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{{ArcNav|Arc=The God of Undeath}}
{{ArcNav|Arc=The God of Undeath}}
[[Category:RP Logs]] {{Region:Alithrya|RPs}} {{PC|Muzo}} {{PC|Reginae}}  
[[Category:RP Logs]] {{Region:Alithrya|RPs}} {{PC|Muzo}} {{PC|Reginae}}  

Latest revision as of 16:09, 25 March 2020

Part of the The God of Undeath Arc

Part of the Mearcstapa Arc

Summary: Reginae and Muzo journey to Cenril to perform the summoning ritual for the Leviathan.

Elevated Lookout to Sea

Reginae’d agreed to go with Muzo to scope out the ‘sacred space’ designated by the leviathan. The snail’s implications were severe; misstep on the smallest scale and the consequences would be countless. Thus, preparations took longer than she wished. The Queen did little to assist – now that Muzo had a way to convey clear messages and designs with the snail, it’s reassurances were all she knew. She found them soothing, the way a child might. The promise of a greater power kept her focused and steadfast. There would come a time for her to make decisions but they needed the leviathan first. So they stole off into the night, surfacing in Cenril and coming upon a near identical (if not the mirror image of) overlook. The roofs of Aramoth’s temple are faintly visible in the distance. There’s no time to consider if summoning this creature is blasphemous or not. From below, the hill looked like any other, but once they hiked up the frosted grass they could tell it was significant to something or someone. A small altar occupied a circle of dead grass. Various tracks scatter the dirt underfoot: the ploddy bi-pedal shoe prints and long, heavy trails. Very snake like. Or possibly draconic. Reginae studied them under the near full moon. “Now what are we supposed to do?” She asks Muzo, turning on her humanoid heels to look at him. What kind of servitor magic was this?

Muzo had followed Regi's lead and hiked incognito, taking his dwarven bipedal form complete with a monk's robe and tonsure. On his person are several hefty bags of chalk, oil, salts, this and that, the various prescribed accoutrements for the summoning. He teeters under their weight as he plods after his queen. As soon as they've reached the spot, he drops his bags. "Supposed," he speaks between panting breaths, "to prepare," and points generally around the scenery, "the summoning sigils." Now that they're here, he doesn't feel quite so committed to stealth, and he drops his disguise. The dwarf quavers, fades, and gradually vanishes, and where the stocky monk had once stood, there is a twenty-some foot long naga in scholarly robes. He rubs his temples and breathes a sigh of relief. Overhead, the moons are plainly visible, one a crescent and the other a blood-red blot, and their commingled light shines wildly upon the rolling sea below. Formulae leaps off his belt and, in an energetic swoop, dives past Reginae and drops a leaf of paper--a diagram for the summoning. Wasting no time, the sentient tome loops back around stops abruptly beside Muzo's head to hover perfectly still and open. "Thank you," the alchemist mutters and begins carefully emptying his bags, mentally checking off each item off as he removes it.

Regina picks up the page Formulae dropped and examines it. It is indeed a diagram for summoning (she assumes) but which of the myraid containers housed what she needed for her part? She walks over, more than comfortable in her human disguise, to the other side of his bag to watch him unpack it. It's very reminiscent of their study of the chaos spark. She squints at the open book, deciphering a list or maybe formula, for Muzo's review. Bored and impatient, Regi picks up one of the containers labeled 'salt' and unscrews the lid. "Why do you think a sword is depicted in the images?" She asks, licking the tip of her pinky finger and dipping it in the substance. "Because the Leviathan is a weapon?" She touches her finger to her tongue and recoils. What the hell did she just put in her mouth? The container is resealed then abandoned for chalk. The Queen turns it over thoughtfully. "Can we do this with just the two of us?"

"Have been wondering the same myself. Suspect the sword is masculine. Moon is feminine. Leviathan is a symbolic spouse of the moon? A sire of some sort?" He pries the lid off a container of fizzing crystals, sending a brief spray of pink sparks up into the night sky before he can hurry and cram the lid back on. "Ah! Not yet. For later. Keep that lid on." Muzo sets that jar aside and resumes attending the pile. "Suspect I could do it solo," Muzo answers, "unaided, but the snail was very clear that we co-conduct the summoning." One thing's for sure anyway--with the two of them unpacking, it doesn't take long to set the supplies out and check off their lists. Muzo's already cut their measuring lines, and there's little left do but begin building the intricate sigil from the center outward. Sometimes with salt and a funnel, sometimes with chalk and a straight edge, the summoning ritual begins to take shape. A candle here, some reactive salts there, a bit of broken glass for good measure. "Quite a mess there'll be in the morning," Muzo laughs to himself as he works, "though, expect we'll be too busy elsewhere to bother cleaning up. Apologies to the landowner." He doesn't look very apologetic.

Reginae works alongside Muzo in companionable silence. Her mind working more on the future than the present. The instructions are precise but Forumlae is there to assist. It flutters overhead, taking sky view sketches to make sure their production matches. When the last sprinkle of her broken glass glitters down into the dirt, Muzo speaks. What did masculine and feminine have to do with this? Was she represented by the moon and he embodied as the sword? Was the Leviathan a symbolic 'spouse' to the Queen, in that it's power would be lent to her and her alone? That arrangement made the most sense to her. "Might be better if there is no hill to clean." Could mortal ground withstand such powerful magic? She imagined all the grass roaring into a column of flame around them. Why, she couldn't say. "What if it doesn't work?" She sounds, for the first time in a long time, hesitant.

Muzo blinks and processes Regi's words. Would the summoning really be that violent? Perhaps. As far as Muzo can tell, they're about to attempt something that's never been done, not to his knowledge. Anything might happen. "How exciting," he mutters breathlessly, privately. "Hmm? Doesn't work?" He turns to study Reginae's face. It's an honest, obvious question. "Suppose we could try again? It's, ah," his scaly brows knit, "not something I'd considered." Muzo scratches his chin. "Perplexed. Not discouraged. Can't explain my confidence. Feel urged to say 'I know this will work' even though," the alchemist shrugs and looks to the sky, "I really don't know." Overhead, the Arh'Nuk seems to shine brighter and bloodier than it ever has before. From Muzo's pocket, he pulls out a compact apparatus of some kind, gives it a few clicks, and produces a small flame. "Care to begin the incantation? Can start lighting things off as you chant."

Reginae follows Muzo’s line of sight overhead to the moons. Arh’Nuk is such a deep crimson; she swears it’ll drip blood down into the ocean. Muzo’s unshaken confidence isn’t a surprise. If this was any other experiment, she’d have no doubts, but this one was too important. If they failed, they might not get a second chance. With no more than a nod, Reginae gestures for Formulae to bring her the words. She’s practiced them in her head a hundred times but better not to leave it to chance. The leviathan cometh. The Queen lets her human disguise fall away, leaving coil dirt covered scales in their place. Muzo begins tending to their construction as her voice calls out the words given to them by the snail. Her voice is strong, even, sure…but after the first verse, it duplicates and splits until it sounds less like one naga and more like twenty. Various pitches and cadences try to match with hers in passionate revelry. Her eyes are glued to Formulae but Muzo will start to see figures appear from the darkness. Naga but also not. Their bodies are twisted, tails worn and knotted. They looked ashy. Undead, even. They wore no traditional garb but their bodies were painted. Thick, red marks so deep they looked like actual wounds. They smell of blood, magic, and the sea.

Reginae doesn’t dare glance up but feels the hair prickle on the back of her neck. The voices continue, from memory it seems, to chant the words with Reginae. She believes it to be some magic on her voice until a figure moves into view in her peripheral. She keeps her body stone still, flicking back to the pages to plant her feet and charge forward, as it were. A heavy burst of wind disrupts Formulae’s pages, the candle light, and her hair. Black smog begins to pour from the center of the circle, coating the ground in a painless fog . The summoning circle, once obscured, glows a scolding red through the mist. They were all looking up at the moon; these coiled, knotted creatures. Regi flicks her gaze briefly to Muzo; did he see them too? The incantation repeats but now her lips know the words without thinking. She tilts her face upward, basking in the bloody spotlight that hung overhead.

As Reginae begins her chant, Muzo slithers around lighting candles and dropping scoops of fizzing pink crystals at critical points around the sigil's perimeter. He's so occupied with his finishing touches that he doesn't even notice the duplicating voices and strange smells. Faint pulses of light have already started thrum through the sigil's lines, and thin tremors accompany them. "Beg pardon," Muzo squeezes past one of the undead naga and tosses a scoop of reactive salts down, "do excuse me," and he slithers over to the next, carefully levels his fizzing scoopful, and dumps it again. Up from the summoning circle, lines of bloody light shine skyward and waver, curling and grasping, straining as though to pluck the very moon down from the sky. Brighter and fuller the light burns until, with his face shielded by one sleeve, Muzo dumps the last scoopful onto the last perimeter cordon. With a deep "whud" and a bright flash, the fires of the candles suddenly roar upward. The sigil thunders with power, and a blazing column of roiling light shoots up through the atmosphere. Dust and ashes fly. The blast throws Muzo back, but ashy hands catch him, prop him upright, push him in line with the others. Dazedly, he wobbles on his tail, not comprehending at first, then stunned by dreadful comprehension. High overhead, the moon glints, twinkles with baleful glee, and there is a spark. A green spark. It glimmers and falls, sailing like a comet down, down, ever closer and brighter until, with an anticlimactic hiss, it falls into the sea and vanishes. The sigil flickers, and with a choked sputter, the light dies. "It worked?" Muzo breathlessly gasps, though he doesn't yet dare to break rank with these dismal, hoary companions.

Reginae watches, as do the other naga, in silence once the column flares to life. They’re all perfectly still, save Muzo, who is corrected with ease. Reginae is not thrown back; ashy hands brace against her back and she remains upright and ever aware of the lights and sounds. The green glint plunks into the ocean and the thick magic that strangled the air breaks with an audible sigh. She waits, trying to push her thoughts out into the world in search of the leviathan’s soundless words. Excitement tingles in her fingertips. At last, it’s over. They’d done it and all the creature’s promises would be fulfilled. The naga had done their part. It’s all over but the crying. The new arrivals cry out in a synchronized chorus in celebration, letting go of Muzo and Reginae and pulling into a crowd on the hill’s edge. They stare uniformly at the place where the green light vanished into the sea with unspoken satisfaction. A large male with a disfigured (smashed?) face turns to Muzo and addresses him in a grave baritone. “It begins.” Reginae doesn’t hear him. Like a sheep lead to slaughter, she files through the crowd and stares out at the unchanged water. Her mind buzzes with possibilities. What would she do first? What could they do? How did they find it now? Would it come to Alithrya? Would the snail continue to transfer it’s thoughts to them? They had to go back. It would be looking for them. The hilltop groans and grumbles under their tails. The other naga appear unbothered. A crack splinters through the sigil, extinguished candles and fizzy salts devoured by the growing, earthy maw. Panicked, Regi moves back through the crowd to grab Muzo, ignoring his gnarled friend. “We gotta go.” She tells him, grabbing his wrist briefly without pulling him behind her.

Muzo nods his breathless compliance and slithers to follow Reginae. His free hand snaps, and Formulae jumps instantly into his grasp. Though he would love nothing more than to stay and witness the coming calamity up close, he knows that he'd be better off observing from a safe distance. On top of that, he won't mind getting away from Reginae's unsavory companions. Where had they come from anyway? Ah well. Questions for another day. The ground rumbles, and glowing ruptures grow into gashes and chasms. "After you," he manages to croak out, and only once they're already well on their way. At the bottom of their path to escape is the sea, and it churns, foams, roils with ominous motion. Beneath the furious ocean's surface, dark shapes undulate and writhe. Reginae and Muzo have far to slither yet before they can reach the shore, leaving time enough to wonder whether they've made the right choice. For Muzo's part, he's yet to show any doubt or hesitation.

More grey smog billows up from the growing gaps of earth. The contorted nagas stay still, eyes transfixed on the horizon and falling one by one into the growling pit. Reginae keeps looking behind her, watching their bodies drop like weights. They don’t try to get away. They fall to their deaths like they are falling into a bed; eyes closed, body limp. The grass turns to ash and sprinkles out over the Temple of Aramoth. And while the hill crumbles behind them, Reginae’s attention resets on the sea. She half expected it to be as red as the moon overhead but it rolls and twists seemingly unchanged. Nothing was different. She did not feel enlightened or empowered. She did not feel a sense of peace or control. What she did feel was certain this was what they needed to do. The hunt was supposed to end here and -she- was supposed to finally reap what she (and Muzo) had sown. The Queen stops at the water’s edge, waiting for a volcanic eruption of water to flood Cenril. None came. It was ever the same tossing waves and uninteresting ships bobbing in the harbor. A single sailor gestured overhead on the docks, screaming hoarsely to all his mates who’d missed it. Reginae’s mind buzzed, sand caked scales pushing their way off the shore. “What happened?” She asked the empty beach, head bobbing just above the waves as she swam out to where she -thought- it’d plunged in. “We have to find it.” Ignoring Muzo, sheOnce she dips below the waves. A faint red glow creeps down into a vast pit of disturbed sea water. There was not a single fish in sight. Down, down she swam, drawn by the promise of all the things she’d only dreamed about.

Muzo hurries alongside Reginae, but when, at last, they arrive together at the beach, he hesitates. He feels a twinge, some strange tickle that nags at his mind. For the first time since this all began, the feckless researcher feels some sense of caution. Hesitation. "Regi, wait." There's no confidence, no certainty in his tone, and when the Queen rushes headlong into the waves, Muzo doesn't have the courage to stop her. His jaw clenches, and he dives in after her. Part of him is looking ahead, scanning the sea for some sign of life, but the rest of him is looking inward, trying to get some grasp on whatever it was that just shifted inside him, trying to straighten the twisted pillar that had once borne the weight of his convictions so surely. Down, down into the cold November sea they dive. Rapidly, the light of the moon dies around them, and in no time, they are consumed in the dreadful twilight of the deep. As a test, Muzo covers his artificial eye with one hand. Even Reginae is little more than a dim outline now, a ghost in the water. The alchemist grimaces. He waves, but he doubts this will catch his Queen's attention. He snaps his fingers. The sound travels crisply through the water. Whether she turns and looks is anyone's guess, but it might not matter. A shadow passes near them, and they are enveloped in utter blackness. Above and to the right, partially silhouetted by the dim light of the surface, an enormous bar overshadows them. It's bent, and the ends disappear into the gloomy black. Muzo points up at it, frozen in awe. The shape isn't still. Something about it conveys motion, as though the outline of it were alive, rushing by. A gargantuan fin passes along it, and suddenly all is clear. Like two mice who have stumbled upon a python in the grass, Regi and Muzo have a narrow view of their Leviathan's serpentine body as it glides by.

Reginae didn’t hear Muzo’s hesitation before she dove. Her mind was elsewhere. They descend into dimness, where his motions blur into obscurity. All things are insignificant by comparison to their prize. She does hear the snap, though she can’t place –what- it truly was, and turns to find the beast’s shadow blotting out the last bit of light and enveloping their ‘sky’. Her eyes widen, palm pressed to her mouth in amazement. It was a sight beyond description. So beautifully elegant, so all consuming. After a beat, when her reverence gives way to urgency, Reginae is on the move again. Her white hair is cast an ashen grey as it fans behind her. Nagas were, in essence, often mistaken for mermaids. In the dark, it was easy to tell why. She moved with confidence in the direction of the black fin, the bar ignored. It swivels, circling them in a large, slow sweep of water. “We did it” Regi mouths, letting air bubbles escape to keep the moon company. Far, far away from here. Spider silk lines of shadow snake through the water towards them in excess. Each line is too fine to see but in bulk it blends into an ominous ‘probe’. They move to Regi first, as she’s the closest, and prod her skin. The strands not investigating the Queen curve around her and head towards Muzo. The inky smog returns, weaving out any light they might possess. Any glimmer of hope or doubt. They cannot turn back now. The odd ‘worms’, tiring of their prodding, begin to cocoon them. Layer upon Layer of darkness, just when Regi thought it couldn’t get any darker. She curls obediently into the construct, a gentle voice rumbling through the water, offering comfort. Muzo may hear the voice, or in his doubts he might hear a booming roar. No matter how he might struggle, Muzo will find himself trapped just as tightly in his own cocoon. Panic will only have a mere five seconds to set in before he finds himself slack into sleep. The beast, leviathan, darkness in the sea has hold of them…

...and then Yozenra screams Reginae’s name through the chamber door, fist pounding heavy on the wood. It takes Reginae a minute to stir. Her mind is hazy, her body heavy. “Yozenra…” Regi hisses in annoyance, pushing her fingers into her temple and against her closed eyelids. The Queen opens her eyes, her bed chambers fuzzy and far too bright. “Yozenra! Stop!” Regi shouts, picking up a decorative vase from her side table and throwing it at the door. It explodes into tiny pieces, some dusting over Muzo’s tail and snout. The alchemist would find himself in the room with the Queen and just as hung over...

To Be Continued In the Next Chapter!