Trial By Fire (Aeodan, Edalene, PM to join)

The Last Days of Free Mages

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

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Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:40 pm

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"Rebellions are built on the back of the foolish. An intelligent man calculates his chances of success against tyrannical oppression and often finds himself in self imposed exile or wordless resistance. A foolish man looks upon oppression and does not see their weapons, does not see the strength of their forces, does not see the implications of violence or any of its lasting consequences. A foolish man sees a tyrant as a single face and resolves to punch that face. All rebellions begin with foolish (and often drunken) brawlers." - Thomas Theodore Terrance "A Brief History of Idalosian Conquest".

"I envy your mortality. You may die but once, and gloriously. For me, it's much harder."
-Cassion

Vhalar 122, Arc 717

Gleaming metal flanked the entrances to the Academy, grim faced men emblazoned with the careful depiction of a Jacodon tearing a serpent from tall grass. Their armor was a darker shade than the ordinary Iron Hand, new and barely scratched. To the learned it would identify the ore as being dragged from the earth as far north as Khrome, the perpetual shadow an imperfection on the metal itself highly valued among the nobility. In a rarer form, the metal itself would shine the glossy hue of raven’s feathers, but here the imperfection was only manifested enough to cast a pall on the ordinarily bright gleaming armor of the King’s men.

Students milled uncertainly around the entrance, some too frightened to ascend the stairs inside. By the door a tall man loomed over the smaller Dean in a passionate but quite discourse. The smaller and older man held his ground, but a slight tremor in his back leg betrayed the anxiety that was creeping mud-thick through his veins. In stark contrast, the scarecrow above him seemed to bask in his power, thick oily hair hanging in half-hearted black locks around a snake-thin face. His nose was thin and sharp, like a curved dagger or beak. He wore a breastplate of the same darkened metal, emblazoned with the same sign, but a tabard of blue and gold and a sigil of House Venora neatly stitched across the back of his heavy cloak. In the late days of Vhalar, cold had found its way to Andaris and crept into the nooks and crannies of even the most warmly dressed men.

The discussion continued at a clip till finally the smaller man relented and held up one hand, nodding. Satisfied, the taller man drew back and waved a willowy arm. Half the soldiers assembled tramped up the steps and into the University. From his perch at the top of the stairs, the stranger drew his eyes across the crowd, as though tallying them, marking their faces, and then turned back and followed after the guards.

“Please, Please gather around!” The Dean called out to them, waving his arms for them to approach. It might have been hard had he been on the same level as the students, but on top of the stairs the conservatively dressed scholar stood taller than them all. The soldiers that remained impassively maintained rank, but angled their heads slightly as to hear.

“I know you are all somewhat concerned, given the new policies our noble King has laid out on the practice of magic. These men are here to ensure your safety and the safety of our community by determining if there are other mages on the premesis. I assure you…” here he paused to hold up both hands emphatically, “I implore you to remain calm. Classes will resume as normal. So long as we are in accordance with the will of the King, we have nothing to fear. These soldiers are here for our own protection. Now…” he turns, dramatically, telegraphing his willingness to be through with the speech, “If we can get back to our pursuits?”

“What of Professor Terrance?”

The Dean wheeled on his heel so fast he almost spilled onto the stairs, steadying himself at the last moment. He blanched white for a moment before regaining his composure. The man who had spoken had slowly made his way to the front of the students, drawing the eyes of the guards. He wore simple traveler’s clothes, with an islander cast to his skin. His long hair was shaped into dreadlocks set with beads, shells, and other trinkets of the road that glittered and sang when he shook his hair. Broad shouldered, he had dust about him, as if arriving from a long way off. Dark eyes flashed but he did not ask with any danger or fury in his voice, a simple haughty curiosity. From where the other teachers gathered, Melena narrowed her eyes but communicated no other change in her composure.

“Ah, and…and who are you, sir?” The Dean asked warily, “I don’t recognize you.”

The man shrugged his shoulders, “I am called Daevus and I’m a graduate of this institution and it’s sisters in Viden and Scalvoris. Archeology, Languages, and History were my focuses. I…” here he paused to rummage at his belt, pulling free a sealed leather scroll case with a brass top. “I have my diplomas here, sir, in case you’d care to inspect them. Professor Terrance was a correspondent of mine and quite invaluable to my research. I heard he had taken ill, so journeyed here.” When the Dean made no movement to the scroll, Daevus replaced it on his belt, “Professor Terrance is not at his home or office. His neighbors say the King’s Men came to pay him a visit and he left with them several trials back. Do you have any comment that might illuminate us?”

The Dean grimaced and opened his mouth to speak, but before he could a guard stepped forward. “All matters regarding the King and his inspection of this city, our citizen’s SAFETY, is not open for discussion.”

“Surely not.” Daevus challenged, “The University has always encouraged open and frank discourse. It is our right to inquire after our educators when-“ But here he stopped, met with the shaft of the guard’s spear thrust suddenly into his chest. Daevus lost the rest of his sentence in a mighty whoosh of air, the blow bringing him to his knees, gasping.

“Discussion over.” The guard said shortly, peering down at the traveler, challenging him to move. “You will return to your homes or your classes, it makes no difference to us which one. Dean. You have business to attend to within.”

Color rose in the Dean’s cheeks, but the guards and their stoic indifference, the glitter on their weapons eased away the biting retort. Instead he meekly nodded and motioned for the students to walk past the guard and the gasping Daevus to make their way into the school.

There were no cheers.

There was no chatter.

Silence fell upon entrance of the Rynmere academy.

Silence had fallen on them all.
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Aeodan
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Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:06 am

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A return to Andaris for the twins was strange. It was like knowing the same hallway for twenty arcs, moving a new a house, and then moving back. The hallway was the same, with the same ornamentation and pictures, but something was off about it. It was longer, or shorter, or wider or more narrow... There was something off about it, and that is how it was with Andaris as a city.

Aeodan's research had led him to many places over the last arc, and while he'd enjoyed many of them, they held no nostalgia for them. They were not his childhood home, filled with memories of jeers and bullies. There were no snarls or name-calling in Viden, and certainly no antagonizing in Etzos. He was treated nearly as well as royalty in Oakleigh, but here, standing in the archway of the Rynmere University, it all came flooding back to Aeodan.

Thanks to the Mark of Vri, he could recall with startling clarity the first time he'd been made fun of. A child of no more than six arcs, he'd been called lame by the boys of the city as he went out to play. 'Cripple', they called him. They'd hit his legs, push him down... And Aeodan did nothing. He cried. He could see the tears as vividly as if here were standing next to his younger self, and he wanted to scream at himself. 'Get up!' He wanted to scream it, and his heart set to racing for his memories.

He'd showed them. Aeodan had surpassed them all in his studies, and now he was the foremost expert on the Jourkadri Cuts. His name would be written in the annals of history, and those of the boys who'd teased him would be forgotten by all. All but him. He may have forgiven them, but he'd never forget them. They forged him in adversity, and taught him to remain strong in the face of tyranny. He would not be terrorized, not then, and not now. Instead, he stood in the growing mass of students, watching with ever-inquisitive eyes as the discussion at the top of the stairs reached its inaudible peak. Perking an eyebrow, he leaned in a few inches, as if that would bring the heated whispers any closer to his range of hearing. Instead, though, he just saw as the Venora sigil swooped about and marched into the University. He bit his lip, looking to his sister.

"This cannot be good, my love." He said it quietly, though he could feel her anxiety through their bond. His was not so much anxiety as apprehension at watching the events in front of him unfold. Aeodan awaited patiently as the Dean reapplied his demeanor, noting the subtle change in his resolve as the concession to the man in the armour. Another eyebrow went up as the Dean explained the intrusion, attributing it to the King's decree and that it was for their safety. Perhaps too cynical for his age, but Aeodan's first thought was, 'Audrae's ass, I bet it is.' Frowning, Aeodan's heart jumped when the man mentioned someone very dear to him... Thomas.

"What of Professor Torrence?" For forty trials the season before, and twenty of this one, Aeodan had been wondering that very question. Upon arriving in Rynmere from the Eclipse Portals in Viden, Aeodan's first stop was to visit the Professor and see about Malena's child. He intended to ask of the Professor's recovery after the Temple, and perhaps even brainstorm possible locations for the other Eleven. But the Professor was not in. And upon asking, Aeodan was not met with resistance so much as inconsistency. 'In his office, I'd expect,' they would say. 'Taking the trial off for personal reasons. Try back to-morrow,' they'd say. For sixty trials, the Professor was unreachable by letter or visit, and Aeodan had feared something far more sinister than a sick trial or two.

Perhaps the University had discovered his trickery and expelled him from its campus. But why the subterfuge, then? Perhaps the Seekers had recalled him, and this was to avoid suspicion. Of course, it only enhanced Aeodan's, so he could only imagine what it did to those more curious. No, instead Aeodan found himself wondering exactly the same as this Daevus. The name did not sound familiar, though Aeodan would never presume to know all the Professor's secrets and secretive associates. The Dean did not seem pleased by the interruption, either, and Daevus' objection was met with brute force and the blunt haft of a spear. A gasp elicited from the gathered students at the blow, but Daevus did not submit. He fell to his knees, gasping for air, as the throng of students filtered fearfully around Daevus' kneeling form. Aeodan, however, just clenched his jaw.

It was deadly silent, not a whisper heard. Nothing, except for one thing: The sound of his beating heart. His, and his alone, for his sister's no longer beat. She had survived because of Thomas' sacrifice, and Aeodan wouldn't forget that. Not now, not in the time the Professor needed him most. Moving to the knelt man with sun-kissed skin, Aeodan offered him a hand.

"Daevus? I am Aeodan Burnett. We are... friends of the Professor. We want to help." He nodded solemnly, dark eyes meeting those of the road-worn traveler. He'd offered a hand to a man far more learned and traveled than he, a hand laden with truth and sincerity. Any associate of Thomas' was a friend of his.
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Edalene
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Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:41 am

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Walking onto the campus brought a warmth to her chest that she had not expected. When Edalene and Aeodan had left for Viden, it had been somewhat easier for her to leave. She had needed to escape Rynmere, where she had memories of death and pain, and so the cold winds of Viden had been a welcome change and refresher. Edalene had not missed Andaris too much. She had had Aeodan with her, and Aeodan was her home. But walking through her old haunts holding Aeodan's hand in hers had brought a nostalgia for simpler times.

She could feel Aeodan's reminiscence through their link. He was twinged with a hint of sadness, a hint of nostalgia, but the overwhelming emotion emanating from her brother was his pride. It warmed her on the cool Vhalar day, and she squeezed his hand, sending him a loving smile. He had every right and reason to be proud. Edalene was overwhelmed by her pride for him.

Of course, her pride in herself was another matter. Her heart sunk when she thought back over the past seasons. Edalene had hoped, no, even expected, that by this point in her life she would have advanced far further than she actually had. But with the Temple and her heartache, she had done little but fret and ponder over the decisions that lay before her. Her anxiety rose in her, but a quiet murmur from Aeodan brought her back to reality.

It was with a start of surprise that she realised the twins were standing before a great crowd at the steps of the hall. "What is this?" she breathed, but she knew that Aeodan could not answer. Her anxiety only heightened when she heard what was being discussed, and a gasp escaped her lips when they mentioned Thomas. "Aeodan," she hissed, but they did not have the time to say anything before the swarthy man disrupted the proceedings.

As he spoke, Edalene caught Malena's eyes, and nodded in recognition, biting her lip. She could not speak out in Thomas' defence; not now, not in front of the guards, but the man did so anyway. Her hand flew to her mouth as she watched in horror. Being beaten, the man dropped to his knees as the guards slowly dissipated, and silence reigned over the crowd, subdued by the sudden act of brutality.

Without even speaking to her brother, they moved as one to the fallen man, Edalene standing beside her brother anxiously as he stretched out a hand to help him rise. She nodded at her brother's words, but her eyes were darting around the crowd. "One moment," she murmured hurriedly,
before releasing Aeodan's hand and walking quickly over to Malena where she stood by the steps still in shock.

"Malena," Edalene greeted hurriedly. The two had seen each other a few times earlier in the season, working together at the University. "What is this about? Do you know--" Her eyes darted back to the fallen man. She did not want to make the same mistake. "Where is he?"
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Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:52 pm

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At first it was difficult to tell the difference between a grimace and a grin. Daevus seemed to wear both, running his fingers lightly against where the spear had struck. He caressed the wound, perhaps feeling for sign of fracture but something about the way his touch glided seemed off...almost treasuring. Through a tangle of glimmer and knot dreads Daevus looked up at Aeodan. Although his full expression was impossible to parse, the grin overtook the impression of the grimace and he stood with aid from the young scholar. The wayfarer stood taller than Aeodan and brawny, a collective of scarred muscles, woven bands, and other strange trinkets he had affixed to his body. He smelled of sandalwood and dust, dried dirt that gave the Burnett a sudden mental glimpse of an open road, stretching and rolling precariously toward a shimmering horizon. Travel was baked into Daevus by years of hard living beneath the Idalosian suns and at this range it was impossible to miss the tell-tale language of adversity written in silver-brown scars across his body. When the weight of his eyes fell upon Aeodan, it was almost the sensation of force settling on his shoulders. Oh yes, there was authority there in those amber eyes, mischievous and wily.

"Burnett...Burnett..." Daevus breathed, tasting the name, rolling it in his mouth, "I recall your name, scholar, but not your face." He stretched back, surprisingly limber for one built so thick and settled, turning askance to avoid the suspicious eye of his attacker. "A thanks, I wager," he said, low and chuckled, "For your aid. I'll pour a drink in your name." Edalene hurried by him, words lost behind her in the tangle of students. Daevus turned to watch her go, watching her nimble body bounce up the stairs before leaning down to retrieve a small glittering ring that had dropped off one braid. He rolled it in his palm, transfixed in its brilliant glow only a moment before slipping it back on.

Envoy, Aeodan's ever-present shadow skulked between the gaggle of students, narrowly avoiding feet that could never reach it as it listened to their hurried conversations. Its small, eerily human mouth echoed the words they spoke in perfect cadence, two of its three prism eyes dancing fire-bug bright in their sockets. The other, the center, Aeodan's eye, rolled lazily toward Daevus. Anemone arms of coalescing motion drifted and languidly fought the air, the small smile dropped suddenly and Envoy was loping around the scholar, between him and Daevus, lime-green skin glistening in the pale afternoon light as its monkey-like shoulders lifted it from leap to lope.

"Who are they, dya think?" It said, its voice the echo of a breathy woman, "Did any of you have Terrance? Was he a mage? I thought mages were taller!" it repeated next in a lower, gutteral cant, familiar to Aeodan as Northern Andaris.

Frustrated, Envoy smacked both hands upon the ground and looked up at him, two of its three eyes bouncing madly, "Lookit them all. Babes, milk-breath, soft-skinned, traitors. Wotcher think, Garid? Investigator'll let us burn this eyesore?" this voice was a deeper one still than the last, eerily similar to the man who had attacked Daevus in the first place. Aeodan's gaze was drawn to the guard as he finished whispering into the ear of another, just as Envoy stopped talking. Clearly vexed, Envoy dragged one long finger through the dirt toward Daevus, brought it up and snarled with his perfect tiny teeth. Something of Daevus unsettled Envoy, and in his excitement, he'd borrowed the voices of everyone else but the one Aeodan gave him.

Still knelt, Daevus almost seemed to see Envoy before straightening and looking through him, perhaps just a trick of his gaze. "Of course! Burnett! Grave-robbers, death-speakers, god-singers..." He laughed, mostly to himself, "Ruinfall, yes? Thomas wrote me of your exploits," He turned, casting another lascivious gaze up after Edalene, "Well, the both of you." His eyes did not linger, returning to Aeodan, "But ink does not really have the gusto of spoken tongue. You'll need to regale me properly, the two of you." Only a few students and faculty remained before the University entrance, talking and too nervous to pass the guards posted at the doors. "Well," Daevus said, a note of disdain slid into his tone, "If we have a happy occasion to celebrate soon, anyways."


Malena stood with the other professors, included with them by dint of her studies. It was only the birth of her twins that had slowed her doctorate study but she was expected to take the laurel of a professor and begin teaching in earnest the following Arc, provided (as some unwed wryly mocked) the life of a mother did not prove too arresting for her.

In truth, Malena was an object of jealousy to some of the women in the library. Chosen specially by Professor Terrance years before, she had soared in academic achievement, all while easily holding down her growing pregnancy. Whispers filled the halls about the identity of the father, as Malena claimed no husband and seemed intent on remaining that way. Lewd heresay suggested the bastard children of Terrance, while others put the blame at the wandering hands (and infamous reputation) of the lecher astrologer professor, Kip Lavrin, but no such claim was verified. Presumably, the Dean had her tell him in confidence, but he had breathed a word of it to no one.

Malena wore verdant green today, flowing robes that neatly hid her recovering body and drew attention to her brilliant green eyes and curly cascades of ringlet hair. As Edalene approached her, Malena stepped quickly towards her. She had scarcely gotten her last question voiced before the older woman enveloped Edalene in an embrace, resting her chin in the dip between shoulder and neck.

"Edalene!" She cried loudly, blaring enough to ring in the Burnett's ears, "Gods! I did not expect you! I am so elated you've returned!" Malena spun the hapless scholar in her embrace, giggling loudly and drawing the stares of the faculty and a few guards, "Do please forgive us, this...oh, this is a poor homecoming indeed!" She buried her head against Edalene's, her lips brushing the gentle curve of Edalene's earlobe.

"Too many unfriendly eyes." she hissed quickly, "Come to my home after the the second bell of morning, when the streets are darkest. Do not be followed and give these rabid dogs no excuse to sharpen their fangs."

She pulled Edalene off her feet, completing the swinging embrace with a feat of strength Edalene was always somewhat surprised by. Beneath her smooth skin and scholar apperance, Malena had the coiled muscles of a traveler...she had to, considering she had been on more of Professor Terrance's excursions than Edalene could readily recall.

"Distance yourself from fools who would publicly support him. Read the crowd. No heroes among the paper-cut. You and your brother are useless to him if you're arrested as collaborators!"

She set Edalene down and stepped back. Her mouth was smiling, but her eyes were cold and searching...the calculating stare of a tactician...of Thomas' Tactician. "My word, but we'll need to speak to so many Professors! Your treastise on Ser Andrew's accounts of the Burhan Rebellion, your incomplete work on the bastards of seventh generation Venora!" She took Edalene's hand, shook it once, "I shall be straight away to Professor Morveyo to speak about borrowing the Venora family tree scrolls from Archive. Oh! I am so elated to have you returned!" Malena leaned in and kissed Edalene softly on her left cheek before nodding and striding off up the stairs and into the University. Much of the attention once on them had shifted, finding purchase elsewhere...especially on Daevus and Aeodan.[/align][/googlefont]
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Aeodan
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Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:09 pm

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Close to Daevus, an air of familiarity pinged in Aeodan's subconscious. There was something oddly calming and settling about Daevus' persona, and Aeodan equated the feeling to when the Professor and the twins shared their dinner before their excursion into the Fifth Temple. The worldliness radiated off the man's skin, and Aeodan could feel the sense of adventure and the hefty weight of a rough living that came with Daevus' presence. Still, though, Aeodan couldn't quite put his finger on it, though when he thought about it, his heart pounded with excitement.

"Yes, ser, Ruinfall. I am surprised the professor would relay such information to someone outside the three of us. Indeed, he must trust you quite a bit to keep you so close to his successes and failures. A lot happened in that Temple, but nothing that I could not repeat over a glass of fine Venoran red. Perhaps after we see the Professor again, yes?"

Aeodan watched the man, that niggling feeling of familiarity starting to come into clarity, but only just so. Aeodan's eyes narrowed ever so slightly before the green-skinned Diri came into his field of vision. He watched Envoy observed Daevus, noting his demeanor towards the man. He'd been with Envoy a season now, and had never seen the frog-like spirit react in such a way. Aeodan, though, was far more distracted by the voices it mimicked. He did not take note of the look that Daevus gave the location where the spirit stopped, instead focusing on its word.

The woman's voice was not familiar to him, but it bounced around his head nonetheless. Even moments after Envoy had stopped speaking, Aeodan ran through the voices in his head, focusing on their rhythm and cadence to Identify where they were from. Northern Andaris, for sure, and the man's voice was the exact same as the one who'd just attacked Daevus. Aeodan frowned, looking back up at Daevus. How could he explain what he heard without giving away the bound spirit in his service?

"Has the professor ever mentioned the name Garid to you, ser? When... When I was standing in the throngs, I heard a guard or someone whisper the name, and I was wondering if it meant something... It piqued my curiosity, to say the least..." He looked over at his sister, being hugged and admired by Malena. He knew that the woman would likely need support, since the professor had been her truest supporter. It interested Aeodan that Malena was not under suspicion, though she may be under surveillance. Catching Edalene's eyes, he sent through a telepathic message.

Be careful. They may be watching her.

With that, he turned back to Daevus. In between them, Envoy stared at Daevus, and Aeodan could feel its distaste finally. It only furthered his suspicions that Daevus was more than he let on. Aeodan considered, briefly... No, he couldn't be. Could he? It would make sense, especially if the Professor was in trouble.

"Ah... I'd be happy to regale you, ser. In celebration of Thomas' return, I will cook us all a fine meal and we will share the story of how the professor, Edalene and I survived the Fifth Temple. For now, though? I think we need to find Thomas. And quickly..." Aeodan's brown eyes were pleading, desperate to save the man who'd come to be a hero of his.
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Edalene
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Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:08 am

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Edalene stuttered as Malena flung herself into her arms, holding her close to the almost-professor. Shocked by the reception, her hands floundered a little before finding purchase on Malena's back, holding the flustered woman to her. "Malena," she murmured softly, a contrast to the loud cry of the academic in her ear. "It'll be alright, I promise. We'll do what we can." Her eyes flickered back to her brother, where he helped Daevus up to his feet, before settling again on Malena.

Even as she swung Edalene around, Malena whispered shrewdly into her ear. Despite the pang of fear that ran through Edalene - unfriendly eyes? Were they being watched? - she could not help the half smile at Malena's cleverness. "Always an actress, Malena," she murmured softly, grinning at the woman to let her know she had received her message with a subtle nod. Then, like Malena, her demeanor changed.

"Yes, yes!" she called, her voice as loud as the other woman's. Uncharacteristically, she clapped her hands together as if elated, her face alight with a joy she did not feel. Edalene heard the message her brother sent her, but did not react, not outwardly. She could not out Aeodan too. Hurriedly, she continued with the charade. "Please do, Malena - I am itching to complete my work now that I am back home! If you could ask him, too, for his research on the Venoran exports of the time, I believe I can make some links as to the likely parents of the bastards." Edalene sent a subtle wink to Malena, before leaning in and pressing a kiss to the woman's cheek. "It is so very good to see you again! Adieu, Malena!" she called, watching Thomas' associate hurry up into the building.

Well, she smiled grimly, thinking to herself, we have a plan. And she turned back to her brother, before her stomach dropped.

There he was, helping Daevus still, talking to him in full sight of everyone. What had Malena said? Distance from those who would support him publicly. Edalene strode back to her twin, restraining herself to a swift walk, making sure not to seem afraid or hurried.

"Brother!" she called, smiling beatifically, wrapping an arm around his waist. She regarded Daevus coolly, as if she could not have cared less for the man. "I am sorry, but all this travel and excitement has made me very tired. Will you escort me back to the room?" Aeodan would feel the urgency, the secrecy through their link, knowing Edalene was putting on a show. She turned to Daevus and smiled apologetically.

"I hope you are alright, ser, but we really must be going." Edalene leaned in as if to brush her lips against his cheek, before whispering harshly in his ear. "Malena's house, second break after dawn. Do not be followed." She rocked back on her heels, schooling her expression. "Well, it was a pleasure to meet you, but I really do need to rest."

Edalene began to tug Aeodan along with her, hoping that he followed her lead. They needed to get out of public sight, avoid suspicion, so they could go to Malena's - and find out what was really going on.
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Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:14 pm

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"Venoran red," Daevus tasted the words as if already sampling the latest vintage and shook his head once, curtly, "A rich body but a ghost in departure, no, we shall have something more appropriate. A wine should not visit, like a neighbor borrowing butter, but stay and speak the seasons on your tongue. Rhakros Black, called Addertongue by the locals, I believe it shall be a most appropriate beverage for your story." Absently one hand still rubbed where the spear butt had found him, as if coaxing the pain to a purr. He answered Aeodan's question about Garid with a shrug, searching the lines of guards with him before turning back around to the young scholar. "Search only for what is hidden, Aeodan," He chided with a small smile, "If Thomas has been arrested, they'll keep him secure in the Andaris Dungeon. Unless you can slip your robes and take the form of a rat, we will have to assume him beyond our reach for now." Stretching backwards, almost bending over at the curve of his spine, Daevus breathed out that frustration and opened his mouth to tell something else to the young man.

Edalene interrupted them both, wrapping her arms possessively around her brother's arm and smiling sweetly at Daevus. Certainly they had earned the eyes of at least a few guards. Daevus closed his lips, banishing whatever words he was about to say to the young scholar and nodded. "Such unexpected news, I understand." He reached out, without warning, clasping Aeodan on his right shoulder with a grip like manacles, "Take care of her, I doubt Thomas would have wanted you to worry on his behalf." Daevus turned a chilling eye on the guard who had hit him, and as the siblings followed his gaze they saw the man halfway up the stairs, conversing with the hawk-nosed Venoran who had emerged just moments before. The subtlest twitch of his head in their direction drew the fang-sharp gaze of the Inquisitor upon both scholars and Daevus. The latter returned that gaze level and confident for only a moment before turning on his heel.

"Andaris has become much less welcoming in my absence," He muttered quietly, "Perhaps you should see your visit to a short while." Without waiting for word otherwise, he crossed the cobblestone and strode down the main street, hair dancing and jangling in his passage. Envoy watched him go with clear distress on its smooth green features, but visibly relaxed when Daevus had turned a corner and vanished from view. Scuttling forward through the crowd, it's other two prism eyes dancing madly in its crystal prisons, it set itself on the Inquisitor who had turned back to the guard to discuss.

Careful, taking each step as though it were tracking some difficult or flighty prey, Envoy reached out a webbed four-fingered hand and placed it on his leg. To Aeodan's eyes, the Inquisitor stiffened suddenly and turned to where Envoy was crouching, peering into the empty air. The guard politely remained quiet, even turned his own attention to the nothingness before the Venoran shook and turned back to finish the conversation.

As Aeodan was drawn away from the scene, Envoy brought up the rear, roving in and out of people and pawing at the physical loaves of bread and other assorted oddiments laid out on merchant tables. As it did, it whispered in a low and scathing voice, just loud enough for Aeodan to hear.

"-her. I'm told she has two new children, twins. Must I impress upon you the importance that they not be harmed? If we take her into custody, along with Terrance's other confederates, the twins will need to be taken care of. Our noble King may look disfavorabley on the death of any innocents in our search for these foul conjurers. Do you understand?"

Envoy was not physical enough at this time to effect the world, but the curious Diri seemed bent, as it always was, on observing and witnessing everything it could. "The goodwoman Jennefe, on High Market." "Yes, the midwife. She will find a place for the babies, especially if she is found guilty. Now, what do we know of her husband?" "Unacceptable. Knock a little work ethic into your informants. We cannot allow one of their ilk to slip away. I will pay another visit to the Professor this evening. I've received a new wonderful device from Etzos only just this morning I've been eager to employ. Surely I'll get something out of him this time." Envoy laughed a low chuckle, "Yes, I agree. If we are overzealous, what state will he be in for the burning tomorrow? Certainly the people won't want a corpse." Envoy caught up to the two of them as they slipped into the inn they'd been using as a place to stay on their return, the tavern portion still bustling with the dregs of the breakfast crowd and a few early faces for lunch. A rich, meaty gravy aroma hung thick in the air. "See that you determine what the students are up to as well, hard to know how deep the corruption reaches. Edalene, I believe her name was. Check the registries and send someone to tail them. I won't accept any failure, Dagget."
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Aeodan
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Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:39 pm

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Aeodan watched as Daevus continued to rub himself, but he was only half listening to the man. His eyes concentrated on the Inquisitor, and though he debated using the gifts Yvithia had given him, he trusted that he need not. Daevus was right, there was no need to draw more attention to themselves. If Thomas was indeed locked in the Andaris dungeons, it would be nearly impossible to slip in and steal him away without bringing any attention to themselves. Daevus' jibe about shapeshifting magic piqued Aeodan's interest, but not so much as to distract the younger twin from the task at hand. Right now, they needed to find Thomas. Something unsettling roiled in the man's stomach, but when he looked back, Daevus was gone in a rattle of beads and the smell of dust and travel. He watched as Envoy relaxed, and something niggled at his brain. But he had no time for that.

Envoy's behaviour was enough to keep Aeodan's attention, though, and he watched from the corner of his eye so as to not draw attention to himself. When the Diri touched the man, Aeodan feared that he'd showed himself to the Inquisitor. A spark of panic was fanned into a conflagration of anxiety, and Aeodan could feel his palms start to sweat. Going arm in arm with Edalene, he left Envoy behind them to deal with the consequences of manifesting to the man. Of course, Envoy hadn't, but Aeodan was unsure exactly what the Diri could do.

All the time they'd spent together, and Aeodan realized he still knew little of Envoy's true ability. Not that he wanted to test it, but he knew that there was more to the Diri than met the eyes, no pun intended. He smiled to himself at the thought, but the gravity of the situation pressed back in on him. As they walked, Envoy muttered in the voices, and Aeodan paused, halting Edalene too. He listened to Envoy for a moment before pretending to notice something on the ground, then began walking again. He let his right arm dangle, his left still intertwined with Edalene's. Envoy was closed, and Aeodan could feel him through the skin on his hand.

As Envoy recited, Aeodan transmitted the voices telepathically to his sister. She could not respond, but she could hear, exactly as Aeodan was, the voices coming from the Diri. They scared Aeodan, the voices and the words said in them. It was chilling to have Envoy repeat them with exact cadence, and it made Aeodan feel like the men were in his mind. The hairs on his arms rose, but he continued transmitting to Edalene until they were well into their tavern. The entire series of remarks was eerie, but when they mentioned Edalene directly, Aeodan froze. In the tavern, it was not quite as conspicuous. Still, though, the idea that Edalene was a target incensed the Burnett boy. He'd sworn in the Fifth Temple that he would keep Edalene safe, and this was not keeping that promise. He turned and looked at her, knowing that she would never consent to sit this out.

Eda. The thought moved across the link, which was now strong enough for the two to communicate non-verbally. She knew what he would say, but he had to say it. Eda, we need to be careful. This is bigger than we thought. They know us. They know you. She could not tell it was a plea, but it was. He had to keep her safe.

Looking around, Aeodan looked for anybody looking at them for too long or too intently. He frowned and leaned against the bar.

"We should get something to eat, my love. It's been a long trial." He smiled weakly, hoping she'd play along with the ruse. They did need to eat, but he was barely hungry at all. They needed to find Thomas, and now, they had to be even more careful. They were made.
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Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:37 am

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Edalene was desperate to leave the scene, but she refrained from running from the grounds. What she wanted to do was run, run back to the settlements, but she could not leave Thomas to rot and Malena to fret. But why, she thought sourly, must these things always happen to us? It truly seemed that Edalene and Aeodan were doomed to be caught up in trouble to trouble, but she knew that they could not abandon their friends - not when Thomas had saved them. He had saved Aeodan from death, and while Edalene had died anyway, she had come back and escaped only by his sacrifice.

Still, Edalene could not stop the huff of frustration that burst through her lips as Aeodan stopped, slowed, and bent over as if to tie his laces. While they could not run, she definitely wanted to leave the area as soon as possible. She was about to say something, before a voice appeared in her head. It was Aeodan's voice, but not his words.

Slowly, she began to walk again with Aeodan towards their room in the tavern. The words swirled in her mind, and she knew that Aeodan was conveying to her what Envoy was hearing. She bit her lip, determined to talk about it, but the busy tavern was the wrong place to talk. And then: her name. Edalene froze, looking at Aeodan with wide eyes, and then she could feel his fear and his words. Again, she opened her mouth as if to speak, before thinking better of it.

She smiled, but it did not reach her eyes. "Perhaps we should eat in the room. I'm more tired than hungry." With that, Edalene turned and led Aeodan upstairs to their room. As soon as the door was closed behind them, Edalene whirled around to her brother. "Aeodan, if you think for one second I will stay in this room while you go--" She took a deep breath, pinching the bridge of her nose and cutting herself off. She breathed deeply, trying to control her breathing and rein in her frustration.

"I'm sorry," she said, still with her eyes closed. "I'm sorry. This situation is impossible, and now they know my name. I can't just sit back and leave Malena and Thomas - and I can't let you go without me." This was no game, no expedition - this was the threatened death of a dear friend. She sighed, and opened her eyes, stepping closer to Aeodan. "I'm scared," she whispered, burying her head in his neck, wrapping her arms around him. "I don't want to lose anyone. None of you" She sighed a shuddering breath.

"Can we just ... eat, and go to sleep? And see Malena in the morning? Please." She was too exhausted to do anything. She could not risk Aeodan wandering around asking questions. Please, Ralaith, Vri, she begged silently. Please keep them all safe.
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Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:03 pm

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If the gods were listening, they gave no indication. On and on went the strange hum-thump of Edalene's false heart, the secret she hid from the world beneath skin and bone. On and on.

Eventually, her brother relented, finding some solace from his worries wrapped in the arms of his sister. For the twins, there was only danger that lurked beyond their gaze. It was as though they were stalked by the heavy-handed shadow of destiny, at once liberal with its gifts and punishments. Neither of the twins dreamed in that lightless slumber, so wrapped within their own minds and thoughts that instead of drifting out, they drifted in. Edalene into Aeodan and Aeodan into Edalene. They found rest in their own infinite depths, lost in the space between thoughts and impulses, too tired and unnerved to even find romance in the moment. Theirs was a bond both familial and intimate, a conjoining of sensations forbidden and essential. In contradiction, and in one blood, they were each other.

It was Envoy who awoke Aeodan near the appointed time. In his own voice, the unfamiliar tongue he once knew came to him. Since giving Envoy one of his tongues in language, Aeodan had been trying to relearn the words. What had once come easily to him seemed frustratingly difficult. So it was not in the words that he found meaning, but in the tone of insistent prodding. Awake in the darkness, it lay like a velvet blanket upon him. Edalene's lithe paper-pale arms were wrapped around his frame, momentarily tempting him back to a warm slumber.

Evoy's eyes were witchlight mania in the darkness, its hunched ape-like shape suddenly atop the bed with them both. Aeodan could feel its sudden weight as the creature manifested, its silhouette gaining heft and weight.

"Fourth room on the second floor," It spoke in the innkeep voice, "Kind folk, they're paid up, if that's your query."

"No." Now it was a gruffer voice, slightly familiar, the cadence of the guard who had hurt Daevus, "King's business. I'll need your key."

"I want no trouble," Envoy cocked its pale green head, the anemone hair writhing and dancing in their multi-faceted brilliance, "Let me fetch the master key. Are they dangerous?"

Envoy grinned, "No more than me." it spoke in the guard's voice, "Be quick about it. You are sure they went straight away to their rooms?"

"I swear it!" came the voice of the inkeep from the mouth of the creature, physical enough that even Edalene was roused from her sleep, "Took their food and went up to their quarters, Bea would say if she saw them leave again."

Envoy was gone then, back to the whispered immaterial it had come from, leaving Aeodan and Edalene sweating and shock-cold in the wake of the revelation the Diri had provided. Aeodan was grateful for the inquisitive companion, sleepless and guardian to them in the night...but at the height of the second story, their only point of egress was from the window. Below them, the cobblestone cast back a ruddy reflection of the moon high above them, a far fall for any. Luckily, the window was narrow but not so much as to not allow the passage of two naturally thin scholars.

Outside, the moon caught the brilliance of another creature, the feathers of a white eagle, regally perching on the gutters of the home across the street from where they were. Its amber-sharp gaze pierced Aeodan briefly when he looked out over the street, before returning its black beak into the shelter of its alabaster wings. The guards weren't here for IT, after all.

((OK! After you guys escape...however adventurous you want it to go down, at least five armed guards are on their way to you. I just need you to end at Malena's home.))
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