Saus

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Re: Saus

Postby Drannin » December 29th, 2008, 1:57 pm

"CI..." muttered Argus, watching the sky where the dragon had disappeared. Someone was going to be very surprised. He wondered if dragons could be domesticated and used as steeds... "I feel like I should know that name..." Argus shook his head. "Argh, it's been too long since I've been in Tsuirakushiti, I don't remember..."

Shaking his head, Argus turned to hear Sasha's explanation, wondering who had been dabbling in proscribed magic. He might even know who they were. Hell, maybe he had worked with them at some point...
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Re: Saus

Postby Graybeard » December 29th, 2008, 4:36 pm

Before Sasha could reply, a parrot came into view, flying in from the north. After the security words were exchanged, Brother Miguel fielded the message. "Looks like our parrots crossed on the way," he said. "Nothing in here about the dragon."

TO: Brother Miguel and Sister Rose
FROM: COL Bogiel, B.
SUBJ: News from Kiyoka
FOUO

Your last message received and understood. I've had a word with the birdkeeper and apologize for my own transmission error.

I thought you might be interested to hear what Sister Margaret had to say about the "thaumatopathology" investigation -- I think I got that right. You will recall that the man who died revealed nothing unusual under investigation; the description was "he just stopped." However, one of the three novices at the mission who were with him at the time, a boy named Audie, turns out to be adept at life magic (he will be recruited and trained for this purpose) and claims to have seen something unusual when the man died. He describes it as a "black cloud of death" coming out of the piece of furniture that was being inspected. When he mentioned this to the thaumatopathologist, and they did the tests that revealed his aptitude for life magic, the Tsuirakuans decided that they should look at the furniture itself. Sister Margaret is not happy about that, but has decided to cooperate, as long as there is a Veracian observer. Brother Farley has volunteered for the job -- I gather that he has formed an attachment to one of the Tsuirakuan battlemages who will be escorting the furniture to Tsuirakushiti.

Sister Margaret also says that the Cardinal Inquisitor has been delayed in transit due to bad weather. He will be at least two days more en route. Take this as a storm warning; as you know, the cyclones develop westerly, so something nasty may be heading your way in the southern part of our country.

Stay in touch.
Bernie


"Well, I suppose most of that is good news," Sister Rose said. "At least we're getting closer to understanding what was going on. I'm not sure that I like what it may say about Father Egbert, though. Meanwhile, if anybody sees a 'black cloud of death' around, sing out, OK?"
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Re: Saus

Postby Drannin » December 29th, 2008, 9:05 pm

Harker glanced at the sky. "How about over there?"

Argus looked, and sighed. "That's a storm cloud, Harker. It's going to rain later."

"Still black. And deadly-looking."

Argus face-palmed. "I invested too heavily in architectural skills and not enough in common-sense when I had you made, didn't I?"

"Mmm... yeah, prob'ly."

"Weave..." Argus looked up. "I think we're getting off track a bit..."
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Re: Saus

Postby Graybeard » December 30th, 2008, 12:20 pm

"Agreed," Sister Rose said, looking at the shattered tripod. "From the looks of it, we're not going to get anything more here, although Sasha, I'd still like to know more about this 'CI' outfit and their 'unpredictable' devices. I'd also like to hear about this 'incredibly strong, and unreasonably old' presence in Veracia that you mentioned. Let's get moving again and you can fill us in as we go." She mounted the wagon and took the reins.

"Wait a minute," Brother Miguel said. "There's one more thing I want to do with that campfire before we leave." He found another small stick and muttered a spell over it, getting a transient magical glow that faded quickly. Then he broke the stick in half, pocketing one piece and burying the other among the ashes of the fire.

"Okay," he said, boarding the wagon. "If that fire ring is used again in the near future, we'll know about it. Father Egbert has probably moved on, but it doesn't hurt to be sure. Now we can get going; talk to us, Sasha..."

The wagon and its passengers headed off for Homontel, observed with birdish disinterest by the Melnibonean kingfisher, and with a bit less disinterest by a crow that had been sitting silently in the treetops throughout the visit.
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Re: Saus

Postby Viking-Sensei » December 30th, 2008, 9:35 pm

"Well, "CI" stands for Chrysalis Industries... they're one of the myriad of nightmare corporations backed by MesuinuCo..." The look of horror on Argus's face as that name drop connected told her she was dealing with at least one other pure-bred native Tsuirakan. "There was an incident a few years back with one of their portable 'Cthuluhoop' generators that... well... let's just say the authorities did their best to round up any more of the company's more disruptive products before anyone else was ever brave enough to turn them on."

She looked at the shattered remains of the third tripod and sighed as she folded it up and tucked it back in the holding case with the other two. "As to the energy trace out here, that's sort of a mystery to me too. Everything was working completely fine with the scope... actually, far above the level I was actually expecting it to function at... until I got this side of Saus. Ever since then, it's been acting funny. The first couple times it happened, i was able to pull the power supply, which shut the device down. Then, it started operating without the power pack, saying that it had locked onto "Eldrich Power Supply" instead, whatever that meant. Then it started forming real portals into the past instead of just displaying holograms... so I started carrying the shovel, there, just in case I had to give it another disconnective whack."

"I even called their tech support, but mostly their advice was "destroy all three pods, bury them as far away from one another as humanly possible, and never ever talk about our equipment again." Fat lot of help they were. Well, it's all moot now - that was my last spare crystal, so until I can find or buy another one that works with this system, I'm shut down. Still... I've got other tools... maybe I can still be of help tracking this mystery priest of yours."
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Re: Saus

Postby Graybeard » December 30th, 2008, 11:55 pm

"The Cthulhu-hoop," Sister Rose breathed. "I've heard about that incident." In fact, it was one of the main reasons why the Church decided we needed a presence on the continent of Tsuiraku, as a trip wire in case something like that happened again. "Frankly, I'm glad to heard that you came out of that unscathed. Not everyone was so fortunate." She turned her attention back to driving the wagon, as they passed a sign saying "Homontel 5 miles" and pointing to the right.

"That'll take us a bit over half an hour," Brother Miguel said, "so let me fill you in on how we got here and what's going on with our missing assistant Abbot." He recapped the strange damage to the mission, the Tsuirakuan reluctance to investigate, the decision to recruit Argus to help sort out what was going on, and suddenly a thought occurred to him. I think I'll spin this next part out in a little more detail.

"Father Egbert's duties included security at the mission. During the investigation of the damage, it was discovered that there was a previously unknown tunnel that connected the mission's wine cellar to a business nearby. I wasn't there when it happened -- Argus, maybe you can fill in some details here -- but there was a small, quiet reconnaissance of the tunnel that Father Egbert led. The business turned out to be an adventure travel agency operated by one Lucas Ravanel. Something about that name freaked Father Egbert out rather severely, starting him on the road that led him -- and us -- here." He paused for breath and to rearrange himself on the wagon's none-too-comfortable seat, making sure to watch Sasha out of the corner of his eye; would the Ravanel name unsettle her as badly as it had Egbert?
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Re: Saus

Postby Viking-Sensei » December 31st, 2008, 1:34 am

Sasha's expression fell flat and her right eye twitched at the mention of the name Ravenel. "Oh." She said, rather non-commitally, brushing several strands of her hair back behind her ears. "So Lucas is involved in this mess? Why am I not surprised?"

"As to the Tsuirakan reluctance to help... that's more of a cultural thing than anything else. As I'm sure Argus here can vouch, Tsuiraku has a very distinctly tiered class system, one that they try... rather poorly... to hide. For instance, the city itself is Tsuirakushiti... City of Tsuiraku... but the city that has grown underneath it, surrounding the lake itself, is called Tsuirakushita by the residents above. It's a subtle change, only one vowel, and it roughly means the same thing, however the slang term has a double meaning which is horribly suggestive involving one's tongue. Now... the people who live in Tsuirakushita look down on the Kiyokians, due to the ample cross-mixing with the inhabitants of Farrel and their tendency to 'work' work as opposed to using magic to do most of their menial labor."
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Re: Saus

Postby Drannin » December 31st, 2008, 8:21 am

"Explained better than I ever could," Argus acknowledged. Looked like his cover was blown. "The hierarchy is there even in the city itself, based on lineage and social standing. I pretty much bulldozed my way up the social ladder by force, which earned me quite a few enemies. Given that my family was decently-placed to begin with, that should give you an indication of how easy social mobility is."

Argus sighed. "I suppose that I should have figured that Tsuiraku was dragging their heels out of good old-fashioned arrogance. I guess I've just learned to assume the worse where that nation is concerned." Sasha looked curious at this statement. "It's... a long story. Since we're being honest, my actual name is Cleiviein. Don't know if that means anything to you." He paused. "And I can personally vouch that anything with the name Mesuinu connected is a disaster waiting to happen."

He turned to face Sasha more fully. "So you know Lucas Ravanel? Can you tell us more about him? I realize it may not be a comfortable topic, but any information on the man would help. For instance... what in blazes is with his taste in golems?"
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Re: Saus

Postby Graybeard » December 31st, 2008, 11:14 am

Sister Rose and Brother Miguel listened with interest as the two Tsuirakuan expats -- or was it exiles? -- chatted. The fact that Sasha knew the Ravanel name might be significant, something to report in the next carrier-parrot message, which they'd try to send tomorrow morning unless something requiring a rare overnight emergency courier came up. Bernie -- they couldn't force themselves to call him "Colonel Bogiel" -- had said there was a limited overnight capability with the birds. When pressed, he had shown them something they hadn't expected and had found amusing: two parrot-sized magical headlamps. However, he said the little gadgets tended to attract night-prowling predators, so best not to use them unless something highly significant came up. The Sasha/Lucas connection didn't seem to qualify -- yet.

With this distraction, it took Rose and Miguel a little time to realize that something was wrong here. The road was good and they'd traveled at least four of the five miles to Homontel that the sign back at the junction had indicated, yet there was no indication whatever that there was a town nearby. That was odd. Judging from the map, Homontel was one of the larger of the region's small towns, definitely larger than Heamish had been, and you could tell Heamish was there when you got within a mile of it; the steeple of the temple would be visible, if nothing else. The fact that the road had been entirely empty of other travelers was also odd, if Homontel was round here somewhere. They hadn't noticed that lack of traffic earlier, but this close to the claimed town, there should be somebody on the road, going back to the farm after a day in town or whatever. There wasn't.

"Did I misread the sign?" Rose said. "I'm just certain it was pointing to the right at that fork in the road."

"Nope," Miguel answered. "I saw it too. The sign definitely said that Homontel was this way. Just as definitely, it's not, unless a mile means something different out here in the boonies than it does at home. We've gone the five miles by now, maybe more. No Homontel."

Rose stopped the wagon and explained the situation to Argus and Sasha. "We're running out of light here," she added. "We could try to make camp and sort things out in the morning, or retrace our steps and see if we missed a side road to town, or plunge forward and go until we get to some kind of town. Opinions?" She did not tell them yet about the suspicion that was forming in her mind: One of the things they did in 'Operation Gryphon' back in the Mage-Priest Wars was to fool around with the road signs to send enemy forces in the wrong direction. Wonder if someone did that here?...
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Re: Saus

Postby Drannin » January 1st, 2009, 2:09 pm

"I think it's a bit too dark to go wandering tonight," Argus said slowly, "But I also have doubts as to whether out map could be THAT far off." Sister Rose's sharp glance told him that someone else had been thinking the same thing. "I vote we stop for the night but remain watchful. You never know what might be wandering around out there."

Potentially something that wished them ill. Argus had a sudden and bizarre thought of a gigantic beaver shooting death-rays from its eyes and dragons from a bygone era taking courses in law.

It was likely time to lay off the booze and sober up.

Looking over at his recovered familiar, Argus also resolved to have a long talk about lengthy disappearances and sudden REappearances. He wanted to know what his little friend had been up to.

And, yes, said little friend was making another slightly erotic carving of Sasha. Argus resolved to take it away from him later.

He just prayed Harker didn't turn his attentions to Sister Rose...
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