1223.1a The Chronicles of Ridicule

"Si." Mufarjj says.

He holds her firmly, breathing him, his heart feeling like it might break.
Softly: I don't want to leave you, ever, nor do I want you to leave me, but... You know, you can, if you want, anytime you want. And he means it, even though it is hard for him to voice it, for the implied fear that she will.

Yet, he will do what he does best. Breathe, push it all away, and release her. He loves her, but he doesn't want her to fear for him, or to worry about him. It is also the only way he knows how to deal with his feelings. Aside from the other way, of course, but even it they had been an item long enough for it to be his first reaction, this wouldn't be the time or place.

He'll hold it, and smile at her.
A bizarre smile, half "I must smile, and this is done like this", and half "Oh, you, I love you so much". He isn't much used to smiling.

[color=red]"The magus," Cygna says to Mufarjj in Spanish, [color=red]"he was telling the truth about Viscaria? And that you know the way to Lapus Crudus?"

Cygna smiles back at Hiems, but makes no effort to move away, nor does she answer him when he says she can leave at anytime. She hopes that he knows that she won't.

"More or less. Although how to get back is debatable. We were ensorcelled." Mufarjj says. "We probably need to go within and ask for directions or assistance, but we have no standing. And as to Viscaria, yes, she's there."

Assuming Cygna translates to Hiems, he'll ask her
So they are Viscaria's grogs. Now that you say it, I seem to recall this one (vin).
But what of Viscaria's fate? Can you ask him? If they were ensorcelled, it seems there is treachery afoul and that she may be captive.

Now that I think of it, I find this Somnifer magus actions strange. Why would he warn us of viscaria's fate after separating her from her grogs? And where was he leading them? Did he say anything to them?

[color=red]"What kind of trouble is Viscaria in? Is she being held prisoner? And where is she?" she asks Mufarjj.

[color=red]"Did Somnifer say anything to you about what was going on?"

"Viscaria isn't in trouble as long as he comes back alive and can switch places with her." As if remembering what his duty is..."Perhaps, despite his apparent wishes to the contrary, we should go inside and try and find him?"

Cygna pales (even through the white powder she wears as makeup). [color=red]"That might be a good idea, we definitely need more information." she says to Mufarjj.

She then turns to Hiems. [color=red]"Viscaria isn't being held prisoner, per se, from what I can tell, but where she is, she needs someone to trade places with her to leave. Preferably Somnifer, but I think that's what he meant by one of us choosing to separate." Cygna shakes her head softly.

Hiems stays pensive a moment.
It feels like this Somnifer is taking us for fools, and trying to goad us where he wants to.
If Viscaria can't leave, then she's a prisonner, whether she realizes it or not, whether she agreed to it in the first place or not. And now, he's trying to have one of us take her place, by using our connection to her. But should we do so, we'd be just as imprisonned.
There's something we're missing here. How did viscaria found herself in this predicament in the first place? What was she doing here?

Cygna turns to Mufarjj. [color=red]"What was Viscaria doing at Lapus Crudus? And how did she come to be held there?"

((I'm going to say that Mufarjj wasn't privy to all the details, that he knows an exchange was made but not why, unless someone reads Mother's Footstseps and can see that Mufarjj was around when the bargain was struck. I think Vin was around, but Wen and Mufarjj were occupied with the fairie court.))
"She is not a prisoner, she made the exchange willingly, so she's chosen her own prison, and walked into it of he own volition. Promises of power or knowledge or both, no doubt led her to make that choice. I know it was to last a season, but no more, and it is necessary for Somnifer to return to exchange places again."

Vin has been typically silent throughout this exchange, recognizing Cygna and Hiems instantly, but keeping the information close to his chest. Even now, as the wizards debate and worry, he remains focused on his task -- keeping an eye on Somnifer. He slides forward, following the dream mage, his Second Sight senses fully extended.

Mufarjj beckons Wen to follow and goes with Vin into Dragon's Rest.
Somnifer is not a dream image, and second sight doesn't detect anything of note...

Inside the cave there is a busy hubbub of Redcaps going to and fro. There are four obvious Mercere Portals, since they all look the same, and are quickly identified as a portal when a Redcap appears from one suddenly. Somnifer is up chatting to a Redcap, and when he spies Vin, Mufarjj and Wen (and Heims and Cygna, too?), he says, "I'm off to Confluensis to deliver this letter. I drafted this one hastily, and I need someone to read it and note any obvious errors before I have a redcap deliver it, I'll be back in about 20 minutes, but I don't have enough vis to pay for everyone here and to our ultimate destination." He repeats that in all languages so everyone can understand. He's off and to the portal to Confluensis, unless someone wants to tackle him or try and get him to stop with a statement or something.

Vin growls threateningly. "You gave your word, wizard, not to leave my sight. You have already broken this oath once today. Break it twice, here amidst others of your Order, before you have even begun your machinations, and you will be known the world over as an oath-breaker."

Vin gets about half of his sentence out before Somnifer is through the portal to Confluensis.
As he moves to go after him no one gets in his way, but he walks straight through the portal and doesn't go anywhere. "You'll have to wait for him to return," says a redcap standing nearby.

Vin growls out an obscenity under his breath, and then turns to the Redcap. "I'm told that your house is in charge of distributing information. I have some that I would like generally distributed. Who do I see to about that?"

Assuming Vin gets directed to whoever is in charge of rumormongering, he shows the Redcap the underside of a silver ring, which displays Viscaria's voting sigil (basically a "this guy speaks for me, he's my shield grog" signet ring). "The message is, Somnifer of Lapis Crudis is an oathbreaker and a cheat. You cannot bargain with him in good faith. And you're to charge a rook to my maga, Viscaria Lynchis, for spreading that around quickly. She's one of them Verditus, so you know she's good for it. Is that a good sum for the job?"

Vin is lead to a nearby Redcap sitting at a desk. As soon as he mentions Somnifer a hole in the ground opens up and millions of scarab beetles come pouring out. They make immedieately for Vin crawling all over him, no matter what Vin does he can't get them off faster than they climb onto him and within seconds he is covered head to toe. When he is completely covered the begin biting in unison, causing Vin to fall to the ground in writhing pain. After a few moments they stop and Somnifer's voice can be heard. "My dear boy, you are with me at my sufferance. As an exercise in understanding ones station and the virtue of patience, you will feel the bites for a few minutes, making the initial sensation pale in comparison. When you next speak of me, speak well.". For the next two minutes the beetles seem to devour Vin's flesh, and then suddenly they are gone.
The Redcap before Vin says, "Sir? You were saying something? Somnifer...?"

When cygna translates him Muffarjj's words, Hiems slowly shakes his head.
Viscaria... Taking a stranger's place in his prison, hoping for him to free her in turn? It seems your seeking mind got the best of you... I may be wrong, but, unless this man proves to have more honor than most, I wouldn't expect him to come back to his cell, especially as he expects one of us to free Viscaria from her predicament.

(I assume Vin speaks in Latin here)
Although he doesn't witness the redcap bit, Vin acting too quickly for anyone to react, Hiems nonetheless draws conclusions quickly. Turning to cygna
I fear, my... Arf... (a timid half smile) it feels so strange to call you my love after all this years... To admit it to both you and myself...
And then, a shadow passes over him, and he gets back to "normal"
Anyway, yes, I was saying, this worsen my fears. Clearly, somnifer has his own agenda, and cares no more for Viscaria than he cares for his word. We should enquire of her health at once, and warn her about what happened

Will Heims or Cygna read the letter that Somnifer left behind asking to be read and improved? First one to speak up gets to drop the bomb... :smiley:

Me! Me! Me! Me!

Hiems (and me... Told you I had Alzheimer's!) reminds himself of the letter
Now that I think of it...

(Work to do and I'm doing nothing but Ars... Shame on me!)