Diablotin 2 session 42

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[DiablotinNarrator] It is the beginning of Twelfth-month. The end of the year is drawing near, and with it, the much-anticipated Imperial weddings, which will take place during the holidays on the Day of the Wolf. [DiablotinNarrator] The weather has taken a turn for the chill and rainy, to the point where it would almost be a relief if it finally gave in and just snowed. [DiablotinNarrator] Ilphere, you are of course very busy with wedding preparations, as is the rest of your family. Even your great-grandmother is occupying herself by embroidering... something... she says is for your trousseau. [DiablotinNarrator] Your childhood home, quiet and mostly closed off for so long, has become a bustling hub of activity since your engagement - parties, afternoon teas, elaborate dinners, and a seemingly-constant flow of guests seeking to pay their respects and ingratiate themselves with your family. [DiablotinNarrator] Rooms that had been near-empty as long as you can remember are now filled with furniture - perhaps some of it brought out of the attic, but much newly purchased. Your mother, who for so long contented herself with second-hand gowns, now has the latest fashions, and seems happier than you can ever recall seeing her. [Ilphere] :) [DiablotinNarrator] However, your father, though he puts on a good front of appearing pleased with all these changes, has been more withdrawn of late, spending hours locked away in his study, dark circles beneath his eyes betraying his lack of sleep. [Ilphere] :( [DiablotinNarrator] You are on your way to bed one night when, as you pass by your father's door, you hear an unfamiliar woman's voice. [Ilphere] ...?

  • NPC2 is now known as Lystain

[Woman] ... by the end of the week...

  • Ilphere stops to listen...

[Lystain] I can't... [Woman] That's too bad. The Duke's going to be very disappointed to hear that.

  • Lystain says something too quietly for you to hear.
  • Woman laughs.

[Woman] Oh, let's not get drastic, Lystie dear.

  • Ilphere casts Detect Thoughts.

[DiablotinNarrator] (ok - what's the DC?) [Ilphere] (wait, I don't have it... that was Pheria. Lol) [DiablotinNarrator] (lol) [Lystain] ... end of the month, then it'll be...

  • Lystain is evidently farther away from the door, you can't quite hear everything he's saying.
  • Ilphere tries to place the woman's voice... Who is this? What Duke? What's going on...?

[Woman] Trusting in your darling daughter to save your bacon? What do the new in-laws think of your little plan, I wonder? Maybe they'd like to hear about it... [DiablotinNarrator] You don't recognize her voice - sounds young, not upper-class. [Lystain] No, look, it'll be fine...

  • Ilphere fumes...!
  • Ilphere casts Baleful Transposition...!

[Ilphere] (on my dad) [DiablotinNarrator] (does he get a save, I forget?) [Ilphere] (if I can) [Ilphere] (will save) [DiablotinNarrator] (DC?) [Ilphere] (19) [DiablotinNarrator] (ahah, no) [DiablotinNarrator] Ok, you are standing in your father's study with two other people. [Ilphere] (Do I recognize them?)

  • Woman is a young woman, probably about your age, dressed like a boy, her dark brown curls cut short. You can see that she's missing a front tooth when she gives a startled little shriek at your appearance. You don't recognize her at all.
  • Woman is accompanied by a huge man, very tall and muscular, who is standing against the wall, completely silently. He draws a knife when you appear. You don't recognize him either.

[Ilphere] How dare you threaten my father...! Who are you people...?! [Woman] What the void are you doing here? [Ilphere] I live here! [Ilphere] What are *you* doing here...?! [Woman] Having a private conversation, last I checked. [Ilphere] Get out of my home.

  • Ilphere begins to cast.
  • Lystain re-enters the room through the door.

[Ilphere] (defensively) [Ilphere] (I summon a hellhound) [Lystain] Ilphère!

  • Ilphere stops casting... for now!

[Ilphere] Father...! [Lystain] What in the name of all that's holy do you think you're doing?! [Ilphere] What is going on here...?! [Ilphere] Who are these... these *thugs*...? [Woman] I think we've made ourselves clear, M. deQuessenet. We'll leave you to consider your options. [Lystain] It's...uh... Ilphere, go to your room! [Ilphere] I will not...!

  • Lystain tries to order you about as if you were 14 again :o
  • Woman turns to walk out of the room, accompanied by her burly associate.

[Ilphere] I want to know what is going on here...!

  • Lystain sinks into his seat once they've left the room.

[Lystain] Close the door, Ilphère...

  • Ilphere will do that, at least...

[Ilphere] I should have fed them both to the hounds...!

  • Ilphere snaps it shut sharply.

[Lystain] I don't think that would help much. [Ilphere] Who are they? Who is the duke?

  • Ilphere insists.

[Lystain] He's not a real duke... [Ilphere] Oh...? [Ilphere] What is his name...? [Lystain] They call him the Duke of Crouch End. He's...

  • Lystain shrugs.

[Lystain] He loans people money.

  • Lystain looks miserable.

[Ilphere] I see... [Ilphere] Mother's new gowns... ? [Lystain] And the furniture... the servants... [Lystain] We couldn't just let the entire world see the way we'd been living! [Ilphere] But why...? Menard was going to marry me before we had all these servants... [Lystain] It's not about him... it's about everyone else in the city. [Ilphere] Well...! [Ilphere] I will not have my father beholden to some... some *crook*...! [Ilphere] I will take care of this person... somehow...! [Ilphere] ]:| [Lystain] NO. I tried to keep this from you for a reason - I don't want you getting mixed up in all of this. [Ilphere] How much is it...? [Lystain] ... [Ilphere] How much? [Lystain] Two hundred and twenty-five... [m] thousand...

  • Ilphere 's eyes grow wide with incredulity.

[Ilphere] And how long has this been going on...? THat *can't* be just from the engagement...! [Lystain] Before that, it was just enough to keep the house from falling in around our ears, I swear. [Ilphere] And now he wants it...all? Or what...?

  • Ilphere narrows her eyes.

[Lystain] No... just ten percent. [Lystain] Which is still more than I can pay! [Ilphere] 22500...

  • Lystain nods.

[Ilphere] I will find a way...! [Lystain] Your mother doesn't know - you can't tell her. [Ilphere] Where does she think it is coming from...? [Lystain] Investments... I mean, she knows I borrowed a little, but not this much. [Ilphere] Investments...! [Ilphere] Oh... oh father... -_- [Lystain] I did this for you, and for her... so that I could give you the kind of life you deserve. [Ilphere] What are they threatening you with? [Lystain] If I don't pay the ten percent by the end of the week, they're going to start taking our things. Everyone will know... [Ilphere] I would like to see them try.

  • Lystain bursts into tears unexpectedly.

[Ilphere] Oh... No, papa... it will be alright...! I will fix it...! ;_; [Lystain] You shouldn't have to... I will find a way to pay this back, somehow... [Ilphere] Please don't go to someone even worse...! [Lystain] I need to think... please, Ilphère, don't involve yourself in this. [Ilphere] I am already involved...! [Lystain] :/ [Ilphere] Please, I can help...! [Lystain] How? [Ilphere] I have friends... with some influence... [Lystain] You're going to take this to the Kizers? Oh gods... [Ilphere] Menard is not 'the Kizers'...! [Lystain] ... [Ilphere] He is a good person... [Lystain] Is he a good person who has 22,500 Imperials lying around, and would give them to you on a whim? [Ilphere] ... Maybe...? [Ilphere] Anyhow I know people... in other spheres. [Lystain] I don't like the sounds of this... [Ilphere] Father, no one is coming into our house to humiliate you... Not if I have anything to say about it...!

  • Lystain sighs.

[Lystain] Just... don't make a scene, all right?

  • Ilphere hugs her father...
  • Lystain hugs you back.

  • Seth will seek you out at home, as soon after our group meeting as possible.

[Seth] Good afternoon, Ilphere.

  • Seth looks a bit haggard.

[Ilphere] Yes, good afternoon, Seth... [Ilphere] To what do I owe this visit...? [Seth] Ah, well, I wanted to speak to you about an intellectual matter relating to our recent trip. [Ilphere] Ah, I see...! [Ilphere] Please, sit down...

  • Ilphere gestures to a chair, and takes a seat herself.
  • Seth sits.

[Seth] As I mentioned at our unfortunate recent meeting, I have been having some ... experiences.

  • Ilphere makes a face at the mention of the meeting.

[Ilphere] Yes, I do recall... Have they intensified...? CHanged in nature...? [Seth] They have not changed ... For a time, I thought they would subside after a short time upon our return, as if they were lingering aftereffects. [Seth] But in retrospect, it is clear now to me that these experiences began slightly before we departed for the Shadow realm.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] How interesting... [Ilphere] Is there anything of this nature in your family's history that you know of? [Seth] None whatsoever, as far as I know. The Argos are generally very practical and level-headed. [Ilphere] Might it have been someone who married into the family...? [Ilphere] Of course being so practical they might not have spoken about it... [Seth] It could be, but I don't know who it might be. [Seth] I would not say this in front of Sister Alma, but ... well, they are the sorts of experiences that one might describe as religious. [Ilphere] That is a wise choice.

  • Ilphere says dryly.

[Ilphere] ...but how so..? [Seth] A feeling of ... oneness with the city, with my environment. A sense of - well, not peace, but, increased awareness, perhaps?

  • Ilphere nods slowly...

[Ilphere] How fascinating... [Ilphere] Does it ...speak to you...? [Seth] Not ... not the way it spoke to the other-me. Not yet, at least ... but it developed over time with the other-me as well, I think.

  • Ilphere nods again.

[Ilphere] So it may yet...! [Seth] But the question still arises ... what is 'it'?

  • Ilphere considers...

[Ilphere] (what would I even roll to speculate?) [Seth] It feels like ... my intuition says that it is the city itself. But I do not know how that can be. [Ilphere] (doot :V) [DiablotinNarrator] (I said arcane) [Ilphere] (I rolled) [DiablotinNarrator] (ok) [DiablotinNarrator] (I'm not in roll atm..) [Ilphere] (But I posted in the ooc channel where it probably got scrolled into oblivion before you saw it) [Ilphere] (39, nat 20) [DiablotinNarrator] (Emperors had/have? a mystical bond with the city - maybe it's something along those lines?) [Ilphere] The Emperor is supposed to have some kind of mystical bond with the city - or did in the time of the Arch... [Seth] I am no emperor - not even noble. [Ilphere] I am not sure how such a bond would have been bestowed upon you, but it could be something similar to that. [Seth] I am trying to rule out the possibility that it could have been something done to me ... by Nash, for instance. [Ilphere] The strength of the Tal-Antar's mind over the centuries created a whole other reality... It is possible that the dreams of the people of Diablotin have somehow developed a sort of... collective unconscious? [Seth] It is possible. [Ilphere] but again, I am not sure how you would have come to be able to access it... [Ilphere] Can you pinpoint when exactly it began...? [Seth] It has been gradual ... perhaps first I detected it shortly before we went to the Shadow Plane? [Ilphere] Did anything in particular change at that time? [Seth] Not specifically, no. [Ilphere] (SM) [Seth] (really, no!) [Ilphere] (21) [Ilphere] (ok:V) [Ilphere] Hmm... well, I will give it further thought...! [Seth] Could it be ... some sort of entity living within the city? Some sort of malicious being? [Ilphere] Well... If the Emperors did commune with the city after passing through the Arch... It *could* be linked to Vrag, I suppose... but also the Rat. [Ilphere] (I will roll arcane again though I guess :V) [Ilphere] (27) [DiablotinNarrator] (dunno) [Seth] Well ... it is an interesting issue. [Seth] I do not wish to become involved with such an entity, but if these feelings intensify, I do not see how I can ignore them. [Ilphere] Well, if it does change, or reveal something new, please feel free to come and see me again... I promise to be discreet, of course...! [Seth] I appreciate it. [Ilphere] In the meantime... there is something on which perhaps you might offer me some advice... for which I must ask your discretion as well. [Seth] Yes, certainly. [Ilphere] We have a problem... I say 'we' in that it may affect 'the Kizers' as well... [Seth] How so? [Ilphere] Well.

  • Ilphere re-arranges her skirt a bit self-consciously.

[Ilphere] I have recently discovered that my father has made some... rather poor financial decisions...! [Seth] I see. [Ilphere] There is a person who calls himself 'the Duke of Crouch End' to whom he apparently owes... a significant sum.

  • Ilphere says with a tight frown.

[Ilphere] And if he does not repay a certain portion of that by the end of this week this person is going to cause a lot of rather public problems for my family. [Ilphere] If you take my meaning...? [Seth] Ah! Yes, that is serious. [Ilphere] This will certainly cause more embarrassment for the Kizers than my friendship with Sanadhil.

  • Ilphere sighs.

[Seth] (city lore 31 on this guy) [Seth] I can imagine, yes ... what can I do to help? [Ilphere] Well any information that you might be able to find on this person might help me in... assessing what I need to do to deal with him. [Ilphere] I am prepared to go to some lengths to protect my father... but I have never been in such a situation before. [Ilphere] These are not the sorts of people I am used to dealing with...! [Seth] I have heard of him. He has an operation in Pearl City. [Ilphere] Pearl City...

  • Ilphere repeats.
  • Ilphere wonders if Ysabeau has heard of him.

[Ilphere] What sort of operation...? How large is it...? [Ilphere] How pwerful would you say he might be...? [Ilphere] (if you could define that as a function of # hellhounds required it would be great.) [Seth] I would say he is very dangerous. The greater the sums loaned, the greater the danger. [Seth] Crouch End is a neighbourhood within Pearl City where he is based. [Ilphere] How many are in his employ...? [Seth] I don't know. [Ilphere] The total sum is... quite large.

  • Ilphere sighs...

[Seth] Hmm. I would suggest speaking to Mlle. Chanuier, perhaps. [Ilphere] What would you do, in my place...? [Seth] I do not get along with my parents. I might let them hang. [Ilphere] That is not an option... [Ilphere] And if I do not figure something out by the end of the week...! [Seth] Yes, I can imagine. I presume you have not told Menard yet? [Ilphere] I intend to...

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] His personal wealth is limited, but he may be able to help. [Ilphere] I hope so... [Ilphere] I just do not understand why they are pressing the matter now, when it actually makes it *less* likely that they will recover their funds if they humiliate my father to the point that... [Ilphere] ...that I don't know, Marl decides to forbid Menard to marry me after all...! [Seth] Once you are married, your family becomes much more difficult to extort. [Ilphere] ... I suppose I did not think of it that way... [Ilphere] These people are awful. They should be taught a lesson...! [Seth] How much money is owed? [Ilphere] They want... 22 500 by the end of this week... [Ilphere] That is... [q] ten percent... -_- [Seth] Oh, my.

  • Ilphere nods.

[Seth] Well, there is some comfort in all this. [Ilphere] What's that...? [Seth] This fellow wants his money, but he is very unlikely to ever get it unless your marriage goes forward. The sum is too huge.

  • Ilphere nods.

[Seth] So while he may wish to humiliate your family, he also has a vested interest in you getting married. [Ilphere] I see... I suppose that is... a *small* silver lining. [Seth] Although you and your family would surely be shunned thereafter.

  • Ilphere sighs.

[Ilphere] Vanishingly small, then. [Seth] Well, Menard would surely not care. And what do you care if Marl thinks ill of you? [Ilphere] I care about what happens to my parents, my grandmother... [Ilphere] If it were only me it would not matter. [Ilphere] I have no patience for all the social games... I go through these things for their sake. [Seth] And they borrow hundreds of thousands ... for yours? [Ilphere] It is mostly for my mother, I think... [Ilphere] She is a Rademacher, after all... and I think my father... well. Nevermind... it is a very long story.

  • Ilphere says, shaking her head tiredly.

[Seth] Parents are ... complicated. [Ilphere] Indeed... [Ilphere] Well, if you think of anything else that might help, please do let me know... time is short...! [Seth] I shall do so. [Ilphere] Thank you...

  • Seth will take his leave.

[DiablotinNarrator] Guillame, you have the opportunity to take your sister Silvia to speak to Aure once again, and perhaps to ask him a few questions yourself.

  • Silvia_ is excited to go, though a bit nervous about visiting the Shambles again.

[Silvia_] I borrowed one of the scullery maid's cloaks, I thought it might help me ... blend in a little better?

  • Silvia_ wraps the well-worn brown cloak more tightly about herself.

[Guillame] (Sweet! - I tried before to arrange an alternate venue - would he be able to accommodate that?) [Guillame] (Otherwise, costumes is fine) [DiablotinNarrator] (he's unwilling to go elsewhere, alas) [Guillame] That's probably fine, yes

  • Guillame watches to see how she wears it - is she convincing?

[Silvia_] Maybe I shouldn't wear my glasses, too.

  • Silvia_ is bundled head to toe in this cloak, so it's pretty convincing.

[Guillame] Yes, I'd definitely say to hide your glasses until you really need them [Guillame] (Is she near- or far-sighted?)

  • Silvia_ nods, and will tuck them into her skirt pocket.

[DiablotinNarrator] Neither, but her eyes are freaky and rather sensitive to light. [Guillame] (Ah, right) [Silvia_] It's all right.... This way, she can recognize me if we meet her. [Guillame] Try to use the hood to shield your eyes?

  • Silvia_ nods.

[Guillame] ... she? [Silvia_] The girl with the eyes like mine. [Silvia_] I don't know her name... Is she a friend of yours? [Guillame] I'm not sure who you're talking about... maybe? Sorry. [Silvia_] That's all right. She'll know you when she sees you, I'm sure.

  • Guillame remembers Raina, but she's surely not talking about her...

[Guillame] Ok, let's get going to our... "library session"

  • Silvia_ nods, cheerful.

[Silvia_] I think he knows her - the old man, I mean. Aure. [Silvia_] Maybe he can help. [Guillame] Yes, maybe

  • Guillame smiles, and tries to hide his confusion

[DiablotinNarrator] You make your way to Aure's home in the Shambles without any incidents more distressing than a corpse lying in an alley, which you *think* you manage to keep Silvia from seeing. [Guillame] (But she probably saw it *in my mind* :o) [DiablotinNarrator] (hee)

  • Aure is seated by his fireplace where a small fire burns, barely large enough to warm even his small home.
  • Guillame knocks on the door

[Aure] Come in.

  • Guillame lets Silvia in

[Aure] Oh, it's you... [Guillame] Hello Sir... [Aure] Well, close the door, don't let the cold air in. [Guillame] If I might ask, how have you been

  • Guillame shut the door quickly
  • Aure shrugs.

[Aure] Well as can be expected, I suppose. The cold makes my bones ache... [Guillame] I'm sorry to hear that [Aure] Nothing to be done about it. [Guillame] I suppose...

  • Aure resumes his seat.
  • Guillame thinks of the levellers

[Aure] What brings you here on this miserable day? [Guillame] Say hello to Mr. Aure, Silvia [Silvia_] Hello, sir. [Aure] Good to see you again, my dear.

  • Aure seems a bit less crotchety toward her.

[Guillame] Well, I learned a little more of the undercity, which I wanted to talk with you about, and I wanted to take the opportunity to let Silvia visit you too [Aure] Oh, yes? [Silvia_] [w] Can I ask him, Guillame? [Guillame] Well, I suppose it's less of a learning, and it's not our undercity, but I'd value your perspective nonetheless.

  • Guillame stops when Silvia asks

[Guillame] Go ahead...? [Silvia_] [w] No, it's okay... you can talk. [Guillame] No, we're here for you two to talk mostly, so you go ahead

  • Guillame smiles at Silvia

[Silvia_] Well... Sir, do you know anyone else with eyes like mine? [Aure] ... [Guillame] . o O (Oh, right) [Aure] I suppose I do. Or did, at any rate. It happens from time to time, in our people. [Silvia_] A girl... about my brother's age, maybe?

  • Silvia_ presses.

[Aure] Hmph. [Aure] ...My grand-daughter had them.

  • Guillame is startled at that

[Guillame] Wh... what's her name? [Aure] Raina... she's Loth's little sister. [Aure] And yes, she's a seer, like you.

  • Aure says to Silvia.
  • Guillame tries not to let his mouth drop open

[Guillame] I'm still not used to this seer business - I fall into the habit of not believing it...

  • Aure shrugs.

[Guillame] So, before I ask you a barrage of questions, I suppose I'd better give you the context.

  • Aure nods, listening.
  • Guillame tells Aure about the expedition, the dream-spell, and about Willem and Raina, being sure to mention that Willem's interpretation of Rat was pretty flawed, but glossing over the atrocities.
  • Guillame also describes the undercity in Saraknyel
  • Aure listens incredulously.

[Aure] That's... quite something.

  • Aure says at the end.

[Guillame] It is, rather. We're still looking into the implications, and whether anything can, or indeed should, be done, from the society's point of view.

  • Aure nods.

[Guillame] I really need to talk to Fern about it, but it's not really society public knowledge yet, and I wanted a point of view from somebody who knew the old house Rat. [Aure] What did you want to know? [Guillame] I wasn't expecting to find out who Raina was from you, though. [Aure] Well, I can tell you about Raina, at least in this world. [Guillame] I suppose I wanted to know whether any of Willem's interpretations of our religion were closer than the currently popular ones to those used in the undercity. But now, I'd like to hear about your Raina, yes. Please. [Aure] You remember how I told you last time that the visions could get stronger? Well, it happened to Raina, poor child. [Aure] For a time, she did all right for herself, even had a good steady position washing dishes in the palace kitchens, but that ended badly. [Aure] Her brother offered to have her live with him when she got worse, but she wouldn't stay - kept running off. He'd usually find her in the old graveyards, up Ash Hill way, or even out in the Saltgrove.

  • Guillame listens

[Aure] If you wanted to find her, that's where you should look. But she's mad now, or as close to it as makes no difference...

  • Silvia_ looks pretty alarmed by this conversation.
  • Guillame wonders
  • Guillame notices Silvia looking alarmed

[Guillame] So, this could happen to Silvia, too? Can she learn to weather it? [Aure] We can hope so. In the old days, there would have been someone to train her, an older seer. I don't know if there's any such person anymore, though. [Guillame] Maybe, in the long run, we can try to find one?

  • Aure nods.
  • Guillame mentally revises his research topic to "Modes of religion among the pre-exodus House Rat community"

[Guillame] So, I've taken up enough time for today - let's have some stories for Silvia. [Aure] Oh, very well...

  • Aure will settle in to tell some stories, then.
  • Silvia_ seems cheered by them.
  • Guillame takes notes - they're useful for me, too!

[DiablotinNarrator] Ysabeau, rehearsals for the opera you're performing in at the Hesperange are picking up speed as the opening date draws nearer. [DiablotinNarrator] The show, a new tragedy composed by Marja Travere, is entitled "The Bridge of Tears". It tells the story of a poor young woman, Constine, who falls in love with a mysterious man she fishes out of the river. [DiablotinNarrator] He has lost his memory, but has a mysterious birthmark which later identifies him as Leopold, the missing son of a Duke. It turns out he is engaged to the Princess-Imperial, and he regretfully leaves Constine, who goes mad and kills herself by leaping off the bridge. [DiablotinNarrator] You play the part of Elise, Constine's best friend, a small but interesting role with a nicely dramatic solo near the end of the show when you inform a guilt-stricken Leopold of her death. [DiablotinNarrator] The part of Leopold is played by a handsome fellow named Ector Boqueron, Constine by a very talented, if somewhat dim-witted, young woman named Aveline Mendiau. [DiablotinNarrator] Your comparatively small role allows you ample opportunity to watch the other performers go through their paces. [DiablotinNarrator] Tonight, you happen to notice an oddly familiar face in the chorus. Perhaps she's a new arrival, brought in to replace someone who got sick or took a better role elsewhere, or perhaps she was always there and you just never noticed her before...

  • Ysabeau is pleased to have a role at all, and knows that with hard work and persistence, some day she'll be playing the leads.

[DiablotinNarrator] But you have a distinct feeling that you recognize her. It's only when you catch a glimpse of her ears, slightly pointed, that you realize where you've seen her before - it's Vica, Sen's girlfriend from the dream, or rather her equivalent in this world. [Ysabeau] . o O (Weird!)

  • Ysabeau figured there'd be people she'd see like that eventually.
  • Ysabeau wonders if any of the people out here might somehow have dreamed of what happened there, but 'Vica' is someone she didn't know there, really, and doesn't know at all here, so she's not about to go asking her about it...

[DiablotinNarrator] Your rehearsal is complete for the evening, later than expected.

  • Ysabeau packs up her script and lyrics wearily and puts on her outdoor gear.
  • Ysabeau says her farewells cheerfully to the other castmembers.

[Ysabeau] (Do people ever go for drinks or anything after rehearsals? Mind you, tonight is extra late so maybe everyone just wants to go home) [DiablotinNarrator] Most people just seem to be heading home.

  • Vica is standing around outside, perhaps waiting for a cab, or someone to walk with?
  • Ysabeau flashes a smile at Vica.

[Ysabeau] Getting chilly these days, isn't it? [Vica] Oh, yeah, it is. I was thinking I'd take a cab home, but it's so expensive... [Ysabeau] I just walk... got better things to spend my money on. [Vica] How long a walk do you have? [Vica] I'm over in the Place D'Iena. [Ysabeau] Oh, I'm in Pearl City. [Vica] Well, same general direction anyway... want to walk together partway? [Ysabeau] Sure. [Ysabeau] You're new, at least I haven't seen you at rehearsals before. [Ysabeau] I'm Ysabeau - Ysabeau Chanuier.

  • Ysabeau smiles merrily and sticks out her hand in greeting.

[Vica] Vica Trestelle.

  • Vica offers her hand in return.

[Ysabeau] Pleased to meet you.

  • Ysabeau shakes her hand with a firm, confident grip.

[Vica] One of the girls in the chorus ran off with her boyfriend, and they needed a replacement. [Ysabeau] Ah, I was just going to ask. [Ysabeau] Girls, huh?

  • Vica shrugs.
  • Ysabeau rolls her eyes dramatically, smiling.

[Vica] I just hope he was worth it ;) [Ysabeau] Indeed. [Ysabeau] At any rate, it's good news for you, I guess. [Vica] I guess so :) [Ysabeau] So have you performed before? [Vica] Oh, yeah.. this is a bit more classy than some of my jobs, though.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] I guess I could say the same.

  • Ysabeau laughs.

[Ysabeau] This is my first opera so I'm pretty excited. [Ysabeau] I do play in a musical group, though, and have had some great gigs with them. [Vica] It seems like you're doing great so far. [Ysabeau] Thanks. [Vica] What sort of musical group is it? [Ysabeau] (Where is the Hesperange in relation to our homes? IE do we have to cross bridges to get home?) [Ysabeau] Oh, chamber music - the Vallon Consort. Perhaps you've heard of us?

  • Ysabeau asks hopefully.

[DiablotinNarrator] (It's in Rhenea, so yes, you have to cross bridges) [Vica] Have you performed at any of the music halls? I might remember you from there :)

  • Ysabeau mentions a few they've played at - generally the more upscale ones, I believe.

[Ysabeau] We like to slip some ancient and early music into our sets, thought mostly people want us to play what's currently most popular.

  • Vica nods.

[Ysabeau] So, where do you prefer to cross? To the Island or into Pearl? [Vica] Sounds interesting. [Vica] Oh, I don't mind walking in Pearl... [Ysabeau] Pearl it is, then. [Vica] I was born there, after all.

  • Ysabeau heads to the Rhenea/Pearl City bridge.

[Ysabeau] I'm not sure where I was born, but we've lived in Pearl for a while now. [Vica] We? [Ysabeau] Maybe someday we'll move on up to the Place d'Iena like you. [Vica] Are you married, or live with your family?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] My sister and I. [Vica] Ah, I see. [Ysabeau] How about you? [Vica] I live with my mother, for the moment. [Vica] Just while I'm saving up some money.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] That's fair.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Just don't knock it while you have her. [Vica] Oh, no, I don't mind. My mother's mostly fine to live with :) [Vica] She can nag a bit, but she's not so bad. [Vica] Mostly she wants me to find a nice man and settle down ;)

[DiablotinNarrator] Dominik, though there are many things in this world you'd far rather do, you are steeling yourself to talk to your brother Theron in an effort to try and determine if he has had any further odd dreams or visions.

  • Dominik takes a deep breath and tries to focus on the task ahead
  • Theron is in the library, idly flipping through a book that looks, to your casual glance, like a collection of drawings of nearly-naked women.

[Dominik] Afternoon [Theron] Oh, hey, Dom.

  • Dominik says to announce himself

[Dominik] Feeling better these days? [Theron] A little bit. Hm, this one looks like your type. Big tits, dark hair...

  • Theron turns the book to give you a look at the attractive figure on the page, who doesn't really look *that* much like Ysabeau... maybe a bit like Ida, though...
  • Dominik will find himself a seat
  • Dominik smiles

[Theron] I can't imagine how anyone could think you were fucking Ilphère - she's so painfully *not* to your taste. So skinny... [Dominik] And she is my cousin.

  • Theron shrugs.

[Dominik] Not that changes anyones rumors [Theron] Indeed.

  • Theron shakes his head, as if to clear that mental image away.

[Theron] Anyhow, what did you want? [Dominik] I want to ask you about your visions. [Theron] Oh. [Dominik] or headaches, dreams whatever you want to call them.

  • Theron nods...

[Theron] Right, well, Ilphère did ask me to write down any other weird dreams or whatever that I had... [Dominik] Did you actually do it? [Theron] I did for a couple months, but it made me feel too much like I was going insane. Maybe I am, I don't even know how I'd tell...

  • Theron chuckles at his own joke.

[Theron] Anyway, she can have the notes I made if she thinks it'll make any difference.

  • Dominik nods

[Theron] They're in my room... [Dominik] Have you looked into these dreams yourself? Talked to anyone else?

  • Theron closes his soft porn book and stands.

[Theron] I wouldn't know where to start. [Theron] And I haven't told anyone - I don't need more people thinking I'm mad.

  • Dominik nods

[Theron] Is this kind of thing happening to her too?

  • Dominik stands to go with him

[Dominik] Somewhat... but its not the same. [Theron] Great... :/

  • Theron walks with you to his bedroom. It's surprisingly neat and tidy, as if he hasn't spent much time there lately and so the maids have had free rein.
  • Theron unlocks his desk, retrieves a sheaf of papers, and hands them to you.

[Dominik] Where have you been staying... not here obviously. [Theron] My flat...

  • Dominik takes a quick look at the papers then pockets them

[Dominik] still with that girl? [Theron] There you go... that's everything I wrote down. Mostly the dreams are the same kind of stuff over and over again anyhow. [Theron] Lynnie? Yeah, more or less. [Theron] She's been kind of a pain lately, though. [Dominik] Staying away from the Lozada-Boyne's?

  • Theron shrugs.

[Theron] I've seen them once or twice... private parties. [Dominik] They know about your dreams. Do they ask you about them?

  • Theron nods.

[Theron] I mostly just said I can't remember them. [Dominik] Do they believe you? [Theron] I don't know... they haven't pressed the subject, anyway. [Dominik] probably don't need to press you... magic can be used to read minds.

  • Theron nods grimly.

[Theron] Dom... [Dominik] yes?

  • Theron hesitates for a moment, then presses on in a rush.

[Theron] ...You probably won't believe me, but I wanted to say that I'm sorry for being such a shit when we were kids. [Theron] I just... I guess I just resented you because you made my father go away. Stupid, I know - it's not like it was *your* fault my parents hate each other.

  • Theron looks embarrassed.

[Dominik] No, it wasn't my fault. [Dominik] And just because you feel bad when your life is going shitty doesn't mean that I'm just going to forget the past. [Theron] That's fair. [Theron] I can't forget it either. [Dominik] Stay away from Phedre and her boy-toy.

  • Theron nods.

[Theron] If Ilphère comes up with some clever way to stop these dreams... let me know? [Dominik] I'll think about it.

  • Dominik turns to walk away
  • Theron isn't about to stop you.

[Dominik] ... if there's a way to stop them I'll let you know. [Theron] Thanks.

  • Dominik pulls out the papers and reads through them

[DiablotinNarrator] OK... here is what you read. [DiablotinNarrator] 7-21. Dreamed again of that white-robed smith or whatever he is. He carries a hammer. He said, or I heard in my head, "The wheel must turn true." [DiablotinNarrator] 7-25. Dreamed there was a rat in my room. I cornered it and caught it under a bowl, but when I lifted it up again, the rat was gone. [DiablotinNarrator] 7-27. Dreamed I was [fucking] (crossed out) lying with Phedre when her hair turned into a mass of snakes. One bit me on the forehead, and blood and venom were running down my face. I have no idea if this is relevant, but it was pretty vivid. [DiablotinNarrator] 8-13. Just the sound of wheels and bells for two weeks now, nothing else I can remember. [DiablotinNarrator] 8-14. Two huge (stone?) arms encircling a rat, crushing it. [DiablotinNarrator] 8-18. Dreamed I lay with Yanina and Ilphere together on the Down, by the Arch. Ilphere's arms turned into snakes. Possibly irrelevant? Sorry, cousin, but you *did* ask me to write this stuff down. (PS - you were great.) [DiablotinNarrator] 8-24. A black serpent forcing its way into my mouth, coiling its way through my guts. I grabbed a knife and cut it in half, and the half that fell to the floor turned white, like it was drained of blood. [DiablotinNarrator] 9-1. In a stone room with no doors, no way out. [DiablotinNarrator] 9-5. I thought there was ink on my hands, but it turned out to be some sticky blood-like substance that wouldn't wash off. [DiablotinNarrator] 9-8. Walking through a desert, I tripped over something in the sand. I started clearing it away, and it was a piece of stone. I swept more away, and more, and I could tell it was the Arch, buried under sand. The wind kept blowing and covering it up with sand again, so I could never finish clearing it. [DiablotinNarrator] 9-12. The old dream about Dom and the dogs - the one where they kill him and it's all my fault. [DiablotinNarrator] 9-13. My father gave me a book that he said would explain things about our family, important things I had to know, but when I opened it the pages were all blank. [DiablotinNarrator] 9-19. Smith (?) dream again. He tried to speak to me, but I couldn't understand, so he broke both of my legs with his hammer. I think I'm going to stop writing these down now, it just makes it worse when I remember them clearly. [DiablotinNarrator] That's the end of the papers.

  • Dominik tries to correspond the dates with other events...

[DiablotinNarrator] (http://wiki.rocksfall.org/rocksfallwiki/Calendar_and_Timeline if you want to try :) [Dominik] (doing that now) [DiablotinNarrator] Anyhow... you can do with the papers as you wish. [Dominik] (ok) [Dominik] (short scene anything else?) [DiablotinNarrator] (That was all I had - did you want to do anything else short?) [Dominik] (nah, ill go bring this stuff to Ilphere when she's free) [DiablotinNarrator] (ok)

[DiablotinNarrator] Seth, you wished to speak to the Warlord, Cornelia Nash. How would you like to approach her? [Seth] (I will send her a note formally requesting an appointment)

  • Cornelia will send a note back indicating a time when you can come and speak with her.
  • Seth will do so.
  • Seth will dress fairly formally.
  • Cornelia receives you in her office.

[Cornelia] Well... How did your trip go? [Seth] Very well. My compatriots and I made a set of most unusual discoveries. [Cornelia] Oh? [Seth] We travelled to an unusual realm, a sort of alternate world where things were like and yet unlike here. [Seth] A realm that lives in the dreams of a sleeping Shadar-kai woman, a queen, one might say.

  • Cornelia listens attentively.

[Seth] This realm is one where this city is ruled by Shadar-kai still, and where the Arch still serves its original purpose. [Cornelia] I see... how fascinating. [Seth] You were there, in that place, this city called Saraknyel. And that other you, she had dreams of Diablotin. [Cornelia] It sounds horrible, but amazing. [Cornelia] The other... me? [Seth] Yes. [Cornelia] o_O [Seth] There is much more. [Seth] But first ... tell me about your connection to the Arch. [Cornelia] ... [Cornelia] Come for a walk with me, and we can talk. I get restless staying for too long in once place. [Seth] Very well.

  • Seth rises and will accompany her.
  • Cornelia walks with you through echoing stone corridors lit by magical lights, until you reach the foot of a spiralling staircase you don't think you've seen before.
  • Cornelia begins to walk up it, obviously expecting you to follow her. It's a long way up...
  • Seth will do so

[Cornelia] Once, I was the Arch's guardian. I failed in my task, and I have spent the rest of my life in atonement for that failure.

  • Cornelia says as you climb.

[Seth] How did you become its guardian? [Cornelia] I lived here in the palace as a child... I felt called to it, as best as I can explain. [Seth] Was there a guardian before you? [Cornelia] There has always been one, I believe. [Seth] Who was the one before you? [Cornelia] I don't know. [Cornelia] I suppose he or she had died, which was why I was called. [Seth] What does the guardian of the Arch do? [Cornelia] What *did* the guardian do, you mean... [Seth] Yes. [Cornelia] Prepare candidates for the testing, observe them during the testing, determine which one them was marked upon their return... [Seth] How did you know what to do? You were a child. [Cornelia] The knowledge was given to me. [Cornelia] But I also felt a greater responsibility... [Cornelia] To ensure that the being trapped in the Arch never got free. [Seth] Which being? [Cornelia] And in that, I failed. [Cornelia] Either of them. [DiablotinNarrator] The walls of the tower are of smooth white stone, and you believe they are very old, though the stairs have perhaps been replaced or extensively repaired. [DiablotinNarrator] Finally, after what seems like ages, you reach the top of the tower - or belfry, you realize, for the first thing, almost the only thing, you see is a massive bell, more than three times the height of a tall man, black and completely smooth. [DiablotinNarrator] The sides of the tower are open, and the wind that whips through is fierce, but the bell doesn't move in the slightest. [Seth] (do I know where we are?) [DiablotinNarrator] (you can hazard a guess...) [Seth] (ok) [Cornelia] The Eternit Bell.

  • Seth nods.
  • Cornelia lays a hand on its surface.

[Cornelia] I brought you here... well, first, because no one comes here. But also because this place, more than anywhere, represents the broken covenant between the ruler and the city. [Seth] A covenant established by whom? For what purpose? [Cornelia] This bell *knows* - or used to know - the moment the Emperor's life began to leave his or her body. [Cornelia] When Empress Idaia died, they got the strongest palace guards they could find to come up here and push the bloody thing. They're lucky she didn't have a long, lingering illness, they could barely swing it. [Seth] So you reason that you now owe it to the city to restore the Arch to what it once was. [Cornelia] Not only to the city, but yes. [Seth] To who else, then? [Cornelia] To the universe... That *thing* should not be allowed to be free, to wreak its evil in whatever way it chooses. [Seth] Where is it now?

  • Cornelia waves a hand.

[Cornelia] Anywhere. Everywhere. The same as the gods. [Seth] So Vrag is the same as the seven gods? [Cornelia] I don't know if it's the same. I'm no theologian. I know that it's just as powerful.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] What, then, is left in the city? The city is not Vrag, nor the gods, yet it still has ... power ... doesn't it? [Cornelia] Remnants of Emperors' souls, I suspect. [Seth] Hmm. [Cornelia] You seem pensive. What are you thinking? [Seth] In Saraknyel, the other-me was ... touched by the city, one might say. In communion with the city. [Seth] And in some way, which is not clear to me, that is also true of me, here, now. [Cornelia] How do you mean?\ [Seth] Well ... for instance ... I no longer have the need to eat or drink. [Cornelia] o_O [Seth] And I ... I feel the city ... I sense it around me more keenly. [Cornelia] How fascinating. [Seth] Is this at all similar to your experiences? [Cornelia] No... [Seth] Have you ever had dreams of another city, like but unlike this one? [Cornelia] I don't often recall my dreams, I'm afraid. I don't think I have. [Seth] Interesting. [Seth] When the Arch was stripped of its power, did you ... feel it? Was it palpable? [Cornelia] I not only felt it... I was within it. [Cornelia] It was... indescribable. [Seth] But when one goes through the arch ... one loses something, a piece of one's soul. [Cornelia] Yes. [Cornelia] No one can pass through it without some sacrifice. [Seth] Why do it, then? Why not just leave it alone? [Cornelia] You yourself said why, the last time we spoke. [Cornelia] Because a sacrifice is necessary to ensure a worthy ruler.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] I don't know what to believe, here. But the things I have seen and done over the past ... well, recently ... have made me doubt much that I once held to be true.

  • Cornelia nods.

[Seth] I have said much. Now, what would you like to know? [Cornelia] I want to hear more about your journey. About how the Arch functioned in this other world. [Cornelia] Come, let's go down. The wind is terrible up here.

  • Seth follows her down, then.
  • Cornelia gives the bell a farewell pat.

[Cornelia] If you have a bond with the city, I wonder what will happen when you die, Seth. [Seth] I intend not to find out soon. [Cornelia] An excellent intention.

[DiablotinNarrator] Alma, you have your scheduled meeting with Reverend Father Theron this afternoon. Danyel meets you at the appointed time so that you can go in to meet the Reverend Father together. [Danyel] How are you faring today, Sister Alma?

  • Danyel asks politely, if a bit stiffly.

[Alma] Good afternoon, Ser Danyel. I'm doing well. :)

  • Alma seems genuinely pleased to see him.

[Alma] You?

  • Danyel relaxes a little when you seem pleased.

[Danyel] I'm well, thank you.

  • Alma will proceed into the appointment.

[Danyel] I hope you've had the opportunity to rest and relax a little bit... [Alma] ... a little... [Alma] The society meeting... [Alma] Well, after today perhaps there'll be a little bit of a break :) [Danyel] It seemed very ... difficult. I was uncertain what to say. [Danyel] I hope for your sake that's the case, Sister. [Alma] Well, I'm sure some of it sounded quite strange, even knowing some of it from me.

  • Danyel nods.

[DiablotinNarrator] You are shown into the Reverend Father for your meeting. [Reverend_Father] The Reverend Father is seated at his writing desk, the weak afternoon sunlight streaming in the windows behind him and casting him into shadow. [Reverend_Father] Ah, Sister Alma, Ser Danyel. Good to see you both. [Alma] Good afternoon, Reverend Father.

  • Reverend_Father sets aside whatever he was writing.

[Reverend_Father] How are you both? [Danyel] Well, thank you, Reverend Father. [Alma] Yes, well, thank you. :) [Alma] (ok maybe not ;_;) [Reverend_Father] Good, good. [Reverend_Father] Well, I am glad to see you safely returned.

  • Alma is respectfully letting the RF lead the conversation. "It was... quite a different trip, this time."

[Reverend_Father] Oh? [Reverend_Father] I am most interested to hear about it. [Alma] ... yes, well, several of us from the Society... entered into the dream of the sleeping Shadar-kai. [Reverend_Father] ...my goodness :o [Reverend_Father] Was that safe? [Alma] ... perhaps not... [Alma] In hindsight. [Reverend_Father] Then I am doubly glad that you've returned unharmed.

  • Alma quickly describes the trip beforehand, and the encounter with the Shadar-Kai ghosts.
  • Reverend_Father listens attentively, jotting down a few notes now and then.

[Alma] Ilphere deQuessenet suggested that her spell would allow us to experience the dream of the sleeping Queen and might reveal something... [Alma] However it did not go exactly as planned. It appears the Queen has been dreaming so long that ... it has become a world of its own. Perhaps a demi-plane. [Reverend_Father] Hm....very interesting. [Alma] We expected to merely reflect the dream somewhat, while we were inside, but instead we were ... trapped inside dream versions of ourselves. [Reverend_Father] How did you make your escape? [Alma] Though she has been sleeping, in another plane, presumably for millennia, her dream is inhabited by ... analogues to people in Diablotin. [Alma] Well, ultimately we were evicted. [Reverend_Father] Analogues... How is that possible? [Reverend_Father] There must be some connection between the worlds, if that is so... [Alma] I'm not entirely sure, Reverend Father. [Alma] That is so... [Alma] The ... the dream she has created is dark... awful. The Shadar-kai rule, and the cult of Vrag is supreme. [Danyel] How terrible :o [Alma] The thought that they might be... real people somehow... concerned me greatly, and I chose to commune with Owl. [Reverend_Father] What did you learn? [Alma] ... I learned that the dream was not merely a dream, or an illusion. The beings... people we encountered, do have souls... though, somehow not like ours, though they are linked to ours.

  • Reverend_Father listens intently.
  • Alma begins to look a little agitated.

[Alma] I asked as well whether I should concern myself with their spirits, but I was told not to worry.

  • Danyel gingerly rests a hand on your arm when he sees you begin to look agitated.
  • Alma leans into it reflexively.

[Reverend_Father] The Gods must care for them, somehow... [Alma] Yes, they must. [Alma] There's ... more. [Reverend_Father] Yes?

  • Alma will proceed to tell the him the basic outline of everything that happened. Salacious details aside, the more graphic or awful things reduced to simple terms.
  • Reverend_Father looks shocked/horrified at all the appropriate places.

[Reverend_Father] How terrible, for you to have suffered through all of this... [Alma] In my Communion, it was revealed that it was truly Matriarch Belden who was within the Arch... and that.. [Alma] ... that Ilphere... Pheria, her experience after death was not an illusion. [Alma] The planes, all bound together by that accursed Arch... [Reverend_Father] Truly... [Reverend_Father] Thank you for relating all of this to me, Sister. If there is anything I can do for you in return, or to help you recover from what was obviously a highly disturbing experience... please let me know. [Alma] Thank you, Reverend Father.

  • Alma wipes at her eyes.
  • Danyel puts an arm around you.

[Alma] I'm hoping a few days off will help :) [Reverend_Father] Of course. Take what time you need. [Reverend_Father] Do I have your permission to discuss these matters with the rest of the council?

  • Alma leans into the gesture, despite its slight inappropriateness.

[Alma] Of course, as you think best. [Alma] (I don't think I have any reason to suggest otherwise?) [Reverend_Father] Thank you, Sister. I will of course let you know if we come to any conclusions. [Alma] I was wondering how to proceed with regards to the Order... the dream implies that Earric Boyne is perhaps a demon... [Reverend_Father] Yes, that part is particularly disturbing. [Reverend_Father] We will investigate him more thoroughly, and determine what to do from there. [Alma] How should I proceed? [Reverend_Father] For now, you should rest, as you said. I will contact you when I've spoken with the rest of the council, and let you know how we shall proceed from there.

  • Alma will also relate the discussion at the Society afterwards, including the possibility of Martan.

[Alma] (Essentially he gets everything he'll let me talk about except unnecessary details.) [Alma] (-_-) [Reverend_Father] (ok) [Alma] Alright, thank you Reverend Father.

  • Reverend_Father will let you talk as long as you need to, basically.
  • Danyel will escort you out when you're finally done.

[Danyel] I apologize, Sister.

  • Danyel says when you're back outside.

[Alma] ... what for? [Danyel] I shouldn't have presumed... I only... you seemed upset. [Alma] What do you mean? [Danyel] I may have been.. overly familiar? [Alma] Oh... [Danyel] Please tell me if you wish me to .... to continue, or stop...

  • Danyel seems a bit flustered.

[Alma] .oO( Continue? :o ) [Alma] I...

  • Alma quickly looks as flustered

[Alma] I needed comforting... so I'm grateful.

  • Danyel nods, looking somewhat relieved.

[Danyel] Do you wish me to accompany you home? [Alma] It is very honourable of you to care for those in pain. [Alma] I... yes, please...

  • Danyel will gladly do so.
  • Alma talks about anything but important things during the ride back.
  • Danyel is perfectly happy to make idle conversation with you.
  • Alma of course invites him in for supper after such a gruelling afternoon @_@
  • Danyel accepts!
  • Danyel will speak to you again after dinner.

[Danyel] It has been... very nice, Sister. I was surprised how much I missed you during the week I was gone. [Alma] :o

  • Alma , perhaps too late, hides her surprise.

[Danyel] ...

  • Danyel waits to see if you're kicking him out again ;)

[Alma] .oO( Well, if I'm worried about the other Danyel confusing me... shouldn't I get to know this one more? ) [Alma] I think I'd like to take Felise into the country for a few days, rotten weather or not. Would you be free to join us? [Danyel] I would love to. [Alma] Good :) [Danyel] Just let me know when you intend to depart, and I'll be sure to be there. [Alma] I was going to let the guardsmen know we won't be needing them... [Danyel] Splendid :) [Alma] If you are still free...

  • Danyel nods.

[Danyel] Certainly. [Alma] Well, I'll let Sagesse know you're back. I'm going to my room to reflect for the evening. [Danyel] Very well.

  • Danyel takes your hand, bows and kisses it briefly before you leave.
  • Alma gets a little electric jolt

[Danyel] Good night, Alma. [Alma] .oO( :o ) [Alma] G...good night.

  • Alma retreats a little quickly.

[DiablotinNarrator] Sanadhil, you wished to talk to Phedre, and so you pay (another) visit to her home in the Grand.

  • Sanadhil dresses all nice and such
  • Phedre wears an elegantly-draped gown in a gold-and-brown brocade that accentuates her eyes.

[Phedre] M. Orecalo, how lovely to see you again. [Phedre] Can I offer you a drink? [Sanadhil] You as well, madame - and thank you.

  • Phedre will pour you some brandy.
  • Sanadhil will take it

[Sanadhil] Thank you for seeing me.... [Phedre] It's a pleasure.

  • Phedre takes a seat.

[Phedre] What can I do for you?

  • Sanadhil will sit, glancing briefly around the parlour
  • Sanadhil smiles at her

[Sanadhil] Much like my first visit here.... I want to know more, about Ophion.

  • Phedre smiles back.

[Phedre] Well, I am glad to tell you what I can... [Sanadhil] Please! [Phedre] What would you like to know in particular? [Sanadhil] How did you learn of him? or.. it? [Phedre] Well, as a child, I often heard the story from my father of how the Arch was moved, and the events that followed. [Phedre] In those days, the return of the Rat was still a highly controversial subject, but one I always found fascinating. Even at a young age, I realized that this revelation meant that the entire basis of our religion was necessarily suspect. [Sanadhil] of course [Phedre] All the books, all the priests, told of six gods only, no more. So either they were mistaken, or they were lying. Either way, it did not instill in me a strong sense of confidence in the Way of the Wheel. [Phedre] Of course, the church bent over backwards to try and explain how they could have been wrong for so many centuries, but it all rang false to me. [Phedre] And as I grew older, I heard bits and pieces from my father and his friends which suggested that they believed another entity had been released at the same time the Rat was freed from the Arch.

  • Sanadhil nods, listening intently

[Phedre] This was not known by the general public, of course - it could have caused a panic, I believe was their reasoning for keeping it hidden. [Phedre] As a young woman, I applied myself to learning everything I could about this unknown power - in secret, of course. What was it, how had it been imprisoned, where was it now, what might it want? [Phedre] I was fortunate that I had the leisure and the resources to conduct my research, although once I was married and my children arrived, of course I had fewer opportunities to travel. [Phedre] My first clue... well, perhaps it's easiest if I show you.

  • Phedre stands and crosses the room to a glass-fronted cabinet. She unlocks and opens it, and removes a clay vessel - a large cup or small bowl.
  • Phedre holds it out so you can see it, though she does not pass it to you.
  • Sanadhil looks it over as best eh can without taing it from her

[DiablotinNarrator] The bowl is obviously very old, and has several chips missing from it. [DiablotinNarrator] Around the edge are carvings, fairly crude but nevertheless recognizable - representations of the six gods: a bear, rearing on its hind legs, a lizard with coiled tail, a bull with broad horns, a wolf, its head tipped in a howl, an owl with wings spread wide, and a slant-eyed, sharp-clawed cat. [Phedre] This bowl was found - in pieces, of course - during an excavation in the Pav twenty-two years ago. Someone's new wine cellar was being dug, and this turned up. I estimate it dates to around the time of the foundation of the Empire.

  • Phedre tips the bowl so you can see the interior. In the base of the bowl is a carving of a rat. Coiled around the inner lip in a ring is a serpent.

[Sanadhil] oh... how fascinating! [Phedre] Isn't it? The person who made this bowl some twenty-two hundred years ago knew something that was lost - or deliberately suppressed - in the centuries that followed. [Sanadhil] who knows of this? [Phedre] Very few people. [Sanadhil] (Julie - if it is broken it is probably not enchanted, correct? i can make an arcana roll...) [DiablotinNarrator] (seems likely) [DiablotinNarrator] (that it's not, I mean) [Sanadhil] (okay(

  • Phedre puts the bowl reverently back into the cabinet with her other assorted curios.

[Sanadhil] is there anything else like it?

  • Sanadhil glances at the cabinet a little more closely

[Phedre] Physical items? Not that I am aware of, not ones so overt at any rate.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] I pored over the earliest sacred writings I could lay my hands on, the proto-Almas Genara, as well as a few odds and ends that were unaccountably left out, yet have managed to survive. In one of them, I first encountered the name 'Ophion' - which of course merely means 'Serpent' in Old Aveyronnais. [Sanadhil] of course [Sanadhil] which text, may i ask?

  • Phedre gives you the reference, so you can look it up ;)
  • Sanadhil doesn't even have to fake being excited :V

[Phedre] I wondered at first if this meant there had been an eighth tribe of men, those who had prayed to a lost Serpent god, and who had vanished even more thoroughly than the Rats had. [Phedre] I later came to believe that the Serpent-worshippers were the humans who were conquered by our - well, my - ancestors when they arrived in this land, assimilated so thoroughly that they lost all memory of their heritage.

  • Sanadhil purses his lips to keep from interrupting her
  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] yes, quite, yes... [Phedre] The Serpent may have been worshipped as far south as Plascencia, for some of the early writings I have examined were in that tongue. [Phedre] The Arch was originally its conduit, not its prison. Through the Arch, it could communicate with its followers, bestow its blessings upon them. It was only when the Arch was broken that it became trapped. [Phedre] I wonder, though I have no proof either way, whether every god has such a conduit. Did we leave our own Arches, or whatever they may have been, behind when we journeyed to this land? For I can see no reason why only Ophion among all the gods should have such a tool.

  • Sanadhil nakes a mental note to learn plascential

[Phedre] I pondered other matters too. The mass slaughter of dragons in the early centuries of the Empire, for instance. Was this a remnant of Serpent-worship being stamped out?

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] I journeyed far in my research. After my first husband's death, I travelled still farther, seeking some answer to my questions. And at last, I found it - or rather, it found me. [Sanadhil] where? [Phedre] In the Shadow Plane.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] of course... [Phedre] There is a temple there... I don't know if you've seen it or not. [Sanadhil] I have. [Phedre] In it, I found writings... and I felt Ophion's presence for the first time. [Phedre] I became an initiate of a faith that had lain dormant for over two thousand years. [Sanadhil] fascinating.... [Sanadhil] do you have the writings? [Sanadhil] What did they say? [Phedre] Well.. I do have them, yes. I consider them reserved, however, for members of the faith's inner circle. [Phedre] If you were interested in joining us... :) [Sanadhil] of course... What does that entail? [Phedre] There are oaths, of course... bindings... We have to ensure our safety, naturally.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I see...

  • Sanadhil looks thoughtful

[Sanadhil] I need to consider thins more carefully. [Phedre] Of course, I understand. Take your time.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] thank you [Phedre] More brandy? [Sanadhil] What does Ophion want?

  • Sanadhil loks down at his still mostly full glass, and taks a sip

[Phedre] What does any god want? Veneration. Worship.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] and in return? [Phedre] He grants his faithful power. [Sanadhil] as they all do....

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] But if the arch is restored... [Sanadhil] what will happen then? [Phedre] With the Arch as it is now, Ophion can come and go freely.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] If it were to be broken once more, then he could once more be trapped. [Phedre] At least, so I conjecture.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] But it does not stand in its original state now.... [Sanadhil] before it was broken, it was... more. [Phedre] When it is empowered by the presence of a god... then it is more, yes. [Sanadhil] I see... [Sanadhil] at the rituals? [Phedre] I cannot command him - only beseech him to bestow his presence upon us. [Sanadhil] of course [Sanadhil] One does not command a god...

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] what do you want, for the faithful?

  • Phedre smiles.

[Phedre] Become one, and you'll learn :) [Phedre] But for now, it's growing late...

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Sanadhil] indeed. [Phedre] Would you care to stay the night, M. Orecalo?

  • Phedre offers.
  • Sanadhil blinks, completely not having expected that

[Sanadhil] Your husband...

  • Sanadhil hasn't seen Earric, but i guess he could be around :o

[Phedre] Already abed, I suspect. [Sanadhil] I see... [Sanadhil] Well, then.... thank you, for the invitation.

  • Sanadhil smiles in return

[Sanadhil] I woudl be delighted. [Phedre] Wonderful :)


  • Sanadhil will try to arrange to see Ilphere at the society, or somwehere we can be ensured of a little privacy, but if there is no other option for miss I'm busy being engaged to a Prince, I can come to her house :x

[Ilphere] (the society is ok I guess) [Sanadhil] (alrighty) [Sanadhil] (dunno of it is better as before or after your scene - possiby befre, just so we're not condensing time too much on Ilphere ;p) [Ilphere] (ok)

  • Sanadhil will be waiting for you in the library, and we can move to a private room from there
  • Sanadhil rises when he sees you

[Sanadhil] Good afternoon, Ilphère [Ilphere] Hello Sanadil...!

  • Ilphere says brightly.

[Sanadhil] Thank you for making time for this - I realize you have been quite busy.

  • Sanadhil will escort you to a room, and then close the door behind us

[Sanadhil] ...But some things have happened that i was not certain was worth sharing with the others [Ilphere] Oh...? [Sanadhil] Yes... [Sanadhil] Earric came to see me the night that we returned from the Shadow plane [Ilphere] Earric...? Why?

  • Sanadhil smiles sort of smugly

[Sanadhil] because he doesn't want to be killed by the church. [Ilphere] Well who does...? [Ilphere] WHy specifically? [Sanadhil] He told me that Phedre has bound him to her, so that he cannot leave. [Sanadhil] He wants me to help him get free of her power [Ilphere] ... Why is he suddenly confiding all of this to you...? [Sanadhil] He knows some of what happened in the dream [Ilphere] How ...?!

  • Ilphere asks, surprised.

[Sanadhil] Do you remember the first meeting we atteneded? [Ilphere] Of course... [Sanadhil] And Earric kissed you, and there a coppery taste, and a sense of... closeness? [Sanadhil] It was part of an enduring ritual [Ilphere] Yes... I assumed it was merely an enchantment...

  • Sanadhil shakes his head
  • Ilphere frowns.

[Ilphere] That... does not please me, Sanadhil...! [Sanadhil] he can sense us wherever we are on this plane [Sanadhil] of course not. [Sanadhil] I suspected there was more to it, but couldn't find any evidence, nas I was reasearching the wrong things... [Sanadhil] It is not a matter of him being a succubus- which he is - but something else.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Sanadhil] In any case, as he said in the dream - he recognized us, and knew us there. [Sanadhil] and when that 'earric' returned, apparently he was rejoined with himself... [Sanadhil] I don't know what all he knows [Sanadhil] but he was aware of us while we were gone. [Ilphere] Why did he choose to visit you, then...? [Sanadhil] I think he consideres you too....distracted... for his purposes. [Sanadhil] Also, I'm more likely to have the kind of contact with Phedre necessary to achieve what he wants [Sanadhil] Apparently it is her necklace that controls the bond. [Ilphere] I don't know whether I should be insulted or relieved...!

  • Ilphere huffs.
  • Sanadhil smiles a little

[Sanadhil] possibly both? [Ilphere] Possibly...! [Ilphere] You seem to attract all the interesting things...

  • Ilphere sighs...

[Sanadhil] *I*'m not the one receiving visions and dreaming of dead emperors!

  • Sanadhil smiles again

[Ilphere] They don't seem to matter to anyone but me... [Sanadhil] And i'm not certain you'd want to repeat all of my experiences, in any case [Sanadhil] others aren't paying attention. [Sanadhil] Phedre is certainly interested in you on that account [Ilphere] Well... what does he want you to do... release him..?| [Sanadhil] Aside from you and Theron, all the visions experienced at the meetings have been illusory

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ilphere] In exchange for what...? [Sanadhil] He wants to be released. He says he will leave if he does - the only reason I have to beleie him on that count is that he has much more to lose by staying, and little to gain. So far he has been quite willing to share information with me - some of it useful, some not. [Ilphere] Will he release us from his... bond...? [Ilphere] What has he told you...? [Sanadhil] if he leaves the plain, he can't exert it [Sanadhil] (Plane) [Sanadhil] I don't know if it can be reversed [Sanadhil] possbly by a wish spell? [Sanadhil] as for what he has told me...

  • Sanadhil will give you a symopsis of stuff, but I was silly and ddn't review the log -_-

[Ilphere] (and I haven't read it all :V) [Sanadhil] The most significant of the information is, i think, what he said about the allies of the cult [Sanadhil] he named Martine Sathin among them [Sanadhil] and another woman on the council of reverenced, though he gave me no name [Ilphere] (reverends?) [Sanadhil] (yes) [Sanadhil] I.... am starting to wonder. [Sanadhil] Phedre is the daughter of pavo Aresnios [Ilphere] And Sathin... [Sanadhil] martine sathin... yes, i see you follow [Sanadhil] Bulter belden... by my calculations, his mother was pregnant when she went through the arch [Ilphere] Truly...! [Ilphere] In the dream... [Ilphere] He said that he dreamed of a woman who knew him before he was born. [Sanadhil] I don't know if there is any relevance - possibly they are sinply childhood friends, as their parents were all related

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] part of his soul may have been trapped in the Arch, aong wth his mother's... [Sanadhil] and of course, we have also the Chancellor

  • Ilphere nods...

[Sanadhil] I am planning to go and speak to Phedre directly [Ilphere] What will you say to her...? [Sanadhil] I want to ask her about Vrag - I think I can keep it within context of the cult [Sanadhil] but ask how she came to know of him.. what she does know of him.. [Ilphere] About its nature...? [Sanadhil] indeed

  • Ilphere nods...

[Sanadhil] and history [Ilphere] I am sure that will be a fascinating discussion... [Sanadhil] I will let you now when it is arranged - of you can come, you are welcome

  • Ilphere nods eagerly...!

[Sanadhil] [but... julie said you'll be busy ;p] [Sanadhil] [and by that point, probably fretting about your dad] [Ilphere] (possibly the two are connected :V) [Sanadhil] (indeed!) [Sanadhil] There is another matter [Ilphere] Oh...? [Sanadhil] I am plannig to investigate the underarch [Sanadhil] I don't know that there is anything ther of relevance, but we shall see. [Ilphere] You know how to access it...? [Sanadhil] In a sense... [Sanadhil] the bond with Earric allows hm to... share his innate abilities, if he allows it [Sanadhil] Through that link, I am for the moment able to teleport [Ilphere] How generous... [Sanadhil] He's generous because he wants something. [Sanadhil] In any case - I should be able to access the chamber [Ilphere] ...Alone? [Sanadhil] in a sense..... [Sanadhil] Do you remember, in the dream, the shadow being that followed Sendhel? [Ilphere] Yes. [Sanadhil] it, or something like is, came with me from there [Ilphere] Ah... I see... [Ilphere] How curious... [Sanadhil] indeed [Sanadhil] I realize it is a poentially dangerous undertaking, but I am preparing for it as best I can [Sanadhil] I don't know what other opportunities we might have [Ilphere] Well... I confess I am unsure it is wise for you to go with only that creature as accompaniment... [Ilphere] If something should happen to you down there, it is unlikely anyone will be able to get to you...! [Ilphere] I hate to bring up the statue, but... [Sanadhil] indeed... [Sanadhil] that is one reason I am telling you in advance [Sanadhil] But I trust my in my magics, as well.

  • Ilphere nods but seems a bit uncertain, or something.

[Sanadhil] You can't tell me you think it is better not to investigate? [Ilphere] No... no not at all...!

  • Ilphere says quickly.

[Sanadhil] but? [Sanadhil] (20 for sm)\ [Ilphere] (20 for bluff) [Sanadhil] 9I think that means you win) [Ilphere] Nothing... I am just worried about you...! [Sanadhil] Ahh.... Thank you for your concern, I only hope to prove it misplaced. [Ilphere] Please do let me know when you are going... [Sanadhil] I will [Sanadhil] If anything does go awry, I will have my shadow seek you out. It can't communicate with byou, but that shoudl be signal enough.

  • Ilphere nods.

[Sanadhil] How are the wedding preparations proceeding? [Ilphere] Oh it seems like they will never end...!

  • Sanadhil will chat about more mundane things for a bit then?

[Ilphere] (aight :)

  • Dominik will catch up to Ysabeau at her house
  • Ysabeau was just about to take Rye for a walk, and is pleasantly surprised. She's all bundled up in her cloak with a happy, excited dog bouncing around at her feet.
  • Dominik is wearing a heavy black hooded cloak

[Dominik] Seems I caught you just as you were heading out. [Ysabeau] Yes! Rye and I were just going for a walk. Would you care to join us?

  • Dominik nods his assent

[Ysabeau] You're looking very cloak-and-dagger today. What's the occasion?

  • Ysabeau snaps a leash onto Rye's collar.

[Dominik] its cold and I like black.

  • Ysabeau shrugs.

[Ysabeau] Fair enough. [Dominik] lets go.

  • Dominik will open the door

[Ysabeau] It does make you look more mysterious and gloomy, which is, if I get you, the point. ;) [Dominik] really its just because the back of my neck gets cold. [Ysabeau] Oh, it's my fault for suggesting you cut your hair, is it?

  • Ysabeau slips outside and waits for him to join her, smiling and rosy-cheeked.
  • Dominik steps out and smiles

[Dominik] Well obviously. [Dominik] trying to make me look respectable [Ysabeau] Hmph. You didn't have to. Though I'm glad you did. It makes you even more handsome.

  • Dominik chuckles

[Dominik] how have your rehearsals been going... the opening is soon is it not?

  • Ysabeau loops Rye's leash over one wrist and slips her other hand into yours, looking up at you happily.

[Ysabeau] Yes, the first showing is [blah - check with Julia, but within the next month or so]

  • Dominik takes her hand in his.

[Ysabeau] They've been going well.

  • Dominik nods

[Ysabeau] One chorus girl ran off with her boyfriend, though so we're having to break in someone new. [Ysabeau] Get this: she's Vica! [Dominik] Vica?

  • Dominik tries to remember

[Ysabeau] Vica Trestelle. It's a little spooky seeing someone I first met in a dream.

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] It is a little strange, definitely [Ysabeau] She seems nice enough, not like the Vica in the dream. [Ysabeau] Have you met anyone like that yet? [Dominik] I wish I had been more aware of my real life in the dream, I may have been able to learn more.

  • Dominik shakes his head no

[Dominik] I've run into people I see regularly that were in the dream, but thats different, not a complete stranger [Ysabeau] Oh well, we're out here now and hindsight is 20-20 or so they say so maybe we'll learn a lot if we think about things enough. [Ysabeau] Though I'm not sure that my particular experiences have anything valuable to contribute! [Ysabeau] So... what have you been keeping busy with since we got back? [Dominik] glimmers and glimpses. Its like panning for gold, so much dirt but there may be a nugget in there. [Ysabeau] Indeed, much like people.

  • Ysabeau smiles warmly up at you.

[Dominik] with the wedding approaching that has kept me busy enough. [Dominik] Otherwise I occupy myself with reading or practice.

  • Rye is very well-behaved; he heels well, though you have to pause every now and then for him to mark his territory.

[Ysabeau] What have you read lately? [Dominik] I did go speak with my brother Theron. [Ysabeau] Oh? [Dominik] Oh... I can show you something when we get back to the house. See if the images mean anything special to you. [Ysabeau] How did that go? And sure. [Dominik] He actually appologised to me about the things in the past.

  • Ysabeau steers us towards a park.

[Ysabeau] And how did that make you feel?

  • Ysabeau smiles down at Rye as he sniffs something interesting.

[Dominik] I was surprised, to say the least [Dominik] and angry

  • Ysabeau glances up at you and nods.

[Dominik] I don't know if he's sincere or just grasping at straws because things are bad for him right now. [Ysabeau] I guess only time will tell. [Ysabeau] It's easy to get caught up on "too little, too late," but then you should also remember "it's better late than never"

  • Ysabeau squeezes your hand gently.

[Dominik] he gave me his notes on the dreams he's been having. They are what I want you to look at to see if you can make anything out from them. [Ysabeau] Oh? Do you have them with you?

  • Dominik nods
  • Ysabeau follows Rye deeper into the park, with you in tow.

[Dominik] I made a copy for you to look at. [Ysabeau] Well, I shall certainly take a look at them. [Dominik] good [Dominik] I'll give the original to Ilphere when I see her next. If you think you've been busy...

  • Ysabeau smiles and grins.

[Ysabeau] I know all about it... I've had to go to a bunch of dress fittings myself.

  • Dominik shakes his head

[Dominik] Its not like you're changing shape week to week, why so many fittings? [Ysabeau] Oh, Dom... [Ysabeau] You'd have to be a girl to understand.

  • Ysabeau smiles indulgently.

[Ysabeau] Most girls who want to get married want everything to be just *perfect* [Ysabeau] I think our Ilphere feels that, but also, her family and her future in-laws also want everything to be just *perfect* [Dominik] at least the wine will likely be very good at the reception. [Ysabeau] I expect so, yes. [Ysabeau] Will you be going with your family? [Dominik] Likely. I haven't really thought about it much.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] If you're not, could I ask you a favour? [Dominik] oh?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I knew you'd have your own invitation, or I'd have invited you. [Ysabeau] But since I'm allowed a guest, I asked Muri if she'd like to be my guest. [Ysabeau] She is really excited about it, but I'm a little nervous for her - it would be her first time at any grand affair like that. [Dominik] You'd like me to accompany her and keep an eye out for her? [Ysabeau] Well, keep an eye out for her, anyway.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Dominik] I can keep an eye on her, but if you want her to go with someone, I suggest Sister Alma.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I was going to ask Sister Alma, too. [Ysabeau] But the more the better, as far as I'm concerned. [Ysabeau] Marl will be there too, probably... [Ysabeau] And I was just about her age when I first met him. [Ysabeau] Oh, yuck, Rye! Move away from there.

  • Ysabeau moves away from a pile of something foul-smelling he was sniffing at on the ground.

[Ysabeau] Ah, the delights of Pearl City.

  • Ysabeau smiles apologetically.

[Dominik] I understand you worry. Ill watch her as best I am able to. [Ysabeau] Thank you.

  • Ysabeau smiles gratefully up at you and the day seems to brighten a little.

[Dominik] anything else I can do for you? [Ysabeau] Oh, I can think of lots of things... [Ysabeau] But let's finish the walk and have a look at those notes of yours first, shall we?

  • Dominik nods
  • Ysabeau chats brightly about the opera etc. as we continue our walk.

[Ysabeau] You'll come, won't you? [Ysabeau] It *is* a tragedy so it's just your kind of story. ;) [Dominik] Of course I will go.

  • Ysabeau nods, pleased.

[Dominik] especially if there are nice costumes and lots of bowing or leaning over fallen heroes. [Ysabeau] There is some of that, certainly.

  • Dominik smiles

[Ysabeau] But it's not your bawdy sort of play, I'm afraid. [Ysabeau] I hope you won't be *too* disappointed. [Dominik] I'm sure it will be entertaining. [Ysabeau] And, as I am merely the *friend* of the heroine, I don't get to do as much of that as Aveline. [Dominik] the audience's loss then [Ysabeau] Oh, Dom...

  • Ysabeau laughs.

[Ysabeau] At any rate, it would mean a lot to me to have you there.

  • Ysabeau smiles.
  • Ysabeau leads us out of the park on our way back to her house.
  • Ysabeau is quiet and pensive for a while as we head back to her house.

[Ysabeau] Dominik, I've been thinking... [Dominik] about what? [Ysabeau] Before we went into the queen's dream, when you were trying to convince me to go, you said that had been the plan all along. [Ysabeau] How did you know? [Dominik] I knew Ilphere wouldn't have been ready to enter the queen's dream unless she had been planning it from the beginning [Ysabeau] Ilphere had been talking about using it on Ruchard, if she could... but I never suspected she planned to use it on the queen... [Dominik] It made sense to me that it had been the plan. [Ysabeau] (SM) [Ysabeau] (33 on my roll) [Dominik] (its the truth but not the whole truth)

  • Ysabeau gives him a penetrating look.

[Dominik] what? [Ysabeau] I feel like you're hiding something, and that hurts. [Dominik] I didn't want to have to leave you behind. [Dominik] If I had known what would happen once the spell was cast I may have acted differently [Dominik] but I'm not sure that I would... [Dominik] It was an adventure and I wanted you there with me. [Ysabeau] (I think my SM is active for a while, so if you're bluffing me I should be able to tell.) [Dominik] (no bluffing going on) [Ysabeau] Okay... I believe you. [Dominik] I didn't know before going to the shadow plane that Ilphere planned to go into the queen's dream but as soon as she said it I knew it was the plan the whole time. [Dominik] you can be mad at me if you want [Ysabeau] I'm not mad at you. I believe you. [Ysabeau] I'm more mad at myself for letting doubt creep in.

  • Ysabeau sighs.

[Dominik] I don't blame you for that. It's not like our little adventuring company is exactly open with each other.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] It's very troubling. [Ysabeau] I wish I knew what was going on... [Dominik] you and me both. [Dominik] I'm supposed to be protecting Ilphere and she barely even tells me what she is doing.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] She's very independent. [Ysabeau] But I don't believe she is like Pheria was... [Ysabeau] There is more good in her. [Dominik] the dreamselves seemed like extreme reflections Pheria included. [Dominik] I like to think of my dreamself as a warning against holding on to anger too much.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I think that's a good way to look at it. [Ysabeau] How's the changing going? [Dominik] slow

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] It will take time and patience. It did for me. [Ysabeau] And unfortunately, it's a journey that's difficult for others to travel with you. [Dominik] Ill keep you informed [Dominik] right now, getting out of the cold for a few minutes would be good. [Ysabeau] We're almost home. I'll make us some tea. [Dominik] then you can take a look at these notes [Ysabeau] Yeah... [Ysabeau] Dom, I will help you as best I can. [Dominik] thanks [Dominik] some of the imagry I'm familar with already but having a different set of eyes look at them may be helpful

  • Ysabeau smiles mysteriously.

[Ysabeau] Right. I'll see what I can come up with. [Dominik] but first tea

  • Ysabeau unlocks the door and bends down to release Rye from his leash.

[Ysabeau] Please, go on in.

  • Dominik steps in and sheds the cold cloak
  • Ysabeau goes into the kitchen and puts some water on to boil
  • Dominik will take Ysabeau's cloak as well and stoke the fire a little to get a little more warmth into the room
  • Ysabeau replenishes Rye's water bowl too.
  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Thanks, Dom...

  • Dominik will dig out the folded notes and leave them on the table while waiting for Ysabeau to return with tea
  • Ysabeau settles down on the sofa once she has a pot of tea, some mugs and honey on a tray on the coffee table.

[Dominik] these notes my brother kept of his dreams and visions [Dominik] they are for several months before it became too difficult for him to keep writting them down [Ysabeau] Should I be ashamed to admit that I am terribly curious to know what goes on in his head? [Dominik] no. I was curious too. I wish I could have talked to his dreamself. It may have proved enlightening [Ysabeau] Indeed.

  • Ysabeau picks up the sheaf of paper and starts reading. Her face probably reflects some interesting expressions as she reads. Once or twice she utters "oh, my!"

[Ysabeau] Well, I'll begin with the obvious, first... [Dominik] ok [Ysabeau] There is a creature of legend, a woman with snakes for hair. She was called, variously, Medusa or a Gorgon. [Ysabeau] Some sources actually use the name Medusa as the given name of one of the creatures called Gorgons. [Dominik] ok [Ysabeau] Whether some still exist, somewhere within or without the Empire, I couldn't say... there are rumours that some may be found still in the Silver Desert, though. [Ysabeau] Anyway, the imagery of Phedre as a Gorgon is interesting. [Ysabeau] Especially with the whole Serpent God image... [Ysabeau] I'd be curious now to find out whether there is some link between Gorgons and Vrag. [Dominik] minions or servants maybe

  • Ysabeau shrugs.

[Ysabeau] Possibly. Hard to say without further study into the matter. [Dominik] anything else? [Ysabeau] The image of the black snake being cut in half; the severed half turning white - it evokes the Arch. [Dominik] and the breaking of the arch [Dominik] that makes sense [Ysabeau] The only other thing that really stands out to me is the image of the smith in white. [Dominik] oh? [Ysabeau] White robes are traditionally worn by the Patriarchs and Matriarchs... [Ysabeau] So the smith in his dreams might be one, possibly. [Ysabeau] We should look into Church history and find out if there were ever any Rademacher Patriarchs.

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] I just assumed the smith was Rauchard [Dominik] but it could be someone different

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Ruchard was an emperor... I don't think he could also have been a Patriarch. [Dominik] true enough [Dominik] too many Rademacher wandering around peoples dreams to keep em straight [Ysabeau] Although it is rather ambiguous... It could still be Ruchard in the white robes he would have worn as an Imperial candidate, after purification and before entering the Arch. [Dominik] the last pure image of him, before experiencing whatever happens in the arch [Ysabeau] Anyway, we should look for Rademacher Patriarchs regardless; if there are none, that might discount that possibility! [Ysabeau] Hmmmm.... [Dominik] a couple more avenues to look at [Ysabeau] Did Ilphere mention to you a dream about Hali pecking her eyes out? Then opening a third eye on her forehead? [Dominik] she may have. Shes talked about quite a few dreams [Ysabeau] That's a little like Theron's dream when one of Phedre's snakes bit his forehead. [Ysabeau] Can you ask Theron whether his bells sounded like the Eternit Bell? [Dominik] I'll ask him when we have a good list of things to discuss [Dominik] going with the whole emperor link eh. [Dominik] any other thoughts? [Ysabeau] Well, the stone room with no doors... that's what the Arch looked like when Char was inside it... pretty tenuous maybe, but if you could get Theron to provide more details about that room it might give us some more clues. [Ysabeau] Maybe he saw lost souls in it. [Dominik] that sounds like a reasonable interpretation to me, especially with what we know from Char. [Ysabeau] That would be pretty telling. [Ysabeau] ...

  • Ysabeau looks over everything once more.

[Ysabeau] Nothing else comes to mind, but perhaps the others might know. [Ysabeau] Seems like he has a guilty conscience about the dogs, though...

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Dominik] yeah, poor him. [Dominik] you made more out of it than I would have.

  • Dominik will fold the notes back up

[Ysabeau] If his notes are true he's had THAT dream for a long, long time. [Ysabeau] Before he had these visions like Ilphere does. [Dominik] he feels guilty... maybe. He's still manipulative enough to throw something in there knowing I would read them. [Ysabeau] You know him better than I do. [Dominik] If he's truely had a change of heart I'll give him the chance to prove it but I'm not going to be convinced by a reference to an old dream and a spur of the moment appology.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] It's interesting that he dreamed of Ilphere's arms like snakes. Pheria had that disgusting tentacle. But he dreamed the snake arms long before we went. [Ysabeau] It might be nothing, but then again Ruchard was wandering in and out of the Queen's dream, and there is Martan too... [Ysabeau] It's possible that Theron has some strange link to other planes of existence as well, I suppose. [Ysabeau] I don't know; I think I've raised more questions than found answers, with these notes of his. [Ysabeau] Only time will tell if anything is of use. [Ysabeau] :/

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] its like the visions in the epic tales, usually only make sense right before or after the predicted events happen.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Dominik] so the dog is walked and the tea has been made and drunk... what shall we do now? [Ysabeau] Put all of that away and forget about it for a while.

  • Ysabeau leans in to kiss you.

[Dominik] put all what away?

  • Dominik kisses you back

[Dominik] were we talking about something important? [Ysabeau] What? [Ysabeau] I don't know what you're talking about.

  • Ysabeau kisses you again.

[Dominik] I guess well just keep doing what were doing

  • Dominik kisses you back again

[Ysabeau] Sounds good to me...

  • Ysabeau murmurs.

  • Alma has sent you a message suggesting we get together over tea or lunch, assuming you have time in the next few days.
  • Ysabeau will make the time.
  • Ysabeau suggests lunch would be ideal as she has to eat, regardless! :)
  • Ysabeau will suggest a decent cafe near the Castalia.
  • Alma will arrive fashionably early.
  • Ysabeau looks bright and fresh and pretty as usual. It's enough to make some girls sick. ;)

[Ysabeau] Hello, Sister!

  • Ysabeau waves merrily from a table for two.
  • Alma might look a little less bright and fresh than normally, but not too bad.

[Alma] Good day, Ysabeau :) [Alma] Are you well? [Ysabeau] I am, thanks. And you? [Alma] Yes, rather well now that I've had a chance to be home and ground myself.

  • Alma looks genuinely relieved.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Ser Danyel seems quite nice!

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Alma] Um... yes he has been quite understanding of the unusual situation... [Alma] How is your friend Mr. Rademacher doing? [Ysabeau] Oh, yes... 'understanding.' [Ysabeau] He's well, thanks for asking. [Ysabeau] :) [Ysabeau] So... are you seeing Ser Danyel, then? [Alma] Wh...? [Alma] N-no. Ser Danyel is working with me. [Alma] You see, with all the drama around Felise Lozada... [Ysabeau] Oh? He seemed very attentive on our way out... and you seemed quite comfortable around him. My mistake. [Alma] The Order... [Alma] Well... [Alma] I haven't really known him that long, but after the dream it seemed like it was longer... and he's understood that it was hard on me. [Ysabeau] He's House Owl too, isn't he?

  • Ysabeau asks brightly.

[Alma] Yes... but...

  • Alma flushes.

[Ysabeau] But what? He's kind, he's handsome, he strikes me as a good man. [Ysabeau] Priests marry all the time. [Ysabeau] I think you'd be cute together. [Alma] Well, he does seem like quite the gentleman... even back here in the real world.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] It's just... you know... [Alma] I don't want "Mother Alma" to cloud my reason.

  • Alma looks a little embarassed

[Alma] He has been quite sweet though... [Ysabeau] I doubt she could. You're not really like her at all. [Ysabeau] And this isn't the same Ser Danyel, either. [Ysabeau] If you like each other you should give it a try. :) [Alma] No, I know, but... the more protective he was of me, the more he reminded me of the dream Danyel, and the more I remembered how loyal he was. [Alma] Well... [Alma] I can't believe I'm just telling you this... [Alma] I've decided that the only way for me to clear away that confusion is to get to know OUR Ser Danyel properly. [Ysabeau] Don't be silly. This is what friends are for. Dishing... [Ysabeau] Oh, well, that's very sensible. [Ysabeau] Don't let it take too long, though. ;) [Alma] And for that matter, even if ... a greater connection isn't in the works, Ser Danyel is a fine marriage prospect... he comes from a good and prosperous family.

  • Alma says that a bit businesslike.

[Ysabeau] Well, there you go. Two very strong arguments in favour of spending more time to get to know him. [Ysabeau] I'm so glad I have Dominik. It's nice to have someone close to talk to about things. [Alma] Does he talk back much? He seems a little laconic :) [Alma] I feel sorry for him, going through the dream when that sort of ... exploration isn't his thing, at least, it doesn't seem to be. [Ysabeau] He's taking it very well. [Ysabeau] And yes, he does talk to me. ;)

  • Alma smiles back

[Alma] And you? Your dream was quite heavy... [Ysabeau] He's really a wonderful person if you give him the chance. [Ysabeau] I'm fine. [Alma] Well, perhaps here isn't the best place to bring that sort of thing up anyway... [Ysabeau] I have always been quite resilient. I learned a lot about myself from it. [Alma] Comparing and contrasting yourself to her?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] Well, hopefully you've learned good things :) [Ysabeau] I admire some aspects of her. [Ysabeau] In some ways I wish I could be more like her... but I'm glad my life here is what it has been. [Ysabeau] I'm glad I didn't have to live like her.

  • Alma nods sincerely

[Ysabeau] What do you think happened to them when we left? [Alma] I'm not sure. [Ysabeau] I worry that she must be dead now... [Alma] It's been hard for me to take Owl's counsel that I shouldn't worry for them... [Alma] I'm tempted to ... pry. [Ysabeau] Her master and Pheria wouldn't have let her live.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] I suspect that perhas the Tal-Antar might have... reset some things, if that's within her power. [Ysabeau] I hope so. I think my being there really messed things up for her. [Alma] If she hadn't, well... her master might not have lived much longer. [Alma] The Tal-Antar? [Ysabeau] No, Ysstvelt.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] The Tal-antar wouldn't have drawn her to that room full of enemies if I hadn't been there. [Alma] I'd like to know whether we truly affected their actions at all, as the Tal-Antar made it sound like WE were causing the havoc. [Ysabeau] She probably would have secured Li- the new lady's help and been able to keep fighting. [Ysabeau] To keep fighting for freedom. [Alma] It's hard to say whether the world even has ... solidity when we are not there. [Ysabeau] Oh, I think it must! [Ysabeau] As long as *she* dreams of it. [Ysabeau] Maybe longer. You saw it at the end. [Ysabeau] I think it's really there, somehow. [Alma] Ah, but dreams can be flexible so perhaps her dream world is as well... she manipulated the dream consciously... [Alma] Perhaps that is how we caused the damage, by "cementing" the actions of our dream-counterparts in such a way that they could not be "undone." [Alma] Merely by observing... [Ysabeau] Perhaps.

  • Alma picks at her salad.
  • Ysabeau savours her soup.

[Alma] I wanted to talk to you about the Revelators as well... [Ysabeau] Oh?

  • Ysabeau looks around - the cafe is pretty noisy, and she seems pleased by that.

[Ysabeau] That should be all right. [Alma] I'm wondering why you think we should tell them about Earric Boyne? I'm ... not sure it's a good idea. [Ysabeau] I don't think *we* should tell them. I think *I* should tell them because I need to build up their trust in me, if I'm to learn anything from them.

  • Alma nods.

[Ysabeau] And I do think I could learn some very important things from them. [Alma] I'm concerned about what Stavenger would do with the knowledge... he seems quite set on hurting the Church, and if he could claim we were allowing or supporting his presence, it could be bad. [Ysabeau] o_O [Ysabeau] His presence? Marlow's? [Alma] Earric's [Ysabeau] ... [Ysabeau] I'm not sure how my telling him about Earric would link Earric with the Church in anyone's mind. [Ysabeau] I'm not a priest, nor a Spokesman. [Alma] Stavenger is quite convincing... [Alma] He preaches that he's received visions... from a drug-induced hallucination after a night of orgiastic excess... [Ysabeau] He didn't convince me. [Ysabeau] Yes, I heard all that at the meeting I went to. [Alma] Well, there are a lot of people who attend his sermons... if he has a kernel of truth to twist into a lie, they may not see beyond it. [Ysabeau] A meeting which yes, had a sizable crowd- standing room only int he theatre. So a few hundred... in a city of how many thousands? [Alma] How many does it take to begin to undermine a city's faith? [Alma] It just worries me. [Ysabeau] I don't need to tell *him* at any rate. It's the other who I have more confidence in. [Ysabeau] But once I tell him, I cannot guarantee it won't make it to Marlow's ears. [Ysabeau] At any rate, as long as the Church is true and does more good than they do, I really can't see how the city's faith could possibly be undermined.

  • Alma nods.

[Ysabeau] That being said, they are doing what they can to feed the poor during this famine. I saw a lot of the poor taking advantage of their kindness. [Ysabeau] So that might be something you and the Church would want to take into consideration. [Alma] Not all gifts come unfettered. [Ysabeau] Well, I'm just saying that that sort of thing is what you should be more worried about. [Alma] It's hard not to imagine that Stavenger is doing it purposefully to draw people away from the Church...

  • Alma nods

[Alma] I had considered that. [Ysabeau] Oh, I am sure that plays into it. [Ysabeau] But when you are poor and your children are starving you aren't thinking about whose hand the bread is coming from.

  • Alma nods in agreement.

[Alma] I pray that's all it is... [Ysabeau] Stay ahead of them with your kindness and I seriously doubt they will ever gain the critical mass to do any lasting harm. [Alma] I imagine something similar was thought of the Order. [Ysabeau] Mmm... [Ysabeau] Apples and oranges. [Ysabeau] The order isn't actively appealing to the poor masses. [Ysabeau] They're more interested in bored nobles. [Ysabeau] A rather elite group, to be sure. [Alma] There's still no good to be gained from having them in such an adversarial position... [Alma] How can he claim to want good for the city when he won't even work with the church?

  • Alma shakes her head in frustration

[Ysabeau] But much good to be gained if I can learn whom my friend has identified as demons, and whom they may be influencing. [Ysabeau] The Church could take some concrete action with that kind of information. [Alma] I'm sure he'd just say it proved him right.

  • Alma says, a little bitterly.

[Ysabeau] Action which the Revelators haven't the power to take, yet.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Sister, I'm reminded of a rhyme we used to sing when we were children: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." [Alma] Let's hope so. [Ysabeau] That was good soup.

  • Ysabeau lays her spoon down in her bowl.

[Ysabeau] Will you be going to the Imperial weddings? [Alma] Yes, I imagine I will attend with Sister Beatrix Arguelles if she is up for attending. [Ysabeau] Could I beg a favour of you? [Alma] I have absolutely no idea what to get as gifts.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Alma] What's that? [Ysabeau] I wrote some music; I can't afford anything worthy of a Princess-imperial. [Ysabeau] I invited my sister, Murienne, to be my guest... [Alma] How is she doing? :) [Ysabeau] But as Ilphere asked me to be one of her bridesmaids, I shan't be able to keep Murienne company during the ceremony. [Ysabeau] Oh she is doing very well, thank you! [Alma] I see, you don't want her to be sitting in a corner bored? [Ysabeau] She was all excited when I cam home from our expedition because Sister [blah] had given her one of her old robes for when she becomes a novice. [Ysabeau] Not only that, but this will be her first time at any event so grand... [Ysabeau] She can be so very shy... [Alma] Well, as long as she's prepared to sit with me and old Sister Beatrix :) [Ysabeau] I don't want her to feel like she's a lone sheep among the wolves. [Alma] Oh, I suppose I'll have to wear a proper dress -_-

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] She might actually think that's thrilling. She is so keen on becoming a priest. [Ysabeau] Mother and father would have been so proud of her. [Alma] I'm glad :) [Ysabeau] Oh, have you heard of a young novice? Amiel is his name. [Alma] She'll get the opportunity to ask Sister Beatrix if she has any complaints after sixty years :) [Ysabeau] She seems to have befriended him but hasn't introduced us. [Alma] No, I've not met him. [Alma] Perhaps she's embarassed? [Ysabeau] A little, yes, possibly. [Alma] I think that's how it works when you're that young. :P [Ysabeau] She isn't sure whether he's just as friend or possibly more than a friend, yet.

  • Ysabeau smiles indulgently, thinking of her sister.

[Ysabeau] Ah well, I just thought I'd ask in case you had met him. :) [Alma] No, it's been a while since I've spent much time around the novitiates, unless they come to the Nine Elms or I pass them in the halls at the Castalia :) [Ysabeau] Fair enough. [Ysabeau] I asked Dom to keep an eye out for her, too, but the more the better... [Ysabeau] She's a sweet young, very pretty girl and some of the other guests might try to take advantage of her, I'm afraid. [Alma] Well, as long as she knows that if his intentions are good, he'll be atient :) [Alma] Well she'll have her maybe-friend to keep her grounded :P [Ysabeau] Hopefully. [Ysabeau] Some of the men I've met at those Imperial parties have pretty forceful personalities, though. [Ysabeau] And then there are the drunks...

  • Ysabeau sighs; apparently she's been hit on by more than her fair share of drunks or something.

[Alma] I suppose... that's not really something I tend to have to deal with... I assume for several reasons. [Alma] Well, I'd be glad to make sure she isn't bewitched by magic or mundane :) [Ysabeau] Thank you! [Alma] Well, I should be off, I have to make a few arrangements... oh, I didn't mention. I'm taking a few days off in the countryside to try to... shed all that darkness. [Ysabeau] Oh, I hope you have a lovely time, Sister. [Alma] If you are free, you're welcome to come... it will be quiet though. [Alma] Resilient or not, some calm may help :) [Ysabeau] If you're going before the Festival Days, I'm afraid I won't... :/ [Ysabeau] But thank you so much for the invitation. It is very sweet of you. [Alma] Oh, it's nothing :) [Alma] I expect you wouldn't want to desert Mr. Rademacher for long either :)

  • Ysabeau blushes and smiles prettily.

[Alma] Have a good afternoon :) [Ysabeau] You too, Sister.

  • Alma will beckon to her carriage once she's outside, and make her way home.

  • Alma thinks she'll probably accost Sanadhil at his office sometime.
  • Alma knocks on your office door (or doorway if it's open)
  • Sanadhil has taken over a small section of Elizabet's office with towering stacks of historical texts, including some in Plascential, and look up when he hears the knock

[Sanadhil] (it;s not really *my* desk, I'm mooching ;) [Sanadhil] (err, my office)

  • Sanadhil slides over to the door, and seems surprised to see you

[Sanadhil] Good morning, Countess. [Alma] Good morning, M. Orecalo.

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Alma] Do you have a moment? [Sanadhil] of course.

  • Sanadhil opens the door further to admit you, and will close it after you enter
  • Alma will stand in an appropriate spot since it looks like sitting, and thus seeing each other over the desk, is less likely.

[Sanadhil] what can I do for you? [Alma] I've come to follow up on our talk about the Order.

  • Sanadhil stands also
  • Sanadhil nods

[Alma] As I said, I did not feel it was the sort of agreement I could make myself, so I consulted with the Reverend Father. As you can imagine if some sort of action needs to be taken, informing someone amounts to another level of uncertainty. [Alma] Which is why the Reverend Father would like to meet with you personally to discuss the arrangement. [Sanadhil] oh? [Sanadhil] I see....

  • Sanadhil seems surprised at that as well

[Alma] With an issue so sensitive, I imagine he simply wishes to... get a image of you for himself. [Sanadhil] Of course, I am more than willing to discuss the issue with him personally. [Alma] Excellent, I will inform his office so that they may make arrangements for an appointment with you.

  • Alma is somewhat relieved you haven't just decided to throw it aside.

[Sanadhil] Excellent indeed.... thakn you, Countess.

  • Sanadhil considers

[Sanadhil] Along these lines.... [Sanadhil] I have obtained some items for you [Alma] Oh? Possessions of Earric's? [Sanadhil] And Phedre's. [Sanadhil] I was not expecting a visit from you however, and they are not to hand... [Alma] Oh, a shame :/ [Sanadhil] But we could arrange another meeting - at the society perhaps? [Sanadhil] (you know, sometime when the gm isn't busy :V) [Alma] Certainly. I am taking some time to visit the countryside over the next few days... [Sanadhil] Perhaps after you return, then.

  • Alma will suggest a day/time, etc.

[Sanadhil] perfect.

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Alma] If anything urgent comes up in the meantime and you wish to pass it on to the Reverend Father before your meeting, I've arranged for my staff to relay anything you wish. [Sanadhil] Thank you. [Sanadhil] I have been proceeding with my investigation, but nothig I have learned relates to any pressing matter... [Sanadhil] There is something else, however [Alma] Oh?

  • Alma glances at the pile of texts

[Sanadhil] There is a girl in the cult, who has asked me for help in a personal matter [Sanadhil] However I believe the church is better equipped to assist her... [Alma] I see... [Sanadhil] I think she would be willing to aid in the investigations, at the least, if there is some possibility of aid. [Alma] What is the nature of her predicament? [Sanadhil] It is a complicated matter - she was forced to serve as a mistress to a particular nobleman, and now he has claimed her child as his own as a legitimate union with his wife, and cast her completely aside...

  • Alma frowns slightly

[Alma] Are either of them involved in the Order? [Sanadhil] Not so far as I am aware. [Alma] And she is not a ... true believer, then? [Sanadhil] No. [Sanadhil] She became involved on the behalf of M. Rademacher's brother Theron, with whom she has lately taken up. [Alma] That *is* particularly complicated. [Sanadhil] Indeed. [Sanadhil] I believe she hoped he might assist her.... I also belive she will be disappointed in that regard. [Alma] If the father is aware of her involvement in the Order, it may be particularly damaging to her credibility. [Alma] For that matter, it has poor implications in general... [Alma] You say she was forced? [Sanadhil] Not into the order, i don;t believe [Sanadhil] but certainly she doens't take it very seriously. [Alma] I meant by the man in question. [Sanadhil] Ahh. Yes. [Sanadhil] I understand that he...aquired her as a servant when she was...young.

  • Sanadhil says carefuly
  • Alma shakes her head disapprovingly.

[Sanadhil] indeed. [Alma] I'm not sure whether we will be able to help... as revolting as it is to coerce your servants into sacrificing their dignity, it is hard to equate... practically... with violation. [Alma] At what age did she conceive, do you know?

  • Sanadhil thinks for a moment

[Sanadhil] She would have been of age, I expect [Sanadhil] She said the child is... 2 now? And she did not appear so young [Alma] However he is claiming that the child is not illigitimate? [Sanadhil] he claims that his wife bore the child. [Sanadhil] That is, I believe, the more pressing issue, in her eyes. that he has stolen her child. [Alma] Unfortunately, even if the child's parentage is revealed, he may simply work to prove himself the more fit parent... [Alma] Is he titled? [Sanadhil] Yes.

  • Alma sighs
  • Sanadhil looks a little pained

[Alma] A Duke? [Sanadhil] I... perhaps you woudl be willing to speak to her, at least? [Sanadhil] A count. [Alma] Yes, it would probably be best, that way I can present the full details to see if this is something which we could help with.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Alma] Can it wait until I return?

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Of course. [Sanadhil] I will have to speak to her as well, to confirm her wilingness. [Alma] I would not present false hope though. As much as I sympathise, the Church's support may not be sufficient to sway the courts. [Sanadhil] Of course. [Alma] It might even be best if she behaves like a nun for the forseeable future.

  • Alma says wryly.

[Sanadhil] I understand that she would need to prove that he is an unfit guardian.... beyond the dishonesty and dishounourable actions she can show him guilty of. [Alma] ... and protect herself against the same. [Sanadhil] indeed. [Alma] Well, in the meantime, I wish you both well.

  • Alma says in an assuming-we're-done tone

[Sanadhil] And you as well, countess... Enjoy your excursion. [Alma] Thank you. After the past few weeks, I feel I need it. -_-

  • Sanadhil smiles.
  • Alma will glance at the pile of books out of curiosity/nosiness before heading out.

[Sanadhil] (lots f copies of really old historical volumes, in all languages @_@ but more in Plascenscial)

  • Alma frowns mentally.

  • Ysabeau will approach Verity a little shyly after a Society meeting, when it seems her other conversation(s) are winding down.
  • Ysabeau 's expression is warm but a little uncertain of what sort of reception to expect.

[Ysabeau] Hi... How are you, Verity? [Verity] Oh, hello there, Ysabeau. I'm well, how are you? [Ysabeau] Pretty well, thanks. I haven't seen you for a while... [Verity] I hear you've been quite busy.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I got a supporting role in a new opera... [Verity] Congratulations. [Ysabeau] Plus the party season is coming so the Consort has been practicing a lot.

  • Verity nods.

[Ysabeau] Thank you. [Ysabeau] How about you? Have you any news? [Verity] News?

  • Ysabeau gains a little confidence since she hasn't been turned away yet.

[Ysabeau] Oh, just about what you've been up to, that's all I meant. [Verity] Oh.. well, keeping busy.

  • Ysabeau retreats a little back into shyness.

[Verity] Is there something wrong? [Ysabeau] I'm glad. [Ysabeau] No. I just wanted to say hello. [Ysabeau] We found an apartment, and did you hear about our latest expedition to the Shadow Plane? [Verity] I heard that it happened, but not any of the details. How did it go? [Ysabeau] It was really weird. [Ysabeau] Ilphere cast an unusual spell called Dreamwalking, have you heard of it? [Verity] I don't believe so... [Ysabeau] It's supposed to let you enter someone's dreams as an observer, kind of. [Ysabeau] But it didn't seem to work quite like she explained. [Ysabeau] We ended up in a - an alternate reality, I suppose.

  • Verity nods, listening.

[Ysabeau] You were there... I knew you there. [Verity] ...oh?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] It was a very unpleasant world... the Shadar-kai ruled and they worshipped Vrag - Ophion. [Ysabeau] A lot of humans were slaves. [Verity] How awful. [Ysabeau] I suppose in a way it was what this world could have been had our ancestors not defeated the Shadar-kai... [Ysabeau] Anyway, the Verity there had been a slave but she'd won her freedom for loyal service. [Verity] I do hope that you, or someone else from the expedition, will give a presentation to the Society about your experiences... it sounds fascinating. [Ysabeau] I suppose someone might, eventually. [Ysabeau] But I think it would be a while because there's a lot of information to sift through.

  • Verity nods.

[Verity] That's understandable. [Ysabeau] And although some of us eventually learned that we weren't actually from there... we were all, at first, completely submersed in our alternate selves. [Ysabeau] I never broke out of Ysstvelt... I was her until we were sent back out. [Verity] It must have been very difficult... I hope you're recovered? [Ysabeau] Oh, yes, mostly. [Verity] Good, I'm glad to hear that. [Ysabeau] (SM: does she want to get away from me or is she interested to hear more?) [Verity] There was one thing I had been meaning to ask, Ysa... [Ysabeau] Oh? Please, go ahead.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Verity] Well, up to this point, I have been paying your membership in the Society. I wondered if you felt like you were able to cover that expense now.

  • Verity seems fine, not trying to get away.

[Ysabeau] (she has?!! Oops...) [Ysabeau] (How much is it?) [DiablotinNarrator] (I thought that was part of your arrangement. It's 5 gp a month) [Ysabeau] I'm so sorry!

  • Ysabeau looks horrified.

[Verity] Oh, no, it's not a problem. [Ysabeau] I totally forgot. [Verity] It's fine, really. I'm not upset :) [Ysabeau] I can do it from now on... [Verity] Wonderful. I'm glad to hear that :)

  • Ysabeau tries to do figures in her head for rent, dues, groceries, clothes, tuition for both of us, etc... is it even possible with gp/month?

[DiablotinNarrator] (it'll be tight.. although you do probably have some saved up, plus whatever money you're getting from the expedition loot...) [Ysabeau] I'm sorry. [Verity] No, don't be.

  • Ysabeau seems kind of ashamed still, but also determined to manage on her own.

[Verity] If you weren't able, I was going to offer to keep covering it, if you are still interested in being a member. I'm glad you get some benefit from the meetings.

  • Ysabeau smiles bittersweetly... she still seems to have strong feelings for Verity.

[Ysabeau] Verity in the other reality took good care of Ysstvelt, too... [Verity] I'm glad to hear that :) [Ysabeau] . o O (I miss you.) [Ysabeau] She made a living buying young girls and boys and training them up to be belldancers like she was. Then she'd sell them, but only to families that met her approval. ;) [Verity] Well! How... benevolent :) [Ysabeau] Like I said, it wasn't the nicest of worlds. ^-^ [Ysabeau] If you're interested I could tell you plenty more. [Verity] I am interested, yes, but I'm afraid I can't stay late today - I have to be going shortly. But perhaps another time :) [Ysabeau] All right. [Ysabeau] Verity, it's been so nice talking to you again... I miss the conversations we used to have. [Verity] I'm glad we had the chance to talk too. [Ysabeau] If you *want* to come to the opera it's called "The Bridge of Tears." Opening night is [blah]. [Verity] I'll be sure to be there.

  • Ysabeau smiles warmly.
  • Verity gives you a polite kiss on the cheek in farewell.
  • Ysabeau returns the gesture.

[Ysabeau] Take care, Verity... [Verity] You too, Ysa. [Ysabeau] Have a good night. [Verity] I'll try :)

  • Verity departs, then.

  • Seth arrives at the Society and putters around with some research until San arrives.
  • Sanadhil will come to the society, having received Seth's note, to meet at an appointed time

[Sanadhil] Good afternoon, M. Argo [Seth] Ah, hello, M. Orecalo. Thank you for your promptness. [Sanadhil] Of course, - I was curious as to what you wanted - your note was quite vague [Seth] I thought it best, given the subject. [Sanadhil] oh? [Seth] I have recently concluded a most interesting conversation with the Warlord. [Sanadhil] Ahhh... [Sanadhil] Did she share anything significant? [Seth] Yes, most definitely. [Seth] In this world as in the dream world, she serves, or believes she serves, the Centre. Which is not the same as, although it is like, the Centre as conceived in this local theological system. [Seth] It is, rather, of a level above all deities, human and otherwise. [Sanadhil] Hmm, interesting. [Sanadhil] How did she learn of it, and come to serve it, do you know? [Seth] She came to it as a child. She is, or rather was, the guardian of the Arch until its link was severed and the two entities, Vrag and Rat, released.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Seth] How she was chosen for this role, even she does not know, so she says. [Sanadhil] Did someone teach her of The Center, or is her knowledge of it more inate? [Seth] More innate, as far as I can see. [Seth] She views Vrag as like, although perhaps not exactly like, our seven gods.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] It operates differently, certainly. [Seth] To some degree. The Black Down cult is, as far as I can see, not so different than what the worship of the Seven (or rather, the Six) must have been like, thousands of years ago. [Seth] Not that I am a theologian. [Seth] And not that I could say so to Sister Alma.

  • Sanadhil smiles at that.

[Sanadhil] I have been pursuing my own research in that regard, and am inclined towards similar conclusions [Sanadhil] one thing that bears keeping in mind is that when the tribes arrived here, they had been travelling for some time, and from distant lands. [Sanadhil] Their association was recent, and not entirely harmonious [Seth] How very curious. [Sanadhil] Indeed.... [Seth] I wonder, what the vision I had, of the man Laeken, what it means? [Seth] Whether he is of our world, or the dream world, or both? [Sanadhil] Laeken is the name given to the leader of House Wolf [Sanadhil] during the time of the founding of the city [Sanadhil] that corrolates with your vision. [Seth] It seems, from that vision, that he took a particular interest in learning about the Shadar-kai.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] little is known of the founders, of course, in terms of their personal lives and interests. [Sanadhil] there are tombs said to belong to them, but these have not been investigated, so far as I know,

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Nash hopes to recapture Vrag in the Arch, to restore it. [Sanadhil] hmm [Seth] Primarily she claims to be interested in protecting humans (and presumably others) from its depredations. [Sanadhil] It is my understanding that the Arch was what Vrag used to communicate with, guide, and possibly control his followers. If he were trapped inside it alone, it could give him a fair amount of power, locally. [Seth] What is your basis for arguing so? [Sanadhil] Ahh well. [Sanadhil] I decided to take a more forthright approach to learning about the cult, and I spoke to mme Lozada-Boyne about how she came to know of vrag, and lead the cult. [Seth] I ... see. [Sanadhil] I don't think she was trying to deceive me on that matter. she had done quite a lot of research over a number of years.... [Seth] What followers did Vrag have, decades ago? [Sanadhil] None. [Sanadhil] She learned of it as a child from her father - Pavo Arsenios - in discussions he had with others involved in moving the arch. [Seth] I am confused. You said that Vrag used the Arch to communicate with, guide, and control his followers. [Seth] Now you say it had none. [Sanadhil] Ahh! Yes, I see. This was not decades ago, but centuries, or more. [Sanadhil] Before the founding of the empire. [Sanadhil] She visited the temple in the Shadow plane, and found there a text, which she uses as her guide. [Seth] Ah. [Sanadhil] She said it was there that she first felt the presence of Vrag as well... [Seth] I see.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Indeed. [Seth] We clearly need to know more about the creation and original purpose of the Arch.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Seth] Obviously, if Vrag was trapped in it for two millennia, powerless except at the moment when souls passed through it, this is very different than having the ability to control people in the city. [Seth] What if Vrag had that power once, but then it was taken away? [Sanadhil] That is what my conversation with her suggested. [Seth] By whom? And how? [Sanadhil] Vrag's power was limited because he was trapped *with the Rat* [Sanadhil] when the arch was moved, both were released. [Sanadhil] I believe trapping vrag alone to be a dangerous prospect

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] I do not think that Nash intends to proceed rashly. If it is necessary to trap another entity as well, then I believe that she will aim to do so. [Seth] I am afraid that my knowledge of ancient history is very limited. You are so fortunate in that regard. [Sanadhil] That is a prospect that may enounter... resistance?

  • Sanadhil smiles again

[Sanadhil] I have been immersing myself of late... [Seth] How did Rat, in particular, come to be trapped? [Sanadhil] It is quite interesting. It seems that the worship of Vrag - the Serpent - survived in Placenscia after the founding... [Sanadhil] That is not entirely clear. [Sanadhil] There are so few mentions of the rat in the early Chrinocles - as though it was purposely remooved from the records. [Seth] Could it be that it was the Rademacher - the wheel-maker, rather? [Sanadhil] I have seen no supporting evidence. [Sanadhil] I have not looked, either... [Sanadhil] I wonder if pasith belden might have left an account of her travel through the arch with the Church records [Seth] Perhaps. That would be extremely enlightening! [Sanadhil] I think it is clear at this point that Loch duChamp's historical notes on the time of the founding were heavily influenced by his own experience.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] So Mme. Lozada-Boyne ... is it fair to say that she worships Vrag? [Sanadhil] absolutely, yes. [Seth] Does Vrag give her real power? [Sanadhil] That is difficult to judge. [Sanadhil] She is accomplished in the bardic arts, and much of what is seen at the meetings results from the use of enchantment and illusion magics. [Sanadhil] however, there is one rite that involves passing through the arch that does have a more lasting effect [Sanadhil] It could feasibly be attributed to Vrag [Seth] So you think the Arch still does have power? Or is it just symbolic? [Sanadhil] She claims that it has power when Vrag chooses to inhabit it. The massive aounts of magic deployed during the ceremonies make it difficult to assess any particular nuances, however. I have only seen this particular rite performed twice. [Sanadhil] The arch on its own is currently devoid of power. [Seth] So Vrag can choose to inhabit it? Or, if it chooses, other objects? [Sanadhil] The arch, certainly. I have not heard of it investing itself in other objects.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Well, I will be devoting much of my energies to researching the Arch itself. There has been much written, unfortunately largely speculative.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Seth] As for Vrag, or the human gods, I leave that in more capable hands. [Sanadhil] I can forward any references I encounter in my research. [Sanadhil] I am struggling through a number of pascencial texts at the moment - it is slow going, as I haven't yet mastered the language.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] When next we meet as a group, I will of course raise some of the factual issues, but given our recent experiences with theological speculations, I aim as much as possible to avoid the subject. [Sanadhil] That is understandable.

  • Sanadhil sighs a little

[Sanadhil] . o O ( Oh, you don't even know -_- ) [Seth] Was there anything else you wished to discuss? [Sanadhil] If you do know more about nash's concept of The Center, I would be interested to hear of it [Seth] It is ... nebulous. The link between the Center and the Arch seems apparent, but its nature remains obscure to me and, I suspect, to Nash. [Sanadhil] I see... [Sanadhil] I suspect, still, that Mme Lozada Boyne is incorrect about the nature of relationship between Vrag and the Arch. [Sanadhil] hopefully, one of us can find some information to clarify the matter

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Very well then ... until next time, M. Orecalo

  • Sanadhil nods in return

[Sanadhil] Until then - good luck, M. Argo.

  • Seth returns to his reading.
  • Sanadhil will grab a few books, but mostly seems to be cross referencing and double checking things, and doens't stay very long.

  • Sanadhil gathers his equipment and casts a number of prepatory spells before teleporting to the under-arch
  • Sanadhil will send his Shadow ahead, telling it to go to the down, andtrace the upper arch down into the chamber below

[DiablotinNarrator] (ok) [DiablotinNarrator] (what are you casting, jooc?)

  • Sanadhil will actually tell it to come back and tell him if there is anything clearly dangerous there, and give it an hour to return

[Sanadhil] (Sec)

  • Sanadhil will cast before he leaves.... Mage armour, detect thoughts, see invis, nondetection, arcane sight, freedom of movement, and greater invis

[Sanadhil] (it is good to be a beguiler @_@) [DiablotinNarrator] (heh) [DiablotinNarrator] (good work - ensure it'll be extra-hard for anyone to find you if things go horribly awry ;) [Sanadhil] (Oh only for the next.... 9 hours max ;p) [DiablotinNarrator] (what could go wrong in 9 hours...) [Sanadhil] (tee hee. oh fone, maybe not non detection ;p) [Sanadhil] (fine) [DiablotinNarrator] All right.. your shadow reports that the chamber is empty. [Sanadhil] (keen)

  • Sanadhil will tell it to return, and then go there himself :o

[Sanadhil] *bamf* [DiablotinNarrator] You find yourself in a white stone chamber. It exudes a pale light, despite being windowless and underground, much like the stone of the Shadow Plane. Descending from the ceiling, down to a point about a half-foot above the floor, is an inverted Arch. [Sanadhil] (no magic?) [DiablotinNarrator] No magic. [Sanadhil] is there an exit? [DiablotinNarrator] Make a search check. [Sanadhil] () [Sanadhil] (Although I suppose i can take , i'm gonna be here all night ;p) [DiablotinNarrator] You can make out what might once have been a door... it's been sealed, presumably by using Stone Shape or some such spell.

  • Sanadhil feels a moment of unexpected panic about being trapped underground - flashbacks to more helpless times - but quells it, mand moves toward the arch to inspect it more closely
  • Sanadhil will cast detect decret doors, too, though :x

[DiablotinNarrator] The Arch is smooth, formed from a single piece of stone as far as you can tell, and thicker than a torso even at its narrowest point. [DiablotinNarrator] You don't detect any secret doors.

  • Sanadhil will make notes!

[Sanadhil] (is there any evidence of anyone else being down here? other than the sealed door...) [DiablotinNarrator] Not that you can see, no. The room isn't even dusty or anything... [Sanadhil] hmmm.

  • Sanadhil is glad he brought some extra books to read @_@

[DiablotinNarrator] So, you settle down to read?

  • Sanadhil steps through it, not expecting anything to come of it, but otherwise, yes - have my Shadow keep watch and read for a bit.

[DiablotinNarrator] When you step through it, you feel.. maybe a slight shiver? But it might just be an overactive imagination...

  • Sanadhil notes it down just in case

[Sanadhil] . o O ( D: ) [DiablotinNarrator] So, are you planning to sleep/meditate here?

  • Sanadhil will meditate, casting Alarm from the purchased scroll first

[DiablotinNarrator] You find it surprisingly easy to enter a meditative state, despite being on a chilly stone floor in a sealed room underground with a strange, possibly malevolent, artifact.

  • Sanadhil probably at least brought a cushion, but yes :)

[DiablotinNarrator] As you drift in your trance, images emerge in your mind... unfamiliar images... [Sanadhil] ... [DiablotinNarrator] You see a young woman, human, with pale blonde hair. [DiablotinNarrator] She is in a hilly area... she's ... a shepherd, you think. [DiablotinNarrator] There's a waterfall... it's very beautiful. [DiablotinNarrator] There's a man at the waterfall. An elven man. She's expecting him, you think. [DiablotinNarrator] For some reason, you think his name is Anxikaril.

  • Sanadhil lets the vision unfold, keeping his mind still, for now

[DiablotinNarrator] Then, you see the same woman, tied to a post and stripped to the waist, being flogged. [DiablotinNarrator] But she won't tell them. [DiablotinNarrator] She runs, hides. She travels far, through a mountain pass in the autumn... snow falls. [DiablotinNarrator] Finally, just in time, she finds a village... she tries to explain, but they don't know her language. They don't need to speak to understand the kind of trouble she's in, though. [DiablotinNarrator] The baby comes in the middle of winter... she lives a few weeks after, but catches a fever. She prays to the stars that these people will look after the child... [DiablotinNarrator] You don't see any more after that. [Sanadhil] (Who was she flogged by - humans or elves?) [DiablotinNarrator] You think there were some of both there - the one actually doing the flogging was a human. [Sanadhil] :( [Sanadhil] (That means she was probably in Cozovodë then, I presume, especially if language was an issue) [Sanadhil] (I also assume that the name is not one I'd ever heard before) [DiablotinNarrator] (yes, that seems most likely.. and no, the name isn't one you've heard before.) [DiablotinNarrator] (any further questions?) [Sanadhil] (Not at the moment...) [DiablotinNarrator] Ok... the rest of your night passes uneventfully. When (you feel like) it's morning, you can depart. [Sanadhil] Why that?

  • Sanadhil asks when the trance passes, not expecting any answer

[DiablotinNarrator] No answer is forthcoming. [Sanadhil] :\

  • Sanadhil contemplates a truly rash decision, but then tells himself he is not dressed for winter in the mountains.

[Sanadhil] (Oh here is a question - is there any convincing physical resemblance between San and the woman + elf?) [DiablotinNarrator] plausible... nothing really blatant like, uh, matching birthmarks or anything, but it could be. [Sanadhil] ('k)

  • Sanadhil wishes he coud scry :x

  • Biatrix will let you know when she is free.
  • Alma will drop by!

[Biatrix] Good morning, Sister. [Alma] And you, Sister :) [Alma] It seems like forever since I've been by! [Biatrix] It has been a while, I suppose! [Biatrix] How have you been? [Alma] Oh, you wouldn't believe... @_@ [Alma] How have you been? [Biatrix] Well, thank you. [Alma] Are you attending the Imperial weddings? [Biatrix] Oh, I expect so. I've received an invitation. It seems like such a fuss, but I suppose one must... [Alma] Well, you'll have company at least :) [Biatrix] Too much! It will be a crush of people one despises, but must tolerate for the sake of politeness. [Alma] A friend from the Society is attending with her sister, a fresh novice, and she's concerned she will be bored or worse, charmed so I've agreed to help keep an eye on her. [Biatrix] Oh, that's good of you. These things can be... most overwhelming for young girls... [Alma] I thought if nothing else you could regale her with your tales of the cloth :)

  • Biatrix chuckles.

[Biatrix] If you think that wouldn't scare her off ;) [Alma] Her name is Murienne. Her sister, Ysabeau Chanuier, says she's quite excited, so I doubt it :) [Biatrix] How refreshing to see young people excited to join the church...

  • Alma nods in agreement.

[Alma] I've had an insane few weeks... and I wanted to talk to you to make sure I'm not making a stupid mistake -_- [Biatrix] Oh? Of course. [Alma] The prologue is a little long... [Biatrix] Well, I have plenty of time.

  • Alma will explain about the Shadow Plane excursions, Danyel's assignment from the Reverend Father, and be ... fairly detailed about the dream experience, focusing more on her own experiences but will elaborate on anything religiousy/planar since it's of vague interest to a Priest if nothing else.
  • Biatrix listens with considerable interest.
  • Alma wears her slightly overwhelmed face as her story goes on.

[Alma] Well... now that I'm back... [Alma] I guess I've noticed just how kind and supportive Ser Danyel is... and... [Biatrix] Ahh... [Biatrix] You wonder if perhaps you're letting your emotions from this... dream... influence you? [Alma] Yes, though "I" was supposed to be suppressing them, they were there... and in the dream, he was so very loyal... [Biatrix] Well. [Alma] I asked him to give me a few days to try to ground myself again... but I think I was hoping it would go away... [Biatrix] I presume from the fact that you're talking to me about it that it hasn't. [Alma] No... and I think he's started to show interest himself... [Biatrix] Well, that is normal enough, I would think. [Biatrix] Alma, let me suggest something. Feel free to tell me if you think I'm completely wrong, though. [Alma] I thought to myself... if I'm letting this dream cloud my mind, isn't the best way to dispel them to get to know the REAL Ser Danyel?

  • Alma nods and waits for Biatrix' advice.

[Biatrix] If you came to me with a normal dream, and said "I dreamed I was a ghost," and explained the dream to me as you have... I would think it suggested something that is worth considering. [Biatrix] That you feel cut off. Distant. Unable to ... connect with people. [Biatrix] I don't know how much control your own ... worries, fears, wishes... had on what you became in this place. [Biatrix] Do you think that's plausible? [Alma] :o [Alma] I... [Alma] I don't think the connection in the dream was that strong... [Alma] But if nothing else, does it mean you're worried that is my problem? [Alma] That I'm too... withdrawn?

  • Biatrix ponders.

[Biatrix] I think that you're a young woman, and it's normal for you to feel... attracted, if that is what this is, to a handsome young man. [Alma] I just don't want to do something stupid... I just don't have time for that. [Biatrix] Time for what? [Alma] ... that! [Biatrix] Sex? [Alma] No :o [Alma] I mean ... [Biatrix] I was going to say... from what I recall, it doesn't take *that* long :o [Alma] Making the wrong choice. [Biatrix] Ah.. [Alma] Doing something for the wrong reasons, getting all... embroiled and finding out it was just some foolish dream. [Biatrix] Well... [Biatrix] You should certainly be prepared for him to be a different person than the one you knew. You can't expect him to live up to .. a dream, as you say.

  • Alma nods.

[Biatrix] But I think as long as you proceed with that in mind... and take things slowly, if you are worried... then, if anything does happen, it will be on its own terms. [Alma] That's what I'm hoping to do... [Biatrix] Then I think that sounds perfectly sensible. [Alma] Thank you.

  • Alma smiles, a little relieved to hear she's not stupid.
  • Biatrix smiles.

[Biatrix] Romance isn't always sensible, though, I'm afraid. [Alma] I suppose I can't really hide from it though. That would be, what, hiding from life? I wouldn't tell anyone else to... [Alma] Not that I'm not tempted to shoo it away.

  • Biatrix nods.

[Biatrix] You could try, but I suspect it may not be as easy as you think. [Biatrix] These things have a way of ... resurfacing even after you think they're thoroughly .. shooed :) [Alma] Especially when I have to work with him -_- [Biatrix] Indeed. [Alma] Well, at least I have a plan :) [Biatrix] And I hope it will work :) [Alma] And, I was thinking that even if not... well, he is rather marriageable. [Biatrix] Well. That's another matter entirely. [Alma] Consolation prize? [Biatrix] If it turns out you don't... work well together, for whatever reason, it would hardly be fair to either of you to shackle yourselves into a marriage out of duty.

  • Alma nods... not entirely dismissing the idea of a political marriage of almost-compatability -_-

[Alma] Well, I'll keep you updated :) [Biatrix] Whatever happens, I hope that you'll have a little fun, at least, because you certainly deserve it - and yes, keep me updated :)

  • Alma tells Biatrix about her little holiday and will chat with her for a while longer.

  • Cornelia is walking down the stairs, ahead of you.

[Seth] It was the strangest place. Saraknyel. [Seth] So familiar in some ways, and yet so foreign. [Seth] It was no dream, that I am sure. [Cornelia] No? [Seth] Not in any ordinary sense. It is clear that that world had an independent existence from our own, with many of the same personages, but radically altered.

  • Cornelia nods.

[Seth] You yourself were very different. [Cornelia] The similarities between them.... it suggests some... metaphysical link. [Cornelia] Oh, was I?

  • Seth nods.
  • Cornelia seems amused at that.

[Seth] I am not certain. I am not certain how different *I* was. Many of the differences may have resulted from the different environment. [Seth] You were seeking to destroy the Arch, in Saraknyel. Or so you said. [Cornelia] How fascinating. [Seth] You must understand, the humans in Saraknyel were fed to the Arch as punishment ... or as sport.

  • Cornelia nods...

[Cornelia] Unsurprising, really. [Seth] Why do you say that? [Cornelia] Well, because the force within the Arch subsists on life. [Seth] You mean Vrag? [Cornelia] Vrag, Serpent, Ophion... whatever you wish to call it. [Seth] What do you call it? [Cornelia] Nothing, if I can avoid it. [Seth] So you think it is different than ... whatever called you to the Arch originally? [Cornelia] Yes. [Seth] How so? [Cornelia] I was called by... a higher power. External to the Arch, and able to protect me from its power. [Seth] What do you call it? [Cornelia] I believe it is the Centre. [Cornelia] A force above even the gods.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Tell me, Warlord: Do you think there are many worlds, not just this one? [Cornelia] Absolutely. [Seth] I tend to agree, given what I have seen. [Seth] But I wonder ... I wonder whether there is only one Arch. [Cornelia] Hm. [Cornelia] An interesting theory... [Seth] I must tell you something ... perhaps you will think I am mad. [Seth] I have been inside the Arch.

  • Cornelia turns to look at you.

[Cornelia] You've passed through it? [Seth] I ... the other me ... passed *into* it. [Cornelia] How do you mean? [Seth] Ahh ... it is difficult to explain, but I could ... meld into stone walls, pass through the city as if it were water. [Seth] You sent me in to observe the under-Arch, the white Arch. [Cornelia] So you passed into the physical stone of the Arch... fascinating :o [Seth] And it spoke to me. It showed me things that I believe are true, regardless of worlds. And it invited me to enter it. I took it literally.

  • Cornelia nods.

[Cornelia] The entity shows the truth, as it perceives it. [Cornelia] What did you see? [Seth] I went to a place filled with the half-souls of those who had passed through the Arch. [Seth] And I met a single whole person, one who had passed through it in two different worlds. [Cornelia] ... Remarkable. [Cornelia] Who was it, or did you know?

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Pasith Belden. [Cornelia] o_O [Cornelia] Interesting. [Seth] Yes. [Cornelia] She can't be the only person who has passed through the Arch in two different worlds. [Cornelia] There must be some other factor... [Seth] Possibly. What could it be? [Cornelia] I'm not certain. [Seth] Do you believe in our gods? I mean ... do you worship them? [Cornelia] ...

  • Cornelia seems to be considering how to answer that.

[Cornelia] I believe that they exist, certainly. With what I know of those I've encountered on a more... personal level, I see no reason to assume they have any particular interest in our ... little ceremonies, or at least in the particular form they take. The rules, the scriptures... that is all our own doing. [Seth] Hm. [Seth] I am not certain how any of this advances your stated goal, Nash.

  • Cornelia smiles slightly.

[Seth] Nor indeed, whether your stated goal is sensible or feasible. [Cornelia] I admit that I don't know that myself... at least, on my more dubious days. [Seth] Do you have allies in this effort? [Cornelia] But that is what faith is about, I think. [Cornelia] A few. [Seth] Would they be interested in talking to me? [Cornelia] Quite possibly. I'll inquire. [Seth] What do you know about the activities of the Black Down cult?

  • Cornelia resumes walking down the stairs.

[Cornelia] Their goals don't coincide with mine, as far as I can tell, if that's what you were wondering. [Seth] I don't honestly know what their goals actually are, except that I've heard that they relate to the Serpent. [Cornelia] Well, as they venerate it, I can see no reason why they would wish to imprison it once more. [Seth] Why do they venerate it? What does it give them? [Cornelia] A sense of being naughty, I assume.

  • Cornelia says lightly.
  • Seth laughs.

[Cornelia] But in seriousness, it can grant spell power, as any god can. [Cornelia] I presume they have some priests among their number.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Are you monitoring them? [Cornelia] We keep an eye on them, yes. [Cornelia] Even if there were no divine involvement, it would be necessary to try and ensure that no one gets hurt. [Seth] Is Maze Olivier involved with them somehow? [Cornelia] I would be surprised if he didn't have an agent in their midst. [Seth] Hm. Interesting. [Seth] Well, there is much I could tell you, Nash, much still. [Seth] But I do not wish to outlive my usefulness. [Cornelia] You think I'll dispose of you if you stop providing helpful tidbits?

  • Cornelia says lightly.

[Seth] I wouldn't rule it out. [Cornelia] How pragmatic. [Cornelia] I'll be in touch, Seth. [Seth] Yes.

  • Cornelia tells you as she reaches the bottom of the stairs.

  • Guillame knocks on Aden's door
  • Aden_ opens the door and smiles to see you.

[Aden_] I was hoping it would be you :) [Guillame] Glad to oblige!

  • Guillame smiles

[Aden_] Come on in...

  • Guillame goes on in

[Guillame] So, I've started to get my head around this whole research trip better [Aden_] Oh? Do you want to talk about it? [Guillame] Yeah, I do. I mean, I want to do us stuff too, but I want to talk about it first.

  • Aden_ grins.

[Aden_] 'Us stuff', eh? ;)

  • Guillame smiles

[Aden_] I can be patient... let's sit down, have some tea if you like, and you can tell me all about it. [Guillame] That'd be great

  • Guillame starts while Aden's making the tea.

[Guillame] I'm not sure you should tell anyone else about this yet, still - we need to clear up a lot of it first. [Aden_] My lips are sealed. [Guillame] But while in the shadow realm, we entered the dream of a shadar-kai queen, who is bound in an eternal sleep. [Guillame] ... [Guillame] Bear with me. [Aden_] ... all right? [Guillame] We were sort of encouraged to by a ghost, although it's a little vague as to whether that's what he actually asked us to do. [Guillame] And it was facilitated by a spell learned by one of my colleagues. [Guillame] Are you still with me? [Aden_] I make it a policy never to take advice from ghosts... but go on. [Guillame] Right. In this dream, she's built herself a whole other world, sort of another way that history could have turned out. In it, the shadar-kai are the rulers, and humans are the underdogs.

  • Aden_ nods, listening intently.

[Guillame] Lots of the same people exist both here and there, and there seem to be some *real* connections between them - people there who dream about here, and possibly vice versa. [Aden_] So this other world is ... real, in some way?

  • Guillame nods, a little hesitantly.

[Aden_] Hm. [Aden_] Go on...

  • Aden_ brings you the tea.

[Guillame] One of the people who is in both places is a girl from my house. There's a history of 'seers' in house rat - people who see more than most - other people's thoughts, or the future. It's what part of my research is on. But... I didn't really know how real it was. [Guillame] Ah, thanks

  • Guillame takes a sip, even though it's too hot.

[Guillame] Anyway, this girl, she made me promise to find the real her. The not-dream her. And... I'm going to do that. But she also said something about you. [Aden_] ...me? [Guillame] Yeah. I remember it really clearly, because the other you had a different name, 'Ailden'. [Guillame] She said "Aden, Aden, don't you see the trap closing around you?" [Aden_] ... [Guillame] Which is a bit vague, but she was mad. They go mad because of the seeing, I guess, but they still see things right, in theory. [Guillame] So... I don't know what to advise you. I know you're being careful. [Aden_] Well, I'm trying :o [Guillame] But I just wanted you to know that it might be more than paranoia. [Aden_] But... if it'll make you feel better, I'll keep an eye out.

  • Aden_ nods.

[Guillame] ... [Aden_] So have you found this girl? [Guillame] Sort of. I know where she is, and who she is. I found out today. [Aden_] That's exciting... maybe. [Guillame] Apparently she's mad too, but ... it might be useful, still. In any case, I should make sure she's ok. [Guillame] ... [Guillame] Do you want to know about the other you? [Aden_] I don't know... will it be weird and upsetting? [Guillame] No... I don't think so. It shouldn't be upsetting. [Aden_] All right, then. [Guillame] He's a lot like you - a kind of hero, I guess.

  • Aden_ chuckles at that.

[Aden_] I don't know about 'hero', but thank you :) [Guillame] There's an undercity there, like ours, but runaway and renegade humans live there - the people that escape slavery, or just hate the oppression.

  • Aden_ nods.

[Guillame] He pretty much runs the place - him and Maze. [Aden_] Huh. [Aden_] That's... interesting. [Guillame] There are a lot of people there who are very angry, and bitter, and vengeful - but he seemed to work really hard to make sure that although they had to fight, and sometimes kill, to survive and try and make a better place for themselves, that it was always with a purpose, and never just out of anger. [Aden_] Well... I suppose that does sound like something I'd do. If I had to... though I'm rather glad I don't. [Guillame] So am I

  • Guillame holds Aden's hand
  • Aden_ squeezes your hand back.

[Guillame] If it ever comes to it, though, I'll fight with you. Because you'll have the right reasons. [Aden_] What about you... were we still... friends, in that world? [Guillame] Well...

  • Guillame looks sad

[Guillame] We were once. But not now. I was...

  • Guillame trails off and spaces out a little

[Aden_] It's okay, if you don't want to talk about it. [Guillame] The other me wasn't good. [Aden_] Oh. [Aden_] Well... in a situation like that, to survive, I'm sure lots of people would do things they'd never imagine they were capable of. [Guillame] He sort of tried to be, because he was with people who were fighting for justice, and freedom, and he wanted them to let him keep doing his thing. But all his reasons were wrong, and he was pretty awful. [Guillame] A... monster, a lot would say. [Guillame] It's hard for me to see it objectively. It was like I was him, but I didn't get to be me. [Aden_] ... I have a hard time imagining you as a monster. [Guillame] Well, it's better that you can't. I'd like to think I can't be him. I don't think I could before I was, but now I'm not always sure. [Guillame] ... that doesn't really make sense, does it? [Aden_] I don't know, it makes sense to me. [Aden_] You were... inside his head, right?

  • Guillame nods.

[Guillame] Really, you're right though. I'm not him, and I don't think I ever will be. It was all things when he was a kid that made him that way... he never really had my parents...

  • Aden_ nods.

[Guillame] I didn't think I was going to tell you about him, but I'm glad you asked. [Aden_] Well... then you probably saw the worst of him.

  • Guillame is a little teary

[Aden_] :/ [Aden_] Was there anything else you wanted to get off your chest? [Guillame] No... wait, yes. [Guillame] I'm going to try and meet Martan. [Aden_] Oh? That might be interesting. [Aden_] Did you want me to set things up? [Guillame] I'm not sure... maybe it's better if I do it myself? I don't really know your family well enough to know how they'd see it. [Guillame] I mean, I could send him a letter directly, but if I were to set it up through you it'd probably be through a chain of people? [Aden_] Well, I'd probably just talk to my great-uncle... [Some may be missing here as I got disconnected while logging.] [Aden_] Whatever you prefer - if you want me to keep out of it, I will, of course.

  • Guillame makes a decision

[Guillame] You set it up - it'll be better that way. It's about my research, I suppose - although it's more about other people's. [Aden_] Very well. [Aden_] I don't know if you'll be able to speak to him alone... is that what you wanted? [Guillame] For preference, yes... I want to ask him about some of the things in the other world. He was in the resistance too. [Aden_] All right - I'll ask for a private meeting, if it's possible. [Guillame] I don't think he'd want to talk about it in front of other people - you understand? [Aden_] Certainly. But I also have the impression they're keeping him pretty close, so I don't know whether it'll be allowed or not. [Guillame] Ok. Well, we'll see what we see. [Guillame] Now... how can I possibly thank you for your help, and ease your fears about this 'trap' at the same time... [Aden_] Oh, I'm sure I can think of *something*...

  • Guillame finishes his tea

  • Taralynn knocks on your door one afternoon.
  • Sanadhil will answer the door after a moment, dressed very Elf-casual

[Taralynn] Hey...

  • Sanadhil 's living room/parlour is mostly neat, but there are a bunch of books on the low table, and papers with notes, etc.

[Sanadhil] Come in.

  • Taralynn will do so, looking around at the piles of books and paper.
  • Sanadhil says after moment of trying to decide what to call her and opting to avoid the issue for now.

[Taralynn] Have you read all of these? [Sanadhil] Mostly... [Sanadhil] some are just for reference. [Taralynn] Huh. [Sanadhil] (also some are in bunches of different languages) [Sanadhil] Would you like anything to drink? [Taralynn] Sure, what do you have? [Sanadhil] tea, water, wine... [Taralynn] I'll have some tea, that would be nice.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Do you take anything in it? [Taralynn] Just plain is fine.

  • Sanadhil nods and will set things out for once the kettle boils

[Sanadhil] So.

  • Taralynn looks uncertain if she should sit down or not.
  • Sanadhil returns to the parlour and gestures to a free chair
  • Taralynn will have a seat.
  • Sanadhil moves aside some books, carefully, so that it is a little less cluttered.

[Sanadhil] I spoke to an associate of mine. A priest of Owl, who is working with the reverend father to investigate the Order of the Black Down.

  • Taralynn nods, listening.

[Sanadhil] I gave her a vague indication of your situatio, and told her that you might be willing to speak to them, or aid them, if they can assist you. [Taralynn] I'm not sure what I can do, but if they can help, I'll do anything they ask.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I don't know if they can or not, or whether they will ask much of you in any case... however She would like to meet you, at least. [Taralynn] All right... [Taralynn] What's her name? [Sanadhil] Alma de Beziers. [Taralynn] Sounds posh. [Sanadhil] She's a countess. [Taralynn] o_O [Taralynn] And she's friends with you?

  • Taralynn tries not to sound too shocked at that.

[Sanadhil] We're both members of the antiquarian society. [Taralynn] Oh. [Sanadhil] It's more of a... professional relationship.

  • Taralynn nods.
  • Sanadhil resists the urge to make a quip about having other posh friends :p

[Taralynn] Ok, well, whenever she wants to meet, I can be there. [Sanadhil] Alright, I'll arrange it. [Taralynn] Thank you,

  • Sanadhil shakes his head a bit.

[Sanadhil] Wait and see how it goes. [Taralynn] However it goes, thank you for trying.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] If it doesn't work out, I'll think of something else [Taralynn] I really appreciate it.

  • Sanadhil says, considering how close he is to mastering the Dominate Person spell.... probably a few months away at least.

[Taralynn] If there's anything I can do... [Sanadhil] I told her that I met you through the cult. [Taralynn] That's fine... makes sense.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] She's fairly perceptive, so be careful if you need to lie to her. [Taralynn] I'll tell the truth as much as I can. [Sanadhil] Just leave me out of it.

  • Taralynn nods.

[Sanadhil] She's herd my name.... it's a long story... and I don't want to give her any occasion to think about it too hard. [Taralynn] There shouldn't be any reason to bring it up. [Sanadhil] I'm just being cautious. [Taralynn] I won't mention you, I swear. [Sanadhil] Thank you.

  • Sanadhil will bring out tea... of course now he's mostly said all he had to say.

[Sanadhil] You're keeping well? [Taralynn] All right... It could be worse. [Taralynn] Theron's... well.

  • Taralynn shrugs.

[Sanadhil] Is he bringing you to the wedding? [Taralynn] Heh, I don't know. I think his mother wasn't too happy that he took me out in public at all. [Taralynn] I'd love to go, though... I'm sure it'll be a sight to see. [Sanadhil] I expect so... [Taralynn] Are you going? [Sanadhil] Yes. [Taralynn] Which lucky girl are you escorting? ;) [Sanadhil] I'm still considering my options. [Taralynn] Why am I not surprised you have options, heh. [Sanadhil] ... [Sanadhil] . o O ( Limited ones :p ) [Sanadhil] Its more of a political decision, really. [Taralynn] Oh.

  • Taralynn sips her tea.
  • Sanadhil keeps from making a stupid comment about Ilphere :V

[Taralynn] Well... I shouldn't keep you, you must be busy.

  • Sanadhil sighs a litt

[Sanadhil] e [Sanadhil] Always.

  • Sanadhil stands

[Taralynn] Good to see you again... [Sanadhil] yes, Tara, it is. [Taralynn] Thank you again.

  • Taralynn says before she leaves.
  • Sanadhil nods ans watches her go for a moment.

[Sanadhil] . o O ( bah. ]:| ¬_¬ :/ )

  • Menard will arrive at your house for afternoon tea and longing, then ;)

[Ilphere] (longing? lol) [Menard] (*g*) [Ilphere] Oh, Menard...! I am so glad to see you...! [Menard] And I'm glad to see you, my dear. How are you? [Ilphere] Well... mostly...! [Menard] Is anything wrong?

  • Menard asks, concerned.
  • Ilphere glances around to make sure none of those new maids are around.

[Menard] (you're safe)

  • Ilphere takes a seat on one of the sofas.
  • Menard sits beside you.

[Ilphere] It's... I don't know whether I should burden you with this...

  • Ilphere furrows her brow prettily.

[Menard] You know you can tell me anything... what is the matter? [Ilphere] It's... it's my father...

  • Ilphere looks worried and unhappy.

[Menard] Is he unwell? [Ilphere] No... [Ilphere] If only it were something so simple... then we could just find a cleric...! [Ilphere] He has gotten himself into... difficulties...

  • Menard takes your hand.

[Menard] What sort of difficulties? [Ilphere] ...Trying to keep up appearances for our family now that I am betrothed to you... [Ilphere] ...trying to make everyone think we have all these things, all this money...! [Ilphere] It's so... so stupid...!

  • Menard listens, his brow furrowed.
  • Ilphere wipes away a tear of frustration.

[Menard] I'm not sure I understand... Has he borrowed the money? [Ilphere] From... some horrible person in Pearl City. [Menard] Oh.. :o [Menard] That's awful... [Menard] He could have... well, I don't know, surely there must have been other options. [Ilphere] Apparently he has been for years, but much more now... I had no idea... I thought he had just taken out further mortgages on the county, that kind of thing...!

  • Menard nods.

[Ilphere] I only found out the other night, when I overheard the... the *thugs* they sent to threaten him...! [Menard] :o

  • Ilphere frowns angrily at the memory.

[Menard] How frightful! [Ilphere] I sent them on their way but... but they said they will come back at the end of the week, if he hasn't paid a portion of what he owes... a large portion... [Menard] How much? [Ilphere] Twenty-five... [q] thousand... :( [Menard] .... :o [Ilphere] I do not know what to do...! [Menard] That is... a lot of money :o [Ilphere] Part of me wants to take Dominik and go down to this... person's *lair* and give them a piece of my mind...! [Menard] And they're threatening him if he doesn't pay that by the end of the week? :o [Ilphere] They say they will come and make a big scene of taking all the things he's bought with this horrible money. [Ilphere] I say that if they show up here, they will be sorry they did. ]:|

  • Menard nods...

[Menard] It's odd they would try this now. [Menard] But maybe... I don't know. [Ilphere] They think it will be harder to pressure him or extort him after we're married... [Ilphere] But I don't know where they think he's going to *get* that kind of money all at once...! [Menard] Well, at the very least, it's more likely to bring the guards down on them if they wait, I suppose... but on the other hand, the Empire has the money, he doesn't. [Ilphere] I think they just want to humiliate us...! [Menard] I don't think they would do anything that might cause the wedding to be in any doubt - I mean, if we didn't marry for some reason, then they'd never get their money back.

  • Ilphere nods...
  • Menard ponders.
  • Ilphere refrains from saying 'That's what Seth said.'

[Menard] What if... what if your father sold the house? Surely that would be enough to pay them back. [Ilphere] Sold... the house...? [Ilphere] . o O ( I'm not sure if he even owns it anymore...! ) [Ilphere] I hadn't thought of that... [Ilphere] But where would we live...? :( [Menard] I know it's not what you want to hear... but your family could move into the palace, no one would think that was unusual.

  • Ilphere nods slowly...

[Menard] Especially if you can just hang on until the wedding. [Ilphere] Oh... oh thank you... [Menard] Maybe we can find a way to get some of the money now...

  • Ilphere throws her arms around you.
  • Menard hugs you tightly.

[Menard] It'll be all right, Ilphere - we'll get through this. [Ilphere] I hope it will work...! [Ilphere] Thank you...

  • Ilphere says again.

[Ilphere] Oh, I love you so... [Menard] I love you too.

  • Ilphere sniffles, but they are tears of relief now.

[Ilphere] I *still* want to go and give that horrible 'Duke' what for...! [Menard] Don't risk it... those sorts of people might hurt you, or worse! [Ilphere] . o O ( Or maybe I could have him rooted out *after* the wedding... ) [Ilphere] I can take care of myself... but I wouldn't want you to be worried...! [Menard] Anyone who can throw around that sort of money wouldn't be undefended. [Ilphere] I suppose not... :/

  • Lystain is fretting in his study.
  • Ilphere appears in the doorway...
  • Lystain glances up.

[Lystain] Oh, hello dear... [Ilphere] Father... ? [Ilphere] How are things looking...?

  • Ilphere steps inside and closes the door behind her quietly.

[Lystain] Not so good... [Ilphere] No...? [Lystain] I've been working out how much I can sell, but it's so soon... by the end of the week, I don't know if I can manage more than 10,000... [Ilphere] What about... what about the house...? [Lystain] ... the house?

  • Ilphere asks hesitantly.
  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] We could move in to the palace... It wouldn't be unusual...

  • Lystain looks surprised, but seems to be considering what you suggest...

[Lystain] It would mean we could keep more of our things... the clothing, jewels... [Ilphere] Especially if we could stay on until the wedding - just get a downpayment to give them what they want now... [Lystain] I don't like the idea of leaving this place... but, perhaps there's no other choice... :/ [Lystain] Maybe they'll be satisfied if I can get them the 10,000 by the end of the week, and tell them the rest will come in a month...

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] I could go with you, if you have to talk to them...! [Lystain] I would rather you not have to see this, or get involved with these people... [Ilphere] I want them to know they can't bully our family... [Lystain] I don't know, Ilphere. Your mother would definitely not approve. [Ilphere] She doesn't have to know about it any more than she already does... [Lystain] Well... I suppose it can't hurt :/

  • Ilphere seems pleased.

[Lystain] Very well. I'll see what I can manage to sell by the end of the week, that your mother won't notice missing... and we'll go from there.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Lystain] ...thank you, Ilphere. [Ilphere] We will be alright, Father...

  • Ilphere hugs him.
  • Lystain embraces you.

  • Ysabeau smoothes out the skirts of her regular clothes and checks her hair in a mirror, fitting done for another bout, at least.

[Ysabeau] Your dress is becoming lovelier and lovelier every time I see it. [Ilphere] Oh, it's nice I guess...!

  • Ilphere re-pins some stray curls...

[Ilphere] It seems a bit... much to me... [Ilphere] But it pleases my mother... ! [Ysabeau] Oh, come now! Menard will be hard pressed not to swoon when he sees you come down the aisle in all your finery.

  • Ilphere shrugs.

[Ilphere] Well, I suppose it is for his benefit as well...! [Ysabeau] Well, you're marrying into the Imperial family... better get used to elaborate ceremonies and such. ;) [Ilphere] We shall see... [Ysabeau] Shall we get out of this stuffy place and take some fresh air? [Ilphere] actually... I wanted to ask you something before we leave... [Ilphere] . o O ( And before we go somewhere someone might hear... ) [Ysabeau] Oh? Go ahead. [Ilphere] You have lived in Pearl City a long time, right...? [Ysabeau] The past few years, anyway. Why? [Ilphere] Do you know of a person who calls himself the 'duke' of Crouch End...? [Ysabeau] (I will need to check with Julia about that, for sure.)

  • Ysabeau frowns and looks thoughtful.

[Ysabeau] I may have heard of him; I don't remember, rightly. [Ysabeau] Sounds like a shady character, though. [Ysabeau] Did you want me to make some inquiries? [Ilphere] Well... if you can... discreetly...? [Ilphere] Don't tell anyone about this, please... especially not Dominik...

  • Ysabeau smiles at you.

[Ysabeau] I'm no spy, but I do know the ways of the street folk, anyway.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ysabeau] And there's Merrow - he might know something. :) [Ilphere] Thank you... [Ilphere] I just need to know as much as I can about this person...

  • Ysabeau shrugs.

[Ysabeau] I'll do what I can. [Ysabeau] Might I inquire, though, why Dom mustn't know? [Ysabeau] He might be able to help you, too. [Ysabeau] You were planning to hire him on in that sort of capacity, anyway...

  • Ysabeau looks a little concerned.

[Ilphere] I just... I don't want his family finding out. [Ysabeau] Has that changed?

  • Ysabeau sighs.

[Ysabeau] Very well. [Ysabeau] I've only met them once but there's not much I'd care for them to know about me, either. ;) [Ilphere] Exactly...! [Ysabeau] So what do you need to know about this Duke, specifically? [Ilphere] Just... what kinds of things he is involved with, how many people work for him... [Ysabeau] Where he is, who he might actually be...? [Ilphere] How, ah... Well, how strong the organization is...? How well connected and well protected... [Ilphere] Yes... [Ilphere] So a lot of things, I suppose... :/ [Ysabeau] I make no promises but I'll try. [Ysabeau] . o O (Hopefully my asking questions won't catch their attention... :P ) [Ysabeau] . o O (Better start with Merrow, since Muri and I have to live in Pearl City.) [Ilphere] Thank you...! [Ilphere] Let's talk about something more pleasant now... [Ysabeau] Indeed. [Ysabeau] What did you have in mind? [Ilphere] Anything...!

  • Ilphere says with a smile.

[Ysabeau] Well then... how was your night with Menard? ;D

  • Ilphere laughs...

[Ilphere] Very pleasant...! :) [Ysabeau] Feeling all womanly now? ;)

  • Ysabeau teases.

[Ilphere] Oh Ysabeau...!

  • Ilphere rolls her eyes.

[Ysabeau] Hey, after all my service in an advisory capacity, don't I get to hear anything juicy?

  • Ysabeau pretends to be injured.

[Ilphere] I am sure you'll survive...!

  • Ilphere blushes a bit though.

[Ysabeau] Hmph! That's gratitude for you.

  • Ysabeau smiles and loops her elbow through yours.

[Ysabeau] Let's go have some tea or something. :) [Ilphere] Sounds wonderful...! :) [Ysabeau] Great.

  • Ysabeau leads Ilphere away to dredge all the details out of you. ]:D