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The Cloister of Phoenix
(2013-10-04 - 2013-10-21)
No description.
Hati Where else would you expect an Esper of fire but within the heart of a volcano? Whispers of some strange discoveries in the Hawaiian islands are enough to bring out a party of adventurers. The archeologists who found the ruins were left baffled, as if this were something left behind from another world. Little did they know that the Cloister of an Esper would only answer to a summoner. In some lands, the summoner's journey is one taken alone, but not in this one.

It's night. The volcano's glow is lit against a cloudy night's sky with thunder on the horizon. The paths that lead along the observation area are deserted, the locals and visitors driven off by a strange group of outsiders having shown up. Better to stay out of the way. If the new arrivals are heroes, then they might start a fight with someone, and if they are villians, well ... better not to fall victim. It leaves this part of the island far too quiet, although there is an everpresent rumble from the volcano beyond.

Hastily constructed wooden platforms have been set up along the cooled ash, the boards clattering unsteadily underfoot as they trace a path up towards the excavation site. There's even one spot where they've had to construct a rickety looking bridge over lava that is still flowing fresh from the mountain. Beyond, the lights of the newly discovered cloister become visible. Even at night, the red lines of gylph energy flow along the entryway.

Unlike the last cloister that Skoll had found, this one - at least - allows them all the use of their usual forms. A statue of a great bird rests on one side of the entryway, eyes glowing red. A broken twin statue lies in pieces beside it, the old way in to this sacred plave having almost been lost to the ages.

Inside, there is a hum of energy that has nothing to do with the churning volcano further up the mountain. The floor glows, the gylphs waiting for the right person to activate them.


Hati ... is a little skeptical about playing a part in this particular expedition. She grew up with an awe for the summoners, and it felt wrong somehow to be part of a quest to seek out their power. The werewolves had a deep respect for the spirits and the ancestors, and to the outcast, it feels like stepping onto hollowed ground. Besides that, she's only /just/ recovered from the burns she got trying to protect the expedition into the necropolis. Getting set on fire /again/ is not high on her priorities. But, she's here. It's a sign of her love for her brother that'd she'd risk the anger of the spirits and becoming a crispy critter for his sake.

"Are you sure you should be coming along?" She murmrs to Faruja, walking next to the Templar. "It's bad enough that I've caught your misfortune with fire, but you know you're pretty much doomed the minute you step inside, right?" Maybe he'd invested in fire-resistant armor or something - one could hope, anyways. her tone, at least, is playful, even if her own arms are still bandage-wrapped from her experiences being grilled alive.

Looking over her shoulder, she offers, "Hey, Skoll. Giant birds. I think we're in the right place." The werewolf was probably still hoping his 'girlfriend' would show up, but there hadn't been any sign of her all night. "We don't have all night."
Avira Granted....Avira doesn't look THAT strange, does she? Strange enough to drive everyone away in terror, scared that she might be some kind of god or devil? Maybe. Scars are scary?

This is the first time in a while Avira has embarked upon something that doesn't have to do with Camp Cauldron and the Great Gummi Investigation. That particular project and partnership had been occupying so much time that she's actually kind of relieved for a break. Even if it is a hot, hot break into the heart of a volcano. To an ancient temple. Across a really, really rickety bridge.

"Soooo...uh..." Avira talks because talking ets her mind off of things like the nearby hot glowing lava. " exactly does this work? Do you have to answer questions? Fight it?" Avira suspects the answer will unfortunately be 'fight it' because she's heard stories about this kind of thing.

Sweat trickles down her forehead. Avira lifts a hand and wipes it away.
Faruja Senra Faruja has spent much of his time glaring at the bird-face before them, praying, crossing himself, talking quietly on a linkshell, or generally looking very, very nervous. Love for the wolfess, respect and friendship for Skoll, and the possibility of seizing the whereabouts of a Cloister of the Yevonites before they do all bring him here. He finally breaks off his conversation to focus on Hati. For a moment, he looks sheepish.

"I, my love, am obligated to come." His eye flicks to her burns, then over to Skoll. "We need naught /three/ or more put to the proverbial torch." Clink clink. There's some of Hati's patented burn-soothing oils in his pack, along with many curatives.

Faruja's tail flicks, and he tries to not look scared out of his mind. His hand seems to tremble as it clenches his cross.

"Yes, what /does/ one do before such....creatures?" Questions the rat in turn, practically spitting out the word with all proper Ajoran disgust for things Yevonite.
Skoll Ulfang Hati is entirely right, Skoll had expected Zia to be here for this. But she's... she's not around. He's not seen her for a little while now - something that has worried the werewolf. Yet when there came word from others that there were signs of one of the Cloisters... he figures that he should go.

He'd put out a call for people a while ago to help him find places like these. But more importantly, he had been 'told' to bring friends. Or perhaps that had just been his own feelings... the desire to have friends around himself. To stand at the center of a pack of sorts.

"Yeah, it certainly looks like it." Skoll answers Hati, hands in his pockets, leaning back a little while gazing up at the bird statue that still stands whole. The werewolf looks back at the rickety bridge. "You know, you'd think they'd use something less flamable to build a bridge over lava." He mutters, before a smirking glance goes out towards Hati and Faruja. Oh he knows.

Having people around seems to certainly cheer him up, perhaps more-so than having found this Cloister. Power, in and off of itself, isn't important to him. No. It's these people that surround him right now are the reason he wants to be reunited with that 'Power'. But more-so...

The summons have always been a bit of family to him. Sitting on his shoulder is a little bunny looking thing, looking up at the same bird statue.

"I don't know." Skoll answers Avira. "Last time... I just spoke to my mom. Or... I think it was my mom." He raises a hand and runs it through his hair, during which Carbuncle, the Esper he summoned a little while ago, tries to paw at one of the chain armbands he is wearing.

"Man it's hot though. I hope you guys didn't bring thick clothing." He himself is wearing only what he 'needs' to wear. A three quarters set of pants, a short sleeved shirt, and bare feet. How the hell he's managing bare feet is anyone's question really.

"Just follow me for now, I guess." Skoll notes, and motions the others to follow him to the center of the glowing glyphs, before standing upon it himself.
Maira Maira looks up toward the fiery volcano, the heat of the sky reflected in the golden depths of her eyes. Those eyes are wide with awe and wonder, her blood singing with the heat of flame. To be so close to a location so tied to her element is quite a religious experience, really. It is not completely unfamiliar. She felt like this standing beside the fire crystal--when it guttered out and the fire powered ship began to crash it was the phoenix feather artifact that brought it back. A world shard. She hopes it has been well taken care of.

Maira is keeping her distance from the others to some degree, mainly because the air around her is quite warm and she is unsure if she'll be able to keep her control as they get closer to the volcano. Who knows, really? Better to be safe than to burst into flame and horribly burn your closest friends, as they say. "They" say that, right?

Maira smiles though, hearing Hati and Avira voice their misgivings. "It will be alright," she says, her voice warm and reassuring. "I've actually prepared some potions for the occasion. I can't promise it will save you from falling into lava for too long...but it will help. I've tested it a good bit!" she says, reaching into her pouch to pull out a few of her fire-resistance potions. She passes them out carefully.

Maira approaches the bridge first. "For once...I think you guys should actually let me go first, heh. I'll test to make sure the bridge is safe, okay?" she asks, wondering pointedly if she could swim in lava. Boy, that'd be impressive wouldn't it!
Deelel Deelel had some contact with Skoll, after all he was in the shard seekers and she'd become more aware of just what sort of a fix he'd been in, and so? here she was to lend a hand here. Still magic was something Deelel did not have too much experience with magic personally, but hey she can help right?

So here Deelel is her strange clothes she wore in Traverse town making her stand out perhaps a little bit.

All the while Deelel is doing one thing, she's documenting everything she encounters after all it might be needed later.

"Who knows when it comes to Magic Avira."

She looks at Avira with a bit of a grin.

"Your people used to be just as nearly impossible to understand after all."

She falls in heading for the bridge and she nods to Maira

"Sounds like a plan given your control over fire, it be the safest for you to go over first."
Hati "I'd just as soon avoid such places." Hati murmurs, but then lets her objections drop. She's here, afterall. Though she has no reason to feel responsible for Skoll's loss of his powers, his struggle to dispell the darkness and regain his own strength isn't something unfamiliar to the younger werewolf. With a glance towards her brother, Hati shrugs. "In our world, you only saw an Esper one of two ways... when a caller protected their village, or when you were about to die." The fact she'd seen Skoll using that ability is unusual enough, and would be seen as blasphemy to some.

Hati is good at the blasphemy thing.

The wolf-girl takes one of the potions from Maira, glancing at it once and then drinking it down without question. By now, she's come to accept the fire-bug's strength in brewing as being at least equal to her own. "Thanks, Maira." Hati offers, then scratches idlely at her bandaged arms. Stupid burns. "We'll probably need some of your strength on this one. At least if we don't want to come out charcoal."

In the heat, Hati strips off the upper layer of clothing, leaving herself in a sleeveless top, wrapping her jacket around her waist before following her brother forward onto the platform.


The moment that Skoll steps down onto the glyph, the whole chamber seems to react. The lights in the eyes of the statue glow brighter, sending power radiating along the walls. It seems to be an 'all aboard' message. Once all of the adventurers are on board, it springs into motion. The ground drops suddenly, but only about an inch. It's enough to make your stomach lurch. Then, it begins to decend in a more steady fashion, dropping them down into the earth.

As it moves, they are left in darkness for a time, with only the sounds of their heartbeats and breathing to call company. then, lines of red light streak across as they pass what must be sections of molten lava beneath the earth's surface. It flashes that firey glow across their faces, looking as if it might pour in at any moment, but some magic seems to keep it at bay.

Then, finally, after what seems like far too long, the platform slows and comes to a stop in a dark corridor, lit only by a single glyph slot holding a glowing green sphere. This seems familiar. This is the entrance to the trials, but the bigger question is... what lies behind this first room? Where's all the fire?
Faruja Senra Faruja tries to look innocent at Skoll's knowing look. Whistle. He knows /nothing/ of what you speak, Sir Wolf.

Faruja peers over the edge of the rickety bridge, then over to Maira. Froooown. For a moment, he's caught between fear of the lava below and chivalry. "N...nay my dear! Thy bravery is most heartening." Pause. Sigh. "I shall stay behind thee. No matter thy nature, I shan't see thee swimming in molten rock!" One might notice he's somewhat shrinking near Maira and Hati collectively from roiling lava. Eep.

And then they're in! Faruja whistles as they're brought downwards. His eye squints at the glyphs, and looks visibly better.

"Well. At least the place's reputation for fire is most exaggerated. Hah! Naught a lick of flame!" And thus the flammable rat taunts fire.
Avira "Whew, I'm glad you did, Maira." Avira grins at her friend and gratefully accepts a fire-resistance potion. The thought on her mind definitely was 'could this help survive a lava bath' though she was terribly curious if Maira could withstand such a thing all on her lonesome too. "And by all means, please take the lead across the bridge!"

Inwardly, she hoped she wouldn't have to find out. "Ah, but we sort of make sense when you get to know us, Deelel, right?"

Skoll reveals that the last summon he retrieved didn't require a fight at all...which is a little reassuring and a little disappointing at the same time. " was just you on your own then, right? I mean I hope us being here doesn't screw things up somehow." She follows Skoll onto the glowing glyph and waits. The floor beneath them lowers like an elevator, speeding up after layer and layer of magma is bypassed. Avira starts to get a little nervous about the thought of being so far underground. The darkness they must wait in afterwards only increases her anxiety greatly, memories of being trapped in the Space Between the worlds for a few days surfacing to haunt her. Shuddering, she wraps her arms around herself.

"..are we there yet..?" Avira murmurs, sounding a little..unlike herself.
Faruja Senra Faruja also takes two of those fire potions. Because his burning is all but inevitable.
Skoll Ulfang "Oh, why, hey thanks Maira." Skoll answers the flame-mage, and accepts the offered potion thankfully, uncorking it and sniffing it. His ears perk and his nose wrinkles. "Why does medicine always smell and taste bad?" He mutters.

"Bottom's up!" Gulp! The werewolf makes an awful face, and his tail poofs out comically. He ends up sticking out his tongue and continues to make faces for a little while. "Yeah... well... those were the old days. I still respect the ancestors... but I've come to realize that not all the rules from our home are ones that should apply here. Besides, otherwise everyone else here would be blasphemers or something." He rubs Carbuncle's head.

Then, as they finally make it to the glyph and begin to move down on the platform, Skoll nods his head a little. "Yeah. Magic. Even I don't always understand it. What little I know just comes natural to me." He explains as the world around them starts to go dark. Carbuncle disappears at the same time as they come past the red line of Magma, and Skoll naturally moves a little further forwards, in an attempt to shield others... But it seems it isn't needed.

What is needed however, or so he feels, is to be a support for Avira. When he notices Avira's nervousness, the werewolf approaches her and lays his hand on her shoulder. "You'll be alright. We're all here." He whispers to her, squeezing her shoulder before letting go - but not quite leaving her side until they reach the bottom.

When the platform finally halts, the werewolf moves to the first Glyph at a most relaxed pace. "Man..." He reaches out and grabs hold of it with his hand. "It's so nice not to have to stick big balls into my mouth, and just being able to holds them in my hand." He pops it out and turns towards the others, while he figures that the door will inevitably open behind him.

"Seriously Faruja... have you learned nothing?" He gives him one of 'those' looks. Taunting fate...
Maira Oh, so they don't actually have to cross the bridge. Well then! Maira stand with the others, ready to throw herself in the way of any bursts of flame or splops of lava or any of that fiery business. The rest of the danger? Well, she'll let the meatshields do their usual thing. "Skoll, you've met espers before?," she comments. She doesn't know a whole lot about Skoll's journey. They gave her a chance to get out of the jungle for a while and she leapt on it. Into a flaming volcano temple? Practically paradise!

Then Skoll says something about balls in his mouth and hand and Maira turns toward him with shocked, wide eyes, trips over something, and bowls into Avira.
Deelel Deelel is quick to get across the bridge with the others as it seems to be safe the whole place however has her on edge. She's dealing with something she doesn't fully understand. She does not hate it, but she is wary because she could pose a problem for the party, if she were to run in with out thinking. She'll let those who understand it better take point.

Humm this is quite the place."
Hati "I take great pride in being blasphemous, thank you very much." Hati murmurs to her brother on the way down through the tunnel into the great, dark unknown. "I just don't want to piss off the spirits. That's what got you into this mess, if I recall." Oh sure, the real blame lies with the Gaudium Lords and their father, but the last thing she wants is to end up as Esper-chow if they decide to get get irritated.

Of course, Faruja has to open his big mouth the moment that they get down into the actual cloister, and Hati just narrows her eyes at him. "You are so going to get flambed, and I won't feel bad about it at all because you asked for it." Okay, she /will/ feel bad about it, but sometimes a girl has to maintain her evil appearances. Her tail swats a certain Templar in the behind.

She doesn't quite understand what is going on between Maira and Avira, and thus gives the two of them a slightly puzzled look. "Are you alright, Maira? Did you trip over something?" She looks around, ears perked, trying to see if there's something that caught the fire-mage's foot. Clearly, Hati doesn't realize what the real problem was.


When Skoll removes the sphere from it's socket, there is a rumble at the far end of the room. A sliver of red light shows at first, and then expands until the entire doorway seems filled with light.

Where's the fire, Faruja? THERE IT IS.

The doorway opens onto a platform, which is neatly blocked by a huge wall of flames. Below, there is lava as far as the eye can see. Worst of all, is that the only way around the room seems to be through smaller platforms along the sides of the walls. It is the dreaded PLATFORMING LEVEL. Dun dun dun.

There seems to be two paths, one to the left. It's impossible to tell exactly where they lead just yet. It seems to be... decision time!
Faruja Senra Even Faruja turns at Skoll's turn of phrase. The burmecian stares for a few moments, muzzle opening, closing, then opening again. Silence. A clawed hand rubs along his face, before the Burmecian takes out his hip flask. Chug! He's not sure if he'll get certain mental images out of his head ever.

Then Maira tumbles into Avira, and the rat takes up both meat-shield position for the pair, as well as 'Lady-helping-up' position. Two hands go down to the pair. "...Quite alright, you two?"

An eye goes back to Skoll. "Of /course/ I have!" Comes the rat's reply, with hefty confidence. In other words, not at all.

Squeak! Faruja jumps a good four feet as he's swatted on the rump, turning to Hati. Leeean! She gets a quick ear-nip. "Fah! I shall do my utmost to avoid being char-broiled by..."

Suddenly, fire. Faruja watches as there's lava, platforming, and general flamey doom. He goes very, very quiet all of a sudden.
Avira "Thanks." Avira says very quietly to Skoll, a little relieved and embarassed that he picked up on her distress. She shifts a little and stares at the glyphs, unsure of what to do until Skoll begins reaching for the glowing orbs and...oh..

Avira muffles a giggle before Maira crashes into her from behind. Her giggle turns into a startled yelp before she crashes, realizing that it was her best friend behind her and not some kind of killer lava beast. Within seconds, Faruja is standing before them both, offering a hand up. Avira gladly takes it.

"Just slightly unnerved by the darkness down here, is all." Avira says quietly. She doesn't let go of his hand and starts to pull the Burmecian along, knowing full well he does not like the fire at all. "C'mon, we need to move forward." Avira is not afraid of platforming at all.

She's TRAINED FOR THIS! She also gravitates towards the left path.
Maira Maira hides her face into Avira's shoulder for a moment and just giggles guiltily. She can't help herself. She will never, ever get Skoll's voice saying those words out of her memory. Not ever. "Heheh....I'm alright Faruja, yes. Oh don't worry too much okay? My potion will protect you. Like I said, I've tested in plenty! Perci helped," she replies.

Then the pathways appear, and Maira's eyes widen once more. "I say we take the flaming path," she says with a small laugh. She's kidding, partially. "Well, alright, I will take the flaming path. I'll um...scout ahead? Maybe I'll find something useful!" she says, chipper at the idea that she's about to have an adventure. Maira turns from the others and /skips/ into the other path, right into the inferno.
Skoll Ulfang "You keep doing that. Maybe one day, that ratling will loosen up a bit more." Skoll answers Hati without even turning to look at her. Maybe it's the whole 'pissing off the spirits' comment that has him gazing off into nowhere in particular for a few moments.

Then the two girls go giggling and tumbling, and the werewolf remains entirely clueless. He even does that cute confused doggy look, with the ears being all lopsided.

Luckily, the sudden sound of /fire/ behind him, is more than enough to bring him to attention. He lets his gaze glide across the paths available to them, and then glances back. "I think we should split up." The werewolf pads past Faruja, grinning at him and puts a hand on his shoulder ironically. And with Maira's offer added to that; "You go with Maira or something. She'll keep you nice and safe."

"I'll try the right path." He adds, and just starts heading for it. "This way we cover the most ground, I figure."
Deelel Deelel looks at Hati for a moment and tilts her head a bit at Hati for a moment and just isn't sure what to comment but not angering powerful spirits is a very good idea. It is a very good idea in Deelel's book, then Faruja gets going again but that is the way her friend is after all. She does look to Maria with a look of concern on her face. She seems to have avoid from being hurt or making any fatal mistakes.

"...I don't think i can be burned like that."

She seems a bit amused at that, while she looks at the darkness for a moment and presses on after Avira, that's where she's staying at this point. She's keeping with them hopefully things won't go too bad. Deelel chugs the potion down and hopefully it will work, like the other forms of magic she's encountered before. Other forms of magic work on her so it should be all right, right? Well time to find out!

"...Right, splitting up then."
Hati The path ahead is... hot. No, seriously, there's fire! But it doesn't seem to bother Maira particularly much. The same might not be true for her clothes, depending on if she thought ahead to wear things that are fire-proof. Clearly, the trials were not set up for someone who can simply bypass fire-walls. The force of the fire seems to be coming from the ceiling, which makes it likely that the 'off' switch is actually up one of the two pathways.

On the other side of the flames is an empty platform with glowing lines that seem to lead towards a doorway on the far end. There's a slightly lowered area on the floor, and a square indentation that seems to suggest that something should fit inside. A darkened glyph line runs from the indent to the door on the far end of the chamber. Oh, and there's also a pair of fire-imps that leap up from the lava, landing on the platform on either side of Maira. Apparently, they don't like people cheating the system. They chitter and wave flaming fingers at her, then seem to argue with one another on what to do with her.

Watching Maira disappear into the fire, Hati looks over at Faruja, "Maybe it isn't such a good idea to follow Maira." The werewolf's ears tuck backwards, looking at the two non-death-inducing ways to go. "I'm going to go with Skoll and make sure he doesn't get himself killed." She murmurs, her brushing over one of the mouseling's ears, "Keep an eye on Avira and the others. Keep them safe." That said, she bounds off after the other werewolf, taking a steep path upwards.

For those traveling Avira's side of the platformer, it becomes difficult right away, including a few sections where there are those frustrating little single-step blocks that you somehow have to manage to land on by making these careful little bunny hop jumps. After that, there's a section where the only way across seems to be by dangling by your fingers and scootching across an expanse to the next platform. Geeze, they weren't making this easy, were they?

Skoll's side seems a breeze in comparison, with big platforms and no long jumps. Yet, his seems to come to an end pretty quickly, stopping at a little alcove set into the wall, complete with a glyph slot.

Hati catches up a moment later, brushing sweat off of her brow. "So, what's the point of all this anyways? I thought this was Phoenix's temple, not the temple of some kangaroo jumping spirit..." Mutter mutter.
Faruja Senra Maira speaks, and Faruja smiles nervously. He cluthes the fire potions to his chest for a moment, drinking one. The woman skips away. "...Dear /Lord/ how can she so adore that miserable element?" Mutters the Burmecians, before turning back to the path he's being dragged towards. He freezes up, turning out to be quite drag-able even with his armor! Being a small rat helps with that. His tail doesn't even flick.

Then Skoll wakes him up! "Oh by Faram..." There's Deel running off after Avira, and Maira off into the burning inner temple! The frightened Burmecian lets out several un-gentleratly expletives, before he's off after her, face a mixture of terror and fear for the seemingly reckless fire mage!

As he gets ear-pets from Hati, Faruja manages a smile. "Methinks...thy brother is correct here. Lady Avira seems well at hand, Maira...erm, a touch too enthusiastic for my liking." There's a long, deep, frightened breath. "A few...minor...burns are worth saving onesself from carelessness." He doesn't sound half as confident as he'd like. Then, he's off!

"Of course, Ser Ulfang! I...have faith, Faruja. Come now...'Tis just a touch of fire. Take care of Avira, Deel!" The leap towards Maira that Faruja gives is very half-hearted indeed.
Maira Oh Faruja! Such little faith! Or maybe he just knows Maira well.

Maira blinks as she comes to the end of the corridor, pursing her lips slightly as she looks to the fire imps. Then, she smiles. "Oh, hello! I hope I'm not intruding but we're on a quest you see and normal fire doesn't generally harm me so I figured I should take this path and see what was at the end..." then she tilts her head slightly. "I wasn't suppose to do that, was I? Well, sorry! Its just that I' know, very fiery! Very curious about this place," she says, looking around a bit. "Is Phoenix nearby? Could I say hello? my respects or something? I sure would like to meet him--again, maybe? Not sure," she continues to babble until she realized Faruja is following!

"Faruja! No go back! I'm okay! I mean, the potion should protect you, but seriously! I'm fine!" So far.
Avira Apparently, left is the wrong way. Fortunately, Avira is at least trained in this kind of thing. She does a lot of climbing and parkour. She knows when she has to patiently move slowly. She can cling to the wall and slide along easily as well.

But just in case, she's taken her fire resistance potion beforehand and has some air magic on hand, ready to course correct if she has to.

Though before bridging the gap between the last section and the finger-clinging section, she nails a rope into the last platform and drags it along behind her. When she makes it to the other side, she nails the other end of the rope in that platform just so whoever comes after her had a bit of a safety net.

Or safety rope, rather. "C'mon Deelel. I'll spot you!" she calls back in an encouraging fashion.
Skoll Ulfang "The Phoenix." Skoll explains to Hati. "A spirit of burning passion, of death, and rebirth. Of experiencing life." Skoll halts at the alcove and looks at his Glyph he is carrying around.

"Phoenix is a noble spirit, who likes for others to show off their passion to prove themselves. If it'd not been for mom, I don't think that I'd ever been able to contract him during that hot hot summer." Skoll explains. He plats with the big orb in his hand for a little while longer, before he puts it into the alcove; hoping that it'll actually do something.

In the meantime, he continues to speak to Hati. "So how are you and the furball doing?" Followed by him sniffing. "Do I smell burnt rat?" He steps to the edge of the big platform and looks out over the area, and winces to see a toasty rat and further along - to see Avira climbing a rather rough area.
Deelel Deelel may not like the idea of splitting up the party but it's what they got to do. As she moves along with Avira she's feeling more confident, it's no the danger or the height, given Deelel seems to be the sort to practice something akin to Pakour far as how she gets about on foot. Things like fire were a bit on the alien side to her. Not entirely just not comon. She however makes it along with no distater befalling her.

"Thanks, I owe you one Avira."
Hati It's a good thing that Hati isn't around to see Faruja do something stupid, like walk into a wall of fire. Sure, the potion is meant to help, but there's a little thing called self-preservation that he seems to lack. Luckily, Maira's magic does seem to work, and he doesn't end up roast-rat. That doesn't mean his clothes are quite so lucky, and may still be on fire when he comes out the other end. Worse than that, the heat is not particularly comfortable.

The pair of fire imps seem to continue talking amongst each other, but their language is... strange. It seems to be nothing more than a series of squeeks of various tones. It might almost be cute, if they weren't tiny fire elementals. Both turn towards Maira as she starts asking questions. One of them seems to just face-palm, while the other squeek-squeeks as it points first at the upper left, then at the upper right, then at the little square indentation in the floor, and lastly to the closed doorway beyond.

This occurs right about the same time that everyone else is reaching the top of their platforms. Strangely, on Avira's side of the platforming section, there doesn't seem to be anything at all but an empty section of wall. That is, until Skoll puts the orb into place on the opposite side. Then, the wall slides open, and a square-shaped pedestal slides out. It looks as if it might be able to be pushed down onto the middle section below!

Hati, on the other side, quirks her ears to Skoll's story about Phoenix, shaking her head. "Hrmph. Well enough, I guess. We kind of came to terms about the whole demon thi--." Hati goes quiet as he mentions 'burnt rat', and she peers downward off of the platform. "If Phoenix doesn't kill him, I might have to." Yep, their relationship seems to be going swimmingly!

In addition to the pedestal showing up, it appears that Skoll's orb also shut off the fire-wall below. Then again, there are probably more creative ways down than having to back-peddle the whole way, right?
Faruja Senra Faruja lands, and the first thing he has to do is stop, drop, and roll. By the time he's done, his robes are neatly burnt away, armor scorched, but body mostly alright. He /smells/ like burnt, scared rat though. Someone's sizzly! After a few nearly-hyperventilating gasps, he manages to speak to Maira.

"You are absolutely /not/ fine Maira! This place is dangerous, affinity for fire and potion or nay! Besides, cannot have thee skipping off, only thyself and Skoll may have any possible means of relating to the creature."

Suddenly, imps. The Burmecian doesn't reach for a spear. Rather, it's a halberd that he summons when confronted by the fiery creatures. Every bit of fur on his body stands on end, a squeaking snarl escaping his muzzle. From the looks of things, he's very much on the 'Fight' end of the fight or flight spectrum right now. Most notably, he stands before Maira protectively.


Blink. Wait, the creatures /aren't/ frying them. Deep breath! The rat puts away his weapon, sheepishly turning to Maira after peering over at the indicated sides. "Methinks something once rested here..." The rat turns back, watching the fire wall dissipate. Cue more expletives.
Maira Maira rushes over to Faruja, drawing the fire from around him into herself, leeching the heat until it is extinguished. She would then help him to his feet, fretting. "Faruja! You didn't have to follow me, see? Everything is fine. I can't exactly communicate with these two but maybe with creative use of gestures..." she begins, then looks around again, brow creasing with thought at Faruja's words.

"I'm guessing this is not the way one is suppose to go. The straight path through the fire, that is. Its a...a cloister of trials, yeah? I think I sort of skipped to the end and they don't know what to make of it. I suppose we just wait for the others then," she says, shrugging. She moves forward to examine the indentations carefully, reaching out to touch with fingers as she reaches out likewise with her magic senses. "I don't know if Phoenix will communicate with me. I thought maybe...when all that happened in Fluorgis, you know? I thought maybe I got a sense of him...but maybe not," she says, smiling lightly.

Maira looks back toward Faruja, then blinks. Then blinks again, mouth opening. "'re naked," she informs him.
Faruja Senra Faruja's squeak of embarrassment echoes throughout the Cloister as he covers himself with hands and tail.
Skoll Ulfang "I said burnt." Skoll calls out back at Faruja. With him looking over the lavapit, he watches as Avira is given access to a pedestal. He waits for her to pull it out all the way, so that the 'wall' won't close it off, before he shouts at Avira.

"Heya Avira!" He waits for her to notice him. "Catch!" He follows this up with, and like a proper baseball player, he throws the Glyph all the way over the lavapit in a beautiful arc, hopefully into Avira's hands.

The youth then turns around and starts to lead Hati back down to where Maira and Faruja are waiting.
Avira "Hey, no problem, just don't fall to your death, okay Dee?" Boy does the VALKYRI leader sound cheerful about that! Obviously just trying to lighten the mood in the middle of a grueling bit of platforming. Speaking of, she climbs her way to the top and..., there seems to be nothing. Avira stares at this in disbelief before methodically examining every nook and cranny of that wall for hidden buttons, doors, or nooks. Because seriously, who builds an ultra hard platforming path that leads to nowhere?

(A total bastard, but probably not an esper.)

Seconds later, her curiosity is answered as a pedistal slides out. Promptly, Avira examines this all over and, after realizing there's nothing really in it, comes to the conclusion that the rock is meant to be pushed. "Hey, Deelel, help me out here." Avira says, putting her shoulder against the pedistal and slowly moving it. Then she stops when she hears Skoll calling out.

She looks up just in time to see the glyph being hurled at her. Both hands snatch up the emblem and she places it upon the pedistal.
Deelel Deelel says "I have no plans to do so! Sides i got a chute and a light jet on me if it came to it!"

Deelel a data scout? Well she came prepared at the veyr least. She seems to be keeping pace however the platofming work isn't too bad all things considered it's almost fun when you get down ot it. She looks ahead pausing much like Avira does for a moment. She also making sure looking for some other means to pass, prehaps as Deelel goes though some imageing command she might find something. A moment later it's answered and it seems her help is needed.

"On it."

She also puts her shoulder into it and is pushing as hard as she can, however she doe stop at Skolls shout and pauses to see the glyph coming at her.

"Nice catch."
Faruja Senra "So it seems we've merely to twiddle our tails, then." Faruja responds, doing just that as he peers over at the door. "Well, you /are/ of a fiery nature. Mayhaps this Phoenix shall at least be ameniable to thy presence." Shrug! The rat shakes his head a bit.

Faruja is red all over, and not because of any lava landing on him. Covering himself, his single red eye peers imploringly at Maira. " you have an extra robe?" Pleads the Burmecian. Save his modesty, oh maiden of flame!

At the very least, he seems to be paying attention to the pushing and general manipulation of heavy objects! He's sure to get away from the indentation, in case something falls into place.
Maira Maira looks away, blushing. Poor Faruja! "Heh...I think I have something..." she says, digging into her pack (yes, its also made of fire proof material) to get a shawl. Its pink. Sorry Faruja. She tosses it over toward him. "Here, that's all I have. You can sort of...wrap and tie it like a loincloth though! Its not try not to ruin it?" she asks. It looks handmade, after all.

Maira keeps looking around then, waiting for everyone else to arrive and wondering what the imps are still arguing about.
Hati "But we just got up here!" Hati protests, not really understanding all the running around and backtracking that seems to be involved in this trial. What sort of screwed up video game designer actually thought this was fun, anyways? Then again, at least it's not as bad as the one where you ride the glyph platforms in circles for a half hour...

Squeak. Squeak. The two imps seem to ignore the weapon being aimed at them, and gesticulate up towards the now sphere-holding pedestal. It seems that they're at least trying to help, now that they've gotten over their confusion. They seem to want the pedestal pushed down. Once it's pushed, it becomes clear that there is an invisible slide that goes down to the main floor where the others are gathering. Of course, it's probably more than a little disconcerting to slide down an invisible chute over molten lava.

Hati huffs and puffs as she makes her way back down behind Skoll, only to see the exchange between Faruja and Maira. Wolf-bristle. Hey, she might be working for the good guys, but she still has all the evil tendencies, including jealousy. The wolf does her best not to growl as she comes up behind the half-naked mouse at last, but oh if looks could kill. Without saying a word, she unties her jacket from around her waist and offers that out to Faruja, giving him time to take it or not before she stalks towards the door on the far end. It's the silent treatment, dun dun dun.

Someone will still need to move the pedestal into place once it's down on the lower level, which should hopefully unlock the door, if the imp's squeaks were right.
Faruja Senra Faruja looks between pink shawl, and the looming presence behind him. Slowly, the rat puts on a nervous, disarming smile. Woops. Someone knows he's in trouble now. It's amazing he doesn't catch on fire from the werewolf's gaze alone!

"Th...thank thee Maira, but methinks the jacket shall be more erm...covering!" Comes the quick excuse, taking the jacket. Now he's only partially naked, as he pulls the jacket over him as tightly as possible. Hopefully there won't be any strong breezes.

He even has the decency to tuck his tail before the werewolf. Then, she's off towards the door. Sigh. "...Methinks 'tis the floor for me tonight."

With Deleel's help, Avira's able to push the pedistal off the top platform, dropping it down to the middle platform. Without anything else up here-well...

Avira searches the area one last time to make sure they didn't miss anything up here. Once she's determined that there's nothing else left up there, she makes through the motions of platforming back down. Now that she knows what she's in for, coming back happens much faster. "Hey! Hey guys what's going on down there?"
Deelel Deelel is up top with Avira and things are going well enough with Skoll's timely help right? So here she is hoping everything is clear. She takes another look about and makes sure there's nothing they might have missed.

"We're clear, let's get going."

Deelel follows after Avira making like Mario as she heads back down.

"Hey what is /going/ on down there? Avira I got a bad feeling about this! We better not delay."
Skoll Ulfang "Yup." Skoll chimes at Hati, keeping his hands in his pockets. "Man, you sound like you've never gone dungeoneering in the World of Ruin. Places all get like that. Go here, go there. Backtrack left, backtrack right." The werewolf continues to show off his incredibly dexterity moving down from big platform to big platform while the others worry about pushing the pedestal down.

Of course, Hati gets down there faster than him. She's getting all hot and bothered about Faruja after all. Skoll on the other hand, is really taking his time on this whole getting down thing. He does stop at the bottom for a moment to /really look around/. After all, last time, there'd been a secret room, which could be opened by a special sphere. But then, should he really be expecting for the same to hold for this Cloister?

The werewolf shrugs, and then wanders to meet up with Hati and Faruja. "Relax Hati. He's too much of a boyscout." Although Hati may not be worrying about Faruja - though clearly there's no real need.
Maira Really, there isn't. Faruja is like a brother to her! A fuzzy brother! No offense to him, but he's totally not her type! She says a few things over the radio as she wanders the room, pointedly not looking at Faruja. Would looking at his face count as wandering eyes!?

Maira looks over to Skoll though as he arrives, smiling lightly. "What now?" she asks.
Hati "Hrmph." Hati growls at her brother as the two run side by side for a moment. "I've done more dungeoneering than you have, big brother." She rolls her eyes, ears tucked back as she leaps over a spray of lava. "Most of the time, the places I go hunting for treasure at are filled with traps and monsters, not puzzles." She'd be more suited for that kind of adventure rather than this one.

Once they have all arrived down on the base level, though, Hati is content to examine the door, muttering into her radio. For all that she's changed in the past year, there is still that darkness that seems impossible to shake. She glances back at Faruja for a moment, then shakes her head. She doesn't seem mad at him, not really, anyways. Skoll's comment earns another small, exasperated growl. "If it was your little winged --." The wolf cuts herself off before she says something mean, and just aims a clawed finger at her brother's chest. Mutter.

Hati gives the pedestal a kick in frustration, which knocks it the rest of the way into the indentation in the floor. The two imps make a series of chirrup sounds that... sound distinctly like they belong in a video game. The wall rumbles, and the door opens. Since Skoll is the only one to have experienced the 'hidden' qualities of one of these dungeons, it would be up to him if he wanted to try to backtrack and see if there is a secret treasuer within, then again, that doorway going forward is all too tempting.

Beyond it, the hymn of the Fayth can be heard.
Faruja Senra The look Faruja sends Skoll is absoslute joy and thankfulness. He could hugg the wolf right now. "Quite!" Pause. Frown. "Hardly would I deign to tarnish the honor of /any/ here. Besides, Maira is like family." A smile to Maira and Hati both!

Wince. That was quite the kick. As he wanders over to Hati, he leans in, smooching between the ears if she doesn't pull away. "I love thee, my dear. While I cannot speak to old legends, but I know with whom my heart lies." Whispers the rat reassuringly, before the door opens.

Spit! Faruja glares off past the door, mumbling in the language of the Church. Prayers and insults to the foreign faith and its hymn pass his lips, a hand crossing himself. NOtably, he makes similar motions to his fellows, as if warding them from taint. His hand doesn't stray far from his weapon.
Hati Oh, and the imps? They seem to be standing off towards the side now, squeaking to one another, and might just be hiding a small platform with a sphere recess on it. Maybe.
Skoll Ulfang Skoll glances at his sister with a bit of irritation showing when she begins that sentence. As much as they may be brother and sister, and Skoll tries to get along with Hati -- and has in fact vouched for her -- there is certainly a certain amount of struggle between the two. He's after all, the goody-goody-two-shoes, where-as she is the one who struggles with darkness.

Indeed, he's glad that she halts that sentence before finishing it. The wolf just looks away while she continues to point at him, and begins to walk forwards. "And now, we move forwards. I don't know what to expect." He doesn't know the rules that well... but...

"Normally, only the caller or summoner met with the Ancestors on our world. But my task called for friends. For family. For allies. I call all of you - all of those things. So I asked for you all to come." Skoll points out, slowly stepping forth towards the Hymm.

"I don't know what lies ahead. So let's be prepared for anything." With his back turned towards the others, at least they can't see that silly look on his face as Faruja speaks. D'awwwwww.
Avira "But puzzle solving is an important part of adventuring! That's what Angantyr taught me." Avira hops down and dusts herself off. She doesn't even seem the least bit winded from her platforming. She pauses to look at the mostly-naked Faruja for a few seconds before turning away.

"Anyway I'm guessing you gotta keep pushing the pedistal. Something about dungeons and moving large rocks arou-oh."

Hati knocks it over into the proper indentation and the wall opens up. Avira beams. "See, just like that!" She doesn't follow quite yet but she does nudge Maira.

"Good job." she murmurs. Good job for what? The potion? Faruja's emergency clothing? It's hard to tell.
Maira Maira flashes Faruja a smile of agreement, then observes the adorable moment between the mouse-knight and Hati. Awww! Adorable!

Soon her attention is stolen as Hati kicks the pedestal into place and the door forward opens. Heat fills her as the song of the Faythe reaches her ears, skin prickling at the haunting melody. "Ooh...that's beautiful," she comments quietly, moving forward toward the door. She remembers the connection of Yevonites and spirits...oh, what she would give to speak to Uist again.

About being prepared for anything, Maira nods and starts casting her protective spells on her friends as they move forward.
Deelel Deelel is on her way back down, with Avira, hopefully they will not be too late, also the comm chatter abotu Faruja. What has them so worked up about it. She's more concerned about him beng injured. Then again some human things just zing, go over her head. She falls back in with Avira as she reutns from above.

"That does seem to be a thing in this world.

"Let's hope we don't do it again."

She watches it open up and she starts to humm along with the hymn. Then again given her function picking up on music is kind of a thing. She pauses looking over at Faruja

"Are you all right?"

Deelel turns her attention back to Skoll.

"Your a seeker, how could we say no to help you just on those grounds alone, right?"

Deelel vertainly is getting into the music as she goes back to humming the hymn and very well too.
Hati The younger werewolf sighs. "I know." Grr. She doesn't pull away from Faruja's kiss, but the look on her face is somewhere between angry and cute. Ears tucked back, lips drawn into a frown. Poor wolf. "It's wolf nature, you'll just have to deal with it." Arm fold, hrmph.

Oh, there's a door, right. Hati glances back with one eyebrow raised, watching Faruja seem to go into a fit over the sound coming through the door. Strangely, the sound seems to change as if in reaction to it. From Yevonite, first to one of the Glabadosian Church's hymn, and then finally to one that sounds as if it were from the old lands of Burmecia before the fall of the worlds. Could the Esper be playing with the poor mouseling?

When the party enters the chamber, the room seems empty at first. There is nothing but that quiet hum of music in the air, as if it were slowly picking out various songs from their memories. A tribal chant of the werewolf people, a church hymn from back on Earth, even a chirrupy blurb of computer music.

Then, there is a flicker of light in the center of the room, followed by a rush of heat and the fan of great wings. The warmth doesn't harm them, but every fan of the bird's wings seems to bring another wave of it over them.

"It... has been a long time." The rumbling voice of the Esper resounds in the room, his plumed head lifting to regard each of them. "You dare seek me again after what you have done, werewolf? I will not be used for darkness. Not again." The wings ruffle.

The others, though, they seem to confuse the great Esper, who looks at each in turn. "Who are these? Not seekers of my power but..." He leans his head in towards Maira, "Kindred spirits perhaps?" The bird's beak comes within mere feet of her.
Avira Avira frowns as she enters the chamber and finds herself listening to a choir singing, in english, 'Light of Mine.' She looks around quickly as if trying to spot something that she expects to be there-like said choir. She finds nothing.

Then, out of nowhere, she starts sneezing a lot. "Argh, gotta be the dust-" she says, rubbing her nose. Then the esper speaks and Avira falls deathly silent.

She knows the stories, man. She knows better than to sass an esper. She's not Isaac Hanlon after all. Furthermore, this one sounded pretty irritated already-though directed at Skoll himself. To the rest of them...confusion?

But as the great bird's head moves towards Maira, Avira steps a little closer to her best friend, perhaps ready to intercept.
Faruja Senra Faruja looks at Deel sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "Naught to worry of , my dear! Not to worry about!| Reassures the rat to the program. Strang organics indeed!

The Templar sighs himself, ,,then smiles. ''And I would have them no other way. It makes you interesting my dear, and gives you that triumphant, stubborn spitit I so adore."

Then, they're off! He tries to ignore all the d'awws going on. Faruja stops, his frown and glare only increasing as the music changes. "DO NOT MOCK ME, YE DAMNED ESPER! DUELS HAVE BEEN FOUGHT OVER LESS IN MY COUNTRY!" Couple that with spear-waving. Yup, someone's very unhappy. Still, he follows along. "'Twould do little good to have you walk into the den of an esper unguarded. Besides, Hati here needs her brother." Nod.

Fire, and a big flaming bird. Faruja puts on his bravest face, but is definitely shaking. Still, he holds the Esper's gaze, shakey legs and weapon looking quite ready to skewer the Phoenix should it make any wrong movemenets.
Maira The song Maira hears is not that of a church hyme, or even a popular ballad. It is...strange. It is the haunting song of the faith with a background of deep drums like the thumming of a heartbeat. It is beautiful and primal like fire itself. Maira's expression is one of quiet awe as Phoenix rises and spreads his fiery wings, her magic responding by lighting her up like a torch. A familiar sight to her friends.

As Phoenix draws near her she reaches her hand upward slowly toward his beak, smiling with pure wonder. "You are beautiful...amazing..." she breathes.

Then Faruja gets all huffy. Ohhhh Faruja! Why do you have to be stupid at a time like this!? Maira turns her head toward Faruja, eyes wide, her body sheathed in flame. "Faruja," she says his name only, but she is quite clearly scolding him and warning him at once. Please Faruja, don't be an idiot.

Maira looks back to the Esper, wondering if he would let her touch him. "I thought I felt you before...there was a world shard, a phoenix feather...the fire crystal..." then Maira shakes her head, brow furrowing as she looks to Skoll. "You've been here before?"
Deelel Deelel seems to find the hymn fascinating, but she does stop humming it after a moment. There's other things to do about it, a being born of science, technology and machinery being moved by the hymn? What would the Yevonites think of that? She looks about the room for a moment as she keeps her wits about her then something forms before them. The basic takes a step back stunned at what she's seen. She's not had peaceful encounter with powerful entries of magic like this very often. She's only seen them evoked in combat.

"I am Deelel. I am a program."

She answers honestly to the creature there's no reason to lie, right? She looks up at Phoenix for a moment. Before she looks to Faruja for a moment and tilts her head at him for a moment.

"Lower you weapon, if they wanted to fight us? I think we'd be attacked already."

Deelel makes no hostile movie but the fact this being has a history with Skoll is a bit telling, thankfully Deelel is one willing to give second chances. She will hold back and also let Skoll explain things.
Skoll Ulfang Skoll walks bravely towards the Phoenix, and comes to halt at a respectable distance. "It's been a very long time." Skoll confirms to the massive bird of life and rebirth. When the Esper speaks, the werewolf bows his head and goes through one knee in order to show his respect.

"I indeed dare to do just that, Lord of Life." Skoll answers the Phoenix. He glances back towards Maira, and slightly shakes his head. "I have not." He then turns his gaze back up at the Esper, his tail nervously swishing around when Faruja begins to shout at the Phoenix.

"FARUJA!" Unlike Maira, his voice is far harsher. In fact, with how rare it is to hear Skoll shout, it might come across as somewhat startling to have the Werewolf bark the Burmecian's name like that. "Show respect. I appreciate that you would stand up for me, but there is no need the threaten Lord Phoenix."

His gaze cants up once more. "These are my friends, Lord Phoenix." Skoll answers the summon. "My family."

He pauses, and then adds; "Darkness once had me. But as a bearer of so much light, you must surely know... that darkness was not my own. I have never lost my noble heart." He notes, laying a hand to his chest. He'd never lost that noble heart... but he'd still done unspeakable things for the Gaudium Lords.
Hati The Phoenix allows Maira's touch, the beak feeling warm beneath her touch. "You honor me, young one." He murmurs, but his head tilts as he listens to her tale. "We exist in many forms, in this world and in others. It is rare for a mortal to sense our presence. You must be... very special."

The great Esper doesn't seem particularly worried about Faruja's weapon-brandishing. In fact, the only thing he does is pick up a talon and form it into a cage around the mouse, looking down with a head that is nearly twice the size of the Burmecian. "Don't hurt him!" Hati shouts. The younger werewolf had stayed behind until this point, but she bristles at the sight, looking as if she might attack the Esper in defense of her mate.

Phoenix all but ignores her for now. "You misunderstand me, little one. We spirits serve no one god, no one belief. We exist in all and even if only in myth and legend. If one offends you, then please, ease your mind by seeing me from the light of another's eyes. I am life, death, rebirth, and the flame of passion within even your heart."

With that said, the Phoenix lifts his clawed cage from around the mouse, shifting his wings once more, his long tail swaying over the ground. Hati rushes forward and stands at Faruja's side, then, as if she were going to defend him from the spirit, though her fur is puffed up as if she were quite afraid of the sight.

Skoll's voice draws his attention back, watching the wolf's show of respect. "A strange ... family. But I suppose we make our own." His wings fold down, "I know the darkness was not your own, but it was used to chain me and the others." He seems unsettled. "Will this family of yours vouch that they will keep that darkness from returning? That you will not taint our power again?"
Faruja Senra Maira is on fire. This is normal, but for once, Faruja is actually cowed by the woman. His two ears flick, and he lowers his weapon. It's echoed by Deel, and then Skoll actually /shouts/ at him. With a deep sigh, the rat relents. "...Sorry." Then his gaze turns back to the Phoenix. There's no weapon pointing, but there's not much trust in his eye towards the creature.

SStuck in a cage of flames, the ratling's eye goes wide. Old fears, and screams fill his head...then the creature speaks, and his eye catches sight of the wolfess, heedlessly rushing to protect him.

The Templar's fear subsides, just for a moment. Huff! "...So there are such myths." Agrees the rat, not quite able to bristle against the utterly reasonable argument of the Phoenix.

What he does do, however, is stand far too close for Hati. His tail clings to hers. His gaze is soft, worried, afraid, and more than a llittle appreciative. He whispers to her. "You and I both are far too reckless for our own good. Though it seems you have the brains of the pair of us." EEven he, in retrospect, can admit that was stupid.

"A wolf doth naught dwell in chains, oh storied Esper. NNor shalll I see a dear friend tainted once again, by these Gaudium Lords, or any other."
Avira Terror fills Avira for a few moments as Faruja lashes out and the phoenix seems to strike at him without as much of a glance. This contrasts strangely with the gentle interaction between the esper and Maira. It's obvious that the fire mage would not need defending-furthermore, now that Avira is reminded of that world shard in the presence of the fire crystal, she too remembers that incident. She had no affinity with fire, though and had actually been magically sapped in its presence.

Quietly she nods, comforted by Phoenix's explanation of his role in the world-no, all the worlds. Phoenix was everywhere. He was the representation of an ideal.

When it asks a question, only then does Avira finally muster her courage to speak to the esper. "Yes! He'll never fall to the darkness again! The Gaudium Lords and Shadow Lords won't have him. He'll have /us/." Avira smiles.
Maira Maira, quite enamored, touches the great Esper's beak gently. She slowly moves her hands upward to touch the feathers along the side of his face, stroking softly as she would her chocobo. Her smile in response to his words is both radiant and shy. "Heheh...or crazy, I could be that too," she replies lightly, a little self-depricating laughter.

She falls quiet when Phoenix speaks, smiling serenly as she stands by the flaming Esper, surely experiencing one of the single most amazing moments of her young life. She looks to Faruja, nodding to him a little as he goes quiet inside the cage Phoenix had materialized. Poor Faruja, this is difficult for him. Then, to Avira, she smiles widely, nodding. "That's right. We'll watch out for him! That is what we all do for each other," she replies, looking up toward Phoenix again, smile growing.
Deelel Deelel hangs back at this point as Phoenix and Maira start to talk a little bit. She didn't think she'd find someone more attuned to fire, but here she is with this bringer of life. She also sees it's got a level head for dealing with Faruja and not seeking a fight. That makes her relax a little bit and she says.

"Yes I would do as such."

She seems to meat what she's saying too people have reached out for her sand she'll do the same.

"We stand against those who would seek to drag Skoll back into the night."
Skoll Ulfang It would appear that the test indeed asked for his 'Pack'. The werewolf looks at those behind him, as one by one they word their faith in him. "Faruja..." The werewolf looks at the ratling, caught in a cage.

"Avira..." The werewolf's yellow eyes look at the female warrior he would easily call his best friend. He knew he could trust in her. His gaze skips to Maira. He didn't know Maira as well as he wishes he did. But through Avira, he'd come to meet the fire mage and befriended her as well. And she certainly seems to be enjoying this moment.

"Heh." He seems amused when even Deelel pipes up. He turns his head back at the Phoenix, and has a rather warm expression on his face. "It's nice to have such good friends." He whispers, while bringing a hand to his heart. He squeezes his eyes shut for a moment.

How had he ever been able to run around as a loner? He's starting to realize... that he wants a family of sorts.
Hati One by one, the Phoenix listens to their affirmations, head tilting as his eyes take in each of them with a steady, unblinking stare. "It seems you were right. They are... 'family' indeed." The Esper creels once, his huge form diminishing into a far smaller bird, which quickly does a race around the room before flying right through Skoll's chest. Power spreads through him, like a warmth that radiates from the heart through to his extremities.

Only then, does the smaller Phoenix return to the center of the chamber, flapping his wings to hover in mid-air. "My power is yours again, summoner, but use it wisely. There will be no third chances."

The Esper turns to Maira then, and there is a spark of amusement. "As for you, my fire-kin... I have a gift." He flares a wing, and above Maira, a small pendant appears, the amber of the stone containing a small downy feather as if it had come from a very young Phoenix. "It is only the start of a journey, if you choose to take it."

The Esper flares once more to his larger size. One wing sweeps forward, forming a portal of flame. "I must bid you farewell for now. Step through the flames, and you will be returned to the surface." The fire sweeps around the Phoenix, who seems to be consumed by it, disappearing within. Quietly, the hymns return, but the room remains dark.
Maira Maira watches with wide eyes as Phoenix shrinks himself, accepting the affirmations to fly forward and /into/ Skoll. He has accepted! Amazing! She is quite happy for Skoll, flashing him a bright, proud smile and a thumbs up. She'd hug him maybe, but you know, the whole being on fire thing. Don't think he'd appreciate it much.

Her eyes follow the bird form as the esper flies back over toward her, hovering above. She blinks in confusion, but reaches up automatically to take it, closing her fingers around the stone in awe. "Thank you..." she replies, truly humbled.

"Bye bye!" she calls as Phoenix disappears into the flame, looking down at the pendant in her hand again, astonished. "W-well then..." she begins, trailing off, before she steps into the fire to be brought back to the surface.
Skoll Ulfang Skoll rises when Hati speaks of family, and the Phoenix comes to race through the room. The werewolf closes his eyes, waiting for the Esper to make its decision. And when he finally pierces through his heart with its fiery body, the werewolf throws his head back and lets out a gasp. For a moment, it almost seems as if he's about to fall.

Within, warmth and power returns. A flame lighting within both his heart and his eyes. Some amount of 'vigor' and 'life' returning to him. A life and vigor that none but Hati had ever seen him have. His hair seems to be given a semblance of more 'liveliness', and when he finally comes to a normal standing pose, there's something in his eyes.

Something more golden than yellow. "Thank you, Lord Phoenix. I will not let you down. The darkness will nevermore find vestige within mine heart." Skoll answers the noble bird. He trusted in Phoenix, and felt like this was - besides Carbuncle - his easiest challenge. The others were... not nearly as agreeable with him.

He steps aside in order to give the Esper access to Maira, and watches the Esper give the amber gift to her. He's surprised, actually. He'd never seen an Esper give something physical to someone before like this. "Thank you... all of you." Skoll whispers, even as the Phoenix disappears.
Avira Very interesting. In this case, the formation of Skoll's 'pact' was depended on what /they/ had said. "It's the truth." she whispers to Skoll peacefully, "We won't let them have you again."

A curious look is upon her face as Phoenix gives Maira a gift of some kind. She edges closer to peer over her shoulder at the object. "Ahhh, so lucky, Maira~"

This scene contained 63 poses. The players who were present were: Faruja Senra, Skoll Ulfang, Avira, Deelel, Maira, Hati