Mar 18, 2019 7:35 PM
James wakes up alone in a room
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Someone feels like sunlight, floating on a breeze. Shifting, changing, burning without kindling or smoke. Something that moves by fluttering like a ribbon or soaring like a hawk through the sky. Once, but no longer. The someone feels... directionless. Pulled adrift. Tied in place and pulled by a tide and unable to find purchase in anything within reach. Unable to find form where they once had one. Fizzling awkwardly under the skin instead of gracefully dancing through shapes. It's strange. Uncomfortable.

Oh, that's not the right word. That's not the right word at all.

Painful. Yes, that's the one. It hurts. The word didn't come to mind at first, because it's such a strange kind of pain. It hurts in two kinds of ways, from two different directions. The burning log, when before there had been a living tree. A tamed candlelight, flickering within a cold and tempered lantern, when before there had been wildfire. The pain of being broken and the pain of not being able to reach. Of trying to tear out of one's own skin in some mad bid for freedom, of twitching strangely in a way that would have been unnatural before. The horror of trying to twitch in a way that feels right, and it not going. Of trying to breathe and not knowing how to anymore, and suffocating in a room of clean air.

One confusing fumble cracks a bone that seems too-fragile. Another, scraping too-strong nails against stone. There is something around the throat of his soul, and he can't twist free -

But he can stop choking himself against it, and then at last, he can breathe. The air is strangely weighty and cold. His limbs are both too heavy and too light. The world spins and it stays far too still. Something reaches through his throat to hold something like his heart, but there's nothing there at all.

There is only a simple circular stone room, with a man lying in the center. A strange necklace of twisting gold and burning rubies hangs around his neck. There are deep scratches into the stone beside him, red with lingering heat. On one side of the curving wall, there is a door without a handle.

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He... remembers. He's not sure what, but he remembers. This is a room. That's a door. This... is a necklace. He wants to look at the necklace. He wants to take the necklace off to look at it.

It takes him a few seconds for it to occur to him that he can cause this to happen by using his hands, and a few seconds more for him to figure out how exactly to... do that.

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There does not seem to be a clasp to the necklace, and it's a bit too tight on him to fit past his jaw.

He might notice that he's not wearing anything else.

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He doesn't notice he's not wearing anything else as anything remarkable. He figures out how to work his legs to kneel down and examine the gouges on the floor more closely. It was probably he who made them, he concludes, after comparing the width of his fingers with each of them and with the half-remembered happenings of just before.

He's not sure when "before" was but he's sure he remembers something.

The stone's warm, and not in an uncomfortable way. Almost welcoming, that warmth. Right now, though, just pressing his hand against the stone isn't doing anything. He wonders if he has to do something else to go through stone like that again.

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It's not immediately obvious how he can do that again, because it wasn't obvious how he was doing it when he actually did it. He remembers reaching, stretching, but not quite with his fingers.

.... Maybe pushing with the something fizzling silently under his skin?

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He eventually does notice the thing, yes. It feels vaguely - wrong, like it wasn't meant to have a location like that, but given that it does... he tries it.

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When he pushes, the air where he pushes warms significantly. It doesn't quite create flame, but perhaps it could if he pushed harder.

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That's... right, yes. Better than the cold air. He ignores his previous idea of trying to replicate the gouges on the stone and brings his fingers closer to his eyes so he can examine them.

Then he pushes.

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His fingers glow with orange-yellow light, and gentle flame licks from his fingertips. The flame feels warm and comforting against his skin, and has a taste that he can detect with his... self. It tastes sweet, like some sort of fruit, with a hint of spice. Warm and honeyed and cozy, with just enough kick to keep things interesting.

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Oooooooh.

Can he make it bigger?

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He can!

He could fill this whole room with flame, if he liked.

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Man that sounds awesome he's gonna do it.

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What delicious, delicious fire! For a brilliant and delightful few moments it's the absolute best kind of warm.

... And then it starts to get a little uncomfortable. Too warm, maybe? His skin starts to crack in an alarming and painful fashion. Yeah, that's. That's maybe too warm.

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- okay no too warm is bad how about he not this thanks.

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He can not this! The warmth doesn't immediately fade once he stops pushing on it, but it does stop getting worse. The walls soak up the heat rather well, for all that the floor melted under his fingers earlier. Soon enough he's at a pleasant warm that does not crack and blister his skin, and he can watch the cracks begin to sew together. With the cracks fades the pain, and he's at a pleasant level of appropriately warm again.

Though it did feel kind of good to have it be that warm. Just for a little while. Before his skin started to crack.

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He wonders if he can find a good middle ground where it's the good warm rather than the bad warm.

He tries it.

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Well, maybe if he turns up the warm gently he can reach that nice pleasant warm without—

—Ow, ow, no, nope, that's the blisters again, the warm feels so good and yet his skin is agony, why this.

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why this!!!! He does not enjoy this at all it is super unpleasant and unfair.

He guesses he can keep it at a suboptimal amount of hot since one of the things he does remember is that dying is bad.

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The suboptimal amount of hot sure isn't as nice as the really hot fire, but it's pretty good for letting his skin heal. There it goes, closing up and no longer hurting after a few seconds.

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Still better than the cold air, anyway. He's cool with this.

He resumes exploring the floor with his fingers.

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It starts giving way like wet clay beneath his fingers in this heat. Not easily, not unless he presses, but he sure can gouge some more claw marks into the floor if he'd like.

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Ooooooh.

...okay this is less interesting than setting the room on fire. After a while of making shallow designs on the floor and one trial of burying his fist as deep as it'll go, he goes to a wall to try the same.

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When he touches his fiery hand to the stone wall, it doesn't budge. Not even a little. Actually, it feels faintly chilly to his fingertips. Through the sense of warm fizzling, he can taste salt and chalk and iron.

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...hmm. He dislikes this.

Hotter?

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Nnnnnope. Same chilly temperature, and a stronger taste of salt-chalk-iron. Who would make a wall out of this gross stuff?

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Okay this is actually pretty upsetting. Does he have any other things like the tingling that he has conveniently failed to notice until now he can use on this wall?

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