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    Roadtrip

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    Josh
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 29/10/10, 05:35 pm

    Mel put up a hand to stop him before he put the shackle on his wrist. She looked worried, and worse, unsure.

    "Simon, I knowing I'm asking you to trust me a lot right now, and I'm grateful. But this could be dangerous. And I know its likely to be painful. I don't entirely know what or where we could be getting into, so I want you to take a second and make sure you're ready for this."

    She laughed bitterly, looking down for a moment before meeting Simon's eyes.

    "I know it might be a little late to say that, but I felt I should. Its your decision; I'm willing to go it alone."
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 30/10/10, 09:58 am

    "Um." It was always a weird perspective when he was seeing through Nam, even if she was close by. Her head was tilted to eye Melanie as full as possible from her current perch on his shoulder. A lot of the time, the disconnection of perception from his physical self was... well that was like a metaphor made real too - stepping back from the situation to get a new perspective on things, but at the moment, the way she was looking up to eyes that didn't really see her made him feel oddly guilty. A little too disconnected, like he'd felt at Sam's wedding. But he didn't really know what to say about it, so he just answered her, instead. "Based on everything you've said, I really don't think that would be a good idea. And.... I think I should know about this stuff. And I want to help you." He paused for a minute, trying to think if he should add anything else, and coming up short. "Okay?" He was glad that he had his glove with him, although he wasn't sure that any trouble they might get into would be the kind of problem it could solve.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 30/10/10, 07:42 pm

    Mel's smile, like everything else about her manner, seemed tired and determined. Still, even that glimpse of levity looked more at home on her face that the set jaw Simon had seen to that point.

    "Thank you. It means a lot."

    She cleared her throat, looking down at the shackle on her arm and the one in Simon's hand.

    "Well, only one thing left to do, then down the rabbit hole. If anybody offers you mushrooms, I'd avoid them. On general principle."
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 30/10/10, 07:52 pm

    "I try to make that a general rule, really."

    He nodded once, the clasped the shackle closed around his wrist.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 30/10/10, 08:18 pm

    Simon's senses stopped registering coherent information the moment the shackles closed, pain rippling over his entire being. Nam, however, seemed oddly stoic, her gaze shifting back and forth between Simon and Mel as she fought to maintain her grip on her owner. The two of them seemed to limned in flames, but of ghostly white hue, visible only in contrast to the surrounding night. At the edge of consciousness, Simon was aware of a voice calling out for mercy, begging for an end to the torture. Whether the voice came from him, Mel, or elsewhere, he couldn't place.

    Quickly, though time was difficult to gauge, the flames subsided, and the sight through Nam's eyes showed a golden glow, like the one previously emanating from Mel's glasses. It illuminated a plain similar to the one they'd been standing upon, but no moon shone in the sky, and the grass, even in the light, looked gray and withered.

    As Simon was able to manage coherent thought again, the shackle opened. It wasn't until he looked up that he realized he had fallen to his knees. Mel stood over him, holding a battered lantern and extending a hand to help him up.

    "I'm so sorry Simon. I had had no idea that's how this opening would process. Still, we're here, and oddly alive after the, ah, roasting."
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 30/10/10, 08:42 pm

    Again he nodded, his thoughts coalescing slowly as the shock of the experience, passed, and accepted her hand as he got to his feet. "It's..." He was fine, and his mind quickly filed away the memory of the ravenous flames as something that didn't bear conscious examination. "Over. We're here. Now what?"

    he looked around more closely, reaching up to touch Nam, still feeling a little lightheaded.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 01/11/10, 10:26 pm

    "Well, ah, now its a short walk, a quick swim, and we're there. Well, we're in the Labyrinth. From there, I suppose you'll have to tell me."

    Mel turned a full circle, as if getting her bearings, then began walking purposefully in what seemed a random direction. As they walked, Simon could hear the wind, or whispers, in the grass. Shadows which seemed to move independently of Mel's light, some even seeming drawn towards it, but she paid them no mind. She seemed quieter, more sure, somehow. Her face, as much as Simon could make out in the gloom, was set, her expression hard and alert.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 01/11/10, 11:16 pm

    Swim? He frowned slightly, considering what to do about his electronics. Well, he would figure it out. He watched the shadows for a moment as he followed, but as they seemed harmless enough, looked around the withered landscape more carefully, mimicking his guide's alertness. "So..... where are we, then?"
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 01/11/10, 11:26 pm

    Bluntly, Mel replied, "The Underworld." She stopped, cocking her head as though listening to something, but shrugged and continued. "I'm not entirely sure which part, though. This doesn't look like Duat, though it does resemble Hades a little bit. I can't be sure. We're a ways outside of the normal 'territory', as it were."

    It wasn't until they were only a few yards away before Simon could make out a wooden structure ahead of them, a worn down cabin. Mel walked past it, practically ignoring it, though Simon thought he could smell something from its vicinity, something familiar.

    Mel turned to regard Simon, then jumped at the sound of a crow's screech. Looking up, they could just see a small black shape silhouetted against the stars, staring down at them.

    "That's...odd," Mel commented.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 01/11/10, 11:42 pm

    He'd stopped to look at the cabin, trying to place the smell without much success. His thought were drawn back to his first visit to the underworld - they'd paid blood for that as well..... and been to a place of death. As then, thought of Chrys haunted him, too.

    Simon also started at the squawk, though Nam only ruffled her feathers, clucking her tongue quietly. He watched the black shape.

    "Is that odd, good, odd bad, or just odd like everything else here?"
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 02/11/10, 01:39 pm

    "Odd like everything else. I've just never seen wildlife down here. Fascinating."

    Mel stepped forward, raising her light. In a fluttering of wings, the crow took flight, hard to follow in the dim lighting. It seemed to circle, then landed lightly on Simon's shoulder opposite Nam, who seemed nonplussed. The crow eyed them both intently, before squawking out a word.

    "Simon."
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 02/11/10, 01:44 pm

    He froze as the unfamiliar bird landed on his shoulder, and squawked out his name.

    "....Um?" he replied in a tone of wary concern. "Yes?"
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 02/11/10, 01:57 pm

    The bird seemed unfazed by Simon's reply, pecking lightly at his clothes and hair. If it had more words, it proved reluctant to share them.

    Mel stepped forward, tapping her glasses, peering intently at the bird. She did a double-take, her eyebrow raising.

    "Huh. Its...alive. And yet seems to belong here. Stranger and stranger."

    She seemed to come out of her reverie, looked around, and addressed Simon again.

    "Well, I suppose we should keep moving, strange birds aside."
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 02/11/10, 03:14 pm

    "Ummm, right." He glanced once back at the cabin before following after Mel - He was a little spooked, like there were thoughts rattling around in the back of his mind that he couldn't, or didn't dare to, give conscious form. The crow made him think vaguely of the person who'd scurried off from them at the Crossroads the first time he'd been in the underworld. He'd checked after, and the only reference he'd turned up was to Hathor, sometimes seen as a protector of the dead, occasionally appearing as a crow. But not crow-headed. He shook his head, lifting a finger to the new bird. "I don't know where you're from, buddy, but I don't think you wanna go where we're headed, either..."
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 03/11/10, 03:11 pm

    Mel led them only a few more minutes walk from the cabin, to the edge of a small pond. It eerily still waters provided a perfect mirror of the night sky, a starfield spread across a stretch of plain. It wasn't until Simon stood next to her that he noticed neither he nor Mel were reflected in the water; her light was likewise absent the water's surface.

    "Ok, this is the place. It should connect through to the other side, total trip of, say, thirty feet or so. Annoying somewhat, but easier than the route here, obvio...do you ear that?"

    Now that she mentioned it, Simon could hear a strange noise at the edge of conciousness, a susurrus of voices, whispers and shuffling. Nam and Mel's heads both swung around, focusing on a collection of shadows some hundred feet distant.

    "Crap, I was afraid of that. This thing lights our way, but it tends to draw them in, too. We should get going."
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 04/11/10, 09:56 am

    Of course, they wouldn't be *un*dead, necessarily, in the Underworld. Some kind of....displeased spirits though, he would bet. Of course, he knew little enough about what all was found down here at this point. These thought ran quickly through his mind as he opened his bag, wondering if it might be enough to protect his phone, and his glove for that matter, and looking to see if he had anything else to put them in.

    "Wait - are we going across, or down?"
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 06/11/10, 01:33 am

    Mel reached into her satchel, pulling out two plastic bags and tossing one to Simon.

    "We're going down, though I think it'll end up, well, up. This should keep your stuff dry, though its a little unwieldy."

    Her gaze went back to the oncoming group, getting closer and yet no clearer.

    "We've, uh, we don't have much time."

    She kicked her shoes off, stuffing them into the bag, and stepped into the water. The shadows were only fifty feet away, shuffling ever nearer. As they got to the edge of Mel's light, they appeared to be people, but grey, as though shown on an old television set. They seemed to span several eras, modern clothe mixing with styles a hundred years old.

    "Simon, we've got to go now," Mel called, wading out to her waist in the small pond.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 06/11/10, 05:07 pm

    He shoved the phone and glove into the bag quickly, backing into the pond as the ...wraiths? approached. He was sure he could tough out wet sneakers but... "It isn't my things I'm really worried about..." Nam squawked warily but didn't protest too heavily when he grabbed her, turning back into her laptop form so Simon could shove her into the bag hastily. He tried his best to make sure it was well sealed as he sloshed out towards Mel. "Okay, other bird, you probably want to fly away now too, sorry..." he shrugged his shoulder, hoping it would take the hint.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 21/11/10, 12:36 am

    Indignantly, the bird took wing, circling Simon once before heading towards the oncoming crowd. They slowed as they reached the water's edge, seemingly unwilling to enter the cold pond. Individual features were difficult to make out, but a sense of longing seemed to suffuse them as they turned their face towards Mel's light.

    "Well, no time like the..." Mel trailed off as the crow reached the far side of the group, a blinding light piercing the darkness as a single word rang out.

    "Shine," came the all-to-familiar voice as Simon and Mel covered their eyes against the brightness. Though it hadn't been loud, Simon could distinctly hear Chrys.

    Once their vision cleared, both Scions stared at the shore, now bare of spirits.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 21/11/10, 01:48 am

    "Chrys?"

    He was stunned, and not just from the blinding flash. But there was no one - even the crow was gone.... There was nothing except the land itself.

    The transition to the underworld had been shocking, but in a transient way his mind could pack up and dismiss. But Chrys was an issue that had been gnawing at his mind for months now, and worse since New Orleans. He took a step forward, back towards the shore.

    "Chrys!?"

    When no answer came, he turned back to Mel, as if she might know. Maybe it was his mind playing trick on him..... the crow had made him think of her, somehow, and he was projecting the familiarity onto the voice...

    Only, no.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 21/11/10, 02:14 am

    "Chrys? That's, ah, your friend that..." Mel trailed off awkwardly. "Simon, I'm so sorry. Was that...I don't know what that was. I could, I don't know, try to track her down for you, if you wanted."

    Mel made to place her hand on Simon's arm, but stopped short, looking concerned.
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 21/11/10, 02:26 am

    "You can? I mean....can you?"

    He should be able to it himself. He reached to take his phone out of the bag again, wondering how that would even work here, or if he would need to come up with something else. But he hesitated, his grip tight around the device, his expression torn.

    "But can we? I mean.... what about your friend? Is it okay?"

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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 21/11/10, 02:37 am

    "Oh, Simon, I'm sorry. I didn't mean right now. Starting here would be like, well, like trying to find someone anywhere in the world by standing in a field and just walking. But I promise, if she can be found, between the two of us, we can do it."

    She turned slowly in a circle, checking the area around the pond.

    "I'd sure like to know what that did, though. Handy bit of of exorcism there." She paused, her face thoughtful. "Though is it exorcism here? What happened to them?" Her voice trailed off.

    "Umm, are you ok to keep going?"
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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by elanya on 21/11/10, 02:53 am

    Deep breath. It could be done, and they would. He would talk to the others, once he got back home. They would sort something out.

    "I'm sorry..." he shook his head to clear it, the looked back at Mel, properly, with a tight smile. "I'm okay. Lets get on with it." He dropped his phone back in the bag, resealing it as best he could, and trudging back out to the middle of the pond.

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    Re: Roadtrip

    Post by Josh on 21/11/10, 03:00 am

    Mel made her way out into the middle of the pond as well, treading water as it got to deep to stand in. Turning to Simon, she said, "Ok, its pretty much straight down from here, maybe thirty seconds of swimming. Its going to feel weird, as the direction of gravity changes pretty abruptly. After it does, you should see light ahead, and I'll keep my light going until we get to the other side, ok?"

    Mel waited for assent from Simon, took a breath, and sank beneath the eerily still water.

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