Ongoing Games (In-Character)Play-by-post games are going on in this forum as we speak (well, read). All threads on this board are actual games, so please, only post on a thread if you are a player of that game.
He hisses air through his teeth and gently lowers her back down. "Sorry," he says. "Sorry. Hold on a moment." He reaches down to his belt and retrieves a thin plastic bag, complete with a zipper, into which he carefully places the leather pouch and as much as the powder as he can slide into it. With that done he zips it shut and puts it back into his belt pocket. "No," he answers. "I'm afraid that I haven't had the dream. You'll need to tell me more about it, later."
With that, he helps Katherine follow the Crimson Avenger down the stairs, where he sees the thin...er man restrained within the circle. Bolton, in his late-night research, has learned a thing or two about various disciplines of mysticism. This entire thing seems to him to be quite unusual. "Wait," he says, and holds out a restraining arm. "Who are you?"
"No. Never been here before. Dream started up just last night. Don't dream much. Not for months, now." She paused. "Not sure which is worse."
Then she saw Him. The man from her dream - naked and emaciated and helpless and more powerful than all of them in the room. He was pitiable, He was starving, He was weak - He had to be let go.
"No, Lieutenant," she said, heading towards the circle. "We do it together." She headed to one side of the circle, and prepared to break the chalk outline with the tip of her gun while Lt. Walker broke it with her cane. "This feels right, somehow."
Foolish, thinks Bolton. He's too weak to be dangerous. And if he was being held captive via mystical means, it was being done by very bad men, his enemies. And the enemy (or victim) of my enemy is, if not my friend, at least a potential ally. He nods and withdraws his arm and moves the both of them towards the circle. "Never mind," he concludes. "Get him out of there." The Crimson Avenger was right, he decides. It was only fitting that the two of them put an end to it. For a moment, he feels jealous of their dream, of having been excluded for it. Of not being worthy.
The two scratch out the circle, and wait with baited breath for something to happen. A moment passes, and then another. Nothing happens.
But the man, using muscles long since atrophied, shambles -crawls, really- over to Lock-Up, and with a shaking hand, takes the pouch from the large vigilante.
Dream of the Endless
It is not an explosion of light or sound, of taste or touch or smell. Those instruments would be far too crude for one such as he. Rather, it is a Revelation of Presence; a gathering of his power and all that he was. It was the first meal a starving man has; it was water to one who has wandered in the desert.
The four are forced to turn away at the Presence, every instinct, every bone in their body compelling them to not look, not even a glance. And they listen to their instincts. And then the Presence fades, and they turn to gaze upon a much different figure than had existed previously.
The man that was naked now wears robes of midnight; the stars themselves are arranged upon them. Should one compared them to the sky, they would find that they would match exactly. Around his waist is tied the bag of sand, now overfilling with sand. His fingers are long and thin, and his skin is as pale as ever.
But there is more to it than that. His eyes now open, and one can see them as pits of infinite black, dotted with the stars themselves. His hair is no longer tangled; it is still a shock of hair, but it fits, it belongs, and none of the party can conceive of any other way it could be styled. There is nobility and superiority in his bearing, and he stands taller than any in the room.
Free! I am Free!
His voice echoes throughout the basement, and rings with joy; one can feel it wrap around them, feel it surge through them.
I have been trapped for a century within that circle, mortals. And I thank you for freeing me. You have questions. I will answer them.
The sheer power and intensity of Dream washes over the policewoman. There is everything in that feeling, from death to life to love and lust and hate, all that is and should be and has ever been in a story past, future and present. Dumbly, she opens her mouth, and her throat goes dry at the very action: what she's seeing is no mere reality, but something deeper, stronger, and far more there than anything else she's ever been near.
Awkwardly, she clears her throat and speaks. "Uh... your sister. She's looking for you. Strange girl, gothic and perky, gives people hugs? I think she's dead or something. Sorry. Is that a problem?" She's aware she's babbling. It's just that, well...
She'd never thought she'd see something this beautiful. Not in Gotham.
Carefully, she stops herself and starts again. Just act like it's a police interview, and he's a witness. A godlike being of strange and unimaginable power, but a witness. "Okay. Let's start at the beginning." She can hear someone say that. What was the beginning? Oh, well. "What the merry hell is going on? And why are we - and you - here?"
My sister spent her one day looking for me? I am touched. But there is no need to fear.
He draws himself in a courtly bow, in a manner long lost to time.
I am Dream. The Prince of Stories, The Lord of the Dreaming, and The Third of the Endless. And my elder sister is Death. As one of your poets named her, The Destroyer of Worlds.
I was imprisoned within a wizard's circle and held for a ransom that mankind is neither ready for or deserves. For over a century, my captors have attempted to bargain with me. But I refused to listen, and have been kept in that circle ever since. Cut off from the Dreaming. Cut off from that which is mine. But no more.
He can feel the breath leave his lungs and his legs go weak, although he manages to remain standing, if only for the benefit of the wounded policewoman that relies on him for balance. He can't speak, at first, perhaps because he wasn't privy to the dream that had been granted to his two companions and was therefore completely unprepared for what he's seeing. At last, after several moments, he regains enough composure to grunt a few words, forgoing his familiar growl and speaking normally:
My steward sent out the Dream to all he could. But his power is derived from mine, and as I weakened, so did he. The Dream was sent to every being in this area; but those who best remembered it are those who spent their waking hours asleep. Trauma and grief open one further to the Dreaming. It is not a question of worth, Lyle Bolton.
He nods as the being explains the discrepancy. It almost makes sense, in an insane, not at all sensible type of way. But when he hears his own name, his eyes widen in shock and he casts furtive glances at the two women, Katherine and the Crimson Avenger. There was no way that they hadn't heard it - they had been hanging on Dream's every word, just as he had been. It's very nearly funny. There he was, a man in a mask, and this pale, unimaginable powerful being from somewhere out of time and space had gone and blown his whole secrecy thing. He thinks about bringing it up, but then he realizes that Dream must be capable of reading minds - how else had he known about his name in the first place? In fact, he'd better stop thinking about it right now in case Dream figured out that he was irritated and turned that power against him and oh man stop thinking about it focus on something else white elephants white elephants white elephants focus focus focus...!
The scarlet-clad woman is as taken aback as the others in the presence of the Endless, shocked by the sheer limitless power this man - this thing - commands. He did not have eyes; he had dark pools that reflected stars that no human had ever named. He did not move; the world moved around him. He did not speak; the concepts were instantly imparted to the lesser beings who freed him from his prison.
If he is not God, then he could give the Creator a run for His money.
"The...wizards who captured you - who are they? Are they still active? What *exactly* are you? What were they doing upstairs with your bag of sand? WHY ME?" The torrent of words lets up, and the Avenger gasped for breath that she did not realize she had lost. When her wind returns, she speaks with a clarity unheard of by the rest of the group.
They did not hear me, Lyle Bolton. Just as they do not hear these two sentences.
I am not The White God, lady of Gotham. I am of all faiths, in my own fashion, but I am of none of them. I am the Lord of all that Is Not, that Was Not, and Shall Never Be. I am one of the Seven Endless, who are not Gods, who will exist long after the last God is dead, and who were here long before the Gods were Dreamed into being.
He is powerful and he is mighty, but he does not inspire reverence. He seems more akin to a storm, a mighty tempest and force of Nature than a deity. Even if his power is at least on the level of a god-like being.
As for those who imprisoned me...they are gone. Lost to the ravages of Time and Age; they were not young when they bound me, and my will exceeded their remaining life span. And why you...because you were adrift, and my steward's cry for help managed to reach you through your waking slumber. Because you are no worse a being than any other. Because you have a good heart. And because you wanted something, anything to live for...
Dream then diverts his gaze, peering through the cement ceiling and out into the world beyond.
I must now go. For while I seem strong to you, I am less than a third of who I should be. I must recover my strength, and the world will change, now that I am returned to it. But before I leave, one final gift. For all that you have done, and all that you have yet to do.
The Endless reaches into his pouch, and takes a handful of the sand within, casting it into the air, where it sails away on winds unseen and unfelt.
And he is gone, with nothing to mark his passing.
Next post is going to have theme music and will be the penultimate post of the campaign.
Feel free to talk amongst yourselves until that post, though. Just don't leave the building.
He simply stands there, for several moments, staring at the space where once stood a man who was not a man, who defied conventional description. Fittingly, much like a dream. He looks at the other two and nods his head to Katherine. "So," he begins, feigning relaxation and confidence, his rasping growl now reestablished, "when you write your report, I imagine that you're going to want to leave this part out."
"I knew it," said the woman in red, breathlessly. "I knew there had to be something...something fundamentally wrong with Gotham. Could it all have been because...this being was here?" She glanced around, looked the room, now far more empty than it had been previously, though the air was still electric. There was something larger than the mundane world out there now, there was no doubt of that. There were deep mysteries in the world, ones which mere science could not possibly hope to ever explain.
She holstered her weapon, somewhat relieved she didn't have to use it. "Just mention it in passing - 'there were two people being held here against their will, Dr. Johnathan Crane, formerly of Gotham University, and an individual calling himself Dee Ream. Mr. Ream did not have any information pertaining to the investigation, and he was let go on his own recognizance. He is not considered a person of interest.' Mostly because he's more than a person."
As Gordon embraced Lt. Walker, the woman realized that this was her cue to disappear. She left Walker and Gordon to celebrate the fall of Gotham's organized crime families, she left Lock-Up to ponder what to do with Dr. Crane, she left the Italian behind as - well, she didn't know what he was up to, but it didn't concern her. She headed back to the steps of City Hall, and after a bit of searching retrieved her purse, still untouched over the chaos of Dent's attack. She retrieved a phone from her purse, and selected an option from her speed dial. She spoke few words to whoever answered. "Tony, I need to be picked up. As fast as you can."
As she waited for her pickup, she ducked into an alley to hide while she waited for her ride. Within fifteen minutes, a long black limousine pulled up to the alleyway. She darted for it, opened the door, and leapt in. The limousine pulled away even before she closed the door. Once inside the safety of the car, she finally removed the scarves hiding her features. "Home, Tony." As she removed her trenchcoat, she saw the wound on her leg and winced - that was going to leave a mark. Fortunately, it was through and through - that meant no digging for a bullet. She'd have to find a way to quietly get that looked at though. For the time being, she tied the scarlet trenchcoat's sleeve around her leg to staunch the bleeding, and began to gaze up at the sky.
The limousine winded its way through the streets of Gotham. Her eyes drooped from exhaustion, but she eventually began to relax as the limousine pulled out of Gotham proper and towards her home. Towards her estate.
Stately Kane manor.
Tony pulled into the long drive which led from the gates of the estate to the front doors of the mansion, an old edifice that dated back over a century. The chauffeur came to her door, and opened it up. "We're home, Ms. Kane." She stepped out into the cool night air, and thanked him as she limped inside.
The foyer to the mansion was cool beneath her bare feet, as she had discarded her footwear back in the limo. The whole of the mansion was quiet, which didn't surprise her - it's only been her and her father living here ever since the incident twenty years ago. "Father?", she called out. "Are you there, sir?" He'd rescued her from kidnappers, but at a terrible cost - her mother and sister gunned down in the crossfire.
She heard commotion from the kitchens, and so she headed towards it. Her leg didn't ache as much, and she could swear she smelled something spicy in the air. Strange. Dad doesn't care for spicy food. It almost smells like the chicken mole that-
The woman stopped dead in her tracks as she opened the door to the kitchen. Inside, the place was scented with the aromatic fragrance of Mexican cooking. Inside, a shapely Hispanic woman was plating a dish of chicken mole onto the fine china. The woman wore the hat and coat of a Gotham City police officer, but was only clad in her underwear from the waist down. She was beautiful, she was sensual, she was perfect - just the way Ms. Kane remembered her.
"Dinner's on, Katherine," Renee Montoya said, a mischevious grin on her face. "I hope you save room for dessert." She winked at Kate, playing idly with a button on her uniform.
Kate was floored by the reappearance of her lover in her own home. "Renee, how-?" Kate tried to speak, but Renee walked up to her and laid a finger over her lips.
"Don't speak, te amo. At least, not with your words." She took off her hat, and pulled Kate close. They embraced as Kate cried happy tears, their lips met and the sparks flew again between them, as though no time was lost. She held Renee close, savoring the scent of her hair, the smoothness of her skin, the secrets that only they knew.
She lost track of time. The next thing she knew, she was in their bed, the both of them naked and spent. Exhausted yet content, Kate looked back over at her lover. "I've missed that," she said, running her fingers over the tanned neck of her lover. "I thought you didn't want anyone to know about us? I thought you said it would jeopardize your job on the GCPD?"
"Well," Renee said, propping herself up on one arm, "it dawned on me, I'm in love with the heir to the Kane fortune. If they want to fire me, they'd have to risk alienating a family that owns a good portion of Gotham."
"What about Bullock?"
"What about him?", Renee laughed. "He's an ox. I'm sure there'd be jokes about me at the water cooler, but I'm the one that gets to go home with you. Life's too short, you know?"
Renee leaned in to give her lover another kiss, but Kate stopped her this time. "But, Renee...didn't something...happen on the job to you? Didn't you -"
'- Get shot?", her lover finished, still smiling, though it had changed from joy to contentment. "Yes, te amo. I was shot. Killed in the line of duty."
"But how...", Kate began, then she realized what was happening. "I'm dreaming, aren't I?"
Renee continued to smile. "Si, te amo, but that's not all that's happening. This dream was specially crafted for you, as a reward for helping out the King of Stories."
"So..you're not real. Just a figment of my imagination."
"No, Katherine...it's really me, Renee. I can't quite explain it to you."
But I probably could.
The voice sounded familiar to Kate, and though she spun from the surprise of someone else in the room, she could instantly tell it held no danger to her. Sitting in a highbacked chair was a woman, probably no older than Kate herself. She had pale white skin, a long mop of black hair that matched her Gothic attire, and wore a silver necklace with an ankh at the end. On her face was stenciled an Eye of Horus over her right eye, and she smiled easily at the two lovers. Though Kate was naked, she felt no shame in her nudity before this familiar stranger. "I know you...we've met before?"
Once. Most people only meet me twice. One at the beginning, and once at the end. You're lucky, Kate, we get to talk somewhere along the ride.
You rescued my little brother earlier tonight. The two of us owe you big for that, so I pulled a few strings on my end, he pulled a few on his, and, well, here the two of you are.
"You mean...she's real?" She turned to face Renee again, tears in her emerald eyes. "This is really my Renee?"
In the flesh, so to speak. There are times I don't enjoy my job - I'd much rather bring peace than cause more strife. So, in this moment, Dream and I can give you what you've needed most, Kate.
"You have, the both of you. You've given me my Renee back."
Oh...oh, honey, no. I can't do that. It doesn't work that way. When you wake up, she has to go back with me. You don't get to see her again, not for awhile anyway.
The two of you are here for closure.
Kate was confused for a moment, then she felt Renee's hand upon her shoulder. "Katherine," she said, her voice choked with tears. "You have to let me go. If you don't, this pain you carry will tear you apart. You haven't been the woman I've loved ever since I died. Please, te amo...be yourself again for me. Let go of the anger."
"I don't want to lose you again...I won't!" The M1911 was in her hand again - how it got there, Kate couldn't be certain. Then again, it was a dream, so why did it have to follow logic? Her hand trembled as she raised the gun to her temple. It isn't fair everything's taken from me nothing ever is given back.
"Please, Kate...you've carried my gun long enough. Put it down. Put it to rest. Don't do this. There are so many things you'll see, so many things you'll be a part of. His sister told me a few of them, and trust me, you wouldn't believe me if I told you. But, if you pull that trigger, if you decide to let her take you right now...that's the rage talking. Kate would never do that.
Kate sobbed as Renee slowly reached for the gun. Renee touched the cold metal, and Kate cried and collapsed into her lovers arms as Renee took the gun away from her. "That's it, Kate...let it out. Let the rage out of you. You don't need to be the Crimson Avenger any longer."
Renee. Our time is almost up.
Renee looked back at the Goth girl sitting at the foot of the bed, and nodded her head. "Kate...I'm leaving now. We'll be together again, but you need to carry on for a time without me, soldier. I know you can do it." Renee stood, and took the Goth's hand. A wind blew through Kate's room, the curtains fluttered. Kate looked between the two women as they began to fade from her view. "Wait! What now? What am I supposed to do now, if not be the Crimson Avenger?"
Now that, Katherine Kane, is an excellent question.
Last edited by Bruendor_Cavescout : 04-08-2011 at 11:15 PM.
"Gt' me on morphine, Gordon." The woman mumbled. "That's stupid. Leg doesn't hurt."
The man, who had ended up carrying and driving a cursing, swearing, biting and groaning policewoman all the way to the nearest hospital, didn't comment. Instead he just smiled and leaned back a bit, taking the opportunity to snatch a little well-earned rest.
"No doctors been in here for a while." Katherine continued. "Think they're busy with Dent or someone. They wanted to check that nothing of the drugs got into my system or something, too. How'd you get here?" With a great effort, the woman swung her head so it faced the policeman. "Don't remember you coming."
"I only got here ten minutes ago. You were asleep." Gordon smiled, and tried not to yawn. "It's been a busy day. Arrests, warrants, everything - your team's working around the clock, getting all they know about that warehouse out." Gordon looked at her expectantly.
"Sounds like I missed out on all the fun." The policewoman pouted, which was quite a bizarre and frightening expression on her face. Gordon stared, and dismissed it as a function of the drugs. "Bet they're drinking and partying without me."
"Yes, quite." Gordon coughed, and then decided to broach the subject. "I was talking about who you met in the warehouse. In your report."
The woman frowned. "Crane?" She said.
"Taken in, and babbling nonsense." Gordon confirmed. "I don't think anything of his career's going to survive after this. But I was wondering if there was anyone else. He did mention someone trapped..."
Katherine stared at Gordon blankly for a moment, and then nodded. "Yeah, him."
Gordon's eyebrows went up to the rooftops.
"There was this guy called Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, and he had a cloak and hair and twilight eyes and everything, and he was stuck down there for completely decades at a time and was really thankful to us for freeing us and everything. Oh, and he's also probably a god or something, and he's got this really nice and cute sister who seems to like hugging everyone and everything, which is kind of irritating. Yeah, she's called Death, too. Funny family."
There was a pause.
"Either the drugs are doing bad things to you or you've suddenly developed a new sense of humor, Lieutenant." Gordon said at last. "I'm not sure which scares me more."
"It's this day." Katherine complained weakly. "I spent the last three hours hopped up on adrenaline and now they put me on this dopey drug. My mind's going strange lately. Did you see the Metropolis boy Allen on when you were out?"
"Good kid. Was wasted over there. Make a fine Gotham cop one day." She smiled. "He said they'd look after themselves until I was back, and he kept me up to date on all they were doing. I trained them well. They trained themselves well." The smile got wider. "Did'ya know, that MacDonald girl is damned smart when she applied herself? Never would've guessed if I hadn't got Allen to look after her. Gave her a few hints and tips, myself. Hah."
She looks up. "This city's probably never going to be something, but maybe at least it can start pretending to be. Who knows? We've got a start of something here, if we handle it well."
Gordon chuckled. "You make it sound almost easy." He said.
"'Course it won't be. It's Gotham. But at least we won't ever say it wasn't fun."
Gordon chuckled again, and then stood up. "I have to go," He said. "But I brought you something. I convinced them that since you were too drugged up to do anything, you wouldn't try and stab them with your stick like you did at the beginning. Behave yourself, okay?"
"Like hell. Stab them again if they get close."
Gordon smiled, and laid the walking stick against the wall, and hesitated. "You'll be fine here on your own?" He said.
"Sure." Katherine smirked. "Bullock's coming along in a moment. Said he'd slip the sentry a twenty to make sure he doesn't disturb us for a while longer than usual. Tonight's our drinking night, and we're not going to let an assassination or something silly like that disturb us." She sees Gordon's expression, and smiles. "Hey, I won't be touching any of the drink myself. It's all for Bullock, and some left over for my team. He got their gift for me, since I can't move much now."
Gordon nods. "As you say, Lieutenant. Keep yourself well."
"You too. And say hey to the little girl for me. Tell her that you got the bad guy again."
There's a smile. "I will, Lieutenant. Good luck."
Katherine watches him go, and sighs. She experimentally tries to shake her bad leg, and finds no response. She hopes the damage isn't permanent. Ah, well...
Just time to have to her and herself here. Mostly.
Are you sure there's nothing you want?
Katherine stared up at the ceiling. "Pretty much." She said after a while. "You sure that Montoya has got something better to do?"
"Then I wouldn't wanna disturb her." Katherine reached over for her stick, and nearly tossed herself out of bed with the effort. "Girl's got her own goodbyes to make. Hardly knew me any time, anyway." She sighed, and tries not to look anywhere. "I'd have liked a bit more time, but... that's life."
And Jimmy and Kim and Danielson and even Norman and all of them died a long time ago. Don't want to be bringing them up again." There's a grunt as her fingers brush the bedding on one last stretch and collapse. Katherine kicks out a foot in protest. "I've mostly had my closure and they've mostly had their rest, so I won't want to be disturbing them. Thanks for the offer, though."
So there's nothing I can do for you?
There's a grunt as Katherine makes one last effort and falls back on the bed, panting. "Actually," She says. "Can you get my stick for me?"
The young/old girl in the corner smiles and gets up from leaning on the wall, and picks up the stick as she walks by it. Katherine grasps it with relief as it enters her hand, and barely resists when she finds two slender arms enveloping her in a tight and caring hug.
"You'd best be glad I'm doped up on morphine right now and feeling cheerful," Katherine mumbles. "Because otherwise I'd be stabbity stabbing you right now. You really are a hugs person, aren't you?"
Of course, Officer. The girl looks at her with the most utterly understanding eyes Katherine's ever seen in anyone. She smiles with bright and friendly eyes. You did save my brother, after all. And he's not much of a hugs person, so I thought I'd give you one.
"Nice of you." Katherine mumbles, again on the verge of waking and sleeping. "Tell your brother he's an idiot from me. And it's not officer, it's...Luit...t-"
The girl waits until the woman has fully fallen asleep, and smiles to herself.
Goodnight, Lieutenant Walker. He may not give much, but my brother will give you this.
For the first time in a thousand nights, Katherine Walker dreams sweet dreams.
After passing the injured policewoman off to others who can care for her, and getting a few strange looks in the process, Lyle makes his way to a nearby alley, affixes a new hook and spool to his grapple gun, and makes his way back to the Paddy Wagon and then drives home. Not to his spartan apartment, but to the Slammer, which over the course of recent months has become more and more like a permanent residence. Once there, he phones Lucius Fox on their private line and debriefs the older man on the day's events before undressing.
The shower he takes is a long one, and hot enough to scald him red. Once he's clean, he just stands there and lets the water wash over him, occasionally rotating so that it can pound against the broad plane of his muscular back. If you'd asked him, he'd be unable to explain exactly why he was feeling so out of sorts following his encounter with Dream. Granted, contact with a facet of the Universe is unnerving, but Lyle was feeling lightheaded and uncomfortable. His entire body throbbed and tingled, his breath was rapid and shallow.
Later, having dressed casually, he stares at the interior of the Slammer, from its state of the art gym, to its various security systems, to the living quarters, to the surveillance array that allowed him twenty-four seven audio-visual access to the holding cells below. Just yesterday he had been proud of what he'd built. But now, following his strange encounter with the unEarthly, he is discontented. And that bothers him. Yesterday, his Purpose had been clear, his Mission simplistic. Find them. Punish them. But now he could see only the flaws in his methodology.
The chemicals, he thinks. From the plant. I must have breathed them in. Stupid. Should have worn the gas mask, or the re-breather. But he doesn't feel sick, or poisoned. Just different. Strange thoughts flit in and out of his head. When he tries to grasp them, they flee, falling away like sand through the fingers of his mind. He gives up when he develops a searing headache between his eyes and lays down in the old, soft couch that he'd dragged into the wearhouse for those rare times of peace and quiet. His eyes drift shut. He has strange dreams.
When he wakes up the next day, it's already noon. He hasn't slept in like this since he was a teenager. The strange feelings of the previous day have vanished. In fact, he's surprised to realize that he feels better than he should, considering the physical exertion that he'd only recently undergone, not to mention the damage that he'd taken. Smiling to himself, he dials Lucius. The thoughts that had avoided him in wakefulness were clear in sleep, and there was a lot of work to be done, now that he knew what it was. The next few months were going to be busy.