|"Skill is imbalanced"|
|Journey, part 11: Seperate paths come back together|
|Date: ||07/07/02 10:07|
|Game Type: ||Other|
|Report Rating: , # of Ratings: 1, Max: 9, Min: 9|
Lifetime Rating for citizenKane: 8.2143
One week away, and I still don't know what will happen at that point. At a certain time one week from now, it just blacks out. Nothing to it.
The journey continues. But I will not be writing it. Someone else will have to write it, because my life ends soon.
At least, I think it ends. There is no way to find out. Except to wait.
I usually can see the future, you see. I have never waited to find anything out before... Maybe the future will change. That’s why I’m telling this story, to change the future. That’s why all stories are told, really. But nothing changes...
I know I always say there’s no time for introductions, but I feel the need to tell you this.
The craggy cliff poked out in the middle of the the Atlantic, challenging the mighty ocean to tear it down.. The wild waves swiftly and forcefully pushed through the ocean before reaching shallow waters, where they crested and rolled into a sweeping foam-tipped mass of water. They struck the rocky cliff with force, crashing upon the polished stones and bursting into a million droplets of water and mist before falling to the ocean or fading into the air.
The earth and seas were wild. The cliff lurched and jumped, causing the seas to pound it harder
Atop the cliff was a lighthouse. The cliff shook as if trying to free itself from the lighthouse, but the tower and its foundations stood fast.
The lighthouse stood majestically on the rumbling cliff and over the cold violent seas. The sun hung over the blue horizon to the east, and the lighthouse faced it, ever watching.
* * *
A third of the way around the world, the sun hung in the western sky.
Against the sun was a small, flying car, barely a speck at this distance. It fled from the sun toward the east.
In that car was Gerard, with his dusty sunglasses and dirty suit coat. He was headed toward the northwestern border dividing Nevada from California and Idaho, where his senses would guide him to the hijacked plane.
Jim (Travesdain, Gerard thought wryly) was on board. He could sense that, easily.
He was now somewhere over Utah.
* * *
The sky over France was overcast, a lucky thing for Jennifer. She flew above the clouds, which hid her.
She was headed for the coast of Spain. Last night there was what the authorities called a nuclear blast. She suspected Gerard, though he’d never blown up anything before.
Well, not anything that big.
* * *
Greg was running.
He was in a rural area, somewhere south-west of Iowa. where the crops and almost everything else had been flattened.
He was running to get away from Gerard. He was running to get away from the unconscious body of Haman.
Everything was so confusing to him.
In one morning, his life had been changed. He was whisked away from home, Demons had come up to him and asked him to come with them (why?), and he had survived explosions and earthquakes. He knew it was not a dream. Why was all this happening?
He didn’t really want to find out. If he tried to find out, more bad things might happen.
Instead, he ran.
* * *
A near-empty airplane flew over the Nevada desert. A blurry shadow flitted across the sands.
Joni sat in a chair in the front of the coach area, clutching his head. He was trying to make sense of all that had happened. But nothing made even the slightest bit of sense. Everything seemed random.
Banon wandered around the airplane, wondering who he was and why he could recall a lot of knowledge but recall no memories. Occasionally he stopped to examine something that looked interesting.
The controls in the pilots’ cabin moved back and forth and up and down, guided by invisible hands.
Travesdain lay on the floor, breathing hard.
His hand curled into a fist. Banon walked by but did not notice.
* * *
Haman lay face-down on the dusty ground.
He couldn’t remember what had happened. His cheek hurt. He blinked his eyes to get the dust out and wondered where he was.
What was the last thing he could remember?
Light. Pure, solid, light. A pillar of it. A noise, and a high-pitched shrieking laugh.
He remembered there was a noise, but couldn’t remember what it sounded like.
Who else was there? A guy in a suit coat... Gerard... and there was Barnes...
He rolled over and stared at the sun.
Where was Barnes now? He had left him behind. How stupid. He was obliterated by the blast of light. Or was he?
Something tingled in his memory.
The solid pillar of light. And Gerard, next to it, running toward it.
Gerard, with his car.
Gerard, who punched him in the face!
Haman got up like a shot.
Gerard! Where was he?
Haman looked around. There was nothing but dusty plain. And a wooden house, some ways away.
But Gerard had a distinctive trace that Haman could sense. An aura of destiny, of sorts. And a feeling of suppressed strength.
Haman cast his mind around, scanning the magical planes for anything like that.
The first thing he sensed was static. The hissing of dying magic filled his senses. Little magic bolts whizzed around before fading like a dying star. Free radicals popped and hissed. Waves of energy rose and faded.
But he could also sense a steady tone, under that. A faint tone, but steady. An evil tone.
It was coming from the east.
But that’s not right, Haman thought. Gerard said he was going west...
That was an evil tone, all right, and it carried traces of suppressed power. But Gerard gave off a slightly different aura. His had a sort of tang to it.
He concentrated harder. He searched for the tang.
There it was. Almost completely buried amongst the static, but it was there. It was coming from the west. And small hints of evil.
Haman lifted himself off the ground, and flew in Gerard’s direction.
* * *
The lighthouse was defiant.
The ground was shaking so hard that it seemed as if it would crumble, and the seas threw themselves against the cliff, but the lighthouse stood fast atop the point.
There was a grating noise, like rock on rock. The trembling started to rise out of the ocean. The waters crawled away from the cliff as the ground rose. What was once an ocean wall was now over the water, covered in barnacles, mussels and lichen. And as the cliff rose even higher, the lighthouse climbed into the sky.
The ocean floor was soon to become land.
* * *
Banon pointed out the cockpit window.
“You see that?”
Joni stepped over the unconscious Travesdain and into the cockpit. “See what?”
“There’s a... little thingy.”
“I think it’s going toward us.”
It was a barely visible little speck, a good distance away.
“How can you tell at this dist—”
The object rushed at them at a fantastic speed and narrowly missed hitting the cockpit. It was the size of a small car. The resulting turbulence plane shook. The plane’s controls went all over the place, swinging left and right, and then completely stopped.
The lights went out and all the switches flicked themselves off. The engines let out a dying groan.
Banon and Joni looked at each other.
“Is that bad?” Banon asked.
The plane started to nose down.
The unconscious Travesdain rolled over and hit Banon in the feet, knocking him down. Travesdain’s eyes flicked open. He blinked twice, as if he wasn’t sure what was happening.
Then he shot upright.
“You!” His eyes flashed. He grabbed Joni by the throat and threw him to the side, into the passenger cabin. He then turned to the controls. A flick of the wrist, and switches flew and lights flickered on. The gauge needles sprang to life and the plane’s engines roared to life. Travesdain folded his hands in front of him and closed his eyes, and the plane nosed back upward. He made some hand motions, conducting an invisible orchestra of magic floes. The controls gave a spasm and sprang to life.
Travesdain extended a hand, and behind him, the emergency exit blew open.
Travesdain turned his head. He wasn’t aiming for the door. Maybe he pressed the wrong button? The cabin, he noticed, was not depressurizing. That characteristic “whoosh” of air rushing out of the plane was nowhere to be heard.
Joni grabbed a nearby chair. But the cabin did not depressurize.
Gerard stepped in and closed the door behind him.
Gerard took off his sunglasses. His eyes were bright and blue.
* * *
There was a crack over Utah as Haman broke the sound barrier.
* * *
Travesdain looked affronted. “My name is Travesdain.”
“That’s nice, Jim.”
Banon walked gingerly out of the cockpit.
“Gerard. You know, I presume?”
Gerard wondered briefly what It might be.
“I’ll tell you what I do know, Jim.”
“My name is—”
“You have about one minute to talk to me before you die. If you’re nice, I might spare your life.”
“What if I’m not?”
“Then you die.”
“Couldn’t kill me last time we met. Gained some superpowers, Gerard?”
“...because I have.”
Gerard had a funny feeling in his insides. It felt something like his heart had dropped into his stomach.
“So, tell me, Gerard, what do you know? And why are you dressed in that silly suit?”
“I like the look,” said Gerard modestly.
“Look at me.” Travesdain flourished his blue robes. “Dressed in the garb of—”
“—an idiot?” Gerard suggested.
“You heard me the first time.”
“No,” Gerard pointed out, “I couldn’t have heard you the first time. I thought you said Magician.”
“I did,” Travesdain said.
And once again Gerard was out of things to say.
“Gerard, if you would be so kind as to not try to kill me, I will show you your heritage. First we must make a brief stopover at a seal in Iowa—”
“Been there,” Gerard put in.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Well, you know, a big explosion, an evil being spouting random stuff about his master, that sort of thing.”
“But what happened? Give me information!”
Gerard rubbed his eyes. “I’d think a big explosion would be quite a large piece of information.”
Travesdain threw into a fury. He grabbed Gerard by the shoulders and shook him.
“What did he say about the Master?”
But Gerard just stared.
“What is wrong with you?”
Gerard looked over Travesdain’s shoulder. He was staring out the window.
“Wha?” Travesdain turned around.
Gerard threw himself free of Travesdain’s grip and dove into the cabin.
Then he saw Gerard’s flying car come straight at the plane and smash through the cockpit. Travesdain didn’t have time to scream.
Even the immortal can die, if smashed by tons of force in flying steel.
* * *
Five thousand feet later, Gerard caught up to his tiny car, still intact and unscratched, opened the driver-side door, shoved the unconscious body of Banon inside, and eased himself in front of the steering wheel.
The car’s direction went from down to forward.
* * *
Something poked out of the waters of the Atlantic, in the distance. The lighthouse, high on its climbing perch, watched with its lens, an unblinking eye.
The spire slowly rose out of the water. At first only its triangular capstone poked its head out of the waves, only to be washed over again. But it rose persistently. Soon its capstone was clearly out of the water, surrounded by the rest of it.
It looked like a small belfry, but instead of holding a small bell it held a solid chunk of firey red gemstone. Inside the gemstone was a burning light. The gemstone’s many facets reflected and refracted it into a scintillating light.
Higher and higher the red ruby climbed, supported by a column of dull blue brick. The lighthouse, too, rose higher, watching. But the spire, though far away, stared black, with its burning red eye.
Soon the spire was high over the ocean.
Other buildings followed. Turquoise-capped domed temples rose stately out of the waters. A palace, blue as the ocean, climbed out of the sea. The spire’s base, a cathedral with a high vaulted ceiling, rose over the Atlantic.
And the ocean was receding.
The distant lighthouse, atop the rocky cliff, was already surrounded by clear sands far below. As the land rose, the ocean fell, leaving surf and flotsam behind.
Now smaller buildings came out of the water: houses, fountains, shops. They continued to rise, and the ocean continued to fade.
The waters washed over long-abandoned streets. Avenues and broadways made their first appearance above land in years. Disused courts were ready for use once more.
The ocean ran away from the city, and soon was gone.
In the center of the city was a large courtyard. In the courtyard was a great circle, cut out of the ground, thirty yards in radius. Inscribed in it was a great rune: a line from the center to the edge, and a lesser circle half the size of the greater one connecting the line to the other edge.
It looked like an ankh, but without the cross. It faced from north to south, with the line pointing south.
At the south end, there was a word cut out of a large brick in the ground.
The spire stood to the northeast. The gem in it flashed once.
Far to the west, in the distance, the cliff crumbled and fell, and the lighthouse fell with it.
* * *
Banon woke up in the flying car.
He spoke to Gerard. His voice had an edge to it.
“Where are we going?”
Gerard considered this. “I don’t know.”
Banon took hold of the steering wheel. “Let me drive.”
Gerard removed a pair of sunglasses from his pocket and placed them over his eyes. “Where do you propose to go?”
Under his sunglasses, Gerard blinked.
There was a long silence. The silence was broken by a knocking sound.
“Who’s there?” Gerard asked.
Gerard placed his foot on the brake pedal, and the car quickly and smoothly came to a stop, though neither of them felt a sensation of slowing down.
The passenger door opened, and Haman came in. Banon was squeezed in the middle seat.
Gerard lifted his sunglasses and peered at Haman with his bright blue eyes. “Came to your senses, Haman?”
Haman just nodded.
“Banon here says we’re going to Atlantis.”
“That supposed to mean something?”
“To you, I guess not.”
Banon took the steering wheel again. “I’ll get us there quickly.”
There was a flash, then darkness, then a flash again.
The ocean was beneath them. The sun was now setting behind them.
If Haman was surprised, he didn’t say anything.
“How much longer?” asked Gerard.
“Not long now.”
Over Banon’s shoulder, Haman gave Gerard a look that plainly said, He’s evil.
Gerard nodded. I know.
* * *
Greg fell on the ground, panting. He had been running for a long time, and he didn’t think he could run anymore. At all. He felt like he could barely move.
Something rumbled, and he heard a voice.
“Come with me,” it said.
Greg looked up.
“Who are you?”
But he couldn’t see anyone anywhere.
Then he realized he was staring into a vast darkness. It was spreading, and it seemed to engulf him.
“Come with me.”
Greg closed his eyes, and there was only darkness.
The journey continues July 14, 2002. I think.
(This has been a citizenKane production.)