Summary:The Solars journey to speak with Rebe, the reincarnation of a Lunar who once had dealings with Akuna.

XP:C4, L4, S4, V4, Z4


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Far in the north, by the very edges of what was once Creation's border with the Wyld, where the taiga stretches out even further north beyond the boreal forest which Silver Pact-aligned tribesfolk call their home, Spring finds himself walking a path that most could not see, following the subtle traces of scent that Milareba instructed him would lead him to his quarry:

Rebe, the rebirth of the Lunar once known as Onyx Wing.

Spring wrinkles his nose in distaste as he continues his journey.

Lucent "There is something ironic about following a Lunar by his smell."

Spring "Ironic and disgusting."

zahara "When you're Spring, everything smells."

Lucent "But he has eyes now!"

Lucent "Well, he never not-had them, since he is Spring who always... ah, screw it."

zahara "That does not preclude him from maintaining his senses of smell and hearing

Spring just sniffs.

The path leads on through the pine trees and the snow, the traces too faint for the others to detect and even giving Spring's impressive olfactory abilities a run for their money.

But finally, Spring follows them down into a small ravine, and is able to identify a spot, perhaps a quarter-mile down, where a tree occludes a hidden passageway -- the place where this trail leads him.

Spring knocks politely on the side of the tree.

Lucent "Quaint."

The response to Spring's knock is a sense of impending surprise, though even a thorough sensory audit does not appear to inform him from where.

Cerin regards the tree curiously, looking all around him for a trace of surprise

Imrama doesn't get any fancy warnings, so he just admires the tree for looking awesome.

Cerin looks about for signs of the disturbance, but no particularly obvious ones are to be found -- so it's still perhaps not quite as expected when the tree itself suddenly transforms into a tyrant lizard and leans down to glare at the group with a skeptical eyebrow.

Cerin "Ah, hello."

Imrama In a bit of unfortunate timing, again made possible by his lack of advance warning charms, Imrama chose the moment just before that transformation to begin drinking the mug of piping hot coffee he brought along on the flight. As the great tree blossoms and shrivels into a massive lizard-thing, Imrama sprays the area immediately in front of him with hot coffee

Spring knocks again on the lizard's leg.

Coffee streams down the dinosaur's rippling, muscled leg and it bends over, even more skeptically, to examine Imrama, before Spring's knocking interrupts it again.

It seems to consider the matter for a moment and then, with something somewhat resembling a shrug, it vanishes again, replaced now by a black-winged falcon that alights on a branch of the tree that rapidly grows in place to replace the false one that a few moments ago guarded the entrance to her lair. "Speak," a surprising deep voice says, emenating from the bird.

Imrama attempts to wipe the coffee from his lips in a dignified way. "Please forgive me, madam. We have come seeking Rebe-who-was-once-Onyx Wing."

Spring "We have a few questions to ask you, if you can spare the time for us."

Rebe "For what purpose do you come, and by whose guidance?" The voice seems guarded but not particularly irritated, which is more or less above par for this stage in a social negotiation.

Spring "We come from Lachu Atapis, to ask you about Akuna Ravdash."

zahara clasps her hands behind her back, watching the exchange with a half-smile

Rebe 's eyes narrow. "I have nothing to tell you about... that." It is clear from the tone in her voice that she is referring to the individual, not the topic, as "that."

Spring "I see."

zahara "He is not a pleasant topic of conversation, to be sure."

Spring "Seeing as we have come all this way, though, I hope it would not unduly trouble you if we went through the questions anyway."

Rebe nods after a moment's hesitation.

Spring "How did you meet Akuna Ravdash?"

Rebe pauses for a long moment. Then, finally, she says, truthfully: "I haven't met him."

Imrama "But the one whom you once were has."

Varanim sniggers faintly from the back.

Lucent "It is the burden, and the gift, of being a Celestial Exalted."

zahara steps back to join Varanim, still vaguely uncomfortable about the subject and willing to let the others do the heavy lifting for her in this one

Rebe steps down from the branch and, in doing, changes her form midair into that of a Linowan woman, wrapped in sable furs, green hair almost dark enough to be black only slightly peeking out of a a tight cap.

Rebe "That is what I understand," she says. "Or what I do not understand nearly well enough."

Varanim looks at Zahara with suspiciously narrowed eyes, then after a moment of deep and obviously grudging consideration, offers her the second of three oranges she brought.

Spring "Oh yes?"

Spring looks with real concern at the oranges for a second before he recovers himself..

zahara takes the orange from Varanim with a quick smile. "Thanks." She can't even manage to peel an orange in an indelicate fashion, and swirls of somehow ornate orange peelings drop, discarded, to the ground.

Rebe begins to walk, southward, through the trees, speaking as she goes. "I do not remember my life before I was Chosen. And I remember little of my previous life. But in what I do remember... Ravdash is there."

Lucent places a hand on Zahara's shoulder. "Would you be willing to undertake a procedure to unlock those memories?"

zahara "What? Me?"

Varanim makes a muffled snort, which might have been a second snigger but for the intervention of an orange wedge.

Lucent "No, I meant Rebe. Yours' are good and weaponized."

Rebe "Of my own life? No, that life is ended. And of Ravdash..." she shuts her eyes for a moment. "No." She waits three seconds before opening them again. "He already takes up too much, a distraction that serves no purpose." She shakes her head. "But I will tell you what I remember now."

zahara sighs a little and takes a bite of a slice of orange. "What if he was a distraction that DID serve a purpose?"

Rebe cocks her head slightly and looks at Zahara quizzically.

zahara "Your memories could be instrumental in... " She shrugs again, and flicks an orange seed off to the left. "I understand if you don't wish to think of him. It is possible that is more healthy than attempting to destroy him."

Varanim rolls her eyes eloquently, picking at a bit of citrusy fiber stuck in her teeth.

Spring "We will try both options and let you know."

Lucent "But what you try to ignore never goes away."

zahara "Not for Exalts... unless you're ignoring mortals. That's fairly easy."

Lucent looks at Spring. "No, no, even Mortals you ignore come back to bite you."

Rebe nods. "But nonetheless, it shall not be I who destroys him, and I shall not learn more of what past another self once shared with him. That is not a matter for this life." She looks at Zahara again, with a steely glint in her eye. "But if you are the one who will, I can tell you what I do remember."

zahara "That may be enough."

Rebe continues trekking southwards, pushing branches aside with a practiced ease and leading down a path whose ultimate destination is obscure. "I remember him: a wild and vicious warrior, uncultured and raw. He wore naught but a leopard pelt, and his silver hair ran like an uncontrollable mane down his sides. In my memory, he stands atop a tree, and his spear is dripping red with blood."

Rebe "I remember lying with beasts lost to the darkest corner of the world, rutting with hateful creatures that I might spawn the darkest, most hateful brood, all that I might be able to stand over his shattered body and laugh."

Rebe She leads on, up into the upper reaches of the valley, where it rises between two jagged stone hills and drifts of untouched snow begins to render difficult the footing.

Rebe "I remember our final battle, where we fought from the moment the sun rose, striking and feinting against one another, drawing blood, wearing down, until finally it came down to one final stroke, and it was he who prevailed. I remember love, and hatred, in equal bounds. And I remember one other thing."

Spring "Yes?"

zahara climbs after her, listening intently to the stories. ::He certainly dresses better now.::

Varanim ::You just don't appreciate the scruffy look.::

zahara ::I'm sure he could be scruffy if he... :: She turns to scrutinize Varanim for a moment.

Rebe stops walking. "This," she says, and knocks her hand against a burned treestump.

Spring glances at it.

Rebe It's hollow and an object radiating a faint Essence glow seems to be stored inside.

Cerin examines it with more curiousity.

zahara "My my... what is this...?" She runs her hands over the stump, pulling out a newly formed door to look inside

Lucent looks over Zahara's shoulder

Rebe Within the stump, there are two tiny necklaces, small silver charms threaded onto thick, ungraceful leather straps which are tied together with an awkward, but enthusiastic, knot. One bangle takes the form of a lithe, stylized wolf's head; the other, a single feather.

Spring "Which one were you?"

zahara picks up a twig and hooks the necklaces onto it, drawing them out.

Rebe She taps the feather lightly with a single outstretched finger.

zahara "Are they symbolic or do they do something in particular?"

Varanim The last segment of the third orange drops away in a shriveled husk, and Varanim holds between two soulsteel fingers the little skeletal tree of fibers that remains inside. She looks through it at the necklaces as she reaches out casually with her flesh hand, fingers lacing through the two sets of strings so the ornaments hang as one in her palm. In distant pale branches, the past is clear.

Cerin "Those are ... powerful artifacts, in a way. And yet, very simple, in another."

zahara "How so?"

Cerin "The mote within them links them to the one who placed it there. The wearer can learn things about them, their state. It is very simple sympathetic magic ... in a way."

zahara "And in another way?"

Cerin "The mote can live in them for millenia."

zahara "So this would still be a sympathetic connection to him, hmm?"

Cerin "Oh yes."

Spring raises an eyebrow at Zahara, and gestures towards the necklace.

Rebe Varanim's gaze sweeps through the ages, back, back until she sees a vista spread out before her: the city of Oak Landing, a proud Haltan city swept through the high boughs of the ancient redwoods that crowd the earth....

zahara "Want me to put it on, do you?"

Spring "I assumed you would want to put it on."

zahara "I think I'll study it a bit first, to make sure it does not give him a sympathetic tie to me first."

Rebe She sees a young family, two parents walking slowly as two children run before them -- a siver-haired boy and a black-haired girl -- each holding a new necklace, the wolf's head flying through the air behind the girl as she holds it out at arm's length, laughing.

Rebe She sees the Linowan raiders who pour into the city, the parents slain in their beds, their heads chopped off and thrown casually to the floor... and the silver-haired boy, now a strapping warrior, grabbing the wolf necklace from where it hangs on the wall, before hefting his spear and charging out into battle...

Rebe And then there's a blur: death and dismemberment and darkness, and then a long crescendo of war and violence: the silver-haired man at the head of a Linowan raiding party, the black-haired girl standing in leadership of the same Haltan warriors that he had once called his own; an endless parade of brutal war,

Rebe of skirmishes and battles and campaigns claiming thousands of lives over years and years as the two fought with every breath to end one another utterly... and then--

Rebe interrupts Varanim at this point. "Please," she says. "That's enough."

Lucent "... you could see what she did?" Lucent wishes he had that trick

Rebe looks at Lucent, then lowers her gaze.

Varanim disentangles her fingers after a moment, glancing up at Rebe. "Why did he switch sides?"

Rebe "We do not remember our lives before we are Chosen," she says. "Those who found him must have told him a great lie, adopted the butcher of their fathers and brothers and sons into their own ranks, so much did they hate the Haltan."

Spring "Hm."

Spring "Does any proof of this remain?"

zahara snorts. "At first, he did not know. But he dug up the past until he found out what he'd done."

Rebe looks at Spring, then the necklaces. "Perhaps only this."

Spring "Thank you, Rebe. Your help will no doubt prove to have been invaluable."

Varanim "And thank you," Varanim adds, for reasons that may remain forever obscure to Rebe.

Rebe nods. "Now, please," she says, "leave my hunting grounds."

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Page last modified on May 04, 2010, at 03:56 PM