< Arriving in Vengrad | Red Ice Logs | At the Inn of Vengrad >

The journey to Vengrad was difficult with half of the circle injured and Kinqueduran meeting you in the city itself. You kept company with some of the refugees on the later stages of the trip, once you were sure you were not being perused. A few telltale signs make themselves plain to Mendhari and Anstice as they travel.

  • Mendhari has been purposefully separated from all lamps.

A ghost seems to have attached itself to Anstice, a malevolent one at that. Twice on the trip minor accidents became dangerous and Anstice was wounded, a campfire flaring burned his arm badly and an owl attempted to remove his left eye twice, leaving nasty scratches that became infected.

The ineptitude of its attacks make both Sidereals decide it is a relatively new ghost, perhaps only a few days old. But it does not seem to be a hungry ghost, rather an intelligent wraith with a grudge.

  • Anstice settles down one night, digging long arcs in the ground and filling them with ash, carefully drawing symbols in the earth to the sides of the arcs as it spirals in strongly. He chants the ancient catechism, drawing in all ghosts to follow the story told in the symbols, sealing the spiral exactly at midnight with a light slash on his palm and a line of blood. The fire flares up in un-natural colors to reveal the shape of the ghost.

A wiry young man appears in the glowing blood-red/pale-green flames, his face ashen and his torso crossed by bruises and frostbite as well as viciously torn flaps of muscle and flesh. He flickers between death and his prime of life, a fit youth with blond hair and a kind face. Anstice recognizes the worker he saw die the last day in the village.

  • Anstice wraps his palm with a handy prayer strip. "I adjure thee to answer all questions posed truthfully, else suffer fires unending. What, pray tell, is your problem with me?"

Worker Ghost: "You s-said you'd-d take care of-f him!!" the ghost's voice shudders, anger mixing with an eternal cold that seems to permeate his being.

Anstice: "I am trying. I would not lead the armies of the Algorans directly to him. My companions need to heal, lest they die too."

  • Iron_Horse winces as he sees the ghost, sitting cross legged on the floor.
  • Mendhari gets closer to Iron Horse. Ghosts.... not good.

Anstice: "If you may tell me where he is now, I can send assistance. Will that suffice for the moment?"

Worker Ghost: "D-dead! They g-got him, n-no one took him w-with them. N-not a little b-boy with no one t-to look after him. Y-you said you w-would!"

Anstice: "Where? Iron Horse said you were the only survivor..."

Iron_Horse: “... he was the only one I saw...”

Worker Ghost: "M-my brother was there in t-the village, ahead of m-me! You said y-you'd protect him!"

  • Anstice closes his eyes. "We looked in the village. We didn't find anyone before the Algorans came..."
  • Mendhari looks down, remembering.

Worker Ghost: "He d-didn't find him! H-he left him to d-die!"

Anstice: "I understand your anger. He should have been found. But will this make it better?"

Iron_Horse: “... I... it's... my fault then?”

Anstice: "No. Kinqueduran missed him... the boy probably hid from the stranger. Still, even if you kill all of us, it won't bring him back. Would it not be better to strike back at those who killed you and your brother?"

The worker’s ghost screams and wavers in the light of the fire. The flames deepen, the reds shading into purples and the green becoming the sickly color of infected flesh. As the light changes, the features of the ghost distort into strong, aged lines. The young man's form ripples, growing larger and more muscular, bent with age but still powerful. His wounds recede and then his transparency fades

Anstice: "If this is Envoy... Hi."

Envoy: "We meet once again, Anstice Cyzarine. You are most difficult to track down. Who are these other people?"

Mendhari: "What the HELL?"

  • Envoy looks around with silver-black eyes, ignoring the incapacitated and agonized form of the worker's ghost at his feet.

Anstice: "Others of my circle."

Envoy: "A pleasure to meet you both. You would then be Mendhari of the Del’zahn and Iron Horse…of no where in particular."

Iron_Horse: “... guh?”

  • Mendhari nods. "You seem to know a lot about me. And I know... Nothing."

Anstice: "This would be Envoy. Is the torment of the young man's ghost necessary?"

Iron_Horse: "... Er... what... did just happen?"

Mendhari: "Yeah. I'm kinda confused. Things are crazy."

Envoy: "Pardon?" he looks down. "Oh. He is simply recovering from the appearance. He will be fine a few minutes after I depart. Do not trouble yourself."

Anstice: "Ah. Good."

Mendhari: "What IS this guy?"

Anstice: "A... business partner. Of sorts."

Mendhari: "... does he have any tea?"

Envoy: "I am the Envoy. I have spoken with Anstice Cyzarine previously. And, I must apologize, my method of travel does not allow for much baggage."

  • Kinqueduran arrives, folding his hands behind his back, hanging back a bit and not making a fuss about his entrance.
  • Anstice waves at him. "The last of my circle. Anyway, what brings you to the middle of nowhere, Envoy?"

Envoy: "I have come to offer my assistance, Anstice Cyzarine. You have kept your part of the bargain so far and the conditions have been met."

  • Kinqueduran returns Anstice's wave, albeit in a much more subdued fashion, then takes a seat.

Anstice: "Assistance would be greatly appreciated, Envoy."

Envoy: "The moon is green and the Daughter wails in the night for her Mother's love."

Iron_Horse: "... huh"?

Envoy: "Another plaque was arranged, but you were entangled in events that made its delivery misfire. You will probably receive it shortly, once the delivery can be straightened out."

Kinqueduran: "Don't think about it, Iron Horse. We'll go over it later."

  • Anstice nods. "Apologies. Demonic intervention makes things complex."

Envoy: "Indeed. However, such things can be dealt with. I understand you have received a message to visit Ur?"

Anstice: "Correct."

Kinqueduran: "I suspect much stabbing will ensue."

Envoy: "The Primate-General you are to visit, I can tell you of him. Or I can tell you of another matter. My masters forbid me to tell you of both this day."

Kinqueduran: "Are we allowed to ask what the other matter is before you tell us of one or the other?"

Envoy: "Yes, that is allowed. I could also tell you of a place where you can meet with one of my masters and speak with him. I guarantee your safety in this meeting, as opposed to the meeting in Ur."

Anstice: "But not if you tell us of either two options."

Kinqueduran: "Does that give us three choices, or are we allowed to find out about your masters' meeting in addition to the other? I'm just trying to understand how you play your card game."

Envoy: "The meeting with my master or the Primate-General."

Anstice: "Aha."

Kinqueduran: "And what is the 'other matter' you mentioned?"

  • Envoy bows in apology, fiddling with his Hearthstone-capped cane of dark wood. The brilliant gem shines in the dark. "Apologies. I am unclear in my speaking. I can tell you where to meet my Master, or tell you of the Primate-General. Those are the choices I am allowed to give you."

Iron_Horse: "... so... uh... why can you only give us one choice?"

Kinqueduran: "Do you play cards, Iron Horse?"

Envoy: "I would give you both if I could, Iron Horse. But my masters have not gifted me such freedom."

Iron_Horse: "... what game?"

Kinqueduran: "Never mind, Horse."

Anstice: "Would the meeting be on the same day, or another time?"

Kinqueduran: "Yes, that we need to know. I do intend to keep my appointment with the monkey."

Envoy: "It will not be on the same day. To tell you any more, I must know your choice."

Kinqueduran: "To make a choice, we must know if meeting your master will prevent us from meeting the ape."

Anstice: "We will accept your offer of information on the meeting with your master."

  • Mendhari looks at the Envoy, struggling to figure out what... it... is....
  • Envoy bows. "My master will agree to meet with you in the city of Crystal, ten days from now. He has instructed me to offer my apologies that you can not arrive sooner for a meeting, but that is the closest place he can safely manifest here. His brothers are unavailable and only he will speak with you. If you enter the Underways, he will be waiting for you in the Room of Questions where I first encountered Anstice Cyzarine."

Kinqueduran: "Do we get to kill any demons on the way there? I mean ... um ... 'have to'."

Envoy: "I imagine that if the Daughter or her servants become aware of your intent, they will try to prevent you from reaching your destination. In that case, you would likely face their demons. The Mother is not stingy with her favors to the Daughter."

Kinqueduran: "Hmm. I guess we'll sharpen our spears and put on a bitter smile."

Anstice: "We will be there."

Kinqueduran: "Should we bring snacks?"

  • Mendhari frowns.

Envoy: "Ah, my master does have on further request for all four of you. He asks that you not slay those who bring silent death to others until you have met him."

Kinqueduran: "Those who bring silent death?"

  • Iron_Horse blinks.

Envoy: "Those are the words of the agreement.

Kinqueduran: "You might want to make sure we know what those are. I have this sort of predisposition to stabbing things."

Envoy: "Demons are exempt from this agreement, Carmine Rain Hunter.:"

Anstice: "Hrm."

Kinqueduran: "Good, good. But 'those who bring silent death' could be mistaken for demons, I think. What should we look for, so that we know not to kill them?"

  • Envoy looks unhappy. "I can not be more specific. My master phrased the agreement and I must send word you have accepted it as he spoke it. I can only say that he means those who kill by subtle or silent means."

Iron_Horse: "Assassins?"

Envoy: "Assassins would be considered to be under the agreement, yes. A good example, Iron Horse."

Anstice: "Hrm. I can handle that."

Kinqueduran: "Hmm. I guess we'll just have to beat the shit out of assassins and leave them barely breathing."

  • Envoy frowns deeper, wrinkling his face badly. The ghost at his feet stirs slightly, making pained sounds. "My time grows short. Are we agreed?"

Anstice: "Yes."

Kinqueduran: "I suppose." He glances to the rest of the circle.

  • Mendhari is not happy.
  • Kinqueduran nudges Mendhari a little.

Mendhari: "Fine."

Kinqueduran: "No, don't agree if you don't like it. Just say what's on your mind."

Mendhari: "... I just don't trust this... person. But Anstice seems to... So..."

Iron_Horse: "... yeah, ok."

Envoy: "I assure you, Princess, I have no desire to harm any of you. Nor do I think I could do much harm before being struck down by Carmine Rain Hunter. And the master of mine you will be meeting has given his sworn oath that you will be safe in his presence from all threats."

Kinqueduran: "Wow. All of a sudden, I feel darkly appreciated."

  • Mendhari blinks. "Well, you're certainly polite."

Kinqueduran: "I think I've learned to half-ignore you now, Mendhari."

  • Envoy bows. "Thank you. Rest assured, my master takes his oath as seriously as anyone. Not even Saturn keeps her oaths more tightly then my master."
  • Mendhari looks at Anstice. "Could I have a lamp, Anstice?"

Anstice: "No. Not yet. When you're better."

Mendhari: "... fine."

  • Mendhari adds Anstice to her lamp-beating list.
  • Kinqueduran glances at Anstice. "I think she's going to kill us in our sleep as soon as she doesn't need us."
  • Anstice smiles. "Nah. You'll see."

Kinqueduran: "Maybe not you, but most likely me."

Mendhari: "You're slightly useful... when you're ACTUALLY around, Kinqueduran... And I don't kill useful things. Plus, I could always get you married to... something."

Kinqueduran: "I've been married before, it wasn't that bad."

  • Mendhari looks ponderous. "Probably a Manate-man Tribe Princess..."

Kinqueduran: "...granted, I just walked out on my wife fifteen years into the marraige."

Mendhari: "Well aren't you the most romantic man."

Kinqueduran: "We all have our problems. You, for example, are a heinous bitch lost in her own emotional scarring."

  • Envoy coughs. "If we are agreed, I will leave you now. Ten days. If you miss the meeting, my master will be…displeased."

Kinqueduran: "We'll be there."

  • Envoy bows once again and steps back into the fire, or rather the slowly reviving ghost.

Mendhari: "Aren't you sweet? And you're a asshole with a penchant for useless violence."

Iron_Horse: "... so... uh..."

  • Kinqueduran grins. "Yeah....I am."

The worker's ghost and the Envoy's body merge into each other, the aged bulk of the Envoy disappearing slowly into the ghost, lessening and slowly vanishing as the ghost writhes and screams, cutting across the conversation with his pain.

  • Iron_Horse winces
  • Kinqueduran looks sharply at the ghost, frowning.
  • Anstice erases one of the lines with his foot, breaking the binding.

Mendhari: "That's just weird."

Slowly, the twitching ghost disappears, having had more then enough pain and agony in return for its attempt at vengeance for the moment.

Kinqueduran: "Heinously enough, I think I agree with Mendhari."

  • Iron_Horse shakes his head sadly for a moment. "... losing family... mmm."
  • Mendhari blinks. "... I think I changed my mind."

Kinqueduran: "About what?"

Mendhari: "I don't know. Whatever you agree with me for."

Kinqueduran: "Should have seen that coming."

  • Iron_Horse looks towards the others. "We should leave in the morning if we want to get everything done, right?"

Kinqueduran: "Probably, yes."

Anstice: "yes."

  • Kinqueduran stands, cracking his knuckles. "Should we get things in order now?"

Mendhari: "You couldn't put the alphabet in order."

Kinqueduran: "Piss off, bitch, I wasn't talking to you."

Mendhari: "Well you obviously weren't talking to your wife."

  • Kinqueduran pointedly ignores the wife remark.
  • Iron_Horse looks between Mendhari and Kinqueduran, and then looks towards Anstice. "Should we separate them? A mile from each other?"

Anstice: "I'm seriously considering it."

Kinqueduran: "So am I."

Mendhari: ".... hey! You don't leave my sight!"

Kinqueduran: "Why would I want to stay within your sight?"

Mendhari: "Demons seem to think I taste sweet."

Kinqueduran: "I find it hard to believe that *any* aspect of you is sweet."

  • Iron_Horse leans towards Anstice, whispering a bit. "It's like the fights between my brothers back home."

Mendhari: "I'm a freaking preach."

Kinqueduran: "A rotting peach, on the ground, half-eaten by maggots."

Mendhari: "No, that's your FACE."

  • Anstice nods a bit, whispering back. "Just so long as they make up somewhere else."

Iron_Horse: "Well, if thinks continue the way they are, they'll either begin pulling at each other's hair or not speaking directly."

  • Kinqueduran turns his back on Mendhari, shrugging. "I vote for not speaking."

Mendhari: "Good idea. Be quiet."

Kinqueduran: "Take your own advice."

Mendhari: "But what would you do without my voice? It's like a nightingale, uplifting the spirit."

Kinqueduran: "Without your voice? I dunno, I might have half a moment's rest."

  • Iron_Horse whispers again. "... And then they'll have us tell the other what they just said despite being in hearing range."

Mendhari: "I'm pretty sure if we hit you enough, you'd forget how to speak."

Kinqueduran: "I'm tempted to test that theory on you."

  • Anstice nods. whisper: "Likely. Should I do anything?"

Mendhari: "And I'm tempted to make you as impotent as a wilted flower."

Kinqueduran: "That's surprisingly unlikely to *really* interfere with my life."

Iron_Horse: "... Well, I stopped my brothers using candy. But I don't have any and I don't think it'll work."

Anstice: "K? You never know."

Mendhari: "You didn't let me finish. I could also make you as attractive to women as... a new dressmaker's shop."

  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "Might keep me from ending up with a pregnant dragon to tend to, Anstice. I'll admit, that threat was sort of disturbing, Mendhari."
  • Mendhari looks at Anstice, fire in her eyes. "... pregnant dragon?"

Kinqueduran: "But I'm not really sure that's within the realm of possibility."

  • Anstice sighs. "Horse? You talk to K. I have something to say to Mendhari."
  • Mendhari is not happy at all. She looks for a lamp... vase... big stick.

Kinqueduran: "...did I miss something?"

Iron_Horse: "Gotcha."

  • Anstice just catches her wrist and leads her off out of earshot.
  • Mendhari draws back to smack him. "Ho...how dare you manhandle me!"
  • Iron_Horse steps towards Kinqueduran. "... You know, I almost think you enjoy doing that."
  • Kinqueduran waits until the other two are far enough that they seem unlikely to see his expression.
  • Kinqueduran then grins broadly. "Yeah...I do."
  • Anstice waits for it, speaking in Del’zahn. "I dare because I am goddamned bloody tired of you acting like a spoiled brat. Until you act otherwise, I will treat you in that manner."
  • Mendhari jumps. "Wha... how... you..."
  • Iron_Horse shakes his head. "... You know, I have an older brother like you. He did that all the time with my older sister."

Anstice: "Now, I slept with a young dragoness. As is proper with her aspect, our meeting bore fruit. It is handled. She will be supported, and I will play what role I can in assisting her when she calms down."

Kinqueduran: "Well, it's all good intentioned between me and Mendhari. At least, on my end of it."

  • Mendhari looks at Anstice. "Good."
  • Anstice nods. "Now, while I'm sure it is entertaining, I would appreciate it if you would act in a manner more befitting your birth when others might see."

Mendhari: ".... right." She looks up at you. "But... I could find someone better for you."

Anstice: "No doubt. But I have more than enough obligations right now. Between avenging my mentor's death, stopping the chaos here, and supporting Cirella, I don't have time. Maybe later."

  • Iron_Horse shakes his head. "Just don't overdo it, ok? At least not right now? if you can help yourself, anyway."

Mendhari: "Right... I... Uhmm... I really should get some sleep.."

Kinqueduran: "I'm actually trying to drive her away. She'd be safer then."

  • Anstice nods, and lets go of her wrist. "Good. We understand each other. If you do not understand something, speak to me. I will assist. Now sleep. We have a long road ahead."
  • Iron_Horse sighs, and scratches the back of his head. "Well, you are the only one that knows how to fight demons... oh, hey, could you do me a favor?"
  • Mendhari stumbles away from Anstice, stunned.

Kinqueduran: "Depends on the favor."

Iron_Horse: "... think you could teach me a trick or two? I don't really wanna to get caught off guard like that again."

  • Anstice wanders back in and takes a seat by the fire, starting to idly clean his nails with his dire lance.

Kinqueduran: "I'm not a very patient teacher, but I think I could."

  • Iron_Horse rubs his side lightly. It's not visible under his clothes, but he's heavily bandaged there. "Thanks."
  • Kinqueduran nods a little. "Don't mention it."
  • Mendhari lies down in her tent... wondering what the hell is up with Anstice... he knows Del’zahn..."

Kinqueduran: "I need to get in touch with Nine-Roads.

< Arriving in Vengrad | Red Ice Logs | At the Inn of Vengrad >