Florestan is trying to speak, but nothing is coming out. Cesar steps in.
"Risk of death and so on quite minimal," he says shortly. "Tully trying to fog the issue as usual. Some risk, yes, some pain, yes, but no knowing how much. Already been a Nyrond, remember. Just reminding the cells what they should be. Any rate, case of survival, if you hadn't noticed. Entire Nyrond race at risk."
Florestan nods jerkily. "Exactly--exactly--what he said," he finally manages. "If--if--if all--all homeships become--become inactive, and--and all the--the--the Nyronds on them--on them become--become human, then--then--then they'll all--they'll all--they'll all--"
"Die, yes," Cesar says. "Up to you, of course. No deathblock in your case. Can go on with your life quite happily. Tully too, I suppose."
"What makes you think the Nyronds are all becoming human, just because he has?" Bres says. "A few cuts and bruises not healing properly? I'd want a little more evidence than that before I risked someone's life. And how do we know you're telling the truth? All we've seen is this ship here, and half a dozen quite healthy Nyronds. Who are, if I'm not mistaken, quite at home with the practice of sustained and elaborate lying."
Marae puts her hand to her head. "I can't deal with this. It's too much...and I can't think straight. I can't make this choice."
"No choice at all, way I see it," Cesar says. "Either I get the serum and Tully takes a small but calculated risk, or you let the Nyrond race perish from the universe."
"Do--do--do I have to--to--to cut myself to prove--to justify--to show you we're--we're not--not lying?" Florestan says. "I--I--I will if--if I--if I have to."
Bres looks at Marae. "You're quite right," he says. "It is too much to expect of you to make this decision. Especially when your thinking is compromised."
<span class="ev_code_brown">Brid. Come out of her. Let her decide freely.</span>
O/C -meh, well, my apologies...just woke up and all, hadn't realized they were in their room-
Tasho and Tasha fuss over Iris all the same, despire Tasho's worries. And before long they are joined by a third party. And a fourth party, and a fifth party.
"'Ello then, how'd we end up here?"
"Hey," Tasho looked up at the tree sibling elves and grinned, "You three finally sober?"
"Painfully so." Blink replied.
"I thought elves could pass that..."
"Not Blink," Wink answered, "He's an ideot."
"WINK!" Nod scolded, and shook her head.
"Hello Tasho it's good to see you. Though, I have to admit, I wouldn't have expected you to pick a place like this..." Nod was frowning, and Wink as well. Blink was looking for a place to go back to sleep.
"Whaddya mean? This is a great place!"
"Really? Because there was an...interesting conversation going on in one of those rooms."
As Nod began to relate what they had heard from the strangers, Tasho begins to growl low in her throat.
"Weirdo." She growled, "Creature. What RIGHT have they to make such judgements, flithy humans! There is NO price for us, this is a HAVEN! This is where we are able to ESCAPE people like them! Have they looked in the mirror lately? We are not some filthy tourist attraction! WE ARE NOT something to be studied, or observed! AND WE ARE NOT TAME! We are not animals to be tamed! Filthy pigs. FILTHY ROTTEN PIGS!"
"Tasho," Tasha interupts quietly, "I can understand you being upset, but nothing will come of it. We are safe here, you know that." But Tasho didn't seem to hear her.
"I'd like to see how they'd handle being in a zoo. How they'd handle wearing a collar with a leash attached, how you'd handle being STUDIED! Maybe WE should capture THEM, and charge money for people to come look at Them! Those filthy pigs! THOSE ROTTEN THRICE CURSED PIGS! Those...those...Phraktos Cha'kohkev D'hos Gio!"
"CHILL FACTOR TASHO!" Wink says suddenly, forgetting for the moment to find someplace to sleep.
"I don't wanna chill. I want to put them in a CAGE!"
"Well, here comes two of them then," Iris suddenly puts in, rather indifferently...then quickly adding a "FROD!"
Tasho's hands clenched tight, both eyes grey and burning with heat. But by now the rest of the hotel had heard her, and Blink and Nod were already holding on to either one of her hands, trying to calm her down.
Uru Live KI#: 07128789
Natha draeval orn doer vel'drav kal'daka lu' nesst orn z'hin ul'naus 'sohna.
<span class="ev_code_yellow">I can't leave her, Beloved. You know that. She and I are bound now. The most I can do is retreat, and will myself to ignore her for a time.</span>
<span class="ev_code_brown">Then do so. And quickly. These people feel they are running out of time.</span>
Marae feels something release inside her, but she knows Bríd has not gone completely. She still can't remember some things -- things Tully told her, was trying to tell her -- and it frustrates her, but on the other hand, she does feel her mind clear some. She looks at Bres, who smiles sympathetically, then at Florestan, and at Cesar, who had gotten only a few steps down the hall before Marae's threats brought him to a halt.
They want her to make the decision for Tully. And he did say she had the right to say what he must do... but not like this. Not while he lies unconscious and helpless, and she doesn't even know what he wants to do.
She looks at them each in turn again, feeling new anger rising. "No!" she exclaims. "I don't care what any of you do, I'm not making any decisions for him, and neither are you. Any of you." She glares defiantly at the Nyronds. "If you want to do anything to save your people, then you'd better wake him up and ask him what he wants to do, because he's the only one who can answer that question. I can't, and I won't. But if you try to do it to him without his permission, I will stop you." She remains crouched before him, crosses her arms, and puts on her most determined face.
Happily Institutionalized Maven of Mad Libs
...perhaps the crocodile has not yet been eaten...
MO:ULagain KI #541383
"...and the flying Peria would've had to use the ladder, because there's no way they could've gotten their wingspan through that if flying up," Pargaeas finished.
"So, if the ladder is new - relatively speaking," TOOO said, "then the flightless Peria would've gone this way. Especially since that ladder wasn't anywhere in the last painting. But, according to those paintings, they blocked it behind them when they came in!"
They looked into the darkness. "But what else could be down there?" TOOO asked.
Eventually, the bridge came to a cavern. TOOO shone his flashlight ahead. "There! Can you see it? There's the tunnel that they blocked in."
Pargaeas, who had come prepared this time, shone her own flashlight around the cavern. "I don't understand. I mean, this cavern must be, what, about 30 feet across and maybe twice that high. But it's just an ordinary cavern! So, what happened in here? Where did all the flightless Peria go?"
TOOO shone his flashlight on the floor. "Well, they didn't come here to die. No bodies, no remains of any kind. Nothing. They just vanished into thin air."
"Unless the Bahro took them," Cannax suggested.
TOOO shook his head. "But the Bahro were long gone by that time. And why herd them in here, when they could've just as easily taken them from the city?"
"Less exposure to whatever killed the others?" Pargaeas suggested.
"Hmm," TOOO thought. "I don't know. I mean, was there a tribe of flightless Peria on Merkar? It just doesn't feel right.
"You know what I think?" he continued. "We all know the Bahro had a long history with the D'ni, correct?" He waggled a finger in the air in thought. "Maybe there's something about this place that they knew about - something the flightless Peria never found, until, say, the Bahro pointed it out to them."
"Like what?" Cannax asked.
"Let's look around," he suggested. "See what we can find."
Proud (or at least, Shameless) Member of URU Cavern Skydivers!
Institution TOOO KI# 816645
Magical Mystery TOOO KI# 643784
Cesar exchanges a long look with Florestan, shrugs, takes a small bottle out of another pocket, unstoppers it and waves it under Tully's nose. He winces, flinches, and finally opens his eyes and sits up.
"That," he says, "was not friendly."
"Yes, well," Cesar says. Florestan nudges him. "Apologies," he says grudgingly. "Apparently you have a choice about this."
"Well, I told you--" Tully starts.
"Think--think--think about it," Florestan says urgently. "Most--most homeships won't be--won't be in range of--won't be near a--a suitable--a suitable planet. Too many--too many variables. People--people--people will--will die." He takes a deep breath, struggles with an unfamiliar concept for a moment, then finally reconciles himself. "Please, Tully," he says.
"I've waited a long time to hear those two words together from a Nyrond without sarcasm," Tully says with a grin. "I'd rather Abelard or Hilary or someone else had had to say them. Actually, what I really wanted was the massed choirs of the homeships in seventeen-part harmony with full orchestral accompaniment and particle cannons. But you'll do." He turns to Marae. "It looks as if I need to do this after all," he says. "Actually, it might be easier with me than it is with a born human."
"Cesar said something like that," Marae says. "Are you sure, Tully?"
Tully looks over his shoulder at Cesar and Florestan. "Yeah," he says after a long moment. "They're not a bad bunch really. These two are actually among the better specimens, if you knew them normally. And the universe is much better off with them safe on the homeships." He nods to Cesar. "Let's do this."
Cesar, who has been holding his breath, lets it out and hurries off. Florestan runs both hands through his hair and leans against the wall for support: it wobbles, and he stops leaning quite quickly. "Thank--thank--thank--thank you, Tully," he says.
"And that completes the set," Tully says.
A thought occurs to Marae. "But what about the--the price?" she says. "For doing what you did in Faerie?"
Tully grins at her and bounces to his feet.
"We'll cross that bridge when we've burned it," he says.
Seeing the grin on his face, Marae can hardly repress her own, but it is bittersweet. She looks into his dark eyes and feels her own misting over -- not with the golden mist of Bríd, but with tears. A hero, again, for his own people this time... He is so brave... She takes him in her arms and holds him tightly for a moment. If I lose you -- I cannot lose you. I'll never lose you. You're so deep in my heart, no matter what happens I'll always feel you. Always have you close to me. I have to remember that... while the bridge is burning... "Love," she whispers, "answer me one thing. I have to know, before they do this. What were you telling me... about... about..."
"About what, love?"
Marae looks at him in worried confusion. "I can't remember," she says. "I know it was important... so frodding important, and I can't remember. I... just... can't."
"Well, we have at least until Cesar gets back here with the serum. When was I telling you this?"
"Before Cesar knocked you out." Whether from nerves or a natural inclination to mimic the voice patterns of those around her, she is not sure, but Marae finds herself on the verge of stuttering just like Florestan (well, maybe not quite like Florestan) and carefully holds herself in check.
"All right. Let's see if we can reconstruct the conversation, shall we? Figure out the missing bits?" Marae nods. Tully will remember...
"Let's see. We were talking about the conversion, and the associated risks. Was it something to do with that?" Marae shakes her head. "Before that, do you think?"
"N-no, I think it was after that. Towards the end."
"All right; we'll go forward then. After I mentioned the potential side effects..."
Death is a "side effect"? wonders Marae.
"...I explicitly told Florestan off, and suggested we Nyronds should all go mortal. I said you were the only person who gets to say what I have to do. Was it about that?"
Marae shakes her head again.
"All right. Next up was the hard one. What those two had planned..." and he looks sideways at Bres, who has retreated to a discreet distance and appears to be studying a rather large crack that is meandering along the baseboard. Tully drops his voice and continues, "...your goddess and her god. What they want to rope us into..." Marae is staring at him, looking slightly off-center. "Ring any bells?" he asks.
"I -- I'm not sure..." she says, and puts a hand to her temple. "What were we talking about?"
"The baby," says Tully, watching her acutely. "The baby that she and he want to have... Marae?"
Marae's eyes have grown wide and distant, and her breathing has changed subtly.
"Marae, are you listening?" Her gaze shifts towards him, and she nods absently, then shakes her head as if trying to clear it.
"I'm sorry, Tully. I -- I don't know what happened. What were we talking about?"
"The baby, Marae."
"The what?" She stares at him blankly, then shakes her head one more time. "I'm sorry, love, I don't know what's wrong with me. I suddenly feel so tired. But I can't imagine why."
Bingo. "That was it, wasn't it?"
Marae blinks, then continues, "It must be the stress -- I'm so afraid for you...." She holds out her arms. "Don't worry, love. I'll stay with you. I won't leave you. As much as is possible, anyway, we'll go through this together."
Tully's thoughts toward Bríd are for the most part unprintable as he pulls Marae into his arms. She's making her forget. Keeping it hidden. She can't even see it when it's in plain sight -- or hear it, as the case may be. He looks once more at Bres, who remains aloof, his back turned. And he's not saying word one, either. Gods. He holds Marae closely, and waits for the returning footsteps of Cesar.
Happily Institutionalized Maven of Mad Libs
...perhaps the crocodile has not yet been eaten...
MO:ULagain KI #541383
Amber and Anthony return to the room with the news that there isn't a honeymoon suite.
"Ok guys, here is the plan" William says, "Lets be nice-"
"Well that isn't hard - these people are nice" Anthony interrupts.
"People?" Amber looks at Anthony, "You call talking to a green thing - who's name is 'Green Thing' people?"
Anthony smiles broadly, "Well, I think they are great. In fact, I am going downstairs to sit in the bar. You can plan all you like, I am just grateful they let us in." Anthony exits the room.
Louisa starts after him, but is stopped by William. "Sis, let him go. He may help our cause without even realizing he is doing so"
Louisa sits back down and they all proceed to play cards.
RaPhil feels a tingle in her pocket. She reaches in and pulls out a silver chain that sparkles and shimmers with colored lights that travel along the links.Originally posted by RaPhil:
Transmission to RaPhil.
Interjection. Please return immediately Ahura. You do not have authorisation to be there without support and a plan.
Transmission to Archangel Raphael.
Reply. Then give me authorisation.
Interjection. You are out of line Ahura remember your station. Leave it to us to fix.
Transmission to Jahura.
Query. Jahura. Please. I have knowledge that my fallen star sibling is trying to hurt our friends at the A&C, but the High Command are demanding my return. Can you help?
Oh, Sheol! I forgot I was holding on to it. She looks at the other hand which is adorned with her KI and studies the dial.
DW 2 KI RaPhil to Jahura
Perhaps the storm is affecting the transmission to the Zero, RaPhil considers.
"Ahura Mazdah, please let her get this. I need help." RaPhil whispers.
She bounds upstairs toward the sound of malevolent laughter coming from one of the newer rooms - one of them she knows full well. The other...
I used to be a know-it-all. Then I made a wish...
I wished to be happy instead of angry all the time.
I forgot it all.
Tora was enjoying herself. This was a very nice tropical jungle, not too dense to walk through and not guided by the hands and minds of humans. Natural. Tora had gotten some very cool KI pictures. The three had passed a bungalow halfway between the beach and the trees, and Tora assumed The Stranger and Unknown-One had made it as living quarters. It was neat and cozy looking, so she'd taken a picture of that as well.
Neko still refused to get down, so Tora continued carrying her. If the redhead wasn't used to the situation, she'd have dropped her hours ago. As it was she'd built up the needed muscles Neko wasn't over-weight heavy but she was no lightweight either.
Niknak continued to flit around, preferring the air to the ground. Possibly this was because there was a lot of mud on the ground. It seemed to have just rained not too long ago, although The Stranger hadn't looked wet at all.
As they circled back, they suddenly came across a strange sight they were sure they hadn't passed before. There was a ring of standing stones, which reminded Tora vaguely of Stonehenge. The stones however only reached to her knees, some to her waist, and none of them had the horizontal stone lying across two vertical ones like Stonehenge did. Right in the center was a roundish boulder worn away by the weather that had reached through the break in the canopy. Vines and creepers curled their way up the standing stones, obscuring much of their surface with vines, leaves, and colorful flowers. Here and there a bird-of-paradise flower peeked over the top of a stone.
"Oh how pretty!" Tora gushed, and snapped several shots at different angles with her KI. Picking up a couple of pinkish pebbles, she stuck them in one of the pockets of her dark brown cargo pants. Tora thought herself lucky to have been wearing cargo pants and hiking shoes today; they were perfect to go exploring in.
"I wonder who made this?" Niknak wondered as he settled himself on her shoulder.
"It smells of something strange," Neko said, "don't go near it."
"Oh don't be melodramatic, Neko," Tora scolded as she picked the orange cat up, "it's not like it's a signal for aliens to come abduct us or anything." And with that she stepped into the circle.
"See?" Tora said and dropped Neko, who grumbled. Niknak jumped down and started washing her face, purring, trying to comfort her. Neko seemed mollified. Tora smiled to herself and pretended not to notice; walking over to the boulder in the center of the circle, she scraped some moss away. "Oh look, there's carvings here. These look like runes surrounding this thing here. It looks like some sort of glyph."
Raising her hand, Tora lightly touched a finger to the center of the glyph. And then everything lit up. Blue-white light poured its way through the glyph, the runes, through previously-invisible designs all over the boulder, then the ground of the ring, then up the standing stones. And Tora, Neko, and Niknak faded away, their world melting around them into bright blue-white light.
The last thing that was heard of them was Neko screeching "Didn't I tell you not to go near it?!"
Adventures of the Travelling Trio begins.
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
RaPhil knocks on Oracle's door. "Its Ra-" Before she can finish, Oracle has opened the door and ushered her in.
RaPhil looks around taking in the stranger lying on the bed, Kelsa holding his hand, Artemis looking spent on a chair and the amulet changing colours from blue to purple, to red and back continuously.
"Where is she?" RaPhil scans the room
"Who?" Kelsa asks.
"My-....uh, Ahri-Ra" RaPhil replies impatiently, and then she starts forward towards the amulet.
"No, don't touch it" Oracle commands.
RaPhil stops and turns towards Oracle, while Artemis says, <span class="ev_code_yellow">"Is there anything you would like them to know about Ahri-Ra?"</span>
All eyes turn to RaPhil, who looks embarrassed, "Oh, well....you see...um.....ok, well Ahri-Ra was my star sibling, an Ahura. But she fell, and turned to evil, and is now after me" RaPhil shortens the story considerably and stares at the amulet.
"Why would she be after you in particular?" Oracle asks.
RaPhil looks at Artemis, who nods encouragingly. "Ok, well it goes something like this. You see......the reason why I was human when I first came to the A&C, is that I was a fallen Ahura too." RaPhil finishes. She looks at Kelsa and Oracle, but they look like they are waiting for more. RaPhil continues. "Before my fall, Ahri-Ra was trying to take me over to the dark side. At one point, I was starting down the same road as her, and she had one final test for me to complete the transition from Ahura to Daeva." RaPhil again looks at Kelsa and Oracle, but seeing none of the judgement and anger that she was expecting, RaPhil feels she can finish her confession, "Fortunately, at the last moment, I pulled out. I couldn't do it. I then had to face the High Command, and was sent to earth to be a human and show by practicing virtue that I could again become an Ahura. I didn't have any memory of my past transgressions, but only knew how to heal. So heal I have. Along the way, I found myself drawn here to the A&C Hotel. I think it was because of Jahura I was drawn to where there was another Ahura well, now a Goddess."
RaPhil finishes her explanation and feels a bit spent herself.
MOUL KI: RaPhil: 148947 or Jandai: 142166