09.18.3013: The Soldier with the Yellowhare
Summary: Ariana meets with the Peakes and Declan to discuss important science stuff.
Date: 08 September 2013
Related: None
Aidan Ariana Brigham Declan 

Library — Nether Keep, Khar-Mordune
A library in a cave.
18 September 3013

Though she has come here on professional and scientific business, Ariana has decided to do away with her pristine white science attire and today dons a charming gown in traditional Reversion style created in the colors of House Larent. To ward of the chill, she wears a soft fur cloak, the one which Declan had gifted her for the Niveus storytelling event. Her hair is done up, like usual, in a simple rose bun and left unornamented. She is accompanied by the Heir of Arboren, so perhaps whatever she does have to say holds some importance. Approaching the entrance of the Netherkeep, she speaks to the servants so that House Peake will know of their arrival.

Since Ariana arranged the meeting, she was expected and she's escorted into the Keep and to the library. There, Aidan and Brigham await her along with a tea set and various types of finger food. One of the guards did call ahead to let them know she and her escort arrived so Aidan's waiting as they walk in. "Hello Ariana. Nice to see you again, Declan. There's tea and food if you're hungry."

Brigham grew bored waiting. This is a dangerous thing, of which Aidan is entirely to familiar, and so making certain Brigham didn't leave the room (and thereby potentially insult someone) he's let the younger Peake have his otherwise unrestricted run of the place. Letting him entertain himself is only the lesser of two evils, at least it's the library and nothing dangerous is in here… one hopes. Sipping tea, his hat atop his head as it always is even indoors, and looking shockingly civilized Brigham has his nose buried in a book and his feet swinging back and forth /just/ shy of touching the floor. See, nothing asploding in here today! "Hey Jerkface," he says without looking up from the book, "did you know that there's a form of biolum fungus that grows in the southend tunnels that has a redish hue? That might be something we want to look into, put it in places we want to be creepy… or awesome." he sounds thoughtful. He seems unaware the guests have arrived.

Declan strides along at his betrothed's side, first to the keep and then through it to the library where they are greeted by the Peake contingent. "Lord Aidan," he greets their host at the threshold, and then as it seems refreshments are set out, he does not hesitate to go and take a seat. Partway there, Brigham's odd comment catches his attention, and he looks from one to the other, before adding a further greeting. "Lord Brigham. Fungus you say? I fear that would be Lady Ariana's specialty more than my own." Apparently he's equally oblivious to the other man being oblivious to them! "But, let us not linger and get down to business. I believe you must both be aware of the work my lady has been doing on the Hostile toxin, and perhaps also of her progress in an antidote. I am hoping we can undertake efforts to put it into larger production to guarantee it's availability for our soldiers, in case this 'poisoner' proves not to be an isolated foe."

Ariana graces Aidan with a curtsey when she and Declan are led to his location in this large maze-like fortress beneath the mountains, "My Lord, thank you for taking this moment to meet with us today." And then she notices Brigham with his nose in a book off to the side. It's difficult to miss that hat upon his head or the choice of colors for his attire. Maybe he's really colorblind! Ariana had not thought of this until now. How interesting. "Lord Brigham, I'm glad to see that you were able to pull yourself out of the lab to be here as well." Pivoting on her heels, she smiles faintly, "I would love some tea, yes." She then only half-turns in the heir of Arboren's direction when he brings up the very reason why they are meeting here at this moment. Moving to settle down beside Declan, she hands him a cup of tea and continues on with what he had started to say, "It is true. I have created an antidote for the toxins which the Hostile had used that day in the Imperius Mountains. For now, I only have 5 vials and I felt that if anyone would be in need of them immediately, it would be those who reside in the Spine, for this is where the poisoning took place." She then waits a moment, before finally asking directly, "Are you able to tell me the symptoms which you witnessed of Young Lady Yolanda's poisoning out on the field of combat?" Ariana knows that this may be a touchy subject or a sore spot for the Peakes.

Aidan manages not to sigh at all the 'Lord'ing. They're being formal then. Right, he can manage that. "You were successful then. I'm glad to hear that and you're right, he's probably still in the Spine somewhere. To my knowledge, he hasn't been killed yet." And his death is of the utmost interest to House Peake. Walking around the table, he takes a seat but then stills at the question. "I did not see a lot." he answers eventually. "Only the end. She was having difficulty breathing and she was convulsing. She was very weak and there was foam around the wounds. How is this relevant since the antidote is already created?"

Brigham blinks rapidly as an unfamiliar voice speaks and he looks up from his reading, "Oh!" he says, flicking the ribbon back into the book to mark his place before closing it, "Sorry! Didn't see you guys." he drinks more tea and eyes Declan. He's seen the man before at various functions, the forced social kind, and he's been 'polite', but he's never really met him and likely for good reason. The Peakes tend to keep the youngest of their immediate Family away from potentially disasterous political situations. Then he grins at Ari, this one he likes, they get along as well as Brigham gets along with anyone. Plus she's a scientist, which makes her worth more socially in his eyes then some 'Heir' to whatever thingie whatsamabob somewhere. So she has his attention fully when she starts to discuss his sister's demise, and… he doesn't blink. He doesn't even skip a tea sip as she speaks. He had a meltdown over it already, apparently he's processed it since then and has moved on. For all his foibles, he really is a Peake at heart. Steady. "I don't see a reason we couldn't begin production of it on a larger scale. Ari has the formula, all you'd need is a facility and the proper compounds. Heck, I could likely make enough for a few hundred doses in my lab. It wouldn't be enough to hand out doses to every medic in even our House, but it would be a start." he answers Declan, as informal as you please as he drops a pet name for Ariana without batting an eye. Which is why they keep him in the lab.

"We are concerned with identifying the toxin so that the antidote can be administered in the first place," is Declan's reply to Aidan, concise and to the point. "I am to understand that the antidote is only viable within a fairly narrow time window. Especially given our limited supplies at present." He draws a breath, keenly aware of the sensitivity of the subject as well. "I am sure Lady Ariana and your own medics have reviewed some of her medical records already, but it is important that any field medics are as well-warned of the poison's symptoms as possible so they can apply the antidote in timely fashion." Then he turns toward Brigham. "But yes, it would seem prudent to create more. I am not sure about full scale mass production or how difficult the necessary compounds are to acquire, but I would like to eventually be able to have at least a vial onhand in most medical kits. And, as my Lady suggests, I would leave some of her initial supply with your House, to make available to your own forces as you think wisest. We will likely leave some of our supply with our rangers as they track the poisoner, and retain one vial on reserve in case of any emergency."

After taking a small sip of tea and then setting the cup down on a table beside her, Ariana responds first to Aidan's question. "The antidote needs to be administered quickly. I would say near immediately after the individual has been poisoned. (OOC: Within 2 rounds of the poisoning to be exact!) That is why knowing how a person reacts to being poisoned is very crucial, so that we can work quickly to save their life." Waiting a brief moment for that thought to settle in, she then continue, "The poison itself is synthetic. A concentrated dose of the Yellowhare, a plant that is native to Imperius. When ingested, it causes severe symptoms of fever, stomach pains and delusions. However, when injected into the bloodstream, it can become very deadly. From what I have read within the records of the System Wars thus far, there have been some instances where Soldiers have used poison against us, but yes. I would like to create as much of this antidote as possible. The occurrences, so far, within our own history shows merely a random use of poison, but it is always best to be prepared."

"If the poison is made from a plant that grows here on Imperius, then how did the Hostiles get it?" Aidan asks. It's really a rhetorical question since he doesn't expect anyone to have an answer and his tone makes that clear. "It's highly unlikely it grows on Cantos and it seems equally unlikely that some Hostile soldiers in the last war collected botany samples and took them back to their world. So they must have made it since arriving here. But how did they know about the plant in the first place?" Again, rhetorical. "Is there an option other than someone told them about it?"

Brigham reaches up to scritch at his chin, "Cross contamination isn't out of the question. Solders march through some last war, return home, bring seeds or pollen or what have you stuck to their cloaks…" he waves a hand, "It wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened. Every ship brings bits of where it was with it when it lands, and so does every set of boots. For all we know the flower might be rare here, but thrive on the Fifth World, perhaps aggresively taking over vegetation there. But that's likely all a long shot."

This discussion of the poison's composition and history does seem to interest Declan as well. "It is a good question. As Lord Brigham says, it could be that the plant was transplanted to the 5th world during some earlier part of our history, either by the early colonists or by Hostile forces during one of the prior wars. However, given it's sporadic usage and the Hostile's general preference toward more high-tech weaponry… it seems equally likely that the Hostile forces have merely adapted to a local discovery. We have observed sporadic evidence of… experimental tendencies, of them taking samples of various natural organisms. Animals and people more than plants, but then again, we are more likely to notice the former than the latter. It could merely suggest a sort of resourcefulness on their part."

Now with the others discussing the very idea that the Hostiles have used a poisonous plant from Imperius for their own nefarious deeds, Ariana reaches for her teacup so that she may take another sip of the warming beverage. She looks attentive, turning from one speaker to the next as she takes in what they have said. "They certainly are a resourceful lot. As I had told Lord Brigham the other day, they may have possibly been cloning some of our soldiers. Sarah One-One-Three of One-Five-Eight is nearly the exact match in genetic structure to one of House Orelle's MIA soldiers. So I wouldn't be surprised at all if they have been studying our plant life as well." She continues on with the conversation as if the idea of the cloning wasn't big news as it is.

"Cloning?" Aidan sets down his cup and frowns. "I've had many dreams of them torturing our people. The feel from them was scientific and not sadistic, though that hardly makes it any better. It's possible they might have discovered it on their own but I'm not quite willing to rule out collaborators so quickly." He pauses to look at Declan and Ariana though he's not really seeing them, instead debating silently with himself. "You should know, and this should not be passed on to anyone you don't trust completely, that there's evidence of a Hostile having met with a priest in the Chantry. There's not enough though to say more than that at the moment."

Brigham gives GIANT INNOCENT EYES at everyone and instantly becomes intensely interested in his tea. Mmm. Tea. Lookie. It's sorta brownish. Fascinating. He certain has been doing nothing at all that might have been considered 'classified' while working on this project. Nope. Nuffin'.

Declan merely nods along slowly with Ariana's newest revelation. "Although I'd not heard about the Orelle soldier, it doesn't surprise me. As I said, there have been abductions, and it seems very likely that they are interested not in taking hostages, but in finding experimental subjects, new biological material…" He makes a vague wave to suggest the whole constellation of perverse science that these things may be representative of. Aidan too has news, and this registers a bit more surprise on his features. "Having 'met'? Hopefully this priest has been thoroughly debriefed on the matter." He shakes his head. "But this is all aside from our present business. Presumably if the poison has native roots, this works to our advantage. Lady Ariana, are the components for the antidote difficult to acquire or create? I will be happy to devote whatever of House Arboren's resources might be necessary to the project. And it seems that Lord Brigham is also interested in assisting."

Ariana was expecting some sort of reaction from the younger Peake sibling, but Brigham looks strangely pre-occupied with his tea, so she turns her attention elsewhere and back to Aidan. "Doctor Hadrian Orelle found a near perfect match of Sarah One-One-Three to a Sergeant Sarah Owens, a soldier of House Orelle who was presumed MIA and then KIA in the 2nd System War." She takes another pause and sips at her tea once more before continuing, "In fact, this Sergeant Owens has a descendant alive and well. Someone who had been living on the Ring. I believe that Doctor Hadrian will ask to meet with this woman and run a test on her genetics to make certain." Her eyes now upon Aidan once more, she considers, "I was curious as to your words during your meeting with Sarah One-One-Three. A member of the chantry though..?" Here her brow gently furrows, before she returns to look towards Declan when he addresses her once more. "Yes, it is not too difficult to create now that we possess the formula for it. I am hoping to meet with the medical community in the next few days to inform them of both the effects of the poisoning itself and the usage of the antidote."

"The priest has not been identified, the purpose of the meeting is unknown nor is whether that one is alone or there are others." Aidan states. In other words, they've got bupksis. "But speaking of Sarah, did you learn anything about Professor Figueroa? I looked into her published papers and there's little doubt in my mind that she's of the 'kill them all' variety." He doesn't look at Brigham.

Brigham continues to appear to be the very picture of angelic innocence. Nope. Nothing to see here. "Immagetmoretea." he mutters under his breath before hopping down out of his chair and heading towards the platter of tea fixin's. He begins mixing himself up another cup quietly while the others chit chat about Stuff.

Declan glances from one Peake to the other, brow furrowing a little at Brigham's mysterious ways. Thus, his attention turns back to Aidan. "Well, we can only hope that they find this priest quickly for the purpose of a proper… debriefing." He won't talk about interrogating members of the Chantry openly. It gets you frowned at by the gods! "And we will have a couple vials of the antidote sent over. Lord Brigham, I will leave it to you and Lady Ariana to work out what is necessary for producing more of the antidote, and expect a report back when you have determined what all will be required to get the project underway."

With her teacup set aside, Ariana rises to stand now and reaches for a fancy little pouch which hangs at her silver girdle, "I do, in fact, have the vials of antidote with me and I will forward the formula to Lord Brigham as well." Taking two of the vials, she steps towards Aidan and offers them to him. "This I will leave for your medical team. Remember, it must be used immediately following a poisoning. Once we create more of the antidote, we shall be able to give them away more freely." Stepping towards Declan, she offers two more of the five vials. "And this is for use by your Arborenin rangers. But I agree, production must be started immediately."

Brigham fakes making more tea then he looks up, "So I left a burner on in the lab. I really should go check on that before kaboom. Um. Someone give me the cliff notes later?" he suggests, then with a hand atop his hat to keep it from flying off, he makes a break for the doors as top speed, his coat billowing behind him. Ari already saw THE NEW MATHS, and Brig was told in no uncertain terms he can't talk about the stuff Aidan had him do, but then Aidan brought it up and he feels like he's about to explode and spew excited Math Talk all over the visitors. But Aidan said no talking. But it's Math. Brig loves Math. No talking. Math. Shut up. Math. Math. Math. Math… He needs to leave. And so the door closes behind him as he goes, though the echos of his suddenly running mouth can be heard, something about interspacial geometric constants? Hard to tell.

Aidan takes the pouch and carefully sets it down on the table. "Thank you, Lady Ariana. We appreciate your work on this." In this, he feels safe in speaking for the family. "I would suggest finding a reputable pharmaceutical company and having them produce it. Perhaps get Sauveur backing for the project since it is for the war effort, after all. This isn't a private project."

"I would only be concerned of a corporate pharmaceutical interest adding a commercial dimension to the whole affair. Their priorities might be somewhat different. Requesting Saveur backing is a possibility if we find that the resources are not something we can muster; however, I would like to do as much in-House as we are able. We must do our part as Arborenin, after all, and while the Khournas contribute with their foundries and factories, perhaps our natural bounty can be put to use in creating these antidotes?" Declan glances to Ariana briefly for confirmation, while also reaching out to accept the vials from her. "Ah, I hadn't realize you'd actually brought them." Then back once again. "We will see what is required once Lady Ariana and your brother have some figures."

Ariana listens to both men speak and she nods slowly. "We will look into what it will take to have the antidote mass produced. It does seem that there will be a lot to look into." She then brings up something more that has been on her mind ever since she knew she would be making this trip. "Young Lord Aidan, I believe that some of the Amran refugees and heroes alike have head this way. How are they all faring after the incident at the Cape of Amran?"

Aidan just nods to Declan, letting him handle the specifics on how to get thousands of vials produced. "I've heard those who went through the gate are doing as well as can be expected." he tells Ariana. "I believe there was only one casualty. Of the Amran… Well, the situation was not good to begin with but at least many of them escaped. I don't know much more than that."

"It is something we will need to meet on shortly, along with the other Arboren vassals and our various more experienced knights, to consider how we might respond to the invasion in the short and long term. This, I believe, is something we will need to look to other Houses for assistance on, but it would be good to establish our own priorities before going to them." Declan's expression is darker in general speaking on this subject. "Do you have sufficient food supplies for the refugees? That, at least, is one thing our lands do not lack, and we can arrange to have surpluses shipped from the lowlands to wherever the refugees will be housed for the time being."

"I believe, then, that our next stop is Beacon." Ariana speaks of House Hollolas seat. "I can not say that I have ever visited there, but with the upcoming memorial service and festivities, there will be ample amounts of time to discuss this with House Hollolas as well." Favoring Aidan with a polite smile and a curtsey, she intones, "I will be by to work more with Lord Brigham, but I thank you for your gracious hospitality and wonderful tea. I am also curious to learn more of this priest at the Chantry and their dealing with the Hostiles."

"We expect that most of the refugees will end up in Beacon since it's an environment they're more used to." Aidan explains. Seagoers and fishermen are unlikely to feel comfortable in a mountain or even in mountain villages. "We have more than enough to care for them while they rest and recover from their ordeal and then we'll escort the ones who wish to leave." Sensing the shift in conversation, he stands. "You're welcome of course. When you return, I'd like to hear what you learned about the Professor."

Declan gives a quick nod back. "I would expect so, but I had taken from the conversation that at least some had come here. No matter where they all end up, we will see them attended to." With the conversation on the whole drawing to a close, he glances sidelong to Ariana but then back quickly. "We would, of course, be happy to stay for the evening. There are yet more things to discuss, and we will have to work out a time to meet with the Hollolas and the rest of the Arborenin to discuss these matters in greater detail."

When talks of spending the evening at Khar-Mordune is made due to Guest Rights of sorts, Ariana nods slowly in Declan's direction, her gaze now turning to Aidan. "Yes, that would be lovely." Khar-Mordune isn't particularly on her list of favorite places, alas! "And I will see what more I can find out of our Hostile guest's keeper. At the moment, you know more than I do on Professor Figueroa. Now that the antidote is finished, I have a little more time on my hands."

"Adjoining rooms have been prepared for you." Aidan doesn't hesitate to make that claim. "You're welcome to rest and refresh yourselves or explore as you wish. If you'd like, I can take you on a short tour of some of the more interesting caves. The fauna there has adapted in interesting ways and the crystal formations have a beauty we've chosen not to try to improve on." Moving over to a wall, he presses a button and a servant enters almost immediately. "Boris will escort you to your rooms."

"Wonderful. That is most kind of you," offers Declan in response, now rising smoothly and looking to the arriving servant once he enters. "I think the tour sounds most fascinating, as well. A little later, my lady?" He's not sure that Ariana would exactly find a hole in the ground that fascinating herself, but… hospitality! "For the moment, I do look forward to a moment off my feet to consider both these new concerns and the older ones still looming. Shall we?" The last, of course, is to Ariana directly, an arm on offer to lead her off after the servant.

"This is very generous of you, Lord Aidan." Ariana says, before agreeing with Declan, "And I would love a formal tour of Khar-Mordune." Catching sight of Declan's offered arm from out of the corner of her eyes, Ariana steps towards her betrothed and carefully links her arm with his. "Thank you once more for your time, My Lord." Her arm still linked, she lowers herself into a curtsey, before straightening up once more. She then follows along with Declan when the Peake servant leads them to their rooms.

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