|Skandra Tyullis (roll_the_bones) wrote in adusta,|
@ 2010-09-15 15:54:00
|Entry tags:||aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis|
prettiest little piece of nothing (aeotha)
Of course, talking and climbing proved a very difficult mix. Especially when the climb was sheer, with little in the way of handholds, and part of him worried that they were simply going to slide back down to the bottom of the basin. There was no reason to think that something like this occurred naturally any longer - Skandra doubted such precision could be achieved by nature, even if nature intended it that way. By the time they reached the top of the thing, his hands felt as tired and creaky as the rest of him. Dust covered him from head to toe, he was certain that he was bleeding in several places beneath his clothes, and the stench of... something he didn't recognize... was clinging to his every inch of skin. If this was an adventure, he wanted to go back to a tavern, where at least he knew all the smells and he had his choice of women. Aeotha was like a canker, lanced and bleeding him dry.
Of course, that wasn't really true.
Thinking of her that way helped.
What revealed itself at the top of the bowl, with those gray shapes now both closer and farther away, was something he hadn't thought possible. The landscape spreading out before them was an endless sea of silver-white dirt. It clung to his boots as much as the stone of a moment gone had. A fine, powdery dust. Almost like the fine flour they'd used in a bakery which he'd stolen from as a child. Skandra did not take his eyes from the sights unfolding before him, even as he sat on his heels to gather this dirt into a fist. Didn't feel like dirt. Or sand. Something else. But it was heavy, in a way he might not have credited had he not tried to pick some up. Didn't easily clear from his gloves. The Immortal stood up, and gave it a sharp kick. No cloud, as there should have been. It stirred beneath the toe of his boot. Only just so, and a great deal of that only clung to his boot.
Further away from the bowl, where he might have expected nothing, was a collection of tall glittering spikes that rose into the sky. Now that they were out of that place he could see quite clearly a sky of orange and pink and red bleeding together in bands of color. Beyond those, another body in the sky, seeming almost a moon. Only the body itself was blue, and difficult to make out among the faded light of the sky. Sunset on another world. He doubted he'd ever see it again, and yet here he was, peering at what seemed to be a massive collection of ... oddities, centered in one particular group of spikes.
Each spike was rounded, looking almost like fangs instead of towers, but they were polished to a mirror shine. If there had been more light, Skandra thought he might have been blinded by them. And a glance over his shoulder told him that the gray clouds still hovered over that bowl, where the gray shapes apparently made their home. Aeotha was already walking - she could probably see better than he - and her face was full of horror. Skandra could imagine. He had to jog to catch up to her, that fine dirt shifting dangerously beneath each plant of his boot. When he did, a part of him wished that he hadn't - they were close enough to see better what was happening here. And Skandra did not imagine that it was a good thing.
Pieces of Elvish village were clinging to the sides of these magnificent, alien things. Patches of Caeleste's fine earth were lodged inexplicably in that silver dirt. Skandra could see the closest patch of it from here. Brown dirt, clods of it upturned. Good green grass. He'd been gone only a short time and it looked beautiful to him. Maybe half an acre, maybe less. And unlike many of the other patches that Skandra could see, this one had a house on it. The sort of fine cottage that you expected to see in the country. Wooden exterior, whitewashed, cloudy glass windows. Thatched roof. Stone steps. He hesitated on the verge of it, before he looked again to the sky. There was something nagging at him about it, and about this place, but they weren't going to find the answers just standing around.
"Who are you?" a voice shouted from the house. "Name yourself, you curs, or die!"
It was Elvish that the voice was shouting in. A woman. Yet for a moment, the Immortal's attention was still beyond this lone house and to the prison seemingly formed by those spikes. They were not evenly spread. Maybe that was what grass looked like to ants, he thought, towers to be climbed only at great peril. Those buildings were sticking to the sides of the spikes, but more often than not he could catch glimpses of them down below, at the base of the spikes. Stopping at this house was probably a good idea, but part of him wanted to press on. It was only a few hundred yards away. And the spires looked plenty inviting to someone who suddenly didn't mind this sense of adventure.
"Her Holiness Aeotha Easaahae," Skandra jerked his thumb at Aeotha, and spoke before she could. "Skandra Tyullis. Who the hell are you?"
"That is none of your business, strangers!" the voice called back. "Begone from here, or I'll-"
"What?" Skandra took one long, aggressive step forward. "You'll fucking what!"
The snap of a crossbow and a curse right on its heels. Only quick hands allowed him to snatch it out of the air. Quick hands, and a desire not to see Aeotha's pretty face ruined by a quarrel from a crossbow. As it turned out, Skandra had two hands, and the second was pointing the Vel in the direction of the house. But now the elves came pouring out of it, weeping and crying and clinging to each other while they collapsed at Aeotha's feet. Plainly dressed. A woman, and two small children. They might have been eighty. Skandra made himself laugh with that one, so he took a moment to congratulate himself on it.
"I'm so sorry," the woman was whispering feverishly against Aeotha's legs, which she was hugging with all her might. "I've never used one before, and..."
"Pretty good aim for a first timer," Skandra used his heel to push the elf away from Aeotha.
With a hard sigh, the bedraggled woman sat on the grass with legs folded beneath her. One child was clinging to either arm, looking up at Skandra with fear in their eyes. Not that the Immortal blamed them. The quarrel he'd cast aside, but the Vel was still clutched in his fist, and he was still considering using it. Who knew what the hell was going on here or why? They might look tired and hungry, but they might be dangerous creatures wearing the skins of elves. After a few wild nights and a job or two with Leironuoth, Skandra didn't trust anything he heard and only half of what he saw.
A good policy.
"What do you want to do with 'em?" Skandra asked her, instead of immediately shooting as he'd planned.