Sooty Trip Wires
Wed Oct 4, 2006 09:50 (XFF:

Somewhere amid the faux battles that she'd been fighting and the things that Celeste had been doing to disable the channel-wrought locks, they began to fall into an easy companionship with one another. Kat had finally learned to accept that she couldn't do everything and that she couldn't be the only one who fought, and Celeste realized that Kat was there to be her buffer, to protect her against things she wasn't trained to fight. Both of them had sweat pouring off of their faces, trickling down and causing the linen to cling to her skin, and they shared a grin as Celeste voiced her guess about the maze.

Their surroundings were entirely obscured in a silvery fog reminiscent of when she'd first come upon Celeste, and the walls of the garden rose high, two spans into the air and more, to block their view of anything beyond. Experimentally, Kat tapped one of her blades against the well trimmed hedge and she was rewarded with a sharp, not quite painful electrical jolt down her arm. Kat laughed, "I don't know that most people have walls that protect themselves against being cut."

Expecting the Accepted to laugh with her as well, the woman merely frowned in thought, fingers rubbing against long strands of her hair before leaning and peering ahead. "It's inverted, some weave I can't make out. Both sides of the Power used and inverted."

Celeste's words meant little to her—she knew roughly of what the woman spoke, but not the implications that seemed to strike some discordant note in her. "It's probably to keep us from just hacking through the hedges to get to the end, don't worry." But the truth was that she had to worry somewhat. The Power was invisible to her, but she imagined that she could feel the threads of it humming, vibrating against her skin like a swarm of bees. "How difficult will it be to hold the Power while we move? Something in my gut tells me that our next traps will be triggered by something with the Power."

The silver-haired woman shook her head. "It depends, I can't say. If I have to use it, I'll tire quickly, but if I'm just holding the Source for too long without doing anything, it'll tire me. Better to walk cautiously and probe when something looks suspicious." But if it's inverted like what's on the hedges, you won't know unless you're holding the Power… She didn't speak the words, but Celeste's eyes met hers confidently. "Don't worry, we'll be okay."

And to Kat's pleasure, the Accepted waited for the Sei'Tar to move first before falling in just a step or two behind her. They moved with purpose and caution, and although the two of them anticipated traps that would have Power triggers, they came across none. In fact, Kat had been concentrating so hard on letting Celeste look with the Power any time something looked suspicious, that her leg nearly tripped a hair thin wire that ran across the path. "A moment." Kat cautioned. The Accepted nodded her head and took a couple steps back, her feet moving carefully just in case they'd accidentally missed something.

The tripwire wasn't just a tripwire. It was a series of wires that crossed at different heights and angles and they were so thin that she had to squint to see them. She needed something that would make the thin, silvery thread stand out in the dense silvery fog. While she considered it, Kat approached Celeste. "It's a series of wires, far enough apart that we can pass through if we're careful, but the wires are thin enough that unless we can make them stand out in the fog, we'll most likely trip one and be 'killed'."

"Do you want me to disperse the fog?"

Kat shook her head. "Even if you did, it wouldn't make much difference. The light is dim, the wires are very thin and even if you made your light and got rid of the fog, we could still not see them clearly." They sat in silence, contemplating the situation before Kat said, "That's it…if we could just make the cords stand out…"

"Do you need me to weave something?" Celeste asked. And with a start, Kat realized that the Accepted was asking—planning with her—rather than just doing.

"Not yet." Kat smiled, digging into her pockets to produce two charcoal sticks. She'd pilfered them from the fireplace as soon as the words "course" were uttered by the Head Gaidin and Keeper. Courses meant mazes and she wanted a way to mark her trail if she needed it. Grinding her palms together, there was the sharp crunch of the charcoal bursting and then the prickling became less and less until there was a large pile of fine black powder in her palm. She hoped it'd be enough. "The wires are wet from the fog, which means that when we blow this charcoal, we'll be able to see the wires a lot better. It's a trick my father taught me and my brothers when we couldn't find our wires when trapping game."

Celeste nodded and they moved forward. Out of nowhere, a breeze suddenly kicked up, gentle and caressing against their backs, the wind drying the sweat that still clung to her skin. Moving her hand slowly, rising and falling, moving from one side of the path to the next, she continued to keep her hand moving until there was nothing but dark smudges left.

"it worked." Celeste remarked, her eyes on the path. "It's not much, but you can see where the wires are."

Kat looked along the path and nodded her agreement. The wires were no longer invisible by the happy accident of a shared hue with the fog. Small particles of soot and charcoal had passed against the wires and had clung there like a dirty shadow. The difference was minute and wouldn't have made much difference if it'd been any other circumstances, but the darkness of the charcoal was enough contrast against the light of the fog that they could see the latticework of the wires.

"Carefully now." Kat said, moving forward. She glanced back to see that Celeste was taking the time to tuck her skirts into her belt, long slender legs almost as pale as the fog.

They moved slowly and painstakingly. Once Celeste had nearly caught her foot on a wire and once Kat rose too soon. There was just enough pressure to leave a thin black line across her back but not enough to set off the wire. They'd been very fortunate.

The space where the wires had been set up wasn't more than two paces deep, but it took them nearly ten minutes to pass through. They turned to move on their way, but Celeste pressed a hand to Kat's arm. "Wait, I want to see what would have happened." There was curiosity along their bond, a sense of determination to see what their fate was—though Kat wasn't sure if those were her feelings or the Accepted's.

Nothing happened that Kat could see and then there was a sharp, high pitched twang! followed immediately by a silenced rupture of sound. Something bright orange exploded upward and out and splattered against a shield of nothing—of Air—that she'd erected around them in time. When the mist of orange liquid cleared—bright orange liquid—Kat laughed. "Well that would have been embarrassing. I can't say I want to come back bright orange."

The Accepted laughed and they moved on their way. Carefully still, but quickly, nonetheless. There were two more obstacles, but of the common sort—Illusions of animals attacking. Kat was in front of the Accepted the whole time and was able to slice through the "animals", causing the weaves to disappear and the images to blink out harmlessly. And then they were at the third and final gate.

"Last one, Celeste. You can do it." Kat encouraged with a smile.

  • Tea-party settingAccepted Celeste, Mon Oct 2 02:30
    Breath misted in the cool air as Celeste kept close to Kat. She paid little heed to the Sei’Tar now, concentrating instead on the location of the next gate. Like the first, it was marked in the... more
    • Sooty Trip Wires — Kat Tenzin Sei'Tar, Wed Oct 4 09:50
      • Icy obstacleAccepted Celeste Illharess, Tue Oct 24 09:06
        Wan light reflected off the mirrored edges, glinting faintly in the false dawn. Celeste squinted at the crystalline structure. The massive, edged contraption sat right where Saidar insisted the gate... more
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