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    (Yes, I'm aware it's posting three times. Unable to solve at this time.)

     

    Wood groaned. Slowly, rhythmically, sound muffled across a packed dirt floor.

     

    A mixture or orange and golden light flickered around corners and oozed into shadows, bringing with it stifling heat radiating from steam pipes that laced through the building. The iron behemoth was the heart of the building, producing its volcanic temperature beneath the stone and marble of the cathedral above.

     

    The creak of wood and rope mingled with the taps and pings of angry steam guided through pipes. Exhale matched the cadence. Rope around his wrist was tied to a rafter, other hand behind his back, ankles crossed to create a controlled, lean line as he pulled himself up repeatedly. Lips formed words, methodically counting each time the cords in his arm strained to complete a pull up and lower himself back to a measured position. Entire body tensed as he squeezed on the last count, dropping to the floor when he let go and his hand slipped from the loop.

     

    Stretch to the arm was long and languid, shrugging both shoulders several times before grabbing a towel and wiping down his arms and his neck. There was a sheen to his skin from the intense heat of the room. The fire magus did sweat with exertion; it just took a hell of a lot. He’d turned the boiler room into his own space specifically for that, filling it with rudimentary strengthening basics to push himself past the point of being a weapon. He’d surpassed that, and come to terms with his conscience, and choices. He was violent, he was built for it; to kill without guilt, complete actions that could change the course of the world. The difference was now… he made those calls.

     

    Cracking the seal on his water bottle, it was tipped up, drinking the entire bottle. Watch was picked up off the tiny table in the far corner from the boiler, checking the time. Both were set down, fingers wandering over the athame in its sheath on the table. Head lifted to look over his shoulder before he heard the first tap. Smile slid over his features and he put on his watch and athame, sliding on his hoodie and stuffing the empty water bottle in his pocket. Stairs upward were taken two at a time to meet his morning delivery. Paper, caffallatte and fette biscotti from his favorite café before a shower, a change and beginning his morning duties at seven am sharp.

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    • Rhome Del Santo changed the title to Ashes and Rising Ruin
    • 3 months later...

    Pale mercurial eyes glinted a twinkle of gold reflection, face eye level with the top of the small desk. The tips of his thumbs and middle fingers brushed every so often as they hovered above the mounted signet ring. Changing its spots was no easy feat. The ones he’d taken from members of the Order had their own challenges in his scheme, his own was proving to be near impossible to bend the enchantments that made it what it was. Rings were supposed to be an honor, a symbol of acceptance, of family, love, remembrance. A point of pride, a personal choice. These were chains to him. Promises broken and lies. Symbols of ownership and subservience. He was going to use the same tools against those that had tortured him.

     

    Lashes lowered in concentration as the chain of thought seemed to make his signet become even more defiant of his new enchantments. Hands closed completely and he stood, drawing a deep breath. The heaviness of smothering heat hovered around the gold ring he’d worn on his finger since the Order had taken his freedom. He was breaking its back.

     

    He brushed his fingers through the fresh short haircut still damp from his shower, pulling on a dark olive tee shirt and a zip-up black hoodie over it. Tamed scruff was smoothed, sunglasses hooked on the collar his tee shirt as he left his modest room. Hand opened, palm facing the door as a flash of darkness shadowed his eyes and the air seemed to quiver. The weight of the enchantment thrummed an ominous vibration once and fell silent, swizzles of animated script appearing for a moment in a complex gyroscope where his room was the center of its existence. The place where he was plotting his revolution was a shadow, emptiness, a black hole of consciousness causing the magical eye to glance off when focused on the anomaly. Hiding in plain sight. The thing out of the corner of one's eye.

     

    Hood pulled up and he was on his way, trotting down the stairs on the back side of the cathedral toward the Citadel. Hands slipped into his pockets, melting into the streets of normality.

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