Logs:Devil Trap

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Devil Trap
Dramatis Personae

Damian, Frankie, with Toska as ST.

27 August, 2016


Damian and Frankie are looking for an old ghost in the Underworld that might have information on the Sage. Frankie leads Damian to the Drowned Village Dead Zone, where they speak to an ancient ghost by the name of Weatherby about the Sage. He gives them a book, and shows them another book that explains a couple Ceremonies that have been largely lost to time. Part of the Static plot.

Location

UN01, Drowned City


The Forbidden Gate is one of the more frequented Gates in Fallcoast, and with good reason. It typically leads to one of the more stable and easier parts of the Underworld to access and travel through, rather than some of the others, which lead to winding caverns and mazes. Frankie and Damian are able to push their way through the Gate and get into the Autocthonous Depths, pulling themselves through the initial tight squeeze of the caverns directly beyond the Gate until they reach the larger mass of empty rock interspersed with pillars, the place where most of the Rivers tend to wind up being.

Like usual lately, the Underworld is a quiet place almost devoid entirely of ghosts and the Unfettered. It seems almost bizarrely empty, not even the sound of something moving in the dark beyond the Sin-Eaters' line of sight can be heard. Only the rush of some Underworld River in the distance, and the scent of stale, fetid water that's been standing for some time.

Damian relies on Frankie to lead down here, he usually does, the budding Delver that she is. He avoids the cliché, ‘it’s too quiet’ sentence. They both know. He is armed with his sword, as he usually is, but jeans and t-shirt his garb as he comes down here. A small backpack as well, likely with food and things to possibly trade. Frankie can give blood and plasm this time. Coming out to the rivers, he gives a look around, considering. “I’m not really sure where we should go...”

PEMIT TO FRANKIE: You realize after getting into the Underworld that you're aware of your location and know where you should go. To the south of you is a place called the Drowned Village, a dead zone where a lot of the ghosts from a flood back in the early 1700s wound up due to the people and their anchors being killed and destroyed in unison, sending them directly to the Great Below. It can't be more than a mile from where you are through the caverns.

Frankie leads the way, as is her wont. Her duty, in her mind, anyway. Her ghost-crow ally is perched on her shoulder as they cross through. Frankie pauses to pull her keystone out of her jacket pocket, consulting the bone compass as the pointer spins, spins, spins, and finally comes to a halt. There's a messenger bag slung over her shoulder, one with a handful of offerings, some wood, a flint and steel, other useful items. "This way," she says, nodding and setting off. She pockets the compass again. "The Drowned Village is somewhere to start. A lot of ghosts wound up there in the early seventeen hundreds when a flood hit. Maybe a mile from here." Her boots crunch quietly in the gravel.

Damian nods to her and her words. He’s really at the mercy of her advice, as his ignorance of the Underworld is lessening, but he’s still nowhere near where he needs to be. He doesn’t seem to mind following her, though. “Alright, sounds good. It’s a shot in the dark anyway, I guess. Someone has to be willing to help us, especially with what Blanche told me.” He waits for her to lead the way. Eyes ever scanning the landscape. Quiet or not, Damian always expects something.

It takes a good hour of Underworld travel. They don't get turned around, but there probably was an easier way to go about it. Regardless, they eventually arrive at the place where Frankie indicated. This seems to be the source of the scent of fetid water, given that it's almost untenably pungent. The Drowned Village is as it sounds: it's an old 17th century village that's half submerged, with several cabins and buildings set up around what appears to be an ancient version of the old Fallcoast commons back when the city was connected to Copper Point instead of Hanging Hills.

Frankie and Damian both notice something odd as well: the feeling of being watched that's just part of any Underworld excursion these days is non-existent here, and there are ghosts milling about in the waters. One woman dressed in puritan garb is attempting to dig through the muck and mire to try to find something upon entering the village; she doesn't look up at the Sin-Eaters. There are two men talking in the distance, and another woman that's carrying a load of what looks like grain stalks from some field somewhere to a house. Everyone is wearing clothing that would be considered normal in the 1700s or late 1600s; it's like they stepped into a ghostly colonial village exhibit.

Works for Frankie. She glances sidelong at Damian before making her way up to the woman digging through the muck. "Can we help you look for anything?" Frankie asks her, extending a hand toward the woman's shoulder in the hopes of getting her attention. Norbert flaps down to the water.

Damian helps where he can, possibly pointing out terrain that looks easier as they travel, but ultimately it’s on Frankie and they arrive, so trust well placed. A nod goes her way at the glance and then another follows at her question to the old woman. Damian’s not touching anyone though. Instead, his eyes are already looking where the woman is digging as if to ascertain or spot what she’s after.

"I've lost my ring," the woman expresses to Frankie. "It was my daughter's, but she gave it to me after her husband died fighting the Passamaquoddy." Moving to stand to her full height, she folds her hands in front of her and looks to both Frankie and Damian. "She said she couldn't bear to look at it." Her accent would suggest that she was an Irish immigrant to Fallcoast, likely one of the few during Cromwell's time that were indentured to the northern colonies instead of the Caribbean. "Oh my. You're barely dressed, aren't you?" And with a glance to Damian, she tilts her head toward him. "Sir." She brushes some mud off of her hands and folds them back in front of her once more.

Meanwhile in the distance, the male ghosts continue talking, and the woman carrying the wheat stalks drops her bundle into a straw trough and heads off back to the part of the village from where she came.

Frankie adjusts the strap on her messenger bag and bends down to start searching the mire. Her and her awful pants. People can see she has two legs! It's shameful!

Norbert dips his head under, bobbing for trinkets. It's a crow thing.

"Let's see if we can help you find it," says Frankie.

It's obvious that Frankie and Damian aren't going to find a ring down there. Frankie is able to pull a ring off of one of her fingers that seems like it might be old enough or look old enough to suffice. As soon as their hands come back up, the woman points at Frankie's ring and says, "That's the one! You found it!" There's a strange sensation in the air, and the Sin-Eaters feel a coalescense of plasm within them. She gestures to the ring, "I thought I would never see it again."

To Damian's inquiry, she says, "The Passamaquoddy were peaceful once, but they decided to attack us when we were attempting to plant our autumn harvest. The Commonwealth sent some soldiers to deal with those demon heathens." She pauses. "The Protestants aren't much better, mind, but they're still at least not mud-worshiping dirt folk, yeh?"

Frankie's hands drift through the water; she reaches down, tugs at something with a faint frown. Then, there's a ring in her hand. She offers it over to the ghostly woman. "Here," she says. It's not quite right - it's a band of silver - but it will do. She's not loathe to give it up; it's more important that they have an ally. "We were hoping to speak to the Elder," she ventures, glancing sidelong at Damian. Is that what people call senior citizens in the 1700s? She doesn't know.

Damian glances at Frankie, a small imperceptible nod at quick thinking. He knows she didn’t find that down there. He’s perceptive enough to know it wasn’t there. He forces a small little smile to his face to reflect the ‘finding’ however. He’s exceptionally good at that, masking emotion, even with others. A nod to the woman. “Of course. Thankfully the Commonwealth has dealt with them.” There’s a small shrug, Damian has no idea either, but then he turns back to the woman. “Yes, we need some advice. Some wisdom.” Usually they were the wisest, right?

Taking the ring from Frankie, the woman moves to slip it into the folds of her dress and nods toward one of the larger houses that's only partially flooded. Even if it's not the correct vernacular, it seems she generally catches the gist of what Frankie's saying. "That would be Mister Weatherby. I can take you to him. He's lived here the longest. He's not fond of foreigners, but I'll just explain that you're new to the Americas and agents of the Commonwealth." She nods at that. "He'd have the wisdom you need, I would reckon."

Judging from the references she's making, this must be Fallcoast shortly after it became a colony around the 1660s. That would be right when copper had been found in the hills. This would be right before the big population boom in Massachusetts colony that would lead Maine to becoming more important to the British and a battle ground between them and the French.

The woman leads the way to Mister Weatherby's house. She tilts her head at the two men talking, and one of them says, "Miss Abernathy," to her as they pass them.

Frankie and her sinful legs follow 'Miss Abernathy' toward Weatherby's house. Norbert, wet from the water, flaps up to land on Frankie's shoulder again, sending cold water down the back of her jacket and shirt. "Hssst!" She is unamused. She doesn't really react to the name Abernathy; she's not local.

'Miss Abernathy’? Damian’s brow goes up. He’s from Fallcoast, he’s well aware of the Abernathy’s. Went to school with a lot of them, and it causes him to share a glance with Frankie as he follows, too. As Damian continues, maybe it’s just idle curiosity, but he looks to the woman. “Where are my manners? I am Mr…” English name, English name. “Edmund Washington.” A terrible lie, but he’s good at it. “It’s nice to meet you.” Another little bow, more formal. He’s watched T.V.!

Frankie already found this lady a ring; she feels no real need to come up with a name. It might make the woman uncomfortable, even. Frankie does, however, zip up her leather jacket. It's just a little less skin showing. Norbert the ghost-crow flaps off her shoulder and down to the floor, where he begins to strut about in search of goodies.

It was a gamble, but it fails. An attempt by Damian to pick up information. As a Fallcoast native, he might be able to sue some history lesson to help. Oh well. Damian’s own jacket is in his bag, but he doesn’t seem to need it. He’s dressed normal enough for the times. He follows the Abernathy woman inside and looks around, eyes adjusting to the darkness, seeking out the person who inhabits it and offering a small bit of a bowed head.

Inside the house is a large firepit set to one side that's glowing with embers. Candles are scattered around on various surfaces; this is a one-room home, with a large section dedicated toward the kitchen and other amenities, then one part of it dedicated for sleeping. And yet still there's a large collection of bookshelves. "Miss Abernathy," says the man, looking at her for a long moment. "You were not who I expected. Who have you brought to my home? No one untoward, I hope. I realize your family's history, despite your marriage into it."

"No, sir. These are servants of the Commonwealth, come to ask some questions. Likely they're here to help handle some of the trade coming in."

"Soon it will be Charles the Second, judging from the reports coming in," the alderman says with a sigh and rubbing his eyes. "Hopefully that won't affect us here. You're dismissed, Miss Abernathy. Please keep your sons in line. Your son Richard was seen chasing one of the local girls in a way that wasn't befitting of a good Christian."

"Yes, sir," the woman says in a demure voice, lowering her head. She takes a few steps back and closes the door behind her, leaving Frankie and Damian in the one-room house.

"So, agents of Cromwell, eh? Trying to bolster support for the Commonwealth before we have to reckon with kings again?"

Damian watches the interaction between Miss Abernathy and the Alderman while dividing his attention by scanning the man’s home and studying it. No expression now, he’s unreadable. He waits until Miss Abernathy leads before settling his attention on the Alderman. “Mr. Weatherby, I am Edmund Washington.” Might as well keep the lie simple, intact. Less tot angle. “We are actually here for a different reason, a much greater problem, though if you require help with the trade, we are certainly able to assist.” This time though, Damian takes a bit more of a straight stance. It’s not threatening, just one of stature. Agents of Cromwell have power, after all. Or so he assumes.

Damian watches the interaction between Miss Abernathy and the Alderman while dividing his attention by scanning the man’s home and studying it. No expression now, he’s unreadable. He waits until Miss Abernathy leads before settling his attention on the Alderman. “Mr. Weatherby, I am Edmund Washington.” Might as well keep the lie simple, intact. Less tot angle. “We are actually here for a different reason, a much greater problem, though if you require help with the trade, we are certainly able to assist.” This time though, Damian takes a bit more of a straight stance. It’s not threatening, just one of stature. Agents of Cromwell have power, after all. Or so he assumes.

"Edmund Washington," the alderman says, flipping open a book. "Ah, yes. Francis Washington has been missing for some time now. Years, it seems. Though time seems a strange thing these days. Is the door closed?" Mister Weatherby glances behind the two and stays silent for a moment, listening. Convinced no one's behind the door, he sighs and rubs his eyes. "Ah, to keep up this charade." He stands to his feet and moves to sit down on the desk on the other side. "You don't need to play that card, boy, but it was smart of both of you to convince Miss Abernathy that you were agents of Cromwell. She likely wouldn't have trusted you, and then where would you be?" He removes his glasses and polishes the lenses on his coat. "It's been some time since Sin-Eaters have visited here. They've all be so," he waves a hand, "focused on the Sage and whatnot."

“Ah yes, my brother Francis...” Damian is literally just playing along, it’s kind of strange how oddly adept he is at all that. Lies come way too easy. Call it the Washington D.C. effect, though it’s far more. When the man drops his own play, Damian is caught by surprise. He was ready to continue it, but seems relieved he doesn’t have to. His own gaze goes to the door briefly and then he nods. “Well, she assumed, we just didn’t correct. It was a convenient thing.” Sure Damian faked an English name after what she said, but that was the extent of it. He knows they are Sin-Eaters though, that’s enough. “I am sorry to say, our visit here is because of the Sage, also. We are looking for some...guidance. Did you wish me to call you something other than Mr. Weatherby?”

Weatherby shakes his head, "No, it's my name, after all." He rubs at his temples and gestures for them both to sit down on some nearby chairs. The water level in here as soaked into the wood, and it's a little bit messy and muddy, but otherwise clean enough. The furniture doesn't appear to be wet. "Always the Sage. The last time I had Sin-Eaters here, they asked me what I knew about the Sage. They were a little less congenial about it," he says with a harsh laugh. "Members of the West End Watcher Krewe, if I recall. Said that they would 'end' me. I've been dead for close to four hundred years. That isn't really a threat anymore. I trust that either of you won't threaten the same?"

Damian’s not going to refuse a gesture of kindness from someone he’s trying to get help from, so he just nods to the name and the chair. Taking a seat in one. “Thank you.” The mention of the West End Watcher’s gets a guarded look Damian doesn’t hide as well. “No, in fact, you might call the West End Watchers our enemy. I would. So, no. My interest in the Sage, our interest, is stopping him, not causing you harm. We are seeking your help, any you might provide with this. Any, anyone might provide with this, in truth.” There’s a pause there, and eyes go back to the door, brow furrowed. Like he just remembered something. He turns back. “Curiously, when we entered the village, I didn’t feel his presence like elsewhere. The Sage’s?”

"Yes. Is this your first time to a Dead Zone?" Weatherby moves to sit down when they both do and crosses one leg over the other at the knee. "We live in an interesting facet of the Autocthonous Depths that is both part of and somewhat separate from the Underworld as a whole. We have four souls still here aside from me, and they all are still unclear that they have died. Similar to the ghosts above," he points up at the ceiling, "they re-enact their mortal days without hesitation or thought of what they're doing. The Washington that I'd mentioned, Francis, he came to the realization that we had died about a century ago and left to travel the Underworld in search of a way to pass on. Since the ghosts here aren't as self-aware as they tend to be in the Underworld, the Principalities are rarely interested in us. We're automatons, after all. Or should be."

He pauses briefly and studies both Damian and Frankie, then says: "Shirley Edgar also came through here and helped us set up wards about two decades ago, which does well in defending against the Principalities. As such, we have no real fear of them, but if the Sage were to send Its agents here, the remaining ghosts would likely think they're demons," he says with that harsh laugh. "This place won't save you from the Sage if It's intent on coming here, but the 'zone will allow you some solace in that It'll ignore you while you're here. Does that make sense? Also, I appreciate that you're attempting to stop It, and I can offer as much assistance as necessary toward that goal. The Principalities are about as close to the devil as you can get; I still attempt to uphold my faith." He smirks at that. "Or at least try not to be as jaded as I should be."

“I guess so?” Damian is letting his ignorance show a little here, but the cat was already out of the bag, so no point in trying to stuff it back in. He just listens with rapt attention to the man’s explanation, eyes flickering to the door at it. Interesting. His head bobs a little as he turns back. “All, except you, and now, I suppose, Francis. But I hate to ask, why do you stay then? And if you’re only part of the Underworld, what else are you part of?” Might as well try to learn and that seems like a rather important question. A nod then though. “I don’t know Shirley, but I know of her. And I’m glad she did this, but I have no plan to attract Its attention here, or to cause trouble for you. Nor to seek shelter, only to find what I can. But it is something to note, should we ever need a reprieve down here while the battle rages. Yes, makes much sense. Thank you.” Another nod, another consideration. “Whatever you can offer that might help, it is likely more than we have. And I can try to offer some additional help in return, should you need something?”

"That's a good question to which I don't have an easy answer," Weatherby says. "Dead Zones are relatively rare. If you look closely at me, you'll see that I have been affected by the Prey Threshold. Everyone in this Dead Zone does, except for the occasional Forgotten. We were killed in a flash flood due to heavy rains in 1660, shortly before Charles the Second took the throne back from the Commonwealth. On the flipside, say you went to Scotland's Underworld; there are Dead Zones there dedicated toward those killed in the wars between England and Scotland when Scotland was attempting to oust the Church of England and re-establish Catholicism as the primary religion of Great Britain. This has nothing to do with the Sage, of course, but it's a strange facet of Underworld lore that not a lot of your kind realizes." He pauses briefly, then says, "But, again. It's a good question. I don't know what else we're part of. These places aren't supposed to exist, and yet they do. The Autocthonous Depths are broken up by them. You'll notice when you came in here, you were no longer in a cavern. You stepped out of the Upper Mysteries into something else entirely. Thankfully we're not as violent as those by Dead Beach. That's another Dead Zone here. Passamaquoddy mostly, and very angry."

He glances toward the embers burning in the fire pit, then says, "I would like some books. Could you bring me recent history books, if possible? Perhaps some newspapers explaining recent events? I feel almost completely out of my element now that I have no sense of what's gone on since the 1970's."

"That's certainly possible," Frankie finally says from her post by the wall. She's got her arms crossed over her stomach, like usual. And she's been silent, because, well... the patriarchy and all that. Plus Damian seems to be doing okay with this guy, and that's good.

Damian nods again, it’s all quite fascinating to him, even if he wouldn’t admit it. It’s his life now, the dead, the Underworld and he is interested in it. The scholarly parts of it, especially, as much as anyone. It’s kind of his thing. Information. “It’s very interesting, if I suppose, not important to our visit, but thank you for indulging me in my curiosity.” A little shrug. “Some people up top would tell you I’m not supposed to exist either, so I guess it’s one of those things.” He moves on though, having come to the culmination of that, it seems. “The Passamaquoddy and Dead Beach? I’m guessing that’s good to avoid, even if I don’t know who they are.” Glad we landed her and not there. And anyone observing Damian will notice a strange thing, anyone that has seen him up top. He’s far more comfortable conversing with ghosts than he seems to be with people. Weird! “We can do that, I might even be able to do you one better, but...” Power might be a problem. He doesn’t say that though. “...I’ll see what I can do.”

Weatherby nods to Frankie, then looks toward Damian. "It would be much appreciated. Shirley came down several times with some newspapers and books about what was going on. The last thing she brought me," he moves to stand to his feet and goes to grab a book off one of the shelves and brings it over. It's a copy of The Secret. "I don't particularly understand it, but it appears that it's some new wish-fulfillment religion that young people are practicing." He sits back down and sets the self-help book aside. "Dead Beach is further afield. I assume that one of you is the guide here, and it's probably you, miss," he gestures to Frankie, "given that you haven't said much. In any case, if you promise to bring me information on the current affairs of the world, I'll tell you all I know of the Sage."

"Yeah, that's me," Frankie tells Weatherby, inclining her head his way. "For now, anyway. We can bring books." She eyes the copy of The Secret, shaking her head. She cross over to look at it, taking it from Weatherby unless he protests.

Damian’s been considering the idea of information for Weatherby for a while. “I’ll do you better than some articles and a book.” Of course, Damian can control exactly how much, leaving him a bargaining chip for alter. Still more than any amount of books. Technology! He doesn’t seem terribly interested in the book himself, looking back to Weatherby with all his curiousity.

The book seems to talk about the law of attraction, that thinking about something in your life - for example, that you're wealthy and pretty - the Universe, capitalized, will answer and make it so. It mostly seems to be based on a strange interpretation of confirmation bias, but couched in a lot of new age terms and ideology. Weatherby doesn't protest when Frankie picks it up. He does observe her, though, giving a slight nod at that. "New religion for the young," he says under his breath, confirming his earlier thought.

"So," he says, a little louder, "what would you like to know specifically? I've studied as much as I can about the dark powers without drawing attention to myself. You're certainly not in the Athenaeum, but I can teach you what I know."

Frankie eyes Damian briefly, but her attention's mostly on the book. She flips through a few pages. Her expression is pretty funny - she clearly doesn't approve of this bullshit, and she puts the book back in its place. "We can bring better reading material than that crap," she says. That said, she reaches up and tucks some of her dark hair behind her ear. "We're looking for allies. And weaknesses would be good, too, but it's occurred to us that the powers and their minions might have made quite a few enemies."

Damian nods his agreement to Frankie’s statement about the information and books. He hasn’t decided exactly what he will bring the man, and there are power concerns, so her generic statement will do. Another nod as she continues speaking. “All of that, yes, but I am also curious, if you are aware of its goals. I mean, beyond total domination if that is indeed what it is after? Or what the West End Watchers inquired about when they were here? Specifically?” Damian has a ton of questions, in truth. They could be here a while, and he leans forward in the chair a bit.

"Yes," Weatherby says with a slight nod. He seems to consider that for a moment, then purses his lips. "West End Watchers first, as that was the most recent. The West End Watchers are servants of the Sage, which I'm sure you both know," the ghost glances between the two Sin-Eaters. "It goes a little more insidious than that, from what I understand, but they were asking me questions about you." A brief pause, then: "Not you specifically, but the Sin-Eaters of Fallcoast. They wanted to know potential weaknesses, places where they might be able to hit and strike. I don't know these things; I have no way to go into Twilight and I've never asked a necromancer to bind an Anchor for me. Prudence suits me fine, and I remain here to watch over my flock. Which answers the earlier question you had." He notes to Damian. "In any case, they asked if there were any places that could lead to what they referred to as the Alabaster Dominion, which is one I hadn't heard of. I walked to the edge of the Dead Zone and saw the Ferryman that meant to go there. Two other Sin-Eaters were heading across the River. One of them was a small hispanic woman, the other a very large man, muscular."

"The River was thin, and I could see across. There was a woman running from it, and they all ran for the Ferryman. Then the Sage turned its attention upon the Ferryman and warped it into one of its servants. It left its boat in the River, and went off to join the others at the Alabaster Dominion. I believe you have taken to calling it the 'Barren Dominion.' It's where the Alabaster King resides with its army of Sin-Eaters and ghosts and the moliated creatures from the bastardized soulforge they keep."

"In any case, after I explained the quickest way to and from the Alabaster Dominion from the local Gates, they were fine enough with that information, and I told them about the Society of Crows. Outside of that, I had no real information to give them. They seemed," he frowns, "inexperienced. They clearly didn't realize that a spirit from a Dead Zone wouldn't have information like that. It led me to asking Shirley about it, and she pointed out that the West End Watchers will enfold Krewes into theirs, which has brought them a lot of power. It's a situation of," he tilts his head up to look at the ceiling, then says carefully, "--quantity over quality. Their lower members aren't as powerful or well-versed as their higher-ups, and they operate in a sort of self-delusional state that they're the final answer to the Bound question, that all Sin-Eaters could pledge fealty to the Sage."

"...Bastardized soulforge?" Frankie repeats, eyebrows going up. "Did they get the Forge of Orcus? And how did they change the creatures, what did they shape them into? I didn't know that could be done with soul forges. Living things." Pause. "For some definition of living. Sentient? Semi-sentient?" She starts to pace. The ghost crow hops along after her, quorking once or twice.

Damian nods at all of that, but there seems to be a point where he gets confused. “Wait a sec. A Hispanic woman and a large, muscular man were going to the Alabaster Dominion? Did they make it?” That causes him to share a look with Frankie, very briefly. “Or were these two member of the West End Watchers do you mean? I’m curious how that ties in.” Then something else occurs to Damian. “Are you saying that near here in the river leading to this Dominion? At the edge of this dead zone?” His brow raises at that, but he doesn’t move from the chair. Definitely perking up at Frankie’s questions as well. No need to repeat them, though.

"That was Kilo and Deckard, I'll bet," Frankie tells Damian. "Getting Elizabeth."

"No, they weren't able to get the actual forge." The ghost looks back at the fire for a moment, then says, "From what I understand through the ghosts that pass through here, the West End Watchers were able to steal some of Orcus' fire. They set up a forge very similar to the Forge of Orcus. If you were to speak to Orcus, I should think he would be an excellent ally," notes the alderman, looking toward the two. Damian's question catches him and pulls him out of his musing. "No, they weren't West End Watchers. They were locals, and the woman that ran from the Dominion seemed terrified. I heard her say her name was Elizabeth. I fled before the Sage could notice I was out of the Dead Zone."

Alderman Weatherby stands up to his feet and moves over to his desk. He pulls out what appears to be a caving map and brings it back over, setting it down on the simple table set up by the chairs. There's a line drawn out that marks the Dead Zone clearly, then another line marking Dead Beach. There's a series of x's drawn along in a rushing torrent which is probably the River. It can't be more than a mile from where they are. "So, if you went this way," he gestures up from the village, then through a passage leading around Dead Beach, "you'd reach the River." There's a Gate through here," he taps at another maze of Underworld passages. He glances over at Frankie, "It's possible. I didn't catch their names. They ran from the Alabaster King and The Innocent, Lost."

Damian isn’t up to date on all the happenings of the Alabaster King. So the news about Deckard and Kilo recusing her is new. A nod goes Frankie’s way though. The Hispanic girl, he probably assumed was Kilo. “Ah, perhaps we will head to the Forge, maybe after this?” A brow lifts again, looking towards Frankie once more. An opinion. A nod then as he turns back to Weatherby. “Ah okay, yes, probably a couple of us.” Confirming Frankie’s suspicion is his own. As the map comes out, Damian watches Frankie with an odd expression. He gets the laws of Ingress, he’s had to buy more than one phone in the past after it turned into a can and a string. But he still keeps bringing them anyway, fishing it out and snapping a picture of the map. Just in case.

Frankie winds up doing a pretty damned good job with the map on her own, but Damian also gets a decent picture of it with his phone. Weatherby waits for them to finish so he doesn't break Frankie's concentration. After she's finished, he gives a slight nod. "Probably more than a couple of you would be a good idea if you planned to discuss a potential alliance with Orcus. The last time that I saw Francis, he had traveled to Orcus' Dominion. He came back without an arm. It turned out that he had to trade it for information on Sin-Eaters that had been there recently. Orcus is brutal and vicious, and I would generally suggest caution. His Dominion is more powerful than many others, save perhaps for the Athenaeum." How exactly a ghost stuck in a Dead Zone would know all of this is hard to fathom.

"As far as the Sage goes, I can explain in greater detail. As I mentioned, I've made a study of the Principalities. The Sage has been a point of interest lately due to its almost omnipresence."

Frankie straightens up, shooting Damian's phone a glance and rolling her eyes briefly upward. She tucks the notebook away again, nodding. "Hopefully revenge will aim the brutality and viciousness away from us. How do you know all this? Do most travelers come through here to talk to you?"

“I would assume Orcus does not want to lose his Dominion to the Sage, and I think we might be able to offer him something he can’t refuse, but good advice. We will heed it.” Damian taps a couple things into his phone after pulling back, nodding again. So not after this. Okay. “Why did Francis travel to get information on Sin-Eaters from Orcus? What was Francis after? Do you know?” Ever the curiosity growing in Damian and it doesn’t seem he finds any rock too small to overturn. “I would appreciate anything you can tell us. How do you...” Frankie beat him to it. The question does need to be asked, considering he stays and looks over his flock.

"That they do," Weatherby responds to Frankie. "The most recent travelers through here, aside from you two, were members of the Northwater Lords, a Krewe from the French Caribbean. Or," he pauses. "Haiti. I suppose." He shakes his head. "They came through here to discuss the possibility of defending some of the Gates leading into Fallcoast. It turns out that some of the locals, a 'Deckard' and a 'Hoax' did them a favor by freeing one of their members from Lowgate Prison. But, the short answer: yes. Similar to what I asked of you, I ask about information regarding the Dominions as well. But I am a scholar of history. I suppose if you've existed for four hundred years, you must be." That harsh laugh again.

"I believe that something in the land of the Quick has something to do with the issues we're suffering in the Underworld, which is why I'm interested in learning more about current events," the alderman concludes.

He's quiet for a moment, then says to Damian, "What are we all looking for? Absolution, of course. Francis believed that he was stuck here due to his sins. He wanted to find a Sin-Eater who could free him of the burden. He started his search one hundred years ago, and last came through here about forty years ago, where he explained how he lost his arm. That was a question I had for him as well, however. It made no sense that he would travel to such a hostile Dominion for information about Sin-Eaters, before he explained that he had been following a Krewe. The Society of Crows, he said. He told me he missed them by several days, which was unfortunate. I would like to think that Francis found a Sin-Eater to help him pass on," Weatherby says, turning his gaze away toward the fire, his voice growing quiet. "But I fear that his fate was not so kind. The Underworld is a hard place. Traveling through it requires cunning and a kind of strange logic that most beings, natural or supernatural, do not have. But I may just be a jaded old man."

"Northwater Lords," Frankie repeats, folding her arms across her stomach again. "I've heard that name before, too." She glances over at Damian, explaining, "Ian." She pauses a moment, watching Weatherby. "He might have found someone." She pauses again, frowning. "What kind of thing upside would lead to these kinds of issues down here? With the Principalities?"

“Planchante.” Damian mutters it really. He’s met some of the Northwater Lords, if briefly, in prison. He also saw the man’s note, which indicates they also looked into the Barrens. It’s not a stretch. Damian even knows about the favor. “Yes, they fortified Lowgate for Yama, and that was Yama’s reward, I suppose." Surely Weatehrby knows of Yama. It’s only fair, some information in exchange. His head tilts a little. “When we bring you this information, if you see a pattern, will you tell us?” He listens about Francis, and licks his lips a little. A thinking habit. “The Society of Crows went to Orcus though? Do you know what for?” He glances at Frankie. “We may need to seek out Shirley.” A side note. He turns back to Weatherby. “If I see Francis and he is still here, I will see what I can do to help him. It’s what I do.” A nod then to Frankie at ‘Ian’. Interesting. “Found someone?” Does she know something he doesn’t?

"It seems that the world has become very small. But it has always been so in our circles," Weatherby notes with a wry grin. "I have no idea what the Society of Crows went to Orcus to see. This was forty years ago. Shirley came to me later that year speaking about the Crows' codices and whether or not I'd be able to help them. Shirley also asked if I would want to pass on, myself. I have," he sighs. "Too much work to do. And once you finish this Sage business, the Underworld will get back to normal again."

Standing to his feet, alderman Weatherby heads over to the fire and puts a chopped log on it. Another appears in its place, and the fire flickers up brightly, then slowly fades back to embers within moments. "It's possible that the Society of Crows was seeking out weapons or equipment that would not be affected by the Laws of Ingress, which is why anyone would go to Orcus' Forge in the first place. Soulforging is a horrid act. Although I come from a time when slaves were common, I don't believe it's a Christian act to enslave any being. To have your soul bound into something for eternity," he shakes his head. "What concerns me is that the followers of the Sage now have a piece of Orcus' Forge through its fire. If this is the case, they can easily turn out weapons that would not suffer trips back and forth from the River. Machine guns, grenades, mines. But I'm also not entirely certain how powerful their forge is by comparison. It could be relatively small and only capable of making knives or swords. I do not know their operation," explains the ghost.

After another brief moment, Weatherby nods. "If I see a pattern, I will tell you. To answer your question, young lady, everything that happens in the living world has repercussions on the Underworld. The Sage is quickly becoming the Principality-Ascendant. If Its power continues to go unchecked, then It will rule the Underworld. Something must be happening to cause the Sage's associations to become more powerful in the living world, so I shall see what this might be."

Another pause, and then Weatherby turns to look at them. "All Principalities have associations with them. The Sage is associated with books and knowledge, the moon, the direction of 'northwest,' the color blue, and both the Cold Wind Key and the Marionette Manifestation. It has some other associations: the acquisition for knowledge for its own sake rather that the pursuit for betterment; the use of destructive knowledge on the world." Pause. "'I have become Death, destroyer of worlds.' When the atom bomb was created, humans are smart, but they likely had the Sage to thank for the initial burst of scientific advancement that led to breaking the atom."

"In any case," the ghost goes on, "another option for allies would be to seek out those Principalities that despise the Sage, such as the Orphan, or the Explorer, possibly the Ruler. The problem, of course, is that in fighting fire with fire, you are likely to become burnt. And pledging yourself to the Dark Gods is not a task to be taken lightly."

Weatherby's silent again, then says, "As for Francis, I don't know if he found anyone at all. Perhaps, perhaps not. If Shirley came asking if I would like to pass on, perhaps she did it. One can hope," he turns to look at the two. "To be frank, I'm somewhat envious of the man's travels. But ghosts are what we are. I am a creature of envy and prudence."

Frankie walks a few more paces. "I'd rather not ally with them. Definitely not pledge to them, but I don't know if they can be bargained with other than that. But... knowledge. Knowledge for its own sake and not betterment..." She stops, touching two black-nailed fingertips to her lips and raising her eyebrows. "Makes me think of the internet." She glances at Damian, lips quirked wryly to the side. "Maybe that's just me."

“Thank you.” That to the confirmation that what he sees he will share, but Damian’s lips purse. “I will ask Shirley.” He’s got to go see the woman, she seems to be involved. That gets a glance for Frankie, too. Turning back to the man, he begins to rise from the chair, just to stand himself, and pace now. Think. “Interesting you say the Orphan, the Explorer and the Ruler, I have it on good authority he is also enemies with the Lover and the Magician. I suppose it is fathomable he has a lot of enemies, though.” He looks over at Frankie at shakes her head. “Knowledge is always good, it’s intent that is not. Just like the internet.” He would defend it, of course. Something weighs on him though, and he looks back to Weatherby. “I am curious, have you heard of something called the God-Eater? The only reason I ask is, this being, whatever it is. Our run-ins with him have often coincided with the West End Watchers. It might be the cause to the Sage’s power growing, I’m not sure.”

"The God-Eater isn't connected to your dealings with the West End Watchers. In fact, judging from what I've heard of the creature, I'd say that you would want to have the God-Eater on your side when going up against the West End Watchers." Weatherby stands to his feet again and moves over to his desk, looking for a notebook. Finding one, he flips it open and starts to scratch something into it with an old ink pen. "The Lover and the Magician, you say. Interesting. The Magician makes sense, but the Lover and the Sage are reputed to have once been closer, bedmates, you know." Weatherby glances up from his books. He flips through a few more pages and notes, "I had heard that the God-Eater destroyed a Krewe on the west coast, but not much more than that. You would likely need to find a seer of the Underworld in order to find out more about him." And thankfully, there happens to be one; however, Frankie's already followed up on that lead.

"A seer?" Frankie repeats. She can only think of one person who fits that bill, and it makes her grimace. So does the thought of allying with the God-Eater. "...Is that even possible? That seems like a... very bad idea. I don't want to know what happens if a God-Eater eats a Deathlord."

“I don’t think the God-Eater is allying with us anytime soon. He seems to desire out destruction. But what you say doesn’t surprise me.” Damian isn’t surprised, he just nods. “It is believed the God-Eater once served the Magician, so if they are enemies, that all adds up.” A shrug and yet another nod. He’s very emotionless at times. “That fits with someone called the Lover, I would suppose. But uh, what have YOU heard about the God-Eater that would suggest he would be a good ally against them?” he pauses to look at Frankie. “That’s not possible, is it?” His eyes flicker back to Weatherby. He doesn’t want to consider that.

Weatherby takes his glasses off and sets them down on his desk, leaning against steepled fingers. "I've heard the God-Eater is good at destroying Krewes, and it sounds like your problems are as due to the West End Watchers as much as the Sage Itself. Even if you weren't able to ally yourself with it, if you could find a way to sic the God-Eater on them, that would solve a good deal of your problems, would it not?" It seems that he considers that for a moment, then shakes his head. "Unfortunately, I don't know very much about the God-Eater. Strange and terrifying powers appear all the the time in the Underworld. What I do know is that the God-Eater represents why you should not become too invested in serving the Principalities. You are able to speak with them without pledging your soul and Geist to them. You simply must attempt to control the situation before It gets the upper hand." He laughs, that sound of shattered glass, "Easier said than done, of course. And the God-Eater would likely be interested in testing itself against the Sage. I would hate to see the outcome of what would happen were the God-Eater successful. The worlds would likely unravel."

Frankie finds herself a chair and sinks down into it. The ghost crow struts over and flaps its wings to perch up on the back of that chair. "Devil traps, though," Frankie says after a moment. "They have devil traps around the Alabaster City that suck up ghosts and Geist. Bet that would suck God-Eater up real fast." To Damian, she asides, "I don't think I got that bar the other night, explaining."

“Interesting.” That’s what Damian says at the culmination of that. “It’s an interesting thought and something we will have to consider. Killing two birds with one stone, though there is a lot to know first.” A look to Frankie and he shakes his head. “You didn’t, but perhaps all the more reason to turn the God-Eater on the Sage, though I don’t know how.” Silence again, and he looks down at the floor, paces some more and then looks up at Weatherby. “Well, the Lover and the Magician, at least, we have some bargaining chips with. But I’m not sure exactly how one goes about striking up a conversation with either? I’m not sure I want to know.” Though he is looking at the ancient ghost curiously.

"It's fairly simple." The ghost goes to his library and takes out a leather-bound book with a stitched cover. He moves to set that down in front of the two of them and flips open some pages. They appear to all be explanations, drawings, and notes on various Sin-Eater ceremonies. Finally, he reaches the right page. In a cramped hand, the words 'Anfwering the Wifperfe' is written at the top. "Answering the Whispers. A simple Ceremony to perform. Once you do, you will begin to hear whispers of the Principalities and can summmon one by sobriquet," Weatherby nods. "And those Devil Traps you speak of," he slides a marker into the page for the Ceremony he mentioned and then flips forward to another page. "Here you are."

Written at the top of the page is the word 'Devil Trap,' with drawings and blueprints on how to construct the eponymous structures. Weatherby reads from the book, "'When you perform this Ceremony, you are truly performing two Ceremonies: the one that you wish to have happen, and the trap to hold it. Indeed, this is much like a contingency; as per the name, a trap. It is designed to function as soon as some situation is met.'" He stops reading, then points out, "Another fairly simple Ceremony to perform. It seems it would just take time to make the actual trap."

Frankie's eyebrows go up. Way up. "...We could build a devil trap. Or traps," she says slowly. "Bit dangerous for Bound to be near them, I guess, but we know people who aren't Bound. Could we... copy these?" She pauses. "Maybe just take a picture, actually."

Damian moves over to the book and looks down at it. His phone is produced again and pictures are taken with the ghost’s permission. Both ceremonies. “He said it requires conditions though, Frankie. Which means we might be able to condition it capture, specifically, the God-Eater, or better, his horseman. We already know their weaknesses. Luring them might be possible.” Yes, this is a break, and Damian is studying both ceremonies very carefully and taking several pictures if allowed. If not, then not.

Weatherby smiles at Frankie and nods to her. "If you wish. I cannot perform these Ceremonies, and I doubt I will ever wind up being a Geist. At least I certainly hope to God that I don't." If ghosts could shudder, he likely would. "If knowledge is just sitting on a shelf being hoarded, it doesn't do anyone any good. That's the providence of the Sage, as well. So, by all means, please copy these." The ghost stands back and folds his arms in front of his chest, waiting for them to finish. Once they do, whether pictures or writing them up - he doesn't stop them either way - he says, "Was there anything else I could help you with, young lady and young sir?"

Frankie regards the offered papers. More hesitation, and she removes the pencil and notebook from her bag again. "I don't want this ceremony becoming well-known," she says as she copies the Devil Trap ceremony. "And I don't know how to modify it. That's not something I've ever tried to do with a ceremony." She copies the ceremonies with care.

Damian can’t go into the lower depths now. His phone must survive. “She’s right though, this probably not good knowledge for everyone, or for a lot of people, even.” Damian nods to that, finishing his pictures long before Frankie finishes writing. He places the phone away. “You’ve done a lot, but, I’m not sure if there is anything else you can do. I’m not sure I know the right questions to ask. Thank you. I will bring you what you asked for, and maybe you will see something we don’t.” he backs away from the table to give room.

Frankie looks up from her papers and asks, "What about the Rebel? What's the Rebel's opinion on the Sage?" She resumes her copying, finishing it up.

"With luck, there won't be a terrible issue with these ceremonies becoming well-known. I have a lot of faith in Fallcoast and those who protect it," Weatherby says with a small smile. The elder man reaches a hand up to brush over his hair, then slides it into his vest pocket, looking between the two. "I should be here if you have any questions in the fut-"

With Frankie bringing up her question, Weatherby shakes his head. "The Rebel doesn't care. In all the books, the Rebel believes that It should be able to topple the Ruler. My guess is that a lot of our myths about a rebellious mythical creature attempting to oust a much stronger being are really tales speaking of the problems between the Rebel and the Ruler. However, if the Ruler is the Sage's adversary currently, then the Rebel would be most likely to ally Itself to the Sage. The enemy of my enemy and all," he tilts his head to the side. "But the Rebel is also one of the most outspoken of the Principalities, focused on wanton destruction and flouting rules where possible. Sometimes the Rebel is ascendant in certain areas, sometimes It is all but absent entirely."

Damian looks back to Weatherby when she asks that question. He probably knows why, but he just nods, listening. “So probably not a good bet.” He considers that all, and his brow furrows, looking around the place a bit. “What could one do with a Principalities true name? if that was known?” If, of course.

Frankie nods to Weatherby, closing her notebook again. For now. She awaits the answer to Damian's question with some interest.

"If one knew the True Name of a Principality, one could banish It from the Underworld for a time. There is a place," the ghost pauses and stares off into space for a brief moment, then says, "There is a place beyond the Underworld which is void and nothing. The Principality is then shunted into that place if banished from the Lower Mysteries. One could also potentially attempt to command It, but the Deathlord would likely fight the control as best it could." He pauses, glancing over at Damian, "And you would earn yourself a powerful enemy. The True Names of the Principalities are well-hidden due to their constant bickering among one another. You would also be able to call out to a Principality to allow It to give you greater power and strength if you pledged yourself to It. Ideally, you may be able to cause it to lose Its power when facing It, but that would be a very chancy situation, at best. And I would not want to fight one of the dark powers."

“Nor would I, but it is something to know. Knowledge is power, at times. So, simply using the name invokes that power?” Damian is being very careful how he asks these questions. “I ask because I have heard there is a way to gain such knowledge, and it is a thought if we become desperate. Nothing more.” He hmms, and looks towards the door, or out a window if there is such. “Where this void, this place? What is it called? How does one get to it?”

"Have the Principalities managed to rule before? Is there one ruling now? What happened the last time the Sage ruled?" Frankie asks, settling back into her seat, all full of questions, questions, questions.

"I actually have no idea," Weatherby says to Damian at that last question. "There are places not like this place, or the world you know, where beings live that either should not have existed, or exist in a state based on how they interact with humans. If you would believe it, I have even had travelers speak to me about a fairyland." The ghost notes that in a slightly shocked tone. "And names have always had power. We name everything because it gives us power over those things. If you name a thing, you can potentially control a thing. Dogs. Your children. Names have always been important," he says, brushing at his jaw.

To Frankie, he says, "The Sage became ascendant in," he moves over to his bookshelf again and pulls a book down from it, flipping through it. "Here we are. The last time the Sage was ascendant was during the late 1800s, when knowledge was at its peak. After the start of World War I, the Rebel and the Ruler fought amongst themselves, and soon the Hero was ascendant through much of the world, which changed the landscape of the Underworld in 1939. Then the Hero was ousted from Its position by other forces, and there has not been a Deathlord-Ascendant since then." He closes the book, looks at it for a moment, then hands it over to Frankie. It's another hand-stitched leatherbound book, about five pounds, probably close to six hundred pages.

“I would believe it.” Damian responds dryly with a nod. A glance at Frankie at that. Then again, Damian’s prone to believing a lot of things these days. That’s what happens when you learn about Gods of the Underworld and such. He falls silent taking that all in, mulling it over, still listening. A look back at the ghost. “And what happens when they are Ascendant, exactly? I mean if the Sage was Ascendant, it means he was also brought down. I had assumed that if they achieved this, that was it, basically?”

Frankie blinks, reaching out to take the book. That's a lot of book, and that's a lot to take in during one visit. Unless he means to give the book to her, in which case... That would be quite the gift. Frankie doesn't assume it's a gift, and so she opens the book to start skimming pages. "Faeries again," she says, rather absently.

Weatherby moves to fold his hands behind his back. He doesn't need a book to answer this question. "When you have a Deathlord-Ascendant, it means that the Deathlord or Principality will guide the course of the Underworld for a brief time, and the Dominions and various places within the Underworld will be slanted toward their world-view. This may also slip into the living world, and all creatures that serve that Principality will become stronger than normal. Think of it like," he pauses, "during the War of the Roses, the houses Lancaster and York fought one another. After the Lancastrians won, the servants and soldiers of the Lancastrian party were regarded much more highly than the Yorkists. Some Yorkists were even simply killed out of hand because of what they had done. It's much the same when a Deathlord gains power over its peers. The servants of that Principality will be cast down and the dark powers will seek to gather servants in secret in an attempt to pull the Ascendant one off Its throne."

The book that Weatherby gave to Frankie appears to be a giant tome all about the Principalities, mostly observations from Sin-Eaters. It's ancient, probably at least three hundred years old, and it's all hand-written except for a few pages that look like they were printed using a Gutenburg press, or something similar. The information's age changes wildly based on the subject matter, from more recent when discussing the history of the Principalities, to older when discussing the conjecture of what they were or are. Some chapters even have illuminated manuscript text written into it.

“A rebellion. I would prefer not to go that route. I’ve seen enough movies and I don’t believe it ever ends that well.” It’s not a joke, it’s an observation of rebellions he’s actually ‘seen’. Which isn’t really any, anyway. He moves a little closer to Frankie, staying just abreast of her personal space to peer down at the book.

"It has, yes." Weatherby gestures toward the book, "You may take that with you when you go. It would do better in your hands than mine." Pausing for a moment, he says, "The book will tell you that in the first century before Christ, the Hero had taken a mortal form. It rampaged across most of the known world with its armies, sometimes in the body of a politician, sometimes in the body of a common soldier or legionnaire. The Hero is likely one of the reasons why the Roman Empire expanded as it did, though other supernatural influences were likely guiding it as well. It was a perfect storm, as it were. In any case, the Dark Gods are called what they are for a reason; even if they attempt to make something beautiful, it becomes corrupted by their touch. As with the Roman Empire, it fell into debauchery, slavery, violence, and horrors that became popular as pulp fiction tales told for an audience with an interest in the lurid." His mouth curves in a distasteful gesture. "The next time was when the Orphan created a mortal avatar to walk the world. This was in 1929, shortly before what became known as 'Black Tuesday.' The Orphan is a Principality of strong self-reliance and ensuring one is able to survive through 'street smarts' rather than education. It's highly likely that the Orphan's influence caused the Clutch Plague. These could have been completely normal human events, but influence is," he pauses, "what it is, I suppose. If they were wholly human debacles, then they were influenced."

“Is that the way they do that? Finding a human Avatar? Is there anything more about such a process? How it is achieved?” Damian seems impressed though, by the gesture, whether to Frankie or him, still impressed. He’s given so much and Damian gives a small head bow. He definitely owes this ghost. Eyes flickering back to the book as Frankie turns pages.

Frankie looks up from the book, eyes wide. "Are you sure? This would be... this is amazing. Thank you," she breathes, and for the moment she's not scowling or angry - she's just grateful, and she smiles at the old ghost. Norbert ruffles his feathers, tilting his head at a weird angle to study Weatherby.

Weatherby shakes his head, "That, I don't know. How does one fathom the mind of a being of that kind of power? I would assume that It would choose a being that would fit Its profile, but whether it's a process like possession, or if the Deathlords send versions of themselves crafted from plasm and Essence, or mark a child at birth, I have no clue. No one does. It's as much a question as what the Deathlords actually are. Some say they're spirits, some say they're demons. Others say they're the first ghosts that ever entered the Underworld, and others even say that they're death itself, personified." He spreads his hands. "But no one knows the answer, unfortunately. If you do find out, however," he points at the book, "there are some blank pages available in the back."

"And yes, I am sure." Weatherby smiles and notes, "Like I said, it would just sit on my shelf if I didn't give it to you. I hope that you use it well, and that the information is spread to your other Fallcoastian Sin-Eaters. Cast down the Sage, let the ghosts of the Underworld live without fear again."

“James.” Damian intones either to himself, or Frankie or everyone. That might explain the hatred of Kilo. He nods to the last bit about what the deathlords are. Familiar, he’s heard that before from the aforementioned Kilo. He nods. “Yes, we might just note them, but I don’t know if we can find out. It seems like a good thing to know should a rebellion ever be needed.” He pats the book. “Thank you, truly.” Even is it wasn’t a gift for him. “We will do what we can. I promise.”

"And we'll bring back news from the living world," Frankie tells Weatherby, looking up from the book again. "You've been very helpful. Thank you."

"You're welcome. And I should probably do my rounds," the ghost pulls a sleeve back to expose a modern day watch; it appears to be a charm. Weatherby frowns, "In about fifteen minutes, Miss Tailor will have a fight with her father, who will slap her across the face, and James Worchester will grab at her father's hand and attack him, and I need to be there to stop him." He sighs. "Please, come back any time. It's rare these days that I have the chance to talk to Sin-Eaters."

“I would be happy to. Thank you. You have...” Well, Frankie summed it up. “We will bring you all we can. A glance goes at the watch curiously, though he makes no comment, maybe just a mental note. He turns to Frankie with curiosity, and then gets ready to go. “Thank you again, truly.”

Frankie closes the book again, glancing at her messenger bag. It seems ill-suited for the task of carrying it. Also, that thing is damn old. Still, some protection for the tome is better than none. Frankie sets the bag on the table and removes unneeded items - a bag of nuts. Two pomegranates. She leaves these on the table, along with some of the wood, and carefully sets the book she's been given in the bag. It's going to pull on her shoulder something fierce. She's ready to go soon enough.

The door opens once more with a gesture from the ghost, and he moves to take the pomegranates and the wood. After a brief moment of looking those over, he gives a slight nod and says, "God be with you on your travels," in a soft voice. After they leave, the concludes that thought. "Because you fight the devil."