Aden cracked his eyes open, groaning. The side of his head was caked in blood, making him regret not having chosen to have shaved his head. What in the hell had happened? He closed his eyes and tried to focus, the pain in his skull sharpening as he dragged the memories to the surface, kicking and screaming.
Monsters attacking the ship. Dragons, or Drakes. Aden had fought against them, but in the process had taken a strike to the side of the head by a buffeting wing, only a glancing blow, but it had smashed him into the ship and torn his scalp nicely. He grimaced and reached his head up to touch the cut.
A hand slapped his away from the cut. He turned his head and saw...himself? No. A negative image of himself, shadowy and translucent, unmarred by burns and clad in the simple robes of a pyromancer, rather than Aden's more flashy garb.
He stared at the spectre for several seconds, his eyes bulging until it all began coming back from there - the spectral mage, the shadow. He'd scarcely even acknowledged them the night before, before he was being carried to a cot to rest.
He closed his eyes and grimaced. As he lay there, he felt a soft, wet cloth touch the cut, wiping away at the blood. His eyes snapped open, locking on the woman wiping his wound, clad in a bloodstained grey smock.
"Ya took a hell of a hit in that fight." The dried, crusted blood slowly came away under the strokes of the cloth. "The hell happened to ya? I've never seen anyone survive burns like 'at." From behind her, Aden could see the Shadow staring at him.
"I don't need help."
"Well, don't get excited, there ain't much I can do. I saved ye for last because, well, there were a lot a people who took worse hits than ya. We got lucky. Lucky we had ye and yer friends, too. Could'a been a lot worse."
The Shadow slapped his forehead behind her. It seemed to mime talking for a second, then shrugged. Aden narrowed his eyes at it, wishing he could yell at it to just sit still without looking like he was completely mad.
"I don't require assistance." She was helpful, even nice. But she was Human. "Least of all from one of your filthy kind." But the words just had a way of slipping out."
"Is 'at so?" She didn't look shocked or even terribly offended. "Ah, fuck ye." She kept scrubbing at the bloody cut. "The bad news is ye'll probably scar, ya ill tempered old bastard. The good news is that it won't make you much uglier." She dabbed at the cut a bit more. "So tell me, what exactly makes me filthy? Is it the blood and dirt I got on me, that I'm not a rich highborn lass like ye're used ta, that I'm a woman in general, or that I ain't one a yer mages?"
"That you're a Human."
"Ah, and ye think ye ain't because ya and yer people can throw around fire and wind like ye're yer own personal light show ye're not Humans. Suppose 'at's fair enough. So would you prefer I just let the wound fester until we have to use maggots to clean it out?"
He paused for several seconds, pride warring with good sense. "...Clean it out." The Shadow seemed to drum his fingers on his arm, waiting for him to say something else. "Please."
"Ah, manners all a the sudden? Aye, maggots get everyone's attention."
He closed his eyes and let the woman work, for a moment just ignoring everything. "Alright, ye're done."
"Thank you." He -almost- managed to sound genuine. She smirked and moved along. He rolled off the cot to his feet and grabbed his coat, throwing it over his shoulder, the shadow trailing behind him as he walked through the ship. "I assume you can't talk. Must you follow me everywhere I go?" The Shadow shrugged, but didn't leave. "Wonderful. Good to know I'll have an observer for every private moment from here on." He headed towards the upper deck, hearing the calls for the Mages to come. As he ascended from the depths of the ship and got his first look at the mountain city, his jaw dropped open. Humans built -that-!?
His shadow tapped his chin. He closed his mouth and glared at the being, then kept walking, eager to be back on terra firma. He moved into the group of mages.
"We should stick close. We're strangers in a strange land. Try to avoid the urge to go off alone and see the sights, there's no telling what dangers await us here." He glanced at the Shadows of the other Mages. "...this is going to take some getting used to."
Seth glanced and chuckled as he noted a somewhat disheveled and less-than-fantastic looking Aden returned. He had taken slight notice of the Pryomancer during the dragon fight, but had not seen him afterwords, but figured him alive enough. Though, it looked like he had some new marks to talk about.
"Aden, you need to stop picking big fights if you keep taking nasty burns or hits with each one. Won't be much of ya left at this rate." Seth said with a shake of his head. Though, the advice he gave out was sound and simple. No telling what was going to happen now that they were actually here.
Glancing at his own shadow, he had realized some time ago that getting used to having a shadow following him around, which apparently no one else but them could notice, was going to get a bit tricky, especially if they started doing other things. Like being ghosts and actually moving things or something major.
Well, we at least made it in one piece, and in pretty good time, I imagine, since they don't look half as ready as I thought they would...
As the Prime Minister went forward, the younger girl was suddenly sprinting towards him and jumping at him, giving him a hug and apparently hyper about him being back.
"Yay! What happened? Was it tough? Did they try some magic? Are these the magicians? Do they fly by themselves too? Can they stop the storms or volcanoes? Maybe make it rain with all the ..." The girl was rattling off questions fast, stopping only when the Prime Minister shushed her.
"Welcome home, my husband. As you can see, things survived without you for a few days. All that worry over nothing. I kept affairs in order, and the Palace is still standing, and the Academy hasn't blown up." The woman said, who seemed to have a slight hum to each word as she said it.
What was slightly more striking were the small things to the observing mages, which was that the little girl appeared to have wings on her back, as did the woman, though hers were much more obvious being somewhat larger and feathery. Also most striking as the mages had gotten closer that the hair of the woman seemed to be a natural blue. In fact, some of the workers around the yard seemed to have the oddest colored hairs at some points, some being a red, others being a stark white, green, blonde...all sorts of varieties.
"You were right, of course." The Prime Minister said to his wife, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek after he put down the girl. After his quick greeting to his apparent family, the Prime Minister turned to the mages.
"Ah, good to see that you all managed to make it. I imagine first I will give you a quick tour of the Palace before we settle in for a proper meal. Hopefully you didn't have too much of that failure that we had to call breakfast. Usually it is better, but...time was short. Come now, let us show you around."
And with that, the mages all came off the ship and ended up following the Prime Minister, as well as the girl as she skipped along and the wife. As they proceeded out of the large bay for the Airship, a pair of metal doors closed behind them. What they saw beyond the cave was a different scene altogether.
It certainly had a look of a palace, with marble pillars and smoothed stone floors, and plants in pots all around, with spacious halls before them, filled with some amount of people. The people were again varied, with multiple hair colors. But many of these people seemed to have wings, which also seemed to differ. Some having different colored wings from the usual white, and some even having a different style which seemed to be more like the wings of bats or dragons.
However, time to look this all over closely was somewhat brief, as the Prime Minister, and the mages, all continued on the little move, seeing many interesting sights and contraptions which some of the people from time to time stopped to use. Either getting some papers, or maybe a drink of water. However, perhaps the most apparent was that there seemed to be quite a multitude of statues around the Palace. Many of them different interpretations of the Council Gods, sometimes showing them all together as if in council, other times alone. Whatever the case, it was apparent that the architects were either instructed or heavily influenced to have the Council's presence known here.
"So, I must ask, my guests. Where would you like to visit first? We could jump right to the more proper meal, which I imagine already underway. Or we could go look through more of the docks, or maybe the Academy, or even the balcony to look over the other districts." The Prime Minister asked as they continued walking through the halls, from time to time seeing a window showing the outside which showed large open areas sometimes with fountains or arts in a large display.
"My husband, I think you might be overloading them. They have only just arrived, and I imagine them being somewhat tired, especially if you got in a tangle, which I know you did from the looks of some of the men, and the mages here." The wife said, sounding somewhat firmer this time.
The Prime Minister paused, and thus brought the whole group to a halt in front of a window overlooking some open square with a fountain in the middle. He gave a small shrug, and turned to the mages for their answers. Meanwhile, the girl seemed to stand quietly behind the Prime Minister, watching the mages carefully as she did so to see what would happen or what they would say.
"Minister, I think most of us would prefer to get down to business. All of us have obligations at home to attend to...some of us to their studies, others to those studying." Now was hardly the time to be hostile. Better if they were trusted than locked away. He forced himself to smile, which was probably a mistake. "Although I'm sure my students will be happy not to have to put up with me for a while, and the younger among us would likely enjoy -any- opportunity to avoid their studies. So perhaps a meal and then rest, and then we can attend to business?"
He glanced around at the group, trying to gauge their reactions and trying his best to ignore his Shadow, who seemed to be enjoying himself just standing there with his arms crossed looking either grim or constipated. I think it's mocking me.
Gabriel was in no fit state to give the Prime Minister a proper answer. He had been looking about himself for the entirety of the tour: there was so much to take in and wrap his head around. Especially the people, with their strangely-coloured hair and their manner of speech... and of course, the wings affixed to the backs of some of them. Had they been there since birth, or was there some sort of procedure that they went through to obtain them? If they could take to the air, unaided... that was something that Gabriel wanted to experience. Flight, with the freedom to go wherever he pleased, made him think. Gabe resolved that when he had an opportunity, he would ask one of the winged people about it.
The palace was... incredible. Gabe tried not to trip over his robes as he kept up with the others. In particular he paid attention to the statues of the Council Gods, interested in their significance. There were a lot of statues, rather than the Council being in one specific part of the palace... perhaps that was the intention. They could be reminders of the beings who watched over Darkengrad and all its residents.
For now, Gabriel kept quiet, though he could not keep his eyes from wandering about the place. At one point he glanced towards the girl. She looked quite young, probably about half his age. She had a small pair of wings herself; he imagined that she got them from her mother.
It was then that Gabriel's mind wandered a little bit. He remembered that the Prime Minister's wife had not used the man's name at all... that made him pause for thought. Was that common in a city like this, or just something this particular family did? Maybe asking about that, too, would have some answers. Gabe did want to learn more about the people of Kerbones, and where better to begin than at the top of the ladder, where he had contact with the leader of the city and its people?
Though if he were to try to investigate, he would prefer to walk the streets without openly giving himself away as a mage. Specifically, without his robes. There could be people who shared the opinions of his family: people who didn't like those who displayed magical power. That meant he needed somewhere to store his pack and his robes: hopefully there was accommodation set aside for the mages.
As Cale watched the wondrous city unravel before him he felt the earth below him simply with a brush of his hand against a pillar or touching the bare ground whenever possible. To most, dirt is dirt but to an Earthshaper it is much more than that. Different earth from different places differ greatly and the dirt from Kerbones is extremely different from what Cale was used to. Since they were literally in the mountain he thought the earth to be fresh, delicate even. But this earth was sharpened, tempered by something. It must have taken them decades to do this without the help of any magic or maybe there was magic involved. Either way, Cale was excited.
He looked to the Prime Minister and his wife, followed by presumably his kid but they weren't the only things grand as earlier they had passed by sights unseen by him before. Only pictures or carvings could dare to replicate the "flying" people or the machine folk walking in the streets. The Palace was equally, if not more, beautiful than the city surrounding it.
Cale wished to speak but the fireshaper Aden spoke first so he drew back a bit, not wanting to interrupt. To the contrary, Cale didn't want to stop and rest because there was still a whole city before them and who knows how much time they have there but then it occurred to Cale that the others might wish for this as well. As much as he wanted to explore there was still the others and he didn't know if they could keep up. So he stood back looking, similar to Aden, and tried to look for a popular notion among them.
Alexander couldn't help but wonder at the grand city before him. Even if it hadn't been for people with wings and machinery walking around, the sheer size and seeming ornateness of the city was enough to make him feel out of place. He couldn't help but respond somewhat sheepishly due to his discomfort with his background.
"I'd like to see the Academy myself. A chance to learn about my new surroundings is something I'd enjoy."
'Especially since there is so much I would need to learn about this land to even begin to seem somewhat normal. If hair color is so very, machine limbs are common, and if most people have wings I'm sure basic customs would vary differently. Hopefully I don't offend anybody or embarrass myself before I get a chance to learn how to act.' Were the unspoken thoughts accompanying that statement. With everything around him it was hard to hide his desire to get back to a setting that was at least somewhat familiar he hoped as well.
As soon as she saw the girl with the wings Fei followed her closely. The fact that she kept one hand in her brother's meant that she couldn't run right up and start touching and petting the wings. Why can't I have wings? The hair colors made her eyes sparkle too. Blue, pink, green... "Look, Drew, do you think they can fly with those?" she whispered. She only had eyes for the Prime Minister's daughter now, all other treasures of Kerbones were worthless in her sight. I wonder if she can do magic too... She's pretty. Her wings are pretty. I wonder if they're soft. Can she feel them? I like her dress. I wonder if she has a lot of playmates since her dad's important. She tugged on her brother's sleeve harder.
As soon as the Prime Minister even hinted at asking what they wanted to do, she waved frantically at the girl. "Hi!! What's your name?"
Drew shrugged off Fei's question, taking his time looking around. The new people he was seeing had caught his attention, then he heard Aden and Alexander speak up. "I think I might check out the Academy as well. I imagine it's much different than the one back home." he smirked. He noticed Fei waving, and chuckled to himself. "Maybe she can make a new friend..."
He noticed Gabriel and Cale's expressions as they looked around "Gotta admit, this is pretty impressive..."
Watching the Prime Minister with his wife and daughter, Nydia couldn't help but smile. It reminded her a bit of her own childhood, although her memories of those days were becoming hazy. In particular it was hard to remember what her own mother was like, though Nydia treasured the memories she did have left. In a way, seeing a family like this was bittersweet for her, though she did her best to quickly suppress those feelings and keep the bright smile on her face. This process was helped by the next detail about the family that caught her attention.
The mother and the daughter both had wings. And as they walked along, Nydia noted that many of the other citizens did as well. How curious... The Prime Minister has no wings, yet his wife and daughter and many others here do. I wonder how that came to be? Is it a body modification, much like the machinery they implant in themselves? Or is it a naturally occurring trait? I must find a way politely inquire later... Nydia thought to herself as she observed the people, making sure not to let her gaze linger on anyone for too long lest she be considered rude.
In addition to the people, Nydia was quite fascinated by what they had built as well. There were many statues of the Council Gods about so it was interesting to see that despite all their differences, they still believed in the same Gods. It reminded Nydia of Gabriel's dream. Perhaps someone here would be able to decipher it's meaning where she could not. A different perspective could reveal much after all.
Nydia's musings were interrupted when they stopped and the Prime Minister asked where they all wanted to go next. Her first desire was to see this Academy he had spoken of. It would be quite an enlightening experience to explore the knowledge that had been gathered in this land, though she was content to go along with whatever the group consensus would be. A few of the others spoke up in favor of the Academy though, so Nydia decided it would be acceptable to add her voice to theirs. "I confess I find myself interested in the Academy as well. Though if the rest of you object to it, I shall not force the issue." She said, making sure not to inadvertantly force her wishes on the others.
Phebe had taken her time gathering the belongings she had brought with her. She had heard them screaming at the mages that might still be on the ship to hurry up a while ago, which would include her. She grabbed her bow and ran upstairs, where she could see quite a few people. They didn't strike her as much different at first, since she tried her best to find the other mages and didn't pay them any attention. Thanks to her length, it wasn't that hard to spot the mages and soon she was walking among them, as they left the airship behind a pair of metal doors.
She suddenly noticed the wings and the hair of the people they passed by. She couldn't help but stare at them. She had never seen anything like that before. Were they born like that? She had seen the machine men and those had also been something out of the ordinary, but they seemed to fit with the airship.
Can I also get wings? Were they born with it?
Phebe started walking behind the prime minister's wife, observing both her wings and hair. It did look like real feathers. She knew the little girl had wings as well, but tried to ignore it. Children were a bit more sensitive and she didn't want to scare the girl.
The group came to a halt and Phebe almost bumped into the woman in front of her.
"Sure... I'm fine with that." She said, when she heard the other mages answering whatever the prime minister had just said. She turned to stare out the window, wondering what it would be like to fly through the sky without an airship.
Could these people actually fly? Maybe their wings were just for show...
As Raven entered with the group, moving into the heart of the city, it was tough to believe the sights her eyes were insinuating were in front of her. The colors, all the colors of the rainbow, so vibrant in front of her face. In the landscape and in the people. It was a sensory overload, and that was just the beginning.
They have fucking wings? How is that possible? I thought that was just in myths? For Gods and angels and all that? That's ridiculous In passing, Raven saw one of the people with a bat-like design on their back hanging over themselves. Although that would be pretty cool. Imagine showing up flying with those bad boys. That would be so sweet.
Raven ignored the family matters as the Prime Minister went on about the options the group had, but only one interested Raven at this point. "Well, I'd like some nourishment since there was little to be had aboard that machine, but I assume I'm going to be overruled by most of the others here, so whatever. Don't care."
While at first the Prime Minister nodded at Aden as he brought out his concerns, it slowly turned to an odd grin as the rest of the group brought up how they wanted to see the Academy more than they wanted to go off and get a proper breakfast/lunch at this point. With an odd shrug, he turned to his wife and whispered something, for her to nod and give a small bow to the mages.
"I hope you will excuse me, but there are things that must be done. Take care, my good mages." With that, the winged woman knelt down to pick up the small winged daughter, who had heard Fei and started a frantic wave upon being picked up.
"HIYA! I'M JADE! NICE TO MEET YOU!" The girl shouted towards Fei, as the woman hushed her as they walked down the hallways and turned down another. Looking back as his daughter and wife left, the Prime Minister again turned his attention to the mages.
"Well, it seems that the cooks will have time to prepare a better meal while we look over some of the Academy. But not to worry, Aden of the Pyromancers, we will be learning some of the business which I require your skills for while down there. Come, we shall use my personal elevator for our trip. Much faster." The Prime Minister said, and began leading the mages down a few more hallways, till they got to what appeared to be a military checkpoint, where they were greeted by some odd guards who were dressed with more mechanical parts, and some apparently having weapons built into them permanently.
"Sir, while I understand...." A soldier began before the Prime Minister cut him off.
"It will be fine Lieutenant. Come, to the Academy." And with that, the mages, Prime Minister, and several guards stepped into the elevator and proceeded downwards. The sudden jolt where they seemed to plummet downwards was unsettling in the least, but it got them to the destination fast.
As the doors opened, the mages were greeted with amazing sights. Bolts of lightning were dancing about at one of the stations with an inventor, while another seemed to be practicing with powders and other chemicals, while another yet seemed to be working with odd crystals which seemed to be bouncing lights of all colors in different directions, sometimes starting fires at some points which caused the odd man to laugh. It seemed down here, the people were much messier, and just as varied as before.
Even more work seemed to go on in the expansive building, with sometimes small booms going off, or shouts being heard, mechanical parts extending, and even the sound of an explosion every now and then. At one point, a small device seemed to escape its spot and flutter about, spinning as it hovered in the air before returning to where it should. The most interesting point of all this happening was probably where a pair of boots fired underneath a fellow, lifting him in the air for a few moments before dropping him to the ground, with a couple of curses following as he picked himself up.
"Anything in particular you wish to see?" The Prime Minister said with a small grin at the man who walked back to where he was working.
Nydia smiled, pleased to hear that they'd be visiting the academy. It would be fascinating to see what sorts of things they were studying here in Kerbones and to perhaps study them herself. What she saw when she got there though, was not what she was expecting at all. She had imagined more of a library type of place, with books and people writing in them or reading them.
What she saw was perhaps even more fascinating than what she had imagined. The Academy seemed be dedicated to advancing their already impressive technological prowess, with all sorts of people experimenting with odd devices. Many of them, Nydia couldn't even begin to imagine how they might work or why they do what they do.
One man seemed to be working on shoes that would allow the wearer to fly. That the people of Kerbones had developed flying ships was wondrous enough, but granting an individual the power to fly without magic was amazing. What interested Nydia more was the crystals bouncing light around and occasionally starting fires. It was nothing she couldn't do herself of course, but she was interested in knowing how they had replicated the powers of Lightdweller and what they intended to do with such a device.
After a bit, the Prime Minister asked if there was anything they wanted to see and Nydia decided to bring it up. "Actually, I'm particularly interested in those crystals that are emitting different colors of light." She spoke up. "If it's not too much trouble, I'd like to know how they work and what their intended use is."
As they walked through the Academy's halls, taking in the sights dancing around the group, one thing went through Raven's mind. What the hell? This is more disgustingly decorated and colorful then our Academy. And they're doing the same kind of shit we do already. They don't need us. What the hell are the bringing us here for then? To be slaves? Sacrificial lambs? What's the point of this shit? The thoughts still plagued her mind as they walked on.
"They're trying to make a point." He murmured under his breath, quietly enough that he doubted the Minister could hear but some the other Mages might be able to. "Trying to prove that they've developed beyond us. That they are mightier, that they are superior." He began slowly breathing. In and out. In and out. The power of fire gathered in his belly, a terrible heat ready to be unleashed upon the enemy.
To what end?
"I think they're trying to replicate us. But they need live test subjects for the final stage of their experiments."
Gabriel had to hold back a laugh at the sheer absurdity of the older mage's theory. Aden, he thought he remembered the guy's name to be. It was completely ludicrous to even think of something like that. The people in the Kerbones Academy had gotten this far without 'live subjects'; why would they need them now?
"If they wanted test subjects, the Prime Minister would have picked the best mages from each element, or the ones with the most skill. And I'm certainly not the greatest that the Hydromancers have to offer, I'll willingly admit that," he answered. In contrast to the fire mage's hushed speech, Gabriel spoke freely so that anyone could hear him.
"The idea of these people having developed along a different path to mages makes sense. Technology in place of magic. So why would they need us in order to continue their work? I'm of the mind that there's a different reason for us being here." He looked both to the Prime Minister in hope of the man confirming his rebuttal and denying Aden's theory, and to the other mages to back him up.
Drew was silent, taking notes of what to check out later, impressed by certain aspects and more than willing to shrug off others. Then he heard Aden speak. "Honestly, if they planned on using us for experiments, I'd be flattered. Still, you gotta admit they got some pretty awesome stuff around here. Wouldn't mind checking out some of these machines on my down time. You gotta learn to relax, old man. All that stress is gonna burn up your insides better than any fire could..."
"They're -Humans-. Perhaps I'm not correct, but whatever reason they brought us here for, it will be no good for us or our kind. Inevitably they will turn on us. They may seem friendly, they may seem charming and congenial. But they hate us and they fear us, and they'll only stop when their boots are resting on our collective throats. Mark my words. I've seen the nature of Man up close."
"Gods, Aden. You will be telling me that the little girl we saw moments before is going to pull out a bow and arrow and start shooting us. Humans can be just as bad as the mages can be, Aden. Remember history, and that storm we passed through? Mages had a nice little hand in that." Seth said, shrugging as he did so. However, he was happily fascinated with all the interesting things that were going on. The odd chemicals that were being mixed kept his attention for a bit...until the man with boots showed up.
HAH! I think that was HEAT he was using to fly! It didn't work, but I think that is what he was trying! I have GOT to get me some of those. See if he is close, or something. If we are here to help with this, sign me up!
The Prime Minister watched, seeming to not know what exactly to say. Giving a small shrug to Nydia, he turned to one of those who was working with the crystals. It was a woman, interestingly enough, who looked somewhat young to be working on such things. But she walked over somewhat gleefully, and noted the strangers.
"New inventors? Well, not surprised that you are impressed by my crystals! Took me a long time to get the shape just right to make it set things on fire like that. Pretty awesome huh? Seems very useful if I can get the light focused right. Maybe some kind of weapon, or maybe it could be some kind of new light source! Or maybe some kind of...."
The woman was interrupted by the elevator coming down once again, this time with some guards and what appeared to be another mage from the Academy. The doors opened, and a pyromancer at about 5' 10'', with a red vest and trousers on, as well as several guards stepped off.
"Sir, mage from one of the other ships. Seems he got on the wrong one." The guard said mechanically, giving a light push to the young mage.
"Ah...Let me guess. Jacob Fue, Pyromancer Mage. Sorry that I did not wait for you to come on over with us, but time is of the essence now that we are here. However, you are here now, so it all works out just fine....Though, are there any other questions or concerns about the Academy? Or perhaps you need to go sort out your....discussions privately. Your rooms should be prepared for you, as well as a general meeting room for your needs."
"Your point being? You're only pointing out that they have reason to hate and fear us. Something isn't right here, they should not be showing us all their most advanced technology without a reason. This has something to do with us, mark my words." Aden said in a hushed tone quickly. He glanced at Fue, a sense of chill running through him. Everything here felt subtly, horribly wrong, daggers hiding in every shadow.
Jacob visibly restrained himself from reacting to the guard, straightening after he was pressed forward, glancing at the guard from the corner of his eye before taking a deep breath and exhaling. He looked to the guard and grinned a manic grin "Thank you kindly for the escort." Was all he said before returning his attention to the Prime Minister "I have no questions. Thank you." He said curtly before moving to stand with the rest of the mages, taking a position that was as close to neutral as he could, standing with his arms in front of him as though he were in shackles. He stood there, silent for the moment and seeming content to observe.
"Huh. Whose the new guy?" he walked a little closer, looking at him. "Another Pyromancer? Honestly, I'm starting to feel like the odd man out." He smirked, jokingly ribbing the Prime Minister. "So what brings you here?"
Alexander had instead chosen to walk over to the person looking over powders and chemicals. The crystals were interesting but something about the work of the person had caught his eye.
"What is it that you're working on here and what can it be applied to?" He asked genuinely curious as to the answer. A part of him hoped that it may be something of a healing solve or something he could use to distract an enemy. Although Alexander figured whatever it was that was being worked on, he could find a use for it given the opportunity.
Jacob looked at the Airshifter as he approached, looking the man over briefly and then smiling slightly at his comment "You don't seem that odd to me...and a ship brought me here. Same as you. Except, you know, it turned out to be the wrong one." He said, his smile widening into a grin.
Fei moved from her brother's arm to Seth's, clinging to his sleeve. "Do you think that Jade knows how to use a bow and arrow...?" she glanced at Aden. She didn't understand what he was worried about. It looked like they already had things to make magic. Why would they get mages to use now? "Do you think that they're really going to experiment on us? Does that mean we're going to have wings too?" she asked hopefully.
She didn't even look at the new pyromancer, except maybe staying on the other side of Seth when he walked near. The woman with the crystals though, she looked friendly. Still, she liked to think that mages could do magic better than stupid, pretty gems. Hmm... I wonder if I can chip a little off to help me make ice! Or maybe even just control water better. Would that be cheating?
The Prime Minister grinned as things continued to go the way they did. While he could not hear Aden, he seemed to understand that things had rolled along well enough that they could continue onward once everyone was done.
"While it is fine to display your interests in what happens here, do be cautious, and keep in mind that there are other things that I need to attend to. As well as the reason you are here as well." The Prime Minister said, looking about at the work being done at one of the areas, only to finally begin walking again towards the end of the hall towards a very large steel door. He then pulled several levers, and the door seemed to react by beginning to spin some of the gears on the surface, and then sliding to the side to reveal yet another large metal door.
The inventor that Alexander addressed had what appeared to be a protective helmet on, and raised up the front of it to look at him once he was addressed.
"...Eh? Well, this one in particular gives off different colors of smoke when you mix it with certain things. That one over there has a tendency to burn through any damned thing, and that one has so far sent off showers of sparks when I mixed something into it. As to what these things could be used for....Uh, haven't gotten that far yet. Light shows, maybe? Cleaners? Some of this stuff is still in the process, as.....GODS DAMN IT!" The man shouted, running over to another man who was mixing a few chemicals. The mix quickly began to react, and bubbles began to foam up incredibly quickly, with the man in the mask cursing, and the man who did the mixing was laughing, saying "IT WORKED! HAHA!" While the foam seemed to slow rather quickly, it seemed to be very much a cushion for a time, seeming to keep the men floating in the stuff.
Seth shrugged at the new Pyromancer, not particularly familiar with the man, and not really caring at the moment. Especially since Fei had run over to him for the usual round of questions.
"I think that would be kind of nice if she did. I doubt it though. She seems like a pretty nice one, not using weapons and stuffs. And I think we will be just fine. Besides...I think those wings are special to these people. Probably a sign for something or other..." Seth explained, just looking about and giving a small chuckle as the two men seemed to get caught in some sort of foam.
"I would think that some time to really look around without any...restrictions would be nice, but I imagine that we are being guided for a very particular reason. That, and seeing this makes me wonder what they needed us for in the first place."
"Perhaps there is something we can do that their technology can't..." Gabriel mused in response to Seth, an amused smile on his face at the sight of foam trapping two of the workers in the room. "What that might be, I have no idea... especially given my own lack of talent." The latter half of the sentence was spoken in a quiet grumble.
Gabe still wasn't quite sure of why he had been brought along. Presumably it was for his attitude towards non-magical folk, but he had not yet seen a situation that needed a diplomatic intervention on his part. Of course, Gabriel would first have to get past that Pyromancer, Aden. He seemed to have a particularly large distrust of non-magical humans; that would hamper any attempts on Gabe's part to make peace.
"Just keep in mind that with peace brings those who would manipulate it to their own ends. Humanity has always fought, over one difference or another." Again the words of the benevolent spirit came to his mind. He set the conundrum of his presence in the group aside for the moment, instead turning his attention to the room around him. The Prime Minister had crossed the room to a particularly large door at the other end of the hallway.
Curious, Gabriel made to follow the man, unsure if he would be followed or stopped before he reached the door.
Jacob looked around, a bit confused. The prime minister had mentioned something about their rooms? Did that mean he was dismissed? Or was there a tour? He shook his head lightly, ending his line of thought and, perhaps, looking a bit odd as he decided to simply remain silent for the time being, though he smiled brightly over at the eager young Hydromancer and her barrage of questions.
Nydia couldn't help but laugh lightly as she listened to the woman talk about the crystals and another inventor speak of his own work. These people seemed to inventing things simply for the sake of doing so and trying to come up with a purpose for their inventions later. It struck Nydia as an odd way of doing things, but she found it interesting. "I see... That is quite... um, awesome." Nydia said, stumbling a bit on a word she rarely found herself using. "But you said you were having trouble focusing the light? I may be of some assistance there."
After she finished, Nydia held out a hand and conjured a ball of light. "Light is something of a specialty of mine you see." She explained before her attention was drawn towards the newcomer. She hadn't thought there would be any more mages coming, so it was surprising to see another.
She also noticed the Prime Minister moving towards another door. Perhaps they were moving on? If so, it would be best if she didn't hold up the group any. "Although that may have to wait... We may be moving on."
The woman shrugged as she saw Nydia manipulate the light. As she sat back and thought, she suddenly gave a quick wave to another inventor who seemed to be waving her over, and it seemed that with Nydia being uncertain, and the other inventor being enthusiastic, led to the woman stepping away.
"Excuse me, lady. I guess you might be moving on, and someone needs my attention!" She said as she raced over to the other inventor, who spun one of the crystals around and then held up a torch to the crystal. The effect turned into one which seemed to cause an illusion of a torch on the other side, causing the woman to give a small whoop as she saw the effect.
"Well mages, I think that perhaps it is time for you to see part of the reason that I brought you here. Come into the doorway, and we will see what I have been doing such a good job at keeping a secret." The Prime Minister shouted, bringing forward all the mages into the doorway.
What happened next was a cycling of doors. With the large metal door closing behind them, and then spinning a few gears shut, only for the other to do the opposite in direction to open the door. As the door finally slid open, it revealed a very different sight from all the technology.
Older ruins gave way to the odd mechanical door. Immediately from the entrance sat a few odd fountains with strange glowing water. With torches lighting the way, it showed way to a much larger area, which the Prime Minister began walking towards. As they did so, the hallway seemed to open up much wider to a very majestic view. Much larger members of the Council. Alainia. Dorrokan. Loriot. Howleson. Jorrano. Sitheria. All majestically designed, showing their full character with how they stood, were dressed and seemed to look upon the entire room. What was most obvious is who stood in the middle. Reaver, who wore nothing but a large detailed cloak, shown with an unnatural light. In fact, the entire figure seemed to be crafted out of a crystal which seemed to play tricks on the eyes, making it seem as if the statue was not really there. The mages could feel the difference upon the statue in the middle, and the odd energies and elements that seemed to flow from each larger statue.
"This, my good mages, is what has brought you to my attention. Can you feel it?" The Prime Minister said, stepping somewhat closer to the middle, which suddenly made appear a shadow of himself. In fact, the several other characters who seemed to be in the room, dressed in religious garb and armed, seemed to have shadows following themselves around as well. Just like the mages.
Seth and happily brought along Fei as he had walked along, noting the odd feelings that seemed to pass through him as he entered the odd....temple? Regardless, the sight of the Gods, who seemed to have an incredible....presence here.
"I'll be damned. It feels.....different here." Seth muttered softly, flexing his fingers as he did so. His flames seemed to burn brighter within himself as he gazed about at the gods, noting how close Loriot was to himself. It felt....good. However, a thought suddenly hit him.
GODS. He brought us here to....do something with the Gods? I'm impressive, sure, but the Council? Might as well tell me to control the sun while I am at it!
Cale stepped forward sheepishly towards the statues and their mystical wonder. He noted what the others said about their elemental powers seemingly more different here than anywhere else.
"Yeah... it feels like I'm being amplified in here." Cale said, he could feel even powerful as well. Cale could sense the metal and earth throughout the room and even past that. He could even feel the individual clicks of metallic gears or the whine of specific plates if he focused hard enough. It was all jarring but it raised a question into why they were there in the first place. It seemed much to peaceful here to be anything in the fighting area and the entire city seemed stable from what they could make out.
"Prime Minister, if I may ask and please forgive me if we went over this earlier but, why -are- we here?" Cale said aloud.
Gabriel let out a low gasp as he took in the sight of the room. It was not just because of the sensation he could feel, almost as if the room was heightening his magical power. He recognised the place. The statues were all in the same places, and the same poses, except for the Reaver statue. That one was new to Gabe. It was... creepy. That was the best way to describe it.
"I know this place," he murmured, turning to Nydia who stood nearby. "This is what I told you about earlier, the place from my dream... it's different, though. No lightning, no stars, no mists... and the Reaver statue is here this time instead of just a swirling blur. What is going on here..." he mused, looking back to the Prime Minister as he did so. Hopefully he would provide some explanation for all of this.
As Gabriel spoke, his shadow stepped forward, looking up to the faces of each statue before turning its impassive gaze back to the male Hydromancer. With the presence of the Prime Minister's shadow, and the others around the room, Gabriel wondered just who was in charge of them. Was it the spirit they had met on the airship? Or was it Reaver?
Or... were they one and the same?
When the large doors closed behind Fei she stopped talking. In fact, she had stopped thinking about strange stones and butterfly wings altogether. It was dark for a little, only a few seconds, but it was so dark. Her eyes focused forward. The door slowly opened to an old room. It smelled musty. Her hands were cold: she couldn't feel Seth's sleeve in her hand, which made her start to tug at it a little.
The next door seemed to take forever to open. When it did, her silence continued. The statues were huge and intimidating. She felt like they were watching her. She couldn't imagine how powerful they were, and how small she was. Alainia. The daughter of the waters. Although it was her patron, so to speak, it made her nervous. Her stomach was churning. She was... excited. She didn't know why. She was downright scared, but she felt stronger.
Her shadow looked around a bit as well, seemingly more relaxed, but it stayed close to Fei. Was it recognizing something? She noticed everyone had shadows now. What did it mean? Were all these people mages too? Did it have something to do with that ghost they saw earlier?
Phebe had remained silent when they had been among the scientists and their experiments. It had been fun to look at, but she wasn't really that interested in it. She had thought about asking if anyone could give her wings, but had gotten distracted by everything that was going on at the time and before she knew it, they were in a different room.
It was a room, with statues of the gods who the mages believed in. Phebe had not been raised to follow these gods, nor could she claim that she had seen much proof of their existence. It was an old room with statues, but it did seem like her powers were stronger in here.
She noticed how there was more than the mages shadows in here. Why? She had kind of forgotten about her own shadow, but she didn't need to search for it for long, as it was standing slightly to the left behind her.
"It's a nice place and all, but I'm hardly one for interior design. Maybe you should get rid of the statues though. Y'know, let some natural light in or something." She said with a faint grin, while flicking the fingers on her right hand and playing with the fire she produced.
Jacob was not one to be surprised, not usually. This new development, however, managed a rather exceptional job of it. His eyes widened as he stepped in, his arms at his side now as he moved, spinning in place briefly to take in the statues around him and the door behind before focusing on the statue of Reaver. He didn't trust it, not in the slightest.
"I kinda' share the sentiments and confusion of the earthshaper...why, exactly, have we been brought here?"