So here’s the thing; while you’ve never seen an actual exorcism before, you’re pretty familiar with the mechanics of one. After all, they’re a regular feature in several kinds of popular pulp novels, from schlocky horror books to two-fisted tales of Gentleman Monster-hunters to sexy incubus romances. You’ve also seen some presumably accurate depictions in earnestly but embarrassingly acted public stage productions put on by the Silver Flame as part of their public awareness campaign for protection against supernatural evils. So you know enough to know that every exorcism has three stages."If you were a demon possessing someone, wouldn't you want to keep it a secret?," Alishia murmured back. "Something's not right here. I saw him come back. He had some kind of, I dunno, cat-headed bodyguards or something with him. Shusane's a necromancer, if he wants bodyguards he'd make'em himself." The mention of undead prompted another concern as Alishia glanced furtively around the room, more worried by what she wasn't seeing than by what she was. "And where's Cassia's mother? She should be here."
The first stage is the drawing of the ritual circle of protection, to protect the exorcist and prevent the demon from escaping. It’s a tedious and laborious process that involves much slow, careful drawing as Grace Shadar checks and re-checks her geometric inscriptions.
The second stage involves the chanting of ritualized prayers, interspersed with probing questions, in order to draw the demon out into the open and reveal its personality. Grace Shadar walks around Shusane slowly in a circle, holding aloft her holy symbol, a silver-arrowhead embedded in a chunk of blue quartz carved into a stylized flame, at the end of a silver chain. The symbols swings back and forth in time with her droning prayers, making slow circles in the air. In between ancient prayers Grace tosses questions to Shusane: “When was the last time you had a dream? What language did you speak in it? How many students do you have in your morning class? Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother.”
It is at this point that things definitely start to slide sideways. You know Grace Shadar to be many things; – a cat person, a giving lover, a collector of embroidered shawls – but chief among these is that she is a competent and skilled exorcist. She may be a mediocre scholarly theologian, but she’s a hell of a practical field-priest. This is by no means the first time she’s been dragged away from an official function to conduct an exorcism. But you can tell that even her professional demeanor starts to crack early on when Shusane doesn’t react to the ritual the way she clearly expected. Instead of being harmed by the ritual prayers, he punctuates them with long, drawn out sighs. Occasionally he corrects Grace’s pronunciation and grammar; she’s apparently using ecclesiastical Draconic, with it’s soft s-sounds and shortened vowels, something that Shusane pedantically objects to several times. When she asks him questions, he rolls his eyes but answers quickly and, as far as you can tell, truthfully, if not always helpfully: “I never knew my mother. She died before I was born.” He seems to know all the things Shusane would know, and shows no sign of any underlying, hidden personality.
As Grace winds down, she turns to look at the Headmaster with an awkward shrug. He nods to her. She turns back to Shsuane and raises her holy symbol.
The third stage of every exorcism is, of course, the casting out of the evil spirit.
Grace says a word that you can’t hear; even as she speaks it, it erases itself from your memory. Not many know the right way to to rebuke demons. Her holy symbol flares with blinding white light, and everyone in the little audience turns away. When the light fades into afterimages, Shusane is still sitting in his chair. The one eye capable of closing is blinking rapidly, the other leaks pale, pink-ish tears. When he speaks, his voice is a little rough, but no more than you’d expect from someone who just got blinded by a bright light.
“Are you satisfied?” he asks. “Are we done here?”
Argo ir’Witt looks even more troubled now than he did when he knocked on Shusane’s door. “There was something about… ah… Lady Carmina?”
Shusane stares directly at Alishia with his unblinking white eye. “She dropped in briefly earlier tonight,” he says dryly, “to have a little chat. She had to clear out rather abruptly, afterwards.”
[OOC: with your absolutely stellar rolls, you’re pretty sure that you have just witnessed a perfectly competently-performed exorcism that failed to exorcise anything.]
Elzabeth stares at Xali’s face searchingly. You feel that mental pressure again, the subtle probing of the top layers of your mind. Fortunately, Xali’s mind is super-duper probe-proof! The psion-wizard-whatever gives a little grunt of annoyance and slams her hands together in irritation.Xali gives Elzabeth a look. "You think I know where Fleshbinder is right now? Or where he lives? If we knew that then we would summon help and burn his place down. I know the name Dire Bat Girl makes people think I am world-greatest inquisitive, but is not so. Yet. We are talking about an evil conspiracy man with evil conspiracy minions wearing evil conspiracy clothes. If we ever find a lair, he just leaves and picks a new one."
“So, can you actually turn into a dire bat?” Xaipho wants to know. This single thought has been preying on her the entire conversation. Callixo looks away, bored; Xali has ceased to be a threat, and the truth or falsehood of her statement holds no interest to them.
Rysha’s nostrils flare, and she gives Xali a friendly little smile. You get the sinking feeling that you maybe didn’t get one over on the druid as well as you thought. Instead of saying anything, though, she makes a little mark in her wax tablet.
“This is useless,” Elzabeth complains. “She’s useless.”
“We could question the chubby dwarf or other tiny drow who are trying to listen in on our conversation,” Callixo announces. “They might prove less… silly.”
Out of the corner of your eye, you see Abigail and Raven trying to lurk surreptitiously. They’re actually pretty good at it.
Elzabeth throws up her hands in disgust. “Why not?! It can’t be any worse than hanging around here.”Then Xali notices that besides the royal party there's another group leaving: Alishia and the teachers.
"Ah. I think this is about the demon-possessed lich I mentioned. Say, earlier you chased Ella, did you not? To a barricaded door? It was around there. Tell you what, we make a deal: we follow those people there and listen in as they discuss the lich. You will then know that what I said is true."
You get to the little tete-a-tete in Shusane’s quarters a few seconds before the flash of light fills the hallway. Lord ir’Tarn, clearly the most confused faculty member present, has been hanging back. He sees you approach. “Hello.” He blinks. “Oh, say; aren’t you the girl who performed the, ah, cultural dance at parent teacher night?”