10/10/2015 – Session 14 – 13, Descending Water – Inaspaucious Departures
Liric paced back and forth across the property. He needed some way to observe the dragonbloods without himself being observed. Or some way in without being observed. Or a good place to watch for the Bloody Hand without being observed. Then after that there were any number of ways he could make contact with Alya. He was sure he could do all those initial things, the difficulty was in what came second – the actual contacting. He did not exactly have a large pool of essence to work with, and pretty much ensuring success in the first task made a discreet escape if something went wrong in the second part impossible. He was back at the Duskholme doorstep, considering his ways back in and looking across the city. He noticed some fires burning in several places across the city. What was going on? That was when Wilikins materialized behind him. He was not expecting that.
"Sir, this is really not the best place for you to be, especially at this time. May I?"
Liric was efficiently ushered into an empty room off the library. Outside they could still see the fires through the window.
Liric had no idea how to proceed without being rude. Wilikins... could materialize.
"I didn't know that... you... has Dorian left for Great Forks?"
"The Master is in Great Forks, and I just returned. The Master has made some travel arrangements that Sir may wish to take advantage of.... But Sir will need to leave soon. Shall I prepare a carriage?"
"Right, okay, but... Wait? He's already there? Okay, fine, but I really need to find Alya, first. I don't suppose you have seen her, have you?"
"Yes, Sir. She is crawling across the lawn and appears to be attempting entrance to the manor. If you will pardon me a moment..."
Wilikins stepped across the room and raised a window just as Alya's head popped in view. "Do allow me to assist you, Madam, though we do have a front door." As Alya crawled through the window, Wilikins looked stony-faced into the dusk beyond and slowly shook his head.
"I just was going to check if anyone was here." Alya said slowly.
"Of course. Now, some sandwiches and a nice picnic basket and a carriage?" said Wilikins, turning back to her.
"Right, but we kind of need to talk for a little bit, first," replied Liric.
"Certainly." Wilikins led them out and down a flight a stairs, into what Dorian called the Heresitorium, where he kept everything the dragonblooded next door would be extremely interested in seeing and not appoving of in the least.
Unipug was beginning to make a scene, and Liric was concerned the carpets were about to get soaked, either literally or in a more spiritual manner. Having finally come face to face with Alya, he wasn't holding up well. "I really should go get Gen. I really should go get Gen..."
"Sit. Stay." Liric and Wilikins said together.
"If you will excuse me, Sir, Madam." Wilikins left and closed the door behind him.
Liric did his best to explain the current situation to Alya, and asked her to leave Nexus, if just for a little while. She told him that she already had some plans in motion that didn't really involve leaving. Chief among these was looking for a strange sort of tool for the Diamyo of Faces, Shalrina. Liric didn't like this much. He explained what had happened to him in heaven, what he had been told, dismissed Alya's alarm that he had been tracking her, ("It was your Bloody Hand we tracked, actually.") and reiterated his own memory problems, finally suggesting they seemed to go together somehow and maybe it would be more beneficial to work together and try to find a common solution, and maybe deal with Alya's enemies before they caused more trouble for either of them. Alya said that she had been told that for a while she had two souls in her and that possibly the other soul was dominating during the time she had amnesia, and that was the source of her memory issues. Liric was not quite sure what to make of this. He really wished he could communicate with his fellow exalts more frequently. In did potentially answer some questions, but opened up a lot of new ones as well. But regarding leaving and working together and laying low for a while, Alya finally agreed, in principle, at least, to all these things.
Around that time Wilikins returned with a basket of sandwiches and told them a carriage was waiting. Then Alya noticed the yassal crystal Dorian had taken from the bolt hole. "Hey, that's mine... "
"If Madam wishes to take her property...." offered Wilikins. "But time is of the essence."
Wilikins was really beginning to make Liric worried. Maybe something was going on that he wasn't aware of? Like what was up with the fires? Alya had been in the house next door this time, so people couldn't be blaming her this time, and he didn't think she'd ever burn Jampa's teahouse.
"But, there's still some things I really need to do here," Liric tried to explain as Wilikins ushered them up the stairs.
"The Master has made arrangements that it would be very good to make use of. If Sir takes to the road now, Sir should find himself in Great Forks very quickly."
"It is simply not a good time to remain here," pressed Wilikins as he showed them out of the house and to the waiting carriage. A cold sleet had begun to fall, and the wind had picked up a bit. It gave the growing night a very ominous feeling.
"At the first major crossroads, Sir should find all the assistance he needs to continue his journey."
Unipug was having a minor crisis of terror, now finding himself inside a carriage with Alya.
Wilikins handed the basket through the carriage window to Liric, then picked up Unipug from the seat.
"Um, if you're going back to Great Forks," began Liric, "could you possibly take him with you? I... sort of need him there." He didn't, but he didn't like the idea of leaving Unipug alone.
"Of course, Sir. Now, on your way, Sir, Madam."
And the carriage was off. They passed the dragon-bloods next door. Liric just sat back in the seat and unconsciously held his breath as they went by, then sighed as they continued down the hill toward the gates. He began to get an uneasy feeling. There were a lot of things he still needed to do, especially the recent promise to the doctor (Did he even get her name?) to help her at her clinic the next day. Then there was the meeting with Gen he hoped would earn him some gratitude and favor, and possibly shelter from the Wyld Hunt and the cooperation of the Council, or at least part of it. Then there was still that yankee tool floating around. It probably wouldn't surface with the Wyld Hunt in town, but if they left... with no significant exalted presence at all...
He was brought out of his anxiety when Alya said she thought she saw the dragon-bloods in a whirlwind moving by very quickly and moving ahead of them. They were a few miles outside the city gates by now. Liric looked out, but saw nothing. He supposed it could be possible, dragon-bloods having some elemental control and all. If they were going to stop the carriage, though, there really wasn't much preventing them from doing that now.
Liric got his own shock a short time later as they passed the stones of exile. He clearly saw the Emissary in the shadows of a fire some poor travelers had started to try to keep warm, then the Emissary took a step or two back into the darkness and was gone. Great. It knows I've left, and it's not happy. He told Alya, who looked out but didn't see anything, and seemed skeptical.
Eventually they reached a small roadhouse at a crossroads and the carriage dropped them off at the door, then headed back toward Nexus. They trudged inside. There was just the proprietor and two dirty, travel-worn guys at the bar.
Liric began to get the nasty feeling that maybe Wilikins just wanted him out of the house and off the grounds. After some awkward interraction, the muddier of the two men asked Alya if she were Alya. She confirmed that, yes, that's who they were. The man seemed relieved and said that Dorian should expect them to be on their way soon, but if they wanted dad to show up, they'd have to make a prayer. But in the meantime, they should share a story.
Liric finally began putting the pieces together. This was an offspring of Talespinner, one of the gods of Great Forks. And unless Dorian had paid through the nose for travel arrangements, this was going to cost them a favor. Liric was pretty sure Dorian wasn't footing the bill for this one. They agreed to work on this the next morning.
Their initial attempt was not very successful.
Neither was their second.
Liric thought a complete rethinking was in order. Alya thought maybe getting drunk with some traveling entertainers might help. In the end they did a little of both, trudging up and down the road near the roadhouse, telling stories about where the travelers had been and what they had done, and Liric adding in that he'd be willing to perform some major service to anyone who could help him continue the journey and the story.
This time Talespinner did appear. He did not appear to be in any great hurry, somewhat to Liric's irritation. He talked with them both for a while, made an agreement, then also made an agreement with a cat nearby that Liric had not been paying any attention to. A cat? It never actually spoke, and Talespinner just asked if it wanted the same agreement, which was followed by a 'mew' and some head nodding and satisfied purring. They started down the road, Talespinner starting in on an elaborate story. Liric kept an eye on the cat.
Not too long afterward they came to a cabin by the road. Talespinner invited them in, said he would be on his way, but he was sure they would meet again soon. There was a warm fire, some comfortable cots, and good traveling food – fresh bread and stew. There were also some books, primarily travel guides and atlasses. It was also fairly heavy food. All of them had a bowl. The cat... shifted into a monkey... dipped itself another bowl... then shifted back to a cat, and proceeded to continue eating.
Alya fell asleep rather quickly, the last of the alcohol also showing its effect. The cat – Fandris, rather – looked remarkably full and content curled up next to the fire. Liric was the only one that stayed awake, or perhaps he dozed as well, for he suddenly realized that the light had shifted and noises outside were different. He opened one of the shutters on a window and looked out. They were definitely not where they were a few hours before. How long, though? Liric had the feeling it was early the next day, and when he went out he would find himself just outside Great Forks, meaning their journey had taken an entire day... and the meeting with Gen and the doctor would have been the previous evening. He wasn't sure though. He was pretty sure that no matter what now, he couldn't get back in time anyway, even if his estimates were off.
The others soon woke. They found some good traveling clothes that fit them in a wardrobe and changed into them. Outside, the feeling was of early morning, and they could just see the walls of the city of Great Forks beyond some trees down the road. They also met a girl on the road who told them that since they had met dad, they probably wanted to meet Dorian now, too. They started toward the city. She did caution them that there had been some significant events happen in the past couple of days, and not to be too surprised, but she would let Dorian tell that story. Liric flatly asked her if the entire town knew of the various exalted that might be around, or was that being kept hush. The girl just smiled mischievously and said that letting everyone know at once wouldn't make for a very good story. Inside the city, every building had been festooned with blue and motifs of Venus. It had the appearance of being a very earnest but impromptu affair, as quite a few decorations were a bit tattered or wrinkled as if they had been in storage for a long time, but the sheer quantity made up for it. She led them to a townhouse in the middle of the city and took her leave.
Dorian was not there. Wilikins was. So was Unipug, who seemed to be hovering between abject sadness and utter despair. Liric felt rather bad but didn't have much time to talk to him, because then Dorian arrived with... purchases.
It may as well have been a full month, maybe even three since Liric had last seen Dorian, instead of a few days. These were the significant events as well as Liric was able to piece them all together in a few minutes of confused introductions:
- Dorian, Nexus' most eligible bachelor, had gotten married to Nerium the half-neomah.
- Jampa had presided over the ceremony, which was a smashing success because
- Venus herself had showed up to bless the couple when their vows were exchanged
- and now Dorian was... buying a family from the slave markets which consisted of
- two human children and
- one adult Djala with a child who showed a remarkable aptitude for technology
- and a wyld-touched kid that Dorian asked Liric to check out for mental illness.
That diagnosis was a bit depressing. But more significant to Liric were all the things back in Nexus he had left unfinished, and the more he thought about them, the more they bothered him. Despite the Wyld Hunt presence he thought he ought to try to find some way back. If one Councilor showed him favor, like Master Gen, he was pretty sure he could be insulated from the Wyld Hunt if he didn't cause any problems and began working on some projects Gen wanted to see happen. He really didn't want to find himself owing another large favor, though, so decided he would ask around and try to find out if anyone else had ideas for getting back, or even if that was a good idea at all.