The evening is clear and bright, but cold. The city is full of the sounds of revelry, but here in Holyrood Park there's a quiet stillness. People of all walks of life, bundled up against the chill in the air, have gathered. Their focused, but energized moods are in stark contrast to the loose and wild partying occuring elsewhere.
There is quite the chill in the air this evening. The clock tick-tick-ticks closer to the time of gathering in the park. There are people, bundled up snug, slowly filtering in to the park. A stark difference to the extreme revelry that happens elsewhere.
11:40PM finds a small procession of people standing around in heavy winter coats and greatcoats on account of the cold next to a car park. Showing up in Holyrood Park, the vast greenspace on the western edge of Edinburgh's downtown, is not so strange. Plenty of Scots brave the chill to get a good view of the fireworks, toast with whiskey, and have a brush with excitement. Twenty minutes to go and the odd church bell resonates in the far distance. Lights lap at Old and New Town, a blazing spectacle.
At least twelve of them are gathered around, a few sharing flasks or cups of hot tea. Another lorry driven by the Sentinel Ywain, a blond who looks like he should be on the cover of GQ, brings up the next batch from the city. It pulls into an open spot, engine still running to offer precious warmth before passengers tumble out into the cold dark.
Bundled up against the chilled air, Invidia is wrapped in a red wool pea coat and black scarf, matching hat too. Her hands are dug deep into the pockets, to protect the digits from the cold. A pair of golden wings are pinned to the collar, a quirky little fashion statement, it would seem. Despite being English, she has no hot tea. Instead, she has a flask of whiskey which she sips from. She lifts her flask to Ywain, waiting for everyone to get assembled.
[Unseen Senses] All mages who rode up in Ywain's lorry will undoubtedly feel their unseen senses go off along the way. Those who are already present are under bombardment, a situation that doesn't improve with more Awakened joining them.
Lohengrin is bundled up in a trenchcoat and a heavy scarf. Really, its what he wears most days when he's out and about in the winter. The scarf is bundled up about his ears but his head seems to have defied the notion of a hat and his hair blows wildly in the night wind. The scarf? It clearly bears clan colors in the manner of a Scottish tartan. As he gets out of the car which brought Ywain and sundry, he adjusts his scarf and takes a deep breath of the night air. Lohengrin, normally known for his odd mixture of genial formality, has been quiet tonight. His mood certainly borders on the spiritual. Noting Invidia, he smiles and moves to greet her with his presence and a silent nod of acknowledgement.
Cassius is wearing a deceptively thin green leather coat, with a hoodie on under it. The slightly lighter green hood is pulled up from the neck of the jacket and worn over his head, while he has a colorful red flanel scarf wrapped around his face, unintentionally hiding it.
Hands are kept in his pockets, and he stares a bit dubiously out at Holyrood Park. "If this is what they call a park in Edinburgh, I'd love to see what they call a mini-van." he says to no one in particular. Being the guy with the American accent, with hints of a British accent laced into it.
Hrafn clambers out of the lorry. He looks used to the cold, since he's wearing a light coat as his single concession to the weather. For the moment he doesn't speak, prefering to observe in silence.
There's always a breeze gnawing at the flanks of ancient Arthur's Seat, a heath-shrouded volcanic plug towering over the surrounding landscape. Its brooding, humpbacked bulk rises against the starry night and flat sea visible in an inky line against the horizon. The wind whistles through desiccated grasses and flaps at the coat of a tall man best described as leonine, despite the driving cap hiding much of his hair. The glint to his eyes and the regal way he moves, even to isolate himself from a harem of fellows all indicate a gravity shared with few; nobles of old, certain businessmen and movers in their respective spheres.
"This is a fine turnout," he announces after a moment assessing the crowd. A small smile grows after Ywain thumps the door to the lorry shut. "I welcome you all, friends, for a sacred duty witnessed for the better part of fifteen centuries for all of Alba. We join this night to renew our pacts and our bonds to the land, that we might receive Alba's blessing."
A pair of mages -- older women, perhaps in their late-40's -- are hooked arm and arm, enjoying a thermos of something-or-another. They chatter with one another, but also brightly observe those that arrive by lorry. Perhaps they came with one of the first groups. Some of the new blood to Edinburgh is commented on. Their chatter dies off as Lleu speaks and they direct firm attention to the man.
Invidia smirks a little at Lohengrin and offers over the flask without a word said. She glances over her shoulder then, raising a brow at both the voice and the accent. She is about to say something before the man speaks instead, her attention jutting towards his direction.
Ywain buttons up his coat, not about to play hero with the bitterest night in days. He pulls the collar higher and positions himself between the gathering and the road, at ease and waiting with all the patience of his age. He nods at Hrafn, maybe urging him towards the gathering rather than hiding by the lorry.
Hrafn retruns Ywain's nod, his head moving lower out of respect, before doing as he seems to be being bidden. Over he goes, away from the lorry to join with the gathering of his fellow mages.
Lohengrin takes his hands out of his pockets, presently graced by brown leather gloves, and politely declines with a staying hand. He smiles at the offer though. Lleu draws his attention with his words and he looks up towards the older man. When he speaks of blessings and renewing pacts, Lohengrin brings his arm across his chest with a closed fist resting upon his heart.
"Tonight we do more than stand vigil for the year past and the year to come," Lleu continues, his gaze moving from person to person in slow consideration. He raises his hands, weaving them into the spoken narrative. "We ensure that the rest of our community benefits by our actions now, caring for the sacred inheritance we received from our forebears. You should be proud for what you will undertake for, on this night in this place, you join an exalted lineage of forebears who served the Royal Society honourably and wisely. We guard the promise of the harvest in the spring by preparing the earth, stripping away the blight and pruning back the deadwood in expectation of the bounty to come. As we begin soon, let you all now attune yourselves to the sacred?"
Cassius steps from the car, heading over to the gathering of Mages himself. He still seems rather lost in admiring the landscape, himself. He'd speak, but even after a few years, he's still partially in the 'put your foot in your mouth with questions' stage.
[Unseen Senses] The symphony of awareness increases, each mage perceiving the crescendo depending on his or her nimbus. One might see fire starting to crackle in front of his vision, another hearing a divine chorus murmuring incomprehensibly in the background.
"Goggles on," a Philologi somewhere off to the side calls. There's a few chuckles from some of his brethren... Even the two older women seem to be amused by it. As rare as it is for such a gathering to occur, there's a certain level of drunken-like giddiness that goes along with it. To be surrounded by so many that know you and your self in the open.
Lohengrin's eyes close.. at least mostly. The divine erupts within vision which had brought with him to this gathering. Perhaps he'd jumped the gun. Perhaps, he just didn't want to miss anything. Either way, there is a shiver which goes through his form that is most certainly not from the cold. His mouth opens and his arms fall to his sides with his palms turned heavenward.
Rubbing her eyes, Invidia's eyes widen for a moment before returning to normal. She fishes in her pockets then, pulling out a pair of sunglass and putting them on. Yes, she wears her sunglasses at night. Another sip of whiskey and she seems quite set.
[Supernal Vision] One and all in the vicinity are enveloped in radiant auras corresponding to personal interpretations of magic, but none of them come close to matching Lleu for looking like a humanoid lighthouse (or equivalent of standing next to a speaker at a concert, or being on a bender after downing a bottle of whiskey). But even he can't compare to the fact something uplifting seems to be welling out of the earth itself, motes of faint bluish light seeping upwards and welling down again. Look along the rocky flanks of the mountain and patches brindle the heath, fading in and out of sight like the afterglow of a camera flash.
The Engineer formerly known as Cassius holds a hand up, shielding and squinting his eyes. But he keeps them open, and he watches. It's a lot to take in. But he keeps staring nontheless.
Hrafn closes his eyes then opens them again, seeing the world through the supernal sight. He's clearly affected by what he sees, standing stock still and watching in awe as it unfolds around him.
"This night, our business is simple. Those who can will find the sacred in their hands, beneath their feet, in the very air they breathe. We will separate into smaller groups and station ourselves along the length of the path," Lleu says in his quiet, golden baritone. He raises his hand towards the mountain. "You will be instructed on your role to play shortly, each according to his or her abilities. Let the profound purity of this fill your senses, take you in from top to bottom. Focus your thoughts on the untarnished splendour until the slightest imperfection stands out like grit in a diamond, the lone speck of dirt in a still pool. This is what we aim to find and remove. Your task shall be to hold as much of that purity within you until the others can remove the impurities, banishing them should you be unable to do so yourself."
[Resonance] The overwhelming resonance of the area surrounding them is purity.
To Invidia and Hrafn:
[Resonance] The secondary resonance of the area surrounding them is inspiration.
[Resonance] The tertiary resonance of the area surrounding them is loss.
Awe. Not, not awww like puppies. Awe. That is the expression on Lohengrin's face as he tears his attention from the explosion of the Supernal all about him. Looks away from the majesty that is Lleu. No.. this time his eyes begin darting about him as if he might catch a mote with sight alone. Focus? The man is surrounded by the divine. Thoughts of impurity hardly ever enter his mind. Now? Now there's no room left for anything but rapture. And perhaps the innocent desire to touch the holy energies. Does that count as an impurity? He jerks his hand back to his side.. just in case. Nobody saw him reaching right?
Ywain is a bit sturdier than some of his counterparts. He hits the electronic locks on the lorry twice and shoulders a bag at his feet. "Anyone who rode up with me, you'll be following me to the fourth waystation. We have a bit of a hike ahead." He glances at Invidia, or more specifically her feet, assessing her choice of shoes for the venture. "We've got ten minutes to get in place and show you how to ride this wave, so let's get a move on. Anyone unable to see the path for themselves? I got you covered, you just say the word."
There is no more chatter from the rest, though that giddy energy remains. People sip at their thermoses or flasks, but most are looking around them. The two women snuggle closer together, grins plastered upon features flushed red in the cold (and perhaps from whatever they've got in that thermos!).
There is a glow in the ground. Nothing overt or blinding, but soft blue shapes seem to pinpoint here and there. A native Scotsman murmurs something about them reminding him of the will-o-wisp legends of childhood. These, it would seem, are their path.
The Engineer is pretty damned sure he has no idea what he's looking for. He tries to sort of focus... he's not an evil guy, but having a pure mind is not a simple task. Still, his mentor taught him a lot about philosophical enlightenment. So, rather than trying to imagine traditional concepts of purity, he focuses on his acceptance of the people around him. Even a vicious vampire on the street. Somehow, some way, everyone can be cured and awakened. This is the purity of thought that he focuses on.
When Ywain starts talking again, he starts heading over. "I don't think I have it covered at all. So I'll follow your lead."
Hrafn seems to find what he's looking for easily, almost naturally, once he starts looking for it. "I can see." He tells Ywain, his accent indicating he's likely from Bergen, as he heads over to join the man and get ready to move out.
Huh? What? Ah, movement. Lohengrin snaps himself out of the momentary reverie and draws himself up to his full height and sets himself to follow Ywain. Trudge? Long walks? Hikes. These are the things he lives for. Onward to glory!
Though it may be less spectacular compared to what many of the mages are seeing, some sparkles of light from the city do pop against the night sky. Distant thunder, but it's not thunder at all: the fireworks. In stillness, distant strains of music can be heard.
"Thank you," Invidia tells Ywain, moving easily among the cold stones and ice despite the heels she wears. Her sunglass-covered eyes focus on the blue wisps, watching them move with a little smile. Believe it or not, she can totally hike in these shoes!
Ywain springs into movement, leading the way up the path cut through mats of heather, flattened grass, and frost-bitten gorse. He sets a pace challenging for some, but not arduous enough to force anyone but hard-bitten mountaineers to fall back. He parallels the wisps for about 20 meters, then starts zigzagging around huge basalt boulders up the incline the others have to scramble.
Hrafn follows in Yawin's footsteps, though not quite literally. He makes decent time, able to keep up with the group as they jike and scramble up the incline.
The rough rock and slick grass makes for a heady challenge. Not that Lohengrin hasn't done such climbs a thousand times in his youth. He wonders, though, as he climbs.. if such a trial would be possible in heavy armor. Something to try in the future, perhaps.
Climbing in heels, Invidia looks rather triumphant once she reaches the top, especially the way she takes a nice, long gulp from her flask. It's to keep the chill away, or something. Once everyone else is up, she smirks and raises a brow at Lohengrin, offering the flask again. Maybe he'd want some now?
The Engineer, while he certainly keeps himself athletically active, is not one who partakes in outdoor nature activities. But still, he follows everyone else, hands pulled out of his pockets just in case. "I hope this doesn't break the mood, but I'm pretty useless against snakes."
The path goes on another hundred meters easily up the mountain, but the goal isn't to stand on the windswept peak so much as a nice, round outcropping probably well beloved by picnickers and ramblers. Ywain looks around and then lowers his bag, unzipping the main pocket and pulling out a water bottle, a few torches, and a long, leather-wrapped object revealed to have a hilt when he tosses the wrappings aside. "All right, so the ceremony here is pretty simple." Lleu has the fancy words, he executes the plan in simpler ones. "The ley line will rise to the surface where you can actually interact with it once the ritual teams are in place. You can see it coming up already. We have three things to perform. One is anchoring, which I am just getting to. Make a circle, don't close it against the mountainside just yet." He kneels down and pulls out the knife from its sheath, stabbing the point down into the thin soil. "Two is the communion. Even if you cannot do more than see the line, you can help us by concentrating on it and trying to see the impurities. You can tell us where you see them, which makes us purifying this stuff a bit easier. Purification's the last step, which means reaching into the line and finding those gross bits, then flinging them out. It's like fishing with your hands as the net, basically."
Hrfan listens attentively to the instructions, nodding at various points. He doesn't, for the moment, move to do anything.
Those blue motes seem to fade for each person as they pass. Those behind still see them bright as the fireworks going off elsewhere within Edinburgh, but for the individual... they flicker off into the night. Some seem more playful than others, as evidenced by one pale blue light seeming to dance about Invidia's heels.
The older women are huffing and puffing their way up, clearly disused to such tasks, but dedicated to making them. A younger Obrimos puts a hand under one's arm and lends his stronger back. At the top, they join the rest in catching their breath. They rub their hands together and set to starting to make the circle
Circle eh? Bringing a dagger with you isn't what one might normally do in ordinary days.. yet somehow that's exactly what Lohengrin does. For those familiar with them a rondel isn't so much a dagger as it is a spike with a hilt. No doubt it is designed to get past tin cans. He gives a nod to Ywain and begins drawing a fairly large circle in the earth around the dagger.
The flask is hidden again as Invidia listens. The sunglasses are moved to rest on the top of her head. She nods simply then, not feeling it appropriate to interrupt. She moves so that they make a nice little semi-circle. She reaches for one of the older women then, holding out a hand if they need some assistance.
Hacking out a hunk of soil, Ywain sets the piece aside. He draws a neat circle, pushing the blade down and crudely scissoring out a gap. Luminous blue motes bleed up from the fissure, and fill in the broad stroke swiped through the centre of the open space. "You," he nods to Hrafn, "can pour the water into the circle. Pass the bottle around, staying where you are." Some hasty carving creates a complex series of sigils in the earth, his hand smoothing away the dirt until they are clear to the sky and blazing with a pale starlight that doesn't touch the ground. They're confusing: elements of the Atlantean for Prime, ground, sky, and a possible variation on compulsion are present. Satisfied, he gets up, knees dusty. "Now then, who among you are initiates of Prime? If you are, you can all perform the purification. Your imago is going to be focused upon a net, like you would prepare a primal shield. You put that net over you the same way you would imagine the shield being over you, except this shield lets the mana in and blocks out the impurity. The Lumen Society people use the analogue of a sieve picking up blight particles, but that's about as elegant as a pig in lipstick."
"Impurities..." The Engineer immediately thinks in scientific terms. But those aren't the eyes he was asked to use. It's clear that's not the request that's being made of him. "I'm overthinking this. We're definitely not talking about chemical impurities." he says, again, to no one in particular, but for everyone to hear. When initiates are asked for, he raises his head. "That'd be me."
"I am an initiate of Prime." Hrafn answers when the question is asked, inclining his head as the man indicates he should pour the water into the circle. He will, of course, do as he is bid at the appropriate moment.
Invidia raises her hand too, waving the fingers a little bit with a smile for Ywain. "Count me in too." She giggles then, a little bit, about the pig in lipstick joke.
"Inclusions in a diamond are just as good," Ywain replies. "This is the gesture, once you settle the imago. We're working a bit messy so feel free to practice until it sparks." He holds out his hand and executes a sharp jagged line in exaggerated form, swiping down to the right. Other fingers splay wide as though pulling something apart, and pinch shut like drawing a bag. Under Supernal Vision, his fingertips leave a complex pattern of pale silver hanging in the air. "I'll do it again. Start up here, while you start the imago. Then draw the ladder down to the ground, as you infuse the energies, like making the net. Move this hand to spread the threads out to cover yourself. Then pull them taut as you concentrate on making space only wide enough for the mana to come through. Give it a shot."
Lohengrin eyes his work and.. hopes he hasn't messed anything up. Oh well. He's sure he'd get a good lashing from Ywain if it were. He tucks the rondel into the sash of his trench and gives a lift of his hand. "I am." Ooh, mudras. He's not a weaver but.. hey this is called a learning process right?
"Thank you," one of the women notes to Invidia, offering their thermos to her. It's warm and chocolatey, but also very alcoholic. Perfection! The other, in the wake of the 'pig in lipstick' comments begins chuckling over a certain large, rules-abiding gentleman.
The fireworks below continue to explode, a few particularly powerful ones packing enough of a punch to be felt even up here. They glow bright gold against the night sky, fading away with crackles. Cheers can be heard in the distance, drowning out the music momentarily.
Those blue motes rise ever the more for those that can see them. A few dance around Ywain and as Hrafn takes the water, one winds it's way around his feet. Most, however, seem to be filling the circle, motes and tendrils of blue rising from the earth. A trickle of a stream at the moment, but building.
The Engineer takes a deep breath, doing a bit of math in his head. He's sure he can do this. "Alright, let's give it a shot." That's when he starts moving his hands, attempting to plot out a nice geometrical pattern around himself.
Chocolatey and alcoholic? Score. It was a wonder that Invidia didn't hold it over her head like the holy grail. She gives the older woman a nod of thanks. She watches the boys then, and their mysterious magical ways.
[Casting: Invidia] Something about throwing a net around herself is slippery to Invidia's mind. She tends to feel the imago slipping from her mind's eye when a mote glimmers into the circle, or she has to draw the threads around herself. They don't stay even. They fall apart. The trick is holding them tight and imagining they stay like a tartan grid around her. Ew, tartan.
[Casting: Hrafn] Capturing how Ywain moves his hands is tricky for Hrafn. He can solidify the imago in his mind well but matching up gestures at first seems to elude him. It's like reading the music separately from hearing the music, and the two not catching up. Once he slows down to fine tune them piece by piece, he will get the spell, and simply need to speed up the crude process to something more elegant.
[Casting: Lohengrin] The notion of modifying a shield comes naturally enough, but the tricky part is sealing the appropriate mudras in order. He needs a few to master the tricky act of balancing the energies without them running rampant while still retaining the shape. It's a sweat-inducing labour of concentration but after some struggles with the first sparks, something clicks. Voila!
"Here," Ywain walks over to the Engineer, taking his hands without comment. "Stay put, start with this one up here. Your gestures are more like what I would use for a solid shield, so you're not leaving enough space to let anything through. The magic won't match up to the image in your head, so the imago falls in like a house of cards because the structure won't fit." He puts his hands forward and sketches out the motions in exaggerated staggered sweeps. "Give me another shot. It's like a lighter, you can click it as many times as you need. I rather not shoot you up, or I might overenergize your pattern and that, as they say, is shite."
The ladies like Invidia and good for her! They're veterans of this particular ritual and one of them whispers a few words of encouragment. Suggestions, perhaps? Or maybe ripe, juicey details about a certain man's rear end. Whatever works!
The motes enjoy this. As mudras become more smooth, more correct, they begin to fill the circle ever more. Individuals figuring out the proper motions might find the flickering blue lights dancing about their hands.
"In other words, don't overthink it." is that the Engineer takes from that advice. He tries to make his movements more natural, sans mathematical calculations. He tries to //feel// how the magical weaving should be, rather than calculate it.
Lohengrin thankfully doesn't notice the commentary about his rear end.. or someone else's should that be the case. He's too busy trying to form the mudra and poise. yes, his tongue slips out of his mouth to lick his lips and his brow furrows. Overthink? Well. Maybe he isn't a genius and this could be a good thing. Its either that or as Mr. Miyagi said 'you beginner's luck'. In the end, he's not holding chopsticks but he's ready to pick the proverbial fly from the ointment nonetheless.
Invidia giggles a little and nods at the older ladies. She puts the thermos down and starts to move the way she is told. Apparently, she is far from overthinking this. The booze will do that to you. She watches the little blue lights dance in her hands and she grins widely.
The instant the flood gates open, they surge with unmitigated power from the depths of the earth. A hollow sound is at once like a peal of thunder, the rush of a wave across a pebbled shingle, the murmured pulse a baby hears in utero. Raw energy that binds the Supernal Realms into the Fallen World takes on its expression like swirls of moon-fire, bent and coursing like water one moment, behaving light's physical laws the next. An arcing corridor rises up Arthur's Seat from some point amongst the meadows framing a loch, coaxed into ornate channels that angle with geometric precision from waypoint to waypoint. By the time it reaches the second, Ywain tosses his bag aside and closes the point, back the mountain as the crux. "All of you, around the circle at the points of the pentacle. Get ready with those spells, cement them in place. This is going to feel very odd but whatever you do, stay put. You aren't being flung into the mountain, and it's important not to cross the circle. Got it?" His fair hair is already starting to take on a white sheen, lifting up at the ends, curling around with a life of its own.
[Casting: Cassius] The confusion in the mind is better swept away, and trying to reimagine how these things feel. Once he gets the rhythm figured it, trying to match the blueprints in his thoughts with the actual gestures becomes a whole lot easier.
Lohengrin takes up a place at a point of the pentacle. Without reference, its hard to so preference for the point coinciding with the Aether and its probably just as well. There are other obrimos here. No need to tussle for position. There's a glance to his feet and where his toes are. Do not cross the streams! Er, circle.
The woman know when to take their cues and they settle into the smooth motions of the spell, finding their place in the circle. As the power rises, so the outside world seems to fade away. Certainly in the distance there are still fireworks and music, but it all seems so hazy now. Viewed through a curtain and heard through a tinny line.
That white sheen tempers the blue. No more motes, it is a flood of energy now. Like white caps upon ocean waves, the white energy rises and flows up, around, and -through- the mages. It is a purified energy and full of energy.
Invidia nods, very seriously. She scoots into the circle, at where a point should be, careful not to cross the lines, or stumble over her own shoes. As Ywain gives the order, she gives him a little salute to show that yes, she is ready!
The ley line rises from the earth in all its splendour, saturating the ring Ywain drew until almost overflowing. The surge pushes against the boundaries but the Atlantean runes enforce their will, a backsplash contained in the second ring for a moment before breaking past Lohengrin's efforts. Soaring outwards, the ribbon moves to the next waypoint, splitting in two and recombining at another circle. The Sentinel chants quietly as his hands move through the intricate mudra, the sounds tumbling over the other, a broken repetition that grows louder and more commanding as the wild river engulfs them all.
It's like their feet are no longer connected to the ground, the ley line buoying them up in its currents. Mana doesn't travel in one direction but many, pushing and pulling and tugging.
Invidia squeeks as the leylines lift her from the ground, look of a little awe and surprise crossing her face. However, she takes a deep breath and brushes a little snow off her pin. Once that is done, she holds her hands together and looks to be thinking real hard. Focusing on the clensing and doing her best to be of help.
The Engineer looks down, then around, taking a deep breath as he tries to brace his feet and suppress just how overwhelming this all can be. He shakes his head, beginning to focus, concentrating on magical impurities. Then he holds his hands out, trying to //feel// the impurities.
[Purification] Motes of darkness flitter through the slipstream of the ley line. Plaque clings to certain areas, visible in shades of grey and sickly tones around the glow. Reaching in to grab them and pull them against the spell is not difficult, but the fast movement impedes easy filtration. Once caught, they can be banished simply by tossing them aside, the thick resonances of misery, rage, jealousy, and corruption all heavy upon skin, tongue, and soul.
Those two women, so chatty and companionable at the start are now focused cleansing machines. Being more experienced at this task than some of the others, they are quick to catch those motes of darkness and filter them away.
The fireworks and music of the evening are a distant thing now. Surely if one becomes distracted, they may see them through the haze of the energy. It's not likely though, for if the ebb and flow of the energy that rises around them is not enough to capture one's attention, the motes of ill emotions surely are.
Invidia reaches out then, taking ahold of some of the orbs, almost at random. She can sense the fluctuation within them, grasping them from the air and tossing them aside like tennis balls. She seems quite content of purifying the area. Be gone fury, envy and greed. This brunette stares them down with a critical eye, watching them blink out once they're out of sight.
Mai steps in, a stranger still but this is the reason he's here. He follows the cues of others, aiding how he can: pluck, discard, cleanse.
Power rolls across the mountainside through the chaotic joy of the ley line. The mages may well feel that they're not standing on the rock, but instead several inches higher. Sticky masses of corruption sweep by, pushed back and forth. Purity engulfs them, a heady mass of resonance so strong it might well feel like a drug, and this instant a high. Ywain lifts his head, staring blank-eyed up at the sky, his face drawn and tight with concentration at the pinnacle of the pentacle. He widens his stance and reaches into the heart of the line, tangling his fingers around the flow. "Steady now, you're doing well. We have to hold this until the bells chime."
The Engineer doesn't quite know if he should be indulging in the feelings that flow through him, or resisting. Instead he just lets it happen and continue grabbing those negative impurities. "Is all of this negativity... what I think it is?" he asks, looking to the more experienced Mages as a bit of a guide for how to do what he's doing, but better.
Invidia's face contorts to a little bit of a scowl as she focuses. It was so easy at first, but now it seems to be much more of a struggle. Glaring at each one of the impurities, she continues to bat them away. There was no chance that she was going to let anyone, not even a fellow Ladder, give a better show that she was. Period!
"What do you think it is?" Ywain asks. Meanwhile, Hrafn is busy keeping a perma-scowl of concentration as he sifts through the darkness, preventing what he can from reaching the higher pinnacle.
Mai pushes and holds, a soldier holding the shield wall against a charge among the interplay of light and magic, log hair blowing in intangible breezes as he dashes the dark motes aside.
Something peculiar flickers around the roaring majesty of the moment, though with the ley line basically running through one's body at full bore, even noticing that tickle of the senses may be like trying to distinguish a ripple in a choppy sea.
"The effects of modern civilization on the ley lines?" The Engineer answers, words being a bit hard with all of the overwhelming, well, everything.
There's a sudden need that fills you. That chocolate drink was /really/ rather good. So good, in fact, that you just can't quite focus anymore. It's almost agonizing how much you want that drink again. (You have been Harrowed for 3 rounds.)
It's a quick, strange thing. Invidia had been trying so hard, keeping her wits about her. Suddenly, it just stops. Her hands fall and she just stares at the strange lights, goofy smile enveloping her face. She seems to be jibbering to herself instead of casting anything, poking at little invisible things in the air with a forefinger
"Not really," says Ywain, shaking his head. His hand is slipping to his belt, feeling for the hilt there. As the line whips around, he shudders and says, "What..." His eyes narrow and the beads of sweat on his forehead trickle down his jaw, some unseen force rocking him back on his feet. Ripples run through the line like a shockwave, bucking and straining to break free. "Hey! Help her! I'll hold the ritual but what the hell?"
This, perhaps, is what the two women in their fourties are good for! Both seem to bolster up to hold the line, shifting through those impurities all the quicker. "Go, go," one of them hisses to Mai, backing up Ywain's instructions.
Mai all too quickly felt he had the hang of this... he staggers back and then has other instructions... there is a moment of refocus before he's after Invidia, trying to push the motes away from her...
Invidia barely seems to notice anyone around her. In fact, it almost looks like she's reverted to being seven years old again. She giggles, picks up her thermos and drinks from it. Then, she's grasping at the air like trying to catch fireflies without squishing them.
Mai moves and takes up a protective position... he can't see harm coming but one never knows. He strives to keep the modes clear in a space around the woman.
Lohengrin has been focused on his filtering. Despite having mastered the mudra quickly and casting the spell.. the actual work of purifying motes is proving difficult. Eventually, he knuckles down and focuses hard upon the work and begins to make some headway with the delicate operation. Now when Invidia begins to gibber, he glances her way and.. to be quite honest doesn't see anything wrong with her. Except the babbling. Well. When in doubt? Slap her. So what if its a 12th Century reaction. Demons out!
Invidia takes the whack but barely seems to notice. Her eyes are dialated and she's clearly out of it. Tears whell in her eyes after the hit. "Why do the fireflies hurt me? I didn't squish any..."
Mai focuses and pushes back at the ick, doing his best to shore up the bubbe and hold it... hold fast as the sailors say.
Even as you spot it, it spots YOU. You might even get a better glimse of the spirit. It resembles a gaunt raven with matted feathers and beak. It even seems to be molting. It opens it's beak and instead of letting out a caw... It speaks in YOUR voice. (Your voice has been stolen and will not return until the end of the ritual.)
Lohengrin looks at Invidia again. His gears work.. if slowly.. until finally he gestures across his eyes and through his hand unto the Beyond. Then? His eyes focus upon a spot in the distance. "You. You shall not interfere." He points at.. a bush? "Release her."
Even as Invidia returns to her senses, the ritual is going apace thanks to those aiding it along. Lohengrin is pointing to.. a bush? A moment after he speaks, however, he says more: "Oh! Silly me! It's just a bush." Sharp eyes might notice... a large, gaunt raven winging into the darkness at a very swift speed.
Still with his back to the ritual that is ongoing, Lohengrin continues to stare after the fleeing bird. He gestures quickly in sharp measuring motions until finally a sort of sly smile comes to his lips. Alas, the bird is gone before he can focus his Will again. Lucky for the bird. He sniffs once in a faint irritation.
With the departure of the spirit, the process of cleansing the leyline is easier. The group is able to return to their focus, plucking those dart motes to filter them.
With the ritual coming to a close, Lohengrin massages his throat and gives an experimental cough. "Ahem." Then his mood lightens. "Well. /That/ was annoying. It would seem that we've a visitor who doesn't much like what we are doing. Or had a visitor." There's a dismissive gesture off into the distance. "A crow spirit with a nasty habit of stealing voices.. if temporarily." He looks towards Invidia. "I do apologize. I.. well.. I'd initially thought it a more direct manipulation than that of a spirit as I'd initially seen none here. I offer you a service. Or a measure of tass when next I come into some. As you choose."
Mai takes a deep breath, looking about and nodding, smiling at the others. "Hello..." he says.
The two women in their 40's seem to have taken it upon themselves, once the ritual has completed, to tend to Invidia. They give her their thermos and make sure she's doing alright. They offer all kinds of suggestions for remedy- from a hot bath to taking home someone from the revelry down in the town.
Speaking of revelry, now the fireworks and celebration can come flooding back in... to an extent. The group is a decent distance away now, but it's still all around.