Scene played out on 26th July 2012 with Lumina.

«Scene Starts»

Lumina had gone to hell and it was a place of darkness and too much noise.

That, at least, was her first impression as she found herself deposited somewhere quite different than the clean corridor which she had previously stood in before a 'mirror'.

Here was the babble of hundreds of voices begging and bargaining, the hiss of steam from dozens of inventions as they were used and misused, and the lingering darkness which was suffocated overhead and lit only by the lamps of the stalls ahead.

Lumina found herself bumped with bruising force out of the way as a man with two oversized metal arms, each letting out small puffs of aether steam, barged past her. Around her the bazaar spread out into the darkness, something about the closed in feel of this place giving the impression of being underground, and everywhere were people.

A man with an eye patch and one too many fingers in each hand gave her a quizical look as he toyed with cups and a single ball, obviously willing and able to take bets from any who might be interested.

Over there she could see three young women, arms bound behind them and to the neck of the next, being lead gagged and naked through the crowds with the only care being given an occasional idle leer.

This was obviously a lawless place where anything, and everything, could be bought and sold…

But what would she do here?

…Well, steampunk victorian england, she'd apparently picked the one with disappointed people… first thing's first? Look around to see if there are any non-slave women around, and make damn sure she remembers that explosion spell.

There were indeed other women here who were nowhere near slaves, from the oversized 'female' wearing grey towering above the nearby stalls as she carefully moved barrels from a cart into a pavillion tent to a delicate lady in sweeping dresses who walked carelessly along without a care for anyone in her way… and who had an escort of no less than three dangerous looking men ensuring that a path was opened for her.

And now Lumina had to make a decision, hopefully this time more sucessful than the one that brought her here in the first place… or the one that brought her into the -game-… Ok, she didn't have a great track record lately. So, unless there was a big 'non scary place this way' sign somewhere, her next task was to find a reasonably amiable-looking, and preferably female shoptender to see what she can do with her ill-gotten gains. Though, the slavetrain was kind of distracting even without the implied threat.

At the thought of 'looking for a sign' an odd urge to walk around the stalls, crowd, and bigger tents suddenly came to Lumina. Traces of golden motes, as though blown by an unseen breeze, beckoned her this way and that as though sources of such were around but not -quite- close enough to see.

Lumina blinked, almost mumbling 'shiiiny~' as she started following carefully. She at least remembers 'gold == quest' from the first nightmare.

It was interesting to walk like this through the crowds, despite the attention from a few she was getting, as her body remained half on 'autopilot' with an intriguing sway to her stride. She saw things which might have gone unnoticed before if it wasn't for the way that a small glimmer of gold drew her gaze with the promise of a Quest.

To one side something surrounded by a canvas 'wall' painted with a sign of a pestle and mortar seemed glimmer with the promise of gold and to the other was an open areas of seating where waitresses in more revealing clothing than her's served drinks to men sitting on rows of benches and the man filling mugs from a tun shone softly with that same promise.

As she walked further more signs stood out: A well dressed man playing with a dagger seemed to be glancing impatiently along the street even as he glimmered to her eyes. Two 'ladies' dressed fit to make Lumina blush despite herself also held hints of that as they tried to lure passers-by into their tent. Two twins glared at each other in a way to make the crowd avoid them, but they too held glimmers of gold.

All of which were very distracting indeed, and while some of them varied in how suspicious they were, the mortar and pestle seemed the 'safest' option. And if it was an alchemy store, legal or otherwise, she's pretty sure she has some alchemy wares she can pawn off, and maybe there's a library or something (one can dream). So, the twins, 'ladies', shifty guys and hooters bar will have to wait for a while as she heads on over to that portion.

As Lumina turned back towards what was, by her own estimation, 'something alchemic', and began walking away she suddenly placed the source of the tempting tingle across her skin which had caused her blush.

While she might not be able to replicate the trick herself, nor reverse it off hand, the knowledge that the magnetic pull of >>Nearby Fields Align

Heading back to the canvas enclosed area, it took a moment to realise that he entrance was simply a flap on which that symbol was painted. Stepping within that, and letting it fall behind her, cut off much of the noise of the crowd and allowed her to take in the sight of the dimly lit 'interior'.

Rows of bottles, all in a wood and wrough iron frame akin to a wine rack, stood waiting and at the front of the 'store' stood a man behind a folding workbench who was tweaking a rather impressive set of improvised glassware and leather pipes distractedly.

Lumina slowly walked around the store, making rather sure no-one suspicious was around, before she turned her back to the storekeeper and started rummaging through her 'inventory'. Specifically, at the various alchemical doodads, at least so she could discuss them without forgetting what was she actually had down there. Once she was satisfied, and had the most expensive-looking piece in her hand, she turned around to try flogging it to the storekeeper.

It's hard to judge which of the bits was the most valuable, but pulling out the most intricate of the three seemed to be as good a guess as any other. When stepping up to the 'storekeeper' there was a brief moment of uncertainty as she found herself trying to stand 'properly' to attract his eye, but Lumina overcame that quickly.

"Are you here to…" The storekeepr began, the way he didn't even glance at her body inciting an odd pang of injured pride, then smiled as he saw what seh held in his hand, "Ah, you're here to -sell- then are you? I'm sure that we can get you a good price on behalf of your owner…"

Lumina would love to object to that owner crack but… "Yes… Is it really that obvious? The owner thing I mean."

Lumina was not about to try brainwashing someone who might object to it and wasn't likely to be malicious -anyway-. She liked her kneecaps where they were!

That question got an odd look from the man before he chuckled and replied, "Here in the Market we wouldn't worry about the legality of a homuncli walking around without an owner, but you're obviously an expensive little toy. And I've got a mirror by the door which happened to show your mark. Really, that skirt about shows it off…"

"Anyway, I'm Joseph," The man said then gave her a look, "You're just selling that, looking to trade, or looking to earn a little more. I'm sure that your master would be happy if you could do that last…"

At his words the image briefly came to mind of her owner being pleased with her.

Well, in this case she could live with that, since as far as she's concerned her owner was currently herself, and she did rather enjoy pleasing herself… Though, logic or no she still nodded without thinking. "I have some other pieces too, if you have some cosmetics I think -someone- was a little too busy to think this trip all the way through."

"Oh, a few bits of… 'useful loot' can always be worth a little." He replied with a soft chuckle, "Of course, a nameless homunculi is a stranger. Possibly not someone to buy from when she could just vanish again and leave me with something useless. Unless she did something to show she was more than a dispossable creation and had skills?"

Around him the golden motes had began to gather.

hmm… Ok, the -other- aether spell sounded kind of cool. So, not particularly wanting to be put to work with her -other- talents, she tries that "]Lightless wind[" And, once the spell took hold, "I'm Lumina, and really, these aren't exactly hard to inspect are they?"

The shadows in the room wavered and danced madly as the light from the small aether lamps was distorted, bending crazily under the influence of the undirected spell, making the growing smile on Joseph's face seem almost ominious. Running a finger around the rim of a glass beaker he said slowly, "Well, if you have that sort of talent then you wouldn't mind doing me a little favor while I see how much that little thing of yours is worth?"

"Well, it depends what the favour is, but I don't see why not…" and how much evil it involved.

"Oh, nothing that someone who can do a little with aether'll have trouble with." He said, spreading his hands as though showing that he wasn't hiding anything, "It's just I got some storage not too far away, some side tunnels, and I was thinking that you could renew the lamps in there. Check that they're clear and stuff before I get the next stock in."

"Oh, I can do that; how will I get past the guards?"

Joseph chuckled, "Guards? I can unlock the door for you and let you in."

"So if you're just sending an 'unnamed homonculus' in there I take it either you have line of sight or there's nothing valuable in there." She glanced back to the mirror he had apparently been looking at her butt in. She was going to have to check this mark out as soon as she had a safe place and a mirror.

"It's been mostly empty for a while." Joseph admitted with a shrug, "Unless you're gonna try walking out of there with a three foot wide barrel or an arm-load of lamps pried from the walls I'm not that worried."

Lumina nodded. "Ok, so light and clean out the lamps; how much will I get for this, once it's all done?"

"I'll check that thing," He nodded towards the bit of alchemical equipment she held, "And two more things like it without charging you."

"…You charge people to sell to you? Would it be easier to just point me to a pawn broker and I'll shop here with actual money?"

"I charge for a fair evaluation and telling you what it is as well as how much it is worth." He replied, seeming a little offended, "You want to go talk to a pawny then you can have fun trying to argue them up or down once they just say how much they're offering without telling you anything else."

"Aethercrafting wasn't the only thing I was working on, I could figure out what it -is- myself. I did come here expecting a better price from a specialist though, so if you can do that then I can see if I can get the stores lit up quickly."

Joseph gave her a Look, "You're wanting to claim you're an alchemist then? Well, if you think you can demonstrate -that- sort of skill in a little test then I can definitely see about doing better for another practicioner."

Lumina backed away a little from the look, but nodded anyway. "Yes? I don't think it's my -best- skill, but I've had some experience with the craft."

"If you can show you've got the aether shaping down then I maybe can see about teaching you a few things." He offered in return, "I mean, if you're master is having you flogging things like that then he'd not mind if you could learn enough to earn a little side income."

…And there's that 'yay happy master!' thing… Just ignore it, Lumina… "Great? So, you still want me to go light up now, or is it alchemy time?"

"Work first then learning how to burn down uptown again." He told her before stepped around the folding workbench and heading towards the entrance, "Come on, I've got to arrange someone to cover this place while I should you where to go."

Lumina nodded and followed along behind him.

«Scene Fades»

Notes: And this is only a day after it was run.