Diablotin 2 session 12

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[Narrator] It is mid-Sixth, warm and humid, with occasional thunderstorms that burst and vanish just as quickly, bringing only short-lived relief. [Narrator] The Rhenean Antiquarian Society's weekly meeting is relatively sparsely attended this evening, no doubt due to the unpleasant weather, but nevertheless there are about fifteen or sixteen members present. [Narrator] Once it seems no one else is coming, Vianca calls the meeting to order.

  • Vianca steps up to the podium.

[Vianca] Good evening, and thank you for coming. [Vianca] I'm very pleased to be able to introduce one of our junior members, M. Argo, who will be speaking tonight on some new theories about the Great Constructs.

  • Ilphere looks interested and excited!
  • Vianca will step aside for Seth.
  • Seth is dressed as nicely as he ever is, but has deigned to wear a cravat for this occasion.

[Seth] Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the Society. Today I will be speaking on the subject, ‘The Varied Fates and Resting-Spots of Diablotin’s Automata’.

  • Ysabeau slips into a seat near Dominik and pays rapt attention to Seth

[Seth] While the argument I am presenting is novel and admittedly speculative, I invite your commentary on this fascinating aspect of the Empire’s architectural, military, and magical history. [Seth] I intend specifically to argue that the construct commonly called Schesutte, whose whereabouts have previously been regarded as an unsolvable mystery, is in fact in plain sight in Rhenea, evident to the eye trained in the nuances of architectural decoration.

  • Seth offers a detailed and lengthy history of the various Great Constructs.

[Seth] ( http://community.livejournal.com/rocksfall/327789.html?style=mine#cutid1 ) [Seth] Thank you. [Ilphere] . o O ( Fascinating...! )

  • Vianca leads the applause at the conclusion.

[Vianca] Fascinating, M. Argo, and very innovative. [Vianca] Of course, as usual, we welcome all of you to stay on for refreshments and conversation. [Vianca] I'm sure many people will have questions for you after such a presentation. [Ilphere] (what kind of snacks do they have? :V) [Narrator] Oh, the usual sorts of snacks - probably nothing hot, given the weather, but some little pastries, fruit, that sort of thing.

  • Seth will mingle afterwards and generally try to avoid getting intellectually eviscerated.
  • Guillame is thinking over what he heard

[Narrator] (Otherwise present from the RAS are Prof. Grenrake, Enoch and Melia Walther, Fern, Nycaise, Sister Rachelle, Theodore Sleyght, Vereth, Verity, and Vianca - in case anyone wants to talk to any of them. Otherwise you can talk amongst yourselves :)

  • Ilphere nibbles a pastry and looks around the room...

[Ilphere] (I want to talk to Nycaise at some point) [Narrator] (okay)

  • Vereth comes over to Seth after the talk.
  • Seth smiles at the sight of his mentor.

[Vereth] Good job. Very interesting. [Ilphere] (the rest of us in GL?) [Narrator] (that would be good) [Seth] Thank you, Vereth. I'm glad you made it out, at least, even if no one else did ... [Vereth] Don't take it personally. [Vereth] You got a pretty good turn-out, all things considered. [Seth] Oh, I suppose so.

  • Vereth pats your shoulder.

[Vereth] We'll make sure to talk it up, so no one misses your next one. [Seth] I wouldn't think a few thunderstorms would keep serious scholars from a presentation by Vianca.

  • Seth huffs.

[Vereth] No, probably not.

  • Vereth agrees.

[Seth] Well ... it seems like the junior members came out, anyway. [Vereth] When you're her age, you'll have standing-room-only lectures too. [Seth] I suppose so. [Vereth] Yes, they did. You should enjoy yourself - talk to your friends. [Seth] Yeah ... yeah. [Seth] Thanks. [Vereth] And, if you're free tomorrow, you should stop by. I might have some work for you. [Seth] Oh? Sounds ... interesting! :) [Vereth] Maybe, maybe. [Seth] Well, at the very least I should get some food. Scholarship makes a man hungry, you know. [Vereth] Excellent plan.

  • Seth will go over and stuff his face before going to face his colleagues.

[Dominik] [w to Ysabeau] Were you purposely trying to make it difficult for me to pay attention, or just trying to ensure I stayed awake? [Ysabeau] [w] Making sure you stayed awake, of course.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Dominik] [w] Of course, just as I figured. [Ysabeau] Didn't you find it interesting at all?

  • Ysabeau asks Dom curiously

[Dominik] Stone, even when carved does not hold much interest for me. I prefer warmer subjects. [Ysabeau] Stone can be very warm if it has some time in the sun. [Ysabeau] But just imagine being able to form a mobile guardian out of stone?

  • Ilphere remarks Sanadhil's absence with disappointment, but not surprise.
  • Dominik chuckled

[Dominik] that could put me out of a job [Dominik] what would I do with myself [Ysabeau] It's really quite amazing. And seriously, how does such a soft metal like copper last if it has to bear such tremendous weight? Diorite isn't a lightweight stone.

  • Ilphere eats another miniature danish

[Ysabeau] Well, it will never put you out of a job because if it was easy and inexpensive to make constructs, everyone would have one already. [Ysabeau] So you needn't fear. :) [Dominik] I never claimed to be inexpensive or easy to replace.

  • Ilphere watches Seth talking to Vereth, ignoring the BLATANT FLIRTING
  • Ysabeau laughs/

[Ysabeau] But even if it did, I'm sure a fine young man such as yourself could find some sort of employment. [Dominik] I'm good at landing on my feet. I preferr to not get tripped up or knocked down, but somethimes thats not my choice to make.

  • Guillame gets up and heads over to the snacks

[Ysabeau] Possibly as a professional dancer. That takes lots of strength and skill, much like the martial arts. Though I don't suppose most people would think of it that way.

  • Ilphere helps herself to a nibble of cheese.
  • Ysabeau can't help but grin, picturing Dom in tights and a doublet doing ballet. It is a bit difficult to imagine.

[Dominik] Its a different dance I'm learning to master, one with more strength and skill. [Dominik] theres a few skills that might be good for you to learn. [Ysabeau] Such as?

  • Dominik will take Ysabeau's hand and form it into a fist.

[Dominik] styles and techniques that would come in useful when you cant have a rapier. [Ysabeau] You think I should become a street brawler? [Ysabeau] Could be interesting as long as I can cover up the bruises. [Dominik] I...

  • Dominik lets go of her hand

[Dominik] never mind.

  • Ysabeau looks down at her lap.

[Ysabeau] [q] Dom, it is kind of you to offer. It would be good for me to learn, I agree. [Ysabeau] [q] But now might not be the best time. [Dominik] [q] I'm overstepping myself. You're right.

  • Dominik stands and moves over to Ilphere.
  • Ysabeau stands up and makes her way over to Verity, chatting with others as she makes her way there.

[Ilphere] Hello M. Argo, M. Rionet!

  • Ilphere approaches your end of the snack table...
  • Seth has a full plate of good stuff.

[Guillame] Hello Mlle. DeQuessenet [Ilphere] That was a fascinating paper...! [Guillame] It was, wasn't it? [Seth] Ah, good evening, all.

  • Ilphere smiles winningly and picks up another croissant.

[Seth] Many thanks. [Seth] I regret that I was unable to present more complete results on this occasion. [Ilphere] So do you think there will be any excavations or expeditions anytime soon...? [Seth] But it seemed most expedient to present this preliminary material prior to a more advanced inquiry. [Seth] Indeed, Mlle. de Quessenet, your question is most pertinent. [Seth] It would be a highly desirable eventuation, but one does not simply excavate a temple crypt wantonly. [Seth] Particularly not in Rhenea, of course. [Seth] And the issue of getting permission for such work is formidable. [Seth] But yes, that is exactly my intention, to use this prolegomenon as the occasion for stimulating additional work of exactly that sort. [Ilphere] What sort of support would you need for the permission to come through...] [Ilphere] ? [Seth] Well ... that depends on how likely anyone thinks it is that Schesutte could be reconstructed, re-keyed, or reactivated. Certainly I would imagine the Emperor would have some interest in that. [Ilphere] Oh yes... I suppose he would. [Seth] But of course the religious authorities will also have some considerable concern, and might either support or oppose further inquiry. [Dominik] Sorry to interrupt your in depth discussion, Iplhere, Ill be in the library. Don't vanish on me please. [Ilphere] Ah, of course not...? [Ilphere] Ahem. [Ilphere] I understand you are a friend of Prince Menard...?

  • Dominik snatchs some food and walks away.

[Ilphere] Perhaps that connection might be of use...? [Seth] Yes, the Argos have been Kizer men for some generations now, and Prince Menard and I are of an age. [Ilphere] (SM) [Seth] I confess that I have spoken to the Prince-Imperial about you, Mlle de Quessenet, a short while ago. [Ilphere] Oh, truly? [Seth] (hey, I don't have anything to hide ... yet) [Seth] Yes ... Perhaps we should find a private corner to speak? [Ilphere] If you like...!

  • Ilphere nods agreeably.

  • Seth will lead Ilphere off to some unoccupied side chamber.
  • Ilphere goes along, trying to seem nonchalant. :)
  • Seth pulls out a book of architectural history from a nearby shelf, places it on the table, and opens it to a page on temple construction.

[Seth] Menard and I have been the closest of friends for some years. And despite his recent elevation in status, we remain very close. [Seth] He came to me a few weeks ago, asking for my aid. [Ilphere] So, you are aware of our... difficulty...? [Seth] I understand that a marriage has been contracted between you and a Spokesman who is not amenable to you ... is that correct? [Seth] I don't know any more details than that. [Ilphere] It is not so simple as that, but basically, yes... [Seth] Have you spoken to the Prince-Imperial over the past few weeks? [Ilphere] (If it's only been like a week since the last session...) [Ilphere] Yes... I spoke to him shortly after the ball. [Seth] Hmm ... well, I presume then, that you are aware that Menard is as unhappy with this situation as you are. [Seth] He asked me ... well, he asked me a number of favours. [Ilphere] He said that he might ask you for... assistance... [Seth] Yes ... well, he asked whether I could help set up meetings between the two of you. [Seth] It was unspoken, but there seemed to be some intimation that perhaps ... perhaps my home would provide the needed privacy for your meetings. [Seth] I'm afraid I was somewhat uncomfortable at that prospect. [Ilphere] Oh, I see...

  • Ilphere attempts to hide her disappointment.
  • Ilphere smoothes out her jacket.

[Seth] If it be the Emperor's will that this marriage proceed, I am somewhat concerned that my interference would not be well-regarded. [Ilphere] Well, I can understand your position in that regard, sir. [Seth] Our emperor is not the kindly gentleman that he is sometimes perceived to be. [Ilphere] Surely you jest. [Seth] And we Argos, although Kizer men, have also been ... *disposable* ... in the past. [Ilphere] . o O ( We have that in common, then. ) [Seth] But Menard is my friend, and I am sympathetic to his ... to your situation.

  • Ilphere listens...

[Seth] I agreed that, since it is both of our custom to attend Society meetings regularly, that it would not be untoward should I pass messages surreptitiously between the two of you. [Ilphere] That is most kind, sir. [Seth] It is nothing. [Ilphere] I don't suppose that... he might have sent anything with you this evening...? [Seth] It has been some time since I have seen Menard take a strong interest in ... well, in anything but the most casual of relationships. [Seth] So of course I am gladdened, and would wish to help him to the extent that it is safe for me to do so. [Ilphere] I very much appreciate it... ! [Ilphere] If I am able to find the time this evening to write something, could I give you a small message for him? [Seth] Of course, my lady. [Ilphere] Wonderful...! [Ilphere] I really did enjoy your paper, by the way...! [Ilphere] I will speak to you later this evening, then...! [Seth] Oh, thank you. And if you did have any small comments on my work, I expect it to appear shortly in print, complete with a woodcut depicting the temple frieze. [Ilphere] Oh yes, of course...!

  • Seth will put the book back on the shelf and then wander out to his small but devoted band of fans ...
  • Ilphere will sit down to write something quickly to Menard...

  • Guillame goes to talk to Fern
  • Fern smiles to see Guillame.

[Guillame] Hello Fern! [Fern] Good to see you, Guillame :) [Fern] How are you? [Guillame] I'm good, actually. Yourself? [Fern] Well, thank you. [Fern] I heard from Aure that you paid him a visit. How did that go? [Guillame] I found it fascinating, very much so. [Fern] I'm glad to hear it. [Fern] He's truly a wonder, being one of the few remaining priests who practice the old faith. [Guillame] He seemed a bitter fellow, but if he's right about what happened to him... us... I don't blame him much. I need to talk to more people, really - and follow up on what he, uh, told me.

  • Fern nods.

[Fern] It seems as though there was a considerable rift between the priesthood and the royal family in the decades before the exodus. [Guillame] He mentioned that, yes. [Fern] It's perhaps not surprising that he still harbours that old grudge, although I admit I don't fully understand its origins. [Guillame] He went into a little detail - I could write a report, if you like, but I'd not like to take everything he said as read without hearing from any other sources. [Fern] No, of course. [Fern] In any case, I hope you'll visit him again, and perhaps some other elders as well. I can put you in touch with some who might be agreeable to talking with you. [Guillame] I'll certainly do so, and I'd be most pleased if you would!

  • Fern nods.

[Fern] There are so few left, it's good that you're doing this now. [Guillame] It would be a shame for their stories to go unrecorded, certainly. [Fern] Indeed.

  • Fern will provide you with some other names and addresses you can try. (which I will come up with at some point ;)

[Guillame] I was wondering about Mr. Argo's research... if the giants *were* 6 for 6 houses... what of the seventh house? Indeed - at what point in history did our house disappear? [Guillame] (me will take notes, thanks!) [Fern] I don't know the answer to that, other than that it must have been very early in the Empire's history. Perhaps two thousand years ago or more. [Fern] Certainly by the time we have many records - the fourth and fifth centuries - there is nothing about House Rat that I have ever discovered in my research. [Guillame] It's a marvel that nobody was aware of us for that entire time... and us unaware of anyone above us. [Fern] I don't think our people were ever entirely unaware - just isolationist. And it seems certain that there must have been some occasional contact between our peoples. [Guillame] That would make more sense to me... [Fern] There are a few odd records that I'm aware of - ones that imply more than they actually reveal. Explanations, if provided, are usually along the lines of 'feral children escaped into the sewers'.

  • Guillame nods

[Guillame] Rationalisations...

  • Fern nods.

[Fern] But I also presume that considerable magics must have been employed to keep our city hidden. [Guillame] I'm sure that Aure would say it was to good reason

  • Guillame half-grins

[Fern] No doubt! [Fern] I do remember as a child being forbidden to go beyond certain points in the tunnels, I imagine for fear of being seen by someone. [Guillame] In many ways it sounds a duller, more frightened life. But Aure made it sound safe and homely... [Fern] It was both, I suspect. [Fern] It's difficult for me to reconstruct how I felt then, but certainly I don't remember feeling in constant danger. \ [Fern] Perhaps the adults were more aware of the dangers, though. [Guillame] Well, I should let you free so other people can talk to you... I'll come and see you this week? [Fern] Wonderful, I'll look forward to it.

  • Guillame bows and goes to rejoin the crowd at the buffet.
  • Fern bids you good evening.

  • Guillame returns to the buffet
  • Ysabeau finally frees herself from idle chitchat when Seth has a spare moment.
  • Ysabeau actually feels a little shy about approaching him because his level of scholarship is so much higher than hers.

[Ysabeau] M. Argo? Do you have a moment? [Seth] Oh, good evening, Mlle. Chanuier. Yes, of course. [Ysabeau] First of all, that was such an extraordinary paper you presented this evening. I kind of want to go poke around in this temple now and see if I can spot more diorite body parts. So thanks for a very informative and interesting talk. [Seth] Thank you. My investigations into the public areas of the temple show no other obvious parts of Schesutte, but there are many areas that are not publicly accessible.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Hopefully you'll be able to get permission to access them to further your research, then. :) [Seth] It is to be hoped. [Ysabeau] I haven't read Eiresti's treatise on constructs so I am curious about the use of copper for the moving parts - I assume it would have to be enchanted in order not to be crushed by the weight of the stone? [Ysabeau] Copper is such a soft metal, like gold and silver. [Seth] Ah, yes, well, I would have liked to go into much greater detail in my presentation

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Perhaps it would be better for me to look up Eiresti's works than to pester you with questions. [Seth] Each of the Six Azure Giants was, of course, highly magical. But even so, there is only so much that magic would do to strengthen the metal. [Seth] The simplest answer to your fascinating question is that copper and silver were used primarily for some of the smaller and finer work: gears, for instance.

  • Ysabeau nods. She does seem interested. She is a very curious person by nature. :)

[Seth] Eiresti's treatises are, indeed, absolutely fascinating reading, and I would urge you to give them careful attention. [Ysabeau] I'll look them up before leaving - assuming we have a copy or two here at the RAS? [Seth] One, yes, definitely.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] I'll do that, then. However, there was one other thing I wanted to mention to you. [Ysabeau] M. Renaud had suggested that you were interested to find out what I'd been able to learn about the quantity and type of information available on the necklace and the stone. [Ysabeau] I'm afraid that after much searching, I haven't gotten much farther ahead than where we were. [Seth] Ah, how regrettable. [Ysabeau] There is quite a bit of information available about the Stone, so anyone who can read could know of its properties. Doesn't narrow the suspects down very much. [Seth] Yes, I am still interested, but I agree that it would be very challenging for any individual to do much on his or her own to discern the perpetrator. [Seth] My understanding is that the Emperor has his best people working on the question, however. [Ysabeau] And regarding the necklace, very little is known - basically, no mention of it is made other than what we as members of the Society know. So it is hard to say who might have had that information - any of us Society members, Mlle. de Quercy and her grandmother, and anyone we might have spoken to about the necklace... [Seth] Yes, quite so, quite so. [Ysabeau] So that leads us back to the divinations Vianca had revealed, which are enigmatic to say the least. [Seth] Indeed, as such divinations frequently are. [Ysabeau] It was a bit disheartening not to find myself any farther ahead than I was when I began. But I suppose in another light I at least can confirm what I suspected to begin with.

  • Ysabeau shrugs.

[Ysabeau] I'm sorry that I can shed no greater light on the matter.

  • Ysabeau looks a bit disheartened.

[Seth] Not at all. We would also be very wise to be extremely cautious. Great power is obviously at work here, and even if the immediate threat of the so-called dragon is gone, any unwelcome investigation might be treated ... harshly.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] That reminds me - You mentioned a Dragonfire War in 567? [Seth] Yes, that's correct. [Ysabeau] It's probably nothing, just a coincidence that we have a dragon now and there was a war named after them centuries ago. [Ysabeau] But I couldn't help but notice it. [Ysabeau] I'm afraid that I am grasping at straws.

  • Ysabeau smiles apologetically.

[Seth] Yes ... well, obviously there is an element of coincidence, in that my presentation was unrelated to dragons. But I think your query is on point. [Seth] I'm afraid I'm no expert on that period of history.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I wonder if anyone is, in the Society? [Seth] I'm an architectural historian, and most of the city's architecture is less than 1700 years old. [Seth] It is said that in that time, the Empire did control dragons. [Seth] And that the Dragonfire of the War was indeed real, not metaphorical. [Ysabeau] Really? How fascinating. [Ysabeau] I'm afraid that I'm revealing the depth of my ignorance to you, though. I haven't enjoyed the benefits of a proper education since I was 9 years old. I have a lot to catch up on.

  • Ysabeau blushes a little.

[Ysabeau] Well, I have probably taken up quite enough of your time, M. Argo. [Ysabeau] Thank you very much. [Seth] Not at all, Mlle. Chanuier. Thank you for your insight.

  • Ysabeau curtseys.

[Ysabeau] Have a good evening, M. Argo.

  • Ysabeau smiles up at you.

  • Alma will walk over to speak with Seth once it appears he's free.

[Alma] Good evening M. Argo :) [Seth] Ah, good evening. :) [Alma] I enjoyed your lecture. I admit I knew next to nothing about the great constructs before. [Seth] They are a fascinating aspect of our city's proud history, often ignored, I think, because they integrate technological and magical elements. [Seth] Or perhaps, one might speculate, because some do not desire that much should be known about them. [Alma] No one's sole domain, so they get left by the side, you think? [Alma] Oh... [Seth] Well, it is hard to say with any certainty. [Alma] You'd think if the knowledge fell into the wrong hands, having them bankrupt themselves might not be so bad? :)

  • Seth laughs.

[Seth] Well, no one has asked me to cease my inquiries. [Alma] I wanted to talk to you about that, actually... [Alma] Brother Sarigan mentioned the Society to me shortly after I came to the city, and I thought it would be an interesting place to examine antiquities, and learn about them. [Seth] Indeed. [Alma] I realise that for a scholar, my impressions about things aren't something you can rely on, but I wondered if you would be interested in having me examine the arms in the Greysmoke Temple. [Seth] Ahh ... well, of course, I am flattered that you would make this offer. [Seth] At the very least it might provide some additional information about the circumstances that led to their presence in the Temple. [Seth] Of course, any information would have to be confirmable independently by some other means.

  • Alma nods.

[Seth] What sorts of information might potentially be discernable from your unique technique? [Alma] I can learn information about the owner of any particular item... age, race, gender, their house and moral standing, as well as how the item came into their possession and left it. [Alma] I am actually curious myself because of their unique situation. If they *are* from the construct... Sch... Schesutte? Then who would be the owner? [Alma] The Matriarchs and Patriarchs? [Seth] Yes ... a fascinating question. [Seth] Here's a question for you: [Alma] Would the ownership of the construct as a whole be passed worldlessly from Matriarch to Patriarch along with the title? [Seth] What would happen if you were to use your power on a formerly living being? A deceased pet, for instance? [Alma] Like the body of a cat? :o [Seth] Well, yes, I suppose so. [Alma] I can only guess... [Alma] I haven't done much to examine living thingsthemselves. [Seth] The question bears directly on two issues, as I see it. Firstly whether it is possible to own a living thing, to be its owner. And secondly, whether these constructs count as living or non-living entities. [Alma] I believe the former question... for my insight, at least... would be best answered with a living creature. The second would be more complicated, as once the creature is no longer living, it becomes a... well material, in a sense. A taxidermied animal may no longer be "a dead animal" but instead becomes inherently "a taxidermied animal" [Alma] If the constructs were a form of life, but were not considered "owned" the arms, once worked into the frieze, could still be considered ownable?

  • Alma looks daunted.

[Seth] Fascinating. [Alma] I'm not sure this would do anything but open twice as many questions up... [Seth] Have you ever attempted to use your special gift on a building? [Seth] That is, rather than on a portable artefact? [Alma] A whole building? ... no, rather I'm also able to receive impressions of rooms... but that's different. [Seth] I wonder what you might learn. A building, however complex, must in some sense be an object. [Alma] ... [Alma] Well I suppose I could try right now? [Seth] I suppose so, yes. [Alma] Is there... a particular part of this building that would be more... unquestionably part of it? Rather than, say, a door might be simply a door within a building? [Seth] I wouldn't be able to say.

  • Alma begins to look about the room.

[Alma] I'm going to step outside for a moment...

  • Alma heads towards the exit...
  • Alma stops... then turns back and heads towards a wall nearer to the middle of the building...
  • Alma casts Guidance, and begins to concentrate on the building as a whole, unique unit.
  • Alma 's eyes open in surprise :o. It worked!

[Alma] to be continued!

  • Nycaise wanders into the library where Ilphere is working on her note.
  • Ilphere looks up, then folds and tucks away the paper, trying not to seem too hurried about it.

[Ilphere] Oh, good evening...!

  • Nycaise doesn't interrupt your work, but peruses the shelves.

[Nycaise] Good evening, Mlle. deQuessenet. [Nycaise] I hope I didn't interrupt you. [Ilphere] Oh no, I was just jotting down some thoughts on Mr. Argo's presentation for myself, so that I don't forget them...!

  • Nycaise nods.

[Ilphere] I was actually hoping to speak to you at some point this evening...

  • Nycaise had been going to turn back to the shelf, but arrests her movement to speak with you further.

[Nycaise] Oh? [Ilphere] As you might know, M. Orecalo are collaborating on a paper... Anyhow he mentioned that you were doing some research quite related to my own area of interest... [Nycaise] Oh, did he? [Nycaise] He stumbled into some of my research the other day, quite literally. [Ilphere] Yes... well, that was what he told me...

  • Nycaise nods.

[Ilphere] I'm sure it wasn't intentional..! He hasn't been very well lately. [Nycaise] He looked quite ill, yes. I was rather concerned for him. [Nycaise] He's not here this evening, I hope he's not worse. [Ilphere] So I was wondering... without wanting you to share all your secrets of course! If we could talk about your project sometime...? It sounds terribly interesting. [Ilphere] Oh, me too... [Ilphere] :/ [Nycaise] Yes, I'd be willing to talk about it with you. [Ilphere] Oh wonderful...! [Ilphere] When might be a convenient time?

  • Nycaise considers.

[Nycaise] I'm something of a night owl, but I realize that may not be most convenient for you. [Ilphere] No, I don't mind...! [Ilphere] I would probably have to bring along my chaperone, though...! My parents are a bit overprotective, it's rather silly...! [Nycaise] Well, perhaps some evening, then, if you're able to stop by here, we could converse. M. Orecalo, if he's feeling better, would of course also be welcome. [Ilphere] I shall ask him...! [Ilphere] I ought to check on him anyway.

  • Nycaise nods.

[Nycaise] Very well. [Ilphere] Thank you very much; I'll be looking forward to it..!

  • Nycaise nods and goes back to perusing the shelves, then.
  • Ilphere will get up and go back out into the main room.

[Narrator] Alma, following the strange request made of you by Lord Grey at the ball, you have been considering what action to take, if any, concerning the matter of Brother Phineas. [Narrator] Though he is not an especially warm and friendly man, still he never struck you as a shady or suspicious character, and you are understandably reluctant to betray his trust in any way. [Narrator] So, what do you intend to do?

  • Alma wonders at herself for even considering that he could have had a role in releasing such an evil in the world... but Lord Grey had seemed so sincere... he must believe it... of course he could be mad...
  • Alma will, in the absence of other guidance, try to gain insight into Brother Phineas' heart, by meditating on something of his... :|

[Narrator] All right - you can probably most easily secure access to, say, one of his robes or something of that sort, something that he would store at the temple. [Alma] (Well, I'm going to roll Divine Insight first...) [Narrator] Okay. [Alma] (Essentially wondering if there's a less invasive way... not that I see one.) [Alma] (30) [Narrator] (so you want to know how you can learn more about Br. Phineas's possible dark secrets, basically?) [Alma] (Yeah...) [Narrator] You believe that touching one of his items could be a good first step, but likely won't tell you whether he was truly involved with this matter. For that, you'd likely need to actually talk to... well, him, or someone close to him. Or follow him and be sneaky.

  • Alma will then try to not sneak about while she tries to find something of Strauch's

[Narrator] Well, like I said, a robe or other piece of clothing would probably be most easily accessible, as he stores his vestments at the temple.

  • Alma will cast Guidance first, and then get her impression of his vestments... all the while a rather guilty look on her face.

[Narrator] (okay - what are you trying to learn, so we can work out your DC?)

  • Alma checks for his Alignment, as well as his race and house.

[Alma] (DC 16) [Narrator] (so, DC 16) [Alma] (My spot is 11+1) [Alma] (32) [Narrator] (woo) [Alma] (All those wasted points!) [Narrator] The owner of the item is human, House Wolf, and LN.

  • Alma sighs in relief.
  • Alma lets go of the robe and proceeds about her business...
  • Brother_Obern enters the vestry just as you are putting the robe back in place.

[Brother_Obern] Good morning, Sister. [Alma] Good morning, Brother :) [Alma] How have you been? [Brother_Obern] Oh, I can't complain. How about you? [Alma] I'm quite well, thank you.

  • Brother_Obern has a little step stool to help him reach his robes and so forth, which he fetches.
  • Alma presumes he prefers not to be assisted?

[Brother_Obern] (yes, generally - he will ask if he needs something) [Alma] You'll be giving first service today? [Brother_Obern] Yes, that's right. And Brother Phineas is taking the evening service. [Brother_Obern] Are you assisting me this morning, then? :) [Alma] That's what I thought... I was thinking of attending his service this evening. [Brother_Obern] Oh? [Alma] It's been a while since I have, with my obligations elsewhere, so I thought I'd come this evening.

  • Brother_Obern nods.

[Brother_Obern] Sometimes it's a nice change to be in the congregation instead. [Alma] You can appreciate the message instead of worrying if your own is heard properly :) [Brother_Obern] Precisely! [Alma] My day is surprisingly free, though, so I'd be delighted to assist you this morning :) [Brother_Obern] Much appreciated. The crowd will probably be small in any case. [Alma] How long have you been here at the Nine Elms? [Narrator] (uh, sec, checking :) [Narrator] Oh... twelve years now, or nearly so. [Narrator] (ww) [Brother_Obern] Oh... twelve years now, or nearly so. [Alma] Brother Phineas has been here that whole time as well? [Brother_Obern] Longer than I have, yes. [Alma] Has he always been so... reserved?

  • Brother_Obern considers.

[Brother_Obern] He's never been a very... warm, outgoing man, if that's what you mean. [Brother_Obern] He has always been very traditional and I admit that when I started here, I was quite intimidated by him. [Alma] I can understand that... I expect that if I was here all the time it might be similar for me. [Brother_Obern] Have you been having any problems with him? [Alma] No, of course not. [Brother_Obern] Oh, good. [Alma] I'm just wondering... it's harder to read people who are less outgoing.

  • Brother_Obern nods.

[Alma] (I forget, does he have family?) [Narrator] He is married and has some grown children - maybe 3-4. [Brother_Obern] Worried whether he thinks you're doing a good job or not? :) [Alma] I don't know... has he said anything? :o [Brother_Obern] No, nothing much. If he was displeased with you, you'd know it, though.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] Maybe we should try to get everyone together for dinner sometime... [Brother_Obern] That sounds like a lovely idea.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] I'll think about when and where :) [Brother_Obern] All right, I'll look forward to it.

  • Alma will proceed to get ready to help Brother Obern with his service.

[Brother_Obern] Well, it's about time to start... Ready? :)

[Narrator] Ysabeau, in the weeks since the Imperial ball, your consort has received several requests to perform, mainly as background music at dinner parties and the like. [Narrator] At present, at least, it's enough to keep the four of you busy one or two nights a week for the next month or so. Few can pay you as much as the palace did, but you can expect to make perhaps 25 Imperials apiece for each performance.

  • Ysabeau is thrilled!
  • Ysabeau is happy for any sort of independent income. And if they play well they may drum up more gigs.

[Narrator] You have been wanting to talk to Verity about several matters, and you will have your opportunity this evening, as she has let you know she will be arriving at your home after sunset tonight.

  • Ysabeau always keeps the house presentable for if/when she decides to visit. :)
  • Verity arrives at the appointed time. She seems somewhat tired, but glad to see you.

[Verity] Hello, sweetheart.

  • Verity gives you a kiss as a greeting.
  • Ysabeau welcomes her in, giving her a hug and a kiss once she's inside

[Ysabeau] (gmta) [Ysabeau] Hello, my love. [Ysabeau] You look a bit tired... [Verity] Oh, it's just been a long day.

  • Ysabeau says with concern, brushing back some hair from Verity's face.

[Verity] I'm glad to be here, though. [Ysabeau] I'm glad you're here, too. I'd rather you be here than anywhere else in the world! ;)

  • Verity smiles at that.

[Ysabeau] Would you like some wine or anything? [Verity] That would be perfect, thank you.

  • Ysabeau will bring some nice red wine for each of us, then.
  • Verity accepts it gratefully as she sinks into a chair.
  • Ysabeau takes a sip before setting her wine on a side table and moving behind Verity to give her shoulders a good, skilled rub.

[Ysabeau] So, what made the day so long?

  • Verity begins to relax beneath your hands.

[Verity] Oh, nothing I feel like talking about.

  • Verity says vaguely.

[Ysabeau] (SM Does she really not want to talk about it or is that a cue to push her about it?) [Narrator] (you can roll) [Ysabeau] (A smooth 24) [Narrator] (you think she really doesn't want to talk about it.) [Ysabeau] Okay, sweetling.

  • Ysabeau brushes some of Verity's hair aside and kisses her neck.
  • Verity smiles at that.
  • Ysabeau keeps on with the back rub.

[Verity] You know how to take all my worries away.

  • Ysabeau smiles and laughs.

[Ysabeau] I hope so. [Ysabeau] I do have something to run by you, though. [Verity] oh? [Ysabeau] Mmm - Altheo's got some noble girls who need rescuing. He was hoping they could hole up here for a while... His place wouldn't exactly be the right sort of environment for them.

  • Verity frowns slightly.

[Verity] Noble girls? [Verity] What do they need rescuing from?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Their mother. [Ysabeau] And their stepfather. [Verity] Who are they? [Ysabeau] (sec, can't remember if Altheo actually told me their names) [Ysabeau] (he didn't) [Ysabeau] I don't know their names; he doesn't want to share that info unless I agree, probably. But their parents are associated with that cult on the Downs, and Altheo worries that the girls may be being victimized... [Verity] If M. Renaud wants to put himself in danger over this situation, he's welcome to do so. But I don't like him putting you in danger as well, for people you don't even know. [Ysabeau] Yes... I thought you might feel that way. That's why I suggested it might be okay for the extremely short term, and I could keep my ears open for some other place coming up for rent if he wanted to place them somewhere long term. [Ysabeau] But this is your house, so of course you have the final say.

  • Verity sighs as she considers the problem.
  • Ysabeau comes around and sits on the arm of the chair, looking winsomely at Verity as Verity considers.

[Verity] I would very much want to know more about this situation before we get involved in it. I prefer to know who I'm offending.

  • Ysabeau slips her arm around Verity's shoulders.

[Ysabeau] That makes sense. Should I arrange a meeting between us and Altheo? [Verity] If M. Renaud can provide you with that information, and assures us that it would only be for a day or two, then... I suppose, I could agree.

  • Ysabeau smiles and brushes some more hair out of Verity's face.

[Ysabeau] All right, I'll let him know.

  • Verity nods.
  • Ysabeau looks happy.
  • Verity looks as if she'd like to put the subject behind her.
  • Verity pulls you down onto her lap from the chair's arm and embraces you.
  • Ysabeau leans in to kiss her. She guesses the question of Dessa will have to wait... or she'll allow it if needed and not let Verity know.

[Ysabeau] Thank you. [Verity] I can't say no to you. It's probably a weakness ;) [Ysabeau] A weakness of the very best sort.

  • Verity kisses you passionately.
  • Ysabeau agrees, teasingly.

[Narrator] Guillame, you are reading quietly in your family's library late one afternoon when your sister Silvia enters the room.

  • Guillame continues to read, oblivious
  • Silvia_ is dressed in the white robes she wears as an acolyte of the church, suggesting she has just returned from classes. As always, her tinted glasses are in place.
  • Silvia_ sighs loudly as she sinks into one of the armchairs.

[Guillame] Hm?

  • Guillame looks up.

[Guillame] Oh, hello Silvia [Silvia_] Sorry. Am I bothering you?

  • Guillame smiles

[Guillame] Not at all

  • Guillame marks and closes the book

[Silvia_] Oh, good.

  • Silvia_ fiddles with the cord that belts her robes.

[Silvia_] I don't know if I'm cut out for this, Guillame. [Guillame] For the Church?

  • Silvia_ nods.

[Silvia_] I know it's important to Mother, but...

  • Silvia_ shrugs.

[Silvia_] Sister Margaret was saying today that even if we can't draw power yet, we should still feel the presence of the gods when we pray. [Silvia_] And all the other students were saying that they do. But I don't. I don't feel anything different when I pray at all. [Silvia_] Shouldn't I, if I'm going to be a priestess? [Guillame] Well, I don't know, myself. I guess maybe you should - but maybe it will come with time.

  • Silvia_ nods, but seems uncertain.

[Guillame] Are you sure the other students aren't just saying it to please the Sister? What did you tell her? [Silvia_] I just kept quiet. She doesn't really notice me much if I don't speak up. [Silvia_] Could you draw the curtains, please? [Silvia_] The sun's starting to bother my eyes.

  • Guillame nods, and draws the curtains, but looks at his sister's face first to see if she's healthy
  • Silvia_ removes her glasses and rubs her eyes once the light is less bright.
  • Silvia_ seems as well as usual.
  • Silvia_ glances over at you and her brow furrows.

[Silvia_] Who's Aden? [Guillame] He's a friend, and a politician of sorts... [Guillame] Why do you ask? [Silvia_] I don't know. [Silvia_] I must have heard the name somewhere...

  • Silvia_ looks a bit puzzled.

[Guillame] When do you think you heard it...? [Silvia_] Just now. When I looked over at you. [Guillame] Well now, that's interesting... [Guillame] Do you like studying at the church, Silvia? [Silvia_] I don't know. [Silvia_] I don't know what else I would do, anyway. [Silvia_] It's not like anyone would want to marry me.

  • Silvia_ makes a face at that - she is only barely out of the 'boys are gross' stage anyway.

[Guillame] I'd be careful thinking like that - someone might and then you could get carried away and married before you thought about it!

  • Guillame winks
  • Silvia_ chuckles.

[Silvia_] I doubt it. [Silvia_] Do you think I should talk to Mother about it? [Silvia_] The priesthood, I mean. [Guillame] What do you like to do nowadays, anyway? I don't see you playing with Trixie like you used to - but I'm always at the society, and you're always at school. [Silvia_] I like to go out in the gardens, I suppose, when I'm not studying. [Silvia_] Mostly I like the quiet. [Guillame] I'll tell you what - I'll find out from Mother what she thinks about you and the church, and then if you want to talk to her you'll know what to expect. Does that sound good?

  • Silvia_ nods.

[Silvia_] Thank you. [Silvia_] I don't want to get into a fight with her about it. [Guillame] Well, of course not! That's no fun. [Silvia_] I appreciate it.

  • Silvia_ comes over and gives you a quick hug.

[Guillame] There's got to be something big brothers are good for :)

  • Guillame hugs her back

[Silvia_] You should tell him 'yes', when he asks.

  • Silvia_ slips her glasses back on.
  • Guillame looks at her again

[Guillame] Yes... thanks.

  • Silvia_ smiles and departs.
  • Guillame smiles cautiously and tries to think about dinner

[Narrator] You can't help but remember Aure's description of Iana's "seeing eye, all clouded and white," and wonder... [Guillame] (But not until Silvia's gone down the hall a way!) [Narrator] (hee)

[Narrator] Ilphère, you have not been sleeping well the past few days, perhaps due to the various stresses in your life at the moment. [Narrator] Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that your strange dreams have also been recurring. Each night your sleep is broken several times as you wake, breathless and soaked with sweat, and have to try to settle yourself again. [Narrator] Alongside the strange landscapes and ruined cities you can recall from your nighttime travels as far back as childhood, however, some of your dreams have taken on a more... immediate resonance. [Narrator] Familiar figures from your waking life appear, exaggerated and distorted by your sleeping mind. You blush to recall some of the dreams featuring Earric, but at least they are in some ways preferable to those involving the Emperor... [Ilphere] D: [Narrator] This evening you curl up in your bed with a book and a soothing cup of tea, hoping that tonight, at least, you might sleep soundly. [Narrator] Alas, it is not to be the case... [Narrator] You find yourself walking down a long staircase that twists and curves in ways a staircase should not. [Narrator] After what seems an eternity, you finally reach the bottom, and find yourself in an icy wasteland. It is bone-chillingly cold, with light snow blowing in the air. [Ilphere] (is Hali there?) [Narrator] (not that you can see)

  • Ilphere shivers...

[Narrator] There is but one tree that you can see, a twisted, stunted thing atop a hill.

  • Ilphere heads for that, since it is the only thing that might offer shelter...

[Narrator] The slope is steeper than it looked, thick with ice and slippery to climb, but you manage to struggle up it.

  • Ilphere looks up at the sky... are there any stars?

[Narrator] The sky is grey and cloud-covered. [Narrator] As you approach, you can see that the tree bears long thorns and oozing black berries, but no leaves. [Narrator] A young man sits beneath the tree. Though he is clad only in a thin robe, he doesn't seem cold. [Narrator] Between his feet is a pitcher from which, incredibly, water flows. It spills down the hillside, which perhaps explains the ice you just struggled over.

  • Young_man has long black hair and a beard. His eyes are closed, as though he is in deep, but peaceful, concentration.
  • Young_man has a silver ring on his right hand. Looking more closely, you see that his hands are shackled together, though not bound *to* anything except each other.

[Narrator] You realize suddenly that Hali is perched on a branch of the twisted tree. [Hali] The sovereign sleeps.

  • Hali says aloud, in a raspy but quite comprehensible voice.

[Ilphere] Hello...? [Ilphere] (what does he look like?)

  • Ilphere tries in Common first, then will attempt the several other languages she knows if he doesn't respond...

[Ilphere] Hali...? [Ilphere] who is the Sovereign? Where are we? [Hali] *caw*

  • Young_man makes no response to your words.

[Narrator] (okay, as you consider that, I'm just going to Dom for a few minutes - then back to Ilphere) [Narrator] Dominik, you are awakened from your slumber by a strange noise, as if someone is moving about in the house.

  • Dominik will roll quickly out of his bed, pick up his rapier and pad into the hallway, searching for the source.

[Narrator] You emerge just in time to see Ilphère walking down the stairs in her nightgown. She has just about reached the foot of the stairs. [Dominik] Ilphere? [Narrator] She doesn't respond. She seems to be sleepwalking.

  • Dominik calls in one of those night whisper yells.
  • Dominik will hurry down the stairs to catch up with her.

[Narrator] You follow her as she walks out through the doors into her family's garden, which is always an overgrown nightmare as they can't afford to pay a gardener any longer. [Narrator] She walks down the narrow path until she reaches an old stone fountain, its water long since declined to a tiny trickle and much of its surface, including a sculpture at the top, covered with overgrown vines. She stops to stand before it.

  • Dominik will put a hand on her shoulder to see if he can rouse her.

[Dominik] Ilphere

  • Ilphere bends over to get a look at his ring, lifting her hand up to where her goggles usually sit. (If I have them here I'll use them)

[Narrator] (okay, back to I for a sec) [Narrator] You can use your goggles, yes. [Ilphere] (Coo')

  • Ilphere examines the ring...

[Narrator] It is a heavy silver band, lightly engraved with fine lines. [Ilphere] (lines of writing? or just designs?) [Narrator] (just designs) [Ilphere] (do they mean anything to me at all?) [Narrator] (you can roll K:arcane, I guess) [Ilphere] (23) [Narrator] (you believe the symbols might be protective in nature, but you don't know more than that)

  • Ilphere looks at the young man's face, into his eyes.
  • Young_man 's eyes are closed.

[Ilphere] (right, durrh)

  • Ilphere reaches out to gently touch his cheek.
  • Young_man 's face is handsome, though somewhat unkempt.
  • Young_man does not stir when you touch him.

[Ilphere] Can you hear me at all? [Ilphere] (I take it he does not look familiar) [Narrator] Dom, Ilphere is standing in the fountain now, and pulling leaves aside. [Narrator] Not particularly... perhaps there is something, but... no, you don't think so. [Dominik] Ilphere!

  • Dominik will try to shake her awake
  • Ilphere picks one o the berries, to examine it with her spectacles.

[Narrator] When you shake her, she seems to come out of her trance. (I, you're suddenly jolted awake.) [Ilphere] Wh...eh?

  • Ilphere is very disoriented.

[Ilphere] Where did... you come from...? How did you get in here...?! [Ilphere] Where's my berry...?! [Narrator] Ilphere, your fingers are stained dark from something... a berry?

  • Ilphere sniffs her fingers...

[Dominik] I don't know what you're talking about but its the middle of the night and your standing in the middle of the garden.

  • Ilphere looks around to try and get her bearings...

[Dominik] You sleepwalked out here from your room. [Ilphere] WHat? The garden... [Ilphere] Oh. [Narrator] A somewhat sour, acidic smell remains on your fingers. You also seem to have some leaves on you. [Ilphere] Hmmm.

  • Ilphere looks thoughtful.
  • Ilphere tastes it with just the tip of her tongue.

[Dominik] Don't be too surprised [Narrator] Sour.

  • Ilphere makes a sour face.

[Dominik] what did you think you were doing? Pruning? [Ilphere] (are there any berries or what have you around here that this could have come from?) [Ilphere] I was... in a frozen land. There was a young man sitting under a tree and it had these... berries... [Narrator] The vines that are covering the fountain don't seem to have any berries, no.

  • Ilphere waves her juice-stained hand in front of you as she pulls apart vines looking for berries

[Narrator] But elsewhere in the garden, there are probably berries somewhere. [Ilphere] Hali... Hali was there...!

  • Ilphere calls to her familiar through their empathic link.
  • Hali arrives and flutters down to sit on top of the fountain.

[Dominik] its probably blood. Scratched yourself moving the vines or caught something out here. [Ilphere] It doesn't taste like blood. [Ilphere] [AA] Hali... Were you really there as well...?

  • Ilphere looks imploring at the bird, who is unlikely to answer, I know.

[Hali] *caw*

  • Ilphere sighs...

[Dominik] You should get back inside. [Ilphere] The Sovereign sleeps... [Ilphere] I... hm...

  • Ilphere rubs her eyes.

[Ilphere] I need to write this down. And speak to M. Orecalo...

  • Ilphere wanders back toward the house.
  • Dominik will take her arm and help guide her back in

[Narrator] As you are going back into the house, you encounter Justine at the top of the stairs, looking worried. [Justine] What is going on?! [Dominik] Ilphere was out getting some fresh air, I heard something moving and went out to check, nothing more.

  • Justine frowns.
  • Justine will usher Ilphere back to bed and make sure she stays there :p
  • Dominik will pick up his rapier where he left it, hoping Justine hadn't seen it.

[Narrator] Dominik, Ilphere's mother blames herself for subjecting her to too much pressure, and orders her to keep strictly to bed and not stress herself for several days. [Narrator] Consequently, you are at greater leisure than usual. [Narrator] The following day, you are taking advantage of this relative freedom and enjoying a drink or three at the Lightning and Lion, a pleasant but unpretentious tavern at the edge of the Place D'Iena. [Narrator] A young man, your age or perhaps a year or two older, approaches you. [Young_man] Excuse me, but is your name Dominik?

  • Dominik looks at the newcomer
  • Young_man is about average height, slender, with short red hair and freckles.

[Dominik] That it is, and who are you? [Young_man] Avery Veilleux. [Avery] I don't mean to intrude, but I hoped you might be able to help me. [Dominik] (do I have any idea who this person is? Have I heard the name before?) [Narrator] (no idea) [Dominik] I have no idea who you are Avery Veilleux or any idea why you think I may be able to help you. [Avery] Your brother Theron has... has wronged me, and one I loved. [Dominik] You wouldnt be the first.

  • Avery frowns at that.

[Avery] That doesn't surprise me... [Avery] He has seduced - debauched - my intended. [Avery] [w] He's brought her into this foul cult... you know what I'm speaking of?

  • Avery seems somewhat nervous, tense, looking over his shoulder occasionally.

[Dominik] I have a good clue what your talking about. I'm still not sure what you expect me to do about it. [Avery] I snuck into their meeting on the Down last month, in disguise, hoping to persuade her to leave, but she refused. I barely had a chance to get two words in edgewise, though. [Avery] I don't know if I will be able to get into any future meetings - I've heard that sometimes they meet indoors. :/ [Avery] I confess, I noticed you at the one I was able to attend, though - you, ah, weren't masked, like most of the people there.

  • Avery looks a bit embarassed at that.

[Avery] I have little hope that she'll come back to me, but I can't simply forget this evil deed. [Dominik] A momentary lapse of judgement on my part. I'm sure if you stuck around for the whole show, you found someone to replace your intended.

  • Avery looks pained.

[Avery] I slipped away.

  • Dominik shruggs

[Dominik] So your masterful plan is to find another opportunity to try and talk to her? [Dominik] Or do you have something more sinister in mind? [Avery] I want revenge.

  • Avery says plainly.

[Avery] On your brother. [Avery] I don't think she's going to come back to me, but I can at least try to make him pay for what he's done. [Dominik] And how are you going to make him pay? I'm curious to see what you've managed to come up with? [Avery] Well, that part I'm not certain of yet. I'd hoped you might be able to help. The word about town is that... forgive me, but that you hate him. [Dominik] I never realized the notoriety of our relationship had reached so far. I'm not sure if I should be flattered or just dissappointed that people care so much about it. [Avery] Some people have nothing better to do. [Dominik] Yes Avery, Theron and myself rarely see eye to eye on things. THat is true. [Dominik] But I don't know you from a whole in the wall. [Avery] Oh, no, of course, I understand. [Dominik] You come to me with a sob story looking for my help against my own brother, he is still my own brother, even if our relationship is not, what you would call close.

  • Avery nods, looking disappointed.

[Dominik] If I am even to consider doing anything to help you, I need to know who you really are and if I can trust you. [Avery] I understand. I'm willing to do whatever it takes. [Dominik] How are you going to show me that? [Avery] Um. I could buy you another beer, for starters :) [Avery] I'm happy to get to know you better, if that would help. [Dominik] That would help... and anything you know about that stupid shit my brother is tied up in would help to. [Avery] I've been looking into him... I can share what I've learned. [Dominik] good good [Narrator] (which... I will do in an email, because it's getting late :) [Dominik] (np) [Narrator] (or a solo, I suppose - whatever works for you)

[Narrator] Seth, your aunt Gwen has arranged for your meeting with The Boss - Leonien Kizer, Duke of Friaul. [Narrator] Although you've seen him from time to time, when hanging out with Menard, you haven't ever been formally introduced. [Narrator] The Kizer manor is an old but well-maintained estate in the Grand. Gwen takes you there in her carriage. [Gwen] Any questions before we get there?

  • Seth dresses up in Argo colours, because that's what would surely be expected, he reasons.

[Seth] What's he like? [Seth] Really, I mean. [Gwen] He can be pretty uptight. [Gwen] But he's smart. He's cautious, and he's generally got good judgment, [Seth] All right ... that's good.

  • Gwen nods.

[Seth] How are his relations with Lord Grey? [Gwen] ... Complex. [Gwen] Not antagonistic, though. [Seth] All right. Uh ... he knew my grandfather, right?

  • Gwen nods.

[Seth] Did he like him? [Gwen] As long as Father did as he was told, then yes. [Seth] Okay. I'm ready. [Gwen] Good.

  • Gwen escorts you up the stairs and into the mansion. The servants clearly know her well and don't interfere with your progress toward the duke's private quarters.
  • Seth tries to pretend like he belongs here.
  • Gwen gestures towards a door.

[Gwen] Go on in, he's expecting you. [Seth] Aren't you coming with me?

  • Gwen shakes her head.

[Gwen] I'll wait. [Seth] Ah crap. Okay.

  • Seth goes on in.
  • Leonien is an elderly gentleman, in his mid-seventies or so, with snow-white hair and a strong, sturdy build that suggests he knew how to wield a weapon in his youth.

[Seth] Good morning, Your Grace.

  • Leonien stands by the window, overlooking the orchard.

[Leonien] So, you're the newest Argo. [Seth] Yes, sir. My father is Kex Argo, and I am called Seth.

  • Leonien nods.

[Leonien] Gwen has told me a bit about you. She speaks favourably of you, though she says you still have much to learn. [Seth] Yes, sir, I'm sure that's true. [Leonien] I understand you're also friends with my grandson Menard. [Seth] Yes, sir. We're of a similar age, and we've known each other all our lives. [Leonien] Of course. [Leonien] And whom do you intend to serve with your talents, Seth? [Seth] I intend to serve the Kizer family, sir, if you will treat me as well as you have treated Aunt Gwen or my grandfather Oth.

  • Leonien seems satisfied with that answer.

[Leonien] I'll treat you with the respect you deserve. [Seth] Thank you, sir. [Leonien] Since my son's death, I expected that Marl would be the next Duke of Friaul. Now that he will not, it's possible that Menard - or his sister Eglantine, of course - may find himself in the role.

  • Seth nods.

[Leonien] Tell me, do you know if Menard is content with his new way of life? [Seth] I wouldn't presume to say if Prince Menard is happy with his title. I do know that he is unhappy with some of the specific consequences. [Seth] Particularly with regard to his marital prospects. [Leonien] Ah. [Leonien] The state of negotiations around his marriage are, frankly, bewildering to me. I don't suppose you have a grasp on them? [Seth] Not as such, sir. My impression is that Mlle. de Quessenet is to be married to a Spokesman of some standing ... ? That's all I know. [Leonien] The Count of Desperée, as I understand. [Leonien] He has been a widower for so long, I'm quite surprised he would feel the need to remarry now, all of a sudden. [Seth] Well, sir, I am acquainted with Mlle. de Quessenet through my affiliation with the Rhenean Antiquarian Society. [Seth] So I am, in a sense, in the middle of this situation.

  • Leonien nods.

[Leonien] How very awkward for you. [Seth] True, sir. But also, potentially, an opportunity, if one exists. [Leonien] Yes, quite. [Seth] What would you like me to do, sir? And, if I might ask, what might I expect in return? [Leonien] I mistrust my grandson the Emperor, much as it pains me to say so. [Leonien] And consequently, I approach his decisions with due caution.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] I understand. [Leonien] If he is arranging marriages for his brother and sister, there is some reason for it. Beyond simply placating important allies, I suspect. [Seth] But you do not think he is doing this at present? [Leonien] I have heard of no official betrothals, merely rumours at this stage. [Leonien] You are close to Menard, you can communicate with him, perhaps more easily than I can, about such matters. [Seth] Yes, that's true. We speak regularly on these issues. [Leonien] He wishes to marry the deQuessenet girl? [Seth] Menard is unaware of any other betrothal being arranged. [Seth] And ... yes, I believe he is very open to the possibility.

  • Leonien nods.

[Seth] She is an unusual sort ... very beautiful, though. [Leonien] The deQuessenets are a worthy family. Sadly diminished in recent years, but still, quite suitable in terms of their lineage. [Seth] When I spoke to Menard, I advised him against meeting her in secret while she was in the process of being betrothed to another. [Seth] It seemed ... imprudent. [Leonien] Yes, yes... [Seth] But I am passing notes between the two at present. [Leonien] More than anything, it is this union with Desperée that perplexes me. I find it difficult to understand why he is agreeing to the arrangement. [Leonien] If you could ascertain the reason there, we might be able to do something further. [Seth] 'He' being Desperee or the Emperor? [Leonien] Desperée. I can see why the Emperor would wish this girl safely married off.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] With respect, sir, do you have any suggestions as to how I might discern this? I have never met Desperee. [Leonien] He is a Spokesman, as you say... and he has children not so very much younger that you. Perhaps those might be starting points. But I leave that to your discretion. Perhaps your aunt can lend some advice as well.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Yes, of course. I'll think of something. Ah, that just leaves the small matter of ... well, of course, sir, I don't know how these things work, but any work I do for you will take time away from my studies, my work for Father, and other tasks ... [Leonien] You will be suitably compensated for your efforts, of course. [Seth] Ah ... good, good. I take it there is not, err, any sort of contract to be drawn up, is there? [Leonien] And if you require any funds in the course of your work, they can be provided, within reason. [Leonien] No. It is not a written agreement that we have, it is something much... older. [Seth] Very good, sir. I will see what I can learn. [Leonien] Thank you, Seth.

  • Leonien dismisses you, then.

[Seth] You're welcome, Your Grace.

  • Seth departs respectfully.
  • Gwen is waiting for you in the sitting room to take you back home.
  • Seth exhales.

[Seth] Well ... that wasn't too bad. [Gwen] Everything okay? [Gwen] Good. [Seth] Yes, I think so. [Seth] I like him.

  • Gwen nods.

[Gwen] I thought you might. He's a lot like you, in some ways. [Seth] Hmm, yeah, I guess.

  • Gwen will debrief you on the way home ;)

[Narrator] Altheo, it's been a busy evening so far at the Boar. Most of your girls are occupied with clients, either chatting over drinks or upstairs. [Narrator] Your bouncer on duty tonight is Maxime, the younger of the two men you employ in that capacity. He keeps a low profile near the front of the house, close enough to the stairs to run up if there's any commotion. [Narrator] Marissa is at the bar, keeping an eye on things as she serves drinks. [Narrator] Where are you, usually? :) [Altheo] Often behind the bar as well, but I do walk around fairly regularly, and will sometimes play cards with some patrons. [Narrator] *nods* [Narrator] A man and woman enter together, which is somewhat unusual but not completely unknown. He looks to be in his mid-forties, with slicked-down black hair, and she is perhaps around thirty, stocky, short-haired and scowling.

  • Man and his companion survey their surroundings quickly and efficiently.

[Man] Where's the owner of this place?

  • Man barks to the room at large.
  • Altheo takes note of the scowl.

[Altheo] That would be me. And who do I have the pleasure? [Man] You have a girl here name of Roene Bruyel.

  • Man says. It's not a question.
  • Altheo face will go somewhat cold.

[Altheo] Who are you? [Man] None of your business. [Altheo] Then get the hell out of my bar.

  • Altheo will sense evil.
  • Man approaches the bar. You notice that he has a terrible scar on his left hand, as though it was at some point cut almost in half and healed without the aid of magic. His right hand, however, is perfectly sound and resting on the hilt of his knife.
  • Woman stays back closer to the door, but keeping a wary eye on the scene.
  • Altheo makes eye contact with Maxime and Marissa, and his hands move clearly to his weapons.

[Narrator] You detect evil on her, not on him. [Man] She's coming with us. [Altheo] We are a friendly establishment here. Usually. You are making a mistake. [Man] Sharp-ears knows all about your little business here. He doesn't want any trouble with you, unless you insist. [Altheo] (Do I know of Sharp-ears?) [Narrator] (city lore roll) [Altheo] I have never let a girl be marched out of my place before. I doubt I'd start now. [Altheo] (13 on the roll) [Narrator] (you've never heard of anyone called Sharp-ears) [Altheo] (How many regulars are around? I'm just trying to gauge how many people here might be on my side.) [Narrator] (maybe half a dozen, down here) [Man] Suit yourself. [Altheo] I don't really see how you thought this would go down. [Narrator] (you can roll init) [Altheo] (18) [Narrator] (You, then the woman, then Marissa, then the guy, then Maxime) [Narrator] (what are you doing?)

  • Altheo will draw his rapier and a pistol, and will attempt to demoralize the man with an intimidation check.

[Altheo] Don't pull that knife or this ends poorly for you.

  • Altheo says with a dark snarl.

[Narrator] (okay - what does he roll against that?) [Altheo] (1d20+ his hit dice + his wis bonus + any modifies vs fear. If he's immune to fear it doesn't work.) [Altheo] (If he fails he is Shaken for 1 round, -2 to most rolls.) [Altheo] (but I'm hoping it stops him from drawing the dagger.)

  • Man steps back, slightly shaken by your display.

[Woman] Idiots.

  • Woman says, and casts a spell. The room is suddenly filled with a flashing explosion of lights. anyone within 120 feet can have a Will save.

[Altheo] (I'm willing to be a 12 doesn't do it.) [Altheo] (does it happen to be a fear affect?) [Narrator] nope [Altheo] (So I get a 12. ;.; ) [Narrator] You are blinded, along with... most of the other people in the room, I expect. [Altheo] (Is there anyway I can tell if the guyis also blinded?) [Narrator] (not really... you're blind ;) [Altheo] (ok) [Narrator] You can hear commotion in the room as people run about and try to get out of the line of fire.

  • Altheo knows his bar pretty well, he will try and make it to the stairs, even blind, and try and listen for the woman's voice.

[Narrator] All right, you can do so. By the time you make the stairs, you can probably see again (4 rounds). [Altheo] (Can I see the woman?) [Narrator] She has probably gone upstairs. [Narrator] You can definitely hear some commotion up there.

  • Altheo will rush up to Roene's room since he knows where it is.

[Altheo] (Also, do I see the guy with the knife?)

  • Woman is upstairs, kicking in doors and looking for (presumably) Roene.
  • Man is probably still downstairs, you think.
  • Altheo will close to melee if he can.

[Narrator] Another init roll to see who gets to act first.

  • Woman sees you coming and casts a spell at you. Will save...

[Altheo] (21 on that one.) [Narrator] (okay, that makes it)

  • Altheo closes to melee range and will stab her once just so she knows I'm serious.

[Narrator] roll to hit [Narrator] (and damage) [Altheo] (21 to hit, 6 points of damage.)

  • Woman is struck, and looks pissed off.
  • Altheo hopes Maxime can at least slow down the knife guy.
  • Woman steps back to cast again.

[Woman] (another will save) [Altheo] (23) [Narrator] (that makes it)

  • Woman looks even more pissed off.
  • Altheo is tried of this and is going to see just what she can take.

[Narrator] There is a pattern of dancing lights in the air that is hypnotizing various lower-level folks, though. [Altheo] (nod) [Altheo] (6 then 10 to hit....) [Narrator] (nope) [Altheo] Stop this, You will die. [Woman] You're the one who'll die, you bastard!

  • Woman casts again. Another Will save.

[Altheo] (Do I have my destiny roll available?) [Narrator] (um... how much Destiny do you have?) [Altheo] (I have 1. I think the last time I used it was my HP roll for level 2...but I'm not 100% sure.) [Narrator] I think that sounds right. I can't remember you using it since. [Narrator] okay, then you can use it. [Altheo] (11 then) [Narrator] alas, that still doesn't make it. [Narrator] You feel yourself falling into a deeeeep sleeeeep... [Altheo] .oO(ah, dang.) [Narrator] You wake up, probably no more than 5-10 minutes later. The place is in an uproar. [Altheo] (Who is around me?) [Narrator] Probably one of your girls - Mijanou, let's say, is slapping you around to try and wake up you. Other girls are milling around, most of the customers seem to have fled. [Altheo] What happened? [Mijanou] Are you all right? [Altheo] yes. I'm fine. [Altheo] What happened?

  • Mijanou looks relieved.

[Mijanou] They left. I don't think they found her. They seemed angry.

  • Altheo gets up.

[Altheo] Good.

  • Altheo goes to find Marisa.

[Narrator] She is downstairs in the bar, working on cleaning things up and calming people down. [Altheo] [q] Do you know if Roene is safe? [Marissa] I don't know. [Marissa] They didn't find her, but I don't know where she is. [Marissa] She was working tonight, so I'm not sure where she got to. [Altheo] Ok. Thanks. [Altheo] I'm going to try and find her.

  • Marissa nods.
  • Altheo will go and do that.

[Marissa] I'll keep cleaning up here. [Altheo] Trying to stay calm, and calming people as I go. (I give a +4 to other people against fear effects. ;)) [Narrator] Anywhere in particular you're looking? [Altheo] (I will start by asking the girls that are working the same shift if they've seen her, check her room, that sort of thing.) [Narrator] Okay. Girls say that she had a customer earlier in the evening, then was downstairs, then when everything went crazy they don't know where she went. She's not in her room or anywhere in the house that you can find her. [Narrator] It would be possible she slipped out a window or back door if she saw trouble coming. [Altheo] Is anything missing from her room? Like a coat or like she grabbed some clothes in a hurry? [Narrator] Nothing that you notice. It all looks as usual. [Altheo] (Do any of the girls know if she has some friends to go to, or customers that are particularly friendly to her?) [Narrator] She doesn't socialize much with her co-workers. Most of them hardly know her.

  • Altheo goes back to speak to Marissa then.

[Narrator] Things are a bit more calm in the bar now. Maxime has a couple of cuts, but nothing too fatal. [Altheo] [q]Well she's not in the boar. I'm hoping she slipped out, but I'm not sure where to look next. [Altheo] [q]Do you know anything about that Sharp ears thing? [Marissa] She'll either come back, or she won't. I don't know there's much we can do to find her if she doesn't want to be found. [Marissa] I've never heard of it. Some new thug in town, I guess? [Altheo] Ok, what happened to the guy with the knife? [Marissa] He seemed like an idiot. He and Maxime got into a struggle after they could see again, but mostly he just made a lot of noise and scared people off that way. [Marissa] I don't think he was the brains of the operation.

  • Marissa says dryly.

[Marissa] The woman came downstairs and he followed her when she stormed out. [Altheo] Ok, try and put the word out. I want to know who she is...and who this Sharp ears is. [Marissa] I'll see what I can do. [Altheo] Thanks. I'm going to hit a few places close by, see if they met there before coming here. [Narrator] You can do so, but you don't find any trace of either Roene or the two thugs.

  • Altheo will do that. Checking a few local bars, talking to a few shady people, maybe placing some bribes around to try and find out if anyone knows anything about "sharp ears" the woman, or has seen Roene

[Altheo] (ok.) [Narrator] If any word comes back to you about them, I'll let you know :) [Altheo] (thanks) [Narrator] np


  • Sanadhil will meet Ilphère at the society at a prearranged time

[Ilphere] Oh! I'm so glad you could come! And it is good to see you looking so much better...!

  • Sanadhil is looking better, but has taken to traveling with a cane anyway - it's fairly stylish

[Sanadhil] Thank you - I am feeling much recovered [Ilphere] I wanted to thank you for suggesting I speak to Nycaise... SHe seems quite amenable to discussing her work, so I am greatly looking forward to that...! [Ilphere] But more importantly...

  • Sanadhil is wearing more typical Averyonnais stret fashion, aslo
  • Ilphere looks around to make sure no-one is within earshot.
  • Sanadhil listens

[Ilphere] I wanted to tell you about something which may be related to our other research... [Ilphere] Have you had any... odd dreams or visions...? [Sanadhil] no, not that I recall [Ilphere] Hm... Well.. [Sanadhil] what have you seen? [Ilphere] The other night Dominik woke me up because I was standing in the fountain... [Ilphere] I had the most odd experience...! [Ilphere] I was in a frozen, snowy place, it was very cold. and in the distance I could see this dark, twisted tree on top of a hill. [Ilphere] So I went that way, and tried to climb up the hill... It was very icy but I eventually made it to the tree. [Ilphere] There was a young man sitting underneath it, with long, messy hair... He looked asleep or something, and his hands were manacled together... [Sanadhil] a human man?

  • Ilphere nods.

[Ilphere] He was sort of holding this urn or pitcher, which was pouring out a trickle of water... That was why the hill was so icy, it was freezing... [Ilphere] I tried to talk to him but he wouldn't respond... [Ilphere] And then Hali flew in and said 'the Sovereign sleeps...' [Ilphere] That's about when Dominik woke me up... [Sanadhil] that's unfortunate... [Ilphere] I'm convinced it was not just a dream... [Sanadhil] a fascinating dream - you think it is connected to your other vision? [Ilphere] I have had visions like these before, although not for a while, and not quite like this...! [Ilphere] I feel it must be... [Ilphere] Oh! [Ilphere] I forgot to say... when I woke up, there was juice from the tree's berries on my hand... [Sanadhil] hmm. [Ilphere] I'm trying to figure out who this sovereign might be. [Ilphere] There was something about him... I could not quite place it, but he seemed *almost* familiar...! [Sanadhil] perhaps you have dreamed of him before? [Ilphere] He was wearing a peculiar ring... I was able to remember the designs on it and draw them; perhaps that will be helpful...! [Ilphere] Perhaps, although I do not recall... :/

  • Ilphere takes a folded piece of paper from an inside pocket of her riding cloak and shows you.

[Sanadhil] how aware were you during the course of your dream?

  • Sanadhil looks it over and oocly makes a mental note to ask julie for a K: arcana roll when she sends the log

[Ilphere] I believe the designs are protective in nature.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ilphere] What do you mean aware...? [Ilphere] I think I was aware that I was not in this world, if that's what you mean. [Sanadhil] !roll 1d20+10

  • BalthCat rolls for Sanadhil: [ 1d20+10 ] getting [ 10 ] which, after the modifier [ 10 ] totals [ 20 ].

[Ilphere] I did not perceive the two simultaneously...! [Sanadhil] no, I meant, how in control of your actions... [Ilphere] Oh, quite.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ilphere] I wonder, if I got someone to draw a sketch from my description...

  • Ilphere muses aloud.

[Sanadhil] magical rings of protection are, I believe, fairly common, but examining the designs would be more telling of course... [Sanadhil] it may be worthwhile [Sanadhil] If you had the dream again, perhapos you could try to discern any magical auras surrounding the man, his ring, the urn... [Sanadhil] the place, for that matter

  • Ilphere nods.

[Sanadhil] when you had your...previous experience, you were yourself the center of some very powerful magic [Ilphere] I did not have much time close to him before I was awakened. [Sanadhil] perhaps you could also instruct Dominik not to waken you so soon unles it seems you are in danger? [Ilphere] Yes, I will definitely advise him to do so... [Sanadhil] shuld it happen again, in any case [Ilphere] Some of the dreams I have been experiencing have been less... intriguing, and more... disturbing... [Ilphere] :/ [Sanadhil] oh?

  • Sanadhil asks with some concern

[Ilphere] Yes well... sometimes... Well, there's Earric and... [Ilphere] I don't really wish to discuss it in detail...

  • Ilphere seems uncomfortable. :(

[Sanadhil] Ahh, of course [Sanadhil] :/ [Sanadhil] I am certain that whatever connection he formed at that initial meeting has some lingering effect, and the dreams may be related [Ilphere] I try not to think about it too much...! [Sanadhil] I don't believe there is much meaning to them beyond a troubled subconscious.

  • Sanadhil nods sympathetically

[Ilphere] I wonder if these symbols might mean something to Ysabeau. [Ilphere] She is well versed in folklore...!

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I had wanted to ask her about somthing that i stumbled across in some of my research as well... It is probably nothing, but i thought she may have come across it [Sanadhil] and if that were the case, I would hve some other avenue to pursue [Ilphere] What is it?

  • Ilphere asks curiously

[Sanadhil] Oh... nothing very much at all at the moment

  • Sanadhil says dismissively

[Ilphere] Ah.

  • Ilphere seems disappointed...

[Sanadhil] the name of some ancient lost city, I don't even know from where. [Sanadhil] I do't want to invest too much time in to it without knowing if it is meaningful. [Sanadhil] certainy not when we have other, more interesting leads!

  • Ilphere nods...
  • Sanadhil seems to be thinking

[Sanadhil] Sarakynel... [Sanadhil] I suppose it isn't anything you have come across in your research? [Ilphere] (of course I have no idea if it is or isn't... :V) [Sanadhil] (well you could always have to check your notes ;)

  • Sanadhil wonders whether he should have not said anything

[Ilphere] (well my k: planes, religion, hist. and arcana are all the same so I'll roll and ask I guess) [Sanadhil] (yarr) [Ilphere] !roll 1d20+13

  • BalthCat rolls for Ilphere: [ 1d20+13 ] getting [ 14 ] which, after the modifier [ 13 ] totals [ 27 ].

[Ilphere] I shall check my notes when I get to the Castalia later...! [Sanadhil] thank you [Ilphere] Should we try to catch Ysa sometime this week then? [Sanadhil] Yes, I am scheduled to have a session with her on ---day... perhaps you could meet us afterwards? [Sanadhil] if she has time, in any case. [Sanadhil] if not, we could at least try to arrange for sometime more conveninent

  • Ilphere nods/

[Ilphere] Do you think... Do you think it would be fruitful, or wise.. to talk to Phedre about this vision...?

  • Sanadhil purses his lips

[Sanadhil] I have ben considering that question since the first [Sanadhil] It could prove fruitful to speak to her, yes [Sanadhil] however, I suspect that Earric might feel threatened by someone outside of his direct control engaing with the.... presence in the Arch [Sanadhil] and he may try to bring you more directly under his control [Ilphere] Yes... I am rather wary of him as well [Sanadhil] in order to access whatever relationship you have to this being for his own ends [Sanadhil] of course, it is possibel that he is already orchestating this somehow. [Sanadhil] I don't believe Phedre can or would act without his sanction, or would keep secrets from him. [Ilphere] That much seems clear...! [Ilphere] Well, I shall try to exhaust other avenues first, then...!

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] the other side of the coin, so to speak, is that if he learns you have been keeping things from him, he may be....displeased. [Sanadhil] All things considered, I wondered if you thought it was still fruitful for you to continue to engage with them directly? [Ilphere] I am not certain... [Sanadhil] it may be worth thinking about.... I don't know if it would help your situation at this point or not :/ [Ilphere] I do not know how much more I can even learn through participation there... [Ilphere] Do you plan to go back...? [Sanadhil] indeed [Sanadhil] I... don't know [Sanadhil] I would like to know what exactly their goals are in regards to the Filler of the Void

  • Sanadhil says the name in a moe hused tone

[Sanadhil] do they actually intend to free it, or is it a convenient point for gathering folowers for their, or rather his, own ends? [Ilphere] Yes, there is that...! [Sanadhil] well, perhaps it is worth continuing a careful engament [Sanadhil] for one of us, at least

  • Ilphere nods.

[Ilphere] Well, I should be getting back to my work at the Castalia..! [Ilphere] I will see you again soon...

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] it was good to speak with you.

  • Sanadhil smiles
  • Ilphere will bustle off to work...!