Diablotin 2 session 33

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[Diablotin_Narrator] It is the middle of Eleventh-month, and the cold, dreary weather is setting in. Chill rain drizzles down on the city, soaking the people huddled in lines to buy the increasingly scarce and expensive food.

Alma and Felise

[Diablotin_Narrator] Alma, your house has been a little more peaceful since Lyndall and the children left. Lyndall found a job as a laundress, and you managed to find both the boys positions as apprentices to a ferryman that Marielle knows.

[Diablotin_Narrator] Hopefully, along with your aid, that will be enough to keep them going.

[Alma] .oO( Hoozoo! )

[Diablotin_Narrator] That leaves only Felise as your remaining 'stray' (Danyel doesn't count, he has a home he can go back to ;)

  • Felise has improved in health and outlook over the past few weeks, since she was relieved of her geas (whatever it may have been).
  • Felise approaches you early one evening, after dinner, and asks to speak to you privately.

[Alma] Of course.

  • Alma will retire with Felise to a quiet study.

[Felise] Sister, I... I think it's time I ought to be going... I've imposed on your hospitality for far too long already.

[Alma] You don't need to worry about troubling me, Felise.

[Felise] I know - you are so kind.

[Alma] Are you intending to stay with your uncle?

[Felise] Perhaps.

[Felise] I could take my great-uncle up on his offer of a trip to Ariège. Or I might visit Kielce, where my uncle and aunt make their home. I hear it's lovely this time of year.

[Alma] That does sound relaxing :)

[Felise] The warmer weather in the south might be beneficial.

  • Felise agrees.

[Alma] (Adrius' home in no way looked like he was the poor kind of noble, did it?)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (not at all - richy mcrichypants)

[Alma] Well, I'm glad you're ready for this :)

  • Felise nods, looking a bit ... apprehensive? embarrassed?

[Alma] I didn't mean to sound patronising :/

[Felise] I didn't think that... I just...

[Alma] Yes?

[Felise] It is... I fear that your brother is, ah, infatuated with me.

[Alma] ... what?

  • Alma thinks back as to his behaviour over the past couple weeks.

[Felise] He has not done anything inappropriate.

  • Felise hastens to add.

[Felise] It is just... the attention he pays to me.

[Felise] César is a well-meaning young gentleman. *Very* young. Four years younger than me, in fact, which is a very long time, even if he were not of another House.

[Alma] Well, I understood that to be him trying to make up for his mistake...

[Alma] You think it's something else?

  • Felise nods.

[Felise] Just on account of a few things he has said. Things that did not seem... apologetic, as such.

[Alma] Oh dear... perhaps he's turned one emotion into another.

[Felise] Perhaps. It is very flattering, but I cannot return his affections. And so I think it may be better for all of us if I depart, before I cause any further problems.

[Alma] I appreciate that, but César has essentially no troubles in his life, I am hardly going to kick you out for fear of inconveniencing him. I would prefer that you left when you are fully ready. I can see about renting a room for César, or finding him something to keep him occupied.

[Alma] At the very least, I can try talking to César.

[Felise] I would not want to embarrass him.

  • Alma waves her hand to dismiss that. "It is nothing he won't recover from in short time, Felise."

[Alma] Are you ready to leave?

[Alma] (SM?)

[Felise] I don't know if I will ever truly feel ready. But a change of scenery might be helpful, I don't know.

  • Felise seems uncertain, a bit uncomfortable.

[Alma] Well, I think in the meantime we can do both.

[Felise] How do you mean?

[Alma] I'll see to César, and we can take a couple weeks to plan a trip. It will give you time to get comfortable with the idea. After all, perhaps all you need is that bit of a push?

  • Felise nods, looking grateful.

[Felise] Thank you, Sister, I appreciate it.

  • Felise gives you a shy hug, if you look like you would be open to it.
  • Alma will hug her back!

[Alma] .oO( I suppose that's the cost of wearing the robes. It's easy to assume they're the source of what you're doing. )

[Felise] You have helped me so much, even when we did not know each other. Now that we do... well, I feel you are almost like a sister to me.

  • Alma smiles, her last thoughts perhaps a little foolish now.
  • Alma hugs again!

[Alma] Thank you :)

[Alma] You'll always be able to come here when you need to, Felise.

[Felise] Thank you, Alma.

[Felise] Well, what shall we do this evening? I've finished my novel, perhaps you have something you could suggest for me to read next? :)

  • Felise seems more cheerful.

[Alma] Hmm, I haven't had time to read anything for leisure in some time... -_-

[Alma] Perhaps there's a play or spectacle on tonight?

[Felise] Oh, that would be lovely :)

  • Felise will get changed to go out, then.

Guillame, Thea and Phelix

[Diablotin_Narrator] Guillame, there is a Levellers' meeting planned for this evening - the first you will attend without Aden by your side, eep!

[Diablotin_Narrator] The meeting is larger than you've ever seen before, with the run-down room crowded full of people.

[Guillame] . o O (Wow...)

  • Guillame is concerned that the group may just become a group of revolutionists without Aden at the helm...
  • Thea jumps up on a box once it seems like everyone is gathered.

[Thea] All right, quiet down, everyone!

[Thea] Let's get this underway.

  • Thea shouts, and people gradually do quiet down.
  • Guillame shuts up and pays attention

[Thea] First things - the food shortage.

[Thea] I'm sure you all don't need me to tell you how bad things are getting.

[Thea] Prices climbing, supplies dwindling... the church can only do so much to help.

[Thea] I understand that one of our number has a suggestion he'd like to put before you for your thoughts. Phelix?

  • Phelix Valtieras stands (he doesn't need a box to be seen over the crowd ;)

[Phelix] Thank you, Thea.

[Phelix] I know where the city keeps some of its food stores - reserves meant to feed the guards and the military if the crisis worsens.

[Phelix] We could... liberate some of these rations, perhaps.

  • Phelix looks about for people's reaction.

[Diablotin_Narrator] There is some murmuring, but no immediate denial of the plan.

  • Guillame isn't disapproving

[Phelix] All right. If people think this is a good idea, I'll organize it.

[Thea] Thank you, Phelix.

  • Guillame nods gently.

[Thea] Now, I've also heard some suggestions that we might think about joining forces with the Revelators. They have been doing some good work in terms of feeding the hungry, and have various grudges against the Church and government.

[Thea] On the contrary side, some people think they're ... well, zealots, to put it politely.

[Thea] They certainly wouldn't be... controllable, if that's what anyone is hoping. But that doesn't mean we might not be able to work with them.

[Thea] Any thoughts? Does anyone here go to their meetings?

[Diablotin_Narrator] No one raises their hands.

  • Guillame raises his hand

[Thea] Yes?

[Guillame] I'd certainly say there's no harm in working with them *on this issue*, but I'd be cautious about a deeper integration.

[Guillame] From what I understand, their aims aren't the same as ours.

[Thea] No, not entirely.

  • Thea agrees.

[Thea] I think it can't hurt to approach them with regards to the food situation, at least, and see where things go from there. Anyone opposed?

  • Guillame nods again and sits.

[Diablotin_Narrator] A few state their opposition, but not many, so the decision is made.

[Guillame] (er, or stands, depending on whether he can see)

[Thea] All right. I think that if we can secure a supply of food - maybe a steady supply, Phelix?

[Phelix] If we hit them for small amounts at a time, maybe we can keep it up for a while, yes.

  • Thea nods.

[Thea] Small amounts might have less chance of getting us caught?

[Phelix] Maybe. But if we do, then we have less to show for it.

[Thea] Well, I'll leave that to your judgment, then.

[Thea] As I was saying, if we can get a supply of food, then I suggest we hold a huge rally and distribute it to the poor - and take the opportunity to give some speeches as well.

  • Guillame raises his hand again
  • Thea nods for you to speak.

[Guillame] I think that's a good idea, but we'd have to be sure that they couldn't link the food at the rally to any missing from stores, if the missing food were discovered.

[Thea] We'll take it out of the bags that say 'property of Aveyrone', then? ;)

  • Guillame smirks

[Thea] Of course you're right.

[Thea] We'll do what we can to disguise the source of the food. And frankly, I think that if the guards tried anything in a situation like that, it would.. well, it might get messy very fast.

[Guillame] Yes, messy - one way or another.

  • Thea nods.
  • Guillame stands down

[Thea] We'll come up with some cover story about the food, then. Wealthy anonymous donor?

[Thea] All right - anything further?

[Guillame] If we can secure some publicly disclosed donors to supplement our source, it would be more subtle, too.

[Thea] Are you volunteering? :)

[Guillame] I certainly thought I'd see how far I can persuade my Mother to get involved

[Thea] Sounds good to me.

[Thea] Anything else?

[Phelix] Just that anyone who wants to volunteer to help out with this mission should talk to me afterwards.

[Thea] All right. Thank you all for coming, see you next time.

  • Phelix seems to gather quite a few volunteers, from what you can see.

[Diablotin_Narrator] (on to Ilphere, unless you want to volunteer too ;)

  • Guillame won't stick his nose in - whether on not his advice would be useful, too many cooks get food-thieves arrested.
  • Guillame will discuss making donations with his Mother, and feel out society members who might be amenable to donating.


[Diablotin_Narrator] Ilphere, you have been so busy of late that your sleep troubles have been almost forgotten - you collapse into bed each night so tired that you fall asleep almost immediately, and you rarely remember any dreams, troubling or otherwise.

[Diablotin_Narrator] This night, however, you toss and turn restlessly for what seems like a very long time before finally drifting off.

[Diablotin_Narrator] You find yourself walking down a staircase that twists and winds in ways that defy logic (and gravity...) A cold wind whips your hair back from your face.

[Diablotin_Narrator] When you reach the end at last, you find yourself in a barren, snow-blown landscape, the ground icy and slick.

[Diablotin_Narrator] You see a familiar tree, atop a familiar hill...

[Ilphere] *gasps*

  • Ilphere scrambles for the hill...

[Ilphere] (is the dude there?)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (you can't see very well from here - you think so)

[Diablotin_Narrator] The ice beneath your feet is slick as glass as you struggle to climb the steep slope. You slip many times, and each time your bare hands stick to the surface of the ice, pulling away skin each time you rise again.

[Ilphere] (is Hali here this time?)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (not right here with you)

[Diablotin_Narrator] By the time you reach the top, your hands are bleeding, raw, but the blood that oozes from them is black and sticky.

[Ilphere] ...

[Diablotin_Narrator] A young, bearded man in a thin robe sits beneath the twisted tree, his hands shackled and eyes shut, while in its branches perches a large raven, pecking at the few remaining berries.

  • Ilphere concentrates on all the details of the dream so that she can try to analyze them later...!

[Ilphere] Hali...?

  • Hali looks at you, tipping its head to one side.

[Hali] Will you wake him?

  • Hali 's voice is a croaking rasp, but understandable to you.

[Ilphere] Ruchard...? Should I...?

[Hali] This is his dream. Wake him and it will end.

  • Hali 's beak seems wet and stained with the berries' juice - or some other dark liquid.

[Ilphere] What will happen then...?

  • Ilphere reaches a hand tentatively to touch the sleeping sovereign.

[Hali] Who knows?

  • Hali , if it is Hali, steps to a lower branch, and you realize that its feet are not the usual talons, but black tentacles that twist around the tree's limbs.
  • Man has no reaction to your touch. His skin is warm, though, not chilled as you would expect.

[Ilphere] It's his dream.. but mine as well...

  • Ilphere murmurs.
  • Ilphere bends to scrutinize his face.

[Ilphere] Ruchard...?

  • Hali spreads its wings and flies down to you.
  • Ilphere takes hold of one of his shackled hands...

[Ilphere] Can you hear me...?

[Ilphere] I must know why... why you are here... and what the wheels mean... so many things...!

  • Ilphere bites her lip.
  • Hali perches on you, its tentacle-feet curling about your shoulder. They are wet and yielding to the touch, almost pulpy, as if rotting.
  • Ilphere eyes the raven...

[Ilphere] What has happened to you... why do you look like that...?

[Hali] Let me open your eyes, wheel-breaker. Don't be afraid.

[Ilphere] I am not... I want to *know*...!

  • Hali 's head twists, stretching farther from its body than should be possible, and it begins to peck at your right eye.

[Ilphere] . o O ( Wheel *breaker*..?) )

[Ilphere] Ah...!

[Diablotin_Narrator] You can feel the eye pop as the beak pierces it, and something wet running down your face, and then a sudden tearing as the whole thing pulls away. It doesn't hurt, but it feels... disconcerting.

  • Hali tips its head back and swallows your right eye with a shuddering gulp.

[Ilphere] D:

[Hali] Delicious.

  • Ilphere feels a bit nauseous...

[Ilphere] . o O ( It is a dream, a dream....! )

  • Hali turns its attentions to your left eye next, performing the same procedure, leaving you in darkness.
  • Hali 's sharp bill then taps at your forehead once, twice... you can feel blood (?) running down your face.

[Hali] This is the best part... You'll see.

[Ilphere] What... what are you doing..?!

[Ilphere] D:

  • Hali 's beak seems to pierce your skull. You feel something rip inside your mind, there is a blinding flash, and then you find that you can see again, somehow.
  • Hali is perched on your arm, picking idly at the torn flesh of your hands.
  • Ilphere staggers involuntarily.

[Man] Leave... her... be.

  • Man 's voice interrupts the creature's morbid meal.
  • Ilphere lifts her hands to her face, feeling for the wounds there...
  • Ilphere turns toward the voice...
  • Hali flutters up to the tree's branches again, crankily.

[Hali] [m] First fresh meat in centuries... never let me have any fun... *mutter mutter*

  • Man turns his head to look at you, even though his eyes are still closed.

[Man] You have to wake up now. I can't... hold this... long...

[Ilphere] Ruchard Rademacher...?

[Man] Ilphere deQuessenet.

[Ilphere] Please tell me... where are you...? Why are you here... What does it mean by "wheel breaker...?"

[Ilphere] (am I still in the same place?)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (yes)

[Man] I found a refuge from madness in my dream.

[Ilphere] Madness...?

[Man] Wake now, hurry, my child.

[Ilphere] ...How?

[Man] ...Wake up, Ilphere...

  • Man 's voice slows as if he's falling asleep.

[Diablotin_Narrator] You wake.

[Diablotin_Narrator] You are in your bedroom, alone. The sky outside is grey, not yet dawn.

[Ilphere] (at home?)

  • Ilphere feels her face to make sure her eyes are still there. D:

[Diablotin_Narrator] Your eyes are both intact, your forehead unscathed, though perhaps slightly tender to the touch.

  • Ilphere gets out of bed to look in a mirror...

[Diablotin_Narrator] Your reflection seems normal to you. Maybe a slight red mark on your forehead, as though you hit your head on something?

[Ilphere] Maybe I'm just getting a spot...

  • Ilphere murmurs...
  • Ilphere touches it carefully

[Diablotin_Narrator] It's a little sore, that's all.

[Ilphere] Hm...

  • Hali perches at your bedside, sleeping as usual.
  • Ilphere gets back into bed, musing on the strange imagery.

[Ilphere] Well, it is nice to see that someone is sleeping well...

  • Hali 's feathers ruffle gently.

Sanadhil and Taralynn

[Diablotin_Narrator] San, you are at home one afternoon when there is a hesitant knock at your door.

  • Sanadhil sets aside the book he was making notes on and will go and, warily, see who it is

[Diablotin_Narrator] (see as in open the door, or as in peek out the window and try to get a look at them first?)

[Sanadhil] (window first)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (a young woman, brown hair... you can't really see her face from here)

[Sanadhil] ¬_¬

  • Sanadhil will answer the door

[Sanadhil] hello?

[Taralynne] Oh, good, it's you! I was afraid they gave me the wrong address.

  • Taralynne is shorter than you, slender and pretty, with long, wavy, dark brown hair and brown eyes. You, of course, recognize her from the tavern a while back, if you didn't already recognize her...

[Sanadhil] Ahh, who would 'they' be?

[Taralynne] At the Castalia. I just asked where I could find Sanadhil Orecalo, and they put me on the right track.

[Sanadhil] I see.

[Sanadhil] What can I do for you, Miss Pine.

[Taralynne] I just... I wanted to ask you again, without a hundred other people around. Are you Tristan?

[Sanadhil] No.

[Taralynne] Well, if you're not, then you won't care that the count is here in the city.

[Sanadhil] ...

  • Taralynne hardly needs to specify which count she's talking about - you both know.
  • Sanadhil just opens the door so she can come in.
  • Taralynne steps inside.

[Taralynne] Nice place...

[Sanadhil] Yes.

[Taralynne] You've done well for yourself.

[Sanadhil] What do you want.

[Taralynne] He has my son. I want him back. Preferably with the count dead too, but I'm willing to compromise on that point.

  • Sanadhil runs a hand through his hair, trying to make it look as though he is just pushing it out of his face.

[Taralynne] Whatever new life you've built for yourself, I'm not going to ruin it for you. I just need help.

[Sanadhil] I don't see how I can help you.

[Taralynne] He's related to the Rademachers - I hooked up with one of them, thinking I might get close to Alex that way, but they're not the same branch of the family, I guess.

[Sanadhil] The Rademachers.... of course.

  • Sanadhil sighs

[Taralynne] But I know you... you have some ties to Yanina Trueblood. She's his cousin or some such.

[Sanadhil] ...

[Sanadhil] Where did you her that?

[Sanadhil] (hear)

[Taralynne] I've been at the meetings, dummy. I've seen you there with her.

[Sanadhil] ...

[Diablotin_Narrator] You can remember her calling you that when you were kids.

  • Sanadhil just nods

[Taralynne] So I think you can help me.

[Sanadhil] So he is in town - what about your son?

[Taralynne] The whole family. Now that they're related to Imperials, they've come up in the world.

[Sanadhil] They

[Sanadhil] re not related yet - unless they also have ties to the Kizers.

[Taralynne] Oh, they're all related somehow.

  • Taralynne says with a sneer.

[Taralynne] But whatever - they've come to ride on her coattails.

[Sanadhil] I presume the child his son?

[Taralynne] No one else's it could be.

  • Sanadhil nods again.

[Taralynne] He took him away when he was born, three years ago, and convinced everyone that Alex is his wife's child.

[Sanadhil] And got rid of you?

  • Taralynne nods.

[Sanadhil] So the boy doens't even know you.

[Taralynne] No. But he's little still, he'd get used to me. That's why I can't wait any longer.

[Sanadhil] Right./

[Sanadhil] I still don't know what you think I can do.

[Taralynne] I hear that the thing to do in these situations is to bring a suit before the Chancellor. She's the one who deals with cases involving noble titles and the like, right?

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I....could possibly talk to her...

  • Sanadhil muses, thinking

[Sanadhil] Is that what you want?

[Taralynne] I guess I don't know if I should try that, or just go straight for kidnapping. If I bring a suit, they'll know I'm here, and that I'm trying to get him.

[Taralynne] And of course, with the legal route, I don't get to kill the count.

  • Sanadhil frowns a bit, as though conflicted.

[Taralynne] What are you thinking?

[Sanadhil] I don't want to be involved with his murder, tara. i don't want to be involved with him at all - but I don't know if that can be avoided.

[Taralynne] If you keep moving in these circles, you're bound to run into him sooner or later.

[Sanadhil] I know that.

[Taralynne] Not that he'd recognize *you*.

[Sanadhil] Maybe not.

[Sanadhil] I can't imagine he would have paid atention.

  • Taralynne nods.

[Sanadhil] (oh the bitterness!)

  • Sanadhil struggles to retain a calm demeanour, at least.

[Taralynne] Well, as I said, I don't *need* to kill him, as long as I can get Alex back.

[Sanadhil] I need to think about this.

[Taralynne] He's my only relative, Tris...

[Taralynne] Sanadhil... whatever you want me to call you now.

[Sanadhil] Don't call me that.

[Taralynne] I'll give you time to think, then.

  • Sanadhil just nods again.
  • Taralynne reaches out to touch your hand.
  • Sanadhil will pull away

[Taralynne] ...

[Taralynne] [w] I'm glad you're safe, anyway.

  • Taralynne leaves.

[Sanadhil] [m] safe - ha!

  • Sanadhil mutters as she passes out of hearing.
  • Sanadhil be's a giant ball of stress the rest of the day

Seth and Leonien

[Diablotin_Narrator] Seth, you have made an appointment to speak to your ...boss? or whatever he is, the Duke of Friaul, Leonien Kizer.

[Diablotin_Narrator] He has cleared an hour or so of his valuable time in order to meet with you at his home this morning.

  • Seth will clean himself up thoroughly and put on a decent set of clothes for once.
  • Leonien looks up from his desk as you enter, setting aside his quill and large leather-bound account book.

[Leonien] Good morning, Seth.

[Seth] Good morning, Your Grace. Thank you for taking this time to meet with me.

[Seth] I am afraid I have some very unusual and disturbing news to report.

[Leonien] Not at all. What is the matter?

[Seth] Some research being conducted by myself and some associates at the Society, research related to various events in the city, has turned up a ... well, it is more than a rumour, now. Has turned up evidence that Lord Grey has raised Martan Kizer from the dead.

[Leonien] ...

[Leonien] Hm.

[Seth] (does he seem surprised?)

  • Leonien seems puzzled, perhaps, and, frankly, looks as though he doesn't quite believe you.

[Leonien] Martan Kizer... now there's a name I haven't heard in years.

[Seth] Indeed. No doubt you are skeptical. As was I, initially.

[Leonien] What is your evidence for this claim?

[Seth] First: Apparently at Menard's engagement party, Lord Grey introduced a young man by the name of Martan to his great-nephew Aden, in the presence of one of my colleagues. This 'Martan' was presented to Aden as his cousin, whereas Aden Oliver knew of no such cousin, and indeed there is no living Martan in any of the related families.

  • Leonien listens attentively.

[Seth] Second: Others of my colleagues were involved in an investigation into a murder and theft. Apparently the young woman who was murdered, one Dessa Underdown, owned a locket depicting Martan Kizer, in which there was a lock of hair. The hair was stolen - the locket was not.

[Seth] I can think of other explanations for each of these individually ... but none accounts for both so well as the possibility that he has been raised.

  • Seth shifts uncomfortably.

[Leonien] It seems foolhardy. I've never known Olivier to be so... unsubtle.

[Seth] My friend who met 'Martan' agreed that there was a distinct resemblance between the man he met and the portrait.

[Leonien] Perhaps he only wants people to think that this young man is Martan Kizer.

[Seth] That is a possibility ... but then, why steal the locket secretively? What relevance would that have?

[Leonien] It can't have been that secretive, or else how did you find out about it?

[Leonien] And you said the locket wasn't stolen, in fact.

  • Seth tries not to look to insulted.

[Seth] Well, no, just the hair.

[Leonien] How do you know hair was stolen from the locket?

[Seth] Because my colleagues (one of whom was, I understand, friends with its owner) informed me.

[Leonien] Very well.

[Leonien] It's an interesting possibility, at the very least.

[Seth] I, like you, am uncertain as to why anyone would want Martan Kizer resurrected, or indeed why anyone would now care.

[Leonien] Why, indeed?

[Seth] My understanding is that Kizer was powerful because of his network, his money, his power, all of which are now gone, even if his body and mind have been ... restored in this disgusting way.

[Leonien] Perhaps he knew something that was valuable to them.

[Leonien] Something that could not be learned by simply speaking with the dead man's body.

[Seth] That had occurred to us, although what that could be is unclear. And in that case, why bring him out in public, under his old name?

[Leonien] Maybe it was a condition of his sharing this information with them? I don't know.

[Leonien] What do you know about Martan Kizer?

[Seth] Not enough. Ghost stories told by the wetnurse to naughty children.

  • Leonien chuckles.

[Leonien] Well, how much time do you have?

  • Leonien says with a glance at the clock that ticks away softly on his mantelpiece.

[Seth] Enough, Your Grace. What do I need to know?

[Leonien] You must understand that anything I tell you here is in the strictest confidence.

[Seth] I understand. I must ask, though, Your Grace, for your forbearance to use this information, to divulge at least parts of it as necessary, to advance any further investigations. And along with that I ask for your trust that I will exercise good judgement in so doing.

[Leonien] ...Very well, Seth. I will put my faith in your good judgement.

[Seth] Thank you, Your Grace.

  • Leonien settles in to tell a long, long story ...

[Leonien] Martan was my great-uncle - my grandfather Kinor was his younger brother.

[Leonien] Martan became Duke of Friaul when he was seventeen, So that would be... over a hundred years ago, 2140. A couple of years after his aunt Luxinie - the Empress, you know - got her throat slit in some seedy tavern.

[Leonien] Family rumour holds that she was only there in the first place because she'd taken Martan out, incognito, for his fifteenth birthday.

  • Seth sits back to hear the duke's tale.

[Leonien] In any case, his father soon died too - carriage accident - and Martan assumed the title, and guardianship of his younger siblings, as well as a cousin who was being brought up along with them.

[Leonien] He was married to Lirienne Trueblood, but they had no children. From anything I've heard, it became an unhappy marriage, if it wasn't one to begin with.

[Leonien] At twenty-one, he became Lord Chancellor to Emperor Hugolin Silveira. Do you know much about Emperor Hugolin?

[Seth] No, sire.

[Leonien] He was a monster. He indulged in every vice I could name, and no doubt many I couldn't. His court was a cesspit of depravity - the Patriarch refused even to attend meetings of the Inner Council - and for three years Martan Kizer stood at the centre of it.

[Leonien] Oh, they say that he kept the government running while Hugolin was busy with his whores and libertines. But no one could be that deep in that environment and not be somehow...tainted.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Could he do nothing to stop it?

[Leonien] Who knows?

[Leonien] When Enzephir took the throne, he put aside all of Hugolin's council members, except the Patriarch of course (who'd come back, no doubt much relieved).

[Leonien] But Martan was good at ingratiating himself - fought on the Emperor's side in the Quicksilver War - and got to be quite chummy with the new administration as well.

[Leonien] Everything might have gone very well for him from that point on, and by extension, the rest of the family, except that he screwed it up because of his taste for young girls.

[Leonien] Not young as in seven, but young as in 'she swore she was fifteen!' Once they were much past twenty, he didn't seem to have much interest.

[Seth] Ah. An unfortunate vice.

  • Leonien nods.

[Leonien] There were any number of incidents with maidservants and whores. Some of them bore him bastards - impossible to know how many at this late date, but enough to be... inconvenient.

[Leonien] He was probably also involved with his young cousin, Mercy Hartzell. She died at sixteen - an abortion gone wrong. Her family never forgave Martan for her death.

[Leonien] And then there was the incident that brought him down. Enzephir's eldest daughter, Ombretta, accused him of rape. She was, oh, sixteen or seventeen.

[Seth] His early life was surrounded by death.

[Seth] Was there justice to the charge?

[Leonien] Who knows, at this point?

[Seth] Inded.

[Leonien] The only thing that might suggest there wasn't was that, so far as I'm aware, Martan generally stuck to his own House.

[Leonien] There was a secret trial. My father, Jovien, who was just under fifteen at the time, testified about Martan's numerous debaucheries and crimes, including an accusation that he had murdered his brother, my grandfather Kinor.

[Seth] You would think he would have the sense not to rape a Princess Imperial.

[Leonien] A hunting accident, allegedly.

[Leonien] You might think that... but wait to hear the rest of the story :p

[Seth] Very well, Your Grace.

[Leonien] Whatever evidence there was, it was enough that Enzephir decided he wanted Martan out of the way. He could have had him executed in secret, but Martan weaseled out of that too, and swore he'd fake his death, renounce the title, and go into exile.

[Leonien] I think he thought he'd sponge comfortably off of his old friends, not actually leave the Empire. But in fact most of them turned their backs on him, once he was out of favour.

[Leonien] The only one who didn't was Catiana Rademacher. I don't know if they had been lovers, or where precisely her foolish affection for him stemmed from, but she took him in, without her husband's knowledge, hiding him at their country estate.

[Leonien] And if she hadn't had a young daughter, Elfea, perhaps things would have yet worked out, I don't know. But this is Martan we're talking about...

[Seth] Oh dear.

[Leonien] But the girl got pregnant, and hid it for as long as she could, until it was far too late to do anything about it. In the country, at least the family could keep it quiet when the baby arrived. Catiana, in a rage, threw Martan and the child - a girl - out of her house.

[Leonien] After that, there's a gap of about seventeen years. I've never been able to find out where they went or what they did during that time.

[Seth] Martan kept the girl?

[Leonien] It seems so.

[Leonien] I suppose he could have left her somewhere and retrieved her once she was grown - I don't know.

[Seth] And seventeen years takes us up to ... around the end of Enzephir's reign, perhaps? He lived that whole time in secrecy?

[Leonien] Yes.

[Leonien] But eventually they both turned up back in Diablotin, Martan going by the name Grey and living on the streets.

[Leonien] He put his daughter into the employ, and bed, of Nouel Izaguirre, then the city's reigning crime lord. From there, she somehow got enough dirt on the Deverara family that they let her... borrow their name in her bid for the throne.

[Leonien] Althea Deverara was, so far as I have been able to determine, Martan Kizer's daughter. If she'd become Empress, gods, he'd have had a sweet revenge.

  • Seth just sits there, stunned.

[Leonien] It worked out differently, but perhaps not so badly for him. He tracked down one of his bastard grandchildren, Falke Sathin, and between him and Althea's... involvement with the Empress, Martan somehow got into Tristane's good graces. She made up the title of Lord Grey just for him.

[Leonien] We - my father, my brother Turien and I - knew of his return, of course. Turien threw his lot in with them. Married Sathin's sister, even. It galled my father so badly, it drove him into an early grave.

[Leonien] And then Turien decide to challenge me for the duchy. Launched a suit with the Chancellor claiming I was illegitimate. Me! He'd joined sides with a man who'd strewn around Kizer bastards like weeds in the springtime, and he had the nerve to accuse me of being illegitimate!

  • Leonien is pretty obviously still annoyed about this, even though it was decades ago.

[Leonien] Well.

  • Leonien says, calming himself down by sheer force of will.

[Seth] So when did he - Martan - actually die?

[Leonien] Obviously the charge was unsuccessful. I assumed the title. A year later, Lord Grey - Martan Kizer - whatever you want to call him - was poisoned.

[Leonien] Of course, I would deny any involvement in his death, if anyone were to inquire.

  • Leonien glances again at the clock.

[Leonien] Goodness. How I do go on. Forgive an old man his ramblings.

[Seth] No ... this is ... no, your grace, this is fine.

[Leonien] All I can say is this: If they've been foolish enough to bring him back from the dead, perhaps I'll have the immense satisfaction of learning of his death twice.

[Seth] What is the connection then between the Oliviers and Martan Kizer? I still don't understand.

[Leonien] I don't know if there is any direct connection, apart from the Oliviers' being involved with Falke Sathin and thus with Martan in the final years of his life.

[Leonien] They could be another bastard offshoot of the family, but I have no proof of that.

[Seth] What did Martan have to do with the Empress Tristane and the Arch, at that time? Do you know?

[Leonien] I don't know that he had any involvement with the Arch's moving. Certainly he was subsequently friendly with the Empress, who consulted him regularly until his death.

[Seth] And Althea ... so the Chancellor is Kizer's great-granddaughter? Does she know?

[Leonien] I have no idea what she may know or not know.

[Seth] And the locket? I don't know enough of this Underdown woman to know how she got it, but possibly she is from another bastard line?

[Leonien] It could well be.

[Leonien] I've not heard the name before.

[Seth] Nor I. Hmm ...

[Leonien] Well, I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention, Seth.

[Seth] What would you have of me, Your Grace? Is there some way I can be of further assistance? Something I could reasonably learn that would aid you?

[Leonien] If you learn anything further, of course I want to know about it.

[Leonien] You may, of course, also discuss this with your aunt.

  • Leonien opens a drawer in his desk and withdraws a ring, woven of four strands of silver.

[Leonien] I hope this is adequate recompense for your services so far.

  • Seth looks at it.

[Seth] It's remarkable!

[Leonien] Perhaps it will prove useful to you.

[Seth] It is magical? :o

[Leonien] Yes.

[Seth] What does it do, Your Grace?

[Leonien] It will provide some measure of protection, and keep you safe in the event of falls.

[Seth] I will endeavour to be wise enough not to need it.

[Diablotin_Narrator] [It's a ring of the four winds - +2 deflection bonus to AC, feather fall at will]

[Leonien] A good plan.

[Seth] Thank you, Your Grace. And if there are any unanswered questions in particular that you wish answered regarding this matter, feel free to apprise me and trust that I will do my best.

[Leonien] I shall. Thank you, Seth.

  • Seth takes his leave.

Ysabeau and Dryden

[Diablotin_Narrator] Ysabeau, hoping for some answers, you make your way to the refurbished theatre on Steeplestone Close in the Place D'Iena where the Revelators hold their regular meetings.

[Diablotin_Narrator] The street is packed when you arrive, and it soon becomes clear why - the ... priests? or whatever one wants to call them, the yellow-robed Revelator initiates, are distributing free food inside.

  • Ysabeau has dressed attractively without revealing too much skin. She isn't there to try and seduce anyone.
  • Ysabeau tries to figure out where to go if you want to attend the meeting, not get food. Is there someone nearby who doesn't look like they're lining up for food?

[Diablotin_Narrator] You can just go into the theatre and not get in the line for food.

  • Ysabeau does that, then.

[Diablotin_Narrator] It's pretty clear that people are coming in droves, and bringing their children too.

[Diablotin_Narrator] The food is simple stuff, but nourishing - bread, a day or two old but still edible; small, slightly withered apples; thin wedges of hard white cheese.

[Diablotin_Narrator] You make your way into the theatre's main floor, through the press of bodies in the lobby. There are only a few seats still available at the back, and people are already standing at the front and in the aisles as well.

  • Ysabeau silently gives thanks that she and Murienne have enough, and that they're not on the streets anymore.
  • Ysabeau doesn't need to be the center of attention until she figures things out, and will settle into one of the seats at the back.

[Diablotin_Narrator] The crowd, previously noisy, falls quiet when Marlow Stavenger eventually takes the stage.

  • Stavenger is around 30 or so, with a stocky frame and long brown hair tied back in a queue. He wears a dark yellow robe.

[Stavenger] Brothers and sisters, I'm so glad to see so many of you here tonight. If you keep this up, we're going to need a bigger meeting hall!

[Diablotin_Narrator] The crowd cheers at that.

  • Stavenger waits until they quiet to proceed.

[Stavenger] I want to speak to you tonight about evil. Not about the evil that sits in the highest reaches of the palace and the church, but about the evil that each one of us is capable of.

[Stavenger] As most of you know, I was a priest in my younger days, in the Order of the Cat. I studied many years to become a priest.

[Stavenger] But what did we study? Doctrine. Theology. The ponderings of dead sages about the wheel of existence. The fine-grained distinctions of church law that gave us the power to include a person or shut him out.

[Stavenger] Not right living, not how to be a good person and set a good example for those who would look up to us. Not how to *behave* so that the gods would be pleased with us.

[Stavenger] The church teaches that we're here in this world, in these brief little lives, to learn, to experience as much as we can. And so I tried.

[Stavenger] I was a priest, yes. But I was also a weak, pathetic sinner.

[Stavenger] I blessed babies and solemnized marriages, then went from the temple to whorehouses where marriage vows are shattered daily and helped girls kill their unborn babies. Sometimes it went wrong; the girls would bleed too much... There was nothing I could do.

[Stavenger] Those who had no coin to pay me would sometimes offer me their bodies instead - and sometimes, being weak, I accepted.

  • Ysabeau maintains a neutral expression and listens.
  • Stavenger pushes up his sleeves, and even from the back you can see the many scars that cover his arms. There is an audible gasp from the audience.

[Stavenger] I started using exile because it took away a little of the pain. I even stole alms from the church to feed my habit.

[Stavenger] One night, in despair, I took more and more, cutting myself until my fingers couldn't hold the knife any longer.

[Stavenger] I fell into a trance. I knew I was dying, and I didn't care. After all, as far as I knew, the worst thing that could happen to me would be the Void, and even that would be a relief after the pain of this world.

[Stavenger] But I was wrong, brothers and sisters! I learned, to my horror, that there is a place reserved for sinners like myself, those denied the comfort and glory of the Centre.

[Stavenger] A place of pain, worse than my feeble, selfish little pain had ever been. A place of torment and of fire.

[Stavenger] A hell. I know it exists, you see, because I was there. I shared the suffering of the condemned souls for a moment that felt like an eternity.

[Stavenger] Someone found me, saved my unworthy life. I don't know her name, but she brought me back from that place, and for that I'm grateful. Grateful because it gave me the chance to mend my ways, and to warn all of you so that you might avoid my fate.

  • Ysabeau distracts herself by looking around a bit for a man who looks like the illustrations of Nestor Dryden from the papers.

[Diablotin_Narrator] It's a big, crowded theatre and you're sitting at the back. If he's ahead of you, all you'd see is the back of his head, and if he's in the balcony, you wouldn't see him at all.

  • Ysabeau doesn't expect to spot him immediately in such a big crowd.

[Stavenger] I don't know if I can make enough recompense in the days and months I have left to me to make up for my earlier failings. I only pray that I can.

[Stavenger] But I know now that the Church has nothing to teach us about living a righteous life. They care more about making sure everyone follows the rules they've made up - and which they can evidently change as they see fit, at any time - than about teaching us how to be good people.

[Stavenger] What have they done to help the suffering in this city, I ask you? They offer you gruel, while the Patriarch sits in a chamber lined with gold. They could stand up to the Emperor and tell him what he needs to do, but instead they bow and flatter like courtiers!

[Stavenger] And all the while, the holy hypocrites keep lying to you, changing their tune as it suits them, keeping you complacent and unquestioning. I say, don't be afraid to ask them the hard questions!

[Stavenger] Ask them whether they were wrong about the Houseless before, or whether they're wrong to allow them to adopt a House now!

[Stavenger] They can't have it both ways - either they were wrong for two thousand years, and punished hundreds of thousands of innocent people, or else they've thrown over two thousand years of tradition on a whim!

[Stavenger] The only other option is that the gods don't care about our Houses and our laws. And if that's the case, then why do we need the Church at all?

[Stavenger] I and others have been cast out from the Church for our beliefs, brothers and sisters - and yet the gods still see fit to grant us the tiny fraction of their power that we had when we were 'authorized' by the reverends to wield it!

[Stavenger] The Church can strip me of my red robes, but they can't strip me of my connection to the gods, because that is beyond their power!

[Stavenger] The gods still give me the ability to heal, to cleanse, to see the truth behind the lies of this world. And they have given me the chance to share what I've seen with you, so that you can learn from my errors and mend your ways.

[Diablotin_Narrator] After he finishes speaking, assistants in the crowd circulate around gathering collections from those who have anything to offer, while others approach the 'priests' of the group for healing or advice.

  • Ysabeau wonders if most people haven't figured this all out for themselves already, and is surprised. But also turned off by Stavenger's outright condemnation of the Church.
  • Ysabeau will donate some money when one of the priests circulate by her. She will then mingle a bit and keep her ears open for any talk of demons, etc.

[Diablotin_Narrator] Mostly people seem to be talking about their ordinary problems.

  • Ysabeau will also look for Nestor Dryden.

[Diablotin_Narrator] Sure, you can spot him.

  • Ysabeau will watch him for a bit, see if Mijanou is with him tonight, who he's talking to, etc. before approaching.

[Diablotin_Narrator] He seems to be unaccompanied.

[Ysabeau] Excuse me...?

  • Dryden turns to see you there.

[Dryden] Yes?

[Ysabeau] (K:N does he have a title? He used to be Lord when he was treasurer but not anymore...)

  • Ysabeau holds out her hand in greeting.

[Stavenger] (no title)

  • Dryden is a very ordinary looking man - balding, a bit of a pot belly.
  • Dryden will shake your hand.

[Ysabeau] My name is Ysabeau Chanuier. I've been wanting to meet you since the unfortunate news of your dismissal...

[Dryden] Pleased to meet you, Mlle. Chanuier.

  • Ysabeau smiles prettily.

[Ysabeau] And I, you.

[Ysabeau] I am sorry to approach you out of the blue like this, but I wasn't sure how else to go about it... You see, I am something of a historian, and I would like to hear your side of the story.

[Dryden] My side of the story?

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Dryden chuckles, perhaps a bit bitterly.

[Dryden] Well, I was about to depart, Mlle. Chanuier. But if you'd like to accompany me for dinner, perhaps we could talk.

[Ysabeau] Certainly. It would be my pleasure.

  • Ysabeau flashes him a brilliant smile.
  • Dryden will offer you his arm as you leave. He has a carriage waiting outside.
  • Ysabeau will take it so long as she senses no ill intent. ;)

[Dryden] What did you want to know?

[Ysabeau] Well, the news articles all reported you had to be let go because of your involvement with these good people...

  • Ysabeau gestures out a window at the people distributing food to the poor.

[Ysabeau] But I do not believe that is entirely true?

[Dryden] Why not? The Revelators are a threat to the church, and the church is integral to the government. It was seen as a conflict of interest on my part.

  • Ysabeau nods, absorbing that.

[Ysabeau] Fair enough. I happen to know that there are people involved with the Cult of the Down associated with the palace, though. Surely they are at least as much of a threat, especially having murdered Theodis Maez...

[Ysabeau] They haven't been fired, though.

[Dryden] You and I see them as a threat, certainly. But those in power, for whatever reason, do not.

[Ysabeau] I wish I knew why!

[Dryden] Because they are harder to get rid of, perhaps.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Do you have any theories as to why?

[Dryden] Because they're nobles. I'm no one - I can be tossed aside like yesterday's papers. Harder to dismiss your own family members, no doubt.

  • Ysabeau smiles sympathetically.

[Ysabeau] Well, we are getting off topic, perhaps.

[Ysabeau] Another thing I was interested in was unfortunately not touched on by M. Stavenger in his... speech? Sermon? this evening.

[Dryden] Oh?

[Ysabeau] If you are not willing, or perhaps have been told not to speak of any other reason for your dismissal, perhaps we can change the topic completely. But I do not know whether I should have come with you now, or stayed to ask M. Stavenger!

[Dryden] I'm grateful for your charming company, Mlle. Chanuier. I hope you won't decide to leave.

[Ysabeau] I am curious what the Revelators have to say about demons. What proofs there are that they are among us? If it's possible to identify them.

[Ysabeau] Those sorts of things.

[Dryden] It's possible to identify them with a spell of True Seeing.

[Dryden] It's little-known, but in my youth, I too was trained as a priest.

[Ysabeau] Oh, really?

  • Dryden nods.

[Ysabeau] Have you identified any?

[Dryden] I have.

[Ysabeau] Who? What can you do about them?

  • Ysabeau looks alarmed.

[Dryden] I'm afraid I cannot tell you their names, Mlle. Chanuier. I hardly know you.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Dryden] As to what I can do about them, the answer is clearly, nothing, or I would have done it already.

[Ysabeau] Nothing you can do about them, perhaps. But what about others?

[Dryden] The others I have informed have either been unwilling or unable to act.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I am concerned enough about things that I would like to learn more about them, to see whether I and some of my friends can act.

[Dryden] Your friends?

  • Dryden seems suspicious.
  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Good people. We've been looking into certain things which may or may not be related. Coming to a Revelators meeting was my own idea, because I just don't know enough about what is going on to decide or even suggest any sort of course of action, yet.

[Ysabeau] Like me they're all concerned about the cult.

[Dryden] Those misguided aristocrats with too much time on their hands?

  • Ysabeau raises an eyebrow.

[Dryden] They may be being manipulated to evil purposes, but few of them hold any real power.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] It's their leadership we are concerned about.

[Dryden] From what I know, their leaders are also minor nobility, not of any great influence outside their group.

[Ysabeau] That may well be true but I know that they have exerted some sort of magical influence over people, including one of the Lozada girls.

[Dryden] So they influence people who are also relatively powerless.

[Ysabeau] Yet they also have people in the palace.

[Dryden] Forgive me, but this group are far from the greatest threat to our Empire.

[Dryden] They are reprehensible, and I do not condone their actions, but there are worse things in this city. Worse by far.

[Ysabeau] The demons.

[Dryden] Yes.

[Dryden] And those they have influence over.

[Ysabeau] I don't suppose you would be willing to tell me any of *their* names. The people they have influence over, that is.

[Dryden] Mlle. Chanuier, you are a suspiciously charming young woman, and for me to reveal what I know to you on the basis of such short acquaintance would be foolhardy in the extreme.

[Ysabeau] Yes, I suspected that would be your answer and I admire your caution.

[Dryden] Do you not think that those who wish me ill might want to uncover what I know about them?

[Ysabeau] No, you are right to be cautious. I just don't know how much time we have to earn one another's trust, before things get really bad. But I understand that trust is something that takes time to build.

[Dryden] What House are you, Mlle. Chanuier?

  • Dryden asks, apparently out of the blue.

[Ysabeau] House Owl, why?

[Dryden] Merely curiosity.

  • Ysabeau shrugs.

[Ysabeau] And you are...?

[Dryden] Houseless.

  • Dryden says without any apparent shame.
  • Dryden glances out the window of the coach.

[Dryden] We will shortly be arriving at our destination. Do you still wish to join me for dinner?

  • Ysabeau looks out a window.

[Ysabeau] (Are we in a residential area or does it look like he is planning on going to a restaurant?)

  • Ysabeau doesn't seem at all bothered by his admission of Houselessness.

[Diablotin_Narrator] You are in a nice neighbourhood of the Place D'Iena - probably a restaurant.

[Ysabeau] Where were you planning to eat?

[Dryden] At the Cremaillere - have you ever been?

[Ysabeau] (probably not? Do I know anything about it? (City Lore?)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (it's a fairly upscale place)

  • Ysabeau shakes her head no.

[Ysabeau] Not yet.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] I should like to join you, as I hope we might become friends, or at least allies.

[Dryden] Very well.

[Ysabeau] M. Dryden?

[Dryden] Yes?

[Ysabeau] Is there anything a person without True Sight ought to look for that might suggest someone with True Sight ought to take a closer look?

  • Ysabeau hopes he can answer that question, at least.

[Dryden] No more than there is an easy way to tell if someone is polymorphed with a spell. Their disguises are flawless - it's unusual behaviour that may tip you off.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] So you'd have to know the original person well enough to notice a difference.

[Dryden] Yes, if there *was* an original person.

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Ysabeau looks pensive.

[Ysabeau] Did you know of very many demons before Empress Idaia died? Have the numbers or individuals changed at all since then?

[Dryden] There has been an increase in their numbers over the years - before Idaia's death, as well as after. What I believe has changed since her death is their level of influence.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] (How old does he look, again?)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (mid-30s)

[Ysabeau] How much influence do they have now? Can you quantify it?

[Dryden] While I believe I can safely say that there are none on the Inner Council, that does not mean that they don't hold positions of power, or have influence over those who hold those positions.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] How did you first learn of them? Had people been tracking them before you yourself knew about them?

[Dryden] Perhaps someone had... I learned about them on my own.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Is there someone else among the Revelators who might know? I'm curious to find out how far back this goes...

[Ysabeau] 50 years, or longer.

[Dryden] I have no idea - you might speak to Brother Stavenger, if you can get hold of him. If anyone in the group would know, I suspect he would.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Diablotin_Narrator] The carriage draws up in front of the restaurant.

  • Dryden offers you his hand in descending.
  • Ysabeau takes it and alights gracefully.

[Ysabeau] Thank you.

  • Ysabeau smiles.
  • Dryden nods politely in return.

[Ysabeau] So, do you like music?

  • Ysabeau figures we can't talk about demons at the restaurant, so she changes the subject to something more suitable for strange ears to overhear. :P

[Dryden] I do enjoy listening - I have no skill at playing, alas.

[Ysabeau] Ah, that's too bad.

[Ysabeau] I'm studying music, myself, at the Castalia.

[Ysabeau] And I play in a quartet, perhaps you've heard of us? The Vallon Consort.

[Dryden] Ah yes - I believe your group performed at the palace, did they not?

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Ysabeau makes small chat with him over the course of the meal.
  • Dryden pays for dinner, which is excellent, and then offers to drive you home if you wish.
  • Ysabeau accepts the offer... she'll be moving soon anyway, if he turns out to be a creepy stalker. ;)
  • Dryden behaves like a gentleman and doesn't try anything.
  • Ysabeau thanks him for the refreshing company.

[Ysabeau] I hope I might see you at the next meeting.

[Dryden] I will be there.

[Ysabeau] Have a good evening, M. Dryden!

  • Ysabeau curtseys.

Dominik and Danain

[Diablotin_Narrator] Dominik, you have no doubt been wondering what's happening with the Hush since Theo's murder.

[Diablotin_Narrator] Today, it seems you are about to find out.

[Diablotin_Narrator] Danain has told you to meet him at an abandoned house near the Nine Elms temple in Rhenea.

  • Dominik will head there, not sure what to expect.
  • Danain has a shortsword at his side and seems pissed off when you arrive.

[Danain] Dom, good.

  • Dominik nods a greeting

[Danain] We're going to have a talk with the last man who saw Theo alive - Brother Phineas Strauch.

[Danain] She was supposed to be going to talk to him the night she died. I don't know about what exactly.

[Dominik] right

[Danain] He's a Companion, but we're pretty sure he's gone over to Nash. It's a bitch not to be able to tell, to have to keep working with these fuckers even though you're almost sure they're screwing you over.

[Danain] Anyway. We're going to go talk to him, threaten him to find out what he knows, beat the shit out of him if we have to.

[Danain] And if we get the sense that he had anything to do with Theo's death... well, then he's put himself in the 'dead bastard' category, as far as I'm concerned.

[Dominik] Lets see what he knows

  • Danain nods.

[Danain] If you don't think you can do this, then I'll get someone else, but I'd rather have your help.

[Dominik] I'm here. I know what may be the end result of this.

[Danain] All right.

[Danain] You be the front man. I'll get behind him and hopefully keep him from running away.

[Dominik] where are we setting up this ambush?

[Danain] I don't know. Not in the temple, there might be people around.

[Danain] He lives not too far - almost always walks home, from what I can tell.

[Dominik] Live alone?

  • Danain shakes his head.

[Danain] Wife.

[Danain] We can try to grab him when he comes out, maybe, bring him right back here.

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] lets be done with it then. We accost him as he leaves the temple, convince him to join us here, and then learn what we need.

[Danain] He's old... kind of scrawny, but he might also be powerful. We need to be careful.

  • Dominik nods

[Danain] All right. Let's do this.

  • Dominik will head out with Danain and get in position to do his job

[Diablotin_Narrator] It's raining outside as you approach the temple. The elms that give it its name shelter you a bit, but it's still wet and unpleasant.

[Dominik] . o O (less eyes on the streets too)

[Diablotin_Narrator] You watch a few people leave, their hoods pulled up and hurrying.

  • Dominik waits with nervous energy
  • Alma steps out of the church and looks around. Spotting her carriage she waves it over, then mounts and is driven away.

[Diablotin_Narrator] Shortly after Sister Alma departs, you see a tall, gaunt man emerge as well.

[Danain] That's him.

  • Dominik makes a mental note of the Sister
  • Brother_Phineas is a very tall, skinny old man, in the silver-grey robes of the Order of the Wolf. He doesn't look to be armed or armored.
  • Dominik will move to approach him in full view of the Brother.
  • Danain circles around behind him.
  • Brother_Phineas pulls up short, seeing you there.

[Dominik] Excuse me, are you Brother Strauch?

[Brother_Phineas] I am. Who might you be?

[Dominik] I was looking to have a word with you, if you don't mind.

  • Dominik will move closer
  • Brother_Phineas looks wary.

[Brother_Phineas] Concerning what?

[Dominik] Its some quiet business, if you understand, don't really want to talk on the street, especially in this weather.

  • Danain steps up closer to him as well.

[Brother_Phineas] I see I have little choice in the matter.

[Brother_Phineas] Where would you prefer to talk? In the temple?

[Dominik] We all have choices Brother. Some allow us to continue to make choices. Just come with us, its not far.

[Brother_Phineas] ...Very well.

  • Brother_Phineas will accompany you back to the deserted house.

[Diablotin_Narrator] The bare floorboard creak beneath your feet, and water drips from some unseen leak in the roof.

  • Dominik looks to Danian to start the questions but will stay close to Phineas, in case he tries anything.

[Danain] You spoke with Theo on the night she died. What were you talking about?

[Brother_Phineas] We were supposed to meet and discuss the necklace affair.

[Danain] Supposed to?

[Brother_Phineas] She was late, or so I supposed. I left.

[Dominik] what were you going to tell her?

[Brother_Phineas] She had expressed an interest in the item's origins. I know something of them, and had agreed to confer with her.

[Danain] Bullshit. She knew its 'origins' already, she didn't need you to tell her about them.

[Brother_Phineas] It's difficult for me to know what she would have asked me, as we never spoke.

[Brother_Phineas] A tragedy, her death.

[Dominik] Who did you tell about this meeting?

[Brother_Phineas] The Oliviers knew - arranged it through them.

[Dominik] You seem oftly practiced at answering questions truethfully without really answering them.

  • Brother_Phineas smiles slightly at that.

[Brother_Phineas] One doesn't reach an advanced age in this line of work without certain skills.

[Dominik] The problem is, that those kinda answers aren't going to help you here.

[Dominik] You see him...

  • Dominik points to Danain

[Dominik] He thinks that you're the one who set Theo up.

[Dominik] and right now, you're not convincing anyone otherwise.

[Danain] Maybe even the one who did her in.

  • Danain suggests. He has drawn his sword now, but is keeping it lowered.
  • Dominik moves behind the Brother

[Brother_Phineas] I see.

[Dominik] Me, I have respect for the Church.

[Dominik] I want to believe that you really weren't involved

[Dominik] that it was all a mistake on your part

[Dominik] a word to the wrong person

[Dominik] You see, I'm trying to have faith here... but you're just not helping me

[Brother_Phineas] I never let a word slip to the wrong person.

[Dominik] Then who did you tell?

[Brother_Phineas] No one.

[Dominik] Then what about the necklace... what fucking gem of information could you have possible had that made them come to you?

[Dominik] And don't tell me any bullshit about its "origins" seems like half the city already knows that

[Brother_Phineas] There was an extra body in the rubble, did anyone mention this particular 'gem of information' to you?

[Brother_Phineas] The creature that emerged from the stone could have taken that individual's form, and no one would be the wiser.

[Dominik] thats useless information unless you know who the body was... do you?

[Brother_Phineas] If you think I'm going to tell you thugs, you're sadly mistaken.

[Brother_Phineas] I can speak with the dead - get the body and ask it who it is... was...

[Dominik] you didn't know anything. You were just used.

[Brother_Phineas] Think what you wish - I'm not desperate for the approval of a pair of sword-wielding bullies.

  • Brother_Phineas speaks a single word: "Flee."

[Diablotin_Narrator] (Will save, DC... uh, gotta check)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (20)

[Dominik] (fail)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (you have to move as quickly as possible away from him - you get another save next round)

  • Danain is also fleeing, having failed.
  • Dominik flees

[Diablotin_Narrator] (into the street, or further into the house?)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (just out of curiosity)

[Dominik] (street... don't know the house)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (ok)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (okay, you can get your second save on the following round)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (and your next)

[Dominik] (no good)

[Diablotin_Narrator] By this time, you're both quite some distance away.

[Danain] ...Fuck, that fucking bastard...

[Danain] He must have had something to do with it, you could tell too, right?

[Dominik] he told someone.... he may not even realize what he did.

[Danain] Maybe. Or maybe he just did it himself.

[Danain] This isn't over, not by a long shot.

[Dominik] (im going to assume the effect has worn off)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (yes)

[Dominik] All he did was make us run away. He thinks were nobodies.

  • Dominik brushes water out of his hair

[Danain] Yeah.

[Danain] Well, we'll show him, right?

  • Dominik puts a hand on Danain's shoulder

[Dominik] My point was that if he wanted to do worse, he probably could have.

[Danain] ...

[Danain] We'll go higher up. Get someone else to help.

[Danain] We can't just... let him g-get away with this.

[Dominik] Listen Danain, the ones who killed Theo wouldn't have just let us run away. Sure Strauch may have blabbed to someone without thinking, but I doubt he know what was going to happen.

[Danain] :/

[Danain] Maybe he didn't think he could take out both of us.

[Danain] And if even one survived, he'd be screwed.

[Danain] I don't think he's stupid.

[Danain] He'd only kill someone if he was sure he could get away with it.

[Dominik] what is with you? Theo's death made me mad, yes. Do I want to punish those responsible, yes... but running off half cocked to stab an old cleric isn't goint to solve anything.

[Danain] She didn't trust him... I should have gone with her to that fucking meeting... if I had, maybe she'd still be here.

[Diablotin_Narrator] You can't tell if he's crying or if it's just the rain.

[Dominik] You little fuck... you drug me into your little personal vendetta.

[Dominik] nobody else knows about this do they?

[Danain] ...

[Dominik] answer me

[Danain] You went along with it pretty easy.

  • Dominik punches him
  • Danain takes it, doesn't fight back.
  • Dominik shakes his head, turns and walks away
  • Danain just drops down in the middle of the street and kneels there.

[Diablotin_Narrator] The End, for now...


Seth and Ilphere

  • Seth will send Ilphere a message asking to meet with her in private at the Society.
  • Ilphere will come, curious to see if there is any news about Martan, or what else it might be...

[Seth] Ah, good, hello, Ilphere. Glad you could come.

[Ilphere] It is not a problem...!

  • Ilphere looks a little tired but otherwise well.

[Ilphere] What did you wish to see me about...?

[Seth] I met with the Duke of Friaul this morning. I spoke to him about Martan Kizer.

[Ilphere] Oh...? Oh!

[Ilphere] What did he say...?

[Ilphere] Does he believe you...?

[Seth] He told me much. Much, I still do not understand.

[Seth] I am unsure as to the degree to which he believed me. He agreed that it was a possibility, although he could not see exactly why M. Olivier would want to do such a thing.

[Ilphere] Nor can I... I was hoping someone else might be better able to seculate as to a motive...

[Seth] He asked for my confidence in everything he told me. I asked for his forbearance in using what he told me, as needed, in order to learn more.

[Ilphere] I assume he agreed, since you are here...!

[Seth] He did. And the reason I am talking to you, and not to others, is that, well, you are virtually part of the family. And also, you may have knowledge of some of the figures involved, or their families, due to your rank.

  • Ilphere nods expectantly...

[Seth] It appears that throughout his life, Kizer was enamored of young women, perhaps starting as young as ... twelve or thirteen?

[Ilphere] Charming...!

[Seth] Yes. He was accused of raping Ombretta Dyess, the daughter of Enzephir, which led to his disgrace at court. This would have been a few years after Enzephir's ascension, I believe.

[Ilphere] I assume it wasn't proven...?

[Seth] No, but even so, the charge was grave. But so charming was he, that he convinced Enzephir not to have him killed, but only to fake his death. And he lived under assumed names ... for another fifty years after his purported 'death'.

  • Ilphere raises her eyebrows.

[Ilphere] Truly...!

[Seth] For a time afterwards he lived with Catiana Rademacher, who I presume is some sort of ancestor of yourself and M. Rademacher ... but she had a young daughter named Elfea, and his failing once again led him astray.

[Seth] A bastard was born ... and Kizer took her with him, and then disappeared entirely.

  • Ilphere nods, listening...

[Seth] But then the most remarkable thing happened. He reappeared, under the name 'Grey', around the time of Tristane's ascension.

[Seth] And Leonien informed me that the daughter was none other than ... Althea Deverara.

[Ilphere] Theonee's mother...?

[Seth] Yes, and Tristane's lover.

[Ilphere] :o

[Seth] Leonien doesn't know if the Chancellor even knows who her mother really was.

[Ilphere] (who her mother was?)

[Seth] (who she *really* was!)

[Ilphere] (oh ok)

[Ilphere] But did the Empress...?

[Seth] I don't know what Tristane knew, but I presume so, because during the early years of her reign, Martan was, if not openly welcome, allied with her and gave her counsel. It was at that time that he became the first Lord Grey - although surreptitiously, never openly. And also, the Sathins are involved at this point. Falke Sathin, the first Duke of Greywatch, was Grey's helper, and another bastard grandchild.

[Ilphere] So he was rather more influential then...!

[Seth] Yes, and this of course was around the time when the Arch was moved, although that, at least, has no clear connection to Martan Kizer.

[Seth] But at any rate, some years after, Kizer was finally poisoned and Sathin became Lord Grey as well as Duke of Greywatch.

[Ilphere] Poisoned?

[Seth] So I was told.

[Ilphere] By whom...?

[Seth] I don't know.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] So Martan was basically a sort of spymaster.

[Seth] Perhaps Sathin himself. Perhaps Maze Olivier.

[Seth] Yes, and although I didn't have the time to ask too much, it seems that the Hush came into existence around that time, possibly under his influence.

[Ilphere] That would certainly be a reason for someone to return him from the dead... if they thought he might have information they need...?

[Seth] Yes, although couldn't they just ask him, from beyond the grave?

  • Ilphere thinks (makes a spellcraft roll :V)

[Seth] And what could Martan have known, fifty years ago, that would be relevant now?

[Ilphere] Something about the Arch... the same kinds of things we are trying to learn...?

[Ilphere] (I assume on a 29 I know Speak with Dead is tricksy?)

[Diablotin_Narrator] (yes)

[Ilphere] The Speak Dead spell rarely yields specific answers... They tend to be brief, cryptic...!

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Well, in any case, I don't know that much about the connection between the Kizers and Maze Olivier, except that he became head of the Hush after Sathin died - although the Greywatch title passed to Sathin's heirs, did it not?

[Ilphere] If there was some detailed information they needed, it would be very difficult... particularly if they do not have access to the body, or if it is in no condition to speak...

  • Seth nods.

[Ilphere] Yes...

[Seth] If Sathin was indeed Kizer's bastard, and so was Althea Deverara, then that means that the Lord Treasurer, the Lady Chamberlain, and the Chancellor are all his direct descendants.

[Ilphere] That is indeed a disturbing thought.

[Ilphere] Parentage does not always guarantee loyalty... but nonetheless...

[Seth] What do we know of the girl, Dessa, who was killed? Who were her grandparents?

[Ilphere] Dessa Underdown...

  • Ilphere tries to place the name...

[Ilphere] (would that be a CIty Lore check?)

[Ilphere] (as she is common and not noble? :V)

[Ilphere] (23 on CL if that is the case)

[Seth] Leonien had never heard of the name Underdown.

  • Seth twists his new ring idly.
  • Ilphere glances down at it.

[Ilphere] (should I notice anything about it or are you just fidgeting)

[Seth] (just fidgeting)

[Ilphere] Nor have I, I'm afraid...

[Ilphere] Ysabeau or her sister might know.

[Seth] Yes ... I must say, though ... we must be cautious who we tell about this.

[Seth] Because these facts are not widely known, even of Martan's survival - I would not want to anger His Grace.

[Ilphere] Well, I think one could ask Ysabeau if she knew that without divulging anything too critical...!

[Ilphere] Just trying to find out more about the locket's provenance...!

[Ilphere] Are you speculating that this Dessa might have been a descendent of Kizer also?

[Seth] How else does a common girl get a locket with the hair of Martan Kizer in it?

  • Ilphere nods/

[Seth] One could speculate that she stole it or got it as a gift from a lover, but then, how did the thief know she had it?

[Ilphere] It is possible that her grandmother was ... associated with him without bearing a bastard, but...

[Ilphere] Perhaps she had fallen in with a rough crowd...

[Seth] But it seems unlikely given what we now know about Kizer.

[Seth] He seems to leave bastards everywhere.

[Ilphere] Underworld types who might have included Hush infiltrators...

[Ilphere] Indeed...!

[Seth] Yes, it is the connection to the Hush that disturbs me most. They frighten me ...

[Ilphere] Yes... They seem to operate under their own authority... Who do they even answer to...?

[Seth] It's unclear. I know that you and M. Orecalo mistrust the Warlord, and I understand that, but given what I have heard about M. Olivier of late, I am not so certain that she is working against our interests.

[Seth] At least, not in this matter.

[Ilphere] Well that may be so but it doesn't make me like Nash any better...!

[Ilphere] Truthfully the more I hear... I'm not particularly fond of either, and not at all sure either has the Empire's best interests at heart.

[Seth] That may well be.

[Seth] Do you ... do you expect to tell any of this to Menard?

[Ilphere] I don't know what there is to tell, really... !

[Ilphere] No real answers to be had...

[Ilphere] Anyhow I had assumed that was your job.. :p

  • Seth laughs.

[Seth] Honestly I don't think he wants to know.

[Ilphere] I suspect you are right...

[Ilphere] He would certainly be happier.

[Seth] Right now, given everything else in his life, I think he deserves some happiness.

[Ilphere] well... I like to think that I can make him happy...!

  • Ilphere smiles demurely...
  • Seth smiles.

[Seth] You do, of course.

[Seth] But at any rate ... I could use your assistance, in tracing the relations between the Kizers, the Sathins, and the Oliviers.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Seth] You know so much about the nobles of our House, and I far less.

[Ilphere] I am willing to help fill in the family tree as best I can...!

  • Seth laughs.

[Ilphere] Oh you know what I meant...!

[Ilphere] ]:/

[Seth] Please, Ilphere, I meant no offense. In such times, one must laugh at such trifles.

[Ilphere] Ah well... never mind then...

[Ilphere] Shall we get to work...?

[Seth] Indeed.

Sanadhil, Ilphere and Ysabeau

  • Sanadhil has been explaining some of the Expedition plans, but seems a bit distracted.
  • Ilphere nods and makes notes, also seeming a bit tired and frazzled...!

[Ilphere] So that's about settled then...?

  • Sanadhil looks down at his notes.

[Sanadhil] essentially.

  • Sanadhil frowns, but closes his notebook

[Ilphere] Something on your mind...?

  • Ysabeau wanders in looking tired.

[Sanadhil] ahh. well..

  • Sanadhil glances over at Ysabeau and nods in greting

[Ilphere] Oh, hello Ysa...!

[Sanadhil] Good afternoon, Mlle. Chanuier.

  • Ysabeau looks up an smiles.

[Ysabeau] Hi...

  • Ysabeau flops rather gracelessly into a chair.

[Ysabeau] how are you two doing?

[Sanadhil] a little overwhelmed at the moment, I'm afraid -_-.

[Ilphere] How so...?

[Ysabeau] I know all about that!

[Ysabeau] What are you being torn in three million directions by, M. Orecalo?

[Ilphere] It does seem to be a busy time of year...

[Sanadhil] oh, well, mostly this whole expedition business.

  • Sanadhil waves a hand dismissively.

[Sanadhil] what about you?

[Ysabeau] School, raising my sister, practicing for parties, practicing for the opera, various projects...

[Ilphere] I mostly have wedding and expedition plans to deal with...!

[Ilphere] And, well...

[Ilphere] The other night I had another dream, or vision, which has been keeping me distracted...

  • Ilphere absentmindedly rubs her forehead.

[Ysabeau] Oh...?!

[Ysabeau] A bad one?

[Ysabeau] :/

[Sanadhil] what was it?

[Ilphere] Well it was certainly different...

[Ilphere] I found Ruchard Rademacher again. It *is* him...!

[Ilphere] Anyhow Hali was there but... different.

[Ysabeau] Well, one mystery solved, then...

[Ysabeau] Different how?

[Ilphere] Like if something was trying to be Hali, but... the ideas did not quite overlap, like this was the closest thing my mind could approximate...

  • Sanadhil nods, listening

[Ilphere] I got the impression it had been there with Ruchard for a very long time, wherever they are, in the dreamlands...

[Ilphere] It told me I should wake him.

[Ysabeau] And you did...?

  • Ysabeau guesses.

[Ilphere] I did not know how... I touched him, called his name but he did not answer.

[Ilphere] Then Hali said... "I will open your eyes, wheel breaker"

[Sanadhil] wheel breaker?

[Sanadhil] hmm.

[Ilphere] Yes...!

[Ysabeau] o_O

[Ilphere] I have some ideas about that.

[Ysabeau] Why would she call you that?

[Ilphere] But then... it pecked out my eyes...!

[Ilphere] and then a hole in my head, just here...

  • Ilphere touches her forehead again.

[Ilphere] And then I could see, and Ruchard was awake.

[Ilphere] He told me that he had retreated into his dream as a respite from madness.

[Ilphere] That was all I could get from him before he made me wake up...

[Sanadhil] hmm.

[Ilphere] My head still hurt all day...!

[Ilphere] But yes... Wheel breaker..

[Ilphere] Perhaps the Rademachers were involved in the sundering of the Arch.

[Ilphere] Perhaps that is why we dream of the Ophion.

[Sanadhil] the sundering of it?

[Ilphere] Where it used to be whole.

[Sanadhil] It was sundered before it was moved?

[Ilphere] (wait am I saying stuff I'm not supposed to know? I'm pretty sure I know there is another arch underneath but now you're making me second guess myself!)

  • Ysabeau looks a little concerned about your eyes being pecked out.

[Sanadhil] (No we know)

[Sanadhil] (Vianca told us)

[Ilphere] There are two parts to the Arch... I meant when the two were separated.

[Sanadhil] is that different from when it was moved?

[Sanadhil] or..

[Sanadhil] I'm confusing myself

[Sanadhil] of course

[Ilphere] When the top part was moved from the bottom.

[Sanadhil] when it was initially sundered, of course

[Ilphere] Yes...!

  • Ilphere gesticulates excitedly.
  • Sanadhil shakes his head, looking mildly annoyed at himself

[Ysabeau] Wasn't that when our people first arrived here?

  • Ilphere nods to Ysabeau.

[Ilphere] Or not long after.

[Ysabeau] You think there were Rademachers already back then?

[Ilphere] Or people who became Rademachers, yes.

[Sanadhil] well certainly their ancerstors were around

[Ilphere] I am not sure offhand how long it was before the Arch was moved.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] There are stories about a 'third eye' which helps people see things others can't...

[Ysabeau] But your visions sort of suggests that you already do.

[Ysabeau] I wonder what your dream could mean.

[Sanadhil] have you had any dreams since?

[Ilphere] No, not yet.

[Ilphere] This was just the other night.

[Sanadhil] perhaps you will have more? or more powerful ones now?

[Ilphere] We shall see...!

[Ilphere] I do hope to learn more...

[Ilphere] If I could but speak to Ruchard a little longer..!

[Sanadhil] if you could learn that spell, perhaps you could.

[Ilphere] I feel like I could do it, actually.

[Sanadhil] Oh?

[Ilphere] His thesis was very instructive.

[Ilphere] We are speaking of dream travel...!

  • Ilphere explains to Ysa.

[Ysabeau] Dream travel?

[Ysabeau] How does it work?

[Ilphere] Well, it is similar to the Plane Shift spell...

[Ilphere] One can shift oneself and a number of companions into a sleeper's dream.

[Ysabeau] And then what?

[Ilphere] And then interact with it, try to decipher the imagery I suppose...

[Ilphere] As I told you I have become somewhat practiced in the interpretation of dreams, having had these visions for so long...!

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ilphere] I would be so very tempted to try it on Ruchard... if I can ever get to him again...!

[Sanadhil] and travel, I presume?

[Sanadhil] Would it not work better to travel to him?

[Ilphere] I am not sure I know what you mean...

[Sanadhil] Didn't the thesis also talk about travelling between dreams, or deeper in to the realm of dreams?

[Sanadhil] If that is where he is hiding... wouldn't that be a better way to find him?

[Sanadhil] I haven't read the whole thesis, so I may be misunderstanding.

[Ilphere] That would be a more difficult spell than simple Dream walking...

[Ilphere] Oh, you mean lucid dreaming...

[Sanadhil] Not if you had a stable dreamer, and some way to navigate within

[Ilphere] A stable dreamer... yes...

[Sanadhil] well, exactly.

[Ysabeau] Who dreams 'stably'?

[Sanadhil] people who are unlikely to wake up

[Ilphere] Someone who cannot awaken I suppose...

[Ilphere] . . . .

[Ysabeau] Oh.

[Ysabeau] They couldn't agree to having their minds invaded either, then...

  • Ilphere gets an ambitious gleam in her eye.
  • Sanadhil nods again, watching Ilphere to see if she has gone down the road he was wandering

[Sanadhil] indeed.

[Ilphere] Indeed...

  • Ilphere echoes.

[Sanadhil] I don't know that it is invasive - I suppose it depends on the dream

[Sanadhil] but to travel, you wouldn't be staying in that dream

[Sanadhil] it would just rovide an anchor point for you to retreat safely - hopefully, in any case.

[Ysabeau] I don't know... I think dreams are pretty personal things.

[Ysabeau] Imagine if you were dreaming about Menard and someone came stumbling into it, Ilphere.

[Ysabeau] Would you even know if someone did?

[Ilphere] Well, it wouldn't have been permitted as a Castalia thesis if Ruchard had been doing things that were terribly unethical, I'm sure...!

[Ilphere] Well, it's unlikely.

[Ilphere] The visitors to the dream take on aspects of it.

[Ilphere] Appearances, even attitudes and behaviours might be altered... but would return to normal once brought back to the waking world.

[Ysabeau] I should like to read his thesis, if only I had the time!

  • Sanadhil ushes his hair back out of his face, scowling a litle bit in consternation, or maybe frustration, as he does.

[Sanadhil] Yes.

[Ilphere] Well, I did not mean to monopolize the discussion...

[Sanadhil] It was a pleasant distraction.

[Sanadhil] I am curious...

[Sanadhil] about the dream, and the ..

  • Sanadhil touches his forehead

[Ysabeau] Third eye?

  • Ysabeau smiles wryly.

[Ilphere] I suppose so..!

[Sanadhil] Well, if it pecked out the other two, I'm not sure she could be considered to have three -_-

[Ilphere] They seem to be functional now...!

[Ysabeau] I can see two in her face!

[Sanadhil] Thankfully so :)

  • Ysabeau chirps cheerfully.

[Ysabeau] In the stories, something usually has to be sacrificed.

[Ysabeau] That might have been what her other eyes being pecked out was all about.

[Ysabeau] It might have symbolized some other sort of sacrifice you'll have to make, if you *really* have a third eye kind of sense now.

[Ysabeau] So... be careful, okay?

[Ilphere] I will be giving it some thought, yes...

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ysabeau] Of course, it might all have just been a dream, too.

[Sanadhil] a possibility - maybe you hit your forehead - but I'm dubious.

[Sanadhil] all things considered.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] All things considered.

[Ysabeau] Well... I have to go. My break is up.

[Sanadhil] more rehersals?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I hope you'll all come to the opera...

[Sanadhil] You'll have to tell us more about the Opera, yes

  • Ysabeau says shyly.

[Sanadhil] I was just going to ask!

  • Ysabeau giggles.

[Ilphere] I am looking forward to it..!

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Good. I really must be going, though!

  • Ysabeau stands up and hugs Ilphere before heading out.

[Sanadhil] Good afternoon, Mlle Chanuier.

  • Sanadhil waits until she is gone, and then looks back at Ilphere

[Sanadhil] If you are not pressed for time - may I ask you advice on another matter?

  • Sanadhil tries not to souund too anxious/perterbed

[Ilphere] Certainly...!

[Ilphere] What is it?

  • Sanadhil glances around

[Sanadhil] Do you know anything about the Count of Telorre?

[Ilphere] Well, he is a distant relation... A cousin of my mother's. Why...?

[Sanadhil] An actual cousin?

  • Sanadhil sounds surprised.

[Ilphere] Well, his mother would be a first cousin to mine.

[Ilphere] I think I have met him, probably at some wedding or funeral...

[Sanadhil] Oh.

  • Ilphere scrunches up her eyebrows, trying to recall.

[Sanadhil] What did you make of him?

[Ilphere] I couldn't really say... I really hardly know him. His family rarely comes to the city.

[Sanadhil] hmm.

[Ilphere] I know they have a little boy now... they've been married for close to 20 years and he is their first and only child.

  • Sanadhil frowns more deeply

[Ilphere] They must be at least as old as my own parents... so that is a bit impressive...!

[Sanadhil] It isn't really. Would you like to know the story?

[Ilphere] A story...? Do tell...! :o

  • Sanadhil looks around again, then will beckon you in to one of the study carolls
  • Ilphere follows, curious.
  • Sanadhil settles himself in

[Sanadhil] I was approached by a girl from the order.

[Sanadhil] who was hoping that i might be able to assist her, for some reason.

  • Sanadhil shrugs and frowns

[Ilphere] (sm)

[Sanadhil] Apparently people believe that yanina has more than a token interest in me?

[Sanadhil] (21)

[Ilphere] (14 :V)

[Sanadhil] (yeah ;p)

  • Sanadhil does seems a little off today thugh, in general

[Sanadhil] I don't really know what she thinks I can do.

  • Sanadhil represses a frustrated sigh.

[Sanadhil] in any case

[Ilphere] What did she want..?

[Sanadhil] Apparently, she is an orphan, and the count took her in to his household when she was... 13 or 14?

[Sanadhil] The child is hers, but as soon as he was born, he had her sent away, and has been passing it off as his wife's.

[Sanadhil] she wants her son, is what she wants.

[Sanadhil] she is willing to go to extremes to get it...

  • Sanadhil cocks his head as though he has a dawning realization.

[Sanadhil] I wonder....

[Sanadhil] She said that she had hooked up with 'a Rademacher' in order to get closer to the boy...

[Ilphere] Oh my... that is... well, I don't know what to say...!

[Ilphere] You think... one of Dominik's relations?

[Sanadhil] If she is in the Order...

  • Ilphere nods.

[Ilphere] Theron, then...

  • Sanadhil raises his eyebrows. "Perhaps."

[Sanadhil] Lovely ]:|

[Sanadhil] Well.

[Sanadhil] I believe her, in any case

[Sanadhil] She told me some other things about this man that were ufavourable.

[Ilphere] Such as...?

[Sanadhil] It is apparently his practice to 'endenture' orphans from surrounding lands, and then abandon them to hard labour under...very harsh conditions...in mines that he owns.

[Sanadhil] Many dn't surive to the age of majority, and those who do are rarely releeased from his service

[Ilphere] So that's what happened to this girl...?

[Sanadhil] I expect she is not the first girl he's acquire to serve his interests, either.

[Ilphere] How did she get away?

[Sanadhil] She was kept in the house... not the mines.

[Sanadhil] And I don't know.

  • Sanadhil is sort of impressed with himself at how relatively detached he sounds.

[Ilphere] Well... what *does* she think you can do?

[Sanadhil] she wanted me to talk to Yanina.

[Ilphere] I'm not really sure what that would accomplish...

[Sanadhil] No, me either.

[Sanadhil] Even if she could bring forward a suit, it is unlikely he courts would giev a three year old boy over to an unwed, unemployed woman

[Sanadhil] regardless of the circumstances of his birth.

[Sanadhil] the additional information about the count...

[Ilphere] Yes...?

[Sanadhil] could be more powerful, perhaps.

[Sanadhil] but I had another thought.

[Sanadhil] I have been speaking to sister Alma as you know, about the church interest in the Order.

  • Ilphere listens, not at all seeing where this is going.

[Sanadhil] She seems interested in cooperation, if possible, yet she holds certain reservations about me being the sole source of information, I believe.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Sanadhil] If I could broker a deal between her and the girl - to provide them basic information about the services, and as an example of the kind of people that the cults has brought uder their sway.... the desperate and ignorant... in exchange for their aide as regards her son...

[Ilphere] That is an excellent idea...

[Sanadhil] It wold be sort of a peace offering, I suppose, if she would agree.

[Sanadhil] the danger is that she does know certain things that i am not certain we want revealed to the Church immediately

[Ilphere] Sister Alma is the sort of person who would be able to bring the situation with the Count's ah, hiring practices to light as well.

[Sanadhil] indeed she is.

[Sanadhil] ¬_¬

[Ilphere] If you speak to the girl before you send her to Alma, she might be amenable to holding those things back.

  • Sanadhil pushes his hair out of his feace again, he certainly isn't running his fingers through it in anxious fiddling, no no no.

[Sanadhil] it is possible.

[Sanadhil] Certainly we don't want her to identify Yanina.

[Ilphere] No indeed...

[Ilphere] Well... you could always say she approached you because of your connection to me.

[Sanadhil] that is what I was thinknig

  • Ilphere nods.

[Sanadhil] this whole matter has been quite distracting.

[Ilphere] Well it is quite a thing to have dropped in your lap, by a near total stranger...!

[Sanadhil] quite.

[Sanadhil] Honestly, she told me she wanted the man dead, but that is, well, I would not wish to involve myself in such an extreme vendetta

  • Sanadhil shrugs.

[Ilphere] No indeed...!

[Ilphere] Although I can sympathize somewhat, if he did steal her baby...!

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I would be curious to know what his wife thinks of the matter

[Sanadhil] do you know anything about her?

[Sanadhil] (I can't remember if I asked Julie or not -_-)

[Ilphere] Just her name, really... Jalisera Kierfen, before she was married... Rouyen now of course.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] hmm.

[Sanadhil] Maybe the girl knows more on that front

[Sanadhil] I don't know how much contact they've had

[Sanadhil] Do you know the child's name?

[Ilphere] Alexavier.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] good.

[Ilphere] It is...?

[Sanadhil] well if you think it is a sound idea, I'll try and speak to her again.

[Ilphere] Yes... I think that is the best plan...

[Ilphere] Good luck...!

[Sanadhil] likely it will have to be after the expedition

  • Ilphere says sympathetically.

[Sanadhil] thank you.

  • Sanadhil says with surprising sincerity

[Ilphere] (aw :3)

Seth and Gwen

  • Seth will arrange to go over to visit Gwen at her place in between all his other duties and research.
  • Gwen is apparently just about to leave when you get there.

[Gwen] Oh, Seth. Have you eaten?

[Seth] Not since this morning.

[Gwen] Well, I wasn't really planning on eating, so much, but I suppose there's food where I'm headed, if you want to come.

[Seth] Where are you headed?

[Gwen] Lucky Aric's.

[Seth] Okay ... as long as we won't be overheard.

[Gwen] If you're worried, we can get a room. People will think I'm debauching a younger man, but I don't mind.

[Seth] Umm ... why were you headed there, if not to eat?

[Gwen] What do people usually do in taverns?

  • Seth laughs.

[Seth] Fair enough.

  • Gwen walks to the tavern with you.

[Gwen] So, what are you coming to see me about that you're afraid of being overheard?

[Seth] Ahh ... well, a few things, really.

[Seth] Do you want the potentially bad thing or the potentially really bad thing first?

[Gwen] Hah, whichever.

[Seth] Okay ... so, uh, it seems possible, that, uh, Maze Olivier has resurrected Martan Kizer from the dead.

[Gwen] ...

[Gwen] What now?

  • Seth tells her all about the locket with the hair, and about the episode at the engagement party, leaving out the names of the other 'innocents'

[Gwen] It's pretty far-fetched.

[Seth] Yeah ... I agree. But why else would someone need or want a lock of Kizer's hair?

[Gwen] I have no idea.

[Seth] And why would Lord Grey present his grand-nephew with a relation Martan who doesn't exist?

[Gwen] Don't they have his whole body if they really want it that badly?

[Seth] I don't know what they have.k

[Gwen] And that, I don't know, unless he's just screwing around with the poor kid.

[Seth] Maybe. I don't know Olivier, and you do.

[Seth] Which is partly why I wanted to talk to you.

[Gwen] Okay...

[Seth] What's he like? What are his goals? At least, right now, as far as you can tell.

[Gwen] He's charming. He's good at seeming harmless. He's a clever little son of a bitch.

[Gwen] As for his goals, I'd guess keeping hold of his network is riiiight at the top of the list.

[Seth] Right, of course. How did he get control of the Hush?

[Gwen] I'm going to tell you a secret, Seth.

[Gwen] He doesn't control the Hush, not really.

[Gwen] He's the public face, sure.

[Seth] Okay ... so who does? The Warlord?

[Gwen] She might think she does, though she's probably smart enough to know she doesn't have all of them, and even those she does have can't be fully trusted.

[Gwen] No, Olivier's sister is the real brains of the operation. I've only met her twice, but I don't have any hesitation in saying that she's the one in charge, between the two of them.

[Seth] That's ... Aden's grandmother?

[Gwen] Yes. Her name's Jessamine Olivier.

[Seth] So, wait, she never married, if her name is Olivier?

[Gwen] That's right.

[Seth] Then where did Aden come from?

[Gwen] Well, a man and a woman get certain urges...

  • Seth shoots her a look.

[Seth] Yes, thank you.

[Gwen] I don't know, is the honest answer.

[Seth] The Oliviers must have had some hold over Falke Sathin - maybe he was forced to marry his daughter to Jessamine's son.

[Gwen] Perhaps.

[Seth] And perhaps that's also related to them gaining control of the Hush.

[Seth] Because they aren't noble, right?

[Gwen] Not in the least.

[Seth] Mm-hmm. Interesting.

[Seth] So you don't think that Martan Kizer could really be back from the grave?

[Gwen] I have no idea.

[Gwen] I don't know enough about the magic involved to know if it's plausible.

[Seth] Right. Okay ... presuming for the sake of argument that he is back ... the other Kizers, and by extension the Argos, have a lot to worry about, right?

[Gwen] The Kizers, maybe. And if you mean we worry on their behalf, then sure. But us personally... no, I don't think he'd go after us.

[Seth] From what I have heard, mostly from Father, I grant, my grandfather didn't like Martan overly much.

[Gwen] They had a .... complex sort of relationship, I gather.

[Seth] How so?

[Gwen] Dad thought that Martan Kizer was responsible for his father's death, but he kind of liked the old bastard, from anything I could tell.

[Seth] Ah. From what I have heard from the Duke, Kizer was responsible for possibly many deaths, and many more bastards ... and that he lived for decades past his purported original death.

[Gwen] Yep.

[Gwen] Gotta respect a man who comes back from the dead twice, if he's done it ;)

[Seth] Leonien mentioned that Falke Sathin was one of his grandchildren ... and that apparently, so was Althea Deverara!

  • Gwen nods.

[Gwen] That's what he thinks, anyway. I've got nothing that says otherwise.

[Seth] And if that's true, then, what, there are three members of the Inner Council who are his direct descendants.

[Gwen] Yeah - not that they necessarily know it.

[Seth] Right.

[Seth] Who knows what Theonee knows about her heritage. And Aden's heritage is obviously complex, as we have already established.

  • Gwen nods.

[Seth] Do you suppose that Maze could be descended from Kizer?

[Gwen] Nothing would surprise me about that man any more.

[Seth] Hmm. Well. I don't know what to think. But a chance encounter I had with the Warlord at the palace a few weeks ago has got me wondering about what really is going on with the Hush.

[Gwen] What happened?

[Seth] The Warlord took me on a trip to the place where the Arch used to be. A walled up passage, deep in the belly of the palace, now unused for decades.

[Seth] She asked me whether I thought things were truly better now without the Arch.

[Seth] And her eyes ... they were glowing blue.

[Gwen] o_O

  • Seth goes on to recount what little we know about the Arch girl.

[Gwen] That's... kind of freaky. Could it have been some spell?

[Seth] Maybe - but the thing is, if it is, it must be something that's on her quite a lot, or else why would she have those blue spectacles to conceal it?

[Gwen] Could be permanent. Could be just something she uses a lot? I don't know.

[Seth] Maybe. But she's around the right age, she could have been that girl, right? I mean, I know she's a fair bit older than you, but I thought you might know more about her past and her family history.

[Gwen] I don't know too much beyond what she gives out publicly. She's a pretty private person.

[Seth] But Nash isn't a noble line, right?

[Gwen] No.

[Seth] It's strange, Aunt Gwen. It's like little pieces keep falling into my lap, but I still only have shadows and fragments, nothing tangible, nothing to let me know what I should do next.

[Gwen] Welcome to the job, Seth.

  • Seth laughs, twirling his ring uncomfortably.

[Gwen] Sometimes you just have to decide to do something, even if it might not be right.

  • Seth nods.

[Gwen] And sometimes you just have to decide to trust someone, even if they might be lying to you.

[Seth] Well, that's the thing. For better or for worse, we Argos have always worked for the Kizers. And I don't think the Duke is a perfect man, but he's treated me well, and you too, or so I gather. But some of my friends, I think they think me the fool.

[Gwen] For working for him?

[Seth] Well, I haven't told them specifically that, of course. But they know that I have ties to the Kizers, and when we've talked, I may have seemed a bit ... defensive about it.

[Seth] I mean, Ilphere is skeptical, and she's about to become a Kizer herself!

[Gwen] You'll have to get used to smiling and nodding when people badmouth them.

[Gwen] Because it'll keep happening.

[Seth] Yeah, I suppose you're right.

[Seth] Will it get better or worse now that Marl is emperor?

[Gwen] Hard to say.

[Gwen] If I had to guess, I'd say worse.

[Seth] Because Marl is unlikely to be an especially good emperor?

[Gwen] Because emperors piss people off no matter what they do.

[Seth] True enough.

[Seth] Do you have any sense of the relationship between the Warlord and the Chancellor?

[Gwen] I haven't heard anything that suggests it's not good.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] All right. Okay, that's good to know. The Warlord wants to know more about the Arch, and I know that both the Chancellor and the emperor himself have an interest in magical bindings and unbindings. I'm just trying to sort it all out before I and my colleagues go back to the Shadow Plane. Oh, you heard about that, right?

[Gwen] Uh... no?

  • Seth gives her a quick rundown of the trip(s).

[Gwen] Sounds interesting.

[Seth] My interest was initially, and remains primarily, about the possibility that one of the Sentinels was once moved in there, and may still be there.

[Seth] But it's become more complex, as most things involving Ilphere seem to become.

[Gwen] Oh yeah, speaking of that - did you ever decide what to do with whoever you were miserable about last time we talked?

[Seth] Ahh, what? Hmm? Oh, yeah ... sort of, yeah.

[Gwen] Good, good.

[Seth] Honestly I've been so busy with this damn wedding that I hardly have time for anything else right now.

  • Gwen nods.

[Gwen] Let me buy you a drink, then.

[Seth] Right, good idea.

Ysabeau, Dominik and Ilphere

  • Ysabeau looks for Dominik and/or Ilphere in the Castalia library.
  • Dominik is glancing through a book of particularly dark short stories.

[Ysabeau] Oh, Dom...

  • Ysabeau digs around in her satchel, then drops a small book onto the one he's reading.

[Dominik] Hi Ysa

[Ysabeau] Maybe if you read something like *this* you might smile a little more often. ;)

[Ysabeau] Hi. How are you?

  • Dominik glances at the cover of the book that is blocking his view
  • Ysabeau looks kind of tired and settles down into a chair at the same table. The book has a very plain cover, doesn't really tell you much at all.

[Ysabeau] Try page 63.

  • Ilphere is hidden in the stacks somewhere, shelving for Coco.
  • Dominik flips through the pages

[Dominik] Disappointed in myself

[Ysabeau] (Page 63 has a lot of words you wouldn't normally expect in a book... piecing them together you realize it is quite a vividly described sex scene.)

  • Dominik closes the book
  • Ysabeau leans forward on the table and rests her chin in her hands.

[Dominik] Trying to distract me?

[Ysabeau] No. I was just getting ready to ask you if you want to talk about it.

[Dominik] Maybe some other time. I'm working right now.

  • Ysabeau looks kind of taken by surprise.

[Ysabeau] Did I... Are you mad at me for something?

  • Dominik shakes his head.

[Dominik] I'm not mad at you.

[Ysabeau] Okay... We'll talk about it later. Ilphere must be close by?

[Dominik] Two rows down to the left. Stacking books about three shelves up last time I checked.

[Dominik] Sounds like she is still there

  • Ilphere is perched on one of those sliding ladders

[Ysabeau] Good. I went to the Revelators' meeting last night, and wanted to give the two of you a preliminary report.

[Ysabeau] I'll be right back.

  • Ysabeau goes to find Ilphere...
  • Ysabeau checks the aisle Dom suggested, first.
  • Ilphere is humming a strange little dissonant tune.
  • Ysabeau tries to recognize it.

[Ysabeau] Hi Ilphere... what song is that?

[Ilphere] Oh...!

[Ilphere] Hello Ysabeau...!

  • Ilphere tucks the last of her pile of books away in its place and carefully climbs down, mindful of her voluminous skirts.
  • Ysabeau smiles, a little wearily.

[Ysabeau] Do you have a few minutes? I wanted to chat with you and Dominik.

[Ilphere] Certainly...! I am finished with these anyway, and I could use a break...

[Ysabeau] Great. :)

[Ilphere] ... Is everything alright...? You look a little tired...!

[Ysabeau] I'm fine - just so busy with everything.

[Ysabeau] [q] Do you know what Dominik is so angry about?

[Ilphere] It certainly is a busy time...!

  • Ilphere agrees.

[Ilphere] Angry...?

  • Ilphere blinks.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ilphere] He seemed fine to me...!

[Ysabeau] [q] He's fuming.

  • Ilphere looks at you bemusedly...

[Ilphere] Well, I don't know... Really, he seems the same as ever...!

  • Ysabeau raises an eyebrow at you.

[Ysabeau] Anyway, he's just over there.

[Ilphere] Right where I left him..]!

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Dominik stands

[Ilphere] Maybe it's easy for you to tell the difference, because he is *always* at least a little grumpy when you aren't here. :p

  • Ilphere whispers.
  • Ysabeau smiles, amused.

[Ysabeau] We should go to one of the reading rooms, I don't want to be overheard.

[Ilphere] Alright...!

  • Ilphere leads the way.
  • Dominik picks up his books and follows the ladies
  • Ysabeau waits for him, with a concerned but kind expression on her face.
  • Ysabeau closes the door behind her when we're all in.
  • Dominik will stand near the door

[Ysabeau] Well, it's nothing super exciting, but I went to a Revelators' meeting last night, to try to learn more about the hypothetical demons amongst us.

[Ilphere] Did you hear something new..?

[Ysabeau] Since you're about to join the governing family, I don't want anyone to think you have anything to do with Revelators, Ilphere, hence the need for some privacy.

  • Ilphere laughs out loud...

[Ilphere] Oh Ysabeau... How could the revelators be worse than what I really do...?!

  • Ilphere wipes away a tiny tear from the corner of her eye...

[Ilphere] I do appreciate your concern though...!

  • Ilphere adds sincerely.

[Ysabeau] Well, people associated with the Revelators are getting fired by the Palace, while those associated with the cult on the Downs are not.

[Ilphere] I don't think Menard is going to fire me but I take your point...! ;)

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Anyway, I am not sure what to make of M. Stavenger yet...

[Ysabeau] He spoke of his days in the priesthood, and how disillusioned he became. Eventually he started doing exile, and had a - well a hallucination or a vision, I don't know which.

[Ilphere] Oh...? Do tell...!

[Ysabeau] He says he went to a place of torment and fire. If it's true, I thought it might be some plane you know about.

[Ysabeau] But it could just have been a drug-induced hallucination, too.

[Ilphere] (I would roll K! planes but julie isn't here :V)

[Ysabeau] Most of the rest of his speech was what you'd expect, denigrating the Church and the like.

[Ilphere] Well... parts of the Abyss could be like that...

[Ysabeau] You'd know better than I.

  • Ysabeau smiles self-deprecatingly.

[Ilphere] The Elemental plane of fire...

  • Ysabeau lets Ilphere speculate.

[Ysabeau] Oh, something though - he still can use his divine spells, even though he isn't with the Church. Have you heard of that before? I was always taught that only priests could use that magic.

[Ysabeau] Anyway, it's one of his arguments for why we don't need the Church, because the magic is straight from the gods.

[Ilphere] Well, divine magic is not really something I've studied that in depth.

[Ysabeau] So, he said some interesting things, but I'm not clear on whether he's insane or a visionary, yet. I'll keep working on it.

[Ilphere] Perhaps it's more that only priests are taught it.

  • Ilphere shrugs.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] On to M. Dryden, then?

[Ilphere] Oh yes... ! What did *he* say?

[Ysabeau] Well, he was very circumspect and unwilling to tell me anything very detailed yet, because, of course, he doesn't know me.

[Ysabeau] He wouldn't tell me if there was another reason for his dismissal, other than what the official story is, for example.

[Ilphere] Hm... Perhaps we could find out more through someone like Seth.

[Ysabeau] He stands firm in his belief that the biggest threat facing us right now is demons, not the cult on the Downs.

[Ysabeau] Although he conceded that the cult are something of a threat, he doesn't really believe they are much of one.

[Ilphere] Well, he clearly doesn't really know what they are doing, then...

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] So I asked if there was some way you could identify the demons.

[Ysabeau] He said only a True Seeing spell, because their diguises are flawless.

[Ysabeau] The only thing people without True Seeing can do is keep a sharp eye for strange behaviours.

[Ysabeau] He apparently has it... he told me he trained as a priest when he was younger, too.

[Ysabeau] Can you cast it, Ilphere?

  • Ilphere shakes her head.

[Ilphere] My specialty is Conjuration...

[Ysabeau] :/

[Ysabeau] That's too bad.

[Ysabeau] Maybe Sister Alma can do it.

[Ilphere] I suspect it may be a bit beyond her, but I could be wrong...

[Ilphere] I do know that there are priests who cast it.

[Ysabeau] I'll ask her.

[Ysabeau] M. Dryden wouldn't tell me who he has identified as demons, or who might be under the influence of demons, because he doesn't trust me yet.

[Ysabeau] However, he did state that he believed no one in the inner council is a demon. But that some hold other positions of power, or have influence over those who do.

[Ilphere] Could you.. you know... make him tell you...?

[Ysabeau] If he can cast True Seeing, he might be relatively resistant to any of my spells. Plus I'd rather earn his trust the good old fashioned way, than betray him the first chance I get by forcing him to do something by magic.

[Ysabeau] I'm going to keep going; I need to ask M. Stavenger some things, anyway.

[Ilphere] Well, keep us posted...!

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] There's a little more.

[Ysabeau] I asked if the number of demons has been increasing; he says it has, but he doesn't know how far back the trend goes. He thought M. Stavenger could tell me if it went back about 50 years or so.

[Ysabeau] I thought that would be interesting to find out.

[Ysabeau] So that's one of the things I plan to ask M. Stavenger, if I have the chance.

[Ysabeau] That's all. End report.

[Ilphere] That would be about the time that the Arch was moved back...

[Ysabeau] Yes, that was my idea, and why I asked M. Dryden if he knew.

[Ysabeau] Is there anything you two can think of, that I ought to ask them when I have the chance?

  • Ysabeau glances up at Dominik who has been quiet the whole time.

[Ilphere] I suppose what he thinks their aims are here...

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Ysabeau pulls out a notebook and jots things down.

[Dominik] They must not think if him as much of a threat if they just let him wander around talking about it.

[Ilphere] What draws them here...?

[Ilphere] Perhaps they and the cult are not completely separate.

[Ilphere] After all I am fairly certain that Earric is not human.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I've been wondering that as well, Ilphere. Dom, he is worried what they'll do to him which is why he won't tell me anything specific - like who they are.

[Ysabeau] Which suggests, as you say, that they don't see him as much of a threat.

[Ysabeau] I did ask what could be done about the demons, and he said there was nothing he could do, or he'd have done it already.

[Ysabeau] And those he has told have done nothing, either.

[Ysabeau] I don't know who he might have told already; maybe the emperor and the patriarch. I doubt he'd tell me if I asked, anyway.

[Ysabeau] Not until I can earn his trust, anyway.

[Ysabeau] If I ever can!

[Dominik] the easiest way to get his trust would likely be to let him in on the name of a demon.

[Ysabeau] Easier said than done. Do you know any demons?

[Dominik] I can think of a few I wish were demons

  • Ysabeau laughs.

[Ysabeau] I can think of a few humans who are as bad as demons...

[Ysabeau] Well, actually... I don't really know how bad a demon is. I guess I ought to retract that statement.

  • Ysabeau pushes an unruly curl back out of her face.

[Dominik] mind you he could be a demon just using this as a tactic to learn who the other people who are looking for demons are

[Ysabeau] It's possible.

[Ysabeau] That's why I'd love to find someone with True Seeing whom I can trust. It would make life at least a little simpler.

[Ysabeau] I didn't get any sort of bad feeling about M. Dryden though. He was very gentlemanly.

[Ysabeau] So... any more thoughts, Ilphere?

[Ilphere] I don't think so.... that would be very foolish of him if it were the case.

[Ilphere] He would end up having people looking for demons who wouldn't even have thought of it otherwise...!

[Ysabeau] Also true.

[Dominik] it would be better to find a faster way to earn his trust.

[Ysabeau] I don't think trust is something you can hurry, Dom.

[Ysabeau] But I understand your impatience; I feel some urgency as well.

[Ysabeau] My best idea is to just keep going to those meetings and learning what I can...

[Ysabeau] And try to find someone with True Seeing whom we can trust.

[Ilphere] What about Vianca...?

[Ysabeau] Oh, maybe..!

[Ysabeau] I'll ask her, too.

[Ilphere] She is almost certainly powerful enough to cast it, if she has learned it...

[Dominik] with all this talk of how to spot demons, do we know anything about fighting them?

[Ysabeau] I think you need special weapons?

[Ysabeau] Do you want to look into that, Dom?

[Ilphere] I believe a cold iron weapon... or a magical one...?

[Ysabeau] It would be a great help if you could find out.

[Ysabeau] I expect you have more resources to draw on in that respect than I do.

  • Ysabeau smiles for Dom. :)

[Dominik] maybe in those weaknesses, there is something that will make them reveal their true form.

[Ysabeau] Maybe! That would be great, if it's the case.

Dominik and Ysabeau

  • Dominik tightens his fine wool cloak about him against the chill of the night

[Dominik] A good evening was it?

  • Ysabeau is happy to see Dom after rehearsal.

[Ysabeau] Oh, yes. It went well. My understudy is pretty eager to see me gone for a few days when we go on that expedition, though.

[Dominik] jealous?

[Dominik] of you?

  • Ysabeau glances up at you and shrugs.

[Ysabeau] I suppose anything is possible!

  • Dominik nods. He looks tired to you.
  • Ysabeau also is kind of tired-looking. She smiles affectionately and slips her arm around your back since your arms are all wrapped up in your cloak.

[Ysabeau] I'm sorry that I've been so busy lately... I regret not being able to spend as much time with you as I'd like.

  • Dominik will unwrap himself from his cloak and drape it around us both while we walk.
  • Ysabeau rearranges her arm underneath his cloak, then.

[Ysabeau] Mmm, you're so nice and warm. ^-^

[Dominik] It's fine. I doubt I would be good company anyway.

[Dominik] I was practicing before I came to meet you.

[Ysabeau] Dom, you're good company. And that would explain it.

  • Ysabeau gives him a half hug.

[Ysabeau] So, you've had a rough while, lately?

[Dominik] I did something I regret. I let myself have more faith than was warranted and I paid the price.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Dominik] The worst part about it is that I should have known better.

[Dominik] Thats was gets me so angry...

  • Dominik lets the emotion slip in.
  • Ysabeau gives him another half-hug.

[Ysabeau] Yeah, I've been there. It's never easy when you let yourself down.

  • Dominik nods

[Ysabeau] But I guess what you've got to take from it is: lesson learned.

[Dominik] What's done is done.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Dominik] I just wish...

  • Dominik raises a clenched fist
  • Dominik shakes his head

[Dominik] I learned young that despite the fact that my brothers were older, I was bigger and stronger.

[Dominik] Once they learned it too, I tried to pick on them for once instead of the other way around.

  • Ysabeau looks up at him and nods, she's a good listener.

[Dominik] It worked for a time... but Theron... he tricked me.

[Ysabeau] How was that?

[Dominik] and all my size and strenght couldn't help me.

[Dominik] We were kids. There was something I thought was important to him behind the kennels at the country house.

[Dominik] I was sure I could hurt him if I took it away.

[Dominik] But it was all a ruse so he could get me to where he could sick all the guard dogs on me without anyone being able to stop him.

  • Ysabeau catches herself from stumbling.

[Ysabeau] They actually attacked you?

[Dominik] I had to hop the wall to get away, but the walls are easier to climb from the inside than out.

[Dominik] I couldn't get back in.

[Dominik] The gates were closed and he made sure that the gate guards were busy elsewhere for the night.

[Ysabeau] So... then what happened?

[Dominik] I was alone in the wilderness for the night.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Had the dogs wounded you before you were able to climb the wall?

[Dominik] I slept outside the wall until morning when the family was going to Church... my Father was upset that I was missing and had run away.

  • Dominik pauses.

[Dominik] A few bites.

[Dominik] In the end I was punished for running away and Theron just laughed to himself the entire time.

[Dominik] I'm sure he wished the dogs had killed me.

  • Ysabeau looks rather appalled by Theron's behaviour.

[Dominik] It was a hard lesson to learn then. I shouldn't have needed a reminder.

[Ysabeau] So he did something to you again?

  • Ysabeau tries to put things together.

[Dominik] It doesn't mater.

[Ysabeau] Well, it does, though. To me.

  • Dominik looks down at Ysabeau
  • Ysabeau is quite sincere, meeting your gaze with her own.

[Dominik] As hard as my life has been, it doesn't even come close to what you've been through.

  • Ysabeau shrugs.

[Ysabeau] Even if that were so, it doesn't mean I should care less about how other people have been hurt.

  • Dominik smiles at Ysabeau

[Ysabeau] What?

[Ysabeau] A little compassion and empathy goes a long way...

[Dominik] I don't know how you do it.

[Ysabeau] Well... I suppose I've been lucky enough to have been on the receiving end of some compassion and empathy a few times.

[Ysabeau] It rubs off, eventually.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Things can get better, you know.

[Dominik] All I've done is acknowledge the person that you are and not the circumstances you came from or what you've had to do to make it here.

[Dominik] all you've been to me is honest and open.

[Ysabeau] ...

[Dominik] It's something I've never really had.

  • Dominik turns away

[Dominik] I sound stupid

  • Ysabeau follows him, can't help it since she's wrapped in his cloak.

[Ysabeau] No, you don't.

[Ysabeau] You're being honest with me, and that is never stupid.

[Dominik] I feel like I'm waiting for all this to come crashing down, opening up is going to leave me burned to a crisp...

[Dominik] yet here I am doing it... reveling in the wait.

[Ysabeau] Oh, Dom...

[Ysabeau] I can understand that. Sounds like your faith has been brutalized more than once. :/

[Ysabeau] Life's a bit like gambling, you know. To get anywhere, you have to take some risks. Sometimes - lots of times, actually - you get burned.

[Ysabeau] But sometimes it pays off.

[Ysabeau] And however it plays out, you can always take home a lesson from it, that makes you a stronger person, in the end.

[Dominik] If I'm gonna get burned... I'm gonna burn bright while I am.

[Dominik] want to help me make some fire?

  • Ysabeau giggles.

[Ysabeau] Is that a proposition? I think you need to work on those, a little, Dom.

[Dominik] You knew what I meant

  • Dominik smiles

[Dominik] So I don't wax poetically like you

[Dominik] word are not where my skills lie

  • Ysabeau smiles back.

[Ysabeau] I know, Dom. I wouldn't have you any other way, but I reserve the right to tease you about it sometimes.

  • Ysabeau stifles a yawn.

[Dominik] as long as I can carry you over my shoulder now and then..

[Ysabeau] Well, I am pretty sleepy but I can probably manage a slow burn.

[Ysabeau] What, like our tribal ancestors?

  • Ysabeau teases, pulling on your arm to get you moving again.

[Dominik] just makes the stairs faster

[Ysabeau] Oh! Now you're insulting my height!

  • Ysabeau laughs.

[Dominik] I'm not insulting your height... just the length of your legs

[Ysabeau] Which are a main contributing factor to my lack of stature!

  • Ysabeau pouts cutely.

[Ysabeau] Anyway, you're the one holding us up, not me.

[Dominik] that's debatable, but difficult to empirically confirm out in this cold.

  • Dominik gets moving again
  • Ysabeau stops tugging and settles into pace beside you again.
  • Ysabeau quiets down and looks up at you, rather serious once more.

[Ysabeau] Dom?

[Dominik] Yes?

[Ysabeau] I hope some day you'll be glad you took a risk with me.

[Dominik] I'm more than glad now.

  • Ysabeau snuggles up to you as we finish the walk home.