Fellowship of the Golden Night
Volumn V "Perspective"
((The days prior to the Fellowship's search for Varro, and beyond: ))
*Uxor. Uxor, Uxor, Uxor. He was getting sore of hearing about Uxor. ‘Sore of Uxor?’ Varro tried to laugh at that rhyme, but such was his mood that even in his own jokes he found no humor. It seemed that everywhere he went, people were constantly speaking with him of the one he least desired to talk of. He’d tried to play off their recent fight as merely a complication of their ambassador work – a simple disagreement over politics. That seemed to satisfy the curiosity of most folk. It didn’t stop them from asking questions unfortunately. In his aimless walking around town, it was as if around every corner he turned, there was someone ready to needle him with “have you seen Uxor” or “when did you talk to Uxor last”. . . and his favorite: “How is Uxor?”
How is Uxor? Oh, you mean the backstabbing, snooping, spy? How in the name of all gods would I know? Maybe you should ask her yourself, I’m sure she’s lurking around here somewhere, following me. Or so his thoughts went. He was just glad he’d had enough training in diplomatic affairs to not speak his mind on some things. He’d been trying to block out the whole ordeal with constant partying and merrymaking, but even that wasn’t helping now. He’d tried turning to what dampened his memories of Endaria. Drinking. At this rate, he’d be perfectly content to drown himself in a cask of wine, and if he was lucky, no one would bother to pull him out in time.
Varro threw back another shot, and chased it with the wine and glowing blue vial mixture. Alone in his favorite perch of the Phoenix, he was only mildly appeased by the seclusion. Cog hadn’t even said a word to him when Varro walked in after a several night abstinence from the place. Cog had pulled out Varro’s usual poisons. Tonight was not for celebrating... not for socializing... not for games. Cog must have known with a glance at Varro’s expression that tonight was for oblivion – to extinguish the burn of whatever pain the Bard felt by dousing the flames with drink, until coherency was utterly suffocated. Varro had half a mind to thank the bartender for minding his own bloody business, and permitting this without so much as the slightest interference or lecture. Varro took another shot, and another. Every time he found his thoughts replaying the incidents of late, he would swallow down more liquor. He would only be satisfied once he was too far gone to be able to make sense of the memories. So until such point that his mind’s eye could fail to recount what happened... he would continue. He glowered at how it had started...*
*It was one of the more exotic garments he’d seen for some time. Varro brushed the grime of the Pit off the striking green garment, awaiting the appraisal by the vendor. A Robe of Acid? The wheels in Varro’s head set to turning immediately.
He felt a little too vulnerable in mere cloth to wear the thing himself. When you were creeping around, trying to get close enough for foes to hear your song, you wanted a good chain shirt between your skin and their blades at the very least. But seeing the fine craftsmanship of the robe, he knew it would be a waste to simply sell it.
Surrounded by the House Phalanian's wears, and the allure of the Robe of Acid, the idea flashed before his eyes like lightening: A fashion show. What better way to continue to build the Fellowship’s reputation for camaraderie and hospitality with the people of the city? Varro purchased two more robes, stopped by the bank to retrieve another decent looking garment he’d found a time earlier, and set off to find the guild hall. He was going to need advertising immediately – flyers seemed to prove the most effective tool – and a spokesperson. What better spokesperson than a woman? He knew one that owed him from his help with her masked ball... Uxor. He couldn’t really recount seeing her in a dress of any kind. He had, however, heard talk of the gown she wore to the ball. So if one threw something a bit more effeminate onto her, she would look very presentable for the task. Now, his task would be convincing her to wear the robes. Appealing to her vanity would not do, so he would need to appeal to her sense of duty.*
*A curse on all Robes of Acid, he thought. Varro took another shot.
<“You’re a little distracted tonight, no?”> He heard in his head. He groaned audibly, coming to an awareness that Mekari was sitting across from him, and the voice in his head was not his own. He wasn’t in any frame of mind for her playfulness. He quipped back a thought of <What do you want now?> *
Mekari: <I don’t ‘want’ anything...presently>
Varro: <Good. Then slag off.>
Mekari: <To clarify, I don’t want anything, but I did come to see how you are doing>
Varro: <Isn’t it enough that you’ve wrecked my life for a little while? Come to see if there’s any part of my happiness left to trample?>
*He went to take another round, and practically spat it out in disgust. Whatever that was, it was not his drink. Mekari smiled lightly, pushing the glass back to him*
Mekari: <Not to your liking? I thought I would bring a peace offering, but that reaction tells me you don’t approve of it.>
*Varro worked his mouth and tried to wash away the flavor with his chaser drink, to no great avail*
Varro: <Can’t even afford me the decency of drinking myself to death in peace hm?>
Mekari: <Look at you - sulking and miserable – and for what? You’ve become one of the more public figures in this city, and what are you making of it? Getting wasted beyond repair or care. Bravo.>
Varro: <If I wanted a lecture on my bad habits, I’d go find my spy, thank you> *to which he lifted his glass and finished the remainder of whatever dreadful concoction Mekari brought for him*
Mekari: <The pale faced one, ah yes... speaking of which, if she is what all this is about, I suggest you start being thankful. It’s better off with her gone. The more she knows, the more danger she would be in. So distance probably could save her.>
Varro: <It’s your fault anyway. Don’t sit there and tell me how much ‘better’ things are. Things WERE better before you came.>
Mekari: <Ever in denial, which is what I love about you my boy. For all your craft with people, you still have no capacity to admit when you’re in the wrong.>
Varro: *slamming the glass back down* <Things were getting better for me until the day you showed your face. Or correction, the day you showed your current face.>
*In his mind, it HAD all started the moment Mekari had stepped into his presence once more...*
Varro: Oh yes yes yes. You owe me little missy. See I'm rather coming to like this arrangement you and i have. You scratch my back, and I scratch yours. Isn't that how it goes? And it's my turn to be scratched in the initiative.
*Uxor narrowed her eyes at him, stomping her foot*
Varro: Sorry, that's not going to get you out of it. And no, you've not had an end to this conversation. Come, it's not like I'm going to make you actually work in the show...although *he looked up pondering the possibility*
*Uxor's eyes widened a little, and she shook her head no, followed by writing* "I will help with the sketches ...instead."
Varro: Sheesh, you'd think I asked you to dance in a wall of fire. Here, you'll need to try the rest on to make sure they fit. I'll need several drawings to pick from
*Uxor wrote out* "Are you just doing this to somehow get under House D's skin?"
Varro: Me? Never. What's wrong with holding some nice festivities for the city? The Coin Lords shine on such activities. If my doing this did happen to step on the toes of some nobleman, well...
*An approach caught Varro’s attention. As an ambassador he had learned to make nice with all faces who crossed the hall, and as immediately as possible, for many reasons. To avoid misunderstandings, to create a close sense of welcome to new members, and to discern intent – friendly or hostile- as fast as he was able*
Varro: Greetings traveler. What brings you among us?
*The woman walked towards them with a smile. At the instant of hearing her voice, the hairs on the back of his neck may as well have stood on end. Not from fear, but from annoyance and hostility.* “You must be Varro - I recognized you. Not familiar with your friend there” *she lifted her chin in a sort of reversed nod of acknowledgement at Uxor* “but I am called Mekari.”
*How dare she show herself here in such a way, pretending to be a stranger. That was not his greatest irritation. If she desired to speak with him again, she could have contacted him in private. No, she came to make a show of it even. Well he wasn’t going to let her have her sport.*
Varro: Uxor, why don't you go ahead and keep those robes for me. We'll find another time to continue. I'll be at my place if you need me. Mekari is it? Please, come with me.
*He worked hard to mask his great change of mood from Uxor, but knew that effort to possibly be futile. She’d taken to working closely with him, and confidence between one another was frequent. He was certain in her hold to her word, and if he told her to remain, he knew she would do so. Uxor was a creature of duty, and also one who could understand the need for privacy. No matter could be more private to him than this. There was no cause to say anything to Mekari further... she would know his intent – as well as his irritation. He stalked down the street with her gliding along beside him, with her sly and faked indifferent smile. He would say nothing to her out here. He would wait until they were back to his home. In the meantime, it gave him the opportunity to think over many choice words for her.*
*When they arrived at his home, he didn’t bother pulling out a chair for her, flopping himself instead into a chair on his own at the front room table. Undoubtedly there was a particular reason she had come to him, and so he broke into conversing with her in a tongue that fully assured him of who she claimed to be... the language of Quori*
Varro: [Sorry if the place is a bit messy. I wasn’t expecting company of your kind]
Mekari: [I like how you say that... my kind. No warm feelings towards someone who came to see after your well being out of the goodness of their heart? I had to come far out of my way you know, to be here and see you. Wasn’t too difficult to find you fortunately.]
Varro: [So good of you to 'check up' on me "Mekari"... or whatever name it is you're using these days]
Mekari: [It is my name. Not the name you knew... I've had fewer reasons of late to see the need to hold to my aliases.]
Varro: [Yes well, you'll have to excuse me if I don't exactly have the easiest time keeping them all straight. Nice face by the way - could stand to be a little darker though, you look like an elven drow mutt]
Mekari: [choice words . . . from one who knows so much about illegitimate unions. Though your father and I like to refer to it as 'planar mingling' or something else kinder than mutt, my dear]
Varro: [What game are you onto Elena? You must want something... you never come to spend quality time.]
Mekari: [Must I always want something to see you? Am I not permitted to visit out of simple desire?]
Varro: [You have some nerve. You think you can just shuffle out of my life and return to play games when it suits your fancy. So what was the draw this time, hm? Some Lord send you to spy on me?]
Mekari: [Don't play victim with me, it's not becoming of you. I taught you better. I just thought I should check in and see how you were handling your loss.]
*Varro scawfed at her*
Mekari: [No, it's true. When I heard of it, I needed to find you. To be certain you were doing well.]
Varro: [yes, well, as you can see, I'm alive, I'm eating, and life goes on]
Mekari: [I just know how much she meant to you. When your father died, it was trying on me. . . ]
Varro: [Don't. Don't even compare your experience to mine. Especially over a man I barely knew of to even speak a name]
Mekari: [Well, in any event, I'm going to be keeping my eye on you for a little while - in a way perhaps closer than usual. Though I've gathered much information in my searching for you. You've made quite the party-man of yourself around town, Minstrel]
Varro: [And just how's that. Planning on rooming with me? ]
Mekari: [Better. Hadn't you noticed my attire? I'm a field surgeon now... a cleric. A useful tool to folk of your line of work]
Varro: [I think I liked you better when you pretended to be a bard]
Mekari: [Always the poison tongue] *she laughed a little* [Actually, I think you'll find my services most beneficial to your fellowship.]
Varro: [Don't bother]
Mekari: [It's a little late for that now. You see, I met a lovely man who's already accepted me among their fold. I haven't made mention of our connection in the least, out of kindness. I'll be filling in among your ranks]
Varro: [What? No...that isn't going to be happening. I forbid it. One word from me and you'll be kicked out on the street so fast your body will get there before your clothes.]
Mekari: [Is that so? See, I thought you might say something like that, so I thought i had better remind you that it would behoove you to play nice. You see, I'd hate to have to be the one to break it to them about your marriage. Imagine what your little pale skinned lady friend might think?]
*This stilled his ire for the moment. He really didn’t want Uxor tangled in his affairs. He’d worked hard to avoid that.*
Mekari: [I suggest you keep that in mind should the urge to have me removed from among your fold cross your thoughts. Play nice though, and I won't have to resort to being 'honest.']
*Varro contemplated the situation as Mekari left. He was in such a comfortable position these days, and he didn’t want it to change. If Mekari were so inclined, she could set about change. He would have to tolerate her presence. This meant keeping his distance from her somewhat. After all, he didn’t know the circumstances of her joining... what had she told them when she applied? If she had mentioned that she was a ‘friend’ ... or who knows what other excuse of affiliation she gave them... that he could deal with. But if she’d presented herself as a stranger, he’d have much explaining to do in how it was that she said she was a newcomer that he was vastly familiar with. The best course of action was to avoid her. He would feel out the attitudes of the other guild mates before having a set way of behaving around Mekari.*
*Varro’s recollection of the arrival of Mekari was interrupted by her thought probing back into forefront*
Mekari: <Things were not as upward bound as you interpret my dear. I will not, however, bother explaining the benefits of my arrival – other than to remind you that I have your best interests in mind.>
Varro: <That’s always the story, isn’t it? Take care of the Minstrel, watch out for him, keep an eye on him. Am I suddenly everyone’s hobby?>
Mekari: <Did Endaria have this much trouble caring for you I wonder?>
*Varro set his glass back down and shook his head, huffing a deeply sarcastic laugh through his teeth*
Varro: <Ah good, what evening of mine would be complete without you twisting a knife in that unhealing wound...>
Mekari: <It is only unhealing because you make it so, as you are doing presently. My point was – which is lost on you undoubtedly – that you are driving others away from you. Granted it is probably safer, as I said before, but is that what you want? Far be it for me to tell you what you want, but seeing you here like this speaks greatly to your displeasure> *She pushed another glass towards him*
Mekari: <If you want to end it Varro, best to do it quickly, not in a way others can watch slowly. You might be mad at her, but your ‘spy,’ despite her and her metal friend’s insistence at sticking their noses in places they don’t belong... they seem to have a genuine interest in your well being. Misguided perhaps, but their intentions seem sincere. That you need me of all people to bring these things to your attention is a bit absurd, as I am the last authority on this plane for such concepts> *there was almost a shrug implied in her mental tone*
Varro: <You know, what did you do to her anyway? You’re the reason she started acting crazy in the first place.>
Mekari: <Me? To Uxor? Nothing. I’ve spoken maybe a handful of occasions with her since arriving.>
Varro: <I might be listening to you in my head, but don’t think that means you can get away with dodging my questions.>
Mekari: <I haven’t done anything for a change. Besides, I’m not the reason she’s acting ‘crazy’ ... you are.>
Varro: <See, now that’s where I beg to differ. Day before... all is normal; day after... crazy stealthy spy girl. How interesting that the timing of that hinges around your arrival>
*Really he should have seen it coming sooner. In retrospect, the whole situation made sense. At the time, he had been blinded by friendship.*
Varro: "Uxor? Lost your hearing now as well?"
*Uxor’s gaze came back. She’d been looking at her drink, but not looking ‘at’ it. Through it was perhaps the better word. The sound of his voice brought her once more to their drinking game. She gnarled her nose at him with a playful smile*
Varro: "You're a bit distracted tonight. Or is it that I'm finally besting you at this game? The mighty Uxor, vanquished by a mere musician?! What will the other warriors say when they hear of this. . ."
*He continued to tease her and prod her in this way, but it was apparent, even to him in his relaxed state, that something was bothering her.*
Varro: "What's on your mind?" *he asked, chalking another hash mark on the paper they were using to keep track of their drinking rounds.*
*She wrote on the scrap of paper the word "Dragon"*
Varro: "What about it?" *he asked as he started to polish another glass down, giving her ample time to write a reply. She turned the paper round to him as he finished*
Uxor: *she wrote* "The sightings. I know the training missions have increased. There's more talk now that we'll be the next commissioned to fight. . . I heard the new healer spotted a large red one flying over the gate of the harbor and market. And I know the team is being assembled"
Varro: "Of course. I've been fielding inquiries myself for the Lady Hope's 'team'. Your warforged friend is counted among the willing, I hear. That should make you pleased. In fact, he was here just the other night for a game of twenty questions with me since he apparently stumped Ruetger"
*She nodded as he finished his drink, implying that he should continue.*
Varro: "Seems our fine metal friend has gone and worked the political ladder until he arrived somewhere suitable. 'ambassador to the fellowship on behalf of Blue Line'... good for him" *he raised a glass in toast, which he handed to her to finish. She wrote, before following through the remainder of the toast*
Uxor: "Yes I know. I was in the guild hall when he delivered the message. And you're right, I am happy - for that and his willingness to help with the dragon. That is what is troubling me actually. I think they want me to fight the dragon with them. I don't now if I can bring myself to face that."
*This surprised him... almost as much as hearing that Deriaz had become an ambassador. He angled his head and lifted a brow in response to that note*
Varro: "Have they asked you to?"
*she shook her head, but then wrote* "Not in so many words. . . "
*after another moment, she wrote* "I just don't want to disappoint them" *and she took another strong drink*
*He leaned back from the table a bit, holding the next drink in his lap. He could tell she had a certain degree of shame or hesitation in what she wrote. How sad... so set between duty and personal terror. He knew if they asked her, she would do it. So the fact that she was still concerned suggested that they had not yet asked. He was glad for that. He wouldn’t want her to take a matter such as that upon herself. He figured that he understood how he felt with his fear of spiders, and knew Uxor’s fear of fire to be many times more so; he couldn’t imagine trying to function under such a self imposed paralysis as hers towards flame. In fact, he had such an awareness and empathy to it, that he was always careful not to bring any flaming weapons around her unannounced to be kind to her difficulty.*
Varro: "Uxor, while I'm sure they have a lot of faith and belief in you, they don't seem the type of guild to hold it against you if you stand this one out because of your phobia. If you think it will compromise the mission, they'll understand"
*She seemed a little relieved, but it surprised him slightly that she would think they would ask something like that of her, knowing of her problem.*
Uxor: "Even so. I'm considering doing it. I'm just, like you said, afraid I would jeopardize the journey."
Varro: "You don't have to prove anything to anyone Uxor. What's more, if you're doing it for pride or to save face, I won't let you. You spend a good deal of time telling me what I shouldn't get myself into, or how I should take care of myself. So once again, it is my turn to return the favor"
*she sighed, writing* "You are a good friend. I'm glad to know you."
Varro: *he waved her off* "Not good enough to keep up with the likes of you I am afraid" *he set the glass down. She frowned at him, writing "giving up so early?"*
Varro: "Maybe I'm just trying to take better care of myself these days? Ever think of that?" *Not that he’d EVER admit to her that she’d beaten him yet again. In fairness, he’d started their game before she arrived, and was thus ‘ahead’ in drinks to begin with. All that mattered now however was that he was starting to ache with drinking, and could feel the true impact of the spirits upon him. She shrugged to him and they shook hands, to symbolize the end of their game for the time being. He made a few attempts at getting off his feather falling spell, and this told him the sort of shape he was fast setting into. It was probably better to set for home before he completely went to his drunken ramblings to one and all. He was not gone so far that he couldn’t offer her continued comfort. He could tell she was still bothered, and so spoke as he drifted to the floor*
Varro: "Just take it one step at a time. One day, without so much as a care, you'll bathe in lava, I'm certain." *he grinned up at her as he staggered his way out of the Phoenix*
*He’d been making his way across town when he saw someone pass by with that smile. Her smile. He could recognize her expressions no matter what face she wore. He went to the place that she so frequently requested their meetings to be*
*Arriving in the ally, he found that she was already standing there, but in her Drow appearance now. He’d taken his time getting to her. Varro figured he could make her wait if she was going to insist on interrupting his evening. Again he resorted to Quori*
Varro: [Can I help you?]
Mekari: [The question is more, can I help you...I think I can. I think all of this is going to your head. You walk around like there is no reason to take any sort of precautions. When...] *she stopped, and seemed to focus on something.*
Varro: [Precautions. What precautions?] *he grew quiet when she did. He knew better than to try and carry on any sort of conversation when she was focused like that. She looked up at the roof, and he did so in turn. Then she proceeded in her fashion to walk up the wall steadily. Varro rolled his eyes and clambered up after her. Whatever prey was atop the building, if he didn’t come up with her, she’d be on it... if she wasn’t on it already. He gnarled his nose, speaking indignantly*
Varro: [You know, I'm not as young as you think]
*Something occured to Varro, and before the incident could go further, he decided to intervene.*
Varro: [Here, I'll make short work of this] *He started to play his entrancing melody. He was never without the means to make music, even if he had to resort to whistling. It all worked most efficiently. He was, however, more practiced with the lute, and thus preferred it and his own voice to any other. When he was confident that he’d played the tune in a sufficient radius around the roof, he turned to Mekari once more*
Varro: [See? No easy prey to be had]
Mekari: [I appreciate the demonstration, but it would do you well to pay closer attention. Especially at times of night.]
Varro: [Not all of us are so paranoid as you]
Mekari: [You should be. Ambassadors are popular targets for kidnappings and ransoms.]
Varro: [Also very public figures. . . so if a house has any tricks in mind, it would be within their interest not to do something that could draw undue attention to their doorstep]
Mekari: [Even so, do not think you are an exception]
Varro: [is our lecture finished? I have a pounding head to nurse, if it's all the same to you] *Mekari leveled her look to him*
Mekari: [Just watching out for your interests. Is that so wrong?]
Varro: [Your purpose is never that simple though. It’s not watching out... it’s a project...of some kind. I just haven’t determined what kind yet.]
Mekari: [You act as though I have no right for concerns]
*Varro was irritated with her to the greatest degree. She robbed him of his evenings at times. She felt it was her place to tell him how and where to be. Most importantly, always there was the knowledge that her objective was just that... an objective. He doubted her capacity to have real worry for him. This was an amusement for her – something to occupy her time until her next need to be afar for uncertain amounts of time. It was more like he was her dog... a pet to play with in between work. He resented it. To make his point, and because he was now well into his drunken lack of restraint, he pulled the sword on her. He pressed it close to her, until he could see in her expression that she was discomforted.*
Varro: [If I kill you now, it would remedy your 'concerns,' no?]
Mekari: [When did someone like you get the aura to wield a thing like that?]
Varro: [Let's just say I've learned to get around the properties of it enough to use to my benefit. My interests stopped being your concern long ago.]
Mekari: You're drunk. *she said in common*
*The bite of a cornered snake. She was trying to play off her fear with insults. Good... he wanted that. He was glad that she was not above fear. This dog of hers had teeth, and she was not his master, merely a keeper, thus, subject to his fangs if he felt cause to bite*
Varro: [I would kill you now, but it's probably your intention. Perhaps to deny you of it will wound you more greatly?]
Mekari: [it is your wish to see me suffer?]
Varro: [Always. In fact, I've a mind to just turn this weapon in you and watch.] *he hissed the words at Mekari, pressing the blade closer still. It was the truth of the matter. He had not asked for his lot in life, and he was bitter that she presumed that he should be thankful. Varro knew her however... and knew that she was probably crazy enough to have been doing all of this JUST to make him deliver that fatal blow. There was never any telling what scheme she had in mind... and she always had one. He withdrew the blade from her, seeing that she had been sufficiently shaken for the moment.*
Varro: [You should be proud that I’ve come as far on my own as I have]
*Mekari looked as if she were going to give a rebuttal or cool protest to his behavior, when her focus snapped away from him, and she took on that faraway gaze.*
Mekari: [Something is wrong. Go home.]
*Varro nodded, but rolled his eyes as she sped off the roof across town, undoubtedly checking on one of her ‘projects.’ Go home indeed. If he went home, it was of his own doing. Of course her request had been made for the vast paranoia that was hers. Always, someone was out to get him in her mind. Well good, maybe then he’d be rid of her constant fussing. He was her dog indeed. She cared for him in the same way one cared for a prized pedigree animal... a fear that something would happen to it or that someone would steal it away. Could it be called love though? Hardly. Maybe back on Dal Quor this was the nature of love, but he’d never understand it if so. She, likewise, would never understand his contempt and bitterness towards her.
There was something else at hand however, and his captive should be the one who was thankful ... for whatever had Mekari’s attention also kept them from discovery. He walked around, seeking out whoever he had snared in his music. He had his suspicions. Then he heard something fall...the sound of a form striking something solid, and metal jingling. He went towards the sound, and approximated where the invisible visitor was. He gave a good solid kick towards the area of a slight visual disruption, and he smiled as his foot connected solidly with a form*
Varro: Nice of you to be patient
*He blinked startled at the sight of Uxor sprawled on the roof, set to limp overturning when he kicked her. She was the invisible one? He became very thankful that he’d bothered to follow Mekari to the roof. If Mekari had found her first in such a state, she’d have been as liable to kill Uxor as ask questions of her purposes. Inspecting her for signs of wounds, he found that Uxor was unconscious. Confident that she was unharmed for the most part, he then sat beside her, watching her sleep and contemplating her presence. Of course... he should have guessed. Uxor had been tailing Mekari. That was what their drinking game had been for, to set him off to bed drunken and unawares, while she went covert to try and spy on Mekari. He should have suspected as much when Deriaz and Ragyr had come poking around asking questions of Mekari. No doubt, they’d gotten it in their heads that she was a threat somehow... which didn’t surprise him too much. Mekari could be likeable, but also just as dislikeable in her arrogance and foreign accent, so for them to be cautious over her was no great surprise. He started to pick Uxor up, set on carrying her to somewhere to recover and wake, but he stopped. If he moved her, Uxor would know that he had caught her red handed. This would mean that she might resort to being even more crafty or evasive of him. It was perhaps better that she not know that he’d found her, so he could more closely watch her actions. He cast the longest invisibility back upon her that he was able, sang a little tune to her to encourage sooner waking, but left her gingerly back on the rooftop where she’d fallen. As a precaution, he even healed her, whether she needed it or not, incase he’d kicked her too hard. In truth, he’d expected to find Deriaz up here on the roof snooping, as he already suspected the warforged was up to something. With great alarm, he sat up. If Uxor was here, and Deriaz was up to something... and that something related to Mekari...
With all the speed magic available to him, he set off across town. Really he had no idea where to start looking, but making the attempt was perhaps better than nothing at all. If he didn’t, he was liable to hear of a very deceased Blue Line ambassador in the morning.*
*The whole of the eve, he went from one end of the city to another. In vain efforts, he started for the guildhall, incase anyone had seen Mekari or Deriaz to know their last wearabouts. Then he crossed paths with a fumbling wounded warforged ambling aimlessly through town. This was Deriaz, and he was in poor condition. His run in with Mekari went better than Varro had anticipated*
Varro: Deriaz? Are you alright?
*Deriaz: stared blankly past Varro, and kept muttering something about needing to get to the guildhall. He seemed oblivious to his injuries. Varro had seen this before... charmed undoubtedly. Or dominated perhaps. It was difficult to say. Whatever the case, he took over the care of Deriaz. Again he was faced with the dilemma of Deriaz being aware of Varro having awareness of their actions. He made them both invisible, and fortunately, at this hour, there were few even in the guildhall to have to avoid. He took Deriaz to a room and inspected his injuries. Mental ones... and Varro knew the sort of help that Deriaz needed. Varro rooted through his bags and found several choice scrolls of restoration. He crossed his fingers trying to use them on Deriaz... scrolls were not his forte in magic. With many attempts more than necessary, he succeeded in restoring Deriaz to full capabilities. It would take time for the affects of what Mekari had done to wear off, so he used the opportunity to attend to Deriaz’s comfort, left a small bottle of oil for him, and then stole away from the room, leaving Deriaz to awaken unawares of who had tended to him*
*Mekari had infinite patience apparently with Varro’s temper, but she was not taking his accusations without protest, as she pulled the drink away from him this time. It was empty, and he was holding it out of habit more than drinking*
Mekari: <Need I remind you whose choice it was to not tell her about me?>
Varro: *he rolled his head in annoyance* <Didn’t you JUST get done telling me how much better off I am without her? That the more she knows, the worse the trouble?>
Mekari: <I said better off for her. Obviously, you’re no better for it>
Varro: Well of course I’m not! I’d rather be dead than feel like this! *He’d forgotten to reply silently in his head, but didn’t seem to have noticed*
Mekari: Then what’s stopping you? Do you need help?
Varro: Wouldn’t you enjoy that I’m sure *he sneered at her*
*She had once more succeeded on bringing him to thinking on that which he did not wish to. The feelings that surged in him whenever he thought about the betrayal*
*When Uxor had come to him, frantic and full of panic over Deriaz, he had to help her. Despite knowing what Deriaz and she had been up to in regards to Mekari, he would help her. She was his friend. He retreated to his room to get more dressed and consider the situation, leaving Uxor to pen out her feelings in the other room, and found Mekari perched in the window of his bedroom. She must have been there a long time, because she spoke directly to his mind rather than out loud, so she had an awareness that Uxor was there*
Mekari: <Oh good, you’re up. Saves me the trouble of waking you>
Varro: <How long have you been listening?>
Mekari: <Does it matter?>
Varro: <Fair enough.> *he slipped on his shirt and glared at Mekari* <You stay quiet, we’ll talk afterwards>
Mekari: <What’s the trouble with your pale faced friend?>
Varro: <That is not your business>
Mekari: <She’s pretty you know, in a queer, monochromatic sort of way.>
Varro: <I assure you, it’s not THAT sort of trouble. Now scram> *he didn’t permit further discussion, and passed through the door.>
*When he learned of the situation with Ragyr, Deriaz, and the fact that Uxor had set Ragyr after Mekari, he was alarmed. Before now, he’d been watching casually, making sure that Uxor and Deriaz didn’t get into deeper trouble than they were already in. The ransom flyers were no trouble – the two had at least been smart enough to go in disguise. This situation was too much though. Varro was going to set things straight and final. He managed to obtain all the information Uxor knew of how to best Ragyr, who was wielding Deriaz’s body. After careful consideration, he formed a plan, and it would hinge upon Uxor staying out of the incident. It was good that Ragyr was already out alone. He also knew that if he told Uxor to stay somewhere, that she would. They could trust one another in this way. Once Uxor had calmed and gone, he returned to his room where Mekari was waiting.*
Mekari: *she smiled at him in the window* <I couldn’t quiet catch all of it, but your little play language has enough snip-its of Quori for me to know that something is wrong, and that you’re planning>
Varro: *he sighed and looked at her* <I need your help>
Mekari: <Oooh, at last you see the benefit of having me here then?>
Varro: <More I admit that I’m a little outside my limitations for this situation.>
*Varro explained all he knew of the matter to Mekari, who took the information in with a face of broadly grinning amusement. When he’d finished, and started to relate his plan, she shook her head to him*
Mekari: <I have a better idea, not unlike yours, but a better one>
Varro: <He has to be unconscious or dead for it to work>
Mekari: <Or willing. You say you don’t want him killed, no? Then I am your best hope of that. Trying to put him down, he won’t go willingly. And what’s more, if he knows that you’re involved, you’ll never be rid of the threat of him. So, I am the best avenue. He wants to find me, then he will have me. Just not in the way that he is prepared for>
*Mekari went over the plan of attack*
((Chat Transcript & Writing combination. Special thanks to Deriaz/Ragyr))
*Two little red lights was all that Mekari and Varro needed to know that indeed, Ragyr was up above. They’d come in invisible, slowly, and watching from great distance. As was planned, Varro waited for Mekari to assume the form of Uxor, as was her capability of disguise. Once she’d climbed up to him and gotten his attention, he started his song. He inched closer and closer until he was confident that Ragyr was affected by it. Varro remained out of sight for the time being while he watched Mekari and Deriaz interact. After a moment, Varro heard Mekari in his head with her report on the situation*
Mekari: <It’s no good, to the first idea. I can’t get him to take it out. The gem must really and utterly control it, and I can’t compel him to remove it because he’s aware of what it will do apparently. So it looks like we’re going to have to be more forceful.>
Varro: <Alright. Just don’t kill him if we can help it.>
Mekari: <Just come with us. We’re heading down to the harbor docks>
*Varro followed, holding back his song until Mekari prompted him to resume it, whereat he played until once more, Ragyr was again ensnared in the song. He could hear words of protest, but Mekari was soothing him, and after a few more moments, he saw that Ragyr had become Deriaz.*
Varro: <It worked? Already?>
Mekari: <Not yet... just getting something straight>
*Varro decided that he needed to listen in closer and pay attention, so he slipped closer than before to hear what Mekari said to Deriaz. He raised his brows at Mekari when he saw her drop her disguise entirely, revealing her true appearence to him with her helm. He was about to ask her what she was doing, when he saw her take off her helm as well.*
Varro: <What are you doing??>
*Varro listened carefully*
*Varro could see that terror was on Deriaz’s face at the sight of Mekari. His previous run in with her must have instilled a fair amount of caution, if not fear. He wished that Deriaz would have taken that to better heart. He listened to Deriaz and Mekari talk.*
Deriaz: Why the disguise?
*Varro heard Mekari request mentally for a relent his music for the moment*
Mekari: That is not your concern. I felt it was necessary for you to realize that you are in over your head. What is important is that now it seems there is somewhat of a bounty on my head? So I wanted you to see this. To know that it would behoove you to let the past remain the past. . . because if you don't. . . I will ensure that you never see this world again. . . and your counterpart will have ultimate control. Know that I will hold the balance of your existence in my hands, and should you act in a way that does not please me, I will know. And I will see to it that your body is the permanent house solely of your fine friend. Now if you would be so kind as to permit Ragyr to speak with me again
Deriaz: I. . . Yeah. . . Yeah, sure. . . *His eyes went colorless again. The metal became black, the legs and arms extended slightly, and the red eyes flashed on.*
*It was then Ragyr who was standing there, and eyed Mekari.* Well, you look a little different since I last saw you. . .
Mekari: Indeed. I wanted to show you something. You see, it seems I've been painted out as some sort of... how shall I say... monster. As you can clearly see, this is obviously a misconception. I understand that there is a price on my head, and I believe that it is part of this misunderstanding. But what I wanted you to see, is that it is actually within your interests not to kill me. Do you know why?
Ragyr: Can't say that I do. Humor me.
Mekari: Well, first go ahead and stretch out on the ground. As I said, it is something that is hard to explain. More of a visual element.
*Mekari requested Varro to resume his music. He wasn’t quite sure what she was up to entirely yet, but he knew that it was something for her to go to the trouble of showing her real face. Even Varro had only seen her real face a handful of times in his life.*
Mekari: Now pay very close attention to what I am going to say. Stay there please. *and she backed up a distance from him* I am going to cast some magic on you again that will help to illustrate this, are you ready?
Ragyr: *He nodded.* Go ahead.
*Varro’s song was already drifting to Ragyr, and doing the job well. Once more Ragyr couldn’t move. He heard Ragyr protest*
Ragyr: What's the big idea!?
*Varro switched to another type of magic, a more forceful hold of Ragyr’s body than the simple drifting melody. He cast it repeatedly until it stuck soundly upon Ragyr. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that Mekari had drawn a blade, and was making a broad slice across her arm.*
Mekari: I want you to know that I have just cut myself quite deeply
*Mekari licked the blood that ran off her wound, and Varro rolled his eyes at her. Completely mad, there could be no denying it really. She was still up to something though. The sounds from the warforged told him that she had not cut herself idly.*
Mekari: should you find yourself itching to bring harm to me, that you will suffer my pain as well. And secondly, I want you to realize that if you EVER want to be in control of that body one day, you had better think twice about following this job of yours. I want you to realize that I can strike you down without the need to be in front of you. So think hard, friend, the next time you feel the need to lift a blade towards me. Because if you kill me, you will never be free again. Do you understand? You will never find your control. Do I make myself clear? If you please me, perhaps, one day, I will find the need to hire you myself.
*Varro was a little impressed...and disheartened, when Ragyr could still manage a response to Mekari. Varro knew Mekari’s methods, and knew them well... well enough to know that the ‘forged was suppressing his outcries.*
Ragyr: No. . . Can do. . . I've got a job. . . And I always follow through.
Mekari: I want you to know that I will be the keeper of your precious gem. If you ever want to see it again, it would be ill advised to kill me.
*A low growl came from Ragyr finally, and Varro knew he was breaking under the onslaught. It wouldn’t be long now.*
Ragyr: If you. . . Really want to take it. . . Why don't you fight me fairly?
Mekari: Oh Ragyr... do I look like the sort of person who cares for the fairness of the world? I appeared to you as a spider by the name of all gods *she scawfed* Remember this moment. Remember that my death means this is the end for you. *and the assault on him continued until he was no longer conscious. This took time. Mekari lashed out at Deriaz with other forces that were to her, as well as physically coming to him and marring him. Varro stepped forward*
Varro: <That is enough. He is out.>
Mekari: <Do you think so?> *she gave Ragyr/Deriaz’s form another slash with her blade*
Varro: <Mekari! He’s out. We just need him unconscious, not dead. What’s say we try that gem BEFORE you kill him, hm?>
*Mekari knelt down and plucked the little object from Deriaz’s forehead. It slid out easily now that the forged was unconscious. She tossed the gem to Varro, who caught it with surprise.*
Varro: <What’s this for? Thought you were keeping it.>
Mekari: <I am. But it would be too obvious that it were in my possession. I need it somewhere more secure than this, and somewhere unsuspected. That would be you my boy. Keep it safe for me. I may have need to use it again.>
Varro: <No. If I am keeping it, it will be mine to do with as I see fit. Got it?>
Mekari: <Suit yourself. I suppose it won’t matter which of us keeps it. All that matters is that they don’t have it.> *she nodded towards the warforged on the ground*
*Varro had to really marvel at the beauty of her insanity. She had pitted Deriaz and Ragyr against one another so fully, and so unmistakably, and in a way that kept her clear of the flames. Each feared the other taking full control, and in this way, she had control over them both. What’s more, even if they did manage to kill her and sift through her belongings, or find some other magical means of locating the thing, they would still be unsatisfied, as it would provide nothing. Varro waited for Mekari to leave, and ensured that Deriaz would not bleed to death before setting off to find his own means to prevent divination on him having the gem, and getting a good drink before retiring for the eve. Strong drink was required after this night.*
*A firm prod to his forehead the next morning had him glowering awake. He was so thoroughly annoyed at Mekari’s wake up calls.*
Varro: Woman, you have no concept of privacy or hangovers, do you? *but when Varro’s eyes came open, they were met with the brightness that was the light of early dawn on Uxor’s form, staring down at him. A bit subconscious about the fact that he had naught on but the bed sheet, he shifted it more closely around himself* Good morning Uxor. To what do I owe this unannounced visit? If you’ll give me a moment to...
*She’d already scrawled a note apparently, as she flicked the folded paper at him and crossed her arms over her chest, glaring at him*
Varro: I will take that to mean it’s of some urgency *He had a sneaking suspicious that she was not pleased with the results of his ‘help’ for Deriaz. None the less, he started reading the note, which went:*
“How dare you! Are you completely insane??? Why did you go to Mekari??? That is the LAST person who needed to know about Deriaz’s trouble! What if she tells someone about Ragyr? What if she ransoms that information? And he’s lucky to have made it to me alive! He was practically dead on. . .”
*Varro stopped reading and pulled the sheets to wrap round him as he stood up. Obviously she’d had much time to stew over the matter between the previous eve and now.*
Varro: Look, first off... *her shove, which he was entirely unprepared for, forced him off his feet back onto the bed. He blinked at the ceiling in considerable agitation, but her intent was clear. She wanted him to read ALL of her note. *
Varro: Nice. Very civilized of you. *he stared at the ceiling on his back a moment before continuing to read the remainder of the note*
“. . . he was practically dead on my threshold!! I came to you because I felt I could put my faith in you. I was wrong? For your information now Mekari has that stone, and who knows what she plans on doing with it! You’re going to tell me something right now Varro – who is Mekari? Hell, who are you really?”
*He slapped the paper down on the bed and sat up. The sheer nerve of her to come storming into his room; she was definitely looking a gift horse in the mouth at this point. Uxor had no idea the amount of trouble he’d gone through to protect her and Deriaz, beyond the night before. For her to come in here and make such demands really set his mood fowl.*
Varro: Is that so? Did it ever occur to you that there might be a good reason for me to not tell you? Or how about this – all things considered, wounded or not, you have Deriaz back, am I right?
*She held out an arm for her paper, more than likely so she could continue her written tyrate. Varro moved by her, stretching and trying to get his bearings for the morning. He was still a bit pained from drinking, and it was as yet a bit early for him to be awake. This of course didn’t matter to Uxor, who promptly came around with another note for him, which she shoved into his chest roughly*
Varro: No need for hostility. *he hated when women got into this mode. The lecture. How he loathed lecture. Her next note he had intended to read in full*
“Don’t act like you’re doing me any favors by having done it that way, or that you shouldn’t have to tell me. Do you know how much I’ve had to cover for you? All the times I stuck up for you with the others when your honor is called into question... *he stopped reading. Stuck up... for him? He was going to lay into her with all the ‘sticking up’ he’d had to do himself to level the playing field, but he knew it was a mood point. This would earn him nothing but further lecture from her. The notion of her acting as if she held some lofty power against him really got his dander up however, and he found himself instead turning the topic to her utter disregard for what he had done, and her place in his home.*
Varro: I don’t need this. You asked me to help, and I did! And you have a lot of gall barging in here with your inquisition. For all you knew, I could have been in here ‘entertaining’ company. Lots of it...
*His head turned from the force of the slap across the face she gave him. He hadn’t anticipated it really. In the past, such a slap across the face might have generated a different reaction from him. Today, it set him on the offense. He’d had enough. Who did she think she was? Alright, perhaps his comment about ‘entertaining company’ was unnecessary, but so too was her attitude. He closed his eyes and grinned with the satisfaction of knowing that he was about to put her in her place, friend though she was. He was going to be frank with her, because at this point, she needed it. He felt some blood going down the corner of his mouth, and wiped at it passively, and it was not just blood that dripped from his mouth now, but his pointedly placed sarcasm.*
Varro: You know, I haven’t had a woman hit me like that since my late wife...thank you for the refresher. It’s funny, sometimes I forget that you’re such a strong arm. Tell you what *she had hit him pretty hard, even for a slap. But the fact that it was a slap made it all the more insulting. If she’d have punched him squarely in the face, he could have seen that as a conflict between friends that might require a few blows, then drinks afterwards. The slap though was something reserved for those you wished to discipline, not quarrel with. Discipline him indeed. He turned to look at her. Discipline.* What’s say we talk some more, while we’re on the subject of who’s defending whom? What if I told you I already KNEW about you and the warforged spying on Mekari. Or the fact that you’re the ones who busted into Denieth looking for information on her. Or that I or Mekari could already have turned you in, if that is what I wanted. Or that I could have told the others about you following Mekari on the roof, hm? How about those things!? I could have ratted you out, but I didn’t because I knew you were just snooping on her that night on the roof, following her to find out if she posed a threat... very respectable of you by the way, prowling after a lady in the dark. *he pressed her paper back at her, waiting for her to try and regain herself from his points, and here he would reign triumphant. She penned out with an angry face something, then stopped, and he knew by the look that she’d written something she didn’t want to, and this was promptly followed by her attempting to hide it away so he couldn’t see it. She was strong, but he was quick, and he yanked the page from her hand lightly and swiftly.*
Varro: No no, by all means, we may as well be completely open now about *when his eyes came to the words to read them, his speech and carefully prepared scolding fled him. Instantly, he was made aware of his ignorance as his eyes processed her writing on the paper*
“Not her, YOU! I WAS FOLLOWING YOU!”
*Uxor had been following him? HE was her target? All this time he thought that she’d spent tailing and investigating Mekari, she was actually investigating him? Thoughts raced as he tried to get around this notion. There had to be another answer for it. He put together the string of things related to his observations, and each time he found himself at the conclusion that even if Mekari was a person of suspicion, he too was of the same suspicion in Uxor’s eyes. Wild, livid, painful betrayal was upon him. His eyes came to Uxor like he was looking on all the agents of House Deneith. Perhaps she WAS from House Deneith, and he’d been too stupid to put the pieces together until now. The reason she was snatching the note back was her cover was blown. To think, he’d taken such care in getting Deriaz’s gem safe from Mekari, in watching over her, in putting faith in her and sharing many things in what he thought was utter confidence. . . all of this arrangement shattered like so many stones through glass. Uxor had started to try and write. More lies; something to cover herself with. Here before him stood an agent of the worst kind – an agent that had posed as a friend. He wanted to kill her, and he was very close to laying into her with all the power of magic he had available to him until he could get to a blade. Some small part of him, vain hope perhaps, stayed his full wrath. Maybe there was an explanation? Some chance that she had some other motive, or worked for some other force. Maybe Hope had put her up to it? The thought that she would go against him at the command of Hope, guild leader though Hope was, was just as unsettling. He knew if she didn’t leave now, he was going to harm her though. The more he thought on it, the closer he was coming to that.*
Varro: Get out. Now.
*Uxor tried once more for the paper, and he pinned her in his grip, and she shrank before him. Obviously she knew what she had done. Seeing her cowering there generated mixed feelings of hurt and anger. She KNEW that she was wrong, and that made the matter all the more terrible.*
Varro: No. No talking. I want you gone!
*He forced her back, steering her with her two wrists held in his grasp. His knuckles were white as he clenched the sheet with his other hand, and the two awkwardly crossed the room in this manner. He forced out malevolent talk past biting teeth as he enunciated his points at her. He wanted her out, and gone, immediately.*
Varro: Know that if you ever try to come here again, you’re going to need a lock-pick. My door is closed to you. Now, either through my front door or out my window, I don’t care how you do it, but GET OUT.
*He gave another shove of her wrists and released her, going for his door and pulling it open. She tried once more for paper to write, and he yanked her writing stick from her hand, and hurled it out the door. This act made him cringe a little to himself. To think that their friendship had so come to this moment, that he found himself treating her in this way... he had nothing left but to rage at her* LEAVE!
*When she’d scampered past to the street, and he’d slammed the door on her, he stamped around his house like a maimed wolf, snapping and striking out in his frustration and suffering. How could he have been that stupid? He was that stupid because he had wanted a friend, that’s how. He had allowed her to get close... allowed himself to get close... and Mekari had been right. Varro had been careless. All this work as an ambassador had blinded him to some things. Now he was in a great fix. The fashion show was upon him, his co-worker was an agent of who knew what, and then there was the complication of the guild... and the fact he was still ambassador. Why did all the things of his universe have to collide in such monumentally disastrous ways at all times? He broke at last, collapsing down to the floor, fondling Endaria’s ring that he wore on the smaller of his fingers on his right hand. Angry, bitter, and remorseful tears could not be held back. Before now, he’d stuffed his agony away with drink... then public activity... and ultimately companionship. Now, with that companionship lost, he found he had no one to confide in, and that before at a moment such as this, he would have had his wife for comfort. He did not even have that now.*
Mekari: *she resumed their mental banter* <Look – you have three choices. Move on... tell Uxor what she wants to know... or end it all. You apparently are ill suited to the first. As for the second, you know that by telling her, you put her at risk. And you can act as if you’ve utterly broken ties with her, but I’m a bit more perceptive than that. So I know that despite your anger, you still wouldn’t want things to happen to her. Where does that leave you? I can’t tell you what to do, I can only present what I see. Think on it, but decide soon. It’s pathetic to see you rotting on your feet.> *Mekari turned the glass over on the table.*
*Varro ran his hands over his head, smoothing stray hairs back out of his face, and grumbled. He was particularly irritated that Mekari was making sense for a change. Mad though she was, she had a knack for being startlingly logical now and again... when it amused her to be so.
Sleeping was no comfort. Partying was no distraction. Drinking was temporarily nice, but ultimately no real remedy; when he sobered up again, he would be right back where he started. To top it all off... despite the anger, the hurt, and the wounded pride, he knew that he missed Uxor.*
((-----------Chat Transcript----------))*Varro was walking across town purposefully. He was not sailing by in his usual manner of speed, and glowering at something. The fashion show had gone well, the party had gone into the hours of the morning, and here he was, stalking about like a wildcat with a thorn in its paw*
*Deriaz walked past him, completely absorbed in his own thoughts. He glanced at Varro once as he walked by, but then stopped. A few seconds later, he took a double take, and realized who he had just passed. He turned around, and ran after the Bard, yelling his name.*
*Varro stopped, and twisted his head around to look back, his body following in turn partly*
*Deriaz saluted once he caught up to the Bard.*
Deriaz: Hey. Just wanted to say, great job at the Fashion Show. Great job putting it together and everything. . . *He trailed off, as if trying to piece together what he was going to say next, without making it come out wrong.*
*Varro turned around fully to face him, seeing that the warforged was intent on conversation. He stared at Deriaz with a look that suggested he was anticipating Deriaz getting to the point of this approach*
Varro: Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.
Deriaz: I meant to ask you before, but I never got around to it. . . I noticed you were, well. . . You were giving me weird glances before the show. Did you want to ask me something? I mean, I wanted to bring it up before, but I figured with the show about to start and everything, it would be best to wait until later. But then you ran off.
Varro: Now that you mention it, yes I suppose I did want to ask you something *he folded his arms* Tell me something Deriaz...you're good friends with Uxor, yes?
Deriaz: *He looked at Varro in a confused way.* Of course I am. You know that, don't you?
Varro: I assumed so, but I thought I had better ask. Maybe you didn't think of her as highly as she held you *he shrugged a little* but back to my question. What do you suppose would have gotten into her as far as hearing that she's been checking up on her guild mates. Thought maybe you'd have some insight as to why she'd do something like that.
Deriaz: I hold her higher than anyone in this city. . . But. . . *He paused for a second at the question, but tried to cover it up as him thinking on it.* Maybe she was just wanting to get to know everyone more? I mean, she has said she treats you all as family
Varro: *that comment caused him to grin, and chuckle a little, but the laugh definitely was not a humorous one* Family. Yes of course, it is perfectly normal to investigate one's family. Maybe I'm reacting badly, I don't know, but here, I'll ask your opinion. Since you hold her so highly. What would you say if you found out that she was spying on you? Like you were some kind of vial outsider?
Deriaz: *He blinked a few times, and then shook his head.* I guess I would consider it a little odd at first, but would be ok with it if there was a reason behind it. I mean, she's not the kind of person to do something like that without having a damn good reason behind her.
Varro: Even if you were friends? Even if you trusted your life to her? You wouldn't be the slightest bit miffed that she didn't trust you the same way?
Deriaz: Well, sure, I would be a little upset. But come on, you know me Varro. I'm not exactly one to hold a grudge. *He laughed.*
Varro: *He nodded a little* Now let's take this hypothetical scenario a step further. What if you found out that not only was she spying on you, but she'd convinced others to do it too?
Deriaz: *He began to tense up slightly under the torrent of questions.* Well. . . Others? I guess I would think that it was a little more than odd. But, again, if there's a reason behind it. . .
Varro: Put reasons aside for a moment *he brought a hand up to rub at the tuft of hair on his chin* how would you feel?
Deriaz: Reasons aside, then, yes, I would feel a little violated. But it wouldn't be something I would hold a grudge on. I would just shrug it off as, well, something minor.
Varro: And what do you suppose you'd feel towards the people who helped her spy on you, hm?
Deriaz: *He began to think there was a greater meaning to these question than what the Bard was letting off. He shrugged, and rubbed the back of his neck nervously.* I dunno. Confusion, I suppose. . . You know, for a hypothetical situation, you sure have put a lot of thought into this.
Varro: Well that's my position - I have to be able to imagine all sorts of things that might not ever happen in my lifetime. But it's always nice to have a fresh prospective. *he rubbed his chin again* Confusion. Interesting....And let us say that all these things were known...how would you confront her about it? And the ones who helped her?
Deriaz: Confront her? Uh. . . Well, I guess I'd just come straight out with it. Ask her why she hired people to help her look into my history. . . *He shook his head.* Look, Varro, am I missing something here? You've never asked questions like this before, and quite frankly, it's making me nervous. Did you hit your head or drink too much or something?
Varro: *he rubbed at his chin and mouth, reflecting on Uxor's strike to his face at their last encounter* I suppose a hit on the head is the case. Sorry to take up so much of your time with my theorizing. You're right. I should just be direct with who ever it was
Deriaz: *The Warforged froze, and eyed Varro.* Be direct with. . . Varro, I thought you said this was hypothetical. . . Now you're sounding like this is a real situation.
Varro: Oh it is...but the sentiments and actions are hypothetical because we were talking about you.
Deriaz: *He shook his head, and began to wonder if Varro was aware of what Uxor and he had been doing.* Well, I mean. . . Just because we're talking about me doesn't mean you have to use them. Just because I said I would be direct doesn't mean you have to. Better to do it in a way that you think is best, not what someone else thinks is best.
Varro: No I rather think in this instance it's better for me to seek outside opinion. My gut reactions are based in emotions right now, and that could prove bad. Things might be said or done that might be regretted later.
Deriaz: *He stared at Varro for a moment more, contemplating what to say next, or just to drop it there. One idea came up, and he decided to take a stab at it. 'Uxor already said she was going to confess to Hope, so I guess it's worth a shot,' he thought. He waited a second more, deciding how to say it, but decided just to throw it out.* Uxor isn't spying on you, is she? I mean, even if she is, what makes you think she has someone with her? *'Not the best way,' he thought, 'but I guess it's too late to take it back now.'*
Varro: *This seemed to catch him off guard slightly. He didn't say anything for a moment, and instead he pulled out something from his garments, and held it out* Her own mouth...figuratively speaking
*the scrap of paper said* "Not her. YOU! I WAS FOLLOWING YOU!"
Deriaz: *He stared at the paper in shock. 'So she went to him as well. . .'* Well, I guess that answers that half of the question. Did she tell you she had help? Or. . . Are you just taking a stab in the dark?
Varro: Just putting pieces together. Mekari said she's had encounters with someone already prying for information. Now this. It's only reasonable to assume that where Uxor has been watching me, so too have her 'assistants'
Deriaz: *He shook his head.* But w-- *He stopped himself, realizing he was thinking out loud. He shrugged it off.* I'm sure she had her reasons. I know, you said put reasons out of mind, but I'm sticking to them. And I'm sure she had her reason for hiring an assistant. . . Did she give you any hint to who she had? *'Walking a thin line. . .' he thought, but he didn't care. He wanted to figure out exactly how much Uxor had said when she went to Varro.*
Varro: Someone she trusted. Which is interesting to me, because here I thought I was the one she trusted.
Deriaz: *He faked a look of thinking.* Well, do you know who all she trusts? Maybe someone from the Fellowship? *<'What are you trying to prove?'> The voice of Ragyr, his other personality, came up, though quiet, in his head.*
Deriaz: <'Just shut up for a minute, alright?> * he shot back.*
Varro: Oh I don't know. I suppose anyone in the fellowship could be counted in among that number. Even you could as well.
Deriaz: *He laughed.* Me? You don't think I would spy on you, do you?
<'Look, what are you trying to get out of him? Just tell me what you want to hear. I'll get it out of him.'> *Ragyr again.*
Deriaz: <'I said shut up, alright? I know what I'm doing.'> *Though in all honesty, he was just pushing the conversation for anything else he could get, and didn't have a real goal in mind.*
Varro: I guess that would come down to how likely I think you would be to do something if Uxor asked it of you. Since you two are friends... and she trusts you...and she might have had a good reason.
*Deriaz decided to prod somewhere else.* Well, I guess you have a point there. . . *He shrugged casually.* So. . . Have you heard about those thieves in House Deneith? Pretty bold of them, you think? *'Not the best transition, but if he takes the bait. . .'*
Varro: I've seen the flyers, yes. But stupid of House Deneith to leave themselves open for it. *he spat the words 'house denieth' practically. Varro had never been overly subtle about his distaste for House Deneith*
Deriaz: *'Hook. . .'* You think they'll catch those two? I mean, though they may be asking for help all over Stormreach, any two who can break into House Deneith and get out without getting captured have to be good at keeping out of sight.
Varro: I think it just depends on the company they keep. If they're smart, they'll stick with folk who aren't likely to just hand them in for the money. I have no great confidence in that House, so you'll forgive me if I don't give the thieves a lot of credit for their accomplishment.
Deriaz: *'Line. . .'* How about that reward they're giving for their capture? I heard about it from Sho. Pretty big amount. . . You think you'd ever turn them in, even if they turned out to be people that you may have known?
'<You're cutting it too close. . .'> *Ragyr laughed.*
Varro: Oh I don't know. Depends on how in need of cash I was. Now that you mention it, after the Fashion Show, my funds have dipped pretty low. It would be a tempting offer.
<'And what was the point of that?'>* Ragyr sighed*
Deriaz: Even if it was someone close to you? I mean, no matter how much you needed cash, I would hope your friendships and relationships come before mutual needs. . . That's just me though. *He shrugged*.
Ragyr: < 'Duck out now, while you have the chance, D.'>
Deriaz: Well, I should probably leave you to do what you need to do around town. . .
Varro: Well you said someone I know. Knowing and being friends with someone are two different things... apparently.
Deriaz: Well, let's say friends, then. Would you turn them in, then? If they were your friends?
Varro: I suppose it would depend on what kind of friend they were. Though, if they really were my friend and acted the way a friend should, then I wouldn't have any reason to want to do something like that, would I?
Deriaz: *'Not the answer I was expecting, but. . .' He shrugged.* I suppose you have a point, then. Let's go with Uxor. You said she's been spying on you. Would you turn her in for the money, even though you and her are close, but she has been spying on you and Mekari? *He shut his mouth. He heard Ragyr cackling. <'Why did you throw Mekari's name at the end!?'>*
Deriaz: Er, well, just you. Or Mekari. Or anyone in the guild. *'A poor attempt at a save*
Varro: *He stared at Deriaz in disbelief for a moment* I'm sorry, did you really just say that to me?
Deriaz: Well, I mean. . . I. . . Well, let's just say it WAS Uxor. . . And not that, um, Drow on the flyer. Would you? This is complete hypothetical, like you were doing to me earlier. *His mind began to race. 'You idiot. All that work, and now it's about to backfire on you!' He wanted to punch himself.*
Varro: *He just stared at Deriaz in amazement for a moment as Deriaz continued to tunnel his way through the earth. Varro gave a moment before he started his answer* If there were a price on Uxor's head... *he shook his head and looked down at the ground, laughing in an odd sort of way. Somehow Deriaz had said something incredibly funny to him. He put his hands on his hips* Honestly, right now? I don't know any more. There was a time when I could tell you that no, I would never do that to her. But there was also a time when I could tell you that she would never betray me.
Deriaz: Well, if we're speaking in hypothetical terms still. . .*'Don't do it. . .' a voice in his head yelled. His own voice.*
Varro: By all means
Deriaz: And you knew BOTH of the thieves on the flyer. . .
Ragyr: <'DON'T DO IT!'>
Deriaz: Would you turn them BOTH in?
Ragyr: <. . . Idiot.>
Varro: Would depend. Let's see. If it were Uxor and someone else I knew...who *he eyed Deriaz up and down mock studying him* happened to be a masked warforged....I'd have to take a lot into consideration. For instance, what had the masked warforged done to me. Well, if he were offending me, then I'd say probably so - it would be worth the money. However...this would be a favor to House Deneith by doing so. So then I would have to weigh my disdain...*he held his hands out like scales* Which did I hate more... Deneith, or the thieving spies...
Deriaz: Well. . . *He laughed nervously.* How much would you have to hate the thieves to want to actually help Deneith?
Varro: See that's a good question. I mean, getting back to your hypotheticals...
IF it were Uxor, and she had gone and utterly destroyed my sense of trust in her by stabbing me in the heart with treachery... I'd say that'd be pretty good grounds to start forming hatred. Because I don't know about you, but nothing quite makes you feel as good as when someone you saw as your friend...your co-worker...the one you confided in....goes and does something that shatters your sense of trust in other people. Especially after you were reluctant to do so in the first place. Don't you think? *the more he talked, the more biting his words became, and he hit every consonant with pristine pronunciation, making the statement very crisp and vehemently clear*
Deriaz: *'Get yourself out of this hole. . .' he thought to himself.* I suppose you're right. . . Well, I, um, I should probably get going.
Ragyr: <Oh, right, because just dropping it and running doesn't tip him off at all! Maybe you haven't noticed, but you're still in the hole.>
Varro: What's your hurry...have someone you need to check up on?
Deriaz: I, uh. . . No, no one at all. I've just held your attention for quite awhile now. I didn't want you to not have time to, uh, do whatever it is you were heading off to do before I, um, interrupted you. Yeah. . .
Varro: Not at all. I've been a little discombobulated today. I was actually just walking to clear my head. If I had somewhere I was going, you would have had to run a lot faster to catch up with me. So getting back to your question...which I still hadn't answered....
Would I turn them in? Hmm.
*<Smooth, runt> Ragyr's voice echoed in his mind, louder than before. <You really have lost your touch.> Deriaz ignored him, and focused his attention on Varro again.*
Varro: I suppose if I had wanted to do something like that, no matter what she'd done to me, I would have already done it. Maybe she should have taken that into consideration while she was busy lumping me in with the Cults of the city. I guess that would have been logical of her to do. And if I had any intention of ruining her life like she's about to ruin mine, then I'd already have acted on it. Hypothetically speaking of course. But, like you said earlier, maybe she had a good reason. Hypothetically speaking.
Deriaz: Of course. Hypothetical. *He laughed, and tried to hide the nervousness in it.*
Varro: And since we're still talking in hypothetics...no? Here, let me think on this. You say she had a good reason probably? What possible reason is a good reason to betray the trust of your friend?
Deriaz: Well, maybe she did it to keep you safe from something. . .
Varro: Do you suppose she ever once considered that I might not be in any danger in the first place?
Deriaz: Well, maybe she thinks someone is a possible threat to you. . . *Ragyr laughed again. <Nerves getting the best of you? You're not being as careful as you were earlier>*
Varro: So...instead of asking me about it, spying was the ticket then?
Deriaz: Maybe she didn't want to hurt your feelings by asking you straight. Or maybe she was afraid you would have taken it the wrong way. . .
Varro: How good to know how she really feels about me then - that she can't come to me and talk openly with me
Deriaz: *He shrugged."* Well, I mean. . . Um. . . Maybe she was afraid to confront you about it, because. . . Um. . . Because she didn't want you to take it the wrong way.
Varro: And what way could I possible take spying as? *he shook his head* I'm sorry, but I really thought...REALLY thought... there was a certain level of communication we had. Enough that doing something like that would be uncalled for. *it was more apparent now the longer they talked that Varro was talking to Deriaz as if he expected what he said to somehow get back to Uxor*
Deriaz: I. . . I. . . *He sighed.* I don't know what to say. I don't know how Uxor's mind works. . .
Varro: Apparently, neither do I. *he paused, looked at the ground, then refolded his arms* I will level with you Deriaz. Because it's very apparent that you're new to this...ambassadoring... and the ways of word play. So I am going to spare you of it, because you amuse me.
Deriaz: Amuse you? *He stared at Varro for a moment.* . . . I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. . .
Varro: That is a matter of taste, and they are not for dispute. *he refolded his arms* I knew that the two of you were checking up on Mekari. What I DIDN'T know...was that it was also me you were searching on. Tell me, why did she do it?
Deriaz: *He frowned behind the mask.* So, you do know I was the one working with her. . . I can't exactly tell you why she did it. When I offered to sneak-- To look around for information the first time, it was just on Mekari. I don't know the full reason why she would look up you as well, but we did.
Varro: See, I was going to compliment your hypothetical thieves on being sure to cover the head of the forged *he tapped on his own head about where Deriaz's glyph would be* Because anyone who saw that would be certain to identify him by it later...no matter what colors he was painted up in. What reason would she have to look for things on Mekari in the first place. Did she do something to her?
Deriaz: *He shook his head as he said the words 'no matter what colors he was painted up in,' but continued to listen.* Well, she did tell me that just the sight of Mekari scares her. I didn't push it when she brought that up, though.
Varro: So...she's afraid of Mekari...for unknown reasons...and that was good enough to warrant your actions. And hers?
Deriaz: *He shook his head.* No, that wasn't the reason I helped her. I helped her because. . . *He paused.* I helped her because I wanted to. She's my friend. I wasn't going to just let her tell me about Mekari, and then just blow it off, allowing her to do. . . Whatever, on her own. I don't know what warranted her to do what she did. . . But I helped for my own reasons. Fear or not.
*that comment Varro considered for a moment longer than the rest. The expression of contempt that he'd had most of the meeting was softened with a subtle sadness* Thank you for your time Deriaz. *he gave Deriaz a low formal bow*
Deriaz: *He watched the Bard give the bow, and then sighed.* I'm sorry if what we did was rude and rash. But we only had your best interest in mind.
Varro: *He nodded to that, but was only semi-responsive really.* Take care.
*The warforged words with him on the street had struck a cord with him. He remembered what it was like to feel that way about Uxor – a sense that you would do anything to help her. To feel like there was someone who didn’t care about your past, only that you were friends with them in the present. He sat up a little and looked directly at Mekari. He should have known.*
Varro: <You’re such a liar, you know.>
Mekari: *She seemed amused even in thought* <Well I suppose it wasn’t the truth to say I didn’t want anything. I want you out of this fog. If having that silent ice girl around is what it takes to cause that to happen, I will endure her nosing about. Don’t expect me to protect her however. That is a luxury I accord to you alone.>
Varro: <If. IF I did want her back....I don’t see how I’ll get it. Hope’s sent her away, and at this point, something tells me she was all too eager to comply. Patching this over is a bit more complicated than a simple ‘I’m sorry’>
Mekari: <I’ve already planned for such. Do as I say and all will be resolved. I want you to leave for a while. Make yourself scarce, even to your allies.>
Varro: <Absence and the heart, ay?>
Mekari: <I’m not finished. I want you to send her a few gifts. Then all you need do is wait, and leave all else to me. Don’t wait at your home however. Go somewhere you can gather your thoughts.>
Varro: <I guess I’m going to have to wonder as to how you’re going to magically fix this, considering the present animosity everyone has for you?>
Mekari: <Well, do you trust me?>
Varro: <Enough to go along with your crazy headed plan? I suppose.>
Mekari: *she smiled casually at him* <She went to find the dragon you know?>
Varro: *He stood up, pushing the chair back* <What?!>
Mekari: <Well, she’s back now, and you can send her gifts through normal channels. But, do me a favor. Do it anonymously.>
*Varro rubbed the bridge of his nose and squinted his eyes in irritation at Mekari’s habit of flippantly changing topics as if they were talking about town gossip.*
Varro: <Now I know you’re lying. She would never seek out...>
Mekari: *she interrupted him promptly* <Unless she really didn’t care what became of herself or not. So if you want this to work, trust me. If you trust me, I want you to come stand over here in front of me.> *she stood from the chair, facing out over the Phoenix from their high platform, with her back to him. He reluctantly went round the table to stand beside her.*
Mekari: <No, here. Face me.>
*Varro rolled his eyes and lurched in front of her, crossing his arms, and facing her.*
Mekari: <Now, I want you to act naturally for me.>
Varro: *He didn’t unfold his arms, but he gave her a broad, forced grin, that was more like bearing his teeth than a true ‘smile.’* <Better?>
Mekari: <Much.> *She gave a thrust at his chest with two stiff arms. Varro fell backwards off the ledge of the platform, grabbing for anything he could as he lost his balance utterly. With alarm, he realized he was plummeting down to the lower levels of the tavern in free fall, with nothing but armor and stone floor to break upon. At first, he wrenched about in the air like a cat trying to land, but having been set sailing backwards into the void, and being rather full of spirits he’d been drinking, he was disoriented. He scrambled to find his spell components to try and cast a feather falling spell, as the bars of the lower level ladder sped by him. There was no time, and he was too ill prepared.
Hard stone slammed against him. He heard things breaking, and due to the sensation of agony resonating through him, he presumed it to be parts of himself. It was quite surreal, at least until the torrents of pain overcame him fully, and his vision went white. He then felt energy being channeled onto him, but the feeling was positive, and he became aware that there were people around him. Someone was healing him. He tried to yell at Mekari, but it came out as a hoarse bark.* You tried to kill me?!
Mekari: *smiling down from far above* <Now who’s the liar? Didn’t you just get done telling me that you’d rather be dead?> *then she said aloud* Remember it well.
*One of the dwarves standing nearby was speaking to Varro* “Easy lad, we’ve got ya.” *the dwarf looked up and cried out* Someone grab that Drow!”
*Varro became aware that hands were on him, lifting him over to stretch out on a nearby table. They were fussing with getting his breastplate off to inspect his injuries. All he could do was glare at Mekari however, with her pleasant smile. Several men were ascending the ramp to the upper platform intent on going after her. The look she shot them paused their pursuit however. They looked between one another with uncertainty, and it was all the more time Mekari needed to make herself disappear. Varro heard one of the folk who tended him cursing* “These spell casters and their teleporting! There outta be a law against it in the walls of the city!”
“Well you can’t trust a Drow neither, outta outlaw them while they’re at it”
“Looks like you’ve smashed yer ribs pretty good lad, and that arm to boot.”
“Just hold still, we’ll take care of ye minstrel.”
*Varro leaned back down to allow them to mend him. He wasn’t certain if Mekari was still maintaining the link with him or not, but he tried anyway.*
Varro: <That... was THE dumbest thing for you to have done on SO many levels.>
Mekari: <On the contrary...> *so she was listening.* <First off, it decides for you your course of action. You really don’t want to die Varro, no matter how miserable you might be. The fact that you tried to save yourself is proof enough. Secondly, since this means you’ll be needing to tell your ‘spy’ the truth, that you take your new found time to think on how and what you tell her.>
Varro: <Well way to do your little experiment in front of an audience. You do realize that once word of this starts getting around, the guild will be calling for your skin. I’m fairly certain that if they didn’t have the motivation to confront you before, that they will now.>
Mekari: <Just let me take care of things and be patient.>
Varro: <And what shall I tell them if Asked, hm? That you were ‘testing’ my will to live? I’m sure that will go over like an airship without an elemental.>
Mekari: <Well you’ll need to leave tonight of course. Don’t bother going back home. If you do as I say, you won’t need to answer any questions. But should you be asked – you tell them the truth. I tried to kill you. It is the truth.>
Varro: <Trust you indeed. You and your plans.> *He got no reply.*