Nexus has an Exalted infestation, and no one--not even the Exalted themselves--know who, how many, or why.
4/11/2015 – Session 4 – 16, Ascending Water – Rats
The next morning Liric went to a magistrate's office to report what had happened the previous evening at the tomb of singing blades. Liric realized that people who were not informants reporting things they were not actually paid to report was not the norm in Nexus. After getting some run-around, he left some information about where he could be contacted in case there were further questions. He felt a little better about things, hoping this would be enough to convince any reasonable person looking into things that he had just been witness to a bizarre accident, and not its cause.
Someone did get back to Liric later. He was a city bureaucrat sympathetic to Liric's inquiries but didn't really want his name used. Liric thought this a bit odd, but was much more irritated with himself after the meeting because his notes were quite fuzzy in a few places and missing a couple details. Obviously he was still feeling distracted due to yesterday's events.
They met in a corner of the common room of the Vulgar Tiger. He also introduced Liric to a savant of sorts named Dorian Duskholme. Dorian was quite wealthy and often did freelance work for similarly wealthy clients and occasionally the Council. From them, Liric learned that Nexus – no, Hollow – had a bit of a secret reputation, and the council would likely not appreciate rumors of the old city being spread. He had managed to get a copy of an old map of Hollow, probably not entirely accurate, but good enough for some initial work. Liric saw that Hollow was built to ... (attract? / contain?) the spiritual ... (essence? / manifestation?) of ... (disease? / sickness? / entropy?). No, it wasn't a physical cesspool (that was Nexus), but something much more subtle and possibly sinister depending on the purpose of the solars who had been behind it. There had also been rumors (very old) that the great contagion began in Hollow (this was news to Liric). Someone had taken some pains to squash these rumors out over time. There was the name of Hollow itself, from which it was possible to derive the phrase "creeping sickness." It was only apparent in the characters of Old Realm, and not completely obvious even then. Possibly coincidental, possibly not. Finally, excavations in city projects occasionally produced disturbing relics predating the contagion. Like twisted and deformed skeletons or partially preserved bodies. Nobody tended to look really closely into their history (there was a wyld pocket in the city that could produce similar results, after all), but in light of everything else, these took on greater significance and indicated ... something. The man gave Liric a drop-box address for any additional information he might uncover.
A few things that made sense during the meeting weren't clear at all afterward. Liric decided to put the information aside for a few days until he heard back from Sund. Maybe she would have something that would help bring everything together.
But before then Liric received an invitation of sorts to meet with the god of the undercity, named Oro. It would be in a few days time. At the meeting, most of the other exalts he had already met were there as well. Oro was a ratty-looking god, and while Liric knew enough not to put too much into the appearance of a god, he got the general impression over the course of the meeting that Oro was, in fact, a rat. Oro wanted to help the various exalts who had arrived in the city (and would not refuse any benefits they might bring him, of course), and as a gesture of good will told them about a solar tomb in the city that practically nobody knew about.
There were six well-known solar tombs in Nexus. Liric had already become acquainted with the defenses surrounding the Tomb of Singing Swords. The others were all different but their defenses were said to be similarly effective. Attempting to open any of them would likely result in death (either from the tomb itself or from the wrath of the council for breaking this long-standing civility). This tomb Oro was speaking of was not one of them. It was much smaller, and had a lion dog guardian. The ghost of the solar was also still around. And it was not technically covered by any civility. Not that anyone present would likely consult with the council just to be sure, before going there. But it was not under active scrutiny, nor apparently were its defenses beyond the combined abilities of a few inexperienced chosen. If you could get past the lion dog.
At the meeting Liric also learned a little more about some of the other exalts. Of particular interest was Alya. Like Liric, Alya was having some memory issues. Also, one of the guild hierarchs, named Arys Shen, had put a hit on Alya, who had previously worked for the guild... by doing hits. Alya had also tracked down the person the plague spirits had been working with and had "taken care of it." So Alya was a little scary. But that both these exalts had memory issues seemed like too much to be entirely coincidental to Liric. It was something he decided he would have to look into further. If Alya would let him.
After this meeting, Liric would find that small rats (unmanifested, and therefore invisible without some kind of spirit sight) would constantly follow the exalts around and keep track of them.
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
4/25/2015 – Session 5 – 21, Ascending Water – One of Many
The next few days would be extremely active ones for Liric. He received a reply from Sund. She gave him an address to meet in Firewander. She recommended bringing a shovel and some means to detect spirits. He arrived near a "public works" project of sorts. Some sewers were being expanded, but they were headed in the path of a crypt that Sund though Liric would be interested in seeing. It took a while, and some digging, but Liric eventually broke through into a very old crypt of sorts. A thorough investigation indicated it dated to the time of the usurpation or before. This was first age stuff, and it was disturbing. The area had been warded with salt, but lines had been broken over the centuries. There was also some evidence of wyld taint. However, the majority of the bodies inside were very similar to the kid Liric had encountered earlier.
There was no active disease (Sund said she was reasonably sure she could detect it if anything were still active) and the bodies themselves seemed unlikely to harbor anything dangerous anymore, although she wasn't sure exactly how the disease was supposed to be transmitted either. For that, they would need an actual sample... which would mean finding an infected person, isolating him, and then... hopefully not anything too extreme or invasive after that. Sund had no other first-hand knowledge of what was happening at the time. She said she wasn't around in the First Age. Liric wondered about that, but decided it might be something she considered a little too personal to discuss right then. Sund did, however, know that this crypt was only "one of many," and she gave him the locations of several others.
Liric looked around a little more, spent all the essence he dared on charms to heighten his vision and perception, but could not make anything more of the crypt than it was very old, inactive, and used to store dozens of deformed bodies. When there was nothing else to gain, he decided the best thing to do would be to try to restore the earthworks he had broken through to get in, so as to make it looked undisturbed again. This took a while, but it looked good when he had finished.
Sund had some last information for Liric regarding his specific questions. Yes, the blades around the Tomb of Singing Blades did affect dematerialized spirits the same as material objects, and sensible spirits avoided the place. "Fall away ashes; fall away skin" probably had some occult significance related to transformation and compulsion. And that was pretty much it.
Liric thanked her for her insights and said he would be in contact. They both departed, and Liric hurried back to the Vulgar Tiger. He wanted to compare an old map of Hollow he had to the locations of the other crypts that Sund had given to him. Just as he was finishing marking the last of their locations, he received a message that Dorian Duskholme might have some information for him.
When Liric got the the estate and was shown to Dorian's study, Dorian seemed more interested in esoterica than strange graffiti or ancient crypts. Liric did explain most of his interest (though not his entire background) and what he had already uncovered. He did also mention the new crypt locations that Sund had given him and suggested that Dorian use his influence to try to keep people out of them, or at least divert building projects like the one going on now, if possible. As far as actually learning anything new about his immediate concerns, though, Liric did not.
Dorian did show Liric a few things he had been asked to consult on. Liric kept most of his answers to "yes," "no," and noncommital short answers as the topic turned quickly to Lytek.
"You know about Lytek?" Dorian asked seemingly from nowhere.
"I'm... aware of him... and his, uh, domain, yes."
"This is one of his tools. It's the yanky tool."
Dorian showed Liric a well-drawn picture – no, more a schematic or plan perspective – of something that could have been right out of a manual on obscure torture devices. Toss a very large nutcracker, a key, a hook, and an exquisitely delicate teacup all into the Wyld on a full moon and something like this might come out a month later and succeed in killing you horribly. "It's the yanky tool," repeated Dorian, "at least I'm pretty sure it is." Liric did not have to play dumb on that one. Dorian explained at length, along with the implications of such an instrument being in creation and, apparently, going into a private auction. According to Dorian, the "yanky tool" had been designed to extract an exaltation from a crushed and/or twisted soul so that it (the exaltation, that is, the remnants of the soul were destroyed in the process, of course) could then be implanted in a new host. Extremely handy to have in a Primordial War. Not likely to see so much use now... unless someone wanted to use it on an intact host, which, in theory, it would work on with similar efficacy as a soul. Maybe a tad less efficient due to all the mortal bits getting in the way.
Liric was getting the very nasty feeling that Dorian knew far more about him than he was quite willing to share with someone he had just met. But then a brilliant silver-white light from somewhere outside drew their attention to the window. Liric recognized it as a Lunar anima, similar to Fandris, but belonging to someone he didn't know.
"That's something someone should probably check out," said Dorian. "Wanna come?"
Liric was finding it irritatingly difficult to say no around him, and Dorian was seeming to be far too free with information for an exclusive information broker. "He must know something about me..."
Dorian had fast horses, a carriage, and guards at his call. They arrived at the place where the anima had been. They found the aftermath of a very significant fight, a very dead blood ape (or what was left of it) and signs of a very significant injury suffered by someone no longer there. Some mercenaries contracted by the council also showed up around the time, but Dorian used his reputation to have them just secure the house and keep people out. He and Liric were going to follow the trail into the undercity. When they did, it did not take them long to find Alya in very bad shape. When Liric saw her, beaten and bloody, he had a flashback – possibly remembering a nightmare – of hands covered in blood. Alya's hands? Or his? Liric took a few moments to recover from the shock of it, then used his spirit sight charm. The shock of seeing the Bloody Hand standing over Alya, looking very concerned, took a bit longer to recover from. There was also a rat that didn't seem to care much one way or the other. They took Alya back to Dorian's estate. Liric did the best he could to patch her up. He kept waiting for Dorian to ask for a good explanation, but he didn't.
Dorian was too busy getting ready for his next appointment – something about a baby at a party. It was a very exclusive party. For some reason Dorian invited Liric along again, and he agreed since he had done all he could for Alya and now she just needed some time to rest. It was also a very creepy party. Masks were involved. A baby was presented to Dorian. He was asked if it was a normal human baby. Yes, he thought it was a completely normal human baby. Everyone seemed happy. Liric managed to be socially adept enough to keep his mouth shut the entire time. They both left very shortly thereafter.
Back at his manor, Dorian suggested they get some better information about the crypts Liric had mentioned. So... he contacted Oro. Oro was able to confirm the information, and also knew of an "active" crypt that he had been told not to mess with. "Active" meaning disease, ghosts, both, or something else entirely he couldn't say. In return for the information, and further assistance, Oro told Dorian that he wanted a shrine, more prayers, and more information to exchange. Dorian said he thought he could manage something.
Oro ("Yes, definitely a rat.") was constantly insinuating he knew things about Dorian and Liric throughout the meeting, and kept asking if they knew as well. ("Do you know? Did you show him? What kind? Two-fers?") It was fairly obvious that he knew Dorian was exalted. Liric seriously considered hitting Dorian in the mouth, but didn't. He hadn't seen Dorian in an actual fight yet. He was unlikely less effective than Liric, though, so it was probably for the best.
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
5/23/2015 – Session 6 – 23, Ascending Water – "Don't Leave Town"
It would take Alya a full week to recover. Liric suspected she would leave after she could walk pretty well again, which she did. He wasn't exactly practicing on Alya, but he did have a new charm that would help in medical situation by the time she left.
During that time he was in and out of Dorian's estate for "consulting purposes." Liric also kept up his own investigations, and part of that including combing through bookstores looking for anything out of the ordinary, especially old medical references or the history of Nexus or Hollow. In one bookstore, Liric realized the owner had some "special" merchandise for a "special" customer. He was trying to figure out if there were any way he might find out what the "special" merchandise was without getting arrested when Dorian – who happened to be the "special" customer – came into the store.
However, while they were there, the little god of the store (some sort of fish god) notified the owner (apparently some sort of god blood) that a couple of Hooded Executioners were headed straight for the store.
This was not good. The Hooded Executions worked for the council, and if this were a highly legal matter (it was) they may have been sent by the emissary itself. "Just how hot are these?" Dorian asked. It was a small box full of musty books and scrolls. They were resources 5 hot. But under the circumstances Dorian bargained them down to resources 4 hot and offered to help the owner get out of town. Deal. Liric just wanted to know if there was a back door. There was. Out back was Dorian's carriage, which Liric promptly took refuge in. Dorian stuffed the box in, got in himself, and started down the street. But then he stopped, got out, and went back to the store. Liric snatched the box and began reading.
There were several scrolls about the nature of sorcery, and Liric was pretty sure one could learn several spells if one knew something about sorcery to begin with. There was a guidebook to Meru, the old capital of the Solar Deliberative – worth a small fortune to a collector and highly heretical in the eyes of the immaculate faith. Then there was a strange scroll fragment about the nature of the souls of primordials that didn't quite make sense to Liric, but was probably hotter than the rest of the box combined, and quite possibly the most heretical thing in Nexus at that moment. He got out a journal and started copying.
Back at the store negotiations were going badly with the Hooded Executioners. A fight started, and Dorian's own guards joined in. It was over quickly, but the Executioners were dead and so were two of Dorian's guards. Liric poked his head out of the carriage and just stared in disbelief. Dorian was standing over the scene, chin in hand, formulating a plan.
The plan turned out to be stuffing the dead bodies into the carriage with Liric and heading back to his manor. They returned around dusk, shut the gates, and the remaining guards who were at the scene were given immediate vacation time. Dorian got a crowbar and began removing ornamentation and any identifying insignia from the carriage. He also removed the armor from the Executioners and formulated a noble story for the families of his own guards. That night Dorian took the carriage out, parked it at the top of a certain hill, and, after careful calculation and aiming, let it roll. Thirty seconds later the carriage and remains of the Executioners were just more finely chopped debris at the base of the Tomb of Singing Blades. Liric was still staring in disbelief. (Note to self: Dorian is good at expediency, and can afford it, too.) This left only the armor. Dorian made a prayer to Oro, offered the armor as a sacrifice, and waited. Oro showed up after a few minutes wearing something that might be described as a celestial track suit. Liric supposed it was a step up from the ratty robes he had previously seen Oro wearing. (That shrine must have worked fast...) Oro was not amused. But he took the armor anyway. (Still a rat though...)
Liric thought he probably really should have done something, though exactly what he wasn't sure. The really important part – the fight with the Executioners – was over really fast. And it wasn't like they were any more dead now.... By this time he had finished transcribing the Meru Guide and the scroll fragment. He gave the rest back to Dorian. It wasn't like he could go the the authorities and say anything that would both soothe his conscious and keep him out of trouble, so he slunk back to the Vulgar Tiger.
Another party was in full swing. He did not feel like a party. He went to his room and realized someone had been there – like Alya, who showed up moments later. Liric gave her the copies pages and told her they were hot, just stash them somewhere, please, and he'd pick them up later. He was not at all convinced he was going to get out of this. Alya looked at them and shrugged, said sure, and left. (Can Alya read them? They're in Old Realm. Doesn't matter. Can't know Old Realm. Can she?) Liric had no nightmares, but it was not a good night.
The next day he received word that one of the Councilors was requesting his presence. Not a functionary, an actual councilor. Hayle, the Midday Husband, to be precise. He was largely responsible for overseeing the health of the city, such as it was. There was one beneficial thing about this. Jampa had been staying at the Vulgar Tiger also, and she and Hayle had become something of an item. Exactly how much of an item Liric did not know. But enough that when she heard Liric had an appointment, she asked if she could tag along and nobody objected.
This turned out to be an amazingly good bit of luck. Liric's inquiries had caused some suspicion. Apparently the graffiti "fall away ashes; fall away skin" had been appearing much more often, just as Liric had entered the city and began asking around about it. Hayle was not convinced at all the Liric was not responsible. And there had been an above average number of incidents at the Tomb of Singing Blades in the past couple of weeks, one of which Liric was directly connected to.
Jampa used some charms. (She had to have used some charms... nobody is that good...) and ended up asking Liric Hayles questions instead of Hayle himself. Liric was vaguely aware that she was somehow putting positive (or at least unintentional and coincidental) spins on his answers and follow-up questions, and generally moving the line of questions away from anything that might prove too damaging. Hayle was still not very happy after it was done. However, it was quite late by this time, so Liric was "invited" to stay as a guest of the Midday Husband for the evening and night, then they would take care of one more tiny detail involving a newly-discovered crypt in the morning. Jampa stayed, too. Liric didn't ask why.
* * *
Liric didn't really sleep. If he was asleep, the white-clad figure with a silver mask that appeared in his room, crouched over him, in the middle of the night, put an end to it.
"I NKOW WHO YOU ARE." said a whispery, raspy voice.
PAUSE. RASPY BREATHING.
Um, wait, Hayle is the emissary?!
No, that can't be right. Can it? Could it? Does Jampa know this?
It grasped the pillow next to Liric and slowly raised it above its head.
But it acts in public, right? I'd die horribly in public if it's the emissary, right?
You're an idiot! It's the emissary or someone crazy enough to pretend to be him. It. Whatever. Do you really want to take the chance that it's someone crazy AND was able to sneak in the house of a councilor in the middle of the night without getting caught AND is actually worse at close fighting than you?
"I ap-p-pologize for any inconvenience my presence may have caused." Liric finally began.
Don't admit to anything illegal! Don't admit to anything illegal!
The pillow began to descend.
"I came to Nexus seeking answers to some personal questions, including some memories that I seem to have lost. I did not anticipate them causing any trouble to ... you ... or the council. In fact, I think, based on what I know now, answers to these questions could be of use, or helpful, in some way."
The pillow was right above Liric's face, but it did not move down anymore.
"It seems these questions may have some impact on the health and well-being of people here."
Just tell it you'll use your abilities to assist the council however they want.
No! What if it's a crazy person and doesn't actually know I'm a solar?
Will you shut up?
Wait, what if it can read minds?
"I believe there may be... effects... of something that was active back in the first age, still here, but on a very, very low level."
Are you sure?
"This causes a spiritual sickness in some people. It's extremely rare. Probably not contagious in any way, like a normal disease. I believe with some time I may be able to understand its nature and perhaps remove the effects entirely from the city. The graffiti and sickness would go away then."
You are making half this up! You have no idea how to do that!
A silver mask appeared at the pillow's edge. It was impossible to gauge any emotion behind it.
"Are you aware of the details of the case that I left with some officials?"
Idiot! Like it's going to tell you it doesn't know something!
And like it will let if live if you know it doesn't know something!
"Actually, I would be willing to report regularly to... someone... and provide any further information regarding the removal of the effects, ... or if that might be too troublesome, I'd be willing to work out some other ... understanding. Again, I came here with the intention of not causing any inconvenience to the normal operations of the city, and I am profoundly sorry if my actions have inadvertently caused anyone ... inconvenience."
The pillow slowly moved to the side, and Liric stared up into the impassive mask.
"DON'T LEAVE TOWN."
The figure began to move away. Liric slowly let out his breath, and blinked, but when he looked again the figure was gone. He lay there for a while breathing deeply as his heart rate slowly decreased. He took stock of his surroundings. The linens were unsoiled, and damp only with perspiration. That was something. But the room was still closed, with no visible way in or out.
* * *
Liric was a wreck the next morning, and he was not better when he found out Hayle intended to visit the same crypt that Sund has shown him a few days before. Had Dorian not been able to use his influence on the project? Or just not bothered? Didn't matter now.
Hayle was keeping a keen eye on Liric. Jampa was still tagging along keeping an eye on Hayle. When they got there, Liric looked around a bit, and there was obviously new graffiti, "Fall away ashes; fall away skin" inside the crypt. It had to have been written between the time Liric left the crypt and the diggers breaking in, and judging by the scrawls, probably by someone with a palsy. And Liric had no idea how that could happen. Unfortunately, he let his feelings show a little too much, and Hayle realized that the crypt was not in the condition Liric expected it to be in, meaning Liric had been here before. Jampa was there, but there wasn't much she could do without obviously taking Liric's side. There really wasn't anything else for it. There was no way he could pull off a lie on Hayle in his current condition, so Liric had to tell the truth. Well, most of it.
Yes, he had been there. No, he had not written any graffiti. No, he had not disturbed anything. Yes, he did close it back up because he didn't think it would be the greatest thing for someone to stumble onto. No, he could not explain everything that was going on. Yes, he did agree things were out of the ordinary, but No, again, he was sure he was not the one spreading the graffiti. Liric privately wondered though if maybe, just maybe, he might in some way be responsible. He did not mention anything about visitations the night before. He wasn't sure if that would make things better or worse considering the Emissary had gone to the trouble of threatening his life, then let him go. Sort of. Hayle remained unhappy. Jampa said a few helpful things. To agree with her mean that you would have to give Liric the benefit of the doubt. Hayle seemed incline to agree with Jampa.
There was nothing in the civilities about finding old crypts and then leaving them alone exactly as you found them, and Hayle had no direct evidence that Liric had even so much as touched a bucket of paint at any time anywhere in the city. Hayle did eventually ask Liric where he could be found if he had more questions. Liric said he would remain at the Vulgar Tiger for the foreseeable future.
When it was all finally over, Liric went back to the hotel, collapsed on the bed, and breathed a huge sign of relief. He also thought he really owned Jampa, but it would not be good at all for her to seek her out. No, she was in rather thick with things, and any interference from Liric would likely make them go very, very bad very, very fast. He also knew he had taken this line of inquiry as far as it could go, and he was at dead ends. He would need significantly more medical and occult knowledge, and possibly more stealth and some social skills, if he wanted to make progress. In short, he would need to put this aside for a while until he was more powerful.
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
6/13/2015 – Session 7 – 1, Resplendent Water – A Curious Absence of Character
Liric stayed put in the Vulgar Tiger for most of the following two weeks. They were not good weeks.
[Note: Missed this session. So here are some nightmares that bothered Liric around that time. It's all a bit stream-of-consciousness as a series of images. Apologies for the general pretentiousness of it all.]
A bright sunny day. A meandering path through hills, meadows, and copses of trees. A sense of harmony and peace developing just from walking in this setting. A rise in a hill. Approaching the rise. Beyond the rise – a black bassalt building in stark contrast to the landscape. Juxtaposition. Opposition. Discordance. Angles not naturally seen in nature. Proportions deliberately jarring and upsetting to the senses. Anti-harmony. Anti-peace. Anti-existence. Mortal fear – instinctually known – to gaze is to risk losing one's humanity. Fight or Flight – no, only Flight. Hands covering eyes, running; fingers beginning to dig into eyes to claw them out – better to never risk seeing it again.... Liric awakes with a start, shivering with cold and terror.
A bright sunny day. On an ... airship? Above the ground. A cloud drifts by. Very high. Pride. Accomplishment. Satisfaction. Dozens gathered. A party. On the deck. No, not the deck. Not an airship. Something more. The sun is brighter. Drifting closer to the sun. No, flying closer. No, more than flying. Cheers and celebration. One scream. Falling. A shadow on the ground. Getting bigger. Too fast. Should not be getting this big this fast. No, not a shadow. Something more. Falling faster. Something in the shadow reaching up. Falling too fast. Should not be able to fall this fast. Now the ground... the shadow... Liric awakes, heart pounding with fear.
A bright sunny day. A factory. A cathedral. No, both, at once. Idle. Dormant. Old. Unfashionable. Renovation. Montage – old parts, new parts; function, fashion; construction, demolition; old parts, new parts; old people, new people. Functional parts. Old parts. Fashionable parts. New Parts. New People. New Parts. New people-parts. New parts-people. A refinement organ. A dirge? No. A rhapsody? No. A fantasy? No. A ... dance? Yes. But more. Maybe... all? at once? and more? The people dance. The parts-people. Refinement. Faster. Soaring music. Faster. Refining faster. Into people-parts. Observing. Not Dancing. Overseeing. More music. More dancing. Not observing. Dancing. Unable to stop. Cannot stop the refinement. Must not stop. Need the parts. The people-parts. Refining the parts-people. Into the people-parts. Dancing faster and faster. Montage – old parts, new parts; function, fashion; construction, demolition; faster, faster, blurred. Liric awakes, confused and terrified.
A bright sunny day. Beautiful. Clean. Very clean. The air, the earth, the day itself. A good clean day to be out walking and enjoying the clean. Beautiful landscapes. Beautiful buildings. Beautiful people. And clean. Montage – Parks, buildings, things, people, clean. A feeling of being followed. Turn around, nothing. Turn back... and the parks and building and people and clean things are gone. A ruin now, dirty. No, sticky. With blood. Blood everywhere. Bloody hands. Sticky bloody hands. I know this blood! Turn and the walls are covered in blood. No, covered in writing written in blood. I know this writing! A rumbling down a corridor. The ruin is shaking. A river of blood bursts through the writing on the wall. A wave of blood and debris comes crashing down and ... Liric wakes with a strangled cry, but is wet only with his own sweat.
A bright sunny day. In Nexus. No, Hollow. Hollow-Nexus. Streets from old and new mingle into one. People move in and out of focus as they pass from old to new and new to old. Not people. You can see through them. Ghosts? No. Shadows? No. Memories? Maybe. Walking (Drifting?) through a memory of Hollow-Nexus. Now Firewander. No, then Firewander. Not a fire, not the wyld, but the sunlight gleaming from the dome of the old capital building. Now Firewander. Shimmering lights, like a fire, the capital dome still visible in its heart, the sun still gleaming. Now the sunlight piercing through the shimmering lights, and now the wyld melting away, and now Hollow-Nexus melting away, and now only the gleaming sunlight. It blazes down, brighter, pierces you with its intensity.... then turns away. Falling. Hollow-Nexus below. No, only Nexus. Gray skies. Falling. Breathing in the soot and ash from the smelters and smiths and the stink of the slower clogged canals. Falling through the fog and soot and stink. Falling through the street and standing in front of an ancient ruin that was once a hospital. The upper floors are missing, but the building sways and trembles and the floors reappear and it is outside now in Hollow-Nexus again, but the sun is still not shining, and the building is still trembling and swaying, then begins to topple forward. Not collapsing, but falling forward and you can see people (patients?) and hear them screaming in the windows and now its bulk is looming over you still falling forward and there is a moment just as it crashes when the twisting and trembling metal and stone sounds like it is screaming as well and... Liric wakes up and after a moment realizes the only one screaming is himself.
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
6/27/2015 – Session 8 – 2, Resplendent Water – Nice Doggie
While Liric was busy being miserable, Jampa was also still staying at the Vulgar Tiger and was kind enough to keep him informed of a few things going on outside. There was, for example, a half-neomah named Nerium. She had some kind of surface-thought reading artifact and was working for elements not friendly to Alya.
Then there was the "Fox Lady" apparently a Lunar being quite open about herself and spreading cult pamphlet in an attempt to attract more followers to a growing retinue. (Liric was unfortunate enough at this exact moment to wonder just how many exalts and essence users there were in town who might not want information getting out by someone with a surface-thought reading artifact.... while sitting in a reasonably private but still very insecure corner of the Vulgar Tiger commons, still one of the most popular social gathering places in Bastion.... He would not realize the ramifications of this until sometime later.)
When he wasn't talking to Jampa, Liric was doing some idle reading in any old text he could find concerning medicine or Nexus history. It was irritating to him how much truly useful information had survived through the Contagion and into modern times. There was one reference, however, that piqued his interest: a reference to a "mosaic," said to be someone who had more than one "person" in them. It was just a passing reference, without any real context, possibly (probably?) from a fragmentary source much older. There was also the possibility that the source came from some shaman who had taken a little too much wyld exposure.
Jampa also told Liric that some people he knew were interested in looking into that old solar tomb that Oro had told them about. He agreed to go along. It was in the undercity and supposed to be under guard by a lion dog. Liric was pretty sure he could not handle a lion dog, diplomatically or otherwise, but there would be other people there.
As the group worked their way underground and worked their way nearer to the tomb, waves of unhappiness seemed to wash over them. The feeling was coming from up ahead, and there was the lion dog, too. None of the group seemed to be too eager to fight it; Dorian had told them of the dog's general abilities and dispositions and their usual role in heaven. Jampa tried a very seductive dance (the rest of the group couldn't watch – it was that seductive), but that didn't have much of an impact on it. Next, Fandris decided to switch into his war form to try to impress the lion dog. Liric was quite impressed with Fandris' pony-sized anthropomorphic badger; the lion dog, not so much so. Rather than enter physical combat, though, Fandris tried to engage it in conversation. This seemed to work.
The lion dog was guarding the tomb mostly because it had nothing much better to do and felt that the ghost within deserved some kind of peace, or at least shouldn't be bothered by the living unless someone could send it peacefully to rest. After some more discussion, the group entered into an agreement with the lion dog. They would do their best to send the ghost to a peaceful rest and he would let them pass. Jampa sanctified the agreement.
As the group passed the lion dog and continued closer to the tomb, the walls seemed to weep unhappiness. Inside the tomb itself they found a young solar, female, apparently killed shortly after her exaltation. Her mind had been destroyed in the event, and reasoning proved futile, and they soon found themselves in combat. They had brought some alchemical potions to enhance blade and claw for fighting spirits, the ghost was proving quite resilient. Then it screamed. The scream cut through all of them almost like a blade. Liric seriously thought of just withdrawing (what could he do?) but a sense of foreboding doom as he considered this came over him, and remembering the oath sanctified by Jampa, he took out his bow and knocked an arrow. The fight continued, and Liric shot the arrow. It might have made a little scratch. Fandris was having significantly more success in his war form, but then the ghost screamed again and everyone in the room was looking really bad. Whatever happened, they could not let her do that again. Dorian suddenly seemed to remember the other supplies they had brought with them, including a large quantity of salt. Most ghosts were tied to their bodies, and the body of this ghost was in the middle of the room on the floor. The ghost realized what was happening just a moment too late, she lunged for Dorian, but her essence began dissipating as Dorian salted the body, and she was unable to effectively injure him, and did not scream again.
It was over. It was not the strongest of ghosts (granted, of an exalt, bust still...) and the group was battered. Among the items in the tomb was a resplendent satchel of healing. Liric took possession of this as he was the only one with significant medical knowledge ("Honestly, guys, it's more like first aid, really...") Other people took charge of a few other items and they left. Outside the tomb, Dorian took possession of the Lion Dog, somehow convincing it to act as a guard to his estate. Liric began to attune to the satchel. When accomplished, he was able to help patch some people back up quickly.
They eventually arrived back at Dorian's estate. Not long afterward, Oro surprised them by showing up in a bit of a panic. Actually a lot of a panic, especially for him. He was saying that he had found something but that he thought it might be really bad, but some other people were coming to get it... or something along those lines. Dorian and Liric hurried after him to see what was going on. They ended up at what could only be a bolt-hole. It was filled with artifacts, some of magical materials. There were also some women's clothes. A bit disturbingly, they seemed to be exactly Alya's size. However, whoever originally owned the artifact armor and weapons hardly just gave them away, as signs of battle on some could attest, and Liric was wondering how even someone with Alya's martial skill could get all these things. The armor and weapons were not what was bothering Oro, though. It was ... something ... like a box and a black metal cauldron and an egg all at once. Dorian bent down to examine it closer, then stood back up.
"That's not good. That shouldn't be here." Liric had noted before that Dorian was sometimes prone to understatement. Then Dorian began a prayer to Lytek, using the device as a sacrifice, which seemed to confirm this was one of those times. "It's left over from the primordial war," he explained to Liric after he finished. "It can hold an exaltation. Not really useful by itself, and it looks like it may be broken, too, but, if someone had this and the yanky tool..." Liric didn't have a lot of time to consider the implications, but the immediate ones were clear enough, because Lytek showed up next to them in a burst of light. Lyric was slightly awed that a god of Lytek's stature would bother showing up. But Dorian was right – this really wasn't a good thing to have floating around the Nexus underground.
Lytek was a bit odd. Distractable, touchy, and a really awful liar would be how Liric remembered him. While he did pick up the device, he didn't seem overly concerned with it, but more interested in talking to Dorian and Liric about the exaltations they bore, them memories and experiences, and so on. Lytek told Liric that he had intentionally left some memories of previous exaltation attached, and he should be experiencing them in helpful ways. When asked, he flatly denied any involvement in Liric's memory loss or nightmares. He also told the two that if they were interested in developing their crafting skills that he could help with those. Dorian tried to ask Lytek about the "yanky tool" but Lytek insisted that it wasn't missing – couldn't be missing – and tried to hush any discussion about it. It was obviously missing.
Around that time Oro indicated that they really ought to get moving and that people were coming. Lytek departed, leaving the two twilights and Oro in the stash. When pressed for more information, though, Oro couldn't speak, but began spitting up maggots. This did not seem natural. But the panicky expression was obvious enough that they all really needed to hurry. They asked Oro if there was a back way out of this, and he gestured to a panel in the wall. They found a way to open it, and Dorian and Liric both headed out. As he left, Dorian picked up a pair of Starmetal smashfists from the piles of artifacts and a giant yassal crystal that would turn out to have a hoarder in it. Liric also picked up something, but then at the very last moment was overcome with a deep sense of dread that most anything here might come back to haunt him, so left empty-handed.
Liric and Dorian could hear some voices as they left. The speakers seemed to be expecting to find the artifact that Lytek took, but the conversation was broken up and hard to hear. Oro seemed to be trying to stall or cover up something, but they didn't stay around to try to find out exactly who was there or what was going on. They headed back to Dorian's estate to examine the artifacts in more detail.
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
7/11/2015 – Session 9 – 13, Resplendent Water – It's Only A Behemoth
Liric was soon to discover that he was a person of significant interest, along with Fandris (already known to be an anathema in Nexus) and Alya. And a few people who had been associated with Liric of late (such as Dorian) were likely to be scrutinized. He had, apparently, in the very recent past, had his surface thoughts detected by the half-neomah who had been in Nexus of late. Also, it seemed that the Guild were the ones after the artifact that Oro had shown Liric and Dorian.
Time for damage control. Dorian consulted a bit with Jampa. He concluded the best course of action would be to simply hire the services of the half-neomah himself. Liric tried not to feel too guilty or conspicuous. He trudged to his room at the Vulgar Tiger. His heightened senses told him someone had been in there, though. Someone very good at getting in, who only disturbed enough that someone with Liric's abilities would realize that someone had been in the room. Someone like Alya. Liric privately felt that maybe, just maybe, a more direct method of dealing with the half-neomah might be more prudent than silver, and was a little disappointed Alya hadn't stayed around. He felt a little bad about feeling that, but he still felt it.
Instead, he met Norbu. Norbu was an associate of Jampa. Liric had honestly stopped trying to keep track of Jampa's social circle. He knew that Norbu was a Lunar, was close to Jampa, but the exact nature of their relationship was something they seemed to keep private. Norbu was there to tell Liric that the Wyld Hunt was coming. Not specifically for him, just coming, but they seemed to have his name. The others were also being notified.
Liric thanked Norbu for the information and began packing.
When finished, Liric went off to find Dorian. He was definitely going to have to ask for some help to deal with this. Leaving seemed like an excellent option. But whenever Liric gave this a great deal of serious thought, a white-clad figure with a silver mask loomed in his mind, telling him not to leave town.
He met Dorian at his estate, and was surprised to find Alya. She gave him back the documents he had left with her for safe keeping some weeks earlier. Dorian had something on his mind other than leaving, though. He told Liric to listen very carefully. Liric used his essence to enhance his senses and heard... something... like a low murmuring of many voices. It seemed to be coming from the general direction of Firewander. Liric also noted a general panicky feeling in the air, and even if its source remained undetectable to normal mortal senses, it was still having an effect.
Dorian explained that something...large... had been observed over the past days in the heart of the Wyld pocket in Firewander. And, as the next day would be the full moon, if it was going to do anything nasty, it would probably do it then. Unless it did it tonight. There was already some hysteria in Firewander someone needed to deal with.
They piled into a carriage and headed toward Firewander. They also met Jampa and Norbu on the way. They stopped several blocks from Firewander and Dorian sent the carriage back. The noise was definitely audible now, just on the edge of perception. Worse, it was having a definite impact on people. They met Fandris there as well. Alya, Fandris, and Norbu went to scout; Dorian, Jampa, and Liric advanced a little down the street but were soon confronted by an angry mob looking for demons.
The mob was suffering from hysteria, and they found they could not reason with it. One member began insisting that they cut him open to remove the demon that was inside him. Much to his horror, Liric heard next to him Dorian's voice offering suggestions on the most efficient means to accomplish this. He turned and was more horrified to see the maddened glint in Dorian's eye. Just behind Dorian, Liric saw Jampa cowering in fear. Norbu didn't seem to be doing much better, but was mostly concerned with Jampa. Both the solars had somehow been overtaken by the madness. This was very bad. If Dorian, or probably worse, Jampa, actually took charge of the mob somehow, things would likely get much, much worse very quickly.
Liric tried to appeal to whatever latent sense of reason might be remaining in either personality. There wasn't much, be eventually the mob was convinced that the best plan of action to search for and deal with the demons was to smoke them out and burn their hiding places. These hiding places happened to be guild drug warehouses (now unguarded) and some of the larger opium dens. In a few minutes there was enough smoke laced with opiates drifting through the streets to soothe an angry yeddim. Liric hoped that nobody would end up burning themselves, but it was the only way he could think of that someone with no social skills to speak of could possibly calm several square blocks of Firewander. Then the behemoth emerged, and with it a fresh wave of terror.
This washed over him also, but he lost track of Dorian. Norbu and Jampa both fled to a dark alcove at the entrance of a shop. The behemoth began to leave the Wyld pocket. It seemed to be made entirely of dead bodies, was vaguely humanoid-shaped in that it had stumpy legs and long, thick arms, and waves of fear and a wailing sound came from it. Liric moved away from the smoke and Jampa's hiding place. He was probably going to have to attack this thing, and he didn't want to draw it near an area where he knew for sure people still were if he could help it.
About this time Fandris' anima flared on the behemoth's back. And from somewhere across the district some kind of sorcery was being cast at the behemoth. Either the fox lady was still in town, or this was someone new. Liric took out his bow and joined in. The silvery essence arrows he shot probably were not doing much good, but it was all he could add. Soon another lunar anima flared (Norbu?), and the creature turned and began to shuffle back toward the Wyld. The assault kept up. The behemoth almost reached the Wyld pocket, but seemed to melt away at its edge due to all the damage.
It took a while to find everyone afterward. Jampa had some nasty injuries (apparently the behemoth had found her hiding place) but Liric did his best to patch her up, and she insisted on going back out and trying to calm the remaining crowds afterward. Liric was loathe to cause Dorian any more trouble. He instead was able to find Fandris and asked, with the Wyld Hunt coming, would it be possible to, say, borrow a good bolt hole for a while? Fandris agreed and showed him a reasonably well hidden one, with back door and everything, and Liric gathered his things and moved in, preparing to do his best to lay low for several weeks (or until the Wyld Hunt lost interest and left).
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
7/25/2015 – Session 10 – 1, Descending Water – Missing (or, Preparations for a Party)
[Note: Missed this session. So here is the way things totally went down in preparation for the next session. Yes, taking liberty with several NPCs and at least one Ally. But this is really how it happened.]
Dramatis Personæ Factio
I-Shij-Shem – God of a food animal twice yeddim-size that went extinct during the contagion
The Matron – Tall, stern, unsmiling, clad in black, always holding an unmarked wooden stick with knuckle-shaped indentions along its length.
Oro – A Rat
Tximeleta – 2-foot tall winged butterfly goddess completely colored in uniform drab gray
Unipug – God of unipugs, an extinct animal companion.
A chauffeur (not a sidereal)
A waitress (also not a sidereal)
Additonal Characters Not Appearing:
Alya – A Bad Person
Liric – A Victim
Not-A-Sidereal – Not a Sidereal
The Incarna – Lords of Heaven
* * * *
SCENE – A shabby teahouse on the edge of a seedier district of Yu-Shan. The Personæ except Oro sitting at a table inside.
[I-SHIJ-SHEM] <sighs> I'm hungry.
[THE MATRON] We will wait. He will be here shortly.
[UNIPUG] <squirms in seat> I need to...
[THE MATRON] <stiffly> We. Will. Wait.
[UNIPUG] <very quietly> Yes, ma'am.
OUTSIDE – A rickshaw comes and sits near the teahouse. ORO emerges and enters the teahouse. ORO's astonishingly attractive chauffeur waits outside the teahouse, as if watching for something. He casually leans against the side of the building and the top button of his shirt carelessly comes undone of its own accord.
[ORO] Ah, hello, everyone! I must apologize for the delay. Mercury has taken the lead in the games three times in the past hour and you know what that does to traffic.
[THE MATRON] Oro. It is pleasant of you to come.
[I-SHIJ-SHEM] Are you hungry?
[ORO] What? Er...
[TXIMELETA] Yes, it really is so thoughtful of you to come. Please, have a seat.
[ORO] <sitting and motioning a waitress to the table> You are most gracious. Tea, everyone? My treat.
[I-SHIJ-SHEM] I'm hungry.
[WAITRESS] <approaches table>
[ORO] <to waitress> Five of the house finest. But I think we will forego the ceremony today.
[WAITRESS] <raises a single eyebrow, but says nothing. departs.>
[ORO] Now, have you had a chance to discuss the, ah... proposal?
[UNIPUG] I had a question about...
[THE MATRON]<interrupting> Yes. We have agreed. We will lend our assistance and bring at least one other who is sympathetic.
[ORO] <smiles rattily>
[TXIMELETA] Well... yes. Though, in return ... well, the nature of compensation...
[ORO] <waves hand dismissively> I have had the recent good fortune to progress within the bureaucracy. It gives one perspective, you know? I see Yu-Shan. I see creation. I see the state of both. I see the opportunity to share my good fortune, with the potentials for all involved. You can help me, and I, in return, can help you, all in one move. Your gratitude, really, is quite enough.... Though if you insist on additional arrangements...
[TXIMELETA] Oh, no, thank you. I really am quite grateful, really.
[ORO] <smiles rattily>
[WAITRESS] <returns with a teatray and service in two hands and cups and saucers in the other four. places service on the table. departs>
[ORO] <picks up the teapot and begins to pour> Excellent. Shall we?
[UNIPUG] But I still had a question about... Alya?
[UNIPUG] Well, isn't she supposed to be... a... you know...
[ORO] Many people are supposed to be good, responsible, helpful ... useful ... all these things. Unfortunately, some people are simply not. It is regrettable. Alya has done bad things. And now she has enemies.
[UNIPUG] But... then... the other person you said would help us... wasn't he also supposed to be... a...
[ORO] Yes... but that's different. He's useful. Helpful.
[UNIPUG] But if we are going to... you know... help them, to get our things back... why do we need to...
[THE MATRON] <interrupting> Because she is bad!
[UNIPUG] <looks sad and unhappy>
[THE MATRON] <Tapping her stick lightly on the table, as if out of old habit> Now, now, there's no need to look like that. Humans tend to get what humans tend to deserve. It is just that simple. And necessary.
[UNIPUG] <still looking sad and unhappy> But...
[THE MATRON] <Waves stick above UNIPUG's head> She's Bad! Do you understand? Bad! And has done very bad things. Just imagine what a bad person like that would do to ... something like ... oh ... puppies. Isn't that right, Oro?
[ORO] Um, Oh... yes, quite.
[TXIMELETA] <very quietly> Is she ugly?
[ORO] Well, I suppose... well, yes, from certain particular angles, extremely.
[TXIMELETA] I don't like ugly things. <Bitterly glances at her wings, then quickly flips them behind her back. They change shape into a smaller, less ornate set of wings, but retain the dull gray color, creating a sprinkling of gray scales above the table that slowly fall into the tea. Tembles for a moment, then buries head into hands and starts to cry.>
[I-SHIJ-SHEM] <sticks out an unexpectedly long tongue and catches a few scales and seems to deeply analyze their flavor, then looks very disappointed.>
[THE MATRON] <Begins tapping stick again>
[UNIPUG] But, we're helping one, but another...
[ORO] That's the deal. It really is quite unfortunate, but ... some things need to be recycled. To a better place. That's all.
[UNIPUG] <exasperated, and indicating ORO's chauffeur> But then, which side is he on?
[ALL] <extremely uncomfortable silence that lasts too long>
[ORO] <looks panicky and vaguely sick, but says nothing>
[THE MATRON] What do you mean? He is on our side, of course. He's obviously just helping.
[ALL] <sighs of relief all around>
OUTSIDE: <a small strip of paper floats away from Oro's chauffeur then vanishes in a puff of essence>
[UNIPUG] <Looking briefly puzzled> Well, since you put it like that. And if she really is bad...
[ORO] <Relieved> Naturally. Now that we all understand each other, is there anything else?
[THE MATRON] This person who is going to help. He can track down this Alya?
[ORO] Oh yes. Incredible investigation skills. Very difficult to hide anything from him.
[UNIPUG] <begins to happily lap at his tea, making quite of lot of noise and wet mess on the table>
[THE MATRON] <pretending not to notice UNIPUG> And... afterward? He is skillful? Educated? Punctual?
[ORO] Of course. Completely literate. In multiple languages, too. And travels, yes. Very learned.
[TXIMELETA] And can make pretty things?
[ORO] <signs> Tximeleta dear, he's in Nexus right now. Nexus. We need to have a bit of patience. It's all that he has to work with. Now, with a bit of time, I'm sure, yes. What is the phrase... he still needs to “build the tools that will build the tools?” Yes? You want him to do it right, don't you? Make it permanent, don't you?
[TXIMELETA] <sniffs, sheds single gray tear, nods head.>
[I-SHIJ-SHEM] Is he hungry?
[ORO] I tell you what, I just had an idea. With so much that he needs to do, I'm sure he would appreciate any extra help you could give him. Perhaps you have some notes or records in your sanctum? You know, plans? Suitable for building and crafting? Or you might discreetly fetch something suitable from the appropriate department over the next week or two? Then make your own annotations for improvements? Yes, everyone?
[ALL] <murmurings of approval from all except THE MATRON>
OUTSIDE – Oro's chauffeur runs the fingers of one hand through his thick hair as if bored. Another rogue shirt button pops open in his moment of distraction.
[ORO] Well, it's getting a bit late. I – or someone – will let you know the particulars of the formal meeting when everything is in place and transportation for our ... guest ... has been arranged.
[UNIPUG] So we just help get Alya and then we get our domains back? Lets go!
[UNIPUG] <Jumps from table, bounds out the door. Stops momentarily to lift his back leg near the outside corner of the teashop. Then runs on his way.>
[THE MATRON] Oro, one more thing. Has our guest actually been informed of everything and has agreed? Or will there be... persuasion?
[ORO] <slowly> He is aware of some details... yes.
[THE MATRON] Tximeleta, I-Shej-Shem, did you have any other questions for our new friend here?
[TXIMELETA] Er, no ma'am. <flies away from the table and departs>
[I-SHIJ-SHEM] <wordlessly departs> <mutters to himself as he exits the door> But I'm still hungry...
[THE MATRON] <In a low voice> Oro dear, you don't actually know what I've lost, do you? Did you even bother finding out anything meaningful about the others beyond determining they might be able to help you advance another little step?
[ORO] <glancing at the unmarked but knuckle-pocked stick> Well, really, I...
[THE MATRON] Now, now, lies are unbecoming. Oro dear, your little copper spider had best be very well behaved. For everyone's sake.
[THE MATRON] <slowly rises from the table> <departs>
[WAITRESS] <walks by the table and casually drops a bill in front of ORO>
[ORO] <gets up, leaves a few amborsia pieces on the table, departs>
OUTSIDE – Oro getting into the rickshaw, turning around to watch THE MATRON disappear down the street
[ORO] <to the chauffeur> Okay, who was she, and what have I not been told?
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
8/22/2015 – Session 11 – 8, Descending Water – Gate 17
Liric woke up in unfamiliar surroundings. He was laying on, and covered with, rough, heavy bags that he soon realized were full of grain. There were voices, too. He lay very still and tried to hear what they were saying. But they sounded like dock or warehouse workers going about their normal business. Liric tried to shift one of the bags to the side a little to try to see out. He created a small hole, but in the opening appeared what could only have been a god – a very small, wrinkled, and gnarled god. The god put a finger to its lips, Shhhhhhshed, and in doing so sprayed Liric with half-chewed raw rice. Then it shifted another bag back over Liric's face.
Lovely. I've been absconded by grain gods.
He lay still for a few minutes and listened to the activity outside continue.
No, grain gods are not getting past Fandris and half of Fandris' gang and dragging me out of a Nexus bolt hole without me even waking up. No, I've been absconded by someone or something the grain gods are working for and am now being delivered by grain gods to... someone or something that can't be bothered to abscond me itself.
Liric thought about that for a while. He might be able to take a grain god like the one he had just seen in a straight up fight. Whoever or whatever wanted him here was at least two steps of power above that. He hoped there hadn't been trouble back in Nexus. He was sure he wasn't in Nexus but couldn't say exactly why. Something about the light and sounds, maybe. However, he seemed to be perfectly fine. Liric was just beginning to worry about what the Emissary might think of that when the bags began to be shifted again. He was quickly uncovered, pulled up, and led away to a waiting rickshaw... an aerial rickshaw which took off into the skies of Yu-Shan. It took a moment for the sight to sink in.
Well... at least the Wyld Hunt probably isn't here. However, all the secrecy implies I'm not supposed to be here either, chosen of the Unconquered Sun or not.
Liric was not alone. Inside the rickshaw was Oro. He appeared to have moved up a bit in the spiritual pecking order. "Welcome to heaven!" Oro exclaimed as they rose higher into the sky. Liric just scowled. He had definitely not been absconded by forces loyal to Oro. Sure, Oro may have helped, he could see that, but someone at least a level above Oro was pulling strings.
Liric took some time looking at the streets far below pass by as they continued on. It really was incredible, he had to admit. Oro acted as impromptu tour guide, though the various buildings and departments and residences didn't mean that much to Liric, beyond confirming what he already knew about heaven being home to the gods and the massive celestial bureaucracy that was supposed to be keeping things running smoothly back in creation.
"So, I've decided I'd kind of like to know what's going on," Liric said after what must have been many more miles. He soon realized that Oro had only so much information he would share. Or could share. Possibly due to his nature as a god, possibly something else. Oro told Liric that they were going to be meeting some gods who wanted to help him out, and who he could also help out in return. When pressed for details about who was organizing all this or responsible, Oro became evasive or slightly panicky and nauseated looking. Liric remembered the maggots Oro coughed up when he was trying to tell him and Dorian about the hidden bolt hole back in Nexus. That did not seem natural, and Liric didn't want a repeat in the close quarters of the rickshaw, so he backed off.
When the rickshaw set down in a neighborhood plaza, a group of gods was there to great them. They were having a reception of sorts to welcome Liric. Liric stepped out, did his best to smile, and said something he couldn't remember later that was probably very foolish at the time, but the gods there all seemed very excited to see him anyway. Liric was struck by two things as their time together passed. The first was how genuinely pathetic and desperate many of the gods were. Most had been without any real meaningful work since the Great Contagion when their domains had been destroyed by disease or had been destroyed by the fair folk's invasion. Liric suspected more than a few had become addled and gone slightly mad during that time. Many had brought him descriptions, drawings, and plans or blueprints of their previous domains along with suggestions for how best to recreate them and improvements upon them. Doing so was quite beyond Liric's present abilities, but he did his best to listen and follow along, unsure sometimes if he lacked the specialized knowledge to follow or if the god he was speaking too was simply too out of touch with reality to make sense. The ones with drawings in what must have been the celestial equivalent of crayon fell especially into this latter group.
The second thing Liric noted was the general state of Yu-Shan. From the sky, the celestial city was greater than anything he had ever imagined. On the ground, he could tell they were actually meeting in a seedier neighborhood. Though its appearance was still grand and opulent, it had a look remarkably similar to some neighborhoods in cities in creation that had at one time been showplaces, but the old money that built them had long left or dried up, and the remaining residents were unable to maintain the upkeep, so everything uniformly slid into a faded, dusty state of neglect. What Liric was able to learn from the gods about the state of Yu-Shan was just as interesting, possibly even moreso, than the dozens of extinct animals or lost cities or technologies they wanted him to rebuild. Though everyone was careful to speak in positive terms, it was obvious to Liric that the Incarna who were supposed to be in charge were not. They were busy playing something called the Games of Divinity, and the skies of Yu-Shan changed to indicate who was leading. For most of the time it seemed to be a bright sky associated with the Unconquered Sun, but at other times it would change to a darker color that might be seen in near dusk or dawn that was associated with one of the Maidens of Fate or Luna. So the Incarna were there, they just weren't doing any sort of real governing. So... who was in charge? Every reply said the Incarna, but every reply also indicated someone else, or not really anyone at all, or some other division of power. Possibly some of these gods were so far out of the loop of the normal bureaucracy they didn't really understand it themselves.
Eventually the time came to depart. Actually, it seemed more like their activity was about to attract some attention they didn't want it to. And then Liric learned the real catch behind his visit. Oro told him that "we" needed him to help them kill Alya. "Who is we?" Oro was under a lot of pressure to not give a lot of detail. Again, his divine nature, or something else? Oro went over a litany of things that Alya was supposed to have done, all of them very bad and destructive. Liric noted that a lot of them were during the time Alya said she had no memory (which she was lying about, supposedly). What most got Liric's attention was that Alya was the cause of him memory loss at the time of his exaltation, though Oro couldn't really explain just how that was supposed to work. It was strongly implied that Liric was in fact, a target of assassination, or in the way of a target. Either way, lack of detail and the simple fact that he was still alive made Liric highly skeptical.
It was also becoming clear to Liric he was in no position to say 'No.' He was somewhere in Yu-Shan, had no way of knowing where the exit was (there were probably multiple ways in and out... at least for gods... but if he found a way would it take him back to Nexus? Or some place halfway across creation? He could just turn himself over to authorities and request to be put back in Nexus, but he wasn't sure on his legal status at all. Then there was still the unanswered question of who was really organizing and in charge of his abduction and the meetings today. Someone prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to eliminate Alya, but who wouldn't or couldn't do it themselves, apparently.
At least Liric agreed to help find Alya. He was also supposed to help kill her. He said flatly that was beyond his abilities, but he would help track her down and locate her. And it was true enough. He didn't think he could kill Alya even if he absolutely tried his hardest. And if he didn't find Alya right away, she would probably show up again some time as she tended to do and find him.
The trip back to the gate to Nexus was uneventful, but Yu-Shan did not seem quite so shiny. Sure, it was still grand beyond anything existing in creation, but Liric could spot other neglected areas now that he realized what to look for, and he suspected he hadn't seen the worst of it at all. It's a lot like creation in a way, with gods going about their business pretending it isn't as bad as it really is.
Liric told Oro that if he were going to be staying in Nexus with the Wyld Hunt showing up, he would need a disguise of some sort. Oro said they could get something on their way out. Apparently a lot of gods with business in Nexus or nearby made use of some shops near the gate.
"Here, take these," said Oro as they got near the gate. He handed Liric a stack of bound papers.
"Just don't read them, and if you ever need to contact me, just burn those or something, 'cause I'd really like to get them back and find out what's in them," he smiled a very board and ratty smile.
Right, they're secrets. Valuable secrets. Valuable enough to make a good sacrifice, and possibly ones he shouldn't even have. So he gets a great prayer, the secrets, and some impunity from having or learning the secrets because I get to be the one that technically gives them to him. Note to self: Someone else might be pulling strings, but Oro is possibly a master at gaming any system.
Liric wrote out a short prayer to Oro and put it with the papers, so if he had to, everything could go up in flame at once with Oro receiving the prayer as it metaphysically went up in smoke and drifted to heaven.
The disguise was an impressive "full package." "Kiritgad" (aka "not-Liric," the proprietors of the disguise shop insisted it was an 'auspicious' name) had an apartment in Sentinel Hill, a letter of introduction to the School of Philosophy for a minor temporary position, even a library card. The "full package" also came with Unipug, one of the gods who had been at the meeting earlier, whose job it was to keep track of Liric and help him track down Alya. Unipug was the god of Unipugs, an extinct animal companion that went extinct during the contagion. The last grave of the last unipug had somehow survived all the intervening years in Nexus, and served as the entrance to Unipug's sanctum, such as it probably was. Unipug seemed to be very excited and happy that he had been chosen for such an important job. Liric would soon come to suspect it was also just to get Unipug out of heaven.
[OOC: 8 success on investigation roll to during social interaction to understand the actual state of things in Yu-Shan based on conversations with these gods.]
[OOC: 3 success on written prayer to Oro]
[OOC: Disguise equivalent of 6 successes – enough to fool anyone without supernatural senses.]
[OOC: There was rather more interaction with Oro's chauffeur, but Liric forgot about that shortly after returning to creation and attributed most of the information given by the chauffeur to Oro instead.]
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
9/12/2015 – Session 12 – 9, Descending Water – Auspicious Returns
The gate to heaven in Nexus was housed in a very large and active warehouse, essentially right in the middle of town, under everyone's nose. Not-Liric simply presented his disguise papers to the lion dogs charged with guarding it and stepped out. Unipug trailed, dematerialized.
Not-Liric's first order of business was to try to find someone he knew. He thought Dorian might be the most likely to understand. He went to the estate and presented himself as Kiritgad, recently arrived in Nexus, a scholar of medicine and alchemy, who had heard of Mr. Duskholme's reputation and hoped to make the acquaintance of a fellow scholar, if the timing was not inconvenient, thank you.
Not-Liric was shown to a small waiting room. He activated his spirit sight charm. Nothing unusual, just a unipug looking around quizzically at his feet. A few minutes later Dorian poked his head in the room. He turned his head sideways just a bit, as if studying the situation.
"Liric, what are you doing in that disguise? And why do you have a unipug following you?"
"Is that Alya?" came a question from near not-Liric's feet.
Not-Liric just sighed. It was like Dorian to do his best to not act surprised by anything.
"I've been to heaven," replied not-Liric. Fine. If you want to play cryptic, fine. I can, too.
"That's nice. I'm getting ready for a party tonight. Would you like to come?"
"Uh, I'm..." Nuts. Can't win. "I'm afraid after today I'm rather partied out. I just wanted to let you know I'll be staying at an apartment in Sentinel Hill for the near future. Also... that I look like this, on account of the Wyld Hunt... and... things. I don't suppose you've seen Alya by any chance?"
"No, haven't seen her. But you're welcome to come to the party if you change your mind."
"Ok, Dorian, thanks, I'll keep it in mind, but I'm really kind of tired after today."
"Alright, see you later then."
Not-Liric left and stood for a moment on the walk outside.
"Was that Alya?"
"No. That...." What, exactly, was unipug supposed to do when they found Alya? Had he been given some secret artifact that would call down a celestial hit squad to his current location? More likely he would run off and ... bark frantically at the Nexus gate? "No, that was just Dorian," sighed not-Liric. He's nobody to be concerned about."
Not-Liric began to walk off, then noticed a war wagon parked next door to Dorian's estate with emblems indicating it was being used by the Wyld Hunt. There were a couple of monks on the lawn practicing a kata. And that was something to be concerned about. Not-Liric turned on his heel and took the long way home.
The apartment on Sentinel Hill was quite nice. Liric removed part of the disguise. He wondered how long he would need to keep it up. He spent the rest of the evening looking more closely at the identify papers he had been given. Unipug spent the evening looking out the window – for Alya. He would occasionally ask if someone he saw on a street outside might be Alya. After the first few times, Liric got tired of checking and just asked Unipug for a description from across the room. None of them were Alya. However, one of them was "a bright light flying up in the sky." Liric looked out and saw the familiar sight of Fandris' anima flying away quickly. He was coming from somewhere very near Dorian's estate... or next door. "No, that's definitely not Alya," Liric mumbled. "She wouldn't be all silver." He hoped nothing too troublesome was happening. For now, though, he was useful to... someone, so he would trust in the disguise and see what he could do with it the next day.
The next day, not-Liric went to the School of Philosophy, happy to have spent the night unvisited by anyone in a silver mask unhappy that he had left Nexus. (Maybe going through the gate doesn't technically count as leaving?) Unipug trailed along, asking if Alya would be there. "Maybe," was not-Liric's answer. It was actually a quite good educational institution, and the campus seemed unusually busy. He stopped a passing student, said he had just arrived in town, and needed to see an administrator, and hoped he hadn't arrived at an inconvenient time due to all the activity. He learned that there was a dragon-blood giving a lecture on demon summoning. Great. And I'm the irresponsible danger to creation. He was happy to learn that administration was in the opposite direction to the lecture hall where most everyone seemed to be heading.
Unfortunately there he ran into the guest dragon-blood lecturer and her summoned blood apes. Not-Liric was just about to round a corner when he heard her and smelled them. He stopped, tried to back up a bit and sneak into a side room, but was heard. A very large blood ape stomped around the corner and glared down at him. Spotted, not-Liric thought it best to just stay put until its Mistress arrived, which she did a moment later, since running implied guilt... for something. Fortunately, it was only a brief exchange, and not-Liric failed to make any special impression on her after apologizing profusely for interrupting her conversation. He had never been so happy to be thought of as a nobody after she went on her way.
He also apologized to the director, explaining that he had just arrived in town and would never intentionally bother him or create trouble had he realized today would be something of a special occasion, but the director seemed happy that someone had finally interrupted them. He looked over not-Liric's credentials, which indicated he was a beginning Thaumateurgy instructor specializing in alchemy. Not-Liric was sure given his medical, occult, and other esoteric knowledge he could fake any basic skills unless asked to actually make something. Not-Liric said he would likely be in town for sure only three months, and after that ... well, it would depend on how things were working out.
Despite his interview skills, not-Liric was given a minor lecturing position that would keep the apartment paid for. He checked in to the very modest facilities he had been given, then decided he might go and blend in with the crowd at the dragon-blood's lecture.
The lecture hall was packed, and not-Liric was able to get a perfect spot at the back in the standing section where he was likely be go completely unnoticed. He did use his spirit sight charm to look around during the lecture to see if anything unusual was going on. He didn't see anything. Based on her comments, he didn't think she was actively involved with the Wyld Hunt, and she would be giving another series of lectures later on. She did not actually summon a demon.
When the lecture ended, not-Liric saw a fire-aspected dragon-blood heading in the general direction of the lecture hall against the crowd. He was in full armor. Not-Liric wondered what might be up, but didn't think it worth the risk to go back and check. It was nearing the end of the day, so he went back to his apartment.
The next day not-Liric went back to the School and spent most of the morning preparing a few basic lectures. He began with proper distillation techniques for purifying Nexus river water, then essential occult properties of common medicinal herbs (in three parts) and a couple others that seemed dry enough to ensure a lack of close student attention while still retaining actual academic merit.
Eventually around midday he realized Unipug had stopped asking questions about Alya. Not-Liric took a little break and looked around for Unipug but couldn't find him. He also took the time to treat all the papers from Oro with an alchemical compound that would cause the papers to burn in an instantaneous flash if exposed to any type of flame.
Unipug showed up a few hours later, though. He said that Alya was at the Guild Tower where there was a trap waiting for her. Both curious (about what Unipug had been up to on his own) and alarmed (that Unipug had been up to anything on his own), not-Liric left the campus and went to the Guild Towers where... nothing happened.
Unipug insisted that there was a person Alya really wanted to murder who was going to be here. They looked around the courtyard, lobby, most places not-Liric could publicly go without attracting any attention. Nothing. Not-Liric was getting tired and irritated. He thought he might try going to find someone who might know anything. He had heard that Jampa had recently acquired a teahouse, so he decided to check it out. When he got there, though, he realized that the teahouse was being watched by at least three different factions, and they were not necessarily aware of or working with each other. He had no idea what might have brought this level of surveillance on, but as he had just got a decent working disguise and his real name was known (at least to the Council) as a likely if not known anathema, he thought it best to leave the teahouse for now and reconsider his options. So he went back to his apartment.
At his apartment, not-Liric found a really nice carriage and Hooded Executioners and a Council member, all looking for Liric. Not not-Liric, but Liric. They had his description. Not Liric, but not-Liric. Unipug began acting very servile and submissive. Liric began to get a nasty feeling about some of the things he may have been up to while out on his own. However, they didn't have the Wyld Hunt with them, so I couldn't get that bad. Maybe.
The Councilor was Master Gen, The Minister of Ways, who was in charge of overseeing taxes. He was very unhappy. He took Liric to a warehouse that had been sealed off. Inside was another carriage with two dead bodies inside. One was Arys Shen, the Guild hierarch who put the hit out on Alya. The other was a bodyguard. They had been killed while in the carriage, while the carriage was traveling down a street, and nobody knew anything until the carriage stopped. Liric checked things over. Yes, damage to the carriage floor and wounds on the bodies consistent with those that would be made by a chain daiklave, like Alya's. Liric checked it out with his spirit sight, also. Nothing, except Unipug lying on the ground on his back between Liric and Gen.
Liric began questioning Unipug about what he had been up to that afternoon, and, yes, Unipug had been in contact with Gen. It took a moment for Liric to really process that. Unipug had received an audience with at least one member of the Council. Okay.... and then Gen began ranting about how the Solars weren't doing their jobs and were just making a mess of things. Liric just listened while he talked. It took him several moments to really process that. Gen looked to be very old and a bit crazy, but he was a councilor – the one they let handle a great deal of the money – so he couldn't be that crazy. But he seemed to know quite a bit about the exalted in the city. Liric finally asked him if he could be a bit more specific, such as the exalted he was talking about who had been in the city during, say, the past month. Gen quickly listed off every Solar Liric had met, and seemed to indicate a couple of people he hadn't, also.
He has his own sources. The half-neomah never had all these names. Hayle would not have.... they don't share information. Hayle never knew – either this or from the Emissary. Who are you really and how do you know this? Liric was picking up nothing with his spirit sight as Gen continued to rant. Gotta be some god blood, or something. Maybe a little crazy from awakened mortal essence, something. But he wants Solars to make the city better. Really doesn't like Lunars or Alya, but otherwise is complaining that the Solars aren't making it better, and that the Wyld Hunt will have to get involved – which means the Council, or at least this Councilor, has not given the Wyld Hunt liberty to operate at will in the city, but they might, but he would rather have the Solars rebuilding the city than being chased out of it or hunted down in it.
"Alright," interrupted Liric, "What exactly do you need me to do?"
"Get rid of Alya," hissed Gen. "Just get her out of the city any way you can!"
Liric noted that he did not mention assassinating, killing, or turning her over to the Wyld Hunt or anything involving a conspiracy of celestial forces. He wasn't sure that any of those options wouldn't also be acceptable, though.
"Get her out today!"
"Wait, today? Um, that's really not a lot of time. I was thinking maybe more like..."
"Two days!" exclaimed Gen. "You have two days to get rid of her. Just get her out before anything ... more ... like ..." He seemed to be grasping for just the right words to convey his outrage and exasperation. "... THIS! happens," he finished, madly gesturing to the carriage with the bodies.
"Alright, then, in two day, we need to talk about progress, so if we met... actually, you will just find me, won't you?"
"Just. Find. Alya."
"Right. Unipug, we're going."
Unipug crawled after Liric trying to simultaneously keep his stomach turned up and his tail between his legs but still moving so as not to be left behind in the presence of Master Gen.
What in the world possessed you to go to a councilor – no, that councilor, and what in the world possessed him to pay any attention to you?
Nevermind the surveillance, Liric needed answers, and fast. He headed directly for Jampa's teahouse. A couple of blocks before he got there, though, he realized it was on fire. People were on the scene already. It was contained, but he really though maybe he should go. But if that wasn't the Wyld Hunt's doing... what's going on? He felt he really ought to stay and try to help. But he really needed to work out something to try to find Alya in the next two days. People were there; it was being handled; and there wasn't anything he could do to fix the damage already done, Liric finally reasoned, and headed to his apartment to try to think of a plan.
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
9/26/2015 – Session 13 – 12, Descending Water – Hunted/Hunter
The next day Liric woke, not exactly refreshed, but with a plan.
"Are we going to look for Alya?"
"Not exactly. I'm not sure either of us could actually track Alya. Unless... can you track Alya's scent?"
Unipug looked very doubtful. There was also the problem of finding a starting point to begin tracking.
"Right, then. We need to track down something close to Alya. So, we're going to have to find a Bloody Hand. Specifically, you are going to have to find a Bloody Hand. I'm going to go and try something different. I think the only way to find Alya is to split up."
Unipug did not seem to particularly like this idea. The more Liric thought about it, the more he felt a little guilty about it, too.
"Look, can you hurry home? I mean if something bad happens, is there some place that you can immediately get to where its safe?"
"Bubbles' grave," mumbled Unipug. Bubbles was the last unipug who had lived in creation.
Liric had a sudden thought. "That's good. Now, could you also take something with you? Like, say, me?"
Unipug thought about it for a moment and shook his head.
"Ok, just ask around, carefully, about where some Bloody Hands have been. There's one that follows Alya around. If we can find it, then we can find her."
"What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to see if I can find someone who might know where Alya is."
The two split up and began their separate tasks. Liric was intent on finding one of the employees from the teahouse and discovering if Jampa was around during the fire, had left before or after, or something else. The teahouse itself had been reduced to a smoking rubble. Liric reasoned that maybe someone with smoke inhalation or burns may have sought medical treatment, so he began scouring clinics near the site, moving away toward lower income areas. He eventually found a doctor that treated lower-middle class patients who had a badly burned person in her center.
Then Liric noticed the glaring weak point in his plan. He needed to interrogate an injured person who was under the supervision of a doctor and likely didn't appreciate having the patient bothered.
"Can I help you sir? And what are you doing with that man?"
Liric spun around. He was standing over the burn victim. The doctor had come from behind a curtained area that served as the treatment room and was giving him an appraising look. His clothes he had acquired in heaven stuck out rather too much here. He was definitely out of place.
"Um, well... You... look busy here."
The doctor just kept looking him over, obviously growing more suspicious.
"I actually know a bit of medicine myself, you know, uh... bit of acupuncture? I was thinking maybe, since you are really, really busy, you wouldn't mind some... help?"
It was quite possibly the worst excuse for a cover in the history of covers.
"Um, look, that kid over there has crusted scabies, and that is, really, really contagious, and the guy with the burns needs a lot of attention, and you have all these other people who need help too, right, so... I just want to help out."
"Uh-huh. And how much will this cost me?"
"Oh... half? No... thirty percent."
The doctor looked very skeptical, but apparently a 70% cut in an overcrowded office wasn't something she would say no to immediately. She motioned Liric over to a patient, and watched carefully. Liric was sure she would be out in the street screaming for mercenaries the first time he did anything non-professional to a patient.
The diagnosis was accurate, but meaningful treatment would be slow with the equipment and medicines available. Liric went through a couple more patients. Satisfied for the moment, the doctor gave him some extra space. She went over to the kid with the scabies, scolding him about the constant scratching. Liric had a chance to speak briefly with the burned man, but he was too injured and medicated to understand anything, let alone reply.
"Um, look, I... I think if I had some more supplies this would go faster. Um... I'll be right back."
Liric stalked off back to the apartment and picked up his Satchel. The large twilight caste mark symbol on its side was a bit suspicious, so it hadn't been something he was prone to carry around with him. He found another satchel to stuff it in and set back out. The stream of lower-mid class misery coming into the office was getting to him, and the worst cases there were going to need something a bit more powerful.
Liric got back to the clinic and went into the treatment area. He called the kid with the scabies over. The doctor was there, highly suspicious again, and there was obviously no point in asking her to leave. Liric sighed, pulled out the jade artifacts, and began examining the boy in detail, occasionally pressing the rod into his skin to re-balance the essence flows. Soon, most of the redness and some of the swelling were gone, the greatest part of the itching was gone, and the parasites were dead. It would take a while for the crusty skin to flake away and return to normal on its own, but the infection was cured. The doctor said nothing, but walked over to the door and locked it.
Liric just put his head down and called more people over. He matched the pace of treatment with the rate his hearthstone amulet was regenerating his essence. No point in showing off a caste mark in an hour and completely freaking everyone out. One step at a time.
About half-way through the treatments, Unipug materialized in the middle of the office and began licking himself. He said he had found the bloody hand. Liric sincerely hoped the doctor did not understand Old Realm. If she did, she hid it well. She just took a step back, looked at Unipug for a minute, then pulled the shades.
The last to be treated was the burn victim. He took a very long time to heal. He had been the cook at the teahouse. Liric was able to ask him about Jampa. "Jampa.... Great Forks" was all the exhausted man could reply. Well, it had been a long day, but Liric had discovered what he had set out to know. He packed the instruments away, and turned around to face the doctor, who was standing in front of the door. Liric just began examining his shoes, and feeling unaccountably guilty.
"I can't afford that," said the doctor at last.
"I cannot afford to pay you for what you did."
"Oh, um... Don't worry about it, it's okay."
"Uh-huh. You know, you don't seem to have any aspect markings or look like a god blood or anything else I would expect for someone who could do that."
"Well.... I just wanted to help."
"We could have used your help last night, then, with that fire going on up the street," she gestured in the general direction of Jampa's teahouse.
"Oh, well... I was kind of busy... sorry"
"Look, um, if you want me to, I could come back later and maybe get some of the really bad cases that are around here. Like that kid – if he has friends they probably have those scabies too and those things are really, really contagious. And I'm sure you're doing your best and all and... I mean there's just a lot to do, and you can't be everywhere at once, you know? So....." Liric trailed off into silence.
"Okay, then. You come back tomorrow."
"Really? I mean, okay. I will definitely try... I mean... I can't guarantee... there's some other things going on, you know. But.... Yes, I will help you out if I can if you'll accept it and... I'll be here tomorrow."
Out on the street, Liric considered that all of that could have gone better. Or worse.
Unipug told Liric that he finally "found someone by a Bloody Hand that might have smelled like Alya but then I got kicked by the Bloody Hand and some stuff burned and a water lady put them out. Did I say I got kicked? So I followed the water lady."
It took a couple more times through, but Liric eventually understood that something had burned, but a water-aspected dragon-blood had put it out, and after that Unipug followed the dragon-blood because he had lost track of whoever might be Alya.
"So... let's go to the last place you knew where the Bloody Hand was."
It looked like possibly a hideout maybe used by Fandris' gang, but Liric wasn't sure. He was sure, though, that it was being watched. They circled around the block and Unipug was able to pick up the scent of the Bloody Hand. They followed the trail back to the house next to Dorian's estate.
"Should I go get Gen?"
"No. We need to confirm that Alya is actually inside."
Liric was pretty sure he could use his essence to sneak inside. However, if he needed to immediately escape, or if anything unexpected happened, he would not have enough essence to perform a similar feat without his anima flaring. He needed a place to think. And thinking on the sidewalk looked a bit suspicious, especially in Dorian's neighborhood. He knocked on the door of Dorian's estate. A maid answered, but told him the Master had just embarked on a journey to Great Forks and was not expected back for at least three months.
Great, everyone has left but me and Alya.
"Um, do you think it would be alright if I just borrowed the library for a minute? I was hoping to consult with Mr. Duskholme about a matter, but if I could look it up myself? Yes? I would be ever so grateful and I'm sure Mr. Duskholme wouldn't mind when you tell him when he gets back. I'm Kiritgad, from the School, Yes?"
The maid cheerfully showed Liric/not-Liric to the library, but was staying around to keep an eye on him. He browsed around and found a book he thought likely incomprehensible to the staff, and picked it out, and pretended to mumble to himself in Old Realm.
"Unipug, I really need you to do one more thing. I need you to get inside the house and actually find where he Bloody Hand is. Make sure it is actually in the house. Do not mess with the Dragon-blooded. Actually... if you can hear what they are talking about without being seen, okay, but do not do anything more dangerous than that and if anything bad starts happening I want you to go back to Bubble's grave immediately. When you find anything out, come back here." Liric/not-Liric was feeling more and more guilty about using Unipug for scouting like this. He didn't think Alya had any way to harm him dematerialized, and he was pretty sure the dragon-bloods wouldn't bother with him unless they had a reason. It was the Bloody Hand he was really worried about.
It took a while, and by that time the maid had dropped most of the courtesy and was just waiting for him to leave. But then Unipug came back and said the Bloody Hand was next door and was in a dusty place where everything was covered with sheets, and maybe he should go get Gen now before Alya had a chance to escape.
Liric/not-Liric thanked the maid and stepped outside. The door shut behind them.
"No, absolutely do not go get Gen now. That would be a very bad thing to do right now. Just let me think for a moment, please. "
Last edited by sean on Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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