alsoquin The remaining soldier from the Solars' escort continues to lead them onward to the Eighth Rock, a truly massive cathedral near the outskirts of the "city."
Zahara "Tell me, what were those that we were fighting against, and why is is that they try to invade the city?"
alsoquin The Sodalite looks Zahara over warily. "What pretense do you play at, to not know such a thing?"
Cerin There is the sound of a single footstep behind Zahara. Then Cerin is there, red ribbons flowing about him.
Cerin "That would be the oil, of course my love."
Lucent "... that again." Lucent nearly jumps back as he notices him there...
Zahara "We are from another plane." she replies simply. She smiles, looking at Cerin, "The oil?"
Cerin "That surrounds the cities. There's something in the ...oil."
alsoquin The man turns to Luc. "Yes, the creatures from the Qlippan rise up against us. Today we have lost the tenth block we have lost this cycle."
alsoquin The group draw near to their destination, and the lone individual leads them in through a small side entrance, down narrow staircases and hallways
Thirteen "Given your apparent capabilities, I am not surprised, except at your continued survival."
alsoquin The man ignores the pointed snub. "You may wait here." He gestures into a room, perfectly circular in border; floor tiled in the pattern representing the material of sulphur.
Zahara ::Thirteen,:: she admonishes gently, and to his mind alone, ::Please recall that we are guests here, and we wish to have GOOD relations with these beings. I beg you to attempt to couch your criticisms in kind words.::
Cerin ::The Something in the water is a Primordial, or some form of it's Essence. It is not the natural behavior of these creatures.::
Zahara ::It may be easier to think of them as children, who become rebellious if told they are wrong, regardless of whether it is true or not. Most humans react this way.::
alsoquin Departing, the Sodalite closes the door behind the Solars. A few moments tick by in silence before one of the wall panels begins to slowly slide open and allow in their visitor.
Zahara ::A Primordial, Cerin? Was it linked to others?::
Thirteen ::It is my thought they must be aware of what they lack before they can appreciate what we can give them. Perhaps this approach is in error.::
Cerin ::I could not tell. The presence in the oild is most diffuse::
Zahara ::You are correct that they lack your skill at tactics. However, I believe they will react better to the proverbial carrot, more than the stick. It should make them more receptive to learning, and we do not have time to force them to submit to our ways unwillingly.::
alsoquin Like the gentleman who originally met the Solars, this individual appears to be made entirely of a Magical Material -- but where before they were confronted by a form of starstone, this one bears the jagged, malefic edges of soulsteel. Upon his chest, he bears the diamond-with-four-corners sigil, this time crossed over by a sword and dagger.
Zahara ::Hmm thank you for the information, Cerin. I wonder if they are aware of this.::
alsoquin At his flank are two others who are more recognizably human -- they appear to perhaps be in the midst of a transformation into metal, with parts of the alien metallic physique adjacent to human anatomy.
alsoquin Cerin can immediately tell that the foremost rivals themselves in power, while the two others are far weaker.
Zahara refrains from inspecting the half-humans too closely, instead making a polite, but not too deep, bow of respect to the Soulsteel one. "Greetings." she speaks simply.
alsoquin Without acknowledging Zahara's greeeting, he states brusquely, in a voice like iron scraping against itself: "By the power of the Vast Maker, report to me your names and origin."
Zahara reigns in her fleeting annoyance, and smoothly introduces the troupe by their titles.
Lucent feels visibly... nervous by the presence of this being of soulsteel. His opinion of those people just took quite a few steps back. He says nothing as Zahara introduces him - confront would likely tinge his voice far too much.
alsoquin "You have arrived in Ovesh without warning nor invitation. You do not walk with homage to the Vast Maker nor hold to the principles of transmution. What offer you to argue that?"
Zahara "We are strangers, and know not of your customs. We will do our best to abide by them here, if you make known what they are. As I have said, we come from a realm separate from this one."
alsoquin "For what reason do you enter into the realm of the Maker?" The soulsteel gentleman seems to have little humor and possibly even less lenience.
Zahara "We wish to make an alliance with your people, and explore the possibility of trade between our two worlds."
alsoquin "What authority do you hold to make such an alliance?"
Zahara "I am the Empress of the Sunlands of Meru, and one Chosen of the Sun." she allows her castemark to flare tellingly. "We rule over extensive lands of our world. We are Creators, we are Destroyers. We have all the authority that we require."
alsoquin One of the followers widens his eyes a little and whispers to the leader -- "As spoken of on the fifth stone!"
alsoquin Cerin and Thirteen, at least, can hear it loud and clear.
Zahara ((Make that "Chosen of Sol Invictus"))
alsoquin The lead Exalt pauses in thought for a moment.
Cerin helpfully relays this to those with harder hearing.
Zahara relays smugness back
alsoquin After a long, careful consideration, the Exalt speaks.
alsoquin "As he vested by the Crystalline Host to treat with the borders of Atomnos, I see naught but peril that you can bring to us here. I, Pheras, Stone of the Sixth Era, proclaim you unwelcome here, and demand that you retreat with all possible speed."
alsoquin The two acolytes nod slightly in agreement.,
Thirteen ::Is the time for diplomacy ended?::
Zahara ::Not quite yet.::
alsoquin "My men will peacibly escort you from these lands. There will be no further entreaty." He nods firmly and the acolytes nod again.
Zahara "This city is already fraught with peril, as we learned on our way here. What is it that you foresee us bringing to it? I ask that you give us one chance to assist you and your city against the Qlippan as an act of good will." ::Cerin, can you locate the seal?::
Lucent ::I thought the outer realms did not communicate with one another. You would think they have heard all about Xara...:: Lucent sighs... "We can give you much, Pheras. Knowledge of Creation, of its wonders, we can lend might that can change your lives for the best. There is nothing to be gained if we walk out, for either of us."
Thirteen "We have already assisted their city against the Qlippan as an act of good will. Clearly it did not avail us much."
Cerin ::I would need some time to locate it more precisely at this moment::
Zahara "Indeed, but we may be able to end the threat completely."
alsoquin A glint of darkness flashes off of one deep, socketed eye on Pheras' face. "There can be no further discussion. The will of the Vast Maker, as reflected in the infinite facets of the Host, is absolute."
alsoquin He makes a tiny signal with one hand, and the two acolytes turn to begin escorting the Solars from the room.
Thirteen "I am afraid, minion, that our politeness may have been misunderstood."
Zahara ::Then perhaps the Qlippan can aid us.::
Thirteen "We have come, and intend to trade. You may accustom yourselves to the idea at your leisure."
Zahara "Then your Maker's predictions have come true indeed."
Thirteen "You may, if you wish, display for us such worthy goods and devices as we might take interest in, and in such small ways redeem yourselves for your discourtesy."
Thirteen "Otherwise, I fear that, as in any disorderly storefront, we may have to help ourselves."
Zahara ::If you would scout out the Seal please, Cerin. I am sure none of these will notice your disappearance with Thirteen to distract them.::
Cerin leaves the scene. Everyone but the circle forgets he was ever there.
Zahara ::Oh and see if you can find the Heart of Autocthon. I would like some gold.::
Pheras "I do not wish for this to come to bloodshed. But the Pentarchal Order cannot allow you to influence the flock. Please leave with these acolytes and do not overmore trouble our people." Without watching for attacks, he turns and begins to advance out of the room.
Cerin ::Anyway /else/ anyone would like while I am away?:: Cerin has only the merest strains of irony in his voice
Thirteen "Do you HAVE blood?"
Thirteen ::Whatever bagatelles you come across will no doubt be fine as souvenirs. I am given to understand that it is the thought that counts.::
Zahara ::Well since you asked, see if you can find anything... *interesting* that we might try on our island:: she sends only to him, along with a flash of the other things they've tried on the island.
Lucent ::Orichalcum artifice. I keep wondering what their golden objects are like::
Cerin ::*long suffering sigh*::
Pheras ignores Thirteen as he walks away.
Thirteen ::As per your earlier comment, Zahara, I am not sure how well we may communicate with the Qlippan, although it may be interesting to try.::
Thirteen "Well. How productive."
Thirteen "If you will excuse me for a moment, I am curious to see whether this cathedral has such a thing as a library about."
Zahara ::Then let us be escorted peacably out of the city for now. We can return when we choose. I would not want to disappoint the Maker by not unleashing peril upon his city.::
Thirteen ::Let us seek a library first, that we may gather what knowledge of this plane we can, and bide our time while Cerin investigates.::
Thirteen saunters into the hallway, ignoring the hapless acolytes.
Pheras The two weaker Exalts attempt to dart in front of Thirteen and bar his way.
Zahara shrugs, and watches.
Thirteen straight-arms one of them partway into the wall, absently patting the other on the head as he passes.
Pheras The Exalt makes a bit of a sputtering noise as his head is suddenly slammed into the nearby wall, and the other draws out his shimmering glass sword in an attempt to bar 13's way more... firmly.
Thirteen "That reminds me."
Zahara watches them with interest, watching the essence of their bodies flow, and further inspecting their intriguing weaponry.
Thirteen taps the remaining Exalt at the shoulder-joint with his spear, severing the arm, and catches the sword as it falls.
Thirteen runs his fingers over the sword with interest.
Zahara "Glass, isn't it? But something more interesting, to be used for a weapon. Perhaps similar to Chiaroscuro."
Pheras The weapon has quite unusual qualities. It appears to be made of glass, but a glass with a deep, multi-hued set of reflections running subtly throughout. It responds to Essence almost as if it were a Magical metal, and bears a similar hardness.
Thirteen "It reacts as if it were a magical metal."
Thirteen hands it to Zahara.
Zahara takes it and holds it up to the light, completely oblivious to the fact that the two lesser exalts' agony.
Lucent "You could have just knocked them down, Thirteen..." Lucent says, already looking at the glass. The soulsteel thing seems to not worry him that much. "You figure they have their own Magical Materials here? No reason why they have to be only five outside of Creation, is there...?"
Pheras The one missing an arm begins to crawl away from the Solars while the other appears to still be spinning from his encounter with the wall.
Thirteen "I could also have killed them. I chose compromise."
Zahara "The Gods on our world have created their own as well. It is quite interesting, really."
Thirteen "That suggests that the process for creating them is similar to the process for creating Exalts."
Cerin ::If you've quite finished, perhaps you could join me in the library::
Lucent grins "'Heroic Materials', then?"
Pheras The Exalt makes it perhaps three yards before passing out. No one else seems to be within quite some distance of this hallway, based on the lack of sounds...
Lucent ::Coming:: He walks, "We are keeping the sword, right?"
Zahara ::We shall.:: "Yes, Luc, we did come here for trade, after all."
Thirteen "Perhaps we should pick up one for each of us."
Thirteen takes the sword from the dazed Exalt as they pass him.
Zahara "I imagine an arsenal area might have more interesting ones."
Thirteen "Let us by all means keep an eye out for one, then. Or for a guide. if one comes to hand."
Lucent "... I like that idea." ::Cerin, any idea where is an Arsenal we can raid?::
Pheras Ducking down the hallway and up a narrow staircase, it's just a few quick turns to lead the Solars into the largely empty library where Cerin sits.
Cerin "Ah, hello." He tilts his head as he looks at the blades.
Lucent "Forget the Orichalcum trinkets, Cerin; There are these strange... glass-things! They are much better to take home."
Lucent nods emphatically
Cerin "I shall bear that in mind."
Zahara "I would say they are similar to the glass of Chiaroscuro, but it has been a long time since I have been there."
Thirteen "I wonder whether it would benefit us to make magical materials of our own."
Cerin "It appears we have certain city officials outside the building who may or may not wish to speak with us. They are skulking somewhat though and are armed with hidden weapons..."
Lucent "Glass of Chiaroscuro is not *magic*! It does not reflect like that!"
Lucent makes weighing motions "Hmmm, would I go with Sapphires or Sand...?"
Cerin "Unlikely. Orichalcum is far superior to all the metals I have seen."
Zahara "It used to be, in the First Age."
Thirteen taps his fingers on the table. "Perhaps in the fullness of time, we may surpass it."
Cerin "They are all mortals, but it is possible they can talk to us."
Zahara "I believe we may be able to."
Thirteen "What are their names, Cerin?"
Cerin "I have not gone to ask them. They think they are hiding in the crowds."
Cerin He makes a gesture to the large stained glass window, and the people visible beyond.
Zahara "How adorable."
Lucent "We will never surpass Orichalcum. It is of Sol... but if we can make things that are useful for their own things on their own way, like Moonsilver or Starmetal... we should."
Zahara "Perhaps we should send them a message. Do you think they can read?"
Thirteen "If they are city officials of any stature, we may assume they are temple officials as well. This suggests that they will be literate."
Cerin "They may well be at the level of hired thugs, but they do bear the city's pin."
Thirteen "We need not entertain hired thugs in any event. It is as well if our message is illegible to them."
Zahara writes a short note, and hands it to Cerin, "I was going to suggest you attach this to an arrow and send it to them, unless you have better ideas."
Thirteen idly picks up book after book, scanning through them with quick motions of the wrist, occasionally swallowing one.
Pheras Conveniently, there is a tiny hole in the glass... large enough for someone of Cerin's skill to thread an arrow through, at leasat
Zahara looks for books on etiquette
Pheras It doesn't take long for Thirteen to get the basic grasp of the society's key concepts.
Lucent admires the swords, eyes shining with the reflections on the glass...
Cerin folds the note into a carefully springloaded piece of origami and fires it through the hole in the window. it flies through the air before openning in front of the probably surprised face of the leader of the skulking group, watching from a window above the street.
Pheras The plane of Atomnos is rich in mineral resources but quite poor in those necessary for life. As such, life here is cruel and unyielding. Most citizens labor away under an idustrio-feudal system, mining minerals or processing items into gruel. (...)
Zahara ~The note says "You are Hereby Summoned to the Library -ZZ"
Pheras Providing the sense of purpose is the Pentarchal Order, the one religion of the Vast Maker. Its acolytes teach the ways of transmution -- just as lead is turned to gold or crystal ore to food, so the mundane human is transformed to godhood through work, devotion, contemplation, and understanding.
Zahara "A beautiful shot, Love." she smiles.
Pheras The Order itself is divided vertically and horizontally -- philosophically by the Hands, Wings, Heart, Eyes, and Teeth of the Maker, and practically into Sodalities, individual orders that perform specific tasks for the Order.
Cerin smiles back
Pheras The Order does not govern, however -- each of the seven nations is ruled by a Majeure, said to be of the lineage of the Maker himself.
Pheras After getting over his initial shock at the note, the leader of the group looks over the guard posted at the doors of the Stone and shakes his head.
Cerin "Ah, it appears they do not wish to chance the guards."
Thirteen "Kill them," Thirteen offers, not turning his attention away from the books.
Zahara sighs, "How unfortunate."
Thirteen lectures aloud as he reads, educating his companions on the nitty-gritty of the plane.
Lucent "No need to *kill* them..."
Zahara "That will get us discovered, and I do not wish to get blood on the books."
Lucent "Just knock them out and stash them somewhere. We will be long gone by the time they are found."
Cerin "I think I will go and have a talk with the leader. It will not take too long to find out everything he has ever known."
Thirteen "Meanwhile, perhaps we should loot and pillage."
Thirteen "Even this godforsaken plane must have something worthy of our visit."
Zahara selects some interesting books on the more arcane subjects, hoping to find a new spell or method of creating things, along with some architectural treatises. "Well, we still need the Seal and the Gold of the Heart."
Lucent "Arsenals. Glass Weapons." He replies promptly. "Got any city guides there?"
Zahara points luc towards the map section
Thirteen "I am sure one of these documents contains a layout of the temple."
Zahara also looks for any information on this Maker and his prophecies that so ruffled her plans.
Pheras The Maker is undoubtedly the most revered being in all of Atomnos. When doom awaited the race of men, he selected only the finest to accompany him from their homes into their new abode here. Though he slumbers in his need to constantly re-dream the world, his Crystalline Host is known to the world --
Zahara "Doom. Hmmph."
Pheras the Archangels come to bear omens and tidings to the people of Atomnos, and the Crystan Sodality engages in dealings with and use of the numberless angels of the Lower Host.
Thirteen "Perhaps we should visit with the Maker himself."
Lucent looks for anything like 'army arsenal', or better yet, 'national treasures' there, listening to the recitation intently. He mutters something about 'godless soulsteel-using creatures'
Zahara "Is he on the map?"
Pheras It's not difficult to locate a map of the Eighth Stone -- it is a vast cathedral-temple, with barracks, monastic training grounds, armories, places of worship, libraries, and upper levels devoted to the needs of the upper echelons of the church
Thirteen "I suspect these Archangels would be able to locate him."
Zahara "Perhaps we should visit the armory first."
Thirteen "A noble idea."
Zahara unfolds herself from her reading chair, stows her new books, and heads for the armory.
Lucent lights up, "Yes! ... and here it is... a big armory on the Eighth Stone. It is so important, it must have /great/ glass stuff. And maybe of other materials... I wonder what sort of things they might have here. Smoke, pehaps?"
Tags: (:tags Atomnos, Sodalities, Qlippan, Primordials, Ovesh, Crystalline Host, Pheras, Pentarchal Order, Majeures :)