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Book Burning in Old Temple (8/29/2018)

 
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Sister Cecilia
Wyrmling
Wyrmling


Joined: 26 Aug 2018
Posts: 6
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Can Be Found: Old Temple
410.58 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:11 pm    Post subject: Book Burning in Old Temple (8/29/2018) Reply with quote

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And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.
And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.
So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

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It's time for a good old fashion book burning, brothers and sisters. Cast what is wicked into the fire and be cleansed of your sin. Through the flames will your soul be rejuvenated into His Light and a blessing be washed down upon you. Those who have once sinned may be cleansed and given passage to the beauty which is eternal salvation, while those who continue to practice their ill arts and ways will find only agony and eternal damnation in both this life and the next.

Do not fear for those who are wicked and continue to shy from the love of The Lord, as they are no longer human. Cast them out into the streets and see that they are known for what they are: an abomination that must be purged.

- Sister Cecilia

--

(( A wicker man construct has been set up in Old Temple where the populous has been asked to cast away their books or other paraphernalia of occult & taboo items so that they may be burned. The night appears as if item burning is the only thing on the agenda until the 11:59 PM where a woman, who has been marked with the brand of W for Witch on her forehead, will be burned to death.

For those interested in participating in the story: Feel free to do whatever beyond killing Sister Cecilia. Want to say your character saves someone who is being kidnapped by the sisterhood while killing a few of them in the process? Go ahead. This is completely open and free beyond a rocks fall everybody dies situation. The sisters have occult knowledge that may be rather odd for those who are supposed to be very against it, and have ways of countering magic, some even act like mindless constructs, but they aren't unkillable. The sisterhood mostly act in secret and stay in the dark of night when they abduct, though there's enough fringe members within the group to play out a situation however you might like. ))
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Sard
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 21 Sep 2017
Posts: 16
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Jobs: Gardener
Can Be Found: The Greenhouse, the Community Garden, the Library...
2980.66 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Say it once, say it twice, say it thrice... and so is it spoken, so shall it be done. The Mariner can be summoned just like that angelic and demonic trash, after all, and even better, she's usually just a phone call away.

The bike slants at a rakish angle, a few scraggly weeds poking through cracks in the pavement beneath it, as Sard slouches against the seat from the low side of the lean, arms folded across his chest. For once he's not wearing denim or flannel - instead, it's plain cotton hanging from his shoulders, hair a tangle down his back pulled back into a tail. An index finger taps on the face of his 'watch' absently, as he watches the covert trickle of bodies, furtive with fear, trickling through the unusually empty streets. A text message had been sent to that Mariner. 'Corner of Chapel and Cordon. Idiots want to burn books.' - Which probably ensured that Pharlen knew perfectly well why Sard was messaging her. The other hand holds a cup of coffee... and there's a second cup balanced on the bike's tank, next to his hip. There's something new, however - the hand tapping at his watch has a wand in it. Not a magical wand, but a blue crystalline rod, about six inches long.

Has Sard been collaborating with Uncle Emrys? She would certainly ask. But that Long Yellow Rolls sliding down the streets came to a halt, and from it strode the timelord, herself. She had her goddess mother on, that's for certain, flowy silks in bright patterns, leather flats, and her hair loose to the wind. As she swung shut to the door to the giant banana, it vanished in a rippling of reality. Much better than Northstar, yes yes. She strolled to Sard, adjusting her glasses, brows lifting, pale eyes curious in confidence. And her nostrils flaring: he'd brought her coffee as offering?! Yay! But she was all cool elegance and Miss Manners. She'll wait politely for the offering, unless he doesn't, then she'll try and steal it. "I am here, yes yes. You realize, that to accomplish much, we shall need brave the fires."

The Greenswarden might not have... but that doesn't mean the Library Computer hadn't been. Beril had taken a cue from her 'Mother' in selecting a name, and a way to extend herself outward into the city was a logical step. Namely, a means of feeding information directly to the central 'mind' of the computer, as well as accessing information from it. Sliding the rod into the breast pocket of his shirt, the biker reaches for the second cup of coffee, offering it to Pharlen without hesitation before taking a swallow of his own. The slip and roughness of his voice is entirely gone when he speaks, leaving just the quiet bass-baritone. "It's good to see you. Incidentally, I think I'll start taking Emrys to a different brothel. The first one's getting too familiar. I can handle fire, if I have to. Burns will heal up, and I don't have any fireproof clothes to use, but what those idiots are burning is irreplaceable. That kind of book is usually hand written, and only one copy made. Can be replicated - I've done it before. But people don't."

Coffee. Blessed cof... pause. Her chin lifted, she looked Sard over keenly, like a little jay bird deciding whether or not to swipe your fries. Then she lifted a hand, reaching out - but not touching - as if to cover his throat, moving an invisible path over where the mis-healing had been. Oh, now a smile, dulcet and dimpled. "Perfect. Perfect. Yes. All you need do is to remember that fire always burns, like rust, and so avoid it. What is this wand you have?" she queried a moment later, head tilting to catch the item fully in her gaze. Likely, she was analyzing it.

Lips tighten with the edge of what would have been a smile on anyone else. Head tipping back, Sard half-hoods his eyes, watching the albino from beneath them. There's no hesitation to touch, from him - the hand hovering over his throat doesn't bother him at all. His own hand reaches for Pharlen's shoulder, just to squeeze gently. "It's pure energy. Fire. Figured sliding between times wouldn't change that. But the price is worth the prize. Let them think they've destroyed the books, but Beril will be recreating them before they're gone. People who'd burn them don't need them. Others may. Most are probably stolen from others, anyway... and maybe those others will be able to find what they lost again." The books. Releasing her shoulder, he slides the wand back out of his pocket and offers it over. "This is for you. Can't create a physical replica of a book, but tell it what you want and it can project the image of the material onto a blank surface for you. Run it over a book, it can scan the whole thing, penetrating through the layers to replicate the entire item intact instead of having to scan each page individually. I trust you. This is a direct link to Beril..." So be careful with it.

"Yes yes." Touch, for touch. She pressed fingers along his throat, carefully probing, then bip! A tap of forefinger, short neat nails, and carefully accepted the wand into her hands. Her head tilted back and forth, birdlike. "Hullo, Beryl. We shall have an interesting time, I think, yes yes. Come along." she doesn't know where she's going. She stopped to take a drink of the coffee, and of course to make it look like she meant to do that, waiting for Sard to lead the way.

Healed. Not only healed, but the adaptations he'd had to make to deal with the mutilated tissue have reversed, the excessive muscle development reduced to a normal level, the weakened areas strengthened. Sard's been diligent in his voice exercises - even if not in public. Pushing away from the bike, he falls into step with Pharlen, draining his coffee cup to crumple it in his hand. A bit of spore is all it takes... broken down crumbles fall from his fingers a few moments later, into a planter on the sidewalk's edge. A little added mulch and fertilizer! Dusting his hand off, the biker digs into his pocket to remove another wand, identical to Pharlen's, a nod indicating a group of men marching down the road ahead, surrounding one carrying a lumpy bag. "You can tell the fanatical types. They look like they're doing the road a favor by walking on it. According to my information, there's some kind of wood structure set up for all the books to be burned in." A wicker man... just a few streets over from where they currently are. But even in the Temple District, coffee shops have to exist - which is where Sard's leaving his bike, for the moment. "Figure they'll gather together all the fuel, then light it up, have people throwing more on as it lights up. That's when we'll want to get in there."

"Yes, yes. Likely, they shall also be tossing some poor soul into the flames. Usually, it's one of their own, and they have visions of their afterlife, so I don't interfere unless requested," she noted, stepping along lightly to Sard's longer tread. She was used to keeping up with tall people, after all. So let us get an idea of what is going in, we can manage the books set down first for the fuel, and then step in as new books are tossed in. This shall likely give any of them that are adept at all the willies. I think I will make a few changes of clothing while we work." Because if you're going to work on your day off, you may as well make it fun. She sipped demurely at her coffee and looked as pleasantly upper middle class as she possibly could.

Shortening his stride to match Pharlen, rather than expect her to rush, the biker settles an arm around the pale woman's shoulders, a careful weight. "If they're burning someone, figure it's not my place to interfere. Someone I know... yes. Kid, yes. Adult - like you said, probably one of their own, or a volunteer. Seen that in places. Person figures the only way to make their god or goddess happy is to die. Seen a few who burned themselves, to make a point. Not my place to say they shouldn't, and if there's always people wanting to step in and interfere. Let them. Books are my concern, this time." There are plenty of others going the same direction - not all of them with books, or a fanatical look to them. People are always curious... and they'd show up just to see what was happening. No matter how morbid... there were always people who would think it was a party. "You're not expecting me to dress fancy, are you?" Pharlen can dress up! But surely she wouldn't expect Sard to! It wouldn't take long to see the gathering crowd, milling around the base of the humanoid figure, some crowding close, others lurking back a ways, an uneasy tide of bodies trying to find their balance - party or rite.

"Oh, no no. You are a large biker looking man. They will scarcely notice you. You would look like you belonged in the crowd, perhaps hoping to score an over excited zealot for an evening's entertainment. I am currently a typical almost wealthy woman, probably named Debbi, who would be demanding to see managers, and of course, deciding that this is a perfect way to get rid of all those nasty things I clutch my pearls about, but, I'm certainly not prejudiced or anything, why, some of my best friends are... whatever." an elegant dismissal of a hand wave. "When I cease to be that, they start to become uneasy. People belong in nice little compartments, you see. And if they are not in them, they can be shoved there because they must be what they appear to be. But when you cannot tell where their pigeonhole is, it's quite disconcerting, yes yes." She rarely did stick out, in fact, unless she so desired it. She'd learned early and fast how to blend in despite being albino. Not such a chore in the burning heat of the desert, where colors bleached and insanity blossomed, but even in the city, she glided by with few glances at all to her skin and hair.

A chuckle shudders Sard's chest, without any sound, as he tightens his arm slightly. "Can't be a Debbi. Too busy being a Panda. Could really throw a twist in their little bonfire... Nothing people like this hate more than reminders of old legends about nature gods." His other hand lifts, turning as mottled hues of green and brown crawl across the skin - and then a fuzzy layer of lichens, rising to coat the skin and fading again. "Could even do mushrooms. Got to figure they'd burn, though, and the crowd might get more than they bargained for." A bad idea. They didn't need people flinging themselves bodily into the flames, crazed by psychedelic fungi. "Better just be the biker man." The kind that people get out of the way of. He may not be all that big, but there's a degree of confidence and aggressive motion that makes people THINK you're big... and Sard uses it, spine tightening as he steps in front of Pharlen, to aim himself at the pyre and ignore the bodies in between. She's right. It's exactly the attitude that people expect from someone that looks like him... and it clears a path through the assembled bodies, without having to make use of elbows and stomped toes. He does go slow, though... so people have time to notice and get out of the way. "Just hold the wand, slide it over the book or scroll top to bottom or end to end. Beril will sort it out. If you can, put your other hand underneath, so it can gauge thickness with your skin."

And of course a Nice Debbi would have a Large Companion in such a messy morass of people. Nodding, she boldly stepped forward from the line held back by either respect or nuns, because of course, she was Probably A Soccer Mom and any moment, she would be Talking to Your Manager. There was a sort of invisibility in being that sort of person, as well, since most would instantly dismiss such a creature as scarcely worth the time, until she started throwing an entitled little temper tantrum. And so, she of course went right in to work, gauging these books for naughtiness. With a specially designed naughtiness gauging wand. Which earned her several perplexed stares, but so far, as it seemed that she knew what she was doing, she went right along doing what she was doing.

A quick glance toward Pharlen, and Sard starts working beside her, a rough grunt dismissing any objections that the nuns might have. A slide of his own wand over the book, before it gets tossed back onto the kindling forest beneath the statue.. but he keeps close track of which ones had already been scanned. Pharlen would quickly find that the rod projects a bluish haze - which would be practically impossible to spot for anyone watching, but for the person using the rod, it reflects dimly off material already recorded - and not off what hasn't been. The very darkness highlights books that need to be added in. It probably wouldn't take very long, though, before some of the Nuns tried to push them back.. regardless of the books going back onto the pyre. Beril - the spelling isn't accidental! Just as Koral hadn't been Coral - added in her own twist. Books with magical enchantments on them would emit a dull, reddish glow, after being scanned. The spells are being recorded as precisely as the material - for replication, after they're dissected to ensure they're safe. There are undoubtedly books in there that have spells on them designed to explode or summon something nasty, when they're damaged...

Pharlen waggled a finger at an officious nun starting to come towards her. That held the woman off about three seconds, long enough for righteous indignation to flare forth into the woman's face. As the nun marched closer, Pharlen stood in a swirl with her best Matron smile, murmuring something pleasant and musical. Sard could likely hear Pharlen announcing that she was representing the RhyDin's Women Society, and was assuring herself that the proper Naughty Books were being tossed into the fires. She could schmooze with the best of them, and soon had the nun smiling and nodding, as if she knew all along what this society was all about and of course, of course. A Betty Furness smile later, and Pharlen returned to work. As she found trap-books, she carefully placed them like a demolitions expert laying charges on a bridge that had to come down.

Panda is so getting to bear the brunt of Religious Fervor. She handles the first Nun... and Sard just deflects the others toward her, giving them a narrow stare before jerking his head toward the albino. "Got to make sure nobody throws Holy books in. You know this thing's got a demon inside it? You want that coming loose when it's burned?" Not just the books, either... artifacts and charms are scanned in, as well. With those, it would have been best to be able to replicate them harmlessly and remove the genuine item. And it's entirely possible that by the time the fire is lit, that's what will happen... Those that are genuine, Sard places carefully, while the fakes get wedged in much like the Timelord's efforts to create a nice demolition charge. The 3-D printers are already humming, back in the Library. Identical copies... not only of the books, but the artifacts, in case they're able to transport them in and switch objects out at the last moment. The only problem is transportation. When he has the chance, Sard speaks - growling, to anyone more than a few feet away - to Pharlen. "Some of these objects are real. Figure you know that better than me. Beril's making copies, but it would take a genuine magic-user to duplicate the enchantments intact. If there's a way to bring them here at the end, we can swap the real things out for the copies. If not, books are the main concern."

"Hm?" Musical and sweet. "Oh, of course. You do need to have gloves on for this. Here you are." She dropped her large tapestry bag in a space between them. It wasn't there before, but when didn't a Soccer Mom have a stupidly large purse to carry all the things for her darling children? She removed a box of latex and gluten free sanitary gloves and set them on a stack of books. Suggestion said she grabbed a pair and pulled them on. Moments later, handling a particularly nasty book, she stripped off the gloves and tossed them into the bag. However, what went into the bag was the book. But, since she had made the movements, it did seem that it was a set of used gloved. Once attention moved, they could just toss in what couldn't be duplicated, and drag out old copies of Reader's Digest Condensed Novels to replace them with.

A handy trick - and perfect for removing some of the most dangerous of the books. Burning things like that would set lose consequences that would be very, very bad for the onlookers. Magic has a way of protecting itself - though the nuns aren't all that shabby at magic themselves... which goes completely contrary to their apparent bias against it. But then, when haven't the major religions wanted to be the sole holders of any and all Power...? A grunt answers Pharlen, but Sard does make use of it. It might not work for the Artifacts that aren't books.. but if Emrys could link the replicas the computer was producing into that mix, they could do the same with those, as well. Regardless, there are a few items that get put back with a dusting of fine powder. It's not magical. Purely organic, actually - but the fungi and plants that would grow from those spores would suck heat into themselves, protecting and shielding the object within from the flames. Steady and methodical, the biker works his way through the books, pendants and - there's even a bag of dice in there. There'd undoubtedly have been some temptation to take them, if they hadn't been perfectly normal, albeit weighted, dice. The box of seeds, though... not exactly magical, but the plants that grew from them would be. And it's entirely empty before it goes back on the pile. Sard's not unfamiliar with slight-of-hand. It takes time, especially going back and rechecking the books that get added - but a few times, they do encounter religious texts. The biker even hands some of them off to the Nuns - particularly what appears to be their own doctrine! When he finally rejoins Pharlen, it's to nod to the torches being lit up around the perimeter. "This is going to end up turning into a mob. Figure we should let the rest wait until they light it up. If we can skip in between moments then, we can be out of here before the crowd hits mob status." There's already signs of that, in the muttering and shouting starting up. The purely party groups are either joining in - or melting away.

Anything could go into the bag, and interestingly, there were about five creepy little 'helpers' shuttling anything added in further in. She paused, an enchanting smile given to a noviate who handed Pharlen a heavy old grimoire. Oh, this was quite a work. She gave the book a little shake as if scolding it for it's nautitude, and then, leaned into the bag, handing it to one of the darklings within. She murmured to it, then, it slithered from the bag like a shadow, and skittered off, book on its head. The other darklings were quick to pass Sard the Reader's Digest novels. "Hmm, yes yes. So, I think, every five minutes, unless we see something particularly delicate being offered." she decided. "Shall we move behind the burning space then?"

Teeth flash in a smile that looks more like something a shark would wear than a sign of humor, as the biker squares his shoulders again, to lead the way toward a good vantage back behind the pyre. "Works. Figure you keep watch, slip me in and I'll do the scanning, you keep an eye out for anything that doesn't fit. Never going to understand people like this. Doesn't matter if it's fiction or magic - it's knowledge, of one kind or other. Figure there's nothing more stupid than fearing knowledge. Respect, yes... but this type of setup isn't about destroying what you fear. It creates the fear, so that it can be destroyed - and make the masses stupider, so it's easier for those that are using the knowledge, instead of destroying it, to control them. These Nuns... they're not Koral's kind of magic, but they've got their own kind. Fits, though. I've never seen any Church that didn't promote the same thing. Ignorant masses, who follow the doctrine they're given blind, so they don't have to hurt their heads thinking."

"Knowledge is power, and power belongs in the hands of those who best wield it, and those who decide such things generally want it all to themselves," she responded with a light shrug of thin shoulders. "Yes yes. When they know no better, they do as the boss says, the vote as the boss says, they riot as the boss says. Of course, they're starting with those things traditionally seen as evil so that if someone like you or I were to protest, they could say, 'oh, see, they are evil, they are defending evil!' The wicker man is never far from the straw man argument, you see." humorously as she moved out of the way. This time, she created something of an aversion around her. Thickening her aura into something repellent to such people. It gave her some breathing room. She didn't care to be in the clinch, unless it was sexytiems with her hubby.

A grunt answers the words, but the biker nods. "Evil exists in everyone. Not something that you can throw away. People fear what they don't understand, so it must be evil. Can't say that it doesn't exist for its own sake, seen things that existed for no reason but to make things suffer for no gain to anything. Has its place. Can't have good, without a countermeasure to balance it by." A philosophical argument, but Sard glances over at Pharlen with amusement, settling into her aversion space comfortably. "Figure the greatest evil is believing in gods. Puts the responsibility on them, instead of people having to acknowledge that it's their own. You want more coffee?" There's a vender. Of course there's a vender. Candied spicy pork balls 'Fire Balls', little sugar halos for the children - who brings their children to a Burning?! - 'holy water' and coffee. It's probably horrible coffee. "Been called evil. Been called a witch, too. Guess it depends on what you think qualifies for either one. Knowledge is only power, when it's controlled instead of freely available. Problem is that not everyone's able to differentiate between knowledge that should be used, and knowledge that should inspire them to counter it with research into how to prevent it being used."

"Coffee would be lovely, but I doubt that coffee's any good. When good coffee would win more souls to your side than good preaching. People simply don't understand people. These are not sheep. These are sharks. And the moment the Good Nun missteps... the sharks begin to circle. She may even be able to explain each failing off, but they gather and gather, and what had been adoring masses becomes dangerous, and angry that they were deceived. Since they rarely will admit that they had been fooled, they will be quick to accuse her of sorcery and worse. And then, it all burns again." Voila. She shrugged haplessly. "Many of the gods actually don't care if they're worshipped. They did their part. But it's the people who worship them -- often they distort the gods so horribly, they can't even recognize themselves.

A grimace doesn't entirely agree with Pharlen, but the biker doesn't directly disagree, either. "Powers. Gods are a human creation, term for what they can't understand. Koral taught us that much. Powerful, dangerous, yes. Mystical, no. Just not fully understood. Ultimately, just a person, different kind of person. Just like she was. Maybe with skills others don't have, maybe with skills they just haven't learned how to use yet. Person encounters a cat, doesn't make them a god. Cat just doesn't understand fully what the person does, yet. Maybe eventually, it will - won't mean the cat's a god. Just means it'll be smarter and more powerful, then, and something else won't be. I don't worship 'gods'. I respect the Powers that I don't fully understand yet, but on my terms." Eyes narrowing, he nods toward a group approaching, holding a box suspended by poles between them. "Humans don't always understand cats, either. Doesn't make the cat a god." The box is wooden... and the wood starts to crumble, as the Greenswarden concentrates on it. Tiny mold spores, that exist virtually everywhere, accelerated into growth and eating away at the wood. As it's set onto the pyre, the crate collapses under its own weight, already dissolved - and several elegantly marked felines bolt out, scrambling in a panic into the crowd as people squawk and scramble. "Probably not even familiars. Just cats."

"And that is why I have always served the spirits who never sleep. The Powers that Be," she responded easily. They were all people to her, whether mortal, terrestrial, celestial, god, cat. She scoffed softly, and as she liked cats, she lifted a hand elegantly, sifting through Time. Thus, the cats bolted like greased lightning, whereas those trying to grab the cats moved very very slowly. As the argument over who'd built the rotten crate went around, Pharlen simply kicked at her bag. More or less obedient, three of imps made themselves out to be five or seven black cats, which could be captured and properly burned. "In any case, most true familiars really don't mind a good burning. Gives them a chance to make a nice new physical form."

Chest shuddering at the Supercats vanishing into the surrounding streets, Sard doesn't make so much as a whisper of sound, the quirk of his lips barely hinting at a smile. "Familiars may not. Real cats do, though. Figure if those were familiars, the box wouldn't have held them anyway - but people never want to think about that, when they're being self-righteous." Watching the group scramble after new cats - someone could undoubtedly come up with a crate to stuff them into - the biker doesn't intervene this time. "Figure some familiars won't want to burn, either. Just beings from other planes, after all - and some of them aren't any more immune to fire than a normal cat is. Difference is, they get banished back where they came from. Cat dies." Straightening slightly, he nods toward a woman approaching with an armload of scrolls. "Get me in just when she throws them on? Those are going to go everywhere. Catch them just as they're tossed, I can scan them and scatter them without having to worry about bearding the lions again." The lions being a trio of nuns who'd settled at a vantage where they could watch the Soccer Mom and her escort - it's possible that not everyone was as willing to discount them are harmless, and there's a distinct haze of magical energy around the three.

"The real beauty of it is, that when they burn a living thing, it is horrific. And that will stop many of these people in their tracks and send them home. In the morning, many more will be appalled at what they witnessed - and allowed. Others will be disgusted that they were too afraid to step in and help. But that is partially why the animals are in a box." she murmured, though, of course, she was referring to modern souls. People of centuries past were so bored, it counted as entertainment. Though she knew this, she also knew that even the more primitive people of RhyDin were anything but bored. The Spirits and Fates took 'bored' as quite the challenge around there. She nodded to Sard, and simply waited. Once the fires began, and the women with the scrolls stepped forward, Pharlen once more raised her hand. Everything seemed to stop. But as she had warned, the flames remained hot.

There's another flash of teeth, a grin that most would have taken for good-natured. But that doesn't match the bass growl in the Greenswarden's tone, as he glances over the crowd. "And that's why the box won't last beyond the first flames. I hope those cats are good actors. Let these people see the full consequence of their actions." Cruel in its own right - but not nearly as cruel as standing by and watching creatures burned alive. With darkness fully settled in, torches are thrust into the pyre... and as soon as the scene freezes, Sard goes into motion. Scrolls frozen in mid-flight get scanned with the crystal rod, some pushed out of the way as he works quickly and efficiently. A few, however, the biker removes from the rest, tucking into his shirt - they'll go into Pharlen's bag soon - as he maneuvers around the flames. Those aren't the only items, either... the objects he'd protected earlier get gathered up in a quick sweep, not books but artifacts. An amulet, a puzzle box... a tiny cauldron and a few other oddities... not without damage. Coiling lines of black score the Greenswarden's skin as he stops beside Pharlen again, lips thin. Unloading the items he'd taken, he nods. "I got the rest of the books that had been added. There... over on the edge of the crowd. They've got a woman they're going to burn - you were right." The ropes binding her, and the W on her forehead, are obvious enough. Carefully, Sard peels off the charred remains of his shirt, baring the complex belt beneath it as the rags are tossed onto the fire. Shiny patches of skin are already dulling as his body works to heal itself.

Once Sard was clear, once more Time resumed its flow. Oh, the imp-cats were fine actors. Such fluffy, adorable creatures, suffering so horribly, so ghastly, choking and wailing with kitten voices. Until those watching prayed the poor things would die just to end their misery. Until Pharlen made a cut it motion of her finger across her throat, and the imp cats finally perished. As the bodies glowed white and disintigrated, they reappeared, fat and sassy, cosy in her bag. She turned her gaze to the 'witch', her head tilting. "I think it is for another to rescue her, yes yes. But now, do I replace your shirt or send you home all sweaty and sooty to let Uncle Emrys gape at you?" A teasing curl of grin. She'd heard him trying to horrify her by dragging her sainted uncle off to the brothels earlier!

Already, Sard's skin is darkening. With the spectacle of the cats thrashing around in the flames to stare at, nobody was likely to notice that he'd suddenly developed a dark tan - which served very well to conceal the soot on his skin! Even the Lions had been distracted, just long enough... and it looks like the crowd is reacting to the presence of a PERSON to be burned, with the foretaste of those 'poor cats'. "Others, yes. Let them be shocked, if no one does. Looks like we got at least most of the books. Few people are starting to make a run for it - get out of here before it gets violent. Let's go get a decent cup of coffee, before all the screaming and pushing starts up." Though he does collect one more item. It's just a book... thin and leatherbound, rather than fancy... but the Biker jerks his arm back and to the side, slamming the back of his elbow into the nose of the zeolot pushing forward to throw it on the flames. Ignoring the squealing figure on the ground, he steps in front of Pharlen again to clear a path - out and away from the rapidly accelerating situation. "Let Emrys gape at me. Got shirts at home, and it's good for him to get distracted from the books now and then."

"Sinner," she crooned as she daintily stepped around the person Sard thumped. She picked up her bag, of course, because she couldn't leave it to be unnoticed this time. Besides, the imps wanted a treat for their performance. "You're awful to tease. Hmm. I still owe Emrys a thumping after Halcyon had me picked up for being a vampire the other day." When she remembers, she can hold a grudge forever. But the odds were good she'll have forgotten before she returned to Sard's home. "This Mambo Nun is running for governor? Against the kids?" Not dubiously, because she knew how RhyDin was.

Hey, at least the biker didn't thump the man at an upward angle, to break his nose and punch it back into his brain! Tucking the book into the back of his pants, where it'll get caught between skin and belt, Sard makes a bee-line for the edge of the crowd. Once outside it, it's simpler to slow down, falling into step alongside Pharlen and ignoring the figures scurrying away around them. "Governor? The last one I wasn't much impressed by. Woman should have shut that fiasco of an auction down when people started treating the volunteers like meat. Emrys needs teasing. Besides, he's getting popular at the brothels. What did Emrys do to get Halcyon to have you picked up?"

"Collie? She did quite well for a governor of RhyDin, truly. She focussed on the medical infrastructure, though truly, I believe it's the housing situation and roads that need work. There's hundreds of orphanages, shelters, and medical spaces. Clean water and rent control are well overdue," she responded, and scoffed softly. "I can imagine. Naughty man. ...Actually, he didn't do anything, Halcyon simply used him as the reason she sent her storm troopers after me, but as you say, Emrys needs teasing. He gets too complacent even if you're making him take off time to get laid." Prim!

A chuckle vibrates Sard's chest again, as he holds the door of the coffee shop open for Pharlen. "Good coffee here. Chocolate covered espresso beans, too. Collie? Isn't that a kind of dog?" He would actually remember that. "Wasn't impressed. Get rid of the rampant breeding, no more orphanages. No child on Koral was ever left to run loose." Then again, they were genetically engineered. "Sounds like that big horse needs some itching spores on his saddle. Can set you up with that, if you like. Thanks for the help today - you dig those things we put in the bag out, I can get them to the Library after we have coffee where they'll be protected and reproduced, instead of destroyed." The sheer disgust in the biker's tone speaks volumes. Burning books!

"That's her name, Collie," she explained, and laughed. "Oh no no no no. No. I shall be practicing my own form of torture onto lovely Miss Halcyon. And it will involve a blind date, I think..." Musing as she glided to a seat. "It is nothing, Darling. It is what I was made to do, in fact. Except this time, I am taking the fire from the fire. Lovely irony." As, she is a Fire-Taker. "Plus, I got rid of a lot of those darn Reader's Digest books and out of date College Books. Even recyclers won't take those boat anchors. I'll bring the bag by later, we can remove what you want." Quite an opportunity for Sard, though he may not realize it. To be able to remove information from her bag, where she keeps generations worth of Taken Fire - information and artifacts too advanced for the people that had them - without her really caring what he grabbed? He may not realize it, but Jackie and Emrys certainly would. ...But later! For now. Coffee.

Stopping by the counter to collect coffee for both of them - and lemon-curd shortbread cookies for Pharlen, whether she likes them or not - Sard settles across from her. The cookies get slid in front of the albino, along with her cup. "Who's she dating?" Since it was obviously going to happen. Later, he could investigate the bag! Though... Sard may be repulsed by the destruction of knowledge. However, he knows all too well that some toys should not be placed in the hands of those who don't understand their consequences. But that would be later. Coffee!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[9/2/2018] -- Old Temple North Watch

Our breath to give HIM voice.

Scrawled out on the walls.. methods withheld, some with ink and some in not so savory substances, but self inflicted wounds which resulted in blood had not been included. The Nuns, every single one of them which had been apprehended, had hung themselves with their own bed sheets.

This left Detective Garcia annoyed. They had only found three of the missing through their own hard work while the Nuns either babbled on about nonsense or sat quietly and drooled on themselves: the latter were obviously spellbound by something, that's what the expert said. Whatever spell that had been must have faded to allow them to partake in group suicide.

"Find anything in the sewers?" She asked. Below the building that the Nuns had dubbed their `Church` was a busted wall that led to the sewer system, one tunnel had been collapsed while the other led outside of town to.. nothing. Just a deep, dark fall beneath the water. They sent down one of those mer-folk after dropping a few glow sticks to see just how far the waterway went, but found nothing. There had to be a connection though, as the same words scrawled on the cell walls of the now dead Nuns littered the tunnel way of that sequestered sewer.

"Nope, nothin' boss.. Sent another diver down there, same thing.. Cleared the **** from the other end too, nothin' there either. How long we gonna focus on this anyway? We got homicides to look at, and you know how those keep pilin' up." It's Rhydin, after all. "Jus' keep sayin' there's a bounty and move on."

Move on is what they did a lot. In the past Garcia might not have been able to stomach that logic, but after so many years of working in this city, she knew she shouldn't dwell. Explosions, fires, random abductions, murder, it happens almost weekly.. nightly in some cases. There was just something that bugged her, that's all, and maybe it would have been nice to come out on top just this one time.

".. Yeah, get me the info on the murders." Maybe she'll come out on the winning end in the next one.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5 September, south side of Old Market near the river

The night was dark and overcast, with both moons merely hazy shapes barely discernible through the clouds. Still, the rain was holding off, which meant that Rhydin's streets were busy yet, between late evening shoppers and night folk. The streets were abuzz with discussion of the upcoming election, the weekend festivities for Citizens Day, and the recent book burnings and missing people. In some ways, the activity across the city was going on in spite of the disappearances.

Not all the passages throughout Rhydin were bustling, though. Some were quiet, even peaceful, while others lay in resless silence, disturbed only by the furtive noises of those who preferred to go unseen. Dark cloth rustled softly as three figures slipped down a backstreet alley, on the hunt and intent on their prey.

The young couple ahead of them was oblivious to their danger, focused solely on each other, their thoughts romantic, even erotic, and an aura of glamour surrounded them. The three dark-clad hunters edged closer, one of them clearly directing the others with swift gestures. Still heedless of the threat, their prey kissed and then one gestured to conjure a flower for the other, getting a brilliant smile in return. Seeing that, the leader of the hunting party sneered, and raised a hand, ready to signal.

"Good evening!" The voice rang out, bright and clear, from the other end of the alleyway. A young man stood there, silhouetted against the street lights. "You may all go now!"

Startled, the couple looked down the alley at the speaker, and then in the dim light they spied the three who had been set to take them, and gasped in shock. The interruption had left their stalkers frozen for a moment, and the pair took the opportunity to rush out into the safety of better-lite and more populated avenues.

Deprived of their targets, the hunters rounded on the intruder, two of them gazing at him with stone-faced expressions while the third, their leader, narrowed her eyes. Unperturbed, the youth approached them, his face as unreadable as a master gambler in a high-stakes poker game. As he drew closer, a faint sapphire-blue glow could be seen in his eyes, and the woman smirked, seeing that perhaps their efforts would not go wasted tonight. "You interfere with our righteous crusade, boy. Sinners must be punished... as you will be! Name yourself, that we may know whose wicked soul we will be purging."

One of the young man's eyebrows arched elegantly as he stepped into the circle of light from a lamp high above. "That's not a very polite introduction," he mused, lips twitching into a grin. "Doran Ilnaren, at your service. And you... you're some of those book-burning nuns, aren't you?"

"We serve Our Lord faithfully, unlike your ilk who have dragged this city into sin and wickedness." As she spoke, the other two moved to either side, ready to come at Doran like pincers of a lobster's claw. "You're a fool, boy, to face us alone."

"Do tell." Then something flashed in Doran's eyes, and a wave of pain washed over the nuns.

Caught unaware, the leader of the trio doubled over as searing agony flooded her senses. "Aaaah! Get him!" The other two, seemingly unaffected by the empathic assault, blinked once and then rushed at him from both sides.

It had been Doran's turn to be caught by surprise when only one of the nuns fell to his psionic attack. Their instant of confusion, however, gave him time to recover, and he quickly withdrew a small cylinder from his belt. With a quick shake, the cylinder sprang out to form a Minbari fighting pike, and he struck left, then right, catching one nun in the gut and then smashing the other across her jaw, which broke with an audible crack. Disconcertingly, neither of them seemed to be adversely affected by the blows, and Doran was forced to backpedal when they rounded on him and kept coming. Then he stumbled, and the one to his left grabbed his pike, jerking it free from that hand. Snarling, the two of them struggled for control of the weapon, but the other nuns were soon upon him.

The pike was torn from Doran's grip and then jabbed hard into his chest. He dropped his head, straining to catch his breath, while the lead nun turned as whistles sounded in the distance. "The Watch, roused at last, but too late. You will burn for your sins, foolish boy, burn forever. I told you, you should not have faced us alone."

"Alone?" There was an odd echo in the lad's voice, and when he looked up at her, the blue glow in his eyes fairly gleamed. "Who said he was alone?" With that, a ghostly form burst from Doran's body, and then another and another, unsettled spirits now circling around them all. "Foul woman, you and yours have defiled the peace of this city, and we say enough! You are the ones who deserve to burn... and you SHALL!"

As Doran slumped back, the alley walls echoed with the screams of the robed women as the raging ghosts enacted their own justice.

* * *

Someone shook Doran and he roused to consciousness, his nostrils greeted with the gut-wrenching scent of burnt hair and scorched flesh. "What hap-?"

"That's what I was going to ask you, kid." The Watch officer crouching beside him turned to look over his shoulder, where three charred bodies in well-singed robes lay. "I came into the alley to see a bunch of glowing folks swarming all over, and those three sisters going up like torches. Looks like they were some of those whacked-out nuns we've been trying to round up, which makes dying like that more than a little ironic."

"It seems that you're not the only one that thinks so," replied Doran as the officer helped him to his feet. "There are more than a few ghosts in this city, and I'd say that they aren't too happy with those ladies right now. Ironic justice, indeed."
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Early AM, 8 Sept. - Battlefield Park

Security had been increased for Citizen's Day events in Dockside, but in the wee hours of Saturday morning, there was a roaring blaze in Sarengrave House. Inspectors from the Fire Brigade stated the fire started in the first floor bookshop and resident library. The grand opening was cancelled. Several apartments above the shop were destroyed. An angry redhead talked to those that had come to take part in a celebration, but bore witness to the destruction. The anger had been held back behind a mask of calm. A strong empath could have seen through it, but it wouldn't have been wise to reveal it and have that tsunami released.

"Are you going to rebuild, Governor?" The question had come from a woman shoving a microphone in Colleen's face.

"Of course this will be rebuilt." Her eyes flashed with a deep green fire. "Do you think I or anyone else involved with this project is going allow a bunch of so-called Christian nuns or anyone else stop us?"

"So-called?" The reporter was taken aback at that remark.

"Did I stutter?" Colleen's gaze was locked on the reporter now; a mongoose tracking a cobra.

"Could you elaborate?"

"Bottom line? I'd rather deal with a group of people that do not believe in a god or a Pantheon of them and act for good or ill on their own rather than credit or lay blame on a higher being. Said being might be shaking his or her head while watching them acting like a bunch of ..." She pursed her lips. "I haven't got a word appropriate for some of your viewers or readers right now."

A male voice came from behind Colleen, "I have some words for them." It was Eregor, who along with Rhi, was carrying boxes of ruined books from the building. Their children were safely tucked in at home with Tenball on watch.

A smile of gratitude was given to her son-in-law. "Literally."

Marcus Harding had grown a bit impatient as the family banter went on for a few moments. "Governor, you were saying?"

"I was getting to it." Collie eyed the reporter like an aged schoolteacher peering over the top of her glasses at an impatient student. "The Sisterhood of the Neo-Catholic Church or someone claiming to be among their numbers has claimed responsibility for this fire, especially the books they were intent on destroying. Thankfully, no one was killed. A watchman, Sean Baker, suffered from smoke inhalation and is currently in hospital for treatment and observation. Residents that were supposed to be moving in on Monday are being housed in shelters throughout the city. Some are being moved into quarters near their school or job sites. It's not the situation I had hoped for with this project. However, life in Rhydin has never lacked for the unexpected. As for my so-called Christian nuns comment, Mr. Baker, more harm, damage, and death has been done by people that have perverted the tenets of any given leader to their own needs than anything else in the universe." That tsunami was slowly breaking through. "If anyone has further questions, start cleaning up, and ask while you work. If you don't want to help get then out of the way while the rest of us do what's needed."
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[9/11/2019]

In the early morning a press release from the North Old Temple Watch is released that reads:

The bounty for Cecilia Prescot, the leader of the Neo-Catholic sisterhood known as "Sister Cecilia", has been claimed. Seventeen of the missing Thirty-Two victims have been recovered and efforts to reunite them with family are underway.

This investigation is still open. Please report any information on still active members of the Neo-Catholic cult to your Watch station. Your help is appreciated.
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