Diablotin 2 session 64

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Summary

Session

Session date: April 2, 2011
Diablotin date:

Prologue

[DiablotinNarrator] It is the start of Seventh-month, still unseasonably cool and not feeling terribly summer-like at all. Although the food shortages have not yet reached the severity they were at last year, if this weather continues it is likely to be a poor harvest again this year.


Ilphere and Sanadhil

[DiablotinNarrator] Ilphere and Sanadhil, you have made the appropriate arrangements to take the pieces of the jar to Phedre for her to examine.

[DiablotinNarrator] (If you need to talk to one another on the way, now is your chance)

[Sanadhil] Should we tell her about Laeken?

[Sanadhil] and Emkathon?

[Ilphere] Yes, I think we must...

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] everything, then?

[Ilphere] Unless you can think os a reason we shouldn't...

[Sanadhil] It depends on who is present...

[Sanadhil] I'm not certain that all mould be amapble of proper caution

[Ilphere] Who would be the risk...?

[Sanadhil] Mlle DuChamp has expressed some rather...extreme views to me regarding the arch...

[Sanadhil] Have I not told you about that?

  • Sanadhil sounds mildly surprised

[Ilphere] Oh, right...!

[Sanadhil] I haven't hd a chance to speak to the others

[Sanadhil] we can play it by ear, I suppose.

[Sanadhil] (movng along?)

[DiablotinNarrator] (sure, unless you had anything further)

[Sanadhil] (not that I can remember -_-)


Ilphere, Sanadhil and Phedre

[DiablotinNarrator] You arrive at Phedre's home and descend from the carriage.

  • Phedre receives you in the parlour.

[Sanadhil] Good day :)

[Ilphere] Good day...!

  • Ilphere echoes.

[Phedre] And good day to both of you. I'm eager to hear all about what you've learned :)

[Sanadhil] There is quite a lot to say - blth expeditions were quite successful.

[Ilphere] Even beyond what we had hoped...!

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] of course some of our findings are quite sensitive....

[Phedre] Of course...

[Sanadhil] We started with patriarch rademacher.... where we did find fragments of the pot that Ilphere saw in her vision.

[Ilphere] Yes, the very one...!

[Phedre] Fascinating! So your vision is confirmed in that respect :)

[Ilphere] we have brought the shards with us...

  • Sanadhil nods and will produce them

[Sanadhil] it has already had a legend lore cast on it, as well : "Borne by the mother of mercy, it nourishes life out of loss. Blood it held, blood it spilled, blood shattered it and blood makes it whole."

  • Phedre takes one carefully, admiring it.

[Phedre] Well, I can cast the spell also, but I cannot imagine it will give a different result.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] Did you have any thoughts about the interpretation of those words?

[Sanadhil] yes, quite a lot

[Sanadhil] but that ties in more to what we found at the tomb of the founders

[Phedre] Very well, I'll be patient and listen, then...

  • Sanadhil smiles excitedly

[Sanadhil] We recovered Laeken - the Founder of House Wolf.

[Phedre] His remains?

[Sanadhil] in a sense...

[Ilphere] In a manner of speaking...

[Sanadhil] he'd turned hmself into a demi-litch.

[Phedre] I ...see :o

[Sanadhil] and agred to answer questions for ins in exchange for.... freedomg in a library, essentially.

[Phedre] Oh, that's remarkable :o What things he must know...

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ilphere] Indeed...

[Sanadhil] We have had some opportnity to question him already, though not as privately as we may have wished.

[Phedre] But you expect there will be more opportunities in the future, yes?

[Sanadhil] Hopefully, yes.

[Ilphere] His interests seem... remarkably compatible with our own...!

[Phedre] Have you learned much of note from him so far?

[Sanadhil] That said, I'm not sure how muchh we can rely on him as regards discretion - there is very litle at threatens him at this point.

[Sanadhil] yes, quite a lot.

[Sanadhil] he has not been willing to divulge everything or course.

[Phedre] Well, I would expect no different, I suppose...

[Sanadhil] But we do know... that Emkathon, the mother of mercy, lives still.

  • Sanadhil says is a rather hushed tone.

[Phedre] Lives?

[Sanadhil] yes.

[Phedre] Where?

[Sanadhil] he wouldn't say.

[Sanadhil] he claims he imprisoned her willingly, so that she cold protect the city, as part of a bargain he made with her.

  • Phedre lets out a breath.

[Phedre] That's amazing.

[Sanadhil] he does not wiah that pact to be jeapordized.... I believe that the legend lore relates to this.

[Sanadhil] The vessel held the blood of the Serpent, shed in its fall....

  • Phedre touches the shards reverently.

[Sanadhil] but it has since been... well I believe somehow invested in certain Wolf bloodines?

[Ilphere] Specifically the Rademachers...

[Phedre] So... this blood, this bloodline, could restore the artifact, somehow.

[Sanadhil] And perhaps in laeken's own bloodline as well - he did mention somethign along those loines, as well that he had a daughter

[Sanadhil] his lineage was charged with protecting the vessel from the emenies of The Serpent.

[Phedre] His bloodline and the Rademachers may well be one and the same, for all we know...

[Ilphere] Just what I was thinking...

[Sanadhil] I suspect so, yes

  • Phedre considers.

[Phedre] I don't know how one would begin to go about .... investing, as you say, divine blood into a human lineage.

[Phedre] Perhaps that's something he would be willing to elaborate on?

[Sanadhil] nor I... but I think that the visions experience by Ilphere, Theron, and Yanina are telling in that regard....

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] Would it dilute over the centuries, or would it maintain its strength...?

[Sanadhil] I am also curious what exactly Thaleus did.... perhaps he used what was in the vesel somehow to strengthen it?

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] perhaps that is why it expreses itself more strongly bin the noble bloodlines...

  • Sanadhil implies you're all inbred ;)

[Phedre] Or perhaps that's down to inbreeding, who knows...

[Sanadhil] indeed.

[Phedre] And perhaps the contact with our rites is what... actuates the blood, somehow.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] For I think someone would have noticed by now if all the Rademachers were touched by divine visions.

[Sanadhil] indeed

[Sanadhil] I was thking ablong similar lines

[Ilphere] I believe it is the passage through the arch.

[Phedre] Hm, an interesting theory... so that would imply that previous emperors who shared this bloodline would also have had similar experiences?

[Sanadhil] I think it must be somewhat more - though the arch is much more accesible now

[Sanadhil] that's possible, and should be posible to research

[Sanadhil] even failed Rademacher candidates...

  • Phedre nods.

[Ilphere] Well, there was Ruchard Rademacher...

[Ilphere] Who vanished into a dream in order to escape the madness...

[Phedre] Perhaps sticking too closely to the surname is a risk, though - after all, only one of the three we know of today bears that name.

  • Phedre nods.

[Phedre] Yes, true! He might have been undergoing something similar to what poor Theron is suffering now... :/

[Sanadhil] it may be worth examining sections of the Codex lunaticium...

[Ilphere] Absolutely...!

  • Ilphere agrees.

[Phedre] It would require cross-referencing - I believe it only provides given names, and they would have to be referenced to lists of failed candidates to determine which might be bearers...

[Sanadhil] hmm, yes, quite a lot of research, then

[Phedre] And as I said, I don't know if we can rely on the surname, although it's certainly a good starting point.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] The Truebloods...

[Sanadhil] the great families are all quite geneaologically interwoves.

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] (interwoven)

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] that name is suggestive enough in itself

[Phedre] Indeed, my thoughts precisely!

[Sanadhil] the specifics of noble family histories is not my strength, unfortunately - are they also an older family?

[Phedre] I believe they are, yes. They have never been one of the *greatest* families - no Trueblood emperors, for instance - but always there.

[Sanadhil] *nod*

[Phedre] If we could restore this... I wonder what it would do.

  • Phedre says, admiring the shards again.

[Sanadhil] it can't be magcially restored - attempts have failed

[Phedre] "nourishes life out of loss"...

[Phedre] That suggests it's an artifact of great power, then...

[Sanadhil] Yes.

[Phedre] It could be what we have been looking for all this time...

[Sanadhil] that the fragments survived i the environment where it was found is impressive

[Sanadhil] how do you mean?

[Phedre] Perhaps this is what can restore the Serpent.

[Phedre] Or part of it, anyhow - obviously the blood is also key.

[Phedre] One who will die and live again... life out of loss...

  • Phedre murmurs to herself.
  • Sanadhil looks pensive

[Sanadhil] hmm, yes, possibly...

[Phedre] Maybe it can restore life to the dead. I don't know.

[Ilphere] Wouldn't that be amazing...!

[Phedre] Princess... would you be willing to attempt an experiment?

[Ilphere] What sort of experiment...?

  • Sanadhil raises his eyebrows

[Phedre] To provide a donation of your blood, in order that we might attempt to restore this vessel.

[Sanadhil] Blood makes it whole...

[Ilphere] I would be willing, as long as it's not too much...!

  • Sanadhil picks up the pieces consideringly
  • Phedre nods.

[Phedre] I would like to research the blood magic rituals further, but perhaps with one of them, we might be able to achieve a ... reconstruction, a rebirth, of this precious artifact.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Sanadhil] I would be quite willing to assist, as well - I do have some experience with these kind of obscure magical artifacts...

[Phedre] I don't know how much would be required. Perhaps if it is more than one person could safely provide, it might be possible to combine samples from others of the bloodline...

[Sanadhil] . o O ( -_- )

[Phedre] Of course, your assistance would be much appreciated.

[Ilphere] Of course... I will wait to hear the details of what is required...!

[Phedre] This is being stored safely at the society, I trust?

[Sanadhil] I'm sure Yanina would be quite eager if she had any idea what effect might be produced!

[Sanadhil] yes.

[Phedre] It's so tempting to keep it here, where I know it will be safe... but I suppose others would suspect something then :/

[Sanadhil] quite so, yes

[Sanadhil] There are already those who would wish access to be even more severely restricted, or even to be placed in the sole custody of the Church...

[Sanadhil] though they have already sanctioned the society's possession and use for research

[Phedre] Yes... I hope that we have means to deal with that, should such a proposition arise.

  • Phedre says obliquely.
  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] Very well... it will have to be returned until I've researched the necessary rituals further.

  • Phedre says, letting go of the pieces a bit regretfully

[Phedre] Thank you, so very much, for bringing this to me. This could be the breakthrough we have been waiting for.

[Ilphere] I hope so...!

[Sanadhil] indeed!

[DiablotinNarrator] (anything further you needed to talk to her about?)

[Sanadhil] (I don't think I have anything else?)

[Ilphere] (I'm good...)


Guillame and Aden

[DiablotinNarrator] Guillame, you and Aden are preparing for a visit to the Jewel Box, which all feels profoundly weird.

  • Aden_ has secured a similar ring to your own from the Treasury to allow him to alter his own appearance.

[Guillame] Oh, good show!

[Aden_] Fortunately, as Treasurer, I didn't have to explain why I was borrowing it ;)

[Guillame] Abusing your powers? Where is the idealistic young man I fell in love with?

  • Guillame teases
  • Aden_ chuckles.

[Aden_] I know, I know... next I'll be taking out wands of fireballs to get through traffic faster in the morning.

  • Guillame grins

[Aden_] Mother had me on the go today, we were at the Firefly Gardens and then to the Eleusinian Gallery, and fortunately then she got tired and didn't have the energy for an evening at the theatre as she'd planned.

[Guillame] Are you enjoying her visit?

[Aden_] Oh, yes... I'm glad to see her, it's been too long. But she is a bit tiring sometimes.

[Aden_] Sometimes I wonder if she'd had more children, whether she'd have more places to focus her energies.

[Guillame] The trials of being an only child

  • Guillame smirks again
  • Aden_ shrugs.

[Aden_] It has its benefits too, of course :)

[Aden_] There was something I wanted to talk to you about, though, that I saw today.

[Guillame] Oh?

[Aden_] At the Gallery, I thought I saw Thea.

[Guillame] . o (:o)

[Aden_] I tried to follow her, but I lost her in the crowds at the exit. If it even was her.

[Aden_] I wouldn't even have tried to talk to her, necessarily, if she didn't want to - I just hoped it was her, because it would mean she's alive, she's all right...

[Guillame] I...

[Guillame] Yes. That's what I was going to say - I hope it was her.

  • Aden_ sighs.

[Guillame] I wish I knew more about magic... could we ask someone to scry for her? Would a cleric be able to find out if she's alive?

[Guillame] I suppose I could ask Alma...?

[Aden_] I believe it works best when the subject is known to the caster. Did Sister Alma ever meet her?

[Guillame] I don't know if they actually met - I know she *saw* her...

[Aden_] Well, I suppose it couldn't hurt to ask. The worst that could happen is it doesn't succeed, right?

[Aden_] It would be a weight off my mind to know she's all right, even if she wants nothing further to do with me.

  • Guillame nods

[Guillame] I'll ask her about it.

[Aden_] Thank you :)

[Guillame] On a more immediate topic; I'm nervous.

  • Aden_ nods.

[Guillame] I hope I can act well enough that she doesn't work out that it's me... and that between that and... the rest of the situation, I'm able to... make it work.

[Aden_] I hope so too. I'll be there, of course, for moral support or whatever you need, really...

[Aden_] Speaking of, you should help me decide what to look like - you need to find my new form attractive, presumably ;)

[Guillame] That just makes it even more difficult! For that, I need you to look... well, like you!

  • Aden_ smiles.

[Guillame] I don't know... why don't you try something out, and I'll see if I like it?

[Aden_] I feel the same way - it's all very complicated, you don't want to insult one another by suggesting some other shape is more attractive, but on the other hand, you don't want to be repulsive either ;)

[Aden_] This was not covered in etiquette and deportment.

  • Guillame takes a deep breath.

[Guillame] I suppose that's what's supposed to make it fun...

[Aden_] Allegedly, yes...

[Guillame] I really need to forget about the formal, heir-siring part of all this, as well.

  • Aden_ will attempt 30-ish, somewhat more muscular, dark-haired gentleman's form.

[Aden_] Too old? I don't know.

  • Aden_ checks a mirror.

[Aden_] And yes, uh, about that...

[Aden_] I trust I'm not supposed to do anything that might, ah, interfere with heir-siring?

[Guillame] I had thought about how much easier it would be if you were to do *all* of that, but no, it's got to be me.

  • Aden_ nods.

[Aden_] That was what I figured...

  • Aden_ straightens his tie.

[Guillame] That's nice... that should do fine, I think.

[Aden_] Good, thanks.

  • Aden_ looks somewhat relieved. His facial expressions still remind you of him, at least.

[Aden_] Well, I'm ready to go. Nervous, but ready :)

  • Guillame tries to remember whether he had noticed Aden staring at any men at court before, takes anything he remembers on board

and aims a little younger than his "new" acquaintance.

  • Aden_ seems to admire your choice.

[DiablotinNarrator] You and Aden take a hired carriage, as taking either one of your own would sort of give away the ruse.

[Guillame] ("Hi, Guillame sent me!")

[DiablotinNarrator] (lol)

[DiablotinNarrator] You arrive at the discreet doorway on Delphian Court, and present yourselves to the servant who answers the door.

[DiablotinNarrator] You are escorted into the parlour, where a screen is set up at one end of the room.

  • Lapidary enters the room through a door concealed behind the screen.

[Lapidary] Good evening, gentlemen.

  • Lapidary is but a vague female shape behind the screen.

[Guillame] Good evening...

[DiablotinNarrator] (I will trust that you've made an appointment earlier, so you don't have to wait 3 days ;)

[Guillame] (But that's what gets me hard... D:)

[DiablotinNarrator] (lol)

[Lapidary] Please, help yourselves to refreshments if you wish.

  • Guillame bows towards the screen, and then realizes that would be really hard to see.

[Guillame] Thank you...

[Lapidary] There are only a few basic rules here - no names should be requested or given, and all who are under my roof will be respected. Though the precise terms of that respect may be negotiated, of course.

[Guillame] That seems reasonable

[Aden_] Yes, certainly.

[Guillame] . o O (So long as we see the right Jewel...)

[Lapidary] Do you have a preference of which Jewel you wish to visit, or would you prefer that I choose an appropriate companion for you?

[Guillame] We have a preference

  • Guillame gives the identifier that Portia gave him

[Lapidary] Very well - as you have arrived early, you should have your choice, provided that the Jewel in question is here this evening.

[Lapidary] Pearl... yes, certainly, she is at leisure to receive you.

  • Lapidary sounds as if she's consulting a notebook.

[Lapidary] This is perhaps a delicate question, and feel free to not answer if you prefer. Are you previously acquainted with Pearl?

  • Aden_ looks to you, not sure how to answer that.

[Guillame] (sec)

[Guillame] She was recommended by somebody that I trust...

[Lapidary] Very well. Thank you for your candor.

[Lapidary] The maid will show you to her chamber. Enjoy your evening, gentlemen.

[Guillame] And you yours.

[Aden_] Thank you.

[DiablotinNarrator] The maid does indeed show you to her chamber, and your evening can proceed from there... up to you how it goes, really :)

[Guillame] (I hope... fruitfully?)


Alma and Seth

  • Alma casts Sending a day or two after our meeting with Laeken... "Please update me on meeting with the Warlord. Thank you."
  • Seth responds: "Meeting moderately successful. Warlord upset but not overly so, will tell Emperor. You're welcome."
  • Alma mutters. "And yes, what of my primary concern..."
  • Alma is completely unimpressed with having to cast another ten minute spell.
  • Seth responds: "I can be reached at the Society today if desired."
  • Alma will head to the society then.
  • Alma has calming tea and a cucumber sandwich before she goes ^_^
  • Alma arrives via carriage a little later and will ask about the society for you.
  • Seth can be found researching the Arch, as usual these days.

[Alma] Good afternoon, Mr. Argo.

[Seth] Ah, good afternoon. Please, come in.

  • Alma enters (private study room?)

[Alma] So your meeting with the Warlord went as well as could be expected?

[Seth] Yes, I suppose so. She was rather upset at first.

[Alma] Understandably.

[Seth] She came to see, I think, not only that it was inevitable that we should have brought him with us, but that it could be to our advantage.

[Alma] Yes, I have come to accept that by the time the Duke descended into Laeken's chamber, there was little true choice in the matter.

[Alma] And what did the Warlord say with regard to the Church?

[Seth] Very little. She is not particularly religious and is little concerned with such matters.

[Alma] ... you were to ask the Warlord about whether she would inform the Patriarch or whether I should inform the Referend Father... did you forget?

[Seth] No, that was not our agreement.

  • Alma does her best not to look incredulous

[Alma] I am quite certain that we agreed that I would wait and defer to the opinion of the Warlord.

[Alma] I would not have waited a week to inform the Reverend Father of something so important otherwise.

[Seth] You told me that if the Warlord expressed concern about telling the Reverend Father, that would be a cause for concern. She expressed no such concern.

[Alma] ... well clearly if you were concerned about my telling the Reverend Father, and I spoke to the opinion of the Warlord, would you not have to ASK her?

[Alma] It was part of why I asked to meet with her in the first place.

[Seth] I assumed you were going to do what you were going to do, particularly after we met as a group.

[Alma] Why would you assume I would do contrary to what I said?

[Seth] You didn't say you were holding off until you got my permission. You merely mentioned in passing that if the Warlord expressed concern then you might do differently. I didn't take from that that it was my responsibility to consult the Warlord about what you ought to do.

[Seth] Apparently there has been a miscommunication.

[Alma] Yes, apparently...

[Alma] Well, that matter is at least resolved, if you mentioned that I would be telling the Reverend Father and the Warlord did not object...

[Seth] We really didn't discuss it at all, Sister. It wasn't part of my agenda, and to be honest, the Warlord was really much too upset to be talking about matters outside her immediate purview.

[Alma] Did you have the opportunity to ask if she has the time to meet with us at some point?

[Seth] Not at this conversation. I am certain she would; after all, you are a noblewoman. It is the sort of matter that can be easily arranged. After all, I simply drop in when I want to speak with her, without any appointment.

  • Alma hides her frustration.

[Alma] I suppose I was not explicit in my expectation.

[Alma] Well, anyhow. If the Warlord did not specifically tell you not to mention it to anyone else, then I will proceed to tell the Reverend Father.

[Seth] I am generally still reluctant, but of course I do understand your reasoning for wishing to do so. My concern is just generally that the more people who know, the more likely it becomes that angry hordes show up to hunt Laeken down, which benefits no one.

[Alma] I understand your concern, but there are two forces in the city which should be apprised of such a threat, and they are the Church and the Emperor.

[Alma] The Warlord knows, and did not suggest that you should tell us all to be silent in the name of the Empire, so I see no reason not to inform the Church.

[Seth] Yes, that is reasonable.

[Alma] Considering the Reverend Father knows everything else in this affair, I doubt that he will treat the matter of Laeken lightly.

[Alma] I trust his wisdom over our own, should he decide to inform the Council of Reverends or the Patriarch alone.

[Seth] I would be very interested in knowing if anyone at all in the church hierarchy knew about this. It seems almost incomprehensible that it would have been forgotten, and equally incomprehensible that if it were known, that no one would have warned us.

[Alma] Well, I suspect that perhaps Brother Aubert knew.

[Alma] I shouldn't sound so certain, I suppose. I suspect he may have known, and may have assumed we would perish before that point.

[Seth] Well, yes, perhaps. Certainly he knew something. But he certainly must have known that with Princess Ilphere in our group, he could not simply send us all to our deaths.

[Alma] On the contrary. He seemed to assume we would die, and cautioned us against even attempting. In that case, it seemed to me he assumed her status as a Princess would prevent him from stopping us.

[Alma] If he was charged with keeping the existence of Laeken a secret, he may have gambled that we would die long before that point.

[Alma] After all, it was not he who gave us the riddle for the statues.

[Seth] I would think that a low-level functionary would be more explicit, lest we get through the statues on our own.

[Seth] Because if we should have perished, his job and perhaps even his life would be in danger.

[Alma] He was quite explicit... he said that it was dangerous, and that the only previous expedition had died, and that only the keeper of the mausoleums was safe from the dangers.

[Alma] I believe he honestly felt we would die.

[Alma] Well, at least I see no reason to doubt that.

[Seth] We didn't really speak to him on the way out, no doubt because, with Laeken in the bag, we were simply seeking to get out without any commotion. One wonders what he thought.

[Alma] I was going to inform him until you suggested otherwise. At this point I will likely ask the Reverend Father if he was aware of Laeken, and whether Brother Aubert was privy. It may be something for which the Order of the Owl was responsible...

[Seth] Yes, perhaps so. In any event, knowing who else might know about this will help us decide how best to advise Laeken.

[Seth] I expect to be moving him into more private quarters very shortly.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] I expect he needs advice about libraries more than about his safety.

[Seth] It's not his safety, but his privacy, that I'm concerned about.

[Alma] Well, I think that covers the issue of Laeken...

[Alma] For now, at least.

[Seth] Very well.

  • Alma wonders if Belden is any of Seth's business... after all he is the only person able to speak with her.

[Alma] Mr. Belden or I may have cause to ask if you are willing to return into the Arch again.

[Alma] I Communed with Owl as I had intended, and asked a few questions about the Matriarch's spirit.

[Seth] Ah, I see ...

[Alma] It seems that it IS the will of the Gods that a part of her spirit remain within the Arch, and that therein she serves a purpose. Of course to know whether it is a role to which she has consented, or to which she would consent, is another matter.

[Seth] That is very perplexing ... but it at least confirms that there is some role for the Arch in the gods' plans, and perhaps she relates to that plan in some way.

[Seth] Does her consent matter to you?

[Alma] Yes, it does...

[Alma] I would most certainly hope to learn it is a task for which she volunteered.

[Seth] Would you like me to inquire with her? You understand that in some way, she is a ... composite ... perhaps not fully cognizant of what she may or may not have agreed to.

[Alma] Yes, that is why I did not ask you outright... I'm not sure that the spirit within the Arch would ... remember such a choice?

[Seth] I can ask - that is not a difficulty. But Rab may not wish me to ask, if it convinces the Matriarch to remain in her current state.

[Seth] If she learns that it is the gods' will, it may be irrelevant to her whether some part of her originally volunteered.

[Alma] This does perhaps answer why no one else has such a concrete form as she, within the Arch. I would have expected that over two thousand years of dream sacrifice, and selection for the throne, another would have gone through in both worlds.

[Alma] So you would support Mr. Belden if he chose to deceive her?

[Seth] So you would not?

[Alma] No, of course I would not support lying to her. It is her spirit in question, not Mr. Belden's, not mine, not yours.

[Seth] Very well. I agree with you, but I wanted to know exactly how far you would defy one of the Seventh.

[Alma] The Seventh appear to be a force for good, but they are not perfection.

[Seth] Your communion with Owl, did it tell you other matters of relevance?

[Alma] Owl told me that she could indeed be freed, though it would be in defiance of the Gods. I also learned that the Seven do not see the Serpent's destruction, nor its restoration to its place in the celestial order.

[Alma] I also determined that my soul is not split between this plane and the dream plane, as I wondered might be the case, as a result of the spirit of Pasith in the Arch.

[Alma] And I learned some small information about fiends within the city, which may not be relevant.

[Seth] Oh?

[Alma] Well, what little I learned is somewhat sensitive.

[Alma] Along with the fiend I mentioned before, three others are suspected, all of course in positions of varying influence.

[Seth] I see ...

[Seth] Well, if you feel it best, then of course I respect your judgement.

[Alma] The Church has been made aware of the potential as well, so hopefully if a fiend IS in a position of power it will be confirmed and dealt with.

[Seth] Of course.

[Alma] Well, think about how popular I would be in town if I suggested someone close to the Emperor was a fiend, and there was no truth to it :)

[Seth] How frequently are your Communes incorrect?

[Alma] Ah, I did not have the opportunity to confirm those three individuals... it was my final question, and I took a risk and asked whether all three were fiends. All three are not.

[Seth] But one or more are?

[Alma] Two could be, or one, or none. However I had reason to ask about those individuals, because four were alleged, and I confirmed the succubus on my own.

[Seth] I see. Well, this is well beyond my area of immediate concern. I trust that you will sort it out.

[Alma] This same source also claimed that the Warlord, the Lady Chamberlain and the Lord Marshall were "plane touched" which was part of my desire to examine an item of the Warlord's.

[Alma] I certainly hope to assist the Church in that.

[Alma] .oO( Whatever it is that gets done... )

[Seth] As long as no one is inquiring into the location of a particular demilich of our acquaintance.

[Alma] Well then...

[Alma] I suppose that is all I have to add for now. You'll let me know if the Warlord has other advice regarding Laeken.

[Seth] I shall do so.

  • Alma will stand to go.

[Alma] Enjoy your afternoon, Mr. Argo.

[Seth] Good day, Sister.


Ysabeau, Martan and Emoune

[DiablotinNarrator] Ysabeau, Martan has asked you to join him for dinner this evening, at a fancy restaurant.

  • Ysabeau will do so happily. She dresses for the occasion.
  • Martan is also dressed quite handsomely, as befits the surroundings.

[Martan] You look lovely this evening :)

[Ysabeau] You look especially amazing tonight.

  • Ysabeau laughs.
  • Martan smiles.

[Ysabeau] Great minds think alike.

[Martan] And apparently coordinate their wardrobes, too.

[Ysabeau] I had the crash course in etiquette and decorum, but I did all right, I think.

[Martan] It would certainly appear so.

  • Ysabeau smiles.
  • Martan offers you his arm.
  • Ysabeau takes it gracefully

[Martan] So, I have gathered several facts of interest.

  • Martan says once you are settled in the carriage.

[Ysabeau] Is that so?

  • Ysabeau asks with curiosity piqued.

[Martan] One, thanks to you, is that the Duchess of Greywatch is visiting the city. The second is that she is staying at the private residence of her son, Aden Olivier, in the Place D'Iena. The third is that, on evenings when her son is otherwise occupied, she dines at a nearby restaurant. And the fourth is that tonight, M. Olivier is otherwise occupied.

[Ysabeau] And let me guess:

[Ysabeau] We just happen to be going to a restaurant near M. Olivier's.

[Martan] That is indeed the case.

[Ysabeau] I'm teachable, hurrah!

[Ysabeau] Is that even a word?

  • Ysabeau asks herself aloud.

[Martan] Certainly :)

  • Ysabeau flashes him a smile.

[Ysabeau] So, what's it called?

[Ysabeau] (Is it his carriage that he drives himself, or do we have a driver this evening?)

[DiablotinNarrator] (a hired carriage)

[Ysabeau] (Ok, no driving practice for me, then. ;) )

  • Ysabeau will chat brightly with Martan on the way.
  • Ysabeau is curious how we'll approach the Duchess at a restaurant.
  • Martan escorts you into the restaurant when you arrive at its doors.
  • Ysabeau takes in her surroundings.
  • Ysabeau looks for older ladies eating alone.

[DiablotinNarrator] The place is elegant but subdued, not excessively ornate.

[DiablotinNarrator] Ysa, you do indeed spot an older woman of about 50 or so, dining alone.

  • Ysabeau catches Martan's eye and inclines her head towards that lady with a slight questioning look.
  • Martan nods subtly.
  • Martan requests from the maitre d a table that happens to be near hers.
  • Ysabeau follows the maitre d' on Martan's arm.
  • Martan holds out your chair for you.

[Ysabeau] Thank you, M. Olivier.

  • Ysabeau settles gracefully into her chair.
  • Emoune turns her head at that, eyeing the two of you.
  • Martan nods politely to her upon catching her eye.

[Martan] Good evening, madame.

  • Ysabeau acknowledges her politely as well.

[Emoune] Good evening... M. Olivier, is it?

[Martan] Indeed, I have the honour. Martan Olivier.

  • Martan says with a slight bow.
  • Emoune arches a slight eyebrow at that, but smiles.

[Martan] I have no wish to intrude on your evening, but I cannot help but notice you are dining alone. Would it please you to join us?

  • Emoune considers that for a moment.
  • Ysabeau smiles politely.

[Emoune] Very well. I admit I'm quite curious about a young gentleman who bears my surname, yet whom I don't believe I have ever met.

  • Emoune calls over a waiter to move her wine over, and makes her way to your table to join you.
  • Emoune is a thin woman, and seems rather frail when she moves.
  • Martan holds out her chair politely as well.

[Martan] Thank you, you honour us with your presence, your Grace.

[Martan] As to the question of my name, it was given to me by my natural father, Maze Olivier.

[Emoune] Ahh. Hm.

[Emoune] How *very* interesting.

[Emoune] I was unaware that Maze had any children.

[Martan] Perhaps he was as well.

  • Martan says lightly.
  • Emoune nods, but seems fairly skeptical about this whole story.
  • Ysabeau gives Martan a look to remind him to introduce her.

[Martan] Oh, how rude of me - may I introduce my companion, Mlle. Ysabeau Chanuier.

  • Ysabeau inclines her head politely towards the duchess.

[Emoune] Good evening, Mlle. Chanuier.

[Ysabeau] Your Grace, a pleasure to meet you.

[Emoune] And you as well.

  • Emoune sips her wine, and waits while you place your orders.
  • Ysabeau orders something light and suitable for a lady.

[Ysabeau] How is Greywatch faring these days?

  • Ysabeau asks conversationally.

[Emoune] Oh, well enough. Times are difficult in many places, but no worse there, and certainly better than some.

  • Ysabeau smiles.
  • Emoune makes polite conversation during your meal.
  • Ysabeau as well, chatting about Greywatch and other harmless topics to put the Duchess at ease...
  • Emoune eats but little of her own dish.

[Emoune] Now...

  • Emoune says, once the main course is cleared away and your are awaiting your desserts.

[Emoune] [q] How about you tell me who you really are?

[Emoune] [q] Even if you're calling yourself Olivier now, that obviously wasn't the name you were born with.

  • Martan nods.

[Martan] The surname I had at birth, I cannot say... but my adoptive parents' name was Desrosiers.

  • Ysabeau calmly checks to make sure no one is near enough to overhear.

[Emoune] Ah.. yes, I wondered...

[Emoune] How are Cleon and Nyeri, then?

[Martan] They are well, or were last I spoke with them... so, you know who I am?

[Emoune] There is a certain resemblance.

[Martan] There is?

  • Martan seems mildly surprised.

[Emoune] Well, I think so.

  • Emoune says as if it's obvious.

[Martan] May I... if it is not too impolite, could I take this opportunity to ask you a few questions?

  • Ysabeau pays attention to the conversation but does occasionally spare a glance for her surroundings.

[Emoune] I suppose so, but not here. Hardly a polite topic for the dinner table.

[Martan] Then perhaps I could escort you to your son's home, if you wish, and we could continue our conversation there?

[Martan] If you did not have subsequent plans, that is.

[Emoune] Yes, I imagine he'll still be out. And no, my social calendar is not so busy as once it was, I can make an hour to talk.

  • Emoune says with a sardonic smile.

[Martan] Thank you, your Grace, I appreciate it.

[DiablotinNarrator] Once you finish up your meal, you can make your way to Aden's house.

[Ysabeau] (yay!)

[DiablotinNarrator] (as questions may take longer, we might continue that as a solo?)

[Ysabeau] (sure!)


Alma and her grandparents

[DiablotinNarrator] Alma, the day of your wedding is rapidly approaching!

[DiablotinNarrator] As such, you are unusually preoccupied with matters that usually hold little interest for you, such as seating arrangements and entertainment and flowers.

  • Alma is doing her very best to let Elsa take care of as much as possible

[DiablotinNarrator] Somehow she still insists on consulting with you ;)

[DiablotinNarrator] As if the more you are forced to discuss it, the more important it is!

[Alma] .oO( Imagine how much work this would be without her? )

[DiablotinNarrator] You arrive at home one late afternoon, and find Felise sitting in your parlour, entertaining your grandparents!

[Felise] Oh, Sister, so glad you're home! @_@

[Alma] Oh, Felise! Grandfather, Grandmother! I didn't know you were due in the city already!

[Marise] We decided to come a few days in advance. I hope this is not too inconvenient.

  • Marise says, though she clearly doesn't actually care if it is ;)

[Alma] No, of course not, grandmother, there's plenty of room.

[Marise] Evidently!

  • Alma wonders what that means e... oh, Felise.

[DiablotinNarrator] Well, perhaps I ought to excuse myself... I shall see you at dinnertime, I expect :)

[DiablotinNarrator] (that was Felise)

[Alma] Has Marielle seen to your things?

  • Felise 's smile is somewhat forced as she departs.

[Alma] (Do I remember them as horrible curmudgeons? :P)

[Marise] Yes, she has had them taken up to what I gather will be our chamber for our stay.

[DiablotinNarrator] (mostly your grandmother is very particular and proper - your grandfather mostly just does what she says ;)

[Alma] (Is it proper to offer her Alma's room? :P)

[DiablotinNarrator] (your nicest guest rooms should be perfectly adequate)

[Alma] Well let me know if there is anything else you need, I'll have Marielle or Sagesse take care of it.

[Marise] Of course, my dear. You look well - you've put on weight.

[Marise] Not so skinny and pale as the last time we saw you.

[Alma] Well... thank you, grandmother. I have been ... keeping myself busy.

[Alma] How was your trip?

[Marise] Prompt and painless, thanks to the teleportation circle.

[Marise] I cannot believe it took them this long to build such a marvellous thing.

[Alma] I thought perhaps you had.

[Alma] I agree, so very useful for travel, and it helped when the city needed food supplies as well.

  • Marise nods.

[Marise] Where is Cesar? I expected we would see him as well upon our arrival.

[Alma] It's great that you won't have to recover from a trip down the river before you can enjoy the city :)

[Alma] Ah, Cesar has his own lodgings now.

[Alma] I'll send word that you've arrived.

[Marise] His own...? Well, my goodness.

  • Marise seems mildly shocked.

[Alma] (Is she upset that I'd make him live alone or that he's allowed to be alone?)

[Alma] (SM 36)

[DiablotinNarrator] (more likely the latter)

[Alma] Well, I keep my eye on him, of course :)

[Marise] Well, I should hope so. He's barely of age.

[Marise] Who knows what he could be getting up to!

  • Marise sounds as if she actually has a fairly vivid idea of what he could be getting up to.
  • Alma smiles and says nothing to that.

[Marise] I was disappointed to hear he left his training - the military would have been a very suitable career for him, I would have thought.

[Marise] Don't you think so, Claude?

[Claude] Yes, dear.

[Alma] I agree completely. It was such a surprise when he showed up in the city. I've been trying to steer him towards resuming some sort of ... long term plan.

  • Marise nods, looking somewhat mollified by that.

[Alma] I feel that as long as someone is here to keep an eye on him, that some time to think and consider his options would be ... bearable.

[Marise] It wouldn't do for him to simply become a ... a gadabout. He should have some direction in his life.

  • Alma nods in agreement.

[Marise] Perhaps he might consider a career in the law, or at court, if the military is not to his taste.

[Alma] I wonder if perhaps he feels there's no point in striving, being the second child... but I'm not sure what I might do about that sort of thought.

[Marise] Well, there is more to life than having a title!

[Alma] That's what I hope his time in the city will eventually show him :)

[Marise] THat is precisely why he *should* strive to make something of himself.

  • Marise nods, looking approving.

[Marise] And so, tell us about the young man you are marrying :)

[Alma] I wrote to you all about him... but I suppose it may be more enjoyable to hear it aloud :)

[Alma] He's Ser Danyel Rackley...

[Marise] Indeed, yes :)

  • Alma proceeds to tell them about his family and his position as a Spokesman, how they were introduced.

[Marise] An illustrious name, a very suitable match.

[Alma] I really do feel blessed that I found a match that suits me and Béziers both [3

[Marise] Well, I look forward to meeting him. I have every expectation that it will be a very prosperous union.

[Alma] I'll get in touch with him and his mother and arrange a meeting before the wedding :)

[Marise] That would be ideal.

[Marise] Perhaps a luncheon or tea.

[Marise] Wouldn't that be nice, Claude?

[Alma] His mother has been a wonderful help arranging everything. She has such extended contacts in the city, she knows who to talk to and where to find the most lovely things.

[Claude] Yes, dear, lovely.

[Marise] Oh, how fortunate :) She sounds most helpful.

  • Alma makes a note to tell Marielle to leave some broadsheets lying around for her grandfather to hide behind.

[Alma] I see you met Felise Lozada.

[Marise] Yes, we did... she is a friend of yours, then, who has fallen on difficult times, I take it?

[Alma] Yes, her family situation is very unfortunate, and for her own safety I offered to take her in. Since then we've become friends. She'll be standing with me at the wedding.

  • Marise nods.

[Marise] Well, she is fortunate to have a friend such as you, Alma.

[Alma] If only she'd been blessed with my good family :)

  • Marise smiles at that.

[Marise] Of course, I assume she will not be continuing to live here after your wedding.

[Alma] As much as I am still somewhat concerned for her, she's decided that it's time for her to look to moving on with her life. She'll still have my support of course, and that of her uncle, the Duke D'Olonne

  • Marise seems satisfied with that.

[Alma] .oO( I'll have to make sure none of the broadsheets date from OUR little scandal... )

[Marise] Well, I think perhaps I shall go up to freshen up before dinner.

[Alma] Have you been through the house yet? I could show you where everything is.

  • Alma will stand before her grandmother respectfully and lead her through the house, etc.
  • Marise admires the house as she is escorted around.
  • Claude comes along for the tour, and smiles and nods politely when told to do so.
  • Alma wonders when she's going to be able to get any REAL work done in the next week...
  • Marise departs into her chambers at last.
  • Claude lingers behind for a moment.

[Alma] Can I get you anything, grandfather? :)

[Claude] No, I'm fine, thank you dear. I just wanted to say how good it is to see you so happy.

  • Claude gives you a kiss on the cheek.
  • Alma smiles broadly and gives him a hug.

[Alma] Thank you :)

  • Claude meanders off to read the papers, then.


Seth and Laeken

[DiablotinNarrator] Seth, you have taken upon yourself the task of finding a more suitable place for Laeken to.. 'live'.

  • Seth is an unlicensed real estate agent, wheee!
  • Seth will make sure that wherever he wants Laeken to pick has good access to the Society, and preferably is within close wall-jumping range of someplace that Seth himself frequents.
  • Seth goes to visit Laeken once he has found a suitable spot.
  • Skull is in the upper level of the society's library at present, in a secluded corner, with a pile of books.

[Seth] Ah, errr, hello.

[Skull] Good day.

[Seth] I have, uh, found some locales for your inspection, one of which I particularly recommend.

[Skull] Oh, do tell?

  • Seth proceeds to describe them as best as possible.

[Seth] Obviously our paramount concern is that you should be allowed as much privacy as possible.

[Skull] That is ideal, yes. Someplace with space for research, also.

[Seth] What sorts of research?

  • Seth asks, hoping that the answer is not too disturbing.

[Skull] Reading, mainly, at least at this stage.

[Seth] Of course. As for furnishings, we can arrange for whatever you might need ... although I am not exactly sure what that would be.

[Skull] I have limited needs. Shelves, a desk or table... perhaps a chest for storage.

[Seth] Of course. Would you like to come and see it?

[Skull] Very well.

  • Seth will lead the skull by the most direct path to the best locale he found.

[Skull] Is the way clear, or shall I adopt a less obvious form?

[Seth] It should be fine.

  • Seth talks as he walks.
  • Skull won't bother, then, just hovering along at about your shoulder height.

[Seth] I'm not sure if we were properly introduced. My name is M. Seth Argo. I have research specialties in the history of architecture, particularly the Arch, as well as the history of constructs and statuary.

[Skull] Fascinating...

[Seth] I must admit, when we found you, my first thoughts were of the things you could teach me.

[Skull] That is admirable.

[Seth] (. o O That, and whether you were about to destroy us all.)

[Seth] My mind is still racing with questions.

[Skull] I seem to be at leisure to answer at present.

[Seth] My colleagues and I recently had cause to enter the Shadow Plane, during which we entered a most mysterious ... realm ... the dream of a long-dormant Shadar-kai queen ... While there, I had a ... vision ... in which you figured prominently.

[Skull] A dream-realm?

[Seth] I am no metaphysician, but yes, that would be an accurate description as far as I understand such things.

[Skull] A transient plane of some sort, I take it.

[Seth] I am unfamiliar with the term. Things were like they were here, and yet, very different. In that realm, the Shadar-kai still ruled in Saraknyel.

[Skull] Well, if it was the dream of a Shadar-kai, I suppose that makes sense.

[Seth] The vision I had, within the dream, featured you, at the moment, I suppose, of the human invasion of the city.

[Skull] Oh?

  • Seth recounts the scene to the skull.

[Skull] This event never happened in my recollection, I can say that much.

[Skull] As to what such a vision would mean...

  • Skull ponders.

[Skull] Perhaps it was the turning point that differentiated the course of that plane's history from this one.

[Seth] Perhaps so.

[Skull] The sleeper, did she live at the time of the conquest?

[Seth] Yes, that is my understanding.

[Skull] A dream can stretch backwards as well as forwards.

[Seth] She would have been an infant ... the daughter of the Queen at that time.

[Skull] Mmhmm...

[Seth] The other part of the vision, granted to me by this Voice near the arch, was of the infant being made Tal-Antar at her mother's behest.

[Skull] That part may well be accurate. I do not know, but it doesn't conflict with anything I do know.

[Seth] At any rate, it was, as you might imagine, very intriguing, less than a year after this vision, to meet you in the ... well, in the bone, if not the flesh.

[Skull] Heh.

[Seth] The other-me, whose name was Char, was possessed of powers previously unknown to me - to pass through stone walls in the city, and to need no sustenance while within the city. When we returned, I found that I, too, had these powers. And more.

[Skull] More?

[Seth] I can also see locales within the city, even if I am not there.

[Skull] Hm, very interesting.

[Seth] While we were in the mausoleum, even though it be outside of the city, I too had the feeling of great contentment and strength that I enjoy while in the city proper.

[Seth] And ... I heard voices ... as if the voices of dead emperors, telling me about you.

[Skull] About me?

[Seth] Yes ... clearly so, in retrospect.

[Skull] Busybodies.

  • Seth tells Laeken the things they said.

[Seth] You knew of their presence?

  • Skull considers this.

[Skull] There seems to be some... essence, soul if you will, that remains behind when Emperors die. Perhaps they are unable to proceed onwards due to their bond with the city.

[Seth] Hmm, very interesting. Do you think that is related to my powers? I have been very torn about that hypothesis for some time. After all, Char had these powers in the dream-realm, where there were no human emperors.

[Skull] But there were people who were linked to the Arch?

[Seth] Humans were put through the Arch in that realm, as punishment.

[Skull] I do not know if that would result in a similar link being forged.

[Seth] But there was at least one with a special bond.

  • Seth wonders how wise this is to be saying.

[Skull] Who was that?

[Seth] As Char, I ... entered the Arch, using my power to pass into stone. I entered a dull and grey realm full of shades and half-seen visions. But there, I met a woman, Pasith Belden, who in this realm we are now in, was once our Matriarch.

[Seth] I do not know precisely what that realm is. But I know that it also can be accessed here, in this realm.

[Skull] You entered into the Arch itself, rather than passed through it?

[Seth] That is correct.

[Skull] Hm, very interesting.

[Seth] Do you have any explanation for it? Or, rather, if you do not, would you have the ability to help me determine what has happened to me, and where it is that I have been?

[Skull] I am not certain... I will think on the matter. From your description, it would sound like the Void.

[Seth] Well, then, I have been to the Void many times, through the Arch, and returned apparently unharmed.

[Skull] And within this place, you met this woman... Pasith Belden?

[Seth] Yes, that is correct.

[Seth] She is not fully cognizant of everything in her lives in the different realms, but she is not a mere shade.

[Skull] Hm...

[Skull] But she *is* cognizant of some aspects of her lives in the different realms?

[Seth] Yes, absolutely.

[Skull] Very interesting.

[Skull] That suggests that this area spans multiple planes.

[Seth] One would presume so, yes.

[Skull] Linking them, even.

[Seth] Yes, through the Arch in each plane.

[Skull] Could one pass into the realm from one plane and exit it from another?

[Seth] I was unable to leave except as I entered.

[Skull] Hm.

[Skull] I suppose you are fortunate that you were able to leave at all.

[Seth] It had occurred to me.

[Seth] I have been endeavoring ever since to understand it.

[Skull] I will think on these matters - a most intriguing puzzle, Master Argo.

[Seth] The theory that I am connected to the city in a special way explains some things. The idea that I have some special bloodline has been proposed. And now I wonder whether ... whether I am connected to Emkathon somehow.

[Seth] Now that you have told us she is still here.

[Skull] I think the last implausible, at least. She would be suspended in time, and I doubt able to communicate with anyone.

[Seth] Hmm. Yes, as you say, but still ... any help you could provide would be greatly in aid of my predicament. And doubtless help clarify yet further issues.

[Seth] Ah, here we are ... I hope this is to your liking?

  • Seth shows him the place he found.

[Skull] It should be quite adequate for the time being, yes. My thanks.

[DiablotinNarrator] The end, for now...

Solos

Ysabeau, Martan and Emoune

  • Ysabeau releases Martan to escort Emoune to Aden's house since she is older, of higher rank, and in deference to her apparent frailty.
  • Emoune opens the door to admit you both into her son's house, which appears otherwise deserted.

[Emoune] Come in... my son doesn't believe in servants, so we shan't be disturbed. But it does also mean you'll have to make your own tea if you want any.

[Ysabeau] Thank you, your Grace. Would you care for some tea? I'd be happy to make some for you, if so.

[Emoune] That would be lovely, thank you.

[Ysabeau] Very well, do you mind pointing me in the direction of the kitchen? :)

  • Emoune does so.
  • Ysabeau doesn't want to wander somewhere she shouldn't! D:
  • Emoune opens the lamps in the sitting room and sits herself down on the sofa.
  • Martan accompanies you to help carry in anything needed.

[Martan] [q] I'm not really sure what to say to her... she's not what I expected.

[Ysabeau] [q] what were you expecting?

  • Ysabeau opens and closes cupboards, trying to find a teapot, tea, etc.

[Martan] [q] Well I didn't really think she would invite us in for tea...

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Martan] [q] She seems... nice.

[Ysabeau] [q] I feel a little weird searching through someone else's kitchen. But... we just have to take things as they go, I suppose.

[Ysabeau] Ah, there! Do you mind pumping some water into that pot, please?

[Martan] No problem.

  • Martan helps you get things organized for tea, then will carry the tray back into the sitting room where Emoune waits.

[Ysabeau] [q] She does. I'm not really surprised. I remember the adults in Val des Fentes used to speak well of her family.

  • Martan nods.
  • Ysabeau will follow him in and pour tea for the Duchess before anyone else.

[Emoune] Thank you, dear.

[Ysabeau] You're welcome, your Grace. We really appreciate your taking the time to speak with us.

  • Martan takes a seat and nods his agreement.

[Emoune] Well, I didn't have any spectacular plans this evening. Lucky you caught me on a slow night.

  • Ysabeau pours some tea for him, passing him the cup and saucer.

[Martan] I ... I gather you were friends with my parents.

  • Ysabeau pours for herself last, and settles down on a chair near Martan.

[Emoune] Yes, when we were young... Unfortunately I rarely get to see any of them these days, and though we correspond from time to time, we're not as close as we once were.

  • Ysabeau smiles sympathetically.

[Ysabeau] You travelled with them in 2217, didn't you? What was that like?

[Emoune] 2217, 2218... I suppose for the better part of a year. And it was wonderful. The happiest days of my life, apart from when my son was born of course.

[Ysabeau] Where did you go, all of you? I wish I could have gone on a similar adventure. :)

[Emoune] We travelled many places... Mearim, Gentilly, Cap Irus... mostly heading north-west from the city along the coast, then back down again on the other side of the Niveous Mountains.

  • Ysabeau nods, looking enchanted by the idea.

[Ysabeau] Did you have a particular goal in mind, or...?

[Emoune] Not especially. A few old maps and documents to go on, but mostly just exploring.

[Emoune] We got as far north as Danever, then turned along the river and through the Midwinter Pass, then south through Greywatch...

[Emoune] Awfully cold in the mountains. Stupid time of year to go, really.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Try Kholm in Second-month...

[Emoune] That would be a dry cold, wouldn't it. This was snowy, constantly snowy and wet. Everything froze to everything.

[Ysabeau] Ugh! It was dry, yes. But so cold your eyelids could freeze together when you blinked.

[Ysabeau] Does anything from your travels stand out especially?

[Emoune] My dear, I could tell you about ruins and battles all night if you wanted... but I suspect that's not what this young man is really interested in. Although they *are* very interesting stories, if I do say so myself.

  • Ysabeau has the grace to give Martan an apologetic glance.

[Ysabeau] Sorry, I got carried away.

  • Martan smiles.

[Martan] It's fine... maybe later we can hear some of those stories :)

[Ysabeau] Well, on to Mlle. Deverara and M. Belden, then, I suppose.

  • Emoune nods, a bit sadly you think.
  • Ysabeau pauses to give him the floor if he wants it.

[Martan] ...Were they in love?

[Emoune] Ahh... Hm.

[Emoune] It was complicated.

  • Emoune finally says.
  • Martan nods.

[Ysabeau] :/

[Ysabeau] How so?

[Emoune] They ... well. They respected one another very much. They would have defended one another to the death. They just ... didn't always get along.

  • Emoune says with a little shrug.

[Emoune] I heard Theonee once defend Butler to her mother... she was quite passionate about his finer qualities, as I recall. She would never have said any of those things to his face, though.

[Ysabeau] Do you know what they disagreed about?

[Emoune] They quarrelled. She complained he was overprotective of her - which he was, honestly, from time to time.

  • Ysabeau nods, listening carefully.

[Emoune] He thought she wasn't practical enough... no common sense, he used to shout at her. She wouldn't shout, mostly just go quiet and stubborn.

[Emoune] They were both too stubborn, maybe that was part of the problem.

[Emoune] Made for great sex, though, from anything I heard.

[Ysabeau] But they must have liked each other well enough, at other times...

  • Ysabeau blushes a little.
  • Emoune says dryly.

[Martan] *cough*

  • Ysabeau laughs and smiles at Martan's discomfiture.

[Emoune] Well, you knew it had to have happened. At least that part was good ;)

[Ysabeau] Indeed.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] How did The- Mlle. Deverara react when she came to know she was expecting...?

  • Ysabeau asks, softly.

[Emoune] They... things were over by then. And Butler was betrothed, and she didn't want to ruin things. She kept it a secret for a while... I think she didn't really believe it herself, until it was too late to do anything about it.

  • Ysabeau tucks a lock of hair behind her ear.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Emoune] I was the first one she told.

[Emoune] She wanted to end it... I'm sorry, I'm sure that's difficult to hear. I got her the potion, but it was too far along, it just made her sick instead.

  • Martan looks a bit pale, but nods.
  • Ysabeau wants to take his hand, but that would probably not be Appropriate. ;_;

[Emoune] So then her mother found out :/

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] What happened then?

[Emoune] She was so upset, so angry.

[Emoune] And Theonee couldn't stay at the palace, it would have been impossible to hide soon enough.

[Ysabeau] So you went to Greywatch.

[Emoune] I offered for her to come to Greywatch, and she agreed. I think she would have agreed to go anywhere as long as it was away from the city.

[Ysabeau] Aside from the obvious: to hide her condition from her peers, were there other reasons for leaving the city?

[Emoune] Butler's wedding was coming up... it would have been awkward to stay in the city and not be there.

  • Ysabeau nods, glancing at Martan to see how he's doing.
  • Martan seems to be holding up ok, but has a death-grip on his tea cup.

[Ysabeau] (Also, give him an opportunity to ask a question if he wants.)

  • Ysabeau decides to hell with what's Appropriate and reaches out to give his forearm a gentle, reassuring squeeze.

[Martan] So she never told him? Never even thought about telling him?

[Emoune] What good would it have done? He would have done what he always tried to do - the right thing. He would have broken it off with Cora and tried to marry Theonee, probably in secret because neither of their families would have been happy about it, and it would have been a disaster. And he would have done it out of obligation, not love.

[Emoune] That was the last thing she wanted.

[Ysabeau] [q] I can understand that.

  • Ysabeau gives Martan another gentle squeeze and a concerned smile if she manages to catch his eye.
  • Ysabeau won't go on until he seems ready.
  • Martan nods.

[Ysabeau] Were you present when he was born?

  • Emoune looks a bit uncertain.

[Emoune] I was there when the baby was born, yes.

[Ysabeau] ...

[Martan] I know about the... that the baby was a girl.

  • Emoune nods.

[Emoune] Good, then, I didn't want to tell you if you didn't already know. I don't think I can deal with any fainting or crying tonight.

[Ysabeau] He wouldn't, anyway.

[Martan] I'm fine, thanks.

[Ysabeau] (SM... is he really fine? :P)

  • Martan does seem to be under stress, but he's holding up all right.

[Ysabeau] (35)

[Ysabeau] Did anything unusual occur before, during or after the birth? Or did it go as smoothly as one can expect these things to go?

[Emoune] Very smoothly. It was very quick, in fact.

[Ysabeau] (SM.. truth? Should I roll again for her or just use the 35)

[Martan] (you can roll for her)

[Ysabeau] (24)

  • Emoune seems to be telling the truth.

[Ysabeau] (actually that should have been 36 and 25, I think... I'm using my paper copy of Ysa which is a level lower than she is. ;) )

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Were you present when Loch du Champe - we think it was him, anyway - cast a Legend Lore on the infant?

[Emoune] Oh.. it wasn't him. I was the one who cast it.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I cast it recently myself, and had the same results. We'd be interested to hear your interpretations of the clauses.

[Emoune] I had no idea what to make of it... but I knew I needed to tell someone. It seemed important.

[Ysabeau] Whom did you tell?

[Emoune] My father.

[Ysabeau] And did he make anything of it?

[Emoune] Well, he found it rather alarming, as I did.

[Emoune] But it was fairly...opaque.

[Emoune] We both presumed the first part referred to Empress Tristane.

  • Ysabeau listens carefully.

[Emoune] The stars returning to their original form, with the Rat... although I was never completely happy with that interpretation, as that had happened years before.

[Emoune] And then the last part all sounded very ... apocalyptic.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Emoune] They thought the Mother of Mercy meant Pasith ... she was going to become the Matriarch, that was obvious.

[Emoune] So they decided it would be best to conceal the child.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] A spell was cast to hide her identity. Do you know what spell they used?

[Emoune] A wish. That one, I didn't cast.

  • Emoune says with a slight smile.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Loch du Champe did?

  • Emoune nods.
  • Ysabeau glances at Martan.

[Martan] So a wish could reverse it, then?

[Emoune] I suppose. Do you want to reverse it?

[Martan] No! I just wondered.

[Ysabeau] Can you think of any other way it could be reversed?

[Emoune] Truly reversed, beyond surface appearance? A miracle, I suppose.

[Ysabeau] Divine intervention, then.

  • Emoune nods.

[Emoune] I think any of the more superficial spells that alter appearance would just result in ... confusion. Your inside wouldn't match your outside anymore.

[Martan] I don't want to change, anyway, so that's not an issue.

  • Martan says firmly.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] If he were to revert to his...first form, do you think another wish spell could change him back to the person he is today?

[Emoune] Possibly? I don't know if a wish can overrule a miracle or not...

[Emoune] So you think that's what the 'first form' part refers to?

  • Ysabeau sighs and glances at Martan questioningly.

[Ysabeau] (Basically wondering if he's okay with telling her about the cult's riddle... :P)

[Martan] We don't really know... it's just something we've considered as a possible option.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Your Grace, would your father have kept any notes of any sort, or discussed that Legend Lore with anyone else? We know Loch du Champe knew it, but his interpretations seem similar to yours. But as you can imagine, that Legend Lore is really quite important; we have thought of a number of interpretations already but... none of them are really satisfactory.

[Emoune] My father's personal notes were burned on his death, at his request.

  • Ysabeau looks disappointed.

[Emoune] I know he discussed it with Chancellor vak Andras... and he would have told Maze most anything, I suspect.

[Ysabeau] Martan already asked Maze... he directed us to you. :/

[Emoune] I don't know if he told him about this or not...

[Emoune] Ahh, well, that's ... circular, I'm afraid. Sorry.

[Ysabeau] It's all right. -_-

[Ysabeau] Well...

  • Ysabeau glances at Martan.

[Martan] Do you think... if I went to talk to ... either of them, really, would that be a terrible idea?

[Emoune] I don't know that it would go well. But if you were prepared for that possibility, and it's something you feel you have to do, then ... well, they're theoretically adults, they ought to be able to handle it.

  • Martan nods uncertainly.

[Ysabeau] Aside from... hiding him from Pasith Belden, do you know if there's... anyone else they wanted to protect him from?

[Emoune] ...

[Emoune] This is delving into territory I don't fully understand myself.

  • Emoune warns you.

[Ysabeau] Join the club.

  • Ysabeau says dryly.

[Ysabeau] We're just trying hard to look at it from all the angles, your Grace.

[Emoune] But both Theonee and Butler passed through the Arch before they were born. And I think there was concern that a child of theirs would be... affected, somehow, by that.

[Emoune] I don't know what precisely they thought you would turn out to be, young man. Quite likely they didn't know themselves.

  • Martan nods.

[Emoune] If they were trying to hide you from the gods... well, I can't think that's likely to work very well.

[Ysabeau] I think it was more likely to be people.

[Emoune] Possibly so.

[Ysabeau] I just wish I knew why.

  • Ysabeau glances at Martan with one eyebrow raised. Anything else?
  • Emoune is looking rather tired.

[Martan] Thank you very much for your time, your grace. Will you be staying here in the city long, if we think of anything else we might need to ask you about?

[Emoune] I expect to stay another few weeks. Much longer than that and I believe I'll start to cramp my son's living arrangements.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Shall I take the dishes to the kitchen, or...?

  • Ysabeau isn't sure what the appropriate etiquette is in this situation, really.

[Emoune] Thank you, I would appreciate it.

  • Ysabeau will collect them and... wash up?

[Martan] (sure :)

  • Martan will assist you and then clear out to let the Duchess get some rest.
  • Ysabeau will bid the Duchess a good night, and thank her once more for her time before leaving.

Ysabeau and Martan

  • Ysabeau waits for Martan to settle into the carriage, then takes one of his hands in hers and gives him a lingering kiss.

[Ysabeau] Thanks for the lovely dinner.

  • Martan kisses back, though he seems distracted still.

[Martan] Oh.. you're welcome, of course.

[Ysabeau] Are you all right? Some of what she said was pretty brutal.

[Martan] I suppose I'm not surprised... it's still hard to hear, though.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I know.

[Martan] I mean, obviously at some level I knew that my mother didn't want me.

[Martan] It just seems more horrible to think about her trying to end her pregnancy than just giving me away once I was born.

  • Ysabeau nods again.

[Ysabeau] Yeah...

  • Martan shrugs.

[Martan] I suppose at least I can be glad she didn't succeed.

[Ysabeau] I definitely am.

  • Martan smiles slightly at that.

[Ysabeau] I - I don't know her obviously. But I've known a lot of girls who've gotten pregnant... by all sorts of means. I can't remember that decision being an easy one for any of them.

[Ysabeau] I don't know if that helps. :/

  • Martan nods.

[Martan] The Duchess thought she left it too late because she was in denial, or maybe didn't know any better, but maybe she just couldn't decide.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] It's possible.

  • Ysabeau strokes his hand idly with her thumb.

[Ysabeau] I-

  • Martan glances over at you.

[Ysabeau] I really admire your courage.

[Ysabeau] You've displayed such... grace, such strength while learning all these things.

[Martan] Well... what good would it do to get angry about it?

[Martan] Things could have been different, yes. But I haven't had an unhappy life.

[Ysabeau] I'm glad to hear that.

  • Ysabeau smiles slightly.

[Ysabeau] And now I know your real last name, too, I guess.

[Martan] Maybe so.

  • Ysabeau raises an eyebrow slightly.

[Ysabeau] It's not Desrosiers?

[Ysabeau] It doesn't matter, really.

[Martan] Oh, that. I suppose in a way it is.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Martan] I thought you meant Deverara. Or Belden. Or ... I don't know what.

  • Ysabeau shakes her head.

[Ysabeau] First Star of the Rosebushes... it suits you much better than Martan Olive-tree.

  • Ysabeau muses, a bit mischievous.
  • Martan smiles.

[Martan] Well, I'm glad you like it.

[Ysabeau] A superlative name for a superlative young man.

  • Ysabeau nods decisively.
  • Ysabeau turns and smiles back at him.

[Ysabeau] What are your foster-parents like?

[Martan] They're scholars...

[Martan] And since you know a fair few scholars, you can probably imagine ;)

[Ysabeau] Oh dear, was it that bad? ;)

[Martan] They're decent people - easily distracted, though. I spent a lot of time fending for myself while they argued over the correct translation of an inscription or whatever.

  • Ysabeau nods, listening.

[Martan] And it meant we travelled a lot, and I did enjoy that, for the most part.

[Martan] I don't know that they really *wanted* a child - they never had any of their own - but they were good sports about it ;)

[Ysabeau] Maybe they couldn't have any of their own, and were grateful to have you.

[Ysabeau] Do you miss them?

  • Martan considers.

[Martan] I suppose they raised me to be independent. I don't miss living with them, or feel like I need to visit them too often, but if they were coming through town of course I would want to see them.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] So they still travel a lot, then?

[Martan] Quite a bit, yes. They have their house in Val des Fentes, but they probably don't spend more than half the year there.

[Martan] They do come to the city now and again, though.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Martan] Mainly to use the libraries, or to consult with other scholars ;)

[Ysabeau] :)

[Ysabeau] When was the last time you saw them?

  • Martan thinks back.

[Martan] I suppose going on two years ago now.

[Ysabeau] That long? Do they write?

[Martan] When they remember ;)

[Ysabeau] Aww...

[Ysabeau] Do you think they'd like me?

[Martan] I'm sure they would. How could they not?

[Martan] You're smart, talented, and sensible - as well as beautiful.

  • Ysabeau smiles, blushing slightly.

[Ysabeau] Oh, you...

[Ysabeau] We're well-matched then, aren't we?

[Martan] Clearly :)

[Ysabeau] Though handsome would be a better descriptor for you, my love.

  • Martan smiles.
  • Ysabeau reaches up to run her hand through his hair.

[Ysabeau] I fall in love with you a little more every minute I spend with you.

[Martan] Then clearly we ought to spend more time together.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Angling to move in with me?

  • Ysabeau teases.

[Ysabeau] Tired of the Grand? ;)

[Martan] Heh. Maybe you'd like the Grand ;)

[Ysabeau] I think servants would be a little weird for me.

[Ysabeau] I mean, I like cooking. ^-^

[Martan] It is, weird I mean.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I've heard the stories...

  • Ysabeau leans in close to whisper in mock fear

[Ysabeau] I've heard they even put your clothes out for you in the mornings... D:

  • Martan chuckles.

[Martan] Well, the nice thing about servants is that if you ask them not to do something, they're usually perfectly happy to stop ;)

[Ysabeau] Is that so? Good to know.

  • Ysabeau smiles and snuggles up to him.
  • Martan wraps an arm around you.
  • Ysabeau doesn't imagine he's really serious.

[Ysabeau] I wish home was across the city...

  • Ysabeau murmurs.

[Martan] Why? You don't want to get home? That's where the best things tend to happen...

[Ysabeau] Only for the non-adventurous.

  • Ysabeau says with a grin.

[Ysabeau] No, I know.

[Ysabeau] I just like how I am feeling right now, and would like to savour it.

[Ysabeau] Even though even nicer things are probably ahead. ^-^

[Ysabeau] Does that make sense?

[Martan] Very much.

[Martan] Where do the adventurous go, then? ;)

  • Ysabeau pulls away just enough that she can look him in the face, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips.

[Ysabeau] Is that a challenge?

[Martan] I'm just curious ;)

[Ysabeau] I can think of innumerable places.

[Ysabeau] Let's see...

[Ysabeau] The altar of a temple.

[Ysabeau] Your turn.

[Martan] Uh... in the balcony at a play.

[Ysabeau] Good one. I like how you think.

[Martan] A boring play, naturally ;)

[Ysabeau] At the Castalia library, during class hours. One of the chairs in the aisles.

[Martan] Have you actually done that? ;)

[Ysabeau] Not yet.

  • Martan chuckles.

[Ysabeau] Your turn!

[Martan] I'm thinking! How about... in the cloakroom at Surryks. I'm sure that's been done.

[Ysabeau] (What's Surryk's, again?)

[Martan] (the fancy public ballroom)

[Ysabeau] Oh, probably. ^-^

  • Ysabeau will keep coming up with bizarre places until we get to my house, but we don't have to RP that. It probably wouldn't be long anyway since we never left the Place D'Iena.
  • Martan seems perfectly happy to go home with you, rather than to any of those exciting places ;)
  • Ysabeau is probably laughing so hard she's crying by the time we get to my house.
  • Ysabeau pays the driver for driving them around all night since Martan covered the meal, and leads him inside.

[Ysabeau] (Martan, not the driver. ;) )

[Martan] (snick*)

Sanadhil and Laeken

  • Sanadhil will stop by the society on a quiet afternoon to look for Laeken
  • Skull has been around less the past few days, but conveniently is there this afternoon.
  • Skull is lurking on a windowseat with a few books.
  • Sanadhil pauses when he sees him, feeling simulatneously relieved and annoyed (at Seth)

[Sanadhil] Ahh, good afternoon...

  • Skull swivels to face you.

[Skull] Good day to you as well.

[Sanadhil] I apologise for disturbing you, but I was hoping I might be able to speak with yoyu in private about some matters.

[Skull] Oh.. I suppose so, yes.

  • Skull hovers to accompany you into one of the private rooms.

[Sanadhil] laeken...

[Sanadhil] (ww)

[Sanadhil] Thank you, I appreciate your time.

  • Skull settles on a shelf.

[Sanadhil] I take it that M. Argo has arranged some suitable quarters for you?

[Skull] Yes, quite adequate for my purposes, at least for the time being.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Was it your request that he not share their location?

  • Sanadhil asks with mild curiousity

[Skull] No, it is his own discretion.

[Sanadhil] Hmm.

[Sanadhil] Do you prefer it that way, then?

[Skull] It is preferable that the location does not become generally know, certainly.

[Sanadhil] I think it is preferable if your presence, let alone your exietence does not become *generally* known, certainly, though the current situation does place rather alot of ...responsability on M. Argo.

[Skull] I am not excessively concerned.

  • Sanadhil nods.

[Sanadhil] I would not expect so.

[Sanadhil] But I would be interested to know where else I might be able to find you, unless *that* concerns you.

[Skull] I expect to be here on a regular basis, unless it becomes... difficult.

[Sanadhil] Very well.

[Skull] Do you think it would be preferable for me to make myself resemble a human?

[Skull] I am uncertain whether that would only attract more attention.

[Sanadhil] It would be easy enough to introduce you as a visiting scholar or even a new member, and that would make your presence easier to explain, certainly.

[Skull] But then people might wish to ... talk to me.

[Skull] Moreso.

[Sanadhil] there is that, yes.

[Sanadhil] I suspect that the current arrangement will do for now.

[Skull] Very well, then.

[Sanadhil] Most of the cocietey members are old, and don't visit the library often, or later at night.

[Skull] I have noticed it tends to be quiet at night, yes.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] That would be the best time to avoid other patrons.

[Sanadhil] Or others who might wish to bother you with talk -_-

[Sanadhil] There was something specific I wanted to ask you about

[Skull] Then proceed, if you will.

[Sanadhil] it is about Emkathon - you said you Imprisoned...her? as per the spell?

[Skull] That is correct.

[Sanadhil] So she cannot be contacted whatsoever in her current state.

[Skull] That is also correct.

[Sanadhil] Hmm.

[Sanadhil] There is a somewhat related matter I would like to ask you about, but it is a somewhat private matter that i do not wished shared with others.

[Skull] Very well. I can exercise discretion.

[Sanadhil] Thank you.

[Sanadhil] First, then - you said that you originally agreed to bargain with her, and care for the Phereia because you were convinced that the Serpent, or its cult, would eventually rise to power again at some point. It that still a matter that interests or concerns you?

[Skull] I still believe it possible, at least. And if it should seem likely to come to pass, then yes, it would both interest and concern me.

[Sanadhil] I know that there is a faction working to see the Serpent restored, though I am not certain how close they are to any success.

[Skull] Interesting...

[Skull] Why do they do this, do you know?

[Sanadhil] I am not certain of all of their motives. Some, I think do so because they have had contact with the Serpent, or believe they have, and believe that it will reward them for service. Other possibly because they feel that the current cosmological system is out of balance - or possibly both.

[Skull] Hm... contact, how notable.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Skull] This suggests it is regaining some of its power, perhaps due to their efforts or perhaps of its own strength.

[Sanadhil] I think a combination

[Skull] Possibly so.

[Sanadhil] There is a cult that meets regularly in worship at the site of the down - the original location of the arch, to whch is was restired fifty years ago when the Serpent and Rat were released.

[Skull] The hill?

[Sanadhil] Most of the members are not interested in the religious aspects of the ceremony, but they may contribute their energies nonetheless

  • Sanadhil nods

[Skull] The site itself no doubt holds some residual energies, which might be fed by these gatherings, as you imply.

[Sanadhil] They do draw some power from the arch, as well, as part of some rites.

[Sanadhil] but it is fairly fleeting

[Skull] Hm.

[Skull] The damage to the Arch probably impedes their ability to make use of it.

[Sanadhil] Yes, I suspect as much, but we don't know very much about what it is capable of.

[Sanadhil] Or should be capable of, either.

[Sanadhil] I have also witness an independant display of mild power from the lower arch.

[Skull] Oh?

[Sanadhil] Once we learned of it, I traveled there to see it formyself, and it showed me images that may have been scenes from the past.

[Skull] Fascinating.

  • Sanadhil nods in agreement.

[Skull] The Arch was known to show visions of the future... I suppose the past is not beyond its reach either.

[Sanadhil] We do have records of the under-arch gving other visions of the past as well - that is how we know of how it was moved.

[Sanadhil] in that particular case, it was a vision shared by several who passed through it together, and who were gone several days.

[Skull] So the lower Arch seems attuned to the past while the upper is attuned to the future?

[Sanadhil] That is how it has been interpreted.

[Skull] Perhaps this is part of how its division, its ... injury, I suppose... manifests.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] That is in line with a partial theory one of my fellow scholars has shared with me, yes.

[Sanadhil] We were hoping to visit the site of the damaged arch in the Shadow Plane to see if it can shed any further light on the condition of our own

[Skull] The very fact that part of the Arch was buried - deliberately? - is noteworthy. My admittedly limited knowledge of other such structures is that they appeared as ovals.

[Skull] That would no doubt be a productive journey.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] the arch was already half-buried in your time, though, was it not?

[Skull] Yes, it was.

[Sanadhil] Do you know anything of why that was?

[Sanadhil] Did the Shadar-Kai make use of the under-arch?

[Skull] I believe they must have done so, but they seem to have segregated its functions somehow.

[Sanadhil] hmm...

[Skull] I am not certain whether this was something they did deliberately, or whether they found it in that state.

  • Sanadhil adds that to his list of things to ask Imraen if give a chance @_@

[Sanadhil] Do you know anything about their pacts with demons?

[Skull] A limited amount...

[Sanadhil] Do you know what their purpose was, and whether the demons had any interests in the Serpent, or the Arch?

[Skull] The demons' purpose?

[Sanadhil] yes

[Sanadhil] or the Shadar-Kai, I suppose

[Skull] Their purposes are generally the same - to gain control over mortals, and exercise that control to their own ends, to gain soul-energy for their own purposes.

[Skull] Or those of their masters.

  • Sanadhil nods.

[Skull] They exploit weaknesses.

[Skull] And the Shadar-kai had weaknesses, certainly.

  • Sanadhil nods again

[Sanadhil] But they had no interest in the Arch?

[Skull] I think they were ... wary of it.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I know that some of the angels that escaped the devastation of the Center were captured and transformed by their forces

[Skull] Then their caution would make sense.

[Sanadhil] I was trying to figure out whether Emkathon, as an avatar of Mercy, might have the power to restore them, but it seems that is a moot point.

[Skull] Hm.

[Sanadhil] Hm?

[Skull] She is not a god herself, but bears many of the powers of one... there are few things I think would be completely outside her capability, were she fully restored to power.

[Skull] But even at the time I knew her, she was considerably weakened.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] What if the Phereia were restored? Would that have any bearing on the equation?

[Sanadhil] Or the fact that the Serpent is no longer bound?

  • Skull considers.

[Skull] If the Phereia were restored, she would still not be restored to her full power. Her power derives from the Serpent, and if it were to regain its former power, then correspondingly hers could also be restored.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Skull] After all, the Phereia was whole when she came to me.

[Sanadhil] True.

[Sanadhil] Do you know what would be necessary to restore the serpent, not that it is free?

[Skull] Something happened that permitted the Seven to begin to gain power - something after the fall of Am, but before the conquest of this city.

[Skull] They had this ...foothold, already, by the time I was alive. They were more than what they had been in my grandfather's time, say.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Skull] Something had weakened the Serpent. I don't know what this was.

[Sanadhil] YOu said that they tried to bind the serpent at Am.

[Skull] It's possible that in some small way they succeeded. Or perhaps it had to do with the destruction of the Shadow Plane Arch. Perhaps both. I'm not certain.

[Skull] But it made it possible for it to be imprisoned - defeated. At its full strength, I do not believe this would have been possible.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Skull] It's possible that, now that it is freed, it will be able to heal on its own - though it may take many centuries.

[Sanadhil] I don't know if that will become an issue.

[Skull] Not in your lifespan, at least.

[Sanadhil] It is still weak - it seems more likely that it will be destroyed, or weakedned further, or those who seek to restore it will find some way to do so.

[Skull] Yes... it is unlikely that it will be left to its own devices, I agree.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Thank you for your time and conversation - I now have even more to think about, and an expedition to plan with more seriousness.

[Skull] Very well. It has also given me much to consider.

  • Sanadhil nods.

[Sanadhil] Any time.

[Skull] Certainly. Farewell, then.

  • Sanadhil will leave Skully to his own devices, then @_@

Sanadhil and Earric

  • Sanadhil will stop by the Lozada/Boyne household for some...research time @_@

[Earric] (Let's say that Phedre happens to be out, for the sake of convenience?)

[Sanadhil] (sure!)

  • Sanadhil will go to the library, then....
  • Earric lounges on one of the sofas, legs dangling over the arm.
  • Earric glances up when you enter.

[Sanadhil] Ahh, good afternoon.

[Earric] Hello there.

  • Earric smiles.
  • Sanadhil smile politely

[Sanadhil] I actually just stopped by to do some research... but since you are here, I'm curious whether Phedre told you anything after I was here with Ilphere?

[Earric] Anything about what?

[Sanadhil] What we discussed...

[Sanadhil] We showed her the....vessel we recovered from the patriarch's ...tomb.

[Earric] I heard you made a new friend ;)

[Sanadhil] Indeed.

[Earric] Is he as delightful as he sounds?

[Sanadhil] he's fascinating.

[Sanadhil] Very intelligent, very well informed on certain matters.

  • Sanadhil looks at Earric thougtfully

[Earric] Fun at parties?

  • Earric asks, rolling over onto his side and propping his head up on his arm.

[Sanadhil] That I rather doubt.

[Sanadhil] He isn't especially personable.

  • Earric smiles at that.

[Sanadhil] He did tell us something that... I wasn't sure if it wuld interest you or not.

[Sanadhil] or whether your loving wife might have already told you.

[Earric] And what was that?

[Sanadhil] That Emkathon lives.

[Earric] ...

  • Sanadhil watches him closely
  • Earric sits up, playfulness gone.

[Sanadhil] I take it she did not.

[Earric] No, it didn't come up.

[Sanadhil] I'm not surprised.

[Earric] Where is she?

[Sanadhil] I don't know.

[Earric] Well what good is that?!

[Sanadhil] She asked Laeken to Imprison her, so that she could use her power to help protect the city, and the people here.

  • Earric stands, frowning.

[Earric] Why would she... what could you have possibly done to *deserve* such a sacrifice -_-

  • Earric paces.

[Earric] He must be lying.

[Sanadhil] No, I don't think so.

[Sanadhil] She gave him something to protect.

[Earric] She could have protected it herself... why would she need him?

[Sanadhil] Could she have? Maybe this was safer for her.

  • Earric strikes an ornament off the mantelpiece, smashing it.

[Sanadhil] Earric....

[Earric] Safer? To put herself beyond all reach...

[Earric] I could have... I couldn't find her...

  • Earric drops to his knees.

[Sanadhil] ...

  • Sanadhil will, against his better judgement, step closer to him @_@

[Sanadhil] Its... not over yet, is it.

  • Earric just kneels there, looking down at his hands, or the floor.

[Earric] [w] He must have tricked her. Trapped her.

[Earric] [w] She would never have left us... not like that...

[Sanadhil] Maybe she didn't know you'd escaped....

[Sanadhil] Maybe she thought there would be hope for you later

[Earric] Hope.

[Sanadhil] She did leave...somethig of herself behind

  • Earric looks up at you, his eyes reddened (probably with tears, not with demonic rage, say)
  • Sanadhil seems a tad uncertain.... not of what he is saying, but more of how he shoud react in this situation

[Sanadhil] I think she had a child with Laeken...

[Earric] ...

  • Sanadhil wonders if that will be much help if Earric is her kid, to think she traded one family for another :p

[Earric] She... how could she...

[Sanadhil] I don't know.

[Earric] How could she let him... touch her...

  • Earric shudders.

[Sanadhil] Humans are awfully disgusting

  • Sanadhil says a tad dryly

[Sanadhil] I can't imagine why anyone would :p

[Earric] It's one thing for those of us already ... stained.

  • Sanadhil sigsn a little sympathetically.

[Sanadhil] I can try to find out more, but I dont know what he'll be willing to say

[Sanadhil] Maybe he is lying.

[Sanadhil] I know there is more to the bargain than he has told us.

[Earric] Maybe he raped her. Maybe it wasn't her choice.

[Sanadhil] Would he have been able to?

[Earric] ...no. Not unless she was weakened, very greatly weakened.

  • Sanadhil reaches out, a little hesitant/warily, aqnd puts a hand on the demon's shoulder.
  • Earric lets you, without reaching back.

[Sanadhil] You don't know what her choices were, or what paths she saw.

[Earric] ...

[Sanadhil] But if the Serpent is restored....then she can be restored, too.

[Earric] Someone could find her... there are spells, I know there are...

[Sanadhil] There are.... but she is still weak.

[Sanadhil] I want to see if there is someway to contact her.

[Sanadhil] The Shadar Kai queen was left in statis..... but she built herself a dream.

[Earric] How?

[Sanadhil] Maybe Emkathon has....something similar.

[Earric] ...

[Earric] maybe.

  • Earric finally says.

[Earric] ... if you find such a thing... take me with you.

  • Sanadhil nods.

[Sanadhil] Of course.

[Sanadhil] ...

  • Earric shuts his eyes.

[Sanadhil] was she your mother?

[Sanadhil] (Is @_@)

[Earric] ...not the way you think of mothers. Not in such a .. physical sense. But... yes, I suppose that's the best way to think of it.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Earric] The mother of all of us...

  • Sanadhil is not really the best equiped to understand such things anyway :p
  • Earric takes your hand to gently draw you down onto the floor with him.
  • Sanadhil will allow that after an insistinct moment of resistance.
  • Earric just leans against you.
  • Sanadhil willl try not to be too awkward -_-
  • Sanadhil will sit and try ot be comforting for a while, anyway

[Sanadhil] ...will Phedre know that you know?

[Earric] ...

[Earric] I won't tell her.

[Earric] If she finds out some other way, I.. can't help that.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] what do you think she would do?

[Earric] She would worry.

[Sanadhil] about what?

[Earric] She would expect me to try and do something rash, probably.

  • Sanadhil smirks

[Sanadhil] well

[Sanadhil] I will see what more I can learn.

[Earric] ...thank you.

  • Earric murmurs against your neck.
  • Sanadhil nods, and sits up to give himself a little more space -_-
  • Earric seems mostly to have composed himself.
  • Sanadhil will stand then.

[Sanadhil] I suppose I should tend to my research, then.

  • Earric does as well.

[Earric] I'll let you get to that, then.

  • Earric leaves the library.

Alma and RF Theron

  • Alma sends a message to RF Theron immediately after seeing Seth to see whether he would like her to elaborate on her last report in person or via correspondence. -_-
  • Reverend_Father responds to let you know when you can come see him.
  • Alma will confirm attendance and drop by promptly.
  • Reverend_Father receives you in his office. He looks somewhat frazzled and preoccupied.

[Alma] Good afternoon, Reverend.

[Reverend_Father] Good afternoon, Sister. Please, have a seat. I apologize for not responding earlier to your message, which was very thorough and quite fascinating.

[Alma] I understand; I cannot imagine how busy you must be.

  • Reverend_Father nods.

[Reverend_Father] It is... a difficult time right now.

[Alma] Oh?

  • Reverend_Father nods.

[Alma] Has anything else arisen?

[Reverend_Father] This cannot leave these walls, but perhaps you have a right to know...

[Reverend_Father] The Patriarch is not well. Physically, he is healthy, but mentally... his mind is deteriorating.

[Alma] That's awful :/

  • Reverend_Father nods.

[Alma] (How old is he?)

[Reverend_Father] (not super old... early 60s)

  • Reverend_Father is older than the Patriarch, certainly.

[Alma] Is it an early senescence?

[Reverend_Father] I believe it must be. We have attempted to determine if his affliction could have a magical cause, but without success.

  • Alma nods.

[Reverend_Father] The Council therefore has been meeting much more often, in order to make the decisions that would normally fall to the Patriarch.

  • Alma realises what this means especially for RF Theron, seeing as he is up next .oO( Oh, that must weigh on him especially... )

[Reverend_Father] If it becomes clear that the Patriarch can no longer perform his role, and will never again be able to... we will have to decide what to do.

[Alma] Yes, I understand :/

[Alma] I will add him to my prayers...

[Reverend_Father] Thank you.

[Reverend_Father] Now... about your discoveries.

  • Alma waits for a more opportune time to satisfy her curiosity about Rat in the order.
  • Reverend_Father retrieves your letters from the piles of paper on his desk.

[Alma] Yes... I am afraid I am not going to make your tasks any simpler...

[Reverend_Father] Don't worry about that... we will handle whatever has emerged.

  • Reverend_Father smiles reassuringly.
  • Alma smiles a little weakly at that.

[Alma] Well, it concerns the matter which I said I would later elaborate upon...

[Reverend_Father] Yes?

  • Alma takes a fairly deep, calming breath.

[Alma] We found something in the Tomb of the Founders...

  • Reverend_Father listens intently.
  • Alma will quickly recap the adventure leading up to when she descended into the shadowy hole.
  • Alma is somewhat alert to see if the RF appears to know what's coming.
  • Reverend_Father seems concerned, but not like OMG DEMILICH concerned.

[Alma] When my vision cleared, I was confronted with a... disembodied, floating skull.

[Reverend_Father] ...

[Reverend_Father] Was this skull an.. entity of some sort?

[Alma] Yes. It identified itself as Laeken of the Wolf.

[Reverend_Father] ...ah.

  • Reverend_Father seems shocked.

[Alma] I was honestly not sure how to proceed, my first thought was that it would be rude to float back up away from what might be a civil entity...

[Alma] A floating skull and I'm afraid of being rude...

[Alma] I should have fled.

[Reverend_Father] It might have slain you in that case.

[Alma] Perhaps...

[Alma] It was shortly after I reformed that the Duke of (Guy) descended after me...

[Alma] Followed by the rest of the expedition.

[Alma] Which made his request all the more difficult to decline: He asked to be taken out of there.

  • Reverend_Father nods slowly.

[Alma] The Princess and the Duke were quite in favour of it, so it seemed that there was no option to refuse.

[Reverend_Father] So this ... creature, is now at liberty?

[Alma] Yes, if he was ever truly trapped, he was last at the Society, reading.

[Reverend_Father] ...

[Reverend_Father] Reading?

[Alma] It claims to want most to read in our libraries.

  • Reverend_Father looks amazed.

[Alma] If it IS Laeken of the Wolf, I suppose it... he, may have only had the books in his chamber to satisfy his curiosity for the centuries since he was sealed in.

[Alma] For a... demilich, he seems rather... agreeable.

[Reverend_Father] The process to become such an undead... it must be undertaken voluntarily, and my understanding is that it involves causing the death of sentient beings.

[Alma] He did give me his word that he would do no evil in the Empire, for what that's worth :|

[Alma] Yes, I thought so as well...

[Alma] Which is exactly why I considered more ... drastic options within the Tomb...

  • Reverend_Father nods.

[Reverend_Father] But despite that.. it is at least remotely possible that this entity may not be a creature of evil.

[Alma] I could not get any sort of reading on him with my ability...

[Alma] I expect he's immune to just about everything.

[Reverend_Father] That may well be so.

[Reverend_Father] I hate to say that we have to wait and see, but... until it does something that indicates it has malevolent intent, I don't know what we can do about it. It would be a tremendous risk to attempt to destroy it regardless, but if it is evil, then of course we would have to try.

[Alma] He did say that he kept his transformation secret from the Council of the Wolf Tribe, and only his daughter knew, so I suppose that makes it seem less likely he used volunteers...

  • Reverend_Father nods.

[Alma] Yes, indeed. I held off speaking with you about it at the suggestion of one of the other society members, Mr. Argo, who said he would inform the Warlord. A miscommunication occurred and I thought he was going to see if she would inform the Patriarch directly, as he expressed concern about the pool of people who know about his presence in the city.

[Alma] I felt that a few days would likely not be enough to tip the scales against a demilich, so waiting for the Warlord's advice would be acceptable.

[Reverend_Father] I agree that the number of people who know should be kept as small as possible, for the sake of avoiding any panic or foolhardy decisions.

[Alma] Mr. Argo also seems to be taking the lead in finding Laeken some sort of hidden lair, with his abilities. So should the time come when Laeken needs to be sought out, he may know.

  • Reverend_Father nods.
  • Reverend_Father makes a note of that.

[Alma] I wonder if Brother Aubert knew... it seems that past Keepers brought Laeken books.

[Reverend_Father] The Keepers of the Mausoleum have always been a bit... secretive, I suppose.

[Alma] If Mr. Argo hadn't cautioned me to keep quiet, I might have had cross words with him to find out myself if he knew. -_-

[Reverend_Father] It's possible that he knew in general terms, but not specifics.

[Alma] Yes, I've considered that. "The shadowy portal likes to read"

[Reverend_Father] I will speak with him about this.

  • Reverend_Father says firmly.

[Alma] It might be best if he doesn't know Sister Enarda gave us the key to one of the traps. I assume he opted not to give that to us, and might be upset with her.

[Reverend_Father] I will not reveal her actions, then.

[Reverend_Father] Thank you for your diligence in this matter, Sister.

  • Alma looks a little perturbed by that.

[Alma] (Brother Aubert, not his approval :P)

[Alma] Thank you, Reverend Father.

[Reverend_Father] You're very welcome. And I look forward to seeing you in a few days' time, on a happier occasion :)

[Alma] Yes, I am looking forward to it as well :D I hope it gives you an opportunity to hide from all of this for a few hours :)

  • Reverend_Father smiles at that.

[Alma] We're both honoured that you would officiate for us. You did introduce us, after all :)

[Reverend_Father] And I wish you both every happiness.

[Alma] Thank you :)

  • Alma will gather her notes to go.
  • Reverend_Father bids you farewell, then.