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The vision Ulor had conjured had performed well in putting most of those present to flight. Their haste stood testament to how little they knew of the world they knew beyond the minute luminous circles if their lives. They were insignificant islands - no, they all were on a single island, surrounded by the dark ocean of unguessed revelations, where dwelt those things of which the illusion was but the palest shadow. Evidently, even that was too much for them to bear. All the better they should be gone; that parade of their had already gruellingly wasted enough time already. Yet, he noted with some irritation, those whom the image was intended to frighten did not appreciate the urgency of his omen well enough. Their leader had somehow been able to see through the enchantment, and, for some reason, assumed that this invalidated what Ulor had said before. The obtuseness of this man seemed proportionate to the sharpness of his eyes. Sweeping his hand as though to wave aside the guardsman's sword, tugging at the threads of the image with his mental grip to cause it to fade, he began in an impatient tone:

"I do not threaten, I foretell. I said that if we do not speak with your-"

At that point, however, the feline acrobat thought well to interpose herself between him and the obstinate armiger, seemingly attempting some sort of trickery to dismiss his impression of hostility and make him vacate the doorway at last. While he appreciated any attempt to hasten the tedious procedure, he was slightly taken aback when she motioned for him to produce a document to persuade their obstacle. This improvisation seemed to him mighty improbable; however, far be it from him to decline any stratagem to finally enter that building.

Thrusting his hand into the folds of his cloak as though to reach for something he had stored in there, Ulor deftly snatched up the weave of the illusion, which, though no longer visible, had not yet completely dissipated. Swiftly drawing it into his grip, he hastily wove it, his mind scurrying and snapping like a spider, into the likeness of a parchment, somewhat weathered and frayed at the edges, covered in cramped handwriting (all the better, since greater clarity would likely have immediately revealed it to be complete gibberish) and bearing a bright, but oddly indistinct seal. Drawing forth his hand, he deftly held forth the insubstantial document, skilfully following the motions he invisibly directed. Or, at least, he attempted to do so. The result was likely not something any conjurer would have been proud of.

Irrespective of the renewed illusion's efficacy, Ulor would not declare himself defeated just yet. "Here is that safe-conduct. Now, do not tarry further. Your superior will be growing impatient to see us, and the looming calamities that menace us are not about to make themselves disappear."

As it could have been foreseen, the green tiefling had not accomplished anything useful in conversing with the dragonborn, in spite of his advice, and it was only when the paladin - Talionis, was it not? - arrived to unsubtly threaten the orator that something was finally achieved. As he glanced over the parchment that the doom-crier had proffered, Ulor slowly nodded in satisfaction. The indication that some sort of ritual, presumably connected with the goals he was pursuing, was to be held in a cathedral promised much - after all, who knew better than himself what secrets a religious order might conceal, knowingly or not? Once already he had been set upon the path of wisdom by partaking in what was to be a holy rite; it could very well be this might occur again. Noticing that the octopus was vacuously peering at the manuscript, likely incapable of deciphering it, he let the awareness of what he had learned flow through the aether-suspended river of thoughts and into the creature's consciousness, the information nebulously coalescing into indistinct visions within its awareness, until he felt that it knew. For now, they could let the matter rest - the ceremony, whatever it was, would not be held anytime soon in the day, and presently they could devote themselves to finding this general they had been directed to converse with.

It so happened that this errand was more easily accomplished than Ulor might have thought, if only in a literal sense. Anon, the group had reached the path of the parade, and a military commander, matching the description of their contact they had been given, came riding at the head of his resplendent troops and the exultant populace. He was, however, unattainable, being separated from the group by the thick of the festivities. And what festivities these were. Blades flashing, arrows flying, mages squandering their art - or the favour of their divine masters, no less - on conjuring tricks, townsfolk cheering, and all manner of other nuisances. Wincing and grinding his teeth together, Ulor brought a half-clenched hand to his forehead, as though afflicted by a headache. And he might as well have been. The dusty winds of insubstantial revelry, celebrating fleeting constructions of temporal insubstantiality, were howling and screeching around him, at him. The wrath! What were they celebrating, after all? Their independence - no, the independence of their forebears - from wizards? How could they believe this had any consequence? They were the blind spark of infinitesimal conflagrations.

He felt the octopus tighten its grip upon his shoulder and lightly sway upon it, as though to warn him of something. Recovering his bearings, Ulor saw that the feline creature was holding out towards him one of the parchment-bound arrows. He nodded absently at her as he took it, and, briefly running his eyes through its contents - "Splendid Sundries"? What was that even supposed to be? - slid it into his backpack, arrow and all. Perhaps it, as well, might have been a sign of some sort, and these sundries might have been worth searching. But that would come later. The clouds were dispersing; more and more of the townsfolk disappeared. However, so did the general, who withdrew into some building and inconveniently left part of his retinue to prevent the curious from following him.

As he stood, at some distance, considering how to bypass the sentinels, Ulor noticed the singing imp oddly walking - swaying? - before the rest of the party. Frowning, he exchanged a perplexed gaze with the octopus (who seemed unconcerned by the display). Who was that directed at, now? Yet such idle questions vanished from his mind when he saw that the guards' attention had been drawn to the tiefling as a result of her performance. Inane though they might have been, her motions gave him a perfect opportunity for action. Now the time was right.

Crossing the gap between himself an the guards in a few strides, Ulor reached into a fold of his cloak, fingering some scraps of loose fleece. Words of a language lost to the cold oblivion of infinity came to his mouth as his fingers twisted in ritual gestures of secret potency. N'uraith vuul iyhh... The air behind him seemed to warp and twist in unearthly spasms, then darkened as a horrid sight took shape from emptiness. Over his shoulders there rose to a height of a good ten feet what seemed to be a nimbus of swirling motes of viscous darkness, undulating oozingly as dripping tendrils lashed and grasped blindly all across its surface. Crimson stains that might have been eyes flowed from one shape to another as animated quicksilver, successively engulfed by the shadows yet emerging again and again. All the while, not a sound came from the towering horror.

Now standing before the guards, the hideous vision looming behind his back, Ulor spoke in low accents, laden with crawling menace:

"Step aside, and let us to your master. We come bearing tidings he will wish to hear, and if you delay us..."

He gestured abruptly and uttered a single, almost inhuman sound, and the reverberations of distant thunder could be heard from somewhere behind the dark shape.

"...then dire things may come to pass."

And I return. Let us see if I can inject some activity in here...
Just so that everyone can see this, I shall be unable to post until the twentieth of the month. Activity will resume as normal after that point.
Lest I disappear without warning, I will unfortunately be unable to post from now till the twentieth of the month. If action is required on Old N's part, do move him about as necessary (or unnecessary, if you prefer).
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