Guy Fox Day (12 Dec 2000) Ssrithiri and Cyprian compete over Envoy.
(Caroban) (Elise) (Envoy) (A Dream of Seven Sisters) (Spheres of Magic)
Caroban Watch Headquarters
Fashioned something like a Chronotopian city watch station, but with the characteristic arcane touches that pervade most everything on the mage-dominated island, the Caroban Watch Headquarters is positioned in a strategic position near the center of the island. All manner of exotic materials are incorporated into the construction – all manner, that is, of materials with magic-resistant properties, such as warpwood, thistlebark, and even hints of Abaddonian steel and articles of Sifran crystal here and there. The cells are designed to thwart the most determined efforts of an Earth Mage to reshape them, or a Fire Mage to blast through them, and the meeting rooms are warded against all manner of Scrying and elemental spies, to ensure privacy. Most everything has runes on it, despite an otherwise largely utilitarian appearance.

Silence follows the Dean of Dreams' request, as the various officers look to each other uncertainly. Then, the black-furred Eeee civilian clears his throat. "Sir, I believe it would be more appropriate to await for Dean Viscoi's arrival. Regardless of the extent to which Dream is involved, the incident under investigation is a matter of the Sphere of Mind. The miracle we all witnessed was clearly one of Mind, and Mage Envoy's … transformation seems more likely to fall into that Sphere than yours. With all due respect, sir."

Officer-Mage Clover nods her head slowly. "Mage Cyprian has a valid point. We brought her here to investigate the Mind ritual that centered on her."

Mage Envoy of Lothrhyn, Avatar of InalaEnvoy finishes off her pastry and begins to look annoyed. "You are beginning to sound like a pair of nobles arguing over which fork to use. Why are you treating this as if it were some sort of disease? I am the Avatar of Inala. There should be celebration, for a piece of Paradise has set foot here in the mortal realm."

Ssrithiri glances sideways to Envoy, then hisses, "True, but it would appear that Mage Envoy has had an experience with one of these 'Dream Realm' incidents that you have no doubt heard of. Therefore, I believe it would be essential to take this opportunity to examine her before too much time has elapsed. She has returned from a comatose state on her own, presumably without outside intervention."

Ssrithiri turns to look directly at the others. "This could be an important opportunity to discover not only what has happened just now, but how we can save the Sphere of Dream from the problems that have plagued it. If Envoy can return unaided, then others can. Any evidence to be found in the realm of Dream will fade away, the longer we bicker about it."

Cyprian watches Envoy as she speaks, ignoring Ssrithiri's words. "Of course, my Lady," he replies at length, bowing to her. "Forgive our nervousness. We mages react poorly to the unexpected, and I hope you may understand our desire to investigate your sudden presence." He glances to Ssrithiri again, then Clover.

Envoy's temper levels off a bit, but she decides there's going to be a lot of appeasing due in the near future if Ssrithiri wants to enjoy anything in life. She relaxes further as Cyprian shows proper respect, and rewards him with a smile and a nod.

"My Lady," Cyprian continues, looking at Envoy again. "Do you object to what Dean Ssrithiri of Dream proposes?"

"If it is what is needed to convince him of my status, then no," Envoy says.

The black Eeee nods and closes his eyes, while Mage Clover folds her arms over her chest, looking skeptically at Ssrithiri. "Well … all right," she says, sounding dubious. "You may begin, Ssrithiri."

Ssrithiri gives a head nod that comes across as being smug and triumphant, in stereotypical Nagai fashion. "Thank you, Mage Clover. Yffryn? If you will be so kind as to assist… "

The Fnerf brightens up. "Oh, of course, Dean." She digs through her pouches, making certain she has her materials. She winks to Envoy. "Don't you worry your pretty little head, Mage Envoy! The Dean will take good care of you, and we'll get right to the bottom of this."

Envoy smiles to Yffryn, "And then maybe I can start catching up on all I've missed out on so far."

"Of course," Yffryn assures Envoy, in a near-purr.

The officers of the Watch spread out to make more room for the dream mages as they begin their work, while Cyprian takes a seat near the door, watching through shadowed eyes. They begin the ritual, and some twenty minutes have passed when Mage Viscoi arrives, and Clover explains the situation to him. Rather irritably, the Dean of Mind asks them to inform him when the dream mages are done, and he will conduct his own research.

As the ritual goes on, Envoy appears to grow more and more bored. Then again, maybe that's all part of the spell, since it probably helps if the subject is asleep.

Lady Elise Antoine de BellefeuilleAnother fifteen minutes trickle past, and Lady Elise de Bellefeuille arrives, with the other lieutenant from the Ambassador's honor guard in tow.

Upon arrival, Elise, flanked by her superior officer Jaskar, pauses at the door to survey the room. She begins by noting the ritual being performed with a lingering gaze before shifting her eyes to locate everyone else.

Envoy perks up at the arrival of new people, and smiles brightly to the uniformed officer.

Cyprian offers Elise a slight, weary smile at her arrival, while Jaskar stops in his tracks to gape at Envoy, blinking a few times.

The female Templar gives Envoy a nod in return of her smile. She does not however smile herself, though that is hardly unusual. To Mage Cyprian she also gives a nod and she gestures for him to stand and join her.

Ssrithiri writhes and sways, his tongue flicking about with each utterance of arcane phrases, incomprehensible to anyone not of the Sphere of Dream, each word carrying with it a magical charge that is added to the building power of the ritual.

The black bat joins Elise at her beckoning. He wears the same masked expression that has left his eyes guarded since they first saw Envoy on her "recovery."

As Cyprian moves to join her, Elise notes her superior's reaction with raised brows. She reaches over and places her hand on his shoulder, gently shaking him in an attempt to stir him from his daze.

The other poodle shakes himself, blinking, and looks at Elise. "What … what are they doing to her?" he says, whispering as if afraid that his voice might disturb the spell the Naga mage is clearly working.

"That is what I would like to know," says the lady poodle. She then glances between Envoy and the Dean of Dream before looking in askance at the Eeee beside her. "Mage Cyprian, can you enlighten us?"

Envoy goes back to watching the dull Naga make noises. They don't even have taste buds, she thinks, feeling a shiver of revulsion.

Yffryn, the Fnerf mage, comes across as being far more subdued than Ssrithiri. She quietly adds another voice to the chanting, singing her words in a manner that comes off as somewhat melancholy, teasing the ears with lyrics that cannot be understood.

"They are working a ritual. Their stated intention is to determine the nature of Mage Envoy's current condition," Cyprian answers.

"Well then, there is little we can do until they have completed the ritual or have shown intentions other than those stated. Cyprian, I was only able to have Lieutenant Jaskar assist me. There is no one else," says Elise in whisper, unwilling to disturb the ritual or be overheard.

Yffryn moves lightly about the circle, rearranging stones in concert with Ssrithiri's own actions, lightly padding her paws upon the floor in a sort of half-dance cadence, in time with the underlying beat of the chanting.

The Aeolun seems to focus drowsily on Yffryn, her head swaying in time to the Fnerf's dancing.

The black bat drops his head in a slow nod. "I understand," he murmurs.

Elise watches the goings on from time to time, though she tries not to keep her eyes on Mage Yffryn for too long. "Rather snake-like. Cyprian, you have been acting strange ever since you encountered Mage Envoy in this state of … Cyprian? Are you paying attention?" The Templar reaches out and moves to shake the Mind Mage as well.

As Yffryn starts making full circuits about the circle, pausing now and then to rearrange stones and to alter patterns of sand, Ssrithiri slithers within the circle, though off the center from Envoy, and settles down, his chanting dropping in volume, while Yffryn picks up the more active role. Soon, he curls up as if to go to sleep, leaving Yffryn to maintain and stabilize the ritual.

Cyprian shakes himself at Elise's touch, then brushes a hand over his eyes. "My apologies, my lady. All this magic – perhaps it would be as well if we went outside. Our presence no longer seems … required." He watches Ssrithiri slump in the circle.

Yffryn, on one of her circuits around the circle, flashes Cyprian and Elise a pleasant little vulpine smile, then continues right on with her chanting and magic-working.

"Yes, I imagine that would be best. That glamour that Mage Envoy is possessed of seems to be effecting Lieutenant Jaskar as well." Just in case Lieutenant Jaskar has once again fallen into his awe, Elise taps him on the shoulder, and points toward the door out. She then begins heading out herself, glancing behind her at the spell working Yffryn.

The other poodle needs no further urgings to depart. As soon as they're outside, he exhales. "I thought I understood magic, or at least well enough not to be intimidated by it. But that made my skin crawl! The way that … Exile … looked! And that Naga!" He shivers convulsively, then looks embarrassed by his own outburst.

Cyprian smiles wryly at the male poodle. "That made my skin crawl," he says, "And I am a master mage. Believe me, you are not alone."

Once outside and after hearing her superior's outburst, Elise folds one arm across her chest and lifts her other arm to tap her fingers against her muzzle. "Strange … though the Dean of Dream makes me nervous simply in general, I would not attribute it to magic. Though most certainly I would in the case of Mage Envoy if her glamour effected me, which it does not," she explains.

"That ritual they are performing – the Dean has fallen into a magic induced slumber. I would wager whatever he is truly doing he is now doing it within the Dream Realm and with Mage Envoy. Would it be at all possible for me to … join them?" asks Elise quietly.

"Most fortunate for you. Or perhaps she's not trying as hard on you," the mage comments darkly, then considers her next question. "In all honesty, Elise, I do not know. Normally, I would say no – Ssrithiri set up this dream and should control it. However … you have met her in dreams before – it may be possible for you to do so now. I do not know how this latest development will affect the Dream Realm, or the Dean's spell."

Elise taps her chin again, then lets her hand fall limp as she narrows her eyes thoughtfully. "Perhaps it is because I carry the talisman which wards against the mind effects of the dreams, or because I too possessed that very same glamour. But no matter … we can do nothing here. I am the only one of us with sufficient experience within these dreams, so, if at all possible I should be sleeping now in hopes I can pursue him. And we should not wait. I cannot simply fall asleep at whim, so I will need assistance. Mage Mystico, perhaps?"

Cyprian considers Elise's idea. "If we're to do this quickly, we should do it now. I can cause you to enter a normal sleep, Lady de Bellefeuille. Under the circumstances, that may actually be better than a dream-trance. Ssrithiri's ritual will be warded from other dream mages' interference – but since you have entered Envoy's dreams before without such magic before, it could work now."

At the suggestion, Elise reaches to unfasten her sword belt, which she soon hands to Lieutenant Jaskar. "Then let us proceed at once. Sir," she glances to Lieutenant Jaskar even as she prepares to sit down, "will you observe and watch over me?"

Jaskar glances uncertainly between the bat and the poodle, then nods his head. "Of course." He accepts the sword, setting it across his knees as he squats beside her. "Do what you must."

A smile is given to the poodle, and the woman carefully lays herself down right there on the floor, using the hood of her robes as a makeshift pillow. After a moment of trying as best she can to get comfortable, she nods to Cyprian. "I am ready," she tells him.

Cyprian has taken a piece of chalk and a knife from his pocket, and while Elise made herself comfortable, he marked runes around her. Kneeling in front of the poodle's face, he begins chanting, reaching towards her hair with both his free hand and the one holding the knife.

Silently the poodle woman watches, shifting uncomfortably with having a knife so close to her head. Still, she doesn't move to stop the mage.

The Eeee's chant doesn't falter as he holds a lock of her hair still, then severs it with a single motion of the knife. Still chanting, he trades the knife for chalk, and draws a rune on her chest. He drops the lock of hair into the center of the rune, then covers it with his hand. Like a candle blown out, Elise abruptly sleeps.

Without so much as a noise or a groggy protest, Elise's head falls to the side and her eyes fall closed all at once. Her breathing slows and she seems fast asleep despite how sudden the onset.

The door from the interrogation chamber slams open, startling Lieutenant Jaskar, and the giant diamondback Naga slithers into the room. "You!" he roars angrily, pointing at the black bat, where he still crouches by Elise's body. "How dare you interfere with my ritual?"

The bat blinks at the massive snake looming over him. "Beg pardon?" he says, reflexively.

A few Watch Officers peter out of the room behind the Naga as he slithers forward, looking ready to strike the bat. "Dare you play innocent with me? I am the master of two Spheres, and this is Caroban! You wrought a spell in an effort to destroy mine!"

Cyprian opens his mouth, glancing sidelong at the other officers. "Sir, with all due respect, I did no such thing," he says, with disarming affability. "I worked a spell, but it had no connection with yours. Elise was not feeling well, and I attempted to put her more at ease until we could get a Life Mage to see to her."

"You expect me to believe that … that… " Ssrithiri appears beyond words with rage, while the officers look on, confused. The Naga abruptly turns on them. "What are you waiting for? Arrest him!"

"It's the truth," the bat says mildly, with a shrug. "How could I interfere with your spell, anyway? I'm a Mind Mage, and you warded your spell against interference. We all saw that. What could I possibly do that could penetrate your wards – in less than a handful of minutes?"

The snake slithers from side to side. "I suppose your 'Life Mage' is already on his way, then," he snarls.

Cyprian glances to Lieutenant Jaskar, then says, in the same mild tone as earlier, "I was merely going to recover my energy from placing the Lady at ease, then summon one. I thought that would be faster than sending Lieutenant Jaskar for one."

"I'm a Life Mage, Mage Cyprian," one of the Watch Officers says. "Why didn't you just come in there and ask me to have a look?"

The bat blinks, at a momentary loss for words. "I didn't think of that?" he offers, somewhat lamely.

The poodle woman stirs from her sleep. Her eyes open only partially and she shifts to raise a hand to her temple to rub her face.

At Elise's motion, Cyprian looks down. "My lady? Do you feel any better?" he asks solicitously.

"Better … Ah, yes … though my head spins," answers Elise. Her other hand is raised to Cyprian, inviting him to help her up.

"Maybe I'd better have a look," the coyote who had identified himself as a Life Mage moments ago says, stepping towards the pair.

"Mmm. No, I think I am better. Though I should perhaps surrender this floor for something more comfortable, like my room." With a bit of effort, Elise lifts herself up to a seated position and takes a moment to try and clear her head.

The Hekoye's jaw sets, as he glances between the poodle and the bat on the floor, to the angry Naga still fuming above them. "I really think I'd better examine you, Lady," he says, then starts chanting.

The poodle woman's eyes immediately open full and she lowers her hand from her head just enough to where she can gaze at the Naga. "I would prefer you did not. I have had quite enough magic run through me today," she tells him.

"It won't hurt, Lady de Bellefeuille," Cyprian promises, wrapping a comforting arm around her shoulders.

Elise looks from Cyprian, to the Naga, then searches for Lieutenant Jaskar. "I see I have little choice in the matter," she concedes.

The Life Mage continues his chant. After a minute, he completes it, then nods his head. "I see your point, Lady. You've got a lot of nervous stress going through you at the moment, but it looks like you've just become overwrought by too much uncertainty. A good night's sleep – in a bed," he adds, looking sternly at Cyprian, "will do you some good. I suggest you take tomorrow off and relax, if possible," he continues.

"That … is a wonderful idea. I think perhaps I will do just that," the Gallee says. She inhales deeply for a moment, holding it and the exhaling as she leans back against Cyprian and closes her eyes, relaxing some. "Sir? Are you present?"

"Lieutenant Jaskar and I will help Lady de Bellefeuille back to her apartments," Cyprian informs those assembled. "If you will excuse us?"

The remaining officers have expressions ranging from bemused to skeptical, and the Naga still has a black look hanging over him like a palpable cloud, but no one moves to stop them.

At last Elise rises to her feet with Mage Cyprian's help. She lets her hand fall to her side and inclines her head to those present. In particular, she addresses the Naga. "We will need to speak some time in the future, it seems. I would like to rest and any questions you may have must wait, for I do not believe I will be having any visitors while I recover," she tells him. And with that she nods to the two accompanying her that she is ready to depart.


GMed by Greywolf & Rowan

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