Invado, Memoria (II)
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Author:  Nayt [ Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Invado, Memoria (II)

How long has it been?

Tremendous walls isolated the boy from the city, punctuated by two massive doors, both set below an arching keep that overlooked the dead lands beyond: the empty expanse, devoid of rolling hills, flora, fauna, or even the smallest sign of life. It was empty. Forever empty. The city isolated in a dull, gray wasteland. A city forgotten by the world itself. An unreal city.

Days . . .?

It was a lonely, quiet journey, with the only noise being the deafening buzz the mind was oft to create in a noiseless space. Not even the boy's familiar was opt to reach him, regardless of her attempts, or even of his.

Weeks . . . ?

The only topography the boy was graced with were the cliffsides, set somewhere in the distance, always too far too reach. Walking for them had always been fruitless. They could not be reached. There was no high ground in the dead lands, and the scope of it never seemed so eternal before, nor did a walk though gray world. It was a forever journey, a walk where one minute felt like months, and months felt like seconds. Where man could not venture without suffering. Decaying. Becoming haggard and tired and worn all over.

Walking these dead lands, for those so gifted with life-- real life --was an exercise in masochism. In time, food lost its taste. Failed to quell the pains of a yearning body. Water failed to quench the thirst. Everything gradually felt more and more dry and decayed, dead and dying. Skin dried, lips cracked, and the body ached in starvation. Blood seeped from open wounds and never truly scabbed over, wounds which opened so easily, requiring little more than the smallest itch across such dry and unhealthy skin.

Had he any less of a drive, the boy would have never made it.

Master, why won't you answer me?

Author:  Zach Kaiser [ Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

It was by a wide margin the longest amount of time he'd ever spent in Purgatory. He couldn't even be sure how long. Once food and water no longer sated him, he'd stopped consuming it entirely, figuring he might as well save it for the trip back. He knew Purgatory was a harsh place, was well aware of its affects on souls, but he'd never realized it was so dangerous to the living as well. At least not to living Reapers anyway. He'd figured being a Reaper would've helped, but it didn't look like that was the case.

Or maybe it was, and it would be even worse otherwise. Now that was a frightening thought. He pushed forward, holding a hope that once he entered Memoria the chaos Recheov described would cancel out what he was feeling now. In addition to the hunger and thirst, he was bleeding, and it was fortunate that he hadn't made the journey with worse wounds--and that the barrenness of the gray land ensured there was virtually nothing to open new ones.

He was certain he'd recover if he returned to his world, but he wasn't sure if that was an option. Distance meant different things in Purgatory, and for all he knew he'd have to start the journey all over again if he exited now.

Eventually even entertaining thoughts was too tiring. His energy was waning rapidly; he cleared his head of everything save the drive to move forward, blocking out the fatigue and the pain, and dragged himself forward on sheer willpower.

And then suddenly he reached a barrier, and there he stood before the walls of a large city. It had to be the place. Whether he even still had the strength to fight didn't enter his mind. Go forward. Find Illorex. Save Etsu. It was that mantra that kept him going this long, even as the dead world rebelled against the living being invading it.

There were no other entrances, so he did the only thing he could: he mustered all the strength he could and pushed against one of the gigantic doors, to enter the Unreal City...

Author:  Nayt [ Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

Pushing the door open required all the strength Eld had, an action so difficult that it would nearly drain him entirely, practically drag him to the ground the second he stood within the gate. The . . . stone ground. Hard, carved stone. It would only take a moment for the boy's eyes to adjust before he'd find that his body was flat upon a cobblestone street, and his scythe had tumbled to the side.

Ahead of him, there was a long street extended well past the fog. Tall buildings lined every side of it, every one of them wearing lined up windows, ornate porches, and twin doors. Many of them had balconies, alcoves, and looked as if they one day had vines climbing their sides--but they were dead, now. Everything was empty, now. Windows were boarded up. Doors were shut. Locked. Forever.

An empty, forgotten city.

It was the image of something never once beautiful, but gifted with the potential for magnificence--a potential it could never realize, not without the harshest of costs.

Author:  Zach Kaiser [ Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

This place...

It was like nothing he'd ever seen. A city that must've once been bustling, but now was entirely abandoned. Had there been this many Memories? How many were there now? He didn't know; in fact, he'd never thought to ask.

This was far different than he'd imagined, though. It wasn't just some small group of anomalies that he was dealing with; it was an entire society. One that would destroy humanity in order to rebuild itself.

Grimacing, he reached out for the scythe, which had tumbled to the side, and used it to help him stand. He continued to hold it, using it like a walking stick. He wasn't sure exactly what to do now; he'd been consumed with getting here, and now that he was here he wasn't sure where to go.

For now at least there was only one road to follow. So he marched down it, wondering how he was going to defend himself at this rate...

Author:  Nayt [ Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

As Eld pushed himself forward, he'd hear an unearthly groan behind him, as the door he'd pushed open with all his might slowly shut behind him. The doors were massive, easily five times Eld in width. Pushing them might have been possible, but pulling them open again was even less so. By the way they shut, even clamped, there was a small likelihood that Eld would be leaving the same way he came in.

Any attempt to glance behind him at the sound, however, would show more than just a pair of shut doors. There seemed to be a . . . person.

She was short. Shorter than Eld, at least. Perhaps even Etsu's height. She wore thick clothes, a tightly bundled coat and warm ear muffs, and appeared to have ear length and very messy hair, colored an outlandish green. Her back faced Eld, and her hands, kept warm by winter mitts, were held over the center of her chest.

But nothing was stranger about the girl than how she seemed to flicker. One second, she was completely there, solid and visible, and the next, she was translucent--barely even visible.

Author:  Zach Kaiser [ Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

Eld suppressed a groan as he heard the doors start shutting behind him. Guess I'm not getting back out that way, he thought as he turned to look. I wonder if I can just exit anytime, like leaving Purgatory. He wasn't going to test it just this moment; he did not want to have to make the entire journey again.

It took him a moment to realize that at the base of the door, there was someone standing there. Not a normal someone, either; she seemed to go form mostly solid to nearly transparent. Was it another ghost? The Recheov talked, it sounded like was the only one that should have been possible for, and yet...

"Hello?" Really, it was kind of dumb for him to call out. Whoever it was, it wasn't Illorex. But neither did she look like a fighter of any kind, so he hoped maybe she could tell him where to find the man he was looking for.

Author:  Nayt [ Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

Calling out to the girl seemed fruitless; she didn't respond in the slightest. Didn't perk her head up, twitch, or show even the smallest sign that she heard Eld at all. It wasn't but second later that she turned slightly, showed the profile of her face. She had to be Eld's age, if the people here aged the same as him. She looked it, though. Her turquoise eyes were dry and irritated, and her cheeks were stained with tears.

There was no sound from her, not even from the ruffling of clothes or passing of breath from her lips. It was . . . an empty image, and just that: an image.

The girl dipped her head down, sulked her shoulders, and shut her eyes. In another second, the flickering image was gone, leaving behind not a trace of its existence.

Once again, the streets were empty.

Author:  Zach Kaiser [ Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

What the... The girl vanished before his eyes, as though she'd never even been there to begin with. But what had he witnessed? And he was sure he witnessed something; with the frequency he'd seen things like visions lately it was impossible to pass something like this off as a mere trick of his mind.

Ultimately, it wasn't important, at least not right now. It didn't change his mission any; he still had to find Illorex (and possibly the Emil that Recheov referred him to, though that was secondary for him) somewhere in this city, without any way to be sure of where exactly he was.

And chances were anybody he came across was going to be more hostile than helpful.

He turned back around and continued down the road, bolstering what little strength he had left to keep moving. He wasn't sure how he was going to beat Illorex in his current condition, but he'd have to find a way. He wasn't likely to get a second chance at this.

Author:  Nayt [ Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

"Look, you need to stop." A vaguely familiar voice arose from nearby.

Eld would recognize the voice as Hugh, one of the few Memories he'd met, but certainly a particularly friendly young man. The last they met, Hugh was with a girl named Kyla, his significant other, and they were mostly on good terms with Eld. They could have fought him awhile back, but opted out of it, choosing a diplomatic route instead. If there was anyone in this city he could possibly negotiate with, it was probably them.

Hugh was seated nearby, legs dangling from a balcony on which he sat. That house appeared thee most lived in. The doors were not barred, the windows were not sealed. It looked nice. Any astute listening would learn Eld that there had to be someone else in the house, but all the noises were casual. Not at all frantic or tense or aggressive.

Hugh appeared to be dressed in fairly warm attire. It looked like a motif in the city, and probably one Eld was too weak to recognize. It was numbingly cold here ...

Author:  Zach Kaiser [ Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

It took Eld a second of searching to find the source of the voice; he wasn't expecting to have to look up. He was simultaneously relieved and disappointed to see who it was; relieved because Hugh had been one of the few reasonable Memories he'd encountered, and disappointed because Eld had wanted to avoid telling him he was here to possibly kill one of his compatriots.

He shook his head in response. "I can't." He wondered if Hugh was genuinely worried about him in his current state, or if he was more worried about what he might be doing here.

"Where's Illorex?" That was all he needed to know; he didn't want to bother Hugh and Kyla (who was presumably in the house) any more than he had to.

Author:  Nayt [ Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

Hugh hung his head and sighed. He readjusted himself, pulled his legs back out from under the fence about the balcony and stood up straight. Without much hesitation, he set his foot upon the ledge and pushed forward, jumping from the high ledge and landing damn near by Eld's side, requiring little more than bending his knees a little to brace the impact. He seemed completely fine with it, though.

Standing straight again, he looked Eld in the face with a forlorn expression. "If it's about Illorex, then you can talk to us about it. Maybe we can do something."

Now that they were paused in the street for long enough, it would only take a slight sniff of the air for Eld to realize that there was something going on inside of that house. It smelled like . . . food. Except it smelled like it was slightly burnt. A familiar smell of someone doing their best to prepare food, but their best simply not being enough for the situation they were pit up against.

Hugh moved in a way to partly stand in front of Eld. Blocking him.

". . . because if you go any farther than this, we'll have to stop you," Hugh added as a grim afterthought, "And I don't want that conflict. For any of us."

Author:  Zach Kaiser [ Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

Eld's eyes narrowed when Hugh stepped in front of him. He wouldn't tolerate anyone getting his way, even him...but perhaps he was right. Perhaps it didn't need to come to that. Hugh and Kyla had been civil to him, and he didn't want to hurt them if he didn't have to.

"...Illorex took the 'identity' of someone very dear to me," he said softly. "The girl who was with me before. I'm here to get her back. I do not think he will just hand her over, but if he will then I'll leave once I have her." If indeed it was something he could physically take. He wasn't really sure how it worked.

He forced himself to stand up straight despite the damage Purgatory had done to him. "But if not...I'll do whatever it takes to get her back." Weakened though he might've been, it would be a mistake to discount the one they called "The Reaper" entirely.

Author:  Nayt [ Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

Hugh at first looked surprised. Then his faced softened. Then he frowned, shut his eyes, and hung his head. So, that's what it was. He got a distinct feeling from being around Eld. A pain in his chest. A familiar pain. One he remembered feeling before he met Kyla. Anyone else might have considered if Eld was lying or not. Hugh? He knew all too well that Eld was telling the truth.

". . . I understand," Hugh replied under his breath, "I'd go to the ends of the earth for Kyla. Just like you'd go to the ends of the earth for your friend. Just like you have."

If ever it was necessary, Hugh would've done the exact same as Eld. It was . . . perhaps a feeling Eld might have gotten from him, too. Just standing so close to him, he'd likely be able to feel roughly the same kind of determination from him, albeit in a much smaller dose.

"But I still can't let you through. Orders, and . . ." he glanced back into the house. Back to where Kyla was trying to salvage dinner.

Despite that, Hugh wasn't moving. Wasn't letting Eld past. He might have understood Eld's sentiments, but he wasn't letting him through.

"I can talk to Illorex," he added, "But you can't come any further."

Author:  Zach Kaiser [ Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

He closed his eyes; how much time did he have? It'd been impossible for him to tell while in Purgatory. Recheov said it would take him about a day to get here, but there was no way to know for sure how much time had passed since he entered Purgatory. And since he couldn't contact Kageko for some reason either (he'd tried while coming here, to help pass the time) there was no one to ask either.

If it were anyone else, Eld would have simply pushed past them, or even attacked. But even that first time they'd met he'd been able to tell how much Kyla meant to him. If anyone could understand what he was going through, it was him. He wanted to believe in that.

Eld opened his eyes once more. This choice made him more uneasy than he would've liked, but fighting unnecessary battles was as likely to cause him to fail as taking too long. He'd hate himself if things went wrong, but if it worked he'd be able to live with himself much easier.

"How long?" he asked at last.

Author:  Nayt [ Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Invado, Memoria (II)

". . . as short as possible," Hugh replied.

He could bring Kyla with him, but that'd slow the process down. Hugh thought about it for several seconds; folded his arms over his chest and looked past Eld, as if the words he was looking for were somewhere out in the gray. Sadly, they weren't. He could only come to one conclusion, and that wasn't a good one. Eld had done a lot. A lot of . . . horrible things, but they weren't necessarily his fault. Not entirely. There were people they missed, but the issue ran deeper than how it appeared.

Stopping Eld from progressing was one thing. Killing him was another.

"I . . . look, if you're found out here, you'll be killed," Hugh then hesitated.

Again, Hugh looked back to the house. His house. His and Kyla's home. She didn't know yet. She only knew someone was outside, and Hugh was going out to see what the issue was. She didn't know that Hugh had felt Eld en route much longer ago than he let on. Most knew the Reaper was coming to the city. Hugh tried to spare Kyla these details.

"I . . . I can trust you, right?" He looked Eld in the eyes, "I mean, I'm helping you get back the girl you love. I really, really hope I can trust you."

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