Chapter 2: The Web Begins To Weave ------- Page 7
LOG 23

Cogliostro's pace had not slowed overly much after the unasked for meet-up with Nemesio. At least not until the following morning, at which time he had entered the recesses of the small outer office where his secretary, Zuleika, usually carried out the menial paperwork duties that he himself had no real desire to perform. Taking note that she was not here now, he glanced at the small waterclock; it was already later into the morning than he had thought. Yet another sigh issued from his brawny form, relating his weariness once again to the world at large. Though he had no need for such, some time set aside for sleep was sounding better by the minute. On top of the intricate plots and problems that arose on a daily basis already, he'd been presented with some fresh ones this day.

The first was the obsessive bladesinger. He'd bought himself some time to think over that one, placing the drow male in peaceful slumber after administering the healing magics. Another problem was what to do with the draegloth, Mourn. If the Drowess did not take advantage of the creature, it would be best to eliminate the beast. Enough damage may have been done already simply by displacing the beast from its natural timeline, and the demise which should have come about some decade or three in the past. As soft footfalls carried his form into the plush, comforting atmosphere of his office proper, the third problem came to mind: the self-styled charmer of a wandering minstrel, Nemesio. Why in the Hells that particular personage had followed him here was beyond his train of thinking. The man should have gotten a clue when they'd briefly met before, in that other land of now-perpetual darkness, that he had no real chance of interacting in a civil manner and getting answers from the one he'd followed.

Plopping unceremoniously within the large, plush, swiveling chair which resided behind his ornate, oaken desk, his head was cradled once more within one of his beefy hands, the fingertips trying to soothe away the beginnings of what may become a killer headache. Sometimes these mostly self-appointed tasks here in the Underdark wore at even his considerable endurance and sense of perseverance. Was it all really worth it? He supposed so, taking all the myriad lesser reasoning in mind and the greater overall one as well. In need of a stiff drink now, and too lazy to get back up from the chair and walk over to the well-stocked mini-bar, he sat back and grabbed up his favored hip flask from within one of the many secret, extradimensional pockets which lay within the folds of his leather longcoat. Deciding to get even more comfortable, the chair was pushed back a tad, and his booted feet were kicked unceasingly up onto the corner of his desk, a pile of papers nearly toppling over in the process.

Papers...even more work he had yet to attend. Bah. After taking a long draught from the never-ending contents of the flask, his free hand reached forward to grab up a small pile of messages which Zuleika must have dropped off over the course of the day. The first five of them were tossed carelessly aside, not holding much interest to him at the moment. The last two, however, were given a few moments thought. Another client was coming tomorrow...seems someone else wanted to partake of his clone-keeping services. Well, that wouldn't be so bad he supposed, as the work was minimal, and the pay was optimal. The Inn was still in its relatively early days, and though business was good and steady, it never hurt to make a single large sum every so often to help make up all that he'd invested into this venture so far. That particular message was set neatly back upon the desk, in a place that he may manage to find it again.

The second message was then looked over again, its words a bit cryptic...or rather the conveyance was a bit cryptic. Some clues as to a certain case he'd been working on, in relation to an item he had been tracking down for some weeks now. Perhaps he'd finally nailed down its location? One couldn't tell until he actually investigated it, so he tucked it into one of the small outer pockets of the longcoat, intending to follow up on the matter shortly.

The flask was raised to his lips once more, a draught about to be taken, when his oak-brown gaze caught site of a humanoid silhouette standing not far from his desk, in the shadows of a large sculpture which depicted a silver dragon. Though the presence indeed startled him, unexpected as it was in his small corner of the universe which was supposedly impregnable, the only outward sign that was given was the etching of a deep frown upon his visage. It took only a moment longer to ascertain who the figure was, and before he spoke, that long draught was taken. "So, 'good' Saer long have you been standing there intruding upon my thoughts?" The middle sized man who was very fair of face replied, almost in an absent tone, "intrude? Was this supposed to be private..? Hmmm my apologies I will go now...and please you can drop the Saer it sounds so formal, not fitting for one who is dead."

Recovering from his surprise Cogliostro slipped into his normal sarcastic self as he corrected the other man, "formal, but not exactly flattering, and no need to leave, you are here, usually that preempts a want to converse. So, let us do so. Have a seat if you'd like, and grab a drink." He motioned first to one of the velvet covered chairs in front of his desk, then to the mini-bar settled along the wall.

The figure declined the drink by saying, "I don't drink, Shyne broke me of that." He stepped within the light and took a seat in a chair facing the bald man in front of the desk.

This new man was an odd sort, wearing gaudy robes of red hue and a purple lopsided cape. His face was very comely, finely shaped, almost to the point of being womanish despite the face paint, demeaning some of the beauty with white paste on his face with red lipstick. Hair was a glossy black and fell finely to his mid back. His slender hands draped lazily on the arms of the chair, while he crossed his legs. The man if he could be called such had no bulk in the way of muscles and his height was quite short for a human...about 5' 9" or so. "So I'm to be insulted now, I know what Saer means I am from Faerûn you know. It does not matter though I was only here to check on you. The oracle has come to visit…your friend...just here to be sure he didn't go insane over it."

The frown softened somewhat, leaving a rather bland expression upon Cogliostro's countenance, another long draught taken from the flask as he regarded the vaguely male figure. "It's not an insult, really, for I don't know if you had a proper noble title or not. At least the term offers up my acknowledgment that you are held above the rabble and rubbish of the Peasantry. Not that it’s necessarily true, of course." He paused a moment as the flask was stoppered, and tucked back into its normal resting place. "And my, hm, friend still retains his sanity, such as it is. Thank you for inquiring, though."

The painted man waved his hand as if to say his comments on insulting were irrelevant "I had many titles, none were pleasant, some used to inspire fear, others those of my Thayan relation, so SylverFyre will not do, as some of my family still Morgan will suffice."

Cogliostro nodded taking note he did not use his namesake The Lady had given him. "Alright, Morgan it is, though if you make your presence known amongst the others in this place, I will be forced to use Saer something-or-other, have to keep up appearances and all."

Morgan shook his head with a sardonic smile, "the others will never see me, only you, and well, I can't hide from Cyrus...or Shyne's children. Her bloodline…is extremely unique; they are attuned to so many things."

Cogliostro grunted as he replied, "mm, indeed they are." There is another pause, as he seemingly and suddenly remembers something, the small note being produced from his overcoat before continuing. "Speaking of which, I have another lead, as to the possible whereabouts of another medallion. My agents have been scouring the multiverse at large ever since the, mm, fall. Many such leads have been followed. None have panned out to be exactly what we are looking for, yet, at any rate." He handed the note over.

Morgan continued speaking, looking at the note in the other man's hand, "the Malaugrym if he tried very very very hard could and that Malag'tel fellow, but I doubt either would want to waste effort with me."

Cogliostro gave a light chuckle and said, "mm, true enough, both hold vast power at their disposals, but like you said, I doubt either would give you a second thought should they view you. If only they knew, believe me, both would go far out of their way to glean whatever they could."

Still looking at the folded paper in the bald man's hand, he never did take it. Instead he asked, "where is the lead…here on this world? I actually wouldn't be surprised if a medallion was here in the city...being it the highest concentrated of magic and enchanted items in this world...but alas we are not equipped to sense them. Cyrus could but he's taxed as it is and possibly escapes his notice."

Cogliostro opens the note and peers at it, skimming its contents again, "mm, a good point, about this city, but no, this particular reference lay on another world altogether, far from here. By virtue of the very fact there is so much magic here, it would be difficult in the extreme for myself or my agents to search for one properly. Though they are deemed nearly immovable by most races other than The Lady's, certain beings out there may have been able to pull it off, and one could possibly have moved into or through here. Hells, its even entirely possible that one of them buried itself within the confines of the city...perhaps they would have enough semblance of sentience per se to ascertain this to be the perfect hiding place, and when that Scattering or whatever that was mentioned happened, one could have sought out a roost nearby."

Morgan nodded gravely, his handsome face looked perplexed. "Mmm indeed Shyne told me she had a medallion once but she had it taken from her…it was her own clan medallion if I'm not mistaken." The man looks at Cogliostro curiously. "How many medallions do we have now? two of the eight?"

Cogliostro sighed, forcing himself not to slump in discouragement. "Aye, at last count we had two, though one never knows if the dark-brat has found more and isn't sharing the information just yet."

Morgan chuckled at the referenced used for his love’s youngest child. The name did not even come close to describing the ungrateful tyke. "He hasn't. If he did, I would know about it. Why she allowed herself to have him is still beyond me…but that's off the subject isn't it?" He allowed himself to smile somewhat.

"Mm, aye, it is, but we don't have to speak of any particular subject." Cogliostro too allowed the slightest of closed lipped smiles to etch itself upon his visage.

"We are loosing ground though, I came here actually to see that Faerûn was still safe, the barriers are weakening…and what is happening there is slowly spreading...slowly but still spreading..." Morgan's voice took on a more somber tone as he spoke.

"Ah, I knew you wouldn't come here just to check on little ol' me." A very brief chuckle, almost a bark, was issued, though not of an overly humorous nature. Cogliostro continued, "yes, I have monitored it from time to time. It will be some time until it reaches this far away, but if we do not stop the problem, it will spread here eventually and everywhere else in the known, and unknown, multiverse."

As the conversation continued on, Morgan's face was more and more bleak. "it has already effected about 700,000 worlds upon my calculation."

Clearing his throat, Cogliostro replied, "Mm, quite a few, especially if that count is comprised of just the inhabited ones amongst the myriad of ‘dead’ planets."

Morgan stated grimly, "that's not counting dead planets if I added that in…it would be over two million." He changed the subject slightly, his tone wary, yet held traces of wistfulness, "how has Selena taken all this? And why has that putz taken an interest in all this…he's a bard…what's he going to do, sing Shyne back to herself?" He of course was referring to Nemesio as the "bard".

"Selena is a trooper...she's adjusting well enough, to everything, all things considered. Though she's still a child, so there are times she can't understand all that's going on, and she can't deal with the fact her mother is missing in any way other than a child can. Kail is wonderful with children, and is very sympathetic to the situation, but even she cannot assuage Selena's need for her mother at times. She's far better off here than with dark-brat, though." He kept his tone carefully neutral as any sad emotion would make the situation worse for both of them. He snorted and chuckled. Finally someone agreed on the half-elf. "As for the putz, I was wondering about that myself. His part remains to be seen, though I as well as yourself do not see him adding anything useful to the venture. He'll probably be a crutch in our efforts, truth be told. We'll have to spend as much effort protecting him whilst carrying out any ventures towards our goal as actually performing the task at hand." He shrugs then sighs shaking his head as if to say it was out of his hands. "Still, Ai..Cyrus had made some valid points. I suppose."

Morgan sighed, his whole outlook was sympathetic, "the bond between mother and daughter is too strong...and indeed yes, if it were within my jurisdiction he would have died the first time he tried harming either of them. As for the bard, his interest in her is enough to make him useful. Remember it is the plain folk that make things grand…we were both plain once..." He smiled knowingly to the bald mage.

"Mm, speak for yourself, I've always been overly charming, dashingly handsome, etc, etc...." Cogliostro smirked, but then went serious, "though yes, his very desire and level of commitment to the task may prove useful at some point, maybe." He sounded doubtful.

Morgan interjected and added fact to the jest with a look of something particular in his silver eyes. "Of course… and a failure to his fathers eyes.."

At that, Cogliostro's eyes narrow into a decided glare, an accompanying scowl settling upon his features as well. Before he spoke, however, he realized it was simple truth, and as such, for once he more or less admitted the fact, and accepted that truth without being snide. Thus, the glare and the scowl were replaced with that blandness once more, though a slight touch of hurt would of course lie underneath the blasé exterior, "true enough."

Morgan noted the emotions and stored them away as he gave advice, "do be careful not to be like your father and at least give the half-elf a chance before passing judgment."

Cogliostro nodded slowly and replied, "mm, aye, I suppose there is a certain wisdom in that. And I heed that wisdom better than my outburst a short while ago would show. Part of that at least was in keeping up with this guise, part, at any rate. The very scale of this matter lends itself to the thought that only those of vast power and presence can hope to correct it. There seems to be no room for someone that can't offer such, though I suppose I am wrong in that much." He shrugged and his frown settled back into place.

Morgan shrugged too, though he wore a smile that was as lopsided as his cloak. "By the father was a more a prick than yours…and I ended up like him for a long time…buuut another subject change is in order." He scratches his nose and did just that. "Did Shyne ever give you anything?"

Cogliostro asked, "for a time?"The briefest of half-hearted, close-lipped smiles creases his countenance before a look of mild puzzlement, mixed with interest and perhaps wry humor settles upon that visage. "Mm, isn't that an awfully personal question?"

Morgan suddenly frowned, his brows arching downward. His tone was frosty, "no."

A knowing smile now in place, Cogliostro nods. "I stand corrected then. And to answer, she's cooked me up some mean meals before and given me a bruise or three and a reason to practice my skills of stealth."

At this response Morgan laughed heartily. "Good woman I expected no less, knowing how lecherous you are and all…but seriously an item..." he trailed off, hinting at something.

Cogliostro's brown eyes widen in absolute shock that the man sounded so serious, "lecherous? I digress on that much." He then lets the smiles, and the mocking manner drop, stretching just a bit before answering, to which he shrugs slightly. "As for an item...Simply keys to my room at the Inn, some badges of office, etc. Nothing along the lines of what you are thinking, I'm sure."

Morgan snorted, his tone dry and skeptical, "mmm I've seen you look at women, who the red headed drow is no exception, but I suppose Shyne is not your type so you've not thought about it." He drifts off in thought, "it still must be at the inn and in her room then...." He began to murmur to himself.

Cogliostro responds, "Mm, I've not thought about her overly much in that manner, but I'm sure I could if I were so inclined." A slight touch of humor purses his lips, though not really meant to mock the other man. "And seeing as there isn't much of her room left intact, I'm thinking it wouldn't be overly hard nor time consuming for you to go search the place."

Morgan responded absently, "you can think of her I suppose just no acting on it…it's that simple... pardon me a moment won't you?" He then stood and waved to the side of himself. Instantly the air wavered and a slit opened about 3 feet wide and 8 feet in height. Parts of a shattered room can be seen, more importantly a closet. Morgan reached his hands in, seeming to be shuffling through it's confines.

A moment passes and he pulls out a mirror as big as the slit. It looked old and elegant but otherwise ordinary. The surface cleaned and a clear reflection given, the glass was framed in gold and silver knot work. "Here we are..."

Cogliostro coughed, holding in laughter, it coming out as airy snort instead, "Oh, that simple, eh? And by all means, you are pardoned, oh more-than-slightly-touchy-on-a-certain-subject one." He watched as a mirror was pulled from The Lady's ruined room right there before his eyes. To hide his surprise he used sarcasm, "so, your vanity knows no bounds as well? The make-up is fine, not smeared or anything, rest easy. Your femininity is secure." He did begin chuckling at the last part.

Morgan ignored the man's quips, his face was relieved and pleased upon seeing and feeling the object in his hand. "Oh no, this is hers not mine...She's a collector of many things. Mainly pretty trinkets, magical items and old artifacts, most she has locked in her vault in the library which is actually still in tact. However, she kept the most powerful and interesting ones in her room right in the open. And yes I know very well I'm pretty. No you may not butt fuck me."

Cogliostro almost giggled like a young girl and spoke in an annoyingly high pitched voice, "my, my, such, but you do turn me on at times, please please pleeeease reconsider." He had to offer a humored, yet wry smile to accompany his mocking reply and then he asked, "now, what's with the magic mirror? It makes you look attractive whilst gazing into its depths? For that would take mighty magic's indeed."

Morgan flicked him off, otherwise he replied in the same tone as before, "well it has many properties. It is a mirror of desire, truth, and lies but most importantly if activated correctly it is a lesser Energy Gate...I do hope Shyne at least explained a lil bit about the Gate?"

Upon hearing the reference to it being an Energy Gate, lesser or not, Cogliostro's gaze shifted instantly to the mirror, his visage now taking on a more ponderous and genuinely interested look. "Mm, not her, but I've been privy to the boy speaking on such matters. What exactly does 'lesser' entail? Can it still take one to the homeworld?"

Morgan shook his head, his hands tracing the knot work of the mirror, hers? No...That is what the medallions will unlock, the main gate to the Hall of Worlds."

Cogliostro sighed but managed a smile while speaking, "mm, all right, it was admittedly a far reaching hope to think that it could. All the same, it could have its definitive uses."

Morgan nodded, never taking his eyes off the mirror. "indeed but at a price of course…"this time he touched the mirror, and the surface rippled followed by a piercing scream and horrid growl. Many putrid arms lashed through trying vainly to rip at the slim man. "That's one of them," he said.

Cogliostro studied the effects intently, ignoring the screams. "Hm, why is it, her items have a penchant for harboring such ill effects?" He didn't really expect an answer, as it was more of an observation than anything, and he could guess why, given what he's learned about her in recent months, "so do the perks outweigh the possible dangers?"

Now it was Morgan's turn to sigh and shake his head. "No afraid not, those that know of it's travel effects cannot simply pass through…if they do they will be ripped apart by the poor souls stuck outside the time stream…and I need not say what else is stuck outside it." He gave the man an obvious look.

"Mm, no, that you do not, I suppose you know the tricks to wield it properly, though?" Cogliostro asked.

"To travel it, a person must pass its test each time they wish to go to another world." Morgan said

Cogliostro moaned, "great, so much for me using it. Never was good with tests."

Morgan chuckled in response and then continued on. "Express where you want to go and the mirror will give you, a desire, which will be a truth or a lie, it is up to the traveler to tell which it is."

Cogliostro sounded slightly pained as he commented, "mm, and I'm sure the thing is not up to debating certain points, based on differences of opinion?"

Morgan replied easily, "sounds easy yes but the mirror taps into your heart and soul...and the truth of it, so those with desires in their hearts and admit it, we all do. If we cannot face them whether terrible or noble…you cannot pass and run the risk of total mind wipe."

Cogliostro nodded gravely and agreed, "hm, I can see why it would not be so easy as it sounds. You've used this successfully in the past?" He asked hopefully.

"In honest opinion Cyrus could pass through without a problem, he sees only one desire and one truth," said Morgan, with a touch of irony in his tone.

Cogliostro agreed and replied, "mm, aye, single-mindedness has its benefits at times. Though not often. Or not as often as one would think, I should correct."

Morgan sighed and revealed that he knew more, " My alter-self does, to visit that which is trapped within."

To that Cogliostro offers a simple nod, his gaze still ponderously scrutinizing the device.

Morgan continues, "me…I could never pass through. There are too many desires that keep me yearning and wanting to keep staring at the mirror." He frowns darkly at the mirror as if it did him a personal offense.

"Too many unattainable desires more like it. Not a fault of your own, to be sure, considering the, hrm, circumstances," Cogliostro said as he watched the smooth glass. His reflection was crossing its eyes and sticking out its tongue at him.

"Oh yes, sometimes it will do that to get you off your guard and distract you," Morgan explained about the reflection in the mirror.

"At least it suits my personality," Cogliostro chuckled as he rose, and moved a bit closer to the device, walking slowly around its girth, stopping when he was facing its polished surface once again.

"Be sure to put away from life forms including your own as it will always read your thoughts and attempt to make you curious to see what the surface is doing," Morgan warned.

"Yes, the gods know there are already plenty of distractions which life has to offer. I have suitable storage for it, should that be your wish for me to do so." The bald man felt immediately he was being assessed, and the surfaced swirled and a man of blonde hair, blue eyes, and slightly taller height, with the same markings looked at him back, though the figure was dressed in the very same clothes he wore.

"See what I mean...truth lie or desire..." Morgan said gravely.

A decided frown then creased Cogliostro's features as he glared into the mirror's surface. "Mm, yes, I see, though I'll not answer and be drawn into its little games at this time."

The painted face man nodded, "wise." Morgan was standing in front of the mirror right beside the taller bald man but no reflection showed. Within a moment though, the surface, at least Morgan's half changed and a woman walked up and put her tiny hands up on the glass. She looked at him like she wanted him and out of the glass; the woman was familiar to both men. Small of stature, long brown hair, two streaks of snow white, one on each side of her brow. She had young skin the creamy color of ivory, the lips plush and pink, and round eyes of hazel that swirled blue and green at the same time, in a hypnotic motion. A pretty face, if one liked sharp cheekbones and a face of childlike quality, though the body dressed in gray, showed otherwise. With a defined cleavage present as well as evident hips that curved oh so right.

Morgan began muttering and it was obvious by his sweating that he was battling the image, as the woman in the mirror pursed her lips to kiss the glass then stepped back slowly, motioning him to come with her.

"Were this not disturbing in its own way, I'd comment on how I'm starting to become inclined as mentioned earlier." As he did so many times, he suppressed deeper issues with idle, offhand banter, but this was meant in another function as well, for he gave a sidelong glance towards Morgan, taking note of the sweat trickling down the man's brow, and ascertaining the inner struggle that went on. Maybe he could anchor the man here simply by speaking, and speaking of irreverent subjects at that. "For such small breasts, the cleavage is tempting all the same...."

The slender man growled and turned away violently. "It's just an image..." he said hoarsely, the image however looked crestfallen and those triad colored eyes welled with tears, the expression conveyed was anguish and it did not disappear.

"Yes, and no," came Cogliostro's comment. He felt for the man's plight, but pity would not be something that Morgan would want any of right now.

The woman in the mirror cried. Tears fell upon its cheeks, and waited, it looked at Cogliostro as if to ask him to help and again he felt as if he were being assessed. The image wiped its eyes, giving the bald man a sad but complying smile and slowly began to unbutton the front of the dress.

Ascertaining both that which the mirror was doing, and that Morgan would need be the one to shunt the efforts of said device, he continued to gaze at the image within, though his oak-brown orbs took on a slightly more determined tinge, as if he were set upon a task and would not let himself falter in it. Outwardly, however, his intentions would not seem so noble, at least to one not privy to what he was doing. "My my, yes, by all means, do show papa the goods. Such creamy, smooth flesh, mmm, that particular variety I have not partaken of in quite some time...."

The image stopped unbuttoning her dress and gave Cogliostro an expression of shock and a hurt expression, that if the bald had not known the difference he would have sworn it was the true woman. He knew the expression of shame but once again it moved to unbutton the dress.

For an instant, Cogliostro nearly faltered; the damnable thing knew the true female rather well to play the game so well as this. A certain pain, a pity of sorts, washed through him as the emotions it conveyed oh so well began to well up within. It took all the will he possessed to push that aside, his gaze narrowing, jaw tensing just slightly with the effort. Morgan had to be pushed farther, faster, for this to work. As such, he stepped over even more boundaries that should not be crossed, despite the costs it may have in the real world as part of the aftermath. "That's it, you miserable whore, take it off oh so temptingly, and set about to pleasuring your master. Do it right this time, and perhaps I'll leave no permanent scars..."

The swell of the right breast began to reveal itself when a book slammed into the surface of the mirror and the image fell back in fear, the book bounced off the glass instead of breaking it. Morgan stalked to the mirror with the look of pain in his eyes and murder in his expression as the woman fled and the surface returned to normal. Cogliostro however never saw that as he was on the floor and slung well out of his office, splinters flying upon impact.

Indeed that moment was a blur of pain and swimming vision for Cogliostro as his form crashed not only through the office door, but through the wall of the smaller office beyond, the reinforced wood splintering painfully around and within his brawny form as it continued onward, skidding across the large, private deck, slamming into and through no less than three of the large, heavy tables set thereupon as well before he skidded to a halt.

Through the haze of pain which permeated his mind as he began to roll to his knees, clothing in tatters, small wisps of silvery-white smoke emanating from his body in various places where instead there should be flows of blood, it occurred to him to hope that none below in the taprooms had enough of a vantage point to witness any of this. A deep breath was sucked in harshly, and he spent the next few moments doing naught much but attempting to get the world to stop spinning. "Ow...." Was all he could sputter out.

"You have got to be the stupidest fucker alive dear boy," came Morgan's voice and form from the table a few feet from him. "Please do explain to me why you did that and why I shouldn't talk to Mystra about letting you permanently die when this whole time thing is corrected...hmmm?"

Cogliostro heard the words clearly enough...and noted the change of resonance within...despite the loud crackles and pops as various broken bones began to settle back into their proper places and mend. Standing at this juncture was still not a viable option, so he settled for spitting out a mouthful of blood to clear his throat, and turned his now blue-grey orbs in the figure's direction. Though he knew the scope of what and who he now faced, it did not stop him from being himself, whether for good or ill, "it worked, didn't it? Well, I'm assuming it did, as at least he/you appear to be here instead of there with the mirror. You have the wisdom of the ages, figure it out. Perhaps I could have found another way, but that was certainly the quickest I could come up with...."

The figure of Morgan studied him impassively with powerful eyes so depthless that it was extremely difficult to meet his gaze. "Yes you could just have move the mirror and locked it up, that's why Morgan looked away…you just made something so easy so stupidly difficult."

Cogliostro frowned, trying not to wince, but even that hurt. " have a point I suppose...not that I knew I could just do that...bah...." This time he spit a tooth out with the mixture of blood and spittle, enough strength returning that he managed to lean back on his haunches, at any rate, his battered visage turning towards the figure now.

"Like I said...stupid. You are definitely not what I consider to be on the life'd better serve death with your temper and outlook dear boy. Violence is the key tool of those that serve it," The figure of Morgan looked chiding, like a parent would a child.

Cogliostro glared at the over powered figure. "Life is violent...death is the aftermath of such, sometimes even peaceful, are we deserving of such. I serve the proper cause, High One, even if my methods sometimes are questionable." There was of course a series of winces to accompany his declarations.

"Yes, yes, feel the need to explain yourself. I for one couldn't really give a shit actually. It's just so much fun to watch you flit through life being the self appointed prick you are," the figure smiled broadly.

"Well then, glad to accommodate your need for pleasure which you can't fulfill on your own, obviously," Cogliostro retorted. He was of nature, defiant as well most times, even when he should know better. Already on that dangerous ground he defended himself, "and my prickdom is not at question...that was born of a desire to help, not be a thorn in anyone's side."p> The being shook his head, his smile never leaving that handsome face. "Don't taunt the dead, youngin' especially those that cannot rest. Morgan is just a vessel but still capable of thought."

Cogliostro grunted, "I'll keep it in mind." This time, he was settled and trying to actually end the "argument", showing at least a tad of wisdom, knowing he didn't need to make things any worse right now.

The figure chuckled in amusement. "My what would happen if I put your lip over your head...yes I see now that you will have to be dealt with at my choosing, perhaps I'll make Mystra suffer your consequences I don't know yet…I'm full of possibilities."

Hurt as he was, Cogliostro growled a response, "Mm, full of yourself too, so it seems." His glare narrowed even more with defiance and anger that the being would threaten one so dear to his heart, a frown accompanying it as the frustration of not being able to do anything about it settled in as well, "She already suffers my consequences enough, thank you very much."

Mirth slowly faded to seriousness as the figure responded, "please refrain from 'helping' Morgan further because you're not...if you want to be of help, protect his daughter, she is the center for victory or utter ruin."The face or tone did not change even a fraction, "so…and what do I care if that is true? You think you would not hurt the one you love so dear by continuing to mess up. If you continue to be defiant I will release the barriers on this world, it matters not to me at this point."

Cogliostro sighed and gruffly said, "forgive me for not having infinite wisdom and the omnipotence as yourself in order to correct my so-called problems overnight. Change takes time for we mortals, when left to our own devices," upon hearing the threat made, weighing an entire world against a single man's defiance, only angered him even further. But this time, the anger drove him to clearer thoughts, the defiance becoming a cold and indirect one now. Though his mortal shell now took to standing, slowly but rather steadily, in the abstract he stood down, letting all postures and conveyances of that defiance fall. "I would not dare gamble a world over such a win. Berate me as you'd like, I'll take it in stride as I must."

The figure took on a more fatherly tone, "balance must be restored and will not be done if you think so rashly…you want to help then think clearer. Berate you? Who? Me? No, never, just simply telling you a truth that I have a whole life stream in my possession and that was never meant to be...I and all lives need my counterpart…or involuntarily I will make this permanent. Understand..? Oh yes you're mortal...sorry…but I do hope you understand some that I cannot help what I'm doing. Eventually I will release the barriers here…I am fickle such as life right? Oh never mind you're so boring..."

Shock etched itself on Cogliostro's face, but was gone as quickly as it appeared, "mmm. Then you have my pity. To hold such power, and not be able to wield it properly...that much I understand, as you full well make it known that I cannot do that for my part either. The child will be protected, that much I would do on my own anyway. If that's all I am able to do for this venture, then I will do it to the full extent of my ability, and the abilities of those who stand by my side." He knew he sounded sullen, even to his own ears.

"Pretty soon I'll stop caring...and not want to be restored, of course scary as that sounds I can't do much to stop those of free will as I'll be going against my nature," the being said it offhandedly as if it were no big deal.

"Then once more, perhaps free will shall become the saving grace...of all creation, in this particular case. Very well, I can understand this as much as my limited intellect allows," Cogliostro said softly.

The figure nodded, musing on something, finally it said, "so I'm as fucked as all of you...funny." He chuckled, "well I've tarried too long, worry not about the mirror I locked it in your storage."

Cogliostro did not laugh along, nor did he offer any other reply at this time other than a simple nod.

The figure looked absent minded suddenly and said, "the child is such a sweetie…oh um…well bye..."

Absently, somewhat befuddled by the "creature" as it were, he offered a half-hearted wave.

Morgan shivered as if he were cold and blinked confusion away. Focusing in on Cogliostro he said in growling frustration, "you're such an asshole..."

Cogliostro looked at the man as he returned to normal. "Yep, we're fucked alright…"the soft, self-musing issued forth as the transformation from entity to man took place. He himself blinked once, his orbs shifting back to the proper oak-brown hue as he regarded Morgan for a moment. Before answering, he turned, surveying the damage done, and taking some small satisfaction in the fact that their activities had seemingly gone unnoticed. Soft footfalls then began to cart off his form towards the wreck that was now his office, voice calling back to Morgan in a tone that was undecipherable. "And yes, the cosmos themselves have decreed that very same notion, my friend. So it must be true. I'll no longer live in self-denial of the fact."

Morgan followed, grumbling aloud, "if you EVER have a child with Shyne I'm killing every last one of them...."
Cogliostro snorted in response, "mm, no worries, I think I'm going to turn celibate and join a monastery, spend my life in secluded contemplation when this is all over with. That way I can only be a dick to myself."

Morgan snickered, "that's the best idea you have ever had."

Cogliostro nodded and murmured, "indeed." Despite the gravity of the eve's events, he could not help but issue a small smile to himself.

Morgan continued to rant on behind him, "buuuuuut if she were here she would say, 'Come on darlin' don't say that, you have got good stuff coming to you, why pass it by.' So don't take my word…take hers."

Cogliostro nodded once more and his tone was neutral as he offered his thoughts in response, "mm, perhaps I will, but I've taken more good than I've dished out, methinks. Time to regain such, I think I'll do the world a favor for a century or three, and step out of it. That should even things up," frowning at the shattered and splintered wall for a moment, he then turned back to face Morgan. "But no worries, once my dues are paid, I will of course resume where I left off. Hm, wonder if she'll be just as beautiful in three hundred years as she is now...." A smile was offered to the man, holding some amount of sadness and apology within in it, the mocking is offered in a friendly manner.

It was taken as such by Morgan who replied with a smile of his own, "no just try to be normal, and live the life with your friends, instead of being top dog of everything cause it's obvious you don't want it...besides Shyne needs a bodyguard that will back talk her…Cyrus is a fuddy duddy in that."

Cogliostro chuckled; it felt good to do that. "Mm, true, there does come a point of being entirely TOO servile...."

Morgan glared at him then, reflecting on something the other man had said, "well…umm yes she will always be beautiful. Twit, duh, that's obvious, sheesh..."

The bald mage turned away, sure that the man would catch a glimpse of his smile which broadened with humor, but not wanting to outright chuckle right now he felt the need to look away, but couldn’t explain why.

The painted faced man caught the look, ignored it and continued, "her race at least lives for a few centuries ..."

Cogliostro shrugged. "I'm sort of blind to the obvious at times. And that little fact will keep me going through those years of loneliness and solitude," referring to how long her race lives.

Morgan frowned but didn't let his jealously surface, but with sarcasm thick and heavy said, "to the fact she considers you a friend and likes your company or the fact that I wish I could castrate you and turn you gay?"

Ageless visage now creased with a fully bloomed grin, he glanced over his shoulder at the man. "Oh, I fully realize that you would like to turn me gay...I saw you checking out my ass while you pretended to check on your make-up earlier, But castrating me would be contrary to that point, I think."

Morgan shook his head looking nervous to the point of sicking up, "ummm besides, she might marry the half twit while you're away and you'll loose your chance...Damn sad thought, but I prefer you over him for her."

Cogliostro’s grin subsided somewhat, replaced by almost mocking contemplation. "Hm...I don't know whether to take more offense at your preference...or at the thought that the half wit could pull off such a thing."

In a swell of pride and perhaps a touch of arrogance, Morgan chuckled and replied, "well yeah but my face just looks so much prettier and I forgot my desire of you briefly."

Cogliostro rolled his eyes and nudged the man with his elbow adding in, "but again, no worries. In three centuries, he be long gone and dead,"this time he couldn't help but chuckle in a genuine manner. "I'm glad to see there are people more conceited in the world than myself...brings me down to earth, so to speak."

Morgan frowned; the presence of the bard bothered him more than he would admit. "Oh believe me the charming fucker could, she always liked the noble hearted and knightly types...speaking of that, keep that dark and handsome freak, Colin FAR AWAY from her."

Cogliostro frowned too at the mention of Colin's name. "Oh, that second part I already plan to implement. But surely she's not gonna fall for such a twit, charming or not.....I mean, he's almost as girly as YOU."

Morgan shook his head, silver eyes serious while his gaze bordered on being bitter. "She could, he'll wear at her eventually, she fell for me didn't she?"

Cogliostro snapped his fingers in mock regret, "damn...I hadn't thought of it that way. It could work in his favor. Hm, maybe I can get him to work out and get overly buff or something....."

Morgan shook his head again, "she likes those types Dark you" He nearly choked out the last part.

"Something caught in your throat?" Cogliostro asked a little too kindly, again a broad grin blossomed on his features. "I'm flattered that you noticed."

The short, slim man muttered, "yeah she likes pricks too I forgot that…Uriel's father was the ultimate prick and prettier than me...fucker..."

Cogliostro stopped and once more turned to the man in actual shock, "a man prettier than yourself? By the gods, perish the thought."

Morgan glared at him and asked gruffly in challenge, "want to see him?"

Cogliostro looked at Morgan smugly, "well, I have two things going for me already...I'm buff, and a prick. Now just to work on my charm, then I'll have her nailed." He raised a brow at the turn of events and nodded, "sure."

Morgan snickered at the man’s declarations and replied, "don't worry her charm will melt ya and you'll be charming without knowing it, trust me."

Cogliostro smirked. "Hm, yes, do keep enticing me in that direction, why don't you. And here I had thought you were trying to prevent that. Guess you don't prefer the twit after all. Though, actually, you probably do prefer the twit...for yourself, which leaves the petite for me." He hadn't really given it much thought, but after today he just might...if she could be brought back.

Morgan made a tsking sound and went on to explain, "well it's either you or the I gotta see which one of you will better care for her. She's not very strong by herself."

Cogliostro looked thoughtful as he replied, "mm, I don't know about that, as I've been privy to her slaps upside the head a time or three. Actually hurts." He rubbed his head in remembrance.

Morgan's tone is serious as he scowls at the image conjured in front of him of a rather tall impressive male specimen. Well over 6 foot dressed in a loin cloth only, with perfect skin unblemished, and dark. Flowing white hair, thick and long and an impressive set of black feathery wings, the eyes red and the confident, charming smile the angel’s face naturally made any look at him in either envy or admiration.

"Yeah but that's because she is oh so very good with those hands, whether they touch you, smack you, cook for you or care...umm yeah she hits hard..." He trailed off to return to the subject at hand, to comment on the image before him, "damn, pretty boy… and he left her for a jealous slave...his slave?" Looking over the image more intently he over exaggerated when letting out an impressed whistle of sorts, "whoee, yup, a damn sight finer than your sorry ass, and please, keep tempting me down that road…you were talking of hands...soft, gentle caresses...." Despite his offhanded humor and poking, he drank in the more important details and features of the celestial being. As far as he knew, the creature was still at large, and he would make it a point to remember that face should he happen across it in future.

Morgan cleared his throat, ignoring the man’s quip on touching, he went on to explain this pretty specimen "Knowing Uriel is from him and a half celestial on top of what Shyne’s very deadly combo, worse than Selena, since I was only human but with decent abilities of course."

Cogliostro looked at him in mock surprise, "my, how humble you are. Hm, at any rate, there are matters to be attended, and not just the repairing of my office." Taking a last glance at the image, he then ferrets out the small note, concerning the possible tracking down of a Medallion. "Though I suppose I should come up with a new plan, in light of what your benefactor said to me. I was simply going to go in and take it by stealth and/or force as necessary, but, mayhaps I shouldn't," he mused more to himself than his companion.

"Oh yes that reminds me.." Morgan said carefully as in an afterthought, "Azrael was an angel of death and vengeance, ironic no? So what will the brat be I wonder?"

Cogliostro thought about Uriel and his mother, she never had wanted to speak of him ever. His eyes narrowed slightly, "mm, think he's already going down those paths, so the wonder should be, in what ways will he expand upon that."

Morgan pondered what he said and after a few moments suggested "hmmm you? Dunno maybe you should bribe pretty boy Colin, he has his uses and isn't as abrupt as you as often."

Cogliostro looked at the other man like he were insane, "and let him get the chance to grab a medallion? I think not."

His wariness was not unfounded but Morgan still snickered anyway, "he couldn't do anything with it even if he tried."

That statement hardly relieved Cogliostro's mind. "Mm, perhaps that is true. All the same though, I'd rather not take the chance. Kagato has already proven that Ostellian’s aren't the only ones able to move those Medallions. Who knows if the Immoral One and the brat haven't made a deal of some sort, where power was bestowed which would allow Silvermane to do whatever he wished with the items."

Morgan shook his head, unconcerned. "The Medallions only purpose is to unlock the true Energy Gate…otherwise it is only a magical amplifier provided he knows the magic, he isn't of Shyne's race so it literally won't be of any use to him, no matter what enchantments are bestowed upon him."

Cogliostro nodded but still retained his doubts. "Very well then, I'll take your word on it. However, I remain steadfast in my decision. We are not sending that lunatic."

Morgan replied slyly, "and you're not crazy..? I wasn’t the one talking defiantly to the highest power in the multi verse mm hmmm."

Cogliostro blinked and felt heat begin to fill his cheeks, "bah, stubborn perhaps, to the point of fault, but not crazy. I stood down eventually, didn't I? A sane man wouldn't have known enough to do that. Er, wait. Bah, you know what I mean." The heat burned more and he looked away with a scowl.

"Ummm yeah sure...anyway ...." replied Morgan as he smiled slowly seeing the other man embarrassed, but he did not rub it in, in fact, he asked, "so who you going to send?"

Cogliostro stumbled and answered weakly, "I need to send someone?"

Morgan gave a sarcastic snort and responded, "ummm yeah, you're not going...remember?"

Cogliostro replied softly, "I thought maybe I could just go with a change of methodologies.....what, why not?" He rounded on the smaller man, shock and disbelief on his face.

"Didn't you hear what I just said? You're crazy, not to mention reckless, stupid and a prick…in short you're a defect." Morgan gives a half smile and added in, "besides you have that scythe to deal with first."

Cogliostro snorted and responded in dry tones. "Well you're more woman than man, but I don't go calling you a defect." He shook his head with tiny traces of humor for a moment, he then somber up a bit, frowning as the scythe was brought up. "Yes that I do have to attend, though is that truly the more pressing of the two matters at the moment?

Morgan continued as if he had not heard the other man, his manner subtly commanding, "and you're my daughter's protector from henceforth until otherwise ordered…which you best not fail in that."

Cogliostro was wise not to be his usually snide self and gave a calm but prompt reply, "no worries about the girl, not even the brat can get to her now. Not with his current power at any rate."

After hearing the response, the painted man nodded and gave answer to the earlier question. "Yes actually it's free to cause damage it needs to imprisoned until Shyne can claim it again...let it stay free it could absorb is one of the weapons of destruction and a default just in case Shyne cannot not fulfill her duties."

Cogliostro's ageless face instantly turning into a thunder head and he too got up to start pacing to help releasing the building frustration within, "Mm, great, and I suppose its corrupting our esteemed leader more and more each day? If so, I can see it as pressing, for he's our link to the homeworld."

Morgan nodded grimly, his expression bleak with checked anger, "oh indeed its adversary at this point is my daughter and wants her very much out of the way."

The frown on Cogliostro's face deepens ever further at the thought. "That is reason enough for me," he said simply.

Morgan spoke aloud, perhaps unaware that he was doing so. "Matter of fact, Uriel has not found a means to truly arrive in this world yet, but I expect the weapon will help him find a way to get to her, this place will not be safe if he manages to pinpoint her."

Cogliostro added his own feelings to those thoughts, even if he manages to get here, he himself has not the power to defeat her guardians. However, if he's wielding that damnable weapon, it’s a different story. So saying, I will take it out of the picture one way or another."

Both men stopped and looked at one another, silver eyes met brown and they nodded in solemn agreement to the promise made.

"Selena is too young and untrained to battle her brother…even if she could I doubt she would harm him," Morgan said after awhile.

"True enough, I also do not think such is in her nature, Cogliostro agreed.

Morgan nodded and continued, "although she can be manipulated into such…and he still could be stopped without harm to him so it wouldn't really affect her minds eye and moral much." He sighed and his expression turned concerned, "I'm just worried about the strain to her body more than her mind at this point."

Cogliostro touched the other man's shoulder in support and said, "well, fret not; we will not let it come to that right now, so it won't need to be tested. At any rate, what do you think about sending that, hrm, chalky man-cat. He's Ostellian, and I think he is going to help out our cause."

The idea was a good one and Morgan had contemplated it before but he decided to voice aloud the risk. "I would but there's a problem with that...Cyrus would kill him on sight. He's an outcast you see..." He trailed off, looking at Cogliostro to see if he needed to explain further.

"Bah, sometimes Cyrus is too single-minded for his own good...and ours to boot. The cat thing left the Outcasts, betrayed them for Her, at least in a round-a-bout way. That has to be worth something." He did understand and didn't like what he was hearing.

Morgan shook his hood and corrected his companion, "ummm no, you see kitty man doesn't like Shyne I've read him...if he had the choice he'd let her stay the way she is, however he seems to like Selena at least.

Cogliostro grunted in irritation and spat out a disgruntled retort, "exactly! What matter the true intentions or reasons behind him aiding the cause? He would do it all the same." He sighed and gave into the grim reality, reigning in his temper once more. "However, I know as well as you that Cyrus won't change his thinking on the subject, so I'm open for another suggestion, and no, not the damn lunatic." He looked at Morgan with a pointed glare, referring to Colin.

Morgan chuckled and with laced humor mixed with seriousness was whipped up in his reply, "then send your defective group."

Cogliostro looked abashed and suddenly sickly. He tone was incredulous, "by the gods, now I know you are jesting......" However, the wheels began to churn, and the possibility was becoming a viable one the more he thought upon it. Finally he relented and said, "then again, even if you are jesting…why not? They don't need to know the true reasoning behind the mission. And I'm sure it’s something they could handle. If it proves fruitful, we send someone of the appropriate nature in to retrieve the item. If it doesn't prove fruitful, well then they simply get a little more combat training." He looked at Morgan to see if he agreed with his line of thinking.

Morgan nodded as he listened to the man and waited until he was finished before he added his own thoughts, "besides I must tell you and I'm sure that it's no surprise but you and Cyrus are targets, the ones that did this to Shyne know you two are her guards and protectors…no form you two take will hide your aura's"

Cogliostro took the news well. He had expected as much from the start. "Mm, yes, and that in and of itself doesn't bother me overly much. However, the unknown aspects of it do bother me. I for one still do not know who "the ones" are. "I suppose that means I should be more prepared for battle at any given moment. Hard to fight an enemy whom you don't know to be such..."

Morgan nodded and said, "exactly, but I will tell you this...they re not aware of me and they are limited…they cannot keep taps on what you do by means of someone else, meaning they can track you but not those that you send, right now anyway. They are working on that I'm sure."

Cogliostro allowed himself a dry and mirthless chuckle, "and I'm not the type to stroll around in constant paranoia," upon hearing the unseen enemy was limited; he felt a glimmer of hope. "Limited? So something that we mere mortals can deal with as needed? Not an all powerful, uber-buff stud like yourself behind it all?"

Morgan ignored his baiting comments and pressed on. "I will also tell you they fear Soul Reaver as well and will do any means to see you and Cyrus do imprison it and no don't think Soul Reaver is best left freed."

Cogliostro took this information with a joy that surprised him but took care to quell it before it showed. "Hm, I see your earlier statement tying in to that. Soul Reaver is her back up, so they want rid of that too. Well, I'd almost say leave it free but that’s not good I'm thinking. Go with the lesser of two evils we will."

Morgan allowed hope to grow, it was the only thing they had anyway, "of course they are mortals, while short lived and otherwise rash they do have the power of free will and are not limited to one design."

Cogliostro smiled the first true smile since this conversation began. "Mm, yes, I've been tutored in the fact most gods, at least the ones who were never mortal first, have very limited scope. And very well, I rest slightly easier knowing they are mortals...and no I will not underestimate them due to that fact."

Morgan smiled as well, but it did not last as more information was imparted. "They do not fear you but do find you to be an annoyance and they do have the power to immobilize you actually, it is Cyrus they fear…they expected him to be out of the way after she fell. He is weaker now than ever but still very much a threat."

Cogliostro grinned in spite of himself. "Mm, well, at least I'm doing my part in some way. If they think I'm annoying them now, wait till I find out who they are. At any rate, is there anything we can do now to bolster Cyrus up to his, hm, normal levels?"

It was apparent that Morgan's thoughts were scattered as he replied, "at this point I'm gathering they know not what to do with her children though."

Cogliostro gave that thought consideration and gave a grim reply, "Let’s not give them time enough to think upon that matter. I for one have taken note that the girl's strands are the same color as her mother's...."

Morgan murmured a response but seemed to sharpen his focus at the same time, "no afraid not, he needs Shyne for that." Catching the inquiries about the sentient weapon, Morgan felt obliged to answer, "yes they are but they are reluctant to act against her knowing Soul Reaver wants her out of the way first and foremost."

Cogliostro made a summary of the facts, "so they are as uncertain about her part in the bigger picture as well, then."

"Exactly," admonished Morgan.

"Hm, well, at any rate, I can have the troops mustered and sent out to investigate the medallion matter by morning, barring either damnable church needs my foremost agent for anything." Cogliostro took a sear back in his chair and fiddled around trying to occupy himself for the grueling task ahead.

"You mean Red?"asked Morgan.

Cogliostro mustered a distracted response, figuring their conversation would have been done by now, "though if I am to set out against the Scythe, I will have to have someone else muster them up. And yes, I mean Red. Amongst those I have gathered so far in this particular venture, she is the most ably dutiful, even though she doesn't hold the greatest personal power of them all." He stopped and looked up, his expression distantly held admiration and his tone mused over the subject at hand, "funny that, for as much as she detests me, she willfully...well, almost, but she does serve my purposes better than any of them."

Morgan smiled and chuckled. "Ah such is the way of fanaticism."

Cogliostro nodded agreement, "mm, aye, so it seems."

Remembering some things of his own, Morgan decided the conversation need not end on such grim notes and changed the subject to much lighter mood set. "It is funny, though I understand what you mean, I almost had myself a drow wife once...but she wasn’t like Xull'rae, Xull’rae reminds me most of Shyne…true not all of her is similar but some of her is."

Cogliostro took the change eagerly; he was not one to let overwhelming odds crush his humor entirely. As such, his response was surprised and friendly, "a drowess almost deigned to stoop so low? My, what a tale must be behind that little tidbit. And yes, I've taken note of certain similarities, and I don't even know Shyne anywhere near as well as you do."

On his favorite subject now, Morgan allowed himself to relax and enjoy these little moments while he could. Memories were all he had now. "She was a spitfire back in the day and full of life, one of the reasons I was attracted to her, but, after I died and Selena was born she mellowed out A LOT becoming quiet and obsessed in work."

Cogliostro caught on that this was a rare moment and he let himself relax as well. "Yes, it's difficult for me as well to figure out how in the Hells YOU had such an impact on anyone in that way. But jesting aside, perhaps one day she will regain that which she locks away. Pain subsides eventually, and life goes on. Emphasis on the eventually.
"This whole matter is not going to help that. And I'm noting more the fact you are here again, and when she is restored, seeing you once more will prompt all those feelings, all those unattainable desires, anew…"
At this time, he steps towards the painted male a little more, his gaze an assessing one, no sense of joking about his demeanor. "Tell me something...were she able to bring you back, alive and whole once more, would you come?"

Caught off guard, Morgan looked at Cogliostro quizzically, "hmmm?" He folds his hands over top the other and cradles his chin on them. After giving it some thought he replied, "of course I would but not because it is right or wrong but because I love, need, and want her..."

At that, Cogliostro merely nodded, pausing a moment before continuing, "and if that process had a price, which most steeply would you be willing to let her pay?"

Morgan shrugged and responded with disarming sincerity. "Anything she was willing to give would be her free will, not mine, that would be involved I would never tempt or convince her to do anything."

Cogliostro shook his head and tried carefully to find proper words to use as to not upset the other man or turn the conversation sour. "No, it is not your place to tempt or convince her to commit the act...but would you, from a moral standpoint, be willing to let her pay ANY price to restore you?"

Morgan look confused, but again answered in honesty. "Yes, if that would make her happy."

A soft frown settles upon Cogliostro's visage at hearing the answer.

Upon seeing his frown, Morgan asked softly, "expected a different answer? Why are you so interested anyway?"

Cogliostro looked a little sheepish but now he answered honestly, "I'm curious...the being, entity, or what have you that now coexists with you is seemingly out to restore the balance of the multiverse as a whole. While, from what I've just gleaned from your answers, you are here to restore HER. In some aspects, yes, they are both one and the same, but not in all. It seems said entity may not have chosen the best of Champions after all. Not to degrade you in any way. Though I can see why it did so, in a pinch at least."

Morgan chuckled and sighed. "Let me explain something to you, when I met Shyne I just thought she was a runaway slave....the more I wanted her though the more I wanted to help her find out who she was. When I learned the whole scope of things…my life changed. My life seemed small and insignificant compared to her magnitude on things. It's why I gave up things, because all of her, and I mean I loved the thing inside her too, which means Shyne is not Shyne without it…which means I want both halves restored. I died because, I was a hindrance to her, my allies and family turned on me for changing myself...that's what they think anyway. The truth is I died so Shyne could focus on herself, when you love someone so, you tend to forget yourself and see only who they love."

Sympathy and envy, tugged at his inner being as the painted man explained his motives. Thinking back on things, he realized the scope of his queen's pain now and it wretched him like a wound would have. He said softly, "that's my point. I envy you for the love between you two, and understand it fully, and do not intend to downgrade that in any way. However, what if that love, continues to blind her at a crucial moment. Taking this hypothesis to the extreme...what if she is given a choice, when personally restored. Say that she was given the choice to restore you...or to restore all of creation to rights once again. If she were to choose you...would you allow it? Would you truly let her damn the universe to its downward spiral simply to embrace her again?"

Before Morgan answered his companion's question, he thought it best to correct something first. "No I'm not the champion, I’m just a vessel...a tool…the Champion has been chosen already before I was."

Cogliostro smothered irritation, Morgan was avoiding him, and that itself gave answer, but he wanted to hear it from his own lips. Nonetheless he quipped back, "you are the one who stands the greatest chance of getting through to her, of manipulating her into doing what is necessary for the greater whole. In my mind, that still constitutes your championship. It could have selected anyone at all for a vessel. And it chose you. That came not from any personal merits on your part. It was a specific selection, based on your form's usefulness."

Morgan just looked at Cogliostro with eyes that held the naked truth and those same eyes held no regrets. It was then the answer came from him. "Yes I would, but I have faith in her that she'll do the right thing for the whole."

Cogliostro's face turned instantly distressed. He didn't want the Lady have to make such choice, but neither did he want Morgan to stand by and not plead the world's case. A part of him understood why, the world was the greater good but real love was so rare. "What if love is greater than faith? Is it not vaunted to be so? The whole scenario is hypothetical. I do not doubt her in the least to make the greater overall decision. But, I'd like to know where you stand on this. Now I do, and it doesn't exactly comfort me. But, I'll not fault you for something as grand and precious as love."

Morgan smiled slowly and with knowing understanding of the other man’s dilemma, "you see I'm selfish…that fault I could not get rid of, the one time I was selfless I died. Shyne well," he shrugged lightly and finished; "will know her duty and be bound to it."

Cogliostro however was not so convinced, but only said, "let us hope it is so, should the situation arise."

Morgan shrugged again, but sensed his unease and said, "besides Shyne has transferred her love to someone else...someone she loves more than me..."

Still not convinced but curious all the same, Cogliostro inquired, "not in the same capacity, true though it may be, right?"

The painted man smiles some, leaning back with a soft sigh and answers him, "Selena is the embodiment of our love, Shyne knows that and can't just throw that away, as it what we shared together...making my daughter, is the entity’s chosen. I was chosen so she could have a familiar and loving presence to guide her, not Shyne. We did touch minds before my death and it is a bond I shall never forget."

His fair face became open and elated with no trace of sorrow.

Cogliostro then relaxes somewhat, taking a step back to lean against the deck's sturdy railing, absently retrieving the hip flask from its hidden pocket, taking a long draught as he contemplates the other male's latest words, and everything else they'd just spoken on. Though Morgan was admittedly selfish, he could not dislike the man for it. It was true that he himself understood the value of love, and he was uncertain at times whether duty would win out over love were he in such a situation again. Twice in the past, duty had won over, but it gets no easier as one goes along, to be sure. Offering a nod then to the painted one, taking another draught of the never-ending liquor, that he never did see the expression but he heard they joy in his voice, and as much as he hated it, he was jealous.

When nothing was said, a silence developed between them, so Morgan tried to wean the bald mage from his worries and seriousness, he once more steered the topic to his favorite subject. "You know... if you manage to weasel your way to get her...she'll make you quit that." A slender finger gestures to the flask with a sly grin.

"Mm, perhaps, though my goddess has already tried, and failed," replied Cogliostro with a chuckle, but the laughter quieted and he frowns at the thought, and the half truth he'd just spoken, staring into the metal container's contents. "Well, not entirely," he admitted and decided to explain. "By her 'graces', it has no more effect on me than water would. So, I don't see my quitting altogether as a big priority. Unless you think she'd try and stop me just for the thought of it?" He looked to the other man in irritation, humor and disbelief.

"Doesn't matter...if you paid attention she has made you stop on many occasions...when she's asked you to," Morgan pointed out with a grin that split his handsome face.

After a few moments thought, Cogliostro had to let out a wryly humored, short bark of a chuckle. "True enough, she is rather persuasive at times."

Morgan nodded eager agreement and his tone was truly sympathetic. "Don't feel bad I still don't know how she manages that shit!"

As in an afterthought Cogliostro grinned at Morgan, turning around fully now and asked him, "what’s this about having to 'weasel' my way into getting her? I am dashingly handsome, buff beyond the norm, and charming to boot. What woman wouldn't want me?"

Seeing Morgan's expression, turn to instant grin and mischief, Cogliostro said quickly, "don't bother answering that."

Morgan playfully shrugged and looked suddenly too innocent as he said, "well true, but Shyne is in a class by herself so she is above the norm.

Not baited into being a brunt of a joke, Cogliostro simply agreed, but added a jab nonetheless. "Ahh…so true, I suppose I have to learn a few new tricks...maybe I can learn to sing like the nitwit, self-subscribed bard." He paused a moment and then shook his head, "well, forget that, his singing leaves something to be desired. And bathing...I could take that practice up. I'm sure that would give me brownie points."

A stab of jealously streaked through Morgan then and he asked in a sly tone, "hmmm...would you have her, if she wanted you in return? and I'm not just talking about sex...Shyne is more casual about sex than a man is, so I actually would not put it passed her to show interest in that manner toward you. What I mean is a real relationship?"

Cogliostro while covering his off guard 'mode,' could not cover his surprise. "Truly, she would stoop so low? My, my...." He used teasing to hide his discomfort.

Realizing the other man had not taken his question seriously, Morgan pressed on, "oh yes…indeed she would she's hornier than a pack of rabbits at times."

Catching on that Morgan really wanted him to answer, he gave him the truth, "I cannot really answer that right now. As I've stated, I never considered things in that manner. Sure, I've checked her out a few hundred times and thought she'd be one hell of a romp in the hay. But beyond that, well, one can't tell until such a juncture may come to being. I am an admitted leach at times. Though in light of past events, I have slowed considerably in that department."

Morgan chuckled and nodded but otherwise said nothing else, letting go of his jealousy, but after another short silence he said, "well trust me she has you beat. It isn't uncommon for her to fuck three men in one night...either at the same time or individually."

This time on guard, Cogliostro had the grace to cover his surprise. "Hmm, well then, perhaps she does. I've done much the same before, but not on a regular basis. Springtime elven revels...ahh, it just doesn't get any better than that. If you’re a shallow horn-dog, that is. Which I am, or was, whatever," he grinned sheepishly.

"I am aware of those but never bothered to be privy to it…but yes, Shyne can be like that fest year round," said Morgan.

"Hm, methinks the little tart has elven blood in her. I've spent quite a bit of time amongst them, and they are, hm, not so, err, proper in their sexual practices as we humans tend to be. Flitting from one partner to the next is an accepted practice, encouraged, even. I've never quite gotten used to the fact...but I admit to having taken much advantage of it." Cogliostro snickered.

Morgan laughed in fond memory as he nodded to what was being said. "I actually couldn't keep up with her at times…she's rather slow and well versed in that area and energy, yes she has PLENTY of that, I had to often wonder if she knew how to sleep…and if she didn’t would she continue…my guess is yes."

At that Cogliostro had to chuckle more in delight this time, "my, that might make her and I a good match...I have boundless energy, and no need to sleep."

Another stab of jealousy went through Morgan but he shrugged it off and sighed softly. "As I said she mellowed out a lot, so she has slowed in that as well. I believe the last idiot she was with was the indecisive cry baby Darien."

Cogliostro gave a rude snort. "Ah, yes, I remember him. And I agree, he was indeed all those things. Even though I never really butted into that situation, I still paid attention to it."

Morgan's voice took on a bitter tone as he continued, "the one before him was Azrael."

Cogliostro had never officially met the man but he certainly didn't get a good impression of him, he couldn't and wouldn't judge him though, so all he said was, "at any rate, I don't think you have any worries on my part. I'm not the marrying type. I should know, I've failed at it twice. Though the third time's the charm, so I hear."

Morgan's smile reappeared and his tone now had humor in it. "She's failed at it four times so no, afraid not."

Semblances of a grin crease his features as Cogliostro takes another long draught and says, "ah, okay then, see, even less reason to worry. There will be no charmed third time. She's already proven that. Then again, that, hrm, Prophet who came to see me about says I'll take the plunge into darkness one more time in future."

Morgan snickered and shrugged, rolling his eyes he drolls, "well I guess the half elf wins by default then."

Cogliostro winced and looked disgusted, "bah, gods no," muttering that he would someone, anyone better than Nemesio.

Laughing now, Morgan says, "well damn, maybe not!"

Cogliostro took up a dignified posture, his tone fair and noble. "I'd take up the pursuit just to shrug him out of the way. Save her from that fate, more or less."

Morgan groaned, "gods though...he's soooooooooo the marrying type."

A hearty chuckle erupts at that thought from Cogliostro and he had to agree, "yes, little white-picket fence, cozy house, tons of children flitting about...ugh."

Morgan looked at Cogliostro then, "you're just saying that...about pursuing her?" He seemed curious not worried.

"Am I?" A mysterious smile was offered.

Morgan shrugged, quickly becoming uncomfortable, wishing the other man wouldn’t so easily joke around on the particular subject at hand, so he tried to derail it away from her and the possibility of the rogue mage. "Yeah hmm, Shyne could live with his type too, the bastard."

Cogliostro nodded and smiled sagely as he asked, "would you not try and save her from such a fate, were you in my shoes? Well, maybe not my shoes...but you know what I mean."

Morgan looked devious as he replied, "I dunno, are you? Methinks you are, as you yourself just said you never gave her much thought." He failed at the subject change but he couldn’t resist trying to find out what he felt was there in the other man, fear gripped him, but Morgan had to know.

Cogliostro blinked and felt heat threaten to rise but recovered quickly with his infamous humor, "yes, but I am a dutiful man, and she is my queen, so it is in my place to save her from such things. I suppose killing the twit would be easier though."

Morgan shook his head disagreeing, pressing on relentlessly, "Well no…being with Shyne would toughen him while if you were with her you would soften up."

Cogliostro look absent minded as he commented, "hm, he definitely needs toughening...but why would it soften me? She the type to make me stay at home and do yard work and stuff me overly full of meals every night and day? If so, sounds tempting," he smiled at the last bit, actually truly giving that prospect some thought. Of all his relationships and marriages, he never had actually settled down and if he did, it wasn’t long before duty called. It would be nice, he realized, but it was just a fantasy and had little chance of coming true.

"You'd turn into the annoyed, loving, but worried husband." Morgan replied with a knowing grin.

Cogliostro looked doubtful as his wistful thoughts were disrupted. Morgan spoke, so he replied with a little more irritation than he truly felt, "that's stretching it a bit."

Morgan grinned wider as he said, "you'll never be able to keep up, unless you settle down," he was starting to have fun with this, but he was also debating to tell this man to think on his lady. She needed to take care of someone and love, and Cogliostro needed someone to care for and depend on. Both needed each other to heal, but he couldn’t say that, it would ruin any natural feelings either might have for the other, so he had to keep out of it.

Cogliostro chuckled as he corrected the other man, "it's the annoy-ING, loving, but worried husband." As Morgan made his last statement, Cogliostro waved his hand in dismissal shaking his head, "well, there you go, I'm not a man to sit idle."

Morgan remained unconvinced. "Oh really, when has she truly been annoyed by you...compared to the times you've been annoyed by her?" he asked, giving the man an intense questioning look.

Cogliostro thought on it as he replied, "hm, I can name a time or two if I think hard enough...but if we're going on quantity, yes, she frustrates me more often than I do her, basically because she doesn't care. So again, another reason it won't happen." Looking thoughtful for a moment, he admitted, "well, she cares, but not in that aspect."

Morgan decided to argue the point. "Oh see, that's where you're actually wrong gods be damned too, she does. She'd die for you…I can't fathom why, but my guess is because she rather protect you...not the other way around."

Cogliostro didn't see it that way, shook his head and said, "Hmm...ah, again, its a motherly thing, not a loverly…er, yeah...thing."

Hearing the man's slight confusion, Morgan pressed on unrelenting, "motherly, I dunno. It’s true she's like that, but she knows you've been unhappy otherwise you wouldn't have sought her home of misfits."

Again, Cogliostro disagreed. "Everyone under her sway are unhappy misfits. Does that mean she'd take up with all of them, and marry each?" In afterthought, he asked, "is that legal here?" His expression became perplexed, as if he were contemplating the idea.

"No…but you insisted to be her guardian…why did you?" It was asked, not stated. The subject was getting heated, he should slow down but he was gaining ground and not about to lose it.

This time it was Cogliostro's turn to offer a shrug of sorts, now in the least bit perturbed now, "because I care enough to. It doesn't mean we'll get married, for Lolth's sake."

Morgan laughed and pointed out, "it also doesn't mean you won't!"

Cogliostro feigned annoyance while fighting off another blush. "Bah," was all he could manage to get out. He then chuckles yet again, putting the flask back in its roost. "Methinks you have one hell of an imagination and pretense of stretching the possibilities." He was becoming curious for this grilling debate, but decided to just take it for simple enjoyment of talking about a dear friend with a friend and get their minds off of the impending odds against the team.

Morgan gave a smile and a shrug, looking at him with his intense silver eyes. "Maybe…but I know what I see too," he intentionally left it hanging.

Cogliostro snorted. "Your vision is clouded, must be all that face paint."

Morgan snickered and offered a challenge. "Okay, prove me wrong. Your goddess took you away, before you were named bodyguard. It was possible for you stay 'home' but you returned, not ONLY to explain yourself, but give your loyalty to her and STAY there...even when you knew you had pressing duties at home, while your duties with her was because you wanted them, not because they were important, especially not compared to the duties you had waiting for you. You knew she could be okay without you and could carry on daily tasks without your presence. Now it COULD be you were running away from your duties and used ‘your queen’ as an excuse not to stay home. So am I wrong?"

Very unbefitting his current form, much as his actions for the past hour or three had been, Cogliostro smacked his lips in contemplation but kept careful of his wording. He smelled a trap. "I like to have a big workload in front of me so I don't get bored? Sounds plausible to me," he didn’t know how to truly answer the man, because he didn’t know the answer but he didn’t have to look stupid either.

Morgan gave his infamous sly grin and replied unmoved, inwardly irritated that the bald man evaded his direct questioning, "umm no, you lazy asshole."

Cogliostro looked insulted and hurt. "Hey, I work hard at being an asshole, nothing lazy about that." Beginning to get uncomfortable and desiring a change of topic, he decided to bring it back to the task ahead of him. "So, we have other things to do if I'm correct...."

Morgan shook his head quickly, refusing to be put aside so easily. "She gave you care, a home and freedom…why? Just to be kind? To give you a purpose, or make you happy?"

Cogliostro sighed, but instead of avoiding him he answered him in a deceptively patient tone, "that's what I was supposing the reasons to be. All those reasons are a part of her nature, the motherly thing again. She did it with many others. I'm cute, sure, that could have caused her to give me a little more food at mealtime, and a nicer bedroom, and let me peek in on her baths, but still," he used humor again to help ease his growing unease.

Morgan ignored the humor, pressing harder, just as Cogliostro wanted answers earlier so did he want them from him. "Is it? Did she give Dark or Caitiff rank of personal guard or power to watch over others by letting them in her personal faction?"

Cogliostro didn't know how to respond, so he answered what he could. "Well, no, but maybe they didn't ask. I don't know. Bah." Frowning slightly, admittedly a bit unsure and uncomfortable, he pulled the hip flask out yet again, taking a very long draught.

"Yes they did...Dark especially. Caitiff wanted to earn his way…but Dark always wanted to be close to her…yet YOU got that job. She named you not him, though Dark still played the part despite not getting the title."

Cogliostro remained silent for a long moment, weighing the words carefully. Then, he took another drink. After a long silence he asked, "so, tell me this some sort of test that you perform upon all hypothetically potential suitors?"

Morgan smiled maliciously; he had finally got the other man to face what he was trying to do. He answered with humor of his own, "No actually I try very hard to make them hate her and then have Cyrus kill them."

With the new found information, Cogliostro wasn't about to let the argument die just yet. "Maybe she gave me the job because she felt me more expendable than the other two." He then pauses again, listening. "Hm, so should I be more wary around Cyrus from now on? You can't make me hate her, but you still have that Cyrus bit to fall back on, just curious."

Morgan chuckled but admitted, "no, true he doesn't like you much but he doesn't like anyone much. I'm just curious as to why you want her restored despite the obvious threat looming."

Cogliostro was confused, so he asked, "is the obvious threat not enough?"

"No, Morgan replied.
"Bah, sometimes you are more of an ass than me," Cogliostro complained.

"I know." Morgan grinned devilishly.

Shaking his head, grinning slightly in spite of himself, Cogliostro continues, "fine then. She holds a place in my heart, much as any that I truly consider friend. That she may not put me in such a position as well doesn't matter much. If I take to someone, I'll go to the ends of the universe and back to help them in whatever way I can. So, that's what I'm doing. Again, I admit to caring, but it doesn't mean there is anything deeper for crying out loud," he sighed trying to regain his composure so he didn’t sound so whiny.

Morgan watched the other man carefully before saying, "how...noble… hmmm ok then. No it doesn't, which is fine I wasn't asking you to admit what you DIDN'T feel."

Relaxing some, Cogliostro said, "Okay then," he nods with a bit of overemphasis, falling silent afterward, perhaps contemplating all the points Morgan had brought up thus far. Simply desiring the topic of conversation to change.

Finally Morgan relented, his point was reached; it was time to go, and things had to get done. "I'll leave you to your thoughts..." If the bald man were to look where Morgan sat, he would find no magic's were used or at least felt, but all the same, the painted man was gone.

Indeed Cogliostro glanced in that direction, but was not surprised to find the man had gone. His eyes lingered on the spot long enough for him to take another quaff of the liquor, then he slowly swept those oak-brown orbs across the breadth of the deck once more, frowning at the mess which had been made, and yet again at the damage done to his office. It would have to be cleaned up soon, before any of the new recruits showed up and poked their noses into the why and how of it happening.

As he strode towards the remains of his office, it occurred to him, no one showed up during the fiasco...not even Cyrus. A moment's thought was all he gave it though, as the entity probably had its reasons for none to interrupt them. Now, however, he debated whether or not to summon Cyrus, not knowing if it would be best to employ the large man's help in putting the scythe out of commission, or whether he should leave Cyrus to stand vigil over the central player for the side of "good", Selena.

"Cyrus," he said the name not overly loud, but he was sure the man would hear him all the same. "Come to my office, if you would."

The voice that answered was close by. "What may I help you with?" It was Cyrus's voice coming up the stairs, approaching the bald man within a moment after being called.

Cogliostro met the man out on the deck proper, taking note along the way that his garments had healed themselves fully, much as his body had. Too bad this part of the Inn did not fare so well. A single glance was given to Cyrus 'ere he continued walking towards his favored chair, which happened to be upturned. As he corrected the problem, he began to speak, "it is time. I am going to prepare, then set out to render that damnable Scythe inert; at least for the time being. You need to stay here, and guard Selena ever more vigilantly. I had a long conversation…well, two really...just now, revealing certain truths to me. However, I am in need of more information. Whatever you can supply me with in the way of knowledge about that scythe. At least, any details you had not given me when last we spoke on the subject. I get the general gist of what needs to be done, but I am not privy to all its secrets and methodology."

Cyrus answered promptly in his monotone voice; as usual there was no anger or even a protest in his answer. "Well it is best if we take her with you, so I should go as well, but if you want me to stay I will, but it is not wise to try this task alone. I myself do not know all about it, that link was shared by the Lady and the Lady alone, as to it's methods, it absorbs souls and is in link with its host…manipulating the host so it may take over and have a body in which to inflict more damage to its victim."

The man's words were weighed for some long moments, and a soft sigh was issued along with the frown which crept into place afterwards. "I've no wish to expose her to any more danger than is needed, but if you feel we must take her then of course it would be best for you to come along. I'm supposing she'll be the best way to draw the thing out...bait, as it were. Another reason you wished to take her along?" Cogliostro became worried. He had not expected Cyrus to say they needed to bring the child along.

Hazel-green eyes looked upon Cogliostro with a certainty, "yes it knows I can't be manipulated, and you would take time to win over as you are protected to a degree from it by use of divinity."

Cogliostro nodded grimly at the as the facts were laid out before him. "Mm, so we more or less need to entice it with that it desires most in order to draw it out. So bait she shall be," another sigh is issued at that point, before he said resigned, "very well. I have some affairs to get in order. Otherwise, we shall leave as quickly as possible. Morgan made it clear that this was imperative."

Cyrus nodded but made no move to leave, at the mention of Morgan, he asked, "did he retrieve the mirror?"

At the same time, Cogliostro said, "by the way, there is another lead to a possible Medallion. In light of what we need to set about at this time, I will be sending my 'goon squad'." A glance was given to the large fellow, and a nod of confirmation, "yes."

Cyrus never changed his stony expression as he continued asking questions, "are they capable?"

Cogliostro shrugged and replied with a tone that said he had no good choices, "it depends on one's point of view as to capability. They will suffice, however. Of course they will not be given the true nature and intent of the mission. But I do not think they will run into any problems larger than they can handle. My intelligence sources reveal that the ones who discovered its whereabouts are not privy to the larger 'game' that wages ever onward. As such, those who found it won't even know what it is...if it is indeed a medallion. Then again, we are still unaware of who is behind this whole scenario in the first place. Even so, it’s the tidiest option I've got right now."

Cyrus looked past Cogliostro to the room beyond. "We may have to use the mirror to faster track Soul Reaver."

That brought on perhaps the hundredth frown for the day, along with a definite pause before Cogliostro answered with reluctance, "well, methinks that will be your purview to accomplish. I will take you to it."

As he moved toward the closet, Cyrus stopped him by speaking. "Each person that wants to pass must deal with the mirror, so I was told but if you are reluctant to try it, you can simply attempt a teleport and from there I can track them."

Disappointed Cogliostro said, "so I see...I hadn't thought about using it to travel. That is disturbing. How in all creation would Selena deal with the thing? Perhaps if you can beam in on a location, I will indeed try a teleportation. Once I am successful, I can venture back here for the lass."

"The innocence of a child is often its best weapon as most can discern the fake from the real, simply because all of it is real for them. Also, good parenting can help with the feeling of right and wrong," answered Cyrus.

"Or more to the point, the imaginary is often the same as reality to them, so perhaps it could not harm her. Bah. At any rate, prepare her as best you can. I'm going to attend those affairs I mentioned." Cogliostro started fixing things on his desk.

"Your idea could work..." Upon hearing a command Cyrus cut off and simply said, "very well," he turned swiftly and proceeded to head back down the stairs.

And so Cogliostro too then proceeded elsewhere, intent on placing all their planned machinations into action...and making arrangements for such case that he may not return from their venture.

Interrupt the Bard -or- let her continue