured towards the building smoothly with one hand. "You must be hungry, however, and the chilly air here is no place for guests. Let us head inside. We will eat and talk at the same time."

It was unclear what the purpose of the room the group ended up in, was initially, since it now seemed especially made for this meeting. The entire volume was showered in a soft, gold light. It was small, perhaps too personal, the walls decorated with golden depictions of foreign creatures, with three different flags hanging on the backwall. A round table in the center was draped in white cloth, with a rotating disk built into it along with eating utensils, bowls and plates. Chairs surrounded it, and a squadron of men in shades, what looked to be waiters and chefs, along with buzzers that now climbed along the walls; surrounding the set up. On the rotating disk were food dishes already in place. Some were eerily familiar, yet foreign. Others were alien entirely.

"Please, have a seat." The Governor guided the group to sit down, waiters walking over to poor beverages into their cups. "I assure you that what you eat and drink today will match the Aos Si's needs and preferences. The ingredients used for these dishes either come from this planet's own plants and animals, grown with our own technology; or that they come from my homeworld, but ensured to be edible by your kind."
 
The human was speaking to the cameras that owned the air around them, watching their every move. She was speaking to them, yes, but she was speaking for the cameras. For their benefit. Gwaed wanted to go home, even if home was just a hollow tree where he kept all his dashed hopes and dreams. This was Amisra's sort of get-together, filled with double crosses and hidden meanings and a general feeling of people assuming they're smarter than everyone else in the same room. He was going to be himself, and the humans would either learn to accept that, or he'd be free of them one way or another.

"An impressive mockery of traditional dishes. I assume finding an Aos Si cook was nigh-impossible given their status here, it will be allowed." He took a seat, taking a breath. He could look regal, if he put his mind to it he could look utterly magnificent, and he put in the work outwardly. From his lips however, he spoke infrequently, because he had made up his mind to not lie. Brutal honesty would serve him here. "I do truly hope you don't assume it was human music that brought my friend to tears. I assure you, humanity does not have the monopoly on the concept of music. To think so would be selfish, and I doubt you're here to be selfish in front of the entire public." He smiled at her, lifting his cup to the eyes around them, before setting it back down. He didn't drink.
 

FloweryDream

New member
The language the woman spoke in was strange. Undoubtedly it was the language they were taught, as she understood every word of it. Yet, each word felt... Slanted, as if they were false, or represented something else. Like a poem that was meant to be taken a thousand ways but lacking the nuance for the intention to be natural. It was like every word she was stating was part of a contract, and she was speaking to avoid talking herself into some promised corner, unable to move from the tangle of her own words. It was something that immediately put Sai on edge, as the essence behind the words was lost in the process. She wasn't being talked to, she was being read a script.

"You'll have to forgive us." Sai replied as she took a seat. "We're... Unused to what I assume is your political language." It made sense to her more as she thought about it. That fear and shame that had struck her when she realized that the entire city had watched her cry? Something would doubtlessly come of it, and they were witnessing it here. A scripted language that was devised to narrow down meaning to be as direct and inoffensive as possible, not even holding so much as an inflection of discontent that could be taken against them. It was vague when it could afford to be, and specific when it had to ensure that nothing said could be weaponized.

Did their own politics once match this form in some unique or familiar way? She shuddered at the thought, realizing that she didn't know.

"As for the food, I believe that food of your own culture would be fitting just fine." Sai realized as she spoke that she stood out a fair bit from her companions. In complete honestly, she scarcely knew them, and it showed. Even physically there was little in common. Already the images of the last few weeks, the difficult struggle of trying to get along with the few humans they knew, and the looks of frustration as each of the three Aos Si said something either intentionally or not to get a rise out of the professor or one of his companions. She sat in silence, her face contorting briefly to a frown as she realized that it wasn't how she wanted to mend the damage that seemed to throb before her eyes.

"I would like to meet the chef." She spoke suddenly, her uneven eyes staring up to the woman across the table. "An old tradition, as it would not do to speak of important matters over food without meeting the hands who made what brings us together." It was an old family tradition, and one she realized could help bridge the gap.
 

CadetNewb

Administrator
Wiki Moderator
"You will have to forgive the Commander," Amisra politely interjected, having yet to touch the food herself. "Even before the worst of hardships had come, he had and continues to have a particularly hot, burning passion," the redheaded ranger smiled at the woman, then at Gwaed. The innuendo aside, the food itself didn't particularly interest Amisra in the slightest given that this was all pretense for something else, but the fact that it was the familiar so oddly blended with the strange and foreign had her instinctively not even bother. A ranger did not eat every single random thing they came across after all, even if it did look delicious, and even if she did recognize some of it at a glance. Some of it. Her emerald eyes glanced over to Sai. "A good request," she bit onto an opportunity, promptly circumventing Sai's remarks regarding language and politics. She was practically a kid dragged into events far larger than her, and politics were something she likely hadn't even witnessed or dealt with if the ranger recalled correctly.

"I'm curious myself how long it took to integrate it all." Despite her polite tones, the barb was clear. The integration attempt would tell everything about them, much like Li Shi Cheng's own first words on the same matter.
 

Ray of Meep

Administrator
The Governor took a pause at Amisra's curiosity. Her hand went for her chin, but in reality her fingers glided along the lines that divided her lower jaw from the rest of her skull. She eyes kept a lock on the group, but the pause, the movement of her hand, they betrayed an unwillingness to engage the subject.

She further delayed the engagement by gesturing to one of the chefs, looking at Sai. "Lady Aias, this is Gentleman Lu." The man nodded politely. He looked to be as old as the Governor, donning a full uniform of red, with black collar, cuffs, buttons, and belt. "He is the head chef here. If you have any questions, you are free to talk to him after our meeting today."

The Governor then looked back to Amisra and Gwaed. Li Shi Cheng quietly watched from the side. It shouldn't be surprising that Amisra and Gwaed, then Sai, act as two separate groups, despite the former pair's apparent conflicts. Seems that friction even in dire times isn't a uniquely human issue. The question is, who here was going to be the easiest to incorporate into human society? Sai seemed the most interested in human culture, but perhaps only as far as it reminded her of what she had before.

"The professor taught you much, didn't he?" The Governor commented. "Transparency is a virtue of our scholars here." She spoke in a forced tone of praise. "How the Republic came to be is still a matter of discussion. Was it through the strength of human will, peace and diplomacy? Or was it through cynical pragmatism, war and bloodshed? It has only been eight years since our formation. The later generations will be the ultimate judges of our actions. I'd like my grandchildren to believe it was the former." Her answer was completely unsatisfactory, yet out of all her words thus far, this felt the most sincere.
 

FloweryDream

New member
There were countless reasons to have the chef present at a meal, and not all of them benefited Sai directly. It was meant to show the chef the result of their performance, where their efforts and artistic talent in the culinary field would finally reach the plates of those who likely couldn't make the same meal, even if they tried. It was, Sai guessed, similar to an artist watching the public interact with their public galley the first time it opens. It encouraged that special pride that only the arts could truly bring about, and in its formation, artistic pride even came about in the more strict fields. Sai gave a brief but polite nod to the chef as she shifted in her seat, turning her attention back to the Governor.

"I suppose we shouldn't circle around the topic too much, lest we dizzy ourselves." Sai finally admitted with a brief sigh. She eyed the food dishes available, noticing more than a few dishes that had been constructed strangely, obviously through human cuisine, using foods that had been grown from local flora, and meats whose patterns clearly resembled that of local fauna. In a moment's decision, she concluded that she already knew well enough of their own available food sources and though the humans likely had found ways to maximize how to grow and harvest them, she elected to try one of the dishes that seemed more foreign. If all else failed, she might not get another chance for something like this.

"I suppose it should be stated that I don't believe much else besides transparency will foster growth between us, especially when such a hand has been offered as the... Educational opportunities that have been described." She pause as she briefly took a small mouthful of the hot food. "Given our shared history, I'm sure it can be understood why we would hesitate on what seems like a suddenly offered hand when the same hand once held a knife." She swallowed, her throat feeling dry on the subject. "Not to imply that there is some ulterior motive, of course. Rather, if there is some political, or secondary intention to this hand besides pure kindness, then it would be important for us to know that, and what kind of influence it has on what has happened, and what will happen."
 
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