The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #871
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    The mirrors work. Sophie should find herself falling asleep to match Sekhmet. Hopefully she isn't standing at the time.

    Sekhmet's dream is dark. The sound of dripping water fills it, and the air is damp and sticky. The actual surroundings appear seconds later, a twisting, narrow passageway in the depths of the earth. Sekhmet is there, in her original form, rather than the fiendish one asleep in the real world. She walks past Sophie obliviously, towards an archway on the far side of the chamber. Despite her calm and fluid movements, her face is a mask of utter terror, staring wide-eyed at what lies ahead.
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  2. - Top - End - #872
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    Sophie follows Sekhmet silently for now. Can the tiefling see her presence in this dream? It appears not. She'll try speaking to her later, but for now she'd rather observe.
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  3. - Top - End - #873
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    Sekhmet.and Sophie pass into the next chamber. The cavernous underground space is dominated by a vast alien entity, a towering castle of flesh, chitin, and bone. At its base lies a pool of churning, glowing fluid surrounded by bony spikes, and it is clear that this is where Sekhmet is headed. With each step closer, she begins to struggle against whatever force compels her and moan, "No, no, no, no!"
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  4. - Top - End - #874
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    Sophie stops when Sekhmet does. What is this place? It might be where she met the people who turned her into what she is now. But she can't be sure.

    "Sekhmet, can you hear me?" she asks. It's worth a try, at least.
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  5. - Top - End - #875
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    Sophie's voice snaps Sekhmet out of her trance for a moment. "Sophie?" Sekhmet looks around but doesn't see the source of the voice. "Where are you?" The thing presiding over the room pulses in some indescribable, unseen way, and Sekhmet is once again sent marching unwillingly towards the pit. "Sophie, help!" Despite her struggles, Sekhmet is nearly to the edge, each stride seeming to take her further and further than the last.
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  6. - Top - End - #876
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    Sophie tries to grip Sekhmet by the shoulders to stop her from going forward. Her physical strength is that of a not-too-tall human woman, but perhaps in a dream it's her strength of will that can prevail. She stares defiantly at the towering flesh construct, as if daring it to stop her from helping Sekhmet. Her god-like determination and willpower hide behind her eyes.

    "I'm here, Sekhmet, even if you can't see me. I'm right behind you."
    Last edited by Morty; 2019-10-21 at 05:19 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #877
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    Sophie's hands will pass through Sekhmet, but her will has a much greater effect. Sekhmet stops, teetering at the edge. "Thank you."

    Suddenly, the scene of the dream shifts from the dim cavern to a small, brightly-lit room. The walls are paneled with wood and lined with bookshelves, and the ceiling is so low that someone of Sekhmet's height would barely be able to stand without stooping. Sekhmet is here, of course, looking somewhat younger than Sophie's ever seen her, maybe 13 or 14, and kneeling as a greying gnomish woman fastens a silver necklace around her neck. The woman is saying something, "Even if you can't see them, the Stars are always watching over you." "Thank you Auntie!" the young Sekhmet responds.
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  8. - Top - End - #878
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    Sophie is startled when her hands pass through Sekhmet, but doesn't skip a beat when the scenery changes. It seems she's a spectator here, unable to affect the dream, but able to speak with Sekhmet and help her this way. She can work with this. Though she's still not certain if other fragments of the dream can perceive her. It would appear they can't, but she won't assume anything yet.

    "Who is this, Sekhmet? Someone you knew?"
    Last edited by Morty; 2019-10-21 at 08:26 AM.
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  9. - Top - End - #879
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    Sekhmet looks around for Sophie's voice once more, as the gnome continues, "Happy birthday, Sekhmet." Sekhmet answers Sophie's question, "That's my auntie, and this is my, uh, 13th birthday." Still in the motions of the memory, she bends down further and catches the gnome in a hug.
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  10. - Top - End - #880
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    "Hmm." Sophie observes the scene closely. This is a happy family occasion, by all accounts. It's good to know Sekhmet had people who loved her, despite the prejudice she also suffered. "I didn't know you'd been raised by gnomes. This one seems to be quite a happy memory."
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  11. - Top - End - #881
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    "They, uh, found me. When I was a baby." Sekhmet responds. She fingers her necklace absently. "I, uh, guess it is." It is, in fact, one of the best days of her life. She removes the necklace and cradles it in her hands. "They gave me this to remind me that no matter what happened, they still loved me. That I'm not a monster." There's another sudden shift in scenery, just as the gnome starts to speak again.

    They're back in the cabin. Sekhmet, in her current, fiendish form is holding the same necklace, screaming in pain as it glows brightly and burns her flesh. She hurls it away from her, and collapses to her knees, weeping.
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  12. - Top - End - #882
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    "And they were right," Sophie says firmly, even as the scene shifts to a more recent painful one. "They will always love you and you're not a monster."
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  13. - Top - End - #883
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    "Even... Like this?" Sekhmet sobs. "I'm a hideous, unholy thing. If I even touch something pure or sacred, I'm punished. I don't even know if I'm the same person anymore, or if Sekhmet died down there and I'm just a monster wearing her face and reading from her memories." Sekhmet falls further down, flat on her face, her tears forming a puddle around her head.
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  14. - Top - End - #884
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    Sophie watches helplessly, unable to offer Sekhmet any physical comfort and instead having to rely on her words alone.

    "Yes, even now. Would a fake Sekhmet recall these memories with such clarity and emotion?" She pauses. "And if you do not trust yourself, trust me. I spoke to you before and after your transformation and I see that you're the same person. And you know I'm not easily fooled."
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  15. - Top - End - #885
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    Sekhmet sniffles. "You... think so?" A note of hope crept into her voice there. It's a huge relief to hear someone else say that she's the same, someone she trusts. If she had been changed, how would she have been able to tell? "But what about other people? What do I say? It's one thing, being a Tiefling, but a devil? What will they do to me?" The scene shifts to a large, open room with low grandstands. Sekhmet, a Tiefling of about 16, is tied by her hands to a sturdy wooden post, and several feet behind her, on a table, lies a nine-tailed scourge. A crowd of indistinct figures are seated in the stands, jeering and laughing as Sekhmet struggles.
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  16. - Top - End - #886
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    Sophie breathes out, even as the scene before her makes her blood boil. Hate. Why do so many people cut out parts of their brains and replace them with mindless hate? Is it the only way they can feel good about themselves?

    "I won't lie and say no one will hate you for it. But this is the Nexus, so people can come to terms with quite a lot. And we won't let anyone do this to you again. This I can promise."
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  17. - Top - End - #887
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    Sekhmet replies, half whispering. "You promise?.. Thank you." Sophie should feel a shift in the dream again, but the scene is unchanged. Instead, everything feels more real, like she is pulled further into the dream. Sekhmet looks up, straight at her, and whispers, "I see now..." At the same time, the chamber door opens, and a large, burly man enters. Like everyone else in the dream, his face is too blurry to recognize, except for a vicious grin, the smile of someone who takes delight in the pain of others. He heads towards the table and the cat o' nine tails on it.
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  18. - Top - End - #888
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    "I promise." Sophie watches the scene before her with cold, intense disgust. If only she could get her hands on each and every single one of those people... they would pay. "I have met many such people. So pathetic that the only way they can feel better about themselves is to put others down. If they convince themselves that they're better than you are simply because their skin has a different color or they don't have horns and a tail, they can forget how sad and angry they really are."
    Last edited by Morty; 2019-10-24 at 02:35 PM.
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  19. - Top - End - #889
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    Sekhmet smiles when she hears Sophie's promise, even as the torturer picks up the scourge and cracks it in the air, menacingly. "You have been so kind to me." Time seems to slow down. The torturer is beginning to turn towards Sekhmet, raising his scourge, but he moves as if underwater. Sekhmet continues. "I'm not alone anymore. I don't think I ever was." Sophie is glowing now, brightly. Other glowing figures are appearing as well. Sekhmet's adoptive aunt and uncle are there, as well as a curly-haired human boy a bit older than Sekhmet and a gnome in some sort of complex, mechanical chair. Other people appear, not quite so distinct and recognizable, until Sekhmet is surrounded by images of friends and family.
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  20. - Top - End - #890
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    "It's what I do," Sophie says warmly. The glow seems to bring something else to the surface - a bright circle on her forehead, with a disk in the middle, representing a sun in eclipse. "Especially now. I can't promise you it will be easy, but I can promise you that you won't be alone in getting through this."
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  21. - Top - End - #891
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    "Thank you." Sekhmet responds. "All of you." That's when everything starts to fall apart. The ceiling drops to the floor, plunging everything into darkness. The projections wink out, one by one, until only Sekhmet and Sophie are left. They too begin to fade away, as Sekhmet shifts into a peaceful and dreamless slumber. Whether or not Sophie awakens probably depends on how the mirror works.
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  22. - Top - End - #892
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    [Hawthorn Cabin]

    Sophie does wake up when she breaks the mirror's connection and she leaves quietly, so as not to wake Sekhmet. She deserves some uninterrupted sleep.
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  23. - Top - End - #893
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    Approaching to Sekhmet's Cabin

    There's a gnome on the way up. He's obese, and wears a white toga. He's also not walking, instead riding a large and comfortable-looking armchair fitted with large bicycle-like wheels, one on each side, and a smaller one at the back. There's no visible engine, and he's making absolutely no movements (besides getting jostled on the rougher parts of the route) to suggest how this particular chair is being controlled. He's balding, just shy of middle age, with brown hair and eyes and a large nose. He knows where he's going, but he hasn't been here before, so it takes a bit of time for him to find the cabin he wants, sticking to the paths to avoid getting his wheels stuck in mud.
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  24. - Top - End - #894
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    Hawthorn Cabin

    It's been a day since Sophie's visit. Sekhmet is awake, having slept very well until this morning. She's currently busy studying demonology and trying to understand her condition more. She feels better than she has in days.

    Pontius shouldn't have any difficulty locating the cabin. It's not hidden or protected, although it is towards the far edge of camp from the entrance.
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  25. - Top - End - #895
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    Sekhmet's Cabin

    There's a knock at her door, quite a heavy knock. Pontius is using a walking-stick to knock with, which he'd pulled out from the side of his chair. There's an extradimensional pocket in the arm. He'll smile when the door is opened. "Ah, hello dear. May I come in?" Sekhmet probably isn't expecting him.
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  26. - Top - End - #896
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinholdt View Post
    [Daycare Dark Room]

    Sasha tilts her head a little. Karasu seemed very talkative to Sasha, despite her claims otherwise. She asked like half a dozen questions and just kept going. Sometimes adults would do that. Ask questions they didn't want answers to.

    So it takes Sasha a moment to realize Karasu is waiting for a reply when she finishes. But to which part? The scientist thing was a question, but she concluded with a statement that was kind of like a question? Ah well, at least the answer was easy regardless. Sasha shakes her head. Dad wasn't a scientist, he was Master. And definitely couldn't hear her thoughts. She was quite certain about that.
    [Daycare Dark Room]

    Karasu rolls her eyes at the head tilt. "Yeah, yeah, I know. I'd be less talkative if I didn't know about your inability to speak." She shrugs, and when Sasha shakes her head, she decides she's probably responding to both questions, and then something occurs to her, based on how Sasha reacted when she mentioned the word Master. "So, you think of him as your Master. He was also a scientist, though, based on what he did. And if he thinks of you as a pet or servant rather than a daughter, he'd have had no need for hearing your thoughts, only needing your compliance. Meaning there's the possibility he's not your birth father." But Sasha might not react well to these words, so she switches gears.

    "Let's talk about something else. Speaking of which, can you read? Nod or shake your head. I can teach you sign language with your hands, and if you can learn to read I'll teach you how to draw letters with your shadow tendrils." She slides the shadow block she's sitting on forward until she's face to face with the girl. "Can I pat you?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Gulaghar View Post
    [Daycare]

    Annie furrows her brow and climbs out of her seat to follow him out. "What do you mean rock?"

    The daycare is a short ways away from the water, but there's a nice stretch of sandy beach right there. There's starting to be a bit of a chill in the air, but it's still fine weather for playing outdoors. It might get uncomfortable if they get wet, though.
    [Daycare]

    "It's the stuff stones are made of!" Asher replies excitedly as he leads her out to the sandy beach on foot. "I'm an angel, and one of my powers is making sand move!" He says, excitedly making it move into the shape of two buckets and shovels. "But doing it by hand is fun!" He touches them, and they glow and harden into rock, the molecules binding together. Handing Annie one set of tools, he sits down on the ground and starts manually gathering sand. "So, what's your favour-ite colour? Mine's brown, because bears are brown!"
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  27. - Top - End - #897
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    Sekhmet's Cabin

    When the knock comes, Sekhmet puts down her book and heads to the door. Seeing Pontius through the peephole, she hastily cloaks herself in an illusion of her old appearance. She'd rather not shock him right away with the changes. She opens the door. "Oh! Uh, of course! Come on in." She's wearing a low-backed blue top and an ankle-length grey skirt. Pontius may notice several books around one of the armchairs in the room, with titles such as Demonology for Beginners, The Hunter's Guide to Demons, Devils, and Other Creatures of the Underworld, and similar books about fiends. He might also notice a silver necklace lying on the floor in one corner, glowing faintly.
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  28. - Top - End - #898
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    Sekhmet's Cabin

    Pontius drops the stick, returning it to its pouch as his chair wheels inside. "I haven't seen you for a few days, and it's not like you. We're all wondering what's up with you. So I thought I'd pop by, see if I can help in any way. Or if any of the others can help; Prumathe is missing you, and he's worried it's something he's done." He glances at the books and the symbol catches his eye, but he doesn't comment. At least, not yet; he wants to hear from Sekhmet first.
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  29. - Top - End - #899
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    Sekhmet's Cabin

    "I, uh... It's... Well..." Sekhmet has to take a deep breath before continuing. "Something happened to me, something unexpected and life-shattering, and I'm still, uh, trying to recover." She breathes deeply again. "I, uh, think I should talk about it with you before, uh, I come back to work."
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    Default Re: GLoG 92: Generosity, Love, Opportunity, Growth

    Sekhmet's Cabin

    "I am... familiar with unexpected and life-shattering." He's always in one chair or another, and whilst he doesn't talk much about it, he also doesn't walk much, and not for long when he does. None of the apprentices know why; most assume it's a display of power, that he's so good he can make chairs to do his walking for him. "Recovery in such cases usually works best with people and support. Not cooped up alone reading... Unusual books. I know how you are thinking. I know you are an illusionist, so... Am I talking to the real you, or are you hiding and using an illusion to disguise injury? Golemcraefting can work around most injuries, so that would not pose any issues." Currently he's assuming an accident which left scars and injury, since Sekhmet's a girl of an age where appearance tends to matter a lot.
    Terrowin Avatar by HappyTurtle. Much thanks!

    I don't use the Registry; ask for a description if you don't know what my character looks like.

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