Chapter 2: The Web Begins To Weave --- Page 3
LOG 18

The Inn, as at almost all hours of the night or day, was moderately busy. Activity of all sorts created a constant cacophony of noises, some subtle, some anything but. Having gotten wind of their approach, the human was perched upon his private deck, which resided above and between both disparate halves of the Inn's taproom. A studious gaze was given to each as they entered, which were the Xull'rae and the malaugrym figuring that both may be here to make a few queries, but he was not quite sure. There was always the possibility that neither had gleaned anything along the lines of his thinking whilst confronting the demon-shade.

Idly, Cogliostro sipped from his favored crystalline snifter as he awaited the approach of either figure. He was aware that Horock, Drazoul, and Vesz'aun had wandered off for other parts of the city during the past couple of days, each for reasons of their own, and he was also aware that two of the three would soon confront him on a number of matters.

Xull'rae didn't approach as the human had thought; she was not the waiting hand, nor a servant. So she seated herself at the bar ordering red wine after coming down the stairs. She figured the human would be annoying when he needed her, so for now she was "resting" as it were, for she never was one to relax.

The trip was mildly useful, learning various tidbits of information, not that Szordrin was overly concerned with what the demon said to the other two, and more on his own agenda. Though that wasn't exactly a new concept, his form silently shambled within the establishment, the occasional clicking of gnarled staff the only sign of sound made. His deep crimson orbs swept over his surroundings, heading for the human, for there was really no other reason to be here, in a matter of seconds, he was within ear-shot.

Cogliostro did nothing more than pointedly meet the malaugrym's gaze for a moment, and then turned away from the deck's edge, disappearing from view as soft footfalls carried him to his private table. It would seem the female had no questions. Probably caring little about the intricate plots her fellows had gotten embedded within, though he thought her curiosity would get the better of her and that she would at least make certain she had gotten into a position where she could overhear the conversation which was sure to come. It seemed, however, that perhaps the malaugrym had caught wind of certain information, and would want some points clarified.

As curious as Xull'rae could be, right now she did not care about her companions. She was more interested in herself and what she should do next, putting coins down, she awaited her wine. Her amber colored gaze did look up and upon the deck, seeing the hated Mages' conversing.

A mental note had been conveyed as Cogliostro took to his usual, plush seat at the appointed table, one given to the tender who even now labored to get the drowess' drink. With that done, he took a bottle of amber-hued liquid from the table and refilled his snifter to the proper level, waiting for the malaugrym to join him. Meanwhile, the message having gotten through, the tender pushed the drow female's coins back to her as the glass of wine was set before her, passing along quietly and swiftly that the proprietor, being the human, wished her company on the deck above.

Szordrin mutters low under his breath, "we must exchange a few words," as he settles down in an adjacent seat, the staff he carried seemed to ebb from existence, fully dispersing in a matter of seconds. Shifting somewhat, and leaning forward, towards the human. "I gathered some…information, while on our little field trip," he pauses, his voice level but there was something dark about his body language. "What can you tell me of my capture?" He seemed civil enough about it, but there was no mistaking the glint of his eyes, patience wasn't a strong point, not when it came to this subject in particular. He had all but a few of the required stones, and he found a past link, that might just be able to help him further track the remainders down.

For once Xull'rae resisted her greedy nature leaving the coins on the bar top, perhaps as a tip for information. Her elegantly dressed form arose and went to meet Cogliostro and company sipping her wine gingerly as she took an empty seat in silence, just as Cogliostro made his reply.

The human's oak-brown gaze was allowed to drift in the direction of the stairs for a moment, to confirm that the drowess had arrived, whilst he listened to the Malaugrym's words, but otherwise he politely acted as if he were paying close attention to said shapeshifter, before he deigned to answer. The snifter was taken to his lips once again, while traces of a knowing smile touching those thinly formed lips which rested upon his olive countenance. That trace of amusement did not leave as he regarded Szordrin fully once more. "Are you sure you wish to speak on such matters in the mixed company we now have?" He knew he was being annoying, answering a question with a question.

Xull'rae interrupted the malaugrym's reply; irritation as usual laced her tone. "I was asked by you according to your staff to come here. So I am. If I'm not supposed to hear something, why bother me?"

If the disguised malaugrym's cowl wasn't pulled so low, one would notice the irritated expression set across stone-cold features, but that being the case, it was easily hinted in the tone of his voice. "Fine. We will talk about this at another time," he muttered, taking on a more relaxed position in his chair, loosening up a bit, though not overly much, returning to his brooding state. His attention seemed intent on the bald one across from him.

"Like I won't figure out what's going on anyway mage so you might as well blabber away. Xull'rae said, hiding a smile of her own. She continued with the intention of hitting a nerve, "unless you are scared what I may do with the information being told." She sipped her wine again sitting back, her tone conversational now. The black leather dress she wore showed folds of ruddy satin on the inside as she crossed her toned and shapely legs.

The amused smile blossomed on Cogliostro's face at it all. The malaugrym's irritant, and the drowess usual "eloquent" mannerisms, were never boring.

After taking another painstaking drink of the brandy, the glass was set down, and his gaze fell upon Szordrin's disguised form once more, though his first words were intended for the drowess. "Yes, you were summoned. I thought it would perhaps be prudent that I have a witness present, as I wouldn't want to spend overly much time in this city's fine prisons were something to go, hm, amiss." He smiled at her, knowing it would be in her best interest to protect him.

"Now, as for your query, Saer Xarann, what would lead you to believe I even know of what you speak? We have only become acquainted a short while ago, not much time for us to get to know one another well or to know much about one another, though I am curious and interested to hear of this, capture, as you put it." He was of course pushing buttons in the most subtle of manners, testing the waters, so to speak. Though he knew it was quite a bit more than the malaugrym would like him to, he did not know just how touchy the Shadowed One would be on the whole subject.

Xull'rae snorted in Cogliostro's direction giving him a dry and snide reply, "so I'm supposed to say you did it, right?" She finishes the rest of her wine letting the two continue. It was obvious to any who looked at her, despite her being uncloaked for a change, that she was very bored as she twirled the ends of her well groomed hair. The bulk of her glorious mane was held back a small bun which was held in place by a silver circlet while the rest hung down in a ponytail like style with small silver bands in it. It was extravagant to say the least. The circlet itself was a pretty penny unto itself as it was finely crafted with the purest silver, like the bands in her hair, but it had a clear cut topaz shaped like a spider in the middle, which rested upon her smooth forehead. The gem glittered brilliantly in the dull light, enhancing her eyes, making the detail of them highly defined and rich in color, contrasting the two yellows.

"Mm, exactly," that amused simile of a smile turned a slightly sour while Cogliostro responded to the drowess; it was only slightly, as Xull’rae posed quite the contrast of beauty and irritating personality. He knew this of drow in general as well as the danger the combination posed. It was unexpected though since she wasn’t even trying to do anything but irritate and yet he could not deny her physical attributes. It was distracting; up until now she always wore that piwafwi. She certainly had a pretty face but an even better body, and now done up properly, she was enchanting. Appealing to him because she wasn’t vain.

Szordrin didn't see much danger in spilling information, not that his mind was in the right state anyway, not when this particular subject was brought up. The pushing of buttons didn't help the situation any as fingers clenched to form a fist, his eyes mere slits now, unblinking as they stared the human down. "You're testing my patience, human. I know you know more then what you'd like to let on, I want answers, and I want them now." True, he was testy, unlike his usual calm demeanor, though who wouldn't be, stored away in a timeless space for centuries. The presence of Xull’rae oddly calmed his nerves. She was testing them both, but more the human than him. She seemed to soothe Cogliostro too, but he couldn’t put his finger on why.

Xull'rae started snickering, but otherwise remained silent, finding this situation most amusing. She enjoyed the fact that Szordrin was angry knowing he was not in a position to threaten or make demands. Despite his vaunted power, he too must report to a greater and more influential power and that alone caused her to love the moment, even it was the human who had more power. He was tolerable, the drow mage was not.

"My, my.." commented Cogliostro as he arched a single, salt-n-pepper brow in mock surprise, his smile turned more polite of manner than anything. He had gleaned that which he wished to know, the malaugrym had a weakness, if only that a certain subject angers him. Anger in most forms was more weakness than strength, though granted the reverse was true on occasion. The smile was allowed to fade finally, more of a relaxed expression settled upon his visage now. Seemingly the malaugrym had yet to upset him in return, which would perhaps fare better, as they could still have some semblance of a meaningful conversation at this point. "Very well, I indeed have answers, though I do not see the wisdom in willingly handing over all my cards, especially with nothing in return. I hold much information on many subjects. People pay me well to keep those secrets. Also, the information that I hold on this particular subject would perhaps place a number of other souls at danger. Not that you care, but I do have vested interests in certain parties, and I would not want you going off and slaying them, or worse." He left if open for the other mage to respond, he had the floor now.

It was Xull'rae who spoke up first. "I smell a business deal and plot thickening, though you both have to work on the second of the two if either of you want to excel down here." Her tone was amused but it held a serious note to it as well.

"Bah. Witnesses observe, not speak," replied Cogliostro.

"Hey, I'm also a business partner so I have other rights too! Xull'rae said with mock hurt in her tone, if only she would smile then they would know she was having fun with this situation in dealing with these scrapping outsiders, who had no clue on the depth of Drow plotting.

Szordrin gritted his teeth. He was close to lashing out orally, but kept calm as possible. He knew it in his best interest not to fly off the handle, especially when this one known as Cogliostro could be a key witness to his past follies. "What exactly do you want?" He held his threats, but it was sorely obvious his cooperation wasn't willing.

Cogliostro allowed the business partner comment to slide for now, as he did not wish to change the entire conversation to nothing more than a squabble between himself and the female. Offering her a fake smile, he turned his attention back to the malaugrym. More to the point, what exactly doYOU want to get out of this? Is it mere revenge or something more? As your answer would determine how much information I would impart, I cannot name a price until I am aware of just what it is you wish to do with it. If what I give out would cost the lives of certain persons, then the price will perhaps be steeper than even you are willing to pay.

Once again the Malaugrym was forced to reign in his temper. Oh the human would pay dearly for this treatment,' later when it could be unexpected. He replied as evenly as he could, "I simply wish the information, more people to…question; I want to find out the source of my imprisonment." Of course he left out the part about killing every last connection, but he didn't find it overly relevant and wasn't about to bring it up, "that is all I ask." This politeness alone was killing him, the needs of his race were long forgotten, a minor goal, he was here now, more for himself.

Xull'rae burst out with an incredulous voice, "oh gods he could be lying or he could change his mind. He's definitely not of the honest sort, it doesn't really matter what he wants. You have the power in this situation…are you going to use it?" It was a lecture as much as a challenge given to the human.

"Mm, of course he could lie, Saer Zauviir. In fact, I'm counting on that much. However, I can still assuage the good Saer Xarann to a degree, by leaving out particular names I suppose." Though Cogliostro spoke to the female, his studious gaze never left the malaugrym. "Now, I can give you a simple name, of the one who machined your imprisonment, or, you could offer up more, and I could tell you the entire story. In so far as I know it, that is. I've no want of your soul, tainted as it is, Saer Xarann. So tempt me with another offer, name what you will give, and I will tell you one story or the other based on its worth to me." In truth he was glad Xull'rae was here to unintentionally give him tips. He was not drow but he needed to think like one to deal with this shadow creature.

The presence of the drowess, was starting to irk him more and more now; she went from the human to him now as the brunt of scrutiny, the human was inferior to them both. Why was she siding with a white worm? What did the human offer to buy her loyalty? He was slacking in his studies on these dark elves and need to start investigating more. "I want to know everything," he mutters. "You name what you want, an item of power, wealth, a specific task completed." He was struggling harder now to keep his calm, dropping so low as to bargain with a human almost made him sick, yet he couldn't simply start blasting, that'd ruin his goals, and that of his race, he was here as an ambassador after all.

Humans are so simple minded at times no wonder they have short life spans, they learn things quickly but never could harness what they learned to a full degree. Sad, Thought Xull'rae, before she was interrupted by the sound of Cogliostro's voice. His question ringing in her mind like a bell for her to come to attention.

"So, Drowess, what is your opinion on the matter? I digress in that your people are more acquainted with selling people out than my own."

Xull'rae recovered instantly, letting out a soft chuckle as she debated the answer to the human's question. "well lets see, hmm, Her copper colored head turns and her gaze actually locks on the drow mage, looking him over as he were on the market, to be brought. "He's basically stated he'd give you anything, which was foolish cause," she stops as a snicker broke out, "well gee he's wanting to get back at his captors, but you can capture him in a way. What I mean is you could make him serve you. Make him a slave. Of course he is more valuable than that so servitude is the better word. If he doesn't like it, then break his fingers. His one power is his magic so at any time you COULD render him useless."

Cogliostro couldn't help but smile in irony and satisfaction. Xull'rae could be so much fun and it pleased him that he could almost tell what she had been thinking and not even with the use of psionics either. "Mm, I see we think alike at times, female. Very well, servitude it will be." He turned back to the malaugrym now, "for all pertinent information to be handed over, you will be my indentured servant for one years time. That will include, but not be limited to, that which you've already offered. If I want a task carried out, you will do so. If I want an item created, you will do so. If I have need of your wealth, you will hand it over. And though I cannot expect you to be a loyal, excuse me, servant, I will expect you to carry out your assigned tasks promptly and efficiently. You will furthermore allow me to place you under a Geas, so that you cannot out and out betray me, or those in my employ. Do we have a deal?"

He realized that he was asking more than most sane folk would be willing to pay but then again, he knew the malaugrym was not exactly sane. Still, his last question was an honest one, as he did not know the exact limit of how badly the malaugrym wanted this information. He decided to add in to be hopeful, "If it will help, I do not abuse my, hrm, hired help. Ask anyone working here at the Inn."

It was true, the Malaugrym has lost a decent amount of sanity, but that did not make him a fool, In fact, he found something amusing, because he started to chuckle, granted under his breath, but still audible, yet it grew a bit louder. "You can't be serious… I promote slavery, not play along with it. I'd rather snuff the life out of this hole in the ground before handing all my resources over to you." His lips twist into a slim smile, ignoring Xull’rae lest he falter in being suave. When slavery came from her he kept his face still when he wanted to release his rage. The comment on breaking his fingers came back to him with ringing clarity. Apparently this drow kept good on her threats, she WAS like himself and that was deadly. Perhaps he could buy her loyalty. She was a thorn now, one he could not be rid of, not yet; but if he kept her busy with wealth and power…well he would dwell on the possibilities later. Right now was a more serious matter, thinking he did indeed need this information. He then stated coolly, "this will be the deal, you may put me under this Geas if you wish, I will work for you, as an employee, not a slave, I will go out and perform specific tasks, and that is it. If you are in dire need of an item, you may purchase it at a.. hmm, discounted price."

A rather amused smile crept upon Cogliostro’s visage, though a close-lipped one. "Oh, I am quite serious, though I see that you are not so much the fool. And it shows me that you do not truly need the information. So, for what you have offered up, I will give you the name, nothing more. I will impart the Geas upon you, and you will carry out what tasks I need done...and you will be given a monthly stipend, much as any other in my employ. AND I will most assuredly hold you to that discounted price, should I ever desire one of your shadow items. The Geas and the employment will be contractual for one years time. If you ever wish the remainder of the information, you will take up my first offer." The smile had faded now, his countenance holding a more businesslike tone. Though he'd not show outward anger, he too had his pride, and would only tolerate so many threats from the creature of shadow.

"You should give him discounted info human. He is not in the position to downgrade your deal," Xull'rae cut off as the human again seemed to go along her line of thought, but she saw pride was an issue, though for her it would just be a game to pass time. Not that pride could never factor in, it was just a quirk she had.

"Oh, considering the amount of information I hold, fret not, the name in question is indeed a downgrade. However, it should still bring a hefty price from our companion here," replied Cogliostro to Xull'rae.

"He's not my companion I don't claim him, companions are people you rely on." Came Xull'rae's response to the human's own.

"Mm, yes, I suppose so at that, though I never truly rely on anyone save myself," Cogliostro agreed.

Xull'rae snorted and snickered, "that’s pure rothe shit baldy! You humans are too soft to not rely on someone. You rely on your staff to make sure your inn is run, they are your friends not just your employees otherwise your crew would be different, composed of slaves of the Underdark breed, or at least demonic. Nice try pulling that one off. Say what you want but the more you say, the more the lie it will become, you don't beat them you hardly yell. Now in my case I am the one that relies on myself and my God and no one else."

Cogliostro looked at her and shook his head, what she said was partially true but not all of it. "Not 'pure' rothe shit, as you put it; all slavers are not of an abusive sort. I do have a number of indentured servants among those who are actually hired. You see, one thing you drow rarely employ is the fact that a well treated slave is more efficient and more willing to serve you loyally. True, some of your most valued slaves live relatively opulent lives, but the rank and file do not. I on the other hand treat all equally."

While Xull'rae agreed with some of his points, the human still had much to learn on the ways of the Underdark. "A well treated slave means it's a lazy slave and shows softness that is a weakness among my kind. It's not about understanding, it's about being careful and surviving.

Cogliostro shrugged, not wanting to argue over a matter in which he believe should not exist but had to keep ruse up that he condoned slavery. "Mm, well, I've personally not had any lazy slaves to deal with, though I'm sure that's true enough, that, that could become a case in some instances, and it’s by no means about understanding, its about manipulation. If they believe you care, they will care more in return. It does not mean I have to truly care. We are both correct, in different ways, and when applied to differing societies."

Xull'rae refusing to let this shake, being stubborn again shook her head, "fear works better than pretending to care, either way it's a lie and it still comes out the same, the slave is what he is, drow commoners are slaves in a way though treated better BECAUSE they are drow."

Cogliostro resisted the urge to sigh as he replied, "fear has its applications, but I find that too many will still resist, and hence I do not bother to employ it. No matter the case, I stand on my own policies of treating them well so they will do likewise back unto me. It is not an argument to say you are in the wrong, by any means."

Xull'rae shrugged, not really caring about the matter. It wasn't her fault he couldn't or wouldn't accept how drow did things. "I've never seem much use for slaves, that's why I don't have any. Vesz'aun is an exception because that's his choice; he likes it most times when I control him. I have…servants… because Lolth priestesses are supposed to have them." Her shoulders shrug, rustling the rusty colored satin that draped across her shoulders.

"Hm, not to interrupt, but Saer Xarann seems to have taken his leave whilst we were distracting each other." A momentary glance was given to where the malaugrym sat but moments ago, his silence cueing the need to do so, "and Saer Auvryath does not do it by conscious choice, though it may seem like it. Call it a sickness." Cogliostro amended.

Xull'rae didn't want to think about the bladesinger, so she acted like the human hadn't mentioned him, "I suppose I will get slaves when I'm older, matrons usually have them." She shrugged again, barely taking notice of the mage's leave, not liking his company anyway.

"Aye, perhaps you will at that. Though it is only a choice, not a matter set in stone, so you have no need to do so." Cogliostro said.

Xull'rae shrugged again and arose, preparing to go back to the bar and after a drink she'd go upstairs for some rest. "The 'witness' is parting company for now I'll be close by though, should you truly need me." She left the deck then, The drapery across her shoulders held up in the front by two large spider pins, now formed a cape which trailed down her back, spilling expensive fabric in a mini train behind her, leaving the human to his own company.

"I doubt that such a time will ever come, but one never knows." A simple salute was given to her with his snifter in hand, as she arose. For a moment, he contemplated discussing a few more matters with her, but for now he left it go. There would be time aplenty for that in future. "Enjoy."

Xull'rae kept moving offering nothing in the ways of a reply.

LOG 19

Xull'rae ascended the deck to the human’s private table and sat gracefully in one of the plush chairs. It had only been hours since their last encounter. She had not bothered to change clothes, since she never went upstairs to rest as planned, so of course she still had that vixen appeal. To no one in particular she asked in a dusky low tone, which was soft yet alluring at the same time. "I'm guessing the idiot squad is going to be present as well?"

As if in answer to her question, Drazoul walked towards the inn. Much was on his mind meditation had not helped. All that had happened over the course of the previous several days brought so many desolate thoughts. Horock was being hunted by an unknown force and the demon spoke in mysterious riddles. He would see what the human wanted and what might he know for he seemed to know much but would reveal little. He entered the inn scanning all the faces he saw the drowess, approached and bowed slightly to show his respects as to not anger her oh so volatile temper, and nearly stumbled when he realized his head was so close to a partially exposed bosom of firm dark flesh. He executed it smoothly without flaw and kept his face impassive. He did not need to give her more reasons to hate him.

While Horock lay sleeping in bed, he irritably sat up, thinking at first of ignore the man's summons. He had a lot to think about after his spat with the demon. What had he said was true? What was not? He thought to himself as he rose groggily out of bed, he scanned the interior of the room, and then got dressed. The long walk to the inn was dreary, and people were starting to piss him off. He saw the inn in the distance, and saw Drazoul enter. He walked up to the door, and followed the Yuan-ti up. He too gave Xull'rae an inclination of his head to let her know that he respected her. He started to look her over, realizing she was not wearing her hooded cloak and immediately looked at her face and smiled. He noticed too much of her flesh was exposed and needed to keep his wits, so he refused to let his blue eyes to drift from her head. He sat down next to Drazoul, who was looking at his hands, so Horock looked around impatiently for the bald one.

Drazoul quickly took note of Horock who sat next to him and nodded his head in greetings. Then looked at the floor, watching the slow sway of an ebony leg that was surrounded by red satin.

Xull'rae peered at each male in turn, with an uncaring expression; her body language showed she was calm for the moment. Yet she made no move for conversation, so the deck remained in silent company.

Already positioned in his favored, plush chair at the head of the table, Cogliostro watched in near silence, hiding a grin by sipping from his half full snifter as always. It was interesting to see how the drowess affected others when she chose not to hide. It also went well with the surprise in his office. He offered nothing more than a nod to each as they joined him, on the polished wooden surface of the table before him, sat a large, leather-bound tome, this one not worn and tattered like most in his library. In response to Xull'rae's query, he offered naught more than a simple, thin-lipped smile...which she could take as a confirmation.

The red-head snickered in irony that that human at least agreed with how she felt about the group as a whole, she however truly did not care what he thought of her, just the others.

Entering from the office behind Cogliostro, Alena gives off an air of haughtiness. She glided into the room wearing a purple silk dress. It was well made with a simplistic spider webbing design at the throat. The outfit suggested good upbringing if not as rich as a true pedigree noble. Looking around she notices Cogliostro sitting at the head of the table. To each of the other people in the room, she offers a glare of superiority at the males and simply offers the other female a glance frowning slightly at the red hair but saying nothing she decides that she would have to keep an eye on her. Alena took a seat next to Cogliostro. She was slightly pretty, her face so stern and sneering that it permanently set lines in her skin fading the beauty that remained.

Others came by different means, as with most magic. It wasn't that hard for those attuned to it to tell that there was a portal forming on the stairwell leading to the deck and then with a rather sharp ripping sound, followed by a small hole opening in the air, then out stepped a githyanki. Long jet black hair was tied neatly in a pony tail hanging at the base of its back. Sharp yellow eyes scanned the place as it looked about, a slight smile on those thin green lips just enough to see the pointy teeth behind them, lanky arms crossed over its chest. It wore full plate armor glittering and shining with all its crystals and ties. Ugly truly wasn't the word for this one, but then, astral beings were sort of one of those things, they were either liked or hated from the moment people see them and if looks were to say thoughts, from the stares received the githyanki’s way then everyone hated him.

If Xull'rae were upset or affronted by the other female's presence she gave no sign. As a matter of fact Xull'rae treated her like she did everyone else, like they didn't matter. She wasn't fazed by any of the new arrivals in the least, especially the githyanki. The fact he was a psionic race was a bonus, at least she knew the general way the creature worked, while her talents would be unexpected in combat or otherwise.

Drazoul acted calmly on the exterior though inside he was tense and ready to explode at any moment. He never liked these get together’s and to add to his tension, a new drowess came into play, one he had never seen. He was about to lose it when the portal opened and out came a being he had never seen. Drazoul’s jaw dropped and his serpentine eyes went wide as he spoke to anyone in general who would answer him, not caring how he looked, "what or who is that?" He indicated at the sharp toothed yellow creature. "Human you have much introducing to do it would seem."

Looking up after hearing the drow female enter, Horock shifted nervously in his seat. He had a bad feeling about this one. He shook his head. What was he thinking? She had offered that same glare to Drazoul, and he didn't know quite what to make of her at this time. His attention shifted to the opened portal and when the lanky figure stepped out of it, he looked at the traveler with a certain amount of disgust. He didn't like planar people, partially because he didn't like the thought that they could appear anywhere and at any time. He asked with a great deal of scorn in his voice, "and who the Hells are you?"

The Githyanki gave a soft chuckle that sounded like silk tearing and looked to the Yuan-ti Halfblood first. Another psionic-race, how interesting things are turning out to be already, The Githyanki thought to himself while assessing the measure of the obviously dim-witted Halfblood. He gave a wider toothy smile and bowed his head slightly, his right hand slipping down to the greatsword at his hip. "My name…is Bloodhorn…and you need not worry about it anymore, nor do you...good Sir.." shifting his yellow eyes to the other that so demanded his name, putting emphasis on the title "good." Chuckling again he moves closer to the group and looks over the table for something to drink, not even bothering to look up at Cogliostro.

"Relax Horock it's a githyanki...a planar creature.. Xull'rae replied to both questions in a flat voice. The tone carried sounded very unimpressed while seeming uninterested at the ugly creature’s presence though she was surprised at the Yuan-ti, figuring a psionic race would at least sense another one; maybe he was just playing stupid? His acting in the previous days was lacking, so Xull’rae judged he was just daft. "Now, that wasn't so difficult...and please, everyone, if you haven't already, take a seat, drinks will be brought forth." Cogliostro announced with calm if forced pleasantness.

Alena ignored what was going on with the planar creature, and instead, focused on the idiocy of the drow male to speak out of turn. She gave a chuckle, thinking, If only I was close enough, I would smack him clear into next week. Instead she looked at Cogliostro, she began to wonder why she was here. She had more important things to do besides sitting around while stupid social inferiors spoke out of turn.

As if on cue, a simple dressed human female brought a tray of empty glasses, with half a dozen bottles of differing liquid as well, setting the entire tray in the center of the table before taking her leave.

Once that was accomplished, the bald crowned human offhandedly waved at the tray, indicating those that wish a drink should help themselves. That done, a slight frown settled upon his ageless countenance, a studious gaze lingering upon each in turn, assessing the situation at hand. The frown deepened by the time he was finished.

Xull'rae stared at Cogliostro in return, waiting for him to begin. It was obvious she was bored though patient, a combination which was odd for her, though more and more it was noted that she could keep herself in check once again during meetings.

Bloodhorn chuckled once more, seeming to find just about anything as funny, them all, in fact. "You know that my taste is different from theirs.. .I'll sit when I find what I need." smirking a bit he grabs a bottle and laughed out loud, entertaining himself like always. Taking the bottle he heads for an empty seat, still smirking as he uncorks the bottle.

At the mention of Horock's presence by the drowess Drazoul clawed at his daggers worrying what actions this drowess might take in punishment to his outburst. He bowed towards Alena and attempted at respect laced with meekness, though he hated it. "Please excuse his actions drowess." He was proud that his voice sounded steady.

"Call her jabress fool!" Xull'rae snapped in a harsh reprimanding tone, then softened it to give an explanation, as if speaking to a child, "since you are not drow you can be excused for your ignorance, though when we females don't give our names or even when we DO, always address us as Jabress. The human uses saer but he is our equal of sorts so he may use it." The last sounded like she was granting Cogliostro permission to use such common titles.

Alena nods in agreement to Xull'rae, though grudgingly. It seemed she had authority here, her style of clothing made her think of the red-head as a noble if perhaps a slutty one. She seemed to use seduction as a tool to get men do what she wanted. It was effective if degrading. She was going to have to be careful. She takes an offered drink, settles back, and waits impatiently for the human to continue. Acknowledging the Yuan-ti, she waves nonchalantly at him to let him know that she really didn't care. She was above them all, aside from Cogliostro and perhaps this drow woman. Very careful indeed.

The githyanki gives a rather sour laugh at that and he shakes his head, his long black hair waving back and forth as he does so and mutters something about Jabress his backside. Though it seemed largely ignored by everyone.

Drazoul grinned horribly inward at the foolish term the drowess told him to use. He would play their power game for the time being but when he was established he would show them how a yuan-ti would repay such an insult. A grin did touch him then upon hearing Bloodhorn's comment. Perhaps the creature could be tolerated.

Cogliostro remained silent for the moment, his frown deepens ever further, noting sarcastically to himself how well the group interacts. His one small consolation was that he kept the idiot Bladesinger busy elsewhere for the moment, and did not have to deal with his moronic mannerisms as well. A small nod was given to Xull'rae, accompanied by traces of a knowing smile. Saer was a polite enough title, but not the most generous one he could use. But then again, much as he did not know all of their customs and the like, neither did they know all of his. An inward sigh was offered as he noted the malaugrym had not joined them yet, which meant the in-fighting would continue for a bit longer as she stated, "we are awaiting another, and then we may proceed."

Xull'rae eyes narrowed instantly upon hearing the Planar creatures mutterings. She had a moments dislike as soon as he arrived but it was masked until now. Her mouth twisted in contempt and her tone had a dangerous pitch to it. "Githyanki if you want to live to hear the first word the human has to say..SHUT UP! I have good ears and your comments are not needed nor wanted." She addressed Cogliostro in a cool but commanding manner then. "Human please control your lackeys or you will lose them. You asked for civility not foolishness so I expect the same of you and the company you summoned."

Horock just looked astonished at the drow female sitting across from him. He mumbled a word of apology toward her. His thoughts turned inward, thinking about how long it had been since he had addressed any drow female, especially as Jabress. He did to Xull’rae but Xull’rae never demanded it of him, it was HIS choice to call her that. He thought that he had left that behind years ago, but oh well. Looking over at Alena he did not know what to think, whether to dislike her or not. How would he finally react when she spoke to him? He did not know and did not especially care. He would, if he had to, make sure that she did not bother him ever again, but that was a last resort, as he still had many things to do. Better not to be distracted by a simple female drow. It was bad enough with one, he didn’t need two. Besides with Xull'rae's reaction he was safe for the most part, or hoped he was.

Bloodhorn chuckled showing more teeth then smile, looking straight at the red headed drow woman without an ounce of fear. "and did you think I didn't know you could hear me? Bah…you must have blonde roots if you thought otherwise." Smirking in an arrogant fashion he takes a long pull from his bottle, his other hand never leaving the hilt of his sword. Drow were a dangerous lot even if they appeared defenseless.

Drazoul, unsure of the situation, struck a conversation with Horock in yuan-ti not knowing for sure if others spoke but would be careful to not anger anyone. "Horock what did you think of the demon, did you understand anything from his garbage riddles?"

Horock replies in yuan-ti, "no, I did not make anything of that gibberish really. I don't know, I went and thought about it, but I could not really think of anything intelligent out of it. Lets talk about this a little later, as I am sure some here will be able to understand this language." They both nodded to each other and fell silent, waiting upon Cogliostro and his other "guest" to arrive.

"Remove the gith human, apparently he doesn't understand the word civil, or else I will kill him if he keeps running his mouth with useless banter." Xull'rae's temper was not riled yet and she was actually civil to her word and giving the human warning, instead of giving into her reckless nature and killing the insolent planar champion where he stood without lifting a figure. She too had weapons of the mind that she kept in reserve. None knew except the human and malaugrym, the others would find out in due time. Some the hard and painful way.

Cradling his furrowed brow momentarily within the tips of his fingers, Cogliostro did his best to fight off an encroaching headache. This was not going well, but that could be expected. Sighing outwardly this time, he looked first at the githyanki, then at each in turn. "I will tolerate no bloodshed here tonight, nor any other night. For the last time, all of you seat yourselves, get a drink, and be bloody damn well merry. There is much business to be discussed." He wished the malaugrym would haul his rear, before things shifted and he would perhaps have to ignore his own rule.

Bloodhorn listened to every word of the conversation spoken. Nodding he takes another pull from his bottle, laughing this time at the drow female then even more as the human reprimand him. When Cogliostro simply stared at him, he shrugged some and simply looked up at the ceiling.

Cogliostro took an effort to keep from grinding his teeth, and his voice offhand. He didn't want to show he felt much the same as Xull'rae concerning the creature. "Saer Bloodhorn, I reimburse you for services well enough, so do put a damper on this insubordination and take a seat. T’would not take much for me to contact a certain female that you've been avoiding, if you get my drift." He was not speaking with any tone of anger, but with simple fact. Though the entire situation frustrated him, he managed to keep a calm enough demeanor that lay unruffled thus far.

Suddenly a planar rift fizzles to life right outside this fine establishment which he left hours ago, The disguised malaugrym indeed caught the summons, but took his time to make his appearance. This was another chance to learn, and that was valuable at the moment, at least to him. He pushed forward into the Inn, making his way to the second level, it didn't take a genius to find where the gathering was, he could see them from the lower level. His cloaked figure with staff in hand and red cowl pulled low to expose only the lower half of drowish features took a seat in the only empty chair. Nimble digits curled about that heavily enchanted gnarled staff. He cast an idle look at each, but otherwise said nothing.

Xull'rae declined a drink knowing who the human was waiting for, so she just sat back comfortably and fell silent, satisfied for now that the human had a little control, though he needed to work at it better. She simply ignored the toothy yellow worm, smiling inwardly at the thought she was sure Cogliostro had stabbed a nerve somewhere.

Bloodhorn was in fact already sitting at a table in the middle of the place, but did not bring that up, suppressing a wince; he chuckled at the bald man to cover it up but smiled that goofy toothy smile and just watched. Knowing now that he tested the limits and it was best to stop for now.

Drazoul stared at the liquids for a moment he did not make a move to pour himself a drink. He never enjoyed much alcohol most because it dulled his senses and he always feared constant poisoning even though his body was better suited for such an attack. He noted the humans attitude and continued to sit quietly waiting for the human to speak.

Cogliostro ignored all others now except the malaugrym, his eyes brightening with anticipation to get things started as he said, "ah, what a pleasure that you deign to join us this night, Saer Xarann." He offered up half-mockingly, "have a seat if it suits you. Have you thought about my offer?" As he waited patiently for reply he takes a mental note that they were all here now, and situated in an almost circle so he supposed that would have to do unless he wished to cause a scene himself. That would not do at this time, not at all. Each that may step out of line tonight could always be dealt with later, in private.

Szordrin had a smile of his own, though thin-lipped as he replied, "we will discuss that matter on a more one-to-one basis, human. Then I shall let you know what I think of your proposition." He stayed in line, but was close to stepping over it with his comments, still irritated by the earlier meeting, he didn't sit for his own reasons, and made it a point to take haven in a more shadowy area of the room.

The mocking tone Cogliostro had used was now accompanied by a smile of the same nature as he said, "I already know what you think of my offer, I merely wonder if you will take me up on it."

The Malaugrym quelled the urge to growl and didn't bother making anymore comments, he wanted the human to get on with business, the only response was an arrogant "hmph".

Cogliostro nodded to himself in satisfaction and cleared his throat. "Now, if I may offer the purpose of why we are here." Offering a glance to both the females present, in turn, stopping to linger on Alena for a moment, his gaze a most pointed one.

When they both nodded he continued.

"Some of us already know why we are is we who will enlighten the others as this progresses." Being haughty himself at times, he cared not if the drowesses here thought him out of place and beneath themselves. He thought much the same of them at times. For now, he regarded the group as a whole once more. "Tell me, Saer's Horock and Drazoul, what did the two of you gather from the demon-shade? Speak freely, all who are here now are involved in the situation, despite the fact they may not know it yet."

Drazoul started to speak when all eyes even the hooded one fell on him. "I know he is more so after Horock then he is with me. He spoke more in riddles than in sense, but from what I gather I doubt my family is involved with this situation."

Cogliostro's expression changed from serious to a mixture of curiosity and amusement. "Do you then know for sure he wants more with Horock than with yourself?" he asked.

Caught off guard with the question, Drazoul's face flickered with uncertainty and was gone in an instant, that any not watching closely would have missed it. "I assumed so though with these situations nothing is written in stone."

Cogliostro nodded with a smile, seeming satisfied with the answer said, "precisely."

Drazoul nodded as well and continued his thoughts aloud. "As to who sent the demon I'm still baffled and I am rather intent on finding out who would go to the troubles of sending such a powerful creature."

Xull'rae interrupted casually if not politely. "Never assume. Assuming can get you killed very fast. My guess is whoever is after Horock is after you too snake boy. Since the two of you are…companions. A powerful lackey is hired by a more powerful person, who we all know is not Cogliostro." Xull'rae paused on the word companions as if it were something foreign and hard to pronounce. She also left it end like that and kept her eyes on the two odd males. What she really wanted to do was watch Szordrin. Pieces were falling to him. He knew the demon, didn’t kill the demon and he was also stronger than the demon. It all fit, as the saying went, keep your twits close and your enemies closer. She had no proof, except the fact that Cogliostro was desperate to have the drow mage here and Horock said he had a death mark on him when he first arrived, and the bald human bartered for names saying those he named may come to harm. She could be wrong so she waited quietly instead of speaking her thoughts aloud. Too many here were psions, so she kept her mental defenses up.

Cogliostro added in, "and if you continue down that path of thinking, you will remain baffled. No one sent the demon-shade. It was acting of its own volition, and in its own interests." His gaze lingers upon Drazoul, then Horock, and then it comes to rest upon the malaugrym. "I will shorten this process if you all wish. And you will all get the answers you are seeking. Though if I do it in this manner, take heed that indeed everyone will get all the information. No secrets any longer."

Drazoul nodded at Xull'rae considering her words. Anyone who thought her stupid was the fool. As to the human's response he was surprised and was trying hard to find the words to speak.

Cogliostro pressed on. "So how will it be presented? Shall I simply tell you a story, or do you all wish to limit it by asking specific questions? It matters little to me, as I already have the answers."

Xull'rae sounded perplexed as she gave her response. "Hmmm since I don't have questions I don't need answer so I hope I'm here for a better reason than just to sit and listen." She stated it, not asked it.

Bloodhorn on the other hand chuckled a bit, shook his head and shrugged as he said, "Let’s hear the Story! Stories are great!" He smirked at the red drowess, no doubt disagreeing just to irk her.

"Do…pardon me, Jabress, by virtue of those it involves, this most definitely is of great concern to so much as your church is a concern to you. If you care little for your religion, then you need involve yourself no further." He blinked. He had not expected her reaction to be like that. True, he had no idea on what her reaction should have been but it was not like the one she just offered. His statement was meant to jab in an attempt to hit a soft spot in getting her to stay. Out of all the others he needed her cooperation the most.

Cogliostro blinked again and then quickly took on an interested look as a voice buzzed in his ears. It was Drazoul asking a question, "what I want to know is how you came to acquire this information?"

It was obvious that the Yuan-ti was suspicious and cautious. Cogliostro smiled in spite of himself. "That is one question I will not answer, as it has no pertinence, at least not in my opinion. Rest assured that the information is quite accurate." His grin grew wider seeing both Horock and Drazoul have identical expressions of doubt, and added, "then again, you do not have to believe me, the choice is yours. But what do I have to gain by lying? At any given moment, I could wash my hands clean of the whole situation, so I have nothing to lose by telling the truth, or witholding the information." He continued on without pause for breath, or letting others get a word in, his tone serious yet still casual, "but, my curiosity is piqued by the predicament which has come about, so I willingly embroil myself within its coils." All he said was not the entire truth, but neither is it an outright lie.

Drazoul nodded if a bit reluctantly as he commented, "perhaps human, perhaps. I have full confidence your information is more then valid. Though I must agree with the gith, out with the story unless Horock has anything on his mind?" He looks over at his drow companion, a questioning look in his slitted eyes.

Xull'rae let the others have a say before she responded to Cogliostro in an offhand manner, since he liked trying to rub her nerves, sometimes she made a point to rub back. She snickered her tone disbelieving and a touch sarcastic, "it involves the church? Really?" seeing his expression she sighed long-sufferingly but her tone was still remained the same, "okay fine, but I'm not a guard dog to a mere novice so I suppose I should ask the church to be more specific on my duties."

Xull'rae was smart. Cogliostro admitted that to himself but she did not know everything, so he used a matter of fact voice to get his point across. "I assure you as well, Saer Zauviir, it is not simply by virtue that you are Horock's guard dog that your church is involved. It goes much deeper than that."

The folds of Xull'rae's dress shifted slightly as her head nodded, but the voice that came from her sounded absentminded, "Then again I should pray about it. My so called superiors can be clouded to the true agenda of the religion." She sounded so matter of fact, she wasn't even really replying to Cogliostro.

As such, Cogliostro didn't really answer her, merely nodding before turning his questioning gaze to the others, namely Horock, Alena, and the Malaugrym.

Bloodhorn smiles at the gathered and mutters, "It always goes deeper then it seems." He gave the human a knowing wicked grin.

A slight sigh and a rolling of his oak-brown orbs is all the response that the githyanki would receive to his jest from him.

This whole gathering reminded the Yuan-ti of his family. Everyone wrapped in their own plots, while he just wanted answers preferring much simpler things then games. It wasn't so much that Drazoul could not learn how to play but he hated the whole approach which was why he became a killer. There was nothing complicated about slipping a dagger through an enemy.

The Malaugrym however was growing impatient. The human was known to be the long winded sort, but things would get no where if the group complained that they were "left in the dark". Though his voice was pure serene calm, those that knew him well enough, knew that by him simply talking, he was getting testy. "I don't feel secrets are necessary here, It wouldn't be hard to find out what exactly I am about, or my past, it is written in the tomes, after all. So speak freely." He nodded slowly to the human so he could continue. If this is what it took to gather information, so be it, he didn't have to hide the details any longer, he was sure rumors of his existence here had traveled far across the continent as is.

Xull'rae followed the disguised malaugrym's silent line of thought. "Very well just spit out the details, no need to dress it up in a story cause you tend to be long winded so get to the point and just tell us everything you know."

Cogliostro agreed with a nod and a rueful smile. "fine, since no objections have been raised, onward we shall proceed."

When all nodded, Cogliostro began. "Nearly three centuries ago, there was an evil tyrant of an archmage, whose lackeys had become tiresome of his treatment with them. One day along came their 'savior', in the form of a drow male who held quite some power himself. Until recently, none ever gleaned who that male was. I can place a name to the face now, his name is Malag'tel." He glanced then at the malaugrym, for that part would mean the most to him, but did not pause in his telling of the tale, "this enigmatic figure known only as Malag'tel, which means exiled wanderer in the drow tongue, for those unfamiliar with the terminology. He offered this vile archmage's generals the means to rid themselves of their 'esteemed leader'. At least they could be rid of him to a degree. Such was the archmage's power that they could not kill him outright. So, they set about with the offered plot, to entrap him.
"The imprisonment went through without a flaw, as in concert their machinations were enough to defeat the, hm, surprised archmage in question. Furthermore, in order to assure that should something go wrong and the magics would fail, a set of seven magical seals had been created, which held the power within to reinstate the magical prison. Each of the highest ranking generals had been given one of the seals 'ere they all parted ways, after being instructed on what to do if they ever be needed.
"However, as further safeguard, though more a complication in my opinion, these seven generals were not given the incantations which would actually unlock the power of the seals. Instead, the incantations were buried deep within the minds of recent newborns, most taken from local slave stock at the time. One exception to that was one general's daughter. There had not been enough accessible slave children, so the young drowling had been incorporated into the plan. Now, these children were initially placed in the care of a certain slaver, one who was not directly in the employ of the entrapped archmage. Yet another safeguard I suppose.
"This slaver is a certain demon-shade that some of you've made the recent acquaintance of."
He didn't wait for reaction of that revelation, instead he pressed on. "Said slaver was to raise the children in seclusion, and implant multiple layers of false memories within each of them, so that the latent incantations could not be detected, should the archmage escape and glean information from one of his former generals.
"For the most part, the slaver carried out this task. But as time passed, boredom in the duty overtook him, and some of the children had been placed in the care of this person or that. Again, one exception to the whole thing was that the female child was left in her fathers care the entire time. Though it was not the most desirous option, the general would have it no other way.
"With the passing of time there also came the passing of certain generals, though most had found means to prolong their lives, if they were of the bent that had to worry about short lifespans. Some of the children, the keys, I should say, were placed in suspended animation for a time, as their lifespans would have caused them to perish long before now. One such was freed from stasis early, a Yuan-ti Halfblood."
Again, a pointed gaze was offered up, this time of course to Drazoul. "This child was taken under the wing of one of the former generals, of yuan-ti blood himself. They spent a number of years together, the elder passing on his knowledge to the younger. These two beings were among the first to realize that the imprisoned archmage escaped and the elder Yuan-ti was the first to give the archmage information about the seals, and the keys. The former general was of course killed, but the child was spared. Much to the chagrin of the archmage, but no need to detail that out.
"The archmage then set about tracking down more of the generals, and accumulating what seals he could. After the archmage had left on that particular day, however, the youthful yuan-ti had been tracked down by the demon-shade slaver, and placed into stasis once again.
"Recently, this ‘child’ was released, along with one of the other children, another drow youth, though this one of a male variety."
His gaze then lingered upon both Drazoul and Horock for the briefest of moments. "The enchantments which held them in stasis was interrupted by an errant spell, releasing them, though it seems that the false memory implants held true for the most part. They would not even be aware at this time that their memories are false ones.
"It is conjectured that the archmage was released in much the same means. Indeed, I believe it occurred during the Avatar wars, at the instant the former Mystra had been killed, and magic had gone awry. Whatever the case, it seems that as of present day, all but two of the seven generals have been hunted down and vengeance reeked upon them and that all but two seals are now in possession of the archmage."
He pauses before continuing, wondering if he should speak of certain points before continuing. Seeing shock on many faces, the silent malaugrym, calm in stance but a hard knuckled grip on his staff. Only Bloodhorn and Xull'rae seemed completely unruffled by the facts.

"It has also been conjectured that the archmage would not be able to destroy the seals, though whether it is true or not has yet to be determined. However, one fact has been gleaned, and that is that the archmage cannot bring any form of harm to the 'keyholders', in and of his own volition. Speculation would lead one to believe the dormant enchantments laying within their subconscious react to some sort of Geas laid within the archmage's own. Now, as it stands, the archmage continues his quest, and the children in question go about their lives, not knowing what they have been thrust into for the most part, though one even now actively hunts down the archmage, and the seals which may still be out there. Of the two generals, and their seals, which remain at large, I only know the location of one. Which, that is one secret I will continue to hold at this time." Cogliostro took a long drink from his snifter to quench his drying throat.

Finally his gaze finally rests on the amber eyed drowess directly this time. "Now, as to how this ties in with your church, Saer Zauviir, one point you already know, Malag'tel, whom I've just found out is in league with your superiors. And there is also a second point of tie-in that you can guess at based on the tale I've just presented. There is also a third. A certain mage within the ranks of the church also has former ties with the archmage in question, though exactly what I do not know yet. I will find out soon enough, though. He leans back in his chair and takes several swallows he speaks again, "okay, there is the tale, anyone not asleep yet may take time to dally upon it. I will now quench this incredible thirst I've built up." He does just that, refilling his snifter and draining it quite quickly, refilling it again.

Szordrin found all of this information quite enjoyable, he remained silent in his little corner of the room, and kept still, his features didn't change other then the squinting of crimson orbs, following the humans own shifts as the man spoke. He stood there in contemplation, the bald one knew of another general, and that was one step closer to recovering yet another stone, and this Malag'tel was part of the church, which he would personally investigate. It took an effort not to grip his staff more firmly, to unclench his fist hurt but he barely noticed.

Drazoul sounded hoarse as he spoke though he had long since covered his surprise and fear. "who is the other 'child' currently hunting the arch mage?" He wanted to drink but schooled himself not to, as it might tremble in his grip.

Horock exchanged a look with Drazoul; he realized that some of the things that the Demon had said to him were true. Now that it had all been explained to him, he realized what had happened. The demon did not want them dead. He just wanted them back into where he could once again control and protect them. As soon as Drazoul had asked the question, suspicion immediately fell upon the new Drowess that had joined their party. He would have to speak to her about this at some time he decided. He sat back knowing that just about everything he knew had been a lie. All this to perpetuate the recapture for a certain creature which he did not even know what it truly looked like and could change forms The only thing that he knew was that he, Drazoul, and Alena still needed to watch their backs and stick close to one another. Maybe the creature could not hurt them directly, but he could possibly send some lackeys to do the job for him. He was not afraid, particularly because he knew he was ignorant of some details still and was all too happy to count his blessings.

Almost as an afterthought, after draining his glass for the third time and seeing the various reactions despite attempts at cover up, Cogliostro added in the following words, hoping the malaugrym would take heed. "With the seals missing, the children who hold the incantations would be of little, nay, one could say no concern."

Bloodhorn simply smiled a wide smile and shrugged again. He looked at everyone and chuckled truly unconcerned for the others. It had nothing to do with him; he was just hired help that was still waiting for the blabbering human to give him instructions. Though he did add in his remark to show he was paying attention. "Yay, great story," and with that said he takes a large swallow from his rather expensive drink.

Xull'rae however was placidly lounging in her own seat, though she was angry and heavily laced with contempt that anger could be ignored completely, "what the fuck do I care about asshole over there?" Her thumb jerked to the disguised Malaugrym without looking at him. "He deserved to be imprisoned! I know because I've had the unpleasantness of being in his company.
"As for scar face Malag'tel I don't like him either! He's an arrogant prat who’s worse than you or mage boy at times.
"What matters is the church's safety, though in all honesty we should get what’s coming to us for fucking up. The point is to further our deities wishes. If they cornered themselves in a power struggle with two dicks let them suck on them. If the tower is destroyed because of it, oh damn well it just means those that survive pick up and start again!
There are other churches to go to, and above all, drow know survival best and I highly doubt the power struggle can wipe out an entire religion."
Though her tone was sour, it certainly sounded like Xull'rae meant every word she said.

As the human told the story, Alena sat back and listened, always with an air of haughtiness about her again. When the human had gotten to whom some of the other key holders were, she nearly dropped her glass with disbelief. How had these idiot males been made seal keyholders? Why had they been chosen? As the human had continued on the tale, she had realized that they still knew nothing of what was going on really. She would keep her secret. At least she thought that she would as she looked over at the two males sitting side by side, one asking a stupid question as to who this drowess was. She was sitting right in front of him! The second did not speak, but she saw his gaze and she knew that he had a good idea that she was the one the human had spoke of. She could not relax now, she realized. The drow mage was in this room, she could see him. She did not want to be singled out. After all, what could she do at this point? The answer was nothing. She sat back, content to listen to the bickering from this point after, and turned her murderous gaze on the malaugrym I will get you, she thought. If it is the last thing I do.

Now that the pieces to the puzzle were in place, Drazoul and himself and Alena, Horock thought it was her who was a seal holder not Xull'rae, at least he hoped so, one was much more dangerous than the other in his line of thought. They would have to embark on a quest to find the remaining generals who would have the seals. But could it be true? All he knew was a lie.

This archmage was he the one that forced him to kill his master? Drazoul looked at the hooded mage in a studious manner. If so he would return the favor. Drazoul would have to speak with Horock in private and he knew he would have to speak with Alena also, perhaps she knew more.

The Githyanki just continued drinking. Letting out a belch to perhaps attract attention.

Whilst the others thought on the matter silently, Cogliostro caught Xull'rae's words, and was taken slightly off guard. She was a fanatic, which he knew, but even moreso than he at first thought. It seemed she would sacrifice her fellow priests for the "greater good" of her church. Fanaticism to that degree was a dangerous thing. He would keep it in mind. In the aftermath, he merely allowed his gaze to linger on them all, as he refills and summarily drains his snifter once more. This could cause many problems for them all, he may have even sealed the fates of a few here, if he turned out to be powerless to protect them. But this was no longer just a concern of theirs. A recent run-in with Malag'tel brought him fully into the fold, and he would rather use this disparate group as his allies, than try to stand alone against multiple fronts.

When Bloodhorn was ignored, he gave a sign and shook his head a bit. He looked on to the human for a long moment and the smiled slightly, "and just what do they do now? Hmm? What do you want them to say or do? Shall they cower in fear or go looking for the problem? You have a plan or ya wouldn't have said anything in the first place. I've yet to see ya without some kind of plan. What is it, so I can prepare at least because… ya always send me on your damned missions." The more he spoke the more irritated he sounded and by the last sentence he was not smiling at all.

"Yes human I must agree with Bloodhorn what is your plan or next move? asked Drazoul.

"A plan?" Cogliostro looked and sounded confused, as if the idea baffled him. This time he finds some odd humor in the situation, and releases a short chuckle, more an ironically amused bark than anything.

Xull'rae spoke up. "His plan is to use us like he has been." She did not ask it, her tone blunt.

"All I wanted to do was present each of you with the tale, and let you glean what answers you could from it." He looked abashed when Xull'rae stated the obvious and for a flickering moment thought that she had read his mind, but no she was just keenly perceptive. She was becoming a very good resource, but at the same time a dangerous one which he was counting on. "Hmph, yes, that too." He reluctantly added in a bit more gruffly then he intended.

"You mean you have not idea what you want us to do after giving us this information? You may have signed our death warrents!" Horock all but shouted in outrage and shock.

The response from Xull'rae to Horock was of snapping disgust. "Stop sniveling! Wimp!"

A slight shrug is offered to Horock, from Cogliostro as a soft frown settled upon his olive-hued visage. "And that would mean what to me? You are employees of a sort, so you are tools. Tools are to be used. If one should break, you simply go get another." He knew he sounded cold and did not care. It was the truth, however much he disliked it.

Drazoul shot Xull'rae a thunderous look for her comment on his companion, but his anger was directed at Cogliostro though his voice was cold calm. "If you have no plan human then I'm afraid I must then take things into my own hands. It's not so good finding out everything about me is a lie."

Bloodhorn waited for the majority to say their peace before he chuckled some more and shrugged again. "As you wish. Though I think you're full of it, as most times human"

Xull'rae met Drazoul's stare. Amber colored eyes shone with a glint which was pure ice. She addressed him with a simple question, "what do you feel must be done? You shouldn't rely on him to give you direction."

The more Cogliostro studied Xull'rae and her personality the more he liked her. Dangerous indeed but he smiled agreement and said, "thank you."

Bloodhorn smirked upon hearing Cogliostro's comment and added his own, "ahhh the old tool bit."

The bald mage let his irritation slip in responding to the githyanki as he snapped, "you stand to gain the most, Saer Bloodhorn, so you should be content."

Bloodhorn shook his head, getting another bottle to drink from and shrugged as if what the human said didn't really change his mind. "If it was up to me, I'd take was 'mine' and head back to my traveling. But since that’s not possible, can we at least kill something... soon?" The last part was muttered.

Horock glares at Xull'rae from across the room. Somewhat over his rage over the situation and her words, his voice sounded steady at least when he spoke them, though it was a low growl "I can understand all of that! But, at this time, I have nothing more to say to you. I need to figure out what the hell is true in my life and what was not." He gave her a warning look for emphasis as he added in lower and colder tones, "you can go ahead and snicker if you want, I don't expect any sympathy for you. Perhaps, if situations were reversed, you would feel a bit nervous, eh?"

Xull'rae shook her head ruefully at the dog who was trying to become a wolf. "A revelation! Bravo. You may live a lil longer with that insight. Maybe." Her tone was dry as she nodded to him, partially agreeing to no sympathy.

But Horock didn't stop, he pushed right on, his anger rising. "Oh, but wait, what I am thinking? You are my Jabress so I must treat you with as much respect as I want, but know this. Everything I know is almost certainly a lie, and I don't like it. So, stop baiting me before I get really pissed."

Xull'rae sounded amused as she responded, "and what will you do if you get pissed little boy?" But then her tone faded to certainty. "You are sad., nervous no. Death is a part of life. As for me I give all for my deity. My life is in the hands of a higher power, if that power sees fit that I die, I will, not without a fight but I will without fear. If you treat me with as much as respect as you want, then I respond in kind, which is none at all."

Cogliostro sighed and shook his head. Horock always seemed to take things the wrong way and then his temper flared, while Xull'rae was stating truth as she saw it. Horock had a lot to learn and catch up on if he was to remain in the red heads care. "Right now, you two should prepare. In silence I hope," he suggested referring to Xull'rae and Horock. "Is faith not enough to bind you together?"

Drazoul spoke up before either could reply his words coming out in a haste. "Jabress I must agree with your observation." He then spoke again in yuan-ti to Horock, giving him a pointed look. "We must first find out about that drowess. Not arguing with that one. Then from there we shall plot our course and we shall use who ever can help and dispose of who ever is in our way."

As soon as Horock has said his words he immediately wished he could take them back. He sat back, fuming. He needed to calm down, and Drazoul was helping a little.

Despite Horock’s anger, he felt a sudden chill as Xull'rae calmly replied in a tone so soft so self assured, he wished he could cringe, but he stayed steady amazingly. "Have you forgotten who you serve? If so I can dispatch of you quickly enough. Not here upon the request of the human but you should know never to threaten me. Our deity is very prone to backstab and grudges…do keep that in mind." As she continued however he frowned uncertainly as truth seared at his mind more than her promise of death. "Life handed you a raw deal get the hell over it and grow some fucking balls, you poor sorry excuse for a drow. If it's a battle you want, fine. Bring it on! But some advice to you, don't sleep anymore, cause I take threats as something real and as the order to guard you is still in effect well I all I have to say is you got snippy and well underling that you are, needed to be taught respect."

Szordrin couldn't help but to let loose a little chuckle at all the chaos, he did feed off of this sort of thing after all. His serenity and self control had returned long since and now he was content to play observer once more.

Alena sat there and listened to the chaos around her, a small smile forming over the lip of her drinking cup. The male once again had shot his mouth off, but this time she approved. The other female needed to be put in her place too though. Still, he was male she would have to get to know him, even if she did not particularly want to. "Excuse me," she said looking at Drazoul as he was speaking to Horock in Yuan-ti. "I think we need to speak about something, and if I am correct, you two will have some questions for me. Why don't we have a chat sometime?" Even as she made the offer, she had a sick feeling well up inside of her. She had just asked to meet two males as equals. What am I thinking? She asked herself. After a moment, she calmed down and waited for the two to answer.

Drazoul broke off conversation and looked at Horock carefully, he then spoke to Alena. "Jabress your offer is most gracious and appreciated I am sure Horock and I would be much obliged to converse with you." He was very careful with wording. He then addressed Xull'rae meekly for fear that speaking to the other female had raised her ire on top of Horock's outburst, but gave a quick wink at Horock, grinning. Knowing Horock would understand his motives. "Jabress Xull'rae, Horock speaks out---" but Xull'rae cut him off with a voice that was sweet as if she were being patient to a child. "Let him speak for himself, you are iblith." Iblith was a drow term for excrement.

"Ahh, the love present here and now is almost palbable," Cogliostro remarked in a rather dry and mocking tone under his breath. No one paid him any mind however.

"I do not believe that I threatened you," Horock protested. "I simply asked you to stop pissing me off, as it is not good for my health or heart condition," he said with a rueful smile. He had started to calm down, and he realized that he had stepped way out of bounds. He gave a nod of thanks to Drazoul who had once again saved his butt but who was starting to wade into trouble himself. "I do apologize, I do indeed know my place and I know whom I serve, you do not need to remind me of that. I serve the Masked one, always have and always will. I do apologize." He said almost pleadingly. It was hard to tell her reaction as the planes of her face, never so much as twitched. He looked quickly over at Drazoul, and gave him a wink in return. Now he continued, this time to Alena. "I do concur with Drazoul, we would be more then willing to meet with you. Simply name the time and the place and we will be there. But, lets not set that date here and now," he said, looking over in the corner at the malaugrym "We should make that on our own times and away from prying eyes and ears." Even as he said this, he realized that he should not have talked to Alena that way, he was not her equal. She was a Lolthite, or acted like one at least. He winced, when he realized he had said he worshipped Vhaeraun allowed. Masked One he had said, but neither Xull’rae nor Alena had said anything. If Xull’rae wasn't worried he told himself not to be too and sat back down and asked Drazoul in yuan-ti to make the arrangements, as he was tired of being stupid and shooting his mouth off.

Xull'rae accessed the two fools carefully with their smiles and winks which she did not overlook. Surprisingly her temper was not at the boiling point because if it was, Horock would be very dead right now, faith or no faith. Her tone was ice cold, calm and deadly serious as she announced to the blue eyed male this proclamation. To show your faith and loyalty to me and our deity acolyte Driving the word home that he was below her in rank. "Prove it by smacking your snake companion for speaking in something that does not concern him." She waited expectedly. She knew Alena heard and probably knew she was a Masked Traitor now. Xull’rae was not worried. Something would befall her, before she could make a report. She would see to that herself, if nothing happened to the woman first. Szordrin would want Alena too, she smiled at the thought.

The disguised malaugrym, Szordrin, caught that glance Horock gave him and offered a thin-lipped smile, he didn't necessarily have to be around to find out what was going on, but said nothing of the sort, this altercation had put him in a much better mood, not to mention all the tension in the air, he loved every last minute of it. His crimson orbs shifting between those here occasionally, probably plotting. Xull'rae however was a very interesting study compared to the rest. Her personality and confidence set her apart as much as her red hair did. It was truly a pity he would have to kill her in the end.

Horock looks at Drazoul apologetically as he delivered a smack to the Yuan-ti’s face but not as hard as he would have, but no one else could tell that he had not put all of his force into it, except Drazoul. At least he hoped Xull'rae would not notice that the smack would not hurt him.

Drazoul grinned slightly in spite of himself. He understood what the drowess was doing it to test Horock's loyalty. He nodded for Horock to deliver the strike. The yuan-ti had no intention of being hit more so he played along.

The show did not impress Xull'rae. Good at bluff as she was and sensing motive, she could tell it was not a strong hit, and their "play" was an attempt to trick her and appease her. The fact he listened satisfied her enough so she nodded and stood gracefully intending to leave to prepare for the ridiculous mission ahead. Whatever it may be.

Cogliostro on the other hand, had not expected things to go in quite this manner. Then again, part of his being here in the Underdark was to learn such things. And so, he observed, though he still had to really wonder why those who should be pulling together were the ones nearly killing each other. At this rate, he'd not need to worry that the malaugrym would kill them, they would do each other in.

Little did he know, Szordrin mirrored his thoughts.

Alena let Xull'rae speak keeping her face smooth but her eyes were adrift in emotion of anger and hate and fear. She was a Masked Traitor something had to be done about it. She thought on it, while looking at anything but the other woman. When Xull'rae rose, Alena finally responded to the two males, "yes away from all of this would be nice." Away from Xull'rae she had been about to say but caught herself in time. Her full confidence and commanding air returned once she noticed the other woman intended to leave and not take charge again. "However, I don't ever want you to speak with me as an equal again, understood?" She looked directly at Horock, who nodded and looked down in the proper form of respect. Drazoul just nodded. She had to agree with Xull'rae on one thing. The yuan-ti definitely deserved pain, in education of respect.

Bloodhorn sighed to himself and then stood from his chair and looked at Cogliostro. "If you have no use of this 'tool' it wants to go now. I have other things more interesting to do, unless ya want me to play bouncer for a while?" Of course he smirked as he knew a meeting over when he saw one and now the waiting game had begun.

"If they settle themselves, you are free to go. You will be called when a need for your services arises. Thank you." Cogliostro himself sighed waving a hand in dismissal for everyone as he to rose to get another brandy.

Bloodhorn frowned and seemed a bit disappointed at the ease in which they stopped fighting and grunted, the crystals in his hair making colors on the walls as he passed by the bar, grabbing a bottle of fine wine and then waving with his other hand. A portal appeared in front of him. "Then I take my leave," he said as stepped through and the portal winked out.

Horock got up, and gestured to Drazoul. "Draz, lets go, lets train up a bit. I have a feeling that we have bit off more then we can chew." He looks over at Alena, avoiding Xull'rae's eyes staring at him at the moment. "Perhaps you would be willing to join us Jabress? We can talk, and perhaps learn something of each other." As soon as he said this, he bowed and waited for her response along with Drazoul's.

While taking a swig directly from the bottle Cogliostro realized he had much to learn, much as the others present. His one wish right now was that he could actually drown his thoughts in drunken stupor. As the gith took his leave, he offered a halfhearted wave with his now empty bottle.

Drazoul nodded. He had much to let out and much had to be answered. He started to walk out and said his departures to the human and show's his respects to both Jabresses for the time being.

For the first time in ages, Alena actually smiled. "I would be pleased to join you two, so long as you show the proper respect that is due to one of my stature." As she said this, she got up, drained the last of her drink, and walked out of the room, inclining her head toward the human and toward the other drowess, whom she had not made a decision on yet. She walked out of the room, not looking back, expecting Horock and Drazoul to follow HER.

Cogliostro offered a polite nod to Horock, in parting, reaching for one of the full bottles roosted upon the table. He grunted to Drazoul and winked at Alena as they too departed.

Pointed pearly whites were visible now, there was something of a grin set across Szordrin's drowic features, pushing away from his darkened corner, the place was starting to empty, so there was little reason for him to stick around, he gleaned much information, the cost was only his time, his attention seemed to be on the three about to depart. As he arose to leave he was stopped by Cogliostro's irritating voice.
"Saer Xarann, if you would wait a moment longer..." It was not so much a request, but the possibility to learn a bit more is what stopped his movement, a simple glance given in the humans direction. Expecting and patient.

Xull'rae realized she was still standing, watching all others depart, she made no move though, instincts told her to stay put.

Horock followed Alena out of the room. He could feel Szordrin's eyes on him, and he knew he was watching them. They would give him the slip. As soon as they were out of sight, he began to think about all that he had learned today, and what he was going to do with it. As he left he did not hear what Cogliostro had to say to the dreadful foe.

As the others left, Cogliostro spoke, though he was aware Xull'rae was still there. "Again, allow me to emphasize that the 'children' would be of no consequence and that if they were, I would find it in myself to place them under my personal protection. One need not know the reasons why I would, but they should keep that in mind. Just a thought." Again he raised his bottle, this time a full one, in a mock salute, knowing the malaugrym was not one to be threatened, so he hoped it would come off as more of a promise. He so detested making threats anyway.

Szordrin's grin faded into his usual thin-lipped smile, that was the only recognition to what the human had to say, on that note, he shambled out of the scene, once again returning to his domain in the realm of shadows.

Interrupt the Bard -or- let her continue