Imrama The Fable of the Reconstruction hangs in the air over a clearing not far from the Cascade. It glows under the dark sky with all the vibrance of the missing sun. Imrama indicates the vessel with a proud and expansive wave of his hand. "This is my pride and my treasure, Phoenix, but I have surprisingly few opportunities to share it with friends. Would you care for a tour?"
Phoenix hops up and down a little. "Yes, I'd love one!"
Imrama walks upwards through the air, his feet falling on the steps of an invisible staircase. Approaching the craft from the front, he points to the massive ram at the front of the flat-bottomed ship. "The hull of the Fable is as hard as any First Age ship, and while I am aboardship, it is as near to indestructible as is possible. Hence, intentional collision with opposing ships or fortifications...
Imrama ...is often a wise strategy."
Phoenix "While you are aboard?"
Phoenix Distrusting the invisible stairs, Phoenix allows the winds to carry her upward like a dandelion seed.
Imrama Walking up the sloping ram, over the rail and onto the deck, Imrama points up to the massive drive ring that orbits the ship's midsection. "The Fable follows the Morningtide design scheme, which depends on a drive ring such as this to provide all thrust. Essence lines from the ring can be taken hold of by the ship's crew and used to steer the vessel in three dimensions. In theory, a single...
Imrama ...person could steer the craft all on their own, once it was in motion, but with a full compliment of six linemen, the Fable can turn 180 on any axis, changing the direction of momentum without losing speed."
Imrama "I possess charms for resisting injury to my ship as well as to my person."
Phoenix feels around in the air, wondering if it requires special abilities to detect the steering lines. "Oh, of course."
Imrama As Phoenix grasps at the air, a line of sunlight congeals in her hand, running up to the ring overhead. Imrama explains, "As this is mine, in some sense is me, the draglines appear and disappear at my discretion."
Phoenix "This is a much more impressive work than, say, the Essence weaponry some of us use. Did it take a great deal of training?"
Imrama "I have trained since my early childhood in the operation and maintenance of air craft. But the skill to bend Essence into a ship and a crew, to arm and protect the same and to chart a course with it wheresoever I will; all of this took a great deal of time and training, yes. And much trial and error, in the valley of my father's abode, and in the expanses of the Northern Wyld."
Phoenix nods. "I'm very impressed." She pauses. "Can I ask you a personal question?"
Imrama "Questions about a ship are always personal to its captain." Imrama chuckles lightly at his own joke. "But of course you may, Phoenix. No secrets between Circlemates."
Phoenix "I'm worried about you and Zahara. How do you feel about her?"
Imrama furrows his brow, and pauses before opening his mouth to speak. "When I came to the Sunlands, I had not yet heard the names "Cerin the Wolf", "Birds-of-Trinity", or Thirteen Blooming Flowers". But I had heard of the Empress Zahara. I came to join the ranks of her circle, hoping to be a part of the restoration of the world. I have found that the person is hardly identical to the myth, but I...
Imrama ...never expected anything else. She lives up to her legend in terms of her iron will, her creative vision, and her commitment to that which she loves. I respect and admire her as a friend. Why do you ask, Phoenix? What is it that worries you?"
Phoenix "She is sick at heart. I'm trying to make her okay, but it's not easy, and it's not as if I could quarantine her."
Imrama "What ails her?" Imrama stands squarely facing Phoenix, in close with unswerving eye-contact. It is the sort of stance that conveys sincerity and deep concern among the Fae, and is generally received as creepy by everyone else in the world.
Phoenix "I think she feels she gave up her power, ceased being queen, and it wasn't her choice to do so. It disgusts and depresses her."
Imrama scratches pensively at his hairless chin. "I confess to being a little bit lost at that sentiment, though the question of authority within our circle has been in contention, of late. In any case, it does sound like a staggering blow, to feel as though you've let yourself abandon such a calling."
Imrama "It is very good of you to look after her heart. Do you know of anything that I can do? When you broached the subject, you said that you were worried about me and Zahara."
Phoenix "I was being imprecise, it turns out. There's some heavy weather going on between the two of you and Thirteen, apparently—he and Zee haven't always gotten along in the past, either—and I'm just trying to minimise the ...precipitation."
Imrama "Hmmm. I have so far seen myself as one attempting to ford-off the storm, rather than as thunderhead gathering clouds. But, I trust your ability to see what I cannot; thank you for mentioning this to me."
Phoenix nods. "I think you're all doing...as well as anyone could ask. As far as I can tell." Another pause. "I just wanted to talk about it, you know? It haelps me keep these things sorted out."
Imrama "Very true. Can I prevail upon you then to say more about how you see me fitting into this? I see a rift between Zahara and Thirteen over leadership and authority."
Phoenix "By all means." Phoenix sits on the wall of the deck, swinging her feet like a child. "As I see it, Thirteen is trying to execute whatever plan he feels is most effective, but as usual he has weighted external factors more heavily than internals, so strife arises in the circle."
Phoenix "Zahara is hurt and upset, but she'd be mad to not recognise the practical considerations in place; I do not think she is mad."
Phoenix "You're caught in between."
Imrama "Are not we all caught in between, given that we are all members of the same company?"
Phoenix "To an extent. You're of the Eclipse Caste, and that seems to make it mean more, in your case...Cerin is nonthreatening for obvious reasons, and Lucent and I were never cut out for rulership."
Imrama 's head ticks to the side and his eyes flick away from Phoenix and back again in realization. "Oh. I assure you, Phoenix, that I have no ambition to rule...But I suppose it is hardly enough just to say that. I can see now that I have more to do to make myself known to my comrades."
Phoenix laughs. "Yes, we've really had no time to get to know each other. Soon!! There are so many places in the thirteen worlds that I want to see..."
Imrama "There is wonderful-much to see and do before us still, isn't there? Not much more of the ship left though, I'm afraid. Below this deck is the hold, where cargo and quarters are kept, and the gunports for when the ship is at arms."
Phoenix nods and allows Imrama to help her to her feet. "Thanks much. I, um, actually should be going, I have to see Thirteen and Luc about things."
Imrama "Then good speed and merry conversation. Thank you again Phoenix for helping me to see outside my eyes." Imrama claps Phoenix on the shoulder in his now-familiar trademark show of comradery.
Phoenix gives Imrama a little hug. "Thanks for listening."