• Closed • Small Things (Isth)

Stronghold of education and learning, this fortress is in one of the coldest areas of Idalos and home to many knowledge seekers in a variety of disciplines. However, unknown to most, below the city are those who suffer for the sake of science. While all are welcome, not everyone will be treated as they expect.

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Virikai Talius
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Small Things (Isth)

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24th Trial of Saun, 718
Glancing up from the many papers strewn across his desk, Virikai’s eyes once again trailed over to the liquor cabinet, a small wooden framed box with a glass front. Inside it was stored whiskies from most Rynish distilleries, as well as a few gifts from the Aranaz Estate, lighter wines. More for display than anything, showing off his wealth and ability to have a number of expensive bottles of whisky sat there for the pure and simple pleasure of owning them. Some, he had opened, and it was those which he eyed beadily. Once again, he had come into the Halls of Ivy late, after having pulled a full shift in the Facility for Retrospective Analysis.

The scion was… dare he say it… tired.

Regardless, duty would always come before personal plans, and duty dictated he wait for he arrival of one Isthmae Fahe. It would be different this time. The two had never met in a professional capacity, but they were contemporaries, peers. Both aristocrats, of a similar age, with a keen, symbiotic approach to the world. Both scions being pushed in directions they did not want to be placed in by their fathers, but with enough sense of duty to be obedient nonetheless… they shared far more in common than either of them cared to admit. They even looked something alike.

It would be… misguided to go as far as to call them friends… but an ignorant bystander would be forgiven for the mistake. But they were more than simple acquaintances. Once, Virikai believed they would even be tied by marriage. Since his engagement to Maebella, there was no change of Kai marrying either Isthmae or his sister, but there was still a chance that Raven would marry one of them.

However their relationship was described, Virikai had a high level of respect for the man he was about to have a meeting with. They would one day be heads of their respective houses, lordlings on the right track to be Lords. But political motivation wasn’t the reason for Virikai’s respect. Even privately, he held the other scion in high regard. An ambitious man himself, Kai certainly approved of the other’s ruthless determination to achieve his ends, for himself and for the greater good of Viden. They saw eye to eye on nigh all matters, which was of definite benefit. He liked the man. Immortals, Kai didn’t even mind when Isthmae used the diminutive version of his name.

He wondered how the pairs relationship would morph, now that they were expected to work together, each in their professional capacities, with personal agendas, working towards a shared larger goal. In Viden, where crime rates were so low, there was rarely any need to act preventatively. The Intelligence Authority were a brilliant force of power in the city, especially those who knew of the underground facility. They normally acted without the researchers being any the wiser that a secret was about to become unearthed, and only occasionally did Virikai need to act as liaison to instruct them on an issue.

This trial was one such event. His own superiors had arranged this meeting, and he had no idea why. It was disconcerting, to say the least. Virikai did not like being in the inferior position by virtue of limited knowledge. His only consolation was that it would be Isthmae he was dealing with and not some common Agent.

At a knock at the door, the young lordling spared a sideways glance from the window he stared out of, onto the glistening white plains of the tundra. Before he even had the chance to call out an invitation to enter, the door opened. The lordling smirked. Only another lordling would take such liberties. “My Lord Isthmae,” he greeted respectfully, though the curl of his lips indicated the facetiousness of the gesture; behind closed doors, with no witnesses, he did not feel the need to bow and scrape to someone he deemed his equal, even if society required it. “I trust you are well?
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Isthmae
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Re: Small Things (Isth)

It was in the nature of the Intelligence Authority to act on the behalf of the FRA. Agents, so their breed was called, were without fail born in the icy cityscape of Viden. Born within the city, raised as scions to carry on the legend that was Viden. They were often cultivated humans or lesser Eidisi that sought prestige. Isthmae shared no such ambitions with their ilk, but shared the fervent desire to preserve Yvithia's domain. The Ice Queen was the light, her touch often the spawn of great insights, the Eidisi a prime example of her improvements to the world. Isthmae Fahe knew her power firsthand, with her mark forged over his skin.

The Xypha took the path leading towards the office of a Lord Virikai Talius. The aristocracy was elitist by nature, preferring to remain (and decay within) their personal circles of alliance. While Isthmae understood the intention behind such enclosure, he never saw the reason to do so himself. Perhaps it was in that small, private rebellion that Virikai and Isthmae found their bond. The two hadn't met in a professional capacity up until this point, but Isthmae knew the day would come. Both of them, after all, were scions. When Isthmae at last passed into the threshhold of the Halls of Ivy, he removed his long, flowing cloak. He placed the item on a coatrack near the entrance before considering privately what might transpire.

Isthmae was not nervous to meet his contemporary, but rather, curious. To meet Virikai Talius in a professional capacity implied work for the Facility for Retrospective Analysis, a place he'd been to before. The FRA was a mystery to the Fahe scion, knowing of the place and a vague idea of its purpose. All that he knew, a fact he'd not question, was that Yvithia willed it to exist in secrecy. Such was the will of Yvithia, and such was the will he'd follow without question. Isthmae finished his ascent into the office of Lord Talius, he then walked in without a word. Lords, after all, need not announce themselves.

The convention of social niceties was lost on the Fahe this day, so intense was his curiosity. Virikai Talius was not a sociable man, and though the two held a positive relationship, there were differences between them that perhaps, only the Fahe scion noticed. It was, after all, his business to notice such things. The faces and hearts of mortals were the bastions upon which Isthmae's education was based, and he reveled in the small analyses he made based on the most minute of details. Isthmae Fahe sat down in front of his compatriot, his lips curved into an easy smile as he allowed his gaze to fall along the plane of the other Lord's desk.

Virikai Talius seemed very busy. His work was strewn about his desk, his eyes, while to most would seem hollow in the pure white coloration of the Eidisi, showed Isthmae a different sight. The Fahe scion was born and raised in Viden, he knew the planes of Eidisi faces and how their emotions stretched minute, but apparent signs upon their countenance. The Talius scion showed exhaustion on his features, but with that exhaustion, an equal sense of duty that kept him awake. Was that duty shown on Isthmae's as well? The lordling of the Fahe estate kept records of his sleeping patterns, studied his visage in the mirror when he awoke, careful to portray nothing more or less than the pristine, beautiful visage of Videnese royalty. After all, Sheud Fahe held his faith in the young man (barely more than a boy!). He couldn't disappoint his grandfather.

Isthmae raised his hand to his chest, nodding curtly when the title and greeting was bestowed upon him. His features formed the wide, easy smile that sought to cultivate a sense of camaraderie.

"Lord Virikai," he repeated, sharing a similar facetiousness. Unlike with most professional encounters he'd have, he did not reach out to shake his compatriot's hand. Rather, he placed his hand on the desk, passing interest showed in Virikai and his state of being before he mused aloud,

"Very. Our work keeps us very busy, it seems! I've not seen you for far too long, milord," he offered, a playful wink set about the younger Eidisi's countenance. Despite himself, there was no helping the need to break the convention, no matter how thinly veiled it was. Curiosity and trepidation were awash within him, in equal measures. He'd suppress the latter as he allowed his expression to show nothing more than polite interest. The Fahe scion had an inkling to why he was summoned. Or at least, he hoped he did. To receive a summons to the office of Virikai Talius for a different reason might prove awkward otherwise.

"Is this about the mage? I've read the reports. There's some fool galivanting about the city in danger of revealing our Mistress' secrets."
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Virikai Talius
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Re: Small Things (Isth)

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It’s been too long. It is a shame it took work to pull us together again.” The older eídisi replied, “But I’ll take any excuse. Won’t you join me for a drink?” Kai gestured to the cabinet of various alcohols. Normally, his first choice would be a whisky, but he was partial to the occasional wine, so would leave the choice to Isthmae, who would hopefully agree.

If he did, Virikai would waste no time in pouring the choice liquor into two glasses, one for each, and passing the first of them over to his guest before taking a sip of his own. “Yes, it is,” the politician replied when his peer asked why he had been summoned. In truth, Kai had been provided with no information for why this meeting was to take place. It was embarrassing at best, and pointless at worst, for him to enter this meeting completely unprepared.

In a quick attempt to cover his utter ignorance, he opened his mind with Xypha, using the Telesthetic Boon. Every time he had tried to use it thus far had been met with disaster. In hindsight, he had not been learning of this new ability in private, opening his mind instead in the midst of large crowds, which only added more strain to his mind. Right now, in the early evening within the Halls of Ivy, there were no other people around.

Isthmae, being a Xyph himself, mitt have felt Kai’s mind brushing against his own, but Virikai didn’t care. Among Blessed servants of Yvithia, there was a general expectation that Xypha would not be used without restriction. However, at the Xyph’s discretion, each may deliberately use the ability to speed along the process of exacting their Lady’s goals. With this gift from Yvithia, Kai gained enough information to formulate a solid idea of how the Facility for Retrospective Analysis was at risk.

Yes, the problem is that the researchers in the Facility do not know which mage is the risk.” He was fine admitting that, because it seemed the Intelligence Authority didn’t know who it was either, which was why this meeting was taking place. For all the gifts of Xypha, of which there were many, it was not completely infallible. They knew someone was struggling, whether it be morally or otherwise, with their involvement with the Facility. It was a massive risk, but they couldn’t identify who it was.

Hopefully, it would be a much easier fix than the escaped test subject. Still on the loose, it was a complete disaster. It was a wonder Verity still trusted his son to not trip up in the snow, much less work with such a sensitive organisation. He’d heard rumours that Verity intended to set the naerikk outcast to the task of bringing in the test subject. No doubt Isthmae knew about that too. “What do you know about him so far? If we can patch together our information, we may be in a better position to identify who it is. No one had taken an unexpected leave of absence, and all are Blessed by Yvithia, so it makes it difficult for us to monitor.
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Re: Small Things (Isth)

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It certainly was a shame. Part of the Fahe scion wondered what it might be like to be Virikai Talius. Like Selek Fahe, the scion of the Talius family was a researcher. The older Eidisi was as one with Yvithia, working with the Goddess on a far closer scale than Isthmae himself did. However, there was little jealousy in that fact. When Yvithia came to Isthmae, he was well and assured that his path was not in her direct line of sight. He came to terms with that fact, and instead wondered what it might be like to be capable of earning the respect of Selek Fahe. Surely, Virikai was privy to that respect, and that, more than a tiny bit, irked the scion of the Fahe.

The Eidisi did not hold it against his contemporary, but rather, allowed it to fester deep within him, further distancing father and son. The offer placed on the table, however, of drink and conversation, delighted the Eidisi tremendously. He nodded at the mention and gestures to the whisky, which he noticed was newer and sleeker than the remainder of the bottles. While some might find such a quality trivial, it told the younger Xypha of Virikai's preference. After all, why else would it be replaced more often than the rest? The idea of whisky joining their conversation brought the decision to conclusion and he waited for Virikai to pour the drink, oberving his host with a measure of polite interest. Then, once drinks were poured and Isthmae raised his glass in toast, the Fahe scion was very quick to indulge himself in a sip.

When the mind of Virikai Talius brushed against Isthmae's own, he felt a dawning comprehension. Isthmae was marked by the Ice Queen, and he saw the Talius' own divine mark set upon his eye. The both of them were blessed by Yvithia, but it seemed that Talius was more versed with its use. A shiver coursed through Isthmae, a motion he hoped the alcohol might disguise as he felt the presence pore over his thoughts and glean from them what he needed. A smirk caught upon his features, the clear abuse of Xypha on another such marked bringing not offense or distaste, but instead amusement and respect. Every position of advantage was meant to be enacted, and while Virikai Talius seemed to play with his cards hidden from sight, he knew when to utilize them effectively.

"With all of their resources, they prove themselves incapable? Surely, the Inte- oh," he completed, comprehension reached in earnest as he came to the realization. Of course, why else would he, specifically, be asked? Eidisi often favored one and the same, and while Virikai Talius was not the summoner, Isthmae held a very strong idea of who was. Selek Fahe. His father, whom he always addressed as such with the exception of the depths of thought. Reports were inconclusive. The Intelligence Authority already handed to Isthmae the documents he needed to begin the assignment. Pages and pages of nonsense and conjecture, pushed forth without gathering witnesses of evidence of much of anything. In fact, save for the barest of substance (a summary of events and a single, pathetic lead), what Virikai told him now was more important than his records. It amused the Fahe scion, in truth, to hear the word 'him' come from his lips.

"Everyone marked by our Lady will have a time of it. If she wills it, she can look upon us one by one. Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. One need not go missing immediately. It takes several days for action to take hold. Our suspect will likely find their way into one hole or the other very soon, especially if Lady Yvithia takes an interest in the matter."

The Xypha mused for a long moment before he too prodded at his connection with Yvithia. Xypha poured a thought into Virikai's mind, a chuckle echoing throughout the sending as he breathed into his contemporary's mind.

A bit obvious about your ploy, hm? You could've asked, he teased.
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Virikai Talius
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Re: Small Things (Isth)

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The lordling sipped at his own liquor slowly, savouring the taste like he always did. “There’s no need to hide when among friends, surely?” Virikai quipped in response, eyebrow irking at the same time as the corner of his lips. But he decided to come clean nonetheless. “One would assume the Facility would take the time to inform their liaison about any new problems. That would be the ideal situation. I confess myself at a loss regarding the purpose of this meeting.

Another swig from the glass before he glanced down at the papers on his desk. There was nothing there about a Mage. There was definitely nothing about a potential traitor harbouring the deepest secret in Viden. “I was under the impression the Intelligence Authority had uncovered something significant, and you were here to pass that information on to me.” The tone of the Talius heir’s voice was a clear indication that he did not blame the other scion in the slightest.

Now that Virikai took a moment to think about it, it did not surprise him in the slightest that Virikai and Isthmae were in this situation. Selek Fahe had been the one to order Virikai to attend the meeting. No doubt he and Kai’s own father had decided the pair would meet, probably just to watch them fumble through the conundrum. Both of their fathers were more experienced in Yvithia’s gift of Xypha - they were probably both telepathically observing the room now, judging them from a distance as worthy heirs to the influential dynasties.

Immortals knew, there might not even be a treacherous mage on the loose in Viden. He told Isthmae as much, the cynic in him taking control momentarily against his better judgement. “Regardless, if this issue escalates as far up as Yvithia, then we will have failed in the task set to us.” The Fahes, as a point of particular note, had never failed their great Lady and Virikai knew Isthmae would be desperate not to be the first.

I do not have the answers here, my friend,” he admitted quietly, as much as he loathed to do so. Very rarely was the scholar at a loss. In all fairness, he had ben unwillingly thrust into politics by his father. Granted, he had been thrust into medicine and research by the same man, but by happy coincidence, medicine - especially learning in medicine - was close to his heart. However, he had no such love for his role as a liaison for the Facility for Retrospective Analysis.

Virikai did it because he would never again go against his father. That and his sense of duty was great enough for him to rise to the challenge. “I can provide resources, and any further information discovered by the Facility. Beyond that… Immortals, why have they done this to us?
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Re: Small Things (Isth)

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It was clear to the Fahe scion that this meeting with Virikai, while enjoyable in its own right, was nothing more or less than a sham. The both of them seemed clueless about the purpose of it all, and Isthmae had the feeling that he was remiss in his attentiveness to the report he was given. After all, he'd been given the impression that this meeting might clear up some of the finer details. However, the Fahe took it at face value, offering a pleasant smile to the Talius scion before he reached into his satchel. The reports were clipped together by a pin and let in their own section of the bag. When Isthmae retrieved them, he undid the clip and tossed it aside.

Taking for granted that the purpose of their meeting was purely conjecture, the Fahe took it upon himself to read aloud sections of the report in between sips of the heart liquor Virikai offered him.

"Researcher's Lab Coat found abandoned... Blood tracked up the stairs and into the Academy..." he mused, a frown pursing his lips. Whomever defected from the FRA wouldn't be tracked down with such a clue. That sort of mess would be dealt with immediately, so as to not bring rise to questions about how they appeared.

"Five-foot-six... slight build... The suspect is known to have manipulated ice on their way out of the Facility... Slow, lumbering thralls raised..." Isthmae didn't know the vernacular given, but certainly there were enough clues for him to go on at the local Seeker cell.

"You're right. If we allow this to escalate," he began, using the plural as a courtesy to his host. "Then we'll have failed more than once. I'm not of the mind to abandon this train of thought, but there's some tools I'll need to commence," he noted. Immediately, Isthmae raised his head to look at Kai, a chuckle escaping his lips as he said,

"They did it as a means of testing us. It's always something with them. A ploy, a clever trick to diguise the fact that my father especially hardly knows me at all." The chuckle turned bitter as he mused aloud, enrolling Kai with a tidbit of the dilemma that the scion of the Fahe dynasty held in his heart.

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Virikai Talius
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Re: Small Things (Isth)

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The relief Virikai felt - though of course he worked hard for such an emotion to be displayed on his face - when Isthame came to the same conclusion as he had with regards to the farce this meeting had become was palpable, so much so that the other lordling probably had a fair idea of Kai’s feelings. He was immensely glad that it was not only he who had a niggling feeling of their chance of failure here, as if he might be letting Viden down.

As Isthmae tracked his gaze across the report and briefing notes, reading aloud pertinent information, Virikai watched from his distance across the desk, sipping the strong liquor, the words leave the paper and enter the other’s mind. At this level, the Xyph’s power was not an exact science. It was not so powerful that he could literally see the paper as if watching through the other’s mind, but he was at least able to grasp more of the contents than Isthmae was sharing. Not that Kai doubted Isthame’s honesty in sharing the details, but it was useful to have more context nonetheless.

A small part of me wants to give them the benefit of the doubt,” Virikai smiled without mirth, deciding to leave the matter of the renegade FRA Researcher to whatever plans Isthmae had. There was no point in spending this time discussing something Virikai could not solve: it would be easier for the pair of them to go way, learn more, and then return to discuss it at a later date.

Seeing as they were both here, though, and the meeting still had a break or so scheduled, they might as well use the time to their advantage. “More? I have this delightful wine, Julian Aranaz sent it to me as an engagement present. Yet to be opened, and this sounds like a perfect opportunity.” Yes, if their fathers did, in fact, have nothing better to do than listen in, then they could watch with growing horror as the two heirs became more inebriated than was legal... and within the Halls of Ivy no less.

Opening the bottle, he responded their glasses and took a seat, indicating for his companion to do the same. Swirling the wine around the glass, he examined the other quietly for a moment, “I have not spoken to you since you joined the Intelligence Authority...” nor even since he gained Yvithia’s favour, Kai mused, “Why the change? I thought Sheud had your life planned out for you?” It was a far more blunt question than Virikai would normally ask or someone. But here, alone, with a peer, he allowed the barriers he kept constantly erect to fall away.
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