Diablotin 2 session 8

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Narrator] As Fifth-month and its rains draw to a close, Diablotin's inhabitants throw open their windows to let in the warm fresh air û but never forget to lock them when the sun sets, unless they are wealthy enough to afford guards and magical wards to protect them from burglary! [Narrator] The latest editions of the broadsheets are abuzz with talk about the grand ball, the first held by Emperor Marl, in celebration of his coronation and the first month of his reign, to be held on the first day of Sixth-month. [Narrator] In particular, the Scourge and the Mercury give over nearly their entire editions this week to details of who will be in attendance with whom, what they will likely be wearing, the food that is being prepared and the music to be performed, and other such details of interest to the public, who will, for the most part, get nowhere near the event. [Narrator] Dominik, you make your way home after a day of sitting around while Ilphere reads some books. Thrilling. [Narrator] The manor is busy with servants and tradesmen, and you find your sister Zivia flouncing around excitedly.

  • Dominik offers his sister a mild greeting
  • Zivia takes your hands, unusually cheerful.

[Zivia] Isn't it exciting?

  • Dominik looks around

[Dominik] I supose I should ask what is exciting? [Zivia] Pft. Don't you ever pay attention to anything? The ball, of course! [Dominik] Oh yes, the ball... I think I heard something about it.

  • Zivia rolls her eyes at your ignorance.

[Zivia] Mother's having new clothes made for all of us, and the carriage gilded properly, and everything's going to be just perfect! [Zivia] I suppose you'll be there too, so you can watch poor cousin Ilphere in case she faints or starts talking to herself or something. [Dominik] Going all out are we. [Zivia] Of course :p

  • Dominik does not carry his sisters excitment

[Zivia] Speaking of Ilphere, do you have any dirt on her yet?

  • Zivia asks, more quietly.

[Dominik] not as much as you would be hoping for... she lives a very boring life. [Zivia] Oh, really?

  • Zivia 's eyes dance.

[Dominik] but I did note she has been having private meetings with one of professors... at least I think he is a professor [Zivia] Who? [Dominik] A Cozovode... goes by the name of Sanadhil Orecalo. [Zivia] Hm.. Maybe *that's* who she was at that meeting with!

  • Zivia says brightly.

[Dominik] what meeting? [Zivia] You know those funny Black Down people who get together and have orgies and whatnot? [Dominik] Ilphere went to one of those? [Zivia] I heard she did.

  • Dominik is obviously surprised

[Zivia] With some odd-looking fellow. [Dominik] hmm [Zivia] Maybe she doesn't have such a quiet life after all ;) [Dominik] Figured you would know about such events. [Dominik] maybe not [Dominik] Not sure how that would work into your plans [Zivia] Oh, I can't wait to tell Marl about it. I'm sure he'll be horrified :) [Zivia] Maybe you can get her to bring you next time she goes, Dom. You could probably use the... release.

  • Zivia says, running a teasing finger down your chest.
  • Dominik frowns
  • Dominik snatches his sisters hand
  • Zivia laughs.

[Dominik] Your not amusing Zivia [Dominik] I'm not like you

  • Dominik lets her go

[Zivia] Fine, be that way. [Zivia] I'm just saying, you clearly don't know everything. [Dominik] I'm surprised your not dragging Marl to one of those little events, since you believe thats what hes interested in. [Dominik] Or is there too much competion [Zivia] He can do that sort of thing in private, not on top of some stupid hill.

  • Dominik laughs

[Zivia] Only people who can't get any go to their meetings anyway ;) [Dominik] why not... its not like the emperor wont have girls throwing themselve at him. [Zivia] He can have his pick - I just want to make sure he picks the right one. Me, that is. [Dominik] I hope that works out for you. [Zivia] If it works out for me, it will work out for all of us. Even you. [Dominik] As you've made me well aware. [Dominik] hence why I am doing my part. Ever the loyal brother. [Zivia] Good. [Zivia] I have a fitting for my ballgown now. You should make sure you have something presentable to wear, even if you're escorting Ilphere. No need to shame all of us.

  • Zivia dances cheerfully away.
  • Dominik glares at her

[Narrator] Alma, your brother César has been weighing on your mind rather heavily of late. True, you don't see him that often, as when he's awake he's typically out with his friends, sometimes even overnight. [Narrator] He rarely invites them to your home, though, perhaps out of consideration for you -or embarassment? You're not certain. [Alma] .oO( Doing what?! ) [Narrator] He seems to be spending his allowance quite freely, too, purchasing new clothing and a rather flashy thoroughbred. What he will do when he inevitably runs out, you're not certain. [Narrator] He has not yet succeeded in his ambition to meet and ingratiate himself to the Emperor, but he is hopeful that the upcoming ball will afford him the opportunity to do so. You, of course, are his ticket in...

  • Alma :|

[Narrator] This morning, you are deep in study at the Society's library, perusing some old volumes of theology. You are, so far as you know, alone, except for Benalda, who is in her quarters. [Narrator] You are startled, therefore, when you catch a glimpse of someone moving behind one of the shelves. [Alma] .oO( Oh come now, if you weren't so wound up that wouldn't have frightened you... ) [Narrator] What do you do?

  • Alma will peek to see if she can see who it is, and politely make a teeny bit of noise so she doesn't scare the other person. *rustles her robes, etc*

[Narrator] You peek around the corner of the tall shelf, only to see the tail end of a dark blue or purple robe rounding the corner. [Alma] (Priestly?) [Alma] (I mean, robes can be robes, but who knows :P) [Narrator] (possibly, but they seem odd - old-fashioned, maybe, longer than usual so that they trail on the ground somewhat?) [Narrator] (you only caught a glimpse of them, though, so it's hard to tell) [Alma] (Anyone dress like that regularly?)

  • Alma will follow if she doesn't recall anyone dressing in that style...

[Narrator] There are a couple of priests of Owl in the Society, but you don't know of any who wear something like that on a regular basis. [Narrator] You follow the figure out to where it seemed to be heading, which would be the hall. [Narrator] However, when you reach the hall, it is empty.

  • Alma looks both ways curiously.
  • Biatrix steps in the door, once again startling you.

[Alma] Oh! [Biatrix] Oh, I'm sorry! [Biatrix] I stopped in at your house and they told me I might find you here. I hope I'm not disturbing you. [Alma] No, no, I was just reading :)

  • Biatrix is not wearing either blue or purple, for the record, but a gown of light green silk.

[Alma] How are you Sister? [Biatrix] Oh, I'm fine. Well as can be expected. [Alma] .oO( Owl, please calm my nerves, I'm imagining things. ) [Biatrix] And yourself?

  • Alma wonders if there's anything behind that statement, or if it's just a regular old person statement.

[Alma] I'm well... if a bit unused to César being in town. [Biatrix] Oh dear. Is he causing you any trouble? [Alma] Well... no, he barely spends any time at home. I'm just worrying about what he's up to :/ [Biatrix] Typical young man behaviour, no doubt. [Alma] Maybe... [Biatrix] I would ask my nephews, but of course they wouldn't tell me anything scandalous, if there was anything to tell. [Alma] I think he's spending his time with Patric. [Alma] :| [Biatrix] I believe so, yes. I can't say I think Patric is a splendid role-model for a young man, I'm afraid.

  • Alma almost wishes she hadn't heard Biatrix' opinion of him.

[Biatrix] But perhaps César will be a good influence on him :)

  • Alma forces a smile.

[Alma] I don't know if I should do anything... talk to him or something. [Biatrix] It's difficult to know what's best. In all likelihood, he won't tell you anything scandalous either. [Biatrix] But if you are concerned, I think you need to say *something*. [Alma] What if I'm just overreacting? I thought he wanted to be in the Academy, and now he's run here to the city and is wasting all his money. [Alma] Maybe he just needs... a vacation? [Biatrix] Perhaps.

  • Biatrix sounds doubtful.
  • Alma sighs.

[Alma] I'm not sure if he'll even listen. He talks to me like... I'm some old stick in the mud. [Biatrix] It's especially awkward since you're his sister, not an elder relative who has some force of authority behind her. [Biatrix] He will make his own mistakes, like all young men. The best thing you can do is not let them tarnish you, inasmuch as possible. [Biatrix] I'm sure he'll settle down, in time. [Alma] He wants to go to the Ball -_- [Biatrix] And why shouldn't he? I'm sure it will be a splendid occasion. And you can be there to keep an eye on him ;) [Alma] The way he talks about it I half think he'll ride into the hall with his new horse ;_;

  • Biatrix chuckles.

[Biatrix] I'm sure he has better sense than that.

  • Alma looks dubious

[Biatrix] Oh dear. [Biatrix] Well, never mind. [Alma] I'll talk to him when I invite him to the ball... [Biatrix] By the way, I'm thinking of attending one of those Revelator meetings. I'm curious, and I have some questions for them. [Alma] Let him know he's welcome in my home for as long as he needs to find his next path.

  • Biatrix nods.

[Alma] Oh? Like what?

  • Biatrix smiles enigmatically.

[Biatrix] Theological questions. I want to see how they fare.

  • Alma grins.

[Biatrix] Would you like to accompany me? [Alma] A dance of your own, then? :) [Biatrix] More amusing to me than balls and parties, at least. [Alma] I think I would. I could learn a lot :) [Biatrix] All right. I'm given to understand they meet once a week - the next time should be in a few days. I'll collect you :) [Alma] I think I'm done here, would you like a ride home? [Biatrix] Oh, my carriage is waiting. But thank you for the offer :) [Alma] No problem, Sister :) [Biatrix] Good luck, Sister.

[Narrator] Seth, you are planning to spend the afternoon with Vereth, as she has given you to understand that her husband is away on business for several days.

  • Seth will try not to be too shabby and heads over.

[Narrator] As you leave, make a spot check please. [Seth] (18) [Narrator] Okay, carry on ;) [Narrator] You head to Vereth's home in Rhenea, a stroll of perhaps twenty minutes.

  • Seth knocks at Vereth's door, or whatever.
  • Vereth greets you with a casual hello - her housekeeper is presumably nearby.
  • Seth smiles.

[Seth] Hi - am I early? [Vereth] No, no, it's fine. [Seth] Ah ... good. [Vereth] Come on in.

  • Seth enters and looks around to see whether the help might be snooping around.

[Narrator] You can hear the sound of someone in the kitchen, but no one 'snooping' as far as you can tell. [Seth] How are you? [Vereth] All right. You? [Seth] Well enough, I suppose. The family is all in chaos, what with its recent elevation in status. [Vereth] Oh, hm. I hadn't thought of that. Are the Kizers ennobling you or anything? :) [Seth] Oh, ye gods, I hope not. :) [Seth] The Argos are not well-suited to bear titles, I think. [Vereth] Maybe not... [Seth] Except perhaps Aunt Gwen.

  • Vereth looks up, curious.

[Seth] Ah, well ... if you must know, there was some discussion of making her the Captain of the Guard, or perhaps ... something else. [Vereth] What sort of 'something else'? [Seth] Uh ... have you ever heard of the Companions of Silence? [Vereth] I've heard the name, sure. [Seth] I'm not really sure what it is they do, but something to do with protecting the Imperial family. [Seth] Some kind of secret police force? [Vereth] I guess so. [Vereth] No one really knows too much about them, I don't think. [Seth] Anyway, you know, the Argos have always looked after the Kizers, and I don't expect that will change just because one of their kind has been elevated to the throne. [Vereth] No, surely not... Are you getting involved in all of this? [Seth] I don't know ... no one has made an offer I can't refuse, or anything like that... [Seth] Should I get involved?

  • Vereth shrugs.

[Vereth] That's your decision, of course. [Vereth] But I would miss you. [Seth] Oh! ... huh? [Seth] I wouldn't stop coming by, though! After all, I would need some sort of cover, and what better than architect's apprentice?

  • Vereth smiles.

[Vereth] I meant I'd miss you if you got killed ;) [Seth] Ahh ... ah yes, there is that.

  • Vereth smiles fondly at you.
  • Vereth 's housekeeper intrudes momentarily.

[Housekeeper] Excuse me, ma'am, but I'm just stepping out to the market and wondered if you wanted me to get some more of that veal shank. [Vereth] I didn't care for it, it was too tough. Hemmet's is better quality.

  • Housekeeper looks perhaps mildly put out, but nods and departs.

[Vereth] There, that will keep her busy for at least a couple of hours. Hemmet's is all the way over in the Place D'Iena, and it's always packed. [Seth] How's their veal shank?

  • Vereth shrugs.

[Vereth] Who cares?

  • Vereth pulls you down onto her lap.
  • Seth goes quite willingly!
  • Vereth keeps you entertained for a while, until there is a knock at the door!
  • Seth hoists his trousers!
  • Vereth jumps to straighten her clothes.
  • Vereth goes to answer the door.

[Narrator] At the door is a man of perhaps thirty, quite average-looking. Brown hair, not too tall or short. [Man] Excuse me, I'm looking for Seth Argo. I was told I might find him here.

  • Vereth frowns.

[Vereth] Yes, he's here. Seth?

  • Seth shevels himself and steps forward.

[Seth] I am he. [Man] My name is Loth. I'm with the Imperial Guard, and I'm charged with looking into the suspicious fires that burned several houses in Rhenea at the time of the election. [Loth] I've been given to understand that you're knowledgeable about such things... [Seth] O_o [Seth] I trust you mean that I am knowledgeable about houses, not about suspicious fires! [Loth] Oh, yes. I didn't meant to imply... [Vereth] Which houses, the ones on Bronze Street and South Rise Way?

  • Vereth interejects, businesslike.

[Loth] That's right.

  • Vereth seems a bit annoyed that you're the one being consulted as an expert.

[Seth] Who gave you my name, if I may ask, sir? [Loth] Ah... A man by the name of Altheo. [Seth] Ah ... I see.

  • Seth says, although he doesn't, not really.
  • Vereth looks puzzled.
  • Seth turns to Vereth.

[Vereth] The 19th century slate roof on Bronze Street had a cracked chimney. Easy enough to explain why it burned. [Seth] Yes ... the chimney would be a problem. [Loth] I see. [Loth] I don't suppose I could persuade you to come and look at the other two sites? [Vereth] I don't think so. Seth is quite busy at the moment. [Seth] It might be possible for me to be of assistance at some other time. [Loth] All right... You can contact me at the Grand's guard post.

  • Loth will depart.

[Vereth] What was that all about? [Seth] What do you mean? [Vereth] Well, someone's giving your name out as an expert? [Seth] I've had discussions with Altheo at the Society, that's all. [Vereth] Hm. [Seth] About architecture and things. [Seth] I just don't know why he would be giving my name to some guard. [Vereth] Very odd. M. Renaud never struck me as the sort to have much to do with the guards- unless they were arresting him. [Seth] Well, I'll ask him the next time I see him. [Vereth] You do that. Now, where were we...?

[Narrator] Ysabeau, Verity is taking you out for dinner this evening, an occasion that is usually followed by her spending the night at your place

  • Ysabeau dresses up for the occasion.
  • Ysabeau puts a lot of effort into looking awesome when they have 'dates'.
  • Verity arrives in her carriage to pick you up at the appointed time.
  • Ysabeau 's eyes are bright and face flushed with pleasure as she joins Verity in the carriage.

[Verity] You look lovely this evening.

  • Verity gives you an affectionate kiss.

[Ysabeau] Thank you - I was just about to say the same.

  • Verity smiles.
  • Ysabeau replies after kissing her back.

[Verity] We have a table reserved at the Three Bridges. [Ysabeau] (Have we eaten there before?) [Narrator] The Three Bridges is a very posh establishment on the Imperial Isle, the type of place where nobles pay extravagant amounts for tiny portions of fancy food. [Narrator] You have probably only been there once or twice before. Even Verity can't afford it every day ;) [Ysabeau] (As long as the tiny portions taste divine I shan't complain. ;) ) [Verity] How are you doing? [Ysabeau] I'm well, thanks - and you? [Verity] Very well - especially now that you're here :)

  • Ysabeau blushes prettily.

[Ysabeau] I was so happy to receive the invitation. I haven't seen you in while. You must be busy with the change in government and all. [Verity] Oh, yes. Busy enough. [Verity] Are you getting much practice in with your little ensemble? [Ysabeau] Yes, we've been working hard. It's difficult to get established, though. You know, making a name so people want to have *you* play at their balls and such.

  • Verity nods.

[Verity] I ask because there's a possibility I might be able to get you a job. You see, there's this ball coming up, I don't know if you've heard... ;)

  • Ysabeau 's eyes widen.

[Ysabeau] Really?! The *Emperor's* ball?

  • Verity smiles.

[Ysabeau] I've heard about it! I read the papers. ;) [Verity] Probably not for the main dancing, of course, I believe that's already all lined up, but maybe playing as people come in or some such thing... [Ysabeau] We were all dreaming of somehow being asked to play there but I figured we were just being too starry-eyed. [Verity] My cousin is Master of Ceremonies, I could put in a good word for you at least. Nothing is guaranteed, but... [Ysabeau] It would be such a great break for us! Just even a small appearance as long as we make a favorable impression...

  • Verity nods.

[Ysabeau] If you would you'd have four very happy musicians, I think. ;) [Verity] Everyone who's anyone will be there. If you make a good impression on someone, who knows where it could take you? :)

  • Ysabeau nods, looking dreamy.

[Ysabeau] Well, I'm getting all nervous now, which is silly because it may not even happen.

  • Verity pats your hand.
  • Ysabeau smiles at you.

[Verity] Don't be nervous. Just do your best if they call on you to audition :)

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I know. It's just such a huge and happy prospect. Sometimes I feel as if I'm not really me, that I'm just dreaming all this good fortune. Have you ever felt that way? [Verity] I suppose I have.

  • Verity shrugs.

[Verity] Adam hates these sort of things -I think one of the happiest days in his life was when Empress Idaia removed herself to Auraria, thus sparing him the need to attend even the occasional social function at the palace. [Verity] But one must put in an appearance, or people will notice. And people will talk. [Ysabeau] What would you be worried about them saying?

  • Ysabeau asks curiously.

[Verity] Oh, they always have plenty of things to say about my marriage. [Verity] Either I married beneath me, or else I was lucky to find someone so kind-hearted as to marry me despite my obvious flaws.

  • Ysabeau rolls her eyes.

[Ysabeau] People can be so ridiculous. [Verity] Well, they need something to do with their time, I suppose.

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Verity says with a slight smirk.

[Ysabeau] They just need to feel superior to someone to feel good about themselves. [Narrator] You pull up at the Three Bridges, and Verity escorts you out of the carriage. [Ysabeau] But I suspect there are plenty of unpleasant stories to tell about them, too, if one wanted to sink to that level. [Verity] Oh, of course there are. And really, gossiping about me is *so* twenty years ago ;) [Ysabeau] Nonsense. I gush about you with Muri all the time and I am modern and up-to-date.

  • Verity laughs.

[Narrator] A well-dressed host shows you to your table, which is quite private, with pretty screens sheltering you from the view of other patrons. [Narrator] The waiter brings you paper-thin slices of smoked meat, steamed artichokes with lemon butter, and some well-aged cheese, as well as a dark red wine, to begin your meal.

  • Ysabeau uses her very best manners and hopefully doesn't pick up the wrong fork for the appetizer.

[Narrator] No one could see you even if you did, fortunately ;) [Ysabeau] (Verity could!)

  • Verity likes you too much to care ;)
  • Ysabeau feels a little self-conscious regardless. ;)
  • Verity tries to put you at ease.
  • Ysabeau is too clever to let it show *that* much! But I guess Verity knows her too well... ;)
  • Verity will be subtle about it ;)
  • Ysabeau remembers not to chew with her mouth full or wolf the food down as if she doesn't know where her next meal is coming from, anyway. ;) And hopefully, to provide an interesting conversation.
  • Verity seems to enjoy your company, at any rate!
  • Verity enjoys your company later, as well ;)
  • Ysabeau thoroughly enjoys the company as well, catching Verity up on the minutiae of her existence, etc.

[Ysabeau] (I'll tell her about our quest for Muri’s friend, and such)

  • Verity listens with interest.

[Ysabeau] So we might try going there if we don't hear anything from Hettie in the next couple of weeks. [Verity] Be careful if you do. [Verity] I wouldn't want anything to happen to you. [Ysabeau] Originally I thought I'd go alone but Altheo says he doesn't think de Quercy's gang would mean any harm if we go there peaceably, and it would probably make more of an impact on Dessa to hear right from Muri's mouth than via me...

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Verity] I see... [Verity] Well, I hope it goes smoothly, then. [Ysabeau] If it looks like it's going to go south we'll abort the mission.

  • Verity smiles fondly.

[Verity] You sound like a grizzled old soldier ;)

  • Ysabeau grins.

[Ysabeau] I guess the fencing lessons with Merrow are rubbing off on me.

  • Verity chuckles.

[Ysabeau] Muri has started learning how to fight, too. [Ysabeau] No one will *ever* be able to take advantage of her if I can help it. [Verity] That's probably prudent.

  • Verity nods.

[Verity] I hope that's so.

  • Verity will take you home after dinner, then, and you have a lovely evening together.

[Narrator] Guillame, in response to your request, Fern has given you the name of one of the more elderly members of your race, a man named Aure. He is close to eighty years old, and so was nearly thirty when he left the sewers. [Narrator] She tells you that he is still sharp-witted despite his age, though he has a tendency to ramble somewhat. In addition to being a repository of history and folklore, he is still a practitioner of the old faith.

  • Guillame is excited to meet him
  • Aure lives in the Shambles, toward the outskirts of the city. It can be a dangerous neighbourhood, and Fern cautions you to wear some of your older clothing, to travel armed, and to return well before nightfall.
  • Guillame takes ferns advice, and wears informal cheap town clothes.
  • Aure 's home is a well-maintained thatched hut with a large ash tree overhanging it and a compact but abundant garden.
  • Guillame knocks on the door
  • Aure opens the door. He is thin, only slightly stooped from age. His hair, what is left of it, is white and wavy.

[Aure] What is it? [Guillame] Good afternoon - my name's Guillame Rionet. Fern told me you'd be willing to talk to me? [Aure] Oh yes, you're the young man Fern told me about. [Aure] Guillame. Surfacey sort of name, but I suppose that's not your fault. [Aure] So, you wanted to talk to me. [Aure] We won't get many days as pleasant as this this year, we may as well sit outside and enjoy it.

  • Aure leads you around the back of his cottage, where there is a broad, flattish stone under the shade of the tree. He sits on it, motions for you to do the same.
  • Guillame gladly sits

[Aure] So, what was it you wanted to talk about? [Guillame] I'm very interested in what life for our people was like before we moved into the surface city. [Aure] That's a big question. I could be here all week trying to explain, and still you wouldn't know the half of it. [Guillame] Well I'm sure! So, a place to start - ok, what do you think changed the most in your life moving from below to the surface? [Aure] Seeing the sky all the time. [Aure] It unsettles a body. Too much open space. [Guillame] So you felt more comfortable underground? [Aure] Of course. We all did.

  • Guillame smiles

[Aure] It's not as if we wanted to leave. [Guillame] Do you know why we were forced to? It's never been clear to me. [Aure] Iana - our queen at the time - had a seeing eye, all clouded and white. She said it was the right path for our people to take. That bastard du Champe and his ilk duped her into it, promising us freedom and prosperity and a whole bunch of other things they couldn't deliver.

  • Guillame nods

[Aure] I was just a junior priest, but those who outranked me knew that Iana and her family would bring an end to our people, our way of life. [Guillame] How did they know?

  • Aure shrugs.

[Aure] Visions, messages...

  • Aure says vaguely.

[Guillame] So then the city was sealed off?

  • Aure nods.

[Aure] At Iana's bidding, I wager. The overlanders wouldn't have known enough close the right tunnels. She just wanted to stop us going back when things got worse. [Guillame] I guess she succeeded, so far?

  • Aure shrugs.

[Aure] It's possible to get there, if you know the way. It just requires a birthright that was taken from us. If that's not a sign we took the wrong path, I don't know what is... [Guillame] What birthright? And how was it taken? [Aure] The gift of shape-changing, of course. Don't you even know that much? What have they been teaching you, surface-boy?\ [Guillame] They've been teaching me that all that was fairy stories, though I always hoped maybe it wasn't...

  • Aure waves his hand.

[Aure] It wasn't fairy stories, it was the way we survived. [Aure] How else could we have lived unnoticed for so long?

  • Guillame nods

[Guillame] How could something like that be taken from us? [Aure] How do the gods do their work?

  • Aure spits.
  • Guillame looks crestfallen

[Aure] Any god that serves his followers so isn't a god I want to worship. [Guillame] So... back to life beforehand... what do you miss the most about the city below? [Aure] The food. The warmth. Knowing where we stood, and having my people around me. [Guillame] Can you describe the city for me? [Aure] It would be better to show you. [Guillame] Can you do so? [Aure] Maybe. [Aure] If you're willing to learn. [Guillame] I'm eager to learn, I'd say. [Aure] All right, then. [Aure] I'll see what I can do. [Guillame] Thank you. [Guillame] May I ask you some more questions? [Aure] We'll have plenty of time to talk. You ought to be getting home before it gets too dark. Time for one more, then off with you. [Guillame] Ok... is there any way in which your life is better now than before we left the undercity?

  • Aure considers that for a moment.

[Aure] I do like having a tree and a garden.

  • Guillame grins

[Guillame] It's a lovely garden, for certain.

  • Aure nods.

[Guillame] Thanks for your time - I'll look forward to seeing you again? [Aure] I'll be here.

  • Aure bids you farewell.
  • Guillame bows before leaving
  • Guillame goes back to the society to make notes!

  • Sanadhil will try and catch Illphere earlier the day of the meting or possibly the day before

[Ilphere] Oh, hello...!

  • Ilphere looks up, vaguely distracted, from the book she was reading.

[Sanadhil] Goodmornig Ilphère [Sanadhil] I was wondering if you'd had any more thoughts about this evening?

  • Sanadhil asks quietly

[Ilphere] Well... Not exactly... :( [Ilphere] If you mean about... *lowers voice further* Dominik, I mean...!

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Me either - nothing I'm happy with, in any case [Ilphere] Have you..? [Ilphere] Oh dear... [Sanadhil] If we were to meet here earier however, I could charm him and just talk him in to giving us some time... [Sanadhil] it might not work out well in the long run however [Ilphere] No... if he realizes what is happening it will be so very bad...! [Sanadhil] that is the problem with these things

  • Ilphere nods, looking nervous...

[Sanadhil] Have you talked to him at all/ [Ilphere] There hasn't really been an opportunity. [Ilphere] I mean, I have mentioned that we have plans for research projects... [Ilphere] But not this specific evening... [Sanadhil] *nod* [Sanadhil] do you think it could help? [Ilphere] To talk to him...? [Sanadhil] yes [Ilphere] Well I don't think there is much choice... [Sanadhil] indeed [Ilphere] Well... he can't be far... he never is...! [Sanadhil] I could go with you if you think that would help? [Ilphere] Oh yes, please...! [Ilphere] It certainly couldn't do any harm. [Sanadhil] hopefully

  • Sanadhil smiles
  • Ilphere pokes her head around the corner to see if Dominik is there...
  • Dominik is lounging, reading

[Ilphere] Dominik...? [Dominik] leaving already?

  • Dominik sets his book down

[Ilphere] No not just yet... Can I talk to you for a moment...? [Dominik] Fine

  • Sanadhil will follow out with her

[Dominik] Oh, Sanadhil is with you. [Ilphere] You remember M. Orecalo, of course...!

  • Dominik nods to him

[Ilphere] Yes, we were just discussing our future research...

  • Sanadhil nods to Dominik

[Dominik] thats good. [Dominik] Not sure why you need to let me know. [Ilphere] Well, we need to do some more... discreet observations and interviews.

  • Ilphere looks to Sanadhil for help.

[Sanadhil] Yes, there is a private event [Sanadhil] this evening [Dominik] Like the last one you went to? [Ilphere] Not exactly [Ilphere] ... [Sanadhil] It's part of the same project

  • Ilphere nods her agreement.

[Sanadhil] It requires a similar level of privacy [Dominik] I'm sure it does [Ilphere] So we aren't sure how we should arrange things, with, well... yourself...?

  • Ilphere frets with her skirt.

[Dominik] You worried about me? [Dominik] Just so I have this straight... [Dominik] the two of you want to go off to a private "event", with people you wont tell me about on a secret project. Is that about right? [Ilphere] It's research...! :( [Dominik] I know your dedicated to your research, but I'm surprised about you M Orecalo [Sanadhil] How so? [Dominik] After how you reacted to Ysabeau, all indignent... its kinda funny. [Ilphere] What are you talking about...?

  • Ilphere blinks, confused.
  • Sanadhil frowns slightly

[Dominik] You missed that, Ilphere... oh Ysabeau was trying to disuade me about M Orecalo because I thought, at the time, you were going off and doing inappropraite things together. [Dominik] We ran into him and Yse... was not exactly appropriate in her comments.

  • Ilphere looks shocked...!

[Ilphere] Oh ..! [Dominik] It did make me think that I had everything all wrong, though. [Dominik] but I've learned that I am wrong about a lot of things lately. [Dominik] Not something that makes me happy, but Im learning. [Sanadhil] what *are* you talking about? [Dominik] I know where you went last time, so I am mearly making the conclusion that you are headed back to another one. [Sanadhil] (SM)

  • Sanadhil regards Dominik critically, considering
  • Ilphere cocks her head slightly to one side, narrowing her eyes and frowning slightly.

[Ilphere] (SM also fWIW)

  • Ilphere finds Dominik inscrutable!

[Sanadhil] (14) [Dominik] (I believe what I am saying) [Narrator] Ilphere, you can make an Int check. [Sanadhil] You seem very certain, but I'm not convince you do have the right idea about our project [Dominik] How could I have the right idea when you've told me nothing about it? [Dominik] You don't trust me [Dominik] so what idea am I supposed to take? [Dominik] Since I don't know, Ill make the obvious conclusion, since your not telling me anything else. [Ilphere] I told you already there is nothing improper going on between me and M. Orecalo! [Dominik] He's just accompanying you to the event, thats fine. There are plenty of other people to be improper with. [Dominik] To be honest I don't really care that you are doing that sort of thing.

  • Sanadhil sighs

[Ilphere] Why should I trust you...? Apparently you have been spying on us anyway...!

  • Ilphere says hotly.

[Sanadhil] Now, now...

  • Sanadhil says calmingly

[Dominik] I never spied on you [Sanadhil] Clearly not. [Sanadhil] However I am curious as to the source of your information. [Dominik] In fact, I never even asked about what you were up to. [Dominik] It's not like you're the only ones there, or that you weren't recoginzied. [Sanadhil] I hope you can at least appreciate that in attempting to research such a group, the utmost discretion possible must be maintained. [Dominik] I warned you Ilphere that my sister was looking to discredit you. [Dominik] somehow she found out about your litte foray. [Ilphere] Well then she must have friends there herself...! [Ilphere] ... [Dominik] more than likely... it is something her friends would be into.

  • Ilphere 's eyes widen

[Ilphere] Or her siblings!!

  • Ilphere says in an accusatory manner.

[Ilphere] Theron!!

  • Sanadhil is a little lost in the family politics
  • Dominik laughs

[Sanadhil] Who? [Dominik] at least I know her source now. [Ilphere] Theron was there, I remember. [Sanadhil] ahh [Ilphere] Well if Marl doesn't want a 'cultist' for a brother in law [Dominik] that would be my pissant powerhunger brother [Ilphere] ... [Ilphere] I mean to say, I am sure he doesn't want a cultist for an in-law either way so she had better keep her vile mouth shut...!

  • Ilphere is quite angry.

[Dominik] no need to get so upset... I'm not your enemy. [Ilphere] She is! [Sanadhil] Hmm... [Sanadhil] well. [Dominik] just out of curiosity, what are you researching anyway? How is a sex cult associated with extra plannar stuff? [Ilphere] My research deals with extraplanar influences on our world's cultural and religious beliefs. [Sanadhil] that's the question, in fact. [Ilphere] Precisely. [Sanadhil] We have suspicions that the cult leaders are using their members for some ulterior motive....

  • Ilphere nods.

[Ilphere] Something more than personal power and physical gratification...! [Sanadhil] What better way to attract the bored and powerful than their particular format? [Dominik] so this really is more than just an excuse for a bunch of people to go at it? [Ilphere] We believe it may be...

  • Sanadhil nods

[Dominik] so where do we go from here? [Ilphere] Since you seem to know everything now... Perhaps you could come at least as far as the down...? I'm not sure if we can just bring along another person...? Or do you have another suggestion...?

  • Ilphere looks to Sanadhil.

[Sanadhil] It would be better to have someone on the outside... though I believe that any potential danger would not be physical in nature. [Dominik] Are there people who just watch? [Ilphere] Well I personally do not plan to 'go at it'...! [Sanadhil] indeed, however they use enchantments to encourage participation [Dominik] can you offer some protectoin from them [Dominik] ? [Sanadhil] it isn't my specialty, no. [Sanadhil] You could purchase scrolls that might help, though

  • Dominik looks at Ilphere
  • Ilphere shakes her head...

[Dominik] I'm not exactly a walking bank [Sanadhil] No [Ilphere] oh, the money... [Ilphere] I don't know how much they would cost...

  • Ilphere thinks.

[Sanadhil] it depends [Sanadhil] the more efficient, the more expensive, of course [Dominik] it doesnt sound like its an option based on our current amount of funds [Dominik] you should see if you can find a patron for your research. [Sanadhil] An interestig proposal, though I have no idea how we woudl find someone suitable

  • Dominik shrugs

[Dominik] I'll come and watch... make sure your not being ensorcelled or anything... stay in the wings kinda thing. [Ilphere] All right... [Sanadhil] . o ( as if you could tell )

  • Ilphere nibbles on her lower lip a bit...

[Sanadhil] though the leaders will likley want to greet you personally at some point

  • Sanadhil puts a sight emphasis on 'personally'

[Sanadhil] I still think ti would be better to have you observe from a safer distance. [Sanadhil] If you are going to effectively watch our, or rather your coursin's back, you would probably do a beter job by not putting yourself at risk. [Dominik] So how does that work? [Sanadhil] Meet us somewhere arranged afterwards.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] Well, isn't it true that you can see the Down from your house...?

  • Ilphere asks Sanadhil.

[Sanadhil] ....yes, that's true. [Ilphere] Perhaps he could watch from the roof? [Ilphere] Or can you think of somewhere better...? [Sanadhil] I've never been on my roof - I suppose it is safe enough. [Sanadhil] . o ( and also, not *in* my house ) [Dominik] hmmm

  • Dominik will pick up his book and start to read again
  • Sanadhil glances at Ilphère

[Ilphere] Alright then...! [Dominik] I hope you two learn what you are looking for. [Sanadhil] Thank you, Mr. Rademacher.

[Narrator] Okay, on to Ilphere and san (and Dom) [Narrator] Did you eventually decide to meet up at San's house, or what was the plan? [Sanadhil] (And I don't think we officially decided what Dom is doing but meeting up at my place seems reasonable at least) [Dominik] (yep) [Narrator] All right, Ilphere, Sanadhil and Dominik are meeting at San's house prior to the big event,. [Narrator] The night named on your invitations has arrived. After sunset, the cult will be gathering at the Arch for some sort of ceremony or celebration. [Narrator] You can hear carriages - many much finer than are normally seen in this neighbourhood - drawing up occasionally and letting cloaked or hooded passengers out before driving away. [Narrator] The night is dark and blustery, with lacy, broken clouds that occasionally obscure the stars and waxing moon. [Narrator] Sanadhil, with your low-light vision, you can of course see more of what's going on than the others can.

  • Sanadhil will see if he can remember any emblems on the carriages, etc

[Narrator] Most have the good sense to come in unmarked carriages ;)

  • Ilphere keeps an eye out for people she might recognize

[Sanadhil] (I figured, but hey it doesn't hurt to check :V) [Narrator] Ilphere - from up here it's difficult to say. Dark + cloaks = relative anonymity, at least from this distance. [Sanadhil] Are you staying here then?

  • Sanadhil asks Dominik

[Dominik] Go ahead [Dominik] You dont need me to go with you [Sanadhil] Indeed, no. [Sanadhil] Did you need to escort Mlle. De Quessenet home afterwards? [Dominik] It would probably be a good idea, since I am supposed to be guarding her [Ilphere] It would be best, yes...!

  • Sanadhil nods.

[Narrator] All right, so Ilphere and San head out? [Ilphere] (yarr) [Sanadhil] (yarr, all masked up, etc) [Ilphere] (indeed) [Narrator] (okay)

  • Dominik watches them go

[Narrator] It's a short walk, at least. [Narrator] The site is lit only by a few lanterns, which cast long, shuddering shadows on the grass. [Narrator] The group assembled numbers perhaps thirty people, all in their usual dark robes and masks.

  • Phedre , or so you presume, stands alone and cloaked beneath the tall curve of the Arch, her head lowered as if in contemplation or prayer.
  • Ilphere stares up at the Arch's striking form...
  • Earric approaches you as you arrive to welcome you.

[Sanadhil] Good evening [Earric] Good evening. [Earric] I must inform you, there will be no witnesses tonight - only participants. If you feel you cannot join in fully, it would be better if you were to leave now.

  • Ilphere breaks off her gaze.

[Ilphere] Oh...? [Ilphere] What sort of participation will be expected this evening...?

  • Sanadhil looks to Ilphère to answer first

[Earric] There will be a ceremony, followed by the worship of the body.

  • Earric says obliquely.

[Earric] Of course, we will not be offended if you choose to go. [Earric] Merely disappointed.

  • Earric says with a slight smile.
  • Ilphere is torn, and looks to Sanadhil

[Sanadhil] It's your choice to stay or go... [Sanadhil] I will stay. [Ilphere] Well then... so will I...

  • Ilphere hopes the darkness hides her pallor and shaking. :(
  • Earric nods.

[Earric] I'm glad to hear it.

  • Earric moves on to greet other newcomers, then.
  • Sanadhil waits until he's drifted off

[Sanadhil] [q]Are you certain? [Ilphere] [q] I... I don't know... [Ilphere] [q] I need to know what is going on here... The Arch...

  • Ilphere 's lip quivers ever so slightly.

[Sanadhil] [q] I could tell you afterwards. [Ilphere] No! [Ilphere] [q] I mean... that would not be right...! [Sanadhil] [q] I understand. [Ilphere] [q] If I cannot even do my own research... what right have I to be a scholar? [Sanadhil] ... [Ilphere] :( [Narrator] (are there any other newcomers I should be greeting? ^-^) [Dominik] (If I get approached, yes ;)) [Sanadhil] [q] there are plenty of scolars who produce meaningnfulworl without even venturing in to the field so to speak.... However, I now you are comitted. If it would make you more comfortable, you can stick close to me. [Ilphere] [q] Thank you...

  • Sanadhil nods, wondering if this is really such a great plan at all :p

[Narrator] Dominik, despite the masks and hoods, you do spot your brother Theron - his red-gold curls make him quite visible, even in low light. [Dominik] . o O (no surprise there)

  • Earric approaches you. He is a handsome man in his late twenties.

[Earric] I don't believe we've met before, sir. Are you here with someone...?

  • Earric looks like he would be quite capable of kicking you out if you don't belong.

[Dominik] I have friends and family here. Is there a problem? [Earric] Not at all, as long as you're here to participate and not just spectate. [Dominik] I will do what I need to do to remain.

  • Dominik shrugs

[Earric] Very well.

  • Earric looks a bit skeptical, but doesn't kick you out.

[Narrator] Two men carry staves, as if they are ceremonial guards or some such. They take up positions on either side of Phedre, though not actually beneath the Arch itself. [Narrator] Several others in the crowd carry hand-held drums. As if at some unseen cue, they begin to play, the thrumming sound caught up and mingled with the whistling of the wind. [Narrator] The cult members move into a circle, spreading out far enough that they can encompass the Arch. [Narrator] Ilphere and San can make spot checks.

  • Sanadhil joins in the circling, etc

[Sanadhil] (21) [Ilphere] (27) [Narrator] You both notice Dominik has joined the group, but is staying a bit of a distance away from you. [Sanadhil] . o ( figures ) [Ilphere] ! [Ilphere] . o O (Dominik! ]:| )

  • Phedre lifts her head for the first time, casting back her hood. Her hair is loose and blows about her face wildly.
  • Sanadhil is unsurprised

[Phedre] Master! We come here, to the site of your greatest sacrifice, to pay you homage! You who have always known what was, is, and what shall be, help us to see the path that lies before us, and give us the courage to carry out your will! [Phedre] Ophion, Ophion, Ophion! Filler of the Void, Soul of the Seven, help us to shatter the bonds that hold us back! Grant us your blessing, your wisdom, and your strength!

  • Phedre lifts her arms, her cloak falling open as she does to to reveal that she is nude beneath it.
  • Ilphere shifts her gaze from Phedre and the Arch, to Earric, and back again...
  • Phedre begins to chant in Abyssal, her voice carrying over the wind. Soon other voices join with hers. The clouds part for a moment, allowing the moon to briefly illuminate the scene - a most haunting effect.

[Narrator] You can all make a Will save. [DC 18, San gets +2] [Ilphere] (what's she saying in abyssal?) [Sanadhil] (20) [Narrator] (the same basic things as before - I'll let you know if there's anything that seems new and noteworthy) [Ilphere] (9, ugh, can I reroll?) [Narrator] (sure) [Ilphere] (goddamnit. 12) [Dominik] (13... ill try too, why not) [Narrator] ('k) [Dominik] (nope) [Ilphere] . o O (Ophion... means... serpent...?) [Narrator] Those of you who failed, this is all strangely enthralling.\ [Narrator] (basically you just want to watch and listen and go along with things so long as the chanting continues) [Narrator] The drums pick up their pace, and people sway or move rhythmically to their convulsive beat. [Narrator] You feel a cold chill that has nothing to do with the wind. It makes your skin seem to prickle and crawl. [Narrator] The very ground beneath your feet seems colder. [Ilphere] (can I do *anything* but watch/listen?) [Sanadhil] (K: Arcana?) [Ilphere] (like could I make K rolls?) [Sanadhil] (also could I potentially get off a detect magic while all this is going on?) [Sanadhil] (I could try and make it look like swaying ;) [Narrator] hee [Ilphere] (or cast DM? Sanadhil is taking my ideas) [Narrator] The desc. suggests that no, you can't do anything else. No spells, no knowledge rolls. [Ilphere] (balls) [Narrator] San can, however, cast his spell. [Sanadhil] (only 11 on arcana) [Narrator] The grass and flowers there have withered and died, leaving only the black earth and bare stone. It must have looked like this fifty years ago... [Narrator] San, you detect a great variety of magical auras.

  • Sanadhil will concentrate on them for a few rounds and see if he can't sort some of them out

[Narrator] The strongest ones are really all you can pick up, the lesser ones are overwhelmed. [Narrator] Spellcraft, please. [Sanadhil] (18) [Narrator] Moderate illusion magic. Another check. [Sanadhil] (16) [Narrator] That one you don't know. [Narrator] One more. [Sanadhil] (30 - nat 20 that tie) [Narrator] Moderate evocation. [Narrator] (these are all area spells, btw, not on one particular person or item) [Sanadhil] (That's what I figured) [Narrator] You can see their shadows moving as people dance, beginning to twine in a sinuous line that approaches Phedre. Each in turn passes beneath the great bow of the Arch, pausing there a moment as if in rapture before moving on. [Narrator] (Anyone planning to not go through?) [Narrator] (well, really only San could try and avoid it...) [Ilphere] (I am totally going throught

  • Sanadhil will go

[Dominik] (I dont have a choice) [Narrator] As you pass beneath the Arch, you feel ... something. A presence? A touch? It's difficult to say, but you know you aren't alone. *Something* is with you, within you, embracing you.

  • Phedre briefly touches each of you on the brow as you pass, as if blessing you.

[Narrator] Sanadhil, when you emerge from the Arch you feel stronger, healthier than you have in years, perhaps ever. [Narrator] (+2 Str.) [Narrator] Ilphere, you feel as if your mind has been flooded by insight, as if so many things that were previously unknown or unknowable have been made clear. [Narrator] (+2 Int) [Ilphere] :o [Ilphere] (still under the effects of that spell?) [Narrator] (yes, for now) [Narrator] Dominik, you feel more agile, more limber, as if your every movement is more controlled and sinuous. [Narrator] (+2 Dex) [Narrator] The clouds pass over the moon's face once more as you emerge, casting the Down into near-darkness again, but for the faint stars and a few lanterns. [Narrator] Those who have already passed through the Arch are now dancing more freely, throwing themselves about in a frantic, orgiastic rite.

  • Sanadhil glances up at the stars as he passes back through

[Narrator] Men and women begin to seize at one another hungrily, tumbling to the ground together to rut like animals.

  • Ilphere looks around nervously for Sanadhil...

[Narrator] The music stops as the players drop their instruments. A few moments later you feel your minds clear, if you were under the effects of the spell. [Ilphere] ...! [Narrator] (so you can choose what you do next ;)

  • Ilphere will go over to Sanadhil.

[Ilphere] [q] What should we do now?!

  • Dominik weaves his way towards Ilphere
  • Sanadhil takes her hand
  • Ilphere decides to be proactive and lean up against him as though swooning in rapture...!

[Sanadhil] [q] How far are you willing to take this? [Narrator] (If you are still standing up in a few minutes, it's going to be pretty noticable to anyone watching ;) [Ilphere] [q] I will let you know...!

  • Sanadhil mutters as he leads you down to the ground
  • Dominik curses under his breath as San takes Ilphere to the ground

[Dominik] (too far away dammit) [Narrator] Dominik, a young woman catches hold of your arm. [Ilphere] [w] Just... try to have it look convincing...?

  • Dominik will look down

[Young_woman] You must be new :) [Dominik] Yes I am.

  • Sanadhil nods and will try to have convincing makeouts and such?

[Sanadhil] . o ( this is so bizarre )

  • Young_woman wraps her arms around your neck and draws you down for a kiss. She's masked, but you think she's pretty.
  • Ilphere really wants to cast Detect Magic.
  • Dominik will kiss her, but in the same motion haul her up and drag her over the darkest edge of the mass
  • Young_woman lets herself be hauled.
  • Ilphere tries not to look as uncomfortable as she feels.
  • Young_woman clings to you quite eagerly, actually.

[Ilphere] (how close are we to the arch?) [Narrator] You can be as close as you like. Phedre and Earric are beneath it, so further away is less likely to be noticed by them, presumably.

  • Young_woman is wearing loose-fitting clothing beneath her cloak, which slips off quite readily.
  • Dominik will do his best to keep and eye on his charge (Ilph) while distracting the girl in his arms
  • Young_woman does a fairly good job of distracting you, for her part.

[Narrator] Ilphere, as you lie back on the cool ground, gazing up at the stars, the clouds part once more. You see the stars circling in a spiral, coiling like a serpent above you, as if the universe is balanced like a child's top, spinning on a single point. [Ilphere] ...oh! [Sanadhil] what? [Ilphere] The stars...!

  • Sanadhil looks up

[Narrator] San, the stars appear normal to you. [Ilphere] The stars, the stars! [Narrator] Ilphere, you can see the Arch looming over you, steady and solid even as the stars seem to move and waver. [Ilphere] I... the Arch... [Sanadhil] Are you alright?

  • Sanadhil asks, concerned

[Sanadhil] (how loud is she being?) [Ilphere] (i'm not yelling... like a low voice but not a whisper)

  • Ilphere collects herself a bit.

[Ilphere] [ [Ilphere] [q] something is happening, I feel it... [Narrator] Suddenly, Ilphere, you hear a voice whispering, as if inside your mind. It says "Search your soul. Listen. You have to find the One." [Ilphere] ...!

  • Ilphere 's eyes go wide.
  • Sanadhil will cast DM again
  • Ilphere also attempts to cast DM under the cover of their tangled cloaks.

[Narrator] You detect overwhelming magic on Ilphere. Spellcraft checks... [Sanadhil] (17) [Ilphere] (for me or just him?) [Narrator] (both of you) [Ilphere] (15) [Narrator] You are unable to identify its nature, just that it's overwhelming. [Narrator] Already it seems to be dissipating. [Narrator] What do you do, if anything?

  • Ilphere tries to hold on to the voice, to focus on it...

[Ilphere] . o O (Wait...!) [Ilphere] . o O (Who are you...?) [Ilphere] . o O (Please...!) [Narrator] As if from a great distance, you hear the voice. "I am the Filler of the Void." [Narrator] And then it is gone. [Ilphere] ...! [Sanadhil] what is it? [Ilphere] [w] It... it spoke to me... [Ilphere] [w] I heard it...

  • Ilphere clings to Sanadhil, wide eyed.

[Sanadhil] [q] the arch? [Ilphere] [w] It said it was... the Filler of the Void [Sanadhil] [w] it's gone now?

  • Ilphere nods.
  • Sanadhil looks around surrptitiously at everyone else

[Sanadhil] (still orgying?) [Narrator] (oh yeah) [Sanadhil] [w] could you tell anything about the effect?

  • Ilphere shakes her head as she grinds against you for effect.

[Ilphere] [w] It was just... overwhelmingly poerful [Ilphere] (powerful)

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] [w] more later

  • Ilphere nods into your neck.

[Narrator] You manage to fake your way through the rest of the evening (well, Dom doesn't have to, that's up to him ;)

  • Sanadhil tries to decide if it is just his imagonation that she is more in to this now :p

[Ilphere] (well I seem less terrified) [Sanadhil] (yeah, well, i'll let you take lead on the faking still, but I will probably go home and explode) [Narrator] Afterwards, Dominik escorts Ilphere home... I'm sure there will be some interesting conversation. But we'll leave that for another time! [Narrator] The end, for now...


Editor’s Note: The PCs met up at Sanadhil’s house after taking part in the Black Down ceremony.

  • Dominik looks around the room
  • Sanadhil probably would have encouraged I o leave as soon as it seemed that things were breaking up
  • Sanadhil 's house has a very foreign sort of set up and decor

[Sanadhil] (it probably smells funny too ;) [Ilphere] So none of you saw it...? [Sanadhil] No. [Dominik] Saw what? I saw a bunch of very creepy stuff... I think you need to be more specific. [Ilphere] None of you *heard* it...? [Ilphere] The stars, Dominik... the stars...! [Sanadhil] You were under the influence of some very powerful magic when you had your vision, but I wasn't able to determine the type, or source [Ilphere] In the shape of a serpent...! [Dominik] I didn't see anything like that

  • Dominik shakes his head

[Sanadhil] No, it was focused on her. [Ilphere] And there was a voice [Ilphere] ... [Sanadhil] what did it say? [Ilphere] It said to search my soul... that I had to find 'the One'. [Ilphere] I asked what it was... [Ilphere] "I am the Filler of the Void" [Ilphere] :o [Ilphere] Something *is* happening here...!

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ilphere] Ophion... The Serpent... The Filler of the Void... [Dominik] is that what that word means? Ophion? 'serpent'? [Sanadhil] yes [Ilphere] Yes. [Sanadhil] It's archaic Aveyronais

  • Ilphere nods.

[Ilphere] Like when I talk to Hali... [Dominik] Are you sure that this Filler of the Void and the Serpent are the same thing?

  • Ilphere looks to her class feat-er, familiar, perched on the doorframe.

[Ilphere] No, but the Order seem to think so. [Ilphere] They called it Ophion, Filler of the Void. [Dominik] All I know is that when I went through the Arch... I felt something... and afterward... I felt invigorated. [Sanadhil] There is something there... [Ilphere] Yes... I had such clarity. [Dominik] I felt faster and quicker than I have ever had [Sanadhil] Again, there were very string magics at work throught the ceremony - illusion, enchantment, and evoction [Sanadhil] I'm ot sure about the arch specifically, however [Ilphere] I still feel... quite focused. [Sanadhil] So for you it was more of an intellectual stimulation? [Ilphere] I am dying to get into the library and see if I can find any references to these names... Although I doubt the books I truly need will be easily accessible...!

  • Ilphere frowns.

[Ilphere] Yes. [Dominik] aren't you worried? [Ilphere] Worried...? [Dominik] The magic... the cerimony... everything that happened took power and effort. [Dominik] you don't just give people magical gifts like that. [Ilphere] Not usually, no... [Dominik] what's the reason? The goal? [Ilphere] I will agree that we have become embroiled in something quite beyond what most experience... but that is why it is so interesting...! [Ilphere] The goal is what we must discover! [Dominik] Its definitely not to get a bunch of nobles to fuck... [Ilphere] And whether the source of this power truly is, as I believe it to be, extraplanar. [Sanadhil] part of the difficulty is in guaging how much of how the cult presents itself reflects on its true goals... [Dominik] and assuming you figure all that out.. then what? [Sanadhil] and how much its goals align with those of the entity... Of course we wont know what should be done about bthem until we now what they are.

  • Ilphere nods in agreement with Sanadhil.
  • Sanadhil tries to look fairly dignified as he pulls bits of ground littler out of his hair

[Dominik] what does your gut say their motivations are? [Dominik] just curious [Ilphere] I did not sense overt malevolence... [Ilphere] From the presence, I mean. [Ilphere] My intuition tells me that Phedre and Earric hope that they will gain some kind of power by bringing people to this entity. [Ilphere] Earric is... [Sanadhil] dangerous. [Ilphere] Well, there is something strange about him as well...! [Ilphere] Yes. [Ilphere] But as to what the entity itself desires... [Sanadhil] Of course this is all about power.

  • Dominik nods

[Sanadhil] Power to what end, though, is the question. [Dominik] you don't get those kind of people together and lure them in with power and pleasure just for kicks, thats for sure. [Ilphere] Quite so...! [Dominik] If Theron is indicative of the people the cult has gathered... they're definitely a scheming bunch [Sanadhil] How do you mean? [Dominik] my brother Theron is a manipulative, power hungery scoundrel. If does something its cause he thinks there is some gain for him. [Sanadhil] Hmm. [Dominik] I'm just curious how you two got involved in this

  • Ilphere looks to Sanadhil...

[Sanadhil] I've seen a number of their gatherings from here [Sanadhil] But I observed one, shortly after the Empress's death, that was quite different in nature [Sanadhil] more suggestive that there was some real power involved, and not simple... physical frivolity [Sanadhil] I spoke to your cousin about the event... thngs spiralled from there. [Dominik] indeed [Dominik] so is there anyone else who knows about your little research project? [Sanadhil] Miss de Quessenet is the closest person i know to a specialist in the planes - She is the only one I've spoken to about it. [Dominik] Ilphere? [Ilphere] I haven't told anyone. [Ilphere] Sanadhil brought me in somewhat reluctantly; I did not think he would appreciate my spreading it around...! [Dominik] The next step is for you to go digging through some books to figure out what you can? that right? [Ilphere] To say nothing of the social and safety concerns that might prevent us from doing this work if it were known, and the academic competition...! [Ilphere] Yes, most likely...!

  • Sanadhil nods

[Dominik] Besides watching your back, anything you need me to do? [Sanadhil] YOur discretion is, of course, valuable. [Ilphere] Extremely valuable...! [Dominik] how would be break the secret of the Black Down Cult if I go blabbing it to everyone?

  • Dominik smiles

[Dominik] (that should be we instead of be)

  • Sanadhil rolls 16

[Sanadhil] (16 sm ;) [Sanadhil] true enough [Dominik] (Dom definitely seems to have a grudge against this cult for some reason) [Sanadhil] Other than that - at the moment, no. [Sanadhil] Do you plan to attend future meetings? [Dominik] Not unless you figure out some sort of protectoin from their magic that they are doing. [Sanadhil] Alright. [Dominik] They got their claws in me once... once is enough for me to learn to be more weary

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Did you meet Earic? [Dominik] He greeted me when I arrived, but thats it. [Dominik] he's dangerous, you said. I know he gave off quite an imposing impression. [Dominik] whats his family name? [Sanadhil] Yes - his wife is the face of the cult, but he's its true power [Sanadhil] Boyne [Ilphere] Absolutely...!

  • Dominik nods

[Sanadhil] I'm not certain of his origins [Dominik] he's got to come from somewhere [Ilphere] Perhaps that also could be looked into...? [Dominik] what house is Boyne? [Sanadhil] I'm not certain if he is even from the Empire [Sanadhil] but she is house Cat. [Ilphere] (is phedre cat?) [Sanadhil] and he is her second husband, I believe [Dominik] so Boyne is Phedre's family name, not his? [Sanadhil] no, its his. [Sanadhil] I believe her first husband was... Lozada? [Sanadhil] But that's the extent of my knowledge [Dominik] I don't have a lot of contacts withing House Cat nobility, but I'll see what I can do. [Ilphere] That would be wonderful...!

  • Ilphere gushes.
  • Dominik smiles

[Dominik] Unless there is more that needs to be talked about, I should be getting Ilphere home... late night studying can only go on so long... I tend to fall asleep. [Sanadhil] True - thank you again for your cooperation. Anything you can find out will be most useful. [Ilphere] We can talk again at the Castalia...!

  • Dominik nods

[Sanadhil] Good night, then

  • Sanadhil will see you both out

  • Ysabeau arrives at the Society and spots Symon.

[Ysabeau] Syyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyymon!

  • Ysabeau runs up to you. She isn't usually this loud; she must be excited.
  • Ysabeau is dressed in her sober student attire but her face is indeed flushed with excitement, her eyes are sparkling and she looks very happy about something!
  • Symon is dressed well, though casually. He has been practicing in a quiet room of the society with one of the society's books of old song.

[Ysabeau] Symon you will never guess what happened!!! [Ysabeau] I've been looking for you or Stefan or Jehan all day because it's so exciting!!! [Ysabeau] But there is so much work to do too! We have to find them!!! [Symon] Hey Ysa, what're you going on about? :)

  • Symon sets his bow down

[Ysabeau] We might get to play at the *Emperor's Ball*!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ysabeau is practically bouncing she has so much energy.

[Symon] What? Perform? [Symon] At the ball?

  • Ysabeau nods, beaming.

[Ysabeau] Not for the main dancing part, because they've got the musicians for that all lined up already, but maybe while people are making their entrances but that is good too, right? [Ysabeau] I mean this could be our big break!

  • Ysabeau twirls around on one tiptoe, so excited is she.

[Ysabeau] It's not a sure thing yet but Verity's cousin is the master of ceremonies and she said she'd put in a good word for us! [Ysabeau] But it's not very far away really so we have got to practice, just in case!!! [Symon] :o [Symon] A lot of important people will be there...

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I know! [Ysabeau] That is why it's so important for us to be *perfect* [Symon] Of course... I'll make sure to make time for any practice we need, just in case. [Symon] When will you know for sure? [Ysabeau] I hope soon! [Symon] What will we play? What's appropriate to play before /the Emperor's Ball/ [Ysabeau] I was wondering that myself! [Ysabeau] I was thinking all instrumental stuff, because we'll be in the background. [Symon] But, our own pieces, or classics? [Ysabeau] And they probably announce all the nobs as they arrive. You know "Announcing Lady such and such, and her escort Lord so and so.” [Ysabeau] I think it wouldn't hurt to do a mix?

  • Symon nods.

[Ysabeau] And we should play songs that kind of capture the moment, you know, the thrill of a new reign, attending the new Emperor's first social event and such. [Ysabeau] To kind of get people in the mood, or at least play on the mood they're already in, maybe? [Symon] Good omens, well wishes, that sort of thing.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Symon] Some old classics with meaning. [Ysabeau] And hopeful sounding, and a bit thrilling. [Symon] Something here in the library maybe.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] We should look! [Ysabeau] We don't want to be too loud either, I guess... the announcements are more important [Ysabeau] We have to provide the atmosphere [Ysabeau] We kind of have to be subtle, I think, but... we also want people to notice us and remember us so they invite us to play at their parties, too! [Ysabeau] Oh my it all seems so complicated! [Symon] I know... how do you perform well, but be... not noticed? [Symon] And noticed at the same time! [Ysabeau] With style! ;) [Symon] I suppose we can work it up a little between the entries [Symon] :P [Ysabeau] There's a bunch in our repertoire already that I think we should do.

  • Ysabeau lists off some pieces that probably would work.
  • Symon lists a couple more.
  • Ysabeau nods enthusiastically.

[Ysabeau] And you know, we can even do some popular songs, but skip the vocals. Just do them completely instrumental.

  • Symon thinks a bit, running his hand along the side of his viola

[Ysabeau] No I think it isn't really the venue for vocals, maybe...

  • Ysabeau thinks aloud to herself, confirming what she said a moment ago

[Symon] Do you have any favourites that are wordless? Just some vocalisations? [Symon] Something subtle. [Ysabeau] I think we should probably just stick to the instruments this time, really. I'd love to sing but I don't want to be competing with the heralds announcing arrivals [Symon] Sure. [Ysabeau] But we could play Watkins Ale and other ones like that. [Ysabeau] And A Jigge ye Firste... [Ysabeau] Energetic, upbeat stuff. Do you think? [Ysabeau] Maybe we ought to ask for some advice. [Symon] Maybe some one else in the society would have some suggestions? [Symon] Perhaps some one who was at the Empresses' ball? [Ysabeau] Maybe! [Ysabeau] Also Verity. I should have asked her when she first mentioned it but I was too excited. [Ysabeau] Oh dear, I wonder if there are any songs we should avoid at all costs... [Ysabeau] What if there's something the Emperor hates? [Ysabeau] I wonder if we can find out things like that. [Symon] We'd need to know some one who knows him though... [Symon] He won't be listening to us anyway, right? [Symon] He'll already be inside a bit, I imagine? [Ysabeau] Hard to say. [Ysabeau] I've never been to this kind of shindig before. ^-^ [Symon] I haven't been to anything nearly as important as this... but I bet it'll be great anyway :) [Ysabeau] Me too! [Ysabeau] I hope I don't faint or something! [Ysabeau] I mean, I'm not really prone to that anyway but it's going to be so weird! [Symon] Ah, you've met a Countess here, there's not much more above that :P [Ysabeau] I know, it's just that there will be so MANY countesses and duchesses and princes and princesses and everything all there at once! [Symon] They'll be too busy paying attention to each other.

  • Ysabeau smiles at you.

[Ysabeau] Yeah. You're right. [Ysabeau] I just have a lot of hope that this will be our big break, I guess. [Symon] Well, I think I know where Stefan will be this evening, I could pass the news on to him. [Ysabeau] That would be great. [Symon] We may pick up some important fans :) [Ysabeau] Hopefully he knows where Jehan is, too. [Ysabeau] We should probably try to figure out which ones are definitely on our to-play list and start practising no later than tomorrow. [Symon] Want to look through the library for inspiration? [Ysabeau] We can always tweak things if we do find out that the Emperor hates something we've selected, you know, if we do get invited to play there.

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Symon will go with you to the library then?

[Ysabeau] There's some good ones in here that I've been wanting to try, but we probably need to be realistic about the number of *new* pieces we try to learn before the ball [Ysabeau] (Sure)

[Narrator] You would know that the Finicky Filly had problems in the past with underage girls, and they were actually shut down by the guards for a while over it, so when they reopened they have been extra cautious about not letting girls under 15 work there. [Altheo] Gotcha!

  • Altheo will pick a quieter time to check in with Mijanou. Sometime when it won't be too weird I'm talking to her but also, there aren't other people around to hear us.
  • Mijanou can be found in her room, mid-morning or so.

[Mijanou] (You can wait until after she's been up to get breakfast, so you know she's awake and dressed ;) [Altheo] Cool.

  • Altheo will tap lightly on the door.
  • Mijanou answers.

[Mijanou] Oh, hello :) [Altheo] Good Morning.

  • Altheo flashs a smile.

[Altheo] I'm just poping around to see how people are doing. May I come in?

  • Mijanou is brushing her hair. She smiles back over her shoulder.

[Mijanou] Of course.

  • Altheo is eating an apple for breakfast.
  • Altheo comes and watches her brush out her hair.

[Altheo] So how have you been?

  • Mijanou 's blonde hair is quite long, to the middle of her back.

[Mijanou] I'm fine. [Mijanou] How are you? [Altheo] Well, things have been interesting. [Altheo] Which is both bad and good I suppose. [Mijanou] How do you mean? [Altheo] I had a breif flicker of fame amongst a historical society I dable at. A merchant wanted me to make sure a valuable necklace wasn't stolen.

  • Mijanou laughs.

[Mijanou] How would you know if it was stolen? :) [Altheo] I figured it was always worth it to have a rich merchant in your debt, so I agreed. [Altheo] Well, I went up to the person who said they owned it and asked them where they got it. ;)

  • Altheo gives a small laugh.

[Altheo] Turns out their story checks out.

  • Mijanou nods, listening as she resumes her seat at her little dressing-table.

[Altheo] But the oddest thing is, that it turns out the necklace was magical. And a few of the society people think it was connected to the happening at the Great Council.

  • Altheo says, a bit of worry creeping into his voice.

[Mijanou] That dragon thing? [Altheo] See, the damnable thing was stolen just before all that nonsence happened. [Altheo] yeah. [Altheo] And there are some grumblings at the society about how it got stolen and who was involved. And of course, most of them are rich and respectable. [Mijanou] Oh? [Altheo] So now I'm looking into the theft, just to prove I wasn't invovled.

  • Mijanou smiles slightly at that, but looks a bit nervous.
  • Altheo throws up his hands in mock outrage.

[Altheo] But like it said, interesting.

  • Mijanou nods.

[Mijanou] I hope you can get it all sorted out. [Altheo] I think I will. [Altheo] But I did want to ask you about one of your customers.

  • Altheo is trying to be very gentle. Not make her too nervous.

[Altheo] If thats ok with you. [Mijanou] Oh... all right...

  • Mijanou looks a bit apprehensive.

[Mijanou] Who? [Altheo] There is no need to worry. I'd never sour anything with a good customer of yours. [Altheo] But its Nestor Dryden. [Mijanou] Oh. Him. I sort of thought it might be him.

  • Altheo smiles.

[Altheo] So, have you noticed anything particular about the man? [Mijanou] Well, he's sort of odd.

  • Altheo nods

[Mijanou] He often seems... unhappy, I guess. Sometimes he just wants to talk to me. I think he doesn't have many people he can talk to, if you know what I mean.

  • Altheo nods understanding.

[Mijanou] And he believes that there are demons.

  • Mijanou adds casually.

[Altheo] really? [Altheo] Like a revelator?

  • Altheo seems surprised.

[Mijanou] Yes, I think so. I'm not sure if he goes to their meetings and all that, but I think he definitely believes all that stuff. [Altheo] Has he come to you since the dragon thing? [Mijanou] Um... once. I think he's been pretty busy. [Altheo] I have to admit, I'm curious what a revelator that actualy saw the thing might think of it. [Altheo] (Has she relaxed at all talking to me about this? or is she still apprehensive?) [Mijanou] He didn't talk about it directly. He said that this city was damned. That it was being punished for its wickedness.

  • Mijanou seems a little more relaxed since you told her you weren't going to ruin things with a rich customer.

[Mijanou] He seemed more... calm than usual, though. [Altheo] Was this one of those times he just wanted to talk? [Altheo] (Since he comes into my establishment, what does he look like? Fat? Fit?) [Mijanou] No... he didn't just talk.

  • Altheo smiles.

[Altheo] Thats my girl. Always looking out for the customers needs. [Mijanou] (He's in his mid-thirties, a bit stout but not overly fat.)

  • Mijanou smiles slightly.

[Mijanou] (kind of balding, not a very imposing figure.) [Mijanou] Do you need to know what we did?

  • Mijanou asks a bit uncertainly.

[Altheo] Not if you don't want to tell me. [Altheo] I'm always curious about people likes and dislikes. But not enough to be too nosey about it. [Mijanou] He likes me to hurt him. [Altheo] really?

  • Mijanou says sort of shyly.
  • Altheo wasn't expecting that.

[Altheo] All right, now my curiosity has gotten the better of me. [Altheo] How so? [Altheo] (When he comes in, is it really secretive? Like we all pretend we don't know who he is? Or is he more public, like he'll order a drink and whatnot first?) [Mijanou] (He's usually pretty discreet - not exactly hiding, but just gets there and goes straight upstairs, then leaves right away after.) [Mijanou] Well, I don't have all sorts of tools for that kind of thing, so mainly just slapping him around, or hitting him with the back of my hairbrush...

  • Mijanou puts her hairbrush down.

[Altheo] Are you ok with that sort of thing? [Mijanou] Sometimes holding a knife against his throat while we fuck.

  • Altheo is obviously concerned that she is ok with all this.

[Mijanou] I don't mind - it's a bit weird, but it doesn't hurt *me*, so...

  • Mijanou shrugs.

[Mijanou] People are strange. [Altheo] The certainly are. [Altheo] It sounds like he is a man that hates himself more than a bit. [Mijanou] I think you're right. [Mijanou] I don't know why he doesn't just quit, if he thinks the government is full of demons and sinners. [Mijanou] He had his chance when the Empress died, I mean. [Altheo] Yeah, that is strange. [Altheo] Do you think he'd ever talk to you about that? [Mijanou] I don't know. I could ask him, I guess. [Altheo] Well, be careful if you decide to do that. [Mijanou] But, like I said, he actually seemed a little more relaxed last time. Maybe he's happy with the new Emperor. [Altheo] Like I said, I don't want you to lose a good customer.

  • Mijanou nods.

[Altheo] maybe. [Altheo] And don't forget that I'll always support you if he asks you for something you don't want to do. [Mijanou] Thank you. [Altheo] You very welcome.

  • Mijanou smiles gratefully.
  • Altheo will take her hand and kiss it in a gallant manner.
  • Mijanou blushes.

[Altheo] You have a good day today. [Mijanou] You too.

  • Altheo says, and really means it.
  • Altheo will take his leave of her.