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Mazes and Minotaurs


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It felt like kicking a bush, because of course. "Yes, Olympian blood," she said matter-of-factly, "I don't know who 'he' is, but I'm about to send a very detailed message to 'him' though you." What came next was not a cleverly worded op-ed, it was her hand grabbing Chara's exposed stomach and retching it, before slamming the big woman into the tables, pinning her down.

 

"Oh, the message is not over," she yelled as she mounted her opponent, "it only gets more detailed from here on."

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Well, Moira might have more to say, but Chara was not in any condition to listen. The sheer force of the blow was more than enough to knock any chance of her getting up out of her. When she impacted with the table, she made another noise like multiple branches being broken, like something deep within her simply shattered, and her eyes rolled into the back of her head.

 

The people standing around Moira just watched, with Val slowly lowering her phone. "Damn, Moira. What kinda moves were those?" Val's words were kind of slurred by the wine, but she sounded much more sober than she had been while at the table.

 

"Here, Morley." Joey had moved up beside her, holding the golden gracer out to Moira. "Seemed pretty important to ya."

 

So, Chara was out of it. Who knew when she was going to wake up, if she even could wake up from that? One of the others, a young African-American man with long dreadlocks, dressed in black shorts and a grey t-shirt, asked "So, what now? We can't go back out of here." He was probably in early twenties, and seemed rather unsure of the entire thing, almost like he had just woken up from a dream.

 

True. But they had two options to push ahead. North or East. The people that had run had headed East, but there was a burning smell, like meat on fire, coming from the North.

Edited by RocketLord
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Getting up off of the unconscious lightweight villain, Moira dusted off her hands, pulling herself out of her fight cadence. She sighed with fake remorse, "they don't make em like they used to," she followed up with a small laugh. Pulling Val close, she hugged her energetically, "you should ask me one day when we're not in a maze. It's a good self defense technique and a lot of fun to learn."

 

Though when Joey presented her the bracer, she took it with and almost reverence. She didn't know what the consequences of severing her connection to 'home' was. Would it even work anymore? Would her divine connections be upset with her? Gods were a petty bunch, but they were family. She held her breath putting it back on. It started to glow a little, giving her a warm feeling, but it felt empty. She tried to connect with Aphrodite, then Ares, then Apollo, then Dionysus. They were quiet on that part. Even if they never talked to her again, she would honor the treasure that was her family artifact.

 

Cute guy with dreadlocks made an informal introduction to the group. "Of course not," she greeted him with a relaxed smile, "we gotta find the rest of your buddies. I think they went," she pointed East, "that way?" She hope none of them went north. East would be the easier check though. Something told her gut that she didn't want to see what was North just yet.

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"That seemed like more than just self defense," Val muttered to herself, when Moira let go. There was a hint of suspicion to her voice, but it seemed like she would let it go, at least for now.

 

The guy with the dreadlocks nodded. "Yeah, I think they went in there. What is this crazy place, anyway? It was just supposed to be a labyrinth or something." He was obviously distressed. Almost hsaking a little bit, but Moira taking charge of the situation seemed to help a little bit, at least.

 

The room to the East different. About half as wide as the previous room, but maybe one and a half times as long, ending in a dead end. Not a whole lot of space to move around for a group of eight people, but they could fit somewhat comfortably, at least. The room was dominated by a pair of statues, one about one third into the room, the other standing at about two thirds into the room. The first statue seemed to be a classic depiction of Zeus. The other of Hades. Both were standing facing the entrance that Moira and her group had come through, while stretching their right arm out, pointing towards the North. 

 

An Asian woman was sitting at the foot of the Zeus statue, sobbing. Her black hair was tied into a, by now, rather loose bun at the back of her head, her white t-shirt stained with drops of wine, and the knees of her jeans had been worn out. She was bare foot, having lost her shoes somewhere along the way. "I-I don't know what happened! I looked away, and suddenly everyone else was gone!"

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Moira knelt down next to the woman, putting her hand on her back to try to console her, "we'll find everyone and get them out of here safely. I will do everything in my power to protect all of you." She didn't know the future, but Moira could not stand back while people were helpless, afraid, or otherwise in distress.

 

Offering the woman a hand she stood up, looking at the statues. She smiled at the statue of Zeus, "you know, for all the stories you hear of him. He's, ech," she shrugged. She was going to say 'not that bad' but then again, he wasn't that good either. She'd never met Hades, he was walled up in Tartarus before she was born. But she'd heard the more recent things, the stuff that got him imprisoned. Not a fan of the guy. "Let's just say two thousand year old tales don't do anyone justice."

 

They were both pointing North, but there was no exit there. Moving through the tight room, she got to the wall, pressing against it, and generally moving away the leaves and other things holding the wall together. Maybe she could find one. Maybe she would make one!

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The woman got up, holding one arm while trying to stop crying. Joey, in a somewhat uncharacteristic feat of noticing other people, placed an arm around her and started talking to her, trying to comfort her while Moira started looking. The guy with the dreadlocks moved up behind Moira and started looking. "So, what are we looking for?" he asked, while rustling through the leaves. "I'm Charlie, by the way. Sorry about that back there, think I'm getting better now."

 

As it turned out, their search were succesful. They found not one, but two secret doors, or something that seemed like it, at least. Just North of the statues, at the exact points where they were pointing, in fact, there were indents behind the vines and leaves. Something big that was not a natural part of the wall, easily able to fit a person much taller and wider than Moira. They seemed to be closed shut, with no visible places to put your hands to open. 

 

"Maybe there's some kind of secret switch somewhere?" Val suggested, while she tried knocking on the door North of the Hades statue, to little effect.

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"Glad I could help, Charlie," Moira said as the two were searching the wall. If anything, making people feel better was something in her nature. Like she was born to do it. Her original calling was 'the goddess of hedonistic pursuits'. Even though that felt like a lifetime ago, she always made sure people were happy and having fun. "If you need anything, just ask. And if that's a way out of here, well, consider that done," she seemed intently working on the wall, but lightening the mood was one thing on her mind.

 

When they found the passages, she grinned, nudging Charlie, "you're good at that, man, maybe you can teach me how to better find things." Pounding at the wall was the first order of business. If anything, try the easy way first. If not, well, Val had a point.

Edited by Moira Morley
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"I dunno about that. I mean, you found me and the others, right?" Charlie shot back, as he stood up and looked over the secret door or whatever it was, placing his hands at his hips. "Man, that weird Chara lady isn't even the weirdest thing here, is she?"

 

Val's pounding on the door didn't seem to do much. When Moira started hammering on the door North of Hades, it didn't have much effect either. Well, at least at first it didn't. As she started hitting the door harder, slowly increasing the power of her blows, it began to shake with each blow as she slowly began going beyond the power that a normal mortal would show. Finally, as she put even more power into it, the wall began to crack. She kept on and on, until, finally, it gave away, revealing a path forward.

 

True to the nature of Hades, the leaves and branches on the path ahead were withered and dying. The ground was covered in dead leaves, with the hallway leading further and further ahead, disappearing into mists about 50 feet down from the room they were in.

 

Joey and the woman came closer, along with the others. "Man, that does not look nice."

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"Ugh," Moira nodded in agreement with Charlie and Joey. "Wait a moment," Moira seemed to wrack her brain for some memories, "you know, I'm reminded of stories about how walking into the land of the dead is a bad thing." She cracked her knuckles in her hand, surveying the situation, "while this does look bad, it doesn't look 'walking into the land of the dead' bad."

 

She looked over the the door north of Zeus, "then again, if we find lightning behind the other door." She looked to the group, "everybody get back. Go into the hallway. I don't want you guys to get hurt." She saddled in front of the Zeus door, ready to do the same when they were ready.

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"Man, I don't care what Moira says, that %&#$ she's pulling is not just some self-defense." Val had crossed her arms as Moira got to work on breaking down the other secret door down. Joey, the woman having disentangled herself from him and moved a bit away, just shrugged. "Hey, at least she's smashing the walls, right?"

 

After a few thundering strikes, the secret door North of the Zeus statue gave in and crumbled. And where the path North of Hades where filled with dead leaves, the path North of Zeus were practically brimming with life and light. Flowers growing on the walls and grass on the floor, and light so bright that it blinded you coming from the end of the path. It was impossible to see further than about 50 feet down the hallway, but all in all, it appeared rather idyllic and peaceful.

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Moira smirked at Val's comment as she laid into the door. "What are you talking about," she said smashing at the passage, "this thing threatens our way out of this place and holds other innocent people." With one final smash, the light broke through quick enough that Moira had to shield her eyes. But once she adjusted, it was perfect, beautiful. She took a few seconds to admire it's beauty. Sticking her hand in she nabbed a flower and put it in her hair.

 

"You guys can come back now," she called to the group, "I think I found the right door." Putting a hand on her hips, she grinned, pointing at the better passage. "See?"

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Joey whistled, looking down the path. "Yeah. That do seem much nicer." He was about to start walking when Val placed a hand on his shoulder, pulling him back.

 

"You sure about this, Morley?" she asked, looking over. "I mean, maybe its just making the bad path look nice, right?"

 

"Or maybe they're equally bad." Charlie piped up from the middle of the group, quickly joined by various murmurs from the other people in the group, advocating either going one way or another.

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Moira, technically the leader of this small group, took all the suggestions equally. Dead things, alive things. Safety and peril. She focused on her connection with her family through her bracer, but it didn't seem to work, only giving a dim glow. There were no easy answers. She couldn't punch this problem. "The light does look safer. Dead pass is kind of fraught with dead things. If it were just me, I'd check it out, but I have people to protect."

 

She took a step into the lighted passage way, "so far, so good." She looked back to the whole of the forming group, speaking up, "please, stay close," she said with concern, "I'd like to have you at least with in arms reach." She looked to Val, then Joey, then Charlie, "you guys are my life lines. OK?" She smiled, "can't live without you."

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The path led on. The light was blinding, coming from further North of the path. The others made various approving sounds and and shouts, with Val, Joey and Charlie taking the lead after Moira. The rest of group followed behind, leaving just the other two people that had disappeared from the statue room before Moira reached it. 

 

As they continued, two paths appeared on the left, both leading to the West, while the path also continued onward, towards the intense light source coming from the North. Both the paths to the West didn't have the bright light, but otherwise seemed to be as abundant with flowers as the path they had first taken.

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As the light got brighter, Moira shielded her eyes with her hand. "Sometimes safe doesn't mean easy," she told herself, trying to rationalize her decision as a good one. Though the two hallways to the left were a blessing in disguise. "Guys, quick," she she spoke up again, ushering the group into them. It would be cover from the light for a bit until she decided if it was worth it to keep trudging forward.

 

"Well, either way we would have been going in blind," she said with a laugh. "Actually, hold on, stay here," she said, "I'm going to check down here, but won't leave you." Which she kept her promise, walking about thirty feet down, still within eye shot of the group.

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The path continued about 50 feet ahead, before abruptly turning to the right. From her current position, Moira could not see how exactly it turned, what was around the corner, but turn, it did. As far as she could guess, it would continue on North. The flowers on the wall had started to fade, the further Moira continued down the path. At the 20 feet point, it was just grass and leaves. And yet, something else had changed. The branches seemed to be decreasing in density, the number of leaves were lessening, and the natural wall seemed to start being replaced by a featureless grey wall of rock. 

 

There was a loud noise, like a door being slammed, and Val called out. "Uh, Moira? That door you broke? It just came back!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Moira didn't mean to wander that far off, it just happened. Curiosity lead her off course. It was Val's admonishment that brought her back. "Huh," she said reflexively, noting that the door was back. "Really," she grunted a frustrated question. It wasn't frustration with the group, they were the only ones keeping her going.

 

"Alright," she perked up. Looking at Charlie, she put her hands together, in askance, "I need your shirt. I promise to give it back. In once piece, if you're lucky." She looked out to, but not into, the bright hallway. Needing a way to see without getting blinded, the fabric would shield her eyes, but the brightness would definitely shine through. It wasn't a well thought out plan, but a plan none the less.

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Charlie looked over, looking a bit hesitant. "Uh, sure, I guess." He obviously wasn't getting just why Moira needed the shirt, but, reluctantly, he agreed, pulling it off and handing it over to Moira. With his chest now bare, he reached up to cover himself a bit with his arms, mostly to try and keep warm.

 

"So, what now?" It was Val piping up, gesturing towards the light. "Go into the light? Y'know, I've heard some bad things about doing that."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Moira let a playful whistle as Charlie handed over his shirt. Keeping the mood light, no one needed to worry. "Hm," she said fiddling with the shirt. She worked it into something resembling a cowl that would go over her head and cover her eyes. She saw this on so many of the street heroes. Foreshadow probably rocked this in his early days.

 

"How's it look," she asked the small crowd. It looked nothing like Foreshadow, but it would protect her eyes from the light. "Going that way," she said in a gruffer than usual voice, pointing out to the brightly lit hallway. "Stay here. Will be back soon."  Again she let out a silent call to.Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, Dionysus as she walked into the face of certain danger. Still no answer. Were they gone for good? Even if they were, she had a job to do with or without them.

 

The light showed through the shirt cowl, giving her some protection from it, but not enough to block it all.

Edited by Moira Morley
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"You look ridiculous." It was Joey. That much was pretty clear, both from his voice and tone, even if Moira couldn't quite see him. "I dunno about this. Staying back here might be safe from whatever's down that way, sure, but what if that weird plant lady wakes up, or whatever took the other people?"

 

"Moira sounds like she knows what she's doing, so let's just stay." Val, moving to her defense again.

 

As Moira continued into the light, it grew more and more intense. It felt almost like it burned, but not quite. Even with the cloth for her eyes, Moira could barely see anything. Then, she reached the end. The light shone from what seemed to be a mirror, embedded deep in the wall, and the path turned to the right, into darkness, like in the evening as the sun had set. With the bright light in her eyes, it seemed even darker than it should be, but it seemed like it led into an open area. There was a mirror that shone as bright as the sun, and a path ahead, but what would Moira choose to do?

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As she tried to focus on the mirror, she breathed a sigh of relief. It was not some kind of trap And if it was, well, it wasn't fire. Or a portal to the sun.Not that she was going to focus on the mirror for a long time. She liked her sight. Reaching out to the mirror, She was going to turn it around. But got a very painful surprise when she touched it. "Hot," she said pulling back her hand, "maybe it is a portal to the sun. Not gonna find out personally."

 

Turning back, she went to the group in the 'safe' dim hallway. "OK, so that was a bust," she said pulling the shirt cowl off of her head, handing it back to Charlie. "Only thing down there is a mirror. Hot to the touch. And an open area?" She blinked a couple of times. Going from absolute light to even less light made her see little (and big) motes of ephemera. Light spots. "Now that I remember, It was not as bright."

 

She uncovered her eyes. "New plan," she said energized. "I'm going to lead the way. You guys are going to cover your eyes and hold on to me. Whatever you do, don't touch anything but me." She motioned a finger at Charlie, smiling, "gonna need that again."

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"Sure, go ahead and keep it, I guess." Charlie shrugged, but it seemed clear that he was flexing just a little bit.

 

They all grouped up, with Charlie putting a hand on Moira's shoulder, the feeling of a hand being slapped away when Joey tried to put his hand on her butt, and then moving up to her arms, followed by Val and the others doing the same, while all of them put their arms in front of their eyes to block the light. 

 

"Yanno, I'm pretty sure they say to don't go into the light, but who am I to judge?" Joey piped up, as Moira led the way forward. 

 

Despite the feeling of the bright light still almost burning Moira's eyes even through the cloth, and one of the others complaining that they could almost see the light through their arm, getting through the hallway was rather uneventful, as they reached the open area.

 

The area was rather unlike the path they had just been on. There seemed to be a mist covering it, with a random assortment of ruined Greek ruins covering the area. Columns lots of statues, the ruins of a single house... Moira couldn't see quite how far the room stretched, as it disappeared into the mist.

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"Thanks," she grinned, "I can honestly say, 'I went maze and got a tshirt.'" Again, she situated on her head like the eyeless cowl before. Walking out into the blinding hallway with her small group of people. "Hey," she said as they walked toward their destination, "it's the blind leading the blind, guys!"

 

As they left the lighted hallway, she took the tshirt off and tied it around her arm without the bracer on it. The vision was still hazy, but not about to give her permanent sight loss. "You can look now," she said almost rhetorically. She almost wondered what this could mean. "Ruins? Not a fan. The unbroken stuff is much more beautiful."

Edited by Moira Morley
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"Dunno, its got a kind of eerie charm, doesn't it?" Val had, like the others, removed her arm and was admiring the scenery. "But all that mist is weird. Like, we're already in a maze y'know? Why make it even harder to see us?"

 

While most of the group stayed back, Joey had taken it upon himself to move into the mist, towards one of the statues. It seemed to be in pretty decent shape, all things considered. No arms or anything missing, it seemed almost life-like. "Man, look at this chick! How'd anyone make something this beautiful outta stone?"

 

Something drew Moira's attention. She could swear she saw a shadow moving through the mists to the right, but it was gone the moment after. A slithering sound, then it disappeared. It seemed they were not alone.

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She nodded at what Val pointed out, "mazes are supposed to be fun and all, but I think the entertainment here was supposed to be me. Not for me," she shrugged. Grinning at Joey's observation, "you need to see some of the stuff back home. It's about the same." She looked to Charlie with a smirk, "then again, some people are meant to be immortalized in stone."

 

As if to point out the folly in her words, the shadow and slithering sound only brought about one thought. More danger. "Stay close," she spoke out a warning to the group, "we might have a visitor." Technically they were the ones invited. Semantics. She waved Joey back and stepped towards Charlie and the woman - who she realized she didn't know her name, "You alright, dear? I hope this isn't too much," she smiled with wordless assurance that she would protect her and the rest of the group.

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