Diablotin 3 session 48

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Diablotin 3 session logs
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Summary

Session

Session date: February 12, 2017
Diablotin date:

Prologue

<DiablotinNarrator> It is early in Seventh-month, and the weather is increasingly hot and humid. The election campaigns are well underway, with the various candidates making public speeches and appearances, as well as whatever backroom dealings are likely to help gain them votes.

Dorien has in interesting dream

<DiablotinNarrator> Dorien, you've been working hard - both in setting up your new research lab, and in your spare time, analyzing the strange substances that were recovered from the raid on the Lynwood facility.

<DiablotinNarrator> The purple gas is some sort of nightmare-inducing poison. Your experiments with it are fairly straightforward, but do leave you somewhat lightheaded afterwards.

<Dorien> *Nod*

<Dorien> (Scarecrow Toxin. Got it.)

<DiablotinNarrator> (heh)

<DiablotinNarrator> However, the greenish-brown chitinous substance has been puzzling you. It seems organic, like a resin of some kind, but extremely durable, resisting most anything you throw at it. If you could find a way to produce more of it, perhaps it could have useful applications as a protective coating.

<DiablotinNarrator> Thinking on that more, you consider that perhaps that was its function at the nursing home as well - to protect something (or someone) from the outside world. You can envision something like a chrysalis, encasing something while it matures and grows and finally emerges...

<DiablotinNarrator> If only handling it for too long didn't make your skin break out in hives...

<Dorien> (Charming)

<DiablotinNarrator> With spending long hours at the lab, you more or less collapse into bed when you get home on this particular evening, even though Misery tries to talk you into more fun activities.

<Dorien> (Heh)

<DiablotinNarrator> The next thing you know, you're standing beside a black river, flowing sluggishly off towards a red horizon where tall, jagged mountains loom. A large black ship sits at anchor nearby, its oars at rest and sails lowered.

<Dorien> Oooooooook.

<DiablotinNarrator> You think you're dreaming, but it feels unsettlingly real. You realize that your hands are clutching the piece of resin, which should be safely locked away in your lab.

  • Dorien looks around perplexed

<DiablotinNarrator> Turning to look around, you find that suddenly a man is standing beside you. At least, you think it's a man... He (?) wears tattered robes and wraps that shroud his head, but something about his movements and form are not quite right.

<Robed_man> Welcome, traveller.

<Dorien> Um... where am I?

<Robed_man> You are in the Dream-realms.

<Dorien> Oh.

<Dorien> That's kind of a relief, actually.

<Dorien> So this isn't real, then.

<Robed_man> It is real, and it is not real.

<Robed_man> It depends on your perspective.

  • Robed_man 's voice doesn't quite sound as though it's coming out of a human mouth - or perhaps a human mouth filled with marbles?

<Dorien> Who are you?

<Dorien> Are you real?

<Robed_man> I am Zshua-agor, a trader. I trade in many things. Precious stones, rare infusions... information.

  • Robed_man is now known as Zshua-agor

<Dorien> Are you here to trade?

  • Vess is now known as Argent

<Zshua-agor> That depends on you. You have many questions, I perceive. Perhaps for a price, answers could be obtained.

<Dorien> What's the price?

<Zshua-agor> I see you have a piece of kaorti resin in your hands. Very rare in these realms.

  • Dorien looks down.

<Dorien> Kaorti resin?

<Dorien> What's a kaorti?

<Zshua-agor> That is a question that would require a price to be paid.

  • Dorien grins.

<Dorien> Just checking.

<Dorien> What are you offering for it?

<Zshua-agor> Perhaps you wish to know its source. Its purpose. The tale of its makers.

<Dorien> I do. And I want to know how it got to Diablotin, and how to stop whatever it is that brought it there. Can you tell me those things?

  • Zshua-agor shrugs (or at least, its shoulders ripple)

<Zshua-agor> Some information is beyond price.

  • Dorien considers
  • Dorien reaches out the chunk of resin to the stranger. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to throw in a secret way to turn lead into gold or anything."
  • Zshua-agor chortles, or at least there's a sound like slithering in its throat region.
  • Zshua-agor takes the piece of resin with a clawed hand.

<Zshua-agor> The kaorti secrete this substance to protect themselves from the deleterious effects of planes they visit. It encases them and allows them to survive where otherwise they could not, outside of a host body. A piece this large must have come from a kaorti cyst.

<Dorien> A cyst? like a cocoon?

<Zshua-agor> A space large enough to enclose an area where they can survive and spread from there.

<Zshua-agor> The kaorti were once what you might call elves, or an ancestor of that race. They sought knowledge in the Far Realms, and what they found there changed them beyond recognition.

<Dorien> And now they're looking for a way back?

<Zshua-agor> Whatever else has been altered about them, they still prize knowledge above all else.

<Dorien> I like them already.

<Zshua-agor> And there is much knowledge in your realm, very much that they could absorb.

<Dorien> What's your interest in this, Zshua-agor? Are you really just making a trade, or are you a vested party?

<Zshua-agor> The process of absorption, I think you would find, is not pleasant.

  • Dorien frowns at that.

<Zshua-agor> And the kaorti do not dream. I seek only to ensure the continued existence of my marketplace.

<Dorien> I see.

<Zshua-agor> It would be most inconvenient to have so many potential trading partners eliminated.

<Dorien> Are you sure there's nothing more you can tell me? I'd hate to see you lose customers.

<Zshua-agor> The kaorti are strong spellcasters, but physically weak, especially outside their resin shells or a mortal host body.

<Zshua-agor> Even simply being exposed to your atmosphere will harm them.

  • Dorien nods

<Zshua-agor> And only a few of them can occupy hosts - many are not strong enough for that.

<Dorien> I understand. Anything else?

<Zshua-agor> You may find allies from among their descendants - speak to the elves, the fey, the shadar-kai - those who remained behind. But beware who you trust. They were sent to find knowledge, and there may be those who wish to know what they have found, even at great price.

<Dorien> I'll be careful.

<Dorien> You mentioned their host bodies. Is there a way to tell who they are?

  • Kennesaw is now known as Aubrienne

<Zshua-agor> They are skilled at concealing themselves. But there are signs - strange behaviour, unusual speech. And one other sign: when a host is inhabited by one of their number, they will be increasingly unable to tolerate the touch of sunlight on their skin, and will take steps to avoid it.

  • Dorien nods.

<Zshua-agor> This discomfort can take time to manifest, so often the kaorti will inhabit a host only briefly. But if they occupy someone over many years, then it can become stronger.

<Dorien> And when they leave a host? What happens to the host?

<Zshua-agor> If it was a brief occupation, they will be confused, their memories will have gaps, but they will be essentially unharmed.

<Dorien> And if it's longer...

<Zshua-agor> But over longer periods, they come to experience a more symbiotic relationship, and the loss of that bond can be harmful.

<Dorien> I was afraid of that.

<Zshua-agor> My ship makes ready to sail, and you must wake soon.

<Dorien> Thank you for the information. I hope it proves useful.

<Zshua-agor> If you seek to trade further with me, however, you can get word to me by means of your business associate.

<Dorien> My associate?

<Zshua-agor> The shadar-kai merchant. Or by ingesting more of the nightmare gas, should you find a greater supply, but that is somewhat less... comfortable.

<Dorien> I see. If I... happen across more resin... I'll keep you in mind.

<Zshua-agor> Farewell, Dorien.

<Dorien> Happy trading, Zshua-agor.

  • Zshua-agor says although you're pretty sure you didn't tell him your name...

Genevriel and Lathra ask Safaya a few questions

<DiablotinNarrator> Okay, Gen and Lathra, you have been helping out with the patients at Silvia's house when you're able to.

<DiablotinNarrator> One morning, the woman (whose name, according to Leiris' spell, is Safaya) begins to stir and wake up.

<Lathra> Oh! Hello there!

  • Genevriel will look after her until she is comfortable and coherent, and watch her face to see if she understands Aveyronnais when Lathra is speaking to her.
  • Safaya seems confused, and tries to sit up, but is too weak to do so

<Safaya> <ps> Where am I?

<Lathra> Don't look now, Gen dear, but she's waking up!

<Genevriel> <psyrene> Hush, you're all right. You're in Diablotin... but the war has been over a while, and you're not a prisoner.

  • Genevriel adds, since she doesn't know how long this woman has been out.
  • Safaya nods weakly

<Genevriel> <ps> My name is Genevriel Doucette, and this is my friend, Lathra. Can you speak Aveyronnais?

<Safaya> a little

  • Genevriel smiles.
  • Genevriel looks over at Lathra. "Do you speak Psyrene?"

<Lathra> No, I'm afraid not

<Genevriel> All right, I can translate if it's needed.

<Lathra> I could cast a spell to teach you Aveyronnais

<Genevriel> <ps> Your name is Safaya, is that right? I can translate for Lathra if it's easier for you to speak Psyrene.

<Safaya> Yes. Where is Sister Idalia?

<Genevriel> (I don't remember if I know who that is... Ian?)

<Genevriel> I'm not sure who that is...

  • Genevriel glances over at Lathra in case she knows through various religious connections.

<Lathra> She doesn't work here

  • Genevriel will have helped Safaya sit up if that's what she wants to be comfortable.

<Lathra> She was in charge at the complex

  • Safaya nods, and accepts the help to sit up in bed

<Safaya> <ps> is this another hospital?

  • Genevriel will translate for Lathra, unwilling to lie herself.

<Genevriel> . o O ( It's sort of a hospital, sometimes, maybe?)

<Lathra> I'm not even sure *that* was a hospital. This is a... private... medical facility...?

  • Genevriel continues to translate, for the record. Just assume I'm doing it.

<Safaya> <ps> it's much nicer...

<Lathra> I should hope so!

  • Lathra wink!

<Genevriel> . o O (Since we actually care about your wellbeing, and not furthering our own vile agenda.)

<Lathra> It doesn't seem like you were treated very well at the other place.

<Safaya> <ps> they helped with my headaches... but I think I was just asleep a lot of the time.

  • Safaya rubs her forehead

<Genevriel> Is your head bothering you right now?

<Safaya> <ps> it always does... ever since the fire.

<Genevriel> At Seda Grove?

<Safaya> <ps> yes, that's right

  • Genevriel will use Healing to figure out if there's some medicine we can use to try to dull the pain a bit.

<DiablotinNarrator> (you can make a roll, sure)

<Genevriel> !roll20+17

<Denise> Genevriel rolled a ( 3 ).

<Genevriel> (ew... destiny reroll)

<DiablotinNarrator> okay

<Genevriel> !roll20

<Denise> Genevriel rolled a ( 20 ).

<Genevriel> (Much better! 37.)

<DiablotinNarrator> You think you can prepare something that should take the edge off her pain.

<Genevriel> I can make something that might help dull the pain, Safaya. Would you like that?

<Safaya> <ps> that would be good

  • Genevriel will get what she needs from Silvia and make it in the room if possible, so the conversation isn't interrupted too long.

<Genevriel> Were you a soldier at the Grove?

<Safaya> <ps> not a soldier... I was a farmer. I helped the fighters, bringing supplies to them.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> We know a few others who were at Seda Grove and suffered some unusual consequences.

<Genevriel> Did Sister Idalia tell you much at all about your condition?

<Safaya> <ps> When the fire started I hid, but then my head hurt so much I cried out, and they caught me there.

  • Genevriel wonders if Safaya has an Irminsul in her head, too.

<Safaya> <ps> when can I go home? my family must think I'm dead after so long...

  • Lathra lets Gen do the talking about Seda Grove

<Lathra> If you give us their contact information, we'll try to get in contact for you

  • Safaya can relate her family's information, but it's more like "The Visman farm outside of Whatever village" than an address/phone number.

<Genevriel> We'll find a way to get that to them.

<Safaya> <ps> thank you

<Genevriel> How did you end up at the facility where Sister Idalia 'treated' you?

  • Genevriel wonders if it was voluntary or not.

<Safaya> <ps> after I was captured they took me to a prisoner of war camp. The headaches were still very bad, though, and they eventually transferred me to the hospital there.

<Genevriel> The hospital in the camp...?

  • Genevriel tries to clarify.

<Safaya> <ps> no... to the private hospital.

  • Genevriel nods and smiles.

<Genevriel> Got it, thanks.

<Genevriel> Did you want to be there...?

<Safaya> <ps> well they helped with the headaches... but I wasn't allowed to contact my family and they said I needed to stay for more treatment if I wanted to get better.

  • Genevriel nods.
  • Genevriel glances at Lathra - anything you want to ask?

<Lathra> No, no - I think that probably Safaya will need to rest, she's spoken a lot already.

  • Safaya sips the concoction you prepared for her, Gen, and lies back in bed, seeming tired.
  • Genevriel will make sure she is comfortable before leaving her to rest.

<DiablotinNarrator> When you emerge from the room, you can hear some conversation going on down at the door, between Silvia and someone else.

<Silvia> Look, I understand your concerns, but I'm afraid I am simply not willing to ...

  • Genevriel will eavesdrop, especially if it sounds a bit heated.

<Other_woman> now come, Silvia, this is simply foolish...!

  • Lathra drifts towards, them, trying to get hold of the context
  • Other_woman sounds familiar to Lathra at least, who has met Princess Ilphere. I forget if Gen has?

<Genevriel> (I don't think so)

  • Other_woman is now known as Ilphere

<Lathra> (Can I recognize or should I roll?)

<Silvia> (you can recognize her voice)

<Ilphere> We are working on the same side...!

<Lathra> Oh my stars is that Princess Ilphere?!

<Silvia> Oh, ah... yes, it is.

  • Silvia says, turning to you as you arrive in the hall.
  • Genevriel raises an eyebrow and follows Lathra out, looming over the rest of you, though I'm not sure how much taller than Ilphere I am. ;D

<Lathra> Darling it's been too long, I had rather been hoping to see you again sooner.

<Silvia> You know each other?

<Ilphere> Lathra, is that you? Goodness, I hadn't expected to see you here...!

<Lathra> Yes, the Princess has helped me to treat Raimond before, in fact.

<Ilphere> Do tell Silvia that I'm only hoping to help - if this is connected to the poor fellow we examined before, I may be able to shed some light on the situation.

  • Silvia looks grumpy, but will open the door a little further.

<Silvia> I just don't know about bringing more people into this. Particular people we're not sure we can trust.

  • Silvia says pointedly.

<Ilphere> Why, I feel as though I ought to be insulted, but surely you couldn't mean *me* ...!

<Lathra> Well I do understand Silvia, but dear Ilphere is already here and we can at least hear her out, don't you think?

<Lathra> Do shed away, tell us what's what.

<Ilphere> Well, I must say, I'm most distressed at what little news I've heard about Mme. Claar's research. It all sounds very poorly thought out...!

<Ilphere> And quite scattered as well - working with so many different little projects and facilities...

<Silvia> Mm.

<Genevriel> There is a possibility, albeit small, that she isn't actually Claar.

  • Silvia says noncommittally.

<Ilphere> Oh, do you mean that she might be ... <whispers> possessed? :o

  • Lathra coughs.

<Lathra> And rather dangerous and inhumane for her charges, as she was presented as a physician

<Genevriel> I think it's a possibility, yes.

<Ilphere> Well, all the more reason for me to assist, if I can...!

<Ilphere> So let's see these subjects... I mean, patients...!

<Silvia> ...

<Lathra> Well now they're resting Ilphere dear, you can at least take the time to tell us what's on your mind.

<Silvia> You can come in. For tea.

  • Silvia says firmly.

<Silvia> And if it turns out that any harm comes to these people because of you, I will take it very personally.

<Ilphere> Oh goodness, well, we wouldn't want that...!

<Genevriel> I feel rather protective of them myself.

  • Ilphere smiles warmly (or what she probably thinks passes for warmly)
  • Ilphere will come in for tea, then.

<Ilphere> Thank you ever so much...!

  • Ilphere will chat politely over tea, then. but probably Ceiridwen has to get going?

<Ilphere> (so perhaps if you need to talk to her more, we can arrange a solo at some point?)

<Lathra> (That'd be cool :) )

Argent and Briony discuss the raid on Claar's facility

  • Briony will meet you at one of your usual spots, Argent. She'll buy you a coffee as usual too :)

<Argent> Thank you

<Briony> It's no trouble.

  • Argent smells the coffee

<Argent> at least something isn't these days

<Argent> any fall-out come your way from the events at Claar's facility?

<Briony> Not me personally, but some people are pretty up in arms about it. An unsanctioned attack on a private citizen's home... well.

<Briony> It's hard to tell who's angry because it was illegal, and who's angry because it messes up their plans.

<Argent> the righteous indignation of the former is of no concern of mine, but the anger of the latter is more useful. Can you spot the difference?

<Briony> I have some guesses.

<Briony> Sister Idalia is being raked over the coals by some higher-up authorities in the church. Whether she's told them anything useful, I'm not sure yet.

<Argent> It stinks. Part of the order of the cat is in deep, we both know it.

  • Briony nods

<Argent> haven't we gathered enough to come down hard on them yet?

<Argent> Between this and the colour guard... I mean, come on

<Briony> The Reverend Mother hasn't intervened yet - she may be inclined to let Idalia take the blame for whatever happened there, if she was involved.

<Briony> I know you want to move quickly on this - but last time, moving against the few we knew only helped drive the others further underground. Taught them to hide better.

<Briony> No more rings marking your membership in the secret group ;p

<Briony> Nobody ever said paladins were really clever >.>

<Argent> Paladin's are hammers... and to a hammer, everything is a nail

<Briony> That's a good way of putting it...

<Briony> You also wanted to know more about one Juditte Ampere, last time we talked?

<Argent> I was planning to keep pushing things from my end. Veronise Calondre's experimental farm is tied into this.

  • Argent nods

<Briony> Yes, and the facility run by Clarence Molniere, before his sudden disappearance.

<Briony> I wonder if we should go back to tracing him... there are a couple of possibilities that I can see.

<Briony> Either he suddenly discovered moral qualms and went into hiding, or the others turned on him and shut him down for reasons we aren't able to determine.

<Briony> Or his research subjects rose up and overthrew him... but if that's the case, he could very well be dead.

<Briony> It might be productive to try and locate him, though - if it's one of the previous two options, he might well have interesting information to impart.

<Briony> But sorry - we were talking about Ampere.

<Briony> I was able to find that she was a volunteer in the army - probably lied about her age, if these dates are correct. She couldn't have been more than sixteen or seventeen when she joined up. She came from a little town in Coindeliere.

<Briony> Injured in an unfortunate encounter with a mine - legs blown off.

<Argent> well thats consistent with who I suspected she was, the leg part

  • Briony has a photo of her, which she can pass to you. A young woman with short dark hair in a military uniform.
  • Argent will accept it from her

<Briony> After that, she went into medical care, and the records lose track of her.

<Argent> managed to nab something personal from Servan old home. Mean to see if I can get someone to scry him...

<Argent> too many balls in the air right now, I'm not sure which to go after first

  • Briony nods

<Argent> what do you suggest?

<Briony> If you find someone who can scry, maybe see if you can also get them to look at something from the lab you investigated. If it belonged to Molniere, it might help to track him.

<Argent> we still have some notes, I'm sure

<Argent> or Denise or Hettie does at least

  • Briony nods

<Briony> Well, if I can help, let me know. I'll try to find out more about who's involved in questioning Idalia, and what they're finding out from her so far, if I can. And who within the church might be annoyed about this interruption in their plans...

<Argent> I'm thinking I should back off on Veronise and Claar right now and focus on Servan and Molniere... if they think this whole thing is about rescuing Raimond, it may keep them from cutting and hiding... at least for a little while.

  • Briony nods

<Briony> They'll be particularly on guard right now too, I think, with this much attention on them.

<Briony> Maybe focusing on others is a good plan for the moment.

<Argent> My righteous indignation over what they're doing gets me a little aggressive

<Briony> I understand

<Briony> But my concern is that if we go after them without enough evidence or back-up, we'll wind up blowing our cover and any chance we have of actually pinning anything to them.

<Briony> Ideally we'd have someone from inside their little cadre who would testify against them.

<Briony> Whether that's Molniere, or someone else.

<Argent> ok, thats what we'll do... anything else I can help you with?

<Briony> Not right now - thanks for all this, though. I think at the least this has brought greater attention to them and what they're doing, which at the moment seems to be a good thing.

  • Argent nods

<Briony> All right - you know where to find me if anything comes up, otherwise we'll talk in a few weeks.

<Argent> I know who to help with scrying... ill get it done.

<Briony> Great.

Hugo learns a bit about the Dark Tapestry from Loick, and they discuss Claar

  • Loick welcomes you in to his home.

<Loick> Well, Hugo, what brings you here today?

<Hugonel> Uncle, it's good to see you.

  • Loick says once he's poured some drinks and gotten settled into his nice cushy leather chairs.

<Hugonel> I thought I should come see you about a couple of things.

<Hugonel> First, I wanted to check in with you to see if you had learned any more about the 'dark tapestry' or that elven woman, Sharena?

<Loick> Well, I finally bit the bullet and talked to Roshendir, the current ambassador. I tried to couch everything in highly hypothetical terms, but I assume he wasn't fooled ;p

<Hugonel> I don't know the ambassador, but, yes, that seems likely.

<Loick> He's very old even for one of their lot, I think, and he doesn't fool easily.

<Hugonel> What did he have to say about it?

<Loick> What I was able to learn from him confirmed some of what we already suspected - the Dark Tapestry was a powerful item designed to help read the stars and foretell the future. It was held in the keeping of certain monks who were charged with its care and who allowed select visitors to consult it.

  • Hugonel nods.

<Loick> The place burned to the ground, and at that time the Tapestry and the Codex associated with it both disappeared. Presumably the fire was to cover the theft.

<Hugonel> I see.

<Hugonel> I don't know if what I learned was of any use - have you managed to have someone track this elven woman Sharena?

<Loick> No, but I did gain one piece of information from the Ambassador. He noted that at the time of the theft, one of the suspects was a woman named Rashena. I thought the similarity of names was probably noteworthy, although I didn't mention that to him. <Hugonel> Hmm, yes, I see. Although I have to say that is a rather clumsy pseudonym. Anagrams are so trite, don't you agree?

  • Loick chuckles

<Loick> Perhaps she's more skilled at thievery than linguistics.

  • Hugonel sips his drink.

<Hugonel> Rather.

<Hugonel> Well, if there is anything else you need on that front, let me know.

<Loick> If that is the case, though, then either she sat on this theft for over thirty years, or... something else is going on.

<Loick> I know elves are patient and long-lived, but that seems unusual to me, that she wouldn't have sought to profit from it before, only to unload it quickly and for a relatively inexpensive price here.

<Hugonel> Yes, that seems unlikely.

<Loick> Perhaps she found a way to use it.

<Loick> and eventually - this is pure speculation on my part, of course - something she saw there caused her to decide it was best to dispose of it quickly and get out of town.

<Hugonel> Lovely. Nothing can possibly go wrong.

<Loick> Yes... well, I can hope I'm wrong, of course.

  • Hugonel chuckles.

<Loick> But that seems like one plausible version of events, in any case.

<Hugonel> All right. I also wanted to talk to you about Suzetta Claar.

<Loick> Ah... yes.

  • Loick frowns slightly

<Hugonel> Am I going to have some difficulty over any of this?

<Loick> That depends, I suppose. How are you intending to proceed?

<Hugonel> Is Claar going to be arrested, publicly shamed, and her experiments on our citizenry ended?

<Loick> mmm, that seems unlikely at this juncture.

<Loick> at least the first two.

<Hugonel> Yes, right. Well, then I suppose, since I have few other gifts, I intend to ensure that what she did is known publicly, to everyone, in exquisite detail. But I acknowledge that it might be useful to know how things are proceeding officially before I stick my neck out.

<Loick> She claims that any unauthorized experiments at that facility were carried out without her knowledge. She's taking it over personally now, to ensure a higher quality of care for those patients who remain. Some families have withdrawn their consent, however, and taken their family members out of the facility, which can only be a good thing.

<Hugonel> So surely you know that she's lying.

<Loick> Yes, of course I do.

<Loick> But I suspect that as we conduct inspections on that place, we'll find nothing untoward. Anything that could be incriminating will be moved elsewhere, and we'll need to track it down.

<Hugonel> So, we have quite a bit of material that could be considered incriminating. Of course, we could also be considered thieves of that material.

  • Loick nods

<Loick> Yes - so you'd need to be willing to face possible criminal charges if you wanted to reveal how you came to have these items in your possession.

<Hugonel> Yes, and while I might be willing to do that, I can't speak for my colleagues.

<Loick> And even then, I think Claar has shown herself willing to throw her subordinates under the bus. She'd claim it was done without her knowledge.

<Hugonel> Yes, I agree.

<Hugonel> Who are her allies on the Council?

<Loick> The Warlord is her strongest supporter on the Inner Council.

<Loick> Due to her aid with injured soldiers, and research that helped with the war efforts...

<Hugonel> And in most things, the Warlord has the Emperor's ear, right now?

<Loick> Well, it's tricky, like most things in the Inner Council. I believe that Fred wanted to resign at the start of the war. She thought it would be better to have someone younger in charge, or so was the official story at any rate. Privately, I think she was not happy at the way things played out there.

<Loick> But she stayed, and she won the war, so that put her in a very strong position.

<Hugonel> Right, I can see that.

<Hugonel> What do you think I ought to do? What is most useful at the present moment?

  • Loick considers

<Loick> I don't suppose you feel like seducing the Warlord into retiring? ;)

<Hugonel> Ahh, that does not seem very likely to work, although I *am* very good at that.

<Loick> Well, her husband might be the easier target, really ;p but no, don't try that, I don't want to see you get beaten up.

<Loick> Do you still have contact with any of the fey?

<Hugonel> I do. I could talk to Eirini, as needed, and also, although she is not technically fey, my connection to Eletheni remains intact.

  • Loick nods

<Loick> I think it's worth trying to find out if the book that Aminita had was the Codex of the Dark Tapestry, if so where she obtained it and what she was doing with it. It worries me to have that still out there somewhere.

<Hugonel> Well, Eirini would be the best course to find that out, then, I suppose.

<Loick> Very well.

<Hugonel> I'll see what I can do.

<Loick> And I'll see what I can do from this side, particularly keeping an eye on Claar and her associates.

<Hugonel> All right. I won't do anything radically stupid just quite yet, then.

<Loick> Good, good.

<Hugonel> Anything else?

<Loick> Oh, I don't suppose you're interested in meeting any nice House Cat girls? I have a few I could set you up with if you were thinking of settling down...

<Hugonel> Ahh, well, maybe once my life gets a little chaotic? I think for now I have quite enough trouble.

  • Loick chuckles

<Loick> Well, keep it in mind.

<Hugonel> Who are you thinking of?

<Loick> Well, Jacqueline Courtemanche is getting on in years and might settle for a handsome fellow without a title at this point ;)

<Hugonel> Uncle! I will not be 'settled for'.

  • Hugonel semi-indignantly protests.

<Loick> Well, fair enough, but she's a lovely woman. You could do much worse :)

<Hugonel> I'll think about it. Later.

<Loick> All right, Hugo.

<Hugonel> I should be off, though, for now. Thank you for the drink, Uncle.

<Loick> Of course - good luck.

  • Hugonel departs.

Aubrienne and Hettie ask Jonas whether the fey know anything about the Irminsul seeds in peoples' heads

<DiablotinNarrator> Okay, Aubrienne and Hettie - the suggestion of the group last time was to try and talk to Jonas and find out what, if anything, the fey know about the research facility, the head-trees, and what happened at Seda Grove, etc. Basically pry anything you can out of him, or find out from him who to talk to instead.

<DiablotinNarrator> So if you want you can try to pin him down on a break, or after work?

<Aubrienne> After work seems friendlier. We'll be less pressed for time.

  • Jonas can be located after work one night, then.

<Aubrienne> Hey, Jonas! Got a minute?

<Jonas> Sure, what's up?

<Hettienne> well ... actually maybe more than a minute :p

<Jonas> uh... all right...?

<Aubrienne> We were wondering if we could ask you a few questions, of a somewhat delicate nature.

<Aubrienne> Buy you a drink?

<Jonas> if you buy me a drink, I'll see what I can do.

  • Aubrienne smiles.

<Hettienne> You got a deal :)

<Aubrienne> Easy peasy.

<Hettienne> Lemon squeezy

  • Aubrienne will get drinks for everyone and let Hettie find them someplace to talk.
  • Jonas will have a seat with you once drinks are obtained
  • Hettienne shoos some lazy dancers away from a table near the back.

<Jonas> So, what's the matter?

<Aubrienne> So, we were wondering if there was any talk among your folk about a facility [direction and distance] outside of town.

<Hettienne> Man, I don't know even where to start...?

<Hettienne> Yeah, that'll do

<Hettienne> They got like, veterans from the war there and they're doing some kind of dream experiments?

<Aubrienne> Nominally, it a veteran's rest home, but it looks like they might be researching some anti-fey magic and technology.

<Hettienne> There was a metal tree?

<Jonas> ah... well. I don't necessarily talk a lot to my folk lately >.> But yeah, I've heard about the feyward trees.

<Jonas> Made of cold iron, razor-sharp leaves...

<Aubrienne> That's the one.

<Hettienne> What're they for exactly?

<Jonas> Killing fey.

  • Jonas says flatly.

<Hettienne> How though? Do they just wait for them to run into it?

<Hettienne> It didn't seem real mobile

  • Aubrienne stifles a laugh.

<Jonas> Oh, no - they can move. THey're like some kind of big .. constructs, I guess.

<Aubrienne> Huh

<Jonas> They just look like trees.

<Aubrienne> Seems like an odd shape for a guardian.

<Hettienne> :o

<Jonas> I guess they're made to blend in in the woods, most of the time.

<Jonas> Where was this one, in the building?

<Hettienne> Yeah.

<Aubrienne> Yeah, in a central atrium sort of thing.

<Jonas> hm. it does seem a bit weird that they'd make it where it couldn't get out and around. maybe the plan was to throw any fey they caught in there with it?

<Jonas> I mean from anything I've heard they're huge, right? They would have had to assemble it in there.

<Aubrienne> Well, they were researching irminsuls, so maybe they were worried about fey getting loose in the buidling?

<Hettienne> It were pretty sizeable >.>

<Jonas> ah, yeah...

<Jonas> well, Irminsuls are another matter. But there's already the one here, so why would they be worried about another one?

<Aubrienne> Well, these one's are a bit different. They're in people's heads, for one thing.

  • Jonas frowns at that

<Jonas> That sounds... bad.

<Jonas> Like, I wouldn't think that would be conducive to life.

<Hettienne> Well they ain't exactly enjoying the experience

<Jonas> How did they get in there?

<Hettienne> Some of 'em were at that place in Psyra?

<Aubrienne> Seda Grove.

<Aubrienne> They were there when the previous irminsul was destroyed.

  • Jonas nods slowly

<Jonas> So it shed some... seeds, I guess, in order to survive and grow again elsewhere.

<Hettienne> tree shrapnel

<Jonas> It must need the person's life energy to grow and take root.

<Aubrienne> I was really hoping that wasn't the case.

<Jonas> It's been a long time since a new Irminsul grew, I think most people don't know what exactly it entails.

<Hettienne> I sure don't

<Jonas> I suspect that whatever grew that one in the Shade, someone died before it could grow there.

<Hettienne> so these trees are gonna kill these people? :o

<Aubrienne> You wouldn't happen to have heard of any way to stop them, would you? Or know someone who might?

<Jonas> I don't know. I think over time, it's likely that the burden of carrying the seeds will cause them to waste away and die. But I don't know how long that process would take. Or what would happen if they were to die of some unrelated cause in the meantime.

  • Jonas thinks about it for a moment

<Jonas> Linthira is the one who would know the most about the Irminsuls... she's a hamadryad, that's kind of their deal.

  • Aubrienne sighs.

<Aubrienne> Well, it's a place to start.

<Jonas> do you need to, ah, get in touch with her?

<Aubrienne> If that's possible, please.

<Jonas> I'll see what I can do.

<Jonas> it's okay if I tell her what it's about?

<Jonas> it's more likely to get her attention, I expect...

  • Hettienne glances at Aubrienne

<Hettienne> I guess?

<Aubrienne> I guess we'd be telling her ourselves, anyway.

<Jonas> all right

<Hettienne> Thanks, Jonas.

  • Jonas nods

<Jonas> I'll try to set up a meeting for you folks... just you two, or would there be others there as well?

<Aubrienne> It's fine if it's just us, but if it's possible, we might have some other people interested in this.

<Aubrienne> We really appreciate it.

  • Jonas nods

<Jonas> well, I'll let her know there might be others, you can figure that out on your end.

<Jonas> I'll be in touch. I guess you know where to find me anyway...

  • Aubrienne smiles.
  • Jonas finishes up his drink

<Aubrienne> Thanks.

<Jonas> you're welcome

  • Jonas heads off with his fiddle case tucked under his arm.

Denise leads Collete and Francois to the Rattefather so they can be turned into rats

<DiablotinNarrator> Denise, you're holding up your side of the bargain with Collete and Francois for their share of the favour from Alea Pervenche - part of which was to get them rattified.

<Denise> :3

<DiablotinNarrator> It's also sort of an experiment on Ander's disguising himself for the process.

<DiablotinNarrator> It took a bit of time to arrange it because it needed to be a time when everyone involved could be there. So it's late one night, and you and Enver are supposed to lead them to the appointed spot in the undercity.

  • Denise hopes they show >.>
  • Collete show up, looking around carefully to make sure they weren't followed
  • Francois is with her of course

<Denise> hey, over here

<Collete> Oh there you are

<Collete> So how's this all gonna work, then?

<Denise> okay so

<Denise> we're gonna take you down to the sewers.... blindfolded

<Denise> and when we get in, we'll take them , off

<Collete> okay....

<Denise> and lead you to the place

  • Enver nods

<Denise> then like... I ain't sure completely

<Enver> We're gonna take you by a bit of a roundabout way too - just for security, you know?

<Denise> maybe you'll get asked some questions, to be sure what you want?

  • Denise nods
  • Denise gives Enver a chiding grin

<Collete> Okay. Doesn't sound too bad.

<Denise> well you din't have to tell that part :V

<Enver> Oh, yeah.

<Enver> Well, just don't pay too much attention to which way we go :)

<Denise> heh

<Collete> okay, well, lead on I guess - I'm tired as fuck an' my feet are sore, so let's do this thing :)

<Denise> okay

  • Denise will secure the blindfolds and then lead their charges towards wherever the enrance is
  • Collete and Francois follow along carefully
  • Denise will probably have a few moments where she forgets to give soe useful info, but on the whole does pretty well guiding ;p
  • Enver gets us to a point where they can safely take off their blindfolds, then.

<Collete> whew, glad that part's over

  • Enver nods

<Enver> Okay, down this way...

<Denise> careful still

<Enver> There's kinda a neat thing this way - don't think I ever showed it to you yet, Denise.

<Denise> oh yeah?

<Enver> Yeah... this old shrine kinda place.

<Collete> from our folks in the old days?

<Enver> Yeah.

<Denise> cool :o

<Denise> (er - swell!)

  • Enver takes various turns and side-passages on the way there
  • Denise keeps an eye out
  • Enver eventually leads us to a cavern that opens up a bit wider, and in the middle of it is a large stone pillar carved with old symbols.

<Denise> (for neat shrnes and also Trouble >.>)

<Denise> woah

<Enver> Now, so, you gotta be careful coming in here.

<Denise> I wonder what it says

<Denise> oh yeah?

<Enver> Yeah, they set this thing up to defend against folks who weren't supposed to be messin' around down here. So you gotta know the right symbol to show it so it'll let you go past.

  • Enver draws a symbol in the grime of the floor
  • Denise watches

<Denise> you supre you know the right one? >.>

<Enver> Yeah, sure, I been through here before.

<Denise> I'm just teasin'

  • Denise says
  • Enver smiles

<Enver> Like that. I figure it's okay to let you all see it, 'cause you're Rats anyway, an' maybe you'll be down here again sometime.

  • Collete makes a note of the symbol
  • Denise also
  • Enver then walks confidently into the chamber, and is not attacked by anything ;)
  • Denise follows
  • Collete and Francois follow too

<Denise> what happens if you don't know the symbol?

<Enver> Well, I ain't never tried it, but what I was taught was, that pillar thing will come alive an' stomp you.

<Denise> woah

<Enver> Yeah, so I never really felt like testin' it out.

<Enver> There's others of 'em around in some other places too.

<Collete> Is it always the same symbol though?

<Enver> Yeah, the same one. It's like the tunnel sign for safe passage only it's got that extra curly bit at the end.

<Denise> hmm

<Francois> I never knew there was so much stuff down here our folks made.

<Denise> yeah welll... wait fer it >.>

  • Enver leads the group the rest of the way to the big chamber, then

<Collete> ... whoa.

  • Francois just stares in amazement

<DiablotinNarrator> At the platform over the chasm, a solitary figure stands waiting, in a cloak and hood.

<Denise> mmm, okay, you two go on

<Collete> <w> is that who we gotta talk to?

  • Denise nods
  • Denise at east assumes so :V
  • Collete takes Francois' hand and goes over to the mysteerrious figure
  • Enver hangs back with you
  • Collete talks with the mysterious figure who is definitely not Ander

<DiablotinNarrator> From what you can hear, the exchange goes about like what you've heard before - asking them if they really want this, and know what it will involve, them saying yes.

<DiablotinNarrator> The mysterious figure who is not Ander reaches out and touches each of them in turn, and they shift into their rat forms.

<DiablotinNarrator> Then there's the usual confusion while they try to figure out how to change back... ;)

<Denise> :3

  • Collete and Francois do figure it out eventually, and return to their human forms

<Denise> :D :D :D

  • Denise is so excited

<Denise> eee!

<Denise> Now... drinks? ^_^

<Collete> Yeah, sure :)

  • Collete says once they get back over to where you and Enver are waiting

<Collete> Thanks for settin' this up, Dee. This is like... the best thing :)

<Denise> right?

<Francois> We're gonna do so much thievin'...

<Collete> Heh, shh :p

<Denise> It's so excitin' being part of it too @_@

  • Collete elbows him but not too hard

<Denise> heh

<Denise> jus don't get caught

<Collete> Yeah, never again. Ain't like they could put us in a cell that could hold us anyway :)

  • Collete and Francois will return with you and Enver to the surface, then, and leave that person who is definitely not Ander to sort out his own exit ;)

<Denise> :D

Solos

Dorien tells Argent about his weird dream

<Dorien> Dorien wakes up and looks over at Misery still snoring away next to him. He carefully climbs out of bed and throws on pants before making his way out to the shared living area and knocks lightly on Argent's door, hoping he is still awake.

  • Argent makes shuffling noises behind the door then opens it

<Argent> ... what?

<Dorien> I need to talk to you. Are you decent?

  • Argent looks down

<Argent> I need pants

  • Argent closes the door
  • Argent opens the door again more clothed

<Argent> so what's up?

<Argent> you can come in if you want... its just me

  • Dorien will go in and close the door behind him, realizing he probably hasn't actually been in Argent's room before.

<Dorien> I had a dream. Sort of. I think it was more than that.

<Dorien> It felt real. I think it has to do with that gas I was experimenting on. The one from the home.

  • Argent keeps his room clean and minimally decorated... bed, small set of drawers,and a chair

<Argent> the gas from that room? The one with the slab to strap people to?

<Dorien> Yeah. I think... it might allow you to touch the dream plane.

<Dorien> There was a guy. He said he was a trader. And I traded him the resin we found for information.

<Argent> a dream trader? What did he look like? Do you remember?

  • Argent will offer Dorien the chair while he sits on the bed facing him

<Dorien> I couldn't see. He had a hood on. At least I think it was a he. He said his name was Zshua-agor.

  • Dorien will sit down, rubbing his temples

<Dorien> But I'll bet you Imps to Coppers that resin will be missing from my lab in the morning.

  • Argent nods

<Argent> did he say something that made you believe that this was more than a regular dream? Just trying to understand what happened/

<Dorien> I could feel it. I've never been that awake in a dream. That cogent. Maybe that's not all that convincing now that I say it out loud, but... I know this was different.

<Dorien> He talked about the... things... that are trying to come through to our dimension. He called them the Kaorti.

<Dorien> The things that are possessing people. The ones that created the resin.

<Dorien> It's like a shell for them. Protection from our atmosphere.

<Argent> and you hadn't figured that out before? This wasnt some mental echoing board in your dream... Kaorti makes me feel its less likely

  • Argent mulls things over

<Dorien> I've never heard that term before. Have you?

  • Argent shakes his head no

<Dorien> He said they were the progenitors of the elves and fey and shadarkai. They went to the outer realms in search of knowledge and... it didn't turn out so well.

<Argent> well thats consistent with the Cyste

<Argent> probably this dream person's name for it

<Dorien> He said to look for allies in their descendants, but to be careful who we trust. I could figure that out on my own.

<Dorien> I'd be interested to look in the Castalia library and see if there is any mention of these Kaorti. Even a brief mention could confirm things.

<Argent> yeah

<Argent> would help learn if your dream trader is trustworthy

<Dorien> Well, if the resin is gone from my lab, that will be a big hunk of evidence too.

<Dorien> If it is, I'll need to tell the others.

<Argent> and a little worrisome considering how did that trader get it

<Dorien> I'm beyond worying about that. He didn't steal it, which means either he needed my express permission or he's an honest businessman. Either way, it's not something we can really control.

<Dorien> And if what he told me is true, it was worth the trade.

<Argent> I'll tentatively agree with you on this account, but trading with things not of this plane can have unintentional consequences.

<Argent> any chance if you found out about any vulnerabilities of this shell material?

<Dorien> (I've been trading fluids with one on a nightly basis and it's worked out fine so far...)

<Dorien> Not of the shell itself, but the Kaorti don't like light. And outside of their shells they're fragile. Even just the air hurts them.

<Dorien> And he said that the longer they possess someone, the worse it will be for the host when they seperate

<Dorien> And the more vulnerable they are to light

<Argent> that is a very useful piece of information...

<Dorien> I think that's about all of it. He drove a hard bargain.

<Dorien> Oh... he also said why they want to come here.

<Argent> reclaim thier original homeland?

<Dorien> No. They want knowledge. But they want to know about us the way a scientist wants to know about a frog. From the inside out. And they're willing to take us apart to do it.

<Argent> as if we didn't have enough motivation to stop them. Any insights if they would ally with people? I'd like to know of Claar and Veronise are helping them willingly or are possessed pawns.

<Dorien> I don't know, could go either way. I think we need to assume the worst until proven otherwise. He said sometimes you could tell. there would be minor behavioral inconsistencies, strange speech patterns. But only someone who knows them well to start with might notice that.

<Argent> and the light avoidance, if possessed long enough.

<Dorien> Exactly

<Argent> its something more at least

<Dorien> Any port in a storm.

<Argent> I was thinking of staking out that farm of Veronise soon

<Dorien> Just a stake out, right? I don't want it to turn out like last time...

<Argent> We didn't walk in there expecting to blow half of it up, but I'm not too upset with the outcome.

<Dorien> Yeah, well... I guess it hit a little close to home for me.

<Argent> and looking first is always a good idea before taking action

<Dorien> That I agree with.

<Dorien> I don't think I'm getting any sleep any time soon, so I'm gonna go drink an entire pot of tea and then walk down to my lab to check on the resin. If it's gone, I think we should try to get ahold of folks later on today.

<Dorien> If not... then I guess I'm sorry for waking you up.

  • Argent nods

<Argent> I

<Argent> will at least sleep for both of us, and think about what you've said

  • Dorien nods.

<Dorien> Alright. Sweet dreams.

Lathra and Gen learn something more about the patients

<Ilphere> (okay - so picking up from Ilphere having a nice cup of tea with you folks while Silvia stays nearby suspiciously ;)

<Lathra> (Yup!)

  • Genevriel sips her tea and listens to Lathra and the princess - the latter with some suspicion herself.

<Ilphere> So, how are the patients doing...?

<Lathra> Oh they're fragile, but they seem to be on the mend.

<Ilphere> Are they still having those frightful nightmares...?

<Lathra> Actually that seems to be the one good thing in all of this - something about "dream extraction therapy"?

<Ilphere> oh, how fascinating...!

<Lathra> Indeed! If that were the worst they'd been through I'm sure they'd all be at their homes.

<Ilphere> I would be most interested to examine them, and see if I can figure out what that might have involved - were their dreams completely removed, or only the bad ones...?

<Lathra> I'm sure we're all interested in learning as much as we can about what's been done to them, so long as it doesn't interfere with their recovery? They've been through rather a lot already - once they're strong enough, and if they're willing, perhaps something can be arranged?

  • Lathra half-directs the question at Silvia

<Silvia> Mm, I think right now we need to focus on getting them stronger, before anyone goes messing about in their heads any further.

<Genevriel> And their willingness- their consent- must be paramount.

<Ilphere> Oh yes, I quite understand that...! Although, what if this ... seed, or whatever you'd like to call it ... in their heads... is responsible for their physical ailments...?

<Silvia> You seem to know quite a lot about their condition.

  • Silvia says calmly.

<Ilphere> Well, as Lathra mentioned, I did examine Raimond previously... I imagine the others are in similar states...?

<Lathra> I recall the tree in Raimond's mind... I'm not sure what the "seed" is though, is it related?

<Ilphere> Oh, well - you see, I did do some further research...!

<Ilphere> An Irminsul can, when threatened, spread "seeds" of a sort into nearby hosts...

<Ilphere> This seed feeds off their life force until such time as it can grow and take root...

<Ilphere> so you see, I do believe that until such time as they are free from this burden, they may never become healthy again...!

<Genevriel> Is it possible to pull out the "seeds" without harming the hosts?

<Ilphere> That is the paramount question, of course...!

<Ilphere> I think it could be, but it would be a dangerous undertaking...

<Silvia> Dangerous for whom?

<Ilphere> Why, for the patient, as well as the people who would have to journey into their dreams...!

<Ilphere> Although if they no longer have dreams, why, that might complicate things...

<Ilphere> But I believe it could still be done, with the correct preparations...

<Lathra> It does rather seem like they're getting better for the moment... perhaps some sort of middle ground could be taken, where they could be monitored and examined for signs to confirm your theory, and the "journey" be undertaken either when the patients are ready, or if it should be become more urgently required?

<Genevriel> "Therapy" suggests a way to minimize symptoms, not eliminate them altogether. In that respect, it is my hope that they can still dream - good dreams, anyway.

<Ilphere> Well, it's certainly possible... My concern is what would happen if one of the patients should unfortunately pass away...!

<Lathra> What would happen?

<Ilphere> I can't be certain, but I suspect it would mean a new Irminsul would grow...!

<Ilphere> Which as you can imagine would be quite a problem, not only for your lovely home, Silvia, but for all of us...!

<Silvia> Well, my house is not my greatest concern. And as we already have an Irminsul in the city, would one more be such a problem?

<Ilphere> oh my, yes...! You see, we wouldn't be able to know for certain which plane it might connect to...!

<Ilphere> I'm sure you can appreciate, many of the options there are not very nice...!

<Genevriel> Lovely.

  • Genevriel looks over at Silvia.

<Genevriel> Would it be a wise precaution to have clerics with Deathwatch watching over the patients non-stop?

<Genevriel> Surely there are enough clerics with it in Diablotin to be able to set up a roster.

<Silvia> I'm sure there are. I'll try to make appropriate arrangements to ensure they're being carefully monitored.

  • Lathra sighs

<Genevriel> So we try to keep them from dying until they're strong enough for attempting to remove the seeds.

<Genevriel> And hopefully, conscious and coherent enough to give their consent.

  • Ilphere nods

<Ilphere> And if you do notice any changes or signs that they're becoming worse, please contact me as soon as possible...!

<Lathra> I should like to see the end of this ordeal, for Raimond and for the others. Even if they recover, they won't be free if the Irminsuls or their seeds remain.

  • Silvia nods reluctantly.

<Silvia> I agree with that - but I think trying to help them regain as much of their strength as possible is important before undertaking any kind of further experimental procedures. And, as Genevriel said, they would need to agree to it as well.

<Ilphere> Very well... Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, I do appreciate it...!

<Lathra> Thank you for bringing your concerns and your research! You've done so much for Raimond already, it's wonderful to know he has you looking after him and the others.

  • Ilphere will bid farewell, unless anyone has further questions/things to say to her?

<Lathra> Oh, and uh... if it's not too forward, might I call upon you some time? You mentioned your research previously, and I'd love to hear about more of it...

<Ilphere> Why certainly, I'd be glad to meet with you...! You can call at the palace, or we could meet some day at the Antiquarian Society in Rhenea, are you familiar with it...?

<Lathra> I'm afraid I'm not, but it has a delightful name!

<Ilphere> Oh yes, it's a lovely place...!

  • Ilphere will give you the address

<Lathra> (huzzah :D)

  • Silvia waits until Ilphere is safely gone.

<Silvia> I do think she has some valid points, but I'm very concerned about how she learned of all of this... and what she might know that she isn't telling us.

  • Silvia sighs

<Genevriel> I noticed her slip - "subjects" instead of "patients." That put me on my guard.

<Silvia> Unfortunately, we might not have much choice but to take her up on her offer of help. Unless we can find someone else who's an expert in dream magic.

  • Silvia nods

<Genevriel> I heard too much talk like that when they were trying to figure out my arms.

<Lathra> Yes, it is very suspicious - it doesn't seem out of the question that the royal family could have already been aware of Claar's work.

<Silvia> The only other skilled practitioners of that type of magic that I'm aware of are her children, so hardly impartial.

<Silvia> but if she's right, I'm not sure what else we can do for them. At least, we can help keep them comfortable and try to aid their recovery, but if this is the underlying cause of their illnesses, what other solutions are there?

<Genevriel> I don't know.

<Silvia> And what does it suggest about why they were being kept at this facility? Obviously Claar knew that they had this "seed" or whatever it may be, and that was important to her in some way.

<Genevriel> I do wonder if she might be possessed by a Cyst entity herself.

<Genevriel> I'm not sure if there's a way to find out.

<Lathra> It seems very likely to me that she's correct about the "seeds" presence at least - given the growth of the other tree. But we needn't rush the patients into anything - so long as their recovery continues, it seems to me that they're better off with us waiting

<Genevriel> But it would make sense if she were - everything she's doing could be meant to ease the passage of her people to our plane.

  • Silvia nods

<Silvia> We can keep an eye on them and if any of them seem to be failing or having greater difficulty, we can consider where to proceed from there.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Silvia> And I'll see what more I can find out about these matters - maybe there are options other than those that Princess Ilphere suggested.

  • Genevriel nods again.

<Lathra> Yes! I should ask my own researcher friends as well.

  • Silvia nods

<Silvia> Very well. I suppose we should get back to the patients, speaking of...

<Lathra> Yes, let's.

Genevriel tells Madds that she has broken the law

  • Genevriel will just talk to him while they're both home. That way if there's a scene, it won't be public, at least.

<Genevriel> (After supper on a day off for her, maybe.)

<Madds> (sure)

  • Madds is just getting settled in with a book after dinner

<Genevriel> Madds... I know you'd just like to relax and read, but before you get too engrossed in it, I need to tell you something.

<Madds> oh?

  • Madds sets his book down
  • Genevriel nods.

<Madds> is something wrong?

  • Madds senses you are concerned/upset about something

<Genevriel> (More concerned, really.)

<Genevriel> Yes, you might say so, depending on your perspective.

<Madds> all right...

<Genevriel> It hasn't really been big in the news, but that... break-in at the Lynwood rest home...

<Genevriel> There's no really easy way to say this but I... assisted.

<Madds> you assisted ... with the break-in?

<Genevriel> Yes. Please hear me out and then you can come to whatever conclusion you like.

  • Madds nods slowly

<Genevriel> Quite a few months ago, some of my friends, including Lathra and Zola, became aware of Raimond Neherin through his wife, who is a friend of... I think Hugolin Silveira's.

<Genevriel> And it turned out he was at Seda Grove, and he had... an Irminsul... do you know what that is?

<Madds> one of those tree things?

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> They're portals to other planes. He had one that had taken root in his head.

  • Madds frowns at that, rather puzzled

<Genevriel> As you can imagine, conventional medicine could do little for him, but Lathra (and I think a few others) did what they could for him.

<Genevriel> Anyway, his mother eventually had him forcibly removed from his home and taken to this Lynwood place.

<Genevriel> His wife had no say in the matter and is not permitted to see him.

<Genevriel> So... Lathra and Aubrienne and some others decided to investigate, and what they found was not good, and so they decided to break him out.

<Madds> "Not good" how?

<Genevriel> Ethically questionable medical experiments on living subjects.

<Genevriel> I learned that one of my former squadmates had been taken there too... Alric Thovas? And Meg was concerned about him... they had a thing during the war.

  • Madds nods, listening

<Genevriel> So I said I'd find out what I could. Originally I was only comfortable being an accessory - driving the getaway car, you know? But after Meg asked me to learn what I could, I ended up being more actively involved.

<Genevriel> Inside it was pretty surreal. There was this room completely covered in an extraplanar chitinous substance, and a toxic gas chamber that nearly killed Dorien, and which has been used on the patients - or rather, I should say, prisoners.

<Genevriel> We stole a bunch of records, and broke out three people, including M. Neherin.

  • Madds opens his mouth like he wants to say something, but then closes it because he agreed to hear you out

<Genevriel> All three were hooked up to this... huge construct-like thing? I didn't see it, but several of the others did.

<Genevriel> I've been helping to look after them. One of them, a Psyrene woman, woke up finally today.

<Genevriel> Madds, she'd been at Seda Grove, too, though not as a combatant. She was a peasant farmer and was helping supply food and such. I didn't ask to which side.

<Genevriel> I think probably everyone else who was hooked up to that construct all had been at Seda Grove as well.

<Genevriel> She said she felt a horrible pain in her head that rendered her helpless, and that's how she was taken prisoner.

<Genevriel> The medics shipped her off to Lynwood and she has been kept there, mostly unconscious, ever since.

<Genevriel> They have not let her contact her family, and they've been using manipulative tactics to keep her there, saying she'd never get better if she didn't stay for treatment.

<Genevriel> I think that if we continue to look into things there we'd find that Claar might be trying to build a portal to another plane that she can control, using the Irminsuls in these poor peoples' heads.

<Genevriel> I know that sounds like madness, but over the past couple of months I've also learned about these extraplanar creatures called the Cyst that are trying to establish a foothold on our plane. I don't think they are benevolent. And they are capable of possessing people. I do wonder if Claar may be a host to one of these creatures.

<Madds> These are very serious accusations, Gen...

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> And I'm fully aware that what I did was illegal. But sometimes you have to go against the law because the law isn't always right.

<Madds> And you could have been hurt, or captured.

<Genevriel> I could have, but not doing anything would have been worse.

<Genevriel> Madds, if the war hadn't ended when it did, I might have ended up there.

<Genevriel> The medics looking after me wouldn't let me go, either.

<Madds> :/

<Genevriel> They've been doing other things there, too - making people into partial constructs.

<Madds> The program to help injured veterans?

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> Some of my friends have had run-ins with some of the veterans who've undergone that "treatment."

<Genevriel> And I think whatever they do to interface the artificial limb with the veteran's nervous system damages them in ways we can't see.

<Genevriel> It sounds like they lose some of their humanity spiritually, not just physically.

<Genevriel> They've been using some plants in these treatments - plants that register as evil.

<Genevriel> They're growing them at the experimental farm outside of town.

<Genevriel> Do you know anything about that place...?

  • Genevriel asks, knowing Madds might not be willing or able to tell her anything if he does.

<Madds> Just that there's a research facility. But there are lots of those.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> I know this puts you in a tough spot, because I don't know how much military or government support there is for that farm and Lynwood.

<Genevriel> But I feel you have the right to know.

<Madds> Gen... I'd be the last person to say that of course the military couldn't be involved in something so unethical. I know the kinds of things they've done - individual soldiers, but also officers, even high-ranking ones.

<Madds> But all of this sounds... no offense, but it sounds too crazy for the military. Or at least, I don't know if I see *why* they'd be doing all of these things. They might be morally questionable but it's usually for sound strategic reasons.

<Madds> I don't mean they couldn't be participating somehow. Like with regards to the programs for injured vets, or that sort of thing.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Madds> but all of this about Irminsuls and Cysts and other planes... frankly, it's above my head, and I'd guess above the head of most folks in the army.

<Genevriel> Well, I guess it's a good thing that some of the people in involved in the break-in have friends in high places, then.

<Madds> what would be the goal they'd be working towards? The war is over, so there's no immediate need for improved soldiers or weapons.

<Genevriel> No immediate need, maybe, but maybe someone has some longer-term goal.

<Madds> maybe...

<Genevriel> Psyra has rebelled twice in the last three decades, and I think we're fooling ourselves if we think we'll never face another Psyrene attempt for independence.

<Madds> well, that's true enough

<Genevriel> Anyway...

<Genevriel> I'm not sure that I can just leave this alone and forget I know anything.

<Genevriel> I want to get to the bottom of it.

<Madds> I don't think you did the wrong thing, Gen. I might wish you'd gone about it differently, but I understand why you felt you needed to get involved.

<Genevriel> Thank you. That means a lot to me.

<Madds> It does sound like there's a lot of worrying things going on - even if you're only right about part of this, it's still alarming.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> I've been thinking of trying to infiltrate the farm... I have skills that they could use there, though I felt really uncomfortable around those evil plants the one time I was there.

  • Madds nods

<Madds> And hey, I imagine they work days ;)

<Genevriel> Also, there's a possibility that, in helping look after the patients, I've been under surveillance so they might not accept my application to work there.

<Madds> so we'd have more time together

<Genevriel> Yes, if I don't get arrested.

<Madds> Well, there's that.

<Madds> Is there anything I can do from my position? I would need to be careful of course, but there might be documents, files that I could get access to...

  • Genevriel shakes her head.

<Genevriel> Maybe there would be, but if I'm under surveillance they'll know I live with you.

<Genevriel> I don't want you to risk your career for me.

  • Madds nods

<Madds> All right, but if anything comes across my desk that seems relevant, I can't promise I won't tell you ;p

  • Genevriel smiles.

<Genevriel> If I can't get work there, then I have another possible source of information that I'd prefer to tap into first.

<Madds> what's that?

<Genevriel> But if you happen to drop some information my way, so be it... Though I'd feel happier if you could maintain some plausible deniability.

<Genevriel> Someone I know who does work there.

<Genevriel> But I'm not sure where that person's loyalty lies.

<Genevriel> So I'd rather not tap that source unless I fail.

  • Madds nods
  • Genevriel sighs.

<Genevriel> I really thought I'd left my scouting days behind.

<Madds> well... I know you have complicated feelings about that time in your life. But maybe the skills can be put to good use.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> I'm sorry that I kept this from you for as long as I did.

<Genevriel> I'm really just worried about your job and your future.

  • Madds nods

<Madds> I'm worried for yours too.

<Madds> but we need to be able to trust each other, right? if we're going to make this work.

<Madds> so I trust you that you will be careful and do what you think is best.

  • Genevriel smiles - a smile that really lights up her face. She hadn't realized just how worried she was that he'd be angry at her, and it's such a relief that he's not.

<Genevriel> Thank you.

  • Madds takes your hand

<Madds> thank you for telling me

<Genevriel> Well, it seemed important, and disrespectful not to...

  • Genevriel looks a little flustered.
  • Madds smiles

<Madds> next time you're planning to break into a facility, though, let me know? so at least I can sit up worrying like a good boyfriend ;)

  • Genevriel looks a little more flustered and nods.
  • Genevriel decides discretion is the better part of valour and opts for cuddling.
  • Madds is happy to do that :3

<Genevriel> (Is it possible to cuddle comfortably while each partner reads their book? I'm trying to figure out the specs...)

<Madds> (heh. maybe leaning against each other?)

<Genevriel> (or one could sit up/lean against the arm of the couch and read while the other rests their head on the first's lap and reads, I suppose.)

<Madds> (yeah that could work :)

<Genevriel> (Or leans their head on the other's thigh, I suppose. In which case Madds would likely have his head in Gen's lap, because heads are heavy and could be painful on his injury)

<Madds> heh

<Genevriel> (thanks for the scene, Julia. :) )

<Madds> no problem :)