< Hunting In The Cold | Sol Invictus Logs | Talking About The Shadow >

  • Zahara arrives back at the manse in due time, looking both more hardened and at peace at the same time. She dismounts from Tanty, and wends her way to where she'd seen Cerin from above.
  • Cerin is sat outside on one the balconys, notes spread out infront of him.
  • Zahara takes a moment to refresh herself at one of the miniature fountains, before coming out on the balcony and tapping Cerin on the shoulder.
  • Cerin turns round just as her finger hits his shoulder. He flows to his feet, wrapping his arms around her "Welcome home."
  • Zahara smiles and kisses him, "Miss me?"
  • Cerin shows her just how much he did with the kiss "Every night and day."

<Zahara> "And the twilights and the dawns?"

<Cerin> "Always, except for the dreams we shared."

  • Zahara smiles, "Speaking of those dreams," she says, fingers tickling up and down his spine, "You told me you had a present for me."
  • Cerin shivers pleasantly as her fingers trace along his spine before looking a little more serious "I do, yes." he kisses by her ear, then whispers "Look at your finger."
  • Zahara withdraws her hands and looks at them

The ring on Zahara's finger is made of the purest orichalcum. There is a dragon on it, engraved with detail so fine you can make out the invidual old realm symbols for 'love' 'protection' 'eternity' and others. The dragon's eyes are diamonds so perfect they glow with inner fire, the claws tipped with bloodred ruby.

  • Zahara 's eyes widen, and her smile grows even brighter, "Oh, Cerin, it's beautiful..." she holds her hand up and turns it back and forth, inspecting it. "Where did you find it?"

<Cerin> "I brought it down from Heaven for you."

  • Zahara pushes Cerin down on the floor of the balcony and thanks him properly for a couple of hours.
  • Zahara rolls over and rearranges her hair a bit, so as to absolve herself of the bedhead look, although they weren't exactly secretive in the first place. "Mmm. So.. about that *other* present?" she asks, nudging him a bit.

<Cerin> "Mmm. later? after some dinner? It's lasted several days.. a little time wont kill it." He gently smoothes her hair down a little more, then kisses her, before standing.

  • Zahara stands as well, looking out over the balcony idly as she leans against him. "Hmm I suppose you're right. Has Birds come up with any new pastries while I was gone?"

<Cerin> "Several, though unfortunately Marku found her stash yesterday..."

  • Zahara pouts a bit, "Men." she huffs.
  • Cerin kisses her as she pouts, pretending to look hurt.

<Zahara> "I haven't quite forgiven you for killing my toy, either, you know." she reminds him. "Not when we hadn't properly extracted every single iota of information he contained first."

<Cerin> "He did leave some very interesting notes though..." he looks over the sheets strewn over the balcony.

  • Zahara picks a sheet up delicately and shakes it off a bit. "I see... what happened to the girl? Did you return her to her people?"

<Cerin> "Yes, though we could do nothing for her. The spell she was wrapped in lasted beyond his death and we could not unweave it."

<Zahara> "A shame, really." she doesn't look particularly upset. "Did they treat with you regardless?"

<Cerin> "I believe so. Marku did the talking, and I was not there."

<Cerin> "his death was interesting though."

<Zahara> "His death would have been just as interesting in a month"

<Cerin> "Perhaps. Or it could have been the suddeness of the death. It was a choice I made when I let the arrows fly. I knew you would be upset."

<Zahara> "Why did you do it then? His death is much more fleeting than my anger."

<Cerin> "Because he had to die. I can live with your anger. For a time."

<Zahara> "He did, but not so quickly. He was a potential font of useful information that he most likely did NOT write down."

<Cerin> "I know."

<Zahara> "Plus, now I can't devise collars for those we meet in the future."

<Zahara> "Next time I want at least 24 hours."

<Cerin> "He was a solar. There was no new essence to study. He was a solar right up until his soul unwound before my eyes."

<Zahara> "Regardless."

<Cerin> "You have my assurances I'm just as interested in studying the new exalts as you are."

<Zahara> "We are not speaking of the new exalts, are we? You just assured me he was a Solar."

<Cerin> "You said you could not devise collars."

  • Zahara pulls her dress back on, buttoning up the front in precisely timed increments. "And then you said I did not need to. I am still speaking of the Yozi worshipper."

<Zahara> "And" she adds, "The 24 hours I require from the next one we meet."

<Cerin> "I am not sure we should bring back any Exalt of that power, Collared or not, to here. Not unless we can watch them all that 24 hours."

<Zahara> "We can build a new place, then. One for our more dangerous captives. Plus, if I only get 24 hours with one, you can be sure I will spend every minute of those 24 with them."

<Cerin> "It would need to be in a manse, for the security. Perhaps there is a demense close to the northern gate."

  • Zahara nods, "I will build a fortress, and you shall make it so secure that even you cannot pick its locks. And we two will hold the only keys."

<Cerin> "Then we can study any we capture for at least 24 hours."

<Zahara> "Agreed. And speaking of studying, I believe we have some of that to do, before any armies reach our doorstep."

  • Cerin nods "The ...ghoul is in your cells."

<Zahara> "Oh, and once we're done, I'll need you and..mmm.. four others, I believe. To do something about those armies' ability to reach our doorstep." She turns, and heads down into the depths of the Cascade, to where the cells lie.

  • Cerin follows her. Zahara can tell he is very curious about what she just said, though he doesnt ask about it. yet."

<Zahara> "Which one is it in?" she asks, once they reach the central room.

  • Cerin palms the cell door across from the room the abyssal is stored in. The light within is turned on to its maximum setting. hanging there is cloth wrapped ghoul.
  • Zahara looks it up and down experimentally, noting its various features and the way it moves - or tries to - "Hmm I don't believe I've seen its' like before. I'd ask our good friend Mask of Winters, but I'm not sure he's amenable to answering my queries anymore."

<Cerin> "It has no essence to be seen. Well, none except for the very finest spiderweb tracery linking the sigils. It should not have enough to move, let along convert a village to more like it."

<Zahara> "I wonder if we could sever that spiderweb."

<Cerin> "I have not yet tried. I did not want it to fall apart."

<Zahara> "We'll try that as one of the last things we do, she says. She opens one of the cabinets and withdraws four long, incredibly strong interlocking bars, walks over to the ghoul on the wall, and slips the thickest up his spine in the groove the rings fit into in the wall, Once that clicks into place, she slides the second through those in his arms

  • Zahara can feel a slight hesitation as it fits into the ring at the top of the first, then glides through the other side. The bar snaps into place in the middle ring, and she fastens the ends to the rings in his wrists, then leans down and performs a similar operation to each of its legs, both bars locking into eachother and the center bar.

The ghoul growls menacingly but ineffectually at Zahara

  • Zahara steps to the side and releases the rings from the wall, allowing the ghoul to fall flat on its face, with no more ability to move than he had on the wall.
  • Cerin looks down at it, then picks it up by the bars. "They heal remarkably well too. And partially severed limbs do not stop them."

<Zahara> "What about fully severed limbs?"

<Cerin> "That, again, I have not tried. I thought I would wait for you before I started cutting limbs off."

  • Zahara chuckles, "Of course. I simply was not sure if you had seen others less fortunate than this one. Or, more fortunate, depending on how you look at it." She cracks her knuckles. "The bars should fit perfectly into the blood grooves on the table." she motions.

<Zahara> "Did you happen to count how many of these creatures it took to perform their sorcery?"

  • Cerin settles the bars into the groves. "They were space appromately 10 feet apart...and the village was hmmm...yes, there must have been somewhere in the region of 100 of them who actually drew the sigils."
  • Zahara locks them into place once the ghoul is properly placed. "Intriguing... I wonder if it is a set number of participants, or if they simply need enough to make a complete circle at the appropriate distance apart.. hmmm.." she prods the ghoul a bit.

It writhes and squirms under Zahara's touch.

  • Zahara frowns at it, "This would be easier if it talked."
  • Cerin nods. "Enraged screams are all it has vocalised."
  • Cerin watches how the threads react to Zahara's proding.
  • Zahara retrieves various pointy, saw-edged, heated, and iced implements, setting them on the nearby small table. "Then we'll have to find out its weaknesses one step at a time." she says, holding up a pointy rod that glows with magmalike heat near the tip.
  • Cerin watches its reaction to each and every device Zahara applies, informing her of its reactions.
  • Zahara weilds her tools with a deft and sure hand, using the information Cerin supplies to more properly target her actions.

The beast flails when the torture devices are applied to it, but not like a living person would do; it seems simply to be attempting to avoid the objects, but with no sense of pain. They can damage the creature's flesh normally, but such damage seems to have no effect on the ghoul's ability to actually move.

  • Zahara places her hand against his foot and watches what happens when a Sun Bolt meets it.
  • Cerin watches too, studying the flesh very closely.

The zombie's flesh begins to bubble and boil under the heat of the Sun Bolt, though its face reacts no differently than before. Cerin does not see the trademark wisps of Essence that accompany the touch of the Sun Bolt to necrotic Essence.

  • Cerin frowns deeply "It is not reacting as it should. There is no reaction between the darkness and the light. Though, perhaps this should not be a suprise, as there is no essence to react too."

<Zahara> "Hmmm.. Cerin, perhaps you could apply an Essence-assisted arrow to its knee, here?" she points. "It doesn't react properly. It's more like... like a suit of living armor than a proper ghoul."

  • Cerin gestures and calls the bow of sunlight, stringing a mote wrapped in shadow across it, then firing down into the table, neatly severing the leg, slightly scortching the table below.

<Zahara> "When we've finished our more conventional methods, I'd like to see if I can split it in two, and use Countermagic on one end, and those arrowheads we made for the Aalorai with the other. Arrowhead first, of course."

  • Cerin nods "It will be interesting to see if the arrowheads can do anything against them."

<Zahara> "They seem to be beings of Essence without true flesh. Hopefully they will."

<Cerin> "They have no essence."

<Zahara> "Except that which holds them together."

<Cerin> "That is the merest traceries. perhaps a mote spun out over the whole body"

<Zahara> "If that one mote is shattered, though, what will be left to hold it together?"

<Cerin> "They must become as dead flesh. There is nothing else."

<Zahara> "Then that is what we must focus our attacks on." she pauses for a moment while inspecting the ragged edges of the wound from her Bolt, "I recall Soulsteel having Essence-draining properties. Perhaps those would serve, as well."

  • Cerin nods "They might well work. If they do, we will have to try and gather more, though they are ..difficult to weild with as much finesse as we would need."

<Zahara> "I'll be back in a moment, the Soulsteel weapons are in the Vault." She retreats to the storeroom, leaving Cerin to listen to the ghoul's moans and growls alone for a bit.

  • Cerin managed to sleep with the growls before, so they do not bother him over much.
  • Zahara returns bearing a sword she claimed from one Abyssal or another.
  • Cerin holds his hand out of the blade, studying it briefly, letting a few motes play over the blade, watching how they behave.

The severed leg twitches in place, as if it were still attached to the body.

  • Cerin studies the gap very carefully, looking for the spiderweb strands...

The tiny filaments of Essence continue to "connect" the leg to the body.

The soulsteel blade glimmers in the light -- its Essence bearing a close relationship to that of the Abyssal still hanging in the next cell.

<Cerin> "It is still connected. I'm not sure we'll be able to isolate it enough to try countermagic on one half and the arrows on the other."

  • Zahara frowns

<Cerin> "Perhaps we could cut them with this blade?"

<Zahara> "Well, let's try the simplest methods first. Soulsteel, then Arrowheads, then Countermagic.

  • Cerin nods. He starts to try and cut the strands joining leg to body with the soulsteel blade.

The tiny flows of Essence seem to shift and slide in an attempt to evade severing with the soulsteel blade. Zahara notices that... something seems a little familiar about the sigils. Can't quite place from where.

  • Cerin frowns. He starts to move with more deliberate care, hooking the strands individually.
  • Zahara frowns slightly, "Those sigils.. have you seen them before?

<Zahara> "They look awfully familiar... maybe I've seen them in one of the spellbooks..."

As Cerin hooks the sword gently upon one of the Essence strands, he sees it split itself in half to allow the blade passage -- and neatly rejoin itself after the sword passes.

  • Cerin looks up as he cuts a strand, then scowls as it reforms "This will not cut them. They reform." he sets it down "Now that you come to mention it, they are rather familar, yes. Though /where/ have I seen them?"

<Cerin> "It cant have been your spell books...I never looked at them..Perhaps the notes from Rathess?"

<Zahara> "Hmm I was hoping the draining effect they have would do it. Too bad," she says distractedly as she leans over and traces the symbols with her fingertip

Zee's perception suddenly flashes away from the room in the Sunlands... She sees a manse, much like this one, aflame, its inhabitants' corpses lining the walls; upon the ground in front, in fifty foot characters of blood, lie three of the sigils....

She blinks.

<Zahara> "Um."

<Cerin> "What is it?" he asks, concerned.

  • Zahara focuses on the symbols before her again, comparing them with those in her vision. "These creatures... or a similar spell.. They have the ability to destroy even manses." she says slowly. "I have seen it."

<Cerin> "..."

<Cerin> "How many did it take?"

<Zahara> "We must find a way to destroy them, Cerin," she says quietly, "Before they destroy everything in their paths."

  • Cerin nods solemnly. He picks up a knife and imbues it with the ghost-eating technique, and tries to sever the strands.
  • Zahara shrugs helplessly, "I'm not sure, but they were spaced about ten feet apart, as you described those in the village."

The Essence slides around the blade just as it did the soulsteel.

<Zahara> "The runes themselves seemed to be 50 feet across as they lie on the ground.

<Cerin> "The ghost-eating technique does not bite the ess-...fifty feet tall?!"

<Zahara> "Indeed." she frowns. I took the liberty of fetching one of the essence-consuming arrows when I got the soulsteel" she says, unwrapping the arrow cautiously and handing it to him. "Try this."

  • Cerin takes the arrow and tries to hook the mote on the point, keeping it pointed away from himself and Zahara.

<alsoquin> As with the other weapons, the Essence carefully flows out of the way of the blade.

<Zahara> "Try actually shooting it" she suggests helpfully

  • Cerin pauses breifly, then stabs it foreward, directly onto a strand.

There's a flash of light, and the tip of the arrow explodes in a brilliant flash of Essence, burning away a portion of the ghoul's leg. Afterwards, though, the strands of Essence continue to connect what remains of the leg to the body.

<Cerin> "...still it reconnects."

  • Zahara blinks several times, trying to clear the flash of light from before her eyes. When she looks at Cerin, he looks like a purplish blob. "This is dismaying."
  • Cerin kisses her softly "It is." he sighs "I suppose we should move onto counter magics."
  • Zahara crosses her arms, summoning her will and directing it at the entrapped ghoul
  • Cerin watches the brilliant. slicing essence

Zahara tries each of the Circles of Countermagic in succession, but each seems to bounce off the creature with no effect -- the tiny tracery of Essence seems immune to even these powerful efforts to dispel it.

  • Cerin swallows.

Tags: (:tags Shadowed Unlife Equation, First Age Flashbacks:)

< Hunting In The Cold | Sol Invictus Logs | Talking About The Shadow >