Aliana Knight is not a fan of moving. Which is probably why she never really ‘moved in’ to her place in Broken Tooth Tower. It was somewhere she kept her day-to-day stuff, even though she’s been there for months.
She hadn’t been to what best constitutes as where she thinks of as ‘home’ for nearly a year, and it shows. The place needs all sorts of things. Food at least, Aiden took care of to some degree, but there are other bits and bobs that the place needs.
Which would be why Aliana’s at the market in Saren’s rest. Yes, she’d get better deals in Vesper but she’s keeping an eye out for any interesting tidbets that have come out of Vanished Point’s expeditions she can pick up.
The blonde shifter has her hood pulled up, more to keep the sun off of her head than to try to hide and a large grey wolf paces at her side, amber eyes shifting about as the city’s movement draws her attention this way and that.
A market is just what someone needs when she is looking for unusual pieces of machinery. A blonde head is bent over a table, studying some pieces of metal, the goggles on her head glinting with each movement. A decisive nod later, she is pocketing the piece, having haggled the price a little. As she haggles, her words are blunt enough, her voice confident, without shying from the rougher words people so often use.
Saren’s Rest is a good place for those looking for bits and bobs of machinery. The mystical goods that come out of the returned city tends to be variations on ‘pieces of demon’. The real prizes tend to be the Pre-Rifts tech the city has in vast supply. If you can get out with it. Alive. And the Dragon doesn’t cherrypick it away from you.
Aliana’s ended up at the same table as Artie, the wolf sniffing at the other blonde’s ankles and sneezing a few times before backing away. Aliana looks from Smoke to Artie, amused. “Working with sulpher?”
Artie looks down, glancing at the ankle sniffer, her eyebrows arching up. “Not so you’d notice.” She replies lightly, lifting her gaze upwards, a direct look to Aliana’s. “Likely the oil and grease. I tend to stink of them.” She glances over the table again, a brief, assessing look. Her eyes linger on an item or two but she dismisses them. “Artie.” She comments, apparently offering her name.
Aliana Knight glances down to Smoke as Artie surmises it’s oil and grease, the woman and wolf seeming to share a moment before the shifter looks back to Artie, her expression one of blande amusement. “Grease, I can believe.” Even Aliana’s nose can pick //that// one up. “I’d be careful. If you weren’t working with it, the most common source of sulpher around here are demons.” Perhaps one brushed up against the mechanic, leaving the scent Smoke seems to think is there.
At the introduction there’s a pause before the shifter replies, “Aliana.” It’s not a name that carries any real noteriety with it. In Saren’s Rest, at least.
“I’ll bear that in mind. Not minded to spend time with them, if nothing else.” There is a wry tone to her words, as she adds softly, “As far as I can tell, anyhow. Who knows.” Her lips tug slightly at the corners, the blue eyes twinkling for a moment. “Nor others likely get close enough to me to sniff me.” That amusement fades slightly as she adds quietly, “Pleasure, Aliana. From ’round here?”
“Smoke’s something on an exception to the ‘sniffing people’ bit.” Aliana notes dryly, the large canine giving what might be an indignant snort before padding off into the crowd. While she gets a few looks and startles some, Aliana’s been around the boomtown long enough that it doesn’t cause a ruckus.
“As much as anyone?” The shifter answers the question. Saren’s Rest has only been around for about a year. “But in general… no.” Aliana finds the question mildly amusing. “Yourself?”
Coming to stand just out the front of the Sheriff’s office, not far where the other women are talking, is a small redhead, dressed in well worn travelling leathers and a cloak in muted colours. She looks like she might have been going to go in, but takes Ali’s voice as a distraction.
Turning in their direction, she blows out a breath “Hey Aliana, Artie. Ye two know each other?” It’s a small world it seems. “Been a while, since I’ve seens either of ye.”
“Dunno, even your dog didn’t seem to want to sniff me.” The self-mockery is obvious in the wry tug of her mouth and glint in her eyes. “Not that much, I heard there might be a part I want. Seems I’m out of luck there.” Her hand goes to the pocket again, and she adds, “But then you find what you weren’t looking for.” She lifts a hand, adjusting the goggles, her blonde hair spiking around it. The greeting from Slaine is met with a broad grin, “Been under Bertha, and others. Yourself?” The greeting for Slaine is warm, friendly.
Aliana Knight gives Artie a slow blink as the woman calls Smoke a dog. Her eyes narrow and her mouth pinches in amusement as she tries not to snicker at the woman. “You… don’t get out much, do you?”
As Slaine hears the shifter’s voice, the wolf has found Slaine, coming up behind her and nosing under her cape to snuffle at the redhead’s pockets shamelessly. Aliana looks over to Slaine, her expression unsurprised as she nods to the other woman. “Not really.” She answers the Mystic. “Smoke’s nose found her.”
As Smoke noses, Slaine eyes the wolf and lets out another long breath. Aliana might remember that Slaine hadn’t been comfortable around the Wolf when they first met – but then Smoke had sort of trolled her, a bit.
“Hey … girl…” she says slowly as the wolf inspects the pockets of her leathers, finding something rather interesting in the front left one. She might not let Slaine be till she gets it.
“Small world. Ye must have smelt interesting. And Smoke is a Wolf, no’ a dog.” It’s said warmly, but in a rather matter of fact Slaine kind of way. “I keep busy, chasing demons and providin’ support to those who want to investigate Vanished Point and the like.” She looks to Ali, back to the Sheriffs office and to the Shifter again “Been thinkin’ about offerin’ my services to Saren ….”
Sarenthon, the dragon that Sarens Rest is named for.
“I try not to. I much prefer the company of the truck, to people.” Blunt words, softened slightly with a smile, a wry look in her eyes. “Saran, is it?” She makes the comment thoughtfully, her eyebrows moving slightly upwards, a subtleness that is unusual for her. “Wolf, dog… we’re all wild under the fur.” Her grin flashes again, as she adds quietly, “Vanished point? Keeps you in trouble I suppose.”
Smoke doesn’t seem inclined to respond to Slaine’s greeting, instead trying to wedge her nose into Slaine’s pocket. When her attempts to stick her head in fails, she starts licking and trying to get at least her tongue in there.
The comment about working for Saren gets an arched brow. “You’re gonna join his group of goons?” The shifter really just sounds amused, not disapproving or anything.
Artie gets that amused look slid her way as Aliana says dryly. “I’m not a huge fan of people either.”
“Stop it… that’s my snack…” Slaines bumped and stumbles at bit as Smoke tries to get into her pocket. Managing to get the wolfs head away just long enough to pull a small cloth wrapped package from her pocket she eyes the wolf almost balefully. “Gran made this for me. Ye can have some, but no’ all.” She tells the wolf as the pakage opens to reveal some kind of jerky.
Probably dino-jerky prepared from meat from Dinosaur Swamp. Whatever it is though, Smoke seems to like it.
“I don’ know, Aliana. Maybe.” She doesn’t seem keen but Ali might remember that the Mystic was given another task by another Dragon recently. Dragon Pull Toy!
“People are alrigh’, mostly.” Slaine doesn’t have the same reservations as the other two although she certainly doesn’t let many get close “They keep me busy and pay bills.” As to Vanished Point? “The point keeps me busy but I’m sure Aliana will tell ye, that I can find trouble just about anywhere. I’m hearin’ rumours of another big cache just found out there though.” She looks into the distance at the spires and the towers of the returned Golden Age city.
“Busy and bills paid are good enough.” Artie’s voice is low, amused, that glimmer of wry humour glinting in her eyes. “Let me know if you’ve a need for mech work. I best get back, Bertha was bitchin’ over her workings.” Her amusement shows in the tone of her voice, and she nods, giving them that wry, brief grin, before she winds away through the crowd.
Smoke’s ears prick forward as Slaine pulls out the snack and she goes very still as she waits for Slaine to share. See? She’s a good girl!
Aliana just rolls her eyes at the wolf. Artie gets a nod as she heads off and the shifter heads over to join Slaine and her Familiar, reaching out to steal a piece of Slaine’s snack herself and not looking the least bit apologetic about it.
“So if your bills are paid by all the people, why do you want to deal with a dragon?” The blonde asks, tone bland.
It’s probably a good thing that Slaine has a little more jerky in her pack. She might go hungry otherwise! She doesn’t complain as Ali takes a piece, the redhead is used to sharing. Smoke does look sorta cute with the stillness and the ears and all, and the small mystic feeds the wolf bits as they talk.
The question actually gets a roll of Half Pints eyes “Because I’d rather not be a Kailastia chew toy? She heard that Saren’s been usin’ me for odd jobs – to recover certain artifacts for that ritual he’s planning and she wants information.” The redhead shakes her head “And what better way than the Mystic he keeps tapping on the shoulder? Remember Mikhail mentioned it the last time we spoke? How is he? Haven’ seen him around lately.”
“He’s alright.” Aliana assures Slaine. The blonde has the perk of being able to find her brother with Magic, and then use her talents to go to him, so she can check in on him. Something he likely wishes he could do himself when Aliana goes missing.
Chewing idly on the jerky, Aliana gives Slaine a nudge to start her walking so they’re not standing around the Market, the blonde heading for one of the bars/coffee shops that Saren’s Rest has a higher-than-usual number of per capita. “So are you looking to work for him more to get Kai info, or to hope he’ll decide you’re his pet and she’d best hands-off?” While the shortening of the dragon’s name could be taken as familiar, it’s more than Aliana doesn’t want to bandy around the dragon’s name. The diminuative folks might not think much of, and Saren’s Rest has way too many ears.
“Ye’re brothers, sweet. Wouldn’ leave alone when my troubles hit.” Slaine stumbles a little as Smoke nudges, but hands over another piece of Jerky as they start walking. “I’m glad he found ye…” There’s a small degree of sadness in the Mystics voice as she chews on her treat herself.
Aliana’s question is a good one and it has the redhead thinking “I like Kai a whole lot more than I like Sar, but I don’ trust either. I also know that the Sar’s collectin’ components for a big ritual and I don’ think that ritual can be good. So, gather information not be a pet.” She might end up that way anyway – if either of the Dragons take a liking to her, she’d be nearly powerless to get out of it.
“Dangerous game.” Aliana notes mildly, not really approving or discouraging. “Hopefully you’ve got backup.” It’s not quite a question, so Slaine can offer up the information or ignore it as she likes. The shifter is very careful of her words and how she says them, not that most people are inclined to notice.
“And he is sweet.” Aliana agrees of her brother. “And stubborn. And idealistic. Hopefully that doesn’t end up putting us at odds.” There’s a hint of sadness to her tone there, as though she thinks it might be inevitable.
“I think I drove him mad with my comings and goings. He wanted to be my backup but things would happen so quickly. They still do.” Aliana probably understands that better than most. “It might put ye at odds, but only because it comes from a place of love. He …” she shakes her head “… is rather devoted to you.” Slaine would be lucky to have even a third of that level devotion from anyone.
“I don’ at the moment.” Have backup, that is. “Maybe ye’re brother and Vargr when they’re around. Ser Mercier … ” she blows out a breath. “He’s … a cyberknight. Or was …” that should say a lot in that one sentence. “Ain’ many I trust and I don’ want to involve others in case it all goes south.”
Because dealing with Dragons is a tricky business.
“Truth be told, Aliana, I don’ know how to spy and I’m just a likely to end up flayed by Sar than anything.” There’s a note in her voice that might say she’s actually seen that.
+MEET: Aiden Frost has arrived via +meet.
Aliana Knight chuckles at Slaine’s admission of driving Mikhail mad. “I think I do the same. I’m not used to having anyone concerned about where I am or what I’m doing.” Smoke doesn’t really count. There was her ‘mentor’, but that was hardly the same kind of situation. Aliana’s been on the recieving end of being someone’s favorite pet.
“I know he does, but at the same time, I’ve worked very hard for my independance. I’m not going to give that up just because he’s afraid of loosing me again.” Aliana notes in a rather more candid discussion than she usually exchanges with Slaine.
The redhead’s use of Aiden’s moniker gets a soft chuckle. It’s like she’s rounding up her own small pack of wolves at this rate. Maybe Mikhail needs a wolf-like name. “Spying isn’t the tricky part. That’s being in the right place and keeping your eyes open. It’s the reporting that’s tricky. Aaand not letting on that you did the reporting.”
“Yeah…” Slaine sighs in agreement to independance “He means well, but … Gran always made me stand on my own two feet.” Half Pint has never spoken about her parents, it’s just always been ‘Gran’ and the old woman certainly doesn’t feature greatly in the Mystics life. “It’s tough to remember that sometimes others care enough … and that they don’ want to stifle us.”
“Bein’ in the right place at the right time. That’s my concern. To find out what Sar is plannin’ I think I need to be deep on the inside.” Her green eyes flash at that. “Which might mean I’m exposed to more than I want to be… But I don’ see a way out. Not if I want to keep my independence at any rate. Reportin’ might no’ be so hard – Kai’s been good at findin’ me.” She can only hope the Vesper Dragon keeps doing that.
“What does the term a ‘touch of time about ye’ mean to ye?” That’s a question right out of the blue. Why on earth would the mystic be asking that?
Slaine, Aliana and Smoke are walking through the markets. Slaines feeding Smoke bits of jerky as they do.The markets are good for finding a lot of things, not the least of which is distracting oneself. Aiden’s needed some distraction lately. His ‘passenger’ is starting to crawl further down his back and even over his arms now, and he’s been hearing voices lately. They’re faint and he can’t tell what they’re saying or even if it’s the same voice but…
Also there’s K’nert. K’nert who has taken to following him around seemingly just to annoy him. The psychic managed to ‘convince’ him to do otherwise about an hour ago – or at least do it on the sly. He knew, when Aliana accepted K’enrt into her service that the imp might be like that. And he was right.
The grey eyed man blinks as he spots Slaine and Aliana in the crowd. That’s… unusual. It doesn’t take him long to weave his way over.
“Hey.” That first greeting is to Aliana. “Hello Slaine.”
Aliana Knight shakes her head at Slaine. “Good luck with that. I have no desire to Deal with Dragons.” That tends to shorten one’s life expectancy considerably. “I don’t really have any good advice to offer you, either. It’d really just be ‘run far, run fast.'” Aliana doesn’t comment on the bit about others carying. That’s… not something she’s used to.
The question about time gets a thoughtful frown. “‘A touch of time?'” She repeats, turning that over in her head. “That’s pretty vague. Have any context for it?”
As Aiden joins them, Aliana looks him over. “I don’t see coffee in your hands.” She says with mild rebuke. “But you’re in luck.” She nods over to the cafe they’ve arrived at. “You can redeem yourself.” Her tone is dryly teasing.
“That was Vargr’s advice too…” Slaine mutters “Told me I should change my name and move to Lazlo. Wherever that is.” Unlike the other two, Slaines hardly well travelled, not having left the environs of the Vesper and, more recently, Sarens Rest / Vanished Point.
“A mage, at the Vesper docks the other day, touched my shoulder and said that. When she did, everything sped up and slowed down at the same time. Felt like I was things that were happenin’ before they did.” She shakes her head “And last night…” she looks at Aiden as he joins them “… someone else said my story kept turning to chapters unwritten and back again. Hello Vargr, looks like we’re goin’ to get somethin’ drink.”
It’s probably a good thing that Aiden had convinced K’nert to be scarce, Slaine might not have a great reaction to the little Imp.“Great Lakes. North and West of here. A long way away through a lot of hard country.” Aiden murmurs as he glances over toward the cafe and then starts heading that way.
“Come on. I need to redeem myself.” That bit, at least, comes out with a wink and grin. He knows at least what that part of the conversation was. It was about meddling not in the affairs of dragons. Generally quite solid advice. Less helpful when the dragons seem determined to meddle themselves.
“Aliana knows what my name is. You can use it, you know. I’m more worried about strangers. I’m not sure how much I’d credit that crazy spirit-caller last night. There was something off about him. You hadn’t mentioned the touch of time though. Was it some kind of spell or a side effect of something?”
He’s seen the map. The map that has Slaine marked on it near Richmond. Which is a strange place to mark Slaine, given that she lives in Vesper.
The door to the cafe opens by itself. Seemingly. Actually Aiden pushed it open with a thought. “I’ll be right back. Anything for you Slaine?” One order of redemption, coming up.
Aliana Knight takes a spot at one of the tables scattered outside the cafe for that purpose and Smoke drops down at her feet, eyes half-lidding so it looks like she’s napping. “I figured she was going to keep using it so she didn’t confuse herself later.” The blonde shrugs. “I know who she means, which is what matters.”
Leaning back, Aliana survails the crowd as Aiden heads in to get the drinks, it’s only when she looks back to Slaine it becomes apparent she was thinking, and not just letting the matter of time-touched drop. “I know Mystics don’t learn spells normally. Do you have any that delve into magic that deals with Time?” Due to the circles that Aliana’s traveled in, she’s actually vaguely familiar with the elusive and enigmatic masters of Time magics.
Slaine sighs at Aidens correction, green eyes landing on him “I know that, but others around might not. And if I’m no’ mistaken, ye’d prefer for ye’re identity to not be known in general? Given we were walkin’ through the market, I thought it best.”
She’d slipped once with his name and promised herself, never again. She’d not have a person hurt because she was careless. It was the same reason that she and Ali had been using Kai and Sar – who knew who was listening?
“Coffee’s fine. Anythin’ but that rotgut Rousseau challenged me with the other night.” She’d earned a free meal from it, but it was foul.
Waiting till Aiden returns before answering the questions, Slaine ruffles Smokes ears as the wolf naps, giving over the last of her jerky. “I wouldn’ credit it with much, Aiden … ” there she said it “… except he knew about the other. Until then, there’d been only two more who knew about it. And no, I don’ Aliana. Times not somethin’ I’ve ever dabbled with.” Weeeeellll, not that she knows of.
Back to Aiden “I was just tellin’ Aliana that a mage touched my shoulder on the docks the other and said I had a touch of time about me. If it wasn’ for my visions and that reaper las’ nigh’ I wouldn’ think on it. But there’s too much. An’ I keep havin’ those visions.” She calls them visions, but are they really? “Like when I touched that map the other day …”There are three cups of coffee when Aiden comes back. Aliana’s might be sweetened a bit. It’s possible that Aiden has picked up that the blonde shifter likes sweet things.
He’s pretty sure he’s not getting that ice cream back. Ever.
“Here you go.” Three mugs get set down and the psychic takes a seat. “I’ve never seen anyone with the ability to manipulate time. While I was living in Tolkeen…” There’s a short pause there before he shakes it off. The lines on him start to glow dull red. “… I heard stories of a being that could. People said it was some kind of D-Bee. An energy force living inside a humanoid metallic shell. I think they called it a… Raider. Time Raider? Something like that?”
He pauses again to take a sip of the hot brown liquid in his cup. “Not sure how and if any of that helps though. Or what can be done about it.” Another pause, another sip. “I did, by the way, shop around some of the things we recovered the other night. Had an interesting chat at the Academy with a very, very creepy spider.”
Aliana Knight nods over to Aiden as he mentions the Temporal Raider. “They’re not very common, but I’ve seen them before. I’m sure more than half of the rumors are just that, but one thing they all agree on, is they’re somehow able to manipulate time.” The blonde looks over to Slaine, “From what I know… they’re not prone to //teaching// anyone their spells. I wonder if your visions are somehow tied into some kind of Time magic. If one of them thought you knew how to do what they do…” Well, they might decide to plug a leak.
“Well I can’ manipulate time and I don’ know anyone who does…” Slaine mutters taking the cup from the Aiden and managing a smile in his direction. “Might be Aliana, I’ll see if they’ll let me in the library at the Academy and if there’s anythin’ I can find there. Knowin’ my luck, Cassandra will be there and she’ll want to hear read to her…”
That might come as shock to the Shifter and Psychic, Slaine … being able to read? Last they knew she was as illiterate as they came.
“Still, don’ know what good it will do me if there’s anythin’ to it.” beat “Spider Prof? Professor Ingerhast. She’s nice but a bit strange. Was she tormentin’ any students by makin’ it sound like she wanted to eat them?” She shakes her head “What did she have to say? She’s quite knowledgeable….” Back to Aliana “Aiden stopped some necromancers the other night and we found stuff on them.” She’d helped, but Aiden had done the hacky, slashy thing.Aiden produces a chain bracelet with a ‘plate’ on it designed to be worn over the wrist. On it are strange, scratched writings in a language that isn’t native to this world. The whole thing just looks dire, even more so than writings in the demonic tongues.
“Yeah that’s the one. This in particular she found interesting. She said the lettering was similar to that found in ancient temples to the ‘Old Ones’ on foregin worlds.” Aiden hasn’t heard of the Old Ones, really. Not something they covered at the Monastery. Slaine and Aliana might have, though for different reasons. They’re leagends of dread. Immensely powerful God-Beings that were imprisoned or put to sleep tens of thousands of years ago.
“She could only make out one word. ‘Darkness’.” Aiden points to a particular set of characters. “She said we’d need to seek out an expert on the Old Ones to find out more.”
“Maybe you can’t manipulate it, but that doesn’t mean you’re not tapping into it in some manner that might make someone edgy.” Aliana notes to Slaine. Add in that darkness that’s using her as its face and Aliana could see folks from both sides being skittsh over the Mystic.
The shifter squints a bit at Slaine’s comments that seem mostly to herself about Cassandra, not quite able to make out the meaning of her words. Maybe it’s the accent.
The shifter forgoes teasing Aiden about the spider, mostly because when he shows them the bracelet, the writing catches her attention. Coffee set aside, she leans forward to take the piece of jewelry, running her thumb over the etching. She’s quiet for a long moment, like she’s lost in thought and then she gives a sudden hard shudder and puts the jewelry down on the table, pushing it away from herself before pinning Aiden with her bright gaze. “Where did you find that?” She manages to keep it a question, and not a demand.
Anything else is pushed from Slaines as the bracelet comes out and the Mystic squints at the thing as Aliana takes it. “Old Ones? They’re things used in tales to get children into bed … ” she murmurs, eyes glowing faintly as she draws on her on magic.
A few moments of looking at the piece and she shudders too, about the time that Aliana pushes it away. “Don’ touch it.” She says to Aiden, quite seriously. “Wrap it in somethin’ and put it away. It’s rotten. Necromancy and black magic. It will pollute ye…”
She doesn’t answer Ali’s question, to … involved in what she just ‘saw’.According to the Professor, the Old Ones were frighteningly real and everyone is lucky that they’re not around anymore. The conversation was a bit more involved than that but Aiden won’t recount it here. It’s possible that Aliana and Slaine know the stories already.
When the blonde fixes him with that bright blue gaze Aiden swallows. Something’s caught her interest. “I got it off a necromancer-cultist last night. They had been setting up a ritual space similar to one I’d run into in Richmond.” Slaine should remember that one. Which explains why Aiden followed and ambushed them.
“You’ve seen something like that before, haven’t you?” His eyes slide briefly over to Slaine, hearing her say it’s foul and polluted. Which isn’t good. He’s betting it has something to do with the writing.
“The Old Ones were an interest of my… mentor, but he was very close-lipped about it. I’ve seen the writing, but I can’t read it.” Aliana admits. “It’s one of those languages though, that seems to carry the weight of what created it.” Perhaps she doesn’t realize she’s scrubbing her hand against her leggings, as though trying to get rid of whatever she touched. “But it’s impossible to forget.” No matter how much one might want to.
Slaine knows very little. The Old Ones were only spoken about in fairy tale and much of what was known has been lost in the annals of time. Peering at Aliana, watching the Shifter wipe her hand on her leggings, Slaines brows draw down in frown.
“Did ye feel it too? The darkness on it?” That the blondes mentor had an interest in the Old Ones … well Slaine think she’s met Aliana’s mentor, so that shouldn’t be a surprise.
“Is that why ye were following them last night? Or was it just dumb chance that ye came across them?” She can’t forget the circle in Richmond. That’s the building she bought crumbling down so they could escape.“It was dumb chance that I saw what they were doing, it wasn’t an accident that I followed them.” He figured they probably shouldn’t be allowed to set up given what he saw of the last place they did.
Aiden notices her wiping her hand off. He takes a cloth handkerchief and picks up the bracelet gingerly to wrap it up. Once that’s done it disappears back into his coat pocket and he takes another drink of his coffee. There’s a story behind her ‘mentor’ being interested in those ancient legends he’s sure. For now…
“We’ll have to find an expert to translate it. Spider-professor – Ingerhast is her name I think – suggested the libraries in Splynn…” Which… isn’t helpful to Aiden particularly. “There might be someone we can contact elsewhere though.” Beat. “I wonder what that dratted little imp knows of this kind of thing…”
Yes he means K’nert, which Slaine might pick up.
“Getting access to Splynn’s libraries is expensive.” Aliana says with a thoughtful frown. “Moreso if they think they can leverage anything out of you.” And there seems to be significant interest by a few parties to have Aiden back in the gladitorial ring.
Aiden’s mention of K’nert has Aliana rubbing her chin thoughtfully. “Can’t hurt to ask.” Yes it can. It can hurt a lot. It’s K’nert!
Slaine knows nothing of Aiden’s journey to Splynn. All she knows is that the psychic was uncontactable for a week or so and when he turned back up, he had that light show under his shirt and was even more … withdrawn … than before. Any enquiry she makes in that direction is rebuffed and the Mystic isn’t going to push anyway. Still, Aliana’s comment gets a questioning look – she can’t help it!
“Little imp?” That draws a sharp green gaze towards the Psychic. “Ye dealin’ that menace to society, now? Thought ye did’ like him….” Slaine has her own issues with the critter.“I don’t.” Aiden says flatly. “However-”
There’s a hiss from beneath them and K’nert crawls out from under Slaine’s chair, peers up at her and then hauls itself up onto the one empty chair at the table. Right between Slaine and Aliana.
“Speak of the demon…” Aiden mutters. The imp peers up at the coffees on the table and then hops up to it, catlike. He reaches for Aiden’s and gets a glare so withering it stops him in his tracks.
Or maybe Aiden actually did grab him. That’s possible.
//”Someone called?”// It’s still speaking in demonic which means the grey eyed psychic still has no idea what K’nert is saying. The language itself sounds like a hissing, growling, twisty thing that takes oral gymnastics to pronounce.
Aliana Knight eyes K’nert as he appears, watching him make his way onto the table. She takes a long drink of her coffee as she watches the brief confrontation between Aiden and the imp. “You’ve been following him, haven’t you?” She asks K’nert pointedly, and then with some mild mocking, “You have an interesting obsession.” Yes, she’s implying… well, a lot.
“We were talking about the liklihood of finding reliable information on the Old Ones.” The blonde admits to K’nert.” You seem to have a lot of unsvory contacts. The sort that might have information we could use.”
Slaine //almost// sends her cup of coffee flying, managing to snatch it up before it could it spill. “What th—-” She //glares// at the Imp as it crawls on the table next to her. And then glares at Aliana and Aiden. “Consortin’ with the enemy?”
“I did no'” she says, almost sullenly, in response. She’d press the issue of why the eff K’nert is there but she knows better than to do anything like that in front of demon.
Instead she takes a deep drink from her coffee and subsides to silence.K’nert had probably not been under her chair before he crawled out of it. Impossible to say for certain as people don’t usually look under their chairs before they sit down but you’d think that an imp that size would be noticed. Either he’s really good at hiding or he’s got some other means of getting around.
“He’s been taken into Aliana’s service. So he’s hers, now.” Aiden says quietly. No he wasn’t entirely happy about it either but he knows why she agreed. K’nert knows a lot of things and the breadth of his knowledge and contacts is somewhat staggering.
Exactly why he’s obsessed with Aiden? That’s not clear. He’s shown some interest in Slaine before too.
//”I know someone who could answer questions about them… but you’ll need to take a trip.”// K’nert reaches over and dips a claw in Slaine’s coffee, giving her an ‘impish’ grin, then sets to drawing lightly with his wet claw on a napkin. It doesn’t take long for a crude sketch to form. It’s the front of a building. Clearly crumbling and set against the mountains. It’s a… temple of some form? Or possibly a long deserted palace?
//”It’s a world of magic and war like this one. Well, less magic. In a land in the far north where the tribes of the wolfen howl there is a forgotten temple to the Old Ones. The Priest there might perhaps be persuaded by a suitable offering to answer questions…”//
“‘Enemy’ isn’t a term I use much.” Aliana notes dryly to Slaine. Demon alliances tend to shift too much, and they don’t (generally) carry the sorts of grudges that make anyone into an ‘enemy’. Adversary, yes. Rival, definitely. But ‘enemy’ takes some special vitrol to achieve.
Knowing that Aiden at least, can’t understand K’nert, Aliana translates for the imp. As she finishes she hmms. “Enough magic to still open a Rift home? And what kind of offering are we talking about? General idea.”
Slaine gives K’nert a sour look as he dips his claw into her coffee and pushes the cup over in front of him. She’s done with that, thankyouverymuch.
“No’ enemy then…” she concedes grudgingly to Aliana. She’s human and doesn’t traffic much with demons. In her experience, most demons just want to rip, tear, shred or … own you. So – enemy. But she’ll accept the Shifter has taken the imp into service. She’ll trust Aliana a whole lot more than she’ll trust Megana.
With no need to ask any questions, Aliana’s doing the talking just fine, Slaine sits back and watches carefully. She’s a feeling they’re not going to like what an offering might be.Aiden, once the translation is provided, frowns at the noton of a temple. The question, the pertinent one, has already been asked so he doesn’t interrupt.
//”Blood is always a good one for the Old Ones. Life. Power. Souls.”// The imp looks at Slaine and seems as though he’s about to offer something but thinks better of it. //”The priest is a minotaur named Kath. He spends most of his time alone or trying to commune with his gods.”// K’nert doesn’t outright say it but, he may be a bit off. Or a bit violent. Minotaurs can be like that.
“I don’t want the Old One’s attention.” Aliana points out to the imp. “I //really// don’t want their attention, even if they’re trapped. Hell, especially since they’re trapped. Means they likely have too much damned time on their hands. I only need this Kath to talk.” Which admittedly, Kath might //want// offerings made to his gods, but that’s not something Aliana wants to do.
“What?” Slaine looks at K’nert as he //doesn’t// offer something. If it’s something to help with this search, she’ll hear it. She might not agree to it but she likes to know what her options are.
Aliana has the right of it. They don’t want the attention of the Old Ones, not ever, but they do want the knowledge that Kath has. His ability to read and translate that text. She raises an eyebrow at the Imp.//”Nevermind. You’re probably not a good offering…”// K’nert responds to Slaine as he sits down in an oddly human like fashion and strokes his chin with one claw. He’s unusually helpful this imp. So unusually helpful that it has Aiden kind of glaring at him again.
//”Well if you don’t want to offer to the Old Ones themselves then you’ll have to give Kath something he wants. Maybe hunt up some old texts about his gods. Or just bribe him with food. Or women. Or both. They can be kind of the same thing. He’s a minotaur after all.”// There’s a short pause. //”He did have a fondness for really good wine last time we spoke…”//
Wine. There are some vinters in the Republic that use magical growing and fermenting techniques. Vesper’s got some //really// good wine. That’s a possibility. Carrying enough to bribe a minotaur might be a bit of a pain though.
“Slaine isn’t mine. I can’t use her to barter with.” Aliana reminds K’nert, as though if she //were// Aliana’s that might be on the table.
“If we had old texts about his gods, we could probably get away with not going to see him.” Aliana says, her amusement still dry. The bit about food and women being the same thing gets something of a narrow-eyed look from the shifter. “Watch your words, imp.”
Wine though… that has her looking at the others. “That could end up being a //lot// of wine.” Which could mean coming up with a fair amount of capital.
Slaine stares daggers at K’nert. She walked right into that one. “No I wouldn’ be …” she mutters, sitting back and folding her arms. Maybe she’s imagining what an imp-skin back pack might look like. Aliana’s comment gets a snort from the Mystic “I’m too tart for most creatures tastes.”
Texts on the old gods might be found. But it won’t be easy – there might be some in the Academy library but Slaine can’t see the curators letting them out. Women … well, she knows a few places where the women might actually be interested in that (Vesper is a diverse city, afterall).
“If ye’re lookin’ for wine, Gran and I have contracts with the growers up near Dogwood. It’ll require Cash or some othe’ consideration. A trip into Vanished Point should net us something useful in that regard but I can negotiate a discount.” It might cost the Mystic a return favour or two, but that’s not really hardship is it?“Wine would be heavy.” Aiden agrees. “And we’d need a lot.” A couple of barrels, what they used to call ‘tuns’, would probably be necessary. It’s not a small amount. And carrying something that heavy for a long period of time would wear him out.
Whereas the imp might sass Aiden or Slaine if told to watch his words, with Aliana he simple bows deferentially. //”Minotaurs don’t tend to be picky about their food. And they like fresh meat.”// It’s not an apology but demons don’t really say ‘sorry’.
“If we… were to mark the wine somehow could you summon it?” Aiden is musing. In theory Aliana could pull it through a rift, or at least so far as Aiden knows she could.
“How much could you get in the middle of winter, Slaine? I wouldn’t ask any women to come along. I don’t know that I trust that to go well with a minotaur priest of the Old Ones.”
Aliana Knight definitely doesn’t know of any women who are interested in being food in a quite literal manner for a Minotar. Slaine apparently wins on the ‘diversity’ front. Slaine does get something of the hairy eyeball at her ‘tart’ness, but Aliana just shakes her head a bit, deciding that is a rabbit hole she doesn’t want to go down.
Aiden’s question gets a bit of a frown from Aliana. “Best bet might be some extended negotiations. Take a sample, and if he’s willing to bargin, then bring in the rest. Then I should be able to get a location fix and if there’s enough magic, I can teleport it there from wherever the Rift sets us down.” Shifters are good at getting Rifts to open where they want, but even they tend to only be able to hit a ‘general area’.
Of course, if the world doesn’t have enough magic, she //might// still be able to pull it off… if she pulls it out of Aiden.
Well no… Slaine just knows women who might like …. being with a Minotaur. “If it’s fresh meat he wants, we could find some creatures from Dinosaur Swamp or out in the Appalachians… ” That just sounds like too much work, though.
“I’m no’ sure, Aiden. I can make some enquiries. The farms use magic to produce, so they produce all year round. It’s why we have the contracts with Grans – we know we can get what’s needed whenever.” She’ll likely get the two barrels he’s thinking of.
“And if the place doesn’ have enough magic?” She asks Aliana. She knows of some spells that can be used to ‘port back home even if there’s no magic to draw on, not that she knows them. “How are ye goin’ to teleport anything then?”//”It has magic. It will be enough.”// K’nert has apparently been there. He’s also up and sniffing at Slaine’s coffee now. Is it the drink he wants? Or does he just want it because Slaine has it?
“Think that’s probably our best bet then, unless we want to go scrounging for another offering.” The psychic has to bite his tongue to not suggest imp blood. K’nert belongs to Aliana now, so he’s protected.
Something makes him glance quickly over his shoulder. A confused look passes over his face and he looks back shaking his head. “Figure out what it’ll cost. We can go from there I think?” He looks between the mystic and the shifter to see if they agree.
“If there wasn’t enough magic, I //wouldn’t// be teleporting it.” Aliana notes over to Slaine. “But I could still manage to Rift in.” Most mages couldn’t then Rift back //out//, but Shifters are exceptionally adept at being able to open the damned things. AND usually get them to go where they want. The general consensus that’s because they’ve made some Dark Pacts.
Aliana does look dubious at K’nert’s inspection of (formerly) Slaine’s coffee. “Why do I not think coffee is your thing?”
It’s the quick movement that has Aliana glancing over at Aiden with a frown, her gaze moving around beyond you, looking. “Everything alright?” She asks in a soft murmur.
Slaine had already relinquished the coffee to the Imp. She didn’t want it after he dipped his claw in. Who knew where there that claw had been. She watches him sniff around the mug, not overly perturbed. She’ll get something else as she leaves.
“I’ll do that and make contact.” She knows she can. “I’ll need a couple of days to do so.” She’s also got some forays into Vanished Point scheduled and Nix’s ship is out nearly every day. That’s netting her a nice a little nest egg.
“Did ye hear something?” Half Pint asks as Aiden looks over his shoulder, not seeing anything of particular note.There isn’t anything of note over Aiden’s shoulder. Just a cafe in Saren’s Rest doing brisk business. Aiden shakes his head a little at the questions. “Fine, yeah…” He murmurs to Aliana in that tone that says he’s only fine in the sense that nothing is actively wrong.
“Thought I heard something.” He says a bit louder when Slaine asks. Something that clearly Slaine didn’t hear. Something enough to make him look and see what it was.
The imp takes a lap at the coffee and… yep. Not really his thing. //”Seems to be mine now…”// Of course K’nert may have misunderstood ‘not his thing.’ Of course it’s his. Slaine gave it up.
Aiden just rolls his eyes a bit. “Alright, that sounds like a plan then. I’ll see about what else the necromancers scraps can tell us.”//
K’nert positively perks at the mention of necromancy. Guess who is going to be following Aiden again.
Aliana Knight just shakes her head. She can’t help but be a //bit// amused at K’nert’s antics. She understands that sort of literal take they have on things. Their brains just don’t work the way that humans do, and all too often, that’s something that Aliana understands too well.
Having finished her coffee, Aliana pushes to her feet and nods to Slaine. “We’ll be in touch then, to see if you’ll be able to get that much and just how much it’s likely to cost.” The blonde looks down at K’nert as he perks up and just shakes her head before looking over to Aiden. “I think you have a volunteer to tag along…”
Slaine frowns at that, noting the almost unhearable interaction between the other two, and nods slowly. “Alright …” if they think she’s a little suspicious, they’d be right.
“Don’ forget that I can scry as well…” she tells Aiden as he gets ready to go. Whether she //should// be scrying those scraps and whether she really //wants// to are very good questions.
“Slaine!” A voice calls from the doorway “There you are. We’re ready to go.” It’s a D-Bee, with a birdlike head and catlike body. “Coming, Fzzit.” She pushes herself upgright, all thoughts of seeing Saren gone for the next while.
“I’ll catch ye two later. Business calls.”
A chance meeting in the market leads to a discussion about the Old Ones
March 07, 2410