The Pilgrim's Gate.
The stars glimmer down from a clear and cloudless sky, bathing the landscape in silvery light. A truly dazzling sight, the Pilgrim's Gate serves to divide the outer parks and boulevards of the northern City's approach from the Temple central to the City in its entirety. Though little can be glimpsed past the imposing rise of the gate, a forbidding structure of granite, banded metal, and gates hewn from oak, there is nonetheless a canal visible not far beyond, its waters shining beneath the light of the Temple that lies across them. The district that lies beyond, distinct from the sheltered, calm boulevards that make their way from the north, is splendorous and shining, from Temple to housefronts. Resting on the ground is a cube-shaped silver sigil. A granite pillar stands here beside the road, an orb of fire casting brilliant illumination from its apex. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A steadfast Templar patrols here, visor drawn and belt laden with weapons. Eyes watching his surroundings closely, an imposing Luminary stands guard here. There are 2 Zealot firebrands here. There are 5 gold-marked temple warriors here. There are 2 Ascendril mages here.
You see exits leading northeast, south, and northwest.
He is an intelligent Idreth of Human heritage made of almost pure polished obsidian. Light grey spiderwebbing coats the surface of his skin, offering the ability to see definition in his features. His form almost seven feet tall, slender with almost no 'muscle' or 'fat' to his bulk, a beanpole in rough humanoid shape. Wisps of Shadow extend from his back, forming large, transluscent wings. His eyes appear to be made entirely of an opaline substance, a stark milky white to the near pitch black of his face, no pupil or iris to be seen. At his visible joints, the spiderwebbed obsidian is replaced with pebbles of some green emeraldic substance, constantly and smoothly shifting about to allow flexibility. Occasionally, one might spy thin wisps of Shadow escaping through the cracks. On the left side of his neck resides a thin, silvery-blue netting of elemental Air that is branded into the crystalline substance. Translucent strands of spiderweb periodically weave around his form, empowering him with Iosyne's blessing.
(worn on a finger) : a lightning-patterned obsidian ring
(worn on the back) : a sturdy pack with a silver clasp
(worn on a finger) : 2 red-hued obsidian rings
(worn on a finger) : a masculine gold and shadowcrystal wedding band
(worn) : a wrap of the Althasai
(worn on a finger) : a soot-black obsidian ring
(covering the torso) : a crisp black shirt
(worn on the legs) : a pair of formal gray trousers
(sharply fitted to the torso) : a tailored, gray suit jacket
(polished and securely laced) : a pair of glossy, gray dress shoes
(worn on the hands) : a ylem-binding gauntlet of the Parxian Order
Shachalai arrives from the northwest.
With clear, withering disappointment, Magister Shachalai says to you, "You're back."
You incline your head politely to Shachalai.
You say to Shachalai, "I was hoping to view a dawn from my favorite viewpoint for such."
"What is this," Shachalai queries, advancing a step nearer, a fiery aetherstaff of swirling spatial motes in one hand. "You look at dawn, under our gate? Some kind of joke?"
Magister Shachalai asks you, "The man whose art is going to drown the world in shadow sits in our light?"
Tekias shakes his head, hands clasped behind his back, an air-infused crystalline voidstaff held parallel to the ground. "No joke at all. Objectively speaking, Enorian has done something right. A beautiful vantage of the dawn."
"All right." Shachalai stands craned forward, a fiery aetherstaff of swirling spatial motes crooked into one elbow. "So. You see nothing wrong with this picture. Nothing contradictory."
Tekias turns his opaline eyes from Shachalai towards the dim eastern skies. "Why would I? I am still alive. I still need the sun's life as much as you. And I appreciate beauty for what it is." His attention returns to Shachalai. "Of course, simply say the word and I will leave without objection."
Shachalai is silent for a moment or a few - the telltale sign of a mental conversation occurring. Nevertheless, her gaze stays on you.
Tekias watches Shachalai a moment as well, his eyes soon returning to the eastern skies, his back to her. "I know you will never believe me, but my goal is not to drown the world in Shadow. But to understand it, utilize it, grow strong with it. Should I discover that my efforts will indeed cause such, well, I might just come to you to be your next Magister as one of our other former mages has."
Her breath slowly ebbing from her, Magister Shachalai says to you, "I just don't know how else to make the case for what I know to be true. I know it is hard to believe I am arguing in good faith, Sciomancer. Nevertheless, I am. I genuinely believe you are going to destroy me and everything I love."
Shachalai's hand spreads out, and she gazes at you, composure giving way to confusion - inquisitiveness. She stares at you as though dumbfounded.
Tekias looks back over his shoulder. "I respect your stance, even if I disagree with it. Should Shadow become a threat to the realm, I and all my fellow Sciomancers will do all we can, use all we've learned, to combat it. Fire with fire, I think the saying is." His right hand adjusts its grip on his air-infused crystalline voidstaff, the emeraldic substance in his joints shimmering some.
Shachalai's eyes shut. She shakes her head, delicately, refusing. One of her hands rises up. When she looks again, violet eyes intent on you, she speaks: "No. You are interested in sounding genuine, but you are posturing. You do not respect my stance. You consider my stance wrong."
Magister Shachalai says to you, "It goes deeper than this Shadow thing. It is about what you tolerate. What you do. Who you live among."
Tekias turns his gaze back to the east. "What you believe is what you believe. You are right, I do consider your stance wrong. In fact, I just said as much." He pauses some, shifting his stance a bit. "You seem to know so much about me. Even though all I am to you is some former Shadow Warden Senator from the North."
"You're Spirean." Shachalai presents the statement simply. "Undead. Chakrasulites. Politics like blood sport." Her lips press into a thin smile, a moment. "I do not pretend to know anything about you. Being frank, I do not so much give a damn about anything about you."
Magister Shachalai says to you, "I just know that you are comfortable standing on the backs of others, Mage. You and the first Sciomancers made the same choice - power over enlightenment."
Tekias chuckles some at the mention of Divine worship. "Iosian, please." He finally turns to face Shachalai again, opaline eyes appraising her. "Enlightenment through power." He brings his hands to his sides, the end of an air-infused crystalline voidstaff resting on the ground like a walking stick. "I stand among friends, not on them. And as for not giving a damn about me, something we can agree on for once."
"Mm." Shachalai settles a fiery aetherstaff of swirling spatial motes under her chin, gazing at you. "Power doesn't enlighten," she says. "Power demands a shadow of suffering."
Tekias offers Shachalai a faint smile. "Power brought me to your attention. I'd say that's suffering enough."
Magister Shachalai asks you, "It was my absolute pleasure. Maybe you stand among friends, but men like you?"
"You never look at the floors," Shachalai states, her fingers adjusting their grip on a fiery aetherstaff of swirling spatial motes. "Nor the people who build them for you."
The sun, symbol of the triumphant light, rises upon the eastern horizon, casting its first timorous rays.
It is now dawn on Quensday, the 11th of Khepary, year 471 of the Midnight Age.
The Gods' bells sing out from the Temple, with the bell of Ethne, the Rekindled at the forefront, heralding the coming dawn.
The bell of the Unbound Lord rings out low and sonorous, beckoning the citizens to morning prayer.
The tones of the Gods' bells fade away, leaving the dawn sky silent.
A growing din emanates from the Templar Vigil as men and women begin the day's work.
Tekias glances down at the stonework ground before turning back to the eastern skies, watching the sun peak over the city skyline. "Perhaps. But women like you?" His attention returns to Shachalai. "You belittle and insult others in place of substance. You shift the objective to make yourself look better when you've backed yourself into a corner." He takes up his air-infused crystalline voidstaff again. "Unless you want me to stay longer than I intended, I think our conversation is done?"
"...yes." Shachalai's silence hangs in the air a moment, and she folds her hands atop a fiery aetherstaff of swirling spatial motes anew. She looks to the dawn - she looks to you. Her shoulders lift, and she responds, a little more subdued: "You know? You are a bastard, but your assessment from the subset of knowledge to which you have access... is completely accurate."
Smiling, as she turns and walks for the Temple, Magister Shachalai says to you, "I'll have to work on that."
Shachalai leaves to the south.
Your mouth turns up as your face breaks into a smile.
Distance to The Inner Gate of Spinesreach: 78.