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Lirrey Lines

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Entering the portal feels like walking through a film of gasoline.  The oily nature clings uncomfortably to the skin and refuses to let go.  Not that it necessarily is their skin.  Each time the group wills themselves to move, their legs moves, but it feels like someone else's leg entirely.  This only compounded by how fast they move as they squish in the river of blood they're standing atop of, the current of crimson guiding them.  Things are slow when they don't move and too fast when they do.  It's not unlike walking with a moving floor.  Color itself is off-center, as if someone had broken the axel on the color wheel.  Words are only sometimes intelligible.

At first their journey is surrounded by buildings of stars and sinew, empty pustules of life lining the riverbank.  This fades into a deep black emptiness pressing in on all sides, seeping into the brain and invoking apathy.  EXILE the voice shouts in their heads, dispersing the fog and hanging an albatross upon their necks.  The Eye blinks in sorrow, rising to become the sun - glowing, but providing no light.  A scream skitters across the blood, now merely a stream's trickle, and causes the albatross to flap and kick itself free, flying into the air and blotting out the sun.  The stream's flow fades, their own steps carrying now, each one a heavy clack upon a hardened lab floor.

"...sh you would get rid of that thing," says a silvery, feminine voice from within the room they find themselves staring at.

"But, honey she likes him," replies a familiar voice.

Everything becomes more still, as if mirroring the sudden stiffness of the monster of shadows.  There's a sharpness here that draws the scene into focus more than what they've experienced thus far.  Yet still it flits at the edge of consciousness, the knowledge remaining that this couldn't possibly be real.

Before them is a laboratory packed the brim with chemicals, beakers, bunsen burners, and copper tubing.  The most prominent feature lay towards the back.  Surrounded by the glow of carefully placed candle lights, a spherical containment unit rest atop a pedestal, connected to unseen apparatus via a network of small, thin pipes.  Within the unit, darkness, roiling against the viewing glass.

"Fiiiine," concedes a dark skinned woman fading into existence in front of a beaker as if she was always there.  Despite her protests, a small smile dances on her lips as she looks across the room.  There a small girl, roughly three years of age, faded into view, defiantly holding the thing in question.  A long, many legged instectoid creature with a split tail.  Roughly half the size of the small girl, it squirmed in her grasp.  Despite the wriggling of its sharp legs, however, it never seemed to harm the girl.

Turning back to her work, the scientist fiddled with the equipment in front of her for a moment before glancing around looking for something.  "Where are the empty test tubes?  Why do we not have empty test tubes?!"

"Because you used them all.  Again," says the man fading into view, hunched over microscope.  He looks and sounds very much like the owner of Purgatory, except a decade younger.

Undettered, the woman frowns.  "Well I'm going to the supply room to get some.  Need anything?"  She waits a second, but when the man doesn't reply, she shrugs and heads out the door.

The man finally looks away from the microscope to scribble something down on the notepad next to him.  "Uhh, yeah, actually.  I could really use-" The man pauses as his head swivels back and forth.  Realizing she already left, he sighs and gets up quickly to hurry after her. He could probably still catch her.

By this time, the multi-legged creature had escaped from the young girl's grasp and was skittering away from her, stopping every once in a while to turn its head back and ensure she was following him.  Which she happily was, giggling away.  It scurried behind the containment unit, twisting around its base.  The girl tried to catch up, but soon got caught on the pipes that connected to it as she tried unsuccessfully to crawl through them.  A brief struggle made it worse as she got more stuck than she already was.  So she pushed harder.  She pushed as hard as she could.

The pedestal rocked.  One of the thin pipes snapped.  The apparatus fell, crashing loudly with the sound of breaking glass.  A few candles tipped over and a gentle blaze steadily roared into an inferno.  It was the darkness oozing free, grasping, clinging to her body as it inched up her skin that caused her to scream the loudest.  The insectoid creature scampered back and forth between the girl being engulfed and the fire raging around them, finding no paths to the door.

Both scientists arrived to take in the state of the lab, looking disheveled, their hair slightly mussed.  Spotting the girl within the blaze being devoured by the dark, the woman starts to rush in, but the man grabs her hand.  "It's too dangerous!"  Another wail, a plea from the endangered child crying out for its parents, and the woman rips her hand free from the man, giving him the most withering glare he's ever received before dashing headlong into the room.  The fire reaches the largest concentration of chemicals.

And everything explodes.

The heat rushes over the group, causing no damage as time itself seems to slow.  The man is tossed backwards from the doorway, head smacking hard against the wall in the hallway.  The woman's body incinerates, grotesquely disintegrating in front of them.  The child plunges downwards outside of the bounds of the reality that should constrain such flippant disregard for its rules.  Falling like a star into a sea of dark shadows, the child is engulfed entirely by the void.

And the insectoid?  It peels itself off the frozen explosion, dragging its very nature from the dream like an image crawling from its portrait.  It grows on sustenance unseen, drawing strength time's stream.  Slightly larger than Karuna, it has become as real as any of the four of them, its tails flicking back and forth, sensing their invasion in its world.  Yet its focus is upon the Doctor's pet as it takes a few steps closer.  The minion of shadows raises her arm towards the Dreamcrawler.  No, not an arm.  She has no arms. A tendril of darkness, wavering uncertainly.

But a flutter of wings catches the Dreamcrawler's attention.  Lirrey was here.  Here.  If Lirrey was here, it could not be.  Not for long.  The insectoid turned and skittered away some before stopping and turning his head back to ensure she was following him.  She was not. He waited as long as he dared before lowering his head down low and leaving for good this time.

It was all too much for the little shadow girl.  This day had been very bad indeed.

So she cried.  Long.  And hard.  And loud.  

And for a moment.  For a very brief moment.

She almost sounded human.

 

---

 

Nothing else of interest happens in the short remainder of their trip through the portal.  As they exit, they will Doctor Xeyal himself tutting around the portal on his end, scratching notes away on his notepad and mumbling to himself.  He is gleefully surprised when they step out.

"Ahhah!" He exclaims in that familiar voice, a huge, smug grin on his face.  "So it did work!  I was afraid when the portal opened and nothing came through that the expedition had actually been a failure.  Success!  SUCCESS!  YESSS!"

"Welcome back to Inns'th."

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Never in Karuna's wildest dreams would she ever find herself stepping through a portal. And though little is to be expected at this point, she was surely alarmed by the helplessness she felt as she was being thrown into this eldritch surrealistic landscape. It was hard to comprehend, perhaps even impossible to for mere mortals. The helpless young lady felt sick to her stomach, as if being pulled in multiple directions at once- a constant state of disorientation, that which would give rise to vomiting in normal circumstances. Yet her helpless body refused to void a single drop of it's content for her slender body felt just as interdimensionally  foreign to her as the river in which she flowed through and on. Though perhaps it were an instance, it felt an eternity, passive in her plights to simply get to wherever she needs to. Perhaps the experience was worsened due to her naturally empathetic nature whose attempts to comprehend only threw her in for a loop 10 fold.  Just as she were about to loose consciousness, she bore witness to the scenario of two scientists and a little girl, and the tragedy in which she beheld. Reality felt subjective at this point, up until the creature which grew in size measured the helpless Karuna, though there would have been nothing she could do to stop it. Luckily it had more pressing matters, and soon found itself fleeing at the realization of Lunara, who Karuna hadn't realized was even here. Was this not a dream? The creature left the girl to sob alone in the void beyond Space-Time. And despite the young woman's current condition, she could not help but feel sorry for her.

But that moment almost immediately passed as they stepped out of the portal. In attempts to adapt to a plane of existence, she fell to a knee, once again dropping her books. She refused to vomit, but held a hand to her mouth just in case. She heard the man speak, but refused to reply until she were certain she could contain herself. She gathered her books into a stack on the floor shortly after.

"I..." She looked back at Sasha with furrowed brows. That couldn't be the little girl could it? And that man's voice. What was this all for? Anger flowed through her as she felt the helplessness of ignorance, from her Journey through Lirrey to her passage through the portal she has felt helpless. And for some reason, through this feeling, a distant, yet unforgettable memory resurfaced, remembering looking directly into the sky, the air engulfed in heat and fire, the clouds daunting and screams of the innocent deafening, and seeing a weapon unlike any a poor farmer girl has ever seen heading straight for her.

She returned to reality once more. "Give my portion of the gold to them. I don't need it." Just before rising from her kneel, she noticed a small but noticeable greenish imprint on her poncho, that which resembled the same greenish flame from the man they encountered. This resulted in a slight pause in her ascent to her feet. "I have a pretty strong imprint on all of your spiritual essence. Hopefully we can keep in touch, but we must part ways for now." She coughed in her shoulder.  "I'll be heading to the Gaian Academy to continue my studies. For the next couple of months, if you ever need to find me, that would be the place. But-" with her magic, she pulls out a small crystal orb which expanded in her hand to a full sized crystal ball.  she pulled a chip of crystal from it with relative ease and the mass seemed to acclimate for the missing space. She gave the chipped crystal to Lunara. "For those more magically inclined. You have that too. it's magically attracted to me. It should activate when you need it to. Until we meet again." She gives a warm, yet smile as she takes another look around, her smile fading to stoicism. She starts towards a rather rough looking man with a stable of horses in which it seems a negotiation for one of the houses is taking place. Though no money was transacted She ends up purchasing a horse and leaves with it, looking back at the group for a moment as the horse galloped away. At closer inspection one may notice the man seemed to be sleeping deeply in the same chair he rocked in. One thing was certain. Her pursuit for knowledge, and by association, power, was insatiable. 

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[Full Summary]

Doctor Xeyal hired a group consisting of Lunara, Agony, and Karuna to escort his minion Sasha to Lirrey in order to set up a portal between Inns'th and Lirrey as the first step in his plan to seek out the Harbor.  Setting off into the harsh lands of Yh'mi, the group decided to force march through the underground tunnels to get there as quickly as possible, bypassing Furthest point by surviving attacks from Chitten, the Eyes of Yh'mi, and a Wailing Cavern.  Just outside of Lirrey they were accosted by a lone Cyclops wearing a necklace made from Ercaniron.  The frequent magical attacks from Karuna and Lunara in conjunction with Ercaniron's chaotic destabilization nature caused an unceasing laser to be fired from the Cyclops' eye.  The Cyclops' head remains there now, firing into the sky and marking the edge of Lirrey's territory.

The village of Lirrey was overly friendly, overly perfect and each inhabitant made a point to suggest the group should visit the Harbour.  Testing a theory of Lunara's, Sasha cut down one of Lirrey's trees.  The tree reformed almost instantly, completely unhurt, but the group had drawn the ire of the villagers who emerged from their homes, demanding repentance.  Only a single dark skinned man seemed to fail to fall into unison with the other villagers as they herd the party towards the church.  Within were three religious like figures in painting form and stairs down.  The party descended to discover the secret of Lirrey in the caverns below.  Lirrey was not simply a village, but a fallen eldritch god: Lirrey the Eternal Star.  Lirrey the Eternal Star had been wounded by the Eater of Stars long ago and that wound has yet to close, dripping blood which converts those who bath in it into the villagers who enjoy everlasting servitude.

Sasha decided against repenting in Lirrey's blood and begins setting up the portal, agitating the villagers.  Agony and Karuna fought the villagers off, holding them back, but found quickly they were eternal, just like the tree and everything else within Lirrey.  Lunara, brought here by some deeper purpose, flew to the pool of blood and absorbed it with Lirrey's blessing, transforming into Lirrey's Herald and usurping the previous Avatar.  Lunara retains her free will unlike the villagers and quickly commands them to stand down.  The danger passed, Karuna returns to the surface to seek out the library of Lirrey only to find a mysterious old man in possession of numerous books of power.  He informs her she has void rot from the overuse of magic and she takes a few books from him before he immolates himself and the rest of his collection.  Finally the group heads through the portal to return to Inns'th.  The trip is surreal and confusing, a metaphorical rewind of their trip through Yh'mi.  It culminates in a scene from Sasha's past, revealing that she was once Doctor Xeyal's human daughter prior to an horrendous lab accident.

[Minor Summary]

Doctor Xeyal aims to set up a portal between Lirrey and Inns'th with the help of Lunara, Karuna, Sasha, and Agony.  The group travels to Lirrey and ends up exploring a secret passage leading beneath Lirrey's church.  There they discover the horrible truth behind Lirrey, that the village and the people within are an extension of a fallen elder god, Lirrey the Eternal Star.  Fated to be drawn to this location, Lunara and Lirrey form a deep eldritch pact, making the pixie Lirrey's Herald and granting her great blood powers.  The portal is successfully opened and now secretly connects the Lirrey church with Purgatory's basement.

[Opportunities]

A.  Rumors have reached the Order of the White Hand of a man out of synch with Lirrey's otherwise perfect harmony.  Investigate this anomaly on their behalf, in hopes of discovering a clue as to how to mentally protect oneself from Yh'mi's influence.

B.  An unceasing laser has been spotted on the edges of Lirrey.  This would make for a powerful defensive weapon for Furthest Point.  Learn how to control the weapon and retrieve it before Yh'mi finds a way to turn it against Inns'th.

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