< A Question of Money | Red Ice Logs | A Rough Summoning >

The Ferryman has been leading you for several hours now, taking the three remaining Sidereals deeper and deeper into the Underworld. An hour ago he took you into a dark cavern that you're all fairly sure was just a shadow until the brown-robbed spirit walked into it. Not ten minutes after entering the Upper Labyrinth, you party was reduced by one as Kinqueduran was dragged through a broken mirror by three burly spirits, all missing their eyes and slashed by broken glass. The orange-fleshed beings carried tattoos matching Kin's new Castemark and thus you assume he had been summoned by Deimos. But still, his disappearance is troubling. Can you all so easily be called to them, like dogs on a leash?

  • Mendhari has been shivering muchly since then. "What... what have I done.....?"
  • Anstice wraps an arm around her shoulders. "What is necessary, Mendhari. Don't worry. this can't last forever..."
  • Ferryman ignores all conversation, intent on leading the remaining Sidereals toward their destination.
  • Mendhari leans her head against his chest.
  • Iron Horse is fairly quiet, simply following the Ferryman, half studying the surrounding area.

As you proceed further into the Upper Labyrinth, the ruins grow more tumbled, more decayed. They bear only a vague resemblance to the typical Northern architecture, onion domes and obelisks, pyramids and igloos. Instead the ruins of the seemingly endless city are blocky, layer upon layer of rectangles, squares, diamonds and rhombi. The area closest to you seems as if it may be a particular location, a village or a city inside the endless sprawl of ruin. A broad, broken avenue is under your feet, its bone-white stones falling away into the dark below whenever stepped on with too much force. Under the stones is apparently nothing at all. This city, or maybe just this road, hangs over an abyss.

  • Iron Horse 's head snaps in a direction, and he frowns. "... there's... a battle?"
  • Mendhari shakes her head. "Don't.... don't go to the Northwest..."

Mendhari: "Let's go to the Southeast."

Iron Horse: "That sound's coming from the northwest though..."

Ferryman: "The spirit is to the Northwest. Come. You must follow if you are to do the Lord's bidding."

  • Iron Horse nods. "Come on, Mendhari."
  • Anstice just nods, checking for a moment to make sure Mendhari is alright.

Mendhari: ".... don't make me go."

Anstice: "If the ferryman says we go, we go... I'd take you back if I could. You know that... this won't be THAT bad..."

  • Mendhari looks at him. ".... alright."
  • Anstice smiles at her. "And you can hit me with a lamp later if it is."
  • Mendhari smiles. "Alright."
  • Iron Horse cracks a smile as well... probably the only one he's had on since yesterday or so, and resumes following the Ferryman.

The northwestern part of the ruined city is thick with buildings, many still partially intact. It is in the shadow of one towering monolith festooned with balconies and buttresses that you find the source of the noises. Three black-robed figures armed with Soulsteel weapons are fighting valiantly against a pack of shimmeringly uncolored ghosts and a baying pack of black hounds the size of tigers.

Two of the black-robed figures are male. The larger of the pair is quite huge, nearly 7 feet tall with shoulders that could likely carry a horse. He hews into the pack of Barghests with an axe that sucks away their howling cries as it kills them, moving methodically, almost as if he were nothing more then a zombie.

The smaller man whips his Reaper Daiklave through the uncolored ghosts, striking at them and pulling them into his mouth and blade slowly, consuming their very Essence.

The third figure, a woman of astonishing beauty that makes Mendhari seem plain, threatens yet more of the uncolored ghosts with a long-hafted poleaxe that seems too heavy for her.

  • Mendhari stares in disbelief.

Anstice: "Impressive."

  • Iron Horse blinks.
  • Mendhari suddenly glares up at Anstice. "You better be talking about her skill in combat.... no. On second thought, you better be talking about the MEN."

Anstice: "I was speaking more of the weapons themselves, not the wielders."

Mendhari: "..... good."

Both sides have noticed you, but they are quite busy enough. Neither bothers diverting attention to your group.

  • Anstice stretches a bit, closing his eyes and letting his mind drift, eventually opening them again with a soft smile.
  • Mendhari tries not to stare.
  • Anstice looks over at the ferryman. "Are any of those the one we seek?"

Ferryman: "The woman, she is the spirit who will tell you what the Lord Charon wishes you to know. Farewell."

Iron Horse: "... huh... really?"

  • Ferryman turns without further communication and begins moving off, disappearing quickly into shadows that were not there moments before.
  • Anstice ponders. "Well. Then we need to fight."

Iron Horse: "Yeah?"

Anstice: "Yeah."

Iron Horse: "The ghosts and stuff?"

Mendhari: ".... they would be our death..."

Anstice: "The ghosts, the dogs... if we are careful, we can assist them without getting hurt. And then we can get out of here much faster. Everyone agreed?"

  • Iron Horse shrugs and nods, bracers transforming into Razor Claws.
  • Anstice slips his weapon down into his hand, flicking it once with a faint sigh of essence.
  • Mendhari pulls her needles from her hair. "I don't like this." They suddenly flicker with essence.

Anstice: "It is far from my favorite thing to be doing either. Had I my way, we would be enjoying ice-wine atop one of the towers of Chiaroscuro watching the sunset."

Iron Horse: "So, where's K when you need him?"

  • Anstice circles in, estimating the range before lashing out in a sudden storm of glowing arcs of essence, flying out into the crowd and tearing ghosts asunder.
  • Mendhari smiles and follows Anstice, dropping into her MA Stance.

Anstice: He works his way over to the beautiful woman, offering an offhand comment or two to punctuate the constant barrage of tightly-constrained slashes.

  • Mendhari dances and spins, her pins stabbing into ghost-flesh and she wafts through the air like a feather.
  • Iron Horse shakes his head, grins, and crouches down, almost like a tiger... and suddenly explodes forward in a dash and a pounce, jumping into the back of a Barghest and burying his claws right into it's neck, over and over again, before kicking away from it's back and towards another of the beasts.
  • Mendhari carefully makes sure her blades pass VERY close to Anstice's naughty bits whenever he makes a comment to the woman, once even stabbing right through his legs, almost close enough to give him a shave.
  • Anstice is of course quiet afterwards, deciding that he'll simply ask her name after the fight, not during.

The Mortwrights, that is what the colorless ghosts appear to be upon closer inspection and consideration, and the Barghests are quickly dispatched by the five Exalted and the female ghost. Once the last Barghest gasps its last, its head smooshed by a kick from Iron Horse, the three Soulsteel bearing people regard their unexpected allies.

  • Mendhari replaces her needles with a quick motion, and regards the woman with... envy.
  • Anstice bows to them, not especially low, but enough to be respectful. "The ferryman has sent us here in regards to a question. Is there a proper place nearby where we can discuss that?"
  • Iron Horse swipes his claws into the air to clean the gore, and turns to look at the group at large.

Walks In Dreams?: "What do three Sidereal Exalted wish in the Labyrinth? And why do you help us? Do you think to curry favor?" The wiry man still holds his corpus-splattered Reaper in hand.

  • Silencer Of Unheard Voices? stands mutely, polishing the blade of his Penultimate Grimcleaver. He moves slightly in front of the ghostly woman, his massive bulk protecting her from possible attack by the Sidereals, who his black eyes watch without blinking

Anstice: "We are somewhat rushed for time, and thus simply wish to speed the possible transaction. Our particular question, however, is with her, and not you."

Walks In Dreams?: "And what is your business with her?"

  • Mendhari looks up at Anstice with a... "YEAH, what IS your business with her" look.

Walks In Dreams?: "Quickly, Sidereal. Before our patience wears thin. You are trespassing in *our* domain."

  • Iron Horse looks towards the two Deathknights for a moment. "... before that... who do you serve?"

Walks In Dreams?: "We three serve The Prince Bound In Chains Not There. And you are trespassing in his domains, as were these Mortwrights."

Anstice: "We seek information on the Daughter. If you believe we err in where we stand, take it up with the ferryman."

Walks In Dreams?: "The ferrymen are mere servants, they have no standing. Errand-boys, that is all. They can not protect you. As for the Daughter...why would we speak to you of her?"

  • Iron Horse looks at Walks in Dreams... and closes his eyes, and lets the Castemark of Charon appear on his forehead.
  • Mendhari flashes her new Castemark and rues.
  • Anstice doesn't bother. "Is two enough, or should we go for that third strike?"

Walks In Dreams?: "..I did not know the Lords had...um…Well. Why do you ask about the Wailing Daughter of Light and Wind?"

Anstice: "She has turned against the cause of the void. Is that not enough?"

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "It is. I will speak with you. But this is as much privacy as we can have, for we too are urgently pressed for time."

The Fair Lady in Waiting is a voluptuous young woman, probably not more then 23 when she died. Her smooth curves are hidden under the drapes of soft grey linen and wool she affects, but when she alters her stance they press against the clothing in a fashion that somehow reveals them without :showing anything at all. Her bare arms show evidence of physical strength as they hold the heavy pole-axe steady.

Anstice: "Then speak, and we will let you on your way."

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "You have not asked a question. I can not speak *all* that I know of the Daughter in the time we have. But ask, and I shall tell you what I know." She smiles at Anstice and he feels a stirring in his heart.

Anstice: "Her weakness is a good place to start, if you may tell us of that."

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "She is willful and selfish, all is what she wishes it to be in her eyes. She is also blinded by her loyalty to her Mother and he who claims to act in her name while her mind sleeps. I once served her, but now she has cast me out. The Prince has taken me in."

Anstice: "Claims? That implies he does not truly."

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "Know that she is of great intelligence and a master of tactics and warfare. Even as a half-blood, she was placed over Terrestrials and Lunars in the First Age, so great was her skill. I have seen no *evidence* that anyone can speak for the Demon Wind. But I am not of a mind to know the workings of the Primordials."

  • Anstice nods.

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "Weaknesses...she has lost much of the favor of the Malfeans, if not all. The Undead no longer serve her unless compelled by magic. The dead fear her and fear to serve her, the other Deathlords have turned against her openly. These are all weaknesses."

Mendhari: "Oh good. How about a good way to KILL her?"

Anstice: "We may not have to find that out ourselves..."

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "She can be killed as any Deathlord can be. Throw her into the Void."

Iron Horse: "... oh, sure. That sounds easy."

Anstice: "Hrm.... Actually, no. That's doable. Difficult to be sure, but if she has lost the favor of the Malfeans, doable. What we need, of course, is a way to draw her to the Well. Something to strike at her pride, or love of her mother."

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "Remember, she is still a Deathlord, even if she is renegade."

Iron Horse: "Ideas?"

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "Pause for a moment and I will tell you a few things more before I depart. The Daughter commands only five Deathknights, two of the Dusk and one of all the rest but for Day. She herself is of great martial power and skill, though the First and Forsaken Lion could best her. Her armies are those of the demons and between her mind-slumbering Mother and Celphindal the Unmaker, she can call on many demons indeed."

  • Anstice is more than happy to wait if she asks it.

Fair Lady In Waiting?: "Celphindal is her master, though he wishes her to think otherwise. Beyond that, I know nothing of him and I know none who is wiser. He is well hidden and of his inner hearts and sanctum self, nothing is known in this land. If you have questions, ask. I must depart."

Anstice: "Then depart. We thank you for your time."

Fair Lady In Waiting?: The three servants of the Prince Bound In Chains Not There take their leave, heading to the northeast, opposite of where the Sidereals came from. The Fair Lady in Waiting looks back over her shoulder to smile at the two men before the broad back of the larger Deathknight eclipses her.

  • Iron Horse nods a bit at the woman and the two Deathknights, letting the claws return to their bracer form. "... well. What now?"

Anstice: "We find a way to bring her to heel... I think it may, just may, be possible to put her on trial before the Malfeans..."

Iron Horse: "... huh?"

Anstice: "Ghosts are notable creatures of habit. If we can convince her to prove something in Stygia, she is much easier to throw into the void. I just wonder who will claim her Deathknights."

Mendhari: ".... a trial may work. Or...something that would appeal to a Deathlord's arrogance."

Anstice: "Yes. Perhaps we should discuss further elsewhere? As in not in the labyrinth?"

Mendhari: "Indeed. Let us get out of this dark hole."

Iron Horse: "... yeah, we should... let's get going then..."

< A Question of Money | Red Ice Logs | A Rough Summoning >