• Zahara gathers Birds and Cerin in the War Room. Everyone else seems to have been off on some other important mission. An appetizer buffet is spread out before them, along with a large, detailed map of the Sunlands and its surroundings.
  • Cerin snacks on the buffet, drawing on a large sketchbook as he waits for Birds to arrive

<Nefarious?> 'm not late am I?

  • Markuran said as he walked into the room!

<Zahara> "Oh, you're back already? Good, we need your..expertise."

  • Cerin looks up from the sketchpad as Marku walks in, slipping it down on to the table

<Zahara> "Well, let's get started. Birds will get here when she gets here, as always. She's probably baking a parrot."

  • Markuran pats his stomach in fond remembrance of Birds's baked parrots. "I hope so."
  • Zahara pops a marzipan skull in her mouth reflectively.

<Zahara> "So." she says, when the sweet is gone. "I've been thinking about all the obstacles in our way, and we need a coherent plan to get through this alive."

  • Zahara gives each of those present a measured look.

<Markuran> "I'm glad you came to that conclusion. Now what?"

  • Cerin returns the look, with a small smile "Well, as a priority, whatever plan must involve us getting these ingredients and other allies soon."

<Zahara> "Okay. Now, we need to break that down, and distribute as many things we can to the allies we already do have. There's no way we can do everything in time, ourselves."

<Cerin> "Well, we still need Essence of Wood and Air from creation. As well as several ingredients from other planes."

<Cerin> "As for allies, I am not sure who we could turn to for aid. We have the aid of the Dragon Kings, such as it is, and of Lookshy, and I am not sure I trust those other Sun touched like ourselves."

<Zahara> "well I certainly don't trust the ones who conveniently left just as Reaver's family planned a picnic without him." She scratches the creature affectionately and feeds him a heart.

  • Cerin nods

<Cerin> "Though, aside from the man in the woods, those are the only solars we have seen. My memories and researchs into Ymir imply there were many more."

<Markuran> "What about allies from amongst the Godbound themselves?"

<Zahara> "Yes... that is odd. Surely more of the Godsparks escaped than simply us and them."

<Zahara> "Why would the Godbound ally with us, who wish to keep them in their proper place in the world?"

<Cerin> "We are unlikely to gain many allies amongst them, not until we can make our own."

<Cerin> "Perhaps we should consider sponsering a faction within the Realm..."

<Markuran> "They may not wish to be slaves. Which is what they will become. Or the Gods may exterminate them once they have achieved victory, to prevent a rebellion."

<Zahara> "The Realm? Last time we went there it did not end well."

<Cerin> "I am merely offering suggestions."

  • Zahara scratches reflexively at the place a scar should be.

<Zahara> "I suppose that was not the Realm's fault it went so poorly."

<Markuran> "The exiled general?"

  • Cerin slips an arm around her at the scratch, giving her a small kiss "The roseblack may be willing to talk."

<Zahara> "I don't suppose you've come upon any hints of where to summon the demons of the third circle?" she says with little hope. "I'd much rather have them on OUR side."

<Cerin> "I will look into while I am in the realm of the golden crysthanthamum."

<Zahara> "Hmm... yes, the Roseblack certainly isn't allied with any of our enemies, so far as we know. They may welcome the extra power we can bring to bear."

<Zahara> "I don't suppose you'd like to talk to them, Marku?"

  • Kai slips into the room. "Oh, here you all are. This is what you get for living in a labyrinth, is people get lost."

<Cerin> "Anyway, I would like to visit the pole of air soon. I would like to see what the Haslanti are up to. Relovia mentioned slightly disturbing things in her report, and I would like to get some elemental ice."

  • Zahara gestures to an empty chair for Kai, "Join us, we are discussing our plans to, well, survive the coming year."

<Zahara> "Starting with the coming month."

<BirdsOfTrinity> A message from Birds follows Kai in timidly. It reads, "Am arguing with ingredients. Will arrive presently. - B"

<Markuran> "I'd be happy to speak to the Roseblack."

<Zahara> "Arguing? Ahh...hmmm... yes."

<Kai> "Well, that's good, I've always liked surviving things."

  • Cerin kisses Zahara while Kai finds herself somewhere to sit. "Prehaps more than just Marku should go to talk with them, Kai maybe? since I do not think travelling alone is that sensible."

<Zahara> "So, would you prefer to speak to them before or after we journey North?"

<Kai> "Talking to who, am I?"

  • Birds wanders in some time later, just in time to hear Kai's observation and nod in assent.
  • Zahara smiles and kisses Cerin back, leaning against him slightly

<Cerin> "Well, only if you want to, but perhaps you could accompany Marku when he talks to the Roseblack?"

<Markuran> "Did you bring a stuffed parrot, Birds?"

<Zahara> "Is it safe to let Kai go out with only Marku there? We must keep in mind the...party...that wishes to claim her sword."

<Zahara> "Especially since they have access to the highest Circle of Sorcery."

  • Markuran bristles. "I am perfectly capable of defending Kai myself."
  • Birds gives Markuran an odd look. "It's still in the oven. Zee, do you think providing them with a bodyguard would be sufficient? Marku and Kai are formidable, themselves."

<Kai> "Is a Roseblack a someone, or a something?"

<Cerin> "A dragonblood, a general, and an exile from the Realm."

<Zahara> "Oh really? Then why did the last meeting with their minions go so wonderfully? You were there, as were the rest of us, except Cerin who arrived rather fortuitously at The End."

<Kai> "And presumable something more, if we're going to talk to him."

<Cerin> "Her."

<Kai> (presumably)

<Kai> "Her."

<Cerin> "She is in possession of a large army, and we believe she is unhappy with the state of the Realm at present."

<Zahara> "What I am saying, is that it may take all of us to keep her safe, even with our formidable powers."

<Kai> "Given the exiling and all."

  • Cerin kisses Zahara's neck from behind as she mentions the End. "Can we afford to travel as a Circle though? There are many places we must be, and the time is shortening."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Perhaps we do not have to travel."

  • Zahara sighs and shakes her head. "You're right. Caution will only slow us down at this point."
  • Birds hrms. "But you're right. We don't have time to divine that kind of magic."

<Cerin> "We do not need to throw caution to wind ... perhaps you could summon something to guard them too?"

  • Zahara stands, and waves her hand a bit, "Continue on, I forgot something." with that, she walks out of hte room.

<Markuran> "Kai and I will just have to make do. I will make sure we don't attract the wrong sort of attention."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Lucien is probably lurking around somewhere,. He's always lurking, that one."

<Cerin> "He lurks very well."

Some of the lesser war council members have been watching silently up til this point.

  • Markuran looks at Relovia "To allay some of their fears, you could accompany us. You know more about the Dragon-Blooded protocols involved then any of us."

Relovia nods. "I have spoken briefly with Tepet Ejava before, though only in a formal capacity. I might be able to assist."

Ssithumi decides that this is a good moment to pipe up. "What are our military objectives now? Even with my people awakening at an unprecedented rate, our forces are dwarfed by those of our foes."

<BirdsOfTrinity> " 'Don't die' is a personal favorite."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I know we all want to go out there and kill and kill until a season has passed and we have covered ourselfes in carrion and glory."

<Cerin> "Primarily, defensive. We need to hold the sunlands until we can find the last of the ingredients on this list. I'm not sure we have the strength to strike at the nearest outposts of the godbound yet."

<Cerin> "However, some scouting along the boarders to determine if this is truely the case would be required."

Ssithumi nods.

<Cerin> "Also, we need to sweep the sunlands, to ensure there are no more hidden training camps."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "I think that we will do better if we strike carefully, from the shadows, from unexpected angles and without being detected."

  • Birds nods to Cerin's suggestion also.
  • Cerin considers, as he snacks on a pastry

Relovia speaks up. "We should also consider our other neighbors, then. Do you trust the peace we currently share with the Mask of Winters?"

<Cerin> "Not entirely, no."

Relovia: "Can we afford to devote more energy to protecting against Deathlord treachery when we are already stretched so thin?"

  • Cerin shakes his head

<BirdsOfTrinity> "What she said. First we deal with our enemies, then we decide whether our dangerous friends are who they say."

Relovia nods grimly.

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Or else we'd never get any sleep. I don't want you all crouching under your beds with daggers, waiting for the inevitable assassin."

<Cerin> "Why ever would I do that?"

  • Birds wonders whether it's a good idea to roll her eyes and chuckle in front of the military council.
  • Zahara returns, holding a silken pouch that jingles lightly.

<Markuran> "What's that?"

<Zahara> "The talk of separation brought these to mind. A side project I've been tinkering with when I get bored of weapons." She carefully dumps out the contents of the pouch in the center of the table, revealing a small pile of rings, Orichalcum intertwined with Blue Jade form a pattern like that of a puff of air, repeated 8 times along the edge in minute detail.

  • Cerin studies the rings with interest, marveling at the subtle web of essence that joins them.
  • Birds admires the inlay. "Oh, very nice."

<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, these are for our secret club, I guess?"

<Zahara> "There should be enough for all of us." She regards Birds with amusement. "I suppose you could consider them our secret decoder rings."

  • Kai picks one up and studies it.

<Markuran> "What do they decode?"

  • Zahara slides one over to Cerin and takes up another for herself. "I suppose you could say they decode thoughts. They will allow us to send messages to eachother, speaking with only our minds. I have not tested the furthest distance they will work at, but my theories point to them working across Creation, easily, and very likely in the Wyld."
  • Cerin picks the ring up, slipping it on to his finger.

<Cerin> "Thank you." he says with a smile

  • Zahara proceeds to give a short tutorial on the workings of the rings, which size to fit the fingers they are placed on. "You can invest essence to open a connection to the other ringbearers, and they have to accept - see you can feel it tingle, slightly differently from each ring." she demonstrates.
  • Birds strategically puts on hers last and calls Marku. ::HI MARKURAN! LOOK I AM IN YOUR MIND!::

<Zahara> "So, if you wish, you can converse with up to ten people at a time."

  • Markuran does not hear this, having not put on his ring yet.

<Markuran> "Why are you looking at me, Birds?"

<BirdsOfTrinity> "Cheater."

<Markuran> "What?"

  • Birds greets Zee instead.
  • Markuran puts his ring on, confused by the Birdsism
  • Zahara blinks, wincing, "Oh, and it's nice if you don't yell."

<Zahara> ::Hello, Birds. Enjoy your stay::

  • Zahara smiles at Cerin, thinking to him, ::We should try this later tonight in more interesting ways::
  • Cerin tilts his head and smiles back at her ::I'll look forward to it::

Tags: (:tags Exaltation Checklist, God-Exalts, Solars, Roseblack, Relovia, Ssithumi, Mask of Winters, Telepathy Rings :)

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