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 No.755503[View All]

Last time, on Anno Castra…

A long discussion unfolded between our explorers and "Mendicant Rudolph," assuming that was his true name. The dissident priest who unleashed a startling manifesto about the bleak future facing Ironcastle was, after all the panic and unrest he caused, a rather unassuming figure, not particularly unusual, nor even memorable. He maintained that everything in his manifesto came to him in a startling vision, which also included the zero-day virus that he used to forcibly download the manifesto to every Magicomp in Ironcastle.

This was an impossible feat, according to the Lux Deorum, as Rudolph had no background in technology whatsoever. They completely discredited his story about receiving it all in a vision, divine or otherwise, and maintained that he had to be working with a group of fellow terrorists and malcontents who wished only to stir up chaos in Ironcastle. However, Rudolph proved that he had information he could not have possibly accessed otherwise: He knew that the party had spoken with Godspeed. Just as this seemed to lend credence to his story about visions, he uttered a still stranger thing… that events that had unfolded in Ironcastle were also unfolding in other Castles as well, from ancient historical events such as the rise of the Brotherhood of Flagellants, to the schism of the Charismatics from the Abbey, to the development of mutually intelligible languages across Castles, despite there being no methods of communication between them, and the massive distances that separated them.

Before they could question him further, the DLs furiously dismissed the party, and took them away, back to the baggage claim area of the Ramparts. Many more hours than they had perceived finally caught up with them, and they had to get a ride from Rockfall back to House Titanite.
189 posts omitted. Click reply to view.

 No.757682

>>757522
>>757524
"Haven't tried much of coffee. May I give it a try?" Billy raises his hand.

 No.757683

>>757522
Grutar takes a seat at the bar and taps the table with his paws a few times in excitement. "You sell those fish n' rice pucks? I'll take a few of those too!"

 No.757684

>>757522
>>757523
>>757524
>>757682
>>757683
Zamrud, dressed up in his finest civvies, enters the bar with a casual glance, rubbing his temples as he tries to fight back the headache. The last few days were a mix of resting and keeping quite busy as he chased various leads into the data he'd found while on their last mission, as well as trying to think of the mystery surrounding Rudolph and the other castles. But for now, work was soon to be upon them again, and it was time to check int to see how the team is doing.

"Gentlemen," Zamrud says with a small wave as he approaches the bar. "Haven't been getting up to too much fun without me, have you?"

 No.757685

>Last time, on Anno Castra…

>Zamrud

While the others stayed behind at the House Titanite estate, you got in touch with some of your Family's more clandestine resources for assistance with decompiling the mysterious OS that Apuchin allowed you to take from the bunker. They pointed you in the direction of a figure named Key Keeper, gave you an address (pointing to an otherwise nondescript facade in the Noblesse) and a time to meet him.

Upon arriving at the noted facade, to all outside appearances an office building amid a sea of office buildings, you entered quite a strange space… clear-cut, near-white and grey all within, it could not have been more bland and featureless. A receptionist directed you to the tenth floor, near identical to the first, and directions to a terminus of the labyrinth of empty cubicles, where you entered a small corner office. There, you met with Key Keeper, a unicorn who rode about in a wheelchair.

His words were terse and few, and he seemed to be under much stress. You felt somehow compelled to keep your words to him as concise as possible. By the end of your meeting, he agreed to have the data chip analyzed from end to end, and a report delivered to you ASAP. Your body involuntarily breathed a heavy sigh of relief once your meeting ended and you were allowed to leave. It was like your body had been soaking up his stress through some kind of osmosis…

Once you were freed, you sent a message to the others, who informed you of their brief visit to a casino, and then to a coffee shop on Floor 6 of the Noblesse. Luckily, it was only a brief trolley ride from the facade you just left.

>>757523
"It is comparable to clearing up memory on a computer," Path says. "Through psycho-chemical intervention, the space that the memories and other mental hangers-on occupied is 'marked' as being available within the brain, even though the memories are still there. All incoming stimuli received after that point are then routed to that so-called free space to overwrite that which was previously there. As you can imagine, if you have ever tried to salvage overwritten files, it is not an exact science yet, and often old memories may linger on after their supposed deletion. Any competent mind-wiper would run multiple passes over the designated areas."

>>757683
>>757682
>>757524
"Alright, pals, comin' right up!" the barkeep says, quickly hopping to the grounds and fish under the withering stare of the cravat-wearing practitioner. The cravat must be something of a boss to the poor, harried barkeep…

The barkeep proceeds to make an elaborate show of his preparation of the drinks. Very minimal machinery is implemented, and he takes the utmost care to prepare the coffee by hoof, even heating the water personally in a small pot over a stove. The sushi is given a similarly personable and low-tech preparation.

For two coffees and a plate of sushi, the cost comes out to 30 Schillings.

 No.757686

>>757684
"Ah! Zamrud." the griffon says, working his way over to the Puros and doing the traditional greeting; patting Zamrud's head. Where he learned to begin doing this is… uncertain. It definitely seems intimidating to most, though there's no menace in his body language when he does it.

"Not much. I have hopefully helped a citizen find a better life here. We went to a casino. I do not like casinos."

>>757685
Qhapaq tilts his head to the side and stares at the sushi, before taking his coffee. "Thank you, bartender."

 No.757687

>>757685
"Much appreciated good sir!" Billy gingerly holds up his drink to take small sips to not burn his tongue.

 No.757688

>>757685
>>757686
Zamrud looks up to Qhapaq as he pats his head, unfamiliar with the fairly unusual greeting as his tail whips about in surprise. His ears do not flatten though, merely flickering in response as the talon leaves his fluffy head. "…good to see you as well, Qhapaq." As you mention having gone to a casino, Zamrud gives a shake of his whiskers. "I find myself in agreement. I'll admit I find a certain… 'flair' to it. A sense of danger and mystique with the roll of the dice, it's fun to watch in the movies. But in reality I must admit it's unbecoming. Who's idea was that?" Zamrud asks sarcastically as he looks over in Grutar's direction with a smirk.

He turns to the bar-keeper, "Excuse me, sir. A shot of milk, if you wouldn't mind."

 No.757689

>>757688
"Right away, sir!" the barkeep declares, as he makes a dash for the mini-fridge for milk, after which he begins an elaborate show of pouring the milk and decorating it with cherries and shots of cream and cinnamon dust. By the time it arrives before you it has an edible illustration of a festival tree upon its surface.

 No.757690

>>757685
Grutar pays for the drinks and sushi, taking time to enjoy each of his meal and a drink one bite and sip at a time.

 No.757691

>>757685
Will it alter myself in anyway? Change me or how I think?"

 No.757692

>>757688
"We were looking for somewhere to go. I had hoped to find interesting people in there, but most were… uncaring Nobles."

 No.757693

>>757691
"There are many possible side-effects to mind wiping," Path says. "It is not an exact science, as I said. But of course, I would not take you to anyone who would not take proper care to mitigate those side effects."

Lazy continues to munch her granola bar, frozen in fascination for what she's hearing.

>>757690
>>757687
>>757686
The purple-dressed mare accompanying the two practitioners of law has gotten up and has started to mess with the bar's jukebox. "Ave!" she says to the one in blue. "Let me borrow some schillings, they've got some good stuff here."
"Hey, what happened to all your pocket money? Remember, we haven't had a case in two Turnings," the blue-suited lawyer says.
"We'll be fine, it'll just be a song… or two," the mare in purple insists, putting on a song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Zh0a08Gq8

 No.757694

>>757693
"This is quite nice." Billy quietly says as he lightly sways his head side to side to the music.

 No.757695

>>757689
"No rush." Zamrud nods to the barkeep as dashes for the fridge, looking on with intrigue as he adds on so much extra flair to the drink with the cherries, cream, and cinnamon. As he looks at the festive tree designed on top, he looks down, charmed with its appearance. "My goodness, it's almost criminal to drink this. I never would have thought of presenting something like milk so nicely." He says, smiling as he licks his lips and readies to take a sip of the sweetened milk.

>>757692
"Ah, say no more." Zamrud says with a grumble. "Believe me when I say I know how those are. Did not give you all any trouble, I should hope?"

>>757693
As the jukebox starts to play, Zamrud's ears perk up, the smooth jazz speaking to his very soul as he turns his head towards the musical machine. He smiles, feeling much like the star of one of his favored noir detective films as the smooth music fills the air. He nods towards the mare who made the selection, raising his drink in appreciation.

 No.757696

>>757693
>>757694
"Yeh, drinks are good and so are these fish disks! I gotta remember this place for next time we come back from a mission." Grutar says before tapping on the table to the beat.

 No.757697

>>757695
"No trouble, correct. Uncaring, but too uncaring to bother talking with us."

>>757693
Qhapaq sips his coffee quietly, and gives the purple-dressed mare a curious stare. "I wonder what they mean by a case?" he asks, mostly to himself.

 No.757698

>>757695
The barkeep laughs a bit shyly, a rare trait for someone as tall and bulky as him. "Little art like that has always been my passion, sir… say, pal, I gotta ask, have I run into you somewhere before? Or are you on Prancecast or something?"

>>757697
>>757696
>>757694
>>757695
"We're the Fated Souls Law Office!" the mare in purple says, overhearing Qhapaq's question. With practiced dexterity, she slides a business card down to your end of the bar, advertising their services.
"Need I remind you, Fate, that I have declined your offer of employment three times now," the one in the cravat interjects. He passes you his own business card, advertising the services of Square Stature, attorney at law. "And you are not even a lawyer."
"I still help," Fate defends herself.

 No.757699

>>757693
Good closed his eyes for a moment and pondered quietly "Allow me time to make notes of everything so I may not lose any information. If that is permissible." he said frowning "I am not exactly keen on your words. I would rather my brain melt and remain myself than lose who I am. As someone who may bear the burdens of others, I choose to keep my own as heavy as any others, and I do not wish to forget that fact."

 No.757700

>>757697
"I really appreciate the sentiment. I am looking forward to the next time." Billy nods his head.

>>757698
"Hello Fate, I am Billy!." Billy waves over to the nearby group.

 No.757701

>>757699
Path narrows her eyes, then sighs. "Of course, my son. I will not force your will, as I said… hrmph. Enough of this. You should enjoy your Cycles off now. Even we Nobles must take days to 'chillax' as the youth say. I believe your friends have gone off now, why not catch up with them?"

 No.757702

>>757698
"Hey, lawyers! My nephew is one of those, I think. They gave him a big wooden hammer and he's allowed to shout at people in the court! Family's real good at shoutin'." Grutar says with a hearty laugh to follow.

 No.757703

>>757701
Good shook his head "Set the wipe as soon as you are able. I shall make notes then get in touch. I have no desire to let this situation linger any longer than I should."

 No.757704

>>757698
"I… Lawyer? I'm afraid I have little experience in the way of matters here. What do the… two of you? Three of you?" do?" the griffon asks, cocking his head to the side and staring at the cards. The large griffon- currently unmasked, though still holding his mask in his free hand- speaks a tad quieter than normal.

 No.757705

>>757697
"Hrmph." Zamrud says, taking another slow sip of his milk. "Better than the alternative, but still, I feel I should apologize. I know how nobles are. Was it worth the visit, then?"

>>757698
"A Prancecast?" Zamrud repeats as the large, hulking pony asks. "No, I'm afraid you may be mistaking me for someone else. I don't believe we've met before, do you happen to work close to the noble layer?"

>>757698
Zamrud picks up the business card as she slides it down, inspecting it carefully before the finely dressed stallion slides his over instead, taking a look at both cards, nodding at the cravat pony in particular. "Well, you never know when a good lawyer can come in handy, do you? Funnily enough, I feel we came awfully close to needing someone in your professions not all that long ago. Rather shady dealing in a mix-up of a delivery we were making, though they seem to have overlooked it in the end. How's your clientele?"

 No.757706

>>757702
"That would be the judge," Square says. "I believe I may have brought a case before your nephew in my time. Although, this rank amateur does just as much shouting as he does," he adds with an accusatory point at Ave.

>>757700
>>757704
>>757705
In response to Qhapaq's question, Ave and Square and Fate all attempt to explain the roles and functions of defense attorneys and prosecutors and the Castle's legal system in general, often clashing and contradicting one another with passion. Lots of jargon flies about.

>>757705
"Not before getting hired here, sir," the barkeep says. "Warrior Stratum, former detective. Ah! Not that I was implying I'd seen you as part of an investigation or anything. Hahaha. But from tending bar and investigating homicides, I guess I've met a lot of different people."

>>757705
"We're both Nobles, but Square and I have taken cases from people of every Stratum," the blue-suited Ave says. "We believe in justice for all, regardless of one's station in life."

"Indeed," Square says with contempt. "Crime and injustice permeate every Floor of every Layer of this Castle… and yet, in all my years I have not once seen a Noble prosecuted as viciously as Commoners and even Warriors. Such corruption is how Rich Duds here lost his position as detective."

 No.757707

>>757703
Path pats your hoof. "Very well, Good. Be assured that I will not permit you to be treated by anyone less than Ironcastle's finest."

She gets up and begins to tinker with one of her tablets.

 No.757708

>>757706
"Quite a change of careers there. Did you retire from your detective work or simply needed a break?"

>>757706
"Hmmm…" Zamrud contemplates deeply in thought as Square and Fate explain their professions in extremely interesting detail. Zamrud was aware of court proceedings - one of the many subjects he was raised to learn up on - but never had he heard two ponies speak with such passion about the subject.

"…by any chance," he asks once there's a break in their explanation, "Do you happen to know if any attorneys are currently assigned to a case concerning one… 'Mendicant Rudolph'?" He speaks the last name in somewhat hushed terms, knowing it to be a touchy subject.

 No.757709

>>757706
"Sounds like a pretty rough profession. Do you do your job well?" Billy asks in response to the explanation by the fate group.

 No.757710

>>757706
"Auch the judge! That's what it was, never been to court too often to remember." He says, though when Ave is pointed at he just laughs and slaps his knee. "Then that just means his opinion probably be more important to hear out! Keep it up amateur lad!"

 No.757711

>>757707
He nodded and stepped off to make intricate notes about everything that had happened between now and when he got back to the castle, sending a message to Zamrud asking what he was up to.

>>757708
>What are you up to Zamrud? Nothing illicit I hope.

 No.757712

>>757706
Qhapaq looks more overwhelmed than anything else- he tries to pay as much attention as he is, but he's not even the best with attention to begin with, though. The clashing and contradictions don't help either.

 No.757713

>>757711
Zamrud's ears perk up as he feels his Concord ringing a notification, taking a look at his magicomp to see the incoming message from Good. He types out a response

>Me? Never. Been a productive but uneventful few days on my end, Good. Just met the others at a bar. They went to a casino. Hopefully I did not miss anything 'illicit'.

He smirks.
>And you?

 No.757714

>>757708
Ave shudders at the mention of the name. Square shakes his head and keeps a low voice. "With the Down-Lows involved, only ambulance-chasing sensationalist Prancecast hacks have expressed an interest in taking the case, and of course, only to increase their viewership. No serious lawyer wants to come anywhere near that case… and so you can imagine that Ave here has floated the notion more than once."

"It is everyone's right as Ironcastle citizens to receive their due justice," Ave says. "Even a case as scandalous as that one. Regardless of what he actually did, he's going to be charged with basically everything the prosecution can find in the book, and then some… and you gotta admit, it would put our little law office on the radar… of course, getting in contact with the guy is the real trouble."

>>757709
"I haven't lost a single trial," Ave says proudly.
"Sometimes it seems like all the forces of fate in the world conspire in your favor," Square says. "Regardless, winning is not what we seek, but truth, and when dealing with the law in Ironcastle, truth is often dismissed altogether in favor of the politics of inter-Stratum conflict. No Noble would ever be able to live down being found guilty of misconduct to a Commoner. And so, they seldom are. We have gotten our own share of danger as a result of fighting to find the truth even in those cases."

>>757712
>>757710
>>757709
>>757708
As you talk with Ave and Square, Fate ducks behind the counter and pesters Rich until he agrees to show her some of the tricks of the barkeeping trade. You overhear some talk that suggests that it was Square who got Rich this job; apparently, Square owns this bar and reluctantly put it in Rich's care.

 No.757715

>>757713
>My mother believes we may need mind wipes. The secret police we encountered believes we may have had mental worms placed in us that will destroy our faculties over time.

 No.757716

>>757714
Going down to just two people explaining it makes the situation a little less overwhelming. "I… see. Things are very complicated in the Castles, it seems. I am glad I do not often have to deal with such things as 'legal matters'."

 No.757717

>>757714
"Does that mean Nobles committing misconduct against each other is easier?" Billy rubs at his chin.

 No.757718

>>757715
>She believes the Secret Police we encountered may have planted mind worms*

Correction of previous statement

 No.757719

>>757715
Zamrud blinks as he reads this response, trying to discern if it is simply the royal scribe's paranoia or sense of humor shining through… or if it is a legitimate concern.
>Is that a real concern or was she joking? I'm unfamiliar with Down-Low practices I'd believe the former

>>757714
Zamrud smiles as Ave proclaims the right of all citizens of Ironcastle the right to due process. "I'm glad to see you take that stance, sir. I ask because I actually had the opportunity to meet with him after that unfortunate delivery snafu I mentioned. I don't think he's being well taken care of. Who's to say if that's just or not, but at the least I feel he is owed more than he's given as a basic right. I am not certain I could arrange such a meeting again easily, but if I could, would you mind if I passed him your information, then?"

>>757714
Zamrud lowers his head at Rich as he takes on another sip of his coffee. "I am sorry to hear about your precinct. I do not know how much pull my family has in the Warrior strata, otherwise I would be tempted to see what could be done about your wrongful termination."

 No.757720

>>757714
>>757717
"Probably easier than a drill breakin' through rock I imagine! Lads down below have tussles but we settle our differences easier than those with their heads stuck in the clouds. No offense to rich folk, just sayin' it must be easier to them!"

 No.757721

>>757719
>From her tone it was very much legitimate concern. I would contact her soon if you wish to be certain. And catalogue any info you wish to hold onto in case.

 No.757722

>>757717
>>757716
"In a relative sense," Ave says to Billy. "Most inter-Noble conflicts seldom reach the courthouse, no matter what the nature of their conflict may be. Those that do are fraught with their own perils. Square and I have gotten used to having to look back over our shoulders and wear armor to and from our offices while dealing with a case where one Noble takes another to court."

>>757720
"Believe me," Square says. "I have appreciated the earnestness and sincerity present in every case I have taken where the defendant and plaintiff have both been of any Stratum other than the Nobility."

>>757719
"That's very kind of ya pal, but believe me, Square and I aren't giving up without a fight on that front," Rich says. "And even if we lose, he's hooked me up with a promising career here! But if you know a way to get more people into having coffee with their sushi, now that kinda help I'd take! Hahaha."

>>757719
>>757716
>>757717
>>757720
Both Ave and Square give you more business cards when Zamrud brings up giving their information to Mendicant Rudolph. The two lawyers stare one another down.
"I thought you said you didn't want to take the case," Ave says.
"I didn't want you to take the case," Square says. "What cases I take are my business."
The two immediately get to arguing about who's poaching whose high-profile client. Meanwhile, Fate and Rich, blissfully disconnected from the lawyers' rivalry, roll sushi together.

 No.757723

>>757722
Billy gives a small clap, "Sounds like you have quite many great tales. I haven't involved myself in court so far, only been out and about."

 No.757724

>>757722
"Interesting, to say the least. Cutthroat world, yes." he remarks, stroking his beak a little.

>>757722
>>757719
"Hmm… what is the phrase? Like Fireworks. They do seem rather competitive. Why not work together?"

 No.757725

>>757722
"What the most thrillin' case you've had? I could tell you my most thrillin' moment but it shows off well enough!" Grutar says as he lifts up his drill arm to show to Ave as he laughs.

 No.757726

>>757722
"Well, all the same, if there is anything a semi-distinguished nobleman can do for the cause," he says as he readies a Concord friend-request to Rich. "Let me know. Though I'd be remiss to see your skills behind the counter leave, this is quite good." He says as he takes another sip of the milk, cream frothing around his whiskers.

>>757722
Zamrud looks on with interest as the two lawyers duel with their business cards, to which Zamrud holds up his paws, "Sadly, I am not the client and do not feel so obligated to decide on his behalf. I will take both your cards to him and see if he has any preferences. He's a bit of an odd one, though."

>>757724
>>757722
Zamrud nods. "That seems agreeable. You two clearly have professional history, perhaps you could cooperate on this case?"

>>757721
>I see. Well then, in which case, if you wouldn't mind putting me in contact with her I think I would like to have my head examined then. Feel it is a good idea to keep it to those we can trust. I'll write down anything of importance to remind myself later should the worse occur.
He says, making a mental note to jot down everything he's done regarding the mysterious historic OS from the bunker.

 No.757727

>>757726
>You may wish to do the same for the others.

With that he sent the feline his Mother's concord contact info.

>Where are you by the way?

 No.757728

>>757726
Rich accepts the friend request. "Yeah, I'll be in touch! Appreciate it pal," he says as he tops off your drink.

>>757727
>>757723
>>757724
>>757725
>>757726
https://youtu.be/upOhRRYVGkA

Another song comes on as you suggest that the bickering lawyers work together to come to the Mendicant's aid. "Yeah!" Fate says, the idea clearly catching her attention. "You guys can tag team it, switching out whenever one gets tired!"
"Despite all the months you've worked with Ave as his aid," Square says. "You seem to have not learned how trials work."
"What?" Fate gasps. "I'm like 90% of the reason he's won every case!"
"Hey, I think I can take credit for a good 60… no, 70% of the work!" Ave protests.

While the rather eccentric legal trio get back to arguing, you notice an email notification from Mabin. Its subject line requests your presence in his meeting chamber to discuss a certain mission.

>"Given the nature of the circumstances, it would be best to speak in-person regarding it," Mabin writes. "I will await you next Cycle at 0800 where we last met."

 No.757729

>>757728
Grutar takes awhile to figure out how to open up mail once again on his magicomp before "Blasted thing, how do these things work again?"

 No.757730

>>757728
"Hmm. A new mission? This could be good, I think- I have been stationary too long."

 No.757731

>>757727
>Indeed. I shall inform them
>As to where we are, we're at a bar in the noble district, down an alleyway.

>>757728
"Well, perhaps you can all work it out once you've had a chance to meet with Rudolph. I will see if I can arrange one more audience with him, provided his jailers are merciful enough for at least that."

>>757728
>>757729
Zamrud looks down as the three start their spirited and heated debate once again, noticing the alert coming in from Mabin. Taking a look at it and finishing it, Zamrud lets out a quite groan, before moving over to Grutar and looking over his shoulder, pointing out the directions to use the magicomp. "Just click that symbol there…" he says as he starts out the process of explaining it.

He takes another look at the message before looking to the others, presuming they may have acquired a similar message. "I assume we're all available for that time?"


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