Cerin emerges from the Rathess Gate, looking around himself at where he emerges. He wishes to talk with Ssithumi about the Aalorai and the Xi-Ma-Taxi.
This gate opens atop a small pyramid in the northeast quarter of Rathess. The entire structure has been largely overgrown by vines and lichen, though it still remains clear enough to be used.
A little ways along the road, he spots Ssithumi -- crouched, about thirty feet off the ground, on a tiny ledge alongside one building. She looks upward, intently.
There seems to be some sort of unusual bird flying down towards a spot near where Cerin walks. Ssithumi continues to perch motionless for several moments, until the bird approaches closer -- then she flings herself, violently, off of the ledge
She spins and reaches out one claw, neatly plucking the bird from the air in midflight; then, alights upon a lower ledge on the opposite side of the road.
She begins to consume the beast raw, but then, after a moment, notices Cerin's presence.
<Ssithumi> "....ah, Chosen. I had not expected you."
<Cerin> "I am sorry to disturb you while you are eating, Ssithumi"
She takes another bite of bird, swallos, and continues. "No, it is no trouble."
<Ssithumi> If Ssithumi had an eyebrow, it would be raised in curiosity. "You have met two such beings, already?"
<Cerin> "We, the circle that is, discovered a Demense to the west of here. It was not of an aspect I am familair with, and indeed did not seem to be of Creation. Within its bounds there lived a race of mechanical beings, sentient, and with almost the same spiritual power as you posses in your fusion"
<Ssithumi> "What were these creatures like?"
<Cerin> "They seemed to be composed of cogs, gears, and other items more commonly seen in mechanical devices. They spoke a strange version of the Old Realm tongue. They spoke reasonably with Zahara, though they had no patentience for Markuran's ..less quick thinking"
<Ssithumi> "....the Xi-Mi-Taxi."
<Cerin> "Ah, that is their name. I regret that at the time I was not able to talk with them further, as we left soon after the deal."
<Cerin> "They said that they numbered thousands, though I have no idea how many of them are as advanced as the ones we saw, especially if they have a similar nature to your people in their youth"
Ssithumi drops the remainder of her bird carcass.
<Cerin> "That is what they claimed, though I saw only two. It is entirely possibly they were bluffing" he catches the bird carcass before it hits the floor "I am sorry to shock you"
<Ssithumi> "You said you had also heard of another."
<Cerin> "They were mentioned to me by one of the startouched. He called them the Aalorai. They are reported to have the apperence of metal birds."
<Ssithumi> "What did this Star-Touched say of them?"
<Cerin> "Very little. He told us the name and not much else. The other reports we have had of them reported them destroying ships full of the dragonblooded with rains of metal"
Beneath the rubble and rot, it holds the vague appearance of some sort of library, though there are no books -- it holds numerous tables, desks, and shelves of small crystalline objects.
<Cerin> "What is this place, Ssithumi?" he looks about him curiously at the magical aura from all of the crystals
<Ssithumi> "This was once a center of learning and history for my people. Most of it was destroyed by the passage of time, but a few small bits of knowledge remain."
A short distance from the two, a man stands, clad entirely in shining golden armor, and bearing aloft a great sword. His long hair blows lightly in the wind, and his handsome face shows both hope and determination.> Behind him, a great army, large enough to fade off towards the edges of the recording. At its head stand magnificent squadron leaders in glorious, brightly colored armor of their own, each flanked by standard bearers and horn blowers. Each banner is emblazoned with the sigil of the Unconquered Sun. The man raises his sword, and begins speaking to his men, readying them for battle. The far horizon, which a moment before showed clear blue sky, darkens as some sort of rapidly moving cloud crosses it, heading rapidly towards the army.
The man shouts an order, and as one the soldiers drop their swords, and draw out great bows and diamond-tipped arrows.
<Zahara> "They're beautiful."
<Zahara> "I love diamonds."
He turns around again, facing the rapidly approaching cloud, and raises his sword up. "Ara lejonti tumeru invictus sol!" he shouts. The army screams a deafening response.
The cloud grows yet closer. It twists and turns in a sickening manner; strange red glows seem to glint off of it in places. "Rayaaaaaho!" he cries, and drops his sword; thousands, tens of thousands of arrows all fly at once, towards the oncoming mass. The cloud is now close enough that the two can begin to distinguish its composition from numerous individual figures, human-ish sized, though their speed and distance makes any more detail difficult to fathom.
The arrows shoot up, straight and true, into the cloud, trailing brilliant trails of solar essence as they fly. They disappear into the cloud, and a few of the mass seem to drop out of the cloud and begin spiralling towards the ground; the losses, however, are few compared to the great size of the cloud. The Solar general looks at this, and swallows hard. He raises his sword and calls out for the army to draw again.
<Zahara> "They must be dodging them... why aren't more falling?"
The cloud draws closer, and suddenly, it seems to shift -- there is a great forward motion from the rear parts of the cloud, and an intangible quality seems to ripple forward through.
<Cerin> "They are agile and swift on the wing it seems. And if they are truely of metal, even diamond tips may only score them"
When it reaches the front of the cloud, it explodes outward and downward -- an unearthly spray of vicious, white-hot glowing shards of steel, thousands flying at unearthly speeds through each foot of air. They first strike the ground in front of the army, and score it deeply -- each shard strikes with the force to dig a hole a foot or more in size. Dirt and grass fly up into the air as the earth itself is destroyed under the assault. As the spray pushes toward him, the Solar again cries out to fire.
<Zahara> "No wonder the ships went down... look at the force behind those"
Seconds later, as the second volley of arrows flies, the front line of the army meets the front line of the metal shards, and blood and flesh join the dirt and grass that is flung into the air. Moments before the second volley strikes the aalorai themselves, as their weapons tear through the army with little difficulty, something happens to the display -- it frazzles, and ends suddenly.
<Zahara> "We can fly the ship through and have Marku stand on top." she says drily.
<Cerin> "I'm not sure that it would fit through the gate."
<Zahara> "Do you know of anything that actually WORKED against them? Why haven't they taken over Creation if they're so powerful?"
<Zahara> "Cerin, those arrowheads we spoke of the other day, if these beings weild Essence, it might work against them.'
<Cerin> "Please?" he kisses her again
<Cerin> "My desire to stand is falling I admit...but I would rather like to see what records are ...in ...here..." he trails off
<Zahara> "We could make a new record," she suggests
<Cerin> "A new record you say.."
<Zahara> "Yes," she says, running a finger along any skin that happens to be showing, "It will have a better ending than that one."
<Cerin> "On me?" he traces his hands up her sides
<Zahara> "mmhmmm. There's something I haven't told you yet."
<Cerin> "Ah." he kisses her "You dont have the key on you, do you?"
<Cerin> "I love you"
<Zahara> "Will you unlock my heart, then?" she touches his cheek, "I.." she seems to struggle with this, as it's not entirely natural for her. "I love you, Cerin." she seems almost in awe of the statement.
Several hours later...
<Zahara> "Mmm. What's it say?"
<Zahara> "Can you activate it?" she picks the crystal up and turns it over in her hands gently
Cerin finds himself exploring an interactive basic primer in Essence flow construction. However, it seems to assume some sort of crystalline substance as the basic working material..
<Zahara> "It looks like diamond.. I wonder if I could alter a diamond to hold visions like these." she muses
<Cerin> "Maybe...Perhaps we should talk with Ssithumi though. Perhaps she can tell us more of these crystals and how the magic works"
<Cerin> "Ssithumi, may we speak with you?"
<Cerin> "Ah. Would the Xi-Ma-Taxi know, or are they beings of a different type?"
<Ssithumi> "I do not believe the Xi-Mi-Taxi have ever made use of the crystals, preferring their own strange methods. As for the Aalorai -- I expect there is a great library upon the island."
<Zahara> "Hmmm this library could be a great asset if it has been kept whole. Do you think the Aalorai can be negotiated with?"
<Ssithumi> "By you? No."
<Zahara> "By whom then?"
<Ssithumi> "Your enemies."
<Zahara> "Well, I can see that." she muses absently. "Must learn how to do that again."
Nothing seems to come to mind.
<Zahara> "I bet Herons knew." she notes.
<Cerin> "Perhaps. Thank you, Ssithumi."
<Zahara> "Do you know how my prior incarnation achieved such a feat? We are planning to seek the island soon, and I would prefer to be more prepared than I am."
<Ssithumi> "There is a great deal that was once known that is now lost. I may remember that it existed, but I cannot recreate it. My only advice is to keep that" -- she gestures to the locket around Zahara's neck -- "close to you."
<Zahara> "Well, that was unexpected." she notes quietly as they exit the gate
<Cerin> "Very well. I suppose we should go home then...Unless you have more you want to do here...?"
Tags: (:tags Aalorai, Rathess, Ssithumi, Xi-Mi-Taxi, Hundredfold, Aalorai, Crystal Tech, Talmuda, Herons:)