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SRD - v3.5
Order of the Sword & Rose
(Combinations of transcripts as well as single body writing)
*The preperations were as thorough as could be made. If they were to find out any information about Mekari, this was the way. Despite Deriaz's nearly deadly run in with the odd creature when he made his first attempt at obtaining the records on Mekari from the House Deneith, he was willing to try again with Uxor. There was something deeply comforting in that notion. . . knowing that Deriaz felt confident enough in her and the cause to have another go at it.They had steadily progressed until they reached a window to the building where Deriaz had discovered the archive... there they might find answers. . . *
--------------Transcript-----------------Uxor: *she motioned for Deriaz to wait as she peered in the window and looked for signs of guards. after a moment, he saw her turn round and motion for him to follow her. Uxor slipped into the window, clinging to the ledge looking up and down the passage way* Deriaz: *He followed closely behind, glancing constantly onver his shoulder. It was obvious he was nervous to be here again.*Uxor: *motioned for 'all clear' and clambered into the window, holding onto the lip of it before allowing herself to fall catlike onto the tile floor. She spread a cloth down for him to land on to try and muffle the sound of them coming in*Deriaz: *He glanced around once more, and then followed through the window. He hit the cloth, though the metal in his legs still made a sound, though it was a lot less than what it would have been without. He froze for a moment, and then relaxed slightly.*Uxor: *she also looked round for indication that they'd been heard. But there was no reaction. They coudl hear voices at both ends of the passage. She motioned for him to point the direction of the records room*Deriaz: *His eyes, colorless now so he would be seen less easily, scanned the passage, getting his bearings straight. He pointed to the right, to a door tucked away at the end of it. He nodded, implying that that was the door he remembered. There was one guard on the right side of the door.*Uxor: *they crept that way. this time there wre two guards...one on each side. And there was a patrol of three men walking down the hall in the opposite direction at the moment. But it was clear by the way they walked, slowly and solidly, that they too were on guard. *Uxor glanced to Der with a 'well...not as easy as we thought' look*Deriaz: *He shook his head, regretting his actions the other night that now made this adventure harder than it needed to be. Deriaz glanced back at Uxor and nodded, allowing her to make the first move, assuming she would know he would copy her exactly to keep together.*Uxor: *she swallowed and motions for him to step back a little and drink another invisibility potion*Deriaz: *He took a large step back, and did as she told him, digging through his sack for the right potion. After a few seconds, he found it, and drank it in one large swallow.*Uxor: *she did likewise, and pushed a potion into his hands. Haste he figured based on the color. She drank this as well, then took a few steps back, took out a heavy but small ax from her pack, and chucked it at the window behind them. She motioned for him to press back agains the wall in the crook of the corner**the glass shattered and went everywhere, and immediately htey heard shouts and footsteps coming that way. Uxor slid back with him into the shadow and made a motion for 'quiet' and 'still'*Deriaz: *He froze in the shadows, staring at her out of the corner of his eyes, waiting for her to make the next move.* *a pack of men ran past them towards the source of the disturbance, and as soon as they'd gone by, she grabbed hold of Der's hand firmly and tugged him quickly toward the door. The two guards had gone to investigate as she'd hoped, and she quickly tugged at the door until it jerked open. She was certain it had been locked...but that mechanism was broken now for certain. She ushered Der inside and held the door fast behind them, quietly, as if it hadn't been open in the first place* Deriaz: *He glanced around the room, trying to see if there were any guards in the room now after his escape from the night before. He shrugged, not seeing any, but waiting until Uxor 'spoke'--or at least gave him the OK too.*Uxor: *Uxor was listening outside the door, then motioned for Der to come hepl her hold the door*Deriaz: *He slid over to the door, grabbing the handle in his hand. He squeezed his hand around it, and planted a foot on the wall to help brace it shut, making the impression of a lock door if anyone gave a tug. He glanced over at Uxor, making sure that's what she wanted Deriaz to do.*Uxor: *she nodded and also helped to pull the door. They heard foosteps approach, and they felt someone try to turn the knob outside**then they heard someone say* No, still secure.... keep searching!*Uxor waited a little longer, then breathed out, making a motion for 'quiet' still, moving back from the door very slowly*Deriaz: *He watched her back up, remaining on the doorknob until she gave him a different instruction to follow.*Uxor: *She waited a little bit longer, then motioned for him to come over to her. She wrote a small note that read* "We're going to need to be deathly quiet and fast at this. Eventually they might try to come in here and check deeper than just a locked doorknob"Deriaz: *He nodded, and mumbled under his breath - Which was muffled more by the mask* Just tell me what you need me to do. Light, help you find the book, anything.Uxor: *she nodded and pointed at the last..."find the book"Deriaz: Got it. Lucain d'Deneith. Find him. *Deriaz slipped towards the shelves, scanning quickly for anything that would have a possible reference to him. He stopped at one book near the end of the shelf. He pulled it out quickly, sliding quickly back over towards her. He flipped it open, and his eyes came alive again, though dimmly, to help him see. *He stopped.* Unless you want to scan this book, and I'll look and see if there's a second one that may mention him?Uxor: *she nodded, holding out her hands for the book*Deriaz: *He slipped it into her hands, leaving it open on the page he stopped on. Deriaz rushed back to check the end of the first shelf once more, and then moved on to a second one.*Uxor: *Uxor frowned after a moment holding the book out to him to show torn pages*Deriaz: *He glanced down at the book, and froze.* I. . . Heh. . . I guess they. . . Um. . . Don't fix those as fast as. . . Um. . . As I would imagine. . . *His eyes remained on the book, as his mind raced through the events of the other night, torturing him by paying special attention to the creature that he encountered.*Deriaz: *He slid another book off the shelves - a chart of noble lines.* This one looks promising. *Deriaz held it out to her, as if asking if she wanted to scan through it instead of the first one, seeing as the torn pages meant the first book wasn't that useful anymore.*Uxor: *she skimmed down it and traced until she found the name Lucian...there was a page reference. She flipped deeper in the book, and as they paged through, they saw that there were portraits of each of the nobles*Deriaz: *He watched her flip the pages, staring at the book so she could see a little better with the light coming from his eyes.*Uxor: *Uxor looked it over. It indicated that he was a noble from the city of Sharn, still of the Deneith house*Deriaz: *He scanned over the page quickly.* Sharn?. . . Where's that? *He shook his head.* It rings a bell, but I can't remember where I've heard it before.Uxor: *Uxor wrote* ....a bit far from here. *Uxor stared at the portrait*Deriaz: Guess that's why I don't know where it is. *Deriaz noticed her staring at the portrait.* Recognize him from somewhere?Uxor: *she covered up the mustache with her fingers*Deriaz: *He stared at the portrait for a few seconds more, before it finally hit him. His eyes went wide, and brightened a little.* . . . Maybe it's just me. . . . But that looks like Varro. . . Kind of. . . *He stared at it a bit more.* A little more then kind of. . .Uxor: *nodded and stared at it* "do you think..that this IS Varro?"Deriaz: I. . . Well. . . I mean. . . Maybe?. . . I-It does look a LOT like him. . . . But. . . But I. . . He. . . Varro doesn't exactly strike me as someone who. . . Who would be in a book about nobles. . . But. . . I. . . *He trailed off.*Uxor: *she frowned* "we need to find out more about this 'lucian'...and Mekari while we are at it"Deriaz: *He glanced up at her.* Want me to start looking for Mekari now? Or more on 'Lucian'?Uxor: *she nodded to the word "mekari" and she wrote "lucian' and pointed at herself. Then she shook her head* *she gestured to reverse it* "YOU look for Lucian...i dont want you to trigger that creature if it knows that you are rooting around in here again"Deriaz: *He laughed nervously.* Good thinking. He turned back to the second shelf, and began scanning again for any title that may have something to do with Lucian. He found a book of comissions....records on apparent works the house had comissioned within their own ranks. The first few pages he saw the word Lucian appear several times. He flipped through the pages then looked up, grinning behind his mask.* We've got a gold mine right here. Mentions Lucian more than once.Uxor: *she came over with a book of her own. This one looked like a roster file, similar to the one he found with the torn pages...though this one looked more to be a record one kept about employees that they didn't want their employees to see*Deriaz: Two books, and probably enough information to keep us busy for a while. . . How long until you think those guards are going to come back?Uxor: *she shook her head indicating* "soon" *and set to copying as much information as her hands could write as quickly as she could. She wrote frantically, nodding for him to keep his fingers on pages that might be of importance*Deriaz: *He nodded, slipping his fingers between the pages. He kept his eyes on the page so she could she better, and then with his left hand, began to skim the other book out of the corner of his eyes for pages of interest.*Uxor: *copied as fast as she could. When she'd gotten her fill of that book, she went back to the archived one. There, they found sketches of employees.... and a sketch of Lucian appeared in it along side a profile of him. Deeper in the pages, she came across pages for names that he would recoginize as being from the group known as the Silver Stalkers*Deriaz: *Noticing the names from the Silver Stalkers, he began to reskim a few of the pages, marking new pages if there was something to be found on the group. He glanced over at the door nervously once, and then went back to the book.*Uxor: *Uxor first copied Lucian and Mekari's pages...then she set about the other names just in case. She knew the names she wanted first, the rest were bonus**there was a click behind them at the door*Deriaz: *froze, and his nerves went crazy at the thought of another replay of the night before.*Uxor: *drug him down to the ground with her, and they heard the door open. They were behind a shelf...and she tried to continue writing. She hoped beyond all hopes that they would look, pass by, and continue their search. Then she remembered the broken lock*Deriaz: *He glanced over towards the door, but couldn't see all the way. His gaze returned to Uxor, as if pleading for her to have some kind of escape plan. In the back of his mind, his instincts began to kick in, and the cackling voice had appeared again, though incredibly faint.*Uxor: *she frowned, knowing that she had transcribed all she could. She woudln't risk taking the pages directly from the books. Not after what happened to Der when he'd tried to take the pages last time. She shoved three potions at him and wrote "get ready"*Deriaz: *He nodded, taking the bottles. He was slightly shaking, as if fighting something.*Uxor: *she quirked an eyebrow at him as if to say "stay with me. Be calm" and she held a hand out in a stilling gesture**they heard a voice calling out,a nd footsteps moving slowly around the room. It was a male voice...it sounded like one of the guards they heard earlier* Surrender or die!Deriaz: *He nodded again, and blinked. One eye had turned red, while the other was orange.* Uxor: *the steps were coming closer, and Uxor sucked down the potions, nodding for him to do the same**each time the steps got closer, she shuffled around the bookcase trying to put it between she and der, and the incoming guards. They were across from one another now, but they were down below. The guards still hadn't seen them...yet. But she could hear by their movements that they knew exactly where they were area wise, despite being unable to see the two of them. They could hear a shift in the footfalls. They were spreading out now to try and box them in. Uxor frowned, and made a gesture of counting, then a gesture towards the door...she held up 3 fingers*Deriaz: *He chugged them. Another blink, and both his eyes were orange again.*Uxor: *then she shifted like a preditor ready to spring...holding up her hand towards him ..she held up one finger**then a second*Deriaz: *He tensed up, waiting on the count.*Uxor: *the third finger came up, and she motioned for him to go ahead of her. She wasn't going to leave him. Meanwhile, she heaved her weight against the bookshelf to tip it over*Deriaz: *He sprang forward, rushing out of the room faster than what he could normally move. He heard the bookshelf fall behind him but he shrugged it off. He skidded to a halt, looking left and right, trying to find the quickest way out of the building. The passage he saw more figures running to and fro searching everywhere. Alarm was sounded. The window was open from where Uxor had busted out the glass...and he realized one of the potions she'd given him was 'jump'. The alarm threw him off, and he began to shake again. He squeezed one of his eyes shut, as if he had taken a blow to the head. He ran to the window but stopped, turning around to see if Uxor was coming. He heard the sound of combat behind him. He glanced up once more at the window, and cursed. He ran back to the door, sliding to a stop in front of it.**A figure came barrelling out of the door into him. Uxor...but unfortunately he could tell she was visible. It took a moment, because in that moment of her dashing out and running smack into him, all he saw was a drow woman charging madly out of the door towards him*Deriaz: *He took a step back as Uxor barreled into him. He almost attacked back by reflex, but stopped realizing it was her. He pushed her out of the way of the door, slamming himself into a guard behind her. He walked back out of the room, pulling the door off the hinges. He propped it up, and pushed it into the room with his foot. It landed on the guard he had just pushed to the ground. He laughed, but the laugh was a lot lower than what Uxor was used to hearing. He glanced over at her, and his eyes were both blood red.* You alright?Uxor: *She shook her head yes and shoved another potion at him....but he could see she was bleeding from her mouth and side. He could here the guards on the other side trying to batter down the door...and the sounds of more guards coming down the passage from both directions*Deriaz: *He took the potion,staring at it, and shrugged.* Clean yourself up. *His voice was also a lot lower than normal. He turned to face the sound of the incoming guards. The Warforged drew his sword and shield, and slid his feet, switching to an aggresive stance.* Tell me once your ready to go. Until then, I want to see just what this body is capable of. *She heard another low laugh.*Uxor: *Uxor stood up and took him by the shoulder and pulled at him. She tugged urgently and shook her head 'no' and gestured for the window. She pushed the invisibility potion at him again. He'd come visible when he body checked the guard back into the room*Deriaz: *He frowned, and looked at her.* You're really persistant in person, aren't you? I don't know how he puts up with you. . . . Fine. *He took the bottle, chugged the contents, and threw it to the ground.* You want to leave, then. . . . Fine. Go ahead. Lead the way. I'll be right behind you.Deriaz: *she was at a loss for what to do. This didn't sound at all like the Deriaz she knew. And what's more, it was talking as if it WERENT the Deriaz she knew...at all. She didn't know what to do..and subtly she feared that Deraiz had used his memory gem. She narrowed her eyes at him, coming round to try and usher him to go ahead of her toward the window. She tapped her head with a hand as if to imply 'im no sucker'*Deriaz: *He laughed again.* You're brighter than you look, too. . . . Fine. . . . *He muttered under his breath.* I'd have half the mind to ignore you if. . . *His voice trailed off, and he walked over to the window. He jumped up through it, and a loud thud was heard as he hit the ground outside.*Uxor: *Uxor sucked down another potion, swallowing it blood and all. There was no time to fuss over her wounds. They had to get out of there. And doubly so with Deriaz acting...well...not very much like Deriaz at all. She sprung up grabbing the lip of the window, heaving herself up to peer out before making a leap for the edge of the roof and tried to look around for Deriaz*Deriaz: *He was standing on the roof, his red eyes illuminating in the dark. What was once blue metal was now a deep black, and he grinned at her.* You move slow, as well.Uxor: *Uxor hoisted herself up by her arms, landing in a crouch, staring up at Deriaz in his new form. She motioned for them to continue out of the House grounds along the roof tops....she wrote a note that said "rusty nail window"*Deriaz: *He stared at the note.* Rusty. . .? Oh. Right. That run down Inn. *He shrugged.* I didn't pay attention on the way here. Stealth bores me. . . . *He gave a fake, quick bow.* Lead the way.Uxor: *she sprang up not too far ahead of him at any point. She wasn't going to let him get out of her site, nor out of aid if she could help it. The whole House was up in arms, and she was glad for having them both take the potions. They surely would be pelted with arrows otherwise. She cnotinued in this way until they were outside of the walls of the House Deneith. At this point, however, she started partly to look round. She didn't wnat that creature slipping up on them enroute to safety**They made thier way across the roof tops, the pace not quite so urgent as before. She continued until they arrived on the roof of the Rusty Nail, and then she motioned for him to climb into the window below the lip of the roof*Deriaz: *He climbed in, and looked at his hands once he was completely inside. The metal had begun to return to a blue color.* Well, well, well. Looks like the runt has decided he wants control again. . .Uxor: *came in the window and took hold of his...whoever he was at that moment...hand. Firmly. She was far more strong than she seemed, and she held onto his wrist as if she expected answers*Deriaz: *He grinned.* Ask him yourself. *His eyes went colorless for a moment, and then the orange she had come to known return. He looked around the room, and then at Uxor.* . . . I. . . Um. . . I. . . Sorry you had to see that. . . .Uxor: *she jerked his wrist forward until her nose was within mere inches of his face, and she hissed a 'tssssst!' at him, flailing her other arm up to imply he needed to explain himself....now*Deriaz: *He glanced back and forth between her eyes, and then sighed.* Alright. . . Look. . . I. . . Don't rightfully know what happened. That's not the first time that's happened. I. . . When too much stuff is going on, I get nervous. . . You know that. . . Well. . . That voice starts kicking in if I'm overloaded with too much. The more there is, the harder it is to resist. If it beats me, or I submit to it. . . Well. . . That's what happens. . . . I can't explain it anymore than that. *He kept his eyes on her during his explanation, and even after.* Hate me if you want. I wouldn't doubt you for it.Uxor: *her icy blue eyes radiated with searching intensity as he offered his explaination. Perhaps if the Avatar of Justice and Judgement had fallen to the earth and were there questioning him staring him in the face, that was the eyes he would see looking back. The touch of her was cold. Her skin was cool, her eyes freezing to the spirit and gaze... one might waiver under that look. But she subsided it after a moment. Stepping back and flopping down on the bed. She clasped her side. The excitement had died down, and the wounds were catching up to her now. She took out some things from her pack, including a paper on which she wrote sloppily* "why didnt you tell me about this before??"Deriaz: *He remained standing, staring off into space where she had been standing, though he could still read the paper with his peripheral vision.* Because. . . I didn't want anyone to know. . . *His voice trailed off.*Uxor: *she laid back on the bed staring at the ceiling, starting to try and wipe the soot off her face...reaching around and sipping from another potion bottle. After a moment she rolled onto her side looking to him* "I was afraid I lost you to...whoever that was."Deriaz: *He continued to stare at where she had once been standing.* That won't happen. As long as I can keep conscious, and get back to a calm level, my will overrides his. He doesn't have a choice. . . *He shook his head, and pulled out his sword, cleaning off the dye and fabric disguise.* Believe me. . . If I had the choice not to let him take control. . . . I'd take that choice in a heartbeat. But there's no control over it, sometimes.Uxor: *she nursed the healing potion, writing* "what IS he?"Deriaz: *He remained quiet for a moment, finishing the sword, and moving on to the shield. He eventually sighed.* I can't answer that without lying to you. I don't even know what he is. He's got a love for chaos, though, as you saw.Uxor: *she nodded a bit* "I'm surprised he even relented at my request" *she sat up a little, seeming to be more on the mend now with the aid of the potions. She started to clean off her face of the black paste smeared all over her visible skin*Deriaz: You're not the only one. I was sure he was going to go on a rampage in there. . . .Uxor: "how often does this happen?"Deriaz: That's the third time. The second was the first time you asked me to sneak into the records room. When I got caught, he almost cut down the guard that discovered me. The first time. . . . I don't even remember it all that well. It was in a tavern, I got into a brawl with some Dwarves, and it just snowballed.Uxor: *she sighed a little, still working at cleaning off her face* "i'm going to ask you something, and I want you to tell me the truth. Even if you think I won't like it. . . can you do this?"Deriaz: *He shook his head slightly.* Sure, anything.Uxor: "does this have anything to do with your memory ... in the gem?"Deriaz: *His eyes fell down to the pouch at his side, and he stared at it for a moment.* I. . . Don't know, really. It could be connected, but I haven't considered it. I just always thought it had my memory, and nothing more. . . *He went silent for a minute.* I connected the second voice to the graffiti. . .. . . Though. . . . You could be on to something. It might be what would get him out of me, or something. . .Uxor: *she frowned* "i dont know that I'd go so far as to say that. I have the impression that while he isn't in control at the moment...he has an awareness even when he is not driving the charoit so to speak. So to speak of 'getting rid of him' might make him work harder to get rid of YOU"Deriaz: *He flinched.* Good point. . . When he had control earlier, I still had a connection to my. . . His. . . Our eyes and ears. So I knew what was going on. . . It's probably exactly how you put it. Speaking of getting rid of him wouldn't be the best if he knows what's going on. . . *He shook his head in frustration.* But we can't just let him stay, can we? You saw what he's capable of. The door? What if he found a way to take control when I'm overloaded, and STAY in control? I'm sure that wouldn't prove to be a good situation at all either.Uxor: *she sighed* "Perhaps that is what the graffiti is about then? Perhaps someone tried to force two states of being into one body? And this is the result?"Deriaz: It's possible. . . *He took a seat on the floor near the wall, opposite the bed. He sighed, and stared off aimlessly again.*Uxor: *Uxor looked at him and huffed lightly from her nose* "I didn't mean anything by that. You are who you are Deriaz. And...whoever else is in there. You're just going to have to learn to cohabitate for the time being. Who knows, maybe there is some magical means of giving him his own form? But if getting rid of him meant getting rid of you, I would not have it" *she smiled at him*Deriaz: *He smiled back, though half-heartedly.* Thanks, I guess. . . And. . . Sorry again, about what happened at the records room. You shouldn't have been the one to see that.Uxor: "I just really wish I would have known. I could have been more prepaired. Had he not been willing to heed and leave with me, things could have gone a lot worse. For both of us. Is there anything else I should know? If it makes you feel more comfortable, I will tell you something personal about me in exchange"Deriaz: *He gave one quick laugh.* There's no need for you to share anything more than you already have. . . *He sighed.* I don't know if there's anything left to explain really. I don't know much else. . . His thoughts sure were odd to listen to though, while we were in there. . .Uxor: "have you ever tried to talk to him...directly?"Deriaz: I've tried a few times. . . It's only worked once. . . And I actually didn't expect him to answer me. . . *He went silent for a moment.* It was in record room that I tried again, though I guess you can't call it trying, really. More of a habit. He's never answered me before, so I usually just scream at him to help relax me a little more. You know, better to take it out on something that won't answer, rather than on someone I know or could hurt. . . It was after he took over. I was screaming at him that I didn't want him taking over. When you ran into him, you have no idea what was going through his mind. . . He yelled back at me to shut my mouth. That was all he said. . .Uxor: "do you think he listened to me or to you on his choice to leave the place with me?"Deriaz: *He shrugged.* I'd think it was a combination of the two. . . You, because of your "persistance", or so he said. I as well, because of my constant screaming at him.Uxor: "well...then he can't be entirely chaotic. He's inclined to listen to outside input. Perhaps he is just someone with fewer inhibitions?"Deriaz: I don't know. He could be. . . I don't know how inclined he is to listening to outside input though. . . *He shuddered for a second.* It's more luck than you'd imagine that he actually did listen to us. . . When you ran into him, the thought ran through him to run you through with my sword right then and there. . . *He shook his head.* It could have also been because he what the situation was that of what the situation was that he listened. Under any other circumstances, I don't know if he'd listen at all.Uxor: *she frowned* "well, you are going to need to find some way to learn more about him or free him... because it doesn't sound like he's going to sit and be quiet whenever things get stressful for you"Deriaz: *He stared off again for a second.* Do you think. . . That maybe. . . The gem could do that? It's tempting now to know if that's also the key to getting him out of me.Uxor: *she frowned again* "perhaps. Perhaps it is something to temper the two of you. Perhaps it allows you to communicate with one another directly. Perhaps it is an on/off switch to permit him control....and perhaps, at worst, that gem would meld the two of you together" *she leveled a look at him* "and if THAT were the result, there would be neither you or him, but someone different potentially"Deriaz: *He stared at the ground.* Well. . . I. . . . . *He punched the ground in frustration, and his voice trailed off.*Uxor: "is there no way to learn more of the purpose of the gem before trying to use it?"Deriaz: Unless you know of someone who knows how one of these things work, I don't think so. The Wizard that I got it from is long gone by now, I wager. He didn't have many belongings. Looked as if he moved around a lot.Uxor: *she considered this for a little while* "Alright. You have helped me...above and beyond. I will help you. Let us puzzle over what we found in the records room. Then...we will see what we can do for using that gem with me here to watch over you." *she looked down at the paperwork and wrote* "speaking of men with multiple personalities"Deriaz: *He stood up, and sat down on the bed, next to her.* Well. . . . What did you get? And don't say 'a lot', because I watched you write it all down. A lot faster than I've seen anyone write before. Anything big?Uxor: *she pulled out the papers and sifted through them, making tick marks next to certain lines, and on a seperate page she wrote* "well...this Lucian person has had many projects. Most of them are in code names. I think he's some sort of house spy or at least a covert agent of some kind. *she flipped over to the page she jotted down about his profile* they seem to have an intimate interest with his vitals and injuries, as well as the money lended to him by the house. No house lends money to their hired help. Even being a noble, he would have his own personal lands and wealth to draw upon. But by this, they portioned money to him in steady...and lengthy..incriments. What's more...*she circled one line... "deceased"* "I don't even recall hearing word of the death of one of the Houses nobles. That usually is something you would expect to see some mention of...a state funeral or something. And you don't make light of someone's death unless you didn't want anyone to recall them as noteworthy"Deriaz: Maybe he paid to have his death kept under covers? Maybe he had people after his wealth or land, and if they knew he would have died, they would have taken it for themselves.Uxor: "perhaps. I don't like that picture. I mean....tell me I am crazy, but it looked like Varro. I know Varro is not originally from these parts. I gather from his drunken ramblings that "Varro" is not his real name. Do you think he is Lucian, and Mekari has been sent to keep an eye on him?" "that he is the one who stole the sword, and Mekari, as one of these 'silver stalker' people, is here to make certain he's not still under its influence?" *she skimmed Lucian's profile* "they have a list of his 'known training'" *and she ran her fingers down the list* "Disguise. Diplomatic training. Stealth. Manual combat. History, Geography, Mythology, Cultural Studies..." Deriaz: Disguise. . . Well, if what you say is really what he did, that would be a big piece of evidence. He's an Ambassador too, isn't he? He works with you. . . . That fits the Diplomatic training. . . .He's a Bard, so I would assume he knows History, Geography, Mythology, and all that good stuff. . . . *He laughed once.* All that looks like a trait Varro has.Uxor: *she nodded. Then she went further down the list of training under combat* "Hand to hand. Garrot. Blades. Poison Dart."Deriaz: *He reread those four a few times.* . . . Not as. . . . Varro-ish. . . .Uxor: *she nodded* "or not something he's ever shown us" *she paged over to the material she found on Mekari. It was likewise a record of funds and comissions, and there was a profile for her as well, as well as notes* "Field Surgeon. Specializes in non-magical healing." *was the first entry. There was a list of her skills that included "healing craft, diplomatic skills, interrogation - a skill that also appeared on Lucian's profile - and climbing. Several entries, which appeared at different times, appear beside the name. As if someone had been keeping a log file on her:"Notable lack of skill in direct combat. Use of crossbow acceptable""Has a noteworthy memory - her ability to transcribe documents and maps is proving astounding""May prove a dangerous investment. Unexplained displays of magic"*the last entry on Mekari read* "Hostility between subject and team may have proven fatal. Body never recovered after inter-team murder"Deriaz: *He looked over all the info.* Looks like someone's really wanting to keep a record on her. Were they all this detailed in that book?Uxor: *nodded a little, gesturing to the file on the Valenar elf, which also had a lengthy series of notes on it in regards to his personality, developments over the course of his employment, and so forth*Deriaz: Inter-team murder? *He read over it again.* I thought it said she was missing in action, or something. . . .Uxor: *a note on the Valenar elf read* "Suspect of murder of two of team. One death confirmed. One MIA" *Uxor also read it over, and looked over the notes of other team members. She found a page on the one called "Cuz" and looked to his 'deceased' notes*"Dispatched by comrade. Ruled accidental death officially."Deriaz: So. . . . Something's telling me this group wasn't the best of friends. . . What do you make of all this? I'm not exactly the best out of making heads or tails of records like these. . . .Uxor: *shook her head* "I'm not sure. And I'm not certain about our Mekari now either. If she is the same one, and still under their employ, they've made no recent notes about her to indicate they've even found her. Not to mention the file obviously wasn't meant to be seen by her, so it's not as if they would omit information of her triumphant return to the world of the living."Deriaz: Well, I don't know that this Mekari is the same as the one we know. . . . Didn't you say Varro said Mekari didn't look like a Drow? That she was a little pale for one, or something? And the Mekari in this is a Human. . .*Deriaz sighed.* Once again, one question answered, more questions appear.Uxor: *she nodded* "we haven't ruled out the possibility that she is a shape changer" *she stopped* "alright. Let us try this approach. Let us presume that this IS the same Mekari, and that House D has no awareness that she is alive still. Perhaps she left because of the in party fighting? That would be a reason to cut and run and not make mention of your return perhaps it was contractual or an oath, and faking ones death is a way to not be forced to have to work with the same people again maybe?"Deriaz: *He shrugged.* I can't think of any other reason why she would be alive, yet presumed dead in her file.Uxor: "Alright. So we draw the conclusion that for some reason or other, she found it necessary to 'die' and resurface elsewhere. Now let us also assume that Varro is Lucian... also required to fake his death for political reasons."Deriaz: "Why would she come here now to be around him? Obviously we see their connection in terms of why they know one another."Uxor: "Presuming the two of them to be Mekari and Lucian"Deriaz: *His eyes dimmed for a moment.* Perhaps they knew each other before this, and faking their deaths allowed them to meet for. . . . Whatever reason they had to, and be able to do it easily and without hassle.Uxor: "I could accept that had I not been privy to their conversations. They talk to each other with, well, he with downright malice towards her, and she with an air of almost amusement"Deriaz: Maybe the meeting or their planning went wrong, and Varro hates her for it. . . *He shook his head.* It would explain the hatred to her, but I don't know why, then, she'd have amusement with him.Uxor: "the context of what they talk about makes it sound as if she's here to 'keep him in check'"Deriaz: Keep him in check. . . *He went quiet for a moment.* Maybe Varro did something out of line, involving that sword, and Mekari is checking to make sure he hasn't gone too far with it? . . . *He sighed.* Like I said, I'm bad with reports and things. I'm just kind of stretching it now. . .Uxor: "So...if she's not with the silver stalkers any longer, what other purpose would she have for that?"Deriaz: The sword, I suppose? The pages I tore out of that book said that the Silver Stalkers were to find a sword that was stolen. Maybe, as you said, Varro was the one to take it, and she's making sure it isn't controlling him. That would give her incentive to do that.uxor: "So maybe the artifact was never recovered? Or it was recovered, and they weren't able to seperate it from him?"Deriaz: I think it said the item was returned. . . . Though the idea of seperating it from him still makes sense.Uxor: "and lastly... there's that creature. I notice we got away free with this information" *she held up the pages* but yet when you snatched those other papers, it was on you as if it knew where to look. And now those pages are gone"Deriaz: Well, it DID say "You are meddling in affairs which are not your concern, Warforged". Maybe it was somehow related to the Silver Stalkers, since that was what the majority of those pages were about. *He trailed of for a second.* You're not worried it's going to come after us again, are you? It attacked me in the street. I don't know if it would come after us now. . . Not after we've gotten to an Inn, where other people may see it.Uxor: *she shook her head* "I'm not certain. I don't think it knows. Yet anyway... or else I think we would have run into it between there and here...plenty of opportunities for it to catch us 'alone' so to speak. But word is going to get out that there was a break in. Especially after our confrontation with the guards. At least there are no pages missing this time"Deriaz: *He frowned.* That's right. . . . Confrontation. . . Do you think they got a good look at me? I mean, two encounters in two nights. . . And I didn't exactly change my outfit much. . . .Uxor: "I don't think they got a good look at you...until the door incident. And even then, it would have been only in silouette and surprise. And I think the thing that would stand out in their mind is the red eyes...and well your armor lookd a little different as well." *she finished with cleaning her arms off, seemingly reminded anew of the notion that she too had been seen*Deriaz: There's still the fact that they know it was a Warforged. And let's face it, there aren't many of us--at least from what I've seen--in Stormreach. . . *He shook his head.* I'm hoping you're right, though.Uxor: "There are enough. And fortunately, you all look very similar. Only I fear this will simply cast suspicion on all your kind, and you'll have to endure more ill treatment by others more so than you already do. or at least more so from House Deneith than usual. I'm sorry for that."Deriaz: *He sighed, and stared out the window for a moment before speaking again.* Well. . . . Now what? *Deriaz turned to look at her again.* We've got enough information from House Deneith to keep us busy for a time, unless you know of somewhere else we need to sneak into.Uxor: *she half-heartedly smiled* "I was going to ask you the same. We have what we have. Now what do we DO with what we have? And no, for the moment I think our current sneaking has sufficed." *she nodded* "Sooner or later word is going to get out that someone has been lurking in the records room again. That creature is going to find out. And I think I know who it will come to ask questions of. You. And this time it might not come alone. I'm starting to think we might need to tell someone about this. Even if we don't have all the answers just yet." Deriaz: Well, who do you think we can trust? I don't know of anyone that I can say I trust completely to keep this quiet. . . .Uxor: *wriggled her mouth* "Well...Ruetger I know would keep a secret. If I stressed the urgency of it, Sho and even the Lady Hope could as well"Deriaz: Well. . . . I don't know them as well as you do. I'll let you make the decision there, and I'll stick with you with whoever you choose.Uxor: *she sat quietly for a moment* "I dont want to get you in trouble. I don't want to get Varro in trouble. Telling the others - even if they did keep it amongst ourselves - has the potential for both. But if I DONT tell someone... I am afraid they may hear of it by other means. Not to mention, the danger that might be lurking for you and I now."Deriaz: *He was quiet for a moment.* Well, I'm sure the danger waiting for us can't be that bad. I mean, even if that creature appears again, it would be two on one this time. Maybe it's just me, but those are pretty good odds. . . And I'm sure that if you told the others, no harm would come to me, Varro, or you. They're your friends, aren't they? I'm sure they'd make sure to keep us three out of harm's way, not get us into it.Uxor: *she nodded quietly* "I suppose the only thing left to do now is tell someone...and see what comes of it. If they cast me out, so be it. At least my conscious would be more clear"Deriaz: *He grinned.* Don't worry, they won't throw you out. If anything, I'm sure they'd be willing to help you out, if you needed it.Uxor: "You know I really dont think so either. But I'm just really afraid that this will cast a bad shadow on you and Varro." *she nodded at his side a moment, writing* "I think we've picked over all we can by ourselves. Do you want to prepaire to use the orb?"Deriaz: Uhhh. . . . *He looked at the floor.* If you're ready to. I mean. . . If something went wrong. . .Uxor: "It would give us a plausible excuse to have been up here all night though, no? I just need you to tell me a few things, so I can be ready. Such as...should the need arise, how do I take it out of you?" Deriaz: I. . . Um. . . I don't know. The Wizard didn't exactly tell me that. . . I'd just assume that you just pry it out. *He laughed nervously.*If something really bad happens, though. . . I'm giving you the right to knock me out. And if it goes far enough. . . Well. . . I'll assume you know what to do if knocking me out doesn't help at all. . . *He took a deep breath.* I don't know what else I need to explain. Or what more I CAN explain.Uxor: "Alright. I would only do that if it really came to a need to stop you two or survive. Just be calm though. I don't want 'him'...does he even have a name?... to come popping out amid this. You got that?"Deriaz: *He nodded.* Got it. . . . And I don't know his name. He's never said it. . . *He took a deep breath, and stood up.* Well, whenever you're ready. . .Uxor: *she situated her things, and stood up and nodded. This was perhaps the single dumbest notion she'd had since the idea of spying on Varro and Mekari. But she had to. Deriaz had gone to great lengths to help her, and she felt obligated to do the same for him irregardless of the cost....so long as it was his choice. She took out a weapon and kept it ready, but not menacingly so. She shrugged a little as if to say 'sorry'*Deriaz: *He laughed again.* Don't worry about it. I don't doubt you for taking it out. *He took another deep breath, and untied the mask, throwing it on the bed. He then untied the pouch, taking out the small, reddish-orange globe. He wrapped his fist around it, and glanced up at her once more, holding it up.* Well, here goes nothing. *He inserted it into the center of the rune on his forhead. It seemed to shine for a second, before going back to its normal color. He waited a moment, turning his hand around, as if expecting the color to change or something odd to occur. He shrugged, looking over at Uxor.*Uxor: *she stood ready, though not entirely certain of what to do. It was not as if she oculd say 'are you ok'...she HOPED he would remember she couldn't talk* Deriaz: *The orb shined once more, and turned black. The rune on his forehead began to glow a deep purple, and the armplates on his forearms snapped off, revealing the graffiti beneath. Under the etching, though, more runes glowed in response to the first one, and there was one on each arm.*Uxor: *she crouched down every so slighty for a moment, watching expectantly, eyeing the runes trying to make sense of them. She knew common, auren, aquan, and enough Quori* Deriaz: *Waves of black began to cover the metal, slowly turning it from its blue hue to a deeper blue, to an even deeper.*Uxor: *she watched for any signs that he was suffering, or making any indication to stop whatever was happening to him* Deriaz: *He watched as the color changed, and shrugged. He laughed.* Well. . . *He looked over at her.* I was expecting something more, you know? Like an electric current, or--*His voice stopped, as did the emotions on his face. His orange eyes glowed for a moment more, before turning colorless.*Uxor: *she shifted up at ease at hearing him laugh and speak, then immediately resumed a more alert posture as he abruptly cut short*Deriaz: *The waves continued to pulse, until he reached the black she had recognized earlier during their escape from House Deneith. The runes faded into the black, and the Warforged was left standing, motionless, at the foot of the bed.*Uxor: *she waited*Deriaz: *His hand twitched after a moment, and the arm slowly moved up to his face. His head eventually shook, and Deriaz's laugh came out behind it. The hand dropped, and another moment slowly ticked by. Eventually, the eyes lit up, revealing a familiar blood red color. They scanned the room.*Uxor: *this color she knew. But she became no more defensive. If it was his alter-ego's intent to kill her, he had plenty of opportunity previously. So she watched like a wolf lurking around the encampment of men**His head twisted to the right, looking through the window they had come in earlier. Another laugh, but it was deeper this time. His eyes scanned back across the room, eventually falling on Uxor again.* Well, well. Looks like we meet again. . . Uxor, was it? *The red eyes fell on the sword.* Now, why the hostility? *He grinned roguishly, and drew his sword with an incredible speed.*Uxor: *she didn't move to defend herself ... yet. She angled her head curiosly at him**He stared at her for a moment more.* What, no answer for your old friend? . . . Oh, that's right, you're the mute. . . *He turned around, walking slowly over towards the window. He stopped, and pivoted on one foot, pointing the sword at her.* I have half the mind to do what I wanted to earlier. . .Uxor: *she shifted up and relaxed her stance somewhat. Obviously she was interested in hearing more of what he had to say**He watched her shift, and began to sidestep to the right, keeping the sword and his eyes on you. He was silent for a moment, but eventually seemed to relax slightly.* Of course. . . Where are my manners? *He gave a bow, though it was obviously the meaning in it was not ture.* The name's Ragyr. Perhaps you've heard of me? Killer, extraordinaire. *He grinned, and raised the sword again to point. He continued to watch her, eventually stopping his pacing to the right, and switching to the left.* Congratulations on talking the runt into putting the gem in. Been waiting a loooong time on this.Uxor: *watched and moved slowly for the bed, sitting down on it, and pulling out some papers. She made a gesture as if to say 'permit me?'*Ragyr: *He shrugged.* It's not like you've got any other way to answer me. Go ahead, scribble away.Uxor: *she wrote* "What do you want?"Ragyr: What do I want? *He laughed.* I already have what I wanted. Full control over this body. Been riding second to him for too long. You have no idea how long I've been wanting things to go back to normal.Uxor: "Normal?"Ragyr: Of course, normal. Didn't the runt tell you that? . . . *He stopped, lowering the sword slightly.* Oh, right, the memory thing. . . *He lifted the sword back up again, pointing at her.* Yeah, normal. It used to be I was the one in charge, not him. He was only there when I needed someone to bluff me out of getting caught from the guards, or anything involving a smooth talker. Hell, I even let him kill one or two of the jobs we took when he got bored of doing just the talking. *He laughed.*Uxor: "You are...two? But share the same body?"Ragyr: Of course we are! And we used to have no problems deciding who was in control at any time. *As if to prove a point, the eyes switched to a reddish-orange.* Though. . . *Both Deriaz's and Ragyr's voice came out in that one word, and then the eyes went back to red.* I can't say I liked it much. Sure, he'd get me out of trouble by using his quick talking. But sometimes he would just drag it on, and on. . . You look like the kind of person who understands. Less talking, more killing. Am I right?Uxor: "Killing can be a necessary in the world. Killing is an aspect of life that cannot be gotten around. Some might consider me a 'murderer'"Ragyr: *He grinned.* Being a murderer isn't good enough know. You need to be quick about it. The way he dragged it on with the smooth talking. . . It wasn't good enough for me. *He laughed.* Uxor: "May I make a suggestion though?"Ragyr: *His head turned slightly, looking at her out of the corner of his left eye.* A suggestion? *His pacing to the left stopped, and he began to move to the right again.*Uxor: *she nodded very seriously* "Well. Perhaps I should ask first. What are you going to do, now that you have your...old selves back so to speak?"Ragyr: *He grinned.* What else? Find someone who needs someone taken out, and take the job. Even if the runt isn't fond of the idea, I can force him to like it. . .Back to how it used to be. This city is bound to have an abundance of jobs.Uxor: "Very well. I was going to offer you a job then, but ... there is something that I felt I should offer you that you may not have considered yet"Ragyr: *He laughed.* I hadn't planned on taking a job from you. . . I had. . . Other. . . Plans. . . But another offer? Let's hear it.Uxor: "you already have someone you work for?" *she started to write something out as she listened to his reply*Ragyr: Not around here, though who's to say I may not take the two of us back to where we're from? *He laughed.*Uxor: *on a seperate page she wrote* "I could never talk Deriaz into this. I know him enough to know his nature would cry foul if I suggested the idea. But how opposed would you be to ... performing a bit of an ambush for me?"Ragyr: *His eyes perked slightly.* An ambush?. . . I'm listening. *She may have had his attention, but the sword remained up, and he continued to pace back and forth.*Uxor: "More and more, I believe Mekari is more of a threat. Sure, we found information, but all it really tells us is...she's a liablility. Even her own house made a file on her" *she held out that page* "like they didn't trust her. Deriaz would never agree to this, so - seeing as how you're someone with a little less inhibition"Ragyr: *His eyes narrowed.* And you want her taken out, am I right?Uxor: "Well...ultimately yes. But the practicality of me doing it personally was not so. And i can't hire anyone to do it because word could get out that I was the one who sent the assassin. However... you look...different now. Different enough to pull it off...but..."Ragyr: *He grinned.* Well, glad to see you don't mind if the runt was gone. . . . But go on. . . Different enough to pull it off, yes, but what?Uxor: "Yes. The 'runt' as you refer to him. The runt may have more use in the coming days than you suspect. As for him being gone... you are who you are. Both of you. If this is your 'state of being' as it were, so be it. It is like saying a wolf cannot be the way it is. But do recall that you, in this form, have been seen. It won't take long for word to get out of the description of the attacker at the records room. Hence, your 'runt' might very well be useful in disguising you from prying eyes. If you walked out of here, tonight, down into the streets or beyond... I'm certain by now their house has put up wanted flyers or hired folk to start searching for a warforged meeting your description. And that will do you no good in terms of taking a job. Instead of employment, you'll get people turning you in for the price on your head"Ragyr: *He laughed once.* It wouldn't be the first time. Trust me, there are jobs everywhere in any city. It's just a matter of how secretive you can be. . . .Uxor: *she gave him a sidelong look* "Even Mekari and Varro seem to have found the need to change appearences and names, and based on what we've learned, they're rather masters of espianage, no?"Ragyr: *He growled once.* I'm not seeing where you're going with this. Stop talking in riddles, and tell me straight: Do you want this Mekari--And Varro, thank you very much for the name--taken out? Or not? *He took a step forward towards her.* I'm not one for cheap talk.Uxor: "Fine. If you accept my comission, I will pay you AFTER the job is done. Mekari is the target. I will arrange a meeting with her...if I can stomach that. Or perhaps 'deriaz' could ask to see her. Whichever you prefer. And all you need do is be there...and strike. But i will need proof of her death. I'm not going to accept 'MIA' like her former keepers did"Ragyr: Pay? How much 'pay' are we talking about? And what would stop me from just running you through now, and taking what you have on you? Trust me. . . *He took another step forward. The sword tip was only a little more than a foot from her face now.* The price had better be good enough for me to not consider the second option. . .And, as for this 'Varro'. . . I've no guarantees he may not get a visit from me as well. My policy is once a name is uttered with my employers, I seek them all out. . . Whether or not I leave them alone. . .Uxor: *She wrote calmly in her lap* "First off, I don't carry that much money ON me. That would be foolish. Any common thief could off me for it. I work on notes of mark. And as for a price... I would say, in light of my phobea of her, that 10,000pp would be a fair price for her head"Ragyr: 10K? That's not even half of what I used to get from my old employers. . . I can't guarantee a name of an employer may not be discovered carved on the body with that kind of pay. . .Uxor: *she huffed through her nose lightly* "This isn't a monarch you're taking out. And if anything, taking her out probably does you a favor. Undoubtedly she and the creature are in league in some form or other. I am curious though - why have you disabled and leave you to the sands... only to restore you?"Ragyr: I'll consider the offer. . . *He took a step back.* As for disabling? *He laughed.* It was a mistake. A set up that I planned during a job. It was a way to get this runt out of me, and get him jailed. . . A fatal mistake made by one of my colleagues. . . *He stared at her for a moment.* Why should I explain any more to you? *He stepped forward again.*Uxor: *she shrugged a little* "your actions are your own Karma... I just figured it was my karma to offer you aide since it was you who got me out of there in the records room"Ragyr: *He laughed.* You think I wanted to get you out of there? I would have much preferred to let you die there, and get out on my own, or just enjoy the bloodbath that you so gracefully stole from me. *His swordarm tensed, and he stared at her like someone wanting revenge.*Uxor: *she sat unwavering, writing without looking really* "why would you? I still don't entirely understand that. Why help me? you had control at that point, no?"Ragyr: Not complete. I may have looked like I had control, but the runt was fighting for control. I had no choice. If I would have killed you then and there, I'm sure he would have thrown us both to a pack of Rust Monsters, or something. I'm not going to risk losing this body, unless it means him staying in it, and going to jail. . . *He grinned.* Or having an 'accident'. . . But now that I have COMPLETE control. . . It doesn't matter if I killed you now. There's not a damned thing he could do. Uxor: "that is another reason for a low price on the head of Mekari...Deriaz. Is there any chance that he can over take you as you did to him? Because I can't have an assassin who would get a spell of guilt before the job that may impaire the hunt"Ragyr: *He pointed with his free hand to the black gem in his forehead.* Not anymore, now that the two halves have been completed again. He has no control anymore. In a sense, when I don't WANT him in control, he's in a near comatose state. And trust me. . . I'm not going to give him control for a long time. Forget disguises. Forget smooth talking. I'm going to have some fun for a few. . . Years. . . Before I even consider letting him run the show again.Uxor: "Good to know. It would be within my means to up the price, so long as I had a guarentee of reliability"Ragyr: Reliability? *He thrust the sword forward, holding it an inch in front of her face, between her eyes.* I don't know if you should be thinking about that right now. I'd be more worried about the fact that the machine in front of you has murder on the mind. . .Uxor: *she blinked slowly. Her stoic expression spoke to one who had seen the bottom of despair, and was therefor...broken. She had no fear of an end... perhaps she'd tried to arrive at that end of her own accord. Her hand penned out slowly* "How much?" Ragyr: How much? You're still talking about price? *He seemed to snarl at the fact his intimidation hadn't worked.* . . . A LOT more than what you stated before. I don't care if it's not monarchy we're dealing with here. . . In other words. . .Put a price on your life. I'll be the one to decide if it's worth it.Uxor: "I'm a working sword. Funds can be generated. And since my original offer was not to your liking. My life is worthless. I accept that. Life as a slave teaches you this. So perhaps a different source of pricing index?"Ragyr: *He dropped the sword and walked to the side of the room. He grabbed a desk, pushing it effortlessly in front of the door. He jumped up and sat down on the desk, and pointed the sword again at her.* I'm listening. . . I just want to be sure no one leaves here until we have this settled, or someone's blood is on the floor.Uxor: "Very well. Though I don't think I was planning on going anywhere. I'm the one sitting down already. But you are right, we should have this settled. Tell me a price for your trouble. And I gather that 'karma' has little bearing on your negotiations"Ragyr: Well. . . Going off of what my old hunting grounds used to fetch me, a normal assassination, done by me, was about 25K. . . And you want an ambush? AND a proof of death? . . . *He stared off for a second, and an evil grin began to form.* I'll go with 40K, in platinum. Though, as I've said, I would much rather have blood than money, considering who I'm making this deal with.Uxor: "and why is it that it is such a problem that it is 'me' you make this deal with? One would think it would be I having the problem for making a deal with the one who has for all intents and purposes eliminated my friend"Ragyr: *He slammed his fist down on the desk.* Because you're the one who deprived me of the fun I could have had in that building! But no! Instead, you and the runt wanted to get out so badly! What would have been the harm in five, ten, maybe twenty casualties? Maybe MORE, if I felt like it! Instead, escape seemed to be all that mattered!Uxor: "Well...firstly, the need for low profile. Secondly, I see how well the two of you did last time with that creature, and sticking around there was only going to present a target for it that said 'hey, we're over HERE' but you know that. I think you WANT to see that thing again. Fine, have it your own way if you feel the need to replay that match. I'm certain it will come for you again if you take out Mekari"Ragyr: Of course I want to see that thing again! The thing messed with your mind! So who's to say I couldn't have Deriaz take all the harm, and my consciousness would be unaffected? . . . *He stared at her, and another evil grin came across his face.* Though. . .You want an ambush? Fine. . . *He jumped up off the table, and began to slowly walk towards her, sword still extended.* How do you want it done? Sword through the heart? *Another step.* Maybe a shuriken or two just happens to land in her neck? *He had cleared the span of the room, and the sword was once again in her face, and the grin remained on his face.* Or. . .*He held up a hand, and a rune began to glow. He held his free hand up, and his fingers began to glow orange.* I can do something a little less metal, a little more. . . Heated. *He snapped his fingers, and a small flame appeared in his hand.*Uxor: *at the appearence of Fire, it was all she could do to keep her calm. She covered her fear with a look of disdain, gnarling her nose at him* "perhaps I should hold our head under water. But that isn't the matter. We haven't even agreed on the price much less the manner by which it happens. Since you were passenger to Deriaz's view on the world, perhaps you will recall when I told him that SHE terrifies me. I might be 'afraid' of fire...but she shakes me until I cannot look at her hardly. Hence my need for hired help, since you obviously wont do it as a 'friend' And it is likely that she has her own special means of combat. Beyond what her file indicates. SHE WALKED UP A WALL ... and Deriaz and you say this thing 'looks' like a spider. For all we know, SHE is the creature itself"Ragyr: *He curled his hand, extinguishing both the flame and the rune.* Persistant, slow. . . Yet quick in mind. . . Fine. Since the one your asking me to ambush sounds like an interesting opponent. . . I'll do it for free. . . On one condition.Uxor: *she quirked a brow at him as if to say 'go on'*Ragyr: You seem to be liking the idea of hired help to take out this. . . 'Mekari'. . . But from what I've seen, now that I'm here. . . You've seemed to forget completely about the runt. . . So, my proposal. It is two-fold. . .One. The only employers I work with have MULTIPLE jobs. By accepting this job, am I being assured that there will be other jobs down the line? And two, which I'm sure you will enjoy. . .Are you quite sure you're fine with having the runt out of your life? If I'm going to start. . . Hunting, in a sense. . . Again, I need to know no one will miss him. I don't want him to surface for a few years. I'm going to enjoy this time back in control.Uxor: "You are mistaken if you think I have 'forgotten.' There is acceptance, and forgetting. This is who you are. It would not be right to have it any other way. It would be a lie" *she paused then wrote* "May I tell him something?"Ragyr: *He eyed her carefully.* Depends. What are you going to say to him? Now that we're back as one, if I let him come out again, I will go into the semi-comatose state, and won't be able to hear or see what you two will do. I want to be absolutely assured that I'm not being backstabbed.Uxor: "I understand. I will not press the matter then. If I were you, I'd be thinking the same thing. I just thought he could hear me since you could hear when he was in control before. I was mistaken. I suppose it was more something I wanted to ask him really. Actually, in a way, I'm glad he ISNT able to hear us right now. He would think badly of me. . . knowing what I am asking"Ragyr: *He eyed her carefully again, and laughed once. His eyes went colorless, and the metal began to change back to blue. After a moment, the familiar orange eyes appeared.*Uxor: *she wrote* "Deriaz...are you displeased to have your memories again? Don't be disheartened by the life that fate has delt to you"Deriaz: *He read the note slowly, as if he had just woken up. He looked at the sword in his hand, still an inch from her face, and pulled it back quickly. He sheathed it, and read the note again.* Displeased? . . . A little, yes. Sure, it's great to see where I'm from. . . But. . . *He stopped, trying to put the words in order.* I'm. . . Not exactly happy with the fact I'm a murderer. . . Not just him. I'm just as bad as him. . .Uxor: "'bad' is a relative term. I am sorry. As is murderer. I think those we vanquish at the request of the silver flame would view us in that light. But to the silver flame, we are heros, no?"Deriaz: *He shook his head quickly.* No. . . No, it isn't like that. He's not telling the whole truth. He doesn't take just jobs. He kills for fun, as well. If you could see some of the things he does to the people he kills. . . I don't know if I could ever consider myself a 'hero'. . .Uxor: "Do you think bad of me for asking him to do this?"Deriaz: *He blinked a few times.* Asking him. . . To do what?Uxor: *she breathed heavily through her nose, and scooted over on the bed, motioning for him to sit by her as she started to write something*Deriaz: *He nodded, and sat down beside her. He looked around the room, and his eyes were wide, like someone who had seen a ghost.*Uxor: *whatever she wrote, she folded the paper in half, then wrote on a different piece of paper* "before I hand this to you to read... you must promise me something. That no matter what it says. you will not be angry with me. You will be calm, and you will listen..."Deriaz: Uxor, I. . . *He shook his head.* Yeah, anything.Uxor: *she slipped him the piece of paper which read* "I have asked him to kill Mekari"Deriaz: *He stared at the paper for a few seconds, and then shook his head.* I guess I can't be surprised. I mean, who better to talk to, eh, then two killers? . . . But I know you know what you're doing. Just promise me you-- *He stopped midsentence, and his eyes faded. The metal switched back to black, and the eyes flashed red again.*Ragyr: *He stood up quickly, and pulled the sword out again, aiming it at her.* I think that's a good enough length. Hope I'm not interrupting anything important. . . *He looked at the note in his hand, and laughed.* Perhaps I have.Uxor: *she shook her head* "you only interrupted him. At least that way I cannot make a promise I cannot keep."Ragyr: Promise? *He eyed her suspiciously, but shrugged it off.* Forget I asked. . . *He grinned.* So how's he coping with the memory? I'd assume he's a little shaken. . .The little runt was never good at big surprises.Uxor: "He didn't seem so shaken to me. . . still in shock perhaps. But there is some degree of...acceptance of his origin. You are willing to kill Mekari at no cost... I still feel the need to have some sort of repayment to you. Perhaps there is a favor I can do for you in return?"Ragyr: I've already stated the terms. You supply me with MULTIPLE jobs--I'm not speaking two or three--and you agree that. . . Except for that one instance. . . You're fine with him leaving your life for a few years.Uxor: *she considered the terms* "by multiple...you do not mean indefinite do you?"Ragyr: Not indefinite, no. I just want multiple. On average, my employers give me thirty or more. . . And they usually only run out of jobs if they've come across an 'accident'. . . Though this accident is usually directly related to the lack of jobs. *He grinned roguishly at her.* And by years, I'll decide that. I'm thinking five may be enough, though I may settle for more.Uxor: "are you going to be as particular over the work as you were with this job?"Ragyr: Of course. I'm always this thorough. Are you saying you can't handle the terms?Uxor: "Only being as thorough as you"Ragyr: *He grinned.* Good answer. . . Though I've only got one question for you. . .Let's say you DID agree to the terms. . . How often do you think you'd have a job for me? I'm not one to take a day off, I'll have you know. *He narrowed his eyes at her.*Uxor: "As often as you like. Are your only talents killing?"Ragyr: Depends on what other talents you're looking for. But yes, killing is my expertise. I don't know any other job that I could stick to.Uxor: "So infiltration is just a hobby of your counterpart then?"Ragyr: I can't say I'm very sneaky when it comes to infiltrating someplace, but yes. . . If you need me to get you in somewhere, I'm sure I could force my way in. . .Uxor: "There may yet be a need for that, but that would not be my primary concern. I find these terms acceptable. What pact shall we have... spit and shake, written contract, oral word as good as any?"Ragyr: *He seemed to look at her in confusion as she listed the types of pacts.* What? What are you talking about? . . . I just take the job and go. I've never actually DONE something. . . I don't know. Whatever works for you. Spitting is out for me, though. *He laughed.*Uxor: "Didn't know if you required something more solid than one another's word to have an accord"Ragyr: Well, make a contract or something if you want. I usually take the payment as a sort of way to judge if I can trust a person or not, but if I'm not being paid. . .Uxor: *she started to draw up a document for him, then rolled it out indicating for him to sign. She set her writing stick down if he didn't wish to sign in 'oil' as it were*Ragyr: *He stared at the line for a moment, and then picked up the writing stick. He started to make what looked more like squiggles than letters.* Bah. *He drew a staright line through the rest of the space.* Good enough.Uxor: *she nodded and rolled it up, resuming writing on her previous paper* "Mekari seems to have the ability to just...appear. So it will be necessary to set up a meeting with her in order to get her in one place at one time. Where should this occur?"Ragyr: Wherever you want it to. I'm the one ambushing, remember? I can work from anyplace. Just name a place, I'll wait there. . . . And you still haven't told me how you want this done. Just an old-fashioned, straight slaughter?Uxor: "it would be best if it did not appear so...professional. Or have any indication of who the handy work was by. No sense ruining our arrangement early. Do you work better in the open or in a confined space?"Ragyr: Got it. Make it sloppy. And they're equal to me. I'll adapt to any situation.Uxor: "Well... then it's best to make it an area of town that is more likely to be home to this sort of thing happening. In the harbor perhaps? Or the warehouse district?"Ragyr: From what time the runt spends in the Harbor, it seems to have plenty of alleyways and dark places to work with. It could be an option. Or. . . Spent. . . I should say. *He laughed.*Uxor: *she nodded in apparent agreement*Ragyr: *He finally dropped the sword, and smiled at her. If there's nothing left to discuss, I would say you have yourself a killer.Uxor: "Very well. What route in that district should I set her upon? Perhaps she might just teleport there, I dont know if that is how she gets around town. But where shall I tell her to go specifically? A landmark that is easy to know. The beach? The ally down the way from the Blue Lobster?"Ragyr: That alley sounds good. Would give me a chance to come down from the roof on her. The beach sounds too open to be able to ambush easily.Uxor: *she nodded* "So she will be down in the alley, and you atop the roof to spring on her?"Ragyr: *He nodded in return.* No one ever expects something to come at them from above. It would give me the best way to surprise her.Uxor: "I suppose you're right. What day shall I arrange it for. Tomorrow?"Ragyr: As soon as possible. I like quick jobs. So tomorrow, if that's the earliest you can get her to come, yes.Uxor: "Very well. If she agrees, should I send word, or you will simply wait there for her, and if she doenst' show, assume that I could not arrange it for tomorrow?"Ragyr: Waiting sounds best to me. I'll wait there as long as I have to. Just get her to go down that alleyway. I can handle the rest. I just hope this Mekari is as interesting as you say she is. Don't forget, I'm still not pleased I was forced out of some fun earlier tonight.Uxor: *she nodded* "I understand. I don't doubt that she will prove to be a challenge. On success or no, we will meet again to discuss the next job?"Ragyr: *He walked over to the door and threw the desk aside, letting it slide back to where it was against the wall, then returned to glance at her note. He nodded.* Of course we will. I would prefer to keep the meeting place to the same location, to prevent confusion on switching locations. . . . *He laughed.* And don't worry, it will be a success.Uxor: "In this room then?"Ragyr: *He only nodded.*Uxor: *She sat back on the bed situating her things as he left*
*Once Ragyr had passed down the hall a short distance, Uxor frantically collected her things. Tonight was her only chance - if she had any chance - of upgrading the situation from abysmal to bearable.
She’d made the agreement with Ragyr, knowing that it would buy her the time she needed. He would be waiting for the appearance of Mekari, while she found someone to help. Without his apparent awareness, she’d managed to glean from him many useful things. His weaknesses, strategies, tactics... all in the guise of an interview for this ‘job.’ Though her careful planning could have nearly come unraveled at any time. She wasn’t entirely sure where Ragyr was in that moment, but there was no sense in being caught after so carefully planning. Thankful for still having the invisibility and jump potions, she slurped one of each down, and made her way out the window to the roof. Heading towards the guildhall, she made it halfway there before she came to an abrupt stop.
She couldn’t tell them.
Even if they were successful in disabling Ragyr, by sending any of them, he would know it was her doing. She’d already taken into account that restoring Deriaz to control over the body would not rid them of Ragyr – and should he resurface, the last thing she needed was him bent on extracting revenge on she and the others of the fellowship. This mess was her doing. After all, she’d agreed to allow Deriaz to put the gem in. Thus, it was her responsibility to set things right on her own.
As much as she hated to admit it, she found her thoughts going to Varro. If anyone stood a chance of peacefully disabling the warforged, but understood a need for discretion, it was him. There was also the aspect that he would be in no greater danger than he already was at this point. Ragyr knew who he was, and more than likely, he would pay Varro a visit. . .if he wasn’t already doing so tonight.
She found herself running and bounding across the buildings almost in a panic. Ragyr, like her, also had until tomorrow. He could already be making a detour for Varro that very day! Varro would be taken by surprise, having no awareness of the situation. For the time being, she pushed aside the question of how she would explain to Varro why Ragyr would be looking for him...
Or why Ragyr was waiting on the roof to ambush Mekari...
Or how it was that a warforged matching Ragyr’s description had been
spotted breaking into House Deneith’s private grounds, and here she was conversing with him – hiring him no less. All these matters she shoved aside as she made a mad dash for the Phoenix Tavern.*
*Being invisible was the least of her worries as she charged through the door, nearly knocking a patron over with it. Immediately she flew to the upper seating as fast as her legs would take her. At the sight of empty tables, she felt as if her heart had tried to climb out via her throat. Varro was not here.
Over and over she pictured Ragyr luring Varro out to some dark place. Attacking Varro. Torturing him. Killing him. She had been so worried about losing her two best friends... and now both Deriaz and Varro would be taken from her in a single night. She fell to her knees at a loss, panting from running and desperately trying to think. Mostly, she was trying to get calm enough to do so. She stared down below at Cog, the tender, watching him clean the bar, focusing on the motions to try and relax. As she lost herself in the rhythmic cleaning ritual of the barkeep, she started to feel calmer. Then she noticed how quiet it was as the echo of Cog’s chores carried up to her. The Phoenix was practically empty. A feeling of hope welled up within her as she realized that she’d completely forgotten what time it was. It was nearly dawn. Of course Varro wasn’t here – if he was at all in his usual routine, he’d already made for home to sleep.
The idea of stealth or impending danger was not her concern as she bolted through the streets, taking the fastest route she knew. Uxor cared for nothing in that moment except getting to Varro. She skittered to a stop at his porch, ascending the stairs in jumping stride, and rapped her knuckles quickly against the door. Silence. The sinking feeling of dread returned, and she knocked more forcefully. She felt herself starting to weep uncontrollably as she pounded the door hard, pleadingly, but hearing no answer. If Varro had been in danger before, it was none so immediate as the moment he nearly had the life crushed out of him as Uxor threw herself around him, overjoyed at the sight of a groggy, disgruntled, half dressed bard opening his door.*
Varro: Who in the h...OOF
*Uxor heard him scream something, and she found herself dazed, but still locked onto him; she felt him writhing to escape the hug. Then she felt pain. He was attacking her? She realized that when she had moved to hug him, she’d still been invisible. So here he was fumbling around in the dark, trying to beat off his unseen “assailant.” The two crashed to the floor, and Varro sprang back, making for a weapon and a light. Upon seeing who it was on his floor, he relented his efforts to take out the intruder. He picked her up, where at she clung to him again in some strange mixture of crying and happiness. *
Varro: What has gotten into you? You’re lucky I found the light first and not my sword! What in the name of all gods... *the absolute intensity of the way she held to him, and the feeling of her wracked with fits of sobs and gasps for air, sobered him quickly. He tried to guide her to a chair, hugging her in return to comfort her* Calm down. Here, sit for me. What’s happened? *he went round to try and pull out some paper and the writing stick from her pack. She felt him move to retrieve the items, and in any other situation, this would be no problem – except she realized her bag was filled with the documents they’d transcribed about Mekari, the Silver Stalkers, and “Lucian.” He might pull one of those out! Twisting round, she wrapped her arms round his midriff and buried her face in his side and arm – the arm now restrained by her hold. Playing up her emotional state, she resurfaced the tears, and choked out horse whimpers onto him. There really was no acting to it though at this point; her frets and the need for help were dire*
Varro: Uxor what is wrong with you? Now look *he resumed trying to work his way out of her grasp, and tried to take both her hands in his to guide them to the table* You have to tell me, alright? But we both know the physical impossibility of that. So until you’re ready to start writing, I will just try to guess.
*She nodded slightly, trying to get composure, but feeling dreadful over the predicament that she only seemed to compound every time she tried to do something to help*
Varro: You’re in trouble?
*At first she nodded yes, then no; it was complicated. She pointed at him, at herself, then she tried to hold her hands in two circles, which she held to her eyes, followed by making a gesture for height*
Varro: Something about your warforged friend? You think he and I are creating more dresses for you to wear behind your back?
*She dropped her hands and beamed an indignant look at him. She shook her head and started getting out something to write on. It took a moment to find something not already covered in conversations between she, Deriaz, and Ragyr*
Varro: Ah ha. See I thought if I played this game poorly, it might inspire you to write *he offered a mischievous grin*
*She wrote the note to him in their private code – a mixture of Auren and Quor – for several reasons. First, it was faster. The flowing script was easier to scribe than common. Next, she didn’t want any prying eyes to read this conversation for the sake of all of them. The single most important one, however, was ensuring that the wording never be understood by Ragyr. She wished there was a way to communicate with Deriaz without the possibility of Ragyr finding out. But as it stood, she sincerely doubted such could occur. Varro was predominantly quiet, watching her write. The script on the page told him the issue was confidential, even without reading the contents. He spoke their private language to assure her he understood*
Varro: [Mind if I get a little more dressed? Not that I think you care at this point. . .]
*She nodded and waved him an ‘of course, sorry’ while she finished writing. Varro walked past her, patting her reassuringly on the shoulder, heading for his bedroom and closing the door*
*What started with frantic rambling had slowed on the page, and Uxor went from laying everything in the open, to picking over what she wrote. Caution was needed to ensure she didn’t say more than she meant to. It was already difficult juggling what she could tell Varro, with what she could tell Deriaz... Ragyr... and not to mention Ruetgar... or Sho...
Her head felt as if it were currently comprised of many little compartments that she had to open in the right order. Varro once told her - back when they first started as ambassadors - that matters of words were not an art to dabble in by those without express training. She wished now to have permitted him to talk her out of the job completely. On the other hand, despite the overwhelming complications, she felt that if she’d declined this way of life, things might have been worse. There was no way to know and thus she decided there was no point in reflecting on “should” and “if”*
*When Varro returned, he sat down and watched her finish the note. She’d written quite a bit, but he didn’t press her to speed up or cut it short. The writing seemed to help settle her some. When she’d finished, she scooted the paper towards him and put her hands in her lap, watching him with wide eyes*
“Something is wrong. I’ve allowed something terrible to happen, and I can think of no way to fix it. I was helping Deriaz – please know that even though you are my friend, this is not something I would speak of with anyone, because it is personal to Der. But the situation is unusual and dangerous. I don’t think there is any way round giving you details. Deriaz had no memory and was recently provided with the means to restore that memory by way of a gemstone; like some sort of docent. I agreed to stay with him because he didn’t know what would happen when he unlocked the memories. Well Deriaz is not alone. He has some kind of alter ego residing in him. By putting in that gem, he’s unknowingly given this other personality full control over his body. It calls itself ‘Ragyr.’ And what’s more ‘Ragyr’ is an assassin. We need to disable him to try and get Deriaz back. Ragyr isn’t just an assassin; he kills for his amusement. I don’t think I am strong enough to take him down by force alone”
Varro: [And I take it this is where I come in?] *he traced the line with his finger*
“You have ways that you can disable him peacefully, no? There is another problem. I can’t help put Ragyr out of comission. Ragyr allowed me to speak with Deriaz, so I know Deriaz is still in there. But I also know now that Ragyr has been within Der the whole time, lying in wait for control. Even if we restore Der, Ragry still has the capasity to regain control if Der is impaired. And when that happens – knowing I was the one who helped put him away again, he will kill me, and probably anyone close to me, for spite. I sent Ragyr on a fake assignment to take someone out for me to give me time to come up with some kind of plan. Please help me Varro, I don’t know what else to do”
Varro: [Well a few things first. If I’m the one who catches him, he’d still trace it back to you. If this Ragyr has ‘always’ been there, he knows that you and I are close.]
*She motioned for the page to continue writing*
“Perhaps. But considering the situation, I don’t think it will be so much of a problem. He wants to kill you anyway Varro...to be vicious to Deriaz and I. You have a better chance of acting without being seen directly”
Varro: [Ah, that is what this is about then? I’m flattered that you hold our friendship so highly as to watch out for my personal well being – but I’m a bit more capable of taking care of myself than you give me credit for. Thank you all the same.]
*She leveled her look at him, gesturing for her paper back again to quickly footnote the words* “If it had been Ragyr at your door invisible, the only hug you might get from him was by means of a garrot!” *She’d slid the comment out, realizing only after writing it how it might get him thinking on what she had found out about him... rather what she suspected anyway. That he was Lucian. She couldn’t scratch it out now, so she watched his reaction to what was written*
Varro: [Fair enough. Am I to presume we should be expecting another guest soon then?]
*she shook her head no*
Varro: [Where is he now?]
*How to answer. She couldn’t hesitate long* “He’s on the roof top of the ally behind the Blue Lobster, so he can ambush the ‘job’. I told him it would be arranged for this eve, so he’s liable to be up there all night. I hope anyway”
Varro: [And who is his target now?]
*The question she’d really hoped to skirt had been presented unavoidably. There were three choices
Lie to him
Or twist partial truth
Perhaps there was a forth – denying the answer altogether* “What does it matter? There’s no real job.”
Varro: [It matters because I know you. You’re smart enough to have given him a name he’d be opt to go after. Not to mention you’re not the type for word games – you wouldn’t make a deal that was an outright lie. That’s not your style. So who was it?]
*the difficulty of presenting him with a name only served to bring more attention to it. Still there were ways to try and salvage this* “Mekari”
Varro: [Why her?] *he quirked his brow at this*
*Uxor had to focus to keep a purposeful expression. Giving half truths was a degree easier in writing than in speech since she didn’t have to worry about tell tale signs such as her voice wavering* “Ragyr sees her as a challenge. It was someone I knew would be unlikely for him to chance upon in the streets. It was believable because she is a new comer and seems, by all accounts, to be a figure of suspicion among the Fellowship.” *at least those were facts – she had just been careful to omit the rest of the details* “And IF by some strange stroke of unluckiness something happened, I know Mekari could heal herself until she found help.”
Varro: [You didn’t bother telling her about her newly acquired admirer?]
“Varro, I can’t tell ANYONE! Even telling you I risk much. If word gets out about Ragyr and Deriaz: even if I’m able to get Der back, he’ll have to contend with whatever trouble Ragyr’s gotten him into. And I’m not certain entirely if I CAN get him back. If I can, I don’t want anyone to know that Der and Ragyr are in the same body. Anyone with a grudge against Ragyr will come seeking Der. I don’t want that to happen. Not after I helped get him into this against my better judgment”
*He set the note down*
Varro: [I will do this for you. But you must tell me all you can of them. Their tactics. Known weaknesses. Anything that will help to immobilize them quickly.]
*She transcribed as much as she could remember of tactical information* “. . . and this is very important too: Ragyr has red eyes. Der has orange. If you see red, then you know who you’re dealing with. He also has the capability to let Der control the body. He might try to trick you using Deriaz, and poor Deriaz would be clueless to it until it was too late. Don’t trust anything he says or does until that gem is out, and even then, act with caution”
Varro: [and if he cannot be restored, what then? I’m not trying to make light of your very valiant act here, but you must have already taken into consideration that Deriaz may very well be gone for good]
*With a heavy sigh, she wrote* “Before he used it, he told me that if it came to it, if I must disable him, I had his blessing. Even if it meant killing him.”
Varro: [Good to know. Though I’ll see what I can do for avoiding the killing aspect of things]
*Silently she mouthed the words ‘thank you’*
*Varro stood up, taking the notes and soaking them in a wash basin until the ink had run and it was completely illegible*
Varro: [I want you to wait at the place you told Ragyr to meet you once the ‘job’ is done. No matter what do not try to come to us Uxor, do you hear me?] *he glanced back over his shoulder at her* [You will wait there and after tonight, if I am successful, then you will find yourself face to face with your warforged. If not, then you will see me, for I will kill him if Deriaz can’t be regained. I am sorry Uxor, but this must be the way of things] *turning round to look at her* [Once I start this, there is no going back. I might be able to catch him off guard initially, but his ignorance will be short lived once I fully engage him should he prove difficult. Deriaz will understand, if what you’ve told me is true of his last wishes.]
*Uxor sank a little with that ultimatum, but he was right. Once Ragyr knew his foe, he would be relentless. She started to get up from the chair, and bowed in apparent understanding. Then she walked towards him and put a hand on his shoulder*
*The uneasy feeling grew more with every hour that passed, waiting for whoever might show outside the door to the rented room at the Rusty Nail. One in three. . . those were the odds of the face at the door being good news. If she saw Deriaz, then all would be well. But if she saw Varro, then she’d lost her metal friend; and if she saw Ragyr, then Varro was no more. Often she’d tried her luck with Dice at the tavern. Now she had placed a wager on the lives of the two people who were most important* -------------------TRANSCRIPT---------------------------------------------------------Ragyr: *Ragyr sat on top of the roof in the alleyway that Uxor had mentioned. He had spent the night up there, and passed the time, though slowly, in the day up there as well. As the sky turned black, he began to scan the alleyway below. If anyone was to pass by and look up, the only easily visible thing would have been two red eyes that disappeared rather quickly out of sight.*
*he did see something, but now down below as he sat on the roof. He saw Uxor climbing up on the roof at the far end, looking around and creeping. She looked his way and motioned for him*
Ragyr: *He crept over quickly, but silently. A moment later, he was by her side.* What? Can't you get here to come here?
*as he was coming closer, he heard something... a small sound coming from below*
Ragyr: *He motioned down, as if implying if that was that Mekari they were after below.*
*Uxor also seemed to hear it, and crouched down almost before he said anything, practically quaking where she stood. The sound was getting closer*
Ragyr: *His eyes went colorless, and he slowly leaned over, looking down into the alleyway.*
*he didn't see anything below, but he heard something clearly now. Music wafting up to him*
Ragyr: *He looked back at Uxor, confused. For a moment, he considered asking her if she thought it was some kind of joke, but decided not to. Instead, he continued to scan below in the alleyway, trying to find the source of the tune.*
*as he was leaning in to find the source of the tune, he realized he couldn't move*
Ragyr: *His pulse quickened as he tried to force himself to move, but nothing would respond. He took deep breaths, trying to calm himself down, and waited to see if the tune would fade away.*
*the tune lingered. He heard another sound next to him. Laughter. Female laughter* My my, that is easier than I thought. And to think, I figured you'd make me go through some sort of verification first
Ragyr: *He began to panic, wishing he could get to the shadows. Ragyr tried to turn his head to see who had spoken, but cursed in his mind when he remembered that nothing was responding.*
Voice: Now, that is a very interesting look you have. Why don't you tell me more about it *and he felt a wave of a familiar sensation wash over him. That this voice was a friend.*
Ragyr: New look? I don't know what you're talking about. . . *The memory of Deriaz and his encounter with the creature flashed through his mind* Oh, right. That. I. . . Thought that black and red may be more suited for me. . .
Voice: Tell you what, friend, I'm going to give you some magic that will be very very helpful to you. Would you like that, friend?
Ragyr: *He would shrug if he could.* Sure, why not.
*he felt another wave of sensation wash over him, as if he somehow were more closely bonded with his friend* Voice: There much better. Now, if anything happens to me, you will share in my pain, because that is what friends do for one another. So keep that in mind, should any harm fall on me. Now, why don't you tell me about that little gem in your forehead?
Ragyr: The gem put me back in control of this body, and put the other one out of commission until I feel I need him to take control.
Voice: Why don't you show me how to take it out?
Ragyr: Why? No one else is upset with the new owner of this body. . . What's wrong that you want me to take it out?
Voice: There is nothing wrong with you at all... I just am trying to learn about my friend. I should hate for there to be any misunderstandings between one another. This is what friends do for one another, they share things. I will share something about myself for you
Ragyr: Sure, I'll share almost anything. . . But I'm not going to demonstrate how to take the gem out. I said how it works. Don't you trust me?
Voice: I understand. It is no trouble, I just wanted to ensure I understood you properly. Tell you what, why don't we go for a little walk?
Ragyr: I would. . . Except there's the fact that I can't move. I don't know what did it, but nothing's responding. . .
Voice: Just give it another moment, I think you'll find yourself perfectly capable of walking about *and indeed, he found now he could move. Perhaps he'd been able to move for longer, but he'd been so caught up in talking with his friend*
Ragyr: *He stood up and stretched. During the day, the metal in his arms and legs had stretched due to the length of time the gem had been in place, and he now stood a head taller than Deriaz's original height.* Where are we going? *He turned to face the source of his friend's voice.*
*He saw his friend Mekari standing there smiling at him* We're going to take a little stroll down the streets towards the Harbor. I have something I want to show you. It's hard to explain up here.
Ragyr: What's so hard about it to explain up here. . .? *He shrugged.* Forget I asked. Lead on.
Mekari: It's one of those things where you have to see it to understand *and she lead him towards the edge* Are you able to hop down? Or do you need help?
Ragyr: *Ragyr nodded.* I'm capable. *He leaped off the roof, landing in the alleyway below. His red eyes glanced back up.* Unless you need help?
Mekari: Oh I have some featherfalling magic on me yet, but thank you *and she sipped a potion and then glided down beside him* We're going to need to hurry though, so I hope you're a decent runner
Ragyr: *He grinned.* As fast as you want me to move.
Mekari: *she nodded and smiled, pursing her little red lips* Well...don't outrun me...*and she started off down the street with him. They were drawing near the harbor docks, and she started to slow her pace*
Ragyr: *He didn't slow down at first, and began to run in front of her. After a second, he slowed his pace quickly to match hers.* Why are we slowing down? Are we there?
Mekari: We are. Can you hear it? *and she looked around as if she were focusing on something*
Ragyr: *He searched around as well.* I don't know what you're asking me to hear. I'm not hearing anything out of the ordinary. . . Just the normal sounds that you would find at a harbor dock. . .
Mekari: Listen carefully *and now he did hear it. Music. And once more, he found he was unable to move*
Ragyr: *He growled.* What-- What's going on?. . . Is. . . I think that's the same tune I heard earlier. . . *He struggled again to try to force himself to move.* What's going on!?
Mekari: Calm down. I told you I was going to share something with you. But it is very shocking. Tell me something, am I able to speak with Deriaz for a moment? I assure you the conversation I have with him you will also be privy to. and I can't have him simply trying to make a break for it, can I? He might try to take control again. Isn't that so?
Ragyr: He wouldn't be able to take control again. . . But I guess I see what you're saying with the runt trying to make a break for it. . . Give me a second. *The metal in his legs and arms began to shrink slightly, and he was back to his original height. The metal turned blue, and the eyes went colorless for a moment. The orange eyes appeared again, but quickly went into panic when Deriaz realized he couldn't move.* Wha--? *His eyes fell on Mekari, and he stopped talking immediately.*
Mekari: Hello there Deriaz *she smiled* I wanted to show you something before I inform your counterpart. I understand that there may be some unusual interest in me, and I felt it necessary to show you something. If you value your comfort, I recommend that you remain calm *and she reached up towards her face, pulling something off. There was a visual flicker, and he saw at first seemed to be her pulling her face off and away. In that moment, the outline of her form changed, and he saw the creature standing there, with the wind rustling its silvery fur. It was the same creature that had encountered him before when he first tried to steal the documents. There was no mistaking it. The thing stood at least as tall as he, and had a body covered in a thin shimmering material that may or may not have been some sort of wings wrapped around itself. It's head was like a great spider, with jeweled eyes each a different color. The grey and black fur of the thing shifted lightly in the breeze of the city. Atop the spider-like head were two appendages. They were like horns, except they seemed to be similar to the first segment of an insect's legs, with clawed hooks at the ends.
Deriaz: *His eyes went wide, and the memory of the shrieking resurfaced. He began to struggle to break out of the spell. 'Get away,' his mind was screaming at him. He stared up at the creature. . . Mekari. . . He didn't know anymore.* What do you want? And who put this spell on me? I don't know many people who can do this, and I'm not sorry to say-- I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have the talent to do it.
Mekari: *the creature reached up and pulled at something... it began to stretch it's neck...no...it was taking its head off? He saw now that the head was actually some strange helm made from the carcass of a spider. Beneath this, he saw a beautiful blonde haired woman of astonishingly lovelyness, radience, and uncanny grace - it was almost unnaturally so. He realized that the strange shimmery 'wings' were actually some sort of odd cloak she had wrapped about her*
Deriaz: *His eyes flew from the helm, to the hair, to the cloak, trying to take it all in.* I. . . But. . . *He had no idea what to say.* But. . . You. . . You were. . . And the spider. . . Head? Wings. . . Cloak? But. . . *He stopped himself, realizing that by sputtering, he was sounding like an idiot.* Why the disguise?
Mekari: That is not your concern. I felt it was necessary for you to realize that you are in over your head. What is important is that now it seems there is somewhat of a bounty on my head? So I wanted you to see this. To know that it would behoove you to let the past remain the past. . . because if you don't. . . I will ensure that you never see this world again. . . and your counterpart will have ultimate control. Know that I will hold the balance of your existance in my hands, and should you act in a way that does not please me, I will know. And I will see to it that your body is the permanent house soley of your fine friend. Now if you would be so kind as to permit Ragyr to speak with me again
Deriaz: I. . . *The words she had just said were sinking in. Not wanting to lose his own body to the madman inside him, he had no choice but to agree.* Yeah. . . Yeah, sure. . . *His eyes went colorless again. The metal became black, the legs and arms extended slightly, and the red eyes flashed on.*
Ragyr: *Ragyr eyed Mekari.* Well, you look a little different since I last saw you. . .
Mekari: Indeed. I wanted to show you something. You see, it seems I've been painted out as some sort of... how shall I say... monster. As you can clearly see, this is obviously a misconception. I understand that there is a price on my head, and I believe that it is part of this misunderstanding. But what I wanted you to see, is that it is actually within your interests not to kill me. Do you know why?
Ragyr: Can't say that I do. Humor me.
Mekari: Well, first go ahead and stretch out on the ground. As I said, it is something that is hard to explain. More of a visual element.
Ragyr: *He flexed his hand quickly, to see if the stunning effect of that song had lingered. When he noticed it had left, he followed her intructions, and stretched out.*
Mekari: Now pay very close attention to what I am going to say. Stay there please. *and she backed up a distance from him* I am going to cast some magic on you again that will help to illustrate this, are you ready?
Ragyr: *He nodded.* Go ahead.
*he felt something wash over him and he found he was again powerless to move. But something had changed. He realized with startling quickness that Mekari was NOT his friend*
Ragyr: *He growled again. A third time tonight he was unable to move.* What's the big idea!? *He found himself, again, struggling to break free, though part of him knew that it was probably pointless to try.*
*then he felt pain, as if someone were stabbing him somehow, but he could see no one around him*
Mekari: I want you to know that I have just cut myself quite deeply *he heard her lick at something* and that should you find yourself itching to bring harm to me, that you will suffer my pain as well. And secondly, I want you to realize that if you EVER want to be in control of that body one day, that you had better think twice about following this job of yours. *he heard the scream again in his mind, and felt that familiar sensation of a part of him being sucked away* I want you to realize that I can strike you down without the need to be in front of you. So think hard, friend, the next time you feel the need to lift a blade towards me. Because if you kill me, you will never be free again. Do you understand? You will never find your control. Do I make myself clear? If you please me, perhaps, one day, I will find the need to hire you myself.
Ragyr: *He held back a yelp of pain from the cut, the screaming, and the sensation. Over his own struggling, he heard her say something about not lifting a blade.* No. . . Can do. . . I've got a job. . . And I always follow through.
Mekari: I want you to know that I will be the keeper of your precious gem. If you ever want to see it again, it would be ill advised to kill me. *and now he felt as if many things were bombarding him at once. The screaming ... a new type of pain rang in his ears... it was all one could do to focus on staying conscious*
Ragyr: *A small growl of pain came out of him, as he held the rest in. He managed to speak through his heavy breaths.* If you. . . Really want to take it. . . Why don't you fight me fairly? *His mind began to race at the idea of being so close to ruling his body completely, only to have this Mekari take it away without, what he thought, a fair fight.*
Mekari: Oh Ragyr... do I look like the sort of person who cares for the fairness of the world? I appeared to you as a spider by the name of all gods *she scawfed*
Ragyr: *His peripheral vision began to black out. 'No, no, NO!' he continued to scream in his mind, but he began to realize the situation was too one-sided for him to be able to do anything about it.*
Mekari: Remember this moment. Remember that my death means this is the end for you. *and the assault on him continued until he was no longer conscious*
Ragyr: *He struggled once more to gain control, but couldn't break out of it. The screaming and the pain continued until he blacked out.*
--------------TRANSCRIPT---------------------------*he felt something hard pressing against his face, and in truth the rest of him as well. Whatever it was was on top of him, and solid as stone, but had no real weight to it.* *He ignored it for a second, but curiousity got the better of him. His right eye slowly came to life, revealing a dim orange.**It was some sort of hard flat thing...the light of his eyes reflected off it giving it a soft glow. Sound game to his ears...he was outside. And he regained a sense of orientation now... he was lying on his face*Deriaz: *He blinked once or twice, and propped himself up on his hands and knees, shaking his head. He felt like he had been hit by a lightning bolt the night before, but he couldn't remember what. Deriaz shook his head again, and stood up, looking around to see if he was still in the Harbor or not.**he realized that he was not on the ground, but on the roof of a building in the warehouse district, and he was badly hurt. It was a wonder that he could stand at all. Oil was everywhere.*Deriaz: *He stared at the oil on the roof.* What the hell did he do last night? Try to get me killed? *He coughed once, and looked around trying to figure out which direction was to the Fellowship guild hall to find Uxor, and tried to find a way down from the roof.**he could clamber down with difficulty, and he realized it was a long walk to the fellowship guild hall from where he was*Deriaz: *He wondered if the Phoenix Tavern was closer. He didn't want to see Varro as badly, but if he was closer, it would have to do. Varro would know where to find her, he hoped. If nothing else, he could head down to the harbor beach and stay there, fixing himself as best he could until he could move easily.**coming into focus he realized it was barely dawn*Deriaz: *He looked at the sky for a moment. 'If it's only dawn. . .' he thought, 'maybe the Fellowship wouldn't be too far out of the way to get to. . .' Either way, he began to slowly make his way towards the guild hall.**the city was quiet. Dawn was the time when the fewest folk could be seen out in the city, save that of the few guards on patrol in the more upscale districts. A few of them threw him a suspicious glance as he crept towards the Fellowships Guildhall*Deriaz: *He shot the glances back at the guards as he continued to the Guild Hall. He leaned a shoulder on the door, waiting a moment to catch his breath before he wanted to entered. He looked down at the ground, noticing he had left a faint oil trail. Under normal circumstances, he would have cursed himself, but he was in too much pain to care.**he found that the door was locked.*Deriaz: Damnit. . . *He elbowed the door, and instantly wished he hadn't. He cursed at the new pain in his elbow along with the pain he already had. 'If she isn't here. . .' he thought to himself. The room at the Rusty Nail came back to him, where they met before sneaking into House D. It was worth a shot, he figured. He began to make his way slowly over to the Rusty Nail.**There were one or two patrons downstairs, who seemed to pay him no notice as he ambled in off the street seeming as if he'd been beaten to high hell. People just didn't seem to have the same concerns for warforged as they might for an elf or human. But at least there were none of the immediate animosity one received being a drow. No one stopped him as he made his way for the room*Deriaz: *He walked up to the door slowly, leaning on it again as he did the Fellowship Guild Hall door to catch his breath. After a moment, he knocked loudly on it twice. As he was waiting for an answer, he began to push a little more weight on the door, as he felt his legs begin to give out.**the door started to open, but if he had his weight against it, he found he almost fell through, and Uxor was behind the door, seeming to have had the intention to edge the door open slowly to peer out*Deriaz: *He caught himself as the door frame as he almost fell in, and looked up at Uxor.* Mind if I. . . Come in? *He grinned, and tried to look casual, though it didn't take much to realize he was in pain.*Uxor: *She seemed absolutely beside herself with shock. First off, that he was injured. Second off, that his eyes were orange. She immediately began to help him inside and look him over. She brought him over to the bed and had him stretch out if he was willing. She still seemed hesitant about something*Deriaz: *He shook his head, and hobbled over to the near wall, leaning his back against it and sliding down to a seated position on the floor.* Oil. . . I don't want to get it. . . All over the bed. . . *He shook his head, and watched her carefully.* What? Not used to seeing me. . . Covered in my own oil?Uxor: *she rooted through her belongings for something useful for him. She hissed slightly - only healing potions. Nothing to repair him with. But they would be better than nothing for the moment. She quickly scrawled out a note as she tended to him, offering him some of the potion* "I will get oil" *as a force of habit, she quickly scrawled out the symbol and then on another small scrap of paper, the word 'fire' though she felt stupid for doing it now while he was in need*Deriaz: *He looked at the symbol, and did his symbol in return. The right eye blinked, then the left, and then the right again, though it didn't seem to come on as brightly as it had before. He took the potion, and ended up chugging it in one whole swallow. It didn't seem to help much, but slowed the oil a little.* Uxor: *she frowned and wrote* "stay here, I'll be right back" *and she hurried downstairs to retrieve some oil for him*Deriaz: *He nodded, and grinned again, trying to look casual. When she left the room, he coughed again. He frowned as he thought he felt oil come up with it, though none came out.*Uxor: *she was not gone long. He heard the door open again as she went to his side and set down several bottles of oil. She had no idea how much he might need, he seemed pretty badly hurt.*Deriaz: *He nodded again.* Thanks. . . I owe you one. . . *He took one of the bottles, popping it open and chugging it in one swallow as well. He set the empty bottle down, and looked up at her.* So. . . What happened last night? Cause, maybe it's just me, but I think I missed something. *He laughed.*Uxor: *she frowned and wrote* "Is it...you...or...the other you I'm talking to? I think I know which you..." *and she scratched it out after she wrote it, realizing how stupid it seemed on paper. Instead she wrote* "I was going to ask you the same thing. What happened to you?"Deriaz: *His eyes fell to the floor.* I don't know myself. I remember pieces here and there, but I didn't get the whole picture. . . . I remember. . . I remember you and I in this room, and you said you were asking him to kill Mekari. . . And then. . . Then I was looking at Mekari, outside. . . Somewhere. It's like the middle part was left out. . .*His eyes went wide.* Mekari. *He looked up at Uxor.* Mekari is that creature. But it's not a creature. The spider. Head. Wings. Cloak. I. . . *He trailed off, realizing he was speaking too fast for her to probably understand.*Uxor: "You were going to ask me to promise you something...before he regained control" *she blinked at him dumbfounded by that string of reply*Deriaz: Promise? . . . I. . . Don't remember it. I. . . I remember saying it, but as for waht I was going to say. . . *He shook it off.* Anyway. Mekari. She's that creature that I explained to you, when I stole those pages from House Deneith in the first night. The spider head is a helmet, though, and the things that I thought were wings, or whatever, was a cloak. She was normal beneath all that. She was blonde and beautiful. I mean, I don't know if it was a fake form or not, but. . . I mean, it threw me off.Uxor: *she wrinkled her brows* "how is she able to look like a drow? A spider helm is one thing but... she REALLY looks like a drow"Deriaz: I don't know either. I just know that that creature and her are the same thing. . . *As he thought about it, the memory of last night became more clear. After a moment, his eyes went wide again.* She said to stop, also. Stop looking into her past. . . Or else. . . .Or else she'd 'make sure I never saw this world again'. She'd put Ragyr in control. . .Uxor: *Uxor slumped down on the floor next to him at that news. She seemed to visibly shake from that information. After a moment she wrote* "It's my fault. I am sorry Deriaz. I shouldn't have brought you into this. I'm so very sorry" *she looked at him, then at the pouch on his side and her lip quivered a little* "she took it then?"Deriaz: *He laughed as she was writing the second message.* Don't worry. I'm two for two for getting out of trouble. And I CHOSE to help you. Keep that in mind. *He read the second message, and his eyes went wide again. A hand shot down to the pouch, digging into it.* . . . She must have. It's not here, and I don't hold it anywhere else. . . .*within the pouch he felt a little slip of paper crinkle* Deriaz: Wait. . . Wha--? *He grabbed the paper and pulled it out, unfolding it quickly.**there were strange symbols written on the paper in a delicate curling sort of script*Deriaz: *He stared at the symbols, turning the paper in different directions trying to read it. Eventually, he gave up.* Uxor, any idea what this says? *He handed her the paper while picking up another bottle of oil, chugging it.*Uxor: *she held it and stared at it for a long time before writing beneath it* "remember" *then she handed it back to him*Deriaz: *He looked at the translated word and sighed. He folded the paper back up, and began to rip it into tiny pieces.* So, it's gone. . . That means I'm sticking with you until the end in your search for who Mekari really is. Both of us have a reason to go after her, now. . . Unless you're considering quitting after you saw how I walked in. . .?Uxor: *she seemed to be weighing something in her mind. She would start to write, then stop. Then start again, and stop. A range of expressions passed over her face through this process. She thrust the parchment aside, and slapped the writing stick down on the ground in frustration, holding her head in her hands*Deriaz: *He watched her throw the writing stick to the ground, and stared at her as she held her head in her hands. Eventually, he poked her with his elbow.* Hey, cheer up. What's bugging you this badly? Write it down, even if it sounds stupid. Trust me, better to say it than hold it. *He picked up the writing stick, and held it out to her.*Uxor: *she smoothed her hair back out of her face, breathing a heavy sigh out through her nose. She held his hand a moment as he offered her the writing stick, and despite her deeply furrowed brows, she offered him a small half smile. Then she grew more serious as she started to write on the paper diligently* "I am angry with myself. I can't say I'm not glad to have you here with me again... but it was wrong of me to send Ragyr to face her like that. I underestimated her. A lot. I know he's a little more bold than you but I should have known better. You say Mekari is the creature...then I bet she has followed us all of that night. Hell, walking walls, she might have been listening in through the window. And now, she has you for her own personal ransom. What's more, I don't know if it's better to leave the matter be, or to persist....and I feel guilty on all accounts now. I know you CHOSE to help, but it was my choice to stay with you while you regained your 'self'... but thanks to me, Mekari has the balance of your state of affairs. I told Ragyr that I could not change who you were... that you accept the wolf knowing what comes with it... that is true. I believe that. But thanks to me the wolf is skinned and collared by a spider. And now here you are, as the you that I knew you to be. And I am afraid you will hate me. For the things I've asked. For my unwillingness to 'change you back' when Ragyr took over. For the deal I signed with him. And for the danger I've put you in. I know that all actions have Karma...and we are supposed to accept the reaction of our actions...Deriaz: *He grinned.* How could I hate you? *and continued to read*"... but I am afraid this time. I am afraid of my Karma for what I've put you through." Uxor: *she wiped off the paper with her hand, as some tears struck the page while she had her head down trying to write. She pushed the paper towards him trying to regain her composure*Deriaz: *He put the paper down, adn put a hand on her shoulder.* How can I hate you? We're only doing what we have to to find out Mekari's secret. Sure, I may have gotten beaten up once or twice during this whole event, or you may have had to side with a madman to progress, but if those are the only options, so be it. Mekari doesn't have control over me, don't worry about that. But I couldn't hate you for it. I mean. . . *He trailed off for a moment, trying to fit together what he was going to say.*Uxor: *she wept openly when he touched her shoulder, shaking her head, and pointing her finger over and over again at a line on one of the papers that said "I am sorry"*Deriaz: *He shook his head.* Forget about it. Nothing bad has happened. There's nothing to apologize for. Nothing at all. *He grabbed a third bottle, and turned away to chug it. He set the empty bottle down, and turned to her again.*Uxor: *she wiped at her eyes, looking at the floor and choking little breaths between raspy sobs. She tried to get herself to a point to be able to write more, but it was difficult to see, and the only thing she really felt like writing over and over again she'd already been adamently pointing at. She finally ran one of her fingers through the oil on the floor, picked up the little scraps of paper he'd torn up and held it up to him as if to say 'nothing bad hm?'*Deriaz: Nothing I care to 'remember'. *He grinned, and then coughed once more.*Uxor: *she tried to smile, and then hearing him cough, she wrote* "more oil?"Deriaz: *He held up a hand and shook his head.* No, I'll be fine. Thanks, though.Uxor: *she tried to calm some, writing more* "What about Ragyr? What happens the next time you're in a situation where he feels the need to 'help' you? Or if you run into Mekari again? I doubt very much Ragyr's opinion of our course of action involves anything other than tracking her down and killing her"Deriaz: I'm sure that's exactly what he wants to do. . . But if the gem is gone, we go back to the record room situation. If I become overloaded or extremely nervous again, he can take over until I've become calm again. And I'm sure if I run into Mekari, he'll be screaming to take over, though I won't let him.Uxor: *she nodded in understanding* "He's probably angry with me undoubtedly. If I hadn't given him that 'job' . . . " *she stopped writing and sighed*Deriaz: *He laughed under his breath.* You know, that's probably not a bad thing that you gave it to him. It's probably put his ego in check, however little it may now be.Uxor: "If I would have known that this is what would have happened, I would not have asked such a thing of him. I wouldn't wish facing Mekari on my worst enemy. I wouldn't wish it on Mekari to see Mekari and suffer under her. I know before he apparently couldn't see when you 'trade places' but if he's able to see through your eyes now... I want him to know I am sorry that this happened. Even if it did result in you being here again... I was willing to accept who you both were. I had hoped an ambush would alleviate the need to be subject to her abilities, whatever those are"Deriaz: *He was silent for a minute, picking up the final bottle of oil and finishing it off easily. He set the empty bottle on the group.* Well. . . *He paused.* What now? I mean, I don't have a lot to say about Mekari in the night's events. . . And you, I would hope, weren't there to see anything next. . . What do we do next?Uxor: *she frowned at him* "YOU rest! You've been gone for two days!"Deriaz: *He stopped.* Two days? I thought I was only out for the night. . .Uxor: *she shook her head* "I just waited. Seeing how Ragyr was, I didn't expect that he'd appriciate me coming to him"Deriaz: I may have been gone for two days. . . *He sighed.* But I can't see myself doing nothing while you go out searching about Mekari, risking her attacking you.Uxor: "You wont have to. I will stay here so you can rest, but you can also be sure that I am safe in turn. It will give me time to think on a course of action." *she reached into her belongings and pulled out a few slips of paper, writing on her current page* "we still have these papers we can look over from our previous research"Deriaz: Have you noticed anything new from them? I would assume if I was gone for two days, you may have had a chance to glance at them.Uxor: "It is funny, but no. That is until thinking about it now, knowing what you said. You say she is certainly able to alter here appearence. Now that we have concrete evidence...perhaps she never left the Silver Stalkers at all" *she pointed at the list of names she'd compiled from the research* "after that 'incident' they had some replacement members. So perhaps she was still among them. Perhaps House Deneith may even know this, and they don't record it in the books on purpose."Deriaz: *he leaned back* Just don't go anywhere without me, alright? See what you can piece together while I'm on the mend. *and his eyes went dim*
*Deriaz awoke to find himself on his back on the ground. He covered his face with his hands, and still felt a slight pain in him from the injuries he had gotten. After a moment, he sat up and scanned the room.**he saw Uxor seated at a chair at the writing desk with paperwork spread out in front of her. She turned around as he sat up and smiled at him*Deriaz: What are you up to? *He stood up and stretched, and shuffled over to the desk.*Uxor: *she leaned back so he could see the papers. There were the pages of notes she'd written from the records room, and many different notes squiggled and arrows drawn. She took out a fresh page and wrote* "Just trying to make sense of what we know. Though there was something I wanted to ask you, if you'll humor me"Deriaz: Sure, I'll humor you. *He grinned.* Ask away.Uxor: "The wizard...the one who gave you your memory. How did he get a hold of it? And where had it been do you suppose?"Deriaz: You know, it's funny. I asked him those same things. *He paused for a moment.* When I asked how he got a hold of it, he said "You could say you and I are old friends." When I asked where it had been, he seemed to dodge the question. I tried asking him again, but he kept avoiding it, so I left it alone. Why do you ask?Uxor: "I guess I just don't understand . . . why give it to you now? Undoubtedly he knew the results of doing so"Deriaz: I can't give you a straight answer there. He kept beating around the bush for anything I asked. It was kind of odd, actually. . .Uxor: *she tapped her writing stick on her lip, writing* "Perhaps our focus is wrong right now. While we do need to uncover the true story on Mekari... I think it might be important for us to try and learn more about your wizard friend and the situation that got you to the harbor. Because if Mekari has your memory now, there could be folk out there willing to try and buy it from her. I couldn't say with confidence if she would go to such trouble."Deriaz: *He shook his head.* So, anything new while I was asleep? Or has the puzzle come to a standstill?Uxor: *she pulled out a page* "I think if Mekari were one of the other silver stalkers, I think she was this one" *she pulled out the profile on one named Elana*Deriaz: The Wizard? . . . Well. . . I don't know how much help he could be. I don't know where he is, now.Uxor: "I don't think that needs to be our concern. In the same way that we haven't just walked up to Mekari to ask her direct questions, I think we need to try and research about this wizard in a way other than from his own mouth. From the sounds of it... someone had Ragyr disabled on purpose. If that were the case, why would the one who did that be interested all of a sudden in seeing that he was re-enabled?"Deriaz: *He shrugged.* Again, I can't give you a straight answer there. Though. . . The Wizard DID look kind of surprised to see me, now that I think about it. And when I asked about it, he gave it to me willingly. If he was surprised, though, maybe there was no interest, and it was just chance. . .? *He shook his head.* But. . . Where do we start if we look into this? I don't know of any leads that would be beneficial to us.Uxor: *she stopped for a minute, writing* "When you put the gem in, and then when he let you switch back. . . you had an awareness of who you were. Who you were before we met. Do you still have that awareness, or is it gone since the gem was re-removed?"Deriaz: *He stared off for a second, and then sighed, shaking his head.* No. . . It's blank again. Once again, the farthest back I can remember is the harbor and waking up.Uxor: "I suppose we should start with this. Your answer to this question determines how deeply we search. I want you to be honest. If I told you that I could enlighten you on your previous path in life...would you really want me to tell you?"Deriaz: *He nodded as soon as he read the message, barely thinking twice about it.* Of course.Uxor: "Alright. I will tell you because you ask. Because if it were me, I would do the same." *she paused for a moment trying to think of how best to put it* "I believe you were an assassin Deriaz. Not just Ragyr. Both of you."Deriaz: *He read the note over multiple times, and was speechless. Eventually, he laughed.* Alright, alright. Seriously, now, what was I really?Uxor: *she looked at him with remorseful eyes. It was the truth. She pushed the little paper towards him again*Deriaz: *He shook his head.* No. No, that can't be right. *He laughed, as if trying to play the idea off as a joke. In the back of his mind, it felt as if someone gave a quick laugh.* Me? An assassin? I'm finding that hard to believe. . . *He trailed off as his mind tried to wrestle with the idea.*Uxor: *she frowned and wrote* "I'm sorry. You asked me to tell you, so I am. I can think of no other way to explain it. Deriaz, Ragyr asked me for 40,000 to kill Mekari initially. Then reduced that to me providing I could grant a steady supply of 'jobs.' From him, I could understand this. I could understand him having this occupation. But he requires your skills as well, or so he says.... he could very well have lied to me when he said that you had your own ways of getting 'jobs' done. That he prefered his. And he wasn't talking about talking your way out of it. He was talking about killing."Deriaz: *He slumped to the ground.* I. . . I. . . *He grabbed his head in frustration, and took a few deep breaths.* Alright. Alright. So let's say I AM a killer. . . Did he say anything else? Anything specific? Anything out of the ordinary?Uxor: *she wrote something and came over to sit beside him, passing him the note* "That this was a steady job for the two of you. He didn't say who the past employers were. . . but from the sounds of it, you were needed for the more stealthy arts. His specialty is in combat. Yours was in speech and word play it sounds like."Deriaz: *He crossed his arms on his knees and buried his face in them, though his eyes peeked between them, illuminating the ground beneath them. He shook his head, and as he blinked, the orange on the floor would flicker on and off. A few times, though it was incredibly fast, there seemed to be a hint of red in the orange. He also shook very slightly, as if fighting himself. Eventually, he lifted his head.* Alright. Alright. . . Where do we start looking, then?Uxor: *she put a hand on his shoulder a moment, and wrote* "are you alright? Don't tell me yes. I can plainly see otherwise. I'm just asking the specifics" Deriaz: *He sighed.* I'll be fine, yeah. Just. . . Just having a little bit of an argument right now. Surprisingly, I had someone to scream back at. . . *He grinned.* . . . He seems to like the idea of me now knowing who I am. He's also hoping it will 'go back to the old ways'. He wouldn't explain though. . .Uxor: "I think he means you taking 'jobs.'" *after a moment she stop and reflected* "So he can hear you? And you can hear him?"Deriaz: I guess. I've screamed at him before, but the only other time he's ever answered was when we were in House Deneith. I just assumed that was because he was in control. He's never answered me when I've been in control.Uxor: "Perhaps he didn't have a reason to. In his eyes anyway." *she breathed through her nose a little* "Before we start doing anything or looking for anything, in light of this revelation, I believe we...or at least you... need to determine what you think of this prospect. Ragyr obviously wants to go back to 'that way' . . . but what do you think of this?"Deriaz: You know what I'd really like? *He laughed.* I'd love to have him out of me, so I have something I can physically beat. . . But for now? I'm fine with continuing forward-- To get my memory. As for letting him take control? Not as much of a fan.Uxor: "Well I assure you he probably wants to be out of you as much as you want him out. Though something tells me that face to face, he would be equally as interested in a fight with you. Unless he was bluffing, I gathered from his conversation that the two of you had an accord with your previous arrangement. That you were as apt to take 'work' as he was. Deriaz, that is a lot to stomach."Deriaz: *He stared off for a moment, trying again to take it all in. One of his eyes became a slight red-orange for a moment, but returned to normal. He sighed.* He's not bluffing. . . *He covered his face again in frustration.* This is going to take a while to get used to. . . *he said through the mask and his hands.*Uxor: "What are you thinking?"Deriaz: What am I thinking? *He raised his head from the note, and stared at her.* Humor me, what do you think I'm thinking? Sorry if that came out harsh, but my mind is racing right now. . . Part of me doesn't want to believe it, but between both you and him telling me the same thing, the other part is beginning to believe it. . .Uxor: *Uxor grimaced a little at that reply, but calmly continued to write* "Before you think too much harder on it, I wanted to tell you something that you won't probably much like. But since you are my friend, I feel it necessary to tell you"Deriaz: *He sighed.* Feel free. As if you anything could be worse than realizing you're a killer's accomplice, and went with it willingly, no less.Uxor: *Uxor thought that might be his reply, but she wrote none the less* "You know how I said I feared for my Karma?"Deriaz: *He nodded.*Uxor: "Tell me what you know of karma"Deriaz: Uh. . . *He shrugged.* If you do good things, you get good things done back to you. If you do bad things, you get bad things back to you? Am I close?Uxor: *she smiled a little* "Sort of."""Karma is simply the notion that for every action, there is a reaction. All actions have an impact of some kind on the world. The more dire that impact, the worse the reaction. That is not to say that one cannot do ill in the world, merely that you have to be willing to accept the consequences, and they are sometimes consequences that are indirect""Ragyr, I know you can read this. It is my belief that your being confined to a life of observation, and your inability to 'rid' yourself of Deriaz is your Karma for the life you live. Deriaz, I believe that your having to cope with Ragyr being a part of your continued existance is your Karma for your acts. Neither of you will believe it I am sure... you have not experienced the world in the same way as I, therefor I cannot expect you to understand it. I can only state what I observe. Therefor, it is my advice that if you want to counterbalance what karma has delt to you both, that you need to do something to even things out. That is why folk do 'good' things. But Karma can also mean that you strive to have as little impact as possible in terms of negative and positive. Not always, but it is a goal.""And Deriaz, if Ragyr is your karma, this does not mean that one cannot choose the path they are on. Karma does not dictate what becomes of your life. Merely the quality of it."Deriaz: So, you're saying that Ragyr is stuck with me because of what I did in the past? *His voice seemed to drop a notch, and his eyes turned red-orange.* And if I want out of here, I have to do something 'nice?'. . . Like. . . Not take jobs? *His eyes and voice returned to normal.* Sounds kinda weird to me, but I guess I understand what you're saying. . . Kind of. . .Uxor: *she shook her head* "That is not what I am saying. Ragyr is stuck in the prediciment of being the passenger and not the driver. That is HIS Karma. It has nothing to do with you. For you... the loss of your memory, and the knowledge that Ragyr is still a part of you is your karma. I am not saying that hence forth you both must be model citizens. Only that perhaps you be more selective about the jobs you take. It is a goal is all. Your life is yours to do with as you wish, and you could throw all I say to the wind and continue in what ever manner suited you. I just caution that whatever you chose to do will have some reaction...either now immediately... or later, at a time when you are not expecting it."Deriaz: *He stared off for a moment.* I. . . Guess I get it. . . But is there a point in this Karma thing where you get so far down that there's no hope of getting back to normal? I mean. . . Like. . . *He trailed off.* I don't know of any other way to word that. . .Uxor: *she smiled and shook her head* "No. Don't think of it as a cliff and a mountain. Think of it more like a scale. You put some on one side or the other. It is your choice to put which things on which side, and to add more to one or the other to balance" "the scale will go up and down in your lifetime. But the aim is for the two to even out" *she held her hands back and forth immitating*Deriaz: *He laughed.* Something tells me it's going to take a loooong time to get back to even in our cases. . .Uxor: "It might not be as hard as you think. But I think Ragyr definately will find the task more challenging than you. You exhibit a certain...restraint to the way you deal with the world around you. Ragyr seems, from my observation, to deal in the here and now, the heat of the moment, and emotion. He probably wouldnt care to name it that way." *she shook her head* "it is very apparent to me that you two are indeed two seperate entities. You might share the same body, but you are no more the same person than passengers aboard the same ship. If Ragyr thinks that just because you are in the forefront, that Karma won't get to him. He is wrong."Deriaz: *He grinned.* Well, good. I don't want whatever he has coming to him to affect me as well.Uxor: "As I said. Karma works in ways we cannot anticipate. Other than to know bad begets bad"Deriaz: Well. . . *He seemed to breath a sigh of relief.* As long as there's that little bit of hope. . . Even after learning you're a killer. . . I guess maybe it won't be as hard to cope with as I thought. . .*He stopped, and paused for a moment.* . . . You wanted to me to be perfectly honest with wanting to know who I really am. . . .Now it's your turn to be honest with me. . . . *He turned and looked at her.*Uxor: *she nodded and raised a brow at him to continue*Deriaz: So. . . It's all out on the table. I'm a killer. Not just me, but there are two killers in one body. One who feels no remorse, and the other who has no idea what to think right now. . . Tell me. *He paused, letting it sink in for a moment.* You won't think of me any differently, will you? If you can't stand the idea of me having been a killer at one point in my life, tell me. I'll disappear. Just say the word.Uxor: *she wrinkled her brows and shook her head...she couldn't quite think of the gesture that would best get across her feelings on the matter. So she inched forward and hugged him.*Deriaz: *His eyes went wide for a second, not understanding what she was doing. He had never actually been hugged before. After a few seconds, he returned the gesture.* Well. . . I'll take that as a no.Uxor: *after a moment, she leaned back and patted him on the shoulder, and wrote* "as I said. You are who you are, and you were who you were. And who you will be from now on is up to you. I hold you as my friend still. I could even perhaps see Ragyr as a friend - I'm certain he's crawling with irritation at that notion - but he and I are more alike than he may realize in some ways. Enough to be comrades perhaps"Deriaz: *He laughed.* Oh, trust me, he's squirming all right.Uxor: "If it's any consolation - I was telling the truth when I told him that i do believe killing is a part of the world that must be accepted. A wolf kills. To expect it not to is being foolish. However...to qualify... a wolf also does this for survival and not sport. The element of sport adds a different level of Karma to the matter"Deriaz: *He laughed once.* I'm sure he's going to take that first part as an excuse to continue killing. . . I don't know if warning him about the element of sport is going to change anything. . .Uxor: "Well we can only hope that he takes a moment to consider it. Since he is in a position to do nothing but think for the moment. It is his choice"Deriaz: *He laughed again, and then stared off as if thinking. After a moment, he spoke.* Well. . . What do we do now? I don't know if I see how my knowing of my past is going to determine how deeply we search, or even where we start. . .Uxor: "We may not have to. I offered that suggestion because I wanted to help. But after sitting here with you, it dawned on me that... that would be no true help. So if we do search, it is by your leave."Deriaz: It depends on what you put as our first priority. Mekari, or me? Either way, I'll follow you.Uxor: *she considered things for a moment* "I think Mekari may need to be dealt with from the stand point that she knows both of you"Deriaz: Mekari it is then. *He nodded, and one of his eyes flickered red-orange.* Ragyr seems to be liking that idea as well. . .Uxor: "Well I can only imagine he does. Something tells me he's interested in seeing that she doesn't have the ransom of the gem to hold over the two of you"Deriaz: So, you mentioned Elena as the one that Mekari could have also been in the silver Stalkers. . . That was her name, right? Elena? What makes you think she and Mekari are the same? *He stood up, and extended a hand down to her to help her get up.*Uxor: *she took the hand and motioned for him to follow her over to the paperwork*Deriaz: *He followed, and stared down at all the paperwork, making sense of where the arrows went and what the squiggled notes said.*Uxor: *she had a little time line made, and she pointed out some important areas. The time in which Mekari 'disappears', Elana joins the team. She pulled out Elana's profile. She was listed as being a bard with healing capasity*Deriaz: *He skimmed a profile.* I thought Mekari was a 'field surgeon' though. Didn't her other profile say she had no divine way of healing? But here, it says she has healing capacity. . .Uxor: "Healing by song. Who's to say she wasn't still doing her way of healing and just making up some music?"Deriaz: Good point. . .Are there any other similarities? Any traits that come up, or maybe other skills she has? Or just the timeline that you discovered?Uxor: "The time line mostly. There is one other member who joins, but the personality and background don't seem to match. There is a note on Elana's file ... the part where they mark things of importance about them... that says there was one point during a mission where one of the other casters noted an abnormal amount of healing capasity from her, despite only having the gifts of being a bard"Deriaz: I'm not sure I'm seeing what's so important about that. . . I mean, like. . . Abnormal as in an incredible amount? Or just a very small amount above normal bards?Uxor: *she nodded to 'incredible'* "bards are not masters of that art. They dabble, but they are not specialists like clerics, or even paladins" *she pointed to a line, then wrote* "it says here that she healed a mortally wounded comrade single handedly"Deriaz: Single handedly? *He blinked a few times.* So, could that mean she does have some sort of divine healing? Because I don't know of anyone who could do that without a little divine help. . .Uxor: "well, the one who reported the indicent can shed some light. It's mentioned that there was a caster among the group who used magic to enhance any existing healing she would have had. But the amount that came out of her astounded him enough that he reported it"Deriaz: Who reported it? Maybe we could go ask him or her about the incident. . . Though. . . We may have to think up an excuse for how we actually knew of the event. . .Uxor: *she frowned* "Well, it says their current places of occupation are in Sharn."Deriaz: Oooook, maybe that's a bit out of the way to be investigating, then. . .Uxor: *she nodded* "just a bit. We'd be hard pressed to go there ourselves, or send a runner, and not be needled for why we went. So perhaps we need to focus on what she IS then. If she's not a bard... not a drow... not a cleric... not a spider...what IS she?"Deriaz: What about those. . . Uh. . . *He snapped his fingers a few times.* Quori. . . Quor. . . Yeah, those people. What about them? I remember you brought them up a while back, but never really got into detail. Are they able to shape change or anything weird like that?Uxor: *she considered it* "I would...presume so. They are from the realm of dreams - and seeing as how dreams are, well, rather difficult to pin down sometimes, I definately could see shapechanging as a part of this. So perhaps that needs to be our search...to learn more about what comes from Quor?"Deriaz: *He nodded.* It's worth a shot.Uxor: *she pawed over the documents a moment, but then resigned to tapping the writing stick on the desk idly writing* "If I were someone who knew about Quor... who would I be?"Deriaz: *He shrugged.* I don't know. . . It would have to be someone who is well travelled, I would assume. I don't know if you could just learn something like that in Stormreach.Uxor: "unfortunately the only person even remotely familiar with Quor" *she stopped a moment, seeming to have a realization*Deriaz: *He looked confusingly at her.* Lost your train of thought?Uxor: *she wrote* "I just realized. . .the only person I know who knows about Quor with any sort of 'authority'... is Varro. Varro knows Mekari. So she has to be the source of his information."Deriaz: so we ask Varro, then? But how do we ask him about Quor without looking like we're up to something?Uxor: "We can't. If he knows Mekari as well as I think, then being questioned on her past, followed by being questioned about Quor...he will add things up too easily" *she pondered* "what about....Fred...." *she wrote the name with a cringe*Deriaz: *He looked at the name.* Fred?Uxor: "He is a... mind flayer. The one who lurks in the gardens of respite. I've seen him once in a while. He sells his 'skills' to folk with a desire to learn something new. It's creepy. I've never visited him personally but... I know that he could be a viable source of information"Deriaz: Wait a second. Sells his skills? What do you mean? I don't know much about mind flayers, so you'll have to enlighten me. . .Uxor: "Um, how can I explain this tactfully - the favorite food of a mind flayer is - the mind. They dabble with it as well. I guess you could say they like to play with their food? But Fred has seen a lot of people. Gotten to touch the talents of many folk of the city of all sorts. If we provided him a list of her abilities, he might be able to tell us what best she is"Deriaz: He sounds like out best source of information, since we can't just ask Varro. . . Plus, I kind of want to see a 'mind flayer'. . . Would be interesting. . . *He grinned to himself.*Uxor: "I assure you, seeing Fred would lift your spirits enough that you might never wear your mask again Der. Mind Flayers are like....walking seafood"Deriaz: *He tugged on his mask.* Well, I think that could be debateable. . . But walking seafood? *He laughed.* Ooooh, that just makes me want to see him more.Uxor: "Well, at least you're not a hard one to convince for this approach. Let us pay a visit to him then. Though I suggest you keep your guard up incase he decides he wants to offer us some 'free' services"Deriaz: How would I be able to tell if he starts messing with me? I mean, if he plays with a person's mind. . .Uxor: "Well if either of us starts to act odd. And if you see his tenticles reaching out for either of us... " *she tried to draw a little picture for him on the parchment, but it came out looking like a stick man with the head of an octapus*Deriaz: *He laughed slightly.* Alright. So if either of us starts acting odd, or the tentacles make a move for either of us. Got it.Uxor: *she nodded and held her hand to her face and wriggled her fingers and leaned towards him menacingly. Then she started to collect the paperwork, then pulled out another page, one he hadn't seen before, handing it to him*Deriaz: *He laughed more, and then straightened out the sword and shield on his back. He stopped when she handed him the paper, and took it, skimming over it.* What's this?*there were two portraits on it. One of a drow woman, the other of a warforged, and the eyes were red. The writing around the flyer said* "The House Denieth requests any information concerning the wareabouts of a Drow woman and Warforged who were seen tresspassing on private grounds with the intent of theft. They are to be considered dangerous, and should not be approached by any unarmed citizen"Deriaz: *His eyes went wide once he realized what it was, and his left eye turned to the blood red shade again.* Oh, perfect. *Both voices came out at the same time. He shut his eyes and shook his head, and two orange eyes looked up at Uxor.* When did this start going around town?Uxor: "Yesterday. Looks like when they were unable to resolve matters internally, that House Deneith has finally taken to seeking some outside assistance"Deriaz: What are we going to do? *He pointed down at the mask.* Besides the red eyes, I'm pretty sure that would give me away at first glance. . .Uxor: *she frowned* "I've been thinking about that too. Not to mention, it will seem odd for you to suddenly just not wear your mask."Deriaz: *He grabbed the back of it with one hand, where it was tied together in a knot.* And the fact that I can't go anywhere without it. . .Uxor: *she raised a brow at that* "You know, I always did mean to ask you why it is that you wear it?"Deriaz: *He sighed.* Remember when you asked how many times Ragyr had taken control, and I said it was 3 times? Twice in House Deneith, and once in a bar fight with some Dwarves?Uxor: *she nodded to that*Deriaz: Well. . . I won't go into detail. . . I'm just going to say that the fight went a little farther than I would have liked. 6 Dwarves, 1 Warforged entered the fight. . . 2 Dwarves left. . . *He looked at the ground.* That, and the fact it was the first thing I found in Stormreach that I could really say was truly mine. . . Among other reasons. I felt I had to hide, since I had. . . Well. . . Killed 4 people, and had barely been in the city for 3 days. . . It was like. . . With the mask, I didn't have to worry about anyone recognizing me, you know? I only take it off around people I can absolutely trust. . .Uxor: "Great. So now if you take it off, you'll be recognized. If you leave it on, you'll be recognized. If you adopt Ragyr's appearence, you'd STILL be recognized. We're going to need to find some way to change your looks" *she smiled when he said that, as she had seen him take the mask off perhaps only once. Then her smile faded a little*Deriaz: Do you think we could play me off as someone else? Say. . . Um. . . I found the mask in the street? Cause the way they have me here, I look like Ragyr. Red eyes, black metal, and the mask. . . I've got orange eyes, and blue metal. Big difference there. So if I just say I found the mask. . .Uxor: "and Ragyr is taller. They drew these somewhat to show scale. Perhaps. Or we could find another mask for you - say that folk were mistaking you for this warforged, and it was causing you grief, so you had to get a different...outfit?" *she tapped at one side of her face near her eye then wrote* "And Ragyr, you're going to have to lay a little low for a while anyway. One flicker of that red eye in conjunction with that mask and I don't care how tall you are, it will set people to thinking"Deriaz: I. . . Guess I could wear a different mask. . . I would feel much safer with this on though. . . *He read the note, and one eye flickered quickly.* He agrees, though it isn't with complete satisfaction. . .Uxor: "I didn't expect it to be. But we can't have anyone trying to take you in for a bounty. The minute you show your face, they will know. Then there will be nowhere you can hide that some hitman with a mind for some coin won't take it upon himself to bother you. As thrilling as that sounds, I'm certain House Denieth would comission someone to desintegrate you where you stood. And there is no coming back from that"Deriaz: So, new. . . Mask? *He seemed to say that as if he had never considered it before.* Or try the story I came up with? Either way, we have to get both of us to Fred somehow. . .Uxor: *she stared at the drawing for a moment and wrote* "Well. it is a black and white drawing. There's no indication of color really. And it's not as if this style of mask isn't worn by others around town. And then there's the color and height issue. I think if we go this route - that we just need to be prepaired for folk 'mistaking' you for the drawing, and come up with a buyable lie for why it isn't you. Ruetger can vouch for your being ...." *again she stopped writing, and she hissed again, writing* "Damn it Ragyr! You walked out of my room! Where did you walk when you left here to find Mekari? Did you go downstairs???"*The eyes switched red and the metal turn black as Deriaz willingly let Ragyr take over. His voice seemed to start in the middle of a sentence.* ". . . runt, I don't want to talk to her--- I. . . Mean. . . Um. . . What was the question again?*Uxor circled the lines she just wrote and held it out urgently to him*Ragyr: *He growled under his breath.* I swear, that runt. . . *He sighed.* Yeah. I went downstairs. What's the big deal?Uxor: *she smacked her hand to her face, running it down a moment, and writing* "Was anyone down there to see you leave?? I mean ANYONE. Barkeep...drinking party....passed out drunk man in the corner...anything?"Ragyr: I don't remember! *He shook his head.* There was. . . A group of Dwarves enjoying a round of drinks. . . The tavernkeep. . . There was a wizard or something at the bar. . . A bard and a few people were off in the corner. Private show or something. . . I'm not seeing the point here, mute. What are you getting at? All I did was walk downstairs!Uxor: "Yes. you walked downstairs. And that means folks saw you. So they're probably going to come looking here at the inn for you very soon. If they aren't already. Not to mention, our alaby who was covering for us said we were at the rusty nail. Well there goes that cover, because so were 'you' too. Deriaz was at the rusty nail. So was the red eyed warforged. Both seen coming and going from upstairs. If they don't take you for the same person, they're going to at least thing that your 'runt' knows you and you're in league with one another. With that mask."Ragyr: *He laughed.* Whatever, it's not my problem. Just so long as you two deal with it, and I'm not caught, I forgive you both for being so careless.Uxor: *she squinted an eye at him* "it will be your problem when Mekari starts offering a price for that gem to the highest bidder who's willing to come forward with information to give to the House Deneith. If something like that hits the black market. . . you'll never see it again"Ragyr: *His eyes went wide, and he growled again.* Fine. Fine. So maybe, just MAYBE, I was a little careless too. What do you want me to do about it, hm?Uxor: "Help us think of some way around this. You're experienced at this whole...espianage thing...at least the force end of it. Killing witnesses is not going to help the matter, they've already talked and word of mouth spreads faster than plague. . . but we've got to come up with some way to keep folks minds OFF of picking you out of a crowd, and without raising the attention of the people who know Der already who would stop and ask questions themselves. It might not be within your normal protocal Ragyr, but you're going to have to put some trust in me, alright?" *she sighed and handed him the note with searching eyes for his cooperation*Ragyr: *He crossed his arms and averted his eyes. For a moment, he remained like that, but his eyes eventually slowly moved down through the note. With a snarl, he snatched it out of her hands.* Fine. You have my cooperation, but only. . . ONLY because I don't have much control over what I can do with the runt in control.Uxor: *she smiled a little and held her hand out. This was at least a gesture a mercenary could understand. To shake on something. She was definately not going to hug him, but they had to have some sort of.... truce for the time being*Ragyr: *He looked at the hand in disgust, but his eyes turned red-orange for a moment. Looking as if he had no choice, he grabbed her hand reluctantly.*Uxor: *She smiled, shaking the hand, and then she pulled out some more paper and scrawled on her knee with the other, and put the paper in his hand*Ragyr: *He took the paper, also reluctantly, and stared at it.* What's this now? Something else to force me into doing something I would rather not?Uxor: *the note said* "Ragyr, I will make you another deal. One that is only mine to keep. If you help us ... cooperate with us... I swear to you that until the day I cease to be in this world, that I will search for a way to get you your own bodies"Ragyr: *He stared at it for a moment, and then shot a glance at her.* What is this? Some kind of a bluff?Uxor: *she shook her head no, and held her hand to her chest in a salute and bowed to him*Ragyr: *He watched her bow, and eyed her strangely.* . . . You have the wierdest customs here in Stormreach. . . *He curled his hand into a fist around the paper.* Alright, fine. You had better keep your promise, then. You have no idea how much I'd like this little proposal you've given me. Would give me a chance to finish the runt off permanently, or at least get him jailed.Uxor: *she sighed and mouthed the word "karma"* *then she smiled a little and wrote* "See, what I mean about Karma? Settling to assist us, that is the first step towards seeing some good Karma come of things"Ragyr: *He laughed.* Of course. Of course. Keep preaching about the Karma. Trust me, I've done more killings than you could imagine. Nothing bad has happened to me so far. . . But. . . Having the runt out of me, and being able to get him out of my life could be the good Karma you're talking about.Uxor: *she folded her arms and raised an eyebrow at him. 'Nothing bad ay?' her posture said* "you don't consider playing second fiddle to 'the runt' to be a bad thing? Nor having your gem captive by a mad Quor creature bad?""nor being left disabled in the first place?""I could go on"Ragyr: *He laughed, even louder this time.* Only minor blockades. . . *He stopped.* And don't start on being 'disabled' at the dock. *He glared at her, but grinned roguishly.* You don't even know the half of it. . .Uxor: "Which reminds me, before we go galavanting off to find Fred. What did Mekari do to you? We need to know what to tell Fred"Ragyr: *He held up one hand, and began counting them off on his fingers.* Froze me with a strange tune. Multiple times. Charmed me. Used some strange spell that transferred any damage she took onto me. Did some strange screaming thing to my mind. Made me feel as if she was draining something. Do I need to say any more?Uxor: *she listend and considered these things* "the music would make sense. If she was Elana, she would have picked up a few tricks of that sort. The screaming yes... since youve both confirmed that she is the spider creature, that is what it did to Der originally. Charm could come from any number of abilities, natural or learned on her part. But the damage issue is a new thing. Did she say if it was permanent?"Ragyr: She said to 'keep it in mind' if I wanted to harm her. So I would assume yes. . . Which reminds me. . . Is the job still on for her? I plan on finishing it through to the end if it is.Uxor: *she considered carefully how to answer* "Due to these ... developments... there may be a change of plans. But that doesn't mean I won't have work for you still."Ragyr: *He growled slightly.* Change of plans are never good. Means a job is closing before I can finish it. . . Though the other work is promising. . .Uxor: "I imagine that Mekari is only part of something much bigger than we're seeing. So while there are complications in taking her out for the time being. . . more opportunities might be presenting themselves to us. So I need you to be ready. Though I suspect you're beyond that. If House Denieth's lackys come searcing for us, by all means. Kill them."Ragyr: *His eyes seemed to light up at that idea.* Now THAT I like to hear. . .Uxor: "I thought that might be your pleasure. Anyone who's come prowling in the night for you or Der ..or me. . . is no one interested in ambassadoring that's for sure. At this point, we're going to have to watch our backs. Is there anything else about Mekari that stands out to you Ragyr? That would be worth mentioning to Fred as far as figuring out what she is?"Ragyr: Nothing that I can think of. . . Just what I said. . . If it's any consolation, I remember her hair color. Blonde. Other than that, I never got a good look at her to remember much more.Uxor: "and any ideas on how it is we're going to keep folks from recognizing the two of you? You seem like the sort of person who built some notoriaty about you in the past with your frequent assignments. How did you keep your profile low key enough to move in close to targets?"Ragyr: How did we keep it low profile? It was simple: No one cared. We would just do the job, someone would say something, but where we came from. . . *He shrugged.* It wasn't that big of a deal.Uxor: "Well I suppose that explains the whole walking around for the world to see notion. Alright, if you were going to go incognito, how would you do it?"Ragyr: How would I do it? I don't know. The runt was the expert at that kind of stuff. Buy him a new mask or something. *He tugged at the orange bag-like mask.* Or just do what he said, say he found it in the street.Uxor: *she considered it a moment, then she wrote* "I think I have an idea. Deriaz was seen rather beat up. He's also spoken to the sentimental value of that mask. How...plausible do we think it would be for the 'black red eyed warforged' to have come to the inn, stolen the mask, then made himself visible on purpose to try and have a fall-guy *she crossed out and wrote* fall-forged? *the question seemed posed to both of them* *Then Deriaz went to get the mask back from this attacker, resulting in the beating?"Ragyr: *He nodded.* Sounds like what would really happen if the two of us were seperate. *He laughed.* Worth a go.Uxor: *she nodded* "Then that is our story. Deriaz, you got that? I think before we talk to Fred, we're going to need to spread word of this 'incident' among others...to further help the credibility of it"*The metal returned to blue, and the eyes switched to red. He nodded.* Got it. Black, red-eyed Warforged stole it, I went to get it back, beat me up over it.Deriaz: *He nodded again.* Spreading it would be a good idea.Uxor: "The bartender can attest to seeing me tending your wounds, since I bought all the oil. I'm certain some people saw you passing through the streets before you got here with your injuries"Deriaz: A few guards looked at me oddly, yeah. *He paused.* . . . By the way. . . You know, you didn't have to promise that. . .Uxor: "I wanted to. You might see Ragyr as the...intruder perhaps in your mind. He might see you the same way. But considering who he is and the way he is, if he can do this for us, I would be willing to do that. Who knows, maybe he'll come around to the idea of" *she thought about it* "co-workers? Comrades is a stretch right now I think. And I'm relatively certain he's rolling with laughter that I'm a 'sucker' willing to do that for him. I know the minute I did it, he'd probably put a knife in my back. But sometimes you just have to free the wolf from the trap, and trust that it will be happier for being free that it will forego the idea of attacking you. And it deserves to be free. No one should be a slave to a situation against their will. Even him."Deriaz: Well. . . I have to say. . . If you could do that for us? I'd be in your debt. *He grinned.*Uxor: *she nodded* "Before we start spreading this, I need to make a stop. Make the story more known. Meet me at the guild hall this afternoon?Deriaz: *He nodded* This afternoon. I'll see if I can't talk up this mask theft.Uxor: *she nodded and smiled, and patted him on the shoulder before gathering her papers together quickly. She had to get out of here. Many things had come to her awareness now, and keeping an emotionless face was nearing the realms of impossibility. Once she was clear of Deriaz, all her concentration went into her new persuit, which had been consuming her thoughts*
*Hurt and confusion were painted all over Uxor’s face as she stalked around town seeking Varro. At this point, she didn’t care who saw, but she also didn’t stop to answer questions. Being an ambassador only made it worse, for people were inclined to look at her as she went. But all that mattered now was finding Varro – and for entirely different reasons than the day before. Her first stop was his home. When she didn’t get an answer, she let herself in. She stalked about until she heard the sounds of slumber coming from his bedchamber. The notion that he might not be decent barely registered as she thrust the door open; the anger she felt was enough to ignore anything that stood between her and telling Varro off. Immediately she went straight to his bedside, where she found him resting soundly. With a rigid finger, she prodded him squarely on the forehead until he forced his eyes open*
Varro: Woman, you have no concept of privacy or hangovers, do you? *he looked her over and pulled his sheets a little more securely round himself* Good morning Uxor. To what do I owe this unannounced visit? If you’ll give me a moment to...
*She’d already scrawled a note apparently, as she flicked the folded paper at him and crossed her arms over her chest, glaring at him*
Varro: I will take that to mean it’s of some urgency *reading the note*
“How dare you! Are you completely insane??? Why did you go to Mekari??? That is the LAST person who needed to know about Deriaz’s trouble! What if she tells someone about Ragyr? What if she ransoms that information? And he’s lucky to have made it to me alive! He was practically dead on. . .”
*Varro stopped reading and pulled the sheets to wrap round him as he stood up*
Varro: Look, first off... *she uncrossed her arms and shoved him, whereat he fell back onto the bed*
Varro: Nice. Very civilized of you. *he stared at the ceiling on his back a moment before continuing to read the remainder of the note*
“. . . he was practically dead on my threshold!! I came to you because I felt I could put my faith in you. I was wrong? For your information now Mekari has that stone, and who knows what she plans on doing with it! You’re going to tell me something right now Varro – who is Mekari? Hell, who are you really?”
*He slapped the paper down on the bed and sat up*
Varro: Is that so? Did it ever occur to you that there might be a good reason for me to not tell you? Or how about this – all things considered, wounded or not, you have Deriaz back, am I right?
*She held a stiff arm out and motioned for the paper, which he tossed onto the bed. He slid off the bed past her as she furiously penned out more on the parchment. He paced slowly, securing the sheets with his hand, and stretching, until she stormed round to face him and press the revised note into his chest, which he took with a gnarled nose*
Varro: No need for hostility
“Don’t act like you’re doing me any favors by having done it that way, or that you shouldn’t have to tell me. Do you know how much I’ve had to cover for you? All the times I stuck up for you with the others when your honor is called into question... *he stopped reading*
Varro: I don’t need this. You asked me to help, and I did! And you have a lot of gall barging in here with your inquisition. For all you knew, I could have been in here ‘entertaining’ company. Lots of it...
*Something about his words flared her temper. Maybe it was the stress... or maybe it was the notion of him frolicking about town disgracing the memory of Endaria. Perhaps mostly, it was the audacity of him to act as if he’d done nothing wrong. Her free hand whipped across his face so firmly, it turned his head*
*Varro closed his eyes slowly and grinned. Still with his head turned from the force of her slap, he brought his forearm up to wipe some blood from his mouth*
Varro: You know, I haven’t had a woman hit me like that since my late wife...thank you for the refresher. It’s funny, sometimes I forget that you’re such a strong arm. Tell you what *he turned to look at her* What’s say we talk some more, while we’re on the subject of who’s defending whom? What if I told you I already KNEW about you and the warforged spying on Mekari. Or the fact that you’re the ones who busted into Denieth looking for information on her. Or that I or Mekari could already have turned you in, if that is what I wanted. Or that I could have told the others about you following Mekari on the roof, hm? How about those things!? I could have ratted you out, but I didn’t because I knew you were just snooping on her that night, following her to find out if she posed a threat. Very respectable of you by the way, prowling after a lady in the dark. *He pressed the note back at her for her rebuttal to that bit of enlightenment. Indeed she wrote, but as soon as she saw the sentence on the page, she knew it was a mistake to have written it. She was just so upset with him.* “Not her, YOU! I WAS FOLLOWING YOU!”
*She tried to stash the note back, but he was very quick, and had plucked the page from her*
Varro: No no, by all means, we may as well be completely open now about *he got quiet as he eyed the words. Then his gaze fell on her, and his face flushed with color. She was someone who did not feel the bite of cold due to her race, but his look and words froze her solid. He was livid with abhorrent betrayal.*
Varro: Get out. Now.
*It had been a mistake to write it that way, and she tried to go for a new paper to write on and explain herself. He seized both her wrists with a free hand, pinning them to her lap, and she helplessly shrank down beneath him as he towered over her. His presence seemed to fill the room. More than anything she felt it was because she knew what she’d done, and her mind was only making it so, but she was petrified with guilt and fear of the look he was giving her.*
Varro: No. No talking. I want you gone!
*In the course of her time in Stormreach, she had seen many terrible foes and threats...viciously plated monsters with unholy instruments of terror. Now she found herself quaking before this man, who was unarmed, naked save for a bedsheet, and who had no weapon except the words that sliced into her. He forced her back, steering her with her two wrists held in his grasp. His knuckles were white as he clenched the sheet with his other hand, and the two awkwardly crossed the room in this manner. He forced out malevolent talk past biting teeth as he enunciated his points at her*
Varro: Know that if you ever try to come here again, you’re going to need a lock-pick. My door is closed to you. Now, either through my front door or out my window, I don’t care how you do it, but GET OUT.
*He gave another shove of her wrists and released her, going for his door and pulling it open. She tried once more for paper to write, and he yanked her writing stick from her hand, and hurled it out the door* LEAVE!
*She pleaded inaudibly with her lips, but his wrath was terrible enough to cause her to back out of the door. The moment the last part of her figure cleared the doorway, he slammed the door shut on her. She felt around on the ground through teary eyes for her writing stick. This was not what she had wanted. Why had she gotten so mad at him so quickly? To think the night before, all she could think of was his safety. Today, all she could think of was shaking the truth out of him. This was the result. She sat in the street outside Varro’s home, lost as to what to do now or where to go. So blindly she struck out for the Fellowship’s keep. Really she had no idea what she would do there. Some part of her spoke with a voice of reason – “You need to talk to Hope. This has gotten too far. You can’t talk to Der. You can’t talk to Sho. You’ve lost Varro now too. This has to stop. Enough lies Uxor. Own up to your actions.” These things she wrestled with in her mind as she drew closer to the place. She was undecided still when she saw Sho standing on the doorstep. Quickly she wiped her eyes and tried to hide the fact that she’d been crying, and braced herself for the next wave of complications.... for she had heard that Sho had the ability to know the truth of what one said. Now it seemed that would be put to the test. Uxor knew nothing she could do accept walk into the gathering of guild members, and pray to whatever forces were out there, that somehow this would get better*