[Aside] The Broken, The Bitter, The Brothers

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Kokuten
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[Aside] The Broken, The Bitter, The Brothers

Post by Kokuten » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:28 am

A streak of lightning peeled across the night sky, followed closely by the sound of its thunder. Safeholme was under a torrential downpour, and a ravenous thunderstorm had made its way over the city. The electrified sky had been relentless in the evening, and the manor's groundskeeper had spent the better part of the afternoon getting a back-up unit going for the building. So, when the night settled over the storm, their cozy, but imposing manor was one of the few that still had lights when the angry clouds struck the power grid silent.

Cursing under his breath as he went about his business, the thoroughly sodden Ruarc trudged about his business; ensuring the mansion left in his charge was safe and we'll kept. Making his way into the main building, he discarded his heavy rain coat, and discarded his soaked shoes before going to far in. His main goal now was ensuring that all of the windows were shuttered, and nothing was leaking; a surprisingly time consuming task given how expansive Safeholme was from the inside. After he was satisfied that everything was in the proper order, he was more than ready to head back across the grounds to the cozy cottage waiting for him. Then, upon securing his boots and coat, prepared to make his way outside once more.

Another crack of lightning arched over the city as the rain poured. In the brief moment of brilliant light, turning night into day, Ruarc saw that the front gate was unlatched, and swinging in the whipping wind. Someone had seemed to have forgotten to set the lock before the left or came.

"How many times must Ah tell everyone to make sure that damned gate gets latched," he sighed to himself as he detoured towards the gate.

Splashing through the numerous puddles formed along the pathway, the Druid was beyond worrying about getting wet. Once he had crossed the hundred or so meters between the mansion and the gate, he pulled the cold iron closed with a long screech and a satisfying thunk.

Turning on his heel, Ruarc cast about as he double checked for anything that might possibly require his attention before he settled in for the night. He almost subconsciously made a request to Laoise to get a kettle boiling, before recalling that she wasn't going to be returning until later that night. Sighing once more, he stomped through the sodden grass to the welcoming light of his home. Then, as the gloom settled in in the dark, and thunder made its run in the distance, another thing caught his attention.

His homey cottage was lit up from the inside, looking like a warm hearth under rivulets of water than ran off the top. The man had been working on the power since before dusk; he had not lit those lights.

Squinting against the rain, Ruarc stared for a moment at the cottage. Shaking his head, he had an idea of what to expect once he opened the door.

"Carrie, it's a bit late for tea," Ruarc said as he turned the knob and swung the heavy oak door in.

"You'd make a terrible englishman," answered a masculine voice as the door opened.

Sitting at the groundskeeper's table, with their back to him, was a man, not a woman. On the table was a hot kettle of tea, rested on a moist rag. The supposed guest had a cup of the warm brew in his hand, and one of the druid's books in his lap. He was dressed rather smartly, with one of his shirt sleeves tied off at the shoulder. Ruarc knew only a few peole that walked about with three limbs, but when the man turned, the list narrowed down immediately.

It was Percival.

The severe and sharp welshman looked rather rough, as if returning from a war, but smiled neatly, raising the tea-cup. "Were you expecting company tonight? I can come back. I'd like to finish this tea first, if I have time."

The Irishman stood for a short time staring at the back of his guest's head. It obviously wasn't Caoranach, and it took him a bit to register who would possibly invite themselves in for tea. His face lit up a bit as recognition dawned on him, but he subdued it for the time being.

"Of course Ah would make a terrible Englishman, Ah'm Irish," he said finally as he took off his soaked boots and parka. "And it is precisely because Ah wasn't expecting company that Ah was expecting someone else."

After he was down to bare feet, Ruarc made his way across the room, patted his guest on the back, and went over to the counter. "Ah take it this means Miyuki finally tracked you down?"

"Tenacious, she is," commented Percival, taking a sip from his tea, "Three years and she never stopped looking, just got more beautiful."

The cup settled down on the table and he closed the book. A small bookmark of a paper napkin sat inbetween the pages, the title read Alfred D. Whiticker's Runic Fomulae for the Brash and the Bold. With a bit of grace to the movement, the man set himself straight in his chair. Percival was thinner than he was before, which made him look all the more severe as he stared into Ruarc's back. "Who's Carrie?"

Ruarc prepared his own cup of tea as he listened to Percy, and once everything was in place he took his own place at the table across from the other man. He was taking a cautious sip as the focus turned back to him. Looking Percy in the eye, he examined the Welshman before answering.

"Carrie as in Caoranach," Ruarc explained, holding the tea cup close to warm up a bit. "Her habit of droppin' in has gotten more prevalent lately. Used to be once or twice a year, now she pops in usually at least once a month."

Confident that the tea was tolerable, he took a drink. "So, was it Iceland?"

Percival appeared as if he had something to say about Caoranach, but the crafty druid managed to change the subject quite swiftly. Calm, composed, and almost a bit calculated in his stare, he slowly drew his cup back up before taking a sip. He licked his lip and sighed, setting it back down on the saucer. Having one arm made it difficult to have perfect etiquette.

"Greenland, actually, but close," the summoner rubbed his smooth jaw, freshly shaven it seemed. "I was in a small door-chamber built into a mountain about twenty kilometers off Nuuk. Quite well-hidden, quite well-protected. Things got out of hand, though, and I got in over my head."

He leaned one way, throwing a thoughtful glance over his beretless head, "Speaking of that. Could you clarify something?"

"Damn, lost that bet," Ruarc said, taking a drink before following up. "But yeah, what can Ah clarify?"

"We're talking some other woman named Caoranach," Percy put forth a smile, his expression alight with hope, "yes?"

Clearing his throat, Ruarc looked to avoid the question as he took another long and exaggerated sip of his drink. The look on his face was one of contemplation. "Ahem, well, no. Our Caoranach. Did Ah, hmm, never mention that she had started dropping in? Well, it's rather trivial either way. Ahem."

"Oh you did, very much, you did," the Welshman's words were slow and methodical, as if he was explaining for himself. Then, he snapped his fingers, and then bounced a finger at the druid, "I think do remember quite well. I think I also remember telling you that seeing her might be..."

The visitor looked aside, as if trying to find the words.

"A bad idea? Based upon past experience and... Er... Hm."

Again, he seemed to think on what to say, "She's Caoranach, Mother of Monsters and Demons? Fae creature that steals the bodys of young women?"

The look on the Irishman's was now one of genuine contemplation, as he thought back over recent events. After several long moments he leaned back in his own seat and let out a sigh. "Oh goodness, where to even begin."

"A lot has happened over the last few months, and Ah know how it must look, because Ah saw it that way at first myself. Recently though, it came to light, or rather Ah was made aware, that Caoranach isn't the villain we had thought she was. It's a shame you were away, digging into the matter lead to quite the adventure."

Percival's face bittered just a bit, not quite convinced. He leaned back a bit more, and stiffened his arm, "You didn't sleep with her, did you?"

Ruarc grimmaced at the question, a slight blush growing around the bridge of his nose. "Ah mean, Ah uncovered a big conspiracy, but sure, ask about that bit," the Irishman started, sounding defensive. "There were a few times where she turned up, well, in my bed without any knowledge of the matter on my part, but only one of those times did we sleep together."

"Oh Rook," the other man put his face in his hand, and then began to rub the bridge of his nose with a steady sigh. He took a deep breath, his face tightly bound up with a despairing expression. Only until he broke out of that doldrum did he lean back again and pat the table.

Closed eyed, he said to himself, "Keep an open mind."

Then Percy opened his eyes, with a mild smile, raising his tea cup, "Conspiracy, eh? Do tell."

"With pleasure," replied Ruarc, whetting his throat a bit before continuing. "During, well, a bit of a depressive episode of magically induced slumber, Carrie... Caoranach, showed me some of her dreams, as well as some insight into her history. Only, what she told me was a far cry from the history Ah had heard before. Foremost, that she was persecuted as a scapegoat by the early Catholic Church which was working with none other than Saint Patrick himself. Which only begins to get into the absurdity of it all.

Being an academic, Ah started digging..."

For a short while, Ruarc talked at length about the rabbit hole he stepped in by researching the lost Druid Histories, and the subsequent harrowing adventure he had gone on in France with Jane in tow. He seemed reenergized as he spoke, enjoying the fact that Percy was around to discuss the matter with. After all, had the Welshman been at Safeholme, Ruarc would have begun consulting him from day one on the matter.

Listening patiently, Mr. Caxton took a few sips of tea, and then subsequently refilled their cups as the story went on. Being an academic himself, he enjoyed rabbit holes like these, learning how deep and cavernous the secrets went. Occasionally he'd offer a bit of input, but unlike most of their back and forths, Percy took a seat and listened to the man give forth the memory. As the tale began to wind down, there was an evident look in the man's eyes.

A small pang of regret.

Yet he smiled, seeming to choose not to linger on such a placid expression, "Postively gripping. You ought to compile your research notes, scrub the illegal parts, and bind it. Sounds like a proper good book!"

There was a somewhat predatory look in his eyes as he examined the cottage, "In fact... Could I read them myself? Three years in a hole with only eighty or so books makes a man hungry for some fresh paper to sink his teeth into."

As his story came to its conclusion, Ruarc chewed on one last detail that he felt wouldn't sit quite as well. "Alexei also made an appearence," he said at last, deciding to mention the murderous rogue Druid. "He impeded a lot of our progress, and, well, has proven that he is a damned good book thief."

Getting up from his seat, the Druid made his way over to the back corner of the room, and passed a hand over a floor board. Some runes lit up, and the planks curled up like ribbons. Then after fiddling with a lock, produced an ancient looking tome with a thick hide cover, inscribed simply with the Gaelic number twenty-seven.

"There were five," Ruarc said as he sat the book down on the table. Percy was quick to wrap his fingers around the binding, and gently pull the heavy block of papers to him.

"Alexei. Well, that soured my tea a bit."

The one-armed mage, carefully and ceremoniously opened the book, ensuring care was taken for the bindings and pages. When the book was opened, he pulled more towards him, and look at the contents. Ruarc's friend was keenly engaged in the first few words, before he seemed to catch himself. His fingers bundled inward to a fist, and it withdrew to the Welshman's lap.

"I have only been back for a short time, so I haven't been able to pulse the Occultus on what they know of him these days. Miyuki and I will have to make a few evening trips to Ise over the next couple of months, there are mages there from the Occultus who live in an annex from the main sanctum in Kyoto," Another drink of tea, aside his explanation warranted a small, haggard sigh from the alchemist, "I am afraid, though, that their best responses will likely be to contact the Druid Order."

"And there in lies my trepidation, old friend," Ruarc said, his tone had grown solemn and hushed. "Ah think Alexei has allies within the Order. No one outside of the Order or Safeholme could have known what Ah was researching or where Ah was going, so how did he intercept us on the opposite side of the globe? Speaking frank, this whole mess has gotten me worried."

"You? Worried? The man who tamed the Mother of Monsters and Demons, the humble groundskeeper that owns a mansion, and the world's most eligible bachelor?"

Percival sipped his tea, a little smile barely cutting a wrinkle his cheek. The alchemist had a painful way of playing off the atmosphere when it suited him. What was especially frustrating, was that the man had a painful way of taking most things seriously.

Then, he set his cup down, "Alexei likely has connections within the Druid Order much like how Eryl has connections to the Library of Cardiff, or I with the Occultus. We are an amalgamation of mages, Rook, and there are likely to be a few blood mages among the bunch. Hell, I bet a student at this school has already looked into it."

Ruarc considered the matter for a bit longer as he stared down at his cup. He still had a bad feeling about it, even though Percy was making sense; all he could do for the time being was hope his fears were unfounded. Flicking a finger against the porceline tea cup, a faint ting broke his silence.

"Make sense, and you are as oddly on point as ever," the Druid said to the alchemist. "Good enough tangent point to shift to a slightly less... bleak, conversation. Ah've taken on a druid apprentice, and am also a mentor for a young lass who fancies herself becoming a Librarian."

"Really now?"

That caught Percy off guard, more than the mention of Alexei, and it showed on his face. "You're a bit young to be at the mentoring stage, aren't you? We're barely to our thirties yet."

"Ah didn't exactly make the request," the Irishman said, switching to the slightly exasperated tone of a salaryman complaining about his boss. "The boss lady, Mealla, in the grand tradition of guests at this cottage, just showed up unannounced, and before Ah could even protest, boom, the kid's already here."

"Hell's bells, Mealla is still around?" Percy's face cut bitter lines as the druid, whose familiar fit a snake the most, was mentioned. The man bit his lip, looking over his shoulder, as if saying her name would summon her. "Alright, I can accept that. Your Order's never been wholly consistent, but that doesn't explain the other girl. She doesn't sound much like a druid, unless you've got libraries in the forest. The manor's got a library, right? Put her to work there, teach her to have bigger ambitions."

"Heh, Ah take back the on point part," Ruarc chuckled. "Drysi Maelgwyn, idolizes the Library of Cardiff. Her mother approached me asking if Ah would oversee her education a bit."

There was a lot seeming to hit the Alchemist at once. He brought his remaining hand to his temple and leaned over the side of the chair. His brow rode heavy over his eyes. "Bleeding heart comes back to bite me."

As he rubbed his head, he explained, "Those Maelgwyns. I think I remember talking to them almost four years ago, when they were contemplating how to teach their daughter magic. They thought to home-school her and I told them Safeholme, or some other mage school would always be the better option."

Something came to him, and then those green eyes of Percival's stared a sharp glare at Ruarc, "Why exactly did her mother ask you to take care of her?"

Shrugging, Ruarc went back to sipping his tea. "Didn't inquire too far. Maybe Ah'm an authority figure around here, or it was my extensive experience with runes to help their inscriptionist daughter. Either way, the case was made, and Ah figured it was worth my time to help."

Percival's fingers drummed against his temple as he watched Ruarc's mouth, rather than the man himself. There played out a small, uncomfortable silence, where the druid's friend seemed to frown, and couldn't meet him in the eye. He took a sip of his tea, and sighed, "I suppose they had to twist your arm, considering you already had one apprentice."

"Well, timing placed Drysi as the first student Ah was going to advise," Ruarc said back, clearing his throat a bit, "Willow Ah didn't find out about until somethin' like twelve hours before hand. Willow is my actual apprentice apprentice though. Where as Drysi Ah suppose Ah am more an advisor, seeing as Ah'm not trying to make a druid out of her."

"I see, well."

The Alchemist straightened out his vest, albeit with greater difficulty and less panache due to his single arm. "Seems like you've got quite the busy work load: running a mance, taming demons, training apprentices, managing students, and handling world-class criminals. All of this sitting on top of our little guild, which you must also assist with from time to time. If you're not careful, you'll not have much left for Laoise to live off of, poor girl."

Ruarc chuckled a bit more. "Careful, talk like that and Ah might get an ego. Besides, Laoise is pulling in her own money these days. She's quite taken with her human form. Might have to start cracking down a bit though, she didn't come along to France because of a project at work, and Ah sure coulda used her help. Least Jane was along, otherwise Safeholme would be down a Druid."

"On that note, I was meaning to ask, how exactly did you convince the showstopper to go with you? Last I checked, she was always wrapped up in her own paths, or whatever excuses Americans are using these days."

"Um, hmm, well, Ah just asked her if she would come along and help," he mentioned after stumbling over the first couple words. "Thought it'd take more than that myself. So Ah just made sure to treat her to food while we were over there."

Percy crossed his arms, "And she got nothing out of it? Just food?"

"And a... free... trip to France?"

"Ah, there it is," said Percival, somewhat aside to himself, "I suppose she's quite privy to the leaks of the Druid Order as well, then?"

"Jane? Well, it's true Ah had her help me with tracking down the books, Ah didn't disclose too much about my fears about the Order. Though, knowing her she probably has a hunch or something. Why?"

"Smith's an outlier, she doesn't answer to the Guild or the Occultus," said Caxton, with an apparent distrust, "She's a trustworthy sort, such as not being involved in the intrigue of mystic organizations, but she's just as untrustworthy for the same reasons."

"Hey now, Ah trust ye aren't suggesting Jane leaked the information to Alexei, are you?" the Druid snapped back, his words sounding indignant. "She saved me over there from that madman, and part of the reason Ah was even able to get one book back."

"I'm saying I trust three people in this world," the Alchemist snapped forward, deadly serious with his words, "The rest have their own ends, means, and methods. Those that put themselves outside for their own comfort should not be trusted up close. Otherwise you will end up in a cold cave in the artic north, searching for a cure, because you trust no one."

"Maybe Ah can't speak for you or your experiences, but Jane did right by me. As far as Ah'm concerned she's one of the people Ah can trust. Unlike a certain Welshman who up and disappeared for three damned years without so much as an indication you were safe or well. Unless you only told those three people ya trust, and ya just don't think much of me."

The Alchemist stood, the chair whined as it was forced back, and a hand was planted on the table. His face practically brimmed in severity, as if he were willing to strike back with bitter words of his own. Yet, in the heat of it, a faint glow began to bleed under the fabric of his shirt, running from his sawn shoulder to his abdomen. It took a short moment for Percy to realize it, and the fierce look in his eyes faded, and he tried to cover the blue light with his arm.

"I..."

Percival looked away, a wash of disgrace marred his normally composed demeanour, "You have every right to be angry with me. I disappeared without a word to you, Riley, or even Miyuki, and I had intended to keep it that way. So... It's been three years in solitude and I've quite forgotten how to speak to people, or how to treat my friends."

Slowly, he sat, keeping his hand to his stomach, "If you could even call me a friend."

A look of concern crossed Ruarc's face, quickly replacing the sour look that had been there before. Having been expecting a rebuke, he sighed when Percy instead decided to go down the self-pity route. "Damn it, man, it's because you're a friend that Ah, we, want to help ya, but we can't do that if you run away to parts unknown," the Irishman started, placing a hand on his forehead and rubbing his temple. "Besides Percy, you didn't know how to talk to people well before you took your li'l sebbaticle."

"That's exactly why I left," said the defeated looking fellow on the other end of the table, "I could always expect you all to follow me down what hole I had fallen into. Except, there was no villain at the end of this one, only a miserable end if we failed."

Percival raised his hand, revealing the blue glow again, its luminesence much more faint. "You are aware what happens when a font expires, no?"

"Gods, it doesn't matter what's at the end, we still want to help ya; whether it be Hell or high water," Ruarc grumbled, pinching the bridge of his nose. "And, yeah, vaguely. Does that have something to do with why you beat feet?"

A small silence passed where Percival stared at his cup of tea in a sombre way, before smoothing his his hand over his shoulder.

"I'm dying, Ruarc."

Ruarc stayed as he was for a few moments, letting the news sink in. Then, after letting out a long sigh, the hand that was covering his face slammed down as a fist on to the table; the dishes rattling from the impact. He sat like this for a few moments longer while staring out at the sheets of rain and rivulets of water running down the glass. His face shifted occassionaly as he was debating what to say. Then he cleared his throat. "Do you know how long?"

The two men found it hard to look at one another, so the welshman took the chance to refill their cups. As his hand found the lighter kettle, he spoke, "I've learned to stunt the spread. If I were to guess, five years? Perhaps? It's gotten as far as it has in three."

Again, a refreshing sound of poured tea filled the room, cutting the tranquility of muted noise.

Saying nothing, Ruarc took the kettle after Percy was finished pouring his cup and refilled his own. "Just promise me one thing. That you won't run off to a cave somewhere and die alone," the Druid said finally, staring at the fresh tea. "Do that, an' Ah'll promise to throw ya a right proper Irish wake."

Lifting his cup, he made to toast. His friend matched the gesture, and he smiled.

"Cheers. I promise you I won't run. Tried that already," Percival tipped the cup back and drank up his tea, though not all of it. He seemed to savor what he had. "Though, I must be clear. Depressing and antgonizing you aren't the main reasons I'm here."

"Bah, we're from the Isles. Depressing and antagonizing each other is as traditional as it gets," Ruarc chuckled after taking a hearty sip of his own tea. "S'pose Ah ne'er did actually ask ya what you're trespassing here for."

"Trespassing? It's raining like the roof fell through out there you stingy duffer," grumbled the more composed looking of the two. He looked like he was about to start into something further with that, before he caught himself, "I'm here to offer my services as a teacher, if the school will take me, and... well... I have a bit of a gift."

"The position's yours, least if Ah have any say in the matter," the Irishman didn't skip a beat or pause. "What e'er the Guild thinks, Ah still own this place. They, and the staff they have provided, are my guests. An' with Adrienne DuMonde running the Guild portion, Ah'd be amazed if it took much longer to get her consent than it did mine. 'Sides, Ah'd rather the staff be people Ah trust than people provided by the Organization."

The last few words almost looked to leave a bit of a sour taste in Ruarc's mouth as he took another drink.

"Still don't trust the Occultus?" Percy quirked an amused brow with a mild smile, as he slowly pushed himself up out of the chair. He began to walk over to the door, to a coat that rested over a small duffel bag. "They've been nice about cleaning up our messes in the past."

"And the city comes and collects the trash on Wednesdays, they still expect taxes for it," Ruarc said back. "E'rybody wants somethin'."

"I suppose that's why you have me," sighed the other man as he rifled through a thick pile of things stowed in the dark sack. He tugged out a couple of items, a slab of stone, and a book. Cradling the two in his arm, he set them down on the edge of the table. A rock, and a book that appeared to be titled in Greenlandic. "Here you go. Not that it makes up for a couple of missed birthdays, but I think you'll like them."

Perking up when it became clear Percy had literal presents, Ruarc pat his hands on the table top before taking out his glasses and putting them on. "A rock, and a book, ya know me so well," he said with a smile as they were set down in front of him. Giving them a casual look over, the Druid decided to pick up and inspect the stone first.

"Heavenstone, or Godplate if you take the Chinese' interpretation of it," explained the one-armed man. The stone, more of a slab, almost matching the size of the book, began to reveal a glowing pattern of veins as the Druid held it. "I spent a few days studying the Realm of Heaven, and managed to pry away a piece of one of their floating islands before things went to hell."

"Fascinating!" Ruarc said as he examined the patterns on the stone, and out of curiosity decided to use his special eye to see if anything new showed up; looked a little bemused and looked to shoo something away from the edge of the tablet and off of the table. "Ah'll have to study this in depth this weekend. Now, let's take a look at this book."

Setting the stone off to the side, he picked up the book.

"Ah, a book I took with me from the Door Chamber." The book also began to glow, and the lettering began to shift in shape. The Greenlandic changed to Gaelic, and read The Art of Ice and Stone. "The previous occupant was a Druid who took the holding from a Necromancer. This was one of his books, I believe. It details the creation of runes from unconventional materials, such as ice, plaster, cement, and even a few other..."

Percival cast a short glance to the Heavenstone, "... Otherworldly materials. It's unfinished, though, the man died before he could finalize most of the patterns and publish it. So, you currently own the only copy of his manuscript."

Ruarc gawked over the book as he gingerly began to page through it. "My my, Ah'll have to read this right away, it'll give me a new lesson for my rune classes," he said appreciatively. "My genuine thanks Percy."

"I imagine if this bit with Alexei ever comes to a head, you'll need a thing or two tucked up your sleeve," advised Percival as he sat down in the chair again. There was another grim look in his eyes as he eased back, sighing from the effort. He seemed even weaker than he was when the two mages first met. "Hordeing knowledge is a devilious practice, but you'll find secrets are necessary, even if it means resorting to devilious practices. What he can't prepare for, he cannot fight."

"Aye, Ah'll be needin' every advantage Ah can get," Ruarc's voice sounded melancholic as the conversation ended up back at Alexei. "France marked my third fight against the man, and while Ah did better, he still effectively trounced me. Suppose Ah'm lucky he sees me as bein' more useful alive than dead."

Shuddering slightly, the Druid recalled the other man's knack for hunting, and his uncanny ability of being able to stalk his target unseen before striking with ruthless force. Looking back down at the book and tablet, he thought that if they could give him an edge, then they just got bumped to the top of his priorities.

"In my current state, I can't use my abilities, otherwise it will exacerbate my condition," The alchemist thoughtfully ran his hand where the glow had been, and traced to his stomach. He set himself straight before explaining further, "I can, however, use my knowledge of Alchemy to assist you. I don't imagine myself being too useful in a fight these days, but at the very least, I'm well-read. If you need help in the future, you can rely on me, while you can."

"Havin' someone Ah trust completely is more than Ah coulda asked for. Aside from Jane, you are the only one who knows about Volume Twenty-Seven being in Japan, and you are the only one who knows where Ah'm hiding it. Most Ah would ask of you is not to speak a word of it to anyone, not even Miyuki or Riley. One, for security, but Ah'm also experimenting. If the Order contacts me about the tome, Ah'll know for sure Alexei has ties within the Order still. If that happens, then Ah can begin my own li'l inquisition."

Ruarc's eyes were staring unfocused at the window again, staring at something that wasn't there. "Soon the hunter may become the hunted, and whatever tainted marks that man has left can finally be cut out."

"My, my, the humble Ruarc Flynn has a cunning fire in his eye," Percy pointed a pair of fingers at his eyes, giving the man a wry smile. He held the stare for a moment, before leaning back out to grab something else. "Aurus would be pleased to see that if he could, though I don't think it suits a man of your stature to do something so decidedly Occultus."

There was something else drawn from the duffle bag, something dark and shiny, a bottle. It was a bottle of Lastrag, a bottle of scotch made from distilling with peat in the mix. Ruarc knew it as a popular alchemical base, as the peat that went into Lastrag was hagshair, an inherently magical green. On the Druid's table sat a fresh bottle of the stuff.

The shorter man gave the Irishman a mild stare, "We've talked enough of plots and perils. You've got a lot on your mind, and much weighing on your shoulders."

He snatched up the bottle, and shook it, making a little glow inside the murky depths, "I've got a potion for that."

"Indeed, Ah'll drink ta that, my friend," Ruarc chuckled, getting up and grabbing some glasses from the open portion of his magically sealed liquor cabinet.

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