“It kind of looks like a… doughnut.”
It… kind of does? It’s a very smelly doughnut at the moment but that’s mostly because Hunter just finished stomping all over things with a warbot and missile propellant is kind of stinky.
The ‘doughnut’ in question is in the middle of the woods, well outside the borders of both Vesper and Dogwood. Hunter and Ardul had asked Yaren to reconnoiter the city they suspect is being used by the Iyesgarthians as a base and he’d found this about three quarters of the way there. Guarded. By Iyesgarthians.
It’s, er, not guarded by them anymore.
The device itself is a ring thirty feet tall at it’s highest, connected to a rectangular base that allows the outer part of the ring to rotate in some manner. Small locking devices stud the ring at regular intervals. Ardul will recognize the construction as clearly Iyesgarthian, but the technology? That’s nothing she’s ever seen before.
“It’s making me hungry.” Hunter’s stomach growls as if to accentuate his point.
Ardul had alighted the bot when they got there and is currently pacing around the structure. Not too far from Hunter, actually. “Well it’s not and you were fed before we came…” she smirks in his direction briefly before turning her attention back to the ring.
“The construction and architecture is ours. As is the language but that technology … it’s not something I recognise.”
“I thought that you favored meat,” Yaren observes, hovering just a ways above the mech and its passengers, having circled about before moving to reconvene with the two. His cape flutters after his movement, the point of his hat tipping upward as he glances up towards the strange construct.
“I am here, Ardul. Any idea what this might have been used for? It is an unusual design.”
“Doughnuts are meat.” Hunter responds. They must unequivocally are not. But this is the kind of logic that Yaren can expect from the wolfen.
“So you’re saying your people probably built it, but you don’t know what it is…” Hunter moves over to the control panel and frowns, looking at everything. “Hrm. These symbols are… odd. They almost look… harsher than Iyesgarthian. More angular.” They… are. It’s an odd script. Still clearly Windscript – the usual written language of Iyesgarth – but very odd. Perhaps in code or… derived from something else.
There’s an odd flow around the device that Yaren can feel. This channels magical energy. In quite large amounts, actually.
“You keep telling yourself that…” Ardul gives Hunter a flat look not arguing about what makes a doughnut. “And yes, I’m saying that my people built this …” her voice fades as she looks at the symbols.
“This is our language but it’s off somehow. The symbols aren’t anything that mean anything to me…” She joins the Wolfen and brushes her hand over the controls as if feeling them might give her an idea of what they might be.
“What do you make of it, Yaren?”
“But…it bears the word ‘dough’..? Is it not what is used for bread?” Being someone who doesn’t eat, Yaren’s learned about food the same way as everything else, watching and asking questions- at least as much as they’re allowed. Some people get very annoyed when he asks too much and keeps them from enjoying their meal.
Ah, but back to the matter at hand…
“Hmm…” He glances back down at the two. “I sense a great concentration of magic here. It appears that this somehow controls a magical flow…”
But what is the source? Or is it from the world itself? Violet eyes narrowing, Yaren focuses on the oddly shaped device to try and determine such.
“I will.” Hunter says determinedly. Doughnuts are meat. That’s simply an immutable fact of the universe. Delicious, delicious wheat based meat. It is therefore a necessary part of an all meat diet.
When Ardul touches the markings they light up and the thing starts to spin. That’s when Yaren starts experiencing a vacuum not unlike what he felt in Saren’s Rest. Only… stronger. A lot stronger. This thing is drawing in all the magic for a good distance to power up.
Ardul just smirks and makes a note to herself to pick up doughnuts when they get back to Saren’s Rest.
Her head cants as the symbols light up and the gate starts to spin. “That’s probably not good…” she mutters, drawing her energy sword and igniting it. “At least we might get some answers.”
Glowing eyes suddenly go wide, not only at the reaction upon Ardul’s exploration of the glyphs, but the very noticeable pull as the thing begins to spin. He gasps, the wind tugging at his cape, but something deeper tugging at his very being as he tries to turn away from it. It’s not seeming to do him any good as he gets sucked towards the device, especially having been so close to begin with.
“-no! Ardul, Hunter, the doughnut, it’s…”
It’s difficult to hold himself in form, boots and gloves being torn away, along with his hat, and while dispersing himself briefly crosses his mind he doubts that there will be little difference in his being drawn in unless the thing’s deactivated.
“Yaren?” Hunter looks at Yaren… then at the spinning wheel drawing Yaren toward it. “Uh! Ardul, shut if off!”
Can she? The sequence has started and it’s not exactly like this thing comes with a manual. Then again she is the only person here who can read anything on that panel even if she can’t read the runes themselves. Surely there’s an emergency shutoff button?
The drag gets stronger as the wheel spins faster. Yaren can see magic being drawn in, sucked in, and it’s not just free floating magic either. Some is being drawn from Hunter and Ardul. Relatively minute amounts that they won’t feel, granted but this things pull is incredible.
And then there’s the heat. Not real heat, but the feel of magic being consumed to power something. Yaren… really doesn’t want to wind up in that wheel.
“What’s wrong?” Ardul turns from her defensive stance facing the gate to see Yaren being pulled in.
“I … don’t know if I can.” She sounds calm at least as she turns back to the symbols, remembering how they lit up when she touched them. She’d consider having Hunter shoot the console but if that fails they’ll lose the controls they have.
“Let me think….” Grey eyes take it all in and she thinks. “Try … this….” she hits the symbols in reverse. Maybe there is a emergency cutoff, but it’s not obvious … yet.
“Hunter see if there’s a crystal. Like the Wulf use…”
It’s too difficult to fight the pull, especially as it increases. Yaren feels like he’s being pulled back five inches for every one that he manages to tug himself forward.
This thing, what is it for? What was the magic it gathered for? He can’t help but begin to feel a bit upset that someone has created such a device, and surely whatever it was meant to do, it could not have been for anything good! He feels it, the power growing within the thing. No, that’s not a place he wants to end up at all.
“Hurry..!” he urges his friends as he tries to change his tactics. There’s plenty of magic coming towards him, after all.
He uses it as a path, something to feed himself to maintain strength as he tries to escape the magical vacuum. It’s like running up a down-bound escalator, but so long as it keeps him from completely being stripped away he will do what he can.
Hunter goes around to the other side and opens a large cylindrical protrusion to see if there’s anything that looks like a power source. There must be something. Ardul’s messing with the controls slows it, makes it easier for Yaren to continue his push away from the device but it doesn’t stop it.
Fortunately her instincts were correct. Hunter pulls on something and the pull immediately stops. The outer wheel whirrrrrrrs to a stop and the whole thing powers down.
The wolfen lets out a sigh of relief. “Everyone okay?”
Well, mostly Yaren. Ardul should be okay. Though… the panel in front of her is blinking red now… for some reason.
“I’m trying.” Ardul answers, raising her eyes to Hunter and breathing out a slow breath as he finds the crystal. Her instincts aren’t bad, generally.
“Yaren, what happened and are you ok?” beat “I’m fine Hunter…” It might be the distracted nature of her tone or it might the almost-canine cant of her head that says not everything is ‘fine’ though.
“Everyone step back … I suspect we triggered a failsafe on the device.” The other two should find shelter as she looks at this.
As soon as the thing begins to slow in its rotations, Yaren pulls himself away, settling near the two in a near heap of clothes, only vaguely holding form, violet mist wisping from the neck of his coat.
“…that…-thing- draws magic in…” he says, an edge to his tone present even as he seems to be trying to catch his breath. Not that he has lungs, but fighting against something that threatened to engulf your entire being was thoroughly exhausting. And frightening, now that he has a chance to reflect.
“…I do not know as to its purpose…that it should need such power…”
He’s oblivious to any blinky panels or otherwise, nor has he any idea what a failsafe is.
“It’s probably designed to breach to other worlds.” Hunter muses. “That would take a lot of… power.”
The wolfen trails off and a screen prompt appears in front of Ardul. It’s asking for a password of some kind.
There’s… something about this device that doesn’t sit quite right though. It’s built using Iyesgarthian tech but sucks in magic like an artifact. Unless they’ve mastered technowizardry that shouldn’t be possible and they seem to have a cultural bias against such things.
Hunter seems to be musing on this as he backs off at Ardul’s request. “Yaren… can you still feel any kind of pull?”
He can. A faint one. From the top housing of the machine.
“Magic.” It’s a flat tone that Ardul uses. The Iyesgarthians, in general, don’t trust magic and that there’s a device that marries their crafting with it, bodes ill. “Horatio has … found someone to work with.” Her eyes meet Hunters, thinking back to a meeting with Kaju not too long ago.
A password. Wonderful. “Hunter, what was the phrase that freed Nina?”
Slowly Yaren drags himself to a more upright position, looking ever more the part of a specter for the obvious absence of feet, face and hands. “Breach to other worlds..? As in what they use to create rifts?”
His glowing gaze shifts as Hunter asks him if he can still feel anything, and he raises a sleeve and vaguely shaped hand with an equally wispy finger to point. “…there’s….something. Up there.”
“Aprak-tias.” Hunter says. His memory is one of the better things about him that isn’t his reflexes or his warbot. Or his fur coat.
His memory is okay, okay?
Hunter frowns and pulls his weapon. He aims at where Yaren indicates and fires. The laser blast exposes the inner workings of the machine… and there’s… a bottle?
It’s kind of a glass or crystal bottle, clearly quite old and equally clearly not of Iyesgarthian construction.
“That’s… interesting. A magical component to harvest local magic.” What it is he’s not sure but such things are rare and expensive and he has a feeling he knows how the Iyesgarthians got it.
“How do you even spell that?” Ardul mutters as she stares at the keyboard. She doesn’t flinch as Hunter fires his weapon. She’s too busy pecking out the word on the console.
She really, really hopes she spells it right. Because honestly, the combinations for a password are limitless. Well, not limitless but close to it.
“What do you have there?”
Yaren watches, perhaps somewhat eagerly as Hunter takes aim and blows the top of the machine. The revelation is a bit…anticlimactic, but no less curious. He draws closer to better inspect it, eyes narrowing.
“Can we not just destroy this all so that it can no longer be used?” he asks. It seemed much simpler, and they’d already barreled through everyone earlier. He’s still not sure what this structure is but for what it has proven to do, he’s decided that it is better off for it not to be around. He also has developed a slight hate for doughnuts and it’s all Hunter’s fault.
“Magical do-dad of some kind.” Hunter says. “And yeah we could destroy it.” He gestures up at his bot. That could do the job easily.
Ardul punches the password in and the console flashes red. That’s not it.
And that’s when ports on the side open and start hissing out a black cloud.
“What’s that noise?” This thing is a death trap. Even Hunter’s gonna want to destroy it when they’re done.
Also Yaren might never want to see a doughnut. Ever.
“Uh … Hunter, Yaren… I got the password wrong.” Arduls grey eyes widen as the cloud appears. “Hunter, use your canisters.” They both have them, aerosolized versions of the countermeasure they had created. She launches one of the canisters that’s on her equipment belt, setting it off and turns to the console again.
“Damn you, Horatio.” The symbols are so familiar and she hits another sequence. “If that doesn’t work, you two run. Destroy this place…”
“That would have been my first suggestion,” Yaren murmurs, the purple mist rising from what was left of his clothing. There’s little point in occupying it now, waste of a good outfit as it is.
He looks towards the sound, eyes still narrowed. “Those do not appear to be wasps,” he notes.
Ah, now he remembers. While he’s not much concerned about the nanite cloud himself, he has two fleshling friends to worry about. Watching as Ardul flings a canister, he continues to keep an eye on the black swarm.
“Might I suggest a retreat? Followed by everything that Hunter might have yet loaded in his metal friend?”
Hunter sprays a fine silvery mist at the swarm and a lot of it just drops, inert. Then he dances back as it starts to follow him while Ardul punches something else in. Whatever it does it does shut the vents. That does leave the nanobots out but if they don’t find a host their power systems are actually fairly limited so just… running from them does work.
“Couldn’t agree more Yaren. This no longer reminds me of a doughnut.” Hunter says as he starts to run toward his bot. It will only take him a few moments to waste this place. Ardul can just… fly away right? Out of reach? Should be fine.
And then they can go… well, possibly go catch their breath. Or home. But probably the former.
It’s a satisfying thing to see, and Yaren only hopes that there aren’t any more of these things.
Like as he’ll resume his reconnaissance mission once he’s rested, but for now Hunter’s mech will have something of a violet misty fro as he loosely clings to the thing’s head for a ride, wherever they may venture to recuperate.
An investigation takes a turn for the worse as a strange Iyesgarthian device is accidentally activated, and it sucks. ...magic.
October 02, 2411