Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

As we play, occasionally we'll close a thread and open a new one to keep the size of threads (and relative complexity) down to a dull roar. Here's where we store the closed posts from the history of Errant Road.

Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Drusia » January 13th, 2013, 10:54 am

We appear to be landing. Huh. Okay.

I get up and get dressed, as does Anfisa. I keep my atire simple - I don't know what sort of place this Douaga is.

Dressed, Anfisa head out to get a look at it and...

Huh?

"What strange architecture," I murmur, coming up behind Rose and the others.

-- Desiree
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » January 13th, 2013, 11:49 am

[OOC: You know, I really don't think Desiree's love life is complicated enough yet :twisted: , so...]

Sister Rose smiled agreeably at the quaintly dressed man, thinking curiously prurient thoughts for just a moment. Wow. Apart from skin tone, and of course the way he's dressed, he looks remarkably like Kenny did ten years ago ... But of course, I'm not in the market any more, not that I really ever was. "Please, lead on," she said, gesturing for him to proceed.

The Douagan made a little bow, really not much more than a head nod, and started to turn back toward the door ... but before he did, he cast his eye across the party, where it lingered on Desiree.

The effect on him was dramatic. His eyes grew wide, his mouth fell open, and Rose could see blood rushing to his brown cheeks. For a moment he simply stood staring, then he blinked twice. The color in his cheeks intensified.

"Is something wrong, Minister Musoke?" the Reformed priest in the welcoming party asked mildly.

Another blink. "No, no, Father Barnaby, everything is ... wonderful," the Douagan said, his accent almost musical. "Please, come with me." He finally succeeded in getting his body turned back toward the door, but not without one last backward glance at the priestess of Anilis.

Rose suppressed a guffaw. Well, Desiree has that effect on people. I don't think we'll be here long enough for it to be a problem, though, and we have a job to do. She started to follow the three men into the trunk of the tree ... and in so doing, missed that for just the barest moment before composing itself, Therese's face had contorted into a scowl.

[OOC: Minor retcon as to who was speaking to Musoke. Don't want to give these priests multiple names, now.]
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Alberich » January 13th, 2013, 12:01 pm

Anfisa floated down the gangplank on Desiree's arm, looking around the tree city. Strange place. Everywhere there was a tree to hide behind, for ambushes, trysts, or stolen kisses. She liked the enclosed feeling as long as the insects weren't biting.

The gawping Douagan only make her smile roguishly. Of course Desiree had that effect on men! So did she herself, sometimes. Men didn't count. Unless they did. But with Desiree they wouldn't. Even Malyuta hadn't held her attention that long.

* * *

Audie kept to the rear and gawked in silence.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » January 14th, 2013, 1:47 pm

Sister Rose emitted an involuntary gasp as soon as she passed through the door. "Uh, I don't know, I'm kinda scared of heights..."

She found herself looking at a spiral staircase that was set into the side of the tree's trunk -- the inside. Either the trunk had been hollowed out and the stairs had been affixed to its inner surface, or the stairs were part of the tree. From the lack of obvious attachment points, she rather suspected the latter, improbable as it seemed. In any event, the stairs spiraled downward for well over a hundred feet, in a way that made her dizzy, not to mention nervous. The interior of the trunk was well lit, partly by outside light coming in through windows every ten or fifteen feet, but mainly by phosphorescent bodies growing from the wood; fungi, apparently. The lighting did not mollify her sense that a fall here would take her not merely all the way to the bottom of the tree, which had to be nearly two hundred feet below them, but straight to ... well, it wouldn't be Luminosita's Presence, not by a long shot.

"Not to worry, ma'am," came Minister Musoke's accented, almost musical voice beside her. "You won't fall. The Tree won't let you. Here." He stepped deftly past Rose and Argus, out onto the first step, where he made an exaggerated, obviously intentional slip and pratfall. Rose gasped as the man's motions seemed to propel him out into empty space, either to smash onto stairs well below them, or to hurtle all the way to the bottom, just as she feared. But nothing of the kind happened; somehow, he landed on the next step down, which almost seemed to rebound, trampoline-like, and restore him to an upright position. The step couldn't have extended far enough into the void to stop his fall. Yet, somehow, it did.

Rose reflexively took Argus' arm as she watched this demonstration, but then she marveled, not only for this extraordinary safety feature, but also for what she'd heard the man say. "The Tree." There might as well have been capital letters in his speech. He spoke the words with an un-self-conscious kind of reverence ... and Rose remembered what had almost happened to Brother Miguel, all those years ago, in another town (really just a tiny village) on the Southern Continent.

"Thank you, Minister, for allaying my fears," she finally got out, then turned to the others. "Well, let's head down."
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Drannin » January 14th, 2013, 8:34 pm

Argus eyed the tree around him fascinated. He'd have to see if he'd be allowed to examine it in detail, later. If living wood could do this, he was sure he could replicate certain effects, far more efficiently, with stone and crystal. But first...

"Harker, track down Fayna and let her know I'm all right, would you?"

Harker groaned. "Always the plum jobs, eh Boss? I'll get on it." With a sigh, the familiar trudged off to find Fayna.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » January 15th, 2013, 11:04 am

The procession wound its way down the spiral staircase inside the tree -- never thought I'd be saying or thinking that phrase, Sister Rose marveled -- but it didn't reach much more than the half-way point before the Douagan in the lead, Minister Musoke, froze. He held up a hand.

"Hundred-pace snake," he said. "There." He pointed to a barely-visible shape on a stair step on the opposite side of the tree. "Bad. Kill you dead if it bites you, it will. You go a hundred paces and --" He did not complete the sentence, but his theatrical gesture, implying sudden collapse and death, sufficed to do it for him.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Alberich » January 15th, 2013, 5:21 pm

Anfisa clung instinctively to Desiree's arm. This was a new terror for her - snakes were all but unknown in her northern home clime, and there was nothing with such a sting as this.

Audie, at first, clung to the wall - then he remembered himself and stood away from it. His lifemagery was up to this. Anyone who got bitten by that thing would live. He opened his mouth to say so and shut it again from shyness. But his mind was rehearsing what he'd have to do, and how he'd have to rush past the ladies to get to anyone up front who got bitten.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Drusia » January 15th, 2013, 5:39 pm

What a strange place. Interesting though. I wonder how the step moved like that. Is the tree sentient?

"Hundred-pace snake," he said. "There." He pointed to a barely-visible shape on a stair step on the opposite side of the tree. "Bad. Kill you dead if it bites you, it will. You go a hundred paces and --" He did not complete the sentence, but his theatrical gesture, implying sudden collapse and death, sufficed to do it for him.

"Why would it bite?" I ask, slipping away from a baffingly terrified Anfisa to approach the snake. I kneel down a meter or so away. I call up a little of Anilis's power and puff it out towards the snake with my breath. It lifts it's head for a moment, licks the air, smelling me. Then, as Anilis's calm presence settles over it, the snake reguards me curiously.

"There are lots of snakes around the lake back home," I say to no one imparticular. "They're little cutties, just like this fellow. You just have to know how to treat them." I remember protecting a snake from a group of dogs when I was younger.

This particular application of Anilis's power can be a little unpredictable. I've let the snake smell me, and used my power to make it friendly - to me, anyway. It might just lay there and nap while I 'protect' it from the other people with me, or it might sleepily head back to its nest. Or it might slither over and climb up my arm and take a nap around my neck. That happened one time. I had fun that day scaring some of the local boys.

-- Desiree

OOC: Greybeard - feel free to have whatever kind of fun you like with this snake. Or not. I wrote that last little bit to give you some options. The only thing it shouldn't do is bite anyone.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » January 15th, 2013, 10:10 pm

[OOC: Not the reaction I was expecting, D, but it was certainly fun, and suggests a different direction for this to go than I had been thinking of ... which is also good. However, it's not the snake that's about to have the interesting reaction...]

As the snake slithered nonchalantly (if "nonchalant" can describe a snake) through a crack in the timber and disappeared, each of those who had been watching it had his or her own response.

Therese's reaction was simplest. Like Anfisa, she had practically no experience with snakes. They weren't totally unknown in Refuge-Nouveau, but they were hardly common, and nothing there had such a fearsome reputation as to be called a "hundred-pace snake." Her reactions, accordingly, were as those unfamiliar with snakes often react when confronted with them: a frisson of fear had run up her spine, and she had stopped in her tracks, not only to let Desiree by to deal with the thing. Now that it was gone, she realized she'd been holding her breath for rather too long. She exhaled mightily, doing her best to keep it from being loud -- no point in communicating her fear to others -- and did her best to compose herself.

Sister Rose, for her part, wasn't exactly an old pro at dealing with snakes either, but there'd been a few in the countryside around Albigenish, and she could still remember what she'd told the skittish young city-dweller troops in her command when one found a common viper. "A snake can't strike farther than its own length," she'd said. (She had no idea where she had picked that trivium up.) "Just give it space. It isn't interested in eating you, after all." This "hundred-pace snake" didn't appear to be more than five or six feet long at the most, so everyone was perfectly safe where they were ... until Desiree went forward. What's she doing? Rose had wondered, but a sense of magic in the air made it all clear enough. With a new-found appreciation for the priestess' skills, she stood quietly, observing the reactions of those around her.

Which, to be sure, were interesting enough. The two churchmen had reacted calmly to the serpent, but when Desiree went to calm it, their reactions had changed, and neutral faces had turned to frowns. Now a whispered conversation was going on between the two, with an occasional, furtive glance toward Desiree. Rose couldn't tell what was being said, but she was pretty sure she didn't like it. A word might have to be had later, she thought.

Minister Musoke's reaction was the most interesting of all.

At first he had simply come to a calm stop; the snake, he knew, would decide to move on as soon as it realized the place was dangerously crowded. He was therefore unprepared when Desiree stepped forward. Rose had seen his eyes grow wide, and he was clearly looking frantically for some way to drag the young woman back out of harm's way ... and in the constrained space, there wasn't one. She fancied she saw him start to remove what looked like a throwing knife from his leafy outfit ...

... And then, when he saw the almost eerie exchange between priestess and snake, and saw the snake crawl calmly away, his demeanor changed completely.

He rushed forward so quickly that he stumbled, and this time, a tree-step had to extend itself to catch him; Rose was sure of it. But he didn't sweep the girl off her feet and drag her to "safety," as Rose had expected. Instead ... he threw himself on the ground at her feet, assumed a posture of complete submission, bowing prayerfully before her, and began to mutter in a language that Rose had never heard, but whose tones suggested nothing less than outright worship of the priestess who now loomed over him.

Now that was interesting.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Alberich » January 15th, 2013, 10:45 pm

Once the snake was crawling away, Anfisa skittered up to Desiree's side to make sure she was all right. It was pretty clear that she was -- there was no stress or worry on her face or in her body -- and her coolness was stunning. Using her judgment, Anfisa kept quiet, choking back her words of concern, lest she draw another kind of coolness.

When the leaf-clad stranger hit the floor in front of her, Anfisa almost laughed. Men flinging themselves at Desiree's feet...well, what could be more natural?

Fantasies floated into her mind as she watched for what would happen next. Mistress and slave? He'd have it coming...and, ah, heh, heh, he might need "instruction" in his new "duties"...

* * *

No one was watching Audie's expression, and that was just as well. It had gone from fear to determination to disappointment, as he saw that he wasn't going to have anything useful to contribute. Unseen by all, his scowling pout disappeared in seconds. The magic had been interesting anyway. And - whoah! What was that man up to? And why did a tiny little part of him want to do the same?
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