• Closed • The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

The Vault Thread #1: Floor 1, Room 1

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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

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Slippage.

He could sense it, Sephira sliding away from him, her presence weakening as he reached for her. His mind shook a little, the fiery landscape visibly shaking as he tried to haul her back, holding onto her mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Slowly, he felt her trickle back, clinging onto her with renewed desperation like a drowning man clinging to a life raft. Slowly, she seemed to warm up, return to herself, holding onto him with what felt like equal emotion. They were both suffering, both caught in this hell that was Rowan's but which she had been dragged into. Thankfully, neither of them was alone, sharing something that was beyond words.

When she spoke at last, her words carried a ring of familiarity, dragging him up from the pit of misery in which he currently resided. The young man recognised the sentiment behind her words, the same things that he'd said to her not that long ago, just a few trials before in fact. It was probably fitting that he'd said those words with half an eye on himself. He'd spoken as much about himself as about Sephira's fears of being a mage. He'd understood, he'd empathised and so he'd spoken from the heart. It felt like she'd purposely chosen to parrot him but it wasn't a hollow message. They were an echo, reinforcing the feeling between them. It helped to calm him, sensing that in this moment there were no secrets, no walls and that there was nothing to be hide. There was no need for him to look over his shoulder, expecting to be caught out, not here, not now.

The blond was still in pain, still caught in that agony and dragged close to the edge between life and death but he felt at peace. He felt that the Element could see who he was, who he really was. The young man began to let go, some of the nearby fires winking out, instantly extinguished as the turmoil in his mind was quelled. He relaxed in her arms, his own grasp on her loosening, arms wrapped around her comfortably as he sighed.

The spreading calm came to an abrupt end as Amaris called out, the councillor's appearance ramping up his anxiety levels again. A fire reappeared close by with an audible whoosh, the spontaneous combustion sending heat billowing around them. He went rigid, shrinking away from Sephira as he scrambled to his feet. A trembling hand went through his blond hair before he bent to help the mage up, moving a hand to her waist because she looked even shakier than he felt.

"Amaris," he murmured quietly. "They must be looking for us."

The young man bit his lip, debating whether to call out or not. Perhaps it was an irrational fear but he was suddenly terrified that Amaris would learn about him and wouldn't approve. Given their own identity, they probably wouldn't be inclined to judge but he couldn't take the risk. It was different between himself and the mage, something he couldn't explain, even to himself. But either way, he was on edge again, the pain searing through his consciousness.

"Amaris! Over here!" he yelled, turning to Sephira to help her along. "Come on, we'd better go to them," he added quietly, offering the young woman support, intending to lead her in the general direction he'd heard the shout coming from, calling out every so often to give their position and expecting the mixed blood to call back to help guide them to each other.
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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

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Outside, in the Vault, Charlie Wood was straining to hold the leg in place, hoping the women were able to find Rowan within his mind, and save him from himself. He looked over at Sephira and Amaris, both slumped on the floor next to his dead friends. And he took a deep breath, and Charlie Wood's hands began to glow. And then he directed the magic that Sephira had given, directed the souls his friends had given toward where the prosthetic met nub. The leg and Rowan's body were vibrating, until they matched one another's frequency. That was when Charlie struck. He poured his own magic in, and tendrils magic shot out from the prosthetic, penetrating the nub. They wove into Rowan's soul, into his mind, and his body, permeating completely. Every piece of Rowan was on the same frequency, and the gap between leg and nub began to close. The vibrating leg soon became part of Rowan's leg, frequencies intermingled, magics interwoven, souls one in the same.

And it was this which caused the shake within Rowan's mind. Buildings began to crumble, flames began to grow, and everything was shaking. And the song Sephira had heard was growing in strength. And soon, the song was pouring out of Rowan's mouth, and was the only thing he could hear, feel, dominating every sense. Then the world went black, for Rowan, for Sephira, for Amaris. And the song faded to nothing but silence.



Rowan would be the first to wake. There would be a massive headache, and his body and mind were weary. But there was no pain in him, especially in his leg. If he looked around, he'd find that he was in a bedroom, in a bed, alone. The room was carved purely of wood, of a single piece, including the furniture. The bed was warm and comfortable, and in the headboard, the word "Sentinel" was carved. Should Rowan seek it out, he'd find that he could feel the blanket in both legs.That both sets of toes could wiggle. And if he looked, he'd find that both were there, and he was wearing someone else's nightgown. His missing leg was not missing, but it wasn't his leg either. It was the wooden leg that had been made for him. But in how it felt, how it moved, there was absolutely no difference. It felt real. It felt like his leg, not a foreign object mimicking it.

Amaris would wake next, in a similar bed with the word Architect carved into their bed, in a similar nightgown. Another room, but there was little of note. Amaris would have a similarly large headache, but not much else.

Sephira woke last, and would be wracked with pain, with exhaustion, and with the headache. Everything hurt. Even her Sparks were giving off shades of exhaustion. She could still feel just how drained her Ether was, she must've not been asleep for long. And just as with the others, she was in a nightgown, in a bed titled Maester. And she was no longer a mouse. She was herself. A look around the room would find that it seemed terribly dark, despite the lamp on the bedside table that was well lit. If she moved her head around, she'd find that the darkness moved with her. It was a part of her vision.

Regardless of who left their room first, they'd find themselves in a hallway, with several doors. All three were on the same side of the hall, neighbors in their room. Soon, Charles Barkley appeared at one end of the hall, with Charlie Wood on his shoulder. The mouse spoke, "There's breakfast downstairs. You've had an ordeal. I will try to explain as best I can."

And with that, he turned and left. Everyone's belongings could be found in a trunk at the foot of the bed, intact and whole. It seemed that they were no longer tiny, no longer a mouse, and no longer missing a leg. Should they venture down the steps, they'd find themselves in a section of the workshop they'd not previously seen. A living area. There was a table with a large fish like being on a platter, some tea, and an assortment of seeds, roots, nuts, and the like.

"Before I begin, I will answer any of your questions. So please, ask away. After that, I will tell you what I know, and you can be on your way. I apologize for what happened here. None of it was intentional. This place operates by different rules. So please, eat. Ask your questions."
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One more post from each of you, and I'll finish it out :D

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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

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Everything around them began to tremble and shake, the chaos reaching new heights while the young man gazed around him in panic and fear. He didn't know what was happening or why, didn't truly grasp what was going on or even that they were in his own mind. If he'd stopped to consider what was visible around him then he might have gotten it but he wasn't really good on the thinking front right now.

He opened his mouth, intending to question Sephira about what was going on, how they'd gotten here and how she'd found him. However, when he opened it, struggling to find the words he wanted to speak, an unexpected sound issued out. At first, it was a mere trickle, an inadvertent leak of some melody, some hauntingly beautiful music but it soon became a deluge. His mouth stretched open, the sound pouring out of him against his control. If he could have screamed, he would have. Whatever Sephira thought on the subject he'd never know because soon he could hear nothing else. It vibrated through him, overwhelming everything. He could hear it, he could feel it, he could taste it! His vision blurred and wobbled, the blond swaying briefly on his mental feet before he was lost, all sense gone as his world went black.

When he finally awoke, he immediately regretted being conscious.

It felt like something had exploded within his head, agony bursting outwards and yet it seemed to be trapped. Was it possible for his head to be trying to explode while something on the outside tried to cave it in? Well, if not then he didn't know what he was feeling but it certainly felt like that.

Rowan moaned, moving his head ever so slightly before he moaned even more loudly. Oh by Syroa, this was one heck of a hangover. He'd never felt this bad before, not even when he'd gotten into a fight while he'd been drinking.

But he hadn't been drinking.

Recollection came back slowly seeming to trickle in through his ear as the young man reached up tentatively to touch his head, brushing against unfamiliar material over his chest on its way up. He cracked open his eyes, squinting against the light and blinking quickly as he adjusted to it. He appeared to be in a strange room made entirely of wood, seeming to be made all of one piece, a warm glow reflecting off it from a lamp on a nearby table. The comfy surface beneath his weary form a sure giveaway that he was on a bed. He peered down at himself, plucking at a stranger's nightgown. Panic flashed through him as he realised that someone had undressed him, Rowan sitting bolt upright with shocking speed and instantly regretting it. His brain seemed to pulse, throbbing in a way he associated with a heartbeat. He moaned, hands moving to cradle it as nausea reared its unpleasant head.

"Aw fuck," he whimpered, removing his hands slowly and trying to keep his movements careful. As he shifted, he felt the familiar wrap of material around his chest but he still felt it tentatively, just to make certain that the treacherously swelled flesh really was compressed. Well, that was one relief at least. He didn't need that-

The blond froze, the previous series of events finally clicking together in warped coherency.

Sephira knew what he was.

He'd been shrunk.

He'd fought a giant spider and by the Seven, it had bitten his leg off!

So why could he feel both his legs?

He stared at the shapes of his legs under the blanket. There were two clear lumps and there were his feet. Two higher lumps. Two feet. He wiggled his toes, saw the movement and didn't feel any different. His toes still felt like his toes, even the toes that he couldn't possibly still have. He threw the blanket back and gaped.

From under the nightgown, two legs protruded ending in feet with five toes apiece. However, while one was pale, more white than pink flesh, the other was a dark brown, a polished and stained wood. And yet... he had toes he could wiggle and they didn't feel like something separate. It didn't feel like his leg had been cut off at all in fact. He pulled the fabric up until he found where it joined, staring at the new joint, bending it cautiously for fear that the bizarre prosthetic might pop off. Except that it didn't seem to be a prosthetic at all but fused seamlessly into his flesh. He shuddered. It was too strange.

He swung his legs to the ground, trying not to register the sensations beneath his new foot but failing. He stood, ignoring the exhaustion he felt and his pounding head. He needed to work out where he was, find the others, get home. Were they still somewhere in this cursed Vault? He was afraid they might be. First thing first, he needed to find his stuff, get some proper clothing on.

His belongings, as it turned out, were in a trunk at the end of the bed. He drew out his clothing, frowning at the unfortunate state of his trousers - bloody and one leg in tatters. Still, trousers were trousers so he slipped them on, whipping off the nightshirt with a wary look towards the door before throwing his shirt on. Fingers fumbling at the buttons, he kept glancing nervously towards the door. The shirt was spattered with blood too. Syroa, he must look a real state. He put shoes on, trying not to look too hard at his new foot because it was seriously freaking him out. Once he was ready, he lifted the rest of his belongings and crept out into the hallway but not before he'd caught sight of the word 'Sentinel' over the bed he'd been lying in.

He entered the hallway furtively, glancing up and down it, spotting the other doors on the same side of his own, beginning to creep along it. That's when the cursed wooden man appeared with the little talking mouse on his shoulder. Rowan began to back away, distrusting them both and not really recalling much about the mouse except the agony it had caused him. Presumably it had attached this freakish limb to him and he wasn't sure that he was entirely thankful. However, they did know the way out and they seemed safe right now. And they were offering food, his stomach starting to growl at the prospect.

The young man followed them slowly, discovering Amaris, Sephira and their respective rooms, explaining that he'd meet them downstairs. He went down the steps cautiously, peering around him in search of potential dangers, even once he'd reached the bottom and the living area. He made a beeline for the food, perching on a seat in anticipation of bolting off somewhere, eyeing their hosts with unconcealed suspicion. He could be as suspicious as he liked but ultimately, the smell got to Rowan and he found himself picking at the food, pouring himself tea and settling down. He'd offer to pour for Amaris and Sephira when they settled themselves, his own demeanour becoming more relaxed as the bits passed and there were no indications that anything else horrific was about to happen.

When the call for questions came, the blond didn't have a clue where to begin.

"My leg... how did you- It doesn't feel like you've stuck wood onto my leg because it feels like my leg. I can even wiggle my toes. What the fuck did you do? What sort of magic is this?" he questioned fearfully, gaze flicking down to the leg in question as if he expected it to leap up and bite him. "And what on Idalos happened to us? Why did we shrink? Why did he keep turning nasty for a few trills at a time?" he asked, pointing at Charles Barkley.

"Fuck, I'm talking to a mouse. Oh as if that's the strangest thing that's happened to-trial..."
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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

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Darkness surrounded Sephira, deep perpetual darkness. Around her, the world inside Rowan’s mind was shattering. Tremors reverberated around them, she could feel the city around them breaking simply through touch. Her vision might be gone but she could feel everything around her. The only thing that kept her grounded was the music, the sweet chaotic music that surrounded she and Rowan. The music then changed, becoming louder and almost penetrating as it began to spill from Rowan’s very own lips. The sound was everywhere, it blanketed everything and blocked out the destruction around them. All Sephira could feel was the music. Dampness clung to her eyes as she held on to Rowan. She could do nothing else, all her energy was gone; she couldn’t even find the strength to stand.

“Stay with me Rowan.” The mage whispered weakly as she feebly tightened her arm around him. She had to keep him grounded as well, so he didn’t himself shatter from the energy coursing through him. Sephira felt a wave of dizziness wash over her and somehow the darkness obscuring her vision grew in strength until it swallowed everything and she vanished into oblivion.


Pain was the first thing she felt. Hot, agonizing pain lanced through her entire body and a splitting headache throbbed at her temples. The mage shifted uncomfortably in the bed as she began to stir. Growling with discomfort Sephira slowly eased up into a sitting position where she pulled her knees in close to her body. It was still dark around her, but she could now see hints of light and shapes surrounding her. With shaking fingertips the woman slid off the edge of the bed and onto her bare feet. The wood-grain of the floor was a comfort to her, she was somewhere safe and solid, no longer locked away in the bedlam that was Rowan’s mind. Reaching toward the brightest glare of light the mage’s fingertips grazed the edge of the lamp and she finally began to find her bearings. She was in a modest wooden bedroom. She always kept her right hand on something to guide her. There was the bed at the center, a table and lamp to the side and then a worn wooden trunk at the foot of the bed.

Aching with pain and plagued with exhaustion the woman trembled as she knelt down in front of the trunk in order to get a better feel for it’s size and the location of the latch. Within trills it was open and her hands were gliding gently over the contents. First was the cold touch of metal. Spirals of brass that led to a hilt and then to a leather sheath. It was her saber Wyvern, she knew that blade anywhere even if she couldn’t see it. Beneath the sword was her armor and her pack. With some difficulty and no small amount of embarrassment she managed to change into her armor. It was difficult to simply manage the strength to get dressed. All the while Sephira was silently trying to stay calm. She couldn’t see, would her vision ever return? The darkness was lesser than it had been before but that didn’t mean that her sight would be fully restored to her. All of that really didn’t matter through if they didn’t somehow find a way to return home from this accursed Vault.

Just as the soldier finished getting into her armor and belting on Wyvern a voice emerged at the door. She knew those wooden footsteps along with the voice of Charlie Wood. Sephira knew that if she was attacked right now that she would be completely helpless. The mage didn’t even have the spare ether to use Omnivision, and her Sparks were also wracked with fatigue. There would be no more magic for her to-trial. Thankfully however the mouse and the wooden man seemed to have no intention to harm her. In fact she was quite sure that they had brought her here to recover. The brunette turned to look at the pair, but only saw clouds of color intermingled with shadows. The ferocity was gone from her gaze and from her stance, Sephira was no longer the staunch soldier she had been when they had first entered the doorway in the mountain. The woman was visibly shaken and weak. Her lips parted as if to say something but almost instantly she closed them and blindly nodded before turning her back to them. The pair moved toward the other rooms down the hall before Sephira heard them descend a flight of stairs.

Shortly after the mouse and the wooden man disappeared she heard Rowan pass by. His new leg thumped a little more forcefully on the floorboards, it had to be him she reasoned. With an apprehensive step Sephira moved slowly after Rowan, keeping her hand on the nearest wall as she walked. Her body ached and burned with pain, even so she would make it down those stairs; there were questions that needed answering.

With stumbling feet the Element eventually made it to the stairs. Her feel were clumsy, so it was a bit of an affair to get downstairs. Her cheeks burned with embarrassment as she walked down like a helpless blind waif. After several trying bits Sephira made it to the table. It was obvious from her twitchy hands and constant need to keep a hand on a wall or chair that something was off with her. With difficulty the soldier managed to find a seat and get herself into it. The scent of food wafted into her nose but she was reluctant to try it. Granted she was fairly certain that she wouldn’t be able to serve herself any food with her sight stolen from her. Thankfully Rowan obliged with a cup of tea that he poured for her. Sephira accepted gratefully before giving in and taking a long drink from the delicate cup. Rowan began asking his own questions, it was avidly clear from his tone that he too was shaken by everything that had happened and Sephira didn’t blame him. She was just glad to see that he was safe. They had both been through a great deal together.
When Rowan finished speaking Sephira turned with bright silver eyes toward where she guessed that Charlie Wood was standing.

“Two questions.” She uttered as calmly as she could.

“You said this place operates on different rules, implying that you know where we come from. So what is this place, really?” Her eyes narrowed with genuine curiosity before her gaze dropped down to her hands.
“And why can’t I see? I’ve overstepped before, but it’s never been like this.” She said darkly with a deep frown.
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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

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Mouse Charlie was sitting on the end of the table, and listened to Rowan's questions patiently. "That is your leg now. It isn't simply a piece of wood attached. With the Maester's help," he nodded at Sephira, "Using one of her magics, we were able to achieve a resonance with the frequency of your body, of the leg, and of the magic she wields. This allowed your body to adapt to the new leg in such a way. It was the only way to help you." Looking around the room, "As for what happened to you... The Architect touched the Shrink Orb. It is an artifact in my possession. We haven't gotten visitors in so long, and Barkley here is unaffected by it. An oversight on my part, it seems. And for that, I am sorry. All of this is my shop. I am the craftsman here. My master built this shop eons ago, but when she perished... I tried to bring her back. I crossed a threshold that shouldn't ever be crossed, and it split my soul, and hers. Half of mine and half of hers both reside within Barkley. My other half attached itself to this mouse form."

He looked down, saddened, "Barkley's mood shifts are when he goes back and forth between the two. When I broke my master's soul, it damaged hers terribly. She's warped now. A corruption of what she was."

Turning to Sephira to respond to her questions, "Yes, this isn't... anywhere you would call as... real. It is and is not Idalos. It is and is not Emea. It is and is not the Beneath. It's a Crux between these worlds you know, and more that you don't. It is just as real as anything else, but just... works differently." At the mention of her vision, Charlie walked up close to her, staring at her eyes. "It looks like your magic isn't done changing you yet. Give it time, I'm sure your vision will return."

He sighed, "This place, this room you entered, was not designed for humans such as yourself. How could it be? It was made before humans ever existed. This was built by those that came before. To house and protect their most precious and dangerous artifacts and other such things. But when they all died, this Vault was forgotten in time. I don't know how I know humans even exist. I assume it gave me that information when you all entered. The Vault is... alive. It isn't just a building, it is a guardian. It tests those that seek entrance, and continues to test those that wish access to its treasures. And it keeps those of us who've failed locked away for eternity, unable to age or die."

Barkley stuck out his hand, and Charlie climbed back up on the man's shoulder, "But for now I think it is time we get you back to your world." Barkley pointed out the window, at the door that they'd seen, locked behind the barrier and moat. "Go through that door. You'll see three hands, just as you did outside. Touch them and you will be allowed to leave. If you return again, please bring some fresh fruit and vegetables and meat. It has been so long since I've had proper food. Maybe some nice books as well. And if you don't, well, I understand."

The barrier was gone, and a drawbridge was down. The door would not be locked, opening up into a small space with the three hands as promised. Should Rowan or Sephira touch them, they'd find a gentle grip, like a handshake from an old friend, and a question in their mind, 'Forward or out?' If they chose forward, they'd proceed to the next room, but if they chose out, they'd find themselves instantly transported back to the cave they started in. Amaris received no such offer, and was simply expelled out once the hand was touched. They were dropped unceremoniously to the ground, only to find Hielor and Lya staring down at them. "Well its a good thing those hands let you go. That could've been bad. Curious things, those hands. They don't move when we try to touch them. Hope they didn't startle you too bad. Everyone okay?"

To the pair, the trio hadn't even left. There was nothing changed about them. And there was no memory of anything within the Vault.


Vhalar 1st 718


It all came back to the trio on the first of Vhalar. It would start as a dream, only for the memories to come flooding back. And with them, came a few additional things. Sephira's mutation finished. She could see clearly, but now her eyes were pitchblack like pure onyx. She'd later discover that she had become immune to bright flashes, unable to be blinded by such. Upon her left breast, just over heart, a glowing red hand tattoo would be found, with the thumb glowing gold.

Rowan upon awakening would find his old, healthy leg gone, and the new wooden one in its place. But with it, a very unintentional side effect. There was now something inside of Rowan, something that connected him and Sephira more intimately than anything else could. Through the process of attaching his leg, to using her magic, to entering his mind, Rowan had become initiated into Attunement by Sephira. And upon his left breast, just over his heart, a glowing red hand tattoo would be found, with the thumb glowing gold.

Amaris received nothing more than memories, all coming back to her.
 ! Message from: Aegis
1 more post from each of you. I will review this on Friday the 5th ideally. I know its a short date but thats my next day off.

As for the Vhalar 1 stuff, feel free to roleplay that out yourselves as needed.

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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

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The mouse's words were... disconcerting. The blond found himself staring at the leg, one that was apparently genuinely his. This was no prosthetic but simply his leg, in the wood rather than in the flesh as surely as if it had merely been transformed rather than altogether replaced. So caught up in his new limb, Rowan was slow to take in much of the rest, probably not helped by Sephira being called the 'Maester'.

Slowly, his head turned, dark blue eyes fixed on Sephira. The mage had done this? He had a vague recollection of a conversation they'd once had about her magics, the young man quite drunk at the time but he hadn't thought she could do that. It sounded like something immensely powerful and given that he could see the proof of it, he knew just how powerful it must have been. It was flawless. As Mouse Charlie, it was his leg now. There was no point where he ended and the leg began; they were one and the same. The fact that Sephira had done that somehow... it was mind-blowing. He had no idea how - the talk of frequencies sounded vaguely familiar, Attunement he thought - but it was clear that she'd saved his life and for that he was incredibly grateful.

And awed.

He pulled his attention away from the woman, strangely aware of a blush that had found its way into his cheeks, and stared at the mouse and the wooden man as the situation was explained further. There was more for him to try to wrap his head around, more things that were honestly too much for him to try to grasp. Older than humans, much, much older than the Seven. What had come before humans? The Shattering? Before it? Rowan didn't really know anything about that, some odd old stories - legends really - but he hadn't had a lot of opportunity to hear about such things in Rynmere. Obviously, they knew that the Immortals existed and that certain events had occurred in the past but it was just convenient to ignore those things when you had holy ancestors. He kind of wished that he'd had a chance to learn more so there was less of void in his mind right now, fewer unknowns.

The idea of the Vault carrying riches wasn't something that appealed to him, wasn't something that made him want to stay. Instead, given everything that he'd seen, everything that had happened, right now Rowan wanted to get out of here as quickly as he'd scarpered from Rynmere. The fact was that he had apparently been 'tested' and he was being given the chance to leave rather than being trapped here so he hadn't failed. The question was... had he succeeded in some odd way? That was a thought for another trial. Right now, he just wanted to return to the real world, the familiar world and worry about everything else later.

"I'd say that it was nice to meet you but... it kind of wasn't," he told the odd pair of Charlies as he got to his feet, following their directions as quickly as possible so he could get out of this place. "Come on, you two, don't be slow," he called back to Sephira and Amaris, bag flung over his shoulder as he walked briskly. He found no barrier, crossed the moat and when he reached the door, it opened readily, revealing hands similar to the ones that they'd used to enter. At the sight of them, he paused, waiting for Sephira to catch up. He shuffled his feet awkwardly before laying a gentle hand on her shoulder, willing her to look at him.

"Sephira, I wanted to say... thank you. For saving my life. It must have... it must have taken a lot. I'll never be able to repay you but... I'll bloody well try," the blond told her, smiling faintly, turning away from her with that pinkness returning to his cheeks. He coughed a little awkwardly, ducking his head as he placed his hand in its place. This time the grasp was a gentle one and there was an option this time rather than a violent transportation. It gave him the opportunity to refuse - he didn't want anything more to do with the Vault this trial, thank you very much!

The tug ended, the young man finding himself back inside the cave where he'd started. The memory of the original painful grip made him move to rub his hand but he paused when he realised that it didn't hurt. Odd, he could have sworn- Only a trill ago, he'd thought it was going to break his hand and now... nothing. Well, it had only been for a few trills, he supposed but there still should have been lingering pain.

"Yeah, that was... strange," he told the archaeologists, gazing at the wall with a slightly puzzled expression. He felt like he was forgetting something, as if words wouldn't come. He shook his head, shaking the feeling and grinning broadly instead. "Thought something exciting was going to happen there for a moment but I guess it's just a weird old door, eh? Haven't cracked it yet, I suppose. Guess we'll just have to look around some more but lemme tell you. I ain't poking it again."

He laughed with good humour, digging his hands into his pockets as he put some distance between himself and the door, what had happened beyond it utterly wiped from his mind. It was as if it had never occurred at all.
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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

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Sephira listened in mute silence as Charlie explained how they had attached Rowan’s new leg. He spoke of it as if it had been such a simple thing, but lives had been lost and she had nearly killed herself with overstepping. All those apprentices were now gone and Sephira couldn’t see. But she supposed that Rowan was better off not fully comprehending the cost. It was kinder that way, and Rowan needed a bit of kindness now more than ever.

After seeing the turmoil within his mind and in comprehending his identity Sephira’s understanding of the man had deepened. He wasn’t just some silly drunk. He was a person who had just as many fears and hopes as she did. He wanted to find connection and to be accepted for who he was. Now the pair were connected in a strange and wonderful way that was unique to mages. Sephira could feel the newborn child Spark within him and it’s connection to her own. The woman eyed him somberly, knowing that Rowan himself feared magic and would likely have a hard time coming to terms with his new identity as a mage. The only mercy was that he was an Attuner since it was one of the gentler magics. It didn’t warp the body with mutations.

The blinded woman continued in silence as the mouse explained what exactly had happened to them. Apparently Amaris had run into the orb and that was why she and the others had been separated early on. Then there was the matter of the wooden man and his rapidly shifting persona. A shattered soul? Sephira could image no worse of a fate. She worried every trial that her Rupturing Spark would one day finally break her own.

The nature of the world itself took time for the mage to wrap her head around but it did make sense when she considered the warped Frequencies she had sampled earlier, right after they had arrived.

As for her eyes the mage took a little comfort in knowing that her vision would hopefully return. She did however bristle slightly when Charlie noted that her magic was not done changing her. Sephira frowned.

“Fantastic...” she uttered with a droll sigh.

Her mood did brighten when the mouse began explaining the origins of the room and the Vault itself.

Made before humans? It was difficult to wrap her head around that there was a world before the birth of humans and that another civilization had preceded them. She cared less for the treasures and more about getting herself and everyone else home safely. So when it was suggested that they could go home immediately she came to her feet and turned her blind gaze toward Rowan.
“Let’s go home.” she uttered with relief before turning to look toward Charlie Barkley and Charlie Wood.

“Thank you, for helping us, and helping Rowan especially.” The woman turned to smirk at the thin man before glancing down at his wooden leg. “I think he would have made a rather terrible cripple.”

They left, Sephira trailing behind Rowan, using the sound of his footsteps and her outstretched hands to find her way amid the hazy darkness that consumed her vision. She was still aching with discomfort and her Sparks grumbled in the back of her mind but they were going home, and that was all that mattered.

When Rowan stopped her, the soldier did her best to focus her eyes on where she thought his voice was coming from. She didn’t have the normal acidity in her gaze when looking at him, nor did the woman bristle at his touch on her shoulder. They both understood each other a little better, and it was a simple thing to see that something had changed between them.

Sephira’s face softened and her brows knit together when Rowan thanked her. She couldn’t see him right now, but she had seen into his heart and mind.

“You don’t need to thank me.” she replied heavily. “I would do it again if I had too.” The mage added with a faint twitch of a smile before she took a step toward the exit. Just as she placed her hand on one of the three hands offered the soldier turned to Rowan.

“Just know that you aren’t alone Rowan.” she whispered just as the gentle touch came from the offered hand and she was swept away from the innards of the Vault.


The next thing Sephira remembered was suddenly being back at the entrance in the Scalvoris Mountains. The archaeologists were telling them that nothing had happened. She released her hold on the door and stepped back, looking at her hand curiously.

“What a disappointment.” The young Element remarked dryly before following the others back down the mountain. To have traveled so in the frigid cold and to have come back with nothing was not what she had expected.

Vhalar 1st
Things were moving ahead quickly. The Special Assistant was washing up at a basin in one of the side rooms of Redwood Redoubt in preparation for a briefing with Councilwoman Kura concerning the portal stones in Rynmere. Spashing water on her face the mage rubed away a smear of blood and grime from an ugly altercation she had just had outside the Four in Hand. It seemed that anti-Element sentiments had not quite left Scalvoris Town and she had taken a blow to the face before locking a duo of men in cuffs and escorting them to Element’s Hall.

She touched the growing purple bruise on her jawline and inspected it in the mirror just as something washed over her, sending chills down her spine. Sephira gasped, stumbling back, knocking over the basin of water to send the liquid splashing across the floor.

The Vault...she remembered everything.

The woman snapped her gaze up to the mirror hanging over the table where the basin had been, to watch in horror as her dark Biqaj eyes began to cloud with an inky blackness. She could see perfectly clearly, but now her eyes looked utterly inhuman.

The soldier screamed in horror.

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Amaris
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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

Amaris Nyme
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The mixed blood had many questions, but none of them left their lips. Perhaps there was a reason behind it. It was lost to them. Instead, they listened to the answered provided to queries asked, brows furrowed. Now they knew the reason for their lack of questioning - there was no time for what they had in mind to ask. Or there felt like there was no time. A sense of claustrophobia had come over them, liker everything was closing in and there was an immediate need to leave.

The word Architect had born with it the weight of consequences to their actions, decisions made carelessly and without thought of repercussion. Not a bright move, they would think. Nor would anyone. The fact that Rowan could even procure some sense of civility at the least with them was astounding enough. Swallowing, they followed their friends as they exited.

“Thank you - for helping us.” They could not think of what else to say, and that was all they would leave with. Treasures had been mentioned, but they had to wonder if those were worth the safety of their friends. Not in the slightest. They shouldn’t have suggested coming here. Hope to see you again. They wished the mockery in the voice’s tone wouldn’t have felt as real as it did.

Amaris had no intentions of returning of their own volition with either Rowan or Sephira.

Not afforded a handshake this time, they were cast out. And the memory of what lay within forgotten.



Vhalar 1st

Was that what had happened? The images - they were blurry and inconsistent or felt that way. But the feeling in their chest - where their heart was; used to be? - must have proven it true. The shrinking the mice, the burden of choices they’d made.

The ensuing reaction was laughter. Hysteric or otherwise, they knew not the answer, but it was something other than emptiness and they accepted it.
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Re: The First Steps in a Thousand Arcs

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Thread Review
What a fun thread and thank you so much for being the pioneers in this fun idea of mine. I look forward to seeing you all again sometime. Rowan, Sephira, should you tap into the Vault Mark, please let me or a Scalvoris mod know. Any questions, please ask.
Sephira
  • Skill Points - 20 (Can be used for Attunement)
  • Renown - +5 for looking silly with the stone hands
  • Skill Knowledges
    1. Acrobatics: Dodging away from a sudden grab
    2. Acrobatics: Sliding beneath the bottom of a door
    3. Attunement: The Vault is filled with overwhelming and alien frequencies
    4. Attunement: The Resounding note of "Scalvoris"
    5. Attunement: The many frequencies in the Vault pleases the attunement spark
    6. Attunement: Pulling the spark free from frequencies it craves
    7. Attunement: Directing a particularly distracted spark
    8. Attunement: Able to give more than asked
    9. Attunement: Omnivision can give exact distances
    10. Attunement: Will pout over being denied raw ether
    11. Attunement: The taste and feel of people dying
    12. Attunement: Joining the song of another
    13. Detection: Mice have sharper hearing than people
    14. Detection: Fumbling about with greatly diminished eyesight
    15. Discipline: Taking a vacation from duty. Technically.
    16. Discipline: Admonishing oneself for a failure
    17. Discipline: Recognizing when you've taken a threat too far
    18. Discipline: Having a physical reminder of duty and responsibility
    19. Discipline: Fighting back an extremely powerful spark
    20. Endurance: The feeling of scared sparks in pain
    21. Endurance: The feeling of being pulled through a stone wall, magically
    22. Endurance: Being turned into a mouse
    23. Endurance: The bodily pain of giving every ounce available
    24. Etiquette: Giving appropriate thanks
    25. Intimidation: Using the touch of a weapon to get a point across
    26. Linguistics: Seeing the unknown language in The Vault
    27. Leadership: Stepping up when a companion fails
    28. Leadership: Letting a companion know you're there for them, even when all seems lost
    29. Leadership: Giving comfort to a pained companion
    30. Leadership: Telling a companion you'll pay back a life debt
    31. Running: Sprinting on two legs while in a mouse form
    32. Rupturing: Cutting through a wooden toe with portals
    33. Rupturing: The spark will viciously defend raw ether
    34. Socialization: Appearing nonthreatening
    35. Stealth: Whispering so as to avoid insulting a host
    36. Stealth: Made much easier by being tiny
    37. Tactics: Attacking a large creature's eyes first
  • Non-Skill Knowledges
    1. Scalvoris - Location: The Vault
    2. Hielor and Lyalay: Archeologists studying the Vault
    3. The Vault: Scares the Rupturing and Attunement sparks
    4. The Vault - Floor 1, Room 1: Charlie's Charming Carvings
    5. The Vault - Contact: Charlie Barkley, a man made of wood
    6. The Vault - Item: A ship made of bone worth 20,000gn
    7. The Vault - Item: A mirror that holds a doppleganger
    8. The Vault - Contact: Charlie Wood, a mouse
    9. The Vault: A Crux between every world in existence
    10. The Vault: Made before humans existed
    11. The Vault: A living guardian of the treasures within it
  • Items and Other Rewards
    1. Memory Loss - All Elements related memories from the season of Ashan 718
    2. Attunement Overstepping Mutation: Sephira's eyes are pure black now, in entirety. This does not obscure her vision, and gives her immunity to bright flashes of light, as well as bright flashes from sudden frequencies detectable by Attunement.
    3. Vault Mark: Upon her left breast,a glowing red hand, with the thumb glowing gold. Tapping into this mark mentally will allow Sephira access to Charlie's Charming Carvings from anywhere in existence, as if by sudden teleportation. However, this cannot be used to escape imminent danger, as upon exiting the Vault, Sephira is returned to the exact same instance of time and location she left from.
    4. Vault Title: Maester
Rowan
  • Skill Points - +20
  • Renown - +5 for looking silly with the stone hands
  • Skill Knowledges
    1. Acrobatics: A sideways dive to avoid an attack
    2. Acrobatics: A quick crawl
    3. Axes and Bludgeons (Hatchet): Diagonal downward chop
    4. Axes and Bludgeons (Hatchet): Combining an attack with a twisting sidestep
    5. Axes and Bludgeons (Hatchet): Maintaining a grip on the hatchet even after a failed attack
    6. Axes and Bludgeons (Hatchet): A short feint
    7. Axes and Bludgeons (Hatchet): Being aware of how much room one has to swing
    8. Deception: Pretending to be harmless, despite actually being harmless
    9. Detection: Seeing the world from a 2 inch tall perspective
    10. Detection: Seeing a cracked flaw in wood
    11. Discipline: Keeping one's cool despite fear of death
    12. Discipline: Stuffing down the judgment of others
    13. Discipline: Not giving up despite immense pain
    14. Discipline: Stifling fear when a friend arrives to help
    15. Endurance: Hiking up a mountain
    16. Endurance: The feeling of being pulled through a stone wall, magically
    17. Endurance: Being blinded by a flash
    18. Endurance: Being out of breath multiple times in one trial
    19. Endurance: The vibrations from a poorly executed strike
    20. Endurance: Having one's leg bitten off by a spider
    21. Endurance: Being kicked in the chin by a wooden spider
    22. Endurance: The pain of having one's leg nub worked on
    23. Etiquette: Not laughing when someone gives a humorous sounding name
    24. Etiquette: Giving compliments where appropriate
    25. Intelligence: Asking a roundabout question to get the answer you actually want
    26. Intimidation: Shouting a pun at your enemy.
    27. Leadership: Getting in the first commands
    28. Leadership: Physically dragging people who need to follow you
    29. Leadership: Relaying tactics to companions
    30. Discipline: Offering support to all members of a team, even those who'd failed so badly
    31. Linguistics: Seeing the unknown language in The Vault
    32. Meditation: Taking a moment to recover from a fearful event
    33. Running: Outrunning a giant's footfall
    34. Running: Coming to a sliding stop
    35. Seduction: Make false threats as a jest
    36. Strength: Trying to pull one's hand free of a stony grip
    37. Strength: Fighting against leather restraints
    38. Tactics: Provoking a creature so it stops attacking a companion
    39. Tactics: Crawling beneath a giant spider to find a soft spot to attack
  • Non-Skill Knowledges
    1. Scalvoris - Location: The Vault
    2. Hielor and Lyalay: Archeologists studying the Vault
    3. The Vault - Floor 1, Room 1: Charlie's Charming Carvings
    4. The Vault - Contact: Charlie Barkley, a man made of wood
    5. The Vault - Item: A ship made of bone worth 20,000gn
    6. The Vault - Contact: Charlie Wood, a mouse
    7. The Vault: A Crux between every world in existence
    8. The Vault: Made before humans existed
    9. The Vault: A living guardian of the treasures within it
  • Items and Other Rewards
    1. Prosthetic Leg: Rowan's leg below the knee has been replaced by a magical, wooden prosthetic. This leg is as strong as adamantium, and while it can feel normal sensations, it does not feel pain. It can move and act as a normal leg would. This leg is inexorably linked to Sephira Blackwood as well. Because of this link, Rowan is immune to any direct magical effects from Rupturing and Attunement from Sephira, and his leg is immune to such effects from anyone else. Rowan can choose to accept these effects, through a sensation akin to the leg asking his permission. Additionally, Rowan will always know where Sephira is, be it in the mortal world, Emea, the Beneath, etc. While moving toward Sephira, Rowan will find himself able to run faster and for longer than he thought possible. Often when Rowan dreams, the ghosts of the mice apprentices that sacrificed themselves for him will appear, to talk with him. These ghosts are not menacing, but rather are friendly and curious about the outside world. Finally, Rowan can always call to Sephira through this connection, and she can answer in reply.

      There are more abilities in this leg that can be further unlocked by venturing further into the Vault.
    2. Attunement: Rowan has been initiated into Attunement
    3. Vault Mark: Upon his left breast,a glowing red hand, with the thumb glowing gold. Tapping into this mark mentally will allow Rowan access to Charlie's Charming Carvings from anywhere in existence, as if by sudden teleportation. However, this cannot be used to escape imminent danger, as upon exiting the Vault, Sephira is returned to the exact same instance of time and location she left from.
    4. Vault Title: Sentinel


Amaris
  • Skill Points - 15 (deducted 5 for missing multiple rounds)
  • Renown - +5 for looking silly with the stone hands
  • Skill Knowledges
    1. Endurance: Being blinded by a flash
    2. Linguistics: Seeing the unknown language in The Vault
    3. Linguistics - Unknown Vault Language - A symbol of "what would happen if the number 7 ate the number 9"
    4. Linguistics - Unknown Vault Language - A symbol of "pyramid made of hair"
    5. Linguistics - Unknown Vault Language - A symbol of "a diagonal line"
    6. Linguistics - Unknown Vault Language - A symbol of "backwards G with a tail"
    7. Linguistics - Unknown Vault Language - The language on the wall did not transcribe accurately to paper
    8. Linguistics - Unknown Vault Language - Symbols transcribed to Common while in the Vault
    9. Persuasion: Begging for help for a friend
    10. Running: Outrunning a giant's footfall
    11. Running: Never stop running
    12. Tactics: Abandoning a companion to save one's own life
  • Non-Skill Knowledges
    1. Scalvoris - Location: The Vault
    2. Hielor and Lyalay: Archeologists studying the Vault
    3. The Vault - Floor 1, Room 1: Charlie's Charming Carvings
    4. The Vault - Contact: Charlie Barkley, a man made of wood
    5. The Vault - Item: A ship made of bone worth 20,000gn
    6. The Vault - Language - Unknown users
    7. The Vault - Item: The kaleidoscopic Shrink Orb
    8. The Vault - Contact: Charlie Wood, a mouse
    9. The Vault: A Crux between every world in existence
    10. The Vault: Made before humans existed
    11. The Vault: A living guardian of the treasures within it
  • Items and Other Rewards
    1. Transcription of Unknown Vault Language - Amaris knows these runes to mean "Welcome Amaris, child of Yanis and Lorin."
    2. Vault Title: Architect
Player 2
  • Skill Points -
  • Renown -
  • Skill Knowledges
  • Non-Skill Knowledges
  • Items and Other Rewards

Final Notes


If you have any questions, please PM me. Also please add the provided stamp to your review request found here and please update your CS with all of this information.

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