< Dynasty Hunters | Sol Invictus Logs | Vesthar Valley >

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.

  • Cerin moves through the crowd with ease, senses alert for pickpockets as he does. He can see his destination from down here, one of the marble buildings up on the hill...

The library is somewhat classy for a building in Nexus, standing aloof among the surrounding buildings.

  • Cerin adjusts himself to make sure he looks mostly respectable, then steps inside. He starts to wander. When he happens across a librarian, he asks her where he might find books on firetongue, and also on botany.

Librarian "Do you have a membership, sir?"

<Cerin> "I am afraid I do not. How do you aquire one?"

  • Librarian points towards a desk, near the front doors.

<Cerin> "Ah. My apologies, I did not notice it as I walked in." he turns to walk toward the desk.

Obnoxious Clerk? "...did you want something?"

<Cerin> "I would like to become a member of this library."

Obnoxious Clerk? "Just why do you want to do that?"

<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."

  • Obnoxious Clerk? narrows his eyes with further suspicion, but seems to be more or less convinced.

Obnoxious Clerk? "There's a sliding scale for memberships, of course." He gestures helpfully to an elaborately byzantine chart on the wall behind him.

<Cerin> "How much does it cost to be a member?"

Obnoxious Clerk? "Depends on who you are and what you're doing."

<Cerin> "I wish to find certain books on occult and on botany."

  • Cerin studies the chart behind him. "I believe this should cover my fees for this year." 18 obols appear in his hands. They are of a fairly recent mint. The dragonblood they belonged to, the unfortunate wight in Zee's cells, didnt have much use for them now.
  • Obnoxious Clerk? looks over the coins for a second, looks up at Cerin, and looks down at the coins once more. "Very well," he says, resignedly, taking them and placing them into a secured box. "You can pick up your papers across the hall, when you leave."
  • Cerin nods "My thanks." he goes to find the librarian again, where he asks after firetongue and occult botany.

Librarian "Linguistic texts are on the third floor in the central display, botany on the fifth, towards the back."

<Cerin> "Thank you."

  • Cerin sets off. he soon deciphers the filing system they use. he gets a basic primer on firetongue, as well as a slightly more advanced text, then it is up to the 5th floor for botany. and looking up a golden flower he saw. and what it means.

"The Perfumed Manual of The Occultic Blossom" awaits Cerin in the fifth floor of the building.

  • Cerin settles down to read. It was a Chrysanthamum. He smiles to himself. Now, what did that mean?

"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.

  • Cerin reads with interest. Curious. very curious.

"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."

  • Cerin carefully returns the book to the shelf after making some notes.
  • Cerin starts to look for some of the more esoteric subjects he is interested in too. He soon finds the occult section..now..

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...

<The ST?> The city's magnificent glass towers glitter and shine in the harsh Southern sunlight. The town beckons to Cerin, welcoming him onto its beautiful -- yet faded -- streets.

  • Cerin looks about him with wonder. and sadness. They will rebuild this world though. better than it was before.
  • Cerin spends time listening unobtrusively in bars and cafes and markets.

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.

  • Cerin approaches cautiously, not wanting to disturb her work "Greetings Ssithumi, I trust you are well?" he speaks in warbling HHS

<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."

  • Cerin stretches alittle and settles in amonst the stalkers. He pushes!

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.

  • Cerin nods "I hoped you ... might be able too." he heaves again. "Also, you ... meantioned you were ... skilled at vegatative ... technology."

<Ssithumi> "I have some knowledge of them, yes." She looks amused at Cerin as he continues to push the rock.

  • Cerin nods as he pushes "I ...was wondering if you ... could make me a ... device, some kind of ... rapidly growing vines perhaps, ... that would immobalise the person I ... used it on."
  • Ssithumi laughs. "Make? Why should I bother?" She turns to a stalker and clicks at him; he stops pushing and runs off to one side. When he returns, he's holding what appears to be a small knot of roots.
  • Cerin studies the device as he pushes. "They exist already ... that is good."

<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."

  • Ssithumi continues to smile as Cerin and the dragons push the block further up the boulevard.

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.

  • Cerin flys the ship to close to where he thinks the next attacks will be, locating a village, then waiting til night to spot the horde. He wants to set the ship about 6 hours travel from the attack, and ensure he can reach there well before it, if possible. When he does, he settles down to wait.

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.

  • Cerin doesnt either. He wants to find out though.

Several hours pass before night falls. Several more pass before any trace of movement is spotted out in the desert.

  • Cerin he settles himself in his cover. While he was waiting he took care to draw out several blanks of the village to make placing the spell power lines easier.

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

  • Cerin is tired though he picks himself up as the cloud approaches, letting his magic seep into his eyes and ears, and around him, further damping his appearance while enhancing his own senses.

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.

  • Cerin devotes then his time to sketching the flows of one individual, and taking note of as many of the symbols as he can. He also checks to see that he isnt too close to the line of advance.

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!

  • Cerin frowns most deeply. What the hell are they... he starts to note down the symbols and their relations to each other with increased rapidity.

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.

  • Cerin carries on drawing the symbols. The lack of essence is bothering him. He is going to have capture one now. But after they show him just how they do that magic trick.

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.

  • Cerin carefully draws this out, especially taking care to note how it is bound too and affected by the symbols. He is beinging to have doubts as to whether Tanty's spines or the vine pack will have any effect on the ...things.

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.

  • Cerin watches the battle with dispassionate interest, observing the techniques used, and any essence or ...lack of essence that might be expended. He also looks around for members of the horde that become isolated from the main hoard, as they would be favoured targets.

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.

  • Cerin notes both the sigils and the essence display they cause. he also draws of the blade used. Once the sigil has faded, he looks about for an isolated thing he might be able to capture. if they even have a body to do so.

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.

  • Cerin watches the display with interest as he creaps toward the horde. He especially watches for how it effects the dead villagers. He pauses to commit vague details to paper.

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.

  • Cerin shakes his head softly. That ...shouldn't be possible.

By the time the sigils have formed, the Essence animating the bodies is gone -- seemingly vanished.

  • Cerin decides that now is the time to move. Once that decision was made, the rest of it was easy. A brief moment to store the notes Elsewhere, then brings out a pair of tanty's paralytic spines and the strange vine ball Ssithumi gave him. Then he starts to move. The fine cloud of dust, still hanging in the air from the charge barely stired as he slipped through it, his steps timed to those of a desert mouse hoping across the cool night time sands. Soon he was amongst the mob, and they had not the faintest clue he was there.
  • Cerin pauses for the very briefest of moments to observe the finest essence tracery in this close, mentally noting down its details. Then he grabs one of them. The vinepack is pressed up to the small of the back, the motes it needs feed into in channelled through his anima with the utmost care, that no flares would betray his presence. As he does this the spines of tanty are pushed in through the side. He bodily grabs the ghost as the vines course around it, wrapping it in immobalising plant, and then he flows away from the horde again, his footsteps quieter than the desert owl flying over head, his anima sucking the sounds of the struggling ghost into itself. He stops when he reaches the cover of before.

Before any of the other creatures even notice his presence, Cerin captures a single ghoul and ducks away from the horde.

  • Cerin pauses very briefly to check that no-one did spot his theft, then he moves behind a dune and starts to flow across the cool desert sands easily bearing his burden. He has a long way to walk to the skyship and he wants to reach there before dawn.

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

  • Cerin uses the ghosts own black metal knife to hamstring the ghoul and slice across the tendons in the shoulder.

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.

  • Cerin sighs and picks the ghoul up again, moving with increased haste now the village is merely a dot on the horizon.
  • Cerin reaches the ship, slips inside, secures the ghoul more fully in the manacles he has stowed there. He sets the autopilot for the Cascade, then risks an hour's nap.

The return trip passes uneventfully, the blood-curdling wails of the undead creature lulling Cerin to sleep....

  • Cerin raises after an hour, rechecks on the ghoul, then takes the ship into land. When he does, the ghoul is hoisted again and taken down into the depths of the cascade. Several minutes later he has opened the doors to the cellblock. Within there he proceeds to secure the ghost athe did the abyssal, rings of woodhealing steel throught it body. Cerin then takes the time to surround the ghoul with every ward effacious against the undead he can think of, and well as a ward against the spiderfine magical traceries if he can manage it. He leaves the ghoul then in its own cell, and after posting more guards, he goes to sleep.

Tags: (:tags Nexus, Sidereals, Chiaroscuro, Rathess, Ssithumi, Shadowed Unlife Equation:)

< Dynasty Hunters | Sol Invictus Logs | Vesthar Valley >