End Game: the Crucible.

Citywide Plot

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A village cut off from the rest of Mizahar by the Valterrian, slowly reestablishing contact with the outside world.

End Game: the Crucible.

Postby Xelhes on February 7th, 2012, 10:16 am

Winter 77th, 511 A.V.


Everything going on around him was almost a blur to the Ethaefal. Stories about the past lives of others, the presence of the Stone, the verbal battle that seemed to go on, all of it was a mess for Xelhes to try and sort out. He still believe in the prophecy Veldrys had spoken of, a prophecy given to the mortal world by a god. To Xelhes the words of Viritas were ones to be trust more than the words of Sela, despite the woman's best intentions.

When the sunlight hit the Stone and the vision came to everyone, Xelhes could not help but a small, confused noise. For a brief moment he saw a group of people, though the vision was too fast for him to focus on the setting that the party occupied. However one face stood out to him above all the others and for some reason made him worry. Syllke, the kind individual who had been friendly with Xelhes right from the beginning, and was simply kind to everyone.

Though the setting was unknown to Xelhes he felt uneasy at what he had seen, feeling as if something bad could happen at any moment to the group that he saw in the vision. Instead of voicing himself the Ethaefal stayed silent while the others bickered, listening to the past of the Stone and also thinking back to the moment of what was his past death. Louie's words had fallen of deaf ears, as well as Veldrys'; Xelhes lost in his memories, though eventually broke free of them to listen to the full past of the Stone. Hearing the story did not stir anything inside of the Ethaefal, no memories or emotion. Xelhes did not know if it was because his past life had known nothing of the past, or there simply was nothing for him to feel. The Stone itself was the thing he was focused on, and the fact that it was there before him was more important than even the history of the artifact itself.

When Seodai's voice rose, Xelhes jumped slightly, his thoughts returning back to reality as he took a step away. Quickly the conflict escalated and before Xelhes knew it the two men were in a brawl of their own, causing the Ethaefal to step away again in order to make sure he did not wind up in the ensuing conflict. When Cian was knocked down with them, Xelhes' eyes widened, the Stone almost gliding across the floor and stopping mere feet from him. Walking towards it without hesitation the Ethaefal picked up the Stone, slowly doing so. As he did his expression changed, his eyes becoming almost distant once again as he held the Stone to his chest, looking down on it. It was here, right here in his hands, the Stone Leth had sent him to find so many years ago. His life had been lost trying to find this, Leth having kept his soul and returning him to the world so that he could find it.

A mournful smile came across Xelhes' face as he continued to look at the Stone, his eyes looking more distant and yet happy. "Leth...I found it..." The words he spoke were in a quiet voice yet anyone listening would have heard; a voice that sounded far different than Xelhes' normal tone, like a completely different individual. The sorrow and happiness were conveyed through his words as he shed a single tear while looking at the Stone, the salty water landing on the artifact as Xelhes' small smile widened slightly. It was this brief moment that finally gave a part of his spirit rest, his past life as the woman Isolde rising to the surface in this instance with the Stone, and vanished just as quickly as the words were said. Thought Xelhes had no true memories of that life in this form he still felt the happiness of finally completing his task to Leth; to finally give the past life of Isolde closure and rest.

Looking up at everyone and wiping the remnants of the tear from his face Xelhes began to observe the faces of everyone there, looking for what they thought should be done with the Stone. Sela was still obviously adamant at the Stone's destruction, and a few others had the look as well, but even so Xelhes still did not want to see the Stone destroyed. It was now that he had noticed Veldrys and what seemed like a few others had moved to grab the Stone as well, Xelhes having completely ignored the actions of everyone around him when he himself went to retrieve the Stone.

Looking at everyone again the Ethaefal spoke, a question directed at everyone, "So...what do we do now? Do we destroy the Stone or fix it?" Turning his gaze to Sela directly, he gave her a kind smile, and spoke again. "You said the Stone is a poison, and while it is true that destroying the source sometimes can cure those inflicted, there are times when the only way to actually cure the poison is to examine the poison itself and make an antidote from it. If we simply destroy the source we might not accomplish anything because, as you said, Denval is already poisoned. Wouldn't destroying the Stone be the same thing as killing a poison snake that bit you? The source is gone, but the toxin is still there and you still die. To me the problem seems the same, as destroying the snake will not purify the toxin that already infects Denval."

The Ethaefal's words were spoken with a kind tone, not trying to be offensive or seem smart in anyway. When he finished speaking her turned to Veldrys, an almost confused look on his face. "I think that sounded realistic...That is how poison sometimes works right, Veldrys?" Medical knowledge was still something Xelhes had little of, though he knew of a few things here and there. Looking back down at the Stone again Xelhes let out a sigh and took a few steps away from everyone in general, waiting for there answer while not letting anyone get to close in the chance that they tried to steal the Stone. If in the end it was decided the Stone was to be destroyed, then Xelhes would hand it over; he did not want the Stone for himself, he simply wanted to make sure no one acted of their own according until a decision could be reached. It was then that Xelhes thought of something, the words of the prophecy coming back to him even after Veldrys had recited them a few times already. Quietly he spoke, "Fuse the orbs, ere Denval fall..." He looked down at the Stone for a moment, then back at everyone else, a confused and maybe even concerned look on his face before he spoke again. "The prophecy says orbs, not orb...If this is one of them, where is the other?"
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End Game: the Crucible.

Postby Legion on February 10th, 2012, 3:36 am

The stone had become a scrap of bread in a circle of ravenous children. Should it be discarded to spare them the struggle, given to one alone, or broken into pieces until it was no benefit to any? Give me, no give me, no me, no me, me-me-me.

The broken stone tumbled across the floor as its long dead mother was dashed by the man who had torn it out of its resting place.

The stone was a heart, yanked clean from a body and torn into ragged pieces. It remembered, Seodai had raised it so high in the cold Denval sky. The stone wept, the stone worried, the stone longed. What it loved was being enclosed upon.

It was a broken heart with no vessel to vent its anguish. But oh, it would make them know what it was to long to scream but have no mouth.

The hand that held the stone, regretted its zeal as the stone radiated jagged power. It was neither whole nor healthy, so all it spewed was jolts of corrupted fear.

Without the ritual of the mark and the bracken taste, Veldrys was suddenly filled with the rage and poisonous resentment Seodai’s blood felt for Delano. It crested over the Symenestra and ravaged him with a violent will heretofore untapped.

Outside the clinic, Cian’s windchimes began to clack and tangle with one another, as the trees fingers grew hateful. Branches stabbed wide trunk, spilling sap and splintering old brothers.

Sitkanis and Sela felt shrill tones, pulling at their god-tinged bodies. The weight of mortality began to painfully contort them into obeisance. Sela felt the weight of the grave and the eras she had thought cheated from Dira. Her body was unchanged but a mortal terror filled her. The lady of the final door was coming, her thoughts raged, and this time Dira would take no trade.

Sitkanis was having his grip on the stars loosened, and his head bowed to the earth. A communion he never knew he possessed quieted, and he wondered why he felt more forsaken than ever.

Louie remained upright, just as straightforward and smug as his old life. The stone’s power clanged against him, then turned away. That one was made of paper, it decided, and what could it do to paper?

Mother, though. Mother was to be safe. Could you recall me, mother? Will you spare me as I spare you. Be near to me, mother, for I am broken-hearted and anxious of spirit.
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End Game: the Crucible.

Postby Xelhes on February 10th, 2012, 7:22 pm

Winter 77th, 511 A.V.


Standing there, holding the Stone to keep it safe as he observed those around him, Xelhes never expected for what happened next to occur. He felt it, briefly and almost like a figment of his imagination, the Stone letting out what seemed like a surge. It struck instantly, giving the Ethaefal no time to counteract the Stone, and in that moment he felt something take over his being; an emotion he had felt before but not to an extent. Fear swelled and began to consume him, first a fear about nothing, which then warped into a fear of everything and everyone. Taking a few steps back the world itself began to warp to Xelhes, as scenarios began to play in his mind that overtook his reality. Events that seemed like they were perfectly real, yet truly the only thing they could be considered were dreams brought about by the fear the Stone instilled and then strengthen further.

In one vision Louie came up in front of the Ethaefal, pulling out what seemed like a quill. Before Xelhes could even get a word out he felt it, the point of the quill piercing through the weak structure that was his eye. Blinding pain accommodated the fear that filled him, keeping it company before fading and the next vision beginning. From behind him a pair of large hands clasped around his throat, the grip tightening instantly. In an attempt at self preservation the Ethaefal tried to pull the hands off, sending a kick to the person behind him. When the back of his foot made impact it felt like hitting a stone wall and no matter how many times he struck it, the wall never gave way. His head felt like it would exploded, his brain telling him that his eyes were possibly about to burst from his head due to the pressure, and with that the vision ended. It was a if time had reset for each new vision, Xelhes returning to his original physical state, yet the memories stilled remained.

As each vision played, in reality, Xelhes was simply slowly walking backwards, his face clearly expressing the fear and false pain in his mind. Sweat covered his brow and probably in an action most unlike him, rebel tears fell from his eyes, his breath ragged and indistinguishable noises escaping his lips. When the Ethaefal came in contact with the wall he simply slid down it, landing with his back leaning against it as the visioned continued to play. Seodai appeared beside him and seemingly inserted a scalpel through the side of the Ethaefal's body, before striking at another spot, and then another. In another vision Cian forced some for of plant down Xelhes' mouth, pain then searing through his body before more visions began. A vision of Veldrys using his teeth to rip out the Ethaefal's throat; a vision where Sela beat him to death with her bare hands; a vision that the Stone itself set his body aflame, and even a vision where Xelhes himself killed everyone inside that room.

The Ethaefal had no sense of time now, the outside world hidden from him from the tortured world that the Stone and his mind had created. Each scenario played, and then the loop repeated a nearly infinite amount of time, until each vision was ingrained in memory. Then, sitting there against the wall, Xelhes' body reacted to one of the visions, causing the Ethaefal's arm to toss the Stone away, the artifact skidding across the floor once more. Once it left the Ethaefal's grasp, the man began to return to normal, his breath leveling and the odd noises ceasing immediately. However reality never became truly clear to the Ethaefal in the moment, the visions and fear still tangled in his mind, trying to almost torture the Ethaefal. So Xelhes sat there, crumpled against the wall like a man who was half dead, his eyes unfocused and unseeing. The visions had finally stopped, and now his mind went to rest, trying to recover itself and return stability to itself; trying to return Xelhes from a world that had warped everything into something out to kill him to the one he knew and wanted to stay in.
Last edited by Xelhes on February 11th, 2012, 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Louie Wein on February 11th, 2012, 8:10 pm

No, Louie cannot have a care. None at all while he was watching how everything was unfolding before him. The same with everyone else, they had their past guiding them. Their motives, intentions all for the stone. When he first was aware of this Ceil, Louie though of it as nothing more than a memory of something he had read before. He spent so much time just reading, writing and finding out things that the line of his reality is easily blurred if not because his desires needed him to go out and meet people or his job had so much interactions with students. That being said, the longer he went the more he acted out of character. Recently he even tossed a book at a student yelling out about his ineptitude in front of the whole class just because he missed out a few points or research and gave Louie a flawed report. It was not acceptable. In Alehea he-Louie-Ceil-who? Would have fired him and made sure that he would no longer have a fut...what was he thinking about again?

He broke off from that thought when the champion of destroying the stone talked about its history and Louie stammered as he asked the question whether "is it possible for us to replicate what Lanzara did? Or at least know what he did. It could be that is the source of its taint" since the timing was so perfect. "When did that happen?" since many years ago can mean anything. Having the right date "we might be able to go into some records to find out more details?" Louie was always looking for an excuse to read more about Denval though recently the reasons have begun to change. He was still reading what he always was but he could feel it in his heart that what he was looking for were other things that never interested him. Strengths? Weaknesses? What use did he have for those?

But now, probably both of him wanted to learn how to destroy the stone for their own reasons. "Yes, fuse the orbs here Denval falls" he repeated the prophecy with only one letter different because the first time he heard it, Louie was still not used to how a symenestra spoke and mistook the actual word "and that is why we need to destroy the stone." However before Louie could say anything else there was an interruption. A punch throwing men and stone alike across the floor. His eyes widened when he saw the scene, like a battle from long ago for the prize, "the stone..." That was it! Ceil's lifelong goal and it strongly brought that woman out to surface. Fortunately the intelligencer was one who did not like to get her hands dirty like the other politicians and abstained from doing anything for the moment as she observed how things were being played out. Waiting, just waiting for her chance while Louie and the rest of the people were unaware of what she was aiming for.

And it was Louie who acted first when he saw what was happening to Xelhes, spared from the experiences and changes that the rest had. Being paper was good. It allowed him to remain whole. It was never possible to write on a torn piece as he knew and even when he succeeded it was not a nice feeling to read from it. The teacher stepped forward full of concern asking "Xelhes..what is wrong?" and never did he suspect that the stone would get thrown again. One step forward and Louie's foot was down on it. As the man stooped to pick it up his face contorted, full of greed and accomplishment at fulfilling an longtime goal. The great success of triumph took over and Ceil pushed Louie back so that she may take the front row seat he deserved.

It was in her hands finally! What was she going to do with it? No, nothing yet because there were still too many enemies around. Dirty Denvalis, all enemies of the glorious empire of Alahea. She will still have to act like one of them, like Louie that petching backstabber. No excuses! When she rose, the face turned back to normal but it did not care about Xelhes any longer. The change was evident in her tone when she rubbed it in the ethaefal's face that "was the burden of responsibility too much for you?" and when she asked something completely different that "I should take it with me to the Lyceum to find out if there is a way to fix it." The Lyceum. His-Ceil-Louie's domain. The place where they...she will start to take over. "You don't have to come with me if you are all going to fight over it like a bunch of children" he said full of the authority she once had.
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End Game: the Crucible.

Postby Veldrys on February 17th, 2012, 5:06 am

Veldrys had almost reached the stone when Xelhes took it. The Symenestra found himself overwhelmed by a strange, intense kind of anger even though he had always trusted the Ethaefal before. Xelhes was a good man and reliable – he wouldn’t use the stone for any sinister, selfish purposes, but still … it should have been his! He knew that he would be even better suited to keeping it safe. Xelhes was just a child, no matter what he looked like. Children shouldn’t be allowed to play with such things. He needed to take it from him again, no matter what the cost. He had died for it in his past life!

He was almost upon the Ethaefal when he noticed the look on the other man’s face. Seething anger made way to confusion for a moment. Xelhes looked sick, as if he were going to pass out any moment. They had talked about the stone poisoning people before. Was he seeing its effects now? He thought about that for a moment, but then his eyes fell on the stone in the Ethaefal’s hands again. It was within his reach now.

And then Xelhes suddenly threw it away. Veldrys spun around, trying to catch it, but anger and confusion had made him slower than he usually was. „Louie Wein!“ he muttered. Could the self proclaimed concerned citizen be trusted with something that valuable? He had said that he would take it to the Lyceum. That was actually a good idea, but still … He had had seen it first!

At the egde of his field of vision he saw Xelhes, crumpled against the wall, looking dead. He was torn between helping the Ethaefal and confronting Louie now. Moments passed, and then he abruptly spun around and hurried to Xelhes‘ side. He knelt down besides him. „Xelhes, can you hear me? What is the matter?“
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End Game: the Crucible.

Postby Xelhes on February 27th, 2012, 1:27 pm

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The Stone was gone, the constant fear it had caused no longer striking at the Ethaefal's mind, yet the damage was still far too fresh. Louie's words swirled around in his head, a repetitive loop that was nearly impossible for him to understand. Did the other man truly plan to attack him? Would Louie try to kill him, if not now then at some other moment in time? The tone in his voice when he had spoken the the Ethaefal, it was not the same as the Louie that Xelhes remembered. Then it was as if all the haze in his mind had cleared, Xelhes' senses returning to normal as Louie's words finally solidified in his mind; instinct now was what drove his body, the Ethaefal's regular persona and thoughts gone.

Veldrys' words did not reach him, nor would anyone else, not until he completely recovered. With widened eyes Xelhes looked around the room, his eyes looking as wild as that of any animal found in the wilds of Mizahar, acting as if the only two people in the world were himself and Louie Wein. Once he spotted some of the supplies that had not been stored away, the Ethaefal moved towards them, quietly whispering, "I won't allow it..." It was almost like a endless chant as Xelhes made his way to the supplies, grabbing what he wanted the moment the scalpel entered his field of vision. Yes, this probably be the best weapon he could find.

Facing Louie direction, Xelhes stopped speaking and simply looked at the man for a moment. No matter what he would not let his vision come true, and while everyone in the room was a potential threat Louie seemed to be the biggest one. If it was necessary he would kill Louie and remove any chance of a future with Louie killing him in turn; Xelhes refused to simply allow the possibility for that future to exist. Without a sound or word the Ethaefal charged towards Louie, and when the man was within his arms reach, thrust the scalpel forward towards the teacher's abdomen.


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End Game: the Crucible.

Postby Legion on March 14th, 2012, 1:00 am

torturer, taker, candlelight maker
don the dead's clothes and say hullo to my mother
she'll stop you, rob you, rock you right down
remind you we're not here
with our feet firm on the ground
push you, bless you, bid you make haste
wish for your keeping
and to remain safe
but only if this once the bad gods be good

- k.b.s.; sweet tea revolutions



The Priest of Rak'keli was a ghost in the room. He moved too fast for the untrained eye, following what lines of unknown histories still waited to ripen or rupture in his eyes. From floor to feet and then to lunge. The result was his hand upon the wrist of Xelhes, his body twisting until it angled between the celestial outlander and the Denvali native to circumvent the passage of Xelhes' scalpel.

The blade scraped across Louie's ribs, a fierce bleed but shallow wound, and found final purchase through the flesh of Cian's palm.

"PEACE!" Delano Marx bellowed, both boots coming to frame either side of the fallen stone.

It winked, a suffering eclipse, and bled the lights of dusk and dawn across the floor.

"Zith in the sky!" A unexpected cry came from the garden door where Cinna Dahl's round, lovely face was shadowed first with alarm and then with confusion. "The hell is going on in there?"

"Lock it up," Cian snapped, half bent over a freely bleeding hand. "Move," he ordered, though in all the years he had slaved in service to this beleaguered city he had never once been given the rank he had earned. Cinna, either uncaring or just wise, moved all the same with the aid of startled others to slam shut the shutters and pull at storm doors.

Today, in the Opal Clinic, they had bigger battles to win.

"Do," Cian said, every word a brick fall as he stooped down, shoved a shoulder into Delano's legs, and plucked up the stone with a blood stained hand. "Any of you have a notion on how we can use this?" The Solduvan Stone was flashed like a marker hawker giving a glimpse of the ball beneath the cups. "To contact the hunting party? Think, my friends, because I feel our time is running out."

Suwor, after all, no longer held the stone Sela herself had told them born the stain of old Zaital magic. What was it but magic, it's curse or cost, that could have spent all this while plaguing those blessed by gods?

So if Suwor did not hold the stone, and the stone held the magic...

"And I swear on Myri I'll have Delano shoot the first person to freak out again in the face."
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Postby Xelhes on March 14th, 2012, 12:45 pm

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It was Cian's intervention that smashed the illusion that clouded Xelhes' mind, his fear and primal instinct leaving to be replaced with shame and sorrow. The moment the Ethaefal realised what was happening the scalpel was instantly released, Xelhes trying to take a step back as the weight of what had occurred set in, only to be held in place by Cian's grip. As Xelhes' eyes switched from the wound of Cian's hand to the injury on Louie's ribs the Ethaefal's eyes widened, the realization that he may have killed the teacher taking full root. Once the Priest had released his grip Xelhes quickly turned to the pile of supplies and went over to it, the words, "I'm so sorry," falling from his lips in an endless mantra of regret.

At the pile he picked up some rolls of bandage and something in a container that he thought may be disinfectant, though had no idea. He was unsure of almost everything right now, the only concrete things being that he had attack Louie and that the Stone must have done something. The thoughts made the Ethaefal shudder as he walked back over to the two, scared that the Stone could act again or that in fact that Stone had not done anything, that he himself had attacked of his own accord. Was it probable; had he meant to kill Louie based on his own judgement, or had the Stone worked some magic on him? When he looked at the wounds Louie and Cian suffered he set the rolls and container down, trying to look up at Cian to say he did not know how to bandage a wound, only to fail.

The Ethaefal's eyes never made contact with the healers, forcing themselves to look away. When he tried to look at Louie and Veldrys the result was the same, along with anyone else in the room. No matter how hard he tried Xelhes could not make eye contact with anyone, his shame and sadness preventing such a thing, as if looking upon another would simply cause more to suffer. He had no answer to anything Cian had said while he held the Ethaefal in his grip, wanting nothing more to do with the Stone. What did it matter when he had attacked someone who trusted him in an attempt to kill them? Those at the hunting party, the people here in the Clinic, the Zith, what did any of that matter to the Ethaefal now? In an effort to remove himself before he caused anymore problems for Cian and the others in the room, Xelhes walked back to the wall and sat down against it.

Bringing his knees to his chest and wrapping his hands around them, the Ethaefal watched on as the others spoke of their suggestions on contacting the party, wanting nothing to do with any plans in the fear he would do something again. To most he would look like a child who was forced to go have a time out, but to someone more observant or who knew the Ethaefal he would look more like someone who has had their life ravaged and broken. Setting his chin down against his knees he watched as everyone spoke, completely removing himself unless called upon and even then the chance was there he would no respond. Than again, who would ask for the opinion of a man who had just tried to take the life of an innocent? Xelhes could not help but worry about how the others in the room viewed him, thinking that many may hate him while others simply feared.


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Postby Seodai on March 14th, 2012, 3:53 pm

The whir of chaos and fury and red all came crashing down with the scarlet that ran freely from Cian's palm. Seodai felt his head spinning, as if he were just coming back to himself somehow, and he sagged with a bone deep weariness that had to do with much more than his physical state. Kneeling sloppily on the floor, his lip bleeding and his eye already swelling with bruise (Delano packed a hell of a punch), he had little input as those around him finally settled.

"You made the petching thing, Noc. If the rest of us can remember before, why can't you? How do we make you remember?"

After all, who were they to sort it out? Denvali weren't the most magical of people, comparatively, and staring at the stone Seodai could only feel an intense longing and kinship, the flavor of a past long gone, but even he as he had been didn't know precisely how to use it. He lifted big blue eyes to survey the room. Everyone seemed as bewildered as he felt, and his mind idly ticked off the reasons why each person could really have nothing valuable to bring to the table in regards to the operation of the stone. For all the admirable qualities any of them might possess, they just didn't seem to relate, and it all felt so hopeless.

And then Xelhes made a noise. Perhaps it was just a shuffle, or maybe he cleared his throat. Seodai wasn't sure exactly what it was that drew his attention there next, but the whisper of possibility stole his breath as he stared at the ethaefal.

"Unless..."

Seodai found his feet, wiping the blood from his lip with the back of his hand absently as he swayed just a little, his eyes still fastened upon the son of Leth. It made him think, for a fleeting moment, of Lysander, but those thoughts skittered away in the face of the pressing issue.

"What about ethaefal? Blessed by the gods who created the stone. Maybe... maybe there's a connection?"
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Postby Sela on March 16th, 2012, 12:47 am

Sela remained still throughout the entire episode, the rictus of a grimace flooding over sumptuous pores and closing her eyes like an iron grate. She felt Dira's cold touch, a fingering of the spine that left her feeling distinctly mortal, but she did not react. She could not react. To react was to let the Stone win. And to let the Stone win...

...Denval would die.

"No!" Sela screamed at last, but she was beaten to the punch. A dagger and a hand claimed the Stone from Louie's loose grip, returning it to her maker. A measured breath was expunged, for though she did not trust Cian explicitly Sela trusted him a great deal more than Louie. Better to have the Stone within the creator's hands than within...within...

But who exactly was this 'concerned citizen'?

However, any thought that could have been paid to this conquest was suddenly and jarringly derailed. Sela listened to the intruding girl speak with harder and harder breathing on her part, an instinctive reaction to her feeling as though her breath had been taken away. Zith...locking up the Opal Clinic...what was this madness?

"I saw...I saw...Orionis." Sela finally managed, aching to make her words heard, "He used it...held it within his hands. But, I don't know how he made the Stone come to life. It was as if...as if he communed with it in some sort of way."

"Does that even make sense?" Hands cupped around a dead porcelain face, the desperation felt within exposed for the first time.
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