As the Solars leave their visit to the Elemental Pole of Wood and return towards civilization, Cerin excused himself briefly to do some extra reconaissance on the circle of infernal wood and to see how much the destruction of its heart had wounded it. As the three ladies continued their trek back alone, Birds suddenly finds herself overcome by a strange yet overpowering desire to strike off to the northwest, and somewhat upwards.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Ladies," Birds observes, "I have a strange feeling."
<Zahara> "Is it that time of the month?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Er...what time of the month? Oh. OH." She blushes. "No..."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I think we should go northwest."
<Zahara> "Oh, good. Did you get poisoned?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Can't say why. It just feels like we should do it. You know, how sometimes you just have to go outside to watch the sun slip under the horizon."
<Zahara> "Alright then... How far?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'll know when we get there, I think. Upwards too."
<Kai> ""Well, we've done well with strange feelings so far."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Do you have a map? Maybe there's a landmark that'll ring a bell."
<Zahara> "The maps are all just TREES this far East."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Great. Well, can we get above them?" She lets her Essence sword dissolve into streaks of fire, and climbs.
<Zahara> "Yes, well, with our luck, this diversion will last just long enough for someone to light the manse on fire."
Birds climbs upwards for what seems like quite some time before reaching the canopy -- looking out, she can see trees, as far as the eye can see! Birds can make out a tiny speck of something amidst the treetops, some distance away -- in exactly the direction she suspected!
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I see...something."
<Zahara> "It's a...cloud? What ARE you looking at?"
The other ladies can also make out a small... speck in the distance, right amidst the treetops. As Kai looks at it, she notices that the trees in the area all seem to lean at slight angles away from the one closest to the dot, forming a slight circular clearing in the canopy around it. It seems like it would be very pleasant.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Well, so, we have a ...something."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That's good enough for me."
On foot or manticore, the three dash across the treetops, gazing intently at the spot in the distance. It takes some time to get close enough, but eventually the vague outline of a structure built into a treetop begins to emerge. A little more time passes and the Solars find themselves standing at the edge of the treetop clearing Kai saw, measuring perhaps 500 meters to a side...\\ Beyond a great gap in the treetops caused by the slightly angled trees, in the center stands a great birch, vaster than any other such tree the Solars have ever seen. Its trunk breaks apart into three smaller branches, which shoot off to the sides before eventually growing back upwards again. Cradled in their center, amidst the branches and pale green leaves is a great structure of dark wood and deep emerald jade, perhaps seventy yards to a side, and vaguely rectangular. Elaborate flowering vines grow up its sides and bloom in infinite colors; on one side, a small veranda sits in front of an inset door, neither reachable by any normal means from the ground.
<Zahara> "Well well well..."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Huh, -someone- doesn't entertain a lot of guests."
<Zahara> "Possibly they don't want people to litter."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hm. Yes, litter."
<Zahara> "It's got almost as much essence as the evil pole."
As Birds approaches the door more closely, she can see a traditional funereal blessing of the Eastern peoples called out in gilt Old Realm letters upon the thick stone slab that serves as a door.
<Zahara> "Not from here, maybe when we get closer... she inspects the dwelling curiously. Should we announce ourselves?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "The door has a funeral blessing. Maybe it's a tomb."
<Zahara> "Is it yours? I could make you something from your bones."
<Zahara> "It's a bit of a specialty of mine.
<Kai> "Y'know, I think that's the creepiest thing you've said yet." Kai says, hopping off the manticore and onto the veranda.
<Zahara> "Oh come on. You have a deathlord's sword and a spell flinging monkey."
<Kai> "Ahem: 'I could make you something from YOUR BONES'."
The knocks resonate loudly on the inside, implying a great hollowness within.
<Zahara> "What do you think these have in em?" she waves the Essence-Blocking Collars, "And parts of the manse too."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Okay, doesn't look like anyone's home."
<Kai> "That is not in any way less creepy."
As Birds places her shoulder to the slab, it begins to slide backwards with only the slightest touch, enough so that anyone less graceful and dextrous would certainly have fallen flat upon her face.
<Zahara> "Marku thought it was creepy too, and look what happened to HIM. NOTHING GOOD, that's what."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "...or, uh, well-engineered."
The delicate smell of jasmine flowers wafts out from within.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh, good plan." Birds draws the Plume.
The room Birds steps into is already lit from great sun shafts in the ceiling. In the center sits an elegant wooden table, perhaps 2 feet across, bearing a broad, low earthenware bowl filled with water and jasmine flowers. Around it are four small, white candles that do not appear to have gone out. Around the outside of the room are several small benches, as if this were some sort of waiting room. The walls are decorated with elaborate swirls of red and green, almost featherlike in their appearance. There is another door, similar to the one leading into this room, on the far side.
<Zahara> "Not terribly secure, is it? Well, be on the look out for traps."
Despite possibly being thousands of years old, the flowers retain a pleasant and healthy aroma, and are as pretty as the day they were picked.
<Kai> "This tomb is nicer than my house. Uhm, well, my old house."
<Zahara> "Ah yes. You were poor, weren't you." she says, only slightly bothering to hide her contempt for the poor in general.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "The dead really know how to live."
<Zahara> "Some more than others." She follows behind.
At the slightest brush of Birds' fingertips the next doorway opens with much the same ease as the first.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hm, let's try something."
<Zahara> "I wonder if those are keyed to you, or if they would open for anyone."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I was just thinking the same... shall we close this and you both can test it?"
The door closes easily again.
<Zahara> "Birds, it didn't work for me. Kai, you try it?"
<Zahara> "Your turn."
<Kai> "So either it likes you ooorrrr... We're trapped forever."
<Zahara> "Looks like it IS your tomb. Open it for us, please?"
It slides easily open once more.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Wow. We should make doors like these for the Cascade."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Uh, once we are done saving the world and all."
<Zahara> "I started doing that, but it got annoying with the servants not being able to get anywhere."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh yes. Essences too weak to open the lock or something? What's in this next room?" Directly beyond the door, a set of stairs leads downwards perhaps five feet, before letting the Solars into a much larger chamber. Here, the room is lit only by faint torches surrounding a great central casket of wood and jade. A variety of containers and objects in many shapes line the walls. The walls themselves bear abstract images of a humanoid form with brilliant green hair performing one hundred and one righteously incredible actions.
<Zahara> "Well I didn't want to key ALL the doors to ALL the servants."
<Zahara> "Perhaps just our personal chambers though."
<Zahara> "Wow. Righteous." she observes as her gaze falls upon the mural.
Here, Alahwi is seen drawing out water from a rock with a single magnificent strike of her blade. Here, Alahwi leaps over a great chasm with six children held in her arms and hair. There, Alahwi prepares a feast from the finest ingredients brought to her on bended knee by fifty three distinctly drawn suitors.
<Zahara> "You know what the Cascade needs?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Suitors who compete to paint the most glorious murals in our honor?"
<Kai> "Murals of suitors competing to paint the most glorious murals in our honor?"
Zahara is interested to notice Alahwi planting the Flying Gardens of Terasi, Alahwi sitting as God-Queen of the Poem-Nation of Golbai, and Alahwi at the building of the Everlook Watchtower.
<Zahara> "Yes. All of that."
<Zahara> "Look, did you know there was a poem-nation?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Huh. I guess this is what happens when you are me and you're not CONSTANTLY DISTRACTED BY THE WORLD DYING."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Hey, I'm really cool!"
<Zahara> "At least you don't have murals of the love of your life stabbing you." she sulks
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I guess."
<Zahara> "Apparently he ...she... did THEN too."
Birds notices the drawing of Alahwi dancing eight efficacious dances to rebuild a fallen city around the same time Kai notices Alahwi, struggling vainly to rebuild the Swamp of Woe and Alahwi, dead with one thousand others in the defense of Golbai.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Love is hard," Birds sighs, and approaches the casket.
Zahara, on the other hand, zeroes in on another one: Alahwi, heroically defeating the Deceiver. The picture shows Alahwi, amazingly intricate weapons of golden light in each hand, before a large figure painted in dark shades, swampland all around her....
<Zahara> "Who do you love?"
<Zahara> "....Hey wait. We need THESE." She walks up to the mural and points to the swords.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "...it has been some time since I've loved."
<Zahara> "Why? There are thousands of men throwing themselves at your feet. Or they would if you had time to look at them."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh, I've gone through the motions, and I love you and the others like family...or comrades-in-arms...but there is no fire in them. These men, they're pale, insufficient."
<Zahara> "Maybe you can fall in love with Kai or something. That could be fun too."
<Zahara> "She's cute."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "She's right, you know. You are cute."
<Zahara> "Oh don't be such a prude. I could make something out of her bones for YOU..."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "So, I guess this is me in this box. Was me?"
<Zahara> "Mostly Was. Are you going to open it?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Might as well."
<Zahara> "It's like thousands of years old christmas."
With little effort, the lid slides off, revealing the dusty bones within.
The bones appear to be largely as one might expect, old and dry.
<Zahara> "So.. you never answered. Do you want an artifact keyed to only yourself or not?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Made out of my bones?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "As ghoulish as it sounds, ...it's very tempting."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'd like to find the tombs of -all- my incarnations someday. You could make a chariot, or a war machine!"
<Zahara> "Now you're talking. With enough bones, you could have your very own palace WITH a war machine and chariot that are part of it!"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'll be sure to be reborn as a giant. Or twins."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Yes, I think it'd be interesting to be twins."
<Kai> "Giant twins?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Giant twins."
<Zahara> "Well, we'll have to save that for later. We don't have time to try to reincarnate you now."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Maybe I can learn to grow extra bones."
<Zahara> "Talk to that lunar...what's her name, the one Marku wouldn't let me carve?"
<Zahara> "Serenal, yes, that's it."
<Zahara> "Yes, that's why I said we needed those swords."
<Zahara> "What's there now?
<Zahara> "And... did he find Daybreaker there BEFORE or AFTER Mar...Kiriath was slain?"
<Kai> "After. Years, I think. In the swamp, among the remains of an undead war party."
<Zahara> ""Was that also where he got trapped in it?"
<Kai> "No, I don't think so. He was binding some Yozi spirit in it."
<Kai> "So... Maybe it was left there after the battle?"
<Zahara> "A bit messy of Alahwi isn't it? To leave her foe's obviously powerful sword lying there on the battlefield for years?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Mm, yes. Why would she do that?"
<Kai> "Well, no one seems to want to hold on to it. Ymir didn't."
<Zahara> "Why do you hold onto it then?"
<Kai> "Well, I'm keeping it so that I may, when the time comes, loan it very, very briefly to master Misuna's companions. After that... Well, I don't really know."
<Zahara> "I hope you mean to only lend the point."
<Zahara> "I wonder, does it have some sort of arcane way of hiding itself?"
<Zahara> "Anyway... where are all your artifacts? Didn't you have any toys?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Evidently not... maybe the murals are a riddle as well as a record, though. I would do that."
<Zahara> "You would indeed. Why don't you copy them down for later perusal? It would do your art skills good to exercise them."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I was about to do exactly that. Is there a gate near here?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "It seems like a place I might want to return to."
<Zahara> "Not terribly. The one we came out of. But if you bring a Wasp you should be able to get here quickly, they can portal you after you've brought them here once."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Oh, hm, what's in this?"
<Kai> "Probably not jam."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I do like jam."
Opening the container, Birds pulls out an extremely elegant and beautiful robe of red and gold.
<Zahara> "I'm sure you could make some FRESH jam, Birds."
<Zahara> "While wearing that elegant robe!"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Ooh. How nice. Yes, I'll bring wasps here and, er, unpack a bit."
<Zahara> "Tanty will be happy to carry a few things home for you." Zee offers gallantly.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Tanty is such a dear." Birds beams and selects a few more containers, seemingly at random, but deliberately looking for long things that could contain weaponry. Or more bones.
<Zahara> "You know, it occurs to me that when I die it will be extremely difficult to remove these collars."
A quick examination of other containers reveals, beyond the mundane grave goods common to all such tombs, two thin golden sets of hand chains, a pair of fine sandals, trimmed with gold, and what seems to be a long staff with an elaborate vine-and-feather design.
<Zahara> "You know, it occurs to me that when I die it will be extremely difficult to remove these collars."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That could be a problem, or an interesting project for the future you."
<Zahara> "Oh, well yes, it wasn't me I was worried about. It simply removes the idea that my prisoners would ever be able to escape from the arsenal of those trying to extract information from them."
The staff disappears in a puff of smoke!
<BirdsOfTrinity> "YES it works!"
<Zahara> "Any of my incarnations would be able to open them easily, I built them that way."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "...if we can?"
<Zahara> "Hmmm well i Do seem to remember there being an awful lot of other Solars around in the First Age."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Mmm. Hey, where's Cerin? Maybe we should catch up with him."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "I'm sure he's starting to get lonely."
<Zahara> "He's probably going to be disappointed that we didn't wait for him.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Before I forget, I'll copy those down..." Birds glitters a little with the Whirlwind Brush Method.
Tags: (:tags Alahwi, Flying Garden of Terasi, Golbai, Everlook Watchtower, Swamp of Woe, Kiriath, Arexus Jonai, Daybreaker :)