Lorenzel, Part 2

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Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Graybeard » September 12th, 2009, 7:48 pm

The travelers rode on in near silence, each occupied with their own thoughts, until they were clear of the weird, moving forest. Once they were back in farm country, Sister Rose decided to air what had been bothering her.

"Brad, I think there's more to this 'charismatic cultist' that ruined your marriage than meets the eye," she said, watching her cousin to make sure the topic wouldn't send him over the edge. "We've run into other people on this trip answering to his description -- and to Annie's." She described the encounter the group had had in Provatiel, omitting a few details that it might be indiscreet for a Tsuirakuan "liaison" to hear. (Speaking of which, was Maduin ever going to file a report with Kitaura, particularly now that the man had apparently been transferred suddenly to Farrel? She certainly wasn't going to press the point.) [OOC: For newcomers to this thread, suggest you start reading here to get a sense of what Rose is talking about. /OOC:]

By the time they reached Lorenzel, the sun was setting, and it was twilight by the time they got to the inn. A quick negotiation established that there was enough room for Brad, and the travelers retired to their rooms to get ready for a late dinner.

All but one did, anyway. Brother Miguel discovered that he had a message at the front desk. As everyone else was cleaning up and getting ready to go out, he went to retrieve it -- and returned to the lodging area with a strange look on his face.

"Something wrong?" Rose asked as he came down the hall. She'd kept her physical form, but changed into a business-suit-like getup that was quite flattering to her. "I was thinking we could go into town to eat, then turn in early to get a quick start on tomorrow. With this possible connection to the Millenarians in Provatiel, I'm thinking we should go back that way, see if we've missed something. There are some ... other places that I'd like to check out as well." This is the closest I've been to Kenny's old home grounds in years, and after all we've been through, I'll be damned if I'm going to blow off a visit with my in-laws on the way back to Saus, she thought, but did not say. "If we can get an early start, we can check in at the base, tell them what we've learned, talk to this abbot candidate that Ranulph mentioned, and then get out of here in time that we don't have to stay in either Nautkia or Provatiel."

A remarkable series of emotions marched across Miguel's open face, ending with one that suggested simultaneously pleasure and a need for apology. "Well, most of that sounds good -- the dinner, the early bedtime, doing our duty at the base and the mission, and there's another thing I'd like your help on ... But as regards the trip north, I'm sorry to say that I'm not going to be going along with the rest of you."

However, he didn't look sorry; quite the contrary.
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Drannin » September 12th, 2009, 8:46 pm

'Daddy.'

It was a simple word. One spoken from child to father. It was laden with meaning. Trust. Love. Memories. Laughter. So many memories... he and Fayna... Addon and Cirella... a family... Something most precious to Argus which he had lost. So much meaning.

Argus had not parted on good terms with Fayna. She had been there at the one-way teleportation platform used to send him into exile. She hadn't spoken a word. Just glared. Glared with such emotion that hate was totally insufficient a word. He eyes had burned into Argus' soul, letting him know that there was absolutely nothing left for him left in Tsuirakushiti. It had taken him a long time, and a lot of alcohol, to forget those eyes.

Six years... six years of doing stupid tricks for ale money for an easily impressed populace. Six years if self-destruction, desperately trying to drink himself into the great beyond. Until that night when Kureji the psycopath had gone on her rampage, and Sister Marilyn had approach him. Madness since then. And now this.

A final blow from his daughter. A request for reconciliation? Or something clinical and uncaring, like 'how do I open the family safe? It's mine now after all.' Actually, that last one was unlikely. Fayna knew how to open the safe. Before the hearings began, he had made... preparations.

He was stalling. Enough. He had sent Harker out, and was alone in his room at the inn. Argus opened the envelope, and began to read.
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Drusia » September 13th, 2009, 2:17 am

Drusia:

I take a moment to adjust my outfit before heading out onto the streets of Lorenzel. The redlight district is quiet. Hardly anyone has been out since the killings started. That's fine, wouldn't want him to miss me.

I find an unoccupied corner, not difficult with so few people. I glance around, as if nervous, and make a show of dusting off my clothes. A short, lacy skirt; a thin blouse, emphasizing generous clevage. My ears and hair covered by a cloth headdress, gaudy enough to distract from the whisps of hair that escape it. A glamour makes them appear blonde rather than green, but I don't like to count on illusions alone if I can help it.

And I wait. A few men make me offers, but the number I quote them is so astronomical that they quickly depart. None of them are making any effort to hide their heads. None of them are glamoured. So I wait.

Finally, a few hours after midnight, he arrives. He wears a hood, but I can feel the hunger in his eyes before I can make out the tips of his ears in the lamp-light. He asks me how much and I give him a far more reasonable price. He agrees too quickly and presses a few coins into my hands. I turn away, pretend to cough, and cast a contraception spell.

He takes me in an alley. I hadn't planned on letting things go this far, but something about him interests me. And anyway, I've always liked danger. As sick as he is, I cannot help but feel sorry for him. Let this be my gift to him then.

We reach the end. I know his M.O. - he strangled all the others. His hands reach for my neck.

The world ripples as time slows down for a moment. As his hands creep towards my throat, I disentangle myself from him and step around behind him. Time resumes and he starts - for him, I just vanished. He begins to turn, looking for me.

My Durus Flamma hums as I draw it across his throat. He tries to pull away, but I hold him to me, tugging his chin up with my free hand. His heart does the rest of the work, empting his life onto the cobble stones.

"Sorry," I whisper into his ear, "But I couldn't let you kill anymore. Shhh, sleep now. Sleep."

I hold him close, feeling him shudder and go still. When I can't feel his heart any longer, I lay him out on the street. I close his eyes as gently as I can, and before I stand I kiss his cool lips. It's the hair - he looks so much like...

I close my eyes. Turn away. They were nothing alike. It's just the hair.

I wipe off my Durus Flamma, reduce the crystal back down, and slip it back into my headdress. Even after all these years the stupid thing still gives me a headache, but nothing works as well on throats.

I strip off my bloody clothes and leave them with the body. Let the town guard wonder. I call up a glamour, make myself just another shadow. Time enough for a bath before bed. I probably won't have the luxury again for a while, so I should take advantage of the option while I can. Cloaked in shadows I make my way back to the inn.

-- Drusia
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Graybeard » September 13th, 2009, 9:01 am

"What's going on, Miguel?" Sister Rose said, concern in her voice. This was a bolt from the blue.

"I'm not sure I know," Brother Miguel answered. "All I know for sure is that they want me to stand by at the naval base tomorrow for 'special transportation' back to Saus, where I'm to pick up a rune to gate back to Kiyoka. They're in something of a hurry to get me back to the mission, apparently."

This didn't sound good, Rose thought, so why is he smiling? "Do you know why?"

"There are two given reasons. One, they want me to escort this Brother Redmond who's becoming the new abbot, the one that Ranulph talked about. It sounds like they've already made that decision, although I was unaware that Redmond had agreed to it. Two, with Kitaura having moved on, they want someone who's been here available to help meet his successor. It sounds like something has happened to the relationship with the Tsuirakuan Homeland Security people. I'm not sure whether it's good or bad, but the fact that they are trying to meet with us sounds promising."

"It does," Rose agreed. "I'm surprised, though. Usually I get pulled off for these diplomatic things so that you younger people can be useful." Gads, does it hurt to say that, I'm not even forty yet ... but it's true. "Wonder why they're picking on you for this rather than me?" Now why had Miguel's smile broadened?

"The note said that, quote, 'Sister Marilyn prevailed on Sister Margaret to pull some strings' to get me back there." The smile widened a little further.

"Oh." Now Rose was smiling too ... even as she was aware that she had no significant other to go back to. "Lucky you. Marilyn can be ... persuasive. Well, let's break the news to the others, then get some dinner. We'll look for somewhere good, give you a good sendoff. And I have a guess about this other thing you want us to help you do. Am I right?" Apparently so; Miguel's smile had reached the point where it about overflowed his face...

But from the noises coming from the first room, where Argus was staying, it sounded like the dinner might not be as ... cheerful ... as Miguel's news might otherwise justify.
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Porcelain Fish » September 13th, 2009, 12:04 pm

"Made a trip out to a weird town that moves around in a forest by the name of Ramanzel today," Maduin said to the Super Duper as he stared out the window into the deepening dusk, still fresh from his bath. "Met a guy who talks to storms and another guy that talks to the weird moving forest."

"Speaking of storms, we almost got run over by a tornado while we were looking for clues to the death of one Father Egbert and ended up hiding in his creepy basement which was already occupied by a corpse and an old elf skull. Fortunately, they didn't mind sharing. Ran into Sister Rose's cousin Brad, who we thought was running around on his wife, except she's actually running around on him. Still waiting for the other shoe to drop on that one. Going out to dinner."

He watched the words blink twice on the little crystal screen, and then vanish. He put it away, waited a moment, and then his hazel eyes darkened, and he invoked a small, but potent cloaking magic, the kind one used at a party to prevent eavesdropping.

He went to the vase of golden chrysanthemums on the table, leaning in to smell them, letting the scent fill his nose. Deft fingers selected the freshest one, and snapped the blossom off from the stem. Quickly, before what little life was left could fade, he wove his magic around it, through it, altered it, shaped it, a series of tiny changes, and what looked back at him when he uncurled his fingers was a tiny, petal-winged creature with little woody legs, stamen become antennae that feathered over the soft skin of his palm.

He breathed on it, imbuing it with three things: the first, the sound of his own voice Miss you, the second, a memory of Argus as he'd looked off into the trees of Ramanzel, unaware that Maduin was studying him, and the third, a sense of inquiry.

He opened the window, and the little creature of fragile magic drifted out into the twilight. Maduin shut the window, dropped the cloaking spell, and began to dress.

He was, he decided, in need of a good time tonight. Today had been very trying. A robe of bright, silky blue that sheened nicely under any sort of illumination went well over a cream-colored shirt decked with lace at throat and cuffs and flowing slacks of darker, midnight blue. A silver chain held a teardrop sapphire in place over his forehead, a sapphire pendant and a ring studded with more of the same adding to the effect.

He was waiting for the others in the abbey's garden when he felt someone watching him. He turned, a smile on his lips, only to realize that there was no one there. Brow furrowing slightly, feeling a little uneasy, Maduin folded his arms, glancing around, and hoped the others would hurry.
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Drannin » September 13th, 2009, 12:19 pm

Daddy,

Wow. It's been six years already, huh? Time flies... and gives people time to think. A lot of time

I tried not to think about you for a year. It was hard, what with everyone looking at me as 'the daughter of the exile' and everything. Eventually, they got the idea that it was easier to leave me alone. Let's just say that some of the spells you taught me came in handy as deterrents. Ask Maduin if you want to know some of the details; he was there for quite a few of them, and talked me down more than once. He's a good person Daddy. You can trust him. I don't know how I would have gotten through my school days without him.

I graduated top of my class from Sashi Mu. How about that! I totally nailed my senior project on advanced golem design. If I ever get the chance, I have got to introduce you to 'Rupert.' He's a nice piece of work, if I do say so myself, and I'm damned proud of him. I've already got a few people asking about commissions. You were right; as long as you refuse to play the stupid social game, people tend to deal with you fairly. But you were also wrong; if you DO play the game, and play it well, people tend to treat you WELL. I mad a lot of help from Maduin on that front. I think Mom did the same for you. I really Miss here. And Addy. And you, too.

Daddy... I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I should have said something. I should have tried to find you. I said some terrible things to you before they threw you out of here, and I'm so ashamed of all of them. What happened in the transmission corridor... it wasn't your fault. Someone set up the glyph stones wrong. There were a million things that could have gone wrong, and we were just unlucky enough that Mom and Addy got caught in the blast. And if you ask me, Proctor Kazzaraf had it coming. I... was just angry. Half my family had died, and you were being taken away from me... I was scared, Daddy. I should have thought about what you were going through. But I didn't. I should have gone looking for you. But I didn't. I drowned myself in anger, and all the horrible rumors they spread about you up here, and then I was too ashamed to come see you. Ashamed of myself. Never you. Never.

So, anyway, I'm seeing a guy named Jerecht. He's a battlemage, and one of your sympathizers. There are a few people up here who think you got treated pretty badly, and totally unfairly, and he's one of them. We were thinking... when we do get married, maybe we'd go somewhere abroad for the ceremony... maybe you could be there. It might be a while before you can sneak a letter back to me, so it might be hard to stay in touch, I know... but I want to see you again. There's just so much we need to talk about that can't be conveyed through a letter.

Anyway, this letter is running long. I've never been to good at these things, as you know. But if you can, just have Maduin let me know that you're doing all right. Okay? I don't know what you're up to these days, but I hear you're annoying that jerk Kitaura. And that's a good thing in my book! And Jerecht's.

I love you, Daddy. And I miss you. Let me see you soon.

All my love

Your Daughter


Fayna Cleiviein.


Argus read the letter twice, clutched it to his chest, and cried like a baby.
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Graybeard » September 13th, 2009, 12:29 pm

"Go get everyone else ready," Sister Rose said to Brother Miguel, "but take your time. This may take a few minutes."

As Miguel moved down the hall, knocking on doors, Rose breathed a quick prayer, then tapped on Argus' door. "Argus? May I come in? I'm worried about you. Is everything okay?"

She knew the answer, of course, but the question still had to be asked.
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Drannin » September 13th, 2009, 1:16 pm

Argus nearly jumped out of his skin at Rose's call. Scrambling, he out the letter away with as much delicateness as he can manage, took a moment to make sure that his appearance was in order, and opened the door. "Rose," he said with a smile. "Everything's fine, thanks for-"

"No it's not Argus." Rose looked at him, and the compassion in her eyes struck Argus right to the core of his being. "I'm an empath, remember? You've been out of sorts for quite a while. Ever since Nautkia, I believe. What's going on? Do you want to talk about it?" There was no pressure in her words. Only the concern of one friend looking out for another.

It suddenly occurred to Argus that Rose was perhaps the one person who might be able to relate to him. She, too, had lost someone dear to her. And... he needed to tell someone. Needed to get it off his chest. Rose would at least hear him out, maybe give him some advice.

Hesitantly, Argus gestured to his room. "Do you... have a moment?"
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Graybeard » September 13th, 2009, 1:33 pm

Rose smiled. "As much time as you need. Dinner can wait."
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Re: Lorenzel, Part 2

Postby Drannin » September 13th, 2009, 5:05 pm

Argus sat across from Rose, he on his bed, she on a chair. For a time, he was silent, uncertain what to say.

"My daughter, Fayna, wants to see me. She misses me. She doesn't blame me for what happened."

Rose smiled in delight. "Argus! That's wonderful!"

Argus nodded, a smile on his face. "It-it is, yes. After six years I learn that my daughter doesn't hate me, doesn't blame me..." he took a deep breath. "There's a lot you don't know, Rose. I haven't told you how my wife and son died. It's.... hard to think about even now. Suffice it to say, the event which lead to my exile happened four days after that." Rose nodded, listening patiently. "It wasn't my fault, really! There was just a flaw in the conduits... they were in the wrong place..." Argus shook his head. "... And that bastard Kazzaraf acting so..." Argus shook his head again. "...Never mind. Let's just say, I have my daughter back. At that means a lot to me." He rubbed at his shoulder, the one which was slowly calcifying. He had a smile on his face, which seemed slightly sad. "It's just... I wonder how much of her life I've missed out on."

"Argus," Rose interjected. "Don't think about what you've lost. Think about what you've lost. What you might reclaim. You can still have a future with your daughter..."

"I-I know," said Argus, his voice halting. "I know that. And I'm truly glad about that. But... that's isn't what has been on my mind."

Rose nodded. "Right. You've been out of sorts since Nautkia." Her voice was soft, soothing, encouraging. "What happened there?"

Argus took a deep breath. "I told you that Nikolai was threatening my daughter. That was true. What I was not up-front about was that he was threatening... a daughter i didn't know I had until then." Argus winced, waiting for Rose's reaction.
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