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A Dangerous Game
(2013-01-01 - 2013-01-04)
As though team-building exercises were not in themselves inherently ill-advised, Baigan forces the polar opposites which now occupy the ranks of Baron's officers to cooperate in play, with predictably disastrous results. Yet were it not for the presence of a certain masked wanderer, the results might not have been /quite/ so disastrous...
Baigan Baron's secret plan to invade the Dwarf Woodlands and seize their natural resources is thoroughly underway, and soon Baigan shall head his brave subordinates into a battle for the glory and enrichment of their nation. Yet war is defined as much by tedium as by bloodshed, and in the still moments after their preparations have been completed, the new officers of Baron are left with some rare downtime. Rather than allow them to meander off and leave them to their own devices, Baigan, concerned that some of his new elite barely know one another, has insisted that they participate in some team-building exercises and solidify their bonds prior to battle.

In this case, a game of cards.

A team game, to be exact, a variation on Triple Triad that has acquired a nascent movement and which Baigan chose as one with which none of them are likely to be familiar. This was of course an attempt to put them all on an even playing field, but so far promises to throw them all into confusion instead. To add to the mess, he has set up teams specifically to encourage new bonding. The end result is that he and Glayffe are sitting on one side of the table at Baron's pub -- all the regulars wisely giving them a wide bearth -- and Morrighan and Neviril are on the other, forced to share a hand and cooperate in choosing cards to put down.

Baigan is holding the cards, but for all his cunning seems to be foundering, gambling not being his forte. Besides, with Glayffe always so brimming with ideas, it's only natural that he turn away from the fanciful sketches of monsters with their weird numbers and glance over at the mad 'engineer'. "What do you think, Glayffe?" he murmurs. "Should I seize the corner, or attack directly?" Does he even know what he's talking about?

Honestly, he could probably wait until the other team destroys themselves from within.
Morrighan Alazne "...Tell me again..."

Morrighan's eyes were closed, a vein comically twitching on her forehead. "...Why am /I/ paired with THIS HARPY!?" She then shouted out loud, pointing straight at Neviril and roughly pushing the other's cheek with the same finger. "Baigan, this has got to be BY FAR, the WORST decision that you have ever made in your very long history of making terrible decisions!"

Nope. Not happy.

Not at all.

"Furthermore, WHY ARE WE PLAYING TRIPLE TRIAD IN A RUN DOWN PUB!? I DO NOT GO TO PUBS!? WHY AM I HERE!?" Oh sheesh, it looked like Morrighan was out on full diva mode today. Higher rank or not, Baigan was not being spared any words. "I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION FOR THIS DEVILRY!"

Yes, this was going to be fun for the whole family.

Of course.
Glayffe "Huahuahua! What do you think, my lord?!" Glayffe cackles despite a particularly bad exchange the turn prior. The laughing continues for a while until it dawns upon him like the dread guillotine of common sense attempting to slice his neck but only managing to nudge at his throat with the polite request to separate his head from the rest of his body. Which is to say, he picks up on the fact he is about to repeat out loud very, very slowly.
"Oh, you're... you're asking me. Yes. Ahem! What I think is that we crush them utterly with our super--" Morrighan's outbursts eclipse his own testosterone-laden outbursts of ill-thought courses of action (or well-unthought, as the case may be). Behind the odd gas mask with the goggles that don't quite align correctly at all, the dark 'engineer' goes silent. Blessed, merciful silence given all the bragging about what he's sure he's figured out about the Xanatos things that he's currently having his boys fit on a bunch of ships. A rare moment to be delectably savored.
"Sounds like their forces are weak, my lord!" Or not. "If there was any doubt! CHARGE!"
For the umpteenth time he throws a card onto the table facing the wrong way, in a position that would actually see the card instantly defeated. Is he not reading the numbers?
Makenshi Here in the their homeland, these soldiers are well known, their faces common sights within the castle and the outlying town. A level of respect is afforded to them as a natural courtesy to their heroic deeds and martial prowess with a healthy mix of fear that stems from the stories and rumors that always surround such people. As such there is little to be said about the wide clearing that surrounds them within the pub - they have earned some elbow room if nothing else.

However, in addition to this bubble of empty space, another corner of the pub seems to have been emptied as well, for the exact opposite reasons. A young man sits at one of the dusty wooden tables, his strange appearance and silent nature exuding a subtle aura of dangerousness that has earned him his own little spot.

The chair supporting his slender frame is leaned back on two legs, angling such that he is reclined slightly though his feet remain politely off the table. Both eyes are closed, his interest in the surroundings apparently non-existant, nor is there any booze infront of him. Instead Makenshi merely sits quietly, listening to the conversation going on at the card table with quiet calm.
Baigan It may be difficult to regard the 'conversation' at the card table with quiet calm for much longer. The growing din is driving leery customers away, much to the chagrin of the powerless barkeep.

Baigan, gaze fixated on the cards, doesn't seem to notice Glayffe's comical confusion, his brow furrowed intensely, until he too is shaken by Morrighan's escalating outburst, double-taking at the dark elf. "Lady Alazne," he says firmly, "this is precisely an exercise intended to instill the very solidarity that you are providing abundant evidence is absent!" It's a good line from Reasonable Courtroom Baigan, but then she starts insulting him personally, and he gets huffy. "How now, woman! You are speaking to a superior off--" But her rant cuts him off, and he quails before her haughty indignation in a manner highly unlike a superior anything.

"Th-this is the King's Inn, frequented by officers of Baron," he manages defensively, eyes darting about uneasily. "You have no cause to insult the establishment. I swear, Lady Alazne, sometimes I suspect your pride is merely a justification for your sloth! You are an officer of Baron as much as a lady!" Now he's getting worked up too. "The exercise of walking outside the castle and amidst those you scorn might do you some good!"

Is... is he calling her fat?

Glayffe acts just then, and Baigan responds with a superior smirk. "Aha, yes, have at you! Charge!" He and the goggle-clad man have a similar attitude toward offensive tactics. The upside-down card lays before them, which Baigan regards smugly. "Surrender now, before you are obliterated by the might of Baron! Ha ha ha! Ah ha ha ha ha!"

More and more people are moving away.
Morrighan Alazne Twitch.


"EXCUSE ME?" Another bout of yelling. "I'll have you know that I get plenty of exercise! How dare you call me a sloth! Of all the unjust, unusual--ARGH! My mind is addled by the stupidity presented to be at this table!"

And then Morrighan whirls on Neviril. "And YOU! Seal those lips before I seal them FOR you! You worthless, nameless, no good-Ugh! I simply CANNOT stand for this nonsense!" And so she stood up abruptly, interrupting the already deteriortating card game.

"I require a break to clear my mind of the foolishness that has assaulted it for the past hour!" A turn and then she strode off to the bar counter, essentially leaving the game and sitting by herself at the bar on a stool.

Eventually though, her eyes were drawn to a figure in white. An usual sight around these parts, disregaridng herself that is. "....?" Indeed, who WAS that man sitting off at the corner by himself? He was definitely no solider of Baron! A mercenary? An adventurer? ...A spy?
Glayffe Fun fact, two nights ago Glayffe had a little too much ROOT BEER (this is Kingdom Hearts, folks... or maybe Glayffe is actually that much of a lightweight) and made the place significantly less classy by his very presence. Dark Knights are not really known for being a thing of aesthetic beauty nor a soothing presence, so the fact that this has to be noted at all... well.
"Oh, come back!!" Glayffe calls back, almost as if pleading. "Baron was winning!"
"Baron is always winning! That doesn't mean you should walk away from it!" He sounds actually disappointed, the large armored man in the gas mask slinking in his seat. "We were going to destroy them too!"
Of course, when Neviril starts letting the bigotry flow, there is really only one way to respond to such fantastic racism and ignorance, of which Glayffe is clearly a shining beacon against all such things.
He slams a fist on the table, shuffling some cards out of order and possibly even leaving a crack in it. "She's of Baron! Baron, the mightiest kingdom there is! So long as they are Baron they are righteous and great!! Baron can do no wrong, and neither can its people! How stupid and short-sighted can you be to think otherwise?"
The irony of his accusations and statements are probably as good as lost as he stares at the card at the table. He leans over to squint at it (one might assume, anyway). He draws a finger at it, tapping one corner of the card Neviril places as if suddenly confused by some facet of it.
He wordlessly turns his head over to Baigan.
Makenshi Despite the ludicrous antics of the Baronite commander and his subordinates, the horned man in the corner remains impassively silent. This was hardly anything new to Makenshi. The Gaudium Lords were just as nonsensical and far beyond the power level of these mortals, if perhaps a little quieter. Even Fungus, with that blasted steam pipe of his, and the overly flamboyant Pist were more subtle than this.

A sudden rustle of wind outside a nearby window causes the young man to react, his eyes sliding open as a small creature floats up to the glassy panes, peering inside curiously. Recognition crosses his features, even with the mask obscuring most of his face, and Makenshi sits forward to flip the latch and swing the wooden sill open.

Standing roughly two feet tall, what can only be described as a small armor-clad fairy floats in through the window to hover before the man in white. Her cute childish features are mostly expressionless but she manages a faint blush as he reaches out to pat her on the head, chirping is a soft girlish voice.


"Crux..." Makenshi takes his seat again, catching the wandering gaze of the dark elf in the process. A cold glance is spared at her interest for a moment but he quickly ignores her and resumes his silent vigil, eyes sliding shut once more.

Yes, you just got snubbed by Makenshi. Deal with it.
Baigan "Maybe your mind is addled from too much fine living!" Baigan retorts, clearly on a roll at this point. "Yes, stand up, if you can! Or no palanquin will be able to bear you again!" Palanquin? Do they even have palanquins in Baron? He's just operating on pure spite at this point. Morrighan storms off in a huff, and blinking, the Captain belatedly realizes that now they've lost a necessary member of their game. He glances down at the table, then to Glayffe, and then to Neviril, regarding the two incomprehensible cards side by side.

There follows a long silence, as the other two stare at him.

"Baron wins!" he then proclaims, throwing his arms up into the air.


"Glayffe speaks truly, Neviril," Baigan then continues, once the chaos has subsided a little. "While I share your disdain for fat, annoying elves, all those who serve Baron's greatness and obeys its laws are worthy of respect and considerations, however fat or annoying they might be." He's saying this a little more loudly than is necessary, and doesn't appear to notice that Morrighan has been distracted by the disinterested wanderer, or that there's a little faerie in the room right now.

"What matters," he continues, "is that we soon obliterate those little fey-like creatures which threaten to obstruct us."

Yeah, he hasn't noticed the faerie.
Morrighan Alazne LEXUS' deal was sounding more and more appealing now. Especially with each comment made by Baigan. Ah, these fools. So caught up in their petty games of risk. But what were their goals really? The glory of Baron? Utter nonsense. Ah, why DID she come back? Working with VALKRI likely would have been less of a headache than this!

A shame she was not the type to resort to violence so quickly. Otherwise, swords of light would have been raining onto their table by this point.

Instead, her attention of drawn by the stranger at the corner, who at this point is joined by some strange, short creature. Wait a moment, he just look her way! Was she staring too obviously? Whoops!

...Hey, did he just SNUB her?


"This simply will not do!" Already driven to the end of her patience by her so-called allies, Morrighan got off of her stool, striding right on over to horned man's table and plopped down across from him, crossing her arms. "So. Who are you? And why are you here? You seem to have absolutely no business of note. No drinks, no food, no company...Rather suspicious, I must say!"

But really, she was just getting in his face because he snubbed her. Interrogation for the sake of Baron? Hah! Yeah right.

Glayffe Glayffe hoots like some sort of sports hooligan with arms pumped at the official declaration of Baron's victory, for it is the only way any of this could truly end - as though the very declaration touches on a primal quality of that man's very soul, a burst of joy in a person so steeped in the arts of darkness.
So much so that it seems the bickering and arguing just can't seem to dampen his enthusiasm. "So now that we've established Baron won, we'll win again! Me and the boys are putting it all together now, my lord! There's going to be lots of those metal tubes that shoot fire and light on our airships now, just in time to knock those dwarves over! Huahuahua!"
So proud of his(?) successes that he's willing to speak his mind on sensitive military developments out loud for all to hear, which should probably put another cringe on Morrighan's face. "Ohh, I can't wait! In fact, I think the boys have been /snoozing/ too much. Better go fix that."
'The boys' in question hadn't slept in the last 48 hours. Glayffe seems willing to push that all the way up to new heights as he all but forces himself along out the door, past the current suspicious person of interest.
Makenshi Baigan's final declaration and Glayffe's momentary slip of security protocols manages to get a response from the mysterious traveller. Opening his eyes, Makenshi peers over at the man in the officer's uniform with quiet interest. His small companion also seems to notice and the slightest hint of surprise shows as one hand goes to her face with worry at the mention of obliteration. "Kukuruyu?!"

In the face of Morrighan's sudden outburst after this bold statement, the small fairy gives a start and zips through the air with a soft whoosh, spiraling around to hide behind Makenshi's shoulder. Crux peers out timidly after a moment, her wide impassive eyes on the dark elf. "Kukuruyu?"

Turning to face the angry woman sitting across from him, the masked youth regards her eye to eye with a piercing stare for several long seconds, filling the pub with a pregnant pause in the wake of her angry questions. Then he simply closes his eyes again and leans back, crossing both arms over his chest.

Double snub.
Baigan "Hmm..." Baigan frowns slightly as Neviril seems unmoved by his and Glayffe's passionate entreaties in the name of tolerance and acceptance (for people who team up with Baron to be intolerant of everyone else). The tentacle-armed Dark Knight leaves without much ceremony, and the cackling Glayffe soon departs as well, with promises of certain victory in the near future. There's a brief silence as Baigan ends up sitting alone at the table, a mere two cards played before him on the table. After a moment, he crosses his arms.

"Well," he says at last, "I think that went rather well."

At that very moment, the concerned faerie's distinctive sound effect draws Baigan's eye, along with Morrighan's unsuccessful interrogation. More than the masked wanderer, however, the faerie is what shocks the Captain of the Guard, who lurches from his seat, his hands spasming abruptly, though any threat of transformation is contained. "Could it be..." His eyes widen, then narrow. "A spy for the dwarves!?" Well, they're about the same size. He soon joins Morrighan before Makenshi, but his approach is--

"Sir," he begins, after clearing his throat self-importantly.

--a little different.

"I don't mean to alarm you, but there's a spy hiding right behind you!!"
Morrighan Alazne Glayffe's total and obvious slip of security caused Morrighan to tear her attention away from the stranger long enough to give him an incredulous stare as he left. ...And this was the person in charge of Baron's tech. This is going to be a nightmare. She just knew it. She could feel it in her blood.

"Fools..." And no, Neviril's departure was not graced with any sort of acknowledgement from the elf. Nope. Not even going to touch that. But by god did she hate that woman! Almost as much, if not, more so than Avira! Now that was an accomplishment for such a short time period!

Maybe the wildly racist comments had something to do with it.

Regardless, her attention soon returned to Makenshi and she resumed the staring contest. ".....What. Are you mute now? Is that it?" Morrighan narrowed her eyes then, but before she could make any additional comment-here came Baigan, is all his Baigan-y glory!


That was really the only reaction she could offer to this new bout of stupidity from the captain. "I swear..."
Makenshi Upon being accused of spying, Crux vanishes even further behind the chair with the distinctive whoosh of her energy wings, hiding in the shade of Makenshi's long cloak. "Kukuruyu..."

Again, the albino opens his eyes, this time peering towards Baigan and his subordinate with an neutral expression, regarding each of them for several seconds. The little fairy was most certainly a spy but not in the way that this foolish man believed. Ofcourse, even if he happened to be right by accident, it was unlikely they would be able to discover what she had been up to until returning to him recently. Crux was very very good at getting into places she shouldn't without being noticed.

Finally, after another long pause, his eyes slide closed again, leaving them with no answers and probably a great deal more questions.
Baigan "Do not be alarmed," Baigan says grandiosely, even as he raises his hands with fingers spread, beginning to sidle around Makenshi's chair. "We are merely here to apprehend the spy for the Dwarves. You will be safe within moments! Lady Alazne," he then adds, speaking out of the corner of his mouth suggestively, as though that will somehow render the faerie incapable of hearing him, "you go around the other side. It shall be a pincer maneuver, and we shall seize the little miscreant at once!"

Crab-walking to circle the wanderer, Baigan clearly is not particularly preoccupied about Makenshi's possible reaction, as the masked man is obviously an innocent caught up in this debacle. "Come now!" he exhorts the dark elf, before training his unblinking gaze on the cowering faerie. "Steady, steady... at my signal..."

If all goes well, and assuming Morrighan can bring herself to endure this indignity, the two of them can lunge at the same time toward each other in effort to grab Crux.

It's a foolproof plan.
Morrighan Alazne It's a foolish plan.

That creature was clearly with the stranger! Meaning that he had some stake in her fate! Which meant that he was not going to just stand there and allow his companion to be captured! Baigan, you have seriously lost it this time! Where is Garland!? Maybe we should try class changing you into a Sage! Maybe you might get some brains then! ....Nah, probably not.

Morrighan mental rage subsides then as she grudgingly stands up, shuffling around to the other side. No, not to help Baigan. Mostly to stay out of the crossfire, evenn if it did look like she was going to help. "I am telling you, this is a terrible idea."

The elf grumbled to her superior, pondering whether or not she should prepare a healing spell for the nonsense that would no doubt follow this stupidity.

It WAS coming. After all, nonsense was Baron's middle name at this point! What was it's last name? Stupidity.
Makenshi Despite the incredibly obvious movements of the two Baronites, Crux remains hidden beneath the edges of the white cloak, peering up at Baigan with her creepy yet cute deadpan expression. Makenshi stays seated as they spread out, sitting calmly as if nothing crazy were about to happen in the least, his expression a beacon of nonchalance.

Closer and closer, the two edge towards the small fairy, her eyes those of a deer caught in headlights. She shows no signs of running or being afraid, mere blank curiosity as to why this man would clearly announce his intentions to her. Perhaps it was a game? No one ever played games with her.

These thoughts are still running through the little doll's mind when Baigan lunges, catching her offguard. "Kukuruyu?!" Her surprise is not in response to being caught by the dastardly officer, however, but at the sudden gust of wind that seems to come out of no where, pushing Crux safely out of his grasp.

At the same time, Makenshi suddenly decides to stand up and his cloak goes with him, leaving nothing for Baigan to dive into except the very irrate dark elf.
Baigan So close. So very close.


And yet so far.

Baigan's outstretched hands nearly brush against the faerie, just before their little 'game' is put to an end, the captain's close-cropped blond hair ruffling in the sudden and improbable gust of wind. He stumbles forward toward the grumbling elf, unblinking eyes widening, as far from seizing the nefarious spy obviously sent to learn Baron's secrets, he has launched himself toward the other Baronian instead. Arms flail wildly, but there is nothing within range save--


It's all he has time to say, and it's hardly any warning at all. If Morrighan cannot swiftly evade him, Baigan will crash headlong into her, partly propelled by the wind itself, and quite probably knock her over, collapsing bodily on top of the haughty dark elf, his arms akimbo and surprised features coming dangerously close...

Somewhere outside, songbirds begin twittering, even though it's like ten at night.
Morrighan Alazne "H-Hey! Watch where you-Bwah!" Considering that Morrighan has no physical evasion whatsoever, she does not even get a dice roll. Bam! Baigan bowls the elf over, sending her tumbling to the floor rather unceremoniusly. The way her head snaps back against the floor's surface definitely suggests she hit her head.

"...Ugh...You...stupid...idiotic...imbecile...!" Normally, she would have been much, much more vocal about these opinions of the captain, but...her vision was rapidly blurring. LIkely from the impact her head made with the floor.

"" And there she goes. Totally unconscious.

Makenshi: 1, Baron: 0
Makenshi "Kukuruyu?" The fairy doll floats back towards the now entangled pair, hovering over them for a moment with a confused look on her face. Was this part of the game? Experimentally, she cuts the flow of energy to her wings and drops on Baigan with a dull thud. Unfortunately, she lands on the back of his head. It may or may not have had something to do with a second conveniently timed gust of wind.

Without turning to glance back, Makenshi makes his way towards the exit with a quiet grace, pausing only long enough to call to his companion.

"Crux... Leave them."


Taking to the air again, the fairy swoops off behind him at a good clip, the both of them disappearing into the streets outside. His work here is done.
Baigan Baigan lies atop his haughty subordinate in a stunned stupor, staring blankly down at Morrighan as she begins to curse him as best she can before the darkness begins to creep up on her. "L-Lady Alazne," he manages, as the faintest realization of what he's done begins to creep up on him in the form of a horrible chill running up his spine, "I--"

He never finishes his sentence.


For at that moment, confused at the sudden cessation of the game, Crux lands on the back of Baigan's head, and presses his thin lips to Morrighan's own.

Baigan's pupils dilate, and there is a moment of awful emptiness on his features, as though his very soul has fled him. Whereupon he begins to tremble with such utter terror that he does not even have enough control over his body to push himself away from the dark elf whose wrath he so frequently flees before.

With all self-control lost, Baigan's gloves burst as his arms spontaneously transform, two distinctive snake heads emerging in their place. "Way to go, Boss!" crows The Snakesuation, his gold tooth glinting. "Good heavens, Captain," adds the urbane Sir Snaggletooth, Esquire, monocle askew, "how very bold."

Pitiful tears are forming in the corners of Baigan's eyes.

Makenshi's work here is done. And Baigan... may just... be done.
Morrighan Alazne It was quiet...

...Peaceful even. Ah, how long had it been since Morrighan had attained peace like this? Far too long. It was nice. She could become used to this. Darkness, quiet, and nothing to bother her.

Wait a moment. Something was wrong.

Something was definitely wrong.

Wake up Morrighan! WAKE UP! NOW!

And then slowly, the dark elf's eyes flutter open just in time to find...Baigan apparently...taking advantage of her!? Yet, all she could do was stare in shock as the captain pulled away, snake arms bursting out afterward. Oh great, that only suggested one thing; a loss of control. But nevermind that for now.

"...Did you just...?" Morrighan spoke quietly, a hand coming up to touch her lips. Was this the part where she was supposed to blush and act embarrased and demure?

...Nope. Instead, her eyes hardened into a glare. "How dare you...How DARE you!?"

Oh boy. Baigan had better run.
Baigan "I'm sorry!" a voice almost too shrill to be a man's can be heard wailing. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry nooooo--"

"Stay firm, Captain!" a scholarly voice declares. "Once a man acts boldly, he must not relent! You must press your suit!"


"What's the matter, Boss? Ain't she a bab--"

The sound of an explosion, and a flash of light through the pub's window panes, in what is perhaps the wisest use of his capacity to self-destruct his snakearms Baigan has ever utilized.

...Unfortunately, that explosion may not be the last.

This scene contained 24 poses. The players who were present were: Baigan, Morrighan Alazne, Glayffe, Makenshi