Last time, on Anno Castra…925 posts omitted. Click reply to view.
Our explorers unwound their minds for a bit, after Tay and their assistants helped to ameliorate their physical wounds from fighting the Shadedrinker. Qhapaq and Good Intentions had a wrestling match in the rec room, much to the amusement of a group of watching Aya. Good ended up being the surprise underdog victor, which threw the Family into such an ecstasy that they nearly carried him down to the bar, on B3F of the bunker. Qhapaq rescued him before he could break any of Ironcastle's strict laws about underaged drinking.
Zamrud met two of the Aya who had come to their aid during the first bout against the Shadedrinker: A female Zawatil by the name of Ch'utiy, and a male Puros by the name of Utqay. Both were quite eager to get back out on the hunt, but were patient enough to talk awhile with Zamrud to get to know him better. During their conversation, the pair mentioned that Godspeed lingered behind to speak to Tay about something secret, yet obvious.
Billy gives a simple tilt of his head to the side. "Huh, are you a friend to Godspeed?"
"I assumed we had translator technology to be fair."
"It is a bit befuddling, I admit. I had originally theorized the Castles shared a common ancestry, and as it diverged one language rose dominant above the others. Though the exact history of that is up to interpretation. To what point is the languages in regards to your manifesto?"
Zamrud's ears perk up, looking at Rudolph intensely as he brings up Godspeed's name. "How are you aware of our knowing Godspeed? I haven't even introduced myself, yet, and you've been locked up for months."
Wait… did we mention Godspeed to him?"
"Who is this Godspeed?" the DL suddenly asks, suddenly snapping to face Rudolph.
As for Rudolph, he frowns, brow furrowing. He looks not frustrated, but visibly distressed that he's alone in his concerns. "How… how is it that you can't see it? The patterns are the same. The Castles all containing the same languages, all the same races. The year is A.C. 31274, yet nothing has changed since their construction? How is any of that possible? Am I the only one who can see it?"
"You're certainly the only one bothered by the Castles' common origins," the DL sneers. "If this little act of terrorism of yours was all over paranoia about a coincidence, you're going to have quite the embarrassing trial. Was it worth it? Really worth it, over this? How do you even know that what you say is true? Did you ask in each of those Castles? Did you visit them yourself, take a census? No, because you have never left Ironcastle."
Rudolph leans forward, looking down at the ground in disbelief.
"Again with this vision nonsense," the DL says. They approach the glass, glaring down at Rudolph. "You could have sparked a crisis, all over a bad dream, if your story is true. We take good care of the Iron Heart. The subjects of Iron have nothing to worry about, certainly not the bad dreams of an old and addled Mendicant. Why, I would be inclined to believe that this supposed energy crisis is all just another baseless conspiracy theory cooked up by your obsession with numbers. Is this some Abbean numerology? Everything with a 9, a 4, a 5 has to be some message from the gods?"
"It's… the truth," Rudolph stammers.>>755234
"I-I saw you," Rudolph says. "I saw you speaking with her in my vision."
"Again, who is that?" the DL asks.
"Perhaps they know each other from some organization?"
"We did not." Zamrud says with a very wary eye on Rudolph. "And I doubt she would have the opportunity to tell 'him' about 'us'."
"An individual from another castle we met in the wastes. One of the high ranking Abbean warriors who was working to save the souls of her comrades." he said looking to the DL>>755238>Or perhaps she might have?
He shot back in a message
>Perhaps that secret symbol of hers might trigger something in him?
"I believe I like castles less with each passing moment- something here is… strange, maybe. Whether it is these coincidences, or the people who live within the castles being strange."
Grutar seems to remain quiet on the matter, letting his allies speak of godspeed more than he would.
"What did Godspeed say?" Billy offers up his question.
He turns to look towards the DL, nodding towards Good's explanation. "ZincCastle, specifically. She was quite an interesting mare, helped us significantly with our mission."
He turns and looks at Rudolph with a concerned look, looking at him freaking out about patterns, lack of change over tens of thousands of years, identical languages/species across all the Castles, and can't help but feel a well of pity for him as the DL digs into him.
"With all due respect, agent…" Zamrud interrupts, "Rudolph's short-sighted attempt to throw all the Castle into a panic could have been disastrous, but his concerns of the Heart running out of light have been at least somewhat substantiated. How he could have known of it is something I think we would do well to learn."
As Rudolph mentions seeing us in his dream, he nods, pushing forward closer to the glass. "What were we talking about, then? Do you happen to know my name?">>755239
As he gets the Concord message, his eyes narrow, typing in response>Plausible, very plausible - connections we may not know about>Be careful with what we speak in Concord - need to verify this channel isn't monitored
"The funny thing about being closest to the light, Qhapaq… is that you cast the longest shadows." Zamrud says ominously.
"I serve my Castle proudly, but they'll always have their darker sides. Though, even I find myself somewhat disturbed at the implications here."
"In every Castle, there is the Abbey, dominant over every other religion, who are also present in every Castle," Rudolph continues. "In every Castle, the same gods are worshipped. Th-the Charismatics! The Charismatics, the Flagellants, the jihad! It happened… it all happened…"
"It all happened in every Castle, you're going to say," the DL interrupts. "Well? Show us your evidence. A history book. A slideshow presentation. It could be anything."
The DL slams their hoof against the reinforced glass. Rudolph leaps back, knocking over the chair in the process. The two DL agents on his side of the glass turn and face him, reaching for their jackets' inner pockets, as if he had approached them aggressively instead of recoiling from fright.>>755243>>755242
"Z-Zamrud Bahasa," Rudolph stammers from the floor. "And Billy, and Trajan, and Qhapaq, and Good, and Grutar. You… she showed you… that– that mark. She tried to– tried to stop you from joining her, but you were far too stubborn. She said goodbye… she was in tears."
His eyes narrowed and he moved putting himself almost against the glass as he looked at the Visionary of sorts.
"Tell me Rudolph. Tell me everything you know of the time before this, and of the legend of the Sun and Moon." he said turning out everything else.
"Well. You aren't wrong. Though I am confused on why it matters to the language percentages." Billy shrugs.
"Whoa! Rudolph can you tell me who stole my favorite ball when I was twelve?!" He asks Rudolph suddenly, seeing that he can have accurate sort of visions.
As the DL's start treating Rudolph more aggressively, Zamrud tries to put himself between the DL and the terrified donkey on the other side of the glass, "Agent… I believe you've made your point. There's no further need for that."
He pauses, turning to look at Rudolph from besides the graph as he states all of their names, remarking on how Good might have been spot on with the symbol being able to show them that moment. Zamrud blinks, and deciding Rudolph needs at least one moment of affirmation, nods his head. "You are correct. I am Zamrud Permata Bahasa, and you're right in all respects to that scene." His ears flatten. "You say Godspeed was crying, though? She did not show it if she was."
He listens go Good asking him intently on the 'time before', and finds himself curious if Rudolph could know of such a thing.
"If you read my manifesto, you'll know what I know," Rudolph says. "I don't know everything… they come in fits and starts.">>755247
"My point was that it was impossible, unnatural, for the Castles to not develop their own idiosyncrasies," Rudolph says. "For them all to contain the same things, with variance only in their ratios, and for those ratios themselves to all be the same, could not have happened without careful curation by someone, or something.">>755249>>755248>>755247>>755246https://youtu.be/kNh-Nyt1ywU
From his position on the floor, Rudolph turns and eyes the DL agent. "What I have seen is true. They've confirmed it. I only wrote what I wrote for the good of our Castle. Not to destroy it, not to stir panic, not to spread falsehood."
The DL agent glares down at him, then at you. They turn, and gesture to the door. "You are dismissed, citizens. You've fulfilled your civic duty by assisting in our investigation of this matter. Now, your Castle needs you elsewhere, and it needs we DLs here."
Grutar looks to the others and shrugs, getting ready to get up and leave if the rest are going.
Billy scratches at the back of his own head not understanding the importance and immediacy of Rudolph's words. "Hope you all rest well then." Billy goes up giving Rudolph and the Dls a wave.
Good snorted in annoyance. He was going to need to pay a visit to the sages and find everything he could on these topics.
He would also need to inform his father of the DL's operations.
"I see…" Zamrud says in response to Rudolph, thinking this once-claimed insane and dangerous individual may have secrets worth glimpsing into. And perhaps a point or two as well.
"Thank you for your time, Rudolph. I look forward to speaking more in the future." He turns to the DL agent, nodding as he gives them permission to go. "And thank you for your continued perseverance in the security of our great Castle, Agent. Please, if there is any further assistance we can provide, don't hesitate to contact me." He nods towards Rudolph, "And be careful with him, if you could."
He takes one last moment to look at Rudolph, giving him a nod of assurance before making his way towards the door.
As you exit to the hallway, the door shuts behind you. Then the lights turn out, then on – and you're back in the elevator, surrounded by DLs, ascending through the dark metal tunnel you took to enter this area. Off, then on once more – and you're back in the luggage claim area of the Ramparts.
Only – nobody's around. A graveyard crew of Ramparts staffers mop and wax the floor, as you sit, grouped up, in front of the perpetually rotating baggage claim conveyor belts. Basically nobody else is around, besides a few sleepy Warrior couples walking around with their children. The ceiling panels are dim, indicating that it is currently the Dark Hours. But that cannot be, as it only feels like some hours have transpired since you arrived at about 0830 this Cycle.
You check your comps–
Much to the annoyance of the guy on the wax machine, La Senorita rolls toward you from the Lost and Found section. "Lost and found. Lost and found. Lost and found," she splices on repeat, clearly distressed.
Good moved to her and pet her softly "Relax Senorita, we have found you."
"So how is everyone?" Billy asks out loud for the group to hear.
"Heh, look fellas, Senorita thought we were lost so she went looking for us in the lost and found."
As the lights keep flashing on and off, Zamrud grunts as he looks at his consistently changing surroundings. "Not knowing how they continue to do that is really vexing me now…"
He looks around at the Ramparts area, remarking how much cleared out it is compared to what it was only hours ago… and then looking at his Concord's watch, and realizing almost an entire day has passed, now nearing 00:00, Zamrud's whiskers curl up, furrowing his brow. "…and there's the cherry on top. Though, at least now I'm getting a sense of how they're doing it now." He shakes his head, wondering if there is a way to safeguard against this in case they should do anything other than simply 'move' them without their knowing in the future.
As he sees Senorita rolling towards them, he raises a paw, "Senorita. Our apologies, it would appear our interview lasted… dramatically longer than expected. I'll explain everything later." He looks around the Ramparts, "This is your first time in our Castle. I hope it's been treating you well thus far?"
Zamrud chuckles, only now realizing the innocence of the robot's actions. "Well, in her defense, it appears to have worked out nicely. Here we are at Lost and Found, after all."
"Complimentary – oil change – in exchange – for pictures," La Senorita splices. "Let's – go home. Eight – hours of sleep – recommended for adults – Good – young people – should get – nine – hours."
"Tired, as is appropriate for this hour and after our long journey. The Lux have deprived us of most of our day, so I think what we all need is eight hours of sleep minimum in a comfortable bed and roof over our heads."
"Yeah, though I can also go for something nice to eat myself. I am quite famished." Billy pats his stomach.
Zamrud nods, patting the side of Senorita's chassis. "My thoughts precisely. Sleep is definitely a necessity at this point. Breakfast can come much later, far as I'm concerned." He lets out a loud yawn, "Well, perhaps I could have something light, and a tall glass of milk would be a godsend right now. But other than that, Billy, I don't think I could manage."
He looked for Trajan for the moment "So who will be taking Senorita tonight?" he asked as he stretched.>>755263
You may accompany me to my home if you so desire. Our chefs could use the work out serving you. And they will make basically whatever you want if they can help it."
Billy gives a big smile. "I would love to do so."
"Well I haven't gotten paid yet so I can't go to the bar. So home it is!" Grutar exclaims. "I wonder if my plant died."
All at once, like suddenly being rear-ended by a luggage cart (as the only vehicles in the Castles, trolleys, are all equipped with state-of-the-art pedestrian protection technology), the exhaustion of the Cycle – fifteen hours' worth – suddenly smacks you from every side. You would collapse, were it not for the chairs you've been deposited upon.
You might need to call a Lightcycle from Override, Ironcastle's premier ride-sharing service.
Good just put a call into home real quick saying he needed a ride home.
As the primary vehicles in the Castles*
"Time to celebrate tonight… And sleep in like crazy." Grutar says, trying to get a ride home using his wrist computer. "Dang techie stuff… How do I get a cycle over here?" He asks outloud.
Billy quietly hums to himself as he follows near Good Intentions planning on joining him.
"Hmmph… a very good question. I suppose I could give a call to Rockfall. I don't know if Senorita is in his field of expertise, but if anyone could make proper, further repairs to her system, he'd be the only one I'd know to call.">>755267
"I'll make sure to contact USB tomorrow… hopefully this complication with the DL's won't stall our payment.">>755268>>755271
Zamrud lets out a sigh of exhaustion as he deposits onto the seat, rubbing his eyebrows as he tries to fight the temptation to fall asleep then and there before even making it home. "If you're making a call for a ride, Good, would you mind if I imposed upon you for hitching a ride back to the upper circle?"
"A fine idea, and not at all. If you're that tired then just come with me, other than that the least I can do is a ride."
Thankfully, it looks like you won't be charged for a ride – as when Good calls home, it's Rockfall who picks up. After hearing that you've been out this late against your will, he pledges to be up in a jiffy. He shares his location to give you an assurance.
Then, at about 0050 the next Cycle, you're awoken from your dozing by a curious sight: A lightcycle with a large House Titanite palanquin on the back, driven by Rockfall. All his limbs are healed up. You pile up into the palanquin, and promptly fall asleep in its soft comfort, fit for a Noble, while Rockfall drives you back to the Titanite Manor.
Zamrud looks up to the front seat as he sees Rockfall coming to pick them all up, waving to him barely being able to keep up his formal introductions other than a 'thank you' as he moves into the back, quickly falling asleep as he is overtaken by the comfort of the vehicle. He looks to Senorita, hoping she doesn't mind following behind a bit on the way to the manor. Before passing out, he says to Rockfall, "If you don't mind, Rockfall, drive as slow as Senorita - the Helping Hoof behind us - needs to follow, I'm not certain of her acceleration but given she's not in the best of shape, I imagine we'd lose her quickly if we moved at full speed."
Good climbed in and proceeded to flop over into someones lap, asleep quite quickly after getting into the palanquin as he was quite tired, Whoever it was he didn't know.
Billy gives his thanks of appreciation in a small bow. " I appreciate you coming out here, thank you very much."
It doesn't take longer than a minute for Grutar to fall asleep when he sits down in his seat.
Rockfall nods, keeping the journey slow and gentle – an easy task, as very few souls are out at this late hour, and the roads are clear. This is especially necessary as poor Qhapaq must ride atop La Senorita's durable metal frame, for want of space inside the palanquin.
0300 comes in the form of a blur of sensory memories. The grunt of the parking break, the soft creak of doors, the gentle whispers of Titanite servants, the rustling of bedsheets, and the click of lights, as you mercifully, at last, get yourselves some quality sleep.
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"Once again thank you very much." Billy nods to Good and Rockfall. "You all make these nights much warmer and safe."