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Baron Ascendant
(2012-12-26 - 2012-12-26)
With Manhattan fallen into darkness and Xanatos Enterprises thereby undermined, Baigan intends to secure Baron's 'safety' -- read: power and influence -- once and for all. Without mighty technology to oppose them, the only question is what battleground to choose, and who to send on the mission. But a new cadre of Baron's elite have formed, ready to take on these challenges...
Baigan Baron has grown livelier as of late.

Baigan sports one of his rare thin smiles, arms crossed beneath his crimson mantle as his unblinking eyes regard the map spread on the wide table before him. Rather than being hid away in his study to plot, he stands amidst a flurry of activity, soldiers and mages and even foreign dignitaries passing through the great hall on their way to the throne room or various other parts of the castle. One might think that with a terrible security breach taking place only a month ago, in which one of their new maids was tragically abducted by insurrectionist scum (at least, that's how Baigan remembers it), the realm would still be on lockdown under the vigilant eye of the paranoid Vanguard of Baron. But things have changed.

"The question is not whether to strike."

Baigan's smirk widens.

"The question," he murmurs to himself, "is where to strike first."

At the Dias Plains and at Balamb Garden, Baron's mighty army was foiled, even with the aid of the Shadow Lords, thanks largely to the superior technology of Xanatos Enterprises, arbiter of Manhattan's fate. But with Manhattan consigned to the darkness, even if Xanatos has not been defeated for good, Baron's foes are in such a tizzy that the kingdom can surely secure itself with little foreign intervention. Their battles have not been without cost, but for once Baigan regained some of his old cunning and refused to risk too much. Now, at last, Baron's might will be constrained by none.

Even if the world itself must fall first.
Morrighan Alazne Morrighan, after having refused to return to Baron after the fall of Manhatten had spent about a week or so traveling on her own. But that was all cut short the moment she ran afoul of Avira. Essentially kidnapped and made to work for VALKYRI, it looked as if her days were decided.

But somehow, through an act of self interested good faith from a certain viral program, Morrighan now found herself back in Baron.

She had reported in the results of the Manhattan campaign as well as Kaydin's perhaps not so unfortunate defection. And now, here she was, standing before the table with a mildly unimpressed look.

"You plan on striking another location so soon after Manhattan?" The elf asked, crossing her arms in impatience. "You realize that with Manhattan fallen, those so-called brave heroes will now be on their guard? It will be much, much harder to stage any sort of attack on any location now, in the wake of all that. I would recommend instead that we hold off on that and look into improving our own forces and capabilities."

She sighed afterwards however, knowing that as usual, her words would not be heeded in the long run. That was just how it went after all.
Neviril Neviril enters the great hall, in fact shoving lesser beings out of her way.. ok some regular guards but clearly they are inferior anyways. Looking around, Baigan is spotted, well at least somethings still normal around these parts. Though perhaps not as yeah strategy planing in the great hall, clearly he's gone crazy in her abscense, oh well, crazy or not he's still what is the leadership of this cray place. She comes up to him, clearing her throat abrutply, "sir Baigan, I am Neviril. I was hoping to see you here. I have returned, from my long mission, and through this hell that's been created in the process of whatever the hells going on. My mission was a complete and miserable failure, and those that failed have been dealt with, and will ensure their failures never happen again." Yeah, not exactly the most cordial, and certainly in no way is she going to bow to him, leader or not. Hell to take her helmet off, would require some kind of miracle of epic proportions. She completly ignores the elf, elfs heh.
Glayffe As deliberation rages on where to strike, a thickly-built man in the traditional dark-hued armor of Baron's Dark Knight order stands hunched over a large map. He has been standing over it for several minutes already even as others talk. Some others hovering nearby seem nervous to raise their voice, let alone talk, as the two of them look onto the parchment the armored man exhales loudly. His face, hidden by a gas mask, remains inscrutable. Crooked goggles do not seem to impede his apparent vision or focus on the matter laid out before him. The large hammer strapped to his back tilts ever so menacingly to the side, as if threatening to fall upon one of his nearby cohorts if it so looked at it funny. Such is the dangers of having such a heavy thing attached so poorly to one's back in a hurry.
Taking a quill to it with purpose and haste, the armored man in the gas mask casts glances aside to either figure. They both nod, with much trepidation.
He leans forward at one of them. They shrink slightly, and nod slightly more vigorously.
"My lord!" A voice suddenly booms, as he straightens out the paper on the nearby table. "I believe I know the best way to see to Baron's triumph!"
He holds up a map. A rough map detailing the current understanding of the... physical arrangement of their location. Major settlements are marked with erratic hatchmarks, and only a single word written over these masses of scratched ink over whatever sort of information had previously been conveyed.
Each spot has one word written over it: 'BERIN'
Incidentally, Baron's territory is untouched, aside from flowing lines detailing what one might assume to be expanded borders.
"We take all of it for glorious Baron! There is no finer way."
Oriane Guado Having powerful mutual allies can bring together the unlikeliest of people. Among the foreign dignitaries present is Oriane Guado who walks through the halls of the castle in her elaborate vestments and robes that bare the mark of the Church of Yevon. An almost as telling display of her allegiance are the pair of guards that flank the woman. Two fully armored and machina wielding Warrior-Monks are the priestess' escort. A rather small one to be sure, but Oriane had to make some sacrifices in the name of Baron security and the Church of Yevon's goodwill. And their flamethrowers often make good deterrents to would be ne'er'do'wells.

Baigan, Neviril, Glayffe, and Morrigan all get proper looks in turn as does the table which displays a map. It appears to be a meeting of Military officials and...whatever it is that Morrigan is. "Greetings," states Oriane Guado as she offers a brief curtsey in formality to whom she supposes in the leader of this group; Vaigan. "The accomodations provided have been most satisfactory thus far." Her green eyes purposefully drift down to the map and then up to Glayffe. "So many possibilities lie before your nation. And what luck that the Maesters see it fit to consider aiding your cause." The dignitary continues on to say in off-hand fashion with a demure smile appearing on her face.
Baigan Baigan has no inkling of just how close Morrighan came to abandoning Baron, and somehow, though his overweening pride overpowers his good sense a little less often these days -- though who knows how long the darkness that has plagued him will remain receded -- he refuses to believe that Kaydin has cast aside his loyalty.


"A Dark Knight, betraying Baron!?" Baigan exclaims, slamming his palms down upon the table surface, outraged. "Ridiculous! When has that /ever/ happened!?"


But just as he was after her injuries, Baigan was solicitous upon Morrighan's return. Perhaps it was Garland's Class Change that reminded him, but the safety of his subordinates has always been one of the Captain's highest priorities. Thus her sneering tone evokes no indignation from him when he turns to hear the dark elf's complaint. Plus, she's horribly obnoxious, so he really tries to avoid pissing her off. "It is precisely the improvement of our forces that I have in mind," he replies. "The technology of Xanatos's that we've acquired through conquest and the generosity of those 'Shadow Lords' has yet to be implemented; we must adapt it to reproduce it in a manner suited to our own ends. Further, our territory has been reduced by the fusion of worlds, and building our navy has proven difficult with fewer raw materials. I am thinking..." He begins to tap on various forests displayed by the rolling map, depictig more worlds than their own. "If we strike precisely and use these 'portals', we can seize necessary and undefended resources without risk to Baron herself, and much to our credit! But we will need someone to..."

It is then that the massive armored Neviril stomps onto the scene, causing Baigan to take a step back and look up at the strange altered Dark Knight, blank-faced. One of Lugae's experiments, perhaps? The sound of a woman's voice from the armor only flusters him more, but the well-trained courtier composes himself quickly. "Never mind your failure, Neviril," the acting commander says magnanimously, or so he thinks. (Pompously, really.) "The fusion of worlds has undermined the best of us. We have a new mission for you, to secure the glory of Baron once and for all!" He sweeps an arm out, the usually dour man (when he isn't being a raving lunatic these days) rather excited. Something about the bustle, maybe.

Either way, he's in a good mood when Glayffe approaches. "Ah, and here is our new engineer!" Baigan exclaims, patting the man in the gas mask on the back in a highly uncharacteristic display of affection, blinking at his own action, glancing at his hand, and then wiping it off carefully on the inside of his cloak. "Glayffe, a Dark Knight with a breadth of talent. Gaze upon his cartography skills!" No one can make heads or tails of that map. It's just that good. "With Cid Pollendina now useless to us--" Something something not going to serve evil something something bring Cecil back. Whatever. "--Glayffe will take care of upgrading the Red Wings with our newly acquired technology. One step at a time, my good man," he adds, rather gently, at the Dark Engineer's grandiose plans.

Besides, plots for world domination can only go so far when there are foreign dignitaries present, such as the lady Guado. Baigan bows with the unctuous grace of a true courtier and offers the woman another thin smile. Those look like they hurt his face. "Most excellent, Lady Oriane. I am humbled by your willingness to tolerate our spartan accomodations, just as I am that the Maesters would see fit to tolerate an alliance. But with the Kingdom of Alexandria allied with us, I am convinced that our world's great powers may combine forces to assert order in these chaotic times. The people need stability and security, now more than ever. Empires and true faiths must unite to clamp down on the rebellious rabble."

His finger continues to trail along the vast map, at last landing upon a newly scouted area hastily labeled Dwarf's Woodlands. "Hmm," he murmurs, "vast woodlands /and/ precious metals and gems..."
Morrighan Alazne Facepalm.

This was Morrighan's immediate reaction to Glayffe's 'wonderous' plan for the furtherment of Baron's apparent 'glory'. 'Why am I constantly surrounded by brainless fools?' Is what she muttered to herself before her gaze was drawn to the guest that had decided to invite herself in.

Well, she had a strange hairdo, but regardless she seemed more sane than the majority of her colleagues. Which already put her miles ahead. Nonetheless, the priestess was given no more than a muted nod in greeting.

Which is more than Neviril got. Which was abolutely nothing. Dark knights. Meh. They were a dime a dozen around here anyway. Lose one, two more will take their place. No need to bother remembering any of their names in fact! Ohoho~

And then comes Baigan's response...which is more reasonable than she expected it to be. What DID that unreasonably large armored tin can do to the captain anyhow? Well, either way, she was not going to complain.

"True, with those portals, it would be easier to slip into other territories to strike." She mused, tapping her cheek thoughtfully. "But you must also realize that now people understand the usage of these portals. Any that are located near places of power are likely to be heavily monitored. If not already, then very soon, I will assume..."
Neviril Neviril snarls under her mask, her failure? HER FAILURE! If he wasn't the leader ouf their nation, he would have a sword stuffed through his head at that moment. She stalls herself though as he mentions something about, a new mission, and waits to here the exact plans of the secure the glory for Baron plan. She lowers an eye and follows his antics and see's where it lands.. Dwarves huh, fun small squishy things, why not! Not even noticing Morrighans glance, but having tghe same opinion, elves, inferior and annoying, and far to unhuman for her liking. Giving a passing stare at the Guado, yeah not liking her at all, but apperntly if Baigan does, then she has to atleast be polite in her presense. She's completely ignoring Glayffe, as he at least passes for something normal around here in her eyes.
Glayffe "The only possibility is Baron's inevitable victory!" Glayffe snorts, assured and bold in his reply to the humble and polite greetings and assessments of the Yevon representative.
"Sir," one of the fellows who stands near the Dark 'Engineer' stands taller at the declaration of who will be heading the adaptation operation, face turning more stern and serious to Baigan's praise, "I am of the honest belief--"
"He's delighted!" Glayffe speaks up, wrapping an arm around the once-brave fellow whom nearly got to speak his mind. Whether he's putting the guy in a threatening headlock or is sharing a moment of infectious camaraderie with the patting on the back from Baigan remains vague. "I am flattered! I have plenty of ideas! All the... lights. The shining lights that light Baron's way! Yes. The Red Wings will crush all resistance under their heels with my designs! Under all the lights. With heels."
The man he is headlocking/brohugging sweats profusely. The other one swallows a lump.
"A shame about that old Cid Pollendina! I even used to look up to him!" The gas masked man does not sound particularly angry nor disappointed as he follows Baigan's finger to the Dwarf's Woodlands. "Oho! Over there, hmm? Do you wish us to mobilize now, my lord? If she's so worried about the lesser nations preparing so soon," he references Morrighan's concerns as he at last releases the poor man he's been accidentally(?) choking with his arm, "then we should send the fleet out as soon as possible! They won't know what hit them."
Glayffe stops to think about this. "Except they'll know it'll be Baron because only Baron could hit them the way we will and they won't be able to do anything about it under our growing might!" He is taking a very optimistic approach to their tactical positioning, considering recent events.
"Think you can handle that, hm?!" It is as much a challenge to Neviril as anything.
Oriane Guado "A sentiment that I share with ever increasing frequency these days." Oriane says to Morrighan with a sly smile crossing her lips. She then turns gracefully towards her Warrior-Monk entourage and claps he hands together. "You are dismissed. Please return to your -most noble- endeavor of guarding my belongings." Her current company is motioned towards. "I shant be needing your protection when it the company of such illustrious members of the Baron military." The Warrior-monks know better than to disobey Oriane's orders and promptly bow and dismiss themselves. With less brainless fools present, Oriane turns back to the military maestros.

The Priestess casually reach off and brushes a hand past her pointed ears that were quite similar to Morrighan's own ears. These ears of hers allow her to overhear things at a greater distance than some. Baigan gets a directed look. "The 'generosity' of the Shadow Lords just might be closer than you think, Lord Baigan." She points out with an increasingly devilish grin. Neviril's cheerful demeanor warrants a look of disdain from Oriane, but not much more. Glayffe's own enthusiasm warrants a raised brow from Oriane. It seems that Baron is in no short supply of loyal if not over eccentric soldiers these days. And speaking of that mattter....

"I recently crossed paths with one of your own comrades in arms." Oriane begins with a slight dismissive wave. "Or should I say, former comrade?" The green-haired priestess muses aloud before continuing. "For his great size, I was most disappointed but not surprised that he also lacked a single ounce of wit or intelligence." A well-manicured finger is tapped against her chin. "And I believe his name was Kaydin."
Baigan What's this!? Is Morrighan not tsun-ing at him for once? Baigan looks back at the dark elf in bafflement, hardly realizing that it is in fact /he/ who has been behaving more rationally than normal. Even his hands have stopped spontaneously turning into talking snakes without his prior approval. Still, once he begins to draw upon his curse more readily again, who knows how long the sanity will last. For now, at least, Baron is in moderately more adept hands, and just in time as well.

Maybe they should have Garland on stand-by to rein Baigan in.

"A fair point, Lady Alazne," he says, crossing his arms again. "But if we cross through with full force, seize what we can, and prepare an organized retreat for when resistance arises, with our path back to and in our own world well-defended, I am confident that Baron's glory will be furthered one step at a time. By the time our enemies accustom themselves to the undeniable fact that the despicable hive called 'Manhattan' is gone forever, we will have empowered ourselves beyond their most fearful nightmares."

Baigan, waxing grandiloquent, is blissfully unaware of Neviril's seething rage, looking in the opposite direction and gesticulating while she looms over him furiously. But his own plotting, unbeknownst to him, intrigues her enough to calm her fury for the moment. Meanwhile, one of Glayffe's sidekicks strays dangerously close to possibly saying something reasonable in Baron, but fortunately everyone is saved by the maybe-engineer's timely assistance. "Excellent!" Baigan exclaims, clapping his hands together, fingers spasming in delight. Whoop, watch out there. Deep breath. "A true engineer such as yourself must be given free rein to reveal Baron's full might to the world. We are as peerless in innovation as we are in courage!" Who persuaded Baigan that Glayffe was an actual engineer? Probably Glayffe. He just seems so /confident/. And no one who loves Baron can be wrong. He nods constantly all through Glayffe's rant, including the parts where he straightforwardly contradicts himself.

Those are the best parts.

The courtesy of listening to Oriane might otherwise war with the desire to eat up more of Glayffe's Baron Love, but care for his men can tear Baigan away even from such greatness. "Kaydin? Sir Kaydin is alive?" Baigan spins to Oriane, unblinking eyes widening. "The fall through the darkness must have addled and confused him. Kaydin is both clever and wise, if a little headstrong." Who exactly is he talking about? He frowns and lowers his gaze for a moment, before shaking his head and turning to the map.

"But Baron's glory must come first! We shall seek him out after our mission is planned!" Taking up one of the maps, he bows again before hastening to another table. "Please, pardon me." Withdrawing for a moment to a corner of the hall, Baigan begins to speak with his aides to plan the mission to the Dwarf's Woodlands, leaving his allies to talk amongst themselves.
Morrighan Alazne She was beginning to like Oriane more and more. A wry was given towards the green haired priestess momentarily before she replied. "Oh, so you understand the pain that I must go through? How nice it is to find a kindred spirit, no~?" She chuckled after that and then turned her attention back towards the table.

"I am not quite sure about this whole business of allowing this...knight free reign over engineering aspects of Baron's Forces...but I do agree that a swift strike is best, if you people MUST do such a thing. Get in strike a decisive blow, and then get out before they have time to truly launch an organized counter attack."

Arms were crossed and the dark elf rolled her eyes then at the praise Baigan had afforded to Kaydin. "...He was a fool. An idiot. A brainless buffoon. Good for the muscle, but leave him out of the planning."

Neviril continued to get nary an ounce of aknowledgement for her existence. At was almost as if they could feel the animosity coming off each other. No, she did not like this one. Not that she liked many people to begin with, but still!
Neviril Neviril looks at the engineer, pointing her tentacle at him, while her hand comes up and does the crushing act, "Do not think that a bunch of pathetic, inferior sized rats are more then a match for my might, or the might of our army! Next you'll be saying an Elf is something to be feared, and is scary and dangerous." She laughs hard as her own joke, knowing perfectly well the resident Elf is there to hear it. The engineer should only be so lucky he's in the great hall, and well, just she's not in the mood to kill anything, just really pissed off about it all. Completly ignoring the others comments about wether or not it was a good idea, who cares, dead dwarves and resources for Baron, that's all that matters in the end.
Glayffe "Kaydin! Bah. Kaydin!" Glayffe throws up his hands at mention of Kaydin by a few parties, the heaping praise being thrown upon him melting in a sad little masked pile of bewildered aggravation. "Why'd he go and do that? I don't get it! I almost don't believe it!" Then again, there have been a number of very high-profile desertions in recent times, so what's one more? One too many for a man who sometimes can't seem to put two and two together, by all accounts of those who believe themselves reasonable. "I'll see to it this isn't so!"
With Baigan's plea to focus upon the mission and the plea to be pardoned, Glayffe's unfortunate cohorts worriedly cast glances at one another as Glayffe himself rolls up his, er, 'enhanced' map showing the projected entirety of what would be Baron's borders before long through his highly educated opinion on the matter.
"You best not doubt my vision!" This is either friendly reassurance or a threat filtered through slightly awkward phrasing, the gas masked man throwing his head back as though the ceiling were suddenly very compelling. "I see it already!" So says someone wearing goggles over a gas mask that don't seem to... align... properly at all, as he slams a palm down on the table to the outstretched tentacle. The entire table shudders underneath his own considerable strength.
"Pah! The only thing that'll be scary is the looks on their faces when they see what I have in store for those wonderful new toys! It'll be an uglier look than that funny sleeve of yours." That... that is just an odd pointed sleeve, right? Not a tentacle. Right? Right?
"Boys!" He turns to his cohorts, who only reluctantly pay attention with fear in their eyes. It's well-warranted, given he's already shoving them along the way out with all the bravado and force of a schoolyard bully. "Let's get to work! I could of done seven whole blueprints in the time you spent standing there slack-jawed! Time we could've spent making these people stand around slack-jawed once they see what I've got in store!!"
Fortunately, his eagerness should see him out of earshot far sooner than later.
Oriane Guado Oriane stifles a brief giggle by covering her mouth with her hand. "I am a Priestess in the Church of Yevon. I must suffer through the constant idiocy of my peers and my subordinates on a daily basis," the Guado explains to the Elf with a continued smile. Perhaps that will change one day and the Church can be reformed into something more to Oriane's liking. Until that days comes, she will have to deal with the overly pious, the ignorant, and the uneducated bulk of her Church.

Neviril's behavior does not surprise Oriane much. In fact, she is acting very much like she expects -lower class- military personnel to act. The green-eyed Guado smiles to herself at Nev's candor. On second thought, she could use the loyalty of those with the tact but strength of a warhammer. Sometimes one must resort to violence to solve life's problems afterall.

Baigan and Glayffe's comments about Kaydin are quite surprising. Clever and wise? Surely there had to a mistake here. Oriane purses her lips together as she tries to think of something polite to say about the brute who wanted to fight her for no clearly defined reason at all. A long pause goes by. Nope, she just can't do it. "He was severely trounced by a person in black armor in a duel. It was a rather one-sided affair. Perhaps he has been....'addled and confused ' as you say for a little too long now. The effects may have become permanent."

Glayffe's excusing of himself causes Oriane to dip her head in response. Perhaps visiting Baron was not the best idea. Twas a rather silly place.
Morrighan Alazne Twitch.

Morrighan brought a hand to her mouth, openly yawning as a sign of disrespect. "Well, I do not mind if certain uncouth knights continue to flap their lips incessantly. Just know that the next time they fail, and they WILL fail, that I will certainly not deign to tend to their wounds. I will gladly watch as they suffer for their incompetence. Ehehehe~"

Giggling openly in amusement, the elf brought a hand to her face, in a token attempt to stifle her laughter. Not that she actually tried in the end.

With her laugh had, Morrighan turned away, intent to head off. "Well then, I suppose that the plans have been set. I am no longer required here, so I will be on my way. Try not to fail too hard, hmm~?" Came the healer's statement, clearly aimed at Neviril, before she began to walk off. A nod was given towards Oriane, a much more pleasant gesture for someone whose presence was not utter abhorrent. "And I bid you, adieu~"

Following suit with Glayffe, the dark elf was eventually out of sight and earshot, though at a much more even pace. There was nowhere to rush to just yet after all.
Neviril Neviril scoffs, "As If I'd ever ask an Elf for help. I'd sooner die, and admit defeat." she turns and heads off herself, "I'd kill them all, if they wheren't such good use in all the little things they do. Why must we be forced to pander to these inferior creatures for I shall never know." as she heads in the direction of whatever randomd direction she was going heading off to do who knows what, probably punch stuff, or whatever anger filled Dark knights do when not doing other stuff.
Oriane Guado "This Kaydin's behavior and atrocious manners led to me mistaking him for the monster I was hunting," says Oriane to Morrighan when she speaks about certain uncouth knights herself. "It was an absolute shock to find out that the 'monster' we sought was a much more polite and well-spoken creature than Kaydin." As everyone else begins to head off in their own directions, Oriane returns's Morrighan's farewell with a curtsey of her own. An interesting person. Oriane will have to seek her out at a later time she supposes. Now left to her own devices, Oriane studies the map at large for a few moments longer before heading off to the guest quarters once more.

This scene contained 18 poses. The players who were present were: Baigan, Morrighan Alazne, Oriane Guado, Neviril, Glayffe