Tal and Ethinian [OLD - RP only]

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vrmn
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:53 am

Tal and Ethinian [OLD - RP only]

Post by vrmn » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:11 am

Hi, Avendar!

It's been a long time, and while I no longer have Zmud installed, I did stumble upon some old logs and notes from one of my favorite characters, Tal Mar Ki'yadi, Archmage of the Silver Pentagram, Chosen of Tzet-Ashkari. I was fortunate in that I had a number of great roleplayers to help me flesh out the character, and a lot of immteraction to add flavor and depth. Too many of the names elude me now to attempt an exhaustive list, so many years after the fact, but the memories of the good times live on. In that spirit, I thought it might be fun to share this RP log, as Tal was never much of a killer. I hope I'm not violating any rules by posting this.

Background:
Ethinian was an ethron Void Scholar (so fresh and so green), whose progression Tal had monitored from afar, using demons to communicate periodically. This was the first time they met face-to-face, if I'm not mistaken. Yeolar was a member of the Vanguard. About half-way through this exchange, a friendly imm decided to add some gravitas to the encounter.

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

You rest in a chair emblazoned with the dragon rune.

Ethinian bows deeply before you in supplication.

The Hall of the Shunned
From the archway in the far eastern wall a corridor of high granite
pillars march down the length of this great hall, supporting the series of
lofty vaults which rise, ever greater, to the magnificent dome above the
dais to the west. Beyond the two rows of pillars, to the north and south,
the high walls of the hall rise, lit by brightly burning braziers.
Offsetting the ancient, quartz-streaked stone, hangings of fine fabric and
deep, rich colours, emblazoned with a multitude of arcane symbols, drape
between the pillars and hang high on the chamber walls. Here in the center
of the hall is set a circle of five high-backed stone chairs, each
emblazoned with a different symbol.

[Exits: north east south west]
(Invis) Ethinian the ethron is here.

Tal lifts a slender, delicately-boned hand, offering, in arcane, 'Be welcome to
the Halls of the Knowing, Akulra.'

Ethinian says, his nervousness sneaking into his voice 'Greetings Lord
Archmage.'

Ethinian looks at you.

You are using:
<worn on finger> (Glowing) a ring set with the crest of Krilin
<worn on finger> (Glowing) a ring set with the crest of Krilin
<worn around neck> a grass mantlet
<worn around neck> a grass mantlet
<worn on torso> a pumice breastplate
<worn on head> (Glowing) the Dragon crown
<worn on legs> a pair of ochre pantaloons
<worn on feet> a pair of silver-buckled black boots
<worn on hands> a pair of gloves woven from blades of grass
<worn on arms> a pair of charcoal black armguards
<worn about body> (Humming) the Robe of Ages
<worn about waist> (Glowing) a pearlescent chiffon sash
<worn around wrist> an onyx and sapphire bracelet
<worn around wrist> an onyx and sapphire bracelet
<wielded> an ebony staff tipped with blackened sapphires
<floating nearby> a miniature replica of a shield

Ethinian says 'So this is the.. I've.. This is the halls.'

Yeolar has arrived.

Tal gives a small nod, completing the thought, in arcane, 'Here is the forgotten
remembered. Here is the vigil kept.'

Ethinian says, still with nervousness in his voice 'I've, it's an honor that you
would agree to see me, Lord Archmage.'

Yeolar slips to stand beside the emblazoned dragon chair, turning his gaze to
level upon Ethinian.

Ethinian casts a sideways curious glance at Yeolar.

Ethinian looks at Yeolar.

Tal settles an ageless gaze on Ethinian, eyes narrowing slightly. The faintest
smile pulls at his thin lips.

Tal remarks, casually, in arcane, 'When I began my study, a time ago longer than
you have lived, there was little to illumine my path.'

Ethinian nods silently.

Tal twirls a ripe pomegranate between his fingers, as though contemplating its
redness.

Tal inquires, in arcane, 'A piece of fruit, perhaps? The path to this place is
arduous, even for ethron stock.'

Ethinian says, while extending his hand 'Yes, thank you Lord Archmage, I
appreciate it.'

You give a ripe, red pomegranate to Ethinian.

Ethinian looks around the large hall, then looks from Yeolar to you and takes a
bite of the apple.

Ethinian eats a ripe, red pomegranate.

Tal remarks, gesturing with his hand as he speaks, in arcane, 'But, it is not
for fruit that you have made your way here.'

You eat a ripe, red pomegranate.

Ethinian turns his attention solely to Tal and says 'Indeed Lord Archmage. I
asked if there was some sort of price, I could attempt to meet. In order to gain
further insights into our sphere.'

Ethinian casts another sideways glance at Yeolar, and shuffles his feet
uncomfortably.

You rest in a chair emblazoned with the dragon rune.

Tal reassumes his seat upon the Dragon throne, curling his fingers around the
armrest. He says, experience tinging his words, in arcane, 'Ahh, the price.
Ever with a price. There is nothing that so much as girds the Void, without
price.'

Ethinian nods and says 'That seems to be the case, both while preparing the
sigils, making the pact, as well as studying the symbols.'

Tal nods as he lifts his fingers from the armrests, steepling them in front of
his face, in arcane, 'But the price is dictated by what you would seek, Akulra.
Whether your interest is trivia, or something more profound.'

Tal elaborates, saying, in arcane, 'Just as the Djazith or the Kurlaac differ in
their demands from the oathsworn of Zyal, or the Queen of the Succubi...'

Tal leans into the chair, concluding with disdain, in arcane, 'If trivia is your
interest, then you will find no succor here. You will find nothing, but
contempt.'

Tal qualifies the thought, adding, in arcane, 'But if the depth and breadth of
your inquiry is worthy of the subject at hand, and your will is patient and
diligent, there may be commerce between us.'

Ethinian smiles slightly and says 'Lord Archmage, forgive my bluntness, but
nothing but respect, fear and perhaps humility stops me from asking to learn
all you would want to impart.'

The dim beginnings of a smile form on Tal's features, as he allows himself a
rasping, throaty chortle.

Ethinian says, slightly less confidently 'One thing I've been looking for, in
any library I've been able to find, is how to summon the demon sage himself.'

Tal seems to look past Ethinian as he snaps, in arcane, 'Trivia! This is not
an alchemist's lab, where the mere memorization of formulae might yield a
measure of success...'

Ethinian rumages silently and without taking his eyes off you, around in his
pouches and bags, and produces a waterskin.

Ethinian staggers slightly and takes a step backwards.

Tal fixes his gaze on Ethinian, the smile evaporated from his features, in
arcane, 'If you would learn -- not commit to memory -- but truly learn -- we
may continue.'

Ethinian says, stuttering slightly 'I'm sorry Lord Archmage, your.. I will
learn, whatever you wish to impart.'

Tal holds a hand aloft, interjecting, in arcane, 'There is an eagerness that
comes with youth. This is to be expected, but defended against. Those who
would seek without a foundation of knowledge are unmade by what they witness.'

Ethinian bows his head, looking at the ground for a full ten seconds, before
raising his eyes to meet you gaze.

Ethinian nods silently, with a confused look in his eyes.

Tal remarks, gesturing again with an outstretched hand, in arcane, 'I shall ask
again, that confusion be banished from our minds. What is it you would learn?'

Ethinian looks straight at Tal and says 'What you wish to teach me, Lord
Archmage. '

Ethinian continues 'I've searched all the libraries I've been able to find,
including the one beyond the veil. Yet, I feel you have more to teach me, than
any of those.'

Ethinian bows his head and rests his gaze at the feet of you chair.

Tal shifts slightly in the chair, curling his fingers around the armrests. He
probes, in arcane, 'And to what end would you learn, Akulra?'

Tal quotes, in arcane, 'Knowledge without purpose is an obscenity, so Ythadel
the Younger would have us believe.'

Ethinian looks up at Tal again and says confidently 'I do not know, and have not
heard off Ythadel the Younger, Lord Archmage. For me, knowledge is the goal
itself, but I am young still. Knowledge is what satiates my thirst. Should I on
that path, stumble up'

Ethinian continues 'Upon something that I value more, so it will be.'

Ethinian trembles slightly.

Tal reclines in the high-backed chair, musing, in arcane, 'Riches... power...
fame and prestige. Women, pleasures of the flesh. High adventure. And yet,
you choose knowledge?'

Ethinian nods in agreement and says confidently 'By far Lord Archmage. I take
to my father in that respect I suppose. Well, there is one other thing I enjoy..
Art. I take to my mother in that respect I suppose, but art is about knowledge
as well.'

Ethinian says, almost as if explaining to himself 'Art is knowledge. The eye
will not recognize what the mind cannot perceive. How sublime a symbiosis, that.'

Ethinian reaches into his backpack.

Tal lifts both brows, a small smile playing on his ageless features. He
remarks, in arcane, 'Your father is deserving of respect. Ever the fathers
shape the will of the sons. There are few deviations from this. Does he live,
yet?'

Ethinian says, in an apologethic tone 'I'm sorry, Lord Archamge, I must eat.'

Ethinian gets a bowl of beef broth from a large canvas backpack.

Ethinian eats a bowl of beef broth.

Ethinian nods and says 'He does Lord Archmage. He is a historian, he is a
researcher in the grand library of Earendam.'

Ethinian adds 'Maritime history is his specialty.'

Tal probes, inquiring, making little effort to mask his amusement, in arcane,
'Your concerns are not the tying of knots and the naming of sailing-boats.
How is that?'

Ethinian stifles a chuckle.

Ethinian smiles and says 'No lord archmage, I grew up in the library more or
less, ever since my mother.. Passed.'

Ethinian continues 'There is little fun for a child, in books about constructing
ships and how the evolvement of the air magics, impacted sea-trade.'

Tal leans against the side of the Dragon throne, remarking, in arcane, 'A fickle
thing, the magicks of Air, but I have come to appreciate their formidability.
I digress, though -- your father, the stuff of your interest is known to him?'

Ethinian says 'Demonology on the other hand. Stories and poems about the horrors
on the other side. I suppose that is why I chose the sphere, I have. My father
wanted me to choose for myself.'

Ethinian nods.

[SHUNNED] an aelin servant: My Lord Dragon.

[SHUNNED] an aelin servant: May I serve you with something?

Tal taps his fingertips on the curved finial of the armrest, commenting, in
arcane, 'I would perhaps like to meet your father, someday. An Earendamer, you
say?'

Ethinian says, a little uncomfortably 'He buried himself in his work, after my
mother passed, he knew what path I would take. Although I doubt he knew the
consequences.'

[SHUNNED] Tal: Perhaps a glass of something cold. And for our guest, as well.

Ethinian nods at you.

Tal lifts both brows, asking, in arcane, 'You foresee consequences? Do
elaborate.'

An aelin servant sinks into a very deep bow.

An aelin servant gives you a glass of water.

Tal says, addressing the aelin, in arcane, 'You have my gratitude.'

An aelin servant murmurs 'And for the others, Lord?'

You nod sagely at an aelin servant.

An aelin servant swiftly pours two glasses.

Ethinian says, meeting Tals gaze 'There have already been consequyences, Lord
Archmage. I've changed with what I've seen.'

An aelin servant gives a glass of water to Yeolar.

An aelin servant gives a glass of water to Ethinian.

Ethinian says to the Aelin servant 'Thank you.'

An aelin servant bends to the floor.

Ethinian drinks water from a glass of water.

[SHUNNED] an aelin servant: Am I dismissed, Lord?

Yeolar offers a simple nod to the servant.

Yeolar drinks water from a glass of water.

[SHUNNED] Tal: With my thanks.

An aelin servant scrapes away.

Ethinian coughs loudly.

Ethinian corrects himself 'Consequences.'

Tal curls his fingers about the glass, saying, in arcane, 'There is no path so
base as to not leave the one that travels it altered. Perhaps this is more
profound, given the nature of the delvings...'

Tal sips quietly from the glass, as though mulling the thought in his own mind.

You drink water from a glass of water.
You are full.

Ethinian says 'I would think so, the world is not the same, after seeing
Selb-Kar, it's different. Subtly but it's different. I do not think it's just
my perception that has changed.'

Ethinian tries to explain further 'It's as if it's 'really' different.'

Tal shuts his eyes, quoting absent-mindedly, in arcane, 'They turned, and I
looked at them, but they looked back. They changed me, and now I see.'

Ethinian nods quietly.

Tal murmurs, in arcane, 'The author of the "Knowing" was driven to madness by
what his eyes beheld. You have yet eluded this fate. How do you suppose that
is?'

Ethinian nods and says 'Clearly mad, but at the same time clearly not.'

Ethinian says 'I do not know Lord Archmage. On one hand, I think the training
the guild put me through, might have been of some help.'

Tal taps a finger to his chin. He inquires, in arcane, 'You have studied under
Calirin of the Aklaju?'

Ethinian continues 'Perhaps, I only saw the reflection, through his eyes. When
I saw. Perhaps, my inclination towards being systematic and follow logic has
helped me.'

Ethinian says 'I've visited both guilds. Shaviiran started me off though,
Calirin helped me further, in his own way.'

Tal shifts slightly in his chair, nodding vaguely at Ethinian.

Tal says, a slight disdain colouring his words, in arcane, 'He does as he is
able.'

Tal wrinkles his ageless features again, as though to punctuate the thought.

Ethinian asks, nervously 'Might I ask you a question Lord Archmage?'

Tal answers, in arcane, 'I listen.'

Ethinian asks 'Of the symbols you've seen, studied and learned. Which.. Impacted
you the most? Is there one you can single out, where you.. Felt something, more
than the others?'

Tal allows himself a small laugh, raspy but seemingly benign. He answers, in
arcane, 'The symbols are themselves pieces of a whole. All things in this study
serve to complete, not to initiate or conclude. Such beginnings and endings are
for gods and merchants... not the mortal mind.'

Tal continues, in arcane, 'But to answer your question, I have ever found the
Maze to be fascinating, if only for the intricacy of its form, the precision
demanded.'

Ethinian nods, his eyes showing confusion.

Tal adds, in arcane, 'It too is but a fragment of the Entire - a component of
understanding, meaningless without the context of the others.'

Ethinian asks 'The symbols are each representative of a part of the whole?'

Tal responds, saying, in arcane, 'Certainly. Even without the Seal, the
warrens of Vakalis would be. And yet, the Sign alone does not hold dominion
over that realm. There must be a more profound connection than simply matching,
one to one.'

Ethinian nods quietly.

Ethinian says 'Lord Archmage, you've taught me already, and we've not yet
discussed the price of such.'

Ethinian shifts his feet nervously.

Tal gives another small, if mirthless smile, asking, in arcane, 'You would
think so?'

Ethinian nods silently.

Ethinian says 'Atleast, when I part here. I part with more than I came with.'

Tal gives a small nod, saying, in arcane, 'There is more yet to learn, you
would say?'

Ethinian smiles and says 'I would say, that it is apparent that I've barely
begun.'

Tal echoes your smile, vaguely twisting his thin lips as he says, in arcane, 'On
this, we concur. Your delving is not without purpose, and you may yet succeed
where countless thousands have failed, suffered, and been unmade.'

Tal recounts, his features narrowing, in arcane, 'I took an apprentice, once.
Near two decades ago, now - a shuddeni seeker with tremendous potential. He was
destroyed by what filled his mind.'

The words seem to hang ominously in the air..

'....Unmade...'

Tal says, a hint of lament in his voice, in arcane, 'His pride broke him, in
the end. The Vortex ever punishes those that would not serve to achieve mastery.
The Demon Lords of Logor are especially unforgiving, in that respect.'

Tal trails off, leaving the words - and the thought - to hang in the air like
candle smoke.

Ethinian nods quickly and says 'The dangerous I've witnessed to far in my
search, have been glimses of what dangers they could be.'

Tal twirls the pomegranate between his fingertips, remarking, in arcane, 'The
dangers of this study are reserved for the prideful, the pompous, the lazy,
and the foolish. Bend, and you will not be broken.'

Ethinian repeats and nods 'Serve to achieve mastery, humility is virtue before
the demon lords, I suppose.'

Tal narrows his eyes, elaborating, in arcane, 'That is but a part of it. But
to be certain, there is a time for humility, and a virtue in it. No mortal -
not for a thousand lifetimes or more - could claim perfect mastery, save for
fools.'

Ethinian looks at Tal curiously and asks 'Forgive my boldness, Lord Archmage,
but this last apprentice, have you given up on taken apprentices since that?'

Tal concludes, in arcane, 'The beginning is the realization of the limits of
your knowledge. Only then can the torch be set to the rueful abstractions and
received ideas of this decayed age. Then, and only then.'

Tal leans into the Dragon throne, a small chortle escaping his lips. He
answers, frankly, in arcane, 'None have sought, not in twenty and some years.
Or those who have, pursued trivia and other... ephemera.'

Ethinian says, his voice tembling slightly 'Perhaps, there is some sort of..
Way, for you to judge wether someone could have the potential for becoming an
apprentice?'

Yeolar inspects Ethinian a moment, his eyes probing over Ethinian's form.

Tal seems to squint, saying, in arcane, 'There is, of course, Akulra, a
methodology for judgment.'

Ethinian squirms slightly under you inquireing gaze.

Tal implores, in arcane, 'Eat, or drink, as you see fit.'

Ethinian clear his throat and reaches into his backpack.

Ethinian gets a bowl of beef broth from a large canvas backpack.

Ethinian eats a bowl of beef broth.

Ethinian gets a bowl of beef broth from a large canvas backpack.

Yeolar turns his gaze to you, giving a faint nod of his head.

Yeolar holds his eyes upon your features briefly, then returns his gaze to
level upon Ethinian.

Ethinian says, his voice still trembling 'lord Archmage, I would supplicate
myself to such judgement. Should you find me worthy of being judged in the first
place.'

Tal leans into the Dragon throne, saying, in arcane, 'I believe the foundation
built by your father to be a worthy one. A strong one. Whether it was from
him, or from your mother, that you inherited your humility, I cannot guess.
But it shall serve you well.'

Ethinian bows his head, his gaze resting on the feet of the dragon throne.

Tal taps a finger to his chin, letting a staid gaze wash over the sumptuous
tapestries of the chamber.

Ethinian says, his voice almost a whisper 'Your praise flatter me, Lord
Archmage. Thank you.'

Tal shifts his glance, drifting to settle on Ethinian's form. His gaze is
steel-flecked indigo, unblinking and intense.

Ethinian lifts his head to meet you gaze, then quickly shifts it back to the
feet of the throne.

Tal asks, after a pause, in arcane, 'Tell what is known to you on these ancient
Halls. If anything is known, at all.'

Ethinian squirms slightly.

Yeolar glances at you, a faint bit of surprise crossing his features.

Ethinian says 'I, well.. Please forgive me, Lord Archmage. I've seen these halls
before.'

Ethinian says quickly 'I, did not know.. However.. I didn't know what they
were.'

Tal tilts his head to one side, asking, in arcane, 'Oh?'

Ethinian explains, obviously very nervous 'My search for tomes, books and..
Such, has lead me far, all over the lands.. Not that long ago, I happened upon
this place.'

Ethinian clears his throat.

Tal narrows his eyes. He speculates, in arcane, 'The Vanguard is ill-disposed
to uninvited visitors, in my experience.'

Ethinian continues 'When I observed the.. Guardians at the entrance.. I knew I
had stumbled upon something significant and I cloaked myself in the void.'

Tal gives a dismissive wave of his hand, saying, in arcane, 'The significance is
lost upon their ilk, I fear. Knowledge demands knowledge, to some extent.'

Ethinian says 'Imagine my surprise, when you requested to me to meet your here.'

Tal gives a small smile, recollecting, in arcane, 'The truth be known, I
ventured into these Halls myself, similarly animated, some time before I was
invited.'

Ethinian gives a quiet sigh of relief and says 'I didn't know what exactly this
was, but I know now. This is the halls of what is commonly referred to as the
shunned.'

Tal chortles, shooting you what might almost be a grin. He says, in arcane,
'A crooked term, that. But I suppose there must exist some shorthand, from
inferior mind to inferior mind.'

Ethinian nods quietly.

Ethinian says 'I do not know much about these halls or the purpose of those
within. I am eager to become your apprentice, should you find me worthy. I
seek what you might wish to impart.'

Tal responds, in arcane, 'Your eagerness is well-met, Akulra.'

Tal elaborates, circling back to answer your question, in arcane, 'These halls
have existed for a thousand generations, or longer. The purpose of this
Conclave is knowledge, and little else.'

Tal continues, in arcane, 'Here, too, the provisional pursuits of fame, of
riches, and of the flesh are subjugated by more purposeful aspirations.'

Tal laments, in arcane, 'To be sure, this Conclave has endured the contempt of
those who would be content to limit the scope of their inquiry, or else delude
themselves with... fanciful mythologies or... trivial deceptions.'

Ethinian nods silently.

Tal waves a hand dismissively, boldly saying, in arcane, 'But what is the
contempt of unlearned minds, when contrasted with the full weight and measure
of knowledge that comes from unhindered delving? That comes from the Infinite
and the Enduring?'

Tal leans into the Dragon throne. He rasps, in arcane, 'Shunned, perhaps by
their ilk. I call the ranks of this Conclave Chosen amongst others.'

Ethinian says in a low voice 'I've learned to stay clear of those who, look
down upon my.. Studies.'

Ethinian adds 'There are many who apparently, would do their best to kill me
merely for seeking enlightenment in the sphere.'

Ethinian shrugs slightly.

Tal gives a thin nod in response. He comments, in arcane, 'There will ever be
those who harbour contempt, likely rooted in envy, or in fear, for those that
delve where mortal minds and eyes seldom tread.'

Ethinian nods in agreement.

Tal fixes a staid gaze on Ethinian, saying, in arcane, 'But you are unswayed
by their efforts. You are unshaken by these... hollow threats.'

Ethinian answers 'I seek knowledge. It is what I live for, it is also what I've
died for. I cannot sway from what I am.'

Ethinian smiles quietly.

Tal taps a finger to his chin. He says, in arcane, 'I hear your words, Akulra.'

Tal mentions, almost as a thought given voice, in arcane, 'Perhaps you will
succeed, where others have failed, before you.'

Ethinian bows his head and says 'With your guidance, perhaps Lord Archmage.'

Yeolar steps away from the chair, turns towards you, then dips into a deep bow.

Yeolar turns a sideways glance at Ethinian, then gives a single nod of his head
in acceptance.

Yeolar quaffs a potion of transportation.
Yeolar disappears.

Ethinian begins a halfway bow in the direction Yeolar was standing, then stops
as he dissapears.

Tal threads his fingers together, letting them rest across his lap. He says,
in arcane, 'Then, there is a question of what must be done. Attend me.'

Tal continues, saying, in arcane, 'Since times before memory, the dyad has been
unbroken, until this age -- this unseemly, wretched age. Teacher, and learner.
So has it ever been.'

Tal elaborates, in arcane, 'The wisdom of the Teacher passed to the Learner,
who with time and diligence, took on apprentices of his own, and thus the
lineage continued, untroubled by the passage of time.'

Ethinian nods, listening intently to you words.

Tal explains, in arcane, 'Thus were the seeds of the ancient Conclaves sown --
the Aklaju, for one. The Arisuth of Mlejian, another.'

Ethinian nods again, still listening silently.

Tal elaborates, fixing a placid gaze on your features, in arcane, 'If you would
learn, then you must, some day, teach what is learned. That more is not lost
than has already been consigned to memory.'

Ethinian says 'I shall part with my knowledge willingly, should I one day be
able to take on an apprentice.'

You say, in arcane, 'To learn, and to make a science of this study requires
time, which you have in abundance, and diligence, which you appear to possess,
despite your youth. It also demands commitment, above both of these things,
and fealty to that purpose.'

Ethinian nods.

Tal unthreads his fingers, saying, in arcane, 'For my part, I ask no fealty
to me...'

Ethinian raises an eyebrow curiously.

Tal continues, matter-of-factly, in arcane, 'If you would learn, then I ask
for fealty to this Conclave, and to this Collective.'

Tal elaborates, in arcane, 'That the lineage might continue, unbroken.'

Tal curls his fingers around the armrest of the Dragon throne. He says, in
arcane, 'I shall be dust, soon, or else conjoined to the Courts of Logor. My
mortal death is of no consequence, but this Conclave must endure.'

Ethinian says confidently 'If I am to serve this conclave, to achieve mastery,
that is what I will do. From what you've told me, this is where I will belong
eventually. The halls of the knowing.'

Tal lets a small smile tinge his otherwise stoic features.

Ethinian fumbles around with his barrel, liftning it clumsily up to his mouth.

Tal says, fixing a gaze on you, cold and unwavering, in arcane, 'It is not a
decision to be made lightly. The consequences for failure are profound.'

Darkness swirls about the base of the Dragon Throne.

You nod sagely at Ethinian.

Ethinian meets Tals gaze and says 'I will do what I can to meet what tasks I
may be given. '

Tal continues, asking pointedly, in arcane, 'This is the desire of your Will,
and the reconciliation of your mind?'

Ethinian answers quickly 'It is, Lord Archmage.'

Tal asks, drumming his fingertips on the unembellished finial of the Dragon
throne, in arcane, 'Then you will swear the Oath, as others have, before you?'

Ethinian answers, equally speedy 'I will, Lord Archmage.'

With the passing of midnight, it is now Endenday, 13th day of The Burning.

Tal commends, lifting himself to his feet with his staff, in arcane, 'Then
kneel, Akulra.'

You stand up.

Ethinian kneels humbly before you.

Tal kneels low to the ground, producing an unembellished, leather pouch from
the folds of his robes.

Tal draws an inverted star in silver dust with you at its center, scoring seven
points extending from where you kneel, affording painstaking care to each
measured line.

Tal chants softly, inscribing fell runes at each of the seven vertices, in
arcane, 'Taphet Yaddash Izuth Druzha, Madeshara Jakketh Teshaar Kora...'

The light drains from the very air, and darkness presses in on your eyeballs.

Tal completes the sigil with a sinuous slash across the center of the star,
just beneath your knees, coalescing into the form of an unblinking eye.

It grows cold.

Ethinian winces slightly, then regains his composure.

Tal intones, asking in a voice both strident and sharp, in arcane, 'Who kneels
before the Conclave?'

Ethinian answers 'I, Ethinian Jhenir.'

The air stirs, and the tattered fragments of disembodied voices whisper through
the air in a rising and falling cadence.

Tal repeats, in arcane, 'Akulra Ethinian Jhenir comes before the Conclave. So
let it be. Speak the words that bind your Will.'

You tell Ethinian, in arcane, 'In the name of the Thirteen Demon Lords of the
Void, the Infinite Vortex, and the Eternal Wyrm, I affirm this most solemn of
Oaths.'

Ethinian says, his voice trembling slightly 'In the name of the Thirteen Demon
Lords of the Void, the Infinite Vortex, and the Eternal Wyrm, I affirm this
most solemn of Oaths.'

Tal rasps in response, in arcane, 'The Collective hears you, and listens.'

The voices breathe forward in tongues foul and unknown, rasping and sighing in
a continual undertone.

You tell Ethinian, in arcane, 'I am compelled by Will alone to swear fealty to
the Conclave of the Knowing.'

Ethinian says 'I am compelled by Will alone to swear fealty to the Conclave of
the Knowing.'

Tal murmurs in an unwavering staccato, in arcane, 'Will alone shall guide you.
Will alone shall illumine your path. Will alone shall keep the Unmaking at
bay.'

You tell Ethinian, in arcane, 'By the Broken Towers, the Sixty and Six Legions
of Logor, and the Silver Pentagram, I pledge myself to the noble Design of this
Conclave.'

Ethinian says, his voice more confident 'By the Broken Towers, the Sixty and
Six Legions of Logor, and the Silver Pentagram, I pledge myself to the noble
Design of this conclave.'

The unholy chorus of voices unifies, increasing in volume. Their obscene,
buzzing chant crowds in around you.

Tal draws in a deep breath, exhaling as he responds, formally, in arcane, 'That
your Will might be made worthy of its service, that your life might be given
purpose by it.'

You tell Ethinian, in arcane, 'And that, in servitude, I may achieve mastery,
in this life and what follows.'

Ethinian says 'And that, in servitude, I may achieve mastery, in this life
and what follows.'

Tal rasps in reply, in arcane, 'Death is no bar to the Will of the Eternal.
Die, and be reborn, Ethinian Jhenir.'

Ethinian has been inducted into The coven of the shunned.

Time seems to slow, then...stop.

Ethinian slumps to the ground.

The Hall of the Shunned
From the archway in the far eastern wall a corridor of high granite
pillars march down the length of this great hall, supporting the series of
lofty vaults which rise, ever greater, to the magnificent dome above the
dais to the west. Beyond the two rows of pillars, to the north and south,
the high walls of the hall rise, lit by brightly burning braziers.
Offsetting the ancient, quartz-streaked stone, hangings of fine fabric and
deep, rich colours, emblazoned with a multitude of arcane symbols, drape
between the pillars and hang high on the chamber walls. Here in the center
of the hall is set a circle of five high-backed stone chairs, each
emblazoned with a different symbol.

[Exits: north east south west]
Ethinian the ethron is sleeping here.

Ethinian wakes and stands up.

Ethinian screams loudly!

Ethinian gasps for air.

The scream rings out, pain and agony and triumph blended together.

Tal brushes the folds of his robe with his free hand, leaning lightly on the
haft of his ebony staff.

Ethinian staggers to his feet.

Ethinian says, incoherently 'I.. It..'

A shadow-cloaked being strides from the shadows.

You rest in a chair emblazoned with the dragon rune.

A shadow-cloaked being gurgles 'This is the New, my Lord?'

You nod sagely at a shadow-cloaked being.

A shadow-cloaked being peers intently at Ethinian.

A shadow-cloaked being scuttles forward, snuffling loudly.

Tal answers, in arcane, 'Another who would seek. Another who would look where
mortal eyes fear to glance.'

Ethinian glances quickly at the shadow-cloaked being.

A shadow-cloaked being notes in a sibilant, effeminate lilt 'And another
prospective morsel for Us to devour and annex, should it fail.'

A shadow-cloaked being leers at Ethinian, his eyes following his every move.

Ethinian mumbles 'I.. It.'

Ethinian nods.

A shadow-cloaked being coughs in a harsh bark 'So is the Will of the Dragon.
So shall We make it be.'

A shadow-cloaked being bows lowly before you.

Tal inclines his head toward the shadow-veiled form.

A shadow-cloaked being shudders, burbling away to itself.

Ethinian wipes beads of sweat of his forehead.

A shadow-cloaked being chants to itself, chuntering in dull tones under its
breath 'New blood, old blood, BOUND blood...agh irikha Ia...'

A shadow-cloaked being states 'We have Seen, Lord. Have you further need of
Us?'

A shadow-cloaked being drapes a talon over one of Ethinian's shoulders in a
caressing, iron grip.

Tal traces a line over the line of his jaw languidly. He answers, adding a
small gesture of his hand, in arcane, 'If you have seen, then you have my
gratitude. Nothing follows, for the present.'

Ethinian shudders slightly at the touch of the shadowy being.

A shadow-cloaked being withdraws the claw with a raking scrape, then evaporates
into an obfuscating dark mist.

Tal lets his eyes linger on the dispersing voidmist, the faintest suggestion of
smile creasing his thin lips.

A tittering, malevolent laugh rings out 'We are the Scorpion, combined from
those who have Failed. Err as We did, and suffer Our curse and Our joy.'

The voice is silenced, and the mist dissipates.

Ethinian says 'Lord Archmage, what.. That was those who did not?'

Tal drops his gaze to find the black-marked chair within the council chamber.
His smile thins, before disappearing altogether.

Ethinian finishes his sentence 'Those that failed?'

You nod sagely at Ethinian.

Tal answers, in arcane, 'Those who wavered, or those who allowed themselves to
be misled.'

Tal says confidently, leaning into the Dragon throne, in arcane, 'You shall
afford no such thing, I trust. Indeed, I am confident of it.'

Ethinian nods slightly.

Tal crooks a finger, beckoning you along.

Ethinian says 'With your guidance, Lord Archmage.'

Ethinian now follows you.

Tal invites, in arcane, 'Come. We feast to commemorate your Oath-taking.'
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