After finishing business on Ravnica, our heroes headed for Kamigawa in search of more information on Narset--for answers about Tarkir and insight into dealing with Taoshan's patron.
As they approached the plane, Venqwyn noticed something odd: it was as if there was a path, the kind worn by extensive and repeated travel along the same route.
Arcana checks didn't turn up much. Venqwyn had to admit she didn't know what "tracks" here would look like, if there were any.
The party appeared on a road, early on a moonlit night, between a pine grove and a high, cloud-wrapped cliff, upon which a palace stood.
Venqwyn and Ariel both reached out, in their own ways, to get a sense of what this plane was like: Venqwyn found the leylines were large, and had been comfortably settled in their present positions so long that they were thick with the mana-equivalent of dust and moss. Unlike Ravnica or Zendikar, nothing has happened here to disturb them in a LONG time.
Ariel, on the other hand, found that when she reached out to talk to the spirits of this place there was an cacophony of thousands of voices, like walking into a crowded and excitable school cafeteria. When they said hello, it was almost impossible to hear the responses over the noise, and what responses were forthcoming seemed to immediately forget the moment they were done replying.
Tarjuk decided to try a different approach, to see if he could talk to a spirit on his terms.
The result was successful, if not what he was expecting.
The spirit was polite, prim, and oddly pedantic, and gave unnecessarily literal answers to Tarjuk's questions, but it did point our heroes in the direction of the way to the cliffside palace before vanishing again in a ball of popping fire.
Spotting a wide porch, they decided to fly up, in their various ways.
At the gate, there were met by a person with mother-of-pearl skin and long hair, in a very dressy guard uniform, walking on the hair. They did not seem the least surprised to see a group of obvious outsiders flying toward them.
They bowed, elegantly. "Welcome, outsiders. No doubt you come seeking the hospitality of the story circle? Those who walk behind the air are very welcome here!"
Resident diplomats Ariel and Tarjuk returned the greeting, and mentioned they had questions.
"No doubt you do! But I have never heard of a question for which Our Lady does not have answer! Please, enter and be welcome!"
Beyond the gate was an elegant entry, tastefully appointed, where they were met by two more of the pearlescent, air-walking people who introduced themselves as Genku and Rumiko. Genku had the air of a person who's led an untroubled life and turned into
They led our heroes to "the guest wing," a courtyard of room around of a terraced garden.
Genku had the air of a person who has never really had any problems in his life, and instead of turning arrogant has become simply friendly and cheerful and polite: like a P.G. Wodehouse character.
Rumiko is studious and obviously sticking to a set of memorized "how to be polite and hospitable" lines, about which she keeps glancing at her father for nods of approval, until she gets excited about explaining what her world is like to newcomers and then she rambles.
In one of the rambles she mentions her brother having a Leonin tutor, the only Leonin other than Tebasha she's met, but the torrent of words rushes past to quick to catch hold of.
"We'll leave you to rest here," Genku says. "My lady wife is busy tonight, in the library. But I'm sure tomorrow she will be more than eager to speak with all of you."
Ariel perks up at the mention of a library, and asks if it would be alright if she visits. "Of course!" Genku says, and gives her directions.
From these two the streams reconverge on the largest terrace, which is full of pools carefully positioned to generate continual slow circular currents among the water lilies and decorative carp.
These all finally drain into the lowest and smallest terrace, a perfume garden of deeply aromatic herbs amid a grove of dark cypresses.
Tarjuk again manged to talk to spirits on two of the terraces.
The one in the tiled lawn. which appeared like a transparent person in armor, was politely uninterested in and ignorant of anything apart from it's own centuries-long standing in contemplation of the act of standing.
The one in the cypress grove appeared like a dark ribbon in the air, with an insect-like mandible at the end, was a little unsettling.
It's answers, when spoken to, were again polite if unhelpful, but were delivered as if through an imperfect medium.
"I am... waiting."
Tarjuk asked if he could help, and what the thing it's waiting for would be.
"Mine. It will be... purely... and entirely... mine. In the... end."
Tarjuk offered them a small rice cracker, the polite traditional thing to do for spirits, here, and it turned to dust which fell upward and vanished.
And that was all the conversation Tarjuk cared to have.
Having sampled some tea that the Akki steward promised would bring "Untroubled dreams," Tebasha, Ariel, and Taoshan has restful nights.
Tebasha dreamed of being in her manufactory with Rose, on Onumbrica, building toy soldiers. One of which melted into a corrosive ooze that began to melt the others. She looked up into a sudden mirror to discover her eyes were luminous crystals.
Ariel dreamed of walking by the Onumbrican glaciers, and seeing among them, far off, a thin black steeple.
Taoshan dreamed of his patron coming to berate him, but instead finding an invisible, impermeable, soundproof glass wall, which was a nice change.
Ariel, waking still in the night thanks to elf trance sleep, decided to investigate the library.
The library proved to be difficult for a newcomer: books were organized according to "things that are interesting to a certain person for the same reason" like a private collection. Not that I'd know anything about that.
With the help of one of the spirits reading in it, however, Ariel was able to find sections having to do with various planes.
The Ravnica section proved to be full of books clearly brought FROM Ravnica, many of which Ariel recognized. She was also able to find an account that confirmed many of the things Lotusseed had said about Yavimaya.
Of Onumbrica there was no mention.
Most excitingly, the spirit implied that an account by Ariel would be considered highly prized here.
Come daybreak, Rumiko came to gently wake the party--Ariel is disconcertingly reminded of Nona Elga--to say that her mother would like them to join her for breakfast. She led the party to the family wing, the back of the palace, and to a dining room where another of the pearl-skinned people was at a table with a huge Leonin with white fur and a white cape, and Nashi, who jumped to his feet in surprise. "Mistress Venwyn?!"
"I see," said Tamiyo, "that there are stories to be told here."
@ajanionthespot you made the color pie garden so much more complex and beautiful than I'd imagined it. (Also remember that color theory is so fascinating to new planeswalkers, at least the ones who care about where their power comes from, that it literally kept Venqwyn from sleeping a couple nights ago.)
@ajanionthespot and Ariel has definitely seen newspaper portraits of this particular leonin
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