The Prosperos Sea, Chapter 8

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  1. Chapter 8
    Dead Awakening

    The diver switched on the lamp. A thermic gem touched a thin wire, heating it white hot, and crude glass threw the light into a cone.

    The pale thermic-light played across the twisted shapes littering the sea floor. The gigantic bodies were frozen in contorted rictus and rigor mortis. The sea sent tsunamis for a month after the Cataclysm from the constant rain of bodies, which piled over one another at the seabed, so great was their number. Each body and their associated objects were easily a hundred men long. The creatures of the old seemed to possess an inner vitality that allowed them to ignore the laws and limitations of the present-day Sunnepheins.

    For a three hundred year stint at the bottom of a relatively shallow sea, the graveyard was curiously in a mixed state of decay. Some bodies were completely rotted through, their bone-and-metal skeletons hosting a city of fish. On some, the skin was starting to peel, and the more voracious scavengers actively picked at the flesh underneath. Others were half consumed by the sea. And there were others that seemed to be only taking a brief rest. From them, the deep hum of the inner fire glowed ever bright.

    And as he swung the light over one of the bodies ... the eyes returned his gaze.


    The chain and air-hose suddenly went slack. "What's going on?" The foreman gestured to the machine room. "Haul it up. Quickly!" Steam blasted and gears churned, the steel rope sparking on the winch. It came up empty. The end of the metal was red hot - the passage through the water did nothing to cool it - and it would stay that way for ten days.

    "Worthless." The worst insult a merchant could hurl at another, to call his wares, his trade, pointless.

    "That's what K'Larr's promise has amounted to. He promised us a safe place to do trade, free from other the Czar, the blackguards, from Hosian taxes ..."

    "Then he fucking forgets to mention that there's no one to buy stuff!" The cup slammed on the table, spilling drops of cheap sea rum.

    "Shut yer mouth." A Lord of War sounded from the dim confines of the bar. "That was only the first step."

    "You don't get it, you worthless cunt," the merchant spat. "Out on the sea, we cannot create wealth. What are we going to trade them? Rotting fish? Salt? Worthless trinkets from the bottom of the sea?"

    Scaled fingers ran over the stone tablet as they had done a thousand times. This one was merely a copy of the original, the nail's caress so obsessive that it threatened to wear away the message within. A copy of the diving report was grasped in the other hand.

    The Lord of Timber kicked the table over. "My last shipments of timber have been chewed out by termites on the Prosperos islands. There is no more to harvest from Hosia. K'Larr shipped all the Lords of Materials out into the ocean, but only the Avarathi can still dig their shit from the sand. The Hosians get nothing. You can keep selling your death, you worthless merchant, but I'd like to see what you're going to do in a yea-"

    The arrow jutted from his throat, and he toppled over into a forest of sword and spears. An entire city-ship would be split by factional struggle.

    "Get another team of divers."

    "K'Larr, what happened to the first and second diver will happen to the third ..."

    "Not with the divine word."

    The Tear of Uvekely stood within its water-filled chalice, a ball of liquid metal that thrummed with hidden life.

    (image: kill six billion demons)
    #1 unanun, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
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  2. Elsewhere Bound

    Tem opened her eyes, but they saw nothing. She breathed in, but smelled nothing. Her hands groped - wood, apparently. And when she listened, she could hear the ocean billowing below. There was something else, too - the sound of machinery, and something soft and silky by her elbow. There was something sitting in her gut, something uncomfortable. She was lost in a world of somethings.

    And then it all made sense.

    As much as she'd enjoyed filling Hosia with music no one would hear, hunger had loomed over her head like the ghost of the dead city. So she'd taken to the road and walked well into the night, only to be dragged down by that which she'd always managed to ignore. Being but a child, the journey had left her, as her friends might have put it, sleepy. Even a bit ill. Naturally, she'd taken up refuge in the first spot she'd found. A shipping crate with a loose nail had been conveniently filled with textiles, soft and warm and welcoming. She had peeled back the face of the crate, forming an opening just wide enough for her to slip through, and had almost immediately fallen asleep in a pile of cloth with a headache in the back of her mind. It had been dark, to be certain, and she had been tired. And to be fair once again, the crate had been quite distant in comparison to its brethren, beyond the vantage point which her short stature offered, among the last to be loaded onto the ship.

    She'd slept through the entire thing.

    Tem felt along the floor of the crate, and her hand touched a flute, a tin can. A mouse which she nearly mistook for regular. Her Aux skittered up her arm and nestled itself into the hair by her shoulder. Now, which wall had been the loose one? She gave each of them a push in turn. They didn't budge. She pushed up on the ceiling. Nothing. Either her loose wall had become the floor, or she'd been nailed in again. In the pitch blackness, she wondered dejectedly if she'd gone blind - picking up a pinch of cloth, she brought it up close to her face, where she might be able to see its pattern, but discovered something else instead. The cloth felt heavy. Her hand shook. Actually, she was shaking all over. She dropped it. Her breathing was labored. She'd felt ill the other night, Tem recalled. Or was she just scared? Seasick? Perhaps there was something wrong.

    Whatever it was, it was secondary to being locked in a supply crate in the hull of a ship. Pounding on the crate would only get her into trouble, she decided. Make her look like a stowaway. Or was she a stowaway, anyway? No matter. If looking pitiful had gotten her through the first ten years of her life, maybe it was good for other things, too. But when she curled up into a shaking ball in a heap of cloth, she didn't even have to try to look pitiful.
    #2 Snowday, Jan 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
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  3. As she was a little late, she had got up on Wyrm's Rock to the City-Ship. As she walked carrying her own luggage (a small chest edged in iron) she looked around the ship. It was a great city, more that the aviary itself, and was builded over layers of metal one over the last, in towers that, to the young avian, looked just like whole neighborhoods.

    After walking and flying all around, she found the cellar. She entered and left it there. Those were the less important papers and things, while her real belongings were in the backpack at her shoulder.

    As soon as she left the chest, a crate started to move and something hit the wood. For a second, Hope stayed quiet. A stowaway? That wasn't good. Should she uncover him?
    Who are you? Where are you?
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  4. The merchant lords and their houses were, at their core, agents of profit. They were good at selling swords and selling cannons and selling gunpowder, and even selling lies and truth-lies to convince people to use their materials. But they were definitely squeamish about the thought of spilling blood. So like any good slave to the coin, they hired soldiers and mercenaries to war by proxy.

    Neither party was foolish enough to sink ships over a small squabble. But they made good sport of it, and it was a good opportunity to cull the weak. And sometimes, a small unlucky house found its Lord feeding the fish at the bottom of the sea, and a new master of its holdings. However, they did not respect what dwelled at the bottom as well as the iron lizard K'Larr .....

    One of sell swords was swilling the red iron deck with a mop and seawater. The smell of algae did little to mask the rotting blood. The commotion in the holding bay attracted his attention, and he plopped the red mop into the bucket and sauntered into the darkness, hand casually resting on his saber, striped pantaloons and all.

    "Okay, okay, what's going on here?" He pushed past the avian (Was she tired? Why did she look so tired?) and tapped the crate. He tapped it again, and felt something move.

    Light spilled inside and the tip of a crowbar peaked in. Dob lifted up the child and gave her an appraising eye. Life, unfortunately, had not changed too much for him when he abandoned Viridos to follow the coin. The coin was still his master, and it told him to "Alright, alright. Let's take you to the security officer."

    "And you." He gestured at the avian with the hand resting on his saber. "Come along. You won't be able to swing the spear on a ship, anyways."
  5. Tem's limbs thrashed, but she only succeeded in making herself swing in Dob's hands. "I's don't knows what happened!" she insisted upon deciding that struggling was futile. Her slight lisp had grown more prominent over the last few weeks, as it felt like forever since she last used her voice. Her tiny hands clutched at her beloved flute and tin can, as if afraid they might be wrested from her grip. For a moment, she considered using her advent, but decided that it wouldn't be of much use at the moment. She might need it later, anyhow. "I's no stowaway, master! I's not!" And she struggled just a little bit, but she was still too groggy to do any real damage. She probably wouldn't have been able to touch him at her best, though - Tem was tiny and stringy and perhaps a bit malnourished, and Dob was, well, a bodyguard. No contest. But she still made a point of trying to glare at him - even though it looked more like a child's pouty-face. In fact, that's exactly what it was.
  6. Stop there. Hope said, rising her voice. She had always had the ability to order people to answer her demands, and Dob the bodyguard wasn't the exception.
    I'll pay her transportation if she promises to serve me until we get to Kaustir.
    Hope wanted to help the child. She had seen all the monstruosities of being a refugee, of having nothing and barely managing to survive selling your body in one or another way.
    She had been a little, insecure and sicky girl so she saw many things of herself in the girl, but she also recognized she needed to learn to move in the streets (something a girl like that surely knew well) and the the girl needed a little discipline.
    Surely she could with me in my chambers
  7. You would expect a people used to the solid presence of the forest to be suddenly caught out of their element by the sudden shift to the ocean. In many respects they were. There was no canopy to cover their head and the floor spread out before them, just as wide as the sky that seemed to be on the verge of swooping down to engulf them. In an attempt to lessen the effect of the strange vast spaces, in all but the widest of roads strips of cloth hung between alleys and walkways. Brightly dyed fabrics that kept some of the rain of passersby and stained the light shades of red, orange, green, blue, yellow, and purple. Many of the roads followed themes, some glowing like a sunset under stretches of bright reds and oranges, while others were like walking under the water's surface, deep blues and greens tinting everything below.

    For several days, those who had little experience with the water, felt their stomachs twist as the floor pitched beneath them. However the sigh and the breath of the sea was slowly becoming the lullaby that the forest had previously sung to them. While the forest did not, except on rare occasions, buckle up under their feet, like the forest the sea had a life and coming from a jungle so thick with life to be overwhelming to some it was a familiar sense of life that was both a benevolent and fearful presence. Gentle and kind with the children that played in the shallow pools at the edge of the city, yet if a storm brewed the once kind water would boil and spit with hatred towards all who poisoned its skin with their presence.

    Massive city boats made up the central hubs, each surrounded with by a swarm of smaller vessels and homes. Like some massive water bird followed on all sides by her flock of children. Aboard one massive city ships the Mistress of the Silver Wings looked over this new child nation, her fingers beating out a rapid tempo on the railing on her balcony. She had expected the purge of Hosia, hence why almost all of the city had mobilized within a few short days, she had been prepared to loose her old base of operations. What she had not expected was to loose all of her customers.

    "Damn that Tattersal." She cursed under her breath as she returned to her desk. Trade was slowing down and most merchants were beginning to feel the press as their wares went untouched. Kaustir was not making things any easier. Their presence in the Chersonese, while worrying to Viridos, was giving those Pegulian scholars a hissy fit. Those desert war mongers needed to be reminded that that there were things that should be left alone. They had long ago rejected any thought of the gods, but even if those powerful being who had fallen from the sky so long ago no longer watched from above, the world was filled with their stain. There was nothing like the blood of a god to remind people of how mortal they are.
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  8. The waves moved in perfect motion against the currently still frame of the ship. She’d be traveling soon, once her crates were all loaded on and double-checked. It was a menial task, but a necessary one nonetheless. Many a time did they end up with a stowaway or two – young, rambunctious folks that were looking for a more exciting life out in the open world. Certainly anything would be more interesting than living in the presently low lifestyle that was more than common on the Prosperos Islands. It was an acquired taste, living the slow, day-to-day life of a merchant. It wasn’t something that Lemuel had any qualms with. Then again, he was a trader – a traveler in search of exotic new goods that would be brought to places where they were inaccessible and sold for large profit.

    Lemuel had traveled a great distance of the world in his thirty eight years of living, and he planned to continue doing so until the day he died. He’d pick up some new goods from their destination, then load them off at some foreign place back along the way. It was a routine, but he enjoyed it. Any escape from the rum drum that was life in Prosperos was well appreciated, even if he didn’t mind it all that much. Right now, he was overlooking the deck and checking boxes as they arrived on board. A sigh was his acknowledgement that he couldn’t use his advent for such a task, as it only lasted a short time anyway.

    While he was checking them, he’d noticed Dob, another decks man, and Hope, an avian, opening one grate using a crowbar. It seemed that something had been stirring inside. Sure enough, Dob pulled out a child from the box – one that’d obviously seen far too much of the world’s unfaltering cruelty for her age. Lemuel shook his head at the sight and continued his work. He’d offer his services to them, but he knew he’d be asked for if he was needed. That was how things usually went on this trips. You went about your own business and did your job until told to do otherwise. That was how he liked it. It helped him stay out of the trouble of others.

    This didn’t mean he wasn’t a social man. He had several friends throughout the world, little upkeep with them though there may be. It isn’t easy to keep up with friends on other lands when your only means of travel is a shipping boat that can take its sweet time getting from place to place. Only reason he even tagged along was that he was able to carry a larger quantity of merchandise when he joined them, even if it was for a fee. It was something easily made up for at each of their stops. Once he’d finished checking the last of his boxes, he noticed that Dob and Hope were talking about the situation with the young girl, with Hope offering to oversee her until their arrival.

    Lemuel preferred to stay out of such matters himself. It would work itself out in the end, but this was one case where it would be more polite to offer his services right out front. This decision being sealed and locked, he approached the two with his decree. ”I’d be more than willing to oversee the girl in Hope’s aid. It’s true that such a young female must have some experience dealing with the harshness of our reality. Perhaps we should help her better improve upon those skills rather than toss her out to rot. We’ll be out on our travels for a bit, won’t we? Let the lass see some sights, garner up some experiences. It’ll only do her good, and if the best situation can come to be, she’ll become of great aid to us on the ship.” His eyes were locked with those of Dob, and he knew that ship security would still have to be notified. Viable reasons as to why she should be enabled to stay were what he wanted to present the male with, as they may increase the girl’s chances to stay, and furthermore, for her to survive.
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  9. Looks (open)

    Thank you, sire. The Modest avian said, with a long nod.
    How can we settle this matter? Asked the Avian, seizing the girl gently by her hand, but looking at her without expression.
    She has been neglected, without food or water for a fairly long time. That was terrible, because Hope wanted her help and she couldn't help her in this stance. Maybe it would take a couple days.
    #9 Lithël Aelfwine, Feb 3, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  10. Shekar – The Ship, saddlebrown
    Shekar’s clawed fingers ticked against her desk as the ship rocked. The small deck, chair, and her narrow bed were bolted to the floor to keep it from sliding with every tip of the boat. Not for the first time did she consider removing those just to see if colliding furnishings could provide her with some entertainment.

    It had been a long time since she had been bored.
    Perhaps she should have taken the offer to disembark onto the city ship, but Shekar preferred to avoid the politics of so many of her kind crammed together with no trade. That and she felt better onboard her own property, surrounded by loyalty she had paid for. Besides, sailing with the ship allowed her to at least pretend she was doing something useful.
    It was quieter here too.
    Almost too quiet.

    A commotion on the main deck drew her attention, an anticipating a change of pace Shekar swung out the arm of the chair on it’s hinge, rose to her feet, left her quarters at the stern of the ship, and leaned over a bit of railing near the helm as a young girl was hauled out of the ship’s hold by Dob who was saying something about security.

    Shekar watch the whole thing unfold, several persons stepping forward, one offering to pay the child’s way, another suggesting giving her a chance. None of them seemed to be making any attempt to be quiet about the matter.
    “At least someone aboard this raft can see potential.” She grumbled to herself.
    “Would you like me to go down and handle it?” a soft voice whispered in her ear. The Draken merchant turned her head to smirk fondly at the little white ball of heatless fire that was her Aux.
    “I have no objection, just don’t make too much of a pest of yourself.”
    “When do I ever?”

    With a cheery wink Nox bobbed down to float lazily about the conversing party’s heads as they discussed what to do with the girl.

    Shekar remained where she was, observing all.
  11. Now, Tem was no stranger to people talking over her head. It almost felt like home, like a roof of noise. But there was more to be said which wasn't being said, more to her case. So Tem gave her business smile - the one that, while not inwardly genuine, bared the V-shaped gap between her two front teeth and deepened her dimples. Adorable, and on the streets, it was the difference between dinner and going to bed hungry. "If'n it's to make a diff'rence, mistress n' masters, I's din't mean in the least t'be aboard this 'ere ship," she said, raising a finger that they might see and hear her. "I's was off from Hosia, see? Somethin' was amiss, it was. People leavin'. Whole pieces of the city gettin' pulled ofta sea. Then no one was lef', an' they's took all their food with em', too. Wasn' a morsel lef' in th'whole city, so I's figgered I's might be able ta make it ta an outpost n' recoup'rate there. Walked fer perhaps half'a day n' half'a night. But I's was real tired, n' it was rainin', n' I's really needed ta sleep. Found a crate - this 'ere crate - with a loose nail, so I's crawl'd on in and fell asleep right quick, but I's didn' realize the ship was bein' loaded. Think they's nailed it up while I's was sleepin', n' threw me in. But I's didn' mean it, see..." Her story finished on a low note. Just as earlier, her weird little speech impediment was glaring and obvious. It had been some time since she'd last spoken. The girl glanced between the two whom she assumed were her saviors - a man, perhaps a merchant, of maybe forty years, and a swan-winged avian with hair as white as her wings. Interesting. But she knew all too well that it was best to pitch in your information and let the masters make the decision, only influencing their deliberations indirectly. But as she waited for her fate to be decided, her eyes slid up to something odd and pale above their heads - a little ball of white flame, drifting like a tied balloon. But there were no strings attached to the thing. She dared not speak of it to the others, but watched it with a childlike interest as it danced overhead.
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  12. This was why Dob preferred chopping people. He set the child down and pinched the bridge of his nose.

    "Okay, okay. I appreciate your offers here." His voice became steady, reciting from rote - yet the lack of emotion gave his words weight. "But the one thing that has to be respected here is property. The guild has no laws against stowaways ... but it has rules and regulations against perversion of property -"

    She is just a child, the Avian spoke. She does not know any better.

    The flashy pantalooned man pursed his lips. "And on this ship, Mistress, we need to .. there are .. that is .. "

    "Rules, Guar'Dob." A Nocturne broke from the shadows inside the cargo hold, black tinted goggles and thick wool scarf moist and rotting from the sea spray. "Who is the guarantor of the child? The silks perverted here are beyond priceless, seeing as we can't get the cocoons from Hosia anymore."

    "N'rel." Dob stepped back.

    "You, Lemuel .. " The Nocturne jabbed a finger at the man's neck, gnarly nail centered on his locket, "do you have the child's weight in gold? Because I can certainly find a noble in Kaustir willing to pay that much."

    "Not with the Czar's current movements," a hissy voice echoed from above.

    "Ah ... Shekar." N'rel scratched his scarf-covered chin. "How kind of you, to step in. Perhaps you will insure my loss? But you don't trade in gold, do you? In fact, it just so happens that I hear the ship's quartermaster is looking for new .. recruits for its latest diving expedition. Maybe this child will fit into one of the smaller suits."
  13. Are you the owner of this ship? Asked the Avian with a soft voice. If they were diving, they were to find something, be it a treasure chest, an ancient ship or a god's weapon.
    Any of the options, to have a share of the price could help all of her people. Maybe with a God's weapon they could have something to negotiate with the Czar to retrieve the Alate... or to force him.
  14. "No," The Nocturne shot a withering gaze at the Avian, "but I do know the owner."

    Somewhat unfair on a ship on the Prosperos, brown
    "Now Shekar, that won't do." K'Larr clicked his three-membered claws together. "N'rel has a very valid complaint."

    Most of the Prosperos city-ships were constructed entirely of metal. The merchants had cleverly skimmed a massive amount of iron from the shipments from Dorgrad. While the Czar thought the Cinnabar Clad had an insatiable lust for the grey metal, most of it was lodged on the Prosperos islands and welded into the hulls of the ships they were standing in.

    K'Larr's room, being of status, was a copy of the office he abandoned in Avarath - lush bloodwood and satin curtains. The ocean fluttered behind the most even glass set in ornate wood frames. But that did little to mask the dank smell of algae and dead fish.

    "By joining the guild, you have pledged subservience to the value and sovereignty of property above all else."

    "K'Larr, she is a child, for Ilium's sake!" Sheskar, despite her tendency to pull favours from the shadows, was growing frustrated with her Avarathi counterpart.

    "You act as if I'm sending her to an execution." K'Larr sucked at his teeth, using a claw to pry a fish bone free. "Thieves on land would have been put into the kitchen. I am doing the equivalent."


    "She's going for a short trip down. The suit has been tested a thousand times, but it needs a small body because of the bulk."

    So you should do it. Shekar wasn't foolish enough to blurt that out loud.

    The draken let out a hissing chuckle. "Take her to the docks." The sweep of his claw was casual, dismissive, but final.
    "I'll be a good girl, promise!" The certainty of punishment dissolved any fight Tem had, which made her pleading all the more pathetic.

    Dob smiled as best as he could. "I'll be with you on the mic the entire way down."

    The helmet shut with a cavernous clang, drowning out Tem's wails. Steam shot through the winch engine's ports and the suit descended into the deep, for another interview with the bottom.
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  15. Lemuel, green Lemuel paid attention as the others offered their own tidbits about what the fate of the stowaway should be. From the sounds of most of the crew, she was being pushed around, almost like a piece of merchandise. He wasn’t sure that her story was listened to much by anyone, so the decisions were being left all too much to the higher ranking officials of the ship.

    Dob seemed to want to compromise somehow, while the Nocturne that approached Lemuel believed she should make up for all the profits lost. Shekar was quick to agree with Hope and Lemuel that she was just a child, and that they couldn’t constitute such harsh punishments for her. One of those mentioned was to have her be put into a suit and sent down to explore the depths. K’Larr was the one that would finalize this decision, though Lemuel was much against it himself.

    ”Now, can we really send such a young girl down there? She’s no experience handling such a piece of equipment, and it’s unreasonable to think it’s a suitable punishment for a crime she hardly meant to commit.” Lemuel’s words were filled with emotion – emotion that wanted to see this young girl reimburse those she’s troubled in a reasonable manner, rather than setting her up in some death trap several thousand feet below the surface. His words would fall on deaf ears though, as the girl was strapped into a suit and set down.

    Lemuel thought quickly about the situation and decided it would be best if the girl wasn’t sent to her death alone. ”I’ll go with the girl. I have some experience manning the suit, and I’m still yet short and lightweight enough that I can fit. Let me go, so she at least won’t be alone down there. Surely a girl like her won’t be able to last very long on her own.”
  16. Mister K'Larr, i understand she's yours yo punish as you see fit, but... wht are you doing to her? I, understand your loss but i do understand that this child would be helpful if she's risen well enough. It ws desperate, but she didn't want to let anyone happen nothing bad, not if she could do something about it.
  17. Shekar – The Ship, saddlebrown
    Shekar had never thought of herself as soft. Manipulating, yes. Cunning, yes. Rude, self-serving, insightful, intelligent, arrogant even, yes to all of that. But never soft.
    Yet she had glared down K’Larr, knowing he was right, for the sake of a half-grown child. Something about the girl had led her to face down one of her own in a confrontation she knew she couldn’t win.

    A costly mistake in this circle.
    Shekar hoped she hadn’t lost all of her footing entirely.

    Now she stood watching from a distance as the dark cold of the ocean waters closed over the suit’s helm and it and others like it were slowly lowered into the depths.

    One minute, two.
    Only when the shadows of the divers became indistinguishable from the sea did she move.

    A few swift steps brought her to the side of her Avarathi counterpart.

    “What say you to a wager K’Larr?” She questioned, a note of confidence in the voice she didn't even bother to lower knowing that the others with interest in the child’s fate could easily overhear.
    “A full half of my profits from the last shipment of Dorgrad iron I was able to deliver prior to Tattersal’s meddling, on the girl’s successful return to the surface!”
    For once Nox remained silent.

    She could see it in his eyes, the considering. If he lost the money, it also meant a possibility to an end of their search, the possibility of gaining whatever the girl brought up with her. If she did not survive the odds were Shekar would lose most of what she had left, considerably weakening her standing, to him.

    Question was, what game did she play now?
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  18. Tem was entirely unaware that she had become a bargaining chip and a betting horse. She had more pressing personal matters to attend to, such as the sensation of falling, but at half the speed and double the terror. Then there was the light from the surface, which dwindled at an excruciatingly slow pace, causing the sea's pretty, periwinkle blue to deepen and deepen until it was darker than any night Tem had ever known inside the suit and all around her. "S'real dark, it is!" she sniveled into the enchanted horn. It was at that moment she realized that she was crying for fear of what was in the sea, but quietly for fear that she might wake it. Somehow, whenever she thought it could not possibly grow deeper or darker in the cold, wet hell, it did, and she didn't bother to blink the tears out of her eyes anymore, since she wouldn't be able to see anyway. Eventually, she stopped crying, but all the fear was still in her chest, leaping and bumping into her heart every time her suit bowed and creaked and cried out.

    It took a long time to reach the bottom, and the light had begun to return just a little bit. It didn't strike Tem just how odd that was until she hit the bottom - well, it didn't feel like the bottom of anything. In fact, it felt as if she were standing on top of something. "Em, I's made it," she said into the horn, her voice trembling violently but no longer muddled by sobs. When she looked up, she could see a few luminescent creatures dancing in the void, which cast the dimmest of lights on the ocean floor, or whatever she had landed upon. She looked down, and found the the thing below her was definitely not sand - soft and supple underfoot, with a definite curve, the color of an elephant's hide. "I's on top of somethin'," she said warily, and took a step, then another. Then, through the darkness, she could see a great, gaping hole that yawned just paces away from where she stood. The thing was hollow, then. The thought put a dart of fear through her heart, and she made a tiny noise of indecision before taking another step forward to get a better look. Then, she regretted it.

    The great, white arches below reminded her of the buttresses of the Hosian church. They supported a huge framework of graying flesh that formed a cavern below her. The arches were ribs, she could see now, and the edge she stood on was jagged flesh that bottom feeders had eaten away. Her stomach lurched, and she felt as if she might pass out. "It's real big, n' it's real dead..!" she said, her voice shaking so hard that her teeth chattered. "Please, now, whatsit you's needs me to do down here?"
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  19. Lemuel and Tem: Ocean Ruins, green It was mere moments before Lemuel would join Tem on the seafloor, squeezed tightly into a suit that gave him little room to breath. He stuck closely with the young girl, seeing she was the one with their communication device. They'd both slowly descend into the depths. Lemuel took note of the decrease invisibility, but made sure that the lights provided for the trip were turned on, just as Tem had. All Lemuel could do as they descended was look on in awe. The scene before them was indescribable. A large being that had been eaten away by bottom feeders, and they only stood within the dead creature's ribcage. Lemuel gripped Tem's, whom was obviously very much shaken, hand and nodded at her to let her know everything would be alright so long as they stuck together. She nodded in acknowledgment and squeezed his hand ever so slightly.

    With Tem's hand - or, the suit's equivalent anyway - in his own, Lemuel began slowly making his way through the watery dungeon they now found themselves in. Creatures of all sorts swam about - ones that he'd never seen before in all his years of travel. For all he knew, they seemed exclusive to only this part of the open sea. Nobody could imagine such things existing so far below the ocean's promising surface. Not beings such as these. As they progressed further and further, debris was noticeable along the ocean floor. With every step, his fascination with this place only grew. He and Tem were possibly the first to discover the remains of an entirely underground city.

    More was to be seen aside from the debris. There were machines with dials that littered the floor, some of them with their dials still moving. Lemuel stopped their walking for a moment and turned towards Tem. "Stick close here. We don't know what sorts of creatures might still be lurking about."

    "Y's, sir," the young female responded. It was true that she nor her deep diving partner knew anything about the depths they know found themselves exploring. Some unknown sea monster could easily eat them with one wrong step. Lemuel was careful to watch the ground underneath of them because of this.

    "Watch your step." His voice was calm, even if he wasn't entirely calm himself. "God knows what's down here. Judging from this material..." Lemuel paused in front of a large piece of debris and pulled out his aux, which he'd kept hidden in his suit. Activating his Examination advent, the male looked over the incredible piece, trying to gather whatever he could from it. Without a doubt, it had been part of a building once. A rather large one, for this piece to be at least twenty five percent of the total. It was incredibly larger than they themselves were. He couldn't gather exactly who last touched it, but it seemed that the person, or creature, that did had died quite some time ago. Whether or not anymore of his people were still around was yet to be discovered.

    "This one seems to be really old," Lemuel told Tem. "Tell the others."

    Tem, who had been looking at everything they'd been seeing with both awe and terror, nodded in response. "S'really old piece down 'ere," the female spoke into the enchanted horn.

    "See if you can't find any more recent pieces," Dob replied. "We need to find out if these people are still around."

    Tem could feel a lump in her throat as she swallowed. Part of her wanted to explore more, as everything down below was so fascinating, but another part wanted more than anything to return to the surface, where she knew what everything was. She certainly didn't want to end up as dinner for some ocean creature that hadn't even been named yet. Regardless, she and Lemuel pushed on, following the orders they'd just received from Dob.
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  20. [​IMG]

    The black water welled around the suit. The lack of light made it as thick as tar. Inside, Hope's wings were crushed against her back. Her instinct to fly for the sun screamed at her as her iron-clad feet dipped into the black, and her eyes frantically followed the water line until her helmet finally slid below.

    She had wavered a bit before finally deciding to enter. The sea was particularly cruel. Even if she switched on the thermic-arc light, its weak light was completely swallowed. In fact, holding the light on was even worse, for it only illuminated for her a tiny patch of nothing, yet she imagined it a beacon to all the other horrors that swam, mutated pre-cataclysmic creatures and other creatures of the deep.

    She instead focused on the vibrating of the metal chain attached to the suit's back, an iron umbilical that kept her attached to the ship. Under the soft hiss of bellows, and she had to force her breathing to slow to conserve the air.

    Tem's and Lemuel's chatter sounded from her horn as she alighted onto the surface. Together, they played their lights over the floor

    "What do you see?"

    "We are inside .. bones .. " To Dob, their speech was halting and garbled from the great distance. He could not tell who was responding.

    "Our --- divers have said that the floor ------ many large bodies. K'Larr wants you ---- intact one and get inside --- head."


    "Calm down!" Dob shook the horn helplessly. "Look around. Get a bearing!"


    "... Ilium ..."


    What might have been buildings were gigants. They forced a corridor into infinity, with their steel helmets and pristine bodies. The armour seemed to have preserved them. Perhaps it was the trick of the light, the thermic-white playing over the empty eye-sockets, but the giants gazed at them from a hundred paces high.

    At the end of the corridor, something came for them.

    "Shekar, you are a shrewd one." K'Larr hissed at her in their Draken creole.

    "Your profits are quite sizable. One half, doubly so. So it would be in my interest for them to fail."

    "But then I would not get my relic." The Traitor laughed and gripped the railing tightly. "Let us have this wager, then." In the end, he still clutched the tablet. That was all that really mattered.
    #20 unanun, Feb 12, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
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