“Ooo… I can’t wait!” Thalia said excitedly as she clapped her hands together. “I’d heard about his lab… but I haven’t managed to get in there, yet.”
“What…couldn’t pick the lock?” Fiona asked sarcastically as they made their way from the Blackbird Inn back to the Enclave.
“Why I never…well…you see…” Thalia mumbled as she fidgeted with her hands. Her long pointed ears drooped as she continued,” …no, I couldn’t get the darn thing open. Just wait, though,” she added as her face brightened and her ears perked back up, “when I get my shadow jumping down, I won’t even need to pick the lock!”
Fiona snorted. “Thanks for that reminder…I’ve been meaning to get more lights in my room.”
“Hey!” Thalia replied with a pout before she caught the grin on Fiona’s face. “You big tease,” she retorted and stuck out her tongue.
“Come on, children…” Moreth sighed with a roll of her eyes as they stopped along the wall of a long hallway. She placed her hand upon the wall and closed her eyes, her lips moving in a silent spell. Soon after a light traveled across the wall in a shape of a doorway and opened up to reveal a set of stairs going down into the dark.
Fiona raised an eyebrow at Moreth, who shrugged her shoulders and gestured down the stairs as she said, “What? There’s a certain benefit to living in the same place where somebody wants to build a secret lab. In the meantime, after you.”
“Good point,” Fiona acknowledged as she put a hand to Thalia’s back and motioned her ahead of her down the stairs.
“Why do I always have to go first?” she muttered.
“I think it’s in the job description of being a thief, Thalia. I’m sure if you ask John, he can show you the fine print,” Fiona joked as they got to the bottom of the stairs and she rapped loudly on the door.
“Bout’ time you all got here,” accused the gruff short-haired Dwarf who opened the door.
“Missed you too, Digger,” Thalia said sweetly, ruffling his hair with her hand before walking into the lab.
“Wild Elves,” he muttered darkly as he ran a hand through his hair.
“Glad to see you out of a hospital bed, my friend,” Fiona said with a smile before she casually saluted him. “Or should I say, Commander?”
Digger snorted in derision. “Didn’t want to deal with you himself, did he?”
Fiona shook her head in confirmation with a bemused smile as she crossed her arms over her chest. “You know how it is, Digger… if you’re a female not constantly fawning over him he’d rather not have to bother.” She winked at him and followed Thalia through the lab, missing the dwarf’s reaction as he started sputtering.
“I put you over my knee when you were little… don’t think I won’t do it again!” he called after her.
Moreth entered the lab and Digger looked at her with a raised brow, as if daring her to try something. She stepped back and raised her hands to ward him off. “Don’t look at me, Digger… I just work here.” Digger’s body heaved as he issued a “Hrrumph!” and Moreth followed the two deeper into the lab.
“Wicked!” squealed Thalia as she spotted what looked like a modified version of the sleek leather armor that was initially supplied to her by the Thieves’ Guild. “I wonder what this one does?” She ran toward it and ran her hands over it in appreciation.
Fiona looked around the lab and took in the work tables covered with bits of wire, metal she’d never seen before, and strange glowing crystals. As she looked closer at one of the crystals, the light emanating from it seemed to throb… as if in anticipation of her touch. Fascinated, she reached out to oblige it…
“Wouldn’t do that if I were you,” John said as he stepped out of one of the side rooms and quickly locked it behind him. “Those psi crystals are still in their raw form, and with your still new abilities there’s no telling what might happen.”
Fiona reared back in surprise and stared at the table of crystals in curiosity. Psi crystals? “Just what exactly are you guys messing with down here, Uncle?”
“We’re playing catch-up with the Dark Brethren when it comes to the technology they’ve been importing from their world, Fiona. I’m sure you’ve run into equipment they’ve used before that you couldn’t identify.” He explained as he walked to a stand in the corner that held what looked like gauntlets of various sizes with the glowing psi crystals embedded in the middle of them. He picked one up and slid it onto his forearm before looking up at Fiona. “Haven’t you.”
Instantly her thoughts fell back to their investigation of the Locks during their chase of Chalky. The thugs with those strange masks with the black glassy lenses… the cans they threw that leaked out a fog worse than any Stink Cloud she’d ever been subjected too…She gnawed at her bottom lip with her teeth and nodded.
“As I thought.” he said grimly. He walked around the table and stood before the curious trio. “We’ve been working on specialized armor and weapons powered by psi crystals as a means to catch the bastards by surprise. They aren’t the only ones with knowledge from other worlds.” With a smirk he clenched the hand with the gauntlet into a fist, and a purplish beam of energy slightly longer than a short sword shot out over his fist like a blade. “Why worry about armor when you can go right to the heart of the matter, eh?” he said evilly as he demonstrated a thrust with the weapon.
Moreth’s eyes widened in amazement. “We’re going to have to prep the Enclave for the kinds of wounds this could leave, John. Herbal mixes aren’t going to cure a scalpel to the psyche.”
“The only ones I expect to suffer this damage aren’t ones the Enclave should worry about, Moreth,” he said with a wink as he shut off the blade and set the gauntlet back on the stand, picking up another one with a different colored psi crystal in it.
“Maybe the defensive model would be more to your suiting,” he said as he slipped it on and activated a purplish shield of energy the size of a buckler that covered his forearm. “Convenient, concealed, and you still can have your hand free,” he said before turning it off and replacing it on the stand with the others. “What do you say?”
“I want this one, and this one, and that suit over there, and…” Thalia muttered to herself as she quickly moved around the room to lay claim to the pretty shiny things.
“Fiona?” he asked. “I already know what a cleric of Marian is going to say to all this… but what about you?”
“I have to say you peaked my curiosity, Uncle,” she answered as she circled the table and looked at the gauntlets with a furrowed brow. “I can’t say one way or the other right now, though… because as you said, my abilities are still very new. I think I’d like to complete my testing with Lord Valan before making any commitments to your psi powered equipment.”
She finished circling the room and walked up to John with a shrug of her shoulders. “Besides, thanks to my training with Lomar, I can already create the magical equivalent.” Her eyes lit up as she gestured with her hands. “Now what I really want… other than that suit of Elven Chain I’ve been wanting since a kid,” she added with a deprecating laugh, “is a Glove of Storing. With times like this, I don’t ever want to be without my weapon… especially with the Ball coming up. I understand that I can’t wear a ball gown with swords strapped to my sides and a bow across my back… but with one of those I could have one of them at hand in an instant.” She snapped her fingers to emphasize. “Do you think you could get me one of those?” she asked hopefully.
“I should’ve known you’d be just like your mother,” D’Falco said quietly with a shake of his head as he leaned on one of the tables and sighed. “She wanted nothing to do with what we offered her, either.” He looked up and smiled. “I’ll see what I can do for you before the Ball, okay?”
“Thanks,” she said with a smile before her expression turned serious. “These things aren’t why you asked me down here though.”
“Follow me to the other room… you too, Moreth,” he said with a wave of his hand. “Thalia?” he looked over and saw the Wild Elf sitting on the floor trying on different gauntlets for size. “…just don’t take anything out of the lab. If it blows up, I’d like it to be contained.”
With a barely concealed smile he took out his keys and unlocked the door, the clatter of the gauntlets hitting the floor in the elf’s hurry to remove them echoing through the room. He opened the door and gestured them inside with the warning, “In all seriousness this time… don’t touch anything.”
Fiona and Moreth walked inside to see what looked like a 20×20 foot black slab on the ground in the middle of the room with strange markings covering its surface and various wires strewn about all over the floor. “I don’t get it,” Fiona said in frustration as she glanced at John and then back at the strange markings. There was something familiar about this, though… she just couldn’t place it.
“It’s not quite functional yet, but you’re looking at a prototype version of a teleportation pad,” he explained as he gestured to the slab.
Teleportation? That’s it! Her eyes widened and she nudged Moreth in the side with her elbow.
“The stone slab outside of Barrow Hill!” Moreth blurted out in realization.
(more here after discussion over proper info)
(night ends with Myrdon Trial)