Cerin emerges from the Nexus gate, clad in simple grey clothing, well tailored though nothing that would stand out. He has a small sword at his side, obviously well made and well used. He goes onto guard as he notices the wyld essence seeping in from just beyond the gate area.
The streets bustle as always, full of every variety of unseemly character.
The library is somewhat classy for a building in Nexus, standing aloof among the surrounding buildings.
Librarian "Do you have a membership, sir?"
<Cerin> "I am afraid I do not. How do you aquire one?"
<Cerin> "Ah. My apologies, I did not notice it as I walked in." he turns to walk toward the desk.
<Cerin> "I would like to become a member of this library."
<Cerin> Despite the blade at his side, Cerin speaks with the accent of a Great Forks scholar. "I wish to look at some of your books, of course."
<Cerin> "How much does it cost to be a member?"
<Cerin> "I wish to find certain books on occult and on botany."
Librarian "Linguistic texts are on the third floor in the central display, botany on the fifth, towards the back."
<Cerin> "Thank you."
"The Perfumed Manual of The Occultic Blossom" awaits Cerin in the fifth floor of the building.
"The Chrysanthemum is a flower of powerful symbology, used frequently in occultic practice. It represents the season of Fire, as the heat descends and Creation prepares for frost. It also represents the element of the same name, with the power to consume and spread.
"It is associated heavily with long life, and conversely with things brought to an untimely end. It favors the sunset and the night sky which follows, the warm southern wind, and the masculine gender."
After a few hours of careful digging, Cerin finds something very... unusual. Slipping it away discreetly, he moves on to other matters.
<Cerin> ..that ...is... interesting. but he couldnt let it distract him yet.
Some time passed as he learned to speak the southern tongue and then he moves through the gates and emerges into blazing sunshine, a cliff behind the gate. Below him, Chiaroscuro glitters in the morning sun. He starts to descend. He needs to know where the next attacks will be, and for that he needs information. Hopefully rumour will supply what he needs...
After some time spent listening, it becomes evident that there seems to be a pattern to the undead's attacks upon the South -- they seem to be slowly progressing northward, in a lazy zigzag, towards The Lap. Their current speed would place them somewhere within the realm of the Dune People.
Cerin smiles to himself. he rechecks his estimations, then he is gating over the world again. Now to the Cascade, where he travels to the rather well secured 'garage'. Within there is the skyship. This he pilots to Rathess, where he seeks Ssithumi. When he finds her, after greetings, he enquires as to if she can teach him of some of the less accessible features of the ship. like maybe a stealth system. or automated defences. he also has a more unusual request. This time, Cerin finds Ssithumi in one of the broad boulevards of the city, guiding a team of stalkers who are pushing a large block of marble down the road.
<Ssithumi> "Indeed, Cerin. ...PULL!" she shouts, at the stalkers, as they seem to relax for a moment.
<Cerin> "I see also that you are busy. Might I speak with you this evening? Unless there is some way I can help."
<Ssithumi> "Of course you may help, Cerin," she says, wryly. "You may push."
As Cerin assists the stalkers in driving the stone towards their destination, Ssithumi begins to speak to the Solar.
<Ssithumi> "What brings you to Rathess today, Cerin? ....PUSH!"
<Cerin> "I ... would like your help in understanding some of the more ... unusual controls on the skyship."
<Ssithumi> "I imagine I could assist you with that," she says.
<Ssithumi> "I have some knowledge of them, yes." She looks amused at Cerin as he continues to push the rock.
<Ssithumi> "What is it you wish to know about the vessel?" The cube makes incremental progress across the boulevard.
<Cerin> "I need to travel ... to the south, away from the ... gates with some haste." he pushes "It is the fastest ship I know of ... but I dont know its ... deeper functions."
<Ssithumi> "There is quite a bit to learn. Is there something in particular that intrigues you?"
<Cerin> "I was curious about ... stealth systems ... and automated defences and navigation systems ... primarily."
<Ssithumi> "I can show these things to you."
<Cerin> "Thank ... you."
Once the stone has finally reached its destination, Ssithumi journeys with Cerin to the location of the skyship, all the while instructing him as to its workings. In the end, the Solar finds himself with a comprehensive, if slightly shaky, knowledge of the system's workings.
Cerin thanks her deeply, wishes her luck in her rebuilding and fires up the ship. South with all haste. When he reaches the desert, he flys as low and fast as possible while not kicking up dust, stealth systems on. The ship blends in fairly effectively with the sky above -- a dedicated observer could pick it up, especially while moving, but it's unlikely to be noticed too casually. Within a short time, the vast southern desert looms before Cerin -- its quiet sands slowly rolling under a shap northwestern breeze.
Without too much effort, Cerin is able to locate a village that lies close along the path he's calculated. The small, sleepy desert town seems to have little idea of what will soon roll over it.
Several hours pass before night falls. Several more pass before any trace of movement is spotted out in the desert.
It is in the wee hours of the morning when Cerin finally sees something: a cloud of black dust, kicked up on the far horizon
As the cloud grows closer, he can begin to make out the things that make it up: bodies, moving with uncanny speed towards the village.
<Cerin> When they are close enough to be resolved cerin starts to make rough sketches of one, trying to get a rough outline at first of all the different types, then filling in the details with exacting precision.
The forms that make up the advancing mass seem to be all of a kind -- human in shape, though emaciated, oddly angular, and cruel in appearance. As they grow closer, Cerin can see their armament -- vicious black scimitars and knives. Each of the figures is wrapped in odd coverings -- jet-black rolls of cloth, each with blood-red sigils inscribed over its entire length.
The beasts move towards the village with a remarkable speed, whirling and spinning as they do. The sound of their bizarre undead howls begins to reach Cerin; the sound would terrify a lesser man.
Gazing at one of the creatures, he notices something truly bizarre -- the body itself seems to possess no essence at all!
As the mob grows closer, Cerin begins to gain a better concept of their numbers -- there seem to be as many as 2000 of these strange undead.
As Cerin gazes more closely, he notices something subtler -- there seems to be a spiderweb-thi net of Essence running over the surfaces of the creatures, apparently defined by their bindings.
The cloud moves closer, drawing very near to the village -- their howling now loud enough to awaken the warriors within the earthen huts, who begin to run out to meet this horrific foe.
The defenders of the village pose no real threat to these bizarre monstrosities -- they fight with a skill beyond that of any human, striking down the defenders like strands of paper.
As Cerin watches, a small portion of the horde begins to surround the village; as one, they all draw out a single blade and begin to carve elaborate sigils into the sand, which instantly begin to glow brightly with brilliant Essence.
As the ghouls complete their sigils, a brilliant ring of necrotic Essence suddenly links each of the sigils -- and the beast drawing it -- in a ring, that quickly begins to contract towards the village.
As it passes through each object, it wreaks horrific destruction -- the buildings crumble at its touch, collapsing to rubble. When it reaches the center of the village, the Essence begins to leech out in different directions -- seeking the dead bodies of the villagers.
The Essence flows into the bodies, which -- Cerin can see -- have been left withered and gaunt, and jerks them upwards, like puppets. The newly-risen zombies stand, and begin to tear at their clothing, until they stand uncovered -- then, Cerin sees the same blood-red sigils begin to form upon their very flesh.
By the time the sigils have formed, the Essence animating the bodies is gone -- seemingly vanished.
Before any of the other creatures even notice his presence, Cerin captures a single ghoul and ducks away from the horde.
When he is over a mile from the village however, he takes the time to 'subdue' the ghoul, preventing its struggle.
After several minutes of beating the angry -- though entangled -- ghoul with no apparent effect, Cerin finds himself growing mildly irked
This seems to have no effect on the beast's rage or desire to attack -- the limbs seem to remain animated, as if by some malevolent force.
The return trip passes uneventfully, the blood-curdling wails of the undead creature lulling Cerin to sleep....
Tags: (:tags Nexus, Sidereals, Chiaroscuro, Rathess, Ssithumi, Shadowed Unlife Equation:)