DrBleep's Tale Sandbox 3

Arcane lamps emit a soft red glow, illuminating immaculately decorated book cases and shelves. Neatly bound books and scrolls made of sea grass paper lend a sense of organized fullness to the lofty rooms. Silence pervades, only broken by the occasional shuffling of a scroll by the lone occupant of the royal library.

A young Finnwoman stands in one of the aisles, sorting through several books and scrolls on arcane-mechanical engineering. Golden scales glisten in the lamplight, their luster only matched by the long strands of equally golden blonde hair emanating from her head. The royal crest1 decorates her robes. She holds a book with a metal sigil.

Finned ears twitch, the silence disrupted by the groan of the main doors somewhere in the distance. Metal boots impact tile and splashes of water2 draw nearer. A sigh escapes the lips of Princess Hege Aquailian, and she braces for further disruption. Her hand moves through the air with frantic urgency, calling upon the Rustic3 character for extended sight. The metal sigil on the book swims, before focusing on a clear image of two royal guards following…

Uh oh, uh oh! She fumbles the book. Did he detect it? No no, hasn't drawn any counters. He's already here.

She holds the book away and out of sight, turning slightly to have her back to the approaching group. In her free hand she holds a scroll open, watching the sigil out of the corner of her eye as she pretends to scan the shimmering, flowing characters and images.

The sigil shifts perspective, showing more guards entering the library, carrying canisters marked with the Rustic for fire. They begin pouring liquid along the ground, dousing shelves.

Oh. Oh no. That's why. Her stomach drops. The footsteps stop, the pungent odor of burning torches and slight crackle of flames disrupting the silence. They've got torches. What are they- are they going to burn me alive? What am I going to do, oh mither I can't br-

"Your Royal Highness?" Skreyja Holgota's greasy, charismatic voice slides across Hege's finned ears. She ignores him.

Ok, ok. Calm yourself. Be as cool as the ice across the Fesslnof mountains when the snow falls. There are eight, no, ten of them. Maybe if I-

"Princess Hege, it is rude to ignore the Steward when he is talking to you." A hand non-too gently grabs her arm and spins her to face the green-scaled, sneering face of Skreyja. Were she not so revolted by the stench of unfettered ambition and slime on his breath, he might have been considered handsome.

"Oh I'm sorry Skreyja, I didn't hear you come in." She lies, her lips curving up into a forced smile. He's not even pretending to be nice. This is bad.

"Don't play games with me princess, we both know your hearing isn't impaired. Don't apologize, just be better." The sneer doesn't leave his features, and becomes more contemptuous by the second. He releases her wrist having got her attention, and his hand goes to his robe, wiping. "You are to come with me immediately, we have very important matters to discuss."

"Ok, where do you want to go to discuss… the map room?" She steadies her shaking hand, holding it to her chest, keeping the book out of sight. Don't let them see fear. Cooperate, buy yourself time, think of a plan, if you can just get out of this space-

"No I won't have any of that backtalk, don't ma- Sorry what?" He stops mid-sentence and blinks. His scaled brow furrows, and his lips purse.

"If it's so important that you have to find me after the glimmering hour, then it must be urgent. We shouldn't delay." She blinks back, looking between the guards, and Skreyja. Their expressions reflect similar levels of confusion. If I knock them off their feet with iss vindr, it will blow out the torches and give me a headstart. Just have to angle it the right way-

Skreyja's eyes narrow, the confusion slipping from his visage. "What are you up to?"

"What?" Oh no, he's on to me. Her grasp on iss vindr falters and fizzles in her head. She backs up slowly, trying to shield the book.

Skreyja advances, keeping the distance close. "You never come when called, never acquiesce so easy." He hisses.

"No I'm just distracted and busy when you call." She lies. He knows I'm stalling. Can't think. She grasps at the characters again.

"Lies!" He spots the book as her back presses up against a shelf, forced to bring it to her chest. "What is that? Give it to me now."

Her eyes dart to the Sigil, the other guards advancing on her from the sides, clubs drawn. Out of time. Vindr returns to her, a maelstrom forming in her mind around the character, and she reaches for the ice sheets.

Time seems to slow as Skreyja yanks the book from her arms, and sees the sigil as the lights begin to dance along Hege's scales. The air fills with the power of the Mither. "Magic! Stop her!"

I'll freeze them all in place. No one will be harmed. They'll face proper judgement. Mither please give me strength. She grasps at Iss.

Skreyja leaps backwards, the stench of untempered magistry fuming from his fingertips as a barrier forms before him. The startled guards fumble the torches, dropping them into the canal where they extinguish.

Hege's eyes snap open iss ice forms, pulsing, carried by the maelstrom in her mind. Got it.

A crushing pain to the back of her skull. Stunned, iss is lost. Aldrnari4 burns as an inferno, plucked from the side of the containers, taking its place.5

Her head turns slowly as she falls forward, a guard carrying through on their swing with the club. Her mouth jerks open, the character Aldrnari burning across her chest through her robes, a maelstrom of wind rushing from her throat.

She screams. She screams as an inferno bursts from her lungs, carried forward by the wind. She screams as the guard disintegrates with a bloodcurdling scream. She screams as the typhoon of flaming winds ignites the vitrolic fuels. She screams as Skreyja scrambles from the building, robes aflame, skin burned. She screams in agony as the master character courses across her flesh, attempting to consume her. She screams as she impacts the ground. And when she can scream no more, everything goes black.

"This way if you would." The guards uniform rustles softly as she leads out onto the freshly paved asphalt of Site-212-A's airfield. She's followed by a small entourage of Finnfolk, roughly ten guards circled around two individuals.

The airfield, with it's five runways is a flurry of activity, buildings and tents raised on the outskirts practically overnight, dealing with streams of supplies and people. The roar of planes landing and departing has, for the moment, ceased in the early windy hours of the Scottish morning.

Brynhild asks if Hege is sure about what she's doing without revealing her identity. Mention symbol of head of royal guard.

A brisk cold wind blows across the airfield, disturbing the second figure's long trench coat, emblazoned with what can only be described as hastily assembled knockoffs of the royal coat of arms. Description of gaunt/thin state due to having been locked away and fed minimally for so many years. Mention she doesn't respond, lost in her thoughts.

Brynhild gets her attention, and asks again.

Hege affirms that she needs to do this. Needs to face down the suffering he caused her and get her own closure. Don't say explicitly.

Attention shifts away as there is a crash and a slight cry of surprise. Looks in that direction and finds a guard having pushed a tech down. Hege orders the guard to stop, and rushes over, starts helping the tech pick up their papers. Tech stares the entire time. Tech is ushered off after giving a brief thank you. Proceed to the Cessna.

Heat and flames licked at the shelves and rows of scrolls and manuscripts all around, thick black smoke congealing near the ceiling in a river of crushing suffocation. Webbed fingers drag the golden scaled, lithe Finnfolk along the floor. Her royal robes are quickly coating in smoke and ash, blood oozing from a laceration running from forehead up into her hair.

Gotta get out. Gotta get out.

She'd manage to blast the traitorous guards back, and knock him over, but not before the fire had been set. The rustics, ancient symbols of the original languages, had come from a place of terror and rage at the callous disregard for history and knowledge. Naturally, it had only helped the embers spread into flames.

There, the door out. All she had to do was reach it, and then help would be there, surely the Magisters had seen the fire. They must already be here to put it out, surely there was someone who would help save her from Skreyja's clutches.

The searing heat of the fire had begun to evaporate the layer of saline water on the floor, and was quickly drying Hege's scales. Her head throbs, and her vision swirls with dizziness but it's either crawl or die where she lay. Every motion is agonizing, but finally she breaches the threshold of the doorway, dragging herself out into the cool, moist air of gud-Baldin's spring air.

Her thumping heart stops, and her stomach drops. No one is outside except Skreyja. A scream for help dies on her lips, as a harsh jolt to the back of the head sends her into darkness.

bounces in the air, roughly stirring Princess Hege Aquailian from the unpleasant nightmare that was the beginning of her imprisonment.

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