Description: So NOL has discovered that the Sacred Order has been granting sanctuary to a living weapon of mass destruction. Now's the perfect time to panic! But first - impromptu strategy meeting!
Leo Whitefang has work to do! First - he must update his dictionary. He's already got it out, flipping through it in order to find the proper words to remind him of the characteristics of those he just encountered today. He lingers on "Devil' for a moment..but his Sister is already occupying that space and really, as bad as Relius was he isn't so bad as to replace her position there.
He pages a few more pages back, coming across 'Bambino' and 'Ky Kiske' .. A nickname Leo coined back during their days in training when he just needed a way to vent about Ky's dogged intensity and martial superiority and yet..willingness to encourage others to stride to reach the same goals as opposed to lord such talents over others. Of course he'd never call Ky that now, but it still serves as a reminder for just how Ky can sometimes 'be'.
He considers this as he walks down the halls of the Sacred Order HQ in search of the other knight and then simply closes the book. Maybe he needs to update his dictionary later.
"Ky! Where are you??"
His eyes dart back and forth through the hallways and he does indeed let slip, "Blast. Bambino.."
Where would Ky be in such a time as this? The Knight Captain of the Sacred Order had just been blindsided with knowledge of Dizzy's kidnapping by the manipulative orchestrations of the Library. But how could that have even happened? At first, the stalwart young man, of course, blamed himself. He should have been there. He should have had more of a hand in Dizzy's time here, in the Vatican. He should have... he should have...
But then, he couldn't have, could he?
No. He had been purposefully held up in meetings. Countless meetings and debriefings. His time was dominated to a degree that was excessive and unnecessary, forced to go over again and again his reasoning for his actions on the battlefield in Japan, and his plans for moving forward. In truth, it might seem as if someone within the Holy See had wanted Ky to be apart from Dizzy as much as possible.
And so now, the shitstorm had truly begun. Ky is a great deal many things. Kind. Noble. Just. He's also impetuous and fiery spirited. His voice can be heard throughout the halls of the cloister, feverishly condemning those who he now saw as potential villains conspiring against his good work. He was Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem, and all the Patriarchs, Cardinals, and Archbishops present who had been responsible for his recent laboring were the money changers and merchants.
"Va te faire enculer, fils de pute!" he shouts at a member of the clergy, who stares with cold, dispassionate eyes and a faint, strained smile on his face, but says nothing in return. Ky makes a clicking sound of his tongue against the back of his teeth, and waves the man off dismissively as he turns to walk away, musing quietly, "Merde. The heart of the Church, and not a single scrap of humanity to be found."
Striding out into the main hall of the building, Ky takes a moment to compose himself. The blonde knight is clad in the uniform of the Sacred Order, sans the white overcoat and tabard. Merely the white vestments that come in the form of white pants, and matching firm fitting body suit with black trim and leather straps around his chest and arms which afix to the sleeves, leaving his shoulders bare. He rests his back against the wall, his head leaning back as he looks up at the vaulted ceiling high overhead, trying to regain his composure.
That's when he hears Leo's summons. He calls out in kind, his French accented voice carrying down the hall clearly, "Over here. By the office of Monsignor de la Rosa."
"Why waste your time and energy?" asks Leo as he approaches, arms akimbo and hands splayed open in an exasperated and exaggerated 'whhhyyy' sort of gesture as he sees the exhausted knight commander and discerns the source of his exasperation. "There is no help to be found here, at least not among those you can actually reach and gain any sort of audience with. We are at best weapons of public relations to make photographs look good and exude their interests in helping the rest of the world stay ordered. At worst we're unwanted guests and the prying eyes of Interpol into their affairs."
He shakes his head and folds his large arms as he comes to a stop by the knight, "Simply put it's to late for all that. We're on a ticking clock now, you know. The NOL may not have any international jurisdiction but they -did- gain permission to set the bounties and now that they have Dizzy any number of things could happen. If they report her capture the very United Nations we sought to keep her from will demand her. If they don't and attempt to keep her for themselves then who knows what they may do? They could even go public and spin doctor the situation to make the United Nations and the Order look all the worse, and justify their retaining her especially after the damage they clearly staged to look like was her doing."
Leo considers Ky for a few more seconds and then says more softly, "It's not to late to retrieve her but we need a plan and a place of refuge. You need to be focused, Ky. Sir Undersn is going to be concerned with this Dragon Elise has spoken of. We need to figure everything else out..."
Ky simply lifts a hand to wave off the gesture of why. Because it is the way he is. It's as simple as that. He is a devout man, a man devoted both to his cause and to his God. Because the Church and the God that he reverses has always stood for hope. Even when times are darkest, humanity needs hope. And now, Ky needs to have that faith in the church, that Hope that they will support the Order.
But he cannot wait for it.
"A civilian organization given the right to set international bounties on other civilians. That is a slippery slope. One of those give an inch, and they will take a mile kind of scenarios. What were they thinking? Who would do such a thing?"
There's really only one answer, isn't there? Whoever was behind the corruption of the United Nations and was, at least in part, responsible for all that had happened leading up to this point. That organization.
"We need to get Dizzy back, Leo. Those... people at the NOL... they do not care that she is a sentient being with thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams. They manipulated her, and from the way that Relius spoke, they intend to treat her as an object to be studied. I worry for her safety. I do believe that they will not announce her to the world, because then they will have to have a public showing of what they intend to do with her. They cannot say that they are going to keep her, as that will stir up too much, this soon after the Justice incident in Japan."
Ky's lips draw into a thin, bloodless line as he folds his arms across his chest and captures the taper of his chin between his thumb and the crook of his forefinger. His azure eyes fall to the floor before him. "That should, in fact, buy us some time. Their greed can work for us, as well. I am certain that they will be focused on trying to interfere with our work in the former kingdom of Illyria. They will likely try to claim the dragon. They may be too busy with collecting fae and dragons to even move on their plans for Dizzy immediately."
"It is a slippery slope indeed but it's the situation we find ourselves in. You saw how brazenly they marched their forces into The Holy See?" notes Leo, "If they think they can sway public support in their favor then there's no telling what they will do. I do agree that they may be slow to make a public fuss out of it all, despite the words of that...Relius.." Leo's lips curl slightly as he speaks the mans name, his disgust rather visible. "Public opinion or not, neither NOL nor UN have any 'claim' to Dizzy and if the UN demands her and the NOL refuses compliance then we have another conflict on our hands. " Leo shrugs his large shoulders and then unfolds his arms, "Even if they use the damage done in Rome to their advantage..the forces orchestrating this chaos could care less about 'public opinion'."
Leo breathes and turns slightly, rumbling darkly, "Undoubtly the NOL would rather avoid open hostility with the UN that has nominally granted them some bounty hunting authority as is and so may remain quiet but... the downside of this is that there is no accountability aside from the words of this..Relius..in regards to Dizzy's well being."
Leo quiets and then adds simply, "I rather think anything NOL wishes to do in Illyria we should be prepared to find suspect and oppose it. One thing is certain.. I do not see it ending favorably for us. We need a plan and a sanctuary.." he keeps his voice low as he steps in closer and gestures for Ky to begin moving, as he is eager to return to SO offices, "..We cannot leave Dizzy in NOL hands and we cannot expect to be able to stay here.."
Lifting from his place against the wall, Kiske straightens his shirt as he mulls over what Leo has said. Normally, the keen analytical mind of the strategian knight would be barely challenged by all of this, able to navigate the path to a favorable outcome with little to no difficulty. It was that very mind, after all, that had led him to rise through the ranks as quickly as he had.
But he has too much emotional turmoil invested in this. The sense of betrayal at the Church he was so devoted to. The upset over the loss of Dizzy, whom he had wanted so desperately to save from the exact fate that she now faces at the hands of others. It upsets his equilibrium.
"NOL is unlikely to try to deny the UN, and cause hostility. It is, after all, the patronage of the UN that has afforded them as much leeway as they have been given. I think that they will, rather, try to keep their abduction of Dizzy a secret. That way, they can enjoy their alliance with the UN while still having access to their own Command Gear, bolstering their own power. The problem with that is that, having a Command Gear in their possession potentially affords them the power of an entire nation on their own. In essence, they have become a nuclear power, on par with the United States."
He looks to the bestial man that he's always held in such high regard. His peer, rather than his subordinate. "What would you suggest, then? We cannot exactly go storm the castle in regards to the NOL, nor do we have a refuge outside of this place. The best we could hope for is to find a nation that is unaligned with the UN and beg sanctuary. That list is... not very long, nor is it very favorable. North Korea pretty much sits at the top of it."
"The list is indeed short..but we may need to be prepared to get our hands dirty when all is said and done.." advises Leo..cautiously at that. Between the two of them, he may be more willing to..compromise with less then ideal forces if the final results are ideal. Some thoughts have already come to his mind but there is no sense in burdening Ky with them just yet.
As to where they can go.. Leo is quiet as if contemplating matters before finally saying, "Illyria. It is an option. It would mean we would need to stay one step ahead of the NOL and be prepared to firmly entrench ourselves in with allies ready to keep them out but...it is an option. We can't rely on Interpol. Under pressure our allies will, sooner or later, fold in regards to Dizzy. We'll be seen as an easy sacrifice in order to save their positions and as it relates to future plans. Perhaps it is past time we became an independent force for ourselves and those willing to come along for the ride."
Leo glances around as he walks and then rumbles, "As to Dizzy..you are of course correct. We hardly know where she is in said castle to begin with - but as soon as we find out we should be prepared to move. A quick surgical strike and then an immediate withdraw to our new place of operations.." Leo pauses and then says, "It may fall to other resources to get us the information we need to make this a reality.. Other allies."
"I would prefer not to engender ourselves with the kind of people who are known primarily to the world for their flagrant disregard for human rights. It kind of goes against our entire philosophy of the sanctity of human life," Ky points out. No matter how bad things get, there are always going to be lines that Ky Kiske will not cross. He's not an impractical man, by any means, but he's not as pragmatic as Leo might be.
"Illyria, first off, is not a nation. It hasn't been since the time of the Roman Empire. Currently, that land is part of a few different nations. Are we going to go there as an invasion force, to claim all of Albania and some of the surrounding land as our own sovereign nation, Leo? Is that what we are really considering at this point?"
Could they even consider that? The Sacred Order is a militarized unit, but it is, by no stretch, a full military force. The prospect of trying to engage in outright warfare against a country's standing military, even one as small as Albania's, is still a daunting thing. Not to mention that the UN would likely lend its support, just to spite them.
His voice dips quieter as they speak of Dizzy and surgical strikes. "Do you know of any allies we might have that could even get that information, though? Do we have anyone on the inside who would be willing to help us? I'll admit that my experience with the NOL has not been extensive, and the only one I truly had any real interactions with was Noel, before she... faced Dizzy in Japan. Outside of that, they all seem to be... unsavory sorts and heretical fanatics."
"There is one I would like to reach out to. A Zach Glenn. He was involved when Dizzy first began her forays into the public on her own accord.. He may be able to help. There are others." notes Leo, but he quickly changes gears and frowns mildly,
"But first, Ky, you must use your imagination as well as your tactical skills. Illyria itself may rest in Albania but it presents a new power and an unknown magic that the NOL wants to claim and that the Sacred Order has been warned about in advance by prophetic forces. There is no other place that is an option at present because everywhere else either has ties to the United Nations or NOL is laying its hands out to grab. Illyria represents a new opportunity. If we cannot be ambitious enough to even consider it as a place to back into then we cannot make any moves to secure Dizzy."
Leo's voice becomes slightly sterner now as he peers at Ky, a faint frown on his features, "Lack of preparation is part of what led to this. Did you think we would be able to eternally keep Dizzy here without incident? It took every ounce of diplomatic ability I had, once, to keep her from exploding the entire Vatican because she accidentally mistook a visitor for being involved in the destruction of her village by means of failing to warn them. It is good to do good but without a plan and acting on said plan we court disaster again. You need to be willing to consider more unusual methods -and- alliances. We can always set boundaries not to cross but if you're unwilling to even approach them...?"
He quiets and then adds, "As to NOL's own personnel....you are correct. I experienced similar..but we may have some options there as well...provided they think we are cooperating and also don't give them any excuses to completely shut the door to us. Not threatening to kill them will help with that, by the way..."
"If this Zach can help, then, by all means, contact him and see what he might be able to do," Ky says, giving a faint nod of his head as he folds his hands behind his back, listening to Leo lay out his opinion on Ky's reservations about certain tactics. He does consider the Illyria matter. For a moment. In the end, he cannot bring himself to truly entertain the idea of trying to be an occupying force, rather than a force tasked with providing relief and support. He shakes his head, "I understand your point, but the Sacred Order cannot simply turn up someplace, declare it as a nation and expect to take it by force. That makes us the very kind of villains that we are currently facing in the form of the UN and NOL. That makes us tyrants, Leo. We go to Albania, and present ourselves. Ally ourselves with them, and provide them with safety and expertise. End this... whatever is coming. Earn their trust. They'll let us stay."
He turns his eyes back to Leo when Leo gets stern with him. One thin, blonde brow quirks, but those eyes become as cold as ice. "I had not intended for Dizzy to remain here for long, no. I had intended to have her here just long enough to help her gain some control and understanding of the world, before we presented her to it and showed them that she was neither monster nor weapon, but another human being deserving of the chance at a life and happiness. My plan was to guide her and help her adjust. It was not to be all but detained since we arrived back here, and kept from her as a result. I did not act without a plan, just to be clear."
Finally, Ky sighs and for a moment, he looks defeated. Still, he does retort, about threatening to kill Katarina "My stance on that still stands."
Leo quiets and absorbs the rest of Ky's comments and defense regarding his handling of Dizzy. He nods his head, unable or unwilling to make an argument of it all. At the end of the day there's only so much one man can do and Ky was clearly caught between the need to keep Dizzy secret and the demands the Order placed on him that kept him apart from her. "..I know." Leo admits, "Yes, that was the plan. She progressed far and had made considerable progress. Had it not been for her unfortunante venture into public, none of this likely wouldn't have happened."
Leo does frown, again, to the rest of it. An expression that looks quite normal and natural on his face. "As to Illyria, I did not imply that we would operate without the consent of Albania." Leo shake his head, "Just that we should consider the land an option. It is more then just Albania we deal with. We deal with the magic awakened in Illyria and the forces that are there -and- we deal with NOL. They are coming with us. There's no escape from them at the onset of this."
Leo folds his arms again We'll expected to work together but NOL is going to present their side of things. We need to be ready for the worst case scenario and that means not killing their leadership? She's small fry. Just a Lieutenant that was barking childishly to impress the larger older dog present. I met her before and she did much the same. She needles you and delights in provoking ones temper. Direct your ire where it belongs is all I am saying. I will speak no more of it but trust you to have good judgement..."
"If I had been around, she wouldn't have wandered off as she did. Or, I would have been with her. I could have contained things," Ky says, the frustration causing a tremble to take root just under his voice, though he pushes it down. Too much anger there. Too much resentment for the circumstances behind what feels like a very, very real personal failure on his part.
And that is the real crux of it all. He failed Dizzy. He is responsible for her going out into the world as she did. His absence brought that about. He is responsible for affording the NOL the capability of making contact with Dizzy, and thereby persuading her through trickery and deceit. He bears the weight of blame on his shoulders entirely, and he fears the absolute worst. That the science-obsessed monsters at the NOL will dissect her, examine her piece by piece. Break her down to her base components so they might make replica after replica.
He pushes that thought aside. He cannot indulge it at the moment. "So then what do we do about the NOL in Illyria-turned-Albania? If we let them do their thing, they'll collect all of the magical materials and people that they can procure. Do we stop them? Do we declare open war?"
For now, he leaves the topic of Katarina left untouched. He just gives a faint nod of his head.
Ah, there it is.
"We simply don't let them do as they please. We'll have to have the allies I've spoken of, the Albanian government on our side, and a full understanding of Illyria itself in the hopes it can be the sanctuary we need. That Dizzy needs." offers Leo, "We feign cooperation but stand ready to oppose them. This is a joint operation but it is -our- mission first. If we must use red tape we'll use red tape. If we are forced to use force then we use force."
Leo turns to step away, "I'll let you know if my efforts bear fruit. Maybe you are the one who should speak to Albania, perhaps secretly and perhaps sooner rather than later. Oh and Ky.."
Leo looks over his shoulder, "I know you.." he almost lets the word Bambino slip but holds it and more empathy replaces his annoyance, "..perhaps to well. You are blaming yourself and you shouldn't be. Trust in the entire Sacred Order and trust in the good you have done. Dizzy wouldn't have progressed nearly as far as she did without your intervention. Self sacrifice, putting the good of others before herself. These are the qualities of a holy knight. Why do you think she turned herself in to protect us? Who taught her that? Isn't self sacrifice one of the highest forms of affection? Do not think you failed her. You saved her."
He waves off with a gruff gesture and begins moving away back towards Order headquarters.
Log created on 23:43:13 03/03/2018 by Leo Whitefang, and last modified on 00:57:50 03/11/2018.