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Jul 04, 2020 5:53 PM
Deskyl and DZ in Arcania Artefactum
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He is eating in the mess hall, surrounded by a mass of papers. When they come in he is attempting to dab away a drop of stew with a bit of un-wound arm wrap. 

He glances up, "Ah, DZ-Twelve-Q, Apprentice Deskyl. What can I do for you? Did you wish to speak with your prisoner?" 

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You can call her DZ, Deskyl signs, sitting down across from him. I'll want to talk to the prisoner soon, but I'd like to know more about how you usually handle prisoners here first.

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He nods at the permission to use a nickname, glancing at the silver woman to make sure. 

"Our prisoner policy? Well, the cells here are actually meant as temporary ones. When we have prisoners we inform central command in the capital and they send someone to collect them and bring them to the prison in Koanitok. 

"Fort cells are kept clean, the prisoners fed decent meals three times a day, and allowed out to a small courtyard in the center of the building once a day wearing mana-suppression cuffs while the cell is cleaned. I believe this is roughly the way of things in Kianitok as well." 

He pauses, "We have some success in turning captives, particularly those from the recently conquered territories - which is a fair percentage of them, on the Cialin front. Many fight only because they fear for their families. We have forces whose only duty is to smuggle those families to Cialin or Sanctuary. It is more than worth it for the power an Artefact wielder can bring to our forces, and for the good-will it affords us in some parts of enemy territory.

"It does, however, mean that Imperial commanders often push their soldiers to victory or death." 

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DZ doesn't react perceptibly to Deskyl's offer or Jaim's glance; she doesn't seem to object, at least.

Deskyl nods. I can default to capture in the future, for Artefact wielders or some subset of them. You keep them in those conditions indefinitely if they don't turn?

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He sighs, "You may be over-estimating the number we manage to capture. The Imperial propoganda machine is very good, and fear of their commanders does much of what that does not. Furthermore, we are very much outnumbered, and often have little choice but to aim to kill. Yesterday's battle was fairly typical, for the number of captives it netted us.

"Those we do capture we keep until they turn or attempt to escape. Escape attempts are grounds for execution. Historically some have been returned to the Empire, as well, during hostage exchanges. Those mostly involve high-status prisoners, none of which we have had recently." 

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I understand that capture is more difficult than killing. Sith have the problem for different reasons, but it's not unfamiliar.

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He nods, "The truly tragic thing is - many of them would have fought alongside us, if we had only succeeded in defending them from the Empire," he murmurs, "I have no idea how many of my mother's people I have killed with my own hands." 

He shakes his head, "Apologies. Why did you wish to know? Unless it was simply concern or curiosity about your prisoner, I suppose." 

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Mark that, she signs to DZ.

    Yes ma'am.

Partly that, partly to make sure we won't be working at cross purposes, partly to know what I can reasonably offer, if I want to, when I talk to her.

I don't think I can supervise wielders with their Artefacts yet, but I can pass messages between them, if you don't expect that to cause problems.

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Hm, he wonders what she's marking?

"I doubt it would," he agrees, regarding the last question. 

"As for what you can offer her - we'll send a retrieval squad for her loved ones, if she indicates willingness to defect. She needn't fight, either, if she does so - merely remain in Cialin or Sanctuary territory, and not offer aid to Imperial forces. She and her family would be refugees, and entitled to citizenship in Sanctuary, where she could receive more training in magic, as well, if she chose." 

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That sounds like more than enough. Thank you.

What are your usual policies about captured Artefacts? Sith tradition is that we inherit the property of those we defeat.

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"Unbonded ones are offered to those who defeated their previous wielders first. If they have no luck, the rest of the military has a chance next - we tour them around to each fort and allow anyone interested to give it a try. Usually someone compatible is found eventually. If not, they go to the vaults in Sanctuary." 

The Nomad was one of those destined for the vaults, if he hadn't taken the dare to steal them and attempted the bond. 

"Ones whose wielders still live will not rebond while this is true. Or, at least, none I have heard of has ever done so." 

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Nod. That's more or less what I intend to do with the Book, when she's ready. She'd like to be returned to her last wielder's family after the war if she doesn't find anyone before that, though.

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He nods, "More than reasonable. Family inheritance is common for Artefacts." He looks down at his paperwork, then back up at Deskyl, "Did you wish to talk to the prisoner, now? I would welcome the distraction from this mess," he says. 

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Headshake. Tomorrow, most likely, I want to be fresh for it. I can answer any questions you might have for me now, though.

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He has some questions, mostly about her combat capabilities, when she's at 100%, her preferences when it comes to what targets she is pointed at, her abilities in the field of command. 

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Her combat capabilities are quite impressive, between the telekinesis, the sword that can cut through anything, the precognition-based danger sense, and the wide-ranging awareness of the field of battle. Her only ranged attack is the lightning, though, which she prefers to use sparingly because of its side effects, and her defenses are much weaker when it comes to protecting people besides herself. She has some training but no experience in command, and expects the cultural difference to be a problem if she has to do much leading. Strategically - ideally she'll have enough of an idea of their priorities to make her own decisions on the battlefield, though she's aware that that isn't always possible; they can handle it case by case when it's not.

Are you able to talk to your Artefact? We may be able to coordinate telepathically via them.

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He pays close attention to her description, humming as he hits upon a possible solution - one that could fix the problem of the King or Lord Tain gaining an interest in her, as well. 

"That could be quite useful, yes," he agrees, "Unfortunately we are not quite there yet. Trading images is the next step down - I expect we'll get there soon enough. In the meantime, simple messages could likely be passed that way, if the Nomad is willing."  

"I have come up with a possibility of where to place you. As a general, I have what are called elites - a personal retinue of warriors who answer to me alone. They needn't follow the orders of the officials of the regular army, though they may of course take directions if it seems prudent to them. They needn't be recruited from the army - indeed most of mine are not - and may leave at any time if they choose. It is the most versatile position in Cialin's forces, and I suspect might suit you well. Though, of course, we may wish to know each other better before you felt comfortable under my command. There are other generals, and other options, if we turn out to be incompatible." 

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She goes very still, tense, when he suggests that it would suit her.

    Sir-

Hush.

 

It's essentially unheard of, for Sith to take orders from non-Sith.

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He stills with her, uncertain where he went wrong until she explains. Partially, at any rate, given that she cut off whatever DZ was going to say. 

"Ah. My apologies, then. There are other possibilities, if that one would not... work." The last word is awkwardly casual, and causes him to make a strange expression.

There are other options, but they vastly increase the chances of her meeting the King, which sounds like a disaster in the making, and frankly Gael is not ready to go through with a coup yet. 

 

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She nods, spends a moment thinking, signs carefully. I'm flexible enough to consider the appearance of it, if there's a grave enough reason to do so. Attempting it in fact would be... unwise. Unsafe, for you.

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He nods, "I expected as much. I never intended for it to be in fact." He pauses, frowning lightly at their surroundings, noting a particular pair of soldiers carefully pretending not to pay attention to them. Then, hiding his hands such that no one but the two across from him can see them, he awkwardly signs, Location compromised, speak later. 

"Would you like that tour I offered DZ yesterday? I have the time." 

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Yes, thank you.

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So he gathers up his papers, sticks them in a satchel meant for that purpose, and leads the way out of the mess hall. 

A brief tour ensues, during which he shows them to the parts of the fort they might find useful - the training fields, the cells, the infirmary, the kitchens, the weapons storage - and eventually they end up in a wide open, empty training field with a number of rocks in the middle. He sits on one.

"Alright, I should notice anyone trying to listen in here - and I expect you would as well, likely sooner. I should explain the political situation in this kingdom, so that you understand the limitations I am working under and what it is I am trying to avoid." 

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Yes, she nods.

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"Well, first, some information you likely would learn soon enough simply through paying attention to gossip," he nods to DZ, "I was born Jael Tian, and was until the age of 20 - 6 years ago - the Crown Prince of Cialin. I was disowned partly due to my own carelessness, partly due to my own intention, partly due to the King's spite and anger at my disobedience, and partly due to the machinations of a powerful noble - Lord Tain Anit. Grandfather to my three younger brothers. 

"My brother Gael is heir, now - a state of affairs which I am more than happy with. I expect I would make a passable King, but it would drive me mad, and Gael will be a far better one."

He is entirely honest about this - he both supports and loves all of his brothers with his whole heart, and is all too pleased to have escaped the possibility of rule. 

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