Mages' Guild Hall of Babel
A pale reflection of the splendor of the old Guild Hall of the relocated College on Caroban, this tower is nonetheless an ancient, weathered and well-kept monument to the long-lasting traditions of magic on Sinai. It is far from symmetrical, having countless smaller towers, balconies and bridges sprouting out, but here and there are attempts at order: features are often arranged in groups of four, with repeated motifs of the traditional four elements: fire, water, earth and sky. In an attempt at union of these, the typical room has wide open windows, hanging burning braziers, burbling fountains, and intricate and time-worn stone-work, often depicting fanciful and actual creatures associated with each element, arranged in sets of four.
A sturdy rakhtor lands on one of the main fliers' ledges for the Guild Hall, this one long and lined by pillars for torches, currently not in use, as the afternoon sun casts shadows across the way. Perches and troughs for rakhtors and other mounts are set near the wall, while a large door inset with stained glass panels leads into the tower.
The rakhtor clatters a few steps after it touches down, needing some room to slow itself. Once down, the large avian mount is directed towards one of the nearby troughs and there its Gallah rider Elise in disguise swings a leg over it and hops down. "Good boy," she compliments the bird as she carries its reins over to one of the posts used to secure the beasts. It takes her a moment to tie a sufficient knot and after she seems content with her job of it she turns and walks off towards the large door.
The animal hops on top of the perch adjacent to its post, and gives a caw to its rider before it starts preening its left wing. The door proves to be unlocked, and the Gallah glimpses through its panes to see a spacious reception area, brightly lit through the many windows in the curving walls of this section of the tower. An Eeee woman sits behind a desk, looking preoccupied. There doesn't appear to be a doorman.
Seeing there isn't quite as much formality to entering the Guild Hall as she expected, the canine pushes one side of the door open and walks in side. "Ah, Madame," she greets the Eeee receptionist in the Babelite language, "I have been sent to speak with one of your, ah, spellworkers about a remedy." Her hand goes into the bag at her side, and she begins rummaging around for something.
The receptionist makes no answer at first, and as the Gallah crosses the open floor to her desk, she notes that the task the Eeee is so intent upon appears to be grooming her facial fur, using a small hand mirror and a tiny brush. "Mmm?" the woman replies, not looking away from her own reflection. "The mages don't do love potions. Try Inala's temple," she advises.
Missy clears her throat, her brows raising in apparent annoyance. "You misunderstand. My employer has need of a cure because he is ill. And as difficult as he is, he pays me well, and he wants his medicine," she informs the Eeee in her best Gallisian-laden Babelite, a creation she devised specifically for the disguise she wears. Her right hand draws out the work order, and her left hand rests on a hip. She leans forward and dangles the note near the Eeee.
Reluctantly, the bat sets her mirror down and looks to the canine. Her facial fur is immaculately white, framed by brushed waves of brown hair. She reaches one hand for the page, and the Gallah notices that her fingernails are painted a glossy brown that matches her hair. The Eeee's nose wrinkles as she studies the note. "Your master Remington must've made some mistake. You wouldn't want Mage Flutenote for a remedy; she's a Chaos Mage."
"Oh?" The Gallah perks her ears. "Well, he is kind of unlucky. And so am I, for having him send me to the wrong person. Well, who then would you recommend? And where can I find Mage Flutenote? Need to talk to her too, just in case."
"Oh, Mage Tanieta for a cure, I should think, unless there's something wrong with his head, in which case you'd want Mage Cyprian," the receptionist chatters amiably. "Mage Flutenote … well, ah, I wouldn't really suggest that you'd want to talk to her." She lowers her voice conspiratorially at this last, and glances around as she does so.
The canine's expression drops somewhat. "And, why not, Madame?" she inquires in a tone meant to sound somewhat put upon. "Remington likes his records, especially in regards to us … that as, we, the hired help. I will need Mage Flutenote's signature before I go even if I do get a cure. Otherwise, well … you know." She shakes her head, giving her a look as if she were perhaps the most burdened mercenary in all of Babel.
The Eeee drops her voice even lower. "It's just … she's a … well … You know. Chaos Mage. She's a bit odd. Well. More than a bit odd, if you must know."
Missy leans forward and tilts her head so that the Eeee might whisper in to her ear. "Alas, it figures Remington would chose an odd one … Well, sans se soucier, I must get her signature. I'm not about to not return without her explaining to him why she isn't the one he wants. I'll also need to see … mm, yes, Mage Tanieta or Mage Cyprian." The mercenary smiles unenthusiastically.
"For Mage Tanieta I know you'll need an appointment," she says, business-like, as she pulls out a couple of charts. "I think Mage Cyprian might be available later this afternoon… " The Eeee scans down the chart. "… Yes, in about an hour or so. But you'd only be wasting your time unless your master had some kind of mental problem. Which maybe he does, looking to a Chaos Mage for help." She titters, covering her mouth with one hand. "As for Mage Flutenote … she's out at the moment. But she should be back soon, at least by her normal pattern."
"Well then, is there somewhere I can wait? Here … in one of the mages' offices? No use heading back now. I'd rather be late than without what I was sent for," says Missy. She holds her hand out for the note and glances around the room for a moment. "Regarding which mage, I believe I will meet with Mage Cyprian. Though I'll need Mage Flutenote's signature before I leave … and … well, if the cure isn't quite right, I'll have a letter, right? Mind mage, life mage, Procession over Babel mage … as long as it's some magicking." She looks back and shrugs a little, looking unworried by her lack of specific knowledge of magery.
The receptionist frowns at the mercenary's attitude. "Our mages' time is valuable," she notes in frosty tones. "I hope your master sent you with coin to pay for it, as well as your, ah, cure."
The canine holds a hand up, though still leaves the other out for the note. "Je suis desole, Madame," she apologizes. Her smile turns into a smirk, and she lets her hand fall. "Oh, coin is no trouble. I'll … well, wait here until someone arrives."
The Eeee sniffs, rolling the note up and handing it back to the Gallah anyway. "Have a seat," she offers, without much graciousness, gesturing to some padded benches against the walls. They look reasonably comfortable, at least.
After accepting the note and returning it to its scrollcase, the mercenary gives the receptionist a half-hearted apologetic smile, and walks over to sit down. She seats herself in a position where she can watch people enter and exit, without being too readily noticeable herself, and prepares to wait.
The Eeee receptionist resumes her attention to personal grooming once the Gallah has seated herself. Time trickles past, quite dull for the mercenary, while the secretary dispatches other visitors to their various appointments, and spends the time in between shuffling papers, buffing her nails, and peering into her looking glass. The sun has dipped noticeably lower when a commotion stirs on the landing, the rakhtors tethered outside cawing and flapping as a shadow falls across the windows.
"I will be right back," says the Gallah suddenly. With a sudden push she rises to her feet, takes a second to adjust her girdle, and quickly walks for the door and the landing area beyond.
A giant ptera, its wingspan at least thirty feet, so large it might be mistaken for a dragon, has touched down on the ledge outside. It curls its tail and hisses sibilantly at the screeching rakhtors, while on its back two figures perch in a large ornate saddle. As Missy steps through the door, she sees the one figure help the other to slide down, though with the sun at their back she cannot make out features.
Missy slows at the sight of the giant mount, and stops when she cannot identify the persons dismounting it. Rather than walk all the way out, the mercenary woman reaches up and shades her eyes before backing up into the waiting room, and turning off to sit at the closest available bench space.
The dismounted individual waves to the one still on the ptera's back. "Good bye, my Duke!" she says, while the other waves in answer, then jerks on the reins of his giant mount. The ptera's body shivers, then it slithers forward and dives from the landing. Once away, the reptile catches an updraft and soars over the towers around it, while the female left behind continues to wave. As it dwindles from sight, she heaves a sigh and turns to enter the tower, some moments after the mercenary did.
When she enters, the disguised poodle can distinguish the figure clearly a female Rhian wearing mage's robes, with a chain around her neck and the sigil of Chaos depending from it. Her robes are unusually ornate, scarlet embroidered with gold threads and crystal gewgaws, and a tiara rests on her forehead.
The mercenary just shakes her head and resumes her bored expression. She leans back against the bench, tilting her head back as well, and peering down across her muzzle as the gaudy woman enters the room. Her eyebrows raise at the sight of her outfit and she sits up just a little to get a better look.
The Rhian moves with a regal bearing, despite rather plain features, even for a horse. She has a broad muzzle and thick jaw, along with light brown face fur and a darker mane, short and spiky along the top. Her forelock is combed somewhat awkwardly around the tiara, which encircles her forehead and terminates just behind and below her ears. She approaches the desk. "Greetings to our loyal subject," she says to the receptionist. "Have we any messages?"
The Eeee glances to Missy. "Well. You've got a visitor, Mage Flutenote," she says, somewhat reluctantly.
"The correct address is 'Your Grace'," Flutenote informs her, running the words together as if she were accustomed to saying it a lot. "Who is our guest? Some ambassador? From Sylvania, perhaps?"
Missy in turn glances to the receptionist, to the mage, to the receptionist, and back. While the mage isn't looking the mercenary gives the woman behind the counter a understanding look and then speaks up, "Yes, I have some business with you … your … grace?"
The Eeee returns Missy's look with a "see-what-I-mean?" gesture of her own, then says to Flutenote, "This is the woman, Mage Flutenote."
The mercenary stands up and begins to wave, but after a moment of consideration, bows ceremoniously instead. "Indeed," she confirms.
After pivoting to look to the sound of the new voice, Flutenote eyes Missy up and down, her nostrils flaring. "Greetings," she says, at last. "We are Queen Flutenote of the Southern Marches and the Golden Realm." She tilts her head slightly in acknowledgement. "And you are… ?"
"I am … Missy, servant and soldier of the … Merchant Lord Remington of Farandyonder," answers the canine. Her ears flick at having to come up with such a title, and she finds her imagination surely lacking for the fantastic. Still, she rises, and looks hopefully to the "queen".
The regal Rhian looks on the verge of bidding the Gallah to rise, and her mouth closes with a snap when Missy does so on her own. She looks, for a moment, rather more disappointed than anything else, then she recovers herself. "May the Star find you well. We are not familiar with your merchant lord, but we are sure he is a worthy man. What message do you bring us from him?"
"I need speak with you regarding some official documents. They are in error, and of course, I am in need of your expertise on the matter to discover why and see that they are signed with your official signature," explains Missy. She shifts a little to try and look more formal, though doing her best to attempt to make it appear that she really hasn't any idea how to be completely formal despite her nature. "Might we discuss this in private? I am certain Lord Remington does not wish his business explained to all who would pass by."
The "queen" inclines her head again, graciously. "We understand." She turns to the receptionist. "Our subject will show you to our audience chamber." The Rhian gestures grandly, then proceeds past the woman to an inner door, herchin lifted so high that her jaw line is parallel to the floor.
The Eeee secretary rolls her eyes and leans forward, whispering to Missy, "Just follow her to her suite. She's only got the one place."
The Gallah just nods slowly at the directions from the Rhian, and as the Eeee explains a more clarified version the canine just seems to watch the "queen" depart in disbelief. "Understood, Madame," she says, half paying attention. With another shrug the ex-poodle is off and following the chaos mage.
A large semi-circular room with a great open space at its center, and nooks the size of small rooms that ring the outer walls, furnished to serve different tasks. Winding staircases with banisters painted like rivers, and ladders made up to look like waterfalls, permit access to the various "nooks" as they rise on different levels. At the center of the room a great fountain plays, water pouring from the mouths of four seahorses.
As she enters her chamber, Flutenote strides past the fountain to a large chair placed against the far wall, before one of the tall stained-blue windows, and on top of a multi-tiered cloth-covered platform. At some of the corners of the tiers, the cloth has worn thin, and it looks like the tiers are made up of ordinary shipping pallets turned upside down and stacked on top each other, but the "queen" ascends them like the steps of a throne. She seats herself, and turns her attention to her visitor. "Now, Missy, tell us of your errand."
After following the "queen" into her "audience chamber", the canine takes some to regard the room, doing so up until she is called upon. "A moment, Ma'am." Turning away from the chaos mage and rummaging through her bag, undoing that which holds the secret document fast and removing it, Missy moves to turn back around and offer the true request to the mage.
The Rhian frowns at the canine's fumbling with the scroll case, tapping her fingers against the edge of her "throne," but otherwise waits patiently. When at last the scroll is offered to her, she accepts and unrolls the missive with deliberate motions. Flutenote studies it for some moments, her frown deepening as she does so, then she finally laughs, letting it roll back into her palm. "Indeed, indeed, we are pleased to have this news from your good 'Lord Remington'. We will require some time to prepare our answer, Missy. Please return to the entranceway to await what you have come for." She gestures in dismissal, then adds, "We will see your master's needs attended to, do not fear, in an hour's time."
Missy inclines her head to the Rhian's response. "I trust you will keep the nature of my master's ailments within the court, and no further? He is an easily embarrassed man and he would not wish his suffering to be common knowledge. T'would invite greater competition," asks Missy. As she asks, she pulls out the other paper and offers it to the "queen". "I will also need your signature here stating that this is not your field, and that Mage Cyprian shall handle it."
Queen Flutenote accepts the other page, studying it. "We will keep your request in confidence. We do not see what need you will have of Lord Mage Cyprian, however."
"It is necessary that I attempt to fulfill the wishes stated upon that sheet I have handed you. I am, after all, a mercenary … and I have a job to perform, after all," explains Missy.
Missy gestures at the sheet. "It will also allow me something to do while I wait," she adds.
"But this request would make no sense to a Mind Mage such as Lord Cyprian," the equine complains. "T'would make little sense to any mage, 'struth, for it asks for 'water of the dryrose' to treat a stiff knee. 'Water of the dryrose' is a compound of chaos mages, and no treatment for anything, save perhaps bad luck, if used in proper conjunction with certain rituals." She frowns at the other female. "But … if you insist."
"I do not. I merely thought to look in to all my options, as it were. Lord Remington can be quite the picky man. However, Madame, I will let it be," agrees Missy. She gives the chaos mage a brief smile, and begins to walk off, before pausing and glancing back. "Need you anything else of me?"
The "queen" shakes her head. "No. You may leave," she dismisses the mercenary, rising to her feet and walking to the staircase on her left.
The mercenary inclines her head to the Rhian. "Adieu, my liege," she bids her. Soon the Gallah is out the door and gone, heading through the complex to return to the landing platform floor and the reception area there in order to wait.
After the Gallah finds her way through the tower back to the reception area, she hears voices speaking as she approaches the open door. Glancing through before entering, she sees the receptionist smiling flirtatiously at a black-winged Eeee mage whose back is turned to her.
Missy's eyes begin to widen as she sees the two bats conversing. Quickly remembering where she is, and who she is supposed to be, she forces herself to resume her usual attitude and walks plainly into the room on her way to one of the benches, watching the two as she does so, though trying not to appear particularly interested in what they are doing.
The male Eeee has a slight smile on his own face, in answer to the secretary's, as he asks, in the Babelite tongue, "Nothing else then, Lisianne?"
The receptionist shakes her head, then squeaks as the Gallah enters the room. Missy would guess that she said something, though it is too high-pitched for the Gallah's ears to fully register.
The mage turns smoothly from the receptionist to the newcomer, and nods his head to her. "Good afternoon. I am Mage Cyprian. Lisianne says you thought your master might have need of my services?" he asks, courteous.
Apparently due to the sudden squeak Missy looks even more curiously over at the two, though in reality her reaction is more based upon the man's smile. She stops walking once addressed and nods a little, though it takes her a moment to speak. "Yes, Lord Remin- … my boss needs a cure. Mage Flutenote said she'd handle the paperwork on the misdirected request … and the receptionist suggested maybe you could handle this? If so … might we discuss it more privately? I dislike speaking of my employer's woes in public. Bad for business," she replies.
The receptionist squeaks something else, and one of Cyprian's ears flattens against his head. He offers a smile to the Eeee that seems, to the Gallah's eye, just slightly chilly, though his voice remains polite and pleasant as he says, "Thank you, Lisianne. After I finish with this lady Missy, is it? I'll have no further appointments today." Turning back to the canine, he nods. "This way?"
"Lead on," answers the Gallah, gesturing the Eeee to go ahead. As the canine begins to follow Cyprian, she shifts her gaze to the receptionist, watches her for a moment, and then returns her attention to the Mind mage.
Blocks of polished gray-black granite shot with silvery flecks form the walls and vaulted dome of this chamber, inset with high, narrow windows composed of multiple small panes of crackled glass. The chamber's walls form most of a circle, flattened on the only inside wall, where a single door leads to the rest of the tower. Nooks the size of small rooms are set against the walls at various heights, many unreachable save by flight or ladder, most furnished to serve various different purposes study, sleeping, reading, and so forth. Light gauzy curtains may be drawn before the assorted sections, to screen them for privacy.
On the main floor, a ring of comfortable ivory-hued seats, in various styles and types to suit different species, along with small matching side tables, surround like satellites a central dais hidden by a blue-green drape. The "Procession" theme continues in the hanging ceramic braziers tinted silver, descending in a graceful arc from crystal-accented black velvet ropes fastened to the ceiling. On close inspection, other dark ropes are visible, crossing from various points on the walls and ceiling, though their purpose is not readily apparent. Arc-shaped black floor candelabras glitter with similar dangling crystals, providing additional lighting for the chamber after sundown.
The mage gestures for the canine to enter the chamber before him, and he closes the door behind them with a faint click. "Please, make yourself comfortable, Missy. Do I have your name correctly from the receptionist? She had not written it down."
Missy walks inside and turns around, folding her hands and shifting her weight to one leg. "Indeed, monsieur. I am Missy," she replies. A smile appears on her face, though there might seem to be no cause for it. "Have you any cures for a stiff knee, mayhap?"
He quirks one brow, then chuckles. "No, my lady. I am a mind mage. I do not treat physical ailments. You might seek a life mage such as Mage Tanieta for such a complaint."
The mercenary woman shrugs lightly. "So it is. I fear my employer has less an idea of how magicking works than I do, and he has sent me on this wild flickertail chase. It is enough that Mage Flutenote is handling the paperwork I was sent here for; he'd not listen to my story without a signature," she explains in a good natured tone. Her hands unfold and she claps them together lightly, nodding to him. "I apologize if I have wasted your time."
Cyprian watches her, head tilted to one side. "No need to apologize, my lady. Is that all you came for, then?"
"Oui, monsieur," Missy answers. Her smirk wanes slightly and she watches him, curiously.
"Then I shouldn't … keep you any longer." The Eeee re-opens the door, then asks her, "Would you like me to show you back to the main entrance? I understand the Guild can be quite confusing for a first-time visitor."
Missy inclines her head to the Eeee mage. "If you think it best, monsieur. I will follow you, like I did before," she replies. Her smirk fades completely and she continues to observe him, now watching him expectantly as she waits for him to guide her.
The mage turns back to the door, then pauses. He glances over his shoulder to the Gallah, and walks from the door over to the chairs arrayed around in a circle around the dais. "Actually, Missy, I would think it best if you told me what you are truly here for," he says to her, settling into one of the seats, wings fanned to either side of the chair's back.
"Monsieur?" asks the canine as the mage leaves the door. Shortly after she follows him and, after adjusting her scabbard out of the way, settles into a chair. She folds her hands in her lap and watches the Mind mage, looking him full in the eyes. Her faint smile returns. "To view the grand and wonderful creation that is the Babelite Guild Hall? To serve my masters, going here and there at their beck and call … quite the usual tasks for a … mercenary, such as myself."
"Grand creation?" He looks to the high ceiling of his chamber, and chuckles. "A pity you never saw the original, before the boomer claimed it and too much else of my city. But that was not my question, my lady." Cyprian turns his green eyes back to the Gallah. "What have you come here for? I do not think you made this trip merely to sightsee, or fetch some mummer's potion."
Missy shifts her gaze from the man to look about the room as she leans forward, clasping her hands together. "Perhaps not. Indeed, I am here because necessity demands I be here. Surely not the necessity of my master, or masters as it is now, but a personal desire to see … healing done. It is a chronic ache that has been plaguing my masters, it has for why … about five years. It is time that ache was healed. And, I admit, I wished to see how things," she looks at him pointedly for a moment before resuming her scanning, "were doing."
For a long time, the black bat does not reply, instead only looking at her, expression sober, his green eyes pensive, and perhaps a little saddened. "I see," he says at length. "Is that all you wish to say on the matter … Missy?"
"Would that I could say more, but my masters would not appreciate me … speaking … about their troubles," answers the canine. She finishes her review of the room and resumes watching the bat, brows raised now. "Perhaps youshould work your magic … and after, I will be off?" she offers.
A smile flickers across Cyprian's mouth. "Do you have the time for a ritual spell, my lady?" he inquires. "It will take me, ah, about an hour."
"You had best be fast … I am late already, and Mage Flutenote works as we speak. We'll not have time for much beyond that," answers the Gallah.
The dark Eeee inclines his head to mercenary, standing and pulling the cloth from the dais with one smooth tug, revealing the runic circle inscribed upon it. "To rush a spell is to invite disaster, m'lady, but I will work as swiftly as is safe. If you will enter the circle, I will begin at once."
The mercenary stands from her chair and nods to the man. "It is thankful I have had a great deal of practice standing in one spot for hours on end, then." She passes from the lounge area onto the dais and folds her arms, flicking her hand to motion him to start. "Begin as you will, Mage Cyprian. And, I am glad you were able to meet with me today. I feared I would be … unable to get an appointment."