Summary:The circle consider Spring's new malady, discover Bertrand's illness, attempt to contact the Doctor -- and finally, Imrama and Brigid have a heart-to-heart.

XP:C4, I4, S4, V4, Z4

< Everything Went As We Intended It To | Sol Invictus Logs | May the Branches Bend to Shade Your Path >

`Imrama leans against the wall near where Brygeta is currently restrained, sipping a mango-mint lassi and worrying about the mental health of his friend Spring.

`Spring walks out the door, absently fiddling with his cuffs, and nods to Imrama.

`Cerin , on the other hand, is more interested in his Essential health. And how it seems to be a little off...

I have reports for you, excellencies. Where can you be found?
: Bertrand contacts the Solars via the rings.

`Spring "She is not talking. We are considering contacting the Doctor."

`zahara "Which doctor?"

`zahara ((actually i already knew that))

`zahara "Are we going to run through the ones we have here, and then your doctor corps before we go to the sort of evil one who probably wants to kill us?"

`Spring "The...Abyssal doctor? You suggested it?"

`zahara "Or just jump right in?"

`Spring "I suppose Lucent and I could attempt some surgery."

`zahara "Well of course I did, I just didn't think you two would actually GO for it."

`Spring "Hm." Spring rubs his mouth thoughtfully. "Do we have any soulsteel?"

`Varanim "Eh?" says Varanim, who's already fishing out her special Doctor-calling mirror.

....excuse me?

`Spring "Obviously yours is in use, Varanim. I meant some spare soulsteel."

`zahara "Well we just killed a few Abyssals, we could melt some of theirs down."

`Varanim ::Up in the room looking at Zahara's soul-screwed grandma, but don't worry, it's in that not creepy way.::

On my way.

Not long after, Bertrand arrives, looking very much worse for the wear. His elaborate greenish-brown robes are as carefully pressed and elegant as ever, but his face looks lined and pale, and his eyes are bloodshot and heavy.

`zahara "Bertrand, are you quite alright?" Zahara asks with some concern.

`Varanim "Have you been making him press your underwear again?"

`Imrama 's face registers concern as he stops leaning against the wall, and takes the straw out of his mouth.

`Bertrand shakes his head. "I'll... be alright, Empress," he says, after a short delay. "I have.... reports for you."

`zahara rolls her eyes at Varanim.

`zahara "Well then, go ahead."

`Bertrand "All reports have come in from the front, Empress," he says. "Our field commanders report that what remains of the Thousand has been secured by the Deliberative forces. Those undead forces which still remained have been destroyed, and troops deployed to maintain the borders against further assault. There has been," he adds, "no further report of activity from the Lion's Abyssals -- they are certainly no longer in the region."

`zahara nods, clasping her hands behind her back. "Excellent news."

`Bertrand "However, unusual weather patterns have been observed throughout the area and most of the Thousand mountain range is inaccessible after the collapse. Whatever may remain inside is beyond our reach for now."

`Varanim "What kind of unusual?" Varanim's interest perks up.

`Bertrand "Dramatically increased frequency of grave-earth Essence eruptions. Ash-storms with blood rains on an hourly basis. Unusual temperature fluctuations."

`Bertrand "Overall, the level of Essence activity seems to have increased at least ninefold compared to before our campaign began."

`Varanim "Is it falling off with time?"

`Bertrand shakes his head. "It seems to be getting worse."

`Varanim "All right, who's been coaching him on how to talk necro-sexy?"

`Bertrand coughs a rather unpleasant-sounding cough into a handkerchief before closing his eyes and tucking it away again.

`Imrama "Potentially grave news. Is this all to which your pallid expression is owed?"

`Bertrand shakes his head. "I'm just feeling... a bit ill," he says. "I'm sure it will be fine. If... you'll excuse me," he says, and turns to return to his duties.

`Spring "Wait."

`Spring "Say ah."

`Bertrand stops and, puzzled, opens his mouth wide open for Spring.

`Spring takes advantage of Bertrand's brief moment of stillness to take four of his pulses and palpitate a few of his lymph nodes.

`Bertrand Bertrand seems to be ill with the same crippling disease that had slain the Lantern Light known as Bountiful Grass -- though here it appears to be progressing somewhat more slowly...

`Varanim ::I already know he's not going to be fine. What's the story?::

`Spring ::He has the disease that is killing all our God-Exalts.::

`Varanim ::Can you fix it?::

`zahara ::Yes, I would rather not have to train a new minister of the interior. He is doing a surprisingly good job of it.::

`Spring ::I might be able to do something about it. It would take some time. Careful examination.::

`Spring ::It might be easiest to raise them from the dead after they die.::

`Bertrand stands there, looking a bit uncertain as to why he is still here while everyone stands quietly around him.

`Varanim does her part to help by visibly losing interest in Bertrand, finishing the spit-polishing of her little mirror and tapping on it experimentally with one soulsteel fingertip to see if the Doctor is available.

Spring_ "Thank you, Bertrand. If you see anyone else with your disease, please have them report to the Slate Ward for examination and treatment when possible."

Spring_ "If I am unable to avert it, my condolences on your impending death."

`Bertrand visibly recoils for a moment at Spring's statement, then rapidly attempts to compose himself and quickly walks out of the room.

`Varanim raises her eyebrows, but doesn't interrupt what she's doing to look over at Spring.

`Bertrand There's a long pause with the Mirror, but finally, after what seems like forever, the image on it changes -- shifting to complete blackness. From somewhere on the other side, a voice, thicker and more gravelly than normal responds. "...Varanim."

`zahara "You should really work on your bedside manner, Spring."

`Varanim "Are you too busy for an interesting problem?" Varanim asks the mirror, with her usual charmingly courteous greeting.

Spring_ "I tried to be as sympathetic as I could."

`Doctor There's another pause. "You're asking me for a favor, Varanim?"

`Varanim "No, Zahara is asking you for a favor. I'm saying you might want to come take a look anyway, for this." She lifts the mirror and turns it, briefly but accurately focusing Spring in its view.

`Doctor There's another pause

`Doctor .

`Doctor "You... don't think I can just ignore your killing of my Circlemates, I hope."

`zahara "We could kidnap him and force him to do it if that would help." Zahara offers from the background.

`Varanim "I'm aware that few people share my ability to not blow things out of proportion, yes. But if you decide you're interested, you know where to reach me."

`Doctor There's one more pause. "I'll consider it," he says, and the mirror returns to normal once more.

`Varanim shrugs with an elaborately puzzled look on her face. "He's mad at me but I can't figure out why, guys. What's the next option for Brigid?"

`zahara sniggers

`zahara "I'm not entirely sure..." she admits.

Spring_ "Can you not..." he waves an arm generally, "command the undead?"

`Imrama puts down his drink, slips off his officer's coat, and rolls up his sleeves. "I'm going to have to have a talk with her."

`zahara "Oh my."

`Imrama enters the room. He pulls a chair over in front of Brigid and reverses it before sitting down, staring at her severely over the chair back. "Brygeta Zhan..."

`Varanim "Pretty much exhaustively," she answers Spring while watching Imrama with vaguely lifted eyebrows. "But 'get better' works about as well on the dead on the living, instruction-wise."

Spring_ "It has always worked reasonably well for me."

Spring_ "Well, not always."

`Imrama "I have something to say to you. Not the unraveled, distorted, incoherent knot of nihilism and despair that is presently masquerading as you. The actual you, the person buried deep, under eons of torment, down far below death and the loss of your shard. The you that remembers being Brygeta Zhan, the Mother of Spells, the Forge of the Wyld."

`Brigid buckles and roars, unable to move beyond the spot she sits in from Varanim's magical controls, but still struggling vainly against her restraints -- and Imrama's words -- nonetheless.

`Imrama "That is who I am here to speak with. The twisted husk that is not her may thrash and wail, but it is the one who wrought the Sword of Ice that I have come to address. Hear me then: the world is unraveling."

`Brigid Brigid's ghost pauses at Imrama's words... something in them catches her attention, and though her shape is twisted and broken, her face turns to stare directly into his eyes.

`Imrama What does not drip by bits into the Void will be eaten by the quivering worms of the Wyld. What is not horded by the deluded and the corrupt will be stolen or burned out of spite by seething horde of Malfeas. These things are now coming to pass, in all the worlds of shape, in Meru, in the Sunlands, in this very house."

`Imrama "The circle, once hammered true, is bent and scoured, and on the verge of breaking. None of this is news to you: the story is the same, and only the players have changed. Your eyes saw the earth in flames long centuries before I was born. You know the journey well, you and I can both see that we are on the same course once again."

`Imrama "But as sure as I am a captain, I can promise you this: together, we can turn the wheel. Somewhere behind your ancient eyes, you remember the fight against the decadent and arbitrary rule of those who laid the foundations of the earth. You knew the struggle of our species, up from the lowest of all speaking things, up to the heights of heaven."

`Imrama "That fight is still in you. That will to grow, to learn, to overcome, cannot be extinguished by the chains of ruin that your captors set into your spectral flesh. They never broke you of your name, Brygeta Zhan, and so you still retain the chance to show them once again why they ought to fear it."

`Imrama "My company and I have much to do, to knit the world back together again. Place your hand beside ours, on the helm of the age, and turn the wheel."

`Brigid looks at Imrama, her eyes blinking... some gear turning somewhere, far behind her eyes, but still unready to act... as if she's still waiting for something from Imrama....

`zahara stands by him solemnly, trying to reconcile the shape before her with the woman who had been at the shores of the pool.

`Imrama ::Zahara - do you still have a few threads from the cloak that Surkha wore?::

`Imrama ::Aw, damn. Jinnana's gonna kill me for this.:: Imrama thinks to himself before stepping through the invisible barrier and kissing the bent and mutilated ghost of the Mother of Spells.

`Varanim ::Just hope she's not awake enough to notice she's your rebound girl.::

`zahara ::I do... just a moment.:: She unwinds a single thread from a braid through her hair, and steps forward, ::Just so you don't go through my entire family tree, ending with me.::

`Brigid stares at Imrama, her eyes churning with Essence and her skin glittering and pulsing, and then with a single flourish takes the thread from Zahara's hand, spins it in a wide circle in front of her with her (long, twisted) arm fully extended... and then swallows it.

`Imrama ::If I so much as had the thought madam, I suspect that I would simply disapear, with the only evidence of my once having existed being a note reading "Don't try to kiss the Empress of the Sunlands."::

`zahara ::Accurate indeed... chuckle::

`Brigid Everyone can watch the thread as it falls through Brygeta's transparent form, until it settles somewhere near the center of her chest, standing almost straight-up in a line... and it begins to glow, radiating outwards in red and yellow light from the spot where it's lodged itself...

`Brigid Brigid's ghostly form suddenly stiffens and she floats almost a foot into the air, limbs out in every direction -- and she screams...

`Brigid She hangs there for seconds on end, brilliant light radiating out, her voice screaming in unimaginable pain.... And then, in a moment, her plasmic shape seems to explode, bits of ghostly Essence shooting outwards in every direction at unimaginable speed and leaving only a sort of funny cold feeling where they pass through the bodies of the bystanders...

`Brigid What falls to the ground again at the end is the shape, not of a monster, but of a woman, an honored ancestor: the Brigid Zahara remembers from her dream, but ghostly, and half-collapsed into a pile on the floor.

`zahara "Brigid?"

`zahara kneels next to the ghost tentatively

`zahara surreptitiously feels her own chest as she does

`Brigid "Z...Zahara?" says a long-distant yet familiar voice. And when Zahara reaches for herself, she finds that the cursed symbol... is gone.

`Spring "Well done, Imrama."

`zahara ::Thank you, Imrama Stormfound.:: The Empress smiles as kindly as she knows how to her long-lost ancestress. "All is well now, Brygeta Zhan. You have found yourself again, as I knew you would."

`Brigid The ghost of the Mother of Sorcery stands up, a little shaky, golden-red light still pouring out of her chest. "I... yes. Yes, I have."

`Varanim looks vaguely headachey at the joyous family reunion, shaking her flask experimentally and then making a face as it turns up traitorously empty.

`Imrama begins to roll his sleeves back down. ::You are welcome.:: For a moment Imrama experiences a sense of self-satisfaction at living up to one of his more obscure titles among the Norther Fae; Imrama Stormfound - 'Gangster of Love'.

`Brigid "Who... are you... others?" she says, clearly unfamiliar with those she hasn't stripped naked and pushed into a pool.

`zahara "My Circle. The one you... met is Imrama Stormfound," she gestures to the Gangster

`zahara "Varanim is the cranky one, and Spring is the one with the poor bedside manner." She indicates each in turn

`Imrama slides his coat back on smoothly, and bows.

`zahara "And last, but far from least, is my eternal love, Cerin the Wolf."

`Spring "Actually, I must apologize."

`Spring "Spring is merely my nickname. My name, in fact, is The Falling Leaf Which Heralds The First Approach of Winter."

`Spring "The pleasure is mine, I assure you."

`Varanim "Oh yes, we were going around calling him 'The' for short, but it got really grammatically awkward."

`Imrama whirls his head to look at Spring in shock and dismay. Then he brings it back around to favor his comrades with a we-seriously-need-to-fix-this-shit glance.

`zahara "Denial is not just a river in Halta."

`Winter ::You are embarrassing me in front of our guest.::

`Varanim ::You know that kind of talk only encourages me.::

`zahara ::Oh like you've never done THAT to ME. Besides, I don't even know who you are.::

`Varanim Looking irritatedly disinterested in the question of Spring's nomenclature, Varanim sits up from her slouch to look directly at Brigid. "Also, now that you're not trying to kill us all, I don't want ghost servants. Do as you will."

`Brigid relaxes her ephemeral body slightly.

`Brigid With slow, careful movements and a wary eye, she flexes her ghostly arms one by one, as if relearning how to move them.

`zahara lets the Bonds fall away, slipping them back around her waist.


< Everything Went As We Intended It To | Sol Invictus Logs | May the Branches Bend to Shade Your Path >

Page last modified on October 29, 2010, at 01:28 PM