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The Gateway that Anstice enters is the same as any other, and the Celestial Lions approach him, snarling. The weight of Mendhari in his arms is light, but it prevents him from easily wielding his spear. A darkness flickers at the edge of his vision, though it fails to materialize. "Your business!" snaps one of the Lions.

Anstice: "I have a message for the mother of my children. I was told that was allowed."

Celestial Lion?: "A message is allowed. You will be escorted. If you attempt to leave, I will eat you."

Anstice: "A shame. I imagine I don't taste that well. Ready when you are, Felix."

The Lion growls, but pads after you. "Tell me the gate closest to your destination. If you lie, I will smell it."

Anstice: "How would I know? I am not familiar with Yu-shan."

  • Celestial Lion? sighs. "Where is your mate?"
  • Anstice gives the address.
  • Celestial Lion? raises an eyebrow of gold and nods. "Come then. Do not mingle." Keeping an eye on you as he opens the massive Jade gates, the majestic beast follows you, nudging your back with his nose to indicate the proper directions as you step into the streets of Heaven.
  • Anstice doesn't especially bother looking around, though is not moving especially fast, his nature and the occasional icy green glare serving to keep people from running into him or Mendhari.

Few of the denizens of Heaven would be able to run into you, busy as they are staring at the spectacle of an Exalt being escorted like a prisoner, carrying another Exalt, wrapped in a bloody poncho. A few of the more perceptive gods can tell something is wrong with the two, and glower darkly. From one corner of his eye, Anstice sees Uncle Elephant watching with an enraged expression.

  • Anstice looks back challengingly, and gives a tiny little wave to Uncle Elephant, offering him a greeting.
  • Celestial Lion? snaps, literally, at Anstice. "No mingling. You are not to interact."

Anstice: "You should have said interact before. Do not blame me for your legalistic failings."

Celestial Lion?: "You are not entitled to this visit. You have been banished. This is a courtesy. Remember that."

Anstice: "Mhm. I'll send a thank you letter when I'm not busy fighting the yozis."

Celestial Lion?: "This is your destination. Because the dragoness does not have sufficient rank to deal with something like you, I will remain present during your discussion."

  • Anstice raises an eyebrow. "This is personal. It is quite simply none of your business. If you would like, I will agree to terms, but I have no intention of having you sit in on private conversation when I have done nothing to deserve such."
  • Celestial Lion? sniffs deeply of your thoughts. "I will allow you a short private discussion."

Anstice: "Good. If you would knock? I am somewhat occupied here."

  • Celestial Lion? raps a paw against the curtain of vines which sets off a loud bird, summoning the emerald dragoness. When she sees her guests, her smiling, lovely visage becomes petulant. "I do not wish to speak to HIM!"

Cerilla glowers at the former Green and the Lion "What is HE doing here? And who is that?"

Anstice: "I am here because I have an important mesage regarding your, our children. She is someone you won't have to worry about for long."

Cerilla: "I am entertaining. Give me the message and be gone."

Anstice: "Fine. There is a plot to kidnap and kill said children. I'm sure you can figure the rest out yourself."

  • Cerilla stares. "What are you talking about?"

Anstice: "You don't want to know, it seems."

A young man steps to the door, peering out beside Cerilla. With brilliant leaf-green eyes on a level with Anstice's and autumnal leaves growing in his russet hair, he is noticeably a native of Heaven. The tendrils of bark and scales running across his bare chest swirl and curve in lines that don't have any meaning, but seem a child's drawing of something that does. "What's going on? Who's this?"

  • Anstice looks to Cerilla, not sure exactly what she's told them, or what she wants said.
  • Cerilla grumbles. "Come in. To the sitting nest. Come, come." the last is directed to the young man. He peers curiously at Anstice, then shrugs and follows his mother.

The Lion remains, waiting at the door. He gives Anstice a warning look before settling down for a nap.

  • Anstice comes along, following silently.
  • Cerilla curls herself up a massive tree that forms the structural skeleton of her abode. Steps are carved for the use of more human-shaped creatures, but the dragoness simply coils her way into the branches, settling herself into a nest of brilliant jewel-like feathers, flowers and leaves. Wrapped around a bromeliad, she glowers.

The young man seats himself on a shelf fungus, idly tearing off bits of it to pop into his mouth.

  • Anstice takes a lower seat, carefully arranging Mendhari to rest beside him. "I do apologize for the company, but I had no plans on leaving her to die. Shall we get down to business, or explain to him?" He nods in the young man's direction.
  • Cerilla opens her mouth, but is interrupted.

Decid: "I prefer people to speak directly to me, please." Green eyes glare at both the dragoness and the former Sidereal as the god-blood resettles himself, relaxed, but the muscles of his neck and shoulders showing tension.

  • Anstice chuckles at this. "I apologize if any offense was meant, but I do defer to your mother when it comes to what is said here."

Decid: "She explained you to me when I was hatched. You are Anstice, I assume."

  • Cerilla shifts on her flower. "Decid, it is impolite to interrupt. I need to speak with..him alone."
  • Anstice nods. "If you like, we'll talk later, should such be possible."
  • Decid shakes his head, but removes himself from the fungus and starts down the stairs.

Decid: Anstice can hear rustling in the leaves around as Decid disappears from sight, but he isnít quite sure what from.

Cerilla: "Explain all this talk, please." a tinge of concern touches the normally sulky voice of the Wood Dragoness as she looks after her eldest son.

Anstice: "Shortly ago, I got a note from a Messenger. It advised me that someone I trusted had turned traitor, and a plan to kidnap our children was underway to provide some sort of occult link. I was warned they would not survive it."

Cerilla: "That does not make sense."

  • Cerilla seems confused and afraid, a lost child. Despite age and power, Cerilla's nature is not one of maturity. Her eyes dart continually to where Decid walked off.
  • Anstice sighs.

Anstice: "Do you want me to try to talk to him? I am only trying to help here... I know you don't trust me."

  • Cerilla looks at you sharply. "And what would you tell him?"

Anstice: "Tell him? It depends on what he asks."

Anstice: "Sometimes, just listening will help. To be honest, I haven't been spending time astrologizing our children. Been fighting for everyone's lives. But I will do my damnedest to try."

Cerilla: "In matters regarding such things that bind us, I know more then many assume. You may be a traitor, but not in this. You may speak to Decid and his siblings if you wish. They are adults, after all. Decid is simply visiting me."

Anstice: "Oh? What's he do?"

Cerilla: "Let him tell you."

Anstice: "I will. Do you have any idea who might be involved with this?"

  • Cerilla shakes her head. "No. Who would want to hurt my children?"

Anstice: "Someone who has something against you?"

Cerilla: "Then why warn you? I don't understand this at all. I will ask Febrisa."

Anstice: "Don't."

  • Anstice raises a hand. "Nothing against her, but I was specifically told one I trusted. And I have not met many beyond her. She's also one who would know that it was possible."
  • Cerilla raises herself up. "My sister would not betray her own nephews and nieces!"
  • Anstice smiles sadly. "Would you have imagined Deathlords would betray their creators? Or that a somewhat respected sidereal would turn for the sake of survival? I speak of K, here. We are not in pleasant times, Cerilla. I cast no specific aspersions... but I want to KNOW."
  • Cerilla sighs. "I will not tell her, then."

Anstice: "Thank you...I just need some time to dig around. See who sent this message, secure some things. It would be wonderful if I was merely wasting your time, but I don't believe I am."

Cerilla: "You have been banished. You can not do such things."

Anstice: "No. I am not supposed to do such things. There is a difference. There are those who have not turned on me still in Heaven."

  • Cerilla blinks. "I..do not think you should speak further of this. Go to Decid. I must..think for a time."
  • Anstice nods. "May I leave her here? She is on the verge of death, and I was unwilling to leave a circlemate in such danger."
  • Cerilla nods. "I will care for her. Go, I must think."
  • Anstice does so, giving her a lightning fast kiss on the cheek as he leaves, not waiting for her reaction. He wanders out slowly, thinking himself until he runs into Decid, almost literally. He stops, and shakes his head, grinning. "Mhm. Of all the habits to pass on, the one that got me in the most trouble."
  • Decid blinks at you, much like his mother. "You were talking about me, I have a right to listen."

Anstice: "We're also talking about beings that have the capability to snuff you out, but instead have decided they'd rather slowly twist you to perhaps form some sort of hellish portal or attack on your parents. I would think the idea would be not to seem even more attractive to them."

Decid: "I would rather be warned then left muddling about, unaware."

Anstice: "Warned of what? A vague threat? That something might possibly happen? I would have told you more when I knew more."

Anstice: "Now, mind walking? There's other things to talk about."

Decid: "Such as? I haven't seen you before, I don't even know who you are."

  • Decid does not remove himself from your path.

Anstice: "That's part of the issue. If we're going to be handling the same problem, we'd best know about each other, right?"

Decid: "So, who are you?"

Anstice: "Anstice Cyzarine. Sidereal. Chosen of Jupiter, Chosen of Neptune. Demonslayer, sorcerer, and your father."

  • Anstice bows a bit. "At your service."
  • Decid gives a mocking clap, then turns serious. "Why did you do it?"

Anstice: "What's it?"

Decid: "Any of it. Why did you become a traitor, why did you father me and the others, why did you get us involved in your mess?"

Anstice: "Let's start from the end. I didn't. Someone else decided to, and I wasn't going to leave Cerilla unwarned. I would have left her alone as she wanted if not for this. As for why I fathered you? Your mother is very beautiful, I was very drunk and in heaven for the first time. Things got out of hand."

  • Decid snorts.

Anstice: "What? Sidereals aren't allowed to make mistakes?"

Decid: "I think you've made many mistakes. But siring me wasn't one of them. I'll thank you for that, but you could have found a better way."

  • Anstice shrugs. "What? I'd like to know."
  • Decid returns the shrug. "Something better then being drunk at a party!"

Anstice: "It's worked for beings since alcohol was invented. Ask the god of it."

Decid: "The last question?"

Anstice: "Oh, that's simple. I'm not a traitor."

Decid: "My aunt disagrees."

Anstice: "I know. But I'm doing the exact same thing I did, that being fighting the Deathlords and Yozis, now as I was before. Only now I have help Heaven wouldn't give."

Decid: "By working for the Malfeans?"

Anstice: "No. The entities who approached me did not even ask for us to stop serving Heaven, mind you. And as a matter of fact, they aren't even Malfeans, as far as I can tell."

Decid: "Did this deal of yours put my siblings and me in the middle of this mess?"

Anstice: "A good question, and one I can't answer. I severely doubt it."

Decid: "You think this would have happened anyway?" his voice shows that he disagrees.

Anstice: "I doubt my own shift would lead someone to side with the Yozis. If they were already sided with the Yozis, why wouldn't they plan this if it is so effective?"

Decid: "But why would they want us? Why are we so special if not you and your deal."

Anstice: "I don't know yet. But you were conceived before the deal."

Decid: "You don't seem to know very much."

Anstice: "I don't make claims or guesses when I can avoid it. Until I have an answer I truly trust, I won't make jabs in the dark."

Decid: "How are you going to get answers, then? You've been banished, Mother said."

Anstice: "I'd tell you, but you really shouldn't know. There are those who read minds and truths who would be rather opposed to me succeeding. One of the parts, though, is asking you to help."

Decid: "How?

Anstice: "The more I know about you and your siblings, the more shared traits I find, the closer I can see what the connecting thread is. I'm also trusting your judgment here, to see who if anyone has been acting unusual."

  • Decid looks at you, silently considering. "Before I agree, you show me how you're going to be working and what you're going to be doing. And I want to know about you in return. None of us will help you if you don't do this."

Anstice: "You speak for all your siblings?"

  • Decid nods.

Anstice: "There will be places you literally cannot see and go, I am afraid. But! Where it is possible, I agree."

Decid: "Why not?"

  • Decid looks sharply at the conditional.

Anstice: "Last I checked, you were not of the Exalted. Nor did you take the synodic oath. One or both may be required."

  • Decid frowns. "If I can't go, then I can't. But where I can, you will take me?"

Anstice: "Yes. With the appropriate methods for safety."

  • Decid nods, slowly.

Anstice: "It does neither of us any good if this agreement gets us caught."

Decid: "No, it doesn't. Were are we going now?"

Anstice: "How good are you at being stealthy?"


< Finding the Chamber | Red Ice Logs | A Dusty Battle >