Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Saturday, September 18, 2004

Isle Notes: episode nine

the Wanton Emilia
: Elana and Ellis's aunt and former mother figure
the Procurer Lisander: Zoilo's grandfather; Elana and Ellis's uncle
the Cooper Nolenzo Alonzo
Tubal de Bagranza: a restaurateur in the locality of Verraza
Marisa de Bagranza: Tubal's wife
Marisa Ettana de Bagranza, a.k.a. Marisetta: Tubal and Marisa's 12-year-old daughter
Antonio Diego de Bagranza: Tubal and Marisa's 8-year-old son
an unnamed female Cartographer
Aurelius: Tubal's friend, a Record-keeper in the locality of Verraza
Lord Nicolas: prince of Verraza (not actually met)
the Rich Man Mara
the Collector Pantheas
the Banker Alain: Pantheas’s son

The Ruling Family of Isle-at-Sea (involved so far; grouped by generation)
the former Widow Elspeth
the former Lover Elian
the former Bastard Bassanio
the Lyric Beson

the Procurers Lisander and Lysander
the former Fabulist Eliza
the Wanton Emilia
the Bastard Roman
the fourteenth Widow Eleanor
the Hollow Eldora
the Fabulist Eliandra
the Lover Elias

Carissa Itash, nee Aldefonse
the Rich Man Elana
the Soldier Ellis
the apprentice Tailor Eloise
the apprentice Beggarman Elke

the Tinker Zoilo
Suntory Lee

Part One

Elana, Ellis, and Zoilo first ascertain that Gabriel Mansuetude is unharmed--albeit "shunted" elsewhere--before resuming a surprisingly civil conversation with their uncle, Lisander. Despite the Wanton Emilia's attempts to dissuade him, Lisander is quite forthcoming with information, claiming that most of the current state of conflict is due to the fact that their generation, too, was kept in the dark in their youth. Lisander therefore informs the trio that:

> He is the twin of the Thief Lysander, with whom he shares the previously unknown office of Procurer (headquartered at The Rookery on Isle), and who is responsible for the imprisonment of the Bastard Roman.
> There are three lands called 'Isle', all linked to one another: Isle Above (the so-called 'Invisible City'), Isle-at-Sea (where our heroes were born and raised), and the vast Isle Below, variously known as the Midnight Isle, Twilight Isle, or the Isle of Dark.
> All the eight office-holders of Isle aspire to ascend to positions of rule in Isle Above. Specific pairs of Isle-at-Sea offices have the potential to rise to office Above: either the Widow or the Wanton can become the Lady of the Isle; the Bastard or the Fabulist can become the Master of the Sky; the Hollow or the Lyric can become the Master of the Rings; and the Procurer or the Lover can become the Master of the Undercity.
> Correspondingly, there are sixteen offices in Isle Below. These are supposed to ascend to hold office in Isle-at-Sea; however, through the machinations of the Widow Elspeth and her cohorts, the Isle-at-Sea line of succession has instead become hereditary, with all but one of the offices currently held by children of the former Widow.
> The Widow's incestuous actions are in clear defiance of the Great Proscription, which prohibits office-holders from intermarrying, and certainly from interbreeding.
> Elias is, in fact, the youngest of the Widow's children. He appears to be the eldest because Lisander and Lysander found a way to steal youth from him many years ago, and did so until they tired of it.
> The summoning of the eight Crafts of Isle was a scheme of the Hollow Eldora, to circumvent the fact that she has no children of her own; children--or rather, successors--apparently being critical to the game being played among the ruling family. Being barren, Eldora sought to use this method to subvert her siblings' children for her own use.
> Members of the ruling family may not directly interfere in one another's agendas, providing that those agendas do not directly impact them.

Still suspicious of the so-called 'Lisander', the trio imparts only select bits of their own information, including the fact that the young people summoned by the Hollow included another pair of twin girls, one of whom died at the hands of the tailor Threadbare when they were all sent into the future for training. Upon seeing a portrait made by Zoilo of one of the girls, an aghast Lisander claims that these twins are his daughters Elke and Eloise.

Learning that Ellis has over three months' "spare time" in the future (due to her inadequate Soldier training)prior to Elke's death , Lisander implores the trio to travel back to the future to rescue his daughters. Both to save their cousins and for reasons of their own, the trio agree, and Lisander is able to modify the Hollow's design (since she involved his children) in order to send them back and arrange for their return. As they depart, he cautions them not to be seen in the domiciles at which they trained during their previous sojourn.

Part Two
Elana, Ellis, and Zoilo travel once more through the Hollow Effect to the Vast of the future, where they end up in a wild, snowy region inhabited by vicious, underground-dwelling giant worms. They are able to survive and escape through a combination of Zoilo's Tinker abilities, Ellis's Lightfoot, and primarily Elana's Oratorical skills. They are then attacked by a swarm of apparently teleporting cat-birds, one of which cries out the name 'Mara' in hatred as it dives. Again, they combine forces to fight the creatures off, and Elana summons a door to take them to Verraza--the only place they've heard of in this time period where they are unlikely to meet anyone they've met before.

Curiously, the door appears a great distance away, forcing them to traverse the hazardous land once more in order to reach it. With more difficulties to plague them, they eventually manage to open a door and get to Verraza.

At Verraza, they find the massive twin statues of Elana and Ellis which the Historian Idan told them of earlier, as well as a disconcerting abundance of Coopers--a Craft Zoilo's master made sure to warn him against, as they dislike and are certain to overcome Tinkers. Keeping a low profile, then, the trio makes its way into town to find a quiet place to discuss their plan of action.

They finally find an open-air trattoria, only to discover that they have no money with which to pay for food and a table. Elana attempts to change some of her Dream-Isle currency for local coin, only to summon a bag of coins so massive that she has to dismiss it in order to avoid calling undue attention. Luckily, the trattoria owner, a man named Tubal, is kind enough to feed them in exchange for dishwashing services.

Washing dishes in the kitchen, the trio decides that Elana should try to pay to learn the locations of their cousins, especially since Zoilo dare not use his abilities with the many Coopers around. However, Elana's Rich Man abilities are not working as usual in this place and time, sending her to Craftsmen's locations instead of summoning the Craftsmen to her. After a stealthy group visit to the Historians' secret sanctum to peer at a map of the Vast, Elana manages to acquire the services of a Cartographer, who explains how to travel to their cousins' separate locations: the faraway mountain of Sacrifice Rock and the nearer city of the Beggar-King.

Part Three
Resolving to arrange transportation the following morning, the trio socializes for a bit with Tubal, his family, and his friends before heading off to the room generously offered by Tubal's wife Marisa. Since Elana still has coins to spend before midnight, Zoilo suggests that she use some of them to learn why her abilities have been misfiring.

This purchase sends Elana, terrifyingly, to the current Rich Man's home, where Elana is nearly discovered by Mara herself in one of Mara's closets. Just as Mara is about to open the door, Elana manages to return to the trattoria bedroom, where she has to engage in a bidding contest with Mara, who attempts to summon the intruder back to her house. Elana wins, with some coin to spare.

The next idea is to use the spare money to acquire some gems, in order to have some easily-traded currency for their journey. Remembering the fiasco with the over-abundance of coins earlier, Ellis advises Elana to ask for a very specific and expensive type of jewel. This catapults Elana into the private vault of the Collector Pantheas, a startled and belligerent man who has no interest in acquiring a Rich Man's coin and no intention of trading away his chest of two-carat, marquise-cut, minimally-flawed emeralds.

Annoyed by his lack of cooperation, Elana tries to leave, only to realize that she can only return to the trattoria with the Collector, whom she can then dismiss. Pantheas, however, refuses to go with her, pointing out that she might be kidnapping him or worse. After much debate, Elana agrees to leave behind the necklace given to her by her mother and Crafted by her father, as security for the Collector's safe return.

Following even further confusion and contretemps, Elana and the Collector appear at the trattoria bedroom, only to turn right around again and return to the Collector's vault, this time leaving a doorway for Elana to get back to her companions. Much to her surprise, after all the bickering, Pantheas offers to simply give her the chest of emeralds. He likes her feistiness, he explains, and promptly uses Craft to 'collect' her into his family by betrothing her without her consent to his son, the Banker Alain.

With absolutely no support from her heartless sister and nephewtoward undoing the betrothal , a fuming Elana uses her remaining coin to accost a wandering desert merchant and purchase sundry items from the astonished man’s stock.
Nikki bit in at 7:09 PM :: ::
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