Title: 027 Gideon's Becoming
theseus - May 10, 2006 11:17 PM (GMT)
Gideon dreams of a burning blue spider web, beautifully constructed…the clear and cold lines are fixed and unmoving, yet reach outwards to infinity… the loops and whorls impose themselves on Gideon’s mind… stridently demanding that he remember something important… this vision is a part of him somehow, a part of his bloodline and his heritage… if only he could divine the meaning behind the artistic creation… for to understand this would be to understand everything…
theseus - May 11, 2006 02:40 PM (GMT)
Gideon wakes naked, with his head bandaged…
He has only a vague impression of his own identity, and no idea at all of how he has come to be where he is now… He suspects though, that all this may only be a vivid dream…
He is lying in a comfortable bed with velvet sheets. There is the pleasant scent of a woman’s perfume in the room. There are no windows, and the walls are all black. A glass globe containing a whitish florescent liquid hangs from the ceiling by a silver thread. On the far wall there is an art easel. Perched upon it is a large canvas, depicting a black demon with white horns. The image is unnerving at a deep level. There is also a desk and a mirror. The desk is covered with scrolls, books, strange metal objects, and a small wooden box.
Folded neatly on a chair next to him is a set of all black clothing; tunic, pants, and belt. Upon them is a note, set in place by a key. The note says ‘Thanks for a great time – I’ll be back soon, sleepyhead. Lydia.’
kklutzke - May 11, 2006 07:48 PM (GMT)
Gideon runs his hand along the sheets and strains to remember...desperately wants to remember, for it looks like it'd been a good time...but there's nothing there, a black hole, black like the walls of the room.
"Freck," he mutters.
He stands and dresses, pockets the key and the note, then looks about the room again. The painting is still unnerving, so his regard passes by it and lights instead on the desk.
He walks over and starts to give the objects on top of the desk a cursory examination, but stops with interest at the wooden box.
A memory flits through his head of a wooden box, a cube, covered with geometric designs, and then is gone.
He picks the box up and examines it more closely.
theseus - May 11, 2006 11:19 PM (GMT)
This box is rectangular and about three hand widths across. It has the smell of cleanly cut wood. Its slight coldness is pleasant to the touch. On the top and sides are intricate carvings of flowers. It has a flip lid, securely locked closed. The keyhole looks to be the same size and shape as the key in his pocket.
kklutzke - May 11, 2006 11:53 PM (GMT)
Intrigued, Gideon reaches into his pocket for the key and tries it in the keyhole. It fits; he turns the lock and opens the box.
theseus - May 12, 2006 01:42 PM (GMT)
Inside the box is a disc wrapped in silk. Gideon unwraps the silk to discover a flat disc, about two inches across. Even before he sees it, a feeling of dread runs down his spine. There is a black dot in the center of the disc, circled by a red border. On the outer rim are strange black runes. Gideon surprises himself by being able to read them. They say ‘To be as one’. Th disc brings back to Gideon sense impressions of great pain, darkness, and captivity. A painful throbbing starts in his bandaged right temple.
kklutzke - May 12, 2006 06:04 PM (GMT)
Gideon flings the disc from him, striking an adjacent wall with it. Adrenalin rushes and his breath quickens in anticipation of fight or flight, but a frenetic look around shows neither foe nor a way to run.
As he looks around he spies himself in the desk mirror and startles briefly at his reflection. A face he barely recognizes stares back: olive skin, dark brown hair, eyes a few shades lighter than his hair, a couple of day's worth of stubble across his jaw, and a white square bandage adhering to his temple. His breath catches at the sight and the throbbing increases.
"Freck," Gideon repeats, angry at his reaction to the disc, at not being able to remember, and at the throbbing. Still facing the mirror, Gideon reaches up and removes the bandage.
theseus - May 13, 2006 02:14 PM (GMT)
Unwrapping the bandage, Gideon finds that his right temple has a thin vertical scar of about two and a half inches. It is here that the throbbing is coming from. The scar looks as if it came from a very sharp knife, but is already showing signs of healing. His hair around the area has been neatly shaved off, making him look somewhat lopsided. Even as Gideon inspects himself, the throbbing diminishes to a quieter pulsing.
kklutzke - May 14, 2006 01:28 PM (GMT)
Recognition crosses his features.
"Implant?" he whispers to his reflection as he fingers the scar. His eyes widen.
Gideon drops the bandage on the floor and looks for a door.
theseus - May 17, 2006 08:47 PM (GMT)
There is a shimmering on one wall, and a door materialises. Upon it is a beautiful carved face of a woman. The face becomes animate, and smiles at Gideon. She speaks in a sweet voice, “The Lady Lydia extended you an invitation to stay here for the foreseeable future. If you would prefer to leave, you may return at any time. Otherwise, she will contact you by Trump when she can.”
The door swings open, letting into another corridor. She says “Turn left behind me and then right. This will lead you to a door that will take you into shadow.”
kklutzke - May 17, 2006 09:28 PM (GMT)
Bemused, Gideon follows the voice's directions through the cooridor and finds himself at a second door. He opens it.
theseus - May 18, 2006 08:29 PM (GMT)
On the other side of the door is the floor of a blue rock canyon, lighted by two suns hanging almost directly overhead. It takes a few moments for Gideon’s eyes to adjust, after the gloomy corridor he has just left. Strange white plants, with large flat leaves, grow along the walls of the canyon. There is a fork ahead, offering forward movement to either the left or the right. However, both avenues are overgrown with the white plants, making passage difficult, but still possible. This suggests though, that no one has passed down either route for a long time. Perhaps there is a third and less obvious choice…
kklutzke - May 19, 2006 12:44 PM (GMT)
Gideon steps out of the door and looks up and behind it.
theseus - May 20, 2006 09:58 PM (GMT)
Behind Gideon, the door is set into a canyon wall, and above it is a steep cliff, also covered in the white plants.
Gideon senses an odd tingling in the back of his mind. Someone is trying to contact him.
kklutzke - May 21, 2006 11:43 AM (GMT)
He steps away from the door, putting the canyon wall at his back. His hand rests warily upon a dagger at his belt.
Gideon allows the contact. "Who?"
theseus - May 23, 2006 08:14 PM (GMT)
An image of a beautiful and sophisticated brunette comes into focus. Her long black hair complements her clothing, a black cloak, black tunic and black pants.
Her green eyes show both puzzlement and concern. “Is everything alright? Why did you leave so suddenly?”
kklutzke - May 23, 2006 11:21 PM (GMT)
"Lydia," Gideon says, taking a stab in the dark as to the identity of the caller. "We need to talk. Can you pull me through?"
theseus - May 24, 2006 10:41 PM (GMT)
Her eyes narrow. “You left the disc out of the protective case. It would be safer for me to come through to you. Although…” she trails off, and then her eyes widen at a new thought. “We can use the disc as a decoy! I can trump it to a distant shadow, and send the demons on a wild goose chase. I’ll be back in a moment!”
Lydia cuts the contact. A moment later as promised, Gideon experiences the same tingling sensation of trump. He accepts, and it is Lydia again. This time, Gideon pulls her through to him. Lydia looks around her new surroundings, quickly gaining her bearings.
“OK, so what’s going on with you?”
kklutzke - May 24, 2006 10:53 PM (GMT)
Gideon reaches a hand to the scar at his temple distractedly. "What's going on with me? Good question. I...started to feel claustrophobic and wanted some fresh air." Which was partly true.
He dropped his hand and turned his attention to the green eyes in front of him. "Where did you go?" he asked her, letting his tone of voice sound a little plaintive. "When I woke up you weren't there."
theseus - May 25, 2006 09:00 PM (GMT)
“I was doing research for you,” Lydia says, a trifle indignantly. “I was in Temple of the Serpent library, searching for any references to the demons that attacked you. Their collection is extensive, but unfortunately, I’ve had no luck so far. If 'They' really exist, then they are extremely good at hiding themselves.”
kklutzke - May 25, 2006 10:01 PM (GMT)
"Lydia," Gideon says softly, smiling. He reaches out to caress her cheek. "You believe me though, don't you?"
theseus - May 27, 2006 10:44 PM (GMT)
She smiles demurely at Gideon's touch. “I trust you. I’m just a little uncertain about that box of yours. But I admit it was right about the tracking device.”
kklutzke - May 28, 2006 03:29 AM (GMT)
His expression sobers. "That was a good idea of yours to send the tracking device to another shadow. That buys me some time.
"Lydia...I appreciate your help, and I certainly appreciate...other things...about you," Gideon says as he touches her lips lightly with his fingertips. "But these demons are out for blood and I don't know how they feel about collateral damage. I don't want to see you get hurt."
theseus - June 1, 2006 08:45 PM (GMT)
Lydia laughs. “It’s a fine time to start worrying about me now! I rescued you, remember? If it weren’t for me you’d still be in that fake shadow thinking everything around you was real. Unless that group of bandits had managed to do you in first, of course!”
She kisses Gideon on the mouth, breaking off shortly afterwards.
She smiles, and her tone becomes softer. “It’s sweet of you to care about my safety. But I’m with you for the duration. I don’t want you to get hurt either. It would be a waste of… talent.”
kklutzke - June 2, 2006 10:07 AM (GMT)
"Talent?" He gives her a suggestive smile back, his gaze resting briefly on her lips, then reaches up to reposition a stray lock of hair away from her face. "I am indebted to you, no doubt. I hope someday I can repay you fully.
"In the meantime, however..." He trails off, smiling again, then runs a hand over his face. His mental gears shift and the change is evident in his features.
Gideon puts a few steps of distance between Lydia and himself. He crosses his arms and starts to pace in the small area. "My choices are simple: run and hide, or fight. Although there is certainly a strong appeal to the former," Gideon admits, his eyes sweeping over Lydia appreciatively, "it's the latter I will choose. I've no desire to spend my days in constant dread and fear of being found."
He pauses and turns to her. "The disk...Do you know of a way to track it? When they pick it up, we could use it to follow them back to where they're from."
theseus - June 2, 2006 09:07 PM (GMT)
Lydia looks surprised. “That’s a sudden reversal of attitude, isn’t it? Feeling more confident after a such a deep sleep?”
Lydia smiles coyly, and then bites her lip.
“I’m not sure how to track the disc. It was undetectable to my Logrus magic, though I’m sure I could work something else out, given a little time. I wish we knew more about how to defeat the demons too. They were completely resistant to my spells. They were stronger and faster than you. None of our weapons penetrated their armour, though I don’t think you ever had a good opportunity to try my silver dagger on them.”
“That’s why I was hoping some research would turn up something useful. It’s odd that there’s nothing on them at all. Demons immune to the Logrus should have been noticed before now.”
kklutzke - June 3, 2006 02:08 PM (GMT)
Gideon blinks in surprise and dismay. He turns away and slaps his open palm against the rock wall, hard enough to hurt. "I don't remember the events you're talking about," he tells her. "Why can't I remember?"
He swivels back to face her, his expression closed. "I don't remember you. You can do anything, lead me anywhere, tell me anything and I can't substantiate nor negate it."
theseus - June 4, 2006 02:04 PM (GMT)
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Lydia says. “This is only a-“
She stops speaking, staring at alarm at the door behind Gideon. She grabs him by the arm, propelling both of them down the left-hand canyon “They’re here! They must have tracked you through my ways!”
Lydia throws Gideon and herself behind an outcropping of rock, hiding them both from the doorway. She thrusts a silver dagger into Gideon’s hand. “Looks like we have a chance for a rematch. Unless you want me to use Logrus to get us out of here…”
kklutzke - June 8, 2006 05:40 PM (GMT)
"I wish to stay and fight," Gideon replies as he hefts the dagger, his heart pounding. He looks around the outcropping at the doorway. "How long until they're here?"
theseus - June 9, 2006 04:34 AM (GMT)
“Any moment,” Lydia says.
As if in response to her comment, there is a deep growling sound, followed by two black demons stepping out of the doorway. They swiftly change shape, becoming taller than their current six feet. They grow two large white horns from their foreheads, and extend white talons from their hands. Their eyes shift to thin slits to protect their red eyes from the bright sunlight.
theseus - June 14, 2006 05:01 PM (GMT)
Once their transformation is complete, the demons in black are eight feet tall, and heavily armed and armoured. They sniff the air, growling to each other, and then with heavy footsteps, start down the same canyon Anna and Gideon are hiding in.
kklutzke - June 15, 2006 11:31 AM (GMT)
"Freck," Gideon mutters, glancing from their talons to his little dagger. He catches Lydia's eye briefly before turning his attention back to the demons. "Can you get me a silver sword? And within the next five seconds?"
theseus - June 15, 2006 07:58 PM (GMT)
Lydia shakes her head. “Now I realise finding one should have been a priority. But they are specialised items, and would be guarded against being snatched by a Logrus tendril.”
kklutzke - June 16, 2006 02:57 AM (GMT)
"This will have to do, then," Gideon says resignedly as his grip on the dagger hilt tightens. "I'm about to find out whether silver affects them or not."
He impulsively kisses Lydia, cupping her cheek with his free hand, his lips lingering for just the briefest of seconds. His expression is pained and regretful.
"Farewell," he whispers, then turns to engage the first demon coming up the canyon.
theseus - June 17, 2006 07:45 PM (GMT)
Gideon waits behind the outcropping, gripping the silver dagger. The black demons approach on his position, but both sets of footsteps stop just before the demons come into sight.
theseus - June 22, 2006 07:13 PM (GMT)
Gideon jumps out from his hiding place, brandishing his silver dagger against the nearest demon. Instead of being surprised, the demon reacts with lightning speed. Its clawed hand darts forward, clutching about Gideon’s throat. The demon extends its arm while lifting Gideon off the ground. Gideon finds that his reach is not long enough to strike the demon with the dagger.
The demon snarls strangely with a toothy grin, and is perhaps laughing...
kklutzke - June 23, 2006 10:26 AM (GMT)
Gideon strikes at the arm holding him around the neck with the silver dagger.
theseus - June 23, 2006 03:28 PM (GMT)
The silver blade satisfyingly bites into the demon’s arm, but then becomes stuck. The demon doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest. As Gideon struggles to free the blade, he feels a strong wind start up all about him. It is accompanied by a roaring sound, accompanied by a strange and whispered babbling. The ground trembles.
Lydia’s voice rings out from behind Gideon. “Let him go! That roaring you here is primal chaos unleashed! It will be upon this place in a matter of moments. Release my friend, and I will spare your lives!”
Both demons blink, and look at each other with great concern. They turn their heads to look in the direction they came from. A roiling wall of infinite chaos and destruction approaches, as its colours shift through grays, reds, and blacks. The parts of the canyon close to the wall crumble and fall into it, vanishing forever. The wall is about twenty feet away, but closing fast. The roaring of the wind picks up. The babbling voices from behind the veil are more strident now, sometimes frightened, sometimes angry, and sometimes pleading. The once bright sunlight of this world now seems faded and listless.
kklutzke - June 25, 2006 04:33 PM (GMT)
Gideon gives up on the dagger and struggles mightily to unclench the demon's hand from around his throat.
theseus - July 2, 2006 08:43 PM (GMT)
As Gideon struggles to break the grip of the black demon, a field of darkness appears at the demon’s feet. Lydia shouts, from what now sounds like a great distance… The demon and Gideon both sink into this darkness and are soon engulfed by it. Gideon feels pain, and then nothing else for a long time…