Ic: The sun momentarily blinded Ambages as light overwhelmed his lenses. He quickly had to stop and adjust it before walking fully out of the Dark Walk. Instantly, however, he and Ilhamotho found themselves surrounded by Marines. The Vortixx instinctively raised his polearm defensively but Ambages waved it aside and smiled to the lady warriors.
[color=#0000cd;]"Stop right there," one of them commanded. "Who are you and what were you doing in he Dark Walk?"[/color]
"My name is Ambages, an architect and official from Ko-Koro, and this is my companion and bodyguard. I was in the Dark Walk to travel," he explained, his honeyed voice spilling out like the sweet tune from a Le-Koronan's pan flute song. "I am on a diplomatic mission in the name of Akiri Matoro, Chamberlain of the City to speak to Akiri Hahli."
[color=#0000cd;]"The Akiri is under a lot of pressure right now and is extremely busy. It is unlikely she will accept visitors at the moment, especially suspicious ones at that."[/color]
"Yes, I've heard about the recent happenings, and I understand completely. After all that has occurred in the last several months it would be wise to not take everyone who claimed to do good. However, as you can see, I am unarmed and cannot do harm to you or your lady." He opened his overcoat and spun around slowly so everyone could see that nothing was hidden. "I just have an opportunity to present to the Akiri."
[color=#0000cd;]"Then explain why you took the Dark Walk," the woman asked sternly, still unconvinced. "There are safer and less suspicious paths to take if you are who you say you are."[/color]
"Because time is of the essence," Ambages calmly said, "and my offer has a lifespan." He smiled genially. "Besides, I am safe in the company of my friend here. In any case, please, allow me the liberty to have Hahli decide to listen to me or not. If my friend here cannot accompany me then I am content with that condition. But refusing a representative from Ko-Koro's court would not be the wisest thing for the city.
"So. May I enter?" [color=#0000cd;]The guards exchanged pointed glances but slowly thawed in attitude, allowing Ambages to pass."Better be a heck of an offer," one grumbled.[/color]
Smiling, the architect and his bodyguard stepped by and through the city's gates.
* * * * *
It had been years since Ambages had come to Ga-Koro. And it showed. Things looked nicer than they did before, more trim and utilitarian and... safer. The same leafy walkways connected vast lilypads and the huts still bore the same half-cabbage design. But the timelessness of the town was blended with the recent additions Ambages had heard about, the sea forts that ringed the town like points on a star, defending both the village proper and its assets.
The architect looked at the forts with a great degree of interest. Their designs were stout and effective, built on an idea of defense instead of beauty. Ga-Koro, once the town of peace, love and lotus flowers had grown to one well aware of the dangers inherent in that strategy. Times had changed it in ways deemed unimaginable a year before and now it was more stern and... Ambages tried to think of the word... protective. After all, once someone had been ravaged enough by war and violence it had to become more cautious. But unlike Po-Koro, which tried to alienate itself, Ga-Koro was still as welcoming as before. It was just more mature.
"Ilhamotho," Ambages said as he stopped and looked at a pool, "I think it would be best if we were separate for this mission. You'd seem to be my muscle in diplomacy which I can't affort to happen, so I'll have you go your own way for now. Meet me here at sundown, however."
The Vortixx nodded. Say one thing for Ilhamotho, say that he obeyed his orders.
Ambages tossed a coin into the water and watched it sparkle as it descended into the clear blue water. He wished Hahli would hear his offer and take it as she should. Not even Peers were exempt from counting their blessings and the architect was aware that there could be kinks in any plan. He had left his pipe and spirits, his morale boosters, in his apartment and forced himself to find cheer in the salty air. But there was none. Still, he put his typical face on and prepared for the game of thrones.
He strode confidently away from Ilhamotho and towards the village's centre. He was going to speak with Hahli. And maybe, just maybe, secure what he needed.