Summary:The Solars speak to Lucent and his fellow prisoner, and discover the birthplace of the Maw.

XP:I4, L4, P4, S4, V4, Z4


< Violence is Enjoyable | Sol Invictus Logs | Ancient History >

With the other captives arrayed now neatly on the floor, the room in which the Solars have just now recovered their missing comrade has very slightly less of the quality of a torturous abattoir and slightly more of the quality of a room in which a large number of people have been artfully piled on the floor for no discernable reason.

zahara "That's better."

Colapso winces. "So... what did I miss?"

Phoenix` quietly distributes water to the survivors as they are dismissed from Spring's ministration.

The Exalts seem quite grateful for the attention and the rescue, though even with medical treatment most lack enough motive force and determination to do more than sit quietly.

Varanim "War and the usual bullshit. The Neverborn are making grumpy waking-up noises, which is sort of interesting. And the Mask of Winters and the Green Lady were just having a chat about him finding something down South, which is hopefully not really relevant to this little jaunt."

Lucent "It is. This is Quen's. He... I..." Lucent blinks, a little confused, trying to place a few things.

Lucent "I saw him!"

Imrama enters the room, searing the spattered gore from his arms and hands with a breath of solar fire. "Lucent!" he exclaims, rushing to his friend's side. "You are a welcome sight, my friend."

Varanim transfers the "supporting Lucent" duty from herself to the nearby wall, so as to avoid affection splashover.

zahara "What I want to know is how he kept your location from us for so long." She grimaces at her bloodied dress.

Lucent reaches his arm to hug Imrama, getting away from Varanim's lap for just a moment... and sighing when THAT is gone!

Lucent "As are you, Admiral."

Spring watches and broods.

Lucent "You're looking..." He peers at the blood, staining his not-cleaness. "... GREAT!"

Varanim "Feel free to get back to the Mask, I think you were in danger of saying something interesting."

Lucent "The Mask. I remember seeing the Mask, and... and... it's all kind of disjointed..."

Lucent "I remember meeting the Mask, and then... and then I met Vojek. We were fighting together. Trying to get somewhere, trying to get at something, and, and... and then there was this maw. This maw of sharp white teeth opening beneath me, and then... then we were in a garden. And... and before that. There were five women. Imrama, you remember the robed ones? They had the same robes."

Imrama "That is very interesting, Lucent. And very ambiguous."

Lucent leans on Imrama, trying to get up. "I know."

Imrama pulls Lucent's arm over his shoulders and lifts with his knees, helping the battered Solar to rise.

Lucent "It's all just..." He touches his face, a finger dipping into the murky golden of his eyes and coming out tipped with blood. "... broken."

zahara ACTION wanders over to one of the blood-drenched walls, and thoughtfully scratches a delicate map into the drying blood with one of the handy soulsteel spikes. To this map she adds relevant people, places and things she recalls from the First Age, along with arcane scribblings from various tomes and scrolls from her library. As the rust-colored flecks flake down to the ground, she stands back, surveying her notes, seeking clues to w

Imrama "Then we will fix it, my friend." Imrama offers a heavy smile.

zahara seeking clues to where he had been, what he had been fighting, and with whom.

Over to one side, the Solar Vojec, his coffee-toned skin now less pallid with illness and the gold circlet that crowns his bald head no longer caked with blood, begins to groan slightly in the process of awakening.

Lucent "Vojec." Lucent smiles, "Meet my friends... the Perfect Circle."

Vojec finds his way unsteadily to his feet.

Lucent "Do you... you do remember me, right? We fought for our lives, we did the impossible together..."

Imrama Not wanting to further unbalance Lucent, Imrama nods only with his head. But it is a solemn and respectful head-bow. "Good day to you, Vojek ra-Besh. I am Imrama Stormfound, and I believe I speak for my compatriots when I say that we are glad for the opportunity to free a brother-Solar from bondage."

Lucent ::And I do not even remember how we met.:: Lucent thinks, then realises his lack of a ring.

Vojec Zahara's chart wanders from the present to the past and back again, seeking the deeper connections between the events here and Luc's broken recollections. The central theme -- that the Mask of Winters, or Larquen Quen, clearly had a major hand in these events, perhaps even across two Ages -- is clear enough, but the disconnect between the circumstances of Lucent's loss and the current situation is irritatingly unclear.

Vojec walks over towards Lucent, warily scanning the others present out of the corners of his eyes even as he does. His outfit of elegant purple and black was quite fine at one point, before its recent mistreatment, and an empty beltloop suggests that he is missing a favored weapon. "Lucent," he says.

Varanim has little interest in Vojec, being as he is alive, but looks around the blood-spattered room with the vaguely speculative air of someone who sees an awful lot of raw material going to waste. After a moment she wanders away from the group, following the maze of stains and scuffs with a patient scowl.

Varanim When she has discovered the ones she needs, she begins to follow her course backward, along the carefully reconstructed trail of her subject until she stands back at his final resting place--the set of shackles that held Lucent. With her Essence, she reaches back to drag the hidden past toward her eyes.

Lucent grips Vojec's shoulder, in the affectionate gesture of fellow soldiers. "Do not be rude to Imrama." He says with a smile. "The Admiral is my best friend. He will have to show you Admiral Longwhiskers when we are..."

zahara wipes the chart clean from the wall, her musings scattering with her thoughts. "It always comes back to Quen doesn't it?" she mutters.

Lucent stops

Lucent "... I realise I must be acting differently from what you remember. That... that is something else."

Lucent "They did not... do anything bad to me, alright? It is still me."

Imrama "It is you again, I would say."

Imrama "If the Mask had a hand in this, then he has violated the spirit, if not the letter, of his non-aggression pact with the Sunlands. I would say that we can no longer afford to show favor to the devil we know."

Vojec Vojec shakes his head as if to clear it, and then turns to Imrama. "...thank you," he says, and shakes his head again. "It is... difficult to grasp what has happened," he says, and then looks over to Lucent again. "Different?" he says, looking confused at Lucent's statement.

Lucent "When we fought, before I... I remember that. I did not smile. Right?"

Lucent "Or do you not remember? Do you remember... when we met? At all?"

Vojec Meanwhile, Varanim pulls her attention backwards to see how Lucent came to be in this place.

Vojec What spreads out before her is a grand picture: a thick crowd of the dead, marching out of holes and caverns in the earth, bearing with them prisoners from below, and beginning their assaults on the nearby settlements of humans...

Vojec Narrowing in on the shackles, she sees a weakened, battle-scarred, and almost translucent-looking Lucent lashed into them by a force of nemissaries, their elaborate armor bespeaking ancient armies that have not been seen in the land of the living for centuries.

Vojec And before even that, she sees an over-elaborately armored figure whose platemail seems to be wrought of occasionally broken wood and steel, like the exterior of a great ship, pours over the shackles and collars that are brought to him before giving a command: the Sunset Order's forces must be taken alive.

Vojec looks at Lucent as if the question is strange. "Of... course I remember when we met. Is there a reason I wouldn't?"

Lucent "Well, yes. Because I do not."

Vojec scratches his head. "That... is a problem."

Lucent blinks. "How so?"

Imrama "My esteemed colleague in choseness," Imrama addresses, Vojec. "Perhaps if your recollection of recent events is more thorough than my friend Lucent's, you could fill in the gaps, as it were?"

Vojec "How can we possibly know what you may have told?" he says, and shakes his head. "I trust you, friend, but I also desire to know as much as I can."

Varanim "Hm. What's the Sunset Order, who's so interested in them, and why do necromancers feel the urge to dress up their undead servants in tacky regalia?" asks Varanim of the room at large.

Vojec He turns to Imrama. "I come from lands yet further south of here," he says, "where I dwelt when this world's greatest era, when our kind first ruled." He shakes his head again. "Now I bear this burden of power myself." He then looks over at Varanim as she asks her question.

Lucent "Class. Ritual. If you have to do it, may as well do it right."

Vojec "We are..." he pauses. "We were the Sunset Order. We began what, to you, is long ago, and slumbered off the great gap between then and now. We served to strike against the darkness from just barely within the light."

Imrama raises his eyebrows at Vojec with a look of impressed surprise. "You were born under the First Deliberative, then? What serendipity that you should find yourself fighting alongside Lucent, then. We will need to update our festival calendar with the feast of your Ascension, of course. Tell me, please; when was it that you first drew the Second Breath?"

Vojec does the math in his head. "12 Descending Water, I... think?"

Imrama nods. "Mhmmm. And the year?"

Vojec "What year is it now?"

Lucent "... yes, what year is it now?"

zahara "Deliberative Year One... which would have been Realm Year 770 I believe"

Lucent "So I was... it was only six months?"

Varanim Varanim, who is running low on energy but likes direct answers where she can find them, closes her eyes quietly. The muscles of her soulsteel arm writhe like a nest of snakes; in her mind's eye, she traces the characters for "Sunset Order" and "Larquen Quen" and scatters a handful of motes into the space between to illuminate any thread of connection.

Vojec nods quietly. "That would be it, then," he says.

zahara nods. "Only... "

Lucent "Last time I closed my eyes, I woke up two millenium later." He tries to stand on his own, reaching to Zahara. "I take it they were... long?"

Vojec The most immediate connection, one that seems to actively muscle out whatever potentially more salient connection lurks below the surface, is that Larquen Quen was a prominent member of the Sunset Order for some time near the very end of its tenure, prominently assisting in its operations in Netheos.

zahara reaches out to steady him

zahara "They were indeed long. I.. we thought we had lost you forever."

Lucent hugs zahara tight. "I am sorry..."

zahara hugs back, "At least this time you came back with a Solar, hmm?"

Varanim opens her eyes and looks at Vojec with moderate interest for the first time, her left arm hanging unquiet by her side. "Why don't you tell us--feel free to speculate if you're not sure--why the Mask of Winters or some other party was rounding up Larquen Quen's old work buddies."

Varanim ::This is why talking to living people is so annoying, you know. If he was dead it'd be urgh, urrrrah, here are your answers ma'am, now please let me go back to rotting.::

zahara smirks

Vojec "I don't know," he says. "But to speculate: because Quen led quite a few unusual expeditions in this area of the South during his tenure." He thinks for a moment. "With the current state of reincarnation, killing anyone who might know something useful about those activities and interrogating their spirit might be easier than actually trying to wring it from someone who yet lives."

zahara ::Great minds think alike?::

zahara "You are not really making a case for the opposite point."

Varanim "What was he looking for?"

Lucent "Wait. You were the Sunset Order, and the Sunset Order... Vojec. Were you involved on the Creation of a sky-devouring creature?"

Lucent ::Tune in your senses. Tell me if he is lies!::

Lucent ::Oh, wait.::

Lucent ::No Rings.::

Lucent ::Fuck.::

Vojec "I don't know," he says to Varanim's question. "We engaged in many operations here, few of whose ultimate purposes were revealed to us. We..." he stops as he considers Lucent's question. "We... we did gather pieces, sometimes," he says. "Of creatures of darkness."

Varanim "Wow. Nice job staying just barely within the light on that one."

zahara snorts aloud at that.

Varanim rolls her eyes at Zahara to forestall comment and then squats by Lucent's pile of armor, poking through it to check for extraneous bits.

Vojec Everything in the pile seems to belong....

Varanim ::Look, Know For What Purpose You Are Gathering Fell and Unspeakable Parts is, like, lesson two in necromancy. Right after Correct Use of Shovel, we're talking basic stuff here.::

Lucent "The Demon of Ekael was created with necromancy on a hold deep within the desert. Larquen Quen was the one who had to writ to keep it sealed and not investigated by the Solar Deliberative. So we believe he was behind that... I am sure you recall when that happenned?"

Vojec After a bit of searching and rattling, Varanim finally locates Lucent's ring, which had wedged itself tightly into one of his boots.

Vojec nods at Lucent, a little warily. "It is... familiar, yes."

Imrama "If you were a party to the collection that led to the Maw of Nine Dark Truths, then perhaps you know the location of the pit that spawned it?"

Lucent sighs. "When will people learn you do not work with Larquen Quen? You party with Larquen Quen. You fuck with Larquen Quen. You do not work with him. You do not make deals with him. You do not toss dear things into the void with him!" He fumes, letting go of Zahara to stumble against a nearby wall.

zahara shakes her head mutely. These lectures have never really worked in the past.

Varanim beams at the ring, holding it up to inspect, then looks over at Lucent with raised eyebrows. "I'd think you'd want a bit more rest before reviving that conversation," she says mildly, tossing him the ring.

Vojec Vojec looks over to Imrama thoughtfully. "Not for certain," he says, "but I can theorize some possibilities."

Lucent picks it up the air and sighs. "... sorry. Just... not my best day. Sorry."

Lucent "Then draw us a map. We need to look into them as soon as possible if he is visiting his old holdings and looking for his old friends. There may be more creatures like that waiting to happen. Consider yourself a part of the new Exalted Deliberative. We are more egalitarian now."

Varanim sighs, wanders over to Lucent and puts her arm around his shoulders while waiting for Vojec to theorize.

Lucent says all in one breath, sighs, and slumps against Varanim

Vojec nods. "Of course," he says. Lacking a paper, he looks around for just a moment before leaping to follow Zahara's example and draw in blood on the floor, indicating a location some distance southwest of Kita-O.

Lucent puts the ring back on. ::You have no idea how much I missed this.::

zahara "Lucent, Vojec, what was all this," she gestures to the blood spattered walls, "about? Did they ask you questions, try to convert you, anything? Or was it only about the sacrifices?"

Imrama "The Exalted Deliberative is a free will alliance of the mighty chosen and of the nations of Creation. A person of your age and potence would, of course, be quite welcome. Do you represent any territory or municipality, Vojec?"

Vojec shakes his head. "No questions, no conversions. And no," he says, addressing Imrama as well, "not anymore, beyond perhaps those who still live within this chamber."

Lucent "Only pain." He adds after both of Vojec's negatives

Varanim "On that note," Varanim nods at the map, "who's for a picnic?"

zahara "There is the matter of getting the wounded to the ship, and giving these... fallen, a funeral so as to spi... send them on to Lethe."

Lucent "Thought you would never ask."

Lucent closes his eyes, suffusing his body with Essence. He had gathered enough. Mending wounds, ignoring the pain. The sun appears on his chest for a brief moment, cradled between himself and Varanim, beating like the purest of hearts. "... there. Took my Essence long enough."

Vojec All around, the bodies of the departed burst into smokeless flame and are consumed by the power of the sun.

zahara "Man, it's so much messier to do that without you here."

zahara "Welcome back."

Lucent whispers a prayer as he sends them on, stepping away from Varanim "I am glad to be back."

Lucent walks out of mists of purest lethe like the most beautific incense clad in his crimson armor to meet the captured Exalts who had been between them and the corpses. He takes his helmet and throws it to Zahara. "Empress. Please shatter this." Light streams from him and gives them health, awakening them from their slumber, to the sound of his voice!

Lucent "My brothers. We were captured, tortured and humilliated by one of our own. Some of you may know him as Larquen Quen. Some of the newest among you, as Mask of Winters. He has sold his soul to our enemies and intends nothing more than complete and utter annihilation of existence. I have put foward an army to stop him, and seduced one of his brightest generals as one of mine."

Lucent "We will be taking you to the Sunlands to recover, and find your purposes once again."

Lucent "Those of you who wish to make him pay are willing to join us."

Lucent ::... please tell me Crow and the Lantern did not get slaughtered in the past few months.::

zahara gives Lucent a funny look, "Your precious Primordial armor?" Then she shrugs. Shattering is always such fun! She spins the helm on her fingertip for a second before flipping it into the air. As it spins, she taps it seven times, then it lands on her fingertip again... and bursts into perfect shards.

Varanim "Those of you still interested in that Sunset Order business... need to talk to me first." Varanim looks distracted.

Lucent winces as it shatters, tears of blood falling from his eyes... but no lasting damage. Apparently.

Vojec ~~~~~~

Vojec Soon afterwards, the Fable flits through the air, towards the location marked out by Vojec: a seemingly unimportant spot in the midst of vast desert which, upon only the closest inspection, reveals what appears to be a tiny sandstone pyramid, no more than four inches tall, jutting from the sands.

Varanim After spending the short trip drinking and brooding over the rail, Varanim squints at their destination. "I was hoping for something bigger."

Lucent "Tip of the proverbial iceberg, no mistake."

zahara idly toys with the shards of the recently departed helmet, contemplating what to do with them.

Varanim "I'm definitely too tired to dig, by the way. Boy, all that working today sure wore me out."

zahara "I could summon up some demons to do it I suppose." She frowns, "Which ones are left now..."

Imrama At Varanim's comment, Imrama snarfs a little bit while taking a drink of pomegranate juice.

Lucent "I can do it." Lucent calls the Coronal to form up a stairway out of heaven, stepping out of the Fable... and as soon as he got to fifty yards of the ground begun to pull on it, fifty yard radius of sand pushed in all directions, arms spread as he parted the red sands.

Varanim looks over at Zahara. "You know, I'd never really noticed before how much cleaning he does for you."

zahara "I call him Mister Sparkles."

Vojec Underneath the sand, there is indeed quite a bit more pyramid, its cinnabar-colored sides engraved with numerous and overly elaborate carvings of strange betendriled beasts and creepy eyes.

zahara "Oh good." She eyes the creepies.

Varanim "Think of this the next time you're complaining about MY taste."

zahara rolls her eyes. "Well, let's go down into the deathtrap before it gets bored."

Imrama brings the Fable in low and circles around, looking for an entrance.

Lucent continues to unearth more and more, disgusted with what he sees. ::Eyes. Quen really did it, the bastard.::

Vojec One side of the pyramid does indeed have rather a sizeable doorway carved into it, though the twin stone doors within it are firmly shut.

Varanim ::Not to interrupt a good raving, but lots of things have eyes.::

Lucent ::Those tend to have beings attached to them. Most of the time. Wandering, creepy eyes are something else.::

Lucent flares, the calendar wheel spinning about him and shoving the doorway with the strength of accumulated ages.

zahara "Ah, count on Luc to knock before entering."

Imrama jumps the Fables rail and runs a steep slope through the air. His hands hover just above his holsters as he makes for the opening doors.

Vojec The doors of the pyramid swing open from the effort with a thunderous crash, as ancient dust is dislodged and stale entombed air rushes out to offend the noses of those who come to discover what lies within.

Varanim ::Give me a lift down, would you?:: she says to Zahara. ::I'd rather wait a day or two for Luc to have a seizure about Caw the Magnificent, if possible.::

Varanim On that note, she shrugs the familiar off her shoulder to circle down lower and take a look while she brings up the rear.

zahara grins, ::Is that his name?:: She tosses two swords towards Varanim, and they stop neatly in front of her. Then she hops over the rail and walks down. None of this running and exploding business.

Varanim ::Close enough,:: she says, following and being careful not to cut her shoes.

Vojec Inside the dusty doors, the first hallway leads in straightwards, though almost immediately many absurdly narrow and treacherous stairs wind both up and down through their own thin tunnels, both upwards and downwards from the "ground" level.

Lucent "Cerin would be a real help here." He says as he considers which to follow. "Wait, is he... alright?"

zahara "He's off being a ninja again," she sighs.

Lucent "So, Varanim. Can you see the past and... you know. Remember what is the best way to go?"

Imrama "I may have a partial solution, actually." Imrama taps the large, spherical blue gem on the front of his jade belt, releasing a multi-hued ray of light. The dancing bands of color paint a picture in the air in front of him of his immediate environs; a basic sketch of the building's interior, or at least as far into it as the local air currents can carry.

Varanim breaks off framing some sarcastic reply to Lucent to blink at the display. "Handy."

zahara "Well. THAT's new too."

Lucent "Imrama. That is BEAUTIFUL."

Imrama "Technically its very, very old. It's just rare that I find a use for the Hearthstone of the Terminal Aerie. And then, when I do, I ususally don't remember it."

Vojec The resulting map is quite intricate, revealing the innumerable cross-paths and intersecting chambers within the pyramid, but only one appears to actually be quite large enough to have served the purpose the Solars are here to investigate, and it lies far below their current elevation.

Varanim "I was about to say that the big sinister thing is ''always/ either at the bottom or the top, and you can't very well put it at the top in an up-tapering building," she grumbles at Lucent.

Lucent "I think this means we need to visit more ruins? Your swashbuckling kind was made for it." He notes, giggling. "Despite your objections. All the parties Varanim does in the cursed undead city of Hesed will be underground as well, you know."

zahara "I wonder what's in all the little ones"

Lucent "Torture rooms?"

Varanim "You don't need that many torture r..." she remembers the signs in the Thousand and trails off with a shrug. "All right, who's for down?"

Imrama "Down it is!" Imrama starts down the stairs.

zahara shrugs and trails after him, keeping an eye out for various and sundry traps, such as a giant log swinging towards them, arrows or poison darts shooting out of the walls, bottomless pits with eldritch warnings and the like.

Vojec The halls are surprisingly bare: no traps, no false corridors or magical distortions... and so, with only the most basic type of effort, the Solars wend their way downwards, to the basement of this particular pyramid, where they find the chamber they have sought:

Vojec a vast room, hexagonal in shape, its walls clad by black metal chains, and at its center a huge table, lined by blood grooves and featuring no fewer than seven distinct sets of soulsteel restraints -- exactly the sort of thing one would use to assemble a Maw of some number of Dark Truths.

Lucent "You said you saw sand pouring from the ceiling. Your visions suck, Varanim."

zahara "I'm sure it would have if you hadn't kindly moved it all away."

Varanim rolls her eyes at Lucent. "If you learn one thing from your time with me, 'visions are goddamn unreliable' would be a good pick."

The chamber remains, as horrible and oddly specific as it has ever been, seemingly untouched in the milennia since Lucent's unfortunate encounter with its toothy progeny.

Varanim moves forward, mapping the actual room against the flashes in her vision, a process which requires mentally adding lots and lots of red.

Lucent "Hmmm. So, you think this is it? It sure seems like what you saw..."

The visions seem indeed to closely match with the location laid out in her visions; a little effort even teases out the hairline crack running down the exact center of the chamber's roof at which the upper levels of the pyramid peeled back to allow the Maw to depart.

stryck "I feel like I'm being watched."

Varanim "Mm," she grunts helpfully at first, then nods and points up at the roof. "Zee, do you have something sleeping horribly under the Cascade that the whole roof opens to let free? Because that might be neat."

Varanim glances at Vojec. "Any idea who was around for the assembly?"

Zahara "I used to have an evilish god in the catacombs, but he deserted."

Vojec looks around the chamber with what appears to be a slightly irritated detachment. "No. I have never seen this workshop before, and had no knowledge to what purpose these pieces were put." He runs his hand slowly across one edge of the massive table, as if deep in thought.

Zahara "I could give you hints if it'd help..."

Lucent "I KNOW, right? It's like you cannot trust horrible hell-spawned abominations anymore."

Zahara snickers at Lucent

Varanim Taking another wander around the room with flask in hand, she overlays the vision in her mind with the physical evidence before her eyes, and so walks through a reasonable facsimile of the site as it existed then. She considers the restraints, the arrangement of viscera, the order of assembly, the ignorance of the hands that made it possible, all pieces of the situation.

Varanim At the end, she asks herself: what was the nature of the person who ordered this thing to be done?

Vojec The picture that Varanim pieces together is quite clear. The carefully-indented sockets on the table, forged at great effort to perfectly accommodate the monstrous viscera that came to inhabit them, speak to a project long-planned and carefully executed;

Vojec the structural tears on the leather straps speak to the length at which the creature was bound here after it was complete, as if to maximize the time its creator might be able to gaze upon the completed work;

Vojec the scuffs on the floor suggest the number of visits made to ensure everything here was just right, and the residue of decayed paper the sheer quantity of reports from underlings, utterly unrelated but vitally important to the owner, once read in this chamber;

Vojec the skeleton of a small cat, its neck neatly snapped, left in one corner of the room suggests the ruthlessness of the chamber's owner,

Vojec and the uncertain and almost indescribably different quality possessed by the rocks under the path on which his last entrance to the room was made suggest clearly that he was certain his great work was not complete until a singular, final touch could be added, on a day far after all other components lay in perfect alignment on the table.

Varanim ends squatting in the center of it all, scowling up at the roof thoughtfully. Finally she says, "It's the sort of thing I could have done, if I was just a bit more pretentious."

Varanim "To clarify before some people get their necro-hating pants in a bunch: it was very thoroughly planned, took a great deal of time to finish, and wasn't going to be let out of the kennel until it was just exactly right, even if it meant waiting months or years extra. For... some finishing touch that I can't quite see." Her scowl deepens.

Lucent "So, it was just like YOU. Like your own shard, pehaps?"

Zahara raises a brow

Varanim "The walls aren't scribbled in secret code saying 'Larquen Quen was here!' if that's what you're asking, but the odds are pretty good."

Vojec continues to examine the table with increasing irritation.

Varanim "Is there anything else we need here, or should we stick around longer just to see how much we can piss off Vojec?"

Varanim "Wait, that should have been my inside voice."

Zahara "Do you HAVE an inside voice?"

Varanim looks shifty-eyed.

Lucent grins. "Can't you try to get an image? The moment the thing was completed would be a 'crime', right?"

Varanim rolls her eyes. "Not if whoever did it was acting within their dubiously broad and unmonitored legal authority. Fortunately, it doesn't work that way."

Varanim Calling up her memory of the steps taken on the last visit to the room, she walks the path of the finishing touch and casts her mind back to that moment.

Lucent "Aren't you happy that Necromancers are always despised outlaws?"

Zahara stretches, and looks around the room for a way to continue further in

Vojec Varanim sees something, but her vision is... broken, distorted. A gloved hand holds a golden container, something oddly curved and rotationally symmetrical that seems to be balanced on finely-greased gimbals such that its individual parts shift with every motion into a new and yet still perfectly symmetrical alignment...

Vojec A bolt of lightning crashes. A splash of red, still hot and steaming, across a black stone. A rotting tendril waves in the air. The gloved hand again, now with its companion clutching an excessively elaborate and huge set of soulsteel tweezers, carefully extracting something -- a little shadowy mote, perhaps? -- from inside the carefully-weighted container.

Vojec Then Varanim has only a brief and powerful flash of the creature's horrific, divided, broken perceptions of the first moment in which it drew its ungodly and deranged "breath," before she returns once more to full awareness only of the present.

Varanim thoughtfully drains the rest of her flask and stows it carefully, then finally says, "Can't tell. Something's either messing with my vision, or was messing with the whole place at the time."

Lucent "Would this room losing a wall hamper your attempts at discerning its past?"

Varanim "In that I don't think there's much else for me to discern, no."

Lucent "Right." And promptly eight orbs of light detonate the nearest wall. Along with Lucent shouting some indiscernible out of the top of his lungs.

Zahara nudges Varanim, "Did he just yell out a charm name?"

Vojec The building, being made mostly of weak and useless rock, crumbles easily under Lucent's assault, and half the ceiling detaches from the other half, keeling outwards and allowing a huge waft of sand to flow down through the newly-present opening.

Varanim "Not sure," she mutters back. "Is this a catharsis thing? I can never keep track of how other people do that."

Zahara "Well now. There's your rain of sand."

Lucent "Yes. Turns out that Varanim's a Sidereal, can see the future, and Shun the Smiling Maiden."

Zahara "Fancy. What color?"

Lucent "Violet. She should get together with the others and spin bad poetry about endings."

Zahara "You sound moderately bitter."

Lucent "I wonder why."

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