"You would assume correctly," Ekimu says. "Tell me, have you heard of the one known as Erebos?" The Mask Maker's hammer feels heavy in his hands, and his eyes are drawn back to the indent the traitorous hunter had made in his wall. He had been unfocused then; too many pots boiling over at once. This time would be quite different.
Jaspar's eyes dart back to his messy room. "Oh, that won't be a problem. I can have that cleaned up in ten minutes - no, five - you know what, let's make it ten to be safe." He turns back to her, forcing a smile. "See you outside in ten?"
The Elders sit for a moment in silence, their reactions mixed.
"Vizuna has been gone for forty-seven days, and now Ekimu deigns to acknowledge our plight!" one cries, banging his staff against the wooden platform.
"Calm yourself Faren," another hisses. "You-"
"Don't pretend to know what I want!" Faren roars back. "We have been busy from the sun's first light until long after dusk providing counsel for those in need! Day in and day out we promise a better tomorrow, and what can we-"
"We can give them hope!" another interjects."
"And what use is ho-"
"Hope is better than nothi-"
The lead elder claps, the noise cutting through the squabbling. The elders fall silent once more.
"Please, forgive our disunity," the leader says, her voice smooth and solemn. "Our patience has been tested greatly, of late. Even if you are Ekimu's first emissaries, I will not question his judgement until we see its results." Some elders murmur in agreement, others mutter quiet rebuttals. "Losing Vizuna was an unexpected blow, and only an omen of what is to come, it seems. Darkness once more lurks among the bog and the root, quietly gnawing away at what we hold dear." She laughs mirthlessly.
"But you didn't come to hear me fearmonger, now did you? You seek Vizuna. He departed weeks ago, first to the City of Mask Makers, then to his home of Karios. He sent word that he had heard whisperings in the wood. He feared what might lurk there, and sought to contain it before it might spread. Given the passage of time, well... some of us fear the worst." The elders fall silent for a moment.
"Vizuna said he wished to explore the ancient ruins south of Karios; if you are to hope for anything more than a wild gukko chase, it will be there. One of our woodsman can guide you there, and we can provide provisions for the trip, should you need them. But a personal request, if we may... a Protector's mask and weapon are ceremonial as much as functional. Should all else fail, we wish to pass them on to the next generation." For a moment, she lapses into silence.
"Now, is there anything else we can do for you?" @Runa @Tarkur @KAI_BORG