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Hydrangeas

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  1. I’m really sad that we didn’t get to finish things off! I really enjoyed this story, and the explanation of everything is so cool. It was a lot of fun to begin Lumina’s downward spiral, and I was planning on her being able to debut her summoning ability towards the end of the story. That just means I can work out the details more!! Thanks again for everything @Jotnotes. The story telling, settings, and maps were all extremely impressive and made writing a lot more enjoyable. I hope we can write again in the future!! You all made this thread so enjoyable.
  2. My 1 year anniversary on Val will be coming up on the 22nd, so it's super sad to see it go before I really got to flesh things out! I'm going to be honest, writing was never my strong suit, but being here has really helped me shake my brain lose of all the cobwebs that have been gathering over the last few years. I really loved developing Lumina and I hope to continue writing on this new site with Lumina in my purse!!! Hopefully I'll be able to begin crafting a new character as well! We still have a month left, but I hope to see you all on the other side when the time comes!!
  3. Ohhh man! This stinks! I had no idea about the move. Personally, I’d be willing to see this thread to the end, even if that means having to continue it to a new site. I’ll definitely be planning on joining the new site anyways, so consider me in for the long haul!!
  4. "Okay, I understand," Lumina replied. As she turned to face the pit, a sharp pain rocked her body. Her hand immediately flew to her leg, and she winced. A cold, sharp piece of metal stuck out of her right calf. As the adrenaline wore off, the pain slowly began to set it. How were they to flee in this condition? Maat seemed like he was on the verge of blacking out, and with this shard in her leg, Lumina would be dead weight. Outside, the roars of ravenous creatures ricocheted off the hall, followed closely by the sounds of heavy feet bouncing off steel. "Maat, you cannot expect to move in this condition! There has to be another option!" Lumina backtracked, shaking her head. Her protest fell upon deaf ears, however, as Maat quickly moved for the pit. Lumina attempted to follow, making it just before the hole before she was forced to her knees. Her injured leg burned, and she could feel an intense heat rushing to her head. Just ahead of her, Maat stumbled forward, falling directly into the pit. "MAAT!" Lumina cried, diving forward in an attempt to grab him. She barely missed, and saw Maat collide with the bottom of the pit. Seconds passed, but Maat didn't rise. More agonizing, burning seconds passed, and still Maat didn't move. Lumina gripped the remnants of the railing and pulled herself to her feet. Her head pulsated with each scream that echoed behind her, and her heart threatened to burst out of her chest. For a moment, Maat was replaced by Samuel, Lumina's older brother. His blonde hair stained red and black from the mire he was laying in. The veins in his neck and arms had been tainted, turning black. Tears stained his cheeks, and his mouth hung agape. "Why do you cry, Lumi?" Lumina screamed, not out of fear or pain, but out of rage. She let go of the railing, and both of her hands flew to the top of her head. Her screams turned into wails of angst, and she collapsed to the floor. Why did every thing have to be taken from her? Was this the goddess' will? What had she done to deserve this reckoning? Her heart burned now, a sign from the goddess to due away with these thoughts. A sign that rebellion against the divinity Lumina had grown up with would lead her to her demise. Before, she believed that the Goddess would lead her towards hope; towards the future she dreamed for. Now, Lumina wasn't so sure. "SHUT UP! GET OUT OF MY HEAD! I HATE YOU! I DESPISE YOU!" Lumina screamed, she slammed her hands against the floor out of pure rage. Through her tears, she could make out several silhouettes forming in the the doorway. Heavy breathing and hisses filled the room as the creatures discovered Lumina. Lumina rose to her feet, the pain in her leg far away now. Everything seemed out of focus, as if Lumina was looking through muddy water. Her feelings, however, had never been clearer. She quickly gathered light energy in her hands and threw it into the air behind her. These balls of light hovered in area above Lumina's head, forming a sort of crown above her, Within these orbs, something crackled and sparked, as if electricity had flown through them. The monsters leapt at her, and her power sprung to life. The orbs of light, like heat seeking missiles, collided with the creatures one after the other, sending them flying across the room. Lumina nodded and dove into the pit, she landed on a particularly fatty piece of meat, which helped to cushion the impact. Her eyes turned upwards, and her hands reached for the ceiling. Wisps of light came together to form a cyclone directly above her. This cyclone continued to expand until it covered the entirety of the circular entrance above them. In an instant, the cyclone ceased, replaced by a glass like ceiling. A moment later, the monsters leapt onto this newly formed ceiling. They clawed and pounded at the surface in a desperate attempt to break through, but it was no use. There was no point in trying to break this resolve. Her eyes moved to the person laying in the pit. It was no longer Samuel, but Maat. He was breathing, but in a condition of pure disaster. Glancing down at her own leg, Lumina saw that the shard of metal was still protruding from her leg. Without much more though, she wrapped her hand around the shrapnel and pulled. She cried in pain, but knew that the only way to allow the wound to heal was to remove this invader. With one final pull, the metal was gone from the wound. Tears ran down Lumina's face and she moved her hands to cover the wound. Enormous amounts of blood ran down her leg, and she felt herself becoming sick. Lumina closed her eyes and focused, feeling a familiar warmth coat her leg. A moment later, the wound was closed. Not completely healed, as she needed to conserve most of the magic for Maat, but manageable. The young elf rose crawled over to Maat and gently lifted his head into her lap. His breathing was soft, and his pulse was faded. Lumina placed her hands on either side of his temple and leaned down, placing a single kiss on her forward. She was going to save him; it was already decided. From her hands and lips, a soft glow flowed. It ran down Maat's body, seeking out his suffering. For Samuel, Lumina was going to make sure Maat lived. For her mother, she would make sure the others would get out. For her home, she would make sure the evil that did this would be destroyed. It would never live to hurt another living being again. With most of the flesh burned, the drain pipe was now exposed. Lumina wrapped one of Maat's arms around her shoulders and began to climb through the darkness. The small space was just large enough for Lumina to pull Maat with her. Above them, the sounds of the creatures moving around mixes with the sound of the ocean slamming against he bottom of the ship. The silence was deafening, but Lumina pressed forward. The smell of grease and flesh was greater now, and the pipe became a festering grease trap. Moving became harder, as every push was made much more difficult from the slimy surface underneath them. Eventually, the two came upon a grate just overhead. The rotting carcass of the whale pressed against it, with bits of flesh pushing through the gaps in the grate. Black ooze and blood trickled from its body, and Lumina was quick to move past it. She was nauseous, but the pipe had to come out somewhere. They would soon be free from this hell. Another grate came into view, then. This one sat dislodged from its place in the wall, and seemed to lead to another hallway. Lumina let go of Maat for the moment and placed both hands against the grate. Within a few pushes, it was dislodged completely. She was careful to quietly drop it onto the floor below, lest the monsters be able to discern their location once again. Lumina lowered herself onto the floor below. It was difficult, but she managed to drag Maat out of the pipe as well. She set him down against the wall and slid down to sit with him. She leaned back, allowing her head to rest against the wall for the moment. Outside, the sea rocked the ship, but Lumina welcomed the noise. Anything to distract her from her thoughts.
  5. "I don't suppose this is some type of furnace? Maybe burning...whatever this stuff is, could help get the power going again?" Lumina theorized, stepping closer and gazing down into the pit before them. She cringed at the smell, and found herself turning away for a moment. Upon further inspection, she became aware that the contents of the pit consisted mainly of rotten flesh and fat, mixed together with time. Crushed bones sat, sinking deeper into the fleshy contents as if it was quicksand. She took another cautious step forward, her body just barely touching the railing separating the two from the pit. "I believe I could cause a fire to start, if I focus hard enough." The girl put both of her hands out, suddenly becoming aware of an incessant headache forming in the back of her head. Her hands were heavily bruised and cut, with dry blood forming in the cuticles of her nails. She flipped them over, turning her open palms toward the ceiling. A translucent orb appeared in her hand, then. Inside the orb, smaller particles danced around, bouncing off the sides of the orb. The exterior of the orb dissipated, and the small orbs from the inside began to form into thick, rope-like ribbons of what appeared to be light. Like jumper cables, these ribbons elongated down the side of the pit, until eventually they made contact with the mass of flesh and grease. They punctured the mass, and for a moment all was quiet. In an instant, the silence was replaced by the ever so quiet sound of something sizzling. “Oh, goddess, the smell,” Lumina muttered, nearly breaking the tether between her and the flesh. A rotten, putrid smell pried its way into her eyes, burning them with its stench. It took all her power to keep her eyes focused on the task at hand. Eventually, a small flame ignited on the top of the grease, and Lumina smiled. “Oh! Oh! I did it! We got a fire goi-” Lumina was dead - or so she believed she was. The fire ignited something deep within the flesh, and it detonated. In an instant, ravenous flames climbed the sides of the pit, quickly approaching Lumina. Her eyes widened, but before she could react, the explosion rocked her body. She was thrown backward, like a ragdoll, and slammed into the wall with a deadly thud. The breath left her body, and her face collided with the floor. Stars danced in her vision, and an excruciating pain devoured her right leg. A loud groan escaped her mouth, and she tried in a futile attempt to push herself off the ground. Her arms shook, and she fell again, letting out a yelp in the process. She lifted her head and saw the crumpled body of Maat laying on the other side of the room. “M-Maat!” Lumina cried out, forcing herself to her feet. She stumbled over to his body and collapsed on her knees next to him. “I am so sorry! Please be okay! I didn’t mean to - I thought-” Lumina cried out, immediately trying to procure so restorative magic from her hands. Her body erupted in a fiery pain and she threatened to topple her. Glancing upward, she saw that the door to the room had been effectively blown off its hinges. Her ears perked up, and she could barely make out the sound of something lingering just down the hallway. They grew closer with each breath she took. Lumina had, in an instant, ruined everything they had been working towards. Who would save her now?
  6. Yes! I'm feeling a lot better. Still no taste or smell, but I think I've gotten past the main hurdle!!
  7. Whoops! Just realized it’s not even my turn to post. Disregard - I’m a little loopy 🤣
  8. Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you guys know on Wednesday I tested positive for COVID. I’ve been extremely tired all the time so it may take me a little bit longer to get a reply out. Thanks again for your patience!
  9. Hydrangeas

    Lumina

    ~ DEEP WITHIN THE DEPTHS OF LUMINA'S MIND, SOMETHING IS BEGINNING TO STIR. AN UNEDIABLE HEAT THAT IS GROWING WORSE AS THE DAYS PROGRESS. NOW, A VOICE EMERGES FROM THAT WARMTH, DIFFERENT FROM THE ONES SHE IS SO ACCUSTOMED TO. ANOTHER TRICK OF THE MIND - OR SOMETHING MORE? ~
  10. Lumina smiled as the jacket was draped over her shoulders. It provided a much needed respite from the cold the duo were traversing through. She moved to fit her arms through the sleeves, and tucked one of the flares away in one of the large pockets in the front of the jacket. Part of her was disappointed that there wasn’t a way to bring the rest of them, but carrying more stuff would only slow them down. With those creatures lurking in the area just outside, it was hard to make an argument for more weight. “I suppose our best bet would be to head towards the power supply room up here,” Lumina said, motioning her light towards one of two adjacent rooms located just left of the killing floor, “I don’t know if we’ll find any luck in turning on the power, but it may be the only way to get that elevator moving again,” Lumina concluded, moving to leave the room. She turned one final time to give the room a glance over. The pools of blood that had formed nearly blended into the floor due to the red light that overtook the room. The floating bullet still remained, paused in a stasis that was a hint of something Lumina just couldn’t quite place. She shook her head and pushed open the door, leaving the fleshy lockers, and the remnants of a person long gone, behind. Once the duo had left the locker room, Lumina reignited her light and felt herself jump as a large bang sounded throughout the room. One of the large oil barrels the two had seen earlier rolled into view, stopping right before hitting another one of the containers. In the distance, something hissed, as if the sound had surprised it as well. The sound was followed by erratic footsteps that smacked against the pavement with intense purpose. For a moment, Lumina threatened to lock down. She tensed up, and felt herself begin to panic as the footsteps became louder. Snarls and growls of ravenous bodies grew closer and closer. Whatever had rolled that barrel had just set off a time bomb that was soon about to go off. “W-We need to get going,” Lumina whispered, her voice shaking in fear. She took a tentative step forward, testing to see just how much noise one step made. She nodded back at Maat and the two began to double back towards the way they came. As much as she would have loved to take the quicker way to the power room, Goddess knew what things had begun to infest it while they had been in the locker room. If they wanted to avoid the creatures best they could, doubling back seemed to be their only option. Lumina moved along the cargo containers, one hand placed gently on the cold steel of the container just beside them. The other one was extended in front of her, just barely illuminating the path ahead. Every few seconds, she would glance behind her to make sure Maat was still with her. She attempted to keep the light low, lest the creatures spot it from above and make a break for her. Going on without the light would leave the two in an inky, suffocating darkness that would only confuse them more. All they needed to do was make it around this bend, and they would be in the long hallway just before the power room. The shuffling of feet could be heard just on the other side of the container, causing Lumina to stop and listen. Eventually, they faded away, and she continued. Just a few more steps, and they’d be out; she was sure of it. If the map was correct, all they needed to do was make this last turn and- Something was with them. At first, she had barely noticed it, what with the small area her light was able to illuminate. Slowly it came into view, it’s elongated arms patting along the edges of the containers that had encased it. It moved slowly, but with purpose, no doubt searching for some type of sustenance in this labyrinth. Its jaw had seemingly reversed inwards, creating an empty void where its mouth should have been. It was as if the body of a human had been used as a shell, and mutated into what it is now. Lumina let out a small cry and immediately brought her hand to her chest, snuffing out the light. She pressed her back against the container and put both hands against her mouth, stifling any cries that threatened to escape her. The creature stalked forward, its spindly arms moving to feel the floor around it. Lumina attempted to make herself as small as possible, and prayed that Maat was doing the same. Her heart pounded in her ears, and she felt her legs shake. The creature walked forward until it was just in front of Maat and Lumina. Here, Lumina could hear it making some type of wheezing noise, as if every breath was a struggle. The smell of it plagued her nose; a mixture of rot and vomit that made her nauseous. It stopped for a moment, its head turning erratically to survey the area. Lumina was sure she stopped breathing, afraid even the smallest sound would alert it to her presence. It leaned forward, coming dangerously close to the girl's face. She could feel its hot, putrid breath on her neck. Lumi! Stop crying! You’re not a baby anymore! Lumina closed her eyes shut as the voices came again. She hadn’t heard them since her visit to Nehalen, and for a while she thought they had decided to leave her alone. They visited her from time to time, reminding her of the past that continued to weigh her down. They were against her, and reminded her that she shouldn’t be afraid of the monster in front of her. She should be afraid of the one inside of her. Eventually the creature moved past her, seemingly unable to find anything to devour. Lumina waited in that darkness for what seemed like ages, afraid to even make the smallest movement. The light in her hands awakened again, chasing away the darkness. Lumina felt something warm run down her face, and realized that she had been crying. She quickly turned away from Maat and wiped the tears. “That...that was close,” Lumina whispered, taking several deep breaths, “Are you okay?” She asked Maat, turning around to look at her friend. With the situation barely contained, the two continued their journey out of the maze. Eventually, the cargo beside them ended, revealing a long, dark hallway that was no doubt the one leading to the power supply room. Carefully, Lumina and Maat journeyed down the hallway. This time, Lumina was sure to keep an eye on the threshold that separated the light from the darkness. Two doors came into view, just barely visible against the dark walls. Lumina glanced at Maat’s map again, and let out a small sigh of relief. They had managed to navigate their way out of the maze of cargo, and were now standing directly in front of what she believed to be the power room. At the end of the hallway sat another door, which she believed to lead deeper into the ship. Although unlocked, the door refused to move, even with the weight of both Maat and Lumina pressed against it. It was almost as if something was on the other side, blocking the two from entering. “Okay then, I think these two doors are what we are looking for, Maat!” Lumina smiled, thankful for this small win. She took a step forward and pressed lightly against the door. It gave a little resistance, but she was able to push it open with little hassle. It groaned loudly as it opened, causing Lumina to cringe. They had just avoided the monsters in the maze; attracting them now would only send them back to square one. “Nowhere else to go but forward, as they say,” Lumina reasoned, giving Maat another small smile before stepping into the room.
  11. And posted! Thanks again for your patience, everyone!
  12. "Okay, let's stay together. One step at a time," Lumina affirmed, allowing Maat to lean on her as they made their way through the cargo. Seeing the area directly in front was easy with Lumina's light. Everything else, however, was enshrouded in a darkness that was only washed away when lightning illuminated the area. Relying on lightning to guide them around was less than desirable, but it seemed getting the actual lights on was out of the question for the moment. The cargo around them had formed in such an odd manner, making it hard to distinguish new routes from ones they had gone mere moments ago. "How do you think these containers ended up like this? There had to be some level organization at some point, correct?" Lumina wondered aloud, following a long, winding path of containers. What had happened to the crew of this ship? The disorganization led her to believe that the ship had been abandoned for a while, but someone had to have blown the horn. How did it just coincidentally come directly to them, instead of floating aimlessly in the ocean? Eventually, the two came upon a large open area where the containers on either side of them disappeared. The sound of running water was now accompanied by that of a fan, which was no doubt aiding in the grotesque smell that plagued the room. Lightning illuminated the room, which revealed a worse sight than Lumina had anticipated. A towering mountain of flesh grew from the center of the room. Whale carcasses laid on top of each other, their insides flung across the floor like some type of morbid decoration. Lumina's eyes widened as she caught movement above the bodies. Figures with ravenous hands reached into the bodies, tearing and clawing at the slimy flesh. Darkness overtook the room again, leaving Lumina and Maat and in an oppressive silence. The smell overtook her senses, causing Lumina to immediately cover her mouth, inadvertently snuffing on the light in her hand. Lumina reached out and placed a hand on the center of Maat's back, trying to orient herself in this darkness. She hadn't a clue what the figures on top of the whale corpses were, but she prayed they didn't have a keen sense of hearing. Something told her that their craving for flesh wouldn't just apply to whale carcasses. "It's okay. It's okay," Lumina whispered, trying her best to calm her nerves. The smell burned her nostrils, causing her eyes to water and her throat to ache. It hadn't occurred to her how thirsty she was. How long had it been since she had drank anything? She had eaten on the bus, so why did it feel like she hadn't had a meal in a few days? She rubbed her eyes, opened her palm, and allowed her light to illuminate the area once more. "D-Do you think this is where all that whale meat is coming from? They had so much at the store, but that doesn't make sense. All these body parts have to be rotting, so how are they selling so much in this condition? None of this is making any sense," Lumina cried softly, doubling over to catch her breath. "You'd believe there would be some type of emergency exit, but I see nothing like that. The lift may be our best option; I just pray the others aren't down with us," She said, her head moving to face the direction opposite of the flesh mountain, "I think - I think we need to go another way. There has to be a way around this," Lumina reasoned. Once Maat was ready to move, they two journeyed back into the containers once more. The boxes in this area of the hold threatened to topple each time the ship rocked, forcing Lumina to abruptly stop each time the containers made any sort of creaking noise. "Sorry. I don't think I entirely trust these things to stand up on their own," Lumina spoke, forcing a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. Eventually, they came upon a space quite unlike anything they had seen in the hold so far. It appeared to be some type of locker room, sandwiched right in between two collapsed containers. A red light bathed the room, casting everything in an eerie glow. Lumina took a hesitant step forward, and felt her feet sink into something squishy. "What is that?" Lumina cried out. Her light illuminated the floor, revealing patches of warm, lively flesh that pulsated with movement. The red light had seemingly camouflaged them, but that wasn't the worst of it. The lockers in the room of thick flesh that squirms as Lumina's light moves over them. In the center of the room, hovering in the air, was a bullet. At first, Lumina mistook it for some sort of insect descending from the ceiling, but there were no strings attached. In front of the bullet was a wall with the scorched remnants of a person long gone "This is a nightmare," Lumina mumbled, eyes moving from the wall, to the flesh lockers, to the patches of flesh beneath them. "Something sinister is at work here. Rational thinking won't work here, I'm afraid," Lumina finished, shaking her head and turning back to the lockers. "Should we open them? I don't think it can hurt," Lumina asked Maat. She could feel herself slowly losing her grasp on reality, as if the edges of her mind were fraying. What was happening to her? She took a deep breath and nodded at Maat. Together, the two pried at the doors of the lockers. The taut skin held strong at first, but slowly began to tear at the seams. The sound of bones splintering was quickly followed by the sound of flesh ripping apart. Entrails of blood and guts spilled onto the floor below them, making Lumina nauseous. Eventually, the door had been completely pulled open. The interior of the locker was completely normal when compared to the door that held it together. Lumina carefully leaned down and scanned the inside. Sitting on the floor of the locker was a black and yellow tactical case. She pulled it out and flipped open the case, revealing six flares. "These should prove useful! I'm not quite sure where we could keep them, however," Lumina wondered, crouching back down to scan the locker once more. She fished around until she eventually pulled out a hard hat and a visibility vest. "We could carry the flares in these pockets, I suppose. Do you think we should check the rest of the lockers?" She inquired, turning to Maat. As much as she dreaded it, finding a weapon would be an advantage against whatever was lurking in this hold. Those creatures were ravenous, and Lumina feared the rotted whale flesh wouldn't satisfy their hunger.
  13. I’m really sorry! I wanted to get the post up yesterday but I think the site might have been down for me? I’m not quite sure what was wrong. Post is definitely coming today!
  14. I have a super busy week so I’ll try to get a post out if I can find some free time. It will most likely come at the end of the week/start of the weekend. Sorry for the delay and thanks for the patience!!
  15. I really like the idea of the partners working together for a little bit before we all reconvene as a group! It’s cool to see people who didn’t really interact in the beginning get a chance to get to bond. I know this is supposed to be an awful situation but I’m a sucker for character bonding!!!
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