It's been a dreary day, but this is Weirmonken. The sky has turned black beneath dark clouds and the drizzle of rain that has been about most of the day has gone, with a fall of temperature, into the first real snow of the year. The flakes are large, wet, and they cling to the ground easily.
There are a few things that Rae knows for certain, being a seer. One of these happens to be when the first snowfall is going to come to Weirmonken. As such, she's dragged Maddock into the woods, and is bright and cheerful as she catches snowflakes on her tongue. "I LOVE WINTER!"
The big, fat flakes of snow falling lazily from the sky glitter in ... no, it's too dark for the moon, too cloudy. No stars...But they glitter, their edges rainbowed.
Walking through, perhaps coincidence, Tristan and Faelin are going through the heavy snowflakes and Tristan is talking, talking, talking. "I just wonder, really, whether or not it is going to be snowing yesterday as well. I think," he is tossing a small red rubber ball up and down, "I might win a card game. Have you ever lost forty seven times to the same person because you can't figure out how to get their read? He keeps drinking the scotch different every time. Every time, scotch. Maybe tomorrow, I'll figure it out. I think he's taunting me. I talked to a whale yesterday." Faelin, being a good friend, has been subjected to rambling for the better part of an hour as they walk.
Maddock follows Rae looking uncomfortable in the cold but *almost* smiling in response to her exclamation.
There comes a crying out of the spirits of Weirmonken, each in protest and pain. It comes only a heartbeat before the air comes to life in a roar more felt than heard, shaking the earth, threatening eardrums and hearts with its too-loud-to-make-sense sound. The world goes rainbow colored.
Faelin is a good friend. She is a good person. "Oh, really? Was it one of the toothy ones or one of the brilly ones? Because I'd imagine that the brilly ones would have a very odd accent. And there has to be a limit to how many different ways he can drink the scotch. The man, not the whale." However, she's also sometimes a bit of a twit who eggs folks on. She speaks blithely, light and bemused. It is gone in a heartbeat as she first catches sight of the odd snow and the crying announces the world going rainbow colored. She hisses in breath.
"Hey, look, pretty," Rae says to Maddock as she watches one of the snowflakes melt on his cheek, studying the rainbow edges. She starts to say more but as the roar of the earth rumbles through her, eyes go wide and her mouth freezes in an 'o'.
Tristan's eyes widen. There is a long moment, as he says, "I don't remember this happening." He tuns his head to Faelin and asks, after a moment, "Any idea if this is real?" His head tilting, as if he thought he heard something, or someone. He blinks,gesturing for Faelin to follow as he heads off in that direction.
Maddock falls to his knees as if he has been kicked in the gut. He looks around for Rae as if he can't see.
"Tris.." Faelin's hand snaps out for Tristan's arm, seeking to grab before he is too far away. Fear, perhaps, a desire to reach out to some other stable point in a world painfully loud and uncertain in vision.
The world has gone crazy, and not even the snow looks white in the blackness that follows the shimmer of rainbows that fell from the sky like a solid aurora borealis. A howl, angry and anguished, pierces the silence after the senses return. Trees are fallen where they weren't before.
Against your clenched eyes, briefly, Emrys flashes.
Rae reaches for Maddock, not in time to stop him from going to his knees, but to at least put a hand on his shoulder. "No no no NO!" She shouts out, angry and fearful, as she clenches her eyes closed. They open widely, suddenly, and she reaches forward, hand clasping tightly on nothing but air. Panic stricken, she freezes in place again.
Tristan bursts out in delighted laughter, as he looks and declares at Faelin, taking her hand, "_That_ I have not seen before. That's new!" He looks around, and asks, like a kid in a candy store, "Where are we?" His voice echoing as if this was genuinely thrilling, in some perverse way.
Maddock comes to his senses, somewhat, and shakes his head to clear it. He reaches for Rae's hand.
Reality continues to tremble, little aftershocks running through everything. It ripples, warps, rainbows off and on. It becomes disorienting in a different way than Weirmonken usually is.
Rae's hand finds Maddock's, but she still doesn't say anything aloud. Her lips move like she wants to, however, like she's trying to.
Maddock stands and puts an arm around Rae's shoulders.
Faelin catches her breath, freezing and nearly stopping in her steps. "Emrys!" She yells to the sky, one hand going to her shoulder and the bow held there.
A storm rages; its lightening red, its rain blood, and its clodus covering a silver sky. It breaks, and where the rain went the world is new. It breaks, and where the sky was silver it shines blue, complete with sun.
Tristan staggers a step, as if finally starting to become disoriented. There's a long pause, before he says, "I don't think he's here. I mean, or at least, uh." He glances around, and says, "Still here."
Rae's snapped out of whatever she was in at Faelin's yelling. "You saw him, too?" She leans against Maddock for a brief moment, but then her eyes go distant and wide. "A storm of crimson, a rain of blood, brings new life..." It's not her usual, bubbly voice that says it.
Maddock's eyes widen and he watches his mate with a new intensity.
"Heard. Not saw. But we need to find him. Now." Faelin must be somewhat shaken. She drops the bow and reaches for her jacket, presumably for her trumps.
Tristan says, glancing at Rae as he notices her, and she says that ominous phrase, "I think I." He looks at Rae intently, as if looking for something. He declares, confidently to Faelin, "She's not Rae. I think we're somewhere else."
"A sun is born in a new sky, bright and shining," Rae continues, before she blinks and looks to Tristan with a frown. "Of course I'm Rae, fluffybutt."
Tristan studies Rae intently for another moment, clothing, hair color. Everything. He thinks, thinks. . . "Not Rae." Glancing at Faelin. "Do you need a trump?"
RPG: Faelin studies a Trump.
Faelin takes up a trump, the image of Emrys on it clear. "I have one." She concentrates on it. However, what ever she sees as a result of the contact apparently isn't pleasing. Her balance fails her, knees failing so that she falls to them. "No... no... what's going on. Rae?" Her words are a breathless whisper, fragile as splintering wood. "Emrys..."
Rae stomps her foot at Tristan and assures, "Rae." She moves closer to Faelin, dragging Maddock along at her side, and crouches down. "I... I don't know. I'm not sure. Change?"
Tristan frowns, turning to look over Faelin's shoulder, even if he should know it doesn't work that way. "What's going on?"
Faelin's hand reaches out for Tristan's, the other for Rae. The trump card is not released, and may yet get crushed between their hands. "I... it was... not Emrys I could see on the other end. But blood and horrible things... and Emrys calling for help at the end. Maybe. I wasn't sure..."
Maddock follows Rae and remains standing. His hand goes to his scabbard automatically but he does not yet draw.
Rae's hand is given to Faelin, and she is careful in regards to the trump. "Too much blood," is decided by Rae, and she looks over her shoulder to Maddock. "Things feel strange. I do not like it."
"I wonder." Tristan reaches and says, "Do you think we could get through?" Touching the trump, though not trying to take it. "As if you know, we might force our way?"
Maddock asks, "Is the Regent in trouble?" Though to whom he is asking is not clear.
"He is. He must be," Faelin says without hesitation. She closes her eyes. The trump is offered to Tristan, "Try. Can we? I don't know trumps that well."
Tristan shakes his head, reaching for his own. He says, "We'll try again. We can focus. We should focus."
Rae nods in agreement with Faelin. "I don't like this feeling," she says softly up to Maddock. Then she admits, "I don't know what to do, here."
Tristan says, his tone annoyed, "I just spent the last four months in Sukho. I should go back." He starts to focus on the trump. "Whales," he says, glumly.
RPG: Tristan studies a Trump.
Tristan says, "Start focusing on yours, as well, Faelin."
RPG: Faelin studies a Trump.
"I have two," Faelin says suddenly, taking her hand back and reaching for her jacket again. "Rae? Maddock? Should you both try too?"
Rae withdraws a small deck of Trumps from the pouch at her side. "I have one," she says, "Perhaps give Maddock yours, and we can try as well."
Maddock reaches down for the trump.
RPG: Maddock studies a Trump.
Tristan snarls, focusing, focusing. Focusing - for someone like Tristan, who surpresses the wolf as much as he does, the gutteral noise that comes from his throat might be surprising.
Maddock looks intently at the card and moves even closer to Rae.
You concentrate on Emrys's Trump...
Faelin studies the trump. She grows pale, she trembles and finally shakes her head as she has to tear her gaze away. Tears swim in her eyes.
You trump not Emrys, but your own worst, bloodiest, scariest nightmares to play out in your mind. The more you try, the worst it gets, and if you keep trying to force your way, your soul cries out for your to stop.
There is no response to your Trump call.
Snow continues to fall. It's lost most of its rainbow shimmer.
Rae makes a low, deep rumble in the back of her throat. Her eyes go completely crimson for the span of a few dozen heartbeats, then slowly fade back to what's been considered 'normal' for the past year. "Fuck," she voices.
Tristan howls - piercing, he pulls the trump away from his gaze, as he says, "What the hell." He glances around, putting the trump in its case. He covers his mouth, for a moment, before he says, "I'm not sure any of this matters, anyway." Glancing around at the rainbow snow.
~Help me~ comes the mental whisper before the trump ends.
A low growl sounds from deep within Maddock's chest in counterpoint to Rae's rumble. This continues for quite some time before he curses and drops the card into the snow. He closes his eyes as if trying to unsee something.
"Standing here.. standing here does nothing," Faelin says, "We should go...to where ever he is. Do you remember? Was he at the Spire still? We'd been going back and forth between there and the Palace?"
Rae says to the card in her hand, softly, "But I don't know /how/." She turns the trump over, and joins it with the others she keeps. "Last I saw Emrys, he was...hell. It's been a while since I've chatted with the boss. Amber, I think."
Tristan says, "We can certainly find out." He thinks for a moment and says, "I talked to him, I think, about a month ago. He wanted something. that was Amber. But, maybe he's here."
Faelin shakes her head, "We returned from Amber. I saw him in the Spire last." She stands up again and tucks her card away, slowly, reluctantly. "I'm going there."
Tristan thinks, for a time. Then he moves, a shimmer before the black and silver wolf is present where Tristan was. Padding off.
Rae agrees with Faelin, "The Spire. It's a good place to start." She looks to Maddock as if wondering his opinion of things.
Maddock looks from Rae to Faelin and nods his agreement.
Tristan is already booking off back towards the spire, snow collecting on his fur.
Faelin shifts as well, body melting down to her wolf form. She turns, scenting the wind, and then bolting for the remembered location of the Spire.
The route to the Spire isn't quite what it should be. The forest isn't...quite the same as it was, but the general directions can sitll be followed and fought to. But there is no Silverspire. Just a giant crater, the size of a small lake, unfilled with water. And at the bottom? There might be a figure there. Red hair, golden sword, dashingly good looks.
Tristan is, fast - faster than hell, whether or not those around him were aware of it. As he arrives at the crater, there is a pause as the wolf settles on its haunches. And begins scratching its ear, studying curiously.
Rae does not shift, but follows closely behind Tristan and Faelin, even more closely beside Maddock. Her expression grows darker with every yard travelled, brows furrowed and frown firm. "Bwah?," she manages to get out, roughly.
Tristan shifts back to normal, stretching as he says, "Well, this is new." There is an undercurrent of excitement, as Tristan says, "This is far better than the other places I have been recently." He flashes a grin towards Rae as he says, "And there's someone at the bottom! Not Emrys, though." Glancing at Faelin, then whoever is down at the bottom.
Faelin doesn't pause, not even for a moment. She leaps over the edge of the crater and tumbles down the edge if nessasary. Her nose is raised to the air, seeking a specific scent. The red-head is ignored unless the scent of Emrys is upon him. At least, at first.
Bleys lies crumpled in a heap, near where a corner of a Silverspire room once stood. His hands are still clenched tightly in a two-handed death grip around the hilt of his sword, which he is practically curled around. A circle is etched around his body, probably drawn with a sword-point, imperfect, but still unbroken, although the ground around it has melted right to the edge of the circle, and blackened residue around it might have been salt. Within the circle, it is bare stone, the last remaining intact stone of Silverspire.
Rae creeps towards the edge of the crater, then after lifting a brow at Maddock, slides her way within. She frowns and paces and fidgets a bit, and starts to draw near to the Prince within the circle.
Just beyond the reach of Bleys's hand, pulses a small, red, glowing jewel on a golden chain.
Tristan slides down alongside Rae. AS he gets closer to the bottom, he gets back to his feet, jogging down and saying, "Well, Uncle. That I wasn't expecting to see." He reaches with a booted foot, nudging Bleys over and studying him. A similar, painful scrutiny he gave to Rae earlier to determine whether or not he was real.
The nudge pushes Bleys towards an undesired consciousness. "Twice in one day," he can be heard to groan, under his breath.
"Bleys," Rae names him softly. "Not my favorite of the red heads. Not by..." Her voice trails off, the glow catching her eyes. She moves towards the jewel with the quickness of a lightning strike, snatching it up by its chain. "Pretty," she draws out.
Faelin roams around, sniffing. She growls low under her breath, smelling the jewel for several moments. If Rae doesn't take it, Faelin will. However, she seems content to let Rae have it if she wishes. Then she is off. The wolf will exhaust herself running around, looking for Emrys scent. It is only once she's narrowed out all possibilities that she'll settle on her haunches and howl.
Tristan glances over at Rae. He says, after a moment, regarding her, "I wouldn't play with that, if I were you." Studying the jewel. "That thing's dangerous."
Rae holds the jewel up, studying it against the field of snowflakes. "Most things worth their weight are," she says to Tristan, then looks around. "Wait. Why isn't the Spire here?" She looks down at Bleys, suddenly looking more than a little angry.
Bleys makes an attempt to sit up, and conducts a quick check to see if he's broken anything. Concluding that he has taken no physical injuries from reality ripping itself apart around him, he takes a deep breath, and considers the Weir.
Tristan says, "Probably because of that thing." Tone tense, as he says, "Put it down. I think enough damage has already been done, Rae."
Rae looks to Tristan with a little scowl. "Oh sure, now you think that I'm Rae when I've got something shiny and pretty." She holds the jewel close to herself, protective, and then glares at Bleys again. "What did you do?"
Bleys tends to the important things first. He rakes fingers through his hair, returning it to a semblance of order, and brushes ash off his leather jacket. Only then does he answer Rae, with cool dignity. "Blame your regent, Emrys," he says. "He was trying to 'fix' Weirmonken. Brand and I counseled him against it. He insisted on trying it anyway."
Tristan says, "I think you're a Rae. Just not the real one. Not the one I know. There's too much different. For example," he shakes his head and says, "I'm trying to rationalize with ghosts. But, let's go through the motions." He turns to look at Bleys, and says, droll, "Oh no. My brother is missing. Will I ever see him again?"
Tristan says, "And I see you did a fantastic job of stopping him."
Rae frowns at Tristan, but at the same time manages to look a little hurt. "I'm the only one," she says to Tristan, but manages to sound like she doubts it, just a tiny bit. Turning to Bleys, she sets a frown upon him.
Bleys says dryly, "My being present at all was conditional on agreeing to not interfere with his ritual. Benedict asked me to observe. Not to interfere." He takes a look around. "I see it did not work," he observes unnecessarily. "One never knows, until one sees the results afterwards."
Tristan says, "How dare you. How dare." the tone seems to indicate that Tristan isn't at all sure any of this is a big deal. "So, where is he?"
Bleys takes another look at his surroundings. "What an interesting question."
Rae scowls at Tristan, again. She vibrates with anger, and there's a threat of violence to the slight shift of her stance.
Tristan reaches to offer Bleys a hand up, then, noting, "I'd kick your ass, but I'm not sure there's any real reason to, Uncle. What's done is done."
Bleys takes Tristan's hand, and gets to his feet. "He insisted he was doing what was best for Weirmonken. He gave me few details. I liked nothing that I heard, but it was his choice to make."
Rae says, lowly, "You do not know Weirmonken." It seems directed at Tristan as much as it is Bleys, and she stalks closer, to look at the bit of stone that Bleys was on.
Tristan says, "I know it well enough." He looks over at Rae and says, glancing down at the stone, "And I know Emrys is missing." He asks, Bleys, "What exactly happened? What was the ritual that was done?"
Bleys says to Tristan, "Emrys believed three points of contact, metaphysically speaking, held Weirmonken trapped inside a bubble of Arden. He thought these points of contact had been undesirably weakened, and wanted to strengthen them. Or that was what he claimed. I had no time to study his ritual and so cannot say whether or not he was lying to me."
Rae remarks, "You cannot know well that which you deny in yourself." She crouches down to place a hand on the stone. "Anchors of a sort. He had spoken of them, before. They were found, yes."
"In order to deny it, you have to conquer it. I've merely managed to overcome my shortcomings." Tristan glances at the rock, Rae, then Bleys. "But, hell." He looks around, thinking for a moment. "How much would you need in terms of time to study what he was doing to see if he was a liar?"
"He bade me stand in a corner that he had warded with salt," Bleys remarks in a tone filled with irony. "I did not trust his ward, and drew another of my own." He toes some ash. "It appears that my ward held. His did not. If he relied on a similar ward to keep himself safe, anything could have happened to him." He considers his words before he answers Tristan. "A long while. I am neither a mage nor a true ward-breaker, and his ritual had obviously taken weeks to prepare. It was complex."
"Oh, fuck off, Tristan," Rae says, not having the strength of will to make it as full of anger as she'd like. She sniffs at Bleys, then remarks, "Though you court the Karm bitch, you are not one of them, yourself. But ah, yes, Pathi." Her fingers run over the stone like it's something smally sacred. "Salt?," she questions, and then shifts. Her wolf is cinnamon and shadows in coloring, and she wears the jewel around her throat. It sets of the rune burnt into her chest nicely.
Bleys seems to choose not to take offense at the phrasing, deliberately hearing it as a native colloquialism rather than an insult. "Salt," he says. "A common substance used in wards."
Tristan says, "Fascinating." Glancing at Rae as if to say something back, before deciding better of it. She is a wolf, now, and he is afraid of teeth. Then, "Well. I guess I'm going to go look for him." He glances around, and see, "I wonder where he is." He makes a gesture with his hand, as if somehow calculating a trajectory. Then, to Bleys, "Or do you think he's not here, here, in a sense?"
Bleys says judiciously, "It is possible that he was simply torn apart by the energies that he unleashed. But it appears that Silverspire has vanished, not merely been destroyed. That suggests that he may be wherever it has disappeared to."
Rae's nose is lowered to the ground, taking in the scent on the stone. "I am not an idiot, I know of magic and counters. You came to me once for council, once, or do you forget so soon?" The words are very grumbly, but perhaps Bleys will be lucky enough to speak Weir, or to have Tristan translate. She licks the slab, testingly, for salt.
Maddock, who has been silent up 'til now, still does not speak but his eyes narrow as he regards both Tristan and Bleys.
What's left of the salt is thoroughly charred, and there is none of it within the intact circle of Bleys's own warding. The salt-ward attempt appears to have been much larger, surrounding Bleys's personal ward.
Tristan bites his lip, as he says, "I'm going to go look for my brother." He says, "For all I know he'll be alive tomorrow, or dead yesterday. I think it's just. . ." The man shakes his head, before turning to walk off, back up out of the crater. He says, over his shoulder, "LOok at it this way! This is only one of a hundred different ways this day could have ended! I'm sure he got it right somewhere."
Tristan says, to Rae, "Oh, if he did make it out of this mess, and if I see any of you again, tell him that I'll take him where he wants. If I haven't already. Ask if I already have." He fingerwaves to everyone, before hauling out of the crater.
Bleys stares after Tristan.
Rae gives Tristan a look that suggests, for once, that /he/ is the crazy one. She spends a moment trying to get the taste of burnt salt off of her tongue, and then lifts her muzzle up, skywards, to belt out a howl.
Bleys clears his throat. "I'll leave you to your... howl, Lady," he says.
The wolf glimmers, sparkles, and then leaves a human Rae in its place. "Please tell Brand I would like to speak with him, once he is able."
Bleys says, "I will do so." Something about his tone of voice implies that he wants to have a number of pointed words with his brother, as well. A pause, then he comments, "Lady Quina informed me that she wanted to speak with you. Unfortunately, I suspect that she is now indisposed."
Rae's brows lift. "I do not have her trump, but I do know her Dreams. I will find her there." She shakes the snow out of her hair and looks towards Maddock.
Maddock turns from where he was watching Tristan depart and nods to Rae.
Bleys nods. "Good eve." And he reaches into a pocket for a Trump.
Bleys concentrates upon a Trump, and begins to fade away.
Bleys fades into nothingness, leaving behind a rainbow afterimage.
Rae, with the others gone, allows herself to slump towards the ground, atop the last remaining rock of the Silverspire.