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Bird-brained Dreams
(2014-03-20 - 2014-03-24)
No description.
Lionheart Sleep is a solace for some people. It is a place where their mind can escape into other worlds or get lost in flights of fancy. For others, dreams can be signs of darker things looming on the horizon. Yet, it's neither of these that pulls on the fire-mage's subconscious tonight. There are no pleasant whispy castles in the clouds and no hellish nightmares of the Shadow Lords and their looming threat. Not tonight.

Instead, it begins in fire.

From the dark expanse of sleep, it starts as a flicker and spreads into a wildfire that brings light. Maira emerges from the center of this light, as if she were born from the flames themselves. They seem like a part of her, extensions of her body, driving back the night.

It becomes clear, quite quickly that this is no ordinary dream. Everything is crisp and clear. The sound of the crackling fire, the smell of woodsmoke, the warmth that never seems to burn. This seems more like another world rather than a simple dream.

Where the fire burns, the ashes shift to reveal that there is a strange sort of plate beneath her feet. Here and there, a bit clears enough to see glimpses of a red light as if through stained glass.
Maira Flames and flickering light, the warmth of a fire...Maira has had dreams that started this way before.

Luckily, she didn't wake up this time to find she'd set the bed on fire.

No, here it deviates. Maira steps through the fire, frowning thoughtfully as she walks cautiously forward. What is this place? She remembers going to sleep, but this doesn't /feel/ like a dream...was she doing it again? Sleep walking? Sometimes, that used to happen, though it is less frequent now that she doesn't have Uist for some reason.

Blinking, Maira looks down to her feet at the disc she stand on, her brow drawing together in curiosity. She kneels down to try to have a closer look.

Is that stained glass? "Huh...oh boy, am I having one of /those/ dreams?" she wonders aloud. She knows that sometimes, strange things happen in dreams. Angantyr and Avira have both told her they have had odd dreams in the past.

"Hello...?" she asks then, looking around herself. Surely there would be a narrator or something!?
Lionheart One of /those/ dreams? Perhaps. Yet, every time the ashes shift to reveal one piece of the puzzle, another escapes beneath them. There is no beautiful image in stained glass as some might have experienced in the past. At least, if there is, it remains hidden in the ashes.

Ashes are something that Phoenix is all too familiar with. All around, the fire begins to die out, turning into only faint embers that flicker in the air. The wind swirls around, building the ash into a pile even as the room grows darker.

Then, there is a pulse. Something glows beneath the surface of the mound of ashes. It thrums like a heartbeat. "Welcome, daughter of ashes..." Someone asked for a narrator? The light moves in time with the voice, as if it were coming from whatever lies hidden there. "Soon, we shall see each other again, face to face... but for now, my fire must find a place to grow."

Images flash across her mindscape. The powerful form of Phoenix, the great bird with his flaming plumage and brilliant colors and his promise to find her again. There is no sign of the Esper in this dark place, though. There is only that flicker of light.

"All things live and die. It is a cycle like the rising and seting of the sun." More scenes flicker in quick succession. They seem like disjointed memories from many places. A child being born with golden hair, a lion cub being held up to the sunlight, a deer calling out for his lost mother, and a girl kneeling at the shrine of her ancestors. "Life goes on. It always rises from the ashes, and so must you."
Maira Maira continues to try to make out something in the glass below her, some sort of pattern that might give her a clue...but the fire burns down to ember and ash, the soft grey substance begins to obscure everything but mere glimpses. Is there a wind blowing? Maira looks up to watch the embers drift, noticing then the ashes that are being swept into a pile nearby.

Then, a heartbeat echoes, striking a chord in her. She straightens, feeling like a string on a guitar just plucked. That voice! Maira smiles then, a brilliant and warm smile, thought it fades slightly as she continues to listen. Daughter of Ashes? Well...doesn't sound very cheery, does it? But she supposes that its true enough. She's seen so much destruction.

Maira takes a step toward the flickering light, amber eyes wide, reflecting the light. "A place to grow...?" she asks, trailing off as images flash through her unconsciousness. Confusing images, glimpses of people she does not know, though some of the backgrounds look that the pride lands? That writing...she'd seen that in the Land of Dragon's, hadn't she?

"I must rise from the ashes...?" she asks, hesitantly. "I don't understand."
Lionheart "All things come in time." The voice replies with wisdom and patience of one who has seen many lifetimes and many worlds. The Espers are something unique to the Worlds of Ruin, and yet there are echos of them in Phantasia and in many of the worlds beyond. The 'circle of life' is only one of those connections - those threads that bind the worlds even when there were no pathways between them. "All things grow. Children become adults. Affection blossoms into love."

Now the images are not of foreign places, but of her own life. Childhood memories throughout the years, showing some long forgotten events of her life, as if the great bird had plucked them out with his talons to put them on display so that she might remember. Then, memories more recent, mistakes and misteps and the strange relationships that have formed since the fall of the worlds. "You have grown. You have become someone powerful and wild. Yet we all fall sometimes. We all make mistakes." Again, one by one, those moments where she's failed come to mind. Each one plays out, and then disappears into a pile of ash around her.

"We are kindred spirits, you and I... As I rise from my ashes, so shall you. Each mistake is a new beginning." The light pulses beneath the mound of ash once more, as if the light were a beacon, drawing her forward. "But the path I set you on is not an easy one. We can fly together, side by side... but first I have a task for you, for I am too weak in this form to do it myself." A bit of ash falls from the mound, revealing what looks to be a top of a faintly glowing egg.

Could that be what this is about? Had she found him at the end of a cycle - when the last fire burns away into only ash? If that is true, then perhaps this egg is the first step into something new.
Maira Maira stops moving forward, drifting down to her knees again, in awe as she had been the first time she'd spoken to the Esper back when she's helped Skoll gaint Phoenix's assistance. Seemed like a long time ago. She still wore her necklace, now that she'd taken it back from Rakassa, and reached up to brush her fingers over the smooth amber. Even in her dream, as this had to be, it was there.

Memories begin running through her like a freight train. Emotions hit her like a stormwall, bowling her over again and again. There are few moments of brightness in her early life, but those she sees would bring her to her knees if she weren't already. Memories of her mother before the distant look entered her eyes, memories of Uist, there for her when no one else had been. Then, the world falling...a desperate escape, the /screaming/...

Later, finding friends. Falling in love. Making mistakes...oh, they hurt. The feeling of failure, the feeling that she's stupid and will never manage to make the right decision...trusting, having trust broken...

Its all too much.

When the memories subside, pulling away from her like the tide, she's softly weeping. It takes her a few moments to clear her mind, focusing on that pulsing light to give her strength. It seems to beat in tune with her heart.

The Esper's next words give her hope, glimmering and beautiful. "Fly together..."

Maira reaches for the egg, gently placing her hands upon the shell, her movement reverent. "I'll help however I can," she tells the Esper, voice resolute.
Lionheart The Esper falls silent as she sorts through her own memories, but his presence seems to linger like the warmth of wings caped over her, defending her the worst of her thoughts. There is understanding there. Though these creatures may not be the same as those who walk these many earths, they have lived many lives through their summoners. Even this Phoenix has seen light and darkness along side her werewolf friend.

As her hand touches the shell of the egg, it is as if a warmth spreads through her, racing through her veins up into her heart. In that instant, every one of her senses is swept up with the feeling of flight. It travels at a gut-twisting speed, zooming over sights that are both familiar and strange. Where it finally lands is within that same temple that she and her companions had ventured into those weeks ago. There, the sight of a great golden statue sits. Formed into metal, the image of Phoenix seems to be guarding over a sort of brazier where fire still burns.

Something is missing, though. The egg. There is a spot in the center of the brazier where the egg should go, but it is missing. Someone has stolen this token of Phoenix from his temple. "The cycle is broken. I cannot be reborn until the egg is returned." The world seems to re-wind suddenly, as if someone has backed up a video recording.

A hazy image begins to play. Someone had followed them in into the cloister. Two shady looking characters in arabian garb seem to be tailing our heroes, but they stop at the sight of the golden statue. One is tall, athletically built, with a graying beard and a blue cape. The other is stocky and bald with a curling mustache that makes him look distinctly like some sort of cartoom villian. The two seem to argue for a moment before the bald one nabs the egg from the fire, shaking it in the air.

Then, hearing the return of the adventurers, the two share one glance before escaping again into the darkness. These two are professional thieves, that much is certain, but the return of their party had prevented further desecration of the temple, it seems.

"Find what has been taken beneath the sands. Follow the footsteps of fourty men." Ahh riddles...
Maira Maira's eyes go wide as she touches the egg and the feeling of flight takes her, sweeping her conscious thought away and racing. Gut renching, but Maira loves it! The thrill, the adrenaline! The feeling of flight is pure exhiliration.

The ride stops. The temple, she recognizes. The men there, she does not. The egg! They took the egg! How could they do something so terrible?! And how did they never notice that it was missing? Oh, no!

Maira feeling a smoldering anger rising. "I'll get it back! Then you can be reborn again," she says, holding the egg against her, even knowing its a dream. A True dream, but still a dream.

"The footsteps of fourty men...?" well, at least fourty would, assumably, be easier to find than just two...Oh boy, this was going to be difficult.
Lionheart The final image that flickers, if only briefly, is that of a golden hand. It seems to be on the clothing that the men were wearing. The image of the two thieves would be hard to forget, especially with the heart-felt plea on the part of the Esper who's essense seems to be held in her very hands. "Find them, daughter of ashes. Return what was stolen. Maybe along the way... you will find more than what you set out to seek." More riddles. The Espers can never make things easy, can they?

The egg in her fingers seems to dull slightly, as if what strength it had is dwindling. The light around them dims, the feeling of the moment fading away until there is nothing but the darkness behind her own eyelids.

Outside, a bird calls, as if signaling the coming dawn. Time to get up. Time to start a-new. There is adventure knocking, and your quest log is blinking. Better get started.

This scene contained 9 poses. The players who were present were: Lionheart, Maira