High above the streets of Nexus, a tower of dark red rock rises up amongst the other mismatched buildings. Among its 50 floors, various squatters, criminals, and other lowlifes have taken up residence in the once luxurious apartments.
On the thirty-seventh floor, however, one door bears an arcane sigil, painted in brilliant green, across its width.
It is to here that the Solars journey, seeking to meet someone.
<Markuran> "Who are we here to meet?"
<Zahara> "A goddess of rumor. She will likely have heard where those we seek live."
The sigil above the doorway begins to glow faintly, and the air around grows oddly silent.
<Zahara> "Her name is Wynnira."
The sigil's glow remains steady for a moment, then shifts to a bloody, ominous red and grows ever-fiercer. Then, a few moments later yet, the door opens with a faint creaking.
The room within seems to be much like the other abandoned apartments -- once glorious, but by now stripped of any valuables which could be extracted. The room seems to be in quite a state of clutter -- huge lengths of yarn in numerous colors lie strung across the room and out the windows in every direction; odd knickknacks and tsotchkes cover every surface; and what appear to be living areas for small rodents and bird line one wall.
<Zahara> "Wynnira?" she calls quietly as she enters the room more fully, looking around
There's a gust of wind through one of the open windows and a tall, sharp-featured spirit appears in one corner of the room.
She has a very slightly irked expression upon her face.
<Zahara> "A gift for you. The world is a dangerous place, these days, do you not agree?"
<Zahara> "Please, open it." she gestures. "I can make more if you like it."
<Zahara> ::Inside is a tiny ruby cardinal that, once exposed to the light chirps cheerily and hops a little.::
<Zahara> ::The motion seems to spur it into further action, and it hops up and down the dresser, flapping its shiny wings.::
<Zahara> "If you expose it to sunlight for several hours, it will be able to fly a bit."
<Zahara> "I'm glad you like it." she smiles. "Unfortunately, time is a bit short, so we must move on to business if that is alright with you."
<Wynnira?> "Ah, yes, I'm sure you wouldn't visit solely for pleasure, we're both such busy women..." One of the strings leading out one window begins to vibrate, and without turning around Wynnira grabs it with one hand, pulls a loose end up to her ear, and listens intently for a moment.
<Cerin> "We wish to know about the gods who have been exalting people, and where their sanctums might lie."
<Markuran> "Especially any that are near the Sunlands."
<Cerin> "We know."
<Zahara> "That of course depends on the information you can provide. Something small will of course get something small but worthwhile in return."
<Zahara> "Ahhah, and do you know who they are, and their domains as well?"
<Markuran> "Would you prefer a spider or a moth?"
<Zahara> "Hmm to make one that will weave itself will require much more time and effort. I am not sure the information regarding simply three of the Gods is enough to expend so many resources during this difficult and dangerous time."
<Markuran> "Time and resources are indeed short, goddess. But we would be happy to swear an Oath, bound by Zahara's light, to deliver the Moth to you as soon as we have time and resources to do so. You may rest assured that I will see it finished and carry it to you myself. But without the information, we will not be able to finish it."
<Zahara> "True, true, but no other has even thought to consider such a loom for you. Imagine the flows of information and rumor you will have all together in one place."
<Zahara> "I believe we have come upon a fair price, Wynnira. A loom that you can work until we are able to return, and..." she looks over at Markuran, "A moth."
<Zahara> "We shall return within the week."
<Zahara> "Thank you, Wynnira. Rest assured, you will love your loom!"
<Zahara> ::The little bird flutters cheerily::
<Zahara> "You can enjoy it one last time."
<Markuran> "Well now it's just lost all appeal. How can you enjoy yourself when you know an evil back-stabbing god is the reason you have a beautiful woman in your arms instead of your own prowess? It's just wrong."
<Cerin> "The god was there long before he turned traitor on Creation, I am sure."
<Zahara> "Your own charm-enhanced prowess? When was the last time you got a girl who wasn't drugged or cowed by your charms?"
<Markuran> "Don't think I haven't noticed you watching my behind."
<Zahara> "Your ass is impressive, in more ways than one."
<Markuran> "As is yours. Fortunante, since otherwise you'd be unable to attract anything but undead with that cold heart of yours."
<Cerin> "Markuran." his voice is rather cold.
<Cerin> "Markuran, I would appreciate it if you would stop these insults to Zahara and myself. I think our chances of defeating the gods would be diminished with your loss."
Outside the borders of the Sunlands.
The Sanctum marked on the map the Solars received is but half a mile away, nestled within a small vale, deep in the Eastern forest.
<Zahara> "We are close." she observes. "Cerin, would you scout ahead and then return?"
<Cerin> "Of course." he melts into the shadows and the greenery, flowing between pools of shadow in the forest, moving silently but swiftly until he comes to the sanctum.
The doorway to the sanctum lies, unguarded, atop a gigantic forest flower which blooms from the very bottom of the vale.
<Zahara> "Surely you could protect your true love."
<Markuran> "I could not love someone always cowering behind me."
<Zahara> "But they would have a fine view from there."
The observation device is unidirectional -- it's not too difficult for Cerin to sneak up behind it without being seen... he has clear access to the other locks now.
As the last click is audible, the doorway to the sanctum becomes visible to all -- still closed, but outlined by pale green Essence.
<Zahara> "Hmm it seems we should be going now."
The door now stands, the only thing separating the Solars from their quarries.
<Cerin> "The entrance to the sanctum. The locks and alarm ward is disabled. And you avoided the watching device."
<Zahara> "Now, the question is shall we use stealth, or declare ourselves? I vote for the former, at least at first."
<Cerin> "Stealth, I would suggest, since as far as I can tell, I triggered no alarms."
<Zahara> "Then let us proceed." She quietly opens the door.
The inside of the sanctum seems to be quite a large space -- a huge, cavernous room, assembled entirely of vines and flower petals.
Within, strange plants spiral up to form tables and chairs, while others sway peacefully above to create a pleasant draft.
<Markuran> "This would be a nice place to bring a date."
<Zahara> "Beware, some of those plants may be carnivorous."
<Markuran> "..of course."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "What a cheerful thought."
<Cerin> "Markuran, can you concentrate?" he says as he steps quietly deeper into the manse, the DB ninja and a squad of the Legion's Rangers spilling into the Sanctum behind them.
<Markuran> "On what? There's no one here but us."
<Zahara> "That's what we thought last time."
Bertrand trails after the Solars, looking a little lost and confused.
<Cerin> "Everyone, be on your guard." he plucks his bow from the air
Light footfalls begin to sound from beyond the northwest wall; suddenly, the vines making up part of the wall begin to pull aside, revealing an opening from whence the footfalls spring.
Something trots out -- a well-shaped deer formed entirely of carefully entwined vines.
<Cerin> "Greetings, Rovak."
<Cerin> "I am Cerin the Wolf. This is Zahara the Dreambreaker, and that is Birds of Trinity."
<Zahara> "We've heard you have acquired some..unusual followers. We would like some as well."
The god's hoof unravels and the individual vines wrap around the stick, which expands and grows numerous vicious looking thorns as it enters his grasp.
<Zahara> "What a lovely stick you have."
<Cerin> "And that is Markuran the bear." As he draws back motes of sunlight.
Rovak finds himself held to the floor by a very heavy Marku.
<Cerin> "Now, are you going to co-operate, or will we have to hurt you?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "You'll have noticed by now that my friends are not nice people."
<Zahara> "I object to that statement. I am plenty nice to people who do what I wish."
Bertrand flinches a tiny bit when Marku lands on the god.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That's true. Please pardon my imprecision."
<Cerin> "We want the materials you have for making the Exalts, we want your knowledge of the process and we want to know where your Exalts are."
<Markuran> "And if you want me to leave your body and spirit intact, Rovash, we want you to tell us everything you know about your friends."
<Zahara> "Quite reasonable, you see."
<Cerin> "Otherwise.." Cerin lets the godkilling pattern form in his essence arrow briefly.
Bertrand gulps audibly.
<Markuran> "Well, Rovak?" As Marku asks, his arms around the god's neck tighten
<Zahara> "Of course not." She extracts the flamberge from the air, and applies it curiously to a chair. It bursts into flame on contact.
<Markuran> "Or when I am through with you, Zahara will make you her slave. And to please her lover, she will feed your soul to him, one mote at a time. Like grapes."
<Zahara> "cold." she remarks.
<Zahara> "Ah, Marku, you make it too easy. I like them with a little fight left."
<Cerin> "Now, some answers, please."
<Cerin> "We already did, but if you wish. We want to know all that you do about the new Exalts, how to make them, where your materials are.."
<Cerin> "And where is this material now? And how is it used?"
<Rovak?> "You fill the soulcage with the material, and charge it with Essence -- the soulcage is ruined, but the material picks up the pattern of Essence. You extract the material, slide it within the chest of the target -- while they're asleep, so their soul is less alert -- and then you blanket them in certain varieties of Essence overnight to encourage the Essence flows to join with one another."
<Cerin> "And do you have any of these materials left?"
<Cerin> "Who supplied them to you, and when?"
<Cerin> "Ah. And what can you tell me of the Lily, and the people you Exalted?"
<Rovak?> "They are going to war. I was willing to test their process because it gave me soldiers of my own. Three of them are serving me in the nearby villages. The fourth..." he gestures slightly with his head in Bertrand's direction.
<Zahara> "You are lucky, Rovak. I am quite fond of Bertrand."
<Cerin> "He was informative. If alittle worried after Lucien retrieved him from our ranks."
<Cerin> "Do you know others in the conspiracy?"
<Cerin> not conspiracy
<Cerin> Others who have made such Exalts?"
<Zahara> "Speaking of the others, why have they not come to your rescue?"
<Markuran> "Errands, where?"
<Zahara> "Ah, well we should find them before they go running off."
<Zahara> "Yes, do. It will be amusing, at the very least. And none of them have given us a friend like Bertie." She crosses her legs, leaning back in the chair. "Bring some ninja."
<Zahara> "How does that feel, by the way, Rovak? Not too tight?"
Tags: (:tags Nexus, Wynirra, Rovak Hart-Runner, Bertrand, Exaltation, Lai Misuna :)