< Advice Is Sought | Sol Invictus Logs | Ghost Of The Past >

13 Resplendent Air, Realm Year 769

  • Birds-of-Trinity taps her foot. Where is Zahara?
  • Zahara emerges from the manse, tucking a few blonde hairs back into place with newly immaculate nails. "Birds, did you remember your gifts?"
  • Birds-of-Trinity looks around. A bright parcel appears under a stray panel of skirts.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You look excellent, Zee. How is my dress? Is classical Shogunate court attire appropriate?

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I feel a little like a clothesline. I've never been wearing so much at once before."

  • Zahara arches a brow, "Ah, there they are. And thank you." she looks Birds up and down appraisingly, "Yes, you make quite a lovely clothesline." she smiles. "Really, you look great."
  • Birds-of-Trinity giggles. "Okay. So, you're the one who knows how to work these gate things."
  • Zahara whistles, and both Tantamount and a wasp appear after a few seconds. "Just a moment." She turns to the gate and threads her Essence into the lock, then activates the proper codes for the gate closest to Lookshy.

The gate springs into action, the telltale shimmer of Essence appearing within.

  • Birds-of-Trinity pets Tanty a bit before glaring at the wasp until it lifts her onto its back.
  • Zahara leads Tanty through, trusting the others to follow.

<Zahara> "Now, try to remember, this is a diplomatic meeting. Gifts are appropriate, but try not to exchange recipes until we are done, okay?"

  • Birds-of-Trinity scribbles a note to this effect on her sleeve. With luck, it will be mistaken for ornamental embroidery. "Right."

<Zahara> "We need to appear impressive, and as a cohesive team. They know our reputation, and that we are the ones who turned the armies from their door. That should be a good start."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'll try and let you do the talking. I can just sort of stand around looking austere."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Or debauched, if you prefer."

  • Zahara chuckles, "Perhaps there will be a party afterwards for the debauchery."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Good plan."

  • Birds-of-Trinity looks around. "So, what direction is the city?"
  • Zahara throws her leg over Tanty's back, and they rise into the sky, "Follow me." she leads the way, idly hoping nobody tries to shoot them or other such nonsense
  • Birds-of-Trinity spurs on the wasp.

Birds-of-Trinity and Zahara rapidly approach the borders of the small, heavily fortified city of Lookshy. Its airship towers jut up from within its concentric walls, clearly marking its location.

Several miles before they reach the city's walls, a group of rangers -- Dragon-Bloods, clad in elaborate jade armors -- jet upwards from the plains below to meet them.

  • Zahara moves Tanty into a circling pattern to await the envoys
  • Birds-of-Trinity rearranges her scarves so that they fly impressively in the wasp's turbulence.

<Zahara> "Hail, Dragons of Lookshy." she calls to them as they come within hearing range

  • Birds-of-Trinity remains silent.

<TsungElong?> "Please negotiate your mounts to ground level for admittance."

  • Zahara nods and directs Tanty down to land, where he makes a show of rearing back and roaring impressively before settling his wings back against his flanks
  • Birds-of-Trinity directs a look that says, clearly, "What if I don't?" to the ranger, but follows Zahara's lead nonetheless. This is no time to be starting fights over etiquette.
  • Zahara notices the look and silently sends prayers to all the gods she can think of that aren't on The Other Side in hopes that Birds will behave herself.

The rangers, dispassionate in appearance due to the full coverage provided by their gleaming blue suits, land as well. "Follow the marked pathway into Lookshy. Proceed forward to the old city, where you will be given further instructions."

  • Zahara quirks a brow, having expected a bit of a nicer, less soldierly arrival. "Of course." are the only words or thoughts that make it beyond her careful mask of a pleasant, yet strong smile.
  • Birds-of-Trinity buzzes along.

Their pathway through the city is clearly marked. The city itself is surprisingly orderly -- it has, at least slightly, the feel of a city under siege. Those in the streets are clearly there for a purpose -- no loiterers or fun-lovers are anywhere to be seen.

  • Zahara watches the city around her for signs of anything other than military rigidity. Such tight control is to be admired, and she wonders what the penalty for breaking it is.

Eventually the path leads into the Old City, where the First Age architecture stands in strong contrast to the fairly spartan buildings of the other sections.

More rangers, these dressed in armors of red and green, await them near the Lookshy Manse -- a massive structure of sweeping curves, huge towers, and strange domes that seems the opposite of all other architecture in Lookshy.

<{{*Nefvarin Thendar?*}}> "A representative awaits you within the Manse. Please walk directly to the meeting chambers."

  • Birds-of-Trinity steps off the wasp and sends it away, confident that Zee has some arrangement by which she can retrieve it.
  • Zahara dismounts, patting Tanty on the shoulder as he grumbles a bit. She looks at Birds for a moment, then steps forward toward the chambers. Her hand toys with a quill pen, and her Daiklave is absent from her waist, although her empty book is in a pouch on her belt.
  • Birds-of-Trinity has substituted a variety of weapons for the traditional profusion of hairpins popular in the late Shogunate.

The halls of the manse present an odd decor -- clearly once built to be lavish and opulent, they have been stripped of any mobile decoration and re-outfitted for military purposes.

  • Birds-of-Trinity follows Zahara, making every effort to appear impassive and dangerous.

It is only a short distance to the room which the rangers direct the two Solars towards.

  • Zahara notes the efficiency of the decoration compared to the efficiency of the geomancy of the manse itself, looking for flaws
  • Birds-of-Trinity enters the room and looks for a place to sit.

The small chamber, like the others, has been cleared of decoration; a sturdy though simple table sits in the center, with two empty seats awaiting the Solars. On the opposite side sits a young, attractive woman, with a hard expression. Zahara immediately detects the significant strength of her Essence.

  • Birds-of-Trinity moves to the far side and pulls away the chair, deciding to stand.
  • Zahara approaches the chair to the right and awaits a signal to sit down, "You must be the representative we were sent to meet. I am Zahara Zhan, and my friend is Birds of Trinity, of the Sunlands."
  • Karal Linwei? nods. "I am Karal Linwei, Chumyo of the Seventh Legion."

<Zahara> "A pleasure to meet you." she inclines her head gracefully, and respectfully.

  • Karal Linwei? wears an unemotive face. "I will be honest with you. I wish above many things that I could avoid speaking to you, this day or any other, or seeing your kind set foot within my city."
  • Birds-of-Trinity bows, a little too formally.
  • Zahara chuckles lightly, "I have heard that before, but only from those who have not yet had the chance to speak with me. But your honesty is refreshing, I must say."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We will do our best to assuage your misgivings."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Or justify them, I suppose, depending on how you choose to interpret our actions."

  • Karal Linwei? nods. "A year ago, I would not have even considered allowing you within these walls, unless it were to be executed. But the situation is different today. I do recall your actions on the Marukani battlefield, and the safe border we have shared since."
  • Zahara nods in return, "Things have changed in the world, since then. We have made the Sunlands a place of stability, growth, and hope, but the lands around us still shift uneasily, unsafe from the many threats that the world brings from both its Wyld egdes, and its indoctrinated heart."
  • Karal Linwei? smiles a humorless smile. "And yet, what do the Anathema care of safety and peace?"
  • Zahara takes the insult with good grace, "There are no Anathema here."

<KaralLinwei?> "Then what is your nature? From whence springs your forsaken power? I wish to know the nature of those with whom I treat."

<Zahara> "From the sun that graces you each day with its light, that allows all things to live and grow strong. The world has grown dark since our kind were murdered by their own most trusted Chumyo, or haven't you noticed the crumbling walls that surround this place?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "And from the night and winter and the passing of things."

<Zahara> "I do not mean to imply, certainly, that all of the Sun-Chosen wish for peace, nor safety. We are, indeed, individuals with our own goals and needs. However, we Sunlanders came together as a coalition of Sun-Chosen seeking peace for ourselves and our people, who have gathered beneath our banner out of love, not threat."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I was under the impression that Anathema was Realm parlance."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I am surprised to see the breadth of its influence."

<Zahara> "Indeed, their lies spread like the plague."

  • Karal Linwei? nods. "We hold to the Immaculate Doctrines here, though in a... different manner than the Realm. I find myself confused and... disturbed by your behavior, honorable as it might seem. But today, I must treat with you as you appear, rather than as my faith tells me to."

<KaralLinwei?> "Make your proposal, then."

<Zahara> "Firstly, I will warn you of a new threat. One that eclipses even the threat of the Realm, in that it is more unpredictable, and very new. I am interested to know if you have heard of a man named Lai Misuna."

  • Karal Linwei? shakes her head. "That name has not crossed my ears."
  • Zahara nods in agreement, and slight satisfaction. "Then the information I bear will be useful indeed, should we become allies. In fact, I will tell you now that this man, a mortal, has learned to take a piece of a God inside him. And that he is not alone." she regards him steadily, "And that he and his friends dislike the current structure of power. This does not only include the Realm, but the Sunlands and Lookshy as well."
  • Karal Linwei? raises an eyebrow. "This is a great claim you make. What evidence do you have?"
  • Zahara looks over at her companion, "Birds, did you bring the soulcage?"
  • Birds-of-Trinity fumbles in her robes. "Yes, half a moment." She concentrates for a moment, and the silks twine against each other, bringing a small object to her hand.
  • Karal Linwei? looks closely at the object which Birds draws out. "...what is this?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Zahara, you know the technical details better than I..."

<Zahara> "We brought this as a gift to celebrate our fledgling alliance, should it come about. This is a soul cage, with which you can imbue the essence of a God into a simple mortal. If you would summon my 'friend' whom I left outside with my mount, please?"

After a few moments, two rangers appear at the door, ushering in a frightened-looking Bertrand.

  • Birds-of-Trinity pats Bertie on the shoulder a bit, intending to be comforting. Her robes rattle metallically.
  • Zahara summons Bertrand to her side, and places a hand on his shoulder. "Meet Bertrand, Exalted of [that tree guy]." She runs her finger lightly along the collar around his neck. "He has chosen to work with us, rather than against us, isn't that right?" she smiles at hiim in a disturbing way that seems benevolent on the surface.
  • Bertrand looks around nervously. "Um, hello."
  • Karal Linwei? examines Bertrand carefully. "Demonstrate your abilities for me."
  • Bertrand looks to Zahara for approval.
  • Zahara nods, releasing the collar from his neck and placing it on her own, to complement the other colors that adorn her neck.
  • Bertrand nervously knocks on the table with his right hand, and after a moment, branches begin to grow out of its sides.

<Zahara> "Continue, please." she instructs him.

  • Zahara turns back to Karal, "As you see, he has powers unknown to any Exalt before his kind appeared. He is a bit young, yet, but I have seen others with formidable talent as well."
  • Bertrand causes the branches to twist up into pretty patterns, then breaks one off and hands it to Karal Linwei. It is clearly edible.
  • Karal Linwei? takes it with hesitation, and takes a small bite.

<KaralLinwei?> "This is... most unusual."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "This is only the smallest tip of a very unusual iceberg."

<Zahara> "Each god can imbue its 'exalts' with its own powers. This creates an incredibly diverse army, that we have been studying for months."

<KaralLinwei?> "There are many of these?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hm. I suppose that we are too far South for that analogy."

  • Zahara chuckles at Birds, then looks over at Karal, her laugh dying on her lips, "Millions."
  • Karal Linwei? practically chokes on Bertrand's table-cookie.

<KaralLinwei?> "Millions?"

<Zahara> "So you see why we seek your alliance. It would benefit both of us, both to share information, and to protect eachother."

  • Karal Linwei? seems extremely disturbed. "What form of alliance do you propose?"

<Zahara> "That depends on you. If you wish for no threatening army to be able to find your borders, Lookshy must swear allegiance to the Sunlanders banner and accept us as rulers, although you would retain your autonomy, as have our other nation-states. If you do not wish to accept us as such, we offer information, and a safe place to retreat to."

<KaralLinwei?> "I cannot allow Lookshy to become a subordinate to the will of others. But perhaps we can arrange for a mutually beneficial peace."

<Zahara> "What is your offer?"

<KaralLinwei?> "We will enter into an alliance in which we share our information about the threats facing our two nations. In situations where we both face a credible threat from external forces, we shall enter discussion to work together and repel these forces. Otherwise, we shall remain two autonomous neighbors."

<KaralLinwei?> "Would this be acceptable?"

  • Zahara considers, "I cannot guarantee the safety of Lookshy itself, under this bargain."
  • Karal Linwei? smiles bitterly. "If the facts show it to be necessary, we can renegotiate."
  • Zahara smiles lightly, "Indeed."

<Zahara> "Have you any information that would help us at this time?"

<KaralLinwei?> "I am unsure what information would be most useful to you at this time. Can you provide more information about these new Exalts you mention? Perhaps we have found something which might connect to them."

<Zahara> "First we must seal the alliance. Do you speak for all of Lookshy?"

  • Karal Linwei? looks suspiciously at Zahara again. "I can speak for them for as long as I serve as chumyo."

<Zahara> "I assume you do not intend to step down any time soon?"

<KaralLinwei?> "I do not intend to."

<Zahara> "I speak for the Sunlands in this." she extends her hand, and once she accepts, says solemnly, "Then the Sunlanders and Lookshy will enter an alliance to share information, and work together to repel the forces that threaten our lands. This has the option to be renegotiated at a later date, if both parties agree."

  • Karal Linwei? nods and accepts Zahara's hand.
  • Zahara smiles and looks to Birds, "I believe this is cause for celebration." she pats Bertie on the shoulder.
  • Birds-of-Trinity grins.
  • Bertrand nervously grins and makes a "success!" gesture.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Good. Now I can stop feeling ridiculous." She turns the elaborate court robe into some comfortable riding clothes.

<Zahara> But before the revelry begins, I would ask you a few questions. The new Exalts have been involved with reactivated Jade mines, and tombs that have been broken into, as well as other unusual activities. Have you heard of such things?"

<KaralLinwei?> "There have been some reports of raids on nearby jade mines. I had assumed they were the actions of rogue outcastes."

<Zahara> "I would be interested to see these reports."

<KaralLinwei?> "I will provide them to you."

  • Zahara uses various forms of verbal gymnastics to draw more interesting information from the Dragon-Blood. Like the splits.
  • Karal Linwei? provides various useful pieces of information about "rogue outcaste" activity in nearby areas.
  • Zahara writes such things down in her book, and provides in return information about the Threat In The South.
  • Karal Linwei? accepts the information about the South gravely. "We shall speak again soon to discuss these matters once more. Now, however, I have other urgent duties to attend to."

<Zahara> "Is there someone I could speak to about establishing trade?"

  • Karal Linwei? nods as she departs. "A messenger will be sent to the Sunlands within the coming week."
  • Zahara nods, and departs, looking for a bar or someplace where revelry - regimented revelry apparently - might be had.
  • Zahara inserts into the general happiness the notion that the Sunlanders can be trusted.

  • Markuran glances over at Cerin as the Night opens the portal to Nexus. "Do we know where this comes out? We might be walking into something unpleasant."

<Cerin> "Into a small wyld zone. Don't worry, it isnt that fluid and its quite small."

<Markuran> "There are Wyld Zones in Nexus?"

<Cerin> "A few small ones. I think they are the remains of our last stands."

  • Markuran nods and glances once more at the sack riding over one shoulder. Despite having forged the weapon some time ago, Markuran has yet to put the thing on. The sack, made of heavy black cloth, is the only plain thing about the huge barbarian. His hair and beard have been trimmed, he's washed and cleaned himself and put on his best furs and clothes for this trip.
  • Cerin is clad in a simple silk shirt and pants, the light grey of his caste, trimmed in white gold. He's never really seen the need for anything more gaudy. He steps into nexus.

The unique stench of the Firewander district greets Cerin as he emerges into a dank cellar filled with... unnatural mushrooms.

<Cerin> "These weren't here last time." He shrugs "Probably not edible."

  • Markuran leans down to sniff at one of the mushrooms, not put off by the fact that it is singing and glowing the color of joy. "They might be useful."
  • Cerin shrugs "We can pick some on the way back."

The area outside the door is fairly quiet, for Nexus; the result of the uncured Wyld infection which still plagues this district. Occasional oddities sprout from the ground or float through the air, as if to remind those who journey there of its oddity.

<Markuran> "Maybe we can offer to have Zahara heal this places. Surely that would tempt the rulers here."

  • Cerin starts to walk out of the wyld zone, heading to the more stable areas "Perhaps. I am not sure how they view it. They ..things that rule this place."
  • Markuran trots after Cerin, having lingered in the Wyld Zone to peer at a passing specter that looked like the smell of lemon.
  • Cerin starts to pick his way through the streets to the council tower, keeping alert as he flows through the crowds, making sure M Arku? keeps pace.

The city of Nexus is loud, busy, and most of all dirty.

All around the two Solars, business transpires, in all its many names and forms.

  • Cerin has been here before many times, and thankfully, his charm protects him from the worst of the smells.
  • Markuran glances around as he walks, keeping a sharp eye out. At one point the big Solar pauses to lift a cut-purse off his feet before he can snitch a trader's purse and dump him into a trash barrel. Fortunatly, Cerin was waiting for a three-legged Yeddim to drag itself out of his way and Marku wasn't left behind
  • Cerin smiles softly to himself, the streets taking on a better appearance as the district improves, until they are both standing before the immense council chamber doors.

<Cerin> coucnil tower*

  • Markuran steps forward and knocks loudly at the doors.

The doors creak open, revealing an empty chamber -- something of a waiting room, pleasantly decored in a manner that says "Feel free to stay -- but not for very long." Curtains and draperies obfuscate the nature of any exits to the chamber.

  • Cerin steps forward into the chamber, casting glances about him.
  • Markuran steps inside, looking around. "We have come to see the Council of Entities, as the Sunlander messenger told you two weeks ago." the big man speaks to the room in general, since no one is about.

The echoes of Marku's voice hang in the chamber, unanswered.

  • Cerin remains there, waiting.

After a moment, a wiry, older looking man, dressed as a servant, emerges from behind one of the curtains, looking somewhat perturbed.

  • Markuran looks at the older man, waiting to be addressed.

"Excuse me, I'm very sorry. Are you here to meet with a representative of the Council of Entities?"

  • Markuran nods. "We are Markuran the Bear and Cerin the Wolf, of the Sunlands."

"I'm afraid something has come up. Your meeting will have to be delayed."

  • Markuran frowns. "What has come up?"

The old man coughs embarrassedly. "There is, ahem. A demon. In the Nexus district."

<Markuran> "What is its name?"

The servant looks at Marku as if he speaks another language.

  • Markuran glowers at the man, folding his arms over his chest. "If you don't know its name, at least tell us where it is. We can meet with the Council after we've delt with this demon. I assume that then there will no longer be a delay."

<Cerin> "It is in the Nexus District Marku, we can meet them there."

<Markuran> "I imagine a demon will be fairly easy to find." Shaking his head at the servant, Marku trots from the tower and begins searching for the commotion a demon would cause. As he moves, he opens the sack and slowly, cringingly, puts the Grim Reminder on his arm.

  • Cerin stops, and extends his senses, listening and looking.
  • Markuran shivers as the chill weapon settles against his flesh, linking to his essence and coming alive.
  • Leumas White? invites you to join #chosenofthesun
  • Leumas White? invites you to join #chosenOOC

<Cerin> "Just wait here." he slips into a small alleyway, coming out clad in flowing crimson armour. "Now, follow me." and with that he starts to flow through the crowds.

  • Markuran uses the short pause to armor himself with Charms. As he follows on Cerin's heels, the big man begins to glow faintly, the mark of the Zenith a golden brand on his forehead. The Grim Reminder seems to twist against his flesh, disliking the golden light.

It takes only a minute of running before the sounds of chaos are easily heard. Rock and metal crash together, onlookers scream and howl... a strange buzzing fills the air.

  • Cerin is moving at a pace that most normal people would call a sprint, and when he hears that he picks up pace, now flying through the crowd, stepping on a few shoulders then ropes hanging over the street, seeming to run on the air itself.
  • Markuran simply bellows for people to get out of his way, barreling through the crowd. Most do, but Marku is slowed a few times to carefully re-located people that don't move quickly enough.

It doesn't take long for Cerin to reach the site of the disturbance. On one busy streetcorner where once stood an inn of some mild repute, a huge pile of rubble stands next to a single standing wall. In front stands a beast of easily eighteen feet of height. Its chitinous skin shines a bright blue-purple; (...)

its five limbs wield massive chunks of metal and stone with which it bashes away at nearby structures. Its disturbingly handsome face grimaces in rage, but in the place of a howl only a disturbing buzzing emerges. (...)

From behind the wall shines something Cerin did not expect -- the unmistakeable glow of a Solar anima.

  • Cerin gestures and a bow of glittering sunlight appears in his hand. He alights atop a flagpole then activates the god-slaying cyclone. 6 brilliant points of light emerge from his forehead then start to whirl around him. He plucks them in turn, sending them flying toward the demon.

The insectoid creature buzzes with anger, spinning around with lightning quickness to bat at Cerin's light arrows with a chunk of wall. The arrows strike true regardless, of course, and burn brilliant holes into the opalescent carapace. Jets of purple smoke shoot out of them, and begin to clog up the air.

  • Kai slips out from behind the wall. She glances briefly up at Cerin, then darts toward the creature, a dark metal blade in one hand, a shining golden sabre in the other. Her anime, a circle of golden swords (and one dark one) is blazing.

<Kai> She slides in low, aiming both blades at one of the creature's legs.

  • Markuran bellows at the creature, appearing from one of the purple clouds. The burning gold of his anima flares into being, burning away the dark gas. The great Bronze Bear that appears over Marku seems wounded somehow, its right paw dragged down by a dark weight. As Marku's dark-shrouded fist slams into the demon, the Solar's muscles clinch in pain as the new weapon bucks against his control before submitting to his will and dea

<Markuran> before submitting to his will and dealing its blow

The beast buzzes in pain as the two Solars' attacks strike it at once. More thick purple smoke fills the area, cutting off all visibility.

After a moment, it crashes backwards, collapsing the inn's one remaining wall and leaving Kai and Markuran standing together in the smoke and rubble.

  • Kai pants. Her solar blade dissipates, and she reaches up and pulls off her helmet. She is a pretty girl of about 16, with straight black hair and deep brown eyes. Her clothing is simple, and she wears a worn breastplate and helm that don't seem fitted properly. She sheathes her other blade and steps over to Markuran.

<Kai> Uhm... Thank you.

  • Markuran joins the creature on the ground, emptying his stomach into its shattered corpse as he holds his hands over his chest, gasping between heaves. The dark weapon on his arm pulses...happily.
  • Cerin runs lightly down a rope across the street. "Greetings, Chosen of the Dawn." he gives the young girl a small bow "I am Cerin the Wolf."
  • Kai smiles. "Hi. i'm Kai Buckthorn. Thank you both."
  • Mishkin emerges from the rubble. He is a black monkey, with a mane of white fur around his face. He scampers up to Kai, and stands behind her patiently.
  • Markuran wipes his mouth, slowly rising to his feet. Cerin recognizes the smoldering look of Markuran's eyes, something that had not been present for some time. Not since...the duel with Birds many months ago.

<Cerin> "You fight well, and your mastery of essence is very impressive for one of your age."

<Kai> "Thank you. I confess, I wasn't sure I was going to survive this... thing. You gentlemen are well timed."

  • Markuran nods. "We try. What were you doing here? Why did this demon appear?"

<Kai> "Well, here is where I live. This thing..." she prods it with a boot, "Well... I think it was looking for this."

  • Kai draws her sword a bit, then resheathes it.

<Markuran> "Why would it want your sword?" Marku crosses his arms over his chest, dark eyes narrowing slightly at the young woman.

<Kai> "I think it has a bit of a history to it. It's very old."

  • Cerin briefly studies the flows within the blade. "It's a powerful weapon too. Very powerful."
  • Markuran nods faintly. "Keep it well and be warry, summoning demons to you is often frowned upon. Especially if you are not mighty enough to deal with them."

<Markuran> "Cerin, we should return to the Tower and remind the Council that now they have no excuse to delay our meeting."

<Kai> "Well, I hardly summoned it..."

  • Kai turns away from them, helping a survivor out from under the rubble.

<Kai> "Little help?"

<Markuran> "Demons do not simply walk into Creation, they are bound away from it. They must be drawn."

  • Cerin nods and starts to lift blocks of stone away. He is far stronger than he looks.

<Kai> "Well [grunt] not by me."

  • Markuran shakes his head in annoyance and starts looking around for survivors. Strangely, the weapon on his arm seems to be helping, whining at him when he comes close to the living and cooing when the dead are near.

<Kai> "You're meeting with the Council, you said?"

<Cerin> "I'm sure you didn't. So, what do you do here in Nexus?"

  • Cerin nods to her question.

<Kai> "Well, I worked in my father's shop until a few months ago... Until now, I was playing my lute in the tavern here... Now.." shrugs.

<Kai> "But maybe I can help you with the council..."

<Cerin> "That would be most welcome."

  • Markuran snorts as he lifts a shattered rooftop to allow a young couple and their child to escape. "How?"
  • Markuran drops the rooftop somewhere handy, pawing through boulders and walls for further survivors

<Kai> "Well, I mean, i don't even know your errand, but I've lived in this city my whole life, and I know a little about how it works..."

  • Cerin lifts several more peices of rubble away, listening for the survivors, helping to free them.
  • Kai shoves aside a fallen column, pulls a woman out from a hollow beneath.

<Markuran> "We plan to give the Council the chance to join with the Sunlands in alliance before they are destroyed by the coming tide of darkness. They will see reason." Marku states this flatly, as if it has already happened.

<Kai> "Hm. That's a little bigger than getting a vendor's liscence..."

  • Cerin nods as several people run past him after he lifts a pillar "Just a little."

<Markuran> "In the coming battle, we will need all the warriors we can gather to the Banner of the Sun. You would do well to join us in the Sunlands after we finish here. Cerin says your power is great for one so young, you can learn much in the Sunlands and prosper."

  • Kai smiles again. "I think I might like that. Besides, there's not much left for me here."

<Cerin> "You will be most welcome there, I am sure."

  • Markuran nods. Idly, Marku takes a moment to examine the young woman.
  • Kai is currently very dusty, and very sweaty. She is trying to direct some of the survivors away from the wreckage, towards functional inns or healers.

<Cerin> "Who is your companion?" he gestures to the Monkey

  • Mishkin pops out of the wreckage of the inn, having located Kai's mandolin.

<Kai> "Mishkin? Well, I guess I just kind of... Found him. He's quite friendly."

  • Cerin smiles
  • Kai takes the mandolin. "Thanks, Mish."
  • Cerin pauses briefly to listen for survivors

<Markuran> "All the survivors that will be recovered have been. If you want to come, we are returning to the Tower of the Council."

<Kai> "Thank you. I think I will."

<Cerin> "I can hear no more people below the rubble. Shall we go?"

  • Cerin starts to walk towards the council chambers.
  • Kai follows.

<Cerin> "So, how long have you been Exalted?"

  • Markuran follows after Cerin, carefully stripping the Reminder off his arm and replacing it in the sack. Fairly clean now and only slightly sweaty, the big man walks along behind the other two Solars, keeping an eye on them and another on the street around them

<Kai> "Not long... A few months."

<Cerin> "Truely you have grown swiftly" Cerin sounds most impressed.

<Markuran> "How did the Sun come to choose you?"

<Kai> "Well... I think it relates to the sword a bit, actually. A lot happened at once. There was a robbery... My father... My father was killed, over this sword. Thnigs happened very fast. when it was over, I had changed."

<Markuran> "Where did the sword come from?"

<Kai> My father ran a shop... We sold all sorts of things. A lot of antiques. It was just part of a lot he bought."

<Markuran> "Interesting. We can likely help you discover the great heritage this weapon brings with it."

<Kai> "I would be in your debt."

  • Markuran shakes his head. "The weapon is a tool of the Sun himself, forged by those devoted to him and touched by his blessed hand. It deserves to have its name and past recognized."

<Kai> "Oh, I know it's name."

<Kai> "It's called 'Daybreaker'."

<Markuran> "How did you learn its name, but not its past?"

  • Cerin holds his peace on the matter of the sword for the moment. He isnt going to mention that with Marku as he is.

<Kai> "Well, I'm bound to it. I can... sense it? does that make sense?"

  • Markuran nods, smiling slightly. "Yes, that is how it works."

<Cerin> "We are nearly at the council, I would advise you to keep the blade out of sight as best you can."

  • Kai touches the sword lightly, and is is gone.
  • Cerin smiles appreciatively.

<Cerin> "Marku, if you would knock again please?"

  • Markuran knocks at the door once more, pounding a fist against the surface
  • Mishkin finds himself a comfortable tree to wait in.

The door once again creaks open.

  • Markuran steps inside, sweeping the chamber to find the old servant or another
  • Cerin holds the door open for Kai, then steps in after her.
  • Kai enters.

The chamber is as empty as when the Solars left.

<Markuran> "We have defeated the demon! We will address the Council now, there is no further cause for delay!"

Markuran's words once again fall upon an empty chamber.

Moments pass.

  • Markuran growls under his breath, peering around in annoyance
  • Kai tenses slightly.

<Kai> "Something's happening."

  • Markuran looks around, then turns to Cerin. "What?"
  • Cerin watches invisible currents swirl about the room. "Essence flowing into the room. The council arrives I think."
  • Markuran nods. "Good."
  • Birds-of-Trinity has quit IRC (Quit: Birds-of-Trinity)
  • Markuran idly weaves a charm into existance around himself, noting with annoyance that the glow of power increases slightly from the battle. That damned demon...how dare it interfere with his plans here? Regardless of anger, Markuran puts on a charming smile and radiates good cheer and universal belovedment

After a moment, one of the curtains begins to blow in a non-existent wind; after a few moments of this, a figure steps out from behind it, clad entirely in white robes and bearing an expressionless silver mask upon its face.

  • Markuran bows. "You are the Emissary of the Council of Entities?"
  • Kai bows quickly.

<Emissary?> "I am the Emissary," it says, in a loud whispering tone.

  • Cerin bows "Thank you for accepting our request for audience."
  • Markuran makes his bow as well. "Yes, we are pleased to meet with you. Our messenger brought word of the great darkness facing Creation and Nexus in the near future. We come to ask Nexus to ally with us in order to withstand the great darkness coming. We hope the arrangement allows for both our people to prosper and thrive once the darkness has been weathered."
  • Emissary bows its head a little. "About what do you wish to speak to the Emissary?"
  • Kai keeps quiet.
  • Emissary "What... darkness?" The whisper is unnerving at best.

<Markuran> "The Dead rise to the South and their forms can not be dispelled, they are the touch of the Malfeans in Creation. And even as they rise, treacherous Gods of Creation have seeded the world with a plague of false Exalted. In but a few weeks, ten million will shatter Creation unless they are stopped."

  • Cerin watches Kai's reaction to this.
  • Kai 's eyes widen.
  • Emissary "Why should the Council of Entities worry of these threats?"

<Markuran> "Unless you side with the gods, they will sweep you aside. They will suffer no ruler but themselves. And against ten million Exalted, Nexus will not stand."

  • Emissary "And you will?"

<Cerin> "Not alone. But with allies such as yourself, other gods, together we will weather the storm and emerge stronger for it."

<Markuran> "We gather allies. The rest of my Circle visits Lookshy, we have spoken with gods that remain loyal to the Celestial Order and our own forces are formidable. Against this tide, we can fight. But alone, you will perish."

<Markuran> "Together, we may defeat them."

  • Emissary "The Council of Entities does not believe itself to be in peril."
  • Markuran stares at the robed figure, astonished. "You do not consider ten million Exalted peril? You think they will blithey wash around you, leaving you unharmed? They will come for you and tear Nexus to the ground if you resist. And if you capitulate, they will kill the Council for not standing with them and plunge the city into ruin with their greed. They will destroy your trade and your lives, ruin your city. That is not peri

<Markuran> That is not peril?"

  • Zahara sends a sense of satisfaction through the Unity

<Emissary?> "No."

  • Markuran replies with a wave of dark fury, confusion and irritation. A sense of twitching restraint and a yearning for violence.

<Kai> "Emissary, if you'll permit me. They speak of a force of chaos, the opposite of the great order you keep here. It would not make sense to turn asside an ally who would help maintain your order."

<Markuran> "How is that not peril? The end of your city and your lives?"

  • Zahara sends back warning and calming tones with a hint of rationality
  • Cerin sends back a complex mixture of concern, curiousity and happiness. love too.
  • Cerin puts a hand to check Marku, to let her speak.
  • Markuran quiets, a rumble deep in his chest that displays itself only a slight tremble in the big man's solid frame can be felt, but other then that Marku remains outwardly calm.

<Kai> "I have lived here all my life, and benefitted from the law of Nexus. To take an ally would merely be another... another system of protection.

  • Emissary ignores Marku and turns to the young girl. "Discuss the nature of this."
  • Kai looks briefly at Cerin, slightly lost. "The nature of Nexus is law. The, uh, the threat seeks only to undo that law."
  • Emissary "In what fashion do you intend to support the law of Nexus?"
  • Kai elbows Cerin quickly.

<Cerin> "We will help to maintain order within the boarders of the city, to prevent undesirable elements from trespass and causing chaos"

<Markuran> "We will prevent ten million Exalted from tearing the city to shreds, destroying your people and disrupting your trade..."

<Cerin> "Marku, be QUIET."

  • Emissary "That is an acceptable beginning. What allegiance do you seek?"

<Cerin> "In exchange we seek access to what capacity your city has for the manufacture of weapons and other such Material. We would also like to Exalt some of your citizenry ourselves, to aid in maintaining order. We would like to speak with the God of the city, should such exist to aid in this process. The Sunlands as a whole would be most ameanable to increasing our trade relations with Nexus, both before the conflict and after it." (...)

<Emissary?> "We are always.. interested... in trade."

<Cerin> "The conflict itself might make such trade difficult, though we will try to keep such disruption to a minimum, and with your aid, can likely reduce the length of the war."

  • Markuran turns a dark glare on Cerin. "One of our Circle may heal the Wyld Zones as well."
  • Cerin nods.

<Cerin> "

  • Emissary "The Council of Entities will consider this suggestion."

<Cerin> "Thank you. We would ask that you do not consider over long. The armies start to march in 6 weeks."

  • Emissary "An answer will be delivered within two."
  • Cerin nods "Thank you for your time." he bows
  • Kai bows quickly.
  • Emissary bows in return.
  • Cerin turns and starts to walk from the chamber. When they are outside, he turns to Kai "Thank you in there. I am not sure I would have known how to begin without your start."

<Kai> "I'm just gald you took over. I have no idea what you've been tlaking about for the past ten minutes."

<Cerin> "I will explain it to you when we get home. Do you have anything else you wish to collect in the city?"

  • Kai sits down heavily on the steps outside, breathes deeply.
  • Cerin crouches next to her "I'm sorry we dumped all that on you without warning."

<Kai> "I think..." (checking supplies) "I think this is everything I have. All my spare clother are under an inn."

  • Mishkin scampers up, hands her an apple, which she happily tears into.
  • Telgar is now known as Markuran

<Cerin> "Knowing what you do, would you like to accompany us back to the sunlands? If you don't, there is a chance the coming storm will pass you by, though I cannot deny your sword and your magic will be of great help to us."

  • Markuran growls deep in his chest. "Two weeks to decide if they wish to perish or not. Fools!" still growling angrily to himself, Marku walks past the other two and toward the portal, his anger easily felt by anyone that sees the massive barbarian.

<Kai> "I'll go, with thanks."

<Kai> "They're not normal minds, the Council."

  • Cerin shakes his head "Not normal in any way."
  • Cerin offers her a hand.
  • Kai accepts, stands.
  • Cerin sends to zahara uncertain success, and excitement.
  • Markuran is still a dark mass of anger and controlled violence in the Link

<Cerin> Then he walks with Kai to the gate, and through it to the Sunlands, many thousands of miles to the south.

  • Zahara sends back love and pleased-ness, followed by self-satisfied smirkiness
  • Cerin sends love and need-to-know.
  • Cerin leads her through the forest to the Labyrinth Cascade. He talks with her about things of little consequence as they walk.

<Kai> "What is this?"

<Cerin> "That is the labyrinthine cascade. It is our home and a manse of some power."

  • Zahara emerges from the portal, having tired of the company in Lookshy, and she, Bertrand and Tanty fly back to the Cascade. Birds had remained behind, having a much higher tolerance for parties than Zee.
  • Cerin leads her through the maze. He sends Zahara an urgent desire to see.
  • Zahara returns his thought with the addition of a DESIRE to see.
  • Kai tries to memorize the turns of the maze, assuredly fails.
  • Cerin smiles at some internal thought as they emerge from the maze. "Ahh, Tantamount is home. Zahara is here." he sounds very pleased at this as he gestures to the manticore

<Kai> "Tantamount?"

<Cerin> "That is his name."

  • Kai peers at the creature.
  • Tanatamount is a manticore, with a lions body, leather wings, and a sorpion's tale
  • Mishkin keeps his distance.
  • Markuran moves to find the two returning from Lookshy, his bootfalls sending little tremors through the ground as he walks
  • Cerin leads her up through the no less twisting manse to a chamber littered with red silk cusions. In one corner, a Gilmyne dances. Cerin flows over to Zahara and kisses her, before he turns "Kai Buckthorn, this is Zahara Zhan. Zahara, this is Kai Buckthorn, she aided us in nexus, and is a solar as powerful as ourselves."
  • Kai extends her hand cheerfully. "Nice to meet you."
  • Zahara adjusts her rather low-cut dress, and rises to her feet with an appraising look at the new girl. "I see. I hadn't heard of another of like power in Nexus." she accepts the hand after a moment's hesitation.
  • Markuran nods at Cerin as he steps into the room. The big Solar has found himself a seat. Chips of stone on the floor suggest he is still in a foul mood, despite the dancing demon. In fact, it seems to be making him more irritated until he turns away from in, grinding his jaw loudly.

<Kai> "I haven't been there long. Well, not as one of power, anyway."

  • Zahara looks closer, particularly for signs of a soul cage, or similar effect, in her essence patterns.

<Cerin> "She gave me the hint that I needed to get through to the Emissary. He said he would consider our offer. We will hear within two weeks."

<Zahara> "My negotiations were not quite as successful as I had hoped, but they went well regardless. Lookshy insists on remaining autonomous, although we have agreed to share information, trade, and protection. I left with the option to renegotiate for full protection for their full allegiance, and the seed of trust in us."

  • Cerin nods. "That is good news."
  • Birds-of-Trinity swings the door to the gilmyne room open. "Zahara, I..." She pauses, and a look passes between her and the obsidian bird sitting on her shoulder. "Hello..."

<Zahara> "Are you here to ally with us, Kai Buckthorn?"

<Kai> "Hi!"

<Markuran> "At least Lookshy is not ruled by fools and freaks of nature."

<Cerin> "This is Birds of Trinity. Birds, This is Kai Buckthorn."

<Kai> (to Z) "I guess if you put it like that, yes."

  • Kai extands a hand to Birds.
  • Zahara looks over and smiles to Birds. "Markuran, you really ought to calm down. Hasty alliances are not true alliances."
  • Birds-of-Trinity bows. "This is Smoking Mirror. We are glad to meet you." She takes the hand, pauses a moment, then shakes it rather than kissing it.

<Kai> "Besides, nothing important ever gets done in Nexus in less than two weeks."

<Kai> "Oh, and this is Mishkin!" coaxes the monkey into the room, which he doesn't seem too keen on entering.

  • Cerin is now known as Kraken
  • Mishkin keeps close to her feet.
  • Kraken is now known as Cerin
  • Markuran growls. "I was perfectly calm until that masked fool decided to appear."

<Cerin> "The masked fool he refers to is the Emissary."

  • Birds-of-Trinity kneels and extends a hand to the monkey.

<Zahara> "That masked fool is in charge of Nexus. You would do well to allow for cultural differences between peoples, if you wish to unite them. Not everyone ascribes to barbarism."

  • Miskin* looks at it, at Birds, at Smoking mirror, and hides behind Kai's legs.
  • Birds-of-Trinity giggles and stands up.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Decided to appear, Marku?"

<Markuran> "If protecting your people is barbaric, then the world would do well to let it be imposed upon them. That..godling..is irresponsible. It would have denied our offer of alliance, dooming its people. Only Kai's thinking and Cerin's words saved Nexus."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I am given to understand that, on occasion, leaders do such things at diplomatic meetings."

<Cerin> "He materized out of flows of essence."

<Markuran> "It tried to worm out of it. A pathetic excuse of a demon breaking its bonds. The demon took no more then a few blows to fell."

  • Birds-of-Trinity hrms.
  • Zahara eyes Markuran, "You are so childlike sometimes."

<Zahara> "The world is not black and white."

<Kai> "I think the Emissary is less of a leader and more of a... weird force of nature."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Well, you are the statesmen. I am but a humble prophet. Poet? Something..."

  • Birds-of-Trinity reclines on a couch.

<Cerin> "That is more true than you can know, Kai. He is truely unique."

  • Birds-of-Trinity thinks of something. "Marku, sit. Drink tea." She prods at pressure points in his back. "Did you know you have this huge tangle in your muscle...this big one I don't recognize?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I have no idea how you do this to yourself."

<Kai> "Heh, saving my tail."

  • Birds-of-Trinity nods. "What do you both mean, force of nature?"
  • Markuran looks over his shoulder at Birds. "That's called a scar, Birds."

<Cerin> "He was made by those who made Creation. His actions suggest works on entirely different principles to us."

<Cerin> suggest he*

<BirdsOfTrinity> "A..." she pauses, looks at a gilmyne...we would not bring someone here who is not trustworthy, "...Hundredfold, you think, or some other thing again?"

<Cerin> "An entirely different order of being from of the Hundredfold."

  • Kai has set heself up on a comfortable couch.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "That is somewhat upsetting."

<Cerin> "Upsetting?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "In terms of my research. There are always more things in the world than I have yet dreamed of."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "It becomes difficult to keep track."

  • Cerin nods "It does at that."
  • Markuran looks back at Birds again. "Indeed. Learning everything becomes annoying when you find you don't know everything. Why are you spending so much time on my rear end?"
  • Zahara curls back up on her cushion, contemplating this new turn, and reading contexts and subtexts into the words spoken by the new Solar. "Do tell us your story, Kai." she invites.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'm trying to figure out how it contrives to so strongly resemble your head."

  • Cerin sits next to Zahara, putting an arm round her
  • Zahara snuggles up next to Cerin posessively, and awaits story time
  • Kai sits up. "Me? Uhm... Well, I was living with my father at his shop until a few months ago... Then we were... attacked. There was a robbery. It was just after we'd gotten this sword in," (lifts her sword in its sheath) "And three people came in looking for it. They killed my father, and there was blood everywhere and.. And that's when I changed, I guess." (...)
  • Markuran glowers at Birds. "If you're just going to be insulting, why are you still groping me?"

<Kai> "I'm not really sure how it went, it all happened very fast, but by the time it was over, they were gone, and the shop was in flames. Since then, I'd been staying in one of the local inns, playing my mandolin and singing for money... Until today, when the demon came."

  • Zahara eyes Kai curiously, then her gaze shifts to the sword itself, trying to fathom its mysteries. "You are a strange one."

<Cerin> "It was a powerful Demon, as such things go, of the second circle."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Have you looked at your Essence lately, Marku? I don't have to have eyes like Cerin's to see that your energies are so tense, they're making contortions that Cynis would blush at."

<Kai> "Hey, you live in a pyramid with a half-naked dancer and a weird lion thing."

  • Kai smiles.

<Zahara> "Half-naked?" she looks up at the gilmeyne and chuckles, "Is that all?"

<Markuran> "I can not see my own essence, Birds of Trinity. But any stress is from dealing with godlings that are out of line, ruling when they have no buisness doing so."

<Zahara> "You came upon your power more quickly than you should have. You must be careful that you understand its strengths and limits, and also its drawbacks. It is a heady drug."

<Kai> "Well, I mean, how did you get yours? I've never met another one like me."

  • Cerin looks slightly pained, though it does not effect him so deeply now "Hunting the gods that destroyed my village."

<Markuran> "The Sun rewarded our service and hard work. We spent time contemplating our natures and the glory he has given us."

<Kai> "Hm. Yeah, that's not what happened to me at all."

<Zahara> "Do tell."

  • Markuran leans back against Birds' fingers, relaxing slightly.

<Kai> "Well, I guess it just sort of happened all at once, mostly. I mean, I've learned a bit since, but I've never hunted gods or talked to the sun..."

<Zahara> "You were not visited by Sol Invictus?"

<Kai> "... I... I'm afraid I don't know what that is."

<Zahara> "Sol Invictus. The Unconquered Sun. The source of your power."

<Kai> "Oh. I mean, I can kind of FEEL the sun sometimes, but never anything... direct, if that's what you're saying."

<Zahara> "ah." she frowns thoughtfully. "You must stay, so I can study this phenomenon more thoroughly."

  • Kai smiles, a little nervously. "Okay".
  • Markuran looks up from Birds' massage, his muscles tightening slightly. "Study carefully, Zahara.." the big man warns
  • Birds-of-Trinity offers Kai an interesting fruit. "Don't let Zee scare you. She acts tough, but she's really a big softy. Look at how pudgy Tanty's been getting!" She pokes the manticore's potbelly to illustrate.
  • Kai enjoys interesting fruit!

<Markuran> "Birds, might we talk in my rooms or yours?"

  • Zahara rolls her eyes and sighs.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Sure."

Tags: (:tags Lookshy, Karal Linwei, God-Exalts, Soulcages, Bertrand, Nexus, Council of Entities, Demons, Daybreaker, Grim Reminder, The Emissary, Kai's Exaltation:)

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