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A Malevolent Hunger

A massive beast of a shark, corrupted and twisted by abyssal taint attacked the beaches of Arx. Within its maw a strange and awful dagger made of steel, wood and bone which creates in its wielder an unquenchable hunger. Where did this thing come from? Why was it made? So many questions to answer and what better place to find them than the Great Archive of Vellichor? Surely somewhere among the stacks is some information waiting to be found.

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An investigative scene to follow up the shark attack. If people want to participate, they'll need to RP with those spearheading the investigation: Prince Tyrus Thrax, Dianara Whisper, Lady Icelyn Acheron and Lord Aethan Kennex.

Date

Sept. 7, 2019, 1 p.m.

Hosted By

Reigna

GM'd By

Reigna

Participants

Tyrus Icelyn Lora Evaristo Mirella Rysen

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Great Archive of Vellichor

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Alena Sparks, unamused first mate, Silk, the Seafaring Spider arrive, following Evaristo.

When information is needed, the first stop on the knowledge seeking adventure is likely the Great Archive. While not all areas are open to the public, there is still a staggering amount of information to be found among the books here. And there are a fleet of scribes, pages and scholars that are on duty to help find information from the Stacks. The Archive is relatively quiet this time of the day, several of the pages stand around cracking jokes, while scholars work on various projects. There are several Templars standing guard, alert and keen-eyed.

Tyrus arrives escorted as always by his guards, yet though where his outfit and general appearance lacks any change, the fact that he is carrying a box certainly differs from the norm. And then there's the fact that one of his guards is carrying... is that a metal tray? And tongs? But so it is, and thus does the Thraxian choose with his little company a quiter and private section of the Archvies, to serve as the center of the investigation about to take place. "Let's wait for the others before beginning." he says quietly to his guards as he sets the locked box upon the chosen table.

Icelyn arrives next. Unaccompanied even by Acheron guards, she slips through the staks of books, around the pages and occasional scholar at work, approaching Tyrus from behind. She nods at the box. "Is that it?" She doesn't feel she needs to say what 'it' is. Instead she leans against the table, looking down at it with a steady, distasteful gaze.

Amongst those others the Thraxian prince mentions is one Lady Lora Fidante, the one with the little brown wren on her shoulder. No stranger to the stacks, she is quick to take advantage of the pages, and is led by one in the direction that he and his entourage have gone in. By the time she's close enough for conversation a very faint smile has emerged, but it wanes back into nonexistence when she spots the box. All the same there is a bow of her head, formal somehow as a more fully manifest curtsey. Icelyn's question addresses any particular curiosity she might have, so she but murmurs a quiet greeting and goes very wide around the table. Is there a minimum safe distance? Who knows.

Evaristo is hard to miss - he's wearing a cloak in bright colors of orange, red and yellow, with a large spider embroidered on the back, starkly contrasting with a dark gray silk stitch. His hair is not contained with the circlet, looking like it's trying to escape his noggin for fear of its life, in all directions. He's entering almost directly after Tyrus, and sort of ambles in the general direction like really, it's not his nosiness and curiosity, not at all. He's here for something else entirely, really.

Mirella's always quiet and light-footed, but today she especially so. Dressed in the precise, professional attire of a minister of a noble house, the dark-clad woman has her black hair tied up away from her face -- a face that is even paler and graver of expression than usual. She approaches the table and its dubious treasure with slow steps, coming to stand a safe distance away from that horrible, horrible knife. It doesn't matter that it's kept within a box. It seems the wary Lycene isn't taking any chances of exposing herself to the blade's malevolent power again. Hands settling in front of her waist, Mirella curtsies with immaculate grace to the small assembly of investigative nobles. "Prince Tyrus." she says to the same. "Thank you for allowing me to join you here." Then to Icelyn, "And you too, my lady." Lora meanwhile gets another dip of a chin and a subtle but warm smile. Still, Mirella is not entirely at ease. Not with that thing there, guards or no.

"It is." Tyrus answers Icelyn with a nod. While Evaristo's presence is noticed, it's dismissed by the Prince. The guards are there to get in the way of anyone too curious, after all, and they're quick to track the progress of the unknown man. Once Lora and Mirella have arrived, and the prince sees no one else join them, he nods. "Very well. In the interest of getting swiftly under way, Lady Icelyn Acheron, Lady Lora Fidante, Miss Mirella Fiorelli." it seems the man isn't particularly interested in going on forever with introductions. "In the interest of safety, we won't be handling the dagger directly. Use the tongs, if need be, and always put the dagger back upon the tray. There's no need to take needless risks." And with no further ado, he takes a key from his pocket and unlocks the box. Following his own command, he makes use of the tongs to pick the dagger out of the box and then unto the tray, in full view of everyone else.

Tyrus drops primitive dagger of steel, wood and bone.

Bowing respectfully to Lora, and with a nod for Mirella, Icelyn lets her gaze skate across the stacks while Tyrus fetches the dagger. Eventually, it lands on Evaristo as he approaches in his bright clothing. Letting Tyrus and the others get on with it for a moment, she approaches him.



"Good day," she says, with a bow in his direction as well. "Where are you going?"

Lora does offer Mirella another glimmer of a smile, another little tilt of her head, but she is then more thoroughly occupied by the presentation of the dagger. Only when it safely out of the box and on the tray and there doesn't seem to be any immediate ill effect does she come a bit closer. "It is quite primitive," she acknowledges. "It's half a wonder it's in such good condition." Her initial observations probably are not new revelations, and trail off when she, too, spots Evaristo in his colorful cloak.

Evaristo tries to peek around people and guards if he can and straining his ears to hear the conversation over there - he's not standing right next to the party of researchers, after all. "I am in an URGENT need of a book right next to where you are all gathered. Oh hello there, Miss Mirella!" he calls out and waves to the one familiar face there, smiling that wide, charming smile, eyes glittering with mischief. "Uh, that one... 'Agricultural Practices in the Lyceum'," he says, trying to sound convincing as he begins sidling around Icelyn, giving her a reassuring, innocent smile. "Turnips. All the rage in the Lyceum lately, I'm thinking of selling some to them.. My lady."

Mirella absent-mindedly looks over her shoulder, lowering her chin to Evaristo in greeting. She's aware he's there, but as yet she's chosing to focus on spookier matters. That box, that is to say! She wrinkles her brow when the dagger hits the tray, blinking a flutter of eyelashes. A frown purses her lips before she speaks in quiet, secretive tones. "It was within the shark. Lodged in there. Perhaps as a tooth? I can't remember anything other than the aberrant urges it put into me." She tilts her head, "Though I do wonder if it serves the heighten instincts that one might have already experienced. I felt ravenous when I held it, just as I did once when I was younger and without food to eat. Fury too. I've had moments in my life where I experienced such rage." She waves a hand dismissively, pulling it away from her waist before she places it back down on top of the other. "A matter to be considered later, perhaps?" At Evaristo's greeting she turns once more and quirks a polite but incisive smile. "Greetings. Turnips, you say? Of course. What else."

"Quite. Given where it seems to have spent at least some time." Tyrus tells Lora, as Mirella confirms with her own information. "It does not seem to be only you, nor does it seem to tap into old memories. The man who wielded the dagger shortly after you did had much of the same experience you described while holding it. Unlike most of my crew, he was neither an ex-slave nor an ex-thrall. Hunger was not felt nor known so keenly to him before." he specifies. However the matter with Evaristo is proving harder to dismiss the longer it goes on, and by the time the prince's dark eyes turn towards the man, he is visibly annoyed. "The Archives are to be used by any and all who might wish to seek Vellichor's knowledge. However understand that given recent events, these good Templars have little patience for mischief or trouble within these halls. If turnips are what you so desire, by all means continue with your studies and disturb us no longer."

One of the scholars nearby peers in the direction of the group. His is a sour face, wrinkled and heavily jowled. He is mostly bald with a tuft of wispy hair at the very top of his head that sticks straight up like a puff of black smoke. "Turnips? The section on turnips is that way, boy." He points a crooked finger to Evaristo's left. Then he promptly goes back to his reading.

Helpfully, Icelyn moves with Evaristo, staying in front of him despite his attempts to sidle around her. They are one very welcoming company today. She follows the scholar's pointing finger, then turns back to Evaristo. "Naturally," she says. "Turnips are very interesting." Her deadpan makes it unclear whether she's actually believing in this fact or not.



The dagger gets a sidelong look from her. "Sitting and studying it may not do us much good," she says. "Perhaps there have been other incidents like this chronicled here, where we can begin to search."

"Wait wait... there's a SECTION devoted to TURNIPS? Gods, you people really must be really bored if writing books about-" EVaristo starts, then shuts up - probably very wisely - before straightening up and dramatically pushing his cloak back to rest mostly on his back. "What you are all doing sounds way more important and interesting," he instead says, smiling wide and helpful. "As the Voice of the Disciples of Death, perhaps I can be of some assistance with that ugly-ass dagger? Whomever made that - clearly lack a sense of fashion. What would you even match that with, really? Loin cloth and badly treated leather?" he says. There's a sweeping bow after that. "Second First Harlequin Evaristo Arterius, Mockingbird of the Bard's College, Captain of the Webbed Wheel - at your service. I can pick it up if you want, see what happens?"

"Indeed. Looking at it gives us a general idea of its style and make, which may aid in further research. Beyond that, seeking incidents and reports from the Gyre War or matters related to the Darkwater. Potentially, Mangata's Reflection." Tyrus states as possible venues for research. "We're in the Archvies, and as our newest... friend... so points out, there's little that can't be found here." Speaking of, Tyrus' gaze turns to Evaristo once the name and titles begin to spill forth. "If you wish for said Templars to run you through when you lose your mind and seek to attack the nearest person? By all means. I would however suggest you find another way to help, if you so wish to do so. There are many records to go through, perhaps you might be able to aid there? Or studies of Abandoned weaponry, especially those in the Darkwater Deeps area. I myself will be delving in the more occult aspects of the hunger, and how it might have been tied to the dagger itself."

So many others speak to Evaristo; Lora does not join them. She but looks at him, equal parts somber and expectant, as if equally content to see his curiosity called on the carpet or for him to move on about his merry way. It's a few very long moments of this before he provides his introduction to which she counters, "Others have already picked it up, as Mistress Fiorelli has described. I doubt there would be any benefit to repeating that part of the experiment, unless you also feel the need to be overcome by hunger, and then by the guards." Or run through by Templars, thank you Tyrus. A nod, then, to Icelyn. "There are numerous stories about items that have touched by and imbued with various abyssal powers. Regrettably this seems to echo that idea. Which means we might need a slightly different part of the archive."

Mirella checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Staying in front of Evaristo, Icelyn nevertheless bows to him when she hears his title, a proper respectful knight from her head to her toes. She doesn't move aside until Tyrus invites him to help, though. Only then does she step back, nodding to him. "I can begin with reports from the Gyre War," she says to Tyrus.



Lora gets a nod of her own. "I've not heard of this particular thing before," she says. "But here and there, stories come up that might bear a similarity. Hopefully enough to find something."

Tyrus checked intellect + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

When Evaristo suggests picking the dagger up, Mirella turns to him with eyes widening. "Don't touch it. Just don't." Her eyes glitter briefly in warning, but she takes a small inwards breath and adds, "Trust me. Nobody should touch it." A few blinks serve to clear Mirella's thoughts before she turns her cool gaze back to the dagger. "My questions are manifold. Who made it, of course, but also how it found itself inside the shark in the first place. Misfortunate, or was it placed there? I also wonder as the the nature of the materials that comprise its craft. From what manner of wood is the haft formed? That's where flesh touches upon the blade, after all."

Lora checked wits + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 4 higher.

Mirella checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 4 higher.

Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist, 2 House Crovane Guards arrive, following Rysen.

Icelyn checked wits + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 18 lower.

Evaristo's eyes gleam with sudden interest, this time not born out of pure curiosity - something about what Tyrus is saying draws his interest in particular. "Very well - I'll go back to my own research," he says and bows again, before he mooches off to start looking for books, and asking some scholars for help in doing so. "I won't get anywhere NEAR that dagger!" he reassures Mirella before he does. Rather than randomly looking around, he goes to the nearest scholar to chat them up, explaining how he is in dire need of help and how he admires the Scholars and really, this is important Harlequin work and could you please help me out for a bit - things like that.

Rysen enters the Great Archive with Lygeia and comes to stand near Evaristo and Mirella. "What dagger?" he asks with a curious grin. Turning to Tyrus and any others who might be nearby, Rysen says, "I'm sorry to intrude, but I heard that you might be looking into the shark that attacked. I hope you don't mind if I assist - or at least try not to get in the way."

The scholar with the exclamation wisp hair peers at Evaristo as the man turns on the charm. The wrinkles in his face shift and slide as he smiles, "Is that so, young man? Heh heh heh. Well why don't you come a little closer and whisper to old Rufus what it is you're looking for, eh my handsome lad?"

It just so happens that Tyrus is returning with three books when Rysen enters and encounters the Prince. "Lord Rysen, good of you to be here. We are, for it seems the shark had a peculiar dagger lodged in its flesh which caused it to be so... aggressive. Potentially why it looked so big, as well." He indicates with a motion from his head where the dagger remains, under guard. "Don't touch it." he warns, his voice growing quieter as they get to that part. "Any who touch it are driven to hold and wield it, driven by a deep hunger and anger that makes them a danger to anyone close by. We're currently seeking potential causes, I've found some materials that may help." And so the Prince goes to put down on the table the three books. "A medical text on curious cases, if anyone has experience with medicine they may have an easier time getting through it. Another is a journal from someone who lived in a village in southern Riven lands. Lastly, an annotated tales of children's games." A pause before the Thraxian adds. "It's relevant more often than one would think." And with that, Tyrus starts... with the tales of children games.

Evaristo eyes Rufus with wide eyes, but then he shrugs and leans in to whisper to the old man just what he's looking for. "Cursed items that make you do bad things, uh, Abandoned Cultists of the Seas - especially anywhere near Arx - anything about weapons made out of bone and customs around that... Oh, and people that venerate sharks. I guess that'd be the cultists. Sharks are great by the way. Make really good eating. Ever tried shark soups? Amazing with a cold white wine."

Evaristo turns a bow at Rysen, after that request of Rufus, grinning big at the lord. "The more the merrier! Someone should go get some wine. Can we drink in here? I forgot - what're the rules now again?"

Icelyn's ventures into the stacks bring her back entirely empty-handed. So instead of browsing herself, she settles next to Tyrus's book stack. She goes for the journal first. "I don't have much medical knowledge," she says. "But if no one else is able, I will look through it next. You pick up things as a knight of the road. Maybe enough to get something out of it." But she skims the journal, first.

Rysen bows respectfully to Tyrus and then turns his grey-eyed gaze on the dagger with immense interest. "Hunger and anger," he echos softly. He glances at Evaristo and ol' Rufus, and smiles. "Wouldn't mind a drink myself," he says, running a hand through his dark hair. "Is the weapon currently in your custody, Prince Tyrus? Would you mind if Lygeia here," he says gesturing to his retainer, "took down some notes and made a charcoal drawing for a report to the Master of Questions?"

"Lord Rysen. It is always a pleasure to see you, outside of the House of Questions." Apparently this is a very important distinction to make, though Lora does make it with a smile for the Crovane lord. Then she goes out into the stacks for a bit, herself, returning with some volumes that seem to be provincial histories from various places in Thrax. One in particular has been marked, and as she sets them on the table, far, far from the box and the tray and the dagger all, she flips that book open to whatever she'd found earlier and peers from it at the dagger. "Might that perhaps be a bear's tooth?"

Mirella takes a few tentative steps towards the dagger, tilting her head curiously at the blade. She purses her lips before she considers her words. "Not sure I can make out what the wood is, but that tooth... that looks like a crocodile's tooth? It's not round enough to be a shark's tooth, I suspect. I've seen plenty of sharks in Caina, and their teeth are not... wait a second." Stepping back, Mirella heads to a shelf with the surety of someone who knows their way around the archives. Soon enough she finds a tome detailing the wildlife of the Lyceum. Pulling it from the shelf with great care, unless the scholars prevent her from taking it, the Lycene woman cradles it in her arms and flicks the pages open. once she finds what she's looking for she walks back to the group and nods to the illustration of the crododile, that fierce beast of the Lyceum's swamp. The teeth are the same shape as the dagger's blade.

"Oh, wine would be lovely. A little something to wet one's whistle, eh?" Rufus smiles to Evaristo, his jowls jiggling as he wheezes a laugh. "My, my the handsome lad has interesting tastes!" Rufus eyes Evaristo, that wisp of black hair that stands atop his head fluttering with his motion. "Oh, I am sure we can find something... that is quite a list of topics. Anything to ah... narrow it down? You've got quite the figure, did you know that?"

"Wait... that's a DILEROCK tooth? Well then I'm changing my mind on the cultists of anywhere near here, dear Rufus," Evaristo says smoothly. "I fought dilerocks once. Ruind my mates boots, they did. Oh and his leg, but the boots... shame," he says, looking sentimental. "HAd to make him new boots out of their hide." He glances around and takes out a small bottle from his satchel, offering it subtly to Rufus with a murmured; "Velenosan wine, my friend. Only the best for the best. You got any suggestsions on what we should look for about a dagger found in a shark's mouth, likely from Lyceum from what lovely Mirella is saying? Cursed, or enchanted or something. Makes people ravenously hungry."

"If only we had a physician on hand." Tyrus remarks to Icelyn. "Who was it at the beach that took care of the wounded? Was it Whisper Juniper?" But he's returning his attention soon enough to the book, though Rysen's question draws him out of it. "Yes, the weapon is, at least temporarily, in my custody. By all means, you may take notes and drw and report to the Master of Questions as you wish, though I would use the tons if you intend to even touch the weapon, it's effects tend to be immediate. If nothing can be learnt from it..." He shrugs. "I imagine the Inquisition posssesses some deep hole where the dagger might be thrown in, if it comes to that." And then Lora returns with her own findings! "Perhaps, certainly a predator's. I admit I'm not too well versed in Taxonomy." Or a crocodile tooth. Well then. Though it seems Mirella did find something conclusive. "Interesting... Are they found in-- No, Riven lands are far too north, I'd imagine."

"It was Juniper," Icelyn says with a nod. "I can reach out to her about this book if we don't find anything. She'll know more than I do, no doubt."

Rysen smiles warmly at Lora, and says, "Likewise, My Lady. I hope you and your wren have been well." His gaze lingers on Lora for a moment and he seems like he might say something further before Mirella asserts the dagger to be constructed from an alligator tooth. "Hmmm... perhaps the dagger was created by those who live near swamps or wetlands. Still a very curious thing to find in the mouth of a shark though."



Rysen nods to Tyrus. "Thank you, Your Highness. We'll take notes and send a report. On your advice, I'll not touch the weapon myself." As Evaristo suggest Velenosan wine to Rufus, Rysen grins. "Gods and spirits, Evaristo, you have a knack for getting the finest things at the most convenient times and places." Turning to Icelyn, Rysen says, "My retainer Rukhnis is a skilled Physician. She's away at the moment, but she might be able to help if for any reason Sister Juniper cannot be reached."

Whatever Rysen doesn't add may or may not be noticed; Lora tilts her head at him, as if to acknowledge it, though here might not be the time or the place. Then, "So not a bear." She frowns a little bit when it's suggested that the tooth employed in creating the dagger is a proper Lycene swampdweller, the corners of her mouth turned down in expression most thoughtful. She glances between it and the book that Mirella has produced, and the one that she herself found, then suggests, "Maybe there is some record somewhere of some old Abandoned tribe that may've been particularly fond of the beasts. It could've lost out to sea, or as has been suggested, whoever possessed it once upon a time might've been eaten by the shark."

"Ever since that time when there was a shortage of Velnosan wines and spirits, I now make an effort to always carry some around, or at least have a few bottle stocked. I almost felt sad, that day a whole shipment of the stuff was stolen. Such cruelty!" Evaristo says and looks aghast at such a terrifying crime, stealing wines. "But, they handled it all very well, the Velenosans. Suitable punishments to those... I forgot who did it. Some house or another. Either or, the wine is back! Tastes better than ever." He hovers around and peeks at the dagger now and then, flexing his fingers. One can tell he is just LONGING to pick it up, but refrains from doing it by the mere fact of liking his guts right where they are, rather than spilled out on the floor by Templars.

"Given its effect on humans, its previous owner is sure to have left some impression." Tyrus remarks after Lora speaks. "Unfortunately just looking for tales of cannibals probably won't help us much, given there's so many of them." Probably a subsection of the horror section of the Archives. "If we can't make heads or tails from the medical text, your retainer may indeed be of aid, Lord Rysen, thank you." he tells the man. Perhaps his talk of swamps remains within the prince's mind as he resumes his reading, but soon... "Wait. There's something here." he tells the others, and begins to read out loud.



"Found in the region of a place called Mother's Marsh, a large swamp land at the mouth of the Mother river, there used to be a village there and when those who dwelled there moved on, they brought a peculiar clapping-rhythm game with them that is played to the following song:

In the dark of Mother's Marsh

Creeping monsters lurk, so harsh

Never see it coming, surprise

Steals the life inside your eyes

Hunger, hungry, never done

She comes to eat all but the sun

Stay away from the twisted wood

Where once the village of Hearthstone stood."



Once he's done, he looks at the others. "Anyone ever heard of a village called Hearthstone?"

Rufus takes the wine and uncorks the bottle with his teeth, his faded green eyes looking over Evaristo greedily. "I can think of something else that causes hunger, my boy. Heh heh heh." There is a healthy glug taken from the bottle and Rufus gets to thinking. "Hunger. Curses. Hrm. There is something I can almost remember. Perhaps if someone were to massage my head it might come to me. Heh heh heh."

Evaristo checked intellect + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

Rysen nods to Lora. "That's true," he says. Listening to Tyrus, Rysen murmers, "Hmmmm. Can't say I've ever heard of a Hearthstone Village. What about you, Rufus? And share some of that wine, eh? The good Evaristo loves a scholar who shares."

Mirella shakes her head from side to side slowly, then closes the book and holds it against her stomach. A shield, almost; something of comfort. She still stands a way from the table, staring down at the dagger with a tight-browed frown. "I haven't heard of a place by that name. But Mother's Marsh. Does that refer to the river itself, or does a 'Mother' also dwell there? And if so, who or what might this Mother be?"

Mirella adds, "She comes to eat all but the sun..."

Evaristo ogles Rufus like he's grown a second head, at that - shudders visibly - and instead just says; "I think I got all the help I need." And he goes in search of books in the section of curses and perhaps something related to 'twisted woods', the Marshes and villages in the area. Must be in the geography section? Travellers accounts?

Server Announcement: Server Message of the Day: Created Theme Questions board again, use the 'lore' command to ask theme questions and answers will be cross posted.

Lora goes back to paging through her book, only to discover that - for reasons - some of the pages appear to be stuck together, which necessitates her paying the closest of attention to separating them. Likely because she has zero interest in angering the scholars. "The Mother is a river; it's near the Twainfort. So, yes, it's in Riven lands." There. The pages come apart and she reads for a few moments, head tilting a little. "There is an account here that mentions Mother's March. An entire family was killed by a bear." She glances in the direction of Evaristo and the scholar, one brow lifting ever so very, very slightly, but she looks more expectantly at Mirella. "Alligators don't commonly go that far north, do they?"

"Geography section might be of use." Tyrus remarks, but it seems Evaristo is heading in that direction. "We need more context but... Well, it sounds promising at least." And then he takes the journal from someone who lived in the southern Riven lands, previously being read through by Icelyn before she had to step out. "Time for the journal, then. If it's tied to the Riven lands, that's where we should be focused on." Though... bear? "Bear or alligator?" he shakes his head. "I doubt a reptile such as that would do well in the colder weather of the north, but then, we're not dealing with the mundane are we?" And so he begins reading through the journal.

Denied his headrub, Rufus looks very sad. His brows droop and his jowls shift downward and he clutches that bottle of wine as Evaristo turns away. "I am sorry my boy... I was too rude." There is a sniff and another glug of wine.

Mirella lifts a shoulder at Lora. "Perhaps they could, but I suspect there aren't many, if any, records of such. This book is rather vague on the details." She nods to Tyrus after this slowly. "But yes, not a mundane beast." She twists her mouth to one side and considers her thoughts for a few moments. "Someone might have transported it there?"

"I'm starting at travellers accounts over here," Evaristo calls back to the others - he's being a bit too loud for the library, perhaps, but he's not outright shouting either. He glances at Rufus, makes a conciliatory gesture and a charming smile, like 'all is forgiven', then dives into the traveller accounts - he brings a whole bunch of books over to the table and finds a seat to look through them. He's actually quite organized when he sets his mind to it and clearly has some experience with research. Why he was bothering the scholar to begin with is anyone's guess.... though probably laziness. "Wooah, hang on - this might be something," he says and shows a section mentioning tainted vegetation, abyssal influence - one in the Village of Reeds in Oakhaven, and another on a beach in the Saikland Greens. "Now we're all over the map though. Mind, that dagger could've travelled... I mean, if you kill a dilerock in the Lyceum and take its teeth? You can take the teeth anywhere."

"I don't believe the dagger is the cause for all these places, but rather that they share a common cause into the nature of the corruption. The Abyss." Tyrus remarks after Evaristo shares his findings. "And it fits with what I just found. This Nadar Nedare wrote a journal, from the southern lands of Riven. While much of it is uninteresting, he also drew pictures and evidently had great skill in doing so." He motions to the others. "Look." And he points to a page where a marshland is pictured, though something's wrong, something wrong growing at its center like a cancer. A snarl of purplish vegetation can be seen at the very center of the lagoon, while at the right side a village is drawn with the word 'Hearthstone' written under it. "It is getting bigger every week. Gale tried to uptroot it, but it was back and bigger the next day." The Prince looks at the others then. "This journal dates back three hundred years."

After a few more moments, Lora puts down her book and slides over to pick up the tongs. "May I?" Even so she asks permission, and cannot quite help the slight distaste that flickers across her expression, as if she's just asked if she can go digging through a pile of nightsoil instead of to poke and prod at an antiquated, albeit evil, dagger. Because that is her next plan. To inspect the thing, from the safest distance she can maintain, which isn't quite arm-and-tongs' length but near enough so, and even then with only as much contact as is necessary to turn the thing over so that she can see both sides.

Lora checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 24 higher.

"It is certainly starting to sound like Mother's Marsh is the sort of place where abnormalities in nature might be found," says Rysen quietly. Rysen glances towards Tyrus and says, "The pictures could easily be interpreted as depicting a place of abyssal influence. Pretty curious what's passed in that region in more recent years. Is anything mentioned about what might've happened to that place?"

Mirella peers down at the dagger as Evaristo and Tyrus share what they learned. Her eyes glitter with an academic fascination, almost enough to bleed out some of that wariness in her gaze as she peers over at the dagger. She blinks a few times when Lora approaches the thing, however, and then nods to the other woman slowly. It's a nod that says, 'I trust you, but do be careful.' With that wordless exchange passed on, Mirella straightens up again and quietly asks, "I wonder if alchemists or botanists studied that foliage? It's what I would have done. Thoygh perhaps not if I known what I would have been dealing with. Though perhaps I could look for records of such studies?"

Mirella checked perception + alchemy at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.

"We'll have to look to more recent records of that place, Hearthstone." Tyrus answers Rysen. When Lora asks for permission to look, Tyrus motions with his hand. Apparently he trusts Lora not to do anything too dangerous with the dagger. Like shove her face right against it for a better look. "Depending on the age of the dagger, it might have been made from corrupted materials, making the source something else entirely." But the Prince returns to the journal, reading further. "There's more." he informs the others. "It started to infect everything around the village. Strange behaviour of fish, local predators becoming more aggressive... People starting to act strangely." And then he reaches the last few pages, glued together by a dark brownish stain. "I believe it's safe to assume Nadar Nedare did not meet a peaceful end. Nor I would venture did any of the inhabitants of Hearthstone."

Evaristo stares at Tyrus, looks back at his books, then at the picture the Thraxian Prince found. "Shards," he says suddenly. "Shards, creatures twisted by the Abyss." His eyes gleam with some excitement as he leans over the table, pushing the books carefully out of the way ebfore doing so; he has way too much respect for the books to do any sort of harm to them. "Found in dark places, hidden away and to multiply and grow strong, called... Shardhavens." He then smiles brightly, after presenting that ominous bit of lore: "Bet they're AMAZING fun to go to."

It's a few moments before Lora edges slightly closer, head tilting this way and that with very birdlike interest that has, at least temporarily, overcome her wariness. She pokes at the thing another time or two and then drags the edge of the tongs over the gunk crusted onto the tooth, to basically zero effect... and then Evaristo is going on about Shardhavens and she comes to a full stop, looking up at him with the very. Slowest. Of blinks. Then, "There's something carved into the tooth. Symbols of some kind. I've no idea what language they might be, but they are intentional, not accidental."

"What do they look like?" asks Rysen as he comes to stand beside Lora and Mirella to get a better look. With a glance back towards Evaristo and Tyrus, Rysen says, "I can't say I'd mind ask the Countess of the Twainfort for permission to embark on an expedition."

Tyrus' words have Mirella's eyebrows raising with an expression of intrigue that is very rarely seen on her cooly-aspected features. "That is fascinating." she says, nodding as she considers those words. "It all fits together." With a hmm, she peers towards Lora, eyes still open as the lady examines the tooth. "Symbols? Can you see what they say?" With Evaristo's words on shardhavens getting a curious nod, the dark-haired Lycene woman moves over the shelves, staying a while as she looks for a particular tome. Frowns indicate that she can't find what she needs, but then she picks up one volume and blinks twice at it. Pulling open the cover, she flicks her gaze across the text, and then slowly returns to the table, still absorbed in her reading. To the nearest person she hands the book. Or rather, a record of a record of a planned expedition to Riven territory some hundred and fifty years ago. But the follow up report is missing, and the only connected record is a footnote that reads: Expedition lost

Lora checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

Lora checked perception + artwork at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.

At the mention of Shards and Shardhavens, Tyrus looks up from the book to Evaristo. "So... We've potentially a Shardhaven on our hands." He glances back to Lora when she speaks of symbols and he leaves his chair to go take a look himself. "I doubt I can read them, for I very much doubt whoever crafted this would use any language I know beyond Common, but still..." He does, however, wait for the others to take a good look at it, not wishing to crowd everyone. "Aye. If they've a Shardhaven in their lands, I would imagine they'd wish to know. Needless to say, I've no doubt you'll have interested parties in joining among those present here today." he tells Rysen. "I also imagine the Countess might prefer having the request come from the Inquisition." And then Mirella finds something and Tyrus accepts the book, looking down to see... "Well. We may not wish to do so lightly. Apparently the place is prone for expeditions to be lost within. There was one a hundred and fifty years ago. They were never seen again."

Evaristo checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.

Evaristo checked dexterity + artwork at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Evidently properly displaying the symbols means Lora is going to have to hold the dagger. And by hold the dagger, we mean she holds it at arm's length, in the tongs, clamped firmly somewhere just below where the tooth joins the handle. "I don't know," she admits. "They're hard to make out, and there's so much yuck crusted on that I can't really tell which is meant to be there. Only that some of it is." Mention of an expedition to Riven lands wins a briefish look in that direction, and a frown, but she has no comment to make on it. Only this dagger to show off before she finally sets it back down at whatever angle she seems to feel will best display the carvings. "It's possible whatever this is written in is old enough that the language has been lost to time, like so much else."

THe lazy harlequin-bard is content to sit there for now, looking at all the information - he seems to have decided that Hearthstone is a Shardhaven. "That sounds like the reasonable thing to do," he agrees with Rysen, even after Mirella shows the passage about the lost expedition. He climbs to his feet to go peek at the dagger, after nodding at Tyrus. He digs out a well used journal and a coal pen, finds an empty page and twists his head to see the symbols so he can try to draw them - he's got a good eye and very dextrous fingers, so his drawings are actually not half bad. "I think I got them... or as close as I could make them," he says.

Rysen nods to Tyrus. "The complete disappearance of the previous expediton is the worst of portents for any we may undertake, and yet, I think most of us would be reluctant to leave a shardhaven to fester. That image of the leg washing up beside its previous owner's lover on the beach is... hard to shake off." Rysen laughs in spite of the grim subject when Lora mentions the yuck crusted on the dagger, but when Evaristo mentions getting a good look at the symbols, Rysen leans over Evaristo's shoulder in unrestrained curiosity.

Mirella too joins Rysen, nodding respectfully to the lord as the two of them gather around Evaristo. Apparently he is a popular man today! She peers down at the paper, murmuring something about 'nice linework' before she squints up her eyes. "I have no idea what that is, though." To Rysen she comments evenly, "But yes, the leg. Unpleasant." The Lycene woman's voice is rather faraway. No doubt she's remembering the horrid events of that day. Regardless, she moves away from Evaristo and the Crovane lord, to stand a way from the table with hr hands folded in front of her waist. "What reason to carve symbols on a shark's tooth?" It's a rhetorical question from the sounds of it, as though she's sifting through her inner banks of knowledge.

"Mm. No, with such a mystery, and now greater danger, I doubt any who were part of it would wish to leave it now, despite the dangers." Tyrus remarks to Rysen. "Though perhaps now, knowing what awaits, we shall bring with us more of those experienced facing such things. If this is a Shardhaven, I imagine the danger will be far greater than one lone shark. The whole of the region would be infected, with the swamp at its very core." As to the writings now copied, he too takes a look, curious.

Evaristo checked intellect + linguistics at difficulty 45, rolling 15 lower.

Evaristo is staring at the drawings of the symbols, holding them out so everyone can see. Then suddenly, he is turning the paper upside down and lets out a little laugh. "Funny," he says, mostly to himself. "I thought that looked familiar. I mean, I don't know this exactly, but it looks so similar to Nox'alfar," he explains, looking around at the others in the hopes that someone else will be able to say just what they mean. He frowns, looks at them again and sort of squints, then holds the paper up higher as if that'll help him read it. "Nope. It's definitely close to nox'alfar - it's like I /should/ know it, but I don't. Ahhhh, I need a drink!"

Rufus toddles over towards Evaristo and holds out the bottle of wine, "Here my boy. Freely given as I was given." He lifts a hand as if to pat Evaristo's shoulder, but holds off and simply holds out the bottle.

Evaristo gives Rufus a very thankful look, shows him the symbols and grabs the bottle. "Thanks, you're a life saver," he says. He takes a few gulps of wine, and looks hopefully at Rufus, showing him the drawings. Who knows, maybe the old man knows what they mean?

Lora sets the tongs down, too, so that she can have a look at the symbols Evaristo is copying. There's a tiny tilt of her head, this way and that, as if she might make some sense of them by changing her perspective. Then, "Perhaps they're a variation on some other elven language?" She even steps away from the table, after this, giving them all some room to take a look at the fang-dagger and the transcribed inscription, though as she does she takes a little breath. "It is a little bit concerning to think that things might be washing out of this place of corruption and feeding into the sea; it has enough problems of its own, without any aid from inland abyssals."

Rysen crosses his arms, though his attention is stolen from the dagger by the Lycene woman as she passes by him for a moment, suffusing the air with a hint of jasmine. He nods in agreement with Tyrus. "Preparation will definitely help." When Evaristo mentions the markings, he raises an eyebrow. "Nox'alfar script or something close? Etchings makes me think it could be a ritual dagger then, or a deeply personal weapon." He breathes out thoughtfully as Lora speaks. He nods and says, "And you make a good point as to why it's so dangerous to leave tainted land alone."

Rufus peers at the page and frowns, his jowls jiggling up and down as he smacks his lips thoughtfully. "Mmm. Now, I can see the connection to Nox'alfar speak, in the curve of that line there, and the tittles there... yes. But it is not Nox-speak. Mmm. I think the Lady Lora is onto something. Yes." He nods, his little exclamation point of hair bobbing. "I don't know any elf-speak, but I think that's likely the right direction.

"Mm. I'm afraid I can't help with that. The only language I know beyond Common is Eurusi." Tyrus remarks of the etchings. Considering Lora's point, the prince grows thoughtful. "Abyss... I don't suppose anyone knows either Rex'alfar or Sylv'alfar?" he asks. Worth asking just in case, right? "But you're right, Lady Lora. There's enough of the darkwater, the sea could do without further aid in that area." As to the preparations... "Inland, so I'm afraid my personal ability to aid will be limited. I may be learned in the esoteric, but the rest of my skills lie in sailing ships and commanding their crew. But who knows, we'll see."

For the moment Mirella simply listens, allowing the others to discuss and form theories without any interruption to their musings. This is good stuff! And so, of course, she listens and observes. After a while, however, she quietly wanders off to the shelves again to peruse books that might have illustrations or accounts of similar weapons to the dagger. She also exchanges a few words with a scholar beforehand, to see if there are any relevant sections of the archives that she might have missed.

"Right?" Evaristo nods vigorously at Rufus. "Hence, I needed a drink. Nothing quite as frustrating feeling like you should know something but you don't." He drinks some more, and gives the drawings to Lora to keep safe for now. "You take that. I'm betting you're all right there, it's likely... well, considering the source if it's a Shardhaven thing, I'd say Sylv'alfar - but I wouldn't bet on it. I ahve no idea how alike the other elven languages are. However! I know someone who does speak and write Sylv'alfar, if you all don't?"

"Eurusi?" says Rysen, glancing at Tyrus, and then to Lora. Upon hearing Evaristo speak of Sylv'alfar, Rysen says, "I think, if we find we cannot decipher the meaning of the words, it would be worth contacting Lady Monique Greenmarch. I cannot think of anyone with a greater command of languages than she has, though she admits there are still languages that even she doesn't yet comprehend."

There's a flicker of what is like but isn't exactly surprise when Evaristo passes Lora his drawings; there's a tiny flicker of a smile to follow, as is maybe proper when someone is given a gift, but she cannot then help but look at the pages as if she isn't certain what then to do with them. "Sylv'alfar might be in accordance with the geography. They would have been more common to that area than the Rex'alfar, I imagine. I do not know anyone, myself, familiar with that language, but it should not be terribly difficult to find someone familiar with it." Tyrus' mention of Eurusi merits him a sidelong glance, but she's too busy then blowing on the ink to make sure it has set, so that she can fold the pages up for better safekeeping. "In the meantime, we might want to see if there is a more specific indicator of where this Mother's Marsh is. To save you all some looking and poking into dark, potentially monstrous-alligator-infested corners."

The prince smirks at Rysen's glance, though not at the Lord. Something Tyrus founds amusing, and if one can rely upon that particular twist of his lips, something darkly so. "One learns a few things when the language is spoken by one's slavemasters, and every order enforced through the use of their beloved whips." That's all the Thrax prince says of the matter, for now. "Sylv'alfar, then. It might be worth contacting Lady Monique if she knows the language. In the mean time, finding every reference to the village and its old location would be a boon, yes. We don't want to get lost in there, as Lady Lora stated."

Mirella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 34 higher.

"Good call - she knows a lot about many things," Evaristo grins, then moves to look at all the books and papers on the table, glancing between them and the bone dagger with some thoughtfulness. "Maybe it'll solve the mystery of the dagger. Or send us on another mystery," he says with an excited grin. "Well, I might not be able to GO, like Prince Tyrus here I prefer travelling on the sea." He looks over to see where Mirella went. "Might be more to find right here..."

Flicking the pages of another book cradled in her arms, Mirella raises an eyebrow as she skims her eyes across the illustrations and text. With that she walks back over to her fellow investigators, rapt and absorbed in her reading just as she was before. When she comes to stand between them, she turns her back so that they can all look easily over her shoulder. She's short, so that makes it even easier to get a glance at the tome, which is a treatise on Shav weaponry, organized by geographic locations. It notes that in the Crownlands, north of Arx, along the central line of the Gray forest, that there have been tribes there that craft hand daggers from the teeth of predators they kill. Used in ornamentation, piercings, or as adornment to weapons. There is a picture of a puma tooth dagger that looks very, very similar to the dagger on the table. The tooth is set in soft steel, burned into a wooden grip and wrapped in leather.

At Tyrus's words, Rysen's face darkens like a winter's storm. His jaw tightens, and then he says, "My apologies, Your Highness. I recall now reading an entry you made in the Whites." Rysen's fingers brush against the tattoo of intricate symbols on his left forearm for a moment. Turning to Lora, Rysen nods. "We can check the archives here for the location of Mother's Marsh, and we might offer that name to those familiar with the geography of Riven. Seems like a place with that kind of history would have some reputation among the Riven nobility, or perhaps those who patrol their lands." As Mirella approaches with her book, Rysen makes his way to her side to see what she's uncovered.

Tyrus gets primitive dagger of steel, wood and bone.

"It figures." Tyrus says after looking over Mirella's shoulder and seeing what she's reading. "We may be dealing with Abandoned that moved into the region since the end of the previous village." he notes, even as he moves to the dagger. Taking up the tongs, he sets it back in its box, before locking it. "Let's continue this another day, and see who else might be of use to help us. For the expedition, we'll need warriors, but also scholars and even negotiators, if we encounter any of the Abandoned there. They may be corrupted by the Abyss, they might not." But it's time to go. "Let's keep in touch, yes?"

What can Lora do but smile? The expression twists sad however, response both to Tyrus' explanation and Rysen's reaction. She draws a breath, as if she might add something, but then the prince is cleaning up and preparing to depart and she straightens up minutely. "I will make some copies of this and have them distributed, if you like. At least one set to go with the dagger itself."

Rysen nods. "I will send a report to the Master of Questions, and, if he has no objections, I will write to Countess Mia Riven, and see if perhaps we might gain her blessing to conduct a new expedition." He bows to those present, and with a nod to Lygeia, who closes her folio and returns her charcoal to her bag, prepares to leave.

"It has been ages since my old bones have been on an adventure!" Rufus seems to shuffle side to side in a version of excitement. "This might be just the thing to get me on the road again. I am looking forward to working with all of you, yes. Heh heh heh." Who can say no to that face? His jowls and poof of hair are all quivering with excitement.

With a nod, Mirella closes the book and holds it in front of her stomach as she did the one before it. Her expression is calm and serious. "I can't deny this is fascinating. Grim, but fascinating. You'll all have my help if you need it." With a polite smile she absent-mindedly turns to Rufus and notes, "You've been most helpful, Scholar."

Evaristo hands the wine over to Rufus again. "You keep that," he says simply and he tucks away his journal and sorts out the books he brought out. He opens his mouth to say something, but then closes it again. "Absolutely! It'd be a grand adventure!" he agrees cheerfully with Rufus. "Thank you for letting me butt in here today, your highness, lords and ladies, miss Mirella. Definitely much more interesting than, uh... turnips." He smiles, bows, and then he wanders off further into the archives. He DID come here to research something else, after all...

"That means I get to go? Oh excellent I will begin packing at once. I shall need to find my special shoes." He begins to toddle off slower than a snail, talking to himself the whole time.



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