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 Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]

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Alexander "Gormadin" Fare

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PostSubject: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:14 am

Making his way up the stairs of the inn, Alex cast a look over his shoulder to ensure no-one was following too close behind him. Seeing a heavy set inebriated man starting to make his way up the stairs with a giggling local girl snugly tucked against him in the nook of his arm, Alex placed his forearm against the wall and placed his forehead there, affecting a drunken slump and waited for the couple to pass. At the sound of a dirty chuckle and more giggling followed by the slam of a door, Alex looked around once again. Not that he suspected the eager couple, but he was suspicious by nature and was not willing to enter his room observed for the sake of a few moments wait.

Happy that there was no-one about, Alex made his way to his room and quickly making his way inside. Shutting the door behind him and quickly turning the key in the lock, hearing it click he let out a relieved sigh. Turning his back on the door he leaned gently against it. He had forgotten how busy cities could be, he was thankful for the rum that had been available, with it to fortify his nerves he had managed to weather the close proximity of so many people. He knew if he could stand it a couple of days, he would acclimatise, but the idea of so many people he did not know, so close, made the hairs on his neck stand on end. How people lived their lives so vulnerable every day without paying it any heed, he did not know, but that was a thought to ponder another time.

Confidant that none of his alarms had been triggered, Alex did a casual inspection of his belongings. Opening his chest which contained his trade goods, he carefully counted everything out and then back in again, leaving only his tinderbox. Carefully taking it and lighting a candle on the desk, he replaced the tinderbox back in the chest and locked it once again. Turning to the nearby window he drew the wooden shutters closed. Alex returned to his bed and withdrew the backpack secreted underneath and gently placed it on top. Not the best of hiding spots he knew, but he hoped should anyone enter his room, they would be distracted long enough by the chest before looking elsewhere. Removing the slender metal rod from his pack, he walked back to the door and placed the flat end against the centre. Pushing the smooth button on the end, he released his grip. Watching it for a moment to ensure that it remained transfixed, he then turned back to his pack on the bed. In the darkness, he put one hand into his bag and reached beneath the blanket and clothes packed on top to confirm the presence of the book placed underneath. Pleased that it was still there, he ran his fingers along its rough reassuringly familiar surface, before withdrawing it and a scroll case from his bag and placing them on the nearby desk.

Alex sat down at the desk and blew out his cheeks as he let out a long sigh, staring at the book in the light of the candle for a few long moments. Its old beaten surface betraying no evidence of its content as its sun bleached surface giving only the barest of hints of lines where words once were. Of course after managing to decipher some of its contents he knew that only a few would have been able to read it anyway. He thought on the times which the contents of the book had helped him over the course of the years, and his patron Selket, who had taught him the path. Still unsure as to its exact motives, he did not care as long as it allowed him to pursue his goals.

Withdrawing his writing equipment from the pouch at his hip, he laid them down in front of him before retrieving a blank sheet of parchment from his scroll case. As he had been taught, Alex began to draw the design of lines and smooth corners to spread from edge to edge of the page. Recalling the various symbols he incorporated his intent of questions, conflict and the gods into the design. The method of contact was never detailed, but Selket was unlikely to respond should there be no other detail than a general summons, and there was no way of being specific either. Looking down at the apparent scrawl of lines and symbols, they hinted at the abyssal language, where he had originally made his first inroads to deciphering the contents of the ancient book. He did not believe that Selket was Abyssal in nature, but whoever wrote this book had at least used it with his communications with it, and so far had been the only reliable method of contact.

Laying down his quill on the desk, he gently sprinkled some sand across the page to remove excess ink. Standing he opened the window a crack, before taking the candle and parchment up in hand and holding the flame below the page.

As the flames touched the ink, a thick black smoke trickled from the page. It lazily rose in the air as it was fed by the page being consumed, then as if by an unnatural breeze the flames on the parchment burst into life, quickly consuming it, whilst the thick black smoke moved snakelike towards the opening in the window and wound its way outside before catching a passing gust and being scattered into the night air.

Shutting the window and shutters once more, he sat down at the desk and quietly pondered if Selket would know anything about what is going on.
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Hephaestus

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:12 pm

The moments tick by in silence. At first, naught but the wind against the closed shutters and the low din of the revelers downstairs pierce the veil of thick, expectant patience exhibited by the man. The candle flickers delicately on it's waxen stage, dancing to some unheard rhythm as it casts haunting shadows about the room. The moments tick by in silence.

The flickering flame of the candle would draw Alexander's attention as even the revelry downstairs begins to preternaturally quieten, its dancing begging for the man's undivided attention. The shadows, too, grow in excited ecstasy as the flame conducts their unfettered dancing. Soon, nothing but the dancing flame, the positively cavorting shadows, and the persistent wind outside fill the man's senses. The shutters creak and moan as if a storm outside were begging to be let in, and the shadows gleefully begin to audibly chatter their excitement. As the otherworldly chorus begins to crescendo, the flame dances so much as to threaten to ignite the table upon which it rests.

With a sudden blast of cool, fresh night air, the shutters slam open, then all at once the candle extinguishes and the shadows instantaneously sublimate into the darkness that now fills the room. Only by the star-lit sky can Alexander make out the wisps of smoke rising from the candle, thicker and heavier than the small flame could ever warrant.

They hang in the air before him, waiting almost expectantly for the man to speak.
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Alexander "Gormadin" Fare

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:43 am

Accustomed to the chill that came with his patrons arrival, Alex nonetheless felt goosebumps rising on his arms. The knowledge that Selket would still answer his beckons reassured Alex. Never entirely sure of its reasons for patronage, he was never certain if anything he was doing would cause displeasure and make for the being to revoke its protection.

Smiling slightly and bowing his head in greeting, Alex welcomed the apparition merely by saying his name "Selket". It had never shown any inclination towards pleasantries before, and Alex had learned long ago to do away with excessive chatter. Raising his head again, he gazed into the looming darkness floating before him.

"Poseidon has gone missing, and a foreign king replaced with a demon. Can you tell me of any connection? Is there something going on in the Pantheon I should know about?" he paused briefly before adding "Or I can assist you with?"

He never knew how much to say, Selket appreciated him being succinct, but to be overly vague as to his reasons for contact could equally be cause for disapproval. Given the languages which Selket understood, it was not a far reach to wonder if it had some knowledge of the Kings replacement. But if this was a situation in which it was involved, Alex was never one to not try and turn a situation to his advantage. His patron had proved before that its favour carried its own benefits.
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Hephaestus

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:29 am

The wind outside carried with it the hushed tones of a thousand whispering voices. They spoke in an unholy mixture of the Common and Abyssal tongues.

"You call upon me for this, o' child of mine?" A giggle as if from a small boy echoes in the room. "If the King has been replaced in the same way his son, the Prince, had been, what would you do? Do you wish to get involved in the struggles of two nations not your own?"

Or does the child wish for more power? Perhaps he thinks if he slays one of Them... the shadows chitter to the wind. The thick smoke curls curiously a moment, drifting idly from the desk toward the bed. It hovers and in the darkness, through the wisps, Alexander could make out the profile of something humanoid settling onto the bed, which shifts and sinks a little.

"The gods vie much as you children do." The wind finally responds, this time in the tone of a small girl and the tongue of daemons. "Constantly arguing and in-fighting. Conflict never dies upon the Mount, despite their unification. As it has been for millennia, and as it will be for many more." The tone deepens to that of an elderly, tired man. "I've no interest in getting involved in their petty squabbles."

Selket was awefully chatty tonight, it would seem. The unfettered nature of the entity allowed it a certain level of mercurial capriciousness.
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Alexander "Gormadin" Fare

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:47 am

Following the form around the room, Alex bows his head in acknowledgement. Adjusting his own restrictions for chatter, he replied in in kind, switching smoothly over to abyssal "I wish for only two things. The reestablishment of my house and the accumulation of power to defend what is mine. The first is something that needs to be achieved by myself. The other is gained through your generosity and favour. There is little I would not do to further these causes. Yet, they also need not be discrete. I would indeed be willing to use my endeavours to aid you further, just as your gifts I use to aid my own personal standings. Would I implement myself into these struggles? If it advanced either of my goals, then most certainly."

Making a deep bow from his seated position, Alex considered briefly its final comment. So it did have some connection to the beings at play, but considered itself above them, his faith in it was well placed then.

Returning to common tongue Alex inquired, "I have a request, if I may? Could you guide me onto the right path for integrating myself into this situation? If I am to reestablish my house, I will need to ingratiate myself with the other noble houses."
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Hephaestus

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:14 am

"Mmmmm... well... from what I hear, the king and the noble families are to have a forum upon the morrow under the noon-day sun." An old woman answers cryptically. "Surely there will be something to satisfy your inquisitive investigations, no?"
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Alexander "Gormadin" Fare

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:23 am

Alex gives the apparition a wan smile. "You do not know what is happening amongst those beings greater than myself, but are well informed as to the activities of this city. Dare I venture as to ask why you would need to keep things from me?"

He fought to keep the disappointment from his demeanor. If his master knew of what was happening here in the city but had "no interest in getting involved in their petty squabbles", there was something amiss about this distinction. Why would he know about a forum happening in a city on this plane, but not ones closer related to wherever it came from?

Switching back to abyssal once again in the hopes of being more favourable, "I was meaning to attend the forum as a matter of course. Is there nothing more you can tell me to at least look for?"
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Hephaestus

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:38 am

The only response to his questions is the giddy laughter of a young woman, rich and sultry.

"You mortals are so much more fun..." she teases, wisps of smoke curling around Alexander's face in a faux representation of a gentle caress. "Why spoil it?" The candle upon the desk would begin to flicker back to life, the flame burning for a moment before extinguishing again.

"My sweet Gormadin. I hope my investment in you was not misplaced. I'm counting on you, my hero." He would feel a light pressure on his cheek, the voice but a small whisper in his ear as the candle flickers back to life. As the light fills the room once more, Selket's parting words drift lazily to Alexander's ears. "Go to the forum. There, you will find your way to your path."
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Alexander "Gormadin" Fare

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke Signals [D1,Night,Private]   Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:57 am

Slumping down into his chair, Alex let out a long sigh. His mind rerunning their conversation in loop, trying to wrestle any bits of information from each word. Pulling himself to his feet, he carefully spread open the ancient book on the desk. He slid his fingertips reverently down the page, tracing the spell hidden between the abyssal scrawl. Picking up the book with one hand and keeping the start of the spells location with the other, he moved over to the door. Fixing the origin with his eyes, he removed his hand from the book to retrieve the small blue gemstone he used for a focus from the pouch in his shirt and placed it upon the hard wooden frame. Following the archaic pattern hidden on the page, Alex recited the spell that would emit a silent alarm him should anything touch or attempt entry through the door. Satisfied with the doorway, he turned around and approached the window to repeat the ritual.

It was a nightly routine which he always followed. Discipline and self preservation always a keen motivator for himself. He believed that there were still people out there looking for him, and all it would take is for him to be lax, possibly just once, for them to catch him.

Replacing the book within his backpack, he slid it once again under his cot. Reclining on top of the covers, Alex stared at the ceiling watching the shadow cast from the candle flicker in the gloom.

There, you will find your way to your path

Did Selket mean that in a literal sense or metaphorically? Its whimsical nature could imply either or both. He would have to be open to all possibilities tomorrow.

I'm counting on you, my hero.

A Hero. Not a role he ever considered himself apt for, but again possibly hinting at the role it wished him to take tomorrow? Did it think there might be trouble at the forum?

Blowing out his cheeks he rolled his head over to stare at the flickering light. Alex continued to lay, staring at the flame, trying to divine the possible events of the day upcoming. Long after the candle guttered down and winked out of existance, he still stared into the darkness, wondering what he was getting into, so soon after finally making his return.
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