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[ARRIVING IN THE MIDST OF SOME CONVERSATION] (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "I wonder, was the Necromentate delivered on an enormous wheelbarrow to the pit? A platform? Or was it grown there. Anyone happens to know?" (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Just wondering, as one does." (Magnagora): Kalnid says, "Released there from a jar." (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "How big... was the jar?" (Magnagora): You say, "I had wondered what Lady Snaikka had done in that situation." (Magnagora): You say, "Did any other than Lord Seritul witness it?" (Magnagora): Kalnid says, "Smaller than you might imagine. The stone's fumes are apparently a remarkably growth steroid." (Magnagora): Yaraia (from the Aetherways) says, "How big was it at first, without all of those spikes in it?" (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Grandfather won't tell me." (Magnagora): Seritul d'Vanecu says, "Correct." (Magnagora): Kalnid says, "And Lady Grey, every now and then a new one is required. Not particularly something to desire to witness, of course." (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Lady Snaikka's won't tell me either." (Magnagora): Snaikka i'Xiia says, "Need more work piled on you, Edwin? I can oblige." (Magnagora): You say, "No, especially in dire straits." (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Interesting work?" (Magnagora): Snaikka i'Xiia says, "Menial, mundane, your stinking bat could do it sort of work." (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "He's... no, I suppose not. I'm good." Centre of the Necropolis. It is difficult to detect any features of the room, due to the powerful field of energy that is put out by the Megalith of Doom, absorbing all but the darkest of colours and dominating everything else in the room. The architecture of the room is designed to accommodate the Megalith of Doom with a high dome that forms the entire ceiling. A circular series of steps descends three tiers down to the indentation in the centre of the room where the Megalith stands. Four archways lead out of the room to the other areas of the Necropolis, where candles and other illumination can barely be detected through the powerful force of the Megalith. Filling the room with its presence, an ebony chest adorned with taint wyrms has been placed on the ground with its top lifted up. Rising up from cracks in the floor, the Megalith of Doom towers above everything here, polluting the air with its foul fumes. The Keeper of the Megalith stands here radiating a tainted presence. There are 47 wights here. Gibbering to itself, a ghoul looks about itself here with a malevolent gleam in its eyes. Swirling eddies of chaotic ether dance around a marble shrine to Morgfyre that holds a crystal model of the planispheres. There are 3 wights here. The shrouded form of a wight floats ominously in the air here. The shrouded form of a wight floats ominously in the air here. There are 2 grotesque ghasts here. There are 25 ur'Guard Grand Marshals here. Propped up for all to see, a simple sign invites to donate blood for science. Animated Corpse, Kharazin is here. He wields a blackened platinum and silver chain with both hands. You see exits leading north, east, south, and west. (Magnagora): You say, "I thought the blood research was concluded? After such a long period, I was hoping to hear of some results." You hear a beautiful woman's voice humming a soft lament from nearby. (Magnagora): Snaikka i'Xiia says, "You're not the only one." (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "My bat ate the report." (Magnagora): Avurekhos says, "Did you eat the bat?" You tell Edwin d'Vanecu, "Are you quite well, Master d'Vanecu?" (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "I did not. I did not think it would improve the report-existing situation." (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Percival... he was sorry. I will write another report." Edwin d'Vanecu tells you, "I am... really well." (Magnagora): Yaraia (from the Aetherways) says, "Is there a way to extract the report out of the bat? In a readable form, that is?" (Magnagora): Hegemone says, "Given my understanding of digestion, likely not." (Magnagora): Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Miss, are you volunteering to sift through... ah nevermind. I do not have the bat any longer, moot point. I will write the report alright!" (Society): Lady Jamilah, the Iron Virtue says, "Is our dashing acquaintance back in the city? Wherever did he go off to hide?" You tell Edwin d'Vanecu, "I very much doubt the truthfulness of your statement. I gather you've not spoken to her in some time." (Society): You say, "I do not know for certain. He appears vocal enough." [Jamilah is wondering where he is, I search for him and find him.] The Pit of the Necromentate. Organic slime covers everything in sight, liquid and slick in the heat caused by a large organism. The walls have been carved with detailed pictures and undecipherable runes that weave around the mountings for several torches that illuminate the room. A large platform rises in the middle of the room, before which stands a small altar. Candles burn on the altar, illuminating a book that has been fastened to a stone stand. The large staircase descends from above, landing at a corner of the room where one snake head and one tail are the bottoms of the banisters. This pit is clearly a place of power, guarded by stone statues of menacing creatures spread at frequent intervals along the walls. The huge bulbous brain of the Necromentate pulsates within the pit below. There are 4020 spikes sticking out of the Necromentate. Warhammer in hand, Kunthin Shadowarm stands here rigidly. Fidgeting almost constantly, Edwin d'Vanecu is here. You see a single exit leading up. Her cloak rippling with the daintiness of her steps, you say, "Ah, Master d'Vanecu." Edwin d'Vanecu lets out a low groan and folds his arms at his chest. (Society): You say, "He is located at the Pit of the Necromentate, if you wish to join us. Though it may be prudent to arrive not all at once." Edwin d'Vanecu grunts noncommitally. Edwin d'Vanecu bows respectfully to you. Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Lady Grey." You say to Edwin d'Vanecu, "What brings you to the Necromentate this quiet morning?" As an empty, cold wind whispers past, globs of oil and sludge drip from the ceiling, splattering against the ground. Vatul's eyes drift to the runes obscured through dancing torchlight and shadow. Edwin d'Vanecu turns towards the Necromentate and refolds his arms at his chest. He gazes at the creation thoughtfully for a longer moment and then he shoots Vatul a quick side glance. "Just looking for some dark and cold place where cold and dark people who cannot love should live." As an empty, cold wind whispers past, globs of oil and sludge drip from the ceiling, splattering against the ground. A pleasantness shrouding a lifeless tune in her voice, you say, "I understand." She allows the words to resonate between the winds battering the ceiling. "But this is not the end of your love." In exasperation, suddenly turning, Edwin d'Vanecu exclaims, "What did she even mean? What has a heart to do with love? What nonsense! Love is not the infatuation of hormones, the smitteness of Elohora. It is all encompassing, heart or not. Love is not about poetry at moonlight. That is for the uncivilised masses!" In mockery, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Magnagorans do not -looove- that way. Goals, ambitions, rearing progeny, leaving a mark, stabbing your enemies, that is what love is. You do it -together-." Looking beyond the viscanti youth, you say, "Your thoughts are so black and white, you do not look to see what lies within the centre of it all. There is a place for goals, ambitions, the heirs to your blood," She quietly corrects, "our blood. But there is also a place when you must dare to do what you think will make her happy." Huffing, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "A Magnagoran claims happiness, it ought not to be given. Why does she expect me to coddle her superstitions?" You remark, "Science and religion will always be content to be at odds. But you both have an opportunity to work together to create something new. Do you not wish to transform the Empire? Will you throw an opportunity away to define your life's work, and rise beyond a mere laboratory aide?" Edwin d'Vanecu's bottom lip trembles and he bites down on it. He turns to behold the Necromentate again to hide his eyes looking glassy. "I am incapable of love, she said," he mumbles, "What is there to work with?" Edwin d'Vanecu says, "She. she who -knows-... she knows! Those moonlit walks through the city? When that assassin jumped at us from the gaslamp and she plunged her hairpin into his throat and I drained his lifeforce? Is that not love?" As an empty, cold wind whispers past, globs of oil and sludge drip from the ceiling, splattering against the ground. You say to Edwin d'Vanecu, "If your views are so stark, and will never change, you will fall behind." She pauses, and shakes her head ever so softly. "You are not incapable of love, it is the method. And you are forcing your method upon her. You must set aside what may be the manners of courtship in Old Magnagora, and consider her entirely as her own person. You must respect her enough to listen, and evolve your thinking." Edwin d'Vanecu says, "I offered concessions! She said they are not enough." Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Why isn't she having to change?" You say, "She must change as well, but you must make the first step." Her twilight eyes bore through the viscanti, as she states, "Gifts and concessions, no matter how sweet cannot change why she feels this way. It must be done through respect, and toil. She is not just a mere woman. If she is your love, as you claim, she is more than just a woman. She is a lady." Throwing his hands up, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "She's the heartless one. Tells me I have no heart to love with. Well I don't, the Engine has no heart." [SNEAKY ENTRANCE by KALNID] Biomancer Kalnid says to Edwin d'Vanecu, "I thought your grandfather had taken care to educate you." You say to Kalnid, "It seems he has not." Edwin d'Vanecu glances askance at Kalnid. Biomancer Kalnid says, "It has one. It ticks." You say, "And all of the cogs turn its mechanisms." Inclining his head to the pair, Biomancer Kalnid says, "Recovered a bit of your spark?" Frowning, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "You speak of Nosfydra?" Glancing over her shoulder to the bandaged scientist, you say, "And here I thought the Biomancer was speaking metaphorically." Biomancer Kalnid says, "Mm. I should visit, actually. Perhaps the snakes have changed by now." You caress the thoughts of Biomancer Kalnid as you whisper, "The boy is refusing to change his methods." You caress the thoughts of Biomancer Kalnid as you whisper, "I have told him he will fail if he does not see what he needs to do." Wiping his nose, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Him? Never a metaphor. Nosfydra is the Heart of the Megalith, not the Engine." You smirk. Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Unless we want to get metaphorical and poetic and say the Megalith is the Heart of Magnagora." Edwin d'Vanecu says, "But I beg you then write it in a poem because maybe Vittoria would like -that- what with all her talk of 'love'" With a slight shrug, Biomancer Kalnid says, "I prefer to think of myself as standing on the liminal. But if you insist, not the Engine's heart it is." Edwin d'Vanecu pouts petulantly and fixes his eyes on the Necromentate. You say to Edwin d'Vanecu, "And I believe that is where your trouble lies. Ritual is the metaphorical form that focuses the science itself. Metaphorical love is not the act of love itself, but an expression." Half listening, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Toil for love you said, Lady Grey?" Edwin d'Vanecu reaches a hand to his shoulder idly where it brushes at thin air and hangs for a moment before he brings it to his ear instead and scratches that. You say to Edwin d'Vanecu, "Yes. Something that I've been trying to get into your head since you were adamant that a gift would sate. As if that would have really worked." Your eyes flicker to a new spot, and for a moment you can do naught but freeze: all around you is rent asunder, a desolate ruin of that which it once was, tortured and decayed. Another blink, and the strange transformation is gone. Indignant, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Then she should have given Percy back. Clearly it worked in -some- way." Vatul startles for a moment aside Edwin d'Vanecu. A sudden, ragged breath leaves her, as if she had run a race. As an empty, cold wind whispers past, globs of oil and sludge drop from the ceiling, splattering against the ground. Biomancer Kalnid says, "I would, ah, not recommend introducing that particular topic to her, by the way. In case you had been considering it." Edwin d'Vanecu glances askance. Edwin d'Vanecu clears his throat. Quietly, you say, "Gentlemen..." Edwin d'Vanecu tilts his head curiously. You say, "Did you not, observe, those ruins?" Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Ruins?" Biomancer Kalnid says to you, "Brief perspective shifts? Minor strangeness, instantly self -correcting?" Vatul gesturing to the air where she had gazed above the Necromentate. "Yes, it was as if there was some thread of sight that wasn't exactly present," she intones. You say, "I had thought it had merely been my time in the blessed Earthe, but I just experienced it again. An odd dysphoria." Biomancer Kalnid says, "Likely the fates mucking about." Pointing to the Necromentate with a jerk of his head, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Wouldn't this know if some ruins are headed our way?" With a critical eye, Biomancer Kalnid says, "There's toil for you, get the thing to spouting prophecy. You're a competent dog-catcher, yes?" You say, "A prophesy? How hypocritical of you. As it does require some ritual to do, as I recall." Vatul meets his eyes with a vague expression of consternation. Edwin d'Vanecu says, "I am a competent bat-catcher if anything." Biomancer Kalnid says to you, "Bi-directional temporal currents are well-known as an existing phenomenon. It's not unreasonable to take advantage of entities capable of parsing them." Scowling at the Necromentate, Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Does it? aren't we just stuffing dogs into it?" Biomancer Kalnid says, "No, it's mostly stuffing dogs into things, stuffing those things into a vat, and then taking that vat's contents and offering it as a snack." Edwin d'Vanecu gives you an "I told you so" look of triumph. With a slight smile, Biomancer Kalnid says, "Lady i'Xiia, at least, has always seemed to approach it as a matter of throughput rather than proper form." Your eyes sparkle with amusement. Edwin d'Vanecu composes his face quckly and escapes your gaze. "I propose the Biomancer "stuffs some dogs" and the Lady Grey ensures proper ritual is observed. Meanwhile, I will be over there writing my report and toiling and all. Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Or well, the city is whipped into shape." You say to Edwin d'Vanecu, "Oh no. You will be ensuring the ritual is observed properly. You must learn your lesson." Edwin d'Vanecu says, "About time someone used this thing to see what is going on with all of those disturbances." Kalnid raises a half-concealed eyebrow. "And this will earn your favor with Madame d'Lardick, then?" Edwin d'Vanecu says to you, "I cannot! I promised Lady Snaikka a report." Edwin d'Vanecu says, "No, it will ensure Lady Snaikka doesn't stuff me in a vat." Edwin d'Vanecu says, "Which is a prerequisite to the latter." Biomancer Kalnid says, "I expect you'd make lovely material." Edwin d'Vanecu says, "I will toil and all, I have an idea already." At the darkest hour, the silence is deafening as no Bell-Tower rings in the distance to celebrate midnight over Magnagora. The feeling of discomfort is tangible as you find yourself straining for something that should be there, but is suddenly and desperately missing. Kalnid casts a critical eye over Edwin d'Vanecu. "Do you." The irregular thud of distant machinery reverberates through the ground. You say to Edwin d'Vanecu, "Oh? Is that to mope about and pretend to work?" Biomancer Kalnid says, "Oh - And I will be sending any fee arising from mutt collection along to Lord Seritul with your name. I hope that's no issue?" Musing with subtle tones, you say, "No doubt if I spoke to your grandfather he'd be ashamed of how you've been cavorting about. So I'd rather hear your idea, if you would." Vatul crosses her arms gracefully, and waits in expectation. Edwin d'Vanecu exhales slowly and wipes his left eye. He tousles up his own hair and adjusts his attire as he approaches solemnly you. Edwin d'Vanecu then darts right past you and up the staircase, "I have no heart to love with!" He proclaims stupidly as if that meant anything at all. Vatul remains still, the misty grey cloak about her wavering at its edges to reveal sections of gold silk underneath. She attempts to snag Edwin d'Vanecu's collar, hooking it with a nail. In her failure, you say, "That horrid boy." Calling out to the fleeing figure, Biomancer Kalnid says, "If you're thinking of creating a heart for the Necromentate, do let me know how you get on!" Biomancer Kalnid says to Kunthin Shadowarm, "Mm. Could use an augmentation or two after all this time though, couldn't it." (Magnagora): You say, "Seritul d'Vanecu, kin-and-Lord, might I call upon you? There is a matter I wish to discuss, if it does not interrupt your research." Biomancer Kalnid says to you, "I expect he'll be rearing his head soon enough, regardless of his senior's attention. In the mean time..." Chewing on something, Kunthin Shadowarm says, "Long as it comes with a pay raise." You say, "Yes. And that boy could use the whip. Baalphegar's tome, for a scientist he is a dullard." The irregular thud of distant machinery reverberates through the ground. Biomancer Kalnid says to Kunthin Shadowarm, "I was frankly unaware you were paid with anything other than job satisfaction, but I'll pass the intention along." You say to Kunthin Shadowarm, "I am sure the Iniquitous could arrange something for you." You say to Kalnid, "Well done on passing it along." Biomancer Kalnid says to you, "I aim to please." You say to Kalnid, "And you shall, someday." Kunthin Shadowarm shifts whatever he is chewing to the other side and just grunts in agreement. Kalnid peers at you unscrupulously. Vatul flicks a coquettish smile to Kalnid, almost playful. You say, "I suppose I shall find the means to speak to Lady d'Lardick about this mess. In the meantime, a prophsey would be useful." Biomancer Kalnid says to Kunthin Shadowarm, "Do keep up the good work, in any case." (Magnagora): Seritul d'Vanecu says, "A ritual is at hand, Lady Grey. I shall alert you at the earliest convenience." Biomancer Kalnid says to you, "I'll see if I can't nudge the city about that, yes." Kalnid inclines his head politely to you. You incline your head politely to those around you.