Sands of Chiaroscuro

Transcripts! Third of Many!

((Apologies for the missing content, this transcript starts about the time that MSN messenger and Vent were being nasty and losing content from the RP before I could copy it down. Instead of weird unexplained breaks in the text, I’m going to make a summery of events.))

((Early morning goes back to meet Mk’rrrl in the temple finds him and Sesus, after a brief battle with Sesus follows Mk’rrrl to a abandoned warehouse where they learn to communicate and she learns his name is Progression of People’s Progress, and needs to be fixed, she hurries back to the temple but is caught by Kalthok late, after she comes out of the bath, since the fight with Sesus had ruined her boot, and she’d needed to clean her feet, all the while ignoring what apparently was a couple of people from the temple getting it on in there, writes what happened etc as part of a punishment. Then she gets sent to bed. She wakes up, and as part of her punishment from Kalthok has to deliver a note that Kalthok had dictated to her about how one of the participants of what she’d been ignoring was supposed to have extra chores. Said participant tries to convince her to do it because he’s a spoiled pretty boy. She doesn’t buy it and leaves him with his duties, leaving the meal area in the meantime.))

The day is quiet, as she heads into the corridor. She had lessons to deal with today, and the issue of being fed had been dealt with.

Early Morning looks about for where her instructors could be, or food for that matter, whichever she stumbles upon first, favoring one foot slightly due to the nasty bruising from Sesus’ attack, though the stiffness is fading as she uses it more.

The food was unfortunately in the hall she had just left. Given Victory’s new place of seating, returning would mean passing him by again, him and his ‘ladies man charms’. As for Kalthok, heading down the corridor, she would be able to see him pulling the ear of another ‘student’ as he heads into a cupboard, of all places.

With a very put upon and grumpy look upon realizing this she brightens instantly in somewhat sadistic glee at the sight of Kalthok tormenting someone else, apparently making her day a much more cheerier thing. Not knowing where or who she is to go to for her lesson, she calls out to him, headed in his direction, “Um, Kalthok? I delivered the letter, do you know who I’m supposed to be studying with or where they are so I can find them?” she asks, scratching her head in embarrassment about not knowing her way around but still bright and cheerful at the poor sod Kalthok has ahold of’s suffering.

Kalthok looks back at her from in the cupboard, in the process of tying the student to one of the tool racks as she looks in, the door still open. “Hmph. I suppose you should look in the crafting area. Blowhar-” he pauses, closing his eyes a moment before continuing. “His Lordship is not there at present. “

The look of confusion is plain on her face, “Sooo…. where do I go?”

Pointing in the direction of the main hall, he grunts, picking up another length of rope as he speaks. “Head out to the main hall. End of the long passage. The High Priest will probably have you do something.

Grinning, she nods, giving him a cheerful wave she calls out behind her, “Have fun!” as she leaves to take the directions that he gave her.

Chuckling, he returns to it, and she would be able to hear the words “Now. About the missing inks that turned up in my clothing?” The corridor is straight, and as said, she is without a god bombarding her ears as she enters the main crafter’s hall.

When she gets there she scans the area for the high priest, bouncing slightly on the balls of her feet as she does.

The high priest in question is overseeing the crafters at this point, and as soon as he sees her, he waves for her to approach.

She gives a happy little wave back and leaves off her bouncing to approach, “Good Morning!” she greets him with a smile before tilting her head with a questioning look, “I was told that you’d have work for me to do today? And maybe lessons?” she grins cheerfully.

“I do, actually. I need you to help with one of the apprentice’s normal chores. Running.” He chuckles openly, a jovial smile on his face, his robes stretched at the belly as he calls. “We need you to run messages, carry items, and so forth. Not a girl’s typical labor, but I think you look like you’re used to it.”

She nods, still smiling, “I used to be a courier.” she pauses slightly as if remembering something then shuffling it back in her memory for later things to do, “So what shall you have me do first?”

He beams as she prompts that, pointing to a group of men slowly dipping bronze into the cooling pits that lined both sides of the cathedral. Speaking now in a quieter tone, he instructs her. “Head over there first. We’ll need you to…” He speaks in a concise tone, giving her tasks for the day in detail.

The day does go quickly; whether she’s running water to the workers, helping to carry sand, copper bars, pewter, or more from place to place, even on occasion being given instruction to maintain different processes such as glassblowing, or scouring. By the time late afternoon approaches, a single small scroll would suddenly drop onto her shoulder, then the floor, tied with a small ribbon.

She blinks as the scroll hits her shoulder, then bends to pick it up before looking about to see who had dropped it there.

A single raven swoops about, seeming content to circle a moment, before flicking to the doorway with the smoke.

Blinking in surprise at the bird for a moment she opens the scroll that had been left.

“Let me know that you are well. A little bird told me you were with the god of shouting, glass, and bronze. – Raven”

Early Morning smiles happily at her surrogate mother’s concern. Though sighs when she realizes that she’ll have to finish whatever other small tasks there may be for her before she could send a response, the bird hadn’t stuck around after all.

The end of the day comes quickly, with a mass of people heading for the mess hall, the high priest patting her on the back as they head back. “You did well!” He beams at her again.

She smiles at him, “Thank you!” before hesitantly asking, “Um… could I have a few hours? I have to let my mother know that I am all right, see if my friend needs anything, and possibly get some new boots… I’m afraid I only have one now, and I wouldn’t want to walk on my bare feet for long with what is usually in the street.” she looks ruefully at her bare feet wiggling her toes.

“Your… mother? Certainly. I had been told you were an orphan…” He trails off, shaking his head to himself. “Of course, well… sandals, if that is alright?”

She smiles, “I am an orphan, I just call her that because she partially took me in when I was little, she’s the one that got me the job as a courier in the first place, taught me to read…” she trails off shrugging with a laugh, “I think sometimes calling her Mother, or Mama annoys her. Probably makes her feel old.” she continues, “I will take the sandals if you can spare them, otherwise I’m not unaccustomed to going barefoot, my feet will just need a washing after, it’s not like I’m going to be running across the field of gold or anything. Thank you for the offer though.” she grins good-naturedly.

He laughs at the comment of the field, nodding to her request. “Of course! Sandals do not cost much. Take what you need.”

She nods, “Um… where would I find them?”

Pointing back down the hall, he pauses, before taking her there manually himself. Finding a room filled with spare robes, blankets, sandals, even a spare wooden leg.

She gets a pair that vaguely fits her feet before bowing, and thanking him again, getting her pack before heading out to go see Raven first, Raven’s letter securely shoved down her front, and once again putting the robe away after leaving the temple, dumping the soiled cloth that she had wiped herself down with after the annoying dream in a metal rubbish bin that someone during the day had set the contents of on fire – a method the homeless of the city used at times if they had to cook, aka burn anything to make it edible.

The bin does indeed seem to react to the admission of a message; that is to say, it nearly explodes in a cascade of brilliant essence, the fire suddenly golden as it erupts to a near twelve feet in height, the smoke a brilliant silver color, forming shapes of miraculous scenes, forming columns of marching beasts as they ascend into the sky. The light of the fire is bright enough to have the street suddenly reeling, as though a flashbang had gone off, people calling out in sudden surprise, fear, and even elation as they try to clear their sight and hearing. All, that is, but for three other people who are standing in amazement only a scant thirty yards distant, one with a raven perched on his shoulder. Three, I might add, dragon-blooded, clad in jade armor of black-green, deep green, and blue respectively. Unfortunately for Morning, the faces of two are immediately recognizable, as one is the imperial but feminine features of a certain Cynis Evaja, the other next to her a scarred and almost exhausted-looking Tepet Rhalkim. The third, looking more baffled than anything, seems to continue staring at the smoke rather than looking down at the urchin.

Early Morning twitches, not even looking at the flash behind her as she’d thrown it while on the move, a look of pure annoyance and hatred of circumstance coming upon her face as she continues through the freaking out crowd, very quietly spewing words that would probably have had Raven giving her a light smack on the side of the head for uttering. Her shoulders hunch slightly in irritation as she pushes her way through the blind and screaming crowd who are likewise attempting to flee the scene.

“Hey, someone’s- IT’S HER!” is the sound that comes from Sesus’ mouth, the same time as Rhalkim seems to mumble “Why always so flashy, you damn theatrical ass. Hmm? Who’s who? What… HEY! THAT GIRL!” The third figure, however, only seems to utter “Strange. I thought I put in more effort on keeping it somewhat muted. Stop the shouting!” as he watches the other two of the same guard patrol racing their way forward as well, with the cries of people stumbling in the way seeming to block them. the shadows of an alleyway, however, a single dark hand reaches to grab the poor girl as she attempts to make her escape.

A single dark hand reaches to grab the poor girl as she attempts to make her escape, grabbing the hem of her shirt, and with a slight flash of essence, seeming to take the sight from her. It would take a moment to have the slight light of the room filter into view; a cellar window the only sign of the street nearby, as a pair of dark green jade boots stomp past. “I know she went this way!” comes the cry from Rhalkim.

Early Morning blinks her eyes and tries to get her surroundings, she hasn’t stopped though quietly voicing very bad language she’d picked up from a number of sources and had rated their scathingness by repeating them within Raven’s hearing when she was younger, using that rating system she picks the most hair raising now, interspersed with inane questions of why the heck things/people/events couldn’t leave her in peace, shut up, and be peaceful.

A soft slap across the back of her head comes suddenly from the darkness, a unique charm designed for that same purpose when teaching very basic verbal manners to orphan children, a melee attack with the bonus of being unavoidable, and dealing no damage to those it strikes. From that same darkness, Raven chides the princess of the ocean for her use of such verbatim. “I thought I gave you more manners than that. Can I ask how you did the extremely… showy… fire?”

Early Morning spins, blinking, trying to catch a sight of her mother, “Mama? I don’t know, I’ve been having really gross annoying dreams and woke up with nasty shit on me so I rubbed it off and then thought to dispose of it in the fire, then the piece of fucking shit bin exploded…” her language while starting to be self censored, hasn’t gotten all the way there yet, confusion and irritation plain on her face, as well as relief that Raven is there, and possibly can make everything sane again.

The charm is activated again, the back of Morning’s head suddenly smarting again, despite Raven stepping out of the shade in front of her, pouting in thought as she looks the girl over, an amazing lack of exalted obviousness to her as she steps around in the shade. “Something attacked your soul.” She mutters, looking the orphan up and down slowly. “It ate, but nothing that won’t heal… Ah. That’s…” She trails off, before petting the girl on her head gently, like a pet almost, tutting. “There’s a very perverted spirit out to get you. It’s going to get to learn about castration later. But in the meantime, let’s have a little story. About how you can apparently breathe water and use essence now?” The last part of her sentence is almost a question, but better left as a distinct request without room for refusal. Sitting herself down on her knees in front of the girl, Raven tuts over any small signs of dirt or injury on her, an immaculate vision of motherliness.

Early Morning pouts, looking put upon for an instant before lurching forward to hug her, “Sorry, Mama Raven, and I told you, a nasty dragonblood tried to drown me, then ran when it happened then the nasty harbor people tried to marry me off and I came to you to hide.” she pauses before continuing, “Then nasty dead things half squished your safe house.” Early Morning obediently replaces her fouler language with the word ‘nasty’ in hopes of keeping her mother happy and not getting smacked again.

Smiling, the exalt takes the dragon-blooded in her embrace, frowning as soon as her expression is no longer in sight of the young girl, not wishing to have the poor child given to a fit of worry. “Pervy spirit” indeed. Petting the girl’s head where she had been smacked, Raven speaks quietly. “It’s alright, Morning. You don’t need to worry about the safe-house. The Tri-Khan is angry, though. He heard that you exalted, and that could be trouble for you. He said something about how you have to be exiled” Pulling back, she puts her best ‘serious but unworried’ expression on, looking the girl in the eye. “So, we need to keep you hidden for now, don’t we? And the best way to start will be to keep you from having to keep fighting off everything around you, don’t you agree?”

Early Morning however looks to have gotten worried at her words to the point of near tearfulness, but she nods at that sniffling, “How are we going to d-do that? And why does he want to exile me? All I want is to be left alone by the nasty crazy people but they won’t stop, and I still have to replace my boot!” shifting the small pack from her back she takes the crumbling boot out of it and shows it to Raven.

“Oh shush. Chin up, you’re a dragon-blood now. You don’t want the other terrestrials to laugh at you now, do you?” Raven tuts as she physically reaches to lift EM’s chin, frowning seriously still, seeming oblivious to the relative ridiculousness of her phrase. “And that’s what I mean. The nasty crazy people won’t chase you if they can’t find you. Now let’s have a look at that boot, then I’ll see to what we need to do.”

Early Morning nods, wiping at her eyes and handing the boot over to Raven. “They haven’t laughed, just been scary, tried to drown me, marry me off, called me names, tried to hurt my friend, and apparently have hobby of destroying things I’m wearing.” Early Morning gets the annoyed look on her face again. “Oh! And attempted to adjust my face using a knife.” she pouts.

Nodding, Raven runs her hand over the boot, her Craft charms coming into effect, only a subtle effect however with limited essence expense, the leather and wood flowing at the command of the erstwhile mistress of their spirits, resealing into a worn, but eminently usable, twin to the other boot. Seeming somewhat happy at it’s repair, the boot is also more comfortable to wear now, no longer resenting it’s lack of attention – however, Raven has no way of knowing this unexpected benefit. Standing as she finishes, she nods to the girl, offering the footgear. “And that’s what I mean. The dragon-blooded around here are blustery types. All show, no strength. And you need to remember that. If they get angry, you need to show them that they are angrier. Then they’ll stop hurting you. Alright? As for marriage, just say you’re married to House Cynis. They have a habit of wedding people while completely drunk; they won’t be able to deny it. However!” The last word is much louder, intended to gather the girl’s attention again. “That is if-” Cut short by the cellar window opening, if Raven lacked more Temperance, she would indulge in a sweatdrop, as the third dragonblood pokes his head into the open window. “I thought I shouting…” He mutters, looking down into the room below.

Early Morning looks delighted at the repaired boot, but stays silent to listen to Raven, however her head whips around to stare at the third dragonblood that has just poked his head in, remaining quiet.

The dragonblood looks at Raven as the Solar turns, thankful that she had been spending double on her charms now, and able to feign a believable expression of concern. “I am sorry, prince of the earth!” Bowing in deep supplication, Raven’s performance of common-folk nature is flawless. “Is there anything my lord of the elements wishes of a humble girl or her daughter?” The dragonblood frowns, seeming to sense that he had intruded, and then shaking his head as the door to the cellar opened, despite the sudden mental cursing given by Raven against the pattern-spiders and their love of mischief. Looking at the intruding human as the man descends the stairs, the human involved seems suddenly surprised at the two women in his basement, his eyes clearly fearful, even to the relatively oblivious dragonblood that Sesus and Tepet had dragged with them on patrol.

Early Morning stays silent, though her muscles imperceptibly tense to run and evade should she need to, hoping that her mother can solve the situation.

The dragon-blood’s eyes rotate now to the girl who wasn’t prostrating herself at an exalt’s direct attention, more than enough in the room setting him on edge. “Yes. You can come out, with your… ‘daughter’. I need you both to answer some questions.” Not waiting for the girl to attack (potentially), the guard pulls from the window, using a simple elemental flare to signal his position to the other two. He’d been hearing of a rogue dragonblood. The human, however, seems taken aback as Raven begins using the same words she had taught Morning thoroughly not to use, grabbing at the latter’s clothing, and tugging towards the stairwell, snarling at the man in the way. “Move, mortal.” Her voice is tainted with black ice and death, the man’s face paling as he seems to fall over himself in an effort to clear her way.

Early Morning hurries up behind Raven, somewhat worried, wide eyed, and taken aback by Raven’s tone, though the language in this situation was perfectly understandable in Early Morning’s eyes. She decides to continue to keep her mouth shut and follow Raven’s lead, asking stupid questions now would probably earn her more than just a small harmless smack.

Raven, once within the house, calls out in a voice that seems to quiver with an unseen energy, her anima now coming into display as she turns to the girl she had ‘adopted’. “Sweetie?” Raven smiled too pleasantly as she looked at Morning intently. “I need you to hold on. This is going to involve a lot of moving quickly through things that won’t want me to run through them.”

Wide eyed EM nods but asks, “Er.. To you Mama?” After which she glomps on to Raven, once again looking like she’s going to be near tears with worry.

The blur of speed that comes after is partially mitigated by the Solar’s own enhanced Excellencies… and completed with Morning’s own abilities as well, lending some safety to being held as the Solar then leaps with a streaking blur to the wall, and then through, the Monkey Leap and Material Weakness charm combo leaving a path as solid as brittle wood for the errant Solar to take ‘flight’ through. Before too long, after smashing a line through the scenery, she stops, leaping into a nearby stairwell, and then around an edge to a quiet spot.

By this point EM’s shaking and there are tears of basically stress running down her face, too much has been happening in too short a time, she continues to keep a grip on Raven, not just because Raven told her to, but because she wants the comfort and Raven has always smelled comforting as well, even when Early Morning as a child was covered in mud and decided to snuggle next to Raven, knowing that the yelling would start as soon as she woke up…

Thankfully, the trio of Exalts on their tail do fall for the trail that Raven left, heading well past before they recognize the exceptionally simple falsehood in their combined arrogance, exhaustion, and obliviousness. As soon as the scene seems to become quieter, Raven takes a long, deep breath, taking refuge in the rare moment of peace lacking interruption by fate. Looking at the trembling child in her arms, she starts getting into her maternal mode again, sitting back against the wall, and just hugging her gently, cradling and petting her traumatized ward, murmuring soothing words to help make the pain and fear go away.

Early Morning eventually quiets, though she doesn’t let go of Raven she does look up, the tears and other evidence of her crying having been messily wiped off on Raven’s top unintentionally. “A-Are they gone?” she asks, looking back slightly.

“They’re gone.” Raven affirms, petting the girl still, her anima annoyingly still brilliant enough to merit staying in yet another basement, this one thankfully in a ruined, abandoned building free of occupancy. Indicating that the girl sits nearby with a pat on the dirt packed on the floor, Raven gives a sigh. “I guess I should help explain the glow, shouldn’t I?”

Early Morning nods, sitting where Raven hat patted, “And the busting through walls. That was pretty neat.” she gives Raven a weak smile. Reaching to her pack that had been squished between then she takes out her other boot, putting the pair on and wiggling her feet with a pleased look before shooting Raven a grin, “Thanks for fixing my boot too!”

“That’s alright. The least a chosen of Sol could do.” Raven knew about Morning’s late-night reading sessions, and waited to see if the statement had any effect. It was beginning to get cold, even with the light of her anima in the room, the lack of competition from the sun in the sky was noticeable. It had been a time since the pursuit had been called off.

Early Morning blinks once before the references in her reading, especially her ‘research’ into various artifacts catches up with her, “Sol? Oh! You’re a Solar then…?” Early Morning looks mainly confused at this, “Why didn’t I know before? Unless this is recent, otherwise I wish I had your skill at hiding my exaltation.” Early Morning smiles ruefully. “Seems all sundry knows about mine.”

“It isn’t. And I am. A night-caste, to be exact.” She smiles at the girl quietly, as though admitting that she had special underwear to a daughter by birth, a slight blush to her features. “We are lucky enough to be able to hide our powers if needed. But it is very taxing. Exhausting, even.” She lets the oversimple explanation stay for now. Time to explain about essence and motes later if it was needed. “It’s how I’ve been able to keep on top of half of you little rascals!” She smiles, reaching out to brush a hand over the girl’s forehead. “Unlike you. You were chosen by water, I heard?”

Early Morning chuckles, but then sobers and nods, “If my breathing water is any indication, I doubt anything else would have helped with drowning, he’d stuck my feet into the stone of the dock so I couldn’t get up to get air even if I tried without detaching my feet.” She shudders slightly in remembered unpleasantness.

The woman frowns, nodding after a time as she seems to contemplate what had occurred. “He wasn’t very kind to you. But in a way, if he hadn’t, you wouldn’t have had your Second Breath. Which, though a pain now, will be of great benefit to you”.

Early Morning sighs, “It’s not like I’ve been able to do anything interesting since then, mostly I’ve just been trying to dodge all the crazies that have cropped up and suddenly developed an interest due to who knows what, and I keep running into him, though happily there are things that distract him, he obviously doesn’t mean me any good.” She looks at Raven, “Soo… my turn to ask something…” she grins, “Since you were already a Solar when you found me does that mean that you’re older than you look? Really old? Should I call you granny instead of Mama?” she suddenly teases.

Raven’s eyes narrow, her expression suddenly distinctly cattish. Without moving, she uses her charm to ‘tap’ the back of the dragon-blood’s head once more, before answering. “Not yet, you can’t. I was chosen only a scant 200 or so years ago; I’m a young exalt by those standards. But the circle has been completed. We have a lot of work to do even now.” She looks at the fading light, before helping the girl back up once more.

Early Morning lets out a light hearted laugh, not minding the tap. “So, how do you intend on hiding me? It seems that no matter where I go the minute I step out another crazy rounds on me. The safe-house got squished, then there’s the temple I’ve been staying at these past couple days, but not being able to leave such a small area…” she makes a face, “What do you think I should do Mama Raven? If I’m to go back to the temple it should be relatively soon, I already had to write about why I was late coming back last night, and I certainly can’t let out a whisper about this.”

Nodding, Raven gives a sly smirk. “You know, perhaps the best place to hide would be to arrange a marriage to someone old and grody. You know, an old man who wouldn’t know what to do with a girl other than drool on her.” She laughs. “Granny indeed. We can’t hide you in the streets, and not knowing your powers will only make things much worse for you. In the end, I think we’ll have to make some form of basic arrangement for your legitimate safe-keeping.”

Early Morning shoots Raven a look of disgust and disbelief at her first suggestion, but calms once it’s obvious that it was in jest. “And how are we going to do that? Without marrying me of course.” Early Morning gets a stubborn look at this that says very plainly that she won’t budge on the matter of matrimony.

“Aww. But you’d look so cute next to a prune in marriage robes!” Raven snickers, the image elicting more amusement in her mind than the insult had removed. “No matter. Leave the planning to Momma Raven. I’m sure there’s no chance of a member of the Immaculates not being able to accept a ‘generous donation’ in exchange for quick finding of a new name and family for you.”

Early Morning makes gagging noises at the comment, before nodding at the last, “So what do I do now?”

Raven smiles at the girl with a slight motherly expression, taking the time to start a small fire in the corner, tending to it carefully. “Sit tight at the temple for now. I’ll have to come visit you tonight, though. Naughty spirits shouldn’t get their way.”

Early Morning nods and smiles at that, “That would get one annoyance out of the way.” she pauses a moment, “Do you think I should risk visiting Production to see if he’s alright? I’m afraid he’ll get bored standing in a corner all the time.” she looks concerned at this.

She nods slowly, before looking very pointedly at the girl. “Who is Production, again?” She asks simply, not with any major suspicion at yet. She had simply been left out of the name’s being updated. Early Morning gives a brief description, “Really tall, looks like a suit of armor, has a speech impediment where you can’t understand most everything he says, can’t write understandably, nice, has a hollow in his chest where he keeps trinkets…”

Raven looks at the girl very slow, thoughtful look, something unsettling in her gaze as she does. “Morning, dear. Do you think he’d mind meeting me?”

She blinks, then shakes her head, “I wouldn’t think so, after the safe-house got squished we were going to go and tell you about it but you had company over and the very scary man that can’t take corners well was in the window so we decided to sleep up against the bakery with the other streetrats instead. “

Raven goes quiet; tilting her head. “What scary man did you see, Morning?” She asks quietly, not trying to scare the poor child; after all, she’d been through enough already.

Early Morning briefly describes the little she had seen of the deathknight ending in how she had come across him, ”...And it was late and he was yelling and glowing blue and chased me! So I ran and kept running, then took a sharp corner and BAM!” she does a little clap to illustrate the impact, “He hit the wall face first.” she looks pleased at this, but finishes her explanation, “But I kept running till I was sure I lost him and I hid.”

Raven nods, stirring the fire with a thin stick as she seems to listen, though her responses show she’s lost in thought. As the story ends, she looks up with a motherly smile again, gesturing for the girl to take her lap once more, something saddened flicking behind her eyes as she does, for a moment looking almost as lost as if she were the one out of her depth in a strange world of newfound powers.

Early Morning sits in her lap, and hugs her adopted mother tightly, trying to comfort her to get that look off her face. “So, do you want me to take you to where Production is before it gets too dark?” she asks, trying to steer the conversation away from the subject that had apparently disturbed Raven.

Raven chuckles, lifting her head so that she can rest her chin on the girl’s scalp, putting both arms around her and giving a sigh. “You’ve grown so quickly. I barely had time to notice…” She trails off, leaving a minute or three of silence before continuing. “Alright, then. Let’s see Production.”

Early Morning laughs in turn, giving Raven another squeeze, “Don’t worry, you’ll always be Momma to me.” she grins at Raven warmly before standing and offering a hand to help Raven up. Intending on leading Raven to the warehouse where Production was staying.

Raven does follow into the sapphire-black night air, her anima now having reduced back to something her habitual cowl covered. In the sky, the five maidens watch with omnipresent eyes, reflected in the light of Luna, and the single owl watching the pair as they left their erstwhile hideaway. In the distance, the guards on the wall shuffled in their habitual salute to the Tri-Khan, done once an hour on the hour.

Early Morning leads until she’s at the door of the warehouse, giving a brief knock and sticking her head in cheerfully, scanning the room for her friend.

Production seems to have not moved in the time that she had been gone, a slight amount of dust now having collected on his(?) frame, giving him a slight discoloring, and a slight cloud as his head moves to regard her intrusion into their shared hiding-hole. With a slight clicking whirr, he flexes his fingers, rotating a good number of his joints, displacing more of the stuff over his frame.

Early Morning starts forward, approaching him and tisking at the dust, brushing off what was in reach and doing small hops to try and reach what wasn’t. As she does, she indicates behind her where Raven should be with a tilt of her head, “Production! You really should move around a bit, don’t you get bored just standing there? Anyway Momma Raven wanted to see where you were and stuff before I have to go to the temple again, hopefully soon enough that I won’t have to write another essay, makes my hand cramp it does.” she chatters amicably.

Production gives a grinding whirr again, this time giving a distinct electronic series of buzzes and pops, almost like a modem trying to talk. After several seconds of this, he finally manages to produce a “grrrrr-k’tchk’aaaagh”, as he reaches to give his human-seeming friend a hug. As the last of the dust falls, he regards Raven, at first curiously, then with a sudden reaction of almost concern that Raven doesn’t seem to mimic, he begins to growl heavily, a slight motion on his arm revealing a buzz-saw that began to spin dangerously. Raven, on the other hand, seems at a loss. “What… is it?”

Early Morning hugs Production back but at his sudden threatening posture towards her adopted mother scolds, “Production, stop that! Momma Raven is nice!” with a frown. She turns to Raven, “Production is production. He’s been really nice and helped lots, especially when that Cynis Broken Wheel person wanted to cut my face up. I don’t know why he’s acting hostile to you, I only just figured out a way to communicate with him clearly last night, his voice is messed up and I can’t understand his writing so I just intone sounds and he indicates which one he wants to use, and I write it down and repeat it to him before doing it again. It takes a really long time.”

Production seems decidedly against the idea of trusting the solar, watching her as though a cat who had just seen the bull mastiff in the next room enjoying a chewtoy. The growls do subside, however, but it isn’t to the extent that Raven seems eager to approach. “Well, hello then Production. Thank you for helping Morning out.”

Raven, after having spent some time deciding that Production seemed less than inclined for company, finally gives a smile to the young dragon blood. “So. I guess if I need to find you in a hurry, this should be somewhere for me to look?” She doesn’t comment on the girl’s having found what seemed to be a living suit of armor; it seemed attached enough to the girl, and protective at that.

“Either here or at the temple. Other than getting waylaid by crazies and having apparently ordinary things blow up spectacularly in my face and attracting them.” Early Morning grumbles this last bit but grins at her mother, then looks at the hardly visible light coming into the warehouse. “I’m going to have to run – don’t want to be late getting back again, nor miss breakfast tomorrow morning as I did…” she pauses thinking, “Most every meal I have today. Stupid crazy psychotic Dragon-bloods….” she pouts at the thought of the lost potential food.

Chuckling at the girl’s admission, Raven considers something, a serious expression to her eye. Smiling, she looks at her daughter with a mothering expression. “Well, don’t worry about the dragon-blooded. We’ll save you some hassles with that, even if we have to arrange some fake marriage or some-such for it. Alright?” Of the group, Production seems the most disturbed by this prospect, his body language happily telling EM that he had a problem with that statement.

Early Morning winces, “Err… maybe something where I wouldn’t have to act or make things up, I really don’t do that well…” she scratches the back of her head uncomfortable with the idea slightly and a bit put off of it by Production’s reaction. “At least you’re getting rid of the darn pervert Spirit though, that’s one hassle dealt with, or soon to be.”

Raven smiles, chuckling at the comment as she reaches to ruffle the girl’s hair. “If you need me, you know where you can find me. If I’m not there… just wait at the shop.”

Early Morning grins at Raven before turning to Production, “I’ve got to go back to the Temple alright? I’ll try to come back soon, was intending on talking with you more but I ran out of time because the crazies decided to make themselves known. Since they are both close enough, Early Morning wraps an arm around each, giving both a half hug before disengaging and fishing her robe out of her pack, putting it on over her leather outfit. “You two take care of yourselves alright? Don’t let the crazies get to you through means of collateral targeting when they’re after me to irritate me more.” with a grin she sticks her tongue out, making a face uncomplimentary about the character of those crazies.

Production gives a grinding, halting half-whir as she starts to head out, the solar nearby murmuring something back in exchange, at a volume below audible levels. Neither does anything to stop her from going, and if she presses out into the night air, she’d find that the typical desert night’s chill has already settled in, biting enough to be uncomfortable to anyone. In the darkness, a single owl swoops overhead, clutching an unfortunate rat in it’s talons. In it’s wake, EM would be able to spot a clumsier ‘child’ on a roof, making his way into a shop’s attic.

Early Morning shakes her head at the kid on the roof, before heading towards the temple, glad of the robe’s warmth, what little it offers. Critiquing the kid could get them caught after all. picking up the hems of the robe she hurries towards the temple, hoping that it wasn’t past the closing time that had never been fully explained or told to her.

As she rounds to the temple itself, the doors at the entrance are being slowly shut, the two monks at the door seeming disinterested in conversation, and eager to let her within. Something, however… seems amiss. A subtle scent in the air, perhaps? That’s probably it. Actually, after a time, she can smell it. Something akin to a cross between a dog scenting a tree and a rancid orange.

Making a face at the stink, she takes the collar of her robe and puts it over her nose, continuing onwards, it was perhaps too late to hope for dinner but she could at least get some good sleep in.

As she enters the main portion of the temple, the doors behind her close, ominously, a sudden rushing of wind entering the room as the light gets dragged with it. In the air, the scent increases, now heavily laden with a musty, sweaty scent, the odor of arousal amplified to an uncomfortable degree. In all the corners of the room, it seems apparent that something is growing, as the waters of the multiple forges begins to rise and bubble.

Early Morning’s eyes widen as her face grimaces from behind her collar. With a cry of, “Argh! Disgusting! she spins in place, trying to grapple the doors to leave back the way she came, making a guess immediately about what is causing the disturbance.

Within the confines of the suddenly darkened room, a faint voice carries, echoed from the myriad implements of creation. Unlike the spirit from her sleep, the voice is female, too pleasant, and filled with both promise and malice beyond description, lilting, musical. “So. The sparrow has returned to it’s glass-enclosed home. A shame that you won’t be able to take nest, without us… furnishing you with eggs. Get her, my precious darling!”

As ‘she’ finishes, there is a sudden rush of air beside her, as a slimy length of rubbery flesh bursts by, almost striking her in a rough attempt to grab her, leaving a trail of something almost liquid behind it.

“Eww… What the fuck is wrong with you?! That’s gross!” Early morning shrieks as she backpedals, looking for another exit.

The two exits from the room, short of making one on yourself, are the main double doors, and the single small monastic door that if it were not for the absence of light in the room, would be visible within a few yards of her. As soon as the first strike slides past her, a series of rapid returns come from all angles; the next rubbery limb striking past coated in a thin spray of water as well as the substance inimical to semen. Through it all, the voice chimes. “Nothing is wrong! Sit back and enjoy yourself. It will all be over soon!”

Early Morning, if she can’t get the main doors open strafes to the side to try the smaller door, chanting like a mantra, “C’mon open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open…...”

Sensing, rather than seeing the attack from behind, she is able to avoid the tentacle as it slams into the wall immediately next to her; the impact is solid, giving a slight shaking to the floor beneath her feet at the same time. Whipping back, the beast gives a solid, screaming roar that temporarily drowns out the laughing female. “Stop panicking, you’ll agitate it to hurt you! Take slow, deep breaths!”

“Go drown yourself in the harbor!” twitching she still tries the door, trying to get it open.

“Well, THAT isn’t very nice!” The female sounds insulted suddenly, starting a tirade as the creature continues barraging her. “I’m here to make sure it isn’t to hurt you as it leaves you with young! Mortals these days!” Ignoring the shouting female, a shadow appears at the far wall, unable to see into the magical darkness given to the area.

“Both you and it go now and leave me alone!” Early Morning wonders why the doors aren’t opening after she’s been tugging on them so long. Early Morning starts swearing and pounding on them as well, maybe if they can’t be opened from the inside maybe someone can from the outside?

Striking the door, wall, and floor reverberates through the room with enough sound to drown out the loud chiming of breaking glass as something lands in the room, orichalcum and soulsteel eyes panning the darkness with mechanical precision. As the female screeches, the tentacles suddenly cease their motions, instead coiling in the air around her. “Very well then! If you want to be so difficult, then you shall have your difficulty! Take her, my pet!”

With a cry of alarm Early Morning spins, leaving the door to try and dodge whatever it is the rest of the ‘pet’ is.

With amazing alacrity, the sudden bombardment of tentacles around and at her is completely avoided, the swinging from below, the strikes from the sides, driving from above, all being somehow unable to land on or around her. As she moves, however, something heavy lands on her back – though immediately after it does, the same suddenly grabs at one tentacle swaying too close, giving a slight flash of moonsilver in the thin light given by the broken window, injuring the ‘tentacle beast’ to the sound it suddenly makes.

Early Morning lets out a cry as whatever it is falls on her back, her hands coming up in surprise as she turns her head slightly while still trying to dodge the tentacles to see what the heck it is.

The tentacles seem to be repelled for a time, though she would be able to tell it’s not from her own sense of survival, as her slightly tired limbs don’t move to counter the strikes; almost as though something else were doing it for her. With a sudden lurch, the object on her back would lift her lightly, cold metallic snares encircling her legs without pause.

Letting out another cry she twists, attempting to see whatever it is that has her, or things if the thing on her back and the thing around her ankles are two separate entities.

The object on her back, lifting her, has a series of long spider-like legs, each extending far over her and around her, almost like a cage. A set of mechanical eyes regard her, spider-like, as she tries to find them.

Jagane: Seeing as it’s keeping the perverted thing away from her she stares up at it, with a somewhat nervous, friendly demeanor. “H-hello, who are you? Wh-what are you?” she hopes it’s friendly.

As she seems to ask it a direct question, it seems to suddenly smile, all eight of it’s eyes closing in a clear expression of pleasure, before it begins to concentrate on creating a series of speaker arrays along it’s back. Being so distracted, it fails to notice a coil of tentacle running it’s way around the both of them, suddenly grabbing the pair in a tight bind.

Early Morning shrieks as the tentacle grabs them, “Talk later, get away from bad perverted monster thing now?!” she suggests in a panicked tone.

As she and the creature suddenly break from their relatively distracted state, the tentacles continue their winding, the beast finding purchase now that she and the thing had been distracted enough to be secured. Much likely to the poor girl’s dismay, the tentacles begin to worm smaller brothers to the junctions of her clothing, seeking out the warmer parts of her body.

Jagane: Instead of dodging this time she attacks, after all, it already had her, she would have to inflict damage on it most likely to get away, not to mention getting it out of her clothing, she was happy for the leather that she wore under her robes.

Despite her better efforts, the tentacles remain locked firmly in place, her fingers sliding on the viscous fluids coating them, giving a malodorous sensation to her grip. As they begin to work their insidious way into the waist of her pants, the female screeches out now. “See! It’s better if you do not fight! Relax, let them take you. Let the pleasure overwhelm you!” Oblivious to her struggles, the ‘voice’ seems to think that she has given in.

Early Morning tries again, getting even more panicked, “Get away! Get away! Getaway! Getaway! GetawayGetawaygetawaygetaway!”

With a horrendous sensation of flesh ripping, Morning is suddenly able to drive her fingers into the rubbery flesh, ripping into the limb’s inner… ‘texture’ with only the merest efforts. As it is injured, the strands within her clothing suddenly go wild, grabbing purchase on, writhing over, and sliding between different parts of her anatomy as though electric current had motivated them.

Early Morning, though disgusted by the movement is heartened by this apparent negative reaction to pain, doubling her efforts along this line, glancing up at her apparent ‘help’ to see what it was occupied with, besides holding her that is.

With the assistance of the metal ‘spider’ on her back, she is able to finally rip the invasive tentacle from her garments with a minimal amount of tearing, leaving her only mildly violated. As the tentacle releases her, the expectation of landing on the floor is dashed, the clicking of multiple metal legs instead breaking her fall. With a whirring, the arms suddenly flick past her face to the door, straining with the effort of the pride of the first age to force it open.

Grinning and attempting to evade whatever the tentacle thing will throw at her while still being held by the ‘spider’ she comments, “Yes, back out is good! Let’s slam the door on it when we do get out…” she rambles on along this line consistently, biting down her panic.

In a clear soprano tone, the spider suddenly warbles at her, the legs still frantically, almost comically, pulling at the door. It gains an inch, before the portal simply swings shut again once more. “Whydon’tyouusethepowersyouweregiven?It’safterallinsidewateryoushouldhavethewaterdosomethingtoityou’rea waterterrestrialinthislifeafterallbutdon’ttakethatasanorderjustalittleheptupafterhavingtodivetothe attack!”

Early Morning looks sheepish before telling it, “I’ll try, I don’t think I’ve ever used the power consciously though, so this will be an interesting experiment!” her eyes narrow and she focuses in on manipulating the tentacle thing, or more accurately the water within it, preferably to do the most damage like exploding messily, or at least ripping any liquid that it had for blood out of it.

“Thatcouldbegood;aslongasyoucandistractitIshouldbeabletoopenthe… erm.”

With a sudden explosive noise, the pair of ‘spirits’, the tentacle beast and the female voice, suddenly become engulfed in the forge waters. While it would have done more injury had the water been heated, the sudden blowup causes the pair of invaders to be inundated with geyser-like force. At the same time, the mechanical thing mutters to itself.

“WellifitwantstobeasmartassI’llshowitwhatwedidtotheSultanofSearingStonehehehehehehehe…” With a sudden lurch towards the door, the metal limbs work furiously at chiselling the door inwards, to thin it. Almost immediately, the pair are hurtled inwards, bashing past the tentacle within with the combined force of both parties wrestling for the door.

“Gah!” Early Morning cries out wide eyed as she and the ‘spider’ are thrown backwards, looking to see what applied some of that force from the other side of the door and watching out for the tentacle thing in case it decides to attack again.

A single tentacle is crushed beneath the door as the pair enter, the spider-thing putting through a series of acrobatics that propel them both down the corridor at near-breakneck speed, a single limb at a time holding them from collision with the ground. “EATTHATYOUBIPOLARSONOFABITCHHAHAHAHAHAHA!” The spider, in turn, is suddenly seeming to be overcome with mania, several of the limbs lifting to give the finger to the ‘pair’ behind them in rapid succession. As they grind to a sudden halt, two things would become obvious to a very vertigo-struck EM. That she is now deep inside the monastery, and that the god of copper and glass is currently hunched, upside-down, at the end of the corridor, sitting on the ceiling behind a coordinated front of the monks and students, also likewise on the ceiling by some form of miracle…

Early Morning blinks slowly, pointing back they way they’d come, somewhat dazed sounding due to the excitement and it being late without her having eaten that day, “Err… There’s nasty stuff back that way we just ran from and the door was stuck?” she doesn’t speak very loudly though.

The horde of priests charge past ‘above her’ as her sense of balance finally catches up, shouting varying battle-cries of defense as they do. Suddenly becoming aware of her position, being the one upside-down, the spider-thing speaks in a sotto-voce quickly. “Sowhichwaydoweheadbossafterallyouneededtocomethiswayforsomedaringescaperight?”

“Well it looks like we’ve already pulled off the escape part, and those down there look a lot more daring than I ever felt… I’m kind of a little dizzy from being upside down though. So what’s your name?” she smiles still a little nervous from the attack they’ve just been through. “Thanks for the help too!”

Ducking hard to the side through an open door, the mechanical thing rights her within (ironically) her own room, the frames from her work the previous day laid casually on her bed. In a near-whisper only raised to help counter the shouting from the spirits and priests, the spider begins it’s spiel, coughing politely if quickly to begin. “BeautifuldaughterofthemostradientmakerDawn’sVisageIamTheServantIntendedPurposefullyandExplicitlyforthe RecoveryandProtectionofExalted-TendedSpiritsOr’spider’forshortsinceitcoversnearlytwothirdsofmyname butthismustbearushI’lltrytocoverthebasesinordertoletyouabsorbitinyourowntimeIamacreationfromthefirstagea livingsentientbeingruningonfluidcircuitsofquicksilverandstarmetalfortheexpresspurposeoftrackingdownthe highersoulofmymaker’sdaughter’Dawn’sVisage’shouldtheunfortunateeventcomeaboutthatwouldendherlifeThen thedragonbloodedroseupandkilledyouactivatingmeintheprocessI’vesearchedforaveryverylongtimebutafter makingsomechanceencounterswhichindicatedthatasurpriseTerrestrialexaltationwasintheareaImanagedtosnagon tothesignalyourspiritleavesinthefatewebsthoughIshouldadmititwashardertodothanitshouldhavebeenassomeone hastakenactivemeasurestoseveryoufromtheloomoffatewhichisintriguingSOdon’tbetoowierdedoutifIcallyou’Dawny’ orsimilarit’sonlyapetnameandtocoverthateventualityIthinkI’llcallyoubossifthat’sokaybyyouboss?AnywayIshould mentionIamrelativelymaintenance-freeincaseyou’rewonderingaboutmaterialsexpensewhileIprattle butIwouldappreciatehavingsometimetoexpedientlymakemywaytoYuShaninordertocollectonmyresevoirsofQuintessence butthatshouldn’tbetoomuchtroubleevenifthereisthecomplicationofmynowbeingfusedintopartofyourbodyShoulda mentionedthatsorryI’mnowapartofyoubutdon’tworry!I’llkeepsilentwhileyou’reondatesorgettingthenastyon withtheguyofyourdreamsorgirl!Idon’tjudgeOrspiritifoneshouldbesoluckyyouknowitwouldn’tbetoofaroutofthe familygenesforyourpastlifeoncesawyourmothergettingitonwithallsortsjusttowhetherappetitemanamenangerie thatCynisherselfwouldhaveblushedforseeing” The entire spiel takes no longer than several seconds to erupt, an explosion of sound.

Early Morning sits there quietly for a few moments before saying, “Soo… I was apparently this Dawn’s Visage person in a past life and somehow you’re fused into me?...” she looks herself over, “Where? I can’t really tell…” she blinks at it. “And ‘boss’ works, as well as whatever else you want to call me, Spider.”

“WOOTWellI’lljustgobacktobeingsilentlittlemesoyouwon’tneedtoworryaboutitandI’vegottheabilitytoneutralise painonentrytoyourbodycurrentlyI’mhookedintowhatpassesforsomethinglikealiveratthemomentifIdidn’thaveaccess tothosecharmsyou’dbeinblindingagonyrightnowsojustbegladIcanstopbleedingandinternaltraumaeasilyotherwise WHEWthat’dbeamesswithbloodandgutsalloverthefloorhehBYTHEWAYyouwon’tneedtoworryaboutthepartsItookoutof youyouweren’tgon’nausethemanyway.” Snapping all of it’s limbs into itself, SPIDER suddenly burrows beneath the skin of her back, instead now becoming a high-pitched rapid speech inside her eardrums.

Twitching slightly, Early Morning reaches back behind her to feel and, cranes her neck to see evidence of where it entered a bit nervously, “Took ‘parts’ out? Like what? And you can go to YuShan whenever you think it’s best…”

“Ohlikethisorthis…” trailing off, various mechanical limbs extend from her back, over her shoulder, each holding a small, bloody, severed organ in it’s grasp, before they retract once more. “Andsurethingjustsolongasyoudon’tmindthesuddenshiftthroughtheplanarbarriers…”

“I don’t know what that would entail…” she makes an ‘ick’ face, “Though you don’t need to show me them again I don’t think… As long as you’re sure I don’t need them…”

“MOSTLYsurenowthenaboutthebigspiritsincethepriestsaregoingtoatbestholditoffuntilthewatcharriveIadvise sittingtightuntilthewatchdisposeofitafterallbeingTerrestrialthey’llsubmittoyourpreviousincarnationof exaltedbirth!”

“Um… I don’t think so, most terrestrials seem to make a habit of being nasty or crazy when I’m in the vicinity. And I doubt a past life from all the way back then would really change things. Mostly I run, hide, and cooperate and hope that I don’t get that much of a beating for my troubles…”

It pauses, noticeably, before piping out again. “DoyouthinksobecauseI’msurethey’dacceptyourbeingdragonbloodedasbeingsomethingakintotheirlevelafterallthe Tri-Khansaidallwhoexaltinhiscityareequalaslongastheypresentthemselvestohim…”

She sighs, “I’ve been chased around so much that I haven’t had the chance to do anything of the sort, it hasn’t really crossed my mind, after all I wasn’t expecting to exalt, I was just some diseased orphan street brat that momma found under a pile of trash. So far I don’t think I’ve had a single day of peace to get my head on straight let alone think enough to research proper channels, and the dragonblooded are making a big deal over me for some reason and won’t leave me alone, so momma said it was best that I stay hidden or at least out of sight…”

“OHThatyoudon’tneedtoworryaboutyoureallyareafreakoffatesinceyouwereneverscheduledtoexaltbutdon’tyouworry it’sallgoingaccordingtoAplanevenifnotthegreatdivineonebutyouhaven’tpresentedyourself?Thatwon’tdo!Tothe TriKhanpronto” The mechanical limbs now extend once more, propelling her back up the battle-strewn corridor without so much as a “may I”. As it does, the voice continues in her ears.


“I-If you’re sure?” she begins walking, hoping it would go back into her back, but then objects even as she’s going along, “But I’ll get in trouble for being late again, and Momma said she would be coming by tonight secretly to get rid of whatever was spiritually munching on me, and I’ll miss breakfast!” she gets a pouty look but doesn’t slow despite her objections.

“Youmeanthepervertedspiritcurrentlyinthemainchapel?I’msorrybutyourmomma…” Trailing off as it rockets the both of them into the main chamber, with good reason, the pair would be able to see the form of Raven once again locked in battle against something; in this case, the many-tentacled thing, from the center of which seems to be suspended the puritan figure of a small girl-child, locked in angry gaze with the solar. Raven, for the amazing part, exhibits no sign of radient essence or anima, seeming just to be able to use her staff and martial arts skills to hold the beast at bay. As they do, the small form of her writing instructor can be seen, leaping impressively back and forth with a flash of his own essence; in this case, flame wrapping around his fists and feet.

Early Morning stares openly, “Well it looks like she’s here then…” Early Morning trails off before continuing, “Er… should I let her know I’m alright? And where we’re going, that is if they don’t need any help…” Early Morning looks concerned, idly wondering how Kalthok and Raven would get along, if they weren’t fighting a perverted tentacle monster, though that did seem to be a team exercise…

“ThatisunusualwhytheMalfeansissheabletofightoffaspiritunless… whoah.” SPIDER seems to come to a sudden realisation, as Raven looks over in sudden recognition. Locking eyes with the girl, she calls out to her daughter. “Hand please!”

“Looks like we’re helping.” Early Morning states, jogging up to her mother’s position, “Anything particular you want me to do Momma or should I just beat on it?” she calls to Raven as she approaches.

Glancing back at her daughter as the weaves in amongst the mass of striking tentacles, Raven shouts out a series of simple commands. “Try to distract it, or if you can, hit the kid in the middle! It’s a parasite! A spirit that feeds of betrayal and disgust!” Swinging through the midst of the counter-attack, Raven begins to gather the tentacles as quickly as she can, leaping nimbly past the ancient form of the writing instructor.

“I’ll try – but this thing that it has is absolutely disgusting!” Early Morning tries to clamp down on her disgust, focusing on avoiding tentacles in a bid to get in close so that she can target the child like spirit, gritting her teeth.

The tentacles go wide across her, distracted completely between Kalthok and Raven, and unable to appropriately strike the advancing girl in it’s split attentions. Letting out a sorrowful cry, she begins to wail now. “Noo! It’s stuck on me too! You have to help me!” Her eyes tearing, she looks at Early Morning in devastation.

Eyes narrowing Early Morning moves in close before balling a fist and attempting to strike the child-spirit-thing, after all there’d been times when it had been necessary to beat the ever loving crap out of some ‘sibling’ of hers under Raven that had suddenly had a ‘change of heart’ and professed the need for going to the guards about Raven’s little family. She and the older children/spies/thieves tended to split such duty between them when it was necessary. There was another promised beating added onto it if they went to Raven about what was going on as well. The older ones didn’t want to get in trouble if Raven was moved by the would be snitch’s tears after all.

The blow lands solidly, the impact ‘smack’ sound resounding through the chamber as the girl’s eyes widen in pain and shock, her stomach clenching too little, too late, as the dragonblood child gives her a gift of aggressive physical negotiations. Her mouth opens in a gape, showing that trying to breathe for a second after the strike is impossible, before with crying rage, she begins to direct the tentacles away from her other two assailants to levy them onto the painful annoyance in front of her.

Early Morning keeps focus on beating the stupid thing that had been raring to have the tentacle beast assault her not too long before, her pent up frustration fueling her attacks as she keeps an eye out for the tentacles.

The tentacles flailing about her seem to have a limited willingness to strike so close to itself, giving EM a chance to avoid direct connection. As the girl takes yet another blow, she begins to weep however, looking both furious and upset.

“If you don’t like getting hurt then leave!” Early Morning growls at it, still swinging. “You put yourself in this situation, you take yourself out of it if you don’t want a beating, crying doesn’t get you anything! It’s your own damn fault you’re getting beaten on!” (Six successes for dodge, three for the smackdown)

Lifting herself in a suddenly informative stroke, EM would be able to get a brief image that the dress does contain legs; a pair of girl’s legs, both severed and stapled to the inside of her clothing in a rather Abyssal display. The tentacle mass, beginning in her body, seems to disappear a short distance beneath her, in fact into a single wooden ‘bucket’ of water. The lift, as suddenly giving of realization as it was, does achieve one thing. In her sudden ability to fly, the girl lifts from Early Morning’s reach quickly. As she does, she shrieks. “I hate you! ALL of you! I just wanted to play!” Giving a gruesome snarl, she throws her head back, straining suddenly as though constipated. Running back towards Morning, Raven makes a grab for her daughter’s arm. “Run.” Breathless but without urgency, the solar tries to spin EM towards the door, as her writing instructor seems to suddenly drop into a meditative stance.

Obeying her mother, she darts in the direction that Raven had pointed her, running through the door but glancing over her shoulder to see if her mother was following, and what Kalthok was doing while making the dash.

Kalthok gives no indication of his reasoning as he remains seated, though both she and Raven make good light from the main chamber as the creature begins to erupt the thick fluid from each of it’s tentacles in a spray of disturbing nature. Outside, free of the blast, both women would find themselves confronted by a selection of aggressive-looking dragon-blooded guard. One of which, to EM’s dismay, would be Rhalkim, including the triple-scar from being clawed by a lunar.

Pausing at the sight of the dragon-blooded there, Early Morning indicates with her thumb back the direction that they came, “Uh, nasty spirit back there in temple?” she informs them wondering what had messed Rhalkim’s face but assuming that he’d probably done something nuts like rub his face against a tree branch or something, you never could tell with the insane….

Rhalkim seems to start at seeing her, before the remaining seven guard of their partial claw head towards the doorway. Seeing the spirit’s eruption, several seem to pause in either disbelief or disgust, before of all people the males begin to dive inwards at the spirit, giving the all-too-familiar cries of “For the Empire!” “Dragon’s honor!” and similar as they brave their relatively harmless, but disturbed foe. Rhalkim doesn’t pause long at the sight of his teammates headed inwards, with a sneer at the girl, he makes his own way into the night-held chamber as well.

Dodging to the side so that they can pass easier, after the lot is past she calls after them, “It’s really gross!” before looking to her mother and then herself with an ‘ick’ expression over the bit that they got on them. “Ewww…”

Raven sighs, looking down at herself with annoyance. “At least it’ll come out with a bit of vinegar… Are you alright? I take it that was the spirit from your dreams?”

“Yeah, I think so. The kid above it was new though…” She blinks up at her mother, “Are you alright Momma?” she idly wonders what Spider is up to inside of her, and how much it ripped the back of her robe and leather outfit going in.

Frowning, she tilts her head curiously. “I’m fine, Morning girl. And I’m not too surprised. It’s a fairly weak form of siren; they play on desires in different ways. This one, on disgust, mostly.” Giving a thin smile, she looks into the room where the dragonbloods were quickly putting the spirit to rest; Kalthok in the middle of the room still, a circle of uncoated area around his still form. “I don’t think they or the priests should give you any troubles. If you need to, just concentrate on glowing your anima and then tell them your name is “Radiant Harpoon”. I already made sure that a girl by that name was registered. And… you have a husband, but you’ll get to meet him soon.” Stifling a grin, Raven’s eyes take on a dangerously mischevious glint.

“Gah!” her eyes widen and she looks at her mother in shock, “B-but I thought that we weren’t going to do that! And the priests here already know me by my real name! How am I going to pull that off?!” Early Morning immediately starts fretting.

“Just to the Dragonblooded. And the idea came to me after you’d left; don’t pick at yourself!” Scolding her daughter, Raven takes a decidedly active stance, both hands on her hips. “I went to a lot of effort in finding a husband you can’t possibly have a problem with.”

Early Morning pouts up at her mother, before sniffing and crossing her arms with a mischievous glint in her own eye besides her put-outness, “I’ll just have to get you back for that Momma Raven… Maybe cutting off half your hair as you sleep so it’s all lopsided…” she ends this in a giggle, sticking her tongue out at her mother, “So fill me in on information. If I’m supposed to be this Radiant Harpoon person, I’d have to know about them right?”

“Fifteen, daughter of a ship captain from a minor Tepet bloodline, just got left in the city yesterday; your father is Ponticalatius, captain of the ‘Sorrow Edge’. He’s picking you up after making a leg to the Lap, in the meantime you’ve come to the shrine to make tribute, and will be staying with a distant cousin until he returns. By cousin, I mean me.” Smiling at her daughter, she then speaks in a very low tone. “And Morning, dear… remember, it isn’t every day that I can get to make good on owed debts at the Immaculate Temple. I could do that again in revenge to a haircut, though… “

“Er… That won’t work Momma, one of the dragonblood that just went in there is the one that forced my Exaltation.” Early Morning looks worried.

“Then he’ll have to explain how he knows that’s not the case, won’t he? And that means giving away that he attacked you. If he’s that dumb, you’ve nothing to worry about.” As they talk, the battle begins to finish, as one of the dragons begins to force the spirit to submit to Immaculate doctrine in exchange for it’s life.

The dragon-blooded do indeed take the bait, including a reluctant Rhalkim who gapes but indeed says nothing, though his eyes follow her as the claw heads on to it’s other duties. Soon after the fight, Raven passes some more instructions. “Come on. Gather what you can. You’ll be staying at my place, now that things should be calming down for you.”

Early Morning nods, and points to her much beaten pack on her back, “Everything’s in there Momma Raven, um… Do the monks know I’m going?”

“They’ll figure it out. Besides… you can come back during daylight. I hear they’re teaching you to write..?” Giving a smile, she turns, making her way back towards her place, still talking. “Come on, then. They’ll be busy cleaning, and I have soup on the stove.”

Early Morning perks up at the mention of food, “Kalthok is teaching me how to not be ‘leaving notes for mice and flies to read’” she tells her, “He’s the one that was beating on it with the burny hands.” Early Morning hurries after her mother, soup on the stove being a major motivator, unlike the prospect of no dinner and possibly being roped into helping clean… that. “And I take it clean up for us first? I really don’t want the soup to be flavored with what that thing in there was spewing.” Early Morning grimaces.

Looking slightly pained, Raven hangs her head. “You go clean. The baths are on the boy’s turn, though. Be careful if they get grabby; I’m going to get changed, though. Be back as soon as you can. That dragon with the scars might not be deterred from tracking you down after he finishes his duty for the night!”

Early Morning deadpans, “If I have to dodge them getting grabby it’s not going to be quick. And I definitely don’t want that insane person after me, so I’ll just come along and change as well, I mended my previous outfit after all.” she jams her thumb back over her shoulder, indicating her bag.

“Go bathe. Consider it payment; you get to keep the boys in check. They won’t get rough if they know what’s good for them. Scoot!” Raven begins again, making her way to the store, rather than the bathhouse. Bathing, in the Age of Sorrows, was a relatively public affair; the issue here would be a majority of boys as opposed to a mixture of the sexes.

Nodding Early Morning goes to bathe, quickly though, her mind focused on the soup.

The bathhouse, a marvel of structural engineering from the first age, is a decorative affair, having survived the hordes that ransacked the city in the name of the Kha-Khan. Twin edifices of female nymphs adorn the arched door entrance, though years of lacking service have rendered the guardians still and silent; in old times, it is rumored, they would greet people by name in a friendly manner. The baths are no less wondrous; a series of small pools play water into one another through intricate tubes forming hot waterfalls, small vortexes, and light currents that carry bubbles, soap flakes, and even exfoliating sands, hot, cold, or comfortably mild depending on the pools you select. Inside, the boys are playing, arguing with one another as they set about relaxing. Of them, Joran is the least provocative, relatively stable; Rich Tulip is the most unruly, and thankfully near the back with some of his ‘friends’. Thanks to the merit of the pools, though the entire region is one large room, hanging plants, falling water, and even the cut of the walls themselves leaves little more than a single room in view. As she enters, the two boys lounging in the hot water sit up, looking at her in concern. One speaks quietly. “Ee-em! What happened?”

“Really really gross spirit-monster-thing.” Early Morning replies, pulling off her soiled robe and leather outfit, and getting into a pool, looking over the outfits for damages she particularly looks at the backs of them, in case spider had damaged them as it had burrowed through her back. She looks up at the two boys, “I think the dragon-blooded guards that took care of subduing it in the end got the worst of it though, they were covered in the stuff.” She grins at this.

Scowling, one of them ducks his head under the water, the other seeming relieved that she was alright. “I wish I got to do cool stuff on the job.” He mutters sourly to himself before Joran pokes his head in, blinking and grinning as he sees the girl. “Hey, E! You got here late, I take it? Girls were an hour ago!” Despite the teasing pitch of his voice, he slides into the pool without trying to draw too much attention to the further back ‘rooms’ of the bath.

A sudden realization would come to EM; having been in contact with the stuff now for almost a ten-minute block, that the same, but slightly diminished effect was spreading. A warm, tingling feeling in the crux of her womanhood (as Raven would say), and a flush to her blood of energy. It had only occurred since the tentacle thing had attacked her, and had been lost in the adrenaline of the attack. Now, here in the bathhouse with three naked boys, it was beginning to rear it’s head again. Thankfully, whichever reason it was that was able to make it diminished in effect was letting her keep her mind enough to avoid being overwhelmed with the lusty timbres.

Early Morning takes this as an apparent need to grab the soap and attempt to scrub her skin raw, “Ick, ick, ick, ick, yeah got held up by a really really disgusting spirit attacking the place I was at. Eww…” Turning to the one that had expressed envy she lifts an eyebrow, still scrubbing, “You wouldn’t have wanted to be there. Seriously this thing was gross, mass of tentacles spewing stuff so unless you’re the type to like that sort of thing…” she lets that hang in the air for a few seconds before chuckling and continuing to scrub.

Looking at her in a mixture of disgust and disbelief, the two boys seem to share different reactions, the first one looking jealous as he leaves, muttering as he does. “Fight a monster, and say you didn’t want to be there? Girls.” The second, however, leans over, his eyes bright as he begins to question intently. “Whoah! Like… a sea creature! I saw one, once! On the docks! It was huge, and it had tentacles, and when they opened the net, it sprayed this black stuff everywhere!” “That… was a squid, Lorn.” Joran chuckles, leaning back. The two boys begin to banter as she scrapes at herself, before Joran sends his companion elsewhere, the other boy looking disappointed, and hesitating. “Fine. But you have to tell me how you beated it, Em!”

Early Morning blinks, “I didn’t beat it, I just helped distract it until the guards could come and deal with it, like the others in the area. At least I didn’t get covered in the gunk it spewed out as much as they did.” Deeming herself clean enough she attends to her clothing, cleaning it as much as possible. “And you could say it was like a squid, just one that liked to grab you and cover you in muck.”

Wrinkling his face, he grins at her, before darting off quickly though the waterfall, calling as he does. “Hey, Karrik! You hear that? It was sorta like a squid!” Joran smiles as he hears the others leaving, before giving an honestly concerned look at her. “Wait. You said it got all over you?”

“Well compared to the guards, not really, but I did get spattered.” She replies, squeezing out her clothing, thinking that that was as clean as it would get without special treatment, and stowing it in her pack, after taking out her clean and mended cloth outfit.



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