alsoquin As the Solars progress towards Ssithumi's new "office," something clicks with Cerin -- a building he spots in the distance matches with a map location provided to him some time ago by Iallu. Now that Rathess has been so thoroughly rebuilt, it would seem like a perfect time to pop in and investigate. He quickly excuses himself and runs off towards an odd, L-shaped tower to the southwest.
alsoquin Progressing inwards and through a series of tunnels that branch at octagonal angles, Cerin finds himself in front of a large door of solid granite, with a fine tracery of orichalcum laid over it in an extensive locking enchantment. It is clear that a great deal of rubble has been excavated from this area in the recent past, and probably this door was not even exposed until just recently.
Kraken smiles at the door and the enchantment, and tries extending his senses through and around the door at first.
Cerin smiles at the door and the enchantment, and tries extending his senses through and around the door at first.
alsoquin The locking mechanism is fairly impressive compared to modern contrivances, but is nothing Cerin hasn't seen -- and undone -- before. Around the outside of the doorway, wisps of stray Essence slip through -- clearly there's still some activity on the other side.
alsoquin It seems likely that just a little sufficiently deft manipulation would throw the door open.
alsoquin Cerin extends his senses through the door and gets a look around. The laboratory is an octagonal room, perhaps 50 feet to a side. Enchanted spheres on the wall cast a strange reddish-orange light over the entire room. Several large tables sit, covered with a variety of strange apparata -- glass tubes, unusual clamps, and strange metal and crystalline devices that more resemble abstract art than tools of learning. (...)
alsoquin Around the outside of the room, numerous hatches in the walls are shut tight, containing within them a variety of other materials, copious notes, and other objects. (...)
alsoquin Most notable within the room are three distinct items: a large crystal device with two diagonal, upward-pointing prongs that bend towards the center again at their top; a vast clay vessel (perhaps seven feet tall) that appears to have been rendered entirely essence-impermeable, and which has a variety of unusual characters carved upon it; (...)
alsoquin and a pot with a strange plant, possessing an oddly curved geometry and apparently covered largely wil black plates, through which in spots a pale blue light shines out that fights against the red glow; long runners and vines leave the pot in several directions, most of them ending in unkempt piles of bones upon the floor.
Cerin After spending a few moments to study both the contents of the room and the door ward from all possible angles, Cerin draws from his pockets a handful of red blooms which he charges with essence and carefully sets on the seven cardinal points of the ward that extends a little forward of the door. Once those are in place, a trio of deft cuts with the essence cutting blades that zahara had made for him cause the warding to slowly fall (...)
Cerin to pieces around him.
alsoquin With this tiny effort, Cerin breaks the ward locking the door into place. As he does so, the lights in the lab shift -- a pale sea-green color shines, and he sees that a wall of Essence appears in a small zone behind the door, delineated by a tile pattern on the floor. The granite slowly slides into the wall, allowing him entrance; once he steps through, the door closes again behind him before the lights shift back to their redde
Cerin nods to himself and considers the plant first, in more detail as well as the bones, trying to determine at least their species and preferably thier age.
alsoquin Many of them seem to be quite old. Most of what he sees are rather small bones -- rodents and other pest animals, most likely. At least two larger skeletons are present -- one looks like it was maybe a large pig or boar, the other probably a human.
Cerin Cerin considers, and then walks over to the large cylinder, studying it in detail now he is nolonger blocked from seeing through it, studying both the symbols and looking for anything that might activate, or alternatively deactivate it.
alsoquin The plant seems to be rather intensely essence-filled, enough that it glows under its own power. It seems to be "dormant" at the moment, as it is not moving and it is filled to capacity with Essence....
alsoquin The cylinder's sigils are odd, using no character set that Cerin is familiar with. They run up and down the surface in irregular patterns, and are rather crudely carved. The material is very odd -- it has no Essence flows of its own, but somehow seems to be entirely impermeable to Essence flows of any kind -- even Cerin's augmented senses penetrate no more than an inch into the surface before halting. (...)
alsoquin A little further examination reveals a series of long lines that cut across the surface in various geometric arrangements. It seems as if they may represent the seams by which the vessel is opened -- it looks like proper pressure applied in certain places would cause it to unfold, with several large pieces unfolding from a central hinge.
alsoquin Raising an eyebrow, Cerin taps into his Essence stores and forces himself to think in an altogether new way, building a perfect model of the device within his head and setting out to study the model. As he pores over the lines and curves of the vessel, he is drawn to a single conclusion: it would appear to be some sort of soul "incubator."
alsoquin There does not appear to be any specific way to determine from the outside whether it is currently occupied, though it /was/ closed when Cerin entered...
Cerin Cerin resolves to study the rest of the room, most particularly the plant and the strange two proned device. If there /is/ a soul in there, he would like some chance at catching it before it tries to escape into the wider world... It wouldn't do to let it get away.
alsoquin Upon closer inspection, the two-pronged device has two small cavities in the large crystalline base, each connected by a tiny hole to the exterior that can be covered by a tiny, swivelling cap. Their geometry is familiar to Cerin -- they are similar to the compartments within the haft of the Daybreaker.
alsoquin Glancing back at the plant, Cerin thinks over its origins. It appears to be a heavily modified mundane plant, that has had a great deal of soul surgery done to it; it appears to be able to extract, and store, individual clusters of Essence within the set of strange circular fruits that hang from its branches.
Cerin Cerin looks the pods over in more detail, trying to ascertain if they are full or empty, and if full, what of ... once he's done that though, after a cursary inspection of the rest of the room.
alsoquin Each of the fruits on the plant seems to be full -- it would appear they are only grown when a sample is extracted. They seem to hold little samples of various life form souls; it looks like any actual experimental samples had been removed before the lab was abandoned and now it's only holding whatever it's been able to catch.
Cerin The rest of having little else to satisfy Cerin's immediate interest, and with no desire to spend the rest of the day reading Cerin returns his attention to the cylinder and applies the openning sequence.
alsoquin Pushing at several locations on the device, Cerin then watches as three large blades of clay unfold, opening up to reveal the contents within...
alsoquin Something... smaller than the vessel's full capacity, sits within -- like a thin bird, made of shimmering, opalescent sheets of half-present glass, with long, elegant limbs and a strangely diminuitive face.
alsoquin As the vessel first opens, the creature appears to be asleep, though that does not prevent Cerin from observing the truly immense quantity of Essence that fills its tiny, fragile frame.
alsoquin Moments after the vessel begins to open, Cerin's patented sense of surprise taps him on the shoulder. Given the time necessary to utilize the device, he figures that after that warning he has about four seconds to make a decision if he wants to have the vessel completely re-close BEFORE the surprise.
alsoquin The creature's Essence structure is drastically unusual. It appears to be bound together in an akashic medium, rather than flesh; where most life Cerin has encountered before has simple, individual Essence flows, this creature's are doubled, tripled, and more, bent back over and through themselves to provide an astonishing level of Essence storage.
alsoquin The soul seems to be focused at the creature's chest cavity, where Cerin recognizes something that parallels another Essence pattern he is familiar with -- the circular shape of an Essence feedback loop.....
Cerin decides that it may well be best to close the chamber while he considers. It would appear to be quite possibly very dangerous to the lab and to the city.
alsoquin Cerin closes up the device with a second to spare on his forewarning, and it clicks into place just as, through the last cracks, cerin sees the creature's eyes -- so bright as to blind ANY other person, most likely -- open.
alsoquin When the device clicks closed and after several seconds nothing seems to explode, Cerin feels reasonably safe that the creature has probably gone back into stasis.
Thirteen 's voice comes abruptly from beyond the closed door. "Cerin? What...was that?"
Cerin Cerin starts to carefully and throughly study his memories of the essence of the creature as he casts his glance about into the various closed store cupboards about the room. On hearing Thirteen's voice, he walks over to the door and opens it for him. "I found something quite interesting."
alsoquin The room once again isolates itself with the essence screen as Thirteen is admitted to the room.
Thirteen "I gathered as much, but I was not sure what, exactly, had occurred. It is good to see that, whatever it was, it seems to have resolved itself."
Thirteen snaps his fingers and listens to the ring of Essence in the laboratory, frowning.
Thirteen "What have you found?"
Cerin "I would not say that, exactly. I merely closed the vessel again."
Thirteen "What was inside it?"
Cerin "This appears to be a well equipped laboratory for working on souls. The lastest project is still in the vessel. It is an /impressive/ construction and I think it might have proved even more destructive than, say, overloading Crystal."
alsoquin The blue and black plant sways gently in the breeze caused by Thirteen's entry.
Thirteen idly picks a fruit that seems more or less not deadly and eats it as he considers the implications of Cerin's words.
Thirteen "We will have to more fully investigate this laboratory once we return from Wasirru."
Cerin "What does pig's soul taste like?"
alsoquin How odd. The outer wrapping tastes rather like honeydew melon if it were somehow bursting with energy and slightly warm to the touch... but the inside tastes like soft, smooth bacon. It is simultaneously so delicious that it takes Thirteen by surprise, and somehow so sad that it nearly moves him to tears.
alsoquin As Thirteen chews he ponders on the implications of his new surprise-detecting mechanism.
Thirteen "And sad."