Quest The Flames Below

A Listener desperately needs help...

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Considered one of the most mysterious cities in Mizahar, Alvadas is called The City of Illusions. It is the home of Ionu and the notorious Inverted. This city sits on one of the main crossroads through The Region of Kalea.

The Flames Below

Postby Chameleon on December 18th, 2017, 10:49 pm

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39th Winter 517


The door was stuck. The Listener forced their shoulder into the trapdoor, feeling the impact and a slight movement in the wood, before falling back. They couldn't do it. Despite their strenuous efforts, the exit to the Underground refused to budge. On the other side of the underground, the snow shifted up slightly with the motions. But it wouldn't gave way, not if a herd of elephants had smashed against the exit. Not if a Speaker had demanded it - and she had tried.

Aysu the Sea had sworn at the snow several times. She had cursed it for existing, cursed it for trapping her Listener like that, and cursed it for not obeying her afterwards. Her temper had risen as suddenly as tidal waves and she was unable to hold it back.

It was her fault the Listener was down there, looking for the vigilante firefighter. She had requested it specifically. But it was not her fault the snow had risen up over all the entrances, trapping her loyal servant down there. It was not her fault that she couldn't seem to move it, no matter what she tried. it was not her fault that this had gone so terribly wrong, so terribly wrong that the Speaker had snapped with frustration and was taking it out on Ionu's gift towards them.

"Vacielli." The Speaker snapped harshly at the Isur that stood behind her, watching the tantrum carefully. He grew firmer with his name, letting all the muscles in his arm tighten. The pleasant smile from his shop had gone, replaced with a more serious expression. "Vacielli, you will find someone useful to accompany you down there. And you will find my Listener and bring them back to me safely."

The Isur nodded silently, wondering why he had stopped to stare at the peculiar face.

"And remember... no one must find out who they are."

~~~

The Craven mansion was quiet for this time of day. The majority of those who resided there were out on business, although those who weren't with them weren't privy to what sort of business that was, exactly. There was a quiet hush as the remaining occupants got around to their normal everyday activities, keeping to themselves.

The Isur knocked sharply on the door and waited for a maid to open it up to him.

"Madeira Craven?" he asked simply, testing the name. There were Cravens he didn't trust. They were hungry to rise in this political game and knowledge of a missing Speaker - and the chance to discover their identity - would tempt them far too much.

Perhaps Madeira was one of those too. But her name was young and fresh, and Severus had the greatest claim to her than any of the Speakers. That was important, he had decided. Made it harder to tell who the Listener worked for in the first place.

As he waited patiently for the woman to be fetched, he planned out his speech. There was that pleasant smile on his face once more, a confident flicker in his eyes and he knew exactly what to say when she arrived.

"There's an issue within my shop. Would it be possible for you to have a look?"

The Isur spoke with such conviction, it would be impossible to say no.

Once they were beyond close range of the manor, he spoke a little quicker, betraying his true reasons for summoning her. "The city requires your help. There is a - an individual trapped in the Underground. Can you take me there?"

It would be hard for her to find an entrance. But the Isur somehow knew she could do it.

~~~

The Underground was on fire. There was no smoke, not like a natural fire at the very least, but there were flames everywhere, with high heats. As Ambrosia trailed the streets of the Underground, finding her way through the tiny alleys and gaps that could barely be considered as anywhere to walk, she found it almost impossible to navigate anywhere. It wasn't just the confusing layout of the streets, either.

Every second route was blocked with raging flames that even the bravest wouldn't dare try and pass by. Every third path sunk into pools of bubbling molten rock, that spit and hissed at the approach of the young woman. The lava churned and shifted in impossible patterns, warning against people stepping anywhere close.

Ambrosia's quest was seemingly impossible. And now all the doors and exits to the rest of Alvadas seemed to have disappeared too. Was she trapped here? Most likely not, but it seemed like she wasn't going to get very far.

Until she heard a voice. It was cast over a large area, louder than expected, but still with words missing and the echoing that followed. With the distance, it was impossible to determine whether the source of the voice was male and female, but the distress was obvious.

"Let me out! Let me out, do you hear me? What did I do, Ionu, to deserve this?"

A strange feeling overcame Ambrosia. As if she could shout right then, and whoever had made that noise could hear her. Surely, that would be impossible. She didn't have the lung power to do it. But then again, she had heard the noise. And this feeling inside was as if she had a fire of noise inside her....

Moments after, before a reply or another shout from the original source could be made, two individuals fell from above. One an Isur who looked a bit shaken up, but quickly got back to his feet. Another was the Craven.

"Sorry to bother you, miss," the Isur started, but he had nowhere to walk and so stood watching her, uncertain what to do about the woman he had just fallen on. "Do you know a way out of here?"
Last edited by Chameleon on March 11th, 2018, 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Flames Below

Postby Madeira Craven on December 21st, 2017, 5:55 am

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"There's an issue within my shop. Would it be possible for you to have a look?"

Madeira, freshly summoned, with ink stains on her fingers and red rings around her eyes, was looking at the Isur like she had never seen one before. When the maid had roused her from her studies with a cryptic "there is a Isur here to see you", she had expected Terag, the only Isur she thought she knew by name. She had forgotten about
Vacielli. She did not make a good impression with the master smith in their brief introduction. She was willing to bet he left that conversation thinking of her as a naive little girl.

Never the less, she readily agreed, and he patiently waited for her to pack her rucksack with the necessities: soulbeads, ghostnails, a jar of prepared dough and another of soulmist, as well as attaching her bracer crossbow to her wrist under the sleeve of her crisp white blouse. Once she was ready he lead them away from he Manor, and only then did he open up about his real reason for summoning her.

There was someone trapped Underground. They had been tasked with finding them.

Madeira twisted her many rings around her fingers, her lip between her teeth. "The city" meant Ionu or the government. Which in turn meant Priests, Speakers or Listeners. And the fact that Vacielli was being so secretive made Madeira think that this was someone she should not know. She did her best to hide her hungry interest.

"Of course I can.”

———————


The only entrance she knew was a cellar door that went deeper than any cellar should, its steps reaching into the unending reddish twilight of the Underground. But there were many cellars in Alvadas. The two had no choice but to walk until they found it.

It was nearly a bell of pulling at every mistaken cellar buried with snow until they found the right one. The weathered door protested, creaking open on hinges rough with rust and salt. From inside came a blast of hot air, not unlike opening the oven door. The first few steps melted away into an unnatural darkness that hummed with strange energy.

She figuring, since this was her entrance, she should be brave and go first. The Spiritist swallowed audibly and descended with Vacielli right behind her.

But those steps didn't just disappear into darkness, they were darkness. The third step vanished beneath her, and Madeira was falling. She had an impression of the Isur trying to grab her, then a rush of colour and a roaring noise. The world stopped spinning only when the ground materialized beneath her and all the air fired out of her lungs like a cannonball of pain.

She had landed on her belly, her rucksack having propelled her into the ground. Her eyes refocused, and she got the impression of suffocating heat and a tight, claustrophobic alleyway when a rustling scrap announced that the Isur was getting to his feet.

"Sorry to bother you, miss," he started, sounding contrite and awkward. "Do you know a way out of here?"

Madeira got to her hands and knees, flexing her limbs as she went. Miraculously, nothing seemed broken, though the skin on her palms around the tough silver scars were beading with blood, and she was sure to have some freshly bruised ribs in a bell or two. She looked over to see who had the terrible luck to be the cushion to a two-hundred-pound Isur's fall.

"Ambrosia!"

She crawled over to the crumpled barmaid and helped her to sit up. The cobblestone near her head was a spiderweb of cracks and fissures. The Isur's stone arm must have missed her by centimetres.

"By the gods, Ambrosia, I'm so sorry!" she wheezed, sounding around eighty years old as she struggled to get her breath back. "What are you doing here?"

What a stupid question. She knew what would drive Ambrosia to the Underground. The absence of her friend's sister sat heavy on her tongue, but she could not ask while Vacielli was watching. Madeira cleared her throat and looked away.

"Never mind. We are looking for someone trapped here." She did not look around to make sure Vacielli was ok with letting Ambrosia in on the secret. Frankly, she did not care if he disapproved. They needed help if they were going to find them in this hellhole. "He wont tell me who. But apparently they are important. Have you seen anyone trying to get out?"

Speaking of, what had happened to the Underground? She could smell smoke and see the orange glow of fire over the rooftops. The heat washed over them, dry and angry. It was trapped in her high collar and dark pants and seemed intent on suffocating her slowly. How would they find anything in here? Unless they could magically walk through fire, and could survive being char-broiled.

Madeira paused.

Rolling up her sleeves, she suddenly smeared her bleeding palms on the cobblestone. She drew a symbol Ambrosia would recognize: a sixteen point star. Slapping her right hand into the middle, where an onyx and an amber ring glittered in the red light, she closed her eyes. Gathering the energy of her soul, she resonated with the soulmist in the hollow rings. She breathed deep, reaching out for the connection between the soulmist and it's sources. With it she used the energy of her soul to dragged them inexorably towards her, and summoned them with a name.

"Hurik. Jomi." She croaked. "Come on you asshats, I need you!"
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The Flames Below

Postby Hurik on December 24th, 2017, 3:50 pm

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39th of Winter, 517 AV


Deep in the bowels of the earth, where flame and shadow intermingled with the darker intentions of those that dwelt in the City of Illusions, a clarion call sounded. The tenebrous place from which that beckoning plea echoed shuddered and shook, on some other plane of reality, that which lay beneath roiled with coiled tension.

The amber bit into flesh that was not flesh, and stung and pricked insistently. From out of the incorporeal and into the material, the amber implored. Willingly given, though not it must be said, for an entirely willing purpose. The question came, and with it, an answer.

In the narrow space where the amber's owner currently stood, their silhouette enlarged by fires distant and near, a frothing mist gathered. It seeped from the stones and out of crevices that led deeper below, and as it pooled together in front of the Spiritist, it carried with it a coldness that seemed to be superimposed on the muggy darkness. From within that flowing mass of mists, a gleaming red light to match that of the amber shone, and from that inner place grew the form of a ghost. First torso, as a pillar rising up from the froth, then limbs as tendrils spiralling up to cling to the torso, and then finally a head which pressed forth from behind the mists atop the torso as though diving through deep waters.

And in a blink, the mists fell away, and a man stood there. Ruddy of skin, hair, and demeanour. Hurik took in his surroundings, the pain in his essence easing off as he answered the call. He still wasn't entirely certain how he should feel about being at somebody's beck and call. Like a dog on a leash, he mused sourly. Still, Hurik had a hard time picturing a less intimidating "master" than Madeira. Slight, lithe, and pale. She had a beauty and presence that spoke to him, though in the interceding months, Hurik's fascination had cooled and tempered into a firm... interest. Certain realities were becoming clearer, one among them being that first and foremost, his relationship in regards to Madeira was one of predator and prey.

Hurik was no stranger to that kind of relationship, but it was certainly a novel experience to be the prey in this situation. Even assuming her best intentions, which Hurik did want to do, she had the uncomfortably easy option to manipulate him with soulmist, that essence which made up his being. Her possession of his soulmist, after all, was the only reason she could summon him as she did just now. Of course, he had a sense that he might be able to resist, but that made him shudder inwardly, as he remembered that pain from a willing summoning. Like as not, Hurik was tied to this woman, in a way that left him uncertain, and more than a little on edge. He was no naive boy, as much as he might have been caught off-guard when he first manifested. His interactions with Madeira's other ghost, Jomi, had certainly reinforced that realization in him.

Acquainted with the surroundings, and the other people besides Madeira who inhabited the corridor alongside him, Hurik turned his attention fully to the Spiritist. His form was crisp, distinct, and unmarred by his mists, an encouraging sign of both his progression in materializing, and the fullness of his current state of "health", if such a thing could indeed be applied to ghosts.

"You called, Madeira, and I've come. If I heard right, than I, an 'asshat', am what you need. Forgive me but, I suspect what you need me for is hardly pleasant, or even practical for you, if you can insult me and invoke me in the same breath."

He'd put more bite into that last remark than he'd originally intended. Had their last encounter really ended that badly, or was it just the train of thought he'd been following a few ticks before? He shook his head, and tried on a wry grin. It came off more as a sour sneer and he shook his head with a sigh.

"Petch me, but this is a bleak place to summon a fellow."
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The Flames Below

Postby Ambrosia Alar on December 26th, 2017, 4:28 am

Ambrosia had been full of hope only bells earlier. Just last evening, Malachi, captain of The Red Albatross and the last person who Ambrosia knew had seen her little sister, had sailed into the Patchwork Port, and today, he had visited the Stallion’s Rear, looking for a little liquor. Instead, he had found himself cornered by Ambrosia until he told her what he knew of Tessa’s disappearance. It wasn’t much, but what Ambrosia now knew was that Tessa had had her heart set on visiting the Sealed Grounds.

One hundred fifty days. That was how long Ambrosia’s little sister Tessa had been missing, and today was the first day she had any clue of where to look.

Eight bells. That was how long she had searched the streets of Alvadas for an entrance to its Underground. And another two bells excavating the basement door from the illusory snow so she could use it.

And that was only to find herself in this mess of a maze. The Underground’s streets were different from how she had ever seen them before. Where once there had been only streets bathed in the eerie, meager light of a scarlet crescent moon, there was now a world alight with chaotic fire. Around some corners, Ambrosia was met with a wall of flames; and around others, a pit of melted, fiery earth. Every time she thought she was making progress, she found she had only followed a path that had led her on to a peninsula surrounded by a sea of fire.

Stopping before she could get herself into any real trouble, Ambrosia reached into a pocket of her dress and felt the familiar buzz of insect wings against her palm. Closing her hand gently around the little creature, she pulled the bee from her pocket and held him up in front of her face. It was a desperate move, but she was tired of being met with failure at every turn, especially this close to such a solid lead on Tessa.

“Do you think you can help me find a way through this shit?”

With an angry buzz of his wings, the little illusion plunged its stinger into her palm. He didn’t approve of her swearing.

“Ow! Asshole.”

Once more, the bee stung her hand.

“Hey,” Ambrosia snapped.

Normally, the bee ignored her whenever she threw a tantrum over something he did, but today, he sensed something different in her voice and gave what she assumed was an apologetic buzz.

“I really need your help. Can you help me find my way through this?”

Stabilizing itself on all six legs, the little bee attempted to take off, only to tip over on to his side and spin in a lazy circle in Ambrosia’s palm as his wings continued to hum.

With a shake of her head, Ambrosia put him back in her pocket. “Useless drunk.” As an aside, she added, “We really need to give you a name.”

Another buzz from her pocket said he agreed.

“I’ll think of one,” she promised absently, as she turned back to follow the way she had come. Early on in this adventure, she had begun to memorize what path she had taken, so she could follow it back to a promising fork to try anew. She had taken a right to get to this particular dead end, so when she came to the fork ahead, she took a left to follow her way back to where she had come from. A few chimes of walking and several dozen turns later, she was back to a wider point in one alleyway where three separate paths came together. Choosing the path she had neglected the first time, Ambrosia started down it, the light of hope flickering and fading quickly.

She did have one thing to be thankful for though. These flames were illusory, though she was certain they could still kill her. Despite all the flames, the air was surprisingly free of smoke. Remembering back to the fire at the Womiyu last season, Ambrosia recalled that the most frightening part was its oppressiveness, and the worst part of that had been the smoke, the way it clouded her vision, the way it took her breath. She didn’t like it at all. But these Underground flames didn’t give off smoke, didn’t try to smother her. The heat, though, was doing enough; her breath came short and shallow.

After another major fork in the road, Ambrosia realized she had chosen the wrong fork when she found herself on a narrow, cobblestone path surrounded on three sides by molten earth. With a groan, Ambrosia started back, but as soon as she turned, she heard a shout. It was impossible to distinguish its entire message clearly over the roar of flames and its own echoes, but the panic and distress was obvious enough. Whoever this was was blaming Ionu for their misfortune of becoming trapped, but that was their problem. Or so Ambrosia thought.

As she took another step back the way she came though, a sudden feeling built within her. She couldn’t place where it came from, tack it to any particular part of her being. Ambrosia only knew that it came from within her. At first, she couldn’t comprehend what the sensation was, only that it was meant for the person who had called out, but as it built, its essence became clear. This was sound, thunderous and wonderful, and somehow, even with her breath coming as short as it was, she knew if she called out to this mysterious stranger, they’d hear her.

Anger built at this realization, enough of it that it could nearly overpower this urge to shout. Up until now, Ionu had let its tricks toy with her and impede her progress, but now that the city’s deity wanted to aid this stranger, the illusions were suddenly finding themselves helpful.

Go eat shit, Ionu. Ambrosia hoped Ionu could read her thoughts and feel her ire.

Taking another step away, Ambrosia stopped to catch her breath as the urge to shout became overwhelming. It almost hurt her to try to walk away.

“Fine,” she hissed under her breath.

Ambrosia drew in a deep breath to call out, only to have it knocked out of her as something heavy cannoned into her from above. As she hit the ground in a crumpled heap, a crack sounded, and Ambrosia prayed to the Goddess that it wasn’t her. She lay on the ground with her eyes closed, willing her lungs to breathe again. They had already been struggling before, but when the weight of the falling person had hit her, her lungs had refused to try anymore. What should have been natural was not, so Ambrosia tried to force it. Her chest and diaphragm worked fruitlessly a few times before she finally gasped.

A voice from someone standing above her tried to distract her from her chore of breathing. “Sorry to bother you, miss. Do you know a way out of here?”

Had she had the air to say anything, she would have told him to eat shit, too, same as she had told Ionu. As it was though, she simply continued to concentrate on breathing.

“Ambrosia!” That familiar voice did manage to distract Ambrosia from her task of breathing. Madeira was by her side in a few moments, pulling her up to a seated position. Seeing the cracked cobblestone, Ambrosia sent a quick prayer of thanks that it wasn’t her body that had broken.

“By the Gods, Ambrosia! I’m so sorry! What are you doing here?” Madeira seemed to vaguely catch on to Ambrosia’s purpose and looked away before giving an explanation as to her reason for being here. “Have you seen anyone trying to get out?”

Exasperated that even her friend was bent on hijacking her trip into the Underground, Ambrosia half considered telling Madeira to go eat shit, too, but adored the other young woman too much to say it aloud. There were few people who fascinated Ambrosia more than Madeira did. Hiding her irritation like she had become so accustomed to doing with other emotions over the past one hundred fifty days, she let her favorite smile blossom across her lips. “Madeira. Thanks for the help up. I can breathe a little better now.” Her ribs ached, and her shoulder was sore. But she could breathe. “Seen someone? No. But I heard someone, just before you and your friend dropped in on me. I think they’re close, but I couldn’t tell you in which direction.”

Ambrosia watched an idea burgeon behind Madeira’s eyes, and soon, the spiritist was summoning two ghosts. One, Jomi, Ambrosia knew and looked forward to seeing again. She’d have to decide on this Hurik once he arrived. She didn’t have to wait long to meet him. He was the first to show up, a red-bearded man who looked none too thrilled about being pulled down here. His bitter response said as much, and Ambrosia’s smile broadened. Something she was beginning to notice the more often she encountered her friend was Madeira’s knack for pissing people off.

While Ambrosia waited for Jomi to appear, she lay on her back and looked over at the man who had fallen on her. She put her hand on her stomach, because she wasn’t sure where else to describe the feeling coming from. “Do you feel the need to make noise, like it’s brewing inside you?”

The Isur gave her a look that said he thought she was crazy.

“No? Just me, then.” Ambrosia wondered why Ionu (or whoever was controlling these illusions) had decided she should be the sole one to harbor this sound. She shrugged. “Might as well give it a try.” Cupping her hands around her mouth as if that might magnify her voice, Ambrosia drew in a breath and shouted with as much effort as she could muster. It wasn’t much. “Can you hear me?”

Her shout wasn’t loud, but Ambrosia had a feeling that it carried much farther than it should have. Closing her eyes, she waited for a reply.
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The Flames Below

Postby Jomi on December 28th, 2017, 2:44 am

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The air crackled with energy as the two ghosts materialized above the sixteen point star painted in blood, but it would hardly be felt in the oppressive heat. Jomi’s eyes swept over the underground as if he were seeing it for the first time, although in a way, he was. Flames had engulfed his former place of refuge, the city of endless night was unrecognizable when lite with an illusionary fire that climbed over homes and cracked the stones beneath them. Jomi had never liked the place, during his life he had often dreamed of buying property in the city proper, taking his bonded and living a quiet idillic life above ground. But when shown the destruction of the city he was once a part of a small piece of him that remembered what it was like to be human cried out in despair.

Hurik recovered first, snapping Jomi from his trance and silencing that tiny voice in his head. The ghosts mists shivered as he worked to despell those errant thoughts, concentrating instead on pulling his mist closer to his core and curling the loose strands up towards his face, making his form more opaque.

Jomi was silent as Hurik said his piece, although he didn’t appreciate how he had spoken to Madeira. The ghost and spiritists relationship had improved over the last season, and Jomi found himself more at ease with his role as her servant. Madeira was slowly morphing into a substitute bondmate for the lonely Kelvic, though he’d never admit as much. But he still wasn’t sure about Madeira’s newest pet. He knew Hurik lived and died violently, and had watched his bury a man alive, which encouraged Jomi to regard him with caution.

"Petch me, but this is a bleak place to summon a fellow."

“No shyke.” Jomi turned to address Madeira snidely “Just once I’d like to be called somewhere pleasant, just because you missed me. Not to the ass end of nowhere at the crossroads of fire and torment to save your ass.”

As he turned Jomi caught a glimpse of a stone armed Isur and a familiar mop of blonde hair laying on the cracked cobbles, and his face immediately twisted into a grin that showed an unsettling about of teeth as his mists slid past Madeira until he was standing over the prone woman. Even after all this time the former Kelvic hadn’t put a damper on his fascination with the kind and bubbly woman he’d met while trapped at the stallions rear. Her trusting and friendly demeanour soothed the rather irritable badger, and once again she was in a position where she would be forced into his company.

“Well, if it isn’t my sunshine girl. Perhaps this trip won’t be as unpleasant as I had feared.”

Jomi bent down and reached out with his mists to fish out a loose piece of cobble from the fissures above to Ambrosia’s head. He concentrated on his fingers and the mists that surrounded them, using the stored energy to push the small chip up above the street and another push to flick it at the Isur. A small crack could be heard as it bounced off his shoulder.

“So whose the brick?”


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The Flames Below

Postby Chameleon on January 20th, 2018, 4:05 pm

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The Flames Below

The meeting between the two young women caught Vacielli by surprise, once he had pried himself off the girl and regained his breath. It was too late to stop Madeira talking - she had already admitted everything they were doing. Searching for someone important who was trapped - someone they couldn't know about. If he had known what the spiritist was doing when she began to summon the ghosts, he would have stopped her there too.

But at least Ambrosia claimed to know something. "What did you hear? Were they saying something? Did they tell you anything that might help us get them out?" But she was already focusing on the strange feeling inside her, that none of the others felt. He let her shout. Because he had no better idea of what to do.

Following Ambrosia's shout, there was a relative silence. Vacielli's dampened sniffling could be heard over the light crackling of the fire and the movements that Madeira made, but it was quiet enough for Ambrosia to receive a reply, clearer this time than it had been before. The voice was more distinct this time, almost distinct enough to be recognised as female. High-pitched, although partly due to the panicked tones that underlay it. The direction was still impossible to tell.

"Hello? Who's that?" came the cries, unable to be heard by anyone but Ambrosia. The others would be met with the same silence from before. "Are you here to help me? To get me out? Because the way out's blocked! I can't get out!" The Listener didn't really care who her saviour was. Just that they were willing to help. It wouldn't be hard for Ambrosia to convince her of that. "I followed the fire here. You need to follow the fire!"

The voice was cut off as quickly as it had come. But the advice had been finished and now it was up to Ambrosia to relay the message and the group to follow.

The streets around them hadn't changed. There was still fire raging around them, blocking off exits. But three routes seemed to be passable - one a narrow passageway of stepping stones across boiling lava. Another a quick duck under a flaming beam that had fallen from a nearby building. Neither looked pleasant. The third was a simple path, lacking any sign of danger. It was the easy way out. But to follow the flames, it seemed like a poor choice, too.

But in the meanwhile, Jomi had been flinging pieces of cobblestone at the Isur, who didn't take kindly a ghost bothering him like that. His shoulders broadened up, having reflected the piece of cobble that had been thrown at him, and Vacielli kept the smile on his face. There was confidence in the way he grew in size, forcing his stature up and out. But he couldn't grow much with his heritage, easily remaining shorter than everyone who stood there with him. It was the way his muscles bulged, more than anything, that caused him to seem bigger than he actually was.

"You want to call me a brick?" he challenged, preparing himself to take a blow at Jomi. He seemed to have forgotten that it was impossible to hit a ghost. "Even a brick would be more useful than you. What can you do, other than fling around pieces of stone at those who are better than you? You're just dead. And impertinent and rude." His confident smile moved to Madeira. He had forgotten the spiritist's first introduction with him, when she had thought to ask for nails from a master. And even when he had remembered, he didn't deem it something to dwell on - he was confident to his claim as the master smith in this city. The foul company she had chosen to summon was not helping her case, however.

"Madeira, you think these ghosts will be of any use to our cause?" he asked, not thinking straight to realise where they could easily help them, "I'd like to reiterate that this is a highly sensitive issue. The individual who is trapped... Their identity can't get out. And the way I see this, the more people involved, the more people have a possibility of finding out. Do you understand? No one can know that anyone was trapped in the first place."

Perhaps he hadn't mentioned that before. Although Vacielli wasn't certain why he hadn't. It was the most important part about their mission.

Before Ambrosia had quite finished listening to the voice and was able to tell them what she had heard, the Isur was already ready to go. He pointed towards the clearest path. "Down here. The city will take us to them." He was ready to go that way, if no one stopped him. And it would take quite a bit of convincing to stop him.
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The Flames Below

Postby Madeira Craven on January 23rd, 2018, 4:26 am

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    Madeira knew the ghost's didn't take kindly to being interrupted in whatever they were doing to be pulled into her business. So she let them both take a verbal shot at her to vent their frustrations. She was getting up off her knees and dusting off her skirts when Ambrosia cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted. Madeira wasn't sure that was the right way to find this person, but she didn't bring it up.

    Jomi, it seemed, was not content to wait for a plan, and decided he would rather antagonize the people in charge. He was flinging rocks at the Isur, who was puffing himself up like an angry pigeon.

    He fired his verbal ire first at Jomi, then to her surprise he let loose on herself. But Madeira was not the little girl whom he met several seasons ago. She squared her shoulders and glared back at him.

    "His name is Jomi, Master Vacielli. And this is Hurik. I agree they are both impertinent and rude, and yet they are powerful and loyal will be the most useful people on this quest!" she stated firmly. “You wanted my help, so here it is. I just summoned two extra sets of eyes who can walk through stone, fire, and whatever else blocks our way. I understand that this is a sensitive issue. I have complete control over these two," she casually lied, vastly overstating the facts of their servitude. "the secret won't get out."

    The Isur was already turning away, going down a route that seemed relatively clear.

    "And you'll notice I didn't tell them we were looking for a missing person," she shot at his retreating back. "you did."

    She turned back to her ghosts then, eyes closed and massaging the tender flesh of her crown. She spoke softly so only they would hear her. It was time to be honest.

    "I know you're not happy to be here, but I really do need your help. Vacielli won't tell me what's going on, but it's something big or it wouldn't be so secret. So Jomi, please, for the love of the gods, try to behave. Hurik, do your best to keep your head on straight. This is our chance to endear ourselves to the powerful people in this city, and my chance to get a foot in the Speaker’s door. We cannot screw this up."

    Here she was putting her political success in the hands of the man who hates authority, and the man who hates everyone. She steeled herself with a breath, hoping they understood that her power directly influenced her ability to protect and provide for them.

    Out of the three directions to choose, Vacielli's did seem the wisest. She made to follow the Isur.

    "Ambrosia, are you coming?"
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    The Flames Below

    Postby Hurik on February 5th, 2018, 8:06 am

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    39th of Winter, 217 AV


    Hurik took note of the others who were standing around this narrow area in the Underground, noting a pretty blonde who was shouting for some reason. In addition to Madeira, and Jomi, there was an Isur. Hurik had met one of his race before, though the memories of that last encounter hadn't begat warm feelings. Hurik's ghostly companion seemed to be previously acquainted with the blonde woman, and addressed her as his sunshine girl.

    The Isur, who seemed in Hurik's estimation to have one too many bars of sheet metal rammed up his ass, began to complain about the secrecy of his mission and how Hurik and Jomi were useless. Whilst Jomi bristled at the comment, Hurik only chuckled throatily, but then he fell silent when Madeira defended him.

    He hadn't expected her to... support him so readily. Not after what had happened before. His Spiritist shot a few more defiant words at Sheet-Ass, before turning back towards her two ghosts and explaining the situation more fully. Hurik nodded slowly at everything he said, and when she was finished, he scratched at his beard contemplatively.

    "This Vacielli character is a little too eager for my liking," Hurik mused, "I'd keep an eye on him for you Madeira. From the little I've heard about how Alvadas' government runs, they're by no means the most honest bunch of bureaucrats and administrators. In fact, truth be told from what I've heard they're nothing of the sort. The type to stab their opponents in a ditch and blame the poor bastard's brother for the killing. Though again, you'd know better than me, Madeira."

    Hurik followed Madeira as she walked, staying at her side and awaiting orders, trying not to let that notion bother him too much. He tried to liken it to the life he'd lived from childhood to his death, being a man under the orders of the band's leader. He tried to ignore the fact that at the time of his death, at least from what he could recall, he'd been devilishly close to becoming the leader at last, being able to call the shots for himself.

    To pass the time, as he passively glided at Madeira's shoulder, Hurik used his mist tendrils to toss a piece of roundish rubble up and down, trying to keep the momentum even and managing to push it up and down with the same force and angle. Hurik murmured to himself, just loud enough for Madeira to hear, though his muttering was absentminded as he looked about and tossed the rubble up and down.

    "When the world's aflame, beware o' th'fire's touch,
    Searing and scalding the flesh off your bones.
    The blood-price in gold glittering to clutch,
    Will fall on the poor'st soul cast down with stones."
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    The Flames Below

    Postby Ambrosia Alar on February 13th, 2018, 6:32 am

    “Well, if it isn’t my sunshine girl. Perhaps this trip won’t be as unpleasant as I had feared.”

    Ambrosia’s eyes snapped open, and a smile burst across her face. He’d made it. “Jomi!” She couldn’t help but be exuberant about his arrival. Something about the snarky bite of his every comment brought her joy. “You came. I’m so glad Madeira invited you down.”

    She knew the summoning was anything but an invitation, but she wanted to imagine he’d come of his own accord and that somehow she’d influenced that decision.

    Then, she let her smile sadden a bit and even pouted a bit for show. “I was beginning to think I’d never see you again. How come you haven’t drop by the Rear again, love?”

    For a being with all the time in the world, as ghosts chose when to move on, Jomi didn’t seem to spend much of it on any one thing for long. Almost as soon as Ambrosia had caught his attention, she had lost it, and he was on to something else. It was the cracked cobblestone above Ambrosia’s head, and Jomi leaned over to pick up a piece of the broken street. As the mist of his hand passed by her head, the air around it turned icy cold, and goosebumps swept down her neck and shoulder from his near contact. A chill started at the base of her skull and shot down her spine to where it ended at her tailbone. The air in her lungs froze for a moment, but her breath returned as he stood up and his arm moved away.

    Ambrosia smiled as Jomi went on to tormenting the Isur man. Once again, nothing seemed to hold his attention, though perhaps she misunderstood his intentions. Maybe this was all to keep him entertained while his focus was still on her. She liked the thought of that.

    With her head against the warm cobblestones, she waited for a response, trying to get her body to return to normal. While the brief contact with Jomi’s undead soul hadn’t been unpleasant, it had left every muscle feeling jittery. But every fiber of them felt more alive than they ever had before, excepting only the time she had been possessed when she was younger. It was odd that it took the dead to make her feel so alive.

    “Hello? Who’s that? Are you here to help me? To get me out? Because the way out’s blocked!” The voice from the missing person was clearer this time, and Ambrosia sat up, as if doing so would help her better hear it. The bickering between Vacielli and the others fell into the background as Ambrosia concentrated on the voice. Now, she could tell the voice was feminine, and there was a distinct note of panic underlying her words. “I can’t get out! I followed the fire here. You need to follow the fire!”

    Ambrosia drew in a breath to respond, only to realize the feeling of sound within had left her. She let it out with a sigh and returned her attention to the other four.

    Vacielli was already headed down the clearest path, obviously displeased by his new company. “Down here. The city will take us to them.”

    Madeira sounded equally displeased and remarked to the turned back of the Isur. “And you’ll notice I didn’t tell them we were looking for a missing person. You did.”

    Eyes darting about, Ambrosia saw the few paths available to them. There was Vacielli’s, wide and paved and clearly the wisest choice, but Alvadas’ spit in the faces of wise men and sages. The second was a death wish of a pathway of stepping stones across molten, bubbling earth, and Ambrosia had no desire to die. Then, there was a narrow pathway half-blocked by a piece of burning timber that had fallen across it. You need to follow the fire!

    For a few long moments, Ambrosia considered her options. There was Vacielli and his complete lack of trust in everyone. He hadn’t endeared himself or his cause to Ambrosia at all since he had fallen on her. Then, there was Madeira. She had turned away to Jomi and Hurik and had dropped her voice so not even Ambrosia could hear what the three of them spoke about. Bitterness built inside Ambrosia, and a scowl slipped across her face. She didn’t wear it nearly as well as a smile. She didn’t like being left out, and it seemed that even Madeira had a secret agenda for being here, one she didn’t deem Ambrosia trustworthy enough to be privy to. For a moment, she considered letting them walk away, letting them wallow in the failure of their agendas and secondary purposes.

    But then, Ambrosia remembered a woman was missing, and her heart broke for any who cared about her. Ambrosia knew that sickening feeling and the even more sickening feeling of hope building and breaking.

    Madeira’s voice ended the silent debate in her head. “Ambrosia, are you coming?”

    “No.” Ambrosia stood to her feet. “Because you’re going the wrong way. I’ll tell us where to go.” She called out after the Isur. “Vacielli, wait. You’re going the wrong way. The voice told me so.” Silently, Ambrosia kicked herself for her choice of words. “I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out, love. Please.”

    Stopping and turning back, Vacielli gestured for Ambrosia to continue.

    “You can trust me. I ain’t got a reason to lie to you. And as far as secrecy goes, I’m a barmaid. I know a thing or two about secrets and keeping them.” That confession was a double-edged sword, Ambrosia knew. While some barmaids were confidants, others were known to be gossips. “None of this makes any sense to me, but when has anything ever made sense in Alvadas? For that matter, when have wisdom and clear paths been something us Alvads do? It’s just not us. I’ll tell you what I know and let you decide from there. The woman you’re looking for told me she had followed the fire and said we needed to follow it to find her. I don’t know why anyone would follow fire. It sounds dumb and dangerous, but that’s what she said.”

    Ambrosia hoped the revelation that she knew it was a woman would help but shrugged and pointed to the path with the burning beam across it. “That way looks like it follows fire. I don’t know what you’re going to do, but I’m gonna go look for your friend.”

    Her exasperation and glare melted away as she smiled and offered her elbow to her favorite ghost. She was going to make the best of this day. “Lovely weather we’re having. What do you say, Jomi? Care to show a girl around the town?”
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    The Flames Below

    Postby Jomi on February 27th, 2018, 11:16 pm

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    "How come you haven’t drop by the Rear again, love?”

    "Because petch that place. Petch that place hard.” Jomi replied sharply. He was evidently still bitter over the tricks Alvadas had pulled last season, when Jomi and five strangers had become trapped within the Rear after it had been stalking him for half the day.

    "I may be a pitiful shade of a man, but I'm a pitiful shade who likes to come and go as I please."

    Jomi paused to admire the way the firelight danced across Ambrosia’s golden hair as the Master Smith and his own Mistress exchanged biting words. He choose not to speak, letting Madeira clean up his mess instead. Slowly Jomi reached out with his right hand and concentrated his mists into his thumb and forefinger, gathering his souls essence and focusing on lifting a piece of Ambrosia’s hair. As he turned it around in the light Jomi’s mind drifted, letting his burning city fade into the background as he absentmindedly played with her hair. Trying to control and lift as many strands as he could before finally letting it all slide through his fingers as Vacielli let slip more than he intended. Jomi casually drifted into a standing position, turned and raised one translucent eyebrow.

    So the ghosts had been summoned not to save Madeira, but to come to the aid of someone else trapped in the underground. Someone important it seemed, so important that their identity must be kept secret even from the people tasked to look for them. As Vacielli turned away and began to march towards the one road that wasn’t burning Madeira beckoned Jomi and Hurik towards her.

    "I know you're not happy to be here, but I really do need your help." Madeira pleaded with the ghosts with hushed words as she crowded their space. Jomi was not at all surprised with her political aspirations, and a speakers favour was something precious for a clueless startup like her.

    "You better be making this worth my time, titless." Jomi hissed. He was not too pleased with his day being interrupted, but this little detour could prove to be good blackmail material to hang over her head if the Kelvic ghost wasn't getting his way.

    "This Vacielli character is a little too eager for my liking," Hurik spoke in a hushed tone, forcing Jomi to lean in to better hear Hurik's softly spoken words. "I'd keep an eye on him for you Madeira. From the little I've heard about how Alvadas' government runs, they're by no means the most honest bunch of bureaucrats and administrators."

    “Yes, good idea. You keep an eye on Tight-ass and I’ll follow the pretty girl. You know, so we have all our bases covered.” Jomi gave the pair a thumbs up and a beaming smile as he drifted backwards, away from the group. “Teamwork!”

    However his gallant exit was interrupted as Ambrosia called out to Vacielli, stealing Jomi’s attention.

    “You’re going the wrong way. The voice told me so.”

    Jomi regarded Ambrosia quizzically as she explained what the voice in her head told her to do. And apparently what it wants is for her to walk down the most dangerous route. But as Ambrosia held out her arm to the ghost with her trademark smile, Jomi found it very difficult to tell her no.

    “Lovely weather we’re having. What do you say, Jomi? Care to show a girl around the town?”

    Jomi quickly pulled his relaxed mist back towards his core. Forcing the errant wisps to settle into the shape of his younger more virile self as he slipped his arm around hers. He was too preoccupied with her smile to focus on how much of his freezing mists were touching her body.

    “With pleasure.” Jomi basked in Ambrosia’s attention before his face fell into a more serious scowl as he eyed the narrow, burning path she seemed intent to walk down.

    “Hold up sunshine, let me go first. You might be a bit too…” Jomi paused, giving her a thorough once over. “Flammable. I can scout for the safest route.”

    Drifting out of her arm Jomi forged on ahead through the burning beam to investigate the other side.


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