Obsidian Command

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The mice will play.

Posted on 27 Feb 2024 @ 10:50pm by Ensign Amelia "Mia" Estasi

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: Mia's Quarters.
2273 words - 4.5 OF Standard Post Measure

Mia was something of an enigma, while in Sickbay she was absolutely organized and a bundle of nerves for many of her tasks when she arrived home she was able to escape. Escaping to Mia didn't mean the holodeck exactly, nor the vast collection of books that she had on her shelves which she adored, no...it meant her unique pastime. A network of sensors was around her quarters and when she stepped into the ring of silver that was on the floor it activated the first part of the system. There was a pair of gloves and a pair of glasses that hung from a hook on the wall next to the ring of silver.

Slipping the gloves on, which were also filled with tiny sensors, she buttoned them up placed the glasses over her eyes and closed them. She got disoriented if she activated them with her eyes open. The ring began to shimmer under her feet and the inner circle on the floor itself changed to a holographic white stone. The ring had solidified into a disk, and now that it was active it would move, allow her to move without going anywhere in the physical world. It would respond to her body's movements like she was suspended in a gel. She had no idea how it worked in reality. "Log-in" she murmured and that activated the second system allowing her to slip into a world created by the ancient humans. Azeroth. The game itself had changed from being played on the computer, to VR and some enterprising soul had set up the game in individualized holo-setups that would link to an interface to allow playing in 'real time' from anywhere in the universe that a signal could be wrought from. There was sometimes some linkup delay, but it was still fun, to play the game even if she was playing alone. There were a few people aboard the station that had similar setups to her own, she knew. Occasionally they would play together.

When she opened her eyes Mia was transformed. Her quarters were gone and she was transported into the fantastic world. When she looked at herself, she bore gloves of white leather that terminated in a bright red gemstone set in golden filigree. If her helmet was off, there would be vibrant magenta hair that cascaded down her back. Her skin if she could see it would have been a blue so deep it was nearly black. A snout nudged her and she stroked the enormous stone dog that sat beside her. It was something out of ancient Chinese lore, and the game used its lore well. He was called Wuhao, and he was carved out of amethyst and was gilded to perfection. Its collar, bracelets, teeth, claws and the auspicious clouds that decorated its carved hide were all a bright metallic gold. The mane on its head was black, with touches of gunmetal grey. To her other side sat a similar creature which was currently scratching it's ear. He was identical to the amethyst one, only this one was carved from a single sapphire. Pengxi was a vibrant living blue, with copper markings and violet shadowing. "Good boys" she praised them, as she rose from the crouch she'd landed in. An ornate bow carved with feathers and a beak was over her shoulder, and the arrows that she fired from it hung on a quiver at her belt.

"Where did I land?" Mia asked looking around to see what zone she'd logged out in. Stately arches in stone grey and an electric blue rose darkly against the fluffy white clouds. Gossamer sheets of a near colorless material glittered as they hung from rings that connected them to pylons, or were they pillars? Cascades of vines and lavender flowers tumbled from the tops of each one, and filled the air with the scent of life.

Mist rolled up from pools just beyond where the eye could spot, and cast glittering motes of water over the cobblestones that both resembled a mosaic in their patterning, and still had the free form not quite perfect feel to them that made the place more realistic. The effect was breathtaking, and she turned herself all the way around to enjoy the panorama that had been painted for her.

"Come Aspirant."

Her eyes rose to the finely figured male, who spoke to her. Blue of skin and white of hair, his muscular chest was bound by what looked like a roman toga.

Why can't men in reality look like that?

He was leading her somewhere, and she was happy enough to follow. There were several words floating at eye level to the left side of her field of view. They were just a shade darker than the corresponding scenery meaning that she'd not yet completed this section of the quest, and she read them. 'Enter the First Reflection Chamber."

A delicate chime sounded when she found her way to the entrance of the first Reflection Chamber. It was a trio of notes that seemed to hang in the air and grasp onto the walls. An elaborate archway carved into the very stone of the cliff face behind it, and the blue mosaic inlayed in the walls was something of beauty. White, fernlike plants erupted from the beds to either side of the door, and swayed in the fragrant breeze.

I love that they include the olfactory as well in the setup, it just makes it that much more real.

The cobblestones turned from grey to brown and before she knew it her feet crunched on gravel, though it wasn't a long descent through the earth. Her guide was now Kleia, a female who was just as unearthly beautiful as the man before stood waiting for her. A brilliant yellow questionmark hovered above her head. Mia giggled at that, and strode more quickly to the center of the cavernous room.

"Gather yourself. This is how you will find your way before the Archon. I am certain of it. " The woman passed Mia a handful of coins which she dropped into a pouch. They clinked which made Mia smile softly. It was lovely that the currency in the game was weightless. How would one carry thousands of gold pieces anyway without resorting to magic? Shaking her head she realized that her guide was not yet done speaking.

"This situation may feel familiar, Mia. When you found Pelagos, he was undergoing a similar rite. As you saw, it can end in violence. This will be the first time you are asked to draw out the burdens that held you to a mortal life. It may be a painful process. It is for many. For you, this is the path you must walk to attain your goals. To earn the right to stand among us, to be heard. So we may carry your message to the Archon herself. Center yourself. When you are prepared, we will begin. "

"I am prepared, Kleia."

I'm as prepared as I can be I suppose. I wonder what puzzle is built into the chamber?

"I have readied some items in the next chamber. They will help you in the task at hand." The blue skinned woman pointed to another massive archway to the left hand side, and indicated that she should proceed in that direction with a flick of her hands. Since she was accepting the quest Mia simply shrugged and walked in the direction she had indicated. As she departed Kleia spoke again "This is a moment of total focus, Mia. Do not let your thoughts wander from the task at hand."

Task at hand, right.

It was cooler down here, and there was a moisture to the air that clung to her in a way it hadn't outside. A tiny trickling waterfall filled a pool clearly dug by hand and edged by river stones. When she peered into its depths it was also carefully cobbled and planted to ensure the safety of those entering it. A jug of water stood on a hexagonal tile just outside of the waters rippling edge. Two rugs lay on the ground beside, with pillows adding to the ambiance. She picked up one of the blue triangular pillows, squishing it between her hands before dropping it back down onto the long tubular pillow.

The ritual vestments lay beside the pool on a table, clearly meant to be put on after a ritual bath. Fine. She stripped off arms and armor, laying them on the rug she'd just dropped the pillow to. It was softer than she'd thought, and not a rug but a pad. Maybe people were so exhausted after their cleansings that they just slept here in the cave. "Stay" she told her dogs, and the pair obediantly sat on the edge of the pool. "Guard" They would protect her while she bathed and did the other ritual bits. With her body finally bare, she stepped into the pool, with a moment of hesitation. The water was warm, just a degree or two sh y of being hot and it cascaded over her body in a waterfall. It fell from the hole in the ceiling iwth more force than she'd expected. Raising her face to the falling water, she relaxed completely letting the perfectly warmed water soothe her.

Why was I expecting it to be cold?

A chime sounded, one tone out of the three that were in the chord when she'd first entered the place. Fine, fine...she was on a timer. The water dissappeared from her skin as she stepped out, evaporating in a nimbus of light that left her skin glittering. An icon appeared next to her name, and it showed that she'd been cleansed when she looked at it closely.

The vestment was basically a dress over a silver edged breast band, and once she'd secured the breast band with a knot it looked very much like a toga. A belt held it closed around her hips, and sandals laced up to her knees. The garment left more of her bare than she felt she would like under normal circumstances. It was the feel of it against her bare skin that made the entire thing worthwhile. It was like the softest combination of metal and silk threads and it made a very delicate sound when she moved.

I love this game. I'll have to get myself something similar when I return to reality.

A flicker of glitter fell from the bell, designed to draw the eye. Here, a bell was known as a vesper and if it gleamed it was designed to be rung. There was no mallet to strike it, so she gave it a shove. The clapper on the inside sounded, and the chime actually rang through her hands. The vibration carried through her whole body and sent shivers to her sandal clad feet.

"I would only continue if you are absolutely certain you are ready, Mia. A cleansing of this kind can be dangerous, and I will not be able to aid you beyond words. You must travel this path alone."

"I am ready to begin" Mia answered, initiating this part of the quest with her words.

Kleia nodded, shaking white curls which were contained behind her head. "In the chamber below, you will confront and subdue your deepest memories. Few aspirants advance to this trial so quickly. If you succeed, you will have proven yourself to the ascended."

One wonders exactly what THAT entails.

She wondered, because she hadn't done this quest before as a hunter. This was a new character for her, and she allowed her hand to fall to the quiver of arrows on her belt. Confront and subdue usually meant a fight, and she was more than ready for one. Three pillars of black glass stand in the next circular room. They ripple from the inside, with a shifting shadow that feels vaguely wrong. So, of course the path is to walk up and touch the first of the pillars. A discordant chime sounds, and it seems out of place in the quiet air. Only a moment passed before the rippling surface of the mirror reacted to her touch. An inky black tendril wraps around her wrist from within the pillar. It pierces her wrist and draws a scream from the startled Mia. The wound bleeds a shadowy fluid, that can't decide if its black or silver. Her gloved hand clasps over the wound, trying to bind it before she gets sucked into the mirror. That however, isn't what was happening. Her blood was changing forms now. Coalescing into a creature of shadow, without legs it wriggles and writhes like a slug towards her. A maw began to open in the center of its body, revealing shadowy teeth that clash together angrily as it moves in her direction.

Throwing herself back from the shadowy blob, she fires an arrow at it, which imbeds into the open maw and slowly vanishes. A health bar appears above it, a tiny bite taken out of the line of scarlet. It is now ringed with an aura of red, and her dogs step between her and the threat. She did NOT want that thing to touch her. So, she drew another arrow and aimed.

Time to get to work.

She fired.

OOC: Some of the text is directly from a quest within World of Warcraft. I'm an avid player, so I thought it might be fun to play it here as well.


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