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 Too Bloody Cold [LORD ASRIEL]
Faiza Abrams
 Posted: Jan 26 2014, 03:18 PM
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Of course the women's college in Jordan had to send her north. Of course.

She couldn't have been sent to the tropics to investigate a native tribe, or somewhere in europe to speak to other scholars. No, she had to be sent north to do research on the aurora.

"'You're the best in the college,' they said, 'you'll do great,' they said..." Faiza, muttered. She leaned on a railing on the ship with a heavy sigh. Even wrapped up in furs, she was freezing.

"If you're this bad off now, I can't wait to see you when we hit Svalbard." Hazij laughed.

"Oh shut up. I told them right off bat that I didn't want to be sent north."

"Yeah, under the guise that you're from some tropical archipelago and can't handle the cold." Hazij moved forward to the rail and laid down on Faiza's feet. Faiza squirmed away, still grumpy.

"It's not completely false!" Faiza defended, watching the birds fly near the boat, slowly pulling away to go back towards land. "I bet that's why they sent me up here; to give me something new to see."

"You should be happy; we can study Dust up there with no interference."

"Yeah, I'm looking forward to that. No Magisterium looking over my shoulder; this would be a godsend, if it weren't so bloody cold." Faiza pulled her furs closer, revelling in the slight warmth they provided.
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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Jan 27 2014, 06:41 PM
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Asriel stepped onto the deck of the ship, Stelmaria leading the way. A ship was not his ideal form of transportation to the North. A private Zeppelin could afford the privacy this ship could not. Not to mention the equipment currently below deck. One more turbulent wave and he was sure broken glass would be the next fixture in his already cramped cabin.

Zeppelins are expensive.

Perfect time to test our generous new benefactor don't you think?


Nevertheless, the Republican was loath to extend a hand and beg for more money. Meeting the scholars of Jordan's for finance was hard enough.

The snow leopard said nothing as the both of them crossed the deck of the ship. The bitter cold of the North was welcome, possibly the Stelmaria within him, but also the privacy and solitude it could offer. Oxford and Brytain was increasingly populated by a lot of Stupid.

His daemon snorted.

And speaking of which...

The man leant against the ship's railing. The face and daemon was unmistakable.

"Abrams."


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Faiza Abrams
 Posted: Jan 28 2014, 02:46 PM
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Faiza hadn't noticed that Belaqua was nearby until it was too late. She jumped slightly at her name before turning to see who called.

"Oh, Belaqua. I didn't expect to see you here." Faiza tried to sound nonchalant, or at least unstartled.

Hazij just nodded. She had seen Stelmaria coming, but wanted to see what Faiza would do.

"I've been sent north to research on the aurora. There's not much to know about it, it's when solar wind becomes ionized in our atmosphere. It feels more like a wild goose chase to me. They're letting me bring all the equipment I want, but told me my only goal was to take readings on the aurora. Does that sound fishy to you? Or is that what colleges do?"
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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Jan 30 2014, 04:46 AM
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"No. It means your college has a lot of faith in you. Women are rarely sent to the North to do what is always perceived to be a man's domain."

Asriel regarded Abrams's words slowly. Readings on the aurora borealis? By a representative of St Sophia's?

Careful.

The Republican considered his options carefully.

"What have you heard of the aurora, Abrams?"


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Faiza Abrams
 Posted: Jan 30 2014, 03:26 PM
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"I've only heard what I just said. It's solar winds made visible when they become ionized in the earth's atmosphere. It's not exactly complex. Where I'm from, the whole world sees the aurora on a regular basis. I'm assuming that the atmosphere of my home is thicker, or there is more powerful solar winds there. But I'm curious to see it here, if it weren't so bloody cold."

Faiza should have known that Belaqua would be here; she had read about some of his previous studies up north. There's a lot to learn about up there, and despite her discomfort, she was happy for the chance to prove herself. It seemed that everywhere she looked, someone was breathing down her neck, disapproving of her ideas.

"But that wasn't what I meant. They let me take anything. Just to test the limits, I asked for medical equipment, then I asked for the makings for weapons, and they were given to me without question! That's some trust they have in me..."
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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Jan 31 2014, 04:29 AM
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"You are worth more to your college alive than dead, hence why no expense is spared on your equipment. The North is not for the faint hearted...or the ill equipped."

Asriel had no patience in beating around the bush. Better for Abrams to know what she would be facing now then whimper at the first sight of a panserbjorne.

"I expect you will have had some training on how to use your equipment and how to fire a gun. These are essentials in the North. Your weapons are useless if you do not know how to use them."


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Faiza Abrams
 Posted: Feb 1 2014, 12:59 AM
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"I'm foreign, not stupid," Faiza replied, laughing. "People say nothing lives in the desert; they're wrong. You don't want to know what lives in there. I'm a bit better at hand to hand combat though. We don't exactly have guns in Orve."

Faiza gazed out at the sea. It was so cold the water was black, and it churned violently underneath them. She had gotten used to the waves, for the most part.

"The water was always clear and blue in Orve. It's fairly shallow, and the salinity was probably twice this. You travel to the other islands by boat, usually canoes. But back to my point. I understand that the north is dangerous. I can shoot a gun, I can hold my own in hand to hand combat, and I'll probably get used to the miserable cold in a few days. The real question now is, why are you here?"
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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Feb 1 2014, 10:40 PM
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"Same reason as you. I am representing Jordan's College in its research of the North."

Asriel looked at his pocket watch.

Three...

Two...

One.

The aurora borealis appeared in full view before them as the ship bumped along the dark sea. And as expected, the city in the clouds lay in the middle of it.

"Do you see it, Abrams?"


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Faiza Abrams
 Posted: Feb 7 2014, 07:35 PM
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"Oh my--" At first, Faiza was simply in awe of the beauty of the aurora, she always enjoyed it; but it made her homesick. But soon she saw the shape of a city, shrouded by the aurora. "Is that a city? I haven't had my eyes checked, but that seems almost too real to be an illusion..."

"I see it too." Hazij murmured.

"But how? I've never heard a theory that would explain this." Faiza thought for a moment. That was another world she was seeing, like Orve, in the aurora. But what connects the worlds? "Does mean there's a way for me to see Orve again?" She was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion, furiously wiping away tears before they froze on her face. It was embarrassing, she was acting like some softhearted woman in front of the most legendary scholar she could think of.

Hazij rubbed against Faiza soothingly. "We might be able to go home. But first things first, let's figure out why this is happening so we can replicate it."

"Sedaph... I promise, I'll be home soon," she murmured in her native language. "So, you obviously have something to tell me about this phenomena. I'd love to hear."
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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Feb 8 2014, 01:38 AM
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So St Sophia's had not discovered the city in the clouds, or at least had dismissed it as a rumour, much like everyone else.

Fan-bloody-tastic.

"I see St Sophia's has not...informed you of the city in the clouds. But yes, it is a city. They can deny it all they want, but it is a city."

Asriel turned to face Abrams, and was surprised to see the emotion on her face. Homesickness, he supposed. Although this was not something he could relate to.

The proper term would possibly be worldsickness.

He chose to ignore her emotions and pressed on.

"You are not stuck here, Abrams. Of course there is a way for you to see Orve again. Because that there is a city in another world."

The man weighed his words carefully.

"And I am going to find a way to open a bridge between the North in this world, and the Sky City in that world. Then I will cross it."

Stelmaria looked at her human, and the pride in her face was evident.


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Faiza Abrams
 Posted: Feb 10 2014, 04:26 PM
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"And then what? And how? Sure, technology has come a long way, and it's surely more advanced than my home, but building a bridge to another world seems sort of, well, impossible. That's another world, not an island across the bay. It doesn't seem corporeal." Faiza gazed at the city in the clouds; she hadn't heard even a rumor of this anywhere, not even when she was in that symposium in London, where the magisterium's grasp seemed just slightly further away, despite her better judgement.

"The magisterium must have kept this under a close watch." Hazij said, mostly to herself, but slightly to Stelmaria. The snow leopard didn't seem to talk much, and it confused Hazij to no end. Back in Orve, dæmons usually did the talking first, it was a sign of goodwill, but here it seemed that only friendly dæmons spoke to one another, and it left her not knowing how to proceed.

"Another thing, this is surely another world, but it is not Orve. We do not have buildings such as those. There is very little stone, as the whole world is covered in water except for small islands. Where would we find my home?"
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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Feb 16 2014, 02:06 AM
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OOC: Sorry for the late reply! If you don't see me post within a day, please PM me!

"If we can view that city here, then surely there will be similar windows in other worlds. One of them will lead into Orve. Impossible is nothing."

Asriel was almost dismissive of Abrams's concerns. If it was unachievable now, then he would find a way. That was how his mindset worked.

"If Orve has technology on moving between worlds, now would be the time to tell me."

Stelmaria nodded at Hazij. Conversation was not her forte, but it would seem rude not to answer.

"There are very little telegraph lines running from the North, and the Magisterium controls the world's newspapers. It is a little disappointing that they can hide so much from everyone, but it is not impossible."



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Faiza Abrams
 Posted: Feb 17 2014, 02:19 PM
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"Please excuse the ignorance," Faiza murmured. Being humble was certainly difficult, but she knew that it was a better plan. In comparison to Asriel, Faiza was a clueless oaf. What she lacked in an education, she made up in experience. "I haven't gotten to study the same things you have, so I don't understand how you can be so sure that this will work."

In Orve, her life was sheltered in the most awful way. Despite Sedaph's efforts to help open her to the way the world worked, she still didn't know much while she lived in Orve. And she certainly didn't know what happened in Ussab.

"I propose a trade. I'll give you all of my knowledge of Orve in exchange for your knowledge of Dust and experimental theology. I was born a slave in a city called Passa, the capital city of the Bafi Kingdom. On the other side of the island there is another empire, called Ussab. I have never been there, nor do I know what happens there, but I do know what went on in my home, to a certain extent. I ended up here during a sandstorm in the desert. Something you might find interesting about the desert is that some people say that there is a city in the center of it. Most people shrug it off as a mirage or something, but maybe it has something to do with other worlds?"
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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Feb 18 2014, 12:36 AM
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Much to Stelmaria's surprise, Asriel laughed. For once, somebody who did not grovel in front of him, or dismiss his ideas out right.

"And if my method does not work, I will find another way. That is how you break into the unknown. Not by hiding in fear of failure, but by moving forward."

He listened intently at Abrams proposal and nodded in agreement. An arrangement which would benefit them both. Information on any of the worlds would be welcome.

"A desert, you say? And in this world, it is a city in the North..."

The man rubbed his chin.

"Maybe it is the extreme temperatures or the weather. Is there anything notable in your desert? Any human activities or experiments of sort."



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Faiza Abrams
 Posted: Feb 18 2014, 03:42 PM
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"Human activity? I have heard of attempts to make an efficient way across the desert, but they're far from even starting, I think. Despite what city people say, there are humans living in the desert as well, but I don't know enough about them to tell you if they're the ones causing this."

"Come to think about it," Hazij added, "didn't we see something like this? In the desert?"

"I thought it was just a mirage, but it looked similar in color and structure. You must realize that stone is scarce where I come from, since most of it is under water, so I thought that it had to be a mirage. And there were no people inside, none at all."

"But for me, the city flickered in and out of existence... It's not as steady as that. And it was much closer. During the sandstorm, it looked mere paces away, but then I tripped and fainted. When I woke up, Magnolia was tending to a cut on my forehead."

That whole night was a blur; the sudden sandstorm, the city just out of reach, and then nothing. She had returned to where Magnolia found her unconscious; there was nothing there. But this world must be connected to Orve somehow. And they had Dust, which sounded eerily like Alva.

"The last time you saw me, I wasn't completely truthful," she started, turning to look him in the eye, "I told you that Dust is like a religious figure that people pray to for healing. That's not true. Dust is called Alva in my world, and some people actually use it to heal people. Not through prayer, but by catching it in their hands and using it to mend injuries and cure illnesses. I haven't seen anything like that here, so what is Dust? To your world, I mean."
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