Diablotin 2 session 46

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[DiablotinNarrator] It is First-month of a new year, 2248, and Seth is in turmoil. [DiablotinNarrator] What are you doing, Seth?

  • Seth_ is heading down to the under-Arch!

[DiablotinNarrator] How?

  • Seth_ will use his various maps obtained through his research, then head from his current hiding spot using the walls as much as possible.

[DiablotinNarrator] Ok - passing through the catacombs, then? [Seth_] (sure) [DiablotinNarrator] You pass through the large, bone-crammed chambers without undue incident. [DiablotinNarrator] You find yourself in a white stone chamber. It exudes a pale light, despite being windowless and underground, much like the native stone of the Shadow Plane. Descending from the ceiling, down to a point about a half-foot above the floor, is an inverted Arch.

  • Seth_ searches around - does it look just like the room from Saraknyel, or any differences?

[DiablotinNarrator] You can make out what might once have been a door... it's been sealed, presumably by using Stone Shape or a similar spell. [DiablotinNarrator] The 'door' is different, of course.

  • Seth_ looks for any signs that people have been here, doing rituals or whatnot.

[DiablotinNarrator] You can make your check. [Seth_] (Track or Search?) [DiablotinNarrator] (Search) [Seth_] (35) [DiablotinNarrator] The room is quite clean, not dusty or anything, but you do believe you detect signs of someone having been there recently. [Seth_] (just one person?) [DiablotinNarrator] That is your impression, yes. [Seth_] (but they didn't leave anything behind?) [DiablotinNarrator] (A few hairs, maybe)

  • Seth_ collects them ... just in case.

[DiablotinNarrator] They're blond, and relatively short.

  • Seth_ goes closer to the Arch, trying as much as possible to duplicate what Char did in Saraknyel

[DiablotinNarrator] Nothing talks to you. [DiablotinNarrator] But perhaps there is a slight chill in the air? It could just be your imagination/memory, though.

  • Seth_ readies himself as much as you can get ready for this sort of thing, then slips between the cracks of the Arch.

[DiablotinNarrator] You find yourself in a strange but familiar space - a vast, grey room, larger than your comprehension allows, teeming with the colourless, translucent remains of people. [DiablotinNarrator] They pay you no attention as they drift about, seemingly aimlessly.

  • Seth_ looks for signs of colour or purposeful movement, and will stride forward cautiously in search of Belden or others.

[DiablotinNarrator] You walk for some time. You're not sure how long... [DiablotinNarrator] Eventually, you catch a glimpse of a brown robe. [Seth_] Hello? [Seth_] Is that you, Pasith Belden?

  • Belden is seated on the 'floor', cross-legged. She looks up as you approach.

[Belden] Yes? [Seth_] Ah, you are here. Good. I was worried that I would be unable to find you.

  • Belden looks puzzled.

[Belden] Who are you? Have we met before? [Seth_] My name is Seth Argo. As to the second question, that is a very good one. [Seth_] I presume we have not met before, judging from your tone and inquiry. [Belden] We may have, I suppose. I'm sorry, I don't remember.

  • Belden stands.

[Belden] What are you doing here? [Seth_] I am from Diablotin. When we met before, or rather, when someone like me met someone like you, I was in the city of Saraknyel. [Belden] Hm... interesting. [Seth_] I am here because once before, I travelled into the Arch, and met you, or someone like you. That was as I say, in Saraknyel.

  • Belden listens, trying to understand.

[Seth_] Now returned to Diablotin, my native home, I sought to learn more about the Arch by entering it here, that is, in Diablotin. [Seth_] To see if you would still be here. [Belden] How did you go between the two cities? [Seth_] I and my colleagues went to the Plane of Shadow, whereupon we entered the dream of a Shadar-kai queen, which had constituted itself independently as a sphere of existence ... does this make any sense to you at all? I apologize for my lack of ability to explain my situation. [Belden] It does, somewhat. I know that I have memories of both cities, or I believe I do... it's hard to know what's real anymore. [Seth_] When I met you before ... you said you had not met another sentient creature since arriving here. Is that still true? [Belden] I don't remember having done so. But ... I often think that my memory plays tricks on me here. [Belden] Do you know what this place is? [Seth_] I don't, not really. Do you? [Belden] I think this place... I think it is the Void. [Seth_] Ah. Well. That is ... disturbing. [Belden] The Way of the Wheel teaches that those who are not judged worthy to enter the Centre are sent to the Void - a place of nothingness. [Belden] If this is not a place of nothingness, I don't know what is. [Seth_] But why would you be here, then, of all people? [Belden] Maybe this is a punishment. Maybe I failed them. I don't know. [Seth_] No, no ... in Diablotin your name is held in the greatest esteem - you were the Matriarch! [Belden] Was I? [Seth_] Yes, although ... if the reason you are here is that parts of your soul were trapped upon entering the arch, then you of course would not remember that. It happened after you went through.

[Belden] Perhaps. I do remember going through... [Seth_] You hypothesized to me, before, that it was because you went through in two worlds that you were thusly constituted here. But I do not know how it could be that you are the only such one. [Seth_] For that matter, it does not explain me. [Belden] Yes... I certainly don't know how to explain your presence here. [Belden] Are these all pieces of souls that the ... thing... within the Arch has consumed? [Seth_] I do not know, and yours is the only one that is even recognizable. [Seth_] In Diablotin today, the Arch is essentially inert and unused.

  • Belden nods, listening.

[Belden] I think there are too many for that to be the explanation. [Belden] Unless the Arch is present in many more worlds... [Seth_] That appears to be true. [Belden] I have been here for... I don't know how long. I've never found an end to it. [Seth_] But I do not know how many worlds there are, or whether they are all connected to the same ... Void. [Seth_] If this is not truly the Void - if it stores souls that were consumed rather than those unworthy, then this would be a major theological revolution. [Belden] Sometimes I wonder if all our theology... our efforts to make sense of something that is beyond our comprehension... is in error. [Seth_] Indeed. [Seth_] I did have something further to ask you in particular. [Belden] Yes? [Seth_] It is about ... Rab. [Belden] Rab? [Belden] Have you seen him? How is he?

  • Seth_ nods.

[Seth_] He is recently arrived in Diablotin. Mind you, it has been, what, fifty years time since you arrived. But of course, he is ... not much changed.

  • Belden nods.

[Seth_] I have not spoken to him of your presence here. [Belden] ... is he looking for me still?

  • Belden asks, as if she hardly dares to hope.

[Seth_] I do not know, but I would not be surprised. [Seth_] I intend to ask him, if it be your wish.

  • Belden nods, obviously holding back strong emotions.

[Belden] Please. Tell him of this. Maybe he can make sense of it.

  • Belden looks around.

[Seth_] I will, of course. I cannot promise that there is a way for him to come here to see you, nor for you to see him, but at least, it would be possible for me to relay a message. [Belden] Tell him I love him.

  • Belden thinks for a moment.

[Seth_] I will. [Belden] Tell him... I will do anything within my power to be with him again.

  • Seth_ nods.

[Belden] I haven't forgotten. [Seth_] I hope, m'lady, that you shall not have forgotten me either, when I return. [Belden] I hope so too, Seth Argo. [Belden] Are you going now?

  • Seth_ writes his name on a slip of paper and hands it to her.

[Seth_] I do not know if you can retain things of my world in your possession. [Belden] I don't know either... but I'll try. [Seth_] Keep this, until my return. [Belden] I shall.

  • Belden sits and closes her eyes as if to meditate.

[Seth_] Thank you.

  • Belden nods.

[Belden] I rest at the hub of the wheel, [Belden] A star hovering over an endless sea. [Belden] I am not the harvest; I am the seed. [Belden] I am not the lyre; I am the song. [Belden] I will not fade away.

  • Belden murmurs to herself.
  • Seth_ departs, slipping through the cracks and hopefully back to Diablotin.

[DiablotinNarrator] You re-emerge, seemingly unscathed.

[DiablotinNarrator] Dominik, with Ilphere gone on her honeymoon and it still feeling rather uncomfortable to return to Halden's yard after what happened the last time you went there, you have been at rather a loss since the wedding. [DiablotinNarrator] It is almost a relief when Fredericia Hartzell calls on you late one evening and invites you out for a ride in her carriage.

  • Dominik is indeed grateful for the distraction

[Fredericia] How have things been? [Dominik] Do you want idle pleasantries or the real answer? [Fredericia] Whatever you prefer. [Dominik] I have been better.

  • Fredericia nods.

[Fredericia] I think that's a common state of affairs these days, I'm afraid. [Fredericia] Since Theo died... well, you need a new contact if you're going to keep on with us. Looks like I'm it. [Dominik] I thought maybe your organization was through with me. It had been so long. [Fredericia] Things have been ... a bit chaotic lately. [Fredericia] But no, we could still use the help. [Fredericia] Feel like breaking a few heads?

  • Fredericia asks with a slight smile.

[Dominik] I have no objection to breaking heads as long as it has a useful purpose. [Fredericia] You may have heard of the head in question - Thiroux Declareuil, also known as the Duke of Crouch End. [Dominik] Oh I am familiar with him. [Fredericia] He's been causing some problems. We're going to sort them out. [Fredericia] Could get messy. [Dominik] I don't mind messy.

  • Fredericia smoothes her white kid gloves.

[Fredericia] Good. [Fredericia] Just going to pick up one more associate and we'll be set.

  • Fredericia 's carriage slows at a nondescript but elegant building on Delphian Court. You recognize it as the Jewelbox. The carriage stops at the adjacent house.

[DiablotinNarrator] A female figure slips out the door and approaches the carriage.

  • Woman is not Opal - she's taller and thinner than that, with long auburn hair tied back in a braid.

[Woman] Good evening.

  • Woman says to both of you as she gets into the carriage.
  • Dominik nods a greeting
  • Woman glances as Fredericia, as if they're communicating something.

[Woman] You can call me Ruby.

  • Woman says to you.

[Fredericia] Their security's tighter than ours.

  • Fredericia says dryly.
  • Dominik chuckles

[Dominik] must have a better budget [Ruby] More to lose.

  • Ruby suggests with a smile.

[Dominik] Do we have a plan? [DiablotinNarrator] You travel through the Place D'Iena, keeping off the main streets and sticking to the dimly-lit back ways, eventually passing into Pearl City. [Fredericia] We can't take him on in the tavern - too much disruption, too many people there. We'll get him as he's leaving. [Fredericia] I suggest we draw up beside him, I'll open the door, Ruby distracts anyone who's with him, and Dom, you grab him and haul him inside. Then we go like blazes to get him somewhere we can ... talk. [Dominik] sounds good to me [Fredericia] His friends might try to chase us, but we shouldn't have any problem getting away if they're on foot. [DiablotinNarrator] The carriage draws up a short way down the street from the tavern you visited before, The Old Duke. [Fredericia] We could be waiting for a while. Make yourselves comfortable. [Dominik] this is the part I hate.

  • Ruby settles in to wait.
  • Ruby is definitely eyeing you in an appraising sort of way, you think.
  • Dominik is a tensed spring

[DiablotinNarrator] An hour or more passes. Your boredom is interrupted only by the occasional whores and beggars who come to the carriage seeking coin.

  • Dominik will give her a good glancing as well
  • Ruby is several years older than you, probably 25 at least, and very, very attractive, wearing a simple, low-cut gown.
  • Fredericia tells any and all beggars/whores to piss off, you're not interested.

[DiablotinNarrator] Finally, after what seems like ages, a few people step out of the tavern, including the 'Duke'. They're headed away from you.

  • Fredericia signals to the driver to pull up alongside them.
  • Dominik gets ready
  • Ruby has a small crystal of some sort in her hand.
  • Ruby makes a gesture with it. A glowing rainbow pattern appears in the crowd of people, seemingly mesmerizing them.
  • Fredericia opens the door.
  • Dominik will reach out and snatch the 'Duke'

[DiablotinNarrator] You manage to grab him, and you're certainly strong enough to haul his ass inside.

  • Ruby makes another gesture and the rainbow lights move off down the street. The people follow, ignoring what you're up to.

[Dominik] hello again [Fredericia] M. Declareuil. What a shame we have to meet this way. [The_Duke] What the void...?

  • The_Duke is struggling against your grip.
  • Fredericia pulls out some rope from under the seat and hands it to you.
  • Dominik goes to work binding the poor 'Duke'. Will do a quick check for weapons while doing so.

[DiablotinNarrator] You find a pair of daggers, which you can remove from him. [Dominik] The less you struggle, the less it will hurt. [DiablotinNarrator] Got Rope Use? :) [Dominik] (nope) [DiablotinNarrator] (ok, just a Dex check then I guess) [Dominik] (18)

  • The_Duke is bound, you think firmly.

[Fredericia] Everything was going so well for you. And then you did something very, very stupid.

  • Fredericia says as the carriage drives off.

[Fredericia] You don't cross the Imperials. You really ought to have known better. [Dominik] (actually 20... I get +2 for my escape artist skill for binding people) [DiablotinNarrator] (ok, cool) [The_Duke] He was the one who was stupid! I didn't *make* him borrow the money. [Fredericia] No, but you could have been smarter about it. Let him run up his gambling bills, but don't call for it all due at once. You could have bled him a little at a time without attracting our attention, but no - you had to get greedy. [Fredericia] Now, I don't want to have to make an example of you, M. Declareuil. But I will, if you don't give me any other options. [DiablotinNarrator] The carriage's wheels creak as it draws up onto the Shadow Bridge and pulls to a halt. It is quiet this time of night, and you can hear the soft lapping of the water below.

  • Fredericia opens the door on the side of the carriage near to the edge of the bridge and nods to you.

[Fredericia] Haul him out.

  • Dominik gives the good "duke" a good vantage of the water

[Fredericia] It's an interesting fact that the Ousel rises and falls slightly each day.

  • Fredericia says casually.

[Fredericia] If we were, say, to tie a weight to your feet and lower you until your head was just out of water and leave you there, by morning it would have risen far enough to cover your mouth, your nose... [Fredericia] It would be a slow process, I'm afraid. Very unpleasant. [The_Duke] You wouldn't dare. [Fredericia] Wrong answer, 'your grace'. [Dominik] It's not looking good for you with that attitude. [DiablotinNarrator] (want an Intimidate check? ;) [Dominik] (I'm not very intimidating... but I can fake that I believe she will do it -bluff) [DiablotinNarrator] (sure, you can bluff) [Dominik] (19)

  • The_Duke spits at you, being unable to do much else.
  • Fredericia shrugs.
  • Dominik makes him hurt while I'm holding him (non-lethal damage)
  • The_Duke whimpers a bit.

[Fredericia] Believe me, this is the kinder way out.

  • Fredericia says soothingly.

[Fredericia] She's got some spells that'll make you think your skin's rotting off, forever. This is much quicker.

  • Fredericia says with a nod back to Ruby, who waves cheerfully.

[Fredericia] Or, you could forget that particular debt. Erase it from your books and go back to your sordid, petty little crimes. [The_Duke] It'll ruin me! [Fredericia] Should've thought of that first, then. [Fredericia] Lower him over.

  • Fredericia says to you.
  • Dominik shrugs and starts to lower him.

[Dominik] and I thought for a minute he would actually be reasonable. [Fredericia] Some of them are.. this one, I'm afraid, seems stupider than expected.

  • The_Duke starts screaming when his feet touch the water.

[Fredericia] Oh dear... Ruby, shut him up please.

  • Ruby comes out and peers over the edge.

[Ruby] Hold Person? [Fredericia] That would do nicely, yes.

  • Ruby casts, then, and the screaming stops abruptly.
  • Dominik gives him a good dunk then brings him back up
  • The_Duke is freed from the spell by the time he's back up, shivering and dripping miserably.

[Fredericia] Now, are we going to do business? [Fredericia] Or do I get the gag and the weights? [The_Duke] We'll... I'll erase it. [Fredericia] Good :) [Fredericia] If I hear any further problems from you, it won't be so fun the next time.

  • Dominik sets the fellow on the ground
  • Fredericia gets back in the carriage.

[Fredericia] He can stay here. Either he'll get himself untied eventually, or some kind passerby heading into Pearl will help him out, I'm sure. [Dominik] Have a good evening your dukeship [The_Duke] [m] Fuck you.

  • Dominik smiles

[Fredericia] Well, that went about as well as could be expected.

  • Dominik then gets into the carriage
  • Fredericia says as you drive off, leaving him tied up and dripping on a bridge in the middle of winter.

[Ruby] Anything else tonight, Freddy? [Fredericia] I think we're set. [Fredericia] Thanks for your help, both of you. [Dominik] You always bring me to the best parties.

  • Fredericia chuckles.

[Ruby] What about a little after-party?

  • Ruby suggests, apparently mainly to you.

[Dominik] sounds intriguing but you may be too much of a prize for me.

  • Ruby shrugs.

[Ruby] I didn't say I was charging ;) [Dominik] far be it from me to refuse a lady like yourself.

  • Ruby smiles at that.

[Ruby] You in, Fred? [Fredericia] No, I'm off. Where can I drop you two? [Ruby] You got a place?

  • Ruby asks Dom.

[Dominik] Not one that would meet our needs, but I have coin for some place appropriate. [Ruby] I'm fine with that.

  • Ruby knows her inns and taverns of the city, apparently, and can find one that's decent.
  • Fredericia drops you off with a shake of her head and a wry smile.

[Fredericia] Have fun.

  • Ruby will ensure that you do.

[DiablotinNarrator] Ilphere, you and your new husband (!) are off on your honeymoon, along with your new brothers- and sisters-in-law (!!) [DiablotinNarrator] The designated location for your voyage is the Kizer duchy of Friaul, in particular its major city, Caulderon, where a castle has stood for centuries, its bridge spanning the Ousel where it emerges from Lac Briarel, and so dominating the extensive river trade - the source of much of the Kizer family's wealth and power. [DiablotinNarrator] Castle Briarel is a remarkable sight, a massive fortified stone building, with tall towers and thick walls - obviously built to be defended, unlike the Imperial Palace. [DiablotinNarrator] Your time during your stay is going to be at least partly occupied with outings of various sorts - riding in the countryside, boating on the lake - as well as the mandatory parties of course. [DiablotinNarrator] But you do have a good amount of time to yourselves, too, so that you and Menard can enjoy yourselves without worry of being interrupted...!

  • Ilphere can brush up on her riding...

[Ilphere] (and equestrian skills too) [DiablotinNarrator] (hahah) [DiablotinNarrator] Early in your stay, an old man approaches you deferentially and introduces himself as the Kizer family archivist and librarian, Darrow Marsh. [Ilphere] :D [Marsh] Your highness, your reputation for erudition preceeds you. If there is anything I can do to assist you during your stay here, you have only to ask. [Ilphere] Oh, thank you...! I do look forward to exploring the collection..! [Marsh] If it is not bothersome, would you be so kind as to assist me in recording your family's lineage correctly, for the Kizer genealogy? [Ilphere] Not at all... I would be happy to..]! [Marsh] Thank you, your highness.

  • Marsh draws out a large, leather-bound book, and will carefully inscribe your parents', grandparents', and great-grandparents' names for posterity.
  • Yanina corners you at breakfast one morning.

[Yanina] Are you enjoying yourself, Ilphère?

  • Yanina asks, smiling.

[Ilphere] Oh yes, very much so...! [Ilphere] (sm...?)

  • Yanina seems to want to talk to you alone.

[Ilphere] (34) [Ilphere] (am I in trouble? Is this a Marl-related setup) [DiablotinNarrator] (you don't think so) [Ilphere] And yourself...? [Yanina] Oh, I'm having a splendid time :) [Yanina] You must see the portrait gallery, if you haven't already. Shall we walk there? [Ilphere] Certainly, if you like...! :)

  • Yanina will walk with you, taking your arm in a friendly, sisterly fashion.

[Yanina] Forgive me, but I must ask...

  • Yanina says once you are alone.

[Yanina] The night of the wedding, did anything... odd happen to you? [Ilphere] Did something happen to you...?

  • Ilphere scrutinizes her...

[Ilphere] (sm again :V)

  • Yanina nods.

[Ilphere] (20) [Ilphere] Then yes... [Yanina] I had the most terrible headache, and a ringing in my ears. I asked Marl if we could leave, but he felt it would be inappropriate, and so we stayed until the very end of the fireworks...

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] I felt... something, very strongly; a presence. [Yanina] I heard later that something happened to Theron as well ...

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] It seems he was whisked away home by Dominik and ZIvia. [Yanina] What do you think could have caused it? [Ilphere] Clearly there is something in the Rademacher bloodline... some connection.

  • Yanina nods.

[Ilphere] I think that the inner circle of the order may have been... active that night. [Yanina] But... what *is* the Rademacher bloodline, anyway? Every noble family of our House shares the same blood... you have only to look at that dusty old book that holds the family genealogy to see that. [Yanina] Oh :o [Yanina] Active doing what? [Ilphere] Perhaps... seeking the One.

  • Yanina nods slowly.

[Ilphere] Phedre may have wished to seize the opportunity... [Yanina] It must be a combination of our blood and our ties to the Order - else half the guests would have been affected. [Ilphere] Our blood, the Arch... yes...

  • Ilphere nods...

[Yanina] My own maiden name, Trueblood... I don't know what that signifies, if anything. [Ilphere] Have you had any more dreams lately...? [Ilphere] (can I speculate with K: nob ?) [DiablotinNarrator] (sure) [Ilphere] (28)

  • Ilphere gazes at the portraits as she mulls it over...

[DiablotinNarrator] (it's a very old name, you know that much... not quite as old a family as the Rademachers, who date back to the foundation of the Empire, but pretty old nevertheless... you don't know the specific meaning of the name, however.) [DiablotinNarrator] Lots of faces that look familiar up there... [Ilphere] (Martan? :V) [Yanina] This was a Trueblood castle once, before the Kizers inherited it...

  • Yanina says idly.

[DiablotinNarrator] Probably there's one of him, but tucked away in a corner ;) [Ilphere] Truly...? [Yanina] It was a long time ago.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Yanina] The Kizers are quite a new family, all things considered. [Yanina] Newer than this place, certainly ;) [Ilphere] (should I roll K: nob or just let her tell me? :V)

  • Yanina gestures to the thick stone walls.

[Yanina] I could check the big book for the exact descent, I suppose. I think it was Martan Kizer's grandmother who was a Trueblood.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] So this really is a relatively recent acquisition... [Yanina] I think a couple of hundred years, no more that that.

  • Ilphere is half-looking for the portrait of Martan.

[Yanina] The Kizers were jewellers originally, or so I've heard. [Yanina] I suppose they were rich before they were nobles ;) [DiablotinNarrator] You can find one - tucked away in a corner, and behind a curtain. [Ilphere] Seems he is unpopular even in his own ducal seat... [DiablotinNarrator] It's of him, quite young, and an even younger woman. [Ilphere] (is there a name plate underneath?) [DiablotinNarrator] "Martan Kizer & Mercy Hartzell", and a date which I can't be bothered to work out ;) [Yanina] Well, he was rather scandalous as I understand it.

  • Ilphere nods.

[Yanina] Probably his nephew cleared out most of his things after he died. [Yanina] I don't really know, though. Maybe Marl does... [Ilphere] Ah well... it is of little import, just idle curiosity... :) [Yanina] Well... [Yanina] I am certainly relieved to hear it wasn't just me! [Ilphere] If there were any others, they must have either hidden it very well, or not realized what was happening...!

  • Yanina nods.

[Ilphere] I think it was just the three of us... it seems Theron got the worst of it. [Yanina] It seems so... I wonder why him. [Ilphere] Did you.. did you hear him screaming...?

  • Yanina nods.

[Ilphere] Did he join the order before or after you did...? [Yanina] I didn't know what it was, but... I heard later, after he'd been taken away. [Yanina] It was after I did. [Ilphere] So it's not a matter of longer exposure to the Ophion and the Arch... [Yanina] I don't believe it could be that alone, no. [Ilphere] Perhaps his bloodline is more directly traceable to the source of the... connection. [Yanina] Perhaps so... [Yanina] Well... I shouldn't keep you too long, I'm sure you want to get back to your husband :)

  • Ilphere smiles at the mention of Menard.

[Yanina] We'll have plenty of time to talk later, I'm sure. [Ilphere] Yes, I should... [Ilphere] Of course...! Have a pleasant morning...! [Yanina] You too!

[DiablotinNarrator] Ysabeau, between performances, you are pondering what you might possibly do your final project for the Castalia on, and hoping that your upcoming trip to Kholm might provide some good material. [DiablotinNarrator] During your research and preparation, you have found that Professor Aniva Kalgan, a geographer at the Castalia, is an expert on Kholm, being from that area herself and conducting considerable research there.

  • Ysabeau will have made an appointment to meet with her, then. :)
  • Prof_Kalgan is a wiry, weathered-looking woman in her mid-sixties, with short, fair hair (probably once blonde, now mostly silver).

[Prof_Kalgan] Good day, Mlle. Chanuier. How can I help you? [Ysabeau] Good afternoon, Professor Kalgan. [Ysabeau] I was hoping to draw upon your expertise regarding Kholm for an upcoming expedition that the Imperial Society for the Study and Preservation of Antiquities, Manuscripts, and Historical Curiosities and the Improvement of Knowledge (Rhenean Chapter) is planning to make. [Prof_Kalgan] Oh? [Prof_Kalgan] What is the nature of this expedition? [Ysabeau] To explore some ruins in Kholm. [Prof_Kalgan] Ruins, eh? Well, there are plenty of them to explore.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] M. Enoch Walthers is the proponent, and has invited a number of us along.

  • Prof_Kalgan nods.

[Ysabeau] Now, I have done some research in the libraries, of course, but there's only so much space allotted in various Atlases of the Empire. [Ysabeau] So I was hoping that you might be able to tell me something yourself, or at least, recommend some books on the history, culture, zoology etc. of the duchy.

  • Prof_Kalgan listens.

[Ysabeau] And, as I am a student of the Bardic Arts, my personal interest in this expedition is in ancient music, myths, and/or legends of the place. [Prof_Kalgan] Well, I can tell you some things, certainly, and lend you some books for further reading. [Ysabeau] That would be most gracious of you.

  • Ysabeau beams.

[Prof_Kalgan] As I'm sure you already know, Kholm is at the very edge of the Empire, steppes bordered by desert and mountains. The climate is arid and cold. [Prof_Kalgan] When are you planning on going, if I may ask? [Ysabeau] Dear me, it is coming up fast. The proposal was only made at our year-end meeting, and the expedition is set for (blah week) of Second Month. [Prof_Kalgan] Well, you'll want to prepare for some very cold weather, then. [Ysabeau] So i imagine the climate will be even more arid and cold than usual.

  • Ysabeau grins, great minds think alike.
  • Ysabeau will ask for recommendations of types of clothing and portable shelter suitable for the extreme cold we must expect.
  • Prof_Kalgan can certainly advise you on that.

[Prof_Kalgan] It's been part of the Empire for not quite 1000 years. Empress Roslin Marcoux was the one who brought it into the Empire, along with Demavand, but she died on the trip back. [Prof_Kalgan] There were various races inhabiting the area prior to its incorporation into the Empire... elven, kobolds and other goblinoids, as well as humans.

  • Ysabeau nods, taking notes and listening.

[Prof_Kalgan] The main export is ever-ice, a rare blue ice that doesn't melt, and is sold for high sums to wealthy buyers who want to keep things cold. There is also mining of various sorts, and of course farming and herding. [Prof_Kalgan] The capital 'city', if you can call it that, is Thenqa, population about 10,000. [Prof_Kalgan] There is a distinctive style of architecture in Thenqa - the buildings are round, reminiscent of the tents, or 'ger', that my people used when they were still nomadic. [Ysabeau] All human? Or do other races live there as well? I understand that the Elvish folk up there are rather xenophobic. [Prof_Kalgan] They keep to themselves, for the most part - there is usually fighting when the two groups happen to meet.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Please, go on.

  • Ysabeau sits with pen poised above her notebook.

[Prof_Kalgan] Oh, since you are interested in music, the traditional instrument of Kholm is the merin khur, a two-stringed instrument that's held upright and played with a bow. [Ysabeau] Oh really?

  • Prof_Kalgan nods.

[Ysabeau] String instruments are my specialty. [Prof_Kalgan] Well, you ought to try and find a good player while you're there, if you have the time :) It's worth hearing. [Ysabeau] What sort of voice does it have? Similar to a violin or quite different? [Prof_Kalgan] It's less shrill, I would say, rather deeper. More like a cello, if I had to compare, although the sound is very different. [Ysabeau] Very interesting.

  • Ysabeau smiles, imagining it.

[Prof_Kalgan] As for myths and legends... let me see. [Prof_Kalgan] There are tales that suggest that the peoples who would one day found the Empire came from that area originally, or passed through it. At least, that is how I interpret them. [Ysabeau] Oh... really? [Ysabeau] That is quite fascinating and ties in to some of the things my associates and I are studying. I should love to read these tales in depth, if they were ever put to paper. [Prof_Kalgan] It was once a much more prosperous, thriving area - the ruins can tell you that much. [Prof_Kalgan] The climate must have been more forgiving once.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I understand that there may be a remnant population of Gorgons in the Silver Desert... have you ever heard of any in Kholm? [Prof_Kalgan] I haven't heard of them, no. But in the wilderness, who's to say...

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Of course. [Prof_Kalgan] Although most people there will tell you they follow the Wheel, there are still strong local traditions of spirit-worship. [Ysabeau] Is that so? Nature spirits or something else? [Prof_Kalgan] You'll certainly see ancient piles of stones called 'herga'. They're considered as sites to honour the spirits, the dead, and used as navigation markers. [Ysabeau] Are there any rituals associated with the herga? [Prof_Kalgan] Yes, there are. [Prof_Kalgan] When travelling, it is custom to stop and circle a herga sunwise, in order to have a safer journey. Usually, rocks are picked up from the ground and added to the pile. Also, one may leave offerings for the spirits that dwell there in the form of sweets, milk, or alcohol.

  • Ysabeau nods, taking lots of notes.

[Ysabeau] Why those items, do you know? [Prof_Kalgan] I don't know why, except that they are fairly rare, and so the offering is valuable.

  • Ysabeau considers that and nods once more.

[Prof_Kalgan] (any further direct questions?) [Ysabeau] (Not at the moment so she can tell me what she likes) [Prof_Kalgan] The last independent ruler of Kholm was a woman named Tefa, more of a clan leader than a queen as such... She submitted to Empress Roslin only after a fierce battle. [Prof_Kalgan] After, she killed herself by drinking poison, or so it is said.

  • Ysabeau frowns slightly as she jots that down.
  • Prof_Kalgan sounds a bit dubious.

[Ysabeau] Oh, do you think it was assassination? [Prof_Kalgan] It would make sense if it was. I don't know, though.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Is there much resistance to the Empire nowadays as a result of the unpleasant history? [Prof_Kalgan] Mostly, the Empire is seen as a very distant, occasionally annoying relative ;)

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] I'll advise my companions not to be too annoying if they can help it, then.

  • Ysabeau jokes.

[Prof_Kalgan] The Duke of Kholm, Oswald Rackley, is generally well-liked, as far as that goes.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] One of our party is close with the Rackleys, I believe. [Ysabeau] Actually, one of the Rackleys may be coming with us. [Prof_Kalgan] That's good, it may be helpful. But you should know that he has very little influence outside of the city, and the areas that are directly controlled - the mines and such. [Ysabeau] What can we expect in the areas not directly under the control of the Empire...? [Prof_Kalgan] You can probably expect to not see too many people. But if you do, you should be prepared for them to be suspicious - they won't have seen many outsiders, certainly.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Are there any local dialects? [Ysabeau] Rather, will we be able to communicate if we speak Aveyronnais? [Prof_Kalgan] Yes, there are. I don't know that you'll have time to master them in the month before you go, but I can teach you a few phrases at least. But most people will probably speak some Aveyronnais. [Prof_Kalgan] I can loan you these books, which may help... [Ysabeau] I'd appreciate learning what I can before we go - thank you very much!

  • Ysabeau takes them and reads their spines.
  • Prof_Kalgan offers you some books to read - on the plants and animals, a book of legends/songs/stories, a history...
  • Ysabeau is very grateful and promises to take good care of them. When would be a good time for my phrase lessons? ;)

[DiablotinNarrator] (she can teach you the phrases now, I just don't have time to go into it ;)

[DiablotinNarrator] Alma, having recently spoken to his father, you are now about to have a meeting with the Lord Marshal of the Order of the Spoke himself, Butler Belden. [DiablotinNarrator] Where do you want to meet with him?

  • Alma assumes that inviting him for tea would be too familiar?

[DiablotinNarrator] (no, you can do that if you like :) [Alma] (Oh well why not entertain then?)

  • Alma invites him for tea.
  • Lord_Marshal will arrive at the appointed time.

[Lord_Marshal] Sister Alma, it's good to see you again. [Alma] A pleasure to see you as well, Lord Marshall. Has the day treated you well? [Lord_Marshal] I suppose so. And yourself? [Alma] Yes, indeed. A relatively uneventful day can be a good thing :)

  • Lord_Marshal nods.

[Lord_Marshal] Indeed, yes.

  • Alma offers him tea and crumpets or somesuch.
  • Lord_Marshal accepts politely.

[Lord_Marshal] How is Ser Danyel? [Alma] He is well, I believe he is practicing this afternoon. [Alma] .oO( We have to talk ... sigh )

  • Lord_Marshal nods.

[Lord_Marshal] Glad to hear it. [Alma] I was hoping that you might be able to shed some light on the events surrounding the moving of the Arch. [Lord_Marshal] ...oh? [Lord_Marshal] Well, I only know what I heard as I was growing up. [Lord_Marshal] What in particular did you want to know? [Alma] We thought that you might have heard something about the Arch itself from Matriarch Pasith, though anything might help? [Lord_Marshal] Well... Certainly it was a momentous event in her life. She did not often speak of it, but when she did, it was always in tones of amazement and reverence.

  • Alma nods.

[Lord_Marshal] She believed it was the most important thing she ever did. [Alma] I can understand. [Alma] I suppose it was unlikely that you would have a particular insight into something that happened before you were born.

  • Alma says not entirely surprised -_-

[Lord_Marshal] Well, I was born the day they moved it, but a few hours later. [Lord_Marshal] May I inquire what is the reason for your curiosity? [Alma] I assume you've been informed of the events at the Antiquarian Society? [Lord_Marshal] Somewhat... not as often as I might like, but I do hear things from time to time. [Alma] As well as the work of Ser Danyel and I to learn about the Order of the Black Down?

  • Lord_Marshal nods.

[Lord_Marshal] Yes, I am rather more familiar with those efforts. [Alma] The two are connected in a sense, via the Arch... [Lord_Marshal] Hmm. [Alma] Have you learned of our latest trip to the Shadow Plane? [Alma] Including our time spent in the dream plane? [Lord_Marshal] Only what Ser Danyel has told me... but I believe that covered most of the details.

  • Lord_Marshal gives a brief summary of the trip, which seems reasonably accurate.

[Alma] Well, the true nature of the Arch is something we'd like to know... it pertains to the goals of the Order and Vrag, as well as the nature of that dream plane... [Lord_Marshal] Ah.. yes, I see what you mean. [Lord_Marshal] I believe my mother's writings on the subject are kept in the Patriarch's archives - you might be able to consult them. [Lord_Marshal] I honestly don't know if they are sealed, I haven't looked personally. But you could inquire. [Alma] If they are, perhaps the Reverend Father might be inclined to permit me... I will see.

  • Lord_Marshal nods.

[Alma] I have another question, which may seem a little odd. [Lord_Marshal] Go ahead... [Alma] Do you have strange dreams? Perhaps of yourself as a fighter, or a gladiator? [Lord_Marshal] Well, I sometimes dream of fighting. I suppose it's only natural... [Alma] (SM dud) [Alma] Yes, of course. [Alma] Perhaps if I described it.

  • Alma will roughly describe the colosseum or the rooms as she recalls them.

[Lord_Marshal] It sounds... vaguely familiar, perhaps? I don't really know.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] There is a link between the dream plane and ours... [Alma] There, your ... shadow? dreamt about himself in another life, one that could easily have been yours... a man leading an army, searching for a lost dragon.

  • Lord_Marshal gives a brief laugh at that.

[Lord_Marshal] Yes, that certainly sounds like my life. [Alma] (SM 36, is that a rueful laugh or am I dumb? ;_;) [DiablotinNarrator] (rueful) [Alma] We thought that perhaps you might have experienced something equivalent that might be useful. [Lord_Marshal] Do all people have these dreams that span the two worlds? [Alma] There were a number who them who dreamt of tHIS world... perhaps it's due to the nature of that world. [Alma] But so far we're not aware of anyone here who has dreamt of that world.

  • Lord_Marshal nods.

[Lord_Marshal] Well, I'm afraid I don't know for certain if I have. I wish I could be of more assistance. [Alma] Of course, it's all so very much like grasping at straws.

  • Lord_Marshal nods.

[Alma] He also dreamt of a woman, who he'd never met, with "black hair and eyes like the ocean", who told him that they knew each other before they were born. [Lord_Marshal] ... [Alma] (SM 27) [Alma] (I figure he's a little surprised by that bit.) [Lord_Marshal] [q] Theonée.

  • Lord_Marshal is indeed!

[Alma] Yes, that is who we thought that might be. [Lord_Marshal] She said that to me once, when we were young... [Lord_Marshal] I... excuse me, Sister, but I must be going. [Alma] Has she mentioned dreams that might belong to this world? Perhaps of you... as this gladia- [Alma] Of course, Lord Marshall. [Lord_Marshal] Thank you for your hospitality.

  • Alma will stand.
  • Lord_Marshal stands as well.

[Lord_Marshal] I'm sorry for my rudeness. [Lord_Marshal] Thank you again. [Alma] Of course not. [Alma] If you think of anything that might be of benefit, perhaps you might send word to the Reverend Father. [Lord_Marshal] I shall, of course.

  • Lord_Marshal departs quickly.

[DiablotinNarrator] Guillame, Aden has practically begged you to go to the next Levellers' meeting, in order to find out what is going on, whether this attempted assassin was one of their members or not, and what they are planning to do next.

  • Guillame was planning to go anyway :)

[DiablotinNarrator] The tension is already high among those gathered when you arrive. The room seems more crowded than usual, though you're not sure if there are actually more people or if it's just that the ones there are taking up more space.

  • Thea stands to bring the meeting to order.

[Thea] All right - first thing. I know you're all upset, but I have to ask - do any of you know this Durand Grosner? Did he actually ever come to a meeting here?

  • Rickard speaks up.

[Rickard] We weren't good friends or anything, but I knew him in passing. He went to the Castalia but dropped out without finishing last year. He had some issues even then. He was unusually... intense. [Rickard] He's House Rat, grew up in Rhenea... I guess he's in his early twenties. Kind of a short, fat guy... [Rickard] I don't think he ever attended a meeting with us, but it's possible he was at some of the bigger rallies. It's not something we ever talked about. Maybe he considered himself part of the movement, I'm not sure. [DiablotinNarrator] "Yeah, and maybe they're just trying to pin this on us," says a voice from the crowd, you didn't see who. [Thea] They could be. I don't know if the Hush or whoever manipulated this guy into his pointless little attack, or if he did it all out of his own personal crazy. [Thea] In case it's not clear, people, we don't condone attacks on anyone - not even the Emperor. [Thea] This could be bad for us, really bad. They could haul any of us they can identify in for 'questioning'... they could try to shut us down. [Thea] They won't, by the way, in case you were worried. Drive us underground, maybe, but they can't stop us. [Thea] I have a letter ready to go in the Oracle, declaiming responsibility and saying he acted alone. [Thea] And, if they'll let us, we'll have another public meeting at the Castalia, to address this. [Thea] Any further thoughts or concerns about this unfortunate matter? [Guillame] . o O (Thea's better at this when she's in charge than she was when Aden ran it...) [Thea] All right. What other news do we have, if there's anything? [Phelix] The food 'donations' have been coming in pretty smoothly. We've been making sure that it gets to where it'll be used - working with the Revelators on the distribution angle. [Phelix] They might be wising up, though. Last time, the security was tighter. [Thea] All right... what do you suggest, then? [Phelix] I think we should do one more big raid, and then quit - if we keep on with these little ones, we're going to get caught sooner or later. [Thea] Any opposition?

  • Thea asks the group.

[Guillame] If they tightened up security already, it might be better to leave off for a bit [Phelix] With a few more people, it would be doable.

  • Phelix says, a bit stubbornly.

[Guillame] I'm not saying that you can't do it - I'm sure you can. [Thea] He's right, Phelix. Leave it for a little while - we don't want to lose anyone. [Guillame] Is there anywhere else we can source from? [Phelix] I'll look into it. [Thea] Good. [Thea] If nothing happens, maybe in a month or so you can hit them again.

  • Phelix looks a little grumpy, but agrees.

[Thea] Further issues?

  • Thea looks around at the crowd.

[Guillame] I'm interested in this public meeting [Thea] All right - why don't you and Rickard team up to help organize it.

  • Guillame nods to Rickard
  • Rickard nods back.

[Thea] I think we should also look at getting another press set up. With Avery gone for who knows how long, we could use the mouthpiece.

  • Guillame nods in agreement

[Thea] Anyone have any expertise in printing? [DiablotinNarrator] Nobody seems to, but a few people volunteer anyway. [Thea] All right... if there's nothing else, then thank you all for coming, and be careful. Let me know if anyone has any problems.

  • Guillame will try and talk to Rickard after the meeting
  • Rickard is around after the meeting.
  • Guillame greets him

[Rickard] Hi. [Rickard] I guess we should try to set this up soon, then. [Guillame] Yeah, I think that's probably a good idea - it's been a bit too long already, maybe.

  • Rickard nods.

[Rickard] With the controversy, I'm not even entirely sure they'll let us, but we can ask at least. [Guillame] If we get a place to talk, though, we shouldn't just make it about the attack. [Rickard] Of course. [Guillame] There's plenty of things that people will actually want to hear what we have to say about [Rickard] Well, I hope so!

  • Guillame grins

[Guillame] Yeah, me too. [Rickard] I thought I recognized you at the Society, but I didn't want to say anything there. [Guillame] Thanks - I don't think many people outside of here know I'm involved

  • Rickard nods.

[Rickard] Well, I won't mention it, of course. [Guillame] If it came down to it, I wouldn't disclaim the levellers, but it's much more convenient for my family and friends not to know. [Rickard] I understand. [Guillame] Present company excluded

  • Guillame waves at the crowd

[Rickard] Heh. [Rickard] Ok, we'll see what we can get set up in the next few days, then. [Guillame] Maybe it's convenient if we meet at the society? [Rickard] Sure.

  • Guillame will set a date, and go and see if he can catch Thea
  • Thea is still around, certainly.
  • Guillame will grab a moment when she's not engaged

[Thea] Oh, hello!

  • Thea says when you approach.

[Guillame] Hello Thea! [Guillame] How's everything going? [Thea] Well, it's been a bit of a nightmare lately. But at least I'm not in prison? [Guillame] That's true enough [Guillame] I just wanted to let you know that you're doing a great job. [Thea] ...Thank you :)

  • Thea seems surprised but pleased.

[Guillame] ...you're welcome! [Guillame] And, er, keep it up! [Thea] I'll certainly do my best. [Guillame] I'll let you get back to actual issues, then

  • Guillame grins and takes his leave

[Thea] Well, thank you :) Good to see you again.

  • Sanadhil will have cast some spells ahead of time.... nondetection and heroism

[DiablotinNarrator] Sanadhil, following the unexpected absence of Earric from the Imperial weddings, you have decided to casually stop by their home and see how he's doing.

  • Phedre welcomes you politely.

[Phedre] So lovely to see you... how are you doing? [Sanadhil] I'm well, thank you - and yourself? [Phedre] I'm quite well, fortunately. Earric is still ... not quite himself, I'm afraid. [Sanadhil] (has she invited me in or are we chatting on the doorstep?) [DiablotinNarrator] (in the entry hall) [Sanadhil] I saw it mentioned papers, but I wasn't certain how much stock to put into it. [Sanadhil] is he quite ill? [Phedre] Oh, did the papers say something? Goodness, can't they find anything more important to write about? [Sanadhil] oh, there were full of idle nonsense... [Phedre] I suppose that's typical. [Sanadhil] Indeed, especially after such a grandiose event.

  • Phedre nods.

[Phedre] It was quite something, wasn't it. [Sanadhil] :hello? [Sanadhil] Quite... A shame you had to leave early. [Phedre] Yes... Well, I was feeling tired, and wanted to get home to my husband. [Phedre] It was such a long day. [Sanadhil] of course.

  • Sanadhil says sympathetically

[DiablotinNarrator] (You think that she's deliberately not inviting you in, if not actively trying to get rid of you.) [Phedre] Who was your lovely companion? I don't recall seeing her before.

  • Sanadhil will silent/still cast Charm Person

[DiablotinNarrator] (ok... save DC?) [Sanadhil] A friend of mine from out of town [Phedre] Oh? She caused quite a stir, I gather. [Sanadhil] more fodder for the gossip rags, I suppose

  • Phedre chuckles.

[Phedre] I suppose so. [Phedre] Well... have you thought further about what we discussed last time you visited? [Sanadhil] I have been considering it, yes.

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] There is a great appeal in the potential ...clarity.

  • Phedre smiles at that.

[Sanadhil] All my life I have been taught to avoid such commitments, however, as engaging as they are... as much as I want to know, it it difficult to overcome. [Phedre] It's understandable.

  • Sanadhil says thoughtfully

[Phedre] But bonds can also be supports.

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Sanadhil] True enough [Sanadhil] They seem to serve you well enough

  • Phedre smiles again at that, though perhaps a little more tightly.
  • Sanadhil will silent/still cast detect thoughts @_@

[Phedre] (ok... save DC?) [Sanadhil] (22 :/) [Phedre] Well... would you care to see Earric? I'm sure he would be glad of your well-wishes for his recovery. [Sanadhil] If he is up to it, I would be most glad to [Phedre] Only briefly, though - he tires so easily.

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Sanadhil] of course

  • Phedre will lead you upstairs to Earric's bedroom, then.
  • Phedre knocks at the door.

[Sanadhil] : earric?

  • Phedre peeks her head in.

[Phedre] It's M. Orecalo, dear, come to see how you're doing.

  • Sanadhil waits patiently in the hall

[DiablotinNarrator] The room is dimly lit, curtains drawn.

  • Phedre turns back to you.

[Phedre] All right, he'll see you. [Sanadhil] Thank you.

  • Earric is lying in bed. He looks pale, a bit haggard, possibly feverish.
  • Phedre enters the room with you, not leaving the two of you alone.

[Earric] Hello... thank you for visiting. [Sanadhil] I do hope its nothing serious... [Sanadhil] :is it?: [Earric] A fever. [Earric] :I don't know.: [Sanadhil] have you seen a healer? [Sanadhil] :What happened? [Earric] My wife is quite skilled, she's been treating me herself. [Sanadhil] . o O (ha)

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Of course

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Earric] :I think she's doing something to me. I don't know what.: [Sanadhil] :I thought so.... but why? [Sanadhil] :Do you know what happened on the night of the weddings? [Earric] Well, it was kind of you to come. [Earric] :yes... they did a ritual.: [Sanadhil] I do hope you'll be feeling better soon [Earric] :One of their blood rites. Involving *my* blood, I suspect.: [Sanadhil] The meetings just woudn't be the same without your presence.

  • Earric smiles faintly at that.

[Earric] Oh, I expect I'll be back on my feet before too long. [Sanadhil] :I see... Well I suppose you are still useful to her, then. [Earric] :Oh, as ever.: [Sanadhil] excellent. You are in excellent hands, after all. [Earric] Indeed.

  • Sanadhil nods to Phedre

[Earric] Why, I'm sure if I needed surgery, Phedre could handle even that.

  • Phedre chuckles.

[Sanadhil] Surgery? :o [Phedre] your confidence in my skills is touching :) [Phedre] But you won't need anything so drastic. Just rest. [Sanadhil] Well I hope not, yes. [Sanadhil] :Do you need anything?

  • Sanadhil asks, not entirely sure why he is asking :x

[Earric] :I need my wings back. I need to be gone from here.: [Phedre] Speaking of which.. you're looking quite tired. [Sanadhil] :yes... quite. I haven't forgotten.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I don't want to impede your recovery [Phedre] I'll have them bring you up some broth for dinner, my dear. [Earric] Thank you for coming... it was good to see you, M. Orecalo. [Sanadhil] You as well, M. Boyne - take care. [Earric] :Don't forget, the necklace...: [Sanadhil] :I won't.

  • Sanadhil gives a polite bow, and will exit, presumably with Phedre
  • Phedre shuts the door quietly behind you.

[Phedre] Well, as you can see, he's still under the weather - but much improved over a few days ago.

  • Phedre says as she escorts you back downstairs.

[Sanadhil] I'm glad to hear it - I hope I haven't added to your troubles by bothering you so [Phedre] Not in the slightest.

  • Sanadhil says, somewhat contritely

[Phedre] It's touching that you care so much about him.

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Sanadhil] Oh, I don't think he is special - if you were ill, I'm certain I'd be troubling him just as much.

  • Phedre smiles at that.

[Phedre] Thank you for stopping by, M. Orecalo [Sanadhil] Maybe more?

  • Phedre chuckles.
  • Sanadhil sms her again @_@

[Sanadhil] (30) [Sanadhil] And thank you for seeing me.

  • Phedre is getting rid of you, though politely.

[Phedre] If you change your mind, please let me know. I would simply love to have you join us. [Sanadhil] (is that true? or do I need another roll :p)

  • Phedre says as if she's inviting you to a weekend in the countryside, not a cult ;)

[DiablotinNarrator] (seems true) [Sanadhil] Well, I haven't discarded the idea, i assue you. [Phedre] Good.

  • Phedre kisses your cheek.
  • Sanadhil smiles and returns the gesture.

[Phedre] I apologize for my rudeness, but I'm simply so preoccupied at the moment. I hope next time we meet will be under more favourable circumstances. [Sanadhil] I quite understand, and I'm sure it will be so. [Phedre] Thank you for your sympathy. [Sanadhil] You're welcome, and I hope things improve for you - have a pleasant afternoon, at least. [Phedre] Thank you. Good day, M. Orecalo.

  • Phedre shows you out.
  • Sanadhil will be off, with another little bow.


  • Rab will meet with you at Vianca's house, or another location if you prefer.

[Seth_] (Vianca's is fine)

  • Seth_ shows up at the door, like a normal person.

[Rab] Good afternoon. [Seth_] Good afternoon, M. ... Belden. [Rab] M. Argo, is it? [Seth_] That is correct. [Rab] Any relation to Oth Argo? [Seth_] Yes - he was my grandfather.

  • Rab nods.

[Seth_] You knew him? [Rab] Somewhat, yes. [Seth_] That is ... interesting. I have heard many things about him, many contradictory stories. [Rab] That's not surprising. [Rab] I think he preferred it that way. [Seth_] Hmm, yes. [Seth_] But at any rate, any of that can wait for another time. [Seth_] There is a significantly pressing matter about which I must speak to you. [Rab] Is it concerning what you mentioned last time we spoke? About the Arch? [Seth_] Yes and no. [Seth_] Originally I was going to ask you about the connection between the two halves of the Arch, since you were there when it was rejoined. [Seth_] I also intend to ask you further, at some point, perhaps later today even, about Cornelia Nash. [Seth_] But I must first ask your forebearance so that I may explain the pressing matter that has just arisen.

  • Rab looks a bit puzzled.

[Rab] I'm listening... [Seth_] You have heard of our trip into the dream-realm of the Shadar-kai queen? [Rab] Yes, I have. [Seth_] While there, the alternate to myself, a Seth Argo somewhat divorced from his full senses and going by the name of Char, was led by the 'other' Cornelia Nash to the under-Arch. There, he had a pair of visions, presumably granted him by Vrag, and then, against all reason, he entered the Arch. [Seth_] Now, permit me to demonstrate.

  • Seth_ finds a stone wall and slips between the cracks.

[Rab] o_O [Rab] ... [Seth_] Both the other Seth and myself have this power - I, in fact, have recently acquired it. It comes from having a certain attunement to the city. Its precise nature remains unclear to me, although it does not seem to come from the Seven Gods. [Rab] I ... don't understand. [Seth_] Nor do I, not fully. But allow me to continue.

  • Rab nods.

[Seth_] The other Seth slipped into the stone of the under-Arch itself, and entered a realm, a gray realm full of what appeared to be fragments of people, shades of shades. Except for one being, who appeared as real and whole as you or I. [Seth_] That person I met inside the Arch was Pasith Belden. [Rab] You... you met her?

  • Rab seems confused.

[Seth_] I did. At that time, rather, the other Seth did, but I retain his memories. [Rab] But... what was she doing there? [Seth_] We spoke, and she indicated that she felt she was there because she had traversed the Arch in two different realms: here, as a Sister of the church, with her companions, which you know about. And in Saraknyel, the Shadar-kai city, when the other Pasith was fed to the Arch as punishment. [Rab] ... [Seth_] But she had no knowledge that this was so - it was just her supposition. [Rab] Maybe that's why she hasn't returned yet... [Rab] Maybe she's trapped there. [Seth_] The Pasith I spoke to did not, I believe, have any memories of Diablotin after the time when she traversed the Arch. But that other-Seth did not have any particular knowledge of that, or of course of her later life as Matriarch, or of you. So he did not have much to ask that would be of substance.

  • Rab nods slowly.

[Seth_] But her existence alone raised numerous issues, and upon our return here, I (and all my companions) have a full memory of my time in that other realm. [Seth_] And upon my recent acquisition of the power to move into stone, as the other Seth possessed, I resolved that I must investigate the matter further. [Seth_] Yesterday, I travelled through the under-city to the under-Arch. [Rab] You ... you did? [Seth_] I did. [Rab] What did you find? [Seth_] The Arch chamber is identical, although I did not have any visions while in it, as I had in Saraknyel. [Seth_] But similarly, I was able to enter the Arch and go to the gray realm. [Seth_] And to find Pasith Belden there. [Rab] Oh gods... [Seth_] When I spoke to her, she did not remember me - but that could have numerous explanations.

  • Rab stands and paces, as if unable to contain himself.

[Rab] What did she say? [Seth_] She certainly did, and does, have a full and rich memory of her time in Diablotin prior to moving through the Arch. [Seth_] She indicated that she believed, although again, without full evidence, that she and the fragments of the souls around her are in the Void. [Rab] ... [Rab] But.. why would she be there? [Seth_] I have had reason to doubt much of the theology offered by the Seven - I do not say with any certainty that it is so. [Seth_] If there are many worlds, and each has its own Arch, then one would imagine a multitude had passed through in multiple worlds and thus would be reconstituted. [Seth_] Why, of all humans, would only Belden be 'alive' and sentient there? [Seth_] She did not know, nor do I. [Rab] I don't know. [Rab] Unless...

  • Rab shakes his head.

[Seth_] Unless what? [Rab] Upon her death, Pasith would have... *should* have - become like me. I don't know if that could be the reason... [Seth_] Like you ... as in, a Seventh?

  • Rab nods.

[Seth_] How ... interesting. And I presume that that is something to happen to a vanishingly small number of individuals? [Rab] I suppose so. [Seth_] Hmm. [Seth_] Well, that is speculation, for now. [Seth_] But in any case. [Seth_] When I spoke to Pasith yesterday, I of course knew that she would wish to have a message for you. [Rab] ... [Rab] [q] what was it? [Seth_] She spoke as follows to me: "Tell him I love him. Tell him I will do anything within my power to be with him again. I haven't forgotten."

  • Rab turns away.

[Rab] I don't know... I... [Seth_] Oh yes, one more thing. [Seth_] As I departed, she offered up a poem. Perhaps it means something? [Seth_] I rest at the hub of the wheel, [Seth_] A star hovering over an endless sea. [Seth_] I am not the harvest; I am the seed. [Seth_] I am not the lyre; I am the song. [Seth_] I will not fade away. [Rab] A meditation, I suppose... perhaps she keeps herself... sane that way? [Seth_] I cannot say. It does seem like some amount of forgetting while in that realm would also aid in maintaining one's grip on sanity.

  • Rab nods.

[Rab] I don't know what this means. [Seth_] I am sorry - I don't know either, except that I knew that you would wish to know. [Rab] Except that my wife is trapped somewhere I cannot reach her. [Rab] Thank you for telling me this. [Seth_] Given that I, or versions of me, have now entered this realm in two different planes, with the same effect, I do not perceive any particular danger to me visiting again. [Seth_] I can and indeed would be honoured to take any message, note, or favour to her on your behalf. [Rab] You could take her a message... [Rab] Let me think. I'll write a note, maybe that is best... [Seth_] Now that it has been established that it is possible for me to enter, it is within the realm of possibility that a powerful spellcaster could find a way to allow others also to enter. [Seth_] And if it is a plane, or realm of existence, are there not means of contacting and speaking to individuals on such planes? [Rab] I suppose... I don't know, if it is truly the Void, if that will work, but ... it can't hurt to try. [Seth_] I would imagine that Mme. Belden would be, if not the absolute authority, at least the most trusted authority on these matters. [Rab] I will certainly discuss this with her. [Seth_] I also think that I shall have to discuss this matter with Sister Alma in the near future. [Rab] Of course. [Rab] I have much to think on...

  • Seth_ nods.

[Rab] Thank you, Seth. [Seth_] I am currently not readily accessible in person. However if you leave a note at the home of the Duke of Friaul, I will visit there regularly to pick material up. [Seth_] You are welcome, M. Belden. [Rab] I will do so, once I've composed a message.

  • Seth_ nods.

[Seth_] Thank you for your time. [Rab] Not at all...

  • Seth_ takes his leave and goes back to one of his dark places.

  • Seth_ arrives at Alma's house and knocks at the door.
  • Alma is waiting in a sitting room when Sagesse leads you in. There is tea on a low table in the middle of the room.
  • Alma stands as you enter.

[Alma] Good evening, Mr. Argo. [Seth_] Good evening, and thank you for meeting with me on such short notice. [Seth_] I have matters of some import to discuss with you in private. [Alma] I expected as much... I was surprised to get your message.

  • Alma will send Sagesse off.

[Alma] Have a seat.

  • Alma will take hers.

[Seth_] Firstly: I do not know if M. Orecalo has spoken to you since the wedding, about the ritual I observed?

  • Alma pours tea for us both first :3

[Alma] Yes, we spoke a few days ago. [Seth_] Good. I still do not know what to make of it, but it is vital that we pool our knowledge to see what we can discern. [Alma] I agree completely. Have you spoken with M. Orecalo since? I had suggested we might acquire a potion of "Major Image" which might allow you to recreate the voices from memory, if you thought it something you could do. [Seth_] I do have a good memory, and might be able to do so. But I have not spoken to him about it. It is a good idea. I would certainly recognize the voice of the woman I heard. [Alma] That one is likely Phedre? [Alma] It is the others who are perhaps more important... [Seth_] Yes. Well, I would help, of course. [Seth_] But I have further news. [Alma] Yes? [Seth_] Two days ago, as I had planned, I entered the under-city and went to the Arch chamber. [Alma] .oO( Relax, he's here, that means it's ok... ) [Seth_] I passed into the chamber through the walls, and entered a chamber identical to the one the other Seth was in. [Alma] Did you find the Matriarch again? [Seth_] Curiously, I noted that there was evidence of recent human occupancy in the chamber, a single individual, not a lengthy or permanent occupation. [Seth_] I am concerned that someone from the Black Down cult is using the under-Arch for some purpose. [Alma] You mean regularly, not simply the night of the wedding? [Seth_] I mean, the chamber I was in on the night of the wedding was the chamber in the palace. There is no longer an Arch in it. [Seth_] The chamber I was in two days ago, the one under the Down, has the under-Arch. It is sealed, and it is the one with evidence of recent occupancy. [Alma] I ... apparently I misunderstood M. Orecalo. The ritual occurred in the OLD chamber of the Arch? [Seth_] Yes, correct. [Alma] How odd. [Alma] What reason could they have for holding the ritual there? [Seth_] I do not know. What reason could I have for having gone there on that night? [Alma] Also a good question. [Seth_] I was able to obtain a few hairs left by the visitor. I was wondering - your power to read objects' histories, could it extend to such trivial things? [Alma] Quite possibly :o

  • Seth_ pulls out the elf poop ... I mean unidentified hair.
  • Alma will hold out her hand to accept it.

[Alma] (More than one hair, Julie?) [Curtana] (a few strands) [Curtana] (blond, about 3-4 inches long maybe?) [Alma] Do you consider yourself the owner of this find? [Seth_] Ahh, I suppose I must be.

  • Alma will try to see what she can learn of the owner before Seth.

[Curtana] (ok... what are you trying to learn?) [Alma] (race, sex, house, age, alignment = DC 22)

  • Alma frowns and will try to see if she can focus on another strand.

[Curtana] (ahahahah, you don't get to do it strand by strand ;) [Alma] (That's fine :P)

  • Alma sighs

[Curtana] (if you could do that, you could pick apart a shirt thread by thread and try it a million times ;) [Alma] I will have to try tomorrow... [Alma] My efforts are not always successful, especially looking back to past owners... [Seth_] Ah ... well, I do not have any use for it. You may take it. [Alma] If you would like to leave them with me, I will try again and let you know of the results. [Alma] It's a question as to whether a part of someone is a possession per se... one I was curious to see answered when I examined the hands of Schesutte, though it wasn't. [Seth_] Hmm.

  • Alma will pull a book from a nearby shelf and press the hairs between the pages.

[Seth_] Well, in any case, that was not the most fruitful eventuality of my peregrination. [Alma] .oO( What? ) [Seth_] While I did not have any visions in the chamber itself, I did enter successfully into the inverse Arch, once again finding myself in the grey realm. [Seth_] And once again finding myself in the presence of Pasith Belden.

  • Alma nods.

[Seth_] She did not remember me, which suggests ... well, I am not certain what it suggests. [Alma] But she was still ... alert, unlike the other shades? [Seth_] Oh yes, the same as before. [Alma] Did she have anything to say that might help us? [Seth_] She indicated her belief that perhaps the place she was in was ... the Void. [Alma] (Julie? I got the impression that the Void was less a place than a metaphor for unmaking.) [Curtana] (well, it's not a place like a plane that you can travel to...) [Alma] I see... [Curtana] (but yes, the present-day church considers it a metaphor)

  • Alma is not sure how to take that.
  • Alma may sound a little dubious.

[Alma] .oO( It's certainly not the Centre... -_- ) [Alma] The Void is not believed to be ... a place, or even a plane... [Seth_] I do not know whether it is true. If not, then it is another realm not currently identified in the theology of the Wheel. [Seth_] Perhaps one where Arch-eaten soul-remnants go to rest. [Seth_] But then, that raises the question, why Pasith Belden, of all the souls, why would she be whole there? [Alma] Were that place the Void, it would be especially odd. Those souls which do not pass on to the Centre are said to be thrown into the Void. What would strip them of their vitality? [Seth_] Yes, a good question. [Alma] I think the first visit with the Matriarch may shed the best light on that... fragments of her soul from two worlds have ... combined somehow, to give a vitality that more approaches a natural state? [Alma] Would you truly say she is whole though? [Seth_] That is hard to say for certain. Her lack of memory of the other Seth's visit could indicate a problem with remembering. But when I mentioned Rab - she grew emotional, and was able to strongly and with will express a message for me to take to him. [Alma] I remember her being... unclear before. It's possible that being in that place causes that, but... well to risk putting simple math to the matter of souls... I hesitate to think that each fragment is a half. [Alma] A message... [Alma] :( [Alma] Have you delivered it? [Seth_] It seems that ... well, I have just come from speaking to Rab yesterday. He informs me that Pasith was one of those who should have become one of the Seventh, upon her death. Her failure to return to earth has led him to continue to search for her to this day. [Seth_] He believes, possibly, that this exalted state is what has led Pasith to retain her coherence in the grey realm. [Alma] :o [Alma] So he already worried her cycle was disrupted? D: [Seth_] I suppose so, yes. [Alma] I ... had hoped that the shades were just that... echoes... not tangible enough to mean they were truly trapped there.

  • Alma reaches up and sets her hand on the holy symbol hanging from her neck.

[Seth_] She feels trapped, and has asked Rab for help in becoming reunited with him.

  • Alma blinks away the sting of growing tears.

[Alma] Gods... [Seth_] It is ... most disturbing. [Alma] I- [Alma] I will see if I can do anything to help... [Alma] I'm not sure if anything we can do will pass through to there, as you can. [Seth_] I am uncertain, but Rab was going to speak to ... Vianca Belden, about the issue. [Alma] You would think that we would have stumbled across this ... ghost world if we could pass its threshhold... but we must try anyway... there's a connection between this world and the Tal-antar's dreams, and it has gone unnoticed for millennia. [Alma] I will let Mme. Belden know that I will help in any way I can. [Alma] All her work for us, the Empire...

  • Seth_ nods.

[Alma] That she would be trapped there... [Seth_] Remember, though, it is not so simple. The Matriarch Belden lived years after this ... piece of her ... was formed. [Seth_] What happened to the ... rest of her? [Alma] I know, I pray that at least some part of her is at peace for now. [Seth_] It is highly ironic - this journey began with a piece of a golem, and the quest for the remainder of it ... now we are in search of a piece of the soul of a Matriarch. [Alma] Thank you for coming to speak to me about this...

  • Seth_ nods.

[Seth_] If you wish to speak with me, leave a note at the home of the Duke of Friaul. I will collect it. [Alma] (I would ask something of Seth at this point if you're not tiring) [Seth_] (okay) [Alma] Certainly... [Alma] I was considering asking to talk with you this past week. [Seth_] Ah ... on what subject? [Alma] I know we do not always see eye to eye on things, but... the last time we talked seemed something else. I was worried that I had done something particular to anger or offend you. [Alma] (Also SM 29 :D) [Seth_] Ah ... I believe that was the day of our meeting at the Society? [Alma] Yes. [Seth_] (Bluff is still 0, yeah) [Seth_] I believe the difficulty is that I am finding much of our experiences, collectively, and my own particularly, difficult if not impossible to explain within the confines of the theology I was taught as a child.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] Believe me that I can understand that. [Seth_] I believe I was finding M. Orecalo's suppositions regarding the nature of Vrag to have some merit, at least as a working hypothesis. [Seth_] You were not so favourably inclined, that day.

  • Alma takes a moment...

[Alma] Vrag is clearly something much like the Gods of Aveyrone... an entity unlike the rituals and shamanism outside the empire.

  • Seth_ nods.

[Alma] M. Orecalo's approach, however, was ... indelicate. [Seth_] Perhaps so. I myself am not known for my delicacy. And he is a foreigner, not much inclined to be mindful of our particular religious doctrines, if he even knows them.

  • Alma nods.

[Seth_] But my point is not to defend M. Orecalo, who has his own ... issues. [Alma] I hope, though, that I do not play a role in your troubles... and I am here should you ever wish to talk about what we... what you have experienced. [Alma] I may be a priest but I cannot speak for the Gods, I just hope that I am never a part of your turmoil. [Seth_] Well, that is it. I have recently undergone what I can only describe as a deeply spiritual experience, I see no reason to connect it to the Wheel, or the Seven Gods, and some reason to think that it is something ... different. Something within the City itself. [Alma] What does it feel like, this new development? [Seth_] It pulses within me. It whispers to me by day, and envelops me by night. I need no sleep, drink, or food - it nourishes me from within. It is ... holy. [Alma] Is it the people you feel, or the city itself? [Seth_] Both? I feel the people, but the city itself, even when no one is around. Mme. Nash thought it might be related to fragments of the souls of deceased Emperors ... although what that meant, I cannot say. Yet another theological enigma - how can fragments of emperors' souls remain in the city? [Alma] I'm not sure it has to be an enigma. Forces and powers surround us that come from sources other than the Gods. Sorcerers, and bards, for example, as well as M. Orecalo's unique brand of magic. Before the Church, many areas of what is now the Empire practiced shamanistic rituals... [Alma] They derived power from nature itself, as the primitive goblinoids continue to, from what I have read. [Alma] Similarly, impressions are left all around us... [Seth_] Well, in that case, I suppose you will have to shun me as a heretic, because I find myself feeling ... drawn to these ideas, in a way that the Wheel never has drawn me. [Seth_] I simply never felt anything, until a few months ago. [Alma] I believe that the events of the past 50 years have shown that Heresy is a dangerous term. [Alma] I am concerned with the Order of the Black Down because of its potential to lead people astray, for the dark nature of Vrag's worship in the Tal-antar's dream... not simply because it is outside of church doctrine. [Alma] Take M. Orecalo for example. [Seth_] How so? [Alma] I examined some of his possessions, and I learned that he has no house... it's not simply that he is houseless, but that perhaps he is outside the cycle of reincarnation. [Alma] That concerns me... but I must trust that his traditions will safeguard his soul. [Seth_] Ah, I see. [Seth_] Well, my chief concern regarding my soul is that some part of it is now trapped, semi-sentient, in the Void. [Alma] Because you have entered the Arch itself? [Seth_] Because I have entered it twice, from two realms. It is not a fear I hold deeply - if I had, I would not have gone - but it is a possibility.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] I admit I hope that is not the case... you could leave freely, which the others could not. [Seth_] Indeed. [Seth_] And I did not pass through the Arch, but rather, directly into it. [Alma] And ... well seeing as your recent visit was uneventful, perhaps a second visit might let you verify that. [Seth_] Rab is composing a message which I will take to Pasith Belden. [Alma] It's possible that merely being inside will not allow you to "check for yourself", but if she remembers you this time, she could perhaps look for you while you are outside again. [Seth_] Hmm, how so? [Alma] Well, let us say that the worst is true, and a portion of your spirit is held by the Arch... when you enter, that fragment may simply become a part of you as you enter into within the Arch. [Seth_] I suppose so. [Alma] So even if you enter again to look for your shadow, you may be unable to find it... however after you have left, Pasith may be able to watch. [Alma] She did say she'd never seen anyone like you, or like her, before, no? [Seth_] Correct, although she also admitted that her recollection of her time in the grey realm was fuzzy.

  • Alma nods

[Alma] As for the Wheel... I would just suggest that you are still new to this change. You may have stumbled onto a new power... the residue of hundreds of thousands of souls ... baked into the city itself. It may be powerful, even beautiful... but does will it care for you always? [Alma] The Gods grant you the cycle of reincarnation, and the potential, ultimately, of immortality in the Centre. [Alma] I don't think that what you are feeling now must be separate from that. [Seth_] Hmm. Well, the good news for you is that my speaking skills tend toward the sesquipedalian and loquacious, and I have never been known as a raconteur or parabolist, so the probability of my establishing a rival church is minuscule. [Alma] I care for your spirit as well as those of the rest of the city, Mr. Argo. [Alma] But it IS yours, not mine. [Seth_] Hmm. Yes, it is, at that. [Seth_] Well, at any rate, that is a more or less complete explanation, I think, of any variance in my behaviour you may have detected.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] It has been good talking with you Mr. Argo. [Seth_] And you as well.

  • Alma will see you to the door.

[DiablotinNarrator] (let's say 23, for the sake of it being ever so slightly different ;) [Alma] (k :P)

  • Alma has set a time to attempt to scry into the dream plane and asked Danyel to be on hand in case she runs afoul of Mother Alma's defenses. She has a healing potion, and a potion of lesser restoration on hand.
  • Alma has informed him he ought to bring a book.
  • Danyel will do so ;)

[Alma] I wonder if my experience would make this easier... [Alma] In a sense I *was* her for some time.

  • Alma begins the long process of casting the spell.

[DiablotinNarrator] So, that having failed, what's your next target?

  • Alma looks into the Holy Water font and frowns a little.

[Alma] I suppose I should be grateful I haven't become a drooling simpleton.

  • Alma says, perhaps unsure that she won't be struck suddenly...

[Danyel] ... that's good, I suppose! [Alma] I'll try another... I don't suppose I'm likely to be hurt by this attempt... but you never know... [Alma] Enjoy your reading :) [Danyel] I will.

  • Alma will begin to cast again, this time at Ser Danyel of the dream world.

[DiablotinNarrator] (so again 21 DC?) [Alma] (Yeah.)

  • Alma sighs in disappointment.

[Danyel] No luck? [Alma] Not at all. [Danyel] I'm sorry to hear that. [Danyel] Do you need me to come back tomorrow to watch you try again? ;) [Alma] I'm not sure there's any point is trying. I don't even know what the reason is. Perhaps I can't scry into the dream plane at all.

  • Danyel does not seem at all disappointed by that prospect, for the record.
  • Alma smiles

[Alma] I'm sure there might be some reason to come visit:) [Danyel] I'll make up a reason if necessary. [Alma] Though, perhaps you could come by tomorrow... I'll try to look for Marielle in that world. [Danyel] Certainly. [Alma] If that doesn't work, well... [Danyel] Then perhaps it's not meant to be? [Alma] Yes, exactly. [Alma] I'm worn out...

  • Alma sits down beside Danyel and lets out a sigh, spending some time with him before she goes about some other task.
  • Danyel will gladly spend time with you, and leaves when it seems like an appropriate time ;)

  • Alma opens the book the next day and takes out the few strands of hair and focuses on them.

[DiablotinNarrator] (half-elf, male, no house, age 22, TN - I think that's all correct. He might be 23 by now? ;) [Alma] (Sounds familiar? :P) [DiablotinNarrator] (there can't be too many of those running around the city, you imagine...) [Alma] [q] You're kidding me.

[Alma] I forgot to mention when you were here yesterday... Seth Argo visited the under-Arch, and found some strands of hair there. Do you know who I think they belonged to? [Alma] *Mister Orecalo* [Alma] Whatever he was doing poking around there... [Alma] I wouldn't be surprised if we find Gorgons in Kholm and he and Seth go poke at them with sticks. [Danyel] I have no idea :o [Alma] "How does your petrification work? Are you cold blooded like a serpent?" [Danyel] Fortunately, they'll have you along to keep them out of trouble ;)

  • Alma sighs
  • Alma tussles Danyel's hair affectionately before she heads over to the holy water font.
  • Danyel will settle in to wait once more.

[Alma] (DC 21 on Marielle!) [DiablotinNarrator] You see a familiar figure, Marielle - or the other Marielle, that is. [Alma] Oh! [Alma] Oh! [Alma] It's working. [Alma] Oh Marielle :( [DiablotinNarrator] She's in the undercity, in what passes for a market there.

  • Alma looks around her to see if she can see Danyel or Mother Alma.

[DiablotinNarrator] Danyel is also accompanying her. [DiablotinNarrator] You don't see Mother Alma. [Alma] .oO( Don't meddle... ) [DiablotinNarrator] Marielle looks... plumper than you recall. [Alma] I forgot, she's pregnant!

  • Danyel looks up, puzzled.
  • Alma is staring, enrapt by the pool of holy water.

[DiablotinNarrator] Basically, you can watch her shop for 10 minutes or so. You hear the sounds of the marketplace, some brief conversations with Danyel, etc... [Alma] (12! :D) [DiablotinNarrator] (right, 12 :) [DiablotinNarrator] Both of them refer a couple of times to "Mother," so presumably M. Alma is still around and 'well'. [Alma] I wonder what happened after we ... were thrown out.

  • Alma will not linger much longer after learning Mother Alma is still about.
  • Alma goes and has another reading session sitting with Danyel :3

[Danyel] *g*

  • Sydona has been mostly keeping to her rooms since the ball.
  • Dominik will actively seek her out and impose himself into her presence
  • Sydona looks upset.
  • Dominik is annoyed

[Sydona] Dominik, you must know this isn't what I wanted to happen... [Dominik] It doesn't matter if this isn't what you wanted to happen, it happened. [Sydona] I know. I'm so sorry. [Dominik] You had so many opportunities to tell me... its been 19 years. [Sydona] I know... [Sydona] But if I had said anything when you were younger... then Darion could have taken custody of the children. [Dominik] Why would he even WANT that?

  • Dominik shakes his head

[Sydona] He probably wouldn't have wanted it. [Dominik] You could have at least told ME... without telling him. [Sydona] But if it became public knowledge, then he might have divorced me ... [Sydona] I would have lost all of you.

  • Dominik shakes his head

[Dominik] So you sacrifice me for the rest. [Sydona] I love all of my children... how could I give you up? [Dominik] Do you know what makes me the most angry about all of this? [Dominik] You've forced me to act JUST LIKE YOU with my own child. [Sydona] I can only imagine... :/ [Sydona] Now wait!

  • Sydona bristles.

[Sydona] I'm not the one who says you can't marry her, if that's what you want. Talk to her father about that.

  • Dominik shakes his head

[Dominik] How can I marry my half-sister? [Sydona] She's *not* your half-sister, not according to the law. [Sydona] Because your fa... because Darion and I stayed married, you're legally his, even if it's physically impossible. [Sydona] Even if everyone suspects you're not his, they have no proof that you're Alestin's either. [Dominik] So one lie leads to another. I wanted to be better than what I grew up through. [Sydona] You're in a ... a grey area, I suppose. [Sydona] Everyone lies, Dom. You must know that by now :/

  • Sydona says sadly.

[Dominik] I've learned that lesson well. [Sydona] I did it because I thought it was the best thing for you, and for Zivia and Theron and Jarvis. [Sydona] If I'd known it would turn out this way, I would have done things differently, but it's too late for that now... [Sydona] Please...

  • Sydona holds out her hands to you.

[Dominik] I want to forgive you. [Dominik] It's been so hard. I've been so angry.

  • Sydona has tears in her eyes.
  • Dominik looks away

[Sydona] Is there anything I can do...? [Dominik] It's too late to change things. I am the man that I am. [Sydona] I know. [Sydona] And I'm so very ... proud, of everything you've become. [Dominik] I'm going to tell Laurine the truth. She deserves to know, even if our Father wishes it otherwise.

  • Sydona nods.

[Dominik] I do this not to make things harder on you... please understand that. [Sydona] No, I know. [Sydona] Did she tell you... when you talked, that she hadn't been... well?

  • Dominik is surprised by the comment.

[Dominik] No. [Sydona] Oh. [Dominik] She mentioned nothing other than she was resting. [Sydona] Alestin said they only found out when she started ...bleeding, I gather. They've made her rest, and she seems to be doing better... [Sydona] He was afraid for her life, though. It may have made him.. overprotective of her. [Sydona] Not to upset her, you see? [Dominik] Void [Dominik] You think he was truthful to you. [Dominik] ? [Sydona] I don't know... I don't know why he would lie about something like that, though. [Dominik] I am trapped from my own honest desires! [Sydona] I don't know what to tell you... [Sydona] But I think that... telling her something, even something upsetting... well, she seems like a tough girl. She can probably handle it. [Dominik] You may be right but how can I know... how could I live with myself if I caused harm to my own child. [Sydona] Well... then it's only a few months to wait, and tell her after the baby's born safely, gods willing.

  • Dominik looks defeated

[Dominik] It seems I have few choices.

  • Sydona moves to embrace you, a bit stiffly as if afraid you'll push her away.
  • Dominik lets her

[Sydona] Dom... you won't make the same mistakes I have. [Dominik] I can't.

  • Dominik will slip out of the embrace

[Sydona] You'll make different ones, though I know that's not comforting to hear. But your child... you child will be strong, like you are.

  • Sydona lets you go.

[Dominik] I have to go. [Sydona] All right.

  • Dominik will turn and quickly leave without looking back
  • Sydona sits down, exhausted.

  • Guillame will visit in the evening, using the ring if the area seems rough
  • Aure is near the fire in his hovel, as it's a cold evening out.
  • Guillame knocks

[Aure] Come in.

  • Aure says, rather than bother to get up.

[Guillame] Good evening, sir [Aure] Oh, hello there. [Aure] Cold night to be out in the Shambles. [Guillame] Yes, it is rather

  • Guillame moves closer to the fire
  • Aure slides his stool over a little bit to make room for you.

[Guillame] Thanks something may be missing here? [Guillame] I have some good news - I'm to be married [Aure] Oh? Well, may it bring you much happiness. [Aure] Who's the young lady? [Guillame] Portial Larache, the Duchess Corcyra [Aure] Hmph, 'Duchess'... [Guillame] I am delighted of course

  • Guillame seems like he has other things on his mind

[Aure] Her grandparents were plain Jann and Ulla, no fancy last names and titles then. [Guillame] Well, I suppose the fancy last names and titles are as much my father's doing as anyone's, and maybe one day they'll give our house some kind of power, but... [Aure] Where's this 'Corcyra'? She ever been there? [Guillame] I should ask her that! I think it's north-east of here though, out past Friaul [Aure] Hmph. [Aure] So you'll be Duke of someplace you've never been? [Guillame] I suppose. I plan to avoid that, though, and take a trip to see the Duchy.

  • Aure nods briefly.

[Guillame] I feel like we're... losing our way, Aure. [Aure] Losing it? [Guillame] Yes. [Aure] Maybe it's already lost. [Guillame] Yes! Exactly. [Aure] Maybe that's for the best. [Guillame] I mean, I'm proud of what my Father's done for me, and for the standing of our House, but for vr-... but so much is lost to us that we don't even know what we've lost. Most of us, anyway. [Guillame] Do you think so? [Aure] We were a dying people. [Aure] So, if this is how we survive...

  • Aure shrugs.

[Guillame] Well, there's surviving by adapting, certainly. But it's bizarre to bury our heritage completely. [Aure] Our 'heritage' was tied to things most of us don't have any longer. [Aure] Our other forms.. our faith... [Guillame] Exactly what we've lost, wouldn't you say? [Aure] Yep. [Aure] Along with our home, we lost everything else. [Aure] And no one cares... apart from you, I suppose. [Guillame] Well, at the least, if I want to preserve anything I need to step up my research. [Aure] Hmph. [Guillame] Is there anyone else you think I should be talking to? [Aure] Well... There's no one else who's trained in the old faith, not so far as I know of. Apart from Raina... :/ [Aure] See how well that worked, eh. [Guillame] I had planned to speak to her, certainly. With Silvia, hopefully. [Aure] Good luck. [Guillame] Thanks. [Aure] There are some other old folks like me... ones who remember the way things used to be. [Aure] They might talk with you, could be. [Aure] But all they'd have are old stories. [Guillame] Well, those are good too.

  • Guillame notes down names.
  • Aure mentions Daphna, Sami, and Thekla as other old folks he knows.
  • Guillame will chat with Aure about his stories until he feels like he's outstayed his welcome.

  • Sanadhil is in the society library, reshelving a number of books.

[Sanadhil] (hem)

  • Alma steps into the library stacks looking for something she'd seen the other day.
  • Sanadhil looks over and nods a greeting

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

  • Alma will go find the book in question.
  • Sanadhil continues with his reshelving
  • Alma returns once she's found it.

[Alma] Do you have a moment? I've had my meeting with the Lord Marshall. [Sanadhil] Oh? Of course! [Alma] Here, or shall we step into a study? [Sanadhil] Perhaps a study room would be best.

  • Alma nods and will head out of the library to find an empty room.
  • Alma will take a seat and wait for Sanadhil.
  • Sanadhil follows, and will cose the door before sitting

[Sanadhil] How did the meeting go - did you have an opportunity to ask about his dreams? [Alma] I did, and it appears that he has not experienced any significant dreaming about the dream plane. I suspect perhaps that occurs less here than it does there.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] that is not surprising'I am more interested to know whether he still dreams of... well, of th chancellor [Alma] (sec) [Sanadhil] ...if we are correct. [Sanadhil] . o O ( which I'm sure we are @_@ ) [Alma] I did not ask him directly, instead I mentioned what the dream Butler said, and he was taken off guard I think. It appears that when they were young, Theonée once said the same thing, that they knew each other before they were born. [Sanadhil] fascinating.... [Sanadhil] it soes support the connection at least! [Sanadhil] Did he say more? [Alma] No, he was not prepared for that topic, I believe, and took his leave. [Sanadhil] Ahh, hmm. [Sanadhil] Even so. [Alma] In truth, this still does prove the description given by the force in the empty Arch chamber. [Sanadhil] Precisely. [Alma] That said, it may be worth the awkwardness of informing the Lord Marshall. [Sanadhil] I wonder if Mme Lozada-Boyne knows about him, and if he figures some how into their plans...

  • Sanadhil nods

[Alma] I would assume that she would be aware of their connection... [Sanadhil] he is likely to hear of it regardless, either from the reverend Father when you make your report, or possibly through Ser Danyel.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] If she wasn't before, i'm certain she can figure it out [Sanadhil] But it would be better if you could inform him - and judge his reaction diectly

  • Alma does not look entirely pleased by the prospect.

[Alma] Now I must decide how to delicately warn a man, a stranger, not to become intimate with another stranger... [Alma] As for Theonée, surely this is the point at which she should have some sort of protection... [Sanadhil] Indeed... [Sanadhil] We have no idea what her inclinations may be, in this regard. [Alma] Our options are not many. We have no proof of danger... [Sanadhil] If she is so strongly tied to The Serpent... what if she wishes to aid them? [Alma] Perhaps we ought to meet with the Chancellor. [Sanadhil] She apparently ahs, or had, some sense of her involvement Sanadhil] Now that would be a delicate matter. [Alma] (huh?) [Sanadhil] (re her telling Butler they'd met) [Sanadhil] She may ahve already ben approached by the cult, also [Alma] Well, that can't be helped, since we waited. [Alma] If she is sympathetic to the Order, then it is all the more pressing that we find out.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Accessing her may also be difficult - I don't now how inclined she is to grant appointments to strangers [Sanadhil] her Highnes may have the best chance. [Alma] Perhaps... [Alma] Would she be able to ascertain whether the Chancellor might be sympathetic to the Order? [Sanadhil] I expect so.

  • Alma looks a little dubious.

[Sanadhil] I would be open to alternate suggestions. [Sanadhil] though I am confident. [Alma] I am not certain as to what the best approach would be, but if you are concerned that she might have already been approached by the Order, then it would be better for us not to make it clear we know who they're looking for. [Sanadhil] of course. [Sanadhil] although, if mnaged properly, it might provide an opportunity to discover who some of the inner members are [Alma] I have considered that as well... I misunderstood you to have said the ritual occurred in the under-Arch chamber, so I dismissed this possibility, but if it is the empty Arch chamber, I might consider seeing if I can view the ritual as it occurred. [Sanadhil] Would that be possible? I didn't realize your power was able to specify so precisely. [Alma] It is a recent event. [Sanadhil] that's true [Alma] And certainly emotional. [Sanadhil] I don't know where the chmber is located, though I would be curious to watch.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Alma] It appears Mr. Argo knows, however, and it is possible that since the Arch is empty, a visit to it would be not so irregular a request. [Sanadhil] I expect that the trial of previous emperors were also quite emotional - I wasn't sure if that would interfere. [Sanadhil] hmm. [Alma] It may, but those are significantly older.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] it is certainly worth trying, if we can gain access. [Alma] Did Mr. Argo inform you of entering the Arch again, in this world? [Sanadhil] he informed me of his plan to do so. [Alma] It has been carried out, uneventfully. He spoke with Matriarch Pasith again, and brought back a message for her husband.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Alma] Did you learn anything of interest on your own visit to the under Arch?

  • Alma looks at you pointedly.
  • Sanadhil raises his eyebrows

[Sanadhil] Nothing of particualr consequence, no.

  • Sanadhil considers

[Sanadhil] The lower arch is not actively magical [Sanadhil] at least not consistently so [Sanadhil] i suspect that like its uppr pairing, whatever beings inhabit it are capable of activating it of their own volition. [Alma] Inhabited [Sanadhil] hmm? [Alma] Well, they are free now, I imagine there do not fully inhabit the Arch at any point now. [Sanadhil] no - I meant that they can come and go as they please.

  • Alma thinks.

[Sanadhil] How did you hear of my trip?

  • Sanadhil asks curiously

[Alma] You left something behind :) [Sanadhil] I did? [Sanadhil] Certainly not intentionally... [Alma] Yes, just a few strands of hair. Mr. Argo found it when he examined the room before entering the under-Arch. [Sanadhil] ahh, hmmm. [Alma] He brought it to me, and I imagined that you were rather unique in the city... [Alma] You've had a birthday since the last time. [Sanadhil] Hmm.

  • Alma adds as a helpful aside ^_^
  • Sanadhil looks thoughtful.

[Sanadhil] That ... makes sense. [Sanadhil] In any case, there are others in the city, though none with any cause for such an expedition, so far as I am aware

  • Sanadhil says a bit more dryly

[Alma] The exact same age? :) [Sanadhil] That is less likley.

  • Sanadhil admits, perhaps seeming a tad distracted.

[Alma] I've had a busy week, I wonder if I have left anything out... [Sanadhil] Sligtly busier than mine, it seems...

  • Sanadhil shakes his head, as if focusing, or discarding distracting thoughts

[Sanadhil] although, I did pay a visit to the Lozada-Boyne household [Alma] Oh? [Sanadhil] I was curious as to the rumors of M. Boyne's illness [Sanadhil] And quite surprised to learn they seem to be true. [Alma] Oh? [Alma] Odd. [Sanadhil] More than odd, I shoud think. Demons do not casually fall ill. [Alma] It would probably be an opportune moment if he was our only problem. [Alma] I suppose that explains why he was not at the Wedding, rather than some more sinister explanation. [Sanadhil] I am convinced he is secondary, and not a full member of the cult. [Sanadhil] And I'm also not convinced his absence is completely unsinister, either.

  • Sanadhil waits for your reaction, neutral but considering.

[Alma] So you believe he is merely a pawn? [Sanadhil] A tool, certainly. [Alma] What makes you think that? [Sanadhil] I will explain, Countess, with the understanding that this is not an invitation to an interrogation. [Alma] ... [Alma] Very well, proceed. [Sanadhil] The night that we returned from the Shadow Plane, he sought me out. [Sanadhil] he was apparently, to some extent, aware of the happenings there, at least insofar as they concerned him [Sanadhil] He was certainly aware of his release there [Sanadhil] He explained hat he flet it.... like some niggling discomfort you are not entirely aware if until it has been relieved. [Sanadhil] He wanted to know how it had been enacted [Sanadhil] There was little to tell in that regard. [Sanadhil] but he claimed that the relationship is similar here. [Sanadhil] Which is, that his wife controls him, had has some means of preventing his escape. [Sanadhil] She has, litterally, clipped his wings, in some manner which he - it, really - cannot heal. [Sanadhil] (33 sm ;p)

  • Alma is trying very hard to hide her displeasure.

[Sanadhil] He showed me this. Of course, he is a shape changer, and I remained dubious. [Sanadhil] But he is aware that the cult is in danger, and that he, personally, s threatened. [Sanadhil] He asked me to aid him in escaping her control - though I'm not certain how, or why, he thinks I might do so. [Alma] Clearly he believes you might be sympathetic. [Sanadhil] Apparenlty [Sanadhil] In any case, he has since been relatively forthcoming with information.

  • Alma stiffens.

[Sanadhil] He claims not to know the inner members, or the specific goals of the order [Sanadhil] He believes that his wife used his blood as part of the ritual to summon the Serpent on the night of the wedding.

  • Alma listens.

[Sanadhil] I think it would have required an exceedingly well planned deception if he is faking the illness - I am inclined to believe him on that point. [Sanadhil] It lends mroe creedence to his story, also, and as I am more inclined to believe him, I'm also more inclined to tell you.

  • Alma rubs her temples

[Alma] If that is everything, I need to think on this... [Sanadhil] I think so.

  • Sanadhil ponders
  • Alma obviously has something else to say, but is keeping it under wraps.

[Sanadhil] I know I passed on to the reverend father the information he gave me about potential members of the inner circle [Sanadhil] But I can't remember if its been discussed more generally. [Alma] .oO( Oh, I almost made it out the door. ) [Alma] No, it certainly hasn't. [Sanadhil] Hmm. [Sanadhil] The Lady Chamberlaine is the only one he named directly as a potential member, though he mentioned that there was a woman from the Council of Reverends as well. [Alma] .oO( Owl, wrap me in your wings. Keep me safe from the winds in the trees. ) [Sanadhil] The family connections lead me to suspect Esmena Vak Andras, but there is no evidence either way, if the informaion is even reliable.

  • Alma is gripping her holy symbol for stability.

[Alma] When, exactly, did you learn that someone from the Council of Reverends might be involved? [Sanadhil] The Demon told me this when I first spoke to him.

  • Sanadhil says the first words rather pointedly

[Sanadhil] There is no other evidence, at this time. [Alma] Thank you for passing this on to me, M. Orecalo.

  • Sanadhil sms
  • Alma stands.

[Sanadhil] (28)

  • Alma is struggling with what to do.

[Sanadhil] Countess - I know it is upsetting, and that you are...disappoinyed I didn't tell you of this earlier. But it seemed unwise to share it before I had any greater evidence that he coudl be at all relied upon. [Sanadhil] I may have distressed you in vain.... or you might have chosen to discount it due to the source. [Alma] I understand you believe it is important to verify the information before passing it on, or ensuring it is absolutely necessary to do so... however I had initially hoped our arrangement would be to share pertinent information in a timely manner. [Alma] If I had known that a *Reverend Mother* might be involved, I could have told the Reverend Father. He asked me if it would be alright to share the events of the Tal-antar's dream with the Reverend Council. [Sanadhil] The perception of pertinence is often a matter of hindsight. [Sanadhil] I did tell him, Countess. [Alma] At the meeting? [Sanadhil] yes. [Alma] I had already told him. [Alma] And you must admit that, even if of dubious origins, this is all unquestionably pertinent. [Alma] Well, what's done is done. [Alma] I do hope that you will be more forthcoming in what you learn, so that we may make our own decisions as to the value of the information. [Sanadhil] Indeed. [Alma] Continue to keep yourself safe, M. Orecalo. [Sanadhil] YOu as well, Countess [Alma] .oO( I'm not fucking a demon. )

  • Alma nods and takes her leave.

  • Menard seems to be enjoying himself on your honeymoon, though seems a little ... pensive? at least unusually so for him.
  • Ilphere frets.

[Ilphere] Menard, dear... Is something... troubling you? [Menard] Hm? [Ilphere] You seem quiet... [Menard] Oh, I don't know... just thinking, I suppose. I'm sorry. [Ilphere] About what?

  • Ilphere smiles encouragingly...

[Menard] Well, it's just... this is all a big change, isn't it. I guess it's a lot to get used to. [Menard] I mean, I'm happy, don't worry about that :) [Ilphere] (SM, is that it?) [Menard] (nope) [Ilphere] Are you... are you certain that's all...?

  • Menard looks aside.

[Menard] Well... can I ask you something? [Ilphere] Of course...!

  • Menard looks as if he's considering how best to express himself.
  • Ilphere waits with an expectant look...

[Menard] Did you ever have someone you thought you knew really well, and then they turned out to be totally different than you thought? [Ilphere] Well... to be honest I... I don't have very many close friends... [Ilphere] There's just you, and Sanadhil... [Menard] It could be anyone.. family, or anything...

  • Ilphere thinks.

[Ilphere] Well... my father... I never realized how far he had gone, to keep up appearances for my mother... :/

  • Menard nods.

[Ilphere] I should have known... Maybe I didn't want to... :/ [Ilphere] Is that what you mean...? [Menard] Yes. Exactly that. [Menard] That I wonder how much I didn't see because I didn't think to see it... or because I didn't want to... [Menard] I guess you probably figured, this is about Seth :/

  • Ilphere nods, and reaches out to squeeze his hand.

[Menard] He said that... in that dream-world, that he and I were.. you know. Together. [Ilphere] ... Yes, that's so. [Menard] He didn't really explain much more than that. I don't know what it was like for you guys there... [Ilphere] It is... very hard to describe. It was like one of those dreams where you don't realize you are dreaming until you start to wake up...

  • Menard nods.

[Menard] I think for him... it was kind of ... well, it made him realize some things about the real world... -_-

  • Ilphere gasps quietly... :o

[Ilphere] Oh... I see... [Menard] [q] He said he loves me, and that's why he can't be around me anymore. [Ilphere] I... I don't know what to say about Seth, but I am so sorry that he has made you so unhappy... :(

  • Menard shakes his head.

[Menard] I didn't know what to say to him either. [Menard] I don't want him to be miserable... but I can't be what he wants either.

  • Ilphere nods.

[Menard] And I think he knows that. [Ilphere] He will come to terms with it, in time...

  • Ilphere offers gently.

[Menard] I don't think he would ever do anything to come between us... I guess I hope that he just needs some time to himself to sort out his feelings, and that someday, we can be friends again... :/ [Ilphere] Well... I hope so too. [Ilphere] He is hardly the first person to be in such a situation, after all.

  • Menard nods.

[Menard] You'll probably see him sooner than I will, if he's still going to the Society and all that... [Menard] I'm sure he would be mortified if you said anything, but ... you could let him know I'd like to talk with him, whenever he feels like talking again? [Ilphere] If I see him, certainly... [Ilphere] I would not be surprised if he tries to avoid me, however... [Menard] Yes, that would be very like Seth. [Ilphere] . o O ( maladjusted little toad ) [Menard] He's been my best friend since we were children... It's just hard to imagine my life without him. [Ilphere] I am sorry... :( [Menard] I'm sorry to burden you with all of this... I just didn't want you to think it was anything you had done that made me upset.

  • Menard takes your hand between his.

[Ilphere] I wish there was something I could do. [Menard] You're excellent at taking my mind off my problems :)

  • Menard gives you a kiss.
  • Ilphere smiles up at him...

[Ilphere] I am glad I can do that much, then.... [Menard] Definitely...

  • Ilphere will take his mind off some problems, then. :V

[Menard] [...some time passes...] [Ilphere] So... [Menard] Mm? [Ilphere] There was something I did want to ask you about... [Menard] Oh, sure. Ask me anything :) [Ilphere] Just about certain... expectations that may be on us...? [Menard] What sort of expectations? [Ilphere] Well, you know, of the small and crying kind... [Menard] Oh. Oh! Babies.

  • Ilphere nods...
  • Ilphere plays with a bit of his hair to distract herself.

[Menard] Well, I don't know that it's a major expectation... I mean, we should probably have one or two at some point...? [Ilphere] I mean, I had assumed that would be expected of us... [Menard] Do you want them? [Ilphere] I just wanted to know what you thought of it... [Menard] I want whatever you want :) [Ilphere] I... Well, I was brought up knowing that I would be married to some noble man, and then have some children, preferably male children... That would be my duty... [Ilphere] But I never expected I would actually marry someone like you... someone I love...

  • Menard smiles.

[Menard] I mean, we've been kind of... heh... well, it may already be out of our hands, right? [Ilphere] I suppose... [Menard] But if not, then ... whatever you want, really. If you want to wait a few years, I gather there are ways to do that. [Ilphere] Do you think we should be more careful..?

  • Menard shrugs.

[Menard] It's you who'd be doing the hard part... so I guess it's your choice. I would be happy either way, as long as I have you. [Ilphere] So... no strong feelings...? [Menard] I don't know. I guess I always assumed I'd have children some day... Never gave it much thought until now, though. [Ilphere] I suppose it would likely interfere with my work...

  • Ilphere sighs.

[Menard] It might. I mean, there will be servants and nannies and so forth, but they can only help after the thing's born ;)

  • Menard wraps his arm around you.
  • Ilphere snuggles in.

[Menard] Maybe you could ask some of the ladies in your society how they managed? [Ilphere] Hm, perhaps Mme. Belden... [Menard] Until you decide, should we be a little more careful? [Ilphere] Oh, I don't know... :/

  • Menard grins.

[Menard] I know, you're having too much fun ;) [Ilphere] I can't make up my mind...

  • Menard tickles you lightly.

[Menard] Maybe we should just let whatever happens happen, then.

  • Ilphere giggles...

[Ilphere] Maybe so... :)

  • Menard rolls you over on top of him.

[Menard] I love you so much, Ilphere. [Ilphere] I love you too... :) I never thought I would be so happy...!

  • Menard smiles.

[Menard] I'm going to miss you when you go away to Kholm... [Menard] Hey, maybe I could come with you :) [Ilphere] You want to...? :D [Menard] If you like! [Ilphere] Of course I would... I just wouldn't want you to be bored... [Menard] I mean, I might not do the 'hiking around in the desert' part, but I could do the 'relaxing in the duke's palace' part pretty well ;) [Ilphere] But I expect it will be an interesting trip...!

  • Ilphere laughs.

[Menard] How long is it supposed to be again? [Ilphere] Oh, that would be grand..! :D [Menard] A couple of weeks? [Ilphere] (I forget... that's right though isn't it?) [Menard] (yep)

  • Ilphere nods.

[Menard] I don't think that would be a problem at all. [Menard] If you don't mind, that is... ^-^ [Ilphere] Of course not...! I'll make sure everything is arranged...! [Menard] Wonderful :)

  • Menard gives you another kiss.

  • Ysabeau has been keeping her chin up about Dominik lately. Today, she has something exciting to tell Murienne!
  • Murienne is sitting by the window to catch the winter light as she works on her studies.
  • Ysabeau finishes up some housework.

[Ysabeau] Hey sweetie, do you want to take a short break? I could put on some tea or something. :) [Murienne] Oh, sure. [Ysabeau] I think I've finally caught up on my chores, now that the opera is done. I think...

  • Murienne finishes up the page she was reading and sets her book aside.
  • Ysabeau looks around, hamming it up a little.

[Ysabeau] did I miss anything? ^-^ [Murienne] No, not really :)

  • Ysabeau sighs theatrically.

[Ysabeau] Whew!

  • Ysabeau puts some tea on and settles into a chair while she waits for the water to boil.

[Ysabeau] So, I feel like I haven't had much chance to talk with you lately. [Ysabeau] How was the wedding? [Murienne] Well, I know you've been busy. [Ysabeau] Did you have a good time? [Murienne] It was amazing!

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] I'm glad. [Murienne] A little overwhelming, but everything was so beautiful...

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I hope all the men were very gentlemanly with you. [Ysabeau] I was worried that some might not be, from my own experiences at some of those parties. [Murienne] Most of them didn't really pay much attention to me... I did dance with a few, though. [Ysabeau] Well, I hope those ones behaved themselves. ;) [Murienne] I think so :) [Ysabeau] You were probably one of the youngest ladies there. [Ysabeau] Certainly one of the prettiest. ^-^ [Murienne] I think so... I think most of the noble girls aren't allowed out in public until they turn fifteen ;)

  • Murienne blushes a little at your compliment.

[Ysabeau] Well, who can tell, really, at your age, whether you are fourteen or fifteen? ^-^ [Ysabeau] It may be so, but probably all the noblemen would know when those noblewomen were born. [Murienne] I suppose so... [Ysabeau] It's such a close-knit echelon of society. [Ysabeau] A little too close-knit...

  • Ysabeau giggles.

[Ysabeau] Anyway. [Murienne] Hee. [Ysabeau] I'm glad you had fun. [Murienne] I did, truly. Thank you for taking me :) [Murienne] I wouldn't want to live there, but it was fun to visit. [Ysabeau] It was my pleasure. :) [Ysabeau] Ugh, me neither. [Ysabeau] If the emperor likes my music, I hope I can convince him that living in the palace would hamper my artistic endeavours.

  • Murienne giggles.

[Murienne] What if Dominik gets a post there? You might end up living there after all :) [Ysabeau] He's got to sleep sometime, can't guard Ilphere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. [Murienne] But they might want him to sleep in the next room, just in case ;) [Ysabeau] He can come home to *my* house. ;) [Ysabeau] Speaking of which... [Ysabeau] We found some items on our last expedition... we sold a bunch. [Murienne] Oh? [Ysabeau] When the money was split it turned out to be a lot... enough to buy a house with. [Ysabeau] So... how would you feel about moving again? Hopefully, for a final time. [Murienne] O_O

  • Ysabeau grimaces.

[Murienne] Really?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I'll feel so much better if we *own* a house. [Murienne] Oh, Ysa! That would be so wonderful! :D [Ysabeau] It's weird really... renting makes me feel like everything could disappear in an instant. [Murienne] Where? [Ysabeau] But ownership is so much more certain... we could always sell the house if we had to, though I hope we never would. [Ysabeau] Well, I don't think we could afford a place any fancier than the Place D'Iena. [Ysabeau] So there, or here in Pearl City.

  • Murienne nods.

[Ysabeau] Mother and Father would probably have wanted us to live in the Place D'Iena if they could have managed it. [Murienne] I suppose so... [Murienne] I'm used to it here, but I could get used to somewhere else... [Ysabeau] But it has a much larged psychological distance from the Shambles, where we still have friends. [Ysabeau] So... where we go is up for discussion. [Murienne] Well, Rhenea is close to the Shambles, but it has some nice houses too. [Ysabeau] True, true. [Murienne] It's up to you, really. Wherever you can find a place that makes you happy :) [Ysabeau] You need to be happy too, love. [Ysabeau] There's no rush. [Murienne] I know, but... well, I'm not going to live with you forever. [Murienne] Maybe not even that much longer... :/ [Ysabeau] Oh...? [Murienne] I just mean, once I've finished my schooling, I'll be sent to work in some temple somewhere - it might not even be in the city, for all I know. [Ysabeau] Oh, I suppose so...

  • Ysabeau blushes and looks down to cover her own unease with the idea.

[Murienne] I don't mean I'm leaving tomorrow, but in a year or two... who knows?

  • Ysabeau looks up again.

[Ysabeau] I know.

  • Ysabeau tucks a lock of hair behind her ear.

[Ysabeau] Oh, gods, I know I have to let you go sometime... [Ysabeau] But why is it so scary? [Murienne] And... you might want to have a family. You might need the space ;) [Ysabeau] If I can have one. :/ [Ysabeau] Well, there's always adoption. [Ysabeau] Anyway!!! [Ysabeau] How is your friend, Amiel? [Murienne] Oh, he's... fine, I suppose.

  • Murienne shrugs.

[Ysabeau] (SM?) [Ysabeau] (no cat for rolling... :P) [Murienne] I think he was jealous I went to the wedding. [Ysabeau] Oh dear... [Ysabeau] Without him, you mean? [Murienne] More like, with a bunch of noblemen :p [Ysabeau] :/ [Ysabeau] Well, if you like him a lot, better than those noblemen, he should get over it. [Murienne] It's so foolish. [Murienne] It's not as if anything happened!

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Murienne] And actually, it's not as if he's actually asked me to go out with him, either :p

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] He might be too shy. Young men can be pretty funny sometimes. [Ysabeau] Do you want to go out with him? [Murienne] I thought I did, before all this stupidity. [Murienne] Now I'm not as sure. [Ysabeau] Well, maybe you could invite him to supper some time, to help you figure that out? [Murienne] I suppose so... if you don't mind :) [Ysabeau] Of course I don't!

  • Ysabeau grins.

[Murienne] All right, then. [Ysabeau] Hopefully that will help him sort out his feelings too. After all, we have never invited any of those noblemen for supper.

  • Ysabeau winks.
  • Murienne smiles slightly at that.
  • Ysabeau gives her a hug.
  • Murienne hugs you back.

[Ysabeau] I love you, Murienne. [Murienne] I love you too, Ysa.

  • Ysabeau kisses the top of her head.

[Murienne] You're the best sister anyone could ever ask for. [Ysabeau] Really? That's so odd! Because you are, too. [Ysabeau] We must have been made for each other. ;)

  • Murienne laughs.
  • Ysabeau does as well.
  • Ysabeau holds her tight for a bit.
  • Ysabeau releases her before asking her next question.

[Ysabeau] Murienne, remember I mentioned an upcoming expedition?

  • Murienne nods

[Ysabeau] It sounds like it will be a lot longer than the others we've been on. [Ysabeau] Like, two weeks, at least! [Murienne] Oh, really?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Murienne] Will it be exciting? ^-^ [Ysabeau] I think so! [Murienne] Will it be dangerous? [Ysabeau] We'll be going to Kholm, near the Silver Desert, to explore some ruins. [Murienne] That's so far away... :o [Ysabeau] Possibly, but I'd be in good company. [Ysabeau] It is... [Ysabeau] So I wanted to check with you how you feel about that. [Murienne] Well... I can't say I'm not a little worried for you. But I'm sure Dominik will take good care of you, right? [Ysabeau] He and I will both take good care of me. ;)

  • Murienne smiles.

[Murienne] All right, I trust you both ;) [Ysabeau] I wanted to ask you, in particular, whether you would prefer to stay with someone while I'm gone, or whether you'd be comfortable on your own, with Rye, for that long? [Ysabeau] Either option is fine with me; you're the one who needs to make that decision. [Ysabeau] It's a pretty big one. [Murienne] I think I'll be all right by myself. [Ysabeau] Okay. [Murienne] But if I'm not, I can always go to a friend's. [Ysabeau] I am confident that you'll do just fine. You're very mature and responsible. :)

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] If you do go to a friend's while I'm away could you please leave a note so I don't worry about where you are when I get back? [Murienne] Of course. [Ysabeau] Thanks.

  • Murienne smiles.

[Ysabeau] We'll make sure we do a big shopping trip before I go, and that you have enough money to buy any other food you might need, plus some extra for whatever you'd like, too.

  • Murienne nods.

[Murienne] That sounds good. [Murienne] Be careful, all right? [Ysabeau] I will. You too, okay? [Murienne] I will.

  • Murienne hugs you again.
  • Ysabeau hugs her back.

[Ysabeau] Oh! I forgot all about that water! [Ysabeau] It's probably boiled off by now!

  • Ysabeau springs up and darts to the kitchen to check on it.