Sunday, June 8, 2008

Plans of War

[File Archive - One hundred and twelfth year of the Reign of Our Lady, Zesiro - 02:35 PM local time, War Room, Palace of the Sands, Ineb-Hedj]

The War Room is a sharp contrast to the public rooms in the Palace of the Sands. The golden walls are lined with keyboards and displays, and the center of the room is dominated by a 3D holographic map, with various markers held suspended in mid-air. Priests man the consoles in the room, and occasionally move one of the battle markers on the map. Standing against the walls of the room, watching the proceedings with little interest, are Zesiro's four scorpion headed guards. Zesiro stands with Ogmundr and several generals, conferring in front of the map. Ogmundr is a striking contrast to the rest of the room, clothed in just a loincloth and belt, with leather boots and bracers. His light skin stands out against the dark skin and hair of the others present. Another anomaly is Ernst, dressed now in the clothes of one of Zesiro's servants, but obviously not a native to this place.

[Zesiro's voice starts.] After my visit to Erst's home world, I told Ogmundr that I had a mission for him. I wanted to see how the new soldiers he had trained would perform, and I still had not gotten my music, so I told him I wanted him to take over the planet.

Zesiro speaks, "If you need more intelligence, ask The Artist."

Ogmundr replies, "What does your planet call The Artist?"

"I believe he said his name was Erst. He paints pictures of Visitors...such as yourself, and I."

"You are just a visitor to this land?"

"It is a term I use to refer to those such as opposed to the others in this land. Aimery says that we are all descendants of the same line."

"Who's Aimery and what do you mean such as us?"

"I don't know that I believe him, but there is something that sets us apart."

Ogmundr blinks and grimaces as he looks over at the robed man who spoke.

Ernst, obviously not used to people cowling him, recoils like a sissy. "I mean... yes, I'm here to help I suppose."

Ogmundr looks back at The Empress. "Yeah, yeah, we're all magical gods that cross worlds... is this your Erst that has knowledge of the lands we usurp?"

"I'll kindly shut up now. Please don't kill me..."

"No, go on..." He stares at Ernst, his right eye flaring, then smiles. "A pure one!"

Zesiro walks over to Ernst, gently caressing his head. "Ssh. You have nothing to be afraid of long as you please me."

Ogmundr turns his head before he laughs.

Ernst smiles awkwardly.

"Don't scare the Pure One, Ze-... er... Your Firstborn-ness"

"Tell him of your world, Erst." After issuing her order, Zesiro goes back to studying the map.

Ogmundr smiles at Ernst as he begins speaking, "My world? Where do I even begin?"

"Erst, I know this sounds weird. Just help us take over. If you have loved ones, give me their names and I'll make sure they're spared. Give me names of enemies and I'll flay them any way you wish."

"Wait... are you invading my world?!" Ogmundr smiles and looks back at The Empress as Ernst continues, "No, its okay. I've seen the portents. dada dada dada."

"I'll let you watch and help flay your enemies if you-Um..." Ogmundr's face turns serious.

"Are you serious?"

"Alright, she's the patient one of us, which, well." Ogmundr's right eye flares.

Zesiro turns back to them, "What?"

Ernst trembles. "Well, it's just that..."

Ogmundr blinks for a moment, "...Yes?"

"We just had a big war. A great war to end all wars. Seems kind of unfair to kick a world while she's down, you know? Might it wait?"

"Yeah, well, yeah. Deciding when to war isn't my job. Neither is deciding where. Deciding how and with what is."

Zesiro speak up, "I still wish my 'jazz.'"

Ogmundr shrugs, "So it is spoken."

Ernst starts. "Oh!"

"Go on."

"You don't want that. Trust me, its slave music made by people revolting against people like you. Its deliberately plays on deviations of our more classical music, which really is much more suited to aristocratic tastes. But if you insist we can pick up a few musicians. I know just the place."

"I liked what I heard."

Ogmundr puts his two cents in, "Sounds foreign even in your own world, where did it come from?"

I was quickly growing impatient.

"I wish for this music, and I wish to see my soldiers tested. Do *not* deny my wishes."

"Well, though I cannot facilitate your musical tastes, this world is a mere speck in comparisons for a test. It's like asking a bear to defeat a goldfish. Or, uh... snake... defeat, uh, whatever snakes normally eat."

"Do you have a better target for the test?"

Ernst chimes in, "How about the tendrils that whisper madness?"

"I do not. But this will not be a display of our Hordes power. Not even the best of their shields will defy the weakest of our weapons." Ogmundr blinks. "Well, if your world has that, then maybe it is a true test." Zesiro looks over with interest as well.

"Oh, er... sorry. I meant in my dreams. I dreamt of the Empress and she appeared in my world. If she exists then perhaps the tendrils exist too? They whisper of hidden places and secrets between spaces."

Ogmundr blinks once, then twice, then turns to The Empress, "So where shall we lead the invasion?"

"Just get me my jazz. And some of this Absinthe. And find a place for the test."

"Fine, we will get your Jazz and your Absinthe..." He turns to one of the Priests. "Display a holosphere of this globe, we'll chose a location at random."

Ernst speaks up again, "I can get the Jazz if you have a way to get to my world. No need to kill anybody. I can't really help with the test though."

"Last time I sent you to get it, you ran from me."

"Your Firstbornness, if I may please." He nods to Ernst.


"I would like a moment to speak with the... native of this world to help us. I'm sure he would like to end this without conflict."

"As you wish."

Ogmundr walks over to a corner of the room, orders those there to clear, and beckons Ernst to follow. The camera continues to pick up their conversation.

Ogmundr's voice takes a more friendly tone. "Hey, I call you Pure One because you remind me of my family back home. I don't want this to end in blood. Just tell us where were can get The Mad One," he nods to Zesiro, "her Jazz and Absinthe, then we're good to go."

"We're not too farm from Stockholm. Its a capital city, we should be able to find what we need there."

Ogmundr's eye flares. "I don't want to make this weird, but I can tell when someone speaks the truth or not. I won't tell Her Majesty, just find a place to get us some bottles and some music samples and we can replicate the rest. I've... uh.." Ogmundr hunkers down, and Ernst joins him. "I'll deal with the testing-army thing. No offense to your world, it's very nice, but it's not...Well...Like you've said, still recovering." He blinks a few times.

"Ah! I understand your confusion. And mine. Audio recordings were only very recently invented in my world. I'm guessing that the Empress doesn't record music on metal disks?"

Ogmundr nods, "I'm sure it might not be similar, but it is something we can reproduce."

"Its rare and pretty expensive, we'll have to go to a big city. That engineer guy over there said he could get us to Sweden. Stockholm's the closest place we've got. How does this work? Is the big pyramid ship taking us there? That might freak people out. Serves them right!"

"Well, if we wish, then yes. As it is now, you're lucky and you have caught Her on a good day. She just gave me permission to find another world as a testing grounds. Only on the stipulation of finding your Jazz and Absinthe. Do they call these recordings Laser Discs?"

"No. Look, I don't even know what that means. But I know what we need so if we could just go to one of the big cities we can solve this whole mess."

"Yes. Tell me the city, the place for one of your musical recordings, your Absinthe, and the device that displays your musical recordings."

"Oh, thats easy. Lets go to Berlin, in the Weimar Republic."


"Is there a place you know, or should we just land in a random place?"

"Lets land NOT on building and people."

Now, unbeknown to Ernst, Ogmundr had been talking to me this whole time via the on board comms. He had already designated the targets, and given me his plans, to be instituted as soon as they had obtained my spoils. They soon left the ship, and headed to Ernst's home city, known as "Berlin."

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