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Revision as of 12:27, 10 November 2019

This is a Mage's Guild RP.

Summary: Valrae, under the identity of Provost Sarah Grace, pays Odhranos a visit upon returning to the Guild. In a sudden dramatic entrance, Steward Quintessa arrives at the Provost's door, bedraggled and bearing news of treachery from Trist'oth. Once settled, the trio consider the implications of these new developments and discuss what must be done to ensure the purging of the Drow Matron's corruption from the Mages Guild.

Mage Tower

Odhranos reclines back into his chair and flips idly through the pile of papers on the desk before him. The papers in question are profile documentation of the Mages Guild’s roster of apprentices; now that Odhranos has been promoted to the rank of Provost, it is expected of him to take on a personal apprentice alongside his usual teaching and research duties. The terramancer hums in a troubled manner as he scans page after page, considering each apprentice, many of whom he knows personally, others he had only encountered on occasion. The task isn’t as daunting as it could have been, he was able to shorten the list down to apprentices who might benefit from his area of expertise; spellblades or illusionists would be better off learning under Veneficus Azakhaer or Provost Grace; but the list of apprentices seeking education in the elemental magics was still quite formidable. Odhranos places the pile down on his desk with a defeated sigh, he’d have to think it over later. Right now, he is in desperate need for tea.

Valrae , as Grace, was similarly expected to take on an apprentice now that she had also been promoted within the guild. This was tricky for the witch, particularly because she was living a double life that involved a full time job, raising a child, and secretly forming a coven. There wasn’t an abundance of time on her hands. Lucky enough for her, the powers that be wouldn’t be looking too closely toward her to lend a guiding hand to the youngest, most impressionable minds of the guild. Not after the stun she’d pulled at the commencement ceremony. Did they really want a contentious woman like Grace steering the apprentices astray? Encouraging them to question the machinations of the guild? Certainly not. Still, she’d go through the formality of searching for one and they would long sufferingly indulge her as she prolonged the inevitable. Which is what brought her here, sweeping into the guild with the rustle of cerulean blue silks and soft velvets. She was glamoured as always, falsely dark hair piled intricately atop her head. The chill of the autumn wind had turned her nose pink and reddened her freckle dotted cheeks. Her bag was large, the size of a small dog really, and the color of ripe peaches. Inside, she carried books that needed to return to the library and research on the satyr colony that had been discovered on Selen Island. Her first stop was with Odhranos though. The witch announces herself with a very softly spoken, “Hello,” immediately followed with, “Busy?”

Odhranos has gotten up from his desk and is fetching down his teapot from its shelf when a visitor arrives at the door of his office. “Ahh! Provost Grace!” The terramancer takes a step back from the shelf, cast iron teapot cradled in his arms as he faces the doorway and smiles, bowing slightly. “Do come in, I was just about to take a break and make some tea actually, if you’d care for a cup.” Odhranos shuffles around the large desk to give Grace room to step into the tiny office. “Sorry about the lack of space. The administrative council actually wanted to move me to a larger office with the other Provosts, but I’ve gotten far too attached to this place to upsize. Not to mention it would take a month to move everything.” Odhranos rambles good-naturedly as he places the teapot down, filling it with water from a jug he keeps on the windowsill. “Would you mind passing me down that wooden case from up there? Top shelf, between the quartz samples and the reference books.” Reaching into a small pot on his desk, Odhranos picks two small pebbles, round and smooth, which he drops into the teapot, before causing them to heat up and begin boiling the water. “Feel free to pick whatever tea you’d like from the case, there’s a little bit of everything in there.”

Quintessa had rode in all night from Vailkrin, not even bothering to stop by her manor to clean up before grabbing her mount, Bloodbeak, and returning to the Mage Tower. She looked frantic and a mess by the time she arrived, her long, black hair tangled and muddy and her clothes still damp with an oily substance. The cool autumn air made her shiver, but she had to deliver a message to the Mage's Guild. They had to know of the Drows' treachery. Leaving Bloodbeak behind, the changeling slammed open the doors to the tower, her spiked heels clicking loudly on the marble floor as she looked for someone, anyone, higher ranking than her to report to. "The offices!" she said to herself, the revelation giving her new momentum to pull herself up the stairs. By the time she can hear Odhranos and Grace speaking she is out of breath, exhaustion finally catching up to her. "Provosts?" she can recognize their voices, "I-I hope I'm not... interrupting anything...But I had to tell somebody." A pale hand rests against the doorframe as her haggard form hangs in the threshold of the office. "Provost Grace, you were right!" Quintessa slowly slumps against the wall, barely able to prop herself up any longer. She considered herself lucky that it was these two that she ran into first, as some other members of the guild might not be so keen on aiding the hex blade.

Valrae moves into the office and returns his slight bow with a dip of her own, smiling at the formality. “I’d love one. It’s cold for the season,” She comments, sliding the soft leather gloves from her hands as she speaks. As she slips them into her bag she laughs. “Please, don’t apologize,” The witch turns and scans the shelf for the wooden case, then finally leans on her tiptoes to reach it. “It seems they’re still struggling to make room for mine,” Her enchanted blue eyes move from scanning the selections of tea to find Odhranos. “I can’t imagine why,” Her tone was dripping with sarcasm but her smile was all mischief and good humor. ‘Grace’ settles on a lemon and ginger blend before passing the wooden box to him. Her eyes land on her peer’s desk, noting the list of apprentices, and begins to ask him if he’d seen anyone who looked promising when Quintessa’s entrance stops her. “Steward Quin-” Confusion crosses Valrae’s glamoured features like a dark cloud. When the younger woman slumps, the witch rushes forward to help her. She cast a dark look over her shoulder to Odhranos and makes small comforting noises while attempting to lead the Steward toward a chair. “Slow down,” She advises, “And tell us what happened. Do we need to fetch a healer?”

Odhranos smiles in thanks as Grace passes him the case of tea. “Mmm, it’s getting colder every day. It’s starting to feel like I never left Frostmaw.” The mage nods with approval of his colleague’s choice of tea. “Good call, ginger is a godsend in the winter months, I drink gallons of the stuff every time I get a cold.” Laughing warmly, Odhranos’ expression turns to one of gentle concern when Grace mentions the delay in her office being allocated. “Hmm… Regardless of the Guild authority’s difference of opinions with its members, it’s no excuse for sub-par treatment.” With a grim frown, Odhranos plucks a small sachet of pineapple green tea from the case before closing it and placing it on the windowsill. Odhranos was about to offer Grace a mug for her tea when Quintessa made her dramatic and ominous entrance. “Quintessa! Xalious above.” Odhranos springs into action, skirting around the desk as Grace moves to catch the exhausted steward. Pulling the chair out from the desk, he brings it closer to the Provost and Steward so that Quintessa might not have to cross so much of a distance. When she was seated, Odhranos would extend his hand out towards the jug of water he used to fill the teapot. The stone jug lift ponderously into the air and floats across to the mage, followed soon after by an earthenware mug, which is filled mid flight before landing in the mage’s hands, whereupon he offers it to Quintessa. “Here, take some sips of this, don’t strain yourself." Odhranos’ tone is gentle and caring and his eyes full of concern as he crouches before Quintessa. “What is it that could have driven you to such exhaustion?”

Quintessa leans into Grace, the slender woman placing her arm around her shoulder for support. The assistance given by both the Provosts was enough to get her seated, at least, as she takes a moment to catch her breath. "I'm not the one who needs a healer... Kasyr..." A lump in her throat forces the changeling to pause again, to repress the tears that wanted to flow. "He..." she takes the mug from Odhranos and sips as instructed. It seems to help. "It's Gevurah, she's compromised the guild..." Quintessa leans back in her chair, allowing her eyes to close for a moment as she gathered her thoughts. "I told Kasyr the Drow were planning something... I followed him to Trist'oth. He went to Gevurah's Mance but I couldn't follow him inside... Oh, Daedria, let him be okay... There was so much fire and blood. Lanlan and Gevurah attacked him! Lured him there all by himself and tried to kill him. If I hadn't made such a scene trying to get inside they might have been successful too!" She winces for a moment, the memories from the previous night still racing through her mind, giving her a headache. "Ugh... We've been had. This goes deeper than the Razurath Genocide. Gevurah is controlling the Guild from the inside! With Daath gone she must have tried to corrupt Kasyr and when he wouldn't be her agent she tired to kill him! We should have never trusted them!"

Valrae might have attempted to ease Odhranos’s mind about the office delay but Quintessa’s appearance had quickly changed the conversation. With the exhausted Steward seated, tea in hand, ‘Grace’ moved back a fraction in her hovering. The witch watches quietly as Odhranos takes the lead in questioning her, a knot of dread forming in her chest. Gevurah. She curses as Quintessa speaks her name. Valrae had long managed to remove the hex she’d been placed under by the drowess, but that had done little to unruffle her feathers. She’d also caused some sort of trouble on the night of the Samhain party Lanara hosted, though before Valrae could figure out exactly what she’d done or why, Lanlan helped her spirit away with a corpse for unknown reasons. The dread that had settled on her chest sinks lower, toward her belly. Lanlan was involved? In her mind, the moment Lan had pushed aside her wand replays. ‘Grace’ looks to Odhranos again, her eyes searching his face. She curses again. “This isn’t good.” With a slap of her power, Valrae slams the door of Odhranos’s office shut. “Where is he now?” She asks, “Kasyr? If he can be saved, we will save him.” But who could they trust? They needed a healer. Valrae was novice in that particular art at her very best. ‘Grace’ kneels in front of Quintessa again, pooled in watery blue silk skirts. “We must keep this to ourselves,” She warns, her lips drawn into frown and her eyes dark as they bore into the Steward’s. “Until we find Kasyr and understand how far this goes, it should not leave this room.” Only then did she break eye contact, to look at Odhranos for his agreeance.

Odhranos’ expression deepens in concern as Quintessa explains the situation. That the Drow Matriarch was plotting and scheming again is little surprise, Odhranos has always had a bad feeling about that woman, especially compounded after the genocide of the Trist’oth Razurath, but to hear that Lanlan was assisting her? Odhranos curses under his breath with frustration. “Lanlan has been unstable ever since he returned from the incident with Haladavar. I thought his condition was improving but... “ He shakes his head glumly as Quintessa continues. The terramancer’s brows furrow as Quintessa suggests that the corruption of Gevurah’s influence extends deeper than they had suspected before. He winces as Grace slams his door shut, but with a twist of his hand, the lock clicks in the door, wordlessly conveying his commitment to this secrecy. “Agreed. If this influence reaches as far as you suspect, we have no idea who is compromised.” Odhranos turns to meet Grace’s eyes with a stern nod.

Quintessa jumps for a moment when the door is closed, but she quickly relaxes when she finds that she is not in danger. "I suppose the other higher-ups won't like this talk. You remember how they responded to this truth when you spoke of it during the ceremony. They don't want to believe the Drow could be controlling them." The changeling grits her teeth before adding, "But what about Lanlan? He could come back here and spread his lies." Mismatched eyes flicker frantically between Grace and Odhranos, pleading for guidance. "You said it yourself, Provost, he's unstable. He-he attacked a guildmate! That should be grounds for ejection alone."

Valrae ’s brows wing upward in surprise as Odhranos mentions Lanlan’s instability. How had she missed it? Again the witch replays Samhain. If it hadn’t been clear before, his allegiance with Gevurah could no longer be denied. Standing against a fellow guild member had been one thing, attacking another was something else altogether. Just as the thought crosses her, Quintessa speaks it aloud. “Yes, attacking a guildmate without justification is inexcusable,” She shakes her head. “It isn’t tolerated… Or wouldn’t be, under normal circumstances...” ‘Grace’ frowns and stands again, crossing the small room in a short pace. “Lanlan would have to come here with hard evidence that his attack on Kasyr, a higher ranking fellow guild member, was unavoidable or totally necessary. Even if Gevurah has managed to corrupt the council, public guild opinion holds weight at Kasyr is well liked.” Valrae slides a sidelong look toward the Steward. “Especially amongst the apprentices.” The witch lets the small, mostly harmless comment hang in the air for a heartbeat before she paces back. “They wouldn’t be able to just wave this away, even if Lan storms here with lies, they’d need some merit. But I don’t see that happening. It wouldn’t be in his best interest to come here, waving that he’s attacked an Auxilia Veneficus. For any reason.” She looks to Odhranos again despite the confidence of her words. “It in our best interest to keep this quiet for now, until we know who we can trust, and until… Until we know where Kasyr is,” The unsaid words crouched like an ugly beast in the small room. ‘Until we know if Kasyr is even alive.’

Odhranos grimaces. “I can’t speak for Lanlan’s mental state, but when I saw him last, he exhibited very abnormal behavior. Before the incident in Sage, he was prideful and arrogant; when he returned, he was aggressive and outright manipulative. I don’t know what happened to him during his disappearance, but whatever Haladavar did to him, it drove him over the edge.” The terramancer’s expression falls. “I consider him a friend but… right now he is a danger to those around him.” Odhranos lapses into silence as he listens to his colleagues. “My fear would be that, despite the fact that Lanlan would near definitely be condemned for his actions in a public trial, I suspect that things would never make it that far. If the Council is as much under the Matron’s thumb as we suspect, I wouldn’t put it past them to cover up the entire incident.” Odhranos frowns and his hand settles on the gold cage that hangs by his hip. “It wouldn’t be the first time. The Guild has a history of covering up its unsavoury secrets.” With a troubled grimace, Odhranos faces the Provost. “Secrecy is the best course of action for the time being, but what would you suggest our long-term plan be? As it stands, we risk facing against some of the most powerful mages in this land, with the force of the Guild at their back.”

Quintessa listens carefully to their words. They were more experienced than her, and had better ideas on how to act, this she at least could recognize. When 'Grace' speaks of Kasyr's popularity among the apprentices, the changeling sinks down lower into her chair. Were people already talking about them? "Okay," Quintessa finally agrees, "I'll tell nobody else." 'Except Karasu,' she should have added. She was going to go straight to her after she stopped feeling so lightheaded. "I considered Lanlan a friend too... But this betrayal..." The odd girl frowns, eyes of blue and hazel falling to the floor. "Maybe he's being manipulated. Maybe Gevurah is to blame for all of this. Maybe-ahhh..." The hex blade winces again, bringing a hand to her face. "We have to figure out who we can trust... Grace, a few people supported your comments at the ceremony. Do you think we could reach out to some of them? We need all the allies we can get during these times."

Valrae nods but indecision colors her false features. Her lemon and ginger tea had cooled to lukewarm and sat untouched on Odhranos’s desk. She watched the still, mirror dark surface for a moment and considered his words. How deeply did those secrets web? She couldn’t know what lengths the guild would go to cover Lanlan’s treachery, even if they weren’t compromised by Gevurah, they wouldn’t want the scandal of something like that spreading far. But something Odhranos had said blooms into an idea in her mind. “They won't have the force of the Guild,” She turns back to them again finally, abruptly, with the flourish of silk and dark hair. And Quintessa was following her up. There were supporters, others who were unhappy with the guild being manipulated by the drow. A look of sympathy and worry crosses her for the obvious state the Steward was in. “We need a plan, we need allies and we need to get a clearer idea of how far this corruption has spread… But right now what we need most is a healer,” She gives Quintessa a pointed look. “We can find a square one when we no longer have to worry about one of us falling unconscious.”

Odhranos sighs with unease as Quintessa ponders the reasoning behind Lanlan’s treachery. “We can hypothesize endlessly, but right now, the only person who understands why he did this is Lanlan himself. Until such time as we can separate him from Gevurah and unearth the truth, we can only consider the facts; Lanlan has exhibited violent behavior and attacked a member of the Guild. As it stands... Lanlan is an enemy of the Guild and we have to treat him as such.” Odhranos stomach knots with the gravity of his own words. Barely a month ago, he was worrying about his friend’s disappearance, now he was branding him a traitor? The terramancer is stricken at this development, but he must put his own feelings aside for now. When Grace stands and presents her course of action, Odhranos regards her with hesitant curiosity from his crouched position “Are you suggesting...we stage a coup?”

Quintessa pulls her long legs up into the chair with her so her can hug her knees against her chest. "A coup?" Her eyes widen with shock, "I don't think it needs to go that far, but we are in desperate need of real leadership." The changeling swallows hard when Provost Kerrigan brands Lanlan an enemy of the guild. "Especially now that we have renegade mages in our midst." She gives Provost Grace a look of gratitude. "I just need rest, I think... It's been a long couple of days."

Valrae feels the weight of Odhranos’s words and feels the truth of them like a kick to the head. Traitor. Enemy. The witch nods her agreeance but her face had paled. She doesn’t answer her fellow Provost for a moment, letting the question hang in the air between the trio long enough for the gravity of the situation to sink in. “I’m afraid I am,” She answers darkly. ‘Grace’ shakes her head at Quintessa’s reluctance. “If the Council has been compromised no leadership that can be trusted will come from them. Lanlan is a symptom, Gevurah’s darkness is the illness that cannot be allowed to spread. The guild needs leadership that isn’t in the pocket of a drowess with a self serving agenda.” She presses her lips together, hissing a long breath between her teeth. “We need to consider carefully before making any decisions… We need to know what we’re up against.” Valrae moves away from Quintessa and Odhranos again, collecting her bag. She pulls her gloves on and shoulders the purse. “Get some rest. If you aren’t feeling well by tomorrow, please see a healer,” Her heels click softly as she heads toward the locked office door. “When we find Kasyr, we need to speak together again. All of us, away from here. I’m going to pull a favor or two and keep my ear to the ground, I suggest you both do the same.” ‘Grace’ turns the lock. “But know this, I’m going to do whatever it takes to see Gevurah’s control of this guild ended.” And with that promise, Valrae sweeps out of the office.

Odhranos heart plummets when Grace confirms his fears. “I had hoped it wouldn’t come to that… but this can’t be allowed to continue.” Odhranos gets to his feet and turns to face his desk, gazing out the window beyond in silence. He continues to look out at the world beyond as Grace makes her exit, turning only to nod when she leaves. When the Provost exits, Odhranos lets out a troubled sigh, placing his palms flat against the desk as his shoulders hunch, the grey-robed man seeming to deflate. He turns and sits on the edge of the desk, his face presenting an expression that speaks of how lost the mage feels. “I’m sorry, Quintessa, that you had to experience this.” Odhranos’ lapses into silence again, just processing what had been discussed before he returns his gaze to the steward before him. “Do you need anything? Umm…. some tea?”

Quintessa straightens up to let her feet return to the floor. Things had been set in motion quite quickly. The changeling was fidgeting with her dirty robes when the Provost finally addressed her again. "I'll be fine, I've been through worse scrapes." She offers a pointed grin. "I need a room, and a bath," she admits with a chuckle. "But I suppose tea will do for now..." Quintessa waves her hand, mimicking the spell 'Grace' had used to close the door moments before, and it shuts with a satisfying -click-. "Is she serious?" The newly promoted Arcane Steward was just now learning how deep the Mage Guild politics had taken root here in Xalious. The web seemed to rival the root system of the Xalious tree itself. "Very few have the wisdom to lead this guild alone. Maybe we need a council until an Archmage can be decided, one with proper checks in place to avoid corruption."

Odhranos snorts lightly, Quintessa’s humour and the task to keep his hands busy cheering him up a bit. While he reheats the water and stretches across the desk to fetch the tea case again, he nods in response to Quintessa’s question. “I’d imagine she is. Sarah Grace seems to be a woman of iron conviction; she’d have to be to have made her statement during the promotion ceremony.” Odhranos smiled as he picked a tea from the collection and popped it into a mug with a spoonful of honey, before adding boiled water to the cup. “Here, peppermint, it’s good for relaxation.” Passing the steaming mug across to Quintessa, Odhranos shuffled around to the far side of the desk and sinks into his chair. “Mmm, a council is likely the best form of leadership the Guild could do with right now. The position of Archmage is important during times of turmoil, but it incites the potential for tyranny, elevating such a powerful mage above others.” Odhranos rests his elbows on the desk and kneads his temples with the pads of his fingers. “My concern is that the current council won’t leave without a fight, and infighting within the Guild is the last thing we need right now. It would weaken the Guild significantly, and leave us open to outside interference, or even worse, attack.”

Quintessa takes her tea gracefully, her slender digits holding it with both hands as she slowly blows the stream away. "Thank you, Odhranos," she says, a genuine smile growing on her face. "Of all the people in this entire Guild you have to be the most kind hearted." She gently sips her tea, letting the warm liquid warm her core. "Yes, we should avoid infighting. I fear the Drow could strike any day now. Even in Vailkrin I picture them marching right up to my demesne and striking House Dragana. I know there is an entrance to Trist'oth in the Dark Forest, I fear they know as well." The changeling's mismatched eyes watch Odhranos carefully, gauging his reactions. Quintessa knew that riling up Grace would be easy, she hadn't counted on Odhranos taking so keenly to the idea.

Odhranos smiles and bows his head at Quintessa’s compliment. “It heartens me to hear you say that, thank you.” Odhranos reaches for his own mug as he settles into his chair, thinking over Quintessa’s worries. “Would Trist’oth have reason to attack Vailkrin?” Odhranos tapped the base of his mug against the desk in thought; he wasn’t particularly familiar with the political standing of the Kingdom of Undeath, he had never spent much time there since his arrival in Lithrydel all those years ago. “When you spoke to the Drow Matron before, did you have any inclination of what she aims to achieve? I understand her grudge against the Razurath because of how the attacked and occupied Trist’oth, but the Razurath are gone, surely she would be preoccupied with the repair and reconsolidation of her own kingdom right now?”

Quintessa sighs, "Maybe it's just misplaced fear. I have no actual reason for thinking Gevurah will attack my manor, I just..." She pauses to take a long drink of her tea, "For a while now I've felt this horrible feeling... That something awful is right over the horizon. Something that'll make this Saurian Genocide look like child's play..." Quintessa sighs again. "But you're probably right. She needs to rebuild. She wouldn't dream of attacking us yet, would she?"

Odhranos tilts his head as Quintessa explains her premonition. “Is there anything that might have incited that feeling? Anything you may have picked up on in Trist’oth?” Odhranos tends to place his faith in concrete evidence and provable fact, but he has experienced enough arcane phenomena in this land to know not to discount a premonition out of hand. “I would love to be able to say that she wouldn’t attack, but… Trist’oth has attacked the surface lands before.” Odhranos steeples his fingers in thought. “I sincerely hope that the Matron doesn’t aim to start a war, but the drow kingdom has always taken an antagonistic stance, and if she believes to have the strength of the Mages Guild in her back pocket, she may feel like she is in a position where she stands to win.” Odhranos sighs and sits back into the chair, running his hands through his grey hair idly as he stares up at the ceiling. “Gods above, I’m so tired of wars. I honestly wish that a common ground could be found between us all.”

Quintessa gives Odhranos a forced smile, "It's the will of Arh'Nuk," she explains, the same as she had tried telling Kasyr, "Ever since I was chosen at the Celestial Celebration, Arh'Nuk has been protecting me, guiding me, and giving me the strength to carry on. I'm certain that this foreboding feeling is another sign... I just don't know what it means yet." Quintessa reaches forward and places her empty mug on the Provost's desk, "Thanks again for the tea, but I think I've fought off my exhaustion long enough." The changeling stands, gives herself a moment to readjust, and then slowly moves to the door, "I hope we can one day find a common ground too. That is my hope for Vailkrin. For far too long we have been at the brink of civil war... It only holds us back. I want to see progress for everybody."

Odhranos raises an eyebrow but doesn’t question further; it’s not beyond the realms of possibility, just intriguing. “If you wouldn’t mind sparing an evening someday, I’d appreciate the opportunity to try document this connection with Arh’Nuk, I don’t believe I have ever heard record of it before, I would love the opportunity to further our understanding of the phenomenon.” Odhranos stands to see Quintessa to the door. “Mmm, do rest, I can’t imagine the stress you’ve been through in the past few days. I assure you, we will do everything in our power to see that Veneficus Azakhaer is returned to us safely. You have my word. If anything comes up in the meantime, if I can be of assistance, you know where to find me.” Odhranos holds the door for Quintessa and smiles gently. “Progress will come, Steward Quintessa, because we have people like yourself and Provost Grace who strive for it.”