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  #76  
Old Apr 28th, 2013, 03:50 PM
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She pondered what to say when her turn would come, whether to give her actual birth name or just stick with Nevh. She didn't mind telling the Children, not at this point, but wasn't comfortable with everyone else knowing.
When others withheld their name, it made her more comfortable to do the same. The actual sentence she decided to use saddened her, somewhat.
"I am known by some as Cerulean, though my friends call me Nevh Rudaa."

Mrith was ecstatic to be part of what seemed like a strange social game. Nevh hadn't intended for her to actually speak at the meeting and so had only granted her the ability to understand what was being said. Not knowing a word of Halvan past 'thank you', 'yes', 'no', 'sorry' and 'greetings', she settled for draconic.
"I am known as the young Yesterwind, though I was born as Mrith Jenn'la."
She held her breaths until the next person began, then turned to Nevh slowly, wondering if approved. Apparently it was alright.

Nevh and Mrith didn't wish to speak over the Children, though Mrith sometimes rubbed her shoulder against hers during certain points of their story, giving her wide eyed looks as if to say; "You heard that? Crazy story huh?".

Last edited by Blue; May 1st, 2013 at 01:28 AM.
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  #77  
Old Apr 30th, 2013, 03:45 AM
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When Morgan's turn comes up he speaks. Clear and concise. "I am known as Morgan Wainraith, I was born Morgan Wainraith, and gods willing I'll die as a Morgan Wainraith."
They may not be precisely the same person but they will all be me dammit.
Identity is a sticky enough situation even before taking into account all the other realities and all the other versions of yourself. Why muddy the waters further by picking new names for each facet of the self and for each stage of development? Should Morgan call himself something different when he is angry? When he became a father? When he acquired some new title or achievement?
No.
Time is change.
Every day someone is just a little bit different than the day before, sometimes much different. In the end one is still one and all these additional names and titles are simply descriptors for facets of the whole. The whole is what Morgan wanted to be known for because the whole is the important part. It encompasses the good and the bad, the new and the old. It makes no excuse and claims no part more important than the other. If one does something horrible it does not erase the good they might have done in the past, and some great achievement does not erase past transgressions. If one is sad and depressed today that does not mean they never smiled and laughed in the sun. Nor that they could not do so again in the future.

As Morgan sits, feeling somewhat subdued, he realizes that for the first time ever he wants to talk about what happened eight years ago. What Scarlet- even thinking that name kindles a dark and sour anger in his gut. What Scarlet did to him, and to others. What she'd made him do, and what he'd chosen to do to get his revenge. What he and Eloise and Jaul had been through... Morgan knows that Eloise had spoken to her parents and her brother about it, as well as her husbands parents. He also knew they'd been made to promise that they'd never speak of it to another soul. Morgan suspects Jaul had told told Josephine about it. She'd want to know how her lover lost his eye, how he'd met Morgan, and why he could not return to his homeland.
But Morgan never had. He couldn't face Esiard's sad but understanding disappointment or Isabella's stern unspoken reproach. Kala was too young to understand, and he'd feared she'd think him a monster, feared that she would be right. Mara and Rhys were bound up in their own affairs, military and otherwise. While Morgan expected they'd listen if he sought him out he also believed it would only be a matter of time before Esiard and Isabella pried it out of either of them. In retrospect Morgan expects he'd been right about that one, but wrong about the reason why they'd talk.

Isabella and Esiard had tried to get him to open up about it after he'd arrived home from his sojourn. Others from the church too, many others come to think about it. But Morgan could teach a rock to be stubborn as Isabella had said before, and the most they'd gotten was vague generalities. He'd moved out of Isabella's house and bought that big old house on Sparfield street, and he and Eloise had become very very close. They'd gotten through it on their own, in their own way. No surprise that they'd come to believe they were in love, but it was co-dependance. Coping. Healing. Even though it was something that had ended Morgan wouldn't trade that time for the world, night terrors, sourceless anger, and everything.

So deep in his own head is Morgan that he misses the first part of the Children's speech. He pushes aside the other concerns to concentrate on the speech. When the Mother, elf woman, appears he peers close, trying to decide if the one depicted was Airis or Naleti. Airis it seemed, with the line about the man on fire who would burn the world. That one came up again and again.
"My apologies for the interruption, but are the Children aware who The Mother is to the rest of us?
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Old Apr 30th, 2013, 05:57 PM
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Cypher speaks up this time. Even without her mask on she was still difficult to read, sounding polite enough but more than a little monotone. "Some of us have had our suspicions, but we Faces are the only ones who have spent enough time among the Freeborn to have guessed." Breaker quirks an eyebrow up in question, evidently having not been one of those who suspected. "There is an Elven-blooded Goddess of the Freeborn known as Airis, the White Lady. She is a patron of healing, communities and oracles by my understanding." She glances at Morgan as if to check before continuing. "She emerged some time after the events of the Demongate Wars - late enough that it is possible she is our Mother."

Breaker glances around the room. "She is not here I take it?" Cypher shakes her head. "Then who is it that represents her here?"

Before the High Priest has a chance Rising points to him. "That one, given his reaction to The Mother's signs. You have heard them before, yes?"

The High Priest appears somewhat nervous to have been singled out, no doubt having expected to be a watcher in the proceedings rather than a participant. After taking a moment to clear his throat he speaks up somewhat hesitantly. "It is certainly possible from what you have said, however as I'm sure you are aware prophecies have a way of repeating themselves among different powerful seers."

Rising smiles grimly. "Not really. The Fiends kill any seers they find among the chained out of fear of us. As a result it is rare for us to have a single Seer at a time, let alone two or more."

"Us? You...you are a seer yourself?"

Rising nods. "The first among the Children in over two centuries. Though I was born chained the Children managed to free me before my talents became obvious. I have since spent most of my life trying to find and save others but with little success. Fewer and fewer chained are born with the talent I fear."

The High Priest frowns slightly. "Most of your life?" He gives the young looking Rising an odd look. "Might I ask how long that has been exactly?"

Rising shrugs. "A little over a century by the measures of Freeborn, a little under by our own." At the odd look that earned he expanded. "We count age from when we earn the right to carry a sword." He nods to Min. "By such count Min is two years old rather than seventeen while Breaker and the other original Keepers Are well over nine centuries rather than...well...I'm not sure about Breaker or Mercy, but Ruin and Dancer are about a millennia old as you would count it."

"If you don't mind me asking..." Vulcar leans forward. "...I can understand how it is that Breaker is as old as he is, but what about the others? Are you a Godlings perhaps?"

Rising laughs as if Vulcar had just made a grand joke. "Hardly. Time has not had meaning for Mercy for longer than I care to think about while the rest of us must make do with The Mother's blessings." He reaches around his neck to pull out a simple silver-chained necklace with a single white gem encrusted in the centre of a circular amulet attached to the bottom. "Each Keeper is given one to mark their station as well as to provide Her blessings. Timelessness is but one of those blessings. I'm afraid I must leave the others to your imagination however, for now at least."

Breaker brings the conversation back to what was likely Morgan's intention. "You said you are not sure if this Airis is our Mother. Why do you not ask her?"

The High Priest looks distinctly uncomfortable. "Airis is a Paragon. An true Immortal. In death she is merely reborn in another mortal body before coming into her powers again." He glances towards Kala. "We had thought her to have reincarnated not long ago, however that is not the case. As such, we are now awaiting her return."

It is obvious by the looks that Kahlas and Jester are giving him that one or both of them will speak if someone else doesn't first.
OOCThought it only fair to give Morgan a chance to b!tch-slap his High Priest if he was so inclined .

If not I'll just continue on.

~MTWC
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Old May 1st, 2013, 06:49 PM
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Morgan sighs. "We've been over this already Father Superior. She's not coming back. Not until we free her from Zera's clutches. It's something you're simply going to need to accept to move forward with this meeting, because we're not done with that subject by a long shot." Kala had yet to make her own reveal.

To the Children he says. "We discussed it already before your arrival. Bane can give you the full details. The short version is that a Halvan bastard known as Zera the Betrayer has used pieces of a Deomongate War era artifact known as the Godforge to capture and enslave both Airis and Malvain, another Paragon. He is utilizing the Godforge to siphon their seemingly boundless divine energy and power all sorts of nefarious plots, from ensuring his own near-immortality, to the presumed creation of artifacts, to-" Morgan's fist unconsciously clenches in rage, "-begetting children onto her to raise as his godling agents."
That son of a b!%@.
The darker side of Morgan wants to tear Zera to pieces tooth and nail until he's nothing more than a lump of shredded meat. He wants to see the man suffer every horror and humiliation he's foisted off on others ten thousand fold. Another part of him suspects that the worst he could do to the man is a quick death and an anonymous grave, to try to ensure he's nothing more than a quickly fading footnote in the history books.
"She has not communicated with us for a long long time." She hasn't been able to. "The reason the Father Superior reacted so strongly is because the Prophecy you quoted is of one of Airis's earliest and least understood visions."
Morgan closes his eyes for a moment, picturing the passage in his mind.
"I quote 'One of my earliest such visions was that when the man on fire burns the world and the breathless steals the air the end of an age will soon come and you will stand alone against the stars. The man was more of fire than on fire, but despite what I saw I felt no great threat from him and his burning of the world did not reek of death and pain as the fire danced around people. A rebirth perhaps? A cleansing? In truth I do not know. The breathless too does not spell an end for all life, as only a few have their air stolen and the breathless chooses them specifically. It is the stars that I fear, and the sense of isolation that comes with the people of Aheka standing alone against this threat. As if the Gods have abandoned them - as if even I have abandoned them. And this threat of the stars, could it be the return of the Elder Demons? Or perhaps a new threat from beyond our realm just as the Zodiacs came to save us before? I wish I knew.'"
He turns to Bane. "The similarities are why I wished to ask about your people's prophecies. I do not think you will have much longer to wait until you see your man on fire."
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Old May 1st, 2013, 10:40 PM
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Hearing the prophecy made Nevh frown. She palmed her mouth, rubbing her cheek pensively with a dour expression.
Or woman.

The mental image wasn't so kind. She retreated a bit further within her seat, anxious for the meeting to move on.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 07:03 PM
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OOCAnother opportunity for someone to jump in, if not then I'll carry on.

~MTWC
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 02:03 AM
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Morgan waits patiently while everyone has their say. It's easier to maintain your calm when you've had plenty of time to go over everything beforehand. The mage can't help but smirk at Tiaan's comment about strange times and remember the god's response to Morgan's question about there being nothing new under the sun. Oh we're not done with surprises yet old elf. Not by a long shot. When things wind down a little Morgan addresses the disgruntled high priest of Airis.
"To answer your original question, I've known of the Silent Library for years. I found out about it's existence when I investigated why a few of my visions from the journals I've regularly given over to the church had somehow disappeared from the published version. I wasn't terribly happy about it at the time, if I wanted these things kept secret I'd not have handed them over. I decided that it was best to let it be, after all there are things I've chosen not to reveal to the church so who am I to judge? Something you might want to consider before you get too indignant with me."
Morgan had intended to have this conversation in private, but now was starting to look like the time.
"At the time I found myself actually needing access I was in a dilemma. Shortly before she was attacked Kala's vision paintings, the ones of Zera, had somehow gone mysteriously missing while in the Church's care. Zera has captured our goddess, how could the hierarchy not know this? Between this and some previous bad experiences I wasn't certain Zera didn't have agents within the church. Even if going through official channels wouldn't tip my hand to Zera there is no guarantee that I'd be able to convince them of my need, not without letting the hierarchy know a number of secrets that either weren't ready to be told yet or weren't mine to tell. So I went to Malhas.
Now that we're ready to let it all out all I can do is hope that once you've had a chance to calm down and consider everything you'll be able to find it in your heart to forgive my deception, or at least understand my reasons for it."

To Malhas he says.
"The Father Superior has as much right to speak here as anyone else, yourself included. It is simply advised that he keep his temper and keep the discussion on point, something you may want to consider as well before you start in on another diatribe yourself. This whole thing is rather a lot to take in even if it isn't your goddess in question, give the poor man a little leeway while he's still in shock hmm?"

To the group at large he continues.
"Malvis kept Kala's power locked away and kept her ignorant of her true parentage in order to protect her until she was old enough and strong enough to protect herself. While researching the godforge and how to free Airis, and by necessity Malvain, I discovered enough of a pattern to recognize the possibility of Kala's divine parentage and begin investigating further. Eventually Fisali showed up to unlock Kala's full potential and accelerate the metamorphosis. At this point Kala is a full demi-god in her own right. For the time being her main focus is freeing her parents and seeing that Zera sees justice for his various atrocities." He glances at the cluster of archgates. "I'd been hoping to speak to the Archgates about the possibility of Kala seeking out the Seven Saviors themselves for council. I suppose that might also help to assuage the obvious, and understandable, suspicion some of you have." A meeting with Ruaci herself for example would put to bed most suspicions that Kala was running some sort of clever deception.

When the children begin again Morgan again clams up, responding to Rising's suggested tet'a'tet with a simple. "I look forward to it."
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 07:41 AM
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The revelation that Kala was not a mere Godling but a Demi-Goddess appears to go over the head of a few, but for the Archgates appear to consider his request, glancing among themselves for a moment before Mirik speaks up. "I'm sure something can be arranged to help Lady Kala." Kala can't help but make a face at the title Mirik had just given her, which earns a slight grin from the Silver Bard.

Mirik's gaze moves over to Malhas next. "And as for you...this is a rather difficult position you have put yourself in. Some would say dangerous."

"Oh?" Malhas didn't appear or sound worried, still maintaining his calm demeaner and soft-spokenness. "And why would that be? Surely you don't intend to try and hold me responsible for anything my father or his followers did? Tiaan will be able to tell you how little we all get along."

Raeth slams a hand down on the table. "Don't play games with us Godling. We know that you were the 'Malvain' that provoked war. Do you realise how many deaths you caused in the end?"

"Yes. I also know how many lives I saved, though you and I both know that that was not my main motivation. Surely by now you have realised that by provoking that war I stopped by father from gaining important footholds that would have allowed him to plunge the whole world into outright war that would have made the Betrayer Wars seem like an afternoon tea party? By goading you into a conflict with him I ensured he hadn't been able to place worshippers in important enough positions that he could finally do what he's been trying to do since he was 'born'. More importantly, at least for me, it finally drove it through that thick skull of his that I wanted nothing to do with him and that I was more than willing to sabotage him and his followers in order to assert my independence."

Mirik speaks up again. "Then why not just tell us?"

Malhas snorts. "Oh, yes, I'm sure that would have gone well. By the time you confirmed what I already knew for myself you would have been too late, and that was if you even decided to humour me." He glances towards Raeth. "Malvain's children have traditionally not met with the warmest of welcomes after all." He gives a frustrated sigh. "If you really want to pursue this then fine, but I would request that you leave it for after this meeting at the very least. Arresting the guest of a King at an event he is holding in his own own palace would be rather...impolite after all, wouldn't you say?"

By the look Raeth in particular was giving him this conversation was not over, however the Archgates dropped the matter for now and the conversation moved back to the Children.

Cypher takes up speaking again this time, with the two Keepers moving back to less prominent positions again. "As some of you will know and others will have guessed, we are the ones responsible for the events in Sharak last night. We struck before the Fiends were able to learn that we intended to break our tabboo on mass in order to remove key individuals, including the King and one of his sons." She, and others, glances towards Aldamil. "This should not be seen as a desire to interfere in your politics. We struck because of the strength of the Fiendish presence in Sharak, knowing that we would not have a similar opportunity to cripple the Fiendish operation if we revealed ourselves to you first." She holds her hands out in what looks like an apology. "We can not change this decision and nor would we if given the chance, but we do regret any mistrust you might feel as a result which is part of why we came here. Among the Children the first way to gain trust is to give someone something of value and significance to them." She gestures to the sides, where Geld has moved to stand near Bane who stands up and approaches the King.

"Although you knew of us and that we intended to do something, we still withheld the extent of your intentions." He reaches into his coat and pulls out a pair of rings. "These belonged to my parents, before my mother's death. I hope that you are your wife-to-be will find use for them." Vulcar takes the rings, examining them for a moment before nodding in thanks.

Bane moves on to Celes. "For the Shalian Princess..." He makes a gesture to Toy, who himself makes a jerking motion towards the long rectangular box that Breaker and Rising had carried in. It flips gently into the air, settling on its narrow end, before he pulls a hand back, taking off its lid. Inside was the perfectly preserved body of Prince Xander Alexein, her older brother and the previous holder of the Unnamed Blade.

Celes is not the only one to gasp, her eyes seeming almost wet with joy before she composes herself. "Words...words can not describe how much this means to me, and to me my people."

Bane inclines his head politely in response to the comment, but does not move on to the next person. "There is something else I must return to you." He draws his sword, which makes more than a few people flinch and panic before he immediately holds it in the palms of his hand. "I only found out this evening that the sword I was carrying was one of your Eight Blades - Sinbreaker I believe. We do not steal from our brothers and sisters, only the Fiends who have stolen so much from us, so I would return this sword to you." The other Children seem almost disturbed that he is handing the sword over, although whether because of its power or because it was his sword (they had shown a rather strange, almost religious attachment to their swords) was unclear.

Celes accepts the sword as well although it is not before Bane roots around in the chest Geld was carrying for a narrow container that he actually hands it over. Touching an Eight Blade could have unpredictable results.

And so Bane continues around the room, giving a gift (or sometimes two) to everyone present. Everyone seemed at least a little pleased at what their received and it was increasingly obvious that the Children had prepared well for this event. Once Bane reaches half way around the table Toy starts to limp after him, chest floating behind, while Geld retreats to the side. When he reaches Aldamil, who had remained stone-faced as they spoke of killing her family and no doubt countless others she knew, he looks at her for a moment before speaking. "We understand that you, above all, have reason not to trust us, or at least to hate us. No matter what our mind tells us, it is the heart and soul that truly rules. Still, you also have the most reason to fear us, so there was only one thing we could give you that could begin to repair this damage." He reaches into the floating chest, taking out what looked like a curled ram's horn made of iron, although it had a hole at the narrow end and flared at the fat end, like a musical horn. Tiaan gasps when he sees it, but Bane continues on. "This is the Ironheart Horn. We retrieved it from Ciin herself, who took it as a trophy from Mariesar as he fell. On the side are written his words:"

"'One for courage, two for glory and three for death,
For though all things must die, the dead shall fight again!'"


He holds the horn out to her. "Blow on it once to lend courage to an army. Blow on it twice in quick succession to also summon an army of the souls of the dead Champions of Mariesar who he bound to the horn before his death." Aldamil's eyes widen at that. "And blow on it three times and you will sunder the horn but in doing so also revive the remnant of the Ironheart Ram himself that resides within and powers the artifact."

Aldamil isn't the only one who looks outright shocked now. "If this is what you say it is-" Bane tries to stiffle an insulted look with a patient one. "-then you are giving me an army I could summon and use anywhere."

Bane nods. "Trust must work both ways. By giving you this, we are trusting you not to misuse it - against us or others." He glances around the room sharply. "We will make this clear though: should an 'accident' befall Princess Aldamil or she somehow 'misplace' the horn then the entire might of the Children and our God will fall on those responsible. What we did in Sharak is only a taste of what we are capable of and while we have no desire to kill more of our brothers and sisters we will not stand by and allow our gifts to help you slaughter each other."

Bane leaves a bemused Aldamil that obviously wasn't sure how to react to the gift. The Children did not appear insulted by her lack of gratitude however but pleased that she hadn't refused it. He continues to hand out gifts to everyone, including Nevh, Crescent and Wainraith (who, being on the opposite side of Vulcar to Celes, was the last person to receive a gift). Once they were done Bane nodded to Toy who retreated towards the sides like Geld had before.
 

~MTWC
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Last edited by Makenshi; May 3rd, 2013 at 07:47 AM.
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 07:28 PM
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Nevh followed the proceedings with great interest.
Seeing Xander again, even though she had expected it, filled her with sorrow. She might had been the last ally he had laid eyes upon and traded words with before meeting his end. But his body was returned to his family and soul would keep on fighting. He was fortunate, his wasn't such a bad ending.
When Aldamil received her gift she felt a shiver take her and a short jolt ran down her neck.
The horn was a truly dreadful thing. She felt no anxiety in the Sharakan princess acquiring it, but had a rather bad feeling on what the future had in store as to how her descendants might decide to use it.

When Bane presented her with a gift, she understood just how deep they had prepared. It was a wonder how much they knew of her, so much she wondered how they found out. Her eyes became watery enough for tears but her face remained stern and unchanging.
The gift was much desired, but it had found its way to her too early to be used, and too late to ever be.
She wished she could refuse it but instead just lifted her eyes to meet Bane's.
"...May you live longer still, and die free. As I may, now."

Mrith looked a little troubled by that exchange, then changed to a more puzzled expression as she accepted the shield. Nevh's eyes grew wider than ever but the dragon didn't seem too impressed by Bane's explanation, being quite ignorant and disinterested with L'arabiel and her history.
It looked nice if not for the dent and felt like quite the collector's item. It would probably make a nice showpiece in her hoard but the idea that it had been taken from Superbia made her uneasy. If they knew she had it and wanted it back, it could spell trouble. Perhaps it would be better to give it to her mother or to the great temple of Tahllys but giving away treasures had always been something that left her with a strong hitch for months. Thinking about it again, she guessed it probably wasn't a gift to her personally, but to the Rudaa ...or something like that.
"Very gracious of you. Be thanked with the warmth of our gratitude and trust."
Nevh couldn't agree more.

Last edited by Blue; May 4th, 2013 at 12:46 AM.
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Old May 4th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Morgan's eyes briefly meet those of Malvis. If Morgan were a suspicious man he might wonder how they knew she desired such a thing. Perhaps they'd learned of it through Vulcar or Celes. Morgan is reasonably sure he hadn't mentioned such a thing. If he were a little paranoid he might wonder if the choker had a method of keeping track of what was said through it or tracking who wore it. Much as he admired the Children and their will to fight a seemingly hopeless battle, he had no illusions that they were above such tactics "just in case it's needed."

Morgan accepts the lock box with a nod and a simple "thank you for the gift."
He can see no immediate or important use for it. Now that everything was moving out into the open Morgan intends to publish a book containing the visions he'd kept from the church and those that the church had kept from the public. The only ones he won't publish are those like the one he'd had of ?Marcia, ones that were personal to others who'd requested he'd not share them.

Still the box might come in very handy in the future if its defenses were as thorough as suggested. Morgan almost immediately thinks up a couple of little tests he can run to see just how sophisticated it's concealment is.

Since the link is still up he sends a wry thought-message through to Bane. "For the record, among us prime material folk this is called "buying trust," and it's somewhat frowned upon. It only really works when the person receiving the gift doesn't realize it's an attempt to get him to trust you." Now Morgan was going to have to think up some gifts to give them in return. While he had no artifacts or powerful magical items kicking around a copy of what he'd copied from the Silent Library would probably be a good start. Best not to mention that he'd copied anything to the High Priest, he'd probably get all excited about the desecration of holy relics or some such nonsense. As far as Morgan is concerned the one who could censure him on such things was Airis herself, and if she did that would be just great since it'd mean someone had succeeded in freeing her. Everything else is secondary to that.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 05:23 PM
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Bane smiles in response to Nevh's words. "May you live long and die free too, Cerulean."

Bane seems genuinely baffled by Morgan's response. "You Freeborn are a very odd people. Are you so spoilt by the fruits of this world that gifts are meaningless? Or do your people prefer gifts of money? That would seem hollow though. How could there be meaning or significance in money?"

"So what are your intentions then?" Jester had been one of the few who showed indifference to his gift, which had been hidden within a small box. "You've spoken about what you've done and what you don't intend to do, but not what you intend to do."

Cypher speaks up again. "That is why we are here. As the Keepers have said, we believe that the time for the First and Last War is coming soon, which means we must return to the world which gave our ancestors birth."

"Why?" Cypher looks puzzled by Shara's question. "Why do you need to return here for your war?"

"It is not just 'our' war." Breaker's control has returned by now, although he still seems somewhat restless. "It will be our First and Last as the Children but it does not belong to us alone. You heard Morgan Wainraith. 'The end of an age will soon come and you will stand alone against the stars'. We have similar words, although The Mother told us that we would stand with our brothers and sisters when their Gods abandoned them. We have come to help you prepare, to help us all survive what is to come. To do otherwise will mean the death of us all."

While most looked more than a little disturbed by Breaker's words it was the Archgates and other faithful who looked the most troubled, most likely by the idea that their Gods would abandon them.

"You'll forgive us if we don't take your prophecies for fact." Jester is the only one of the Archgates who does not appear troubled, although his tone is somewhat dismissive.

Rising speaks up this time. "Believe as you wish. We intend to be here when it happens regardless. That is the true reason we are here."

Cypher takes control again, giving the two Keepers an almost threatening look - evidently she did not appreciate their interruptions. "We are here to negotiate terms for our permanent presence on Aheka and, if possible, for exchange between the Children and the other people of Aheka. Obviously, we do not expect a decision to be made this day. Not only will you need time to discuss amongst yourselves but we must spread word among the Children. We spread ourselves very thinly to make it more difficult for the Fiends to find us so organising a gathering can be a slow and difficult process. If you have any questions regarding this, or about us, then please ask and we will do our best to answer."

~MTWC
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Old May 7th, 2013, 02:13 AM
SpatulaOdoom SpatulaOdoom is offline
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"No, of course not. Gifts are meaningful, as are the manner in which they are given, who they're given to and by whom they are given, and why the gift is being given. And it all changes from culture to culture, and between different cultures as well. One of the first things you need to learn is that us, the Freeborn, we aren't one people with one way of doing things. It's a dangerous assumption to make. It makes things complex. Most people in Halva have only a slightly better understanding of how the Rinnish folk do things than you do, because most Halvans don't have the opportunity or time to learn how they do it, and vice versa.

You did it right for the most part. Picking gifts that mean something special to the person receiving it is always a good thing. It has meaning. Making it obvious that you're doing it for the sole purpose of gaining their trust is generally not good. It's kind of an extension of that whole "actions speak louder than words" bit.
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."


When discussion goes to the Children creating a settlement in Ahkea Morgan's mind immediately goes to Edgewater. More than half the town's population is gone. How many of those left would choose to return? Not many from what he'd heard.

He keeps his mouth shut for the time being.
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Old May 7th, 2013, 04:21 AM
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Nevh never really liked being called that and hearing it from Bane didn't make it sound any better.
She tried not to let it show too much, still.
Her thoughts turned to these stars they would be up against, and that the gods wouldn't be helping with it.
What were those stars representing? Others from wherever the gods originally came from? Fiends? ...some unknown terrors from beyond or even enemies from worlds beyond the sky, across the realms of space?
It would certainly be strange for a new enemy to come out from nowhere just after we would vanquish Zera. The coincidence too great.
It had to be something already on the edge of striking, waiting for this conflict to be resolved, or unable to act right away because Zera is preventing it somehow... or because he did or will do something before we're done with him that would make that war inevitable.

If only the visions made what it was clearer.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 05:54 PM
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"Well," Prince Marcel starts, resting his chin on his clasped hands. "I guess we could start with how many Children there are. That is, unless you do not trust us enough yet."

Cypher shrugs. "That is difficult to say with any certainty, though the Keepers would be the most able to make an educated guess." She glances towards the two Keepers, gesturing for them to speak.

Both have a look of concentration on their face, as if thinking carefully, although it is Breaker who speaks first. "Well, there are eight Clans and most Clans have a few dozen Families."

"Though the Firstborn and Young-Heart Clans have always had more than the others while the Last-Breath and Wild-Soul Clans have always had fewer." Rising adds.

Breaker nods. "Families vary greatly in size. Some are a few hundreds, other a few thousand. On balance though...hmmm..." He turns towards Rising. "...a thousand?" Rising thinks for a moment before nodding and Breaker turns back to look at Marcel. "So, eight Clans, a few dozen Families per Clan on balance and a thousand Children per Family on balance would put our numbers just short of three hundred thousand."

Marcel's eyes widen. "Three hundred thousand? That...is much more than I was expecting. Even finding a place for half that number would mean using a sizeable city. Would you really need to bring over everyone? Your young might to safer where they are now given the Shrouds. You wouldn't be able to quickly escape wherever you were."

Breaker shakes his head. "The three hundred thousand is only Children - those who have earned the sword. Including those too young or foolish to hold a sword would bring it up about half as much."

"...well...I can see I'll have to revise my impression of your way of life if you've managed to swell to almost half a million people. I would have thought many of your people died fighting the Fiends."

Cypher steps in again. "Some do, but we have learnt to carefully pick our battles, especially recently as the signs have been pointing to the end being near have grown more numerous."

"Forgive my curiosity, but if you spend all your time fighting how do you raise children of your own?"

"Communally. It is rare for either parent to directly raise their child. Pregnant women, the old or the injured raise groups of children between them. Most women, particularly those who wish to have more than the one child, choose to have children when they are younger rather than older. It makes for healthier babes and means the parents will live on if they die fighting. My mother had three children before she started fighting properly and I myself had twins."

Celes frowns slightly. "Pardon me, but...you said 'wish to have more than one child'. It is compulsory?"

The Children, especially Min, look uncomfortable at this question, although Cypher does give an answer. "Not as such. We have few laws - as you would see them anyway - with certain Clans and Families having traditions that might seem like laws to an outsider, but a Child is free to leave a Clan or Family to join another without repercussions. I explain this because it is 'tradition' to father or mother at least one child. It is the only such tradition that every single Clan and Family shares. But it is not a law. A Child - man or woman - who did not would most likely lose the respect of many other Children for not doing so, but it is not something that they can be punished for."

"Not in the eyes of our laws at least." Rising adds. "I have come across instances where some Children have sought to find some way to punish those who break the tradition and I expect Breaker has too. Usually by handing out a more severe punishment than would be expected in response to their breaking of an actual law. Such things are frowned upon by most Children however."

"I see. Thank you for answering my question. I hope it wasn't too...intrusive." Celes didn't seem to quite know how to take the answer though. Neither did many of those present.

Cypher smiles in a friendly manner. "Not at all. There is nothing wrong with asking questions, only in demanding answers." That last part smacked of a saying of some description.

Looking thoughtful, Celes speaks up again. "You are a Face, correct?" Cypher nods. "And that means you have more experience with our ways than most of your people?"

"The vast majority. Travelling to Aheka was taboo, and still is to most until word spreads. Officially, only Faces were allowed to travel there in order to spy on the Fiendish cults of your world."

Celes nods. "Then, knowing what you do about our cultures and your own, is there anything you would consider it important we know?"

Cypher seems surprised by the question for a moment before a slow smile creeps up her face. "That is a very good question. In hindsight I should have thought on this myself. If you would give me a moment to think, I will answer as best I can." Celes nods and Cypher spends the next minute or so deep in thought before speaking again. "Well, if we were to be mingling with you then the most important thing to know would be that it is against our laws to chain or imprison. If someone is to be punished then they will usually be put to work depending on their crime. Steal a weapon from someone and you would be put to work creating or fixing weapons for example. No Child can be bound - in mind or body - against their will, and neither can a Child have their sword taken away. Those rights are central to our way of life and, as such, would likely be key in any negotiations between our peoples. Unless some sort of accord could be made in regards to this then I'm afraid that we might be at an impasse. No Child I know would accept being chained in punishment."

Celes frowns slightly. "That could indeed be rather problematic. Imprisoning criminals - even if only so as to investigate the crime - is almost universal. I'm not sure that there is a way around that. How do you deal with those who can not be trusted?"

"We guard them. We would block teleportation and the like with magic but for the most part they would be free to move about the communal areas of our settlements, albeit with at least two guards with them at all times. And I mean 'at all times'. Guards would even watch as they slept if need be."

"Do you have enough people to do that?"

"It is rare that we keep people in such conditions for long - usually only while we look into the supposed crime and before sentencing if necessary. While they are working off their debt others will keep an eye on them so it is rare they will need dedicated guards then."

"You said that different Clans and Families have different traditions, but what about laws?" Marcel adds.

Cypher pauses for a moment before answering. "Yes and no. While the core of a law does not change some of the details may, as may the punishments."

"And when a Child is visiting another Family or Clan?"

"They are expected to respect their laws and traditions where possible."

Marcel frowns. "'Where possible'?"

Cypher nods. "Certain laws and traditions are incompatible. For example, it is against the law in seven of the eight clans to sire vampires or lycanthropes-"

Jester's head shoots up. "Lycanthropes? You still have lycanthropes?"

Cypher seems a little annoyed at the interruption but keeps her tone polite, if a little forcefully. "Yes. Ruin, Keeper of the Wild-Soul Clan is a lycanthrope, a first generation lycanthrope in fact. The Wild-Souls are the only Clan in which it is permitted to be spread as they know how to deal with it however Ruin herself refuses to pass on her own lycanthropy. The same is true of the Last-Breath Clan and of their Keeper Mercy."

This time it was Anhil who spoke up, his tone curious. "This 'Mercy' is a vampire then?"

"Mercy is a vampire, yes. Not even she is sure exactly how old she is, although she had been chained by the Fiends for a very long time. Long enough she claimed to have known the first of her kind."

"Known or sired by?"

Cypher glances at Breaker, who gives a brief nod, before answering. "Sired by. She was the one who insisted that vampires be kept strictly to her own clan so she and others could keep an eye on them. Like Ruin she refuses to sire herself. She claims that the...change all newborn vampires experience is much more pronounced the closer one is to the first vampire. The Last-Breaths have a very careful and controlled manner of siring new vampires that was devised by Mercy herself to ensure only those with the strength of mind to endure and overcome the blood-lust are chosen."

"I would hope that they are not all vampires?"

Cypher shakes her head. "No. No Family among the Last-Breath Clan can have more than three vampires (and only the largest of their Families have more than one), though each Family is supposed to have at least one, even if they are small. They prefer to move an existing vampire rather than create another on short notice to fill such gaps however, even if only temporarily. As a result they rarely have much more than a hundred vampires at any one time. The same is true of the Wild-Soul Clan and their Lycanthropes, although they are slightly more numerous as the blood-lust is not as extreme in them as with vampires so they do not have to be quite as selective."

Once that subject was finished Celes would bring Cypher back to the original subject. "So would it not be simple enough to treat each nation as a Clan with different laws and traditions?"

Cypher sighs. "It is not quite so simple. As I said, no Child would accept being chained or having their sword taken from them. Guarding them? Yes. Taking their other weapons (including magic)? Yes, but to imprison them or take their sword would be unacceptable. Unless I am very much mistaken imprisonment and stripping of weapons is standard to every nation. That is where the difficulty will lie. I'm sure we could get Children to agree to following your laws and traditions otherwise. There are enough differences even between different Families of the same Clan that it should not prove a problem. Just as a Child has the right to change Family they also have the right to start a new one if they can find enough like-minded people. It is something deeply ingrained in our people, so if we speak of your ways in such a manner I expect there will not be an issue except with the two cases I spoke of."

~MTWC
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Old May 10th, 2013, 05:32 PM
SpatulaOdoom SpatulaOdoom is offline
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Impressive. Morgan would have guessed they numbered enough to fill a moderate city, ten to twenty thousand, but instead they were more than ten times that.
"A country unto themselves."
A small one, mind, but still the comparison was there.

When Cypher answers Celes's question regarding children Morgan frowns. Social pressure and repercussions often mean that tradition can carry more weight and are more rigidly "enforced" than law itself. In a society where there apparently is no other alternative, no next country over and no surviving off the land or starting a new community somewhere else, then those social repercussions might be worse than any temporary punishment for an actual crime. He hadn't expected it to be an idyllic society though, not with where they lived and what purpose they set themselves to. Moving them to the material plane would be more than a culture shock though. With alternatives they may find they need to alter their own traditions and laws or see their outliers, those dissatisfied with the way things are abandon them, even those they weren't aware of being unhappy.

He waits out the rest of the discussion saying nothing. It seems bizarre that a society that size can have a crime and punishment system like that that actually works on any real level. Small scale perhaps, but not when dealing with hundreds of thousands.
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