Tuesday, January 28, 2014

After the Rain ep02 : Houses of the Blooded

01/12/2014
After the Rain

Episode Two
"The White Star"

Houses of the Blooded

Galeo stands in a temple.  There is a massive statue of a white horse.  Galeo is uncertain how many days have passed since appearing in the temple.  The woman in silken robes reminds Galeo of how artists would represent the Suaven Talia Yvarai.  And the temple they are in seems to stand above the cloud line.  Though the guards do not allow Galeo out of the temple, they have helped Galeo recover from the injuries gained in the Ruin.  Using the ash from the brazier, Galeo works on being presentable.  The guards treat Galeo delicately, even though they neither address Galeo using the formal title or name.

When the woman returns, she is more apologetic.  "Does the Rain still fall?"   Galeo says Shanri has survived.  The woman admits she knows of the Rain far too well, but she cannot feel further than her own domain.  She is, indeed, the Suaven known as Talia Yvarai.  She had awoken from her sleep because of the death of another among the Greater Suaven.  She shares how she no longer hears the prayers of the Devoted and how she can no longer sense the shrines in Shanri.   She prostates herself before Galeo and asks a favor.

"Find out which one had died."

Galeo is uncertain who it could be.  As far as Galeo knows, all the Blessings are still working.  Talia tells Galeo she will return Galeo to the Ruin.  Galeo asks for a relic to build her a shrine.  She hands Galeo a means to return back to the Temple, a Shard of something that was perhaps once a massive Pearl.  Galeo realizes Talia has not heard of anyone's prayers in a while and Galeo's prayer must have been the only one she has heard in so long.   She also hands Galeo a red apple.  She tells Galeo that it has stored inside her kisses (all seven of her Blessings).  Galeo asks what will happen if the information discovered leads to Revenge.  Talia reminds Galeo that she is not of Revenge.  The spear men lead him away.    Galeo's thought race, however.  If this is truly her mountain, the spearmen are clearly veth.  Someone must be feeding them.   Someone must have provided them.

At the base of the White Horse, there is a carving of a massive pearl.  Galeo asks how Talia fares and she admits she has a caretaker - A woman who thinks her name cannot be remembered for the failures of her past.  Galeo asks which prayer Talia last heard and she admits it was Galeo's cry seeking sanctuary.  The world swirls.  The Horse Statue moves.  A blinding white light.

*

At the dining hall back at Ul, Matron Mother Elesa starts asking each one about how they fared in the expedition.  Count Kether begins by saying he failed, and that Galeo was lost as he ran towards the Ork to do battle with it.    Nia asks the Count where he struck the Ork and he admits it was somewhere "sensitive." The Baron  Felix, a reclusive genius, sits beside Jaric.  He mumbles that Kether does not seem right and that he has a more accurate account on the numbers regarding the Ork.  The Baron converses with Jaric on the expedition.

Kether continues to share his account and Seran reacts with interest at Kether's mention of the cookies.  Baron Path, a tall raven-haired man with an eye patch accuses Seran of bringing the poisoned cookies, but Seran deflects the accusation.  He turns to Nia instead and then goes quiet.  Count Badden of Fanglord, Blooded of the Wolf, encourages Kether to share more and even invites him to lead the next expedition!  

Zsanos Yvarai, Count of Kether
Baron Felix shows off the trophy he had picked up - a Serpent Earring - and Jaric realizes it looks like the same earring owned by Dranna Ru.  Baron Path, however, also reveals a similar earring as a trophy.  "They seem to match my set," a Countess speaks up, and all turn to see a silver-haired beauty they recognize to be Countess Isolde.  She even has a bracelet that matches the earrings.  She reproaches Jaric for being so particular with history, when history itself may be wrong.  Jaric knows her as a former member of the Senate.  One who was outsed for being known to be a liar.  Baron Felix challenges her claim to the earrings.  Jaric wants to simply verify which one is the real one.

And that's when the pair step into the chamber.  Golden haired with silver clothing, with a proud bright mask of red, Baron Fyx Mwrr, comes into the light with his twin brother Ryx Mwrr alongside him.  The others all recognize the man.  He was once the Count they all served.  Fyx is heart-broken, and holds an ardent interest in the era of the Sorceror-Kings.  Fyx state of Padana was borne from Isolde's lie about him  which she told the Senate.  And worse yet, after leaving Fyx, she won the heart of his brother, Ryx.

They trade barbed words, insulting one another, and as Tavlim greets Fyx as his "brother", Count Badden interjects that they should all just go back to the Ruins to explore it.  However, his glance towards where Count Kether was finds instead an empty seat.  A quick glance among the servants reveals the veth he wanted was gone as well.

"You were all invited here for a reason," Matron Mother Elesa admits and tells how she was once the Spymaster for the then Count Fyx.  She gathered all the other former Vassals that served the Count and brought them here to "gift" them to the Count.  Seran approaches Fyx, reminding him that she was the one who found his Province before.  Fyx forgives her and allows her to leave, "... with all your friends."

Isolde moves to take Elesa hostage, using the Blessing known as the Circle of Protection to keep them separated from everyone else.  Seran takes Nia with her and the two find Elesa's personal guard moving forward to protect them and show them an exit.  Jaric approaches Fyx and makes a vow to protect him and keep him safe.  Jaric invokes a Blessing however that forces Fyx to promise the same.  Ryx, on the other hand, guides Tavlim to safety.  As archers unleash arrows and begin killing the other Ven, Elesa begins the use of Sorcery to battle Isolde.  However, Jaric Moves the Pawn and reminds Elesa that the use of Sorcery is frowned upon.    Isolde takes this opportunity to challenge Elesa to a duel; Elesa chooses Count Badden to serve as her champion.

*

Nia and Seran withdraw from the events and are guided by the Staff to the stables where their own servants await. They discover some of the new Holdings Elesa has started with the Ranch being the most prominent one.  As Nia addresses the Staff of one of the dead Ven, inviting them to serve under her, Seran recognizes the noble horses and veth horses in the stable and learns of the Ranch.  The two wisely decide it is time to leave.

"A white star," Lukas tells the two and they look up to see a falling star in the sky.  Lukas asks aloud what it means and Nia worriedly mutters, "A white star falling from the sky means a Suaven has died."

There is a sound.  A blur of white streaking towards the Castle of Ul.
Galeo Silja has returned.

*

The duel is set for the first light of dawn.

Elesa has the corpses of the dead ven gathered for the duel.  Galeo is escorted by the Roadmen into Ul and finds Jaric on his way out. Jaric shares his displeasure of the massacre but Galeo tells him there are bigger and more pressing things to worry about.  Jaric recognizes the Shard in Galeo's hands as an artifact once owned by Quan Wei.  Despite his protests, however, Jaric has no choice by to acknowledge that Galeo has become the keeper of the Old Ways and Touched by the Suaven.  He sees faint letters upon Galeo's forehead, but it seems only Jaric can read them.

Count Kether meets them on his way out.  He carries something in his coat and his boots are drenched with drippingblood.  Jaric notices Kether's Blood Sword is missing.   As Kether bids them farewell, Jaric and Galeo continue to talk about what had transpired.  Jaric invites Galeo to his Province for the Opera, more eager now for reasons Galeo interprets as due to being more respected.

*

On their journeys home...

Nia finds a servant holding a parcel for her.  A gift from Elesa.  It is a small mirror and inside, Nia sees the image of the missing Baron Velya.  The note reads it is a gift for those who were not against Fyx.

Jaric finds an amulet that does not look valuable or expensive.  He is uncertain what it is meant to do.

Seran finds a perfume bottle as a gift.  She realizes the craftsmanship is odd and unfamiliar.  Crudely built and sealed tightly, she decides to put it away for now.

Galeo finds the white steed still waiting for him.  The guardsman at the gate  asks Galeo if the man who left prior was Count Kether.  When Galeo realizes the guard seeks Kether, and deduces he probably is related to the veth woman, Galeo offers the man to become a Master Swordsman under Galeo's care.  The man has a lock of the veth's hair tied into his own.  He accepts.

And finally, Nia pens a letter.
He tells Jaric of the falling star.

He tells him that a Suaven may be dead.



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