A cold mist blows up from the River Selene, obscuring the Library and the Rivé Gauche in a thick, wet blanket of white. The night-lamps stay lit well into the morning, but do little to penetrate the fog, and few citizens find their way out of doors. At the low buildings of the newly reconstructed college, it's spires not-yet erected, a knocking is heard, an already low rap muffled further by the heaviness in the air. Amelia Grimari answers the door to find a slight figure waiting, completely shrouded in a heavy woolen robe against the chill air, a delicate white-gloved hand protruding to knock again. With a polite cough the figure speaks, the voice quiet and feminine. "Tell your master, Herr Doktor de Fleur that I seek admittance as a student to his institution. Also, I wish to speak to him immediately concerning the whereabouts of my brother."
Somewhat taken aback by the lady's abruptness, Amelia strains to look under the hood, barring the woman's entrance, "Who, might I ask, are you, to demand such?"
The small woman slides deftly under Amelia's outstretched arm and into the hall, then removes her hood, revealing the brilliant amethyst-coloured eyes, sharply pointed ears, and ageless face of an eldar. "Tell the good doktor that the Lady Megtévesztésre of the Ten-Spires Phratry wishes admittance to his school."
Amelia's eyes widen, and then her face goes blank. She bows, her hands on her thighs, bending at the waist, her face finally parallel to the floor as she speaks.
"We are honored by the emissary of the Ten-Spires. I will seek Doktor de Fleur immediately. In the meantime, if you would prefer to wait somewhere more comfortable . . . ."
As her words trail off, Aemelia reaches through nothingness and opens a small door in reality. On the far side is a comfortable personal library, with a crackling fire in a polished pot-bellied stove.
As soon as Amelia has closed the door to the outside, Louis glides through it, startling her again. "Remember Amelia, I am both everywhere and nowhere. Now, to our guest." And again, Louis glides forward noiselessly toward the open door to Amelia's private library. "Amelia, remember that you do need to get all these works cataloged for college." Amelia has the grace to look abashed as Louis glances down his long aquiline nose at her. "Yes Professor." Louis makes a note to himself to spend a little more time following up on her activities or perhaps have that little sneak Gavorche put someone on her. She was being entirely too secretive for her own good.
Louis returns his attention to the guest in the private library and glides forward to greet the emissary of Ten-Spires Phratry and bows over gracefully to her. "Pardon my appearance and please be seated. Don't stand on my account.", he says gesturing to a high-backed chair to one side of the crackling stove and taking the other to the right of it and settling into it as well as he was able being insubstantial. He had mastered the necessary maneuvers to make it appear as though he were sitting, knowing that when the affect wore off, he would be ready for it and make the transition as easy as possible.
"Now my deal dear lady, what is it that we at the College can do for you today and what may I do to assist you?" Louis inquired.
The lady smiles and gracefully takes the proffered seat. "Thank you, Herr Professor. I have come seeking admittance to your esteemed collegia. While I can offer much insight into the arcane practices of both my own people and the Targolid Empirium, you'll find that my specialties lie more in the fields of history, prophecy, and sociology than magic, which may not mesh well with the school you are building. However, I am most interested, currently in pursuing a study of one thing in particular. That, if I may be so bold, is you Herr Professor. I am most curious how the Spire of Despair came into existence. For you are not one of the true Seven. You, like Betrayal and the other Scions studied by our brotherhood, are an outlier, an enigma, not part of the clear order."
As she has been speaking she has grown more impassioned. She stops, brushes a stray hair from her face, and folds her hands again in her lap. "Also, I am looking for news of my brother, a lost member of our Phratry. He took the path of the Exiles a long time ago. We know that he lives, but not what name he goes by now, but once we called him Seronaneth, which is to say, "One who is a lover to his mother.""
Louis looks her over, attempting to get a read on what she is really after, trying to gauge what she isn't saying..."What do you hope to learn about me that you haven't already gathered from those other supplemental spires that you have studied? What is it that you hope to learn that can't learn by studying your own existence Lady Deceit?" Louis inquires. "I will grant you access to those documents related to prophecy as such that you would ask for, and access to my own notes that I have made regarding my....condition. However, direct access to myself, I am afraid is out of the question. I am far to busy at this time re-building a college of higher learning and other necessary research into the very nature of reality."
"With regard to your "brother" it is possible that I may know something of his whereabouts." Louis offers cagily. If she is indeed the lady of deceit as he believes she is, she could be playing any number of games beyond his current ability to fathom. It is something to take up with Ourevel before granting any such outright knowledge to her. It would be up to Ourevel to make a determination as to the veracity of her statements. "Let me look into the matter further and I will pass on such information as I receive it." "In the mean time, I will allow you access to Bernard Clairvaux who specializes in history and prophecy." Louis turns and calls to Amelia who, during the course of the conversation, had drifted to another chair in the room and seated herself, listening intently. "Conduct the Lady to see Bernard." Louis rises from his seated position, having regained his corporeal form and extends his hand to the Lady who takes it and Louis gracefully bows over hers. "Until we meet again." Louis turns and opens another door next to the fireplace, seemingly out of nowhere again and departs for his own quarters.
The Naked Blade:
The tumbling of stone, flame, roaring of cannons, screaming of wind, even these can be beautiful. This time they remind Lust of the time to depart. A ship descends from the sky, hovering above the corpse of the fallen god: a Flying Dutchman, a portent a doom, Lust's ride to safety. Her brothers cry for her to join them aboard. As the winds howl about her and the world breaks apart Love's mind reaches out again, scenting through the chaos a friend not far off...
In the barracks of the Irulian Guard, a song begins to play, coming from the void, a song of home, a song of freedom. Roused by the music, the guards awake to find Sigrdrifa once again standing in their midst, shining in her naked glory. "Awake, warriors. The false god of the southrons is slain. It saddens me to see you still enslaved to the Tetrarch's will, but I will never bid you to break vows you have taken freely. Only remember, you are chosen from among my sons, women desire you and will not deny you, so you should not deny yourselves." A band of crimson silk appears wrapped around her upper arm, and an apple in her hand. "Look for these. They are the signs of my new daughters in this land. Protect them and they will welcome you."
The blade shines, honed and sharp. The nicks have been worked out of the blade. The edge, good Northern Skysteel, has held through a thousand thousand conflicts, through generations of the Vanir and their silent watch on the edge of the world.
"It sates itself on the life-blood of fated men." The horn grip was polished by a sure hand, over the centuries the Irulian Guard has stood watch over Mortal Kings.
"Paints red the powers' homes with crimson gore." Notches in the hilt mark the passing of things from five worlds, and the creatures of the troll gods.
"Black become the sun's beams in the summers that follow, weathers all treacherous." The point has taken men in the throat, monsters from one side to the other. Never has it faltered in its target.
A female voice finishes the death-prayer, in throat-bruising purity of accent. "Do you still seek to know? And what?"
The sword fails to find its target, the heart of its wielder. The blade slips, and clangs to the floor, choked in gore. "My Lady. The Naked Blade. I have failed. Oaths are undone."
The Red Apple:
The red rain from the dying angels and the blackened sky from Lord Despair's enchantments swirled overhead as the Saints Rose and Ivy watched both the foul Akairian and the Emperor dissolve into their component parts. Glancing about, the two sisters looked at the shattered castle, swiftly filling with ever more water, and nodded to each other, feeling the gentle voice of Love in the back of their minds telling them that they were relieved from the battle.
With a single word, the two were back in the inner sanctuary of the newly built Temple of the Open Bloom in Holy Selene. A quick survey of the room showed that it was still secure, the young apple tree in front of their private altar in early bloom despite the harsh weather outside. As the two knelt, thanking the Mother Goddess for their safe recall, a faint odor, familiar, similar to the blossoms they so fondly worshiped, yet older, mature, almost musty, brought them to alert.
They turn to find a slight elven woman, standing exactly where they had appeared not a second before, one hand fingering a slender knife, the other holding a deep red apple. "Good evening, Daughters of Lust. Tell me, how oft do you speak with your lord?"
Rose eyes the woman warily, keeping her hand away from her whip, and silently casts a spell to reveal the truth in people's words. "We pray daily, lady. If that is your meaning. What brings you to our sanctuary?"
Disszonál smiles at the two wary priestesses, recognizing the weave of divine energy now filling the room, and wishing her sister had taken up this mission. "It seems I must speak frankly with you, or not at all. I am called Disszonál Ahashtyn. I am the sister of your Lord Lust. You may say I am the first servant of this church which he created, for I was given a task by my brother before he went to sleep so many centuries ago." She holds up the crimson apple. "He asked that I should bring him this, that he might eat of it and remember. Unfortunately my brother is as slippery as a well-lubricated prophylactic. I thought that you might aid me in getting close enough to him to complete my mission."
Rose shakes her head in bewilderment, "Why do you expect us to help you with this? Just what do you expect him to remember when he eats this particular fruit?"
"I expect him to remember...everything...."