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charlequin Taking up the rear as the group of Solars walks through the gate, Cerin is -- as always -- prepared for a surprise. Finding himself in an utterly different location than his companions, though -- and the gate closed again behind him -- was not amongst his top three guesses as to what it would be, however.

Cerin looks around himself, the glimmering gold of his bow appearing in his hand ::Zahara?::

charlequin Cerin finds himself in a strange room. It is perhaps twenty feet around at most; the ceiling consists of numerous flying arches, connecting together at 60 degree angles and flowing into pillars that connect to the floor. There's an odd sort of light to the room, causing everything to be lit unusually harshly, with a chiaroscuro effect of high contrast between lights and darks.

charlequin It is also completely and utterly monochrome, with only Cerin's scarlet armor providing the slightest hint of color. (...)

charlequin The Night caste can feel the strange thickness of the air here, as if it actively resists the flows of Essence -- his attempts to conjure a bow produce a thin and less than entirely glamorous weapon. He also feels no response from his telepathic entreaty.

charlequin The room seems completely quiet.

Cerin frowns softly ::My love?:: he asks again, concentrating more on the bow, watching how the essence flows around it, trying to reinforce it

charlequin The closest metaphor Cerin could produce would be trying to swim through syrup -- his Essence can still move, but it does so with an incredible slowness and against immense resistance.

Cerin holds it as he turns to examine the gate, trying to determine his co-ordinates or anything about his location ::ZAHARA! BIRDS! KAI!::

charlequin The circle behind him hangs suspended between two of the pillars that fill the room. The Essence appears to have drained out of it completely -- the low-level thrum of leyline support that drives the gates is not present.

Cerin studies it more closely as he feels around for Aliza, frowning at the lack of response from Zahara. Is she in a room like this too? ... is it even a real gate? Or merely a copy?

charlequin As he gazes deeply into its inner workings, Cerin can see that the channels that fill the gate he has emerged through are subtly different from those he has investigated before. It seems unlikely that this one functions in precisely the way he is used to, though without seeing the channels in action it would be difficult to determine the precise differences.

Cerin puts his finger on the gate, at one of the points it seems to accept essence and tries to push some into the machine.

charlequin With a significant effort Cerin can squeeze some motes into the ring, but they're like a drop in the ocean compared to the might of an active leyline; they spin through the ring briefly before dissipating effectlessly.

Cerin frowns at the gate, feeling around once more through the rings, the unity, for Aliza.

charlequin Both the telepathic bond and the familiar bond seem... not severed, but unresponsive.

charlequin As Cerin frowns at the ring of stone and metal, he notices the light falling upon it grow brighter, as if a new source of light has appeared behind him.

Cerin turns slowly

Cerin [NB room is big not small]

charlequin Ten feet back from where Cerin slowly turns is an unusual sight: a large, angular desk, shaped somewhat like four sides of an octagon, seemingly carved of mahogany or another such wood. It, like the surroundings, is completely monochrome. In a large chair behind it sits a man; he wears black robes that obscure his form, and seven thin rings of various shapes and forms on his elongated fingers.

charlequin A pure white light shines from a source perhaps 5 feet behind him, and his face is cloaked entirely in shadow.

charlequin Cerin's essence vision is murky and clouded by the resistance in the room, but when he stares at this gentleman he sees what looks to be a complete absence of Essence -- not even the glow of mundane matter or air.

charlequin As Cerin glares closely at him he can detect slight whiffs of Essence rising off of him, powerful enough to force their way past even whatever amazing cloaking technique he has adopted. The dark, bitter taste of those tiny eddies of Essence can come from only one place -- a Yozi.

charlequin "Cerin the Wolf." The voice, plain but somehow inhumanly powerful, speaks from the shadow-darkened face.

Cerin "Greetings." he says with a small nod, hair falling slowly through the molasses of the essence in room.

charlequin "I have been watching you for... some time."

Cerin "It would appear so."

charlequin The shadowy man brings his two hands together in the classic stretched-out fingertip-to-fingertip position. "You are a man of tremendous power, and yet... to what end do you use it?" The fingers slide together and twist in both directions to crack his knuckles, then return to the previous position. "To accomplish... what?"

Cerin "What I and my love wish for Creation." he replies simply.

charlequin "And what do you wish?"

Cerin "To see Creation grow and prosper with us at it's head. To understand all there is to know."

charlequin The gentleman leans forward a bit and folds his hands over each other. "You wish to be kings of the realm, once again, as you were so long ago."

Cerin gives a small nod. It was more than that, but ...

charlequin There is a pause. "I can give you that wish. Unlock the libraries of the universe, and place you upon the throne of the world."

Cerin "At what price?"

charlequin A slight breeze seems to blow through the room in the moment before the man speaks. "Help usher in a new era, casting down the weak gods of today and restoring the true lords of reality. Find yourselves the king and queen of Creation, the ultimate rulers of the land. Find all of the worlds open to you, secrets you never dreamed to exist laid out before your eyes, treasures unknown for ages at your side."

Cerin "I see. And what do you get, if we get that?"

charlequin "A reward of my own, far beyond the fields of Creation."

Cerin "I'm curious as to what ..."

charlequin "The return of something very important. The details are... unimportant."

Cerin "As you wish." Cerin shrugs a little to indicate his disappointment

charlequin "Do you see the value in this proposal?"

Cerin "I can see the value in it, yes."

charlequin "I encourage you to consider it, then." He reaches one of his hands into his robes and draws out a small object: a ring of dull black metal, with a single ruby -- still shining red even in this monochrome location -- set into it. He lets it go into the air, where it floats over to hang about a foot in front of Cerin. He can now see that it is cast in the shape of a sleek, lithe dragon chasing its own tail.

Cerin tilts his head to study it, not reaching out to touch it just yet. The Ebon Dragon, eh?

charlequin The ring hangs patiently in the air. From gazing at its essence, it looks as if it would be safe to touch -- it's only /wearing/ it that would produce a potentially non-reversible effect.

Cerin picks it from the air carefully.

charlequin The ring is quite a bit heavier than it would appear purely by its shape. The ruby gleams brilliantly as he turns it in his hand.

charlequin "You are a powerful and impressive man, Cerin. I hope that you see cause to turn that talent to the right ends."

Cerin simply nods to this.

charlequin The man snaps his fingers and the gate behind Cerin roars to life once again. "We will meet again," he says, and a moment later his body -- and the desk -- seems to fade into incorporeal shadows, before another slight breeze carries them away.

Cerin watches the lack of essence blow away on a breeze, then closes his palm around the ring before slipping it into one of his pockets. He takes a small walk around the room trying to figure out how it does just what it does, then turns back to the ring.

charlequin The room itself seems to be entirely mundane. If there is something causing the essence-slowing effect, it is far enough beyond the room's bounds to be undetectable.

Cerin offers essence to the ring, trying to work out just how it accomplished it's ..him stealing trick as he activates it

charlequin The inside clears to reveal a portal back to Cerin's previous location. Cerin mentally notes the Essence structures within the ring, fairly certain he can work out more details of its functioning later.

Cerin steps through.

Tags: (:tags Isles of Ash, Thousand-Faced Man, Primordials, Infernals, Ebon Dragon, Infernal Ring :)

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