< Conversing On Kai | Sol Invictus Logs | Books In The Garden >

The sun sets in the West as the Solars return to the Labyrinthine Cascade, the shattered window of the skyship tinkling tiny pieces of glass upon the ground as it hovers towards their home.

  • Cerin is flying the craft at a far lower speed than on the way out, but eventually they reach the Cascade, Cerin carefully settling the ship into the low building that serves as its hanger.
  • Zahara has collected most of the glass into a bag which now resides on the floor of the cockpit. She occasionally glances down at it with a frown before returning her attention back forward. The ride home is slower than the ride there, since too much speed makes it difficult to see.
  • Kai is sitting toward the back of the cockpit, picking the last of the larger zombie bits out of her clothing.
  • Birds-of-Trinity thinks.

The familiar sound of the cascading water greets the Solars as the ship settles within the manse.

  • Cerin turns the craft off "How difficult will it be to fix this, do you think love?"
  • Zahara sighs and nudges the bag of glass with her foot, "That depends on how long it takes me to figure out how to fuse these back together into the proper shape without it warping, running, cracking, or otherwise annoying me."

The sunlight glinting off the water which flows in through one side of the hangar's open roof is notably beautiful today.

  • Cerin kisses her softly, smiling at the sun "I am sure you will fix it soon."

<Zahara> "The question is, whether I fix it NOW, or AFTER the wars."

  • Kai exits the ship, streching her arms. Mishkin trots up to her happily, and circles about her feet.

<Cerin> "It is a useful ship to have. Perhaps we could fly it down to Rathess, and ask Ssithumi and her people to work on it while we concentrate on other things?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "That seems like a good idea. Perhaps they can make windows with that vegetal crystal of theirs."

<Zahara> "If so, you may have to look for the Toolkit without me.. You know what I need.. a workshop where time doesn't flow. That would be nice."

  • Cerin frowns softly, and starts to look about him a little more, letting essence extend all his senses, comparing everything to his memories of when they left.
  • Cerin tilts his head softly, then leaps out through the window, landing softly on the ground in a small pool of red ribbons. He starts to scan around more, then sets off out of the garage at some speed, following something intently.

<Zahara> "Cerin? Where are you going?"

<Kai> "Should we go after him?"

<Cerin> "Something passed this way. It channeled essence, but it is not one of the blooded."

  • Zahara looks over at Kai, then nods. "Sounds like it. Be prepared."
  • Telgar is now known as Markuran
  • Kai draws, and follows behind Cerin at a distance of several paces.
  • Markuran mutters in annoyance as he follows behind Cerin, clinching one fist on and off as he walks
  • Cerin picks up pace as he starts to track more certainly, flowing silently along the ground in a half-run that still seems far too fast.
  • Zahara draws her daiklave as well, and opens her eyes to the second sight, studying the path Cerin follows, as well as keeping an eye on the surroundings, to see if there are other paths he is not following.
  • Birds-of-Trinity raises an eyebrow, then cartwheels out of the airship and follows behind Markuran.

The trail leads Cerin down the hallway, through a winding series of hallways, to one of the areas filled with small chambers used entirely for storage. One door, perhaps 50 yards away, is perhaps half an inch ajar.

  • Cerin holds up his hand to stop people, then lets essence flow into his armour, the armour twists it, wrapping him in mystery and uncertanty. And then he flows along the corridor, a hint of crimson in the shadows until he can listen at the door.

Cerin hears the faint sound of metal rustling against the ground, interspersed with what sounds like particularly vigorous chewing. Cerin and Zahara both notice the wisps of unshaped Essence which flow out of the small crack in the door.

  • Cerin activates flow like blood, then silently pulls the door open.
  • Zahara follows, her own defenses activated. She makes a 'hushing' motion to the others following them

Cerin sees nothing at first -- then he looks down. Sitting upon the floor of the small storage closet, Cerin spots what appears to be a tiny aalorai -- no more than 8 inches in height. It sits cross-legged, its numerous wings hanging limply behind it, its six arms grabbing tiny scraps of metal and bringing them to its mouth to be eaten. Its tiny red eyes glow in the dark.

  • Kai follows silently.

A moment after it sees Cerin, it lets out a pitiful yelp and dives behind an empty chest.

<Zahara> "Oh, it's cute...and it's EATING MY SUPPLIES!"

<Kai> "What is it?"

  • Cerin very carefully pulls the door shut behind him, then starts to walk towards the creature. It's probably dark in the sotreroom right now. "One of the Aalorai."
  • Markuran bursts out laughing, nearly collapsing until he holds onto Cerin to avoid falling to the floor
  • Baby Aalorai? pokes up its tiny head above the chest and looks at Cerin nervously.
  • Birds-of-Trinity goes to look.
  • Cerin smiles at it. What has it been eating?
  • Zahara looks at the disarray of her precious metals

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh my goodness."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We need more of these."

  • Baby Aalorai? is a tiny little thing, made entirely of metal, with six wings and six arms, and a head with a slight birdlike shape to it. It is extremely cute.
  • Zahara edges around to get a better look at the thing. "I knew I should have done something more secure with that ball."

It has been munching on what appear to be the remnants of misforged swords and other scrap iron.

  • Kai sheaths Daybreaker. "It's a little metal bird thing."
  • Baby Aalorai? yelps again as more Solars arrive to glare at it, and suddenly makes a break for it! It dashes out from behind the chest and, before she can react, hides behind Zahara's leg.

<Cerin> "It's only been eating your scra-.." he has a sudden thought. Beside him appears a 2ft sphere of jade and orichalcum. He touches it and it opens to reveal a multitude of things, including a red metal dagger and a ten inch sphere. "We have another one."

  • Birds-of-Trinity picks up a broken dagger and offers it to the little guy.
  • Zahara makes little clucking noises and crouches down, edging closer to the little guy. Then discovers her efforts at approaching it are in vain, as it hides behind her. She grins and twists about slightly to look at it. "I think I'll keep it. It needs a name."
  • Baby Aalorai? sticks out one miniscule hand quickly to accept the shards from Birds, then continues to hide behind Zahara.

<Zahara> "How about.. Reaver? That's a cute name."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You have a funny definition of cute."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Good thing it likes you."

  • Cerin carefully removes the egg, then reseals the sphere, banishing it once more. He smiles "That works my love."
  • Reaver cluches Zahara's leg fiercely
  • Zahara reaches down to pick the little guy up, being careful not to hurt its eeny weeny limbs

<Kai> "What's that, Cerin?"

<Cerin> "The second egg we took."

  • Reaver allows Zahara to lift it. It is even cuter when it is suspended in midair! Its wings sway back and forth.

<Markuran> "Isnt that going to grow into a monster bent on destroying humanity?"

<Zahara> "It'll be MY monster."

  • Reaver continues nibbling on metal scraps.

<Markuran> "You already have a monster. And what if this thing eats more then we have to spare?"

<Zahara> "Well we'll have to kill it then. But until then, it's mine."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Tanty ism't a monster."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "He's more of a...funny-looking dog."

<Kai> "Uhm. How are we defining 'monster' here?"

<Zahara> "Tanty is my friend."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You know, the usual way. Does it eat children, would it scare my mother, etc."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, it occurs to me that these critters are rather less cute when they are eight feet tall and all of those hands have swords."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "What plans do we have for that eventuality?"

<Markuran> "I would so assume."

<Cerin> "That is true. They are even less cute when they are on the warpath."

<Zahara> "Yes, and when such a creature is on our side, we will be more fearsome as well."

<Markuran> "Smashing of its cute little skull."

  • Markuran glowers at the cute little beast of metal.
  • Reaver looks up at Markuran bashfully and smiles lopsidedly

<Kai> "Are they... intelligent? Or more like animals?"

  • Zahara pets its little birdy head

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Kai, are you familiar with the Dragon Kings?"

<Kai> "A little."

  • Markuran sighs and pats the thing on its head lightly.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "This creature is an aalorai...they are somewhat kin."

<Zahara> "Its parents would sooner tear us to shreds, than look at us, however."

<Cerin> "The fully grown ones are more intelligent that the average person, and they are natural essence channelers like the dragon kings."

<Cerin> "We, the Solars that is, warred with them in the First Age."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Their culture tells them that humanity is a race of slaves."

<Kai> "Oh."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Shall we continue this somewhere more comfortable? It is not a short story."

  • Cerin nods "That would be wise." He scoops up a handful of scraps, offering a peice to Reaver
  • Reaver looks up cutely at Cerin for a moment, then snatches the scraps and begins to consume them.
  • Zahara studies its essence flows minutely, already devising a way to create a teeny weeny collar for its itty bitty neck

<Cerin> "I will just go to the library. I think the crystal will help explain the Aalorai more. I will see you in the red room."

  • Reaver has what is clearly a fairly minute mastery of Essence -- enough to channel a few extremely minor effects, but nothing greater.

<Zahara> "Ah, good idea, Love. I will see if I can get it to communicate a little easier." She smiles delightedly at her companions, who haven't seen her this happy since the chastity belt went 'click' for the first time. Or for Kai, never.

  • Cerin is waiting for them in the red room, sitting on the cushions. He has a small crystal in his hands. "I know Kai has not seen this, have you Birds? Marku?"
  • Kai sits down on one of the couches, taking the opportunity to unbuckle her breastplate.

<Zahara> "Which crystal is that?" she has gotten Reaver to perch on her shoulder, by coaxing with tasty metals. He is now trying to decide if her hair tastes good.

<Cerin> "The one that shows the Aalorai on the warpath."

<Zahara> "Ah.. maybe we shouldn't show that one to Reaver."

  • Reaver already seems to be responding tentatively to his name; he looks at Zahara inquisitively.
  • Zahara pats him reassuringly

<Cerin> "I didn't intend to show it to Reaver. Kai shoud see it though." he moves over to sit by Kai. "Touch the stone..it might be a little disorienting at first, but just watch." Then he turns it on.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I don't think so."

  • Kai places her palm on the stone.
  • Zahara exits the room while the video is on.
  • Birds-of-Trinity pokes the crystal as well.

<Cerin> "Watch then." The video plays.

The lifelike image fills the room and the Solars observe the terrible viciousness of the aalorai as they slay the army that opposes them.

  • Zahara plays with Reaver in the other room, trying to teach him little games.
  • Reaver seems quite excited to play.

<Cerin> "And that is what Reaver will grow up to be. The island he comes from is far to the west, however."

  • Kai is slightly dazed. "Oh."
  • Birds-of-Trinity blinks. "Well."

<Zahara> "Reaver, someday we'll make a movie-crystal together."

<Cerin> "And now you see the reason for my caution on that island, Birds."

  • Birds-of-Trinity gets Zee.
  • Reaver claps several of his tiny metal hands together with a tiny "clang."
  • Zahara grins, and returns to the red room with Birds.

<Zahara> "Look, he can clap!"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "It seems that in all the old stories the Hundredfold have the strengths of numbers and unity of purpose."

  • Reaver demonstrates.
  • Zahara rewards him with a bit of tasty metal
  • Reaver chews happily.

<Kai> "Do you think it's safe to keep one here?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Why do you suppose they were using diamond arrows?"

<Cerin> "To pentrate the hide."

<Zahara> "We have some diamond arrows ourselves, although we never got to use them. They are stronger and sharper than simple metal. Plus they sparkle when you loose one."

<Cerin> "It is possible they were essence feedback weapons. Ours are."

<Zahara> "Reaver likes me. He won't be any trouble." she reflects for a moment, "Well, not if I train him properly."

  • Reaver crawls over Zahara's back and alights on her opposite shoulder.

<Cerin> "Anyway, the aalorai are not a pressing threat to the best of our knowledge. We need to find the items on the list we recieved from the Xi-Mi-Taxi." he looks around "The Xi-Mi-Taxi are another race, similar to the Aalorai, though less hostile." he adds, for Kai's benefit.

<Zahara> "Do not anger the Xi-Mi-Taxi either, though, or they will cause you to explode."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Really?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I have never exploded."

  • Birds-of-Trinity looks mildly interested by the prospect.
  • Markuran turns to peer at Birds. "Really? Sometimes you make sounds that almost seem as if you had..."

<Zahara> "You haven't angered them yet."

<Cerin> "Anyway, we need the contents of that list."

<Zahara> "Yes, yes indeed." She frowns for a minute, "I could attempt to summon one of Ligier's souls for his tears, but I can't do that until four hours before midnight."

<Markuran> "They probably mean Ligier himself, you know."

<Markuran> "But, while you work on the list, I have my own tasks to attend to."

<Zahara> "I'm sure his souls can gather his tears."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Mm."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh, you know, I think I owe Iallu some odes."

<Cerin> "I think this might be the time to visit Rovak Hart-Runner, bertrand's god."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Perhaps our divine patrons can see fit to assist with the Peach."

<Markuran> "I have some Celestial-Peach Flavored frozen balls that I kept from Calibration..."

<Zahara> "Hmm I doubt Rovak will actually be willing to *help*" she eyes Cerin, "And if we kill him, Betrand will die." she pauses, then adds, "Not that I'd cry too many tears over him."

<Cerin> "Perhaps. We also need to find some where for them to stay."

<Cerin> "Then I will not eat his soul."

  • Zahara shrugs, "Well, if he is bent on destroying us, it won't hurt to destroy him first. Bertrand isn't that useful, beyond amusement, these days."

<Cerin> "Perhaps he can be persauded to side with us."

<Cerin> "Any you can keep him to an oath of loyalty."

<Zahara> "This is a possibility. One I doubt he will accept without one of your arrows at his throat, but a possibility nonetheless."

<Zahara> "Oh, maybe Bertrand can give us his soul. That would be nice."

<Cerin> "Well, he may still have part of the toolkit, and that will save us time."

  • Kai has pretty much zoned out, and is, in fact, mostly asleep.

<Markuran> "Cerin could just steal some Peaches.."

<Cerin> "That I will do if we cannot find them in the care of one of the gods facing us."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Marku, can you hand me that notebook over there, please?"

<Cerin> "Kai?"

  • Kai sits up. "Hm? Yes?"
  • Birds-of-Trinity pulls a quill out of her sleeve and scribbles some lines of text on a sheet of paper, then glues it into the book.
  • Markuran peers at what he handed Birds

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Kai," she says, Essence swirling up from her fingertips, "this book holds a condensed version of our story: what the Xi-Mi-Taxi and their relations are, what we have done, what we know."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "You should read it first. The rest of you! As you learn new things, please consult the book so that your knowledge can be deposited there."

  • Cerin 's eyes light up slightly as he percieves the essence at work. "Birds, I might have to ask you for some books like that.."
  • Kai looks at the book sheepishly. "Uhm..."
  • Zahara gets the Aalorai to clap for Birds' book

<Kai> "You see... I'm not especially good at... Uhm... reading."

  • Reaver claps eagerly and lets out a tiny squeak.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh. I see. Worry not! The book contains many helpful illustrations, and we all have ample opportunity to improve our reading skills."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'm not so good at it myself."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "As for you, Cerin, my quill is at your service."

<Kai> "Oh. All right." She peers tentatively at the book.

<Markuran> "When there is time, Kai, I will teach you to read."

<Kai> "Thank you, Markuran. I... I appreciate it."

<Cerin> "Thank you, Birds. Now, I think we need to make preperations to return to Listran."

  • Birds-of-Trinity nods.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "What is our plan for when we arrive?"

<Zahara> "We could approach them diplomatically, or we could try to reason with them once they're a bit pulpy."

<Cerin> "Them? There is but one god in the sungrove now."

<Zahara> "Well, the god and its various hangers on."

<Zahara> "I'm assuming he will have exalted some peasants or some such by now, or else he's no use to us."

<Cerin> "She. But yes, I hope she will have new followers."

A short time later, the Solars return to the Sungrove, sight of an earlier victory. The site is not as it once was -- the birches are shedding their bark and the light that glints off the leaves is splotchy and unsettling.

  • Kai peers around. "You really have no shortage of strange places."
  • Birds-of-Trinity rolls her eyes. "At least this one is relatively comfortable."

<Zahara> "Creation is a wide and wonderful place."

<Cerin> "I will have to show you the drawings of Bi`Allah some day." he starts to walk into the clearing, ribbons swirling around him.

  • Zahara flips her Daiklave around her hand a couple of times idly.
  • Birds-of-Trinity mutters about Cerin's pretty princess outfit.

Within the grove itself, the silver grass has wilted. To one side of the grove, the Solars can see a woman of silver light, lying on the ground under a blanket of dew.

<Zahara> "Ah, what a sad thing this place has come to. It was so beautiful, before." Zahara says as they enter the clearing.

As the Solars approach, the goddess stirs. "What is i... NO!" She suddenly begins to scream as she sees who approaches.

  • Cerin nods sadly "My arrows slew more than gods it seems."
  • Zahara watches her scream mildly. "Are you finished?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Please do not be alarmed."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We are not here to kill you."

<Markuran> "You mean your belly did. Do you have to go about eating all the gods we defeat?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I think? Cerin?"

  • Reaver is now known as Shining
  • Shining stops screaming.

<Shining?> "What... what do you want?!"

<Zahara> "We came to offer you a choice, really." She smiles pleasantly.

<Cerin> "I currently have no intention of harming her. It is up to her, though."

  • Shining appears terrified
  • Birds-of-Trinity watches Zahara break out the intimidation.
  • Zahara holds out her hand and ticks off the choices on her fingers, "One, you can help us of your own free will and be considered an ally, whom we will protect from harm. Two, you can insist we need to convince you more to help us, and be considered untrustworthy. Third, you can join your friends."

<Zahara> "It's quite simple, really." Another smile.

  • Shining would blanch if (a) she were not a God, and (b) there were a shade of white that was whiter than her current color.

<Zahara> "You have five minutes to decide. Oh, and don't try to run, it won't work."

  • Shining briefly runs over the factors in her head and makes a decision. "What do you wish of me?"

<Cerin> "We wish to know how to make Exalts. We wish for all the parts of the toolkit that you still possess. And we wish for your essence to make more gods."

<Zahara> "We wish for you to forswear your efforts to join the other Gods in a war against Creation, and in doing so, swear to aid us with the tools necessary to Exalt mortals, the Exalts you have already created, and your help as well as an ally. We could have come to this agreement much sooner if you hadn't been so unreasonable the last time we met."

  • Shining sighs, as if near tears. "I am ruined regardless, and ruined all the more if you prove successful. I might as well step willingly beneath the boot once more."

<Zahara> "We will prove successful, you know. It has always been the task of Solars to make sure the Gods stay in their rightful places."

  • Shining makes a bitter face at that remark.

<Zahara> "But we will return to you your place above mortals. You deserve the worship that has been denied you by the Dynasts." she says that as if it is a dirty word.

  • Shining makes a confused face. "You did not do that before." It is clear that "before" is a very, very long time ago.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "We have learned much in the meanwhile."

  • Markuran shakes his head at the Goddess. "You are pathetic...you barely deserve to exist...but it is ordained that you do, so long as you obey the Hierarchy. Do so and we will let you resume your proper place in it."

<Zahara> "This is a new era. The Unconquered Sun deserves the most high worship, but you Gods who do your jobs well deserve it as well."

  • Zahara gives Marku a dirty look.

<Shining?> "Very well. I have no items in any such toolkit, though I can tell you what I know of the process itself. I can lend my Exalts to your cause, and make more if you acquire the means to do so."

<Zahara> "How did you Exalt yours, with no toolkit?"

<Shining?> "With materials lent to me by Lai."

<Cerin> "Did he mention where they would be going next?"

<Zahara> "How is Lai, by the way?" She leans against a convenient tree trunk

<BirdsOfTrinity> "That scumbladdering corpse-rag..."

<Kai> (quietly, to herself) "'Scumbladdering'?"

  • Cerin gives Birds a rather curious look.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I am getting a mite tired of our good -friend- Lai."

  • Birds-of-Trinity does not mention that she never really learnt to swear.

<Shining?> "I have not spoken to Lai since before our last encounter. He came here, asked that we test his Exaltation process, and left."

  • Markuran shakes his head once again, harumphing to himself. Zahara and Cerin only like him when they're asking him for something..whenever he tries to talk to someone, they get mad! Like he's being terrible or something.
  • Birds-of-Trinity patpats Marku.

<Zahara> "Ah, what will you tell him if he returns again, now?"

<Shining?> "That my existence is wretched and unbearable, and that I bear him no good will?"

<Zahara> "That will do."

  • Zahara ponders for a moment, "In what way do you prefer to receive worship?"

<Shining?> "I was once fond of couples choosing these woods for copulation due to their... beauty..." She looks weepy.

  • Zahara regards the woods with a measuring look, considering the Essence flows around and through it
  • Cerin feels a little sorrow at the passing of the beauty of the place as he studies it.

<Shining?> They are not what they once were, though with some effort they could be made to shine again.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh! We can make it into a garden. Smoking Mirror just loves trees. Yes."

<Shining?> "That would be nice."

  • Zahara nods solemnly. "You will make it shine again, and we will assist you in that. You have only to swear your alliance to us."
  • Shining looks around and nods.
  • Zahara offers her hand
  • Shining touches it.

<Zahara> "Then we seal this alliance, here and now, in your grove, which will shine again." She reels off her 'new ally' oath, having practiced it many times by now, binding Shining to the Sunlands.

  • Shining nods again.

<Markuran> "If it would make everyone happier, I'd be willing to assist Shining in returning to her proper station."

<Zahara> "That would help indeed. But first I would prefer we discuss what that station is. In private." She smiles benignly

  • Markuran nods slightly. "Alright. After Birds helps me get Shining back on her feet, prayer-wise. Let's go find a nice soft grove, Birds!"
  • Zahara chuckles a bit, waiting to see Birds' reaction to the proposition
  • Birds-of-Trinity raises an eyebrow. "No flowers? Who taught -you- this game?"
  • Markuran produces a flower from the ground near his feet!

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Perhaps some other time, dear. But today, we have much to do!" She springs to her feet and points at the sky. "Onwards!"

  • Zahara gives Cerin a meaningful look as well, the one that involves smokey eyes, and red lips.

<BirdsOfTrinity> She accepts the flower and sticks it in her hair.

  • Cerin is at her side instantly. He kisses the very red lips.
  • Zahara retreats with Cerin to a secluded part that Marku does not look likely to desire.
  • Birds-of-Trinity considers reevaluating her opinion of the barbarian, though. Zahara is right about his butt.

<Kai> "Does that happen a lot?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Those two?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Constantly."

  • Markuran nods. "Lets be going. I have work to do."

<Kai> "And awkwardness to avoid..."

  • Birds-of-Trinity casually links arms with the two of them as they walk back to the wasps.

<Kai> "So, what was that a god of?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I think she is...the light through the tree's leaves striking the earth..."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Something complicated like that."

<Kai> "She didn't seem so bad..."

  • Markuran slips his arm around Birds' waist and walks happily.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Her servants do not make such pleasant company, unfortunately."

Tags: (:tags Reaver, Aalorai, Xi-Mi-Taxi, Bertrand, The Three Lights, Lai Misuna, Shining :)

< Conversing On Kai | Sol Invictus Logs | Books In The Garden >