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OBELUS

What do they know?

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The ground yawns open beneath your feet.

You suddenly find yourself falling, hurtling through shuddering clouds and a strange maroon sky. You only have a moment to take notice of this before your body explodes with pain. Darkness claims your vision.

You awaken to the sharp sound of water lapping against a river shore.

The metallic tang of blood mingles with the bitterness of dirt on your tongue. Your limbs feel like lead. It takes a few moments to push yourself up in a sitting position. The world spins around you, blinding specks of light sparkling against your eyelids, but your balance realigns itself. 

“Are you four alright?” a whispery voice exclaims. The question is accompanied by the sound of gentle footfalls, soft against the faint crackle of grass trampled underfoot.

You take in your surroundings. You and three other people lie sprawled on the ground a few paces from each other. A woman in a tattered green suit hurries in your direction, a man limping behind her. Both of them wear strange, brightly-colored masks that partially conceal their faces.

“Did Stargate send you?” the man asks, his coat whipping violently in the wind. His voice is heavy with anger.

A tree stretches frail branches towards the sky in the direction they came from.

 

 


Directly to the WEST, the glassy river murmurs. It snakes NORTHWARD.

To the NORTH, mountains cast shadows on a kaleidoscopic forest.

To the SOUTH, a strange shimmering nothingness blankets the horizon, stretching to the heavens.


@Wade @SweetCyanide @vielle @jaistlyn

Edited by OBELUS

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When Laurent wakes up, the obvious question comes to mind.

Where am I? Each word is a pulse of his consciousness. He stands up, blinking away the dark slurring the boundaries of his vision. An alien world assaults his senses. He fixates on the word alien.

Two people approach. Fear twists his insides into knots, but he also feels a tepid fascination.

They ask him a question he doesn’t understand.

“No,” Laurent says quietly, surprised at the croak of his own voice. “No.” This time it comes out in a familiar, smoky bass. “I don’t even know what Stargate is.”

His eyes snag on the man’s left foot, pale and translucent. Fading. Like a ghost. “What is that?”

His dark eyes flit between the strangely-dressed pair, then he glances at himself. He’s still wearing his correctional officer uniform. He instinctively reaches for his handgun, and he’s relieved when he finds the wood polish of its grip, sturdy and smooth, a perfect fit for his long fingers.

“Who are you people?” His hand doesn’t stray from the gun’s hilt. There’s no menace in the gesture, just caution. He makes sure to capture this in his tone. “What is this place?”

Edited by Wade

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“Stargate’s the one who sent you. Has to be her. How else would you have fallen from the sky?”

The woman lays a hand on the man's shoulder. He falls silent.

“I’m Skjold. He’s Kore.” The woman says, her gaze distant. “The protector and the cure. Though… it doesn’t matter now, these names.” She sighs. “Kail Taravos. You can call me Kail.” The mask over her face blinks out of existence.

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Reie scowls when you stare at his leg for too long.

“Reality degradation,” Kail says, by way of explanation.

“A fancy term the Nomas cooked up for spiritual death,” Reie mutters.

Kail sighs. "It may take some time to answer your question. Will you let Ko- Reie heal you first? We mean no harm."

Reie stares at you. His frustration unravels, tenuous threads giving way to disbelief. "You really don't know anything? Stargate's a complete brat but Seer would've t'least sent one of her mind messages."

Edited by OBELUS

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Alethea

 

“Mnnnnng..” the first thing I do is to moan in response to my world of pain. What the hell? The sky above me is pink. Everything is in a shade of the unnatural colour. I cough, and regret not surpassing it as a sharp pain stabs through my chest, forcing me to pause and breathe through the agony. I swallow a mouthful of dirt and blood.

Gathering courage, I push myself up to sit. Perhaps it’s too soon; black and white spots cover my vision, and I almost blacked out again. I put a hand to my head, as if that would stop it from spinning around. The moment passes. What the hell? I ask myself again. I remember falling through the clouds, but that makes no sense. I try to recall what happened before the fall, but it just makes my head throb. Had I been climbing the cliffs? Did I fall from there?

There are other people around me speaking, but my mind is in too much of a jumble right now trying to figure out what happened. I look down to try and determine how scruffed up I am, and  to examine what items I have on me. If I have my backpack and spelunking equipment, that might make some sense - an accident, perhaps.

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Alethea

Nothing. There's nothing on me except the clothes on my back. My senses are starting to clear, and I see that there are three others on the ground. The masked couple trigger my instant suspicion. I tune in to the conversation. The female mentions a mind message, and it comes back to me. That strange, garbled message, which I wasn't sure if it was part of my imagination. I've never experienced anything like it before, not even when I take those less-than-legal pills - that I haven't done in a long time! I had accepted the plea for help. Maybe there would be a reward? I had thought at the time. If the vision was something my crazy brain cooked up, there was nothing to lose anyway.

If I had known accepting it would hurtle me through space, I would never have done it. 

"You mean no harm?!" I wheeze, cradling my throbbing ribs. "I didn't know I was signing up to be thrown like a rag doll into this... this..." I have no words to describe this place. Reality? portal? plane? "... Where the fuck is this? "

Edited by jaistlyn

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Laurent listens patiently as the woman introduces herself. His neck is stiff, and he's pretty sure two of his ribs are broken.

"That sounds..." He's not entirely sure if he believes the word dancing on the edge of his tongue. "...reasonable. So long as there aren’t any needles.”

The quip doesn’t come out the way he’d like, but he puts on a smile all the same. It is charming and disarming, and it is not entirely fake. 

“I’m Officer Dubois, but everyone calls me Laurent.” His accent makes it so the r is rolled and the t is silent. “The last thing I remember before waking up was- well, I’m not exactly sure what it was. A dream, maybe? It’s hard to say.”

He relays the message he received. The details come back to him slowly. There was something about Elandaron dying. An isotope he needed to retrieve. 

“’Your family needs you.’ That’s how it ended. Unless you want to hear about my morning coffee, I don’t know what else to tell you.” 

He prods the lower half of his side. 

Merde,” he hisses. Definitely broken. He tests the rest of his body while he waits for Kore.

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RejHudX.pngIt would do him a great favor if he would just snap out of it.

Grigori, clearly unwilling to move lest he wanted to feel the air on his naked flesh, groaned very loudly; "Son of a bitch," 

Cussing and wheezing, there is a heavy accent that is smothering his profanity, a somewhat Russian tongue. Squirming and gasping, he at one point, kicked something. His muscle memory reminded him that feeling was very much like a face. A fragile face, one whose skull did not feel like the damned thugs who think they can try to pick a fight with him, damn them, stupid fools. Perhaps, at the mention of thugs, this feeling was very familiar. Those silvery eyes of him shot wide open now, expecting a sharp light with his body constricted by rope, but, no. He was squinting against the pink sky.

He is confused. The Pink sky? He blinked five more times and saw that the color did not change. Everything is wrong. Just what was he on? 

As he lays on his stomach, looking around in bewilderment, he tries to remember. What happened? What

The floor opening beneath him like a dazzling sinkhole. The wind screaming in his ears. The ground running to him. Then, then nothing.

He fell? From the sky?

The sound of people. He looked, and he found them. They know, they definitely know. Friend or foe, whatever the hell they are, he needed answers. Now. Before he hisses at them, he was gasping. Breathing in and out proved to be quite the difficult task when something in your side kept popping in and out of your ribcage. He cusses again, still not moving, cheek planted to the rocks. He tries to say something. Nicely.

Slowlyor it pierces his lung, you damned bastard.

"What." He groans, "Happened." 

Edited by SweetCyanide

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>You mean no harm?! I didn't know I was signing up to be thrown like a rag doll into this... this...Where the fuck is this?

Kail sighs, fingers pressed to her forehead. "Look. We're just as frustrated at this situation as I'm sure you all are. I promise we'll answer everything we can. We need to make sure you're not going to die from your injuries first."

>That sounds...reasonable. So long as there aren’t any needles.

"Yes, thank you," Kail says, relief clear on her face. She waves her husband forward,  "Just fix them."

Reie moves closer, lips pressed in a tight line, one hand extended. As he nears, you feel wounds closing and bones knitting together. The pain in your sides fade, injuries disappearing in seconds as your body is made anew.

He stops by the young girl who has yet to speak. "Hey. Kid. Are you alright?"

>Your family needs you.

The couple freezes, as if the world has stopped turning for the both of them. In the briefest of pauses, a myriad of expressions flits across their faces: resentment, bewilderment, wariness. Kail shakes herself out of the haze, taking a deep breath as she regains her composure.

"You're family, huh?" Reie lets loose a harsh laugh.

"Of course," Kail whispers. She looks at the group. "Do you... have any powers?"

>What. Happened.

One of our..." the woman hesitates, visibly struggling to find the right word, "...colleagues, Stargate, transported you here. I'm guessing you all saw the message Officer Dubois did. That was...Well, it must have been Seer."

 

Edited by OBELUS

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Alethea

The woman casually speaks of ‘healing’ and ‘fixing’, like it is nothing more than giving us food. But as the man in a doctor’s garbs moves closer, I am shocked to feel a comforting glow, and see my skin knit together. “What sort of sorcery-“ 

I pause. I have heard of the mysterious powers that exist outside of Stonehaven, which are oft met with distrust. It is sorcery indeed, and it seems incredibly useful. I stand up, having no problems with movement now, and walk to the river a few paces away. The water looks strangely mirror-like. I clearly see my own face, caked with blood from a cut that was no longer there. I scoop up the water and splash it on my face.  It isn’t water, but a weird dense liquid that drips down thickly. Nevertheless, it feels cool and refreshing, and I use it to clean myself up. 

”Do you... have any powers?”

”If you’re talking about the healing, then no, no such thing. Not where I’m from, we don’t have ‘powers,’” I reply.

”And, now can you stop speaking in riddles and tell us what exactly is happening? Where are we, and why are we here?”

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Image result for а�� �е�новоло�а�setsuko eri


 

The world is confusing: pain and ache and blood mingle in equal measure, segued into the cracks of her consciousness, of her being, and then abruptly realigns itself at the sound of voices. She cannot discern every underlying emotions prevalent in every voice, but the most apparent are suspicion and confusion and anger.

Why is there anger? Did they not—agree to something?

"Hey. Kid. Are you alright?"

She whimpers in reply, but then suddenly, magically: she feels well. The encroaching wave of healing soothes her aches, and Setsuko finds herself able to stand to her feet. Her mind is still filled with cotton, but she has her bearings to be curious enough about her immediate surroundings, silently shifting towards the river, her eyes moving to and fro between the strangers beyond her in wordless unease.

All verbal statements fly over her head in a haze as she reaches out, finger extended, to poke at the water, cool and strangely like liquid glass.

Strange.

At the woman’s words, Setsuko clutches her head and sighs. “I think,” she ventures, in the smallest voice, soft and halting, “we are here because they need help,” she ends by pointing towards the suited couple.

 


 

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>If you’re talking about the healing, then no, no such thing. Not where I’m from, we don’t have ‘powers,’

Kail pinches the bridge of her nose. Her patience seems to have worn thin. "Alright. Stargate sent us non-elucs. We can- we can work with this."

She and Reie exchange a look, silently coming to an agreement, though not without a brief glare on the man's part.

>And, now can you stop speaking in riddles and tell us what exactly is happening? Where are we, and why are we here?

Kail opens her mouth to answer, when-

>I think we are here because they need help.

She falls silent. "Yes," she says quietly. She crossing her arms, eyes on the ground.

Kail takes a deep breath before speaking. "You- We are in Elendaron… a twisted, wrong version of Elendaron that’s slowly peeling away from the rest of Valucre.”

Reie nods solemnly. “Reality's turning to dust.” He jabs a thumb behind his back. “See that weird storm o’er south?” He raises his leg. “See my foot?”

“We were-” Kail’s gaze darts to her husband, “-we were tasked to go north, to Hodra, to bring an item to a certain area still anchored to Valucre.”

“The last remnants of civilization.” Reie snorts. “Imagine that. Turns out the Sanctorium sisters decided we needed reinforcements or rescue or somesuch and grabbed you four. Dunno why they’d care now when-”

“The point is,” Kail interjects, “you’re here. We’ll travel to Hodra together, back into Valucre, and I'm sure Stargate can transport you back to... wherever she took you from. We could use all the help we can get.” She ends the statement with a smile, strained as it is.
 

Edited by OBELUS

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RejHudX.pngHe lays down there listening to their answer in a daze, when suddenly,

"Hey hey hey hey—!" Grigori retorts, trying to squirm away, though he fails tremendously as he cannot feel his arms. Why is he getting closer, damn it? "What are you—"

It was because the closer this man came to him, the more the pain all over his body would cease hurting. Dumbfounded, he stays there, discarding any last trace of suspicion after, for some reason, the broken sensation he'd felt in his side had completely disappeared. He squints in yet another confused look, staring up at the masked man. "Okay." He wheezes. "Thank you." Then proceeded to try and push himself up. At first, he was reluctant to try to move his legs in fear that he might feel a bone sticking out of his calve. And, alas, he is surprised yet again! He's completely fine and devoid of any injury. Not a even little scratch, might he add.

Grigori stands up, patting down his pants, his arse, and his sleeves. Those dusty eyes of his glance around as he takes another few minutes to swallow the view. As he tried to stay calm, he found that the sky was still pink, that the place he was in right now still looked like a doomsday wonderstand, and still had that creepy-looking tree. Great, he reminds himself, I wish I was on drugs. Attempting to be more observant as the other humans stuck with him together tried to get answers, he looked again, and found a glass stream. No, actually, he arches his brows, a glass river? Grigori, somewhat ignoring the people gathered around, went up to the tree and picked up a branch on the ground. He walked to the river and started poking it with the stick.

Hmmm.

After hearing what seemed to be a declaration from a kid, the girl, presumably what he punted as he suffered a few minutes ago, he tried to redirect his attention to the important matter as of now. He listened carefully to their conversation, trying not to butt in with an obvious reaction one might expect when you've been dropped into a nightmare realm which had a nice pink sky. He attempted to process the information given in a very brief summary.

Elendaron. Reality is fucked. Hodra. Bring item. The Sanctorium sisters? Go back to Valucre. 

"Right."

Needless to say, he was very overwhelmed by the amount of blabber fed to him through a toilet pipe. But, Grigori, steady yourself. Cooperate, he tells himself. He inhales, trying to make sense of the situation.

"It said we are sorry." He squinted. "No, I meant, what is this Hodra? Why we are the ones sent by your..." He gestured. "Stargate?" 

 

Edited by SweetCyanide

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X9o62Pn-GsNuN_8pBFMEO_gcZbDATW5XsCXsRJIkiayqolLJOrqk7E6jQYR65duVn_sAFlGJHupZbkXoW2QoonNCiQhG8uDRjwLKPhTVAiPkO-hbu7f2JxFU4MTea4kfp9peZavRsO6FNOf8uQhcFHgoyDl57UQyBHV4hzOhg-v70ya6iDiyxfl5SnbbbQe7JedX8o9c3VR8RBkHfvGSrJwInr8pK51DKz7pJPKyMx1xeyyrXKh5_gMEyXQFEpLKYhUXp5F4U7kiM3Y99DzH1Pdxv8ICP4CdPD7qysTiqZVRV7ENpw2wHm5wxia0nsPendCBw6nw8kcSTrw0XL1QgLcH45F-pu-8SEAk1T-Y80j_pWKlhvhucY7JW9FfBm8P1cQ5M2kb_wcLPtFgASCkModWxy9y6O3ifknNVX8hyC4GzmJxlFchdSeuD_GlTfTNGwIFyR7uPLYk4IIWLgqdDYMz5XSx_NyCxHIT7oW9ZLYj06Ly5PvqzRJPWngFaFCY_DD0ql1u3HYxRFBbg5eaqesUK4WV4o-VIpK7GAlk_a4uaZ1eAdYYg2fGad4Cww0lzPJjpEk-jdeCI6g65Tkqe1j-hKs3iBEloCdrEwlEHOY_JB8xL3MXWQWbqzucI3Rq4Sy1qeD_iYvmTUDjwDg_UXBikXtxYwcxCZTJEX8jYuZnFXBPcmOS6Y9Lt0TLcYCRQE_bj4Krrn8S_-ZsaA=w400-h600-no         vYh8R7i4CZCTqQssl7SIpMUM1GUibgDs0zAltl_pZsmK0WmxvF2Vo0lA4OQlN4E2ZsST6ac6AHQwWcML1LTVciQbUpVSTdNt-jW2u5zGVJdiWmeyO_ASd4v-yJf_u2Ix0ZILb81khc_wn3N_v17UvAQYS0bhjDtxmhsMzpkz0BETt7QSriXNaCkRg908RmaWPvv3YraaGaE23wd--iVQp-EoHKM6ykzUp4IdxAjMigI0qFZbWdV05g7W22W4nW-KPWFLDoXSJI23v8xcNNRrb_e3YcDhBqIUQY5hVH1HSjCTUu2xu1nTqWNKiJCpAAPqlA7suKMsTZdmlbCrtep-FJ42YWmlrQbzzaJ_vl8U9XkhbjYCIgYVg_1Z1Q4wXfX7xyS0L46kwxzptPXHiz32Kt5IDMoMGFHIRZy_TiwHLoO_2xslsJnOnbEaXYLV_7nJSpU_LU333WLk5P3296fw3iX2lixjRflMOEz5tpnnQlkF7UA7e20m1lCwd2Pb6EhI4yb0w7SQMoolJ7pgYoWJCQfIqV5vnZC_06NbEKJKSP8n6qQIbUQyR-wMUsbxcN90d9b_mY0H5exv3pdgi5R8Wk_Z4T1BlzgujTwV4TAP99_ETRAf2OYqOusuWsfspHj5QdHQ83KR2y5P95tT-Zy_vaUIchXDyrpuDvsHdvuCvU2q4bsYEF3KOdq36yY4ETWCUuCvogAvnPINSI5sng=w400-h600-no

>It said, we are sorry.

"They should be," Reie says simply.

His job done, he returns to Kail's side.

>No, I meant, what is this Hodra?

It is Reie who answers this time. "Hodra's a town north of here. Other side of the mountains. It's at the tip of Nar Oeste, near the ocean."

"Or at least, it used to be," Kail adds. "Nar Oeste's geography is still similar to what it used to be, but they've just... changed."

>Why we are the ones sent by your... Stargate?

The couple exchanges another look. There is a moment's hesitation before Kail answers. "We... don't know."

"Frankly we'd have chosen useful people," Reie mutters, just barely above his breath.

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Alethea

Elendaron. Another piece of Seer’s message comes back to me. It is a foreign land, far from Genesaris. I have seen the news about the dying Elendaron. It is a terrible disaster, but too far to have any real impact on me. Why did the message reach me? I have nothing to do with Elendaron, no powers to speak of. There are much better candidates in the world out there. 

I look to the ‘storm’ that the man is pointing towards. It is more like a hole of emptiness, and it almost seems to be sucking me in. There is a growing ring in my ears. The longer I stare at the void, the more it seems to resolve into voices. I tear my eyes away, shuddering and drawing my jacket closer around me.

”The isotope?” I ask, remembering the word from the message but not really knowing what it means. “Why is it so important? Maybe you should just leave it and go. This place seems dangerous.” I look at the man’s ghostly foot. The pair doesn’t seem very happy that we are here, and I’m not elated to be here either. This is going to be just peachy.

”Can’t the Seer just teleport it out anyway? He or she managed to bring us in from far away. I’m sure they can do the reverse.”

Edited by jaistlyn

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>The isotope? Why is it so important?

"We don't know either," Kail says, brushing a lock of hair away from her face. "It's supposed to help anchor reality. Maybe reverse whatever's happening to Elendaron."

>Maybe you should just leave it and go. This place seems dangerous

Reie snorts. "You don't say."

Kail gives him an irritated look. She turns to you. "We're travelling to the pickup point anyway. No harm in taking it with us."

>Can’t the Seer just teleport it out anyway? He or she managed to bring us in from far away. I’m sure they can do the reverse.

"Seer's the clairvoyant," Reie interjects, "Stargate's the teleporter."

"Their powers are on a ... different level than ours," Kail says carefully. "Whatever's happening to Elendaron looks like it's crippling their abilities, but-" she shrugs. "I can't say for sure. Seer hasn't been able to contact us-"

"-or hasn't tried to," Reie mutters, scowling.

"-and Stargate opened her portals far from the ground," Kail continues. She makes an effort at a calm smile. "Maybe..." her voice falters, "The reality degradation's not too strong up there."

Reie stares at his wife, aghast. "You're still making excuses for them, aren't you?"

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