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Canon: © Anne Bishop
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Established February 2010
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* Plot Information for Pruul

Seven children are destined to save Pruul and shake the traditions of the territory to their very core. In response, factions have broken the peace of a previously unified territory and violence has erupted across the dessert. It is a battle between the past and the future, the young and the old, and blood won’t stop seeping into the sand.
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Author Topic: Strange Bedfellows  (Read 418 times)

Description: Attn: Sarina

Offline Izîl Jofari

  • Character Account
    • pd2sapphire
    • prince
    • Role

      Entrepreneur

    • Faction

      Salt Mines

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Lochlan

    • Posts

      84

    • View Profile
Strange Bedfellows
« on: Jun 03, 19, 09:56:03 PM »
"This is a dumb idea." Said one of Izil Jofari's assistants. "You know what the investors think about the state of affairs. Is bedding the True Sabbah a good idea?"

Izil Jofari closed his ledger from memorizing the latest numbers and rose. He stepped toward a cabinet to begin the process of selecting the best clothes for such an occassion. "Sarina al-Sabbah is apparently the public face of the True Sabbah. I know little of her, apart from the fact that the True Sabbah despise foreigners, despise people, and despise innovation." He pulled out a pair of garments that would accent himself nicely. "Idiots, basically."

"They already came after the compound once. I still think that our fail-safe is the best option." The advisor cautioned.

The fail-safe. The broken contract that Izil never cashed in on. Applying the clause would give him great power over the entirety of the Clan, insofar as to collect on the large price tag of debt he took on as part of his role in the mines. He began to change, with no real care that someone else was in the room with him. "The fail-safe is just that. A fail-safe. As much as the True Sabbah are idiots their hold on the Sabbah, and their presence in Pruul at large...is tenuous. They will need quite the war chest to maintain a fresh face, especially given the disaster they caused in Onn. Marks grease palms, and the True Sabbah will need plenty and as it so happens, I am a generous supplier of palm grease." He adjusted his vest. "But I will take your words under advisement. If it appears the True Sabbah plan to sabotage our operations I will enact the fail-safe. Be ready here. If I do, I will send word. You know what to do."

"What about you?"

Izil shook his head simply. "All I need is a cart and a few good men. I will keep you appraised of the meeting as it progresses."

His preparations of course, were due to a return response he gave to the new Sabbah Queen. Izil never had the pleasure of meeting Sarina, though nine-times-out-of-ten it was desirable. Izil had no interest in the Sabbah's machinations and Eleanor, the previous tenant of Sabbah leadership, both obliged it and also didn't want to. It gave him the autonomy he wanted, the autonomy needed to run the mines and the cash flow to satisfy his pockets and that of his investors. This Queen...who knows what would happen with her. The only thing he got the sense of from her letter was that Sarina was not an enemy of Eleanor. Of course...that could be a ploy. The True Sabbah hated Eleanor, much as he could tell by rumor and intel. It could simply to lower his guard or test his loyalties.

Still, he wrote in response to Sarina to arrange a meeting. He had his rehearsed responses in his head that by now he could do blind-folded, deaf, and asleep and still not miss a word. This would not be the first time Izil had to had to have a meeting with a newcoming Queen. With business interests across Terreille the coming and goings of Queens meant that he either got summoned, requested meetings or did this exact thing. Information-sharing, discussions of programs that the new leadership needed, all with the devil's face. A face of impassive, neutral intent.

The devil has no emotional investments. The devil only cares for his self-interest.

So at the appropriate time a large cart, several guards, and Izil approached the Sabbah compound and informed the guards there of his intent to appear at Lady Sarina's pleasure as per their arrangement. They checked the cart, which was empty, and when asked why he was bringing Lady Sarina a large, empty cart Izil prompted by saying 'Insurance'. The look of the guard was not pleasant but baffled enough to give the cart a weary, skeptical glance once more before entering to alert the Court of Izil's arrival.

Izil smiled, the smile hiding the prepared Sapphire Shield and Befuddlement spells ready for evocation. An empty smile, one devoid of emotion and full of platitude. A devil's smile.

Offline Sarina al-Sabbah

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • queen
    • Role

      Puppet Queen

    • Faction

      The True Sabbah

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Danika

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      158

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Re: Strange Bedfellows
« Reply #1 on: Jun 04, 19, 04:29:39 PM »
Sarina was...anxious. When she’d written to Prince Izil Jofari, the young Queen had not had a true plan; merely the knowledge that Lady Elenor trusted the businessman, that he might be able to provide her with aid someday, and that it was unlikely he would ever side with Lady Shira. She had written the letter as one might shoot an arrow in the dark - no idea of where it was going or what might be there but hoping against hope that it would hit something.

So when she received the reply to arrange a meeting, she had been relieved - she would at least get the chance to do...something. She just hadn't been sure what that was. She still wasn't sure what that was yet. The only thing she knew for sure was that somehow she needed to make sure the True Sabbah didn’t do anything to compromise Lady Elenor’s plans for the mines. Maybe it wasn’t how things had been done in Pruul for untold number of centuries, but to Sarina’s mind that wasn’t a bad thing.

Lady Shira thought that the attack of the Sandworms on Touno and on Onn was proof that Pruul was straying from the one true way and that the only way to survive was to eradicate the long-lived from the sands of Pruul. Sarina was certain she was wrong.  For one thing, from reading the Queen had done suggested that those of long-lived descent were less likely to be innovators of change because their lifespans were so long. Sarina wasn’t sure she understood the psychology of it, but the author had seemed to know what he was talking about. Something to do with knowing you only had so many years to accomplish the best that you could spurring most individuals to intense improvement whereas the more years you knew you had, the more lazy you became. Or something like that. Which, to Sarina, translated to long-lived in general being supporters of traditions, which you would think Lady Shira would approve of.

For another thing, though, being trapped in Onn by the Worms and being unable to trade with other Territories as was ‘normal’ and ‘traditional’ had shown Sarina that the ‘normal’ and ‘traditional’ wasn’t always going to be good enough. Lady Shira had blamed the attack on the Rains brought by the Mineborn, who happened to be long-lived, and while it was likely it had to do with the Rains themselves, it probably would not have mattered if the Rains had been called by long-lived, short-lived or walking snakes. The histories also said that there had been Rains before that weren’t called by a group of people, although that had not happened in far longer than most living memory. That made Sarina want to question what was it about the last however many centuries that had prevented natural Rain, and if it was it something that the people of Pruul had caused in some fashion because if it was, then that brought up a whole different sandstorm of questions that she did not even begin to have answers for.

But the point was that the people would have starved during the seige after the attack if they had been relying on the 'normal' and 'traditional' because they couldn't get past the sandworms to get more food - at least not easily. Water was... questionable. There had been enough dead bodies that the Aubdina would have been able to provide water for a significant amount of time - if there were enough of the Priestesses in Onn at the time to tend to all the bodies before they started spoiling and if the water from bodies that had died of sandworm poison wasn't tainted itself. Sarina didn't know the answers to those questions either.

And the changes Lady Elenor had made in the mines and in the city had kept it from being a bigger problem than it already was.

And even in her own head, Sarina was letting her anxiety distract her from the matter at hand. She had dressed simply, but carefully, hoping to give Prince Jofari the impression of someone who cares most about getting things done while simultaneously fostering Lady Shira's impression of her naivety. It was a fine distinction.

Now she was waiting, and it was taking all her willpower to not fidget like a small child. When the guard brought word that Prince Jofari had arrived, Sarina felt some of the tenseness flow out of her - he was here.

"Please bring him to my courtyard and have refreshments sent out. Be sure there is enough for anyone Prince Jofari has brought with him." She had debated endlessly with herself on where the meeting should take place. The throne room might have been the most appropriate location for a business meeting since she didn't have her own office, but the young Queen had several reasons to avoid it. One was that it put them on more equal footing. Another was that the throne Shira had aquired to replace the previous one made Sarina feel like a little girl playing dress up in her mother's room. Mostly, though, was that Sarina could justify irritating Lady Shira.

As she walked the short distance to her courtyard, Sarina felt a pang that she couldn't greet her guest under the olive tree in Lady Elenor's courtyard. Every time she saw that sad space, the young Queen felt her heart breaking anew.

As Izil Jofari and his guards entered the courtyard, Sarina was standing with a smile on her face - a pleasant, open innocent smile.

"Welcome. I've looked forward to meeting you. Please, take seats and have water with me."

In the back of her mind, she wondered how long it would be before Lady Shira or Prince Bastin showed up to berate her or take over the meeting.




Offline Izîl Jofari

  • Character Account
    • pd2sapphire
    • prince
    • Role

      Entrepreneur

    • Faction

      Salt Mines

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Lochlan

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Re: Strange Bedfellows
« Reply #2 on: Jun 10, 19, 01:55:15 PM »
The first thing that Izil noticed about Sarina was that she was young at least in appearance. Eleanor was not exactly a fossil but Sarina, to him, had a sense of inexperience. He didn't let the thought linger long. The appearance of inexperience could merely be a façade and falling into such tempting bait and trying to corner an agreement out of her would be folly. Instead, he let the idea pass him by and focus on discerning the new Queen of the Sabbah in real-time instead.

"My lady." He said, his Raajan accent prominent as he give a polite bow when he came face to face with the Queen. "Looking forward to seeing me? That is a first." A brief pause. "But a welcome change from the norm." He accepted her offer to sit and walked over to the seats she offered and sat down. Two of his retinue did not sit, the rest remaining with the so-called 'insurance cart' and remained but instead remained at a safe but arguably perceptive distance from where Izil was located. They did however, like their boss, accepted the offer of water. The True Sabbah may hate foreigners but that means, in thought at least, they should be even more vociferous toward Pruulian culture - and attacking someone you share water with is dangerously faux pas.

Then again...they did attack someone during their wedding didn't they? The danger of working with radicals is that they have no norms with which to adhere. It would be best to try to have any defenses as possible, just in case they decide to break another faux pas.

"Thank you for reaching out to me, Lady Sabbah." Izil smiled at Sarina and crossed a leg over the other. "With the departure of Elenor al-Sabbah from leadership I was growing concerned that the new regime would not reach out to us and instead opt for more...hostile tactics, in addressing my contract with the Sabbah Clan." He took a light sip of the water and then set the glass of water down.

"Congratulations on your ascension as well is in order. Considering what words have been spinning throughout Onn, I hope that the transition process for you has been smooth and those of your Court." He laced his hands together in his lap. 

"I trust that you have a litany of questions regarding the mines, the process and their operations. I have no problem answering any questions you may have about them and will answer promptly, feel free to ask anything you wish."

Offline Sarina al-Sabbah

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • queen
    • Role

      Puppet Queen

    • Faction

      The True Sabbah

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Danika

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Re: Strange Bedfellows
« Reply #3 on: Jun 10, 19, 11:35:29 PM »
Sarina took her time responding to her guest. Where exactly to begin? Lady Shira probably did intend more hostile tactics though Sarina hoped to prevent that if possible. Somehow she would have to find a way to warn Prince Izil Jofari of that likelihood as well her personal stance. Congratulations? She did not feel that those were in order, though she would not say so as she did not wish to be rude. And a smooth transition? She thought of the death of her first Bonded, of her forced wedding, of being poisoned and of feeling abandoned by every single person not tied to her by Mother Night that she thought she could depend on - Lady Elenor, Lady Shadya, Adel, Lady Judiah, even poor Rasheed who had been so tied to her - and wanted to laugh hysterically. She didn’t, but it took great effort not to.

To give herself more time to think, the young Queen busied herself putting together a plate of fruit and cheese to offer to her guest. “Lady Sa- El - my predecessor taught me about the process and how she...discovered it. I find it fascinating.” What could she say? She wanted to just blurt out her concerns but as young as she knew herself to be, she wasn’t stupid enough to commit suicide that way.

Once Izil had either taken the plate or she set it down on the table next to him, Sarina stared at her lap, twisting her hands together. “Prince Jofari, if - if it were possible to convert the mines back - back to the way they were...what would the cost be?” She looked up at him, silently imploring him not to interrupt or take this the wrong way. “I need to - need to know how to keep that from happening because it would be wrong, and foolish and...and...and just stupid!” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, calming herself. “I’m sorry, I didn’t say that well. I need an argument to help preserve our...resources. I’m trying to determine how to protect my people, from...everything.”

How could the Queen tell him what she needed to without giving herself away?




Offline Izîl Jofari

  • Character Account
    • pd2sapphire
    • prince
    • Role

      Entrepreneur

    • Faction

      Salt Mines

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Lochlan

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Re: Strange Bedfellows
« Reply #4 on: Jun 20, 19, 12:56:21 AM »
The Prince remained quiet as he assessed the new Queen. She wanted to know how much it would cost to return the mines to their normal state for a very interesting reason. Using the cost to deter the idea of returning them to their normal state. The question became should he tell her that he didn't follow Eleanor's desire to mobilizing the entirety of the mines. The transition process had always been volatile and added a degree of uncertainty to the process, especially because of the tenuous situation his operation was in - a territory that didn't want him here protected by a Clan that wasn't entirely liked.

He decided not to. Instead he would answer her question as she asked it. He told her the cost. "The cost takes into account both removing all the rigging needed to function the process but also to accrue the manpower. One of the major issues that led to the project was the size of labor needed to effectively make the mines profitable. The long-term ramifications of your Clan using slave labor is that the mines reflect a labor method where the solution is 'more bodies'. Efficiency, was not really thought of. To make them profitable a large labor force is required - something the brine system mitigates cutting expenses drastically for each system installed."

"I would recommend contacting the Queen of the Bali, Lady Sabbah. Clan Bali holds a fifteen percent stake in the mines so keeping them active is within their interest. If you are finding pressure about Clan Sabbah's connection to the mines, they may be a valuable ally in deterring any issues you may find."

Offline Sarina al-Sabbah

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • queen
    • Role

      Puppet Queen

    • Faction

      The True Sabbah

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Danika

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Re: Strange Bedfellows
« Reply #5 on: Jul 23, 19, 07:16:04 PM »
Sarina didn't quite manage to suppress her wince at being told to seek help from the Queen of Clan Bali. To try to cover it, and to give herself time to think of an appropriate response, the young Queen took a slow sip from her own glass of water.

"I'm not certain it would be wise for me to seek out the Bali, Prince Jofari." She wondered if he heard the anxiety in her tone as clearly as she did. 'Some Queen I am.' the self recrimination was acidic in her mind.

"Trust is an issue and I would not expect them to trust the Tr - ahem - me." Did he catch that deliberate slip? She had to hint at what she wanted him to know, she wasn't naive enough to think that just because her guest and his attendants were the only ones she could see besides herself with Ehsan behind her that it didn't mean Lady Shira wouldn't know every word spoken.

Sarina looked down at her hands, peering at her guest through her eyelashes as her thoughts raced furiously: she was desperate to think of the right way to tell him that she in no way agreed with Shira al-Sabbah, that she needed help but couldn't ask for it, that she feared what she might be forced to do - all without actually telling him anything.

'Lady Sabbath I wish you were here to tell me what to do.'  the thought was as fervent as a prayer.
She had been silent too long, she had to say something.

"Can you tell me about what still requires an actual person to be done and if it could still be used to allow criminals to pay the Price to society for their crimes?"

It wasn't the best question and only loosely on topic for the conversation but it would have to do if her silence wasn't going to drag out too long.




Offline Izîl Jofari

  • Character Account
    • pd2sapphire
    • prince
    • Role

      Entrepreneur

    • Faction

      Salt Mines

    • Territory

      Pruul

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Lochlan

    • Posts

      84

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Re: Strange Bedfellows
« Reply #6 on: Aug 05, 19, 09:47:40 PM »
For a Queen, the Lady Sarina seemed far too anxious. Too anxious for a simple meeting with him, here to basically rattle numbers at her. At first he simply chalked it up to first time jitters. The fear of not looking impressive, or imposing enough, to guests and formal visitors of the Clan. When she slipped in her utterance, 'Tr', Izil's eyebrow twitched.

The True Sabbah eh? No wonder the Lady Sarina was anxious. Izil funneled Elenor out of Onn and to Site 0 following their faction's seizure of the Clan from her. Sarina was the replacement for Elenor and, if her anxiety suggested anything at all, NOT the mastermind. A pawn perhaps? Maybe. If she was one of the 'faithful' the Lady Sarina should be shouting at the heavens her affiliation - of how 'clean' or 'pure' she was. Instead she approached her affiliation as if she was walking on eggshells.

He didn't know. All he knew was there was something behind the scenes of this Lady and the True Sabbah that he did not know with certainty.

"Of course, Lady. The process is quite effable." Izil explained. "The workers of the pump system focus on two areas: Maintenance and logistics. The system itself is a piping system. The pumps push water into salt deposits where the brine saturates the mineral and breaks it up creating a salt-heavy sludge. That is then extracted, via another pump, to one of the resting pools outside the mine. The water that is evaporating is collected using a specific Craft perfected by your predecessor and kept in a reservoir deep in the mine where it is cool and won't evaporate. The remnant in the pool is salt crystals, which are then collected for packaging."

"Maintenance keeps the pipes and the pumps working and installs the saturation system into the deposits. Logistics tracks the numbers - how much brine we have or need, finding new deposits, weighing outgoing salt deposits and keeping track of how much clean water is collected in the reservour and so on. It is exponentially less taxing than the manned labor system of the prior operation."

"Criminals are located in the mines not converted. It is my belief, contrary to your predecessor, that criminals should not get the blessing of the less physical labors required by the pump system. They are kept doing manual labors in mines that are not converted for the duration of their contracted sentence. It allows our operation to have two varieties of salt - the pure crushed extract Pruul is famous for and the crystalline variety that the brine system creates." A true salt monopoly. Creating multiple varieties of the same product.

"If the mines were to be fully transformed then it is my assessment that criminals would no longer have a place in the mining system. It would be like sending them on vacation."


Offline Sarina al-Sabbah

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • queen
    • Role

      Puppet Queen

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      The True Sabbah

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      Pruul

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      [Link]

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      Danika

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Re: Strange Bedfellows
« Reply #7 on: Aug 05, 19, 11:31:19 PM »
Sarina listened closely as Izil answered her barely thought out question; despite it being something blurted simply to fill the suspicious silence, the topic was one that the young Queen had an interest in.

“I see. Pity,” she murmured softly. “There are some I would have enjoyed sending to rake salt under the midday sun.” She smiled briefly. Let whomever could hear her make of that what they would. If confronted about it, Sarina could claim to have been referring to the long lived rather than Shira and the most rabid of her followers. “Would a lack in criminal labor cause a shortage of the Pruulian crushed salt that would drive up prices, or would it lead to a reduction in demand for the product?”

She continued with other innocuous questions about the running of the mines, specifics of production, costs and profits - all things that she actually already knew the answers to from reading the giant stack of reports and documents that Lady Elenor had given her back before she’d even made her Offering. These questions weren’t meant to ferret out information but merely to give her time to think of a way to tell the entrepreneur what she could without being obvious about it. She hoped that if Izil realized she already knew the answers, he wouldn’t feel she was wasting his time and become offended.

At last she sat up straighter on the edge of her seat. “I don’t mean to seem presumptuous, Prince Jofari, but have you by chance considered the request I made in my letter to you? I think someone in my Court has been trying to help me in my garden and all of my flowers were removed along with the weeds. I tried to replant them but the destruction was too viciously done and I ended up having to burn the plants to nourish the soil. In particular, I have been feeling the lack of the tiny little yellow avens that took over some of the raised beds in the courtyard on the other side of the residence. I think the only way I can regain my garden is with new seeds and I hoped you might be able to provide some from outside the Territory. I’d like to compare them to what I’ve seen growing native in the oases if I can get them to grow at all.”

Would he understand the reference to Lady Elenor in the flowers she mentioned? Would he pick up on members of the Court being remorseless when it came to dealing with that which they didn’t understand and realize she meant it as a warning to him, fire being something specific she knew the True Sabbah tended to use? Sarina didn’t know. The young Queen could only pray that she had been oblique enough to fool Lady Shira but transparent enough that Izil Jofari would take the warning for what it was. Between the hand twisting, anxiety-ridden voice and constant struggle not to pinch herself on the forearm or thigh, today Sarina was definitely not the self-possessed Queen she usually tried to be.