Markuran forces himself to enjoy the relatively long and uneventful boatride from the coast of the Sunlands to the capital city of Harborhead and the temple of Ahlat. Forcing himself to enjoy it enough that possibly his interest will be diverted from thinking of all the trouble they'll likely face in Kirighast. The rumors from there are certainly troubling.
The city of Kirighast rises up in the distance. Built upon the side of a steep hill, the graceful towers covered in geometric patterns rise up from the elegantly laid streets. Near the center, a great building rises, two vast horns curving upwards from its roof towards the sky. There sits the temple of Ahlat.
Cerin is quiet on the the trip, contemplating, amongst other things, just why he was here with Marku and not sneaking in to kill him alone. As they near the city, Cerin starts to take a slightly more active interest, scaling the mast to get a better view into the distance
The city of Kirighast is laid out on an exquisitely intricate geometric pattern, streets bending into each other at odd angles that from far above resolve into a shape of exquisite beauty. The buildings are typically built tall and narrow, with thin fluted peaks atop narrow square towers.
Today, it seems quiet -- much of the population is likely elsewhere.
Cerin "It is quiet today." Cerin notes. "I wonder where the city is."
Markuran "The city's right there."
Cerin "It's population is not."
Markuran "Maybe it's a holy day."
Cerin "Then there would be people in the streets. Ahlat is not a god of quiet celebration."
As they speak, they notice some very few people walk the streets.
Cerin examines them closely, listening to their conversation
The few passersby are largely quiet, though a few speak in quiet voices of the great wargames which are occurring on the nearby hills.
Cerin relays their conversations to Marku
Markuran hmms. "Do you think Ahlat will be in the temple, or watching the games?"
Cerin "That I do not know. He is not the type of god to sit things out, but it is possible some other event requires him to be in the temple"
Markuran "Where should we go first?"
Markuran taps Cerin on the shoulder.
Cerin "The temple is closer, but it has wards I would not want to tangle with incase someone should see. To the hills I think"
Markuran "You don't think it'd be more dangerous to engage Ahlat in front of whatever forces are play-battling?"
Cerin "It is infinately more dangerous to battle him there, but if he is not at the temple and we have to wait for him to return there, I would prefer his wards to undisturbed when he returns to them."
Markuran frowns, then nods. "Alright. To the hills."
Cerin nods and leaps out of the boat onto the shoreline.
Markuran follows, with a slightly less graceful leap.
It's not ideal, but a path does lead around the outside of the city and into the nearby hills, though it is easily observable from the city.
Cerin keeps watch on the city, moving ahead of marku and motioning him to move when the time is right.
With some careful direction by Cerin, Marku avoids being spotted by any city-dwellers while the Exalts hike up into the hills.
Cerin When they have reached the hills, Cerin motions Marku for quiet, and then listens for the sound of battle, trying to discern their location.
From a local high point, they can see the spot where, nestled between three moderate-sized mountains, a great crater exists. Within, a throng of people has assembled, in a vast circle; within the center, two crowds of warriors.
Cerin castes his gaze down into the circle, ignoring the haze of essence from the warriors, searching for gods.
Markuran attempts as best he can to remain unseen, hunching down and trying to look unmenacing and unimportant.
Markuran blinks. "Are those all...?"
Cerin can definitely pick out the presence of quite a few Essence users, though identifying them is tricky at such a great distance.
Cerin nods, as he looks closer, taking his time to discern the differences in divine and merely exalted essence.
Markuran "Can you see Ahlat?"
With further examination, Cerin can determine that the bands of warriors fighting in the center of the circle are composed entirely of Exalts. On the outskirts, in one area of the observing circle, are multiple spirits; a great deal of Essence is located in that area.
Cerin "I need to look closer, I think. There are definately some gods watching. And yes, all the poeple in the inner circle are exalts."
Markuran "That is discouraging."
Cerin nods. "You should stay up here and try to keep down. You will hear through the Unity if I need your help. I'm going to take a closer look."
Markuran sighs and nods.
Cerin wraps his stealth magics around him then slips down the hillside, balancing on the rocks like a mountain goat, leaping lightly from stone to stone as he descends the hillside
As Cerin descends, he begins to get a better look at the situation. In the vast circle, what looks to be most of the population of Kirighast, young and old alike, sit patiently, watching the events within.
Two groups of Exalts stand in the center, clad in only the slightest clothing but bearing weapons that seem to have the shine of magic to them, despite their seemingly wooden appearance. From the forehead of each sprout two horns of purest Essence, in red or yellow. There are some hundreds, in total.
To one side sit the most important guests. Standing with rough, vicious faces, Cerin can see ten of the War Aurochs of Ahlat, huffing and hoofing at the ground. In the center, in an opulent chair assembled from the finest woods and stones of the region, sits the Bullgod himself, a glorious, violent mix of human and bull shape, drinking from a vast golden goblet and eagerly commanding his Exalts to war on one another.
Cerin studies the great god closer, listening to the way he commands as he watches the essence twist and swirl within him.
The Bullgod has an arrogant air to him. He sits with legs and arms spread wide, in the style of one who knows how powerful he is. At his side lounge two of his brides. He seems utterly joyous as each warrior is struck to the ground, "dead."
Markuran slips down from watching Cerin and starts toward some of the stragglers from the city still moving to see the festivities. Smiling broadly, Markuran joins a group after carefully masking all uncertainty or anxiety under a mask of innocent interest and good cheer
Despite his unusual appearance, Markuran somehow manages to insert himself into the group of Harborhead citizens, and finds himself brought much closer to the battle.
Cerin spends some time studying the battle charms of the exalts there, trying to gauage their strength and the effects that they can generate.
These Exalts range in power from those of a newly Chosen to as powerful as one such as Relovia. Their combat Charms are brutal and effective, though they are clearly holding back in this non-lethal combat.
Cerin starts to scale the cliff again. Now is not the time for engaging Ahlat.
Markuran scans carefully for Cerin, disguising the looks as simple sight-watching. Smalltalk with one of the prettier ladies in the group keeps Marku occupied while waiting for Cerin
Cerin sends concern and curiousity through the unity to Marku as he watchs him from a nearby tree.
Markuran continues his smalltalk, steering the conversation towards the games. With his pretense at being a visitor from the Lap, Marku tries to wheedle information on the purpose of the gathering and anything else that might be important.
Harborheadian "The valorous auroch warriors are proving their might in battle."
Markuran "The what?"
Markuran looks curious.
Markuran "Aurochs? Real ones? I've never seen an auroch before..."
Harborheadian points at the Exalts fighting on the field. "The powerful auroch warriors, filled with the spirit of our protector Ahlat. They are like unto regular men as men are unto a rabbit."
Markuran "Ah! Amazing."
Cerin repeats the feelings of concern and curiousity through the unity to Marku as he watchs him from a nearby tree.
Harborheadian "Soon all the nations of Creation will fall before the might of Ahlat! Our great God is wise and powerful, and he shall lead us to victory."
Markuran makes his excuses and wanders away from the group, back down the hill. Given Cerin's annoying habit of hiding behind grass, Marku figures he'll let the Night find him.
As Marku departs, the war games begin to wind down. The two armies salute one another, and the crowd begins to disperse back towards the city.
Cerin waits until Marku is alone and not visible to anyone before he speaks to him from the shadow of some nearby trees "We cannot defeat him here. He has too much magic wrapped around him. I doubt it will be removed in his sanctum."
Markuran "Where can we fight him then? And how do we get him there?"
Markuran muses. "I could challenge him..I'm sure I can insult him enough to agree to a duel.."
Cerin "It cannot be on a battlefield, and it must be alone."
Cerin "And my friend, I do not think you are mighty enough to take him alone and prepared for battle."
Markuran "Do you have any ideas?"
Markuran "..what if he was called to a meeting place that was most assuredly not a battlefield? By..the Red Lily?"
Cerin "We leave for now, and return later I think. Though that plan bears merit, it will take work to convince him of it's authenticity"
Tags (:tags Harborhead, God-Exalts, Ahlat :)