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Shadows of the Sapphire Moons IC

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Danger Manor

North Bay, Freedom City

Saturday, June 20, 2020. 10:23 AM


The current academic year had recently ended at Claremont Academy, and for a change, Veronica did not have something that immediately needed her attention. This meant both she and her cousin, Janus, were able to spend some time at Danger Manor before they set off for any summer plans. Of course, given that allowing a pair of teenage Dangers to remain idle for too long was asking for trouble, the cousins had been set to work straightening up an attic in one of the wings of the large estate.


Veronica climbed the last set of stairs that led up to the attic space in question, holding a LED camp lantern in one hand as she reached the top and began to look about the shadowy stacks of boxes, furniture and other objects that were illuminated by the lantern. "I remember coming up here during a game of hide and seek when we were eight." She said over her shoulder to her cousin.


Moving further into the attic, Veronica went over to the nearest pile of boxes to start getting an idea of just how monumental this task might be. The teenage Danger was dressed in her typical attire, dark grey cargo shorts, an olive green T-shirt over which she wore a light brown thin linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up, along with her well-worn hiking boots.


The brown haired Danger had been a bit more quiet than normal since the end of the school year. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that during the last week of school Veronica had ended her relationship with a graduating Senior from North Bay Academy whom she had started dating before the winter break.

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Janus, for their part, had been quiet but that was due to contemplating Ace's offer of seeking a few... adjustments to their physique to resolve some internal dysphoria. At least Janus was no longer grieving the loss of Fortuna quite so hard. 


"We're just lucky we didn't fall through a portal or activate some doomsday device," Janus commented wryly. They had to duck under a drape that hung low across the walkway. Janus had eclipsed Ace's height in the last year and had finally stopped clocking their heads on the occasional low hanging branch. "You know, we could be lounging by the pool or watching a movie in the movie theater. We even have some that don't star any relatives. Sacrilegious though that might be."


Despite the mild complaint, spending time with Veronica even if it meant cleaning was far more appealing than spending time alone. Thus Janus dutifully bent at the waist to pick up one of the boxes to move to some place it could be easily sorted. Janus wasn't dressed any more appropriately than they ever were but Veronica was well aware  that Janus could fight a monster or do a backflip in their tight trousers and jacket without breaking a sweat, "Do you have a method to this madness?"

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Veronica Danger


Veronica gave a small laugh at Janus' comment about having not fallen through a portal or activated some doomsday device, if only because it was entirely possible something like that could have occurred! Just a couple months earlier that Veronica and their fellow classmate at Claremont Felix had gone down to Brazil to deal with a giant robot which had been sitting in a Danger International warehouse for some seventy years. Danger Manor was no less a collection of unusual and sometimes dangerous objects collected by the family members for nearly a century.


"Well, I am pretty sure Aunt Rachel was not expecting us to finish this in day, nor spend all day at this." Veronica replied to her cousin's comment about lounging by the pool or watching a movie. "So maybe see what we can get to for part of the morning and spend the rest of the afternoon doing one or both of those things and then come back at it over the next few days?" She suggested.

Setting the lantern down on a table concealed under a drop cloth, Veronica went over and picked up a box of her own and moved it over near where Janus had sat theirs. "Method? No, I am pretty sure this is an exercise in futility. But I guess just start looking through things and anything that is obviously just junk we can either get rid of or maybe donate."

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Janus gave a loose limbed shrug before pulling the dagger from their boot to slice open the old tape. "I suspect Aunt Rachel assumed we'd blow it off. Well, I know she suspected that I'd blow it off and blame grandfather's bad influence."


Ace was Janus and Veronica's great-uncle but since his father, the clan patriarch, had died, Janus had switched the title of grandfather to the new family head. It probably had something to do with the traditions of Janus' mother's family. Despite their fluency, the faint accent was a reminder that English wasn't Janus first, or even second, language. Janus' lips curved in amusement rather than frustration, though. Rachel had a tendency to assume that Janus would fall in Ace's footsteps of rowdy trouble making; an assumption that Janus cultivated. Veronica, however, was well aware that Janus was much more thoughtful and precise. In their years at Claremont, Janus would flirt with students but only very superficially. Janus didn't pursue relationships with other teenagers. They didn't sneak out ever, either, although Janus' carefully cultivated image meant no one would be surprised if they did. Instead, most of their time was spent reading, training or studying. Hardly the life of the hedonist.


Janus pulled out a vintage jungle patrol lunch box that looked to be in mint condition and idly poked through the rest of the box. "I think this is all merchandise from decades ago."

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Veronica Danger


Veronica gave her cousin a smile as they mentioned Aunt Rachel likely blaming Uncle Ace for being a bad influence. "There are worse role models." She replied with a shrug. Veronica had been more than happy to be the keeper of Janus' "secret," not saying anything that might be contrary to the image she tried to cultivate at the school. Indeed, the two often studied or trained together while at school. In fact, between the two, it was Veronica that was perhaps the one who felt more confined at the school, and had taken as much advantage of their role in Danger International to head off on some adventure or another.


"This one looks to be the same." Veronica replied as she looked into the box she had chosen. "Might want to consider donating some of it to some museums, I am sure at least the Smithsonian would be interested in some." She replied as she pushed her box off to one side near the exit. "The rest….maybe arrange for it to be auctioned off to donate to some of the foundation’s charities?"


The cousins continued their work for the better part of an hour, finding a couple more boxes of old merchandise, a box full of old maps, a box of pictures that they set aside to more carefully go through later, along with all other manner of junk, old furniture and odd knick-knacks. The two Dangers had managed to make at least some noticeable headway into a small section of the spacious attic.


As she moved an large drape covered chair to one side, Veronica looked past it and stopped a moment. "Hey Janus, come look at this." She said over her shoulder before focusing back in the direction of one of the attic walls.

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Janus, at least, had found a pirate blade and that had briefly engaged the swashbuckling teen. Janus was twirling the old and far too dull blade to test its balance when Veronica called. Dutifully, Janus shifted the blade to their shoulder to amble over with feline grace. 


"Finally find something good, Ronnie?" Janus asked with genuine interest. They dropped the blade down onto the surface of the chair, dusting off their palms from the slight grime that had coated the weapon. Though, really, it was more of an artifact than a weapon at this point. Janus was reasonably certain that they could do more damage with their great-great grandfather's umbrella stand than the aged cutlass. "Or at least potentially embarrassing for one of the elder Dangers? I'm still holding out hope that there's baby pictures of Aunt Rachel lurking around up here."

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Veronica Danger


Veronica chuckled at Janus' comment about hoping to find baby pictures of their Aunt Rachel, or anything else that might embarrass some of the family elders. "There is always hope that something like that could be tucked away somewhere up here." She replied. "But I do not believe this is anything like that, unless it is a very large family portrait or a collection of lots of smaller family pictures in one massive frame."


Janus joined Veronica back near one of the attic walls. There, both Dangers could see part of some large object that appeared to be either set up against the wall or perhaps resting on it. It was hard to tell because only one edge of it was visible from behind boxes that blocked the rest, and it was covered in a heavy cloth drape. What they could see what it appeared to be some sort of slightly curved object, about a foot wide and half that thick, that went up higher than Janus' height before flattening out to run horizontal. How long it was to the other end the currently could not see.


"Shall we see if we can get it uncovered?" Veronica asked.

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Janus made a noise of agreement. Portraits were really more the family style. Shrugging their shoulders, Janus stepped forward to help shift the boxes. The fit swordsman didn't have trouble moving the bulk of the pile and Janus made no complaints about indulging Veronica's curiosity. Really, despite their complaints, it was nice to spend some time together. They might be roommates but Veronica had her own circle of friends and school kept Janus busy enough. 


Once the boxes had moved, Janus went to reach up for one corner of the sheet. "It's dusty, so mind that you don't get any in your eyes," Janus offered, glancing over to see if Veronica was ready to reveal her prize. Hopefully it was something at least a little more exciting than Danger memorabilia. 

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Veronica Danger


Working together the Danger cousins soon had the boxes and other clutter cleared enough to expose the entire drape covered object. Once the found the other end it turned out to be almost ten feet across. "Wow, if this is a portrait, it better have most of the family in it." Veronica commented with a slight grin, although she was beginning to have doubts that it actually was a portrait.


As Janus went to get one end of the cover that covered the unusual object, Veronica moved over to the other, nodding at Janus’ warning about the dust. "Okay, ready." She replied as she reached up and grasped the cloth. Together the Danger cousins were able to pull the heavy cloth off, the effort quickly lessening as the weight of more of the cloth began to add momentum.


The cover fell down to the floor in front of the object with a small cloud of dust kicking up around it. Veronica waved a hand in front of her to clear the dust out of her face as she looked to see what they had just reveled.


There was no family portrait under the tarp, nor even another type of painting. What they found was large, slightly oval archway made of dark grey stone. There were carvings of some sort along the edges of the stone, although the light was not good enough back in this corner of the attic to see what they might be. Stretching across the space between the sides of the stone archway was a smooth sheet of what appeared to be obsidian, slightly reflective and dark as the deepest night.


"Oh, this looks rather sinister." Veronica commented as she stared at the unusual object.

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"Careful, Ronnie," Janus murmured, well aware that Veronica's curiosity was liable to have her meddling with magic. Janus wasn't about to stop her, but without any outsiders, Janus was comfortable reminding Veronica to caution as she went to poke and prod at the mirror. Considering their family's storied history, really it could be anything and Janus had a healthy respect for the dangers of magic mirrors or similar stones. Janus nodded once at Veronica as figuring out what magic did was far more her knack than Janus' own. Janus was well aware that their abilities were more muscle than not when it came to any sort of magic fight. 


Reaching up one elegant hand towards their chest, Janus touched their breastbone and closed their fingers around the curl of power just waiting below the surface. With a moment of concentration, Janus drew a blade of magic from their own chest, curling their fingers around the glowing hilt. Veronica knew that Janus was taking things seriously when the swordsman manifested their true weapon rather than use the smaller dagger on their hip. "Alright, poke away."

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Veronica Danger


Veronica had been studying the now uncovered object with a slightly far-away look, which tended to indicate she was using her mystical sight. As Janus gave their initial warning and then drew out their magical blade, Veronica glanced back towards her cousin, whose blade shined like a beacon to her eyes. The fact Janus was considering this dangerous enough to summon their blade was not lost on Veronica, who turned back towards the object.


"I was not planning too much poking at this just yet." Veronica replied with a small grin. "Least not till I might get a better idea what exactly it is. There is magic in it, but…faint and hard to get a good read on." As she spoke, Veronica picked up the lantern the pair had been using to give some additional light in the area they had been working. Moving the light closer to the large object, she began to look a bit closer at the archway itself. As she did so, she shifted the magic in one of the gems in the amulet she wore around her neck to possible help her in her examination.


Even as she did so, there was suddenly a slight HUMMMM that began to emanate from the object. Some of the carvings on the stone gateway began moving, shifting in place. "We might want to back away!" Veronica said as the object became active.


But even as she spoke, the smooth black surface of the center of the object clouded over with white to then suddenly clear up to a mirrored surface, reveling a seemingly endless mirror reflection of Janus and Veronica within its depths. Glancing behind them, the two Dangers saw that somehow the mirror reflection continued out in the other direction as well, everything else around them just black nothingness.


Then, almost as quickly as the mirror reflections appeared, they seemed to collapse back towards the two teens who felt a firm jolt.


As the area around them started to come back into focus, they saw they were no longer in the attic of Danger Manor. Instead they were standing on a worn stone floor, stone walls just visible in the shadows at the edges of the light cast by the lantern Veronica was still holding in two directions. The pair were standing in front of a nearly identical object to the one they had uncovered in Danger Manor that was affixed to another stone wall.

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Janus grunted slightly as the world twisted, turning with blade in hand in one elegant movement to take in their new surroundings. "Never been a fan of portal mirrors. Don't imagine we can easily pop back in the way we came, no?"


Raising their hand to breastbone height again, Janus pulled on the magic that was their birthright and a glimmering pink buckler formed over their free hand. Spinning slowly, Janus crossed one booted foot over the other to turn and take in a full three-sixty degrees. "Well, it's not Fortuna. I'm used to what home feels like and I'm used to Prime, past that, I haven't a clue as to where we are. What direction are we going in? Any ideas?"


Other than slightly elevated concern, Janus took the events in stride. It was unlikely that a Danger-child made it through their first decade without falling through at least one magic portal or another. 

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Veronica Danger


Veronica frowned slightly as her cousin began taking in their surroundings a bit more carefully. Similar to Janus, it was more in annoyance than any significant concern. "I am not sure yet." She said in reply to Janus' question about whether they would be able to return to Prime as easily. "It almost seemed like the mirror in the manor was triggered when I activated the magic in one of my amulet's gems. So, I can probably try that again, although cannot say for certain it would take us back to the manor." The teen replied as she moved the lantern closer to the stone edges of the new portal to study it some.


As Janus turned about in place to take in their surroundings, they could see they were in what appeared to be a rectangular room with stone walls and a vaulted ceiling that rose well over a dozen feet above. There were no windows on the walls, and they were standing by one of the short walls of the rectangle, on which the other obsidian mirror was fixed. The other longer walls were smooth, fitted stone with no markings or carvings. They could just make out the far wall at the other side, a dark open doorway visible, through which Janus could make a faint light from somewhere beyond.


"Might be helpful if I get my symbols out of my dimensional storage before I go and try to trigger the portal." Veronica continued as she turned to look at her cousin. "But, might be a good idea to do so away from this thing, just in case that triggers it as well."

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"Let's," Janus agreed, nodding towards the dark doorway. "Shall I take point then?"


Janus moved forward, their booted feet catlike and quiet on the stone floors. Janus always walked with a certain degree of elegance; that amount of training changed the way a person carried themselves permanently, but it was usually with more of a lazy grace. Janus was still light on their feet, but their movements were smooth and precise, the lethality that Janus kept masked and muffled at Claremont on full display. Janus wasn't afraid, but they were fully aware that dark mirrors did not often teleport their family typically for fun time and vacation. 


"I hope we're not in some time dilation. You know how Grandfather is, it'll be a week or two before he starts to worry as it stands. I'm not really eager to be spat out and have everyone we know a decade older. I've only just gotten used to the other students as it is."

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Veronica Danger


Veronica fell in line behind Janus, not necessarily one to shy away from leading the way into the unknown she knew that Janus was the better choice to focus on any potential threats while Veronica tried to figure out a way for them to get back home. The teenager gave a small laugh at Janus' comment about hoping they had not been pulled into a time dilation, and the amount of time that might pass before it was noted that they were missing. "That would be the worst. Luckily I did not sense anything when we shifted to suggest there was any change in time, but I was not exactly closely watching for that."


Janus led the way forward, the light from the camp lantern brightening the way as Veronica followed. Janus noted the stone of the walls and doorway were worn and covered with what appeared to be spiderwebs. There was also a layer of dust on the floor as Janus moved forward into a hallway beyond the room into which they had appeared.

The hallway ran to the left and right from the doorway Janus exited. Directly across was another similar doorway, the room beyond lost in shadow. Janus could see faintly down the hallway to the left, making out another pair of open doorways some twenty feet down the hall before it ended in what appeared to be a T intersection. The light Janus has noted previously was coming from the right side of the hallway, where there was another T intersection, but at this one there was a large open window high up on the wall through which the faint blue light was shining, and appeared to be steadily brightening.

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"Towards the bright light, I assume?" Janus said dryly. As no threats seemed to be directly approaching, Janus took a slow, careful look down each way before letting their sword and shield fade from their fingertips. Lacing their hands together, Janus bent a little at the waist, "Alright, Ronnie, you can probably climb this wall without the help but better safe than sorry. I'll pop you up and then onto my shoulders, alright?"


"I'd rather get a look through a window before we go opening any strange doors, personally. Might give you some idea where we ended up."

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