The heads of various functional Guilds call together an initial meeting to talk about how to tackle the current crises that the players find themselves in.
OOC: This scene starts the building up of the Alliances, and is Invite Only. If you believe you should be in this event, @mail Liminality.
In other words, Krusty didn't want to deal with any kind of responsibility right now.
As they sit down, it's a rather even number of people. The table is round, so there is no particular head to the table. But as they look around and use inspect, they'd find the following names;
Heathcliff, the human leader of the Aincrad Liberation army - a group that has worked incredibly closely with D.D.D. A man with a reputation of never having his shield broken.
Misa Takayama, the first aide to Krusty of D.D.D., known as a military leader, and for her serious skill with her scythe.
Naobi, the Were Fang of the Divine Dragons, who has been critical in gathering information for quite a while in the previous Aincrad climbs.
Gardenia, the scowling blonde sylph, and one of the leaders to the Odysseia Knights - head of a bunch of crazy powerful, but somewhat unruly players.
Silabus, who looks nervous and out of place. A human from Crescent Moon, and the leader to the biggest newbie guild on the server.
Nureha, the mysterious leader of Plant Hwyaden with another series of irregular people under her.
Yuuki, the powerful Imp of the Sleeping Knights. It's said she's gone unbeaten in one-on-one combat to this very day.
Bear, representing Granduer at this time, the enormous mountain of a man with a gentle smile on his face.
William Massachusetts, one of the greatest Raid Leaders in the entirety of the Elder Tale Online Server.
Subaru, the kind-hearted leader of Moon Tree, who clearly is looking for a peaceful resolution.
When Misa comes in, she gets a nod and a look from Heathcliff. There's understanding in his eyes, clearly understanding why she ended up attending instead of Krusty to all of this. Nureha on the other hand has Yuuki quickly get up, motioning for her to come and sit with her at the table.
"S...so, ehmm..." Silabus begins, managing to be the first to speak out, rather remarkably so. "Who called this meeting?" He quickly quiets down as Naobi looks his way.
"This meeting was called, because the people are going to need leadership in this situation. We're a few days in to this event, and it's clear we have not been extracted yet. This means that we may be stuck here for an extended period of time." Heathcliff answers with an authoratative tone.
"Yes. Although several enterprising individuals have taken it upon themselves to gather what information and resources they can, it will quickly become clear that if we forge in too many directions, we risk spreading ourselves too thin." she shakes her head, looking to the combat guilds as well as focusing her attention on Silabus. "I am quite concerned of what may happen if the perils I've seen come to these shores and our newbies and noble crafters are left undefended. We must be the shield that offers them our protection. The ones with experience and foresight."
Misa walks into the hall, wearing her usual uniform-looking attire. Complete with clipboard hugged to her chest in one arm. She receives a knowing nod from the guild leader of the Aincrad Liberation Army. She gives him a knowing look and mildly exasperated shrug, before moving over to take a seat.
Glancing around at those who are present at this round table, Misa recognises some on sight. Others by reputation. Although for the most part, there hasn't been much interaction in the past. The occasional run-in outside a boss room, party up for raids, discussions over sourcing mats. Gardenia does get a nod in greeting though, Misa and her fellow guild members having recently run into and been working with some of the Odysseia Knights during the scouting of Aincrad's first floor. Misa respects the strength of the individuals within that guild.
Upon Heathcliff's explanation of why this meeting was called, Misa nods in agreement, "It is in our best interests to assume that help from outside is not coming. Thus we must look to survive and escape this situation using our own strengths."
Misa turns her head to Nureha as she voices her concerns. The look that she and her fellow combat guild leaders get doesn't go unnoticed, so Misa speaks up, "If a threat is on its way to this region, then we need to be as prepared as possible. In addition to trying to work towards a solution of getting us out of here, the push we've been making into Aincrad Tower has been helping to raise our levels. If a threat does reach us, it will be the combat guilds that defend us." Misa looks around to the other guild leaders, "That is our purpose. We don't have time to waste on exploring mysteries or going on rescue missions."
He then looks towards Nureha as she speaks. "We can have the rest of the players move with us. The Landers can fend for themselves as we travel u the tower." He proposes.
"The areas will get harder and harder. Not everyone is cut out, or willing to go that far." Silabus proposes back, and is about to say more when Subaru adds on; "The world has clearly changed beyond what it was. We can't just go around assuming things are the same. We don't even know how long this is going to take."
Naobi makes eye-contact with Nureha for a moment, in a rather unsettling kind of way that might just raise her heckles. "I think the matter of the Key of Twilight should perhaps be what we discuss first. As miss Nureha remarks on, information gathering is important..."
"The Key of Twilight?" Bear's voice booms, seemingly surprised to hear that name. "I don't think that's something to be discussed out in public like this. Your guild already created enough problems around that thing for years now, and nothing good ever came out of that hunt."
Silabus rapidly looks around as everyone talks. "Ehmm, guys?"
"Sure, the combat guilds will defend the people. But you can't be everywhere at once. Say you get past level 10... say you get to level 75. How long until you get to the bottom if things happen? There's no Chaos Gates." Yuuki remarks. "We do need /some/ information. We can't just blindly claimb."
"Ehmm.. guys?" Silabus tries to interfere again.
Which gets him a look.
Subaru nods at Silabus.
"Sorry, but I am new to this whole 'Guild Leader' thing still." After a year. "I mean, I share the position. But... I spotted something new in the Guild Leader interface this morning. It says Alliance. How about we just all form one big 'Alliance' between all of the guilds? If we all work together and stay in contact, we can clearly just work together on this right?"
She then pauses, taking in stillness and quiet while everyone else talks. She closes her eyes briefly as though taking it all in, pulling the individual strands apart before opening her eyes again. She locks gazes with Naobi, inclining her head in such a way as you would bow to an opponent on a tatami mat, never taking your eyes away. "I believe all opinions are valid, which is why all of us are here.." she replies to Bear. "And the past is just that. What we take with us going forwards.." she curls a lock of hair.
"I believe.. Heathcliff has the right of it, but not quite in the way he believes. Once again.. this problem boils down to logistics. We need goods and services to fuel our investigations, wherever they might be. Landers can provide such things just as easily as Adventurers." she pauses, turns to Silabus and gives him a wide, welcoming, friendly smile. "What an intriguing idea. It seems in a such a system we could all get part of what we want, progress.." she looks at Heathcliff and the Combat guilds. "Challenge." she looks at Yuuki specially. "The opportunity to investigate certain.. sensitive topics." This aimed at Naobi and Bear.
"All I ask is that whatever we do jointly, we support eachother as long as it does not conflict with our primary goals. Say... we may agree to certain basic rules amongst ourselves. Players may.. begin to act erratically as our situation continues." She looks pained at the thought. "I speak of Theft, Player Killing, Taking Advantage of our Resources and our goodwill, attempting to corner markets in an attempt to take advantage of our lower players..." she tsks. "..and I wouldn't want to put the burden of dealing with them on any one of us."
Misa nods in agreement at Heathcliffs words. Silabus counters with the difficulty that some people may not be able to face, Misa points out, "Difficulties are going to rise whether it up the tower or out into the world. The advantage of the tower is that it is a condensed location, meaning travel distances are shorter. It is also more defensible, with choke points literally at every floor in the form of the staircases to the next. If the majority of the player base is within the tower, it will be far easier for the combat guilds to protect them."
Yuuki brings up the issue of travel time from higher level floors down. Misa does admit that it is a valid point, as evidenced by her moving a hand to hold her chin in thought. She then suggests, "Perhaps we can organize a rotating schedule. Some combat guilds focus on defending key areas and levels within the tower, while the others focus on climbing and improving their levels."
Then Yuuki brings up the point of information, so Misa asks, "And where do we get that information? Where do we start? The old man's message. There were few key words in that message, but 'climb the tower' were some of them."
Nureha speaks up logistics, so Misa touches on that point, "The tower has resources. It has places for Landers to set up shops. I don't think we're saying we should completely abandon the rest of the world. But our focus should be here. Shorter supply lines are easier to defend."
And then the suggestion of an alliance comes up. Having been a member of a combat guild and participating in large raids, Misa knows that it's not quite that easy to get a large amount of people to work together harmoniously, "I'm not sure that's feasible. The first question of establishing an cooperative effort like an 'alliance' is deciding on leadership. We have too many alpha types here."
"What's wrong with player killings?" Yuuki asks, "We've had two people resurrect at the church already. And they seem fine." She comments. "We can't stop just having fun. Some players need different outlets than just fighting monsters."
"That kind of behavior is why we can never agree." Subaru is quick to cue in on Yuuki. "We can't have people killing eachother." She almost rises up, only for Bear to put his big hand on her shoulder and try to calm her down.
"The players need leadership. We can't have Resources being mis-allocated. I've already heard rumors of someone trying to start a new merchant operation. That kind of monopoly in the wrong hands could stiffle the appropiate movement up into the tower." Naobi remarks firmly. "Not to mention, as long as the People of the Land hold control over resources, we're running at a severe slowing of what we could be using to get up in the tower." Naobi adds.
"You can't just go taking things from the People of the Land, just because it's more convenient for you." William remarks quickly. "They can support us, and they've clearly got feelings. They've been looking out for us since day one of this... this..."
"Apocalypse?" Heathcliff offers, "I don't think we need to take such extreme stances on the matter..." He begins, before looking to Misa. "But perhaps there should be a tighter knit community on the tower climb. Do you not agree, miss Takayama?" The man is incredibly soft spoken, but has a strange authoratative aura to him. "If we fused D.D.D. and the Aincrad Liberation army, we'd easily form the largest playerbase just on our own. New players who are not yet affiliated would quickly step in line. We'd have a far easier time with the supply lines that way as well."
This has William get up, slamming his hand on the floor. "So you're just going to /force/ people to do things your way?"
"Ehhh!" Silabus looks worried, motioning his hand, trying to calm people, looking to Nureha to bring reason to this mess. But it's clear there's some schisms already forming between these people.
She gestures at the others. "But none of us here are unreasonable. Your system of rotating schedules is quite an efficient use of time. It only takes a tiny concession to add patrol routes to locations we have fortified outside the tower."
She turns away from Misa briefly to field Yuuki's complaint. "There's nothing wrong with a skilled challenge." she soothes. "But I do suggest, in the way of fostering healthy competition, that we not allow others to indulge themselves around the lower level towns and overworld. We could set up specific areas where duels and player hunts could take place without fear of someone getting hurt who didn't know exactly what they were bargaining for."
She remains calm as voices begin to rise, though a bit of strain shows around the edges of her eyes and her tail flicks erratically. She remains still, offering each voice her complete and utter attention in turn before moving on. A light touch here. A brush of a comment there. "Yes. I have already heard of this misguided actor. He does not seem to be with any of the larger crafting guilds, who would surely suffer should this merchant guild reach fruition. Though.. I do not want to stifle innovation. I simply believe, as the combat guilds are our shield and the crafting guilds our spark of brilliance.. that we are owed our due."
She looks to William. "I share your concerns. I do not want to take from anyone either. What we can offer them, what makes us special.. is our variety of opinions, of tastes, of needs. I'm sure we can make a satisfying arrangement for all parties."
She hasn't yet spoken to Heathcliff and Misa because they are on dangerous ground. She needs to tackle this.. from a different angle.
"Look around you." she tells them. "This is what efficiency buys you. Resistence. Resentment." She slowly rises to her feet to address them, head up and shoulders back. "Answer me this. What did our great numbers avail us during the Black Wave? What did our great champions, our beloved gear, our greatest tacticians, our logistics, our cunning, our wisdom... what did they buy us?" She gestures to the Round table.
"Are we to do this again? We all have different reasons for being here, but only ONE opponent, in my estimation. And while we may.. disagree on ways and means, we cannot afford to become an echo chamber. For we believed we knew the right path before.. and it lead us here, didn't it? We need not work together, but we must STAND together "
Misa nods slowly as the issue of PKing is brought up, "There has been a distinct drop of PVP due to the current situation. But it's likely to pick up again. And PKing is a toxic act. We can't afford to let PKers bring down the moods of people in this delicate time." Misa does make the important distinction between PVP and PKing there.
As Nureha expands Misa's suggestion to include the surrounding locations, Misa nods in acceptance, "Patrols around the tower is reasonable enough. But I'm concerned about the rest of Yamato. I'm sure we all know that many players are looking to leave the island. It's only by the landers' limitations on boat travel that they haven't been able to yet. If we spread out too much, we're going to risk being picked off one region at a time."
Heathcliff offers Misa the idea of combining D.D.D. and the Aincrad Liberation Front. Misa nods slowly, "Combining our efforts would make our climb more organized. There has already been some cooperation and this would simply be the next level of that. I expect my lord, Krusty, would be willing to discuss such a merging. I will bring it up with him after we're done here." Even if he is a bit flakey, he is still their guild leader and as such has the final decision.
And then Nureha brings up the overall issue. Misa closes her eyes as she says, "There's nothing any of us could have done to oppose the wave. It may as well have been an act of god. If our enemy has that kind of power over the system and can unleash it at any time, then we have no hope."
Misa opens her eyes again, "But until such time that our defeat and true death comes, we must all do what we believe to be the best thing that WE can do."
Misa crosses her arms, "D.D.D. as a whole will not actively oppose any operations outside the tower or off this island. But neither will we assist them unless they have a guaranteed benefit to our efforts here."
"We're not a government. We're not going to be able to control players to that extent. We can give them the place to do so, but you're not going to be able to control people like that." Yuuki answers Nureha... "But I suppose we can at least try."
"How about we first take some time getting settled here, instead of charging into that tower? It took a year to get to level ten on that tower, and we never beat it." William coins. To which Bear shakes his head. "I get where you are coming from with this, William. But we can't sit entirely still." Even within the 'similar voices' there is a bit of concern about taking too much of a back seat to things. "I don't think the tower is our only answer though. The world should now be connected to the other servers. I think we should be working to reconnect with the rest of the world. I don't believe that somehow, the Yamato's tower is the only answer to getting out. And if it is, then getting people from outside is a good approach."
"We don't know if that is possible. Especially with the Leviathan problem. This is a Japanese problem. So let's solve it. We don't need those Americans to interfere more than they already do in our day to day lives." Naobi counters Bear's suggestion. "They'll just make a mess of things."
Gardenia then slowly rises, drawing peoples eyes for a moment.
"We do not know who our enemy is. But as much as we all believe we know what is best for the World, we all agree not to turn into enemies of us, the Players, as a whole. We can discuss a better matter of such discourse later. For right now, I suggest we calm down - and heed everyone's words here." She looks at Misa, Nureha, everyone, nodding to them.
"We can't concentrate they players' minds. We are leaders, but the players minds are their own. So let them decide who of us is right. The tower is clearly an avenue of quickest escape." Heathcliff and Noabi agree.
"But there is a need to keep a watch on the Landers. There are plenty of people who will oversee this protection." A nod from William, Subaru and Bear. "And there are others..." Looking to Nureha. "Who can take the more moderate stance." A nod from Silabus and Yuuki as well.
"Are there any disagreements on this?" She's clearly just re-iterating Nureha and Misa's words somewhat, motioning to the two of them as she changes the wording slightly, reminding people where those words caem from.
Gardenia then slowly sits down, and quiets again.
Yuuki kind of falls on her rump and crosses her arms. "I guess... sorry." She apologizes to Misa.
Silabus breathes out a sigh of relief, his body having been tense this entire time, looking at Nureha.
This time she says quiet. She listens.. the fighting has mostly subsided but the faction lines are clear, the stress markers obvious to someone looking at the Round Table not as a collection of people but as a fragile glass, put back together from fragments and shards. Some larger and others smaller. She gives Silabus an encouraging smile, listening as Gardenia runs down the list and then slowly sits down again.
"Then we are agreed to do the best we can. As we can, where we can.. and yes, right now, things seem chaotic and unsure. But what we start here.. we can build the foundations of something greater." She doesn't disagree anymore, letting comments about the Americans, about the enemy, about it all just fade into the background. She eases back down with elegant poise back into her chair.
"And Plant Hwyaden will be there. Faciliating trade. Making alliances. Climbing the tower. Searching for answers. We will do a little bit of everything so that others may focus, that others may feel assured there is a guiding presence that will lead us past this act of.. man.. or god.. or program. I think.. have we covered the topics that we wished to discuss, tonight?"
Misa nods in agreement with Naobi as he advises against the suggestion of bringing outsiders into this. Leaving the island for the rest of Yamato has enough troubles as is. Interserver/Intercontinental transit... That is probably going to be rough at best and likely a waste of time and resources.
Finally Gardenia summarizes the results of the meeting so far. When she mentions that the tower is of particular import, Misa nods along in agreement with Heathcliff and Noabi. When it comes to the question of disagreements with what has been stated, Misa says nothing, looking content enough.
After Nureha speaks, Misa nods in agreement, "I think we've made sufficient progress here today. We cannot expect all our problems to be solved in one meeting, but as long as we continue these over time as the situation develops, I'm confident that we will achieve all of our respective goals."
Finally the meeting begins to wind down. And Misa finds herself on the end of an apology from Yuuki. Misa actually manages a small smile for the Imp, "It's fine. Nothing is gained from obedient silence. Discord is often far more constructive, as long as it's civil in nature. It forces us to consider more angles and new ideas. Such as the idea to organize the combat guilds on a schedule to help with protection. I may not have considered that without your input."
Yuuki lets out a sigh and loudly gets up. "Yeah, I think this is good for now." She declares, before looking at Nureha and Silabus. "Can I talk to you two like... outside? Away from these stuffies?" She motions at the others.
This causes Bear to laugh. "I think we'll all be able to talk over direct messages about this meeting afterwards. Let's just remember that we all mean what's best for the people." Subaru nods her head with this. William on the other hand, just crosses his arms and kind of closes his eyes.
"Meeting dismissed." Heathcliff offers.
With that, she swishes her way to the door, looking back at them all for a long and lingering moment before slipping out of the room.