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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Sat May 26, 2018 12:33 am 
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"Well, that's rather peculiar..." Felix says. "Wish we had eyes on the scene, but that's a tall order for me at the moment."

If no one has any interjections or speculations they'd like to submit, Felix will head back to work after recording that bit of audio to his personal rig and making a note to look into it properly once he has the opportunity.

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Sat May 26, 2018 6:40 am 
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Roger will be doing the best he can to cobble together Elene PRISM if anyone needs him. No big deal. (And the translation program as well, since they kind of go hand in hand)

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 9:37 am 
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After Arkady hears that recording he'll go play it for Zalasbra. "I might guess his visitor knew about our ear in that room. Is there anything you might intuit from the voice, the pen, the words in Styric, or anything else?"

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 1:42 pm 
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Zalasbra listens very politely through the whole recording.

"The Styric words are a minor spell of fire," he explains. "I imagine that the speaker is burning the paper on which he had just written... the voices sound odd, distorted. I do not believe it is possible to recognise the speakers."

He ponders the matter for a little longer, then adds "There is nothing further that occurs to me; though the idea that the Primate has an ally capable of magic, either a Styric or a Zemoch, is clearly a matter for concern."

Zalasbra: Deception: +5 Roll: -1 Total: +4
Arkady: Empathy: +5 Roll: +0 Total:+5

There's something more that Zalasbra could say. Whatever it is, he's deliberately not saying it.

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 5:56 am 
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Arkady contemplates Zalasbra for a second. "The first voice is the primate. He knows how to work magic himself, so I am guessing that someone is teaching him how. Now am I understanding you correctly that summoning demons doesn't count as magic? We already knew that someone who does that is in his circle somewhere."

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 7:47 am 
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"Summoning demons is magic," says Zalasbra, "but of a particularly risky variety; an incautious summoner is often killed by the very being he thought to compel. This suggests - I assume this is recent? If it is recent, it suggests either that the summoner survived, or that this speaker was not the original summoner. And that the Primate's teacher in magic is a current concern, not merely someone he had met and discarded however long ago." Zalasbra shrugs. "The only part of which could be at all considered in any way unexpected is the hint that the summoner may have survived that magic - a mage powerful enough to both summon a demon and survive the experience is a particularly dangerous foe."

Zalasbra: Deception: +5 Roll: +0 Total: +5
Arkady: Empathy: +5 Roll: +1 Total:+6

Zalasbra continues not to say whatever he is not saying, trying to steer the conversation away from - something.

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 8:21 pm 
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Arkady decides to let that lie; it's not like he's running out to explain nuclear fission to Zalasbra.

"Very well. Let us be saying that there is nothing else to be gained from that recording. There is something else I want to ask." He orders his thoughts for a second, then goes on: "When I saw the crystal preserving the Queen, I had a vision of the casting of the spell. So I am being somewhat sensitive to magic." Another second. "Then when we were in the trial of the Pandions in the capital, I was the one who spotted the Primate casting a spell; I happened to remember that moving your hands seems to be part of it, and his were the only hands hidden. I was lucky."

"Obviously, none of us understand magic; and that is being particularly dangerous to me if I am sensitive to it. So what I want from you is to be taught to understand magic. Not how to be using it, we are both too busy for that. Just to understand what it is, the bare bones basics of how it is manipulated, and how to protect myself from letting the wrong things get too close to my mind."

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Thu May 31, 2018 1:50 am 
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"The actual manipulation of magic," says Zalasbra, "I am... not yet willing to teach you. But some few words about the recognition of magic in others - that would perhaps not be out of line. Very well, then. Attend closely."

"Magic is of various types, various specialities. To learn it takes time and effort - significant time and significant effort, you understand. This Primate, he is, what, forty years old? Had he dedicated his life from his youngest days entirely to the study of Magic, and had he had both small luck and decent talent, he might by now be considered a promising beginner. Instead, he has chosen to pursue politics, to become a Churchman; these take time, you understand. Therefore, unless he is significantly older then he appears, he is most certainly no more than a minor dabbler on the shores of the magical - little more than a toddler in power and ability. Probably unable to manage more than a few basic cantrips, and for those he must still gesture, and probably speak.

"The gestures, and the words, both are - helpful. They are - not exactly vital to the working of a proper spell. A Mage worthy of the name of a Mage can complete any simple spell without gesture, without word, with no more than thought and will. You tell me that you are sensitive. It is not unknown to be sensitive to Magic - this means that you will likely notice any spell cast in your vicinity, unless it is specifically hidden from you in particular. The Primate will need to speak or gesture to cast. His ally, the one whose voice you heard, may very well not require that crutch.

"At the same time, Magic may be divided into the simple spells, or the complex. The most simple - spells that cause a single change to the world around them, which persists only as long as the spell does - are the likely limit of a dabbler like the Primate. The most dangerous are spells which summon and bind - especially spells which summon and bind something dangerous and powerful, such as a Demon. Mainly because Demons do not wish to be bound, as a rule. To merely summon a demon is - not easy, but straightforward. To summon a Demon and survive the experience - that is the sign of a truly dangerous Power.

"At that point, I cannot tell you what to expect from such a Power; he will be able to cast without word or gesture, certainly. He will be able to cloud the minds of men so that they do not remember him with clarity, he will be able to command the weak-minded such that they cannot disobey; he will undeniably be able to greatly slow his own aging, and will be able to change his appearance at will. He will be protected by strange and subtle magics - he may be able to transfer injuries onto the one who inflicted them, or to turn his skin hard as steel. It may even be that he is one of the gods in mortal form, in which case I believe that nothing short of the Blue Rose itself will be able to harm him directly."

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:52 pm 
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Arkady takes notes on his pad as Zalazbra talks. He also records it to check later. When Zalasbra finishes, Arkady considers what he's heard, then says: "The primate cast the spell I witnessed without speaking. Now I am remembering you accusing me of raising more questions than I answered. Since you have returned the favor, let me be trying this in order. Would giving an injury back be an effort of will, or could it be done automatically? Does hard as steel literally mean that? If we have a weapon that can destroy a block of steel as thick as me, would the power be damaged by it? Next, what is the Blue Rose? And finally, as I was asking earlier, what is magic? What kind of power is being manipulated?"

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:14 am 
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"Returning an injury would - normally - be an effort of will. It can be done automatically, but such is only likely if the mage expects to be taken by surprise within that day, and cannot be maintained indefinitely. Hard as steel could be literal - or the Mage could continually, at the cost of more effort, repeat the spell to make his skin harder yet. The... effort involved in increasing hardness becomes greater the harder he makes his skin, so it will be rare indeed for a mage to make his skin harder than it needs to be to turn aside swords, even if he can - and there are very few who can even make the attempt. It would be beyond the capabilities of either myself or Lady Sephrenia - this is theoretical only, you understand, and I am considering a worst-case scenario. A weapon capable of destroying a block of steel as thick as you is almost certainly capable of destroying even this worst-case mage - if you take him by surprise. If he takes you by surprise, you may find this weapon turned against you.

"The Blue Rose is a magical artifact, known through myth, legend, and history. In the most summary form, it is the most powerful magical artifact known to history, and is reputed to have to power to unmake the very gods themselves. It is also very well known to have been missing for the last five hundred years, despite many attempts to track it down." Zalasbra smiles slightly. "You are more than welcome to attempt to find it, if you so wish. However, legend has it that if you touch it without the proper preparations - which consists of finding and wearing two certain rings, known to act as the keys to its power - then it will immediately unmake the one so uncautious as to lay his hand upon it."

He stops smiling in order to take on a more serious expression. "As to the nature and origin of magic, there I will not answer you, at least not yet - that delves too deeply into Secrets that I am not certain you are as of yet ready to know."

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:10 pm 
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Arkady nods. "So the folks who seek to destroy Piper and her kin are looking for The Blue Rose? They may not have much luck if the divine wants it to remain hidden for their own sake. As for me, my wife would never be forgiving me if I got myself unmade; so I suppose I will be leaving blue roses reeking of power alone."

Then he shrugs. "Both of us know things we are not wanting to discuss, Zalasbra; and both of us know it. I am hoping it does not get in the way of something vital, but for now 'it is what it is".

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:58 am 
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Zalasbra ignores the comment about Piper entirely.

"Legend would have it that the Blue Rose cannot be found until is is destined to be found. Legend is, unfortunately, very silent on the question of when it is destined to be found," volunteers Zalasbra; before excusing himself on the grounds that he is an elderly man and needs his rest (a transparent but polite falsehood).

--------------

Piper continues to provide legends, stories, and other background of lore to the Terrans in exchange for hugs, kisses, and the occasional ice cream. Most of it can safely be filed under Generic Myths, but after a couple of days one of her legends turns to the subject of the Blue Rose...

"In the misty, distant days of long ago, while you and your people slept through your great journey between the stars, not long after the dethroning of the Elder Gods of Styricum, there lived a Troll, and Ghwerek was his name. And legend has it that he was injured in some great battle, an injury that would never heal, but that left him weak, half-lame, and an object of ridicule among trolls. And that the other trolls ejected him from their number, and left him to his own.

"And Ghwerek's heart was as black and empty as his legs were crippled, and he sought to fill the emptiness in his life with wealth instead, and created a vault, which he filled with gems and jewels the like of which no man living has ever seen; and he dug, and mined, and worked tirelessly to increase his wealth and fill his coffers; but never was he satisfied.

"One day, digging deeper than ever before, he found a sapphire, a sapphire bigger than anything he had ever seen before. One glimpse, and he knew that this jewel's value alone would more than eclipse that of his entire collection; so patiently, patiently he chipped the rock away from it, and extracted the jewel. But then he saw its shape, and he saw a way to improve its value a hundred times more yet; without hesitation, he smashed a diamond enough to purchase a kingdom, and use the diamond to fashion a pair of chisels; and with these chisels, he chipped and tapped delicately at the sapphire, and over the course of a century, carved it into the shape of a rose bud, barely opening.

"And though he was a brilliant jeweller, Ghwerek was still a troll, and thus he called it merely 'Blue Rose'. And into this rose he called the powers of the Troll-gods, offering it to them as a home and a refuge in which they could hide from the gods of the Elene and Styric peoples; and so the Troll-gods hid themselves within the Rose, leaving their power there; and Ghwerek sought to use this power to his benefit. But the Rose did not yield to him the powers of the Troll-gods, and Ghwerek raged in anger. But when he had calmed down, he made offerings to the Troll-gods and sought their counsel, and the offerings that he made pleased the Troll-gods, and so they advised him.

"They told him how, if anyone who held the Rose could use its power, then it could be stolen and used against him, and how to create keys, that would unlock the power of the Rose. At their advice, therefore, he took from the dust and detritus left from his carving of the Rose two sapphires, and made them into rings; and then he wore these rings, and took up the Blue Rose, and its power answered to him; the blue colour of the Rings fled into the Blue Rose on their first use, and they appeared to be no more than diamond rings. And he took up the Rose, and he used it to seal the entrances to his cave, that none at all may enter save at his leave. But he left a single entrance unsealed, thinking it too small for any who might seek entry..."

"Now, how many kisses do you think that legend was worth?"

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:14 pm 
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Arkady contemplates that for a second, then says "How about one kiss and a piggy back ride?"

During the intervening time he told the others what he had learned from Zalasbra about the other voice and etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:52 pm 
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Piper looks shocked and utterly betrayed. "Only one kiss?" she asks, plaintively.

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 Post subject: Re: Pandions On Trial
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:33 pm 
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He shrugs. "So much for a piggy back ride." He kisses her twice on each cheek (French style) and once on the top of the head. Then he beeps her nose.

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