< Island Hopping | Sol Invictus Logs | Rathess Promise >

  • Birds-of-Trinity punches in a random sequence of symbols on the gate, lighting them up in an amusing pattern.

The innards of the gateway begin to swirl rapidly, indicating that a destination has been selected.

<Markuran> "You know, sometimes those things are dangerous."

  • Cerin looks to Zahara "Well, thats one way to pick a destination" he checks the list "and not one we tried before.."

<Markuran> "There was a wall of flaming rock on the other side last time."

  • Markuran sticks his head through carefully, ready to flee incase something similarly doomful awaits.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Sometimes, we're dangerous too, Marku." She jumps right in.

<alsoquin> The Solars find themselves in what appears to be a fairly dank and underutilized basement.

  • Zahara groans, "Birds..."
  • Cerin shrugs and jumps in after her
  • Birds-of-Trinity sniffs.
  • Markuran sniffs and looks around. "..this is a terrible place for a ring of mysterious stone."
  • Markuran turns to look at how this ring is set up, wondering if boxes of junk hold it in place
  • Zahara shakes her head and follows. "Birds, try not to jump through before we figure out if it's okay or not. PLEASE. We already almost had Markuran turn into an obsidian statue."

This basement appears to be built against a wall which must have been part of a First Age building; they gateway seems to have been mortared directly into that unusually colored wall.

  • Cerin mumbles something about 'mores the pity'
  • Zahara cracks a smile
  • Birds-of-Trinity snickers at Cerin. "Could almost have been an improvement..."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "This place looks like Rathess."

At the far end of the fairly large basement, there are some rickety stairs leading upwards.

<Zahara> "Well it looks more interesting than the barren ice plain and the wall of lava. Shall we explore further?"

  • Cerin looks ahead "It does alittle, yes..." He nods

<Markuran> "Hmph. If you were better at being a hero, Zahara, you might have virtues of your own to extole instead of disparaging the virtues of others."

<Zahara> "exCUSE me? Since when is rampant stupidity a VIRTUE?"

Cerin sharpens his senses and listens above. He can hear the sounds of foot traffic -- quite a bit of it -- from not far off.

<Cerin> "This is not rathess. There are people above, lots of people"

<Markuran> "Lots of alive, human people? Or lots of other sorts of people?"

<Zahara> "Hmmm.. Marku why don't you run up there and get yourself killed while we prepare the gateway to take us home."

<Zahara> "It'll be terribly heroic."

<Cerin> "We might be better served taking a look..."

<Markuran> "How would you know what is and is not heroic?"

Cerin also begins to detect the smell of rich foods cutting through the musty odor of the basement.

  • Markuran looks for a way out of the basement and starts heading up.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "The nature of heroism is to do, not to discuss!" Birds heads up the stairway.

  • Cerin sighs

At the top of the stairs, a solid but uneventful wooden door stands closed, seemingly wedged in place by moisture expansion.

  • Birds-of-Trinity examines the doorway critically.
  • Zahara looks over at Cerin, giving him a comiserating sigh. Then she treads lightly up the stairs behind the others
  • Markuran taps it experimentally. Then steps back and lets a solid kick smash the door into moldy splinters.
  • Zahara grimaces

The door shatters beneath Markuran's massive foot.

<Zahara> "That was subtle."

With the door open, sounds are suddenly audible to everyone --

  • Cerin flows up the stairs behind Zahara "I thought you would expect nothing less of him by now.."

footfalls, conversation,even music, in the distance

<Zahara> "It's not that I expect anything less. It's that I wish he'd grow up."

  • Cerin nods saddly

The door opens into what appears to be an empty, abandoned warehouse -- numerous crates and boxes sit, rotting, amidst cobwebs and other detritus.

<Cerin> [*Cerin]

  • Markuran steps out into the warehouse and, locating the door, heads out into the streets.
  • Birds-of-Trinity creeps up to a window, trying to determine what's going on outside.
  • Zahara picks her way up through the stairs, amid the debris and peers inside the rotting crates, breaking them open if need be.

There seems to be an elaborate procession right outside the window!

Numerous peasants push and shove one another to get closer to the elaborate parade winding its way down the street, while food vendors hawk their wares to the onlookers.

<Markuran> "How is breaking into someone's possessions more subtle then simply opening a door?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity wonders briefly how much she would stick out among the peasants.

<Zahara> "At least I'm being QUIETER" she retorts reasonably quietly

  • Cerin sighs. He listens to what tongue they are using

The peasants clearly speak in the low tongue of the Realm.

  • Markuran waits at the door, having heard the massive crowd outside. "What are they speaking?"
  • Cerin whispers "Low Realm"

<Markuran> "We're in the Realm?" Markuran smiles, his eyes lighting bright with joy and fiendish glee

  • Birds-of-Trinity rifles through the crates, pulling out clothing that looks like it will fit her and the others. Since they are all in minimal Sunlander garb, no modesty needs to be compromised while they disguise themselves.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Here, put these on so we blend in less poorly."

<Markuran> "Birds? Cerin? Can you see what they're celebrating out there? Are there Dragon-Spawn?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity points Markuran to the pile with a heavy woolen jacket.

<Zahara> "Oh no. They're going to be stupid."

  • Markuran sighs and shrugs into the peasants garb, straining at the seams when he tries to button it.

<Cerin> "Keep it down Marku" he says quietly. Are there any DB out there?

<Zahara> "Do you SERIOUSLY want to take on the Realm right now?"

<Markuran> "I'm not going to go kill anyone, Zahara."

<Markuran> "I am not a fool."

  • Cerin bites his lip.

<Zahara> "I didn't say that. I'm imagining you're going to go out there and get yourself noticed. It's not like they don't KNOW who we are."

<Markuran> "That's what this..disguise is for."

<Zahara> "And trust me, a wonderful speech using your barbaric charm might get you a few people to 'see the light' but they damn well won't all come flocking to your banner like the desperate ones we saved from Mask."

<Markuran> "I don't want them to."

<Zahara> "What DO you intend to do?"

<Markuran> "Start a peasant revolt."

<Zahara> "You ARE stupid!"

<Cerin> "Quiet, both of you. Whether we leave or start a revolt, we are not served by people knowing we are or were hear"

<Cerin> here*

<Zahara> "Leave them bloody alone" she hisses

<Markuran> "How will they connect it with us, we're in the Sunlands. We couldn't possible get all the way here just to start a peasant revolt."

  • Birds-of-Trinity hands Cerin a face-concealing hat. "Exactly."

<Zahara> "because you have no idea how to hide from ANYONE or ANYTHING."

  • Zahara continues in a hissing whisper.

<Markuran> "Then why don't you start one of your vicious little rumors, Zahara? See if your sneaking ways can do some good."

<Zahara> "Now THAT might do some good. Perhaps you can tell me what you were going to say to get them to revolt, and I'll spread it through the people."

A large chariot rolls by in the parade, clearly bearing a number of Dragon-Blooded soldiers atop it.

<Markuran> "I don't know what they're out there celebrating, Cerin didn't tell me when I asked him."

<Cerin> "I do not speak the low tongue of the realm"

<Markuran> "Birds of Trinity, can you understand them?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity grunts. "No. It's like they're speaking the old language through a mouthful of chowder."
  • Markuran snorts. "Well, what good is a rumor that no one understands? Unless you speak this corruption of a language. Zahara?"
  • Zahara tosses her hair over her shoulder snobbishly. "Of course I do. One of my prisoners taught me."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I learned the courtly tongue once when someone wrote me an epic deescribing his love for me in it."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Maybe we can get by on that."

<Zahara> "It took him a long time, though." she muses.

The parade seems to be passing; the thick crowd of peasants outside the window begins to push onward down the road, to follow it

  • Birds-of-Trinity dives back into the crates and attempts to assemble some kind of patrician garb.
  • Zahara eyes the dusty garb with some distaste, then simply shifts her clothing to match it.

After some moments, Birds successfully assembles several passable patrician disguises.

<Markuran> "Well, what are they saying, Zahara?"

  • Cerin starts to strip out of his crimson armour, stowing it and his hearthstone bracers in the sphere of the cache egg "I can old speak the orginal tongue that these decended from, so I shall not be speaking much, I think"

The onlookers seem to be cheering for the returning heroes who have once again kept the Realm safe from barbarian invaders in the East.

  • Zahara stands near the window to listen, a hat shading her face
  • Birds-of-Trinity smooths out the wrinkles on her slightly ill-fitting bustier and emerges from the warehouse. She finds a nearby tree to wait for her companions under.

<Zahara> "Apparently the Dynasts fended off a barbarian attack, and they're celebrating. Now, Marku, what do you want me to tell them?"

<Zahara> "Hurry, they're almost gone."

The noonday sun glares down harshly on the busy city street as the parade continues to wend its way onwards. Off to the other side of the street, several Dragon-Bloods are visible now that the throngs of peasants no longer disguise them. They speak, in the High Tongue, in rather harsh and cynical tones.

  • Cerin pulls on the clothing of a lower class citizen, and follows Zahara meekly out, casting his eyes about for beings such as the dragonbloods, and spirits too

No other Essence wielders seem to be immediately present, beyond those on the street and those in the parade.

<Markuran> "Tell them they are mounting another war, that more of their sons and daughters will be taken. That they will die pointlessly as the Houses scrabble for power. Tell them their leaders are lying to them and their children are being sent against demons and devils, Anathema and horrors of the Wyld so the Dragon-Bloods can claim their lives as badges of honor."

<Markuran> "Tell them the next battle will fail. The general has already planned its loss."

  • Zahara raises a brow, "I like that. Maybe you're not as stupid as I thought."
  • Markuran snorts. "Go spread your venom among the sheep, Zahara."
  • Zahara follows the paraders and taps one on the shoulder, imparting the information with a knowing look that strikes the peasant as truth beyond any other. Zahara lets it fly on the wings of Essence through the mouths of the people as it spreads, first one or two, then more, and more throughout the crowd, seeking their hearts and minds.

One of the Dragon-Bloods has raised his voice. "....what in Hell are the houses planning to do about this? This is an absolutely outrageous situation."

One of his companions responds, attempting to be quieter: "What can they do? Our Legions are stretched to the breaking point already! We can't deal with battles on three fronts."

  • Birds-of-Trinity casually stands closer to the knot of Dynasts to watch their expressions.

One, a young-looking Fire Aspect, seems to have been the one who made the outburst. He seems visibly disgusted. The other, an older-looking Air, has the face of one who is staring into slow, yet inevitable, doom.

  • Zahara smiles to herself beneath her low-brimmed hat, listening to the chaos begin.

CathakTojiro? "One house must take strong action in the East! What has happened to the days when the Anathema were driven before us like dogs before we slew them? How has our mighty Realm fallen to this?"

  • Cerin smiles to himself, listening carefully

The Air aspect attempts to shush the other. "Quiet! You wish for the peasants to hear you? We are militarily victorious in all our endeavors."

  • Birds-of-Trinity pulls a sheet of coarse paper from her sleeve and cuts a red, juicy fruit from the tree oveahead. She writes, "DEFEAT" on the paper in sticky juice and allows it to fly away.

The Fire aspect spits in disgust and turns away from his companion. "You will see who is fit for the throne when House Cathak does not cower before threats as the others do!" he calls, and begins to walk away.

  • Markuran whispers to Zahara, hunkering down as if maimed to hide his great size. "Zahara, tell the peasants what the Blooded are saying."
  • Zahara shakes her head, "I can't start another without showing my nature" she whispers back

<Markuran> "Start a normal rumor."

  • Zahara shrugs and starts spreading the word of the Dynasts throughout the populace as well

The peasants mutter to themselves and begin to disperse, feeling that this would be information better shared with one another later, in safer -- and more anonymous -- quarters.

<Zahara> "Marku... take this." she releases one of the many collars from around her neck, a jade one, and hands it to him. "Corner one of them out of sight and stick this on them. Then it should be easy to take them back with us to interrogate."

The Air aspect sighs to himself and begins to walk away from the Solars. The Fire, however, turns and begins to shout further comments after him, while walking backwards towards the tree where Birds and the others stand.

<Zahara> "But remember, OUT of sight."

  • Birds-of-Trinity carefully positions herself so the Fire aspect will stumble into her unawares.

The Dynast walks past the assembled Solars without looking at them and ducks into a nearby alleyway.

  • Markuran nods happily at Zahara, smiling for a moment. Grasping the collar quickly, Mark limps after the dynast, continuing to appear a hunched cripple.

At the mouth of the alleyway, the Dynast trips over Birds' outstretched leg, and falls over. Cursing, he begins to right himself.

  • Cerin stands idly by, watching the dynasts leave and looking about for essence-weilding trouble

No other Essence wielders appear to be in the nearby vicinity.

  • Birds-of-Trinity grabs the young Dynast and begins apologizing profusely and enthusiastically.
  • Markuran tosses the collar to Birds of Trinity and helps the Dynast to his feet. Quickly spinning the man around, Markuran wraps one arm around his neck, a huge hand covering his mouth and the other arm wrapped around his chest with bruising force. Markuran's deep voice whispers in his ear. "I will snap your neck and shatter your chest all at once if you try to escape or do anything to attract attention. Be warned, Dragon-Piss."
  • Birds-of-Trinity clicks the collar around the Dragonling's neck while Markuran roughs him up.

The Dynast seems utterly surprised, but suddenly realizes that he is too much of a coward to resist.

  • Zahara enters the building gesturing for them to follow, and rips a piece of fabric from one of the discarded pieces of clothing on the ground
  • Cerin follows after Zahara
  • Zahara , on second thought, rips two.
  • Markuran carries the collared Terrestrial into the warehouse and drops him roughly to the floor, planting one large foot on his spine. "Now what?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Good question."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Umm...Zahara! You're good with plans. What's the plan?"

  • Zahara stuffs a ball of cloth into the Dynast's mouth, and ties it in with a strip of cloth, forming a makeshift gag, then winds the other strip around his eyes several times before cinching it tight. "We bring him home."
  • Birds-of-Trinity makes a note of Cerin's un-armoured appearance, meanwhile, and smiles approvingly.

<Zahara> "There, we'll be able to find out more about their plans."

<Zahara> "Cerin, do you see any ties to this place on him? Any arcane links?"

  • Cerin laughs softly. Completely oblivious to birds look, he starts to study the DB for such links

<Markuran> "And what if someone starts looking for the missing Dragonling?"

<Cerin> "Well, we'll be long gone?"

The Dynast appears to have no obvious sorcery or enchantment upon his person.

  • Zahara shrugs, "As you said, how would they tie it to us?"

<Cerin> "He seems to be under no spells or sorceries. Perhaps we should leave now?"

  • Markuran shrugs "They have magics that can reveal the truth just as we do. I'll pray to the Sun and the God of Concealment that ours are better."

<Zahara> "Yes, before anyone else comes. Marku, bring him down." she heads for the stairs and the shiny ring.

The ring, composed of white jade and starmetal, sits quietly within its wall.

  • Cerin enters the activation sequence.

<alsoquin> The ring glows to life.

  • Markuran hauls the Dynast along by his hair, letting him thud down the stairs. "Home, or somewhere else? He's not going to go anywhere?" Markuran hauls the cowering man into the air so his eyes are level with the Solars "Are you?"

The Dynast shakes his head no.

  • Zahara shrugs, "We could take him to the barren plain in the North, if you'd prefer."

<Markuran> "Or the wall of lava."

<Markuran> "But there's no reason to go home. He'll keep. Why not try somewhere else around here?"

  • Zahara rolls her eyes, "That will get us no information. He can go there when we're through."

<Markuran> "Maybe we can do more damage."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "He is only one scion of an unimportant house."

  • Cerin enters the gate in the far north.

<Zahara> "Well, we can leave him in the North then."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We have no need to conceal ourselves farther...we are already Anathema of the worst kind."

The gate hums open.

<Zahara> "But we do not want them to find out about this Gate. Let's go now, before they hear us."

  • Cerin steps through, activating his magics to protect him from the biting cold
  • Zahara steps through as she finishes speaking, activating her warm undies

The plain of barren ice appears much as it did on their last arrival, excepting....

  • Markuran follows the others through, looking around for anything interesting that may have appeared since last time
  • Cerin looks around, alert with all 6 senses.

About twenty feet from the doorway, what appears to be a comfortable lounging chair sits. To one side, a table with a small bowl of grapes. To the four cardinal directions, large braziers burning furiously. Sitting in the chair, a gentleman in a green robe.

<Markuran> "Who are you?"

  • Zahara wanders through, considering ways to build a cage on a barren plain, then stops short as she notices the gentleman.
  • Markuran blinks snow out of his eyes. "You again. What do you want? Did you steal something else?"

<Zahara> "Herons, so nice to see you again."

<Cerin> "Ah, Herons"

<Zahara> "Marku, be nice."

The Sidereal calls out to the Solars. "Ah, how nice of you to finally arrive. I've been waiting for you for...." he pulls out a small gold device from a pocket and looks at it "About three minutes."

<Cerin> "There was something of a disagreement over our destination."

<Herons?> "I see." He smiles, and says "Would you care for some grapes?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Yes, thanks."

<Markuran> "No."

  • Markuran has never turned down food in your presence before, even that time his stomach was bulging from the roast eel.
  • Birds-of-Trinity picks up a nice handful and cheerfully stands near a brazier, considering the snow.

<Cerin> "No, thank you"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Zahara, you have the coordinates of a place that has trees, but should be quite dry this time of year?"

<Markuran> "The western islands. We visited one last time.."

<Herons?> "Ah. Well. They are quite delicious." He eats another grape. "So. I was hoping you could refresh my memory..."

  • Birds-of-Trinity punches in some coordinates and comes back a moment later with a long piece of driftwood. She sticks the end in a fire for a bit.
  • Zahara takes a grape from the table and inspects it idly, "About what?"

<Herons?> "I was curious about when precisely I had authorized you to make use of the gates." He looks at Zahara dryly.

  • Zahara pushes the Dynast to his hands and knees in front of Herons, commanding, "Stay there." and seats herself primly on his back. "That would be when you brought us to them and showed us how they worked."
  • Cerin tries to keep a straight face as he steps behind Zahara. He nods "It was not that difficult to learn how they could be made to function"

He seems to consider for a moment, and goes, "Ah, yes, I had forgotten. How silly of me! I hope I did not forget to mention what I had intended to ask of you for that little demonstration?"

  • Zahara chuckles, "Apparently you did forget, thus the price is no longer valid."
  • Birds-of-Trinity waits until the stick is evenly charred and then pulls it out of the fire. She scrawls a biggish drawing of a bird with three wings on the ice.

<Markuran> "What right do you have to ask payment for showing us, indirectly, where an object is? You did not even show us how to turn on the stone-rings."

  • Zahara gives Markuran a "quiet!" look.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So just out of curiosity, what DID you want?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I have this excellent recipe for those Chayan pastries they call "butter flowers", full of rose-scented cream...

<Herons?> Herons breezes past both Zahara's and Markuran's comments and gazes directly at Birds.

<Herons?> "I was hoping you would... collect something for me."

  • Zahara chuckles at Birds, then looks at Herons, "Collect what, from whom and where?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hope! That is my favorite virtue."

  • Herons chuckles.
  • Birds-of-Trinity decides to let the Eclipse handle the rest of this.

<Herons?> Turning to Zahara, he begins to answer. "You may have heard... there is a new island, that has appeared in the west?"

  • Zahara quirks a brow, "The floating one with the birds?"

<Herons?> "The... birds. Yes, if you wish to refer to them so." He clears his throat. "There are a number of objects -- about so big" -- he indicates something the size of a large ball -- "rounded, featureless, made entirely of polished steel? If you could be so kind as to collect one for me."

<Zahara> "What are they for?"

<Herons?> "An excellent question. I intend to perform some... research. I will happily inform you of the results, of course."

  • Zahara ponders for a moment, "And would the result of this research be in any way detrimental to the Sunlanders or the Sunlands and its holdings?"
  • Markuran shakes his head. "I have no intention of helping retrive one of these balls for him. I will go because I am curious, for nothing else."

He straightens up his back, and declares "I swear to you that if this research brings with it any effect towards the Sunlands, its people, or its holdings, they shall be only benificial ones!" He holds out one hand and makes a "Yes? Hmmm?" expression.

  • Markuran crosses his arms over his chest and glares at the Star-Chosen.
  • Zahara touches his hand, and seals the Oath. the ripple of its acceptance spreading outwards in a bright ring. "Then tell us more about what we shall find there, so we can prepare, and better meet the opponents which have destroyed so many others."

<Zahara> "Markuran will not seek your sphere, but I will."

<Cerin> "And I will help her"

He looks suddenly more serious than usual. "I wish I could tell you much more, Zahara, but even my records are uninformative here. The beings on that island are known as the Aalorai, and they are ancient, even by my reckoning. Expect... the unusual, at best."

<Zahara> "The Aalorai, you say. And these are the flying creatures I mistakenly called birds?"

<Herons?> "Yes, though I believe you would not make that mistake in person. I have found only the smallest records of them, and my investigations thus far have proven fruitless in determining the cause of their island's reappearance."

<Zahara> "How intriguing," she muses. "Do you know if they are Exalted?"

<Herons?> "Not quite, though I am certain that they can wield Essence."

  • Cerin listens curiously as he studies the man and the flows around him
  • Zahara idly compares them to what she knows of Ssithsumi and its ilk. "And what will we get in return for going on this dangerous quest of yours?"

<Herons?> "My guarantee that you will receive no negative attention for continuing to use the gates, as well as a vital piece of information delivered within the year?"

<Zahara> "Hmmm and how long may we continue to use the gates in an authorized fashion?"

<Herons?> "As long as it is within my jurisdiction to allow it."

<Zahara> "How long is that likely to be?"

<Herons?> Herons smiles again. "I have no intention of leaving my post within the forseeable future."

<Zahara> "Will you give us warning if any of our enemies tries to access our gate?"

  • Zahara idly ponders to herself a sort of warning system that she could link to the essence of the gate that would warn them when anybody accesses it... mentally jots that down for later doing.

He draws a small ring out of his pocket. He twists and manipulates it within his hands for a moment, then hands it to Zahara. "This will tell you of any use made of the gate nearest your Manse."

  • Zahara accepts it, but does not put it on her finger until she has studied it later. "I thank you. This bargain sounds acceptable to me." she turns to regard her circlemates, "Do you all agree except Markuran?"
  • Markuran shakes his head and snarls. Growling out his words, Markuran looks most displeased with something. Or he may merely need to relieve himself. "I will be at the Cascade. Find me when you wish to go, the Dragonling has no buisness coming with us."
  • Cerin nods. "Of course I will help. If I may?" he holds out his hand for her ring
  • Zahara places the ring in Cerin's hand
  • Markuran hooks a foot around the Dragon-Blood's leg and with a quick, brutal yank, hauls him out from under Zahara. As the Eclipse stands gracefully, having guessed Mark's intention, the Terrestrail grunts as his palms loose skin frozen to the ground by sweat. Mark opens the stone ring and, after punting the Terrestrial through, leaves the plains of ice

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I agree."

  • Zahara looks after Markuran, displeased.
  • Cerin twirls it over, in his hand, studying it. He ignores Marku.

<Zahara> "Then we four agree to your bargain, assuming that Markuran will also be included in the authorization until further notice."

<Herons?> "Excellent." He selects the last grape and pops it into his mouth, then rises. "I look forward to hearing from you again."

<Zahara> "How shall we find you?"

<Zahara> "And which gate will take us closest to the Island?"

<Herons?> "Oh, I shall stop by and collect the stone once you have acquired it. As for where to go: this pattern" -- he mimes inputting a destination -- "would take you onto the island itself, I believe."

He seems to stop as if he's suddenly remembered something, and then turns to Cerin.

  • Cerin is still studying the ring

<Herons?> "Cerin, I don't know if you're still considering it, but I'm afraid I'll have to preemptively turn down your present. You will have much better uses for it." He pats Cerin on the shoulder, then returns to his chair.

  • Cerin frowns.
  • Zahara eyes Cerin inquisitively

<Herons?> "So. Shall that be all, for today?"

<Zahara> "I believe so. Thank you for your hospitality."

<Herons?> He nods. "Thank you, Zahara. You have, as always, been most pleasant to speak with."

  • Cerin nods "I towuld be somewhat rude, considering I now appear to be helping you"

Herons chuckles again.

  • Zahara smiles and inclines her head to him slightly.

<Herons?> "It would appear that way, wouldn't it?" He laughs a little louder.

<Herons?> "I think you will find that I, at very least, am far more polite."

  • Cerin nods equably
  • Zahara waits until they are no longer near Herons before asking what the present was

<Cerin> "It would not have been pleasant for him to recieve it"

<Zahara> "So I imagine. But what was it?"

  • Cerin smiles and calls the sphere to himself, stripping out of the realm clothes, seemingly oblivious to the cold. He pulls on his bracers and then the Crimson Armour. He carefully unwraps a peice of leather, revealing a dagger about one foot long. The blade is a very slightly curved double-edged blade with a blood channel, made of smooth red metal; beneath that, there is a simple handguard which juts out to both sides. The handle is wrapped with a black leather, and bears a gemstone of brilliant blue in the hilt. "This"
  • Zahara touches it gently, "It's beautiful"
  • Cerin nods "And Deadly"

<Zahara> "My favorite kind of beautiful."

  • Cerin nods and wraps the dagger again, and then stores it in the egg again, along with the realm clothing. He banishes the egg

<Zahara> "Did you make it?"

  • Cerin shakes his head "I wish that I could make things of such beauty, but alas it is beyond me. It was given to me by Lai"

<Zahara> "He wanted you to use it on Herons?"

  • Cerin nods

<Zahara> "Then I must count Herons more firmly as an ally." she smiles slightly. "What did Lai have against him?"

<Cerin> "I am not sure, I did not think to ask him"

<Zahara> "Hmm too bad."

<Zahara> "You should question the motives of those who give you tasks to pursue, generally." she offers. "It prevents mistakes."

  • Cerin nods "I would be interested if you could make me arrowheads that use the same mechanism as that dagger.."

<Zahara> "If you allow me time to study it, I will try. But I advise you to gather the arrows when the battle is finished, then." she smiles.

<Cerin> "I have maps of the flows within it. Retriving the arrowheads would not be a concern however."

<Cerin> "It is not entirely appropriate for a general weapon. Weapons such as this can be used but once..."

<Cerin> "It creates a feedback loop involving the victims own essence. It is fatal to both victim and weapon"

<Zahara> "That sounds interesting. I'll definitely have to copy it before you use it. Does it work only on the intended victim, or anyone who it cuts?"

<Cerin> "I discovered this with explorations involving my own essence, so anyone"

<Zahara> "And you survived?"

<Cerin> "I was using rather carefully measured quantities, rather than simply dousing it in essence"

<Zahara> "Ahh, you are wise. I imagine it helps to be able to see what you're doing."

  • Cerin nods "Just so. As I said, I have diagrams from my studies...I am not sure how much more experimentation the blade can take, the channels it needs are somewhat frayed even after only 3 motes"

<Zahara> "Then we will not channel any more into it unless necessary."

<Cerin> "It should not be that nessesary. I found a basic text in Rathess on the subject. I am sure more detailed tomes could be found"

<Zahara> "speaking of Rathess, I want to speak with Ssithsumi about records there. They might have some mention of the winged creatures on the island."

  • Cerin nods "I shall"

Later, in the dripping dungeons of the Cascade, Markuran, Birds and Zahara stand over the prone body of the Fire Aspect. Zahara has fastened him neatly into the shackles on the main table, and stripped him bare. She finds the psychological effect of being immobilized and naked tends to make them feel more vulnerable, and thus easier to break. The man's body is covered in bruises and contusions from Markuran's rough treatment. His left flank looks a bit..smooshed where the big barbarian kicked him through the stone ring

  • Markuran wraps a hand around the Dynast's throat, not hard enough to restrict air flow but enough to make the man uncomfortable. "What is your name?"

The man gasps out, "...Cathak Tojiro"

<Markuran> "What is your rank, who leads you and where will they next battle?"

  • Zahara wanders over to the cabinets, opening them up one by one to display an incredibly disturbing array of implements that could be used in all sorts of interesting ways. They glitter in the blue-white light of the Essence flares that light the room. Finally, she selects a simple, yet elegant knife, the blade sharp enough to slice an anima in half.
  • Markuran sets mode: +o Cerin

<CathakTojiro?> "I... have no rank. I do not serve in the Legions!"

  • Birds-of-Trinity sits quietly beside the man, peeling fruit to snack on later. She piles the cold peels on his chest.
  • Markuran sighs. "What good is he, then?"

<Markuran> "Do you know where they will next battle, the forces of your house?"

<Zahara> "I'm sure he's still heard word of where the army is off to next." she turns and smiles widely at him. "Haven't you?" the edge of the knife flickers

<CathakTojiro?> "They are intending to marshall forces with which to attack... the anathema in the east."

  • Zahara chuckles, "How interesting."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "The east is somewhat...an expansive area."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Could you trouble yourself to be more specific, if you don't mind?"

<CathakTojiro?> "Against the Anathema forces that have conquered the area surrounding Thorns, just south of the river."

<Markuran> "That'd be us."

<Markuran> "Where do they intend to land?"

<CathakTojiro?> "West of Thorns."

<Zahara> "And what of the Mask of Winters? Do they have a reason he would not attack them as well?"

<CathakTojiro?> "They intend to cut south of the Mask's territory in order to avoid confronting him."

  • Zahara frowns slightly, "You know, I'd hoped you would resist a little, Cathak Tojiro. I haven't had an excuse to flay you yet."

<Markuran> "They will be easy to defeat. It shouldn't pose a problem."

  • Zahara taps her knife lightly against his chest. "What artifacts have they brought into battle with Anathema before?"

<CathakTojiro?> "Before, daiklaves, armor, artifacts of the normal sort...."

<Zahara> "And this time?"

<CathakTojiro?> "I am not certain. Something new."

<Zahara> "That's not good enough."

The Dragon-Blood cringes. "I do not know! I know only that I heard a grand-uncle speaking to another Dynast about how the house had not known how it could possibly strike against these Anathema until they were contacted by a new weapons dealer!"

<Zahara> "What name does the dealer go by?" she presses the blade lightly against his skin, and a red bloom marks its place.

  • Cerin wanders in to the room at this point, "Dealer?"

<Zahara> "Yes, our new friend Tojiro is just about to tell us where the Realm is getting weapons they think will matter against us."

<CathakTojiro?> The Dragon-Blood shivers a little, and continues. "My uncle said that the dealer called himself Misuna."

<Cerin> "Ah."

  • Birds-of-Trinity makes a note of this.
  • Cerin looks briefly a little concerned "Misuna.."

<Zahara> "how I Nteresting?."

  • Zahara flicks her gaze at Cerin. "We'll have to look into what kinds of things this 'Misuna' has for sale."
  • Zahara gives him an inquiring look
  • Cerin nods "That may well be wise"

<Zahara> "In fact, I think I know who to ask."

  • Cerin looks at her a little unsure, then he nods slightly
  • Zahara turns to Birds and Markuran. "I met a little man named Bertrand recently."

<Markuran> "And?"

  • Markuran leans slightly, as if weary, placing more of his weight on the hand resting across the Terrestrial's windpipe.

<Zahara> "And, I inquired as to whom his master was."

<Cerin> "Marku, try not to kill the dragonblood"

<Markuran> "He can still breathe."

  • Markuran looks down at the man. "Can't you?"

The Dragon-Blood nods in agreement.

  • Cerin shrugs, then "And his master was Lai Misuna."
  • Zahara nods to Cerin.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hmmm."

<Zahara> "He's quite amenable to talking to us, and I hadn't thought to ask what weapons Lai has at his disposal yet."

<Cerin> "I'm not sure that he would know, but it would seem wise to ask him"

<Markuran> "Well, at least then we'll know what magic they plan to bring against us. How many warriors? Monks?"

  • Zahara prods him to answer more quickly

<CathakTojiro?> "Cathak commands five full Legions, and is working to bring the Immaculate Order to commit to this cause."

<Zahara> "Is Cathak working with any of the other houses?"

<CathakTojiro?> "They are actively pursuing assistance from several -- Ledaal, V'neef, Peleps, possibly others..."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "The V'neefs are easy to distract.," Birds observes.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "The other houses may need some more...significant attention."

<Zahara> "well perhaps our visit today will make them think otherwise about committing to this war."

<Markuran> "If they connect it to us."

<Zahara> "No, even without. They do not trust the current war anymore."

<Cerin> "It works all the better if they do not, Marku"

<Markuran> "Any honorable foe would come agains us the stronger for challenging them. But these speckles of dragon's piss might just turn tail if the risk is too great."

<Zahara> "They will see that using force against us is only distracting them from the true war, between their Houses."

<Cerin> "Then you can just build strength unil you can take the fight to them.."

<Zahara> "Hmmm little Tojiro, give us a good reason to keep you alive."

<CathakTojiro?> "I... I have been very helpful! And... I have no idea who you are!"

<Zahara> "Can you be MORE helpful?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "He could be a good secular counterpart to Marku's tame Immaculate."

  • Zahara nods thoughtfully, "That is a good point. You said you have no rank in the Legions. What DO you do in the Dynasty?"
  • Markuran idly runs a finger through the blood that Zahara's knife has been drawing as she idly traced it across his chest. Sniffing at it for a moment, Markuran considers the shine of it in the harsh light, then tastes it. He repeats this process twice more before nodding to himself..
  • Cerin nods "I havent really been able to study the non-martial charms of the blooded either.." he says absently

<CathakTojiro?> "I... I am a member of the Thousand Scales."

<Zahara> "In what capacity?"

<CathakTojiro?> "I handle monetary matters within the Imperial City, including much of the Imperial budget and tarrifs."

  • Zahara smiles, "So, then if I let you keep your hands, you will detail for me the budget and tarrifs of the Realm, to the utmost extent of your knowledge. Yes?"

<Markuran> "We might even let you remain fertile so that your family does not discard you as the worthless trash you are."

<CathakTojiro?> "...yes, I will."

<Zahara> "Excellent."

<Zahara> "Speaking of your family, How much do you think they love you?"

<CathakTojiro?> "......"

He doesn't seem to have an answer to that question. You'd guess: not much.

  • Zahara asks as she releases the Dragon Blood from his chains, replacing them with new ones of the more mobile variety, then turning him back to face the table, which while grey has some nasty dark stains on it, especially in the grooves.
  • Zahara fetches a sheaf of blank papers from one of the cabinets, and sets them down in front of him, along with a nice quill pen and a pot of dark red ink.

<Zahara> "It's too bad about your family, really."

The Dragon-Blood lifts the pen and begins writing.

<Zahara> "Make sure not to make any mistakes or leave anything out." she notes idly.

He nods.

  • Zahara watches him for a long moment, seeing how slow the progress is, and frowns. "How long will this take you?"

<CathakTojiro?> "At least a day; the finances are very detailed."

<Zahara> "Well, I wouldn't want to rush you. You'll have plenty of time to write it out perfectly. We wouldn't want you to do a sloppy job." she exits the room, and soon, two servants come, carrying a heavy table, followed by one with a chair. She palms the wall left of the door, and a great stone door slides open with a grating noise from what looked like a seamless wall.

<Markuran> "He can ponder the best course for his future life while writing. I have no use for him here, his blood is too thin to make him worth while as a stud."

<Zahara> "In there." she gestures, and the servants hurry to put the furniture in place and depart, casting disturbed glances behind themselves at what used to be a graceful Chosen of Death. The Abyssal seems to be suspended from the wall, spread-eagled and naked. At first it isn't apparent what's holding him up, until you see the rings embedded in every inch of his bone, seemingly one with his very flesh. His hands hang on a chain around his neck.

The Dragon-Blood blanches, but continues writing.

  • Zahara escorts the Fire Aspect in, moving the sheaf of papers neatly to the table, sitting him down, and fastening his chains to a handy loop in the wall, so he can basically move no further than the table itself.

He sits and resumes writing once again.

<Zahara> "Ivory, meet your new roommate, formerly Cathak Tojiro. You should be glad, you'll have light now. It's been what, 6 months since you've seen light now?"

A horrific groan rises up from the wall.

  • Zahara touches the light control, and the room fills with a diffuse blue glow.
  • Zahara pats the Abyssal on the cheek and exits, shutting the door behind her.

<Zahara> "Well, would you like to meet Bertrand?" she asks brightly

  • Markuran nods vaguely. "What did you promise that..Sidereal..."

<Zahara> "That we'd bring a sphere of metal to him. There are several, and I plan on keeping one for myself as well. He promised in return that he would share the results of his research with me, that we would continue to be able to access the gates with no problem, and that he would give us a vital piece of information within the year."

<Zahara> "He also gave us coordinates and information on the floating island from Relovia's letter.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So...how extensive is this gate-ring system, anyway?"

<Markuran> "We are Solars, the Children of the Sun, favored among all Exalted. We are the rightful rulers of the WORLD ITSELF and all who live within!"

<Markuran> "It is blasphemy that he sits in his gilded chairs and tosses us scraps and bones for errands well done, as if we were hounds."

<Cerin> "It would appear to span all of Creation, Birds. Shut up Marku."

<Zahara> "It seemed a fair trade, or else I would not have done it, Marku."

  • Zahara crosses the room and palms open another door, revealing a collared Bertrand?.
  • Bertrand seems to have thinned out since the last time Zahara came to visit him -- it doesn't look like he's eaten tremendously well. He's also grown a very ugly beard.

<Markuran> "How many other people have you been hiding down here, Zahara?"

<Zahara> "What do you mean?"

  • Zahara is now known as Zahara
  • Bertrand is, otherwise, a thin man of moderately light skin, wearing what once looked to have been a uniform from Rannath's legion.
  • Zahara eyes Bertrand with a bit of distaste, "You need to shave."

<Bertrand?> "...I d...d...don't have a razor, mistress Zahara."

<Zahara> "I do."

  • Cerin shakes his head slowly

<Markuran> "He also needs to bathe.."

  • Zahara approaches him, holding the same knife she'd used very little on the Dragonspawn. "Hold still." She holds his chin up and deftly slices away the scraggly beard.
  • Zahara steps back and inspects him
  • Bertrand appears to be slightly less ugly now.

<Zahara> "Much better."

  • Birds-of-Trinity speaks briefly with a guard.

<Bertrand?> The guard runs off, urgently.

<Bertrand?> "....what did you wish to speak to me about today, mistress Zahara?"

<Zahara> "Lai Misuna."

<Zahara> "Specifically the weapons he is selling to the Realm."

<Bertrand?> "....weapons?"

<Bertrand?> The guard returns, bearing a large sudsy bucket and a stiff brush.

<Markuran> "Good idea Birds."

<Zahara> "Artifacts of some sort."

<Bertrand?> "...I know he was... looking for artifacts. Underground. Just after he sent me here."

<Zahara> "Underground where?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity summons another guard from down the corridor. "Wash him"
  • Zahara steps aside to allow for the washing

The guard steps forward, wrinkling her nose. When Bertrand? makes no obvious effort to stop her, she strips off his tattered uniform and begins to aggressively scrub him,

<Cerin> "..Underground where?"

<Bertrand?> "...nnn....north of here," he says, though distracted by the scrubbing. "Between the Yellow and Avarice Rivers."

  • Zahara looks to the others, "Have you heard of anything in that area?" she asks, as she mentally searches through various facts and notes of interest
  • Cerin gives Zahara a very slight nod from behind marku and birds

<Zahara> "In the tunnel system, perhaps?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity examines the tattered clothing in distaste, wads it up into a ball, and tosses it into a brazier.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "When you're done washing him, fetch a loincloth or something."

The clothing catches fire immediately.

The guard nods to Birds, and rushes to fetch new clothing.

  • Cerin nods again to Zee
  • Zahara catches Cerin's eye and waits to see if he plans on imparting any information

<Cerin> "There are some tunnels around there yes...I was there about a year ago...there were some ruins...I'm sure I mentioned them to you in one of our conversations, Zee"

  • Zahara nods a bit. "Well perhaps we should explore more there. From what you said, the tunnels were very extensive, and you didn't get through much of the system.
  • Cerin nods "It might be wise"

<Zahara> "Do you remember any rumors of what was in there?"

<Cerin> "There was talk of artifacts of all kinds, but it seemed rather unimportant at the time"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So let's go check it out."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hm."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Zee, have you quite figured out how the ring system works?"

<Markuran> "Do we bring him?" Mark waves at the wet, naked, shaved man.

<Zahara> "I can approximate where we will end up, but until we actually set the ring, I'm not precisely sure where it will end up." She eyes Bertrand?, "And I don't think he'd be particularly useful, although it might be fun."

<Zahara> "So, Bertrand, if I let you come with us, will you promise to do whatever I ask of you, if I release you from your collar?"

<Bertrand?> "I... I promise, mistress Zahara!"

  • Zahara touches him as he speaks, and seals the oath. "Good. The wrath of the Gods will come down on you if you disobey."
  • Bertrand is still frightened when Zahara says things like that to him.

<Zahara> "And after them, so will mine." she smiles pleasantly as she releases the collar from Bertrand? and places it around her own neck, obviously unaffected by its power.

Bertrand stretches a little, and looks worriedly at Zahara.

  • Cerin smiles in a vaguely reassuring way at him
  • Bertrand? does not seem reassured.

<Zahara> "I'm going to have to blindfold you, we can't have you seeing where we go." she says as she slips an ergonomically correct blindfold over his eyes, completely shutting out the light.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Don't worry. This won't hurt a bit."

  • Birds-of-Trinity hopes this comment will light a little flame of worry in the little man's heart.
  • Markuran prods at Zahara's back. "You didnt answer my question you know."
  • Zahara guides Bertrand through the maze, along with the others assuming they follow. "Which one?"

The flame lit by Birds dances around with seven or eight others, all vying for Bertrand's full worry attention.

<Markuran> "About how many other people you have here that you forgot to tell us about?"

<Markuran> "Cerin, what do you know about this?"

  • Zahara shrugs a little, "You knew about Ivory. Bertrand? is the only other, I think." she considers for a moment, as if wondering if she's forgotten anyone in those hallowed walls. "Yes, I think just Bertrand?."
  • Cerin shrugs and gestures that Zahara can explain all she likes. He wouldnt want to presume.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, tell me about this Lai who seems to be so popular."

<Markuran> "And where did you get him?"

  • Cerin looks to Zahara "Well, the legion. He was sent to infiltrate us."

<Zahara> "Found him amongst the Legions. He's a traitor, a spy sent by Lai to find out about us. Well he WAS. Now he's mine."

  • Zahara looks all kinds of pleased with herself.

<Markuran> "And who's Lai?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity wonders who this Lai is, that he doesn't seem concerned that Markuran will...eat him...or something. Aloud.
  • Bertrand seems to be visibly upset every time people talk about Lai.

<Markuran> "I don't eat people, Birds."

  • Markuran looks offended, curling his lip

<Zahara> "Lai is an Exalt.. the one who broke into our manse. But, and here's the interesting part, he's Exalted of a god of Flowers, named Unfolding Petal. As Bertrand here is Exalted of some sort of wood god."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Well, you don't swallow, no."

<Markuran> "Gods can't Exalt things.."

<Markuran> "Well. Not unimportant ones."

<Zahara> "What god did Exalt you, Bertrand?"

<Markuran> "Only the Great Gods of Heaven can Exalt."

<Cerin> "And that is where you are wrong Marku"

<Zahara> "You seem to be incorrect, Markuran. I thought the same until I met this one."

<Bertrand?> "...R...Rovak the Hart-Runner, Mistress Zahara."

  • Birds-of-Trinity 's eyes light up with immense curiosity. "OHMYGOODNESS! I want to see your Charms!"

<Zahara> "Do something.. magic, Bertrand." she shoves him a little

  • Markuran waves a hand. "These are not real Exalted then. Just...falsifications."
  • Bertrand seems taken aback by Birds' curiosity.
  • Cerin shakes his head slowly

Seeing that Zahara has approved, he drops to his hands and knees.

  • Birds-of-Trinity wishes she knew that trick of Zahara's.

<Bertrand?> Then, suddenly, he dashes across the floor at high speed.

  • Zahara looks to Birds, "now's the time to see if your trick is better than his"

After stopping, he holds one hand straight up and grips his fingers with his other hand; then, he pulls back, revealing himself to be able to bend his arm however he chooses, regardless of actual joints.

  • Zahara applauds

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oooh. What a neat trick."

<Markuran> "Please. Anyone can do that with a few minutes of work."

<Zahara> "Show us, then."

  • Zahara looks at Markuran challengingly

Upon his brow, a castemark begins to shimmer -- a vine wrapped around a tree trunk.

  • Markuran shakes his head, refusing to believe this creature is an Exalted. "I said anyone CAN do it. I don't want to break my bones."
  • Cerin sighs at Marku "You truely are a hidebound fool"

<Zahara> "Well then accept that he has been given certain powers by a God."

<Markuran> "That is not Exaltation."

  • Zahara pulls Bertrand closer, by the arm and holds him by his chin, "See the mark on his forehead? What do you call it?"

<Cerin> "No, but since you cannot bring yourself to accept that, you must understand something of what has happened to him"

<Zahara> "You choose to see the world through blinders, Markuran. It will be the death of you some day."

<Markuran> "A magical mark. He is not Exalted. He is a freak, a pale immitation."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "That's hardly nice."

  • Birds-of-Trinity offers Bertrand a biscuit.
  • Bertrand? accepts it tentatively, and stares at it for a second. Then, hunger getting the best of him, he greedily devours it.

<Zahara> "Regardless, it is not a pure mortal that we are talking about."

  • Zahara idly watches the little exalt eat. "Hmm you must be hungry. Perhaps we should have a meal before we go."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, how much do we know about this Exaltation process? Can just any god Exalt a mortal?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "What about elementals...demons?"

<Cerin> "I have written a small series of notes on the subject.."

  • Zahara shakes her head a bit, "We're not entirely sure, but Cerin has been studying them longer than I."

<Zahara> "It seems to require a powerful God, though." she looks to Cerin for confirmation

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I would be interested to see them when the opportunity knocks. But for the moment, shall we get on with it?"

<Cerin> "Unfortunately from the rather small sample we have, its hard to say. It appears to require some forms of artifact or reagent, but yes, the power of the god definately effects the power of the Exalt"

<Zahara> "Bertrand, would you describe the process of your Exaltation for us over a nice hot meal?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity very nearly squeals with delight.

<Bertrand?> "...Y...yes, mistress Zahara. I would be h....happy to."

  • Zahara smiles and leads them into a random room with table and chairs, ordering servants to fetch them some food. "Please. Sit."
  • Zahara sits next to Bertie
  • Cerin sits across from Zahara

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Gee. I never really explored this place before."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Is there like, a pool down here? I haven't gotten to swim in too long."

<Zahara> "It is ever-changing."

  • Zahara frowns slightly, "No, not one you'd like to swim in. There are aspects of the River God that emerge at places, but I don't advise swimming in them."

<Zahara> "I could make you one, though." she smiles

<Markuran> "There's a lake larger then many city-states a hundred yards from here, Birds."

  • Birds-of-Trinity grins. "Today has been such an exciting day!"
  • Cerin reaches for something inside his cache egg. he hands a few leaves of paper to Birds "You might be interested in reading these.."

<Zahara> "It has, hasn't it?" she smiles and leans back as the servants appear with well-cooked food, and place it on the table. She watches Bertrand?'s reaction with amusement, assuming he's never seen food so fine in his entire existence.

  • Bertrand has, in fact, not, having previously lived in a village of less than 100 people.
  • Zahara gives Bertrand the carving knife, just daring him to do something with it. "Will you serve the roast?"

<Bertrand?> "...y...yes, mistress Zahara."

  • Bertrand carefully carves the roast, and serves it to the Solars.
  • Markuran chomps noisily on a biscut.
  • Bertrand looks at Zahara and says, "...y...you wanted me to describe the process?"

<Zahara> "Yes. Don't forget yourself, now." she indicates his plate.

<Cerin> "Thank you, Bertrand"

<Bertrand?> "I was t...taken to Rovak's sanctum, where he laid me down on a bed. He went to open this... chest, over by the wall?"

  • Zahara slices the tender roast as she listens, taking neat little bites.
  • Birds-of-Trinity flips through the papers idly, scrawling notes on the table.

<Bertrand?> "...and drew out this strange... meshing, like a fabric made of metal? ...that he placed over my body."

  • Zahara takes a sip of fine wine, and "mmmhmmm"s

<Bertrand?> "Afterwards, he began to place various candles, incenses... other things in a circle around me."

<Bertrand?> "He began to glow with a strange light, and... drew this... blade? key? I wasn't sure... out of himself."

<Bertrand?> "He held it up, told me to bid farewell to my mortal existence, and stabbed it down through my chest."

<Zahara> "What did it look like?"

<Bertrand?> "It was all made of light, and it crackled and flashed... it was long, like a blade, but it was intricately shaped... elaborate edges."

<Bertrand?> "When he drove it through me, I felt this strange energy throughout my body, and this feeling... almost like..."

<Bertrand?> "...almost as if there was something that had been there my entire life, and he had just unlocked it."

<Zahara> "Did it hurt?"

<Bertrand?> "...y...yes. A lot. I felt the metal reverberate on top of me, and the energy shoot through me... and I passed out."

<Zahara> "Hmmm. And when you woke up?"

<Bertrand?> "When I woke up, I was outside, on the ground, and Lai was waiting to lead me back to the village for the Choosing celebration."

<Zahara> "And do you feel any sort of.. tie to Rovak? Like he can command your actions, or speak through you?"

<Bertrand?> "...not command me, no. There's a connection, but... like that you feel to your home. It doesn't control you, but it affects who you are..."

<Zahara> "The shining ones, that we fought with near Rathess, those were Exalts too, I believe."

<Cerin> "Not near Rathess, Listran. But yes, they were Exalts"

<Markuran> "So, now every pissant god of someone's ass boil can whip up these imposer Exalted?"

<Markuran> "How can the Great Gods let this pass?"

<Zahara> "They are limited in what they can do, nowhere near as powerful as we."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Marku, got off your high horse. They're tools just like we are, just like the gods are."

<Cerin> "This may just be because of the level of power of the gods that have Exalted them. Bertrand here has potential to surpass a Dragonblood"

<Cerin> "The Exalt of a national or regional god..may rival us for power, or at least, not be comfortably below our might"

<Zahara> "Then we shall have to make ourselves stronger."

<Markuran> "How can the spawn of some pathetic *flower* god outmatch those with the blood of the Great Dragons in them?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "If we have the gods in our pockets, then that will not be an issue."

<Cerin> "By not exalting ten thousand of them?"

  • Zahara shrugs, "In Chaya, the power of REGULAR flowers held their sway over YOU, Markuran."

<Markuran> "They did not."

  • Zahara smirks knowingly instead of answering.

<Markuran> "..they just made me..less..in control..nevermind, that isnt the point."

  • Cerin laughs softly

<Zahara> "So, unless we kill his God, Bertrand here, may grow into an asset."

  • Bertrand looks fairly uncertain about this "unless" business

<Zahara> "I believe it was demonstrated that if a god dies, so do his Exalts. So we should target them, really, rather than their minions."

<Cerin> "This may not be true for all gods and their Exalts. Though conversly, it may apply even to us"

<Zahara> "I wonder if the Unconquered Sun COULD be killed." she muses.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We could experiment."

<Zahara> "I think we'd better experiment on the lesser gods. It wouldn't be any fun to kill him if it would destroy all of us."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You have no sense of adventure at all."

<Markuran> "Killing the Sun is blasphemy. Thinking about it is Blasphemy. He has given us the power to rule the world, to bring light and wonder to the people. And you even consider it?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "He's only the sun. There are other lights in the sky."

  • Birds-of-Trinity mentally prepares a list.

<Zahara> "We're not going to kill the Sun, Markuran. Don't be nervous. It wouldn't help us anyway."

  • Markuran snarls at Birds, launching himself at her. All the anger, the annoyance and the blasphemy of the day finally unleashing themselves at her flippancy.

<Zahara> "MARKURAN! STOP!" she shouts angrily, her daiklave leaping to her hand.

  • Birds-of-Trinity reflexively leans back in her chair, leaving a trail of blood-mist-essence. It is a moment before the impact of the situation reaches her. "You! You call yourself priest of the Sun!? You whining, complaining, closeminded LUNATIC! You shame the Brightest Lord and the Sunlands which you claim to rule. We must duel, you and I. I will see you at dawn."
  • Birds-of-Trinity departs.
  • Markuran slams a fist into the wall, shattering one of the massive stone blocks. With an inarticulate sound of rage the big man storms from the room.

<Zahara> "Goddamnit, my SLATE!"

  • Birds-of-Trinity comes back a moment later to take the piece of table she had written her notes on.
  • Zahara sighs, "Bertrand, it seems our engagement must wait for another time."
  • Cerin nods saddly "He really has no control"
  • Zahara escorts Bertrand back to his cell, leaving the others behind.

(:tags Gates, The Realm, House Cathak, Cathak Tojiro, Herons, Aalorai, Red Knife, Lai Misuna, Bertrand, Ivory Orchid Ghost, Crystal Tech, God-Exalts:)

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