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  1. #81
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Nairn Tuckamore

    Of course it couldn't be as easy as simply tracking down one god - as easy as finding a trickster god from another world could be, anyway. Her sigh collected in a small stream of fog, almost as though her emotion made her breath hang there. Suspended by reticence.

    "The purple robes were not terribly forthcoming. I doubt the greys will be any different. To find them out, we may need to employ...alternate methods."

    But what alternate methods? The grey robed people could somehow detect her despite her stealth. They themselves had no way of discerning where either group was located until they did something crazy like knife a woman or slaughter an entire cave of Sons. Except the cultists didn't actually do the latter item themselves!

    "What about the shadow wolf? It appeared to separate the two groups. Did they summon it as a sort of...token spirit of collaboration?"

    Nairn felt like she was grasping at straws. They'd been fortunate to find a clue in Julius' belongings that led them to a knowledgeable creature here - but now she didn't see a way forward. Just a path muddied by details.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #82
    "We've certainly seen mages conjure convincing illusions, or even pull creatures into the mortal plane," Cullen said. "This particular creature isn't familiar, but it's not out of line with what I would expect. I can't be sure of the meaning, though..."

    Anakita was still turning all the puzzle pieces over in her mind. "Is it normal for your people to go to other worlds?" she asked thoughtfully.

    "Not really," Tempest replied. "Some can journey to The Fade. It's... sort of a space between worlds..."

    "We have that too!" Anakita noted. "We call it The Mists."

    Tempest nodded. "But traveling to actual, full-fledged other worlds? No. That's quite unusual. It's beyond anything I've heard of."

    Anakita thought for a moment. "Okay. So what if we approached this from a different direction? What if we tried to find out where they entered our world - and how. Their method might give us some clues to their motives and how they're working together."

    "Hm," Cullen replied. "Tracing the trail from the other end. Not a bad thought."

    Anakita beamed that her idea had been deemed 'not bad.'

    Tempest hesitated for a moment, then said, "Before we go, could I...? I hope you don't think I'm nosy or interfering." She met Stefan's eyes. "But your burns. I can't help noticing. They're magical in origin, I think?"

    Stefan nodded, but didn't elaborate. Not because he minded the question - it would be farcical for people to pretend they didn't notice. He preferred they just be open about it. But he was still self-conscious about the quality of his speech, and these were relative strangers.

    Tempest continued to speak very tentatively. "I wonder if you might... allow me to try to help? I mean no slight, but it must be painful for you. I might be able to ease it a little."

    Stefan was surprised. Healers and menders in Tyria had already tried and failed, and he had simply resigned himself to it. It wasn't a bad life. Anakita loved him unconditionally with all her ferocious heart. His family and friends accepted him without qualm, despite the burns and scars, the awkwardness of the damaged vocal cords. He could still fight, still make a difference. But there were downsides. It was painful, sometimes. The tightness of the scar tissue was unpleasant. The stares from strangers were uncomfortable. It was hard not to be able to communicate as he wished.

    "Yes. Please," he said softly, not quite meeting the mage's eyes.

    "It will be complicated," Tempest warned him. "I won't be able to wave my hands and fix it all. It will take time. But I think I can make it better for you."

    Her hand hovered over Stefan's forearm, a faint blue light becoming visible. And Stefan... felt a little better. Diminished pain. Scar tissue loosening.

    "Thank you!" he said breathlessly.

    "Of course," Tempest said. "Happy to help. I'll do as much as I can, as long as we travel together."

    Anakita said nothing during the healing, but she was favorably impressed that the mage would make this effort for Stefan, especially after tiring herself making the barrier.

    "We'll help you with what you need to do here," Anakita assured her. "Stefan and I will, at least. Nairn can decide for herself. We'll find how they got here... and hopefully why."
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

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