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Cerin After visiting Xuan Ei in the mountains, Cerin had headed down through the jungles and out onto the plains, where the main cities within An-Teng were found. He was headed for the City of the Steel Lotus, the old capital, where he expected to find most of the supporters of the old guard, or at least be able to find out more about where they might be located. When he arrived in An-Teng he wasn't as the Wolf, hiding that part away (...)

Cerin from the world. And so hidden, he allowed himself to wander. Wherever he felt was best, asking the occasional question, but always drifting, slowly moving closer to the heart of those who would oppose the golden children's claim of this nation.

The City of the Steel Lotus has been the capital of An-Teng for some time, but over the last few years, the disorganization here has grown. (...)

As the Realm collapsed, the steady flow of resources and soldiers that kept this city functioning as intended has slowed, and today, much of the Dragon-Blood-driven economy has stopped: there are shuttered brothels in the Street of Sun-Kissed Flowers and closed stalls in the Great Market. (...)

At the center of the city lies the Palace of Threefold Magnificence, the place of meeting for the three reigning "princes," and -- until recently, according to to the word on the street -- also the most common place to find the Satrap for the region.

Cerin It's this palace which Cerin enters, now wrapped from all sight, rather than merely recognition. He is looking for the Satrap, of course, but he is also looking for information on any who supported the old regiem, preferably information that could be turned to the purposes of blackmail or other discreditation.

A quick journey through the palace reveals its contents quite easily. The Satrap appears to have left several months ago, his office within the palace in a state of shambles suggesting that he left in a hurry. (...)

Of the three princes, only one -- Prince Lahxander, of the Shore Lands, is present, though he too has moved much of his family and possessions out of the palace over the recent months. The evidence of the Prince's close relationship with the Dragon-Bloods of the Realm remains omnipresent, however, and today he sleeps in a small chamber, each door triply locked and magically bolted. (...)

Beyond that, the Palace's staff seems to have been notably depleted -- many of the servants and bureaucrats who might normally occupy the palace seem to be absent. However, the Satrapy records, with rather full and detailed accountings of An-Teng natives who were particularly helpful to the Realm occupation, remain present and intact within the office in which they were stored.

Cerin Cerin reads the notes as he exits the palace once more, travelling to the market and purchasing a dagger from a stall there, as well as a quill and a collection of note papers. By the time he has finished reading the notes, he is back at the wall to the princes room. He doesn't bother with the door, instead stepping right through the walls, to place the dagger by the Prince's bed with a simple note attached. "You should rejoin your (...)

Cerin family, it is no longer safe for you to sleep here." And then he exits, via the same method he entered, and stalks away, to obverse the most likely target from the list.

Easily #1 on Cerin's target list is Kisa Rie, an exiled Dragon-Blood of some influence who had worked tirelessly -- for great pay, of course -- to bring An-Teng's rulership fully under the Realm's heel. His estate is a vast one, at the edge of the city.

Cerin It is to the estate of Kisa Rie that Cerin travels, then. The walls are barely noticed as they are scaled, the guards having no chance of noticing him as he walks amongst them, having observed the bulk of the great house even before he has reached it's threshold.

The house is very much in the standard style of Realm estates, only slightly modified to match the local custom. The Dragon-Blood himself is an older man, long whitish hair entwined with the thin branches that belie his Wood Aspect nature; he sits in a glass-roofed arboretum on the topmost floor of the house, trimming a set of rose bushes.

Cerin Cael walks up through the house to the arboretum, watching the rest of it as he does, and then giving himself over to a study of the man before him, and more specifically his essence.

Cerin walks up through the house to the arboretum, watching the rest of it as he does, and then giving himself over to a study of the man before him, and more specifically his essence.

The Dragon-Blood, who of course takes no notice of him, is relatively old, though he is not one of those who has spent his days in dilligent pursuit of Essence mastery -- Cerin easily outstrips him in capability. He has a number of basic Charms in use -- one that he presumably expects to alert him of danger, given that it lets him see through any plant in his nearby vicinity -- but nothing outside of Cerin's ability to easily handle.

Cerin very carefully wraps himself in a field of essence perfectly aligned to distort all the evidence that anyone might gather from such a murder, rendering what would happen here nearly impossible to determine and then he conjoured, whilst still invisible, his golden bow and shot the dragonblood with a trio of Heart-Seeking Missles, twice through the heart and once through the head.

The assassination is simple and quick: without even a chance to react or even notice his own death, the Wood Aspect crumples forward onto the rosebush.

Cerin takes the time to finish watering the rest of the flowers, and then he departs.

Cerin leaves the estate, and devotes some time to the other members on the list. They do not need such a complete solution, and indeed, the list has almost enough information to ensure their downfall in and of itself, it is merely a case of ensuring that the information within comes into the hands of the right people ...

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