Reaver waddles back and forth around the table, happily clapping his tiny metal hands together.
<Zahara> "As much as I want to kill him myself, Marku's... recent indisposition... does not bode well. It simply compounds everything we already have to contend with, and that is already overwhelming."
<Cerin> "And that the lily seems to have the co-operation of that spirit..."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Things could be worse, though."
<Zahara> "Don't say that. You'll make it true."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Our enemies could want different things!"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "It's way easier when they are working together."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I am an uncomplicated sort of person. I don't like dividing my attention."
<Zahara> "The problem is that *since* they're all working together, we can't easily turn them upon eachother."
<Zahara> "...And the army is larger..."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh, I see."
<Kai> "I thought we might be hungry," she says, placing the bowl down.
<Zahara> "Which he?"
<Zahara> "I suppose it's because he hasn't been taught to be." she says thoughtfully.
<Zahara> "Or perhaps he's simply too young to realize what we are."
<Kai> "Well... It just says something interesting about the Hundredfold, is all..."
<Kai> She puts him down on the table, and helps herself to another loaf of bread and an apple.
<Zahara> "That they are not intrinsically evil? They are children of the Primordials, and seem to be fighting for their return to Creation."
<Kai> "So, sorry, where were we when I arrived?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "We were just counting our blessings, so to speak."
<Kai> "Any yet..." she pats Reaver on his head, "Not even a nip."
<Zahara> "For all that we have accomplished, it seems that things have not gotten a whit better."
<Kai> "Well, I mean... We're building forces to fend off this huge threat... And it doesn't seem like we really know where it comes from?"
<Zahara> "Well... Lai seems to be heading up the other side."
<Cerin> "We know the locations of several of thier training camps, both on this world and others."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "And we know at least a little about Marku's past."
<Kai> "So, where does Lai come from? What does he want? I mean, aside from a blade through his spine."
<Zahara> "Ha! I would give him THAT, gladly"
<Kai> "You'd have to wait in line."
<Zahara> "I'm sure we can all go together."
<Zahara> "There are 22 vertebrae you know."
<Cerin> "He was concerned only with his mission when I have spoken with him in the past. To bring power to the gods. And Lai is mine. I will will see him dead by my hands. I swore an oath to do so."
<Zahara> "I believe we all have, at one point or another, love."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Lai has something to do with Chaya, no?"
<Kai> "Hm. But where does he get his mission, then?"
<Zahara> "Hmmm, yes, his God is of Chaya's lands."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "The god... Excellent Bud or something to that effect..."
<Zahara> "Interesting, that, as Chaya's government is sworn to aid us. ... I'm now wondering if that was the best idea I've ever had."
<Kai> "Wait, he's the god of people who are on our side?"
<Zahara> "..sort of."
<Zahara> "Why didn't we think of this sooner?"
<Kai> "Well, doesn't that give us a bit of an upper hand?"
<Cerin> "They would die for that."
<Zahara> "and.. oh hell. Maybe I should re-cast that spell not to include Chaya."
<Zahara> "Only if they were caught."
<Cerin> "If not from your Oath, which binds them against treachery, then from Lucien."
<Zahara> "There is truth in that."
<Zahara> "We should review the wording of that oath."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "We should speak with the Chayan priesthood. That place is too involved in things for us to have let it go neglected so long."
<Kai> "So... What do we know about Unfolding Petal?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I think he is the god of the flowers - the ones with the intoxicating attar."
<Cerin> "He is a god, of the Chayan blossoms. He was not this powerful until recently."
<Kai> "Hm. And we don't know why?"
<Zahara> "It seems to have to do with the discovery of how to exalt their own mortals."
<Cerin> "I would venture they have a process for empowering gods somewhat too. Ahlat's essence was not entirely normal either. I have slain enough gods to know that."
<Kai> "So, then, the question is, where does Unfolding Petal come by all these prossesses?"
<Zahara> "Ah yes... the exact wording was.. Chaya and all its people and lands are now under the jurisdiction of the Sunlands. And I, nor Chaya, shall make any binding oaths to others, without Zahara Zhan's express consent.
<Cerin> "That is not something we have looked into, not finding anyone who knew to question them on it."
<Kai> "Well, it seems like Chaya might be a good place to start..."
<Zahara> "We got the checklist ourselves from Rovak."
<Cerin> "That we would not know without a second visit. I do not believe it would add much to our understanding though."
<Kai> "So, the thing that took Markuran was the thing that possessed him in the First Age?"
<Zahara> "So it seems."
<Kai> "Does it work for Lai, or the other way around?"
<Cerin> "I could not guess, Kai."
<Zahara> "Another excellent question."
<Zahara> "It seemed to head straight for Malfaes when it first escaped."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hm. Can we find it, or call it and bind it?"
<Kai> "So, it's some Primordial spirit?"
<Cerin> "It was not a demon, not exactly."
<Zahara> "Markuran was WEARING the soulsteel that it was encased in for centuries...and so I assume we do not hold the connection any longer. Unless he didn't use it all... perhaps we can check that trunk of his."
<Cerin> "Of course, I could probably track the demon from the camp of the Roseblack."
<Zahara> "Hmmm we should try that too."
<Zahara> "We should probably consider what we are planning to DO once we FIND him, before we actually do so, though."
<Zahara> "Any ideas? Anyone? I'll remind you that we had trouble with a simple Third Circle Demon."
<Zahara> "And that was one who WASN'T also Markuran."
<Kai> "Well, I guess it would help if we knew what it was."
<Zahara> "All we know is that it is a powerful Primordial spirit - more powerful than we are individually."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "How would we go about finding that out, eh?"
<Kai> "Well, you all seem to know at lease something about your old lives..."
<Zahara> "Hmmm... not as much as I'd like, but perhaps if we meditate it will help."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "They do. I haven't dared swim that depth yet."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "But, perhaps you're right, perhaps we should..."
As Zahara meditates, Birds scrawls a number of random statements, whatever pops into her head, onto the sheets of paper, leaving them somewhat spread apart. Birds then scatters the papers on the floor, takes a chunk of bread, and throws it at random. She reads the sentence it landed on.
The bread lands at an angle; its edge cuts across several pages, and the words running along its upper edge can be read out as follows: "The chime the sword the tower the pit and the ring. The preacher, reversed. The general, face-down. The spy, lost. The beast and the god, aside. ALAHWI (this is spelled out by letters at the edge of the bread) at the center. The enemy deals the deck. The foe is at its bottom."
Zahara, meanwhile, leans back in a meditative state, becoming unaware of everything that goes on around her. Her eyes seem to grow distant and vacant, and her muscles relax as she slips into a trance. h
Zahara has an image in her mind -- a man, tall and wide, with deep reddish-brown skin. Locks of black hair fall from his head down far past his shoulders, with a suppleness that drives men and women alike to frenzy. Around his neck, a golden disc, a solid circle carved into its face. He stands in a balcony, extended far above a glorious city. Behind him, a gigantic creature -- a glorious bear of Solar light -- rises up perhaps ten stories into the sky, mimicing his every movement as he speaks to a crowd of thousands, far below.
Zahara sees a curtain fall over a window, blocking out this sight... Then, another vision -- Kiriath and a woman of medium height, dressed in robes of flowing green and hair to match, beautiful but subtle features, arguing -- Zahara walks up to ask what is happening, and the woman walks away, while Kiriath smiles... his fearsome smile. "She means nothing," he says. The woman stalks off down the hall, her feet just above and the woman walks away, while Kiriath smiles... his fearsome smile. "She means nothing," he says. The woman stalks off down the hall, her feet just above the ground....
Finally, before emerging, Zahara sees one other vision -- staring at a thin blonde woman as a dark sword is plunged through her chest. As she feels the blood flow from her insides and life leave her body, she sees... three faces. She sees Ymir... and she sees Kiriath... and then she sees --
Zahara jolts out of her trance suddenly, screaming.
<Zahara> "I... I don't know. Someone...fearsome. Maybe the same someone who stalks us now..."
<Zahara> "Now I remember why I don't try to remember my past often.. it all comes back to the last moment of it."
<Cerin> "Do you remember the blade that killed you, beyond that it was mine?" Cerin asks softly
<Zahara> "It was...dark. And *Very* sharp."
The black blade at Kai's side looks very, very familiar to Zahara....
Tags: (tags: Hundredfold, Siram, Lai Misuna, Chaya, Unfolding Petal, Divination, First Age Flashbacks, Alahwi, Ymir, Daybreaker :)