Diablotin 2 session 70

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Seth and Nash

[Narrator] Seth, you have heard some disturbing rumours of late, and intend to pay a visit to the Warlord (for now) to discuss these matters.

  • Seth will slip secretly to her door when she is in, but then knock at her door, so as not to alarm her.

[Cornelia] Come in.

  • Seth enters and closes the door quickly behind him.

[Seth] Good afternoon.

  • Cornelia looks up calmly when you enter. She is busy arranging papers on her desk.

[Cornelia] Good afternoon, Seth. Come to say goodbye?

[Seth] Well ... no, not exactly.

[Seth] I have come to speak to you, though, yes, on the matter of your imminent retirement.

[Cornelia] Oh?

[Cornelia] And what did you have to say.

[Seth] I have come to inquire as to the nature of our ... relationship now that you will no longer be the Warlord.

[Cornelia] I suppose that depends mainly on you.

[Seth] That's not how I see it. I think it depends on what you are planning to do now.

[Seth] Most of our discussions have had very little to do with your official position, so I don't see how this changes that.

[Cornelia] I will be continuing my work on an individual basis. It may be more difficult, but I see no reason why I can't still do what I think is best for the Empire as a private citizen.

[Seth] Of course. I wanted to know, however, whether our meetings, or your private ... interests, have anything to do with your replacement.

[Cornelia] I can't know that for certain, of course, but I doubt it very much.

[Seth] Oh? Then why now? Why would the Emperor replace you at this juncture?

[Cornelia] Because I am insufficiently willing to take us to war, I suppose.

[Seth] This is about *Psyra*?

  • Seth says incredulously

[Cornelia] At least, that is the proximate cause, yes. I advocated for a diplomatic resolution to the problem. Apparently that was not what he wanted to hear.

[Seth] It is always surprising to me, given the importance of some of the things that have happened around me, or to me, over the past year, to see how much trivialities still matter to some people.

[Seth] I would have thought this had something to do with Kavreshar and that damnable necklace, at least.

  • Cornelia shrugs.

[Cornelia] On that front, at least, there has been some small progress.

[Seth] Oh? How so?

[Cornelia] Thanks to my efforts, the demon using the name Maryse Rouillard was captured, and has been - is continuing to be - interrogated.

[Seth] Ah, I see. Interrogated by your staff? Or by the Emperor's personal staff?

[Cornelia] By me, primarily. I suppose once I am gone it will continue to be interrogated by others, I know not who.

[Seth] Hmm ... what have you learned from her?

[Cornelia] A number of things about the entity known as Kavreshar. That it is, or at least was, operating under the name 'Phelix Valtieras', that it was responsible for the bridge collapse and the granary fires...

  • Seth pauses momentarily, thinking of his mother.

[Seth] Will this thing be slaughtered after the interrogation?

[Cornelia] I see no reason to leave it alive, but the decision will not be in my hands at that point.

[Seth] I suppose not.

[Cornelia] I contemplated disposing of it before I depart, but ... it may have more information to impart.

[Seth] I also have learned some information of interest about Kavreshar.

[Cornelia] Oh?

[Seth] A colleague of mine has been researching the Emperor's own scholarly interests, and has found significant evidence that Marl knew of the binding of Kavreshar long before his own coronation, from his student days in fact.

[Cornelia] Hm.. Interesting, but not entirely surprising, given his research interests.

[Seth] Agreed. And I do not mean to suggest that the Emperor had anything directly to do with Kavreshar's release. That would be madness. But I do wonder whether, once released, the Emperor has been more active than we have known in the matter.

[Cornelia] It's a possibility.

  • Cornelia agrees.

[Cornelia] But this isn't the place to discuss it.

[Cornelia] Fortunately, since I won't be here much longer, we'll have opportunities to talk about it in more private surroundings, if you wish to continue our meetings.

[Seth] Yes, of course. I do wish you to know that, given that our mutual interests have principally been personal ones rather than your official duties, I would be most conducive to a continuation of our work ... whatever form it might take.

  • Cornelia smiles at that.

[Cornelia] I appreciate it, Seth.

[Seth] You are welcome, Warlord ... Cornelia.

Ilphere, Sanadhil and Guillame

[Narrator] Ilphere, Sanadhil, and Guillame, you have gathered, along with Nycaise, to undertake your second expedition into Imraen's dream.

  • Sanadhil assumes we are probably meting at my house?

[Guillame] . o O (gulp)

[Narrator] The plan, as I understand it, is for Ilphere, Guy, and Nycaise to enter San's dream, meet Ruchard there, and go from there to Imraen's realm, correct?

[Sanadhil] (yes)

  • Sanadhil welcomes everyone, drssed very comfortably and perhaps looking a little tired

[Ilphere] GOod afternoon...!

[Sanadhil] I hope this sin't too strange... there are so refreshments to hand if any of you will like somwething.... I'll try to fall asleep quickly?

[Ilphere] Thank you... I am ready when you are..!

  • Sanadhil nods
  • Sanadhil will finish his relaxation tea and go lie down on the couch then, and try to pass from quiet meditation to actual sleep :3

[Narrator] San, you are tired enough that you fall asleep quickly.

[Ilphere] Alright, M. Rionet...!

[Guillame] Yes, I suppose we'd better get going...

[Guillame] Er

[Guillame] If you take my meaning

[Ilphere] Ruchard will meet us within... He will guide us, and be able to help shield us from Imraen's influence...!

  • Ilphere holds her hand out.
  • Nycaise takes your hand.
  • Guillame takes it too
  • Ilphere begins to cast Dream walk.

[Narrator] You make your way smoothly into San's dream...

[Narrator] You stand in an unfamiliar room, lined with screens and silks. Its walls are on fire, but you don't feel any heat from the flames. Ahead of you is a chart of the stars. As you watch, the stars slowly move, gradually taking up new positions.

[Narrator] You hear running footsteps, hear laboured breathing, and Sanadhil enters the room, looking alarmed.

[Ilphere] Sanadhil...?

[Guillame] Your dream is more... exciting than I'd anticipated...

[Sanadhil] I...who...

[Nycaise] [q] Does he know who we are?

[Ilphere] He seems confused...

  • Sanadhil looks confused for a moment before Ilphere addresses him by name and he gives her a very strange look as if trying to make sense of something very disconcerting

[Ilphere] Sanadhil, focus now... It's me, Ilphere...!

[Guillame] Well, he *is* dreaming - it must be disconcerting...

[Narrator] Laughter comes from behind one of the screens, and a slender shadow flits away, just glimpsed out of the corner of your eye.

[Guillame] Wah!

  • Ilphere glances in its direction.
  • Guillame regains his composure
  • Sanadhil looks at you with brif focus, but turns away when the shadow laughs

[Ilphere] This is a dream, remember...? We agreed to meet...?

[Sanadhil] Rashena?

  • Ilphere looks concerned...

[Sanadhil] Wait..

[Ilphere] No, *Ilphere...*!

  • Sanadhil looks around, taking in the flames, half looking for the fleeing elf woman

[Sanadhil] yes...

[Sanadhil] and...

  • Sanadhil loks back at the tapestry

[Sanadhil] Something about the stars..?

[Guillame] Myself, that's Guillame, and Nycaise are here also, M. Orecalo.

[Sanadhil] You shouldn't be here...

[Ilphere] Sanadhil, get ahold of yourself..!

[Guillame] I suppose this is not the dream you would have chosen to show us...

[Sanadhil] dream, yes...

  • Ruchard steps from behind a burning tapestry, looking somewhat frazzled.
  • Sanadhil still looks alarmed at the fire, and starts coughing

[Ruchard] I apologize for not finding you sooner - this place is ... well-hidden.

  • Guillame checks that Ruchard is not himself on fire

[Sanadhil] you're not supposed to be in here...

[Ilphere] Ruchard, thank goodness... M. Orecalo is very... comitted to this dream. He does not seem to recall our agreement.

  • Ruchard steps over to Sanadhil.
  • Ilphere is going to try to manipulate San's dream to put the fire out...?
  • Sanadhil says, coughing more

[Ruchard] (ok, you can make a check)

[Sanadhil] I can't...concentrate

[Ilphere] (30)

[Narrator] You are able to snuff out the flames easily. The room clears of smoke and goes back to 'normal'.

[Ruchard] This is a dream, and your friends are here to help you. See, the fires are out and everything is all right.

[Sanadhil] I know, i...

[Sanadhil] I just don't want you here!

[Ruchard] Let us go, then.

  • Ruchard points to the far wall of the room, where there is now suddenly a large open archway that wasn't there before.
  • Sanadhil nods and looks at the rest of you, waiting for you to vacate
  • Nycaise is ready to go.
  • Ilphere moves toward the new door, shooting a worried look at Sanadhil...
  • Guillame heads for the archway

[Ruchard] We can't pass unsheltered through the heart of dreams - it would kill us. So I have to make a path.

  • Ruchard says as you enter the corridor.
  • Sanadhil does not seem to have the ability to hide his distress as well here

[Ruchard] While we travel, I ought to tell you a little bit about what we might find when we get there.

  • Sanadhil follows after the others have passed out of the shrineron...

[Sanadhil] (shrine room)

[Ruchard] Imraen's realm is one of the largest and strongest dreams I've ever encountered, and it's well-defended. To enter it without her permission, this way, could be very difficult - especially since she's experienced invaders once already.

[Ruchard] Going in the way you did the first time, by entering her dream directly, she can't guard against that - but you might well be subsumed into your dream-selves again, and that wouldn't do. This way, you should be able to maintain your memories and personalities to a greater degree.

  • Ilphere nods, listening...
  • Sanadhil falls quiet, listening to Ruchard

[Ruchard] But you will still be inhabiting the forms, the lives, of your other selves, and it's possible that their minds will struggle to gain some influence over yours - so you will have to be on guard for that.

  • Ilphere keeps glancing at San though.

[Ruchard] And of course anyone you encounter will assume you *are* them, and may be suspicious if you are acting in a way they perceive as out of character...

[Ruchard] As part of its defense, the dream may react to our intrusion by trying to adapt, to make it make sense in some way that the four of you would be together.

[Sanadhil] :I'll be fine.

[Sanadhil] (to Ilphere)

[Guillame] . o O (Yaaaaay :/)

[Ilphere] : I'm sorry that happened... :(

[Ruchard] It shouldn't affect me, I don't think, because I don't have a counterpart in that world. So I'll do my best to help ... keep things calm.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] It should be easy enough for me to find Ilphere, and Mlle L'Averti and tjhe Duke to find each other....

[Sanadhil] after that it may be more difficult

[Guillame] Yes...

  • Sanadhil says more calmly

[Ruchard] I mean that I expect, as we enter together, you will already be together in some context in the dream.

[Sanadhil] ahh

[Sanadhil] hmm.

[Ilphere] That should be interesting..!

[Ruchard] That context may be... well, I have no idea, honestly.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ruchard] After that, assuming you are in control of yourselves, we will try to find Imraen.

[Ilphere] Watch out for Loch... I don't know how likely it is that we will encounter him but...

[Ilphere] He killed me before. ]:|

[Sanadhil] indeed..

  • Ruchard leads you through a featureless corridor that seems to stretch forever in either direction, but the time you spend walking through it feels as though it passes quickly. At a certain point, Ruchard stops, feeling the wall, then pressing his hands into it. It is malleable, but still he struggles to form it into an opening.

[Sanadhil] what would happen to us this time, if we were killed in her dream?

[Ruchard] I will do my best to extract you before that happens.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Guillame] Will Pheria still exist? Isn't she dead?

[Sanadhil] she was revived...

[Ilphere] Yes, Fedra resurrected her...

  • Ruchard holds the opening for you to pass through.

[Ruchard] Hurry now, I can't do this for long.

  • Sanadhil hurries through then :o
  • Nycaise follows.
  • Ilphere steps through.

[Narrator] For a moment you see nothing but swirling light and colours and darkness, and feel an impossible barrage of energy against you, burning and freezing all at once - and then you are through it and safe...you think...

  • Guillame follows

[Guillame] Ugh...

  • Guillame shakes his head clear

[Narrator] You are in Pheria's dungeon, or one of them. Ny'kaz and Willem, you are chained in separate cages; Sendhel and Pheria, you are quite intimately entangled on a nearby couch/rack.

[Pheria] Oh... awkward.

[Narrator] Each of you can make a Will save in order to gain control of yourself.

[Sanadhil] (straight will?)

[Pheria] (23?)

[Narrator] (yes - DC isn't too bad, though, 20)

[Sanadhil] (32)

  • Guillame rolls 1d20+5: (3)+ 5 = 8

[Guillame] (Lawl)

[Narrator] (ouch)

[Pheria] (uh... I use my special power to give him a reroll)

[Narrator] (sure :)

  • Guillame rolls 1d20+5: (5)+ 5 = 10

[Narrator] (heh)

[Pheria] (ffff.)

  • Nycaise screams in pain.

[Sanadhil] (its okay i have spells ;)

[Sanadhil] !

  • Sanadhil tries to disentangle himself from Ilphere, especially when Nycaise screams

[Narrator] Pheria is about as pregnant as Ilphere, for the record.

  • Pheria jumps up.

[Sanadhil] get her out of there...

  • Ruchard also emerges from somewhere, and hurries to check on you. Although, awkward...
  • Pheria works to free her.
  • Sanadhil is glad sen favours flowly easy access robes D:
  • Nycaise 's fingers all seem to be shattered.

[Sanadhil] Mlle L'Averti?

[Nycaise] My hands...

[Sanadhil] (switching?)

[Narrator] (yes)

  • Father Willem watches this turn of events suspiciously

[Father Willem] (Ah, ok)

  • Sanadhil looks to Ilphere as he tries to help Nycaise out of whatever contraption/cage she's been put in

[Sanadhil] (or ruchard....)

[Sanadhil] Can you heal her?

[Pheria] I cannot...

[Sanadhil] It was probably to keep you from casting.

  • Ruchard shakes his head.
  • Pheria looks to Ruchard.

[Sanadhil] Does Pheria keep a ny potions here?

[Pheria] Oh... I believe so, yes...!

  • Sanadhil looks to Gui-willem

[Sanadhil] Duke? Are you alright?

  • Pheria will look for potions.

[Father Willem] I am... quite fine

[Narrator] (you find some Cure Lights and Cure Moderates that Pheria keeps lying around for ... after-care.)

[Father Willem] . o O (Hem. What *is* going on?)

[Pheria] Here...!

[Sanadhil] (can I get a sm check here to tell the diffwerence? :p)

  • Pheria will offer them to Nycaise.
  • Nycaise takes them gratefully.

[Narrator] (yes, you can San)

[Sanadhil] (36)

[Father Willem] (vs. Bluff?)

[Narrator] (Guy/Will, you can make a Bluff check if you are trying to conceal what's happening in your head right now)

[Father Willem] (Max is 29)

[Sanadhil] :Duke Rionet? Are you there?

[Narrator] OK then - San, you think that Guy's not in control in there right now.

[Pheria] Is everyone else alright..?

  • Sanadhil sees if he can reah the reakl guy telepathically @_@

[Sanadhil] the Duke's will isn't string enough to bypass Willem

[Father Willem] Are you intoxicated, good sir? Or have your excesses finally brought you madness?

[Pheria] Oh dear...!

[Sanadhil] (Strong)

[Sanadhil] hmm

  • Ruchard comes over to Willem's cage with the rest of you, once Nycaise seems healed up.
  • Sanadhil ignores what he is saying and will cast suggestion

[Sanadhil] (actually I'll use Push the Weak Mind, which lasts longer if it works)

[Sanadhil] (which is a willsave dc 19 for willem)

[Pheria] M. Rionet...? Are you in there..?

  • Father Willem rolls 1d20+11: (14)+ 11 = 25

[Sanadhil] Let the duke take charge....

[Father Willem] ... yes, yes, I'm ok now. Thank you.

[Pheria] (sm?)

[Pheria] (rolled a 1 hurf durf)

  • Sanadhil frowns

[Narrator] (oh he is totally fine now! :)

[Sanadhil] hardly

[Pheria] Oh good...!

[Pheria] He seems fine to me...

[Sanadhil] (I'm assuming my previous roll stands)

[Narrator] (yes)

[Sanadhil] I'm not at all convinced.

  • Sanadhil casts char monster :V

[Sanadhil] (charm)

[Father Willem] (will save?)

[Sanadhil] (yes, check dc 21 I think?)

  • Father Willem rolls 1d20+11: (6)+ 11 = 17

[Father Willem] (narp)

[Sanadhil] Father Willem, yes?

[Father Willem] (what's the spell effect?)

[Sanadhil] (you're charmed)

[Sanadhil] 9it is the same as charm pwrson, just affects mopre stuff and has a higher dc to resist)

[Sanadhil] (So.... you like me and feel helpful and friendly ;)

[Alma] ("trusted friend and ally")

[Sanadhil] {to the others] :let me talk to him for a moment

[Father Willem] Of course it is, I can't fool you, heh, can I?

[Sanadhil] No, but you see, we have an edge, father....

[Sanadhil] Do you remember, before the flood? Some of the things raina said?

[Sanadhil] About the other world, where there are no Shadar Kai?

[Father Willem] I try to remember them all, of course.

[Sanadhil] of course

[Sanadhil] but do you remember that?

[Sanadhil] And she told you about the other you, in that world?

[Father Willem] Yes, I do. And another her, unless I mistake myself.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Father Willem] Others of many

[Sanadhil] Can you feel him in your mind, right now? the other you?

[Father Willem] Hem

[Father Willem] I wonder sometimes if I can... but don't worry, I'll stay strong.

[Father Willem] I have work to do, hem.

[Sanadhil] no, I mea n... now, can you feel him?

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] We need his help, to give you a chance to do that work without the interference of the queen

[Sanadhil] Can you let him help us? just for a little while

[Sanadhil] if yo can just.... let go, when we're though, the humans here will have a much better chance, and you won't be in here anymore

  • Sanadhil gestures to the cage

[Father Willem] Without the queen? Sounds like treason to me...

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Father Willem] I'm sure I can help with whatever you need.

[Sanadhil] I'm not Sendhel.

[Sanadhil] She's not my queen. We want to help your worl, but we need Guillame to do it.

[Father Willem] What can he do, that I can't?

[Sanadhil] break her hold over this world

[Sanadhil] you can't kill her - it sher dream

[Sanadhil] trust me

[Father Willem] And he can? How?

[Sanadhil] its somethig that can only be done in our world

[Sanadhil] I can't tell you exactly, because this is her drea, and she might know

[Sanadhil] we don't have very much time

[Father Willem] This all sounds a bit fanciful - dreams and other worlds - if you weren't such an upstanding fellow I'd think you to be playing tricks on me.

[Sanadhil] Please, let us talk to him

[Sanadhil] I understant

[Narrator] (Guy, you can make another save, given San's attempts at reasoning)

  • Father Willem rolls 1d20+5: (7)+ 5 = 12

[Sanadhil] (ARGH)

[Father Willem] No, I think if you mean to free me, I'd prefer to keep my own mind when you do. I'm not sure I trust this... "Duke" to act in my best interest.

[Ruchard] I'm not certain what more we can do... either we release him, or we leave him here and proceed without him.

  • Sanadhil looks to ilphere

[Sanadhil] You're the one in greatest danger from him....

[Father Willem] Tell me, what are you, hem, in there?

[Pheria] I am...?

[Sanadhil] how do you mean?

  • Sanadhil asks Willem

[Sanadhil] what race?

[Father Willem] You've come from another world, to take over this body... what are you? And her, and him and her?

[Father Willem] If there are none of her type where you're from

  • Father Willem nods at Nycaise

[Sanadhil] Human.

  • Sanadhil lies boldly
  • Father Willem rolls 1d20+19: (17)+ 19 = 36

[Father Willem] (Oh wait, I trust you, nm)

[Sanadhil] (44 anyway ;)

[Pheria] I think we ha better bring him with us... I think it is unwise for us to be separated.

[Sanadhil] alright

[Sanadhil] we are human, I promine, and we are working for the best interest of this world

[Father Willem] Then I'll give my word that I won't harm them, so long as those interests hold true

[Sanadhil] Thank you.

  • Sanadhil will let him out then, masking his extreme wariness D:
  • Father Willem bows to those assembled

[Sanadhil] we shoudl get moving I can disguise these two as slaves with magic?

[Sanadhil] (punctuation - it is a good thing. that shoudl have been two sentences.)

[Narrator] Dream-travellers, you are going to let Willem out, then?

[Pheria] (yarp)

[Sanadhil] (yes D:)

[Ruchard] Once you have him freed, I'll attempt to take us to the queen.

[Sanadhil] just stick with us, then, please Father

[Father Willem] If you say so

  • Sanadhil nods and looks to Ruchard
  • Father Willem looks for his equipment, if he doesn't already know if it's here/where it's kept

[Narrator] (Pheria could have put it anywhere, really...)

[Father Willem] (Or failing that, any usable weapons)

[Father Willem] (search?)

[Narrator] You can make a search check, sure. So can anyone else who is looking.

  • Father Willem rolls 1d20+6: (20)+ 6 = 26

[Narrator] You can certainly find things that would make useable weapons in here - pokers, knives, etc. Not Willem's sword, though.

  • Sanadhil doesn;'t really want to know what all Pheria has in here :3
  • Sanadhil keeps an eye on Willem, though

[Father Willem] (Anything rapier-like? Or bow-like, or dagger-like?)

[Ruchard] Should I try to locate her, then?

[Narrator] Dagger-like, yes.

[Father Willem] (That'll do :) )

[Sanadhil] yes, please

[Pheria] Yes... !

  • Ruchard closes his eyes, concentrating. Sweat beads on his brow as if this is a huge struggle.
  • Pheria watches...
  • Sanadhil casts heroism on him so he can have a boost :3

[Narrator] The room around you warps and shifts, and you find yourselves in the pale, echoing stone chambers of the palace. Imraen sits at the far end of the room from where you stand.

  • Ruchard slumps to the ground once you've made the transition.

[Pheria] Oh...~

  • Pheria moves to support him...!

[Imraen] Oh... again?

  • Imraen looks mildly annoyed.

[Ruchard] [w] I'm all right... just ... drained.

[Sanadhil] We apologize for the intrusion, your highnes, but we needed to speak with you

  • Sanadhil bows and will be at his most diplomatic
  • Imraen looks suspicious.
  • Father Willem gapes a little, and creeps toward the exit

[Sanadhil] :Please Father, just wait with us....

[Imraen] What is it this time?

  • Father Willem straightens up

[Father Willem] Hem

[Sanadhil] We have questions for you, as scholar, about the world you came from

[Sanadhil] and about your world here....

[Sanadhil] (scholars)

[Sanadhil] That was why we came, the first time.

  • Imraen waves a bored, dismissive hand.

[Sanadhil] There are ghosts in tSarasagel that want us to wake you.

[Imraen] Scholars? Is that the best you can come up with?

  • Sanadhil shrugs
  • Imraen frowns momentarily at the name 'Sarasagel' as if it sounds vaguely familiar.

[Pheria] It is the truth...!

[Sanadhil] We're not trying to deceive you.

[Sanadhil] But there are a number of things we need to know

[Imraen] No, there is only one thing you need to know. I am the ruler here.

[Sanadhil] About the Arch, and what happened when Saraknyel fell.

[Sanadhil] Here, yes.

[Sanadhil] but there is still a world beyond

[Imraen] There is nothing beyond! only death and emptiness.

[Sanadhil] Its not true

[Sanadhil] We found the well, in Sarasagel

[Sanadhil] We know how it was sabotaged

[Sanadhil] We know how it can be fixed

[Imraen] Liar.

  • Imraen says coldly.

[Sanadhil] do you really think so?

[Imraen] Even if it was true, what does it matter to me?

[Sanadhil] is this all you ever want?

  • Sanadhil gestures around at the little room

[Imraen] This is absolute power. What more could I want?

[Sanadhil] A challenge.

  • Imraen laughs.
  • Ruchard struggles to his feet.

[Pheria] Freedom...?

[Imraen] He talks too much.

  • Imraen points to San and he is ... gone, somewhere.

[Pheria] ...!

  • Father Willem frowns
  • Ruchard sighs.

[Pheria] What did you do with him..?

[Imraen] Made him be quiet.

  • Imraen says as if it's obvious.
  • Father Willem looks for cover, somewhere he can skulk off
  • Pheria looks to Ruchard.

[Father Willem] . o O (Suicidal idiots)

[Imraen] Why would you offer me freedom?

[Imraen] It's got to be a trap.

[Pheria] Your freedom is this world's freedom as well.

[Imraen] This world is mine! Without me, it ceases.

[Pheria] That is not so...!

[Ruchard] That's not strictly true.

  • Ruchard agrees.

[Pheria] It has grown strong...

[Father Willem] . o O (Wait... freedom? Into the pure world?)

[Imraen] But... what would become of it?

  • Imraen sounds worried.
  • Father Willem rejoins the group

[Ruchard] It would follow its own course. Whatever that might be.

[Father Willem] (I don't suppose I can make another saving throw yet?)

[Narrator] (you can have one more save for San disappearing ;)

  • Father Willem rolls 1d20+5: (3)+ 5 = 8

[Father Willem] (oh well)

[Narrator] (heh)

[Imraen] ... I don't believe you.

[Pheria] We have the Chalice of Dawn...

  • Imraen looks sharply at Ilphere, and you can see alarm on her face at that.

[Ruchard] There are many different worlds, Imraen. If you aren't ready to go to theirs, then let me show you some of the others.

[Imraen] ...

[Father Willem] [q] Yes, take her off to some hell-world, hem

[Imraen] This is a trick. I'll tear this place apart before I let you take me from it.

  • Pheria sighs...
  • Ruchard waves a hand and two large pillars come crashing down between you and her.

[Ruchard] (ww)

  • Imraen waves a hand and two large pillars come crashing down between you and her.
  • Ruchard sighs and walks forward through the debris.
  • Pheria follows, but stays back a bit...
  • Father Willem attacks Nycaise with his knife

[Pheria] !!

[Pheria] GUILLAME!

[Pheria] NO!

  • Nycaise shrieks and struggles.

[Pheria] ]_[

  • Imraen looks over at them, distracted for a moment long enough for Ruchard to get close to her.

[Pheria] (Can I manipulate her dream to have, I don't know, some stone come up from the floor and trap WIllem?)

  • Ruchard tackles her.

[Ruchard] Ilphere, take them out of here! You can do it!

[Pheria] (or that)

  • Father Willem pushes Nycaise at Ilphere and runs left

[Pheria] Get back here...!

  • Pheria casts Evard's Black tentacles. ]:(
  • Imraen screams, the sound seeming to shatter walls around you.

[Narrator] The palace is collapsing...

[Pheria] (argh I have to get to him to cast DW...)

[Narrator] You can manage to reach him, since he's trapped in tentacles atm.

[Pheria] (I do so )

  • Father Willem struggles in vain

[Narrator] And Nycaise isn't going anywhere... she's bleeding on the ground.

  • Pheria drags Nycaise over to the edge of the spell, grabs Willem and casts. ]:(

[Pheria] [m] I can't believe you stabbed her..!

[Narrator] You feel yourselves being sucked out of the collapsing room, back to San's dream-chamber with the star-chart and the silk hangings. San lies unconscious on the floor there. You are yourselves again, but Nycaise is still injured.

  • Pheria will attempt to Dream her wounds closed...

[Narrator] You can make a check.

[Pheria] (30)

[Narrator] OK, her wounds close, but she remains unconscious.

[Pheria] Well that went... poorly.

  • Pheria will check on Sanadhil next.

[Narrator] San is unconscious but seems otherwise unharmed.

[Father Willem] Ugh... I'm so sorry...

[Ilphere] (what would I roll to know whether it's ok to DW out with them unconscious? :x)

  • Guillame slumps and rubs at his head

[Narrator] (You think as long as you're touching them it should be ok)

[Ilphere] (It's San's dream though... should I just leave him?)

[Narrator] (You think if you take him out through DW, the dream will end and he'll wake up - otherwise, you'll have to wake him up normally.)

[Ilphere] I'm going to take us all out...

[Guillame] Ok...

  • Ilphere will cast it on everyone.

[Narrator] You are sucked back a second time, into San's room at his house, where he is just waking up and looking very groggy.

[Narrator] (and we'll leave it there, since we have no San atm ;)

[Narrator] (unless Ilphere and Guy want to talk on their own - maybe San is not in the mood for conversation atm)

[Guillame] I'm cool to wait for a scene with Heather

Alma and Ysabeau

[Narrator] Alma and Ysabeau, what are your plans vis a vis Thea and whatever she's doing in the Kizer residence?

[Alma] So our plan is the Plane Shift to the Ethereal Plane, then I will teleport back to the spot I studied and we'll enter on that plane. Once we've cased the place we'll likely shift back and try Detect Thoughts and other things on Thea.

[Alma] I used Imbue with Spell Ability on Ysabeau, as well as Shield Other and Status

[Alma] It's not likely anything bad will happen but... :P

[Alma] I was thinking Alma might want to try Augury for Weal/Woe on this but maybe we should skip that?

  • Ysabeau is anxious because she feels she has a lot to lose if she gets caught and identified.
  • Alma has suggested that you just flee if we're caught :)
  • Ysabeau has used her Hat of Disguise trick to make herself look like a different pregnant lady. :P

[Narrator] All right - what time of day are you doing all of this?

[Ysabeau] (When Thea is working, I suspect)

[Alma] Probably in the afternoon when Thea is tired and more likely to be brooding in her head.

[Alma] (Unless the Divination suggested night. I took it ot just mean day.)

[Narrator] (afternoon is fine)

  • Alma meets with Ysabeau and when we are ready, will pull out a tuning fork made of the requisite material for the ethereal plane.
  • Ysabeau stays close to Alma - we would have discussed spell ranges etc in advance so neither of us strays too far from the other's spell effects
  • Alma plane shifts randomly 296 miles away.
  • Ysabeau wears one of her old dresses which barely fits anymore.

[Alma] (Hee)

  • Alma will then teleport to the ethereal plane location near the Duke's.

[Alma] (Successfully.)

[Narrator] You proceed to the Ethereal plane, then make your way to the intersection nearest Leonien's house.

[Alma] Well, here we go :)

[Ysabeau] So far so good.

  • Ysabeau looks around, trying to get her bearings in the Ethereal.
  • Alma walks with Ysabeau to the Kizer grounds.
  • Ysabeau experiments with passing through a wall or two on the way, so she won't be startled by passing into Leonien's walls.

[Narrator] You pass through the gates without difficulty, and make your way onto the grounds of the estate.

  • Alma leads us to the area near the servants entrance so that we can scout out that area for a place to spy on Thea.
  • Ysabeau wonders if you'd feel different if you passed through a wall with a magical protection on it.

[Narrator] (outside the house or inside?)

[Alma] (Outside first, then I'll lead us through the wall near the door)

[Ysabeau] (We need to find a closet or something eventually.)

  • Alma and Ysabeau begin to stake out the servants area.
  • Ysabeau will put her new Search and Spot skills to the test to notice anything unsual.

[Narrator] You are in the pantry of the kitchens, which is currently unoccupied except for stored food.

[Alma] This seems like a good place for us to come back to.

[Ysabeau] Only if it's not near meal-preparation time.

[Alma] Well you can make us invisible again.

[Alma] Hopefully we won't have to explore into the Duke's more private chambers...

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Alma] (We'll take account of what staff are doing and how many there are.)

[Ysabeau] I know pretty much what he looks like, anyway. He's got a little more flab here but otherwise I bet he's got the same birthmark.

[Narrator] As you converse, the door swings open and a woman in an apron walks in. She gathers up an apronful of carrots from a storage bin, and departs again.

[Alma] .oO( I ... what. )

[Alma] Goodness!

  • Alma holds her holy symbol.

[Alma] I am so completely not cut out for this sort of thing.

[Ysabeau] I know. Neither am I.

[Ysabeau] That's why we're ethereal.

[Alma] .oO( I bet Sanadhil could do this ]:| )

[Alma] Let's take stock of the staff and we'll teleport back here.

[Ysabeau] Fine.

  • Alma Plane Shifts us back to the Material plane...

[Alma] (292 miles from Diablotin!)

  • Alma will then get Ysabeau to cast Invisibility Sphere and Greater Teleport back to the closet

[Ysabeau] This will only last 14 minutes.

  • Alma nods.
  • Ysabeau says before casting.

[Alma] You can cast it again?

[Alma] If we need to, at least.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Three more times as long as we don't need to speak with animals, lie to anyone, or put a load of people to sleep.

  • Alma teleports us unerringly back to the pantry.

[Alma] Alright, I'll try first...

  • Alma casts Detect Thoughts.
  • Ysabeau feels more than a little ridiculous.

[Narrator] (what's the save dc on that?)

[Alma] (18)

  • Alma aims for about where Thea was working, to try to find her.

[Narrator] OK, you can detect 8 minds out in the kitchen area.

  • Alma concentrates to try to find Thea.

[Narrator] Most of them are just thinking things about cooking, about how they're tired, about how their feet hurt, etc. One is thinking about her boyfriend(?) in daydreamy fashion. One is thinking about revenge.

  • Alma is looking for that one.

[Alma] Got her, I think...

[Narrator] That one's surface thoughts are along the lines of "Wait until she's not watching. In a little bit. Then I'll do it."

[Alma] .oO (Livianne?)

  • Alma wishes there was a way to prompt her to thinking about it in more detail...

[Narrator] That target moves out of the range of your spell, Alma.

[Alma] Oh, dear, does that mean she's going to do it now?

[Ysabeau] Hmm?

[Alma] What even IS it?

[Ysabeau] What did you hear her think?

[Alma] She was thinking that she'd do it in a little bit, when "She" isn't watching.

  • Ysabeau sighs.

[Ysabeau] Could be anything. I guess we'll have to follow her.

[Alma] Let's follow her.

  • Alma casts Ethereal Jaunt, and we are back in the Ethereal plane, but right where we were.

[Alma] Quickly...

  • Ysabeau hurries after Alma, since she doesn't really know what Thea looks like.
  • Alma will step through the pantry door in the direction she think the mind left.

[Narrator] The conversations between the servants dim as you pass into the Ethereal Plane.

  • Alma grumbles in frustration as she realises her arsenal of detection spells are useless here.
  • Ysabeau looks for someone matching Thea's description, but there could be more than one servant with her hair colour, height, etc.

[Narrator] The door across on the other side of the kitchen is just closing - perhaps she went that way.

  • Alma will head that way!

[Ysabeau] . o O (I wish we could have just mugged her and taken her for questioning. Sometimes Dom's way of doing things is best.)

  • Ysabeau hurries after Alma.

[Narrator] You pass swiftly through the kitchen and through the wall/door into a corridor on the other side. Thea is walking away from you, towards a narrow staircase, carrying a tray of food.

[Ysabeau] Poisoned food?

  • Ysabeau suggests.

[Alma] Maybe...

  • Alma dismisses the Ethereal jaunt as it was about to end anyway, and makes sure we're still invisible.
  • Alma follows after...

[Alma] [q] Oh you go first, I have to stick near you to be quiet.

[Ysabeau] Maybe that's what she needed to do when someone else wasn't watching. Poison the food. So whoever she's taking it to could be in danger.

[Narrator] She heads up the stairs.

[Alma] Well we'll stop her.

  • Alma will cast Detect Poison when we catch up.

[Narrator] (remember, if you get within 5 ft of her, she can hear you)

[Alma] (Yup.)

[Ysabeau] We should make her eat it.

[Ysabeau] After we see who she's going to.

[Alma] I think Hold Person?

  • Alma whispers despite the spell

[Ysabeau] Now?

[Narrator] The food is poisoned, Alma.

[Alma] No, once we see where she's going...

  • Ysabeau nods,

[Alma] Oh the food IS poisoned!

  • Ysabeau smiles grimly.

[Alma] I wish I could neutralize it from here.

[Alma] That would be precious.

  • Ysabeau grins.

[Alma] We'll both try to hold her at the same time.

[Ysabeau] Fine,

  • Ysabeau agrees.

[Narrator] You follow Thea up the stairs, where she hands off the tray to a more prestigious-looking servant, and turns to go back down.

[Ysabeau] Okay, we follow that new one now.

[Alma] Oh no...

[Alma] Do you want to follow her? I'll follow the poison?

[Narrator] The stairs are narrow- if she passes you, she'll surely know you're there...

[Alma] Oh this is just... you get her, I'll get the poison!

  • Ysabeau isn't sure that's the best way but what else can she do?
  • Alma Dimension Doors up behind the servant with the poison, and follows quietly.

[Ysabeau] (you will not be invisible anymore, or silent)

[Narrator] (doesn't that put you out of the invisibility sphere?)

[Alma] (I know.)

[Narrator] OK - Alma, make a Hide and a Move Silently check.

[Alma] (I don't suppose the walls are stone, Julie?)

[Narrator] The interior walls are wooden.

[Alma] (They would be. Those walls. :|)

[Narrator] Floors are flagstone, if that helps.

[Alma] (If I /can/ I will cast Ethereal Jaunt again if it looks like the servant is going to spot me.)

  • Alma slips her shoes off -_-

[Narrator] (just make your rolls ;)

[Alma] (Oh sorry, I did them in Roll and forgot to paste. Hide 19 and MS 10)

[Narrator] The servant carrying the tray pauses for a moment, but continues on.

  • Alma continues on after without her shoes.

[Narrator] He passes along a corridor and knocks on a door. From within, a man's voice tells him to come in, so he does so.

[Alma] (Do I recognise it? And can I see in?)

[Alma] .oO( Oh this really must be the end of the journey. Alma you're going to just have to step out and announce yourself. )

[Narrator] You can see in - it's an office or study.

  • Alma scurries in through the doorway.

[Narrator] The voice was probably Leonien's - it sounded like an elderly man, anyway, and you don't know of any others in this household who get their food brought to them on silver trays.

[Narrator] The servant sets the tray down on a side-table and waits a moment for any other instructions. Leonien dismisses him.

[Narrator] Alma - the tray is on the side-table, the servant is dismissed, and Leonien is sitting at his desk, going over some papers.

[Alma] ]_]

[Alma] .oO( I could get out of this unseen? )

[Alma] (Oh the servant ahaha)

  • Alma clears her throat politely.

[Alma] Excuse me, Your Grace.

  • Leonien looks up, startled, and the servant jumps about a foot in the air.

[Leonien] What are you doing here?

[Alma] I apologise for this unexpected visit, but I would advise you not eat your meal. It has been poisoned.

[Leonien] ...

[Alma] With your leave I would like to go catch the poisoner.

[Leonien] ...Very well. But afterwards, I expect you to return and tell me what on earth is going on, Countess.

[Alma] Of course, Your Grace -_-

  • Alma takes off back down the stairs in her bare feet...

Ysabeau and Thea

[Narrator] Ysabeau, Thea is coming back down the narrow staircase towards you. What will you do?

  • Ysabeau is invisible and silent, waiting for Thea to come into range of the Zone of Silence, at which point, I will cast Hold Person on her.

[Narrator] ok, what's the save DC?

[Ysabeau] (DC 18)

[Ysabeau] (16 initiative)

  • Thea hears you sing right beside her, and jumps back, startled, then quickly tries to run down the stairs. You can try to chase her and/or physically stop her, but since she won init she has a bit of a head start.

[Ysabeau] (sec, looking up spells - can I drop ZoS any time?)

[Alma] (Yes.)

  • Ysabeau will drop her silence and immediately Dimension Door in front of Thea to block her egress.

[Ysabeau] (Waiting for Thea's action...)

[Ysabeau] (Unless I can tackle her :P)

[Narrator] (checking something, sec)

  • Thea is surprised, and grasps for something in the pocket of her apron. "Kavreshar," she murmurs. An instant later, she is gone.

[Narrator] A few moments later, Alma arrives, out of breath and shoeless.

  • Ysabeau runs back up the stairs to find Alma.

[Alma] Where is she? Did she get away?

[Ysabeau] She got away.

[Narrator] You meet on the stairs, then.

[Alma] Oh that's awful.

[Alma] I'll try to scry her.

[Ysabeau] She reached into her pocket, said "Kavreshar" and disappeared.

[Alma] Oh... oh no.

[Alma] Don't take that cloak off.

  • Ysabeau nods, looking worried.
  • Alma casts Greater Scrying on Thea

[Alma] (oh shit I can't.)

[Alma] Oh ... I can't even scry her.

[Alma] This is ...

[Alma] I...

[Ysabeau] Bad.

[Alma] You go, I need to explain things to the Duke.

  • Ysabeau nods, Dimension Doors out of the house as far as she can go.

[Alma] Could you tell Danyel to tell the Reverend Father Theron that we think Phelix is Kavreshar?

[Alma] And ... Nash. Cornelia Nash.

[Ysabeau] Tell her about Kavreshar?

[Alma] Yes, she's the Warlord.

[Alma] And the Chief Sorceror.

[Alma] Tell him too.

[Alma] Wait, no... I can scry.

[Alma] You go... I'll scry.

  • Alma turns to go get her shoes, while scrying.

[Alma] .oO( Did I bring the ribbon? )

  • Ysabeau pauses before casting her spell

[Ysabeau] So do you want me to tell those people or not?

[Alma] Yes, them. I'll scry and tell the Duke.

  • Ysabeau asks because your instructions are confusing.
  • Alma rifles around in her things and pulls out Thea's ribbon and casts GS

[Alma] .oO( I should have had her sing... )

  • Ysabeau blinks out and will get herself as fast as she can to those people, then, starting with the closest, who is probably Danyel.

[Narrator] Alma, you are hurrying back to talk to Leonien, but your scrying is unsuccessful, except for a brief impression of darkness.

[Narrator] (and we will stop there, doing your convo with Leonien as a solo I guess, since I am eating in a few minutes)

[Narrator] Ysa, you can deliver your messages to Danyel without difficulty.

Alma and Leonien

  • Leonien is waiting for you in his study.
  • Alma has slipped back into her shoes on the walk back.
  • Alma knocks politely at the doorframe -_-

[Leonien] Come in.

  • Alma enters. "Thank you, Your Grace."
  • Leonien nods, and gestures for you to take a seat. The tray is still sitting on the side table, apparently untouched.
  • Alma begins to take a seat... "Would you like me to take care of that?"

[Leonien] I would prefer to keep it for evidentiary purposes.

  • Alma nods.
  • Alma sits.

[Leonien] So, explain to me what happened just now.

[Alma] Yes...

  • Alma wonders where exactly to begin.

[Alma] A woman by the name of Thea Vermillion disappeared, at least publicly, and I was asked to scry her, to see if she was alright. I was successful, but determined that she was serving at a household in the Grand under false pretenses.

  • Leonien listens, hands folded.

[Alma] In part because of what I saw while I scried, I came to suspect that she was working with a demon. Possibly even the wyrm which destroyed the Hall of Worthies.

[Alma] I was concerned both for the household which she appeared to be plotting against, and for what might the demon's motives be in having her work here, so I arranged to investigate.

[Alma] I learned it was your residence at that point.

[Leonien] I see...

[Alma] I conducted some Divinations to determine what would be the best course of action to determine her goals, and it seemed signs pointed to ... this, rather than following her outside the household.

[Alma] And today, in particular, was the day.

  • Alma looks down at the tray.

[Leonien] The day that...?

[Alma] Today was the day that I should watch her...

[Leonien] I see.

  • Leonien says again.

[Leonien] May I ask why you didn't approach me, but instead took it upon yourself to creep through my hallways?

[Alma] Yes... a very reasonable concern. I do apologise for invading the privacy of your home, Your Grace. I weighed the possibility of learning about something important to the wyrm against the possibility that you might simply fire her or have her arrested before we could learn anything...

[Leonien] And did you learn anything?

[Alma] Well... apparently Kavreshar wanted to see you poisoned...

[Alma] And it is, indeed, Kavreshar.

[Leonien] Hm.

[Alma] Before she vanished, she reached for something, and activated it with its name.

[Alma] I attempted to scry her but I just saw a few moments of blackness and then it ended.

  • Alma looks quite frustrated at that.

[Leonien] I will have my people look into this further, certainly. I appreciate your concern for my well-being.

[Alma] You're welcome of course. If I can be of assistance in any way... to make up for this -_-

[Leonien] I will bear that in mind. You obviously have considerable knowledge about this matter, and relevant skills.

[Alma] I'm not sure why Kavreshar choses to work so indirectly... but if he truly wants to harm you, I would be concerned that your situation here at present is insufficient.

[Leonien] You believe I need to take additional security precautions.

[Alma] I do. It is responsible for the Bridge of the Vanities(, and possibly the granary fires as well.) ( in case Guy didn't mention that )

  • Leonien nods.

[Alma] Do you have any other questions, Your Grace?

[Leonien] I will take all available measures to protect myself. I assume I have your permission to share this information with my own security staff, and the city guards if necessary?

[Alma] Of course, I will be informing the Warlord, Chief Sorceror and the Church that Phelix Valtieras is confirmed as Kavreshar, and you were the target of its plotting.

  • Leonien nods.

[Leonien] If they have additional questions, may I have them contact you, then?

[Alma] Yes, certainly.

[Alma] (SM 30, just wondering if he seems credulous)

  • Leonien seems .... accustomed to having attempts made on his life.

[Alma] Well then...

[Leonien] I don't believe I have any further questions for you at this moment, Countess. Thank you for your aid in this matter.

[Alma] Certainly, Your Grace.

[Alma] I shall see myself out.

[Alma] -_-

[Leonien] I would be happy to have you over for tea on a more ... relaxed occasion.

  • Alma smiles. "I'd be honoured, Your Grace. I trust a less awkward conversation would be a pleasure :)"
  • Leonien smiles thinly.

[Leonien] Indeed. Good afternoon, Countess.

  • Alma stands and bows politely to excuse herself
  • Alma walks out the door of the study, and saves herself the embarassment of trying to find the exit by casting Word of Recall to arrive back at her entryway -_-
  • Alma lets out a groan of... well all sorts of emotions, and leans back on the door and bangs the back of her head against it a few times.


Seth and Cornelia

  • Cornelia will give you her address so you can actually (gasp) come to her house.
  • Seth will arrange to meet Nash at her home at a certain time, and then slip through the walls of her house secretly at the appointed time, making every effort not to be noticed while travelling.
  • Seth looks around to inspect the surroundings.
  • Cornelia lives in a small but, you think, quite charming older home in the Grand.

[Seth] (are there any unusual artifacts or other things in the home that catch my eye?)

  • Cornelia does not seem to have a huge abundance of personal possessions, although her sitting room has several musical instruments, including a harpsichord that takes up a fair amount of space.
  • Seth sits down.

[Cornelia] I suppose there's no point in offering you something to drink.

[Seth] No, thank you, I'm fine.

  • Cornelia nods.

[Seth] So this is where you live. Interesting.

[Cornelia] Did you think I spent all my time in the office?

  • Cornelia asks, mildly amused.

[Seth] It had occurred to me. I also wondered whether you retained more private quarters in the Palace.

[Cornelia] I have quarters there, but this has been home for many years.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Is it secure here? To talk, I mean.

[Cornelia] As much as it can be... certainly more secure than the palace.

[Seth] You have no reason to think you are being watched by Lord Grey?

[Cornelia] If I am, I could be anywhere. I keep a watchful eye for scrying sensors and employ only one servant, who has been with me for more than thirty years now.

[Seth] I see. Very well.

[Seth] So, Nash, tell me what you really think is going on, and what you plan to do about it.

[Cornelia] In which department, pray tell?

[Seth] Let's start with Kavreshar.

[Cornelia] Very well...

[Cornelia] Kavreshar is apparently an entity known as a hellwyrm, and was imprisoned in a gemstone during the reign of Emperor Adrius, then released - I presume inadvertently - during the election.

[Seth] So you believe no one intended for it to be released?

[Cornelia] The stone's theft suggests that someone must have known of its true nature - presumably whoever ordered it to be stolen. But I cannot imagine what purpose its release would serve, apart from creating chaos - therefore, my theory is that those who stole it were ignorant of its true nature, and one of them foolishly brought it into the range of the Disenchanter's Stone, thus releasing the creature.

[Seth] What about the Order of the Black Down?

[Cornelia] My primary suspect in orchestrating the theft is Maze Olivier, but I admit I have no firm proof of this.

[Seth] Hmm ... interesting.

[Cornelia] I will give the man this much credit - if he intended to steal it, it was most likely to keep it from falling into the 'wrong hands,' whatever he considered those to be.

[Seth] But you do not think his replacement, and yours, have anything to do with Kavreshar?

[Cornelia] With our failure to apprehend or slay it, you mean?

[Seth] Or with ... your continued interest in doing so? If someone in a position of high authority wanted less attention paid to Kavreshar, replacing those most interested might be one solution.

[Cornelia] Hm... an interesting theory. I have had no indication from the Emperor that it would be in my best interests to fail to find the creature.

[Seth] Perhaps not the Emperor himself ... perhaps someone else, though, another advisor or compatriot? I don't know.

[Cornelia] It's not impossible... I don't know who it would be, however.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Very well ... does Kavreshar remain relevant to your future plans, then?

[Cornelia] Indeed, it certainly does.

[Seth] How so, and what do you need of me in this regard?

  • Seth sits up, evidently interested.

[Cornelia] I believe that it could possibly be used in the process of restoring the Arch.

[Seth] Indeed, we have talked about this - so there would need to be some sort of binding ritual used to place it within the arch?

[Cornelia] Yes. My only uncertainty is whether its power is great enough to return the Arch to its former strength - certainly there's no doubt that the Arch would be strong enough to hold it, and far more securely than some foolish gem.

[Seth] In what way would the Arch need to be prepared to become such a receptacle? My understanding is that it is well and truly broken, for now.

[Cornelia] Hmm. 'Broken', perhaps - but not beyond repair. It functioned, after all, when it was fully separated into two halves, and if it were once more... inhabited, so to speak, I believe it could function again.

[Seth] Of course. Certainly it continues to offer me free passage to the Void, to converse with the Matriarch Pasith.

  • Cornelia nods.

[Seth] I do feel that before any action were to be taken, that issue would need to be resolved. If she can be ... restored? rescued? it may be incumbent on us to do it. Sister Alma de Beziers, however, tells me that her communion with the gods reveals that it is their will that she be imprisoned thusly.

[Cornelia] That... is not entirely surprising, although I wonder if her strength would be great enough for the task they seem to have in mind for her...

[Seth] I cannot say, for indeed, I do not know what that task is. It may be that her release is a prerequisite for ... whatever it is that you intend to do, in fact.

[Cornelia] I don't believe so.

[Cornelia] For a force of such evil to be safely contained within the Arch, it would need to be balanced by another entity...

[Seth] Yes ... do you know of such an entity?

[Cornelia] Perhaps the gods feel that the Matriarch is such an entity.

[Seth] Perhaps so ...

[Seth] Sister Alma also told me that the gods do not seek the destruction of the Serpent.

[Cornelia] I suspect they're not capable of its destruction.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] And you are ... indifferent to what they want, in any case, are you not?

[Cornelia] I serve a higher power.

  • Cornelia agrees.

[Seth] If ... if you succeed in this effort, what happens to the city? What would the city ... be like?

[Cornelia] It would be blessed, to have such power in its midst.

[Seth] And you ... what would be your place in the new order?

[Cornelia] I have no expectation that my place would be any different than it is now.

[Seth] So the Arch ... would have a new guardian?

[Cornelia] I believe so. I am far too old to take on such a role again.

[Seth] Is the guardian normally a child?

  • Cornelia nods.

[Cornelia] It takes a certain... malleability.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] Very well. Then ... how do we proceed?

[Cornelia] The binding is the main issue - locating the creature and containing it long enough for someone to cast the appropriate spell.

[Seth] And having someone able and willing to cast the spell.

[Cornelia] I believe that I could cast it, with a scroll. Having other casters to assist in the effort would be preferable, though.

[Seth] Do you have such a scroll? Or such allies?

[Cornelia] Yes.

[Seth] (sm - is she actually confident?)

[Cornelia] The more the better, however - up to six people can assist with the spell, if they are sufficiently skilled.

  • Cornelia has a perhaps eerily unshakeable confidence in this particular matter.

[Seth] All right ... then again, let me ask, what is my role in this, if any?

[Cornelia] Well.. you are not a spellcaster, but you do have notable skills in observation and location. Therefore, I'd suggest you could be of most assistance in locating the creature in question.

[Seth] I know that some of my colleagues have had some keen interest in the subject. I could approach them, certainly.

[Cornelia] Very well.

[Seth] I am not a great dissembler, though, and I do have some small concern that perchance the fact that I am aiming not to work with them, but with you, would somehow become evident. They do know of our connection, of course.

[Cornelia] If you make it clear that the intention is to contain the creature, do you think they would support such a goal?

[Seth] I do not know. To be honest, the Princess' connections with the Order of the Black Down remain somewhat strong, I suspect - she becomes almost ecstatic when it comes to matters of knowledge of outsiders. I do not know where her ultimate loyalties lie.

[Seth] And there are perhaps some other ... complexities.

  • Seth says, thinking of Emkathon, Laeken, the dream-realm ...

[Seth] But I think I can do some work on this front, at least.

[Cornelia] There usually are.

[Cornelia] I appreciate any aid you are able to lend, then.

[Seth] Do you have any serious concerns about interference from the Emperor?

[Cornelia] The Emperor was aware of my intentions should the creature have been located, and supported them. I see no reason to think he would change his mind simply because I am no longer Warlord.

  • Seth nods.

[Cornelia] The creature has various means of avoiding detection, as I'm sure you are aware. Besides its ability to shapechange into a reasonably human form - albeit with a lingering odour, usually described as smoke - it apparently is capable of avoiding attempts at divination.

[Cornelia] Its most recent known identity was Phelix Valtieras, a ringleader of the Levellers.

[Seth] While I do have the ability to scry an area within the city, I do not have the ability to target an individual. If I locate its home, I do not know whether I will be able to use this power, but I will bear your caveat in mind.

[Seth] This individual, Valtieras, I presume you do not know where he is?

  • Cornelia shakes her head.

[Cornelia] His known associates in the group might be a place to begin inquiries - Thea Vermillion, Rickard Liebe, Guillame Rionet, or any other of the Levellers that you may be familiar with.

[Cornelia] Aden Olivier reports that he seemed to be particularly close with Mlle. Vermillion, but denies knowing any more about him or his whereabouts.

[Seth] Rionet is a colleague of mine, and is very reliable. I can begin with him, perhaps.

[Cornelia] Very well, then.

[Seth] Do you perceive any other individuals or factions against whom I should be vigilant, or who might be aware of and/or opposed to our activities?

[Cornelia] You mentioned the Order of the Black Down. Their motives are obscure to me, but I believe it's worth being cautious around them for that very reason.

[Cornelia] I do not know if they would oppose this plan or not - it would seem that, if they venerate the Serpent, they would be in favour of its not being imprisoned once more, but I often do not understand the motivations of the devout.

[Seth] Of course.

[Seth] Very well. I believe that, as regrettable as your recent loss of position may be, it has freed us, in some ways, to act more significantly, if covertly, towards our aims. Do you not agree?

[Cornelia] I believe you're correct.

[Seth] Very well. You may expect my return as soon as I have anything of true significance to report.

[Cornelia] You are welcome here - though, I would appreciate it if you give me some slight warning before popping your head out of the wall.

[Seth] Agreed.

Seth and Alma

  • Seth comes to tea with Alma at the appointed hour.
  • Alma has set aside time to meet with Seth privately, and let the staff know that after refreshments are brought, they should leave us undisturbed unless called.

[Alma] Good afternoon, Mr. Argo.

[Seth] Thank you for agreeing to see me, Countess. There are several matters of import about which I wish to speak with you.

  • Alma stands as you are brought into the sitting room.

[Alma] Yes, it seems everything is important these days :)

  • Alma offers you tea and currant scones and indicates to Sagesse that she can go.
  • Seth takes some out of politeness.

[Alma] (Out of TASTINESS)

  • Alma has a little bell with which to ring for help ^_^

[Alma] What seems to be the /most/ important today?

[Seth] First, I wanted to consult with you further on the matter of the Matriarch Pasith. As you know, we have now established that she can be reached from any Arch (or Well) in any realm, we presume. I am shortly planning a trip into our Arch to establish firmly whether she wishes to be, err ... rescued.

  • Alma says with good humour, commiserating with you.

[Alma] I see. I'm not sure that is particularly necessary, or even wise, for that matter.

[Seth] Hmm. May I ask why not?

[Alma] I have recently Communed with Owl, and I asked whether Matriarch Pasith volunteered for her role within the Arch. I was told she did. To clarify, I asked if she volunteered for that particular element, and the response was an understandable "She chose to serve."

[Seth] What role, exactly, do you see her serving?

[Alma] Now, it may be arguable whether this applies to the average priest, but certainly for a Matriarch, let alone who is to be reborn as a Seventh, is comparable to that of a soldier.

[Alma] I'm not sure what particular purpose it serves the gods that a part of the Matriarch's spirit resides within the Arch.

[Alma] However the point has been made: Matriarch Pasith chose to serve, and is serving now.

[Alma] While I sympathise with Mr. Belden's grief, he has what very very few of us have, the hope that his time without her is limited.

[Seth] I see. For my own part, I am not sure even whether the description 'in the Arch' is accurate. Rather, it is that the Arch remains as a passageway to the Void.

[Alma] Regardless. I am no longer troubled by her presence there. The others, those fleeting shades who cannot even communicate? They trouble me, but not the Matriarch.

[Seth] Hmm. Well, I will have to think on this some more, given this information. I do owe a visit to Mr. Belden, at the very least.

[Alma] Yes, as do I. I have yet to speak with him about this.

[Alma] The latest information, that is. He is already aware that the Gods do not will her to be freed by mortal means.

  • Seth nods.

[Alma] The reason I suggest it is unwise to base your decision on speaking with her is that she is merely one aspect of the individual that was Matriarch Pasith, and for that matter, is perhaps jumbled up with the shadow of Paseth Belden, from the Tal-Antar's dream

[Alma] What fragment do you trust to make an informed decision?

[Seth] I do understand that, of course. When last we spoke you had indicated that you did wish me to speak to her on the matter, but much has happened since then.

  • Alma nods.

[Seth] Very well. The next point I wish to discuss concerns Martan Olivier.

[Alma] I'm just cautious that we trust the will of the half with "dust in her mouth and clay as her food"

  • Seth nods.

[Alma] Oh?

[Seth] He is due to be appointed shortly as the next Lord Grey, to replace his mentor Maze.

[Alma] (I don't think I knew that.)

[Seth] (nope)

[Alma] Oh...!

[Alma] That... seems tentatively like good news.

[Alma] What about this split? Has that been taken care of?

[Seth] Yes, it appears that Nash will be retiring from her position. I do not think M. Olivier will be appointed as Warlord, however.

[Alma] No, I don't imagine...

[Alma] Well... this seems like quite good news all around, unless I am uninformed in some area. Martan Olivier seems to be a good man.

[Seth] I learned this from Mlle. Chanuier, who obviously is in a position to know. She also told me much about his past, his origins, and the prophecy concerning his destiny.

[Seth] And suggested that I might speak to you on that matter also.

[Alma] ... what?

  • Alma attempts to cover up... "What prophecy?"

[Seth] (sm 27)

  • Alma is clearly caught off guard.

[Seth] Mlle Chanuier was very clear that she had told you about it. In fact, that she had told M. Orecalo as well, of which I do not approve, but be that as it may.

[Alma] Sh- y- WHAT?

[Alma] She told HIM?

[Alma] That fool fool girl.

[Seth] So she says.

[Alma] What was she thinking?

[Seth] She was very reluctant to tell me, because of my association with Nash.

[Seth] I don't know.

[Alma] Oh, well there's something to be concerned about, not ...

[Alma] ... hanging out with the Order.

[Alma] I cannot fathom what would possess her to go spreading this about, let alone to Sanadhil.

  • Alma meant more than just hanging out with the order.

[Seth] As for me, I asked her whether she had told M. Olivier about the various things we had learned, for instance, about the Mother of Mercy.

[Alma] .oO( I suppose this is my fault for not telling her that he's *fornicated* with the succubus. )

[Seth] She said yes, which upset me greatly.

[Seth] She then tried to explain that it was important that she do so, but would not tell me why it was important.

[Seth] This made me even more upset.

[Seth] And then eventually she broke down and told me.

[Seth] But she still seemed more upset about telling me, because she was afraid that Nash would kill him, than that M. Orecalo's associates would find out.

[Alma] I see... yes, I suppose without the knowledge that this is of intimate concern to him, it does seem like quite a liberty.

[Alma] Fool girl.

  • Alma shakes her head in disbelief.

[Seth] In any case, while his rise to power is not directly related to his parentage or any oddness about him, I do think it is of importance that he is now in such a position.

[Seth] I have spoken to Nash about his new station (although certainly not about the other business); she seemed unconcerned.

[Alma] Why in particular? I'm significantly more concerned with the potential outcome of the prophecy than his position as "Lord Grey"

[Seth] Oh, absolutely. But in that position, he may be in a position to gather information more effectively than we might.

[Alma] Yes, indeed. I've been meaning to suggest as much to Ysabeau.

[Alma] Oh that reminds me a few things have come to light that I need to tell you..

[Seth] Oh?

[Alma] Yes, though we can touch on that later if you prefer?

[Seth] If there is something essential.

[Alma] Well, Phelix Valterias is indeed Kavreshar, though that is of limited use now that ... I have potentially let him know I found him.

[Seth] I ... see. How did this happen?

[Alma] Well, the Duke of Corcyra asked me to scry this Thea Vermillion... and to make a long story short it seemed she was plotting to murder the Duke of Friaul at the behest of an entity (presumably Phelix) who I could not view during my scrying.

[Seth] Oh!

[Alma] When the moment happened, I made a choice... a poor one, and suggested Ysabeau attempt to apprehend her while I went to stop the Duke from eating his meal.

[Seth] She was in his home?

[Alma] Yes, disguised as a servant.

[Alma] When she fled, she touched an item in her clothing and spoke the name Kavreshar...

[Alma] When I tried to scry her again after, it was unsuccessful.

[Alma] And will likely remain so.

[Alma] She is also with child.

[Alma] Presumably ...

[Seth] I see ... Kavreshar's child?

[Seth] I suppose we cannot know.

[Alma] She seems to be in love with it.

[Alma] So my assumption was that the child was Phelix'

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] I wonder ... I learned recently from a colleague that the Duke had been rather distracted and forgetful lately.

[Seth] I wonder whether that had something to do with this recent event.

[Seth] Perhaps there was a slow-acting poison?

[Alma] That does not sound right to me... considering she seemed to be plotting to put her plan into action. Unless perhaps it's a ... compound poison of some type?

[Alma] Where only the final dose is lethal?

[Alma] If such a thing exists...

[Alma] The divinations were clear that it was that day in particular that her plan would be revealed.

[Seth] In any event, it is not an issue any longer. The Duke will have taken many precautions now to prevent a recurrence. It is his way.

[Alma] Which is good. It was not ... particularly hard to get in...

[Seth] Thank you for telling me of this. It may prove very useful. I too have many reasons to want to seek out Kavreshar.

[Alma] Though I suppose I do have gifts.

[Seth] You do indeed.

[Seth] I should go and see the Duke.

[Seth] He may require my services.

  • Alma fails to hide her embarassment over the whole matter.

[Seth] Countess, I think we have much room for further discussions on these issues.

[Seth] Perhaps I could return another time?

[Alma] I had hoped that I could determine her plot without ... such... drama.

[Alma] .oO( And to lose her! I am such a fool! )

[Alma] Yes, if you must go, we can arrange another talk.

[Seth] Thank you.

  • Seth departs.

Ysabeau and Maze

  • Maze comes down the stairs as you sit in the parlour waiting for Martan.

[Maze] Ah, Mlle. Chanuier - how fortuitous, I'd been meaning to speak with you.

  • Ysabeau notices him and stands up to curtsey, since he's a lord.

[Ysabeau] M. Olivier. My pleasure...

  • Maze smiles, and waves a hand casually, indicating you may sit down, as he does the same.
  • Ysabeau is a little subdued in Maze's presence, awww.
  • Ysabeau returns to her seat, arranging her skirts about her.

[Maze] Tsk, has that young man left you waiting here, with no refreshments or anything?

  • Ysabeau smiles a little.

[Ysabeau] If you mean Martan, he had little to do with it. A woman showed me here; said he was in a meeting.

  • Maze rings for some tea and cakes.

[Ysabeau] How- how have you been, M. Olivier?

[Maze] Oh, well enough. And yourself? How are you faring?

  • Ysabeau is a little shy, worried about how the change in Hush leadership may have affected Maze.

[Ysabeau] Well enough, thank you.

  • Maze nods.

[Maze] When is the, uh, expected date?

  • Ysabeau blushes a little and smiles.

[Ysabeau] The end of First Month.

[Ysabeau] . o O (He must think I'm a whore...)

[Maze] So soon... well, I'm sure it will be wonderful. I know Martan is very pleased.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] We're both looking forward to meeting the little one.

[Maze] As are we all.

[Ysabeau] (SM :P)

  • Maze sounds sincere in that, although a bit reserved. It could be because of his worries about the prophecies etc., or maybe just because of his own lost child, who knows?

[Ysabeau] (Basically wondering if Martan may have told him about the most recent prophecy...)

[Ysabeau] (OK, thanks)

[Ysabeau] I'm sorry that things have turned out for you as they have. I know he is too. He loves you very much...

  • Maze smiles.

[Maze] He's a good lad - I know he'll do well.

[Ysabeau] I think he will, given half the chance.

  • Maze nods.

[Ysabeau] Will you be staying in Diablotin?

[Maze] I had been meaning to have a word with you. Princess Ilphere is quite concerned for your well-being, apparently.

[Maze] Oh... I think so. I can't really imagine living anywhere else, though I might travel I suppose.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I'm glad; I probably won't be travelling much once the baby arrives. But if you will be in town you will be able to meet it.

[Ysabeau] What's this about Princess Ilphere?

  • Ysabeau wonders why she couldn't tell me herself.

[Maze] She fears for your safety, given your proximity to the Emperor. She called him "a monster," although she didn't elaborate on what she meant by that/

  • Maze gives you a searching look, as if perhaps hoping you know what Ilphere was talking about.

[Ysabeau] Oh, well that's nothing new. Not really...

  • Ysabeau gives you a searching look, wondering if you really expect me to tell you that Marl likes things rough.

[Maze] She also mentioned that he knew about Kavreshar's presence in the necklace before it was released. This too seemed to worry her greatly, although again, I don't fully understand why.

[Ysabeau] I'll have to speak with her again and find out... Oh?

[Ysabeau] I suppose she must be thinking he had something to do with its release at his coronation. Though what he would gain by freeing it, I could not say.

  • Maze nods.

[Ysabeau] Seems like a rather foolish thing for an untried Emperor to do.

[Maze] I would have to see some convincing evidence before I'd be willing to jump to that conclusion. He wasn't even Emperor yet at that precise moment...

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Maze] It's possible he knows more about the matter than he's revealed publicly, however.

[Ysabeau] It's possible. I doubt he'd chat about it openly with anyone, though.

[Maze] Perhaps not with just anyone.

[Ysabeau] Nor with me.

[Maze] You don't think so?

[Ysabeau] Certainly not. I'm one of his composers, little more. Whatever the public might believe.

  • Maze smiles.
  • Ysabeau lets him smile.

[Maze] Princess Ilphere's concerns aside, I'm confident you can handle yourself appropriately around him. Martan wouldn't get involved with a girl who didn't have a good head on her shoulders.

  • Ysabeau regards him coolly. He'll have to manipulate someone else into finding him that information.

[Maze] Cultivating a good relationship with the Emperor will be vital.

[Ysabeau] I'll do what I can in that respect, of course. But really I believe it's Martan who will have to do most of that work.

[Ysabeau] . o O (I'm pretty sure you didn't send your wife whoring to get information.)

[Maze] Of course.

[Ysabeau] M. Olivier, have you spent much of the past 20 years or so in Greywatch?

[Maze] Not as much as I'd wish. I have visited occasionally.

[Ysabeau] Ah well. I don't imagine you would have known my parents, then.

[Maze] What were their names?

[Ysabeau] Mathurin and Therese Chanuier. They were tradespeople, so you probably didn't run into one another.

[Maze] I'm afraid the names don't sound familiar, no.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] It was a long shot.

[Ysabeau] I had hoped to go visiting in Val des Fentes and maybe try to look up Temple records for their marriage certificate, in case it listed relatives.

  • Maze nods.

[Ysabeau] But I'm not sure when the opportunity will arise, now, with the baby on the way.

[Ysabeau] It's waited many years, I suppose a few more can't hurt.

[Maze] That sounds like a good starting point. Do you know your mother's name before she married?

  • Ysabeau shakes her head.

[Maze] Well, that information could be in the temple records as well.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Maze] With the teleportation circles, you could make the trip more easily, at least.

[Ysabeau] True... I don't think they're meant to be used frivolously, though.

[Maze] No, probably not. But Martan might be able to come up with a reason to visit :)

[Ysabeau] We shall see.

  • Maze nods.

[Maze] I wish you good luck in your search, then.

[Ysabeau] Thank you.

[Ysabeau] It was a pleasure speaking with you, M. Olivier.

[Maze] And if I hear anything, I'll be sure to tell you.

[Maze] And you, Mlle. Chanuier.

  • Maze looks up as Martan arrives, and stands to bid you farewell.
  • Ysabeau stands as well, respectfully as Maze heads off. Curtseys if that's the right thing to do.
  • Ysabeau will then have a nice visit with Martan. ^-^

Alma and Ysabeau

  • Ysabeau is working on stuff at her house one afternoon.
  • Alma arrives unannounced and knocks
  • Ysabeau gets up to answer the door, wondering who that could be.

[Alma] Good afternoon, Ysabeau :)

  • Ysabeau smiles with pleasure when she sees Sister Alma.

[Ysabeau] Good afternoon, Sister.

[Ysabeau] Come in, please.

  • Alma smiles, looking perhaps a little distracted.

[Alma] Thank you :)

[Ysabeau] To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?

  • Ysabeau asks as she helps you with your rain gear.
  • Alma offers you a small bottle of sweet wine.

[Ysabeau] Thank you. Would you like some, or shall I put on some tea?

[Alma] I got halfway here before I realised this is not the smartest of gifts, but it's sweet so it'll keep while you sip it daintily :)

[Alma] Either would be fine. I'll have what you do.

[Alma] There's quite a bit we need to discuss. I Communed with Owl recently, among other things.

  • Ysabeau wonders what you mean about the wine.

[Ysabeau] Sanadhil visited with Butler Belden and brought me some news that you should probably hear, too.

  • Ysabeau sighs.

[Ysabeau] Do you want to come into the kitchen while I make some tea, or sit out here?

[Alma] ... with the Lord Marshall?

[Alma] I'll join you...

[Alma] What was he doing talking with the Lord Marshall?

[Ysabeau] Looking into things, probably mostly for his own purposes, but also maybe a little bit for me.

[Alma] What did he tell you?

[Ysabeau] Butler Belden has a Legend Lore, too.

[Alma] I suppose that's no surprise.

[Ysabeau] "Your child and the child of another who passed through the Arch will give you a grandchild on the 5th of Second-month in your 52nd year. And the birth of that child will herald the death of your faith and the rebirth of another, the death of your love and the rebirth of another, the death of your child and the rebirth of another."

[Alma] Oh Ysabeau...

[Ysabeau] He's 52 next year. My baby's due the end of First Month; it could as easily arrive on the 5th of Second-month.

[Alma] When did he learn of this Legend Lore?

[Ysabeau] I already spoke with Martan... well, cried my eyes out, more like. So I'll spare you the waterworks.

[Ysabeau] I don't know, nor does M. Orecalo. Sanadhil said he didn't inquire too deeply into who cast it or when it was cast or anything like that.

[Ysabeau] But it explains why he's been so protective of Marrith.

[Ysabeau] He would have thought she's the child in the Legend Lore.

[Alma] Protective how?

[Ysabeau] That will be why he forbade her to marry her love until next year... so she couldn't have a baby in time.

[Alma] I see.

[Alma] If he knew about it for some time, I wonder why he didn't mention it when we spoke. He knew that Danyel and I were investigating all of this...

[Ysabeau] That I couldn't tell you.

[Alma] I ... have some good news, and some very bad news.

[Ysabeau] Oh, well it can hardly be worse than possibly having to choose between my husband and our baby.

[Ysabeau] Or than the idea that bringing my baby into this world might cause so much suffering...

[Alma] Well the good news is that the prophecy of Martan's Legend Lore can be prevented, and the birth of this child does not set things in stone.

[Alma] I'm not sure how it is to be done, but we can preserve the Way of the Wheel.

[Alma] That's what we need to find out next.

[Alma] How.

  • Ysabeau brings some teacups over on a tray with shaking hands.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] So what's the bad news?

[Alma] Seth told me that you told Sanadhil about Martan.

[Alma] I can't really blame you. I've been revelling in naive trust for a long time myself. But I should have told you that he'd been... fornicating with that succubus.

[Ysabeau] I kind of knew he had been anyway.

[Alma] And you told him anyway?

[Alma] Ysabeau, he's a member of the inner circle of the Order.

[Alma] I finally gave into my suspicions and asked in Communion.

[Alma] He's in the inner circle and under the sway of Earric Boyne.

[Ysabeau] I don't know anything about circles. We spoke a long time before I told him anything.

[Ysabeau] His encounter with Emkathon has altered him, somehow. It's difficult to explain.

[Alma] The cult is mostly a show, but there's a true inner circle which he has claimed to be unable to learn about.

[Alma] Which I know is a *lie*.

[Ysabeau] But even without that, he doesn't want to see anyone killed, just like you, just like me.

[Alma] How do you know that?

[Alma] How do you know what his motives are?

[Alma] Earric has power over him, and he's chosen to work with a group who are doing their best to destroy how our society works!

[Ysabeau] Because he was vulnerable when I asked him about it. He wasn't lying.

[Alma] Asked him about what?

[Ysabeau] What he's doing with the cult.

[Alma] And what did he say?

[Ysabeau] He's just trying to figure out what they are up to - which is something I also need to know.

[Ysabeau] But I'm not about to run off and join them to find out. It was a calculated risk, Alma.

[Alma] Maybe he wasn't lying, but I'm willing to bet he was chosing his words carefully, like a lawyer.

[Alma] If he's curious and thinks it's all a royal spectacle, then sure, it's true, he wants to see what they are up to. But that doesn't mean he won't help them.

[Ysabeau] It's not like that, Sister.

[Alma] How do you know?

[Ysabeau] Because I spoke to him and I believe him.

[Alma] Sanadhil is an excellent speaker, Ysabeau.

[Alma] That's why I finally couldn't accept that he was fiddling about in the cult without knowing more about the inner circle. Someone as curious, careless, and suave as he, somehow kept in the dark?

[Alma] My ass.

[Ysabeau] I know that he is good at lying, but I know he wasn't lying when he spoke to me.

[Alma] I came to him and asked him to give us information about the Order, and he said he would, in return for information to protect him should the Church move against them in charges of Heresy. He even spoke with Reverend Father Theron.

[Alma] What came of that, then?

[Alma] How can you truly know when he's not lying if he's so good at lying?

[Ysabeau] I'm not always right, Sister, I know that. But for a number of years my life depended on my being a good judge of character. I'm not completely useless at knowing when someone is lying to me.

[Alma] That doesn't mean he's not better than you are.

[Alma] There are spells, and items, which can make lying easier as well.

[Ysabeau] I know that. I can't explain it, I just know in my gut that he wasn't lying to me.

[Alma] I've had suspicions, but nothing but, for months, Ysabeau... and I finally just stopped caring.

[Alma] Well this is more important than your gut...

[Ysabeau] And Emkathon truly had a profound effect on him -

[Alma] Well la dee da.

[Alma] The gods are all useless until he touches one himself.

[Alma] Well... not a God, but ... the divine.

[Alma] Sanadhil had a chance to learn and be curious AND support this city and its people, Ysabeau.

[Alma] He chose to spurn it.

[Alma] In favour of ... sex with demons and Phedre.

[Ysabeau] I can see why you would see him that way, Sister. But I've learned that the world is not so clear-cut as that.

[Alma] Ysabeau, this is after months of hoping he was just being curious and standoffish...

[Alma] You remember the construct he awoke?

[Ysabeau] Yes, he makes very stupid decisions at times. I KNOW.

[Alma] I just don't understand how you can think he can be trusted!

  • Alma sips her tea to try to maintain composure.

[Alma] I always want to assume that people are good. That demons can't be in our midst. That others will CARE about our problems and our pains.

[Alma] And because of that... who knows what damage Sanadhil has done. Moncaire probably murdered the Chief Sorcerer. Who knows what Rouillard, Metivier and Lavernois have done?

[Alma] This is too important to leave to hunches and to hopes.

[Alma] Look at the facts. Sanadhil has lied long and hard about his involvement in the Order. He doesn't respect the Seven or even the Serpent. He's consorting with a succubus. He's curious to the point of rashness.

[Alma] He's dangerous.

[Ysabeau] Sister, what is the point of this discussion? I've already told him, I can't undo that. If you are disappointed in me, so be it. I'll count it a loss if you no longer desire to be my friend.

[Ysabeau] I understand that you are angry with me. I apologize for letting you down.

  • Alma sighs and looks contrite.

[Alma] I'm sorry. Not all of that was for you.

[Alma] I would never turn my back on you because of a mistake, Ysabeau.

[Ysabeau] Sister, you must believe. I am trying to do what everyone else is doing: find a way to prevent suffering, find a way for everything to be all right.

[Ysabeau] I don't know if that is going to be possible. But I'm trying.

[Alma] I do believe that's what you want. I do. I don't question it.

[Alma] I just... I feel like we've reached a point that we need to stop assuming everyone else has those goals.

[Alma] They don't.

[Alma] And maybe it's unfair of me to try to take away your optimism...

  • Alma 's eyes glisten, her voice trembling a little as well.

[Alma] We can't afford more mistakes. Not if we're going to find a way to make it through this.

[Ysabeau] Sister, we can't afford not to draw on the resources we have, either.

[Alma] I've come to realise that as well...

[Ysabeau] Even if those resources are distasteful.

[Alma] The Princess knows of his involvement as well.

  • Alma adds as a tangent.

[Alma] I should let you know what else I learned.

  • Alma reaches in her bag for her notebook.

[Alma] Seth told me about Martan's new position.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] I think it sounds promising.

[Alma] With all the filth going on, and the split... it makes me think that I might not spit the word "Hush" someday.

  • Ysabeau smiles slightly.

[Ysabeau] Martan is a good person. I have faith in him.

  • Alma nods and smiles.

[Ysabeau] M. Argo seems to think that his name is cursed though, and he will become corrupted by power as his namesake apparently was. :P

[Alma] I suspect Martan Kizer was easily swayed.

[Ysabeau] I can't bring myself to entertain such thoughts as M. Argo. Especially since we know what his name really is. :P

[Alma] Ah, good point :)

[Alma] Wait, you told him about the prophecy but not the background?

[Alma] I suppose it is a bit superfluous

[Ysabeau] I told him that Martan is the child of Butler and Theonee. Why does he need to know the name Theonee gave him?

[Alma] Mm, yes, I suppose. I was thinking he meant "Kizer" not Martan, but he's an Olivier anyway...

  • Alma shakes her head.

[Alma] Now as for the other details...

[Alma] I need you to promise me these new details don't go beyond us, or maybe Martan, until I've spoken with the Reverend Father. Many of these concern the Church and we really must have the opportunity to absorb them before it gets around publicly. I wanted to tell you, though, as they may affect your future.

[Alma] http://wiki.rocksfall.org/rocksfallwiki/The_private_notes_of_Countess_Alma_de_B%C3%A9ziers#Ninthmonth.2C_2248

  • Ysabeau tries to steady herself for the worst...

[Alma] The Way of the Wheel can be maintained, and the Church should work to do so. The Order is important to the outcome.

[Alma] I was surprised that we should be supporting the liberation of Emkathon... I need to find out more about why, perhaps?

[Alma] Stop me if you have questions?

[Alma] Matriarch Pasith chose to serve, as to explain why she remains in part in the Arch.

[Alma] The Church should support the restoration of the Arch and the Stars of the Shadow Plane...

[Ysabeau] With Emkathon, perhaps it's just that Kavreshar is already out doing his worst, and maybe she can counteract that somehow?

[Alma] It's possible. But the suggestion is that Kavreshar is held at bay by Emkathon's protection.

[Alma] At least that's what I understood.

[Alma] So if Emkathon is released, will that protection fade? Will she actually be able to counteract Kavreshar?

[Ysabeau] I don't know.

[Ysabeau] Or perhaps, in spite of what Laeken said, she did not willingly choose to be bound. So if our gods are good, then perhaps they don't support her enslavement.

[Alma] I highly doubt he's doing his worst, after all. He could be burning the city to its foundations.

[Alma] I'm not sure I could ask such a followup... if Laeken is immune to magic, it may extend to Communion.

[Alma] Which is interesting when you think of it...

  • Alma shakes her head and drops the metaphysics tangent.
  • Alma looks to see if she should continue.

[Ysabeau] I can understand why they would want the stars to be returned to the Shadow Plane... it would allow them to exert their influence there once more.

[Ysabeau] But I admit I am hesitant in playing such a role if it runs counter to the wishes of the inhabitants of that plane.

[Alma] It may also represent a plane in imbalance, or dysfunction.

[Alma] The Seven would never have had any influence over the Shadow Plane, as it was cut off before they ... germinated?

[Ysabeau] Well, it would allow them to begin influencing it, perhaps.

[Alma] The question is whether they care to influence it beyond the will of their followers...

[Alma] Surely if the Gods worked true wonders here on this plane, we mortals would have no role to play in this prophecy...

[Ysabeau] I'm sure I can't answer that.

[Alma] The Church need have no particular stance on waking the Tal-Antar, or repairing the Arch of Aveyrone.

  • Alma resumes...

[Alma] The latter surprises me a little. Perhaps it's not really broken, or we simply don't understand what needs to be done to fix it?

[Ysabeau] I don't know. I'm not a god.

[Ysabeau] Do you ever wish they would work wonders here a little, instead of leaving all the dirty work up to us?

[Alma] Oh do I ever.

[Alma] I was ready to give up, and let fate play out... and then I find out that there's a way to change the outcome?

[Alma] I really wish that Owl had just sent some messenger down to tell me.

[Alma] "Quit whining, ask me some questions."

[Ysabeau] I... I asked Martan if he thought we should end the pregnancy.

  • Alma nods.
  • Ysabeau bursts into tears even remembering that she did that.

[Alma] Oh Ysabeau...

  • Alma will get up to go and wrap an arm around you comfortingly.

[Alma] I know it's hard.

[Ysabeau] It would be the second time... what kind of mother am I?

  • Alma pulls her chair over to sit with you and puts her arm back around you.

[Alma] I know what you meant, I think. Why can't we have the hard questions answered for us?

[Alma] Why do we have to ask them, and feel bad about asking, because we want to do good?

[Alma] How is that fair, eh?

  • Ysabeau leans into you, sobbing and nods.

[Alma] It's alright.

[Alma] We don't need to worry about that anymore.

[Alma] There are no greater concerns than yours and Martan's in it.

[Ysabeau] I want this baby so much, we both do... but one life to save many. There's really no choice there, is there?

[Ysabeau] He said we would do no such thing because the Legend Lores could be wrong.

[Alma] I'm really not sure myself, dear.

[Alma] Even with a letter signed by the Seven and the Serpent and a few extra Gods for good measure... I'm still not sure.

  • Alma wells up a little herself.

[Ysabeau] I wish I knew the right thing to do.

  • Alma strokes Ysabeau's back.

[Alma] So do I.

[Ysabeau] My baby's birth should be a joyful event, not a cause for dread.

[Alma] We'll have another Communion, and we can work out what to ask.

[Alma] How we can separate Martan and the child from this, and still protect the Way of the Wheel.

[Alma] Maybe the answers we want will come easily, and you can put your fears to rest in time to welcome the child into the world.

  • Ysabeau tries to pull herself together.

[Ysabeau] I'm sorry. I get so emotional these days.

[Ysabeau] Did you have more to tell me?

  • Ysabeau brushes at her tears with a handkerchief.

[Alma] No need to apologise, dear. I understand completely. I can't imagine what it would be like to be *truly* at the centre of all this

[Alma] I do, if you want to continue?

  • Ysabeau nods, drawing on her reserves of strength.

[Alma] This is especially sensitive, I ...

  • Alma looks down at her notes.

[Alma] You can only tell Martan if it's directly relevant to ... all of this, somehow.

[Ysabeau] Okay...

  • Ysabeau sniffles.

[Alma] Reverend Mother Esmena has lost the favour of Bear.

[Alma] She must have renounced her faith, I suppose?

[Alma] I'm going to suggest to Reverend Father Theron that perhaps she could be offered the opportunity to retire in dignity.

[Alma] This was my "snooping" spot I guess. This is where I asked if Sanadhil was under the sway of Earric, whether he was in the inner circle, and whether the Princess was aware.

[Alma] The war against the angels... was not necessary, but was not a mistake. I'm ... still not sure what that means.

  • Ysabeau shakes her head, not knowing either.

[Alma] Earric's story, via Sanadhil, seems to be correct though, at least that demons found and corrupted some of the fleeing angels. Earric was one, once. And he might be redeemable, via Serpent or Emkathon.

[Alma] I imagine he should try Emkathon first.

  • Alma says dryly

[Ysabeau] That would be nice, if the former Angels could be redeemed.

[Alma] It's unknown as to whether Am was destroyed by Serpent's will. That, I really wanted to know.

  • Ysabeau grasps at what goodness she can.
  • Alma nods.

[Alma] I don't really... like the idea of dealing with demons. I thought about what would happen if the Church captured Rouillard.

[Alma] What do you do?

[Alma] Just... end her-it?

[Alma] No chance for redemption, just death.

[Ysabeau] Nash... wanted some demons to 'question.'

[Alma] And there's that.

[Ysabeau] She told me and Ilphere when Ilphere wanted to speak with her once.

[Alma] Is it wrong to hurt evil?

[Ysabeau] That's why I never told Ilphere about the four... in case she told Nash. Even if they're demons... I can't accept torture.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] Maybe Emkathon will make it easier.

[Ysabeau] I hope so, if she can break free and if she knows what to do.

[Alma] We just need to find someone who can cast Freedom.

[Alma] And ... I suppose I might ask to see if that's ALL we need to do.

[Alma] This next ... it's also quite sensitive, and can't go beyond us.

[Alma] Especially not to your new spy fiancée :)

[Alma] Unless it really really must be known...

[Alma] The Patriarch is not well.

[Alma] And I worried that perhaps this was more of Kavreshar's work. But it seems like it isn't.

[Alma] And then back to demons.

[Alma] This really, really confused me.

[Alma] Remember when I asked if Moncaire, Metivier and Lavernois were demons, and it said no? I assumed one, probably Metivier, was a mistake. Your source could have just assumed that the purple eyes meant a glabrezu...

[Alma] Well it seems Metivier IS a demon, but Lavernois seems not to be.

[Ysabeau] Hmm

[Alma] But I also learned that Esmena was consorting with a demon...

[Alma] So it just doesn't add up.

[Alma] I'm wondering if maybe something is interfering with my divinations.

[Ysabeau] Can a demon possess a mortal body?

[Alma] Yes, but ... hmm, how did I phrase it.

[Ysabeau] Then Lavernois might read as both.

[Alma] That's possible.

[Alma] Another is that perhaps a misdirection spell is affecting Commune.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] Which is what I was wondering about earlier. Surely such a spell wouldn't defeat the sight of the Gods. So how does it act?

[Alma] Does it deceive ME as to what response I hear?

[Ysabeau] I don't know.

  • Alma nods, musing out loud

[Alma] And here...

[Alma] The birth of your child is not even to cement the end of the Way of the Wheel.

[Alma] Apparently the Pheria is also not crucial. I shouldn't even bother to keep it out of Sanadhil's hands.

[Alma] Not like the cloak.

  • Alma purses her lips

[Alma] There was no chance I was letting him get that.

[Ysabeau] Butler's Legend Lore says my baby will herald those other events.

[Ysabeau] Once it's born, how do we stop all those deaths and rebirths from happening?

[Alma] We'll ask.

[Ysabeau] They tie into the person the Cult is looking for, you know. The One who will die and live again.

[Alma] Theonée.

[Alma] She's his love.

[Ysabeau] But is there only one, or are there two? It could be Butler's love, if his love is a person, or his child.

[Ysabeau] Both are going to die and be reborn according to that Legend Lore.

[Alma] All the more reason I think that they are one and the same, the Lady Chancellor.

[Ysabeau] But the child is probably Martan.

[Alma] Yes.

[Ysabeau] Possibly Marrith.

[Alma] It's possible.

[Ysabeau] The child will also die and live again, don't you see?

[Ysabeau] So then there are two Ones who will die and live again. Unless the love is not a person.

[Alma] Hmm.

[Alma] Could you repeat it for me? I'd like to write it down.

  • Ysabeau will do so.

[Alma] :/

[Alma] I suppose since it's about him, it may refer to Marrith.

[Alma] I suppose we can ask?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Both Marrith and Martan are his children.

[Ysabeau] Martan has the distinction of being the child of two people who passed through the Arch.

[Ysabeau] Whereas Butler had interpreted that phrase to mean his daughter and the son of someone else who passed through the Arch would produce the baby who heralds the other events.

[Alma] I don't put it past whatever force crafts these legend lore puzzles to throw in someone otherwise uninvolved in the drama, like Marrith.

[Ysabeau] As far as I know, my parents never passed through any arches.

[Ysabeau] But there's a lot I don't know about my family.

[Alma] What else is left...

[Alma] We can access the dream via Plane Shift, like we did the Ethereal Plane, though I don't know what focus we'd use, nor do I suggest we do so while the Tal-Antar is dreaming.

  • Ysabeau shrugs.

[Alma] And another surprise... it looks like souls are in danger of punishment on the Plane of Evil, like the Revelators say.

[Alma] I thought perhaps that Marlow was merely a crack-pot, or perhaps had dreamt of Father Marlov in the dream...

[Alma] It's not the will of the Seven either... perhaps it's something that comes with the Serpent.

[Alma] :|

[Ysabeau] Or with whatever the Angels and Demons did ages ago.

[Alma] How so?

[Ysabeau] Sanadhil thinks Kavreshar made a deal with Hell.

[Alma] Yes... I hadn't thought of it that way.

[Ysabeau] And that's why Kavreshar is Vengeance now, when he is meant to be something more pure - Justice.

[Alma] Hmph.

[Alma] I suppose that the Plane of Evil might derive power from being given souls?

[Ysabeau] Possibly. I wouldn't know. I haven't made a study of extraplanar creatures. We both know someone who has, though.

[Ysabeau] Which brings me to something I need to ask...

[Ysabeau] Ilphere, Dominik and M. Rionet are the only ones who don't know about Martan and our baby yet.

  • Alma nods

[Ysabeau] I was wondering if perhaps I should bring them in on it, too. After all, it can hardly be considered much of a secret anymore.

[Alma] Well, likely Ilphere knows by now.

[Ysabeau] I don't know why she would.

[Alma] Well, that speaks to my opinion of Sanadhil.

[Alma] If she's his "partner in crime", I doubt he'd bother not to tell her.

[Ysabeau] He made an oath to me on Emkathon that he wouldn't tell anyone associated with the cult.

[Alma] Mmhmm.

[Alma] I'll have a lawyer go over his phrasing :)

[Ysabeau] Well, if you think I should tell Ilphere, why don't you come with me when I do?

[Ysabeau] Then you can judge for yourself whether she already knows or not.

[Alma] I don't necessarily think you SHOULD tell her, but I don't see how it could hurt at this point.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I need to talk to her soon, anyway.

[Alma] It would probably be unseemly to have me brooding over your shoulder though :)

[Alma] I'd prefer you also not talk to Sanadhil about what I've learned until I've spoken with RF Theron and we decide how to proceed.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] Well, I need to be to the Nine Elms soon...

  • Alma stands, and leans in to give you a hug.
  • Ysabeau hugs back.

[Alma] Thank you for the tea.

[Ysabeau] You're welcome.

  • Ysabeau will see you out.

Alma and Reverend Father Theron

  • Alma will have made an appointment to see RF Theron and brought her notes.

[Alma] @_@

  • ReverendFather invites you in at the appointed time.

[Alma] Good afternoon Revered Father :)

[ReverendFather] Good day, Sister. I see you've got some ... paperwork?

[Alma] Well... notes to make sure I explain everything properly...

[Alma] Nothing to sign :)

  • ReverendFather smiles weakly.

[Alma] How have you been?

[ReverendFather] Well... Things are difficult right now. The Patriarch is failing, I'm afraid. It will probably not be longer than a few more weeks or a month before he moves on.

  • Alma nods solemnly.

[Alma] Prayer can only do so much at a certain point. :(

  • ReverendFather nods.

[ReverendFather] All we can do now is try to alleviate his suffering as much as possible.

[Alma] I suppose now you must prepare yourself for the change, as well.

[Alma] Or has there been any talk of alternatives?

[ReverendFather] Nothing serious. I am ready to take on the white robes, if that is the gods' will.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] Have you had any sign that it might be time for the Order of Rat to go next?

[ReverendFather] I am sure Reverend Father Velten would be a good leader, if given the chance. But... with everything that is going on right now, it seems unwise to take actions that might cause further disruption.

[Alma] Yes, I understand that completely... the Patriarch's illness made me suspect perhaps Kavreshar had his hand in it...

[ReverendFather] I feared that at first as well, but I have seen no sign that it is anything but a natural decline.

[Alma] I do want you to know that I would be glad to help support such a decision in the Order and in the House should it appear the right one.

  • ReverendFather nods.

[ReverendFather] I'm glad to hear that. I wonder, Sister, if you have given any thought to who might succeed me in this post.

  • ReverendFather gives you a searching look.

[Alma] No, I haven't. I have been quite busy with all of what is happening, wrapped up in this prophecy...

[Alma] I haven't truly had enough time with people in the Order to get to know them...

[ReverendFather] Perhaps not... but the voice of the Patriarch carries a great deal of weight in such decisions.

[Alma] I meet with Sister Beatrix Arguelles regularly but I suspect she would be quite put out if I suggested her for a job at her age :)

  • ReverendFather smiles.

[Alma] I will think on it, and if I can make a recommendation, I will :)

[ReverendFather] It is certainly a good deal of work - a younger person, with more energy, would fit the role best, I suspect.

[Alma] Young people don't have the same roots in the Church that time allows to grow... I suppose I wouldn't have thought of someone younger.

  • Alma makes a note to think of candidates.

[ReverendFather] Let me ask - would you refuse the position, if it was offered to you?

[Alma] W-... well I would of course be honoured. Surely it would be someone with rare commitments who would turn down such a duty.

[Alma] (SM 43 :P)

  • ReverendFather seems quite serious in his question, and concerned about the future and what it will bring.

[Alma] You're just asking hypothetically, yes?

[ReverendFather] Not entirely, no. I have been pondering this matter for some time, and I can think of few other candidates who would be as well-suited as you.

[Alma] But I haven't done anything...

[ReverendFather] Have you not?

  • ReverendFather seems surprised that you think so.

[Alma] I'm... 24...

[Alma] Just barely!

[ReverendFather] Pasith Belden was much the same age when she assumed the mantle.

[ReverendFather] You may not think you have enough experience, but you have done more than most priests of your age even imagine.

[Alma] ...

[Alma] .oO( But she restored the Arch and freed Rat? )

  • Alma works to take control of her surprise.

[ReverendFather] And another matter... I trust you. And the more people in the circle I can trust, the better I will be able to do my own job.

[Alma] I... well, if you should decide that it should be me, I would be honoured to serve you, and the Order in any capacity.

[ReverendFather] It is not purely my decision - but I will support you.

  • Alma nods.
  • Alma looks down at her note.
  • ReverendFather seems pleased with that.
  • Alma doesn't scratch it out, for now @_@

[Alma] Well, should I get into my depressing mound of information?

[ReverendFather] Certainly, please. I apologize for the digression.

[Alma] No, it's quite alright.

  • Alma will briefly recap the Shadow Plane events in case he has questions, and then the events with Thea and the Kizer household.

[ReverendFather] This is very worrying, of course.

  • Alma will then tell him about her Communions and provide a copy of the questions and answers directly so he can read them without her bias.

[Alma] If I'd been more patient, and simply had Ysabeau follow her, we might have been able to capture her...

  • ReverendFather reads them carefully.

[Alma] That she knows full well who he is? That shocks me.

[ReverendFather] You couldn't have known... it was good that you went as you did, you probably saved the Duke's life.

[Alma] I suspect that will save me a lot of embarassment... though really I could have done that by ratt-... tattling on her the first day.

[ReverendFather] If it was a fatal poison, that is... I wonder if it was analyzed. I imagine the Duke had it done.

[ReverendFather] Perhaps - but catching her in the act was far more useful, if also more risky.

[ReverendFather] Now there is good evidence against her if she is apprehended.

[Alma] Well, I imagine that Kavreshar will not likely let his child be captured...

[Alma] Though I will try to scry for her...

  • Alma mentions that she has access to the cloak @_@
  • ReverendFather nods.

[ReverendFather] That is good - any precautions you can take are prudent in this situation, since this entity has shown itself willing to murder.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] Some of the results from my Communion were quite surprising...

  • ReverendFather nods.

[Alma] I had begun to give myself up to the idea that this was all a given. I plan to work with Ysabeau to find a way that we might work to preserve the Way of the Wheel without harm coming to anyone.

[ReverendFather] I'm glad that this has restored your hope, then.

[Alma] So am I :)

[Alma] I'm not sure how to proceed with Sanadhil Orecalo, however.

[Alma] I want most strongly to confront him, but I'm not sure that would be of any good.

[ReverendFather] If his mind is being influenced by this demon, maybe he could be aided by magics to clear it?

[Alma] It's possible, yes. I thought perhaps I could offer him our help, if he is being coerced.

[Alma] But then he would know that we know.

[ReverendFather] I think avoiding antagonizing him is a good plan of action. I don't mean to say you shouldn't speak to him about it, but take caution to approach the subject carefully.

[Alma] I take it that he never game to give you information about the order after you first met? I asked him how the meeting went and he dismissed me... saying that he'd be sure to inform you if anything important came up.

  • Alma nods.

[ReverendFather] (I forget if he did or not. We would have to ask heather....)

[Alma] (k)

[Alma] Maybe I'll shout at a mirror in the house before we meet.

[ReverendFather] He may be a victim in this matter - but that doesn't mean offers of aid will necessarily be well-received by him.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] As for Reverend Mother Esmena, that seems a ... concern itself.

[ReverendFather] But if he does request aid, be assured that I will do whatever I can.

  • ReverendFather nods.

[ReverendFather] I think that matter may be best dealt with once I am... in a position of greater authority.

[Alma] I wasn't sure if I should pass that on at first.

  • Alma nods.

[ReverendFather] To confront her now would be too risky, I think.

[Alma] I thought I might offer her the opportunity to retire on her own terms...

[Alma] I suppose I decided to add that decision to your duties.

  • Alma smiles wryly.

[ReverendFather] It's better that I know. I think offering her the chance to retire is sensible, but I don't know whether she would accept it or not.

  • Alma nods.

[ReverendFather] In the meanwhile, I will at least be much more cautious about what I share with her.

[Alma] It's a shame. I wonder what happened.

[Alma] What doesn't make sense is what I learned about Lavernois...

  • ReverendFather considers.

[Alma] You might recall an earlier Communion indicated that she consorted with a demon...

  • ReverendFather nods.

[Alma] But Lavernois seems not to be, unless she's protecting herself somehow...

[ReverendFather] Could it have been referring to Earric Boyne?

[Alma] Well...

[Alma] I suppose it could have...

[Alma] You don't think that the Reverend Mother could be involved in that?

[ReverendFather] I don't know.

[ReverendFather] Perhaps there is another demon we're not aware of.

[Alma] There's six in the city, what's another?

  • ReverendFather nods ruefully.

[Alma] Five, I suppose, if Lavernois is not just hiding...

[Alma] Oh, I forgot to tell you about a Legend Lore that Ysabeau read for me...

[ReverendFather] Perhaps it's worthwhile sending someone to investigate her more closely.

[Alma] Yes, I will try scrying to see if that uncovers anything. Perhaps it will let me learn where she lives so that I can try True Seeing.

[Alma] The LL... it was the Lord Marshall's... Ms. Chanuier said that M. Orecalo spoke to him on account of his daughter and he recounted it.

[Alma] Still not a hopeful one... "Your child and the child of another who passed through the Arch will give you a grandchild on the 5th of Second-month in your 52nd year. And the birth of that child will herald the death of your faith and the rebirth of another, the death of your love and the rebirth of another, the death of your child and the rebirth of another."

[ReverendFather] That's surprisingly specific, for a Legend Lore.

[Alma] That's true...

[ReverendFather] And yet, at the same time, maddeningly vague, of course.

[Alma] Well it all fits with what we've learned...

  • ReverendFather nods.

[Alma] Perhaps the fact he is planetouched is to account for it being so precise?

  • Alma muses, uncertain.

[ReverendFather] Perhaps... I'm not sure what influence that would have.

[Alma] One would expect if that were the case that Martan's would be similarly...

[Alma] He is the... perhaps focal point of all this.

[ReverendFather] He is... or his child, perhaps?

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] The Order wanted to find Theonée, and now we're two generations removed...

  • ReverendFather nods.

[ReverendFather] I wonder if 'the death of your faith' refers to the death of the Lord Marshal's personal belief, or to the death of the faith itself...

[ReverendFather] I will hope for the former, as distressing as that would be.

[Alma] But it has a happier ending that way.

[ReverendFather] True...

[Alma] Unless, I suppose... the one to be born is not his...

  • ReverendFather nods.

[Alma] I really ought to have specialised in something other than divination.

  • Alma shakes her head.
  • ReverendFather smiles slightly at that.

[ReverendFather] Divinations are difficult, it's true - but they are like torches in the darkness.

  • Alma nods, serious again.

[Alma] I suppose without them, I would still be waiting for this all to unfold before me.

[ReverendFather] We wouldn't be forewarned, at least.

  • ReverendFather agrees.

[Alma] Also, if you would like me to look into anything, or ... do anything with regard to Emkathon and the Shadow Plane...

[Alma] I imagine I could even get M. Orecalo's help freeing Emkathon, if you think it's something I should proceed with.

[ReverendFather] I think that it would be worthwhile to go back and examine this Emkathon again - see if it has changed, for instance.

[Alma] Yes, I hope to return soon with Danyel.

  • ReverendFather nods.

[Alma] I'll tie a rope about myself so he can pull me out if I become a loon like the other two did.

[ReverendFather] That seems like a prudent precaution.

[Alma] Well then... I should let you continue your work.

[ReverendFather] As for the Shadow Plane, I will have to give that some more thought... but I believe that restoring the stars there would be a great blessing.

[Alma] (delay that.)

[Alma] It seems like the right thing to do, to set a plane back aright, but Ysabeau did question whether its inhabitants would be so pleased.

[ReverendFather] There is that...

[Alma] The Star...matter's legend lore doesn't really invite one to give it a casual try anyhow :)

[ReverendFather] No... I will give it more thought, then.

[Alma] (and now... "Well then...")

  • Alma makes sure he has copies of all her notes from recent expeditions, leaving nothing out.
  • Alma takes her leave, and makes it to her carriage before she @_@s at the RF's suggestion about his successor.

Alma and Sanadhil

  • Alma has invited Sanadhil over for tea.
  • Sanadhil will accept, and pick up some decently fresh berries from one of the markets along the way
  • Alma receives you in one of her sitting rooms, which you've likely seen before.

[Alma] Good afternoon, M. Orecalo. :)

[Sanadhil] Good afternoon to you as well, Countess

  • Sanadhil smiles pleasantly

[Alma] Have a seat. Sagesse will be with us shortly with our tea.

[Sanadhil] thank you.

  • Sanadhil will do so
  • Alma takes her seat and looks over at her notes.
  • Sanadhil assumes he probably left the berries with whoever answered the door :3

[Alma] There's so much to talk about, I'm not sure where to begin.

[Sanadhil] oh?

[Sanadhil] You've learned more since we last met then - have you had the opportunity for your commune?

[Alma] I did indeed, and I have...

  • Alma probably has never seemed as uncomfortable with you before, and that's saying something.

[Alma] I suppose there's no reason to tiptoe about it.

[Alma] Among other things, I learned that you are a member of Phedre's inner circle.

  • Sanadhil raises his eyebrows

[Alma] I am, in all honesty, unsure how to proceed with that information...

[Sanadhil] I suppose it depends on what you assume that it means.

[Alma] Well, I'm fairly certain it means you've been lying.

[Alma] For how long, I don't know.

[Alma] Why? That I don't know either.

[Alma] I thought we had an understanding at one point. You even went to speak with the Reverend Father.

  • Sanadhil listens

[Alma] (SM 30)

[Alma] (36)

[Alma] So, M. Orecalo? Why did you decide not to help me protect my faith and my society?

  • Sanadhil is covering how much you have caught him off guard pretty well, but apparently not well enough.
  • Sanadhil smiles, though, as you make your accusation

[Sanadhil] I never claimed any interest in your faith, countess, or in protecting it.

[Alma] Yes, you made that quite clear, on several occasions. But I still came to you looking for help, and even offering something tangible in return...

  • Alma is clearly relying heavily on her modest diplomatic skills.

[Alma] Is it because of Earric Boyne?

  • Sanadhil seems to be unwilling to be rushed into his answers, and waits for you to finish your interruption before he continues his response, cultivating his calm.

[Alma] (oh nm)

[Alma] (I wouldn't say the Boyne thing if it seemed like she interrupted -_-)

[Sanadhil] (I'm slow typing. thinking, so, only sorta)

[Sanadhil] (Alma is obviously much better prepared for this)

  • Alma forces herself to slow down, as she accepts just how on the defensive Sanadhil must be.
  • Sanadhil actually does seem to be regaining his composure relatively quickly.

[Sanadhil] (so does the Earric comment stand?)

[Alma] (Not yet, no.)

[Sanadhil] I think we've all realized that some kind of changes in society are at this point inevitable. Given our past history, I'm sure you won't be surprised if what we think those should be will not quite coincide. That said, I have no interest in seeing your society *destroyed*, or anyone put at risk.

[Sanadhil] I put myself in this position for exactly the reasons I explained to you initially - in order to find out what this inner circle, as you call it, is trying to achieve, so that I can understand how best to proceed.

[Sanadhil] Once that decision was made, I found myself bound by certain dangerous oaths not to reveal what I had learned

[Sanadhil] So I have had to make my own judgements in terms of what I can say, and to who, and how I can share information without crossing boundaries that will put myself and others in danger

  • Alma considers...

[Sanadhil] I certainly haven't shared all I know with them, either.

[Alma] Do you feel that you have a right to decide what changes are, or are not appropriate, for this society?

[Sanadhil] no more or less than anyone else.

[Alma] It has always seemed to me that you do your best to distance yourself from it. You disdain the Seven, you make a point to wear Cozovode garments...

[Sanadhil] They're much more comfortable.

  • Sanadhil smiles at that

[Alma] If you are a stranger here, and are content to be one, why do you get to decide what happens to my faith, and in my Empire?

[Sanadhil] Whether I want to be a stranger here is irelevant. I am here, and I have chosen to be, and there are, apparently, limitations to how accepting most people chose to be, no matter how I dress.

[Alma] Do you mean anyone in particular?

[Sanadhil] There are already natives here who disdain the seven, and if I chose to agree with them rather than you, it doesn't make it any more or less of an alien thought.

[Alma] (ignore that, I'm supposed to be patient)

  • Alma leans back in her seat, mustering her patience. She picks up a cup from the table beside her and takes a long sip.
  • Alma seems a bit conspicuous, as she does so -_-
  • Alma turns to look at you again.

[Alma] I think that whether you wish to be a stranger here is entirely relevant to whether you are overstepping your bounds. As for those who joined the Order from within the Empire, that's another issue entirely.

[Alma] Treason, betrayal, those are the words we use for insiders.

[Sanadhil] I'm not convinced its relevant, but neither do I think I will change your mind, or particularly care to try.

[Alma] It's relevant to me. But as you say, my opinion is not particularly important to you.

  • Alma looks a little disappointed to hear herself say that.

[Alma] I suspect as well that your decision not to inform me of pertinent information was made before you swore your oaths. Am I wrong?

[Sanadhil] It has not, in the past, been an enterprise particularly beneficial to either party.

[Sanadhil] I have always proceeded cautiously in these matters, consulting you and others when I thought it was useful, beneficial, or relevant

[Alma] So, even when we spoke of an arrangement, there was never truly any intention of telling us everything we hoped to know...

[Sanadhil] That's difficult for me to say at this point. It would have depended on a number of factors that are impossible to gauge at this distance

  • Alma chuckles.

[Sanadhil] Are you looking to paint me as a villain?

[Sanadhil] rather, is that how you perceive me?

  • Sanadhil asks, curious but calm

[Alma] I'm trying very hard not to, M. Orecalo. Believe me, when I found out that I'd been lied to, possibly since the very beginning... I was hurt, and angry. I'm already afraid for the future, and I saw it as a betrayal. I came to you for help, and you decided we weren't worth it... but didn't bother to let me know.

[Alma] If not for the calm and wisdom of the Reverend Father, this conversation would likely have had a much less pleasant tone.

  • Sanadhil raises his eyebrows at that

[Alma] What surprises you about that?

[Sanadhil] You have a very different perception of how things have proceeded - but again that's not surprising.

[Alma] How could I perceive differently? I asked for help, and I made arrangements for the Reverend Father to offer you the assurances you asked for. And in the interim you have chosen not to help.

[Sanadhil] I've always thought that despite the fact that we have different values, and interests in this matter, that where outr interests have overlapped we have collaborated quite well

  • Alma forces herself to consider this.

[Sanadhil] What I decided was that it placed me in too dangerous position.

[Alma] So why not tell me that?

  • Alma looks ... perhaps plaintive... "It would have been so simple!"

[Alma] What harm would even have been done if you informed me that you'd joined the Inner Circle, and could no longer supply any information?

[Sanadhil] Theoretically, fopr myself, quite a lot.

[Alma] So this oath would have prevented even that? But I already knew there was an inner circle, and that you sought to investigate it...

[Sanadhil] indeed

[Alma] So how come the Princess knows?

[Sanadhil] That fact that you know, and that I am aware of it, still puts me in a difficult position, as I know of your facility for things such as scrying, and so forth.

  • Alma asks, pointedly.

[Sanadhil] She came by that information through other sources.

[Alma] Phedre?

  • Sanadhil just smiles, somewhat tightly.

[Alma] I see.

  • Alma takes a breath.

[Sanadhil] Did you ask your gods that?

  • Sanadhil asks, curious again

[Alma] I asked whether she was aware of your involvement in the inner circle.

[Alma] And if you did not tell her, because you, and any other similar bound member cannot tell her, it suggests Phedre directly.

[Alma] I think I might have prefered a less civil conversation...

[Alma] Where I learned that the succubus made you do all of this.

[Sanadhil] (I just want you to know that I accidentally lied - I forgot that I told her of my intentions)

  • Sanadhil considers

[Sanadhil] Hmm, as for Ilphere, I did tell her of my intentions to join, as I did with you, but more specifically - She surmised what happened afterwards, I believe.

[Sanadhil] But no, M. Boyne has coerced me to do very little

  • Alma seems unconvinced.

[Sanadhil] Did you ask about him as well?

[Alma] I did.

[Alma] I learned that he has power over you.

  • Sanadhil considers that for a moment and then nods

[Sanadhil] There are a number of other things I would love to have answers about, regarding him.

[Alma] Is this something that concerns you? something with which you need help?

[Alma] I will still offer that...

[Sanadhil] It concerns me less now. I'm not certain you have the power to do anything about it, in any case - I've looked into the matter a great deal myself.

[Sanadhil] I know that when Mlle Belden used her spells to clear me of enchantments previously, it had no effect on the relationship

[Sanadhil] and the spells she used were quite potent

[Sanadhil] In any case, it isn't a coercive power, and not one that concerns me greatly at this juncture

[Alma] And you, once again, don't seem to consider that perhaps the Church, tasked with fighting such things as evil and demons, might have more expertise in the matter?

[Sanadhil] Do you? I thought you still considered yourself a hobbyist. Earric has been active at this for, what.... over three thousand years?

[Alma] That again...

[Alma] I stand by that statement.

[Alma] The Society is not tasked with protecting the Empire from evil.

[Sanadhil] Then I don't see why I should capitulate to any authority you might claim.

[Alma] I claim no authority. I am not the Church!

[Sanadhil] Who else do they have who is actively investigating these matters?

[Alma] I have had no reason to research this matter previously!

[Alma] I have only recently begun researching demons specifically.

[Alma] I am sure I have not read all of the research that has gone on during those centuries before I was born.

  • Alma reasserts her calm again.

[Alma] Regardless, you appear... unconcerned by a demon having a hold over you.

[Sanadhil] At this point, yes, I am.

[Sanadhil] The worst of it is the power to cause physical pain

[Alma] I suspect you may not know the worst of it...

[Sanadhil] It is my affair, in any case

[Sanadhil] I *have* been looking in to this matter for some time.

[Alma] It is an interesting form of pride that lets one accept the dominion of a demon but not the possibility that one cannot learn everything.

  • Alma says, perhaps more sympathetically than you might like.

[Alma] (I suppose you might read that as condescendingly :P)

  • Sanadhil just shrugs

[Alma] Well, it may not matter for much longer.

[Alma] Earric's story was at least partially truth.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Alma] And there is a possibility of redemption... whether or not he deserves it, or wants it.

  • Sanadhil just nods again

[Alma] It's probably best that he know in advance.

[Alma] Perhaps if a seed of longing for what he once had could be planted...

  • Alma seems conflicted in this.

[Sanadhil] I'm sure

  • Sanadhil says with evasive certainty
  • Alma considers what else can be said.

[Sanadhil] I can certainly speak to him more about it

[Alma] Have you spoken with Reverend Mother Esmena lately?

[Sanadhil] No...

[Alma] (SM :P)

[Sanadhil] did you learn something about her as well?

[Sanadhil] (I haven't ;p)

  • Sanadhil seems surprised by the question?

[Alma] Just a thought...

[Sanadhil] A particularly random one...

  • Alma seems a little rueful.
  • Sanadhil does seem a little suspicious now

[Sanadhil] Mmmm.

[Alma] I suppose further prying would be not only fruitless but inconsiderate.

[Alma] The offer of help still stands.

[Sanadhil] Noted, and thank you.

  • Sanadhil says diplomatically.

[Alma] You make it very hard to care, M. Orecalo.

  • Alma stands, as to see you out.

[Sanadhil] I am curious whether we have any potential for working together on any of these matters in the future.

[Alma] I'm sure we do, on at least one matter.

  • Sanadhil rises.

[Sanadhil] Perhaps we can discuss it at anotehr time, then?

[Alma] I'll know soon enough, hopefully.

  • Alma escorts you to the door.
  • Alma looks sad.

[Sanadhil] Very well. Thank you for the tea, and the enlightening conversation. I hope you have a lovely afternoon.

[Alma] You as well, M. Orecalo.

  • Sanadhil says politely, will give you a courteous nod, and depart.

Sanadhil, Seth and Laeken

  • Sanadhil will meet Seth at the society, outside the library?
  • Seth is there an awful lot these days

[Seth] Good evening, M. Orecalo.

[Sanadhil] And good evening to yourself as well

[Sanadhil] Did you have your own questions for him?

[Seth] I do, yes.

[Seth] Mostly pertaining to the relationship of my powers to anything else that has been occurring in the city.

[Seth] But of course, the location of ... her ... must remain secret.

[Sanadhil] well

[Sanadhil] I presume he knows where she is

[Sanadhil] but is shouldn't be discussed, no

[Sanadhil] shall we proceed, then?

[Seth] Yes.

  • Sanadhil nods, and will enter the library and look around for the skull

[Sanadhil] Laeken?

  • Laeken is hovering near the history section when you locate him.

[Sanadhil] We were wondering if we might be able to speak to you about some matters

[Seth] Indeed.

[Laeken] Very well. It has been some time since I've been disturbed in my studies, I suppose I can spare a few minutes.

[Seth] Have they been progressing well? Might I ask what you have been researching?

[Laeken] Catching up on missed centuries.

  • Sanadhil nods
  • Laeken will glide down to sit on a table and look decorative.

[Seth] Understandable.

  • Sanadhil will sit, then?

[Sanadhil] I hope this brief distractio will at least prove interesting, then

[Laeken] We shall see...

  • Sanadhil nods and looks to seth to begin

[Sanadhil] : (to seth) you go first, your topic seems less likly to turn him reticent

[Seth] When last we spoke, I had asked you some questions, and given you some information, about the city, and my place in it.

[Seth] If you have any insight, or have any clues as to my bond to the city, its nature and cause, I would be indebted.

[Laeken] What is the nature of your relationship with the Arch?

  • Laeken asks Seth.

[Seth] I ... do not know. I can enter it, in any realm, and have powerful visions. I can use it to transport myself to what I can only suppose is the Void.

[Seth] It is the closest thing I have to a god.

[Laeken] Hm.

[Seth] What is it to you?

  • Sanadhil listens

[Laeken] It is the thread that ties together the universes.

  • Seth nods.

[Laeken] It separates the life from the nothingness.

[Seth] What is it, in relation to the city, and in relation to the emperors, and to the Eternit Bell?

[Laeken] It is my understanding that the way your emperors were selected involved the Arch. The descriptions of the process are, for the most part, unhelpfully vague, but I believe I comprehend the essentials.

[Seth] Oh?

[Laeken] Selected candidates were passed through the Arch, and were tested in some fashion.

[Seth] Yes, although the nature of the test has always remained unclear to me.

[Laeken] Indeed, and to me as well. Perhaps unclear to anyone who was not subjected to it, and probably unclear even to many of them.

[Sanadhil] it drove many mad....

[Seth] Is the test ... given by the Arch, or by those entities trapped within it?

[Laeken] I believe it would have been the entities - as I understand it, the Arch is not sentient itself. It is a vessel for sentience.

  • Sanadhil nods to what Laeken says

[Sanadhil] . o O (I though we wera already clear on that?)

[Seth] So perhaps the nature of the test, and indeed the relationship of the arch to the city, depends on what entities, if any, are within it.

[Laeken] That is quite possible.

[Sanadhil] It is , but the arch wasn't intended to be permanently inhabited...

[Laeken] No, it was not.

  • Laeken agrees.

[Sanadhil] so I'm not sure how the entities would necessarily matter to the relationship of the arch and the city.

[Seth] And yet it is clear that, even absent entities in the Arch, and lacking its functions, it and its relationship to the city remain strong.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Laeken] The chosen candidate, in any case, would become emperor. And apparently gain some degree of ... communion, if you will, with the city.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] This is why I am curious about it. Because that is the word I would use myself, to describe what I have with the city. Communion.

[Laeken] The bell, presuming it is the same one, was also here when we arrived. The inhabitants of the city had it suspended in a tall spire.

  • Sanadhil waits to see if he has more to say about it without prompting

[Laeken] Its material is similar in certain respects to that of the Arch, although I have not analyzed them closely - it is quite impossible to chip off a piece for study.

[Seth] In the past, it would ring when the emperors were dying, and stop when they died.

[Sanadhil] did it serve any function in your time?

[Seth] I have learned from a reliable source that this is no longer true. That it was rung manually, at great effort, in order to provide the semblance of this function.

[Laeken] It was preserved as a ... trophy, I suppose. It rang spontaneously when Dorea died, at which point I realized it had some greater significance.

[Sanadhil] hmm

[Sanadhil] do you know anything about ther relaytionship between the talantar and the arch?

[Laeken] Minimal... I believe that they also shared some sort of bond or communion through it, but I cannot be sure of its nature. My informants were ... not as helpful as they could have been.

  • Sanadhil nods and doesn't think to much about that @_@

[Laeken] It was originally a tool for communication, of course.

[Sanadhil] yes

[Seth] How so?

[Laeken] Or at least, for imparting information. Perhaps 'communication' implies too much back and forth.

[Sanadhil] I believe that whatever relationship Imraen had being tal-antar explains the relationshop of her dream to the real world, for instance

[Laeken] It would be ...inhabited is as good a word as any... by a divine entity for the purposes of communicating to its followers.

[Seth] Hmm ... do you think that it is possible, somehow, that there is some entity still using it for that purpose? Perhaps not a divine entity, but something, that could relate to me?

[Laeken] In Am, as I understand it, a chosen seer or visionary would enter into the Arch, and return with messages from the divine.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] the arch had a different form there, did it not?

[Laeken] Yes - I used the term carelessly, I apologize.

  • Seth nods.

[Laeken] In any case - yes, I believe it possible that other entities could use the Arch for the purposes of communication, after a fashion.

[Sanadhil] We only have very limited knowledge of anything from Am - i was just confirming, thank you

[Laeken] However, the damage done to it would likely impede its full function.

[Laeken] Perhaps some degree of connection with its surroundings is a natural side-effect of this process, or perhaps it is whatever entity is at work attempting to communicate.

[Laeken] Or imparting some ... blessing.

[Sanadhil] do you know anything about how the Seven came to power?

[Sanadhil] is it possible that the city may actually have generated some similar power, after the length of its existence?

[Sanadhil] possibly influeces by whatever connection it had with the Emperors...

  • Sanadhil muses

[Sanadhil] There is probably sufficient energy for it here...

[Laeken] It is possible.

[Sanadhil] hmm

  • Sanadhil looks at Seth
  • Seth listens, not knowing anything about this stuff.

[Sanadhil] hmmm

[Sanadhil] and would there be any way to test the theory....

[Seth] Is it a power related to blood, or to the Arch ritual, or something else?

[Laeken] To the Arch - the precise nature of the ritual is likely not vitally important.

[Sanadhil] the power would be more invested in... peopels thoughts of what the city embodies?

[Sanadhil] the expenditures of their energies one it, over a long period of time...

[Laeken] I don't know if that is possible.

  • Sanadhil nods
  • Sanadhil eyes seth, who seems to be lost in thought

[Sanadhil] I had questions along a quite different vein....

[Laeken] Very well.

[Laeken] Since my speculations in this vein are not especially helpful, I suspect.

[Sanadhil] Thank you

  • Sanadhil will stillcast Glibness

[Sanadhil] (it is a spell that affects me, not him, so I'm hoping it will still be usefull if necessary :p)

[Sanadhil] I wanted to know about Emkathon

[Laeken] Mm. What did you want to know?

[Sanadhil] Now that we have had a longer time to consider the Pheiria

[Sanadhil] ...my aopologies if this is too personal a question, but was she the mother of your child?

[Laeken] Yes.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Did she take a mortal form?

[Laeken] She was not mortal, not in the normal sense of the word, but she was humanoid.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I suppose that is what I meant

[Sanadhil] Did she choose you specifically?

[Laeken] She made the offer. I suppose if I had refused, she might have sought out someone else.

[Sanadhil] Why did you accept?

  • Sanadhil can't really imagine anyone saying no to her though @_@

[Laeken] Her ability to influence mortals was considerable. I had no desire to refuse.

[Sanadhil] Do you mean she enchanted you some how? Or were you just interested in her power?

[Laeken] 'Enchanted' implies that she deliberately affected my judgment with magic - I don't believe that was the case. She simply... was enchanting.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I am trying to understand what she was then, to better judge what she might be able to be if she was found, or somehow freed, now.

[Sanadhil] Why did she want a child?

[Laeken] She may have had ulterior motives I was not privy to - but what I understood was that it was to preserve the blood.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] So the blood would be preserved in the lineage - did the Pheria also contain actual blood?

[Laeken] The blood in the Phereia was ...consumed in the process of gestation.

[Sanadhil] ...

[Seth] What does that mean?

  • Seth interjects.

[Laeken] She consumed it.

[Sanadhil] All of it?

[Laeken] Nearly - a small amount was left.

[Sanadhil] what was that intended for?

[Laeken] Perhaps in case of the child's death? I'm not certain.

[Sanadhil] what happened to it?

[Laeken] When I died, it remained in Katha's keeping, in the Phereia. After that, I do not know.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] what do you think she wanted, in the long run?

[Sanadhil] to see the serpent restored, I suppose...

  • Sanadhil answers his own question

[Laeken] I have speculated about that at considerable length. I believe that *she* believed that one day the Serpent would renew itself, and that in the meanwhile it was her duty to protect what she could salvage of its essence, and moreover to protect *us* from those who intended us ill.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I wonder if she is still capable of that in her imprisonment, with kavreshar free to wreak havoc on the city.

[Seth] Yes, and what do you believe now that Kavreshar is free?

[Seth] Although, for that matter, it was free before, was it not?

[Laeken] That her protection continues to extend to this place - or else it would have been destroyed already.

[Seth] Hmm. Yes.

  • Seth seems very reflective.

[Sanadhil] We don't know what its status was previous to its binding

[Sanadhil] that si the first record we have of it directly attacking the city

[Sanadhil] possibly he was trapped somewhere, or too weakened, or perhaps he was exerting his power in some other way

[Laeken] I do not know - it made no threats during my lifetime, at least none that I was aware of.

[Sanadhil] I wonder if it was not trapped by some other force

[Sanadhil] It is now a hell wyrm - I presume it was something diferent in your day?

[Laeken] I believe it was once humanoid in form, much like Emkathon was.

[Sanadhil] it can assume a humanoid form, but that is not what it is.... hmm.

[Sanadhil] do you know what form it took in Am?

[Laeken] I do not, no.

[Sanadhil] Hmm

[Sanadhil] Thank you for your time then.

  • Laeken jerks his skull in something that might have been a nod, and goes back to his reading.

Dominik and Laurine

[Laurine] (I assume you have been visiting Laurine and Eloise from time to time...)

[Dominik] (when I have time yes)

[Laurine] (*nods*)

[Laurine] (her parents are usually still not thrilled to see you, but haven't been making it impossible at least)

[Dominik] (I'd like to see them try to stop me)

[Laurine] (heh)

  • Laurine is looking almost back to her former self, and Eloise is now about 5 months old...
  • Dominik always has a smile when he has a chance to see his daughter
  • Laurine smiles to see you, but looks a bit preoccupied.

[Laurine] She's rolling over all the time now - you can't put her down on the sofa or she'll try to escape and land on her head :)

[Dominik] That's because she's as slippery and wirery as her mother... arn't you

[Dominik] Something on your mind?

[Laurine] Well... yes.

  • Laurine sits down with a sigh.

[Dominik] Lets hear it then.

[Laurine] I've received an offer of marriage.

  • Dominik swings up Eloise in the air and settls down on the sofa with her in his arms

[Dominik] From whom?

[Laurine] The Duke of Baudissin.

[Dominik] (who the hell is that?)

[Laurine] Sylvain Marcoux. He's like... fifty, his wife died a few years ago.

[Dominik] A duke...

[Dominik] but fifty?

[Laurine] Yes... it's really a much better offer than I expected I'd ever get. But...

  • Laurine nods.

[Dominik] But?

[Laurine] But I feel like I'm being sold as a brood mare. He doesn't have any children, and obviously wants some.

[Dominik] An heir for his dukedom.. I'm sure your parents are pleased as pie about the whole thing.

  • Laurine nods again.

[Laurine] He's willing to adopt Eloise and give her his name. And if we didn't have any other children, then maybe she would inherit...

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] That part is a big concession by him.

[Dominik] What do you want?

[Laurine] I know... I mean, he could have asked for me to send her out to be raised somewhere else.

  • Dominik rocks his daughter

[Laurine] He doesn't seem like a bad sort. Just sort of... dull. I wasn't expecting anything amazingly romantic, but this is all just like a business deal.

[Dominik] And it will also mean I will not be able to see my daughter.

[Laurine] Not like this, no.

  • Laurine looks at you to see how you feel about that.
  • Dominik seems none to pleased about the idea

[Laurine] He's older... I mean, he could die before she's even grown.

[Dominik] I should be happy for you and Eloise... a chance to have the life your parents mostly would have wanted for you, and she would have a father... in a way.

[Laurine] I know that I probably won't get a better offer. I should be happy too.

  • Laurine doesn't really look happy.

[Dominik] I bet he doesn't wield a falchon nearly as well as your real daddy

  • Dominik says to Eloise

[Laurine] :/

[Laurine] He's actually not in bad shape - he might do all right.

[Laurine] For an old man.

  • Dominik kisses his daughter and hands her to Laurine
  • Laurine takes her.

[Dominik] As good as an "offer" this is, I'd hate to see you do something that makes you miserable.

[Laurine] I don't know if I would be miserable. I might, but maybe it would be ... not bad.

[Dominik] You're going to do it to give Eloise a chance a good life.

[Laurine] But I don't want to make you miserable in return.

[Dominik] My misery is half of my own making... I have ways to walk out of it but I find myself unwilling to pay the price for doing so.

[Dominik] And I hate myself for it.

[Laurine] What would be the price?

[Dominik] My pride, which me of all people should be able to suffer through, and my status.

[Dominik] I've made my bed with the new Warlord. War could be coming. I have a chance to be a general, to lead men.

[Laurine] Oh... :o

  • Laurine looks... oddly longing.

[Dominik] I've got a chance to be more than my bastard blood should ever have let me become, through what I hope is my talent and hard earned skill.

[Laurine] You're fortunate.

[Dominik] I might even be able to bring you into it... if your new husband would allow.

  • Laurine looks torn.

[Laurine] He might... I don't know. He probably would want me to at least try and pop out a kid or two before putting myself in the line of fire, though :/

[Dominik] Or I can risk loosing it all and be with you.

[Laurine] ...

  • Laurine looks surprised.

[Laurine] You... I thought you didn't want... we couldn't...

  • Laurine is flustered.
  • Laurine distracts herself with the baby.

[Dominik] There is no way that we could be together if we are half-brother and sister. We both know that.

[Laurine] Even if we could fool other people, we would always know...

[Dominik] My mother confided in me that the time I was concieved, she was less than faithful to her vows... more than just with your father.

[Laurine] Oh. I wonder if he knows :p

[Dominik] There were several others... who also could have been my father. I doubt he is aware.

  • Laurine nods slowly.

[Dominik] Some who I wish had no chance... but that is not important.

[Laurine] Should I ask?

[Dominik] Lets just say if you see me smashing some nobles nose to a pulp in an allyway, you'll likely know why.

[Laurine] All right then.

[Dominik] Mother would state honestly in court, if needed that we are not related.

  • Laurine looks quite shocked at that.

[Laurine] She'd put her own reputation out like that, for us?

  • Dominik nods
  • Laurine removes Eloise's grabby hands from her hair.

[Laurine] If we weren't... related. Would you want to be with me, or would you be doing it because of Eloise, because you feel responsible?

[Dominik] It's because I want to be with you that I am so torn and why I'm telling you what is at stake.

  • Laurine nods, looking unhappy.

[Laurine] I... would rather be with you too.

[Dominik] And I do feel responsible for caring for my child.

[Laurine] But it would mean giving up so much... not just for both of us but for Eloise too.

  • Laurine bounces the baby on her knee to settle her down.

[Dominik] I had to tell you... I've made a mess of things for you, but I couldn't sit here and let you make a decision you're not happy about without giving you all the implications and possibilities.

  • Laurine nods.

[Laurine] I guess I'm glad you said something.

[Dominik] So now what do we do?

[Laurine] Are you and Fredericia, um, seriously involved? Engaged?

[Dominik] We're involved. Not engaged, but she is the Warlord.

  • Laurine nods.

[Laurine] ...Should we try to find out if we really are related? Maybe there's a spell that could check that sort of thing.

[Laurine] Or is it enough for you if the law says we're not related?

[Dominik] Magic is fickle. The law is good enough for me.

  • Laurine cracks a little smile at that.

[Dominik] I'm not going to put my fate in the hands of some spell, if that makes it clearer.

[Laurine] I understand.

[Laurine] Do you think if you ended things with her that you'd lose your position at court?

[Dominik] If I just ended things, not likely... ending things to be with you... I suspect there would be ramificiations.

  • Laurine nods, looking gloomy again.

[Dominik] Is it wrong of me to want to be a general... to fight and mean something.

[Laurine] No. It's not wrong. I'd do it too if I had the chance.

[Dominik] Lets go for it all...

  • Laurine glances over at you.

[Dominik] hear me out... it's risky but why the void not.

[Laurine] All right...

[Dominik] We play our parts... you do along with your duke, I stick with the warlord... Eloise gets her heritage, I be a general, but secretly we are together.

[Dominik] Once I have my rank it cant be taken away as easily... I can even bring you along since I know youre more than capable in a fight.

[Laurine] ...

[Laurine] So we lie to everyone.

  • Laurine doesn't sound horrified by that idea, just a bit anxious.

[Dominik] Only until we can break the deception and be together, and get everything that we both want.

[Laurine] But.. I'd be married. How could I get out of that?

[Dominik] Age may answer that problem... or convince him to raise arms with you...

[Dominik] time may provide an answer.

  • Laurine nods slowly.

[Laurine] So... someday, then. Maybe years away.

[Dominik] It's not a perfect plan but we can work out more of the details as we go.

[Dominik] I'm not happy about a timeline of years either but what other option is there?

[Laurine] I don't know...

[Laurine] But I'm willing to try it.

  • Dominik smiles
  • Laurine turns to you.

[Laurine] I didn't think you wanted me enough to risk all this. I... kind of like the idea that you would.

  • Laurine says with a cheeky smile.

[Dominik] For the past year I've been surrounded by people plotting and scheming for thier own advantage... It's about time I did the same... nobody will ever see it coming.

  • Laurine laughs.

[Laurine] Well, I'll have to wait and see once I'm settled into married life, how we can arrange things... but I'm sure we can find a way.

[Dominik] At fifty, how much sparing could he do?

[Dominik] You do need to practice your skills

[Laurine] True. I wonder if Master Halden would cover for us ;)

[Dominik] There is aways a chance.

  • Laurine sets a squirmy Eloise down on the floor to let her roll around there.
  • Dominik strokes his daughters cheek
  • Laurine holds her hand out to you, a bit shyly.
  • Dominik takes it confidently

[Laurine] ...

[Laurine] I think I'm starting to love you, Dom.

[Dominik] I'm glad... its you that is bringing this out of me.

  • Dominik moves closer to her

[Laurine] It's not what I thought it would be like. But it's ... exciting.

[Dominik] I share the same excitement

  • Laurine leans against you.
  • Dominik will lean in to kiss her
  • Laurine kisses back, nervously at first.

[Laurine] We should probably... not get carried away. Not here, anyway ;)

  • Dominik nods

[Laurine] I'll send you a message if I can get away, though. I think they'll let me start to go back to training soon.

  • Dominik nods again

[Dominik] I'll wait with ever growing impatience

[Laurine] I hope it's not *ever* growing, that would get uncomfortable :p

[Laurine] But I know how you feel.

  • Dominik chuckles
  • Laurine kisses you again before you go.

Sanadhil and Phedre

  • Sanadhil will dip into his savings to shell out for the components for Nondetection -_-
  • Sanadhil will cast it prior to going to visit the Lozada-Boyne house hold
  • Phedre welcomes you into her parlour.
  • Phedre looks as though she hasn't slept in a couple of days, perhaps.
  • Sanadhil will have brought them some nice wine, having learned that visiting custom from Alma

[Phedre] Oh, how thoughtful :)

[Sanadhil] Good afternoon...

[Sanadhil] I hope I'm not disturbing you? :o

[Phedre] No, no, not at all.

[Phedre] In fact, I'm glad you're here - I have many thoughts, and perhaps discussing them will help me to make sense of it all.

[Sanadhil] oh?

[Sanadhil] I'm glad to help, then

  • Phedre smiles.

[Sanadhil] I do have some important, if somewhat concerning news, but it isn't immediately pressing.

[Phedre] Oh? Well, we can begin with that, if you wish. Or if you don't feel it's pressing I can share some of the results of my research with you...

[Sanadhil] Hmmm

[Sanadhil] not immediately, in any case, and you've piqued my interest

  • Phedre nods.

[Phedre] Very well, then.

[Sanadhil] I'd rather see if I can lighten some of your burdens before adding to them, in any case.

  • Sanadhil smiles
  • Phedre smiles back.

[Phedre] Well, to begin with perhaps the simplest...

[Phedre] I've been considering the matter of the Phereia, and how we might be able to repair it.

  • Sanadhil listens

[Sanadhil] what have you learned?

[Phedre] The Legend Lore indicates that "blood shattered it and blood makes it whole" so I've been looking further into rituals of blood magic.

[Sanadhil] I can shed a little bit more light on its origins, perhaps, but go on.

[Phedre] Oh?

  • Sanadhil will tell her what we learned from Laeken about how it held the blood of the serpent, most of which was consumed by emkathon during the conception of her child with him

[Phedre] Only most? Hm...

[Phedre] I wonder what happened to the remainder.

[Sanadhil] I don't know - perhaps it was used over the years to strengthen the bloodline, or it has something to do with the pact that Patriarch Thaeleus broke

[Phedre] Well... something to look into further.

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] that he used it for something else, perhaps?

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] Perhaps, that could be...

[Phedre] Well, as I was saying, I think I may have found a ritual that we could attempt. Princess Ilphere had already indicated her willingness to participate in such an effort, and Theron will also assist, but I am not certain if I will be able to safely draw enough blood from the two of them.

[Sanadhil] ahh...

[Sanadhil] There is the Empress as well...

[Sanadhil] though she may not be immediately available

[Phedre] Yes... I had considered that option. Of course, she's been involved in the public meetings for some time, though she has withdrawn somewhat since becoming empress.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] would she need to be fully initiated to participate

[Sanadhil] ?

[Phedre] I think we would have to explain what was happening to her, and for that, she would need to be a member of the Covenant, yes.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] Taking the Empress's blood without her consent opens us up to a whole realm of problems.

[Sanadhil] I imagine so, yes.

[Phedre] I wonder about Theron's siblings, also... although I haven't heard any indication that they have experienced the same sorts of visions as him, perhaps with the correct exposure, they could...

[Phedre] But I'm reluctant to bring that down on them, since it seemed to go so badly for him.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] If Yanina is already experiencing this, then it seems better to use her if possible.

[Sanadhil] I'm sure she would be interested, if it could be done

  • Phedre nods.
  • Sanadhil thinks

[Phedre] My primary concern is that, by bringing her into the inner circle, we risk a great deal - she is so well-known, and attracts so much attention to everything she does.

[Sanadhil] I'm sure we coudl concoct some kind of reasonable cover story...

[Phedre] What sort of cover story?

[Sanadhil] something to distract the tabloids - juicy enough to keep them interested but still relatively mundane

  • Phedre looks intrigued.

[Sanadhil] I admit I'm taking some inspiration from her husbands affairs, but it wouldn't seem out fo character for her to be involved with someone on the side as well

[Phedre] Well, no. As in fact, she has been.

[Sanadhil] indeed

[Sanadhil] hmmm

[Phedre] Who would be the other partner? Someone who's willing to take that sort of scrutiny...

[Sanadhil] I could do it, but that brings me to the other matter

[Phedre] Very well, I'm listening.

  • Sanadhil sighs in sort of resigned frustration

[Sanadhil] Countess Alma de Baziers

[Sanadhil] She is a fellow member of the Antiquarian society, and has been involved in several of our recent expeditions - to the Shadow Plane, to recover the Pheria, and various others

  • Phedre listens.

[Sanadhil] She works closely with reverend father Theron, of Owl

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] SHe is a powerful enough priestess that she can commune directly with her God, and she has been suspicious of me for some time, apparently.

[Sanadhil] She asked Owl about my involvement with, well, the Covenant, essentially, though she doens't know much about it specifically.

[Phedre] Hm.

[Sanadhil] I think she is also suspicious about Esmena - she tried to casually inquire after her with me

[Phedre] I see... :/

[Sanadhil] She knows that Ilphere is aware of my involvement, and likely suspects she is more directly involved

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] She was courteous enough to ask me about it directly, but I don't know who else she may have spoken with about it before, or since.

[Phedre] If she has already informed the Reverend Father of all of this, then it could be too late to do much about it, I'm afraid, except try to mitigate further dangers.

[Sanadhil] I told her that I couldn't tell her anything, and she seemed to accept that for the moment.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] Are you concerned that she may target you for further divinations?

[Sanadhil] its possible. She is very adept at them, though I did take precautions before coming here

  • Phedre nods.

[Phedre] Quite prudent.

[Sanadhil] Ilphere may also be at risk of being scried..... though the countess is very proper in some way, and might not dare due to her rank.

[Phedre] The princess may be safer as well, as the palace is fairly well-protected from such things.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] I don't suppose you could get a job in the palace ;)

  • Phedre teases slightly.

[Sanadhil] hmm

[Sanadhil] Maybe if the Imperial children were older :p

[Sanadhil] hmm

[Phedre] I suppose tutoring a 3-year-old is probably not your ambition.

[Sanadhil] not particularly

[Sanadhil] Alas the position of Court Sorcerer has been filled -_-

  • Phedre nods.
  • Sanadhil says facetiously

[Sanadhil] but I don't know

[Sanadhil] Maybe something could be arranged

[Phedre] I don't know if it would be an enormous benefit, but it might help, I'm not sure.

[Phedre] There is another option, although if she's a powerful caster it also might not help too much.

[Sanadhil] oh?

[Phedre] I ... have an amulet that could provide some protection.

[Sanadhil] ahh

[Phedre] My daughter is currently the user, but perhaps it's more useful if you have it.

[Sanadhil] I would certainly appreciate it

[Phedre] however, it's possible that she could simply overcome its power.

[Sanadhil] possibly, yes, but if she has to over come both that and my own resistances, it will at least be more difficult -_-

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] For more important events, I can take my own precaustions

[Sanadhil] though it is fairly expensive -_-

[Phedre] Would it assist if I helped pay for the components?

[Sanadhil] Ahh, it would be, yes...

  • Sanadhil tries not to be too awkward @_@

[Phedre] I'll see that you're protected, as well as possible anyway.

[Sanadhil] thank you.

  • Phedre says reassuringly.

[Phedre] After all, if you are willing to take on the role of 'lover to the Empress', then you'll need it.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] Is it just a role?

  • Phedre asks, mildly curious.

[Sanadhil] Well, I haven't seen much of her lately...

  • Phedre smiles.
  • Sanadhil just smiles

[Sanadhil] Well, do you plan to talk to her, then?

[Phedre] Well, if you have cause to speak to her soon, perhaps you might raise the matter with her, delicately.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I will, shoudl I have the chance

[Phedre] Very well. As soon as she joins - if she does - then we can attempt the ritual to repair the Phereia, and ...

  • Phedre cuts off.

[Sanadhil] and?

[Phedre] And see if it works.

  • Phedre finishes.
  • Sanadhil smiles then

[Sanadhil] Yes

  • Sanadhil wonders what she really means @_@

[Phedre] I'm glad you came - it's been good to talk with someone who's less... emotional about all of this.

[Sanadhil] how do you mean?

[Phedre] Oh, some of our members have been a little overwrought of late. Butler's been... well, I've been having to spend a good deal of time on ... managing him.

[Sanadhil] ahh, I see.

[Phedre] But don't worry about that - I'll handle him.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Phedre] Would you care to stay for dinner?

[Sanadhil] That would be lovely, thank you

  • Phedre entertains you for the remainder of the evening, then.

[Sanadhil] (hehe, yeah I assume that was more than dinner @_@)

[Phedre] (yeah, it usually is ;)

[Phedre] (she's super tired, so she probably falls asleep and leaves you alone with Earric afterwards ;)

[Sanadhil] (yeep :3)

  • Sanadhil will make sure Earric knows about Alma, I suppose

[Phedre] *nods*

[Sanadhil] (both that she's been l;ooking in to me, and that she's been nlooking in to him :p)

  • Sanadhil promises to do his best to keep nosy priestesses away from him :p