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No title.
(2013-05-17 - 2013-05-17)
No description.
Mirage Hollow Bastion makes for a fantastic home-away-from-home for the enterprising evil overlord. Too out of the way and too well-defended to be invaded, this sprawling city and castle offered peace and concentration for all of its dwellers.

In the case of Mirage, Hollow Bastion had become her home for the merging worlds made her own pocket dimension, Morbia, no longer available. This was not without downsides as here, Mirage did not have absolute power. No, she had to share this space with other villains, several of whom she considered, grudgingly, her equals. The rest, of course, she simply tolerated. She never failed to give off the air that she owned this place as she strutted about.

One of the many rooms here has been turned into a private study space for Mirage, complete with a replica of the throne she sprawled upon in her home dimension. The room itself seemed to be divided into two stark sections: one, quite clean, with the aforementioned throne, while the other contained a chaotic disarray of books, tomes, and alchemical materials. Some spots of the mess look like they haven't been touched for some time, covered in layers of dust and cobwebs.

Presently, Mirage sits upon her throne while before her, a portal has been etched into the air, bordered by bright orange fire.

Within the portal was the image of a small village, likely somewhere in the World of Ruin. It wasn't under seige at all-in fact, people seemed to be continuing business as usual, farming and trading, but every now and then a person would vanish, swallowed up by a portal of darkness.
Kuja Somewhere in the Hollow Bastion, someone starts to play jaunty organ music. You'd like to think Kuja set this up in advance, but no. These things just happen when you're evil. Mirage understands.

BSM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sft4NZxGGXI&list=PL9D434EDB64474304

"Does evil incarnate sleep, or does it merely dream?" A flamboyantly dressed individual with androgynous features steps out of a corridor of darkness a safe distance from the throne, "And if it dreams, then what self-proclaimed /heroes/ dare halt the ambitions of the Queen of Evil?"

He would take measured steps towards the throne, one foot in front of the other, before stopping, canting his head casually towards the portal, as one slender hand rakes back through his silvery locks. "You've been reduced to such humble circumstances, a border village? Scratching out peasants? I think you're capable of so much more."

He'd regard the figure on the throne with a self-satisfied smile, which was half a smirk. One hand was placed to his chin, a finger curled upwards towards his upper lip. "Or am I too presumptuous, your Majesty?"

And with that, he'd bend at the knees slightly, bowing, with one hand across his chest, the other outstretched behind his back with all the exaggerated theater of being a courtly gesture.
Mirage Mysterious-sounding organ music? Pretty appropriate for Hollow Bastion. As it starts, Mirage sits up a little straighter in her chair, her ears flicking. After a few seconds, she gives an appreciative nod.

It was music she could tolerate. Plot to, even, if needed, and in the case of her current entertainment, did not disrupt the mood.

Her eyes slide sideways as Kuja invites himself into her room, earning a sharp look at the intrusion. "Who indeed." she drawls boredly, "Who would dare impose themselves-" her voice raises as she turns to look directly at Kuja. "-on my...ambitions."

Kuja comments on her extracirricular activities and waves a dismissive hand. "Toying with the helpless never goes out of style." She comments and, with the flick of her clawed fingers, the scrying portal shrinks, then disappears with a puff of flames. "Now I see my reputation precedes me." A coy smile forms, showing off her pointed canines. Lifting a hand, she curls a finger at Kuja, motioning for him to come closer.

"I am not unaware of yours, Kuja. What are you prepared to offer me today?"
Kuja As she beckons, his back straightens, and he continues to take several measured steps forward. The androgynous man parodying her smile, with one of his own. "Straight to the point. Then there's no need to bandy words about..."

A gesture is made with a slender wrist to the area beside her current portal. A small pulse of darkness emanates from it. A moment later, another scrying portal would open. A dark void, a hole, which would eventually shimmer, and warp from amorphous darkness into a vision of the majestic golden domed roofs of Sultan's palace in Agrabah. "This, is what I'm prepared to offer you. An endless supply of people you can torment to your heart's content, or rule, if it pleases you. And if you find Agrabah.. wanting, then what I will give you is the power to branch out. To spread your ambitions to any given village, or kingdom which that suits the flights of fancy that only evil incarnate might possess."

Reaching into his clothes, he would withdraw a small box of Acacia wood. And a moment later it begins to float across the room, hovering in front of Mirage's visage, at eyelevel with those glowing, yellowed orbs. "...if you have the will to seize it. I don't doubt for a moment that you do."
Mirage "Absolutely. As they say in theater, if I am not mistaken, 'Know your audience.'" She rests her elbows on the armrests of the throne and leans forward, steepling her fingers. "Though if you wish to entertain me with an extended converation on technique and form for committing evil, I would be happy to indulge. It's been some time since I've had the opportunity...Maleficent has not been around."

She almost seems genuinely sad at this. As if she actually /respected/ the dark fae.

Her own scrying portal gone, Kuja's vision is the only one colorfully presenting itself in the room. The vast white towers and golden peaks are immediately recognizable to the sorceress and this recogition is reflected in the expression upon her face. "Ah yes, Jafar's little corner." she rumbles. "Reportedly there are some heroes of some measure there but I cannot say I've seen any...yet." Looking away from the image, she boredly inspects her fingernails. "I wonder if Jafar has found his princess yet. Hmmhmm.."

She looks back up to Kuja, eyes glitterly cruelly. "Well, you have my interest." she intones, her subtext quite clear: she has absolutely zero respect for any sort of 'claim' Jafar might have on the city.

Mirage watches the box float in front of her for a few seconds before, with altogether expected lightning reflexes, she snatches the box out of the air. "So...what do we have /here/?" she says expectantly, claws hooking the lid to the box to pry it open.
Kuja And again, he would bow, in a similar fashion, one hand over his chest, one behind his back. "I'm impressed. And for that, I'll let you in on part of the inside /joke/. You should appreciate this, as a leading lady, given that we're only midway through the first Act. But I long for the denouement."

Stepping a pace forward, he'd lean in, cupping a hand against his cheek. "How many others, do you think I've offered this sort of power, unto? I care not for how it is used, so long as it is used to inflict as much suffering, as many casualties as possible. But do not think I'm implying that you're a pawn. No, you are the most important piece on your chessboard. The Black Queen, vying for dominance."

He knew his audience well enough to know that Mirage was not like to care about the superficial details of his con game. The loss of life was not like to horrify her, nor was the competition like to infringe upon her ambitions.. yet.

"Jafar, is.. but a washed up actor. A has been. But you? I see you capable of so much more.. While he focuses on his errant Princess, why not seize his holdings? And if the heroes are not up to your standards, then.."

He would once again crook his finger up to his lip, "...then broaden your world view. I must say, I have great admiration for your little fire cats. There is such artistry in them. Which is why I thought it would be appropos to offer you..."

When she opened the lid, there would be a small gem of calignosity, inside its depths were blazing, darkened flames, the fires raging as if it did not like to be contained. "...the king of the Efreeti. The Eidolon of flame."
Mirage Her yellow eyes watch him with cold amusement-Kuja would be so fortunate! But Kuja, being Kuja, would hardly be classified as prey in the mind of the evil incarnate. No, he does not fall unto the same level as Negaduck, whom is offered the barest of respect from Mirage.

"Many, I would hope!" Mirage smirks, "Though you have me curious, just how many sorts are out there?" There is a low rumble from the sorceress-a purr maybe?-as Kuja continues to stoke her ego. She is most appreciative that his opinion aligns with her own views of her at the center of the universe.

"Why /not/." Mirage speaks this as if she's not really considered this avenue before. Or maybe has, and discarded it, for some arcane reason only knowable to herself. "It isn't as if he's doing anything productive right now."

She looks delighted all too suddenly, "Oh, you like them?" she purrs as she lifts her left arm off of the throne's armrest. She snaps her fingers and, quite suddenly, the armrest is no longer an armrest but one of the aforementioned fire cats. From where he stands, Kuja can feel the unrelenting heat eminating off the beast.

The creature looks at Kuja and starts to rear...until Mirage casually puts a hand down upon its head. Clawed fingers slide backwards to scratch the fire cat behind the ears. It responds to this immediately, tilting its head back towards the hand.

The other hand plucks the gem free from the box and holds it up before her, pinched between two fingers. From his vantage point, Kuja can see the flames of the gem reflected in the sorceresses eyes.

With just that look, she can comprehend the Eidolon within the gem. She was, in fact, not unware of these creatures. "How -very- fitting!" she cackles.
Kuja "The numbers would likely daunt even you... the purge is coming. War is on the horizon, and soon the world shall be bathed in such great quantities of blood, that you'll swear the moon has taken on a scarlet hue."

He tsks, with a smile, "Now where would be the fun in that, your majesty? All I can say is that none belong to your current rivals. And each is being given an Eidolon eminently suitable to their...disposition.

Kuja would know exactly how to stroke /anyone's/ ego. Being a classic narcissist, it was all too easy. He just had to act like he was a sycophant addressing /himself/.

"Wasted. Such beauty has grown lean and haggard under his neglect. Better that it be taken by someone with your particular...Úlan."

Kuja would be nonplussed by the appearance of the firecat. In fact, he'd take a step forward, beside the throne, once the beast had settled, and lay his own hand upon it, scratching it between the ears. When his hand arose.. there were wisps of smoke arising from his skin, but nary a sign of a burn. Garland had engineered his Angel of Death well, after all.

"How very fitting indeed. And with this, you can.. torment more than a single peasant at a time. You can lay waste to the entire village. To cities. To nations. All will be a Holocaust, a new sacrifice unto the Queen of Evil."
Mirage "Try me." Mirage leans forward, a gleam in her eye. Would she take the other Eidolons for herself? Maybe. But there was something to be said about applying a bit of /efficiency/ to evil.

"From what little I heard of the others, well, I can make my guesses." She turns her hand over in her wrist and in the blink of an eye, the gem is gone. It's difficult to tell if it was vanished by mere slight of hand or a quick cantrip at work-with Mirage, it is virtually indistinguishable. "I'll be sure to spruce up the place." Her smile thins.

It is some surprise to see Kuja petting the fire cat. While she never expected him to be afraid of it like lesser mortals were, physically touching the burning skin of the beast was something only those with a measure of fire immunity ought to try. Crafted by her own hand, they were completely harmless to Mirage. She watches Kuja touch the creature.

Much like with Mirage, the fire cat leans into his hand. At the end of the day, it did not care who was petting it, only that it got pets.

A laugh escapes her. "Very efficiently, I'm sure. Do you know what the most satisfying part of this business is for me?" she actually falls silent after that, allowing him the chance to speculate.
Kuja "Eight. And all in the hands of those whom have the will to use them. Whether they have the particular spark of creativity that is required to apply them properly..." He tsks, "Some are meant to wield bludgeons, others the scalpel. In the end, I care not, so long as the world burns. I'll be there, watching it, enjoying it with a bottle of my favorite brandy. Watching the samsara of war in its endless incarnations and cycles come to its denouement."

The sleight of hand only brings a smile to Kuja's expression, still his mind couldn't help but be entertained by the speculation of where the gem might be, with Morbia closed to her.

Kuja had no fire immunity, per se. His genetically engineered skin was just meant to be that durable. Had he kept his hand there long enough, he might have actually raised the equivalent of a first degree sunburn, but even that would have healed quickly.

He'd venture a smile, as he leaned in just close enough, "That you've met someone who appreciates your genius?"

Another stroking of the ego. Even if it was the incorrect answer, it would still serve him well to do so.
Mirage "Good, good." Mirage drawls, pleased that Kuja will not interfere...merely enable. This is perfectly fine with the sorceress, even if the occasional interference from a fellow villain did keep things from getting TOO boring. "Though participation does have its own merits, I will not press."

The cat remains for a few more seconds, leaning over to rub against Kuja before Mirage seems to take notice. Then, perhaps, in a fit of jealousy, she waves her hand and the fire cat once again becomes part of her throne. She shifts, leaning most of her weight against that particular armrest, which puts her precariously close to Kuja himself.

Mirage seems to have little regard for personal space.

From here, she can allow herself to stare directly into his eyes, "Flattery will get you everywhere...except the right answer." Leaning back away, she gives the room around her a glance. "It is the struggle. It is seeing their hope die. Their wails. Their cries. Their dreams crumbling within minutes. In the end, they will beg for their death, and even then, I will deny them just to see their anguish."

She falls silent, threading her fingers together, "Ultimately, I appreciate the journey before the end result."
Kuja "Mayhaps I will participate.. but not in the way any of you will expect. After all, I wouldn't want the conflict to become.. banal. Rest assured, you will be pleased with the end result."

He would continue to rub a hand idly against the cat until it became part of the throne. Inwardly, he was grinning. It was an interesting thought that the fickle cat favored him over his mistress for one brief moment.. in that way, they were so very like Mirage, with their flights of fancy.

When she leans closer, Kuja did the same. He had little concept of personal space as well.. for a moment, he even considered scritching behind one of her ears, like one of her pet cats, but decided against it.

"In that sense we'll have to agree.. to disagree." He'd loom just over her for a moment, his teeth showing, "Though I appreciate your particular philosophy, your majesty.. your genius, your sadistic streak... I only seek the end result. The day when I will bring all that he has wrought.. to ruination. And before I cast the tattered remnants of his soul screaming, to writhe endlessly in the void, I will let him know that I have surpassed him, in every possible way... For that brief moment, his strength will be akin to one of the pathetic wretches that you torment. A gnat.. which I will then crush, and cast aside. /That/ is what I seek. And I will do it alone."
Mirage "How exciting." To Kuja's credit, Mirage really does sound excited. "I'm eager to see, then, what sort of show you will be putting on."

It would certainly take a very, very brave man to elect to -pet- Mirage. Equally mysterious would be her reaction to such an event though it would likely end with somebody being turned inside-out.

"Mmm, seems I have misjudged you a tad." Mirage rumbles, steepling her fingers together, "You had struck me as the same sort that would enjoy the action far more than the ending." The sorceress pauses and lifts a black-furred eyebrow at his words.

She only needs to say one more thing to this, "He?"
Kuja "It will be something suitably dramatic, I assure you..."

And then she speaks of misjudging him, and he'd just grin, "I'll enjoy /that/ as well. After all, human suffering always sits well with me. One day, I might tell you about how I conquered a nation of rats in but a single hour."

He'd wave a finger at her, grinning once again, "Now /that/, would be telling...Try not to enjoy yourself too much Mirage. I know how... difficult, that can be. You wouldn't want to attract the attention of /other/ cats, after all.."

He'd turn, and spare one last glance over his shoulder with a self-satisfied smirk. And then he'd walk towards a Corridor of darkness that sprang into life. "We'll meet again.. next time, I'll tell you about the /next/ nation of rats that I'll conquer. Farewell, your majesty."

And then he stepped through the Corridor, and was gone.
Mirage Predictably, Mirage looks delighted at the thought of anything unfortunate happening to /rats/. "Then you'll definitely have to come invite yourself again." She gives him a sidelong glance, "Though next time-" her voice grows sharp, "-I would appreciate some warning."

She laughs, settling back into her throne, "Oh, thank you so much for the warning...and the gift."

One hand lifts, wiggling her dark, clawed fingers at him as he departs. "Hehehehehe..."

 
This scene contained 15 poses. The players who were present were: Mirage, Kuja