Rugal - Filthy Acts At Reasonable Prices

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Description: The Sky Noah approaches Castle Illyria. It's cargo in tow? The Bernsteins, bringing untold riches. Their goal? A mere vacation, with some light interest in business ventures within the Kingdom. While the arrival of Rugal is tolerated, Leo Whitefang makes sure to greet the infamous crime lord personally, to ensure there is no funny business with his visitors.

The Sky Noah eases upon the landing strip within the Illyrian valley.

The massive airship had navigated the pass well enough; if the weather was any less clear it might have made trouble. The airship itself is a large, pill-shaped red vessel with navigation wings on the sides. A large vent sits on the far side, providing its steady propuslion. The front of the airship was lined with observation windows all along side it. It's base was somewhat flat, with four large engine vents at the base of it, giving it lift. A number of lights and scanners were also present, though there at least seemed to be a lack of visible weapons. It was the family vessel for the Bernsteins; and it had been flying over the Illyrian valley for about half an hour now, the communication back and forth with the air control about -where- they would and could land, and what they would expect on arrival. Why the last minute confusion?

Well, it wasn't invited.

The best the whole of Illyria would have is the anouncement across a broad range of radio channels that Rugal Bernstein had arrived. He had brought his family, and he had come for business and pleasure high up in the Illyrian valley. Now, having reached it, the vessel was docked, anchored with long cables that were strapped down by the crew. From it's base, a long, elegant staircase extends step by step, magnetic pads letting each step stretch out. After the last step reaches the bottom of the strip, a long velvet carpet rolls out upon it, lined with gold thread on each side. Once -that- has reached the base, finally, the man himself appears.

Rugal Bernstein.

He is a striking blonde haired man with a thin mustache. Emerging from the entrance at the base, he is is dressed in a formal suit of crimson in jacket and slacks. A white dress shirt is underneath his jacket, and the red jacket carries a red trim. He dons a modest bow tie around his neck, and fingerless black gloves on each hand. While the man might be overdressed, he is no less imposing; Towering over 6 feet tall, every step he takes radiates incredible power and authority. One of his eyes is a bionic red; it seems to have been replaced with cybernetics. Arms behind his back, chest out, he has the faint smirk on his lips as he descends to Illyria. Ready to not only make his first impressions.

But receive them as well.

Leo "BEEEF" Whitefang says, "Convenient that Ky is busy with diplomatic overtures elsewhere. He's better at this sort of thing but of course I have to deal with it."

"H--It's certainly very impressive."

"...The airship? Or do you actually mean Rugal Bernstein?"

"Yes...Second King."

The conversation occurs upon the landing strip, where a hastily prepared arrival entourage has been assembled to greet the arriving legendary figure. The one paying compliments to the Sky Noah and it's master is a dark skinned young woman, one of the strategic operators of the Illyrian War Room. The grumpy speaker none other then Leo Whitefang, dressed in a manner that seems almost casual in contrast to Rugal's own appearance, eschewing the more kingly attire of the past for a white open collared shirt, black waist coat, bown trousers and a long trenchcoat that still possesses that signature fur collar from before... The two men fare the same in overall height though Rugal seems distinctly more solid then even Leo's imposing physique.

The entourage with them consists of Illyrian knights and Sacred Order templars who -are- formally armored and dressed in their silver, blue and gold trappings. Two larger hammer wielding nights, their weapons glistening with Illyrian magitech, flank the waiting Second King and his assistant while a small troop of standard sword bearing soldiers wait behind them.

"There's also a considerable NOL bounty on him of nearly maximum rank. Let's try to save the compliments for after we figure out why he is here and what he has to say." notes Leo towards the operator as he studies Rugal, arms comfortably folded. Finally, once Rugal crosses a certain distance, Leo steps forward to greet him, crossing the rest of the way to meet the man face to face.

"Welcome to Illyria, Mr. Bernstein. My name is Leo Whitefang. Your reputation precedes you and carries considerable weight..." translation - we don't just do this for anyone - "A surprise visit of this caliber is certainly one for the record books.""


"Convenient that Ky is busy with diplomatic overtures elsewhere. He's better at this sort of thing but of course I have to deal with it."

"H--It's certainly very impressive."

"...The airship? Or do you actually mean Rugal Bernstein?"

"Yes...Second King."

The conversation occurs upon the landing strip, where a hastily prepared arrival entourage has been assembled to greet the arriving legendary figure. The one paying compliments to the Sky Noah and it's master is a dark skinned young woman, one of the strategic operators of the Illyrian War Room. The grumpy speaker none other then Leo Whitefang, dressed in a manner that seems almost casual in contrast to Rugal's own appearance, eschewing the more kingly attire of the past for a white open collared shirt, black waist coat, bown trousers and a long trenchcoat that still possesses that signature fur collar from before... The two men fare the same in overall height though Rugal seems distinctly more solid then even Leo's imposing physique.

The entourage with them consists of Illyrian knights and Sacred Order templars who -are- formally armored and dressed in their silver, blue and gold trappings. Two larger hammer wielding nights, their weapons glistening with Illyrian magitech, flank the waiting Second King and his assistant while a small troop of standard sword bearing soldiers wait behind them.

"There's also a considerable NOL bounty on him of nearly maximum rank. Let's try to save the compliments for after we figure out why he is here and what he has to say." notes Leo towards the operator as he studies Rugal, arms comfortably folded. Finally, once Rugal crosses a certain distance, Leo steps forward to greet him, crossing the rest of the way to meet the man face to face.

"Welcome to Illyria, Mr. Bernstein. My name is Leo Whitefang. Your reputation precedes you and carries considerable weight..." translation - we don't just do this for anyone - "A surprise visit of this caliber is certainly one for the record books."

"The pleasure is all mine."

The words are deep, arrogant. Rugal takes his final step down on the earth, returning his greeting with an extended hand, his smirk cutting a mite sharper on the corner of his mouth. He was only slightly taller than the king, a point of confidence he bore intensely as he strides at Leo with precise control. He would grip that man's hand to shake it; he would assert nothing less. "I will skip my introductions. You know who I am. And this is a momentuous occasion for all of us; that the day Rugal Bernstein graced your kingdom will forever be in your history books. " A gleam flares in his bionic eye.

"And it's only just a Tuesday."

From high above, porters begin to carry heavy chests and trunks on the long walk below. "I will keep this brief. I have come because I have heard Illyria is rich in beauty, wealth, and power,and I wish to see this land prove all to me." He casts his gaze upon one of the two knights. His bionic eye flares with red energy, as he pulls away his hand. Striding forward, he stares fiercely at the knight, an inescapable hunger spreading over his face as he reaches out to touch the head of the hammer with his finger tips. "I have never seen this before, this craftsmenship."

"What are their weapons, King?"

To his credit, Leo maintains a practiced expression of polite neutrality to Rugal opening monologue and magnanimous statements. In truth, he's just shy of realizing that he's looking at some sort of reflection of himself in some ways. The sense of self worth and confidence is something with which he's quite familiar with. These mannerisms, the curiosity about matters close to the heart. There is an odd likeness here that the Illyrian Operators and knights sense but wisely remain silent on.

But such ruminations are only flickers in Leo's mind as he watches Rugal move forward towards the Illyrian knights. He makes no effort to stop him but he watches him with an impassive look to his face while also giving the knight a subtle glance to ease up as the large armored figure begins to go on guard at Rugal's uninvited approach.

"Convict Hammers." he explains, turning towards Rugal as his hands fold behind his back, "The enhanced strength and protection goes without saying but, trained in our magical arts, the armor and weapons offers the ability to enhance the offensive strength of others via an extended aura and to also dispel magical harmful magical curses. The hammer itself is charged with the ability to amplify and emit powerful kinetic charges for a wide radius upon striking a subject or the earth."

Leo approaches slowly and looks to directly to Rugal, intent on capturing and holding his gaze as he explains further, "The Sacred Order was mandated with the protection of the world against supernatural incursion and magical threats when we worked as an extension of a conjoined effort put forth by Interpol and The Vatican. You could say that the development of magitech is one of our fortes... But surely you didn't come here for something so mundane as weaponry.."

For a moment, there is a flicker of anger.

Rugal faces back towards Leo, posture straight as he keeps his fingers delicately on the hammer. "I have already spoken clearly on what I've come for, King. Beauty, wealth, and power." The glimmer fades, as his body loosens slightly. He turns back to the hammer, bringing his other hand to wrap around the pole. He does not rip it free from the guard. He only wanted to look upon it, and see what Leo described. "My family has come to enjoy the beauty of Illyria. I've come to find her wealth, and what opportunities of profit there is, and it's power... I had thought that the NOL would have taken away all. They really are all talk and nothing to show for it. A paper tiger of the worst stripes. And to you, weapons such as these are... mundane." A sneer spreads across his lips for a moment, a deep laugh rumbling from with his chest. It dies away with the sneer, returning to the smirk.

"I cannot wait to test you." He purrs, almost as much to the hammer as to Leo. "I absolutely must have some of this incredible craftsmanship. If not the artists, then at least the art pieces themselves. It is an -entire- nation of virtuosos!" He releases the hammer, returning it to the guard. "I am eager to hear what your country needs, what prices you demand." The porters finally reach the bottom of the strip, though the caravan of trunks still haven't reached an end. One by one, the first of the line is placed before the King. The Bernstein strides over, and pulls open the lid. "Ah! Gifts, for my hosts!" He flips the lid open, revealing crates loaded with wines. Rugal pulls one out, and the Bernstein carries it to Leo, presenting it as one might a baby. "These are my finest vintages; I have come deep into my private stock but Kings demand only the most extravagant of gifts for the privilege of their presence." Leaning in closer to Leo, he briefly dips into German, speaking just above a whisper in the Teutonic tongue.

<"It's a bit sweet for my tastes, but it's impossible to replicate the taste of the Rhineland anywhere in the world">

<A truth that you will hear no arguement from me on..> responds Leo, smoothly, while allowing the first hint of a smile to crease his expression as he accepts the extravagant gift and looks it over with appraising and appreciative eyes. One might think that Rugal's antics are chipping away at the Second King's guarded interaction with the Bernstein. A certain kind of flamboyance and power that is effective against those who appreciate such things. Iron sharpens iron and all that.

But then one simply has to remember the flash of anger a mere instant before and the aura of a warrior seeking to test yet to be discovered limits. The ease at which Rugal dangerously invades the personal space of the towering Convict Hammer and even reaches for the weapon. Leo's smile is sincere but behind his eyes remain an iron clad lion king ready to defend his pride. But he well remembers the bodies of Sacred Order soldiers left in the wake of Ramlethal's attack so for now, Rugal must be allowed his play.

"Those who respect the bounty of Illyria are welcomed to partake with open arms. There is deep and ancient magic in this place that the Sacred Order guards and cultivates. I use the word 'mundane' not to describe the miracles that lay in this land but rather that we're so much more then the weapons we possess. I see you undrestand that so I can appreciate wanting to experience it first hand."

He hands the bottle off to an attendant and turns back to Rugal, "As to the NOL..they have good reason to stay out of here. We've some things in common there. Let's just say I keep watch for hunters looking to get famous, if I'm out and about."

Leo turns and waves towards the flourishing city and the castle beyond, "I will give you a tour of Illyria Castle and we can talk further."

Rugal tilts his chin up, as Leo responds in his own German.

There were always those flashes of power, of strength, of ambition. As the bottle is handed off, Rugal listens intensely. As he mentions what they have in common, Bernstein scoffs a short click of the tongue. "With the strength of you and your army, a man would be a fool to threaten you. Between the power of your men, and the power of their... creations." He casts a glance around at the attendants, the soldiers. He makes a mental count of them. "The castle, yes. I will join you in a moment. Let me ensure these... servents are kept on task." He turns away from Leo.

In his line of sight was a single servant, who had made the decision that moment to take but a second's rest from lifting the trunk.

Rugal is on him immediately. Looming over the porter, the man looks up, his face ashen. His bionic eye flaring with power, the man grabs the shoulder of the one porter. Rugal stares down, leaning in to speak into his ear. "Ensure the rest of the deliveries make their mark. Inform the children that I am working, and I won't be attending to them. They are free to do..." Rugal releases the man, the force sending the servant to the ground. The Bernstein shakes his head dismissively, turning back to follow after Leo.

"Whatever they do now."

Rugal quickly returns at the flank of Leo's side, keeping himself slightly ahead of the King as he raises his head. The pair approach the city and castle beyond, as Rugal leaves the airship behind, as the caravan of trunks continue to become unloaded on the ground, and now crates were beginning to become unloaded. "I have read stories about the origins of this place. About fairy tales come to life, and the riches you found beneath it. I refuse to believe those stories. While we walk to the castle, tell me what really happened."

"And where the lies end, and the truth begin!"


In her chambers, Rose stands in front of an opulent full length mirror. She turns this way and that as her small cadre of handmaids cycle clothing choices in front of her. One brings something entirely too fancy.

"No, no! Father said we were going to be enjoying the sights and possibly playing golf. I need something sporty and comfortable yet fitting of who I am!"

"Of course, Miss Rose. I apologise."

Moments later. ... Oh fine, it's like ten minutes later. Rose descends the gangplank in perfect preppy poise, given the old Bernstein twist. A short sleeved red polo shirt, a perfectly proper length black tennis skirt and white tennis shoes. These clothes still likely cost more than someone's car.

As she hits the bottom of the ramp, the nervous looking servant cringes his way towords her, and she frowns slightly. "What is it?"

"M-miss Rose, your father sent me to tell you that he is, ah, working, and that you and Master Adelheid are, um, free to do as you will."

Many things flit through Rose's red eyes. Disappointment. Hurt. Disgust. The slot machine of emotions lands on the old Bernstein tradition: Fury. Rose's is cold like boiling ice. "I see," she says quietly. Distantly, as she stares off towards the castle. The servant fidgets, looking nervous.

She stares away for a long series of moments, the man growing ever more nervous until she rounds on him. She is not as physically Present as her father, but her temper is no less terrifying. "What are you still doing here?! Get back to work!" Her hands curl into claws, but she doesn't swipe like a hurt and betrayed cat at the man. Barely. For the moment, she stays out of the workers' way and stares at the castle, her expression a mix of hurt and the kind of acceptance that comes from this happening all the time. It's an old feeling. Comfortable and crushing at the same time.

THere's not much Leo can do about pyschological abuse per se so he's left to simply watch from a distance as Rugal handles his errant servant. His expression returns to a neutral one once more. A studious expression over one casting judgement though those near to him and who know him well can undoubtly sense the frustration mounting within. Eventually, though, diplomatic courtesy is once again on the table and Leo steps aside to allow Rugal to take the lead for now.

It is the line of questioning that causes the first true raising of the Second King's eyebrow though not his ire. He looks on, curious now, before considering his words. Then:

"They say truth is stranger then fiction, Mr. Bernstein. With your capabilities and interests, surely there being some validity to the stories you've no doubt heard through appropriate channels shouldn't be too far fetched to consider. I will tell you this - if it sounds strange, believe it. As I said before, there is magic in this land and the Sacred Order does not utilize it or dwell here lightly."

He slows the walk, expecting Rugal to do so as well and if he does not - well - the doors of Illyria Castle aren't opening without Leo there to do so.

Coming to a stop, his arm raises to point to the highest tower of the castle, "An ancient power attempted to summon a deadly attack against the rivers of magic that circle the Earth. An attempt to drastically alter the laws of nature and make this realm more condusciver for them to rule. We stopped her while also preventing the NOL from obtaining the resources here."

It's not exactly a secret though the spcifics of the ancient technology seeded throughout this land, made to channel said power, goes unmentioned. For obvious reasons.

"We have footage of the battles.." he adds, "..among other things.."

Rugal does not even look back at his Rose.

Oh, he was aware. He would dote on her later. And she would forgive him, after he properly spoiled her of course. He does, as a matter, stop to let Leo go ahead to deal with the subject of doors open. The Bernstein was well aware that if he wanted doors to open for him in Illyria, he would have to rely on King Leo. "I have seen some of them. Your confirmation is sufficient in clarifying their accuracy. So the Sacred Order not only saved the world, but have made themselves caretakers of the power they claimed.

"You are keeping this power from the world, though."

His eyes gaze up to the tower that Leo points to. "And that cannot stand. Not for the world's sake. Not for mine. Not for yours. But you are a wise and just King, aren't you? What power and technology are you willing to part, King Leo. Surely you must be thinking of the economics of running a nation. If there is no trade, there is no growth, and the people are left wanted. Or should be left wanting." Rugal rests a hand on the stone wall of the castle grounds, pressing his fingers on that now.

"Or is this ancient power so great, as to make you self-sufficient."

He traces his fingers on the grooves of the masonry, inspecting it intently. "I have seen no beggers, oh King. No slaves or drudges. No poverty. No starvation. And I -saw- poverty when I came in. Your neighbors, suffering in their filth and misery. But not here. Not in Illyria. There are only hard working people, only a few of them, and..." He turns back from the wall, looking at Leo. The bionic eye gleams.

"... What almost look like 'other things', King Leo."

Saying 'It's Complicated' is too easy an answer. Perhaps. Even though it is true. As such, Leo simply studies Rugal and listens, allowing the man his examination of castle and nation and his presumptions.. Neither verifying nor denying the accuracy of his words and summations of the situation. Instead, he simply remains patient... which comes surprisingly easy to him. For all his boisterous appearence and over confident, loud and even - to some at least - intimidating antics at times, Leo is known for being fairly pragmatic, level headed and cautious. There is no riling up of him but there is a slight narrowing of the eyes as the line of questioning and critical examination continues. Then:

"Illyria's gates are open, Rugal those willing to treat with us and not everyone is. The world is fracturing at an increasingly rapid pace and lines are being drawn in the sand that gravely impact what a single newborn nation is able to do but..tell me..what are these 'other things' that you think you may be seeing..?"

"Other things. Why, how rustic your kingdom is."

Rugal steps up to Leo, approaching him. "It's practically medieval. Pastoral." At the comment of the work fracturing, the Bernstein lets loose a sneer, looking up to the sky. There is a strange pulse around him, the weight of his aura suddenly... spiking. His muscles twitching. Was he about to fight? No, he clenches his hand in a fist, and with that, the strange aura fades. "I see so much potential in Illyria. Tourism. Growth. Factories lining the hillsides, crafting hundreds and thousands of artifacts. Crafts, magitek. The economic potential of your kingdom is magnificent. ANd with the right investments, the correct men and women working on it, well. Wealth doesn't matter to you. But what about humanitarian aid? My children are well engaged in humanitarian efforts. My daughter is hosting her own Rising Star for the sake of the underprivileged now, in fact. Can you not see the potential this land has in cultivating its strength, and what it can do with it?" Rugal seemed less hostile, but his stance, his presence around Leo was not yielding. It was challenging with every breath, every step. ANd yet, he extends a hand out to Leo, attempting to hold him on the shoulder.

"What was your business before the Sacred Order, King Leo."

"One rarely stops being an accountant and suddenly decides to be a dedicated knight-officer in interpol. I've spent most of my youth invested in mastering my abilities and drawn towards matters of war and protecting others and being thrilled by the potential of adventure. When I had my chance, I took it and walked the path to where I'm at now. I'm sure boring side jobs bussing tables or stocking shelves are of no consequence here."

Leo's own demeanor seems to then change. It seems the time of the courtship has ended and all pretense must be tossed aside. The pressure from Rugal bolsters him, the aura roiling up against his own intensity..and he moves forward aggressively to meet it:

"You are, of course, correct on much here. I don't deny your words, Rugal Bernstein and your children's efforts are commendable.." Leo meets Rugal's gaze wit his steely eyes, unblinking even in the glare of the cyborg eye "Have you not considered..that you are only seeing what I -want- you to see and sensing what I -want- you to sense? You have a critical eye but no one lays all its cards on the table for all to see at a glanhce. Rest assured that we have plans, a timeline, and efforts under way. Where you can potentially fit into those plans? Well...that we can discuss."

Leo smiles now, eyes opening abit wider now, "...IF possible of course. Because you and I both know that the bounties on our heads by the NOL are there for very different reasons and as tempting as any offer is to assist in cultivating Illyria's strength may be - it can't be at the risk of dragging Illyria somewhere it doesn't belong."

It was time to cast away polite diplomacy.

"You cannot deny my words the same way you cannot deny any other absolute truth of this universe." Purrs Rugal, refusing to break his gaze from Leo, his grip firm upon the shoulder of the King. Strength is met with equal strength, as the power of the two men intermingle and begin to build. Rugal does not seem taken aback by Leo's boldness. No, he seems to hunger it, the show of defiance invigorating him. Every accusation against his character was true, and even more terrible. Sneering eagerly at Leo, his voice booms as he delivers his rebuttal.

"Even now you let NOL drive your choices for -your- kingdom!?"

Rugal doesn't release his grip from Leo nor breaks his gaze, though he shifts his feet and stance slightly, to come at Leo's side. "I expected strength and greatness from the leadership of Illyria, not the humbled helplessness of a man twisting in the fates of a broken world. I am your opportunity, here and now, with wealth beyond measure, and the power to bring your Kingdom to the fore front. And even now you hesitate!" Rugal sweeps his arm out, as with the full force of his very strength could pull away the mountains and show all that sat beyond the valley. He would not take away his gaze from Leo when he does so. "Imagine! Your neighbors sharing in your rich wealth, as the engines of Illyrian industry fuel the end of poverty and anguish. Imagine the borders of Illyria stretching across all of Europe, ruled under true wisdom, true strength. The United Kingdoms Of Illyria, with this place sitting at it's capital. And instead, you sit in a valley, squandering your potential, fat on your plunder, declaring your cowardice as wisdom against risk!? I expected a King of Illyria to bear a heart of a LION, not of a lamb." He finally releases Leo, stepping back, his sneer turning into one of disgust, of shame.

"How can you call yourself a King if you are afraid to lead your country to greatness?"

The first spark of anger seems to flare in Leo's eyes but he remains more or less composed. His mouth quirks a little, lips pulled tight as he strains to refrain from allowing his rising annoyance to break through to the surface. A slight twitch here and there but for the most part he remains ...well..not serene but..composed.

Because the reality is that..Leo has already thoguht about much of this. That there -are- things he's implemented behind closed doors, deep in the sanctums and depths of the ancient but dormant halls of magic and chi that lay under the earth and were at the heart of the war that brought Illyria to heel. There is ambition and a movement towards effecting the world and becoming visibly more then what they appeaer to be on the surface. Orders he's issued that he hasn't even brought to the First King et with a 'Do it first. Ask for forgiveness later.' approach. Pehraps even his suggestion of Dizzy considering stepping out into the public to make her case to the world was partially sub consciously influenced by this.

And this bothers Leo greatly. Because he's -sounded- like Rugal and Rugal has unintentionally shined a mirror into Leo's face and this is now serious problem. "Because a king is more then just a king for their own sake. A lion is no king without his pride and I will not drive these people into ruin in search of -my- personal greatness. I don't need that form of validation." Leo takes a deep breath and then turns towards Rugal, stance more aggressive now,

"Illyria sits on power, there's no question about that. But it not the NOl that causes us to proceed at a pace slower then perhap's -you- approve's that we are not just a young nation but a shelter for those who have no other place, who have fled war and oppression and who seek a better beginning. What you suggest requires we be ready to turn out engines of innovation into war because be assured the world would come for us and our allies long before it heeled to any utopian vision. We've already seen what happened when the run away power of the atom was unleashed. Do you -really- want to see a magical arms race begin?"

He probably does.

"Let's try this again. -What- do you want to offer to Illyria and -what- do you want in return?"

Rugal saw himself in every mirror, for people had little else to imitate him in his mind.

ANd yet, Leo exposes his own virtues, and against Rugal, exposes the Bernstein's ambitions. Rugal sees the blackness in his own heart, and revels in it like a ripe and delicious fruit. "What you have is beyond the power of a hundred million Nuclear power plants. This is the power to command even the gods! But no, no. You still do not see." His crimson eye flares with power once more. For a moment, his chest swells. Was he wasting his time with this fool? Should he cutter his way to the next phase? He unleashes the most confident smirk yet. "But yes. Yes."

"Lets try this again."

He steps aside, giving himself some space between himself and Leo. FOr a moment, it looked like he was almost ready to begin to attack. Instead, he looks at the ground before them. "Suppose that you were sitting down at a table." Rugal sweeps his arm around, as if the table was all around, gesturing firmly. "I am here, with my son and daughter, your commanders at the table. The napkins are in front of you. Tell me." He points at Leo. "Which napkin would you take?" He raises his left arm, and then his right. "The one on your left? Or the one on your right? Etiquette demands that you must take the one on your left side. That is correct. Of course, you can take the right one as well. That is correct too. But in a larger sense on society, both are wrong. What is the truly correct?" He raises a finger.

"The correct answer is that it is determined by the one who takes his or her own napkin first, O King."

"If the first one takes the napkin to their right, then there’s no choice but for others to also take the right napkin. The same goes for the left. Everyone else will take the napkin to their left, because they have no other option. This is society, and the whole of the world is built on this. Who are the ones that determine the price of land first? There must have been someone who determined the value of money, first. The size of the rails on a train track? The magnitude of electricity? Laws and Regulations? Who was the first to determine these things, O King? The UNited Nations? The NOL? Was it all just arbitrary?" He raises his arms, and for a moment, red chi floods over him, a savage font of energy that for a brief flicker, was well beyond any power he had shown before.


The fires die away, and he turns back to his invisible table. "The one who took the napkin first determined all of these things! The rules of this world are determined by who first carries out their ambitions. In a society, a state of equilibrium, once one man makes the first move, everyone must follow! In every era, this world has been operating by this principle." He turns back to LEo, and begins to stride towards him, the slow walk with every step bringing the deep rumbles of indomitable power. "This is what the true society is, O King."

"These are the true laws of the world."

His swaggering stride approaches, as he looks at Leo with an almost feral intensity. "And the one who takes the first opportunity first must be someone who is respected by all. It’s not that anyone can fulfill this role. Those that are weak or unworthy will be scorned. And those are the losers, the fools not worth writing down in any record of history. What I want, King Leo, is to take the first napkin. To begin to tell the world how you build Magitek, to be the first in the world to truly bring it to everyone. What you can offer is simple." ANd he stops short before the King. "Either you join me in taking the first napkin, and controlling the future of your people and the world." And he extends a hand out, expecting Leo to take it.

"Or will you wait to let another to take the first napkin, and let that man decide the fate of you and your people."

"The story telling is grandiose but the metaphor is clear. We should accelerate whatever plans we presently have for our magic derived resources with your aid and in doing so exert control over the world in multiple ways. That about sum it up in a slightly faster less performance driven way."

-Now- Leo's grouchiness surfaces if for no other reason that Rugal's grand standing has reached its limit with him. Not to mention--he ultimately believes he knows what the man wants. Power..and Illyria is merely a tool to obtain it.

"In short, we're not moving fast enough for you. Nevermind I"ve already implied that there are things under way but let's just say my interpretation of this matter. "Nevermind that of course doing so would immediately draw a bullseye on us from the NOL, which does have backing in multiple UN nations, including some Security Council seated ones, and draw us into conflict with them over control of magitech versus Ars Magus... A conflict you'd also be dragged into.."

He does -not- take the hand. But he looks at it long. Thoughtfully. Then--

"You're unfamiliar with our government set up, it seems. My title is king, true enough, but Second King. There is a First King and council support. Whatever is decided..I can't just snap my fingers and make it so right now. But.."

There is a long silence as Leo inclines his head and holds Rugal in his gaze at length before stating: "IF we -were- to work speaking...we would expect to do so only if "R" forswears any illegal and ilicit activities deemed potentially harmful to Illyria and its people through associations, and that those within "R" who are subject to criminal willing to face justice for those they have intentionally harmed..."

The Bernstein's presence only builds the longer Leo hesitates.

He does not recoil away in disgust, in anger. No. Because as long as he held that hand out now, he was bargaining. Leo was doing all the hard work for him. All Rugal needed to do was let him sort out whatever moral quanderies he needed to. When he mentions the other king, the first one, there is no disappointment. ONly opportunities.

Already, he was making his terms clear for -his- support.

"If the NOL was wiser, it would have been more careful of who to place their bounties, with the understanding that it only drives their victims to unite against them." Rugal's sneer fades into merely a smirk, his whole expression softening. "But if we were to work, as you say, with a gentleman's agreement, then your words will be the terms. I accept them all. I understand that it is not a promise of your country... but a promise of you yourself, with your support as I negotiate with the First King and the council. As partners." The hand hangs in the air still, tempting. Toying.

"Will you take the first napkin, O King?"


But Leo will not be forced into making a haste driven decision with this man hovering over him so. He will not be bullied, cajoled or rushed into a proverbial bargain with the devil on the back of speeches, parables, metaphor and -clear- dangerous and unsettling displays of aura and power. Indeed, the tale of the Scorpion and the Tortoise comes to mind. A forged friendship. A unbreakable agreement. Both dead at the end because one's nature simply is his nature.

He will not be the Tortiose.

"The table is still being set, Rugal Bernstein. There's no need to reach for the napkin to start the meal just yet and I will not be pushed into making such a potentially momentual decision at the end of a discussion with a man whom I have just met face to face. You've given me a lot to think on and I"ve not asked you to simply leave and turn you down so that -should- be enough for you right now.."

He leans forward now, peering at the man more closely. They are near enough in height, really a scant centimeters of difference, such that it is an eye to eye exchange as Leo studies the man.

" would be willing to forgoe ill doings and potentially answer for others in order to obtain an alliance with us? To change the entire direction of "R" to suit Illyria's needs and leave your old world behind and all that would come with that decision?"

Rugal, briefly, considers driving his extended hand into the man's chest.

It plays across his mind. Driving the hand in, completely through the chest. And then, allow his foul power flow inside him. But never breaking his gaze from his eyes. It wouldn't kill him. But the agony would satisfy him. It was only a thought. That thought almost dominates his body, and there is a gleam in his other eye as it almost turns completely white- "Are you hesitating because you do not trust my words, King Leo?" He speaks directly, only the faint shadow of the pure wrath of his tainted blood come out with the weight of his words.

"Or is the true strength of your heart coming forth?"

He shuts his eyes, shrugging his shoulders slightly. "If I promise twice, will you need a third? If I offer my daughter, will you demand my son? I have worked with many men like you before, O King. They are eager for plans and ideas. But when it comes to commit, they lack the courage and will to accept the risk." He tut tuts quietly, shaking his head. "I am not convinced you have the strength to be my partner in leading this world into a magi-industrial revolution." Rugal begins to pull his hand away. "But you have given me much to think about as well, as I ensure my vacation here. Maybe it would be simpler to get the First King and the council on my side first, so you ensure you won't ruffle any feathers amongst your peers. But maybe it would be simpler to ask the common folk here about their own personal interests in expanding their horizons, as well as some other things. Or maybe I will be back here, both of us with a change of heart. What is it that they say?" A particularly dismissive leer spreads across his face, as it looks disappointedly at King Leo.

"He who cannot be a good follower, cannot be a good leader."

"You have got to be kidding me. If this degree of arrogance and chaos is truly the real you then I assure you that you will find Ky Kiske a far more disappoiting affair then myself."

Leo's annoyance removes any remaiing pre-tense of cordiality now but he seems less truly annoyed then he is shocked. Surprised. Unbelieving of Rugal's audacity and, from where Leo's stand, lack of grasp on reality.

"Are you so out of touch that you think you can simply drop by, uninvited, into our country, with a reputation as dark and as dangerous as your own, involving weapon trafficking, interests in the occult and who knows what else that has caused you to be on the NOL's own bounty list with nearly the highest level of threat.. -treat- with the -Sacred Order- which was known for its affiliation with The Vatican and Interpol of all things - and then expect their leaders to simply agree to a possible aliance with you after -one visit- regarding ambitions that they have well informed you on the fact that they are already omving in the direction you think you are suggesting to them for the first time? Are you mad?"

Rugal's tenous grip on peaceable behavior is not going unnoticed by the Second King either. He's not unfamiliar with monsters and powerful ones at that.

But...some part of him..had hoped..

"You and yours are welcome to your vacation here.. -peacefully-, Rugal Bernstein. I will not make a move to have you removed.. but perhaps we both need to rethink our strategies here. I was...contemplating how to make this work but perhaps I was ignoring the signs that were clearly there all along. You're more then welcome to speak with the First King as well but I believe this 'audience' is done."

"It is truly real, King Leo."

Rugal states with the air of utter dominance, as he adjusts his cufflinks. There is no anger, no shame. And the smirk spreading on his face almost makes it seem that in spite it all, he had won. But how? "But the only disappoint I have found so far in this beautiful kingdom is you. If you truly believed those stories, then you would have shot me and my children out of the sky. But we know why you didn't. Because the Sacred Order isn't with Interpol anymore, and it isn't with the Vatican. You said it yourself, O King. The bounty may only be on -your- head, but the rest of your kingdom is trapped. You are outlaws and paraiahs. The moment you leave your valley, you are treated no different than I." And he grins, his bionic eye dimming.

"But here, we are equals."

Rugal begins to walk past the King, keeping his composure in check. "And I will not let business interfere with my holiday. Thank you for your hospitality. I can promise that I will make no trouble, but my children are a little strong willed. They are adults. You can deal with them you see fit." He halts in mid step, only half way glancing over his shoulder. "But one more thing. You can decide how long your moral righteousness will carry you forward. But the people know weakness and hesistation. You will learn soon enough the how much of your Kingdom are eager to find their future outside of this valley. Eager to escape the idle boredom of paradise, and explore their potential, their ambitions. Through your hard work, you've granted them peace and propeserty. I will find out if that is enough." Looks back forward, and continues on his way towards the gates.

"And so will you."

Log created on 22:18:32 04/19/2022 by Rugal, and last modified on 23:08:54 04/21/2022.