Since Rivienne was unwilling, quite understandably after all, to allow Arashi to handle her essence cannon purely for the sake of a test, the other option that readily occurred to us was to shoot the fellow. Now, he might not have been my favorite person, but even I realize that’s a trifle extreme. However, the subject came up when he was serving us a beautifully laid out tea service, and he agreed to it, insisting that he could take one shot from Rivienne’s cannon. Not the most traditional ending for a tea ceremony, but it appears we’re not a very traditional collection of Dragon-Blooded.
Arashi seemed to take all of the hostility in stride and Kuro seemed relieved that Arashi was, at the least, not fey. Though he was apparently still leery of bestowing much trust on the lost egg, and I can’t say but that I agreed, as he suggested that I follow the man and see what he might be getting up to that day.
Snow utilized some means of her own to assist me as I endeavored to follow Arashi as stealthily as possible, while Kuro used his skills to allow Rivienne and himself to see through my eyes. It did not take very long for me to catch up with Arashi (who I find out later knew I was tailing him, suspected as much) who was making his way to House Ferem where he inquired after Khariton.
I followed the two gentlemen at some distance while they strolled out to the docks, I collect that they were looking for an open, private, area in which to discuss business. Their goal was certainly to prevent someone from doing exactly the kind of activity that I was engaged in, spying. Perhaps I should have agreed to my mother’s terms to work with the All-Seeing Eye after all. Though I couldn’t get close enough to hear, I could get close enough to read lips. Arashi had his back to me, quite intentionally as it turns out, so I couldn’t ascertain his side of the conversation at all.
What with only being able to “read” one side of the conversation, I was unclear as to the details of their arrangement, but they certainly did come to an agreement. A little surprising since Khariton appeared to be quite startled and upset by the details of his desires that Arashi expressed knowledge of. Arashi offered to help “her”, an unknown woman for whom it is apparent that Khariton feels a great deal, he was prepared to pay any price of Arashi’s asking after all. Suprisingly, all that Arashi seemed to want in exchange for what he was offering to do was for Khariton was for him to help us, Rivienne and myself. Like myself, Khariton expressed some surprise at the terms, but readily agreed to them, parting from Arashi with the statement, “If word gets out, there is nowhere in Creation I wouldn’t find you.”
This interlude eased Kuro’s mind, confirming to him that Arashi really is the deal maker he claims to be. For my own part, It’s a relief to know that I’m not the only one who wants to know “what sort of game” Arashi is “playing at.”
Having some time before we were scheduled to leave the city, and receiving assurances from Kuro that he didn’t need us to help with any of the preparations, Rivienne and I decided to visit house Ferem. Khariton played quite the considerate host to us while we were generally nosey, and clumsily trying to acquire more information whilst simultaneously endeavoring to improve relations with him as he could be quite a useful contact. Nosiness and good relations being two things that really don’t go hand-in-hand, I think it’s quite fortunate that Khariton is so very patient.
We did spend a large amount of time exploring the Ferem library, which is tragically quite small, as well as the comparatively better library at the local academy. I discovered quite a lot of interesting things about our dear Khariton in the house and city records. He is really quite the paragon, in every way, he simply has not lived long enough to be as skilled and versatile as he is, not does Cherak have the resources to instruct upon some of the subjects in which he seems to excel. This I know to be true, exhibited by Rivienne’s inability to find any texts that truly hold her interest, yet he seems to have extensive knowledge of the occult as well as dabbling in sorcery. He was elegantly evasive when Rivienne suggested making a match between him and her sister, which only served to confirm our earlier suspicions.
After thanking Khariton for wasting his time, pretending to be tour guide when he had more than one man’s worth of work to be seeing to, Rivienne and I went our separate ways. My cousin went apart with Arashi, so I sought Kuro out to see if I could assist him with supplies after all. When we reunited Rivienne disclosed that she had allowed herself to be talked into entering a sworn brotherhood with Arashi. She was obviously upset about it too, (It really can be quite explosive, her temper. So amusing.) she tried to warn us about… something.
Kuro and I were both quite bemused, what could have prompted her to agree to such a drastic step, especially when, to all appearances, she doesn’t like the man. Kuro walked out of earshot with Arashi to hear what kind of incentive could possibly have been used to coerce Rivienne into a Brotherhood with him. When they returned Kuro had agreed to enter the Brotherhood as well! I was quite alive with curiosity, indeed, I’m afraid it rather overwhelmed my caution as I quickly followed suit. He proposed to assist me in achieving my greatest desire, I’m sure I should have said no, but the resources he has available to him! …the temptation was too great.
Once the spell was cast and there was no turning back, Arashi confessed that he himself is the Lightning Thief and yes, he is in fact Anathema. A Solar. He also confirmed the whispers I had heard that the Scarlet Empress is not only my mother, but also Rivienne’s. He claims that she is alive somewhere, the Empress. I’m not sure how much that fact interests me… it’s difficult to express much interest in a woman who, not only have I never met, but who saw fit to abandon her duty to the Realm.
Now that we were all bound together, for better or worse it seems, Arashi, the Lightning Thief let loose veritable floodgates of information. Apparently, Khariton was rescued several years ago by the Lady of the Sea, a Lunar who is quite old and quite mad. She somehow retains sanity when with Khariton, and they are very much in love with each other. He sneaks out to see her every night and these stolen nights with her are how he has acquired all of his knowledge and skill.
Our “water aspect” claims his interests still lie in the greater good of Creation, that he has some Sidereal friends who maintain a training camp for Lunars and Solars. Instructing them not only in the control of their abilities, but also in the art of humility.
I can see why Rivienne feels such a strong sense of betrayal, I’m sure I myself would succumb to similar emotions, if not for this overwhelming need I have to laugh. I find that I have been cursed with a most inappropriate sense of humor and clearly don’t feel as I ought regarding this entire fiasco. I really don’t know how I’m going to tell Eben that I joined a Brotherhood. I clearly can’t tell him everything, though I certainly feel that I ought. Oh, dragons! Wind and rain and stars, what a mess!
Still recovering from our various shocks, we departed quite speedily curtesy of Arashi’s anathema talents. We stopped en route to assisst V’neef Shenji, a Wood aspected Immaculate who Arashi felt would be a good addition to the Brotherhood. We found her under attack by six Great Terrors, beasts that had been plaguing the northern territories, so we helped her dispatch them. An event that left her feeling quite in charity with us, so after building a temporary shelter to spend the night in and indulging in baths, Rivienne and I were able to convince her to join out little group.
If she’s still feeling a trifle betrayed by the two of us at this moment, I can’t say that I blame her, we did coerce her quite shamefully. Since there is no longer any reason to hide the truth from Shenji, Arashi transported us to a rather spectacular spirit manse belonging to his tattoo, a spirit he met during his first visit to Yu Shan. Rivienne wasted no time helping herself to his belongings, obsconding with a book from the treasury, much to Arashi’s bemusement.
We awoke the next morning to the smell of breakfast cooking. Convenient. Though it was quite delicious, it was soon overshadow by its eventfulness, as we were shortly joined by both Tonan, the spirit of theft, and Shoyu-Ken, the spirit of ownership. Rivienne was rendered almost entirely speechless, I barely had an intelligible word to say myself.
I really don’t think I’m mentally sound, faced with the prospect of the increased amount of adventure involved in consorting with anathema I find my self positively excited, rather than experiencing any of the other emotions that the prospect should evoke.