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25 December 2009 @ 05:58 pm
Location: Japan; A seedy bar
Characters: Zaiden Mallory, Kohaku Pardis
Purpose: A questionable first meeting between the characters in question.

The plane ride to Japan had been far too long. Even with modern aeronautic technology, or whatever it was – Zaiden was a political science student, not a scientist – being in a tiny box at thirty thousand feet for that many hours was horrid. And once he was back on solid ground, it was still disorienting. Not jet lag exactly, nothing distinctly physical, just a mild prickling in the back of his brain that was growing progressively more and more irritating. Zaiden's father had arranged for a five star hotel suite for his one and only son; Zaiden didn't even know if the man had paid for it himself. He had learned not to ask those questions long ago. He no longer even wanted to know the answers.

Zaiden didn't want to stay in the hotel. He had left all of his textbooks back in California, bowing down to the suggested wisdom that he travel light. And he did not wish to read in the first place. Looking at text on a page – or on a screen – only made his head throb perversely. The common areas of the hotel were filled with wealthy businessmen from other parts of the country who only wanted to speak in Japanese, and who Zaiden was certain he did not want to converse with in the first place. Their company was excruciating.

In his somewhat addled state, Zaiden decided that visiting a Japanese red light district would be a productive way to pass his time. Oh sure, he should be brushing up on the culture and the political climate in preparation for his upcoming diplomatic meeting. He considered himself to be a responsible man. Straight-laced, despite the negative connotations to the term. He had his shady dealings, sure, but he also had his morals. Principles. Principles that were flitting away happily at the chance to spend a few hours in the company of people whose morals were more than suspect, who also hadn't bothered to properly learn the only language he was fluent in.

Perhaps he would pick up a few more language courses when he got back to California. It couldn't hurt.

It was dark by then, and the trip to that part of town was more than just a bit of a hassle. Zaiden wondered to himself if it would even be worth it. He had no plan. He had no desire to pay for the privilege to sleep with a prostitute. And he had no desire to get completely smashed. It wasn't for the scintillating conversation, seeing as that would be in a mash of Japanese and broken English.

He selected the bar based on its creative combination of lurid fluorescents. The interior decorations fit the stereotype of Japanese, and Zaiden suspected that the establishment was geared towards foreigners. Zaiden didn't know what he was drinking. The bartender spoke English well enough, but Zaiden didn't know the brands and didn't have a preference even when he knew what the options were, so he just pointed to a bottle on the wall that looked interesting. He sampled exactly two sips of the beverage. It seared his throat all the way down, and he entertained the thought that it was still burning merrily in his stomach. He remembered why he drank like a girl when societal norms demanded it.

He ended up in the most convoluted debate in his recent memory with a woman he was unable to shake off, mostly because her make-up fascinated and horrified him to the point where he didn't want to make an excuse. The spectacle, combined with the necessity of working out the meanings of the Japanese words peppering her speech based on context, was enough to occupy the functioning portions of his mind.
 
 
24 December 2009 @ 12:32 pm
Luke Maestri, heir to quite a few important things, was a creature of habit. It did not matter that today was quite a bit more important than any average day. Luke still blearily woke from his bed, stumbled blindly towards the bathroom, and began to wash up. He of course inevitably stepped on some scattered bit of technology or citrus byproduct on the way, but that was to be expected with him. He squeezed a generous blob of homemade Kiwi blend toothpaste onto his toothbrush, stolen on a whim from the head exec of the top citrus processing company, and began brushing. It was decorated with more than a few fruit and was in the shape of a banana.

Despite his eccentricities a normal routine. Afterwards, and the only deviation from the daily grind, he stumbled back out and pulled on his favorite thieving clothes. A novelty long-sleeve shirt and pants. They were solid black and JUST loose enough to avoid being called effeminate. Sounds pretty normal, but under black-light a thousand little limes would appear on the pants as well as a thousand little lemons on the shirt. He was sure Ana loved it to pieces but he'd never asked.

Finally he made breakfast. There was of course a kitchen and such rooms in the house but all of it's members were self sufficient and if they ALL lived there all the time the house would be so big the cops could spot it's ill reputes from five thousand feet in the air. As it was most didn't use the kitchen, they used things they stole and often didn't live in the house proper at all. Though they were of course welcome there. Luke's set up was a strange one. He had three relatively high-tech mini-fridges against one wall. Directly next to it was a cheap table stacked with eight industrial grade blenders. Luke had never been happier than after he raided that appliance store. Today he reached into the fridge and pulled out a bevy of strange ingredients. Many in little racks of vials. He poured a bunch of milk, three scoops of ice-cream and eight drops of a deep red fluid in one of the blenders. He then made up a host of normal breakfast foods in a frying pan on a camping stove and then emptied it all, eggs, bacon, and sausage into a second blender and started them up. He quickly drank his creations and blundered off in a new direction, the stairs.

Managing to not fall down them he made his way to his and Ana's usual meeting spot, the living room by the door. Patiently he waited for her to make an appearance. By patiently it is meant that Luke was being patient relative to his usual state. Meaning he was fiddling with a small object and glancing furtively in every direction for Ana's arrival.

A semi-normal morning for one Luke Maestri.
 
 
Current Location: The House, Berlin
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
23 December 2009 @ 05:12 am
Location: A Sakusenjo Estate, Japan
Characters: Zaiden Mallory and Kisho Sakusenjo
Purpose: The first meeting of the two characters; Kisho to decide if she wishes to recruit Zaiden to assist her towards her ends.



The courtyard within the Japanese estate was spacious, its layout making it impossible to see clearly across the expanse. It was populated by a minimalistic collection of stones and vegetation, but the trees and rocks had been positioned in a manner that shielded some areas of the garden from the others. Zaiden entered through the north-facing doorway, emerging into the pale sunlight and looking around. It was dreadfully early in the morning, but Zaiden was a punctual man, and had agreed to schedule the meeting at an early hour out of the belief that it would be his host's preference.

Zaiden had been instructed to wait in the courtyard. He spent a few minutes wandering up and down the pebbled paths traversing the area, the sound of water rippling gently over stone audible the entire time. Zaiden attempted to track the source of the sound, but was unable to locate any sort of man-made stream, somewhat to his frustration. He ended up returning to the northward entrance – there were openings onto the courtyard from all four of its sides – and seating himself on a spare stone bench surely placed there for the exact purpose of providing a resting place for guests.

As wonderful as the surroundings were, and as lavish as his personal accommodations at his hotel seemed to be, and as much as Zaiden did enjoy doing business on his father's dollar, the situation wasn't entirely to Zaiden's liking. He hated being relegated to the position of glorified messenger boy. And yet being assigned this job, this task, was in some ways proof that Alexander Mallory trusted his son enough to allow Zaiden to make diplomatic arrangements on his behalf.

The problem was, Zaiden hadn't brushed up on current events in the area of Japanese-American relations during his recent political studies.

Zaiden was a voracious reader, however, and frequently took almost obsessive interest in studying some topic or another. He had investigated Japan to a degree. He remembered something about how social interaction was a delicate balancing act designed to protect the honor of all involved, actions and words veiled in polite demurring when a level of intimacy was not yet established. He had therefore made a point of arriving just slightly earlier than he had agreed to, hoping the gesture would be interpreted as a nod of respect to his host, indicating that he was willing to wait peacefully for the other man's time.

And so when a certain Sakusenjo-san approached, Zaiden rose smoothly from his seat to greet the other man. His father had given him so little advanced warning about this potential piece of real world experience that Zaiden had been left with almost no time to investigate the political climate as it was. It turned out that a large portion of the information he wanted to know about was highly classified, the option of having his contacts work on teasing it free impossible with the time constraints. Zaiden could only deduce that there was something going on in Japan that the United States was not meant to know about at the present time. There was slight bristling between the countries, and this meeting was one of many small attempts to smooth down any ruffled feathers. As a result Zaiden would be cautious, not revealing his knowledge of the few details he had gathered.

"Sakusenjo-san," he said. The honorific felt as strange on his tongue as it had in his head, Zaiden not being used to the nuances of such things seeing as he was a foreigner. Nevertheless, it had felt like the most prudent greeting. "Thank you for having me here. Your garden is lovely."

Zaiden was calm, controlled, but he had the feeling that they were not alone.
 
 
23 December 2009 @ 04:37 am


Location:
Royal Guard Training Facility; London, England
Characters: Levaios Adeleston; Xiang Riccio
Purpose: The first meeting of the two characters; Levaios gets nostalgic and his sudden appearance causes a little disorder at the military camp.

          The military didn’t take kindly to Crown Prince Adeleston’s sudden, unexpected, and often undocumented visits on random occasions. It was all fine and dandy for His Royal Highness to support the troops publicly—it made both parties look better on an international scale.

What was not “peachy” with the commanders on-site was the commotion the young man made every time he showed up. It was always a thousand times worse when it was unannounced, and after scraping together accommodations for him they were always given grief by Prince Levaios’ personal assistants. It wasn’t like the boy needed better security—he was hardly thirty miles from the palace, and he was on base. The kid had a solid year of military experience himself, and sure as heck he was trained in using a gun.

And yet, there was always a guard trying to trail him. Why?

Because he was a Prince, and that’s the way things were.

But Levaios was a bit tricky. He was just as skillful as his security team, and whenever he was able to slip by them he did. It wasn’t the team’s fault— Levaios liked just about all of his assigned staff. It was just that they were so uptight about their jobs. The Prince preferred a more lax, natural approach.

His philosophy reinforced the reason for his behavior. He was the sort of man who would take the more roundabout route simply to stretch his legs. Levaios stopped often too, to admire a painting, say hello to someone, or merely observe what was going on. The Prince would notice little things as his mind wandered, a feather caught up in the wind. Floating through life with a positive attitude, that was how he handled it.

But hardly was Prince Levaios lazy. The Prince was well-known for his firm work ethic and tenacity when it came to things dear to him. He always looked sharp, never leaving his room in anything less than a collared shirt and dress pants. Waistcoats and suits were commonplace for him, but he’d have dressed the same way even if he hadn’t been born to a royal family. The red curls he’d been born with were always combed through, albeit sometimes quickly. Look sharp, think sharp, be sharp— Six simple words that just about summed Levaios’ style of living.

The boy—barely a man, for his 18th birthday had just passed— stood at six-foot-two. His height, as well as his broad and rather muscled-shoulders, made him feel like he was often overpowering other people. But his boisterous laugh, large goofy grin and the way his green eyes sparkled put everyone at ease. Powerful yet gentle, that was the way Prince Levaios Adeleston was meant to be.

He’d never meant to cause trouble by visiting the training camp, but... he just couldn’t help it. Nostalgia, something that often plagued the Prince, often caused him to meander around the problems of modern day until he could refocus. That was the reason he stood at the training facility now, softly telling the stories of his days there to himself as he passed through. Paint peeled, boards creaked, things were streaked in dust and dirt— and yet he loved it all.

Wow, it looks so much older, but it’s only been a few months since I left this place, Levaios thought.

He had been granted immunity from certain aspects of training, because the commanders just couldn’t put their future leader in any extreme peril. Levaios felt like they were giving him special treatment—he had come to discover what it truly meant to be “equal”. And many times, he’d felt it. I wonder who is still here...

There were soldiers milling about, and Levaios couldn’t help but notice them as he made his way between two of the buildings. Seeing the men (and a handful of women) in the same uniforms he wore, doing all of the same things he did... a grin crept onto the Prince’s face. He was surprised that no one had seen him yet, but that also made him cheerful. His Majesty liked surprises.

Things got frantic whenever he showed up, everyone bursting into panic. Maybe, just maybe, there won’t be pandemonium this time. This is just a good surprise!

Optimism was a strong point of Levaios’, but that didn’t mean realism always was.


 
 
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
 
 
23 December 2009 @ 04:00 am
To checkmate was to be victorious.

That was the object of the game.
 
The game itself was far-reaching, expanding beyond the grid of black and white squares of the board to the earth, the sea, and sky above.
Every individual was a piece upon the playing surface, waiting for a hand to guide them.

Her hand. Thin, pale, bony—appearing frail. But strong. A stronger hand than the world had ever before seen, waiting to pluck her pawns from their places. The hand that would hold both the olive branch and the sword, both knowledge and power, both enlightenment and darkness.

Her hand would be the one to guide them into place.

The rules of the game were hazy, a sort of fog that drifted about the player and her pieces. Such an expansive game called for expansive rules—but as always, there were ways around them. It was a simple trick to the game, to look at how to escape the rules. Of course, she found them.

Chess was not for the weak of heart. Her guiding hand was ruthless, thrusting itself into even the most miniscule of situations.

Micromanagement and overprotection, yet utilizing risk—that was the key to playing the game. A sharp wit, a firm will, a passion aflame within, and a willingness to sacrifice—all were necessary to defeat the player upon the other side.

However much pressure was being put on her, no matter what the losses or gains, she had to keep her composure. The game was timed. She had whatever the remaining grains of sand in the hourglass allowed her.

The challenge became that much more difficult.

It was just a toy, she had to remind herself. Just a toy, nothing more— purely an exercise of wit and a chance to be successful.

But she lied. She lied to herself to mask what she was really doing at the most painful of times. She lied to slay the pieces of her opponent; she lied to protect the pieces of her own that she just could not let go of. Her own emotions were corked away within, frustration and anger bottled inside. A violent release was inevitable, no matter how she conducted herself. She needed that triumph to live.

To checkmate was to be victorious.

To checkmate perpetually was to become a god.

From there, she would rebuild her board—

the world.