The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jul 11, 2012 7:42 pm

(And now my characters are kind of in split timelines. :P This post takes place that afternoon, by the Fountain.)

Ryana and Kirane talk to the new arrivals, trying to answer questions. Ryana suggests the Ditto Town Mechanic as a possible place to get... repairs.


Ryana smiled grimly at the observation. “Well, it’s peaceful now. It’s taken us a few battles to make sure of that.” She shook it off and said, “This place is called Ditto Town. I’m guessing you’re not from around here.” Her eyes widened a bit when she realized how that might be taken, so she quickly amended, “That is… um, we tend to get quite a few visitors from other worlds. Like Kirane, here,” She said, gesturing to her companion. She shook it off. “Anyways… um, I’m Ph—Ryana. Though I’m also known as Phoenix Archer.”

In the meanwhile, Kirane was thinking more about what the speaker had first said. She’d considered offering to use her powers to help however she could—she’d used her abilities over matter to seamlessly weld metal together before, after all. But… they didn’t really work very well on living things, she’d discovered; even so, she wasn’t sure she should risk it. Besides, it looked like they were handling things fairly well on their own. Still, she glanced at Ryana and asked, “Do you think… is there a place where they can get… medical attention?” “Repaired” would’ve been too callous a word, she thought.

Ryana thought it over a little bit, before shrugging. “I’m not sure how much the Rescue Center could do for… non-organics.” She glanced at the strangers and said, “Most of the people around here are like us; flesh and blood. I mean, we have robots, but…” She stopped; an idea came to mind. “Well, there is the Ditto Town Mechanic; he might be able to do something.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jul 11, 2012 7:43 pm

(And this one takes place that evening, around the same time as stargazer's last post.)

Ryana and Kirane go to the Emporium to see the Silvermoons, and ask about a copy of Dr. Chandra's lecture. Kirane meets Abby and Molly, and they've arrived just in time to see Erik wake from stone sleep.


It had certainly turned into an… interesting day, but Ryana had promised Kirane a trip to the Emporium. Besides, especially now with more extra-dimensional visitors, Ryana was suddenly really eager to hear any kind of explanation for what was going on in this town. …Provided it was in English. And didn’t sound like it belonged in the TV shows that her “sisters” used to watch. Well, she knew she was dreaming if she expected the latter.

Thankfully, they were home in time to put the now-exhausted Shadow in the house, and relax a little bit, before the sun started to set. But as soon as she saw the horizon adopting different hues, she knew it was time to go; she really wanted to treat Kirane to a gargoyle waking from stone sleep. She’d already told Kirane a little bit about gargoyles, just enough to prepare her, but not enough to spoil the surprise. So much so, in fact, that as she worried they’d be late, she’d offered to give Kirane a ride—via flying. Kirane’s response was a bit of a surprise.

“To be honest… I have my own way of flying.” Ryana stared at her, wide-eyed, as Kirane went to “her” room, for one of the few possessions she still had with her. It was a fairly long piece of metal, which almost looked like a board; at least, from one side. Its top was almost completely flat, with light blue lines that looked almost like circuitry running across it. On the bottom, there were two bulges, one longer than the other, that… she really couldn’t identify at all. Really, it looked like the “skateboards” she’d seen in other towns, except without the wheels… and made of metal… and looking a lot more high-tech.

“It’s a hoverboard.” Kirane explained. “Someone made it for me, back at my… previous home.” She smiled and pointed out, “I’m sure you know how much easier it is to get around when you can fly. Especially when you’re protecting a big city.”

“Yeah… true.” That was really all Ryana could think to say. So, the two of them ended up flying over to the Emporium; and, Ryana noted, they made it just around dusk. Perfect timing. She approached the door… and stared at it for a few seconds, trying to remember how to announce their arrival….

Finally, she found the equivalent of the doorbell, and they waited for a few moments. Not long after, the door opened, and there stood Abby, holding her little girl in her arms. She stared at the pair for a moment, and Kirane wondered briefly if this was a bad time…. Finally, the gargoyle responded, almost asking, “Phoenix Archer?” Whatever the case, she quickly shook it off. “Come in, come in.”

“Thanks….” Ryana almost called Abby by her first name, but… to be honest, it was really hard to decide on what protocol to use. Mrs. Silvermoon? Abby? Abigail…? She wasn’t really sure if either Phoenix Archer or Vanessa had ever been on a first-name basis with the gargoyles…. It was a little easier to only meet people on the field, it seemed. She finally decided to risk it, and hope that if it was wrong, Abby wouldn’t notice: “Abby, this is Kirane. She just got here from another world.” How many times could you say that without having to explain it? “Kirane, this is Abby Silvermoon. She’s one of the gargoyles I’ve told you about.”

Kirane smiled and nodded. Politely, she extended her hand, assuming that this was standard practice on this world, too. “Pleased to meet you.”

To Kirane’s surprise, Abby seemed totally unconcerned with the comment that she was from another world. The gargoyle reached out and gently took the offered hand. “The pleasure is mine.” With a huge smile, she added, “And this little lady is our daughter Molly. Please, follow me, and I’ll see about offering some refreshments.”

They followed Abby into the main room, where stood… Kirane fought to keep from staring. There was another gargoyle, much like Abby, except a bit larger, and clearly male. However, this one was strangely gray, and unmoving…. It took her a few moments to realize that it was a statue. Seemed like an odd place for it, but who was she to question gargoyle architecture?

Kirane was even more puzzled when Abby stopped in front of the statue and looked up into its face with something like…love? And even more surprising was the way Molly stretched out toward it, arms open wide. “Just a few minutes, sweetheart,” Abby said to the little girl. ’Now what did that mean?’

All the while, Ryana was beginning to feel more and more like she was invading. Granted, she was never one for small talk, but… for some reason, it just felt like she should stop taking up so much of their time. She forced herself to remain up-beat and polite as she explained, “Kirane is really interested in learning more about interdimensional travel, and all that, and… I remember the lecture Dr. Chandra had here a while ago. And, we were wondering if you had any copies of the lecture, on tape or something? I think she’d be really interested.”

Kirane, though still a bit dumbfounded, nodded. “If it’s not too much trouble, that is.” And, she had to admit, she’d also love to see more of the building. In addition to being a beautiful building… it looked like an observatory. How many notes would it have about this world? It would be a wonderful exercise to compare this world to the ones she knew….

Abby paused a moment and looked out one of the large west-facing windows, as if waiting for something. Soon her love would be awake and she would have someone to talk to about the horrors of the day. Kirane wondered if the gargoyle was on some kind of schedule or something, and felt that she was intruding, but then Abby turned to her and said, “I’d be happy to see if there’s a copy of that lecture around, but I bet Erik will know exactly where to look. If you’ll give us just another moment or two...”

With a grin, she turned to face the large statue. Kirane watched, astonished, as hairline fractures appeared on it, accompanied by a strange kind of crackling sound that slowly grew louder and louder…

“What…what’s going on?” she managed to exclaim just as a roar filled the room and stone shards flew everywhere.

Erik was awake.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Silvan_Haven » Jul 12, 2012 5:59 pm

"You could say that." Kaelen said with a chuckle. "I don't think anyone need any medical attention right now, byt we will probably need somwhere to stay for a few days. Is there some place vacant here? We can all make ourselves useful in some way as way of payment."

The vortix from before had gotten over the residual pain from his wound and came up to join the conversation.

"Are there any libraries nearby? We might be here a while and it would be helpful to learn what we can about this place. Geography, history, science, social setup, anything really. We don't want to offend anyone while we are here."
"The road the hell is paved with good intentions.

Heh,

So is the read to Heaven."
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Dernhelm_of_Rohan » Jul 12, 2012 8:36 pm

Vhex gazed curiously at the two beings who were welcoming them to this new dimension. They had to be the strangest creatures she had ever seen.

One has metal wings, but an organic body? And the other... What in Mata Nui's name is she? She shrugged as Kaelen greeted the strangers cordially. At least they know how to be polite, even if they are all organic.

Aloud, she walked up behind her leader and added, "And is there any place in this world that opens to another? Somewhere the Santun could break through? You'll need to close all your portals."

She suddenly realized that what she was saying probably meant nothing to the two organic females who called themselves Ryana and Kirane. "Uh, what I mean is, do you have, like, a sky-door? 'Cause bad guys could come through it and we need to stop them."

Girl, seriously. That was even worse. She wished she had spent more time studying diplomacy. Hopefully, the organics would be nice enough to overlook it. And Kaelen would forgive her big mouth.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Silvan_Haven » Jul 13, 2012 6:21 pm

"What my friend here means is that some of the people we are running from might follow us. From what you said before, we are not the first people who have come here from another dimension. The people attacking us were being helped by beings from a dimension other then our own as well. So the chance exsists that they might follow us here the same way they came to our dimension."

He shifted, moving his weight from one foot to the other.

"That is another reason that we need to find some place to stay quickly. They are mone likely to pop up where we are and the sooner that we can set up something to deal with them the better"
"The road the hell is paved with good intentions.

Heh,

So is the read to Heaven."
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravanna » Jul 13, 2012 10:05 pm

Erica and Alex walked back to the Mansion in silence. Some relationships didn’t need words to span the gap. The fairy dragons lingered behind, or shot ahead whenever something interesting caught their attention. Poor Torchwood was still unsteady on his wings and could only chirp and hop up and down Alex’s shoulder whenever his Aunt Val and adopted uncle, Ember, shot past. The town was quiet except for the normal low hum of activity. It was strange. It seemed almost like the quiet after a storm, except there had been no storm.

The pair was almost back to Erica’s room before the teenager broke the silence. “Hey, I’m going to visit the Silvermoons again tonight to ask Eric a few questions. Want to join me?”

“What are you going to ask him about?”

“Oh, you know, astrophysics and stuff.”

Alex laughed. “What? Since when where you interested in astrophysics? You don’t even know what that word means.”

“Yes, I do! It’s like physics that have to do with astronauts…”

“Astronauts?”

“And stars. Stop making fun of me!” protested Erica.

“I wasn’t making fun of you,” retorted Alex, but the half-concealed grin said otherwise. “But no, seriously, I need to give poor Mystic and Kouadio a break. Leaving them alone with those two crazy drakes [OOC: Ara here, Fairy Dragon babies are drakes] is just mean. I swear, the female is worse than Val.”

Val landed on Erica’s shoulder and protested loudly, no doubt trying to uphold her reputation of terror. Erica laughed and shooed her off. “Well, be all boring and responsible then. I’ll have fun without you talking about black holes and super novas.”

“Seriously though, what gives?. Why are you really interested?”

Erica considered the question, but shrugged, more to herself. “I donno.”
“It’s just an excuse to go play with Max again, isn’t it?”

“Yah, but you were charmed too, Mr. I-don’t-like-babies-unless-they’re-dragons.”

“I’m leaving now. Goodbye little sis.”

“Goodbye Alex!”

“Goodbye Einstein!” Alex called across the square.

Erica had to shout to make herself heard. “WHATEVER! SCIENCE IS COOL!”

Ironically, Erica slept through the ensuing exodus through the Ditto Town fountain by the Kin… even though the Mansion sat right on the square. Alex, who was much farther away in the Inn Between, heard what sounded like thunder followed by faint shouts. He emerged with Mystic and Kouadio on his shoulders while Ember took over drake-sitting duty.

He arrived after Ryana and Kirane in time to hear something about a sky-door and bad guys. Of course, Alex was more interested in the fact that he was apparently looking at androids, maybe. Kouadio chattered rather rudely at the ground to express in his fairy dragon way that they were weird. Then another of the group (a male?) spoke up about the Kin’s enemies traveling through dimensions to this one.

“Wow, so we’re in danger? Does this happen very often in Ditto Town?” He addressed the question to no one in particular, not feeling very qualified to be involved in the situation.


**************

Erica and Alex walked back to the Mansion in silence. Some relationships didn’t need words to span the gap. The fairy dragons lingered behind, or shot ahead whenever something interesting caught their attention. Val and Ember seemed to be getting along rather well after spending the day together. The town was quiet except for the normal low hum of activity. It was strange. It seemed almost like the quiet after a storm, except there had been no storm. The pair was almost back to Erica’s room before the teenager broke the silence. “Hey, I’m going to visit the Silvermoons again tonight to ask Eric a few questions. Want to join me?”
“What are you going to ask him about?”

“Oh, you know, astrophysics and stuff.”

Alex laughed. “What? Since when where you interested in astrophysics? You don’t even know what that word means.”

“Yes, I do! It’s like physics that have to do with astronauts…”

“Astronauts?”

“And stars. Stop making fun of me!” protested Erica.

“I wasn’t making fun of you,” retorted Alex, but the half-concealed grin said otherwise. “But no, seriously, I don’t want to impose on the Silvermoons.”

“But you haven’t even met Eric yet!” Val landed on Erica’s shoulder tried to pull Erica’s hair, no doubt tired of being ignored. Erica laughed and shooed her off.

“All right, I guess I can go, but seriously though, what gives? Why are you really interested?”

Erica considered the question, but shrugged, more to herself. “I donno.”
“It’s just an excuse to go play with Molly again, isn’t it?”

“Yah, but you were charmed too, Mr. I-don’t-like-babies-unless-they’re-dragons.”

“I’m leaving now. Goodbye little sis.”

“Goodbye Alex!”

“Goodbye Einstein! See you tonight!” Alex called across the square.

Erica had to shout to make herself heard. “WHATEVER! SCIENCE IS COOL!”

Ironically, Erica slept through the ensuing exodus through the Ditto Town fountain by the Kin… even though the Mansion sat right on the square. Alex, who was much farther away in the Inn Between, heard what sounded like thunder followed by faint shouts. He emerged with Mystic and Kouadio on his shoulders. Ember had had apparently worn himself out and stayed at Erica’s where he and Val also slept through everything.

Alex arrived after Ryana and Kirane in time to hear something about a sky-door and bad guys. Of course, Alex was more interested in the fact that he was apparently looking at androids, maybe. Kouadio chattered rather rudely at the ground to express in his fairy dragon way that they were weird. Then another of the group (a male?) spoke up about the Kin’s enemies traveling through dimensions to this one.

“Wow, so we’re in danger? Does this happen very often in Ditto Town?” He addressed the question to no one in particular, not feeling very qualified to be involved in the situation.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Jul 14, 2012 8:18 pm

Six figures circled above Ditto Town that night; hours had passed since the explosion but the ruins still smoldered. This aerial recognizance revealed that far more than just the Monmouth Astronomical Emporium had been destroyed; though Erik and Abby had often spoken of various places in town, these gargoyles could only guess at what other buildings – and lives – had been lost.

Before long the group landed and set to their work. Aided by bright moonlight and a detailed description from Shannon Lewis, they had no trouble finding what they sought. Their estimation of the young human’s bravery in rescuing Molly grew yet again as they came upon Abby’s burned, broken body.

Alaric stood silently for a moment, shoulders and wings drooped, mourning his departed sister. The others gathered around in a loose circle, an informal honor guard for the pair. “No greater love than this,” the big orange gargoyle finally whispered, “than one lay down his life for his friends.”

Then he stood up, tall and determined. “We will bear my sister home, so that she might have a proper Wind Ceremony. She will rest in the mountains she loved.”

Wordlessly, the other gargoyles sought out the body of Abby’s mate, in order to grant him the same honor, but eventually were forced to give up their search due to the coming dawn. They reverently placed Abby’s body onto a litter brought for just this purpose, and, on foot this time, made their way back to the shimmering portal that led home. They vowed to return again to resume the search for Erik’s body. He deserved that much.

Moments later the sun rose over the ruins of Ditto Town, once again silent and still.


**************

It was sunset in Ditto Town, and in the foyer of the Astronomical Emporium Abby held her son and waited, rather impatiently, for her snoozing mate to wake for the evening. Max kept reaching out for his father, almost falling out of his mother’s grasp at first. “Soon, sweetheart,” she cooed.

Tiny hairline cracks soon lined the large statue and Max squealed in excitement. Daddy was coming!

Erik’s roar echoed down the hall; he stretched his wings and his tail lashed. The white in his eyes quickly faded when he saw who was waiting for him. “My love,” he whispered, taking her into his arms.

He then plucked Max out of Abby’s arms and held him above his head, twirling him around and around as he did each night.

He sure loves being a dad, Abby thought, then repeated it aloud. After all, it wasn’t like he could read her thoughts or anything, right? That would just be weird.

“And how was your day?” he asked once finished greeting Max.

She slipped an arm into his and led him out into the Emporium’s front yard. “It was wonderful! Max and I had breakfast over at the pub, then I ran into Erica and her brother on the way back. But we had to stop several Ditto enthusiasts from decorating our home with their materials.”

“Hmm, that’s odd. Aria helped me rig the sprinkler system so it would…deter…such things.” He grinned. “Nothing like a cold shower to scare them away. I wonder why it didn’t work.”


[Author’s note: Mere coincidence, or more Chaos?]

“That would have been funny to see.” Abby paused. “The strangest thing did happen, though, when I was entertaining Erica and Alex. Just for a moment, things were the same but different.”

Erik stopped short. “What do you mean?”

“Well, everything was fine – except that we had a daughter, rather than a son. Can you imagine?”

“Not having our little Max?” He ruffled his hatchling’s reddish hair. “Inconceivable! But well…maybe next time?”

She playfully slapped him with her tail and they continued their walk through town.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravanna » Jul 14, 2012 10:02 pm

Erica woke up with an effort. It seemed to take a long time for her to break free from the nightmare that she’d been having. Except it wasn’t a nightmare. Eric was really dead. And… that’s right, Erica was back on earth. Val had teleported them both for some reason and that act, that the little dragon had done seamlessly a hundred times before, had felt all wrong.

“Okay, we have to get back. I’m running from my fears… or something. Val?” The room was quiet and very dark since Alex always relied on heavy shades to hide his secrets. Her eyes felt sticky from falling asleep while crying. Rubbing them, she stumbled towards the light switch. It took a long time to find it. When the light finally went on, Erica felt blind for a second, then Erica’s eyes adjusted and there was the small room with its unmade bed.

“Val, where are you?” Oh, there she was, still curled up tightly at the head of the bed. Erica walked over to her and picked the little dragon up. She let out a scream and dropped the body. It was cold and stiff. Val didn’t bend or shift in Erica’s hands. She was like a snake… except even snakes’ bodies didn’t lie upside down in the same position like that on the bed.

Erica touched her friend again with shaking hands and righted her. “No, no, come on Val! Don’t, don’t, come on! Please don’t do this to me.” I’m having a meltdown, or a dream, Erica thought to herself. If I just stay calm it will be all right. It’s going to be fine. Val’s fine too.

The thread of her thoughts repeated for a long time, but nothing changed. Val didn’t move. Erica picked her up and held her close, trying to return warmth to the cold body that no longer needed it. Suddenly she heard a slight pop behind her. It was the sound Val always made when she teleported. She whirled around. But Val was still in her arms, instead, it was Mystic and Kouadio who had just materialized. Mystic didn’t need eyes to fly straight to Erica’s forearm and brush against Val’s body. Kouadio landed respectfully on Erica’s shoulder and gave his mate space. Mystic made a sound that sounded like a whimper and tried to push between Erica and Val so hard to get close to them, it was almost uncomfortable.

“Did she teleport you two here? How did you get here?” asked Erica. She still half-expected Val to appear from around the corner, energetic and loud and beautiful, like she had always been.

Then suddenly, Erica felt the sensation of a teleportation and they were back in Ditto Town. It couldn’t have been long after the explosion. Smoke still hung in the air and stung Erica’s eyes and nose. “How did you do that?” Erica asked again. Mystic raised her head and stared with blind eyes, twittering, but while Erica had almost always understood Val, complicated explanations of how powers passed between twin fairy dragons upon one sister’s death was beyond her understanding. Erica just shook her head and felt old. But at least she was back in Ditto Town. Maybe there was some good in this evil world.

At that moment, the smoke blew in a different direction with the wind, and Erica saw that she wasn’t far from other people. And one of them had a knife… and he was holding that knife up to her brother’s throat.


****************
Erica woke up with an effort. It seemed to take a long time for her to break free from the nightmare that she’d been having. Except it wasn’t a nightmare. Eric was really dead. And… that’s right, Erica was back on earth. Val had teleported them both for some reason and that act, that the little dragon had done seamlessly a hundred times before, had felt all wrong.

“Okay, we have to get back. I’m running from my fears… or something. Val?” The room was quiet and very dark since Alex always relied on heavy shades to hide his secrets. Her ears still rung a little from the deafening sound she’d heard almost the same instant she’d found herself in Los Angeles. Erica made her way towards the light switch and managed to turn it on. The light finally went on, and a split second later, Erica thought she heard a voice somewhere behind her, but after a moment, she realized she must have imagined it.

“Val, where are you?” Oh, there she was, still curled up tightly at the head of the bed. Erica walked over to her and picked the little dragon up. She let out a scream and dropped the body. It was cold and stiff. Val didn’t bend or shift in Erica’s hands. She was like a snake… except even snakes’ bodies didn’t lie upside down in the same position like that on the bed.

Erica touched her friend again with shaking hands and righted her. “No, no, come on Val! Don’t, don’t, come on! Please don’t do this to me.” I’m having a meltdown, or a dream, Erica thought to herself. If I just stay calm it will be all right. It’s going to be fine. Val’s fine too.

The thread of her thoughts repeated for a long time, but nothing changed. Val didn’t move. Erica picked her up and held her close, trying to return warmth to the cold body that no longer needed it. The door creaked behind her. Erica whirled around. There was a woman standing in the doorway with two fairy dragons on her shoulders.

“There you are,” she said threateningly, stepping into the room. “Don’t scream again, or I’ll have to take certain actions.” Her accent was very English.
Erica’s mind was a fog.
“I talked to you on the phone,” she said after a moment.

“You told me Alex was dead, and your fairy dragon appears to be dead as well. What is going on?”

The woman crossed the small room in a few strides. She was a lot taller and older than Erica. Her fairy dragons were also frightening. One of them was thin and had an obviously crooked spine, and it was an uncomfortable sensation to look directly into its large eyes. The other fairy dragon was huge for its kind, and his blood red wings were actually more like a bat’s than a bugs… he had them spread aggressively and hissed noisily at Erica.

Erica scrambled to remember the question she'd been asked. “I… I don’t… don’t say that!” she finished lamely.

“Right, calm down. I’m a friend,” said the imposing English woman. I want to help. Where did your fairy dragon last teleport from? Was it from where Alex died?”

“I… well, he’s not… I don’t...”

“Vanchling, do it.” It was clearly a command. Before Erica could even think, the large dragon jumped the distance between his mistress and her arms and clamped down on the back of Val’s neck.

“NO! NO, get off of her! Don’t TOUCH her!” Erica screamed, trying pry the creature off and getting scratched for her efforts. The woman grabbed Erica’s arm, and the next thing Erica knew, she was in Ditto Town. It couldn’t have been long after the explosion. Smoke still hung in the air and the distant noise of people.

“What’s going on, where is this Vanch?” asked the other woman in confusion, pulling away from Erica. The other fairy dragon let go and flapped back over to her shoulder.

Erica held her friend’s body close and realized she was crying again. At least that horrible fairy dragon had gotten them back to Ditto Town. Maybe there was some order in this chaotic world.

At that moment, the smoke blew in a different direction with the wind, and Erica saw that she wasn’t far from other people. And one of them had a knife… and he was holding that knife up to her brother’s throat.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby shastastwin » Jul 15, 2012 2:31 pm

Greya and Ambrose arrive at the Emporium to meet with Erik. They are greeted by the Silvermoons and joined by Christie. In one 'verse, Torla is with her and in another, Greya does not know who Torla is. In that 'verse, Ambrose seems to have no knowledge of Dawn.

Scene IXa
Erik and Abby greeted Greya and Ambrose in the Emporium lobby. When Molly saw Ambrose, she all but jumped from Erik’s arms to the half-gargoyle, still curious about his strange face split jaggedly in two.

“Hello to you, too,” Ambrose said with a smile.

“She’s been very excited today, for some reason,” Abby offered. “What can we do for you gentlemen this evening?”

Greya briefly explained about the various visions he and Christie had received and asked if they might all discuss them with Erik, since the bulk of the images portrayed the Silvermoons and the Emporium in some capacity.

“Of course,” Erik said. “We actually have some other visitors tonight coming for the same purpose.

There was another knock, and the door opened to admit Christie and Torla. “Sorry it took us so long,” Christie said. “The Cup and Platter was busier than I had anticipated.”

They were carrying bags of take out, including several orders of deep-fried moonbats and jalapeño hushpuppies.

“I hope everyone’s hungry,” Torla said.

Scene IXb
Erik and Abby greeted Greya and Ambrose in the Emporium lobby. When Max saw Ambrose, he all but jumped from Erik’s arms to the half-gargoyle, still curious about his strange face split jaggedly in two.

“Hello to you, too,” Ambrose said with a smile.

“He’s been very excited today, for some reason,” Abby offered. “What can we do for you gentlemen this evening?”

Greya briefly explained about the various visions he and Christie had received and asked if they might all discuss them with Erik, since the bulk of the images portrayed the Silvermoons and the Emporium in some capacity.

“Of course,” Erik said. “We actually have some other visitors tonight coming for the same purpose.

There was another knock, and the door opened to admit Christie. “Sorry it took me so long,” she said. “The Cup and Platter was busier than I had anticipated. I couldn’t find Torla. I assume she went home before I arrived.”

Greya looked confused. “Who?”

“Torla. Your wife,” Christie explained. Concern was written in the lines of her face. “Never mind,” she said after a few seconds. “Did you explain about the visions?”

“Yes. Apparently there are others who have noticed strange happenings lately.”

“Perhaps,” Christie added, looking at Ambrose and Max from the corner of her eye, “we will learn something about what happened to Xander. Then Dawn can have some peace of mind.”

Ambrose did not react to the names, as Christie had feared, but Abby asked her if she was feeling all right.

“Yes, just remembering some of the students from the School.”

She wished again for Chase to come back to Ditto Town. Something was wrong with the world.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby shastastwin » Jul 15, 2012 2:33 pm

Chance awakens to find Chase missing and the gargoyles have no recollection of him. They say he has been raised by them apart from humans. In another 'verse, Chase takes Chance, Ranger, and Michael back to Ditto Town. They are attacked by Aro, who gives them a cryptic warning, and when they arrive in DT they find the Emporium in ruins.

Scene IXc
Chance woke in the middle of the night. He could not see very well because the gargoyle family sleeping near the entrance blocked most of the moonlight. He felt the now familiar chill of Aalrais beside him. He wondered if he was right to take comfort in it, but its presence had become synonymous with his brother’s and he knew it was right to take comfort in Chase. He reached out his other hand to reassure himself of his brother’s presence. He found only the cold stone floor of the cave. Trying to restrain his panic, Chance felt around as far as he could reach.

I can’t tell if he’s here or not. I need a light, Chance thought.

A small orb of flame appeared in front of him, floating over the spot where Chase had been sleeping a few hours before. There was no sign Chase had ever been there. Chance looked around the cave and saw that he was alone except for the gargoyles standing watch at the entrance.

Chase, where are you?

Chance looked at the orb of fire and flinched away from it. He did not know how it had come to be there, and it was connected in his mind with Chase’s disappearance. He waved his hand at it, hoping it would vanish and leave him in darkness, where he could at least pretend that Chase was still here. His wish was granted. Chance slumped against the cave wall and clutched his sword. It was the Aurora Sword, the Blade of Light and Dawn. Perhaps it was the reason he had called the fire into being. But where was Chase, and why had he gone?

In the last hours before the morning twilight, a dark thought came to him. What if Aro had come back and taken Chase? What if he returned to take Chance as well?

As the sun crept over the horizon behind the cliff that held the caves, the gargoyles woke and Chance asked them if they could tell him where Chase might have gone.

Michael seemed troubled by Chance’s question. “What do you mean? You are the only human among us. Do you not remember, little one? You have been raised with us since you were small. You are the only human we have allowed among us for years.”

Scene IXd
The morning after they arrived in the territory of the Eastern Rock-a-climb clan, Chase and Chance left in the company of Michael and Ranger. Michael spoke with Rachel and Armitage before they left, and he and Ranger both said their goodbyes to Leah, who asked why she couldn’t come too and if they would bring back more new people when they came.

“You need to stay and look after the eggs,” Michael said. “I’ll see about new people. I have to make sure they can withstand your cuteness.”

Leah giggled and slid to the ground. Michael turned to Chase. “Are you ready?”

Chase nodded and took them into the Mist. The grey in-between took them into its embrace and they began their journey back to Ditto Town.

Aro ambushed them halfway to Town, appearing out of the surrounding Mist like the ghost of Losf the Gorgon. The dark-haired boy swung his sword at Chase, who ducked and spun out of the way, drawing his own sword. A tendril of mist wrapped itself around Aro’s ankle and he tripped when he tried to realign himself for another swing at Chase.

“You’re too late, you know,” Aro said as he picked himself up. The mist was spreading over his leg now, and had begun to climb his other leg as well. He glanced down and smiled. “You can’t stop what’s been started. It only spreads,” he said with a twist of his legs, “the more you fight it.”

Aro sliced through the air at Chase and the mist swallowed him in moments.

“What was that about?” Ranger asked.

“I don’t know,” Chase said. “But I don’t like it. We need to get back to Ditto Town.”

When they dropped out of the Mist on the edge of Town, Chase knew something was wrong. He didn’t know what until Chance asked, “Chase, what building used to be here?”

Chase turned and felt his knees weaken as he took in the wreckage of the Emporium. Michael’s roar woke him from shock and he turned to see a stranger holding a knife to a young man’s throat. Michael and Ranger were trying to scare off the attacker, but he seemed to be having none of it.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Jul 15, 2012 7:23 pm

Note: this segment occurs right after Ryadian’s latest post, and before shastastwin’s characters arrive at the Emporium.

Kirane couldn’t help it; she stepped back from what looked like a wild, raging monster. He wasn’t gray anymore, but purple; his eyes flared white, his wings were unfurled, and his tail lashed back and forth.

Even Ryana, who had seen a gargoyle awaken before, was impressed.

They watched as the glow faded from Erik’s eyes and he took a less ferocious stance. He caped his wings over his shoulder and looked around the room, surprised at the unexpected guests. “Good evening!” he said cheerily.

“Beloved, allow me to introduce our visitors,” Abby began. “This is the Phoenix Archer, whom you’ve met, and her friend Kirane. This is my soul mate, Erik.”

The two women watched him elegantly bow, then rise and extend his arm. “I’m very pleased to meet you.”

“Well, my real name's Ryana, but... whatever works is fine," the Archer said as they shook hands.

He nodded. “Ryana, then. Welcome to our home. We’ll be glad to offer you refreshments and give you the nickel tour, as our human friends say, but there’s something I have to do first.”

He took Molly into his arms. With a big smile he rubbed noses with her, then held her high over his head and twirled her about.

Abby couldn’t hide her pride. No doubt about it, fatherhood’s good for him. He really loves it.

Their laughter filled the room, and for a brief while Abby was almost able to forget the horror of the day.

Almost.

“Erik, could you help me get the refreshments ready?” He turned to her, surprised. Ordinarily one of them would take this task, with the other remaining behind to make small talk. But the determined, steely-eyed look on her face was one he’d rarely seen in all their years together.

He turned to their guests. “If you’ll excuse me…”

*And bring Molly*

The unspoken telepathic message – command, actually – was just as emphatic. Their telepathic link was quite limited, allowing simple thoughts to pass through, along with hints of strong emotions or danger. Right now he sensed something unusual in his mate – despair, almost.

He followed her to the kitchen, gently placing Molly into one of the little playpens they’d scattered around their home for just this purpose. “Is something wrong?”

Abby silently fell into his arms, holding him tightly. “Just hold me.”

“My pleasure,” he whispered in reply. Her mood remained hard to read, her thoughts carefully guarded. He held her, not saying anything at first, knowing she would tell him in her own time.

But aware of their guests in the other room, he soon ventured, “How was your day?” The generic opening offered her the chance to share details or decline as she chose.

“It…it started off great. We had breakfast over at the pub and ran into Erica and her brother on the way back. By the way, your sprinkler system worked wonders with some people who tried to decorate the Emporium with ditto materials.” They shared a soft chuckle at that.

But there was more, Erik knew. That sense of despair seemed deeper than ever.

She returned to his embrace, seeking the solace her loved one willingly offered. Again he remained silent, letting her proceed at her own pace.

“Then it was terrible.” Swiftly, lest she lose all composure, she outlined the events of the day, forcing back tears as she told of finding his stone statue shattered and trying to save Molly when the Emporium exploded.

It took some time, but she was eventually also able to describe her strange sense of déjà vu and her certainty that it was more than a dream.

It was hard for Erik to take it all in; her words had been supplemented by some incredible telepathic imagery that had made him shiver. “Alternate universes?” His voice was soft.

“Maybe. You know more about that than me.”

“In theory, maybe. But other than our portal, I don’t have real experience.”

“Oh, there was one other thing – one of the times my day seemed to ‘reset,’ I was relieved to see our son alive and well.”

“Our son?”

“We’d named him Max.”

He sat back and was quiet for a while as he pondered all these things. “Multiverse theory. Maybe it’s true after all.”

“What?”

“Theoretical physics. Maybe that’s why our guests are here.”

“Well, they did ask about that old lecture from Doctor Chandra.”

“Hmmm. And the Emporium seemed to be at the center of the action today?”

“It did, but maybe that’s just because it was my perspective.”

“Or maybe it really was – which means we might have lots of visitors tonight. Feeling better? Ready to go back out there now?”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jul 16, 2012 11:33 am

Ryana and Kirane continue trying to answer questions for the new arrivals. They tell them that, unfortunately, there's not really a way to stop their enemies from coming in through the same portal. Ryana briefly sees another strange image.


“Wow, so we’re in danger? Does this happen very often in Ditto Town?”

Ryana had to admit, she winced a little at the unfamiliar voice. For one thing, maybe it was just the way he said it, but… was he excited at this idea? The last thing she wanted was something to invade the town—she was good at taking down thugs who weren’t very bright, not stopping invasions. The other reason was, simply, because it meant that she was probably the person around who knew the most about what was going on. And she was confused!

She shook her head, still addressing the robot-like strangers. “I’m afraid we have no way to close it, unless it decides to close on its own. This place seems to have a lot of portals to other worlds, and… no one really knows how to actually open or close them. I’m afraid the best we can do is hope that they don’t find a way through… or, like you said, prepare for it.”

Ryana glanced briefly at Kirane, wondering if she should mention the other woman’s area of study. However, it was clear that Kirane had nothing truly useful or relevant to add, so she decided to address the other voice instead. It was a young man—well, Ryana could hardly say that; he was probably only a little younger than her. At any rate, when she opened her mouth to respond to him, she suddenly realized that something about his face seemed… off. Her mind drifted back to the explosion, except—wait, this one wasn’t the same explosion. Instead of a cloud of steam, she felt fire; this young man was there, but instead of inquisitive, he looked terrified—

She winced a little again, shaking her head, but she shook it off. It must be her telepathy again; maybe he had… an overactive imagination or something. And she was just picking up on that. Right, that must be it. Either way, she told him, “Honestly, this town is always in danger, from what I’ve seen. It’s just a question of how actively.”

Kirane cleared her throat a little. “Um, Ryana… do you think there’s a place they can stay? Like, the Inn Between you’ve told me—”

“No way; Boo Kay would throw a tantrum.” She knew the strangers would be confused, but she didn’t feel like explaining the temperamental talking bucket that ran the Inn Between right now. “Though, honestly, the only other place I could think of to stay would be the Ditto Mansion, and… that seems like a more permanent solution.” She shrugged and admitted, “I’m sure they can spare some rooms for a couple of days.” After the words came out, though, she realized a problem: ‘Except, of course, I’m not sure they have rooms big enough for some of these guys.’
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Silvan_Haven » Jul 16, 2012 7:11 pm

"We only need a place for a few days. If we end up staying longer then we can make our own place. As far as an invasion goes, I don't think we will have to deal with one. At most we should be dealing with a small pursuit force."
He was about to say more when a humming sound began to come from the sword belted a his waist.
The ornate, golden colored blade was still an enigma to him. Aside from what little that had been in the old tome that had been with the potal blade, there was not much he knew about it. One thing that had been in the tome though, was a passage regarding areas that were closely connected to another dimension.
The tone was off but other then that it fit the description.
He ignored it for the moment and asked the duo, "Where is this mansion?"
"The road the hell is paved with good intentions.

Heh,

So is the read to Heaven."
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravanna » Jul 16, 2012 9:27 pm

Alex was definitely out of his depth. At first he hadn't really taken the newcomer's words seriously. (Was he supposed to? An invasion into Ditto Town? It sounded ridiculous.)

However, when the woman with the silver wings flinched at his words then refused to meet his eyes, Alex realized he should take the metal creatures seriously. The urgent businesslike manner she addressed the problem with only made him worry more. If this town was really in trouble should he be getting his little sister and himself back home? How much time might they have?

"Honestly, this town is always in danger, from what I've seen. It's just a question of how actively," the woman said. The comment was clearly directed at Alex, however, she still wasn't meeting his eyes.

She must not like me very much, I'm such an idiot, Alex thought. I'm glad I've never been in a worse situation she had to get me out of. Only I'm not sure... Alex closed his eyes and for a moment the only sensation he was aware of was Mystic's and Kouadio's little talons on his shoulders. And terror. He didn't know what he was afraid of, but sensation certainly made his heart race and his hands feel clammy. This was not like the dull fear that something might follow the androids through the fountain.

He opened his eyes and breathed deep to keep the panic down, but to his surprise, it was already gone and everyone was trying to figure out accommodations without him. Not that he was any help, having just arrived in the town. Mostly Alex wanted to walk away and find Erica, he felt so useless, but another part of him didn't want to disappoint his sister and further disappoint the woman with the wings.

"Umm... how big of a force do you think might follow you? Should we be warning innocent civilians to evacuate?" he asked, thinking that maybe he could make himself useful telling everybody.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Jul 16, 2012 9:54 pm

Abby knelt among the stone shards that littered the Emporium floor. She lifted her head and howled in agony. In an instant, life had unimaginably changed. Her soul mate, the love of her life, lay shattered at her feet.

She would never forgive herself for somehow leaving that door open and allowing this attack on her helpless mate. She gingerly reached out and gathered a few bits of the stone that had just hours ago been her beloved, alive and healthy. She managed to whisper through her sobs. "Forgive me, my love, for failing you. I’m so sorry."

The joy of the morning, of watching Molly play with the fairy dragons, seemed like another world now - one forever lost to her. How could she go on? She had to, if only for her daughter's sake. Abby vowed then and there that her child would grow up hearing about her father's kindness, courage, and love.

Not knowing what to say, Erica stood near, still waiting to wake up. Hoping with all her might to wake up. After a moment that seemed wrongfully long, Abby looked up at everyone.

"I'll go get help," Alex repeated, and fled. Erica wanted to follow him, but she couldn't leave her friend alone.

“Thanks,” Abby managed.

But then everything seemed to happen at once. Out the large windows, Abby could see a flying figure – was that Phoenix Archer? From the rear of the building, a door slammed.

Abby quickly rose to her feet. “Please, come with me, Erica,” she commanded, then ran through the great room toward the door in question, grabbing Molly along the way. Perhaps the person who had shattered her mate could be caught after all. The fairy dragons, agitated perhaps by Abby’s grief and sudden anger, chirped and shrieked at those running below them.

Mother and hatchling emerged from the back of the Emporium just in time to see the Phoenix Archer land and confront a man in black. He pointed at the building and seemed to laugh. Somehow, intuition perhaps, Abby knew she was in grave danger. She’d lost sight of her human friend but cried out anyway, “Run, Erica!”

If things were different, she would have carried Erica; flying was faster than a human could run. But Abby was faced with a cruel Catch-22: Molly or Erica. She couldn’t carry both. And with her mate gone, there really was no choice. “I’m sorry, Erica,” she whispered.

Their backyard had a tall pole that served as more than decoration; the gargoyles could quickly climb it to gain elevation for gliding. Abby was grateful for this foresight, though she had never guessed it might be used in this kind of emergency.

Aloft now, Abby instinctively found a tailwind and flapped her wings with all her might. She had to get away! Molly laughed; this was fun!

Then the world exploded with a blinding flash and a deafening roar. Searing heat rushed up her tail, singeing her wings and long hair. Molly’s laughter turned to cries of terror, but Abby had already turned to shield her daughter from the worst of the explosion.

The concussion crumpled Abby’s wings; her uncontrolled flight now propelled by the force of the explosion. She held tightly onto her daughter as the pair tumbled head over tail.

Before Abby could regain the use of her wings, she slammed into something hard and unforgiving. She screamed in agony, struggling to stay conscious; her head throbbed and it seemed a million needles were poking into her wings, body, and tail. Once the stars faded away, she opened her eyes.

All was green, at first. It’s a maple tree. Of all the useless things to notice…

She was covered with tiny cuts and bruises from the explosion; these seemed minor and would heal the next time she slept. Ignoring her own pain, she dared inspect her crying daughter, gently probing for injuries. She was no healer, but it seemed Molly’s injuries were minor.

Now that the adrenaline rush was subsiding, Abby noticed all the branches and twigs poking at her. She shifted her position slightly, until a burning sensation in her tail forced her to cry out in agony. She managed to move it for a closer inspection; the last few inches had almost been burned away.

This was more than a minor inconvenience; those prehensile gargoyle tails were extremely sensitive. Shock was a very real threat if she didn’t get medical attention soon. But that really wasn’t an option. Even if they weren’t far from town she was in no condition to seek out a doctor.

That meant stone sleep. Their position seemed safe enough for the time being: a large tree branch a dozen meters above the ground. She glanced up at the sun and determined that there might be enough daylight left for her to heal should she remove her pendant. She’d remove Molly’s too; they both could use the rest and healing the sun would provide.

Abby looked down at her daughter again. Molly’s amethyst pendant was gone, presumably lost in the aftermath of the explosion. Yet she was awake, thanks to the hatching gift from Greya and Torla.

The explosion! Abby peered through the trees until she could see the smoke plume rising from Ditto Town. “Forgive me, Erica.” Her choice would haunt her each time she looked at Molly – but how could she have done otherwise?

Her world came crashing in with a deep sense of loss. “Farewell, my love.” Cuddling her daughter close, she grieved, crying until the tears would come no more.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Dernhelm_of_Rohan » Jul 17, 2012 5:22 am

Vhexani is made uneasy by Ryana's fear and believes it to be a foreshadowing of conflict. A mysterious voice in Vhex's head makes an appearance, and she begins tending to the wounded.


Vhexani silently noted the energy she could feel coming from Kaelen's sword increase, but the owner of the blade seemed not to notice. Well, he was older than she and the blade belonged to him; he must have a reason for ignoring the strange event. Even if her curiosity was getting really bad.

As Ryana spoke, polite though she was, Vhex could have sworn she heard fear in her voice. She couldn't even pretend to understand these organics, with their talk of tantrums and mansions. For a moment, she thought of reaching for her metal quarterstaff, in case things suddenly took a turn for the worse. If the organics attacked now, with four of her comrades still lying on the ground groaning, the natives would have the advantage.

They are not enemies

Vhex felt that voice in her head again. No, it wasn't any of the other Kin speaking telepathically... This was different. This quiet voice had seemed to follow her her whole life, even before she was a Toa. Though she was still unsure of who it was or why she heard it, she had come to trust it.

Leaving Kaelen to handle the organics, she started helping her injured teammates to their feet. There would be time for all her questions when the initial meeting was over.
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