Buy the Bye is off one of the market squares and it isn’t hard to fine.
The conversation itself is fairly normal but for who is doing it. It’s Aiden Frost and the heretofore rather missing Dragon Cat known as Ghost. It looks like a fairly quiet conversation, possibly two people just catching up. Nothing really to be seen here. Just a psychic and a twelve foot long six legged lizard-cat.
Kaji wanders along after doing a bit of browsing at the bazaar. He’s been looking for possible dessert ingredients or things to substitute for his waning writing supplies. It’s not terribly unusual for him to be carrying his backpack around, which is nice because then it doesn’t draw any unusual attention for the fact that it’s the most suitable way to carry around the extra unwanted company that just manages to find its way near him and likewise those also plagued by such things.
Ghost is a rather difficult creature to ignore, and despite having not seen him for the longest, easily recognizable. The young necromancer starts to drift in that direction, noticing Aiden only after the fact, but his wave is for both as he closes the distance. “Hey!”
Slaine’s been quiet since she got back from Saren’s Rest. After their sojourn into Vanished Point, she’d been ‘asked’ to meet with Saren. What had happened in that meeting, the small Mystic hasn’t said. Not that anyone’s asked her anyway.
The sight of Ghost makes her smile though and she makes her way to the pair that are talking. “Ghost. It’s been awhile. How are ye?” She’s assuming he’s been doing whatever it is Dragon Cats do. “And there’s Kaji.” Aiden gets a smile from the redhead and her eyes run over him, checking those lines.
Leo hasn’t been seen in uh… a while. A couple of weeks at the very least, and as the door to Buy the Bye opens, he meanders out into the sunlight, dark circles under his eyes and a distinct waxy pallor to his otherwise normal level of leathered tanned skin. He appears to have lost some weight too… or maybe not. He’s always been small, slight even, but it hangs on him a little more heavily somehow. Slaine would recognize it, spellsickness, someone’s been deeeeeeeep into some Workings, perhaps used up a teensy bit more of their reserves then they should have.
“Blargh,” he states eloquently to the world, smacking his lips and scrunching his face up as he tastes his own mouth. “Ew.”
Hello Slaine. Kaji. The Dragon-Cat’s voice sounds in everyone’s head. Hello Leo. He says without turning his head. Telepaths. They’re like that.
“Hello all.” Aiden says. He’s about to ask what’s going on when Leo emerges looking like he’s suffering from one or more plagues.
“Uh, what happened to you?”
He’d heard that Slaine had gotten back, but Kaji’s been in and out of Gran’s himself since he’d gotten in maybe a day or so before Slaine had. If the redhead had mentioned a meeting with Saren, he would have teased her about the ‘date’ before catching the ferry bound for Vesper.
“What’re you all up to?” he asks, currently resembling the polar opposite of Leo for how bright-eyed and perky he is. Gran must have packed him off with something sugary before he’d set out.
His attention drifts to Leo, brows arching as the teenager stares at the guy for a moment. “You…okay there, Leo? Need some coffee or something?” Does coffee cure that?
Leo smacks his lips twice more and looks around, rubbing at one eye with a soot covered gloved hand, “Work.” he rasps unclearly, “Which of you do I have to murder and loot for something to drink?” he asks, his half lidded expression making it unclear how serious he is. His more serious glare from one to the next puts a bit more concern to that idea.
When his eyes finally land on the cat creature, his lips twist a bit, “Oh.” he says, lifting his slightly off kilter bowler to scritch greasy and wildly untamed hair, “That was you. Hey.”
Slaine’s green eyes land on Leo and she frowns, pulling a flask from the satchel that she’s carrying. “Here. Ye don’ need to murder or loot for that. What have ye been workin’ on that takes so much energy?” She knows better than to ask, but she does anyway.
“No’ a lot at the moment, Kaji.” the small Mystic answers “Got back from Saren’s Rest yesterday. Got some contracts to fill in the next couple of days. Wha’ abou’ ye?” She moves to stand between Aiden and Ghost, watching the group as she waits for the answers.
“Drink like water or drink like recovered six hundred year old whiskey?” Aiden queries looking first to Kaji then Slaine to see if they have any idea what this is. The backpack gets a rather curious look. The psychic has noticed that Kaji often has it. Maybe he just needs to cart around… uh… what would he need to cart around?
“Oh Kaji, we found a place that has a ton of paper in it… unfortunately it’s guarded by a psychotic computer so…” There’s that. Also Leo bombed it. He bombed the hell out of it. So the paper might not be there anymore.
Kaji shrugs, giving Aiden a look that very plainly suggests ‘well how would I know???’ Coffee had only been his first guess because he’d seen how many cups Leo could put away.
He watches as Slaine hands over something to hopefully placate the technowizard before looking back over at Aiden. “A computer???? Was it still working? Did it say it wanted to run tests or rule the world?” He sounds…way too excited about that finding but then he might just miss home a bit.
Leo jerks a thumb at Slaine, “She got out with a couple reams,” he pauses, “and I picked up an old paperback book. No. You can’t have it. I’m reading it. Very good.” he then thinks, “Water,” answering Aiden’s question even as he takes Slaine’s flask. He then looks up at her as he takes a swig of it’s contents, “New toy.”
Leo’s been on a new toy kick for the last little bit and considering the work that went into his last one, which may or may not still haunt Slaine’s nightmares, it might be the sort of thing best left not asked more about. “Transitional A.I. built by the greatest weapons manufacturer of Golden Age North America… it was touchy. Is touchy. Unclear if I killed it.” he hand waffles in the air after another swig.
“He said it was Moby Dick. The book that is… Not …” Slaine shrugs as she decides it’s best to just shut up at that moment. “Ye need to go and sit on a Ley Line, Leo. At midnight when it’s flaring. You’ll replenish.” Aiden had seen the redhead tapped out. Clearly, if Leo is any measure, she could have been worse.
“The computer was, yeah. ” she nods to Kaji. “An’ it wasn’ goin’ to let us out the facility. Leo… blew it up. But I did get some paper – I was goin’ to make it a surprise for ye… ” That shouldn’t be such a surprise to the younger mage, Leo … well, he’s known for that.
To Aiden and Ghost, the small mystic murmurs “It’s spell sickness. Ye’ve seen it with me, when I cast too much. Nothin’ for it, but to rest and replenish.”
Aiden nods. “No it just wanted us to stay with it. Because, you know, we’d seen it’s secrets and therefore could never leave. It was upset when we tried to leave.” The psychic genuinely hopes that thing doesn’t have manufacturing capabilities.
Ghost peers at Leo. Perhaps we should all move this back inside the shop? Leo can take a seat and have a drink and I’m sure he’d be delighted to show off his new toy.
The psy-warrior nods at that even as he leans over to Kaji. “Recovering okay from our trip to the Point, I hope?”
There’s a pause as Kaji’s questions are cut off regarding the book, so far as Leo’s concerned, but Slaine’s clarification upon what he potentially might be missing out on subsequently diminishes any further curiosity on the matter. Yeah, he’s not that desperate for a read.
“One of these days there’ll be a nice A.I. that just wants to chat over virtual tea or something,” he mutters. Still, it would have been neat to see working technology from whatever amounted to this version of Earth’s Golden Age. But he could do without things wanting to kill him for the time being. He’s had more than his quota on that.
Slaine gets a grin at the mention that she’s been hiding reams of paper from him, for him. That’ll certainly help a lot. Vellum just isn’t the same.
Nodding at Ghost’s suggestion and after a glance at Leo to see if he agreed, Kaji then looks at Aiden, smiling lopsidedly. “I think so. It’s nice having your feet on solid ground, definitely.” Or having a considerable lack of things that might want to eat or enslave you, yes.
Leo shrugs a bit as he hands the flask back over to Slaine, “Dunno why. Should be called Ahab. That guy is awesome.” he then eyes Kaji for a long moment and shakes his head, “Kids.” he says, turning to walk back towards the door to his shop, “To full of hope these days.” he sounds like he laments this change in ‘kids’ in the modern age. “I’m going to have the noodle place deliver,” he says in a tone that suggests he’s answering all the questions, “and then I’m gonna sleep. You wanna see the new toy, you can wait until it’s done.” never show them how laws, sausages, or heavily enchanted weapons are made. It’ll freak people out. “You need anything, come back in the morning.” He’s gonna be such an awesome old man. He walks back through the door he just came from and closes it firmly behind him, a few locks clicking into place behind him.
So… not going to hang out in the shop/store then? Good to know…
Well doesn’t like they’re going to be going with Leo. That being the case Aiden motions to Kaji and Slaine to follow he and Ghost.
“I know what you mean. The calm times between the emergencies are always refreshing.” It doesn’t really occur to him that for some people it’s the emergencies that are the exception to the rule. He doesn’t live that way.
“I’m going to be headed out into the mountains in the next couple of days to follow up on that… suit of armor that came into town earlier.” That… that seems to have him worried.
Kaji blinks, watching as Leo retreats into his shop again. He looks at the others remaining and shrugs.
Aiden’s statement is a bit confusing to him, which keeps him from commenting as he tries to wrap his head around the wording. As the psychic carries on, the necromancer tilts his head at him. “Suit of armor..?” Either he missed something or needs a reminder, but to be fair, a lot’s been going on.
Slaine waves as Leo walks off, just shaking her head. “Can ye pretend ye jus’ haven’ heard abou’ the paper?” she asks the teen.
Aiden’s words get a frown, she’s trying to remember. Suit of Armour? “I’m no’ sure I know which one ye mean, Vargr.” She knows they have to do a few trips to check out arms caches, but that’s something they’ll get too.
“Someone brought in a Coalition SAMAS. Junked, but functional. Looked like it had been used recently.” That’s concerning on several levels. Slaine will know why. Kaji may take a bit more explaining but Aiden doesn’t think that right away.
How new? Ghost says, lifting his big head up to look at Aiden.
“New enough. Couple of months, probably?”
“I can try,” Kaji replies to Slaine. Maybe it won’t be so hard. He’s got some creepy doll thing to help figure out and who knows what else might come up. And then he’s still yet to talk to Ingerhast…
His attention turns back to Aiden, squinting a bit as he obviously has no idea what that acronym stands for. He’s only passingly familiar with the Coalition either way. “Where’d they find it? And who’d they used it against?”
“Really.” That has Slaine’s attention. “Then I’m comin’ with ye. Do ye think it was somethin’ that accompanied our friend?” She looks to Kaji. “Coalition hate mages and D-Bee. They were the ones that fought the war against Tolkeen.” She casts a look to Aiden, knowing how … it seems to affect him. “They … persecute mages… sort of. They certainly don’ protect them if they’re wronged.”
“Think Dogwood, but worse, in a way.” she says.
“If they’re movin’ stuff like that near here, they might be looking to pacify the area. Although…” Ghost and Aiden get a questioning look “… they’d need a good reason, right? They don’ really have the resources to do that type of thing.”
“Mages, psychics, anything that isn’t human.” They have their reasons. Demons were in the early days by far the most common type of visitor, but the Coalition does not distinguish between a harmless dimensional refugee and a demon seeking to peel your best friend’s face off. It’s all the same to them.
“I don’t know who found it. It was brought in by a junk merchant, but the fact that it was there at all and in as good condition as it was all things considered says some very disturbing things. The coalition was on the back foot last I heard, if they have any people out here at all though, we need to know about it.”
“…yeah, I…I remember Tolkeen.” What bits punched through his head when Ted Mercier’s psychic backlash happened. The Coalition just sounds like bad news all around.
Kaji looks between the others as they explain. He frowns a little as Aiden mentions more of the details about the craft he’d wanted to look into, nodding. “And then there were those explosives you found in the bazaar, right?”
“On top of other things, yes.” Slaine answers. “It’s very concerning. We jus’ don’ know wha’ it means. So we’re goin’ to have to check it out.” Slaine doesn’t know much about Tolkeen. She’s heard the stories and seen how Aiden reacts to it.
“Another Junk Merchant. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I don’ believe in them. When are we goin’, Vargr?”
“Tomorrow. I need to get a few things and there’s no time today.” Aiden shakes his head as they move through the market. “It’s going to be a long trip anyway. Into the mountains, past the Hinterlands. D-Shifting and D-bees will be the worst of it. If there are Coalition out there, they’ll be well hidden…”
He glances over at Slaine. “You sure you wanna come?” Kaji also gets a look. Aiden has no idea what he saw in Ted Mercier’s head. If he did, he might explain a little more. Those are bad memories to have.
His previous trips into the mountains hadn’t been all that wonderful, but going past that? Kaji has no idea what else lies beyond. Everything he might have known sure isn’t the same, here. At least he knows Aiden’s more than capable of looking out for himself.
The memory of Tolkeen is a distant one now, drifting amidst a number of others more or less unpleasant. Even then, what he’d witnessed of that glimpse of the war through Ser Mercier’s link had been thankfully brief, although brutal as one would expect of war. He’d at least gotten to talk with the Cyber-Knight about it, but it had never crossed his mind that the Coalition might still be up to something, and it wasn’t until recently that he’d found out where they even were.
“Of course.” Slaine answers simply. Why would Aiden think anything different? “I need my mind shield and ye need … well, ye don’ need anythin’ but I migh’ be helpful at times.”
The little Mystic looks to Kaji and cants her head “Are ye goin’ to come with us?” Aiden’s already mentioned supplies “I’ve got the bags we took when met that Centaur, we can take them. How are we travelin’? Not all that distance on foot, I hope.”
You can ride on my back for a bit. I can carry a couple of you. Ghost says as he paces along side them, easily the most noticeable thing about them. One nice thing about Ghost is that he sort of parts the crowd for them. No one wants to be run over by a dragon cat.
“We’ll need to arrange something else but no I hadn’t planned to walk the whole way. That’s a long walk.” And while Aiden is used to that he knows for sure that Slaine and Kaji aren’t.
“Oh, Ghost’s going too?” Kaji then blinks at Slaine. He hadn’t wanted to assume, and Slaine had been the one who’d volunteered right off the back. “If…you don’t think I’d get in the way,” he says. True, their intent would be more of a recon mission, but from what Aiden had mentioned, it sounded like some pretty crazy territory to go through. That’s not to say that Kaji doesn’t think himself up for the challenge, but he’d rather be useful than not, and if they thought he might be more of a liability, he’s not going to be mad.
“Well that’s good.” Slaine murmurs to Aiden “Las’ time we did somethin’ like this, ye made me hike and hike.” Of course, where they had gone it was the only way to get in there. “I’ll take ye up on that Ghost, my legs ain’ as long as some… and I have to trot to keep up.” She’s not joking either.
“Pffft. I wouldn’ have asked if we didn’ want ye. Ye’ve got some good skills about ye, Kaji.” That sort of settles it then. “I’ll get Gran to pack some rations for us. None of ye’re trail mix, Vargr.” There’ll be a bit of that, of course, but something from Grans kitchen will make it a little more … palatable.
She sticks close by Ghost’s side. Aiden will remember how she took a shine to the Dragon Cat when they first met. Of course, having the crowd flow around them and not step on her, is a big attraction for Half Pint.
“We’re leavin’ early, I take it?”
“We’ll want to, yes. Get some sleep tonight. And of course you can come if you want to.” Kaji may be new to the world but he has a unique insight into it and to be honest he’s no worse than some Aiden has had with him. “I think that should be about-”
Hello Kaji-san. Says a slightly musical voice. There’s a fox like creature sitting on a windowsill – how is not entirely clear it shouldn’t fit at all comfortably – playing a koto. It’s also not clear if the voice is coming from the Koto or the Fox. Did you enjoy using the fan? Have you remembered the names of the wind?
Just hearing he’s welcome draws a smile. Kaji nods at them, listening as Slaine starts listing out what they’ll need and when their planned departure likely will be.
The voice that comes up makes him jump and nearly stumble against Ghost as he looks around. “Kazue-dono?” he not quite squeaks, surprised to see her, well, anywhere outside of the vault. It probably shouldn’t be that surprising, but it’s definitely, at the moment, unexpected.
“Um…” How is she doing that- “-it was very useful. Did you want me to return it yet? I uh, haven’t remembered any names though, no…”
Slaine turns as the voice sounds and freezes. That’s who she could talk to. Aiden and Kaji should feel her tense and then relax. “Hello Kazue.” she cants her head as she watches the Fox being. “It’s funny we see ye here… I’ve a question, if ye have time now…”
That might shock Kaji and Aiden, but there you have it. And it is Slaine after all. “It’s regarding an artifact that someone is lookin’ for. I thought ye migh’ have heard of it…”
I always have time. Comes that musical voice that accompanies the plucking. It’s really difficult to tell… how exactly she’s doing that. It’s possible it’s some manner of telepathy but… probably not.
It’s a pity though. The names would have been useful. Now you go seeking the black knights of the West. Have a care for the iron collars that still the voice.
Kazue looks to Slaine. When do you seek? Curious. Not what does she seek.
Slaine’s reaction to the appearance of the mysterious fox-being sure gets a look from Kaji. He wonders if that someone looking for an artifact happens to be a certain dragon, and he glances at Aiden to see if he knows what this is about.
Looking back to Kazue, and not without his eyes drifting towards the koto itself here and there, the necromancer tries not to sigh. “Maybe I’m not listening closely enough for them?” he wonders aloud. He knows there had been voices on the wind the first time he’d tried using the fan, but other than that, he can’t help but see Kazue as some fluffier, more musical form of Yoda.
“You mean the Coalition? Wait, what iron collars?” He frowns. “Something that blocks off powers, you mean?” All the comic book flashbacks.
When does she seek? Slaine blinks and runs the conversation she had through her mind. Of course, she’s slightly distracted by the talk of Black Knights and Iron Collars but hopefully Kaji and Aiden are addressing them.
“Uh. I’m no’ sure. It’s somethin’ that can warp realities … ” Saren hadn’t said when it was … lost or made or anything like that but he had said it was near. “Now. I think. It’s old, but I can’ say how much. All I know is that who’s seeking thinks they migh’ have found it.” Kaji gets a wan smile, as does Aiden and Ghost. They deserve an explanation and she’ll try to give one – at least explain what she knows at any rate.
Iron collars. They still the voice and cut off the light. The Black Knights wield them. Beware. Kazue plucks at her Koto as Aiden sort of glowers. He’s got… an inkling what that’s about but only an inkling.
You’ve already found it. And you’re finding it now. Reality is perception and there is nothing that warps perception more than knowledge. Or lack of it.
“That’s helpful…” Aiden mutters.
Kaji looks at Slaine again. “Er, is looking for something like that a good thing? What would someone want to do with a thing like that?” There’s a slight emphasis on the ‘someone.’ If it’s who he thinks it is, there seriously can’t be any good coming out of getting the dragon such items. He already has some purportedly dangerous artifacts that they’d gotten into trouble with Dogwood over.
Kazue gets his attention again as she continues to speak in riddles, and he can’t help but be of the same opinion as Aiden. Brow furrowing, Kaji pulls out his notepad to jot down her words. Confusing, maybe, but he kind of liked the wispy profundity of it.
“I don’ know, Kaji but someone is lookin’ for it and when they find it …” Slaine raises an eyebrow. “Iron Collars that still the voice and cut off the light. Vargr, what do ye know about things like that?”
“If all time is happenin’ all at once, then yes I’ve already found it. But what is it that is being sought, Kazue.” Slaine frowns. “Knowledge is power and what is sought will warp perception … He’s lookin’ for somethin’ that he can learn from… ” A book? A tome? or something else? Slaine’s more confused than anything.
Aiden just shakes his head and looks back to Kazue… or rather where Kazue was a moment ago. She’s gone. She and her Koto both. Ghost notices it too and leans in to sniff the ledge.
No scent. He says, a note of disgust in his mental voice. Was she ever really here?
No way to know.
“Well, if we’re done talking to fortune cookies…”
As surprised as Kaji had been to see her, he’s somehow not nearly so when Kazue is suddenly gone. “Typical,” he says, puffing out his cheeks before he gives a sigh. He reaches out, giving Ghost a pat before looking back at the other two.
“Heh, we may as well have been. At least she wasn’t talking backwards…” He gestures for Aiden to continue along. It doesn’t seem like there’s much reason in sticking around here.
Slaine sighs when she sees Kazue has disappeared and shakes her head “She’s, it, is as bad as Sar—-, with the twisty answers.”
“Talkin’ backwards, Kaji?” She’s sure that has something to do with where he came from, she can’t place the reference for Rifts Earth. “Let’s go get what we need then and get to sleep. Early start in the morning.”
“Alright you three. Let’s go get something to eat… then some rest.” Three. Because Ghost is one of them. Unfortunately for Aiden, Ghost eats like a horse, which is surprisingly dainty considering he’s much, much bigger than one. In any case both psychic and dragon cat head off at a slow walk.
Cryptic words, a Leo-cameo, and a proposed recon mission to the Northwest. Just another day in Vesper for some.
October 12, 2410