There was a time when people thought one of two things when the world ‘monastery’ came to mind. Either a grand building built an an Asian style or an imposing building connected to the Church containing brown robed aesthetics.
Neither is true of the Monastery at Potemkane. No instead it seems to be a rather well kept set of brick buildings surrounded by an eight foot high wall. The central building is large and blocky and possibly six or seven stories high. When Aiden had flown the Gladius over the area they could see people moving about green gardens and practicing what looked like martial arts.
It is still winter. But it’s green here.
The wooden gate had opened to them and a greying woman in her mid fifties dressed in what can only be described as robes – fitted well at the top and flowing near the bottom – and boots comes out to greet them.
“I bid welcome to all who come to Potemkane in peace.” She calls out. “Do you… come in peace?”
Somewhere, in the distance but not too far, Zyx can hear crystals singing. Real crystals from the elemental plane.
Slaine had dozed for most of the flight only rousing as they drew near to their destination. She looks tired and worn and all together exhausted. The prayers she’s been hearing would be part of it but surely it’s more than that – the level of exhaustion seems so much more.
She’d left ‘Gran’s’ in the hands of Frizz and Kaji, trusting them to deal with things as they arose. There’d still be no word from the older Mystic and Kailastia … hadn’t been forthcoming.
With the Crown safely in the back pack she carries, the small redhead disembarks the Gladius, nearly tripping herself up on the way down the plank. “We come in peace, Lady. We seek guidance an’ assistance, in fact.” She says tiredly, letting the others join her as she speaks.
Dozing isn’t much an option for someone who can’t effectively shut their eyes. Varos has no physical ones, and the metaphysical with which he /does/ see have been put into an ever-expanding overdrive of late. Perhaps to that effect it’s a good thing to have a goddess who seems to be attracted to you and willing to assist in letting you catch some z’s, especially before a journey like this.
He’s never been out this way, and he doubts he’ll ever get tired of traveling by air in Aiden’s wondrous flying ship. Up as high as they were there’d been the most semblance of peacefulness that he could have hoped to have these past few days, perhaps because they were outside of a city and there were only so many presences within immediate range, and any others would be far enough that their minds would be easier to pick apart from those around him.
As they approach their destination Varos senses those who dwell below, and as those aboard the Gladius see the Monastery from outside and above, he sees everything else as can be seen by those already within the old but preserved establishment. Once they’ve landed he steps out after Slaine, pulling his cloak about him.
He’s dressed in his usual clothes he prefers for travel, drab shades of dark grays, paired with his plain pewter mask rather than the one with amethyst insets. He offers a polite bow to the woman who greets them.
“As she says,” he agrees, nodding deferentially towards Slaine as he smiles towards the one who receives them.
You know what?
Elpida spent the entire trip listlessly plastered against the walls, snakes-a-droopin’, in between bolting to the lavatory to be sick.
She is miserable pretty much the entire trip. But it’s a different KIND of miserable, see.
But when they arrive and head to the gates she manages to stay straight and only wobbles a little from time to time.
It’s been a rough couple of days to be a Gorgon. It’s like she got dysntery on the gorgon trail.
Out of polite deference to Varos — who always seems more disconcerted in her presence when she’s not focusing on the narrow ‘visible’ light frequencies — Zyx has been very careful to keep her visual range narrowed to something that seems to cause the man to react less. That being said, she spent just about the entire trip sight-seeing as the landscape is still fascinating and beautiful to her.
When the approach the Monastery, she can hear singing, and she just can’t resist. She starts very softly humming in harmony with them.
It’s like hearing an old familiar song after a long time.
The land they flew over is so very much more magical than Vesper. Huge ley lines crisscross the landscape and whole ecosystms subsist on the energy they spew out. It’s pretty from the air. But also quite dangerous.
Here though it seems safe and the woman nods cordially as they affirm their peaceful intentions.
“Is that… you, Aiden Frost?”
“Superior Rayne. Hello.” Aiden says and actually gives the woman a hug.
“I had not thought to see you, but it’s good to do so. What has brought you here?”
“My friends here. They’ve got some trouble. They can explain it to you.”
As they’re talking Zyx sees a collection of crystals… float out from behind one of the outer buildings. Float in a way that shows intent. Another elemental. Hearing her ‘song’ it turns toward her, chimes and begins to float their way.
Slaine just sort of stares as Aiden hugs the woman. He … doesn’t do that. Ever.
“Superior Rayne.” She acknowledges the woman when she recovers. “I’m Slaine …” she hasn’t introduced herself as McClennan in some time. “an’ these are my friends, Elpida, Varos and Zyx. Elpida, Varos an’ I are the subjects of deification ritual an’ we’d really rather not ascend …”
The others can add to that story.
Varos watches the exchange of greetings in mild amusement, curious as to Aiden’s time spent in this place, but he supposes that’s something that can be asked later. Slaine’s reaction to the same merely confirms his own thoughts, even though he’s not known Aiden nearly as long as she has, but the man has never really struck him as much of the touchy-feely type.
As the red-haired mystic introduces them, Varos gives a small nod in acknowledgment once his name is mentioned.
“I’m not really sure what more can be added to that. I for one hadn’t been aware that such a thing was even possible. Prior to such, there’d been some…misunderstandings of our abilities when we’d offered assistance, and I suppose that’s where things must have sparked,” he says, smiling tightly as he offers a hapless shrug.
While the humans are all doing introductions and stuff, Zyx is COMPLETELY distracted. The singing she hears … there are chimes in reply. She chimes back a bit more loudly than her previous humming, a sort of crystalline elemental universal greeting.
And she’s just about ready to step past everyone and into the monastery proper to meet the floating elemental who’s approaching.
“Not ascend at all,” agrees Elpida, “and certainly not into a ridiculous Love Goddess… no offense, Aphrodite.” She adds. She was nice and helpful. Suspiciously so! But that means that she’s going to at least vaguely apologize for saying something mean about Love goddess’. She looks… very much ready to sag into just about any wall she gets near. Listless does not even begin to describe how drained she’s actually feeling right now — and hey, her snakes are draped all over her face and shoulders instead of writhing around! “No Godliness, thanks.”
“From the way you say it, you were not willing participants in this ritual?” Superior Rayne says. Zyx is saved stepping past everyone by the elemental floating up to the group.
“Ah, everyone, this is Zirgron. He’s one of the instructors here for the last few years. Teaches meditation techniques and… gem cutting.”
//Hello.// It’s a resonant sound from the crystal and Zyx – well everyone – can see two glowing green eyes floating deep within the recesses of the largest of the crystal pillars.
//I could not help but overhear my fellow elemental here. Am I to understand that there is magic gone awry?//
“Yes.” Aiden nods. “Soul-altering magic.”
There’s silence for a moment. //I have seen this ritual before. It is one thought nearly lost. The good news is that there is a simple way to end the spell. The bad news is that if you do not, you will attract a Titan who will consume you. I presume you have brought your elemental friend to help with the proper resonance?//
“No Ma’am we weren’ or aren’. Someone got the idea that Varos an’ I were gods after seein’ me usin’ my magic. It’s no’ somethin’ I wan’ to do an’ it’s no’ somethin’ I asked fer.”
“Hello Zirgron an’ I’m no’ sure wha’ yer meanin’ abou’ summonin’ a Titan …” She looks to Zyx and then back to the other elemental. “We weren’ sure wha’ we needed to be honest.”
Nodding at Superior Rayne, Varos pauses then as the floating crystalline being approaches them. Huh. Well, what do you know. There’s more of them!
“Greetings, Zirgron,” he says, fascinated by the being’s appearance, if not Zirgron’s perception of them. “A simple way, you said? That’s good to hear. Ah…” His brow furrows a bit as he frowns. “If we don’t end the spell, or if we don’t manage to pull off this simple way?” He feels this is an important detail to clarify, because what do Titans have in anyone’s business? That’s definitely a new thing to learn, and no less concerning, especially when it involves being potentially eaten.
Entirely unintentionally, Zyx mimics Zirgron’s resonant inflections, making her sound very different from how she usally does — which to Elpida likely resembles a human’s voice that’s been autotuned and altered slightly to make it sound artificial.
//I am happy to assist however I can.// She goes on to explain to the other elemental in a series of rapid chimes that she is simply a cook, and does’t really know much about spells. Of course, resonance is as simple and automatic as breathing, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Though… the only time she’s ever heard the term ‘Titan’, it was in reference to a particular young woman’s giant stompy robot. She gets the impression that that is not what Zirgron is referring to.
“I’m sorry. Did you say ‘Titan’?” responds Elpida. That’s enough to make her straighten up in alarm and her snakes perk.
“You did say ‘Titan’? Like, Cronos coming down to eat the Greek Gods carrying the earth on his back titan, or just like… you know, just a really big dude who looks all fucked up? I mean, it’s not liek EITHER of those is good but..”
She clears her throat. The autotuning just has her expression twitch a little. It’s good to find amusement in things that make sense only to you. It makes you look totally sane.
//Titan yes. A class of being well known for eating gods. Your particular ascension ritual is not so much an ascension as a method of feeding titans.// Oh.. yay.
“What do they have to do to get rid of it?” Aiden asks.
//Defeat the titan before they ascend and it uses their newfound divinity against them. I can help you reach it. It resides on something very similar to an elemental plane, but you will need a guide. I assumed you knew this and this was why you had brought Kythzyx with you.//
“Defeat the Titan … is simple?” Slaine says as she puts the trial together. “Of course it is.” If she said that any more dryly, Elpida might think they were in a desert.
“No, we did no’ know this but perhaps we were guided that way at any rate.”
She looks to Zyx to see if the Elemental is willing to do this. Really, though, this is one of their last options.
“Oh, is that all,” Varos chuckles. Sure. Defeating a titan. Noooo problem. His smile disappears abruptly. “…all right, no, I’m a bit upset to learn that the true purpose of this whole dumb ascension thing is basically meal preparation. After we get rid of this titan, I think I may have to gut whoever’s instigated this ritual.”
With a huff, he folds his arms as he considers how they’re going to deal with said titan. “Elemental plane? Hm.” He turns his head towards Kthzyx. “It’s quite fortuitous that Miss Zyx has decided to accompany us. Will you give us aid?”
Wait. The Titan is supposed to … EAT her friends? No, that is simply unacceptable. Once again in her accustomed ‘voice’, she tells the others, “Of course I will. No one eats my friends.” Even on her home plane that was just NOT done. Especially on her home plane, where everyone and everything is made of crystal.
“You will help know what to do to help my friends, yes, Zirgron?”
“Seems doubtful they’re even aware. So, we kill the Titan and then we just don’t ascend? Sounds good to me. Of course, we’ll probably die fighting it, but hey, at least I won’t have to hear any more dumbass prayers either way. Woop!” Elpida may be a little loopy.
Okay, she’s a LOT loopy.
“Yeah, sure. Let’s make that happen. After I’ve had a nap, maybe. Several naps.”
//Defeating a Titan is simple..// Zirgron tells Slaine. //Simple does not mean easy. And yes I do know Kythzyx, and I can show you.//
“Then why don’t you all come in and rest.” Sister Rayne says finally, if a bit quietly. “Your journey has been a long one I do not doubt and you will need all of your strength and wits if you are to be successful. You are welcome here in this place of peace and learning.”
She gestures inside.
“Aiden you remember where the quarters are. Why don’t you show them.”
Aiden nods and motions. “Right this way everyone. You can get that nap. And some food if you need it too.”
“Not sure how well a nap will work for me,” Varos admits, smiling crookedly. “Maybe I can get some meditation tips from Zirgron instead.”
That aside, as much as he might be raring to get things over with, he knows this isn’t solely his problem, and refreshment and rest or the attempt at such will probably do good for them all after the long journey either way.
Food. Oh! Zyx brought her pouch of crystals with her to work on commissions while they were travelling (not that she got anything done due to all the sight-seeing), and now has someone she can prepare for! This is truly a momentous occasion for her.
She’s probably the only one of the group that isn’t tired and grouchy. At least she’s not obnoxiously chipper, right?
Aiden and the others arrive at the Monastery in hopes of finding the answers they seek. Not all of the information they're told is good news.
February 26, 2412
Monastery at Potemkane