All That Glitters in Gemworld

March 09, 2016:

Amaya Amethyst and Dr. Strange discover what has been doing Eclipso in the last few weeks. Satana drops by to "help"

Amethyst Palace in Nilaa. Dr. Strange's Sanctum

Characters

NPCs: Lady Graciel and a few other Nilaian nobles

Mentions: Eclipso

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Early in February Doctor Strange managed to open a door directly from the Sanctum to House Amethyst palace in Nilaa. All thanks to a combination of the coaxing the enchanted House and clever spellcasting. Ever since Amy has been able to fulfill her obligations as disciple and ruler, and occasionally (probably not as much as she wanted) take an evening off for pizza-hunting and other teenage activities best not known to her mother and her mentor.
The political situation in Nilaa is getting worse and worse. Besides provocations directed to Oteherworld and Faerie and other nearby dimensions, the Great Houses of Onyx and Diamond are on the warpath, and the other houses, both the greater and the lesser, are arming up and forging alliances, looking at the strongest, which includes Amethyst and Opal, for guidance. Of course, Opal’s ruler is also a warmongering tyrant, but Amaya happens to be an untested teenager, so there is a lot of posturing, hesitance and complications. Also a few political marriage proposals from a prince or another. Even one from Lord Zushan, which Amy knows is Eclipso’s main minion. Maybe he expects an undiplomatic response to start a war.
And to make things more interesting, there has been a good deal of robbery of important enchanted gemstones all over the world. Most blame them to House Onyx.


A small (for the castle, at least) room has been taken over and converted hastily into a war room. Currently the members housed within are Graciel, Amy's mother, Lady Ingvie of House Citrine, Amy's best friend within Nilaa, Elzere, the beast of man who was assigned the task of protecting Graciel and teaching Amy the art of warfare and Doctor Strange. There are a few others from Amethyst's house staff, as well, but their tasks are more relegated to fetching things, carrying things and bringing food to the people within.
"Marriage to Zushan?" Comes Amethyst's exasperated voice, "Is he /serious/? He can't be /serious/." A hand will be slammed down upon the table that houses various maps and such for the group to look at, "Clearly he's doing this just to /rattle/ me. I will not be /rattled/."
Clad in her purple and gold armor, Amy will all but pace the room like some caged lioness, but that pacing doesn't last long when Lady Ingive speaks up. "Agreed. It is either a ploy to catch you off guard, or a way to have you focus on something other than what he's truly planning. A way to allow him to slip another treachery past you."
Graciel nods with Ingive's words, "I agree with Lady Citrine -" And when Graciel states Ingive's title, there's the faintest hint of sadness, as Graciel remebers Ingive's mother. "We should look elsewhere, to see what is going on. I believe we should focus upon the gemstones that are being stolen from our houses. It has the touch of Onxy, but without proof - we cannot specifically say who is stealing them." Graciel's purple colored eyes will drift to Doctor Strange, as she looks to see what the only non-Nilaan might be thinking.


Doctor Strange seems distracted, when Graciel addresses him, he sighs. “My apologies, I was communicating with one of my colleagues in New Orleans. A gem of dangerous properties, the Crystal of Kadavus, has been stolen. It was in my custody and I had loaned it for a promising cleansing ritual. Psychometric magic reveals the thief was able to mystically shadow-step.”


Graciel simply nods when Doctor Strange offers his apologies, but all eyes are turned to him when he speaks of a gem being stolen. The expressions on everyone's faces, even the staffers, turn grim. It's Elzere who finally speaks, his voice deep and rumbling as he states, "This is troubling indeed. Gems are being stolen upon Earth as well as Nilaa by the shadow steppers of House Onyx. We must retaliate. We must show them we will not take this lying down. A show of force is needed."
Ingive, while looking worried, does nod slowly to what Elzere says. Lady Graciel likewise looks just as concerned, though she doesn't voice whatever else is going through her head. Instead she looks towards her daughter, the Lady of their House.
Amethyst considers what Doctor Strange has said, as well as what Elzere has to say. With that consideration her gaze will turn towards the maps, where each major and minor house and its lands are marked off. "Agreed." States Amy finally, as she pulls her unfocused gaze away from the map. "We must do something. It's clear they're trying to gather all the powerful artifacts to themselves now. We must ensure that what artifacts and gems we have in all of our houses are under constant watch. It may not protect everything, thanks to Onyx, but we can't afford to lose any more gems." Frowning now, Amy will turn her gaze to Strange as she asks, "Perhaps we can devise a ward specifically set up to stop the shadow steppers?" She may not have a ton of magical knowledge like Strange does, but with his lessons, she is slowly learning.


“No, and I don’t understand how a member of House Onyx has reached Earth without my knowledge.” Because the last few months Strange has spent a good deal of time deploying alarms and wards to try to track down Eclipso. This after scouring the whole Earth with the Orb of Agamotto. Until right now he was sure Eclipso was in Nilaa.
“The Crystal of Kadavus is a fist-sized diamond with black impurities inside, and it is powerful amplifier for rituals and artifice,” he remarks bleakly. “There are numerous mystical gemstones on Earth, I better return and start cataloging. Such devices would be even more powerful in Nilaa.”


At Doctor Strange's announcement all the faces around the would-be war room turn even more pensive. "This is not good." Says Graciel finally, as she turns her eyes back upon her daughter. Amaya's own expression mirrors Graciel in terms of concern, as she finishes her mother's thought. "We must find ways to block House Onyx. It's clear the majority of the shadow steppers are no longer following their House Rules." Graciel nods and then Amy continues, "Once we have an effective defense against them, we can then continue our hunt for Eclipso."
The various heads of households nod along with that, as Amy returns their nod. "Then it's a plan. Devise a way to defend against Onyx and then defeat Eclipso." Doesn't Amy make it sound so easy? When in reality it's going to be far harder than that.
"Doctor Strange, I will accompany you back to Earth so we can work on /something/ to stop the shadow steppers in their tracks." Looking back at the group she adds, "I'll return in a few hours with an update. If anything happens here while I'm gone please don't hesitate to send someone through the portal to alert us." Again nods can be seen before Amy ushers Doctor Strange out. She's leading him towards the portal room that every major household has. Once inside the portal room, Amy will turn towards a newly constructed upright circular ring of gemstones. This is the portal that's linked to Nilaa and Earth and allows Amy and Strange far easier transportation from between the realms than preiously.
"Ready?" She asks, even as she steps towards the portal opening.


Strange is not going to argue with Amaya in front of her ‘court’. However he has a suggestion, “it might be a good idea to try to contact Lady Akikra. She might know what is going on with Onyx despite her current status.”
Once through the portal, he says to Amy, “unfortunately watching over gems of power is not going to be easy. I have a few here, and the Sanctum is well protected, but the rest are scattered all over the world, often in the hands of unfriendly sorcerers or mystical entities. Merciful Oshtur protect us, I think Doctor Doom still keeps the Merlin Stones. At least stealing from -him- would be hazardous even for Eclipso himself.” At this moment Wong wanders in and clears his throat. “Doctor, we have a visitor. It is that demon woman.”
Strange just sighs.


….and right behind Wong is the sole purpose for the rueful sigh. Did she wait to be invited or escorted? No. She is not a vampire. Disgusting undead bloodsuckers are two steps shy of zombies. Don't ask her the two steps, because they don't make sense. Gross is gross. Slave material.
Sliding around Wong she pauses and air-kisses just at the crown of his bald head. "I have a name, monk man." And with a wiggle of fingers she is sauntering past to greet Strange and Amethyst upon their arrival, heels clicking over the flooring, a single hand perched upon bare hip while the other busies itself with wrapping the length of deep red hair around her hand and sweeping it over her shoulder. An 'adjustment' to the girls and a small nod of approval after a hooked nail picks at teeth and she spreads hands and offers a beaming smile of predatorial proportions.
"Welcome as ever, I see. Next time the sigh should come with… Flare." A flourishing wave of a hand worthy of a drunken pirate and arms fold over her chest.
"If you despise my presence ever so much, you can free me and we can be done.


"Yes, I know it'll be far /harder/ than I can imagine, but we have to do something. We can't let Eclipso continue to gather items of power." States the blonde Nilaan, as she strides through the portal with Doctor Strange. "If I knew where he was right this second, I'd just go to /him/ and be done with it."
And while Amy was just about to reshape her clothes into something far more suitable for Earth, she doesn't. Not when Wong makes his pronouncement about a demonic visitor. Frowning now, Amy will keep her purple and golden armored accent outfit upon her as she sees /just/ who this visitor is. Not that she can't guess.
While Strange and likely Wong know Satana's true name, all Amy knows her by is 'Judith' and as such, the blonde Nilaan can only offer a polite and rather formal sounding, "Judith. How're you today?" Whenever spends more time on Nilaa than Earth, she always picks up their 'aristrocratic' mannerisms. Give her a few minutes back on Earth and eventually the teenage girl will re-emerge.


“I don’t despise you, my dear,” replies Strange. “But I have to admit when I said you would be welcomed here I didn’t expect so many unannounced visits and so much… hmm, interesting conversation.” Not to mention the stalking, jibbing, prodding, dangerous cat-like curiosity and the ‘borrowing’ of some books of lore and mysticism.
The last one is what got Wong to call her ‘that demon woman’ more often than not. Still, the oriental man bows. “A thousand apologies, Mistress Satana,” he even sounds sincere.
“Regardless,” continues Strange. “We have a serious problem at hand, Ms. Hellstrom. I am afraid I can’t be a good host for you today.”


Strange eluded to freeing her, in fact, passed over it completely, so… Hell is his own making! And her presence remains right where she is.
Satana moves the small distance to a chair and folds into its confines with a flourish that has hands folding into her lap, fingertips stroking over the belt laden with loops and headed by a skull that drips a few small chains from its open maw. "Mistress," The one word purred from deep red lips that were almost blackened. "I like the sound of that. Better Jeeves!"
Amethyst gets a once over of those eyes that are slowly bleeding from brimstone to a tamed aquamarine. A single leg stretches outward, then up and over for a cross at latex clad thigh. All business - but not really.
"This world is laden with serious problems. Some people just have to -ask- and I would gladly help." But the smile that comes with that offer is anything but truly friendly. Deals with demons and all.
"I help one, and I get very pretty additions.." In saying as much her finger trails to a necklace of black diamonds rimmed in the opaque, while a single teardrop form rests at the hollow of throat as if magically embedded there. "Not to mention benefits of taking them." A pause and the smile shifts, but on her face, it is hard to even pin what is going through her mind in those memories. Something not yet rated.
"So don't leave a girl waiting! What is it that has your divine hostly manners so…" A waffling gesture and her eyes traverse between Amy and Strange.
"Love that outfit, by the way darling. Far better then the rags you choose on this end of the people pool."


“True, I am the Doctor that solves some of those serious problems,” replies Strange, heading downstairs. “If you want to help, I am quite sure I can find some interesting errand for you go entertain yourself for a few weeks. But I have to warn you that you would be interfering in the affairs of a rather unpleasant entity by the name of Eclipso. Whose soul you would find unpalatable. As much as he deserves utter annihilation, he is somewhat beyond our ability to destroy. Amaya might be able to imprison him, however.”


Both hands rise in a shrug, but as hands rise so does she. Not just by force of legs that come untwined. But following after Strange, Satana (Judith), passes Amy and brandishes a toothy smile for the girl as well as a little wave.
"Unpleasant is obviously my thing, Strangelove." But as he speaks on both manicured brows slowly come to rise, as well as the corners of her lips. "Ohh he sounds like the escargot of souls," A shiver of some sort traces down exposed spine and small bumps raise over flesh. Nope, she has come to know and despise escargot, but it does not mean she wont eat it on a /dare/.
"Well then, even though the dark is my place quit leaving me in it." So, curiousity is piqued.


Satana Hellstrom. Ah ha. There's definitely a figurative light bulb going off for Amy now; after all, she knew Judith wasn't the other woman's /real/ name. Still, nothing is said about that name, even as Strange and Satana speak. Finally, however, she will say, "I had /thought/ I imprisoned him last time." It's more of a mutter but being so near the other two, it's likely they'll be able to make out her words. "In a black diamond."
Following after the two and bringing up the rear, as it were, Amy will raise her voice to more understandable and less mutter-y levels. "Doctor Strange is correct. I'm not sure he can be destroyed and I'm uncertain it'd be wise to try and … eat his soul." That last phrase of Amy's is spoken a little more slowly, as she's not used to people stating they can do such a thing. In fact, she's just not used to the idea in general, if she were honest to herself.
"He can take over hundreds, if not thousands of people with a mere thought, what if his soul would take over your body? I'd imagine that would be very dangerous indeed."


“It would be suicidal to try,” agrees Strange. “Eclipso is not a mortal spirit. He came from a higher realm, and fell from grace millennia ago.” Finally a door. In the middle of a staircase where no door was before. Strange unlocks it with a gesture, and invites the ladies to follow him. This is his real library, where the books with spells, and the books -of- spells are stored. Amy has already been here several times, but Satana had never managed to find it.
“I am quite sure Zhered-Na developed spells to track down mystical crystals. I suspect she was the first human to reach Nilaa, too. This was just a century or so before the sinking of Atlantis.” He begins looking through stacks of books, searching. “Ah, here they are… only three books and a few scrolls survive of her writings.”


Between Amethyst and Strange, Satana hears them. Though how much she /listens/ is a whole other factor in and of itself. Only the future will tell.
A sweep of tongue over lower lip and a small quirk comes with the arrival of the door as well as what lies beyond. The tomes and scrolls are a bounty indeed and for a moment anything being said takes a backseat to a wandering of eyes that start to fleck with a gold light among the blue-green.
"Gems? That is what you are looking for?" A rise of brow and Satana is already looking over some of the books, fingers trailing along the old spines. "Tell me more about this, Eclipso. I am already interested." To say the least.


"It's not gems, per se, that we're looking for." Begins Amy, obviously used to this room and the power it holds as she doesn't seem too /phased/. "It's protecting the gems from Eclipso. I suppose you could say the world I'm from is powered by gems. We infuse them with magic, but the basis of our magic is definitely gem based. We're worried that whatever gems he gains from my world and this world could cause terrible problems for Nilaa."
As for the books, Amy will step closer to one particular shelf as she looks at the named and unnamed volumes. "If we can find a way to track the specific people we're looking for, or perhaps track them based on their magic set, that would be great. My house is supposedly the only one that has a portal to Earth, but somehow another House is making forays into this world." She frowns then, as she turns to face Satana, "Hopefully that makes sense. I guess the easiest way to think of it is bad man trying to take over my home world and possibly Earth too." She shakes her head with her words, since it all sounds a little crazy even to her own ears.


Satana listens to Amy and her smile grows. Oh how she would /love/ to spill such a world to a certain theif who has been teaching her ropes, and yet other ropes tie in, and she is turning that smile of sport into that of thought.
"Your world is not the only world with passage to here, nor the only that wants more to do with here." A look passes to Amy that reads Trust me.
A tome is slipped between fingers and held to open in splayed palm with nails lightly dragging over the skin and bones of the book like a lover. "War happens for levels, planes, and worlds. So what makes this Eclipso any different then any other who wishes to be a king among kings?"And though Satana is feigning a lot, her curiousity is simply forefront and comes on the tilt of head.
"It's called ambition." And with a clip the book is snapped shut, but not released back to the shelf.


Strange is skimming over the pages of one of the books. Preserving magics have kept the fine parchment almost intact for ten thousand years. “Eclipso was known as Galid, long ago. Ah, if you want the whole story, I can point you to the right books. Ms. Hellstrom. Or you could ask your father. I am quite sure he remembers Galid, and not fondly.”
“Here it is the chapter.” He says with a faint smile. “Hmm, not one but several spells. And they would work in conjunction with the Orb of Agamotto. Brilliant work. She was one of the best sorceress ever born on Earth.”


Whatever books Amy was fiddling with are shelved as Satana speaks and then Strange, as well. Both of what they have to say is given some thought to, before the blonde Gemworld denizen speaks again. "There's more to him than ambition though. Part of his 'ambition' is fueled by rage and revenge. In my mind this makes him far more dangerous than with just ambition." Her purple eyed gaze will move from Satana to Strange now, as she asks, "What spell is this one? The tracking? I still think we should find ways to ward in both of our worlds to try and keep them out. Lady Akikra would willingly - " At least she hopes she would, "- test out the wards to see if they work. I know she's terribly distraught with what her House is currently doing." Idly, Amy will make her way towards Doctor Strange, to try and get a peek at the book and spells he's speaking about.


"There are other reasons for ambition?" Satana is candidly staring at Amy, now. Puzzled. "I mean, thats the first one *I* know of. The rest is just to have /more/ because you can." The latter being Satana's reason for presence, but the first she grew up with, so none of it really shocks her. Down to eating the foes in victory. Good dinner times!
"We're not speaking right now." Satana states in regards to her father, but she has others she can speak to if she needs tro. "So, why don't I get a summary then. If dear old Dad knows him, I am sure it is kismet." Sarcasm, jesting. It all wraps into a nice bundle as Strange and Amy take note into a single book of spells. Three's company. She stays put.


“Ambition can be a virtue, up to the point it becomes harmful for the self, or for others,” preaches Strange. “Eclipso crossed that line a long time ago. He desires revenge against those who defeated him centuries ago, but he also wants to impose his will upon everyone else. If he takes over Nilaa, it will only be the first step in a conquering campaign no doubt will spread to Earth sooner than later.” He passes the book to Amy if she wants to study the spells; as he has memorized the formulae he needs to use now. “Lets go to the Orb chamber.” Satana included. That lady is not going to be left alone in his library anytime soon.


Amy easily accepts the book from Doctor Strange and the blonde will turn her amethyst gaze to the spells. Some of it she understands while other pieces are completely lost upon her. She's still a novice when it comes to complicated spellcraft, especially of the Earthen non-Nilaan variety. Still, when Doctor Strange moves to leave, Amy will follow after him, his book closed with a faint thump as she tucks it beneath her arm.
Circling back now, the blonde will say more to Satana than Strange, "I think there are a lot of reasons for ambition. IT doesn't have to be about just gathering power. Sometimes it's just used to do something you want to. To achieve a goal you set out for yourself." She shrugs, that gesture completely Earth-like, as she falls back upon her more teenage nature now that she's has a bit of time away from the stiff society of Nilaa.
"But Doctor Strange is corret. He nearly defeated all of the houses that stood against him on Nilaa. If that happens again, when so may houses are still recovering from his last attack - " Even with it being a year now, "- We could fall." She says grimly, continuing to speak as they move to the Orb Chamber, "And I'm sure he's learned what not to do this time around."


"Oh, I know that one too." A wink to Amethyst and she follows after them both. She is waiting to hear where they would like her to play a part or where she would fit, although that does not stop her from listening when they speak of the worlds and this Eclipso's impact.
Steal gems? Lately it has been a past time and a rush, as well as a new lease on life for Satana. She could try to aid there, but /that/ is not all the rush she desires, and this Eclipso… That is close to home for the demoness. All thousands of layers.

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