Cary Meets Hephestia - RPLOG
Fenris is waiting along the trail up the steep sides of the Firebough volcano beside a small crevice in the stone. The big tiger is seated on a large rock, playing a surprisingly long, wooden flute while he passes the time. It is not often that someone goes looking for a Spirit without being called, but he is happy to help.
Aria has traded her usual impractical getup for a light leather armor in a beautiful white, with metal breastplate, boots and gauntlets providing extra protection in the most important and exposed areas. The armor seems to come with a matching skirt that betrays her love for looking good. Either way, the mouse seems well prepared for whatever an adventure might throw at her, shield strapped to her arm and right hand resting on the hilt of her sword as she walks up to Fenris at a casual pace. She lifts her hand in greeting and flashes a smile as she starts speaking. "Ah, hello, you must be the guide, yes?" Her accent betrays her origin from the nation to the north. "I can't say I have ever gone and sought out a spirit, it sounds facinating."
It had been a while since she had been to visit the mountains, and even longer since she met Hephestia. In her usual, and sole, sturdy set of armour and armaments, Millicent took to the trail in search of Fenris, heeding the call of adventure. Lovely day for a walk, at least, and it's not too hard to find the spot, with Fenris playing the flute.
And so it was. Home. For a long time, Cary called the mountains his home, until it was time to learn other techniques in the art of craft. The dino wasn't expecting to be back so soon, but -maybe- he could be worthy enough to see the spirit of fire this time.
As Cary approached the tiger and the rest of those who've walked there, he gently bowed and greeted them. His hands were still bandaged from a previous, rather violent encounter, but nevertheless, Cary was fine.
Back to wearing the atypical gashed armor and loose clothing, Cirrus swears softly up and down the mountain about the weather, having a severe distaste for anything hotter than about sixty Fahrenheit. Anyways. The leopard makes her way over to the waiting tiger, stopping to drink from a waterskin. "Afternoon."
Fenris stops his playing and waves his flute at the gathering beings. "Is this everyone?" he asks hopping down from the rock he is sitting on, "Great! Welcome! I hope you are ready for some spelunking! Now, I know you are all here to meet a Spirit, but I really can't promise anything. Spirits usually let people know when they want to be found. I don't think I've ever gone looking for one."
This is completely untrue, but it works as a preface, since Spirits are notoriously fickle.
"I don't suppose we have a dedicant to Hephestia with us today?"
Aria crosses her arms and shakes her head. "Not I, at the very least." Her eyes look her companions up and down for a moment, before she inspects herself, noting that all her things are in place, in case they run into trouble. "Do you expect any wild animals or other creatures where we are headed, by the way? It is good to prepare for any danger one might face when traveling so far from settlements."
"Not me," Millicent says with a shake of her head. "Not sure if I ever plan to dedicate to any of them. I'm quite happy being... Just me," she chimes, resting an arm lazily along the hilt of her sword. "We might find some efreets, but I'd be surprised if we encounter too much else," she answers. "You never know though. There was that big, big thing, once."
"Not me either but.. Well.. In the near future, who knows?" The dino smirks a little, chuckling. "What big thing?" Added the dino, turning towards Millicent, curious. "Did y'all get in trouble with an angry spirit? Because I'd love to hear a story like that."
"Nope! I've not dedicated to anything, nope. It's good to explore, though... if it wasn't so damned hot, anyways." Cirrus shrugs, armor rustling a bit, tail flicking slowly behind her. "I'm alright with a little exploring, though! Maybe there'll be something lying about. Dunno!"
"Who knows!?" Fenris says with a grin, "That is all part of the fun! There are efreets here sometimes and some spontaneous elementals, but nothing we can't handle, I am sure. Unless the Spirit does not want to see us, I suppose." With that, the tiger turns to lead the way into the narrow crevice in the rock. He holds out a hand and three, small, blue flames spring to life, floating up from his hand to slowly orbit around his body, providing a bit of light as the group leaves the daylight behind. He laughs a little at both Cary and Cirrus. "There is not enough time in the day to tell the stories of all the trouble I have gotten into, and I am afraid it is only going to get hotter as we head toward the caldera."
Aria falls in line directly behind Fenris. A light frown comes across her brow as she contemplates the consequences of the volcano for her ice magic, but, being a capable fighter as well, she is not too worried about it.
"A spirit? No, we did get in trouble with a giant lizard that was in the magma though. We fought it," Millicent says with a grin. "And won!" She shuffles on behind Fenris. She was used to the heat, so it was no great bother to her. Enjoyable, even, since it was a fair bit dryer than the humidity around town.
"Oh." Cirrus says, crestfallen. Her dense fur coat posed an issue when it comes to extreme heat, but tradeoffs are tradeoffs. Besides! Can always work up a nice sweat if need be. She nods, smiles back at Fenris, and too follows behind. "Also, a giant lizard? Nice! How'd you get to it if it was in the middle of the magma, though?"
"Hot is good. The cold I can't stand." Added the dino, walking along with the rest of the crew. "I can't say I'm not worried though. Ever since my last adventure for Amar my hands got pretty badly hurt. I suppose that's what you get when the only thing you have left to fight two giant statues with are your own bare hands... But I'm alive, so I can't complain." Cary throws their shoulders back a little bit, taking a deep breath as their club tail swayed around slowly. "Still, we might not have all time in the day but there's always time for to spark the beginning of a story, right?" The ankylosaurus smiles.
Fenris leads the way into the darkness, his little blue lights giving just enough light to let people see where to put their feet. Soon, the narrow defile opens into a wide, rough tunnel, probably a magma chute from some long forgotten eruption. The tunnel goes in two directions, one sloped slightly up, and the other, slightly down. The big tiger leads the way downward toward a very faint, red glow. He leaves the others to their chatting.
The mouse casts a suspicious look around the tunnel they pass through, raising her eyebrows slightly. "We do not have a lot of lizards in Thera'dor, too cold for them, I think." She pauses for a moment. "Though, if they live in magma, it might not matter all that much how cold it is outside."
"It crawled out of the magma to get us! I think it was upset about something, but I'm not entirely sure what," The red panda muses. "Maybe some kind of territorial aggression. Hard to say, and we can't really ask it, so the world may never know. Unless we encounter another. I rather hope we don't."
Grimacing at the red light, Cirrus loosens some of the straps on her armor in preparation of what's to come. It'd do no good to cook inside what's meant to protect her. "Aye. I don't know if my sword could get through so many scales." The leopard responds, shaking her head. "Perhaps if we had a cannon, maybe!"
"Actually," Fenris says conversationally, leading around a corner into the lurid glow of the huge magma chamber, "There ARE lizards in Thera'Dor. The Calderan's keep a couple of herds of the big cart-pullers and there isa tribe of Dacha that raise riding drakes. But that is hardly the point." And then there are. . . other things in the deep caverns under the mountains, but probably best not to mention them at present.
The magma chamber is large, and a lake of glowing, molten stone roils beneath the wide ledge that the group now stands on. At the far end of the protruding ledge is a collection of carefully stacked stones made to resemble a small hearth.
Aria frowns. "Curious, at least where I lived there where no wild ones and I never paid much attention to farmers and ranchers, I must admit. Do they not need very warm temperatures like you have here in the south?"
"I've seen some of those Thera'dor lizards. They are hardy creatures. But we occasionally saw them when we would make trips to Northwarden, or when the rare caravan would come visit Mossy Stone. They did not usually come down that far south, though." She looks over the large chamber, sucking in a breath. "It is always impressive how much space is under all the rock."
"What I wouldn't give for a forge in a place like this, am I right?" Cary exclaimed, walking in. "In regards to the lizards, I can't say I've ever seen the Thera'Doran kind. I guess I should pay more attention."
The dino stopped for a moment, carefully looking around the magma chamber. He also picked up a flask filled with water from his belt, opening it and taking a couple of sips. "Ah, much better. I need to thank Mal for the tip on the longtech flasks though. But these things surely could use water and air mathemagic to keep the fluids cool."
Cirrus glances about, taking in the sights and smells. She notes the smell of sulphur and general "hot" burnt smell lingering about. "I'd like to visit Thera'dor, sometime. It sounds like their weather is much more reasonable than it is down here in Firmament." She starts humming a tune to herself to distract from the whole 'being uncomfortably warm' thing, though others may appreciate the music.
Fenris saunters out across the promontory toward the makeshift hearth. "Hephestia!" he calls out, like calling out to a friend in the marketplace, "Hey! Hephestia! I brought some friends who want to meet you!" Not exactly the way one would expect to call on an entity of god-like power while standing in a volcano.
Aria crosses her arms as she looks around the area. After short consideration, she draws her sword, the enchanted blade steaming for a moment. She holds the weapon close to herself, the frost enchantment helping her deal with the heat.
Millicent runs her fingers through her hair, sighing heavily. Maybe she was wrong. The heat was rather insufferable down here. She was regretting her earlier words, but such could not be helped now! She had nothing to cool down with, so she just waits patiently for an event, trying to keep her mind off the heat.
"That's... Certainly not the way I'd expect someone to ask if Hephestia is around... But that's alright." Shyly adds the dino, tilting their head gently to the side, waiting for something to happen just as well.
".....Aaaaany second now?" Added the dino after a brief, silent pause. Cary had begun wondering if 'anyone was home'.
Cirrus cackles quietly, laughing at Fenris' calling for the spirit. After reaching back down to her waterskin, she soon joins in, calling out to the spirit with a certain sense of levity. "Heya, Hephestia! I heard this was your home. It's a nice place!"
There is a tearing sound, like wet paper, and a sigh and suddenly a young Creator woman in a red robe is standing beside the 'hearth.' "Honestly, Seeker," the woman says in a surprisingly low voice, "We have granted you a measure of tolerance in the past, but would it kill you to show a bit of respect in our sacred places?" She purses her lips at the grinning tiger, then turns a softer gaze upon the others. "Welcome, children, to the Hearth of Hephestia," she beckons the group forward and waves them to the little stone structure, which is suddenly a beautiful and ornately carved fireplace with a fire crackling in it and six homely, but comfortably padded stools set around a low table set before it on the stone.
Aria curtsies courtly before the spirit and inclines her head towards her, remaining silent and lowering her blade in an obvious gesture.
Millicent offers a little bow of her own, moving to take a seat. No need to be rude, and she could use a rest for her paws after the hike. "I still do not know entirely why we were asked to come here, so I'm just a bystander for now. Nice to see you again though."
The dino offers a very polite bow towards Hephestia, inclining himself towards her before moving further towards the stools as gestured. Cary looked around in awe, amused at the Spirit's power. "Certainly this is.. Quite comfortable.. After all, home is where the heart is at, isn't it?" They smirk, waiting for the others to sit down. "Either way, it is an honor to finally meet you, lady Hephestia."
Cirrus bows in turn, before promptly setting herself down in a seat and getting to work removing her armor completely. Even with the holes gashed in it, it was practically cooking the snow leopard. "Thank you for having us, Hephestia." Cirrus eyed the fireplace, musing that the overall contribution to the temperature in the room must be minimal, compared to the pit of magma. She speculated quietly that it was the goddess herself preventing all of them from outright dying from various levels of heat stroke.
"At least your companions seem to have manners," Hephestia says, seating herself along with the others, "It is rare that I have guests, uninvited. What is it that you seek from me, Children of Promise?"
Aria sheaths her sword, although she does so with a frown, already missing the cooling effect of the magic on it. She pulls one of the chairs away from the table for her and sits down on it. The mouse still stays silent, examining the spirit curiously.
Millicent leans forward on the table, propping one arm against it as she looks towards Fenris. "You'll have to ask him for that, most likely. I certainly didn't put him up to it, so whatever reason he's got for bringing us here is his own."
The dino scratched his chin a little bit, looking around for a moment as he sat down on one of the stools, still gently swaying his clubbed tal around. "Hmm.. For one.. I have been told many times that some people might be called by a spirit to serve them.. And to be completely honest, Hephestia, I am really interested in becoming one of your callers, if you so deem this blacksmith worthy of your mark... But about the others, I am not entirely sure." Gently said the dino, his eyes darting between the others.
"To be honest, I've never actually properly met a spirit before. That's the main reason /I/ came, anyways." Cirrus says, flashing a smile. She leans back and stretches, sipping at her waterskin to cool herself down a bit. "But, yes. I'd consult Fenris."
Fenris holds up his hands in a pose of surrender. "As much as I would love to say I just came along for a visit," he says, "It's Cary who wanted to see you."
Hephestia turns her gaze on Cary, considering the anklyosaur with red eyes. "Yes," she finally says, slowly, "Yes, you have good vision, Seeker. This one could certainly be of a mind with me." The world seems to narrow a little and there is a sort of pressure suddenly in the room. Another figure emerges from behind the hearth, a massive bear on all fours with a blackened chain clamped to one leg. "Or, Sister," he says in a voice like a furnace, "He could be one of mine."
Millicent looks towards Fenris for a moment, then towards Cary, tail curling around the legs of the stool. "Oh, well then. There you have it!" She says, lifting her hand in gesture. "Me, I don't know the firs thing about smithing, so I'm hardly dedicant quality. The only thing I make is food."
"Uh. Um." The ankylosaur seemed a bit overwhelmed by the second spirit, staggering and stuttering a little bit. "F-forgive me but.. I'm not quite sure I recognize this other spirit.. In fact, this is the first time I've ever seen a spirit, let alone two!" Cary seemed quite surprised in fact. So surprised that he wasn't scared. No, totally not. He did not just jump out of the stool.
"I just generally stab things. Like the panda over there, I couldn't smith if my life depended on it." Cirrus admits, before peering in delight at the second such spirit to appear before them. She came here expecting to just meet the one, but the second is a natural, added bonus. "Oh. Hello there."
Hephestia does not even acknowledge the bear of living flame as he lumbers over to loom over her. "I am Hephestia," she says, in tones of ceremony, "I am the Bound Flame. I Bid you Create and Prepare and I offer you fortitude and a steady hand. As the forge refines the blade, so the hearth refines the spirit. Not for you to brave the battle! Rather it is your duty to send forth the warrior prepared and keep the home fire burning that he may have a warm hearth to return to. The tamed flame is mine. Attend it well, lest the Unbound Flame consume you!"
The bear behind her speaks, though his lips do not move. "I am Flame Unbound," he roars, "My name is forgotten, but not forever! I bid you unmake and destroy! I offer you power and rage. All will burn and the world be made anew!"
Aria raises her eyebrows at the pair of spirits, that seem to have remarkably cold blood between the two of them, considering that they are spirits of fire. She still refrains from speaking, choosing to see where this goes first.
Millicent idly rubs at one of her ears, listening to the introduction of the spirits. Quite distinct, but neither for her. Hephestia might be, had she any inclination of dedicating.
"Oh.. That explains a lot. I always thought the unbound flame was the figurative idea of a wildfire. I have to say I wasn't expecting that." Said the Dino as Hephestia explained the bear's origin.
"Very well. I do not wish to unmake and destroy, lest it is to salvage and then to re-create from the molten metal. My wish is not for power and rage but yes for progress and safety. At heart, I am a blacksmith and that is what I wish to be until the end of my days, and to give my best at it, no matter the craft."
Cirrus does the same as the other two, sipping from her water skin as she watches the two do their whole ceremony thing. She glances at Cary, shrugs, and waits quietly, long leopard tail waving idly behind her.
The great fiery bear growls menacingly, then evaporates, his flame disappating. Hephestia smiles at Cary and extends a hand. "Then recieve my gift and my mark," she says.
"Sounds like a good choice to me," Millicent says with a smile. "Lots of destroyers in the world. We always need more hearts that want to build and create. And a good blade smith is a friend of mine."
Cary nods towards Millicent and smiles in response to the spirit, reaching out for Hephestia's hand. "With great honor, I gladly accept your gift, Hephestia." The dino bows once again. "Could always have more people willing to build in this world rather than destroy."
It's his choice, not hers. Cirrus stretches, and waits for the ritual to finish. She got what she came for -- that is, just visiting.
Hephestia lays, of all things, a lump of iron in Cary's hand. There is a sudden, searing pain on his chest, over his heart which is gone as soon as it came, leaving behind it a brand shaped like an anvil. "Now I am yours and you are mine. When you call, I will come, and when I call, you will be ready." There is a flash of light, and the spirit and her hearth are gone, leaving the group alone beside the rough altar.
"Well then. That certainly was something." She stands up and gives the brand on the dinosaur's chest a close look, biting her lip.
Millicent offers a little applause, if only because she's not sure what the appropriate reaction is. "Well! Err. Congratulations, I think?" She ponders before grinning. "I am sure you'll do great with it."
Cary Aches in pain, placing his right hand over his chest as the brand sears. As Hephestia disappears, the dino takes a deep breath, removing his hand from the glowing mark. "Thank you. I'll do my best with it for sure. After all, it was always my dream to become one of the best blacksmiths, even if I'm rather.. Clumsy sometimes. But I can handle it!" Cary smiles once again, appreciating the congratulations.
Cirrus winces sympathetically, watching the burning mark form on Cary's hand. She raises an eyebrow, starting to get up from the seat and collect her things. "I'm sure that could've been less painful, but... well, whatever. Spirits do what spirits do."