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I should've worshiped her sooner [Maddyn]

Timestamp
Spring, Era XXVII Post Fractum
Location
Moonstone
Content Warnings
NSFW - Explicit Sexual Content
Inari!

Drinks!

In the aftermath of the Pantheon raid, there had been a party promised. And, well, Sliucha was going to make good on that - if only for a reason to hang out with Inari. Sliucha did her best to make sure to set aside time for the both of them to just... you know, hang out! Chill! Pal around. Heavy petting. Smooches. All that sort of thing. Spend time together and all that!

Sometimes there was a reason for it - like this occasion. Sometimes there wasn't, and it was just a matter of hanging out.

Whatever the case? It was a simple enough matter. Dreamscape, and Sliucha waiting on Inari to arrive at the Temple. Scheduled meeting, having a get-together. Catch up on things, and just have a good time!
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Had though!

Just, back then, Inari Zyrgra would have been more inclined to see to Sliucha’s abject misery and destruction.

The future had been kinder by far for both Sliucha and Zyrgra.

Around the Dreamscape of the Temple, and for a good distance about these days, things had remained quiet. Tranquil even. The side effects thereof of Moonstone being robbed of almost all Aetherian and Aeternian presence after the Black Fog? Rebuilding ensured that any of the other Gods and Goddesses tended to also be those that Sliucha had invited such as the Carmelyans. Few were willing to intrude when even the Church of the Faith was for all intents and purposes keeping its distance.

Day, night, time was always a bit of a challenge within the Dreamscape, but there was no warning given by the guardians of the Dreamscape that Sliucha had set in place.

Which made Inari’s appearance by the baths upon a deck-chair belying that she could have been there from before Sliucha arrived to any point really thereafter. The Kitsune’s auburn hair braided into a crown and a demure looking one-piece in crimson with a wrap about the hips. A deck chair set for Sliucha, a parasol (she was after all a red-head), and a bottle marked SF-30+ along with several more of sake.
 
Calm! Quiet! Tranquil! If Sliucha didn't know any better, than posting all of those guards in the Dreamscape - Aegis and Hunter, Beliz and Shyale, and now of course Amdirthand was heading the Dreamwalker program - might have seemed like paranoid.

But she knew. She'd seen. The Dreamscape was full of all sorts of fuckos and it was worth having at least some semblance of protection. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst - just, thankfully, for now, they'd definitely been getting the best.

Inari! Hello!

Deck chair! Sake! And...

"...what's this?" Sliucha asked curiously, as she sat on the deck chair, peering at the bottle of SF-30+. Huh! Was this... you didn't drink this, right?

(Given some of the eye-watering drinks that Inari was fond of, though, Sliucha honestly wasn't too sure...)
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Better the guards that were posted, and never needed than those that were never posted to begin with. Especially when Aslan, Maj and Olyséra at the very least had begun to turn some of their attention to what Sliucha was doing in the frontier Province.

“Hello there!” Inari waved, smiling and lowering a pair of oversized black glasses to the tip of her nose before then lifting them up upon the top of her head as if a hairband.

Only to tap the bridge of her nose where a smattering of freckles could now be seen. “I burn something terrible, this helps limit the damage so I don’t end up looking like I’m half lobster instead of fox.”

“Sooooo, how’s tricks?”
 
Huh!

Burns from... what, though? Oh, the suns? It was the sort of thing that Sliucha had never seemed to have much trouble with, but then again, how often did she go out and sunbathe, really? Hm... there was something to be said about tanlines, though.

Sliucha? Opting to get into the right aesthetic, then. Taking a moment to change into a bathing suit that was far too tight (chest practically spilling out, hugging at the hips) and curiously seeing what exactly this SF-30+ was all about, squeezing just a bit of it out. Oooh. Experimentally patting it onto her cheeks as Inari asked her question.

"Well, I lived!" Sliucha smiled. So, you know, there was that! Considering how spectacularly things had gone up in flames, that much was something to be happy about! "Could've gone better, could've gone worse, but the important thing is that everybody made it through. With a lot of help from you all, of course."

Getting herself some slick sunglasses with a shiny purple frame, plopping them over her eyes, and pouring out some of the sake, offering the first cup over to Inari of course.

"Who'd have thought that the Aetherians would try and impersonate Mission Vale? That takes some balls."
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
White, creamy, entirely suspicious goop manifested upon Sliucha’s hand as she changed into a different sort of attire that was entirely appropriate for the location and theme of the moment. Even the water began to change, no longer the ‘aux-like’ substance but rather a nice, silvery sheen of water. Water that was a trifle more conventional than what the pool had been filled with when Sliucha had first done her inspection of the Dreamscape grounds.

“Always a positive.” Inari replied with a smile, not entirely confident there though for all Sliucha’s flippant response. Namely, the Kitsune really wasn’t sure how that kind of thing would end up impacting her given she’d largely been ‘Inverted’ due to Sliucha’s own wavering on the initial path set and a very real lack of other worshippers remaining. Zyrgra, when it came to pain an starvation, really hadn’t been all that adept at keeping her worshippers alive… and well, suffice that the Archmage Thaumaturge really had been the last one left standing hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Better, worse, these things often upon hindsight tended to fit into the either way - which wasn’t terrible. It largely sounding as close to ‘run of the mill’ as it possibly could be then if the adventure might have swung either way.

Raising the offered cup so that Inari could clink it against Sliucha’s own in a toast, “I’m sure Auntie will be ever so happy when she finds out, if she hasn’t already. From what Riserris said, it’s rare - if not a unique situation. I don’t think it’d have worked really had it been anyone else - only Ainlar really uses throwaways…everyone else... invests.”
 
...hmmmmmmmmm.

Well, it didn't smell too suspicious... but if this was all just an elaborate prank on Inari's part...

In the meantime? Cheers! Sake!

"Makes sense, but it makes it all the more dubious that they were so aware of the situation, then," Sliucha sighed. That the Aetherians had known that there was a vacancy, and also gotten wind of Dillan's plans, and managed to insinuate themselves perfectly? Right place, right time? It was frighteningly competent. "It's spooky that they were able to do it near-flawlessly. I don't like it."

Granted, at the end of the day, despite having the advantage of surprise and a double agent, the Aetherians hadn't been able to wipe them out. So maybe not that competent. Sliucha was grateful that they'd all managed to come through relatively unscathed, for all that a certain liche was missing out on an arm.

"There's still a fair amount that doesn't sit right with me about how it all went down, either," Sliucha couldn't help but grump. "For one, the very existence of the observatory we found while we were there is alllll sorts of whack. You're telling me the Aetherians can, in what I presume is real-time, monitor the presence of faith throughout the Imperium? Isn't that, like, mega-cheating? How come we don't have something like that? Did everybody know they had that? Is this news only to me?"
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Legit! SF-30+, totally for ensuring that Inari didn’t end up looking as if she’d decided to go walk across the surface of the suns of Telath. Demi-Goddess of Pleasure though she was, sunburn was a pretty good way of nudging the Kitsune back towards Zyrgra and Pain.

“Well, Aetherians. I’m sure they doubtless think that because they got away with it the once that we’d obviously never learn and that it’ll be a perfectly viable approach for the next couple decades.” with a rolling of her green eyes and a shake of her head. “Worshippers of Order tend to stick to routines, the tired tried and true tactics of the multitude of war gods is reflected in your Imperium’s operations.”

Were the half dozen war Gods of Aetheria so… bland… because of the Imperium being insistent upon suicidal, head-on charges and never learning from their mistakes? Or was it that they were bound to follow the Imperium’s insane methods of war as their own fates were bound to their worshippers just as Inari and Sliucha had become tethered so?

Cheating though?

That brought Inari to laughter, wiping at the corner of her eyes before shaking her head. “I imagine they’ve held the ‘high ground’ for a very long time given Aetheria as the established faith of the lands. If anything I’d say it’s a sign of a great success - that the status quo is changing.”

“But no Sliucha, I didn’t know it was a thing… Riserris did though…”
 
Sliucha didn't really like to worry about the idea of impersonators or anything like that. Did know that... there was at least an infiltrator, somewhere in the Swirling Lotus Garden. The follower of Maj who was presumably responsible for what had happened to Dynne. Sliucha would need to take care of that, of course. She had always hoped that her Temple would slip under the radar, but obviously that wasn't the case, and perhaps it'd been a pipe dream to begin with.

She was a nervous mother hen was what she was, wanting to take care of everything and everyone. Her experiences with the lamians had already made her paranoid enough when it came to mind control and hypnosis, her experience here with 'Mission Vale' was not helping at all with that sort of thing!

So the observatory was a 'known' thing? Wasn't it kind of impressive that the Aeternians were capable of getting anything done? If the Aetherians had the advantage of intelligence, and were still caught flat-footed so often... like, yeesh.

"It still feels like somebody played one over on Dillan, too," Sliucha sighed, pouring herself more sake. "Like he was lured in by the premise of freeing Bier, but it became obvious that what was needed was... that device sync between his Oracle and the observatory platform. Something happened there, and we were left on our own after that. I'm still not sure what happened as a result of it. Have you heard about anything happening on the Meephosian side of things, maybe?"
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Or did she? Pretty good odds these days that Mr. Scales was intimately aware of Sliucha in personality and form as to potentially shift into a very close approximation of the Alithean if he really put his mind to it. The odds might have been low, but they certainly weren’t null given other alternatives too such as Mysticism or the like.

But Sliucha and the Heist for the Priest of Meephos had largely tipped the Aetherian’s hand in revealing their chosen methodology and that this too was now a likely risk for some of the other Champions of Aeternia, Old Gods and Planetars alike.

Upside? Sliucha at least had a pretty reliable and easy means of getting confirmation from the Court of Alithea given Inari and Riserris were quite responsive. It was just troublesome when potentially dealing with her erstwhile counterparts in Aeternia.

“Probably, but I’m not really familiar enough with Dillan to know if that’s normal or not.” Inari replied after a sip of her sake. “Meephosians tend to do the whole deception thing a lot, so it could have just been internal politics? Keeping people on a need to know basis so that they’d stay on track?” she but shrugged and in spite of the one-piece, there was still a good amount of bounce from Inari as the swimsuit struggled to contain the voluptuous Kitsune.

“But beyond what I can wheedle out of Riserris, I really don’t know all that much beyond the basics I’m afraid Sliucha.”
 
Meephos!

One would have thought that having somebody like Origa-Kuroi in Sliucha's sphere of influence would have made the High Priestess was more wary about this sort of thing, given the nature of Turtas - who'd have expected Meephosians to be duplicitous? Maybe Sliucha's problem there was just the nature of Dillan himself, with all the holdovers from his time as an Aslanite and coming off as a rather direct and straightforward sort of person.

But then again, maybe that was part of his ploy, to make others lower their guards. Who could say?

Either way, internal politics was a pain in the ass!

"I suppose the one particularly good thing to come out of it was learning about the presence of an infiltrator in the vicinity of the Temple grounds," Sliucha voiced the discovery that had been made as a result of the visit to the observatory. Had the Aetherians ever thought that their advantage might be used against them? "I have to imagine that this answers the question of how the curses were delivered upon Dynne. But I still need to think on how exactly I'll figure out who they are, and what to do with them..."

Was it sufficient to just drive them off? Should they be captured and executed? Captured and corrupted? Or maybe even just take advantage of their position to try and feed false information into the Aetherian intelligence operation? What sort of response would send the right sort of message? But maybe thinking like that was a pipe dream - it was doubtful that they'd just be left alone, after all. Maj seemed like the sort to be a persistent thorn in one's side.

Sliucha turned over onto one side to face Inari, bathing suit quite protesting the struggle of containing her at such an angle. "I wonder if the Temple of Carnal Love ever had these sorts of problems? Maybe it's a little harder to sneak somebody like that into Har'oloth. Thinking about it, though... I do recall that there was a Carmelyan who infiltrated Nierkeeping, presumably to keep an eye on the followers of Xenarius there..."

Once again, the Aetherians seemed to have a playbook.
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Forewarned! Just, Sliucha’s working relationship with the Champion of the Goddess of Lies was in large part far from the norm. Especially when said Champion considered themselves beholden to Sliucha for freeing them from beneath the war torn ruins of Carnal. Love’s subbasement. It was hardly a bit ask after all for a Liche, for someone that intended - and had good backing too - to show Sliucha a professional kindness that was contrary to one’s nature when it’d be a blip in Origa-Kuroi’s existence.

Sliucha would, eventually, die. Origa-Kuroi would not. So, she’d wait it out and be nice to Sliucha in the meantime. It was only prudent.

Plus, Archmage Thaumaturge. Testing the limits upon her immortality against a practitioner generally seen as being able to purge the Unholy? Let’s not chance that!

Not that Inari seemed to mind, still finding it all kinds of novel that she could even answer in a straight forward manner. Being able to shrug and go nope, no idea! All kinds of neat rather than being forced to give non-answers and wishy-washy maybe’s that caused more confusion than assistance.

“Set a trap? Leave them there as a known enemy and try to feed them misinformation?” Inari wondered aloud, curious at Sliucha’s intended approach there. Not one to provide direction so much as support.

Carnal Love? “Why not ask around? You’ve a good number of survivors from Turtas and Haya, but it’s likely more of a challenge. I mean, in theory. From what I’ve seen, almost every Vysstichi upon the surface at least claimed to be a ‘good Dark Elf’…” which was all kinds of suspicious as Inari flipped onto her side and… if it wasn’t the Dreamscape, the bathing suit never would have survived. As it was? Dangerously high rise across the hip and strong implications that the back of the outfit was more closely resembling dental floss than swimwear.
 
The important thing, it seemed, was to make sure to uncover whoever it was. Figuring out what to do from there was, perhaps, a decision that could be left for later. After all, who it was could definitely inform the decision of what to do with them, right?

Sake sip!

...and a wandering eye at that! Yum!

"Fair! I'd be astounded if anybody was really that aware of what the Temple leadership did for that sort of thing. That whole place just gives off the sort of impression that they really liked people not being in the know about anything..." Had Amdirthand and Morathai, or any of the others, really been high up enough on the ladder to know any of that sort of thing? Well, Sliucha supposed there really was only way to find out - ask! Perhaps Ninuka would be a bit more in the know! Maybe Origa-Kuroi would have some thoughts there as well! Many parts of the old Temple to potentially draw upon!

Sit up! Sake refill! Unsubtly bring her deck chair a bit closer to Inari. Scoot!

Speaking of knowing about things, though.

"How've you been, by the way? What've you been up to?"
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Identification mattered! And regardless of the approach to be made, it wasn’t at all optimal throwing around accusations either. Not when the servant of Maj had ended up being far too close to accessing Sliucha and the Alithean’s more secretive areas.

Sake? Potent! Quite good stuff, and far better than that which Darveloth had concocted so long ago when ensnared by the Dreamscape as a potential member of the Succubus Corp at that. Inari knew her alcohol.

“Secrets tend to attract those who like to maintain and horde more of them rather than share their knowledge with others.” Inari replied with an air of mystery that was tempted with a grin. “Letting people in on how everything works might have meant being replaced or worse.” and given how often Vysstichi engaged in sabotage and murder as their social past time? There was a side of caution in who was allowed into one’s inner circle. Trust was not a valued commodity in any way, shape or form in the Nightland territories that the Dark Elves had once held.

But who knew? Certainly some such as Madame Ninuka had managed to hold their own under the old structure and yet had also adapted quite well under Sliucha’s unconventional leadership.

Only for the conversation to drop all the serious in a moment, and Inari’s expression lighting up, “Mostly just relaxing, I mean, I was Pain and Starvation for a good while. Mostly travelling, trying all the amazing foods I can - making up for lost time.”
 
One supposed if there was any saving grace for Sliucha, it was that the people who had been brought to the Temple had more or less come of their own volition. They were "all in this together", in that people recognized that there probably wasn't any better option for them, and that Sliucha afforded them a degree of safety and stability. Hopefully, of course, that meant that they wouldn't try and rock the boat too much. Anybody with a lick of real ambition would have left like Alin'ma had, struck out on their own, believing themselves capable of taking care of themselves.

That didn't mean they couldn't grow ambitious, coddled in Sliucha's Temple. That would perhaps be something to watch out for. But if Sliucha should believe in anything, it should be her own philosophy and way of doing things. She should be confident in the friends and allies she had brought together in the Temple, and her own ability to sway people to her way of thinking.

For instance, the new arrivals from Har'oloth were definitely scheduled for regular mind-shattering poundings to help convince them that Sliucha knew how to do things!

"Visit anywhere particularly fun?" Sliucha inquired, having been thinking recently about the fact that she could honestly do with a vacation. And a proper vacation at that, not just traveling abroad for business. The last time she'd left Moonstone for something that wasn't politically related or done at the behest of somebody else was probably the time she'd visited Centripax and seen her mother's side of the family. She'd pondered the somewhat bland (but nevertheless functional) idea of visiting each of the provincial capitals with Mr. Scales, making the time in her schedule as opposed to just hoping things would clear up at some point. "Where would you say the food was best?"
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Sliucha could practically hear their respective swimsuits straining to hold together in spite of the Dreamscape ensuring that it really was only an idea, a memory doing the trick as Inari turned onto her side. In the Kitsune’s case, it was almost as if the longer she remained within Sliucha’s company though, the healthier, more real Inari got as she was drawn that much closer to her nexus of power.

And so long as Bilquis remained intact? Inari was all about feeding via proxy - even if there’d been a certain mishap when trying to make a mould for recreational purposes.

“I’m finding Jaedaxian food quite nice, and you’d be surprised at some of the dishes you can find in Aslangrad. Seafood off Ieffreon is nice, though the fish are a little small - something to do with a bit of poaching a few years back I was told?” Inari added, only to shrug. “Lobster’s seemed just right so no complaints there even if the bass was lacking.”

Mulling it over, ‘best’ really was subjective but still Inari replied with an easy, “Freeport, there’s some banana fritters you can get there that I’d sell Riserris’ soul for another.”
 
Pseudo-competition to see who could make their swimsuit give up the ghost first?

Jaedaxia? Faaaaaaaar.

Aslangrad? Well... Sliucha had heard a lot about Aslangrad. At least now she'd heard something positive about the place?

Ieffreon! Seafood, huh?

"Surprise me, then, what sort of thing can you find in Aslangrad?" Sliucha inquired. "Is the seafood up north much different than what you can find south? We don't get too much in Moonstone, but we do have the Great Centripax Basin, and we're not too far from the sea so occasionally we get a nice shipment of this or that..."

Freeport? "Never heard of it! Or at least, can't remember. I'm guessing that's beyond the Imperium?"
 

Maddyn

Mistakes Were Made
Staff member
Right now? Inari’s was struggling, definitely having issues with the burst of power provided by Sliucha’s very presence. Here and there, tears were beginning to creep in around the upper thigh and just beneath the bodice of the one-piece as the fabric strained, precarious and flirting with the destruction of the memory that had gone into its making.

Which wasn’t the worst, new memories could always be made after all.

“Soups were nice, very warm and filling. Borscht was okay, but just another soup…Ukha? More soup, see the theme?” Inari grinned, “Though they also make some nice pancakes called Blini”

Straaaaaaain, and there it went, a tear running down Inari’s right hip that threaded the garment - causing it to pull apart at the seam and creep that much higher than even the already indecent cut allowed for.

“Just outside, Freeport is… well, I was told it was above Imperia, but it wasn’t. Far too the East actually, near a place called Trellios. Anyway! Seafood there is all kinds of delish too, but a bit out of the way for you I guess given Moonstone…” which wasn’t ideal when doing a grand food tour, but side effects of the locality in which Sliucha had picked for her home base of operations too.
 
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