Summary:Varanim susses out the history of the knife Cerin carries and its connection to the Crownless King.

XP:C1, V1

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`Kraken Cerin had asked Varanim to join him quite far from his usual haunts. The mirror was proped up against a low table in a forgotten and dusty room, somewhere below the streets of a Southern City which had been reclaimed by the desert. There was no obvious other way into the room, a large infall of rocks visible just beyond the doorway which lead out of here. The only interesting feature in the room was the Gate. It had recently

`Kraken been used from the still glowing sigils, pointing to somewhere off Meru...

`Varanim arrives exactly at the appointed hour--or within one standard deviation of the most likely mean of the appointed hour, if he's been cute and specified a more vague time frame. She pulls off the mask, still lit with a faint glow from the caste mark on her forehead, and spins it like a giant coin between one finger and the table. "Well?"

`Cerin "I'd like to call in that favour from you," he says, drawing the golden knife from his belt.

`Varanim eyes the knife with perhaps justifiable skepticism. "If you're here for the other arm, I'd have preferred someplace easier to dig my way out of."

`Cerin "No, I have no present or foreseeable need of your arm," he smiles softly.

`Varanim "Oh!" she brightens. "That will make things easier. What is it, then?"

`Cerin "I'd like to know about the knife. I think it might have some relevence to my current project. It's certainly been with my shard for some time."

`Varanim reaches out with a semiprofessional grimace, fingers hovering over the knife but not yet descending. "Anything in particular to look for?"

`Cerin "Connections with the Cauda Draconis."

`Varanim "Ah. Let's take a seat, then. It'll be easier if I take the full hour to do this one."

`Cerin Cerin nods, and offers Varanim the chair in the room. It's obviously, unlike much else in the room, been used recently. Probably for writing at the desk its next to.

`Varanim sits, digs in her pocket for a moment and extracts the hearthstone that used to reside in her arm. She nods for him to place the knife on the table and lays the back of her hand over it, fingers absently spinning the Jewel of the Immortal Mind in her palm as her eyes recede from focus on the present.

`Varanim She first inquires in the hearthstone, asking Kivet Loa for an extremely brief summary of any interesting observations he has about the Cauda Draconis. That's expected to take most of the hour. With all the details of that new awareness forming a glittering frame, she allows the blank space between to be filled with the scenes of the knife's past.

The very first thing Varanim sees is her own dismemberment from a detached, external viewpoint -- an experience that is, in some ways, more nauseating than the actual process -- and from there, her vision of the knife's history whips backwards through time and space, barreling backwards towards the dagger's creation.

Her visions do not linger on Cerin claiming the dagger from Seven Leaping Herons, or Herons taking it in the first place, or even the moment where Ymir held it to future-Cerin's neck, these details long since hashed out for the Solars' benefit from other sources.

Instead, they careen backwards yet further, insistent on new revelations: the innumerable purposes to which Ymir put it in her career, a knife that can cut anything quite valuable for the purposes of a spy and hunter; the careful manner in which she stored it invisibly, beyond the view of others, that none might realize she carried it; the moment she first summoned it in Talmuda's presence, drawing an interested eyebrow.

It tracks back yet further, to Ymir's fifty-eighth year, when having no more than deposited a bag in her temporary quarters in the city of Hazul-ta she saw a vision in the sands, drawing her out into the southern desert... where she walked for hours across trackless, empty sands, until she came upon the thing that called to her: a stone pillar, with the golden dagger set into it, and three adamant boxes built into it;

she sees the Night draw out the knife, and without hesitation cut open the boxes: three tiny draw-string bags within, one black, one white, and one grey, which she pockets and leaves the desert to whence she came...

and then her mind casts back across time rapidly once more, stopping only ever-so-briefly on the image of the Crownless King -- but unlike when last she saw him in a vision, now hidden almost entirely in shadow but clad in rags of purest white -- jamming that knife into the top of that pillar, before it rushes back yet further to show him, once again resembling her last vision, in an altogether different setting:

a Netheos that Varanim immediately recognizes, and yet which looks nothing at all like the Underworld she has visited so often: vast sweeping dunes of turquoise sand stretching off to whitish-green marble mountains in the distance, the brilliant light of Pluto shining far above, as on an anvil much like the one they so recently used to cure "Winter,"

the King looks on as the blade is cast by three other Exalts: a dimly-seen purplish-blue Shadeborn who actually hammers out the blade; a thin, olive-skinned Sidereal clad in green vestments who seems to be laying some manner of astrological mojo over it; and a (literally) flame-haired male elementalist of pallid skin and harsh features, who provides the heat.

`Varanim relays all that.

`Cerin "Ah."

`Varanim "Aside from learning that your previous Shard liked to visit modern art installations, was that helpful?"

`Cerin "It has certainly presented me with a few more leads, yes."

`Varanim "Leads to where?"

`Cerin "I'm trying to trace back to the Cauda Draconis, ultimately, which is where the dagger seems to lead in part. More immediately, I have been searching for the Trinosi."

`Varanim grimaces. "I'll assume you have something clever planned to ask when you find them."

`Cerin "I'm sure I will by the time I've found them. At the moment they're a little too mysterious to know what to ask."

`Varanim "Enjoy, and let me know if you need any more help on this little endeavor. I've found that only good things come from finding Hundredfold."

`Cerin "This, too, has been my experience. Never-the-less, I feel the need to look. Thank you for your help today."


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Page last modified on April 25, 2011, at 08:15 PM