< The Final Journey | Red Ice Logs | A Rude Awakening >

As Anstice spends some of his illegal time in Yu-Shan away from his children and Cerilla exploring the Benighted Fane of Darkness and its sub-buildings and grounds, he is alone. Nearly two days he's spent in the ancient and un-used spaces of the Division Building, pouring over what few records remain and learning the locations of the other four Dark Divisions, though reaching two will be incredibly difficult. But at the end of the second day, he hears someone approaching from the corridor behind him.

  • Anstice puts down the record he was scanning and takes up a defensive position, still reading over it with half an eye as he waits to see just who happens to be wandering down in the Fane.
  • Endings smiles at Anstice through the darkness as she approaches. "I thought I might find you here, Anstice."
  • Anstice doesn't smile back. "Ah, yes. Though I do hope that doesn't extend to other people thinking so."

Endings: "Few remember this place. Fewer would enter and fewer still would think that you could find it. You are fortunate Wayang showed you the way. How fare your children, by the way?"

Anstice: "Not the best, but well enough last I checked."

Endings: "What could they lack in Heaven?"

Anstice: "The eldest has a distressing sense of entitlement."

  • Endings smiles. "His mother is a Dragon, he has only her example to learn from considering your...legal condition."

Anstice: "Yes. Though I admit I am stretching that loophole for all it is worth. Social chat, or do you bring news?"

Endings: "I was asked to convey a message next time I saw you. From Burgeron, oddly. He wishes to meet with you, and has obtained a permit."

Endings: "What might you have done to earn such interest from a god of cattle?"

Anstice: "I'll tell you when I find out."

  • Endings produces a glittering scroll of bright red silk bearing a starburst, moon crescent and sunburst, arranged in a triangle around a rainbow-colored cloud. "This is your permit to enter Yu-Shan."
  • Anstice takes a look at it. "Can you meet me at a different gate in, say, half an hour?"

Endings: "I'd love to spend more time with you, Anstice, but I have pressing duties in the North. I really must be going."

  • Anstice sighs. "I need an appointment for a charm."

Anstice: "Whichever gateway you choose, I'll come through it."

  • Endings sighs. "Very well. I will be leaving through the Crystal Gateway."
  • Anstice nods. "Thank you."

Half an hour later Anstice arrives at the Creation-side Gate in Crystal, having left from the Fane only moments ago. The dark guardians of the Fane's Gateway allowed him to pass, having slipped into a lethargic slumber long, long ago. The presence of a Synodic troubles them not at all. Presenting his pass to the closed Crystal Gateway, it opens and Anstice steps inside, to be confronted by four Celestial Lions and the female Endings.

  • Anstice nods respectfully at them all, though not especially paying attention to her, presenting the notice to the first lion to reach him.

Growling unhappily, the Lion nods to his fellows and two unhappily pull the massive Jade doorway open, admitting the exile to the Great Heavenly City. Four pairs of golden eyes follow him carefully as if they intend to watch him even after they close the Gate behind him. The last sound from behind the Gate is a low growling of unhappy threat.

  • Anstice gives a light little wave at them, straightening his clothing.
  • Burgeron plods his way toward Anstice, having been informed when the pass was used by a minor Charm that linked the pass to the one issuing it. "Anstice...you have. Changed."
  • Burgeron seems distracted by eyes now steel grey, flecked with only shards of green light.

Anstice: "Yes. Tied with in my... legal troubles. Perhaps you would be more comfortable somewhere private?"

  • Burgeron nods. "I needed to discuss something with you. I believe your friend's apartment has been..confiscated. But you may come to one of my smaller residences."
  • Burgeron nods, his gilt horns glinting in the ambient lighting of Heaven. For a simple discussion, the bull godling is dressed well, in expensive leather-colored silks with ivory rings and an Orichalcum nose ring. Bright black eyes glimmer with fear and unease at dealing with a dark-touched creature like Anstice, but he clearly thinks it his duty.

Anstice: "That would be most pleasant. I will try not to stay unduly."

The God of Bovine Health and Vitality takes Anstice to one of his "smaller" dwellings, as promised. Though the dwelling itself is small, a five-floored house in the style of Southeastern ranches with wide windows and shining white jade-laced paint, the grounds are incredibly extensive. Shining aurochs, cattle and other illuminated bovines graze.

  • Burgeron sends his cow-like servant women away from the sitting room, a large space with a Black Jade watering trough, several leather-covered armchairs and perfectly piled stacks of fodder for munchy guests. "Sit, wherever you will."
  • Anstice takes up a seat, getting comfortable and smiling slightly at the arrangements.

Burgeron: "I delivered to Cerilla the last payment for your children four days ago. Your obligations to her are finished, financially."

  • Burgeron settles himself on the floor next to a pile of fodder. Even seated on the floor, the massive god's eyes are on a level with Anstice's as he sits in the comfortable arm chair. The leather doesn't even squeak as he moves against it.

Anstice: "Ah, that is good to know. I must confess recent events have left me somewhat unable to follow when the requirement ended."

Burgeron: "I do not believe I ever..explained my reasons for offering to make the payments." The unease resulting from your new condition is tinged with the embarrassment that Burgeron displayed when he had first made the offer.

  • Anstice nods, taking a small piece of fodder and twirling it between his fingers. "Yes. And neither of us was inclined to press the matter at the time."

Burgeron: "I have felt a good deal of guilt for not explaining myself. I feel I should do so and when I overheard that Endings speaking of you, I asked her to carry the passage permit."

  • Anstice nods. "Would it be fair for me to ask how you ran into her?"

Burgeron: "I simply passed her in the street. She mentioned your name in conversation with a dark-haired man. I believe he is a Sidereal as well, from the West."

Burgeron: "I waited and asked her to carry my message. It was pure coincidence. Very fortunate, however."

  • Anstice chuckles a bit at the pure coincidence. "Any other details would be nice, but later. I would not keep your guilt waiting."
  • Burgeron shakes his horned head, munching on a mouthful of fodder. Once he swallows, he explains. "I did not listen to their conversation. That would have been incredibly impolite. I simply overheard your name, that was all."

Burgeron: "But, to the matter at hoof."

Burgeron: "After meeting in the Saunaplex, I showed you around the area for several hours. I expect you do not have clear memories of that time, about seven hours."

Anstice: "That would be correct. Little minor flashes, nothing solid."

Burgeron: "Ah. Well, at one point you did pass out, muttering something about glowing drinks."

Burgeron: "But, that was only for an hour or so. However, during that time we were in the Gymnasium of Bodily Perfection. My father, Ahlat, was there and he became interested in your unconscious form."

  • Anstice stretches a bit, chewing on the small piece of fodder he's picked up. He nods.

Burgeron: "Though I was not able to answer many of his questions about you, he was incredibly interested for some reason. I was honor-bound to follow his direct dictates, he is after all my father and superior in the Bureaucracy of Heaven."

  • Anstice nods. "I have not known you to be anything but forthright and honorable... though it is not as if my word means much."

Burgeron: "I thank you, but at times it causes many problems. Because of it, I agreed to his demands and I carried you into one of the Relaxation Chambers and Ahlat joined us shortly, Kasiunagura the Goddess of Human Reflections was with him. Over my objection, he had her use her mirror magics."

Anstice: "Mirror magics?"

Burgeron: "She made a reflection of you in the Relaxing Pool and brought it to life. Ahlat then left, with the goddess. He carried the new reflection of you away."

Anstice: "I have a doppelganger."

Burgeron: "I feel great shame for allowing such an invasion of your personal being, Anstice. But I was bound not to disobey Ahlat."

Burgeron: "I do not know what he did with your reflection, but he returned to his main temple in Harborhead later that day. And he has since visited Chiaroscuro several times."

  • Anstice waves off the shame bit, not really worried yet. "Chiaroscuro?"

Burgeron: "I do not know what he has been doing there, but he visits the palace while Riding one of his highest priests."

Anstice: "I see..."

  • Burgeron bows his head. "Once again, I apologize for the intrusion upon you. I hope I have made up my part for you."
  • Anstice nods. "There was nothing you could do. I appreciate you telling me."

Burgeron: "I would have been dishonorable to continue deceiving you by silence."

  • Anstice shrugs. "There is that. Is it possible to copy a copy?"
  • Burgeron lowers his head. "I do not know. You could ask Kasiunagura."
  • Anstice nods. "Alright. I was not asking about the conversation, and more about the other Sidereal. I have not had the chance to get acquainted, so more detail might let me learn who she was speaking to."

Burgeron: "Ah. I have heard of him before. They call him the Mako, he is taller then you, almost my height. But skinny, with a big chest and strong, scarred hands. He looked to be a Green, with all the green clothes he wore, but I did not see his eyes. He had dark grey hair and a goatee."

Burgeron: "Oh, also. He had a scar on his shoulder, for he wore no shirt. It looked as if something had tried to bite off his arm."

Anstice: "Most likely another shark. Thank you for the details."

  • Burgeron nods. "It was..good to get this matter off my chest. And though you are excellent company, I do not think I will be able to converse with you much more in Heaven. If you should visit my domains in Creation, pray and I will be happy to speak with you. The darkness is light upon your scent."
  • Anstice nods. "I would be pleased to do so. My hope is that the darkness will not be an issue for too much longer. Until then?"
  • Burgeron nods his head. "I will escort you back to the Gateway. You are not in good odor here."

Burgeron: "Uncle Elephant and others say you should be executed for treason."

  • Anstice shakes his head. "I am not surprised."

Anstice: "That's the funny thing about the situation. So hurt about this that they won't even wait until after we're done fighting the Deathlord."

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