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No title.
(2013-07-28 - 2013-08-01)
No description.
Zia Everything the light touches belongs to the lions of the Pride Lands, but what about the lands beyond the light? An expanse of desert is bordered by a dense reach of jungle that extends into the distance. Once, this vast realm of African wildlands might have gone on forever, but now the jungle fades off into darkness at the edges, but not before showing the grandure of a waterfall and miles and miles of dense forests.

Yet, even here there are signs of interference from other worlds. At the edge of the woods, a set of ruins stick out from the underbrush. Crumbled stone pillars have fallen, and what might have once been a startling temple now lies in ruins. This is where they've been sent, rumors of the strange place having come through from hunters and adventurers who have gone this far into this strange, wild place.

Like many people who have come to this place, Zia has been changed by this world into something more fitting to it. Her white coat doesn't stand out quite as much against the pallor of the desert, the lioness' paws treading tiredly across the dusty expanse. "How much further?" She asks, panting for breath. The jungle beyond seems like just another mirage in the sands, and right now, she could use something more than illusion. "Ah may end up tryin te pray te yer wee rabbit for wa'er m'self if it comes te it. This world makes me miss havin' wings."

The pale lioness blows a few strands of feminine-mane out of her eyes, continuing forward, squinting in the light from the harsh, African sun.
Skoll Ulfang On the other hand, Skoll's coat of black is far from the 'light' of Zia's. Where she stands with white against her body, the werewolf-turned-african-wolf is dark black with little shreds of gray here and there towards his underbelly. "I do not know." The wolf answers the girl, glancing back towards her for a moment, nodding his head, before glancing out forwards again.

Indeed, the jungle was where they had heard rumors of a strange rabbit. It might sound funny, but a little birdy /literally/ had told Skoll this. Of course, in a world like this, a 'strange rabbit' could really just be anything. For all they know, it's a person who'd come through the portal and had turned into the form of a rabbit.

Still, he tirelessly paddles on. Unlike Zia, Skoll is more used to this kind of heat, and seems to have an inexhaustible amount of stamina. One might even say, /Unlimited/ stamina.

"Water would be good though." That stamina doesn't mean that the wolf doesn't need water to be comfortable. It just means that he's far less likely to die of a lack of sustenance. If he can even die that way. Who knows. Unlimited.

Still, they paddle on for a little while longer until they reach the jungle proper, and soon find themselves in an overcast area. This is where Skoll turns around and pads one paw onto the ground in the shade. "Want to rest for a moment?"
Zia Reaching the relief of the jungle shade, the white lioness all but flops down into the shade, rolling onto her bag and letting her paws come up to her chest. It's an adorable look for someone trapped in the body of a huge predator. For a long time, she just sprawls there, catching her breath and enjoying the shade, as if that answered Skoll's question completely. The white fluff of her tail sweeps out past his forepaws, showing that there's some life left in her, as much as she might look like a great lump at the moment. Lions are notorious for being lazy in the heat.

Then, her ear flicks. Water? A pink tongue moves over her muzzle as the lioness sits up, head tilting, legs still sprawled behind her, trying to trace the direction of the sound. "Do ye hear wa'er?" She asks, peeking back at the wolf. It's strange to see him as an actual 'wolf', but it's certain that she doesn't look quite normal in this form, either. With huff of effort, the lioness is on her feet, following the sound towards the deeper jungle.

It doesn't take long before they find the edge of the ruins, and also the source of the water. A long stream seems almost as if it were interrupted by the sudden appearance of the ruins, leaving a tiny waterfall. For the moment, that's all Zia needs to see. She darts forward, sticking her head right underneath it, tongue lapping at the water as she splashes about in the pool beneath it.

What she doesn't see right away, and Skoll might, is that the ruins seem expansive. Once, this might have been a labyrinthian place, complete with huge outer temples and inner sanctuaries. Now, most of it is lost both to time and to the forest encroaching on it. Yet, one building does seem to still stand, looking like some Mayan temple in the middle of this untouched jungle.

"Hey, Skoll, Ah found wa'er!" Zia announces, her mane wet, a stupid smile on her face as she stands with the water pouring over her flanks. At the very least, dying of thirst won't be an issue.
Skoll Ulfang Water. Yes, Skoll heard it too. The wolf lazily glances down towards his leg where the lion had touched it with her tail, and by the time he tilts his head up, she's already barreling towards the water. Instead of chasing right after this sound, Skoll lazily takes his time to get there. There's no need to expend precious energies now that they're done walking through the heat. And they have to make it back at some point.

When they finally make it to the water, Skoll walks up next to Zia, and watches her splash around in the water. Instead of concentrating on that however, he indeed notes the Ruins. He glances over her head, and then at the ruins as a whole.

by the time Zia decides to announce that she's found water and shows that stupid smile of hers, he just grins back at her, gently puts a paw on her head, and then very playfully nudges her head down at the water.

Either she resists, or she gets to see him again after coming up from the water - sticking his paw out towards the temple behind her.
Zia The lioness doesn't resist being dunked under the water, and she comes up a moment later, splashing a paw out towards the wolf. This trip had been a distraction from her troubles, and that means that she's in a bit better spirits than she had been during recent days investigating leads in Traverse Town.

Once she drags herself out of the water, it's likely enough that Skoll will get a bit drenched when she shakes off, her mane-fluff pluffing up slightly in the process. In this heat, the damp fur won't last long, but at least it offers some relief.

Her eyes finally catch what he had already noticed, blinking as she looks towards the ruins. "It does look a wee bit like the inside of the clocktower." Zia had only ever seen one cloister, and that one had hidden in plain sight. Like most people, she hadn't really traversed farther than the outer passageways, but there's something unique about the way that the various temples to the Espers and Fayth all resemble one another.

A faint green glow seems to be carried in a few symmetrical lines on either side of the temple. These lines follow the pathway up towards what must be an entrance. with a glance towards the wolf, Zia takes a step forward. "Might as well go take a look? This seems like the place the bird talked aboot." There is no sign of a rabbit yet, but it does look promising.

The entryway seems to go up a flight of stairs that were clearly made for humans, emptying out onto a circular dais which is marked with a glyph on the floor. Maybe a summoner might know how to activate it?
Skoll Ulfang Getting wet because of a lion trying to shake herself dry is perhaps just punishment for the wolf, right along with the splash of water that had preceded it. The wolf laughs heartily. It's strange how he doesn't feel 'rushed' to get his power back. It's not like he's without power to begin with, but some of it will have to wait. And that's okay. He has Zia here to protect him, and in this form - he's got a nasy bite.

Skoll ends up damp, but he doesn't bother to shake it off. Instead, he's slowly stepping over towards the entryway, and sniffs the Glyphs on the ground. This place hasn't seen people in a long time.

"Clocktower?" Skoll finally decides to ask, turning his wolven head over to glance at Zia, before looking down at those lines again. "Still, this must be the place." He decides to try and walk further, ignoring the sphere dias. It's not like they really have hands to carry those things around with. They'd have to walk around with them in their mouths.

A best, they'd be able to carry /One At A Time/.
Zia "Aye. There's a great bloody clocktower in Traverse Town. If ye go explorin down in the belly of it, ye'll find places like this. Strange glowin glyphs 'n the like." Zia explains, one paw reaching up to touch a line of color. It doesn't do anything beneath her paw, but it seems curious none the less. "Ah think Deidra said it b'longed te Ixion. Ah'm no' sure wha spirit tha might be, but Ah dinnae think it's one of yers."

As always, the white gargoyle turned lioness only has sparce knowledge of things that come from outside of her world. The strange magic of summoning is one of those things that simply doesn't exist where she comes from. The creatures that Skoll had summoned from some other realm had frightened her at first - all but the small one, Carbuncle. Walking into the homes of these monsters seemed like a bad idea, but if it was the only way to appease the spirits and get Skoll his power back, then she'd walk barefoot into hell. Afterall, she'd done that before.

Within the small chamber, there are empty sockets along the walls, only one of which seems to be lit. The glowing orb that lingers there seems to be the power source for the lines of light around them. Maybe it needs to be moved in order to activate the glyph on the floor? The lioness bounces on the circular symbol, but then walks along the wall until she finds the glowing orb.

This would certainly be easier with hands, but right now, she plucks it out of the wall, nearly dropping it as her teeth slide off of the stone. After a few steps, it tumbles and goes clinking along to land next to the pedestil. "This place isnae made for animals. Ye think ye can manage te get it up here?" She asks, depending on him to be a bit more graceful in his lupine form than she is in feline. He's had some practice as a wolf, afterall.
Skoll Ulfang "I didn't know such a place existed. Traverse Town is kinda small - but then, I guess I don't usually just walk into houses and the like." It's how you know he's not the main character. He's not going around entering houses and breaking pots and opening peoples' closets.

"Ixion? No." Skoll shakes his head. "Never heard of that. I'm sorry." He knows of Ramuh, the god of Thunder, but Ixion is an existance of Spiran make, pure and simple. The wolf ecides to follow the Lioness, seeing as she is leading this, remaining mostly at her side rather than just walking behind her. The wolf certainly appreciates the white one's presence on this little journey of his.

Skoll eyes up the empty sockets along the way and then watches Zia 'bounce' on some circle. He's not entirely sure just why Zia is bouncing. But hey, let her bounce. He halts a few steps behind her eventually as the lion starts attempting to remove an orb with her teeth. Soon enough, the lioness drops it.

"Unlike what one might think - we don't usually carry stuff around in her mouths. Even as werewolves - we have opposable thumbs." The wolf pads along, but instead of grabbing it with his teeth - which would work better than Zia's mostly because of the longer Muzzle - and enchants the chain that lies around his neck. It coils around and snakes around the orb forming a 'nest' of sorts, and then casually lifts it up onto the pedestal.

There, the chain lets go. Clink. And the orb falls into the socket.
Zia "Ah only know of it b'cause Ah've ran inte one of the other gargoyles there from time te time. She told me tha it's some sort of place for summoners. Ah hadnae realized it was anythin special other than a really odd clocktower." The lioness shrugs, her crystal jingling against her neck, illuminating her in a glow not to dissimilar to that of the strange lines and glowing orbs of the temple. "Maybe some sorta spirit tha isnae from yer world?" She suggests.

Clink. Clink. Clink. As the orb goes tumbling away, Zia's ears tilt back. "Well, Ah certainly dun go carryin around glass baubles in m'mouth either." She licks at her muzzle, "Ugh, it tastes dusty." Lifting a paw, she bats at her muzzle, as if that might somehow get rid of the taste. No such luck.

This place seems like some sort of puzzle, and Zia did tend to like puzzles. The things she repaired back at home were puzzles. Her father had challenged her to think of things like that, trying to find answers. This puzzle is simple enough, at first. Take orb, put in pedestil. That is, if it weren't for the lack of opposable thumbs.

"Tha's cheatin." Zia protests, although the expression on her muzzle is a smile, happy enought that one of them has managed to come up with a way to deal with the strange location of this temple. "Ah'd forgotten ye could do tha in this body. It isnae like Ah can fly like this." She lifts her paws up, then shakes her head.

The light from the orb moves, lighting a circle around the glyph platform. "It's a way down. An elevator." She explains, padding out onto it and waiting for Skoll. It seems like this place is smart enough to realize that only certain people can enter. "Though, maybe Ah'm no' the one it'll react for."

When he does come forward, the platform jolts, then slowly begins to lower, sinking deep into what must be the heart of the temple. It leaves them in darkness for a time, lit only by Zia's pendant and the glyph beneath their feet. The lioness shifts a bit closer to him, waiting. When it finally stops, it reveals a dark corridor, lit again by those glowing lights. They pulse down along the corridor, starting from a single orb, and vanishing down into the distance. Another puzzle, perhaps?
Skoll Ulfang The wolf lets out a stiffled little laugh when the girl starts batting at her muzzle. "You should be more careful about what you stick in your mouth." Skoll teases her, patting her back with one paw before stepping besides her in order to 'activate' the elevator. Who knows what the system is activating to; perhaps to the summons that the werewolf has links to.

"As for that Ixion fella - maybe." The werewolf leans in towards Zia when she comes closer to him in the dark elevator. "It's kind of pretty though. Those glowing lines in the dark. It must be some kind of magic. This isn't anything like the lights you see in Manhattan or even that 'Tokyo' place.

Skoll rarely talked about the other places he visited while with the Gaudium Lords, so the fact that he is talking about Tokyo means that something has happened between the two to have 'opened him up' further.

"Oh, by the way. It's not cheating. But sadly, I only have one chain in this form. I used to be able to call on the ancestors before like this. But that's not possible right now." Skoll explains. He seems to have 'accepted' that he can not summon at this time.

When they finally have arrived at the heart of the temple and find that single line, Skoll decides to just follow it. "Let's see what's at the other end first, before we go lugging that thing along." He decides.
Zia White ears swivel towards the sound of his laughter, the lioness flashing a hint of her pink tongue in his direction, playfully. "Remember who yer talkin te, love. Ah used te eat out of the trash, 'n ye've kissed this mouth." She notes, snickering to herself, tail flicking back and forth behind her. It seems that the appendage is just that much more active in this feline form, either that, or the feeling of descending down into the earth has her aggitated.

Briefly, she leans over and nudges him in the shoulder, partially for the contact, and partially to bolster them both for whatever lies beneath the temple. "Tokyo?" Zia asks, head tilted. "Tha's in Japan, right? Ah wonder if it's the same one from m'world." Though she'd never been to that part of the world, since Gargoyles couldn't very well fly that kind of distance and passports were out of the question, she couldn't help but wonder if he'd been wandering around her world long before she met him in Traverse Town.

"Well, tha single chain is more than Ah can manage. Makse me miss m'thumbs." The lioness waggles her oversized paws. She's not quite full grown for a lioness, looking somewhere close to adolescent. It means she doesn't tower quite as much as a lioness would normally over a wolf. In the quiet, she doesn't bother acknowledging his loss of power - at the very least, this place seemed absent of the usual monsters and beasts that seemed all too common everywhere else.

When the elevator stops, the air that comes from the corridor smells much like the jungle above, water and plantlife and fresh air. It's a stark contrast to what one might expect in some ancient temple. The floor is cool, but there's no sign of dust here, the green light reflecting in the darkness. "Hrm." Cautiously, the lioness trails behind the wolf, following him forward.

The corridor leads out into a larger room with multiple levels. At first, it might seem as if part of the floor had given way, but the stones seem to lack any sign of age or wear. Perhaps it is meant to be that way? It allows those on the lower level to see glimpses of the upper one, where there are pedestals and recessed holes for more of those orbs. The whole place looks like a giant puzzle, with a door on the far end of the room that lies hidden beneath a powerful waterfall. Vines lace around the walls and moss lingers on rock-fixtures that might have once displayed images of the spirits. It seems like they need to somehow get a pedestal from upstairs down to the lower level, and then use that to activate the glyph near the waterfall.

Easier said than done.
Skoll Ulfang "I don't know." Skoll answers Zia with a slight heaviness to his tone of voice. "I think it's the place one of the Shard Seekers comes from. The shorter girl with the cat plushy. I just haven't had the heart to tell her. I'm not from that world after all. The Gaudium Lords had us visit many worlds which only just 'opened'." He leans his head back against hers in response to the earlier comment about where that mouth of hers has been. Dental hygiene is important! Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day kids!

"We'll just hope we won't have to get used to it. Imagined in the magic went wrong and we were stuck in this form." Skoll teases Zia. They have no reason to believe it ever will go wrong however. And it probably won't. "Still, I get what you mean, I miss m'thumbs too." The wolf carries on further through the long corridor until they finally end within the larger room. "Clearly, this place was not built with flying creatures in mind, or people who carry climbing gear." Skoll comments. Instead of walking straight for the pedestals and trying to go on, Skoll walks towards the vine wall.

"Think you could go back and grab that glyph? Just roll it around here or something." Skoll asks, before lowering his front legs and concentrating. The chain that comes from the collar around his neck slowly drops down, elongating and showing form - little sparks of electricity forming around them as it takes the shape of what looks like a sai or a small scythe of sorts. The wolf then whips his neck around, trying to cut at the vines to reveal the images behind it.
Zia "Shiki." Zia might not be the best with names, but there were only a handful of girls within the Shard Seekers, and only one that happened to have a plush cat she carried with her. Though she hasn't spent a great deal of time with her, it's hard to forget the girl who had been so adamant in that first meeting of the Shard Seekers that Skoll had dragged her to. "Ah cannae imagine tha it's the same place as the one from m'world."

Though there isn't much that she knows about that world, the little bits and pieces seem to separate it from her own. "Ah've only ever seen it on television, though. It isnae like a gargoyle can jus' go hop a flight across an ocean." Except that she had, completely on accident. That's the problem with resembling lawn-sculpture when you're in stone form. "No' normally anyways."

Sheepishly, the lioness pads along, shaking her head at the suggestion of being trapped like this. "Ach. Ah wouldnae wante be trapped like this. How in the world would Ah be able te play video games, or get inte the tower? Ah'll take m'wings anyday." Because video games are the pinnacle of the boons gotten from a humanoid form. "Ah'd be back te stealin' outta garbage cans. Cannae very well go inte a shop 'n order a pastry when yer a three-hundred pound bloody lion."

With the suggestion to go back and grab the orb, Zia bobs her head, the sounds of her footsteps carrying down the corridor. Afterwards, there is only the clink-clink as she bats the thing around as if it were a ball of yarn. It takes time to get it all the way back down to the open chamber, and by that time, Skoll has managed to slice through some of the vines. Behind it is another socket that seems like it isn't connected to anything. Maybe there's something behind it?
Skoll Ulfang "That's the one." Skoll is pretty decent with names normally, but there's always uncertainties here and there. Skoll doesn't know the girl very well either. There's many of those amongst the Shard Seekers who Skoll doesn't really 'know', for as much as he is basically a founding member of the group. Quite a bit of his money had gone into succesfully organizing the group. At the time, his reasons had been to steal Reize's pendant. But now - and and all reasons to steal that are gone. Of course, maybe that would change if he knew the true power of that amulet.

"Yeah, and with very little of 'world' to explore anymore, there's not exactly a need for planes. Not in your world." Airships were around in the World of Ruin. "Still, I would have liked to be able to visit Tokyo again. The arcades were neat, they had sweet clothing, and rad music." He notes in one of those moments where his more Punk like attitude comes out - at least regarding popular things like that. "But I have to disagree on the whole pastry thing. I'm pretty sure if a talking lion walks into a pastry shop - you give it whatever the heck it wants."

When she finally leaves, Skoll concentrates on cutting away at the vines with finesse one might not find in a regular wolf. He didn't want to damage the wall behind it and just scratch up the place. But instead of finding a pretty portrait or anything the like, there's a socket for an orb again. The wolf just headtilts at the thing for a while, and is just about to go and hack at other vines when Zia paddles in. "Oh hey, that was quick." Skoll notes, and halts the orb with one paw.

The chain quickly morphs into the form of an 'egg-holder' and dips underneath the orb. It takes Skoll a few pawing attempts to get the orb to lay on it and STAY, before he decides to press the orb into the new socket he just found. "Look at what I just found." Who knows if it'll have any effect though. This isn't exactly a Destruction Orb.
Zia The dark quest that had brought Skoll to the Shard Seekers is something that lies in that realm of events and intentions that are gray and unknown to Zia. It's just one of those things she's never bothered to ask. The power of Reize's crystal is all but known to her, other than a brief glimpse of it once, months ago. "Ah suppose it shouldnae surprise me tha yer inte tha sort'a thing. Then again, it isnae as if a gargoyle can go te a concert, or buy CDs, or even go shoppin for clothes." While there are a great many things that her race has kept her from doing, the lioness seems to smile none the less. "Well, maybe the lass knows if the place still exists?"

The suggestion is left to hang in the air as she races off to fetch the orb. The sight of her returning with it is almost comically cute, with the lioness batting it around until it comes to a stop right at his paw. Feline nature makes her give one more bat at it before looking at him. "It was?" She asks, apparently not realizing it in the moment of amusement at batting the thing around. Maybe this lion body is getting to her. She shrugs.

Her eyes find the socket in the wall, noticing how it seems different from the others, but she doesn't say anything as he scoops up the orb and deposits it. Nothing happens. "Maybe this isnae wha we're lookin for for this one?" She suggests, "The whole place is like a big puzzle." Turning around in place, Zia tries to get a better look at everything, but it seems like one of those logic puzzles where you have to figure out a series of events, or end up right back where you started.

"Ah'm guessin this isnae how ye communed with the spirits before now. Strange place." She pads about, finding a set of stairs that leads up to the upper level. Without fear of cave-ins or monsters, she hops up to get a better view at the upper part of the puzzle. "There's a pedestal up here, 'n another wall-socket."
Skoll Ulfang "Well... that's disappointing." Skoll mutters while regarding the lack of anything happening. His tail nervously wags one side to another before he proceeds to pry the orb from its new housing. "No, this is nothing like before. On our world, there were massive stone totems for our ancestors. We lived around them, sung around them, danced to them. No realy prayer or anything like that, but we still... how do you say... honored them."

The wolf continues to walk around with the orb in its metalic jacket and follows the Lioness up the stairs towards the rest of the 'puzzle'. "Let's try the wall first." He decides and tries to press the orb into said wallsocket. He figures that the pedestal will come later. "I don't really get this kind of place. It doesn't seem too difficult. What's the point - you know?" Okay, so maybe there's a twinge of anxiousness regarding getting to where he wants to go. He didn't expect a puzzle to stand in his way.
Zia "Back in Sco'land, we had massive totems, too. They called 'em Stone Henge. People are still debatin' wha they were used for back in the day. M'Da said tha they usedte worship the solstice there, but no one really knows for sure." The lioness walks to the edge of the upper landing, looking down across it at the room below. She seems fairly calm, since there's no time limit and no monsters to really make this a difficult sort of task. "Ah wonder how much of our old ways were lost over the years. The only tradition Ah even still remember is the Wind Ceremony when a member of the clan passes on."

Her ear twitches, listening to him moving the orb about, but she's keeping an eye on the room below. When the orb falls into place, a bright line of light forms, starting at the socket and then vanishing down into the floor below. From where the lioness is standing, she can just barely see it. "There's a glyph down there, on the wall." Having a second set of eyes certainly helps with this sort of puzzle, at least.

With a glance back towards him, she's already heading towards the stairs. "Ye stay up here, Ah'll poke at the glyph." As she reaches the start of the steps, the lioness' head turns, "Maybe no' all tests are of strength. Ah'm guessin this is a test of the mind. There's probably more trials beyond." It's a guess. Time and time again it seemed to work that way on quests. You had to complete one thing to get to the next, and step by step, you get closer to the goal. "Ah'll be right back."

Footsteps race down the stairs, and soon enough the white lioness is at the wall, pressing her paws to the glyph, which brightens, and then disappears. There is a 'clunk' of sound as something falls, landing just where the open platform from the upper level looks down. It's a ramp... a ramp that clearly circles down towards the waterfall on the lower level. "Alright, Ah think the next step is yers!" She calls.
Skoll Ulfang "The solstice." Skoll repeats after Zia in a curious tone. They too had that word and celebrated the longest night. But they didn't worship it. It was more of a natural thing of the world rather than something old and tangible like the ancestors. But then, that had simply been his father's pack. Who knows about others. There had been so many packs, yet so few of them Skoll had interacted with himself. He knows Sasseral to come from a different one.

When the lioness moves down, Skoll remains upstairs as decided. "Yeah, I know that." Skoll answers Zia when she moves past him, nudging his head along hers as she passes. When the platform finally opens up to the waterfall, Skoll glances around for a bit. "So now... maybe the pedestal?"

Skoll decides to take the orb off of the wallsocket and move it to the pedestal. "Tell me what happens." CLUNK.
Zia From down below, Zia approaches the ramp from the other side, walking around closer to the waterfall. It still blocks the way forward, but there seems to be a neatly squared hole right in front of it, something where a pedestal just might fit into. Light-bulb. "There's a square in the platform down here." She calls up, pulling her tail in to avoid getting it drenched by the water.

As Skoll puts the orb in place, the pedestal rises up slightly, as if it were being pushed up from the floor of the room. Unlike before, where it was rooted in place, it seems to be moveable now, "Maybe push it down the ramp?" She suggests, putting her paws up on it, peering up towards Skoll through the mist from the waterfall. The lioness had better get out of the way if that's the plan.
Skoll Ulfang "Wow." Skoll quickly scrambles back a little when the Pedestal suddenly starts to move. He sniffs at the thing that is now suddenly just... floating. Magnetism? What is making this thing fly? Maybe some sorts of sorcery? The wolf starts nudging it and it comes to move on its own.

"Coming." Skoll shouts back at Zia and doesn't even worry where Zia is or is not standing, and just pushes his head against the pedestal and starts pushing it towards where that 'square' was give or take. Push! Push! Teamwork!
Zia It doesn't take a lot of effort to push the pedestal around, and even the slightest nudge has it moving this way and that. It does seem locked within a certain area, bumping against the sides of the upper level. The only place it seems able to be pushed off is where the ramp connects, and that's just what the wolf does.

Zia scrambles out of the way as it slides down past her, stepping halfway into the river to give it room. Once it stops moving, the lioness steps up and pushes it into place, the entire thing fitting neatly into the hole in the floor.

Above, there is the sound of grinding stone, and the waterfall soon stops, revealing a doorway with a socket next to it. What Zia can't see, however, is that it also reveals another socket on the upper level, which requires moving across some slick, hazardous stones to reach.

"Looks like we jus' need te put the orb in the door down here." She calls up to Skoll, walking over to pull the glowing crystal free from it's sunken perch. Unfortunately, she has to use her mouth again, ending up with that comical expression of a cat who has caught something but doesn't quite know what to do with it.
Skoll Ulfang When it finally locks into place, Skoll looks pretty good about himself. With a big wolven smile on his face and his head raised into the air. He even has a little bit of swagger in his gait as he takes a few steps back away from the ramp... and then jumps and goes sliiiiiding down the thing. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! Bump. Right into Zia.

"Hey Zia, look. I moved a pedestal." He declares, tilting his head close to hers. "Fear the might of the pedestal moving wolf." The wolf then tilts his head away and observes as the waterfall breaks up. "Aww maaan, there was a doorway behind that? We could totally have skipped that pedestal moving part." Skoll complains.

The wolf follows besides her as she decides to try and move the crystal into its socket, and just grins at her. "I can't believe you can fit that huge ball in your mouth like that." The wolf then looks up towards the upstairs. "There was another socket up there." He notes.
Zia With her eyes turned towards the waterfall, Zia doesn't even notice Skoll skidding down the ramp until he bumps into her, knocking her into a sprawl that has her turned around, nose to nose with the wolf. Blinking, she twitches her whiskers, a soft laugh sounding after his declaration of wolfish might. "Aye, Ah can hear the stories the bards will sing now. An' oh the great wolf pushed wi' all his might, 'n bested the devilish pedestal. Surely a sign tha the beast can crush 'is enemies, drive them b'fore 'im, 'n hear the lamentations of their women." She's quoting Conan now, apparently.

Pushing herself back up to her feet the lioness only has time to finish her teasing before she's pulling the orb free from the socket, trying to hold it between her lower jaw and tongue, and looking quite silly in the process. She looks between the door-socket and the stairs, pondering, then mumbles, "Ahm twy te puh eh uoo der." Which in muddled mouth-full talk is: I'll try to put it up there. She doesn't seem to mind the comment about holding it in her mouth, and shrugs.

Then, she bounds off, taking the stairs at a run, there is a 'click' from above, the sound of her putting the orb into place, and again, there is a rumble of stone on stone, this time revealing a hidden compartment under a shallow part of the river. A stone pulls back, revealing another orb underneath, but this one is red, instead of the green of the one they'd been using most of the puzzle.

From above, there's the sound of pawsteps as Zia makes her way to the ramp, eyeing it suspiciously with the bauble still in her mouth. Unlike Skoll, who took to it like a pro, Zia takes one step forward, and then scrabbles, looking like a scared kitten as she scrapes her way like nails on a chalk-board until her butt lands at the base of the ramp. Somewhere along the line, the green orb gets dropped, and it clink-clinks to the bottom, rolling around until it comes to a stop between two stones.
Skoll Ulfang The mighty Lioness Zia makes it down the stairs and arrives between the legs of the wolf. Or at least, he's put one paw on her rear and is using the other to remain standing. "You know, I would not go so far as to say I cause the lamentations of warriors' women. That makes me feel bad." Skoll teases Zia. His head swings around to follow the roll of the first orb.

"Looks like you unlocked something." The wolf paddles off towards the red orb and withdraws it with his muzzle this time. It looks like he is giving Zia some satisfaction for all the muzzle-holding of orbs. With his longer muzzle however, he most surely makes a better play at this.

He just casually wanders off towards the vine-covered wall and sticks it into its hole and steps back. "Let's see if this goes here, or if that socket is just broken." He declares. "Think you could put the green one in the socket where the waterfall was before?" His voice is one of amusement. Probably due to the cat-clawing-down-the-slide thing.
Zia Sheepishly, the lioness looks up towards Skoll, ears tucked back. "These paws are too big. Ah dinnae have good balance." It seems like she's reaching for an excuse. Then again, without her wings, dealing with things like heights seems just that much more daunting. Quickly on her feet, the lioness straightens herself, trying to ignore the moment of terror on the slide the moment before.

She watches as he plucks up the red orb, nodding to herself. The lioness scoops up the green orb, trotting over to the door-socket and dropping it in neatly, propping herself up on her hind legs to reach it. Once in place, the door lights with green energy, creeking as it moves open as if under some magical force.

The red orb, on the other hand, does something far more interesting. As it is set into the socket, a dark and ominous looking glyph appears on the wall, and then it explodes. Luckily, it seems to be created not to harm the user, but it does nicely cover the poor wolf in dust. After the smoke clears, though, a small alcove is revealed, complete with a shiny looking treasure chest.

"Skoll? Ye alright?" Zia's voice sounds vaguely worried, as she peers from next to the door, likely only seeing the cloud of dust and not much else.
Skoll Ulfang Explosion? Skoll quickly tilts his head away and is glad he took a few steps away. The sudden light and excitement of the 'wall' has the wolf surprised. By the time Zia gets to see him, the black and gray wolf just became... well... just a gray wolf really. He stares at her with this oblivious expression, and blows out a breath of dust. "Ptwooo." The wolf declares in a most bored expression, before he stares at the treasure. "Can you figure out this treasure chest? I need a bath." Skoll decides and within moments, there's a sudden SPLASH as the wolf jumps into the water in the basin left behind by the waterfall.
Zia Seeing the black wolf turned gray leads to a laugh from the lioness, "Ye look like ye took a bad turn inte a bakery." Shaking her head as she makes her way over, bobbing across stones before stepping towards the wall to investigate the alcove. There is a layer of dust and spider-webs over the treasure chest, showing that it's been hidden away down here for a long time. It isn't locked, as one might expect, trusting in the magic of this place to make sure that only summoners found it, rather than would-be thieves.

Nudging her nose against it, the Zia pushes it open, then peeks inside. It seems silly to have such a large box that only contains one thing, but there it is, none the less. Sitting in the center of the box, as if forgotten, is what looks, at first, like a lucky rabbit's foot. Yet, on closer inspection, it actually appears to be a large carved charm which is actually shaped like a rabbit, attached to a bit of chain. Reaching in, the lioness grabs the chain with her muzzle and pulls it out, leaving the little keychain dangling down as she exits the alcove.

The party has acquired: [Unidentified Keychain]

Walking over to the edge of the small pool, Zia sets it down on a rock so Skoll can see what was inside. "At least we've got the door open now." She notes, motioning her head, puffed tail flicking this way and that. "Maybe tha's the end of the puzzle?" Hopefully.
Skoll Ulfang "I hope so." Skoll mutters, coming out of the 'pool' looking like a wet dog. He just stands there for a little while before he decides to shake off and give Zia a bit of her own medicine. Shake shake shake ~ splash splash splash!


Skoll suddenly looks like an overgrown black poodle, with the most /indignant stare/ he can muster. Frazzinfragginmuzzinfur.

The wolf then slowly steps over towards the keychain she's set down. And his eyes widen. "Oh my god, it's a keychain!" The wolf seems to liven up, and jumps around the keychain. "It's a keychain! It's a keychain." Jump jump bounce. He's all on top of this keychain. And he's... honestly... /WAY/ too happy about seeing a stupid keychain.

"Look at those chains. Look at the closure. The make. This is prime craftsmanship. Look at this!" Skoll's tail goes a-waggin' like there is no tomorrow. "Man, this is awesome!" Welp, that cheered him up.

Within moments, the keychain is attached to his collar by chain-magic, right next to the mouse-shaped looking one. And he just raises his head like the proudest wolf ever, right towards the darkness that is the exit and just keeps on walkin'.
Zia Just when you think you've dried off... Zia raises a paw to shield her eyes, watching a few water droplets drip off her fur. The sight of Skoll, though, that gets her laughing. "Ye look like an overgrown puffball." The lioness teases, pawing once at a bit of wolf-fluff that pops right back up when she bats at it. Snicker.

Then, of course, he gets distracted by the keychain. The sight of the wolf bouncing around reminds her of one of those videos of puppies on the internet. She clearly doesn't see what's special about the keychain, but the excitement is infectious enough that she ends up smiling by the end, walking along-side the wolf as they head towards the door.

One trial leads to another. The door opens into a circular, vaulted room with a huge glyph on the floor. It's hard to tell what's underneath it, but it seems as if this might have once been a tomb. There is a strange hum in the room, as if someone were singing and it had echoed down into this distant place.

Everything seems empty at first, as if there were nothing here to find at the end of the journey. Then, something ghostly flickers. A gray werewolf kneels just on the other side of the glyph, her body seeming see-through in the dim light. To Skoll, though it had been years, her form would be all too familiar. The wolf was his mother, and with it's head resting in her lap, is the image of the esper, Carbuncle.

"It's been a long time." She whispers, stroking her hand over the rabbit's head, Carbuncle's nose twitches, leg thumping the ground once. The spirit of Frigg offers a small smile, looking up at the two of them.
Skoll Ulfang "That's 'great and noble warrior wolf, puffball' to you." Skoll points out, raising his paw towards her as if telling her to 'kneel' before him. He's just being silly really. That paw quickly goes right back down, and the wolf follows through down towards the vaulted room.

Where, it seems they finally come into the realm of the fayth and its connection to the farplane. A place of memories. When the ghostly presence then suddenly appears, the wolf halts right in his place - standing entirely still.

His body trembles a little upon the sight of that gray werewolf, his muzzle partially open and unable to say anything for a while even as the woman declares that it'd been a long time. The wolf's head tilts down to angle towards the ground, Skoll squeezing his eyes tight in emotional turmoil.

"... mom." He whispers. Tears quickly starting to well up at the corners of his eyes. He knows she's not really here immediately. He knows she's not alive, because he was there when she died. But that does not make this 'reunion' any less 'real'.
Zia Normally, outsiders would never be allowed within the final chamber of the Fayth. Yet, this lost temple has no guardians and there is no one to stop Zia from following Skoll. The rabbit seems surprised at this intruder, lifting its head to turn towards her, nose twitching. No one had ever told the lioness not to come in, so she just looks back at the Esper, head tilted. For now, she's dutifully quiet, her gaze looking from the wolf beside her to the other wolf beyond.

Frigg's hands hold the bunny Esper in place, her fingers scratching behind one ear, causing a back leg to thump in echoed bass around the room. Carbuncle had always been his mother's favorite of the spirits, and perhaps that is why it is her form that shows before him. "I wish I could have done more for you back then." Her voice is a whisper, sad even with that soft smile on her lupine features. "For you, for your sister. I couldn't stand up against Odin, none of us could."

Her form flickers, glancing at Zia before looking back at her son. It's clear that the wolf doesn't recognize her, or realize her significance. "Do you remember how happy you were back when you were young, and you first were able to summon Carbuncle?" The rabbit's eyes turn to Skoll, ears tucking back slightly. "I couldn't have been more proud..."

Then, something dark appears in the periphery, a hulking shadow. "But your father was never happy with who you were... All he cared about, was the power he could wield through you." The shadow becomes more visible as a wolf, his huge paws on the shoulders of a smaller wolf. Their figures are indistinct, but there are memories there.
Skoll Ulfang "You did just fine." Skoll whispers in response, shaking his head a little. "You did just fine momma. If it wasn't for you..." He tilts his head down a little again, anguished by memories of the past and coming to face his mother's early death once more. And what's more, there's the darkness of Odin that is spoken off. "I never noticed..." He whispers. "You and Hati... I just never..." The wolf lets out a shivering sound as he speaks, somewhere close to a whimper and a wolven cry.

He glances up when she speaks of Carbuncle. "I know. It was my favorite too. The guardian of the hunt." The wolf looks up at the little rabbit like creature; too, a being of memories. His own ears tuck back then when the shadow comes, and Skoll naturally flinches a little, stepping back. Before, he would never have cowered from his father. He'd adored his father, no matter the flaws he might have had. He had never 'seen' the things he'd done. Not until Hati pointed it out to him. "I know..." He whispers. Before, he would have defended his father's choice. But now...

"Now, I can't even do that anymore, momma." It's almost as if he regresses in age a little right there, no longer the tough warrior, but very much a young man who misses his family; someone who was so very close to them.
Zia Slowly, Zia lowers herself first to her haunches, and then lies down. Maybe there is a reason that others don't often enter into these sacred places. There are parts of the summoner, themselves, here, and it's something far too intimate to be shared even with their most steadfast of guardians. She lays her head on her paws, intent not to interrupt, feeling the outsider in a story that isn't her own.

"Shh..." Frigg reaches out a hand, and though there is so much space between them, there is the ghostly impression of fingertips along the ruff of his neck. "It's not your fault, Skoll. We tried to keep you from seeing it. I wanted... to give you a chance to live a better life than we did."

In some ways, they'd succeeded in that. Skoll had lived without knowing his father's hatred. He had grown up without fear. "It was a joy to see you grow up, and I'm only sorry that I can't be there to see the man you'll become." Carbuncle stirrs in her hands. "The power of the spirits still lies within you. Some of them are more forgiving than others, though." She releases the rabbit-Esper from her hands, and it quickly bounds towards Skoll, ears perked and curious. It looks quite different than the twisted version that he had summoned before.

"Carbuncle will be your guide, but this is only the beginning of the path you must take to reclaim your strength. You'll have to find the other lost temples, and face the spirits within them. They will test your strength, your courage, your heart, but I believe you have the power to earn back what was taken from you."

The shadowy figure moves closer then, morphing from one form into another. "But in the end, you'll have to face not only yourself, but the darkness at it's source." Lightning flashes across the Shadows, displaying the dark form of Odin, and behind him, an armored warrior atop an eight-legged horse.
Skoll Ulfang Skoll closes his eyes again and does as is asked, growing quiet. Not because he was 'ordered', but more because the situation called for it. He knows it's not his fault, and there's little he could have done about it. But still... there is guilt deep down inside of him. He could at least have supported them.

His eyes open upon hearing the sound of the rabbit like Esper bounding towards him, and he slowly lowers his head to allow Carbuncle to hitch a ride on his head if it wanted to. "The journey to appeasing the ancestors and being able to summon them in the past was a long and arduous one. But I wouldn't hesitate to do it again." Skoll whispers softly.

"If my heart and courage and strength is not enough..." Then that'd be fine too? The wolf looks up behind the girl, looking across the form of Odin and the summon that is his namesake. Even Odin was an ancestor they prayed to, he knew the figure of course. But far in the past, he had failed to be able to summon that spirit.

Those months had been painful - having been not too long after losing Hati. His heart had simply not been strong enough. Skoll lets out a wistful sight and looks back at his mother. "You'll have to go again, won't you?" Skoll whispers, glancing away and back again; "When I grow up further... I could come see you." But what's the point to coming to see a memory? Not that Skoll knows this.
Zia Slowly, Frigg gets up, her form flickering again in the darkness. "It's a journey you were destined to take. Your father tried to force your gifts rather than letting them come naturally. His darkness infected the spirits, turning them into shadows of their true selves." Her eyes turn towards the shadowy figure. Once, she had been his mate, but whatever love there had once been has turned to sadness and regret. "You'll have to find them for yourself, you and those you call friends and guardians."

As soon as Carbuncle hops up onto his back, there is a feeling of warmth and happiness. The bunny nuzzles at his ears, looking adorably cute, like a big fluffy backpack. The power of a summoner once again flows within him, brought with it by the spirit that has granted him favor. Perhaps the rabbit is not the most powerful of creatures, but what he lacks in ability to harm enemies is made up for in his ability to protect friends.

"It'll be enough." This is Zia's voice, the lioness had gotten to her feet and walked over in the time he was talking, her head leaning down to nudge against his shoulder. "Yer one of the toughest people Ah know." The words of support seem hollow in this place, with the ghost of his mother standing there.

Frigg waves a hand, dismissing the dark visage of Odin back into nothingness. "I'm afraid so. Carbuncle gave me the chance to speak to you, where he could not. It's a small gift for years of service to the spirits, and I thank him for that." Her ears tuck down, a sad smile on her features. "I live in your heart, Skoll. That's where I'll always be."
Skoll Ulfang It'd not just been his father. But later on, also his own darkness that came to live within his own very heart. He'd allowed things to be dragged further and further down. Allowed himself things like the Dark Corridors - worked with forces of darkness... let himself fight and get beaten up amongst the Gaudium Lords. Much of this journey is to stop letting go of the blame he puts on himself and move forward.

"It wasn't just him." Skoll whispers; acceptence is still important however. Recognition of his own fault in the matter. "I will." The wolf turns his head up a little and tilts it, so he can see the 'rabbit' on his back. He can feel it, that light of the little rabbit flowing into him.

Then Zia speaks, and this distracts the werewolf. In the good way. He walks towards her to meet her half-way and nudges his own head along hers. "It'll have to do." Skoll whispers. They are not hollow to Skoll in the least.

The wolf then looks towards Frigg once more. "I know." He whispers, still on the verge of tears. "I'll miss you momma..." He squeezes his eyes shut again.
Zia The gray werewolf turns her head to regard her son, ears folded back and tail low. It's a posture of sad understanding, "Everything that lives, grows from something small. A plant from a seed. A wolf from a pup. Darkness, from one small deed." With these words comes a flash of memory. That image from the dream not so long ago, with his father throwing Carbuncle as if the little Esper were little more than a play thing.

There is no way that his mother should be able to know happened in those inbetween years. Yet, there is something in her eyes that suggests she might have some idea. "Just because you walk a dark path, doesn't mean you can't find the light." Her gaze lingers on her son for a moment, and then on the lioness at his side. When her eyes slip away, it leaves Zia with a feeling as if somehow, she had been measured and found wanting, or maybe that's just her own imagination.

Frigg touches a hand to her heart, "You'll need to call upon your friends to find the other spirits. The temples have been lost for so long that some spirits have been all but forgotten in some worlds." She walks to the edge of the chamber, to where there is a strange set of carved images that have crumbled to all but dust. It makes this place feel like it just might be a tomb. "Maybe you'll find your wolf along the way, if you look hard enough." She whispers, "Your sister will have her own score to settle with Odin, in the end. He's something you both need to face, together."

His sadness, though, it draws one last look from the gray wolf. "I love you, Skoll. Be strong." As much as she might want to go to him, to comfort him, her time is dwindling. Frigg wipes a paw across her face, then turns, her form vanishing into one of the statues.

On Skoll's back, Carbuncle makes a strange little sad sound, but he twitches his nose, and a small light appears over the old statue. Among what looks to be ancient summoners, there is a statue of a wolf with her head bowed. Surely, this couldn't really have been his mother's statue, but perhaps it was placed here in honor of those wolves who had worshiped the spirits dutifully through so many generations. Carbuncle hops up off of Skoll's shoulders, vanishing once more, but this time his presence can still be felt by the werewolf summoner, ready to answer the call.

Zia swallows, feline ears tucked back. This brought up too many memories of her own parents, and too many fears of the future. "Come on... let's get outta here." She whispers in a quiet voice, as if afraid to disturb this resting place.
Skoll Ulfang Skoll drops his rear to the ground and sits for a moment, looking towards his 'mother', or the memory of her. The wolf tilts his head down and nods. Indeed, one small deed. "I no longer walk a dark path." He answers his mother. "I've forgone that place. But I also must draw my sister from that path as well. The VALKYRI should help in that regards, I hope." The wolf then glances over towards Zia, missing that look of his mother's.

When he looks back, he nods his head. "I will." Skoll's friends are rather important to him. Temples that have been lost in the worlds? The wolf takes this to mind. Where can all those temples have gone off to? And it seems like some of 'these' temples don't even match his own Ancestors. "My wolf..." Skoll droops his gaze down. He wants to glance at Zia in that moment, but doesn't. "I love you too momma." Skoll whispers back to Frigg, and looks up at her. "Momma~..." He looks like he wants to tell her something else, but she's already gone.

The wolf slowly goes down his legs and lays down on the stone of the inner sanctum. "Carbuncle is back." Skoll then tells Zia. "Mind if I just... lay here for a bit?" He then asks Zia. "I need a moment to my own thoughts. I promise I'll be out soon." The wolf then glances up at her. "Or you can stay... that's okay too. I'd appreciate the company."
Zia The sadness in Skoll's voice is enough to make the lioness wince, looking towards the statue of the wolf summoner across the darkness. It's hard to make sense of her thoughts, already tumultuous before today. It's his voice that has her eyes finding him again, ears down, "If tha's wha ye want, lad..." She whispers, feeling uncomfortable in this place. Part of her very much wants to leave. Yet, once he asks, she can't say 'no' to his request for company.

Zia nudges his cheek softly, then settles herself, her head laying across her paws. Maybe in the still silence, there would be answers, but probably not.

This scene contained 39 poses. The players who were present were: Skoll Ulfang, Zia