Saren’s Rest is a busy place with people coming and going all the time. It could be somewhat dangerous given there are no real laws except don’t upset the dragon but surprisingly, most folk seem to behave. If not well, mostly well.
Ardul and Hunter have a problem and they need information before they can work out they’re next action. As promised, Ardul had sent a message to Yaren who happened to be living in Saren’s Rest, asking him to meet the pair at Rousseau’s – a tavern where many of the cities adventurers congregate – in the evening.
The sun is just setting, dipping below the skyline that Vanished Point presents and it’s a rather tired Valkyr that is seated at the table of the tavern. She’s not dressed in armour, but leggings and a tunic which means she’s not coming here straight from a job. There’s no drink in front of her – perhaps someones getting that for her or perhaps she’s waiting for her guest to arrive.
Yaren is not a frequent visitor of the tavern, but he’s been there few enough times to know the location, and after receiving word from Ardul he’d been more than eager to see his friends.
He steps in, looking not much different than when he’d last seen the winged woman and the Wolfen. His clothing might appear a little more ragged about the edges, but he still wears that familiar hat, and on his shoulder, head tucked under a metallic wing, is his little Iinya.
That softly glowing violet gaze of his sweeps the room as he seeks out Hunter and Ardul, brightening when he sees at least one of them. He starts to make his way over to Ardul’s table.
Hunter still has wonders what on earth Yaren is and what it is that the D-Bee does for sustenance but he’s learned that part of the secret to a happy life is not to ask too many of these questions. So he hasn’t asked Yaren. It’s not polite, anyway.
When the tricorn capped man-thing enters Hunter waves his cybernetic arm. They do indeed have questions. Questions of the ‘can you do us a favor’ nature.
As Hunter returns to the table with their drinks and waves, Ardul’s grey eyes land on the behatted figure, as she slides over making room for Hunter to sit beside her. “Yaren, it’s good to see you and thank you for coming. I was pleased to get the message you could meet.” There’s faint bruising under her right eye and a scratch or two running down her cheek. They’re new. Whatever she’d been doing today, it’s probably contributed to that tired look.
“Did you want a drink? I confess I really needed something about now.” She takes a sip of the drink, it looks like wine and sighs appreciatively. “Hunter and I were hoping you were available for a scouting mission for us.” She’ll explain more in a moment as will Hunter.
Even Yaren wouldn’t be able to say what he is exactly, or rather what he was. His memory slips in and out, and the past and where he’d come from surfaces in snatches if it hasn’t outright faded altogether.
Nodding to Ardul and Hunter, the hatted one takes a seat across from them. “This one is happy to see you both as well,” he replies before declining the offer of a drink with the shake of his head. “Are you well, Ardul? What have the both of you been doing?” He supposes they’ll inform him, especially if they have come to seek his help.
“What do you wish this one to…scout?”
“We need to get eyes on a location and look for someone, but they know what we look like. If we were to show up they’d bolt, so we can’t do that.” Hunter explains. “We were hoping you might agree to be our proxy, and given your unique abilities we thought it might go better than usual for you.”
There’s a short pause. “I’ll take a drink, Ardul, thank you.”
Hunter’s request has Ardul looking at him and dipping her head. “Of course.” She slides one of the drinks on the table towards to him before focusing again on Yaren. “Hunter’s correct, we can’t go in person, they’ll bolt or they’ll attack us. You’re probably aware that I come from another place, I was exiled here as I sought to escape from my execution. The powers that be have sent a recovery squad and we believe they’re congregating up in Lynchburg, to the North and the West of here, just shy of the D-Shifting mountains.”
She slides a data pad across the table, which shows one of the Iyesgarthian cyborgs that had come after them. “It might be dangerous, we’re not sure what you’ll encounter, but we need to know what’s up there.”
She looks to Hunter and nods slowly. She’s agreed that he can share some of her story to explain what they’re looking for.
There’s no question that Yaren indulges them with his attention, he looks between them both as one then the other speaks, his long-fingered, gloved hands folded on the table before him. The request that Hunter makes of him is unsurprising, but then it is not the first time that he has been asked to make use of his abilities to go to places where others cannot.
He slowly nods in his understanding as Ardul picks up where the Wolfen leaves off from his statement of their intent for his part in things. He had not really given it much thought, whether Ardul or even Hunter were originally of this place. They both plainly knew more about things here than he had. It’s not something he thinks relevant to mention now, but he continues to listen as the winged warrior shares what she will of her background, something that he likely must be aware of in order to understand just what it is they are asking of him and why.
Reaching out, Yaren takes up the data pad that is offered, peering at it and the image upon it curiously. “…so you require this one to seek out these beings, their numbers and location?” he asks, glancing back up at them.
“Yes. And we need to know if they have any of a particular kind of technology with them. A technology used to compromise the wills of sentient beings.” It’s fairly horrific. Invasive surgery that mutilates even as it violates. The effects are… efficient, but devastating to the victims. Hunter is not sure that recovery is in any way possible.
Which is why they need to know.
The cyborg displayed in the image is humanoid and wearing sleek black armour. There are wings on it’s back, not quite like Ardul’s but very similar – they may look a little metallic, perhaps. “Yes.” The blonde responds and subsides as Hunter continues, though she reaches over and taps the screen of the pad.
The next image is a Saurian with something sticking out of its head, it’s not large and it seems to have melded to the bone and the scalp. “This is the type of thing we’ve seen and we need to know if there’s anything like it up there.” She casts another look to her companion and rests her hand on his arm. “There maybe more than just the Cyborgs I’ve shown you and it could be dangerous is you are caught.” she frowns “Maybe. Maybe the technology wouldn’t work on you but then they may try to adapt it.”
“Hunter got some maps of the area to show you what you might expect to get in. Tap the screen to bring them up, I’ve loaded them.” The problem with Lynchburg, as with most places in or near the D-Shifting mountains, is that the terrain changes often. The maps, the ways in and out, may well be different from day to day.
Technology most certainly isn’t his forte. Yaren has been exposed to little enough in this place, and mostly associates with weapons and the bot that Hunter possesses. What the Wolfen describes is however no less concerning. It in fact rings a little too close to something else that he feels he should be familiar with. He doesn’t shiver, but something in his eyes makes it evident that the thought troubles him. “Tech….nology can do such things…?”
He studies the image of the cyborg, sinister in its appearance even on a screen. His violet eyes blink as the image changes with Ardul’s touch. While Yaren has seen Saurians before, he immediately can see what’s off about the one in the picture. Slowly he begins to shake his head. Why would such a thing be done? Even then, he wonders if he knows the answer to that already.
“…this one is uncertain whether such would work. There is nothing physical to impart it upon.” Adapt it? Would it be possible?
Yaren looks at Ardul and Hunter again before turning his attention back towards the pad before him. He brings up a hand, poking at the screen as he’d seen Ardul do previously. A pause. He taps again, but the image remains upon the Saurian. The attempt is tried a few more times to no avail.
“Yes. The right kind. Or Wrong kind, as the case may be.” Hunter says quietly. He leans over to help Yaren navigate the images. It’s apparently a bit challenging for the D-Bee. Why he has no idea. These things usually work fine for everyone.
“I hope it would not work on you, but don’t get caught all the same. We wouldn’t ask you to do it if the stakes weren’t very high and our options quite limited.”
Ardul had been moving to tap the screen, a faint frown creasing her brow as Yaren has problem with it, but Hunter beats her to it and she settles again. “As Hunter says, it can. Unfortunately. I believe the device you were just looking incorporates parts of Iyesgarthian and Wolfen technology. Neither of us are sure why or how.” Iyesgarth is ‘off the beaten’ track as far as Rifts and visitors are concerned. “As far as I know, my people had never met or interacted with the Wolfen.” So how the hell did something like this get created?
The map of the Lynchburg is displayed on the screen as Hunter taps it, and Ardul points to a place that is marked. “From what we can determine, that’s the location we need you to scout. It’s close enough to the Lynchburg settlement that we’re not sure if it’s a camp or similar or actually at the ‘settlement’ proper. Lynchburg isn’t a large place, there’s a few hundred people there, at most.”
She nods at Hunter’s words though, fingers still resting on his arm, “As Hunter says, I don’t think it will work on you but don’t get caught. If they can create something like this, I don’t know what else they might do.”
Yaren’s hands are basically filled out gloves. He’s not sure whether that’s what makes the difference or not, but whatever the data pad needs to detect to make it react properly seems to be missing. “This one would not wish to be caught either. It would also make getting any information to you quite difficult.”
Leaning closer to study the map that’s been pulled up, Yaren’s eyes narrow as he tries to commit it to memory.
“Could they have interacted and therefore have created such things here, in this world?” he asks as he traces the outlines of the Lynchburg map with the pointed tip of his gloved finger. “Is there anything else that this one should look out for, or be wary of?”
“Look for… people like Ardul. And look like people who are… off. Wrong. not thinking. It shouldn’t be too ahrd to find. They’ll have hardware sticking out of their head.”
The grey furred wolfen runs his hand through his mane. “Unless they’ve all but taken over the place they should have to keep it on the… downlow, as it were. Secret.” He adds just in case Yaren isn’t familiar with that turn of phrase. “Odds are good you’ll have to seek them out. I doubt they’ll be in plain sight. If they are… something is worryingly wrong.”
“Or the cyborg that I showed you…” Ardul adds, letting out a sigh.
“We’re not sure… that they interacted here. My people don’t use Rifts, in general. That I ended up here, was an accident and I’m not really sure how it happened. It’s possible and we’re not discounting it – but somehow, someone who can use and create Wolfen tech got their hands on proscribed tech from my people.”
Yes, she just said proscribed. The technology to control people was outlawed and destroyed on her world. Or so she thought, until very recently.
“Will you do it?”
Once again, Yaren nods. The two have made it quite clear that the presence of these beings is unwelcome and dangerous to those of this world. He’s thankful that Hunter is mindful to clarify things that he might not understand.
He needs no explanation for what Ardul shares. What’s being done here is forbidden. Yaren knows such is wrong even without the use of technology of an uncertain origin. It is what has caused some of his kind to go astray, the subjection of creatures, of sentients. Such a thought comes into focus like some detail randomly passed over with a magnifying lens.
“…yes. This one will try to seek them out. What is it that is said- the sooner the better?” He lifts his head, violet gaze meeting theirs.