<Zahara> "And the twilights and the dawns?"
<Cerin> "Always, except for the dreams we shared."
The ring on Zahara's finger is made of the purest orichalcum. There is a dragon on it, engraved with detail so fine you can make out the invidual old realm symbols for 'love' 'protection' 'eternity' and others. The dragon's eyes are diamonds so perfect they glow with inner fire, the claws tipped with bloodred ruby.
<Cerin> "I brought it down from Heaven for you."
<Cerin> "Mmm. later? after some dinner? It's lasted several days.. a little time wont kill it." He gently smoothes her hair down a little more, then kisses her, before standing.
<Cerin> "Several, though unfortunately Marku found her stash yesterday..."
<Zahara> "I haven't quite forgiven you for killing my toy, either, you know." she reminds him. "Not when we hadn't properly extracted every single iota of information he contained first."
<Cerin> "He did leave some very interesting notes though..." he looks over the sheets strewn over the balcony.
<Cerin> "Yes, though we could do nothing for her. The spell she was wrapped in lasted beyond his death and we could not unweave it."
<Zahara> "A shame, really." she doesn't look particularly upset. "Did they treat with you regardless?"
<Cerin> "I believe so. Marku did the talking, and I was not there."
<Cerin> "his death was interesting though."
<Zahara> "His death would have been just as interesting in a month"
<Cerin> "Perhaps. Or it could have been the suddeness of the death. It was a choice I made when I let the arrows fly. I knew you would be upset."
<Zahara> "Why did you do it then? His death is much more fleeting than my anger."
<Cerin> "Because he had to die. I can live with your anger. For a time."
<Zahara> "He did, but not so quickly. He was a potential font of useful information that he most likely did NOT write down."
<Cerin> "I know."
<Zahara> "Plus, now I can't devise collars for those we meet in the future."
<Zahara> "Next time I want at least 24 hours."
<Cerin> "He was a solar. There was no new essence to study. He was a solar right up until his soul unwound before my eyes."
<Cerin> "You have my assurances I'm just as interested in studying the new exalts as you are."
<Zahara> "We are not speaking of the new exalts, are we? You just assured me he was a Solar."
<Cerin> "You said you could not devise collars."
<Zahara> "And" she adds, "The 24 hours I require from the next one we meet."
<Cerin> "I am not sure we should bring back any Exalt of that power, Collared or not, to here. Not unless we can watch them all that 24 hours."
<Zahara> "We can build a new place, then. One for our more dangerous captives. Plus, if I only get 24 hours with one, you can be sure I will spend every minute of those 24 with them."
<Cerin> "It would need to be in a manse, for the security. Perhaps there is a demense close to the northern gate."
<Cerin> "Then we can study any we capture for at least 24 hours."
<Zahara> "Agreed. And speaking of studying, I believe we have some of that to do, before any armies reach our doorstep."
<Zahara> "Oh, and once we're done, I'll need you and..mmm.. four others, I believe. To do something about those armies' ability to reach our doorstep." She turns, and heads down into the depths of the Cascade, to where the cells lie.
<Zahara> "Which one is it in?" she asks, once they reach the central room.
<Cerin> "It has no essence to be seen. Well, none except for the very finest spiderweb tracery linking the sigils. It should not have enough to move, let along convert a village to more like it."
<Zahara> "I wonder if we could sever that spiderweb."
<Cerin> "I have not yet tried. I did not want it to fall apart."
<Zahara> "We'll try that as one of the last things we do, she says. She opens one of the cabinets and withdraws four long, incredibly strong interlocking bars, walks over to the ghoul on the wall, and slips the thickest up his spine in the groove the rings fit into in the wall, Once that clicks into place, she slides the second through those in his arms
The ghoul growls menacingly but ineffectually at Zahara
<Zahara> "What about fully severed limbs?"
<Cerin> "That, again, I have not tried. I thought I would wait for you before I started cutting limbs off."
<Zahara> "Did you happen to count how many of these creatures it took to perform their sorcery?"
It writhes and squirms under Zahara's touch.
The beast flails when the torture devices are applied to it, but not like a living person would do; it seems simply to be attempting to avoid the objects, but with no sense of pain. They can damage the creature's flesh normally, but such damage seems to have no effect on the ghoul's ability to actually move.
The zombie's flesh begins to bubble and boil under the heat of the Sun Bolt, though its face reacts no differently than before. Cerin does not see the trademark wisps of Essence that accompany the touch of the Sun Bolt to necrotic Essence.
<Zahara> "Hmmm.. Cerin, perhaps you could apply an Essence-assisted arrow to its knee, here?" she points. "It doesn't react properly. It's more like... like a suit of living armor than a proper ghoul."
<Zahara> "When we've finished our more conventional methods, I'd like to see if I can split it in two, and use Countermagic on one end, and those arrowheads we made for the Aalorai with the other. Arrowhead first, of course."
<Zahara> "They seem to be beings of Essence without true flesh. Hopefully they will."
<Cerin> "They have no essence."
<Zahara> "Except that which holds them together."
<Cerin> "That is the merest traceries. perhaps a mote spun out over the whole body"
<Zahara> "If that one mote is shattered, though, what will be left to hold it together?"
<Cerin> "They must become as dead flesh. There is nothing else."
<Zahara> "Then that is what we must focus our attacks on." she pauses for a moment while inspecting the ragged edges of the wound from her Bolt, "I recall Soulsteel having Essence-draining properties. Perhaps those would serve, as well."
<Zahara> "I'll be back in a moment, the Soulsteel weapons are in the Vault." She retreats to the storeroom, leaving Cerin to listen to the ghoul's moans and growls alone for a bit.
The severed leg twitches in place, as if it were still attached to the body.
The tiny filaments of Essence continue to "connect" the leg to the body.
The soulsteel blade glimmers in the light -- its Essence bearing a close relationship to that of the Abyssal still hanging in the next cell.
<Cerin> "It is still connected. I'm not sure we'll be able to isolate it enough to try countermagic on one half and the arrows on the other."
<Cerin> "Perhaps we could cut them with this blade?"
<Zahara> "Well, let's try the simplest methods first. Soulsteel, then Arrowheads, then Countermagic.
The tiny flows of Essence seem to shift and slide in an attempt to evade severing with the soulsteel blade. Zahara notices that... something seems a little familiar about the sigils. Can't quite place from where.
<Zahara> "They look awfully familiar... maybe I've seen them in one of the spellbooks..."
As Cerin hooks the sword gently upon one of the Essence strands, he sees it split itself in half to allow the blade passage -- and neatly rejoin itself after the sword passes.
<Cerin> "It cant have been your spell books...I never looked at them..Perhaps the notes from Rathess?"
<Zahara> "Hmm I was hoping the draining effect they have would do it. Too bad," she says distractedly as she leans over and traces the symbols with her fingertip
Zee's perception suddenly flashes away from the room in the Sunlands... She sees a manse, much like this one, aflame, its inhabitants' corpses lining the walls; upon the ground in front, in fifty foot characters of blood, lie three of the sigils....
<Cerin> "What is it?" he asks, concerned.
<Cerin> "How many did it take?"
<Zahara> "We must find a way to destroy them, Cerin," she says quietly, "Before they destroy everything in their paths."
The Essence slides around the blade just as it did the soulsteel.
<Zahara> "The runes themselves seemed to be 50 feet across as they lie on the ground.
<Cerin> "The ghost-eating technique does not bite the ess-...fifty feet tall?!"
<Zahara> "Indeed." she frowns. I took the liberty of fetching one of the essence-consuming arrows when I got the soulsteel" she says, unwrapping the arrow cautiously and handing it to him. "Try this."
<alsoquin> As with the other weapons, the Essence carefully flows out of the way of the blade.
<Zahara> "Try actually shooting it" she suggests helpfully
There's a flash of light, and the tip of the arrow explodes in a brilliant flash of Essence, burning away a portion of the ghoul's leg. Afterwards, though, the strands of Essence continue to connect what remains of the leg to the body.
<Cerin> "...still it reconnects."
Zahara tries each of the Circles of Countermagic in succession, but each seems to bounce off the creature with no effect -- the tiny tracery of Essence seems immune to even these powerful efforts to dispel it.
Tags: (:tags Shadowed Unlife Equation, First Age Flashbacks:)