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LIFE MEASURED

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Light spills from the red and gold latticed windows down onto the ancient wood and rock which houses the Mirror Sanctum. A place usually reserved for quiet contemplation of the reflections in the massive still pool at its centre, it bustles with activity.

Upon an ornate stretcher lies a gold-feathered Impundulu. Its beauty still in death.

A large, blue dragon with purple mane comes solemnly forward with draco whelps hiding amidst her hair as she looks down in sadness at the beautiful creature slain by the Stonewaste Drakes. Materno holds her surprisingly gentle hands up to the whelps as they cling to her ears and mane, nuzzling their small faces with her nose as she removes them from her body and encourages them out of the room.

Alone in the silence of the sanctum, Materno produces a beautiful pendant, its chain caught upon the scales of her underbelly. She entwines the chain about her clawed fingers and dangles the Jade Dragon Pendant above the Impundulu. Rasping words in an ancient tongue, she chants and sways, using her whole body to make shapes in the air which crackle and flare as each rune is completed.

The usually still waters of the mirror pool ripple and upon its surface images of other realms are reflected. Materno ignores these visions as she closes her eyes and holds the Jade Dragon Pendant aloft, her tail thrashing an intricate dance of runes and spell parts behind her.

The light from the window above dims as the runes come into near physical being, floating up and taking their place inside the latticework. The golden shape of the Impundulu also begins to rise, spinning gently in a breeze seeming to come from within.

The mirror pool stops rippling as hazy visions from other realms appear in its surface. Materno’s eyes snap open as she watches a vision of a man bending to help a broken blade of grass, then, just as suddenly, a dark Achrom cloud hanging above a miserable village. Letting out a mighty roar, Materno places a single claw upon the edge of the pool, piercing the image. The surface roils then stills, the colours of what she saw swirling together to make a greyish silver.

Her eyes turn the same colour as she looks up towards the runes, their shapes reflecting in her eyes. The Impundulu lets out a squawk and its body fills with air as life surges through it once more. It flaps its wings in joyous thanks, flitting about the sanctum whilst singing a glorious song.

Materno slumps as the runes vanish from the windows and her eyes return to their normal colour. She once again wraps the chain about a chosen scale on her underbelly and holds out an arm to the Impundulu. It quickly alights and sings her a song in thanks as Materno pushes open the doors and welcomes her beloved whelps back into her mane.

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