Mar 18, 2019 7:59 PM
James wakes up alone in a room
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Quael whines a little and snuggles further into Zheras's arms.

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"I would prefer to conduct more thorough testing somewhere besides this hallway, if you'd be so kind as to follow me? We should not need to return to the warded chamber, my office should do well enough."

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He nods and slowly lets go.

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Quael doesn't protest and awkwardly stands, making a confused 'What do I do,' gesture with his hands.

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"I trust you understand the importance of keeping state secrets, correct? In that you will kindly keep your mouth shut?"

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"I, um, yessir, I'm sorry sir, won't say a word of it sir, I got my own stupid self fired, sir."

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"Very good." He makes a shooing motion with his hand. "You may go."

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...

"He was doing what he thought was right," Zheras repeats, quietly.

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"So were some of the most atrocious monsters in history. Few men think they are evil, and nonetheless it is committed. It is the burden of the wise man to think to the consequences instead of simplistic and comforting moral constructs more suited to storybooks and children's fables."

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Zheras is... still not super comfortable about this. He doesn't know how to argue, though, so he just looks down at his feet, chews on his lower lip, then looks up at the man again. "Well. Where to?"

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"Yes, right this way, if you'll please follow me..."

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Quael, meanwhile, looks like he would desperately like to sink into the floor, or perhaps be erased from existence entirely. Without thinking, he tries the door he'd failed to get through before so he can quietly leave without causing a fuss.

The door, of course, doesn't open.

He winces.

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"Front door, thank you," sighs the man who still has yet to introduce himself at all. "That way, if you're concerned you might get lost."

He points.

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".... right...." says Quael, who then begins to slink down the hallway past them, avoiding all pairs of eyes.

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...yeah alright. He'll. Check on Quael later. For now he follows nameless guy.

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Nameless guy leads him back down the hallway he came from, then down a different one. His companion sees no reason to have a conversation during the journey, content to walk in silence. As they pass the threshold into another hallway, there is a faint sense of passing through... something. Like walking through a chilly spiderweb that tastes faintly of cloves and eucalyptus and chalk, and sends little shivers down Zheras's spine. Soon enough, they reach a set of circling stairs that go through another ward that slides easily over his proverbial magic's tongue like oil, light and nearly tasteless, but smelling of rosemary and myrrh.

At the top is a door that opens into a small room shaped like a semicircle. Two sets of comfortable looking chairs flank the entrance. One set has a small bookshelf nestled between the two chairs, and the other has a low table, complete with a tea set. On the curved wall opposing the door are two others, both quite heavy and sturdy. Between them, in the middle of the room, sits a desk and a woman. She looks to be somewhere in her late twenties or early thirties, carefully sorting through a set of papers and writing notes on the margins in pen. When Zheras and his unnamed companion enter, she looks up.

  "Welcome back, sir!" she chirps, smiling brightly at them both. "So I'm guessing that there's no call for panic?"

The sorcerer's lip quirks. "Not just yet, no." He motions to the woman at the desk, for Zheras. "This is Aldestine, my assistant. Aldestine, our misplaced subject, who as far as I'm aware has yet to decide upon a name."

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Eugh. Why do wards taste awful.

"Zheras, when talking to humans, since it was my human name." He bows - he remembers that! "It is a pleasure."

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  Aldestine ducks her head politely, smiling again. "Mine as well."

"As you like. Please don't hold onto it on our account if it no longer fits, though. You're in rather a unique position, after all." The sorcerer mirrors Zheras's bow, then says, "I am Phaleritan, pleasure to meet you a third time, though a pity that it was so..." he pauses, looking for the right words. "Awkwardly choreographed."

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Zheras shrugs lightly. "What happens happens. We are here now."

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"Indeed. Oh, before I forget—thank you, Aldestine, you were correct about the door. Please be sure that one 'Quael' receives his severance pay and causes no awkward questions."

  "Yes, sir," she agrees, writing a note to herself on a little notepad. "From what I can tell he came in through the side entrance a bit before his shift officially started and similarly before the wards were updated. The security was lax on the side entrances. I've sent in a complaint."

"Good, thank you." He looks back to Zheras. "Is there anything you'd like? Water, tea, food, somewhere to nap, something to burn?"

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"...something to burn might be interesting, yes."

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"Certainly. Follow me, please." He heads through the door on the left. "Would you mind terribly if it happened in my warded room, for safety, and if I could observe the effects, for curiosity?"

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"Not at all."

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"Excellent."

Through the left door is a lab of some kind, with dizzying chemistry sets and strange smells, both mundane and magical, and the subtle fizzling of potential power. Phaleritan navigates the maze of apparati with practiced ease, picking up materials along the way. Soon the flammable objects are collected, and Zheras is led into another room, with a circular dais in the center. Around the dais is another disgusting-tasting ward (chalk, ash, obsidian), but once Zheras is inside, the taste isn't particularly notable.

The same cannot be said for the flammable objects. There's more variety available this time; a flammable powder that crackles delightfully, a rich oil with a magnificent aftertaste, a metal that burns a brilliant and blinding white and whose mild bitterness is nicely offset by the strength of the flavor itself - the list goes on. He does not want for choice, this time.

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Ooh.

Zheras doesn't learn much, this time. He's got the whole "fire" thing down, by now. He still enjoys it immensely, though.

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