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 A Quest for Knowledge

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Aurora Crow
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Private#1PostSubject: A Quest for Knowledge   Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:17 am

Although she didn't like to admit it, the Splintered Network mission had taken a lot out of Aurora. After all, she was a relatively new graduate of the Knight's Academy and had not been fully prepared for the mental and physical strain of such tasks. Yet her time on Lux Donum and Spire had shown her what she still needed to understand about her Fey abilities. Her magic was unpredictable and unreliable at best, things that could mean life or death for her and for her comrades.

She sat on a bench outside the library building at the Knight's Academy base and contemplated these thoughts. She must have looked fairly solemn as she received strange glances as fellow Knight's walked past attending to their daily business. It was only when, out of the corner of her eye she saw someone stop just next to her, that Aurora looked up. She recognised it to be Aaron Almis. The pair had not spoken much on their mission to Lux Donum and she hadn't seen him since they had returned. He also looked as though deep thoughts were troubling him. 

"Hello Aaron." She said with a weary smile.
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Private#2PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:36 pm

"Hello," He replied, looking troubled indeed yet masking it somewhat in the presence of Aurora. "Aurora, wasn't it?" His hand gestured out to the seat beside her, silently asking whether he could sit with her. If she agreed he would take a seat on the bench and gaze out to observe the other Knights wandering around the Academy. A few moments passed in observation before he spoke again.

"So what will you do now?" He asked, flickering his gaze to look at her out of the corner of his eye. "The Knights seem pretty useless now the Union has those Omega soldiers. Kitty and the others seem to be able to handle anything that comes their way."

"I imagine you're in the same boat as me." Now he had turned to look at her properly. "Feel like they can handle it on their own. So that means you must have a plan on what else you're going to do."
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Private#3PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:50 pm

"It's ironic you know, I came to the Knight's Academy because I wanted to be part of something important. To be part of something bigger than myself. In a way I've done that, I helped with the missions I was sent on, and yet somehow I still feel I don't really belong here." 

Aaron sat next to her now, they must have looked a sorry pair. Aurora reached into her leather jacket and pulled out a small letter. The paper was scented like roses, the handwriting was intricate and beautiful. "This is a letter from my mother I received this morning. In other words, a summons. She is "concerned" with my irresponsible use of magic and would like me to report to her at the Orduin Institute." Aurora leaned her head against the wall behind them and looked up to the sky letting out a sigh. "I guess I'm headed to Feyworld."

Through her own complaints Aurora had forgotten that she barely knew anything about Aaron. She knew that he was a member of the notorious Almis family, and yet she still had no clue where he had come from that day he fell from the sky. 

"Well if you wanted a trip to Feyworld I always appreciate assistance when dealing with my mother." Aurora said, awaiting Aaron's response.
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Private#4PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:37 am

"Fey, huh?" Aaron nodded, examining her features properly for once. "I thought there was something ethereal about you." It had been obvious that Aurora was not entirely human, but a mixture of unfamiliarity and a bigger focus on the mission meant Aaron had not noticed before. Where he came from there were elves very similar to Fey, but he still knew the difference from the books Elijah gave him. "I believe my grandmother is married to your King." He smirked at how odd that sentence sounded.

"I was planning on travelling from now on to places of high magic. To learn and fulfill a great role in the galaxy. From what I've heard Feyworld is one such place." Aaron stood, holding his palm out for a few seconds. Just in time came Mjolnir, flying into his grip firmly. "If you're in a rush, I could get us there much quicker than by ship." He gestured with his hammer, ready to call for Heimdall if she accepted.
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Private#5PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:25 pm

"That would be excellent, better to get there quickly and avoid pissing her off even more." Aurora laughed, and stood up to join Aaron. He raised Mjolnir to the sky, a beam of light appearing around the pair. Aurora took his hand and they hurtled across the galaxy and towards Feyworld. They emerged onto a bridge, Aurora releasing her grip of Aaron's hand and steadying herself. 
"Well that was...quick." 

Aurora was not used to that sort of travel, her legs seemed like they might fall from under her and yet Aaron didn't seem to be affected. It had been a year since she had last visited Feyworld, a year since her father had died and her mother had summoned her to fulfil the mandatory duty of emotional support. She had forgotten the profound beauty of the place, something you couldn't possibly imagine unless you had seen it with your own eyes. She saw in Aaron's face the look that newcomers often had, awe and bewilderment. Above them the sky was was almost like a watercolour painting, a vast array of colours moved slowly across the canvas like a paintbrush being dipped in water. Purples, blues, greens, all the energy of the planet surging into a beautiful display that cast iridescent shadows through the canopies of the great trees. On this planet Aurora's magic was most alive, she could feel every pulse of energy, everything living thing around her. If she was silent enough she could even hear the faint whispers of the trees themselves. To her untrained ears it sounded simply like the gentle chiming of bells, yet she had heard that to a Fey it was a celestial serenade. 

For a moment they stood in silence simply processing the deep forests that surrounded the ornate bridge on which they stood, the bridge that ended at the gates of the Orduin Institute. 

"Well then, it's just this way." She smiled, gesturing Aaron to follow her.
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Private#6PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:51 pm

"It's quite... useful..." Aaron replied, but was mainly focused on taking in the beautiful scenery of Feyworld. It was the fourth planet in the galaxy he'd visited so far, yet it was already his favorite. Like his mother he held a reverence for the natural world, which this planet seemed to embody to an almost literal degree. The thin veil between the mortal realm and the realm of nature was visible to him through his senses. Truly it was something he had never experienced before.

"Right." Aaron nodded, following promptly behind Aurora. On the way to the institute he held Mjolnir low, having no sheathe or holster for it yet not wanting to look as if he was brandishing a weapon on purpose. That and the hammer was quite recognisable; he did not want to draw too much attention from the public.
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Private#7PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:04 pm

It was drawing close to evening on Feyworld, the sky was shifting into purple which was often a sign of pleasant weather. Lamps provided extra light as they reached the gates of the institute. The building itself was huge, an expansive labyrinth of knowledge for only the most elite of recruits. Aurora had never been ready enough to take the entry exam, although she suspected that might be the reason her mother wanted her here now. Aurora's recent involvement in intergalactic matters would reflect on her mother and in turn the institute itself. 

Two guards stepped forward as Aurora and Aaron came before the gate. 
"What business do you have here?" The one on the right asked in Eldarin, the native tongue of the Fey, it was a beautiful language that could make the darkest of threats sound like poetry. 
"I am Aurora Evenstar, I have been summoned by my mother Edraele Evenstar." Aurora had not spoken Eladrin for a long time, she was rusty but tried her best to speak clearly to the guard. She handed the guard the letter that her mother had sent to her, the personal emblem of her families' ancient sigil was imprinted on the page. He nodded, seemingly convinced by her story. Then he looked to Aaron with suspicion, 
"And what business does your friend have here?" 
"This is Aaron of House Almis..." Aurora began, before realising that Aaron himself was part Fey, "He is the grandson of King Talis."
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Private#8PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:27 pm

Aaron had not been taught the language of the Fey, as neither his mother or great uncle had learned it from this realm. As a result he was quite unaware of anything the guards or Aurora were saying, instead glancing around at the scenery and fading light in the sky. After their conversation though it seemed as if Aurora had said the right thing, as the two were granted entry even with some concerned looks being given at Aaron. From what Aurora had said he had understood 'Aaron Almis', which meant the guards knew of his family name and therefore probably distrusted him.

"You know the Almis name is abit.. tainted... From what I've heard." He told Aurora, keeping his gaze elsewhere. "I think if I wasn't related to the king I'd have been arrested already."
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Private#9PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:58 pm

Aurora knew that her mother had sensed her arrival, Edraele needed no guard to inform her. Aurora led Aaron through the main courtyard of the Institute, receiving strange glances as they went, some glancing with curiousity at the hammer in Aaron's hand. 

"Don't worry, the people here aren't all this suspicious and uptight," She paused for a second and turned to Aaron, "Unfortunately, my mother is."

They passed under a great archway and into the main building. The ceilings were high and made of a beautiful stone that shined like marble, throughout the building vines of trees clung to the walls as though the building itself was part of the earth. When the corridor came to a sharp bend Aurora stopped for a second before turning the corner. She hoped that Aaron would stop too, she knew that around the corner stood her mother...waiting. She took a deep breath and proceeded, sure enough her mother stood at the foot of the great staircase. She was a fine looking woman, even for a Fey, she had a presence about her of elegance and intelligence that quite honestly had always intimidated Aurora. She had always wondered how exactly her goofy, scamp of a father and this straight laced Fey had ever ended up together. 

"Mother." She nodded as she spoke, this time in English.
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Private#10PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:50 pm

Edraele felt a mixture of emotions as her child appeared in front of her. She felt relief to find that her daughter was unscathed by recent events but under her calm exterior was a deep discontent with the recklessness of her offspring. 
"Aurora, I am glad you have decided to answer my summons." She spoke in a calm but stern voice. Her gaze shifted from Aurora to the dark haired man next to her, then to the hammer that he held in his hand. 

"And I see you brought a friend, I hear he is an Almis. I hope Mr Almis can shed some light as to his intentions at this institute?" Edraele said with a sharp smile spreading across her face. She moved forwards towards her daughter and rested her hand on the girl's cheek. 

"Now Aurora we have to discuss your actions on Lux Donum and Spire. This reckless use of magic is unacceptable and cannot continue." Edraele never raised her voice, she maintained an air of control over the room that came simply from the way she carried herself, raising her voice was not necessary. She observed her daughter's defiant expression, in her eyes she saw Samuel Crow staring back at her, the man she had once loved. It was then she knew that reasoning with her child was not going to be easy.
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Private#11PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:07 pm

"Mother, Aaron has recently journeyed here from the realm where he was kept safe as a child. He seeks knowledge and to learn more of how he can contribute to the universe. He is not familiar with the more," She paused searching for the right word, "undesirable members of his family." Aurora needed to ensure that her mother understood that Aaron Almis meant no harm to the institute, otherwise her mother would never allow him to stay. 

"Perhaps, mother, you could grant Aaron permission to study in the great library until my...training is complete." She awaited her mother's response with great trepidation, Edraele was difficult to bargain with.
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Private#12PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:21 pm

Edraele listened to her daughter's request, all the while her eyes were watching Aaron with suspicion. However, she trusted her daughter. As soon as the young Almis had walked into the room Edraele had sensed the power in his blood, the celestial energy emitted from him. His aura was as unusual as Edraele had ever sensed, she felt his celestial power but also the familiarity of Fey blood. Although she could not be completely sure,  as she had never been in the presence of one with angel blood, she thought she also sensed something angelic about him. He was certainly intriguing. 

"Aurora whilst you complete some refinery training in how to control that unpredictable magic of yours, Aaron can use the library...however he must allow Mjolnir to be supervised, we cannot allow objects of such power to be simply carried around the whole building." 

It seemed that the three had reached an arrangement, Edraele was just satisfied as long as her families' reputation was upheld and no catastrophes threatened her beloved institute.
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Private#13PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:55 pm

Aaron had left Mjolnir upon Edraele's table, knowing fully that it was safe due to the fact no one else would be able to move it. After that he headed straight for the library, tracing his finger over Elijah's ring as he browsed through the books. Some had taken his interest out of curiosity, ones pertaining to the physical use of magic and its historical background. However, he knew exactly what kind of book he had come for.

The symbol on his ring was that of infinity, which he searched for on the covers of the books in the library. It was a large and elegant library, with everything shelved upon natural wood carved by only the greatest Fey craftsmen. Everywhere had an almost ethereal lighting to it, no doubt by work of magic.

Eventually he had come across what he needed, an old tome with the symbol of infinity imprinted on the front. That book he had gratefully borrowed and studied for the entire time Aurora was training; gathering event hint of information he could from it. By the time had finished and taken his notes Aurora seemed to have finished the bulk of her training.
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Private#14PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:46 pm

Training had been tireless. Edraele herself had conducted the bulk of Aurora's lessons, with Archmage Tornan assisting in the more practical combat. Aurora had only seen Aaron a couple of times, he had locked himself away in the library glued to some strange book. She had not been given the luxury of freedom, her routine consisted of; waking before dawn, running laps of the courtyard, then four hours of practical training, before taking a further 3 hours of theory. This vigorous programme was the sort given to second year recruits of the institute, and yet Aurora had never even taken the entry exam. Her mother had clearly pulled a few strings and Aurora suffered many questioning glances from actual students as if to ask who on earth she thought she was. 

It was safe to say that through this relentless course Aurora had gathered much more control over the abilities she had. Even the trees were beginning to whisper in a faint song, a sound she had once only heard as chimes. She felt more in tune with the Fey then she ever had before, her mother even said that her aura had become more prevalent. But Aurora was bored with learning the ritual way of conducting magic, the traditional way, she longed to retrieve her revolvers from her mother's office and shoot once again. It was a Sunday morning when Edraele finally allowed her daughter a day of rest, Aurora headed straight for the library, seeking Aaron Almis and a very specific book. 

She found Aaron seated by a great window, the book he had been inspecting for days still clasped in his hands. 
"Long time no see." Aurora smiled as she sat down to join him.
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Private#15PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:06 am

Aaron lifted his head up from his notes, catching Aurora's eye and immediately noticing the difference in her. As much as he wasn't vastly trained in detecting such things, he could sense that her aura had grown since their last meeting. Whilst she had improved her magic power in their time here, Aaron had been improving his knowledge.

"Indeed," He smiled, then looked back down to his notes and the book. Among them lay his ring, an old golden signet with an infinity symbol imprinted upon the flat top. "I assume your training is paying off. We might need it..." His fingers pressed against a piece of parchment, sliding it across the table so she could examine it closer.

"The Knights weren't the galaxy protecting group," He gestured to the parchment which had illustrations and descriptions of brave wizards and guardians who long ago had protected the galaxy from a great threat. "Whoever these people were are gone now, but with all that's happening the galaxy could use someone like them."
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Private#16PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:20 pm

Aurora liked the idea that there was a group somewhere out there protecting the universe, an ancient order of wizards and guardians like she had read of in stories as a child. But one thought sat heavy on her mind as soon as Aaron had mentioned the group. 
"If they were protectors, and good ones, then why are they all dead?" She asked, a feeling of unease settling over their corner of the library. 
"I agree though," She began as she took a seat next to Aaron, "The galaxy does need more people like them, but at what cost?" Then maybe she felt as though she was thinking selfishly, perhaps those who have the ability to protect should do so regardless of the personal risk, after all that was true heroism. 

"There seems to have been five of them, or at least they were the leaders." Aurora said as she noticed an illustration of five cloaked figures on one of the pages. "I think, Aaron, if you're willing, we need to find out more about these people."
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Private#17PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:18 pm

"I guess even the strongest heroes die eventually," Aaron pondered, his mind thinking back to the stories of Aaron 157 and his eventual death on Haven. "I'm willing to pay the cost, the galaxy is losing heroes faster than it can gain them. We need to make sure we don't lose them all." He spoke as if there were a heavy burden upon their shoulders, even though it was completely by choice that Aaron was pursuing this.

"Eldarin is similar to Elvish, isn't it?" His hand pushed another paper across the table. "Valor Santori? It was their name but I can't find many other records behind it. I've got some leads on where we can look but understanding as much about them as possible will help."

"That, and we need a ship, which will be another matter entirely."
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Private#18PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:55 pm

Aurora traced her hand over the intricate words 'Valor Santori', "Valor, it means, as closely as I can translate it- sworn." She paused for a second as she tried to remember the Eldarin and Elvish she had learned as a child, "And Santori, santori means to protect. The Sworn Protectors." She smiled as she looked at Aaron, she thought he'd like that translation, it seemed like to be a sworn protector of the galaxy was his dream. 

It was getting dark in the library now, there was almost no one else still browsing through books. Aurora knew her mother would be wondering where she was. 
"Make sure you keep hold of these books Aaron, I best go back to my chamber now or I won't hear the end of it from my mother. Tomorrow morning meet me by the staircase where we first saw my mother and we'll find a way to get that ship."
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Private#19PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:20 am

Edraele sat in her office, her hands on her forehead and a look of distain on her face. A headache had emerged from hours of reading, her task was to translate the old Eldarin texts. The writing was so small and so intricate it required a magnifying glass to read it clearly, it was so old that some of the golden ink had begun to smudge and waste away. Edraele leaned back in her chair, it was not often she tired of her work and yet it seemed there were other things also on her mind. 
That child of mine, she said aloud to herself, a long sigh following her words. She knew that Aurora would never follow the path that she wanted for her, she was too much like her father. Sam had never called any place home for too long, never committed to anything in his life, she was just like her father. 

There was a knock at the door. Edraele made her way across the room, pulling the door ajar so as to see who disturbed her in this late hour. 
"Aurora." She said as she beckoned her child into the office. 
"Please sit down, tell me what it is that requires such a late visit." She spoke to her child and yet, the girl did not sit down but rather paced around the room as though something troubled her. This was often the case when Aurora had something to relay that she knew would not please Edraele. 
"Spit it out" 
Aurora proceeded to explain her intention was to leave with the Almis boy, something about a higher calling. Edraele found that she was not listening directly but stared blankly at her daughter, so unlike herself, and smiled for a second. In a moment of rare generosity she exclaimed, 

"Go, you have trained for more time than I had expected. You have done well. I will expect to see you again some years in the future." The two of them smiled at each other, a moment so fleeting you might have missed it if you blinked. Then, without a word, Edraele moved across to the glass chest behind her desk and released the lock. She turned to Aurora, her hands outstretched and set down the revolvers in her palms. 

"You are your father's daughter." 

And with that, the girl left.
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Private#20PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:55 pm

"Well," Aaron said, laying his eyes upon the generous yet underwhelming gift of a ship they had before them. "I haven't seen many ships, but I'm sure its not the worst." He smiled, forever keeping on the optimistic side of things. Almost like a child excited for christmas he moved quickly up the ramp underneath the frigate, coming into its central room which broke off into several rooms around it.
"Living quarters, enough for 4. Medbay. Storage. Guns. Cockpit." He pointed at each room, both confirming their existence and showing Aurora. 

"I managed to get some training from one of the locals, so I can get us as far as we need. Which is..." Aaron moved through to the cockpit, activating the navigation terminal to find where they needed to go. "Santori, what a surprise."

"You ready?" He turned back to Aurora with an eager smile.
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Private#21PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:21 pm

Aurora was honestly glad to leave Feyworld, despite its dazzling beauty it reminded her of everything she lacked. Aaron's child like excitement brought a smile to her face as they boarded the ship. It wasn't great, it wasn't even particularly good, but it would do. Aurora and Aaron both took a seat in the cockpit, Aurora turned to respond to his question, "Let's go."

The journey remained fairly straightforward and uneventful until they neared their destination. Then a horrible thought dawned on Aurora.
"Do you not worry about what we're going to find? Whatever killed those people could still be out there." She spoke with trepidation in her voice, the idea of venturing to find an extinct wizard's club seeming less and less appealing as they entered this dark corner of space.
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Private#22PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:36 pm

"Well, something must have stopped whatever it was," Aaron replied as he took the ship into the atmosphere, steadily breaking the clouds to reveal the vast forestland and mountain ranges of the planet below them. "Or else why would whatever killed them stop just at them?" He glanced at Aurora, knowing she probably didn't have the answer, but then again neither did he. Instead he focused on bringing the ship lower through the valleys, scanning the horizon for any signs of what they were here for.

"There." Aaron gestured towards their left to one of the mountains. Rising up from a series of caverns was a large carving of a figure holding its sword downwards. "Looks like somewhere an order of guardians would live." His face lit up at the prospect of discovery, pushing the ship down to find a clearing in the trees.

Eventually they touched down before the caverns, cutting power and lowering the exit ramp. They came out into a round clearing with a rough yet mostly overgrown path leading up to the caverns, which themselves seemed to have lost any decoration and be falling apart. 
"Ladies first?" Aaron smirked as he saw the dark caverns ahead, reaching his hand out to the ship to summon Mjolnir into his hand.
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Private#23PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:42 pm

As Aurora took in their surroundings she had the thought that this was the most beautiful graveyard she had ever seen. The entire planet itself was one giant resting place for its former inhabitants, the temples and statues that protruded from the mountainsides were the only record of their existence, shires to their former lives. Aurora felt almost guilty to have disturbed this place, she looked at Aaron as he offered to let her go first into the dark caverns ahead, 
"Certainly" She responded with a sarcasm that matched his teasing tone. Aurora decided that now might be the time to employ a handy trick she had learned whilst at the institute. She summoned an orb of light, but instead of needing to keep it balled in her hand she released it from her palm and into the air. It floated above her, following her as she moved and lighting their path. The chasms were eerily silent as though they had truly entered a crypt, the place shuddered as rocks readjusted to movement for the first time in millennia. 

They reached the end of the tunnel and entered a much larger room. Before them was what looked like a lift of sorts, apart from the fact it was manually operated of course. The device must have been quite sophisticated for the time that these people lived, working on a lever system. As Aurora entered the lift it groaned with the strain of new weight, "Aaron, I'm not entirely sure this thing will hold us."
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Private#24PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:06 am

Though impressed by her ball of light, Aaron still reached for an old torch that hung from the wall, wrenching it from its iron stand. With a small movement of his index finger and thumb he conjured a small ember, enough to spark the rugged cloth on the end. Once his own beacon of light illuminated his path, he continued to follow Aurora all the way through to the lift. On the way there he could make out worn carvings and illustrations on the walls, able to discern figures of men and monsters with each flicker of torchlight.

"I'm not that fat," He quipped back almost instinctively, even taking a moment for himself to wonder where that came from. "Well it's our only way down." Aaron sighed as he directed the torch in each direction, finding nothing but carved walls in every direction. Without much choice left, he stepped onto the lift with Aurora. Another groaning sound echoed out, the lift even dropping a few millimeters lower.

"I'm sure we'll be fine." He nodded, before signalling with his hand to turn the lever by use of magic.
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Private#25PostSubject: Re: A Quest for Knowledge   Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:09 pm

The lift jolted into action and they began to descend into the black abyss below. Aurora had a bad feeling about this, as they moved slowly downwards, intricate depictions of battles illuminated across the walls. This civilisation had been skilled and powerful as these images showed, which meant that whatever obliterated them was even more skilled and even more dangerous. As she gripped the side of the lift for stability she rested her other hand on her right revolver. 
"How far down do you think this thing goes?" She asked Aaron as the lift abruptly hit what Aurora hoped was the ground. "This far I guess." She laughed nervously, the light from the torch beginning to flicker with a sudden cold wind that brushed past the pair, Aurora's orb of light was also beginning to wane. As her mother had told her, her emotions effected the power of her magic, and apparently gut wrenching fear wasn't a good motivator. 

As Aurora exited the lift there was a moment of all consuming silence. It made the darkness even more disorienting, the cavernous labyrinth seemed to be watching them with great intensity. Then for a second Aurora thought she heard a rumble deep in the depths of one of the tunnels, but it was so faint it sounded almost like the vague beating of a drum. 

"Aaron?" She whispered not daring to look back, "Can you hear that?"
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A Quest for Knowledge

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