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From Nothing We Start; To Ash We End

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*Please note that Everrun is not currently connected to Veluriyam Empire at the start of this thread. 


With most of Terrenus' current abnormal activities concurring in either South Terrenus or East Terrenus, barely anyone payed much attention to the small, albeit growing, city of Everrun. Recently freed from a gang of powerful bandits by a man the people called the Prophet, the man's religious and spiritual teachers had started to attract followers from all over Valucre. He promised freedom and safety. He healed the sick and turned dreams into reality. Because of its spread, not long had passed before news of it reached the ears of the Commander. It wasn't that She was particularly bothered or threatened by such a religion, but rather that Her curiosity was peaked by the rumors concerning the Prophet's ability to grant wishes. If such rumors were true then there was a large possibility the Prophet could retrieve an ancient weapon She desired. One from the past of Ankou Lethe, currently Her most powerful Paragon. 

Like a nightmare, the Commander traveled to Everrun as smoke darker than black. Those few who spotted Her might revel in the seemingly propelled spiral of black smoke before it suddenly changed trajectory, now coming down upon Everrun. The black smoke was like a streak as it slammed into a fairly crowded street, all sorts of items and people blown backward from the sudden crash. The road catered in, those people unfortunate enough to be the in the smoke's path crushed beyond recognition. 

Standing where the black smoke had touched down was a tall woman, an aura of overwhelming power clinging to her like water. Brown hair slung silently down to her shoulders as red eyes and thin lips gave a sense of death to whomever she glanced at. But like ants, she ignored them instead choosing to walk forward at a steady pace as if the lives she'd taken upon landing had never existed. Behind the woman a second streak of black smoke crashed against the ground, this time revealing a shorter woman. This one less menacing, but somehow darker. Smelling more of death than of power. This woman, however, did look at the bodies the Commander had killed upon arrival having not killed any herself. 

The first woman, the Commander, looked around until her eyes landed upon one who wore the Prophet's mark. A twitch of her head toward the marked man sent the second woman flying toward him, swiftly lifting him off his feet and dumping him before the Commander whose pressure kept the man on his knees. Her eyes shun for a moment, looking deep into the marked man's soul to try and find his deepest desires. Then she spoke, her voice smooth, rolling accent making her foreign nature distinct. "Where is your Prophet, Servant?"

@Vilhardt @danzilla3 @Veloci-Rapture @Hurttoto @Higuu @A Most Sovereign Lady @Thotification @ChaosLord

Edited by Alexithymia

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The village struggling to turn into a city was much like a thousand others Cornelius had been to over the long march of years. The languages had been for a time, different, but the peoples anywhere were all the same, they differed in superficial natures but in the end they were all valuable beyond their years, their skills, their stations or their imagined sense of self-importance... They all boiled down to quintessence, breeding and pedigree scarcely mattered. Personally, he bore them no ill will; they were, like all others, a means to an end and nothing else. He would perhaps see, if the life forces of this world were any stronger than his own, they were very vibrant at least. Though he had not come to this place to harvest them, like he had elsewhere in other places on other planar alignments. No, the whispers of religion, his anathema, had piqued his curiosity only in the sense that someone useful and utilizing the strength of higher beings was apparently about in the locality, peddling hope like countless millions before them. He detested religion, gods and goddesses, malevolent spirits who played demented games with all those beneath them, all who said otherwise were either naive, or fools. Still, their mortal agents were often useful, at least in theory. He always did put a good deal of value into conversation with the wise.

Not a single hair of the man's bushy eyebrows went northward at the happening in the road, ancient wards and cantrips flared as they caught debris and a poor sap who had the misfortune to be flung far, he would land cushioned by luck alone. The eruption of mana outwards revealed very little about him, visually little more than an old man advanced in his years. His hairs white and riven from age, though not lacking in luster entirely. In defiance of this appearance sharp violet eyes of incredible, disturbing depth stared out at the commotion; the arrival with a thorough lack of amusement. He'd come to this place with simple intentions, always folk had to complicate matters. Why couldn't people just walk down a street, like normal folk and be inconspicuous? He sighed mentally, young folk always had to do something flashy.

"I reckon it's easier to ask peoples inquiries when you don't assault them in the streets of their homes." Cornelius levied words to the duo in perfectly pronounced Terran plainly, his tone neutral without hint of an accent; an impressive feat considering he'd been here for less than decade. The old man belayed nothing in his features or motions, a practiced and utter neutrality about his airs. 

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PARAGON MAVAJO
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTQ91YNiTqi7jnOC9Lei1UjjnRPMcrbZ6pp9Wy4XTo9_4hpvnpq


From another direction came the third traveling wisp of smoke. Similar to the first two except this one was lighter, almost dark grey and wreathed in crackling lightning. It too followed the earlier streaks of smoke albeit at a farther distance as the traveler had started its journey a bit too late. Paragons had been contacted be Her through the mark and this one has answered Her call.

Finally the streaking wisps of smoke landed a feet behind the Woman and her escort. As the smoke coalesced it reformed into the shape of a tall woman clad in a hoodie, half her face covered by some kind of queer cloth. There was some form of tattoo on the woman'a chest, a brand that gifted to her by the Commander. 

She strode forward then falling in step in the Commander's wake. But their little procession was hindered by this doddering old fool who had the gall to face her commander. Such insolence made the woman snarl underneath that cloth mask.

Growling, she stalked towrds the old fogey, her hands grabbing the front of his shirt. Madness twinkled in her eyes as she lifted the man and brought its face near hers before barking, "Perhaps it would be easier if dirty old men like you don't dawdle in front of ladies like us. Such insolence only desrves death."

Edited by Thotification
Open for Review

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At no point did Cornelius move, nor do more than levy a completely flat stare at the newest of the interlopers. When they gripped at the fabric of his clothing, he allowed it, when the fabric yielded it was because he allowed the fabric to yield. The thrum of weaving mana open and apparent to them if they were not blind to such things. His face held no visage of amusement, indeed, his gaze held little more than irritation of the highest accord. "Threaten me again and it is the end of you." His words were flat, sharp and without humor. Cornelius regarded them with the same malevolence that he gave striking a fly with a paper fan, they rated no higher than that. "You would do well to release me, before I stop restraining myself." No hint of licentiousness was embedded in what he said, every word was an open threat. Mana continued to weave in the air around his form, ancient wards flaring out violently as far less benevolent cantrips began their dance as ancient walls to other darker places began to slip at his will. Unnatural ethereal screeching becoming openly audible to those with the ability to hear or see spirits; their hunger apparent. The old looking man was neither afraid nor amused at their daring to speak down to him as though they had some right. Their touching him was but another crime of their arrogance

Do not touch my paperdolls without permission. :3

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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTQ91YNiTqi7jnOC9Lei1UjjnRPMcrbZ6pp9Wy4XTo9_4hpvnpqPARAGON MAVAJO


The paragon merely smiled. It seems this old man is rushing to his well deserved rest. Will her find it the paragon's hands? Perhaps. Perhaps not. 

Empty threats were nothing to her. In fact she was even more interested on what this old man planned for her. Oh how many people have threatened this paragon with such threats, puffing their chests with pride on some strength they deemed enough to rival hers. Perhaps this old man was truly strong. Perhaps not. But what the woman knows is that this strength cannot compare to what she had faced in her past.

There were many monstrous individuals she had witnessed in her life. Peacekeeper Michael. The Fire King. Grandpa Ankou. Commander Lilith. Even Eredas. Names well known, well feared and well respected. But who is this old man before her? She barely even knew him and yer to boast before the paragon or before Her presence? Such insolence.

The paragon gave one brief glance at Her and the answer naturally came. The paragon was in the wrong for assaulting the old man. Perhaps she had been too hasty. Reparations would need to be made. With a raised brow, the woman dropped the old man letting him deal with his fall. She shrugged and turned her back on the old man, intending to return to Her side. Behind the cloth, her mouth curled into a mischievous grin.

"It seems I wrong old man and for that I appologize. I should not have wasted time on lesser beings way beneath me. Please accept my apologies. That was rather uncouth of me."

There was no hostility in her voice only pity. And perhaps embarrassed at losing her cool. To think she lowered herself to the old man's level. It seems the paragon still has a lot to learn. When dealing with insects.

Edited by Thotification

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Cornelius did not fall, he suspended for a second in the air as though held up by invisible strings. He stepped down lightly instead, nor did he regard their words with anything more than passive disinterest. He restrained laughter when he was duly informed of being 'way beneath them' and shrugged to himself. He had no interest in entertaining lessers, nor any obligation to do so, rather instead the old looking man snapped his fingers, a sound that was far louder than it should have been; which in turn tore a hole in the fabric of reality which he stepped into and promptly vanished, the hole sealing behind him and leaving no trace of him having ever been there. He wasn't going to wave his metaphorical or physical dick around to prove anything to anyone; and as such made his exit before this cabal could grate any further on him, or the ones so inconvenienced by his presence.

Edited by A Most Sovereign Lady

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Having being the only one who sought wisdom from this town of belief and hope, he himself felt hopeful himself as he examined the buildings and found what seemed like the town center. Although he him self was seeking wisdom his mission was to seek and if possible extract the prophet for  'examinations' and to retain unity among the ununified. It was good he wasn't alone as a very small division of soilders sat hidden only 5 miles away next to and air ship called 'Arcit Bow'

"Well then theres the center now wher-" 

He sees the church where its said that this 'prophet' lives "How did I not see that before?" 

"Well then your attention span isint that amazing hmm?" Said an electronical voice in his ear

"You guys would be confused to if you were here, I mean the buildings practicly look identical!

"To you because you gave it but a glance"

Chow didnt want to chat too much, even if there were a low chance of the communication being traced due to the seemingly lack of tech and abundance of magic it had. 

The peace was to be broken as shadows arrived from diffrent sides of the town to trap something..

"Someone found the Prophet before we did" the worst part was he didnt know who they were or even if he could extract the Prophet to bring to the 'Sanctuary' to be 'examined'

He could set up a distraction, probely one that sounded deadly?

"How fast can you call in a drone strike?"

"umm...2 hours unfortunately"

"Well then I'll have to order a motar strike then"  

"That is not advised you'll blow yours and thos-"

He just saw his target just travel through a hole in the air, and amazed by it he pondered how exactly they were going to extract him especially since he had no proper equipment on hand that can do the same

"Well then we'll watch and see if he comes back

Or if those others can do the same"

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Iblis sat on a couch in his private quarters within the church, enjoying a glass of wine as he unwound from the stress of the day. He was currently undisguised, letting the guise of The Prophet slip while in a place that he knew his followers would not enter without permission. Even if they didn't knock first, there was no way that they could have surprised him here, in the heart of his territory. Within the walls of Everrun, he knew all. He had regained a large amount of his former power during the months that he had been posing as the Prophet, and such feats were no longer beyond him. 

Case in point, when Lilith and her followers landed in the city, he instantly knew that they were there, and could feel their intent to find him. Focusing a little more, he could feel another presence focused on him, not far from the city. Interesting. He had no idea what all of these people were doing here, but their presence excited him. Playing the Prophet had been fruitful, but dull. Perhaps it was time to indulge himself with a bit of fun. He focused on the men and women, and with a snap of his fingers, they would find themselves in his chamber. He was currently facing away from them when he spoke to them.

"It's rare that I have such interesting visitors," he drawled, "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

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9787c041d5c8cc5a954b93b01d902fce.jpg

 

Even the pursuit of ultimate power, even embarking on a quest for the binding that would darken the soul and subjugate the will, could not change a person's very base nature. In Vetiver's case, her base nature rejected certain things, certain qualities that most others might find unoffensive, innocuous, or perhaps even pleasing. 

 

Specifically: punctuality. 

 

To be totally fair, Vetiver had a good excuse for her tardiness; she was unable to transform her physical being into smoke, or a black lightning bolt, or a meteor of pure evil hurtling across the landscape, or any of that. Her magic just didn't work that way -- at least, not in the capacity that the price would make such nonsense a good return over investment. 

So instead of flying over the terrain at just under the speed of sound, she rode over the terrain at just under the speed of horse. Much more practical, much more sensible, and much less dramatic. All in all, a large list of benefits.

The downside, of course, was that she was late. The Paragons had -- quite reasonably from their perspective, Vetiver granted -- decided not to handicap themselves by travelling like normal people. It not only could have given the Prophet's people an opportunity to raise a warning, it might also have damaged their street cred. 

By the time Vetiver reined her mount down the town's main thoroughfare, however, the place was empty. Had it not been for the smoking, dark-edged craters in the middle of the road, Vetiver might have fooled herself into thinking she was somehow early. Or, more likely, in the wrong village altogether. 

The lack of ancillary destruction heartened the young woman; maybe they had found the information they sought without having to resort to unnecessary levels of violence. Just because one desired power above all else didn't require that one enjoyed driving their enemies before them and hearing the lamentations of their women -- that sort of thing always struck Vetiver as rather... barbaric. 

An older gentleman, near to one of the small craters, was climbing to his feet, his robes dusty and his eyes wide. He caught sight of Vetiver and looked quickly over his shoulder, searching for a path along which he could safely (or even semi-safely) flee. 

"Oh, no, no, sir! It's ok!" Vetiver called out to him, waving cheerfully. "Not going to hurt you! Promise!"

The old man looked skeptical, but he didn't run as Vetiver walked her horse towards him. It helped that Vetiver, short and slight and delicate, was exactly the opposite of intimidating. 

"I'm just hoping you can tell me if you saw two dangerous, haughty women around here. What am I saying? Of course you did. I'm sorry, that was an awfully silly question and not even really the one I need an answer for anyway. Do you know where they went? It's so hard to keep track of them with the Sight. It's almost impossible. Maybe it's just me."

The robed elder looked at Vetiver critically, his demeanor akin to that of a squirrel surprised just a little too far from a tree. "No," he said finally, his speech slow and careful, his gaze wary. "They accosted me, then vanished."

"Vanished? Like, into thin air vanished? Oh dear. Oh dear oh goodness." Vetiver furrowed her brow and pursed her lips. She didn't know what that meant, and didn't know whether she should risk alerting either the cult's operatives or the Prophet to her presence by trying to look at the Threads. She didn't know if the Prophet could sense such things, but, well, they DID call him a Prophet, which was more than anyone ever called Vetiver, and Vetiver could certainly tell when someone was trying to trace fate paths nearby. Not that it happened often, which, she supposed, could mean she wasn't very good at it after all. 

The dark-haired girl forcibly restrained her brain from delving into that particular rabbit hole; she still had work to do. Vetiver's mission required her to locate one or more people in a position of authority within the Cult of Power, and then convince them to let her in. Her Sight had led her this far, and "giving up" was another one of those things her base nature rejected. Vanished or not, she was going to find them. 

Which left her with her only lead: the man called the Prophet. They were trying to find him, so, sooner or later, they'd be where he was. Vetiver just had to get there, preferably first.

Maybe this guy could help.

Smiling brightly, Vetiver addressed the old man. "I'm so sorry about that, sir, I really am. Look, I have to get in touch with the person they call the Prophet, I have information he needs to know and it may already be too late. Do you know where he is? It's very important that I find him."

The friendliness of Vetiver's voice must have been convincing enough for the old man. "I really don't know for sure, but you best start with the church, over yonder." The man pointed, and Vetiver could see the steeple of the building in question rising above the rest of the houses.

Well, obviously. The church. Vetiver refrained from smacking herself in the forehead. Of course the church!

"Thank you sir!" Vetiver kicked her horse into a trot.

Her blue eyes paled slightly, and, almost as an afterthought, she called back to him over her shoulder.

"You should really see a doctor about your stool color, it actually is kind of serious!"

Edited by Veloci-Rapture
Continuity problems, corrected!

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The Servant in her hands trembled. He was so obviously nervous, in fact, that the Commander was not only gripping his collar but was also the only thing preventing him from collapsing to the ground. Although she didn't have the ability to read his mind, it didn't take a genius to see the old man had frozen. Rather than responding to her commands, he was much more likely to piss his pants. Unfortunately the Prophet's Servants didn't quite measure up under pressure. She sighed and released the old man much as one might to a bag of garbage. What little information she'd originally obtained about Everrun was, apparently, incorrect. The Servants were nothing like her Paragons. If the Prophet himself turned out to be the same type of fodder as his Servants, well, she wasn't sure Everrun could handle that level of anger from her. 

The squabble between Mavago and the old necromancer wasn't quite helping her mood either. When the Paragon looked at her for direction, the Commander just stared back with a slight frown as if to say "Remember who you are and what you represent. Mind your position." Right after was the first of apparently many showings of teleportation that evening. 

Instead of continuing on, annoyed, she flared her aura. Just once. But if the Prophet had any level of really ability, one flare of such enormous strength would be easily spotted. Especially when confronted with energy as inherently threatening as hers. After all, if she find him, she'd make sure he would find her. And then the pressure vanished, leaving the Commander appearing to be nothing but a vaguely bored looking passerby. Except for the small tendrils of dominance that continued to leak from her body despite her attempt to stopper it. Mastering the simultaneous usage of her three weapons was proving to be slightly more difficult than she'd imagined. 

Then it happened. A thin swirl of magic or energy, it could've been either, reached out to envelop them. It may have appeared to be invisible or beyond stopping to most, but the Commander saw everything. Her red eyes empowered from arcane sight easily traced the magic trails that desired to take them. And she let it. Teleportation magic of this level was rarely seen in Valucre: mainly left to be the play thing of territory masters. And, apparently, powerful old necromancers.

As the magic took hold of her, Venus, and Mavago , the Commander threw them a rare grin. "Guess there is some power in this little town."

That smile, however, was quick to vanish after the magic released them into the new surroundings, some sort of room. Not only was the Prophet's back turned to her, but his first words were asking a question of her. As if he were in charge of the situation. That was a dynamic he would soon realize was grossly inaccurate. 

"It's rare that I have such interesting visitors," he drawled, "To what do I owe the pleasure?" [The Prophet]

In her usual detached mannerism, the Commander simply stood there for a beat. Looking at the Prophet and cocking her head slightly before shifting her gaze to take in the room itself. It had a certain atmosphere she found quite unusual for a man is proclaimed a Prophet. Finally the Commander's red eyes settled back on to Iblis and the corner of her lips lifted upward, if only in milometers. She grabbed a nearby chair and set it where she'd previously stood, casually sitting on it to face the man. 

"There's this gorgeous city I visited once. It sits right there on the edge of Timber Creek," she said, her words taking on a particularly enchanted tone, "seeming to be forever bound by the ancient whisperings of their ancestors. As a people who were born and raised on a need for survival, they have this competition every year. It doesn't have a name, not really. I'm told, however, that the natives like to refer to it as Bone Season. Each tribe in the city pick there weakest member and send them off to fight against the other weaker members. It's quite fascinating, really. How even the weakest of men can claw their way to power." A pause. The Commander placed her right hand, the one within Zengi's gauntlet on her lap, tapping her finger ever so gently onto her knee. "They're all dead now," she said abruptly, not bothering to lead into it. "Do you know how an entire city filled with men and women whose sole purpose in life was to obtain power all found themselves at the bottom of their beloved creek?" Another pause. Another tap. Her eyes still trained to the Prophet's very own if he eventually turned around. It didn't matter though - the question was rhetorical. "They tried to 'civilize' themselves. Ended up killing each other." The Commander sighed. "I guess that's what happens when you try to fight something beyond your station in life." 

Her last sentence was soaked in potential violence, an obvious warning for the Prophet to obey. He had the same option everyone else had before her. Obey or perish. 

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Iblis was no stranger to people trying to threaten him, and though it never really fazed him, it was always a good way to learn a bit more about a person. The weakest ones were most often the ones who made overt threats of violence, broke things in his dwellings, and threatened bodily harm to his followers. He usually indulged such morons only briefly before putting them out of his misery, and that of the world at large. Now the ones who actually had power were far more subtle; preferring to imply their violent intent rather than outright state it. Lilith was one of the latter, and her power was quite obvious; earning her more respect then most people he encountered. It was still unclear what she wanted, but he would continue to play along for a while longer at least.

"Ah yes, Timber creek. You know, they didn't always have the ritual you spoke of. For the longest time they were simple hunter/gatherers, struggling to stretch their meager resources to meet the needs of a population that had swollen into unsustainability. But I wonder... do you know who it was who gave them the idea for Bone Season?"

The Djinn got up and walked over to a small table, upon which sat a pair of glasses and a clear bottle of amber liquid. He languidly poured some of the alcohol into each glass before sliding one towards Lilith. Instead of tumbling off the table, the drink floated through the air to float in front of her. Iblis took a sip of his own cup before fixing his guest with a smile.

"But we're getting away from the topic at hand; the question of why a Lunar daughter has gone to the trouble of seeking me out for."

Edited by danzilla3

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Lilith's eyes narrowed for a split second at the man's words, her hand reaching out to snatch the drink from where it hovered. Though she held it steadily within her hand, it never once tipped over into her mouth. Regardless of the fact that Lunar Daughters had no need to eat or drink, Lilith was loathe to willingly allow poison into her system. Instead she let her hand and drink gently drop to rest on her lap. The Prophet's play off her story was... amusing. In a mortal kind of way.

"But we're getting away from the topic at hand; the question of why a Lunar daughter has gone to the trouble of seeking me out for." [Ilbis]

Her brows twitched upward, almost as if in surprise. Centuries could have passed by without so much as a whisper of the Lunar Daughter and, yet, there was a man specifically mentioning them. Without fear, even. In her travels only a few had the bravery to do so, most of which being Terrenus Peacekeepers. Lilith faintly tapped the corner of her glass; the amber liquid rippling ever so slightly. 

"Some things are better left unspoken, Prophet," she answered darkly. A wave of her hand brought Venus out of the room's corner and into the spotlight. The dark-haired assassin walked over to the Prophet, cautious throughout, before finally reaching out to hand him an old scroll. Once Ilbis unraveled the roll of parchment to see the description within, she spoke again. "You're going to summon that for me."

It wasn't a request.

 

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Iblis looked over the scroll to find that they contained the names of a woman, and an old text on the subject of necromancy. Of course, he knew that the witch had been dead for a long time, and that the book had been written by one of the most powerful necromancers on the planet. Neither could be attained through conventional means, at least not without a great deal of difficulty; explaining why Lilith had come to him. The Lunar Daughter was proving to be more interesting than he had thought, but that didn't mean that he would simply give her what she wanted. The djinn drained his glass and smiled at the necromancer.

"If you know who I am, then you know that I don't work for free. If you want a wish granted, you have to pay the price."

The djinn stepped a bit closer to Lilith, "So what are you prepared to give to accomplish your aim?"

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Vetiver hitched her horse to a post in front of the church and dismounted, pushing down her nervousness at the task ahead of her. Now that she was closer, she could feel them; the threads of fate warped and distorted around these Cultists, like fish passing a whirlpool. They had to be inside.

She wished, for a moment, that she really had ended up in the wrong village. 

Taking a deep breath, she pulled herself up to her full five-foot-five-inch height and walked up to the large doors. They opened at her touch, and she stepped past the threshhold into the antechamber.

"Hello?" she called out. The place was empty, and her voice echoed back to her off the hard surfaces. 

Vetiver strode forward, her lips set in a determined line. The clicking of her boots on the stone floor proceeded her to the altar, then bounced off it and sped past her again, out into the freedom of the air. 

"I know you're here!" she called out again. "I mean no harm!"

She ascended the steps onto the rostrum and rested a hand on the lectern. There had to be another room here somewhere. Maybe up? But why would a prophet want to live in a bell tower? With a bell? Wouldn't that distract him from his prophesying? And bats, bats live in bell towers. They carry diseases. No, nobody would be in the bell tower. Nobody with a lick of sense, anyway. 

There were a couple of doors off the main chamber. None of them were obviously correct; they didn't have signs that said "Prophet's Office", or even "Staff Only!". They were just normal wooden doors. Vetiver looked back and forth between them, trying to decide which one she wanted to open first. It was so hard to make decisions, what with the knowledge that every action could spin off into a thousand different possible outcomes, any one of which could lead to another set of outcomes, which could ultimately lead to her utter failure. And it may all hinge on this single, simple choice: door one, or door two.

Once you started peeking at the Threads, you started to become a bit dependent on them. 

"This is ridiculous!" she snapped, stomping her foot in frustration. In an almost unconscious motion, her hand dipped into her pocket, pulling out a small rabbit's foot attached to a fine gold chain. She began swinging it slowly, back and forth, with the same kind of attention one might pay to a squishy stress ball during an extended business meeting. Her pupils dilated, and some of the pigment in her iris began to drain away, turning her normally deep blue eyes into pale chips of ice. 

The physical world also lost much of its color as her Sight overlayed the seen with the unseen. Different Seers would see that underworld in different ways; to Vetiver it was as if she were standing in a spider's web, if spiders were the size of a small star. Lines of energy criss-crossed around her, forming patterns both delicate and massive; some were barely the thickness of one of her hairs, while others, the true Fate lines, were the size of suspension bridge cables. Some glowed faintly, while others were almost blinding in their brilliance and still others were lifeless, dull and dead, waiting for their maker to come along and cull them completely from the grand design. It would have been overwhelming and utterly indecipherable to a normal person, but Vetiver had been studying the comings and goings of fate, chaos, and destiny since she was a small child. 

Her eyes scanned the Web, hunting for the cluster of Threads she needed. To an outside observer, she would seem lost, confused, looking around with a thousand-yard-stare like a loony on furlough from the insane asylum, her rabbit's foot swinging slowly at her side. Then she slowly began to walk. 

The physical world was only a shadow to her now; she trusted the braiding of Threads she'd found like most people trust their eyes, or maybe their lungs. She descended from the rostrum and paced carefully towards one of the doors. The swinging chain in her hand picked up speed and started making a full circle. The foundation of the old building settled a little, and a small draft pushed through the room at the exact same time, causing the door to slowly creak open as she approached it. Vetiver followed the thread around a corner, down a hallway, around another corner, and then to the very end of the corridor, where her nose bumped into a larger, more ornate wooden door.

The thump on the nose startled her; she gasped and her eyes cleared instantly. The rabbit's foot stopped swinging. The physical world snapped back into focus. The door stayed solidly closed. 

Some powers were bigger simple probability. 

"Humph."

Vetiver put her rabbit's foot back into her pocket, and pounded on the door.

"Excuse me! I know you're in there! I've been looking all over for you!"

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There it was. Another question. See, that was exactly why Lilith despised Djinns in general. Always with the questions. With the trades, claiming moral ambiguous but never truly reaching that point of absolution. She tilted her head, eyes squinting slightly at the creature in a moment of silence. 

"Life," she answered after a brief pause. "Soon a fire will ravage this city, burning it to the very ashes it started in. The lost lives will converge into this," a red gem stone flashed the flickering light of the surrounding candlesticks, "and, if the items on the list are delivered as requested, it will be traded to you." Losing the life essence that would be gained in the burning of Everrun was an unfortunate loss for Lilith but whatever benefit the lives could give her, it would pale in comparison to the summoned Grimoire. Buried, if not completely destroyed, hundreds of thousands of years ago, the Supreme Witch's Grimoire still sent shivers down the spines of Valucre's strongest. It's potential was boundless.

Theoretically Lilith could summon it herself with enough life essence, but the alien nature of her Lunar Daughter heritage would potentially disrupt the summoning. It was not an error she was willing to risk, not when so much power was within her grasp. 

In the silence after her offer though Lilith continued to train her eyes on Ilbis, a part of her consciousness had expanded outward after noticing an approaching presence. The corner of her lips curved upward into a faint smile. Then the small but hardy knock came. Disrupting the silence which had encased the room like veil. 

"Excuse me! I know you're in there! I've been looking all over for you!" [Vetiver]

In the corner, Venus drew her blades but immediately sheathed them after Lilith shot her an annoyed glance. She then shifted that look to Ilbis, annoyance still apparent in her eyes. "Looks as if you have a visitor, Djinn," she said, words poisoned with a frosty edge. Her meaning was obvious. He needed to handle it. Or she would, and he wouldn't like it. 

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