Getsemiel

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.
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Alberich
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Alberich »

Tim nodded. Well, if there were magic big boxes that flew around and held as much as the holder liked, that was no stranger than the ship on legs that flew south towards Tsuiraku. But it meant there would be nothing useful around this campsite, unless Blaise had dropped something, and he wasn't seeing that.

"And I suppose the way he coordinated his rendezvous with the ship was more Tsuirakuan magic, crystal balls or whatever. Which makes sense if he's heading down Tsuiraku way the way Brad said. Or even further south past them, back to where he did his missionary work. I don't suppose we have anyone we can talk to in either place, who might notice something like that." But when you report, maybe Veracia does. "But from what you said, his history wasn't much about foreign travel, just back from the Southern Continent and twenty years of nowhere special." And any investigation of any foreign contacts he had during that twenty years - is not going to be done by us.

He queried Argus. "Is there, ah, any way to talk to anyone in Tsuiraku, who might, ah, notice if someone rich or strange enough to have a ship like that has left town recently?" He doubted it, but had to ask. This was beginning to look like one of those weird conspiracy theories you heard in the city, where people started worshipping devils, and the devils put them in touch with an international conspiracy that controlled every government except Veracia's, or even Veracia's they'd say in whispers (that last made the talk dangerous for what it implied about the Church). It made it sound all too exciting.

The horse, he supposed, was Church property, one of the two that had brought Bree and Blaise from Emerylon. It wasn't a local from Umbertiel - he'd have recognized it. The odds that Blaise had left anything of the slightest use in the saddlebags was close to nothing. The one thing he wanted to be sure of, when it came time to examine the bags, was that they weren't on the horse when they got opened. He didn't want any traps to hurt the animal.
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Drannin
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Drannin »

Argus grimaced at Tim's question. "Unfortunately, I don't presently have any contacts in Tsuirakushiti. Maduin probably will. It'd be better to mention it to him when we see him."

And where the devil did he get off to, anyway?
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Graybeard
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Graybeard »

Back to where he did his missionary work. That was a possibility Sister Rose hadn't considered ... and the more she thought about it, the more likely it seemed, and the scarier as well. According to one source met on the road, Blaise had encountered a death god there ...

Well, that, at least, wasn't her problem. That was for the best, because Luminosita knew, she had plenty of problems to deal with here. Including ...

"I don't think we have to go through everything this horse is carrying," she said. "At least not yet. She seems tractable enough that we can just take her with us and look at things later." That got her some puzzled looks, so she elaborated. "I mean, after we re-connect with Maduin. He's such a powerful mage that his defensive magic will make it safer when we do the looking. I'm beginning to wish we hadn't left him in Getsemiel ..."

You're stalling, girl. Time to do what has to be done.

"Well," she said as she tried to keep a neutral, commanding tone of voice, "we'd better get on with it and inspect the shore line."

She knew one thing she'd find there, of course ...

-------------

"Is your homeland far from the ocean?" Brad asked Lillith, his arm still around her shoulder. "I'd like to see it some day ... with you."
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Sareth
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Sareth »

"It's far enough to be just a story." Lillith stared out at the sea once more, one hand holding Brad's and the other the reins to the newly discovered horse. "It's very dry there. We get rain every so often, but it's mostly just scraggly brush and grass. There's a small river that runs past which helps us to water crops. But nothing even remotely like this. Seeing this is almost enough to make the trip worth it all by itself." Lillith gave a small, wistful smile. "Do you think I'll ever make it back, though?"
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Graybeard
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Graybeard »

"I don't know," Brad answered, "but I know that if that is what you want, then I want to be there with you." He glanced at Eli and Desiree, who seemed to be, er, in the mood for some privacy, and decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to give them some. "Let's go talk to my cousin. She should be finishing up here, so we can start heading for home -- your home. Our home."

-------------

Sister Rose walked uneasily along the shore of Frobish Bay with Argus and Tim, her stride distinctly lacking in its usual self-assurance. Part of that was that she was trying to keep a magic sensitivity up at the same time, and apart from her Empathy skills, detection magic didn't come as naturally to her as some other forms. More of it, however, was that she was skittish about what she was going to find ... and that had little to do with magic.

At least the search for evidence connected with Blaise -- she couldn't think of him as "Father" Blaise any more -- was going as she expected. There really was very little flotsam and jetsam on this shore, and all of it seemed both old and clearly connected to the fishing that was done here. At one point feeble splashing caught her attention; a small fish had become tangled in the remains of a net that had washed ashore. She reached down and released the fish, and it darted away into the waters of the bay. Rose wasn't sure what to make of Lillith's "spirits," but she somehow fancied that the spirit of the little sea bass, or porgy or grunion or trevally or whatever it was (she didn't know much about fish but had been fascinated by their exotic names as a girl), had tried to say "thank you" as its terror dissipated and it fled. "You're welcome," she thought back (might telepathy seem more natural to animals than to humans?), and resumed walking the shore.

It was only about five minutes after that that she saw what she had desperately hoped not to see.

There was a semi-circular indentation of the shore, maybe ten feet in diameter, with smooth edges. It emitted no magic, but it didn't take a naturalist's eye to see that it wasn't natural. The sand and soil had been blown away down to solid rock, and nothing grew there. Even seaweed didn't seem to be washing ashore at this particular spot ... even though, Rose knew all too well, it had had five years to do so.

She stopped in mid-stride, and her shoulders sagged as she stood speechless for a minute. Finally she was able to get a single sentence out.

"This is where -- it -- happened," she said, her voice flat as death.
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Drannin
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Drannin »

Argus silently put his hand on Rose's back but remained silent. This was something she had to get out.
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Graybeard
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Graybeard »

OOC in its entirety: This is kinda crunch time for Rose, and I'm going to be writing a rather long flashback (which will be posted as a spoiler in case others want to skip it). Writing that is going to take some time. If other people (PF, I'm looking at you ;) ) have things to contribute, please don't wait for me, go ahead and do them. I can certainly arrange for Brad to follow Lillith around like a puppy dog, as usual, to offer a way to keep my part of things going.

Rose's backstory will show up tomorrow, or tonight if the muse's blessing happens to be upon me. More often, though, the muse just blows a raspberry in my direction, so ...
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Drusia
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Drusia »

He was aware of Desiree's gaze turning in his direction. Eli squashed his train of thought and turned to her.
"It was a little rough back there." He said. "Are you ok?"


It takes some time for me to reply. My thoughts just don't seem to want to settle down and get in line. I look out at the ocean a little longer. The Rinkai, my ancestors, once lived in a floating city that hung out over that ocean. My mother lived there - she was there when it was destroyed. I'd never even seen the ocean before this, and yet, in a way, it's my birthright.

"I'm... yes, I'm okay," I say at last. "Just thinking about my life. And my mother's life, I guess."

-- Desiree
Porcelain Fish
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Porcelain Fish »

[OOC: Filler, battle, excitement, blah blah blah. I put the part that will concern everyone else at the bottom. The rest is just gravy for anyone who wants to read it. [/OOC]
Spoiler: show
The scary non-lizard woman could practically smell her opportunity to strike close at hand. She'd been a little bit startled when the effeminate Tsuirakuan's companion abruptly shed his shape like a second skin, rising taller, hair changing to short, well-groomed brown that gleamed with health, bearing proud, almost martial, touched with a dangerous grace that only made her that much more determined to destroy his evil despite its sudden vast increase in comeliness.

Things were looking up. Even as she'd watched, the outdoor cafe where the two of them had found a table was slowly becoming devoid of customers. The flow of traffic down the street had slowed to a trickle and then stopped. Even the wait staff had gone inside, hadn't been back out for at least a quarter of an hour.

She readied herself for the charge, a broken half-board she'd found clutched in her fingers, and then a strong hand grabbed her collar and yanked her farther back into the alleyway where she'd found a vantage. She looked up into a face she didn't immediately recognize, because it'd been years since she'd seen it last, and then not covered in a scraggly beard, the dark hair ungroomed, the brown eyes wild, the black robes of an Ensigerum monk stained with dirt and wear.

“Millicent?!”

“Arlan?!”

…....................

“I have to admit, the offer is very tempting,” Maduin said with a small, intimate smile that hid growing desperation, hazel eyes flicking up from the long-stemmed wine glass in one hand.

John Wolf leaned on the table with both elbows, hands folded, a smile on his chiseled features, still with those green eyes that Maduin knew now on a gut-level really weren't his. He'd quietly sent away everyone nearby, patrons and staff alike recalling reasons to be elsewhere, and now he gathered his magic.

He could sense the power in the other man, not roused yet, but even nascent it was enough to give him serious concerns about coming out of this unscathed.

“I intended it to be.” John's deep voice was jovial He glanced around, his own crooked grin deepening with amusement. “Well now it's just the two of us. Convenient.”

“I wanted to have you all to myself.” Maduin said it as winsomely as he could, tossing in a flirtatious wink for good measure, and hoping all that magical strength on the other side of the table meant there was even a sliver of a possibility that the other could underestimate him. He brought his wine glass once more to his lips, and added another tiny piece to the spell simmering in the pale amber vintage.

The glass began to warm to his fingers.

…....................

“Arlan, what are you doing here?!” the scary non-lizard woman whose name was Millicent hissed incredulously.

“I could ask you the same question!” Arlan snapped back, ungroomed features fixed in a scowl.

She shook her head. “It doesn't matter. Help me kill him. Help me kill both of them.”

Arlan shook his head and glowered at her, a manic light in his brown eyes, larger hands clamping onto her arms with painful force. “Don't talk that way. I love him.” He gave her a brief shake, the maddened light in his gaze only brightening. “I love him!” he snarled.

“That Tsuirakuan wretch killed Thomas!” She almost forgot herself, almost shouted the words in frustration, unable to believe what she was hearing.

Arlan blinked, frowned, and shook his head. “He didn't kill Thomas. Thomas was killed by an elf. In Stone Man Pass. I buried him myself.”

Millicent opened her mouth, but her words were cut off by the sound of shattering glass, and then she was flung to the dirt of the alley.

…....................

“Well, I think it's time we were going.” John stood in one smooth motion and held out his hand. “I could keep talking about all the wonders of the world, but I'm ready to show you.”

Maduin looked down at his glass and smiled, as though at a private joke. “As a man of the world, Mr. Wolf, I'd think you would know that every Tsuirakuan's world centers on just one place.” He lifted his gaze, took a last sip of his wine, and let it trickle back into the glass. “I'm afraid this has gone quite sour.”

John started to take a step forward, and Maduin tossed the wine snifter almost carelessly. It exploded in a spray of glass and flaming alcohol, and he moved as fast as he'd ever moved, six of him darting in opposite directions even as white tablecloth interposed itself, clearing the fiery debris from the air with a deft flick of John's wrist.

It all took place in a mere handful of breaths.

Maduin saw those green eyes turn, following one of his doppelgangers as he darted the opposite way, toward the cafe, and then that perfectly sculpted head cocked ever so slightly and a hand snaked out.

Lace tore with a soft, whispering complaint and Maduin felt a chill run through him as he realized John had actually heard him moving the other direction, quickstepping back with a good chunk of his cuff left behind in the grip of one large hand.

John was almost on top of him in the next heartbeat and Maduin realized even as he unleashed his next spell that he'd been the one underestimating his adversary, a mistake that might well cost him dearly.

His countenance turned radiant, incandescent, blinding, as though his very flesh had turned to unrelenting white light, and with that he bought himself a moment to pivot and run along the front of the restaurant and dart around the corner.

None of his charms were working - not a single glamourie had taken hold in the beginning part of their conversation. It was as though John Wolf drank them like water, with as little effect. Maduin snatched at a piece of vine growing on the clapboard as he passed it, flung it behind him without looking back, his magic taking hold with the sound of hissing foliage roiling to life in a tangling, writhing mass.

He couldn't keep this up for very long. This wasn't his type of fight. He was accustomed to minds he could bend, allies who could take the brunt of the battle and distract his enemies until he could subdue them.

Fayna might have stood a chance at victory.

Maduin darted around a corner and chanced a look back. His enchanted vines had choked most of the alleyway off, but he very much doubted he'd made a clean getaway. He turned away down the street and started walking, reaching inward for reserves of strength. There was one last spell to try.

He stopped, closed his eyes, and began shaping the magic, letting it gather underneath his skin, behind his eyes, rushing through his veins, bringing a tingling rush of adrenaline-fed strength that would burn out all too quickly and leave him useless after.

He had one chance to best John Wolf, just one chance to storm the fortress of his mind and seize control, burning out all conscious thought.

A footstep whispered on the pavement and Maduin lifted his head, hazel eyes like wells of emerald brilliance opening to unleash a heavenly vision so pure and rapturous that no witness would ever recover from it.

The magic died as he met Thomas's gray-eyed gaze, and his lips parted in startlement as a large, powerful hand closed around his throat.

Later he would admire the diabolical cleverness of the tactic, but his last thought as darkness swept into his mind on wings of magic was of a thunderstorm in Stone Man Pass.

…....................
Lantos didn't bother to conceal the victorious grin that curved his mouth as he knelt, setting his prey gently on the cobbles of the street, admiring the way the brown curls caught the late afternoon light, setting amber highlights to glowing, tracing the sweep of the Tsuirakuan's features.

The Ensigerum didn't disappoint. Lantos didn't know why he continued to dog Maduin's steps, didn't care. He drew his revolver as feather-light steps moved with inhuman speed, and the hammer clicked, muzzle flashing, bullets flying in a tight pattern. He threw it, flames trailing his fingers, and fire hissed and snapped in long, lashing crests as his hands swept the air.

He couldn't think of any better icing on the cake, wouldn't have wanted to end this any other way. The revolver was deflected in midair by something on the edge of sight, and Lantos reached into what seemed to the naked eye to be blurring air, heaving over his shoulder. The Ensigerum grunted as he hit the pavement with bone-breaking force, snapped back into normal time.

Sin Caidh slipped into Lantos' hand out of the ether, waiting for just this moment, and brown eyes widened as it plunged down, the great sword biting hungrily.

There was a satisfying amount of blood. The head tried to turn, towards where his prize lay a few feet away. Lantos shifted it back with his boot. The last thing the Ensigerum saw was his smiling face. Lantos dropped the seized Lancea in his other hand, wiped Sin Caidh off on the time-ninja's robe, returned it to its hiding place, and gathered Maduin into his arms.

His horse wasn't far away, and he assumed the shape of the brown-haired, green eyed Reformed priest he'd seen in Maduin's company earlier. Prize cradled carefully in the saddle in front of him, he reached into a saddle bag, pulled out a small glass bead, and crushed it.

Elsewhere in Gethsemiel, in inns, taverns, businesses, and in one of the towers of the Californican Temple, similar little beads of jade and onyx inside of bronze spheres began to rattle around in their confinement, the air around them stinking of burnt ozone.

When explosions began to rock the city, Lantos joined the flood of townsfolk fleeing for the countryside and safety.

He never saw the woman who'd crept out of hiding after he'd gone, whole body trembling as she crawled to Arlan's side and knelt there, tears streaming down her face.
Last edited by Porcelain Fish on January 15th, 2012, 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Graybeard
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Re: Getsemiel

Post by Graybeard »

[OOC: Good stuff, PF! Here's part one of Rose's flashback; the second half will follow tomorrow. Same thing, spoilered for those who don't care about what happened to her a long time ago ... and de-spoilered many years later, as the "spoiler" tag doesn't work on this version of phpBB]

It was that touch from Argus that did it, dragging Sister Rose back to another touch very much like it, over five years ago, in this exact place. She gasped in horror as the memory came rushing back ...

“Are you ready to set up the Affinities test yet, Sergeant?” Captain Nuria-Lucas asked.

The old military man nodded. “Affirmative, ma’am. Your – lieutenant and I got all the pieces an’ parts bagged. I be thinkin’ he be ready for the spell – ‘scuse me, ma’am.” A blush like that looked incongruous on a man his age, but Rose could feel some sympathy; he’d surely never served under any other female officer before, let alone one who was married to her executive officer, and she could understand it perfectly well if the personal discomfort of doing it might cause him to lapse into the accent of the hill country he’d left behind. As for the hesitation as to what to call Kenny, she could understand that too. There simply wasn’t any precedent for a husband and wife to be officers serving in the same unit of the Veracian military, or at least if there was, it happened so rarely that there weren’t any rules, of protocol or anything else, to cover the situation. (An older, wiser Sister Rose would learn in Kiyoka that the Tsuirakuans, who were much more inclined to treat the sexes as equals, would have rules in place, and would have been appalled at what she and Kenny were doing here. Of course, by then it didn’t matter any more.)

She smiled encouragement; hill accent or no hill accent, and despite his limited magical aptitude, Sergeant Coydia was a good man, a lifer in Luminosita’s service, dedicated to his job and commendably tolerant of his young – female – commanding officer. She’d come not just to value, but to like him in their service together, and she was pretty sure the feeling was mutual, although he’d never commit the gross breach of etiquette of attempting familiarity. She, in turn, wielded the banner of command as correctly, yet sympathetically, as she could manage. In wielding that banner, she realized, this was a time for showing appreciation. “Good work, Sarge. Maybe we’ll get to the bottom of this damn thing yet.” If the old man was offended by hearing a woman swear, it was more than offset by the knowledge that an officer would speak his own language, and share his nervousness. He didn’t bother saluting, knowing that the Captain wouldn’t expect it of him, and trotted back over to the – whatever it was.

As her sergeant and her husband busied themselves with preparations for the spell, Rose looked again at the enigmatic device they’d come to disarm.

The fishermen who’d first seen it, washed up here on the shores of Frobish Bay, found it so terrifying that they couldn’t think of anything to call it but the “jellyfish from Hell.” That wasn’t too descriptive, but Rose could see where they’d come up with the name. The special-ops command who’d sent her unit this way thought it was a Tsuirakuan naval mine of some kind, although neither she nor anyone else in Exotic Object Disposal had ever seen anything like it before. For lack of anything better to call it, the term “devil’s jellyfish” had stuck among the fishermen from Getsemiel who’d first shunned it like the plague, then come to gawk at it until the military unit shooed them away. To Rose, however, and to the people who’d sent their unit here, it was just “The Thing.”

Whatever it was, Rose had to agree that it looked just as though it was part jellyfish, part mine – to the extent that one could “see” it at all. It was an amorphous blob of Luminosita-knows-what, about six feet in diameter, with coruscating colors playing rapidly across its surface in such a way as to make it seem like there
wasn’t a surface, but rather an ethereal, dimensionless connection to primal chaos. The only unambiguously solid parts of the thing were a series of tendrils poking from a blue band near its top, and another, stubbier set at its bottom – arms and legs of some otherworldly monster, they looked like. One of the stubby tendrils seemed to have broken off the Thing, which was tilting slightly to one side (probably – its form was of such asymmetric, and probably shifting, shape that it was hard to tell exactly how it should have been sitting).

That was handy. A problem with the Affinities spell was that it more or less required a tiny bit of material from the object it was studying, and Luminosita knew, they surely didn’t want to touch the Thing itself yet, let along take a piece that the spell would use. Reports were, however, that the small son of one of the fishermen had already handled this little detached piece (
the bravery of the very young, Rose thought wonderingly), without ill effect other than the hiding that his horrified father had given him. That detached piece could probably be used in the Affinities test in relative safety. Probably.

“Let’s light this candle,” Rose said as she went to join the other soldiers alongside the Thing.


[OOC: Conclusion of this will follow tomorrow. It's all happening inside Rose's head, obviously, so consider her suspended in time until it finishes ... and then there'll be actions to take with her, to put it mildly. :cry: ]
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