It’s very, very early in the morning and Gran’s has mostly emptied out. The few people who are here are deep into their cups over by the bar section. The common room is quiet. This is the time between when the nocturnals go to bed and the dayfolk rise to begin their day. It’s always the quietest time of the day. Night. Whatever.
Aiden is not deep in his cups. He is reading something, feet kicked up, watching the cat move around and listening to the bells outside. Clear, crystalline chimes.
“Three o’clock and all’s well.” He says mostly to himself.
“I don’t know about all’s well…” Comes a purring voice from the door. Sanka’a, the feline captain of the Armsmen is stylish as ever, even at 3 AM.
Because Cohen the cat is wandering around the dining hall, Miss Frizz has tucked herself up against Aiden’s neck inside the collar of his shirt. She is VERY keen on not getting chased by the overlarge feline again. And, because the room is so quiet and she’s snuggled warmly against the the psychic’s neck, she’s half dozing.
Sanka’a speaking up makes her startle awake, and very likely unintentionally dig her tiny claws into the Aiden’s neck.
It’s too early in the day to function, and yet it’s been one of those nights where sleep just hadn’t quite stuck. Rather than spend it lying restlessly in bed, Varos has decided to go for a stroll. With Vesper running twenty-four hours through its varying denizens he’s at least never without eyes to observe through, minds to brush. He knows enough of the city well enough that he can probably navigate it blind, but that’s never really wise. You never knew what you might step in.
Where is another matter as well, but Varos hasn’t been by the popular bed and breakfast lately, not since his bout of deitism, and once he was back, cured and rested, it was back to work as though nothing had happened at all. He might have had some second thoughts about the missed chance, but not so much as to fully regret it. It’s been much quieter in his head, for one.
“Good morning, or late evening, whichever is more appropriate~” the visored one greets as he slips inside, not at all that long after Sanka’a. The Captain isn’t the only stylish one, but then Varos makes it his business, and the Twins make sure that he makes theirs by advertising their skill even when out of the shop.
Slaine has been holed up in her room since they opened the bio-locked box. She hasn’t been seen by anyone except Aiden, until now. She’s trying to sneak through the dining room with a plate of food and hoping that no one will ask how she is.
When Sanka’a stops in the door, blocking her exit, she sighs. “Do ye wan’ somethin’ to eat, Capt’n.”
“I’d love something, yes.” Sanka’a says. She smiles at Varos and comes to sit down at Aiden’s table, inviting the not quite blind tailor to follow. Aiden sits up and the feline woman spots Miss Fizz and waves.
“Hello there little one. And hello to you too Master Tailor, embraced by Dogwood’s Elite.”
His reputation has been getting around.
“Is something wrong Captain?”
“Something usually is in my line of work, but I wanted to discuss something that was not quite yet wrong instead for a change. You’re all aware that Dogwood is mobilizing for war against the demons coming out of the mountains, I presume? I know some of you have been travelling far and wide.”
Others… less far and wide, but probably still travelling.
If Slaine were in a better mood Varos would have greeted her as his former beloved, but he can tell that she’s got plenty of things on her mind, her sneaking hardly going amiss as she makes her attempt to retreat back to her room. Instead he offers Sanka’a a smile, nodding as he follows her lead, settling himself at the table. His lips quirk just a touch at the captain’s point mentioned, seeing no need to deny such. Slaine and Aiden had already seen how casually acquainted he’d been with Dogwood’s crown prince.
“‘Not quite yet wrong’ is always more welcome than its closest cousin, if not by much,” he observes, nodding then as the news of demons and Dogwood isn’t at all new. A work in progress, more like.
“Quite aware. Has anything changed? It’s been a little while since I’ve been in the area.” And then, only by accident.
Varos will see the sorrow and worry that colours Slaine vision. She also looks tired and, quite frankly, exhausted. “Hello Varos, Miss Frizz, Aiden.”
The Mystic gestures to Horace, who scurries off into the kitchen. He’ll return soon with food and drink – enough for the table, really.
Her own plate is placed on the table but she remains standing, just behind Aiden, folding her arms and looking at Sanka’a she nods “Somethin’ of it, yes. They stopped us at the border when we were returnin’ the other day. The CS ain’ makin’ friends over there.”
<~ Hello, Captain Sanka’a, Miss Slaine, Mr. Varos. ~> She peeks out over Aiden’s collar to looks at the others, but doesn’t otherwise show herself. She can still smell Cohen the cat in the room somewhere.
<~ I don’t know this Dogwood place, Miss Sanka’a, other than they have very tasty rye grains. ~>
“It’s a kingdom to the north.” Aiden says to Frizz. “They don’t much like magic there. And they grow a lot of food and make most of the tech in the area.” Frizz has probably seen their devices though she wouldn’t have known they were theirs.
“Correct. And no nothing has changed… yet. But as you know Vesper is old and holds many secrets and… I am starting to become concerned that not all of Dogwood’s enemies are attacking it on the battlefield. I think some may have come here, looking for some of those secrets. And one of them… is about two hundred yards below a certain rather fashionable clothing shop. And oddly… the only way to get there… is in this building.”
Varos offers a tiny wave with the bending of a finger towards the little mouse perching on the other psychic’s shoulder. His turns his head to glance wryly at Slaine as she puts forth her own observations regarding what they’d last seen in Dogwood.
Sanka’a’s information draws another look from him as he sits straighter, brow arching beneath his visor, a frown tugging slightly at his lips. “Well,” he says, his laugh without much humor even if the smile accompanying it isn’t much forced, “-is there more to that particular secret that would concern the shop, or does it just serve as the best marker?” In other words, should someone be concerned about attention or the potential of something blowing up their hard work?
Slaine’s eyes narrow at Sanka’as words. “Ye wan’ to use the Leyline Nexus that’s been created below?” She knows what’s under this building. They were attacked for it. It connects to the city’s power grid.
“What is it ye are lookin’ for Capt’n? People … or somethin’ else?”
“How much do you know Varos about the building that your shop resides in. Or well, the site on top of which your building sits. It’s one of the oldest in Vesper. Dates back to the original settlement.”
Slaine’s question gets a smile. “Deeper than that, actually. Your ley line nexus is nice. But there’s a tunnel that connects to Old Vesper, or rather the Old City from long ago. Back before this particular place stood within the walls.”
Aiden snorts. “Are you going to keep being mysterious, Captain?”
A feline grin is flashed his way. “This inn used to be the end point of a secret passage into and out of the city. And the point it led to USED to be the residence of one of the Vigil. One of the original founders of the city. Who had a habit of keeping important things in his basement. Or his sub basement. Or his VERY sub basement in this case.”
<~ And you think these other people are going to try to do something with those burrows under there? Something that would be bad for everyone? ~> Suss isn’t entirely following parts of the conversation, but she’s gathered enough to know that the warrens under Grans connect to Varos’ place, and people who don’t belong in them going there is never good. She remembers stories from her family of warrens of rabbits that went to war over invasions, and those warrens ending up entirely wiped out. Very disturbing.
“Not too much, I’ll admit,” Varos says with a crooked smile with just a touch of sheepishness. “I just work there.” If anyone knows anything of it he’d wager it would be the Nighthand, perhaps his handler Lady Saphra whom he has no idea how long she’s even been around.
He waits for Sanka’a to explain, nodding thoughtfully. “Oh! A basement of sorts. Sounds much better than a hidden bunyip lair,” he says with a mock sigh in relief.
“I suppose you’re suggesting that, since we’re all coincidentally here, that we check it out?” She’s certainly piqued his curiosity, and making sure nothing that shouldn’t be lurking about beneath the shop or Vesper itself might be about is a good incentive.
It’s probably telling how low Slaine is that she’s not fussing with her appearance with Sanka’a about. The small Mystic quietly stands behind Aiden as she listens. “Somethin’ else Gran didn’ tell me…” she says, ever so quietly but not quite quietly enough.
“So the Inn was the place people would come to? And the Vigils residence where they would enter?” She tries to work that out “And Clothier Z is on that pathway? Jus’ wha’ is it we’re lookin’ for?”
Aiden glances behind him and motions for Slaine to come take a seat. She doesn’t have to keep standing there.
“I’m not sure how much your Gran knew. She might have but then she might not have. Those tunnels are locked and sealed. Which means, Master Varos, that no we can’t JUST go take a peek there. If we could I wouldn’t be talking to you lot.” Sanka’a grins.
“But yes, Frizz. I am concerned about just that. I’m afraid the demons might have agents which will try to make our lives difficult by releasing things that should remain bound. The information I could find about where the KEYS to this particular sub-basemen might be only said ‘Only those that scurry below now know the keys.'”
“Scurry below?” Aiden purses his lips. “Are you suggesting that the RATS know the keys to this mage sanctuary?”
“The rats deep in the tunnels below the bay, yes.” Oh. Frizz has spoken to them.
“And what might be in this place that we’re worried about?”
“A creature known as Baron Von Nasher.”
Oh. Oooooooh. Slaine and Varos both should know the name.
Slaine just moves a bit closer to the table, not intending to stay long with the gathering. “Can ye speak with them, Frizz?” the redhead asks quietly. There’s little for her in this until the actual doing.
And then she’s just going to be muscle, really. A different type of muscle to Aiden. But muscle none the less.
That’s if she’s not out finding Gran.
The Baron’s name gets a hiss from the Mystic. Oh yeah, she’ll be there.
“Well of course it won’t be so easy,” Varos sighs, and one might get the feeling that if he’d had eyes visible (or at all, really), he’d have rolled them then. He seems to sulk a bit as he drops his chin into a palm, resting his elbow against the table.
At least Sanka’a does seem to have a method in going about getting around that slight difficulty, which he isn’t terribly surprised to hear, considering the captain seems the sort to keep her cards close to her chest.
Any petulant behavior from the clothier is abruptly vanished with the very name, and he goes very still. His expression darkens like a passing shadow, and the smile touching his lips to follow is anything but pleasant.
<~ I can, Miss Slaine. They will likely remember me. ~> And she hopes they won’t remember ill of her. The name has no real meaning for her, though she looks up at Slaine’s reaction and then at Varos’ reaction.
<~ Who is Baron von Nasher? ~>
“He’s someone who was very, very troublesome to both Varos and Slaine. I believe he wanted Varos’s eyes.” Which is tricky because Varos doesn’t have any. Somehow he suspects that eyes might be metaphorical. Or similarly messy. Either way he was reputed to be an underworld figure.
“Wait, if he’s been operating in the underworld then how…”
“His containment is imperfect. But if someone bad were to get in there it’d be a lot MORE imperfect and we’d have big problems. Like a one hundred foot crater hosting a void wyrm in the middle of the city.”
That’d be a problem yes.
“You’ve really spoken to the rats before, Frizz?” Well yes, but the smart ones are indeed down deep. Living in the place where the demons are bound. Such a nice place…
“We have a history,” Varos confirms, smiling sharply in Frizz’s direction. “I suppose it was inevitable his name would come back up again.”
Well, he’ll deal with Von Nasher as things come up. They appear to have priorities, after all. As though he weren’t making scary killer faces a moment ago, the clothier beams cheerfully. “Oh, but that would be most useful, Miss Suss! It would certainly benefit us to have the guidance of those most familiar with the territory.” Demons or no. But then demons seem more and more the norm these days.
Slaine nods at Aiden’s explanation. There’s little more to add to any of that.
“If the rats will remember ye, that will be helpful.” Right now, the Mystic really just wants to hole up in her room and then go find Gran. Or … what’s happened to her.
Miss Frizz ohs faintly. <~ I will be glad to go talk with the rats like I did for the last time we had to go underground. If nothing else, we shouldn’t invade their warrens. It’s rude. But if we ask first, they could tell us it’s okay. ~>
Guessing that the coast is clear in regards to the cat, she emerges from Aiden’s shirt neckline and walks along his shoulder to jump across to Slaine. Then she promptly moves to snuggle up against the redhead’s neck, likely a reassuring gesture.
“Then we should go soon. But not at Three AM. I will need some sleep before we do that.” Hopefully Aiden thinks they will not run into a certain huge snake. Though the thing HAS always been very friendly.
“Slaine we should do that scrying before we go.” So that they know. Just in case.
Sanka’a nods and stands. “Well I’ll leave you to it. I might have your shop warded though, Varos. Hire a good diabolist. Because if I am not mistaken Von Nasher’s containment has been weakening and if he has history with you…” It could be bad.
Aiden also nods and stands. “Then I should get some rest soon. Everyone else enjoy the food. Talk to you soon Varos. Frizz.” Sanka’a waves and heads out. And Aiden himself turns to head upstairs.
“Come on Slaine.”
“Oh. Right. I forgot it was that time.” Not difficult when you were going by everyone else’s point-of-view and all for the most part, wide awake. Varos could care less to run into the snake. It hadn’t particularly liked him the last time he’d come across it.
He makes the slightest face at Sanka’s suggestion, however nodding in agreement. “Point taken. I’ll bring it up with the Twins.” And Saphra. She’d have the contacts to get it done, certainly.
Waving at the others, Varos remains where he is for a while. “See you all later, then,” he says. If he’s still awake and going to be about, he may as well have a drink or something.
There’s food and drink on the table, Horace bought it out just a moment ago.
Slaine rubs her cheek against Frizz gently when the mouse settles on her shoulder. “Up on yer perch, Frizz? I’m going to my room …”
To brood or something like that. And scry.
“I’ll come with ye all, of course.” she says to Varos and Frizz as she grabs her plate and follows Aiden out.
<~ Good night, Captain Sanka’a. ~> When Slaine stands to depart along with Aiden and Sanka’a, Suss deliberates for just a moment. <~ I think I’ll stay with Mr. Varos. ~> Mostly it’s because the cat has jumped up onto that shelf in the past. She doesn’t at all trust that she’d be entirely safe up there.
<~ I hope you get to rest, Miss Slaine. ~>
Captain Sanka'a manages to catch Aiden, Slaine, Miss Suss and Varos at Gran's, bringing up some possible concerns that might need looking into sooner than later.
April 07, 2412