It's been like pulling teeth getting this out! Seriously, I've just been so lethargic lately, and well, life goes on. Hope you enjoy. I've got a lot going on this week, so I don't now how I'll be doing, but well, it all works out in the end. Je vais me debrouiller bien, comme toujours!
Word came down that the senior members of the Sorcerei, better known as the Chemat, would be required to stay behind to assure the efficacity of the reagents. The Chemat was displeased to say the least. The Volntiers, junior Sorcerei, wasted no time pounding the final nails into the crates to be taken to the square, much to the irritation of the Chemat. In addition, with the new effects necessary for this performance, it became necessary that the Chemat would have to send the juniors to the square with the preparations and hope for the best. For the Volntiers, this would be not only the first test towards the Chemat, but also it meant less competition that evening.
The Sorcerei found the preparations particularly difficult as the Maesters were also above deck. The Taillers, junior Maesters, had insisted that the Forge Maesters take their work above decks, as the uniforms were becoming covered in ash and dust. Normally, only the Sorcerei made a point to clean off the armor and weapons before applying reagents, much to the annoyance of the Forge Maesters. While the Elders were always willing to accept the imprecise excuses of the Sorcerei, the explanations of the Maesters normally fell on deaf ears. The Forge Maesters often had enough problems between inept initiates and inferior materials, but today that was the least of their problems.
Regrdless of how much work might be required, Maesters and Sorcerei were always thankful they were not forced to endure the hours of repetition of the Underprenne. They would spend days learning lines, repeating the same words to the point where they became meaningless. Often one could see freshman members, Chora, sleepwalking through the motions of a dance or singing songs in their sleep. Eventually, the Synima, sophomore members, would gather the Chora together and drill them in the songs for the next perfromance. Meanwhile, all Synima available were being drilled by the Traga, juniors in the Underprenne. Lines needed to be assured as all cycles of plays would be covered today. Three stops along the route meant that each group would be active today. The Elders had to trust that all groups would work together. For below deck, the elite Underprenne better known the Draema, were beginning preparations for the evening.
Andor could not hear riotus atmosphere above. All sound died away upon entering the silence of the bowels of the ship. The air grew denser and warmer. At the very lowest level of the ship, Andor was seated in the Seal Chamber. The other Draema had already passed. He watched their eyes go white, and eventually fade to black. Some were seated while others were already overtaken. He watched as they traced motions with imaginary blades, and shouted in the dimly lit room. Some moaned in agony, living through the pain of the death they would experience in agonizing detail in this performance. As the Elder approached with the Toramu he cleared his head as best he could. The most dangerous of all was to take a Toramu with a full mind.
The Elder held out the final blue sphere to Andor, and he watched it glow in the dim light of the braizers. He put his hand on Andor's forehead and said, “Remember, whatever happens once you pass: You are here. You exist.”
Andor nodded his head and took the Toramu in his hand and responded, “There is that which is seen, and that which is unseen. My eyes will fail me and my ears will decieve me In conspiracy, mind will acquiesce. Pray give me the courage to fight against it, the will to overcome it, and the spirit to return.” And with that, Andor took the Toramu.
Forge Maesters shouted as an entire set of armor fell directly into a phyrric reagent. Four Maesters desperately pulled at the armor hoping to prevent the reagent from nullifying, but to no avail. The armor reheated as they pulled, and left three with severe burns. Two Chemat had luckily seen the reaction begin and were able to arrive shortly with congelat, but the damage had been done. Two of the less injured Maesters held back the other two who were panicking over the state of the armor. Even a slight setback could throw off the entire process. The congelat had the necessary effect, and the armor cooled rapidly. Unfortunately, this error had cost not only time, but more importantly it also meant another team would have to refinish the armor. The four Maesters were taken below deck to begin treatment for the burns with a few of the Chemat.
Gradually, the world around Andor seemed to shrink inward. The confusion surrounding him grew silent and what little he could see became indiscernable from the envelopping darkness. His heart pounded in his ears but its cadence slowed considerably. As Andor breathed in, he could see flashes pass on all sides. Someone, or something, had found him and refused to take no for an answer. Indistinct shapes gave way to shadows, and shadows became shapes. Slowly the shapes became a forest, but unlike anything he had seen. A monstrously large port opened before him which ushered him into a grand square.
Clouds dissipated as the cold of the night gave way to morning. The last of the armor had been finished and placed on the forms to cure. The Chemat confirmed that each had been correctly cured and that all pieces were of the same set. Natrually, some of the smaller pieces could easily be switched among the different suits. Conferring among themselves, the Chemat had agreed that all the pieces for that evening's performance were excecuted satisfactorily and to the specific needs of the Society. Therefore, the time had come for final packaging preparations for the parade. In the interest of time, the majority of the Volntiers were sent ahead to prepare the square for the evening.