It’s getting dark in Saren’s Rest and Hunter’s living room is a bit crowded at the moment. It’s hosting something of a ‘moot’. There’s Nina, recently rescued and restored to herself, Ardul, the members of the Iyesgarthian ‘resistance’ or at least it’s leaders, Hunter himself and Kaji.
Also there’s a Sohpia around here somewhere. Hard to say where but Kaji might want to be careful. Penelope is in Vesper so there’s no one to hold her back.
The purpose of the meeting is to ‘figure out what to do about Hyfil’ ostensibly but in reality it’s more to let Nina, Ardul and the resistance feel each other out. None of them have really worked with the others in months at the least and some fairly major things have happened to all of them. Hunter hasn’t said much and at the moment he’s in the kitchen making a sandwich with thinly sliced meat.
Don’t ask what kind. He didn’t when he bought it from the bazaar.
It’s kind of an awkward atmosphere that Kaji isn’t sure what to do with. He could sit there and look at everyone and see how things go, and for a while he does so, twiddling his thumbs, stealing glances at the Iyesgarthians present from behind his bangs that he really needs to trim one of these days. They’re getting on the long side.
At least Nina looks better than when they’d found her, but that’s probably not saying much, given how she’d been. He’s not so sure how the others feel about him being there but he’s more or less here for moral support or something. Plus, if he’s going to help these guys, it’d be good to be on the same page.
…although Hunter doesn’t have a bad idea, and Kaji’s wandered kitchenwards, poking his head through the door because he might be a bit hungry, and mystery meat or not, a sandwich sounds good. He’s sure he’s eaten a lot of strange things ever since coming to this world anyway.
Ardul rarely asks what Hunter brings home to eat. She learned her lesson about that months ago. It generally tastes good and it’s mostly nourishing, and that’s all that really matters these days.
Sitting in the apartment, Ardul’s strumming a guitar. Surprisingly, it’s not Hunters. It’s an interesting tune, not at all like the music here – mostly minor chords that are pleasant despite dissonance. The grey winged Valkyr watches as Kaji moves towards the kitchen, a slight look of amusement on her face.
“You have not taught him how to be still?” Nina asks as she watches as well.
“No better than I could you, Nina …” Ardul responds, she’s stern but for once there’s a relaxed air about her.
Gretchen and Ioan, the other ‘leaders’ of the resistance are sitting to the side, watching. They’ve not long returned from Vesper and they haven’t reported their findings yet. “Do you think we might partake of some food, please Hunter?” Ioan asks.
“Sure, come help yourself.” Hunter says without looking up from his sandwich. The room goes still and a bit quiet. Hunter glances up.
“Was it something I said?”
Then the big grey wolfen frowns. No one’s talking… but no one’s moving either and Ioan has been holding that arm raised pose for the last minute… it’s like the can’t move. Well, Kaji and Ardul can, but no one else is moving at all.
In fact the curtains by the open window aren’t moving either. Well, no, that’s not true, they are. Flapping very slowly in the breeze, like a film slowed way, way down. Kaji might remember youtube videos of a hummingbird’s wings flapping slow enough to track with the eye. That slow.
Hello Kaji-dono. Hello Ardul-sama. Hello Hunter. The voice, like plucked strings comes from above. There’s Kazue with her traditional koto, reclining on what for all the world appears to be a cloud that just… popped into being near the ceiling.
Kaji wouldn’t have minded fixing up something to eat for everyone. He’d already been slicing some bread for himself, but the sudden quiet has him lifting his head. Were they expecting service? True that the Iyesgarthians seemed to have some uncertainties about him and Hunter, but… Wait, no. That’s not it.
Brow furrowing, he stares at the window and it’s lazily billowing curtains, gaze sweeping the rest of the room. His eyes widen at the sound, the voice all too familiar, and he steps back towards the other room, blinking. He looks back at Hunter, then over at Ardul, but the kitsune-ish being has addressed the three of them, and it seems that whatever’s happened leaves them untouched.
“Kazue-dono… Um. Hi? What brings you here?”
Ardul blinks and stops playing as everything falls silent. “Oh come now ….” she starts to say and then realises that everyone is frozen. Everyone that is, except her, Kaji and Hunter.
She sighs as she looks at the sound…
“Kazue. Be welcome in our house. And what is -sama?” She gets that it’s an honorific but just not sure what. “Kaji has learned the name of the wind…”
It’s interesting that Hunter does not get an honorific but the wolfen doesn’t think too much on that. Not yet at the moment.
Domo arigato for the welcome, Ardul-sama. There’s a slight pause. It’s a… mark of honor. You are a knight. It seemed appropriate. And yes, I know that Kaji has learned the name of the wind. It is why I came. To set him on new paths, long traveled and well worn by his passing. And you, Ardul-sama, for your roads twist together now.
Hunter groans quietly. Kazue still seems to have her casual pen friend relationship with time.
“Kaji? Who’s your friend?”
Apparently there is one other person not affected by the time-slow and she is stalking her buxom form over toward… well Ardul really. She doesn’t have a good angle on Kaji yet but by the gods she’ll get one in a minute.
“The wind has a weird name.” Honestly he was expecting it to be Japanese. Kaji tilts his head at Kazue, not quite making a face at the mention of new paths. “Uh…. What kind of paths?” He’s still not sure that he’s completely gotten away from old ones. If this was an MMORPG, he’s sure he’d still have a bunch of unfinished objectives in his mission tracker. …then again, stacking it up by adding more to the list was pretty typical in that scenario too.
Blink. Oh, crap. Forgot about the nymph again. “This is Kazue- The one Arachne mentioned?” He’s not sure how renowned Kazue is, but she seems to get around.
Ardul’s hand reaches out and lands on the Nymph shoulder, rather heavily, hoping to hold in place. “Kazue is a friend, Sophia. That is all and you are in our House, please respect that.” The words are mild but there’s an intent of steel behind them. Ardul is a soldier and a good one, and she’s used to her word being obeyed.
Whether Sophia will take the hint, she’s not sure though.
That Hunter has not honoured such draws a frown the blonde as Kazue explains the honorific. “My path is entwined with Kaji’s because he is my friend …” she says, eyes narrowing. She doesn’t need more complications at the moment.
Sophia doesn’t… say anything more but as soon as she can wiggle – and yes she does wiggle a bit with Ardul’s hand on her – close enough to Kaji she grabs his arm and holds onto it. Like… someone would a teddy bear.
Or something like that.
Your path winds backward and forward, Ardul-sama. In the past you will make decisions that in the future you have already enacted. The loop loops in on itself and here we are.
“Now I know she’s just playing with us.” Hunter mutters.
Kazue smiles at him beatifically.
The one they call Hyfil has something you will require. He seeks the ancient secrets of the Wulf. They elude him but they may not for long. His eyes are set on one who understands the place where magic and machine meet. He will act soon. You must act before him. The wind will know the way.
Hyfil. Before she’d known about Nina. Now she speaks of Hyfil, the Iyesgarthian ‘Darth Vader’ who has dogged Ardul and to a lesser extent Kaji for weeks if not months now.
Kaji tries to subtly stay out of Sophia’s reach, but it’d probably make for an awkward game of ring-around-the-Ardul that he doesn’t do so for very long, especially since they’re conversing. It’d be a little rude. He suppresses a sigh as his arm’s snagged and hugged onto.
Kazue’s words have him squinting, as though he were looking for subtitles for her roundabout words. The looping loops aren’t the only things turning circles here. “Secrets of the Wulf..?” Slowly he glances over at Hunter. Like, that sort of wolf? “So…we’re looking for someone who knows these things and we needa find them before Hyfil does?” Again with the wind. Is it like Google search?
Ardul touches Kaji’s shoulder in a reassuring gesture. Sophia, at the moment, is harmless. Smitten, but harmless. Whether she stays harmless is another matter but for the moment, she’s not worrying about that.
“Of course she is…” the grey winged blonde murmurs to Hunter as she thinks on what Kazue has said. “Where machine and magic meet? Wulf?” She really wishes the creature would speak more plainly but she knows, deep down, that’s the not way. “Hyfil will pay for his crimes against my people.”
“And how is the wind to show us the way?”
There seems to be a reason that Kazue wanted Kaji to learn the Wind’s Name. Why exactly… that is yet to be revealed.
“Wulf.” Hunter says instead of Kazue. “Were a people mine knew once long ago. Canines, like us, the plied the stars with us though they came from another world. They were, all of them, powerful pyrokinetics and their technology – especially their weapons – were based around that.”
That would mean, very likely, that Hyfil has realized to parse whatever he’s got he needs a Techno Wizard. It’d be a leap of logic for an Iyesgarthian. They seem more at home with tech than magic.
“But I’ve seen very few here. Almost certainly the only source for their tech would be a wolfen ship that had some of it fitted. We did have some… joint ships. One might have crashed here long ago.”
Hunter drums his fingers and looks toward his room. He has tools for locating these kinds of things.
Hyfil must be stopped. Follow the Wind. The Wind knows the Way…
The koto playing fox smiles and reaches out with a tail to tap Kaji on his shirt. A little ‘pin’ appears. Or a broach. It looks like a Fox’s tail.
I should let you get back to your guests now…
And just like that she’s gone and Ioan is getting up. “I’d love a sandwi- hey. How did you all get over there?”
Well, at least one of them has an idea of what or who they should be seeking. Kaji hasn’t expected much help by way of Kazue given her propensity to speak in riddles. Even Yoda makes more sense than she does.
“Well, at least we’re in agreement about stopping Hyfil,” he says, although he can’t help but frown about the wind again. And he’s still a little wary about smiling foxes. He blinks and fingers the little pin that she’s left him. It’s kind of cute. Not that he doesn’t wonder what all it’s for. Man, he’s got all sorts of weird stuff in his inventory.
“Buh? You’re lea–” Welp. That answers his question.
Kaji looks at Ioan and the others, and up where Kazue was before he looks back at them an offers a sheepish smile. “I’ll uh…get some sandwiches thrown together then.” And if Sophia insists on being clingy she can help.
Ardul looks at Hunter, thinking already about the Wulf and the technology. She’s not sure how Horatio or Hyfil knows all this and it worries her. They’re not acting alone, she’s sure. Who they might be working with, she doesn’t know.
And she doesn’t like not knowing.
“Why are you so concern–” Ardul starts to ask as Kazue starts to fade. “I suppose that’s one way of …” she cuts off again as Ioan ‘wakes’.
“Long story. Another one. Get some food and we’ll talk and plan …”
People start to gather food and Hunter moves out of the way, holding his sandwich which he had almost but not quite forgotten. Nina however remains by the window (while Sophia remains stubbornly attached to Kaji. At the hip, as it were.)
“As I was saying we need to find figure out what Hyfil is doing and put a stop to it, though that will be difficult if we can’t find him beyond the general area Hunter has identified. If we make a move and don’t catch him, he’ll go to ground and we’ll never get him. Does anyone have ideas?”
Hunter doesn’t say a word. He just glances at Ardul and goes back toward his room to get some of his equipment.
Slipping back into the kitchen, Kaji listens as the conversation resumes while he picks up with fixing sandwiches. He doesn’t mind putting together a few more since he’s here. Since Sophia’s good with a knife he’ll have her slice more bread.
“Um…” Well, they do sort of have a lead, or at least a place to start, but how does one explain that? Kaji glances over at Ardul to see if she might have anything to say about it. Given how her people are in general about magic and related, how does one break how they’ve come about such information to them?
Ardul looks to Hunter questioning if he wants her to follow, she’s not eating. Not like the rest.
“Kaji was given a way to locate him, Nina. And we will use that. It is similar to how he saved you on that island.” That will do it. Ardul isn’t fond of magic – she doesn’t understand it but she’s been here long enough to accept it.
And she trusts Kaji. So there’s that.
“In the meantime, we need to find out what Ioan and Gretchen achieved in Vesper and whether we have a way of neutralising his troops. For once we find him, I do not want to be fighting our own people.”
“Aren’t they all your own people?” Hunter shakes his head to Ardul. He’s going to possibly be a few minutes but this he doesn’t want to share with the others. Wolfen Technology caused part of this mess and he’s not keen to let any more of it fall into Iyesgarthian hands no matter how well intentioned. Knowing what Ardul and Kaji now know about him being an… old man… that might make some sense.
“I can walk you through the data…” Ioan says. “Thanks Kaji,” he says for the sandwiches.
They’ll be a bit longer and then there’ll probably be some wilsful remembering and maybe beer and more guitar. And sandwiches. And Kaji fending off Sophia. Maybe Penelope will be back soon…
Probably not soon enough though.
The Iyesgarthians' planning in what to do next regarding Hyfil is unknowingly interrupted by Kazue as she appears to provide her usual cryptic insight.
August 09, 2411