There’s an old adage both good and bad things come in threes. If that’s true, Slaine and Elpida should expect a few more sleepless nights in the near future after the near disaster that their last night was. THey may well add one Catriona ‘Wraith’ Moore to that list because she has a problem. Yesterday she had discovered that a suspicious professor by the name of Knudson had moved up his usual if somewhat mysterious meeting with an ‘interdepartmental investigatory group.’ Tonight Wraith has discovered that in addition to moving the time, he has also moved the location. It’s no longer being held in the Hazardous Literature room of the archives. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be held anywhere on school grounds which is both interesting and somewhat disturbing.
The only clue that Wraith has as to where it might be held is an encyphered note that was left in said Hazardous Literature room. Unfortunately, the cypher means she can’t read it. It’s possible though, that the note itself will be enough //if// she can find someone with sufficient mastery of sympathetic magic to track down its author.
There is only one person Cat knows who fits that bill, and she is interestingly on the short list of people outside the university she knows can be trusted.
It’s quite late at night though, so she’s probably at Grans, and possibly asleep.
Asleep? Slaine should be sleeping. After Persephone abandoned them in Richmond, she and Elpida had to walk all the way back whilst warning villages on their way. The little Mystics travelling leathers smell of sulphur, the result of eggs thrown at her when they’d arrived with the news.
She’d lamented to Gran not too long ago that she didn’t think she’d get the smell out. Gran had just smirked and handed her the bar of washing soap.
Of course Slaine is alone in her room. Despite the rumours about her and a certain Techno Wizard she’s not been seen in the company of anyone, well company of the romantic nature, in months if not years. Instead, she’s meditating, sitting cross legged in a tunic and tights on the rug in her room.
She’s hoping a certain grey eyed psychic got her message and will be here soon. But she’s not holding her breath. She’ll go blue. Which would be better than how pale she looks at the moment.
At the knock, her eyes half open and she looks at the door. “Come in…” she calls out, hoping it’s Aiden but she won’t be disappointed that it’s Wraith.
She might also have someone else in the room.Catriona takes a sniff outside, just to be sure it’s Slaine within… and consequently, she looks a little more wary than she otherwise would when she opens the door and pokes her head around. “Mind some company?”, she asks quietly. “And… would it be horribly rude to ask what that smell is?”
Eggs that her snakes would’ve LOVED to eat, incidentally. Elpida’s grumpy snakdes are even grumpier qagbout than they were a mere moment ago.
She’s beein in her room for a while, trying to get herself cleaned up from the dust of the road. Snakes are hard to clean, though, and she’s cussing up a storm with the towels and what not.
“…stay STILL!”Sadly for Elpida while Gran’s rooms do have private showers, at this hour of the night she’ll likely need more towels. There’s usually some available, but getting them means headed to the linen closet which is in the hallway right incidentally near where Slaine’s room is and where Cat is or at least recently was standing.
In that university garb. The one that says ‘instructor’ possibly amongst other things. Far be it from Cat to look unfashionable, even whilst pretending to be an adjunct professor of languages.
“Uh…” Slaines eyes cut to the leathers that hanging on the outside of her wardrobe “… my leathers. Some villagers didn’t like the news we were carrying and decided to feed us with eggs.” she grumbles, gesturing to the ‘Instructor’ to enter, looking past her and spying Elpida trying to get to the towels.
“Come in here, El!” she calls.
“Company’s good, what’s up?” she asks the Dhampire “El and I haven’ had a lot of sleep. I was hopin’ Aiden would join us, but given he’s not here, what we have to say, can’ wait. The soulless are on the move.”
Slaine …. miiiiight not be known for her tact.Catriona blinks a couple of times, then slips inside, making room for Elpida to join her. She’s currently clad in the sort of academic instructor uniform that might have been inspired by turn-of-the-millennium anime, though it’s at least partly covered by a rather more anonymous grey cloak. “…that doesn’t sound good,” she says, trying to force herself to breathe through her mouth. That at least does *something* to dull the scent (and flavour) of the egg-tainted air. “The meeting’s moved. I’ve got a lead on where it would be… but my cryptography’s not what it could be. And I can’t track through a city like this by scent alone. Generally. So… I was wondering if you could help. Sympathetic arcane connection, and all that?”
And then Elpida hears Slaine’s voice. It is a voice she’s come to know well and it is a voice that rarely, if ever, portends good news for her. HEY, ELPIDA. SOMETHING IS AWFUl. COME HIT IT.
She grabs a towel and then mnarches into the room in question, called forth as she has been, grumbling as she tries to get the dirt off her scales and return them to their normal green sheen.,The note in question is by itself unremarkable. Written in an iron gall ink that’s old fashioned but decently easy to manufacture and much loved of certain types of arcanists for the way that it resists random magical energies and those doesn’t bleach or fade or spontaneously animate nearly as easily. It was written recently, though, and //that// should provide the sympathetic bridge Slaine needs.
While Slaine attends to that, Catriona is left to deal with an unhappy instantiation of Professor Ingerhast’s ‘delicious friend.’Catriona ventures a hopeful smile for Elpida, moving to close the door behind her… then rather diffidently offer a hug. “Hi there,” she says softly. “Are you all right?”
“Huh?” Slaine shakes her head as she refocusses on Cat and looks at the note in the womans hand. “No… of course not.” she reaches for the note, turning it over in her hand a few times as she looks at the script on the vellum. “It will take a moment. There’s a jug of water on my nightstand. Would you get me a glass please?”
Her eyes glow as she remains seated, legs crossed, and blue energy crackles over the vellum forming arcane symbols that sink through it to the floor.
Slowly a relief appears. One that they all recognise as the Dockside part of Vesper and part of pulses dull blue … Elpida and Cat will know what that is. An entry to the old Petersburg sewer system.
“We should go … ” that’s all the Mystic says, eyes still glowing, irises gone. Her eyes are just plain white at the moment. That’s … new. Not that anyone here would really know that.
Unfolding from the floor, she grabs her cloak (which doesn’t smell of egg) and directs the pair out of the B&B to the area.
“Wait, where.. where are we going, exactly?” says Elpida as she arrives. “Oh. The meeting, right? Right. Okay. Oaky, sure. I can do this.” She’s exhasuted. It shows.
And she can still punch things.“As we get closer, it might make sense for me to leave you guys behind, perhaps,” Catriona muses. “So that I can slip ahead, and either show up in person, or spy on them. But… the change of time *and* location suggests that something dramatic is happening. I’ll take the risk of going without armour or weapons, in case I *can* talk my way in.”
The streets of Vesper are never quiet and trying slip through them is a mistake. Slaine knows that so doesn’t try. They just blend into the nighttime crowd, wending their ways through the streets till they make the place marked by her spell.
“Can ye lift the cover?” That’s to the both of them. They’re going to have to slip into the sewers to do this and as much as the little Mystic is potent, physical feats aren’t her forte.
When the cover is lifted, there’s a ladder down and really … it smells rather pungent.Catriona’s quite willing to indulge in a casual display of strength, one-handedly ifting the manhole cover out of the way without even having to think about it… though she winces and recoils after doing so, nose wrinkling. “Oh, this is going to be fun,” she mutters.
Once they’re down there, though, Elpida’s pausing for a moment. Her snakes are flicking their tongues and flowing in one direction. To their left.
“… Iiiii think we sdhould go this way,” she says, pointing down a tunnel.
The trio drop into the sewers with a ‘splash’. It’s … delightful. It really is. “Don’ think it’s goin’ to be fun.” Slaine mutters as the muck splashes at her boots. Now she’s got boots to clean as well as her leathers.
Her eyes, now green again, as the effects of the tracking spell have worn off, look at the three branches they can follow. “Can either of you sense anything?”
Wraith can feel the pull of minds. Their not overly powerful, but powerful enough. As Elpidas snakes start writhing in that direction, her senses corrobate that.
Following that tunnel, the one to the left, meets with a couple of turns and light filtering through grating in the streets above periodically. It’s a disused sewage system – but it still smells of stagnate water and whatever has come here to die.
After many long minutes, the trio comes to a juncture, the soft glow of lights illuminates the next turn and the quiet rumble of discussion can be heard.Catriona opted to shift into Wraith while dropping down – removing both the splash and the need to clean her school clothing. At least thus far. The thought of sewage flowing through her is not exactly pleasant… but she can console herself with the fact that cleaning herself off would probably be even worse. “Can’t sense any active magic,” she murmurs. “And one or two of those minds might be Knudson. Want me to slip on ahead, while you two lurk here?”
“Go. We won’ lurk.” Slaine says quietly, her voice pitched to carry the least through these tunnels.
Letting Wraith ‘ghost’ ahead of them, the small redhead nods to Elpida and starts to move forward.
All the Gorgon and the Mystic can hear are fragments of conversation. But Wraith, gets it all. Well, nearly. The figures are robed and hooded and she can’t make out their faces but she’ll remember their voices, that’s for sure. One of them … sounds like Ames.
“Do we have enough?” A female voice asks. “To bring down a strike of that magnitude?”
“If we don’t, we should wait a little longer.” That’s a male.
“Of course we do.” A mature male voice this time. “One dark snake and we’ll have Harvest up to ten thousand at a time.” the capitalisation of the ‘H’ is unmistakable.
“They’ll be expecting us …” says another figure.
“We have a plan for that …”
Back with Elpida, Slaine is starting to tremble and the colour bleeding from eyes again, for a moment – not that Elpida is likely to see it – they flash all black.
Yeah, Elpida misses that. But she does notice the trembling.
A hand is reached out and laid across Slaine’s shoudler, claws lightly digging in.
“Shhh,” she murmurs, trying to strain to hear. TRying.
oh, she’s waiting for a signal to rush in and make a move.Wraith has her paranormal stealth activated – and on full power, for once – in addition to the obvious merits of being intangible and naturally quite sneaky. She ghosts closer, keeping a wary eye out for any wards or defences that might trouble her or her still-physical companions. She’d like to be able to get a clear view of the speakers, so that she can put faces to plotters. And to potential prey.
Wraith can’t see their faces, no matter how much she tries. They’re shrouded in shadow and the cowls of the robes they wear. But she can recognise their voices. It’s not solid enough proof to take Ingerhast but certainly enough to keep investigating.
“What is your plan?” wait… does that sound a like a Senator? Wraith might have heard her speak in the forum a couple times “… I hope it is cautious. None of the Thirty can ever know.” the voice continues.
“A big explosion, potentially in Richmond. It will look like Dogwoodians have attacked our supply routes.
Slaines trembling gets worse and she starts to mutter. Elpida can hear this but she might need to get Mystic out of there.
//So many flames. Somethings exploded. Something technological. No … Yes. //
//So much confusion. Dogwood delegations saying no!//
//Armies wearing Vesper livery. Massing … So many souls going missing.//
With every utterance, the little Mystic is becoming louder.
“…Slaine! You’re gonna get us SLAIN, SLAINE! SLAIN!” Elpida’s whispering becomes harsher, you know, and she her snakes are getting agitated bnecause she’s getting agitated. She tries to give hte little mystic a shake.
Nooo, don’t ruin it!Wraith attempts to pair up speakers and species (‘food’ does come in so many different flavours!), while worrying about both the topic of discussion and what might be unfolding in the tunnel behind her…
“Do you think it will work?” Cat has likely heard that males voice. Another lecturer.
“Of course it will.” That’s the Senator that Wraith is sure she recognises. “We’re so blinded by our hatred of Dogwood, this is all will take.”
“So we move then, soon.” Another voice Wraith can be sure is a TA or lecturer. “If that’s all?”
The party is getting ready to depart. Wraith, Elpida and Slaine should be gone!
Clamping her hands over SLaine’s mouth, Elpida picks her up and bodily begins to back away from the sight. She only c aught fragments but that was enough! “I AM HAVING WORDS WITH YOU LATER, SLAINE,” she hisses into the ginger mystic’s ear.Wraith makes sure she’s got numbers and species locked in mind… then blurs away to rejoin Elpida and Slaine, dropping her psychic masking once just past them (so they when they notice her, they’ll be facing *away*) from the conspirators. “Psst. I think we should be going,” she whispers, once visible again (albeit still in ghost form). Though she’s rather short on facial expressions, when made up of roiling shadows, she does cock her head in a distinctly worried manner. “If you’re all right carrying her, then I’ll run ahead and check the path’s still clear. I’ll shuttle back and forth to keep an eye on you.”
Slaine gags as El’s hand closes over her mouth and her toes drag along the ground as the Gorgon tugs on her. She shakes her head, holding the palm of one hand to her forehead “Ugh … I had another vision, didn’ I…” She’s not resisting either of the women, as Wraith appears.
It doesn’t take them long to backtrack, the murmur of conversation from the cabal floating to their ears as they do.
By the time they make street level, Slaine might swaying but she’s conscious “I need a bath and a good nights sleep. We can talk in the mornin’. 0630 in my rooms… ” Hope they didn’t want to much sleep themselves.
The small Mystic rubs her head, looking very tired and pale. The visions. They were never this bad. Is this a side effect of what Saren did to her? She doesn’t know, she’ll just have to wait and see.
Wraith has a note that needs decoding or linking. She seeks out help and is led to a meeting.
May 17, 2410