< The Tomb Of Ymir | Sol Invictus Logs | Islands In The Sky >

  • Zahara dials in the coordinates of the Gate nearest the underground ruins and tunnel system, and steps back slightly as it activates, forming the glimmering pool of Essence in the center. "Do you have everything?" she asks.
  • Cerin nods, then steps through.
  • Zahara follows after him, feeling the now-familiar tingle of magic against her skin as she passes to the other side.

he gate lets out into what seems to be a shallow chasm in the earth -- about eight feet wide at its lowest point (where the portal opens), and about fifty feet up to the surface.

  • Zahara looks around herself, up at the towering walls of the chasm, "Well, at least we don't have to worry about the wind." she notes, and starts forward. "It's this way, isn't it?"
  • Cerin looks around himself some more. "I think so."

<Zahara> "You don't happen to have a map, do you? If not, I'm going to start one."

<Zahara> "Last time I was wandering around in dark tunnels, I was lost for days." she wrinkles her nose. "Of course.. that was in the Wyld. and it DID give me the idea for how to set up the Cascade properly.."

  • Cerin shakes his head "I'll recognise when we're nearer, but no maps."
  • Zahara nods, and pulls a book out of her loot sack (one of several, this time) and opens it, revealing the silver quill pen that was tucked inside. She marks 'p' in a circle neatly on the edge of the page, and draws the chasm roughly in. "Alright."
  • Cerin smiles and starts to walk down the chasm, looking about him as he does.

Eventually, the two discover a place where one wall of the chasm has cracked -- a hole, just about wide enough for a single person, leads downwards into the darkness.

  • Cerin slips his helmet over his head, and peers down there again, then if the way looks clear, steps down it.

<Zahara> "Is this it, then?" she asks as she steps through behind him, peering around curiously. She marks that on the map too.

It appears to be a perfectly innocent rapidly descending hole in the rock.

<Cerin> "I think it should lead us down there, yes."

<Zahara> "Were there traps when you were here last?"

<Zahara> "I'm getting a bit tired of almost being crushed, and such."

  • Cerin laughs softly "There were some, though we disabled a lot of them. Lai may have reset them, though"
  • Zahara smiles, "Well, hopefully he didn't." they continue on down, on the lookout for any choppy crushy things that may leap out at them, along with dangers of the more organic sort.
  • Cerin walks down infront of her, his own senses also fully extended to watch for danger, seeking the main passage they travelled down when he was here many months ago.

The tunnel leads down for a number of miles of organic cave before reaching a point which Cerin might recognize: a humongous cavern, its floor covered with unusual mushrooms and its ceiling dotted with many-hued gems.

  • Zahara 's eyes immediately alight on the gems. "Oooh. Pretty."

<Zahara> "Those aren't a trap are they?" she asks, pointing to the ceiling

<Cerin> "Some of them were." he checks them all carefully for the telltale brilliant stars of essence within "Well, not so much traps.."

  • Zahara walks up to the ceiling and inspects them, looking for the prettiest, most flawless ones. "This one?" she points.

<Cerin> "erm, that one is safe to touch." he says after examining it carefully from down on the floor

  • Zahara uses her sword to pry it out of the rock, pleased. "What about this one?" she points to a pretty blue one. (this goes on for a while)
  • Cerin points out the ones that are safe to lever up. "Now, I think the ruins were that way" he points down the tunnel.
  • Zahara contentedly trots on down the tunnel, in a slightly rattly fashion.
  • Cerin keeps ahead of her, turning left or right at the junctions as appropriate, working from memory
  • Zahara marks everything on her map, indicating the turns they didn't take as well as those they did

The tunnels lead a great distance. Cerin remembers the difficulty of clearing out the creatures that had taken up residence here -- though all that effort is making the process much easier /now/.....

<Zahara> "This is easier than I expected it to be," she comments as they progress along the tunnels.

<Cerin> "If you believe it, it took us two days last time." he frowns at the memory of it "With all the rests we needed. Tunnel fighting is no fun."

<Zahara> "What was in here then?" she asks, looking around, and noticing a couple of errant bones as they pass.

  • Cerin describes the creatures to her.
  • Zahara oohs and aahs in the appropriate places

<Zahara> "You could have used a nice hearthstone, hmm?"

  • Cerin smiles "I already have a stone of some power, but I would not say I wished for no more"

<Zahara> "Where is your manse?"

<Cerin> "Near to Arranth, in the middle of the forest."

  • Cerin 's expression darkens slightly "It is where Axhelm used to live"
  • Zahara nods and hugs him a bit, "He most certainly does not live there anymore."
  • Cerin kisses her softly then nods "he does not" He brightens a little "Shall we go deeper?"
  • Zahara smiles, "Yes, of course."
  • Cerin leads her deeper. The ruins should be close now.

It is not much farther down the tunnels before the two step into what Cerin has been retracing his steps towards: a large cavern, with the ruins of what seem to be a glorious city build of reddish stone within -- rather, the remains of that city partially within, and partially embedded directly within the stone itself.

  • Zahara looks around in awe, "This is beautiful. Why would they hide such a wonder as this beneath the earth?"
  • Cerin joins her in looking in awe "...I have no idea...perhaps they feared the sun..."

<Zahara> "I can't imagine this being built by creatures of the darkness."

<Cerin> "Neither can I...but..." he shrugs "We could spend an age trying to figure that out from up here...lets look closer."

  • Zahara nods and enters the cavern, looking around herself and flipping through her book, sketching the things she finds most beautiful and glorious, and indicating where they are on a close-up map of the underground city.
  • Cerin starts to draw himself, concentrating more on the essence than the physical, if any essence remains...

The city is built with a sweeping architectural style, huge curves and elaborate arches cascading through the buildings in vastly improbable fashions. The city seems to be almost perfectly preserved -- very little damage to the actual structures is evident. By far the greatest problem appears to be the significant portion of one corner of the city which has somehow become embedded directly in the rock of the surrounding

<Zahara> "That part over there... do you think it was originally IN the rock? Perhaps this city once stood atop Creation, and was driven down by some great magic."

<Cerin> "...Perhaps. Though what force could do that. It staggers the mind." he says.

<Zahara> "The book I found... on the Adamant Circle of Sorcery. Spells of that caliber might be able to do something like this... or perhaps it was the work of several, all working together to combine their magics."

<Cerin> "Even so...such power...If this is what the Adamant Circle could do..." he smiles "You will be even more fearsome when you bend it to your will."

  • Zahara smiles, a glint in her eye that bodes ill to her enemies. And the occasional friend. "I will learn it soon. With the book's aid, I have deciphered where to start looking."
  • Cerin smiles back and gestures "Have you finished your drawings for now? We should see what remians within."
  • Zahara nods distractedly, "Yes, yes.. I have. Did you go inside before?"
  • Cerin shakes his head "We didnt stop here long."

<Zahara> "Hmm then we'll have to be careful." she marks one more thing down in her book, then heads for the most interesting looking door.

  • Cerin looks the door over carefully, then tests to see if its locked
  • Cerin pushes the door open. It swings easily.
  • Zahara blinks, surprised

<Zahara> "They didn't lock it?"

<Cerin> "Bertrand did say Lai had been exploring here."

The room inside is thick with the collected dust of centuries. It seems to be a fairly uninteresting room -- a stone table and several chairs surround it, with empty shelves and spartan decorations lining the walls.

  • Zahara sneezes, waving her hand in the air. "Dusty."
  • Cerin nods "Or perhaps it was not worth locking." he glances inside "The larger buildings may well contain things of more interest to us."
  • Zahara explores further, "You may be right."
  • Cerin starts to look for larger buildings, things that might have been libraries, barracks, commercial buildings or just rich entities houses.

It is not difficult to locate a few of the largest buildings in the city.

  • Zahara walks up to something that looks churchy, and tries the door.

The door opens smoothly.

  • Cerin looks suprised "Perhaps they didnt believe in locks"
  • Zahara looks around the temple, wondering what god they prayed to. She moves into the center of the building

<Zahara> "So it would seem.. or maybe someone was here before us and just unlocked everything." She looks over her shoulder. "Maybe they came back after your first adventure."

Near the center of the room, beyond the seats for worshippers, sits what appears to have once been an altar. The dust tracks on it make it clear that about fifteen objects of varying sizes were removed from it very recently.

  • Zahara approaches the altar and frowns. "Look, here... it seems I was right." she sighs. "Maybe we should search for doors that remain locked."
  • Cerin nods "I wonder what was there." I wonder if Lai can be persauded to tell us.

<Zahara> "I'm sure... if you can manage not to kill him right away ... we can persuade him."

  • Zahara smiles coldly. "Even gods have their weaknesses."
  • Cerin blinks, though he isnt too suprised. "Were my thoughts that transparent?" he asks
  • Zahara chuckles, "They practically write themselves on your forehead, especially when they're about Him."
  • Cerin sighs softly "Perhaps we should look for some place he hasnt been then."
  • Zahara nods in agreement, "If there IS a place he hasn't been."
  • Zahara wanders off in search of the mythical "place untouched by lai"
  • Cerin follows, looking also

A long period of fruitless digging eventually reveals a tower whose top is absorbed within the rock which appears not to have been disturbed.

  • Cerin tries the door to this tower.

It appears to be fastened shut.

  • Zahara takes out her frustration on the closed door, with a daiklave.
  • Cerin smiles "Its locked. Now...how to open it..." he starts to study the lock, jumping back as the daikliave crashes down "..like that."

The massacred door swings open weakly.

  • Zahara extracts her sword from the remains of the door.

<Zahara> "I feel better now."

  • Cerin kisses her "Good." he pulls away to look inside
  • Zahara follows Cerin inside, looking around hopefully

The first floor within this tower seems to have remained undisturbed by whatever thorough raiders cleaned out the other buildings. A variety of strange stone accoutrements and such are strewn about, along with decorative sashes and abstract tapestries in green, brown, orange, red. It appears to have been some sort of housing -- tables, cupboards, and so on are identifiable.

  • Zahara picks up one of the odd stone thingies, and inspects it, trying to discern its purpose

<Cerin> "They liked to work with stone.." picking up another, tilting it this way and that.

Most appear to have no obvious purpose, serving to be purely decorative. Others seem likely to have served as bizarre utensils of some kind, or otherwise performed fairly basic tasks

  • Zahara stows a couple of the more useful looking ones away, as well as the prettiest of the ornamental ones. "They seem to have been used for ordinary things." she notes "Maybe there's mroe interesting things up further. But see, how the tapestries and cloth didn't disintegrate? Some magic must preserve them."

<Cerin> "How curious." he says as he tries to imagine what manner of creatures used them...

  • Zahara heads for the stairs, or other means to ascend
  • Cerin shakes his head and follows after her.

The stairs lead up several floors. The next two seem to be similar to the first, providing odd equivalents of normal human inhabitations. The fourth floor is where the building intersects with the rock....

The sight in the room is fairly remarkable -- cutting through about midway through the room is a diagonal wall of rock, into which the walls, furniture, and other objects seem to seamlessly slide. And, in the very center of the rocky wall, there is a shocking sight:

A bizarre skeleton, jutting halfway through the rocky surface.

  • Zahara walks over to the skeleton, trying to figure out what the hell it was. "This was definitely magic.. look how the stone just.. cuts through the room. This.. thing... must not have ahd a chance to get out of the way."
  • Cerin studies it from the other side "It must have been almost instantaneous."
  • Zahara attempts to carve the skeleton out of the rock

The skeleton holds a bizarre shape, even to those used to such oddities. It has a form basically akin to that of a human, with a massive ribcage; however, three elongated, animalistic heads sit atop it, and five total limbs jut from the sides of the body at odd angles. The rock encasing it is quite solid -- it would be a project to unearth it. Cerin notices something through the rock -- the glittering of essence flows... one of the rock-encased limbs must be /holding/ something....

  • Zahara attempts to chop it out regardless. She can always re-sharpen the daiklave later.
  • Cerin smiles broadly, then suddenly "Not there! lower!"

It is a long, trying process, but with effort Zahara can free the skeleton from the rock, revealing the object held in its hand -- a small gleaming crystal.

  • Cerin reaches down to pick it up.
  • Zahara wipes the sweat from her brow delicately, and pries the crystal out of the skeletal hands. "Well well, what have we here?"

The crystal is many-faceted and glows slightly with a soft interior light.

  • Cerin studies it closer, as Zahara holds it.

The motes of Essence within flicker slightly.

  • Zahara turns it over and over in her hands, studying it from all angles. She gently allows her Essence to probe its depths. "come on.. wake up.."

The crystal accepts Zahara's Essence, and seems to flicker brighter for a second, but then fades again.

  • Cerin watches it, then adds some of his own.
  • Zahara pushes, feeding it more energy

The crystal's light sputters and jerks, like a candle in a stiff breeze -- the Solars notice the room about them shift its appearance several times, but each time it flickers back to normal too quickly for any meaningful details to be made out.

  • Zahara frowns, frustrated. "It's broken," she complains.
  • Zahara throws as much Essence as she can at it, all at once

There's a brilliant flash throughout the room --

  • Zahara covers her eyes, then peeks out between her fingers

Zahara sees, too quickly to study, an image of a beast with a great, tentacular crystalline device on one arm -- tendrils of light spin out of it at high speed, seem to snatch the very souls out of the human soldiers rushing towards the monster, and retreat as the bodies collapse --

<Zahara> "Looks.. kind of demonic."

Then, in an altogether different sort of vision, sees herself, holding her blue blade aloft, one of the light tendrils wrapped menacingly around it, the soulless corpses of five of her noblest warriors lying cold upon the ground at her feet.

  • Zahara blinks a few times, and then her eyes widen

<Cerin> "What did you see?"

<Zahara> "This thing tried to kill me. It slaughtered my warriors... but worse." she holds the crystal gingerly. "It stole their souls."

  • Zahara jabs her daiklave into the skeletal form spitefully

<Cerin> "may I look?" he holds his hands out for the crystal.

  • Zahara drops the crystal into his hand, and wipes her hands on her thighs, frowning. "It was in some kind of device."
  • Zahara prods around in the stone looking for the device "I wonder if I did this."

<Cerin> "If you knew the Adamant Circle then..It would not suprise me." he studies the crystal, then tries feeding his own motes into it, assuming Zee didnt burn it out.

Cerin can receive the first image, of the Primordial-tied beast using its horrific crystalline weapon, though no more -- the crystal still functions at less than peak level.

<Cerin> "...that was a truely horrific weapon."

  • Zahara chops up the bones of the beastie and puts them in her loot sack

<Zahara> "I wouldn't want it to be used against me."

  • Cerin shakes his head. He adds the gem to the bag.

<Zahara> "It doesn't seem to really work without the device it was in, though." She frowns. "I wonder if I could make a new one.."

<Cerin> "I am sure you can...if only we understond more of the crystals. Perhaps Ssithumi's kin to the north will..."

<Zahara> "They do not look like Ssithumi, from your description."

<Cerin> "They are closer to her than anything else. Far closer than we are to her, or the Aalorai."

<Zahara> "I wonder if they will know...how to civilize Ssithumi's savage brethren."

<Zahara> "She seemed.. sad that she was the only one of her kind that could think"

<Cerin> "They seemed to think that they might be able too. I am sure they can offer advice and hope, if nothing else."

<Cerin> "She does..she seems so sad at many things. Considering what we have now, and what we had once...can you blame her?"

  • Zahara nods solemnly, "I cannot blame her, no. She, more than we, knows what has been lost."
  • Cerin smiles thinly "We will bring it back."
  • Zahara considers Ssith, "We will do our best." she frowns, and sits on one of the chair-looking-things. "There is so much... so much we must do."
  • Cerin stands behind her, lightly rubbing her shoulders "There is, but we have the time, and if Creation will not give us that time then..."

<Zahara> "Then what?" she looks up at him, relaxing slightly beneath his hands

  • Cerin rubs her shoulders more "We will take the time." he smiles.
  • Zahara chuckles, "That is if our enemies don't take it from us first."
  • Cerin rubs a little harder "That is something they will regret."
  • Zahara closes her eyes, "I don't intend to let them, but we do have... many enemies. No less than the Realm, and the Mask of Winters. The Walker in Darkness is probably angry at us for shredding his army too."

<Zahara> "We must not let them unite."

  • Cerin nods "They must be delt with seperately, while the sunlands are forged to a unified whole." starting to work out knots with his fingers.

<Zahara> "Ahhhh... you're good at this." she leans back

  • Cerin continues to rub and work at the knots and stresses.

<Zahara> "Won't it be nice when all of Creation is the Sunlands?"

  • Zahara sighs happily

<Cerin> "It will." he continues with the massage "Then we won't be fumbling around in the dark, for things we once took for granted."

  • Zahara smiles and reaches back to touch Cerin's hand, "We WILL make it happen. Together."
  • Cerin smiles as her hand touches his "Together."

Tags: (:tags Lai Misuna, Undeways, Hundredfold, Crystal Tech, First Age Flashbacks:)

< The Tomb Of Ymir | Sol Invictus Logs | Islands In The Sky >