Slaine has bling. Well not quite bling. She’s got a rather plain looking circlet that for all appearances is made out of beaten, twisted iron and silver. A little gem sits on the front that glows soft yellow and the whole thing is warm to the touch. It kind of… calls to Slaine. Maybe not literally, not yet, but maybe so.
And thus far it’s gifted her with the ability to see visions in flames. Even flames that are not particularly near to her.
Gran had given her side eye when she came back with it and sent her out to get a few things. As she’s out and about in the market, nearing Sterling’s place, she sees Aiden making a beeline for it.
What oh what could he want with the rather eccentric techno-wizard and/or his rather protective housekeeper.
Sterling currently is not in as a sign hangs from the window with symbols signifying such. Gertrude, however, is seen sweeping the shop floors and rearranging some of Sterling’s chaotic mess of an organization system for his wares. She looks out on the warm summer day as she takes a break from her work. Setting the broom aside the gurgoyle takes a seat behind the counter and produces a well-worn but nonetheless decortive pipe.
As she muddles a small, packed amount of tobacco into the pipe, she lights the pipe breathing in deeply before exhaling a perfectly formed ring of luminescent smoke.
Grans side eye had been met with a classic Slaine shrug as the Mystic had put the circlet back into the rosewood box and headed out. What could she say to the older Mystic? The circlet had called to her and Sanka’a had said they could take anything.
Still, she needs to get a bead on the headpiece. Learn it’s capabilities quickly – before they head into Richmond. The small redhead had been planning on spending time in their workroom but there’s Aiden heading into Sterlings.
Grans supplies will wait.
“Hey Vargr…” Slaine trails after the psychic, entering the shop not far behind him. “Hello Gertrude…” she pipes brightly, knowing how the Gurgoyle feels about her. So many feel the same way. “Is Sterlin’ in?”
There’s a… it’s hard to describe. A something at the edge of Slaine’s awareness. It’s the same sense one gets when ones ears are plugged. Things are happening that she knows she should be able to sense and she can’t because something’s in the way. And it’s felt like that ever since she took the circlet off. It may take the mystic a moment to pinpoint the source of the feeling.
It’s Gertrude’s pipe.
Aiden glances aside. “Ah, hello Slaine. Out and about?” He has no idea she was taken down to The Vault. Since Slaine has asked where Sterling is he won’t double the question. But he does wonder. He did read the sign though. Since, you know, he can read.
Gertrude lets out another puff of luminescent smoke (is that mana infused tobacco or something?) as she waves at the Aiden. “Good afternoon young man.” Pause and a grumble later. “Miss Slaine.” Guess Gertrude is grumpy even at her most relaxed. The ring of smoke previously begins to fade but weirdly emits no odor. Must be magic.
Taking another puff of smoke and then releasing it through her nostrils, Gertrude eases herself out of her chair as she makes her way towards potential customer. With pipe in hand, “Kaspar was out this weekend scavenging. His boat should be arriving soon I imagine.”
Slaine didn’t even think to read the sign, so accustomed to not doing so. “Gettin’ Gran some supplies.” the little redhead answers, settling the satchel she’s carrying on her shoulder. She //twitches// though as whatever that is presses at her senses. Aiden won’t miss it. Neither will Gertrude.
Her green eyes, no longer moss green and tending more towards the bright emerald they generally are, land on the pipe as Gertrude approaches brows drawing down in a frown. “Hmmmmm.”
Ignoring anything else that’s said, Half Pint removes the rosewood box from her bag, flicking the catch open and revealing the circlet so she can place it on her head.
“I’m sorry… what… are you smoking?” Aiden can’t help but ask. He has seen people smoke a lot of things and not all of them have been plants but this… this is not something he’s seen before.
Slaine senses that pinprick of fire in Gertrude’s circlet. But she //also// senses a lot of other things. Making armor and weaponry involves a number of fire spells and while that ordinarily wouldn’t be enough there’s enough crystal storage techno-wizardry in here that she can pick up on the eminations.
There’s a fairly significant chance that it’s distracting.
Gertrude takes another set of puffs from the pipe as Aiden asks his question. “A special blend developed by Sterling and myself.” Puff “It’s an odorless tobacco this is quite” Pause and a content expression later “Pleasing to beings and people of magic.”
Sensing the curious gaze of Slaine Gertrude rolls his eyes, “I suppose you would like to see it?” Gertrude hands Slaine the pipe, “Take a whiff if you like. I personally find it to be very calming for the senses.”
“Hmmmm?” Slaines eyes unfocus as her magical senses are assaulted. “What?” she looks at the Gurgoyle and the gem in the beaten metal circlet pulses dully.
“I … can sense it.” she says quietly “I don’t want to smell it… I don’ need things like that.” Slowly she turns around, trying to centre her focus. “I can feel somethin’ out the back…”
Stilling, Half Pint focusses on that warmth. Can she see through it like she did at the Justicars Headquarters?
Slaine’s vision is instantly inside that pipe. It may take her a moment to peer up at Gertrude’s suddenly gigantic face. She can sense the… power in the burning plant. The little motes of magic that flow off the smoke. She can also sense the fire in the fireplace in a house two blocks over and the candle and the…
There is something in the basement. Something with power that throbs like a volcano getting ready to errupt. To Slaine’s suddenly hypersensitive senses it seems to almost have a heartbeat.
Aiden doesn’t notice that she’s spaced out. Maybe he thinks she’s often like this. “I need to talk to Kaspar about mayhem. I’m going to need a lot of it and soon. I’ve convinced the Armsmen to lend me a company of solders from the Army but they don’t have the kit they’re going to need for what we’ll be facing.”
Gertrude retracts her offer of the pipe as she takes it back and takes another puff before extinguishing the flame in it. Placing the pipe into her apron pocket, “You know as well as I that mayhem isn’t exactly Sterling’s specialty. You haven’t already tried that little man’s shop — what was his name? Leo? I hear he’s the man to go to if you want something, well, gone.”
Looking at Slaine who is visibly spaced out to Gertrude, “Is your travelling companion or as some around town would say ‘girlfriend’ alright”. The latter being a jab towards the pair and the several rumors that float around Vesper. “Could you possibly be waiting for Sterling to have a” she mock gasps “My, my. The gossipers around town are certainly going to have a field day with you three.” She reflexively reaches for her pipe to bring up for another puff only to remember that she already put it out. “Ah, damn it” she says under her breath. Shrugging, “Have to make more of the tobacco anyway” she says reluctantly.
If Slaine was more with it, she’d tell Aiden that it was Leo that he wanted to speak to. Sterlings good for protection, ahem, but if it’s a big bang you want, then it’s Leo.
As Getrudes face appears in her vision, the little redhead stumbles back, gently bumping a display rack so it rocks gently. Not such an unusual thing, given her clumsiness really.
“That’s interestin’ toba….” she cants her head, focussing on that heartbeat. Given she’s never really scryed Sterling’s armour, she has no idea what this is. “Whoa….” More focus. What the hell is that…
Actually Aiden thought of that which is evident with his reply. “I want it to go bang when I want it to, not at any given moment when it’s jostled badly.” And sure Leo is not that crazy but he’s crazy enough and Aiden really wants a more measured, controlled approach to this.
“Also kindly point out the next person who says that to you.” What he plans to do with that person is a good quesiton but he’s got some very creative ways to quash rumors.
“When is Kaspar going to be-” Slaine stumbling has Aiden glancing over to her and reaching out to steady her. “- you okay Half Pint?”
Something is keeping Slaine from pushing her consciousness into the flame in the core but she can get close. Close feels cold and if it does that’s because she’s inhabiting the metal and crystal shell of Sterling’s armor.
Something that Sterling may have measures to detect, though probably not deflect. After all there’s no reason to possess a metal shell, right?
The power thrumming just out of Slaine’s grasp seems to react to her presence as if it were almost alive. Sterling being a technowizard he probably used very strong magics to contain something closely resembling if not alive itself within the core. Where the core’s aura felt like a smooth, flowing presence in Slaine’s mind, now feels sharp, jagged and completely hostile to Slaine trying to reach out towards it. Melodious sounds echo in Slaine’s mind that even without knowing what the sounds mean, nonetheless are dripping with a mixture of surprise and anger.
Gertrude says just before Slaine stumbles, “He should be back any minute– Slaine, little one, are you alright?” As the core angrily objects to Slaine’s magical probing the sounds of metal on stone ehco muted past the closed doors of Sterling’s Laboratory.
There’s always rumours about Slaine. Mostly because she’s never really seen in any ‘relationship’ situations but is often seen traipsing around town with Sterling and now Aiden and Kaji. She’s learned to ignore it but of course Aiden wouldn’t want to connected to her. If he can quash the rumours, then good, if not – she’ll live it and deal with Aliana if the Shifter shows up and questions it.
Aiden touching her arm to balance her has Slaine frowning in his direction. The gem on the circlet is pulsing more brightly as she shivers … “So cold. It’s so cold … ” she mutters as she looks at the Gurgoyle “What am I sensin’? Deep in this buildin’? Something with fire and ice …”
“An’ it’s no happy…” It’s not painful, yet. Just very uncomfortable but somehow her senses won’t disengage.
What had this artifact been called? Had Slaine bothered to ask? And if she had, had Sanka’a known? Whatever the case the half pint mystic feels a sudden surge of will and purpose from the circlet. It’s actually not quite rightly named, is it. More a diadem than a circlet. She can hear things, cries in the distence. Smell smoke, fire and blood. She can hear a dragon roar ever so faintly in her ears.
Still, she is in control even if these sensations are increasingly vivid. Is it… hot in here? Or is it just her?
“Gertrude get me the-” Aiden’s voice is suddenly forceful. “Ack! I’ll do it.”
The emergency bucket flies from the back of the shop where Aiden spotted it. Slaine and Gertrude suddenly smell the distinct smell of leather charring.
And then Aiden upends a bucket of water over the redhead and it stops, though one can see the faintest black at the edges of her vest and a whisp of smoke that didn’t come from the pipe rapidly disappating.
Gertrude’s attention are elsewhere as she detects an abnormal presents within the store. Grabbing an oversized wrench Gertrude places herself between Aiden, Slaine and the closed door leading to Sterling’s laboratory. “Aiden, Slaine whatever one of you are doing I REALLY suggest you stop. If you can’t then you need to leave. Now. I’m not sure I can help without Sterling being here–” The door to the laboratory is forcefully wrenched open from the other side as a suit of armor appears. Wait, isn’t that Sterling’s armor? The metallic silver and dark blue suit with arcane glowing eyes locks gazes with Slaine as it begins slowly advancing towards her. All the while sounds that seem half crystalline and half melodical emanate loud enough for everyone in the room to hear.
Gertrude fimrly plants her feet and readies her wrench. “Sterling’s not here children. He’s the only one who can command her.” Talking to the suit “Janna, I don’t know what they did, but I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be harmful or disrespectful. Please I’ll get them to stop whatever it is just don’t do anything.” Gertrude advances slowly towards the suit who hasn’t looked away from Slaine for one moment. “Why don’t we go back down into the laboratory and we’ll find something interesting to do–” one of the suit’s hands grasps Gertrude’s wrist which is then accompanied by another round of angry musical sounds.
Slaine might have asked? She certainly asked //about// the circlet. Diademn if you will. Where it was found and what Sanka’a knew about it. It was found in a cave in Appalachians and the psi-stalkers had bought it in. It had whispered to them in their dreams.
A dragon? Is Kailastia here? Slaines pretty consumed by the circlets power, focussing on what she’s feeling and sensing, though her nose turns up a bit at the smells – blood and fire. So much like the psychic attack that had been launched upon her months ago.
Just a little bit more… when had it got so hot? Slaine shifts her shoulders as it starts to get warm and then she’s doused and sputtering, back in her body.
“What the… Vargr?” she looks at the psychic accusingly, wrinkles her nose as the scent assaults her and looks down at the leathers she’s wearing “Oh. That’s why… Is there dragon in here?” Nope just a hulking suit of armour that’s bearing down on her.
“I didn’ do it… ” For the fraction of an instant, there’s a flashback to the precocious child that Slaine must have been. Is it any wonder that Gran is greying? “I’m sorry… Janna? Don’ hurt Gertrude, it was my fault. Gertrude, don’…” The redhead looks terrified but shifts away from Aiden, hoping to the guide the suits attention. “I’ve stopped an’ I won’ do it again.” Whatever //it// was. She’s still not sure.
The gem is circlet dims slowly as Slaines focus returns to the here and now. Her touch on the suit removed totally.
The bucket floats back to the corner where it had been, sans water. Aiden looks down at the puddle and then up at the suit. Well at least nothing’s broken right? Slaine and Gertude can sort this out. He can talk to Kaspar later.
“We should talk about your jewelry later, Slaine.” Aiden says quietly. “Maybe at the Academy. In the mean time… I’m going to go find a mop.”
He steps off to go look for the broom closet. Sterling does have one of those, right?
The suit or Janna as Gertrude called it says something back at Gertrude who tried to reason with it before powering up one of the gems socketed in the palm of it’s hand. Pointing the hand at Slaine the suit begins to discharge the energy at Slaine only to find it being wisked away into crystalline relays embedded in the wall. Enter Sterling covered in sweat, panting and with a terrified face slowly easing into relief. Slaine can detect the use of some kind of arcane switch as soon as Sterling entered the shop laden with two heavy bags of salvage.
Having caught his breath, “Janna” Sterling says almost like talking to a psychologically unstable person “Let the nice lady off the hooh, eh? I promise you whatever she did was accidental. Let the nice, soothing relays sing you to sleep. I’ll be there when you wake.” That being said the relays do seem to be humming harmonically as the power alive in the suit goes dormant causing the suit to slump and fall like a cord going slack.
Breathing a heavy sigh of relief, “You’ll have to tell what it is you were doing at some point. She doesn’t stir. Ever.” Wiping the sweat from his forehead, “But it appears everything’s alright. Gertrude can you take her back down?” Gertrude nods and slings the armor over her shoulder as she descends into the laboratory.
“Jjjanna…” the redhead takes a step back, blue energy starting to dance up her arms, eyes glowing softly as she begins to fashion a shield of pure magic.
Slaine can’t detect magic activating, she’s not trying to. Her entire focus is on the suit and trying to save herself from … that ray. A ray of death she’s sure.
“Sterlin’….” Half Pint breaths, catching herself against the display cabinet as she too nearly collapses. The circlet still sitting on her head. “I don’ know. This circlet, I can sense fire through it and through the fire … power. I sensed … Janna an’ woke her. I’m sorry, I’m normally a lot more careful than that.”
Then again, she’s got an artifact that she doesn’t know what it does or how works. That’s not very careful is it?
“Can… Can I have a drin’ please? I’m parched…” No wonder, judging by the state of her leathers.
“I ran the last few blocks because I sensed her stirring. I think I need a drink too.” Sterling heads into the back storeroom and produces two bottles of water. He hands one to Slaine and brings over a couple of stools to sit on. After a long glug from the bottle Sterling looks at the soaked Slaine. “If I may ask why do you appear to have stepped out of the shower?”
Taking the bottle, Slaine downs it in a few gulps before clambering up onto the stool that Sterling brings over. “Vargr dropped the water bucket on me. I think I was on fire. Or startin’ to be … I’m no’ really sure. I was pretty focussed on Janna and the dragon.”
“You’ve bound somethin’ to the suit, haven’ ye?”
Sterling’s head tilter’s back and forth. “Well, no amount of raw crystalline energy will give me the power I need in a size that small so. Yeah.”
Sterling drinks another glug of water. “If anything she’s been incredibly compliant with the binding. Helpful even. Must be a perk of coming from a strong magic bloodline. That was” he pauses “the first time I’ve ever seen her become violent like that. I designed failsafes to prevent people from tinkering or invading her privacy, but she knows — you know — the difference between hostile takeover and curious probing like a child wondering what something is.”
“Mmmm”. Slaines been saying that a lot today and her eyes unfocus for the moment as the sensations filter through that diadem. “I’m normally so careful, I don’ know … I jus’ wanted to touch her. She was so warm and she called to the circlet and me. I can sense stuff ye know.”
With a cant of her head, the gem on the circlet starting to glow softly, Slaine’s quiet for a moment. “There’s a fire down the road. Janna’s there, so strong and powerful, like a vulcano abou’ to erupt. Ye’ve been workin’ on several things in here, I can feel the echoes of them.”
She sighs, leaving the circlets gem still glowing “I hope she doesn’ give ye any toruble because of this.”
Sterling shrugs his shoulder. “Can’t always tell with Janna, but normally she has such a kind nature about her. Curious too. One of the primary reasons she agreed to our contract was of the kind of work I do. She likes reading the magic — oh, she sees magic in the way we read words. It literally is a language to her and she finds it fascinating being around people like me who work with it every day.” He does a small sweep of his arm as he gestures to the store, “Every item in this store is like a book to her and so living with me is like living in a library. Some books she loves others she thinks are boring.”
Sterling points to a small corner with an incredibly expensive telescopic like appartus with a small tag reading “Not for Sale”. “See that over there? That was suppose to be a commision for a client. Janna said it was her favorite and wouldn’t want it sold where she could never read it again. So I took a hit in my profits just to make a second one. Told her she could have the second one but apparently no two items are exactly alike, which I suppose makes sense.” Sterling finishes his water “Ended up giving the second one to the client.”
“Tell her I’m sorry…” Slaine says quietly listening with fascination as she sweeps the circlet from her head. The sense is still there, dulled considerably but it niggles at her in a way that’s worse. She’ll have to get used to that, she supposes but the Academy sounds like a good place to go to be sure.
“I suppose each piece is unique. Ye put ye’re stamp on things but that’s modified by how ye’re feelin’ and what else is goin’ on when ye do.” Still, the Mystic frowns as she reaches for her pack, pulling the rosewood box with the emblem of a dragon burnt into it out “She sounds like she migh’ be a bit of a handful though. Glad it’s ye that has to deal with her and no’ me.”
The circlet is slid back into the box, the lid snapped shut as she talks. “I better be goin’. Grans waitin’ on these supplies and I’m sure she’ll have words about bein’ careless…”
Slaine follows Aiden to Sterlings and uses the circlet she received from Sanka'a ... things go horribly wrong. Of course.
August 04, 2410