Cherry Blossom Procession 4 1 21

(11:44:51) <Sept> The music stopped abruptly as Sera's phone battery ran out. After confirming the death of the device and packing away his earbuds, he pushed open the door to the Dorian's main deck, met with a pleasant evening breeze - at least, what passed for a breeze at this altitude.-
(11:45:34) <Sept> He hadn't been up here for a while, but he had to at least confirm if Lil Zeruel was still being cared for.
(11:49:18) <Minaplo> [Lil Zeruel was indeed being well-maintained. Although there were only a handful of children still permitted on the warship, they- and a few willing adults- did their best.-
(11:51:28) <Minaplo> [He wasn't alone in enjoying the breeze, however. Lying on a seat on the port side of the deck was a young man- boy, to the eye- with shaggy black hair and a mismatch of robes. Sera recognised Kourosh Rustami.]
(11:59:01) * Sept left the little doll with a few words of encouragement, meandered his way along the side of the deck and eventually arrived within earshot of the newcomer. "Some meeting, huh?"
(12:03:35) <Minaplo> ["Some meeting." Said Kourosh, his hands tucked in behind his head. He gazed up at the sky, his eyes focused on the little pinpricks of starlight begining to appear as the sun faded into the west.-
(12:05:30) <Minaplo> [Kourosh took a wedge of cheese out of his pocket and nibbled on it.]
(12:10:12) * Sept stared at him for a moment before taking a neighboring seat and fixing his eyes on the scenery.-
(12:10:25) <Sept> "You should probably eat regular meals instead of doing that. Also, it's weird."
(12:13:06) <Minaplo> ["Nah."]
(12:13:54) <Sept> "Suit yourself."
(12:15:43) <Minaplo> ["Cool." He nibbled on the cheese.-
(12:15:45) <Minaplo> ["Want some?"]
(12:20:25) <Sept> "No, thanks. I had dinner."-
(12:20:31) <Sept> "You knew Dorian, right?"
(12:21:39) <Minaplo> ["Yeah."]
(12:22:59) <Sept> "Any different back then?"
(12:25:26) <Minaplo> ["Human, for starters."]
(12:26:13) <Sept> "Good to know."
(12:30:29) <Minaplo> ["Who was the Dorian you knew?"]
(12:35:42) <Sept> "Dunno. A bit bitter, but good at his job, I guess. Guess I'm asking if he was happier at any point?"
(12:36:54) <Minaplo> ["He was a lot bitter when I knew him, so I think you got the better end." Said Kourosh. "He was brilliant, though. And scary."]
(12:39:52) <Sept> "Scary is pretty accurate. I probably made it easy for him, but still."
(12:40:22) <Minaplo> ["How'd you make it easy for him?"]
(12:42:45) <Sept> "I was easy to surprise? How much of the war have you followed?"
(12:43:42) <Minaplo> ["All of it."]
(12:47:18) <Sept> "But how closely? Did you actually have sources close to us?"
(12:48:40) <Minaplo> ["You saw Leon, right?"]
(12:50:18) <Sept> "What do you mean, saw him?"-
(12:50:46) <Sept> "Oh, at the meeting? No, I pay attention," Sera lied. "How long has that been going on?"
(12:51:03) <Minaplo> ["Since before NERV."]
(12:56:46) <Sept> "Ah. How? Through Dorian? Or the Caines?"
(13:55:39) <Minaplo> ["Dorian. Leon was part of his command during Impact's pacification wars."]
(13:59:40) <Sept> "Ahh. So he was used to the sort of advisory position earlier, too."
(14:02:59) <Minaplo> ["He was one of Dorian's most dependent generals. I ended up working with Leon as much as Dorian."]
(14:07:03) <Sept> Sera squinted at him. "How old were you then?"
(14:08:58) <Minaplo> ["Ten, eleven."]
(14:09:37) <Sept> "How'd that work out?"
(14:14:22) <Minaplo> ["It was alright. Hardly could be worse than Impact."]
(14:16:14) <Sept> "Suppose it wouldn't have been, no."
(14:18:55) <Minaplo> [He nibbled on his cheese.]
(14:19:43) <Sept> "This place is good at night, you know."
(14:22:38) <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh. good for the stars."]
(14:23:03) <Sept> "And city lights."
(14:27:59) <Minaplo> ["Hm?"]
(14:31:24) <Sept> "City lights. They look cool."
(14:31:44) <Minaplo> ["Oh."]
(14:34:17) <Sept> "Wanna talk about your issues with Elisha?"
(14:35:56) <Minaplo> ["What's led you to ask?"]
(14:39:08) <Sept> "I talked to Yanmei yesterday, but that jab in the meeting was provocation enough."
(14:40:38) <Minaplo> ["Oh."-
(14:44:27) <Minaplo> [Kourosh considered the stars for a few long seconds.-
(14:45:34) <Minaplo> ["Sure, then."]
(11:36:25) <Sept> "Is there anything in particular you want or don't want to discuss?"
(11:40:44) <Minaplo> ["I don't want to discuss Dariush, Holly, the Khan, Mary, Ephraim, or Serafina."]
(11:42:28) <Sept> "Why not?"
(11:44:03) <Minaplo> ["'Cuz I don't?"]
(11:44:48) <Sept> "You don't want to discuss why you don't want to discuss them?"
(11:45:11) <Minaplo> ["You got it."]
(11:51:40) <Sept> "I'm good at that kind of stuff. So why do you think he's an asshole?"
(12:02:02) <Minaplo> ["He triggered Second Impact." Said Kourosh. "And ruined my hometown."]
(12:02:58) <Sept> "Couldn't someone who wasn't an asshole do that?"
(12:06:58) <Minaplo> ["No."]
(12:12:15) <Sept> "Oh. Alright." Sera paused, reclining.-
(12:12:21) <Sept> "Sorry about your hometown?"
(12:15:56) <Minaplo> ["Mm."]
(12:28:09) <Sept> "Well, I can understand that. Obviously."-
(12:28:21) <Sept> "How'd you get Yanmei to go along with this?"
(12:44:18) <Minaplo> ["Maybe you should ask Yanmei."]
(12:48:53) <Sept> "I doubt she'd give me the whole story. If you won't, either, that's fine."
(12:52:42) <Minaplo> ["Here's the thing- I didn't 'get' Yanmei to go along with anything. All I do is offer suggested courses of action; she alone chooses which one to take."]
(12:59:59) <Sept> "You just suggested you should take command of our most important battlefront and be prime minister, then?"
(13:02:00) <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
(13:03:58) <Sept> "Not fucking likely."
(13:10:33) <Minaplo> ["You could stand to give Lady Zhang a little more credit." Said Kourosh mildly. "The ultimate authority lies with her and her alone. I cannot coerce or force her to do anything; at best, all I am capable of doing is attempting to persuade, and if she chooses to be persuaded, then so it goes."]
(13:16:46) * Sept glanced over at Kourosh from his deck chair.-
(13:16:47) <Sept> "Really?"
(13:19:40) <Minaplo> ["Really."]
(13:21:52) <Sept> "Very well…"
(13:28:31) <Minaplo> [Kourosh was silent. He studied the stars.]
(13:42:33) * Sept shifted uncomfortably in his seat, meanwhile. "Yanmei said you make predictions. What kinds of things do you think I should ask you for advice on?"
(13:44:18) <Minaplo> ["Whatever worries you the most."]
(13:46:06) <Sept> "Uh huh."
(13:49:36) <Minaplo> [Kourosh continued to studied the stars silently.]
(13:52:28) * Sept hopped off his chair and stretched. "I'll get back to you once you've proven yourself, then."
(13:54:15) <Minaplo> ["Sure. Want a reading to go?"]
(13:57:06) <Sept> "Of what?"
(13:57:13) <Minaplo> ["The stars."]
(14:00:48) <Sept> "What? Is that what you do?"
(14:01:30) <Minaplo> ["One of many things." Said Kourosh happily.]
(14:02:01) <Sept> "… Alright. Go ahead."
(14:16:36) <Minaplo> ["As you can see, Mercury has moved from the Encampment- a Mansion of the Tortoise- into the Net, which is a Mansion of the Vermillion Bird of the South." Said Kourosh. "Furthermore it is at an inauspicious, rigid angle with Mars, which is currently brighter. Since both the Encampment and the Tortoise are of winter, Mercury was once strong, but now it is in a hostile mansion of summer.
(14:16:36) <Minaplo> Furthermore, Mars is a symbol of fire. It could not be clearer: the stars are saying that soon, a great general of winter will be burned by fire within the Net of the Vermillion Bird."]
(14:20:32) <Sept> "How appropriate," said Sera drily. "Until next time, Kourosh."

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