Summary:Phoenix and Tia descend into the underground tomb beneath the Ikish lands.



< Eos-Se-Ala | Sol Invictus Logs | No Boys in Oblivion >

The cave winds down into the earth, bending in smooth and gentle arcs even as the overall grade leads slightly downwards and the light from the entrance begins to fade -- and the further down it gets, t he more prominent the glittering ore deposits become.

Phoenix` "You're being remarkably levelheaded about my being one of the Anathema and most probably furthermore not the person I initially claimed," observes Phonix in a tone of some respect.

Tia stands up and carefully follows Phoenix down the passage. She is initially somewhat quiet and subdued about what, exactly, the nature of her response to Phoenix's revelation is.

Phoenix` examines the ore critically. "Do you know what this stuff is? It looks important."

Tia looks at it. "Our people... we find rocks, sometimes. Glowing gold, or silver. The Blessed make us collect them, hand them over. This looks the same." She reaches out to touch a vein of ore, then turns and looks, uncertainly, at Phoenix's forehead. "Are you... really...?"

Phoenix` "Really...oh, that." She reaches out, her hand shimmering golden, and touches the back of Tia's neck without moving her hood out of the way. "Sure am!"

Tia yelps girlishly and jumps up, startled.

Phoenix` "So this must be orichalcum ore. Huh."

Phoenix` heads farther down the tunnel. "There's got to be something NEAT at the other end."

The tunnel continues winding, further and further down. As it gets further into the ground, small springs of water begin to flow out of the the walls and join together on the floor, forming at first a rivulet, then later an increasingly strong flow of water down, down toward whatever lies below.

Tia yelps a little again as she steps in it. "It's... it's so cold!"

Phoenix` tests the water. "Ow, it sure is. Um, I'm not sure how far this goes - maybe you want to stay up here?"

Tia considers for a moment. "Nnnno. No, I... I want to see where this leads now." And I don't want to get left up here alone, her face practically screams. She carefully cinches up the top of her boots and soldiers on.

After a while, the water keeps getting even stronger -- and the pathway gets wider to accomodate -- but a series of stepping stones start to arise in the middle of it, ensuring no one has to step through the racing hip-deep water to continue on.

It keeps going like this for some distance, until finally, Phoenix spots a black hole ahead -- and when she draws closer, she sees what it is: the pathway ends abruptly in an opening into a massive cave, one of many such holes issuing their effluvia into the body of a massive icy lake -- and in the middle, a rocky island with a single perfect golden pyramid, glowing with a faint luminescence that closely matches Phoenix's own.

Phoenix` "Ooo. Hold my hand!" She leaps down onto the island.

Tia grabs it and then scrunches up her face as tight as she can get it.

Phoenix` makes kind of an awkward, splashy landing, but they make it intact.

The pyramid stands, glowing a faint golden color and apparently completely without entrance or mark of any kind besides the faint impression of faux brickwork on its otherwise perfectly smooth surface.

Phoenix` "Have you ever seen one of these before? Let's, uh, try and find a way in. I'll go around this way."

Tia looks at the pyramid in great interest. "Why... why would someone build a pyramid underground?" Confused, she nonetheless takes to foot and starts wandering around in the opposite direction.

A few moments later, the girls meet back up again on the opposite side. Indeed: there is no entrance.

Phoenix` "Typical. It's just LIKE one of us to do a thing like this." Phoenix taps her knuckles on the gold surface. "Hm, I wonder if the thing I did last time will work."

Phoenix` bends down just far enough to tap her Caste mark on the surface of the pyramid.

The pyramid remains resolutely shut.

Phoenix` "Argh. Is there anything else weird in here?"

Phoenix` pokes around some more.

The cavern, and its huge lake, seem completely empty, besides this incongruous pyramid. Tia pokes around the island a little herself, then shakes her fists in irritation. "How are you supposed to get into a pyramid that doesn't have a door?" she says, crossly.

Phoenix` "Oh! You're brilliant. Um, here, hold this." Phoenix starts taking small objects - powder cases, cinnamon rolls, pitons, etc., out of the pockets of her coat until she finds her favorite pen, an orichalcum spindle engraved with spiralling waves.

Phoenix` takes the pen and scribes a careful rectangle on the pyramid wall, and then just to be sure writes 'door' on it in big letters and sketches a keyhole and doorknob.

Tia looks at the objects with bemusement, then confusion. She looks at one of the cinnamon rolls: "Is that... still good? How long have you had that in there?"

Phoenix` "Um, that one probably isn't. I was using it for bear bait. Here," she digs another one out, still loosely wrapped in paper.

As Tia picks up the roll with even greater curiosity, Phoenix notes the "reaction" of the pyramid: the intended lines, previously forming the brick pattern, shift to line up with her drawing, such that the indented shape of the doorway and its label now stand clearly on the side of the pyramid.

Phoenix` "Hm, that didn't QUITE work."

Phoenix` starts to buff the surface with her sleeve, checks herself, and then draws a control panel like a Gate's.

The letters on the newly-drawn ring begin to glow faintly.

Phoenix` carefully inputs the coordinates for, um, approximately the middle of the pyramid.

There is a moment's pause, and then, the wheel on which Phoenix` wrote her characters begins to spin, and the gold within it begins to peel back, open up -- until after a moment, there is only a spinning ring, and a funnel leading into the pyramid's innards, left of Phoenix's diagram.

" did you do that?"

Phoenix` "I'm not really sure. I could tell you some magic nonsense, but I'm very sure 'what is over there' has a more interesting answer. Coming?"

Phoenix` pads down the tunnel, whistling a jaunty tune.

Phoenix walks into the massive pyramid, Tia shortly on her heels; she has to go about thirty feet before the gold walls let her out into the pyramid's inner chamber, which appears to itself merely be a large, cavernous inner chamber, also in a pyramid shape.

All along the walls of the inner chamber are characters of the Old Realm alphabet: tales of Hfis, a Twilight Caste who lived in the twilight years of the First Age; who crafted vast networks of light and shadow, who travelled the worlds, who excavated the ruins of those things that came before;

at the borders of the room are thirteen stands of various shapes and sizes, each made of magically-preserved wood and iron, and the contents of each now absent;

and at the center, a massive golden sarcophagus, its lid thrown violently to the ground, and its contents left, all except one thing: what looks like a single toe.

Phoenix` picks up the toe and slips it into her pocket without comment, then examines the stands. "Huh!" She pulls out her gift from the Yul-Adr and compares it to the stands.

Phoenix` "Have you ever heads of Hfis?"

"Hfis..." she says. "It... it doesn't sound familiar," Tia says. She looks around the room, in a certain amount of awe. "Is this his grave? Did he die here? Why does he get a whole golden pyramid all to himself?"

Phoenix` "It looks a little more like a ...treasure vault... where he just happened to be storing his corpse. Look at all these weird pedestals..."

Tia nods. "There must have been all kinds of weird stuff in here," she says, gesturing to a stand low to the ground that looks to be about ten feet wide, five feet deep, and with six tiny stands (about six inches square) rising up in its middle to different heights. "What could you even put in this?"

Phoenix` "Ask Omir, I guess."

Tia's eyes open wide. "Are you saying that he...?" This whole "Solar Exalted" thing seems to still be giving her some trouble.

Phoenix` "The shoes fit."

Phoenix` "Er, that is to say - the 'minute long lightning bolt', the patch of bleached earth, the weird cliff with a secret t---vault in it..."

Phoenix` "I'm guessing either he was Chosen, or he had a VERY surprising day."

Phoenix` "But we have his spirit-father's toe, so maybe I can find him. Want to come with?"

Phoenix` hops across the water and starts climbing out of the cave.

Tia takes a moment, looks around the inside of the pyramid one more time... and then, her decision made, she chases after Phoenix.

< Eos-Se-Ala | Sol Invictus Logs | No Boys in Oblivion >

Page last modified on July 04, 2009, at 01:17 AM