< Essence Flows 2 | Sol Invictus Logs | Interior Decorating >
The Labyrinthine Cascade, shortly after the Solars' return from the Underworld.
- Zahara strides along, in good humor, Tantamount dogging her heels, and pestering her with newly inane sets of questions, which she answers absent-mindedly. "Because the dog ATE the cat?" "No... the mouse did WHAT with the cheese? What does that have to do with the goddamn cat?" "You can't be serious."
- Cerin watches the exchange with mild amusement as he walks along behind her, feet falling silently
- Rannath is massaging his temples and trying to block out the voices as he follows.
- Zahara finally throws her hands up in disgust, "Never listen to a Manticore. So, I thought that went well, with Mask of Winters, don't you?" She addresses the rest of the circle.
<Rannath> "..He's the *Mask of Winters*. Why were you even talking to him?"
Suddenly, rapid footsteps begin to draw nearer from the opposite end of the hall.
<Zahara> "He ASKED."
- Cerin shrugs "It cost me my job, but I seem to have met some most interesting people in return.."
- Zahara looks up at the sound of footsteps.
- Rannath arches an eyebrow, pausing.
A barbarian warrior runs into the hall, panting. "Masters! You must follow me! The Cascade has been breached!"
<Zahara> "Breached? How? This is unacceptable!"
<Barbarian> "I know not, Mistress Zahara. Follow me, see what I have found!"
He begins to move off in the opposite direction.
- Rannath nods and follows at a steady clip, seemingly unencumbered by his massive golden plate.
- Cerin seems to flow along the corridoor, the disconcerting effect generated by his unusual armour and his peerless grace
- Zahara follows as well, her steps hard on the floor.
The barbarian leads the Solars to a room elsewhere in the manse. Upon the floor lie the cold bodies of two barbarians and a god-blood, along with a thin trail of blood and a scattering of bright red petals.
- Rannath scowls, features darkening.
- Cerin 's eyes narrow as he sees the scene
- Zahara stoops down and catches one of the petals up in her fingers, bringing it up to the light, "Rose petals? That seems.. uncommon for a mortal assassin."
- Cerin picks one up too "No mortal assasin did this"
- Rannath nods in agreement. "To bypass our security without effort, kill two guards and an Essence-user, and escape just as easily?"
<Zahara> "This is not of the Wyld.. Perhaps a spirit came here, or an Exalt."
- Cerin frowns up at the ceiling, then looks amongst the rose petals, picking up a tiny piece of fabric "They were an exalt...or a spirit who wore clothes"
<Zahara> "An envoy of Mask of Winters, perhaps, trying to discover what was HERE when we were NOT."
<Rannath> "We should move the bodies. They require funeral rites."
<Cerin> "Perhaps, though rosepetals are most unusual for an agent of his...and it was not soulsteel that cut like this"
- Zahara eyes the wounded with a bit of distaste. "It's a good thing we used marble for the floor. Limestone would have stained."
- Rannath sighs. "Our people are worth more than a clean floor, Zahara."
<Cerin> "It might have left more traces though...essence flows straight through marble, doesnt hold it as limestone would"
- Zahara shrugs, "At least it was only three."
The barbarian says, "This must have occurred while the group of fae warriors attacked our outer defenses; otherwise, certainly more of us would have responded."
<Cerin> "When was the fey attack?"
<Rannath> "Hm. A faerie-bought sellsword, with the skirmish as a distraction?"
<Barbarian> "Yesterday, as the sun neared the far horizon."
- Cerin nods "They were attacked as the fey attacked then"
<Zahara> "I assume the warriors were easily dispatched, since you brought this to our attention first?"
<Barbarian> "Yes, Master Zahara. They posed no true threat to our fine barbarian warriors."
<Zahara> "I still say the timing was too perfect for Mask not to have known about it."
<Rannath> "We should operate under the assumption that all of our potential enemies had a hand in this and eliminate them as evidence is gathered. For all we know, it could be a great conspiracy."
<Cerin> "Perhaps he did, perhaps he did not. Anyone who watched this place would have known you left, and it would be the ideal time to enter. You must have enemies?"
- Zahara chuckles, "Never for long. But we did receive a disturbing missive from a Fae lord that he wished to take our lands. He offered to pay, but refused."
- Cerin nods "One of the Fae you say? Curious"
<Rannath> "Arrogant worm. Warrior, I have a request."
<Barbarian> "Yes, Master Rannath?"
<Rannath> "Return these two to their tribes for burial and send for one of my Legionnaires to retrieve our Essence-user."
<Barbarian> "I shall do so at once!" The barbarian claps his chest, then turns to leave.
- Cerin looks up at the ceiling, then along the corridoor, following some signs that neither of the others can see
- Zahara taps her fingers absently, "We need more lethal defenses in here."
- Cerin looks into the rather uninteresting room "Come here, you two"
- Zahara walks over to Cerin, "What is it?"
- Rannath follows. "Defenses.. a good idea. The tribesmen and my soldiers are excellent, but perhaps something more is required."
<Zahara> "The alarm apparently sounded, but the Manse should be able to defend itself somewhat, especially if we are away for a war."
<Cerin> "This is where they entered...or dropped some stealth magic I cannot see past..." He points to the middle of the room
<Cerin> It seems to be a storeroom of some kind, though mostly empty
- Zahara raises an eyebrow, "There aren't even any windows in there. There's no way he could have gotten in without tripping the sensors."
- Markuran walks up, looking irritated and disheveled. He was probably roused from a nap by another warrior. "Someone broke into the Manse?" his voice is rough with sleep.
<Cerin> "They are obviously possessed of some skill at stealth magics then, or else they can teleport"
<Zahara> "I don't know how you managed to sleep on the back of that wasp, Marku. Yes, apparently someone just.. appeared here." She points to the offending spot. "And killed three of our men, here" she gestures at the bright red smears on the floor. "And some fae attacked from outside as well."
<Markuran> "I can sleep anywhere. How else would I get any sleep? Someone's always bothering me when I try to sleep in my bed. I've already taken care of the dead, by the way."
<Zahara> "How, pray tell, did you do that? We just sent them off a minute ago."
<Cerin> "The killer did nothing that I can see apart from appear here, kill those three, and then return to this room and vanish to my perceptions again"
- Rannath grunts and keeps inspecting the room.
<Zahara> "Hmm. Well then. Cerin, would you like to take the Grand Tour of the rest of the manse with me, and see if you spot anything else unusual?
<Zahara> "You seem to have an unusually good eye for things."
- Cerin nods "Yes, thank you Zahara, though having not been here before, I doubt I will see much..."
- Markuran calls for one of his warriors, sending the ears of everyone else to ringing. When the young woman arrives, Mark asks her to fetch one of the warriors that fought the fae and have him find them, they would be giving a tour of the Manse and probably located in the Solars' quarters where Cerin will soon have a room.
The warrior agrees and departs. Several minutes later, she returns with another woman who helped fight off the fae menace.
<Barbarian Woman> "Masters, I hear you have called for my presence."
- Markuran tells the first warrior to find Revolia and get her to tend to the wounded before sending her off again. "Tell us of the battle against the Wyld ones. What did they look like, where did they come from"
- Rannath opens his mouth to speak, grimaces, and closes it silently.
<Barbarian Woman> "They stood taller than any man, and bore the appearance of spun glass, trimmed with ebon wood. There were seven of them, and they struck with no warning, swarming out from the forest and striking down several of the sentries before we could bear upon them."
<Markuran> "Did they have any markings?"
<Barbarian Woman> "One bore a scarf which was tens of feet long, yet which flew perfectly in the air so as not to burden him; it bore on it this symbol."
- Cerin turns to the warrior with interest, looking at the symbol
She sketches a half-circle with what appears to be scribbling within.
<Barbarian Woman> "It was much more elaborate, I'm afraid; I cannot do it true justice."
- Zahara notes the symbol mentally
- Cerin studies it
<Zahara> "Hmmm sounds like the horde to the North. They don't usually come down this far, especially into MY territory. I'll have to teach them a lesson."
- Markuran sighs "Perhaps I should not have sent the souls of the dead onward. Their ghosts may have spoken to Zahara and told us much."
<Cerin> "Fae hmm? I havent hunted Fae in a while"
<Zahara> "My favorite prey, by far. They shatter so prettily."
<Cerin> "Each to their own"
- Rannath smiles wolfishly, which is fairly unpleasant on an ugly man like Rannath. "Markuran, can your warriors defend their homes by themselves?"
- Markuran bristles and glares at the other man, his voice sour. "No, Rannath. They cower under the brush while your brave soldiers save them."
- Cerin turns to Zahara "This is a very well designed manse"
<Rannath> "I do not speak in jest, Zenith. Are your numbers large enough to deploy without any weak points?"
<Markuran> "Yes. We do not need your soldiers to defend ourselves." Mark still looks angry that Rannath would question the effectiveness of his warriors.
- Zahara beams, ignoring the boys' fight, as they always bicker. "Thank you, It was built by Markuran and myself, with design aid from the rest of the circle. And a few demons."
- Rannath nods solemnly. "Good."
- Cerin nods "A most impressive work, you have my admiration"
<Zahara> "The labyrinth was especially difficult. It took months to get the pathways to flow correctly."
- Markuran nods absently in thanks. "We can incorporate your rooms into the design easily, it was meant to be flexible to a certain degree because of the labyrinth changing shape to control the shifting of the malevolence."
The barbarian seems confused, as if she is uncertain whether she is still needed.
<Markuran> "Return to your sisters. The Fire Blood will see to their wounds."
- Cerin nods "I can imagine. I know little of the material side of making places such as this, though I can fully appreciate just how difficult the planning of where essence needed to flow"
<Zahara> "And, over here.." she leads you down a twisting hallway into a little courtyard, replete with fountains of essence that shift colors. "This is my favorite part."
<Rannath> "Since the faeries have seen fit to challenge us martially, I will return the favor tenfold."
- Cerin smiles "Beautiful, much like yourself"
- Rannath is following Zahara and Cerin, eyes gleaming.
- Zahara blushes a little. "Thank you!"
- Markuran eyes Zahara, never really having notice her beauty.
- Zahara is above-average pretty! Blue eyes, blonde hair, and without that normal bitchy look on her face, she looks quite cute.
- Cerin smiles warmly at her then glances back at the fountain
A week later, to the north of Chaya. The Solars have tracked the group of faeries who
attacked the Labyrinthine Cascade back here, to a small village to the Southeast of
Nathir. A large group of fae seems to have been through here, ravaging and discarding
the inhabitants, then turning the buildings into a playground for their debauched
- Cerin surveys the scene from the back of the beauteous wasp, watching the wyld essence twisting about the fae forces
- Rannath has deployed a fourth of his Legion, and the mixed infantry and cavalry prepare for battle as he calmly discusses strategy with the Fire Aspect next to him. The man is small and wiry, with the Celestial Legion's orichalcum mon displayed proudly on his breast.
- Markuran moves his wasp up next to Cerin's, yelling over to him. "Will you remain above?"
- Cerin nods "I see little reason to land"
- Zahara soars about on Tantamount's strong wings, surveying the scene below, "The puppeteers make much prettier destruction."
- Rannath raises his spear and charges forward on his flame-colored horse. The heavy cavalry roars in response, levelling their spears and thundering forward with a speed that rivals lightning and a strength that makes the ground tremble like a terrified peasant.
- Zahara flies above the most massed part of the Many Scary Fae, her robes shifting and lengthening to flutter and float in the wind like a gossamer angel atop a horrific beast. She lofts her bell, trusting to Tanty to dodge any arrows aimed at her, that get through the whirring and spinning weapons that seem to form a hypnotic pattern as they spin around her.
- Zahara rings the bell thrice, pouring extra essence into the tone, tuning it to make the ears of the Fae shriek and bleed, and twist their minds until they see enemies in their fellows.
As Rannath's cavalry tears through the front ranks of the fae, slaying utterly those who stand in their way, Zahara's bell rings out over the field, wounding those who hear it deep within.
Around her position, fae commoners begin to tear at one another in rage.
- Cerin flits above the battlefield on his wasp, his keen eyes selecting one of the noble fey, drawing a pair of arrows back across his bow, letting them fly towards the proud glass clad warrior.
- Markuran brings his wasp low over another of the Cataphractoi as it delivers orders in crisp, clear tones to its goblin minions. Just as the fae opens her mouth to issue another order, Mark flings himself from the wasp and slams into her ebon-armored body, his fist slamming her jaw shut as his weight bears her to the dirt.
The fae warrior is struck down by Mark's vicious blows.
- Rannath grabs one of his cavalrymen's firewands and fires it up into the air, signalling the remaining army. In short order, they're readied, and Cathak Isurai leads the charge with his infantry and light cavalry.
- Rannath whistles loudly, and the infantry step back from the slaughter as the cavalry rings the entire faerie army. As one, they ready firewands and loose the mighty gouts of flame into the enemy formation with an immense *fwoomp* as the air is filled with the smell of smoke and charred flesh.
- Markuran hearing the satisfying sound of the Fae's ebon body smashing into splinters and firewood under his heavy frame the big Solar rises to his feet and shakes sap from his fist. Moving through the horde of Fae rushing to meet Rannath's army, Markuran's attention is only on the next Cataphract in sight, a man even larger then Markuran built of shimmering glass.
- Markuran announces his emergence from the terrified horde of goblins by flinging one of their number, its body smashed by one of Markuran's meteoric blows, into the fae's back. As it turns, the barbarian smashes perfection into smitherenes, raining blows upon the glass warrior until only shards and blood remain.
- Rannath is soaked with blood at this point, roaring with savage glee as his flame-engulfed form rips swathes away from the fae formation. The infantry and cavalry are lost in the slaughter as well, trampling the Fair Folk with their horses' hooves and lopping off body parts with their swords.
- Rannath rips his flame-bladed spear out of a leonine faerie.. and silence engulfs the battlefield, as the unscathed Celestial Legion stands triumphant over six hundred Wyld-spawned corpses.
<Rannath> "..I'll be off counting losses and reorganizing." Rannath wipes his blood-caked face with an equally blood-caked gauntlet, sighs, and rides back to camp.
- Cerin brings his wasp into land, lightly leaping from it "Your men fight like devils, Rannath"
- Rannath grins and raises the spear. "The Unconquered Sun guides our hands!" This is met with a great roar from the troops.
The air has a strange stillness to it; the corpses of the fae cool slowly on the bloodied dirt, less than a mile from where those of the villagers did so the day before.
- Cerin frowns vaguely at the corspes, walling through the carnage, trying to find an unburnt banner to look at the symbols more closely
- Cerin finds the banner, plucking it from the back of a cataphract, picking the the fae's bow too, studying the strangth glass design
- Markuran turns his shirt into a make-shift sack in which he collects small parts of the two dead Cataphracts and small items of glamour for possible use later. The bodies of enemies are often excellent material to build from.
Tags: (:tags Mask of Winters, Lai Misuna, Fair Folk:)
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