She heard strange words spoken from nearby, and as she looked towards the source she saw her target drop down to the ground. He didn’t look like anything she had seen before. She eyed him up and down, her lips pursed as if to speak but saying nothing. He was strangely dressed, more so than she, and she was reminded of her near nakedness as she was dressed for sleep. Again, she folded the thin robe about her.
Athala narrowed her eyes at the humanoid’s attempt to speak but opened her eyes as they echoed in her mind, this time in her own tongue. Her jaw dropped and the weapon of his that she held dropped to the ground. She was completely taken aback. She stepped back, for once completely unsure of herself, not against this.
She looked again at the sky as if something else unexpected would come crashing down. Was she dreaming? She almost reached out and pinched herself as her eyes focused on him again. She bent to pick up the weapon in her hands, not ready to give it back to him. She no longer needed to ask who he was, but she still had questions for him.
“Just why are you here? What do you want with us?”
Again, the voice moved through her mind, invited, yes, but so unnerving. Unease was clear on her face as she tried to get a handle on the situation. Her grip tightened on the foreign weapon and she drew it closer to her while regarding him sharply.
"I assume you saw the gate open up?" His eyes, though glowing blue, did have slightly darker irises, and they were moving rapidly about, as if he was studying her. He seemed to pick the thoughts right out of her.
"Beyond the gate. I am interested in this substance.." He held up a piece of the broken lamp. "Perchance it may help me return from whence I came. In the meantime, I might as well settle in. I have a feeling I'm going to be here awhile." He held out his wrists, submitting willingly, but his eyes were narrow slits, something calculating and cold behind them.
Athala nodded a little, watching him carefully. Her eyes moved from his face to the broken lamp and focused upon it. Eternium, was what he was likely indicating. She drew back, stiffening at his gesture and eyed him, her eyes narrowing in suspicion. He was giving himself up willingly to be taken, or so it would seem. Her eyes glanced down at the fallen guard then back to Faust.
She dropped the weapon in the pocket of her night gown, scooped up the restraints from off the guard’s body and slapped them over the humanoid’s wrists. When the locks clasped together, there was an audible hum and crackle of energy as now the very element he sought was powering the strength of the restraints.
“You seek our Eternium,” she stepped back and tugged lightly on the tether on which she would keep him. She pointed towards the Spire. “That way.”
She had an inkling that this Faust person knew more than what he was letting on, but the only way this would be possible in the small amount of time he had been on the planet Naveen was what he was getting from her. She watched him as he walked before her.
“Keep moving, eyes forward.”
They began to cross the bridge back towards the city proper.
The words did not please her, as if she expected complete obedience. She made corrections to his path, as needed. They were moving, not towards the Spire itself, but in it’s vicinity. This spire was of smaller stature nor did it hold much of an impression. This building was made to be overlooked, forgotten, even. The transports did not pass this way nor did they move overhead. Faust was told to stop behind a painted yellow line on the pavement in front of the building. Hovering in an alcove a guard stepped out, blinking a bit at the sight of a Guardian standing before him with such a strange prisoner, and… in her nightgown. He averted his eyes and went through the intake procedures.
Athala dropped the tether into the guard’s open palm and stepped back, crossing her arms. “Take this one to an empty cell, I do not want him to be in contact with any other prisoners. Make sure his needs are seen to, he looks like he hasn’t had a meal for decades…” by the look of him.
Faust did as he was told, but he moved about the place like he owned it. When he was in his cell the guard removed the shackles and saw to getting him some dinner. He sat back on the hard cot, leaning himself upright against the wall there. He read a few pages of his grimoire flipping through the pages with familiarity. He jotted down a few notes, muttering to himself in a language Undauntra's Mystical Linguist spell could not translate. He moved his hands and fingers in arcing twists, conjuring a runic word that glowed red orange in the air before him for a few seconds.
Faust sat back again and closed his eyes, waiting for his meal.
Athala watched Faust being led away to his cell. She did not intend to abandon him to the same fate as those housed within held, no… this one had not knowingly killed any of her people, nor had he made any indication that he wanted to do so. Even if he did creep her out, this Faust had done nothing to warrant punishment. He was an outsider, it was true, but his only desire was to get back to the place he called home. She turned away to walk the avenue to the Spire, taking out the confiscated weapon from the pocket of her robe and turning it over in her hands. She did not worry for ammunition discharge because it had been spent, or else she would not have it so close to her person.
As she mounted the steps and walked onto a lift, placing the palm of her hand on a reader so that she may gain access to the Spire’s upper half, she tried to examine it as closely as she could for indications of anything familiar about its composition. She scratched at the casing with a nail, turned it this way and that, opened it to check it’s inner workings. When the lift hissed silently to a stop she turned without looking to walk onto the deck, knowing where she was going out of habit.
By then, the Spire’s workers were already making preparations for the new day. Panels were shifted to angle the rising sun so it did not glint harshly, often by the hour and the room grew brighter. Without stopping she pressed her hand onto another reader for another of four lifts, to gain ground yet higher, her goal on reaching the inner sanctum to report to the Supreme Guardian of what she had witnessed and the existence of this curious creature Faust.
The guard was curious as he looked in at Faust, sliding a tray through a slot in the door so that Faust may be served his first meal. It was no better nor worse than anything the other prisoners got, which was fare, considering that Faust could have had nothing at all. Dark eyes looked through the slot as the guard held it open to observe, then snapped it shut and walked away to finish his rounds.
Faust's nostrils flared, taking the scent of hot food. His eyes opened, and a grin spread across his face. He ate his meal ravenously, forking bit after bite into his mouth, openly savoring the new flavors, consistencies, and smells. He was banging on the door a minute later practically demanding seconds.
There was a loud stamping at the guard walked down the hallway and stopped outside his cell door. With his nightstick he shifted the slot door open to peer in at him. Another hurried step towards Faust’s cell caused the guard to withdraw. The two behind the door spoke to one another in clipped sentences then a silence as the footsteps retreated and the guard again opened the slot door with a finger, and peered in. “Just a second,” he snapped and retreated. Not fifteen minutes later a second tray was produced, this one with twice the quantity. It seems that Athala had been true to her word, and the guards were complying.
The panels were being shifted again when Athala entered the inner sanctum, drawing over her person a robe of status a Guardian wore in her lady’s presence. The Lady Siofra was being groomed, her long midnight hair being brushed studiously and carefully by two servants. She turned her head to look at Athala as she approached. Athala took to a knee and lowered her eyes.
“My Lady, it appears that you have rested well.”
“Guardian…” the Lady rose from her seat. She flicked the servants aside with a wave of her hand, which was laden heavy with gold and jewels. They scattered. “And it appears that you have not. You look pale, young Athala. Is something amiss?”
“My Lady,” she began, rising to stand. “There is indeed been an incident.” She procured the weapon, placing it in her palms and lifting it up for her Lady to examine.
“What is this?” Siofra reached out and took it, trusting her guardian’s instincts, and looked it over. “Is this another one of the dweller’s weapons?”
“No, my Lady. This is the weapon of an outworlder that I have imprisoned.”
“An outworlder? How extraordinary!” She sounded delighted. “I should love to meet this outworlder…”
“My Lady…” Athala shook her head then lowered her gaze. “I do not recommend it. We know nothing of him.”
“It’s a him? How marvelous.” The Supreme Guardian clasped her hands together. “What does he look like?”
She opened her mouth to begin to describe him but was hushed.
“Nevermind, nevermind. Bring him here, to me.”
“But my Lady, I-“
“Do as you are told, child,” the Lady chided. “I want him here before night’s end, do I make myself clear.”
"Heyyyy..." Faust shouted to the guard as he was finishing the second plate with nary a morsel left. "You got anymore? I'm hungry!" Damn, but wasn't that stuff good! He wondered what kind of animal that meat came from. Shamen like him needed all the food they were able to get, since they spent energy at an astonishing rate with ensorcelments and summons. Sleep was next on his agenda, and he sat in the middle of the room on the bare floor and assumed the lotus position, lapsing into a regenerative meditation.
The heavy footsteps echoed down the hall as the guard came back briskly, opening the door slot. “That’s all you get until the next meal, there are others to feed. You’re lucky to have as much as you did,” he said with unmasked annoyance. Still, the creature’s appetite had been amusing.
Athala returned to her quarters, a sizeable and luxurious room to get some rest and wrap her head around Faust. The fact that he had somehow entered her mind, his presence moving over her consciousness as an unexpected visitor, had unnerved her, and she wondered again just how much he had gleaned from her. She was not pleased that the Supreme Guardian was willing to allow the stranger in her presence when nothing was known about it, but the report had to be promptly made out of duty. She did not trust Faust and she would rather have him leave Naveen as soon as possible.
After resting until midday, Athala dressed in clothes suitable for her status and ate a meal, then pulled on her boots and left the Spire, taking a transport to speak with the head of police regarding the status on the dweller rebellion. The usurper had indeed fallen to his death and Athala felt a grain of pleasure that he had made an example of himself. She hoped that it would quell any further attempts on storming Tevaeh, at least while this outworlder was present. His existence was a need-to-know basis only, so it was well that the dwellers were not present in the city.
She reached the headquarters and walked in. The policemen instantly brought themselves to attention, standing rigid as she strode confidently in. The head policeman was summoned and Athala was shown into his private office where they sat down to discuss the current events.
“They are getting desperate,” he told her frankly but without a grain of compassion. “They are killing each other over what food they have. How they have the strength to continue to mine is beyond me,” he shook his head.
“Curious,” she tilted her head. “Perhaps they feel that we will employ them?” Athala shrugged. “That is for the Supreme Guardian to decide.”
The chief nodded. “Granted, I suspect it is out of habit.”
Athala nodded. “Undoubtedly, though we need to calm these dwellers down. All the better that they are exterminating themselves. Only so many are necessary…”
The chief winced. “Might I make a suggestion on that, Guardian?”
She motioned approval.
“Send down a shipment of rations, no better than their prisoners. That will distract them for some time.”
Athala had to agree with that logic. “I’ll allow you to arrange for that, Chief. The Supreme Guardian need not worry about such trifles. I have more pressing business to attend to.” She stood up abruptly, their business being concluded. The Chief saw her out.
She took another transport to the closest point of the imprisonment spire to retrieve the outlander.
When she arrived, Faust was still meditating in the middle of the cell, eyes rolled back in his head. His breathing was deep and there was a strange resonating hum in the air, just at the edge of hearing. A key turned in the lock...
The guard walked inside the cell with restraints, Athala soon behind, hovering in the door. She frowned lightly as she saw Faust meditating in the center of the room, as if asleep. A strange position to be sleeping in, but then again, he was indeed a strange individual.
“Prisoner, we are to lead you to the Supreme Guardian.”