Cerin Cerin set down his quill, resting the Haliime feather at the top of the desk, looking at the sketch of the nameless demon before him and the notes in precise handwriting alongside it detailing what he had observed of it's behavior and qualities. He places the sheet in his currently informal taxonomy and then leaves his room at the base of the cascade, casting his perception about him until he locates Ahina, currently practicing in (...)
Cerin one of the outlying buildings of the cascade. He sets off to find her, the corridoors of the manse re-arranging themselves to grant him a direct route to the outside, and thence to Ahina, where he waits, not hiding (by his standards at least), but not announcing himself and watches her and her new flows of essence, until such a time as she notices him.
Ahina takes a few moments to complete her set of katas, then turns to notice Cerin's presence, and bows formally.
Cerin acknowledges her bow with a respectful nod and a faint smile. "Do you have the time to talk with me, Ahina?"
Ahina nods, and places down the weapon with which she has been practicing. "I do."
Cerin "Thank you." He appears to consider. "I thought we might have this conversation in one of the evening gardens." He says, and if she asceeds, walks with her through the manse to one of aforementioned gardens on the western side of the manse, one planted principly with flowers such as yucca and moonflower that are just beginning to open now that the sun is starting to set.
Ahina follows Cerin, reasonably quietly, and takes the beauty of the garden as they arrive.
Cerin "First, let me apologise, both for leaving you deep in enemy territory and then for the ... arguement you witnessed on our return." he says, once they have seated themselves at one of the small tables within the garden.
Ahina nods, quietly. "I understand."
Cerin "Secondly, let me thank you for the care you showed to Aliza."
Ahina nods again. "I did not want her to suffer unduly."
Cerin nods. Neither did I, until I had the choice to push her out ... or pull her in. "So, what has transpired while I have been ... away?"
Ahina seats herself comfortably, but in a position from which she can be ready to strike in an instant. "We have been busy maintaining the defense of the Sunlands. The Empress' enchantments are strong, but to rely on them alone courts disaster. I have already turned away several unexpected threats."
Cerin "Oh?" He invites her to elucidate.
Ahina "Small formations of troops, groups of summoned demons... nothing that posed a threat to the Sunlands as a whole, but unmistakable attempts to test our borders and, if possible, weaken our defenses."
Cerin "Did you man to capture any or gain clues as to their origins?"
Ahina "Some seemed to be exploratory invasions linked to the Red Lily organization. The demons did not have any obvious origin or purpose."
Cerin "How long ago did the demon incursions begin? And of what circle are they?" He asks, as he appears to consider something.
Ahina "The first was shortly after the Darkbrood invaded during the earthquake. Mostly First Circles, led by the Second Circles who created them."
Cerin "Darkbrood invasion?"
Ahina blinks. "You... haven't heard about that yet?"
Cerin "I have yet to become fully aquainted with what transpired during my absence, yes."
Ahina "Shortly after you left, the 3rd Circle demon Hgthura caused an earthquake under Solaria, and members the Hundredfold race known as the Darkbrood poured up through the cracks to invade the city. Thirteen Blooming Flowers fought them off."
Ahina "Imrama arrived quite fortuitously in the middle of that conflict."
Cerin "Ah." He nods to acknowledge that. "How many demon incursions have you dealt with, and how many do you think you might have missed?"
Ahina "I myself dealt with two. Evidence suggests there may have been others, though how many I could not say."
Cerin "It think it is something we should look into. It appears that there are all together too many demons walking Meru."
Ahina nods. "I am fully in agreement."
Cerin "Good. What else of note has happened recently?"
Ahina looks upwards and taps her lip absent-mindedly as she tries to think.
Ahina "There was some unpleasantness with a dead behemoth, and apparently Ssithumi was attacked in Rathess."
Cerin "Yes, she was. I shall have to go and see her."
Ahina nods. "I understand she is recovering well."
Cerin "That is good to hear. I was concerned when I saw the bracers."
Ahina raises a single eyebrow.
Cerin "They are now adorning one of the members of the lady in scarlet's nightbloom."
Ahina "I... see."
Cerin "I am, on reflection, quite glad that I was otherwise occupied at the time." He says, as his final comment on the matter. "The dead behemoth accompanied Lucent home?"
Ahina shakes her head. "No. It had hidden amongst that Kashaen since even before he came to them, from the time they were ruled by an Abyssal."
Cerin "Ah. That is interesting. I am getting lax, apparently."
Ahina "Or evil is growing more clever."
Cerin "I shall have to get better, then."
Ahina smiles a little. "That is a good idea regardless." She rises to a ready position once again. "We are, as always, ready for whatever we must do."
Cerin nods "Good. How many of you ... ascended?"
Ahina "Of our group? Only myself, though Relovia also came into her full power."
Cerin "The news about Relovia, somehow, does not surprise me."
Ahina nods. "She has always been very pushy."
Cerin "I intend, by the way, to reform the Shadows Resplendant. Though they will not be quite as they once were."
Ahina "Hmmmm." She taps her lip again. "What do you plan to do with them?"
Cerin "I feel there is the need for an organisation with more subtlty than the not inconsiderable military that the Sunlands commands. An organisation both for finding information that is hidden and, on occasion, acting on that information with quiet certianty."
Ahina nods. "There is definitely such a need."
Cerin "I am glad that you also percieve this need, as you will be helping me to run it." He says with a small smile.
Ahina takes the news without any sort of deep surprise, but merely with gracious affirmation. "How shall we begin?"
Cerin "There are some amongst the troops and the Sunlands who have the temperament and inclinations to join the organisation. I think we would be best suited by inducting them, and then from there, I have two avenues open to me."
Ahina takes out a small notepad and begins to write, while nodding for Cerin to continue.
Cerin "The first is to select people from the populace who have the inclination for what they will need to do, and to train them to give them the skills and the discipline to do so. The second is to make them."
Ahina looks a little surprised, for the first time in this coversation, at that one. "Make... them?"
Cerin "I think I now know how to make an entity capable of respiring and channeling essence.."
Ahina is visibly surprised at this. "....really? I... did not know such knowledge still existed in the world."
Cerin "Until recently, it did not. Or at least, not in one place."
Ahina "Now that is interesting. Where have you gathered this knowledge from?"
Cerin "All over Creation. Rathess, Vesthar, Elyssion, Atomnos, the Isles of glass."
Ahina grins. "Well done, captain."
Cerin smiles "Thank you."