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Dreamwalker

Hell Isn't Good... It's Hell!

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Ah, summer. Moira loved the warmth of the sun. Apollo's gaze upon her was delightful. But for every good, thing that she had, a little rain must fall. Not rain in the physical since. A giant divine-mechanical bull was giving her the chase. Not that she was running from it or it was running from her. They collided head on in the West End. Eris and Hephaestus had stepped up their antagony. This being the most blatant of it.

 

As they clashed, it was clear more than brute strength was needed. "Would any of you great gods want to lend a hand? Apollo, your heat? Ares, you great fury? Dionysus, your zeal? Aphrodite, your..." -Alright, one crazy trip comin up!- It was Dionysus answering the call. Something sparked in her. A dark explosion, disintegrating the bull, but that wasn't the last of it. She felt a bit overloaded like there was something extra on it...

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"Let me see... Let me see... Ah! Perfect."

 

Robert Spalding, known better on the street as Vita Nexus, pulled the grimoire down from his bookcase and carefully opened it. It was old - older than most of his collection - but within were the musings of Khalid Al Jwari, one of the few verifiably potent arcanists who had been willing to meet with the family of the Adficio, and thus contained secrets unrivalled in possibly the entire collection. Vita turned through the pages until he found what he was looking for - the arcane sigil tat described a particular rite Al Jwari used to siphon excess energy from unstable magical artefacts. His description was one of a safety measure - "A method not dissimilar to the starvation of a fire within an enclosed room", as Al Jwari described it - but if used slightly differently...

"I have high hopes, effendi, but low expectations. Guide my hands." Vita muttered under his breath as he turned his attention from the book, now resting on a lectern beside his workspace, to a small stone cross laid within hours of scribbles, both on paper and on the wooden floor in chalk and a vaguely glittering dust. The cross was unremarkable on the outside, but Vita only noticed it by what lay hidden beneath - a veritable web of energy radiating out from it, criss-crossing at least fifty seperate sources. Some group cared greatly for this trinket - far too greatly to just leave it lying in a cul-de-sac out in Lantern Hill. Vita closed his eyes and began to chant, his hands moving in practiced arcs as he weaved his Adficio out. Everything seemed to be going well at first - the Adficio latched on to the cross' web of connections and started to slowly, slowly detach it from extraneous connections - but then Vita faltered. Something - something Vita had never encountered before - tore through his concentration, demanded the focus of both him and the Adficio. Something prodigious, in the wake of something that would normally cause Vita to perk up and take notice. Vita tried to hold his focus, but it was too late. The ritual had been disrupted, and things started to spiral. The cross lifted off the ground, radiating energy Vita had felt only at a distance. There was a great rending and Vita felt himself lifted from his study, tumbling headfirst into the space where his study once was... 

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Maxie was sipping his coffee, piping hot like he liked it, when an ear splitting boom made him spill it on his shirt

 

"Sonuva-" he started to exclaim when he saw the giant metal bull and the goddess struggling in the middle of the road.  Then, he smiled broadly.

 

"See, this is why I missed this place!"  With that he hurried out into the street, fire already starting to billow out of his mouth when the insanely dark explosion rocked him backwards both enveloping him and sending him flying back towards the coffee shop.  Maxie's only thought was, as he flew through the air, I hope my favorite jeans don't get messed up when I break my neck on the bricks back there!

 

 

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What happened next was hard to tell. There was a rush of dark energy from the three heroes and it seem to suck them in without warning. When Moira came to her senses, she was in a weird dark hallway with red lights burning above. There were two others there also. One she knew from past and another she didn't recognize. "Hey Ma- uh, Spitfire, and you too, stranger." She looked around, rubbing her head. "Nice little shindig this place is," she said sarcastically, "anyone know where we are?" she poked around looking for someway around this weird place.

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If there's anything Spitfire hates, it's being in the presence of Goddesses with a coffee stained shirt, but there was nothing for it.

 

"Heya Scion, darlin'!  You know you owe me a coffee now for making me spill this one all over mah shirt.  Or you could always take me to dinner instead."  The last part he said with a little wink before turning to regard their surroundings.  "I don't think nice is exactly how I'd put it, but to each their own.  I take it this ain't familiar to ya?  What about you, uh, sorry didn't catch yer name sir?"  Spitfire looked at the man and gave him a fang-filled smile.  "This yer home?"

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Vita brought a hand to his head and tried to shake the fogginess out of his brain. "Believe me, if I knew where we are, I would be making a hasty egress." He looked up at the two others in the hallway and blinked a couple of times, confusion fairly obvious on his face. "I go by Vita Nexus. How did the two of you come to be here? I recall starting an experiment on a peculiar object I found, and then there was some form of rift..."

He looked between the two other heroes, obviously confused beyond belief. "Wait... To whom am I speaking? Are we all from Freedom City, or is this a much wider net we've found ourselves encased in?" He begins to reach out a hand, but stops himself and instead looks between the two.

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Spitfire's grin grew wider still.  "Boy, I like you, you talk funny just like me!  No, I'm from Freedom City, but also from all over the states.  Of course, if episodes o' Star Trek have taught me anything, is that that doesn't necessarily mean we ain't all from different dimensions, but the same city.  I suppose Scion and I having met before does help put a damper on that theory though.  I think it's safe to assume we're all from the same place.  Scion here was fighting a metal bull out front of the coffee shop I was at.  I ran to help, there was some sorta explosion, and now here we are.  How we are here, I haven't the foggiest as I didn't exactly receive formal education while in the carnival circuit."

 

Spitfire continued to look around, concern creasing his brow for the first time.  "All being equal, prolly best to, as you put it, egress the hell outta here as fast as possible."  Looking up and down the hallway, Spitfire said, "Which way, ya think?"

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"A metal... Bull? Was that what I sensed?" Vita tapped a hand on his chin. "I suppose it would have had to have been something of great effort..."

Vita shook his head, clearly annoyed with himself. "Now is not the time for academics. Where are we, and how do we find our escape?" Vita closed his eyes and started to gently move his hand as the room dimmed slightly. A chill came through the room as Vita appeared to concentrate, muttering in... Chinese? Latin? Old English? All three plus more? It was difficult to keep up, the language shifting fluidly from sentence to sentence...

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"Ever heard of the Kalkotauroi," Scion said after her scan of the halls. "Giant mechanical bulls that breath fire." She looked to Spitfire, "something you'd probably enjoy. And once we get out of here, I'll wash your shirt," she smiled as if it was a cross between a promise and a sly joke. Looking to Vita Nexus she quirked up, "not to be so presumptuous, but do you have any 'traits'? I'm of divine birth and Spitfire here, well, he spits fire." She shrugged, "so, what's your shtick?"

 

She looked both left and right, "as for where to go, I say we stay close." She pointed a way, "and as they say the journey of a thousand steps begins with a single step. Walk with me, talk with me."

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Vita blinked a few times and fell in behind Scion without objection. "Divine? But you... I mean, that means..." Vita stops speaking for a moment and appears to slip into thought. "I... suppose that makes sense... somehow. As for my traits, as you put it, it is a long and complicated story. Suffice to say, my power is hereditary and involves energy manipulation."

Vita paused briefly, looking between Spitfire and Scion with a look as if he was picking his words very carefully. "I can also sense, to a small extent, the bonds betwixt people. I thought I felt the beast before we were hurled into this place, but... it was you I felt. How is this even possible? The sheer number of bonds you share with people... I have never fathomed the possibility of actually conversing with... well, with a deity." 

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Spitfire's eyebrows shot up, "Bonds?  Hold up there buddy, me and Scion here only met once before and there wasn't all that much "bonding" as it were, at least not in, ya know, that sense."  Looking from Scion to Vita, Spitfire coughed a little.  "Oh, that's uh, that's not what you meant."  

 

Spitfire cleared his throat and looked over to Scion and did his best to change the conversation and draw attention away from himself "So yeah, Scion, what's being a god like?" Nervousness was evident in his speech but he tried to play it off as best he could.

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Scion snickered, "yeah, no direct bonding," then playfully leaned on him. Looking around the hallways took a turn for the weird. it was no longer a cramped poorly lit corridor, but something out of that painting she didn't know the name of. She looked around in wonder, "well, where ever we are, I bet some design student is jealous." She scooted ahead a bit and found herself above the two guys. "Being a god was fun, I guess. Vapid fun. All the fun I could want. Then again, I was the goddess of hedonism." She tried to run back to where she was, but only ended up sideways of Vita Nexus and Spitfire. "Hung around with my mother, Aphrodite, and my father, Ares." She tried again and ended up behind them, "Dionysus and Apollo as friends."

 

Turning around she saw a door. It had her name on it. She was confused. "Despite never being in this place it looks like we have accommodations. Well I do at least!" She jumped at opening the door. Perhaps going at it with a bit of recklessness than she should of, she walked in the room beckoning her two companions. It was an empty room with a purple light hanging from the ceiling. It wasn't cramped, but it was cozy.

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Vita tried to track Scion's movements across the staircases, but as soon as he took his eyes off her, she reappeared. Tracking her voice made his head hurt, and eventually he just gave up entirely. "So if I wish to try and gain something approaching a love life, you're the one I should sacrifice a goat to? Or are you more of a 'praise me through partaking' sort of divinity?" He chuckled for a moment, then when he heard no response looked around for Scion. He spotted the door she had gone through and, with a bit of effort, pulled himself up the twisting stairways and finally got a hand on the door frame. He heaved himself up, turning back to give a hand to Spitfire to get up to where he assumed Scion had disappeared.
 

"Also, Spitfire, not that sort of bonding, no. Much more general. I would be glad to describe it to you in detail, but perhaps not here. The ambiance is somewhat lacking."

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Spitfire enjoyed watching both Scion's optimism and Vita's quizzicality at the preceedings.  The ever shifting hallway pattern did cause him some mild nausea, but he just burned that way with fire, or more likely, stubborn determination.  Spitfire took Vita's hand and hauled himself through the doorway as well, then doing his best Ricky Ricardo impersonation yelled "Honey, I'm home!"  

 

Spitfire then looked to Vita "Yer right, now's prolly not the time or place, but I'm always interested in learnin' new things.  You ever want to sit down and discuss it while I give you a tattoo you let me know."  That did remind him of a strange question he wanted to ask.  "Hey Scion, since yer a god 'n all, would I be able to even tattoo ya?  I mean, would it stick, or would it just be, I dunno, "rejected" as it were?"  It was apparent that Vita's curious nature as somewhat infectious as Spitfire rarely ever found himself asking these questions, or any questions for that matter.  He knew he was more of a breath fire and ask questions later kind of guy.

Edited by EviscerusNox

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Scion wasn't talking much anymore, there was an enthralled gasp as she entered the room. She may have heard some faint whisper in her mind that she was better than all of this. But that didn't matter to her. She was better than all of this! The room formed into a courtyard of marble with columns. It looked like . Several deities, as she remembered them, all kneeling in her presence. It felt 'right' to her, in a weird way. "This is my world, boys," she said with glee, "home of the gods. Olympus." She laughed, "one hell of a turn at Albuquerque, huh?" The soft chant of her birth name - Edone - whispered in the wind. "I mean, why did I even leave this place? It's awesome."

 

Hermes appeared at her side, "we knew you'd come back, Edone. We've been waiting ever since you left. Hephaestus and Eris wish to ask your forgiveness. And Zeus, well, he has your full godly essence ready to transfer back into you. And the king of the gods wishes for you to be his new consort. You're getting an upgrade!"

 

Moira felt a bit light-headed, like there was a low hum of power coming back to her. But it wasn't real. This 'courtyard of the gods' was a farce. Vita Nexus and Spitfire saw the same thing as her, but didn't get the mental ping or the feeling of greatness. This all looked like an illusion to them. Very 'real', but an illusion to be sure.

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Spitfire looked around, his eyes narrowing.  "Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and call horse hockey on this 'un darlin'."  At the mention of consort Spitfire grimaced and pushed himself in front of Hermes.

 

"Oh he's just decided that has he now?  What about what Scion here wants eh?  You know who just goes around claiming people as their consorts?  Mysoginists do."  Maxie turned back to Scion and his face softened a bit.  "Look, Scion, admittedly we don't know each other that well, and I don't know much about this place, or these people, but I do know one thing:  You're your own person, you decide what's best for you.  I don't know if you can tell but this whole thing is a lie and this guy," Maxie pointed to Hermes, "Is tryin' to sell ya a Buick with no wheels on it.  Whatya say we get outta here huh?  You still owe me that coffee remember?  Can't really get good coffee in fake rooms... unless you count Starbucks."

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Vita's mouth dropped open as the room came into view. The classical architecture, the air of peace and tranquility and the feeling of entering into the pleasant warmth of a shining sun took him almost completely by surprise. As he looked and heard Hermes come forward, though, a part of his mind started to stir. Wonder gave way to confusion, then to consternation as Spitfire spoke. Vita closed his eyes and focused on his Adficio's hunger, feeling the webs of energy around him and his unexpected companions. He felt the light, the energy of his surroundings, he felt the feelings of elation and belonging from Scion... but he also felt the emptiness in Hermes. His words spoke of familiarity, of belonging and familiarity, but beneath it all was no connection with his supposed kin.

"Spitfire speaks the truth, Scion. These are not those you think of as kin - something is most wrong here. Whoever these people are, you must believe us - they do not have your interests at heart." Vita spoke quietly, but his voice held an edge of urgency. He hoped he could express the full weight of his misgivings - to feel such an emptiness of connection between people claiming to know each other was extremely concerning. Either someone is pulling figures from her heart, or someone has suppressed their bond. Neither is an option that bodes well.

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'Hermes' looked confused, "Mistress Edone, you would bring these non-believers into our place of worship? Show where your true loyalties lie. Strike them down, as a goddess of Olympus. The goddess of Olympus."

 

Scion looked around a terrible headache was welling inside her every time Spitfire and Vita Nexus revealed the ruse. Like some discordant harp. She knew that they were right, but what of it? She would be a true goddess here. She was better than any of them all. That's what she felt. Or she was made to feel. "Stop," she said grabbing her head, "Is this real? Is this not real?" She looked to Hermes, "bring me Ares, my father. Bring me Aphrodite, my mother."
 

"Right away, Mistress Edone," in a flash representations of her mother and father were before her. "My daughter," 'Aphrodite' spoke, "you are much more beautiful and well-spoken than I, why do you need us?" 'Ares' nodded, "and your skill and prowess in battle has surpassed even mine. These inhospitable thugs should be no match for you." Each time they spoke, Vita nexus saw the black tendrils feeding into her aura.

 

Scion had seen enough, if they were her real parents they would have greeted her much differently. These were puppets. Her headache grew lesser and lesser now that she disbelieved. So did the room's decor until it faded back to the purple room with a single light in it. "I'm sorry you guys had to see that," Scion said sullenly, the lowest she could go for Spitfire and Vita Nexus to hear. Still Vita Nexus saw the tendrils in her aura, but they were snapped and useless to whatever was using them.

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Spitfire looked at Scion uncomfortably for about a second before shaking himself, silently reprimanding his momentary hesitation.  He then smiled and put an arm around Scion, leading her out of the door they had come through.

 

"Oh come on now, who ain't been tricked by visages of their family tryin' ta get them to kill their friends?  Happens all the time!"  Spitfire's smile turned into a genuine look of concern, "Seriously though, you alright?  Don't know what any of this is about, but I tell ya, I'ma stomp a mudhole in the ass o' whatever just decided it was a good idea to mess with yer head.  I mean, it's fine to attack physically, but mind tricks?  That's dirty, and I don't cotton to those that play dirty."

 

Spitfire turned to Vita, "You got any idea on what it is that was all about or what's goin' on here?  Better yet, can you get a bead on whatever's really doin that so I can go do that mudhole thing I mentioned earlier?  I'm in the mood to go all Patrick Swayze Roadhouse on someone."

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Edone... Scion... Moira knew that little display wasn't real now, but it felt like a little piece of home in her heart. Spitfire's 'comforting' words softened it a bit. She nodded when he asked if she was alright, "Mind tricks, I'm OK with them in some regards. I know a few psychics. They're good folks despite the wrap they get. But yeah, sucks to be on the receiving end of a whammy."

 

Her eyes widened as Vita Nexus began to flicker in and out. "You alright," she said stepping towards him. Before she could reach out, he disappeared! Scion was a mix of anger and astonished. Not that she hadn't seen someone disappear before. She turned to Spitfire. "And then there were two?" There was slighted anger in her voice, "we have to find him. We have to find out what's going on in this place."

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Spitfire was relieved for a few seconds to see Scion shake herself from the psychic onslaught, only to have dread fill his innards as Vita disappeared.

 

"Christ on a cracker can't anything go right 'round here?"  Spitfire cursed and spat on the floor before making a slow circle around the now empty room.  Maxie was filled with apprehension, misgivings, and downright fear as to the unknown nature of what exactly was happening to him.  He felt his hands start to tremble, so he closed them in fists.  Then, that ball of tension in his gut started to burn and actual smoke started trailing from his nostrils as they flared.  Anger was rising up in him, an anger born of frustration and a feeling of uselessness.  Maxie decided it was time to stop feeling sorry for himself and start acting.  He was supposed to be a hero after all, and not some damn sniveling child.

 

Spitfire started for the door, purpose in his stride.  "Come on, let's see about finding Vita and getting outta here.  And when this is through, to hell with coffee we're goin' to get liqoured up good and proper."

Edited by EviscerusNox

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Scion nodded, "yeah, drinks sound pretty good right about now." As they exited the room, the once Escher-designed halls had changed into an open field. The sky was filled with dark red clouds and it was raining sloppily wet. The liquid that was falling was silver and stung as it hit them, before sinking into the wet, sloshy ground as the thunder rolled from above. Off in the distance the was a shelter. "alright, I guess that's the only place we have to go then," she pointed the structure out. "Last one there probably melts," she said racing off to it.

 

As they got closer, the structure grew and grew until it was the size of a sky scraper. The lone glass building loomed. "Surely this is the way back to Kansas, Toto," she said to Spitfire sarcastically.

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Spitfire rushed into the glass building, hunching his shoulders against the "rain."  While sprinting beside Scion, in an effort to keep up the dwindling morale, Maxie started singing through gritted teeth.

 

"Paindrops keep fallin' on mah head," Spitfire turned a tensed grin to Scion as he sang.  It probably looked as forced as it felt to him so he let the song and the smile fade back into a scowl of discomfort.  

 

Maxie was not prepared for the site that awaited them once he pushed open the door.  The sun was shining bright, the sky was cloudless and it was safely on the hot and humid side inside the building.  Not only that, he recognized the place.  Ramshackle tents arrayed in a wide open dirt field portraying signs for oddities such as palm readers, bearded ladies, dragon men, and of course, the largest structure, a large red, white, orange and black striped tent with the sign out front reading "Deerdra's Travelling Menagerie."

 

Maxie stopped dead in his tracks and looked around, his face a mask of astonishment.  He slowly turned his head from side to side, then mumbled to himself

 

"I know where this is...  I know when this is," Suddenly he bolted to the left, towards the entrance to the carnival.  There he came up short, looking at a thin, colorfully dressed boy, wearing a hodgepodge of ribbons, tassles, and a coat seemingly made of buttons.  He looked to be about seven, his face was dirty from the constantly blowing dust, and despite the noise his little voice carried across the park.

 

"Step right up, ladies and gentleman, and welcome to Deerdra's Travelling Menagerie!  Here you shall find the greatest oddities the world has to offer, the darkest secrets held for uncounted ages, and the most dangerous souls ever to be caged!  All, to be witnessed, to be experienced, to be sampled, for just the price of an admission ticket!  Let your imagination lead your feet to your heart's desires!"

 

Maxie watched the boy, and a tear ran down the corner of his eye to rest in the crook of his nostril.  He left it, unaware of it's presence as a family walked by the small boy.  The father was not tall, and he was overweight, but still somehow looked frail and weak with thin arms.  The mother, of course, was a vision of loveliness as all mothers were to Maxie.  She was overweight, but not by much, and held the hand of a small boy around the age of the young carnival barker.  The boy was laughing delightedly, skipping ahead, pulling his mother off balance every few steps, but neither seemed to notice.  He held in his hand a sword made of blow up balloons and was doing his best Errol Flynn impression, slashing and thrusting at the air in front of him, fending off imaginary foes.

 

It was then that Maxie noticed, more like remembered, the boy going silent, watching the happy family continue through the park.  Out from behind the tiny carnival barker stepped a large man, tattoos lining his arms and wearing no shirt.  He gave the boy a wicked, broken toothed smile and shoved him.

 

"See that there, boy?  That's too good for the likes o' you.  Family is fer good boys, not lazy punks.  Yer parents prolly didn't love you at all, can't have, to leave ya in such a sh*thole as this"  The big man gestured to the carvinal and spat on the ground.  Then for good measure pushed the boy again, this time knocking him down.  When he saw the tears in the young one's eyes he cackled and walked off, lighting a cigarette.

 

Maxie dried the tears from his eyes, vaguely being aware that he was no longer watching the little boy, but was the little boy again, just like that day so many years ago.  And just like before, he turned to see the mother with the family look back at him, sadness etched on her face.  He could tell she wanted to come to him, to comfort him.  He wanted that too, so badly.  He hoped that it was plain on his face, he hoped that she would come pick him up and just take him away with her.  The dad seemed nice, maybe he would be ok with feeding another mouth.  He could make them proud, he was smart, Deerdra always said so.  Parents liked smart children right?  Parents kept smart kids right?   Why hadn't his parents kept him then?  Why didn't his parents love him? 

 

Maxie felt tears start streaming down his face again as the boy pulled his mother away, still laughing and slashing the air, the father looked over at Maxie, scowling, then put his arm around his wife to turn her away and they continued into the park.  Maxie scewed his eyes shut with all his might, trying to clamp the tears down, wishing all the while that he could be that boy.  Hating that boy for all he had, for the love that he knew, for the warmth he got every night, safely tucked in his bed as his mother kissed him good night.  Maxie deserved that bed!  Maxie deserved those kisses!  Maxie deserved that love!  That other boy didn't even know what he had, there's no way he could.  Maxie leapt to his feet and ran in the direction of the family tears blurring his vision.

 

When he got up to them, he pulled out his small pocket knife and slashed the little boys balloon sword, popping it.  The father tried to chase Maxie, but he was too fat and slow.  Maxie exalted in the boys cries as he heard them fade.  He hid behind a trailer smiling wickedly until he peeked around the corner, seeing the boy in the dirt crying.  The boy was wrapped up in his mother's arms, and he cried into her breast.  His smile dropped and he turned away, slumping to the dirt behind the trailer and put his head in between his knees and wept.

Edited by EviscerusNox

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Carnivals were a fun thing. She hadn't been to many. Though she was sure with Maxie here she could be shown the sights. She even forgot about that little misstep she had just a minute ago. All was well. This was... well,it was going to be a little bit of an oasis. Then she remembered. None of this was real. None of this was supposed to be fun.

 

She stayed close to her companion through this fairly pleasant hellscape. She winced at the 'when' inflection. Where hers was in her present (future?), his was in his past. All these visions reminded their 'owner' of something.

 

She kept pace with him when he ran off. she played the quiet shadow to his illusion. Whenever he faltered, she was there. There was a lot of memories. The the scene just turned wicked. She tried to open up and say something, but she was unable. Words fell off the tip of her tongue as Maxie ran through the vicious mockery of the events that had and or had not happened. She could only feel sorry for the guys and possibly be there for him if he wanted. And then, well, Maxie broke. In her eyes at least. She seemed like the only one who was there for him.

 

Without her words, she could only console him with closeness, kind gestures. Right now she held him from behind, wrapping her arms around his chest and leaning her head on his back. A sweet calming noise escaped her lips. It was the best she could offer right now. She couldn't even tell him to get away from this place. Seeing him sob was like some kind of kryptonite really.

 

All the while, the demon's invisible black tendrils invaded both of their auras. The despair that both of them were feeling. His was deeper than hers.

 

"Come on," Moira said softly. She was shocked at the sound of her own voice. Was this mad little scene over? "We have other places to be," she stroked the back of his neck, "like not here. Think of other things, Maxie," she cooed, "you're not your past." She circled around, kneeling down in front of him, "I know about things like these. Trust me. No matter what you did. Or what you would have had. It's not something that can't or can be." She leaned forward and kissed his forehead lightly. "Come on," she said coaxing in a sweet tone.

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The sobs that racked Maxie's body soothed him as the warmth of her touch invaded him.  The pain of the past slowly fading to be replaced by a quiet contentedness.  She was right, he wasn't that little boy anymore.  He didn't feel that same jealousy anymore when he saw mothers with their sons.  He protected those kinds of people now.  He may not have had a family growing up, but now, he did his damnedest to make sure that no boy had live without his mother if the dark things of the world tried to take them away.  He had run from that responsibility for a while, but not anymore.  He had grown, matured, and also forgave.  He didn't hate his parents anymore for abandoning him, he left hate by the wayside, in that carnival years ago.  

 

When she kissed him on the forehead his brow unfurled, he took in one long shaky breath, then blew it out.  He let her lead him to his feet, then wiped his eyes with the back of his hands.  Shaking his head he let out a soft chuckle,  "Sorry ya saw that.  Parts of my childhood ain't exactly pleasant, but yer right, we got other places to be.  Like kickin' the ass o' whoever threw together this shindig.  Pain is one thing, but messin' with minds is a good way to get burned."  When he looked back into her eyes finally his were a bright almost glowing red, although still puffy.  There was anger there, but then it softened as Maxie continued to look into Scion's eyes.  "Thanks by the way, not sure how long I woulda been stuck here if not fer you."  Maxie grabbed her hand and squeezed.  "Let's go."

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