< Bedside Chat With Herons | Sol Invictus Logs | Bread and Visions >

  • Ikara lowers Destiny's Price and steps into view. Her robes are torn and bloody in places, but she looks to be mostly intact. "Does this mean that Herons survived?"

<Zahara> ::Who is Ikara?::

<Cerin> ::She walked with me to Bi`Allah, the first time I visited there. Why does she want to know? Can your magic tell me?::

<Zahara> ::Somewhat. I could find out what she truly wants out of life, though. That would be interesting.::

<Cerin> :;It would.::

<Zahara> ::She basically wants to know if her boss is alive. Simply because he is her boss.::

<Cerin> "He did, though he is ill with a magical disease that is slowly weaving it's way about his essence."

<Ikara?> "That's better than I expected, at least. I've been able to find very few of us alive, and at least 30 are dead."

<Zahara> "How many were here before?"

<Ikara?> "There are supposed to be one hundred of us." Ikara looks about through the tunnels and turns around, saying "Follow me as we speak. I have ensured that this path is safe."

  • Zahara follows, keeping an eye out for anything unusual. "Well, that's over half that might still be alive. That's mildly encouraging."
  • Ikara 's back is to Zahara, so she can't see whether the Sidereal lifts an eyebrow or not, but she says nothing.
  • Cerin nods and continues to balance on Zahara's feet.

<Zahara> "where would the others have gone?"

<Ikara?> "That is an excellent question. Those of us who fled did so in the chaos of the fight, and I must admit" -- she lets the slightest hint of self-reproach enter her voice here -- "we did not have alternate prepared shelters. I have tried to contact others but the stars are silent; they no longer heed my call to set messages for the others."

<Zahara> "Aha. Well now you know to prepare one for the next time." she says as if it is of no import. "Perhaps they think you are the enemy trying to lure them out into the open, so they are not answering."

The passageway twists and turns a number of times, heading up and down, left and right. Eventually it reaches a wall, where Ikara fingers a button pinned to her collar; the wall slides open, letting the Exalts into the central room of the Chrysanthemum.

The room is a great hall, with the central portion of the dome open to the sky, where the petals of the flower part and let the stars shine in. Around the outside in a vast circle are one hundred seats, padded with five colors of cloth and inlaid with intricate runes and star-charts. In the center the floor is flat for perhaps ten yards before reaching the central podium, which rises up about a yard and is itself perhaps 10 yards wide.

This is where the Orrery once stood, Cerin remembers. As the Solars walk into the room, its current state becomes quite clear. Bodies, both human and... other, lie unburied and beginning to rot throughout the room. Bloodstains run up and down the walls, and across the vast podium. There are scorch marks and other evidence of powerful magics having been unleashed in this chamber.

  • Zahara raises a brow, bending to inspect the 'others'

<Cerin> ::We would do well to search for them. They would make useful servants.:: Cerin leaps down off Zahara's feet, casting his own eyes around the chamber, a slight from on his face as he looks to the podium

Weird creatures of various descriptions can be seen.

<Zahara> ::If we 'rescue' them they should be grateful enough::

  • Cerin recognizes a few known varieties of hundredfold amongst the corpses; it seems likely that the other bodies are also from such races. All of them seem quite thoroughly dead.
  • Zahara collects a few useful looking parts from the various corpses, although she reluctantly stays away from removing bits from the human looking one, in case one of them was a friend of Ikara. Wouldn't do to alienate a potential ally, even though she has nowhere else to turn.

<Cerin> "More of the hundredfold." Cerin identifies them to Zahara (and Ikara if she happens to care) then he jumps up onto the podium that the orrery used to sit on.

  • Ikara makes a survey of the corpses. "There are sixteen more I had not accounted for here. I am not positive about the chances for the others."

<Zahara> "Well, they would be here, in one state or another, don't you think? Unless they were eaten..." she frowns and surveys the fallen for signs of chewing

The dead have perished in a variety of unfortunate and grisly fashions.

  • Cerin compares the scene before him to the one he saw in his mind, then tunes out the corspes, Ikara, Zahara, the residuals of the charms, examining only what is left in the essence of the room
  • Zahara slides her gaze over to Ikara and back to the chewed-up bits.

Recalling his memory and closely examining the podium, it becomes quickly clear that the orrery -- an extremely heavy device -- was not slid or even lifted off of the podium; it was clearly moved through some form of magic that allowed it to disappear completely.

Further investigation reveals traces of Essence remaining on the podium -- Solar in origin.

  • Cerin frowns all the more deeply. ::This was stolen by solar magic.::
  • Zahara blinks, ::Solar? Anyone you recognize?"

<Cerin> ::Too much other magic around.::

<Zahara> ::Hmph::

  • Ikara finishes her examination of the bodies and the room. "This area is compromised, and I don't think I can find anything else useful here. We should depart quickly."

<Cerin> "We should, yes." Cerin leaps lightly down. "There is nothing more the room can tell me."

Ikara takes a small object -- a septagonal brazier of gold and red, with little legs -- from her robes and places it in the center of the room. As the Exalts file back out through the secret doorway, little bolts of fire shoot out from its center and begin to ignite the bodies in the room, which burn with a deep red fire.

<Cerin> "What was that?" Cerin asks with curiousity

<Ikara?> "A Warrior's Soul Brazier. Your kind could not be expected to honor every battlefield of fallen warriors -- these filled that void."

When the Exalts emerge from the fountain once again, they can see a thick plume of golden-blue smoke pouring out of the center of the Chrysanthemum.

  • Cerin nods.
  • Ikara looks to Cerin. "I suppose it should be obvious that I must now cast my lot with you."
  • Cerin nods "You are a welcome addition to our forces, in all but cause." he starst towards the gate
  • Ikara follows. One hand hovers around Destiny's Price at all times.

As Cerin is approaching the gate, Zahara's thinky rings suddenly spring to life, with a message from Kai!

  • Zahara blinks ::Yes, Kai?::

<Kai> ::I... There's too much to say too quickly. Immediate issue, the Roseblack will join us if you make her general of the armies of the Sunlands.::

<Zahara> ::General? That's a bit brash of her. What will poor Bertie do?"

<Cerin> ::Be her aide de camp?::

<Kai> ::If you don't mind, she is staring at me waiting for an answer.::

<Zahara> ::I'd like to interview her before making her general... to make sure she's not planning anything underhanded. Tell her you will bring it before the council, and we request her presence at it:: she gives some appropriate time and place that's halfway between both places, fairly neutral, and conveniently near a Gate

  • Kai does.

<Ikara?> The Roseblack looks sternly at Kai for several long, painful seconds. Then, finally, she says "That is... barely... acceptable."

<Kai> "Thank you. now, if I may have a moment, I rather obviously need to pass on some other information."

<Kai> ::Do you two have a.. a moment?::

<Cerin> ::Talk, please, Kai.::

<Zahara> ::Yes, please do. We're doing a bit of traveling.::

<Kai> ::Something... Something happened to Markuran. We were attacked at the camp, and he was struck by a great black shadow.::

<Kai> ::He... Changed.::

<Cerin> ::C An? you describe it for me further?::

<Zahara> ::A shadow, hmmm. That could be any number of things.::

<Kai> ::I... I don't know that I can. It was a great gathering darkness, and when it struck him... Well, it was a complete change of character. He struck at me.::

<Zahara> ::What, did he become useful?::

<Cerin> ::Did he say anything?::

<BirdsOfTrinity> ::I think he screamed.::

<BirdsOfTrinity> ::Everyone else was doing it. Must have seemed fashionable.::

<Kai> ::"I am a god from before your kind walked the Earth. And now I live again. Your kind can threaten me no longer."::

<Cerin> ::Ah.::

<Cerin> ::That is not good.::

<Kai> ::Do you know what it means?::

<Cerin> ::Yes.::

<Zahara> ::Oh my.::

<Cerin> ::The last time we saw what you just did, it clawed it's way into Malfaes. Apparently it is back.::

<Kai> :: ... ::

<Cerin> ::Exactly::

<Zahara> ::Didn't I TELL him not to do that? DIDN'T I?::

<Zahara> ::Irritating little man!::

<Kai> :: Is there any part of reality that isn't trying to kill you? ::

<Cerin> ::Some pebbles?::

<BirdsOfTrinity> ::I think I patched up things with my ex.::

<Zahara> ::Which ex?::

<BirdsOfTrinity> ::Not all of them, sadly.::

<Cerin> ::Anyway, that spirit was the reason Marku was entombed in solid soulsteel, that had been poured around his still living body.::

  • Ikara starts to become slightly curious about why the Solars have stopped moving and begun concentrating, but says nothing

<BirdsOfTrinity> ::Marku never changes, does he?::

<Zahara> ::He does, but only for brief periods of time.

  • Birds absentmindedly asks the Roseblack who made her fabulous outfit.
  • Roseblack is, at best, confused by this line of questioning. "I commissioned it from the finest smiths in the Realm, to celebrate my victory over the Toguba uprising."

<Zahara> ::So... did he go back to Malfaeas?::

<BirdsOfTrinity> ::He ...disappeared.::

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You must have a great deal of armour, then. Your reputation precedes you!"

<Zahara> ::So. It seems he did a wonderful job of 'protecting' you two ladies.::

<Kai> :: It seemed that the attack was for the express purpose of... Uhm... taking him. ::

<Roseblack?> "So I am told. If your kind seek me out for aid, it is clear I have become more famous than I had thought."

<Cerin> ::What hundredfold were involved in the attack?::

  • Kai describes them.
  • Birds makes a dizzy gesture. "I apologise, eminence, it seems the attack is having some effect on my head. If you'll excuse me?" She finds a more secluded place to headtalk.

<Roseblack?> The Roseblack nods confusedly at the Solar.

<Cerin> ::Zipetok.::

<Kai> :: Okay. ::

<BirdsOfTrinity> ::Now we can investigate one!::

<Cerin> ::Perhaps you should both get the roseblack to accompany you to the meeting point?::

<BirdsOfTrinity> ::That seems agreeable.::

<Zahara> ::Indeed.::

<Zahara> "Ikara, would you accompany us to {meeting point}? We have a meeting we really must attend."

  • Birds heads back in to meet with Kai and the Roseblack.
  • Ikara nods.
  • Zahara goes
  • Cerin follows Ikara, paying attention as he passes through the gate to the messages from the charm

<Roseblack?> The Solars emerge atop a fairly pleasant wooded hill, overlooking a pleasant line of trees below. It'd make a nice spot for a picnic. A few moments later, Kai and Birds follow through, accompanied by the Roseblack and an attachment of guards.

  • Zahara has arranged herself a sort of throne with the materials at hand.

<Roseblack?> The Roseblack walks up and stands at a saucy angle in front of Zahara's throne, not visibly impressed.

<Roseblack?> Ikara sits quietly off one side of the hill.

  • Cerin stands at Zahara's side, helmet off, carmine ribbons flapping in the gentle breeze.

<Zahara> "Welcome. You must be the Roseblack." she says, looking the woman up and down.

<Roseblack?> "I am."

  • Zahara sits straight and imposing in her intricately woven throne of small carved branches interlaced in a sort of wickerwork pattern, shot through with bright reeds and flowers from the rather denuded surroundings. Each corner is crowned with a claw from one of the Hundredfold. "I am Zahara Zhan, the Dreambreaker. She gestures, Cerin the Wolf stands at my side, and Ikara accompanies us."
  • Roseblack nods very slightly.
  • Zahara muses for a moment, watching the woman. "You have heard our offer from Kai, I assume?"
  • Roseblack nods again. "I have extended an offer of my own."

<Zahara> "Tell me, Roseblack, how can I trust you to lead my armies?"

<Roseblack?> "You knew of me by reputation before we ever spoke. What does my reputation tell you?"

<Zahara> "That your loyalty is impressive, as are your skills in leading men and women. And yet my question stands. It is not your skill I am questioning, but your loyalty. It is something that cannot be bought, so I hear tell."

<Roseblack?> "It cannot."

<Zahara> "And so I question why you are willing to lead people who are not of the Realm."

<Roseblack?> "Because the Realm is in ruins, because of a force I could not have predicted."

<Zahara> "None of us could have predicted what is coming to our shores." She agrees. "We are not directly opposed to the Realm, so long as they do not trouble us with their 'Anathema' nonsense. We would help to rebuild it, so long as it were to include us as equals." possibly more...yes...more.

<Zahara> ::Cerin, dear, you'll tell me if she lies, yes?::

<Cerin> ::Of course my love::

<Roseblack?> "Someone must."

<Zahara> "You do not seem at all enthusiastic."

<Roseblack?> "I am not enthusiastic. I would rather never force my men to march through the swamps, to shed their blood in the sands, to die for the Realm. I am only determined."

<Zahara> "And when we have destroyed the armies of the gods, what then will you do?"

<Roseblack?> "Ensure peace."

<Zahara> "I see. Well, you can be sure that when the time comes, things will go the way they ought."

  • Roseblack nods again. "You accept my leadership of your armies."

<Zahara> ::Well, this should be interesting. Do any of you oppose?::

<Cerin> ::No.::

<Kai> :: Sounds reasonable. ::

<Zahara> "With the understanding that you will not run the armies unchecked, but consult with us as appropriate. For instance," she says drily, "Before you lead them into anything dangerous. And I expect we will be fully informed, with no niggling little 'details' left out."

<Roseblack?> "You will have no such difficulties."

<Zahara> "Indeed. I hope you do not mind Lucien accompanying you, to make sure there is no trouble among the ranks of either side."

  • Roseblack raises an eyebrow. "If I can expect him to follow my instructions."

<Zahara> "I will instruct him to do so."

<Roseblack?> "Then I will not mind."

<Zahara> "Excellent. Feel free to ask if you need anything else."

<Roseblack?> "I must review your standing forces immediately, and have barracks and medical treatment for my men."

<Zahara> "Of course. We have several buildings standing open at the moment." She'd prepared, of course. "And we of course will provide medical care. Are there any that need be treated right away, or can they wait until they are in the Sunlands?"

<Roseblack?> "It can be delayed for a short time, none with critical wounds have survived."

<Zahara> "Ah, a shame. We will be sure to provide battlefield medics in the future."

  • Roseblack nods.

Tags: (:tags Sidereals, Chrysanthemum, Ikara, Orrery of Light, Hundredfold, Solars, Roseblack :)

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