Ashnabis session 19
Session date: October 20, 2019
Fair Cycle date:
<AshnabisNarrator> The hot summer is now fully upon the Kaskind Territory, as the month of Fult comes bringing with it intense heat. Thankfully the spring rains have almost entirely dried up, and the land is emerging from beneath the soggy layers of mud and river-water.
<AshnabisNarrator> At least for a month or two, the soils of the Sestapor will almost feel stable, and new walking paths emerge every year as the land dries out. Of course, it never lasts. Nothing here ever does.
<AshnabisNarrator> The first fos crop is all harvested now - or at least, it ought to be, for anyone who wants a good return. Much of it is now being processed in the herbal shops and alchemical factories of the town, preparing it for transport north and east.
General Ghurtai brings the group an assignment to go to Charadip
<AshnabisNarrator> You arrive at the land registry this morning to find the staff scurrying to and fro already, as if something is afoot.
<AshnabisNarrator> Besh and Sudukh, the guards, are standing just inside the front doors, firmly at attention. Duzon, a young scribe, scurries across the room, a sheaf of papers in hand, as if he had forgotten a task of inestimable importance.
<AshnabisNarrator> The focal point seems to be the meeting room at the far end of the building, and you can see the military attache Ismend Hengo in full uniform, pacing back and forth.
* Daifan will try and stay out of the way
* Veznara approaches Sudukh
Sudukh, what's going on?
* Jimba will try to eavesdrop.
<Sudukh> Word came down. General Ghurtai is coming over this morning. Inspection, I guess? I don't know, they don't tell me anything.
* Veznara enters. If nobody stops her, she heads for the map room to make sure it's presentable & that any maps the General may require are within easy reach..
* Daifan will definitely try and stay out of the way then :p
* Sudukh is now known as Ismend
<Ismend> Ah, Veznara, good that you are here. You and your team will be needed.
<Veznara> As the General requires, sir! Has something happened?
<Ismend> Not as such, no. But you should assemble together and await her arrival. We will explain more then.
<Veznara> Very good.
* Veznara nods, and goes to gather everybody as instructed.
* Jimba will be gathered.
* Katenzhi will mill around in that general direction as well.
* Daifan will also be gathered, but unobtrusively
<AshnabisNarrator> You gather together in the meeting room where Utus and Ismend have clearly quickly arranged a venue suitable for the General.
* Llillilli scowls but goes where Jimba goes
<Utus> Good morning. How much has anyone told you?
* Utus remarks to no one in particular.
<Llillilli> Nothing, same as ever
<Jimba> What she said.
* Daifan will sit in their corner :p
<Jimba> What's the hubbub?
<Utus> The General should be here momentarily. You are being sent on a mission that has some diplomatic implications.
<Utus> But I will let her explain.
* Daifan notices Junan isn't here
* Jimba raises an eyebrow and shrugs.
<Jimba> Seems odd to send us, lacking our envoy.
<Katenzhi> I mean... you've met us, right?
<Utus> The envoys are having their nambimoshe still. I should be there myself, to be honest.
<Veznara> I take it there must be a time issue?
<Utus> The time issue is that the General wants it to happen, so you, and we, do not have the leisure of doubting her decision.
<Jimba> Of course.
<Llillilli> Well this'll go well
<AshnabisNarrator> A short time later, you hear the doors open, the guards greeting their superior, and then shortly after that, General Ghurtai Kiftiga enters the meeting room.
* Daifan will stand
* Ghurtai is a muscular, stocky woman just entering her middle years, with short-cropped black hair. She is wearing a loose grey tunic and trousers. Only the ancient khazkamma sword strapped to her belt, a treasured relic of the Imperial age, gives any hint of her rank.
<Ghurtai> At ease.
* Ghurtai sounds vaguely annoyed.
* Llillilli is already standing but is definitely not at attention
* Jimba does likewise.
<Ghurtai> Have a seat, everyone.
<Ghurtai> You, close the door.
* Ghurtai says presumably to Daifan.
<Llillilli> Her name is Daifan
* Daifan will that, and they go sit down
* Ghurtai looks you over as if making a mental note.
* Jimba is about to sit, but freezes when Llillilli says that.
* Llillilli looks her over as well
<Ghurtai> Good morning, citizens. I appreciate all the effort you have gone to. Entirely unnecessary, but noted.
* Jimba will finish seating himself.
* Veznara waits to seat herself until the General sits first, or until it becomes obvious she isn't going to sit.
<Ghurtai> I have approached Captain Hengo and Commissioner Tumnu with a task that requires both skill and discretion.
* Llillilli plops down next to Jimba and crosses her arms.
<Ghurtai> Captain Hengo, direct the briefing. I will make an effort to be unobtrusive.
* Ismend rises to his full (if somewhat diminutive) height and surveys you all.
* Utus seems annoyed or fidgety about all this.
<Ismend> Ah, yes, right, of course, General. Now. We have had a request from the Principal of the Academy at Zhardif for a team to be sent there to assist in mediating a land dispute. You will be our team to do so.
* Jimba manages to stifle a chuckle at Ghurtai being "unobtrusive."
<Jimba> A land dispute between who?
<Ismend> Ahh, that is complicated. It is not exactly a dispute between parties. Rather, there is apparently some sort of claim or concern having to do with the parts of the Sestapor between here and there, and so far unclaimed and untapped by either side.
<Llillilli> What sides
<Ghurtai> Us, and Zhardif.
* Llillilli narrows her eyes
<Ismend> I hope I do not need to tell you that right now, tensions are high with our colleagues up the coast and their colony. Basai continues to support their colony earnestly, and to discourage their people from coming here.
<Llillilli> Oh, humans.
* Utus lays out a map of the colony and lands to the west.
<Ismend> Unfortunately, the Academy has not been entirely forthcoming about the specific nature of the problem to be solved. We are, for our part, unaware of any dispute in need of attention. They have simply asked for our expertise in the territory, as a sort of courtesy, as they portray it.
<Veznara> ...so it is a dispute, but we aren't sure it's with us?
<Ismend> In fact, if we believe them, it is surely not with us - at least, not in any obvious way.
<Jimba> Yeah, I'm unclear. They have a problem, and they asked *you
* to send someone to deal with it?
<Ghurtai> Yes, well, specifically, they asked me.
<Ismend> We are, of course, very concerned. The mystics are not known for being straightforward about problems, but given that they are coming to us for aid, one would have thought they could be more frank about their problem.
<Jimba> Of course, general.
<Veznara> Ulterior motives, no doubt.
<Ghurtai> We expect so, Hand Veznara.
<Jimba> All right, so you don't really have a lot of information to give us. We just need to go and see what's going on and, presumably, rectify the situation?
<Jimba> Diving in without checking the depth, as it were.
* Llillilli snorts.
<Ghurtai> Your job is to go as a courtesy to a colony who has asked for our help, as a show of good faith.
<Llillilli> (laugh snort)
* Jimba nods.
* Ghurtai ignores the snort and carries on.
<Ghurtai> Last year, when matters came to a head with the Basaian contingent here in Kaskind, it was a matter for some concern. The colony at Zhardif may be small in number, but they have a lot of fos and they know how to use it properly.
* Katenzhi perks up.
<Ghurtai> We have no interest in exacerbating the Academy's disaffection.
<Jimba> Anything else of import we might need to know?
<Ghurtai> And as you can imagine, this is not a matter where a show of force - such as a corps of sentinels - would be politically astute.
<Ghurtai> I did consider simply ignoring this request entirely. But - and I say this in the understanding that it goes no further - if this small token of respect, complying with a request for aid, can avert conflict this year, or next, then it is well worth it.
* Veznara nods
<Ismend> So yes, we do not know exactly what it is that they are requesting, nor why. Simply that we send a team to help resolve a land dispute.
<Ismend> One possibility is that it is a matter of such delicacy that they are embarrassed to even raise the issue.
<Jimba> We're...unobtrusive enough to not anger them, and enough of a response that it seems like Kaskind helped. Got it.
<Veznara> Is there anything in particular we should keep in mind, or keep an eye out for?
<Ghurtai> You should also be alert to the possibility that this is some sort of ruse - probably not one directed at you, but perhaps directed at making this colony look foolish, or ruthless, or unappealing.
* Ghurtai responds to Veznara.
* Veznara frowns and nods
<Jimba> Right. I'd hate for Kaskind to seem like any of those things.
<Veznara> We will certainly do our best to avoid any such traps.
<Katenzhi> Well I, for one am excited by this plan and happy to be a part of it.
* Jimba grins.
<Jimba> Well, we will do our best to be the absolute minimum Kaskind can send, General.
* Llillilli presses her lips together to stop herself laughing
* Jimba will say with a completely straight face.
* Daifan manages not to smile at that
* Veznara 's lips quirk, but she does not laugh openly.
* Ghurtai smiles.
<Ghurtai> Jimba of the Ghughife, I see why my people like you.
* Jimba will return the smile.
<Ghurtai> Are there any further questions - bearing in mind that I know hardly more than you in all this?
<Daifan> ...Do we know of any other communities in this space that they could have a dispute with?
<Jimba> Oh, yes, good question.
<Ismend> The hith kingdom goes up as far as the Yerta River, we believe. Not that I think this is a hith-related dispute, but one never knows.
* Jimba frowns a bit at that, but nods.
<Veznara> Getting us embroiled in a dispute with the Hith could be the goal...
* Daifan nods
<Veznara> No point speculating, I suppose. We'll just have to go and see what it is that Zhardif wants of us.
<Jimba> Then I think we have enough to go by?
<Ghurtai> All right, if there is nothing further, then Captain Hengo, as we discussed, make available whatever coin and fos your team may need for this.
<Ghurtai> Thank you, citizens.
<Jimba> A pleasure, general.
<Veznara> We are happy to serve the colony, General.
* Jimba will stand when she leaves.
* Veznara will likewise
Utus takes Daifan aside for some extra information
<AshnabisNarrator> Daifan, as you are standing to leave, Utus motions to you to stay after the others depart.
<Daifan> ...Yes sir.
* Utus seems very weary, though perhaps just from overwork. He is wearing a cloak held together with an ornate iron pin that you haven't seen before.
<Utus> There is something you should know.
<Utus> I believe - although this is not agreed-upon by all - that whatever this is all about, it has something to do with your people.
<Daifan> (Is this just to me?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (everyone else has dispersed to go get ready)
<Daifan> ...The corpseborn?
<Daifan> Why do you thik that, sir?
<Utus> I don't know any more about this than you do, not really. But the fellow who arrived from Charadip with this request, his name was Gamnaz Astave. I don't know him, but I know his family. They're from Omba, as I am.
<Utus> At any rate, the way he talked about the land dispute, talking around the dispute, as it were, it was, to my mind, unmistakeable. It is the way that Ombans sometimes dance around issues to do with the corpseborn, saying without saying it, as if even invoking the word will bring about bad luck.
<Daifan> I see.
<Utus> Do you know, is there a community of your people in that area?
<Daifan> I can find out, sir.
* Utus nods.
<Daifan> (I assume I don't particularly know... but maybe I've heard something?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (K:Local check?)
<Daifan> !roll 1d20+8
* Lan-werk rolls for Daifan: [ 1d20+8 ] getting [ 20 ] which, after the modifier [ 8 ] totals [ 28 ].
<Daifan> (well :V)
<AshnabisNarrator> (you definitely think that if there were such a community, you'd have heard of it. In fact, you know that there are definitely budal now living in Banei who came originally from up that way - i.e., whose parents were Aummesh from Charadip. So that would suggest there's no aizer up that way at all.)
<Daifan> I don't think there is a... community, not like Banei. But that may cause different tensions, if other are moving there, the way they have come to Kaskind
* Utus nods.
<Utus> I would have raised this issue more openly, but the General is not enamored of this theory.
<Utus> My colleagues, they are good people, but they are not envoys, and do not possess the gifts of my profession in these matters. They are more concerned that this is a prelude to war, some sort of trickery designed to get us to concede something of importance.
<Utus> Which it may be, of course. But not in the way they think, if so.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> it is probably... not charitable of them to ask Kaskind to come and deal wioth their Corpseborn for them.
<Utus> No indeed. But the Academy has no corpseborn of its own, of course - none at all.
<Utus> They are mystics.
<Utus> They are not teaching little corpseborn children the ways of the Source, I'm sure.
<Daifan> Iwould not have assumed they are...but there has to be more than just mystics to operate that kind of place.
<Daifan> I'm sure thewy aren't cleaning thrie own toilets
<Utus> My understanding is that at the Academies, both here and the ancient ones back home, your people are not permitted entry. So the work that you would need to do, is done by apprentices, or, of course, by magic.
<Utus> It is fairly trivial to clean a toilet using magic.
<Daifan> I suppose, with so much fos at their disposal....
* Utus nods.
<Utus> Look, I don't really know. I'm not a mystic, nor am I Basaian, nor have I ever really even been to Charadip.
* Daifan eems very intently thoughtful
* Daifan nods
<Utus> I simply know what I know, based on the meeting we had with their emissary.
<Daifan> Of course - we will do our best, sir. I will let the others know.
<Utus> The concession I was able to extract from the General was simply that your team, which, ahh, has more experience with corpseborn affairs than most, should be the one to take on the mission. I leave it to your discretion how much you tell them about this.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> The iother team has Sulidein...
<Utus> That's true. But Sulidein doesn't have your specific talents. And also, there are others on your team, like Veznara and Llillilli, who don't seem to care at all about corpseborn things. No, your team is the right one.
<Daifan> Ahh, I see.
<Daifan> We will do out best, then
<Daifan> thank you.
<Utus> Thank you. That is all, then.
* Daifan nods and will go see where the others have gotten to
They prepare to leave and discuss things with one another
<AshnabisNarrator> All right, are there any preparations you want to make before going?
<Llillilli> (just my armour and weapons, and telling Thelef I'll be away)
<Llillilli> (well I guess I always have my weapons these days)
<Veznara> (I do want to check in at the Hand Temple to get a quick briefing on the Charadip Temple, and anyone who might be a good contact there.)
* Daifan does want to let people know this info, but that can wait until we are on the boat. If there's time, I might go into Banei and see if anyone had heard anything about confluicts in Charadip
* Katenzhi will get her armor and go to check on Bivizmi to make sure she'll be safe and let her know I'll be gone a few days.
<Veznara> (And *now* I'm tempted to go ask Galdai about Charadip, but that would take too long. Next time. :P )
* Jimba is just going to get the boat ready.
<AshnabisNarrator> Veznara, there is a small Hand temple in Charadip, run by a priestess named Tazar Gazri who is, you are told, very young and quite new to the area.
<Veznara> (I will perhaps check in quickly there when we arrive, too... but we'll see.)
<Veznara> (Anyway, after learning this and anything else of interest, I'll join the others.)
<AshnabisNarrator> All right, you get yourself organized and take some money and fos from Ismend (presumably?) and then gather at Jimba's boat.
<Daifan> (...so no timer to go check in Banei to see if anyone has heard anything?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (not really, that's a long hike there and back)
<Jimba> (Theoretically we could stop by Banei on the way if Daifan really needs to talk to someone, right?)
<Veznara> (It's inland, and in the wrong direction, I think.)
<AshnabisNarrator> Indeed, Veznara is correct.
<Jimba> (Oh, I was looking at the wrong number on the map. Sorry.)
<Jimba> (Got mixed up as to which was which.)
* Daifan will wait until everyone is there, then
<Daifan> So, Utus told me that he thinks this is do do with the corpseborn in Charadip
<Daifan> There is no separate community there, not like we have here with Banei
<Daifan> But possibly they may have their own places in the town
<Daifan> He also said that corpseborn are not allowed in the academy
<Daifan> the general doesn't like his...hunch, so he didn't mention it with her there
* Veznara frowns
<Jimba> And they need our help in dealing with this?
<Jimba> That doesn't sound good.
<Veznara> Well. I'm glad Utus mentioned it, at least. And yes, I don't see why they'd want to involve us...
<Veznara> ...but I guess we'll find out when we get there.
<Katenzhi> Because we're expendable?
<Daifan> I don't think it is that kind of conflict
<Daifan> But it could be that the academy thinks it is beneath them to deal with the corpseborn directly. Or.. Tzoh
<Daifan> (Zozh, my bad)
* Jimba sighs.
<Jimba> Well, I guess we'll see.
<Veznara> There's a small Hand Temple there - maybe the priestess there will know what's going on.
* Daifan nods
<Veznara> Anyway, I guess we won't know until we get there.
<Daifan> He said that we were right for this because our team is more open to dealing with corpseborn
<Llillilli> I guess that's true
<Veznara> Hmmm. Will they be expecting you to be part of the team? If it's a Corpseborn issue...
<Llillilli> If they aren't... tough titties
<Daifan> I don't think they will know what to expect
<Daifan> I don't thijnk they have been appraised of how the General will respond to their request
<Veznara> Well, if they didn't explain, they have no grounds to object.
<AshnabisNarrator> (OK, are you guys done chatting now?)
<Daifan> (I think so!)
The group meet with Professor Lakusla
<AshnabisNarrator> The trip to Charadip by ship is surprisingly short - only a few hours further than your last major trip to Pashas, northwest right along the coast. It is a reminder that the murky terrain of the Sestapor conceals a geography that is, in fact, quite tiny as the crow flies - it is perhaps only twenty miles from one town to the other.
<AshnabisNarrator> You reach the mouth of the Yerta River, which is much smaller than the Kaskos but still quite important. Charadip lies here, on the west bank of the river. Its layout is quite different than what you are accustomed to in Kaskind.
<AshnabisNarrator> Kaskind is a new town, a colony town formed around the fort, simply emerging out of nothingness with the fos boom. Its architecture and ways are firmly Ombesh, and deeply military.
<AshnabisNarrator> Charadip, by contrast, is an old Aummesh town, like Timiil - onto which has been appended the most remarkable set of buildings - the Academy at Zhardif, using its Ombesh name. Its locals are almost all Aummesh, other than the mystics and their pupils.
<AshnabisNarrator> Whereas Kaskind has an openness about it, with people of all nations and occupations, here, the Ombesh population is overwhelmingly Basaian, with their heavy, long-sleeved clothes a reminder of their chilly homeland, but not so well adapted to swamp life.
<AshnabisNarrator> And unlike your fort town, Charadip is almost pointedly non-military - you see no signs of what most would consider a colonial presence. You know better though - even the name of the place has been changed by the skilled fos-weavers who now make this their home. Make no mistake - its source may be different, but this is a place of abiding power.
<AshnabisNarrator> The Academy is built out of square-hewn bluestone and marble, assembled - you momentarily reflect 'as if by magic', then correct yourself as it almost certainly was, indeed, by magic - at the northeast corner of the town, along the riverbank. Two great stone towers emerge out of the river itself, with a stone quay between them allowing boats to dock.
<AshnabisNarrator> Yours is certainly not the only boat here, but Charadip certainly is not the commercial center that Kaskind has become. There seems to be little of the trade in fos that you would expect of a colony that, from your understanding, is quickly coming to rival Kaskind for production of the precious commodity.
<AshnabisNarrator> A set of great low steps rise up from the quay, with marble statues along each side depicting what you suppose are great mystics of Basaian history. At the top of the stairway are a set of great stone buildings, most centrally a great marble hall with ancient-looking but surely new-built columns.
<AshnabisNarrator> (all right, here you are, it's over to you guys now!)
<Jimba> A bit much, don't you think?
* Katenzhi smirks at the people wearing heavy, soggy clothes.
<Jimba> Well, I guess we're supposed to go talk to the Principal?
* Llillilli snickers.
<Veznara> ...I'm not sure that's his title. But yes, it seems like we should.
<Jimba> It's the title Ismend used.
<Daifan> If they wo't let me in... I can see what I can learn in town.
<Llillilli> They'd better, they're the ones who wanted us to come.
<Jimba> Well, let's see, hmm?
* Jimba will head in and try to ask for directions.
<AshnabisNarrator> As you climb up the stairway, you definitely get a sense that folks around here are observing you, and not in a 'oh, look at those fascinating newcomers!' sort of way.
<AshnabisNarrator> The Aummesh folks, such as those working at the quay, pay you less attention.
<AshnabisNarrator> As you reach the top of the stairway, a grey-haired middle-aged woman in a long green embroidered robe smiles warmly and greets you. A long, thin quartz crystal, as long as your hand, sits around her neck on a silver pendant chain.
<Lakusla> Good day to you, neighbours. How can I help you?
<Veznara> Greetings. I am Hand Veznara.
<Veznara> We are here from Kaskind, on behalf of General Ghurtai, to help the Academy at request.
<Lakusla> I am Professor Lakusla Uvergesa. Welcome to the Academy at Zhardif.
<Veznara> Thank you. It is most impressive!
<Lakusla> Oh, I see! Yes, we were aware the General was sending a team.
<Lakusla> One moment.
* Lakusla takes a sip from a flask and makes an incantation.
<Lakusla> My apologies for the delay. Unfortunately Her Excellency Principal Zabim will not be able to meet you today as she is busy with tutorials throughout the day. But I am here to convey her well-wishes and to facilitate your visit.
<Lakusla> If you will come with me, please.
* Veznara nods, and follows Lakusia.
* Llillilli shrugs.
* Daifan will go with the others for now
* Katenzhi lokoks around curiously.
* Jimba will follow along.
* Daifan is also pretty curious, especially knowing they probably wouldn;t be allowed in here usually
<AshnabisNarrator> The professor leads you down a series of halls, each seemingly the product of inestimable artifice. It definitely feels new, but at the same time, reverberates with a sense of deep antiquity. None of you has ever been in one of the Academies ever before.
<AshnabisNarrator> The sounds of children startle you momentarily out of your reverie. Three young girls and a boy, perhaps ten or twelve years old, dart across the hallway in front of you, laughing. Strikingly, each of them has deep purple skin.
* Lakusla scowls.
* Jimba laughs.
* Veznara smiles gently
<Lakusla> Novices, please! You know better!
<Veznara> . o O (Wait - purple skin?)
* Daifan blinks
* Katenzhi stares despite herself.
<Lakusla> I apologize for that. The children know better.
<Katenzhi> Ummm... may I ask... why are they...
<Jimba> Kids are kids, even educated ones.
<Llillilli> Magic crap I assume
<Veznara> No matter. The laughter of children is a happy sound.
<Lakusla> Oh, their skin? That's just an affectation the novices have taken to. Once they cast your first spell, they turn themselves purple as a sort of symbol, I suppose. They started that a few years ago and it seemed harmless enough.
* Daifan shrugs
<Veznara> And it's permanent? Or until they decide to change it back?
<Jimba> How long do they stay like that?
<Daifan> why not be purple, if you can?
<Lakusla> Oh it's easy enough to reverse.
<Katenzhi> I mean... it's kinda neat.
<Lakusla> I take it the practice hasn't spread to Kaskind?
<Katenzhi> No, I think I'd have noticed
<Jimba> Not yet, at least.
* Katenzhi seems to be pondering something.
<AshnabisNarrator> She leads you into a small rectangular room whose most notable feature is a pair of stunning stained glass windows depicting what you assume must be the great Academy at Dundures, the heart of the Basaian magical tradition.
<Lakusla> Please, have a seat.
<Veznara> Thank you.
* Jimba will do so.
* Veznara sits
<Lakusla> Ahh ... Will your girl use the corner, then?
<Jimba> I'm sorry?
<Daifan> That's fine.
* Jimba frowns heavily.
* Llillilli scowls
* Jimba then forces a smile.
* Llillilli does not
<Jimba> So, what can we do for you and the Academy, Professor?
* Katenzhi puts a hand on Llillilli's arm but keeps a neutral expression.
<Lakusla> Ahh ... in time. Please, sit, we will have some refreshments brought momentarily.
<Llillilli> (you can feel how tense she is)
<Lakusla> I have not had the opportunity to meet you all yet.
* Lakusla smiles warmly.
<Llillilli> Well if you're gonna send one of us to the corner then you aren't meeting all of us.
* Daifan shrugs
<Daifan> That's her loss.
* Daifan says to Llillilli
<Veznara> I'm afraid our Envoy Junan is not with us... there is a large Conclave, I'm afraid.
<Jimba> Forgive our poor manners.
* Jimba says with a hint of sarcasm.
<Jimba> I am Jimba of the Ghughife.
<Lakusla> Oh yes, of course, the nambimoshe. We have several delegates there.
<Veznara> The General wished to respond to the Academy's as soon as possible, however, so we are here without him.
<Lakusla> Of course, of course.
<Veznara> I hope that will not be a problem.
<Lakusla> Not at all.
<Veznara> (I take it refreshments are brought in while we're making this charming small talk?)
<Lakusla> Let me tell you a little bit about the room we are in. It is modelled after a similar one in Dundures, which has stood essentially unchanged for over three hundred years. The glass is imported from Basai, and uses techniques developed there to ensure that this too shall stand for many centuries.
<AshnabisNarrator> As you talk, trays of food and drink are brought in by invisible presences and laid upon the table.
<Llillilli> . o O (creepy)
<Veznara> The crafts of Basai are indeed famous. I have never had a chance to visit - it's an unexpected boon to be able to see them here.
<Jimba> It's quite impressive.
* Lakusla sits thoughtfully for a moment.
<Lakusla> Oh? Oh, yes, it is very impressive, thank you.
<Lakusla> The Principal works very hard to ensure that the students here have an experience much like at any of the other Academies.
<Lakusla> Now, the business at hand.
* Veznara nods
<Lakusla> I know you must be curious, and more than a little suspicious, about our request for assistance. I hope when I explain that you will understand better.
<Lakusla> As I'm sure you know, over the past several years, we here in Zhardif have been expanding our reach to the south and east, just as you in Kaskind have spread north and west. But, of course, there is still much land in between our two colonies.
<Lakusla> However, for the past several months we have been ... beset? by an entity who I think, has little interest in our local politics.
<Lakusla> ... ah ... yes ...
<Lakusla> Tell me, in Kaskind, do they tell stories of Brother Bones?
* Lakusla shifts uncomfortably as she says the name.
<Daifan> (do... they..?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (uhh, I guess people could make a K:local check?)
<Daifan> !roll 1d20+8
* Lan-werk rolls for Daifan: [ 1d20+8 ] getting [ 7 ] which, after the modifier [ 8 ] totals [ 15 ].
<Veznara> !roll 1d20+7
* Lan-werk rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+7 ] getting [ 13 ] which, after the modifier [ 7 ] totals [ 20 ].
<Jimba> !roll 1d20+10
* Lan-werk rolls for Jimba: [ 1d20+10 ] getting [ 11 ] which, after the modifier [ 10 ] totals [ 21 ].
<Daifan> (also I will totally have a snack off of whatever tray is closest to me. If no ont else want to eat off ti... al the more snacks for me :v)
<AshnabisNarrator> None of you have ever heard of Brother Bones.
* Veznara shakes her head
* Daifan shakes their head, then
<Jimba> I'm not familiar. Who or what is Brother Bones?
<Veznara> No, I'm afraid that isn't familiar to me either.
<Lakusla> He is a ... man ... we think, perhaps, from Daligash, although the stories do not all agree. Old, to be sure, perhaps as old as eighty or ninety. The Osnabi folk here in town say he's been around for decades, although I can't speak to the truth of that. But surely for some years.
<Lakusla> We do know that he is possessed of great power over the Source. There are those here who speak his name with great reverence, although we do not know how or by whom he was trained. But if I can opine on a matter on which I do have some knowledge, we do not believe he is a manifest.
<Lakusla> Some say he is not human. I can't speak to that, except to say that I know of no Unfolding race or species, other than human, to which he could be assigned.
<Llillilli> !roll 1d20+6
* Lan-werk rolls for Llillilli: [ 1d20+6 ] getting [ 8 ] which, after the modifier [ 6 ] totals [ 14 ].
<Veznara> Is he the "entity" you mentioned a moment ago, then?
<Jimba> And this Brother Bones has been troubling your people?
* Lakusla nods.
<Lakusla> Or at least - has given us reason for new concern.
<Veznara> What is the problem? And how would you like us to help?
* Lakusla pauses uncomfortably.
<Veznara> (Sense motive? Is she putting on a show for our benefit?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (sure, make a roll)
<Veznara> !roll 1d20+10
* Lan-werk rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+10 ] getting [ 6 ] which, after the modifier [ 10 ] totals [ 16 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> You think something is up, Veznara, but you have no idea what it is.
<Lakusla> Most recently, he has been encountered in the wilderness, in the Sestapor. He lives in a partly ruined old barracks-house, one of the legacies of the Empire in Ashnabis, which, as you know, are many. It is east of the Yerta, perhaps two or three miles.
<Lakusla> There is now a substantial area, perhaps five hundred paces in any direction around his home, that he has rendered impassable to any traveller. One finds oneself travelling in a straight line, and then one finds oneself elsewhere.
<Jimba> Is this an important area otherwise?
<Lakusla> Well, it is an area where we presume there will be good fos. As I say, it hasn't been an area anyone has investigated much.
* Jimba nods.
<Katenzhi> Surely a whole academy of mystics shouldn't have much problem getting rid of one old guy?
<Veznara> (Is five hundred paces large? Doesn't seem like much.)
<Llillilli> (yea I'd say like .25 km depending how long your stride is)
<Daifan> ....is he Corpseborn?
<Lakusla> With the dry season, the children, and especially the newcomers, are likely to want to explore. It's only natural. But we cannot risk them encountering him. And we cannot tolerate this area being constrained from future use, simply because Brother Bones wishes it so.
<Jimba> (It's a sizeable area for one guy)
<Jimba> Just to clarify, you say he's been in the area for decades?
<Llillilli> It sounds like they're specifically not encountering him?
<Lakusla> There have been stories about Brother Bones that go back at least that far.
<Veznara> (So legally, if Brother Bones were to make a formal claim, what would he have a right to?)
<Jimba> I apologize for being ignorant of your procedures, but, in Kaskind, it would sound like he's just missing some paperwork.
<Jimba> Unless someone else is specifically claiming his land?
<Lakusla> In Zhardif, it is not our way for individuals to claim land. The Academy hires workers to use the land.
<Jimba> Where is this land located?
<Veznara> You have sent people to use his land, then, and... they were not able to do so?
* Lakusla waves her hand and creates an image of a map that roughly identifies the area.
<Jimba> (How close is it to Zhardif?)
<Lakusla> That is roughly the case, yes. But we also know that this is an area where your colony might wish to use the land, in future.
<Jimba> Oh! Well then maybe we can just get him to file paperwork with us, then.
<AshnabisNarrator> (it's sort of halfway between Charadip, #8, and Shuggep, #5, on the map)
<Jimba> What would be the Academy's preferred outcome here?
<Veznara> (So it's sort of in that big round area that juts out into the sea?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (no, more inland - it's in a swampy area)
<Lakusla> The Principal would prefer that he go away entirely.
<Veznara> (So more true north of Shugepp, due east of Zhardif?)
<Katenzhi> Why do you think we can get rid of him if your academy can't?
<AshnabisNarrator> (no, more like, southeast of Zhardif and northwest of Shuggep)
* Lakusla smiles.
<Lakusla> We were hoping that you would perceive our mutual interest here. We are extending you the courtesy of making you aware of the problem.
<Lakusla> We are certainly not asking that you, the four of you, take care of the problem directly.
<Veznara> Does this mean you wish to discuss a future border, then?
<Veznara> With an eye on the future expansion of both Zhardif and Kaskind.
<Jimba> So the Academy has plans to remove this Brother Bones without Kaskind's intervention?
<Lakusla> Obviously the border is a diplomatic issue to be resolved through future negotiations, yes.
<Llillilli> The five of us.
<Lakusla> We will, if necessary, take action against him.
<Veznara> If I may get back to my question, what exactly happened?
<Jimba> Again, and I apologize, but, to clarify, he hasn't taken any sort of offensive action against your people. Correct?
<Lakusla> He has not. And he may not. But he has reserved for himself this land, for reasons unclear to anyone.
<Veznara> So your purpose in inviting us here is to inform us of the situation... and encourage us to look into it ourselves?
<Lakusla> I believe that your General has decided that she needed to be informed of the situation, which is why you are here, under orders to look into it?
<Jimba> Well, we were sent to hear what the Academy wished to convey, yes.
* Lakusla smiles.
<Jimba> You said you *believe* the occupied area to have good fos. Yes?
<Veznara> Is this a recent development?
<Veznara> From what you say, Brother Bones has been here for a long time. Is this the first time you have approached his land?
<Lakusla> We do believe, yes, that there are ample supplies of fos there. And as Brother Bones is, ahhh, known to be a user of the Source, that would be a matter of some interest.
<Daifan> what else do you know about him
* Lakusla looks over at you and considers.
* Veznara was about to repeat the question, but waits to see whether Lakusia will answer Daifan directly.
<Lakusla> We hope that you will take this information under your consideration as you judge how to evaluate your own land claims in this area.
* Lakusla says to the group.
<Jimba> All right. Well, I'm sure we can look into things and communicate your concerns to our superiors in Kaskind.
<Veznara> Is anything concrete known about him? You said he may be from Daligash originally.
<Lakusla> Ahh ... He has appeared in many shapes to folk around here. There are as many stories as there are witnesses. The only point of agreement is that his voice is as death - spoken harshly and without inflection.
<Veznara> What does he say?
<Lakusla> He mostly frightens people. He is a figure of fear. He seems to wish to be left alone. Which is all well and good, and we would very much like him to leave this region and not return.
<Lakusla> I have never had the misfortune, myself. But one of my former students, Ikro Ludispobai, spends time out that way, in the Sestapor.
<Veznara> Ah. I'm sure we would like to talk to Ikro before we leave, then.
<Veznara> But again, has this become of particular concern recently?
<Llillilli> So why not just... leave him alone? It's not like there is a shortage of fos.
<Lakusla> That was, I suppose, all well and good once upon a time. But here, as in Kaskind, there are many more people than once there were.
<Llillilli> Is it so desperate that you can't do without this tiny patch of land
<Katenzhi> If he's as old as you say shouldn't he be croaking in a few years anyway? Problem solved.
<Lakusla> I assume your General has the same interests as we do, in ensuring that land that people want to use, is available for use?
<Jimba> Yes, of course. As you say, professor.
<Lakusla> We know this is territory likely to be desirable by both our colonies.
<Lakusla> With the dry season, the children, and especially the newcomers, are likely to want to explore. It's only natural, and the fall planting season is soon upon us.
<Jimba> All the more reason to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Please don't let us take up too much of your time.
* Lakusla smiles.
<Veznara> Before we leave, though: this implies that Zhardif accepts that Kaskind will have a legitimate claim to at least some of the area concerned.
* Veznara gestures at the map
<Veznara> Could you give us an idea of the borders you envision? I'm sure the General would want us to have a more concrete idea of where negotiations would start.
<Lakusla> We certainly do acknowledge that this is land that, to date, neither colony has claimed. And in the spirit of cooperation, we wish to acknowledge that that is a matter to be resolved. But as you might imagine, one that neither your nor I are going to be likely to resolve today.
<Veznara> So you have no specific proposal for dividing this land. You simply wish to... point it out.
<Lakusla> That is a fair assessment.
<Daifan> I think that's enough, Hand Veznara. We're not likley to gain further insights here.
<Jimba> Thank you for your assistance, professor.
<Daifan> We should go and decide how we wqill proceed.
<Veznara> May we speak with your student at some point?
<Lakusla> He is presently living in that direction, not in the town itself, actually.
<Lakusla> But I would be happy to ensure that he knows you are coming that way, if you wish to speak to him.
<Jimba> That would be helpful, thank you.
<Veznara> Thank you. As I say, I think it makes sense for us to do so before we return to Kaskind.
<Veznara> We'll have to consider what questions to ask him.
* Lakusla smiles.
<Lakusla> Thank you. Would you like me to see you out now?
<Veznara> Oh, I was hoping you would be good enough to give us more of a tour? But if that's not convenient, another time.
<Lakusla> Unfortunately that won't be possible at this time.
<Jimba> Another time, perhaps.
<Veznara> Yes. Thank you for receiving us, Professor.
<Lakusla> You're welcome.
* Lakusla will escort you out of the Academy, then.
<Daifan> (misfortune though, when her back is turned :p)
After she leaves, the group talk amongst themselves
* Veznara says when the group is alone.
<Jimba> Okay, so that was terrible.
* Daifan will also take a road snack as we leave the room
<Veznara> Evidently they're trying to get the General embroiled with this Brother Bones.
<Katenzhi> Fucking mystics, man.
<Daifan> much more aggravating than I'd anticipated
<Jimba> I'm thinking we try to go talk to this Bones guy? See what the situation is, maybe let him know what's going on if he doesn't already know?
<Jimba> It's a long shot, but straightforward at least.
<Katenzhi> How? We can't get near him?
<Llillilli> I think they are afraid to do anything to him because he is probably corpseborn, if the General is right
<Veznara> Sure... if he'll let us talk to him.
<Veznara> I notice that no Corpseborn connection was mentioned by Lakusia.
<Jimba> I'd say it can't hurt to try, but that's probably not true.
<Daifan> no, expicitly not
<Katenzhi> Seemed like she was trying to "mention" as little as possible.
<Daifan> I thik Utus was right, and they are afraid to acknowledge that we exist, let alone that we have power
<Llillilli> SHe wants us to stir things up so Kaskind will step in and do her dirty work
<Daifan> if he is corpseborn, and can use... the source... that must be very threatening for them
<Veznara> Is is that simple, though? She must know we'd be suspicious.
<Katenzhi> I doubt the general will bite. But not our call, I guess.
<Jimba> Yeah. I'm less concerned with the general right now than I am with this fellow who seems to be minding his own business.
<Llillilli> I think she thinks we are, I don't know, cowed or simple enough to just 'do our jobs' whether we are suspicious or not
* Llillilli fumes
* Daifan nods
<Veznara> Well, if we're going to talk to this Ikro, what should we ask him?
<Daifan> I think it is fair to try and warn him.
<Llillilli> Brother Bones? Yes I think so
<Llillilli> If he will let us.
<Veznara> I expect Brother Bones knows they're encroaching on his land already... and what it implies. :/
<Llillilli> Maybe he doesn't need a warning.
<Daifan> as for the student - given his teacher, do you think he will have much of use to add? Especialy if she advises him to expect us.
<Jimba> Yeah, but we can also communicate to him that there are folks sympathetic to him outside his bubble.
<Llillilli> The only really useful thing would be a more precise location
<Jimba> Though it seems like he doesn't need much help.
<Veznara> Oh, if Ikro has been prepped - and I'm sure he will be - the information he gives could be useful.
<Jimba> I'm just thinking maybe we can help resolve this without it blowing up. Possibly literally.
<Daifan> that depends on whether they putmore of a concerted effort into getting rid of him.... unless they ahve tried already and failed
<Veznara> I kind of think they must have.
<Jimba> Yeah. If they hadn't, they wouldn't have tried to sic Kaskind on him.
<Veznara> Unless they're specifically plotting to have him fight Kaskind first.
<Daifan> so it woudl be good for us to know more about that, if we can find him.
* Jimba nods.
<Veznara> Anyway, shall we talk to Ikro while we're here?
<Veznara> From what Lakusia said, he's on the way anyway.
<Llillilli> why not
* Llillilli throws her hands up.
<Llillilli> I hate this
<Llillilli> Every day it's less the job I signed up for.
<Daifan> I thik that's partly why Utus wanted to send us >.>
<Jimba> Hey, better us that someone who'd rush into the situation violently, as opposed to rushing into the situation...socially, I guess?
<Veznara> Let's just do a better job than anybody expects.
* Llillilli grumbles unintelligibly.
* Jimba will get stuff together for a trek into the woods/swamp.
* Jimba will then head out.
* Veznara could check in at the Temple if Jimba's preparations are going to take while, but not if they don't. :P
<Veznara> (So - on to Ikro?)
They speak with Ikro about Brother Bones
<AshnabisNarrator> All right, you equip yourself and then cross over the river over a new high bridge, to the east bank of the Yerta and into the Sestapor
<Jimba> (Presumably. Steve, if we need to summarize that, that's cool.)
<AshnabisNarrator> What with it being the dry season, the terrain is a little easier to navigate than usual - fewer places for things to go terribly wrong.
<AshnabisNarrator> It's not too hard to find the place where the professor indicated that her student Ikro lives and works. It's a small, simple cabin with fos fields (now harvested) around them.
<Veznara> (We go up and knock on the door, I guess.)
* Ikro is a tall, thin dark-skinned man wearing a plain dashi.
<Veznara> Hello! Ikro Ludispobai?
<Ikro> I am.
<Veznara> I am Hand Veznara, and these are my companions from Kaskind: Jimba, Llillilli, Daifan, and Katenzhi.
* Katenzhi waves.
<Veznara> We were just speaking with your mentor, Professor Lakusia.
* Ikro looks you over.
* Jimba waves and smiles.
* Daifan also, bracing themself to be ignired
<Ikro> All right ...
<Jimba> She led us to believe you'd had an encounter with "Brother Bones"?
<Jimba> We were hoping to speak to you about it.
<Llillilli> (sense motive for his general disposition towards us?)
<Llillilli> !roll 1d20+5
* Lan-werk rolls for Llillilli: [ 1d20+5 ] getting [ 9 ] which, after the modifier [ 5 ] totals [ 14 ].
<Llillilli> (neeeever mind)
<Ikro> (seems ... suspicious?)
<Veznara> !roll 1d20+10
* Lan-werk rolls for Veznara: [ 1d20+10 ] getting [ 14 ] which, after the modifier [ 10 ] totals [ 24 ].
<Ikro> Ahh ... Brother Bones.
<Llillilli> (well, same hat)
<Ikro> Yes, I've met him.
<Veznara> Please, tell us about it.
<Ikro> You hear a lot of things. They say he trained at the Academy in Lunduso. They say he's a spirit, or a revenant, or a saint. Could be so.
<Veznara> But you actually met him? In person?
* Ikro nods.
<Ikro> Once. He lives yonder, it's not that far. But I keep my distance.
<Jimba> Did he seem like a spirit to you?
<Ikro> He seemed to me like someone who takes great pride in scaring people. But I do believe he's very dangerous.
* Jimba nods.
* Daifan is... quiet
<Jimba> Any advice if someone wanted to speak with him? If that's even possible...
<Ikro> My advice is ... don't.
<Katenzhi> How did you end up meeting him?
<Llillilli> Where were you, exactly
<Ikro> By happenstance, here in the Sestapor. I test spells out here, often.
<Veznara> Did he speak to you?
<Ikro> He did, with that awful voice.
<Veznara> What did he say? "Go away", I guess? Or something else?
<Ikro> He threatened me - told me that if I knew what was good for me I'd leave and not return.
<Ikro> Honestly ... I believed him.
<Veznara> Lakusia said that people who enter his lands to work them get misdirected, somehow. But so far, he hasn't hurt anyone?
<Ikro> Not to my knowledge.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> I'm sure he's still someone it's good to avoid.
* Ikro nods.
<Veznara> Well, thank you, Ikro. I can't think of anything more to ask.
<Ikro> You're welcome. If you know what's best for you, you'll stay away from him.
* Veznara grimaces
<Veznara> Well, we'll certainly try not to anger him.
<Veznara> (I guess we'll leave him, then? Unless people have more questions.)
They try to get Brother Bones' attention with symbols in the sky
<Llillilli> I bet there haven't been any corpseborn with the people he yelled at.
* Llillilli says once we're away.
<AshnabisNarrator> (OK, heading off from Ikro, you're going off to check out the area Lakusla indicated in her map?)
<Llillilli> I wonder if that will interest him.
<Katenzhi> (I mean, I say we just go back and report but if people want to, I'm down.)
<Veznara> If that's true, Daifan, are you willing to talk with him?
<AshnabisNarrator> OK, you head south and east through the swamp. It really is very different in the high summer here. After a time you approach the area where you think she indicated.
<AshnabisNarrator> (make a Survival check, anyone who has it)
<Katenzhi> !roll 1d20+8
* Lan-werk rolls for Katenzhi: [ 1d20+8 ] getting [ 14 ] which, after the modifier [ 8 ] totals [ 22 ].
<Llillilli> !roll 1d20+!1
* Lan-werk rolls for Llillilli: [ Error. The syntax is !roll xdx+x. ].
<Veznara> (No ranks in it, no...)
<Llillilli> !roll 1d20+11
* Lan-werk rolls for Llillilli: [ 1d20+11 ] getting [ 16 ] which, after the modifier [ 11 ] totals [ 27 ].
<Daifan> !roll 1d20+10
* Lan-werk rolls for Daifan: [ 1d20+10 ] getting [ 19 ] which, after the modifier [ 10 ] totals [ 29 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> (ok, well Jimba can roll whenever. It doesn't matter too much)
<AshnabisNarrator> You note, after a minute, that you seem to be turned around. You are now heading northeast, not southeast.
<Daifan> We're already turned around
<Veznara> Hmmm. Just as Lakusia said.
<Llillilli> Guess he doesn't wanna talk to you either Daifan
<Veznara> Perhaps if we call out to him? Let him know we're coming, and ask him to speak with us?
<Katenzhi> I could try... maybe some kind of cancelation spell. He might not take that so well, though.
<Llillilli> Oh, that guy said he was practicing spells
<Llillilli> Maybe that would get his attention.
<Daifan> Maybe.... I can see if I can go ahead a litt on my own?
<Llillilli> Just try and cast something random
<Daifan> Not too far?
<Llillilli> I don't want you to get lost...
<Katenzhi> Are you sure?
<Daifan> I don't either.... but I do think it is worh trying. I won' go far, just enough to see if I'm still being redirected.
<Llillilli> I think we should try the spell before we try splitting up.
<Veznara> I suppose we can watch you to see what happens...
* Daifan nods to Llillilli
<Katenzhi> I can give it a shot.
<Daifan> yes, let's try that first
* Katenzhi will cast minor image. I'll make an illusion of some clouds that spell out "Brother Bones".
<Katenzhi> (Above the boat)
<Daifan> (I think we're on foot?)
<AshnabisNarrator> (you're not on the boat)
<AshnabisNarrator> (but sure, whatever, I get the point)
<Katenzhi> (Oh, then above our heads. Sorry, thought we were on the boat)
<Katenzhi> I don't do subtle.
<AshnabisNarrator> (ok, that's 4 doses of fos, and make your roll)
<AshnabisNarrator> (hold up)
<AshnabisNarrator> (you can't read)
<Katenzhi> (Oh, lol)
<Veznara> (Make a waving hand instead?)
<Katenzhi> (You are correct, sir.)
<Llillilli> (you could at least make some bones)
<AshnabisNarrator> (and honestly you don't know if he can either, but it's sort of irrelevant)
<Katenzhi> (Sure, let's go with that. Also, I had meant silent image, which is 1st level)
<AshnabisNarrator> (oh ok, so 2 doses, and make a roll)
<Katenzhi> !roll 1d20+8
* Lan-werk rolls for Katenzhi: [ 1d20+8 ] getting [ 6 ] which, after the modifier [ 8 ] totals [ 14 ].
<AshnabisNarrator> OK, no problem, there are now bones in the sky.
<AshnabisNarrator> Daifan, were you doing something?
<Daifan> (I'll wait and see how this goes, but I kind of want to go a little further away from the others, anyway)
<AshnabisNarrator> OK, after a while, nothing has happened.
* Llillilli says again
<Llillilli> so much for that.
<Daifan> OKay.... let me try then
<Llillilli> Be careful
<Daifan> If I'm not back soon.... just do that again and I'll come to you
<Llillilli> Do you have a weapon?
<Daifan> I'll be careful.
<Llillilli> Take this
* Llillilli presses her hunting knige (in its sheath) into your hand
* Daifan will take it, and then head back the direction we were trying to go
Daifan goes off to try and talk to him alone, and receives a telepathic message
* Daifan will basically try and get just out of line of sight/immediate earshot
<AshnabisNarrator> You get no response.
* Daifan will go a little further - can I tell whether I'm getting turned around again?
<AshnabisNarrator> You don't think so?
* Daifan will call out more loudly, then for the others
<Daifan> "I thik I'm okay.... I'm going to go a little further."
* Daifan will try and go a little further
<AshnabisNarrator> OK, so far so good...
<Daifan> ...Khozra Ula?
<AshnabisNarrator> You hear a voice in your head
<AshnabisNarrator> :Do you wish me to be a saint?:
* Daifan freezes
<Daifan> :I don't. Are you Khozra?
<AshnabisNarrator> :I am not. Are you?:
<Daifan> :No.... who are you?
<AshnabisNarrator> :I am Brother Bones.:
<Daifan> (how does he sound in my head? Monotone as other have said?)
<Daifan> :...have you always been?
<AshnabisNarrator> (in your head he sounds fine, like a deep mellifluous voice)
<AshnabisNarrator> :Oh, no, child. But for many years, yes.:
<Daifan> :...what are you?
<Daifan> :Why are you talking to me?
<AshnabisNarrator> :I am a nightmare to many, an aberration to others. And to myself, a man.:
* Daifan nods, thought they have no idea whether he can see them
<AshnabisNarrator> :Why are you here?:
<Daifan> :To talk to you...
<Daifan> :The mystics want us to get rid of you but... I don't see why we would, even if we could
<AshnabisNarrator> :Do they? That amuses me.:
<Daifan> :We though we would...warn you of their plotting. They want to bring Kaskind into this. They say they want your land, and want you gone.
<AshnabisNarrator> :Hmmm. And why are you so benevolent to me?:
<Daifan> :You haven't hurt anyone. YOu were here first. And they were.... ruder than even I expected.
* Daifan 's thought slips out >.>
<AshnabisNarrator> :No. They fear what they have created.:
<Daifan> :what have they bcreated?
<AshnabisNarrator> :Come in. But the others must stay.:
<Daifan> :....can I tell them? They'll worry.
<AshnabisNarrator> :Of course:
* Daifan will yell out again
<Daifan> Can you hear me still?
<Veznara> (Assuming we can...)
<Daifan> I've made contact.... I'm okay. I'm going to go look at something, but you just stay there.
<Katenzhi> Be careful!
<Daifan> I will!
* Daifan will go on then
<Llillilli> I guess he doesn't want to talk to us
<Daifan> :Where am I going?
<Katenzhi> I don't really blame him.
<AshnabisNarrator> :Just walk until you see the building:
* Daifan will do so then, keeping an eye out for anything dangerous
Daifan meets Brother Bones
<AshnabisNarrator> You walk forward, and sure enough, almost out of nowhere, you see a stone building, clearly built in part out of some old stone fortification. As you do, a man steps out of the house and waves.
* Ikro is now known as Brother_Bones
* Brother_Bones is a white-haired man, well past seventy, though his exact age is hard to discern because he is enormously fat and also has a long white beard. He is wearing a patchwork dashi, blue and goldenrod and grey, that billows around him.
<Daifan> Hello brother.
<Brother_Bones> You made it. What do they call you, puru?
* Brother_Bones speaks with a voice completely devoid of tone, the sound of gravel crashing against a pier during a storm, or winds blowing hail against a tile-shingled roof.
<Daifan> I'm Daifan, but called Smiles
<Brother_Bones> Once, and still by my mimir in dreams, I was Tevez. But as you know, I am Brother Bones.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> How did that happen?
<Brother_Bones> How did what happen?
<Daifan> How did you become Brother Bones?
* Brother_Bones laughs, and his laugh is almost as disturbing as his voice.
<Brother_Bones> It's a long story. But to start, child, come, take my hand.
* Brother_Bones extends his thick arm towards you.
* Daifan will come forward then, and do so
<AshnabisNarrator> His hand is icy cold to the touch.
<Daifan> ....are you a Revenant?
<Brother_Bones> I am.
* Daifan will squeeze his hand, and then let go
<Daifan> And you use magic... and are Budal
<Brother_Bones> I do, and I am.
<Daifan> No wonder they're afraid of you >.>
<Brother_Bones> Aren't you?
<Daifan> A little. But you wouldn't have needed to bring me all the way here and show me these things just to hurt me.
<Brother_Bones> Are you worried that I will hurt your friends?
<Daifan> Are you going to?
<Brother_Bones> Not unless they intend me harm.
<Daifan> They don't.
<Daifan> YOu said the mystics were afraid of what they'd made - did you mean yourslef? or something else?
<Brother_Bones> Me. They are afraid of me, and they should be.
* Daifan nods
<Brother_Bones> They can't admit to themselves that I am their fault, and I am so abhorrent to them that they can't even think of me as a man. Just as a ... myth, a story, something to scare the little ones.
<Daifan> I think they were hoping that they could get Kaskind to get rid of you somehow, but I don't see why it would.
<Daifan> If the borders ever pushed out this far.... and they haven't, JImba said we shoudl just write you a formal claim for the land that's yours and leave it be.
<Brother_Bones> I'm sure they wanted a company of sentinels, to come here to frighten me off or decide to move on.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> How strong are you, out here?
<Daifan> I know some people.... other budal... who might need help from someone like you
<Brother_Bones> Now you're sounding like a little spy. Careful, careful, Smiles.
<Daifan> I'm not spying on you.
<Brother_Bones> Do you think I stay out here because the budal love and accept me?
<Daifan> I don't know. There could be lots of reasons.
<Brother_Bones> Who do you think it was who gave me this name in the first place?
<Daifan> It's a good ludu.... but not all budal are the same everywhere
<Daifan> YOu are the only other corpsebrn who uses magic that I have ever met.... that's all.
<Brother_Bones> The ironic thing is, our name is death, but our ways our life. Actual death, the real feel of death - it terrifies us.
<Daifan> (No wait that's alie)
<Daifan> (Ignore that)
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I've met so few other corpsebborn who use magic... and fewer still so powerful
<Daifan> but you're right, there's little comfort in death for us.
<Brother_Bones> No indeed.
<Brother_Bones> So when you go back to your friends, what will you tell them?
<Daifan> are you content to stay out here alone?
<Brother_Bones> As content as I ever have been, yes.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I'll tell them that we were right, that I gave you the warning and told you what we cme to say.
<Daifan> that you just want to be left alone
<Brother_Bones> You should consider whether you trust them all, to keep any confidences.
<Daifan> Is there anything else you'd want me to say? or not say?
<Daifan> I don't have to tell them that you're a revenant... they already know you're a magic user, probably a mystic, and we'd already guessed you were budal.
<Brother_Bones> I would prefer you say nothing, but since that would merely provoke more questions, you should tell them whatever in your judgement is most likely to make them leave me alone, and to encourage your masters to do the same.
* Daifan nods
<Brother_Bones> Or you could tell them I'm a saint, if that makes you happiest. I am no stranger to lies more bizarre than that.
<Daifan> I really don't want that -_-
<Daifan> that will raise more questions no one wants to deal with
<Daifan> I'll try and get them to leave you alone
<Brother_Bones> And you - do you intend to leave me alone?
<Daifan> If that's what you want - this is a long way, for me. I have no reason to trouble you.
* Daifan sighs though, because that would have nice, but you can't make people be helpful
<Brother_Bones> If you intend to come back, know this: I owe you no favours, nor anyone. I am not here to be a champion to those who would recoil at my touch.
<Daifan> Not everyone would.... but no one is asking you to be a champion, either.
<Brother_Bones> Very well.
<Daifan> Thanks for talk to me, then. I'll be on my way.
They decide to advise leaving him alone
* Daifan will go back to the others
<Llillilli> How did it go
<Daifan> He does just want to be left alone, though.
<Daifan> the mystics are afraid of him
* Daifan shrugs
<Daifan> It is basically as we thought
<Llillilli> So what do we tell the fort so they don't bother him?
<Jimba> It's a tiny plot of land and it's his?
<Jimba> I mean, they have no reason to push it.
<Llillilli> "There's an old man in the woods and the mystics are afraid of him because he's corpseborn so they wanted to trick us into getting involved?
<Llillilli> If they ask us why the mystics dragged us into it I guess we could just simplify it by saying they were trying to stir up shit
<Llillilli> Which they are
<Jimba> No need to add more details unless we get specifically asked.
* Llillilli waits for Veznara to object but she can't because Charles isn't here :v
Daifan fills Junan in on the events of the day
* Daifan is packing up their armor and other work gear after returning to the registry
* Junan announces himself
* Daifan looks up from stuffing stuff in a locker
<Daifan> Oh, hello Junan. Did they finally let you away from your meeting?
<Junan> I managed to make a short term escape... not sure how long it will last.
<Junan> Good trip?
* Daifan will finish what they were doing and stand up
* Daifan makes a face
<Daifan> Well, nothing attacked us.
<Junan> so at least not a violent trip.
<Junan> I kinda wanted to see Charadip. I'm disappointed I couldnt slip away sooner
<Daifan> We didn't see much of it
<Daifan> just one room i the academy - they wouldn't give us a tour. Probably because of me.
<Junan> Now I'm extra sorry I missed it. I might have been able to talk us at least a little peek
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> I think by the point it might have been an option, everyone just wanted to get on with our business and leave
<Daifan> there were some nice sculptures around the harbour
<Daifan> and I think they broght in a lot of... older things? to build with?
<Daifan> The place felt very old, even though it was new
<Junan> that makes me sad I missed it even more
<Daifan> Maybe you'll have a chance to go back under different circumstances and see more of it
<Junan> always a possiblity
<Junan> I very curious to see how the Basaians are investing thier resources
<Daifan> you didnt much as far as our hosts went, anyway
<Daifan> mmhmm. Well apparently they don't allow land claims - anyone who produces fos there does so for the academy.
<Junan> why did they bring you up there then?
* Junan looks confused
<Daifan> There is someone who lives out in the swamp who won't let them onto the land that he controls
<Daifan> it isn't even in land they've claimed directly - at least not yet
<Daifan> I think they were hoping we would chase him off for them
<Daifan> They were probably expecting the General to send sentiels who would do whatever they wanted in thehope of staving off any conflict
<Daifan> "Oh, well, its unclaimed land, so it might be in Kaskind's interest to deal with him."
<Daifan> of course, if they'd tried I imagine it coudl have gone pretty poorly
<Daifan> he hasn't actually hurt anyone, but he could, and I expect he would if they really threatened him.
<Junan> doesnt feel like there was much carrot for Kaskind
<Daifan> no, not really
<Daifan> I thikn that's part of why they were so vague
<Daifan> theyb hoped nce someone got out there they would feel like hey may as well do something
<Daifan> also.... I think my being here changed things
<Daifan> The Basians, apparently, really don't deal well with Corpseborn. They would barely admit I was there
<Daifan> I'm surprised they let me inside at all
<Junan> well that's their loss, if they take that attitude
<Junan> who knows, they could have been testing the thug-ness of the Land Registry
<Daifan> well, this person they wanted us to evict is also corpseborn, and a powerful mystic, and they hate it so much they couldt even admit it when directly asked.
<Junan> I dont think I've heard of a corspeborn mystic
<Daifan> no.... though he was Daligashi
<Daifan> He's very old
<Daifan> I didn't get his whole story though
<Daifan> as I said he mostly just wants to be left alone
<Junan> I was gonna say, Daligash sounds like the only place they could earn the coin to support a life of a mystic
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> Well, he did come down here for a reason...
<Junan> now I see why they were hoping for a bunch fo Choridani sentinels
<Junan> oh? why is that?
<Daifan> well I assume the same as most of the mystics in the area
<Daifan> and the manifests, and everyone else
* Junan rolls his eyes at the obvioud answer
<Junan> all about the fos
<Junan> whats this mystic called? I should ask Jaigadu about him.
<Daifan> They call him Brother Bones
<Junan> I'm surprised if this fellow is such a thorn in thier side they didn't try and wrangle Jaigadu to negotiate the problem away
<Daifan> who is that?
<Daifan> another Envoy?
<Daifan> And no, I don't think they'd ant to discuss it with an envoy.... or if one could even find him
<Junan> Jaigadu Akhurtergi.... hes kinda a mentor... and likely the most respected Envoy in Ashnabis... which he is well aware of
<Junan> yeah you probably have the right of it.
<Daifan> he uses magic to defent his space
<Daifan> we got turned around trying to find him
<Daifan> but if your mentor has any other stories about him, I'd love to hear them
<Junan> I'll ask. If Brother Bones has been around here for a while, I would not be surprised if Jaigadu knows of him
<Junan> sounds like it was another frustration in a rather annoying trip
<Daifan> yes. Not my favourite, but as I said, at least nothing attacked us.
* Junan shrugs
<Daifan> hopefully the general will be satisfied and we wn't have to worry about it further
<Junan> and you? how have you been doing?
<Daifan> pretty well, I think
<Daifan> on the whole...
<Junan> things less messy than the last time we talked?
<Daifan> Hmmm.. some parts.
<Junan> thats good
<Daifan> and you?
<Daifan> What do you do at one of these meetings, anyway? drink and try and impress each other with your stories, or is there any real work?
<Junan> there is drinking and stories to impress, of course, but also lots of "real" work...
<Junan> I get to scribe some of the details of the discussions, for history
* Daifan looks dubious
<Daifan> a great honor, I'm sure
<Junan> oh it has its advantages, I do get to hear some of the more important discussions
<Junan> Envoys can ply quite a bit of influence, if they're aligned to a common goal
<Daifan> are they aligning?
<Daifan> I feel like that's he trick
<Junan> very true... it's hard to move them together as a group... but it can be done.
<Junan> will it be done this time?
* Junan shrugs
<Junan> wait and see I guess
<Daifan> what is it even about? Anything interesting?
<Junan> peace and prosperity
<Daifan> or is it a secret unti its all settled
<Daifan> oh, pfft, mmhmm.
<Daifan> Peace and prosperity for who? :p
<Daifan> that's a lot of people
<Junan> The mystics in Charadip are massing fos, and with it wealth and power.
<Junan> I'm sure lots of people are worried about that
* Daifan nods
<Junan> one good thing is the mystics are like the envoys, they're divided on what they want.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> yes, we heard they had several envoys at your meeting, though
<Junan> everybody has envoys at the meeting
<Daifan> how far away have the come from?
<Junan> from all over the territory
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> well at lest there's some drinking and stories in there
<Junan> always, and new songs
<Daifan> well, ou'll have to share some
* Daifan smiles
<Junan> I can play something now, if you want a break
<Daifan> I was just about finished here, really, but I coud stay for a song
* Junan smiles
<Junan> this is an older Aumish tune, but a fun one at that...
* Junan pulls his lute out and plucks a few strings to test the tune
* Daifan will lounge against the wall to listen
<Junan> something to ease a long day
* Junan picks the upbeat tune, adding the Aummesh lyrics to the story of a fisherman who trades all his gear for fos to charm his sweetheart, to only end up turining himself pink and blue.
* Daifan laughs
<Daifan> there were children at the Academy who'd turned themselves purple. Apparenlty its a fad.
* Daifan says after you've finished
<Daifan> it was cute, but they got repreimanded for showing any pleasant human emotions in front of company
<Junan> that sounds so sad
<Junan> I hope they can turn back to normal
<Daifan> oh, they did it on purpose. I think its a pretty simple trick for them
<Daifan> anyway - thank you for that, but I should get going..... hopefully you'll be back to regular work soon!
<Daifan> and everyoe cane have some peace and prosperity ;p
<Junan> See you around
Llillilli asks Daifan for advice about boys
* Llillilli will hang around after whatver dumb work thing, unsubtly waiting for Daifan
<Daifan> (that works ^_^)
<Daifan> oh hey Llillilli - were you looking for me?
<Llillilli> Oh... yes.
<Llillilli> I want to ask you some things. But not here.
* Llillilli glares at the departing back of Veznara
<Daifan> oh, okay.... we can go back to the boat? or just for a walk?
<Llillilli> The boat's good.
* Daifan follows your glance and then shrugs
* Llillilli will take you to the boat then, where Jimba is not
<Daifan> what's going on?
* Llillilli fixes you with a firm and businesslike look.
<Llillilli> Do you know a lot about men.
* Daifan looks surprised by the question, and then tries not to laught
<Daifan> Uh... YOu could say so?
<Daifan> I mean.... what about them? >.>
<Llillilli> You know... what to do>
<Daifan> what to do.... when?
<Llillilli> Just... things!
* Daifan is deply amused, but will try and be gentle
* Llillilli gestures widely and exasperatedly.
<Daifan> ...what kinds of things?
<Daifan> there are ...lots of things you can do with men :x
<Llillilli> I... don't really know.
* Llillilli frowns.
<Daifan> okay... so there is a boy, yes?
<Llillilli> This is awkward. I'm sorry, I should have asked Jimba.
<Daifan> No, it's okay.
<Daifan> It might be more awkward to ask your brother :x
<Daifan> lets sit down. Do you have anything to drink?
<Llillilli> Probably. Katenzhi lives here
<Daifan> A good point
* Llillilli will find something and bring you the bottle
<Daifan> DO you want some?
* Llillilli looks at it for a minute
<Llillilli> maybe... just a little
* Daifan pushes it at you
* Llillilli picks up a mug and pours an ounce or so
<Llillilli> Did I tell you I'm getting married
<Daifan> so, tell me about this boy.
<Daifan> oh yes!
<Daifan> I helped you picked out somethign to wear to meet his aunts
<Daifan> so this is the same boy?
<Llillilli> Man. Yes
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> So this is more than just friends now?
<Llillilli> I think so.. yes
<Llillilli> I don't know... what happened?
* Daifan shrugs
<Llillilli> We've just had to spend a lot of time together, for this wedding...
<Daifan> Youve been spending more time together, yes?
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> It's not the same for my poeple, but I know there's always a lot of picky traditions... I think half of them are about making people spend tome together being annoyed at everyoe else
<Llillilli> He is... well, I don't know anybody like him.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> he treats you well then?
<Llillilli> I wouldn't like him if he didn't...
* Daifan will pour themself a bit of katenzhi's booze as well
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I figured
<Daifan> do you know how he feels?
* Llillilli nods
<Daifan> the same?
<Llillilli> He told me first..
<Llillilli> I was... surprised
<Daifan> but you already felt this way before he told you?
<Llillilli> I think so.... yes?
<Llillilli> How do you know?
<Daifan> well, there's different thigs to feel, and some of them are easier to sort out
<Llillilli> I know I feel like talking to him more than other people. I like being around him. I tell him things I haven't told Jimba
<Daifan> that sounds pretty serious
<Daifan> you're already marrying him though :3
<Daifan> So what are you trying to sort out?
<Llillilli> What I'm supposed to do ... different now?
* Daifan considers that
<Daifan> Do you want to do anything different?
<Daifan> or do you just think you should?
* Daifan smiles and takes a drink
<Llillilli> Today I wanted to hug him... very badly
* Llillilli blushes
* Daifan smiles more broadly
<Daifan> there's nothing wrong with that
<Llillilli> It's just... different.
* Daifan nods
<Llillilli> I don't know if you noticed I'm not much of a hugger
<Daifan> I have. I understand. But everyone is different with these things.
<Daifan> and that's okay.
<Daifan> I got some good advice recently about these sorts of things, and maybe it will help you too.
<Daifan> there's a couple of parts to it
<Daifan> The first part is that.... it's important to talk to your partner about things that you want to try or not. It's a good habit but I know it can be hard
<Daifan> but if you get used to it.... it gets easier? Hopefully, anyway.
<Llillilli> That makes sense.
<Daifan> the other thing is that you should do anything you don't both want to try
<Daifan> that's why the talking is important, so you can feel comfortable saying "I don't think I'm ready or that." or "I want to try this thing." Or whatever.
<Daifan> YOu should respect each other.
<Llillilli> I am pretty good at saying what's on my mind.
* Daifan smiles again
<Daifan> Yes, I don't think you'll have too much trouble with that.
<Daifan> But, I don't know him - maybe he would?
* Llillilli thinks...
<Llillilli> No, he is a good communicator.
<Daifan> That will make things easier, I hope.
* Llillilli nods.
<Daifan> The important thing is that if yoy aren't both enjoying whatever you aredoing, it shuld always be okay to stop
<Daifan> even if it is something you've done a hundred times before
* Daifan says, maybe a little wistfully, and takes a drink
<Daifan> as for things to do.... hugs are nice... holdng hands... kissing can be very nice
<Daifan> if you want more than that well... that's more advanced :3
<Daifan> people's bodies are all very different, in my experience
<Llillilli> Well I don't have any.
<Daifan> that's okay
<Daifan> everyone starts at the same place
<Daifan> It sounds like you're lucky in who you get to learn with :)
<Llillilli> He is... very nice to look at
<Daifan> YOu care about each other, you're both good at saying with you want - I think you'll be okay
<Llillilli> I didn't really notice at first
<Daifan> Oh is he ^-^
<Daifan> sometimes that happens
<Daifan> if you want more, mmm...specific direction, I can probably give you some ideas.... but I think maybe try taking things slow to start?
<Daifan> since its all new
<Daifan> have fun :)