The Blaming of the Necromancer

Known colloquially as the "Realm of Dreams", Emea is a mysterious place accessed primarily beyond the realm of consciousness as the mortal body sleeps in Idalos. The mind travels far at night and Emea's not without its unique risks and dangers, though Jesine's vigilance keeps mortals mostly safe.

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The Blaming of the Necromancer

Postby Zipper » Fri May 18, 2018 4:12 am

8th Ashan 718

Dead memory from a dead time; only regret, regret, and regret sings her song here:

Three whole days with no news at all.

She tapped every relevant contact pertaining to the underground, every resource she could muster without too much cost or lost favor, kept her ear down for strange killings that would no doubt occur should Gavrel and his apprentice be looking for more bodies to replenish their vastly diminished menagerie - a fool’s errand, that last one. Easy death was too common an occurrence in the underground to be anything out of the ordinary; the Necromancer would have no trouble restocking without causing any alarm.

There was no stirring in the tide of information that was Gavrel the Necromancer and his wayward apprentice. He was a ghost in the wind; gone for all intents and purposes.

Yet she had no doubt that he was still in the city. She had no doubt he was conjuring up some way to strike back at Neronin.

At them. Them now.

Where once the many, many paths of the Underground would have confused and derailed her were she not paying attention, Attunement held her hand now. Compass, the power that had recently re-awakened in her after so many seasons of dormancy after the jungle fiasco, was a very special nudge that told her when and where she was going around in circles or looping through paths. Where once lay a labyrinth, now only splintering paths remained.

Where once lay a void, now stood Nero in the distance; she could sense him through their joined frequencies.

So it took Zipper no time at all to make her way down a narrow path in the Underground that led to The Whisper, Neronin’s investigation bureau with a gimmick: the receptionist was a golem. She supposed looking the way he did merited some… precautionary discretions in the way he did his business, but it still behooved her to have to walk through that door, pushed past the ugly mannequin, and entered the secret back office without so much as a knock.

Neronin was bent over the desk, staring down at a battered leather book. It was handwritten and shabby with grime that looked almost like blood. The mage looked up at her when she entered, his eyes cold and unreadable. He leaned back in his chair and pointed to the one across from himself. “Just reading back in Gavrel’s journal, trying to get inside his mind.” Neronin explained as he shut the leather book and turned his attention to her. “I’ve been trying to figure out where he could be.

“Dear diary, I’ve discarded all the trappings of my dignity and devoted my entire life to killing my apprentice.” Zipper began. “As much as we wish for the sky to rain nel, there’s no secret addresses there, Nero. He’s a one-track mind, as we’ve seen, but he’s not actively suicidal.”

Neronin sighed. “I said I'm trying to get into his mind, not find an address. I took this from him back in Ashan.” Neronin said, waving the black journal in one hand. “He is a slug of a man, and knows it. He gravitates towards the dark and the damp, it’s where he’s comfortable.

“Scoured every such hole in the depths around. No dice, no necro pricks.”

If only the clarity that Attunement had given her translated to the same sight she could use to unveiled Gavrel under whatever rock he squirmed under.

Neronin looked at her as though he did not believe her. “Every hole in the Underground? Well, you are quite the prodigy of investigation aren’t you.” She wanted to slap him in the heat of that moment. The mage grunted and tossed the journal back onto the desk. “What do you suggest then?”

“Enough holes,” she amended, her eyes following the book back onto the desk. “With even more having eyes on them. We can wait them out until they move, but I’m sensing this is a matter of some urgency. We can’t keep going like this; I’ve generated Static on you to mask your frequency, but I can’t keep it up forever. I can’t keep following you around every trill of your life. They know I’m here with you. We need to find a way to flush them out again. If only I had more fuckin’ time with the mercenary.”

She shot an accusing glare at Neronin.

“Like I said before, you should have told me what you were doing. I don’t like being pushed aside in my own interrogations.” Neronin shot back quickly. The tension in the conversation seemed to be rising.

Your interrogations. Forgive me for thinking better of you then,” she snarled back. “And forgive my complete failure to anticipate you going straight for the murder button.”

Neronin did not respond, but clenched his jaw and breathed heavily through his nose. He tapped a thin, grey finger on the desk. The candlelight illuminating his office threw half their faces in shadow, though the faint green glow of his Rupturing kennings illuminated him as well. “We’ve lived in the Underground all our lives almost. We should be able to figure out where he’s staying.”

“I was thinking,” she took a deep breath, as if it pained her to even follow through with the next suggestion. “I was thinking of leaking the location of a fracture site -minor fracture- in the hopes of luring him out.”

“That could never go wrong.” Neronin said snidely. Then, after a pause he said more seriously. “You think he wouldn’t see the trap?”

“I think losing an Emetyte will set any mage back, especially a loner like Gavrel without the resources of, say, the Seekers behind him.” she said. “I think if the information flows the right way, he’ll take the chance to replenish his stores. I think we really have very little options if we want to end this quickly. It’s a bad move, and I’m loathed to give up even a single site, however minor and inconsistent this one is, but we’re not going to find him quick otherwise.”

Neronin nodded, half to himself and half to her. He was still clearly mulling her words over in his mind. “You may not have to give up your fracture site. Not if we can take him and the apprentice out of the picture.” The mage was dwelling on his old enemy, clearly not thinking about the implications of Zipper having to make her knowledge public to help him.

“There is the option of Linking-” she looked around, clearly trying to find the Revenant formerly known as Javar. “-to that prick and hoping for the best. Being a layman here, I’m not too sure how it works.”

Neronin glanced towards the door to the cell where he was keeping Yoriq Javar. “You mean Linking to him in order to find out where Gavrel is? No. Doesn’t work like that. His mind’s gone, he’s just another thrall now.” Neronin said without a tone of remorse or regret, though his rash action in killing the mercenary had caused their current predicament.

“This is a mess.” she said. “One hell of a mess where our best option is to leak the rumours of a store of ether to an unsavory underground in the hopes that one mage who may or may not be there will pick it up. We’re at an impasse, Necromancer.”

“Yes we are. I thought you could track people with your Attunement? Gavrel has certainly kept his apprentice on my ass that way.” Neronin said bitterly.

“Only when I get a whiff,” she replied. “Getting chased by that [i]thing[i]? Not much time to get a fix on either him or the girl. Now if Javar were alive...” There it was again: his fault, his fault, his fault.

Neronin stood up then, glaring at her. “I’m getting tired of this little blame game, Zip.” The necromancer glanced towards the door into the cell. “You should have told me what you were doing, instead of playing your little games. It’s always the same with you.”

“Pot.” Zipper said, glaring right back at him. “Kettle.”

“If you aren’t going to help me why don’t you run back to the Black Guard and stay out of my way?” Neronin said quietly. “I don’t think you’re doing much good here.”

“You’ll be dead by now if I haven’t been murking your magical scent.” she shot back, not quietly at all. “My presence is the only reason Gavrel hasn’t torn you limb from limb.”

“You think so?” Neronin said, his voice rising. “You think it’s thanks to you that I eluded him for the past four seasons? You think it’s thanks to you that we’ve made any progress at all? I have defeated Gavrel before and I can do it with or without you, or anyone’s help. The best thing to happen so far was that damn mansion, and I don’t remember you snuffing out my scent there! I thought you’d want to help, but all you want to do is play your games.”

Yoriq Javar chose that moment to bang on the wooden door of the cell. They could hear his rasping voice through the boards. “Beat you to the punch…” The undead had become active whenever it heard loud noises and clearly their argument had stirred it. Neronin had kept it in the cell because he had expressed that exerting control over it was more difficult than any other thrall he had made.

“No,” she said firmly. “Not you too. I have enough infants in my life to deal with and not you too. Did the spark dull your wit when it robbed you of your face?”

“Talk about infantile.” Neronin responded. The runes on his skull burned a bit brighter as he spoke. “You’re the one trying to place blame while I’m trying to find a way out of this. Why are you even here Zipper? You promised to help and here you are just screwing things up.”

She didn’t shout back at him; she didn’t need to. Her image doubled, a distorted flicker of light as she took a step towards him; her own ugly witchbrand bearing forth. “I’m here as a favor to you. If I am not needed, if I am a hindrance towards your stunning record against your dear old master, say the words. I’ll be out of your shriveled hair in a non-existent heartbeat.”

Last thing she said to him.

Sentiment was for those who had time for it but...

She supposed she did care that she never head from him again.
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Zipper
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