It's The Little Things

   
Ravan

Ravan looked between the two book traders, his expression a mask of neutrality. In response to Ruvria's explanation, he said. "Ah? Ah." And left it at that, for a moment.

So... the illegal mage believed this woman Ruvria to be responsible for the death of her people - at the hands of a demonic army, no less. That was something it took him some time to consider, and he did so as the meal progressed. His first instinct was to suspect everyone and work from there - but he quickly found holding suspicion against Ruvria to be untenable. Part of the reason was at the table with them - It seemed unlikely in the extreme that Helm's champion would be friends with a demon-cultist, especially one of such power that she could raise the armies of the Abyss. Ravan of all people knew that anyone could be fooled, but his own senses had sensed nothing touched by darkness in Ruvria's soul, and he had been specifically trained to ferret out such hidden, festering allegiances.

It seemed more likely that Ruvria had been made a scapegoat - perhaps there had been a third party, without or within of their society who had used her as a tool. The Traders were foreigners nearly everywhere, and foreigners made excellent targets for such stratagems. On the other hand, it might just has easily have been one of her own who sent her up the fabled river of sewage.

He smiled at the rest of them, wiping his mouth. He spoke again, his voice unfailingly polite. "I thank you for the food. It's quite delicious." He would have said the same had it tasted like rancid goat, of course, but in this case it was happily true. "I imagine you're wondering what I'm doing here. Those of you familiar with Jamean custom and society may know that I am a member of the Denavashor Daivat - that is, the Left Hand of Daivat, Daivat's Strong Left Hand, or a number of other similarly self-aggrandizing titles. The significance, however, is that I am a hunter of demons and their worshipers. Jasper has invited me to join you in your hunt, and I have accepted - but first, I must ask all of you if you wish this to be so." He smiled at them. "I ask this both out of courtesy and out of self-interest. If we are to work together, I must make sure we can trust each other, at least as much as trust can be established between new folk in so short a time. But I hope you will accept me - this is a vocation for me, not simply a duty, and it will be significantly more likely that I will succeed if I may accompany you in this matter. But now that I know a demon lord is loosed on the world, I will have to hunt him down in any case."

Sam nibbled at the meal, not because it wasn't good, but because food held no need or delight for her. It would appear to the casual observer that she had eaten much more because she'd gotten rather good at faking it and moving food around on a plate for effect, but she somehow doubted that Jasper would be fooled. Mostly, she sat there attempting to get a feeling for Ravan and Aurelia. She set down her fork as Ravan spoke and listened politely, trying not to show any emotion. Really, only the mention of Daivat sat unwell with her.

"We don't think he's loose on the world right now. I doubt that Dravin, with his taste for destruction, could hide for long even if he tried, and besides, he has a particular interest in me and I doubt he would wait long to announce his presence on this plane should he escape. That isn't to say he isn't trying to return, only that he hasn't yet. Our plan isn't exactly to the point of hunting him down anyway."

Her mouth quirked into a brief frown before she continued in a deliberate, if not practiced, manner. "I trust Jasper. That does not extend to you, but you may earn it. There are really only two things I have to say of immediate relevance. One, don't get between me and my target. Two: try not to make me angry."

Ravan

Ravan snorted. "You would fit in very well with the Denavashor, if your religious persuasion were otherwise." Ravan wondered if the Chosen would grasp the nuances of what he said, given the role of women in Jamean society. He was more than a little surprised to hear himself say it, actually. Still, Helm had chosen her, and such things made gender irrelevant - when you were called, you could but serve.

And if that was the case, what did Daivat's choice of calling say about him?

Ravan pushed that thought aside, and continued. "Still, it is good that such a force is not loose on the world. But if he is so active as to send an army forth, he must be dealt with." He looked at Sam speculatively. "Whether you trust me as a person or not isn't all that important. What *is* important is a mutual understanding that we have a common enemy. The enemy of my enemy is no more and no less than that, but working relationships have been founded on less."

It was difficult to hold in the incredulity. Jamean society would never have accepted Samantha - she was surprised at times that Helm had - and the opposite was also true. That wasn't the issue on the table however. "Trust is earned mister Varamitra, and trusting you as a person is quite important no matter what you might believe. You will not be denied your chance for trust based solely on religion; I've dealt with worse. I am simply giving you fair warning that my patience isn't what it used to be."

Ravan

Ravan shrugged, the gesture easy and unaffected. "I am not important. Neither is what I say. What matters is what we do." The words were simple, but he truly didn't have anything else to say on the matter - as far as he was concerned, that was as close to pure gospel as things went.

It was a bit much - her words coming out of a Daivatian's mouth. Samantha ran her tongue along the roof of her mouth as she tried to see into, or perhaps through Ravan, but the illusion didn't break. She turned to the others, though mostly Aurelia. "Anybody else?"

Aurelia continued to keep quiet as the Jamean and the Helmenite when back and forth. There was something going on there that she didn't quite understand yet. More observation was definitely required. The Denavashor Daivat were known to her, though she had never personally encountered a member of the group before. It was understood that they were generally worth avoiding.

"I think we may be getting off-track here," Aurelia cut in. "Miss Tamar and I have been reviewing information and discussing the matter since last night. Perhaps we should start by clarifying exactly what the problem is, why it is a problem, and how we suggest it be fixed," she said.

"We all know that Dravin is dangerous. Responsible not only for the massacre of my people, but the devastating attack on Katar six months ago. Thankfully, he was defeated and, so far as any of us knows, remains sealed away with the rest of his kind once more. Unfortunately, before he was sent back to The Pit, Dravin gained possession of a man of great power." She turned her attention purposefully toward Ruve.

Dravin

Ravin gave Aurelia a long, pensive look, then inclined his head slightly towards her. The matter of her crimes could wait - for a time. It would not be the first occasion where he'd used the lesser evil against the greater... although given the way the others were treating her, he was not so sure that she was an "evil" at all...

But there was righteousness, and then there was duty. The two were only the same in an ideal world.

"Ah. Well, that makes more sense. Unfortunately, a direct assault on the Pit and the destruction of its primary occupants has proven to have a remarkably low rate of success in every simulation run thus far." He said in a perfectly serious voice. "Eliminating the mortal assets of the lords of the Abyss has proven far more efficacious - not to mention plausible."

"That is not an option here," Ruve said sharply. "The one the demon lord took was a companion - a friend - of ours. He risked his life for us and was taken because of it." She didn't dare look at Sam while she spoke. It was all too complicated...she had envied Tobias once, even disliked him for a time. But now she was determined to get him back - in one piece. She could do nothing else.

She was accustomed to only doling out the barest amount of information to strangers in the past, but perhaps the time for this was over. The whole truth would take to long to explain, but an abridged version would be better than nothing, right?

"Tobias was marked a long time ago as the perfect vessel for demonic possession. He spent most of his life running from demons, even going so far as to shatter his own mind so they could not find him. When we first met him, he was crazy, yet good-hearted nonetheless. He helped us on numerous occasions, and in Katar he gave up the protection of his own insanity to aid our cause. At the last battle in Katar, Dravin took him. Afterwards, we fought to take him back, even going so far as to enter Dravin's own realm. We were able to rescue the mind and spirit of Tobias, but not his body."
Although he had really rescued himself, she supposed. It had all been rather confusing, with Jasper and...everything. "We don't know if there is any part of him that remained behind with Dravin, and we want to take Tobias's body back from him completely. It is a matter of principle now."

She said the last bit with conviction she didn't even know she'd had. Killing the demon lord at the price of Tobias's body - the one he had fought so long to protect - would seem like a defeat no matter what. She could not let Dravin win!

Sam let the other women explain without interruption. Neither was exactly correct, but they were close enough to work with. "Besides," she interjected, "when has killing a host ever succeeded in killing the demon? The object of this endeavor is to destroy Dravin. Taking his toy away will only make him angry."




 

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