About a week after the last session, Lydia and Adrian met for coffee, and Adrian caught her up on what the group had been up to. Lydia was going to investigate her current connection to the cairn site, and Adrian agreed to help when she called.
Lydia worked with Morris Pennywise, who discovered that Mother Wolf had stripped out the various energy signatures from Lydia to get right into her core. Living things add rings to their energy, like trees do in their cross section, and Mother Wolf managed to remove a lot of that and tamper with Lydia’s core. The only surgeons that are highly skilled (and you don’t want an amateur) tend to be super-evil, because messing with a living thing’s life organization this way requires a certain type.
Visiting the Cairn
Morris offered to lead them in the back door to the cairn to see what changed, and Adrian agreed to go along. They traveled through the Umbra and found the back section; instead of it being earthen, with veins of metal and stone and roots, it was all dank concrete. They found their way into a service passage between foundations, and up into a horrible industrial cube farm sort of building.
Lydia realized they were inhabiting her memory of Skyfall, the lab where she was raised. The orderlies were spirits, maybe reskinnings of Mother Wolf’s puppies. They navigated to her room, and she commanded the spatial relations of the place with authority even though her quantum powers were shut off here.
She talked to Her Doctor, a goateed man who was overintellectualized and secretive, and he helped her get some insights into this place (as did Morris.) She came to understand that dimensions were buttressed from the inside outward, as opposed to normal space which built from the ground up. The collapse in a dimension was always from the outside to the middle. And the center anchor of this place was moved into Lydia, so the whole dimension was now unstable and wanted to stabilize by replacing her life energy in its center. She understood that to be the testing room, and was in no hurry to get strapped in somewhere she could not escape.
They moved to the day room, for food and crafts. She got on a computer and used its interface to understand more. The spirit power was indicated by key cards, those were the center of each manifestation and symbols of their power. From black at the bottom, up through the colors to the highest access, diamond—the only access that would let her come and go freely. Only one other entity had diamond level, and that would be the new powerful spirit guardian that came here, since Mother Wolf was allowed to escape. With the high level of warpstone poisoning, the new guardian was guaranteed to be a bane spirit—not one they wanted to meet.
Adrian and Lydia also noticed she was logged in as Tchulza—but they would talk about that later. In the meantime, she decided that she would not settle for a counterfeit access, but she wanted a legitimate maximum access clearance. Morris agreed to help her do it, but warned her the cost was steep. She lost a permanent Will point, and gained a diamond access card. Now she could come and go through the front gate of the installation.
They marched right out the front, past the spirit guards and vicious attack dogs, and surfaced through the pool by Old Man Marcher’s place (now a skeletal ruin, but the cairn keeper’s cottage was still marginally intact.)
Later, back at the yacht, Lydia and Adrian had a discussion of Tchulza, and the power of that mythos god who tried to burn a hole in the protections of Prime, and was sworn to destroy the Chalice Bearer forever. Lydia was forced to contemplate the possibility she was being cultivated as an avatar of a mythos god.
As a side note, they also put together that “Dr. Garver” was a senior scientist at Skyfall, and also one of the lead scientists working on cycling darkshell embryos through Burninator.
Lydia spent the rest of her time off cultivating her friendship with Olivia, building up her memory, and doing some research as she tended the other aspects of her life.
She did have disturbing dreams of the cells in Skyfall and herself as warden of them, with spirit guards, where she tore timespace to go straight into her cairn space. She woke from those dreams with steamy breath and ambiguous feelings…