Summary: Imrama's connection to Remembrance is explored, and the Solars return to Tara Zhan Keep.

XP:C4, I4, L4, S4, V4, Z4

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Imrama Inside the Labyrinthine Cascade, there are many rooms. Some large, and some small. Some private, and some public. Some well-appointed, and some spartan. But this room lies somewhere in between.

Imrama It is a medium-sized square with a fairly low ceiling and a recessed pit for seating in the middle. Used as a lounge and break room by the kitchen staff at one point, it fell into disuse during Fierce Red Star's occupation of the manse, due to its proximity to his astrologically-concealed refuge. The walls are bare and white, but the floor is patterned with striking abstract designs, and...

Imrama ...there are sumptuous cushions all about. It is here, for whatever reason, that Imrama stands, hands clasped behind his back, waiting for his Circlemates to arrive.

Lucent A feeling of presence precedes Lucent's arrival, eyes like kaleidoscopes now, a constellation shining like Lytek in his cape. "Good afternoon!" He took a bow, the symbol of malfeas in his breastplate now clearly transfigured in the Sunlands' crest. "You picked QUITE a hideout, my friend."

Spring walks in thoughtfully, his finger carefully concealed by a bandage that is not really capable of suppressing its baleful aura.

Spring "You wished to speak with us?"

Cerin makes his presence known with a soft comment, "Greetings, all."

Lucent "Hello, Cerin, Spring."

Imrama looks to Spring, grimly, "I did." He returns Lucent's bow, his stern look cracking just a bit. "I did not...pick...the location, Lucent. The manse picked it for me."

Spring "How so?"

Spring glances around. "It did not see fit to provide refreshments, I note."

Lucent looks at the abstract patterns on the floor. "Strange geomancy?"

Imrama grits his teeth. "After three hours of trying to find the War Room, I gave up and settled for this." Imrama's game face returns. "But neither that, nor the consideration of delicious pastries is why I called you hear. We have a pressing matter to discuss: the blood of our nation calls out for justice."

Cerin "Indeed," he says quietly.

Spring "I cannot argue with your sentiment."

Imrama "We know who is responsible, but we do not know why, nor do we know much about how to lay hands on the offender. I have proposed the vague but apparent connection to the ancient Tara Zhan. Does anyone have any other leads to put forward?"

Spring "Zahara's and my investigation into the sources of the money has provided us with several more leads. We have already followed up on one of them and retrieved him, although there proved to be yet another layer of indirection. You may speak with him at your leisure."

Spring "I hope to deal with the others in due time. However, the approach you suggest will undoubtedly be useful in some degree."

Lucent "We know the other member of The Fallen who we have not talked to yet: V'neef."

Lucent "She might know Remembrance's whereabouts, like Fierce Red Star knew hers'."

Spring "Even did she not, we will have to grapple with her eventually. I have promised the Sidereals that much."

Imrama "If nothing else, she would bring us one small step closer to a complete set." Somehow, Imrama's demeanor manages to darken even further.

Lucent "And with Remembrance being behind the attacks, the idea that she may NOT have plans against us like all the other four do does not have much support. So it is best if we manage to nip whatever hers' are at the bud. For once."

Spring "It is not so much their plans against us as their plans for us that worry me," Spring notes quietly.

Imrama turns his face to Spring's slowly, almost meditatively - a manner highly unusual for Imrama. "That is an almost providential statement, Spring."

Spring "Oh?"

Zahara steps through the door with a preoccupied look and a trail of servants bearing the requisite delicious pastries. "Oh, here you are."

Imrama "I have called you all here not only to discuss the options before us, but in order to voice a concern. You know that Askaru and Remembrance were married. I had long wished to find her latest incarnation, before I knew of her Fall - to see if the spark was still there, I suppose. Now I find reason, small, ambiguous reason, but reason nonetheless, to fear that the truth may be deeper and more...

Imrama ...insidious."

Zahara glances around and finds the nicest cushion to claim, and folds herself neatly onto it. "Do tell."

Zahara leans back comfortably against Cerin, who was conveniently also on it.

Lucent watches Imrama curiously. Still getting used to his new sight, and what it shows.

Cerin wraps an arm around Zahara, looking expectantly at Imrama.

Varanim wanders in with a cavernous yawn. "Oh, was there a meeting? I was busy having the best sleep of my life."

Lucent ::Light on the sarcasm. Imrama is not in the best spirits.::

Imrama "Most recently, I have been troubled by strange dreams, of a sea of writhing, twisting vines. But the origin of my concern is in the time I spent near death, after our run-in with the Herald. I had a vision, and I believe Remembrance was in it."

Varanim ::Who's being sarcastic? I haven't felt this good in years.::

Spring "Do tell." Spring sits near the food.

Varanim leans against the wall with folded arms and an attentive look.

Spring glances thoughtfully at Varanim.

Lucent "And what did she do, in it? Or, how did she appear?"

Zahara "I am sorry, Imrama. Please go on."

Imrama "She appeared as the silhouette of a woman, cast in yellow stars. She told me that I was the seed of a new beginning. There was also some disturbing imagery involving a lost infant infected by those recurring green vines."

Varanim "What did the baby look like?"

Imrama "Like me."

Cerin "Hmm."

Zahara contemplates writhing twisting vines and babies.

Zahara "I... have seen that symbolism before," she says slowly, "with regards to you, Imrama."

Spring "Hmm."

Spring *Hm

Imrama "I have been satisfied to remain ignorant of my exact origins for some time now. It seems that that is a luxury I can no longer afford." Imrama turns to Zahara with a look of surprise. "Where?"

Varanim Aside to Spring, she thinks, ::What's going on here besides Imrama having visions which I'm sure are totally unrelated to all the stuff he smokes?::

Zahara "In the Auric Temple. The room with the..." here she waves her hand in vague illustration, "visions of the people we could see superimposed over them."

Spring ::You are unexpectedly not having bad dreams?::

Varanim ::Yes, but I'm pretty sure that's not what people are talking about, exciting as it is for me.::

Lucent "'And to the left there was a vast dragon, tearing itself up from the earth itself, a single star in the sky foretelling his arrival. To the right, endless waves of thorny vines, choking the landscape and all that lives upon it, all emanating from the emblem of the twilight castemark, with a tiny bite taken out from its center. And to the vines, one of seven raises an infant.'" Lucent declaims.

Lucent "That was the design on my tomb."

Spring "The corrupted Twilight emblem appeared in my vision of the dead stars as well, but the Wolf who wore it was killed by an unseen hunter."

Imrama "I am also very aware of the many hints that Remembrance was somehow involved in the Strangling Ivy Revolt."

Zahara "I would note the black tendrils that grew up around the Temple when the Ebon Dragon rose, but those were"

Spring ::We are discussing what our next course of action will be.::

Cerin "Yes, Ymir suspected her of this, though she never found proof."

Spring "So. This definitely suggests a topic that needs further investigation. The question is how, and when."

Lucent "Well, who knows of prophecy imagery better than the Sidereal Exalted?"

Lucent "We do keep coming back to them, do we not?"

Imrama "I have a few ideas for how to explore the question. I have been meaning to take a trip into the Wyld anyway. My interest in reporting this was to make sure that you all knew as much as I know. I do not want anyone caught off guard if there are any unforeseen...problems."

Zahara "Hmm the last Wyld vision was quite informative, if somewhat unintelligible until after the fact."

Spring "Rest assured that we will take this information into account in our dealings, Imrama."

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Imrama "I trust that you will." Though still heavier than usual, Imrama's posture becomes less rigid, and his face softens. "What next then? The Zhan family estate? One of your money leads?"

Lucent "My vote is for Tara Zhan. She knows something about Lucent's corpse."

Imrama "She is ancient, and powerful, and directly related to the Empress. My expectation is that she knows quite a lot about a great many things." ::But I am particularly interested in finding answers for you, Lucent. I know this is a riddle you want badly to solve.::

Zahara nods reluctantly. "Ah yes, my cursed family."

Lucent ::I do not mean to sidetrack us from Remembrance, the Five and the Vines, however.::

Varanim "Digging up bodies almost never makes anyone happy," she says to Lucent, then shrugs. "But aunt Zhan's on ice next to that totally sweet Ija piece, so I'm for it."

Imrama ::We know that she knew certain of the Five. Perhaps we may all get some benefit from the trip.::

Varanim snags a pile of pastries and tucks in, humming happily under her breath.

The tall, hexagonal reaches of Tara Zhan Keep reach up from the border between the evergreen forests bordering Arcadia and the endless permafrost to the north, just as they did on the previous visit, but today, something is a little different about the castle: the six great signal fires that still burned cleanly upon the walls on the Solars' previous journey have now gone out.

Zahara "That's... probably not good."

Cerin "Hmmm, no. Perhaps not."

Varanim "Oh, you don't know that," says Varanim with some cheer and no apparent irony, dripping blood into one eye to inspect the view across the Shroud.

Where the fortress in the living world is still nearly immaculate, the damage that Varanim observed within it on their previous visit is indeed quite widespread in its Netheos incarnation; soot stains and cracked stone, crumbled towers and broken gates, blood trails and the vast skeletons of strange beasts cover the dead version of Tara zhan Keep.

Varanim lets out a low whistle. "Now, that's a bone collection. If it makes you feel better, it's not seething with fresh spectres."

Zahara "My long and storied family history." She eyes the towers, "Ah well I've made my own share of gibbering spectres."

Zahara jumps out

The familiar roof of the Keep's central ring rushes up to meet Zahara.

Zahara cuts her fall short into a graceful series of downward leaps, finding purchase on the air itself.

Imrama brings the Fable alongside the outer wall, and lowers the gangplank.

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Page last modified on February 02, 2009, at 07:29 PM