Summary:The Doctor comes to take a look at Winter -- who turns out to be quite paranoid about the process.

XP:C4, I4, S4, V4, C4

< Don't Forget Your Annual Checkup | Sol Invictus Logs | We Certainly Were Married >

`Varanim Having lured people onto the airship with vague but insistent promises of "something hilarious," Varanim has the course set for the south and then goes looking for previously-Spring once they're well underway.

`Winter is sitting in one of the lower cabins on the airship, neither pacing, practicing nor meditating, but apparently completely still.

`Varanim "Oh good, you're already practicing what I need you to do today. Must be that sharp tactician mind."

`Winter "Undoubtedly."

`Winter "What?"

`Varanim "Sitting still and looking pretty. I need the Doctor to look you over, because without boring you with the smart-people details, I have several hilarious questions to answer about necrotic Essence in action and a shortage of other necromancers to peep in the act."

`Varanim "If you'd like, you can estimate the odds of any of the others sitting still while he looks them over."

`zahara "Looks us over for what?" Zahara asks, having noticed Varanim enter the room "winter" is in.

`Winter "Hm."

`Winter "Would it not be more straightforward to attempt to kill him and watch him defend himself?"

`Varanim "Weakness," she answers Zahara succinctly and truthfully. At Spring, she rolls her eyes. "If I had any interest in the question of what people do when crazy Solars are trying to kill them, yes. That's not exactly new ground to tread, research-wise."

`zahara "Hm."

`Varanim "I have some questions about the Essential implications of my status as a fake necromancer. This will help me answer them, if you need more of an explanation. Because we all know how much I love giving those."

`Winter "Your intention is to allow the Doctor to inspect me for weaknesses he can exploit?"

`Varanim "Does any part of that prospect really worry you?"

`zahara contemplates which sort of collar will work on someone like spring now.

`Winter ""

`Winter "Very well."

`Varanim ::Cerin,:: she adds privately, ::the Doctor is going to be looking at Spring soon. I'm interested in an assortment of things about this interaction which I think I don't need to detail for you. Things may be busy there, but if you get a chance to take a look and draw one of your pictures later, it would be helpful.::

`Cerin ::I shall endevour to keep an eye on him.::


Soon, the ship finds itself in the midst of a spot of unfortunate weather:

that is to say, a firestorm, approximately two thousand feet across, from which huge gouts of flame as big as elephants rain down on a dusty, scorched earth and even rugged, desert-dwelling lizards and ekapathi rushing for cover under the vast rock outcroppings that rise out of the earth here like frozen windswept dunes.

`Varanim "I think we're looking for the bad part in there, Imrama. Will that be a problem?"

`Imrama throws back his head in a short but still-relatively-maniacal laugh. "Have you met me?"

`Imrama steers the ship deeper into the heart of the storm.

Fiery bolts shoot by at high speed, waves of heat rolling off of them and across the bow of the ship as Imrama pulls the Fable just to the side of the falling flames.

`Winter "Varanim."

`Winter "Have you found it?"

`Varanim "Not now, mommy's having her drinking time," she says irritably, then a moment later Algorab caws on her shoulder and she points. "That curly bit right over there, that looks like the firestorm that ate the temple of... never mind, it's not important. There should be a pocket of hot but livable air in the middle of the worst turbulence."

`Imrama "Well then, lets find that pocket." The Fable dives.

With the instruction provided, Imrama has little difficulty locating the place they're heading to, and with a flourish the Fable sets down in the tiny, livable center of the terrifying conflagration.

Already waiting there, seated in shadow underneath a small rocky outcropping, is the Doctor, almost vanishing into the darkness in his head-to-toe black scrubs.

`Winter shakes his head and turns his attention to the Doctor.

`Doctor inclines his head very faintly as he sees Winter peek his head out.

`Varanim "The nice thing about bringing together people who already know and dislike each other is, nobody expects me to make introductions." Varanim disembarks with an impatient wave to Spring, bottle in one hand and grumpy leaning-stick in the other.

`Varanim ::If the rest of you could make sure that nobody kills us while this is happening, that would be nice. People think you're silly if you keep doing necromancy after you're dead.::

`Doctor stands up. As he steps forward towards the Solars, the massive gash -- neatly sutured and treated, but still vicious-looking -- across his face is quite clearly visible. "Varanim."

`Winter "Doctor."

`Winter "You seem to have something on your face." Spring gestures helpfully to his own.

`Doctor nods. "Astute as always," he says. He turns to Varanim. "Have the arrangements we agreed upon been made?"

`Varanim "See? Everybody knows each other already, how nice." She looks to the Doctor. "I've explained to Spring that you're looking him over for weakness. If you could make an ominous 'mm-hmm' noise now and then, I'm sure that'll help him feel involved in the process."

`Varanim tosses him a somewhat heavy little envelope, in which are the Hearthstone to her treehouse, and neatly written directions to the moss-and-root-hung grotto under a particular orange grove, recently blighted by fire, which is geomantically conducive to his uninterrupted surgery needs.

`Varanim ::Zahara, remember that demon wasp I asked you to stow in the airship earlier, with no questions asked?::

`Winter ::When he is finished, should we capture him?::

`Varanim ::No.::

`Doctor steps forward a little, and unapologetically takes his hand gently but firmly to Winter's throat, intending to move it about for doctorly purposes, extracting a soulsteel stethoscope from one carefully-hidden pocket of his scrubs as he does so. "Turn your head and cough."

`Winter ::Are there any other votes?::

`Winter does so.

`Cerin observes with interest, and from behind a non-threatening wall of the ship.

`Cerin ::No.::

`Winter attempts, as you might expect, to take the stethoscope and eat it.

`Doctor pokes about at Winter in a variety of medical fashions. Much to Varanim's potential displeasure, he does not say "mmhmm" even once, although his utter silence as he makes minute adjustments to Winter's pose, prods him in his chakras, and lightly pokes him with various instruments is perhaps even more unnerving.

`zahara ::There is no need to apprehend him, he comes when we call.::

`zahara ::Or rather.... when his favorite patient calls.::

`Varanim is willing to settle for that, and for herself she finds a comfortable place to slouch and drink occasionally, watching them with a grim and slightly bloodshot gaze. At one point, she does let her eyes lazily close, and of the image of them imprinted on her eyelids, she inquires: are they connected, in any more fundamental way than they were when last this group saw the Doctor?

`Varanim ::I'd tell you what he does for my annual checkups, but it'd be a waste without Lucent around to annoy.::

`Doctor There's definitely a new connection between the two, though it's nothing simple: it's hard for Varanim to put into words, even to herself, but it's like they've become part of the same extended family.

`zahara ::Oh, but I'm curious. Do tell...:: she smirks slightly, watching the doctor and his patient with her own essence sight.

`Varanim meditates on the loneliness of being right all the time, and then remembers to shrug the crow off her shoulder to fetch the demon wasp from the ship.

`Winter examines the Doctor's Essence, for lack of something to d.

`Winter o

`Varanim ::You do know there's no way it's as lurid as whatever you're imagining, right?::

`zahara ::Maybe next time it will be?:: she says hopefully

`Varanim mutely looks at the Doctor in his come-hither scrubs, looks over at Zahara, and raises her eyebrows with a really? face.

`zahara ::But he's a DOCTOR.::

`Doctor The Doctor's Essence is quite unremarkable and familiar: that of a powerful (but not quite as powerful as they) Abyssal Exalted, one with finely-honed abilities and absolutely perfectly maintained personal Essence. Nothing seems remotely out of place.

`Varanim ::Are you accusing me of having a fetish, or just trying to suggest me into one?::

`zahara ::If not the first already, then definitely the second.::

`Varanim ::Don't you have an empire to be running?::

`zahara ::I have people for that.::

`Doctor Finally, the Doctor completes his slow examination of Winter. "I see," he says, finally. He looks over at Varanim. "I'm done here."

`Imrama , who has been alternating his attention between the scene of the Doctor's inspection of Winter, and the ring conversation between Zahara and Varanim - two sensory inputs he might perhaps have chosen to do without - lights his pipe and takes a long drag.

`Varanim nods. "The wasp will take you to the location part of your payment, and the materials are already there. I'd say 'enjoy,' but I'm hoarding my insincerity resources today."

`Doctor nods. "I'd stay to chat," he says, "but duty calls." He turns to go, then stops for a moment and turns back to Varanim. "Thank you for the opportunity to study this," he says.

`Varanim grimaces, waving her hand in a 'go, go' motion in lieu of a proper sarcastic retort.

`Doctor climbs up on board the wasp and, without any further words for the crowd, launches himself out into the sky to a destination far, far away.

`Varanim "Thanks, everyone. Now I'm going to go grunt and squint at my notes for a week, feel free to not interrupt me."

`zahara "Yeah... I'm sure that will happen."

`zahara "What did you mean by the location part of his payment?"

`Winter ::Varanim.::

`Varanim "Calm down, it's nothing you own or were thinking about acquiring in the next few days."

`Winter ::Can I ask you something?::

`Varanim ::Will it stop you if I say no?::

`Winter ::No.::

`Varanim ::Then, time-saving tip, try not to make the next question rhetorical.::

`Winter ::Do you really believe me that foolish, that I would fall for your trickery?::

`Winter ::I went along to discover what vile force you have sold out Creation for. I suppose it is no surprise that it would be a Deathlord.::

`Winter ::A new plan with the Lion, perhaps? Or is this just the continuation of an old bargain with the Mask of Winters? No matter.::

`Winter ::But know this -- you may have fooled the others, credulous as they are, but I am aware of your perfidy. Whatever you have given the Doctor, it will avail him not -- and you neither.::

`Winter ::I should be silent, and let you believe you had gotten away with it.::

`Winter ::But I trusted you.::

`Varanim ::...::

`Varanim ::Out of kindness for other people's limited imaginations, I try not to be too unpredictable.::

`Varanim ::But try to remember this conversation the next time you're counting your friends. I hope it will be useful.::

`Varanim slips off her ring, pockets it, and shuffles below decks to finish her bottle and her notes.


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