There is a… vigil outside. That’s really the only way to describe it. Maybe a chant? There is a group of lizard folk outside and they’re having a… ceremony.
It’s clearly related to Slaine and Elpida, whatever it is. The pair remain popular with a certain bit of the Cult of the Southern Swamps. Despite their… rather vociferous protests.
The worst part is that they’re not really buying anything. And the chanting is kind of off putting for the people trying to have lunch.
Elpida puts a hand over her face at the sound of the chant when it first reaches her ears. There’s a long-suffering sigh and then she’s… on her way to find Slaine. She needs Slaine for this.
And alcohol. SO MUCH ALCOHOL.
“Go outside, Horace an’ tell them if they don’ move, I’ll be callin’ the Watch to do it for them.” Slaine looks to the little goblinoid D-Bee, her bright green eyes flashing. She looks tired, which is odd – she’s been in Vesper for several days and hasn’t had any late nights that anyone can tell.
“Aiden, I don’ suppose ye can … ye know …” She taps her temple and then gestures to the noisy group outside. “If no’ I can always get the Crown, I suppose.”
“Again, Slaine? I’ve been out there twice.” Horace says, but he heads out there. Aiden is leaning on the entry to the stairs.
“You don’t suppose I can what? Intimidate them? OR did you just want me to pick them up and dump them into a canal. THAT I might be able to do.”
Telekines. They’re good. Alternately he could just change the music and make them dance a different dance.
“Because a demonstration of power is exactly what they need to prove we’re not Gods. We do something like that, they’ll just pray harder and I’ll, I don’t know, sprout wings that fart tiny hearts. If anything, we need to show ourselves as powerless before someone else. Be wussy!” Elpida says, when she finally reaches Slaine. “You okay, Slaine?” she asks, glancing down towards the goblinoid as well, giving a nod to Aiden’s presence as well. “How about I stagger out utterly dru– wait, no. Trickster. That won’t work. They’ll assume its a lesson.” She pinches the bridge of her nose now. “Uggggggggggggh.” She sighs.
“The canal sounds good abou’ now.” Slaine says, glaring at Aiden for not doing anything. She’s really, really annoyed. “I’ll jus’ go an’ get the Crown then an’ force them all to move…” She shoos Horace off, yes again.
“I have a headache, El an’ I’m no sleepin’ real well.” The redhead answers. Maybe Elpida’s right but Slaine’s never been one for being … subtle.
“Also they might assume you’re there to, I dunno, make all their love lives better or grant them good hunting or a better harvest. I’ll take care of it.”
Aiden goes outside and the dumming… abruptly stops.
And then it starts again. Wait. No. That’s not a drum. That’s something big stumbling down the stairs. Thump thump thump… a large mass of scales and fur lands near Slaine and Elpida.
//I am not a morning dragon cat…//
At least there’s ANOTHER mass of scales in the room that isn’t her. Elpida adjusts her snakes on her head casually, turns towards the dragon cat.
“Allo,” she offers, “we’re just discussing our horrible fates today. How are you?”
Slaine smiles beatifically at Aiden when he goes outside. That’s what she wanted all along, so it’s good. She sighs when the drumming finally stops, only to scrowl at the thumping when it seems to start again.
A scowl that quickly disappears when Ghost appears. “Ghost. Ye migh’ not be a morning dragon cat but it looks like ye had a nigh’ on the town.”
“Thank ye, Aiden.” She adds sweetly when the psychic reappears.
“Sort of. Mountain Viper Venom is a hell of a drug…” Ghost gets up and stumbles. “I’m fine, I promise. I just need… does anyone have some eggs… and… vodka?”
Finally Ghost makes it to a table and plops down. His head rests on it and he looks around with his eyes only, not moving his head.
“Where’d Aiden go?”
“I mean, he should be coming back in by now, right?” Elpida looks over at Slaine as she goes to carefully peek outside to ensure there’s no trouble.
Just in case.
Then to the Dragon Cat, “So how’re you doing?” A concerned look towards Slaine is given. Her snakes droop.
Uh oh. Slaine peers, she’d thought he’d come back through the door but he hadn’t. That’s what having a headache does to her.
“He jus’ wen’ out to tell our … worshippers to get off our lawn…” she frowns “He didn’ come back in from that, did he…” If it were her, she might wonder if she’d tripped over the pattern in the carpet and hurt herself, but Aiden isn’t careless or clumsy.
“Yeah…” she says to El, heading in the direction the psychic had gone. If those worshippers had done anything she’s likely to … kill them.
As Slaine heads toward the door Aiden re-appears. There are no more worshipers in the area and the prayers have stopped.
Well, no. Now they’re all prayers that they won’t catch cold and that the stain comes out.
And that the cute guy over there… wait… no that’s for Elpida.
“Hey Half Pint. I’m fine. Ghost… you look like shit.”
//Thanks.// Ghost says, half closing his eyes. //I feel like it. I can drink the ale of gods and be fine but drink a little snake venom concoction….//
“Whyyyyyy were you doing that? Trying to impress Elpida?”
“…I… don’tthink so?” says Elpida confusedly to Aiden. Then to Ghost, “That wasn’t it, right?” Then back to the ceiling, “SHUT UUUUUUP,” she groans. “We really need to talk aboput what we’re gonna do with Demeter’s offer, Slaine.”
If Slaine could answer directly she’d make those stains stick and give them all a flu they’ll never forget. At least, with Aidens training, she can block the noise out.
“What took ye so long? Did ye fall in the canal yerself?” She grouses at Aiden. She really hasn’t been in a good mood since all this started.
Then she looks at Ghost. “One of Grans hangover cures comin’ up. That will put hairs on yer chest. Well, more hairs.” She says gesturing to Horace who has slunk in trying to avoid her attention. “Were ye at the Serpent Club las’ night?”
“The canal isn’t right next door and juggling twenty people mentally is tricky. Still. They all got a bath. They’re not clean but they all got a bath.”
Aiden folds his arms and leans back on the doorway, watching Ghost.
//I was yes. And no, Elpida, I was not trying to impress you. I’d have other ways of doing that if I really wanted to but I doubt either of us are the other’s type, really.//
Probably a fair point.
//I hear there’s a goddess in town. Who isn’t either one of you.//
Elpida looks relieved. Honestly, probably a bit too much to be nice to poor Ghost. That breath of relief was obvious. “…we’re not Goddess’!” She snaps, at the end of it all. Not yet, anyway, and never if she has anything to say about it. She puts a hand amongst her bitey snakes. “Yes. Yes, there is. They do visit from time to time.” Somehow, she feels like it’s all her fault.
It kinda has been a time or two.
“We know they got a bath, Aiden …” Slaine says, tapping her forehead ahead. “But ye didn’ hear me say me thank ye, so thank ye.” She knows she’s being a bear with a sore head. Whatever that means.
Horace returns with a drink, in a bowl, for Ghost. It’s bubbling and steaming and smells putrid. “Gran’s patented hangover cure, get that into ye Ghost…” she says.
“Did ye hear that Demeter was in town at the club? Because she is an’ she’s stayin’ here.” Slaine says slowly “She wants to turn us into Harvest Nymphs an’ stop the deification ritual those fools are are performin’.” The redhead gestures vaguely in the direction of the canal.
“She’s what? She wants to what?” Ghost looks at Slaine and then Elpida. “Nymphs? Why… why would she want to do that? Wouldn’t it be enough to take your power?”
“She said that there was a possibility that they might become nymphs if she helped them.” Aiden clarifies. “Her daughter convinced her to at least offer but I gotta say it wasn’t much of an offer.”
“Doesn’t sound like it, no. Wasn’t Varos on the handbills for that cult too? Does anyone know if he’s been affected by this?”
“Well, I mean,” says Elpida, “she did say it was just a chance, yeah, but I’m not so sure how much I trust her. Still, so far, our other options are ‘Atlantis’ and this, if we can’t get them to stop.” She lets out a breath. “Wait, Varos is mixed up in this too?” This is the first she’s hearing of that, apparently.
“Because she’s a Goddess an’ they never do anythin’ that doesn’ benefit themselves …” Slaine grumbles again “She could reverse the deification process, I’m sure but she doesn’ want to lose the power that has been directed at us. So she wants us to give it to her – so we become Nymphs if things don’ go well.”
And it’s Slaine, so they won’t go well. She’s sure.
“An’ yeah. Varos was with us when we went to Dinosaur Swap, that darn lizard girl got it her head that we were deities.”
The door swings open, admitting a gust of a chill breeze and a slender figure dressed in dark grays, a cloak wrapped about him and hood pulled over his head in protection from the late winter temperatures that threaten to remain clinging. Even once the door closes firmly behind him, said figure does not bother to pull his hood off, despite how difficult it must be to see past it, so low as it hangs to obscure most of his face.
He makes his way through the common area, his movements somehow graceful even though at times one might worry his balance might tip too far one way or another, but he avoids tables, chairs, benches and patrons alike, finally making way over to where Aiden, Slaine, Elpida and the big dragon cat are. The hooded heap nearly melts into an empty seat that he pulls up alongside their table, said hood tipped back with a brief toss of the head as he rests his elbows at the table’s edge.
Silvery grey locks spill forth over the familiar pewter and amethyst-slitted mask, and despite perhaps a more notable pallor to his face, Varos yet manages a crooked smile at the others as he opens his mouth as though to speak, only to fail in deciding what exactly he’s to say. Thus it comes, his greeting, if it can be called such, in a worn, half-sigh of a, “Hah.”
In truth he looks about several seconds from face-planting.
“Varos’ rather heroically rendered likeness was last seen crushing Slaine to his bosom in a very manly way on the handbills of-” The hooded figure walks in and finally deposits himself nearby.
“Well, speak of the devil. You look like ten miles of bad road, Varos.” Aiden says.
//Fair enough to suspect the goddess but let me ask, what choices do you have? Hello Varos. Try not to think too loudly for a few minutes while Slaine gets one of Gran’s hangover cures.// Ghost says, head resting on a table with eyes screwed tightly shut. He looks hungover.
Which he is, though not from ale or wine.
“That’s what I’ve been saying to Slaine. It’s either that or we both start turning into Gods that neither of us wants to be. That or Atlantis. Because anything we do short of staging us getting humiliated in front of our ‘cult’ isn’t going to help.. and even THAT may not help if they figure they just need to pray harder or are drawing lessons from it.” Elpida sits down, places her head in ehr hands. Snakes peek between her fingers.
“Hi, Varos,” she says, “are you turning into a God too?”
Horace returns with a drink, in a bowl, for Ghost. It’s bubbling and steaming and smells putrid. “Gran’s patented hangover cure, get that into ye Ghost…” Slaine says as she turns a look of disdain on Aiden. “He was not …” beat “Hello Varos, ye look like ye could do with a drink as well.”
“We need rune magic, Ghost. I don’ suppose ye know anyone but Atlanteans do ye?” She sighs. “There’s another option, El. Aiden an’ I have been talkin’ abou’ it. We can’ go to Atlantis, it’s too dangerous but maybe the monastery where Aiden grew up migh’ know somethin’. We were goin’ to take a trip there soon …”
“And I feel every bit stepped upon,” Varos mutters in response to Aiden, lips twisting into a grimace. He turns his head towards Ghost, expression turning apologetic. “I’ll try my best, but I can make no promises. Everything’s been much too bright of late for me.”
He’s certainly been dealing with his own headaches. His usual Sight’s gone hypersensitive these days, to the point that everything seemed backlit or glowing in varying degrees, and his normal senses honed as they’ve been to compensate for lack of sight have been turned up, not to mention that he’s certain he can feel the very air around him buzzing if he stands still enough.
Elpida’s casual question receives a groan in response, the masked sometimes-clothier tugging his hood back over his head and dropping his head into his arms.
“I don’t think drinks have been much effective,” he says, his voice muffled by the material of his cloak. “I don’t think I could even drink myself blind if I wanted to.”
Slowly he eases his head up to prop up with a hand as he regards the others, even though he needn’t do so physically. Somehow he forces a smile. “What’s this about Alantis now?”
Aiden looks carefully at Varos as Ghost downs the hangover remedy. It doesn’t taste very good but none of these things do, really.
“We asked Ingerhast about the matter. She said that in order to disrupt a ritual like this you need magic that can modify the soul. The only thing she knew of for sure that would do that is rune magic. And the only place to find it for sure is Atlantis. Trouble is… I’ve been there before. Not of my free will. And I can’t go there with you or I’ll never be able to leave. Slaine going there would be a risk too. Elpida might be okay. For a little while at least. But that’s just getting around there. The price would be something else too.”
Ghost finally opens his eyes. //It’s a dangerous plan. Possibly why Slaine and Aiden want to see if the masters at the monastery know anything. They might but it’s a question of how much time is left.//
“…so, yeah, that sounds all weird,” Elpida says to Varos, peeking at him between her fingers. “I wonder how you tie into this, exactly…” Then back and forth to the others, nodding along with Aiden’s statements. “Okay. So… that’s a possibility. Okay. That’s a good idea for me. I am down with this. I’d like to know just how long we’ve got before we start the actual process because I’m waking up terrified every day right now.” She probably hasn’t exactly been sleeping either.
“It will knock the edge off …” Slaine mutters to Varos. She’s been going through the ‘vodka’ quickly enough lately. It’s a wonder she’s still standing, really. “I assume yer hearin’ all the prayers as well?” That’s one helluva assumption to make.
“We probably do, even if I have to tie that High Priestess up in my room while we’re gone. It’s worth a try though, don’ ye think?” She nods to El and starts pacing around the dining room again. There’s not many people here – those damn chanters had scared some of the guests away.
Varos wrinkles his nose at the explanation. “There certainly aren’t many nice things to that have been said about Atlantis,” he agrees grimly, head dipping in the faintest of nods. “I suppose if things don’t work out any better the one way, then we’ll have to weigh our options.” He smiles wryly. Just how bad would it be, becoming an actual deity? Of course if this is the process in doing so he’s not so sure he’d be able to stand it.
“Oh, they think I’m married to Slaine here,” he replies glibly to Elpida. “It’s kind of a wonder that that whole misunderstanding’s blown so out of proportion. If I threatened to smite everyone do you think they’d cease? Because that might actually be my first official action should I reach godhood, just working my way up is certainly going to drive me insane.”
It’s difficult to tell if he’s joking or not given his smirk.
“Well, whatever’s going on, I’m in. I can’t remember if I’ve slept since…. Hm. Well, that’s not good. Eheheh….”
The laugh makes Aiden look rather sharply at Varos. “Where… are Raksha and Anyn?”
The leather and lace twins as he mentally calls them – not to their face no, he’s not crazy – seem quite involved with Varos affairs and he can’t imagine either one of them has taken his present state lightly. In fact they may be rather agitated.
Hopefully Varos hasn’t done something to them.
“I can get the Gladius ready to fly and we can start this afternoon. Hopefully everything is well at the monastery. It should be but Rifts earth… well, you know.”
Things are dangerous here and it’s entirely possible the Monastery has suffered misfortune since Aiden has been gone. It has been a long time after all.
Elpida gets a fervent and… very discriptive plea as Aiden is talking. Some smittten young man wants to be changed into a dragon so he can court Kailastia.
“…whatever we do it can’t end this soon enough. I’m not sure I’m ever going to get some of these images out of my head.” Elpida is cringing and reaching for t he nearest alcoholic beverage because she can’t start drinking early enough. It’s basically drink o’clock right now.
“I literally didn’t want to hear this much about a dragon’s private parts. Ever.”
She bangs her head into the table as she slumps forward.
“That they do, Sky Father.” says the redheaded Earth Mother “An’ any threat of power they’ll fall to their knees an’ worship ye. That’s before they scramble to find another deification ritual and get it done so they’re beloved Gods can ascend….” Slaine is not happy about this at all.
“I’ll get the things we’ll need ready then. Food an’ the like an’ we’ll at the docks at yer ship.” Slaine is already gesturing for Horace to come over. She also needs to see Kaji and Frizz – they’re going to have to look after the inn whilst she’s gone. They’ve been pretty much doing that along with Elpida anyway. Slaine’s not the most responsible in that regard.
And there’s still been no work on Gran.
“Is there anything else? Varos, stay for a drink, Horace will look after ye. I’ll see all of ye a bit later.”
“Relaaaax, Aiden,” Varos chuckles, reaching over with his free hand in an attempt to pat the man’s shoulder. “They’re…well, annoyed for one. They said I’m useless to them currently, that’s why they’ve packed me off to figure it out. Before they have to do something about it for me.” There’s something cold about his expression despite the smile he wears with those words, but he runs his hand over his face, disrupting whatever odd mood had touched him then.
He doesn’t need to be believed a god of fate and foretelling to know what extremes the Twins might have to resort to if he’s worn out his usefulness to the Nighthand, or become a liability. Of course, he’s pretty sure that becoming a god had never been one of the possibilities considered.
Nodding absently at Slaine, Varos makes himself comfortable where he rests his arms over the table once again, stretching out a bit at first like a big ol’ cat. “Mm, yes dear,” he says. “I guess I may as well have a drink or two since I’m here.”
“I will admit to being slightly less worried that you did something to them than I am that they might storm over here and very fashionably burn the place down with you in it.” Aiden suspects that everything that Anyn and Raksha do is very fashionable. Even if they were hiding Varos body, for example.
“I need to check on something with the dragoness. Just in case. Try not to drink the place dray Varos. Half Pint, I’ll find you later, okay?”
“Wait, married to Slaine?” Elpida puts a hand over her mouth. It’s not that she didn’t hear it in the first place. It’s just the first time she’s really recognized it. “Why do they think… oh no, and I’m their goddess of love. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh,” she groans. “YES. LET’S DEAL WITH THIS SWIFTLY.” She doesn’t want to end up marrying them somehow.
Slaine casts a dour look around the gathering. “Don’ be glib, Varos. I’m jus’ bein’ nice.” she grumbles.
Elpida’s incredulity gets a displeased grunt. “Why is it no one thinks that I’m wanted … Ye know El, someone migh’ wan’ to marry me one day …” Poor Mystic has lost what little sense of humour she had.
“Later Ghost. Later Aiden …” she heads on out to the Kitchens. She’s got supplies to gather.
“I assure you they prefer more finesse. They’d make sure I was dead first and then burn the place down with panache!” Varos says not so reassuringly. “…hehe, don’t tell them I said that or it might come truuuue~~ oh gods I’m tired..!”
He drops his head back down, burying his face against his arms with a half sob.
Swiftly would probably be best. No one wants a broken god.
Not only are Elpida and Slaine are growing in popularity as their worshipers become more vocal in the streets of Vesper, but they find that they're not the only one plagued by sudden deityism.
February 20, 2412