Another accidental ink splotch had them dropping their head onto the table in frustration. They had been hunched over this table for what has felt like days researching- who even remembers at this point. They probably started with something they genuinely needed, filters on their pipe system or upgrading their wand, but at this point had long gotten sidetracked looking into the effects of certain aspects on tree bark. Groaning, they leaned back in their chair and flicked their wand, sending pink, glowing wisps of energy over to retrieve a brand new stack of books. Surely, the contents of these would help them finally connect the last few dots, allowing them to very nicely climb all the way back up their research spiral, out of the void of isolation. Flipping through the first book, they found previously written notes on native flowers and their capac-
Suddenly, their vision went white, momentarily blinded by the rays of sunlight let in by the parting of the thick curtains that had previously been keeping them in a comfortable darkness. They reared back and curled into themselves, shielding their eyes with the book they had just been reading, letting out a brief gutteral-sort-of-hissing noise.
“Oh, don’t be so melodramatic. I leave you alone for a week and you’re already back to your usual tendencies.” The disembodied voice seemed to come from the direction of the light, so they were provided with no visual aid. However, the sound of the voice and the disapproving tone, coupled with the frequently heard sentiment, meant that this must be Ada. Allowing their eyes to adjust slightly to the light, they confirmed their theory, taking in the flash of lime green hair and desaturated turquoise cloak that was standing beside the open window.
“Whyyy… This time it’s important, I promise.” They whined, still keeping the book in front of their body somewhat, as if a bound stack of paper could protect them from Ada’s motherly rage.
“Really? What was soo important that you allowed this room to enter such a state of disrepair. There are cobwebs on your door, somehow, so don’t even try to say you haven’t been in here for ages.” Her hands moved to her hips, still scowling down at them. She was right, though. Taking a look around, they noticed the unruly stacks of books that had been developing in the corner, the scrolls half hanging out of chests, the dried ink stains all over their desk, floor, and also their skin. Towards the top of the room, they could even see a thick tint of magical energy, almost to the point of staining the ceiling. Still, this isn’t the worst they’ve managed, so they’re still pretty proud of themselves.
“I’ve been making a breakthrough in essentia infusion! If I can figure out how certain materials react with certain aspects, I’m certain that I can revolutionize the vis flitration system running throughout our towers. The key has to lie in materials in which the core aspects thrive, see, I’ve been examining th-” Ada raises her hand, effectively shutting their mouth.
“Alright, so, it’s not a life or death situation. Which means: you’re an idiot. We can talk more about this after some much needed maintenance. This room is a mess and, I swear to god, the mandrakes in your garden are practically vibrating themselves out of the earth. So that’s where you can start.” They pried themselves out of their chair, before sulking their way out through the doorway, dodging the aforementioned cobweb, as Ada properly opened the window, letting the magical essence into the outside world. As they walked outside, fresh air hitting their face, they quickly brought their goggles down to their proper place, instead of where it’s been for the past few days holding back their hair. Not only do their goggles enhance magical items and vis nodes in their vision, but they also provide eye protection from the bright, bright sun. Their most important feature.
They made their way across the series of gangplanks connecting the various platforms that made up their home, passing the smeltery and climbing a small set of stairs before reaching their multi-tiered farmland. Thankfully the mandrakes (the only crop that requires immediate attention) was on the lowest level, and therefore didn’t require that much physical labour. They pulled a knife from their cloak and made quick work of uprooting and decapitating the mandrake roots as fast as they could, preventing them from screaming too loudly, before replanting the entire area. While they were up and about, they decided to do a routine sweep of the compound, quickly checking for monsters, structural faults, or anything else that might need to be immediately fixed. Satisfied that nothing would collapse on them within the next few days, they returned to their research quarters, where they found Ada happily rummaging through their research notes.
Ada had this effect, where if she gave something enough heart and attention, it would be warmer and brighter coming out of it. They noticed that the curtains had been tied back properly, casting a soft light on the room. The books were nicely stacked on their shelves, scrolls had been tied up and stored away in chests, the cobwebs had all, thankfully, been removed, and there was a pleasant, flowery scent that filled the space. She looked up from the loose pile of notes she’d been reading.
“This is fascinating and all – especially the parts about the theoretical creation of these infused fibres, the possibilities there are really intriguing – but I did actually come to you with a potential problem.” They frowned, pulled off their cloak and resting it on a nearby chest.
“There’s been a group of cultists developing up north.”
“Well that’s not entirely new, cults pop up all the time. They’ll kill themselves off in a manner of weeks.” They scoffed.
“Normally I would agree with you, but this group has been growing for the past few months. Also, they’re slowly encroaching on your territory. Not that you would’ve noticed, with your nose buried in ink, but they’ve started migrating south through your pines.” She pulled out one of your many maps, circling where they were currently set up and drawing a dotted line showing their predicted path with her wand. “They’re gonna get dangerously close to your compound.”
So a decision has to be made here, they thought. Either, they could lay down some spells to hide the compound and hope for the best, or get in there and destroy them before they have the chance to attack.
“What’s their belief system like? On the scale of casually worshipping a dead god to burning down towns and commiting mass murder in preparation for the oncoming apocalypse.” They laid out the scale with a handy gesture.
“They’re veering towards the mass murder, looking at the other places they’ve passed through,” Ada circled three small towns further north, “they seem to be collecting new members and killing those who don’t join up.”
“That’s not very nice.” Ada rolled her eyes. “I guess we’re going to have to take them down, huh?”
“I would have to agree.”
They both grinned at each other.
“This is gonna be fun.”