Cerin The Aurora distract had had its heart ripped out by the bomb. Even now, after Lucent's flames and the efforts of many hands, the streets were still slicked with red. and black. and green. At middle of this there was a large warded area, Ahina currently standing watch over it. And at the centre of the that, there was a flower. A soulsteel flower. "That is the weapon which destroyed Aurora," he says to Varanim, as he leads her up to it,
Cerin nodding to Ahina.
KaralLinwei Ahina nods back, grimly determined in her careful protection of the area and its important evidence.
Varanim "This is going to be great," mutters Varanim, and drips blood in her eye to peer across the Shroud.
KaralLinwei The Shroud in the Aurora is, oddly, surprisingly calm right now. The buildings torn apart in the living world still stand, mournful and pale but intact, in the Underworld; the streets, now emptied of ghosts, are quiet and undamaged, even as the living streets are stained with blood and ichor.
KaralLinwei It is primarily in the flower itself -- an artifact filled to the brim with far more souls than the average soulsteel construction, many of them only partially broken and then stretched semi-intact across the petals of the flower, where they vibrate and pulse malevolently -- where activity is to be seen.
Varanim "Oh," she says quietly. "That might be a problem."
Varanim begins to approach the flower with narrowed eyes, rolling up her sleeves.
Cerin "It certainly was one, yes."
Varanim "What happened?" Varanim asks as she unrolls a small mat and folds herself down to sit before the flower.
Cerin "That ... went off. One thousand eight hundred and fourty seven people, as well as all animal, piscene and insect life died instantly and became a necromantic entity which began to advance on the city, until Lucent and Imrama were able to stop it."
Varanim "Hm. How thorough was the stopping?" Varanim hums three notes, tilts her head as if listening, then nods. She flattens her hands against the surface of the flower and releases several motes from her fingers, to bounce around the Essence pathways of the thing and return to her with the signature of its last owner.
KaralLinwei The Essence flows out from Varanim and into the flower, seeking and questing to learn of the device's last owner.
KaralLinwei What Varanim sees is somehow... odd. Artificial. Contrived. As if through a screen, she sees the Exalt who stood here and powered the artifact:
KaralLinwei an androgynous person by the name of Evim Estar, tall and thin, dressed in what Varanim immediately recognizes as Sijanese burial robes and wearing no shoes, a withered flower tucked over one ear and a worn-out look covering their entire person.
Varanim "Cerin," she says after a thoughtful moment, "I do believe someone is bullshitting us."
Cerin "That is both annoying and unsurprising. Perhaps if you would explain?"
Varanim "The Essence of this thing--which, by the way, is chock full of half-processed people--claims it was placed by someone named Evim Estar, a sort of blandish person in Sijan tacky clothes and a dead flower. It feels fake, though, like a picture pasted over the real owner."
Cerin nods. "Hmmm. I don't imagine that my ability to track them will lead to much, either."
Varanim "Not that you shouldn't try, but it seems likely," she agrees. "Also, I doubt it's a great idea to leave this flower sitting here."
Cerin "It was not my intention to do so."
Varanim "What was the plan? Zahara can't torture it--I think--and it's a little big for you to eat." She gets a slightly thoughtful look on her face.
Cerin "I had not gotten that far in my planning," Cerin admits.
Varanim "There's a corpse-pit nearby that's already pretty thoroughly fouled. If the owner can be found and evicted, it might do for a study area, since I'm not sure it would be clever to bring this inside the manse."
Cerin "I believe that, technically, it is ours."
Varanim turns around, still seated, to fix Cerin with an inquisitive look.
Cerin "They are all the victims of Lucien, The Guardian Of Sleep who was summoned and bound by Zahara."
Varanim "I see. Some reason she was building a new Shadowland so close to her capitol?"
Cerin "No, I believe that is merely an unfortunate byproduct of his aggressive enforcement policy. Over a number of years."
Varanim "Mm. Well, if there isn't an idea you like better, it'll either make a harmless storage location for this thing, or the half-digested souls will interact with the local hungry ghosts in interestingly horrible ways."
Cerin "No, that sounds like a fine one."