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Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Printable Version

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Jigano - 12-01-2019

Halo was bringing with it more than the usual share of troubles and tribulations, both in how it had been reached and in who was in charge of this ice-blasted wasteland. Jigano had more questions than answers by far, even after speaking with Ingrid, and Loren might have a few of the missing pieces...

Though, even if he didn't, he was tough enough to take care of himself in the new land, and the Loreseeker was overdue for seeking out his company after how busy they'd been their last few meetings, with little time to talk. The Provost had asked for Loren's assistance in making their way to the Citadel to learn more about how things were run in Halo and to pay Ingrid a visit in Snowcloak. He took the weather seriously enough to not risk it alone just yet...

And, in truth, he still couldn't face the portal alone without a friendly push and someone else to put on a brave face for in order to force himself through it.

A large bag of gloriously oversized and robustly healthy root vegetables had been his contribution to the waiting guards, the veggies grown with the combination of his earth and healing magics the day before so they would be as fresh as possible. As soon as they were out of the tunnel he had shifted to his draconic form, sighing a frosty breath as the cold bit far less fiercely against silver scales that were most at home in snow-capped mountains. Shall we go? he asked his fuzzy companion, curling a serpentine neck down to peer at Loren curiously. Isuma had been left with Rory for the day, as he didn't wish to risk her against the wind even with her fur and feathers to protect her. Could you tell me a bit about Neron as we walk? The man you knew as him, at least?

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Loren - 12-02-2019

After managing to convince a very disappointed Astra to stay at home, Loren had brought a sack of smoked meat as an offering, though he’d immediately shifted after dropping it off. As Jigano walked to the entrance of the tunnel, the summoner basically ran by the man's side trusting the movement and the fur to keep him warm, which it mostly did. As the bard shifted, the Launceleyn ran in circles, unable to stay still for fear of freezing. [say]Let's go.[/say] He suited action to word and began to make his way down the road.

Although he didn't stop moving, he stayed quiet for a while at the white-haired man's question. [say]Bear in mind this is about a year and a half out of date at this point.[/say] The words were accompanied by the mental equivalent of a sigh.

[say]Neron was brilliant, both magically and mentally, but lazy. Any time he could get someone else to do the work for him, he would. It usually worked, because he was the charming one. He showed signs of shaping up before we came to Caido, though, and I have no idea what his time in Halo or with Zariah might've done.[/say] Pausing to let that sink in, the summoner wondered what else to say. [say]He was cruel, yes, but only when forced to. Whether that was due to laziness or reluctance, I couldn't say. We weren't ever close.[/say] Try as he might to keep the sadness from bubbling up, it bled over their link.

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Jigano - 12-02-2019

Old information was better than none, and Loren was the only one Jigano trusted to speak honestly about the man who called himself Neron Launceleyn, so the dragon rumbled an affirmative at the warning and began plowing through the snow, letting his tail drag behind to make an easier trail for the honeybadger to follow.

I suspect Halo doesn't reward laziness, he thought with an edge of dry humor as the wind whipped around them, gusting veils of snow to obscure their vision along the marked trail. If he found a way to rule this place, and the kind of people who survive in it, he probably had to shape up, as you say. He snorted, clearing his nostrils of some threatening ice. A pulse of tentative empathy slipped through the Attuned bond at hearing that Loren hadn't known Neron well, though. Jigano had no siblings or family left, and he could only imagine what the other man was feeling in finding out that one of his own family members survived when he had assumed him lost. What sort of magic did he wield back then? If Neron was a Launceleyn, he had to have magic. Is it different than yours?

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Loren - 12-02-2019

Loren eagerly shifted his path to the trail Jigano was clearing. On much surer footing, the summoner pondered the bard's observation about Halo and Neron. [say]You're probably right. But Zariah told me she was the real power behind the throne. And it wouldn't be the first time Neron conned his way into making people do the work for him.[/say] The doubt about his twin's capabilities was evident, though again, Loren was operating on quite out of date information. [say]Besides, I know Zariah's been around, but I haven't heard anything about Neron since that initial encounter, have you?[/say] There was a genuine curiosity in the summoner's mind.

[say]Illusion magic, and just illusion magic, as far as I can recall. But my magic changed when I came to Caido, and I've grown a lot stronger. I would count on him having quite a few tricks up his sleeve, especially if he's shaped up.[/say] Then Loren hesitated, mentally at least, though his legs kept pumping. [say]He also lied to me about there not being mage glass in Halo.[/say] And the summoner couldn't help but worry about why.

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Jigano - 12-02-2019

There was another rumble, this time a growl, at Zariah's name as Jigano bent his head and forged ahead through the thick snow drifts. Though she does have an overly-inflated opinion of herself, he observed, with what might definitely be just a hint of petty snark. Still, what you say makes far too much sense. That sounds like a dangerous pairing, especially if we have to work with them to deal with Halo in any capacity. If he had to choose between leaders who didn't like him, he'd go with Delah any day over Zariah. To be honest, I haven't heard much from either of them yet... other than what you've told me about Zariah being back to mess with your family, he added. Though the Loreseekers' newest recruit is a young woman from Halo, and she seems to be unimpressed with the former-Queen. That... may just be Ingrid's way, though, he admitted after a moment's thought. Ingrid wasn't one to be impressed by much - at least, not to show it.

A gust of wind gave him pause, the ice slivers carried on it stinging his eyes, but he shook his horned head and carried on a moment later, listening to Neron's old skills. Haven't seen much illusion magic so far on this world, he admitted. In a place like this, properly used, it could be pretty deadly. It could be used to hide traps or pitfalls or just the way back to warmth and safety. Certainly nothing to take for granted, even if he had developed nothing else. A word caught Jigano's attention, though. Two, really. 'Lie' being one, and the other... What is 'mage glass'? he asked curiously, not recognizing the word from any of his perusing through the Atheneum.

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Loren - 12-02-2019

Loren felt his thoughts take a dark turn as the memory of the lightning Zariah had commanded flashed in his mind. [say]Unfortunately, in many cases, she also has the strength to back up her words, and the backing of the throne of Halo.[/say] The summoner fell silent for a while. [say]I’ve been informed that I should probably stop trying to make a difference and stop trying to help people unless explicitly asked. That’s not the exact words used, but it was the sentiment communicated.[/say] Even though he tried to hide how much the idea bothered him, he was unable to hide his mind from the white-haired man.

However, his thoughts grew curious. [say]Ingrid? You’ve spoken to someone from Halo? And I know Zariah has been around. She visited Remi and Peter, and hurt Adam when he went to go speak with her, and as I mentioned, took Beatrix and Jace.[/say] Letting out a little snarl, he forced himself to focus on more pleasant thoughts. [say]I wasn’t aware the Loreseekers were recruiting.[/say]

Unfortunately, the conversation swung around to more unpleasant topics once more. This time, the Launceleyn didn’t bother hiding his anger at the thought of illusion magic. [say]I guess it’s time to start wearing my glasses again. Although illusions can be deadly in any situation, if used properly. Then again, that’s true of all magic.[/say] At the bard’s question, Loren sent a pulse of surprise. [say]Mage glass? It’s...well, I don’t know exactly what it is. But it’s rumored to be Halo’s main export. And it strengthens the magic of any Abandoned who holds it.[/say]

Pausing, the honey badger raised his eyes to look at the back of the much taller dragon. [say]I trust I don’t have to explain to you how concerning I find the thought of that being in the hands of my family?[/say]

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Jigano - 12-03-2019

There is that, Jigano admitted reluctantly, disliking giving the former Queen any credit but too much a student of history to deny the truth of Loren's words, even if he didn't like them. He let the following silence stretch until Loren broke it with an unexpected bout of self-pity that had the dragon snorting with amused familiarity (and clearing some more icicles in the process). He'd tasted his share of that bitter draught more than enough in recent months. And what do you think of that sentiment? he asked curiously.

Ingrid came through the portal a short while ago, and sought out the Atheneum for answers, he explained, amusement coloring his mental tone at the thought of the fiery young priestess. She decided to join our ranks so we could share information about our two different regions. Also because I know where to help her find alcohol, he added after a moment's thought. Because really, he was under no illusions about her priorities, but she reminded him so much of Edy that sentiment was perhaps edging out rationality in trusting her too readily. Not too far, at least. But too readily.

And it was more pleasant to think about her than to realize that Zariah had been prowling through the Hollowed Grounds hurting his friends. The growl came back, rumbling deep in his chest, and his wings rustled in agitation. He kept his tail from lashing only through an act of will as his anger scorched briefly through the Attuned bond before he reined it back in with an effort, focusing on something he could change. The Loreseekers... yes, we are always recruiting. He snaked his long neck around to look behind him at the honeybadger prowling in his wake. His opalescent eyes were grave and a little sad as he met Loren's gaze for a moment before turning to watch the path again. We are a curious bunch by nature, but curiosity can get people killed... or at least, disappeared, he admitted with a flicker of mourning for those whose whereabouts were unknown - or worse, known exactly, like poor Caiside. I would have asked you sooner, but the blight... well. Between that and LongNight I wasn't in much shape to do much as Guildmaster. I'm trying to pull us back together, though, as best I can. A flicker of amusement, tentatively hopeful, tickled back along the bond. I don't suppose you'd be interested in joining? We could use your insight, and your ability to, well... stay alive, he added with painful honesty.

The topic of mage glass was a curious one, and at first Jigano thought Loren did mean his glasses. Glass that let one see through illusions. Apparently it had far greater power, though, and he hummed thoughtfully. No, Loren didn't need to explain the problems inherent in it, and the dragon wrinkled his muzzle in agreement. How did you find out about it? And... why would he lie about something that's so commonly rumored? The second question might be rhetorical, but if anyone would have insight into Neron's mind it would be a member of his family, even one who wasn't very close.

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Loren - 12-03-2019

Again, Loren was silent for a long while. When he finally spoke, there was a reluctant acceptance in it. [say]I think that I have an overly inflated sense of my worth, and I’ve done little of note since coming to Caido. And I think if people are determined to go down paths I disagree with and dislike, then I need to learn how to let them.[/say] Even though the thought bothered him, which should be obvious enough to Jigano through their mental link.

[say]I’ll have to meet this Ingrid sometime. Perhaps you should let her know there’s a fairly extensive collection of alcohol in the Manor.[/say] In response to the other man's anger, the summoner projected calm. Thankfully, the discussion of the Loreseekers proved a welcome distraction for them both. As the bard grew sad, however, Loren sent a pulse of comfort and warmth to the white-haired man. [say]I’m sorry for your losses.[/say] There was an echo of that sorrow in the Launceleyn’s mind, far fainter, but there.

Then, however, it disappeared in a burst of surprise. [say]Me?[/say] Perhaps it shouldn’t have been shocking, but Loren knew he hadn’t exactly proven himself a reliable ally. [say]I am hard to kill, yes.[/say] There was a wry amusement in the Launceleyn’s mind. [say]Most people would tell you it’s because I’m too damn stubborn to die.[/say] Falling silent, he considered the offer for a while. [say]I am curious by nature. Though I had assumed my days as a scholar were over, I would be more than happy to be a part of the Loreseekers.[/say] He was genuinely touched by it, and his thoughts were underscored by that appreciation.

It dissipated to be replaced by a weary resignation. [say]If I had to guess? He underestimated me, as my family usually does. Or he just screwed up. He probably thought I was just chasing rumors and legends rather than following a concrete lead, and hoped to throw me off the scent so he could use it as an advantage in negotiations.[/say] The thought wasn’t entirely certain, but it made as much sense as anything else the summoner could think of.

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Jigano - 12-03-2019

Hmmm. I've seen you helping whenever help is needed, Jigano said slowly, considering his words. You have worked steadily and without expectation for recompense. That is worth a great deal. But learning to let people go is... wise. Hard, but wise. A flicker of wry empathy tickled along the bond as the dragon forged ahead, squinting into the wind. And if it is any consolation... Safrin punished me for my own overly inflated ego, too. It is hard, trying to find the balance between making a difference in a good way, and being overbearing about it. Especially when someone had as much mastery over magic as Loren did. Or maybe it was just the bard who suffered from that particular moral failing.

It can be arranged, I'm sure. He hesitated a moment before adding more softly. I see much of Edrei in her. The youthful irreverence, brashness, and confidence, at least. Physically they couldn't be more different, but where it counted? Oh, they would have gotten along like a... well, like a house on fire. Edy might not have been one of his guildmates, but she had been his friend. Her loss, along with those of his colleagues, weighed his scaled head down for a moment, but Loren's empathy was a welcome reminder that even in this snowy wasteland he wasn't alone anymore. Jigano raised his head, sending a pulse of gratitude back... and a question as well.

Loren's surprise might have been funnier if they hadn't been through so much darkness in recent seasons. Being stubborn is as good a reason to cling to life as any other, the dragon chuckled. And though I would welcome you as a delver into the bookmines, we do much more than that. The experiments with the blight, for instance. Or exploring regions new to our records, like Halo, as we're doing now. Any time we can add new knowledge to the collection... and share it with the people of the Hollowed Grounds. Or anyone else, he added, remembering Ingrid. Besides, I hear you're opening a school. That's something I'd like to be able to contribute to, whatever you need. Jigano's sinuous neck arched in pleasure at Loren's acceptance, a reassuring warmth in his chest pushing back against the cold at finding another kindred spirit.

Talk of Neron was unfortunately more serious, and the dragon rumbled discontent at the casual way Zariah and now Halo's head honcho seemed to treat Loren. True, the man had his bad days, but overall he'd done a great deal to help the Hollowed Grounds since his return. May I ask what makes you certain of your lead? he asked tentatively. I found the name of a local... spirit? Not quite a deity, but close to it, I think, in an old book I'd sent to the Infirmary. In an old journal tucked into a book on sutures - the last place anyone would look for such a thing, he admitted, initially amused though the humor faded at the memory of his meeting with Amun. Well. It had led to him having a little bit of springtime fun with Aonghas and a mudslide later, so it wasn't all bad. Did you find something similar?

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Loren - 12-04-2019

Giving the mental equivalent of a sigh, Loren found his steps coming down a bit heavier than was strictly necessary. [say]Apparently, because no one asked or expected it of me, I shouldn’t help .[/say] The annoyance was clear, so the summoner forced calm and serenity on himself. Luckily, he had quite a bit of experience with banishing dark thoughts at this point.

Jigano’s ordeal sounded awful. [say]I’m sorry to hear that.[/say] The summoner had assumed something like that had happened, given the bard’s newly acquired magic, but he sent along understanding anyway. [say]I haven’t found that balance yet either. But while I’m happy to help, I think it’s probably time for a break. I suppose that counts.[/say] He was tired, and losing his will to keep putting himself out there.

He fell silent again, for a long time. When he finally spoke, his mind echoed with half-healed grief. [say]I miss her too.[/say] And underneath that grief was a great deal of guilt. Hopefully that would answer the question he felt emanating from the dragon.

The Launceleyn was quiet as he listened to Jigano’s reiteration of the goals of the Loreseekers. [say]You should talk to Oia’i’o and Kaimana, the children of Rae, and Delphia, daughter of Mort, if you haven’t already. They’ve told me a great deal about Caido, more than I recount in one sitting.[/say] At the other man’s offer to help with the school, Loren responded with a feeling of pleasant surprise. [say]Well, I need teachers and students both.[/say] Then a great deal of uncertainty flowed through their link. [say]I was thinking of inviting the Fae, to both teach and learn, but I don’t have the best track record with them, and I’m not sure where things stand with them.[/say]

The rumble was surprising, and the summoner let out a snarl before he could stop himself, the sound instinctual. He sent a pulse of apology towards Jigano. Then the Launceleyn hesitated before responding. [say]Oia’i’o. And...Safrin.[/say] Assuming timelines. However, he quickly added, [say]I’m curious to hear more about this spirit.[/say] Luckily, Loren’s curiosity was genuine enough to cover up his worry that the white-haired man might react poorly to the mention of the goddess.

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Jigano - 12-04-2019

Jigano sent a pulse of understanding back along the bond, knowing he had his own reputation for meddling - and not unearned. Being a bard and an adventurer it was in his blood... and he had a habit of pushing too hard and too far when he thought he was right (which, to be fair, was often). He'd gotten his fingers scorched more than since coming to Caido by trying to help and only causing more problems instead.

Problems that even a goddess had called him on, shredding his ego and illusions and humbling him in ways he was still discovering. Jigano rumbled gratitude for Loren's understanding, finding the support to be a balm to deep wounds. At least people know that you're willing to help if asked? The dragon tried to find the silver lining in turn, glad that the Launceleyn - was he still a Launceleyn? - had agreed to travel with him today.

Grief was shared, and would linger for a lifetime, but they could not drown in it forever, and after a time of silence the conversation moved on to new beginnings. I've met Kaimana, he sent back, amused at the memory of the odd but endearing young man. Though he asked far more questions than he answered. I haven't yet met his sister. Delphia... I've heard the name before, but thought her merely a charlatan. Anyone could make wild claims, after all, and a strong enough mage could back them up, especially with those unusual and unique types of magic he and Loren had once talked about.

Jigano sent a pulse of pleased acceptance through the link - at being a teacher, but also a student. If you invite them to learn, it will likely cause offense, he agreed. They have taken exception before to the implication that we know more than they do. It may be better to ask in a more roundabout way... perhaps by asking individuals other than Delah if they'd share knowledge of their skills. Make it less a 'Fae' thing and more about specialists in their fields. Jiao might be able to teach a class on dying cloth, for instance. Hazel could teach basket weaving. Things like that. Not that he'd seen his Fae friends since before LongNight. He hoped they were alright, and that the monsters had stayed within the barrierlands.

Of course, now they had new threats from outside the barrier, in the form of Neron and Zariah. And... mage glass? Hmmm. Yes, Neron's word means little against theirs, he agreed, hiding the flinch at Safrin's name as best he could. She was still Amalia's beloved goddess, for all her capriciousness towards him. And the spirit's name is 'Eirachi.' She seems to be associated with Halo's ice and snow and has a reputation for, ah, and I quote Ingrid here: 'fucking with travelers on the Tundra.' Perhaps a little like a colder version of Ludo? I haven't learned anything that might be used to appease her, he admitted with a faint sense of a grimace through the bond. Though it seems like the wise thing to do... just in case.

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Loren - 12-05-2019

The pulse of understanding was welcome, and Loren sent gratitude back through the link. However, he couldn’t help but feel a little grumpy. [say]And yet, they don’t seem to ask. Or think.[/say] Still, even the summoner had to admit that he was now being petty, and the grumpiness shifted to a chagrined embarrassment.

Yeah, that sounded like Kaimana, and amusement bubbled up within the Launceleyn. [say]Sounds about right. Oia’i’o was much better at answering questions, so long as I was willing to answer hers in turn.[/say] Weirdly, Loren felt a great deal of fondness for the strange daughter of Rae.

However, he sent a wave of surprise and confusion towards the white-haired man at his comment about Delphia. [say]She never gave me any reason to doubt her. Besides, I figured the gods would swiftly deal with anyone who falsely claimed to be one of their children.[/say] Fingers of remembered fear from some of his much less fraught encounters with deities crept up his spine, but the honey badger steadfastly ignored them.

He was getting better at that.

Again, a wave of embarrassment coursed through Loren and through his bond with the bard. [say]I am aware. I’ll see if I can get some Fae teachers, see if that helps. Thanks for the suggestion.[/say] Sending appreciation through their link, though it quickly shifted to a deep-seated curiosity as Jigano described the being he’d learned about. [say]Interesting. Any mention of positive encounters? Regardless, I guess I should take to bringing multiple offerings.[/say]

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Jigano - 12-05-2019

A surprisingly gentle pulse of support came back through the link, though Jigano didn't verbally push the topic further as he felt Loren's embarrassment. He knew far too well how his friend felt, but the Launceleyn man was right that they weren't getting anywhere by feeding each other's grumpiness or encouraging the pettiness that the bard was far too prone to.

She sounds fascinating, the dragon mused, huffing in amusement. I hope I get to meet her soon. Kai promised to bring her by the guild to talk to me but things have been so busy no one's had time yet. Between the portal and Fiat Lux there's too much to do. But wasn't there always? Eventually he'd have to make time and seek the twins out, but that was assuming that he survived Halo's frigid hazards. He reached a snowbank that was up to his chest and growled a long, low, thunder of sound as he strained to push through it, clearing the path for his smaller friend and any others who made the trip that day.

The heralds, yes. The big gods... don't seem to be as bothered with minutiae, Jigano opined, the sense of a shrug somehow carrying through the bond. And Mort is the kindest one, from all I've heard and read. He would be the most likely to forgive such a charade, I think, and therefore the easiest to impersonate a child of. Not even Kai had claimed to be a child of Rae, just that Rae had sent him and his sister to do... something. To watch and learn, in spite of their missing memories.

Talk of Fae was a warmer subject for Jigano, even if it was a bit more fraught for Loren. The dragon grunted, a feeling of pleasure at Loren's thanks tickling through the bond as a gust of wind hit the bigger beast like a wall and threatened to shove him off the path. He hunkered down against it until it subsided enough for him to continue on. What I found was mostly pictures, rather than full notes, I'm afraid. And Ingrid wasn't inclined to linger on discussion of her, so I didn't press at the time, though I intend to try again later. A keening song seemed to echo from above and around them as Jigano mused thoughtfully to himself. But this mage glass... I don't suppose Oia'i'o or... Safrin... was able to narrow down where in Halow it might be found?

RE: Oh, the weather outside is frightful - Loren - 12-06-2019

At Jigano’s response, Loren felt a similar amusement bubbling up. [say]She’s certainly fascinating.[/say] Sending a pulse of appreciation to the other man for clearing the obstacle, the summoner trotted along in the snow and the cold. However, his own thought soon grew serious. [say]She is very literal minded, and doesn’t pick up on social or physical cues very well. So just be patient with her.[/say] Not that he worried about the white-haired man being anything less than gentle, but the Launceleyn thought the warning was a good idea.

Then his mind went down a completely different track. [say]I haven’t attended Fiat Lux before. My sense is it’s a big festival, but I don’t know much about it. Mind giving me some details?[/say] Again, the curiosity that had once been a much larger part of him (and still undergirded much of his personality) welled up inside.

Returning the sense of the shrug, the Loren also sent understanding along their link. [say]I got that impression about the gods, but it’s good to have it confirmed. Still, as I said, Delphia hasn’t given me any reason to doubt her.[/say] That didn't mean he shouldn't, but perhaps he was a bit too trusting.

It was unfortunate that they didn’t have more information about Halo, and he couldn’t help the annoyance from flaring up. Still, he supposed that was what the Loreseekers did best, a thought that settled him and replaced the annoyance with contentment. [say]No, neither of them mentioned that. I don’t think Oia’i’o knew and I wasn’t in a position to ask with Safrin.[/say] He couldn’t help a slight amount of fear from running its fingers down his spine.