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Rogue Trader - Masquerade
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gabriel bows and wordlessly takes Andrea's hand. In an instant, the two joining the dance floor, finding their way amongst the crowd. While absorbed in the dance with Gabriel, who proves to be an exceptional dancer, Andrea barely notices anything happening in the rets of the room. The floor is a sea of gaudy wealth and excess.

While Garrius, Peraton, and Julient take drinks from a waiter, they survey the larger area. There are several groups of people about whom it is possible to see others defer to a leader. Some groups stand upon stairs and balconies, surveilling a better view of the Masque. Garrius notices the same figure in black, astronomic-patterened robes standing almost inert amongst the crowd. People shift about them, and they do not react to the crowd or the servants.

'Garrius,' Navigator Julient enquires, 'since this is a masque, I feel it is in the spirit of things to ask questions one normally wouldn't dare with the face uncovered. Might I be so bold as to ask why you did not conduct an investigation into my former superior, Gulliame Du Preste? I have only heard idle gossip and rumours on the matter. But I find the affair fascinating'.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garrius looked upon Julient, but her mask covered any chance he had of reading her thoughts and feelings on the matter. He sighed lightly, taking a short sip of his wine.

"I am arranging an investigation myself, but one that is fair and just. The two who leveled accusations towards him both have an axe to grind. To say more would be to divulge too much of their privacy, but suffice to say, I will not let their own personal goals effect the runnings of the ship nor the career a good navigator."

Garrius took another drink, casting a glance around the room at the other guests, pondering who could be who amongst the guests.

"You must forgive my formal answer Julient. Such functions are not my strong point, and I feel slightly out of place here. I lack the... social grace one such as your self seems to so naturally hold."
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julient listens and nods. 'I see. Of course. I have never liked Du Preste, personally. But he has his talents. I think his problem is that he's a romantic about his place in life. I, Garrius, am purely ambitious'.

Before Julient can say anymore, Peraton politely intrudes. 'Garrius . . . forgive me not using your title . . . but if someone overheard . . . Well, I think I may wander the room and see if there is anyone I may recognise. Is that alright by you?'

While Garrius is engaged in light banter with these two members of his senior crew, he scans the crowd again. As he does so, he becomes aware that he is being observed himself. Seated in a small group on one of the lounges is a man an old-fashioned nobleman's garb, the like of which hasn't been worn in millenia. His masque looks vaguely familiar, as if it represents a famous hero or saint. Aware that Garrius has noticed he is being watched, the man faintly raises his glass in a salute.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garrius nods slightly, raising his own glass in return, before taking a slight sip. He faces Julient again, briefly, and smiled.

"A quality I can certainly relate to, to a greater or lesser degree." He reached up and warmly yet only slightly touched her arm before turning to Peraton.

"But of course Peraton. I would wish to hear of anyone you do recognise. Please, would you mind starting on that fellow over there, he has me perplexed." Garrius tilted his head towards the man he noticed earlier.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Certainly'. Peraton looks over in the direction of the man on the lounge - a little too unsubtly, even with the benefit of a masque. The flight officer chuckles. 'The ghost of Priam Xarxes, I'll wager'.

[a 01 on a Common Knowledge roll. Priam Xarxes was a famous planetary governor from the Calixis Sector who organised a crusade on the desert world of Ruelin. He was considered a political animal, an opportunist, and a dangerous opponent. History classes frequently discuss him in many higher schools]

'On the other hand,' Peraton muses, 'I'd have a safer wager if I said that the man under the masque was Lord-Captain Septarius Galen. He's the right build and height, and well known to be abstemious enough to sit out most of a party'.

'Ladies and gentlemen - honoured guests,' a booming voice calls from the entrance balcony, 'welcome to the Ball Inquisitor Angste Stavram, of the Ordo Hereticus!'

There is a sudden hush, through which only the orchestra continues to break. All eyes turn to regard a man descending the stairs in a long, rich, cloak and tunic. The crossed 'I' symbol of the Inquisition is emblazoned on his deep-blue tunic, and he wears no masque. The Inquisitor is an imposing figure. Though his physique is unexceptional, he strides with an unshakeable air of confidence. His face is clean and clear and unmarked, adorned only by a pitch-black beard tethered with a gold ring.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Along with all the other dancers, Andrea and Gabriel pause for a moment to watch the Inquisitor descend the stairs, noting his attire in case she runs into him later.

As the man descends below the crowd, and everybody loses sight of him, the dancing begins again. Andrea holds her hand back out to Gabriel, and he begins a complicated measure that has her spinning around the floor.



Over Gabriel's shoulder, Andrea catches sight of a mask that seems for just a moment to look like most of her dreams of late. She stumbles out of Gabriel's hand and quickly spins back to look again, standing stock still in the middle of the dance floor.

On closer inspection, she sees nothing remotely like what she thought she'd glimpsed. Gabriel leans in close, "Lady Chan-Gauthier, are you well?"

Feeling somehow like something had been ripped from her life, she turned back to him. "Yes. Um... yes. I'm sorry. I thought I saw... well... nevermind. My apologies for spoiling your perfect art, my Lord. Let us continue."

But soon, the melody ended, and the orchestry began a slower measure. This was an ancient pattern dance, with the men and women standing in line facing each other. It would involve rotating dance partners shortly, and Andrea chose not to participate.

"My Lord, I have never cared for such capers. Shall we return to our group? My mother always referred to these as 'square dancing for the nobility'. There's just no grace to them at all. Though, I must compliment you on your excellent form. It's one of my rarely indulged pleasures to be lead so gracefully. So few men can accomplish it without tugging and twisting, flinging and stepping on me."
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garrius noted the arrival of the Inquisitor with a slight smile and muted chuckle.

"An Inquisitor, and member of the Ordo Hereticus no less. This ball surely is the lamp to which all people of note flutter." He said to neither of his companions in particular. "I wonder if his visit is one of pleasure or purely business. Something none other than him would know, now doubt. Typical of the Inquisition." The last words were almost bitter.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the Inquisitor makes his way through the crowd, people part as if he was an oncoming tide, threatening to spoil their clothes and engulf them. If he receives pleasure from the fear he inspires, he does not show it. In all probability, he is enured to it.

The chatter and sounds of celebration flare once more. Andrea rejoins Garrius, as Peraton slips into the crowd. As she does so, Andrea casts a glance at the entranceway, where she sees the figure in black striding down the stairs once again. She glances around, trying to ascertain whether or not this is a second figure, or the same as the first one, but soon they are lost in the crowd.

A group of men and women, roughly a dozen altogether, enter the Grand Hall, striding confidently down the stairs. Each is dressed exquisitely, with the skin of a savage xenos beast making up the top part of their masques. The procession makes their way through the crowd, heading in the general direction of Garrius and Andrea.
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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garrius, whilst the attention was focussed on the new guests entering the room, excused himself from his group, and headed over to where the seated man masked as Priam Xarxes is seated. Upon arrival, he raised his glass.

"Would you mind if I sat with you a moment?"

The man gave a brief nod, so Garrius seated himself on one of the lounges near the man.

"You must excuse me, I find such garish social occasions make me feel like a fish out of water. Forgive my frankness." Garrius addressed the man. "But would I be correct in assuming that you are Lord Captain Septarius Galen? If so, I would most enjoy some light conversation."
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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'You are correct,' the masqued figure nods. Garrius can almost feel the smile under the disguise. Galen's voice is youthful and clear, deliberately measured, though a little cold and uncharming for all of this.

Galen's retinue cease their discussion and hang on every word between the two Rogue Traders. The younger Rogue Trader continues: 'You have me at a disadvantage, of course. But I will play my part and guess that you are Lord-Captain Garrius Amphael. I watched your group descend the stairs after the lady-in-white announced you, and I wondered who but a Rogue Trader would wear such a ludicrously wonderful costume as your Ork Nob attire.

'So, now that I guess we are social equals, I must also confess that I experience nothing but sensations of boredom at these functions, for the most part. They are terribly necessary to attend, of course - just as important as attending a battle, in fact.

'Tell me, Garrius, you hold an illustrious Warrant but, forgive my directness, I have never heard of your Dynasty before. Do you hail from far away? Calixis, or another sector?'
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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While Garrius is engaged in conversation with Septarius Galen, Navigator Julient makes small talk with Andrea. Julient holds herself with such effortless poise that Andrea notes - perhaps with some jealousy - that many of the revellers nearby cannot help but glance at her again and again.

'Madam-Senschal,' Julient begins in a friendly tone. 'You hold yourself with style and grace, and it is good for you to be able to hide those unfortunate augmentations you are cursed with, so I feel I must compliment you with the above average skill you possessed at the dance'.

The group of men and women garbed in xenos pelts gather nearby, and begin a loud conversation amongst themselves.

'Not a thing to shoot, eh?!'

'Not a thing!'

'Pity - it never does seem a party without something to shoot at. And we have no guns!'

'Eh! Eh! Best call for the nets, say? Blistering good lark'.

'What? For certain!'

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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrea raises her hand to her mask's mouth, feigning modesty, only to have her response drowned out by the 'hunters' who have just arrived.

She glares at them for a moment, which looks like a glance behind the mask, and then continues to Julient, "At my best, I was only mildly above average, and I haven't had occassion to dance formally in years. All the credit should go to our guest, Lord Kaustis-Yuril."

"I'm surprised you're not dancing yourself, my Lady. Just from how well you carry yourself, I assume you must be an exquisit dancer. And from their glances, no doubt most of the men here would be willing to fight each other to the death, just to find out."
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrea Chan-Gauthier wrote:

"I'm surprised you're not dancing yourself, my Lady. Just from how well you carry yourself, I assume you must be an exquisit dancer. And from their glances, no doubt most of the men here would be willing to fight each other to the death, just to find out."


'It would not be . . . befitting for me to dance with those who do not possess the gene. Except under a few circumstances. And besides, I happen to think that dancing is for children'.

The conversation from the group of pelt-clad revellers starts to become louder.

'Not much game here, eh?'

'We could make some'.

'Eh! Eh!'

'Why not? If you had to shoot one here, what target would you select?'

'Hmm . . . I'd bag myself a rare breed - a Rogue Trader, a navigator! An Inquisitor!'


Silence falls upon the group like a death shroud. Inquisitor Stavram watches them from a short distance. He beckons to the last man to talk, pointing to their masque and motioning upwards with his finger. With a shaking hand, the man lifts his masque, revealing a pale and frightened face. Stavram studies it for a moment then moves on.

...'Drinks, anyone?'
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garrius let out a short laugh at the comment on his costume.

"Well, if one is to attend such and event that he is ill suited too, he may as well embrace the idea with relish."

His good humour was sapped by the comments regarding the dynasty however, though he tried hard not to show it. Yet again he was reminded of the way his forebears had allowed the family to languish into something barely worth a mention.

"Yes, we are not of this Segmentum. My ancestor was granted our sacred writ by Saint Drusus during the Angevin Crusade for aiding in the liberation of the Calyx expanse. As such we have been based in Calixis since. My forebears focussed their attentions towards other Segmentums around Calixis until now. I am the first of my dynasty to venture into Koronus. I must say, it is interesting thus far.

Now, if you don't mind my own question. I am aware that you are well known around here, and that you reached your position at a young age. Also, your efforts to aid the Imperium are certainly noble. But I am curious, how do you find being a Lord Captain and Rogue Trader whilst so young? Many others in this game are much older and long in the tooth. The fact that you do so well whilst being so young is impressive to say the least."
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galen makes no physical response to Garrius's comments. Whether he finds any offence in them seems doubtful. He replies without pause. 'Being clever'.

Reaching up to his masque, Septarius Galen removes his disguise, revealing his face underneath. He looks young, still in his late twenties, with a face distinguished by high cheekbones, and a smooth, aquiline nose. His hair is a dark blonde, and is cut short and brushed forward in an unaffected manner. His most distinctive features, however, are two icy-blue eyes.

'We're equals here, and just relaxing. I'm tired already of these disguises, so don't mind me removing mine.

'As far bask as the Angevin Crusade? How illustrious. My own Dynasty, by your standards is a baby, Amphael. My ancestors were granted the Writ a mere three hundred years ago.

'I come from a particularly vicious family, and the best way I found to survive was to apply myself to scholarly pursuits. When it came time for me to prematurely take up my inheritance, I suspect my enemies thought I could be their puppet. They underestimated me, of course,' he smiles. 'That's the trick, I find - always seem weaker than you are. I have been a Rogue Trader for ten years now, and like to think I haven't done so badly.

'So, your first time in Footfall? An outstanding place, despite its many negative features. Safer than most of the rest of the Expanse. Speaking of which - what way are you headed from Footfall, Amphael?'
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montresor wrote:
And besides, I happen to think that dancing is for children'.

The conversation from the group of pelt-clad revellers starts to become louder.
.
.
.


Andrea frowns, then glances to the drama unfolding with the Inquisitor and chuckles. Turning back to the Navigator, she pauses, then says quietly, "For future reference, in polite society, complimenting someone on her dancing is also a tacit invitation to speak on the topic further."

Then, with a full departing curtsey, "And so, I will take my leave of you, my lady." She turns back to Gabriel, hoping he was engrossed in the xenos pelted braggarts, "My lord, what would strike your fancy? How may we occupy our time at this grand event?"
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Navigator Julient returns to observing the crowd without another word. Perhaps bored, she soon wanders off into the crowd.

Andrea Chan-Gauthier wrote:
"My lord, what would strike your fancy? How may we occupy our time at this grand event?"


"Watch the people watching us? Or perhaps we should go and intrude on the other guests. Ah! I know. That game we were playing earlier, Andrea - let's have another round. Only this time, we can perhaps make it interesting. Let's say we pick a group and the other person has to guess who or what they are. They then go and find out if they're right. Sound interesting? A little wager may improve the fun. If you're correct, I'll down one drink. If you're wrong, you do likewise.

"I'll start, if you're keen. That group over there, with the pelts, the loud mouths, and the Inquisitor's ire. They should be easy. Who do you suppose they are?"
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You want to deduce actual things about the people? And then confirm them by asking the people to reveal their identities? My game was to invent the most interesting, but absurd, fantastic story about who might be there. And, while I'm not agreeing to the wager yet, I would suggest that your first victims would be... uncooperative in revealing to us their identities. Many of the others here might also resent us wanting to confirm our wager."

She gasps, just realizing something. "You're just trying to get me drunk, aren't you?" Andrea's hidden smile is clear in her voice, belying her stern words. "All right, we'll play it your way. But with a few changes."

"First, if the people won't cooperate in confirming our guesses, we both drink. Second, if I'm guessing about someone, you get to approach them to confirm. And, yes, that's because I don't want to approach those beligerant fools who would pick a fight with an Inquisitor. Are we agreed?"

She turns directly to the man, reaching out a finger and poking him in the chest. "And I warn you, sir; I reserve the right to stop drinking before I shame my Lord-Captain in front of all these notables of the sector. So, if you plan on taking advantage of me, you'll have to rely on your native cunning and not entirely on the alcohol."
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garrius nodded

"Yes, my first time in Footfall. It is rather... eclectic. Though a safe port is not to be sniffed at."

Garrius took a sip of wine before answering the next question, unsure of how to trust this man. One on hand, the prospect of more work would be improved if this man knew the direction the Invictus was headed. On the other, one must maintain confidentiality. Garrius chose to meet the two hands half way.

"The ultimate goal lies towards the Warp Shoals, though the next stop is somewhere in the Prethian system. For reasons I'm sure you can appreciate, to say more would be inappropriate. Yourself? Any voyages planned for your near future?"
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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrea Chan-Gauthier wrote:
"You're just trying to get me drunk, aren't you?"


Gabriel's hands wave suddenly from side to side, and he recoils a little at the jibe. He splutters a 'no, no', that seems embarrassedly genuine.

Andrea Chan-Gauthier wrote:
"So, if you plan on taking advantage of me, you'll have to rely on your native cunning and not entirely on the alcohol."


The young nobleman listens to the Seneschal's terms and nods. 'I insist my innocence, madam . . . I just, thought, well . . . there's little else we could wager here. But I agree. So . . . your turn'.
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