The Fall from Grace – Prelude part three

Tribe 8 – RPG/TRPG Session

Run by Chris (alcoholandaphorism)

Tribe Members;

Me – Lady Quinn (Quinn of the Bone path)

Jason (jymmijamz) – Brhyannon (Brhyannon Wagg Trav’on of Eva)

Will – Aulderush (Aulderush Lunerkin Lanig’on of the tribe of Baba Yaga)

CHAPTER THREE

Shared Secret

Brhyannon is fading in and out of consciousness.  Her elbow feels like it is not there, and her fingers are sore.  She flexes her fingers to try to get some life back in to them, and realise that her wrists are bound behind her.  Vague sensations and memories keep coming and going.  She is aware of something holding the back of her head, and distant voices shouting.  Brhyannon tries to shake and clear her head, trying to orientate herself, when she feels her entire body shift downwards.  And just as quick she feels herself impact hard against something wet, and as she takes in mouthfuls of air, liquid rushes down her nose and throat filing her lunges and making her choke.  This quickly snaps her back to awareness, feeling her head forced against hot wet liquid as her eyes snap open.  A man’s large hand holding her head against whatever this substance is.  And a man’s voice shouting, “You see.  You see what you made us do.  You see this.  Do you think I like this.”  Brhyannon’s head is pulled back and she can see the man with the glass on the back of his hands, and all the many pots and pans hanging from him.  She then notices what this man had forced her in to.  It is the guts and intestines of one of her friends, blood and flesh splayed out from a very large hole in the stomach.  The eyes glazed and staring up to the sky.  The man throws her to the ground shouting at her again.  “Do you think we like doing this.  Do you think we like having to kill others of the tribe.

“You’re the one who killed.  I didn’t kill him.”  And no sooner these words leave Brhyannon’s mouth, then a large boot is forced in to her stomach, knocking the defiant breath from her.  The man kneels down beside her, reminding her that she had attacked them, and they had to defends themselves.  He then slaps her around the face.  “You made us kill one of the tribe for your petty…”  Here he is interrupted by a cough from behind.  “Marco.”

“Oh come on Missa’vi.  Of all the people, you’re not telling me…”

“Marco.  Step Out!”  Marco growls and stands up.  He walks over to and past the woman with the long dust coloured jacket, her goggles resting upon her head.  She is looking over at Brhyannon with a bemused smile across her face.

Once Marco has gone, Missa’vi walks over to Brhyannon and crouches down beside her.  “I take it you’re awake then.”

“So it would appear.”

“Well I guess you’re getting chucked out.  We will be taking you to the Bazaar tomorrow.  They’re going to be putting in front of the Fatimas.  And I’m placing a bet that you will be out on your arse.”  A wide smile crosses her face.  “It couldn’t happen to a nicer person.  Could it?”  Miss’vi pats her pocket and pulls out the piece of metal that Brhyannon had found, tossing it in the air a few times.  “You have no idea what this is do you?”

“I know its worth something.”  Missa’vi chuckles at this and tosses it in the air a few more times.  “Information is always useful.  Especially to the keepers.  It may even be worth something to me.”  She tosses it once more and places it back in her pocket.  She then leans closer to Brhyannon and lowers her voice.  “Tell you what.  As it is only you and me here.  Would you like me to let you in to a little secret?  You know, just between the two of us.”

“I assume you’re going to tell me, whether I want to hear it or not.”

“Oh no, no.  You can go on living in ignorance.  I am not an entirely cruel person.”  A moment’s pause.  “So what do you say?  Do you want to know, or do you want to spend the rest of your miserable life wondering what it was.”

“I suppose there will be no harm in hearing you out.”  Missa’vi once again chuckles at Brhyannon’s comment.

Missa’vi explains to Brhyannon that they all like Kodo, telling her that she is a good leader.  But sometimes she can be a bit of an idiot.  The problem being she has a bit of a soft heart and wishes to help people, which of course leads to her trading away all of their stuff, even when they are on a mission for the Fatimas.  Missa’vi shares that they sometimes, because of this, have to lie and not tell Kodo stuff.  She pulls out a handful of small metal tins from inside her long jacket as an example.  This tins are known to be prized by keepers.  The tins have food within them that are from the time before.  Food that never seems to go fowl.  A hard small sweet things that are wrapped in a very thin metal.  Missa’vi jangles them together for emphasis and tells Brhyannon that they have a bunch of them, and they could have even technically traded for them.  But Kodo does not know about them, because she would have traded them away.  She shares that she could have even traded them with Brhyannon, but they have been talking to the village about her, and how she is not pulling her weight, and being in a strop.  And how Brhyannon is not willing to help out with the harvest and work the fields.  “And we would have never seen how far you were wiling to go.  Or got you chucked out.  And as you’re walking your way to Hom with the rest of the shit, you can think that you had something, but you just wasn’t worth it.”  Missa’vi grabs Brhyannon by a strap and lifts her.  “Come on, let’s take you to your fate.”

Fateful Touch

Several years after his talk with his parents, Aulderush finds himself in the Bazaar.  He is here with a very well respected Mordid of Baba Yaga, Zeta Markon.  She is his guide and superior for this task set before him.  The area he finds himself walking through, are ruined buildings, most two or three stories high.  The ground that this structures are sat upon is also ruined and have collapsed, making the buildings lean close to each other, creating an almost canopy type roof against the biting winds.  He can also see that the people here have placed sheets of metal, and planks of wood, across the gaps between the structures, making walkways on both the second and third levels.  There are even stalls and markets set up amongst these areas too.  So many mixes of loud voices shouting out from all direction, trying to vie for passer-by’s attention.  Various different mixes of herbs and spices, perfumes and scents invade the senses at every turn.  The people are bustling about, grabbing at his robes, trying to draw his attention to their wares.  Down one side street, amongst a wider opening between a more ruined buildings, Aulderush can see a group of Dahlians performing the ‘First Message’, the message that came from the Goddess herself.  The dreams of how to call and commune with the Fatimas.

The task that Aulderush is being lead here for by Zeta Markon, is that a very important person is soon to pass away.  And Zeta Markon thought that it would be a very important part of Aulderush’s education for him to see this, so all he is here for is to accompany and observe.  Aulderush is looking around and taking in all the mix of sights, sounds, and smells.  There are many different cloths of a mix of colours he hasn’t seen before hanging here and there.  He spots a large drunk man stumble over to a small group of Dahlians, those of the escort and diplomats.  The man tries to barter for services with a bag of spices in his hands, saying something about his wares aren’t good enough.  Then a woman with a pale blue dyed skin step up to this man.  She is wearing delicate looking aquamarine silks, flowing across her body, making it difficult to make her out clearly.  She also has some sort of pale tattooing on her exposed skin.  This woman now next to this man is staring directly at him with her white eyes, a hint of cinnamon carried on the wind from her.  The man quails, as she seems to whisper something to him in his ear.  She then pats him on the shoulder, turning him around and pushing him in the opposite direction.  And no soon this has happened then she fades away once again, leaving the others to carry on with their trade.

Aulderush gets distracted by one of the traders as he passes by.  The stall has some fine exotic material with vague Baba Yagan symbolism, but with Dahlian overtones in their usual darker colours of purples and blacks.  The stall owner does a fine talk of selling the idea of the quality to Aulderush.  However the Mordrid Crone with him is none too happy, and gives Aulderush a look before finally reminding him that they have much more important things to be attending to.  Aulderush apologises and states that he may be back with something to traded later.  The stall owner informs Aulderush that the item may still be there or it may be gone.  Then the stall owner gives a little demonstration with a Dahlian slight of hand, making the item vanish then re-appear, then vanish and re-appear.

Soon Aulderush is lead past the sunken quarters near to the edge of the Bazaar.  Looking across and down in to the waters, Aulderush can see perfectly preserved buildings, and metal, almost caravan type of structures, but these are more blockier.  And he thinks he spots an odd skeleton amongst the weeds, again perfectly preserved.  The cold ice water is so very clear, and he can see his own face reflecting back as he looks down at the streets before him, all from the world before.  It is said that there are many lost treasures down amongst the buildings and streets.  Of course there are dark areas that nothing can be seen, and tunnels that lead to places that will never be seen again.  Aulderush asks his guide about the sunken city, and she informs him in a way that would help his teaching, telling him that there are innumerable graves of those who got too greedy, and many more of those from the world before.  And again she reminds him that they have a more important task to attend to, and hurries him along.

They soon come to what at first appears to be another ruined building, but this is not the case as it is a collapsed building lying on top of another.  Crouching down and going under a low arch way they come to a wooden door.  Once through the door they come to a room with a single old warn and rusted mattress in the middle.  A thin warn sheet spread across this and a woman lead upon that.  The woman is wearing a grey robe and has the markings of a Terasheban, those of the judges.  The woman looks at them as they enter.  Her old face with the thin pale green tinted skin, wrinkled and hanging there.  A spit pot sitting next to her bed, and an acidic smell coming from the chamber pot, indicating that the woman’s body is not functioning correctly.  One of the woman’s eyes is sealed closed, by having her upper lid sown shut with the lower.  And from the look it has been like this for so many years as the join is almost smooth now with age.  The woman appears to be unsettled as she keeps fidgeting on the bed, revealing odd shapes and protrusions from her body.  It appears that the woman has some kind of metal girder, and a metal structure on her ribs.  Once they are both in and the door closed, Zeta Markon introduces Aulderush to the respected law-keeper of the Terasheban’s, Mulashaf Thimon, and tells him that it is her that they are to attend to.

Zeta Markon tells Aulderush that she has another to attend to, but informs him that Mulashaf has until the morrow for them to help guide to Baba Yaga and her reward.  She tells him to keep her at ease and help make her passing a peaceful one without pain or suffering while she is gone.  After she has given Aulderush his instructions she leaves him to attend to the ancient woman on the bed.  But before closing the door on them, Zeta Markon indicates fro Aulderush to step outside with her.  She reminds him that this woman is important, telling him that she is the one who has seen things important that must not be spoken.  “Her inside of her eyelid has been tattooed with the horrid events of the camps, that they must never be forgotten or spoken of.  Tis only her eye that can see it in the darkness, even after her eye rotted away.  Seeing it only with the pure sight of the Terasheba.”   She tells him of the illness that runs through the old woman, telling him that it will soon spoil her skin.  And that they must take and preserve the skin before the plague can ruin the tattoos.  The sickness is a rare one that has not been heard off very much.  It is one that eats the skin as the person dies.

Mulashaf now alone with Aulderush, seems happy to have him there.  She tells him as much, saying that it is good to have a hansom one for a change.  As she talks with him she pauses and coughs every now and again.  She tells him that the Evans had been there before him, tending to her.  She also tells him about how important it is, the things that she has seen.  “I had shed eighteen tears and knew the name of each one.  And I knew why each one was coloured differently, especially knowing why the last was blood.  But I cannot speak of this.  Ever!”  She tells him that she was entrusted with the memories and what the Z’bri had done.  And before the oath she had only told it to one person, the person who had tattooed her.  This man had taken his life after this, not wishing to know of it anymore.  When finished she tells him that they had better not talk of it anymore and change to a lighter subject.

Aulderush enquires as to what and where Mulashaf’s pains are, wishing to help ease her in her last hours, much to her delight.  He assures her that he knows of herbalism and suggests that he pop out to the market to acquire what is needed.  While in the market, he notices two Joanites dragging a female Dahlian through the Bazaar.  She has long dark hair with fancy jewellery tied in her hair, and a mask hanging around her neck.  She doesn’t seem to be helping in anyway, making it awkward for the Joanites, but not putting up any fight either.

Back in the presence of the old Terasheban, Aulderush is preparing the herbs.  Mulashaf complements him on how educated he seems, even seeming that he may of seen things that he should not have been shown by his teachers.  He tells her that he has tried to educate himself as best he can.  Then Mulashaf reminisces on the days with Mary, and how she misses those days, and the joy that could be had in her presence.  Aulderush questions the use of Mary with what he knows and asks if she is referring to the mother of Agnes.  Mulashaf is impressed by his knowledge but quickly stops the conversation, saying that she is tied and needs to rest.  Telling him that if Baba Yaga allows her to awake once more, then they can talk further.  Aulderush gives her the broth he has been mixing up, and she lies down to rest.  Her pulse is very weak beneath her thin skin, and as she closes her eyes there seems to be a weight to the room.  Aulderush is aware that Mulashaf’s time is near.

Aulderush goes to the market once again to get some yellow paint, which he paints on the door of Mulashaf’s.  Warning people of the plague and to keep away.  Once back at Mulshaf’s beside, he can see that her pulse is dropping rapidly.  He quickly makes up a rub, cutting her skin and rubbing it in.  Soon her pulse strengthens once again, and even her eye flickers open, looking directly at him.  Looking in her eye for that brief moment, Aulderush is aware that this was not suppose to be, and then the room becomes very dark.  It seems like the room is closing in on him as he feels himself in like a dream.  A crack of lightning flashes in the dream world, and a shadow cast of a figure that is not there.  It is standing over the Terasheban, and Mulashaf begins to cough and gasp for air.  Aulderush rushes to Mulashaf, giving her some sort of stimulent to keep her breathing and alive.  A cold brushes against him, forcing him to the floor, grasping against the side to stable himself as his vision goes, and he is aware of someone standing beside both of them.  He feels his lunges freeze, his vision blurry as he desperately tries to help Mulashaf.  His hands cold and numb.  “Oh pity.  You had such protential.”  A voice can be heard beside him but also nowhere at all.  It sounds kind of familiar to him.  As Aulderush is huddled frozen on the floor, he sees a silken form flutter through, and then followed by a hint of cinnamon.  Next he sees the shadow arch it’s back as it impaled in the chest by something, and a screaming can be heard.  But this soon begins to fade as the shadow fades to nothing.  Soon the warmth of life comes back to Aulderush’s bones, and he feels a kiss press against his cheek.  “You best finish the job now.  We have both gone a bit far to back out now.”  Then there is a swift breeze and the cinnamon and dreams are gone, leaving Aulderush there with a rapidly dying Terasheban.

Aulderush climbs back to his feet and looks back down at Mulashaf.  He quickly goes back to work at treating her with the palm in his hands, working it in to her body with carefully placed cuts.  He works long in to the night.  And as the lights breaks on a new day, Mulashaf’s eye opens.  “Oh!  That was somewhat unexpected.”  Aulderush asks her how she feels, and she tells him that she feels quite well.  She then realises and asks that it was her time.  But Aulderush tells her that she had too much to give to the tribes.  Suddenly she turns pale, “I’m not going to turn to a Ghost.”  This is interrupted by a commotion outside.  A shouting and running footsteps.  “You don’t need to be a Ghost.  You have too much wisdom.  We can’t lose that now.”

“You do not know what you are doing.  Get out of here.  Fetch the other one for me.  Fetch Zeta now!”

“I can’t let you just die like this.”

“I am a Terasheban.  You will fetch her now!”

“First tell me more of…”

“You do not negotiate here.  My word.  My tribe’s word is law.”  Aulderush quickly explains to her that he saw a tattoo, and it mentioned the coming of Mary.  Mulshaf shakes her head and tells him that Mary is dead.  And before Aulderush can argue there is a pounding on the door.  He turns his attention to the door and shouts to whomever it is to pay attention to the sign he painted on the door of the plague.  But the banging continues, and a voice states in a loud authoritive manner.  “I am Jackers of the Joanites.  We need to speak to Aulderush.  We have bad news for him.  Very ill news.”  Aulderush asks what it is, but Jackers informs him that they do not wish to shout it out for the whole world to hear, and begs him to step out.

Opening the door, Aulderush is greeted by the sight of a man in a metal helm with bright red feathers through the middle.  Armour beaten from metal upon his body, and a sword by his side.  There are two others behind him.  Aulderush recognise the markings of a Joanite templar.  Jackers lowers his voice and informs Aulderush that they had found his mentor, Zeta Markon this morning.  And that Baba Yaga seems to have had need of her beyond the River of Dreams.  Aulderush asks how his mentor had died.  And as Jackers is about to speak, one of his colleagues reminds him of what they had been told by the Shebans, and they will not be able to back him up.  Jackers is not happy with this reminders and states that they are not the lap dogs of the Shebans.  Again Aulderush asks what had happened, and Jackers asks him to follow him,  “I need a second pair of hands.”  Aulderush tells him he will be right there once he has finished with his business there.  But Jackers tells him that he is needed right now, unless he wants to see the person who put his mentor down get away.

Jackers leads Aulderush through the Bazaar and in to a known location of a Tersheban.  He tears down the silks hanging in the doorway as he goes through.  A man steps in the way and begins to ask of what the meaning of the intrusions, but is cut short by a metal helm impacting with his nose.  He then goes in to a room where two Tershebans are half undressed.  He pulls his sword on them.  “I thought it odd that two more Tershebans come in to the Bazaar.  And we find a Yagan dead.  I guess you just could stand the idea of one of your own dead.”  He places his sword to one of the throats.  “Best I can see that woman is still alive too.”  The Terashebans begin to protest beginning to remind him of who they are, but he reminds them who he is and tells them that they are both under arrest.  Aulderush gets a hint of cinnamon again, and notices a shimmer of blue in the corner.  He looks that way to see a smile that is rapidly gone.  The Tershebans keep trying to protest, but Jackers has none of it.  He tells Aulderush that this is why he needed him there, as he doesn’t have any handcuffs and needs him to help him get them back to the cells.

As Jackers grabs ahold of one with his sword still on him.  Aulderush grabs the other with his knife drawn.  Soon the other tow Joanites step in to the room.  Jackers demands to know what they want, wishing to see if they are going to listen to the Terashebans and stop him.  But one of them tells him that it is more important.  That they have word from the Fatimas.  Quickly Jackers stops and listens.  “You are needed.  One has gone against the Fatimas.”

“I can do this afterwards.”  Jackers sounded angry still.

“You are standing next to him.”  Hearing this, Jackers turns and looks directly at Aulderush.  “You have got to be kidding me.”  He turns his sword and places at the neck of Aulderush.  The Tershebans quickly brush themselves off.  “I believe we have a problem for you now.  What are you going to do.”  They look at Jackers questioningly, “Now I don’t think you want to go against the Fatimas would you.”  They tell him that they have some envoys in town, and that they can sort something out diplomatically.  Jackers looks back at Aulderush with an even more angry look if that is at all possible.  As if to say I hate you.  He then asks Aulderush to hand over his blade.  “I need you to come with me.”

The Green Mile

A large domed building is filled with people.  It is made from a strange smooth curved surface, from the world before.  The cracked domed ceiling is allowing the sun light in.  There are still remnants of dangerous glass fragments in places, reaching so very high up, and some are more complete than others.  There are also some seating still remaining from the time before, but they have rusted in a closed position.  In the center of this theatre kneels five members of different tribes, three are Evans, one a Dahlian, and the last one is a Yagan.  The five are surrounded by Joanite guards, with Shebans sat near by and proceeding over the judgement.

The Crescent Chaser dragged Brhyannon here and they are now standing at the back watching.  She is knelt with a sword to her throat, and beside her is another female of the Dahlians and a male from the Yagans.  Each of these also have a sword at their throats.  Brhyannon also has near her, her two friends who she hasn’t seen since the incident, both Chloe and Davey.  Davey has only one good eye now as the other looks totally ruined, looking like someone had dragged large amounts of glass across it.  They both also have their arms bound behind their backs.  All five have a moment to take in their surroundings and their fellow victims of a similar fate.  Before the five is a pile of weapons laid in a cloth sack, each being their personal weapons that they had on their person.

A voice speaks out and echoes around the auditorium.  A masked judge stands at the front, with the grey robes of the Terasheban.  On the back is a large effigy of the scales.  “We will deal first, with those that have come the furthest.  With Lady Quinn who has been charged with crimes against the Fatima.  Of turning against her will.  Of turning from joy to blood lust, and becoming like an animal.  Becoming like a Z’bri.  To wallow in such decadence of violence as the camps.  We have the three, Brhyannon, Chloe, and Davey.  Charged with rising up against those who work in the names of the Fatimas.  Charged with neglecting the needs of the tribe and family.  Of cursing everyone by death by hunger, by the lack of will.  And we have sadness in our heart.  One who has strayed from the path just today.  Who turned away from the light of the Fatimas.  We have Aulderush charged with defying Baba Yaga.  Of continuing a shell of a person who is dead.”  A gasp goes up from the crowd upon hearing this.  “Do any of you have anything to say in your defence?”

Lady Quinn stays still, knelt there looking directly in front of her and not saying a word.  Aulderush does pretty much the same, unable to form a word of response as he moves his mouth trying to find something to say and failing.  Brhyannon opens her mouth,  “I am only living my life in reflection of how my tribe treated my parents.”  Another gasp goes up from the crowd, and some whispering can be heard moving around the gathered.  “With your own words you seal your fate.  You have been offered nothing but love of the Fatimas, but you responded with hate.  No worse blasphemy can be spoken.  Very well, if no other words of defence are to be heard.”  The judge is interrupted by a shout from the back.  “We have one more!”  And everyone looks back to see a large man dragged in.  He has a large full red beard.  Lady Quinn recognises his markings straight away as those of Dahlia.  He wears a simple smock over his body.  His hands are dripping with blood, as is the smock.  Small pieces of flesh can be made out in amongst his beard.  His eyes look around the gathered crowd and settle on Lady Quinn, giving her a quick wink.  He is forced to his knees with the others.  The judge asks for the new comers crime, and is told that it is murder.  Murder of both his paternal figure and his actual mother who brought him in to this world.  Murder of which the blood is still on his hands.  The judge turns to the red bearded man and asks him if he has anything to say in his defence.  A whisper is mutter to the judge, giving him the name of the man as Ferris of Dahlia.  Ferris shrugs his large shoulders, looks about and smiles.  “Well I would like to ask for leniency please.”

“Leniency?  On what grounds?”

“Please I ask for leniency.  I ask for my situation to be taken in to account.”

“And what situation is that?”

“Well you must understand that I am an orphan.”  A deathly silence hangs in the air as all eyes stare at this man and his words.  He just smiles back at everyone.  The judge splutters and demands that Ferris be gagged.

The judge turns and looks at all six of the people before him.  “For your heinous crimes there can be no other charge and no other result.  You have turned your back on the love of the Fatimas.  You have spat in their faces and blasphemed their existence.  You are to be banished  You are to have the Fatimas love dragged from you.  To be cast out and live the rest of your miserable life with the other retches of Hom.  If you are to be seen in the Vimary again, then you will be beat and struck out once more, until you learn your place.  That is the will of the Fatimas.”

Lady Quinn spots in the corner of her eye a movement in the back of the crowd, amongst the shadows.  She believes she has seen this figure before, and there is a kind of disappointment expression to the female face as she looks at her.  She then hears this voice come to her as this feel of the dream wash over her.  “You had such promise.  A pity.”  Ferris suddenly collapses to the floor screaming.  His eyes roll back in to his head, and blood begins to weep from his chest.  He is on his hands and knees on the floor shivering, looking lesser and utterly alone.  Tears are pouring from his face.  Lady Quinn suddenly has the sensation of the ‘vision’ as it is turned upon her.  She is suddenly stood before walls.  Walls and towers that mark the boundary between the tribes and the Z’bri.  The walls just tower over her, and as she looks down at her feet she can see mice.  The mice are slowly chewing away at the stone.  She can see the guards on display, marching back and forth along the parapets.  They are all dressed up as if on display, and there is a fanfare playing in the background.  But she can still hear the mice chewing away, and as she looks down they are actually rats gnawing away at the stone work.  Eventually a gapping hole appears and swarms of rats are stood there, loosening their bowls as a wind blows through.  Effluence pouring through the hole and washing over Lady Quinn.  A sickness that rolls over everything, but the walls can’t hold it and they begin to break in places, creating a deluge over all of the Vimary, a fire riding on the crest.  Lady Quinn feels herself drowning in this, in this sickness.  She coughs and gags as she slowly comes around back amongst the gathered throng in the domed building.  Choking and coughing she looks around, seeing the shadowy figure now gone.  All the love and affection, everything that made her who she was gone.  All that remains is just an empty shell.  In her pain, Lady Quinn looks around confused, anger radiating from her.  She then notices the two people called Chloe and Davey lifted up by their arms.

Chloe and Davey are lifted up by this figure of immense reverence, with huge hips and huge breasts all made up of this tarpaulin.  This figure just radiates love that washes over everything.  The figure then wraps her large cloak around Chloe and Davey, and then engulfs Brhyannon too, closing them off from their surrounds.  Brhyannon feels this utter love and motherhood filling her, but just as quick this is shattered by Chloe’s screaming, soon followed by Davey.  Brhyannon feels this burning all around her, flames surrounding her.  Shadows can be seen dancing amongst the flames all around her.  They are reaching up to low hanging branches that have ripe and rotten fruit upon them.  The shadows pluck the fruit and take deep bites, blood oozing and squirting from the mixed fruit.  And as the blood runs down their chins and drip to the flames it soon evaporates and is gone.  The shadows keep plucking and eating until there are no more, so they reach ever higher until they can not go no further.  The ones that remain collapse to the floor and begin to lick at the blood that is still there until there is nothing left.  Soon all the shadows have gone, withering away to nothing, only the fire remains.  Brhyannon is then aware that the large figure is still with her, and looking up to the face she can see a mask upon the face.  The figure removes this mask only to be replaced by another.  She then removes this mask and again this is replaced by another, and then another and another.  This goes on and on.  Looking, Brhyannon notices that the figure has puppet strings attached to her wrists that seem to control her.  There is one black face that is not controlled by the strings, and this moves against them.  Brhyannon focuses on this black face, looking deep within only to see her own face look back at her.  Brhyannon is then suddenly aware of being back in the domed building.  Now knowing what real pain is, not of just her losing her family but of losing all families, of losing everyone that she knew, all friends and family, everyone that ever knew her gone.  She is now aware of what utter pain of loneliness is.  The Fatima steps back away from Brhyannon, dragging its love from her.  Brhyannon rolls herself up in to a foetal position on the floor, huddling herself and crying.  Knowing that the ultimate mother, the mother of all is walking away from her.

Lastly Aulderush is aware of a movement, slow and steady.  A deep dark black tarpaulin over stilt like legs.  A skull sat on top looking down upon him.  A frost seems to follow this female figure.  Cords and vines attached to it arms like veins, drag the form of Baba Yaga.  This then stands over Aulderush, beautiful and terrifying at the same time.  Looking at this figure, Aulderush is suddenly aware and has an understanding of everything he ever wanted to know about death and life, even things that he had not even thought of.  But as soon as he blinks it is all gone again, the knowledge gone in a blink of an eye.  Aulderush then notices a crow sat on a pile of corpses.  The pile of corpses jerk and move as one as the crow pecks at the eye sockets.  Numerous moans of pain come from the pile as the crow pecks.  Bread crumbs lead away from the pile to a forrest where birds sing in harmony.  But the more in tune they become, the more it pains Aulderush and he feels like he is being drowned out by them.  Until it becomes a dull monotone.  Then dragged from his mind are nine identical keys.  Held before him they turn in nine identical locks.  He then sees a large mirror, and all around are many people that all look the same as Aulderush.  And as he looks in the mirror, he is unsure who is the one looking and who is the reflection.  He then becomes lost knowing only that there is just them and no him.  And just as suddenly he feels all knowledge, love and affection ripped from him.  Torn from him the knowledge that when he dies his soul would have travelled on past the River.  Aulderush just stands there after feeling disorientated, and feeling arrogantly angry at this injustice.

Chloe, Davey and Ferris are the first to be moved out to an awaiting cart.  The sun light bleeding in to the gloom.  Looking at themselves they can all see the scars marked upon them of the spiritual pain that they have all lost.  And looking at each other they can see the hollowness of spirit in the eyes, the same as those of the fallen that they may have seen before.  The haunted look to the eyes now belong to each of them.  The cloth bag with all the weapons is tied up and chucked on to the cart too.  A Joanite guard tells them that they will get them on the other side.  Next to go is Aulderush, Brhyannon, and Quinn.  Each of them has a bag placed over their heads, their wrist bound with extra binding.  They are then dragged to their feet and pushed on to a cart.  This the beginning of a long journey with nothing but their thoughts to keep them company.

On the journey they can hear voices of the guards that accompany them.  Saying things about the Hunting Ground had been raided again.  “The Fallen are getting far to brave.  The SCUM!  I’m speaking to you three by the way.  You scum.  Do you ever get the feeling we are just giving them re-enforcements.  They are getting as bad as the Surfs.  None of them have tried raping yet, but I wouldn’t put it past them.  There is no single bone of decency in them.”  The other guard tells him that there is nothing they can do.  The first guard suggests that he is tired of giving the Fallen re-enforcements and suggests that he knows a Keeper.  “Fucking nuts those Keepers.”  The guard carries on telling him that he has done some favours for the Keeper and suggests that they should sent these new Fallen the long way to Hom.

The three new Fallen are dragged to their feet.  Lady Quinn still saying nothing but wishing to not make it easy either makes sure she is dead weight for them.  But she soon sees stars as a pommel of a sword is driven hard to the base of her skull.  “Don’t give us shit!  We are allowed to kill you if you step out of line.  You are nothing now.”  As they are being dragged across the ground they feel their feet getting wet as they go across some water.  They are then lifted one at a time and shoved down in to something metal.  They can hear a rumbling and feel a vibrating through them.  A different voice speaks.  “I got your message.  The trade is done, so now we are even.  Seems a bit unfair on these three.”

“Not any of your bother is it.”  Speaks a guard.

“No, not really.”  After a moments pause the new voice continues.  “It is good things you have found.  These ones, are they bad people?”

“The worse.”

“Like we are the bad people, yes?”

“Hmmm”

“Okay we owe you so I will take them.  I then bid you bon voyage then.  It is a good phrase is it not?  Bon voyage.”

“Whatever nut case.”

“It means good journey.  You should say it more.”

“Fuck you!”

“There is no respect for learning these days.”

Soon the three new Fallen of Aulderush, Brhyannon, and Lady Quinn, feel themselves moving and the sound of water splashing.  The Keeper soon asks the three of them their thoughts on knowledge.  None of them say anything so the Keeper carries on, he tells them about the time when they used to measure distance by a different means than time and the sun like they do now.  He tells them that they used to use a term called ‘Clicks’ and how it helped with maps they used to use.  “I get the feeling that I am talking to myself.”  Aulderush breaks the silence, “We are not concerned with these ‘clicks’ right now.  What did the guard mean by sending us the long route to Hom?  That is information.”

“Ah he talks.  He talks.  And quite a proud one from the sound.  Which one was it I can not tell with all the sacks on their heads.  Right that one has breasts.  That one has breast.  And that one doesn’t.  So I presume it must be that one.  Unless one of them has a deep voice.”  The keeper looks from one to the other using his observation to narrow down how had spoken to him.  He then chews the word information around his mouth a few times.  He then goes on to tell them that he likes to travel, informing them that the world is massive.  Aulderush asks how long it will take, and the Keeper informs him that it will take three-hundred-and-twenty-two.  The Keeper then informs them that he wishes to continue to travel in silence as he has many things to think about.

Hours pass and the movement stops.  The three then feel their bonds loosen.  “Please do not try to move or remove the sack until you have heard me move away.  I have this item you see, a very nice one.  It tends to make a lot of mess with people who try to trouble me.  So I would rather we parted on good terms.  And if we meet in the future then perhaps we can raise a drink.  I have some fine spirits.  Just think of this as a journey and an experience.  Not as a brutal punishment for going against the horrid superstitions that you follow.  Frankly it is probably the best thing for you.”  They soon hear the rumbling sound again and the splashing of water as it gradually fades in to the distance.

After a silent pause, not hearing any further sound from the Keeper or his strange transport.  The three new Fallen take off their sack hoods as one.  Looking around they take in the bright sunlight and new surroundings.  They find themselves in a desert wastelands, leading to the edge of the large river.  In the distance they can see the great broken bridge, the one that stands over Hom.  To them it looks at an odd angle.  And beyond on the other side of the river they can make out the Sky Realms reaching for the sky.  They then get the sinking feeling that they have been dropped in the Outlands.  In the Outlands with no weapons, no food, and no equipment to survive.

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