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HUXON’S MINE

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Bright sunshine beats down on Detective Huxon’s black hair, his Chroma Ore cuirass glowing as he kneels at the entrance to Curdle Mine, studying the ground around it.

The ivy-covered entrance appears completely undisturbed, its grey brick interwoven with leaves of ivy, grass and moss covering those stones closer to the ground. The entrance itself, though made up of a load-bearing wooden frame, has not rotted, and it is this intriguing detail which has his tattooed hands exploring with care.

Huxon kneels back on his haunches, drawing a hand across his brow and blowing out slowly. Though his facial expression is often impassive, the slight twinkle in his eye as he looks around at flowers dancing in a light breeze betrays his enjoyment of the task.

Strapping his supply crate to his back, Huxon pulls his staff from the earth and takes a knee in the grass facing the yawning mine entrance. He closes both eyes, pointing his staff in the direction he wishes to go. Eyes shut tightly, Huxon steps into the mine.

There’s a special kind of darkness which happens when you come from the bright light of the outside world and into the black ink of a cave or mine. Huxon, an expert investigator, kneels inside this darkness at the very edge of where the light touches, peeking from lowered lids.

Having allowed himself vital moments to adjust to the change in light, he is soon upright and able to see the wonders around him. The mine shaft glimmers with the remnants of Chroma Ore - the very same stuff his cuirass was fashioned from. In its raw form, Chroma Ore is quite beautiful and its glittering residue is no exception. Each mined vein emits its own multicoloured light: a multitude of yellow, alongside purples, reds and blues. All combine together to create a muted golden glow by which to see.

Careful to keep his gaze forward to avoid being dazzled by the sunshine lighting the entrance behind, he walks further down and into the mine, his boots making very little sound on the shifting pebbles and assorted debris under his feet.

Huxon stops in a space where there seems to be both something and nothing in front of him. He moves his head, sinuous as a snake, fascinated by the way the golden glow appears and disappears in a single spot. Something dark, almost black, resides there and this conclusion causes him to raise an eyebrow a fraction.

Stepping away from the anomaly, Huxon tucks himself a little further down the shaft, removing the supply crate from his shoulder and gently setting it on the ground. From within, he pulls forth a small triangular piece of a metal - a prism, a little smaller than the one sitting atop his staff - and holds it between thumb and forefinger.

Huxon delicately edges the prism along the wall. It begins to hum as it grows closer to the dark area. Huxon’s lips thin as he hears the faint sound of voices rushing like wind through reeds from the very spot he’s investigating. He steps back carefully until he is nestled once more next to the supply crate.

Out of nothing appears a dark cloaked figure, swiftly followed by another. Huxon peers at them, his sharp eyes drifting from their flowing purple robes to a small downward crescent symbol resting upon the necks of their cowls. He nods slightly, bringing a thoughtful finger to his lips.

The cloaked figures continue to file one by one into the mine shaft, each making their way out into the day shapeshifting into a bird of their choosing and flying away.

His thoughts are interrupted when the hum of the prism gets louder in his palm as more magic is used in its proximity. He squashes it in his hand, holding his breath and pressing himself hard into the wall.

More people appear ahead of Huxon, a bead of sweat now glistening on his forehead as the steady hum of the prism increases its volume once more. A final figure emerges, this one obviously female in shape, tall and stately. Huxon peers at her back; there’s something familiar about her...

As she passes briefly into the light, he notices the symbol on the back of her cloak is threaded with gold. She begins to turn at the sound of the now screaming prism but Huxon presses it between his thighs, holding his breath. The woman listens for a moment, then continues towards the entrance.

Letting out a long, quiet breath, Huxon notices the glamour has faded to reveal another mine shaft. He waits until the female has flown away before packing up the prism, wiping his brow and heading at a crouch down this mysterious shaft.

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