The innards of the gateway begin to swirl rapidly, indicating that a destination has been selected.
<Markuran> "You know, sometimes those things are dangerous."
<Markuran> "There was a wall of flaming rock on the other side last time."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Sometimes, we're dangerous too, Marku." She jumps right in.
<alsoquin> The Solars find themselves in what appears to be a fairly dank and underutilized basement.
This basement appears to be built against a wall which must have been part of a First Age building; they gateway seems to have been mortared directly into that unusually colored wall.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "This place looks like Rathess."
At the far end of the fairly large basement, there are some rickety stairs leading upwards.
<Zahara> "Well it looks more interesting than the barren ice plain and the wall of lava. Shall we explore further?"
<Markuran> "Hmph. If you were better at being a hero, Zahara, you might have virtues of your own to extole instead of disparaging the virtues of others."
<Zahara> "exCUSE me? Since when is rampant stupidity a VIRTUE?"
Cerin sharpens his senses and listens above. He can hear the sounds of foot traffic -- quite a bit of it -- from not far off.
<Cerin> "This is not rathess. There are people above, lots of people"
<Markuran> "Lots of alive, human people? Or lots of other sorts of people?"
<Zahara> "Hmmm.. Marku why don't you run up there and get yourself killed while we prepare the gateway to take us home."
<Zahara> "It'll be terribly heroic."
<Cerin> "We might be better served taking a look..."
<Markuran> "How would you know what is and is not heroic?"
Cerin also begins to detect the smell of rich foods cutting through the musty odor of the basement.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "The nature of heroism is to do, not to discuss!" Birds heads up the stairway.
At the top of the stairs, a solid but uneventful wooden door stands closed, seemingly wedged in place by moisture expansion.
The door shatters beneath Markuran's massive foot.
<Zahara> "That was subtle."
With the door open, sounds are suddenly audible to everyone --
footfalls, conversation,even music, in the distance
<Zahara> "It's not that I expect anything less. It's that I wish he'd grow up."
The door opens into what appears to be an empty, abandoned warehouse -- numerous crates and boxes sit, rotting, amidst cobwebs and other detritus.
There seems to be an elaborate procession right outside the window!
Numerous peasants push and shove one another to get closer to the elaborate parade winding its way down the street, while food vendors hawk their wares to the onlookers.
<Markuran> "How is breaking into someone's possessions more subtle then simply opening a door?"
<Zahara> "At least I'm being QUIETER" she retorts reasonably quietly
The peasants clearly speak in the low tongue of the Realm.
<Markuran> "We're in the Realm?" Markuran smiles, his eyes lighting bright with joy and fiendish glee
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Here, put these on so we blend in less poorly."
<Markuran> "Birds? Cerin? Can you see what they're celebrating out there? Are there Dragon-Spawn?"
<Zahara> "Oh no. They're going to be stupid."
<Cerin> "Keep it down Marku" he says quietly. Are there any DB out there?
<Zahara> "Do you SERIOUSLY want to take on the Realm right now?"
<Markuran> "I'm not going to go kill anyone, Zahara."
<Markuran> "I am not a fool."
<Zahara> "I didn't say that. I'm imagining you're going to go out there and get yourself noticed. It's not like they don't KNOW who we are."
<Markuran> "That's what this..disguise is for."
<Zahara> "And trust me, a wonderful speech using your barbaric charm might get you a few people to 'see the light' but they damn well won't all come flocking to your banner like the desperate ones we saved from Mask."
<Markuran> "I don't want them to."
<Zahara> "What DO you intend to do?"
<Markuran> "Start a peasant revolt."
<Zahara> "You ARE stupid!"
<Cerin> "Quiet, both of you. Whether we leave or start a revolt, we are not served by people knowing we are or were hear"
<Zahara> "Leave them bloody alone" she hisses
<Markuran> "How will they connect it with us, we're in the Sunlands. We couldn't possible get all the way here just to start a peasant revolt."
<Zahara> "because you have no idea how to hide from ANYONE or ANYTHING."
<Markuran> "Then why don't you start one of your vicious little rumors, Zahara? See if your sneaking ways can do some good."
<Zahara> "Now THAT might do some good. Perhaps you can tell me what you were going to say to get them to revolt, and I'll spread it through the people."
A large chariot rolls by in the parade, clearly bearing a number of Dragon-Blooded soldiers atop it.
<Markuran> "I don't know what they're out there celebrating, Cerin didn't tell me when I asked him."
<Cerin> "I do not speak the low tongue of the realm"
<Markuran> "Birds of Trinity, can you understand them?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I learned the courtly tongue once when someone wrote me an epic deescribing his love for me in it."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Maybe we can get by on that."
<Zahara> "It took him a long time, though." she muses.
The parade seems to be passing; the thick crowd of peasants outside the window begins to push onward down the road, to follow it
After some moments, Birds successfully assembles several passable patrician disguises.
<Markuran> "Well, what are they saying, Zahara?"
The onlookers seem to be cheering for the returning heroes who have once again kept the Realm safe from barbarian invaders in the East.
<Zahara> "Apparently the Dynasts fended off a barbarian attack, and they're celebrating. Now, Marku, what do you want me to tell them?"
<Zahara> "Hurry, they're almost gone."
The noonday sun glares down harshly on the busy city street as the parade continues to wend its way onwards. Off to the other side of the street, several Dragon-Bloods are visible now that the throngs of peasants no longer disguise them. They speak, in the High Tongue, in rather harsh and cynical tones.
No other Essence wielders seem to be immediately present, beyond those on the street and those in the parade.
<Markuran> "Tell them they are mounting another war, that more of their sons and daughters will be taken. That they will die pointlessly as the Houses scrabble for power. Tell them their leaders are lying to them and their children are being sent against demons and devils, Anathema and horrors of the Wyld so the Dragon-Bloods can claim their lives as badges of honor."
<Markuran> "Tell them the next battle will fail. The general has already planned its loss."
One of the Dragon-Bloods has raised his voice. "....what in Hell are the houses planning to do about this? This is an absolutely outrageous situation."
One of his companions responds, attempting to be quieter: "What can they do? Our Legions are stretched to the breaking point already! We can't deal with battles on three fronts."
One, a young-looking Fire Aspect, seems to have been the one who made the outburst. He seems visibly disgusted. The other, an older-looking Air, has the face of one who is staring into slow, yet inevitable, doom.
CathakTojiro? "One house must take strong action in the East! What has happened to the days when the Anathema were driven before us like dogs before we slew them? How has our mighty Realm fallen to this?"
The Air aspect attempts to shush the other. "Quiet! You wish for the peasants to hear you? We are militarily victorious in all our endeavors."
The Fire aspect spits in disgust and turns away from his companion. "You will see who is fit for the throne when House Cathak does not cower before threats as the others do!" he calls, and begins to walk away.
<Markuran> "Start a normal rumor."
The peasants mutter to themselves and begin to disperse, feeling that this would be information better shared with one another later, in safer -- and more anonymous -- quarters.
<Zahara> "Marku... take this." she releases one of the many collars from around her neck, a jade one, and hands it to him. "Corner one of them out of sight and stick this on them. Then it should be easy to take them back with us to interrogate."
The Air aspect sighs to himself and begins to walk away from the Solars. The Fire, however, turns and begins to shout further comments after him, while walking backwards towards the tree where Birds and the others stand.
<Zahara> "But remember, OUT of sight."
The Dynast walks past the assembled Solars without looking at them and ducks into a nearby alleyway.
At the mouth of the alleyway, the Dynast trips over Birds' outstretched leg, and falls over. Cursing, he begins to right himself.
No other Essence wielders appear to be in the nearby vicinity.
The Dynast seems utterly surprised, but suddenly realizes that he is too much of a coward to resist.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Good question."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Umm...Zahara! You're good with plans. What's the plan?"
<Zahara> "There, we'll be able to find out more about their plans."
<Zahara> "Cerin, do you see any ties to this place on him? Any arcane links?"
<Markuran> "And what if someone starts looking for the missing Dragonling?"
<Cerin> "Well, we'll be long gone?"
The Dynast appears to have no obvious sorcery or enchantment upon his person.
<Cerin> "He seems to be under no spells or sorceries. Perhaps we should leave now?"
<Zahara> "Yes, before anyone else comes. Marku, bring him down." she heads for the stairs and the shiny ring.
The ring, composed of white jade and starmetal, sits quietly within its wall.
<alsoquin> The ring glows to life.
The Dynast shakes his head no.
<Markuran> "Or the wall of lava."
<Markuran> "But there's no reason to go home. He'll keep. Why not try somewhere else around here?"
<Markuran> "Maybe we can do more damage."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "He is only one scion of an unimportant house."
<Zahara> "Well, we can leave him in the North then."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "We have no need to conceal ourselves farther...we are already Anathema of the worst kind."
The gate hums open.
<Zahara> "But we do not want them to find out about this Gate. Let's go now, before they hear us."
The plain of barren ice appears much as it did on their last arrival, excepting....
About twenty feet from the doorway, what appears to be a comfortable lounging chair sits. To one side, a table with a small bowl of grapes. To the four cardinal directions, large braziers burning furiously. Sitting in the chair, a gentleman in a green robe.
<Markuran> "Who are you?"
<Zahara> "Herons, so nice to see you again."
<Cerin> "Ah, Herons"
<Zahara> "Marku, be nice."
The Sidereal calls out to the Solars. "Ah, how nice of you to finally arrive. I've been waiting for you for...." he pulls out a small gold device from a pocket and looks at it "About three minutes."
<Cerin> "There was something of a disagreement over our destination."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Yes, thanks."
<Cerin> "No, thank you"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Zahara, you have the coordinates of a place that has trees, but should be quite dry this time of year?"
<Markuran> "The western islands. We visited one last time.."
He seems to consider for a moment, and goes, "Ah, yes, I had forgotten. How silly of me! I hope I did not forget to mention what I had intended to ask of you for that little demonstration?"
<Markuran> "What right do you have to ask payment for showing us, indirectly, where an object is? You did not even show us how to turn on the stone-rings."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "So just out of curiosity, what DID you want?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I have this excellent recipe for those Chayan pastries they call "butter flowers", full of rose-scented cream...
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hope! That is my favorite virtue."
<Herons?> "The... birds. Yes, if you wish to refer to them so." He clears his throat. "There are a number of objects -- about so big" -- he indicates something the size of a large ball -- "rounded, featureless, made entirely of polished steel? If you could be so kind as to collect one for me."
<Zahara> "What are they for?"
He straightens up his back, and declares "I swear to you that if this research brings with it any effect towards the Sunlands, its people, or its holdings, they shall be only benificial ones!" He holds out one hand and makes a "Yes? Hmmm?" expression.
<Zahara> "Markuran will not seek your sphere, but I will."
<Cerin> "And I will help her"
He looks suddenly more serious than usual. "I wish I could tell you much more, Zahara, but even my records are uninformative here. The beings on that island are known as the Aalorai, and they are ancient, even by my reckoning. Expect... the unusual, at best."
<Zahara> "The Aalorai, you say. And these are the flying creatures I mistakenly called birds?"
<Herons?> "Yes, though I believe you would not make that mistake in person. I have found only the smallest records of them, and my investigations thus far have proven fruitless in determining the cause of their island's reappearance."
<Zahara> "How intriguing," she muses. "Do you know if they are Exalted?"
<Zahara> "Hmmm and how long may we continue to use the gates in an authorized fashion?"
<Zahara> "How long is that likely to be?"
<Zahara> "Will you give us warning if any of our enemies tries to access our gate?"
He draws a small ring out of his pocket. He twists and manipulates it within his hands for a moment, then hands it to Zahara. "This will tell you of any use made of the gate nearest your Manse."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I agree."
<Zahara> "Then we four agree to your bargain, assuming that Markuran will also be included in the authorization until further notice."
<Zahara> "How shall we find you?"
<Zahara> "And which gate will take us closest to the Island?"
<Herons?> "Oh, I shall stop by and collect the stone once you have acquired it. As for where to go: this pattern" -- he mimes inputting a destination -- "would take you onto the island itself, I believe."
He seems to stop as if he's suddenly remembered something, and then turns to Cerin.
<Herons?> "Cerin, I don't know if you're still considering it, but I'm afraid I'll have to preemptively turn down your present. You will have much better uses for it." He pats Cerin on the shoulder, then returns to his chair.
<Zahara> "I believe so. Thank you for your hospitality."
Herons chuckles again.
<Cerin> "It would not have been pleasant for him to recieve it"
<Zahara> "So I imagine. But what was it?"
<Zahara> "My favorite kind of beautiful."
<Zahara> "Did you make it?"
<Zahara> "He wanted you to use it on Herons?"
<Zahara> "Then I must count Herons more firmly as an ally." she smiles slightly. "What did Lai have against him?"
<Cerin> "I am not sure, I did not think to ask him"
<Zahara> "Hmm too bad."
<Zahara> "You should question the motives of those who give you tasks to pursue, generally." she offers. "It prevents mistakes."
<Zahara> "If you allow me time to study it, I will try. But I advise you to gather the arrows when the battle is finished, then." she smiles.
<Cerin> "I have maps of the flows within it. Retriving the arrowheads would not be a concern however."
<Cerin> "It is not entirely appropriate for a general weapon. Weapons such as this can be used but once..."
<Cerin> "It creates a feedback loop involving the victims own essence. It is fatal to both victim and weapon"
<Zahara> "That sounds interesting. I'll definitely have to copy it before you use it. Does it work only on the intended victim, or anyone who it cuts?"
<Cerin> "I discovered this with explorations involving my own essence, so anyone"
<Zahara> "And you survived?"
<Cerin> "I was using rather carefully measured quantities, rather than simply dousing it in essence"
<Zahara> "Ahh, you are wise. I imagine it helps to be able to see what you're doing."
<Zahara> "Then we will not channel any more into it unless necessary."
<Cerin> "It should not be that nessesary. I found a basic text in Rathess on the subject. I am sure more detailed tomes could be found"
<Zahara> "speaking of Rathess, I want to speak with Ssithsumi about records there. They might have some mention of the winged creatures on the island."
Later, in the dripping dungeons of the Cascade, Markuran, Birds and Zahara stand over the prone body of the Fire Aspect. Zahara has fastened him neatly into the shackles on the main table, and stripped him bare. She finds the psychological effect of being immobilized and naked tends to make them feel more vulnerable, and thus easier to break. The man's body is covered in bruises and contusions from Markuran's rough treatment. His left flank looks a bit..smooshed where the big barbarian kicked him through the stone ring
The man gasps out, "...Cathak Tojiro"
<Markuran> "What is your rank, who leads you and where will they next battle?"
<Markuran> "Do you know where they will next battle, the forces of your house?"
<Zahara> "I'm sure he's still heard word of where the army is off to next." she turns and smiles widely at him. "Haven't you?" the edge of the knife flickers
<BirdsOfTrinity> "The east is somewhat...an expansive area."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Could you trouble yourself to be more specific, if you don't mind?"
<Markuran> "That'd be us."
<Markuran> "Where do they intend to land?"
<Zahara> "And what of the Mask of Winters? Do they have a reason he would not attack them as well?"
<Markuran> "They will be easy to defeat. It shouldn't pose a problem."
<Zahara> "And this time?"
<Zahara> "That's not good enough."
The Dragon-Blood cringes. "I do not know! I know only that I heard a grand-uncle speaking to another Dynast about how the house had not known how it could possibly strike against these Anathema until they were contacted by a new weapons dealer!"
<Zahara> "What name does the dealer go by?" she presses the blade lightly against his skin, and a red bloom marks its place.
<Zahara> "Yes, our new friend Tojiro is just about to tell us where the Realm is getting weapons they think will matter against us."
<Zahara> "In fact, I think I know who to ask."
<Zahara> "And, I inquired as to whom his master was."
<Cerin> "Marku, try not to kill the dragonblood"
<Markuran> "He can still breathe."
The Dragon-Blood nods in agreement.
<Zahara> "He's quite amenable to talking to us, and I hadn't thought to ask what weapons Lai has at his disposal yet."
<Cerin> "I'm not sure that he would know, but it would seem wise to ask him"
<Markuran> "Well, at least then we'll know what magic they plan to bring against us. How many warriors? Monks?"
<Zahara> "Is Cathak working with any of the other houses?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "The V'neefs are easy to distract.," Birds observes.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "The other houses may need some more...significant attention."
<Zahara> "well perhaps our visit today will make them think otherwise about committing to this war."
<Markuran> "If they connect it to us."
<Zahara> "No, even without. They do not trust the current war anymore."
<Cerin> "It works all the better if they do not, Marku"
<Markuran> "Any honorable foe would come agains us the stronger for challenging them. But these speckles of dragon's piss might just turn tail if the risk is too great."
<Zahara> "They will see that using force against us is only distracting them from the true war, between their Houses."
<Cerin> "Then you can just build strength unil you can take the fight to them.."
<Zahara> "Hmmm little Tojiro, give us a good reason to keep you alive."
<Zahara> "Can you be MORE helpful?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "He could be a good secular counterpart to Marku's tame Immaculate."
<Zahara> "In what capacity?"
<Markuran> "We might even let you remain fertile so that your family does not discard you as the worthless trash you are."
<Zahara> "Speaking of your family, How much do you think they love you?"
He doesn't seem to have an answer to that question. You'd guess: not much.
<Zahara> "It's too bad about your family, really."
The Dragon-Blood lifts the pen and begins writing.
<Zahara> "Make sure not to make any mistakes or leave anything out." she notes idly.
<Zahara> "Well, I wouldn't want to rush you. You'll have plenty of time to write it out perfectly. We wouldn't want you to do a sloppy job." she exits the room, and soon, two servants come, carrying a heavy table, followed by one with a chair. She palms the wall left of the door, and a great stone door slides open with a grating noise from what looked like a seamless wall.
<Markuran> "He can ponder the best course for his future life while writing. I have no use for him here, his blood is too thin to make him worth while as a stud."
<Zahara> "In there." she gestures, and the servants hurry to put the furniture in place and depart, casting disturbed glances behind themselves at what used to be a graceful Chosen of Death. The Abyssal seems to be suspended from the wall, spread-eagled and naked. At first it isn't apparent what's holding him up, until you see the rings embedded in every inch of his bone, seemingly one with his very flesh. His hands hang on a chain around his neck.
The Dragon-Blood blanches, but continues writing.
He sits and resumes writing once again.
<Zahara> "Ivory, meet your new roommate, formerly Cathak Tojiro. You should be glad, you'll have light now. It's been what, 6 months since you've seen light now?"
A horrific groan rises up from the wall.
<Zahara> "Well, would you like to meet Bertrand?" she asks brightly
<Zahara> "That we'd bring a sphere of metal to him. There are several, and I plan on keeping one for myself as well. He promised in return that he would share the results of his research with me, that we would continue to be able to access the gates with no problem, and that he would give us a vital piece of information within the year."
<Zahara> "He also gave us coordinates and information on the floating island from Relovia's letter.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "So...how extensive is this gate-ring system, anyway?"
<Markuran> "We are Solars, the Children of the Sun, favored among all Exalted. We are the rightful rulers of the WORLD ITSELF and all who live within!"
<Markuran> "It is blasphemy that he sits in his gilded chairs and tosses us scraps and bones for errands well done, as if we were hounds."
<Cerin> "It would appear to span all of Creation, Birds. Shut up Marku."
<Zahara> "It seemed a fair trade, or else I would not have done it, Marku."
<Markuran> "How many other people have you been hiding down here, Zahara?"
<Zahara> "What do you mean?"
<Zahara> "I do."
<Markuran> "He also needs to bathe.."
<Zahara> "Much better."
<Zahara> "Lai Misuna."
<Zahara> "Specifically the weapons he is selling to the Realm."
<Markuran> "Good idea Birds."
<Zahara> "Artifacts of some sort."
<Zahara> "Underground where?"
<Cerin> "..Underground where?"
<Zahara> "In the tunnel system, perhaps?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "When you're done washing him, fetch a loincloth or something."
The clothing catches fire immediately.
The guard nods to Birds, and rushes to fetch new clothing.
<Cerin> "There are some tunnels around there yes...I was there about a year ago...there were some ruins...I'm sure I mentioned them to you in one of our conversations, Zee"
<Zahara> "Do you remember any rumors of what was in there?"
<Cerin> "There was talk of artifacts of all kinds, but it seemed rather unimportant at the time"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "So let's go check it out."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Zee, have you quite figured out how the ring system works?"
<Markuran> "Do we bring him?" Mark waves at the wet, naked, shaved man.
<Zahara> "I can approximate where we will end up, but until we actually set the ring, I'm not precisely sure where it will end up." She eyes Bertrand?, "And I don't think he'd be particularly useful, although it might be fun."
<Zahara> "So, Bertrand, if I let you come with us, will you promise to do whatever I ask of you, if I release you from your collar?"
Bertrand stretches a little, and looks worriedly at Zahara.
<Zahara> "I'm going to have to blindfold you, we can't have you seeing where we go." she says as she slips an ergonomically correct blindfold over his eyes, completely shutting out the light.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Don't worry. This won't hurt a bit."
The flame lit by Birds dances around with seven or eight others, all vying for Bertrand's full worry attention.
<Markuran> "About how many other people you have here that you forgot to tell us about?"
<Markuran> "Cerin, what do you know about this?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, tell me about this Lai who seems to be so popular."
<Markuran> "And where did you get him?"
<Zahara> "Found him amongst the Legions. He's a traitor, a spy sent by Lai to find out about us. Well he WAS. Now he's mine."
<Markuran> "And who's Lai?"
<Markuran> "I don't eat people, Birds."
<Zahara> "Lai is an Exalt.. the one who broke into our manse. But, and here's the interesting part, he's Exalted of a god of Flowers, named Unfolding Petal. As Bertrand here is Exalted of some sort of wood god."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Well, you don't swallow, no."
<Markuran> "Gods can't Exalt things.."
<Markuran> "Well. Not unimportant ones."
<Zahara> "What god did Exalt you, Bertrand?"
<Markuran> "Only the Great Gods of Heaven can Exalt."
<Cerin> "And that is where you are wrong Marku"
<Zahara> "You seem to be incorrect, Markuran. I thought the same until I met this one."
<Zahara> "Do something.. magic, Bertrand." she shoves him a little
Seeing that Zahara has approved, he drops to his hands and knees.
After stopping, he holds one hand straight up and grips his fingers with his other hand; then, he pulls back, revealing himself to be able to bend his arm however he chooses, regardless of actual joints.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oooh. What a neat trick."
<Markuran> "Please. Anyone can do that with a few minutes of work."
<Zahara> "Show us, then."
Upon his brow, a castemark begins to shimmer -- a vine wrapped around a tree trunk.
<Zahara> "Well then accept that he has been given certain powers by a God."
<Markuran> "That is not Exaltation."
<Cerin> "No, but since you cannot bring yourself to accept that, you must understand something of what has happened to him"
<Zahara> "You choose to see the world through blinders, Markuran. It will be the death of you some day."
<Markuran> "A magical mark. He is not Exalted. He is a freak, a pale immitation."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That's hardly nice."
<Zahara> "Regardless, it is not a pure mortal that we are talking about."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, how much do we know about this Exaltation process? Can just any god Exalt a mortal?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "What about elementals...demons?"
<Cerin> "I have written a small series of notes on the subject.."
<Zahara> "It seems to require a powerful God, though." she looks to Cerin for confirmation
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I would be interested to see them when the opportunity knocks. But for the moment, shall we get on with it?"
<Cerin> "Unfortunately from the rather small sample we have, its hard to say. It appears to require some forms of artifact or reagent, but yes, the power of the god definately effects the power of the Exalt"
<Zahara> "Bertrand, would you describe the process of your Exaltation for us over a nice hot meal?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Gee. I never really explored this place before."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Is there like, a pool down here? I haven't gotten to swim in too long."
<Zahara> "It is ever-changing."
<Zahara> "I could make you one, though." she smiles
<Markuran> "There's a lake larger then many city-states a hundred yards from here, Birds."
<Zahara> "It has, hasn't it?" she smiles and leans back as the servants appear with well-cooked food, and place it on the table. She watches Bertrand?'s reaction with amusement, assuming he's never seen food so fine in his entire existence.
<Zahara> "Yes. Don't forget yourself, now." she indicates his plate.
<Cerin> "Thank you, Bertrand"
<Zahara> "What did it look like?"
<Zahara> "Did it hurt?"
<Zahara> "Hmmm. And when you woke up?"
<Zahara> "And do you feel any sort of.. tie to Rovak? Like he can command your actions, or speak through you?"
<Zahara> "The shining ones, that we fought with near Rathess, those were Exalts too, I believe."
<Cerin> "Not near Rathess, Listran. But yes, they were Exalts"
<Markuran> "So, now every pissant god of someone's ass boil can whip up these imposer Exalted?"
<Markuran> "How can the Great Gods let this pass?"
<Zahara> "They are limited in what they can do, nowhere near as powerful as we."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Marku, got off your high horse. They're tools just like we are, just like the gods are."
<Cerin> "This may just be because of the level of power of the gods that have Exalted them. Bertrand here has potential to surpass a Dragonblood"
<Cerin> "The Exalt of a national or regional god..may rival us for power, or at least, not be comfortably below our might"
<Zahara> "Then we shall have to make ourselves stronger."
<Markuran> "How can the spawn of some pathetic *flower* god outmatch those with the blood of the Great Dragons in them?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "If we have the gods in our pockets, then that will not be an issue."
<Cerin> "By not exalting ten thousand of them?"
<Markuran> "They did not."
<Markuran> "..they just made me..less..in control..nevermind, that isnt the point."
<Zahara> "So, unless we kill his God, Bertrand here, may grow into an asset."
<Zahara> "I believe it was demonstrated that if a god dies, so do his Exalts. So we should target them, really, rather than their minions."
<Cerin> "This may not be true for all gods and their Exalts. Though conversly, it may apply even to us"
<Zahara> "I wonder if the Unconquered Sun COULD be killed." she muses.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "We could experiment."
<Zahara> "I think we'd better experiment on the lesser gods. It wouldn't be any fun to kill him if it would destroy all of us."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "You have no sense of adventure at all."
<Markuran> "Killing the Sun is blasphemy. Thinking about it is Blasphemy. He has given us the power to rule the world, to bring light and wonder to the people. And you even consider it?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "He's only the sun. There are other lights in the sky."
<Zahara> "We're not going to kill the Sun, Markuran. Don't be nervous. It wouldn't help us anyway."
<Zahara> "MARKURAN! STOP!" she shouts angrily, her daiklave leaping to her hand.
<Zahara> "Goddamnit, my SLATE!"
(:tags Gates, The Realm, House Cathak, Cathak Tojiro, Herons, Aalorai, Red Knife, Lai Misuna, Bertrand, Ivory Orchid Ghost, Crystal Tech, God-Exalts:)