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Rhuen

Journey West 21: Magnus Empire

Nov 26th, 2016
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  1. It has been a day and a half since the battle at the base. While it was risky they decided to use the southern access road to the base to reach the main commerce road between the Magnus Empire and the Sae-Kingdom. However what they see on the road sign when they reach this main road is not pleasant.
  2.  
  3. [East: Sae-Kingdom, 200 miles], [West: Magnus Imperial Boarder, 45 miles]
  4.  
  5. “Wow,” says Betty, “With all that walking I thought we went a lot farther than that.”
  6.  
  7. “All dat zigzagging,” says Viana, “it gotcha ya’ll past four of dem Magnus check points, next up though is the Magnus Empire’s territory. Sorry ya’ll can’t take ya’ll past here. I don’t wanna get mixed up in anything that could hurt my hunting out here ya’know; besides dat der Magnus Empire dey not exactly friendly to us beast types ya’know.” Viana looks over at Cata who only shrugs as her response.
  8.  
  9. “You know Viana,” says Gun-Man, “you could tag along with us, we’re heading back East.”
  10.  
  11. “Its true,” says Stratos, “our chief concern is the safety of Princess Vondroncha.”
  12.  
  13. “Didn’t I say you could call me Von?” asks Vondroncha.
  14.  
  15. “Sorry,” he says and then turns back to Gun-Man and Viana; as well as addressing his great-grand-daughter’s team, “We have our own mission to attend to now that, that bug problem has been dealt with. Besides I think they might want to know back home what’s going on out here.”
  16.  
  17. “Of course, Great-Grand-father,” says Hollia.
  18.  
  19. “So how about it?” asks Gun-Man turning back to Viana.
  20.  
  21. Viana ponders it a moment and then to everyone’s surprise casually says, “mmm, nope.”
  22.  
  23. She kicks a pebble, “I gots me some vacation time coming up I need to use anyhow, besides yer team has enough heroes on it, heck even the lady yer protecting is a hero, yeppers. Besides I’ve had about enough o’this fantasy world stuff for now, I just got dun being on a team with two sorceresses, a cat-girl, an angel, a dragon, and an elf; not much different than a team with a wizard, two elves, and a cyborg. I think Imma go back home and take it easy for awhile. So laters.”
  24.  
  25. She takes a silver disc device similar to the one Gun-Man has, pushes a button on it and vanishes.
  26.  
  27. “Please tell me hers was as limited as yours,” says Cata to Gun-Man.
  28.  
  29. Gun-Man shrugs, “to be honest I think Viana’s can only take her back to our Earth, and only to the equivalent spot. Your friend Gold Wolf there is carrying one too I’d imagine.”
  30.  
  31. With out many more words and little fanfare, the two groups part company and head in opposite directions. Hollia thanks her great-grand-father again, and the two Ecliar elves wish them a happy journey with the hopes they all meet again someday.
  32.  
  33. ******
  34.  
  35. The sun is near setting when they come into view of a town wall at what is the current official boarder between the Magnus Empire and the supposedly neutral territory between them and the Sae-Kingdom. The wall stands out against the landscape, painted blue with large purple doors with horse shoe magnet flag symbols on them. The pillars on either side of the door have purple orb devices on top of them.
  36.  
  37. “You know,” says Gold Wolf as they stop to survey the wall a short distance away, “I may not have been much of a guide around shit like this but I do know the Magnus Empire. On the far end of it is the Calif Kingdom and in that Diego City where I regularly go to look over my sister’s merchant affairs on the ocean.”
  38.  
  39. He points out the purple orb devices, “those things are the magic dampeners I told you about before. Like I said they look down on magic viewing it as a crutch and prize one’s special abilities; those things you call specialty powers back in Stratalian territory, or Merchant’s…what ever, point is you wont be able to use magic once you’re with in fifty feet of one of them; and I can guarantee you there will be lots more inside the town, each one adding to the strength of the others to increase their over-all range.”
  40.  
  41. “Well then” says Rhulan smiling at Hollia, “it’s a good thing we practiced your special techniques back with Hyatha-Aria isn’t it?”
  42.  
  43. Hollia touches the edges of the headband that is Lin Lin, “What will happen to Lin Lin though Miss Rhulan?”
  44.  
  45. “How selfless.” thinks Rhulan as she says, “Don’t worry about her. Her powers are spirit based rather than magic based; its all internal so those dampeners wont have any effect on her.”
  46.  
  47. The jewel on the headband flashes a blue light as a *chirping* sound escapes her.
  48.  
  49. “wow,” says Hollia, “even as a headband she can chirp, neat.”
  50.  
  51. ******
  52.  
  53. As the party approaches the wall a panel opens up in the beside the gate, a middle aged man can be seen from the waist up wearing a military uniform.
  54.  
  55. “Morning folks,” he says, “Are you visiting or passing through?”
  56.  
  57. “Uh,” says Gold Wolf approaching, “we’re going to spend one night in town and pass through.”
  58.  
  59. “Okay,” says the man, “but I have to ask who is going to be responsible for the cat-woman while in town?”
  60.  
  61. Cata growls, but as she steps forward Rhulan puts her arm out, “I’ll take responsibility.”
  62.  
  63. “Okay,” then says the guard pushing something out of view with a *click*, “have a nice day.”
  64.  
  65. His smile is a little too wide for Gold Wolf’s comfort, and Rhulan raises her eyebrow as they walk into the town. He nods to them as the door closes behind them. Once inside they find the town isn’t much different than any other town in the desert, except for three things sticking out, one being the purple orbs are practically being used as street lights, the second the number of Magnus soldiers walking about, and third the dirty and confused looks Cata keeps getting; parents even usher their children out of the street as they walk by.
  66.  
  67. “Guess Viana was right,” says Cata, “surprised we got in at all.”
  68.  
  69. “Not to mention,” says Gold Wolf, “you’d think they’d have this town on lock down after…what happened.”
  70.  
  71. “That facility,” says Rhulan, “was likely a secret base, I’m sure their own people would be uncomfortable to learn something like that was so close to town; not to mention how their civilians might react to learning about what that facility did to another town. Granted they’d probably right it off as propaganda. They’ve likely also got some war time propaganda going about what they might have seen for an instant when the Chaos Destroyer lit up the sky.”
  72.  
  73. “She calls that lighting up?” thinks Gold Wolf.
  74.  
  75. “and besides,” says Rhulan, “these soldiers are just occupiers of a boarder town, there is a good chance few if any of them knew of the facility either.”
  76.  
  77. “Any who,” says Rhulan with a shrug, “we’re better off getting an inn now and getting off the streets and getting out of here at first light in the morning.”
  78.  
  79. This does not take any convincing on anyone’s part. The inn keeper they come across on the other hand could use some convincing.
  80.  
  81. “There is no way I am letting a cat monster stay at my inn,” says the short and rather fat balding man, “besides the fact its against the law to sell anything to a bestial around here I wouldn’t let that…thing stay in my inn anyway.”
  82.  
  83. He crosses his arms, turns up his nose and says, “my poor help would never get the fur out of the sheets.”
  84.  
  85. Cata growls, “Ssso beee it.”
  86.  
  87. “Miss Cata,” says Hollia, but stops when she sees Cata take off her sword strap and lay it aside and takes a deep breath.
  88.  
  89. Cata does something they’ve never seen her do before, she changes her shape. Her paw like hands slinder and become those of a person, her paws change to feet, her muzzle a pointed chin face with full lips, her ears vanish and human ears appear. What remains
  90. is no longer the black fur covered panther woman, but rather a mocha skinned beauty.
  91.  
  92. “There,” says Cata picking up her sword strap after she tightens a few straps on her clothes, “or do you also have a problem with a black woman?”
  93.  
  94. “Why would that bother me?” asks the man with a shrug, “so…you…”
  95.  
  96. “I can shape shift,” she says.
  97.  
  98. “cheaper than buying shoes,” she says with a smile as the man looks over the counter.
  99.  
  100. “I’ll be damned,” he says, “they told us about all sorts of powers back in school, and I know it aint magic on account my ole magic stopper here on the counter.”
  101.  
  102. He pats the small magic dampener orb on his counter as though it were a pet. He *chuckles* and pretends to hit himself in the head, “and dummy me, besides if you were really a monster you wouldn’t have been able to get into town anyhow.”
  103.  
  104. The others try not to show their confusion as they are shown up the stairs to the available rooms.
  105.  
  106. ******
  107.  
  108. -shortly after the party enters the town-
  109.  
  110. The guard smiles as he closes the door, and his own external window watching them pass the guard house on the inside through the one way mirror. As he turns another guard sleeps while standing in the corner, a guard identical to him. He passes his hand over a crystal ball, showing him the party as they walk through town. As he watches Cata change shape he says, “Good, looks like the Kuhrai did the right thing.”
  111.  
  112. He passes his hand over the crystal ball making it vanish. He looks up at a monitor inside the guard house, the image and time stamp frozen showing the party as they were standing in front of the gates. A warning light flashes on it with a red outline around the image of Cata.
  113.  
  114. “The none Aesperian warning,” he says, “inside the town you can tell what ever lies you need to, to get by. However this would have stopped you right at the gate.”
  115.  
  116. He waves his hand over the monitor, the warning outline vanishes and an okay blue light indicates the entire party is Aesperians.
  117.  
  118. “There,” he says, “the record and time stamp all fixed, now they will just think a group of Aesperians came through here. A shame you didn’t know they had uncovered this level of technology, an oversight on your behalf my dear Rhulan; but I can’t really blame you for not knowing these militant fools stumbled upon a gold mine of ancient technologies.”
  119.  
  120. The man’s body turns to solid shadow and then into a very attractive female shape. A woman as tall as Rhulan with a very similar face now stands there; however unlike Corinth this woman is very different. Her jet black hair is high and spiky, as well as long. From her lower back there is a long jet black cat’s tail with a lion like tuft on the end. Her ears are long, the tips just higher than the top of her head, these ears however are covered in black fur, almost resembling cat ears if they weren’t so stiff and thick looking; something that could easily be mistaken for horns or some sort of head gear from a distance. She even has jet black thin eyebrows. Her fingernails are long and black, and even slightly curved down the middle making them look like claws. Her attire is a very strange one, loose black pants, black slippers, a black bra, and a slit black robe like gown with no sleeves despite the stiff pointed arm guard like pads, and straps going under her arms. The length of it going down to her knees; even though it’s slit on the sides and open in the front except for one button just below her breasts it stays on her. The over all effect making it look more like a cape than anything.
  121.  
  122. She smiles as she looks at the guard with her dark blue eyes and turns back into a shadow, her body shrinking and reforming to that of Tiana and wearing Tiana’s combat gear
  123.  
  124. “Okay,” she says, “I think its time I came back from my bathroom break.”
  125.  
  126. She waves her hand over the guard who blinks his eyes as she snaps her fingers saying, “teleport”. Her body vanishes, blinking in and out like a ghost for a second before vanishing completely.
  127.  
  128. The guard goes about his duties like nothing happened.
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