When not doing much else Saren’s Rest is where Hunter lives. He’s got a room there, well a suite. There’s plenty of room really even with all the squatters in the boomtown there’s room for several hundred thousand just within the town limits.
At present Hunter is having breakfast which consists of dino eggs and steak of uncertain provenance. He knows well enough not to ask where they came from. Because, you know, he’s traveled. A lot.
Perhaps it’s been fitting that Yaren had returned to Saren’s Rest as his chosen place of dwelling. It was where he’d had his first real adventure in this world and met his first real friends. If it weren’t for Hunter, Yaren would have never been shown the sunken indoor garden with its fantastic view of the ocean depths, the place he’s decided is as much a home as any for all the time he spends there.
But it’s not simply for the familiarity of ‘home’ that brings the spectral being back this time. He’d been sent off on a mission, and now, with information to report, he’s made as quick a return as possible. Had they given him the location to meet with them? If not, then perhaps he could be directed by asking around.
Ardul would have told Yaren where to find them and it might surprise the spectral being when he arrives that the door is answered by the Winged Warrior, who looks very much at home in Hunter’s suite. On the table next to Hunter’s plate is an empty one, the remnants of the blondes breakfast by the looks.
Holding the door open for him to enter Ardul, who’s in a singlet top and loose trousers, offers a small smile. “We were wondering how you were, Yaren. Have you been back in town for long?” The door clicks shut once the violet eyed being is inside and Valkyr takes her seat next to Hunter. The light catches the beaten metal cuff on her right wrist – the one with a Wolfen motif on it.
“Yaren. It’s good to see you. Have a seat. Do you eat at all?” Hunter has never really been sure if Yaren does. He seems to be an energy being and he’s most definitely non corporeal. Common sense says he’s got to nourish himself somehow. How exactly Hunter doesn’t know.
“I hope our little field trip didn’t give you too much trouble. I was a bit concerned after we didn’t hear from you for a while that… something might have happened.” He might desperately need the information but he doesn’t really doesn’t want anyone to get hurt from this.
Yaren enters, his eyes expressing relief as he sees them both, and he offers a nod of his hat in greeting. “This one has not been back long,” he replies, his glowing gaze sweeping over them both. “Apologies for taking so long. Perhaps it would have taken less if this one had invested in more ways to travel.”
For all that sitting probably makes little difference, he nevertheless looks grateful at the invitation, pulling out an empty chair to settle himself. “This one does not eat, but perhaps Iinya would not mind something to nibble on.” The silvery, winged snake lifts her head from her place at his shoulder at hearing her name.
“Don’t be sorry, Yaren.” Ardul smiles gently. She rather likes the spectral being but she cants her head at his statement “Did you have trouble finding transport?” Her grey eyes sweep over him as well. “And are you alright? Hunter’s right in that we were worried.”
Taking a plate, she starts to put some food on it taking bits mostly from Hunters plate with a smirk, finally placing it not far from Yaren so that Iinya can snack. “Is that enough? I don’t know how much Iinya eats and I’m rather used to Hunters appetite.”
Settling back again, she glances to Hunter and waits to hear what Yaren had found.
That Yaren had walked makes sense to Hunter now that he thinks of it. Perhaps he should have offered to arrange for some transportation. Something to think about in the event that he has to call on the, er, ‘man’s’ services again.
“What is it you found, if anything? Also again thank you very much for doing this for us. We know it was risky.”
“There were not many herds or creatures to ride with, and this one did not want to interrupt their normal migrational patterns.” The thought of finding transport of the non-organic type obviously had not crossed his mind.
Iinya chimes brightly and slithers down in a spiraling manner around Yaren’s arm until she’s on the table, tiny forked tongue flicking in and out as she inspects the plate’s contents. “That should suffice,” Yaren replies as the little thing begins to dig in. “Thank you.”
He settles back against his seat in a convincing way that would suggest there’s more weight than the clothing he fills, sighing. “This one is fine. But this one is concerned about the well-being of you both. There were…such as you had mentioned to look for, there in Lynchburg. The one in armor, and some of the locals who were subjected to those things that control them…”
And there’s obviously more he has to tell, but he waits for that much to sink in first.
“It was risky and I thank you as well.” Ardul murmurs, settling back in her chair, resting the hand with cuff above it on Hunters arm. It hadn’t occurred to her either, that Yaren would walk. She makes a note to remember that for the next time they work with him.
“Some of the locals?” Ardul frowns and looks to Hunter. “Only some, not all?” She heard him mention the ‘one in armour’ and she raises an eyebrow in question. “You heard something to make you worry about us? Or is just a more general sense of ill ease?”
“So they did have an outpost…” Hunter murmurs darkly. He pauses for a long moment, lost in thought working through the implications of that. An outpost means testing on people. And it means that they’re in contact with someone else. There could, then, potentially be a lot of intel to be gained from a direct assault.
“What else did you find?” He’s almost afraid to hear the answer.
“This one is not sure how many they have subjected. There were four that stood out at the time, none of them human. This one followed them to where they met with the cyborg? -you called them?” Yaren closes his eyes. “They were tasked with seeking out the traitor,” he says solemnly, looking towards Ardul when he opens his eyes again. His gaze shifts towards Hunter. “And to control the Wolfen and use him to bring you to them.”
He looks almost sorry to have to bear such news, but all the same, he was glad that they’d sent him and not gone themselves. “There was someone else who arrived through some sort of rift. Winged like you, Ardul- black wings, black hair. He wore armor as well…”
There’s a few things in what Yaren says and Ardul frowns, casting a look to Hunter. “Were there many humans in Lynchburg, Yaren? Might have just been a coincidence.” Lynchburg has a population of a couple of hundred. It’s a sizeable town for the time. The population is mixed and varied and there were indeed humans among them.
The news that there was someone like her come through a rift gets her pale eyebrows rising. “Black wings, black hair? Was the armour like mine or different?” She’d told Hunter when they had been newly met that her armour was as much a mark of her position in the Royal House as anything.
Speaking of her armour, it’s propped on a stand not far from them, the gauntlets and the mark on the right one, clearly visible. Yaren might recognize the styling, though it is different. Perhaps that means something.
“More than just an outpost, perhaps.” she murmurs to the Wolfen beside her, fingers flexing in his fur and her wings moving slightly – Hunter knows that usually means she is unsettled.
“Black armor, black wings…” Hunter imagines that wing colors on Iyesgarthians can vary. The armor is key though. There aren’t very many winged D-Bees walking around. Or flying around. Or anything else. He reaches up to put a hand on her shoulder and settle those wings.
“That’s rather disturbing. Did you see any indication that they were receiving orders or planning on any kind of… mass conversions?”
“…there are human in residence, yes. And it may be that it was coincidence, but this one only tells you what he observed. Of those seen in the town that day, they stood out for how they moved, in unison. They were dressed for work, just as other groups who went to the nearby caverns- mines, this one thinks they are called?” It sounds right, anyway. “But they were the only ones whom this one saw and followed to the meeting with the cyborg.”
Iinya has finished devouring what had been on her plate, and begins to slink across the table to inspect what morsels might be left on Hunter and Ardul’s. Yaren pays her no attention, his eyes wandering towards the armor on display even as he recalls the things he’d seen.
“Silver armor,” he says, his violet eyes narrowing as he gestures towards Ardul’s set. “The symbol here was similar to that of your’s.” He gestures on his right forearm, lacking the words for specific armor pieces as those. A pause. “Also, he had an animal companion. Eight-legged, with a beaked head and a feline body. He called it Breda.”
Ardul hmmms as Yaren says that he’d only followed that group “So it’s possible there were others? What did the populace of Lynchburg seem like?” Hunter will recall that not all the D-Bee’s that have been presenting with the nanites have implants. For Yaren, he might say that it was ‘subdued’ – particularly if he was to compare it to Vesper or some of the other settlements he might have seen.
“Armour like mine?” She looks to Hunter, hand moving down over his and her wings flex. “The symbol wasn’t the same…” she’s clearly thinking. It’s the mention of Breda that has her eyes rising to meet Yaren’s violet gaze and then Hunter’s “… I’m not sure who. But armour like mine isn’t common. They are close to the Princeps and that creature, a Demigryph, is generally kept by the Elite Shock Troops.”
“Did he say anything to the Cyborg?”
“Not familiar… beaked head…” The wolfen shakes his head and lets them keep talking. Ah, at least Ardul is familiar with it. “Could you sketch it perhaps? Or… find… a way to represent what the changes were?” If Yaren can, he knows, there’s a good chance Ardul will recognize it and know who is behind this.
Yaren looks at the table as he conjures up the images of the town and his experience there. It’s a fresher memory, so it’s easier to recall. “Busy, but quieter than Vesper by far. Those who worked went to work. Those controlled…they were far less spirited in their actions. Ah! The cyborg mentioned something about them, that the group was stable. Perhaps they were having problems with others?”
He nods at Hunter, glancing around to see if there’s anything to write with. He would have gone so far as to even use whatever was on the food plates if there was sauce or something of any kind, but there is only Iinya, looking quite proud of herself.
Refraining from a headshake at his little serpent companion, he glances up abruptly at Ardul, eyes brightening. “-he mentioned that word. ‘Princep.’ The only thing he said to the cyborg was in asking how their search was going. And that they needed to bring you back or their planning would be for nothing.” His spindly fingers tap at the tabletop anxiously as though to help jog a memory. “…they spoke of tech…nology, yes-” a nod to himself, “-to perfect before they would do something back in the world they came from. This one assumes this technology was the one controlling the D-Bee miners?” His eyes narrow, although not in an angry way so much as an uncertain one. It’s difficult describing things he doesn’t fully comprehend.
Given Yaren’s description, it’s possible there were others who were controlled, but differently. Hard to tell and there’s no way that Ardul is going near there. Not unless Hunter says they should. It’s also possible that there were problems with other groups. The wording was certainly interesting.
What they do know, is that at least one group of D-Bee’s are being dispatched to find Hunter. And maybe Ardul.
Ardul finds a pen and some vellum, handing it to the violet eyed D-Bee.
Yaren’s words though have the Valkyr turning grey eyes to Hunter “Perfecting technology before they act back home…” Mass conversions? Maybe here on Rifts Earth but also maybe on Iyesgard.
“Any idea how the armoured figure opened the Rift, Yaren? My people….” another glance to Hunter. She’d said that that type of tech wasn’t common on her world.
Thanking Ardul, Yaren picks up the pen, looking at it a moment before he applies it to the sheet, making careful lines and curves to replicate the sigil he’d seen. He doesn’t have the hand of an artist, but he remembers what he’d seen enough to draw it more or less accurately.
“It was by the device on his arm,” he replies to the following question, pausing from his work to tap on his left arm the way he’d seen the winged one do.
Ardul frowns at the symbol that Yaren creates and pulls her gauntlet over, laying it on the table so they compare the marks.
Both images are a stylized set of wings with a feathered crown on top. The image on Ardul’s gauntlet has three swords diagonally across the wings. The image that Yaren drew has a wreath around the wings and the crown, no swords.
The blonde sighs “That. Is the symbol of the Princep of Iyesgarth. There’s only one being who can wear that. It should be Nina.” But it’s not. Hunter will know who the Winged Male was then. But it just raises more questions, not the least of which being why the Princep of Iyesgarth, even a ursurper, was overseeing this personally.
And of course. Where had he got the Rift tech. from?
Shaking her head, the blonde stands and offers Yaren a faint smile. “Thank you, Yaren, for doing that. If you’ll excuse me … I need some time.” Her wings move again, swirling the air at their ankles as Ardul moves off towards, what is likely a bedroom. Clearly she needs some time alone.
“I’m tempted to send a few messages and then move in with a squadron of assault bots and enough firepower to level New Quebec.” Hunter says with a small growl. “But all that would do is place people in danger and give them an opening to escape in the chaos. We’ll have to handle this with precision. At least we know what we’re dealing with now.”
Hunter stands and watches Ardul as she leaves. “Good work Yaren. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the mean time let me know how we can compensate you for your effort and risk.”
Yaren watches as Ardul leaves, violet gaze flickering in his concern. He reaches over to collect Iinya, a finger stroking the serpent’s head before she slithers up his arm to her usual perch.
“This one is always glad to assist. Having heard such things only makes this one relieved it was this one you asked to go and not have gone yourselves.” He looks at Hunter with a serious gaze. “…this one would like to continue to offer his aid if it would be of any use.”
“Odds are good it will be.” Hunter goes to get the door for Yaren. “And I can’t think of anyone I’d trust more to help. Come on. I’ll walk you out. Ardul needs some time.” He knows that much. He’ll find out how much time she needs later.