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Zeitgeist Blue

Through the Mirrored Glass and Back Again

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Masque's illusion helped Abigail more than she might realize.  Not just concealing the mage from the defensive program, but ever since Abigail found herself 'inside' this construct she found herself semi-paralyzed by the conflict in self-image between her conscious and subconscious self.  Now she could focus on what was going on which.. she didn't know.  Yet.

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GM

 

With Masque's disguises working just as she had planned, Ouroboros had dismissed his fiery barrier. Yet the four students now found themselves herded along by the mass of remaining drones into the now opened dimensional doorway. If they spared a glance behind them before they entered the doorway, they would see that the mess of metallic bones and claws and heads Veronica's blast had created had dissappeared. The chamber floor gleamed, a burnished bronze, as if brand new and the runes seemed to flicker, laughing at the secret battle they and the chamber shared.

 

The pixelized eye was unaware, the woman's voice muttering under her breathe all the time.

 

And one after the other they stepped through the doorway to a corridor of droids and mirrors.

 

It was the faces of drones that first greeted them. And beyond those faces those with senses enhanced to beyond could sense a dozen, a hundred, and thousands more waited. They were backlit in a cold blue light, reminiscent of frozen caves beneath the arctic snows that Veronica had visited one too many times with her family in search of long lost artifacts. The doorway behind the students provided a far greater source of light, shining down like a great source of flourescent.

 

The ones nearest to the students stood, backs hunched slightly and heads turned down, humanoids all. They stood shoulder to shoulder, barely any space in between and not in neat arrays like in a parade, but disorganized as if the students found themselves in a crowded market.

 

They squeezed together and the few drones trailing the students entered and pushed them from behind until the students too were squeezed similarly, shoulder to shoulder with hard, cool steel. Down the corridor, they could see some movement as well. A few drones easily shuffle between their brethren, often seemingly without a purpose. The coordination between the drone units are uncanny.

 

Yet even with the occassional shuffling drone the whole corridor remains silent enough that the student's could hear their own breathing, if they even needed to breathe.

 

The walls of corridors themselves, hexagonal and seemingly bearing inwards, were a kind of dark reflective surface which reflected the drones from all angles. From above, from below, and around them the students could also look and see themselves as they really are, naked of the disguise Masque has created.

 

Though as the illussionist, Masque knows that this is only an illussion bypassing her illussion. She knows her mask's power still stands strong, if only because the drones are not attacking them anew.

 

The witch's dark clothing, the magician's white cloak, the explorer's charms. In the blue light that seemed to come from the mirrors themselves, their outfits seemed to almost match those of the drones. Steel backlit in cold blue light. Multiple Abigails, multiple Elizabeths, multiple Jacks, and multiple Veronicas staring back at them.

 

***

 

Ouroboros, as the one who had reached out to map the core, could more clearly see how this dimension was laid out. Corridors, like the one they were in, and more corridors, until it filled the whole dimension. Up and down and sideways like an anthill. But at the center of that maze, he could also sense the ambient heat from where the Electronic Defense System lies barely active. And another source of energy, similar to the doorways they had past encountered.

 

You still need to bodily navigate the maze, but so guided by the Dhampir's magical senses, you are confident that you would at least know the general direction of where you must go.

 

Yet there is a snag right at the beginning of the journey. Try as you might, the drones prove too packed together, the corridor too cramped for the four of you to make much headway.

 

You jostle and you push but each drone weighs its own size in metal and there are thousands more in your way. Though Ouroboros can move push them aside with minimal effort, the rest struggle with the skeletal frames. Poor Abby, even using her full weight to push could not make the nearest drone to her budge even an inch.

 

They remain stuck there, steel limbs and shoulders caging the students from all sides. Souless eyes stare at you from the standing drones, about as tall as Ouroboros, if thinner, and from below as the floor reflects everything almost perfectly.

 

Then the doorway behind you shuts down, leaving only the cold blue light to see by.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Ouroboros pushed against the weight of the security 'robots' with a slight frown.  "This way would take forever."  he noted ignoring that those without his vampiric might would have far more difficulty moving the heavy automatons than he even.  Peering out through the cracks eyes glinting with magic enhancing his mystic senses he nodded thoughtfully and with a wave and low chant began a minor conjuration, "Spectres of the Idolon reveal my will."  with the final invocation a translucent three dimensional map sprung into existence a dull blue light throbbing where the students stood and the areas within his sight revealed on the map as it drew a line of potential travel toward the heart of the dimension.  

 

"I'll scout ahead."  he offered with a quiet nod, "See if I can find any easier ways through for you all while you see if there is a better route?"  he suggested with a shrug leaving the dancing illusory map to track his progress as he vanished into a cloud of mist to flow seamlessly through the cracks and spaces between the mechanical guardians of the realm.  

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Ouroboros

 

It was magic, technically, but not the usual mystical arcane learnings that he had learned under Eldritch. No, right now he was a creature of the night, stalking and unseen through those beings with eyes or ears to sense the world. Even in this dimension within dimensions this fact remains and assisted by Masque's power lingering on him, Ouroboros flows seamlessly forward.

 

Only the flickering blue hologram that the others huddle around provides a lifeline between them and the vampire.

 

As Ouroboros ventures deeper, the corridors become moore twisted, going this way and that. The walls become more mirrors than solid material and their reflections different than they should be. Up becomes down and sideways flips, the right showing the left. Backwards goes forward and the reflections of drones move of their own accord, without input from the physical drones, as if the reflections had a mind of their own.

 

A funhouse of mirrors and silent watchmen. Your own reflections almost seem to wander about but you clamp shut on that idea, deny it, and they stay with you, more or less.

 

The drones themselves can't seem to decide which way is the ground and they stand wherever the surface may be.

 

You see more than one type of drone as you move in deeper than just the spindly, humanoid ones nearer to the exit. Lumbering golems fill up the corridors with their bulk, huge limbs and and a rock-like head set on a barrel-chested torso. Drones with arms like rulers writ large, rectangular and the length of three of their brethren, sit with their arms extended. Tiny drones hover in the middle of the corridors in dozens, as if what passed for gravity in this dimension had no hold on them. A drone without arms but a beak for a head blinks out of existence as Ouroboros floats forward, only for the drone to again reappear in the middle of the cloud of mist, disrupting the cloud.

 

Yet Ouroboros holds onto the form, paying no heed to the armless guardian as he continues ever onward. This whole scene is simple fare for one versed in the arcane and he is not disturbed nor disoriented in the slightest.

 

In fact, he seems to be getting closer to his destination. The ambient heat becomes hotter, soon looming over him like the sun in the horizon or a mountain as he nears its peak.

 

And he notices the pixels forming, more obvious now than they ever were. They line the corridors and buzz around the heads of the drones like flies.

 

Then the corridors empty of drones. There is a demarcation where they stand and then simply... they do not fill the space.

 

You float forward, favoring the dark places to hide in.

 

And before you is a chamber where the walls are composed of panels of large mirrors, enough for one batch of Claremonters to stand on and dance around. The chamber is empty save for a pillar of steel similar to that of the drones. It reaches from on end of the chamber to the opposite end and it is set at a slanted angle, but you reorient yourself so that it stands vertically.

 

In here, direction takes little meaning.

 

By the mirror you see a pixelated 8-bit eye, like the one that had appeared on the dimension before this. A woman's muttering could be heard from it but you cannot hear what she is saying.

 

Then you catch sight of something move in the mirror in the chamber opposite you, something that seemed larger than even the mirror itself.

 

But it is gone a second later.

 

Arcana, Masque, Veronica

 

You wait, huddled around the hologram as Ouroboros traverses the corridors, keeping a close eye on the blinking blue dot.

 

Minutes pass, perhaps half an hour. It is hard to keep track of time here, but as you watch the hologram, a drone without arms and a beak for a head, eyes set right on the point, appears on the wall beside you.

 

It doesn't react to your presence, instead facing the closed doorway that separates the two dimensions.

 

The drone pulls back its head and there is a sucking noise, like vacuum rushing out. Then after a few seconds of this it rocks its head forward and a continuous red beam shoots out of its eye towards the closed doorway.

 

As you watch, the doorway opens and the red beam seems to keep it open. The armless drone stands there but its brethren do not.

 

They activate as one, all around you. Red eyes turning baleful and facing the doorway. Again the screech of steel as joints move and clawed feet scratch against the floor.

 

They stride forward as one, for the doorway and out.

 

They part ranks as they move, spaces forming between each drone and Masque easily slides where they are not. A full body expression of the magician's sleight of hand.

 

Veronica follows suit, using her amulet's properties to provide a boost in coordination. And where she does not avoid the advance of marching steel limbs, she weathers the blows.

 

Arcana, meanwhile, chooses to stand her ground. A golden force field forms a barrier between her and a dozen and more drones, pushing them to the sides.

 

An easy experience for the three girls all in all, and with the surrounding space cleared it leads into a more comfortable one. They could stretch their arms without touching another thing in sight, though they still have to be wary of the steady stream of drones exiting the doorway.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica breathed a slight sight of relief when they finally managed to get clear of the various drone defenses.   After getting buffeted about for a bit, she was glad they had some space.  The teen had been in bustling crowds such as that before but it was still far from an enjoyable experience.  But most importantly, it was delaying them from getting to their destination.

 

Taking advantage of the space they had for the moment, Veronica took out some of her small curios and undid the prior offensive spell and began working on a new one.  "Well, if there is no clear way around them, we will just have to go over."  She said to her two friends as she finished the spell, a faint glow of green magic forming around her as she slipped a small silver bracelet with a new collection of charms attached.  Reaching out, she touched both Masque and the Arcana on the shoulder, the faint green glow surrounding them briefly as well.

 

The teenage Danger then started forward, but instead of walking across the ground, her steps took her up into the air.  After reaching a height higher than the drones, Veronica leveled out and just continued to walk at that height.

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"Oh! Well, that's convenient," said Masque, following Veronica's lead and air-climbing her way into freer space. She certainly wouldn't miss dodging drones; they weren't hard to predict, but they'd been making her claustrophobic. Briefly, she wondered if she could learn that trick - who didn't dream of flying?

 

For now she peered around, following the others' lead. "Maybe we'd best catch up with Ouroboros. If, um, we know where he went, exactly. Thirteen hours until we lose our brother to the Goblin King, and all, right? And I bet a lot less before one of those eyes notices that some of the drones are floating around."

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Ouroboros

 

Peering into the huge panel-mirrors, you see another dimension within them, each one connected to the other mirrors in the chamber. They form gateways into the dimension where you currently float.

 

Then you see it again, a flash of something within those mirrors.

 

A closer look reveals a great wrym-like creature but instead of blood, scales, and flesh it is a creature of steel, glass, and ice. Its scales flash in its domain as it floats, slowly twisting around the peneled mirrors of your dimension. It opens its maw and you see rows of teeth line the insides, different colors like shards of stained glass. And its eyes are always open, watchful for intruders that would defile its ward.

 

A guardian of the chamber, you surmise, one tied to the center of this dimension. But taking a closer look you see pixels line the mirrors, much like it had with the doorways. Trapping things. Controlling them. Cutting dimensions from each other.

 

The side of its serpentine head eye opens and it looks straight at you, from its domain and in your dimension. The pupil is as blue as ice and could easily fit your height inside it.

 

It just stares at you for long seconds, not moving or rearing its head in defiance.

 

Then the pupil contracts and you see its snout move fractionally before something gathers your mist from behind. Hot, like staying to close to a fire as it crackles. Then an instant later, you realize you are inside the chamber.

 

"What--"

 

The eye spins towards you, in surprise you think. It is hard to tell.

 

And as you look the self-same thing that had taken you pools into a vaguely man-like shape beside you, but no distinguishable features come forth. The figure's whole being is a deep black, as if light or shadow merely slides off of it. As if it were made of nothing.

 

Yet it turns to you and it smiles, showing a set of very white teeth, surrounded by mere nothing.

 

"Eyyyy, Snap, look what I found!" The figure leans towards you as if it could reconstruct your mist into your physical body.

 

"It's a regular robot," the woman's voice from the eye replies.

 

"Uh huh, seems like your eyes are getting too old for the job. You should see an ophthalmologist or you, intruder bot you, could show us how your real form."

 

"Nobody, just get back to--"

 

"Think," Nobody cuts her off. "I found this one right beside the chamber and bots never come this close."

 

Then the eye swivels to you and you could almost imagine the lightbulbs click. "So you were the one who tripped the defense system early."

 

"There we go." Nobody drawls. Then his form shifts to surround you in a semi-circle. "Don't tell me your that Whitfield cripple, eh iha?"

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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GM

 

Masque, Veronica

 

It doesn't take long for the three students to get going.

 

The same scene greets them as it did Ouroboros. Halls filled with drones, standing on all sides of the hallway as if this dimension could not decide which way was down and which way up.  They choke the hallways but with Veronica's spell, you can just walk over them, which definitely eases the strain of the trip. Stepping past the heads of drones varied in appearance, you have little doubt they vary too in abilities. Small, large, they let you pass unbothered as they believe you one of their own thanks to Masque's disguise.

 

Though one thing you do notice is the flickering of the mess of pixels surrounding each drone's head. Some of the pixels die, freeing the drones, and they immediately move back from where you came from as if possessed of a singular purpose. The drones with pixels still dancing around them stay inert.

 

Another thing of note moves through the walls with you. The walls become more like mirrors  with each passing minute but the reflections don't seem to reflect what is actually there. Sure, the drones are there and so are the two of you, still reflected as if Masque had not drawn an illusion about all of you, but the reflections' placements don't reflect what you do. You walk forward and they walk down, look up and they look behind them. Thankfully, this is the extent of Masque's reflection but Veronica and Arcana notices smaller movements from their own. They see from the corners of their eyes their reflections peeking at them, only to quickly cast their eyes somewhere else. As if you were the curiosities and not them.

 

Then they gets more brazen.

 

At one sharp turn of the hallway, you come face-to-face with Veronica's reflection, smiling slightly as she puts her finger to her lips as if to hush you. She keeps on watching as you move on. Then a little bit aways Arcana's reflection walks with you, but it is smaller as if she were at a distance instead of the mirror just a few feet to your right, close enough to leap to the side and tap it. Then again, just before a place where drones do not seem to venture into, Veronica's reflection shakes her head as if to dissuade you forward, her hand reaching up as if to grasp Veronica by the arm.

 

You feel the ambient heat of the generator, this mirror dimension's center.

 

And before you can act, a greater heat washes over you and the three of you throw yourselves to the sides, away from Veronica's reflection, not a moment too soon as a trail of what looks to be black smoke blazes past you. You do your best to keep up your magic and succeed against the heat and the surprise. 

 

It passes after a few seconds and when you look again, you see your reflections have vanished.

 

Then when you glance to your side you see Arcana sink into the mirror, disappear in it, what looks to be her hand wrapped around her mouth to keep her from shouting in alarm. Not a moment later and coming from the mirror-wall, Veronica's hand does the same and pulls her inside.

 

Masque

 

You hear two voices talking just a bit away, audible, but you are too busy dealing with what is in front of you to listen intently to what they are saying.

 

Veronica

 

Before your hand grabs you, you have a second to search for Arcana but she has disappeared even from your mage sight.

 

(OOC: As per PMs, Nick's choosing to leave this thread.)

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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GM

 

Veronica

 

You feel a hand grasp you by the throat and another clamping down on your mouth, preventing you from shouting in surprise. Your reflection pulls you back into the mirrored walls, once solid but now permeable as water, and in the blink of an eye your whole body is submerged beneath the liquid. Yet it keeps on pulling, even as bubbles escape your lips. Deeper and deeper as Masque disappears into a hazy silhouette and even that soon escapes your vision.

 

The liquid is clear but beyond that you only see a metallic silver sheen, as if you were inside a bowl whose insides were lined with lead.

 

What shall the young adventurer do?

 

Masque

 

Perhaps you try to go after your fellow student but the wall proves to be a wall, solid and unyielding, and you watch as she disappears deeper into the mirrored walls, pulled from behind by a thing that looks exactly like her. Yet there is little life in its dull eyes and you cannot fathom what she intends to do with Veronica. Abigail too is gone the same way and you realize with a start that you are alone save the nearest drones merely a dozen feet behind you. They droop listlessly, uncaring about the sudden commotion.

 

Again, the voices coming from your destination speak up, unaware of what had transpired.

 

What shall the young illusionist do?

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica had been distracted by the sight of something grabbing Abby and pulling her into a mirror when the same thing happened to the teenage Danger.  The hands that grabbed her were as strong as a vice, so after a brief struggle Veronica realized there was little chance she was going to free herself by struggling.  However, and hope that she would be freed by Liz faded quickly when Veronica herself was pulled into the mirror.

 

Focusing to keep her breath held, Veronica let herself go limp, waiting to see where she might be taken, and by whom.

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Veronica

 

All alone with something that could only be described as your reflection. It wears the same things as you and even seems to be using them, though only for strength to enhance its body you note. It does nothing else but swim, you in its grip. It does not assault you anew or batter you with some power. It does not even bother to look at you or acknowledge you and perhaps it does not even have sapience enough for it to bother.

 

A few seconds pass and before you could wonder whether all it will do is to swim forever, you catch sight of a large shadow from the direction you had been pulled from. It swims closer, large enough to be rival a blue whale you reckon and perhaps it could have been Masque and her illusions coming to the rescue but that is easily dismissed as you feel the the liquid shift in response, pushing you back with the force. Your reflection stops swimming and faces the thing coming at you.

 

It is a great wyrm-like creature but instead of blood, scales, and flesh it is a creature of steel, glass, and ice. Serpentine, it surges forward, head rearing and teeth flashing, only for its maw to stop a few feet from you. An aftershock current comes a moment later but your reflection paddles its legs against the current, keeping the both of you in place.

 

Then the wyrm's body curls through the liquid around you, almost swaddling you and your reflection in its crystalline body.

 

Bellios Bearer. You hear it pounding in your mind, just enough not to be painful. But the voice is booming and uncomfortable just the same, and the source can only come from the creature before you. Its eyes are like glacial ice and it turns its head to center you against one. It is not in any language you know but its meaning is clear.

 

I request you listen for I have been found wanting in my role as guardian of this realm and those adjacent. The Sphere has seen two actors perform unchallenged for too long, carrying their malice wherever they tread. But you and your companions seek to merge the Selves into one once more. Accept my aid and perhaps you may rectify my failures.

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