SESSION 5 - Mankeehemon in the Ravine, and Bright Mane
ST ::The Circle's stay in the Monestary/Dojo above the small village of Emerald Dragon was relaxing. The morning after their arrival, the group took in a large breakfast of vegetables, fruits and dairy products before setting out toward... the Ravine of Black Wings.::
ST ::It was a fairly long journey, a day and a half journey over fairly rough terrain, much of it spent walking their horses due to fatigue or the uneven ground. Eventually, the terrain grew dryier and rockier, as the Circle neared the mountains...::
ST ::The ravine itself was quite obvious -- it cut directly through the land, a pass leading directly toward the lost and ruined city where the one you were hunting was rumored to rest.::
ST ::Any other path would lead you days out of the way.::
Misati looked over towards the ravine "I have a bad feeling about this."
Balthasar nods solemnly.
Ambiance The Ravine itself is narrow, flanked by high cliff walls and bluffs, a deep cut and a hard pass leading through the otherwise inpassable mountains. The rock itself was mostly black, or gray, and the entire place cast a certain 'uneasy' air...
Finnre`Merayen shakes her head. "I trust in Balthasar's guarentees as to our safety. As long as we are not foolish, we'll come through this. I just hope it doesn't smell too foul."
Balthasar comes to a full halt, and glances at everyone. "Alright. A little past this point there is no return. I have something to say."
Skyla has been quiet, and a bit more reserved than normal. Perhaps a touch grumpy, although that has grown less over the passing days. She stops with the others near the ravine, and busies herself combing and braiding her horse's mane.
Misati shakes her her head and sighs, but waits to see what Balth has to say
Balthasar turns, and holds his hands out, palms up. He gestures with one hand, "I discovered not long ago that there are ancient agreements which bind my soul, and perhaps others' like me as well."
Balthasar pauses, and clears his throat.
Balthasar I am protected, and can put you under my protectorate as well, but that doesn't mean you're free from all danger or retribution.
Misati raises an eyebrow, but doesn't look too surprised
Jackal stands with his spear ready just in case Balthasar's plan doesn't work out...talking to demons. Madness. They'll be wanting to talk to the fair folk next! Still, it was a nice stay at the villiage.
Finnre`Merayen nods slowly.
Balthasar says, after a moment, "If any of you break the peace, we're all going to die."
Balthasar Do you understand?
ST changes topic to '"If any of you break the peace, we're all going to die." - Exalted! New Beginnings'
Misati Ok just to make sure I have perfectly clear, we go in, mind our own business, and we're good. We pick a fight, we die. That about it?"
Balthasar No, it isn't.
Finnre`Merayen Honestly, what else is new? Life is full of things that if we do them, we die. I'd like rest, but to stay living to enjoy it.
Misati "damn" she mutters
Jackal "You sure this is going to work? Demons aren't exactly personable..."
Balthasar You had better think twice about interfering with anything going on in there, as well.
Balthasar holds up his hands again.
Balthasar This is important, but this is the last part:
Balthasar These are not defensible lands. These demons do have their forays, I am sure, and do prey on any flesh they can find.
Balthasar It is not out of the question that you will be tempted to go to the aid of someone, or something.
Balthasar Let the mankeheemon do what they are doing.
Balthasar Remember, it isn't just your life.
Balthasar It's everyone's.
ST ::With those words, minds pondering the horrors that might wait ahead, and perhaps a bit of unease at the warning -- the Circle continues forward, leading their horses slowly into the ravine. In little time at all, they stand at the bottom of massive bluffs, above them and to either side, dark rock.::
ST ::The 'subtle' signs of the Mankeehemon begin soon enough, before you've even progressed very far along the Ravine at all...::
ST ::The first sign was the occasional bit of detrius, cast off from far above. Broken weapons, bits of clothes, miscellaneous items. The ravine was sparsely, but thoroughly, riddled with the cast offs of the demons prey.::
Skyla picks up any weapons and miscellaneous items she hasn't seen before, inspecting them
ST ::It wasn't long though before more impressive signs were seen -- the cliff-faces shaped and touched in various ways, constructs of dark iron rising here and there, works of an inhuman ascetic...::
ST ::Of the demons themselves, you could feel little sign of them just yet, but everywhere you could feel their presence. Watching you...::
Misati carefully leads her house through, try to make as little impression as possible
Skyla finds little of interest, and puts them back down, where she found them, although she does ponder the different shapes and how she can integrate them into her own work
Finnre`Merayen looked up and around, disgusted with the appearance, but showing little care. There was the part of her that wanted to sear these beasts from the world, but such would not happen now.
ST sets mode: +m
Balthasar only goes a certain way in on foot. Once within the ravine, he took to riding again, and now seems wound like a spring coiled on the saddle.
Balthasar turns his head slowly, to peer speculatively into the shadows to his right.
Jackal grumbles and follows the others, playing nice with demons?! just as bad as talking to them...atleast a bloodape would come right at you...
Balthasar narrows his eyes.
Misati seems to be the least bothered by the surroundings
ST ::The horses, somewhat spooked but not unwilling to continue on, trot slowly through the rocky terrain.::
Balthasar 's forehead shines momentarily with a pinpoint of bright golden light, which rapidly traces itself into a pattern indicative of his divine caste.
Balthasar is, technically, bothered more by the sensation of having the demons already upon him. The surroundings themselves are quite alright ;-)
Skyla glances forward at Balthasar as his castemark gleams, then looks away, distracting herself with...things.
Finnre`Merayen turns her gaze forward, moving while stroking her horse's neck and whispering reassuring words to it, best designed to encourage calmness.
ST ::Jackal, glancing around to the various horses, suddenly erupts in a glowing bonfire of brilliant golden light -- visible miles away.::
ST ::In fact, miles away, several of the Barbarians currently training in Dharrow remark on the sight. Some of them, having been expecting such, go to report to their Master.::
Skyla stares at Jackal, although she has to squint to do so. "What'd you just do?"
Finnre`Merayen turns her gaze annoyed towards Jackal, wondering why he is being so... lacking in subtlety.
Misati "Well that was sublte" she remarks sarcasticly
Jackal "What? The horses were getting spooked." He says this as if it's reason enough. Although personaly he'd rather scare the bastards a little.
Misati shakes her head and gives Jackal a mild glare
Jackal "Well if you want to walk it Misati you're welcome to..."
ST ::The horses ARE much more confident now... The circle continues forward, moving through the Ravine slowly. Slowly, the construction grows greater indeed -- small works of black iron replaced with flowing almost organic seeming spires that seem to grow out of the tops of the cliffs... Rough, barbed, covered in sharp razor surfaces...::
Skyla "Did you have to show yourself to everyone for miles around, though?" She sighs.
ST ::Ahead, there seems to be something drapped across the top of the ravine, from one side to the other -- a long rope or chain, with multiple shapes dangling from it. The keen eye suspects that they might be bodies.::
Misati "hmm It might actually be safer, now that they know, someone's coming" she says actually giving it some thought.
Finnre`Merayen just shakes her head and looks forward.
Skyla shrugs "Sure, if whoever saw it wasn't the WYLD HUNT."
Skyla glances up at the rope thing, and looks quickly away, feeling a little sick
Mankeehemon , appears near one of the towers. It wasn't there a moment ago, or so you'd thought, but now the malignant little thing hangs roughly near the very top -- it's dark black eyes watching you.
Jackal "What would the hunt be doing anywhere near the-" goes silent as he looks up at the wretched forms above. Gritting his teeth a little before looking away. "The why would the hunt want to come within miles of a dragons forasken demon gorge?"
Misati looks up at the chain. "Interesting decorating choice" she mutters
Skyla "Well I bet they could see it all the way back to the village, Jackal. It's not just the ravine." she snaps.
Mankeehemon is a short figure, with a small moneky-like body with black-reddish fur, and long unfurled bat-wings. It's tail is vicious, barbed, and its fore-arms end in sharp clicking talons. Unlike it's greater relative, the Blood Ape, the Mankeehemon's eyes glitter with a dark intelligence...
Balthasar glances at the demon, finding himself more interested than anything else, now that he finally spies one.
Finnre`Merayen Because, we are "demon princes", Anathema in their beliefs. Where better for demon princes to rest?
Finnre`Merayen glances at the Mankeehemon and shrugs as if she cares not that it is there.
Mankeehemon flaps its wings once or twice, and stares directly back at Balthasar.
Jackal "Then let them follow us into here. I'm sure they'll be in for a suprise." So much bother over a little light show...they wanted to deal with bolting horses in a demon filled ravine?!
Skyla finds her eyes drawn to the demon, and she stares at it.
Misati looks at the Mankeehemon "I've got real bad feeling about this"
Mankeehemon ::Continuing forward, the "rope" grows closer -- it's nature visible. A dark iron chain, with numerous vicious hooks on it. Bodies, long since dead, but naked and covered in scars and signs of torture, hang from several of the hooks...the sharp black points of the hook erupting from their chests.::
Finnre`Merayen turns her gaze to the Mankeehemon, it silently being promised a future reckoning for these abominations.
Mankeehemon ::As you move forward, the greasy feel of Primordial Essence grows thicker -- every scent lightly tinted with sulphur, the light seeming to seem ever-so-slightly green-tinted, the rocks seeming...blacker.::
Mankeehemon ::Slowly, more of the twisted Mankeehemon appear, always high up and out of reach. On the edges of the cliff, near their twisted black metal spires, standing, watching.. First there are just two, then five, then you can count dozens of the creatures...::
Skyla tries her best to ignore the chain of bodies, feeling sickened to the core. She thanks the Sun that they are at least dead now, and don't have to suffer anymore.
Mankeehemon ::Overhead, the dried dead bodies hang on the chain... Which, if anyone thinks to check, seems to extend from the very top of one spire to another spire on the opposite side of the ravine.::
Balthasar studies the tortured cadavers with quite an absolutely blank expression.
Mankeehemon ::Twisted voices lightly whisper various things in Old Realm.::
Balthasar I recognize bits of that.
Misati looks up as the pass and looks....almost like she's taking mental notes
Finnre`Merayen had looked and seen the scene she had expected... really these demons seemed to be so predictable. The spires and chains. Their wickedness was clever and sharp, but simple in it's own way.
Balthasar only just barely stops himself from vocalizing a comment on how interesting the corpses are.
Misati gives the Mankeehemon another look before muttering "you can't bend it that way"
Skyla glances at Misati, "Who what?"
Misati "You don't want to know"
Balthasar The Mankeehemon are speaking to us.
Balthasar nods to Misati.
Misati "Yes they are"
Jackal "How can you understand any of that?"
Mankeehemon ::Further in, the sights just get more and more touched -- black iron spires sprout from the sides of the ravine like a city-scape, and the sky is FILLED with barbed-hooked chains stretching from one side of the ravine to the other, though most of them don't have anything in the way of bodies...::
Balthasar It is best not to understand, Jackal.
Misati nods her head in agreement
Skyla "That's a language?"
Misati nods again
Finnre`Merayen stoicly lets none of this turn her gaze or catch more than her cursory attention.
Balthasar One of the oldest.
Skyla "Do all demons speak it?"
Finnre`Merayen It matters little. We have a reason to pass.
Mankeehemon ::The architecture is not restricted in any fashion, either. Graceful yet inhuman catwalks, iron cages danging from chains, black flowing "bulbs" that double as homes.. The demons grow more and more populous as well -- dozens upon dozens of them.::
Balthasar Some demons can't speak.
Mankeehemon ::They will occasionally flutter overhead, their shadows falling upon you.::
Mankeehemon ::Green fires sprout here and there...::
Balthasar clenches his jaw, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Finnre`Merayen I only wonder where their master is.
Skyla shivers and clenches her hands in the wonderfully braided and beaded mane of her horse, as the shadows fall over her. "So you two speak demon language?"
Balthasar mutters something about the King of the Flying Monkeys.
Balthasar No, these demons speak the original tongue of the Realm.
Balthasar "Demon language"?
Skyla 's face clears a bit, "Oh."
Misati just shrugs "I have no idea"
Jackal "Hmph. I'm suprised someone hasn't cleared this nest out. I know Salas is just one man but have times really gotten that bad?"
Mankeehemon ::Some 10 miles in is when you first hear sounds risen above a whisper coming from other than yourself -- some of the Mankeehemon waited until you were passing nearby, and THEN began inflicting their torments upon some poor soul located far farrrr up the cliff-face. The sound of barbed whips impacting on flesh, largely unintelligble screams...::
Skyla "There are... a LOT of them."
Mankeehemon ::Jackal, in fact, can recognize the sound as that of someone trying to scream with no tongue.::
Finnre`Merayen There are many of them... many upon many, hundreds if I am not wrong.
Skyla looks up, sharply, seeking the source of the screaming.
Balthasar for his part, merely looks towards the source of the torments.
Mankeehemon ::It's coming from one of the bulbous pagodas, she knows... It tears at her heart...::
Balthasar says, without turning around, "Let it be."
Misati gives a slow impassive glance towards the screaming "oh, now they're just showing off"
Skyla "how can they..." she clenches her fists, "Evil..."
Finnre`Merayen continues to ride, wanting to save the person, but knowing that such would only damn them all to similar torments.
Balthasar We can debate good and evil soon. We've yet to see the worst of this. Brace yourselves.
Jackal spits on the ground and continues on. "Nothing you can do yet Skyla. Just promise you'll tag along when I come back to clear the place."
Skyla "I will... They can't get away with this forever." she says fervently, her voice shaking a little.
Mankeehemon ::Another couple miles, the Demons make another attempt to propel you to action -- pushing a young girl in tatters with long blonde hair off the cliff as you pass by. She screams, even though she's suffered so much, before landing HARD on the jagged rough ground at the bottom of the ravine...::
Balthasar , doesn't even turn his head.
Skyla slides off her horse, and rushes over, to see if there's anything she can do.
Misati grabs Skyla by the shoulder as she runs past.
Mankeehemon ::Skyla, sliding off the horse and over to the girl, can see that -- in addition to having suffered quite horribly for an exceedingly long period -- the girl died instantly on impact...::
Finnre`Merayen She's likely dead, and this is for the best... she's been given a peace that man did not have the mercy of.
Finnre`Merayen looks to Skyla.
Mankeehemon and two of his friends watch, from on high, snickering and laughing amongst themselves at Skyla's obvious distaste and worry over the girl.
Skyla "Let me go... They don't care about her anymore. I just want to give her a proper burial..."
Balthasar glances at Misati, then over to Skyla. He has gone rigid.
Balthasar turns back to the road before him.
Balthasar says, evenly, "Hell."
Finnre`Merayen looks to Balthasar, "Will it break the covenants if we give the girl a proper rest?"
Balthasar I wasn't given a rulebook, Merayen. It might.
Finnre`Merayen slides off of her horse.
Balthasar says, after a moment, "I doubt it, though."
Misati "Leave it alone, she's dead, she doesn't care"
Finnre`Merayen walks over to the girl's body. "Unconquered Sun, please accept this girl into your arms and let her be at peace once more." She lays a hand on the girl's head.
Mankeehemon ::Balthsar, idly, finds his minds eye drifting back -- far far back -- to a scene not all that disimilar to this. Tall towers, green iron, graceful flowing paths flowing all around him, the stink of sulfur and the mad green sun shining ahead. Malfaes.::
Misati shakes her head a raises her hands in submission, knowing these two are going to whatever they want
Skyla "Mera...thank you."
Misati looks at Balthasar "I don't suppose asking is an option is it?"
Balthasar Asking what?
Misati "If they're going to kill us for moving the body."
Balthasar To hell with that!
Misati sighs "Didn't think so"
Mankeehemon ::He see's a young woman, the same young woman he's seen so more, in robes of shimmering gold standing before a demon. She smiles, lightly, and rises from her chair -- then, flying about the room in a blur of motion, her Daiklave slicing out eighteen times to carefully cut every single candle in the room in half and disable the lights therein.::
Balthasar Well, more importantly...
Balthasar I'm not begging them for a damn thing.
Mankeehemon ::Then she stops, bows, smiles, and sits back down in the dark. There is a moment of silence, then negotiations resume.::
Misati "Did I say beg, I said ask. There's a difference"
Balthasar Yes, I'm sure. It always starts with asking, doesn't it?
Finnre`Merayen stands and turns getting back on her horse as a light begins to burn within the girl's mouth and eyes, spreading through her flesh as her body is consumed in a white-hot flame from within.
Skyla says a little prayer over the body, herself, although it is already taken care of - it makes her feel better.
Misati shrugs "You're the boss on this one"
Balthasar seems to be speaking almost remotely. As if something else were occupying his thoughts simultaneously. In addition, his eyes do not seem to see his surroundings, but something beyond them.
Misati "You do know, this is not a good place to be distracted"
Finnre`Merayen There, the body has been taken care of and her soul has passed on.
Skyla "Let's get out of here... can we go faster please?"
Balthasar I've found that there really isn't ever a good place for it. But you know, I'm starting to have a thought or two.
Misati "Oh dear"
Jackal nods to Skyla. "Unless moving fast is going to break their "deal"?
Finnre`Merayen looks to Balthasar. "What are you thinking of?"
Misati "I refuse to run, they'd enjoy too much"
Misati "Besides if you run, things chase you"
Skyla "We don't have to run, but must we walk so SLOWLY?"
Balthasar becomes, momentarily, a beacon of light. His hand rests on the hilt of his blade, as the light settles into a gentle halo, and his posture becomes subtly altered; easier, less tense.
Balthasar Merayen, I think I've remembered a thing or two. That is all.
Finnre`Merayen nods. "Well, shall we be on our way?"
Skyla hoists herself back into the saddle, and fidgets
Balthasar glances at her, "We're only waiting for you and Skyla. If you two are ready, then let us know."
Misati stretches in her saddle "I'm ready to leave, now"
Skyla "Let's go."
Finnre`Merayen looks from her seat in the saddle, and shrugs. "I have been ready."
Balthasar spurs his horse into a trot, and goes forward again without another word.
Mankeehemon ::Everyone back in their saddles and ready, the Circle moves forward, continuing their travel -- Skyla certainly WISHES they could go faster, but in this rough and uneven terrain, the horses can't go at full gallop. Even so; it's fast enough.::
Mankeehemon ::The city of the Mankeehemon continues, seeming almost thick now, as spires and pagodas and balconies and worse things of black iron lurk above. The chains are thick enough, in the air above, that it's almost like a ceiling...::
Skyla bows her head, letting the horse guide itself, and tries to get the images and sounds from her time in the Citadel to leave her alone, but her efforts only bring them closer to the fore, aided by the Mankeehemon of course.
Mankeehemon ::Ahead, two Mankeehemon bring out an almost-dead figure, a man. He isn't struggling, barely moving, seems covered in scars and a few still dripping wounds. Just barely close enough to make him detail, then impale him on one of the hooks of the chain. It only barely gets a reaction, as his last breath leaves...::
Mankeehemon ::Giving your pace and the approximate distance travelled, you're probably halfway through at this point.::
Balthasar stops, and dismounts.
Balthasar If you all will give me just a moment.
Misati watches impassively
Balthasar strides casually to the newly made corpse, and particularly, the two mankeehemon.
Balthasar 's hand rests on his sword hilt the entire time. On his face is a grim solemnity.
Mankeehemon ::The two are, of course, far farrr above... Up some 30 feet of cliffs. Still, you ARE an exalt, and shouldn't have much trouble getting up that distance if you have need...::
Mankeehemon watch, amused. Their barbed-tails twitching as they watch the Exalt slowly dismount and move toward the cliff-face...
Balthasar , some yards from the cliff, takes a deep breath, and pauses. With a flash of light and the sound of steel on steel, his blade seems to leap into his grasp. Simultaneously, he breaks into a dash towards the cliffside.
Misati keep watches the area around, keeping an eye out for trouble
Skyla finds herself torn between being glad he's doing *something* and pouty that he wouldn't let HER do anything.
Balthasar may not be the most athletic of men, but he is quite familiar with his blade. Impacting the cliff with his sword, he wedges it in a crevice, pivots with a swordsman's agility, and uses the hilt to vault himself upward. He doesn't even leave the blade behind.
Finnre`Merayen slowly slides a hand over her bow and the other to play with her arrows.
Jackal frowns and watches Balth charge, hoping he doesn't get them all killed..."
Balthasar is, in an instant, standing before the two demons, sword in hand.
Balthasar lets that sink in, before deliberately sliding the sword into its sheathe again.
Mankeehemon jerks away, taking off, wings flapping madly -- it's "friend" holds its' ground, it's barbed tail twitching and poised to strike, while it watches and sees what you intend to do...
Misati "This is not going to end well" she mutters
Balthasar advances one step, spreading his hands to show that his blade is most definitely sheathed.
Balthasar fixes the little demons eyes with his own.
Jackal "Maybe. But it might be a good fight before the lion..."
Mankeehemon just grins, its black teeth sharp and mean.. The flying one hovers nearby, keeping its distance, but seeming to grow bolder.
Finnre`Merayen shakes her head. "No, he's just letting them know what they face. He's reminding them of what we are."
Misati "before we all die you mean?"
Mankeehemon ::Some of the other Mankeehemon lurk nearby as well, whispering things Balthasar can't quite understand and Misati is too far away to hear.::
Balthasar slowly smiles in return. His manner becomes very congenial. In fact, he says, "Yes, that was quite a demonstration, wasn't it?"
Finnre`Merayen No, we will not die today. He knows very well what he's doing.
Balthasar turns, and in one fluid motion, his blade springs to his hand; he has crouched slightly, and swung, and resheathed the blade, before any further delay.
Mankeehemon laughs a bit, and in poor Rivertongue, notes, "Go back to your horse, sunchild. You'd best flee before you bite off more than you can chew."
Mankeehemon ::Several of them laugh...::
Jackal "Well I could have done that...especialy with you all yelling at me about the horses.." He smirks...about the only thing worth smiling about in this place.
Mankeehemon ::Then...the demons are shocked.::
Mankeehemon ::There's a hard metallic CLICK! And one of the chains begins to fall.::
Balthasar replaces his hand on the hilt of his blade.
Mankeehemon "Very well, Crowned Sun. Your point is made."
Mankeehemon seems much less pleased with itself.
Balthasar Not quite.
Balthasar nods to a few other chains anchored to the area. One by one, every chain in his immediate vicinity begins to unravel, and clink to the ground.
Finnre`Merayen smiles, "Very good, though I think that many of us would have enjoyed to make the proper demonstration
Mankeehemon watches them fall, frowning more and more.
Misati smirks a little
Mankeehemon doesn't command, that time.
Balthasar turns, and begins to stride away. He pauses, and looks over his shoulder.
Balthasar It would be best if we didn't see any more of any of you.
Balthasar descends the cliff.
Mankeehemon ::Balthasar slides down, in a cloud of dust, until he reaches the bottom.::
Balthasar walks up to his horse, climbs into the saddle, and says, "Ready?"
Finnre`Merayen waits for Balthasar to return, speaking softly to him. "I think any of us could have made a proper demostration. But, it is best they remember what they have forgotten in our abscence."
Misati "Whenever you are."
Finnre`Merayen nods her agreement with Misati
Jackal "I want to get the stink of this place out of my clothes. Come on."
Balthasar trots forward again, saying, quietly, "I don't mind these 'torments' so much. But it seemed too much for some of you to bear. I only thought to help."
Misati "You old softee"
Skyla follows behind him thoughtfully. She is glad that he acted, and sticks her tongue out at the demons. But him saying he doesn't mind the torments... well that doesn't sit right with her.
Balthasar is, perhaps, unsympathetic seeming for the soft-hearted, but honestly, these people had to know there was a demon city nearby.
Finnre`Merayen looks up again and rides on at the head of the group with Balthasar
Mankeehemon ::The circle continues forward, moving over the dropped vicious chains, Merayen idly reaching out to the one they'd killed moments before -- the body collapsing into a mote of light and rising up to the heavens -- and then moving forward. The demons, and their city, remains visible...but no more of the Mankeehemon do anything to antagonize you.::
Balthasar nods to her.
Finnre`Merayen nods back. "Yes?"
Mankeehemon ::Within the hour, the signs of the demons presence gradually begin to fade and the Ravine begins to look more and more like a simple pass in the mountains instead of a small piece of the Demon City...::
Mankeehemon ::And eventually the Circle passes into the grasslands beyond.::
Balthasar shrugs. He was only acknowledging her, and now he finds himself on the spot for something to say. So, he makes basic conversation on his opinions of these little demons.
Finnre`Merayen They aren't nearly as smart as they think themselves, are they?
Skyla rides in silence the rest of the way, feeling better as the signs of death recede behind her
Jackal "What are they serving? Shouldn't they want to go back...wherever they came from?"
Misati "Hey Balthasar, were would someone learn old languages?"
Balthasar The best place, I reckon, would be the Imperial City.
Balthasar snickers slightly at the thought.
Finnre`Merayen barks out a laugh
Finnre`Merayen Somehow, I don't expect they would want to teach any of us.
Skyla "Where else? Something that's actually *possible*"
Balthasar But if you don't have that dubious luxury, then you may seek out any number of tutors. Academics, historians, or even Spirits.
Misati snickers, that's not why she asking, but it's a good enough answer
Balthasar ponders for a moment, then adds: "A mankeehemon, or other demon, could potentially tutor you as well, I suppose. Or a fairy."
Skyla scowls, "I wouldn't want to learn from THEM."
ST ::The rolling hills, on this side of the mountains, seem much richer and just...grander. The grass is greener, taller. Herds of wild cattle, horses, and other animals linger on the edges of ones vision.::
Misati "You know I some doubt I picked it up from them"
Balthasar says, to indicate his sudden understanding of Misati's question.
Misati She smirks "But i could be wrong"
Balthasar shrugs, saying nothing.
Skyla "What would you do if you found out that IS where you learned it?"
Finnre`Merayen keeps her eyes looking out for any sign of the city... her eyes rising skyward to examine the position of the sun and make a slight adjustment to her path.
ST ::The sun, slowly beginning its nightly journey into darkness, casts the entire landscape in even greater color -- the horizon lit up by a glorious canvas of bright colors, Luna slowly coming visible along with a few of the stars...::
Misati shrugs "Probally nothing, not much to be done now"
ST ::...and, a small paved road dating back to the First Age. Aha; you must be getting close.::
Skyla dismounts once more and crouches, running her fingers over the pavement, trying to discern what it is made of.
Finnre`Merayen nods to herself. "We're close. It should be this way."
ST ::The road itself is overgrown, with wild things beginning to grow between several of the paving stones, and covered in bits of dirt here and there. However, it is still somewhat whole, and still serves admirably as a road...::
ST ::Skyla's fingers on the roads paving stones notes that they are hard, pourous but quite strong -- weathered over the ages, but still in amazingly good condition considering the time. The exact material, however, isn't immediately clear...::
ST ::With some effort, she could even pry up one of the smaller ones...::
Skyla removes a small dagger from its sheath, and uses it to pry up one of the stones along the edge, in a place where it will not disturb the road much.
ST ::...revealing, in fact, that in addition to being hard and quite resistant to weather, the stones are also quite THIN. Maybe 5 inches thick. The ground underneath is sandy earth, completely flat.::
Jackal "What have you found Skyla?"
ST ::Glancing up, she momentarily sees the road as it was thousands of years ago -- alight, in the twilight, each individual stone glowing with channeled power. Like a river of light leading toward the city of Dharrow.::
ST ::The vision fades, however; the road is dark, just inert stone, the enchantments long since gone.::
Skyla turns the rock over and over in her hands, marveling at it. It banishes most of the bad feelings she's had earlier, to see some of the First Age, right there in her hand. She holds it up for Jackal to see. "It's a stone from the First Age... It used to be... amazing.. and it's still here. It's not made of anything I know."
Skyla "This whole road, used to light up." she gestures enthusiastically.
Misati "Well that's usesfuel"
Jackal "Hm. I wonder what broke it then. The road looks to be in good shape."
Skyla "It *is*" she says, a bit wounded. "If I can figure out how to restore it, I could make all the roads better. Well some of them anyway."
Balthasar It may very well be useful.
ST ::Misati, hearing that, can imagine it as well -- it was a long beautifully flowing river of light, and she -- in the form of a beautiful young man, holding the reigns of a God-Horse, was walking gently along it under the night sky. "She" had business ahead, in the city...::
Finnre`Merayen nods. "But, as useful as that might be, we should be going. We can study the road later, when Bright Mane isn't threatening your home and all you love, Skyla.
Skyla takes a couple more stones, just in case, and pockets them, then mounts her horse, "Alright, let's go."
Finnre`Merayen nods. "Thank you for understanding, Skyla."
Misati mentally checks out for a moment
Skyla listens to the rhythmic clip-clop of hooves on the ancient road as they move.
ST ::The horses, indeed, clip-clop on the hard smooth stone as they move. Even with the weathering and intrusion of plants, the road is QUITE smooth, and you make very quick progress along it. It's not even entirely dark yet when you finally see the first signs of the city of Dharrow...::
Jackal keeps an eye out for any strange lion creatures or barbarian ambushers...can't be too careful.
Balthasar nods, "Look."
Skyla idly ponders how horse shoes should differ, if the entire world had paved roads such as these.
Finnre`Merayen also keeps her eyes out, but for an honor guard to help them into the city.
ST ::The City itself is broken, ruined, its vast girth almost entirely left to rubble and dust -- except for a small circle, near the road itself, which boasts lights and has been rebuilt somewhat by the Hill Folk over the last several hundred years.::
ST ::Thus, the City of Caer`Dharrow.::
Misati blinks for a moment. "You guys go on ahead, Skyla come with me."
Misati heads off in a different direction
Jackal "What? But you're going to miss out on the grand exchange of threats..."
Skyla heads off thoughtfully in a direction off the road, and blinks when she sees Misati is with her. "You remember too?"
Finnre`Merayen shrugs. "Jackal, they have their own calling. Let them go. We have a duty to fulfill."
Misati shrugs. "What do you remember?"
Skyla closes her eyes briefly, and concentrates, "There is... a bolt hole. Hidden. Locked. You knew how to get in."
Balthasar Ah, no need to be so dramatic. There's still a bit left to ride across.
Jackal "Yes but I thought we'd bellow out challenges from the highest mountains first." Grins and follows Merayen.
Misati "Now let's see if we can find where it is"
Finnre`Merayen smiles beneith her mask.
Skyla smiles. "I know."
ST ::Balthasar, Merayen and Jackal make it to the outskirts of the city before they see a shape moving from the edge of the road -- a lion, stepping out into the dim light of the moon. It stares at them lightly, from some distance off...::
Finnre`Merayen keeps riding on, looking back at the lion.
Jackal keeps on riding, glancing at the creature a moment.
Bright`Mane actually, in a burst of Silver Light, unravels and stands up suddenly as a full grown man -- a Barbarian, with a wild mind of gold hair and bright proud eyes. His skin shines lightly in the sunlight, silver tattoos that trace intricate loops all through his skin glistening in the dim light.
Bright`Mane "I see that you make good time -- welcome, then, to the City of Caer`Dharrow."
Balthasar stops where he is, analyzing Bright Mane.
Balthasar inclines his head to the Lunar.
Bright`Mane gaze falls instinctively to Jackal.
Finnre`Merayen rides up to Bright Mane, "Thank you for the welcome. We knew you expected us and hoped to see you sooner than later."
Bright`Mane is dressed in fairly good clothes, for a barbarian, knee-length "puffy" breeches and a short open-chested white shirt, but they do little to hide the twisting tattoos.
Bright`Mane has a fairly massive Silver Blade strapped to his back, but is otherwise emtpy-handed.
Balthasar wheels his horse, and comes up at Jackal's side.
Jackal glances back at Brightmane. "You could have sent a more appropriate invitation...a letter maybe?" Nods to Balthasar.
Balthasar grins for a moment.
Bright`Mane grins as well, a fairly amused grin but not a angry one.
Bright`Mane "So you have come as I expected - to stop my attacks upon your people?"
Bright`Mane stares lightly at Jackal.
Bright`Mane "You are the one called 'Jackal', yes? I am unfamiliar with your friends,"
Bright`Mane glances, lightly, at Merayen.
Balthasar is quite aware that everything is on Jackal's shoulder. He easily falls into a support position at Jackal's flank, remaining silent for now.
Bright`Mane "Unless you are the other one I was told of, but I do not think you are."
Bright`Mane gaze then slowly moves back to Jackal.
Finnre`Merayen shakes her head. "No, I doubt I am that one."
Bright`Mane just nods to Merayen's words.
Jackal "Then allow me to introduce Finnre'Merayen and Balthasar. Members of my circle. Skyla and Misati have other matters at the moment, if you'd forgive their absense.
Bright`Mane just nods, lightly, giving each of them a bit of attention before returning his gaze to Jackal.
Bright`Mane "And am I correct in the reasonings for your arrival?"
Bright`Mane "Or have you come to join my horde, and assist our conquests?"
Balthasar nods his head as he is acknowledge.
Balthasar nods his head as he is acknowledged.
Finnre`Merayen moves her horse back to support Jackal, nodding her head to her name.
Jackal "Yes, I have come to see if you might end your attacks upon Nulam. The Hill tribes have been our allies for a long time. There's no need for this raiding and bloodshed."
Bright`Mane "There is ample need for this raiding and bloodshed," he notes, simply.
Balthasar raises a brow, studying Bright Mane openly.
Finnre`Merayen shakes her head in slight disagreement.
Bright`Mane "It is quite simple really; any manuevers in the East face one simple source of friction -- Lookshy. Any larger action will attract the attention of the Seventh Legion. The old city of Deheleshen has one weakness -- it's people must eat, and much of the food they rely on comes from the Hundred Kingdoms."
Balthasar 's second brow rises now.
Bright`Mane just nods softly.
Jackal narrows his eyes at Brightmane. "So that's that is it? And what exactly has lookshy done to attract such dedicated malice?"
Balthasar shakes his head.
Finnre`Merayen shrugs her shoulders with a small sigh.
Bright`Mane "I don't speak of Malice. The Seventh Legion is in the way, that's all."
Balthasar I think, if I may, Lookshy is merely an obstacle to further advancement.
Bright`Mane grins, nodding to Balthasar.
Balthasar says, calmly, "They may be at odds with the Realm, but they are Dynasts when it comes to, ahem, 'Anathema'. Correct?"
Finnre`Merayen sighs harder. "I can not let you harm Lookshy, Brightmane, no matter how they might view us and our kind."
Bright`Mane glances at Merayen??
Bright`Mane wonders, idly...
Balthasar gives a low laugh, shaking his head.
Finnre`Merayen "Lookshy serves a purpose, and currently, they have been mostly entangled trying to deal with those who rule the deadlands."
Finnre`Merayen There are more true threats and more immediate ones that are more deserving of your attacks.
Bright`Mane "You misunderstand."
Jackal glances at Balthasar, not sure what to make of his latest move...
Bright`Mane "I imagine you will oppose me regardless, but it is important you understand this -- because your actions here, on this night, will have wider consequences than you pershaps suspect."
Bright`Mane "Lookshy is, I agree, a great force for stability in the East and it has done many good acts throughout its history. It is, however, in the end -- an obstacle. It stands in the way of the attainment of /larger plans/."
Bright`Mane "The Scarlet Empress is gone."
Jackal "What exactly is your grand plan then? Conquer the east? Live like a king over a ruined landscape?"
Bright`Mane "The age is turning."
Balthasar cannot speak his mind, and so is forced to show his sympathy with Bright Mane's comments in a most rudimentary fashion: By 'descending to his level'.
Bright`Mane grins at Jackal.
Bright`Mane "You look at these events, and see the actions of a single Full Moon hungry for conquest."
Bright`Mane "Think, Dawnchild."
Bright`Mane "We have been waiting for a very very long time."
Balthasar shakes his head, and resolves to toss away his reservations for a moment.
Balthasar speaks at Bright Mane, though what he says is aimed at Jackal in an advisory capacity, "I think we should hear him out. It may be that we will reach an accord."
Jackal "What then? destroy the realm? That's maddness! You'd kill thousands!"
Jackal glances at Balthasar and sighs resignedly. "Very well then. Let's hear your plan."
Bright`Mane "You are still missing one very important distinction."
Balthasar Go on.
Balthasar But I think I can guess.
Bright`Mane "Conquering the Realm; I will agree, from your perspective, it must seem like utter madness. I, myself, can only vaguely imagine what life would be like and I grew up hating and fearing the Dynasts."
Bright`Mane "Yet the ones in whose name I act, they have been planning this for thousands of years."
Bright`Mane "And in their plans, I am but one small cog."
Balthasar knew it. He was too educated, too unlike anything expected.
Finnre`Merayen Yes, but even the greatest machine can fail without a single piece... the more complex the plans, the easier it is to fail. Look at this road we stand upon to know that.
Bright`Mane "Ah, but with diligent planning even that which must seem impossible can be undertaken -- one need only look at the fact that the Dragon-Blooded slew you, in the First Age, to understand that."
Finnre`Merayen I do understand why you do this, but while I agree the Realm must fall, it need not fall as you suggest.
Bright`Mane "You do not even know what I suggest."
Bright`Mane "Even if you could rip thoughts from my mind, you couldn't know the plan I enact."
Balthasar ...Because you don't fully know. Do you?
Jackal "Who are you working for then? Who could be so single minded to plan for so long?"
Finnre`Merayen I believe you suggest raising up the towers of old, in a fashion.
Balthasar says, more to himself, not actually expecting an answer.
Bright`Mane seems, for a bit, somewhat disappointed.
Bright`Mane "I'd expected somewhat more, I will admit," he notes. "The level of concern they show over your presence..."
Bright`Mane says that to Jackal, in a way.
Bright`Mane "I do not mean any disrespect, I am sorry,"
Bright`Mane "You must understand; we have told stories of your kind since the times of your murder."
Bright`Mane "I should not be surprised that some things were inflated."
Balthasar glances at Jackal.
Finnre`Merayen shakes her head. "We are young, but do not doubt the tales. I think you would be sorely underestimating us, if you did such."
Bright`Mane "Mayhaps. There is one way to make sure; I will admit, I had hoped for such when I first heard of you."
Bright`Mane glances at Jackal.
Balthasar Merayen, perhaps he is right.
Jackal gives Brightmane an odd look.
Bright`Mane "So, sun-child? Would you favor me with a duel? An honorable 'bout, until yield, of course."
Finnre`Merayen shakes her head in denial. "No, Balthasar. We have had to learn on our own where he had teaching. It is a hard path but one we are more than capable of taking to the top of the mountain."
Balthasar sighs. Trust Merayen to entirely miss an innuendo.
Jackal looks dubious for a moment, glancing at Balthasar and Merayen for suggestion.
Bright`Mane looks, again, somewhat disappointed when Jackal turns to his circle-mates.
Bright`Mane hides it fairly well, though.
Finnre`Merayen smiles, her eye winking softly to Balthasar, hidden from Jackal and Bright Man by her mask.
Jackal nods and dismounts with a resigned sigh.
Balthasar is somewhat alarmed by the wink, because it makes him think maybe he was the one that missed something.
Bright`Mane ::Skyla quickly fell into the lead, moving through the ruined city of Dharrow as if in a trance, Masati only a short distance behind her. Now and again, the weight of ages would pass from their eyes, and they would see the city as it looked in the First Age.::
Bright`Mane ::Vast avenues, streets of perfectly paved stones, buildings of great beauty and precise geomancy, vast ivory spires that rose into the sky which was itself filled with airships and other wonders...::
Skyla "It used to be so beautiful, do you remember?"
Bright`Mane ::Now and again, Skyla would look toward Masati and instead see a handsome young man, thin and attractive, with long black hair and slightly gold-tinted skin. He dressed in soft whites trimmed with golds, seeming entirely unarmed, but with a surety that belied his obvious skill at war.::
Masati "Yes, I do"
Skyla nods. "Do you think we can restore it?"
Bright`Mane ::Now and again, Masati would look toward Skyla and instead see a brilliant goddess of a woman, full and rich, dressed in elegant flowing golden robes that pulsed with power and flowed with occultic symbols. She had eyes that were filled with power, finely chiseled features, and a certain presence that had once filled 'Misati' with awe...::
Masati "Doubtful, but that doesn't mean something else can't take it's place"
Skyla "That's true.. it just seems so.. far away."
Masati "Don't get so lost in the past, that you forget the future"
Bright`Mane ::Turning a corner, Skyla sees it -- it wasn't much. It never was -- even in the First Age, it was just a small narrow alleyway that ended in a blank wall that bore a shadowy symbol carved into the rocket.::
Bright`Mane ::She walked to the end of the alley; the air was thick with dust. Her hand smoothed away the dust, revealing a sunburst sigil...::
Skyla "But we can't learn from the future, only the past."
Skyla "Like this. I remember this, because it's from the past." she gestures to the symbol." "I think it's your turn now."
Masati gives Skyla a unsure look before she steps of to the boltlhole and gently touches the sunburst and mutters something under her breath
Bright`Mane ::The castemark on Mastati's brow BURNS pure gold, casting a fair amount of light over the darkened alleyway.::
Bright`Mane ::To those who can hear it, the words are,:: "Oh, Unconquered Sun, //open the damn door.//"
Skyla starts coughing, and dissolves into laughter. "Does that really WORK?"
Masati can't help but let out a truly girlish giggle. "Yeah it does"
Bright`Mane ::Lightly, she removes her hand, pulling it away. Staring; for a second, nothing seems to be happening...then, with a dull rumbling of gears loooong since unused, the wall itself splits open and reveals a narrow stairwell beyond...::
Bright`Mane ::Dull bulbs of essence light up, revealing the path down.::
Skyla "Oh, Suns, it DOES... hahaha..."
Masati ties her horse up and grabs some closthes out of her saddle bag. She quickly changes out of her usual dress into black tight pants and a black shirt.
Skyla politely averts her eyes, tying her own horse up and retrieving a handy bag from her saddlebags
Masati makes sure her long hair is completly tied back. "So can be quiet?"
Bright`Mane ::Aeas takes a few steps down the stairwell, paying no attention to the light bulbs and moving both swiftly and with purpose down into the hidden bolt hole of her long-time friend. Skyla, on the other hand, stops at the very first glow orb and stares at it for a few moments...wondering how it works!::
Bright`Mane ::It's even cool to the touch!::
Skyla wonders if she can pry it off the wal
Bright`Mane ::Probably not safely...::
Masati taps her on the shoulder, " Let's go, you can wonder about that later"
Skyla "Oh. Right. Can you close that behind us, just in case?"
Masati looks behind and shrugs, while looking for a mechanism to close the door
Bright`Mane ::You don't see anything that looks even remotely like a way to close the door.::
Masati cocks her head to one side for a moment then giggles "Oh conquered sun //close the damn door//"
Skyla "I was just going to suggest that."
Bright`Mane ::That, sadly, doesn't work either.::
Masati grins at Skyla "It could work"
Skyla "Ahh well, let's go then, before we're discovered"
Skyla heads down the dusty tunnel
Bright`Mane ::Seven steps down, at the third glow orb, Masati reaches out and touches it -- without even realizing what she was doing -- and the door behind her grinds shut.::
Bright`Mane ::The two of them, not even realizing what had happened at first, just continue on down.::
Masati looks startled.."I hate it when i do that"
Skyla "Oh, good job." she says, when she realizes what happened.
Skyla pats her on the shoulder. "You'll get used to it."
Masati "Well it's annoying when your not sure what life it's from"
Bright`Mane ::It takes maybe a minute to reach the bottom of the stairs, maybe some 100 feet below the city. The bolthole is...well, quite large. You could fit a fairly small family in here. The main room is wide, with bronzed walls and numerous glow orbs, a singular table surviving in the middle of the room ... though everything else has succumbed to the weight of ages. With the singular exception of the ceiling, which sports a B
Skyla "I mostly only remember Aeas."
Skyla turns her face upwards, and takes in the mural
Masati "Now there's something you don't see everyday"
Bright`Mane ::While Masati is glancing up at the Mural, though, she hears a voice -- unfamiliar and yet painfully so -- speaking to "her". 'Coranth', it says, 'I know I have no right to ask you this, but it is vitally important. You must take it to someplace where even I don't know, someplace far away. Then, when they ask me, I can truthfully say that I don't know what became of it.'::
Bright`Mane ::The mural itself, still vibrantly colorful after all these times, depicts what must be the Imperial Mountain itself -- far far up along it's slopes, where a glorious golden city rests, it's tall spires and brilliant buildings alight in the light of the Sun -- which burns throught he cloudless sky upon the glorious city of Meru. Once home to the Solar Deliberative, and the home of...both of you.::
Bright`Mane ::Skyla finds tears, unbidden, in her eyes... Knowing that she will never see "her home" again.::
Masati "So does Aeas remember the name 'Coranth'?"
Skyla "It's beautiful." she says, sadly... turning to Misati, "Do you remember it?"
Skyla smiles a little, "Coranth and Aeas, we lived there."
Bright`Mane ::Two doorways lead deeper into the bolthole...::
Masati "That's what i thought. So what did I hide?"
Bright`Mane takes his Moonsilver Daiklave from his back, swinging it twice and glancing over at Jackal.
Bright`Mane "Remember," he says, "Until yield."
Bright`Mane takes a position on the very middle of the road...
Bright`Mane ::The road itself, maybe 10 yards across, is flat and white. The moon rises above, and the sun is still sinking out of view, both casting a fair amount of light...though the shadows are growing thick indeed. Off to either side, tall grasses rise up to ones chest, the terrain gentle and rolling. The town itself is some 50 or so yards ahead, down the road...::
Jackal stands with his worn old wooden spear with steel point at his side, glancing at the large silvery sword. "I understand." He seems to be taking this a bit casualy.
Finnre`Merayen leads Jackal's horse away so that they have plenty of room.
Bright`Mane would offer to fight with a lesser sword, but his keen eyes can make out your Orichalcum Armor, of which he has nothing of the sort...
Bright`Mane focuses, lightly, seeming to flow up, his form filling out -- muscles bulging, body growing firmer and stronger, joints more flexible and his form more nimble. Face shifting and flowing, hair twisting into a brilliant golden mane, while his face twists into something half-way between Cat and Man...
Jackal quirks a brow at the now...hairy..er Bright mane.
Balthasar accompanies Merayen, having a seat on the earth near his own horse, picking a blade of grass, and sucking on it as he watches.
Jackal awaits the first move, rubbing his left shoulder...all this posturing.
Bright`Mane ::Both combatants start moving so fast that the two onlookers almost miss the single defining moment when combat begins -- each moving toward the other! Yet, though both were fast, Jackal proved the faster!::
Jackal seeing Brightman's posture shift he rushes forward, a suprise from his more relaxed stance early with a speedy jab of his spear, hoping to knick some of that fur...
Bright`Mane reacts to the attack with the skill of a highly trained swordsman, his massive Moonsilver Daiklave slicing to block your spearblow with a speed and finesse borne of both magic and great skill.
Bright`Mane ::Jackal's forehead burns with a golden sunburst, Bright Mane's with a solid silver disc.::
Bright`Mane ::Sword meets spear, knocking it carefully and expertly out of the way.::
Bright`Mane quickly changes his defense into an attack, bringing his Moonsilver Sword expertly around on the backswing, a shallow slice aimed at your chest and hoping to slice around before you can bring the spear around to block or dodge out of the way...
Jackal leans back slightly, especting the blow but since his spear is a bit farther for a simple parry he spins it in mid air, hoping to deflect the daiklaive with a few sparks.
Bright`Mane "You're quite the master of the spear," he notes, impressed that you could parry his blow with a mundane weapon!
Jackal spear still spinning from the parry, he takes a split second to ensure it wasn't damaged in the exchange "Thank you." Is all he says before spining the tip of the spear into Bright Mane's knee, his anima crackling to life around him and his spear humming with energy.
Bright`Mane -- FADE OUT! TO BE CONTINUED! --
Session Time: Sun Apr 30 00:00:00 2006
Chan Serv sets mode: +q Crowned_Sun
ST ::The bolt hole is lit from the gentle white light of the glow orbs, the bronze walls very subtly etched in pleasing patterns, though it was the Mural upon the ceiling -- showing the glorious city of Meru, now lost to you, that captured most of your attention. Eventually, however, the two of you noticed the two doorways...::
ST ::One seemed to lead into a small comfortable seeming bedroom, while the other was a hallway that headed off in either direction, peripendicular to the chamber you were currently in...::
Skyla "Let's investigate this room first, before we see where the halls go." she gestures to the bedroom
Masati can't help but grin "I knew you couldn't resist me" goes to investigate the bedroom
Skyla smirks, "Not with your masterful prayers, how could I?" she follows the other girl
Masati chuckles and looks around the room. "So do remember Aeas asking Coranth to hide something?"
ST ::The bedroom is fairly small, obviously designed as a small place to rest while otherwise lying low, as opposed to a real place to live for any extended period of time. It seemed carefully designed to be pleasing to the eye; the bronzed walls were etched in beautiful and intricate designs, either careful etchings of various scenes or elaborate sun symbology.::
ST ::The furniture, what little of it there was, was also in surprisingly good condition considering how long it had been -- the bed and all its coverings were still whole, the small white-wooden nightstand next to it had grayed a bit over the age but still stood up, and the folding doors to the walk in closer seemed to still work...::
Skyla runs her fingers over the bronzed walls, marveling at the intricacy of the etchings, "Ummm..." she says in reply, thinking, trying to concentrate on the scrap of knowledge she remembers.
Skyla opens the nightstand
Masati begins openin drawers and/or wardrobes (depending on what's in the room"
ST ::The nightstands single drawer is a bit stuck, but Skyla manages to very very carefully pull it open. Inside is a very very old book, which hasn't handled the passing of so much time quite so well, and a small golden disc.::
ST ::The wardrobe door protests a bit much, the various joints that caused it to fold open not wanting to move after so long a period of time, but with some effort Masati manages to get it open -- the interior, though, has definately seen better time. The (men's) clothing within has seen better days, either having already fallen apart or so fragile as to be practically worthless. There is, however, a small brown-wooden box on the
Masati picks up the small box and opens it
Skyla retrieves both the disc and the box, inspecting first the disc, then very carefully the book, making sure not to crumble the pages
ST ::Skyla picks up the disc, lightly, carefully setting it aside after not immediately seeing anything interesting -- then, VERRRRY carefully, she tries to get the book out of the drawer.::
ST ::Masati, meanwhile, picks up the small chestnut-seeming box. There doesn't seem to be a latch, a lock, or any other kind of thing -- the front of the box is closed by an elaborate almost-clockwork-seeming golden sun-symbol. The box itself is light, but somewhat heavier than it should, doubtlessly having something inside.::
Masati looks at the box for a moment, before touching the mechanism. The box glows lightly for a second before the lock clicks open. "huh"
Masati looks at Skyla "Didn't know I could do that"
Skyla handles the book as if it were more precious than pure Orichalcum - as it well might be. She sits on the bed, pulling the book into her lap, and veeery carefully opens the cover. She grins over at Masati, "You're full of surprises."
ST ::Masati carefully, reverently, opens the box...::
ST ::Skyla, meanwhile, looks down to the book before -- as she opens the cover, every possible surface creaks and crackles... Still, with AMAZING amounts of care, she manages to open up the leatherette cover -- revealing a title page, written in Old Realm.::
ST ::The Pages, however -- they're SOOOOOO thin, /soooo/ fragile. It'd be near impossible to read the book, even if she understood the language...::
Skyla frowns, "Damn, I can't read it..."
Masati "What language is it in?" she asks distractedly
Skyla "Beats me. Not one I know."
Masati "I'll look at it in a minute"
Skyla "I'm afraid to breathe on it. What's in your box?"
ST ::...Masati's box, on the other hand, contains a tiny pendant of gold - with a silver chain that laces around the neck - and a /perfect/ bloodopal gem inset in the middle chased with minute amounts of Jade. She isn't sure what it is, but immediately recognizes it as some kind of powerful magic...::
ST ::The box also has two additional /perfect/ blood opals, each of which has a small first age character (just a letter) etched on one side.::
Masati delicatly pulls the pendant out looking at it.
Masati !essence 2 d/commit
ST Seraph burns 2 Peripheral essence. (Commited)
ST Seraph has (1313) Personal Essence, and (2929) Peripheral Essence. (Anima- 2)
ST ::Etched, verrrry delicately, on one edge of the pendant is the word 'memory' in Old Realm...::
ST ::Feeling the item around your neck, your essence flowing into it, you find yourself reflexively channeling JUUUUST a bit more essence into it -- your Castemark lighting up as a circle of gold on your forehead.::
Masati "Skyla this could get real interesting"
ST ::The essence flows through the amulet, gathering in the opal, forcing its way out in a narrow beam of sunlight... Somewhere between the wardrobe and the bed, a small ghostly-image appears, about the size of a large moon.::
ST ::The image consists of a single person, tall and handsome, with long black hair worn in a single tail, dressed in light impact armor that shines gold. It is, Masati notes, the "man of her dreams", the one she just recently learned is called Coranth...::
ST ::He's running through a tall highly developed city, the streets elegantly paved and every building seeming a wonder to behold. It is, you recognize quickly enough, the city of Meru...from the mural, and your own dreams. Yet, there is something drastically wrong...::
Masati looks over at Skyla, giving her a 'i've got a bad feeling about this' look
ST ::He is running quickly, on edge, glancing here and there. The city streets are wet, overcast, raining -- and, you know, it //NEVER// rains in Meru. "Rain," as the saying goes, "is for Farmers."::
Skyla raises a brow, watching "What's going on? Was this why he ran to Caer Dharrow?"
ST ::He glances lightly, and you see what he saw, a giant figure in the distance -- a massive stylized human form, steel and jade and gold, standing 20 feet high and holding a massive sword similarly scaled. A warstrider...::
ST ::The figure only focuses for a few moments, before he turns his attention back to where he's going, slicing quickly through the city-state...running..::
Masati "I don't know, but something is really not right. Why is it raining?" she mutters not paying that much attention to Skyla.
ST ::He moves chaotically through the various side-streets and areas, pausing to hide in an alley to avoid a patrol of the Dragon-Blooded... dressed in dragon-armor, more of the massive Warstriders with them... Now and again, he clenches his face in pain, or clutches at his chest...::
ST ::Eventually, he reaches his goal, though he went past MANY patrols and groups to get there, but finally arriving at a hidden bunker somewhere in the Trade District of the city... It's guarded by four of the Dragon-Blooded in Dragon-Armor, but he doesn't bother to engage them, seeming to move directly past them without any of them being any the wiser...::
ST ::Inside the bunker, there's a small craft, a golden ship of some sort -- sized for one person, with swept wings and a vaguely avian design. He climbs over toward it, opens an access hatch by pressing at several of the bullets, nearly falls over as he once again clutches his chest...::
Masati "I don't think this is going to end well."
ST ::...the episode passes quickly, and he climbs into the ship. The brilliant control panels are TOTALLY beyond your understanding, but his hands move easily over them, and within moments the craft is "spreading its wings" and getting ready to do something. 'You' hear the sounds of the Dragon-Blooded rushing in, but it's too late, as the Warbird slashes out of the hanger in a sudden rush of essence.::
ST ::Hands deft at the control, dodging some essence-fire from the Dragon-Blooded below, Coranth leaves the city of Meru behind...heading east...::
Masati pauses for a moment before making a circular motion with her hand, the same kind of motion you make when you want some one to hurry up.
ST ::The recorded image seems to blur, moving quickly, slicing faster and faster... Eventually, something starts to happen, and you pause -- going back a bit, before 'gesturing' for the item to continue...::
Coranth presses some buttons on the control panel of the Warbird, and starts talking...
Coranth "This is Coranth, Iron Wolf and junior member of the Solar Deliberative. Did anyone else escape from the Ambush? Please, in the sun's name, if anyone else is out there please answer?"
Coranth "Aeas? Sael? Valennia? *Someone*?"
Masati looks at Skyla and mouths the words 'Iron Wolf?' questioningly.
Skyla blinks, and picks up the seal again.. the disk...
Valennia speaks up, after a moment, a very beautiful female voice -- she sounds pained...
Valennia "Coranth! Oh god; you're alive! Where are you? Are you okay?"
Coranth shows palpable relief...
Coranth "I was poisoned," he notes, "I think I've mostly worked it from my system -- the Dragon-Blooded have turned against us. Where are you?"
Valennia "Rathess. I managed to get away from the main body of the Ambush and get away using Sorcery... The Dragon Kings are sheltering me, while I recover, but I don't know what's going to happen after that -- there's got to be something we can do..."
Coranth "We need more information before we can plan anything. I'm heading to Hollow, to my bolt hole, but I'll see if I can't make my way..."
Coranth ::There's a sound, a large sound, like an explosion...::
Coranth "Valennia! What was that??!"
Masati jumps sligtly at the sound of the explosion
Coranth "Valen!!! Get out of there!"
Coranth ::The sounds of battle persist for a few seconds, then there's just silence...::
Coranth curses, vehemently, though much of the slang he uses doesn't make a whole lot of sense to you... He adjusts course, moving toward the Hundred Kingdoms, probably deciding to head toward his Bolt Hole at this point...
Coranth "They can't be acting alone,"
Coranth ::The scene continues to stretch on, and then -- after Coranth makes a flat cutting motion with his hand -- cuts out entirely....::
Coranth ::...a second later, it picks up again.::
Coranth is standing in the very room you're currently in.
Coranth is holding the Amulet in his hand, looking down into it.
Coranth "It's been several months since the betrayal. Many of the Solar Exalted perished during the initial Ambush in Meru, and many more of us have been butchered since. I've been laying low, trying to get the survivors to safety, but I haven't managed to save any of my kin."
Coranth "The Lunars have largely disappeared, or perished with us. My wife was cut down in Meru, and I haven't seen any sign of Michaeas or any of the others. The Sidereals have disappeared entirely."
Coranth "None of the dead have been reincarnating..."
Coranth "I don't know quite what that means; regardless, the time for laying low has come to an end."
Masati takes a deep breath, closes her eyes and waits for the end of the recording.
Coranth "I'm going to make them pay, dearly, for what they've done for as long as I can. Even if they supplant us entirely, they will remember my name and the things that I am going to do..."
Coranth "I don't know what's going to happen when I eventually die, but I know this. The Sun always rises; we will return. I've pruned this recording as much as I can, just to be sure that you remember some of what happened. I only wish I'd managed to capture more..."
Coranth "No one except the bearer of my Exaltation could open the box that held this amulet and activate it; so, to the one listening to this recording, I welcome you and your kind back into the world. Do whatever you can with what you have been given."
Coranth places the amulet in the box, and then...the recording ends.
Masati stands there quietly a moment, absorbing everything
Masati "I think he did something very naughty" she says wryly, regaining her normal composure
ST ::More than that, through that last monologue, he seemed...different. He spoke utterly without emotion, just a dry almost inhuman voice, drained of anything that might have once cared.::
Skyla "My God... the Dynasts slew us all. How could they? Who was behind it? He said they weren't acting alone.."
Masati "I don't think he knew, and towards the end, I'm not sure he cared."
Skyla "Well I care. Will you help me find out?"
Masati gives Skyla a cruel look. "Most definantly, but I make no guaruntees about what i'm going to do to them"
Skyla "I have a feeling I'll want the same thing you do." she says solemnly, though without the outright cruelty.
Skyla "What about the other gems? Are they more recordings?"
Masati "I don't know."
Skyla "Try them."
Masati tries the other gems
ST ::The other gems do, indeed, include some recordings. One of them is, well, 2 days worth of 30 minute to two hour long recordings of quite varied and in some cases rather energetic sex play between Coranth and his 'wife' -- an attractive silver haired woman.::
Skyla smirks, "Are you taking notes?"
Masati laughs "Well it's nice to know I had fun"
Masati "Wow, my wife was cute"
ST ::The last gem is about a day and a half long record of some kind of "mission" that Coranth engaged in for the Solar Deliberative, somewhere in the east, though you can't quite place it. It might be interesting to go over in more detail later, but in the short term, is rather boring...::
Skyla "Would you do her if you met her again?"
Masati smirks at Skyla "Make another recording"
ST ::It mostly involves Coranth observing a number of events, killing a number of people, and otherwise getting in no small amount of trouble. Large parts of it are incredibly boring, though, as Masati somehow knows spy work is..... Wait; how does she know how spy work usually is?""
Skyla "Does it bother you that you used to be a man?"
Masati "Not really, should it? Besides I have other things to be bothered by"
Skyla shrugs, "It just seems a little weird. What if you meet your wife again, and you're both girls this time? How does that work?"
Masati leers "I'll show you sometime"
Skyla blinks, and stutters, "I meant.. would you still love eachother."
Masati "Maybe, maybe not. I'm not sure how that works being reincarnated. But I don't where being girls really matters one way or the other. Besides who says she's a girl"
Skyla shrugs, "I dunno. Haven't met her this time around."
Masati shakes her head. "You are just too innocent sometimes"
Skyla "I guess we should check out the rest." she smiles. "I'm not that innocent! I've..seen... things... really!"
Masati throws her arm around Skyla's shoulder "Just let me know if you want to learn a few things, and I'll be happy show you. But for now, let's see what's downt he other corridor"
Skyla shrugs a little, "I'm always interested in learning new things..." she looks over at Misati, "But that smile of yours scares me."
Masati laughs again. "Well that's cause you're not a compelte idiot"
ST ::Moving back across the main room of Coranth's -- now Masati's -- small bolt hole, over into the hallway, the pair find that it's really not all that much bigger over there. The hallway goes a little in both directions, and seems to lead off into three rooms -- two to the north, on either side of the hall, and a third at the end of the southern end of the hall.::
Skyla heads into the one furthest left.
ST ::Both are enclosed with gold-coated doors, elaborately decorated with swirling patterns and sun symbology. They don't seem to have any direct latch or mechanism, but open with the merest touch by either of you...::
Skyla "Thanks, I guess."
Masati follows along
Masati sighs as she opens the door. "I hate not knowing what I know"
Skyla pokes at the door for a bit, before Masati opens it. "I could have done that."
Masati shrugs "Sorry habit?"
Skyla "It's all good." she ducks under Masati's arm to see what's in the room
Masati follows her in
ST ::The leftmost room is quite small, and seems to be a shared kitchen and dining room. The table is part of the southern wall, as are the chairs, and both still work. The NORTHERN part of the room is the kitchen, but its actual function is entirely beyond the understanding of either Masati or Skyla -- it's far too complicated, and even worse, none of it seems to work anymore.::
ST ::Skyla feels a bit smarter just looking at the controls though!::
Masati "I gotta wonder if I actually could cook, cause I certaintly can't now"
Skyla pokes and prods at the various controls, ready to dive back at any moment.
ST ::As previously mentioned, none of the controls do a thing -- regardless of what you do. The kitchen stuff, which seems -- vaguely -- to include everything from a "cooking fire" to various processing units and an area for storing food, is broken beyond functioning.::
ST ::The storage unit that once held food, though, is currently full of a few different types of molds and slimes!::
Masati looks in the storage unit and gags "ewwww!"
Skyla "Oh god, close that door!" she coughs
Masati quickly closes it up. "Ok I'm going to be a coward and run away now" she says backing out of the kitchen
Skyla follows, post-haste "When that smell clears up, I'll try to figure out how to... well... do ANYTHING with this stuff... how come it was so complicated back then?"
Masati walks into the hallway and heads to the other room
ST ::The door on the other side of the hallway leads into what might have once been a small sitting room or study. There's a bit of furniture here and there, but it hasn't held up as well... The few chairs broke apart into their component pieces long ago, the small table is now only half-standing up with two good legs...and the bookcase collapsed and tumbled away long ago.::
ST ::The books themselves litter the ground, or rather what's /left/ of the books.::
ST ::Most of them are nothing but blank worn pages, torn and rotted, worse even than the book Skyla found in the nightstand. There is ONE exception, however...::
ST ::It has bronze covers, and copper pages, each of which is carefully inscribed with Old Realm runes.::
Skyla brushes the dust off of the bronze cover of the book, and hands it to Misati
Masati takes the book, trying to read the cover
ST ::Masati, glancing over the quite heavy book, can inform Skyla that it seems to be some kind of technical manual designed to teach basic crafting techniques used in the First Age.::
Masati "Looks like you just lucked out girl"
Skyla "Really? Does it say how to use the kitchen?"
Masati "Hmmm I don't think so, but it could probaly tell you how to build one"
Skyla brightens, "Really? That would be so cool." she looks at the book eagerly, then her face falls, "But... I can't read it."
Masati shrugs "Languages aren't that hard, I'll teach you"
Skyla beams, "Really? Wow... I'm so glad we met you." she grins. "This is fantastic!"
Masati laughs "Just remember that when I do something you don't like"
Skyla "Oh, are you going to do that a lot?"
Masati hands the book back to Skyla for safekeeping. "Possibly. Let's check that last room"
Masati heads towars the last room
Skyla cradles the book, along with the last one, carefully in her loot sack (she made it specially for times like this!)
ST ::The door into the final room, to the south, opens similarly easily -- it isn't much, a small circular room with a pillar in the very middle. Skyla recognizes it for what it is instantly -- a Hearthstone Chamber! This isn't just a bolt hole, it's a small Manse!::
Skyla blinks, "Whoah... how come we didn't feel it before? This is a Manse!"
Masati looks at her "perfect place to put it"
ST ::Skyla, thinking over that, figures that Aeas must have made it fairly low-profile - what use is a bolt hole if everyone of any power can sense it easily using even simple charms.::
Skyla "Yeah..." she heads to the center of the room, to find the stone. "This is probably yours... Unless someone else is attuned. We could claim it. And I think take the stone with us."
Masati "Well lets find out
Skyla "Okay... I think we uh... Sit here for a while. And think about it."
Skyla "Or something." she says lamely.
Masati meditates and comtemplates
Skyla sits down, cross-legged, and concentrates, repeating to herself silently "Oh Unconquered Sun - Attune me please!"
ST ::The process comes quite easily; within a few minutes, you can feel the essence flowing through the room...::
Skyla cracks an eye open and looks at Misati, "Do you feel it?"
ST ::Slowly, the rather subdued flow becomes more and more obvious, until you can /feel/ the energy moving through the careful geomancy and into the hearthstone chamber. It's a fairly slow flow, but steady, forceful...::
Masati doesn't open her eyes 'shhh'
Skyla shuts up and concentrates some more
ST ::Eventually, after maybe -- 10 minutes? -- you feel as if you've achieved something. Masati stands up first, glancing around the room, her eyes glancing over the white flow of essence that channels into the room...into the Pillar. And, aha...::
ST ::The pillar in the middle of the room -- aha, there it is! The Hearthstone is a tiny clear white gem. Perfectly spherical, and quite pretty...::
Skyla stands up shortly thereafter, and looks at the gem, then up at misati. "So do we fight over it now or something?"
Masati takes the hearthstone, looking at for the moment then putting it in her pocket.
ST ::Even as she says that, she KNOWS it /belongs/ to Masati. Heh. "She" built the place for Coranth!::
Masati "Nope, I just move faster"
Skyla laughs. "It was yours anyway. What's it do?"
Masati shrugs "I have no idea, but i'll probally remember in a bit"
Skyla "Jackal had to put his in an artifact to make it work."
ST -- fade out --
Session Time: Mon May 01 00:00:00 2006