< Darkness Falls | Red Ice Logs | Reassignment >

The first breakfast after meeting with the Primate General is an odd event. Anstice actually finds himself downstairs before Iron Horse. When the younger Sidereal appears, he looks tired and his eyes are a strange ruddy yellow.

  • Anstice blinks at Iron Horse. "Morning. Is that..." He taps his temple, indicating his own changed eyes.
  • Iron Horse also appears rather depressed. If Anstice didn't know better, he'd say the young man had been crying.

Iron Horse: "... 'd have been nice if you had told me about that stuff."

Anstice: "What stuff? He shows up, and makes an offer. You accept or not."

  • Anstice sips his coffee, a little confused.

Iron Horse: "mmm."

Anstice: "OK, I was half-drowned as a result. But it was theatricalism... something happen with you?"

Iron Horse: "... my mom's dead."

Anstice: "That's a shame. What happened?"

Iron Horse: "... he told me that demons got em. One of my brothers too... I'm worried now."

Anstice: "This is why we have to stop things fast, Iron Horse. For all the other families missing mothers and siblings."

Iron Horse: "... I know."

Iron Horse: "... I wanna finish this fast and go home for a bit... see if the rest are ok..."

  • Iron Horse pauses for a second, and then reaches into his pocket, flicking a coin in Anstice's direction.
  • Anstice snaps his hand out abruptly to knock it up on a high arc, catching it and flicking it up onto his wrist. He then looks at it, having finished the sip of coffee he was working on.

Iron Horse: "Charon said it'd be useful to pass unmolested among the dead."

Anstice: "Passing among the dead..."

  • Anstice seems to get an idea, working on it with eyes closed. The coin dances between his fingers.
  • Iron Horse just nods a bit and shrugs. He still seems rather down.

Anstice: "You can be there in a few hours, if you like."

Iron Horse: "... huh?"

Anstice: "The Labyrinth. Part of the underworld. Its dimensions are not those of creation, so if you find the right path.. you can step in one end and out the other near you destination."

Anstice: He tosses the coin up, letting it drop into the pocket of his shirt.

Iron Horse: "... huh... wonder how well I'd do in finding the right path there..."

Anstice: "Why not find out? It is not as if your new friend is unfamiliar with the place."

Iron Horse: "... hmm."

  • Iron Horse seems to be seriously considering it.
  • Kinqueduran meanders downstairs, spotting the other two Sidereals, and makes his way towards them, sleepily scratching at his stubble.

Anstice: "Morning, K."

  • Mendhari is doing a skillful job of sleeping.

Kinqueduran: "Right, morning. It's still morning?" He blinks, sliding gracelessly into a chair.

Anstice: "Yes. Have some coffee."

  • Iron Horse waves at Kinqueduran half-heartedly.
  • Kinqueduran nods, both returning Horse's greeting and agreeing with Anstice's suggestion. "So...what have I missed?"

Anstice: "We're planning on going to the Underworld."

  • Iron Horse flicks a coin at Kinqueduran
  • Kinqueduran is struck on the shoulder by the coin, and just watches it fall to the floor, blinks once at it, then looks back at Anstice. "The Underworld? Does someone else want to meet with us and try to cut a deal?"

Anstice: "No. We're going fishing."

Iron Horse: "Take that. For safe passage among the dead."

Kinqueduran: "Now I'm confused. Well, confusederČ. We're fishing in the Underworld, and I need a coin to pass safely among the dead?"

Kinqueduran: "Honestly, I'd have thought we'd need a lot more cash than that to bribe our way to safety."

Iron Horse: "I don't think it's a bribe."

Kinqueduran: "...yeah, confused again."

  • Iron Horse shrugs a bit.

Anstice: "Magic coins, K. You're familiar with magic, right?"

Kinqueduran: "How are your kids, Anstice?"

  • Anstice sighs.

Anstice: "You really need a new way to hit below the belt."

Kinqueduran: "This one works so well, though."

  • Iron Horse ... seems a lot unhappier for a moment.
  • Kinqueduran nudges Horse. "Smile. It's only total destruction of all we hold dear."

Iron Horse: "... my mother is dead, Kin. I don't have many reasons to smile right now."

Kinqueduran: "The best time to smile is when you have no reason to, Iron Horse."

Kinqueduran: "Find someone who doesn't like you, and give him a hug."

  • Mendhari screams very much!
  • Kinqueduran looks up from the table, in the direction of the scream, then looks at Anstice.

Mendhari: ".... what the hell was that?

Anstice: "I didn't do it."

Kinqueduran: "Well, it wasn't me."

Anstice: "I'll go check."

Mendhari: "No... It was Hades."

Anstice: "Oh. How'd it go?"

  • Iron Horse nearly falls over from his chair at the scream
  • Kinqueduran gives Mendhari a big, surprisingly warm hug.
  • Mendhari blinkblink blinks. "Hey...."
  • Kinqueduran sits back in his chair, crosses his arms, and seems totally normal.
  • Mendhari surprsingly... hugs warmly back.

Now, with all four Sidereals in Mendhari's room...

Anstice: "I take it by the scream things did not go well."

Kinqueduran: "How badly damaged are you?"

  • Mendhari shivers. I'm fine."
  • Anstice speaks to her in 'delzahn'. "That shiver tells me otherwise, Mendhari. Be truthful."
  • Kinqueduran frowns when Anstice switches to the new secret code between him and Mendhari.

Mendhari: "I continued to tell him my first loyalty was to Venus... Then he marked me."

Anstice: "So your second loyalty is to Hades now." he sits down on the bed and wraps his arm around her. "Just don't expect that to fly so well in Yu-Shan for a while."

Kinqueduran: "Yu-Shan does seem to wholly disapprove of it, yes."

  • Kinqueduran 's demeanor darkens a little, obviously still upset about losing his job.
  • Mendhari nods, and lies back.
  • Kinqueduran pats her on the knee and stands up, folding his hands behind his back.
  • Mendhari pulls up her blankes and shivers. "I never should have agreed to it..."
  • Kinqueduran shrugs, staring blankly out the window. "We all make mistakes."
  • Anstice hugs her a little tighter, kissing her on the cheek. "You're still the same Mendhari, and I trust you'll make it through this." He stands. "Coffee? Want us to let you have some time to think?"
  • Mendhari smiles at Anstice. "No, no.... coffee would be fine."
  • Anstice goes to get coffee!
  • Kinqueduran seats himself on the windowsill, watching Anstice go, then looking at Mendhari.

Mendhari: "What?"

  • Kinqueduran smiles a little, an expression that can't help but look uncomfortable on K's face, and looks back out the window.

Kinqueduran: "I'm tempted to ask about the exact nature of your relationship with Anstice."

Kinqueduran: "But I think I don't really want to know."

Mendhari: ".... what? Why not?"

Kinqueduran: "It's not really any of my business, for one. For another, it would probably just remind me of mistakes I've made, and I don't need to think about my numerous fuckups right now."

Mendhari: "..... right."

Kinqueduran: "Don't worry, I'll stop trying to be tolerable in a day or so."

Mendhari: "Okay."

Kinqueduran: "I suspect that'll make things less weird."

Mendhari: "Yeah... It's pretty weird...."

  • Anstice returns with nice warm coffee!
  • Kinqueduran stops being vaguely pleasant and looks out the window.
  • Mendhari takes it and drinks it slowly.
  • Mendhari looks at Anstice and says something in code to hom.

Mendhari: *him

  • Mendhari says something else after Anstice says something to her, then stares down in her coffee.
  • Kinqueduran coughs quietly as the two converse in their secret language.
  • Anstice just smiles softly at her, saying one last thing before turning to K.
  • Mendhari smiles and blushes into her coffee. "Thank you, Anstice..."

Kinqueduran: "Even though I probably don't want to hear your pillow talk, I do think it's a bit rude to shut out the rest of your circle when they're sitting right here."

Anstice: "Do you have nicknames, K?"

Anstice: "Little in-jokes with your co-workers?"

Anstice: "They are just as obtuse, and it is somewhat nice to hear the language of your homeland now and again."

Kinqueduran: "How many people do you think were friendly enough with me to ever develop those?"

Mendhari: "...." She opens her mouth then quickly shuts it.

Kinqueduran: "Thank you, Mendhari."

Anstice: "Still, you understand the concept."

Kinqueduran: "Yes, I do. Even so, I would keep those out of broader social settings."

Anstice: "Four is not particularly broad. Perhaps you'd like to learn it, hrm?"

  • Mendhari looks sternly at Anstice.

Kinqueduran: "She doesn't seem to like that idea." He shrugs, standing. "I'll keep my objections to myself in the future."

  • Anstice shrugs. "True. And there are reasons, but... well, revealing them right now would just give you more fuel to make fun of me with."

Kinqueduran: "I could probably figure them out if I cared enough."

  • Mendhari mutters. "Unlikely..."
  • Kinqueduran just shrugs, walking to the door.

Later, once everyone has woken, eaten and gotten ready, the four Sidereals stand outside the inn, preparing for their journey.

  • Kinqueduran stares blankly at the crimson hieroglyphs barely visible on the haft of his spear, reading the nonsensical scriptures left by the Charm
  • Iron Horse is idly adjusting his clothes. He seems in a slightly better mood... not that it's anything like his usual self.
  • Anstice finishes checking the provisions he's arranged, opening a flask and sipping from it before tucking it into his coat.
  • Kinqueduran takes care to settle his shield on his shoulder in such a way that his coarse, off-white poncho veils its face.
  • Kinqueduran coughs quietly, glancing at the other members of his circle. "So...which way?"

Anstice: "There's a shadowland near Crystal, if we are very sneaky."

Mendhari: "Great."

Kinqueduran: "Sneaky?"

Kinqueduran: "I guess I'll go have lunch and wait for you to return, then."

Anstice: "Iron horse can make us move quickly enough to get past any sort of horrible undead guardians."

Kinqueduran: "You sure?"

Anstice: "Yes."

Kinqueduran: "...is ČIron HorseČ sure?"

Anstice: "We but worry about Deathknights or The Lady.

Mendhari: "Iron Horse is thinking about Lunch."

Iron Horse: "... am not."

  • Iron Horse flicks a coin at Mendhari.

Mendhari: "What's this for?" Snatches it.

Iron Horse: "Safe passage through the dead."

Anstice: "Besides, the two of you have new powers that should help."

Mendhari: "Yeah. Powers. What the HELL do they do?"

Kinqueduran: "Why would we know that?"

Anstice: "Ummm... things related to your Brother?"

Mendhari: "Yeah. Well.... I don't know what he does."

Anstice: "Death. He does Death.'

Kinqueduran: "...how...pleasant."

Iron Horse: "Not the word I'd use."

  • Kinqueduran just blinks once at Iron Horse.

Anstice: "One would think it will be useful for dealing with the shadowlands. Everyone ready?"

Mendhari: "Yeah."

Iron Horse: "Right."

  • Kinqueduran nods.

At some point during the trip, when they're away from any normal sane people, Anstice mentions to Iron Horse he has two animas now, and one might be faster or better for this.

  • Iron Horse considers this to be a good time to try it out... so he focuses for a moment, and up goes a brown anima instead of his usual yellow one!

For the next hour, the world grows progressively darker. Exactly one hour after Iron Horse made the Lesser Sign of Souls the Circle finds itself in the Underworld.

Anstice: "That was faster. See?"

Anstice: "I just hope it helps us get back."

Iron Horse: "... huh, so -that's- how it works..."

  • Kinqueduran looks around, frowning a little, tightening his grip on his spear.

Like its Creation counterpart, this area is utterly devoid of life or death of any sort. The road simply extends onward in the gloom.

Mendhari: "Well this is nice."

Kinqueduran: "Nice in the way that sort of isn't."

Iron Horse: "... hmm."

Mendhari: "Yeah. Let's go back."

Kinqueduran: "Well, this was a fun, productive trip. Let's go."

Anstice: "Not yet. We need to find the labyrinth."

Kinqueduran: "Why, exactly?"

Anstice: "To get to Stygia faster."

Kinqueduran: "And....why?"

Anstice: "To find more about the daughter. So we can off her. Again."

Mendhari: ".... well let's hurry."

Kinqueduran: "...you're crazier than I am."

Iron Horse: "That's debatable."

Kinqueduran: "I would have agreed with you before today, Horse."

Mendhari: "Yeah. You're pretty insane. Anyway. Let's hurry. It's hard to breathe here."

Kinqueduran: "Well, I have to die of something..."

Anstice: "You always die of the same thing."

Kinqueduran: "Hush."

  • Anstice pokes Iron Horse to lead them to a nearby labyrinth opening!

Iron Horse: "Come again?"

Mendhari: "Go. Hurry, dammit."

Anstice: "Just get moving. We don't want to stay in one place too long."

Iron Horse: "... ok, fine... just don't blame me, ok?"

  • Iron Horse ... begins moving in a random direction.
  • Mendhari follows Iron Horse, looking at Anstice.
  • Kinqueduran tags along
  • Anstice has a plan, and is working out math in his mind as they go!
  • Ferryman steps into the path of the four Sidereals, a less imposing version of the hooded Celestine that spoke with Iron Horse only hours ago. Stooped and hooded in tattered brown robes, the small figure peers at the four. "You have come before you were expected."

Kinqueduran: "We could go home, I don't mind."

Anstice: "Are you that much of a pansy, K?"

Kinqueduran: "Hey, fuck off."

Iron Horse: "... ah..."

Anstice: "We tend to do the unexpected."

Mendhari: ".... well..."

  • Kinqueduran just sits down, propping his spear against his shoulder.

Ferryman: "Why have you come here, Iron Horse? Our master has not summoned you."

  • Iron Horse looks at Anstice, and then at the Ferryman. "We come to find more about the Daughter."
  • Ferryman nods.."Our master wishes for you to defeat her. Follow me. I will take you to a spirit that will tell you much."
  • Iron Horse nods.
  • Kinqueduran stands slowly, gritting his teeth.

< Darkness Falls | Red Ice Logs | Reassignment >