“I sense the presence of the Lightening Emperor…he has awakened. Our fangs shall show it that we are not afraid.” -Wind Rider
“None bit on the hook laden with a delicious piece of poison. Without the information that contact had, we have no idea who killed Lady Metaxas. Perhaps other more invasive methods must be employed to find the guilty party.” -Unknown
“The darkened ewer spews forth it’s darkness and the poison rain falling from it rots all it touches. Web and fang shall show it that it’s power is not absolute.” -The Vizier
“These stones hold such power. If some were made by man and yet others made by…something else…what flaw separates the two?” -Yorick Vassar
Snort Count: 4
In the aftermath of the destructive explosion of Yakiv The Condemner, the siblings survey the field of battle. Mustadio, Annalise, Maximilien, Narcissa, Lucias, Alexander and Germaine are unharmed, being hidden in the trees. However, Meliadoul, Agrias, Angus, Draco and Felix were not so lucky.
- Agrias received a cut on her left shoulder
- Meliadoul was cut on her right left, just at the joint
- Angus is beaten and bruised with damage to his armor, and his pride.
- Felix Durai is suffering from broken ribs and cuts from a shattered breastplate
- Draco is bleeding from a crushed paldron (shoulder armor) and is having trouble moving his left arm.
Annalise and Angus get Draco and Felix stabilized thanks to their training in field medicine. With the help of the unwounded forces, the entire party moves the wounded to a doctor who is paid to keep quiet while tending to the more severely wounded. From here, the siblings depart to the House Metaxas Villa for some well deserved rest.
Germaine and Narcissa speak privately regarding a plan to assassinate the royal family. Germaine remembers a terribly deadly fungus called Destroying Angel that causes a temporary sickness and then sudden death a short time later. The two of them plot to find said poison and use it to rid the country of the Commoner King and his kin.
Germaine leaves to speak with Kyto regarding any details of the mysterious Men In Black. Saying that he knows very little, Kyto says he will look and inform Germaine of any information he finds linking the Men In Black to the disturbances in the once-peaceful country of Ivalice.
On his way out of Kyto’s chambers, he is confronted by a dark haired, beautiful woman wearing the light armor and Captain-rank sash of an Omdolian Military Officer. She claims to know him, though Germaine can not remember ever meeting her. She is angry at his apparent lack of knowledge of meeting her in Omdolia, a place Germaine has never been. When she comments on his change of fashion, Germaine gets it; She must be looking for Angus. After she inquires as to his location and introduces herself as Captain Dara Solomon, Germaine agrees to lead her to his brother.
Narcissa leaves the villa right after Germaine to speak with their eldest sister, Christina. She asks Christina a favor; she wants false, inaccurate information fed to Hadar Meier so her poor decisions will cause her to be recalled to Omdolia. Christina says she will try and Narcissa counters with a compliment about Christina being the power behind the House. Graciously accepting the compliment, Christina smiles at her sister’s wicked intentions and walks away to speak with her Lord husband.
Back at the Metaxas Villa, Germaine and Dara return to find Angus, Annalise, Mustadio and Alexander in the common room. Angus is taken by surprise at the presence of the stunning foreign soldier, coming to his feet in a show of respect. She speaks in an annoyed tone that betrays familiarity.
- Dara: “Angus Kenderick”
- Angus: “Uhh…”
- Dara: “Have you so easily forgotten me? It’s only been 13 years…”
- Angus: “Captain, this is not the time or place.”
- Dara: “No, I think it is the perfect time AND place, in front of your family.”
- Angus: “Alright, what is this concerning?”
- Dara: “Our daughter.”
The room is silent and Angus stands, mouth open in shock and awe.
- Angus: “What do you mean ‘our daughter’?”
- Dara: “You know exactly what I mean CAPTAIN.”
- Angus: “Not the time or place!”
- Dara: “No Angus, we’re going to discuss this right here. Right now.”
She approaches him and to emphasize her point, she walks up to him, places a finger in the center of his chest and pushes him back down onto his seat.
- Dara: “Sit down. You also never told me you never had a twin.”
- Angus: “Please give us some privacy.”
Everyone in the room, except Germaine, looks at each other and simultaneously says:
Germaine leaves the room to the outside, casts Chameleon, and then returns inside unseen.
Dara explains that in her country, spouses are stationed together until both are released from duty. She demands that he accompany her to Omdolia to be the father he is supposed to be. Angus demands to know why she is here and she replies that she is accompanying Hadar Meier as an advisor to Maya Rothenburg and Tuvia Stein. Angus stands to leave and motions Dara to follow. Germaine follows unseen and everyone else begins to gossip amongst themselves.
Not four blocks away, Germaine witnesses Angus grab Dara and throw her into an alley. However, she grabs his arm and spins around so it is Angus to ends up pinned to the red brick of the alley rather than her. They begin to have a heated discussion regarding why he was pulled away from her due to his duty. She resents his lack of support and he claims that he followed his orders.
- Dara: “Your first born daughter needs you. Your family needs you.”
- Angus: “I already have a family.”
- Dara: “She is a lady-in-waiting to Hadar Meier! She is smart, brave, beautiful and capable, yet she is labeled as a bastard because her father is too much of a coward to stand up and face things he did when he was a young man. But maybe you were just a child then…and still now.”
The dialogue devolves into yelling back and forth. Germaine sees the similarities between the two, as if they are two halves of the same coin, and can see why they were drawn to each other. He continues to watch, unseen as the conflict rages on.
Narcissa returns to see the Metaxas Villa aflame with talk over Dara’s announcement of Angus’ philandering. After hearing the news, she realizes that her politicking to send Hadar packing may take her brother to Omdolia also, should Dara’s demands become true.
Annalise receives a letter alongside Mustadio that details the cataloging of the completely uncovered large metal ball bearing the Aquarius sign. Also, a second device is uncovered but not yet extracted from the mine and bears the Serpentarius sigil. Also, there is a footnote regarding the Aquarius device. Inside the sigil there is an inscription that once translated from Ancient Ivalician and then translated through the old Gallionese dialect means “Destroyer”. This makes Mustadio nervous and he wants to abandon the dig for these machines connected to the Holy Stones, for fear of the destruction that will no doubt follow in their wake.
Meanwhile, Angus and Dara continue to argue. Dara states that she will do two things: the first that she will introduce Angus to their daughter, but not reveal his identity. Second is that he will tell his wife Ilyena about her and their daughter, promising that if he does not, she will. She storms off and Angus rages at his situation, striking out at the red brick in frustration.
Germaine leaves to follow Dara after the argument. He ponders, along the way, contacting the revolution for assistance in the matter of the Lucavi. However, from the realization that Zahira is the Lucavi Zalera, he feels that it would be rather difficult to prove without serious consequences.
He follows Dara into the Omdolian Embassy, sneaking past the guards in addition to his magical veil. Entering her quarters, she shakes her head and continues searching for something. She stops into a workshop, lit by windows and burning lamps on many work tables adorned with tools, metal and wood pieces and blue-prints scattered haphazardly. At the table is Colonel Tuvia Stein, working on one of his firearms. They converse in Omdolian (which Germaine does not understand) and after what seems to be an academic discussion, she moves on leaving the Artillerist to his work.
Next she visits the primary conference chamber finding the beautiful Hadar Meier sitting and looking over papers to the instruction and advisement of the towering Maya Rothenburg. Germaine picks up on Maya using a condescending, teaching tone with Hadar that seems to indicate Maya is not fully confident in Hadar’s actions. However, when Maya speaks to Dara, he tone changes to one of respect and admiration. After some casual conversation Dara salutes and leaves out the back door, still in search of something.
In one of the back chambers Dara opens a door to the sound of a gaggle of young women giggling. Dara calls in and a raven haired young woman comes into the hall, dressed in a fine dress fitting a lady-in-waiting. The two women have a talk that though he knew not the topic, Germaine understood what was happening. He had seen a headstrong mother and a teenage daughter argue before. Katrina, the young woman, throws her hands in the air and returns to the room, shutting the door a touch louder than was customary. Dara clenched her hands in frustrated fists and stormed off, muttering to herself, obviously fuming. Germaine heads to the Embassy stables in search of a source of fire…where he waits until evening.
Annalise and Narcissa discuss the Lucavi threat and having Germaine speak with the Rebellion for assistance against Zahira. Annalise fears for Germaine’s safety in doing so. They tangent into speaking of the coming conflict Angus will have between Ilyena and Dara. Narcissa fears for Ilyena’s response to the shocking news and Annalise says nothing.
Narcissa is on her way to work on her knife-play when a strange commoner walking past her nonchalantly says:
- Man: “Those poor children…”
- Narcissa: “What?”
- Man: “Oh, the poor Metaxas children. They died…with their mother.”
- Narcissa: “What are you trying to say?”
- Man: “Unless a hefty sum of gold crowns is delivered to the Lion War Memorial in three days, their father will know how it happened and who orchestrated the tragedy.”
She draws a bee-line to the Kenderick Villa to speak with Francis. He cannot gather the sum she requests, despite his extensive resources. However, he loans her some money and with the sale of some of her jewelry she gathers the requested sum.
Meanwhile, Annalise receives a letter from Ilyena, stating that her brother is healing nicely, they are resting in Goug and that Pavel wishes to speak with her about something. Mustadio states that he is free to go whenever she is, as she was disowned from the family and therefore has no responsibility to be at Court.
Annalise makes a stop at the library and looks up the myths, texts and stories concerning the Ancient Civilization, specifically concerning spiders, wolves and mages. However, despite her vast skill set, she finds nothing in particular concerning the Great Spiders, Great Wolves or Mages.
Evening falls and Germaine waits for a stable boy to come light the lanterns around the stable. He waits for the moment and trips the young boy, the lantern landing on the ground near some hay. Germaine smashes the lantern and the flames ignite and spread quickly throughout the stable.
Germaine runs back to the Metaxas Villa, still cloaked in his Veil, and returns to his room and feigns to have been sleeping for the majority of the day. Annalise seeks out Germaine for assistance in her research. He claims that he has been in bed all day with a stomach ache and other ‘discomfort’. As they are speaking servants of House Metaxas come in yelling of a fire at the Omdolian Embassy. Both of the siblings rush to the Embassy in an attempt to help put out the blaze.
When they arrive, all the important people have been moved outside and various House Metaxas mages help put out the flames with magic. The fire is put out but the Embassy is damaged beyond habitation. Germaine goes back to the Metaxas Villa, claiming he is still not well.
Annalise moves toward Maya Rothenburg and asks what caused the fire. Upon her offer for any assistance, she walks with Maya. Maya asks for Annalise’s assiatance as she believes that Hadar Meier is looking for a lover in country and she suspects that Alexander Metaxas may be the target of her advances. Much like an older sister, Maya asks for Annalise’s assistance in keeping Alexander and Hadar apart as she believes that Hadar is power hungry and attempting to climb the social ladder with Alexander as the first rung. Annalise agrees to the question of help but before Maya leaves she asks to meet with Colonel Tuvia Stein, as they share interests.
The next morning Annalise and Germaine discuss contacting the Rebellion once again, though Germaine is nervous as Zahira, the head of the rebellion, is a Lucavi and may have told the others in the organization to be on the look-out for the Kenderick mage. When they inquire of the servants to Angus’ location they find that he has left. Germaine attempts to contact the rebellion.
Receiving a message from Tuvia Stein stating that he is available to meet, Annalise schedules it for the morning and leaves with Mustadio to meet in one of the many large conference rooms at court. Tuvia is a gentlemen and an academic with a different perspective on the manufacture of firearms and other engineering concepts. He expresses an interest in the devices that were removed from the mines beneath Goug Machine City. Showing an informed interest, he asks many questions about the devices that hold inscriptions of the Zodiac signs.
Mustadio takes Annalise aside and expresses distaste and much discomfort in the uncovering of the ancient machines. If they hold sigils of the Zodiac Signs and shapes in which to insert the corresponding stones, they can do nothing but bring destruction and death. He wishes to stop digging them up and focus on other areas of research and development.
Germaine goes looking for Angus and on his way out of town, finds him disguised on a bench. They speak at length about Angus’ situation; he does not know what to do. He fears that if he tells Ilyena, she will want nothing to do with him, as she is very religious. However, if says nothing Dara will tell Ilyena for him, which ends even worse. He carries much guilt over having a daughter and not being there for her. He asks Germaine what he should do and like a good brother Germaine advises Angus but leaves the final decision up to him and him alone. He is angry that Ilyena is not there to be with him at court, resenting that she is taking care of her brother and child. He makes no decision to leave and Germaine departs.
Narcissa goes out in the morning and looks for a private investigator who will look into the mysterious threat she received regarding Alexander’s now deceased family. She doesn’t know anyone from her younger days so she is forced to purchase the services of one. She is pulled aside by her brother Angus, in disguise. She confesses her actions that could get him dragged away to Omdoliaand though he appreciates her honesty it is a small concern at the current moment. He asks her what he should do in his situation and laments to her much as he did to Germaine. She offers the advice that he must tell Ilyena and that she will meet with him and Dara and try to work out a solution. He goes to setup the meeting while she returns to her business. As she leaves, she realizes that she has never seen her younger brother this shaken up about anything.
Narcissa receives a summons to meet up with an unknown sender exactly one day before the money drop from the threatening stranger. Upon receving it, she contacts Annalise and asks that if she should be unable to make the drop appointment, that Annalise disguise her self and make the drop for her, not telling her why she must but that it is essential.
Mustadio and Annalise talk in the morning about their meeting with Tuvia. Suspicious of the knowledge Tuvia was aware of at their mine, Mustadio pushes Annalise harder to abandon the dig concerning the machines associated with the Zodiac Signs. She is quiet on the matter and confirms that they need to head home to check on the progress.
Germaine and Narcissa go in search of information concerning the “Destroying Angel” fungus that they are plotting to use in the assassination of the royal family. Despite their best efforts, they confirm that the mushroom is indeed real but where it grows and what it does remains a mystery.
Narcissa goes to her meeting, but runs into her hired private investigator first. His search found that the man who spoke to her contacted many others first with similar threats. She takes this information and makes her way to the tavern, where-in she finds a disguised Yorick Vassar. He warns her of two things: First that the strange man who confronted her is no doubt fishing for a guilty party and by her inaction she will maintain her innocence. Someone wants to know who killed the Metaxas family and they are casting a wide net, in hopes of the party incriminating themselves.
The second topic is concerning a stone he found in his year or more living in Omdolia. He withdraws a small stone and is able to crush a steel mug in one hand as if it were paper. His research shows that these stones are called Nethicite and that there are two kinds, man-made (Manufacted) and God-made (Deifacted). Together they figure out that the mysterious Men In Black must be in possession of such stones, thus leading to their fearsome reputation. He asks her to find his bodyguard Hero, who didn’t make it to Omdolia with him. He needs to find this young woman, though the reason as to why he does not say. He leaves her with a warning to be more careful, more suspicious and to not trust anyone, for the feel of the things to come screams of intrigues and ambitions which will shake the nation.
Germaine speaks with Annalise on assistance with the search for knowledge on the “Destroying Angel”. Despite their best attempts, the knowledge of the fungus remains elusive. Attempting to contact her contact who works with bugs, Narcissa fails. However, she does remember a woman who is a botanist and asks about the deadly mushroom. Clara the Botanist describes it and gives some details about it, leading their search towards Favoham.
Narcissa contacts Agrias and Meliadoul in regards to the location of Hero and they do in fact have a young woman named Hero working for them. She then goes to find Francis and finds out that he was threatened by the strange commoner as well. He wrote it off and plans to pay no attention to it. She returns home and is called upon by Angus, who brings her to meet with Dara to discuss her demands. When they arrive, Narcissa finds herself across from the table from Dara Solomon…and Hadar Meier.
The argument over the fate of Katrina, Angus and Dara commences. Angus argues for Katrina to become a handmaiden to House Metaxas, where she will become eligible to become noble through a minor house, with a compromise of Dara being stationed as the Head of House Security for House Metaxas. Dara argues for Angus to join her and Katrina in Omdolia until her term of service in the military is ended. With the terms set, Hadar and Narcissa commence to settle the dispute.
The argument darts back and forth. In the end though, Hadar and Narcissa deliver outstanding points that bring the discussion to a no-win situation, requiring a compromise. In the moments of aftermath, Hadar speaks:
“Very fitting of a woman…who’s past her prime.”
She gestures her hand in the air and then traces her neckline, emphasizing a necklace she is wearing…with Favoham sapphires in it. Holding her fury in check, Narcissa settles on introducing Dara and Katrina to Ilyena, Pavel and Raphael, Katrina becomes a handmaiden to House Vilaro under Christina and Dara becomes head of House Kenderick Security instead. Narcissa agrees and heads to find her father…