<Cerin> "So, Marku, this test of yours?"
<Zahara> "Yes, do tell us what happened. You were gone quite a long time."
<Markuran> "I walked through a shining moonlit doorway in their grand hall. And then I was there.'
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Like I always say, never trust moonlight. It's fattening."
<Cerin> "Hmmm. So anyway, in this test, what happened, beyond you being mortal?"
<Markuran> "A Lunar saved me from freezing, an old man. I got better much faster then I think I should have...as a mortal, I mean."
<Markuran> "When I told him I was there to help the village, he told me that he'd once taken his wife there when she needed help. A strange beast attacked her and left her dying. The shamans in the village refused to help her for fear of a curse and she died."
<Markuran> "When I got to the village, the Cheiftan told me their hunters were being slaughtered by some beast in the forest, but lied when I questioned him about the old man's wife."
<Markuran> "The Cheiftan's helper or attendant told me the truth, much what the old Lunar had said. I took him with me to hunt down the beast. I was going to offer it to the old man as a peace gift, I was sure it was him killing the hunters for revenge."
<Markuran> "But when we tracked it down, the old man was the beast. I tried speaking to him, reasoning with him. But the beast had devoured him. He was an animal with the Spark of Luna. He attacked the hunter and only at the last moment spared him. He forced us to kill him."
<Markuran> "Now the Chieftan and the Shamans who refused to help his wife will fast one day each month for every hunter that died. And they burried his corpse by themselves. They have lost their names and I decreed that when replacements were properly trained, the old Shamans would be exiled. The young hunter who went with me will be their Cheif when he comes of age."
<Markuran> "And then, I returned."
<Zahara> "Ah, how did the Shamans feel about those edicts?"
<Markuran> "I'm sure they are unhappy and resentful. But I promised I would return and threatened, without saying so, to beat them to death if they did not do as I instructed."
<Markuran> "Their stupidity and heartlessness killed good men and drove a Chosen to madness."
<Zahara> "So you are either victorious or have made for yourself an enemy. Either way, it seemed you won the test."
<Zahara> "Fear drives men to do strange things, after all."
<Markuran> "I hope Cerin or Birds will be able to help me find the village I was sent to and return there. I intend to see they carry out my bans."
<Cerin> "Well, where was the portal?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "There is another way, but it will require guile."
<Markuran> "The portal was in the back of their great hall place. What are you talking about, Birds?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "You are familiar with the technique of the wise book. It is very versatile."
<Markuran> "No..I'm not familiar with that.."
<Zahara> "Which wise book?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'll demonstrate." She takes a pen and scribbles something onto her sleeve, then waves her arm in Markuran's face.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Now I know something you did!" Lines of ink appear on the sleeve's other side, showing a map of the Sunlands.
<Cerin> "That is interesting, very interesting."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I wish I understood how it works."
<Markuran> "Um..can you tell me how to get back to the village?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Anyway, my thought is that one could arrange things so that, the next time you meet with the Lunar elders, their knowledge of the location of all Lunars would be revealed to us. In this manner, you can locate he whom you met."
<Markuran> "I think, then, we should meet with them again sometime soon."
<Zahara> "Perhaps our little Serenal will know."
<Markuran> "If none of you object, I think I must speak to Serenal."
<Markuran> "Zahara, did you already provide the Orichalcum for her tattoo?"
<Zahara> "Yes, and our gates are likely to have an opening near the village anyway. No, I have not made her tattoo yet, I did not think to bring Orichalcum with me. I shall do it upon our return to the Cascade."
<Markuran> "Do you know where she is?"
<Zahara> "I'm sure she's hovering outside the door trying to spy on us or some such."
<Zahara> "Either way, her Honor will not permit her to stay behind when we leave."
<Cerin> "She doesn't seem to be outside."
<Markuran> "Will you help me find her? Zahara and Birds can prepare to leave."
<Cerin> "I will, though it seems we have a vistor of sorts." He stands and goes to the door, and to the room.
<Zahara> "Ah, how delightful."
<Cerin> "Greetings, Daughter of Luna."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Have we met?"
<Zahara> "Marku, don't be so affronted. It is their way. They have forsaken their humanity, remember?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Humanity is as distant to us as them, for that matter."
<Zahara> "Very true, Birds of Trinity. Very true. But we seek to be its ideal expression, rather than to divorce from it completely."
<Zahara> "It is a pleasure to meet you, Ravina. I assume you know our names already?"
<Zahara> "Only our companion who chose to return with us as a symbol of our allied nations."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That will do."
<Zahara> "Please bring the Elders the message that all of the Silver Pact who announce themselves are welcome within the Cascades.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That is accommodating of you, Zahara."
<Zahara> "Well, One can only hope that it will bring the message with it that those who do not, are not."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "What are we going to do about this Exaltation toolkit?"
<Markuran> "We must collect the required ingrediants. Selonis may be able to help get a peach at least. I am going to speak with him again very soon."
<Zahara> "I may be able to summon one of Ligier's souls to see if it has access to the tears."
<Markuran> "Do we even know what half of these things are?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That would be excellent. Who among us can journey safely in the wilds beyond Creation? We must find some of the essence of that place."
<Zahara> "I can."
<Zahara> "Although the Fae and I are not exactly on friendly terms. Nor do I think any of us should go on these quests alone."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Yeah, what -are- these things? What's a Xara?"
<Cerin> "Not what, where. Xara is one of the other realms."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh, right. I knew that."
<Cerin> "As to what etchcrystal is though, I have no idea.."
<Zahara> "Hopefully it is what it sounds like."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Constable Bi-tarmu, your guard troupe should get to training the new recruits, if Markuran likes. I'm afraid that we do not have the leisure to train more tiger warriors like yourself."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "It would probably be wise to stay in the realms with which we're familiar until those tasks are complete...I don't relish the prospect of alien shores just yet, and our search may locate some new allies."
<Cerin> "Staying within the realms with which we are familiar will do us little good when the vast bulk of the list is in the other realms..."
<Zahara> "Well there is one more thing in Creation, so to speak. The elements."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hmm. I have been -meaning- to pay the elementals at Fire House a visit."
<Markuran> "We need to collect Essence of the Deepest Wyld and the concentrated power of all Five Poles. I thought you might have some ideas."
<Zahara> "Ah, yes, she can come with me to the Wyld."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Is it true that, in the farthest North, the ground disappears, and there is nothing but the cold air of winter, stretching gloriously in every direction?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I have always wanted to see that."
<Zahara> "Birds, do you think you could fly there, in the wind?"
<Zahara> "Ah, Cerin can do that. Through the gate, and back again in no time."
<BirdsOfTrinity> (eek strike that)
<Cerin> "I've seen the foot of the imperial mountain before. I could climb it."
<Cerin> "I might have to climb a long way..No matter."
<Cerin> "Bi'allah dust is the one that worries me."
<Cerin> "the gateways will not take us there."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "The what will not who us where?"
<Cerin> "I'm not sure." he says quietly.
<Zahara> "Well, we shall have to find an alternate route then."
<Cerin> "Or perhaps not. Though why..." he shakes his head. "Do we know anyone to the West?"
<Zahara> "He's off somewhere with his ghostly wife, I suppose."
<Zahara> "Ah, him. He's...mmm...atoning for his sins."
<Zahara> "Have you a better use for him? Perhaps we can send HIM to the pole of Wood. He seemed rather..viney."
<Markuran> "He might know of some of the ingrediants. Or be able to point us to more scholarly gods."
<Zahara> "True... what we need is to get our hands on that damn flower."
<Zahara> "I wish to know how he made so many copies of this toolkit!"
<Ssithumi> "When I return to Rathess, I will begin to interrogate those of my kind whose memories have returned with their coming enlightenment and ask whether any have useful information about this task."
<Zahara> "Thank you, Ssithumi. Perhaps one of yours has information on how to get this Bi'allah dust."
<Ssithumi> "We should discuss the matter of arranging our defense. I can pledge the warriors of the reborn Rathess to the upcoming war. But who will command the armies of the Sunlands?"
<Zahara> "He's got to be at least as good a general as Rannath."
<Zahara> "How about it, Bertie?" she grins at him, "Feel like becoming a leader of the free world?"
<Zahara> "If you had an army coming at your army from either side, what would you do?"
<Zahara> "Good, good. See? He's ready."
<Zahara> "You all know about the protections surrounding the Sunlands, correct? Bertrand's strategy would work quite well if he utilized that."
<Markuran> "That reminds me, I should visit the Sharpglade and speak with the Leafwalkers."
<Zahara> "Yes, yes you should. They are sentient by now aren't they?"
<Markuran> "The Leafwalkers have always been intelligent. The trees I must check on."