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Spheres of Silverhall

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Rasven Winter

Post  The Sub-Creator on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:26 pm

"Ah. Wynnsaren it shall be, then. I made an oath to myself long ago never to shorten one's name. While some see it as a term of endearment, I find names to be powerful things. They encapsulate who we are, providing a window into the very heart of our being. Something of such importance should never be trivialized or cheapened."

Winter casually looked down at the aurochs bathed in black pepper sauce as he cut it into dainty pieces--the consumption of which would hardly hinder the flow of conversation. Summer squash glistening with a honeyed glaze steamed beside the mouth-watering beef. The low tinking of his knife upon the platinum plate provided an almost rhythmic cadence, as if the man had grown so accustom to the process that he might do it in his sleep.

"Along those same lines, Wynnsaren, I must insist you call me Rasven. 'Master' distinguishes me amongst certain company, and I would require such a title within the public presence, of course; however, in more private confines as this, I prefer a more casual air."

Rasven quickly brought a piece of beef to his mouth, chewed precisely three times as was proper, swallowed, and continued the conversation without missing a beat. "How is it you have never come to be fixed with a proper title? Your loveliness is certainly not lacking, and, if I might be so bold as to say, is without equal in Silverhall. Wynnsaren is a delicate name, refreshing as a breeze caressing the flowers of a forest glen. Yet there is a boldness to it, I think, brought about by the strength of the middle syllable. Almost prophetic in nature, really. If 'Lady' does not befit you, Wynnsaren, then I should say there are no proper ladies in all the northern reaches of Golarion worthy of the title.

"Tell me: Is there something about you that I'm not seeing? Or is it that everyone else cannot see as I do? And please, don't be bashful," he prompted her, placing his silverware onto the plate and leaning back into the conforming orchid petal with a pleasant, amused smile. "It would not be the first time I have been right and everyone else wrong."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:56 pm

Trying to ignore the flush creeping up into her cheeks, Wynn busied herself with separating meat from bone on the miniscule little leg of the bird.

"Not even a blind woman could deny that you have a remarkable eye for beauty, Rasven,” she smiled softly, “for your home is exquisite in every detail that I have had the pleasure of laying clouded eye upon. In my personal case, however, I fear you flatter me unduly."

The effect the man's presence was having, actually startled her. Wynn had come in preparation for a dance of words with the monster that he was rumored to be, not the well-spoken, gracious and handsome host that sat before her now. She'd told Kazimir that it would be hard for her to keep her cool with Winter, but she couldn't have known just how right she'd be.

Wynnsaren could hear the white noise of the sun fading, but was that due to the hour or the blood pounding in her ears? No, the stars would soon appear and so would she. The truth of what she was. So often had that knowledge changed the perception of those whom she was with, that Wynn found herself wishing something that she hadn't wished in a very long time. That she was simply human. That she could simply live a life without the complications of her burden.

”Hells, girl, pull yourself together. Remember why you’re here.” When had Kazimir become her internal voice of reason?

“My life is. . . complicated, and does not well lend itself to long term relationships, I am afraid,” she offered in ambiguous explanation, before taking a small bite of the bird, the flavors of which exploded tantalizingly in her mouth from the black truffle and balsamic glaze it had been baked with. “And the truth of my mixed heritage seems only to result in misunderstanding at best, false assumptions at worst. I feel confident however, that you, Rasven, are not a man given to such baseless suppositions.”

Wynn turned to regard her host, who was watching her attentively with a small, self-assured grin on his face. Infectious as it was, she
returned one of her own.

“And you are gracious to comment on my name,” she continued, “for I chose it myself to best suit the region of Brevoy. In ancient Azlanti
it means, ‘She Whom the Stars Call Friend.’”

Wynnsaren could hear them then, as if in response; that song which called her every night to a home she’d never known. One she’d never even seen. It was out of habit that she turned her face away from the half elf, noting her change in the reflection of the platinum knife she held, but forcing herself to turn back, the aasimar looked him squarely in the platinum of his eyes.

Her own eyes now burned in a cool indigo hue, the same color as the sigils that burst into view on either side of her face, and above her head floated a crown of orbiting motes of light, which cast their reflections upon the sheen of Tapestry-black hair that fell past her shoulders in gentle waves.

Wynn hesitated, feeling more exposed and vulnerable than she did only a moment ago. “It is not the only name I have worn, but as you say, it provides a window to the very heart of who I am.”

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Rasven Winter

Post  The Sub-Creator on Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:16 pm

The corners of Rasven's naturally-grinning lips elevated slightly into a genuine smile of understanding. "You are well-traveled then," he observed after sampling the summer squash. "Delightful. It seems fate favors me this evening. You may find this confession the tiniest bit immodest, but I profess its truth against the judgment of the gods. The worst hardship accompanying the entertainment of guests involves the wine selection. It's impossible to inquire about taste, as that would be beyond rude, yet tastes very so widely that finding worthy vintages to match them is, well, undoubtedly you understand."

The merchant waved toward one of the chilled bottles of red wine waiting without complaint in a silver rose blossom bucket. The bottle raised forth from the crushed ice within and meandered the distance between them, bobbing lazily through the air. Its glass had been shaped to resemble the rough texture of tree bark. "And the goblets of crystalline ice," he said, almost as an afterthought, and a pair of them soon followed. "What I am about to unleash upon your experienced pallet is not for the faint of heart. It is called Osiowet, and comes from the fabled city of Osibu within the Mwangi Expanse. I remember next to nothing of my stay, as those who choose to leave such a paradise must drink an herbal tea--or so I liken it--that forever mists one's mind to its time there, making the memories feel as nothing more than a dream. However, I apparently brokered a deal with a shu-borimi--something of a winemaker in the Expanse--to deliver this fine wine twice a year via magical means. I know not the berry it's made from, but the Usami natives put three drops of blood from the barukel leopard within every bottle to strengthen the vitality of all who imbibe. I think you will find its sweetness uniquely complex."

Having given enough time for the bottle to pour a couple ounces of its contents into each of the goblets through his explanation, Rasven retrieved his own and enjoyed a silent sip, permitting the strong wine to roll over every taste bud on his tongue before swallowing. He allowed himself a brief moment of ecstasy as its cool smoothness traveled down his throat. "To my knowledge, this is the only opportunity you will have to try Osiowet without journeying to Osibu yourself, where you will likely not remember the experience to its fullest potential. I entrust it will be to your liking." Rasven ventured a second sip before replacing the goblet upon the table.

"Let us pretend, Wynnsaren, that your needs here are not pressing, if only for a minute or two," he suggested in earnest, quickly enjoying another bite of his aurochs. "I am very much intrigued at the thought of your many names and would count myself as blessed if you might share the stories of one or two of them with me?" he turned up the last couple words so as to frame it all as a question of interest, careful not to make it sound too pressing or forceful that she might misconstrue it as a command. "Your life is a gift that I fear too few stop to enjoy. I would be remiss if I suffered the same fate as the masses."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:56 pm

"I would never wish for you to suffer, Rasven," she chuckled genially as she reached for the icy goblet. The liquid within was deep garnet in color and more viscous than any she'd tried before, Wynn noted as she swirled, with a fruity scent and heady black spices that she could not hope to place.

"It would be my pleasure to recount for you one of those tales of days gone by, but . . . " In hesitation, she nibbled briefly at her bottom lip and looked up at Rasven with curiosity etched across her features as plainly as the sigils. "Might I be so bold as to propose a trade? You see for the last hours I have been walking about this grandiose hall immersed in your collections and with each new piece I found myself more and more intrigued by the kind of man this Rasven Winter must be! Has he traveled to all of these distant lands? Does he speak all of these languages contained within the volumes of lore? Is there in his history a connection with the fey or does he simply find them beautiful?" Wynn motioned to the satyr that was holding up the end table and the dryads shouldering the coffee table for example.

"Now that he is before me," she continued in velvet strains, "Instead of finding answers in his presence, I find only that my curiosity has been piqued. Would you deem it presumptuous of me to ask you a question of my own once my story is told?"

Wynnsaren raised the frosted goblet and sampled a small swallow. "Oh. . ." Her eyes drifted closed as the incomparable taste rolled down her throat, and she rested the edge of the ice-glass against slightly parted lips to feel the coolness of it; her breath swirling around in a visible vapor about the vessel. "That is. . . Quite dangerous."

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Rasven Winter

Post  The Sub-Creator on Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:10 pm

"Yes!" he exclaimed, edging forward in his orchid petal and issuing a restrained laugh. "Precisely," he pointed at her with his fork, jabbing it forward in the air a couple times emphatically. "Unwilling to simply exist, you choose to embrace every experience. So few grasp that life is meant to be more than simply lived. You are a singular woman, Wynnsaren."

Rasven sighed happily as he resumed the more comfortable position in his divan. "I saw something different about you when first my eyes fell upon you. How thankful I am that you failed to disappoint. In light of that truth, I agree to your request. Regale me with your story, and I shall answer your question."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:36 pm

With a smile and a nod of assent, Wynnsaren set the goblet of wine down on the table and speared a small bite of brussel sprout, chewing daintily as she collected thoughts and dusted off memories.

"You must have a point of reference before I begin, I think," she tapped her index finger over her mouth, after setting down the utensils. "This all took place about forty-five years ago now. I was young. . .terribly young, and I knew nothing about anything, neither what purpose I might one day serve, nor even what I was!

"My father and I were traveling across the Crown of the World into Avistan, when I was taken for the first time. This was the beginning of the 'complication' in my life that I previously mentioned. You see, on sporadic occasion, the gods will see fit to pick me up and plunk me down somewhere that suits their purpose, usually after giving me a string of similar visions as preparation for what was about to happen. After my given purpose in that place has been concluded, which can take mere hours or even years after being deposited, I am usually whisked back to where I had been, but as I said, this was the first time such a thing had happened to me and I had no idea what to expect."

The aasimar leaned back further into the silken petals of the divan and continued.

"You can imagine then how terrified I was to be at one moment upon a great, wide open ice shelf and then suddenly be transported to the blackest cave I'd ever seen! All alone I wandered for hours and though my blood affords me the gift to see in the darkness, without the stars to sing of my location I was utterly lost within this underground complex. Strange noises echoed down the tunnels and I successfully avoided the creatures that were making those hideous skittering and scratching sounds, but there was one beast that was more silent than the rest. He sneaked up on me. . . Even though his sight was impaired by the darkness, my stars gave me away I suspect, and when I finally realized something was there, he was lunging at me with a spear! It came within an inch of my throat before he stopped cold.

"It was a Shoanti boy, though I did not know it at the time, nor even who the Shoanti were, and it is not fair for me to call him a boy but a man in his own right. He was tall and broad of frame, with bronze skin, amber eyes and a mop of sandy blonde hair," Wynn recalled with a soft, wistful smile. "He looked as surprised by me as I was by him. Though I had been taught the common tongue as a child, Akram, as I came to know him, did not speak it, so somehow, with no way to communicate we managed to emerge from the caves after a few days of wandering, and relatively unscathed.

“I had been trying for that long just to teach him my name, which at the time, was Tsukiko,” she explained, “but he was completely and
hilariously unable to pronounce it. When we walked out of the Wyvern Mountains and out onto the Cinderlands, he gave me a name that he felt was more appropriate. Yiska. Later I would learn its meaning: The Night Has Passed. As all shoanti names, the meaning is more complex than the simple words might indicate.” The aasimar smiled tenderly.

“Akram was, or perhaps still is, a member of the Lyrune-Quah; the Clan of the Moon among the Shoanti peoples. He had been completing his Rite of Passage when he came upon me in the tunnels. It is called, The Black Walk. On a moonless night, the young brave must find the entrance to an underground cave complex in the Wyvern Mountains. He must then make his way through the darkness and come out safely on the other side, which sounds an easier task than it is, I assure you! It is on this journey, that many braves are said to first receive a vision from their future totems. Akram was convinced that I was that vision. I can’t deny that might be so,” Wynn shrugged gently, “for the Lyrune-Quah are worshippers of Desna, and The Song of the Spheres is indeed one of the deities that send me visions.

“Hmm. . . I seem to be straying a bit too far from the path. My apologies, Rasven. This is a story I’ve not told before, so it all comes forth in one great rush!” She grinned at her host and peaked an eyebrow. “I will try to narrow the scope a bit.”

After adjusting herself in her seat, Wynn continued. “Akram led me to his quah, and explained to his people what had happened during his Black Walk. Thankfully, one of the elders spoke in Common so I could relay my side of the story, for the shoanti are very reticent to speak or have anything to do with tshamek, or outsiders.

“Both of us were taken to their Truthspeaker, a priestess of Desna, who would try to sort the matter out. Now. . . I am obligated tell you a bit about Truthspeakers, for she, Tanjah, is the central person of importance in this story. It was her face, which I had seen in my dreams for the few nights before I was taken from the Crown of the World.

“Truthspeakers are the most honored members among the tribes. They are shoanti who dedicate themselves to living lives without lie, never speaking falsehood, and it requires many years of chastity, of self-control and of introspection to achieve such status. Very few do.

“I now understood that my purpose in the Cinderlands had something to do with Truthspeaker Tanjah, but what that purpose was, I had no idea. I would continue to have no idea for nearly two years. . .

“In that time I lost my tshamek status and learned much under Tanjah’s tutelage. Akram and I had even been promised to one another by then. . .” Her voice wavered slightly, but she pressed on. “One day there came a great warrior from the Sklar-Quah, which is the Sun Clan; mostly friendly rivals of the Lyrune-Quah, who both share the vast Cinderlands. His name was Skurak. As great a warrior as Skurak was, he was an even greater traitor to the Sklar-Quah, for he slew his brother, a brave of great courage.

“To the Sklar-Quah, family is purity – crimes against the family are the greatest a man can commit. Although Skurak claimed the death was an accident as he and his brother were hunting, others in his tribe spoke of murder spawned of jealous rage.

“Skurak was declared a tshamek by the Sun Shaman and cast out, but before he left he said he would be born again and return to his tribe. The Truthspeaker among the Sklar-Quah refused to have anything to do with him and that’s why he came to us,” Wynn smirked. “To them, I mean; to the Lyrune-Quah and Truthspeaker Tanjah.”

“Excuse me.” Wynnsaren sat up and lifted the goblet to her lips once more, carefully savoring another swallow. “Gods. . .,” she murmured under her breath.

“Okay, so Skurak had a completely insane plan in mind on how he might be ‘reborn’ and regain honor in his tribe’s eyes. He wished to face Cindermaw, the Clan Eater! Imagine if you will, my most gracious host, a purple worm of colossal size; his gaping and tooth-filled maw large enough to swallow whole two Shoanti warriors standing end to end! It is said that is the mountain that crawls and the fire that roars, for not only does he burrow, but he breathes fire! I know how this sounds,” she couldn’t help a chuckle. “I had the same thoughts, but though he is a legend, he is a legend made of flesh and. . . well, whatever else purple worms are made of. Not sugar and spice, I can assure you of that.

“Skurak desired for Tanjah to travel with him, so she could speak her truth to the Sklar-Quah since she would see this great deed first hand. They met together for a long time, but when they emerged from her yurt, she was convinced of his innocence and agreed to go with him on this quest of redemption.

“I must admit I was shocked by her decision, for she was not a young woman; well into her sixties I believe, and the journey to the Feeding Grounds of the Qual-Kael, where Cindermaw is known to hunt, is not at all an easy one. However, she was Desnan, and the journey is her destination and her worship. Plus, the chance to see this legend. . .this pseudo-god among the Shoanti? It was too much of a temptation to pass up.

“Of course, I immediately volunteered to accompany the expedition, as I knew that Tanjah was the reason I had been sent to the Shoanti. Two other moon maidens, which are the traditional honor guard among the Lyrune-Quah, and their bonded wolves, were chosen to go as well, but when Akram volunteered, the Truthspeaker denied him. Why? I never knew, but her word was law among the tribe and her wisdom was great, and I had the sense that she knew something that she chose not to reveal.

“Our small company left only a few hours later. There was so little time to say goodbye. . . If I had known. . .” Wynnsaren shook her head, her brows crushed together as the long-buried pain washed over her. When she opened her eyes again, beads of tears the color of mercury had collected in the corners but she quickly brushed them away and cleared her throat. “We shaved each other’s heads before I departed,” she sighed with marked sorrow before explaining. “I know it sounds strange in this culture, but among the Shoanti, a bald pate signifies that you have been bonded to another. Even the women. It was an act of love, though we had never been formally joined, and. . . never would be.

“There was no doubt that this was to be a dangerous mission. Cindermaw did not earn the name Clan Eater for being a vegetarian. The orc clans avoid the area all together. The giants of the mountains will only hunt on the outskirts of the territory, and the whole area is rife with cinder cones and emberstorms and all variety of volcanic activity which is believed to soothe the great beast’s spirit.

“He did not seem very soothed when we found him. . . or he found us a ten-day later.”

Sitting up slightly, Wynn took fork in hand and ate a bite of the cooling quail before settling back upon the divan.

“Cindermaw’s feeding grounds were lifeless. Everything feared the beast, from the cindersnakes to the basilisks, there was nothing
except hills there that we could find, but then we realized that they were not hills. They were burrowing mounds left behind by Cindermaw’s tunneling!

“We searched around as best we could, but in the end, it was the great worm that found us. It was as if the entire world shook at his approach, rock and ash from the mounds tumbled down and cinder cones burst into fiery life all around us. I pulled the Truthspeaker out of the way just in time, as one of them opened up at her feet! Then he emerged from the earth. . .the enormity of him is difficult to describe. . . The Clan Eater rose up thirty feet and then kept rising, well out of my clouded range of sight, and I have to believe that at least half of him was still buried beneath the scorched ground. This was indeed a creature of legend, Rasven!

“We’d been perched up on a low ridge looking for any sign of him when he burst upon us. His mouth had five. . . flaps, for lack of a better term, that opened up to reveal a giant tooth-lined maw that descended into absolute blackness. I will admit that I didn’t see what happened next, so frozen in awe as I was, but Tanjah saw it and that is what mattered.

“Unbelievably, Skurak drew his dagger, only his dagger mind you, and leaped into Cindermaw’s mouth! Into it! With a dagger! I think the worm was startled as well, for he closed his maw and descended back into the ground. However, one Shoanti brave does not a god fill, and he came back up on the opposite side of the ridge, arching back and shuddering violently as a gout of flame lurched from the giant mouth. I leaped to the side, curling myself around Tanjah and hurling us both over the other side of the ridge. We both lived though I was badly burned in the attempt, but one of the moon maidens and both of their wolves were cooked on the spot.

“We were about to die. . . there was no doubt in my mind, and just as I was about to start dragging the Truthspeaker from the scene to try to escape, the beast emitted this terrible, teeth jarring shriek. We clambered back onto the ridge to see what was happening and to our utmost shock we saw a dagger come jabbing out of the side of Cindermaw.

“Skurak cut himself out of the beast!

“Wounded enough that the purple worm wanted no more of this fight, he descended, still shrieking into the earth where he disappeared. The Sklar-Quah warrior was burned to black char in some places and he had a thousand slashes from those huge teeth, but he was alive and Tanjah and I ensured that he stayed that way. Skurak had indeed been reborn! Birthed from the belly of a legend, he would become a legend himself no doubt!

“I never got to hear what happened to Skurak when he and Tanjah returned to his clan, for two days out of Flameford, that evening, I found myself back on the icy plateau of the Crown of the World. If it had not been for my tribal clothing and my bald head, I would have easily thought it all a dream.

“It took me a full year and a half to travel across Avistan hopping from one caravan to the next. I never did find my adoptive father, but as he is a gnome, I suspect he simply moved on. The Varisian plains north of Korvosa was as far as I got before receiving a knowing that I was not to proceed farther. The clan that had been my family for two-years was barred to me by the very gods that sent me there, and Akram probably never knew what happened.

“As I said at the beginning this was so very long ago, and though I do not know precisely how my presence might have affected those I lived with, I do know how deeply they affected me. In spite of the pain, how could I begin to regret such a gift?"

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Rasven Winter

Post  The Sub-Creator on Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:17 am

Throughout the telling, Rasven had paid rapt attention to his guest with an almost boyish fascination that struggled comically with his highly distinguished air. His smile had widened upon hearing the significance of her given name--Yiska, "The Night Has Passed"--and had widened brightly a second time upon witnessing her brief euphoria sampling the Osiowet again.

"Exquisite," the man sighed pleasantly, relaxing completely back into the divan. The meal before him sat only half-finished, but it apparently realized Raszen held no more interest and began floating over to the dinnerware tray of its own accord. "Love's discovery, treacherous deception, miraculous rebirth, heart-wrenching tragedy--the vast majority of this world live entire lifetimes simply to experience half of what you have in a span of two years. And that forty-one years ago."

Rasven breathed out again in contentedness, as though everything she had just recounted had seeped into the man and touched him at his very core. He lounged his head back on the divan so that his face peered up toward the vaulted ceiling and permitted his eyes to close in a satisfactory peace. After a long moment of blissful silence, he spoke without changing his posture or opening his eyes. "Countless guests have I entertained within this hall and other halls similar in grandeur. Characters of all walks of life have come to speak with me and recounted grandiose exploits of their nations, or cultures, or religious beliefs, or of themselves . . . And foremost out of their mouths have come lies. They have spread lies of achievement; lies of customs; lies of salvation; lies of victories; lies of beneficiary dealings. I have sat upon these divans--upon other divans of equally comfortable construction and magic--and spun lies in return because a multitude of well-rehearsed lies poorly administered demands being taken advantage of by a multitude of intricately-improvised lies skillfully administered.

"Yet, as I have ensconced myself upon this divan and been intoxicated by this woven tale encapsulating but a brief heartbeat of your life . . . . " Rasven lifted his head so that his platinum eyes might meet hers fully, the chill white light of the hall polishing them to a brilliant luster. His words hung in the air like the completion of a fairy tale just before its morality verse was revealed; as though the man almost disbelieved that morality verse and so feared to openly state it.

"I believe you, Wynnsaren," he finally uttered in a hushed tone. The revelation of those words actually seemed to shock him. "Every word of it. Every detail."

Rasven smiled weakly. Perhaps the admission had taken an incredible amount of energy to produce. "Truth freely given that deserves the same returned in kind." He readjusted his sitting position to become less lax and more refined. "Ask your question of me," he prompted her behind the hint of a smile, "and you have my word it will be answered with the same honesty as you have afforded me."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:45 am

Wynn's breath caught firmly in her throat as his eyes fixed on hers. There was something remarkably fascinating and dangerously alluring about this man, that she simply could not have anticipated going into this meeting. Was the potent Osiowet impairing her judgement already? No, she decided. It was not the alcohol. It was him.

Remember why you are here. . .

Perhaps she could have questioned him then about the meteor, but Rasven had specifically asked to put business aside for a short time, and to do so against the wishes of her host would have been quite rude; potentially spoiling the entirety of this visit. Wynn wanted to know more about this charismatic half elf. Yes, there was a desire to sate her growing curiosity about him, but also to better understand who she was dealing with. At least that's what she was telling herself.

One question. . . One answer without deception.

"It is difficult for me to choose but one of the myriad of questions I could ask about you," she grinned after taking a moment to collect herself. With the subtlest of motions, the aasimar waved the food away and the remains of the delicious meal floated off the table allowing her to turn more fully to address the merchant. "For now, I suppose there is one in particular that I will settle on.

"You are an influential man, Rasven Winter, and clearly you have surrounded yourself with wealth and unparalleled luxury, but I wonder who you are beneath all those trappings. . . If you don't find my question too forward, Sir, I am curious," she paused and pursed her lips. "Of all the things you own or hold sway over. . . of everything in your life, what is most precious to you? What is it that one thing you could never live without?"

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Rasven Winter

Post  The Sub-Creator on Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:19 am

Rasven lowered his face to gaze at his guest from just beneath his brow while trying unsuccessfully to hide his chuckling behind the loose fist he'd put up before his mouth. "Truly," he rewarded her question with a short soliloquy. "How could I not have known that the one question I grant her would shoot directly to the heart of the matter? A singular woman indeed, that Wynnsaren," he repeated his earlier compliment.

He dropped his hand away, intentionally permitting her to see his white-toothed grin before putting on his more austere demeanor, and brought his face back up even with hers. "That one thing that I own or hold sway over that is most precious to me," he quietly reiterated. "If I were to be severely honest in answering this question, as promised, I wonder if you will be embarrassed by what's provided . . .

"You see, Wynnsaren, most guests in your position would expect a man of wealth and stature such as I to proclaim power, but that could not be farther from the truth. I accumulate power and wealth and prestige not because I crave these things, but because I am particularly gifted at attaining them. I understand what it takes, you see, and I play the game far better than most. Do not mistake me for what the world sees, I beseech you.

"To honestly answer that question, I must change its parameters. What I hold to be most precious is that which you brought into my hall this day, Wynnsaren." He paused long enough to take a deep, steadying breath, his gaze never wavering from hers. "It is the one thing that I do not possess. In fact, it has remained ever elusive despite my constantly searching the world over to find it.

"Truth."

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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:53 am

Who was this man!?

Wynnsaren found herself hard pressed to pull away from that intense gaze, and she struggled to try to understand why she might want to. The reflection in his eyes, the gently upturned corners of his mouth, the way he spoke in that cool, smooth voice. . .she was completely mesmerized. Long abandoned emotions stirred to life as if Rasven had thrown kindling on a fire nearly extinct. It was a lonely extinction, but a comfortable one, so the thoughts and feelings that were awakening in the aasimar frightened her on a level she had not anticipated. She began to wonder if all of this was just a dream. Just smoke and Illusion. How could this merchant prince possibly be everything he seemed? Kaz had called her cynical just a day past and her concerns about Nekolaius had been shown to be completely unfounded. Maybe she was wrong here too. . .

Her heart thumped in fluttering and irregular beats, as it bought into everything Winter was saying, but her mind continued to give warning. Wynn couldn't help a self deprecating chuckle. Lowering her head, she struggled with a weakness that she didn't realize she had until now.

Remember why you're here. . . The meteor. The creature from the stars. The raktavarna.

The raktavarna! She knew a little of the stealthy spirits, and enough at least to know that raktavarna often disguised themselves as silver weapons and were servants of a master; a master which most usually happened to be true rakshasa. Could he be. . .?

Wynnsaren lifted her head and looked at Rasven Winter with new eyes. The silver rapier was there at his hip, studded with diamonds, but if it was a living creature, she found no evidence of it, and the one which had been described to her was mutated somehow. This was as beautiful a sword as she'd ever seen.

The man himself she studied carefully, assuming some illusion must be masking his true beastial features, but no tufted ears spouted from his head. No fur. No whiskers. Just the winsome and dignified half elf that sat before her with shimmering platinum eyes and a forthright expression gracing his features.

"I must ask your forgiveness Rasven," Wynn shook her head remorsefully, and slid a bit closer to him from the edge of her divan before folding her hands in her lap. "I did indeed come to your home assuming the worst and you have proven me wrong at every turn. There have been so many vile and crass fellows I have had to work with lately, that I have been made suspicious of those completely undeserving and for that my dear host, I apologize, for you are nothing at all as I suspected you to be."

She smiled shyly. "Indeed, I have never met anyone such as you. . . Not in all of my years or all of my travels. I find myself inexorably drawn to such mystery, but as I was granted but one question, I will attempt to subdue any further prying into your inmost being." Laughing lightly, Wynnsaren lifted her hand to the siccatite pendant that rested against her chest.

"If it would please you, Rasven, perhaps it would be best for me to present you with the simple business for which I have come, before your captivating presence completely wipes my purpose here from memory."

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Post  The Sub-Creator on Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:07 am

Rasven offered the slightest of deferential nods. "It did seem inevitable that business must come to the fore," he agreed with a semblance of melancholy. "Know please, Wynnsaren, that sharing this meal and pleasurable conversation with you has brought me the utmost joy this evening. I offer my sincerest gratitude for your willingness to set aside your purpose in seeing me for so long." He spared one last warm, reassuring smile . . .

. . . And the playfulness disappeared from his features entirely. His posture grew formalized and rigid, his countenance stoic yet absolutely attentive. "Please," he stated in a commanding tone dry of emotion, "State your business."

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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:13 pm

Wynnsaren blinked twice in confusion at her previously charming host's sudden change in demeanor. Almost imperceptibly did her shoulders slump in discouragement. Had she caused offense where none was intended? Rasven's eyes were cold steel, and it seemed if there was nothing for it now but to press ahead with her purpose. The aasimar drew back and adjusted herself more properly in her seat.

"You have said that you value truth above all things, Master Winter, and it is truth that I will give to you without censor. Over a year ago, after a series of strange visions, I was taken to the Stolen Lands, in the same manner as the story I have previously shared." Did he even remember? He seemed a different man entirely only a heartbeat ago. "A meteor crash site had been discovered and opened. One that I believe had been buried for millennia. Not long after, I received another vision about the events surrounding the opening. . .something, some powerful and alien entity had been released from that tomb or possibly womb, of that I'm yet unsure," she admitted, "and I have reason to suspect that this being was released purposefully. My visions have shown me that it now threatens the entirety of my newfound home and most likely even the lands beyond, and it is my purpose to discover it and learn of its own purpose.

"The business that brings me to you is simply this: I wish to discover who it was that gave you the coordinates for the excavation of this meteor and if perhaps you are even privy to what the creature is or why this person or persons would seek to have it released, I would desire to learn as much as I can about it as I continue my investigation into this matter."

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Post  The Sub-Creator on Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:26 pm

"I know of the site you speak of," Rasven replied evenly. "I learned of it over a year ago, and, not desiring to call attention to it openly, I commissioned an agent covertly to see to it the site was surveyed for its potential worth. That agent failed to perform the task in virtually every possible way. A month passed, then two, and still I had heard no news. Before the third month was half over, I tracked down this mysteriously silent agent to find out why.

"The agent in question informed me that his man had failed to report back to him on any progress, but assured me said man had never failed him in the past. I informed him this news did not sit well with me. When I hire an agent for a job, I expect the job to be done. He apologized profusely in his characteristic puddle of piss, but swore he would find out why his man had yet to report in. I told him not to bother," the merchant prince explained calmly. "His man was undoubtedly dead because something had gone drastically wrong. I informed this agent that he would not receive the remainder of the payment agreed upon, and that I expected the advance returned to my estate within a timely fashion reasonable enough for him to reacquire whatever had been spent."

Rasven stared long and hard into her beautiful dark eyes before continuing. "I trust his ire with me remains great enough that he quickly sold you my name without much fuss?" he inquired rhetorically. "I also trust the site in question to have contained high concentrations of siccatite, and thus the purpose of your rather peculiar adornment this evening: to judge by my first reaction to its appearance my complicity in all that you've spoken about.

"Skymetal." Rasven sounded the word deliberately. "That was the reason for my desired involvement at the site in question, Wynnsaren. I knew nothing of aliens in tombs or awakening creatures in wombs. My sole intention at that site was to exploit it for an incredible amount of wealth, which, as I understand it, happens to be exactly what it now provides for a fledgling kingdom recently erected in the Stolen Lands."

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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:34 pm

"You have been correctly informed," Wynnsaren bowed her head politely. "In fact, I was put directly in the path of the small company commissioned by the mayor of Restov. . .eventually King Surtova as well," she explained, "and was with them when they encountered the site and its terrible fate. The creature from my vision was not the only thing released. Other forms of alien species infected and killed the miners who had opened the meteor, and a sort of madness had overtaken a bugbear who had come upon the area before we did.

"I was not with the group when they followed the bugbear's tracks, but was informed after they had destroyed him that he wielded a wicked looking morningstar; one that communicated via telepathy and grew legs to crawl quickly away after unsuccessfully seeking among them for a master. A raktavarna as I understand. It seemed to have been mutated by some alien force, as it couldn't transform properly. As it was relayed to me, the raktavarna pleaded its case saying that they would need it and it could help them, but because of its nature, the company drove it off. I wish that I had been present for that. I believe the raktavara might have seen something of what was in my vision. Maybe the same something that corrupted it. It could be very beneficial to my investigation to have had the chance to speak with it, but in lieu of that I needed to follow the trail to discover as much as I could about this potential trouble."

The aasimar shifted in her seat, casually crossing her legs before continuing. The many layers of airy fabrics parted to about hip level, which exposed a healthy portion of a long, shapely leg only a shade or two away from the color of fresh cream. Wynn might have used such tactics to gain advantage over lesser men in an extreme situation, but in this case such a thing would be unnecessary and futile. She knew instinctively that Master Winter would be unmoved by such a triviality, which is the only reason she allowed herself the comfort.

"Be assured that I'm not here seeking to lay blame. Even if I was, I do not believe for a second that you would be responsible for hatching such a plot, but you understand I must continue following the leads. If there is a force or power somehow masterminding this looming trouble, than I am bound to do what I can to look for solutions. I must learn the truth that I have spent so long trying to uncover.

"Thus, I am curious how you learned of this site. I could find no record of meteoric activity within the regions of Brevoy nor the Stolen Lands, and I am sure your sources stretch far beyond my own reach. Could you speak to me of how such information was garnered, Master Winter?" She asked the question with no hint of accusation in her voice, for indeed there was none there to find, only a powerful desire to see the matter to its conclusion before tragedy would befall the lands which she called home.

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Post  The Sub-Creator on Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:53 pm

The aasimar's understanding of the man accompanying her proved accurate. The evocative parting of fabric failed to elicit any response from Rasven, whose eyes never left her countenance. He listened intently to her description of the strange raktavarna, as well as the bugbear that had apparently wielded the creature, and silently internalized her plea for how he had discovered the meteor site. He discovered a certain appreciation in the significant lack of accusatory tone--a sign of respect for his position and confidence in the information he had just conveyed.

When she finished, Rasven responded immediately. "I find myself in an odd position, Wynnsaren. A part of me wishes to relent to you what information I possess, and that in itself should be extraordinarily revealing to you. However, I also hold allegiances that cannot be so readily betrayed. You are an incredibly perceptive woman; thus, I trust you are well informed of Brevoy's current political climate. This kingdom teeters on the very edge of war, and the cliff crumbles beneath that edge."

He paused at that juncture, sparing a brief moment to partake in another sip of the Osiowet on the table before him. "I cannot--" he replaced the goblet on the table, "I will not relinquish information that may see additional power brought against Silverhall in the troubles that come. We are practically alone as it is, Wynnsaren. For whatever troubles have befallen the Stolen Lands and this new kingdom of Novastasia I send my regrets. Unless you can provide for me assurances of your discretion in this matter, that no actions will be brought against Silverhall for coincidences not of her doing, I fear there exists little that I can divulge."

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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:18 am

"You are an honorable man, Rasven Winter," she smiled appreciatively, momentarily enjoying the way the name formed at her lips, "and your desire to see your home protected during these troubling times does you justice. You understand that I want no less for my own, though certainly not at the expense of Silverhall.

"I had lived in Brevoy, specifically New Stetvan, for about two decades before transitioning to Novastasia, so I know generally the explosive situation upon which the great houses sit and have felt those minute tremors that proceed the quake. However, my time in this nation was spent mostly in a sort of self-imposed exile, so I have never had my finger on the pulse of the political scene in this nation as you no doubt do. I am sure there are many particulars which elude me."

Following the lead of the merchant prince, Wynnsaren took a sip of the dark red wine. The complexity of flavors of the Osiowet paired well with the political complexities of Brevoy which tangled about in her mind. House Lebeda was Silverhall, being the seat of power of the great and most Rostlandic of the houses, and they were the only house still seated within the lands once held by Rostland, all the others being within Issian territory. The truest ally that Lebeda seemed to have, was Restov, but beyond that things got murky.

Surtova had the throne, but with a royal connection deemed weak at best. Rumor had it that not even all of the other Issian houses agreed with his seizure of rule. As to which houses though, Wynn was unsure. Each house in Brevoy was carefully jockeying for political position while attempting, in the same breath, to avoid bringing their house into complete political ruin by choosing the losing side.

No wonder Winter so valued Truth. . . In this climate of intrigue and the shifting of power, honesty would be the rarest of commodities.

These tremors foreshadowing war was exactly why Wynn was so eager to depart from New Stetvan. This nation was never her home, not like Novastasia had so recently become, and while she held no strong allegiances to either side of the brewing conflict, she did have a predilection based her particular perspective. She did not wish to see the remnants of Rostland destroyed. Personal opinion had to be put aside though as Novastasia took no part in the trouble by the king's wishes and the last thing she wanted to do is get herself or her nation embroiled in the conflict.

"Again, I must assure you that my purpose here is not to meet out punishment for coincidences or unintentional actions, but to stop something truly terrible from happening." The oracle squeezed her eyelids shut briefly against the growing pain pulsating behind them. Her prolonged, if pleasant, eye contact with her host had taken something of a toll. "The threat looms. . .and not just over Novastasia. . . There has been alien activity within our boarders recently but it is the larger threat which has not yet been revealed that concerns me the most. I seek a way to stop it. To learn what I can. If there happens to be a particular cult or alien influence that is orchestrating these events, then I have to believe it is in everyone's best interest to see such influence brought to an end."

Wynn blinked up at her host once more, as she found herself wishing that the lights were slightly dimmed.

"Master Winter. . . You have said that Silverhall is without fault in this matter and as I have been forthright with you, I believe that you in kind have been forthright with me. Based on that faith, I see no reason why your city should be held responsible for anything that has or may yet transpire, nor do I have any desire to put her, nor yourself, in more of a precarious position.

"I will give you my vow for discretion and that if indeed, Silverhall is not intentionally responsible for this release," she tried to word carefully, "than no actions will be taken against her.

"If you require further and more concrete assurances, I can sent a bird to the ruler of Novastasia to ask for his own written word. King Thaddeus Medvyed would see that Novastasia stay neutral in the Brevoy conflicts, and his word is as sure as Truthspeaker Tanjah's. Beyond that, Rasven, I am open to other thoughts on how I might assuage your understandable concerns."

The aasimar leaned comfortably against the rising side of the divan and awaited his decision.

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Post  The Sub-Creator on Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:33 am

"I will accept any official document from your king only provided your vow of discretion and assurance do not speak for him," Rasven proclaimed, thanking her additionally with an abbreviated dip of his head. "I trust, however, that your king is not so foolish as to elevate those he dares not put faith in. Therefore, I readily accept your word as his."

He paused briefly and favored her with a half-smirk. "May no misunderstanding between us lead to war."

That was only a half-joke, as well.

"As to your final statement," Rasven deliberated, scrunching the sharp, frost-blond arches of his eyebrows in visible contemplation. "There is one other consideration I would lay before you that might allay any further distress I harbor on the matter. I would seek an agreement with you . . . One that requires your returning here to my estate--or another location of your choosing--at an unspecified future time--preferably at your earliest convenience--for a more informal--or formal, if it be your preference--meeting between us."

The merchant prince held up a hand meant to both placate and prevent an immediate response. "This is a bold--some might say devious--attempt by a shrewd businessman and powerful political figure in Silverhall to garner a guaranteed meeting with you in the near future, Wynnsaren, in spite of the exacting and serious circumstances laid out before him . . . or, perhaps, because of them. I have never responded in such a way during an official parley, and have time and time again frowned upon those who sought to do what I am now doing. It is hypocritical of me in the worst way to use a situation such as that which you have so eloquently presented for so personal a desire."

Rasven breathed in after the long, breathless diatribe, and slowly released the air while staring unrepentant into her eyes. "I am in the wrong, Wynnsaren," he professed simply with a flare of his brow, "and so I ask of you two things: First, for your forgiveness; second, for your answer."

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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:57 am

Wynnsaren listened in disbelief as Rasven muddled through the proposition.  Awkwardness did not at all seem something the powerful and influential man was accustomed to but even in his discomfort he seemed graceful (if overly thorough) in his speech, and by the end she could feel the heat rising up her neck and into her face.

"Master Winter," she began after finding her voice, "are you telling me that in order for you to feel more comfortable sharing the information that may well protect my home and save thousands of lives, that you are requiring me to agree to another meeting with you?  Do you honestly have so little faith in your charms that you believe you need to strong arm me into seeing you again?"

She muffled a grin before raising her hands in helpless surrender.

"It seems I have little course but to agree to your terms, so to answer your second question first, I will indeed meet with you again at the earliest opportunity.  Nothing but cruel fate or jealous gods could keep me from our next meeting," Wynn stressed the words, returning his unyielding stare.  "However, in answer to your first question, no, Rasven, I will not forgive you.  Asking forgiveness implies remorse, of which you clearly have none, and in this instance I am glad of it.  There is a tragic lack of bold, handsome and intelligent men in this world, and I would be remiss to suppress one iota of that boldness which suits your afore mentioned qualities so well.

"Besides. . ."

The aasimar paused, lifting the frosty goblet to her lips once more, her eyes never leaving his as she took a long swallow of the heady and exotic vintage.  After setting it back down on the table, she smirked; a mixture of mischief and excitement playing upon her features.

"If you had not asked, Rasven, I would have."


Last edited by Wynnsaren on Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post  The Sub-Creator on Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:26 am

o his credit, only the hint of a smile broke through before Rasven recaptured his professional stoicism. Truth be told, very little of this meeting had been conducted in an overly professional manner, which any other time would have immediately put the man off to the situation. How could he possibly blame this woman for the atmosphere, however, when it was he who had requested she join him for dinner? Even trying to become businesslike had failed in her presence, and he knew not whether that should concern or absolutely frighten him! Rasven lived in a perpetual state of control over those he came in contact with--to maintain the power and respect of the position he had earned so long ago required this, but only a couple hours in the same room with Wynnsaren had caused him to become lax in his rigidity. In many ways, his mind struggled to comprehend exactly what was going on! In other ways, he felt liberated.

Odd. But in a good way.

"In accordance with my prior acknowledgement of your authority to speak with your king's voice in matters regarding that Realm and, subsequently, with your own authority in matters heretofore discussed and agreed upon, I avow that all three stipulations discussed have been concluded with credibility in Silverhall's best interest."

Rasven took a moment for another sip of the fine wine--and to smile into his goblet--before proceeding in a more stately manner. "I have agents scattered throughout the Inner Sea regions, Wynnsaren. Their singular purpose remains to uncover opportunities for prospective benefit wherever they might be found. As you may have noticed during your wait here today, I am something of a collector--one might more aptly say, connoisseur--of Inner Sea archaeological history. Not only is it a passion for me, it has uncovered various locations of wealth which have spurred my estate forward financially. I will not bore you with all the intricate details, save that my very best agents work in the most dangerous regions: Irrisen, Realm of the Mammoth Kings, the Hold of Belkzen, Nidal . . . . " His eyes hardened as the final region in his list formed on his lips.

"And Numeria.

"Of these nations, I hold the last to be the most dangerous because, of all these places, its motivations remain the least understood. I do not make such a claim lightly, Wynnsaren. I have visited Numeria half-a-dozen times and spoken with Kevoth-Kul, the Black Sovereign, on two of those occasions. He wields a greatsword as well as anyone I've ever seen, and once held a keen intellect as a magnificent strategist and tactician amongst the Kellish peoples. Now, however, the man spends most of his time in a drug-induced stupor, which reduces him to nothing more than a puppet of the Technic League."

Rasven leaned forward to make certain his guest listened very carefully to what he was about to say. "Many consider the Technic League the true power behind the Black Sovereign's throne. They know more about the strange mechanical beasts that roam Numeria and what lies within the Silver Mount than anyone . . . But limited knowledge does not a scholar make, and the Technic League believes they have more control than they do. I have seen the interactions between its members and the man-like machines--known as gearsmen--that they claim to rule over. The gearsmen listen to their League masters when commands are given . . . Yet I have seen with mine own eyes these cold machines disobey, as well.

"Men can be read, Wynnsaren; perhaps not always easily, but often enough to make their wills and desires known to those who have mastered the art of searching. These machines cannot be read as men can, and their minds--yes, you heard me right, their minds--are alien. None know their plans, and none can know. While they would most certainly not admit to it, the Technic League controls these gearsmen no more than Kevoth-Kul controls the Technic League.

"It was from Numeria that I received my intelligence about the meteor in question. More specifically, from an agent I have working there. As I stated when first you breached the subject with me, my first command was to survey that site. I design to be very cautious with any information gathered from that nation, and this was no exception."

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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:03 pm

Numeria. . .

The oracle leaned back thoughtfully upon the silken petal of the divan, which moved with her to cradle her neck and head, perfectly conforming to every curve. She would have found such comfort most noteworthy if she hadn't been mentally pouring over every fact that the merchant prince had just revealed. Instead she just closed her eyes and took a moment to deliberate.

A strange nation of extreme technology and fallen stars, Wynn had toyed with the idea of visiting the place before. There were barbarian tribes called the Kellid. . .many being worshippers of Desna, that she might have enjoyed learning about, but the land was no place for a lone traveler. It seemed that with every new piece of information, this search was leading her to more and more dangerous situations, with the exception of the most pleasant surprise realized in the person of Rasven Winter. She doubted such hospitality from the odd and oft deadly denizens of Numeria.

"In truth I hadn't even considered a Numeria connection," she admitted with a sigh, with her face still turned toward the stars. "That was a failing. It just seemed so distant with nothing immediately obvious to gain by such action, but now I wonder. These gearsmen you call them. . ." Wynn raised her head as she pondered the ramifications, slowly opening her eyes where they settled contentedly on the captivating half elf. "Could they be an alien army just playing at servile while they await their true commander?" She shuddered. "Gods help us if that's what was awoken from the meteor. . . gods help us all. . ."

The strange symbol, the ruins on Candlemere lake, the mi-go with the highly advanced tools, the gating in of the Hound of Tindalos. . . All of it swirled in her thoughts like a disquieting carousel. It was like the pieces were all there but she just couldn't figure out how they fit.

"Rasven, you say that it was your agent that relayed the information to you. Did he happen to tell you how he uncovered the intelligence?"

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Post  The Sub-Creator on Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:05 pm

Rasven shook his head. "There must exist a certain level of trust when dealing with agents in the field--moreso when they are active in places of tremendous threat to them. The Technic League is an organization stooped in secrets, but they remain an arrogant, power hungry organization nonetheless and thus prone to letting things slip in an effort to impress. I learned during one of my visits that they have collected quite the repository of locations where skymetals exist. Many of these locations exist within the confines of Numerian territory, but a number are without. I inserted an agent there for the express purpose of identifying these outside locations. I know not how he extracted the information about this particular one.

"As to the gearsmen," he returned to answer her first, more rhetorical observations, "there purpose is beyond knowing. To the best of my knowledge, none have ever heard them speak. I do not know if they have the capability to do so. What drives them will remain a mystery until its fruition, I fear, and then we will deal with it as best we can."

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Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:58 am

As he spoke, Wynnsaren gently traced a finger over the silver framework of the divan, bobbing her head in reluctant assent to both of his points.

"I had hoped that this particular line of inquiry would take me to a more solid lead, but it seems as if the threads are fraying in my hands and searching out the Technic League does not feel as if it would be a course that would yield much fruit without killing the questioner," she sighed, offering the merchant a helpless grin. "Still, I will speak with my king and meditate on the matter on the chance that the gods may be more forthcoming. Numeria would be a fascinating place to visit, and while I have been sent to some odd places, I believe that might top them all!

"And you, Master Winter! A half dozen times you have been there! I would love to hear of those adventures some day. . .sooner rather than later if Fate is kind." The aasimar smiled brightly as she looked up at her host. "You know, I suppose that even if my investigation into these matters can carry me no farther, than at least it carried me here. As such, I find it difficult to be overly frustrated by this situation, but there is still the issue of the corrupted raktavarna. More of a fragment of a lead," she admitted, "but the creature may have seen a great deal there at the excavation site. I don't suppose you have ever encountered something meeting that description?

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Post  The Sub-Creator on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:05 am

"I am familiar with raktavarna," Rasven informed her, barely able to contain his widening grin. "They are a form of rakshasa if my bestiary collection is to be believed. Manipulative, as all of their kind inherently are, but not overly powerful creatures compared to others of their kin. I fear I have never viewed one with mine own eyes, unfortunately.

"Naturally, Wynnsaren, I would offer my services in helping to search for this being you speak about. I know not where to start looking, however. Are you certain the creature has departed from your realm? If its designs revolved around the crash site, possibility points toward its still being in that region. What makes you believe it has other masters?"

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:31 am

"I believed the raktavarna to be a spy for a master who may have been involved in the plot to unleash whatever was in that meteor," she answered after a moment of consideration. "Why else would it have been there? At least such were my thoughts. . . I had guessed that the creature would attempt to return to the master that sent it there, but when it was corrupted, then perhaps its master dismissed it as it was no longer of much use, unable to properly transform as it once had been able." Wynn continued in a brief bout of stream of consciousness. "Masterless, the raktavarna wanders about unless he comes across the bugbear. It must have been influencing the bugbear, because he created a sort of a symbol, a sacrificial area with trees and corpses of the miners, with a fire pit in the middle."

The aasimar raised her hand and slowly traced the triangular symbol in the air before them.

"This symbol made a reappearance in ancient, worked stone upon the isle of Candlemere, in an ancient fortress to which I was drawn after experiencing a vision so intense that it threw me from my horse. Then most recently it was discovered again inside a summoning sphere found deep within the excavated meteor."

Wynn raised the goblet and sipped the last precious drops of Osiowet, savoring the flavor and committing it to memory.

"You have totally ruined me on reds, Rasven Winter. . ." She sighed contentedly and then chuckled before setting the empty glass back on the table. "Forgive me for rambling, I will attempt to get back to the point.

"The raktavarna was always a secondary lead. Until now I suppose," Wynnsaren conceded, "but it has been over a year and if it is still in nation, then I fear it may have found itself another master. If it has than only trouble can follow, and I have done less than nothing to attempt to seek it out in all that time." She shook her head in frustration before fixing her glowing orbs on those of her host.

"You are kind to offer your assistance, but you are a busy man with troubles and concerns of your own. It would not do for me to add to them. If it is drawn to the crash site than it may well be somewhere not terribly far off as you say, and I can speak to some people about organizing a search or at very least, keeping a sharp lookout. The creature would be easily recognizable due to its deformities. If it is around, we will find it eventually.

"But apart from that, it seems that my investigation into my primary lead has come to a standstill. I want you to know that I very much appreciate your aid in the matter, Master Winter, and I will not forget our agreements," she smiled warmly.

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Rasven Winter

Post  The Sub-Creator on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:37 am

Rasven reciprocated her smile. "I believe you," he said with a gleam in his eye that hinted at how rarely the spoken affirmation actually crossed his lips. His head tilted just a touch as he regarded her a long moment. "Oddly, I find myself growing fond of saying that . . . . "

Without sound or effort, Rasven stood from the comfortable divan and presumed to offer his hand to aid her. "If you would permit me but two small boons," he inquired in more casual tones once again. "It would please me greatly to know in what way would it be best to contact you, Wynnsaren, should news find itself in my ear that I deem aptly sent you straightaway.

"Also, that I might have the honor of seeing you from my home personally. A strange favor to ask perhaps, but I find your presence soothing and would dearly like to spend what short time you have left with me here in your company. Be assured, Wynnsaren, I will take no offense at refusal," he hurried to clarify. "The request is certainly unorthodox, yet I find myself compelled to declare it."

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