(1866-08-17) Through Dangers Untold....
Through Dangers Untold….
Summary: Clara and Emilia head off to Lonniare for the wedding and masque, but find themselves somewhere else entirely…
Date: 1866-08-17 (least that is when they stepped into the faegate!)
Related: The Wedding Masque and Emilia things
Players:
Clara  Emilia  The-Last  

The Domain of The Last
See scene…as they move around a bit…
1866-08-17

The time had come to head onwards towards Lonnaire, the trip planned so there was that time to recover from their gate sickness before the actual events surrounding the wedding and the masque. There might have been some actual fretting about packing on Emilia’s part in trying to ensure everything was truly packed for her costume, and well enough that nothing would risk being damaged. And there had been the checking to make sure that Naois would be looked after in her absence, and listening to Raelyn’s many ‘tasks’ on what to do to Wraiths..should the opening present itself. All in jest….mostly.

Having met Clara, at the city's edge along with her usual traveling retinue, and any changes or additions her siblings had seen fit to make for this venture outside of the Kingdom, without them. There had been that characteristic Emilia smile given. And such was making an appearance again as they now awaited their turn to proceed through the faegate. Half of those who travelled with them having already gone ahead, along with most of the trunks and bags for the group.

“Never quite of enjoying of this of part,” notes Emilia softly, in speaking about the trip through the gate they are about to make. Not that anyone rightly does enjoy it. Dressed in the usual turn of Huntress traveling attire. “Think many of others are already having of arrived of there?”

—-

“Well, perhaps…if they all had the same idea we did and planned for the gate sickness…” Clara’s tone sounds like she is far away, her thoughts adrift in a sea of considerations and concerns. Chief on her mind was, of course, what the two will do once they get to Lonnaire. But, tangential thoughts threatened to topple over into her consciousness. Who all will be there? It will be a fact that young Master Fremont will be there. Will Clara blush like a silly little girl when he flashes that sly smile of his? What if she comes across peasants that knew her as Lady Clara, heir to the now defunct house of t’Myrin? Worst yet, what if some of those courtesans that gave her so much trouble over her assumed bastard standing recognize her? The voices in her head all clamouring for attention, each one threatening to send her into a state of worry and panic.

With a shake of the head, Clara clears out the doubts in her mind and waves for her own entourage to continue onwards towards the gate, as she and Emilia hang back in the line. Regardless of what power she tried to use to sway her retinue onwards, her Lancer bodyguard refused to move forward…instead remaining within a few arm’s lengths away. Emilia’s Huntress guard (or guards, if Jaren had his way) was most likely also close by, though Clara was not aware of it. No…she was, as Emilia would be aware, being reflective…which means Clara’s outward perception was not great by any means. But…at least Clara caught the fact that there was two parts to Emilia’s comment, if belatedly. “Truth be told, I do prefer traveling by horseback. I don’t have to worry about being sick…and I get some time to myself. It….helps to prepare for facing the world. The faegate’s speed is wondrous, but it does take away the whole ‘preparation’ part and replaces it with nausea.” There really isn’t a laugh in there…Clara is speaking her mind without a filter.

There is one final check of what bags were left on this side of the gate, including an inspection of a certain trunk, which within carries Clara’s costume for the wedding masque as well as few other purchases…some black hair dye, a few hairpins and other baubles of jewelry, some ribbon. Enough for two people, were it inspected…with each piece duplicated. Then, the rest of the cargo proceeds into the gate…and all but Emilia, Clara, and their chosen guards follow. There is a glance over to Emilia…and the Cassomir would see that Clara does look nervous and excited, in almost equal measure. “Almost our turn. Ready?”

—-

“Would be of thinking for most to have planned for it, though do of imagine there are of those who are of living close of enough to be of riding, or going by of carriage to of attend,” notes Emilia. Her dark eyes lightly taking in her friend and that mild distraction of thoughts that have overtaken her. Not to say Emilia did not have her own wayward thoughts about this trip, though she was used to distracting thoughts and even more distracting Voices, vying for and demanding attention, if not more. To have agreed to this trip, or more the social nature of it, was perhaps an oddity for Emilia. There was some nervous edge that existed to be going to Lonnaire of all places, and the social turn to it all. It would be like Court in many ways, all the many nobles of great station. But not ones as familiar with her, or at all. It did have her wondering how things would go, even with the coronation not long ago attended, the focus had been upon her brother, and also her sister.

With the added security given by the Gatewardens around the faegate, there was only the one Huntress lingering near for this turn of the trip. Not that she was the only one amongst Emilia’s retinue, for even if Raelyn and Jaren had faith in her and her abilities…they were protective yet in their own way. Especially considering events in the past year. Things that had likely factored into the choosing of Clara’s retinue as well. “Would of prefer traveling by horse-of-back as well. But would take of such time to go so of far for this trip. Time for preparing to face of the world, or to be of getting lost from of it for of a time.” There is a mild tug to the corners of those lips regarding Clara’s turn on that being replaced by the nausea.

As Clara is doing the final check on the remaining baggage, Emilia’s eyes do travel over the area. Habit in a way, to remain aware of her surroundings. Her gaze falling last upon the gate they were about to go through, taking in the details specific to it. Each was it’s own unique piece, functional artwork in that way. Though her gaze is brought back to Clara at the other’s words. A little nod given,”Of aye, least as of ready as of ever for this.” A hand offered over to her friend before they might step through, in turn of mild comfort for the sickness that would soon come from the venture. Least for everyone else. A mild breathe. And then she..they are stepping into the faegate.
—-

The luggage check, such as it is, is just a thinly veiled attempt to release some nervous energy. The Tracano princess tugs on a strap here and a jostle of a corner there…just enough to give a little more pause before the gate resets to allow them passage. As Emilia’s hand comes into view, extended towards Clara, a smile crosses Clara’s features. Her hand extends, curling her fingers gently around Emilia’s own. And…with a glance back, Clara expresses her gratitude. “Thank you, Emilia, for coming with me. I don’t think I would have gone if it was only myself, regardless of duty or appearance.” It is a small confession, but truthful. Clara is genuinely grateful for the companionship.

Then…the gatekeeper announces that the gate is prepped for travel. Still holding Emilia’s hand, Clara steps into the gate. The fingers tighten, ever so slightly, as the pair cross the threshold and into the mystical doorway. What would the trip be like this time? Will it be a minor bout of lightheadedness or will the vertigo be worse this time? The lingering thought within Clara, as the pair enter, is that at least it won’t take long to find out.

—-

There’s always that gut-wrenching “lurching” sensation to gate travel. That moment when the sickness settles as one passes the threshold and emerges at their destination. For the traveler it seems instant. In truth there is actually a couple of moments that pass in transit, not that anyone has ever done a detailed comparison (rather hard to do with no means of instantaneous communication).

Or at least, for most people there’s that blast of vertigo and the nausea and other effects that follow. For those affected by such things, this time is no different, except for the fact that it seems…considerably lessened. There’s the lurch, and the vertigo, and perhaps the trace of nausea and a headache, but all told, it will likely pass in just a few hours, and could be marked as the most mild gate transit one has ever experienced.

There’s only one problem…when Clara and Emilia emerge, they are not at the Lonnaire Gate. Clara likely has seen the Lonnaire Gate before, so would immediately recognize this as…not being it. For Emilia it would be the fact that there are no Gatekeepers or Gatewardens to be found. Or anyone, really. The room is almost eerily silent and still.

And what a room it is….

Perhaps 50 yards in diameter, it is circular, and spaced evenly at twenty-yard intervals around the circumference are arched doorways, leading into darkened corridors. Light is provided by both globes of light positioned on the sides of each door, giving off a pale white light that doesn’t quite look like Everlight (not least because there doesn’t appear any liquid in the globes, but rather the light seems to shine from their center). What lies above, however, is far more spectacular…a vast array of those globes, of varying sizes, all suspended by no visible means, floating idly through the air in a slow-swirling dance, weaving amidst each other seemingly randomly. They even frequently collide, giving the room a light, musical chiming noise that almost seems akin to metal wind-chimes. Taken altogether, this impossibly-suspended “chandelier” gives the room a pale light, but also casts it in strange patterns of shadow as it churns above.

The gate they’ve just stepped through? It appears as a free-standing archway exquisitely carved from flawless crystal, perfectly transparent and really only visible from the manner in which the light plays across it, which seems to give the reflections discernible patterns upon its’ surface. Indeed, what looks like glyphs of various sizes and shapes seem to appear and disappear in waves along that surface, despite no sign of actual carving to achieve such an effect visible (or detectable by touch should any be bold enough to run their fingers along the smooth, slightly cool crystal).

Midway between the gate and one of the doorways sits the dais that controls the gate, abandoned for the moment, but not looking overall too different from others of its’ ilk. Though while the room may seem abandoned, it is, perhaps oddly, not dusty at all. Indeed there’s nary a speck of it to be found, not even upon Emilia and Clara’s footwear.

For all the strangeness apparent, and the shock of the new destination, Emilia, at least, will find a nagging sense of familiarity to the place, as though recalling a long-forgotten dream of youth.

—-

There is a small tug to the corners of Emilia's lips at Clara's words,"You are being of welcome, Clara. I am having of faith you could have managed, you have of strength within you. But I am of glad to be of able to go of with and help make it easier. It is what being of friends are for, of aye?" An understanding look given, knowing well she would have struggled to go on such a trip on her own, even if the expectations upon her would have been different. Lesser. To feel the fingers tightening about her hand, Emilia gave a gentle squeeze in return, a hint of reassurance as the gate was entered.

Emilia was not most people. Some distant memory yet existed on what the gate sickness was like, perhaps the only 'good' thing to come out of all that befell that day. Gate sickness was just that, a memory, nothing more. There was that sensation that came with travel, but not of the nausea, or vertigo that others suffered. Some flickering though of what gate was being taken, what level of sickness she would have to pretend to have upon reaching the other side. Some whisper of a wonder of why she yet had not spoken about this with everything else that had come to light in the past year.

Thus is it the absence of Gatewardens, of Gatekeepers upon stepping out of the other side that first clues Emilia into the fact things are not right. Her hand tightening upon Clara', some protective instinct having her step slightly in front of her friend. Her dark eyes dancing quickly over the immediate area in search of the 'missing' members of the Vigilant…seeking some member of the party that went ahead of them, sideways glances for those who should have part of their group as well. And finding not a soul. Whispering softly, the obvious,"Clara….this not of being Lonnaire."

Eyes widen as she continues to take in the room they have arrived to, the strangeness of it, the splendor…the impossibility of what her eyes take in. Some hint of confusion touching her eyes, with that nagging sense of familiarity that comes..and yet some how certain she had never been to such a place, sense things. The floating globes and the light they give off! Everglow, but yet not..something else. The shock and confusion, does easily cease any thought, or memory to 'fake' even a mild gate sickness. "Where are of we?" comes softly in some turn of wonderment and shock, as if Clara could some how answer this for Emilia! Her eyes landing upon the dais, the controls for the gate,”And of how will we of get back?” Neither were exactly trained in how to activate such, the Vigilant kept that knowledge close.

—-

There was the lurch. That was expected, though Clara could never quite prepare herself enough for the sensation. But then…the tell-tale vertigo and nausea that always follows….is barely there. How odd. There is barely a stumble as Clara steps out of the gate, her eyes closed as her free hand reaches up to her forehead. There is a bit of dizziness…but nothing close to what she expected. Then…Clara feels the fingers tighten. The subtle shift of Emilia as she steps in front of Clara. This would certainly cause Clara to question. However, it is Emilia’s words that drive the point home, causing Clara to lift her head, her eyes opening to take in the room…the eerily quiet room…before her.

“You…are right. We are not in Lonnaire.” Clara’s words are quiet, yet they echo in the vast chamber before them. “In fact…I don’t think we are in Couviere at all…” The head cranes upwards, those brown eyes marvelling at the floating orbs of luminescence as a gasp escapes from Clara’s throat. Then…with a quick turn, the Tracano spins to look at the gate they just stepped through. Or, rather, attempts to look…as the crystal is so exquisite that she almost missed the arch. The fingers do not let go of Emilia’s, but the pulse quickens…that nervous energy has given away to a spot of fear. “I…I have no idea where we are. I never seen anything like this before….” The headache, as mild as it was, is ignored easily. The confusion and anxiety overshadows what minor physical malady caused by the Gate travel.

A shake of the head…and that fear that causes the fingers within Emilia’s grasp to tremble adds a timbor to Clara’s soft voice not heard often. Panic. A ghost of such creeps its tendrils into Clara’s cadence. “I…I don’t know.” There may be a bit of apprehension in that admission…but it doesn’t stop Clara from at least trying to take some action. The fingers release, as Clara steps for the dias. Perhaps hoping beyond any normal measure of divine guidance that the controls would be rather intuitive. Of course, it will not be the case, but it is obvious that Clara needs to do /something/. Anything. Just to get some semblance of control over herself and maybe, just maybe, figure out what to do next. Fingertips hover, just over the dias, tracing patterns in mid-air as if casting a spell, seeking for understanding.

Clara turns to regard Emilia. “It….is spotless. As…as is this entire place. Do you think anyone else is here?” The head turns, first to the left, then to the right…looking towards each doorway for some signs of life. “Do you think we should try to find someone at all?” The gaze falls back on the crystal archway. It is as if Clara is just waiting for someone to walk through that entrance…to usher them back.

—-

It’s not from that entrance that any new arrival appears. Indeed, Clara and Emilia may not immediately notice the new arrival that emerges from one of the many doorways that lead into this chamber. All the more so due to it only being about two and a half feet tall and making little noise as he walks in. He’s clad in a simple, clean brown coverall that drapes from his shoulders to his knees, with a little cloth sash around his waist, tied off to cinch his clothing at his rather tiny waist. No weapons or tools are apparent.

Bald, green-skinned, and with ears that extend from each side of his head for several inches, the red-eyed creature blinks a few times, then lets out a little sigh, shaking his head, “New ones. Always new ones when the Master is busy.” He sniffs at the air a bit, wrinkling his nose, but it doesn’t quite seem to be in an expression of disgust. More just thinking, before thin lips pull back into a sharp-toothed smile when Emilia and Clara’s attention is no-doubt drawn to the little fellow. “This is part where screaming starts, yes? Even big clankety-clanks scream the first time, usually.” The creature makes a chittering noise that approximates laughter well enough to get the point across as he adds, “Some like little girl, and wet themselves too!”

And yet much like the architecture, for Emilia there’s a tiny sense of familiarity to the little green creature. Though from its’ appearance, even one with but a basic knowledge of folklore would recognize a Goblyn.

—-

"And is of nothing in of Rivana..I am of remembering, so…of where?" says Emilia. Her head turning to look up again at the floating globes of light with their mild ambient chiming as well. Almost orbs with captured fireflies. Turning slowly and taking in the gate, dark taking in the crystalline structure. "It…is of amazing…" murmurs Emilia. Feeling the tremble in Clara's hand, there is a squeeze…some hint of reassurance, if only that reminder that she is not alone and has Emilia…for whatever that might be worth in this strange place. When Clara's fingers release from her own, Emilia does reach to tentatively touch the arch itself. A small blink with a slight cant to her head to feel the coolness of it, and smooth. And that ever nagging edge of familiarness to it all, there is a mild shake of her head as if trying to clear some thought from it before she turns to see where Clara has gone.

Stepping away from the gate, Emilia moves not for the dias immediately, but first drifts slowly to peer down a few of the hallways. Checking about the environment, some turn of training showing up. Before she does move to join Clara, noting softly,"Halls seem of spotless of well..Must be of someone for it to be of so of clean. Of aye?" Her eyes flickering back towards the gate as well for a moment, before one of the halls and back to Clara,"Will need of someone..to of open of the gate and send of us back…but should take of care…" her words coming to an end though when there is that other voice. The unexpected and unnoticed arrival to the room with them. Dark eyes blink to hear it, a flicker of surprise as her head turns to find the source.

The words give some expectation of a servant, the reference to Master. But the image of a typical attendant that came to mind, or of a gatewarden…certainly not what Emilia's eyes find. Her gaze having to drop to take in the two and half foot tall…creature. Her dark brown eyes giving another blink as the green-skinned critter is taken in. There is a little widening of the eyes a moment later, even if the rest of her face manages to impressively still keep that solemn-stoic turn to it. When he continues to speak, Emilia's head slowly cants if trying to listen to something. Particularly the quiet murmuring of Them, distant and oddly quiet, for Them. Yet there is that turn of familiarity yet, not only of the place..but for this thing.

There is a small twitch of Emilia's lips as the creature…the Goblyn chitters. Her mouth starts to open a little but closes again a second later. A controlled motion. It seems she is not to be screaming, even with all the sharp teeth that show in the smile. Perhaps it was that edge of familiarity, perhaps it was knowing goblyns did exist, perhaps it was the creature was talking and being non-threatening (for now), perhaps it was cause she had seen…worse…Perhaps it was all of it. But Emilia was not screaming. Even if Clara beside her might be doing that very thing, or about to. Emilia's head simply cants to the side a little as she studies the Goblyn, her features unreadable. What words do come, that might very well get drowned out if there is screaming,"You are of being a Goblyn." Her eyes flicker back to the controls they are near, before back to the green creature with those sharp teeth,"Can you be of sending us of back?" One hand rising to move in a fluttering turn of grace at the dais along with her question. Though as the hand falls back down, it moves to find Clara's again.

—-

With Clara’s attention focused on the dais and the gate beyond, she isn’t the most observant of individuals. Emilia’s words are heard, though it seems like through a haze of rumination. There is a nod, though Clara’s eyes never quite leave the dais, as she responds the last bit she heard…of being careful. “I have no intention of attempting to operate this blindly. I’ve heard the stories…on what could happen.” It doesn’t stop Clara from looking…though yes, she does not touch the dias at any point. The eyes lift back up and stare into the gate as the mental gears begin to churn, pondering just what would be appropriate to do next.

This deep inner reflection is difficult to pierce…and so the foreign voice, with it’s odd tone and musing about a Master, is missed initially. Unseeing eyes flicker over the minute figure with barely a pause as the current predicament is weighed and measured mentally. However, when Emilia, ever solemn, performs what Clara recognizes as a double take (at least, for Emilia), those brown eyes shift back towards a particular spot on the floor, as Clara takes in the sight of her first goblyn. The shock of such is enough to drive whatever plan far from Clara’s mind…and her face contorts in horror but silent. It was as if the princess forgot to breath, startled by the impossible sight before her. It would seem there would be no scream given for the creature.

But…then it spoke. And smiled that horrible smile with a mouth full of needles. And laughter. Oh One forbid, it laughed! At the sound of the horrible laughter, the invisible dam blocking the Tracano’s lungs burst and Clara finds her voice once more. The stillness of the room is shattered as Clara lets loose with exactly what the creature wanted…a shrill scream.

But, then Emilia spoke. And instantly, Clara’s scream stopped.

It made no sense to Clara. But, Emilia sounded so calm and rational, identifying the creature as a goblyn. It literally took Clara’s breath away. Oh, she was still scared. Clara was as frightened as one could be. But…to see Emilia so composed…it triggered an irrational thought within Clara. If Emilia was so calm, then Clara could be, too. Emilia’s example bolstered Clara enough so that Clara willed herself silent…though just barely. Still, as Emilia offers her hand once more, it is swiftly accepted with Clara’s own. That physical connection…that touch…further reinforces Clara’s will to the point where she actually speaks back, though it is only an echo of Emilia, with Clara’s voice trembling so.

“C…Can you send us back?”

—-

“Only one? Ha! Braver than most. Or foolish. No matter.” Given the chance to listen, what sounds perfectly normal to Emilia’s ears likely comes across as heavily accented in some unidentifiable fashion to Clara, albeit still understandable. “Aye, am being Goblyn.” He harrumphs and starts to move towards the dais, heedless of any discomfort or revulsion by the two ladies present there, “Only Master knows all the keys. You find him, he send you. Maybe.”

The little creature gestures, indicating the many doorways, “So into Labyrinth you go. Find Master, maybe go home. Find Goblyn-Town…maybe not go home.” Yes, there is something a little more menacing in the grin that follows that simple declaration. Menacing…and perhaps a bit hungry.

—-

Much was put aside as focus turned to the newest arrival to the room. Though dark eyes did turn over to Clara as that shrill scream came out, a mild flinching at the sound, which for Emilia, amounted to Emilia's eyes squinting slightly and a twitch of her lips.

Fingers curled around Clara's hand as it was found, a squeeze being given at the contact. A reassurance of that connection, likely as much for Emilia as for Clara. Not that Emilia was not lacking feeling of panic, or even a flicker of fear. Just on the scale of things she has had to deal with…a little green critter wasn't quite ranking full on panic. Yet. Shifting slightly towards Clara as well, knowing the other was panicked and frightened.

"Perhaps of both. Hard to be of saying, am not like of most," says Emilia, simply, even if a bit softly yet. Her dark eyes still watching the Goblyn as he approaches, stepping just slightly in front of Clara, a small motion. Another faint squeeze of her hand being given onto her friend as that protective gesture was taken.

There is a slight downturn at the corners of Emilia's lips as he speaks…explains the way of things. "Of maybe? There is of chance he would not of send us of back? Of home?" Her lips purse just a little,"But others are knowing of some of keys, of aye?" Her dark eyes flit to the doorways, a faint glance to Clara before she is looking downwards against to the Goblyn….seeing that look, that ill intent and…hunger. The only change to her solemn expression is a faint narrowing of her eyes, a mild darkening of those brown eyes. A blink sees them restored, or perhaps it was merely a shifting of the light that cast a shadow. "Not of being of a chicken or of tasting of like," declaring this in remembering something heard recently. And she is canting her head slightly, before a breathe comes out. "Being of up for a walk?" This seeming directed more towards Clara as another squeeze of the hand is given, even if her eyes stay on the green, long eared critter now that he is closer and….that look.

—-

The screaming had stopped, true, but the revulsion is still there, plainly evident on Clara’s face. And another thing….curiosity. Not only for the once-believed mythological creature standing (and talking) before her, but also for Emilia, with the way she seems so collected in contrast to Clara’s barely contained fright. Still, for whatever reason, Emilia is the sturdy one and Clara, ever empathic, manages to channel some of that famed Cassomir stoicness. Enough to return to a semblance of normalcy for Clara, at least.

So, rather than unabashed fright, it is with that same sense of revulsion coupled with a touch of annoyance that causes Clara to step back as the Goblyn approaches the dais, brushing aside the two ladies as he would troublesome pests. Granted, that step back happens to be slightly behind Emilia, even as Emilia herself steps slightly forward, signalling that the two women may be more in sync than expected. Still, despite the disdain…and the fear…and the overall confusion of the whole situation, Clara’s mind is working. Taking what is available, she ventures out a question, her voice more certain than before.

“Do you know any keys to return to the Kingdom of Couviere or Rivana at all?”

It seemed to make sense to Clara, in her mind. After all, all they really need to do was get back to just one of the faegates…without major mishap. Then, it would be a matter of just journeying back from there. And, in Clara’s mind, she seems she much rather take her chances with the ‘real’ world than in some fiction-made-real dimension she finds herself in now.

Still, perhaps anticipating the little vile creature’s refusal or inability to help, Clara is also scanning the various doorways, as Emilia voices the same musings that Clara was tossing about. It was uncertain what would happen….or even if help would be forthcoming from this so-called ‘Master’ the Goblyn speaks of. And, with the way that the little creature is eyeing the two ladies with that hungry little gleam in his eye, Clara does not want to simply stand around. It is with a single nod that Clara then answers Emilia’s question about going for a walk. “I believe going for a walk would be in our best interests.” Again, a more confident response that before. “If we must find the Master of this domain, then we should not tarry any longer than necessary.”

The princess seems ready to go. However, perhaps wisely, she keeps the Goblyn in sight at all times, even as the two move to leave the dais to begin. It appears she does not trust the creature to leave them to wander the Labyrinth.

—-

“No no…only Master knows the path. Goblyns no need paths. We go where hidey-holes take us.” The Goblyn’s smile fades to something slightly less ominous and he shrugs, “Master may send home, Master may not. Some he keeps, some he sends, some he slays, and some he give to Goblyns. But you no get home without him.” That chittering again as the Goblin laughs, and as Clara and Emilia begin to make their way towards one of the archways, he shrugs…and simply continues wandering towards another door entirely, apparently having had a destination in mind when he first appeared and was so rudely interrupted by these interlopers!

And without so much as a “by your leave” either. Cheeky little bugger.

In any case, moving through one of those archways makes it readily apparent that this is indeed a labyrinth they find themselves in. It is lit by those same globes of light seen earlier, hung at irregular intervals on the wall (and not easily removed in case anyone tries). The whole thing remains seemingly devoid of dust and dirt. It’s odd…otherworldly. All the more so for the fact that instead of a ceiling, the Labyrinth (whose walls are smooth and about twelve-feet high) opens to a massive domed chamber, the scope and scale of which is hard to grasp even as one looks upwards at it. It could be miles across. Looking back, the gate room appears to have a smaller dome enclosing it, but it does appear to be the center of the maze, at least based on the dome overhead, which has several more of those glowing orbs floating beneath it, casting pale light…some of which are many times larger than those in the gate room.

And as the pair of ladies starts to navigate the twists and turns, they will note two things: The first is that every so often they pass a patch that is not so smooth, but instead almost seems as though it’s crumbling. These patches are filled with unease…even dread, but it fades as soon as they reach “smoother” ground again. The other is that at certain junctures…they both seem to feel a degree of certainty as to which way to turn…almost a subconscious prodding. Maybe not even noticeable at first…but after the third or fourth time that they both agree on the same direction nearly simultaneously, the pattern starts to become clear…and perhaps a bit disturbing in and of itself. Are they being…led somewhere?

—-

Dark eyes do chance a look between Clara and the Goblyn when the question is raised if he might know any of the keys himself. Though Emilia already suspects the answer to that question to be negative as well, but it would get them back to some place….normal..quicker if he did know. Less chance of stumbling into the Goblyn City…or even more Goblyns for that matter.

There is a slight frown from Emilia at the Goblyn’s answers. Not that she wasn’t already aware that one had been around, but the idea they might be around more often. The whole matter of ‘hidey-holes’ and them coming and going more…frequently….was not perhaps the most assuring idea. Emilia glances to the gate and the controls on the dais again, half wondering if chancing a mistake at them with a guess was about as good as their chances were with this…Master of the goblyn’s, given the possibilities that could occur upon finding him. Going home was not a certainty. But when Clara answers her question, that she is up for a walk and so Emilia gives a nod. “Then let us be of walking.” There is perhaps another question on her lips for a moment, but with the cheeky little bugger, already on his way out as well, it dies upon those lips and goes unvoiced.

Slightly keeping herself yet between Clara and the creature, even for a time after he has vanished from sight, some protective edge for her friend. Falling well into the trope that Cassomir’s always protected Tracano’s. With a doorway chosen and gone through, Emilia’s steps are slow as she does take in their surroundings, trying to gauge where they are in relation…to well where they aren’t. To find way to mark progress, position as they travel away from the gate room..some hope of returning to it if needed. Or simply to track their path since she had not bread crumbs nor lipstick by which to leave a trail with. Even a moment's consideration on the possibility of scaling the walls to get a better view, a thing quickly pushed aside with the height and smoothness to them.

As they do start up the search for this ‘Master’, Emilia does note softly to Clara,”Of aye, Clara…Goblyns are of being real.” There is a slight pause before she adds,”Am of thinking we will be of late for of the masque,” how long would it take them to find the Master…or something else? And she was not wishing to consider this Goblyn Village and having to again..test Them. Victor was one thing…but a whole village of those green things? Her eyes drifting up to make note of the dome overhead again as they walk…even if trying to grasp the scale of things and truly denote position was nye impossible. This was far different from trying to navigate through the tree of Ironhold.

The crumbling sections soon enough got longer looks from Emilia. And certainly there wasn’t need to dally in those areas. A brief,”Of wondering..what was of happening of in these of areas? Or perhaps they are meaning to be of…” The thought wasn’t finished out loud, with Emilia just shaking her head. Intersections are approached slowly, with Emilia seeking to scope them out first before allowing Clara to enter them into as well so they might decide upon a direction to go.

The gentle subconscious sort of prodding, was noticed slightly after a time or two. That certainty of direction coming over top that edge of familiarity that clung to everything in some way. Yet Emilia had just thought it was simply Them yet, as it would not have been the first time They tried to influence something..and well it was surely form Them that familiarity even came. But when Clara starts speaking with some certainty upon direction, the same direction…at the same time as herself, Emilia gives a look over to Clara,”You are of feeling of it as of well? The of…” her hand gives a little flutter in the air as she tries to figure out the right word to use,”push..to go in of a direction.” If Clara felt it as well..then it wasn’t Them. A look is given down the direction they both had come to speak at this particular intersection. “The question now of becoming…is it of a place we are wanting to be of being sent. Or of not.” And there was no way to know without going, no way to know if that which was ‘guiding’ them was friend or foe…or even nether.

—-

As the pair of ladies leave the gate chamber, Clara seems all too happy to place the little disturbing creature behind her. There certainly was no love lost as the goblyn left without so much as a gesture goodbye. It wasn’t as if Clara was waiting for it, herself. Now that she had something set in her mind, Clara’s own emotions were in check. It didn’t stop the fact that she felt she was in some sort of storybook, though. Emilia’s declaration that Goblyns were real did not help to shake that sense that this isn’t all some elaborate dream, despite the fact that both Emilia and Clara shared the same vision. However, Emilia’s off-hand comment about being late to the masque draws a fit of laughter from the Tracano…genuine laughter. “I do believe you are correct, Emilia! Yet, I believe that tardiness is the least of our problems.” A few stray giggles escape from behind fingers as Clara clamps a hand over her lips, the other hand held in place within Emilia’s own.

If Clara had the same thoughts of running into more Goblyns, much less an entire town of them, she keeps them to herself. What Clara does share is her own sensations when walking through the more unkempt portions of the labyrinth. “I…I don’t know what happened here. I just feel like it is…wrong. Like I really don’t want to stay here and just talking normally without running blindly away is taking all that I have. Let’s just hurry through these.” And, despite Emilia taking on the classic Cassomir role of protector of royalty, Clara is not making it easy with her quickening steps to just get /away/ from those ruined sections of walls and floor.

The gentle nudges…the direction sense that this way is better as opposed to that way…was unnoticed, at first. It just felt right the first few times…a gradual sense of awareness that grew stronger as both continued on. It was only when both girls made a turn together, simultaneously, with confidence that it was apparent that the two were being led by something. Emilia’s question is spoken first, asking Clara if she felt the promptings as well. The question is answered with a definitely nod. “Yes….I do feel it. The promptings and nudges to go in a certain direction. Nothing overt…but solid. We are to go this way.” Emilia’s second question is answered in Clara’s usual manner. “I don’t know what lies at the end of this. What I do know is that someone or something is taking great pains to ensure we travel a certain direction. And I am curious exactly why.” Clara looks down the corridor, then back to Emilia, throwing a nod in the direction forward. “I say we continue onward and see this thing through.”

—-

Time seems to be…less firmly set here in this maze, somehow, to the point that it’s easily lost track of, especially with no sun or stars to mark its’ passage. It seems likely that it’s at least a few hours that the two navigate the twists and turns, at least a few times almost feeling as though they’ve doubled backed towards the gate room, only to find it twist back around and lead them outwards from it again. Still, there will likely be pangs of hunger and thirst eventually, giving some indication that at least a few hours, if not several have passed, though at the same time there’s a strange sense that it might be more…or less…it’s all terribly strange.

But finally, after a long trek with no signs of life besides they two, another archway appears, leading into what appears to be a well-lit room beyond.

Upon entering, they will find the room lit much as the others have been, with those strange globes of light, though the ones found here seem to be more the smaller variety, both on the walls and floating above. There is furniture here, but its’ make and size seem…a bit off. A bit overlarge for normal men or women, and certainly far too large for Goblyns. It’s deceptively simple…what appears to be polished wood frameworks and wicker, but a close examination will note that the bands of wicker are impossibly engraved with a vast multitude of designs and pictures. The closest thing to a grand throne is clearly the carved-out and polished remnants of a great tree stump, though clearly a great deal of work went into its’ creation, and there are furs and cushions aplenty to make it comfortable. No sign of a bed or wardrobe or privy, and the only other item of interest is a circular pool, raised up about two and a half feet from the ground, and as far as can be discerned, containing perfectly placid, perfectly clear water, though looking into the pool is a bit dizzying, as it quickly drops to an inky abyss, save for small motes of light that seem to float lazily deep down within.

Other than that, the room is silent…and still.

—-

When her comment about being late does produce a few giggles from Clara, there is a bit of that corner tugging at the corner of Emilia's lips. Glad to see Clara beyond a bit of her fright and fear being dropped into this storybook turn. Thankful it was nothing like Emilia's first…encounter with things from storybooks and childhood folk tales. "Of true, it is of perhaps likely the least of our problems. But it is of being a problem for of our guards. I am of betting your of Lancers are of trying to figure out how you have finally of managed to actually give them of the slip." The comments are light, even if the matter is quite serious. Trying on some level to perhaps not allow the mood to dip quite into that deep fright again. Especially with the foreboding feelings that come in those particular sections of the labyrinth.

A bit of a nod comes from Emilia,"Am not of knowing of either….It feels of wrong, like a bad memory that is being yet of trapped of there. And to of linger to of long would be of being trapped within it of well." Clara's hand is given another turn of a squeeze as she admits the effort it takes to not just run blindly along. "Of aye, let us of hurry. But not of so fast Clara…still have to take some of care. Not of knowing what is around of each of corner." Though Emilia does not try to slow Clara up too greatly. Emilia's graceful steps able to keep up well enough, all the time out of patrols and running through the forest allowing her to manage that well. And perhaps even managing to get ahead a step or so enough to least get some sort of glance into those intersections first.

It is a thing Emilia does have to admit to as well,"I am of curious as of well. But is not meaning I am not still of not much of liking not of knowing of this." Not that Emilia is greatly caring for much about the 'sidetrip', though there has been some interesting things that could make for interesting paintings! And with some of the twists and turns that come, there is a mild sigh, or moment or three taken to give the dome above some study…as if trying to figure out if they are going back to the gate. If they are being lead upon some wild chase, and being toyed with more than actually lead somewhere.

With the time passing and those pangs of hunger coming, a desire for a drink,"Remind me to be of bringing of snack the next of time I am to go on of travel. Of aye?" And then that next arch is found, far away and not the gate…But another room. Emilia pokes her head in first, her dark eyes sweeping the room and finding it empty…She does finally step into it. There is a little blink as she takes everything in, looking over to Clara,"Well is not of Goblyn of City…Nor of Master. But least…is not more of smooth walls." Drifting slowly into the room further, her eyes dancing over the strange pieces…that aren't quite right. And yet…right in a odd familiar way. A light shake of her head coming as it trying to shake the feeling away. Though she does venture over to one of the chairs. Her eyes blinking as she realizes they are not as simple as they seem at first. Her hand raising as fingers tentatively touch to some of the engraving. Some appreciation of the time surely taken to make the designs.

—-
Without the advantage of natural light, the passage of time does indeed becomes hazy. Fatigue doesn’t set in…not until the familiar pains of hunger make themselves known. “Confound it all! It feels like we have been walking for hours and everything looks the same as before.” Clara is certainly not immune to minor frustration, it would seem, though it does subside as Emilia mentions her future plan on bringing food next time. That triggers a thought of packing a basket of food and drink for what is supposed to be a near-instantaneous trip, which only gets Clara giggling once more. “Could you imagine the questions, Emilia?” Clara indulges in a bit of personal roleplay of said questions, complete with voice modulation for Emilia’s amusement. “ ‘Why, Princess Clara, are you carrying a completely stocked picnic basket with food and water skins?’…Well, you never know when you are going to need food and drink when making a faegate journey…’But, a faegate trip is instant! There is no time for food!’…Really? Remind me to tell you about the time an ugly little Goblyn sent us on a trip through a giant maze sometime during one of these /instant/ trips.” The jest brings a smile to Clara’s lips…and a moment’s reprieve from the frustrations of thirst and seemingly endless wandering.

It is, of course, a few moments after Clara’s little presentation when the two find another archway…and a welcomed change of scenery. However, being the cautious pair that they are, both Emilia and Clara take their time before entering, only doing so upon Emilia’s initial assessment. “Indeed, it is certainly not endless corridor nor arbitrary twists and turns with no rhyme nor reason.” Clara follows shortly behind Emilia, entering into the chamber proper…and seems somewhat perplexed. “Doesn’t it seem to you like everything is just a touch too large? Almost like when we were children and the whole word seemed just a little bit larger than life.” Brown eyes take in the furnishings, staring in amazement at the scale and the elaborate carvings upon them. Nothing is touched, not even the giant tree stump, nor the furs arraigned just so…so inviting for those with weary feet to lay upon. “This is certainly not for Goblyn use. Everything is much too large for the little blighters.” Everything seems a might too large for the pair of ladies, as well, but that goes unsaid.

However, it isn’t the carvings or the furniture or the furs that captures Clara’s attention. It is the pool of water, sitting slightly off to the side, that Clara seems drawn to. There isn’t an attempt to touch the water itself, for it is certain that Clara herself isn’t anyone’s fool. It could have been the slight twinge of thirst that brought her over, but even she is not foolish enough to simply partake. Instead, she examines…leaning over the water to peer into its depths. Despite the fact that the pool itself, from the outside, seems rather shallow…the darkness of the water betrays that it is far, far deeper than Clara would have imagined. The darkness seems almost to want to swallow her whole, and the princess staggers back as a bit of her former vertigo strikes her. Clara wisely staggers backwards, a hand reaching to the floor to steady herself. Stumbling forward, into the pool, might have caused her to fall endlessly into the darkness.

—-
It’s rather fortuitous that Clara stumbles back when she does, for but a moment or two later…a figure rises out of that pool. It’s not in an explosion of splashed water, and indeed there’s very little in the way of noise at all, save for the trickle of water that sluices off the new arrival’s form and back into the pool. Most notably, not a single drop lands beyond the confines of that pool.

As for the fellow that’s just risen out of it? He (and the “he” is rather obvious given that the alabaster-skinned figure is quite nude for the first few moments) stands over seven feet tall, and while at first glance his form is that of a man, a closer look reveals that his arms and legs are just a bit too long for his already slender torso, just as his fingers seem a bit too long for his hands…almost as though the entire figure has been “stretched” out to some unnatural proportion. Sharply angled features frame a pair of black-within-black eyes, and long, completely straight white hair cascades down to the middle of the fellow’s back.

The water that trickles off of him from his dramatic arrival, somehow, seems to leave him impossibly dry, even as he stands upon the surface of the pool itself. And then, water begins to flow up his form, drawn from the pool itself, wrapping around limbs and body and spreading, until it…shifts…and transforms from water to simple white robes, trimmed in moonlight-silver, with faintly glowing blue glyphs encircling the cuffs, hems, collar and belt (which is really just a sash that he deigns to reach down and tie about his waist quite nonchalantly as he steps down out of the pool.

Heedless of any reactions or words from his “guests” he moves to what appears a blank wall, and makes a simple gesture….a portion of the wall itself seems to flow open as though suddenly made of liquid itself, revealing a bottle containing a deep violet concoction of some type, and a chalice, both carved from crystal. He takes both, pouring the chalice about half full, and replacing the bottle, before the wall flows shut again, and the otherworldly figure strides across the room towards that tree-trunk throne without a word…yet.

For Emilia, though, there is no doubt the initial shock of the arrival, for all the Cassomir Stoicness in the world really doesn’t prepare you for ANYTHING. But even as that begins to fade, Emilia will no doubt feel the roil of that “other” thing that lies within her. At first…she could sense it’s surprise…even more shocked than Emilia and Clara combined. The Voices KNOW this one. And as recognition dawns and astonishment fades, it is replaced with…rage…and hatred…and fear, swiftly rising to a conflagration of negative emotion a great deal more potent than any Emilia has known so far, and quite possibly drowning “Emilia” in that crashing tide of malevolence.

—-

There was a nod at Clara's frustration, Emilia agreeing that it had seemed like hours. But with the pale globes as their only light there was no way to tell for certain. Even if the pangs from their bodies indicated it had been some time. "The questions would be of…amusing," agrees Emilia. The corners of her lips tugging into what often amounts for a smile from the usual stoic and solemn Cassomir, as Clara indulged in the questions that might come and that bit of roleplay. There is a faint shake of her head,"Of doubting they will be much wanting there to be of speaking about of the Goblyn. After of all the questions, cause there will be of questions, once we are of back." Not questioning that part…not yet anyways, they will surely find a way out of here! But there is a bit of certainty upon the matter of questions. Cause surely the Gatewardens will have noticed not everyone came through…and have questions.

"Is that of being the nature of a labyrinth? Twists and of turns of seeming no reason?" comments Emilia back to Clara as that closer look is given to the seemingly simple furniture. "Is least of something of different to look at. Even if nothing quite of food," though Emilia wasn't quite certain she exactly would want to eat anything found in this place. She wasn't /that/ hungry….yet. "Of aye, everything does seem of a bit of large, not quite of right….just like of that. But of agreeing, certainly not of a room being of used by of the Goblyns." There is just a mild quirk of her lips at Clara calling them little blighters.

Catching the staggering movement of Clara, for even if Emilia was giving attention to the carvings, sight was never truly lost of her friend. The movement has Emilia already taking steps towards Clara, a hand out as she asks,"Clara…what happened, are you of…" Or more starting to ask, for the words simply die before crossing her lips as that figure rises soundlessly out of the pool. Her dark eyes widen at the sight, details being taken in and yet no entirely comprehended. For truly, what could have prepared her for this. Sure…she knew goblyns existed, it had certainly helped that one of those who had told her was himself…well..not human. But someone arriving out of a pool of water and…without a splash, no water spilling anywhere? Not a single drop. The entrance does rather also have Emilia stopping entirely as her mouth gapes open a little. The normally stoic look completely vanishing as startled shock replaces it in full. And perhaps if she was not quite so shocked, there might have even been a turn of a blush for the unclothed nature of the being….For whom the furniture was certainly for. Not that her thoughts had quite got caught up to that particular connection.

Nor do they have time to get around to that as They also take to reacting about the time that the amazement of watching the water flow up and transform into cloths. It was as if some strange dream, for no storybook tale ever spoke of anything so amazing and…impossible. The edge and turn of a possible dream could have perhaps remained in some way if not for Them. With their surprise (surprise that had only served deepened Emilia's own shock) seeming to wear off just as the edge of her own shock starts to fade a little. It is no small uptick of a reaction that follows from Them, but it is building by the time Emilia recalls herself. Flinching at the depth of feeling, the swiftness that it grows with, a hand flying to her head and pushing at the temple as she softly goes,"No, no, no……<No!>." The last seeming to likely sound as nothing but a gurgle of gibberish to Clara, even if quite likely yet fully normal to the new arrival. As if somehow telling Them in 'Their' language would help. Trying to will Them back into place, struggling to overcome being off balanced and her own shock, desperately reaching for the techniques she had been learning in her few lessons with Lon.

Her own attention not actively following the progress of the newly arrived being as she turns inwards. Even if her eyes seem to flicker over to him now and again, eyes that start to darken. For Emilia has turned inwards to Them, trying in vain to keep Them contained, the rage and hatred…Things that flash upon her face as the attempt is made. The battle being told upon her face in those moments, expressions that were seemingly out of place upon the young Cassomir's face. Even more so than those rare smiles. Her other hand coming to the other side of her head as she staggered under the mental onslaught. Yet the fear was even more real when it came, especially in the moment that Emilia realized she had no hope of holding Them back. That she could not win, could perhaps never truly win, that she was lost. It was but a moment later that blackness swallowed up the dark brown color, the white of her eyes, eyes that became to mirror those of her, Their 'mother'.

Hands dropped away from 'her' head as 'she' straightened and that scream the Goblyn was so denied earlier came out. But not the one of fright the vile green critter had hoped for, but one that spoke of pure rage and hatred..and was not entirely…human. For it bore the unearthly turn of a wail to it. It seems a lifetime to Emilia this battle with Them, and yet it takes no longer than for the elongated being to fetch his drink. For those black eyes have found him in full as he strides towards his throne, Clara all but forgotten. Another 'wailing' cry spills out as 'Emilia' launches towards him, her lips pulled back into an almost snarl, the pure malevolent intent clear upon her face.

—-

The stumbling backwards was harmless enough. Indeed, Clara was just about to wave off Emilia’s question with a simple retort that it was merely a combination of a case of vertigo coupled with clumsy feet. It just didn’t seem right to admit that the dark pool didn’t seem like a pool at all, but a bottomless chasm that prompted the sudden wobbliness.

But then Emilia and Clara both fall silent…for good reason. Moments after Clara stumbled backwards, mere seconds after her hand touches the floor of the chamber to steady herself, the ethereal form just rises out of the water. Without a sound…without a single dewdrop of water spilling beyond the lip of the pool. One moment, the water was like glass. The next, a very tall, very pale, and very /naked/ male is…standing, somehow, on the water’s surface. It is certainly a shock to Clara, who nearly falls backward upon her rear at the sight. However, almost rivaling the sheer unearthly visage of what Clara can only assume is the ‘Master’ of the labyrinth is the fact that Emilia is actually showing emotion, her usually stony expression reflecting every bit of the surprise that Clara herself is feeling. There is a fleeting thought, almost lost in the din of amazement, that the two girls are really in something dreadful and awesome in the truest sense of the word if Emilia is showing emotion freely. Both watch, in that same astonished silence, as the nude form gains clothing somehow from the very water he (definitely a he) emerged from, the liquid flowing upward and shifting to fabric before their eyes. It is enough that Clara forgets she is on the floor, for the few seconds that this mystical display occurs.

Despite the amazement and the sheer majesty that the now-clothed figure emanates, Clara’s attention is ripped away as Emilia…her dearest friend and companion…seems gripped within a battle with…herself? Her cries of ‘No!’, devolving into some sort of unintelligible babble, jolts Clara to her knees, the princess showing signs of agility despite the gown she wears. “Emilia! Are you….” The question never finishes, as the battle within the Cassomir is plainly evident to Clara that Emilia is being overwhelmed by something dark. Those eyes, growing dark….black as coal. It prompts Clara, who had just gained her feet, to take a step back. Whoever or whatever is standing before Clara, glaring at the mythical figure with snarling lips and those baleful eyes, isn’t her friend Emilia. As if to prove Clara right, a dreadful wail emits from within Emilia…a wail that drives a wedge of cold dread into the Tracano’s heart…as bad as, if not worse, than those crumbled sections of labyrinth Clara was so keen on leaving.

Then, the malevolent force that is Emilia lunges, with all the hatred and darkness that body could muster, towards the object of its rage…the Master of the labyrinth. The attack spurns Clara to action…and that action is to flee…to find some sort of protection. Anything that may shield her from both the obviously powerful male figure in the room and the dark force that somehow stole Emilia’s mind. The princess once again, without thought, displays a bit of her own grace as she dives, feet first, under one of the oversized wicker-like pieces of furniture, ducking underneath to emerge on the other side, placing the object squarely between herself and the other two. She doesn’t run to the labyrinth….but it doesn’t seem like much more would prevent her from doing so, apart from the concern she still feels for her friend.

—-

How can a thing be swift and unhurried at the same time? Time itself seems…murky as Emilia launches towards the Tall Man, and while there is nothing but haste in her assault, He seems to lazily lift a hand not in a strike, but catching Emilia under the chin and lifting her off the ground with so little effort that she might as well be weightless. There is a glimmer on the being's face then, perhaps the only tiny spark of comfort that might come from these few moments, as it betrays…emotion, and a depth of it that rivals that pool he just stepped out of. A combination of pity and melancholy that somehow manages to be reflected in those black eyes, so very like what Emilia's just shifted to. His hold is not a choking one, instead cupping her chin, and his arm may as well be Sidhe-Steel for all the effect Emilia's clawing and struggling has upon it.

When he speaks, there is an awareness in Clara that the words he speaks are not in any language she knows. That somehow the words are transformed as they reach her mind, imparting meaning despite lacking understanding. The voice is surprising mild…pleasant even. A conversational tenor, even though there is a hint of temper to the tone of the words. Perhaps more importantly, that spark within Emilia that is truly her still hears the words as well, and without need for "translation" at that. A lifeline thrown perhaps, as they rouse the true Emilia more towards the forefront of her own consciousness:

«You tested yourself against me twice, ElK'a'athren, Child of the Blackened Wood, and both times were found sorely wanting. You were humbled by Lon the Hunter when he slew your Saal'a'ahaan. Now this slip of a girl proves herself greater than you with each moment she lives as herself and not your puppet. You are but a reflection of a shadow, and while I may have eternity, I find I lack the patience to put up with your impotent rage. Trouble me no further, or the miseries you have endured will seem but a pleasant midsummer's eve by comparison to that which I will inflict upon you.»

There's no great flash of light. No grand display of power. By all appearances only a grasping hand and words, and yet Emilia will feel the darkness within her retreating not in rage, but terror, crawling to the deepest recesses of her mind, even as Emilia's rational, calm, true self is almost gently "tugged" back into control. And in the span of but a moment, for now…the Voices are no more. There is an awareness that they are not truly gone, but have retreated to a whimpering torpor, as a small child might huddle under the covers of a bed for fear of a great storm.

The Tall Man lowers Emilia down to her feet and withdraws his hand, taking a sip from his crystal chalice and now speaking in perfectly normal, unaccented Common Tongue as he regards both Emilia and Clara:

"I suppose I should introduce myself, though you needn't reciprocate. I know you both."

He makes no attempt to rise, nor offers so much as the barest hint of the usual courtesies, simply concluding with, "I have had many names, but for now I am The Last." He sets the goblet aside momentarily, spreading his hands to indicate their surroundings, "And this is my domain."

He doesn’t call out to Clara, nor show any amusement at her predicament, though perhaps he’s either being polite by not bringing attention to her position or he’s barely even registered it as a “predicament” at all. Difficult to say.

—-

Another wailing cry comes as 'Emilia' gets caught up by her chin with such ease, an elevated turn of rage coming within it at the added frustration that come in being stopped short of her goal. And oh, indeed there is clawing as hands try to claw and rack at his face more than see herself released. A pointless effort with his effortless hold upon her, and how the reach of her arms come up more than short with his elongated arms. Attempts of her legs to kick or gain leverage being equally pointless. Rather like a fly with its wings pinned and struggling against the impossible. That hint of emotion that shows brings about another scream of frustrated hatred, another swipe at him. Even if perhaps, somewhere within Emilia herself is given some turn of hope to actually attempt to 'claw' against the darkness that has overwhelmed her. Though it is very much like trying to swim against a raging ocean with all the level of control They have obtained with all Their rage.

The first hint of his Voice has 'Emilia' trying in vain to reach him again, a snarling little,"<You have no power over me>", coming out. A thing that soon proves to be nothing but rage filled bluster (and certainly not true), even if the words are mostly just hate filled 'gibberish' to Clara's ears. For while there is that glaring look given as he first speaks, that malice within her features. The more words that come, the stiller 'Emilia' becomes. At first some attempt finally made to free herself, before hands simply settle just beyond his wrist. Her hands resting lightly upon him as black eyes openly stare at him with the threat that is levied.

The attempt to claw back through the darkness, through the overwhelming wall of malevolent hatred falters as the words reach Emilia. A turn of surprise perhaps in hearing them, in understanding what is spoken of, the interactions of which he speaks…of knowing of whom he speaks. Her small piece within it all. There is a flicker of shock with how quickly They seem to do an about face with all Their rage and hatred turning so quickly into terror. The Widow had shown fear of Lon, but this terror was something exponentially greater than what had been seen then. As it is They who 'give up' and flee back into her mind. Nothing had ever caused Them to be suppressed so….soundly. Even with Lon, They only ever seemed to be dampened.

As They retreat into the recesses of her mind, the black within Emilia's eyes slowly seeps and fades away until a final blink banishes the blackness from the whites and dark brown. Her features slowly relax from the rigid looks of hate and rage, restoring to something more…normal. And yet there is a difference as the transition occurs, the solemnness is gone and there seems a softer turn to the normal stoic set of her mien. With her hands falling away from his arm as her feet again touch the ground, her hands settling to her sides as Emilia comes fully back to herself, following that lifeline thrown and the gentle 'tugging' that came with it.

Perhaps Emilia was as foolish as the Goblyn suggested…for she simply stands there yet before this being, this Sidhe, that could end her as easily as she might an ant. Her head tilting slightly as she seeks to 'listen' for Them…to Them…knowing, sensing They were there yet…and yet, almost as if They were not. It is something considered for a time, a turn of relief in being 'free' of Them. The silence of it. Gentle emotions that do actually touch upon those features that are normally ever so stoic. Including the turn of curiosity that comes as Emilia's dark brown eyes come to focus and study…the Master, The Last as he supplies in way of 'name'.

A small nod eventually comes,"<The Goblyn called you the Master.>" No doubt her small turn of words within his language accented to his ears, to be spoken with her common, mortal tongue. A blink before Emilia's head straightens. Though her next words manage to find their way back to common as she asks,"Why do you know us?" Why….not How.

US!! With all that had been going on in the lifetime of a few moments, Emilia's mind had well..been lost and regained. And perhaps she might be forgiven for having forgotten her friend for that time (perhaps best for Clara even!), but Emilia's turning about in search of Clara. Obvious concern written upon her face, worry. Perhaps another small oddity, other than her speech seems…normal…..is that the emotions are showing, some hint perhaps of what a 'true' Emilia might have been like. Upon finding her behind the chair, there is a small step taken toward her,"Clara, are you alright?" But it is only a step, knowing too well..what she just looked like…did. Tried to do really. And thus knowing Clara might well wish nothing to do with her…and there is a quiet…apology that comes. "I am sorry."

—-

With her makeshift shield, positively trembling with barely controlled fear, Clara watches in amazement as the Tall Man, for lack of a better name, catches Emilia by the chin, as if she was a simple little plaything. It seemed so natural and positively lazy for the tall figure to do so and yet happened so quickly that Clara almost missed the effortless motion. For a moment, the terror of the situation, the fact that everything happening seemed far beyond the realm of any sane explanation, was replaced with unbridled curiosity and….respect. For it was apparent that the Master, as the curt little Goblyn had called him before, was truly a Master in every sense of the word and could have easily crushed Emilia’s throat without so much as a second thought, killing her and vanquishing whatever vile spirit that had control of her. Instead, he caught her, held her firmly, and gazed upon her with a hint of what Clara felt to be compassion.

And then he speaks. Despite it being in the same sort of unintelligible language that Emilia had used, even as she spits out a rageful retort in the same manner, Clara could /understand/ exactly what he was saying. It was not a matter of knowing the words, but comprehending the intent. It confirmed what Clara had half suspected….that Emilia was in the throes of something evil and, while Clara knew not how the baleful spirit managed to infect her friend, Emilia herself was still within and fighting. And that was enough…enough for Clara to remain in the chambers, to resist that fight or flight reflex and remain stalwart, if still behind a chair for whatever little protection she thought it could afford her. She watches the words take effect, the change in Emilia as clear as day. The darkness has lifted, if only for a while as black eyes shift to familiar brown even as Emilia regains her footing, placed down gently by the vanquisher of the shadows. And yet…there is more to Emilia now than what Clara is used to. The expressionless mask has been lifted and, for the first time, Clara understands why. The mask was essential, to control that which is within Emilia, the ‘little slip of a girl’ that is now free to be herself…for whatever short reprieve the Tall one has provided her.

(Wait, did he just say that he knew us?) The thought that this mythical being, this figure that once Clara knew only as a character in a story….the lauded Goblyn King, the Last…he knows both Emilia and Clara? Two insignificant young girls…merely babes, in comparison to the eternity that the Master of the Labyrinth has stated he has to live. He knows them. How? Why? These questions roll through Clara’s mind and yet, the why is asked by Emilia almost the same time, killing the self-same question from Clara before she has time to utter it. Yet, more questions abound. What importance do these two ladies have to warrant the attention of a god? “For what purpose would we matter for one such as you?” Did Clara just speak? And bold enough to ask why they would be watched? The question seems unbidden, and really Clara bites her tongue, surprised at herself for even asking. But…ask she did and she cannot take back her words now.

Instead, Clara’s attention turns to Emilia, as her friend turns to regard her. “I am safe, Emilia.” Somehow, Clara knows that her answer is true. There isn’t anything to fear here, for the moment. She steps out from behind the chair, closing the distance between Tracano and Cassomir. Emilia’s apology is met with a soft nod, as Clara reaches out, taking Emilia’s right hand within both of her own. “There is no need for apologies. I know that it wasn’t you, but rather something dark that you bear the burden of every day. I know not how it came to be that you acquired such an awful burden, but know that, should it be possible, you will not have to bear such dreadful weight alone.” As Clara finishes, she drops her hands, keeping Emilia’s right clutched within her left. Then, in a reversal of roles, she steps forward, placing herself between Emilia and the Last. “Was it intentional that we were brought to your domain, Your Majesty?” It would seem that Clara, upon identifying that she is in the presence of royalty, so to speak, has fallen upon her etiquette training when addressing the Last. After all, how else would one speak to an eternal being?

—-

“Why? Because you have interesting stories. I pay attention to people with interesting stories.” The Last lounges lazily in his chair, sipping that violet concoction once more. “There are many with interesting stories wandering Creation now…more than usual. But even among them, the two of you…along with a few others…stand apart.” He gestures lazily towards Emilia without looking at her, “Take Emilia here…in all the span of Creation from the age before time til’ now, she is unique. None have endured what she has and survived, much less retained so much of sanity. Not a one. Until now.” The Last’s lips quirk in something that might approximate a hint of a smile, but it fades to expressionless only a moment beyond. “It is good to know there can still be surprises in this world. Even to one so old as I.” A glance towards Emilia and there’s no mistaking the grin that’s directed towards her now, “Or as old as one other.”

“And you, Clara Tracano-not-t’Myrin. While perhaps not so…dramatic as Emilia’s own path, yours too has been interesting to watch. A child of two worlds, as it were, and yet in your own way thriving in both. That speaks of greater strength of character than most of your ilk possess.” Black eyes fix on Clara a moment longer and he adds, “As does your impudence in questioning my purpose.” He doesn’t seem angry about it, though. “Interesting stories keep me entertained…there’s little else here for it, as the antics of Goblyns grow wearisome after the first millennia or so.”

“No, you arrived here purely by whim of destiny, and not by my design. Rare indeed are those moments I have deigned to will anyone from outside to my presence. This is not a place for them…or you, for that matter.” Long fingers stroke at The Last Sidhe’s chin a moment in thought, “Which begs the question of what to do with the two of you?”

—-

More questions flitted about Emilia's head, and so much more with the silence that existed in the moment. It was something strange and new, so much space and added ability to think and wonder without interference. Without added Voices. A small nod had come at the sound of Clara's question, it furthered her own initial question. Yet, for the moment, she was concerned for her friend then to voice more questions at The Last, one who surely above all could best answer some of the things that rolled about her mind.

A flash of relief came to see and hear that Clara was safe. Though Emilia holds her position, allowing Clara to be the one to approach, some worry yet that she might frighten her friend. Her eyes following Clara as she comes closer, a hint of hope mixed with the uncertainty of things between them. But relief soon comes as her hand is taken up, to hear the words that Clara speaks. She saw, she understood. "Thank you, Clara." Emilia's hand gently giving a squeeze to Clara's. "Few know my burden, and the tale of how it came to be. But it does help to have those who understand, even if they cannot bear the weight for me." Of which there were some who would, if they could. There was actually a small smile that came, a real sort of thing. Not that odd little corner tugging thing. Though she turns about again to face The Last again, as Clara puts herself between them. As more questions are voiced. A turn of curiosity to the answers, especially if they were brought on purpose. Had they not been directed to this room purposefully? It did not seem an impossibility that they were thus brought to this…domain..on purpose as well.

A small tilt of her head comes as he starts to answer the questions that have been raised. Her eyes blink with mild surprise to hear he considers them, their lives interesting. Emilia knew her life was not exactly…common. But she assumed any interest extended to Them, or perhaps simply started with that incident. And then surely just a footnote, everyone else seemed more interesting. Then he continues on, explaining his interest in her. Her eyes widen at what he speaks about, some turn of surprise in hearing that she, a simple mortal and slip of a girl, was unique for having endured as she did. Surely more powerful..greater beings before her should have had a better chance of it? Positively flabbergasted to learn that she actually surprises /him/. She had been surprised enough at the fact she could surprise Lon, but to surprise this being as well? It was downright shocking! Emilia does smile in return to the grin, or perhaps it is the reference that helps to coax it along as well. "I know I have surprised him, and seem to keep surprising him….I have found it surprising and a little amusing. But I would not have thought to be a surprise to you." Her eyes blink and her head straightens,"You keep an eye upon him with the…Goblyns?" Some curiosity, with the Goblyn's mention of hidey-holes..and well the fact Lon had been chasing after a Goblyn.

Emilia's eyes shift towards Clara when he starts to speak of the Tracano, a small nod coming at his words. "You have much strength, Clara." Having seen how her friend had seemed lost for all the change that had come to her world before they met. It was in fact, perhaps the very reason they had become friends. The reason Emilia had risked reaching out to the other. There is actually a mild smile that flits when there is mention of Clara's impudence to question as she did. Even if Emilia is yet curious about that particular point.

"But you do actually purposefully bring some here, even if rarely so?" Oh how odd it was to not have the smattering of extra ofs and other stranger turns to her words. Yet refreshing to not have to spend extra time trying to string together words. It was like being set free, a walk in the sunshine after being locked within the darkness of a cell for too long. Emilia glances towards the room, the furniture,"True, we do not fit here, the chairs are a bit too big." There is a cant of Emilia's head at his last question. "The Goblyn said you could send us back, and you speak of enjoying our stories and not belonging here, does that not mean we should return?" A frown comes slightly,"Though, They will not stay so..quiet. Will They?"

—-

Clara’s impudence, which prompts a blush from Clara when the Last makes mention of it, would not have been possible were it not for Emilia’s kind words. Clara might not have been so bold as to question the purpose of their arrival had it not been for the support she felt from her friend…which support Clara is simply glad to reciprocate. The fact that the Last finds both of them interesting enough to actually know of them specifically is intriguing. Certainly Clara did not feel all that engaging. In her mind, she is just a young woman that just happened to fall into a series of events, both fortunate and unfortunate, that were beyond her control. She just did what she could to make due with what she had. Compared to Emilia and the understanding that Clara had gained in the brief time within the Master’s chamber, Clara would consider herself downright bland. After all, Emilia was waging an internal battle with a malevolence that the Last knew by name. That meant that it was at least as old as him…and she is able to resist, to live her life as much on her own terms as possible. Clara was just a confused little girl, a child of two kingdoms who only just recently was able to choose what she wanted, rather than be told one way or another. Hardly an entertaining figure in her estimation.

Yet, here was this immortal, telling Clara that she had great strength of character. Using her full name, both the true and the false surnames, to call her out. This individual, who caused the evil presence within Emilia to cower and whimper like a dog with just a look, told Clara she is strong. And Emilia agreeing with him, immediately after he praised Emilia for her own strength. If Clara wasn’t standing right there, she wouldn’t have believed it herself. Even the slight dig of her impudence was meant as a commentary to her distinct individuality, and seemingly not as a negative reaction to her question. Modesty is just as much to blame for the rouge upon her cheeks as embarrassment for speaking her mind so boldly before the Last. Yet, the embarrassment does not stop her from considering more questions…questions that Emilia herself seems to be contemplating, as she speak out about not belonging here, an admission from the Goblyn King himself. Again, Clara finds herself vocalizing her thoughts, addressing the Last Sidhe as reverently as she would her Queenly cousin.

“I would imagine that within your Labyrinth are oubliettes. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the labyrinth is one great oubliette, a place to put people and forget about them after gaining what little amusement possible by watching them try to find a way out.” Clara considers her words carefully, knowing that she is flirting dangerously close to impudence once more. “It would seem to me that, to best provide Your Majesty with the entertainment to combat the ennui derived from a life eternal, it would be in everyone’s best interest to allow our stories to be told in full.” Clara ventures a gaze upwards to the Sidhe lord, pulling on all of her training and talent to be tactful and yet completely honest with him. “Leaving us to tarry here within your oubliette would only shorten the diversion our lives provide you.”

Clara does fall silent for a moment, out of respect and to allow the Last to consider her logic. Alas, ever the precocious one, Clara considers two more questions and feels compelled to present them. “Please, forgive me for seeking knowledge from one as magnificent as you. I pray you indulge my boldness for a few seconds longer as I ask you of two things.” With the first question, Clara averts her eyes, offering a courtly curtsey that would do the Rivana court proud. “First, Emilia and I felt promptings that led us to here. Was it by your hand that we were guided here, to your presence? For, if so, I would wager that you may already have an answer to your question as to what is to become of us.” The second question finds Clara looking up, that cheekiness prevalent as her brown eyes lock with the black orbs of the Last. “Second, with your great power and knowledge, is there naught that can be done to free Emilia from the presence that haunts her mindscape?”

With her questions asked, Clara steps back, standing side by side with Emilia. A tender squeezing of the clasped hands is indication enough to signal to Emilia that Clara is still very much awestruck, anxious as to what the immortal might reply with and fearful that she might exhaust whatever magnanimity the mystical Sidhe may have for the pair standing before him.

—-

“Lon is watched, on occasion. Whether by Goblyn or by those methods available to me. His story is a long one, and filled with many rather boring sections, though it’s at least been more interesting of late.” The Last comments on the matter of a certain Changeling. “As for those brought here…most are of a more…deific ilk than you might be imagining, and they usually leave before things get so awkward I might consider dropping them in the Labyrinth, and even were I to do so, while I may survive the wrath that follows, it would be unpleasant and inconvenient in the extreme.” He “walks” his fingers before him and grins ever so slightly, “So you walk in the footsteps of Gods. And Goddesses.”

He glances between them as questions regarding Emilia’s “other side” crop up, but it’s to Clara his attention is more focused, looking at her intently before he actually…laughs, and if it’s any comfort, it sounds as though there’s genuine humor behind it. “You seek to trick the Trickster, wrapped in a package of flattery. Have little fear, as it is most likely I would return you to the realm to which you both belong.”

Humor fades though, as his attention turns to Emilia, “They will return, yes, in time.” He flicks a black-eyed glance to Clara, then back to Emilia, “Ordinarily I would anger for the asking of such boons. But in this case, some small measure of fault lies with me for your condition, Emilia Cassomir.” He leans forward in his chair, intently, “Understand that I do not see all ends. I see possibilities.”

The Last gestures, and the glowing, semi-translucent image of well…a circular labyrinth appears, floating in the air, “For each being in creation, Fate is a maze. You start on one side…and you work your way to the other. But….for each turn you take…” He traces a path, and when he turns it one direction, the entire “maze” subtly shifts, some pathways closing off and others opening up. “The path changes. Now compound that…” He spreads his hands, and the “maze” shifts horizontal, and suddenly it’s a ”stack” of mazes, “With knowing that those Fates above and below and around you also change your own maze with their own decisions…and that sometimes a decision made very far away can change or even end another’s path.” He leans back in his chair, “At any given moment…I can see the paths that exist and to what ends they lead to. But in the next moment, new decisions are made and the paths and ends change. Sometimes in small ways, sometimes in great. There is only one being’s path I cannot see, and as you may surmise, it is myself…especially as I have a tendency to attempt to cheat…”

The “Maze” condenses to one, and flips vertical again, and the Last’s finger traces around the outside of the maze from the entrance to the exit, before fading from view. “It was my actions, that unforeseen, turned ElK'a'athren, and those that remained of her ilk to the shadows that they are now, and once done, not even I could undo it, or simply end them. Not without consequence far greater than their nonexistence.” Black eyes fix on Emilia, “I can remove that which lies within you, Emilia Cassomir. Here and now. For me, it would be a simple thing. For you…less simple, as it comes at the cost of your freedom, for were I to do this, you would need remain here within the Labyrinth until the end of your days. My power is great…but no power can truly be wielded without consequence, and such an alteration of Fate would be costly.”

He plucks up the crystal chalice and drains the rest of its’ contents, “But the choice is yours. I cannot remove free will. Nudge it, perhaps, and strongly, but not supplant it altogether.” He adds, “Or I can send you to your destination…though it would be fair to warn you that your memories of these events will likely be…difficult to recall, at a bare minimum. It is not yet time for my presence to be fully known again. For in that again, there is consequence.”

—-

Emilia nods to the answer about Lon, she knew his story was a long one. He was thousands of years old by what estimate Sirrah had made. Though as The Last denotes that the Changeling's story has been more interesting of late, Emilia does hazard to inquire,"It is not simply interesting of late because he has crossed paths with me?" Given what had just been spoken about her moments before, her uniqueness and ability to surprise even him, Emilia cannot help but wonder some at that. Of those brought here by his will, there is a curiosity and interest in the answer, a slight smile of sorts, but no further questions seem to come about them. Perhaps deciding it best not to press, some things were best not known and there was already much for her mind to be dancing over. There is a brief echo though,"Gods and Goddesses?" A faint blink…that was another thing for the mind to wrangle with a bit. Being of a family that was devout to the One.

Those dark brown eyes do drift to Clara as she speaks about oubliettes and what might The Last do with them both, shifting back towards him to see what he might think of her friends words. Even if his expression seems to change about near as her own might usually. Though in the end, Clara is offering up the same path as Emilia, adding greater logic and reason for that to be what is done with them.

Emilia does give Clara another glance when she begins to ask for further indulgence. A bit of a smile coming to witness the curtsey, it would have done the Rivana Court proud. A mild cant of her head at the first question that seems to be posed, Emilia having not given it a great deal of thought with everything else, simply assuming it was by His design they had come to be in the room and not sent into one of those oubliettes or the Goblyn City, or some other horrid turn within the labyrinth. Though it is the second question that brings the greater reaction with Emilia's eyes widening for it to have been asked. For surely if it was in his power he could have banished them fully a moment ago? There is open curiosity to what answer might come with the question asked openly, for if any one would know how it would be he, and if not he, then did that not mean there was no hope to ever truly be rid of Them? But would he if He could? Did it not serve a purpose in a way, the continued torment to Them at being kept in check by a mere slip of a girl, as he had called her.

A hint of a smile comes as he does laugh, even if he speaks so of Clara and her continued bought of impudence, and being a trickster herself. There is a mild sigh, some hint of resignation when he does say that They will return in time. That her turn of peace is only just that, a moment…a small reprieve at best. But his…admission..that he has some fault in her condition causes a blink of surprise,"How could you be at fault?" Emilia's gaze gaining that turn of questioning curiosity as she looks on to him as he starts to explain. Eyes widening a little at the semi-translucent image appears, quickly drawing her eyes from him to it. Watching as it changes and turn with his words, his tracings of paths to add in illustrating his words and their meanings. The imagery was something in of itself to behold.

Dark eyes flicker back to him as he speaks about his own path…and his tendency to cheat. A smile slips, bemused at this idea. A need for him to actually cheat…or try to. It was up there with the idea that she surprised such a great being. But that smile fades as he continues to speak, his hand in it all. A flicker of hope when he speaks about being able to remove Them from her. But it fades as quickly as it comes for the price he speaks about. To merely trade one style of prison for another? She frowns a little bit. What good would it be to be rid of Them only to lose everything else? "Why must I remain here? I understand there is a price for everything, that nothing comes without a cost. A pebble cannot be cast without causing a ripple. Even what was done to me came with a price, for ElK'a'athren to be able to do this…for me to withstand the Beast within. Each has had a cost. But to gain freedom from Them, I must give up freedom in turn and everything with it?" Her family, everything that was her life. And yet, had she not promised to work to that very goal to be free from Them? But what good was it to be free, when the very people she had promised would likely never know…that she would not see them again? "How does one choose between two things when such a cost for either is so high?" Her fingers tightening a lightly about Clara's at this quandary is placed at her feet. To be able to be free of the Darkness within, to no longer be a monster and yet…lose everything in the process.

"If I were to…remain…What would I do? You have already said I do not belong here, and yet..if I make the choice to be free of Them..I would have no choice but to remain for the…" Emilia blinks slightly. "Or would my days be so short it would not matter?" The Goblyn had said…he did slay others just as easily as he sent some back. The matter of retaining memories…passed over with this decision to consider.

—-

It would appear that Clara’s apprehension was unwarranted, as the Sidhe before the ladies breaks into laughter at Clara’s carefully crafted quandaries and observations. Granted, it was a short burst of laughter…but it was genuine, as far as Clara’s sense of empathy tells her. The relief is almost palpable, as the grip upon Emilia’s hand lessens. Again, Clara trusts to the truth as she speaks. “Tis not my intent to offer flattery. Merely the proper respect that a visitor such as I should always offer to a liege when within the walls of his very home.” The concept that Clara and Emilia have trended in areas that deities had walked is registered within Clara’s mind…but is not dwelled upon. Not for any lack of respect for said Gods and Goddesses…but for the fact that to try to comprehend the implications would prove too much for a mere mortal such as her. However…she can select what issues to focus on, what actions she should take here and now to see her and her friend through.

And, presently, Clara is focused on determining if there can be any help at all for Emilia and her unique condition. Hearing that the Last is partially responsible for Emilia’s situation sends a chill down along Clara’s spine…a tremble that surely Emilia would feel through the clasped hands. Even as the involuntary twinge runs its course through Clara’s form, Clara’s mind rallies around a single point that the Last saw fit to relay to the Rivanans.

The Last can see possibilities.

The visual demonstration on how this probability sense works is taken in with wonderment. The shimmering illusion, illustrating so effectively on how the pathways are constantly changing, how so many different elements are at work to effect these changes…all that is taken in. And yet, only reinforce the thought that continues to be tossed in Clara’s mind. The Last can see possibilities. Even when He states to Emilia that he can take Banshee’s presence out of Emilia permanently immediately, but doom her to a life in the Labyrinth because of such, that singular idea continues to spin in her mind. Only two options? Surely that cannot be right. To be doomed to a solitary life within the oubliette or to a cursed half-life, always wary of the beast lurking within. There has to be another option. A labyrinth has many twists and turns…not just a singular turn to the right or the left. What if….

And then, inspiration strikes Clara. She may not have the knowledge cultivated from an endless existence. No…she may not have the right answers, but…for that moment in time, she has the right question.

With again as much reverence and diplomacy as she can muster, Clara offers up her question. “I….understand that the stories that we live are ever changing. The plots that are laid before us are always in flux. I know, also, that I have no right at all to ask of you that which I am about to. Please, I humbly beseech thee, oh Oracle of Possibilities….if we were to forget of our present encounter, and returned to our domain as if none of this happened.” With that, Clara lifts up a hand, indicating the entire chambers. “What if we cheated and was placed back upon our paths without any knowledge that it is entirely possible right now to free Emilia of the shackles of the spirit, only to trade for the shackles of the Labyrinth. Do you see /any/ possibility that Emilia may discover the cure she….we….so wish on our own?” The correction to the possessive offers both Emilia and the great Lord before them that Clara is willing to help however she can, if she is able to.

Clara knows it is much too much to ask….and really doesn’t expect a straight-forward answer. She even said as such. However, she knows she needed to ask. If, for anything else, to provide that third option. To instill hope within Emilia that it is not simply an all-or-nothing scenario. Clara only wishes that the Last is also able to see the sincerity of Clara’s immediate actions.

—-

“No promise of easy decision was made.” The Last notes towards Emilia, “As for what you would do? I make no guarantees beyond assuring your safety for a time. It could be wondrous, or it could be horrible. Or perhaps a bit of both.” He frowns a bit, “Understand that while trickery is often my nature, I do not seek to ensnare you for my own purpose. As I have said and say now for the last time, there is consequence in the exercise of power, and just because you believe yourself insignificant enough that its’ exercise upon you would be of minimal import does not make it so. As to why, I could explain the secrets of Creation to you in great detail if you like, but you’d both wither and die as old crones before I’d manage to impart but a thimbleful of the full breadth of that knowledge to you.” There’s a hint of testiness at the last.

“The possibility is not absent amongst the myriad that exist, and thus far never has been.” The Last finally notes to Clara, before making a dismissive gesture, “Now, I grow weary of explanations. There are choices to be made, and I cannot make them for you. Ah, but such weighty matters should perhaps not be decided while weary and in need of succor.” He gestures absently, and another segment of the wall flows open, different from before. Another bottle, and goblets lie within, which look to be of human make.

“Drink one cup and only one cup. It will sate your thirst and hunger while you consider. But once finished, you must choose what path you will take this day.”

Should they accept the Last’s hospitality, they’ll find the “wine” to be a slightly sweet concoction that doesn’t actually seem to have any alcoholic edge. It is, however, refreshing and rejuvenating all in one, working almost instantaneously to sooth away weariness and the pangs of hunger and thirst. The Last simply watches in silence now, at least for these few moments.

—-

What important and impactful decision was ever easy to make? A small nod comes at what she would do, or what life could be like in the Labyrinth. Which amounts to…nothing was certain for it. It could be no different than her current life, just she would be free of Them as well as everything else she knew. Knowing he spoke true enough on her beliefs about her place in things, how insignificant and unimportant she did think she was. Yet knowing better to try to debate the matter, it would be as pointless as trying to get Graham to stop fretting, and would end far worse, given it seemed the Last One did have limits to his patience for precocious and impudent little girls. Emilia shakes her head,"I would not ask nor seek for such an explanations of the Secrets of Creation nor of others. For as I have told Lon before, there are many things I know we should not know or be aware of, nor could fully comprehend as it should be or would need to be. And such as we spoke of then, were far lesser than the matter of Creation itself. Some knowledge is not meant for us. Nor should it be gained, it is for the best."

Dark eyes cast her gaze over to Clara when she brings up yet a third option, a slight blink coming for the matter raised. And perhaps a small head tilt for such use of flowery language to ask what she does, possibilities beyond the two options. But then perhaps Emilia is a bit too used to talking informally and asking what questions come to her mind with another overly old being who could squish her if he had mind to do so. It does prompt her to say, towards Clara,"The Archbishop Sirrah has been seeking for answers, a way to…fix me since I became changed. But it is only recently, that it was realized that something was not taken from me, but left within, to allow her to seek for an answer to remove Them. Especially with the added knowledge Lon has been able to give." There is a realization that just who Lon is, has not exactly been…explained for Clara, so Emilia takes a small breathe. "Lon is a Changeling who has been helping me to try and better cope and manage the presence within me." After all..Clara has met a Goblyn and now a Sidhe, the Last Sidhe….what more is it to dump the existence of Changelings on her too? Or more so that Emilia might have regular contact with one. Well…semi-regular contact. "But with everything else," like the little business with the Cardinal,"I cannot imagine Sirrah has much time to focus on such research." Emilia knew the Archbishop cared, but fixing one little 'touched' girl certainly did not rate focus with more important matters before them, such as the instability of Kingdoms. This turn of explanation being directed towards her friend, for surely The Last knew enough to be aware, or did not care of such minor details in her story.

"But…" and with this Emilia's gaze turns back to the Tall Man," if the possibility exists, will it not also come at a price? Just as to be free now has a price, a cost to it?" Not seeking to discover what cost or price to be paid, or even an explanation, but simply confirmation that even if it were found…it was not so simple either.

Eyes drifting to the wall that opens when he speaks of not making the decision while weary, and yet it must be made after drinking but a single cup. It gave her time, yet not much, to consider it all. It was time she did accept, for it was something, a bow offered in accepting his hospitality, "Thank you," before she does go to the opening to pour a goblet for each of them. Though it is noted softly to Clara as she offers the one to her,"If we are to return, and our memories of this encounter, our time here…are not to be remembered, you will no longer recall what you have learned…you will not know of my burden, nor I that you were once aware and willing to offer what aid you might. It will return to being a secret kept, as it is kept from so many." It is a thing gently pointed out, for having caught Clara's turn of words, indication she would do all she could to aid Emilia in the third option she had raise.

Only a small sip is taken of the liquid, and for all the hunger and thirst that she might actually have. Nor for how weary she is and the ease with which it is wiped away, the delightful taste that it holds, never more than a sip is taken at a time. Even if there might be some initial urge to gulp several drinks down. For when she is through, she must make a decision, so all the time she might gain…is gained by those small sips. It was her decision alone to make, he had said that. To be free of Them, fully free of them…was beyond tempting. To have but a preview of such quiet even with Them yet there was not something she could deny. But would it not be selfish to make that choice? Against everything she been taught of duty? She would be free, but would have to stay here. Clara would remember nothing in her return, so none would know what had become of Emilia, nor why. Her family would be left unknowing, would be left without her and what duties were hers would fall to another. It was not just a price she would have to pay, but one they would have to pay as well. Was the cost worth keeping the promise when no one would know that but her? And yet to return, she would recall none of this…yet continue with the life she knew, the struggle and battle she had endured already for so long. A possibility that she might yet be free, but what would the cost be if it were ever discovered? Would it be any better than the price that would have to be paid now? Was there even much chance for that possibility? What if all the wrong choices were made for that to come about? Did it not all come down to if she could yet…would yet..bear the burden that had become hers and the cost the yet was yet being exacted upon her or to be rid of it, to be free…but at cost to her and so many others? Was either choice truly better to make then the other with such costs? Oh such thoughts that whirled about her head as she took those slow sips, buying those few moments that she might. Perhaps only mere minutes, likely only a blink in comparison to the long life that had been the Tall Man's, or would yet be. And for once, Clara could actually watch many of the thoughts and emotions play across Emilia's features as she struggled with the decision that had been laid at her feet.

—-

The Tracano blinks in surprise at mention that, among Goblyns and Sidhe, Changelings exist and that Emilia has met one. Granted…it is only mild surprise. After all, she stands before the Last Sidhe…and she has seen the dragon skeleton on display at Sunsreach. It would stand to reason that all of the mythological creatures that are nestled in folklore truly existed in some form. Well, at least that is what Clara’s reasoning is telling her, in an effort to quantify all the information into a manageable form. She does remain silent, offering a nod of understanding to Emilia and a smile in appreciation of her explanation. Clara also remains silent, at least vocally, for the sake of the Last. Already had she been much too inquisitive, her quest for knowledge certainly trying the patience of the Last in her perception. Still, Clara’s reflections upon the situation at hand, Emilia’s predicament, ring out quite noisely in her mind. For Emilia, if she wasn’t already struggling with her own deliberations, the expression upon Clara’s face is a most familiar one….head tilted slightly to the left, eyes gazing off to the distance…or rather, through the floor as the options are weighed carefully.

It is with this self-same expression visible that Clara accepts the goblet, thanking both Emilia and their host with a bow as well. As the goblet is brought to Clara’s lips and the elixir within works its magic, Emilia speaks her point that, if they go back, Clara would not remember any of this. She won’t know that Emilia harbors a darkness ages old…or that Clara even said she would help with her burden, if she could. As Clara considers this, the concept of a price to be paid also plays through within her mind. For every action, there is a price. To have Emilia be cured, here and now, the price is forfeiting her life as she knows it and remaining here, in the Tall Man’s domain. Clara knows well the price of freedom. Another time, another Clara had asked for help and the price paid was the same. She lost all but her mother, who was almost lost herself, and had to find herself again. It was only because of Emilia’s kindness that Clara was able to start that…to take that other Clara and the new Clara and merge them into one whole. And, just then, another realization comes to Clara’s mind.

“Emilia, perhaps that is the price to be paid for that third option..the one that still yet exists to find resolution without imprisonment. That we forget what was discovered here. The cost is great, granted, but consider it from another angle.” Clara takes another sip of the liquid, the restorative properties clearly at work as Clara stands a little straighter and speaks more clearly. “Yes, we will forget that I discovered your burden…what it is you carry within you. But, you will not forget that I will help and support you, for I would have done so even before the fates saw fit to arraign this excursion.” Clara faces Emilia fully, the Last temporarily forgotten for the moment. “We would return to as we were before. And, should one of those possibilities before us calls for me to relearn of your secret you carry, know that I will do exactly the same then as I do now….offer whatever assistance that I may so that the day that you are finally rid of the shadows that lurk within shall come sooner, through our efforts combined.”

Then, Clara slows herself…gripping Emilia’s hand tightly as she offers one more insight. “I know how important family is…the support that they can provide. I had lost the family I had thought I had, but was fortunate enough to find another. I wouldn’t want you to lose all that you hold dear. Should that third option be taken, you will have your family to help you. All of your family. Please remember…you will not be alone.”

The hand is released, as Clara steps slightly away, to allow Emilia the time to consider her words. Clara’s brown eyes shift over towards the Last, locking with the black-on-black of his own. Clara knows the decision is Emilia’s alone…but Clara herself also has a choice to make. One that hinges upon the next few steps taken along the path of the ladies’ lives laid before them.

—-

The Last is unmoving and silent as they sip at their goblets of…whatever nectar it may be…the flavor is not familiar, but altogether pleasant nevertheless. He does not hurry them. He doesn’t look impatient, or even like he’s necessarily looking at them too closely. To Clara’s words he offers no insight or clarification. To Emilia’s plight he offers no further guidance, not that much was granted to begin with!

He’s just…waiting. And apparently patiently at that, for when they finish their goblets he still does not prod them for any answer. Then again…it’s not as if he doesn’t have time to spare.

—-

Emilia's eyes turn to Clara as she suggests that the price for the third possibility is simply the cost of losing the knowledge of this visit, what was learned within it. And the look that comes alone speaks that Emilia does not think it is all that…simple. What was to be gained was too great for the price to be that…little. It is only the look that speaks that, for Emilia knows Clara is trying to help, and in perhaps some way showing that Clara, herself, is not willing to pay the price to have Emilia cured in that exact moment. Proving that the price is not just one to be paid by Emilia herself. A fine example in turn of the impacts that come from a single change, a decision made and how it touches more that one thing. Far simpler then matters of Creation.

A few small sips are taken as she does listen to Clara, the reasoning laid out. "I know you will support me, and be my friend yet as you have been. But as Raelyn and Jaren have been there for me, even upon learning about the monster within me, so to do they have their own responsibilities that are soon to be greater. And you have much of your own to face, your own burdens. Ones that shall likely continue to grow as your place within your House become firmer, greater. " There is a faint breathe drawn before let out slowly, her hand squeezing Clara's, before she admits,"Not all of my family is aware of the true nature of my affliction, from many of them it is even kept. And thus they question the positions I am allowed to have, the duties I am given to take up. I know I will not be alone." A faint smile is given to Clara for her words and insight into the dilemma she is faced with.

What were extra minutes to sip from a cup to a being that had all of eternity? For that matter, in time enough, would this exchange even be a thing worthy having remembered in a week, a month, a year for The Last? The last of the liquid is sipped on slowly, Clara certainly finished long before Emilia with her glass of the strange sweet revitalizer. When she is finished, Emilia does set the goblet back to where it was taken from, offered to put Clara’s back as well. Her movements yet carrying that ethereal edge to them, a thing that perhaps fits more to to this world then her own and yet to the Last’s eyes she is likely no more than a bumbling mortal. As the goblets are placed back, that edge of stoicism seems to return to her face, Emilia actively masking those final thoughts that comes, for a decision had come, realizations have been made. She does try to offer Clara a smile before she turns to face the Last again, taking the few steps to return before him.

Her dark brown eyes study him for a few moments once again before she moves to speak. “Thank you for the refreshment,” offering a bow of her head, some turn of courtly behavior, even if not required. “As you said a decision must be had after a single glass was had, so have I made my decision. You know my story, you know me, you already know my decision. You knew what it would be even as you offered me the choice and allowed me to reach it upon my own.” Her tone is simple and gentle, no turn of accusation or resignation. No hint of disgruntlement for what may have simply been a moment of entertainment for the Last, to watch her work through it all and reach the decision with what he had placed before her. Thus she says simply,”I will return with Clara when the time comes.”

—-

“I would not have had the inclination nor desire to bolster my standing within my true family if it was not for you.” Clara speaks truthfully, gesturing with her goblet as she might at an inn, though she remains reserved in her movements. “I would most likely still be lamenting, dwelling on what was and not what is to come. After the service you offered me, with just an extended hand in fellowship, I could not possibly live with myself without doing the same.” Clara takes one final sip from the goblet within her hand, then holds it and her tongue still, to allow Emilia the peace to make her decision. Clara’s own crossroads is kept from Emilia, in order not to sway her deliberations in one manner or another. However, for one that sees possibilities, it is no doubt obvious to the great Sidhe seated before the ladies that Clara’s path has two distinct possibilities before her…to go back or to stay with Emilia, within the Labyrinth. And, for the moment, both options carry the same weight, the fact of which betrays Clara’s conflict. Her decision is very much weighted on what Emilia will chose, and Clara is not going to tip her hand one way or the other until Emilia decides on her own.

The goblet is handed back to Emilia without question, the concoction within doing more to revitalize Clara than a night’s sleep and a good meal would. She feel awake and contented, at least in terms of hunger and thirst slaked. The princess does not move….does not walk around nor shift in her spot. Her own carefree, graceful actions are not displayed. No…instead Clara shows her patience, which may not be quite as long as the Last, but long enough. It seems that she is in no hurry to rush through things at this time. Movement only comes when Emilia’s smile is returned and Clara joins her once again by her side, as together they step forward to face the Last once more. For Clara does not need to be told….intuition tells her that Emilia has reached a decision.

And her decision is to leave. Though Clara does try to hide it, a sense of relief washes over her. And, for the Last, the choice of two, visible before, immediately becomes an avenue with only one possibility. She is going back, as well. Clara offers a bow as well, breaking her own silence with her gratitude of the hospitality given. “I thank you as well, for the generosity shown as well as the patience given for a pair of presumptuous girls that blindly intruded upon your domain.” There is a moment’s pause, only for a breath, before Clara voices the decision the Last Sidhe already knows has been made. “I will join Emilia and return to our own worlds, to craft our stories so that Your Majesty, as well as those that shall come after us, shall find entertainment in our lives lived.” Again…she knew she did not have to speak her decision out loud to the great Goblyn King before her. It was for Emilia’s benefit….a subtle way of staying quite simply ‘wherever you go, I shall go, too.’

—-

The Last tilts a pale brow at Emilia, “Do not presume what I do and do not know, for even I do not know all things. Had that been the case, I would likely have ensured you arrived in time for the Masquerade you sought. There would have been interesting twists in the path to be had there for you. But now instead it has taken a different turn.”

The Last is silent a moment, then speaks once more, “I will grant you a boon, because you have amused me, and because when Fate makes the turn on its’ own rather than by one’s own design, it is usually for a reason, and for all my attempts to circumvent her, she always seems to find a way to catch up.” A brief twist of lips in the approximation of a wry smile.

“I can grant that you will remember your time here in the Labyrinth. Not immediately…but in time it would return to you. However, were I to do this, I would require your oath that you speak of it to none save each other.” He pauses a moment, then adds, “And Lon, I suppose. He knows how and when to hold his tongue.” The Last leans forward, frowning, studying Emilia, “I know what it is to face isolation. To walk apart from all others. To be different. And so I can grant that you will not walk that path…quite so alone.” A flicker of a glance towards Clara, and finally he adds, “But I will have your oath on it. And know that it is binding save should I release you from it. Break it…and I will know, and you will know my displeasure.”

He adds, “Or I can simply steal these memories from your minds forevermore. Once again, the choice is your own, but you must both be in agreement when it is made, whichever direction you decide.”

—-

While Clara does the Rivana Court proud with her words that come, acquitting herself as she does before The Last, it is not til the words after that brief pause that Emilia's eyes turn towards Clara. Some hint of surprise there, for Emilia had assumed Clara would simply return, no matter what Emilia's choice in. But no…Clara had been pondering to remain with her if she had chosen otherwise. Even as Clara tries to hide the relief that comes with Emilia's decision, it does not go unnoticed. It along with Clara's words, seems to only solidify that Emilia did make the 'right' decision. A hand slipping to take up Clara's again, giving a gentle squeeze.

To The last, that tilted brow and words do have Emilia simply bowing her head to him, acknowledging her..presumptuous mistake. Even if he had not foreseen their arrival. Though even if he did not know upon laying out the choice, he likely still had thoughts on what would most likely be her decision. It is her brows that lift though when he speaks of the masque, that it was to be missed, or already missed? And what twists could have come from it? What twits shall come of this? Curiosity touches her expression, her eyes flickering towards Clara a moment. But what questions might come to her mind to ask are held back.

Curiosity mixes with surprise as he speaks of granting a boon. A bit of a smile coming to her lips to hear that Fate thwarts him as much as he tries to thwart it. Though it is certainly surprise that takes hold when he speaks of what boon shall be granted. Emilia's mouth parting a little even as she blinks at this twist. But it takes her but a few moments to make this decision, it was easier by far then the other to make. "If Clara is agreeable," since they both must agree," You would have my word, my oath that I would not speak of it to any other but Clara, and Lon, were I to regain memories of my time here within the Labyrinth. And I would thank you for this boon, to be not so alone upon my path." For it is that aspect that seems of greater wealth to her then the memories themselves, but what would be gained in having them. Even simply having someone to understand better what she suffered, as had been gained with meeting Lon, had lifted a bit of the burden in ways she could not have thought possible. There is a brief hesitation before she does ask,"What of Them, the shadow of ElK'a'athren within? Shall It retain knowledge of this visit, or shall It to lose memory of it all?" It was an important point, least to Emilia, she knew too well what was done to her simply for taking up lessons with Lon.

—-

A hand slides into another and both hands clasp together. Even if no other words were spoken, that gesture would be enough to signify that Clara and Emilia are of the same mind. However, words are needed. An oath was asked for. And Clara is willing to oblige. “I am agreeable to this.” To the hand within her own. To the decision that Emilia has reached. To the oath to not only the Last, but to her friend as well. The uttered phrase could refer to any one of these….or to all at once. Which is exactly Clara’s intent. She then elaborates. “You have my word. Not as a princess of Rivana, nor even as a noble of Couviere, but as the most truthful position I have….that of myself. You have the word of Clara Tracano-not-t’Myrin, the woman behind the masks provided me, that I will not speak of this to any other but Emilia…and to this Lon, should I ever have the good fortune to meet him.” Again, her words have two meanings. To the Last, Clara surely means that the realm of the Labyrinth, and his existence, shall remain a secret. To Emilia, it means also that none shall discover that Clara knows of the shadow of the Bane Sidhe within her…that Clara will also keep her confidence.

After Clara swore her oath without any caveats or trickery within her heart, she falls to silence. For, truly, she feels that she does not need to speak more. She has sworn upon her true self, which is what she had worked so hard to recover…and what she is willing to fight for on Emilia’s behalf. As Emilia speaks about the Other within…ElK'a'athren…she shifts her attention from her friend to their host. The immortal who saw fit to grant this boon…that they both shall remember in time. Surely it is an appropriate question to ask and Clara was always a curious child. The answer could hold great benefit or peril, should the scales of fate tip one way or the other.

—-

“The shadow’s reflection in you knows what you know.” The Last explains to Emilia. “They will be ignorant until memory returns, though likely they will recall that they were…cowed, if not exactly how and why. Much like you will not remember the events of your time here, but will know that the time was lost.”

He glances between the two of them and nods, “Then it is decided, and your oaths are accepted.” He rises from the chair smoothly, and gestures, another archway “flowing” into existence and revealing a short corridor that leads right back to the Gate room. “You should be on your way…some days will have passed in your absence…time…does not have as firm a grasp on this place as others. It does not always flow as you expect.”

He glides down the corridor, his feet barely seeming to touch the ground, before he moves to the dais, and gestures to the gate, “You will arrive in Lonnaire as intended. I would send you home, but that would be a break in my usual procedures that would raise more questions than should be asked.” A brief flicker of a smile, “So I apologize for the inconvenience.”

—-

There is a small squeeze given to Clara’s hand when her friend speaks giving her oath, that added meaning to be found within. To not speak of the memoirs once restored, to not speak of the secrets learned about Emilia.

Emilia nods at the Last gives answer and explains what to expect, not that she shall recall it in the end. Least not in time for it to matter on this count. No further questions come, her tongue held, even if there might be others. It was not the time to further test The Last’s patience.

Eyes blink as the archway forms and the gateroom appears…so close. Had they not wandered what seemed to be endlessly about the labyrinth? But Emilia follows after, just a flickering glance towards Clara on this matters of time and destination. “It will not seem an inconvenience at the time, so there is not need to apologize, after all we are expected in Lonnaire, even if we shall be arriving later than expected.” Much later! There were always more questions then should be asked. A smile flickers into existence briefly as Emilia does offer a curtsey to him, that ethereal edge of grace showing through in the courtly gesture made before they would depart his realm,”Thank you for your time and patience, I hope we shall continue to provide you some turn of entertainment for what time our stories continue, short as they might be within the long days of your own.”

—-

Clara is also attentive, acknowledging the answer given in regards to Them that dwell within Emilia. It is true that shortly, it will matter not that she did, for the recollection shall be blocked from her mind, even if only for a time. Still…it proves that she is listening, rather than thinking and formulating questions for asking later. The time for such questions have passed.

Emilia is not the only one that seems relatively surprised at how close the faegate was to the Last’s chamber where they had resided. Were they truly so close all the while, or did the Labyrinth decide to spare them the walk back through so many twist and turns? It did not matter, for now it was time to go and, while Clara did feel a sense of relief about the thought of going back, there was still a bit of longing to remain, even for a time. For she learned so much…and she has to go back to how she was? Still, this small part of her was truly miniscule, as her own sense of duty to her kingdom and family told her going back was correct. And, with the promise that all will return, in time, made this slight hesitation even smaller. She would remember…and continue to grow, to tell her story. Something she could not do here.

The princess adds her words of gratitude to Emilia’s own. “Indeed. Thank you for your generous hospitality for what essentially were intruders into your home, though unwittingly. I hope that we may yet provide surprises for you yet, as we walk through the maze of possibilities that await us.” The fact that they will be several days late is again noted..but not with any major concern. It will be moot once they walk through the gate. Clara turns to Emilia, her hand holding Emilia’s own, just as they were mere hours (or days, for things were wibbly wobbly timey whimey, by the Last’s own admission) ago, with that self-same smile she had before. From her lips, only one word falls.

“Ready?”

—-

The Last’s fingers move over the control stones of the dais, and in but a few moments, the crystal archway flares with light, glowing brightly and seeming to both contain and reflect the swirling maelstrom that coaelsces within, marking the activation of the Faegate. Perhaps not surprising, it looks a bit different from other Faegates they’ve seen. Most are rather chaotic…swirls of energy interspersed with flashes and whorls of brighter and darker patches. This one is…more smooth. Less irregularities…none really. Quite beautiful, in its’ own way, and glowing brightly enough with pale blue light that it’s hard to tell where the archway ends and the portal itself begins.

“Farewell, Clara Tracano-not-t’Myrin and Emilia Cassomir.” He gestures towards the portal, “I found it doubtful we would meet again, but I’ve learned long ago never to discount any possibility. But regardless…I’ll be sure to check in from time-to-time.” He smiles, perhaps not altogether pleasant, at that, “Do have a safe trip….”

—-

There is a simple nod to Clara at the question that comes, Emilia’s hand clasping firmly to Clara’s. Her head tilts a little to take in the gate, the beauty of it as it activates…the differences. It would be a thing to try to capture in paints…as would be much of seen, and yet there would be no way to do any justice, not even a fraction of the truth could be captured. Not that she shall recall any of it in mere moments.

A glance goes back towards The Last, catching that not all together..heartening smile…But then was it not a bit disconcerting in some way to know that he had been watching her, found her interesting and surprising? Did he not likely send Goblyns to spy on her as much as he did Lon? Emilia simply offers,”Farewell,” with a bow of her head, what more could be said at this point? Before taking a deep breathe and moving to step into the gate with Clara.

—-

Brown eyes….Clara’s eyes….shift from Emilia, to lock upon the gate before them. Even if she had not seen her fair share of faegates, which she has, Clara would have noticed the difference in how this particular gate looks. A thought nestled in the back of her mind sounds off as Clara realizes just how little the supposed ‘Gatewardens’ really actually knew of their Gates. This…is how the Gates are supposed to work. It was a miracle there weren’t more mishaps than there has.

With Clara’s attention upon the Gate, she misses the Last’s slightly off-kilter smile. Still, she heard the words. He has watched them before…and he will check in on them both. A slight shiver runs along her spine, but Clara chooses not to turn around. No…her destination is before her. With a stillness about her that may have rivaled Emilia’s own etherealness, Clara steps forward, footfalls matching the Cassomir’s, into the still pool of light and what lies beyond.

—-

The light of the Faegate winks out after the two ladies step through, and the Last steps down off of the dais, moving back to the archway that returns to his chamber. As he strides down the corridor, the lights of the Labyrinth dim, and a low rumble sounds throughout its’ entirety from…somewhere nearby, and yet altogether removed at the same time.

The Last glances back to the span of ground that he’s just passed through, which now bears the look of deterioration and the ominous aura that his most recent two visitors encountered in several points in the Labyrinth. Black eyes glance upwards, and lips twist in a grimace before he continues on his way:

<Someday soon…but not today.>

END

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License