With Markuran occupied in his test of honor, the other Solars find themselves free to explore the lost city.
The sun shines brightly through the vine-ringed windows of the room where they have been brought.
- Cerin idly runs his hands through his hair, as he looks out of the window.
- Serenal seems a little on edge. "You may explore the city, if you wish," she says, through gritted teeth.
<Zahara> "How kind of you to offer.
<Cerin> "Thank you." he smiles pleasantly at her.
<Zahara> "Will you be our guide, or shall we make our way as we will?"
- Serenal grits her teeth a little harder. "As you would prefer."
<Zahara> "I am rather in the mood for a guided tour." She smiles slightly. "I wouldn't want to miss anything."
- Serenal shrugs. "Follow me, then." She begins to lead the group out of the small waiting room, down the stairs and out into the open courtyard. Tropical birds flitter between the pillars as the sun blazes down upon them.
- Cerin walks easily by Zahara's side, looking about curiously, at the birds and the plants.
- Birds-of-Trinity quietly greets a hummingbird as they pass by a bush and exchanges some pleasantries.
- Zahara watches Serenal, reading her posture and her words, the way her pride makes her hasty and rash just like Markuran.
- Kai follows behind, taking in the sights and the sun.
- Serenal begins to lead the Solars across the courtyard, not stopping to explain the great faces carved into the pillars or the elaborate but faded mosaic inlaid into the floor.
- Zahara stops her, playing the tourist, "Are these your ancestors, in the carvings?"
<Serenal?> Eventually, she leads them toward a singular tower, rendered from stone in the shape of a great spiral, heading upwards into the sky; she begins to walk up the outside.
<Zahara> "Oh, wait, you don't have those anymore. I meant, are these other Chosen of the Moon?"
<Serenal?> "Those are the faces of those who once occupied this city, long before my kind came to live here."
<Zahara> "Ah, so this city was not created by your kind?"
<Serenal?> "No," she says, as she leads the guests further up the great spiral. "In days long past, this was a city of men."
<Zahara> "Did your people conquer them?'
<Serenal?> "No. They once were powerful and strong, but the creatures of death were their undoing. When the Contagion came, the guardians of the city went mad with grief, and slew every survivor. It was two hundred years before my kind came here."
<Serenal?> The tower continues to spiral up, far beyond any of the nearby buildings; the air grows cooler as a strong wind blows across.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Tell us more about the guardians. Who were they? Do any remain?"
<Serenal?> "They were great beasts, created by your progenitors and mine. They had the forms of animals, pure and magnificent, but the stature of giants, and the souls of the wise. They were attuned to the minds and hearts of this city's people; they could feel their joys and pains. (...)
<Serenal?> "Thirty of them, there were; when the plague stripped 9 of every 10 souls from their bodies, the pain destroyed the minds of the guardians. In their madness, they let none escape."
- Birds-of-Trinity nods as she follows Serenal onward.
<Zahara> "It is a strange thing, what emotions can do to you. Grief, pride, anger, fear. All so powerful, they can drive you mad."
<Serenal?> After some minutes, the spiral stops, leaving the group off at what seems to be a tiny stone gazebo, far atop the spire. Within sits what looks to be a single hearth, long abandoned and unlit; without, benches sit, allowing unrivalled views out into the distance.
<Serenal?> "Yes, the foolishness of humans and the weakness they bring to their creations is quite odd. We were foolish, too, to be a part of it."
<Zahara> "Even you are not immune to such things, Serenal."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "There is something beautiful in that story."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "This place is beautiful, too. Do you come here often?"
- Cerin smiles and looks out over the east, letting essence enhance his eyes as he does, colours leaping into greater brightness, feeling the wind carress his face, hair blowing to the side as he gazes
- Serenal makes a dismissive noise to Zahara, but answers Birds' query. "I have never walked to this place before, though I have alit here often as a hawk or crow."
- Zahara smiles slightly as Serenal ignores her advice. Little girl, she will remain weak until she can control that streak of pride.
- Serenal sits down on one of the benches and stares off into the East for a few moments.
<Cerin> "What happened to the guardians, anyway?" he asks, still not breaking his gaze from the forest.
- Birds-of-Trinity perches on a bench and looks at the ruin.
- Zahara turns her eyes to the view as well, stepping up next to Cerin and looking out over the city and the forest beyond
<Serenal?> From up here, the city's layout becomes clearer to the observers. The city has almost a stairstep design -- square buildings rise up from flat courtyards, with their rooves forming yet other courtyards to enter other buildings. The jungle vine is omnipresent, providing a colorful contrast to the city's grey stone.
<Serenal?> "We slew them."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, what is Markuran doing down there with your bett-- I mean, your elders?"
- Serenal shrugs. "I do not know what test the Elders put to him. They are often unpredictable."
<Zahara> "Have you, too, been tested?"
<Serenal?> Suddenly, she arises and begins walking back down the spiralling ramp.
<Zahara> "Will you tell us of them?"
<Serenal?> "I undertook a great quest and journey for the Pact, and was rewarded with a choice. I chose correctly."
<Zahara> "What were your choices?"
<Serenal?> "By the law of the pact I am forbidden from discussing it."
- Cerin sends a flicker of concern/curiousity through the unity. "I see."
- Serenal leads the group down again to the wide courtyard and gestures widely. "Is there something you would like to see? Lachu Atapis holds many remarkable secrets."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That very green place in that direction," she points, "is that the necropolis?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I find tombs tend to reveal many things about their inhabitants."
<Serenal?> "You are correct. Follow me, this way."
- Birds-of-Trinity grins.
- Serenal leads the Solars through a series of short passageways and open spaces to a large circular area, walled in like a city within a city. Inside, five great tombs rise up, each decorated with great inscribed characters in the Old Realm script."
<Serenal?> - "
- Zahara takes a moment to read the script
<Serenal?> It appears to be a series of incantations warding off the touch of decay and speeding those within to a swift and glorious rebirth.
<Kai> "Whose tombs are these?"
<Serenal?> "These are the governors of the city, in its past existence."
<Zahara> "And your own dead?"
<Serenal?> "Are placed atop the towers to be eaten by birds, as is nature's way."
- Serenal walks over to one of the doors and slides the huge slab of stone out of the way. "Do you wish to venture within?"
<Kai> "Are these the only major tombs? Just these five?"
<Zahara> "Yes, that would be interesting."
- Cerin sends more concern to Zahara, through the unity.
<Serenal?> "The only major tombs. There were other burial arrangements, underground, though they were not as... ostentatious."
- Zahara returns confidence and then questioning
- Cerin shakes his head to the tomb. That isnt the source of the concern. He sends desire, then moves his lips.
<Kai> "Hm. Perhaps it would be interesting to see how the common people were lain as well..."
- Serenal leads the group inside. The sight is instantly familiar to most -- this is clearly the tomb of a Solar Exalt. Only Kai has not journeyed within such a place before. The great mosaics of deeds of battle and the golden decorations are very standard, though they provoke no flashes of remembrance.
- Zahara takes a moment, standing in front of Cerin, blocking view of him, and ostensibly looking at a rune behind Cerin, and watches his lips, reading what he says.
<Serenal?> As the group examines, Serenal nods to Kai's request. "As you wish. A gateway to the inner crypts lies within each of these tombs."
- Kai examines the scenes with interest.
- Zahara frowns slightly and nods. "Interesting." she turns back, "The runes here ward off decay."
<Serenal?> The scenes show a fairly broad southeastern man fighting demons, sitting in rulership of the city, and otherwise acting as the very model of a divine god-king.
<BirdsOfTrinity> [holy crap they're not coffins they're beds!]
- Cerin nods to himself as he joins Kai in studying the murals.
- Zahara looks for signs as to whether they were chosen or not.
- Serenal journeys into a side chamber and opens up another stone door, opening up onto a sharply sloping spiral staircase. "The crypts lie this way."
<Serenal?> Zahara notices something in one of the images -- a golden circle, bearing the mark of the Zenith caste, hung around the man's neck....
- Zahara nods to herself, reaching up towards it to touch the image.
<Serenal?> Though brilliant in appearance, the circle seems to be made of nothing other than mosaic tiles of gold.
- Zahara frowns lightly to herself, considering that these Lunars would probably think poorly of her if she were to retrieve anything from the tomb.
- Serenal waits patiently for the Solars to follow her down into the darkness.
- Zahara continues on, to follow the Lunar
- Cerin follows after Zahara.
- Kai follows as well.
- Birds-of-Trinity catches up.
- Serenal channels a single mote of Essence and the area around her is lit up with a pale, ethereal glow.
<Serenal?> The stairway winds down quite far before opening up into a hallway extending in either direction, carved crudely from the rock.
<Serenal?> On each side of the hall, niches are set back into the rock. Some are filled with stone sarcophagi, others with loose wrappings or nothing at all. The hallways continue on in both directions.
- Zahara glances casually into the tombs.
- Kai gazed around with interest, and moves off toward a leftward passage.
- Zahara hmms to herself and adds the light from her own anima to Serenal's, as she follows Kai
- Cerin follows after Kai, sending a little concern and curiousity into the unity.
<Serenal?> The hallway continues on in the same manner for some time, as Kai leads on. The niches are perhaps half full.
<Cerin> His eyes are focused a little ahead of her, not actually watching her.
- Kai pauses to examine a set of wrappings.
- Zahara steps back to fall in next to Cerin and leans in to kiss him, beneath her breath the words tickle his ear, "Did you notice the light?"
<Serenal?> Though most of the bandages and burial shrouds seem to be empty, the one Kai lifts up holds something within it -- a long, narrow object of some kind.
<Cerin> "The sword. It is linked. To that bundle." he mouths softly, his words a whisper.
- Kai examines it closely, and pushes aside the wrappings a bit.
- Cerin nods "What have you found Kai?" he asks, as he breaks the kiss. His eyes roam over the bundle.
<Kai> "You know, I'm not sure." She opens the wrappings a bit more.
<Serenal?> As Kai pulls back the wrapping, it seems to continue of its own accord, falling away to the cold stone floor. She is left holding something -- a vicious-looking scabbard, trimmed with soulsteel, hanging on a black leather belt. Daybreaker would appear to fit it perfectly.
<Serenal?> Everyone can see it now -- both the sword, and the scabbard, are glowing with a faint but noticeable black light.
<Zahara> "Have you been here before, Kai?"
- Kai draws the blade, holding it up next ot the scabbard.
<Kai> "I have not."
<Zahara> "In other lives?"
- Cerin smiles as she obligingly holds them so that he can study them, tracing the lines of power between them.
<Kai> "Not that I'm aware of." She pauses, considering the two items.
<Serenal?> The two objects are clearly linked; Essence flows between them, even when held several feet apart.
- Cerin looks closer, searching the reaction of the blade to the scabbard, seeing how the soulpattern has changed.
- Kai draws a deep breath. Looking a little unsure, she places the tip of the blade into the scabbard, and slowly, very slowly, slides them together.
<Serenal?> As the sword slides in, the black glow grows stronger and stronger, until finally she places it all the way within -- then, suddenly, the glow is gone entirely, and the excited Essence surrounding the sword calms again.
- Kai has yet to let her breath out.
- Zahara raises a brow.
<Serenal?> The tunnel is quiet.
- Kai exhales.
- Serenal seems quite uncertain about this matter, but does not speak out.
<Zahara> "Well, they seem to be connected. Perhaps it was once yours."
<Zahara> "May I see them both?"
<Kai> "I would guess so." She draws the blade halfway out, and holds them up for Zahara to inspect, though, as always, she does not relinquish her hold on them.
- Zahara enhances her vision to be able to see the flows of essence within, and compares them to what she's seen of other artifacts, bringing all of her expertise with artifacts and the arcane to bear.
<Zahara> "They are definitely connected. The scabbard seems to enhance the sword."
<Kai> "Hm." She sheathes the blade all the way, then draws it quickly, goes through a couple motions, and replaces it.
- Serenal looks around. "We should leave this place."
- Kai examines the scabbard one last time and, perhaps finally convinced it won't bite, straps it on, and follows the Lunar out of the crypts.
<Serenal?> The sunlight seems refreshingly pleasant compared to the darkness within the crypt.
- Zahara stretches a little, letting the sun soak into her skin, before saying, "Where to next?"
<Serenal?> "Perhaps the hanging gardens would be a more pleasant sight at this point."
<Kai> "I think that sounds fun. And less corpse-filled."
<Zahara> "Lead on."
- Serenal leads the Solars off towards the beautiful overgrown gardens of Lachu Atapis.
Tags: (:tags Lachu Atapis, Serenal, Guardian Animals, Zenith Caste Seal, Daybreaker, Daybreaker's Scabbard :)
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