The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby leuthilalda » May 13, 2012 8:08 pm

The sunlight poured into the bedroom. Toby rolled over, and Rose awoke with a start.
"That was one of the strangest dreams I've ever had."
Toby cocked his eye. "Last night seems to have been the night for them."
"Well, after I told you my nightmare, I drifted back to sleep. Suddenly I was in the infirmary at the rescue center. The first and most obvious thing I noticed was the other Rose across the room from me. The second thing was Koolarin the young dove lying in one of the smaller beds. And the third thing was Koolarin sitting on my shoulder, looking very confused."
"Wait. There were two of you and two of Koolarin?"
"Yes. I somehow knew instinctively that the dove on the bed had been the one injured in the explosion, and the one sitting on my shoulder had been the one who had been in our reality. She was merely confused by the whole thing."
"I guess it would have been even stranger if you had actually talked to the other Rose."
"Oh but we did..."
_____________________

"Hello, uh, Rose. I saw you earlier in my dream. I just don't know what is happening. Dreams have not been like this up to now."
"I know they haven't. So this is like a dream to you too?"
"Oh. Wait. You are dreaming... but how can a dream dream?"
"But I'm not a dream. I am me. I am real."
"No, I am the one who is real."
"Hmm. I'm not sure how we can resolve this. We're at sort of a standoff."
"Yes, we are."
Suddenly Koolarin flew off Rose's shoulder and perched on the bed where the other dove lay. "Is... is she... dead?"
"Oh no, dear, she is just tired out from the ordeal she just went through."
"But she is me. I don't understand this."
"Neither do I. I don't understand any of it."
Rose shook her head and talked to her other self. "Well, no offence to you, but I hope and pray that my world and events in it are the real ones."
"So do I dear, so do I."
------------------
Toby looked over at Rose. "Yeah, that was one of the strangest dreams you ever had." Well, it's over now."
But it wasn't.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » May 14, 2012 9:54 pm

Back in the "good" reality, Kirane and Ryana's lunch at the Cup & Platter goes uninterrupted. After briefly meeting Hugh, Kirane asks Ryana about the Ditto/Original war. Ryana gives her the extremely simplified version, and Kirane expresses interest in the Dittoers' point of view.


Kirane and Ryana walked inside the Cup & Platter. Kirane looked inside and saw all the unfamiliar faces, not all of them looking… quite human…. It was a strange experience, and for a moment she had to admit she was staring, but in an odd way, it was refreshing as well. She was accepted on her old home despite not being human, but it was nice to not be alone anymore.

Ryana, naturally, was wholly unfazed, and walked up to the counter. Cheerfully, she greeted the bartender, “Hi, Hugh. My friend Kirane, here, is new to town, so I’m showing her the ‘quintessential Ditto Town’, so to speak.” Kirane was a little embarrassed by how up-front she was about this, but then again, she also kind of appreciated it. Though, for some reason, it seemed strange coming out of Ryana’s mouth….

“Hugh” also seemed a little surprised by how outgoing Ryana was, but he shook it off quickly. He turned to Kirane and smiled, extending a hand. She stopped blushing and accepted. “Pleased to meet you, Miss… Kirane, right?”

She nodded. “Yes; pleased to meet you, as well.”

“And a newcomer to Ditto Town, eh? I’ll be sure to make a good impression,” He said with a wink. “How much have you seen so far?”

“Well… this is pretty much it.” She admitted. “Ryana plans to take me on a grand tour, I think.”

“And there’s plenty to be seen. I hope you enjoy.” Hugh glanced at the two women, and he casually asked, “So, what can I get for you two?”

The two placed their orders, and both found seats. As they walked over, Kirane watched Ryana’s smile almost mechanically break down, and her body visibly relaxed. Just from what she’d seen so far, she’d figured that the Phoenix Archer was nowhere near that naturally friendly. But, for some reason, putting on the act seemed important to her. As they sat down, Ryana commented, “So, yeah, that was Hugh. If there’s anyone around here who knows virtually everyone, it’s him. I’m pretty sure that, sometime or another, everyone comes to the Cup & Platter.”

Kirane looked around and smiled. “I can see why.” She paused, then cautiously asked, “Though… I, ah, I have a few more questions about the town.”

Ryana nodded. “Of course; I’ll do my best to answer.”

Kirane blushed a little, and added, “Well… to be honest, I’d just like to know a little more about some of the things you told me about last night.”

She shrugged. “Yeah, I kind of gave you the short version of that.”

“I guess, I’d really like to know… how did this ‘Ditto/Original War’ start, again?”

She tried to hide it, but Ryana was a little surprised by that. Given how rich Ditto Town’s history was, how much Kirane had to chose from, it probably seemed strange that she’d start there. But, then again, that was the beginning of the town’s history. Ryana shrugged and began, “Well, a lot of that’s before my time; lots of other people can tell it better. But, from what I understand… basically, the town was founded on the idea of this ‘dittoing’. I don’t know if that meant they constantly went around and said ‘ditto’ to each other or what, but…. Anyways, they’ve been doing that for basically forever.

“At some point, one person decided enough was enough. Everyone called her Darth Devaricate; I have no idea if that was her real name or not. Anyways, to her, the ‘dittoing’ was a sign that the citizens lacked individuality; that they couldn’t think for themselves. She felt it was her duty to give them an alternate philosophy—one of originality.” She shrugged one more time. “After that, the Ditto Team formed to stop her, Darth got some followers, and both sides just kept sabotaging each others’ posters and decorations and stuff. Things have been a lot quieter lately, though.” Dryly, she added, “I think both sides have better things to do now.”

Kirane nodded; despite Ryana’s rather bare-bones description, something seemed to click with her. “But the two sides never actually fought?”

“You mean with weapons and armies?” She shook her head. “Not unless you count the not-so-evil hamsters. All things considered, it… almost seems like juvenile pranks, to me.” She paused for a minute, then admitted, “Well, maybe not. I mean, I can kind of see the ‘Originalists’ point of view. I don’t think the townspeople were actually clueless enough to basically sell their souls away for ‘dittoing’, but… I can see how it would look disturbing.”

“I don’t know,” Kirane admitted, “it seems a little unfair to put it that way.”

Ryana all-but started a bit, surprised. “What do you mean?”

“Well… granted, I’ve lived with humans long enough to know that most human cultures seem to value individuality and creativity more than my people. But… there’s just something very uplifting to me, about the idea behind this ‘Ditto’ word.” She flushed a little, scrambling for words. “In the few days I’ve been here, I’ve seen that this town is full of so many different types of people—and I’m assuming not all of them are even human….”

Ryana smiled. “You got that right.”

Kirane nodded. “But you all seem to live together peacefully. More than that, you’ve made alliances, and protect each other against great dangers. From what you told me… you fight this ‘Organization’, even though they’ve never directly threatened you.”

Ryana shrugged. “What can I say? I like this town. These are good people. And no one deserves to get away with that kind of garbage.”

“Exactly. It seems like there’s a strong sense of… of unity here.” She smiled, though she was embarrassed to have blathered so much. “That’s… something I value a lot.”

Ryana sat back in her chair, briefly lost in thought. She shook it off and admitted, “Honestly, Kirane, I think you’ve given it more thought than I have. I’ve already told you about how I kind of think this is all silly, but….” She shrugged. “Maybe I’ll have to rethink things. Either way, I think this town’s going to suit you.”

“I have to say, I agree.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby leuthilalda » May 18, 2012 4:40 am

There was a sharp pecking at the door of the Rescue Center. The two hobbits left the bedroom where they had been discussing Rose's dream, and proceeded to the entrance foyer. Opening the door, they met the young dove Koolarin and her mother Koora at the front door, both looking very serious.
"Good morning, Koora." Rose said, giving a meaningful glance to her husband. "How are you doing today?"
"Well, physically we are fine, but we have something we wanted to ask you about." Koora stopped and pushed her daughter forward. "My daughter had this disturbing dream, and we know how much of an expert you are on them. Tell them, honey."
"I ... I was with you in the clinic, and we looked over and saw someone who looked just like you, and a bird who looked just like me, and the bird was lying on a bed, and I asked if she was dead, and the hobbit that looked like you said no she was just injured or something."
Rose's jaw dropped. She added some more of the details of her own dream, and the little mourning dove nodded. "Yes, that was it. I just had that dream before I woke up this morning."
Kolarin looked confused. "Rose, how did you know all those details?"
Rose sighed, and spoke to her husband. "Toby, I have never had a dream that I know of where someone else shared it with me. This whole thing is very weird."
She went on to describe to the two doves the dreams she had had the night before. By the time she had finished, Koolarin looked like she was about to cry, and Koora expression now had traces of alarm. "What is happening?" she worried.
Toby finally decided. "OK, we need some answers. I think the four of us should go over to the Emporium right now, and consult with Erik and Abby, if either of them are awake. This is too unusual to just dismiss. We need to know."
"Do you think it's safe?" the mother dove asked protectively.
"I hope so." was the less-than-reassuring response she got back. Then the four of them turned, and started off across the field to the Emporium.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » May 20, 2012 12:30 pm

Abby hummed to herself as she prepared a platter of treats and the water heated for tea. She loved entertaining guests; her happy child and the lovely weather outside only made things better.

Even now she could hear her hatchling laughing – probably trying to catch the fairy dragons again – as well as the soft tones of Erica and Alex’s conversation.

All seemed well – but for some reason she felt compelled to check things out for herself.

An unexpected urgency in her step, she barged into the great room. Alex and Erica looked up at her in surprise. Molly happily reached for a fairy dragon hovering just out of reach.

Still feeling strangely uneasy, Abby rushed to the foyer. For reasons she couldn’t explain, she felt overwhelming relief upon seeing Erik’s statue there, undamaged, standing silent guard. She just had to run a talon along his stone face, as if to reassure herself things were all right. Lastly, she checked the front door. Securely locked, just as she’d expected.

Still, she opened it to look outside. But there was nothing out of the ordinary – a few clouds and birds overhead; in the distance a doe and her fawn peered out of the forest. She enjoyed the sight a moment – but then was nearly overwhelmed with a vision of shattered gargoyle stone littering the floor, then a fireball and the Emporium, if not the entire town, in ruins, twisted and destroyed.

She fought down rising terror as she closed and secured the door. Erik’s statue still was intact; she could hear Molly giggling behind her. Yet somehow, it was as if she’d stared into the face of an unthinkable horror – a glimpse into some kind of terrible alternate reality that might have been hers had things been just a tiny bit different.

She couldn’t stop shivering – it was one thing to die in battle or in protecting one’s clan and family, but here she had an overwhelming sense of pointless death for her family. How could this be? She didn’t know, but for now she’d cherish every moment with them.

Abby returned to the great room and gathered her daughter into her arms, fighting back tears as she held her close. Only when her baby squawked did she realize she was squeezing too tightly. She shook her head again, unable to shake the notion that somehow she'd seen a glimpse of a much darker, tragic life. She was so relieved to be back in this real, normal life, if it wouldn’t be awkward, she thought, she'd even hug Erica and Alex.

She turned to her guests, who were watching with expressions of surprise and concern. “Sorry about that,” Abby said, blushing. “It was just the weirdest sense of déjà vu, and I had to check it out.”

This was no dream – I’m sure of it. More like a parallel reality, like this one but horribly different. She glanced back at her mate. He’s the expert on this stuff, not me. When he wakes up tonight, I’m going to grill him about alternate universes and realities.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” Erica asked.

“Thanks for asking. It was rather upsetting, but I think I’m okay now. Let me get those treats for you.”

A sudden cramp forced Abby to bend over and clutch her stomach. It quickly passed, and she stood up again. Nervously she eyed Molly then shook her head. The last time she’d felt like that…

She shook her head. Nah. That’s just crazy.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravanna » Jun 10, 2012 7:55 pm

Erica started when Abby marched through the room, obviously heading to check something. A moment later she came back into the room and Erica asked her if she was okay. Her answer (that she was rather upset from a strange case of déjà vu, but was okay now) didn't really help that much.

"Are you sure you don't want us to help?" Alex asked, but Abby was already in the kitchen.

Erica couldn't remember what they'd been talking about before Abby came through. She only felt vaguely concerned for Abby, like something serious had just happened. That made Erica think of something unrelated. "Hey Alex, what's Sarah Johnson like? Is she nice?"

"Hmm? What brought Sarah up? I've hardly ever mentioned her. Wait, have I mentioned her?"

"Well, you got your fairy dragons from her father right?"

"Yah..." replied Alex still trying to figure out how they'd gotten on the topic of Sarah Johnson in the first place.

Erica shrugged. "I'd just hate to be mean to her if she was a nice person. You know, theoretically. Like if she was concerned about you and I hung up the phone on her."

"Sis, you are weird. That’s really specific. Sarah isn't the nicest person, honestly, she has a lot of responsibilities. But yah, I can't imagine a scenario where you'd hang up the phone on anyone. Oh brownies! Thank you!"

Abby had indeed arrived with a plate of goodies and drinks, and Alex quickly forgot about the conversation. "Thank you so much Abby," Erica added, but she was still bothered by something she couldn't remember. "Hey Abby, how does teleportation work? I mean, you guys got from your world to Ditto Town through a portal. And I just realized I don't even know how Val's ability works. Do you think she can fold the whole universe? That seems impossible, right? I don't know much about this science fictiony stuff."

On cue Val landed on Erica's shoulder to find out why her name had been mentioned. Torchwood followed her lead and landed on Erica's other shoulder. Out of Mystic's three hatchlings, he was by far the most social and the only one that didn't want to be left behind when Alex and Erica went out.

Emily started to fuss a bit, and Abby lifted and began to rock her thoughtfully. Emily, like a human baby, apparently appreciated the movement and quieted down. "Well," Abby began, "I honestly can't wager a guess. It sounds like you're talking about creating a wormhole, which I'm sure is not as drastic as bending the whole universe, although it has the same result. Honestly, I'm not an expert, you should ask Eric," said Abby, beaming towards the other room where her mate resided.

"Well, I'm afraid we can't stay for the night for when he wakes up," replied Alex, who had had gargoyle sleeping habits explained to him. "I need to check on the other two hatchlings. They're at the tender age when they could burn the Cup and Platter down, and I can't imagine Boo Kay would be happy about that."

"No, I can't imagine he would be," laughed Abby. Emily cooed along, sensing the mirth in the room.

"Thanks for letting us stop over and dry off!" Erica added.

Abby smiled at the memory of how the visit had started. "Oh, the pleasure is all mine. Feel free to come over any time," she said as she showed her guests to the door.

"Thanks again for the brownies," Alex called as he walked down the steps with Ember on one shoulder and Torchwood trying his best to sit on the other shoulder, although his balance wasn't the best yet.

Erica followed him halfway down the steps then paused. "Hey, would it be all right if I came over tomorrow to talk to Eric about teleporting? For some reason... I don't know, I just think it would be interesting to hear what he as to say."

Abby didn’t even hesitate before replying, "I don't know why that wouldn't work in the afternoon. We don't have anything planned.”

"Cool, Thanks again!" Erica called over her shoulder as she ran to catch up with her brother.

Those guys are the best, thought Erica as she slowed to her brother’s pace. I don't know what Ditto Town would do if anything happened to them.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jun 28, 2012 1:11 pm

Ryana and Kirane finish their lunch, as Ryana answers some more questions about Ditto Town's history. As they're leaving, while Ryana is trying to think of somewhere to show Kirane next, she briefly feels... something, which makes her think of Abby Silvermoon, for some reason. She brushes it off, but decides to bring Kirane to the Emporium--around sundown, though....


Ryana and Kirane continued chatting over their lunch, as Kirane gradually learned more about the town’s history. Of all the topics, Ryana seemed to know the most—and be the most willing to share—about what the Organization had done. Granted, she knew very little about why they first came to this Town, or what they really wanted with it—except, of course, they had some kind of obsession with the Fountain. Plus, there were some former employees—and experiments—who’d escaped, and now called Ditto Town home. Kirane couldn’t help but notice that Ryana’s “Organization” was a lot like Connell, and some other unscrupulous people from her previous home.

All the while, Ryana didn’t mind telling Kirane about the town’s history—it was important to know, and it was a story she didn’t mind telling. However, she couldn’t help but wonder why this was the priority. Didn’t Kirane say that she was mostly interested in finding out about the portals around Ditto Town, or something like that…? Maybe she just recognized that Ryana didn’t know a whole lot about them, so she was reserving those questions for someone who knew more.

Finally, the two were done with their lunch, and decided to head back out. Luckily, their lunch had been fairly short, and Shadow hadn’t had enough time to get truly bored. Ryana untied his leash from around the pole, all the while sinking to uncharacteristically patronizing speech: “Were you a good boy, Shadow? Good boy! Let’s walk home now, how does that sound?”

Kirane smiled a little at the scene; it was simultaneously funny and sweet. However, it also raised a question: “So… are we heading home then, or…?”

Ryana stood up, leash firmly in hand, and shrugged. “Well, we don’t have to. We could find some other places to visit; it’s up to you.”

“Well, I’d love to continue, but… I mean, what other places are there?”

Ryana thought about it for a moment. The Ditto Mansion seemed like a good stop, and was fairly nearby… the Inn Between was a definite no… really, she was having an easier time thinking of people than places. Well, maybe she could see if—Her line of thought abruptly stopped, with a slight twinge of… what was that? Pain? Fear? All she could make out was a flash of fire, and a name—Abby? Ryana shook it off. Ever since her encounter with Evelyn, her telepathy hadn’t worked correctly. Normally, that meant she couldn’t use it at all; occasionally, it meant she felt vague, incomprehensible ideas. This was probably just a stronger one of those.

But it did give her an idea. “Well, there’s the Emporium on the edge of town. They’ve got a Welcome Center down there and everything; probably where we should’ve started. And, a while back, they had this professor, Dr. Chandra, who had a lecture about intergalactic travel and… well, I think it’d be right up your alley. If they still have a tape or something at the Emporium.” She grinned a little bit, and added, “Plus, it’ll give you a chance to meet some of the other kinds of people we’ve got around here. Of the non-human variety.”

Kirane’s eyes widened a little at the description; it was hard to tell if she was surprised by Ryana’s last comment, or just plain thrilled. “Yes, that sounds perfect!” She paused, then added sheepishly, “If… it’s not too far out of the way, of course.”

“Well, we can go later. I don’t really trust bringing Shadow all the way across town like that.” She winked and added, “Besides, I think it adds to the experience to get there around sundown….”

Kirane nodded with a smile. “Sounds great to me.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Silvan_Haven » Jul 01, 2012 10:11 pm

In an occurrence completely unconnected to the previous interdimensional snafu, the waters of the Fountain roiled and bubbled for several seconds before going completely still. Not a ripple marred it's mirror like face as the image changed from that of the Square to something else entirely. Long white halls, with large windows that let in the bright midday sun and smooth marble floors.
Sounds began to be heard, but they were muffled, as if one was listening to them with their head underwater. Thuds reverberated through the Square. To a normal person they would sound like fireworks or perhaps thunder. But to anyone versed in the sounds and feels of a battle would recognize them as the sounds of weapons fire. Shapes came running down the hall, bright streaks of light pinging over their heads and slamming into the walls around what could be seen through the Fountain. Several of them shooting up out of the fountain and soared into the sky. The figures came closer down the hall and, if anyone was looking, they would find them to be a type of being that almost not many, if any, of the people of Ditto Town had ever seen before.
Their entire body possessed a metallic sheen and not a single piece of organic material could be seen anywhere. Odd masks covered their faces and they were of varying sizes.

Suddenly a voice rang out, totally clear and tinged with urgency.

"Grenade!"

The water in the Fountain exploded upwards, boiling in midair and slowly drifting back to earth. The entire Square was covered in a thick blanket of steam that sat for several minutes.
The silence was broken by several metallic clangs and the same voice called out.

"Everyone ok?"

This was followed by several replies to the affirmative and then a pained voice called out.

"I think I caught some shrapnel just before I came through the portal. I can't move my foot an it hurts like there was a muaka gnawing on it."
"Somebody get rid of this blasted mist. I can’t see anything with it hanging around our heads like this."

A soft breeze sprang up and, before long, the mist was gone and the group could be clearly seen. The tall silver one stepped over to another who was sitting on the ground, clutching his leg. A sharp piece of metal stuck out of his green and black ankle and several wires could be seen sparking ever so slightly with every move.

"Think you can fix it Kaelen?" He asked, gritting his teeth and holding back a howl of pain.

"I can if you stay still." Came the reply from the tall silver one, crouching over the ankle. He topped seven feet and moved with the grace of an athlete. He moved his hands over the sliver of metal and closed his eyes. The offending piece slowly disintegrated and the wires began to move, merging together until nobody would have been able to tell that they had been separated.

When he was done he stood up and looked around.

This certainly doesn't look like any dimension I've ever heard of. He thought. But then, there was a lot of dimensions that nobody from Metru-Nui or the other people inside of Mata-Nui had heard of.

"Well we had better find somebody to ask where we are. Although, with that explosion I doubt that we will have to look far.”
"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 02, 2012 8:12 pm

Vhexani threw herself through the void between worlds, burst out of the damaged fountain and hit the ground hard. She held back a moan of pain, too proud to show how much her wounds hurt.

Others may be dying, she told herself angrily as she dragged herself to her feet and looked around for the others. The least I can do is try to patch up the minor wounds. She reached for the metallic pack that hung over one shoulder, silently thanking the Great One that she hadn't lost it.

"Kaelen?" she called. "Guys? Everyone make it?"

The others were talking, groaning with the pain of their wounds and stumbling through the mist that seemed to cover this new dimension. Then someone summoned a breeze and blew the mist away, revealing a strange sight, even for Dittotopia: a small group of creatures of assorted sizes and colors, all made of metal and covered in armor.

Vhexani's sapphire and silver Mask of Vision flashed in the sunlight as she stood, dazzled by the odd buildings and roads. For a moment, she forgot her wounds, forgot her friends, forgot even why she had been running a moment before.

"What is this place?"

She was brought back to reality by her comrade's voice. "Well, we had better find somebody to ask where we are. Although, with that explosion I doubt we will have to look far."

Vhex turned back to the group and nodded. "Maybe they have a medic bay somewhere. This dimension seems to at least have basic technology, even if there aren't any chutes."
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby shastastwin » Jul 05, 2012 6:42 pm

At the book shop opening, Xander meets a mysterious man and vanishes without a trace. In current Story time, Greya and Christie both draw the same prophetic picture, which shows multiple versions of the Emporium and the Silvermoon clan in different stages of life and wholeness. They decide to speak with Erik and Abby about it.
Act I Scene IV
During the opening of the book shop…
While Ambrose and Dawn spoke at length with Greya and Torla, Xander wandered the aisles of the book shop. Unlike the library proper and the bookshelves of the Rescue Center, the shelves here did not smell of dust and previous readers. Well, not all of them. Xander picked up a slightly worn copy of a book about vampires in a world called Earth and gently bit into the back cover. He could taste the energy and excitement the book held for those who had read it, but he did not drink heavily of its story. The vampires in that book were of a very different sort than he and the Fancier’s other creations. Xander put the book back on the shelf and tried to find his way back to the front so that he could rejoin Dawn. He didn’t want her to start worrying about him.

No matter which way he turned, however, Xander could not find the entrance. Once, he saw two gargoyles that he figured must be Erik and Abby, the ones Ambrose had mentioned. It was strange to see gargoyles who weren’t split in half like Ambrose was. Added to that strangeness was Xander’s new vision; they had determined that he saw literary counterparts to those around him. Xander’s vision of the gargoyle couple was different from all the others he had seen, though. Instead of recognizing their literary doppelgangers, Xander saw multiple versions of the couple overlaid and barely offset, like a picture out of focus. Sometimes, one or both of the pair was dead or injured. In other iterations, they had one child – a daughter or sometimes a son – or two children, or twenty. In one fractal vision, they weren’t even dead. They simply weren’t.

Xander shook his head to clear the strange sight, and nearly jumped out of his genetically altered skin when he heard someone say, “Unnerving, isn’t it?”

Xander turned to see a man whose literary counterpart fit his profile exactly. That is, there was no separation between the stranger and Xander’s vision of him.

“Who are you?” Xander snapped in vampirish before considering whether the man might even know that language.

“Someone who can help,” the man replied as if Xander hadn’t done anything unusual.

Xander considered the statement for a moment before asking, “How?”

The stranger extended his hand and said, “Come with me.”

For reasons even Xander could not understand, he took the man’s hand and they vanished from the book shop.
***
Dawn and Ambrose spent half an hour in the shop trying to find Xander once they noticed he was missing. Even with the help of their new friends, they could not find him. At last, Greya mentioned that there were a number of unexplained and unexamined portals around the Town and it was possible that Xander had slipped through one of these.

“Where would that take him?” Dawn asked.

The elf shrugged. “There’s no telling. I don’t even know how to be certain he went through a portal.” He looked around the far corners of the shop. “Though it does feel like someone has been doing something strange with the physics of this place.”

Torla leaned over and whispered something in her husband’s ear. “Good idea,” he said. “There is a young girl staying with us. She and I both have a bit of prophetic gifting. Perhaps she and I may be able to see something regarding your brother.”

Several months later…
Christie and Greya had been unable to see anything about Xander. This only confirmed to Dawn that her brother had completely left the world. Ambrose stayed with her over the next few months, delaying his trip with Erik to the Earth world indefinitely. She was in no state to be left alone, and he feared the journey and the risk of losing him permanently might send Dawn over the edge to insanity.

They had taken up residence with Greya and Torla. Initially, it had been a matter of convenience. Greya had some knowledge of portals from his years of traveling across the worlds, and if he or Christie should draw anything relating to Xander, Dawn would know of it that much sooner. Ambrose even slept on the roof, where he could watch over the Town much as Erik and Abby did from the Emporium across town.

It was Erik and Abby that changed the nature of Dawn and Ambrose’s stay at the old house.

One day, Christie and Greya both drew in a prophetic trance. That in itself was rare, but the most bizarre aspect of the situation was what they drew. Not only did they both draw the same image, the image itself seemed unable to resolve itself. The Emporium was both decimated and whole, Abby and Erik were in various stages of health and Molly was being replaced with alternate versions of herself – older, younger – as well as with siblings – who also sometimes joined her – and blank spaces. There were also a number of other figures who kept appearing in different places around the Emporium, sometimes in all of the pictures, but more often in only some and without much consistency. The two prophets were discussing the strange behavior of their gifts when Ambrose woke and came inside to have breakfast – or dinner, depending on one’s perspective.

When they explained the situation to him, Ambrose said, “We should head over to the Emporium.”

“I agree,” said Greya. “It seems that several possible futures are hovering over the Silvermoons and their friends.”

Ambrose shook his head. “I think it’s worse than that.”

“Why?” Christie asked.

“I think it may have something to do with—” he lowered his voice in case Dawn was around, “with Xander’s disappearance. He vanished through a portal none of us has been able to find, and Erik and Abby aren’t from this world. It’s possible that they have been targeted for that reason.”

“If that’s the case,” Greya said, “Torla and I will be in danger as well. She's still at the Cup and Platter. I should make sure she’s safe.”

“I’ll go,” said Christie. “You two go talk to Erik and see if you can figure some of this out. Torla and I will meet you there.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Jul 05, 2012 6:49 pm

Abby waved at the departing Erica and Alex, allowing herself another chuckle at the antics of their fairy dragon hatchlings. Molly had begun to fuss once more, and Abby knew her child must be hungry again. She secured the Emporium’s front entrance, stopping briefly to admire its stone guardian before returning to the great room to tend to her daughter.

Feeding Molly was a treasured time of bonding between mother and child, one Abby always enjoyed. But this time she was distracted by the experiences of the morning; they’d been far more unnerving than she might care to admit. That disastrous other world – one in which their home lay in ruins, her beloved mate was shattered and their precious baby left to an unknown fate – was, she somehow intuitively knew, not a daydream or a nightmare. Somehow, it was as real as this one. I only hope Erik’s dabbling in theoretical physics holds an explanation, she thought.

She forced back a shiver and a few tears. I have to be strong, for Molly and our friends.

….

Dusk was coming now, finally, after this long and bizarre day. Abby had seriously considered removing her pendant, and Molly’s, once Erica and Alex had left, so they could sleep the rest of the day away and wake when Erik did. But some unbidden fear of even scarier nightmares – unreasonable as it might be – prevented her from doing so. So she’d spent the day pacing the building, playing with her daughter, and doing a bit of cleaning around the house. Not once did she leave the Emporium or venture too far from her mate. She knew her behavior was irrational, unbecoming a warrior or the mate of a warrior, yet she explained this away by reminding herself that what had happened earlier in the day was hardly rational either.

Molly cuddled in her arms, Abby stood near Erik’s stone form and waited, her internal clock indicating that sunset was just moments away. She jumped, however, when the building’s security system announced guests. A bit frustrated at this unexpected interruption, she pulled open the door to find…

“Phoenix Archer?”

Abby wasn’t sure, for it had been a long time since the pair had last seen each other. The wings were a strong hint, but her clothing was different and the mask Abby had seen during their earlier encounter was gone.

But the young mother’s attention immediately went to the young woman next to the Archer. Her pink eyes, dark blue hair, and almost-grey skin were a combination Abby had never seen before, in humans or her own kind. Yet somehow she was once again filled with that strange sense of déjà vu.

Filled with curiosity, she juggled Molly onto her shoulder, and gestured with her other arm. “Come in, come in.”
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby shastastwin » Jul 06, 2012 7:56 am


Kar wanders through the woods near Ditto Town and runs into the Salesman. He learns (with some difficulty) that the Salesman was one of a group called the Balances, who represent Good, Evil, Order and Chaos. Kar has inherited the Salesman's place. The other Balances are the Marksman (Chaos), Chase (Good) and Aro (Evil).
Act I
Scene V
Kar wandered through the woods surrounding Ditto Town. He had finally made his way close enough to know he was near the Town. He had spent a large part of the first month after the Weapon’s destruction getting his bearings. Being restored to his proper, toothpick-sized shape and subsequently killing his Shadow Warrior had drained him significantly. When he finally had started back on the path to Ditto Town, his friends and family had long been gone. They probably assumed he was dead. Not a bad assumption given the fact that he had been forced to crawl out from under a pile of rubble that would have given his human-sized self a great deal of trouble. He had only been able to get out by squeezing between the loose rocks.

When he came across the dwarfish man who had sheltered his niece Christie, Kar was surprised. He edged his way around the Salesman’s immediate area, which is to say he walked as a three-inch tall person normally would.

His size and his precautions did not escape the Salesman’s notice, however.

“Kar.”

Kar turned back to face the Salesman. The dray found the situation quite funny; a man who would normally be looked down upon by everyone was now looking down upon him in the same manner.

“Gone,” the Salesman said, but Kar had no notion what that meant. “Chance, too.”

So Chase had left, and taken the clone with him. Good. Kar didn’t like to think what trouble the clone would get into without someone to look after him.

“So what are you doing out here? And where’s my niece?”

The Salesman sat and pointed toward Ditto Town. “There.” Then he thumped his chest and said, “Lost.”

“You don’t seem lost. You at least know which way it is to Town.”

He shook his head. “Once Balance. No more. Gone.”

Kar tilted his head. “I don’t understand.”

“Balances,” the Salesman said. “Good. Evil. Order. Chaos. Always one. Always all.” As he explained, he moved his hands in increasingly complicated motions. “Salesman: Order. No more. Now you.”

Wishing he had Christie around to interpret the man’s strange dialect, Kar held his head in his hands for a minute or two before saying, “So, it’s something like this: there are a group of people called Balances, one each for good, evil, order and chaos. You were the Balance representing Order, but now you aren’t. I’m your replacement. Am I with you so far?”

The Salesman nodded. “So.”

“So what am I supposed to do now?” Kar asked.

“Go. Find. Tell. Pass.”

“Sure…” Kar felt even more unsure of the man’s mental stability than he had before and started walking toward Ditto Town, but before he had left the Salesman behind, he turned back and said, “You said there were four Balances. Who are the others?”

“Chaos – Marksman,” said the Salesman.

“Makes sense,” said Kar. “They’ve always been free agents.”

“Good – Chase.”

“Really? Does he know?”

The Salesman shook his head. “Evil …” He trailed off and looked confused.

“What’s the matter? Don’t you know that one?”

The Salesman shook his head in frustration. “Change. Not Headmistress. Aro.”

Kar spat to the side and asked, “Didn’t Chase kill that evil thing?”

“No. With.”

Kar’s miniscule heart nearly stopped beating as he realized what he had just been told. Aro, the representative of Evil in the world, was traveling with Kar’s nephew Chase, the representative of Good. They couldn’t be in more dangerous company, especially if they didn’t know that they were representing those concepts.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby shastastwin » Jul 09, 2012 7:17 am

Chase and Chance follow the gargoyle who carried off Aro and meet Michael, Rachel and Rick, gargoyles of the Eastern Rock-a-climb Clan. They learn that Aro has vanished and agree to stay the night with the clan.
Scene VI
Following Scene 1…

The two red-headed boys sprinted after the fading figure in the sky. It had reached the cliff, which they saw had been riddled with caves either by craftsmanship or the erosion of wind and water. It was into one of these caves that the orange gargoyle had disappeared carrying Aro.

“Come on,” Chase said. “We need to get up there before anything happens to him.”

“Why?” Chance asked. “It isn’t as though we want to have him with us, is it? Or do we want to have him with us because then he is under our surveillance?”

“Something like that.”

Chase led his clone toward a spot at the base of the cliff below the cave Aro and the strange gargoyle had disappeared into. Before they had come within a dozen yards of the cliff’s face, they were surrounded by a circle of gargoyles of various sizes and colors. Chase had never seen so many gargoyles in one place. He silently reprimanded himself for charging into their territory with swords drawn. He knew from his interactions with Ambrose and the Silvermoons that gargoyles were natural protectors and the perceived threat of two armed strangers running up to the clan’s home might be enough to have Chance and himself killed.

“Chance, sheath your sword,” he said calmly. He didn’t want to alarm the gargoyles any more than he already had. As he sheathed his own sword, he was careful not to let its blade touch Chance’s. The last thing any of them wanted was for two of the brother swords to meet alone again.

A large red male stepped forward from the circle so that he was only a few feet from Chase and extended his wings, his eyes glowing white. “Who are you? What do you want here?”

“I’m sorry for rushing up like that,” Chase said. “Our companion was abducted by an orange gargoyle and taken to that cave up there.” He pointed. “We only want to get him back.”

The red gargoyle did not move, but an orange female, who was obviously much slimmer than the one who had taken Aro, leaned over and said, “They did put away their weapons, Michael.”

“Hmm.” The gargoyle’s eyes stopped glowing and he took on a slightly less aggressive stance. “Your companion?” He looked to where Chase had pointed. “You say an orange gargoyle took him?”

“Yes.”

Michael waved to two of his companions. “Armitage, Harris, keep an eye on them. I will look into this.” He turned and climbed swiftly up the face of the cliff, slipping into the cave with very little effort.

While Michael was up in the cave, Chase and Chance did their best to seem nonthreatening, an effort not much aided by Chance’s curiosity regarding the gargoyles.

“So, you all live in the caves up there?” he asked.

The gargoyles stared back in silence.

“I suppose that offers you a lot of protection when you sleep: lots of stone to hide you and all. Do you often have visitors coming in like this?”

Chase cut off any answer that might have come. “Forgive him for being so nosey. He’s new to the world.”

“Strange,” said the orange gargoyle who had whispered to Michael before. “All but identical, like Mikaela’s twins. Yet, far more different from each other than Cor and Arin ever were.”

“I’m a clone,” Chance offered, apparently hoping that if he told them about himself, they would do the same. “I’ve only been alive for about six months, and half of that was in a giant test tube. So we look the same, but we aren’t exactly twins.”

She smiled, but her eyes met those of Harris and Armitage, who seemed less inclined to trust her judgment of Chase and Chance. “I have heard of such things happening, but always in the tales that come from our distant clans where the influence of… evil is less balanced.”

Chase didn’t miss her hesitation over the word and wondered if she had meant to say the Org or the Nine. Despite their extensive searching in the last few months, he, Chance and Aro had not turned up much information about the mysterious Nine. Even when references to them could be found, they were often damaged or cryptic beyond comprehension.

Michael appeared in the cave mouth and glided back down to where they were standing. He was followed by the orange gargoyle that Chase and Chance had been following. The younger gargoyle seemed abashed and attempted to stand back from the group, but Michael turned and called him forward. When the young gargoyle was even with him, Michael turned to the boys and said, “Rick has an apology he would like to extend.” He spoke like a father introducing his son, but none of the gargoyles indicated that any relationship existed aside from Rick’s being a child of the clan.

Rick came forward, never lifting his eyes. He shifted the sand with his right claw and said, at first very quietly so that Chase hardly knew he was speaking, “I apologize for taking your companion, the stygian one who carries the Midnight Blade. I did not comprehend who he was when I apprehended him, and I am sincerely sorry for any discomfort or distress I may have caused you and your companions.” Rick looked out of the corner of his eye for Michael’s approval, and seemed about to go into another string of words before Michael and the orange female both placed their hands on his shoulders, as if signaling him that he had apologized enough for everyone.

“I regret to say that your companion is no longer in our company,” Michael said after a moment. “It seems he was carrying a sword that bled darkness, and he used this to escape after our young one brought him here. You are welcome to stay with us this evening, since we cannot help you fulfill your quest. Rachel and I would welcome the honor.” He indicated the orange female, who Chase now realized must be Michael’s mate. When Michael said the word ‘evening,’ Chase realized that the sun was still out and wondered why he had failed to notice that the gargoyles were running around during daylight, which Ambrose was only capable of due to the Org’s experiments and the Silvermoons could only do when they carried their amulets.

“Yes,” Chase said at last. “That sounds like Aro. It wouldn’t have surprised me to learn he planned the whole thing just to get away. Thank you for your hospitality. I think there are a lot of things we would all benefit from discussing together.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby shastastwin » Jul 10, 2012 8:12 am

Chase talks with Michael and Rachel about their travels, and learns that the gargoyles of Dittopia sleep by night and walk by day. Chance plays with Rick and Leah and learns that Rick prefers to be called Ranger. Chase discusses Aro and Ambrose with Michael and offers to take him and Rick to Ditto Town to meet Ambrose, Erik and Abby.

Scene VII
Chase sat with Michael and Rachel, eating and discussing his situation regarding Aro and Chance. He explained that the three of them had been looking for answers about themselves and about the mysterious group called the Nine, who had been indirectly responsible for the legion of Shadow Warriors made from Aro’s essence a few months ago near Ditto Town.

In the background, Chance was playing with Rick, whose mood had improved quickly when he and Chance discovered that they were both playful misfits, and Rick’s sister Leah.

“So your name is Chance?” asked Leah as she climbed on top of Chance’s head. She was a small red gargoyle, about seven years old as far as Chance could tell.

“Yes, my brother named me. He said that I was made as a last chance effort to stop the Shadow Warriors, and since I had already saved him once, he would trust his life to Chance any day.”

The little gargoyle giggled and slid down to the floor. Chance laughed with her and turned to Rick. “And you? You are called Rick?”

The orange gargoyle shook his head and said, “Ranger. Call me Ranger. I like that better.”

“Okay. Ranger, then.”

Over at the table, Chase was learning that the gargoyles of the Eastern Rock-a-climb Clan were day-walkers, as were all of the gargoyles in Dittopia as far as Michael and the other elders of the clan knew.

“It is strange that you know of gargoyles and yet do not know that we guard the daylight hours, when evil is more brazen and liable to attack,” Michael said.

“I suppose things are different where Erik and Abby come from,” Chase replied. “I wonder if that means Ambrose is from their world as well, since he assumes it is natural to sleep by day.” He explained about Ambrose’s condition – that he was now half-human, carrying the genetic material of Chase’s father and split by a jagged line down the middle – and how Ambrose thought their friends the Silvermoons might be able to help.

“Gargoyles in Dittopia?” Michael asked. “That is news indeed. The last we heard of our brothers and sisters to the west, they had been wiped out by …”

“By the Organization?” Chase offered.

Michael nodded. “If what you say is true, then this Ambrose may be the last of that clan. I would like to meet him. It is possible that he is like these friends of yours and was lost through one of the many portals that exist between this world and others,” he said, flexing his wings. “But it could also be that he assumed that he should sleep by day because the first gargoyles he met after escaping the Organization were like that. It is a puzzle to be solved for certain.”

“We can take you back to Ditto Town with us,” Chase said. “I think we need to head back there anyway. The Silvermoons will want to know about you and I don’t think we’re going to be able to find out anything more about the Nine. Besides,” he said, glancing to the corner, “it will be harder to keep Chance safe with Aro on the loose. I don’t think he’ll come after your clan, especially if we’re gone. But I don’t like to think what he would do if he could get his hands on Chance.” Or his Sword, Chase added silently. It’s bad enough that he took the Midnight Blade with him.

“Then we’ll set out tomorrow morning at sunrise,” Michael said. “I imagine it will take us some time to get back there.”

“Not really,” Chase said absentmindedly. He turned back to the gargoyles. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I have a way of traveling that doesn’t take much time at all. We’ll leave tomorrow at sunrise, and be in Ditto Town before breakfast has been served at the Cup and Platter.”

Michael blinked but did not seem fazed by the revelation. “I thought you might have been a Mist Walker when Rick told me of your companion’s disappearance.”

“I am, but that’s not how he escaped,” Chase added when he realized what Michael was implying. “He left using this.” Chase indicated his Sword. “Well, one of its brothers.”

“There is quite a lot more to you than I first thought, Chase,” Michael said. “I think I will also bring Rick with us, so he will have the experience of seeing what lies outside the clan’s territory.” He nodded over to where the young gargoyles were wrestling in the fading sunlight with Chance, who seemed to be enjoying himself though he was losing. “He has always been curious about the world outside. I think that may have been why he took your companion earlier. He needs some schooling in how to interact with other people.”

“Sounds like Chance.”

“Perhaps they can learn together,” Rachel said, standing and walking to a spot near the cave’s mouth. “There are no beds here, but there are a few blankets that you may be able to use to make the night more comfortable.”

Chase nodded. “Thank you again for your hospitality.”

“Until the morning,” Michael said, taking his place beside his mate. “Children,” he called to Rick and Leah. “It is sundown. Leave the poor boy alone so he can get some sleep.”

Rick helped extricate Chance from his little sister and carried her over to stand behind the adults. As the sun flashed below the horizon, the family froze and turned to stone. Chase wished he could feel safe with such guardians at the cave’s only entrance, but he knew that Aro was crafty and could get into many places with the skill of an Assassin. That night, he slept with Talarais in his hand and Chance nearby, but despite his concerns he slept through the night and did not stir until the gargoyle family broke free of their stonesleep the next morning.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jul 10, 2012 2:38 pm

Just as Ryana and Kirane are heading home, they hear an explosion, and are caught in the resulting cloud of steam. As it clears, they meet Ditto Town's newest arrivals, a group of strange metal... men?


Just as Ryana and Kirane prepared to go home, suddenly, they heard a shout. She almost did a double take; Ryana thought she heard “Grenade!” That was immediately followed by a loud boom, and the sound of rushing water, exploding out through the Town Square. Ryana had only a second to see that the explosion had come from the Fountain—from… inside the Fountain?—and had sent a cloud of quickly-evaporating water into the air. Instinctively, she extended her wings, and wrapped them around her body for protection.

Her wings could only cover so much, and she felt the steam burning her exposed skin. Luckily, either whatever caused it didn’t make it that hot, or they were far enough away, because it did little more than sting. That made it no less irritating. A few seconds later, though, she felt the air cool again. As soon as she recognized the cloud, Kirane had reached out her hands, and started turning the vapor back into liquid water. It dripped harmlessly to the ground, and Kirane expanded the cloudless area to encompass her and Ryana. By the time Ryana looked out from behind her wings, they were in a little bubble if clear air, surrounded by impenetrable fog.

Before long, the wind caused the mist to dissipate, and the two women could see the source of this clearly. And this cleared nothing up. Ryana blinked a little bit at the sight—about a dozen creatures, if that was the right word. They came in a variety of colors and sizes—ranging from normal heights to one that looked close to ten feet tall—and were all constructed entirely of metal. But… they weren’t quite like the robots she was used to. (Then again, the Bots of this town and a few security droids were about the only ones she’d ever met.) They all seemed to wear masks, of some kind—or, perhaps those were their faces. They almost seemed expressive enough. Whatever the case, they didn’t look hostile yet. On the contrary, they looked more like they’d just taken a beating themselves.

Kirane glanced at Ryana, eyes wide; apparently, this sight was just as weird to her. “Is… is this normal?”

The other woman shrugged. “Um, define normal. You have blue hair, I have wings, and I’ve seen everything from vampires to gargoyles around here. Granted, I’ve never seen these guys before.”

Kirane nodded; after all, there were some unusual things on the world she’d come from, too. Slowly, she changed gears: “So… what should we do?”

“Finding out what’s going on would be nice.” With that, Ryana started cautiously stepping forward. She let her right hand slide next to the hilt of her ice dagger, but she’d be no more hostile than that. As she approached the creatures, however, she suddenly realized that she had no idea what she was going to say. As the closest ones began to acknowledge her, she went with clearing her throat and asking, “Ah… are you all all right?”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Silvan_Haven » Jul 10, 2012 6:09 pm

As it turned out, they did not even have to go anywhere as a voice called out almost as soon as the steam cleared away.

"Ah... are you all alright?"

Kaelen looked in the direction the voice had come from. The pair that stood there were certainly one of the more odd beings he had laid eyes on. Neither of them had any metal on them that did not look like it was part of a belt or something. One of them had wings that looked like the feathers were metallic but the way they moved suggested otherwise.
They looked wary, but otherwise friendly. He decided to trust them for the time being.

"Some scrapes and bruises but I think everybody is good for now. Where are we?"

As he said this, he looked around the large square that they were in, using his metal powers to adjust the blades crisscrossed over his back.
The other members of the Kin started picking themselves up and looking around the place in wonderment. One of them murmured to another.

"This place is so peaceful. I don't see any guards or security measures anywhere."
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Heh,

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

Postby shastastwin » Jul 11, 2012 5:00 pm

The new Number 6 contemplates the events that led to his predecessor's downfall and his future plans. He is revealed to be the Marksman, who had been serving (in disguise) as the previous Number 6's lieutenant. N.6/Marksman is to blame for the universe in which Molly is replaced by Max, while Number 2 is given main credit for the overall split in the universe.

Scene VIII
In an undisclosed location somewhere within the Dittoverse, the recently instated Number 6 was doing his best to recover some credibility among his colleagues. The debacle at the School had seriously lowered his standing in their eyes, and he needed to at least regain their respect if he was going to be able to deal with the Chase boy and his clones (for there was no better way to think of Aro at this point except as a dark clone, since he was their only remaining Shadow Warrior).

His assistant brought him confirmation of the Headmistress’ elimination. There was no need to have her replaced, since the School was empty and largely in ruins. That branch of the project had, of course, been shut down.

Curse his predecessor. He had warned the fool that taking Malarais into the School was unwise, and his counterparts in the Nine had disagreed with his decision to get directly involved in the Group’s attack.

The new Number 6, lieutenant to the previous, would not make the same mistake. That was why he had added his own little twist to the recent attempt to control the forces behind the Balances. It added a little Chaos to the mix, and the Marksman always enjoyed a little extra Chaos, even if he was forced to be subtle about it. He thought the gender switch in the gargoyle child was a rather artistic touch to Number 2’s split in the universe, and it brought a smile to his face when he thought of it. At least the last few days hadn't been entirely without their fun. And if the initial repercussions of the split in the universe were any indication, there was a lot more fun in his future.
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