< A Glass Musicbox, and a Plan | Ex Pulplogs | Acquire Information, Kill the Bad Guys, Rescue the Girl! >

Storyteller Having made their arrangements with the servant woman and explained them to the rest of the Circle, Carmine, Xar, Myrrh and Corve make ready for their next activity: finishing their end of the deal.

Corve slips in the maximum amount of shells into Judging Thunder, humming calmly as he looks at his companions. He'd filled them in on the rest of the plan, though they still have to decide exactly how they're going to go through with it. He could go alone, or they could all go, or just half of them... it all depends on how they want to proceed. He locks Judging Thunder's clip in place and swings it over his shoulder, holstering it. "How do you guys want to do this, then?"

Carmine "Well, it's not like it will be hard to scare him..."

Myrrh "I say we rush in there, have Xar growl at him and if that doesn't work we go all glowy at him and do the whole anathema thing."

Xar'Rex shrugs

Myrrh "You do cut a very intimidating figure. I certainly wouldn't want you growling at me."

Xar'Rex "I think you will not want to 'do the anathema thing'... it will make people other than him angry."

Corve rubs his chin for a moment. "The problem is, we have a message to communicate. We can't just scare him shitless... unless it gives him a heart attack, but that would be too drastic. It has to be something that terrifies him, but doesn't totally drive him to fugi."

Corve "And Xar has a point. Bursting with out animus just to scare him might be a bit drastic. The entire city seems to be a lot less tolerant of our kind than Brume is... we may not want to risk exposure."

Myrrh "Well...no I don't think you can find spiders that big in town.."

Carmine "...spiders?"

Corve grins at Myrrh, the silly bumpkin. "Spiders are a no go. Easiest way would be to just *tell him* to stop. If he reacts abrasively... we retaliate. More abrasively."

Carmine looks lost at this mention of spiders

Myrrh "Well I doubt he'll put up much resistance with Carmine and Xar in the room!"

Xar'Rex "Then maybe we all go, to show force, but talk first?"

Corve "Sounds like a good plan, overall, yes."

Carmine nods

Corve nods. "Rigtht then, let's go."

Storyteller As Corve observes, it is about that time. The information gathered from the servant-woman gives a fair description of the guard. Short, with brown hair, the tips dyed a fashionable green. His armor will be marked with the symbol of the god whose complex he guards, an interlinked pair of green leaves.

Storyteller And in less then an hour, he will be leaving the ziggurat complex to return home for the night. The streets he normally takes have been given to the Circle and, at this hour, are mostly empty.

Corve stops just about a block away from the complex the guard stands watch over. "We can wait for him here, and follow him. Two of us can intercept from in front of him while two others approach from behind... it'll probably be more cooperating if he feels trapped," he murmurs, tipping his hat low to hide his eyes.

Xar'Rex "Is there a place where we will not be heard, near?"

Storyteller There are several potential locations nearby for the Circle to take the guard for their..conversation. Some of the houses nearby seem uninhabited, though locked securely. It wouldn't be too hard for them to break into the houses. And there are numerous alleyways to hide in. But the best location might be a warehouse that seems to have been left open accidentally.

Xar'Rex is again dressed all in black, cloak wrapped closely around him, covering his wings. His feathers and all visible scales have also been covered with a dark brown substance that stays on quite well.

Corve ponders this, and then nods his head a little, diverting a hand to point at a nearby warehouse not to far away. "If it's empty, it's probably the best place to do this. Of course, we're going to have to get him in there without him making too much of a fuss."

Xar'Rex "I'll wait there, make sure it is safe before you come."

Xar'Rex heads off into the warehouse, cautiously

Carmine "I'll go with Xar." and she walks off beside the large lizard.

Corve looks at them both and then nods, a but reluctantly. "Alright." He looks at Myrrh and grins, tapping Judging Thunder. "Like old times, hmm?"

Myrrh nods and grins. "Although I'm not sure how quiet we can keep him..."

Corve smirks. "Well... would you scream if you had Judging Thunder pointing at the back of your head?"

Myrrh "No although maybe I should have brought the revolution along. He might get the point immediately."

Corve shrugs slightly, and adjusts his coat. "We'll get it done," he murmurs. "So how are you? Haven't talked in a while."

Myrrh seems to think on it for awhile "..not bad. Just a little worried. We seem to be following breadcrumbs here. We need a more solid lead to these guys."

Storyteller is now known as Guard

Guard turns down the street where Corve and Myrrh are standing. Moving slowly, tiredly as if he's had a long day on the job. He doesn't notice the two men as anything out of the ordinary. And he matches the description.

Corve sighs a little. "Yeah, I know what you mean..." he mutters. "I just wish we had something concrete to grasp, so we could actually *do* something about these assholes. We're running out of time and this dollying around isn't helping... hey, back up, I think he's coming." With a smooth step, the Exalt blends back into the shadows, letting them coat him in the obscure night.

Xar'Rex looks throughout the warehouse, setting up a few broken crates and such to make a sort of wall, and a chair.

Carmine helps, peering about the darkened warehouse, dragging things across.

Corve waits for the guard to come close enough, not wanting to jump out prematurely and scare him into fleeing.

Guard meanders up to where Corve and Myrrh are waiting in the darkness, completely failing to notice the two shadowy men

Xar'Rex smiles to Carmine, thanking her quietly for her help. Then he waits, sitting on one edge of the 'chair' he'd made, pondering.

Myrrh glances at Corve, waiting for a signal to move in.

Corve waits until he's passed them somewhat, and then moves forward, the shadows melting from his figure, almost unsuccessful as his movements, calculated and precise, bring him towards the man's back. He inches forward, unholstering Judging Thunder as he moves in silence, and putting the muzzle to the back of the man's head very, very gently, but making sure the guard feel's the circle that the muzzle pressures against his neck. "Shhhh..." he says. "You don't want to make a single sound." A look to Myrrh signals his friend to do the obvious: take the guard's weapons so they have less to worry about.

Guard opens his mouth to protest until he figures out what must be pressed against his head. His fingers go limp around the hilt of his sword and he nods very slowly.

Myrrh moves up and takes the guards weapons holding onto them for awhile.

Myrrh checks the man for any hidden weapons, knives in boots etc.

Corve smiles. "Smart. I like that. Now please assist us in this safe and non-violent endevour by walking slowly towards that warehouse to your right," he says, turning slowly to lead the man with the gun pressed to the back of his head.

Guard is carrying only a work knife in addition to his ceremonial sword and surrenders both easily before following Corve's instructions and entering the warehouse

Corve smiles as they all step through the door, nodding to Xar and Carmine, motioning for Myrrh to close the door behind them so that no one can see what's going on.

Myrrh nods and closes the door behind them quietly.

Xar'Rex stands, stepping away from the chair. As the guard and his 'escort' pass the wall, he seals off the rest of the path with a wall of fire, on the stone floor, that shouldn't burn.

Xar'Rex "Good evening." he rumbles, gesturing towards the makeshift chair. "Sit."

Carmine smiles almost friendlily at the at guard.

Corve smiles, thanking the Dragon King with a nod and moving behind the chair, motioning for the guard to take a seat. "We have something we'd like to talk to you about."

Guard grows pale at this confirmation that his kidnappers have supernatural powers. He sits, slowly and carefully. "What do you want?" His voice is a frightened whisper

Corve smiles. "Not much, really. We just want to ask you a few questions, and a favor. A very simple favor."

Guard "I dont..but.."

Xar'Rex towers above the sitting man, smiling. This is not reassuring, as his fangs are longer than the man's hand.

Corve "Ssssshhhhh... you just talk when we finish asking a question. Then you shut up, and let us continue. If you follow our instructions, you'll be back home, tucked away in your bed before you know it."

Corve "If you don't... well... " he lets Xar's image impose itself on the guard's imagination.

Guard nods and shivers

Corve smiles a little bit, looking at the others. "Now. First we're going to start with a few questions. You answer them truthfully. I'll know if you're lying. What god rules the temple you guard?"

Guard "The fertility god Mexor, see, I wear his leaves.

Myrrh glances outside, trying to make sure they aren't going to have any visitors.

Corve "Good. Now, what gods live, or are worshipped by those that live, in the ziggurat, other than Rivoshi and the seasonal gods. Names, please."

Guard "Ah..well. Seria the Silk Queen and Golden Roads..ah..Himishi, Azhur Mida, Aminon, Hepet..I don't remeber them *all*! I'm sorry!"

Xar'Rex gestures slightly, and the flames roar, oddly smokeless, then subside as he gestures once more. "Are you sure?"

Guard "I don't remember any more!"

Corve "Hmm. A lot of people seem to be scared of speaking of a certain deity worshipped at the ziggurat. Who is it? You *must* know its name, since so many are so reluctant." He pushes the gun against the back of the man's head.

Carmine "So, is there anything /else/ you worship?"

Xar'Rex "Something that is NOT a God."

Corve nods to Carmine and Xar. "Yes, please... do you worship anything that *isn't* a deity?"

Guard whimpers "There's something in there...they keep it under the temples. I don't know what it is!"

Corve "What's it's name?"

Guard "They never tell me anything, I'm just a guard...I don't know it's name.."

Corve hisses against his teeth, making an intimidating clicking sound with some part of his rifle. "What rumours are there about it? You *are* a guard. You should know these things... I know how being a guard makes you privvy to more gossip than most."

Myrrh "What does it look like then?"

Myrrh "Any rumours?"

Guard "Ah..well, I've never seen it..but it's supposed to be huge. I heard some folks saying they had to kill some diggers who found part of it outside the city..but I didn't believe them. They were drunk.

Corve ponders for a moment, and then: "What about any rumours about what it is?"

Guard "Ah..well. I don't know, there are lots...some people say it's a demon or a fair folk or a god or a giant monster. Why are you asking me all this? Please, I just want to go home.."

Corve "We're asking you because we need to know. If you continue to cooperate just like you are now, then nothing bad will happen to you. Be calm. We don't *want* to hurt you... well," he says, lowering his voice and putting his face next to the man's. "Maybe *he* does, a little... but if you're good, I can keep him tranquil. Know what I mean?" He smiles at Xar, winking, and then returns to his previous stance. "Have you ever heard of the Black Viper Cult?"

Xar'Rex smiles even wider, at the wink, and crosses his arms, laughing a bit.

Guard "Everyone's heard of them, they destoryed that flying island"

Corve "That's right. Does the ziggurat have anything to do with them?"

Xar'Rex begins sharpening his claws with a razor-edged blade. "I'm getting bored. Can I have him if he doesn't say something useful soon?"

Corve shivers mockingly at the man. "My friend's getting impatient. Tell me, have you seen anyone in bandages running around the city?" He presses the barrel of the gun tighter against the back of the guard's head.

Guard goes pale and shakes his head feebly. "No, no one like that..."

Corve growls. "You still haven't answered my previous question. Do the Black Vipers have anything to do with the ziggurat?"

Guard shakes his head "No..I dont think so.."

Corve "What do you people offer this... thing... in worship? How deep is it? How does one reach it... and why did they kill those diggers?"

Guard "I don't know! I just heard that there's some monster under ground, that's all!"

Corve looks at the others, somewhat lost as to what else to ask the terrified man.

Carmine makes a gesture that suggests 'Well, how about what we actually brought him here for, then?'

Corve nods to Carmine and shrugs. "Fine. Phase one over, my friend. You're doing great. Now for the meat and potatos of this little meeting. You're going to listen to me very, very carefully, and when I'm done speaking, you're going to make a promise to me. And if you ever... *ever*... break that promise, regardless of anything imbibed or other mitigating factors... we're going to be back. Got it?"

Xar'Rex looks pleased at that prospect, leans over, and hisses directly in his ear "I do hope you break it."

Guard nods, shaking.

Corve smiles. "You will... from this very instant and forevermore, never... ever... in your entire life... again harrass or bother *any* woman that crosses your path. Any relationship you have, be it frienship or love... will be be initiated by *them.* And if you *ever* bother anyone at work... well... look," he says, raising a finger next to the man's hand and pointing at Xar's jaws. "Now... promise to heed to these terms."

Guard blinks, looking confused. "But.."

Xar'Rex "But?"

Corve presses his gun further against the man, more clicking coming from his rifle. "No buts."

Guard "I don't understand!" he wails

Xar'Rex "Tell your friends." he grins. "Harassing women is unhealthy. There is a NEW god in town."

Carmine "Maybe you need to be a little more specific... I'd hate for anything bad to happen to him..."

Xar'Rex slices a claw down the front of his uniform, leaving the thinnest line of blood behind, all the way down

Corve rolls his eyes. "There's a woman where you work, a servant, that you have been bothering. If you ever speak to or touch her again..." he pauses, turning around the man and putting the large, imposing barrel of Judging Thunder against the man's eye as Xar slices him a little. "We're going to make your personal hell come to you."

Guard twitches, shaking. "Alright! Alright! I won't bother her again! I swear!"

Myrrh "I think we've had a breakthrough!"

Corve "You had better not," he says, pulling the barrel back and looking at the man... "Now close your eyes."

Xar'Rex discards the slashed clothing into a pile, burning it at his feet. "Actually.. if ANYONE harms her..." he trails off.

Corve waits for the man to close his eyes so they can make an imposing disappearance.

Guard closes his eyes, still whimpering

Corve motions for Xar to put the fire out and for everyone to file out as he starts walking backwards, Judging Thunder still pointing at the man's head.

Xar'Rex banishes the wall of flame, leaving no trace behind

Carmine slips off the crate she was sat on, and files out.

Myrrh files out with the others.

Corve disappears after Xar, letting the door close silently and leaving the terrified man alone in the warehouse as they make their stealthy escape from their effective intimidation sessions.

Storyteller Under Xar's direction the Circle prepares the ritual for summoning Rivoshi. They find the tortoise garden

Storyteller and set out the components. The ritual is ready to begin.

Corve kneels down as they did with Grandmother Bright, and prepares himself for a meditative prayer. He knows next to nothing about these sorts of things, but that doesn't mean he can't contribute. Closing his eyes, he internalizes the flows of Essence to connect to the spirit he's trying to call, silently offering Essence and prayer to Rivoshi.

Carmine kneels beside corve, speaking the words of the prayer softly for the goddess, offering her essence to go witht he words of the prayer

Myrrh kneels with MUCH greater care than last time, after working everything over with Xar about exactly the proper prayers that need to be made, to make sure he won't be pelted to death by tortises from the sky. He hopes she likes the music box.

Xar'Rex steps into the circle once everyone has assumed their positions and begun. Holding the spice-filled music box in his open palms, he processes (there is no other word for the way he walks so reverently) into the center, kneels, and sets the jeweled tortoise down upon the ground, bowing his head.

Xar'Rex pitches his voice as he did when he would address his people, it rings out with authority and respect. "Great City Mother, Rivoshi, Guardian of the Tortoises, and All They Represent, we offer this gift to you, we honor you, and humbly ask for your presence here, in this holy place, surrounded by your people of both species."

Rivoshi appears slowly, taking the form of an old, wrinkled woman with great black eyes and her dress combining flowing fabric with the form of her tortoise's shell. Hunched and strong, she peers at those who summon her

Rivoshi "You have a gift for my gracing you?"

Corve motions silently to the glass spice and music box, looking at the goddess with a respectful gaze.

Rivoshi sweeps up the items into her shell with a wave of one well-manicured claw-hand. "Very well."

Xar'Rex "Thank you for accepting our offering, we hope it pleases you."

Rivoshi "It will do. What do you wannt?"

Myrrh lets Corve and Xar do the talking, not having a great track record with godesses.

Xar'Rex speaks in Old Realm (and has been doing so up til now too) "We seek admittance to the Ziggurat tomorrow."

Rivoshi "Really. Why?"

Xar'Rex "We were told there was something we should see, for the good of Creation."

Rivoshi "Ah...well. I might be able to allow you to observe the proceedings in exchange for a suitable gift."

Xar'Rex "Can you tell me, what is being celebrated tomorrow? It will help me find a proper gift for you."

Rivoshi "Tomorrow is the Great Feast. It is in honor of the great founders of the city, such as myself."

Xar'Rex "Surely you are the most revered of all, Great Mother Rivoshi." he bows. "What other gods assisted you in founding the city?"

Rivoshi "Seria the Silk Queen and Golden Roads. Do you not know the story of the founding of this city?"

Corve is starting to think they would be better of if Xeth took over for a while, as he did with Grandmother Bright. Unless Xeth doesn't actually know Rivoshi... he listens calmly, watching the discussion between Dragon-God and Tortoise God.

Xar'Rex "I apologize, Great Rivoshi, we are strangers to this city, and have not heard. Would you grace us with the story?"

Rivoshi "I can not waste my time on such trivia. Find the story from a bard or some such thing."

Xar'Rex "We shall. There is one other thing, Rivoshi, Goddess of the Tortoises, and Mother of Stzang Ouol, we have heard rumors of another being, beneath Your Ziggurat, and wish to know more. Is it a threat, or should we also worship it? We wish to do the proper thing by your Great City."

Rivoshi "There is nothing under the ziggurat but dirt."

Xar'Rex "You would, of course, know best, Great Lady."

Xar'Rex "Then we may rest assured that the rumors of some great beast, locked up beneath, are naught but that."

Rivoshi "You may indeed. Unless you have anything important to speak to me of."

Xar'Rex "I have one more thing to speak of, and it, too, concerns the fate of Creation and your City. There are those calling themselves the Black Viper Cult. Have you heard of them?"

Rivoshi "Yes, of course. My city was given a message by them the same time the other nearby villages recieved them."

Xar'Rex "What were their demands?"

Rivoshi "The same as were given to the other cities, I assume. If you have nothing further, you bore me."

Rivoshi "I thank you, moderately, for your offering."

Xar'Rex "I see, but not all of the surrounding cities were given the same demands, Great Mother of Tortoises. Were the ones they gave you, ones that you were able to comply with, or did you deny them?"

Rivoshi "I am offended that you should ask me that. I will leave you now."

Rivoshi leaves, diving into her tortoise shell and disappearing

Rivoshi is now known as ST

Xar'Rex hrmmms, and looks at the others

Corve looks at them and grits his teeth, rising slowly. "She's lying."

Carmine "What about...?"

Myrrh "Really? If a city mother is in on it...and the bitch didn't like the music box! Can you believe the nerve..."

Corve "She's lying about there not being anything under the ziggurat, and she's lying about the message. It was not the same as the other cities got. She's intertwined with all of this in some way, though I'm not sure if it's willingly, as a complice, or by extortion."

Carmine "That will make things interesting tomorrow then."

Xar'Rex "She did say we can go in, though." Xar speaks again in their common language.

Corve nods slowly, rolling his shoulders back a little and looking at the spot where Rivoshi disappeared. "For a suitable gift, wasn't it?" So far he's been putting the conversation together in his head based on what he understood from Rivoshi, as he didn't actually understand Xar.

Xar'Rex "Yes..." he frowns. "We will need more money."

Corve "What we need is some damn cooperation," he hisses, running a hand through his hair. "Fucking bitch... Xar, does Xeth know Rivoshi? Has she always been this way?"

Xar'Rex shakes his head, "He has heard of her, but not met."

Corve nods. "Damn." He rubs his jaw. "We can go in as servants, or try to get this bitch another gift, but I'm reluctant to pay someone that consorts with the Cult *twice.*"

Xar'Rex shrugs "At least I will get in more easily if we pay."

Corve "That's true. However, she *must* suspect something now, with the way she left."

Xar'Rex "Also, she may look for us now."

Myrrh "Hmm...I don't know anything about her either..."

Xar'Rex "She said there was a tale about the founding of the city. Maybe the teller will have more information."

Carmine "Well, there were bards at the market place!"

Corve "Fine. We find another, *better* gift, and we listen to the damn story to see if we can find any clues. We need to get into the ziggurat by tomorrow night, and doing it legally is the best way, so far."

Carmine nods

Xar'Rex "Hmmm... what would be better... maybe one that sings and dances, like you said."

Xar'Rex "We must start right away, there is no time."

Myrrh "A better gift? by tommorow? I don't know..."

Myrrh "Alright let's get moving"

Corve sighs. "You'll have to try. Carmine and I will go see if we can find someone to tell us this stupid story..." he does *not* look happy about any of this, at all. In fact, he looks rather furious at being lied to by Rivoshi.

< A Glass Musicbox, and a Plan | Ex Pulplogs | Acquire Information, Kill the Bad Guys, Rescue the Girl! >