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Gods Among Us: Reborn

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

reboot of: https://www.roleplaygateway.com/universes/gods-among-us#introduction

Introduction




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For a period of time the Gods and Goddesses of Egypt reigned over the ancient land, living prosperously and watching over those who worshiped them every day. However like most Gods and Goddess of ancient civilizations, the belief in their existence fell through the cracks of a modern day society and sent them to lie dormant for years upon end. Unnoticed, and un-worshiped by those who would've given their lives up for everything the Gods provided.

Some Gods, took the shift of humans' minds as a blessing to a final resting place, others were infuriated by the lack of respect humans offered and tried various methods to get them to fall back in line. However, in the end, mankind shifted away from the ancient mythology of Egypt, and the Gods were lost within the ancient texts.

However, as thousands of years passed by, humans began to poke and prod among the ruins of ancient Egypt. Uncovering the mummified remains of Pharaohs and sacred tablets and artifacts, that once belonged to those of hundreds of years before. The nature of humans disrupting the natural order of life is uncanny, and disrupting so many souls from their final resting places, ultimately comes with a hefty price.

Our story follows a group of young, soon to be graduating college students on a month long study abroad trip in Egypt. Accompanied by their quirky, and often times escentric History Professor, the students happen upon an undiscovered tomb. Inside it? A dark and ancient power that has been waiting years to arise. They have gone too far into something that was meant to be untouched by human hands, and in doing so awoken the ancient Gods of Egypt.

Unfortunately, not every God is so forgiving regarding the ignorance of humanity. Each student, with finds themselves gifted by a sleeping God or Goddess, and will be given a task unlike any other. To stop the God of Chaos, Set, before he brings an end to all of the mortal realm. Suddenly faced with a destiny that is almost too big to handle the students must decide whether or not to accept their divine rights or abandon all hope as we know it.

But will a ragtag group of college co-eds, be enough to stop an all out war from starting between ancient gods?





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In Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was regarded as the abode of all the Gods, and the site of the throne of Zeus. The name Olympus was used for several other mountains as well as hills, villages, and mythical personages in Greece and Asia Minor. Nearly identical to that of its counterpart on Earth, the Gods, Goddesses, and event Titans and Pantheons had painstakingly recreated this home for the gods in the Northern mountain range of mainland Olympia. All of the Olympians and those among their bloodline, as well as chosen vessels are welcome here, but mortals rarely witness the marble perfection of its halls.

This realm was once a brave and impenatrable stronghold for all Gods that reigned over the world, and the immortals that served below them. It was only when an imposing figure, by the name of Set, God of Chaos and Storms had passed through their borders, that the land fell to ruin. Dozens of Gods, Immortals, Titans, and Pantheons and those who were chosen by the Gods themselves, had fallen and failed in the harrowing combat.

The scattered remaining Hosts of the Greek Gods and fellow Immortals had fought long and hard, but their fate was encroaching quickly. In a last ditch attempt at saving those few that remained, and hadn't been corrupted by Set, were sent through a portal to somewhere safe. Somewhere, they'd be able to recollect themselves, and come to terms with what had happened in their own timeline, as Set had become victorious once more, and saw the world and timeline fall to ruin. Alongside those who had once called the Greek Hosts and Gods friends and allies, had turned on the others, aiding Set in his uspur of the Gods.

Hoping and praying, they'd find some form of help to right the wrongs that had been opposed on them, and another timeline that has been chosen by Set...






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Trevor Price | 39 | Asexual | #6C021B | Tom Hiddleston | Taken: (NPC/Wolf'sBane109)

Professor Price is the Dean of the History Department at LindenWood University. He's very well loved by most of his students, as well as faculty and is known for his humorous and strange personality. He agreed to lead the students abroad trip to Egypt as he wrote his thesis over Ancient Egypt and has always been fascinated by their history. He genuinely has no idea of what is about to be discovered in the tombs...

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Kayden Hallows | 36 | Homosexual | #96909c | Katie McGrath | Taken: (NPC/Wolf'sBane109)

Kayden is Trevor's assistant, as well as part-time local journalist. She's been helping Trevor with his thesis, by compiling all of the information, news articles, and whatever else she's come across. The two have known each other since their college days at LindenWood, and have more of a sibling like relationship, as well as partnership at LindenWood. She's well liked and favored among the students as well, for her less, but still quirky nature and acts more as a 'Den-Mom' to the students of LindenWood.





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Ra God of the Sun

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Ethan Williams | 21 | Bisexual | #FF9200 | Miachael Evans Behling | Taken: (Phosphene)

An Anthropology major from Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently a Senior at LindenWood University. He has been blessed by Ra, God of the Sun and bestowed the gifts of Heliokinesis (Sun control), and Pyrokinesis.

Isis Goddess of Magic

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Charlie Adams | 18 | Asexual-Biromantic | #d83f66 | Ciara Baxendale | Taken: (partially-stars)

A Media Production major from Manhattan, New York, she is currently a Freshman at LindenWood University. She has been blessed by Isis, Goddess of Magic and bestowed the gifts of Life-Force Manipulation and Hieroglyph Magic.

Osiris God of The Underworld

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Lachlan Paratus | 35 | Sapphic | #708090 | Dichen Lachman | Taken: (༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ)

An Artist and Animator from Honolulu, Hawaii. Lachlan flew to Egypt for a week long work trip; however, she went missing shortly after entering one of Cairo's ancient temples. Unknown to her, she had been blessed by Osiris, God of the Underworld and was bestowed with the gifts of Necromancy and Soul Manipulation.

Bastet Goddess of Cats & Protection

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Romeo Viljoen | 22 | bisexual | #6565D1 | Kit Young | Taken: (TushoKa)

An Architecture major from Cape Town, South Africa. He is currently a Senior at LindenWood University. He has been blessed by Bastet, Goddess of Cats and Protection and bestowed the gifts of Force-Field Manipulation and Feline Physiology.

Geb God of The Earth

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Nova Morrison | 21 | Demisexual-Panromantic | #35674a | Lorde | Taken: (partially-stars)

A Forensic Science major from Chelsea, London, England. She is currently a Junior at LindenWood University. She has been blessed by Geb, God of the Earth and bestowed the gifts of Geokinesis and Healing.

Anubis God of Death

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Tarren Havenfield | 24 | Bisexual | #575772 | Alycia Debnam Carey | Taken: (Wolf's Bane109)

A Criminal Justice & Profiling Major & Human Behavior Minor from Brisbane, Australia. They are currently a Senior at LindenWood University. They have been blessed by Anubis, God of Death and bestowed the gifts of Osteokinesis (Bone Manipulation), and Teleportation.

Horus God of The Sky

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Yousof Farooq | 22 | Bisexual | #CD7F32 | Youssef Sawmah | Taken: (༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ)

A Biomedical Engineering major from Tracy, California. He is currently a Senior at LindenWood University. He has been blessed by Horus, God of the Sky and bestowed the gifts of Falcon Physiology and Clairvoyance.

Nut Goddess of the Sky & Space

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Rahmi Farooq | 22 | Queer | #012969 | Kiana Lede | Reserved: (leisurelyatwar)

A Fine Arts and Art History double major from Tracy, California. They are currently a Senior at LindenWood University. They have been blessed by Nut, Goddess of the Sky and Space and bestowed the gifts of Aerokinesis and Cosmic Energy Manipulation.

Thoth God of Wisdom

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Nancy Yoo | 20 | Bisexual | #ffe5b4 | Kim "Yeri" Ye-rim | Taken: (rubytuesday)

An Education major from Wellington, New Zealand. She is currently a Junior at LindenWood University. She been blessed by Thoth, God of Wisdom and bestowed the gifts of Enhanced Intelligence and Telepathy.

Serqet Goddess of Scorpions

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Eden Montgomery | 27 | Pansexual | #9D948D | Brendan Urie | Taken: (Wolf's Bane109)

A Music Theory major from Los Angeles, California. He is currently a Junior at LindenWood University. He has been blessed by Serqet, Goddess of Scorpions and bestowed the gifts of Poison Manipulation and Paralysis Inducement.

Khonsu God of the Moon

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Adam Barrett | 21 | Heterosexual Aromantic | #2F356E | Aaron Taylor-Johnson | Reserved: (Grimm_MD)

A Physics major from Boulder, Colorado. He is currently a Junior at LindenWood University. He has been blessed by Khonsu, God of the Moon and bestowed the gifts of Chronokinesis and Invisibility.

Hathor Goddess of Love

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Gideon “Fletcher” Stone | 25 | Homosexual | #AE6378 | Olly Alexander | Reserved: (Phosphene)

A Chemistry major from Okay, Oklahoma. He is currently a Sophmore at LindenWood University. He has been blessed by Hathor, Goddess of Love and bestowed the gifts of Charm-Speak and Empathy.

Sobek God of Crocodiles

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Lenny Cordova | 23 | Pansexual | #0a3533 | Damaris Goddrie | Taken: (Bartholomew Finch)

A Biochemistry and Zoology double major from Sarasota, Florida. She is currently a Senior at LindenWood University. She has been blessed by Sobek, God of Crocodiles and The River Nile and bestowed the gifts of Hydrokinesis, Superhuman Strength & Crocodile Armor.

Sekhmet Goddess of Warfare & Healing

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Kiera Hanlon | 21 | Pansexual | #9e779c | Ginny Gardner | Taken: (Caille)

A Here major from Chilliwack, British Collumbia. She is currently a Senior at LindenWood University. She has been blessed by Sekhmet, Goddess of Warfare and Healing and bestowed the gifts of Recovery Touch and Tactical Analysis.

Nephthys Goddess of the Air

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Sasha Floyd |19 | Pansexual | #B1CCCE | Joland Novaj | Taken: (faceclaim)

An International Law major from Cardiff, Wales. They are currently a Sophmore at LindenWood University. They have been blessed by Nephthys, Godess of the Air and bestowed the gifts of Wind Control and Levitation.

Bes God of Fertility & War

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Soledad De Leon | 20 | Unknown | #DE9E47 | Alexa Demie | Taken: (leisurelyatwar)

A Fashion major from Oakland, California. They are currently a Sophmore at LindenWood University. They have been blessed by Bes, God of Fertility & War and bestowed the gifts of Super Strength, Enhanced Human Condition, Hormone Manipulation, Pheromone Manipulation, and Automatic Defense. .





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Dionysus God of Wine & Madness

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Erin Monaghan | 24 | Homosexual | #629B75 | Lynn Gunn | Taken: (Wolf's Bane109)

Erin is a Musician from Belfast, Ireland. She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when she had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Dionysus, God of Wine & Madness and was bestowed the gifts of Agrokenesis (Plant Manipulation), Madness Inducement, and Wine Summoning. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, she and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Apollo God of the Sun & Prophecy

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Castiella Chambers | 21 | Homosexual | #8BA3A6 | Luanna Perez | Taken: (Wolf's Bane109)

Castiella is a Model from Trenton, New Jersey. They had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Cas had a chance encounter with fate. After completing their test, they found themself becoming the host of Apollo, God of the Sun & Prophecy and was bestowed the gifts of Photokenisis (Light/Sun Manipulation), Enhanced Human Condition & Strength, and Phrophetical Visions. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Castiella and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Athena Goddess of Wisdom & Strategy

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Cameron Lee | 26 | Bisexual | #bada55 | Taylor York | Taken: (partially-stars)

Cameron is a Music Producer from Boston, Massachuesetts. He had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Cameron had a chance encounter with fate. After completing his test, he found himself becoming the host of Athena, Goddess of the Wisdom & Strategy and was bestowed the gifts of Enhanced Intelligence, and Weapon Summoning & Proficiency. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Cameron and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Hestia Goddess & Keeper of the Hearth

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Evie Parker | 24 | Asexual, Panromantic (Female Preference) | #efa69f | Dodie Clark | Taken: (partially-stars)

Evie is a Musical Theater Actress from San Francisco, California. She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Evie had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Hestia, Goddess & Guardian of the Hearth and was bestowed the gifts of Empathy, and Pyrokenisis (Fire Manipulation). After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Evie and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Eros God of Love & Lust

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Valentina Sala | 22 | Sexuality | [color=#00000]#00000[/color] | Ester Exposito | Taken: (faceclaim)

Valentina is a here from (here). She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Valentina had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Eros, God of Love and was bestowed the gifts of Desire Manipulation, Enhanced Archery, and Lust Inducement. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Valentina and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Tyche Goddess of Luck & Chance

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Gordon 'Lu' Singh | 28 | Sexuality | [color=#00000]#00000[/color] | Avan Jogia | Taken: (faceclaim)

Lu is a here from (here). He had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Lu had a chance encounter with fate. After completing his test, he found himself becoming the host of Tyche, Goddess of Luck & Wisdom and was bestowed the gifts of Luck, Luck Bestowel, and Destiny Alignment . After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Lu and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Aphrodite Goddess of Love & Pleasure

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Amaris Godffrey | 24 |Pansexual | #F9BEBF | Jorja Smith | Taken: (leisurelyatwar)

Amaris is a Singer from Trinidad and Tobago. She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Amaris had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Aphrodite, Goddess of the Love & Pleasure and was bestowed the gifts of Siren's Song, Seductive Magnetism, Relationship Identification, Love & Influence Manipulation. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Amaris and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Hades God of the Underworld & Death

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Mauro Cachiero | 29 | 'Top' | #00000 | Muchele Morrone | Taken: (leisurelyatwar)

Mauro is a Criminal from Sicily, Italy. He had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Mauro had a chance encounter with fate. After completing his test, he found himself becoming the host of Hades, God of the Underworld & Death and was bestowed the gifts of Death Domain, Death Sense, Invisibility, and Death Empowerment & Touch. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Mauro and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Nemesis Goddess of Retribution

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Vea Benavides | 24 | Homosexual | #3F0D12 | Herizen Guardiola | Taken: (Phosphene)

Vea is a Nanny from Key-West, Florida. She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Vea had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Nemesis, Goddess of Retribution and was bestowed the gifts of Tychokenisis, Curses, Combat, and Balance. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Vea and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Nike Goddess of Victory

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Monet Grey | 18 | Pansexual | #73648A | Kieranan Shipka | Taken: (Phosphene)

Monet is a 'Financial Burden' from Victoria, Australia. They had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Monet had a chance encounter with fate. After completing their test, they found themself becoming the host of Nike, Goddess of Victory and was bestowed the gifts of Flight, Speed, Athleticism, and Probability. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Monet and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Hera Goddess of Marriage & War

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Benedict Coltrane | 31 | Sexuality | #F01500 | Shia Labeouf | Taken: (TushoKa)

Benedict is a here from (here). He had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Benedict had a chance encounter with fate. After completing his test, he found herself becoming the host of Hera, Goddess of the Marriage & War and was bestowed the gifts of Here, and Here. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Benedict and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Poseidon God of The Sea & Horses

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Antdroniki "Niki" Argyros | 26 | Sexuality | #1926EF | Melissanthi Mahut | Taken: (TushoKa)

Niki was the Delphi Tour Guide, from Phokis, Greece. Niki, alongside the others, had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Poseidon, God of the Sea & Horses and was bestowed the gifts of Hydrokenisis, Aquadic Adaption and Earthquake Adaption. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Niki and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Hecate Goddess of The Arcane

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Isla Han | 25 | Sexuality | [color=#00000]#00000[/color] | Tati Gabrielle | Taken: (RubyTuesday)

Isla is a here from (here). She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Isla had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Hecate, Goddess of the Arcane and was bestowed the gifts of Mystiokinesis, Necromancy, and Visions of The Crossroads. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Isla and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Hermes God of Dreams & Trickery

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Noah Han | 25 | Sexuality | [color=#00000]#00000[/color] | Han Hyun-Min | Taken: (RubyTuesday)

Noah is a here from (here). He had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Noah had a chance encounter with fate. After completing his test, he found himself becoming the host of Hermes, God of Dreams & Trickery and was bestowed the gifts of Sandals of Hermes, Enhanced Speed, Teleportation, and Golden Tongue. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Noah and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Persephone Goddess of Agriculture

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Odette Han | 25 | Sexuality | [color=#00000]#00000[/color] | Aqua Parios | Taken: (RubyTuesday)

Odette is a here from (here). She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Odette had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Persephone, Goddess of Dreams & Agriculture & Wife of Hades and was bestowed the gifts of Here, Here, and Here. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Odette and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Atlas Bearer of The Heavens

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Dion Rivers | 29 | 'A Dirty Hetero' | #525C6F | Brian Tyree Henry | Taken: (༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ)

Dion is an Electrician from Atlanta, Georgia. He had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Dion had a chance encounter with fate. After completing his test, he found himself becoming the host of Atlas, Bearer of the Heavens and was bestowed the gifts of Super Strength, Stamina, Durability, & Agility, and Gravity Manipulation. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Dion and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Ares God of Courage & War

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Tianna Ivanov | Age | Sexuality | [color=#00000]#00000[/color] | Elizabeth Olsen | Taken: (Tusho Ka)

Tianna is a here from (here). She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Tianna had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Ares, God of Courage & War and was bestowed the gifts of Combat Intuition, Blood Manipulation, and Battlefield Presence. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Tianna and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Boreas God of the North Winds & Winter

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Indigo Shepard | 25 | Sexuality | #4D92B3 | Sasha Lane | Taken: (Bartholomew Finch)

Indigo is a here from (here). She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Indigo had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, they found herself becoming the host of Boreas, Goddess of the North Winds & Winter and was bestowed the gifts of Wind Manipulation, Shielding, and Freezing Touch. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Indigo and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...

Artemis Goddess of the Moon

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Rhiannon Carter | 23 | Bisexual | #333f66 | Zella Day | Taken: (Cailie)

Rhiannon is a Musician from Seattle, Washington. She had been traveling abroad in Venice, Italy, when Rhiannon had a chance encounter with fate. After completing her test, she found herself becoming the host of Artemis, Goddess of Wild Animals & the Moon/b], and was bestowed the gifts of [b]Animal Manipulation, and Lunar Empowerment. After the group's failed encounter with Set, God of Chaos, Rhiannon, and the others had been sent somewhere safe to save themselves and another timeline from the same fate...





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Just some quick rules to get out of the way, and then we can get to the fun part, reservations!
Quick disclosure, if you've actually read everything, in your reservation, please state that you're fully aware that this RP will contain mature themes, and that you're okay with moving forward. Here's your first chance to leave.

Mature Content - Due to the premise of this story, this shouldn't be a shock. But I am going to preface this straight away. **TRIGGER WARNING NOW**. In this role play, your characters will be subjected to mature content and if you don't think you'll be comfortable with anything along the lines of what is hinted at in the above sections, I can only advise you to leave now. This RP in short, will contain Strong language, violence, and gore. Possible mentions of drug use, abuse, possible self harm and even suicide. Your characters will be in intense and adult situations so be prepared now. If you think you can handle these subject matters, then I am more than happy to welcome you aboard.

Character Interaction - Just because your character(s) do not like each other doesn't mean they can't interact with others. If anything that's more reason to put them together and see how they interact. This role play is very character relationship driven, but I will provide direction to advance the plot. I want everyone to be included, so if you have an idea for your character and another, do it! Just because your character is a loner type doesn't mean they have to constantly be by themselves. While there is a supernatural element to this role play, it is realistic fiction so keep that in mind when writing your character's responses.

Post Expectancy - Due to this being both a story driven and character driven role play, this won't be a fast paced RP in terms of posting and getting responses up. I get that life happens, people work, and have lives outside of online. As long as literally like, one person can get a single post up just once a month, I'm not too hard pressed. But, if you think you won't be able to respond for long bursts of time, just message me and I'm sure we'll be able to make a way to narratively progress until you're able to come back without removing your character from the over all narrative.

Ghosting - I think everyone can understand the annoyance that comes with this. While we do get life happens and you may need to step away, as mentioned above. But what is not tolerated, is either sending in a CS and never completing it because one dips without a word, someone reserves a spot and never submits a CS and someone else loses out on that spot due to waiting for that CS submission. Or, when it comes to posting and someone just disapears into thin air. If you feel like you cannot respond to a post, make a character, or even just spare the time for an RP, you can always bow out whether temporarily or permanently with a simple "Hey, I don't think I can carry on with this RP because 'insert reason here', and everyone will be understanding. But dissapearing without a word is not the way to do it, and you'll be immediately removed from the RP if I need to get into contact with you more than three times and never receive a response from you for long periods of time. Plenty of my RP's in the past have died because people have ghosted. Someone ghosts for more than a month without responding to my message? Well, you'll be removed and we'll carry on without said character(s).

Reservations: This is a fixed slot/character amount RP. Meaning, the remaining students are the only characters available. Please make sure your reservations are split evenly between genders/sexes. As long as you have one male or one female character, I don't care if the other in Non-binary or what have you. As long as we make things somewhat even between each writer, I don't mind.



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The GM of this roleplay hasn't created any rules! You can do whatever you like!

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 11 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nova Morrison Character Portrait: Nancy Yoo Character Portrait: Charlie Addams Character Portrait: Fletcher Stone Character Portrait: Soledad De Leon Character Portrait: Adam Barrett
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ADAM BARRETT
Host of Khonsux|xOutfitx|x#2F356E

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Charlie seemed a little overwhelmed, staring at the floor, after her interaction with Sol and Adam couldn't blame her, he knew just how effective Sol's words could be. She could sweetly and softly raise your admiration of her or violently crush your spirit, depending on her mood. He would've tried to comfort Charlie more, through some form of embrace or touch, but was slightly worried it would have the opposite effect.

A sigh came from Charlie before she nodded in response and said, “Sure. If we make it out of here alive, we’ll talk about it.” Adam smiled at her response and was a little more happier than he would like to admit. Charlie was someone he could easily relax with, something that he couldn't always do with someone else. He didn't want to lose that but he didn't know if he could provide Charlie with what she might need or want from him.

Before Adam could reply to her, his attention was drawn away by Fletcher. “It’s okay, It was my fault, I wasn’t paying attention . . .” He then turned towards Charlie and said, “. . . Sorry.” Adam then raised his eyebrows, wondering what Fletcher was apologizing for. He hadn't seen what transpired before Sol began to berate both Charlie and Fletcher but he didn't believe they would've done anything that bad. Maybe he had misjudged the situation.

Looking back towards Charlie he noticed her hand was being held by someone, it was Nancy. She seemed to be comforting her, something Adam wasn't capable of. He was frustrated with the situation between Adam and Charlie, not being able to be there for her just because of his relationship. The earlier they sorted things between them, the earlier he could give everyone what he could without worrying about the ramifications.

When tears began to fall from Charlie's eyes he became that much more annoyed at himself, for not being able to act. At this moment he wanted to forget about their issues and just hold her tight. He didn't want to see someone that meant so much to him hurting but she was hurt because of him. If he hadn't had dragged her into his mess she wouldn't be crying.

Without thought, almost instinctively, Adam approached Charlie and was about to try and comfort her when suddenly he felt a huge pressure. The pressure was focused primarily on his head but he could feel his body also growing weaker. A large ringing sound then started echoing in Adam's ears. It wasn't painful but he could feel himself slipping into unconsciousness. He tried to fight against the pressure and stay awake but he couldn't. Collapsing to the ground and losing all of his senses as he faded into darkness.


Adam slowly began to open his eyes, the pressure and feeling of weakness having now subsided. He sat up and checked himself, no injuries and his bag was still on him. Afterwards he checked his surroundings and saw that he was now in an unfamiliar room with sand covering most of the floor and symbols carved into the walls. There was some similar symbols but Adam couldn't decipher them. The room seemed to be fairly lit with natural lighting, which would mean either they had been out until morning or there was another light source.

Curiously Adam stood up and inspected the room, discovering that there was only one other person with him, Nova Morrison. They had a friendly enough relationship but you couldn't really consider them friends, more like colleagues or coworkers. He checked her to make sure she was fine, she was still unconscious but seemed to be healthy. Adam placed his bag next to her that was filled with food, water, and other supplies.

While there was sufficient lighting in the immediate area the further he travelled from the center of the room the less visible it became. Adam found a couple old torches nearby, taking one he wrapped it with some spare fabric in his bag doused with lighter fluid. He lit the makeshift torch and looked around the room to locate an exit.

After walking towards the nearest stone wall Adam walked alongside it into the darkness, trying to find an exit. He found that there were several corridors leading out of the room after walking alongside its edge. The room they were in was elliptical in shape and there were two corridors leading out on opposite ends of the longest axis. Adam considered going through one of them but didn't because he didn't want to leave Nova behind.

He soon knelt down on the ground, thinking about what to do when he suddenly heard Nova stir. She turned towards him and asked, “Fucking hell, what happened? Where are we?” Unfortunately for both of them, Adam couldn't answer her questions confidently.

Adam approached Nova, sitting next to her. He handed her the makeshift torch while he began to outline the shape of the room they were in with the sand underneath them. Explaining as best he could he began by saying, “I don't know exactly where we are but we're probably still within the tomb. How we ended up in here and separated from the others I have no idea.” He then started trying to remember what occurred right before he woke up. “Last thing I recall was feeling some pressure and then hearing a ringing in my ear. Did you experience something similar?”

Adam was worried about getting himself and Nova out of here safely but he also was worried about some of the others, specifically Sol and Charlie. He had already said earlier that he didn't want to lose Sol in here but it happened anyway. Adam knew that she was capable enough to take care of herself but on the off chance she couldn't he didn't want what he last said to her to be the final words between the two. Charlie on the other hand may actually have a harder time in the tombs and there was still things left unsaid between them.

He tried to push those thoughts out of his mind and focus on getting him and Nova out of the tomb safely and hopefully find others along the way. Motioning towards his bag he suggested to Nova, “Don't know what you're carrying but I've got enough water and food for two people. Was supposed to be for Sol but due to the circumstances I'm sure she wouldn't mind . . . I think.” Adam tried to lighten the atmosphere with a joke. He then continued saying, “Once you're ready we can look towards traveling through one of those corridors or if you wish you can inspect this room further . . . It is possible I missed something.”


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tarren Havenfield Character Portrait: Soledad De Leon
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Tarren Havenfield
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Host of Anubis | Attire | hex: #575772
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Soledad De Leon
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Host of Bes | Attire | hex:#DE9E47
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“What are you doing?” Tarren heard Sol question, seeing that she was finally conscious enough to talk, but clearly still disorientated due to her having ignored their question. must have still been suffering from the side effects of, whatever it was that happened, Tarren thought to themself.

”Making sure that you’re okay.” Tarren rattled off, before finally standing back up, taking another look around the room they were in. Shining the flashlight across the walls, trying to figure out what the carvings meant. If there was any meaning.

From what Tarren knew, these carvings and images didn’t look like any Ancient Egyptian scripts they had ever seen. Almost like it was something untold nor recorded.

“Hello?” Tarren heard Sol call out, they would have done the same but, something just didn’t seem right with all of this. Tarren had found themself intently looking at a few of the indentations in the wall, letting their fingertips dip into the stone cut grooves. Only blinking back to reality when Tarren had heard Sol speak up again, ”What do you remember last?”

Tarren blinked a few more times before finally looking over at Sol, taking a few moments to think. ”Well…” Tarren started, walking around slowly to examine the room more as they continued to talk, ”I was talking to Eden as we were looking at one of the walls. It just had some imagery of some Egyptian Gods and...Then there was a ringing? And my head hurt? Then I blacked out...And then woke up here. What do you remember?” they asked as they turned back to face Sol, and walked a few steps closer to her, but kept shining the flashlight around the room. Further trying to gather their general bearings of where they were, and maybe what was going on.

Instinctively Sol stepped back from Ren. Immediately she tensed, her body conflicted between the conditioning of having avoided Ren at all costs and realizing their dire circumstances. If she were to be stranded with anyone in the tombs, she supposed she lucked out with Ren. She was always prepared, probably had an entire survival kit on hand.

Rifling around in her bag, Sol found a hair tie pulling her hair up into a messy bun at the base of her neck. Pushing the strands that framed her face, too short to be wrapped into the bun, behind her ears. Following Ren’s light she looked around their surroundings trying to find a glimmer of a way out.

“Last thing I remember I was leaving. . .” Sol started, her mind already hazy while trying to recollect. “I was in the mural room and I saw - I don’t even know. It was just this drawing and I liked. . .walked towards it?”

She shrugged, confused by whatever compulsion drew her to the strange creature in the mural. “Then I heard this ringing and. . . and Romeo - I heard Romeo he said something right before I blacked out. Next thing I knew I was here.”

Tarren silently listened as Sol spoke, but kept their eyes trailing along the artwork on the wall. Trying to decode it if at all possible. They have some basic understanding of Ancient Egyptian texts, but not as much as they would have liked. “So same thing as me then….” Ren glanced at Sol for a moment before looking at the wall once more. “I don’t suppose you’re secretly able to read any of this, right?” Tarren joked dryly. Sol gave her a blank expression, shrugging. Sure she had taken a couple anthropology classes, it was why she was on this trip - but hieroglyphics was hardly on the syllabus.

The longer they were in this place, their nerves and anxiety only grew by the second. The sinking pit of anxiety was only getting worse, and Tarren was trying to not let it show. Especially because right now, if they panicked, Sol would then also begin to panic. And that wasn’t going to happen if they could help it. Not now anyway, they had to find a way out of here. And fast.

“Hellooo!!! Romeo?? Adam?!” Sol tried yelling out again, louder this time. Her voice began to strain. It was no use, they might as well have been buried alive. Running both hands through her hair, holding her head between her hands trying to make sure it was screwed on right.

“Is this some sick escape room or something?” Sol’s voice began to have an edge of panic, looking at Ren accustorily. “Do you have anything to do with this?”

Tarren’s face entirely fell flat at the accusation suddenly thrown their way. How in the hell would I have anything to do with this?

Their eyes scanned over her for a moment before turning, “Oh yeah, totally. I somehow managed to get us both stuck in a crypt in a goddamn tomb-No I didn’t. Why the fuck would I?” Ren snapped, their voice was once again holding a tone that Sol would recognize. The somewhat confrontational one where they were already tired before anything even began.

Taking a few deep breaths as Tarren just shrugged their shoulders and walked over to the wall, placing their back against it before sliding down. Leaning the back of their head against it. “I’m not your enemy, ya know? I know we give each other shit, but right now? We need to not do this shit.” they said as Ren glanced up at Sol.

Soledad watched as Tarren sunk into the ground, recognizing that feeling of defeat. Immediately she felt a surge of guilt. It was so easy to make Ren out to be the bad guy, or at least it was easier for Sol. In reality Ren had shown Soledad much more kindness than she deserved sometimes.

“I’m sorry,” Sol said, shoulders slumping. “I know. . . I do - I’m just freaking out.”

Despite how Tarren was feeling, a small chuckle managed to escape their lips. “And you think I’m not freaking out?” Tarren said as they shook their head.

“Just cuz I don’t show it, doesn’t mean that every single part of me is okay with any of this.” Tarren looked around the room as they spoke. Trying to find something to focus on. Something to keep them grounded.

Coming over beside Ren and sliding down to sit beside her, she gave Ren a look that hopefully would read as apologetic. Ren was right. If they were going to get out they couldn’t waste any precious time or energy squabbling. “I don’t know what to do.”

With a small glance, Tarren knew the look on Sol’s face, and gave a similar look in return. “All I know is that I’m not dying in this god-damn tomb. I can’t be stuck here and just...Give up.” Tarren started, glancing at Sol for a moment again. “And neither are you. We’re gonna find a way out of here we just...We just have to..” their hands shook a bit as they spoke.

Sol gave her an expectant look, expecting Ren to spit out the answer. She knew that Ren was just as lost as she was but she still expected Ren to be the one to figure things out. Never in any situation would Sol be considered the brains of any operation. Fiddling her hands together, looking around - there was no obvious way out.

They could try digging with their hands, but she wasn’t sure how much good that would do. Besides what if the walls just ended up crumbling around them. She took Ren’s flashlight, shining it on the drawings.

“Maybe the drawings are a clue?” Sol asked, though her tone didn’t make it seem like she even believed it.

Tarren let Sol take the flashlight, eyeing her suspiciously for a moment. Looking around the chamber for a moment. “Maybe but...I don’t remember seeing any of these...Hm..” Ren pulled their backpack closer beside them, and rifled through it for a moment, retrieving a small book from one of the compartments. Tarren knew they’d need to brush up on some things, and had taken a hieroglyph book and had been studying since the trip had been announced.

Ren mindlessly flipped through a few of the pages, taking a few minutes to read as they did have difficulty with it. Mouthing out the words very softly, a technique that helped whenever they read. If they said the words aloud, it’d help them understand better. Not caring if Sol was going to mock them. Tarren had dealt with bullies for their reading impairment for years, it was nothing new.

“None of these look familiar…” Tarren finally mumbled out, looking up for a moment. “Some are close but, it’s almost like...These are...new or undocumented ‘glyph’s. Which doesn’t make any sense. I can translate some of them with this book but it's only partial. It’s weird.”

Ren looked at Sol for a moment, “It’s almost like someone took two different cultures and languages and just...Put them together. Or maybe it’s just how my brain is reading things...Since...Ya know..” Tarren said as they gestured to their head.

Sol looked over to Ren, “I literally understand none of that.”

Leaning over Ren’s shoulder to look at the book, shining the light on the walls as Ren attempted to translate - Sol felt her gaze shift occasionally to Ren as she read the passages, her lips occasionally mouthing the words. Quickly looking back away, she took a step back suddenly aware of how close she was to Ren.

“Maybe it’s some undiscovered history.” Sol sputtered, her need to stick to the topic at hand fueling her ability to theorize.

Tarren had barely noticed when Sol backed away, too absorbed in trying to read from the book, finally taking a small break when Sol spoke up. “Maybe…” they said with a shrug. Resting their head against the wall again. Looking over at Sol again for a moment, finally realizing that this was the first time, in a long time that they had actually just talked and weren’t at each other’s throat.

Ever since coming back from Spring Break, and everything that happened after that. There was a brief time where Sol had suddenly gone back to her older ways with how she treated Tarren. Sol was distanced and even at times, a bit colder. And Tarren had no idea why. Sure, certain things did happen since coming back to school. But it didn’t explain why such a shift had happened. Tarren was just left wondering what they did that had that shift in Sol again.

“I...Can…” Tarren paused for a moment, trying to figure out the right way to go about this. It was like a mutual rule that the two followed. They just wouldn’t acknowledge or talk about what happened after coming back from Brisbane. Tarren swallowed the lump in their throat, “I just want to know why, Sol.” there was another pause, “I know we refused to talk about it but...All I wanna know is why? Or more so what did I do that...That pushed you away…?”

If Sol hadn’t been just suddenly flooded with a sense of purpose and adrenaline, she would have started panicking that much she was certain of. The two of them had expertly avoided the subject and while Sol knew it hadn’t been fair to Ren, she still ended up at her door after yet another argument left Sol feeling abandoned and alone. She couldn’t talk about it because she didn’t know what to say, or how she even felt.

“Is right now really the time to talk about this?” Sol asked, squirming uncomfortably.

“And what? Keep avoiding it? Cuz you know damn well the longer we go without talking about it, the worse it will be in the end.” Tarren said with a sigh. “And now we’re here, stuck in a room with nothing to do but talk...So what’s the point in trying to avoid it any longer?” Tarren’s tone wasn’t confrontational, but more so of them genuinely asking. This wasn’t any easier for them than it could have been for Sol, and Ren knew damn well neither one wanted to do this.

She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting, but it wasn’t that. It was ironic in a way, the only thing that could have forced Sol into discussing this with Ren would be this exact scenario and still Sol couldn’t get a word out. She didn’t know where to begin; an explanation? An apology?

“I don’t know what to say,” Sol said with a pained expression, one hand massaging her temples as she felt an incoming headache. “You know why.”

“Do I?” Tarren asked as they looked up, “Cuz the next thing I knew, you were gone and...Then it went right back to how things used to be. There’s a lot of things I could take from that, but I’ve been giving you the benefit of the doubt, and I still am.”

Tarren’s words stung, but only because Sol knew them to be true. She had shown Soledad kindness and understanding that Soledad had never experienced before, and then she discarded Ren the moment they were back. At the moment it had seemed like the only thing she could do, the only way Soledad could forget.

“Think what you will about me, I don’t care.” Was all Sol could manage. It was practically a default answer for her at this point. She was so used to people assuming things about her she’d grown to prefer it that way and as much as Ren deserved an answer there was no neat bow to tie their loose ends into.

Tarren’s eyes scanned her over again for a moment, “If you think I hate you, I don’t. I don’t think I ever can…” their voice dipped as Tarren looked back down. “As much as I would like to say that things can just go back to normal for us...What would that even be at this point? Acting like we hate each other when we don’t? Fake shit so people don’t know? It’s just exhausting..”

“I don’t act like I hate you,” Sol defended herself. “That’s just how I act.”

Tarren’s eyebrows raised on instinct, ‘Well you could have fooled me’ was all the look said.

She knew what Tarren was referring to. Sol took every opportunity to snipe at Tarren, it was innate at this point. She wasn’t the only one, she probably wasn’t even the one who deserved it the least - but regardless she didn’t deserve it. Right now though all Sol wanted to do was runaway and there was nowhere to go.

“Ugh,” She groaned, walking away from Ren even with nowhere to go. Suddenly she felt restless, pacing in what little space they had. Tarren just stayed sitting in place, their head against the wall as Sol paced, their eyes glued to the floor. They didn’t know what to say or do, if there even anything they could have done. They doubted it, they’d only make things worse than they had.

“I’m sorry - okay? I just. . .I don’t know. I freaked out. . . I needed something familiar and safe and I just didn’t know how to, or what to -” Soledad could feel herself begin to ramble, a dozen disjointed thoughts all spilling out at once.

There was a small break of silence before the sound of a sigh escaped Tarren’s lips. “I don’t want you to think that I’m angry that we hooked up last time, okay? Cuz I’m not…” there was a bit of a defeated tone in Ren’s voice. Clearly no longer in the mood for arguing. “There’s just a lot of things going on, hell, they’ve been going on for years and...It’s all just getting to be a lot, ya know?” their eyes drifted over to Sol, taking a moment to think of what they were going to say next carefully.

“I’m sorry...Okay? For just about everything. Especially for not telling you the truth…” the guilt they had been feeling for the past for months had been eating away at them, for countless reasons. But there was one thing Tarren hadn’t told Sol, and if things were to end like this, and if they were to die here, Tarren figured they may as well tell her. At this point, at least someone else would know.

“What do you mean?” Sol asked, unsure what Ren was referring to.

Tarren looked down as they took a deep breath, their hands trembling slightly. "You know how I said my mum's been sick for a really long time..?" shifting slightly where they were sitting, "...She's not just sick, Sol. I don't..." Tarren brought both of their hands to their face, as they tried to compose themself.

"If I die here...She'll spend however short she has left, wondering what happened to me. And why I wasn't there when she..." their voice broke, shoulders entirely fell forward as Tarren hugged their legs tightly to their chest as Tarren entirely broke down. There was only one other person that Tarren had ever told this to, and wherever he was now, he could be in the same position as them. Not knowing what's going on, or if they'd ever even get out of here. Tarren finally felt the smallest they had ever been, and whatever hope of getting out of here alive was slowly shrinking. They just wanted to disappear for a little while and pretend this was all a dream.

Immediately Soledad’s hardened shell crumbled, rushing to Tarren’s side as she fell into sobs. She had known that Tarren’s mother had been sick, though they never went into details and Sol wasn’t one to pry. Even then, Soledad could tell that there was more to the story - could see the way Tarren and their family looked at each other when the topic came up.

Any petty emotions were immediately pushed aside, Soledad wrapping her arms around Tarren. “I’m so sorry, Ren.”

She knew the last thing Tarren wanted was pity, but Soledad really didn’t pity her. She just wanted to protect Ren, to stop her from having to feel this pain. All she could do in that moment though was just hold Ren, and let her know that Soledad saw her pain.

"It's not your fault.." Tarren whispers softly, clearing their throat after taking a shaky breath. "I know it was an asshole move of me to not be upfront and honest with you from the start. I should have told you about her before we went there. I just...I didn't want you to feel like you owed me anything, or felt bad or if it changed your perspective on things." Tarren took a few more deep breaths, not moving from where they were.

"I just know how people can change their view of things like that...That and...There's reasons why I didn't let you meet her, cuz..." Tarren paused again. "Seeing someone like that?" Ren shook their head, "That's not the person I knew my whole life, to a point. She was the strong one for so long and then...Then she was diagnosed with ALS, and then another day everything fell on my shoulders. Even before then, I was practically raising myself. And then everything just...Went to shit five years ago and I don't know what I can do to stop it from getting worse..." Tarren finally managed to be able to glance over to Sol. "The worst part of it all? She would have adored you. You two have a lot in common and...You would have gotten along well if things were different..." their voice softened.

Tarren's eyes looked back down at the ground, "Hell, they all did...I just know if things weren't so fucked, I...I don't know. Just for once, I would like to have control of something...Ya know? Instead I'm just sitting here, watching as it all crashes and burns and I can't do shit to stop or change anything."

It was nice that Ren had so much to say because Sol was at a complete loss for words. There was nothing that Sol could say that would change their circumstances. The ironic part was how much she could relate.

"I'm sorry you've been dealing with this alone." Soledad wiped some of the lingering tears from Ren's face. "I might have a fucked up relationship with my mom but if I had to deal with losing her . . . I honestly don't know how you're holding it together."

Tarren gave a small shrug, “Because I had to.” they stated rather calmly. “For the longest time it was me and my mom...I had to be the strong one for the both of us, before things went to shit…” Tarren glanced over when they felt Sol’s hand on their face, giving it a moment, before giving a faint smile.

A look of resolution transformed Sol's face, the tears that had been fighting their way to the surface now making her eyes glimmer with hope. "We are going to get out of here. You are going to see your mom again. I promise."

Tarren looked over at Sol, and pulled her into a hug, “I’m sorry…” they managed to get out before they pulled away from the hug. “Besides...We’re both smart right? We can figure a way out of here...I think.” Tarren flashed Sol a small, genuine smile before looking around the room again.

“Well, at least one of us is.” Soledad teased, letting the implication of who she meant be unclear.

Tarren simply chuckled at the reply, shaking their head but also gave a small shrug in response.

She turned on the light of her phone, there wasn’t much battery left but she still had the backup charger so there was that. Shining the light among the walls, she began feeling at the walls trying to find a weak point or a soft spot or some give or something - anything.

“There’s got to be a way out - I mean how did we get in here? Has to be something.” Sol grumbled, unsure what she was even looking for.

Tarren had started to inspect one or the walls, their left hand gliding over the stone, "Maybe...I just-Fuck!" Tarren suddenly exclaimed, taking their hand away from the wall. Soledad jumped, shining her light over onto Ren. Looking at the walls they hadn't realized a small sharpened piece until it was too late. A small trickle of blood had slid down the wall.

"Hey uh...Mind getting the gauze out of my backpack for me?" Tarren asked, holding their hand tightly, "It should be in the main compartment, close to the top for easy access…"' looking back down, there was a small cut on their finger, it wasn't terribly deep but it would need to be bandaged to help stop the blood flow.

“Yeah - uh…” Soledad took the bag, using her flashlight to look around as she rifled inside pulling out some gauze. Setting the bag down between them she reached for Ren’s hand. “Here, you shine the light I’ll wrap you up.”

Tarren blinked a few times, having been distracted by looking at their hand. Inspecting the wound. It couldn’t have been more than a few centimeters deep, as it turned out to be a little worse than Ren initially assumed. It’d heal within a few days, maybe a week at most.

“Huh, wha-?” Tarren looked back at Sol, they were gonna take care of it themself. They had bandaged their own wounds a plethora of times before. They didn’t expect Sol to offer.

Swallowing the lump in their throat, Tarren shifted slightly, letting their hand extend to Sol as they shone the flashlight so she could see properly. “Thank you...You didn’t...You didn’t have to. But thank you..” Tarren said softly, glancing down at Sol, the faintest of a smile creeped over for a moment. “I know I can be an asshole a lot of the time, so...I don’t know what I’m trying to say..” Tarren could feel their face flush the longer they tried to keep silence from filling the air.

Sol kept her gaze lowered as she wrapped Tarren’s hand, her touch so gentle she barely let her fingers brush against Ren. It made her stomach do too many flips. She could feel Ren’s gaze on her, it made her squirm. “You’re not an asshole.”

Tarren gave a small shrug, grinning a bit for a moment before their expression fell flat.

She looked back up to Tarren, her hand now wrapped but still holding it in hers. They might have things to figure out but she was glad to be trapped with Ren, if nothing else but to have had another chance to talk. They both deserved that much.

“I’m the asshole.” Sol joked, giving Ren a soft smile.

Tarren could feel their heart beating heavily in their chest, but managed to stay composed. Simply giving Sol’s hand a gentle squeeze with their other hand. Looking back around the chamber, “We’re both assholes..” they managed to say with a small chuckle.

Looking back at the wall, Tarren’s eyebrows furrowed tightly together, retracting their hand from Sol’s as they passed by her, but not before gently squeezing her shoulder. Tarren inspected the wall where they had cut their hand, noticing the blood had slowly trailed off into what looked like a small pocket in the wall and pooled into a small basin-looking crevice, which was etched into a carving along the ‘glyphs. “You don’t think…” they began, glancing at Sol.

Tarren took their right pointer finger, dipping it into the small amount of blood and traced along the carving of the figure. Noticing how it seemed to trail off somewhere. After a few moments, Tarren retracted their hand once more, noticing the wall had started to vibrate under their hand.

There was a low rumble that shook the ground below both of their feet, and the wall seemed to almost collapse in on itself before it entirely was pulled aside by some unseen force. Sol grabbed Ren’s arm, looking around expecting the walls to come down around them.

Tarren’s eyes widened as all that was left was a small passageway, enough space for two people to walk side by side down. “You wanna continue wallowing in this room until we go mad, or do you wanna do something stupid and see where this goes?” Ren aked with a small grin, shining the flashlight down the hallway that awaited them.

Soledad stood there stunned, everything telling her whatever the fuck was going on was weird as hell and was only going to get weird from here. As much as the panic told her to stay put, that wasn’t an option. Taking a deep breath, she gripped Ren’s arm tighter. “Alright. . . let’s do this.”

Tarren grinned slightly, giving Sol a reassuring look, “Don’t worry, whatever’s awaiting us, I got you…” their eyes lingering on her a little longer than they probably should have, before Tarren turned their head back to look down the hallway, and began to to make their way forward. Wherever this led to, Tarren couldn’t help but be anxious. But there had to be a way out, right?





Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Charlie Addams Character Portrait: Fletcher Stone
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Fletcher Stone
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Attire | hex: #AE6378
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Charlie Addams
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Fletcher appreciated the comfort he’d been given. He’d made truly wonderful friends in his time at LindenWood, and even if he was years older than most of them they taught him a lot about life. He’d smiled at Lenny’s encouragement, nodded to let Nancy know he’d be fine, even squeezed her hand back to drive it home. Sol was just like that, and as much as it shook him, he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t used to it.

The ringing in his ears was not a comfort, however. As irrational as it was, his first thought went back to the things he’d been taught to believe as a child. He was probably going to die, here, and it was because of everything he’d left behind, and he hadn’t even managed to grow his own backbone (or even purchase one from the grocery store).

His head was fuzzy when he woke up, and he heard a voice cut through the fog, asking if he was okay. He wasn’t sure. He nodded as he sat up, finally getting a look at Charlie. “I think so,” He said, glancing around the room, “What about you?” Were they alone in there? He turned and looked Charlie in the eyes, “Wait… Are we dead?”

Charlie nodded as Fletcher asked if she was okay. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Fine was probably stretching it, but she wasn’t hurt or anything at least. Fletch’s question made her raise an eyebrow as she tried to figure out if he was being serious or not. He seemed deadly serious, so she shrugged. “I… don’t think so? But… I also haven’t got any better suggestions as to what happened, so… we could be,” she said, shrugging. “If we are dead, whatever being is responsible for this afterlife didn’t exactly put a whole lot of effort into it.”

Fletcher knew that something was off here, but he wasn’t sure what it could be. He started to look around the room for signs of, well, anything. A dim light was filtering in from… Somewhere, and everything looked old, but well preserved enough. “We seem alive enough.” He stood up, brushing himself off as he turned around slowly, then looked back at Charlie, “I don’t suppose you have any idea what happened, do you?”

Charlie shrugged as Fletcher asked if she knew what happened. “I dunno, man. I just felt like… weirdly dizzy and my sinuses hurt? And then I just… blacked out and woke up here.” She turned to scan the room, looking for a way out. “Maybe this is some weird prank, or something? Or like… Price has decided to make us endure some weird escape room. I wouldn’t put it past him.” She folded her arms. “But I can’t see any way out.”

That sounded just like what happened to him, which… Worried Fletcher. What if they accidentally aggravated some ancient powdered poison, and now they were mildly hullinating moments before they died? That wasn’t a comforting thought. He walked as close to Charlie as he thought she’d tolerate and closely studied her face- she looked fine, physically. “You don’t feel sick, or faint, or anything?” He felt strangely responsible for her now, some sort of brotherly instinct kicking in since they were in a crisis.

Fletcher looked around the room, taking it all in. There was no door, what little light was filtering in wasn’t coming from any substantial cracks or windows. They had to have gotten in here somehow though. He looked up, it didn’t look like they’d fallen through the floor. “We’ll find a way out of here,” He was panicking internally, but was attempting to keep it together for Charlie’s sake. He pulled his phone out of his pocket- no signal, of course. He’d expected as much. It didn’t even seem to be able to keep up with what time it was. Maybe it had gotten damaged during… whatever happened to get them in this room.

When Fletcher walked towards Charlie, she instinctively took a step back. Not for the same reason she’d stepped back from Adam earlier; even she couldn’t perceive Fletcher as any type of threat in that regard. To start with, he wasn’t as tall, and secondly, he had the threatening aura of a labrador. But she still didn’t like strangers invading her personal space, even if they were stuck in some strange Egyptian burial tomb themed escape room set up by their deranged history professor who had apparently watched a few too many adventure movies in his time.

She shrugged. “I’m fine,” she said. She was tempted to just leave it there; but common decency won out over her distrust of the whole situation. “I’ve got water and snacks and stuff in my bag if you’re… thirsty or hungry or whatever,” she said, staring at the floor as she said so. “But like. Not much so don’t get your hopes up.”

As Fletcher began to look around them, Charlie did the same. Instinctively, she ran her fingers over the wall, searching for some sort of button or latch or something. “I mean, we got in here, so there has to be a way out. Price doesn’t seem athletic enough to be able to be able to single handedly build a wall to block us in. Kayden… okay, it could have been Kayden. But I don’t think I’ve given her reason to want me dead, I don’t know about you.”

“We should probably save them, then?” Fletcher replied to the comment about the snacks, “You know, in case we’re down here for a while.” If they were stuck down here for too long, they’d most certainly die of thirst, but Fletcher didn’t want to bring that up just yet.

He’d started pushing on the wall, trying to see if there were any loose spots. He stopped when Charlie mentioned Price and Kayden. “I don’t think I’ve ever given her a reason to kill me…” He turned to look at Charlie, “Unless… You don’t think she’s, like, homophobic or something, do you?” He sighed, “That would suck.” Another thought hit him. Shit, “Do you think they’re serial killers?” Maybe he just watched too much tv. But this was a situation right out of a tv show or movie.

Charlie stopped to think as Fletcher asked if she thought Kayden was homophobic. “I mean… I don’t think so. I’ve always gotten massive bi vibes from her so… I don’t think that’s her motive.” Serial killers seemed to me a more feasible option, and she raised her eyebrow in agreement. “I mean… this seems like an overly elaborate way to kill us. But I mean, I’m pretty sure there’s probably been weirder Criminal Minds episodes so…”

It was then that she noticed one of the blocks beneath her fingers seemed different, somehow. Something about the hieroglyphics seemed different. So on a whim, she pushed the block. It pressed easily, but nothing seemed to happen. And then the wall beside where Charlie had been standing crumbled. She stumbled away just in time, swearing as she did so, before staring into the corridor beyond the new hole in the wall. “... Hopefully that was meant to happen and I didn’t just curse us both to seventy years bad luck.”

Fletcher was just about to say something about Price giving off major Criminal Minds vibes during this trip when the wall next to Charlie started crumbling away. He immediately rushed to her side, resting a gentle hand on her shoulder as he peered into the corridor. “Can’t be worse than being stuck in here forever, can it?” He squeezed Charlie’s shoulder, a gesture he hoped would be reassuring.

“I’ll go first, that way if there’s any crazy monsters you can run while they eat off my face.”

In her head, she knew that Fletcher putting his hand on her shoulder was meant to be a comforting, friendly gesture, but it bothered her more than it had any right to. Maybe because nobody had ever really done that for her before. She didn’t have many platonic relationships with guys. Eden was an exception, and he was her roommate. Her brother had never come back home and had never tried to make much contact with her. Her brother-in-law was pleasant, but he never knew how to connect with her and he’d stopped trying. So without even thinking, she tensed up ever so slightly. Him offering to go first just seemed to drive her walls up even higher, and so she shrugged, not actually saying anything. She didn’t trust herself not to snap. She just hung back and let Fletcher go first.

Fletcher completely misinterpreted Charlie’s apprehension as nerves, so he paused before walking into the now-open corridor, “Hey, I know all of this is really scary, but I’m right here, okay?” He smiled, trying to be reassuring, “I promise I’m not going anywhere.” He nodded, both to himself and to her, “I won’t let anything happen to you.” He gave her an awkward sort of thumbs up and turned back to look down the new corridor again; he wasn’t really sure he wanted to go down there, but now he felt like he had to.

Fletcher’s reassurance reminded Charlie of the big brother characters she’d always seen on TV growing up. They were goofy and weird, but they always stood up for their siblings, and they were always there. She’d longed for a big brother like that. Someone who would stand up for her for once. She hadn’t been so lucky. And now, here Fletch was, acting like that big brother. Part of her wanted to let him.

But it wasn’t that simple. She’d learned that genuinely good people like that didn’t tend to stick around in her life. They were always either taken away from her, or weren’t that good in the first place. So she did what she always did. She decided to ruin it before anyone else could ruin it for her.

“I’m not a fucking kid, Fletcher. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you holding my hand and treating me like I’m seven and treating me with kiddie gloves. I can look after myself,” she snapped. She stormed past him down the corridor, arms wrapped around her torso as she did so. But the light from the room they were in was fading, and she sighed, stopping to dig in her bag for a minute in search of a torch.

Fletcher froze when Charlie snapped at him, staring at her like a deer in headlights. He wasn’t fully used to people raising their voices at him anymore. He used to walk through life on eggshells, waiting for the pin to drop and someone to start yelling. Here, he just hadn’t expected it.

Of course, emotions were high. He felt that tell-tale stinging in his eyes as tears began to well up. No, no, no, He thought, You’re okay. But the tears still started to flow unbidden, cutting through the layer of dust and dirt on his cheeks. He tried to compose himself before he followed Charlie, but she’d started walking pretty quickly, and he still intended on following up on his promise not to leave her alone.

“Hey,” He said, not wanting to sneak up on her while she was looking for her flashlight, “Look, I’m sorry,” He was trying not to make it obvious that he’d been crying, but he could hear the emotion in his voice, and he was sure she could too, “You just remind me a lot of my sister Naomi.” He didn’t mention that he hadn’t heard from any of his younger siblings in years, “I was just trying to…” She didn’t need excuses, though, “I know you’re capable, I’m just scared and needed something else to focus on.”

It would have been easier if Fletch had been angry, or if he’d just stopped talking to her. But, instead, he came back, his tone soft and light. As he apologised, she turned to look at him fully. She couldn’t quite make out his face, but she could hear the slight shake in his tone, as if he’d been crying. As he confessed that she reminded him of his younger sister, she just felt all the worse for snapping at him. She stared at the ground somewhere beside his feet, running a hand through her hair.

“I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have snapped, I know you’re only trying to help.” Every bone in her body screamed at her to just leave it there, but she felt like he deserved something more than that after his honesty. “I’m used to not really having anyone to look out for me. My brother never really looked out for me.” She managed to meet his eyes for half a second. She still felt like something of an asshole, but she couldn’t say anything else. So instead, she dug in her bag again, pulling out her torch. She paused for a second, before reaching into her bag and pulling out two cereal bars. “Peace offering?” She said, holding one out to Fletcher.

When Charlie said that her brother never looked out for her, Fletcher frowned, “I have six younger siblings. I haven’t seen them in… Years. I shouldn’t have just put you in their slot, though.” In their household, the younger ones needed looking out for. Someone to shield them from the harsh realities of their family. He missed them the most, he’d helped raise most of them, only to be shut out of their lives completely when he’d been outed, and by the very people he’d wanted to protect them from.

When Charlie offered him the cereal bar, Fletch took it thankfully. “Consider yourself forgiven.” He realized then that he was hungry, and went ahead and opened it up. There was something else gnawing at Fletcher’s mind, but he decided to mull it over in his mind as they slowly crept through the tomb on high alert. After a time, and maybe halfway through his snack, he piped up with, “Hey, I know you don’t need anyone to look out for you, and we can talk about it later when we’re not in some creepy ass tomb that’s probably haunted… But if you ever wanted someone to look out for you, just let me know, okay?”

God, Fletcher really was relentlessly nice, wasn’t he? Charlie wanted to hate it, but instead, the way he just bounced back and didn’t seem to be actually angry at her was endearing. She frowned a little as he said he hadn’t seen his siblings in years. There was clearly more to that statement, but now wasn’t the time to discuss it. Instead, she just nodded as he took the snack, and they began making their way down the corridor. The whole time, she kept waiting for something to happen- for another wall to crumble, for a mummy to round a corner and jump out at them, for Price or Kayden to suddenly jump out wielding a ridiculously oversized knife- but instead the corridor just seemed to go on and on. She was almost relieved when Fletcher spoke, breaking up the monotony of their silence. However, his words left her feeling a little uneasy. She believed that he meant it and that he meant it in the best of faith. But life didn’t let Charlie have nice things. It certainly didn’t let her keep good people. But it wasn’t like she could just be like “hey so everyone in my life is either an asshole or the universe ends up ruining our relationship so awkward acquaintances is probably better for everyone involved, ‘mkay?” But he deserved a semi-honest answer. So she turned to him and sighed.

“Look, Fletcher, I-“ Before she could say anything else, though, there was an almighty rumbling from somewhere, the walls and floor around them beginning to shake. Charlie swore, and instinctively went to grab onto Fletcher, but the minute she moved in that direction, the ground seemed to throw her in the other, away from him. She scrambled to her feet, but before she could actually reach him, a wall slammed up from the ground between them. That wasn’t a coincidence. Somebody wanted them separated. She pounded the wall, but it was solid rock and wasn’t going to budge. She couldn’t hear anything from the other side. Knowing it was probably in vain, she started scanning the wall to see if there were any triggers or switches. Her search came up empty, and so she turned to face the corridor stretching out ahead of her. She swallowed and began her journey down it.

Fletcher was just thinking that maybe he and Charlie could have a nice conversation, or a heart-to-heart of sorts.- they may as well, anyway, while walking through this crazy tomb- when the ground began to shift and shake. He reached out for Charlie, to keep her close and hopefully keep the both of them steady, but they were thrown in opposite directions. He rolled, getting up onto his knees, but a wall grew where one hadn’t been a moment before, and Fletch took a moment to process that. “Charlie?” He said, tentatively, then quickly crawled over to the wall, pressing his hands on it, “Charlie? Are you okay? Can you-” He paused, he couldn’t hear anything from behind the wall. Was she okay? Had the wall smashed her? He glanced up at the ceiling, but he couldn’t see too clearly.

He spent a few minutes trying everything he could to get the wall to move, or crumble away like the one in the small chamber they’d started in, all while periodically calling out for Charlie, in hopes she’d hear and know he hadn’t given up on her. When it was evident there was nothing he could do, Fletcher sat down- defeated- and leaned back against the very wall he was trying to get past. He’d never felt so alone in his life. At least when he was with Charlie someone would know what had happened to him if he died, even if only for a short time. He sat there for a long while before deciding that moving on was the best option, so he stood up, brushed himself off, and went on in the only direction he could.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tarren Havenfield Character Portrait: Eden Montgomery Character Portrait: Sasha Floyd
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Sasha Floyd
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Host of Nephthys | Attire | hex: #B1CCCE
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Eden Montgomery
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Host of Serqet | Attire | hex:#9D948D
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Eden had been standing beside Tarren, observing the carving in the wall when he was asked what it was. With a grin he turned to his friend, “Well….That’d be Serqet. Egyptian Goddess of Scorpions.” Eden managed to notice the look on Tarren’s face as they looked around, clearly wondering where Kayden and Trevor must have gone off too. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it, they have to be around here somewhere-” Eden managed to catch himself, as a sudden pain slowly began to shoot through his skull. Applying pressure to the arch of his nose as he attempted to get rid of the sudden building pressure. His hand rested against the wall as his vision began to blur.

He wasn’t exactly sure how long he had been out for, but Eden finally began to wake up, blinking slowly as he laid wherever he was. With a soft groan, he managed to will himself to turn onto his side, rubbing the arch of his nose once more, noticing how the pain was nearly all gone. Eden blinked a few more times, noticing how some light was filtering in from a small crack in the wall, but it was far too out of reach for him. Wait, sunlight? How long was he….Where even was he?

Eden quickly got to his feet, dusting himself off as he looked around, in hopes of finding anything around him in the room. Thankfully, there was someone else in the chamber with him. It took him a moment to realize who it was, and gave them a gentle smile as they finally began to wake up. “Morning, sunshine.” Eden teased softly, his eyes landing on Sasha with a somewhat worried expression, “You okay?”

Waking up next to Eden Montgomery was something that would only happen in Sasha’s dreams. They couldn’t remember how they’d gotten to be alone with the other student; they’d been in the midst of the group separating into different areas and Sasha was more or less on their own until a loud ringing filled their ears and a pressure built in their head until they could no longer cling to consciousness. Eden’s words were slightly muffled as Sasha slowly pulled themselves from the floor and brushed off their clothes. His white tank top was now dirty, along with the rest of his clothes, but at least he wasn’t alone. After stretching their arms high above their head to rid of any stiffness, Sasha shrugged. “Well, I’m stuck in a tomb with no exit in sight after losing consciousness, but yeah, sure, I’m okay,” Sasha answered with a snort, looking around the area they were in.

As he looked up, he noticed the daylight creeping in from a tiny hole in the ceiling. Daylight? The sun was setting when they entered the tomb. So they were separated and it was hours later than when they originally entered. Sasha had to wonder if the others were still in the tomb as well. Maybe they were playing a prank on Sasha and Eden for some unknown reason. Sasha didn’t really know Eden that well, aside from his friendship with Tarren. But he seemed just as perplexed about their situation. “So… should we look for an exit then? Or at least find the others?” Sasha asked, considering the room they were in currently was bare and offered nothing but more sand to stare at.

Eden couldn’t help but snort at Sasha’s reply. They were just as sarcastic as he’d expected from someone who was so close to Tarren. Someone had to be anyway. Eden simply offered a shrug once Sasha asked what to do. Eden looked through his pockets for his phone as he thought for a moment.

“Well, first we should at least try to look for a way out…If there is any..” his voice went soft, looking down at the ground for a moment before flipping his phone’s flashlight on, seeing as he still had 76% left, he’d be fine for a little while. His eyes scanned over the markings on the wall, his fingertips gently trailing over them as he walked. Trying to see if he recognized anything. “...What do you last remember? Before...Before passing out?” he asked calmly

Sasha sighed, closing their eyes to think back. It only made him snort again, since the last memories were of all the drama stirred around Sol before they all went off in their separate ways. Once they had split off, that’s where it went fuzzy. “I don’t remember. Just… all of us split off and then I ended up with you,” Sasha admitted as they looked over to Eden. He was carefully tracing on the wall markings, trying to find a way out. Sasha studied the light coming from the ceiling. It was far enough away that neither of them would be able to climb to it and try to break it free.

They groaned, jogging down one end of the room only to find a dead end. “This is probably Price’s wet dream, an Egyptian tomb engulfing him so he can read hieroglyphics for the rest of his life,” Sasha grumbled, folding their arms over their chest and looking at the markings Eden was looking at. “You think anyone’s ever found this place before us?” Sasha asks, reaching out to trace his finger along the markings.

Eden slowly nodded as Sasha recounted what they remembered, which was about the same as he remembered. “Yeah...I remember a pain in my head, and then...Just blacked out. Next thing I knew well, woke up here...And here you were.” he chuckled softly.

Looking back over as Sasha asked what he thought of everything. There was a brief pause before he shrugged again. “Fuck if I know, man. I know some things from Egyptian history and culture but, not as much as some...Like Trevor.” he chuckled again, “That man’s gotta be losing his mind over this shit. I never exactly understood such a high interest in this shit.” Eden shrugged, looking back at the wall.

“And beats me. A huge temple in the middle of the desert like this? Someone has had to have found this place before...If not, I’ll...I don’t know, eat my own foot?” Eden rolled his shoulders. Looking back at Sasha, eyeing them for a moment, “You sure you’re good?” his eyebrows furrowed as he questioned Sasha. While he didn’t exactly know the kid all that well as Tarren did, he still cared enough. Seeing how much they meant to Tarren, only made Eden feel more responsible than he already did. “-But, we’ll find a way out of here. Or Ren will kill me.”

Sasha chuckled with Eden as he mentioned how excited the professor probably was at this moment. Eden wasn’t as eccentric as their history professor, but he was still a bit odd. That seemed to be just the type of people Sasha gravitated to. They also gravitated to people that could read them well. He must have noticed Sasha’s quick frustration with the markings and felt the need to ask. “How can I be okay? I told that nut job that the locals warned us about staying out where we don’t belong. And look what’s happened now,” Sasha answered in a more irritated tone. They could only imagine what that freak professor was doing now. Hell, he could be the one orchestrating the kids getting split up to cover more areas of the tomb.

But there was no reason to be this upset, and Sasha took a deep breath, relaxing their shoulders. There was the true reason he was easily put on edge, the red hair and green eyes he was trying to escape from on this trip, but he didn’t want to think about her when he needed to get out of here alive. “Ren would bring me back to life just to kill me again,” Sasha replies with a smirk, turning and leaning against the markings. “Well if I die here, at least I'll have a handsome man to keep me company. Thanks Eden,” Sasha adds a tease, slowly sliding down the wall. He leaned his head back against the wall, letting out another sigh of frustration.

Eden chuckled and nodded, “Ren would probably take your body and beat me with it, just to bring us both back, and do it again…” he joked softly in return, before letting out his own sigh as he knew it wasn’t the best and needed to start thinking more clearly. Clearing his throat in an attempt at clearing up some of the awkwardness he could feel.

Slowly, he sat down next to Sasha, his back also pressed against the wall as he looked around as he remained sitting. “We’ll get out of, somehow. We both have people waiting for us on the other side of...well, wherever we are. And I’d be damned if I let us die here.” he gave Sasha a gentle smile, gently patting them on the shoulder. “You will get out of here, I promise you that.”

Eden was a good guy, Sasha could tell that just from their brief meetings. But they were running out of options. It felt like there was something living within these walls that wanted to separate them and toy with them. That’s why they weren’t able to leave this room until it wanted Eden and Sasha to be separated too. Still, Sasha looked over to the side of the tomb neither of them had investigated, and it looked like there was a hallway that led off into other parts of the tomb. “Hey, was that hallway always there?” Sasha asked. They swore that the room didn’t have any openings, but there was definitely something here. He didn’t know how far down it went, but it was better to follow the pathway instead of staying inside of a room they didn’t know how to get out of.

Eden’s eyes managed to follow Sasha’s to the other side of the room, and his eyebrows furrowed together tightly in confusion. Before Sasha even asked, Eden was on his feet, eyes locked on the passageway that seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

Looking back at Sasha, Eden swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat, “...And you’re sure you want to attempt that?” he questioned, hand gestured towards the passageway that appeared from seemingly nowhere.

“Weren’t you the one just saying we were getting out of here?” Sasha asked teasingly, walking up to the opening of the hallway and looking down as far as they could. There weren’t any obvious dead ends, from what Sasha could see, but it got darker the farther back it went and they would need the flashlight to see further. It was odd that this room in particular had a crackle of light from the ceiling, but the hallway had nothing to illuminate it naturally.

Sasha looked over his shoulder at Eden, a boyish grin spreading on his face. “I’ll hold your hand if you’re scared,” Sasha added another taunt, even holding out their hand as a joke. A randomly appearing hallway was not the weirdest thing that had happened to them, so it was worth a simple exploration even if it lead back to this room again.

Eden blinked in Sasha’s direction, “Yeah BUT. A magically appearing hallways is not something that even I would consider…”[/color his voice trailed off at the end, awkwardly tucking one of his hands into a pocket. What else did they have to lose at this point? If it meant getting out of...well, wherever here was, it was worth it.

[color=#9D948D]“Fine, you drive a hard bargain.”
Eden responded, grabbing Sasha’s hand as he in front of them, and took his phone back out with his other hand, and shone the flashlight down the hallway ahead of them. “Welp...If my face gets eaten, I’m suing you-” he teased.

Sasha raised their eyebrows, waiting for Eden to make his choice. It was almost humorous watching the man that was searching every inch of the room they were in suddenly go all nervous because an opening magically appeared in front of them. It didn’t exactly make Sasha comfortable either, but this wouldn’t be the first time they made it through an uncomfortable situation and it was better than just sitting in the room waiting for someone else. For all they knew, all of their classmates had already made it out and weren’t going to come back for them. Maybe this was the only way out.

Eden’s hand was warm as it slipped into Sasha’s hand, and they intertwined their fingers with Eden’s so they could tug the man behind them into the passageway. Sasha gave Eden a look as he mentioned suing if his face was eaten off, and rolled their eyes. “Come on darling, even a monster would spare a pretty face like yours,” Sasha teased back. They checked their own phone and there was at least enough battery to have a temporary flashlight. Sasha turned it on and scanned the walls, looking for another opening or anything that would help them.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Williams Character Portrait: Yousof Farooq
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Owne moment, evewything was fine, awnd then next ethan’s eaws wewe winging awnd hiws head was fuww of mowe pwessuwe than he’d evew expewienced dwiving thwough the mountains. Awnd then he bwacked out.

he woke up no wowse fow weaw, though, mostwy juwst confused. The fiwst thing he noticed was thawt he was indeed waying down in the sand, awnd the entiwe thing hadn’t bewn sowme bizawwe dweam. The second thing he noticed was thawt yousof was awso thewe, gweeting him in a stwangewy casuaw mannew. “haaaaiiiii,” he swaid, testing out the wowd awmost wike he’d nevew heawd hiws own voice befowe, “you feewing okay?” iwt didn’t take wong fow ethan tuwu find hiws backpack and- thank god- hiws fwashwight stiww had sowme battewies, “might wanna consewve youw battewy, we cawn caww fow hewp once we get a ss-”/b] he stopped aftew hiws s was dwawn out fow juwst a moment too wong, [b]“once we cawn.”

he swowwy wowked himsewf tuwu hiws feet, wooking awound the woom, “whewe awe we?” he asked, mostwy tuwu himsewf.

“weww, we...awe...in a twomb,”/b] yousof nodded, [b]“we awe in a twomb...pwobabwy.”

dweams, dwugs, kidnappings...being whisked away tuwu anothew wowwd. Most of those wewe possibiwities, but onwy thwee of thewm made sense awnd owne of thewm wequiwed a wathew wawge imagination. He stood up awnd wawked towawds the waww thawt the fwashwight pointed at, feewing fow abnowmawities among the bwicks. Ancient as the woom seemed, evewy stone was stiww pewfectwy set. They wewe fwee of cwacks, chips, awnd even mowd. Aside fwom the vines awnd dust, owne wouwd think thawt the chambew was entiwewy new.

yousof continued awong the pewimetew of the woom, tapping fow a secwet button, a fake waww, ow even a howwow bwick. They entewed (ow at weast whoevew put thewm hewe did), so thawt had tuwu mean thewe was an exit. Fwom the outside he might have wooked wike a madman, knocking own wandom spots hoping thawt something wouwd happen, but he had a system (ow at weast sowme sembwance of owne).

thwee bwicks wight, then down, then thwee tuwu the weft, two own the wow above tuwu the wight of centew.

whawt came aftew?

“hey ethan, uwu evew watch hawwy pwottew?”

ethan had nevew bewn so gwad tuwu have yousof’s astute powews of obsewvation as whewn iwt was confiwmed thawt they wewe, indeed, in a tomb. “wondewfwuw...” he stawted wooking awound the woom. Iwt was uttewwy pwistine, awnd iwt made ethan wondew if thiws wasn’t sowme kind of touwist attwaction meant tuwu wook wike an ancient tomb. Had they wandewed intwo sowme sowt of twap ow something?

but fow the wife of him, he couwdn’t figuwe out whawt anyone wouwd wawnt fwom the two of thewm. They wewen’t pawticuwawwy speciaw, nowt in a way thawt wouwd dwaw attention.

wooking awound, top tuwu bottom, feewing awong the wawws, peewing bawck vines, kicking at the fwoowing. Maybe the sand awnd diwt had accumuwated thewe, hidden sowme sowt of panew, maybe the vines wewe covewing sowme sowt of… switch? he wasn’t suwe whawt he was wooking fow. He heawd hiws nawme, “owo?” he didn’t spawe a gwance in yousof’s diwection untiw the othew man bwought up hawwy pottew.

ethan tuwned awnd wooked at yousof, eyebwow waised, “didn’t evewyone watch hawwy pottew?” he didn’t know whawt thiws had tuwu duwu with anything, “why?”

“do uwu wemembew thawt scene whewn hagwid tapped the bwicks?” yousof asked, westing hiws chin own hiws fist. He paused onwy fow a second befowe snapping hiws fingew. “ow-ow whawt abouwt whatevew hawwy said tuwu get intwo the chambew of secwets.”

he began pacing awound the woom, gwancing at ethan fow sowme type of confiwmation ow deniaw.

"i don’t know. Whawt does thawt have tuwu duwu with-"

the ancient egyptians wouwdn’t have used pawsewtongue awnd none of the bastawdized egyptian-god media he’d consumed dawed tuwu twead thawt tewwitowy. He doubted they wouwd have bewn abwe tuwu instaww something so ewabowate. Unwess…

"do uwu think we'we own a pwank show?"

a pwank show? thawt was cewtainwy possibwe, though thiws was a pawticuwawwy ewabowate pwank if thawt was the case. “couwd be, i guess. ╮( ˘ 、 ˘ )╭” iwt cewtainwy made mowe sense than most of the awtewnative ideas.

ethan wawked a tight ciwcwe in the middwe of the woom, twying tuwu gwasp hiws thoughts awnd puww iwt aww togethew. “if thiws iws a pwank,” he was speaking swowwy, dewibewatewy, “d’you suppose evewyone ewse iws watching awnd waughing at us?”

“i mean i uwud.” yousof shwugged.

ethan shined hiws fwashwight awound the woom, twying tuwu see if thewe wewe any camewas ow micwophones he couwd identify. He wasn’t suwe how he fewt abouwt the ‘ewabowate pwank’ theowy, but iwt was at weast something tuwu keep thewm fwom panicking whiwe they twied tuwu find a sowution tuwu thiws pwobwem. He knewt down, bwushing at the wayew of sand own the fwoow, twying tuwu see if thewe wewe any inscwiptions ow anything own the stone beneath tuwu teww him how authentic thiws might be. Of couwse he was no expewt, so thawt didn’t get him vewy faw. He fewt wike they wewe abouwt as twapped as they couwd be.

aftew pacing the woom fow a minute mowe, ethan weawized thawt iwt wouwd pwobabwy be easiew tuwu think if he couwd deaw with the headache cweeping between hiws eyes. He stawted wifwing thwough hiws backpack, he was pwetty suwe he stiww had a coupwe watew bottwes weft in thewe. “want sowme wawa?” he offewed up owne of two bottwes he had weft tuwu yousof, then sat down own the fwoow, bawck against the waww. [color=#FF9200][b]“we need tuwu twy tuwu make thewm wast, in case we’we hewe a whiwe, but dehydwation won’t hewp us.”

yousof nodded befowe gwabbing the watew fwom him. He took two wong, gwatefuw guwps befowe pausing at ethans wowds. Yet again, the man was making points. He ciwcwed bawck awound awnd sat acwoss fwom ethan, making indents in the bottwe. Nowmawwy thiws wouwd have bewn the point whewe the woom stawted making noises ow pwojecting shadows own the wawws. Maybe sowme bugs wouwd be weweased, but thewe was simpwy...nothing.

“this pwank suuuuucks, ” he gwoaned aftew five minutes of siwence, “no jwump scawes, no secwet passage, no ghosts…”

“just whawt awe they waiting fow? (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻” he asked, swamming hiws bottwe down own the fwoow.

nowmawwy, ethan wouwd have twied tuwu think of something snappy tuwu say, wike they wewe waiting fow the two of thewm tuwu get despewate awnd stawt deciding which of thewm tuwu eat fiwst ow something. But then yousof swammed hiws watew own the gwound awnd ethan couwd have swown he heawd a faint cwick fwom somewhewe in the woom.

“did uwu heaw th…that?” he asked, hiws voice hawdwy above a whispew, as if speaking too woud wouwd cause the woom tuwu cave in own top of thewm.

iwt couwd have easiwy bewn pawanoia, ow juwst the idea of being own a hidden camewa show getting tuwu him. He wooked awound fow a moment, but nothing seemed tuwu happen. Pwobabwy juwst in hiws head, then. He sighed, “s-sowwy, i guess i’m juwst wowked up.” ethan had juwst wet hiws shouwdews wewax awnd wested hiws head bawck against the waww whewn anothew noise couwd be heawd. Subtwe, at fiwst, but iwt quickwy gwew. Iwt sounded a bit wike whewn uwu pouw a bunch of wocks intwo the bottom of a fish tawnk.

wait. Thawt wasn’t good.

ethan scwambwed tuwu hiws feet whewn he saw the middwe of the woom swowwy opening up. “fuck,” he ewoquentwy said, wondewing if thiws was the sowt of excitement yousof was hoping fow. He quickwy stawted tuwu scan the woom tuwu see if thewe was any way of getting out of thiws, but the fwoow was quickwy cowwapsing fwom the centew inwawd, awnd thewe was onwy a mattew of time befowe thewe wasn’t a fwoow at aww.

“oh god, oh fuck. Oh god, oh fuck! Σ(°ロ°)” yousof yewwed as the bwicks feww beneath him, “awe uwu seeing thiws?”

ethan’s mind went wandewing tuwu how faw the dwop might be, but he didn’t have much time tuwu think own things wike thawt.

“hey,” he shouted, tuwu make suwe he couwd be heawd ovew the gwowing noise, [color=#FF9200][b]“come hewe!” he offewed yousof hiws hand- twaditionaw notions of mascuwinity be damned- they needed tuwu stay togethew. They pwobabwy had a bettew chance of suwviving thawt way. Weww, ow they’d die mowe quickwy. Who knew.

making a finaw jump, yousof weached out, hiws fingews bwushing against ethan’s befowe swipping away.

iwt seemed wike the two of thewm wouwd find out.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ethan Williams Character Portrait: Yousof Farooq
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outfit | #CD7F32

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Ethan
outfit | #FF9200
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xxxxx"patience is a virtue." ... "not right now it isn't."
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One moment, everything was fine, and then next Ethan’s ears were ringing and his head was full of more pressure than he’d ever experienced driving through the mountains. And then he blacked out.

He woke up no worse for wear, though, mostly just confused. The first thing he noticed was that he was indeed laying down in the sand, and the entire thing hadn’t been some bizarre dream. The second thing he noticed was that Yousof was also there, greeting him in a strangely casual manner. “Hi,” He said, testing out the word almost like he’d never heard his own voice before, “You feeling okay?” It didn’t take long for Ethan to find his backpack and- thank god- his flashlight still had some batteries, “Might wanna conserve your battery, we can call for help once we get a ss-” He stopped after his s was drawn out for just a moment too long, “Once we can.”

He slowly worked himself to his feet, looking around the room, “Where are we?” He asked, mostly to himself.

“Well, we...are...in a tomb,” Yousof nodded, “we are in a tomb...probably.”

Dreams, drugs, kidnappings...being whisked away to another world. Most of those were possibilities, but only three of them made sense and one of them required a rather large imagination. He stood up and walked towards the wall that the flashlight pointed at, feeling for abnormalities among the bricks. Ancient as the room seemed, every stone was still perfectly set. They were free of cracks, chips, and even mold. Aside from the vines and dust, one would think that the chamber was entirely new.

Yousof continued along the perimeter of the room, tapping for a secret button, a fake wall, or even a hollow brick. They entered (or at least whoever put them here did), so that had to mean there was an exit. From the outside he might have looked like a madman, knocking on random spots hoping that something would happen, but he had a system (or at least some semblance of one).

Three bricks right, then down, then three to the left, two on the row above to the right of center.

What came after?

“Hey Ethan, you ever watch Harry Potter?”

Ethan had never been so glad to have Yousof’s astute powers of observation as when it was confirmed that they were, indeed, in a tomb. “Wonderful...” He started looking around the room. It was utterly pristine, and it made Ethan wonder if this wasn’t some kind of tourist attraction meant to look like an ancient tomb. Had they wandered into some sort of trap or something?

But for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out what anyone would want from the two of them. They weren’t particularly special, not in a way that would draw attention.

Looking around, top to bottom, feeling along the walls, peeling back vines, kicking at the flooring. Maybe the sand and dirt had accumulated there, hidden some sort of panel, maybe the vines were covering some sort of… Switch? He wasn’t sure what he was looking for. He heard his name, “Hm?” He didn’t spare a glance in Yousof’s direction until the other man brought up Harry Potter.

Ethan turned and looked at Yousof, eyebrow raised, “Didn’t everyone watch Harry Potter?” He didn’t know what this had to do with anything, “Why?”

“Do you remember that scene when Hagrid tapped the bricks?” Yousof asked, resting his chin on his fist. He paused only for a second before snapping his finger. “Or-or what about whatever Harry said to get into the Chamber of Secrets.”

He began pacing around the room, glancing at Ethan for some type of confirmation or denial.

“I don’t know. What does that have to do with-"

The ancient Egyptians wouldn’t have used Parseltongue and none of the bastardized Egyptian-god media he’d consumed dared to tread that territory. He doubted they would have been able to install something so elaborate. Unless…

"Do you think we're on a prank show?"

A prank show? That was certainly possible, though this was a particularly elaborate prank if that was the case. “Could be, I guess.” It certainly made more sense than most of the alternative ideas.

Ethan walked a tight circle in the middle of the room, trying to grasp his thoughts and pull it all together. “If this is a prank,” He was speaking slowly, deliberately, “D’you suppose everyone else is watching and laughing at us?”

“I mean I would.” Yousof shrugged.

Ethan shined his flashlight around the room, trying to see if there were any cameras or microphones he could identify. He wasn’t sure how he felt about the ‘elaborate prank’ theory, but it was at least something to keep them from panicking while they tried to find a solution to this problem. He knelt down, brushing at the layer of sand on the floor, trying to see if there were any inscriptions or anything on the stone beneath to tell him how authentic this might be. Of course he was no expert, so that didn’t get him very far. He felt like they were about as trapped as they could be.

After pacing the room for a minute more, Ethan realized that it would probably be easier to think if he could deal with the headache creeping between his eyes. He started rifling through his backpack, he was pretty sure he still had a couple water bottles left in there. “Want some water?” He offered up one of two bottles he had left to Yousof, then sat down on the floor, back against the wall. “We need to try to make them last, in case we’re here a while, but dehydration won’t help us.”

Yousof nodded before grabbing the water from him. He took two long, grateful gulps before pausing at Ethans words. Yet again, the man was making points. He circled back around and sat across from Ethan, making indents in the bottle. Normally this would have been the point where the room started making noises or projecting shadows on the walls. Maybe some bugs would be released, but there was simply...nothing.

“This prank suuuuucks,” he groaned after five minutes of silence, “no jump scares, no secret passage, no ghosts…”

“Just what are they waiting for?” he asked, slamming his bottle down on the floor.

Normally, Ethan would have tried to think of something snappy to say, like they were waiting for the two of them to get desperate and start deciding which of them to eat first or something. But then Yousof slammed his water on the ground and Ethan could have sworn he heard a faint click from somewhere in the room.

“Did you hear th…that?” He asked, his voice hardly above a whisper, as if speaking too loud would cause the room to cave in on top of them.

It could have easily been paranoia, or just the idea of being on a hidden camera show getting to him. He looked around for a moment, but nothing seemed to happen. Probably just in his head, then. He sighed, “S-sorry, I guess I’m just worked up.” Ethan had just let his shoulders relax and rested his head back against the wall when another noise could be heard. Subtle, at first, but it quickly grew. It sounded a bit like when you pour a bunch of rocks into the bottom of a fish tank.

Wait. That wasn’t good.

Ethan scrambled to his feet when he saw the middle of the room slowly opening up. “Fuck,” He eloquently said, wondering if this was the sort of excitement Yousof was hoping for. He quickly started to scan the room to see if there was any way of getting out of this, but the floor was quickly collapsing from the center inward, and there was only a matter of time before there wasn’t a floor at all.

“Oh god, oh fuck. Oh god, oh fuck!” Yousof yelled as the bricks fell beneath him, “are you seeing this?”

Ethan’s mind went wandering to how far the drop might be, but he didn’t have much time to think on things like that.

“Hey,” He shouted, to make sure he could be heard over the growing noise, “Come here!” He offered Yousof his hand- traditional notions of masculinity be damned- they needed to stay together. They probably had a better chance of surviving that way. Well, or they’d die more quickly. Who knew.

Making a final jump, Yousof reached out, his fingers brushing against Ethan’s before slipping away.

It seemed like the two of them would find out.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nova Morrison Character Portrait: Adam Barrett
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Nova Morrison
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Attire | hex: #35674a
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Adam Barrett
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Attire | hex:#2F356E
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Nova took the torch from Adam, raising an eyebrow at the fact that he had gone for an old-fashioned torch. She decided against mentioning the fact she was pretty sure she had batteries for her torch in her bag, figuring she’d let him have the Indiana Jones feeling. She nodded as he asked what she’d experienced.

“Yep, more or less the same. Pressure in my sinuses and dizziness, then just… passed out. Seems to be gone now, though.” She smirked as he mentioned that his supplies were supposed to be for Sol. “The good news for you is that I am probably one of a handful of people who she would let have her food and snacks with no arguing. And the better news is that I also have water and food, so we should be fine.”

At the mention of their next step, Nova exhaled. “I feel like our best bet is to get moving. We hopefully might run into some of the others on our travels, or find our way back to the main chamber.” She handed the torch back to Adam, before getting to her feet and holding out a hand to pull him up.

Adam took both the torch and Nova's hand, standing himself up with her assistance and dusting himself off. "Agreed, the sooner we find the others the better." He wasn't too bothered with their current circumstance but he wasn't a fan of possibly dying inside some unknown tomb. Everyone else in their group probably had similar experiences and may need their help. Not that Adam was an altruist, far from it, but he wouldn't want anyone's death on his conscience.

Stretching out the torch towards one of the possible exits to their chamber he said to Nova, "I don't have any preference for the direction. Either one seems like it would be fine" He then pointed towards the other exit with the torch saying, "There didn't seem to be any differences between the two but again, maybe I missed something."

Adam was confident in his observations but Nova was one of the few people he treated as an intellectual peer, in a number of fields she was superior, and highly valued her perspective and ideas. In a situation where both of them lacked knowledge it would be better to rely on each other and work together.

Pacing a little in the center of the tomb, Adam looked around to see if anything stood out to him but found nothing. Internally a little frustrated he played a little with the torch in his hand, flipping and catching it. Turning towards Nova he then asked her, "Want me to decide our fates or would you rather take that responsibility?" Adam gave her a slight smirk when he asked, one of his eyebrows raised questioningly.

Nova decided to fish her own torch from her pocket and switched it on, breathing a sigh of relief when it switched on. “You can probably put out the fire torch, mate, the last thing I need is you catching yourself on fire,” she advised, half joking but also not really. Adam was right about the two corridors off the room being more or less identical from what she could see; which she guessed was probably the point.

She raised an eyebrow as Adam asked if she wanted to make the decision or leave it up to him. “Mate, I’ve heard enough about your shitty decisions from Sol to know not to let you make any important decisions,” she retorted with a smirk on her face. Again, she was mostly joking. In this scenario, Adam seemed to have enough brains and common sense not to do anything too stupid. But she also wanted to make sure that he knew that she was Sol’s friend first, and no amount of playful banter would make him side with him when he inevitably made another horrible decision.

She shone her torch down the two chambers a few more times, taking a few seconds to think. As she thought, she could hear her father’s voice, saying something about how most people, when presented with a choice between left or right, would often take the right hand path; which, of course, meant you should always take the left. Nova nodded towards the path on her left. “We’ll take this one.”

Looking down at his makeshift torch Adam decided to put it out after Nova's suggestion. Her electrical torch would be more reliable for the time being and if needed they could make use of the makeshift torch later. Don't know what situation would occur for that to happen but it's better to be over prepared than underprepared.

As he put out the fire, by utilizing the sand underneath their feet and then storing it, Adam ventured towards the left passage. Before entering it he retorted, "Sol isn't exactly a reliable narrator . . ." He then leaned on the exit's entrance and continued, ". . . Especially when it concerns me or my 'shitty decisions'." Adam could continue talking about his and Sol's issues but it wasn't really the time or place for that. Besides, he and Nova didn't have that close of a relationship.

Upon entering the left corridor nothing unusual occured, at least nothing either of them could notice. After traveling down it for a while around the twists and turns, looking at the various carvings on the wall depicting similar scenes of the fight between the Gods on the walls, Adam noticed that a certain turn in the passage looked eerily similar to one earlier. Taking out his pocket knife, Adam sliced a mark into one of the walls in the corner, to see whether his suspicions would be proven right or if he was just being paranoid.

Nova rolled her eyes as Adam claimed that Sol wasn’t the most reliable of narrators, but decided that this was not the time to explain the girl code to him, and just started into the tomb, using her torch to scan the walls as they went. Truth be told, even though the circumstances weren’t ideal, more than a small part of her was actually kind of psyched at getting to explore a previously undiscovered tomb, especially when there were weird goings on in it.

Because she had noticed the weird goings on and how the corridor seemed concerningly familiar. Even still, she frowned as Adam pulled out a knife and sliced at the wall. “I’m sure there was a less destructive way of making a landmark,” she chastised. “But good to know I’m not the only one wondering if we’re going around in circles. Sometimes these places are designed to make you think that, though. They’re designed to confuse and disorientate you so you’re more inclined to actually get lost. Keep your wits about you. I don’t know if going back the way we came will make it any better, so… are you okay with just staying going forward to see if we come back around this way?”

Still holding the pocket knife, Adam shrugged when Nova chastised him for slicing a mark in the ruins. Could he have used a less destructive means? Sure but would a shallow impression or simple marking have stayed visible if someone unusual was happening? He wasn't taking any chances and he didn't care much for the tomb or its condition.

When she asked about whether they should continue moving forward or try and move back, Adam thought for a bit before walking forward. While walking he said, "We're unlikely to make any progress if we go back but some solutions sometimes require it." Collapsing the pocket knife and placing it back in his pocket he continued saying, "We should see whether or not we are in a loop before we make that decision."

Nova nodded in agreement as Adam said they should stay moving forward. She was thinking along the same lines; often, these things were laid out in such a way to make you think you were going around in circles to confuse you, so you might attempt to double back on yourself and make yourself more lost in the process. They stayed moving forward, Nova scanning the walls with her torch every so often. And eventually, it landed on an all too familiar notch. She sighed.

“We are indeed going around in circles, it seems. I have a sneaking feeling that if we try going the way we came, we might just experience exactly the same thing, just in reverse. But is it worth a try?” She asked. She hoped that it was somehow more straightforward than that, that if they went back, they’d somehow end up back in the room they’d started in, but something strange was at play, so she wasn’t going to bank on it.

Adam rubbed his chin before nodding in agreement. If going forward meant that they would continue in this loop maybe something possibly counter productive could lead to progress. He then turned around and started to walk back and said to Nova, "Definitely worth an attempt . . .'' After walking a little further back he continued saying, ". . . What have we got to lose besides our lives or sanity?"

As they ventured back the loop seemed to continue, the marking showing up several times, before after one corner a long staircase came into view. The staircase led down and the two of them couldn't see the bottom as the view stretched down into darkness. Curious as to how far down the staircase stretched Adam pulled out his lighter and tossed it down the stairs but it didn't reveal much except more stairs.

He sighed before turning to Nova and shrugged before saying, "Well we've got a new development but I'm not sure if it's one I am fond of." Leaning against the wall behind him, Adam thought about how they should continue. He then suggested to Nova, "I'll go grab my lighter and come back up. If I can then we can decide whether or not to continue down, I guess."

Nova was beginning to question how long they were going to be walking back in the direction they had come. They seemed to pass the mark Adam had made several times more, more than the twice they’d seen it when they’d been continuing forward. Nova was about to suggest turning around again when they finally reached a flight of stairs. Shining her torch down the stairs, all they could see was more stairs. The same happened as Adam tossed his lighter down.

She sighed and nodded in agreement as Adam said he wasn’t happy about the development. But they had come to the stairs for a reason, it seemed, and so it seemed they would end up having to go down one way or the other. Nova would have been lying if she had said that she wasn’t relieved when Adam offered to go down after his lighter first. “Sure, that sounds like an idea. Try not to die.”

Smiling, he lightly punched Nova on her shoulder before taking the first steps down the stairs. Without looking back he said, "Thanks for the concern, I'll try not to die." He thought that maybe if they both lost sight of each other while he went down they might become separated. With this thought in his mind he looked back towards Nova and thought about asking her to watch him before dismissing the thought. He was probably overthinking things.

Step after step Adam continued to walk further down into the darkness. When he reached his lighter he bent down and grabbed it, aiming it back towards Nova to spot her. She was still in sight but seemed to be further than what he remembered. He waved towards her before walking back up the staircase towards her.

No matter how many steps he climbs he doesn't seem to get closer to Nova, instead it seems she continues to get further and further away. Adam then attempts to run up several stairs at a time, which works for a while until the stairs underneath him transform underneath him. The stairs disappear and change the staircase to an angled shaft, which makes Adam lose his footing and begin to slide down into the unknown below. He catches a final glance of Nova before shouting, "Fuck!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Romeo Viljoen
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#, as written by TushoKa
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Romeo Viljoen
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XXXHost of Bastet | Attire | hex: #6565D1
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Annette Ryeo
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XXXHost of Osiris | Attire | hex: #73200B
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Romeo looked around the room to take the measurements in his head. He didn’t know what good it would do, but he had to start somewhere. The others had to be somewhere, and Romeo would not believe Ten and himself were the only one in this position. He filled his lungs with air, put his hands on the side of his mouth and let it out all in once. ”HELLO? IS ANYONE THERE?”

Off to his side he saw Ten jump about a meter in the air. ”Fucking asshole! A warning would have been nice!” Ten’s chest was going up and down quickly after being scared like this.
”I know it would have been nice, but I’m not exactly trying to be nice. I just want to get out of here, and know where my friends are. Now if you could be so nice to keep your mouth shut, we might be able to hear a response.”
He repeated the process and shouted again, afterwards laying his ear on the wall to see if he heard anyone shout back.
Ten did the same on her side of the room, but after waiting expectantly for about 30 seconds they both leaned back.

It was worth a try… He started knocking on different parts of the wall, looking for any spot that sounded hollow, but it all sounded like a pretty thick wall. Both making their own plan he saw how Ten started digging through the sand. ”If you’re looking for your dignity, you’re gonna be busy for a while.”

He could hear the sigh he was looking for. Not sure why, he felt like insulting her was keeping him sane, no matter how pointless it may seem. ”You are the most annoying fuckboy ever to roam the halls of Lidenwood. Why is it you’re here with me? Why not anyone else? I’d even prefer Cassidy over you…”
He hardly paid attention to her rant, mores trying to focus on the wall as he tried to observe it from different angles. ”Well Annette, you must have been an awful person. I’m karma kicking you in the face. I’m sure you’d love for Cass to be here. Always nice to have someone to step on.”

He saw Ten standing up and walking to him with a slap ready. ”Stop calling me that! Nobody calls me that!” He held up his arm to protect his face, but the slap never arrived. When he lowered his arm again he saw her staring over him. She walked back a few steps and forward again, still looking over his head.
”Okay… you’re acting weirder than normal, what the fuck is wrong with you?” He looked at her questioningly.
”Shut up idiot, come over here and look up there.” She pointed at a spot close to the ceiling somewhere behind him. He turned around and tried to see what she saw, but it just looked like the same wall they had been staring at for a while now. ”Can you see it? Can you see the change?”
He made his eyes smaller, not knowing what he was looking at. ”I…I don’t have the slightest…”
Another heavy and impatient sigh left her lips. She pointed again.
”Look at that point right there, bend your knees so your my height and walk back and forth a bit. Don’t take your eyes away from that point.”

He did as she asked and bend through his knees. He walked back a bit, still staring. Wait…is that…is it changing?
He walked back and forth a few more times to confirm, but then his eyes started to sparkle. ”Oh my god, that’s…that’s brilliant.”
”What does it mean, I can see it, but what is making it do that?”
He kept walking back and forth, but he saw it more clearly every time he did so.
”It’s forced perspective…like…like an optical illusion. You know those street artist that making a painting on the ground and from one side it looks like a hole in the ground, but from the other side it looks like nothing recognisable? It’s like 3D illusion. There is an opening up there.”

To prove his theory he took one of the dates out of the little plastic bag and he through it up towards the illusion. They both stared as they saw the date disappearing in the opening. ”Awesome, that’s our way out, come.. give me a boost.”
Romeo put his back against the wall and cupped his hand, ready to lift up Ten. Confidently, she put her shoe in his hands and pushed herself up by his shoulders. ”Wait, if I’m helping you up there, how the hell will I get up there?”
She climbed on, almost as if she didn’t hear him. ”Those are worries for later… just stand still will you!”

”Later worry for you maybe, quite urgent for me, mind you.” He uttered a shout of pain as she dug her shoe into his shoulder. All of a sudden he felt the weight disappear as she pulled herself up through the hole.
”All right… you’re there, now turn around and pull me up.”
He heard a small thump on the the other side. ”I can’t pull you up, you’re too heavy. Just wait, I’ll check if there maybe is a door. I think I see something a bit further.”

He heard a few footsteps. ”Annette, wait up…you can’t leave me here…”
He did not get a response. ”TEN? Are you still there?” he shouted nervously.
The response came more quickly and softer than he expected. ”See, is it so hard to call me by my preferred name… you douche kit. Wait there… I’ll be right back.”

Romeo kicked the wall in frustration. What a moment to joke around…biatch
He waited a few minutes, but he heard nothing anymore, nothing more than his own thoughts. He had started to scoop sand towards the wall with the opening. If he could build it up high enough, he might be able to make it himself. But it was no use, the sand was soft and trickled down as quickly as he could scoop it up.

After what seemed to be an hour, he heard movement again. ”Ten, is that you?”
”No, it’s Rapunzel here to let you up by her hair…yes it’s me. Who else? I was only gone for 5 minutes.”
His jaw dropped at this pretentious lie. ”You were gone for like an hour…for sure.”
”Oh shush, you drama queen. Is over-reacting a South African thing or something, or is it just you?” Romeo wanted to retort, but Ten wasn’t done. ”Anyways.. I found a stick that should fit…”

”Okay..that’s disgusting. I know you broke up with your boyfriend, but a stick is never the answer, sweetie. And if it was, you can do it well away from me. Baie dankie. Rather look for a way to get me out of here.”
”Oh my fucking lord, what the hell is wrong with you? Who hurt you in life to be like this? There is a lever here, you idiot, I just need the stick to be able to pull the lever. I hope it will open the wall or something…although…after that comment, I am not so sure.”
Romeo shook his head. ”Lovely, always nice to get the least amount of context in life threatening situations. Fine, use the lever. ”

He looked expectantly at the wall, hoping to see the tiniest bit of movement, but nothing happened. Then he heard the whistling sound again. But it was different than before. It took him a few seconds to realise it was Ten who was whistling. Romeo burried his face in his hands. ”Okay…what are you doing?”
”You said if I wanted a ‘please’ I should whistle for it….this is me whistling…. I got all the time you know.”
He could not believe he was shacked up with her again. Fate was a cruel thing.
”You don’t have as much time as you’d like. I still have your bag and my bag over here, so I have all the food and water. Speaking of, I’m terribly thirsty, maybe I’ll start with your supply.”

Moments later he heard panting and moaning, but the wall didn’t move. ”Come on, but your back into it.” He heard more moaning coming from the other side. ”You better be using that stick for the right thing!”
He could hear something happening. He heard the rumbling sound of stone rubbing against stone. The echo filled the room, but he still couldn’t see it move. Frustrated, he kicked the sand and turned around. Then he saw the opposite wall had moved, it had been lifted right about the point where Ten had been digging earlier. It wasn’t much, but he should be able to squeeze through.


”TEN, STOP! Let it go for a moment.” He heard her let go and the wall he was now looking at slammed down with a forced that could easily split him in half. He could hear Ten catching her breath. ”Why did you ask me to stop, I think something was happening…it felt like something was happening.”
”The other wall opened a bit. We…we have to split up..I guess. Hold on…”

Romeo emptied both their bags on the floor. He tried to divide all the food and water equally. Their personal items he left in their respective bags. He tried to ignore the small bottle of diazepam pills, putting it back in her bag exactly as he found it and resisting the urge to take one himself to calm down a bit. ”Ten, heads up!”
He threw her bag through the opening and heard how she rather caught it than letting it fall to the ground.
”Okay, open it up about the same way you were doing. And please…yes please…hold it until I’m through. Only let go when I say you can let go. This wall will crush me in a second if you don’t.”

”Ready when you are!” she sounded more confident than he felt.
”Cool… cool cool cool. Go for it.” He heard as she braced herself again and by the time she was breathing heavily, he could see dust particles coming from the secret door. He watched on as it slowly opened, centimeter by centimeter. ”Great work, Ten, just a bit further.”

It opened far enough to allow his backpack through. He shoved it to the other side, noticing the wall was not as thick as he expected it to be. ”Little bit more still!” he shouted. He heard swearing coming from the other side. He knew swearing could be a great motivator, so he decided not to respond. As it opened a bit further he laid down on his back, hoping to pull himself through a bit quicker. Here goes nothing…

He wiggled his head past the wall and pulled his arms above him. His hands now on the stones that could crush him in an instant he pushed against them and tried to push off with his feet. It was a tight fit, but slowly he made his way completely to the other side. Finally seeing his feet on the right side, he turned around as quick he could and shouted through the opening. ”I’m through, you can let go.”
Not more than a second after he said it, the wall slammed down in front of him. In a reflex he crawled back a bit. He caught his breath for a moment before his hands grabbed his backpack and he stood up.

”TEN? Can you still hear me?” He stayed quiet, listening for her response. He could hear something, and although he could make out it was Ten, he couldn’t hear what she was saying.
”I..I am gonna go on! I am sure our paths will join again soon!” he shouted more assured than he was.
The hallway was dark, but not pitch-black. He connected his power pack to his phone, and a few seconds later, he saw the start screen coming up. He turned on the torch and made his way further through the hallway, for the first time ever desperate to see Ten again.

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Character Portrait: Tarren Havenfield Character Portrait: Soledad De Leon
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Tarren Havenfield
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Host of Anubis | Song | outfit | #575772
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Always had a fear of being typical
Looking at my body feeling miserable
Always hanging on to the visual
I wanna be invisible

Looking at my years like a martyrdom
Everybody needs to be a part of 'em
Never be enough, I'm the prodigal son
I was born to run, I was born for this
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The two of them had been walking down the rather small passageway for what felt like forever, but Tarren knew it couldn't have been for more than five minutes. While they didn't talk much, aside from the occasional 'You hear something?' or a curse at the presence of a sudden insect. There was something oddly calming about the whole ordeal, even if the possible prospect of dying in an ancient crypt was looming over them, at least Tarren wasn't alone. That was a plus at the very least. Tarren barely even realized that Sol was still holding onto their arm, only noticing when they felt a slight pressure. Looking over at All with a raised eyebrow. "It'll be okay." Tarren reassured her, giving a small smile. "We'll find a way out of here and, never have to be in this damn place ever again. And I may just kill Price when all of this is over. they grumbled.

Stepping a bit away from Sol, Tarren shone the flashlight along one of the walls, their fingers barely skimming over the old stone. Making sure not to repeat what happened in the other room. Their eyes scanned over the strange markings, only stopping to look at Sol as she walked up beside them. Tarren gave them a quizzical look, but before either one could speak, there was a low rumble coming from up ahead, Tarren listened intently, their eyes widening as they realized that something was coming towards them. And at a rapid rate. Looking back at Sol, they acted on instinct and pushed her backwards in a small alcove that was tucked away in the wall, using their body to shield whatever was approaching from the hall. In doing so, Tarren dropped the torch, the light faded and there was the sound of something all too large steam-rolling through the passage way. Tarren held their breath, keeping their eyes locked on Sol who was further in the alcove. But just barely. It turned out to not be as big of a space as Tarren anticipated, and was just barely enough room for the two of them. Tarren had practically collided with Sol, but kept her far away enough that if anything happened to them, she'd be fine.

After a few moments passed, and whatever it was came and went. Silence filling the air once more. Other than the sound of heavy breathing from the both of them. Ren waited a few more moments before speaking up again. "You alright?" Ren asked, they were able to discern how she was from the slight shaking of her body before she spoke. Vocalizing she was more or less fine. It was still too dark to entirely reassure themself that she was okay, but Tarren had to trust her. They looked around, and felt around for something. Anything at all around them to help locate the torch. But to no avail.

Ren took a few steps back, attempting to get enough room to look through their backpack for the other flashlight. But it was barely ten seconds after doing so, there was another rumble below their feet, which shook the old stone, and a large wall shot up between the two. Entirely separating Sol from Tarren. "Sol?? Sol!! Are you okay?!" they shouted. Not sure how thick the stone exactly was that now stood between them. Tarren went silent to hopefully hear confirmation from Soledad. And thankfully, after a few more seconds. They could hear Sol yell something back in return. Just not exactly sure what was said. "I'm gonna try to find a way back to you, okay? I promise! I'm gonna find you!" Tarren shouted one more time. Their voice shook for the first time, noticing their hands were also shaking slightly. They took a few deep breaths before turning back around to face the hallway from where they came. But what they could make out in the darkness, that wasn't the case. "What the fuck…?" they mumbled.

Tarren felt around their environment feebly, hoping to find something to help figure a proper way out. The sudden wall that rose, dividing them from Sol had closed off any source of light on their end. Remembering they had a lighter in their pocket, Ren retrieved it, using the flame to guide their way. Keeping another hand on the wall, stopping as they felt something metallic hit their hand. With furrowed brows, Tarren looked to see a single, actual torch, propped against the wall.

Retrieving it, Tarren placed the torch against the lighter, hoping it may catch alight. Sure enough, it did. perfect. It was only now with the help and aid of the torch they were able to see around them more clearly. Strange markings and imagery spread across the chamber’s walls. Some of them appeared familiar, but still holding that unfamiliarity of them. Continuing on, Tarren had found themself going down a small corridor, that was just barely wide enough for one person to walk through comfortably.

The air was entirely still aside from the sound of their own footsteps, the sound of the fire crackling from the torch they held, and their own heartbeat that sounded like it was pounding in their ears. Pressing onward, the wallway came to a sudden stop, more markings along the end.

Tarren knelt down to try to make out the strange markings, this time it was specifically imagery with no text. But there was still some strange grooves that ran along the wall. It was what appeared to be a small basin about halfway along the wall from the floor. Roughly where Ren’s hands would be. Studying the wall, the grooves continued downward before stopping. All along the way, it seemed to resemble a pipe-like fixture, leading from a sink. At least it’s what reminded Tarren of. Looking it over one more time with a quizzical expression. Studying the images one more time, it slowly became clear to Ren for what this was. A puzzle.

Did it lead out somewhere? Offer up something in turn of completing it? Anything could have been possible at this point. Placing the torch along a mantle on the wall, Tarren retrieved the book from earlier. Skimming through the pages until they found something. After a few minutes, Tarren landed on a page that looked similar to the images they were looking at now.

Offer up part of one self, may you pass onward when the deed is done. the script in the book read. Tarren’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Pausing for a moment, before finally looking at the basin properly, within the center of this stone-line formation, was a drain.

Offer up a part of one self…, Tarren repeated in their mind. Trying to think of what this meant. Tarren’s eyes were transfixed on the object that laid before them, tracing the outline of the fixture once more, observing where the small pipeline ran off too again. It was then that Tarren noticed it. Another indentation alongside the pipe that led…somewhere. Right?

”Offer up a part of yourself…” Tarren mused once more aloud.

Pausing for a moment, before Tarren reached into the side pocket of the backpack, retrieving a medium sized switchblade. No harm in at least trying, right? After taking a deep breath, Ren open the switchblade and brought their left hand up, looking down at their palm, then the knife.

”One way to find out…” Tarren mumbled aloud, before taking the knife and quickly bringing it across the palm of their hand, and then turning it as they squeezed to empty the blood into the small basin that sat before them. Hoping and praying to whatever existed that this would work. After a few moments, there was what sounded like muffled shuffling and sliding behind the stone-wall. Gears? Tarren questioned. There was a small rumble, and the end of the pathway slowly opened up, revealing the continuation of the hallway.

Taking a moment to realize it had worked, a small grin appeared on their face before a burning sensation started in their left handing. Remembering what Tarren had done, they rifled through their backpack, retrieving the roll of gauze and a bottle of water. Tarren first washed the blood away, and then quickly bound their left hand. They still had three-thirds of the roll left. Good to know.

Turning back to face the remainder of the hallway, Tarren took a deep breath, and continued on.

---

It must have been hours later, as Tarren was still walking down this small hallway. Beginning to think that this must have been some endless hallway as part of their purgatory, right? This must have been what this all was. Some sort of demented afterlife. If they had actually died, and this was it, it only felt fitting. To traverse the rest of their immortal existence, alone and going nowhere. Why in death would anything have been the opposite? Only felt justifiable to them.

Just a little more. This can’t go on forever, right?[i] Tarren thought to themself. There had to be some end in sight. And that was when it finally happened. Another dead end of the corridor.

”You’ve got to be fucking with me.” they groaned, looking up at the wall in front of them. ”This can’t be the end, right? I...I can’t die in here. I can’t. Not like this.”

Tarren pressed their forehead against the wall in front of them, closing their eyes as they did so, ”If there is anyone listening...Please...Don’t let this be the end. I can't go out like this. Not without saying goodbye...Please.” Tarren’s voice broke towards the end, defeat slipping way.

Silence filled the hallway once more as Tarren tried to think of anything to say or do in hopes of getting out of this hell hole. It was only upon reopening their eyes, that it hit them. Gone were the walls of the small hallway. As well as the wall in front of them. Tarren now found themself in a large, mostly empty chamber. Looking around to gain their barings, they realized this was more of some underground cave than any of the chambers and crypts they had been in prior to this very moment.

”Hello??” Tarren called, even though they knew this was futile. Their voice echoed within the cave. Knowing it was pointless, as well as best to keep their energy they remained silent.

Taking a few steps ahead, they realized not only were they in some cave, but it was a subterranean lake. Looking down the small ledge of stone they were on, down below was a large expanse of water that separated their side of the room from the other. ”This is just lovely…”

Tarren noticed a small outcrop of stone that led into the water of the shallow side of the lake, before dropping into deeper waters. Slowly and carefully, Tarren made their way down the slope. Deciding to let themself drop roughly three feet down from where they stood. The sound of crunching stone beneath their feet didn’t provide any comfort to them.

Looking around and after dusting themself off, Tarren made their way towards the small outlet of stone. From the placement they found themself, the chamber seemed to be smaller than they expected, but still much larger than they had anticipated. Looking into the lake, if Tarren had to guess, the deepest part of the lake could have been anywhere from fifteen to twenty feet deep. Just fuckin’ perfect.

Ever since the accident that happened when Ren was a child, with their father falling asleep that nearly resulted in Tarren drowning, they never learned how to properly swim. The fear and trauma they endured that day had kept Tarren from any large body of water. Mainly lakes, rivers, but especially the god damn ocean. [i]Fuck all of that.


Letting out a soft sigh, Tarren continued to look around the chamber, there was nothing on either side, until they focused on the other wall. Across the lake, there appeared to be a door. Where did it lead? Better to be to god damn Narnia. They hated everything about this. Being underground, with a lake, and being who knows the fuck where now, didn’t make this whole ordeal any less bad. Not knowing if this was some sick game devised by the school or whatever, all Tarren wanted was to be out. Even if it meant a daily grade.

It was only when looking back at the lake again, that Tarren saw it. Something appeared to be shimmering below the surface. Well below the surface, they mused. Maybe it was a piece of this puzzle, or something? Or just a trick of the eyes. Tarren had been stuck underground for who knows how long at this point, and all they wanted was to get the fuck up out of here. Fuck all of this. They already regretted coming along when they first heard about this whole trip, and now they really regretted it.

Tarren knew full well, that they couldn’t give up now. They just had to push forward. But getting into that water would be the most difficult part. Going against their better judgement, Tarren removed their boots, leaving them next to their backpack after they shrugged it off. Placing it down on the small outlet of the stone floor. For but a moment, Tarren dipped their foot into the water, just barely breaking the surface.

Expecting the water to be naturally cold, seeing as they were underground. But pleasantly and curiously enough to their surprise, the water was warm. Thankfully it was entirely crystal clear, and Tarren could see the bottom from where they were at. There wasn’t any creatures or even fish in the water, which on one hand made sense, but was somehow even more unnerving.

Tarren let their feet wade in the water, growing accustomed to it. Before slowly slipping into the lower end, letting their body submerge up into their shoulders. They could go this far, it wasn’t so bad. Right? It may as well have been the best time to teach themself how to swim, right? No no one to embarrass themself in front of. Or, things could go entirely wrong and they’d drown. No one would be the wiser. And in that moment, Tarren didn’t know what one would be the less wanted option.

But, letting out a small sigh, and stretching a bit, Tarren began to wade back and forth through the water. Growing accustomed to the more shallow end as they spent roughly twenty or so minutes practicing taking laps back and forth the widened stretch of the shallow end of the lake.

After they felt comfortable and secure enough, to at least even attempt to make the dive, they slowly swam over to where they remembered seeing, well, whatever it was below the surface. Taking a deep, steady breath, Tarren finally took the literal plunge and dove down. They didn’t know what surprised them more, the fact they could see perfectly fine underwater, or the fact that they could see more clearly now than they ever could before. But now wasn’t the time to focus on that, moving further down into the water they pushed.

Deeper and deeper they pushed through the water. It felt almost like an eternity, before finding themself half way down. They knew at this point, they’d run out of air before reaching the bottom. Tarren took a moment to collect themself, and let their body sink like a rock allowing their dead way to take them down. Once they felt something hit their feet, Ren opened their eyes once more, seeing a small object partially obscured by the sand on the bottom of the lake’s floor.

Reaching forward, their fingers wrapped around a small, orb like shape, pulling it up. To only see what looked like a chain was looped around a small ringlike fixture that supported the object. Instinctively, Tarren put the object around their neck, seeing as it appeared like a necklace and pushed themself back up to the surface.

Once Tarren finally broke through the surface of the water, taking a large intake of breath. Tarren felt like their entire body would go weak any moment, but they managed to do…it? Whatever it was to even begin with. Remembering the chain around their neck, they looked down now that they were above the surface. It must have been some sort of artifact, but it didn’t look like it belonged in this sort of culture.

Tarren shifted onto their back in the water, and swam back to the little outcrop where they had put their things, and pulled themself out and onto the stone floor with whatever remaining strength they had left. Tarren had all but sunk onto the stone floor as their back collided with it. Finally feeling like they could breath

It finally hit them, Tarren had finally overcame their fear of the water, however adrenaline induced it was. They did it. ”Suck on that one, Scott.” Tarren forced out with a chuckle, still taking deep breaths to recompose themself after that whole ordeal. Tarren just laid there for a few minutes, letting their body come back down from the adrenaline rush. Sitting back up, Tarren looked around, knowing full they’d have to swim over across the lake to even inspect the door. ”Fuck me…” they mumbled out in annoyance. Slowly pulling themself up to their feet, Tarren grabbed their backpack, immediately regretting having to swim across the way with it. But in the end, they did it.

Somehow, Tarren managed to keep the backpack above the water as they made their way across the way. Tossing the backpack onto the solid ground on the other side. Seeing the door was only a few feet from where the start of this side of the chamber was. Pulling themself out, Tarren made their way over to the door-shaped structure. There was no normal doorknob or means of opening it.

All that there was, was a small indentation where a doorknob would be. Puzzled for a moment, Tarren examined the whole wall more closely, being sure to rest their left hand as it still ached. That would come back to bite them in the ass somehow. Tarren just had a feeling.

After a few minutes, Tarren had an idea. Taking the chain from around their neck, they looked at the objected on more time, before looking back at the indentation. After a bit of toying with it, Tarren was able to force the small orb-like object from the outer ring that held to the chain, and placed it within the indentation. There was silence, before a low rumble and a faint blue-white light from the orb.

It lasted only a moment, but it was just as soon was over. There was a soft click and the orb popped out, Tarren just managed to catch it in their hand, and placed it back within the metal ring. Putting it back on, Ren kept it close and picked up their backpack, putting it on as they looked on ahead, another hallway opening up before them.

Tarren took a deep breath, stabilizing themself, and pressed forward. Following wherever this new hall led them to. At this point, they were following everything blindly, hoping it would lead them somewhere back to the others. Anything was better than being alone for the rest of well...Whatever this was...





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Character Portrait: Tarren Havenfield Character Portrait: Soledad De Leon
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Soledad wasn’t sure what she was expecting as they walked down the secret hall of an ancient tomb. There was no course for this. The only thing keeping her tethered was Tarren beside her.

"It'll be okay." Tarren reassured her, giving a small smile. Sol gave her arm a squeeze in response. "We'll find a way out of here and, never have to be in this damn place ever again. And I may just kill Price when all of this is over.”

While she knew Ren just meant to lighten the mood, Soledad wasn’t as casual about her murderous intent. He flagrantly trespassed an ancient monument, trapped them all in some Egyptian puzzle box, put them all at risk - even if they got out alive, who knows if they’d be arrested for some law they surely must have broken. Right now the only thing that could keep the panic in was her ongoing inner monologue she planned to deliver to Professor Price if they ever saw him again.

Ren shined a light on the walls, Soledad stepping beside her. She pretended to attempt to interpret the messages, but she couldn’t even begin to wrap her mind around any of this. The only reason she got out of the last room was because of Tarren. None of this made any sense to her. She looked over at Tarren who seemed equally confused.

“Please don’t tell me you’re also lost? I need you to be the one to-” She stopped mid-sentence, a low rumbling in the distance quickly coming at them. Before Sol even could react Ren had hurled them both into an alcove, using her body to press them against the walls as far as she could. Soledad’s head hit the stone behind them, immediately her vision flashing white.

"You alright?" She heard Ren ask her, Soledad mumbling a vague placation. She didn’t want Tarren feeling guilty over a little head bump. Rubbing the back of her head, she staggered a few steps forward after Ren as she went for her backpack. Within a blink a wall appeared between them, Sol stumbling to catch herself before running into it.

“What the -” She said at first in surprise, then making a meek effort to move the wall before banging her fists on it and screaming. “Ren! REN!! Ren - please, are you there?!”

Sol only paused for a moment to listen but could make out Ren’s voice faintly, but that seemed to only further Soledad’s panic. Screaming and pounding on the wall willing it to move, she wasn’t sure how much time had passed before her throat began to hurt and her eyes had nearly swollen shut.

“Please,” She called out her final plea, sinking to the ground. “I can’t do this alone. . .”

Her head felt heavy. She looked back behind her, the light that had been filtering down the hall from the room they were in was dimming. They were losing time and she couldn’t move. There was no way she was going back to that room alone but she couldn’t dare to go into the unknown alone. The thought alone paralyzed her with fear. She looked at her phone battery, 17%. At this point she was better off turning it off and conserving the battery, but then she would be left with no light source. Filtering around in her bag, the only thing that was of mild use was a cough drop from the plane. She didn’t even have any water.

“Oh god,” Soledad popped the cough drop in her mouth. At least it helped with the cotton mouth. “I’m going to die here, aren’t I?”

She closed her eyes, hoping if she rested for a moment she might wake up and find out this was all a nightmare - or at least not feel like she might collapse. It felt like she had only closed her eyes for a minute but when she opened them again it was pitch black.

theme.

“Hello?” Sol called out, surrounded by total darkness. It wasn’t the kind of darkness you found when you pulled your blanket over your head when you slept, or when you entered an unlit basement. No, this was the kind of darkness that could only be manifested in a space never touched by light. She held out her hands, trying to see if she could make out her fingers.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Panic gripped her chest, Sol shrinking into herself. Shapes began to appear in the darkness, shutting her eyes tight so they no longer played tricks on her. Using her hands to pat the ground ahead of her, Sol began crawling across the jagged ground.

After some time she could feel her knees begin to bloody, even through her linen slacks. The more she crawled it felt like the more narrow the path became. She wanted to back up but when she’d try it was like the passage was changing and wouldn’t allow any way but forward. She wondered if there was some strange phenomenon around complete darkness affecting your sense of direction. Any time she wanted to take a break panic would set in propelling her further into the ever-narrowing passage.

Then suddenly the ground changed. It went from cool jagged rocks to warm smooth stone, almost tile-like. Sol opened her eyes, blinking a couple times to make sure she was seeing everything right. It seemed to be some sort of hall, with grand columns and an arched ceiling. Though immaculate, it appeared abandoned, and yet Sol could still sense somehow that this space belonged to someone.

Soft whimpering broke the silence, Sol peering around a column to see the back of a young girl. Her shoulders were shaking, her tears nearly silent. The girl couldn’t have been more than 9 years old, wearing a dress much like one Sol would wear when she was little. Looking around for any adults who might be caring for the girl, she began to cautiously approach her.

“Are you alright?” Sol asked, placing her hand on the girl’s shoulder, turning her around to see herself - only as a child.

In that moment it felt like her world had shifted. All at once the room seemed to spin, shifting her perspective until she was again that little girl now looking back to herself, though it was no longer her staring back. Standing where Sol once stood was a towering figure. Their skin was brown yet golden like there was a glow emanating from them.

“Who are you?” Sol asked, at first shocked by the sound of her own voice. She had forgotten what she sounded like as a child. The figure knelt to her level, lowering their face away from the shadows and into her light. Their large dark eyes held her, something within them soothing her worries. She wiped at her tears, the light around them seeming to swell until it engulfed them both entirely. The figure reached a hand out, Soledad taking it expecting them to lead her somewhere. Instead they inspected her palm intently, clicking their tongue.

“Child - you are hurt.” They said to her sweetly, pushing aside her hair to cup her face in their hand.

Soledad rested like that for a moment, finding comfort in their touch. She had never met this person before and yet already they felt familiar. They opened their arms, Sol throwing herself into them as they wrapped her in their embrace. She let out her sobs, her shoulders shaking and head becoming heavy until she wasn’t left with anymore. The figure just petted her head gently, cooing as they gently soothed her.

After a while they gently placed their hands on either one of Sol’s shoulders, holding her out at arm’s length. She could see that they were quite beautiful, with sharp and dark features that seemed to draw you in. They reached to wipe away some of her tears, smiling at her.

“Now, now - there’s too much to do little one.” She wasn’t sure what that meant, but when they stood up to take her hand Soledad followed them without question.

They led her to the only piece of furniture in the hall, a plush regal chaise lounge. As she got comfortable, they seemed to manifest a platter of fresh baked goods right out of thin air. Offering it to Soledad, they gave her a warm smile. “Please, take one - or have them all. They’re your favorite.”

Confused how they would know what her favorites were, she cautiously took a cupcake from the platter. Looking at it, it appeared to be just an average cupcake though when she bit into it the flavor exploded in her mouth. It tasted just like the cupcakes from the bakery in LA that her mom took her to when she was 12. Immediately she was flooded with a rush of nostalgia.

“It’s so good,” She mumbled, stuffing the rest of the cupcake in her mouth all in one bite. The figure smiled at her adoringly, laughing as she tried to speak with a cupcake in her mouth. Instinctively Sol went to cover her mouth, realizing she was being rude by speaking with food in her mouth. The figure reached for her hand, lowering it.

“Please, do not hide your joy.” They said gently, smiling. Sol smiled back.

They sat like that for a while. Soledad ate the entire platter but there always seemed to be more. They gave her a metal cup with cold lemon honey water, just like her abuela makes in the summer. She drank and ate until she couldn’t anymore. They listened to her ramble about her interests, laughing at her jokes. There was an infectious warmth that Sol could feel spreading through her, something she hadn’t felt before. Was this what it felt like to be shown love so simply?

“Why have you come here, my child?” They asked after some time, Sol’s cheeks filled with chocolate. She took her time swallowing her bite, struggling to remember anything outside of the hall.

“My friends,” Sol said, remembering their faces trying to piece together what led her here. “We were trapped.”

They smiled sadly, shaking their head. “No, child. Why have you come here?”

Soledad searched their face, looking for her answer. She didn’t know what they wanted to hear from her. Immediately the fear began to settle again, the light around them dimming. The figure leaned forward, placing a hand over Soledad’s heart.

“You need not be scared,” They seemed pained by her suffering. “You are safe.”

Her lip trembling, she looked up at them. Their eyes were filled with so much concern it flooded Soledad with a sense of security she had never felt before, immediately softening under their star. The light around them grew as her fear began to fade, the two smiling at one another.

“You’ve been through a lot, I understand. I want to help.” They smiled. Soledad had never experienced someone looking at her with such love, such concern untainted by obligation or complications. Sol didn’t know why, but she believed them. Not just wanted to believe them but genuinely believed them, and didn’t feel burdened by their offer.

“Who are you?” She softly asked.

They sighed, the corner of their eyes softening. She could see a twinge of something foreign, almost mistaking it for sadness. But when they took her hands into theirs, leaning forward she could see that it was protectiveness.

“You may call me, Bes.” They said, tucking her hair behind her ear.

“Bes,” She whispered, the name popped like bubblegum on her lips. “I’m Soledad.”

They shook their head, “Not anymore.”

When she looked at him, for a moment she could have sworn she saw herself. It was gone in a flash, just a glimpse of her older self in Bes’s shadow. She blinked a few times, trying to make it happen again. Bes laughed, Sol looking around to see what they were laughing at before realizing it was her.

“Now. Again. . . why have you come here, child?” Bes asked, this time their tone was more firm.

Soledad looked up to them, trying hard to think. It was hard to remember anything outside of the hall. The last thing she could recall was darkness. . . crawling. She looked down to her knees, they were still scraped. Running her fingers over them gently, they looked worse than they really were.

“I was lost,” She said after a moment. Bes nodded beside her, encouraging her to go on. “It was dark and I was scared, so I just closed my eyes and kept moving. I didn’t know where or in what direction or for how long, I just wanted out of the dark.”

“I see,” Bes leaned back in their seat.

“See what?”

“You.”

Soledad’s brows knitted together in confusion. Bes had been able to see her all this time, what did they mean by that? She wasn’t sure what Bes could have deciphered from what Soledad had described beyond the fact that Soledad was in fact lost.

“You are capable of so much, you know?” They asked her, Sol immediately squirming in her seat. She wasn’t used to anyone expecting more than the bare minimum for her. The crushing weight of expectations was immediately burdensome, the lights dimming again.

“You must remain full of light,” Bes leaned forward. “You have spent so long in the darkness and I couldn’t protect you then, but together we can protect the child now.”

Their hand rested over her heart again for a moment, the two both looking down.

“You have to go now.” They said after some time, their voice dropping an octave. Soledad immediately wilted, and with her as did the light around them. She looked around them as the lights flickered. Bes gave her a stern but loving look, willing her to remember their words.

Closing her eyes and steadying her breath, she reminded herself.

Be the light.

She opened her eyes, but Bes was gone - as were any remnants of them. Sol was left standing in the empty hall, now facing a crevice that led back into the dark. There was a moment of brief panic before she remembered, be the light.

Stepping forward, she braced herself at the entry peering into the darkness. She had never felt more afraid and yet so safe. All she had to do was be the light. As she reached out into the darkness, her skin gave off a soft glow similar to the one that radiated from Bes. A smile stretched across her face.

Be the light.


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It was impossible to tell what lay within the darkness, but so long as she was the light she would never be lost in it again. Her glow seemed to emanate all around her, filling the void and bathing it in her golden light. She looked around in wonder, Bes appearing behind her.

“I knew you could do it.” They said, smiling at her with adoration. Soledad smiled back, overwhelmed by the sheer joy - untainted and innocent the kind only a child could experience. They went down on one knee, beckoning Soledad closer. Either hand grabbing her shoulders, they pulled her upright as one would to cheer someone up. “I know it will be hard to remember sometimes, and you will be tested over and over again - but you must remember.”

Soledad nodded, “I will.”

I will.

All around them the light seemed to swell, until it was all she could see.

I will.

Be the light.

I will be the light.



Suddenly her head felt warm, Soledad raising a hand to her forehead. As she moved, she could feel the ground beneath her. Running her fingers through her hair, it was no longer the short bob she had as a girl. Dazed and confused, she looked up. There was sunlight shining in above her, it took her a few moments to recognize the walls as the tomb.

Struggling to connect the threads of her reality, she just sat there for a moment. Everything still felt so real, Soledad had never experienced such a vivid dream. It felt just as real as this did. Maybe that meant she was still dreaming, maybe all of this was a dream and she was still at the hotel.

No.

She didn’t know why or how, Soledad just knew whatever that was, it wasn’t just some dream. It couldn’t have been, there’s no way even her wildest imagination could come up with something so pure. She pushed herself upright, looking again to her hands and knees that were in fact still bloodied - though that didn’t prove much.

Looking around again wherever she was, it was not where she was last. It appeared to be a cavern. Though she couldn’t tell from where the light was filtering in, it was lit enough that she could see there was a ledge leading upwards to what appeared to be another landing. Peering out, her hand clutched at the wall as she leaned out over the ledge to look up when the sound of movement behind her made her jump.

“Who’s that? Tarren?” She asked wistfully.



inspirations. 1. 2.

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Character Portrait: Sasha Floyd
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The longer the hallway drew on, the darker it became around the two of them. The only illumination came from Eden’s flashlight and Sasha’s phone that would be dying soon. Sasha had to wonder how far they’d walked since the room they’d woken up in, until they thought Eden had gone quiet. As they turned to look for the room, the other student was gone, not a trace of where he’d gone. How Sasha hadn’t noticed the footsteps disappearing beside them, or the absence of Eden’s flashlight, was beyond them. This stupid tomb had already messed with his mind once, he wouldn’t be surprised if it did it again. ”Eden you dick, you weren’t supposed to get lost too,” Sasha grumbled. He couldn’t see the room’s light anymore, it was just darkness on both sides. It was easier to head in the same direction that they had been going in, so Sasha trudged forward.

Time was lost in this endless hallway Sasha found themselves in. They had no idea what time it was when he found himself in the room with Eden, and this hallway seemed to drag on into eternity. The flashlight illuminating a small circle around Sasha would be gone once his phone hit zero, which wasn’t long. They needed to find a new light source, or more preferably, a way out. Even to see someone else’s face again would be a miracle. ”Alright everyone… the joke’s not fucking funny anymore, you can come out,” Sasha called out into the void, their voice sounding more panicked than they meant to sound. Thinking that this was just some prank made up by the other students was the more optimistic take on the situation, otherwise it would seem that they left Sasha down here to wander endlessly until starvation or dehydration took him out.

And the room was getting… smaller? It wasn’t noticeable at first, but Sasha definitely remembered having plenty of space between themselves and Eden, and now he could barely stretch his arms out, and the ceiling was inches from their head where before it was out of reach. What the hell is up with this freaky tomb? Sasha thought to himself as he kept moving forward, becoming more aware of how much the space was tightening around them. If their heart rate wasn’t accelerated before, it was practically thumping out of their chest now. Sasha had never been good with small spaces; it mainly came from being shoved into lockers while they were in school, and faint memories of being locked in closets at the orphanage when anyone was misbehaving. Enclosed spaces always felt like a punishment, and Sasha’s legs felt like jelly as they forced themselves to keep moving, dropping down into a crouch and eventually onto their hands and knees to even move through the space. Sasha didn’t understand why they kept going through the small tunnel, maybe just to cling onto a barely flickering hope that there would be some hole out to the world above the sand again. And once he saw Professor Price again, he was getting a piece of Sasha’s mind. Maybe a punch to the face too, if that wouldn’t get Sasha expelled.

There was no hole, but a dull blue amulet hanging from a gold chain. It was slightly stuck into a crack in the wall, and the tunnel narrowed so much that Sasha could only extend their arm as far as they could to try and reach it. Their fingers could barely take hold, but with a little maneuvering and luck, Sasha got a firm grasp and pulled it away from the wall. It was made of a beautiful stone, almost too nice to be down here out in the open. The stone face had hieroglyphics etched into it, but otherwise was a normal looking amulet. Sasha hung it around his neck, hoping to get more information from the locals once he could escape this hellhole.

But the moment the gold chain touched their neck, the stone started to glow and Sasha was hit with a sudden dizziness. They backed away, enough to where they could lean back against the wall and sit there for a moment. All of his limbs felt heavy, but there was a numbness in his mind that only came from one substance: alcohol. Sasha was drunk somehow. ”Oh my god… I’m fucking drunk!” Sasha hiccuped, giggling to himself. Something in the properties of the amulet had given Sasha the feeling they would usually only get out of a night of bar crawling. They weren’t even sure they could get off of the ground, slumping further against the wall and descending into more drunken giggles.

Sasha.

An unfamiliar female voice called out to Sasha. It sounded so far and so close at the same time. Whose voice was that? And how did they know Sasha’s name? As the voice called out to them, a gentle wind started to pick up, and knocked Sasha back to the floor as they tried to stumble up to their feet. The air had been stale and unmoving the entire time they were down here, but somehow it picked up now. It was cool and refreshing on Sasha’s body that had been slowly heating up down in the tombs. ”Sorry, disembodied voice, the wind says no.” Sasha called out into the darkness, though he still tried to move forward, getting to a point in the hallway where it started to open up again and they could actually get up on their feet.

Come to me, child.

Sasha froze there for a moment, caught in the warmth of the voice as it slightly changed. Was this… his biological mother? There was no possible way she was coincidentally in Egypt, and had followed a random group of college students down an undiscovered tomb, but their mind was filled with a certainty that this was their mother’s voice. It didn’t add up, he’d never heard her voice before, but in this state of mind there was nothing else Sasha was going to believe. Sasha couldn’t believe he was hearing things, he didn’t want to believe it. He wanted to believe that their mother was standing right there inside the darkness, and all they had to do was follow her into it and meet her for the first time. ”Mum? I’m coming, okay? Please wait for me?” Sasha’s words were slurred as they stumbled forward again, reaching out into the darkness.

Sasha was slammed back to the ground as the winds picked up, forcing them off their feet. The winds were working against Sasha, trying to keep him just out of reach. They gritted their teeth and pushed forward, ignoring the feelings of nausea and the way the room spun as they moved ahead. Sasha closed their eyes for a moment, but it only made the spinning worse and they crumpled completely onto the floor. The winds were growing and Sasha couldn’t fight them in this state. They rolled onto their back, staring at the ceiling. It was no longer a sandy tomb ceiling, but a sky full of stars that reminded Sasha of New York. That was where she was, New York. That was where Sasha was supposed to be, not in this strange tomb where impossible things were happening.

Don’t stop now, keep going Sasha.

There was something wrong. His birth mother wouldn’t know his name. She had no idea who the child she’d given up was now. But they still clung to the idea that this was her. It gave Sasha enough strength to drag their body forward against the harsh winds, grunting as they put all of their energy into just getting one hand in front of the other. ”Don’t leave me again! I’m almost there!” Sasha cried out desperately. The winds were crushing him back into the ground but adrenaline was starting to course through their body and propelled them to a room where the winds stopped. There was a light shining down in the middle of the room like a spotlight, and when Sasha stepped in the middle of the light’s circle, they realized there were several more openings in the room that led to other parts of the tomb.

There also came loud voices from every room, flooding into Sasha’s mind and causing them to slam their hands on their ears. It was so loud and all the voices overlapped one another, making it hard to determine what they were saying and which opening to use. These were much more familiar voices, sounding like their family, their friends. One opening sounded like Ren calling for him to follow them out of the tomb. Another was Sol, telling him that she wasn’t going to wait much longer for him. There was Eden, wondering where he’d gone and offering his hand just like Sasha had. Even Charlie, who hadn’t spoken to him in months, was saying that the rest of the group had gotten out. All of them were leaving him, and he didn’t know who to follow out. It was all too much, and Sasha’s legs gave out and sent him right back to the floor. They pulled their knees to their chest and covered their ears even tighter.

Sasha prayed for something, anything, to save him from being left again and dying alone in the tomb. As if the gods were answering his desperate thoughts, the voices stopped, and just one came from the opening Sasha had just come out of, loud and clear.

Breathe, you’re almost there. I’m right here with you, alright?

This time, the voice was no longer too far for Sasha to know who it was. The figure appeared from the first opening, and they swore that this is what their biological mother would look like in Sasha’s dreams about her. Some of the features fit into the Egyptian world more than the city of New York, but the warmth and care radiated from her like Sasha always imagined it would. She moved forward, and kneeled down in front of Sasha, wiping tears from his eyes that he didn’t know he’d even split. ”Mum, you’re here,” Sasha whimpered, reaching out and clinging to her the moment she was close. Warm arms wrapped around their body, holding them close like only a mother could, remind Sasha of Siobhan’s hugs. But all too soon they pulled away and the warm hands cupped Sasha’s face. The woman was smiling at him, brushing his hair away from his face.

You are a strong one. Stop your crying, child, there is no reason to be sad.

She reached down and touched the amulet’s surface, and all at once the dizzying, drunken feeling that had settled into Sasha’s body vanished even with the necklace still on, but it stopped glowing again. The figure in front of him was not his mother, and the realization made his heart sink. ”Who are you, then? Why are you being so nice to me?” Sasha asked. The figure stood up without answering, turning her back to Sasha and towards the opening again.

We’ll meet again, Sasha. Go find your friends.

Sasha immediately moved as the voice spoke one final time, feeling their body wasn’t their own as they got up and walked back to the same opening as before. They didn’t know who, or what, this voice was. The only thing that Sasha knew at this moment was that this was the one that would get him out alive. There was still wind blowing fiercely from the opening, and Sasha tried to wipe away any of the remaining tear tracks on him face in case they did find someone again. When they entered the windy tunnel, they felt the immediate urge to run. They ran as fast as their feet would take them, and instead of the wind working against them like last time, it helped him run faster and farther. The tunnel wasn’t narrowing like before, in fact, it was getting wider and lighter. Sasha ran faster, the amulet gently jumping on their chest as their lungs heaved for air. They weren’t going to stop until they physically couldn’t run any farther, but they hadn’t expected to run into someone and slammed into that person as they finally ran out of the tunnel they’d been stuck in since losing Eden.

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Character Portrait: Charlie Addams
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host of isis - outfit - #d83f66
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I learnt not to want
The quiet of the room
with no one around to find me out
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Charlie stood with her back to that wall for a while, not wanting to move forward. She knew she had to, she didn’t even know what she was waiting for. Eventually, after god knows how long, she managed to force her feet to take one step. Then another. Then another. And she was making her way down the hall, slowly, scanning the walls with the torch as she did so. She could hear her own heartbeat in her ears, echoing over the sound of her footsteps. There were no twists and turns. The corridor just seemed to stretch on and on, into infinity. But now she had finally started moving, she couldn’t stop. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she found herself glad that she’d had the cereal bar. She might need the energy.

She didn’t know how long she’d been walking. It felt like an hour, but it could have just as easily been fifteen minutes or ten hours. Her feet hurt, that much she did know. But eventually, she could see a door at the end of the corridor. It looked old and heavy, but opened easily. However, as she stepped into the room, it swung closed with a heavy thud that made her think it wouldn’t be opening quite so easily. The room was set up like some ancient obstacle course. Did the Ancient Egyptians have their own version of Wipeout? Because that was what it reminded her of.

She cautiously took a step forward, peering down the slope that awaited her. It led straight into a cavernous pit, one she couldn’t see the bottom of. She’d need to launch herself from that to grab onto the other side, she guessed. She swore to herself, suddenly wishing she’d taken up rock-climbing instead of ballet.

“Do you want some help, darling?” A man’s voice asked. Charlie jumped, nearly losing her footing and slipping down the slope. As she turned, for a second she saw a face she swore she’d never wanted to see again. And then she blinked, and that face was gone, replaced with a face she couldn’t quite describe. But she didn’t need to. The man made her skin crawl. There was a threatening aura about him, about the way he loomed over her, making her feel shorter than she already was.

“Who the fuck are you?” She asked.
“I’m here to help,” the man said, with a patronising smile that had Charlie clenching her fists.
“Sure you are. You’re probably the psychopath who trapped us in this place,” she snarled, turning away to examine the slope again.
“Do you really think you can make that jump by yourself?” He asked, smug. Instinctively, there was a voice inside her, one that she wasn’t totally sure was her own but that she wasn’t going to question.
Yes, you can do this.
“Yes,” she retorted, folding her arms. “I can do this by myself.” The man just raised an eyebrow at her, and gestured to the jump as if telling her to try. She steeled herself for a minute, before bursting into a run. She began to stumble about half way down, and at that point, launched herself against the other wall. For a terrible second, she thought she wasn’t going to make it. And then she collided with the wall, barely avoiding smacking her face against it as she clung on for dear life.

There was that voice again. Soft, gentle, warming. She’d never known her mother, but it still reminded her of a mother. You’re strong enough. Pull yourself up. You can do this.

She pulled as much as she could, managing to pull herself up by about another inch, before her arms gave out and she slid back down half an inch. She panted heavily with the effort, before making another try. She got a bit further, but her boots weren’t meant for climbing sheer rock faces and she sure as hell had never bothered working on her upper arm strength.

“Do you want my help?” The man asked. She swore and nearly slipped back down as he appeared from apparently nowhere, standing on the other side of the ledge with an arm outstretched.
“What part of ‘i can do this by myself’ wasn’t clear to you?” She asked, but she was breathless with exertion. The man laughed, and the need to punch him in the face made Charlie manage to pull herself up a little bit more.
“Sure. Let’s see how long you can hold on. Do you really want to risk falling, though? Would anyone ever find your body?” He asked, and she exhaled heavily through gritted teeth. With a surge of strength, she managed to pull herself up almost enough to get her leg over the edge, but then one of her arms gave out, and she almost slipped off the ledge entirely, losing what little progress she’d made.
“You have to trust me, Charlie Addams.”
“Fuck off.”
“The only way you can get through this is by trusting me.” There was something different about his tone now. It wasn’t patronising. It was… almost as if he was telling the truth. So far, she hadn’t physically been able to get up, her foothold always giving out at the next second. But after he’d been so rude and so patronising… could she really trust him? She stared at his offered hand. She had to. She wasn’t sure she had any other choice. Because he was right. Unless she trusted him, asshole or not, she was going to die. So she grasped his hand. He grabbed both of her arms and helped pull her over the edge of the ledge. Once she was over, she lay there for a few seconds, holding her chest and trying to catch her breath. The man was standing off to one side now, watching for.

“Who the fuck are you?” She repeated, but perhaps less aggressively. The man smiled again, that aggressive, smug smile that made her want to punch him all over again.
“You don’t need to know that. All you need to know is that I’m here to help.” He said. She clenched her teeth, deciding it was probably too early to actually swing any punches.

The next obstacle was a wall that was just a fraction too high for her to scale. This time, the man just laughed, a harsh cruel laugh, and gave her a boost over the wall. As she scrambled up, though, her foot “slipped” and collided with his face. “Oops, sorry!” She called cheerily as she swung her leg over the wall and she slid down the other side. As she slid down, she was suddenly afraid that he wouldn’t rejoin her on the other side; but as her boots hit the floor, there he was.

The last obstacle was a thin beam, suspended over yet another gaping, bottomless pit. The man just shrugged as she looked at him. “You’re on your own, here, darling. I’m not going to hold your hand all the way.” And like that, he was gone. She swore to herself, staring at the thin beam. Then, slowly, slowly, she edged her way out onto it. Almost immediately, she could feel her balance going, and she backed onto the solid ledge. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she could hear the man’s laugh again, and it lit something inside her. She took another step out. And another. Slowly, slowly, she edged out. Her arms outstretched like they had been in her childhood ballet classes, keeping her balanced and light on her feet. Step by step, she edged her way along, slowly, but determined. When she reached the other side, her legs nearly gave out with relief, but somehow didn’t. From somewhere, deep inside her, a voice spoke again.

“Trusting yourself is as important as trusting others, my dear.”

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Character Portrait: Nova Morrison
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Something was wrong with the staircase. Adam just seemed to be slipping away, even as he tried to climb them back towards her. There was nothing she could do, too afraid to take a step any closer in case she fell. And then the stairs turned into a slope, and Adam was gone. Almost as soon as he was out of sight, the floor shook and stone slid over the gap in the floor where the staircase had once been, and it was like nothing had ever happened. Nova stared at the spot on the floor where Adam had once been, less than a second ago.

“Oh dear. That’s not good.”

She still at least had her torch clutched firmly in her hand, so she wasn’t out of luck entirely. Cautiously, she took a step back, slowly scanning the room around her, examining them for… something. A sign, perhaps, or another trap. Instead, her torch passed over something that hadn’t been there seconds before. She stared at the door for a few seconds, afraid that it would be another unending staircase. She wondered what had happened to Adam. She couldn’t, wouldn’t believe that he was dead. He had to be fine. And if he had to be fine, she would also be fine. Besides, turning back meant wandering alone through that awful unending looping chamber, and she wasn’t sure that was what she was supposed to do. So instead, she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and opened the door.

At first, it just looked like another corridor. She exhaled a little with relief, but didn’t let her guard down, cautiously making her way down it, constantly scanning the floor and walls around her for signs of another trap or trick. There was nothing to alert her to what was going to happen. One second, the floor beneath her was solid rock, unmoving and sturdy. And the next, she was in quick sand up to her ankles.

She screamed in shock, immediately attempting to pull her feet free. She knew that, at that depth, she should have been able to free herself. Instead, the action of attempting to pull either of her feet towards her just made the quicksand pull faster. She screamed again, this time for help. There was nobody around. Adam was gone. She hadn’t seen a sign of another living soul since she got in. There was nobody coming for help, but still she screamed, screamed until her voice cut out and she was up to mid-thigh, all the while attempting to pull herself free.

She had to stop for breath, having to try and get her thoughts in line as well. But thinking as she could feel the sand closing around her, hot like the desert sands outside and burning her skin, was easier said than done. But the minute she stopped fighting, she seemed to sink slower. One deep breath. Another. She cried out for help again, her voice cracking with the effort.

Kid. You’re going to be okay.

The voice was unexpected and out of the blue. It seemed like somebody was in the room with her, but when she looked around, it was still empty.

Listen to me, kid. Take a deep breath.

She did as she was told. Was it her imagination, or did the sand no longer feel quite as hot?

That’s it, you’re doing great. The more you fight, the more the earth will fight back. But if you trust the earth, you’ll be okay. It’s not gonna kill you today, kid. I won’t let that happen. But you’ve got to let go and trust it.

She was up to her waist now. Instinctively, she struggled, and the sand around her seemed to heat up, a flash of heat as a warning. Trust it. Let it happen. She took a deep breath, or as deep a breath as she could.

Keep breathing. Don’t panic. The hard part comes now. You just need to let go. Let go, and it’ll be okay.

As it rose over her chest, she instinctively tipped her head back to give her more room to breathe and more time to get in those gasps of air. She had to resist the nervous giggle that rose in her chest. Her father had taught her so much about tombs, and yet had never taught her about these traps they had apparently built in. When she saw him again, he’d probably spend an hour interrogating her about how they’d worked.

It was getting harder to take deep breaths now. She kept trying to do so, but the pressure on her chest was mounting. The sand at least didn’t seem to burn when she tried to take in a shuddering deep breath, which was something. It was taking every single ounce of self-restraint and trust she had not to panic and try to claw her way out. She had to let this happen. She wasn’t getting out one way or another, so she had to let this happen.

You’re not alone. It’s gonna be okay.

She felt the sand begin to rise over her face and screwed her eyes shut. It was at that moment that the panic kicked in, of course right at the minute she could no longer breathe. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t react. She was hanging in space, suspended, weightless. All she knew was darkness and the feeling of something cool and familiar against her skin. There was something almost comforting about that.

And then, she was falling. She hit a pile of sand and slid off of it, sliding along the stone floor. But she just lay there for a few seconds, coughing and gasping for air. Her eyes were open, but she wasn’t actually taking in any of her surroundings. She managed to sit up, leaning forward slightly to let her take in deeper breaths, a refrain echoing through her head. I’m alive. I’m alive. I’m alive.

Good work, kid. Take a break. You’ll need it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eden Montgomery Character Portrait: Sasha Floyd
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Eden Montgomery
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Host of Serqet | outfit | #9D948D
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This life is imperfect
And love is a mess
I want the right to fuck it up
Just like anybody else
Just like everybody else
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Eden had been walking beside Sasha for what felt like for hours. Sure there was silent breaks between the two every now and then, but the prolonged silence that befell them for the past five minutes was begining to eat away at him, "Hey, Sasha, I-" he started, but stopped when he realized he was alone. "Sash...?" he asked. Eden spun around a few times, flashlight still in his hand. "Okay, joke's not funny anymore. Sasha...buddy?" he called out.

When there was no reply, Eden continued to press onward, hoping that maybe he just walked too far ahead of Sasha. But as Eden continued to walk, it felt like he became more and more lost the longer he continued walking. Which sure as hell didn't help his already steadily climbing anxiety. As he continued on, he heard what sounded like scattering footsteps behind him, and once he turned around, there was nothing. Eden shrugged it off, maybe it was just rats. Right?

Turning back around, there was now a door, instead of the hallway that was just there moments before. Eden's eyebrows furrowed, and with a deep breath, he opened the door and stepped through. In front of him was a large chamber. That was entirely empty, aside from something that was in the middle of the room. He raised an eyebrow as he enroached whatever it was. It was only when he was about fifteen feet away from it, that he realized. It was some sort of creature. An odd, thick, black fur covered most of the creatures body, there was tusks, but also fangs protruding from its face. As he looked over it more closely, it may had resembled a boar, but the rest of the creature didn't make any sense. Its front legs were hooves, but the back end, appeared more of paws with claws. He didn't even know what he was looking at anymore. And the face, well, Eden didn't even want to guess. It all just felt and looked wrong. Like this shouldn't, no, couldn't be a part of nature.

But he realized, the creature didn't move. He thought once he got close enough, it'd get up and possibly attack. But it was entirely still. As Eden stepped closer, it was still breathing. With heavy, labored breathing. Eden kept enough space between him and the beast, that if it was merely asleep, he could try to get away. But, as he examined the face once more, he noticed that one of its eyes were in fact open. Looking at him. He blinked, and it blinked back in return. The two continued to stare the other down for a few minutes before a soft voice rumbled in the back of Eden's mind, You must help it. the voice spoke.

"Hello? Who's there?" he questioned aloud. Looking for whoever spoke up. Fear not, child. I'm only here to help. the voice said again. It was only then that Eden realized it was a woman's voice. The voice was soft, somewhat distant, but she sounded kind. Gentle. "Okay, but who are you?" he questioned again. That doesn't matter at this moment, dear Eden. But you must help this creature. It's in pain and needs help. the voice said calmly. There was a small notion of worry in the voice's tone. Eden was able to understand that much.

"Okay, random voice in my head. How am I supposed to do that exactly?" he questioned, looking around. It's in a state of paralysis. You need to be able to cure the venom from within." the voice further explained. Eden looked around the room once again, "And how am I supposed to do that-" he started, but that was when he noticed it.

Up on a small outcrop of stone in the chamber's wall, was something that sparkled. Eden figured there was no harm in exploring things. He walked up and after a bit of initial struggle, he was able to pull himself up enough to reach for the object. After hopping back down, he saw that it was vial of some kind, with a strange liquid. He stared at it for a moment before looking back at the creature, "With this? he questioned. There was silence once again. "Of course you put me on hold.." he muttered.

Eden walked over to the beast, and with one hand he opened it's mouth. But upon further inspection, realized it was more of a pointed end of the vial. Realizing it was a syringe. he braced himself, placing the pointed tip to the creature's side, and injected the strange liquid into the creature. There were a few minutes of silence, before there was the faintest bit of movement, as the creature began to twitch.

Eden pulled himself away, and watched in awe as it got to its...feet? The creature was much larger than Eden expected, but it nearly looked at him, bowed its head and walked away from him with no more than a small huff of air breathed his way. Eden watched as part of the stone wall opened up, the creature walked through, and the wall closed once more.

He looked around anxiously. "Okay, I did it. Now what?" he questioned. I knew you could do it. Now, use the key and go. the voice said. "What key?" silence was all he got back. He looked back at the vial in his hand, and noticed a small metal key was within. Smashing the glass vial on the ground, he retrieved the key, upon doing so, he noticed another door on the opposite wall. Upon unlocking it, he stepped forward. What lied ahead were stairs.

"If I die...I'm gonna come back and haunt Price's ass." he muttered. Further and further Eden progressed down the stairs. Using his phone's flashlight as he did so. His feet finally hit solid ground once more, and as he looked around, Eden realized where he was. It was a rather small corridoor. The walls, upon inspection, weren't stone unlike before. It took him a moment, to realize they were actually bones. The more he looked, there were various bones and skulls that made up the walls. "Oh for fuck's sake..." he muttered.

Eden pressed forward, keeping his eye for something. Possibly a way out. But each turn he made, down a different hallway, seemed to lead to more hallways and passages that veered off to nowhere. Looking at his phone, 54%. "For fuck sake..." he cursed. He doubted he'd have enough to get out from wherever he was.

As he continued on, Eden finally heard it. Footsteps from behind him. "Sasha?" he called out. Shining the dimlight as he looked. But as he focused on it, he realized there was no possible way that was Sasha. Or even human. These footsteps were all too large. Too heavy. Sounded more like four limbs hitting the floor than two. Eden instantly turned back around and started sprinting down the way he came from. Trying to distance himself.

Left. Right. A dead end. The cycle repeated itself more times than he could count. And everytime, it sounded like whatever was following him, was picking up more speed. All Eden could do was hope ad pray he'd find some exit or place to hide. He just needed to get away from whatever it was.

His lungs felt like they were on fire as he continued to run. He thought he'd exhaust himself before he got away. And he'd be at the mercy of whatever gave chase after him. It felt like another five minutes of running at a constant pace that he saw it. A single door at the end of the current hallway he just pushed himself into. Slamming into the wall as he scrambled back to his feet. One foot infront of the other. He paced himself. He was so close, but the creature behind him sounded closer. As if it was right behind his ear. Breathing down his neck.

Eden reached out forward for the door, it immediately swing open as his hand applied pressure, and he fell through the doorway. Falling over his own feet as he didn't hear anything from behind him. It was only then that Eden realized, when he fell through the door, he crashed into something. He blinked as he tried to regain his breath, looking down he realized what it was.

"Oh holy fucking shit-" he groaned, wrapping his arms around the familiar form of Sasha. After a minute, Eden finally found the strength to sit up. "Where the fuck have you been?"





Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Fletcher Stone
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#, as written by phosphene
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FLETCHER STONE
zhost of Hathor - #AE6378 - outfit
zzzzzzzzz.zz

xxThey say the devil's water, it ain't so sweet
xxYou don't have to drink right now
xxBut you can dip your feet
xxEvery once in a little while

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Fletcher felt guilty, leaving Charlie behind, but he knew he didn’t have any other choice. Hopefully she was smart enough not to sit around and wait on him. Maybe one of them would run into one of the others. Then things wouldn’t have to be hopeless for the both of them.

The corridor seemed to go on forever, and Fletch was worried he was just walking to his death or something, but eventually he noticed an opening to his right. When he peered inside, however, he just saw an empty chamber, pretty small too. It was nothing to waste his time on, so he continued on. He knew he needed to find a way out of this tomb if he could… If only he weren’t so turned around. The halls and chambers couldn’t go on forever though, could they? A few minutes later, he came across another empty chamber to his right. And another a few minutes after that. Why were there so many empty chambers? Maybe grave robbers or something.

It was only after he passed by the fourth or fifth identical empty chamber that he started to think something wasn’t right. Was he going in circles? He turned around to look behind him, and only saw a long, straight corridor. He turned back around and started walking very quickly, then broke out into a run. He couldn’t be going in circles, it wasn’t even possible. Eventually, he realized that going into that chamber was his only option. So he did, and he looked around. There was nothing in there, but Fletcher started looking around, and found a doorway that was just hidden from view from the hall. Fighting the urge to turn and run back down the narrow corridor he was in before, Fletcher stepped over the threshold.

Inside was a tall tree, and a table set for a feast, but no food. “What the fuck…” He mused aloud as he walked towards the tree. He swore he could almost hear it, it was melodic in the strangest way. Like a thousand people all singing in unison about some beautiful glorious thing. He rested a hand on the trunk of the tree; he wanted to feel grounded in the world outside this tomb, even if only for a moment. He didn’t know how this tree being here was possible, or even how it would have grown, but he appreciated it all the same. There was some kind of warmth to the tree that he couldn’t place, and for the first time since he’d entered this tomb, he felt okay.

Then he heard a low growl. All his limbs felt like jelly, and it was all Fletcher could do to slowly turn around to at least face the danger presented to him. A lioness stood in the doorway, only the elaborate table standing between the two of them. Fletcher didn’t even have the time to wonder how long she may have been stalking him before she started sizing him up. This wasn’t on the list of ideal ways for Fletcher to die.

He started looking over the table, desperately. There were no knives, or even silverware to speak of. Shit, He thought, knowing he probably didn’t have much of a chance of either fighting off or outrunning a fucking lion. He looked up and locked eyes with the lioness, feeling the weight of her golden eyes. It felt like she was looking right into his soul, and he had to fight very hard to suppress the shudder that wanted to work up his spine. Her gaze was intense, and in it he felt more than just hunger. He could practically feel her rage. He wondered what must have happened that the beast would feel such anger, would look upon him as if he were some sort of insect that had pestered her all day.

The lioness started slowly stalking towards him, around the table. Fletch made the decision to slowly step around the other side of the table. He halfheartedly glanced down at the table again, looking for something- anything- that could improve his chances of survival. Plate? No. Bowl? No. Cup? Probably not. A pitcher? He wasn’t convinced, but his instincts told him to pick it up. He wished he had more time to come up with some sort of a plan, but all he could do now was listen to his gut.

Something inside the pitcher sloshed when he picked it up, and a realization sparked inside of him at the same time. The lioness jumped up on the table and started towards him, so Fletcher needed to act as quickly as he could.

He poured the amber liquid out of the pitcher, into a nearby bowl, and said, “Drink.” His voice faltered, and it barely came out above a whisper, but the lioness started lapping at whatever that mystery liquid was.

Fletcher’s legs failed him, and he fell to his knees, trying to catch his breath. A part of him thought he should run while the lioness was distracted, and another part of him was afraid it would agitate her again, so instead he just leaned over and rested his head on the ground. After a moment, he heard her jump off the table, but nothing came of it. Fletcher listened, and all he heard was the sound of his breathing, and his panicked blood rushing through his ears.

It was several more minutes before he worked up the nerve to get up and see what was happening. He didn’t expect to see a cow.

He shot up off the floor and looked around wildly, desperately. Where had the lioness gone? After he was satisfied that the lioness was gone, he turned and looked at the cow, for a moment taken back by the elegant horns on her head. “Where did you come from?” He mused, and tentatively approached, extending a hand to see if the creature would let him pet her. When he rested a hand on the cow’s head, he could have sworn he heard something ring out through the space between them.

That’s better.

And then he noticed a stairway behind the tree that he wasn’t entirely sure had been there before. Looked like the only way to go was up.

Before heading up the stairway, he took one more look at the cow. It was so strange. He almost felt like she could speak to him if he’d listen, the way she looked at him with those big, golden eyes.

This place was so fucking weird.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yousof Farooq
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Yousof Farooq (#CD7F32)
Soundtrack//Outfit


"Oof."

Yousof didn't land so much with a slam as a thud, bruising just about every part of his body (or at least it felt that way). He rubbed the back of his neck as he sat up, cracking and twisting his joints with the vigor of someone twice his age. Nothing felt broken, but he would definitely need to see a chiropractor after this ordeal was over. Craning his neck he saw that the ceiling was...nonexistent. The walls extended far past the light of the torches, blending into the darkness until all you could see was a black skyline, punctuated with a handful of stars.

Before he could take time to admire the scenery however, a screech reverberated through the room.

“Who’s there?”

“I am the god of kingship, ruler of everything under the sky. All who have domain over the land answer to me. So mortal, what will you offer me in exchange for my patronage?”

“What? What do you mean, patronage? I just want to get out of here!” Yousof exclaimed, throwing up his arms. “One minute I’m trapped and the next I fall straight through the floor.”

What even was that? There was no possible way he could both fall through the floor yet land in a room with an open view of the sky. It just didn’t make any sense. He stared above him, unsure where to focus his eyes

“If you wish to leave here, you must prove that you are worthy of my approval.”

“What? That’s…” Yousof paused. It was a ridiculous request. He wasn’t rich, he wasn’t influential, and he certainly wasn’t some demigod in training. He wasn’t even the funniest person he knew.

The shadow circled around him, cawing in protest of the silence. Staring at his feet, the young man sighed.

“Okay, I don’t have anything,” Yousof whispered, gathering his breath.

“So I uh, challenge you!” He announced, pointing towards the sky.

“I have no time for your petty games,” the god scoffed, “I decline.”

“Why? You’re a god aren’t you?” Yousof taunted, his voice growing more confident, “so you shouldn’t have a problem winning."

"Unless you’re afraid.”

“You dare overstep your mortal authority!?” Horus slammed his fist against his throne, shaking the walls of the aperture.

Sand fell from the fragmented floors, scattering across Yousof’s body. Still, it didn’t keep the madman from speaking.

“That’s right.” His voice remained unwavering, even as he brushed himself off. “You're washed up. A myth from the past. Nobody’s worshipped you for centuries.”

“Very well,” Horus roared, “I will show you the gulf between a man and a god.”

He descended from the skies, cracking the floor as he landed. His wings snapped back, spraying sand across his challenger's face.

“Choose your challenge wisely,” the bird-faced king sneered. His eyes narrowed at the human before him, growing angrier with each second that the man dared to meet his gaze.

“Let’s play poker.” Pulling out a deck of cards, he waved them at Horus who crossed his arms.

Contrary to expectation, Horus let out a chuckle. “If you thought you would throw me off with something modern you are sorely mistaken.”

A square table emerged between them, adorned with hieroglyphs and a seat on each side. Coins fell from the sky, stacking into neat piles on either side of Horus and Yousof.

Taking a seat, he found himself dwarfed by the deity. He was far taller than any creature Yousof had ever seen. It didn’t matter whether this was a hallucination or reality, if he lost then he would surely die.

But he couldn't show him that.

"The rules are simple. Each of us draws five cards. And then after seeing our hand we take turns betting in the middle. You can either raise, call, or fold. Calling being matching and folding being giving up. Once that’s done, everyone who hasn’t folded will reveal their hand and whoever has the highest value gets the pot.” Yousof paused for a second. Ah man there were a lot of rules, but the onus was on him to explain it. It wouldn’t be a fair fight otherwise.

”Ranking hands from strongest to weakest, Five of a suit is strongest, then four consecutive cards, four of a kind-”

“-Then three of a kind, two, and a single high card.”

“Wait how do you-”

“I may not have competed in over a millenia, but I’ve watched you mortals from afar.”

“Well since we’re both on the same page, all we need is a dealer,” Yousof replied, “now there isn’t anyone else here, but I’m sure we can-”

“There will be no need.” Waving his hand, a falcon-headed woman rose out from the ground, carrying a wooden tray with a deck of cards.

He certainly wasn’t expecting that.

“If there is nothing else then I will play your game, with a few adjustments.”

“Adjustments?”

“I do not like the idea of shying away from battle nor having win conditions be so binary so there will be no calling or folding, only raising. The highest bidder then determines which hand wins, the strongest or the weakest."

"But that just gives the advantage to whoever has the most money!" Yousof protested.

"These are my conditions."

After a long pause Yousof sighed. "Can I add some new rules too?"

Horus stroked his chin before gesturing for the mortal to continue.

"I want us to be able to exchange cards at the beginning. That way the winner isn't just determined right out of the gate. And-" Yousof turned over to the woman standing by the table before pulling a joker from his deck-”I’d like to add this into the game. Whoever pulls this automatically wins the round regardless of whether the rule is high or low.”

“Even in gambling it’s foolish to rely solely on luck,” Horus chuckled, shaking his head. "Nonetheless, I accept."

As the dealer began passing cards to Horus and Yousof, he took stock of his coins.

He had a handful of gold rings, two stacks of silver coins, and a fair number of bronze pieces. Compared to Horus, they seemed to be equal until he saw two more followers appear behind him.

“What the hell is that?" Yousof asked, gesturing to the coin-filled buckets they were holding. “how do you already have so much money?”

“I had our dealer give us currency based on our valuation and as a god, I am priceless while you are…”

Yeah, he couldn’t disagree there.

“Now then, let the game begin!”

Torches flared around the five participants, revealing an audience of sand-formed people shouting their god’s name. Even the moon and stars showed themselves as spectators to the match, scattering light across Yousof’s body. It seemed that the heavens favored an underdog.

Or perhaps they were looking for entertainment.

“Commencing round one. Please pay your participation fee and announce the cards you will be exchanging,” the dealer announced monotonously, passing each of them five cards.

I see…

Rather than the traditional hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds Horus’ deck consisted of...sticks, coins, cups, and swords. God help him if his old housemate didn’t go through a witchy phase.

Sticks were clubs, coins were diamonds, cups were hearts, and swords were spades. Easy. Easy stuff.

...Except for his dead hand.

Seriously? A high card in the first round. That’s it? Pressing his lips together he gazed at Horus.

“A pair of threes,” Horus said, handing the cards over to the dealer.

The god’s face was unreadable and his hands unmoving. Was he going for a weak hand? Shooting for something better? Maybe he was trying to feel for Yousof’s playstyle. Horus had the means to toy with him for as long as he wanted. He needed to gouge the god’s funds; otherwise, Horus would bleed him dry.

“All, five cards.” Dropping his hand, Yousof displayed his cards in full, earning a round of boos from the audience.

“What are you trying to pull here?”

“I told you, I didn’t want someone to win right out the gate.”

“Very well, now commencing the betting round. We will start with you, my liege,” the dealer announced.

“Two gold rings,” Horus replied, sliding the currency to the center of the board.

Yousof bit his lip, eying his hand. It was no quadruple King, but it could work under the right circumstances.

“Five gold rings,” he replied, dropping them on the table.

“Response?” the dealer turned toward Horus.

“I raise another three gold.”

“Do you raise, mortal?” Though the dealer’s mouth didn’t move, her voice was as grand (if not a bit robotic) as Horus’ own. She barely turned her head, but her blank eyes bore into his soul.

“Ten silver chips,” he said, pushing the stack towards the center.

“For someone so confident you’re being awfully stingy,” Horus laughed, “I thought you challenged me because you thought you could win.”

“Oh I’m sure. I am one hundred percent sure!” Yousof announced, “I’m just trying to keep this game interesting.”

Or upon further consideration, ninety-nine percent.

“Hah, very well then. I will concede,” the god chuckled.

The dealer nodded before turning towards Yousof.

“Horus has chosen not to raise. It is now time to make your choice, mortal. Stronger or weaker?”

Yousof glanced at his opponent before averting his eyes back to his own hand. He couldn’t think of a good reason for Horus to throw away a pair, even if it was low. And Yousof doubted that Horus would lay down obvious bait.

He had two high pairs, a ten and a jack. While that was on the lower end of winning hands the odds of getting a single pair or nothing were much higher than the other options. If Horus also had two pairs then they would need to be higher face cards.

But what if he has a joker. His face paled for a moment.

In reality the odds of pulling a joker were fairly high, one in fifty-three to start with but slightly higher with each draw. For a whole hand, it was ten percent which was larger than nearly every other winning combination.

“I choose stronger!”

“Very well. Commencing showdown!” the dealer declared, “please reveal your cards.”

Fuck.

If Horus’s falcon head could show any emotion he was sure the god would wear a shit-eating grin.

“A two pair versus three of a kind. Horus wins.”

Cheers erupted in the background with some even whistling in applause. A god creating a legion of his own fans? Not surprised.

What had he gotten himself into? While the god pushed his winnings to his side of the table, the once-confident college student hunched over as the next set of cards was dealt. Horus read him like a book.

“Commencing round two.”

An ace of spades and four random cards. Cool. Coolcoolcool.

It was actually not very cool.

”Three cards please,” Yousof sighed.

If he was lucky he could go for a straight and if not, maybe cut his losses early.

No cards.”

Seriously fuck that guy.

“Given that you lost the last round, you will be placing your bet first,” the dealer announced, turning over to Yousof.

“Five bronze pieces,” he responded.

“Hm.” Horus stroked his chin. “Twenty silver.”

“Fifteen silver.”

“Twenty-five.”

“One gold ring.”

“Ten gold rings.”

“I can’t beat that,” Yousof not so much said as muttered.

“Can you please repeat that?” the dealer asked.

“I...cannot beat that,” he said through gritted teeth.

“Then the betting round is over. My liege, what do you choose?”

“I choose weaker,” Horus announced, his expression imperceptible.

“Please reveal your cards.”

Yousof laughed. It’s like he knew. The god just knew he exchanged into a good hand and punished him for it. He hadn’t known Horus to also be the god of telepathy, but maybe he just skipped that Egyptology lecture.

As each subsequent round began, Yousof stared at his dwindling stack of coins and subpar hands. Though he scavenged a few wins, he wouldn’t last many more rounds. Whether he won or lost was entirely up to the god’s whims; he could have easily ended the match if he wanted to, yet he kept his opponent on the precipice of defeat. Yousof wanted so badly to yell at the deity to stop toying with him. There was no other reason to keep torturing him except to assert his dominance.

I just don’t think it’ll work out. I need someone who’s more...ambitious.

Yousof grasped his head, crying out in pain. He could feel his heart pounding through his eardrums and his eyes welled up with each voice that entered his mind.

My son is so stupid. Why can’t he be like your son?

How many times do I have to tell you, you aren’t my son anymore?

What the fuck? Why are you here? Why are you yelling at me?

We took out all these loans and this is how you pay us back? Just what were you doing in school all these years?

Please, I didn’t mean to. I can do better, you know I can do better.

If you’re going to be a disgrace then leave.

I don’t want to go.

“Human, please pay the participation fee if you wish to participate in the next round.”

Just as quickly as they came, the voices faded, leaving Yousof a red-eyed mess. He reached to the floor to grab his cards, steadying his arm lest the shaking cause him to drop his hand again.

“You are free to concede anytime, mortal,” Horus shrugged, “there is no shame in a graceful defeat.”

Wiping his eyes, he gazed at his hand before throwing in a bronze piece.

Fuck that. If he was going to be a disgrace he’d go down fighting.

“How many cards will each of you exchange?” the dealer asked.

“Three...please.” Steeling himself, he handed a stack over to the woman before evaluating his new cards.

“One card,” Horus nodded.

“Proceeding to the betting round. Mortal, what is your bet?”

Poker was a game of bluffing, this variant even moreso. He couldn’t show hesitation.

“Five silver pieces and ten bronze pieces,” Yousof announced.

“Unfortunately, the fun ends here,” he sighed (though not particularly remorsefully), “I raise you thirty five gold rings.”

“Wait…”

“You’re out of funds, mortal.”

It was now or never.

“I bet my life!” Yousof yelled, standing up.

“Bahaha!” Horus’ laughter echoed through the room before the rest of the audience joined in, “what sort of offer is that? Our agreement was to gamble with currency.”

“You said you gave us our funds based on how much each person was worth so how is this different?”

Horus put down his cards before shaking his head.

“My valuation was a method of quantifying our starting value, not a loophole to keep gambling.”

Yousof glanced at the dealer pleadingly.

“My liege…”

“Tell me, what could your life possibly offer?”

“I might not be rich or famous or a god, but I’m not going to run away either,” he continued before slamming his hand down and leaning over the table. “I don’t care if you kill me, possess me, or turn me into one of them because I know I’m going to win.”

Silence fell over the stage as Yousof continued staring down his opponent. Whether he was a king, a god, or a hallucination with an overinflated ego, Horus’ divinity no longer had bearing on Yousof’s resolve. All he could hear was his heart beating in his ears and all he could feel was the fire coursing through his system.

“So are you going to raise or back down?”

For the first time Horus paused, his eyes no longer looking at Yousof, but rather at the prize pool before them. Leaning back in his chair he gestured for one of his followers to drop a pot on top of the table.

”Do you still believe you can beat me, Yousof?”

Yousof’s eyes widened for a second before balling his free hand into a fist.

“I’m not backing down.”

”As you have nothing else to raise with, Horus shall determine this round,” the dealer announced before turning to her ruler, ”Stronger or weaker?”

“This round shall be stronger.”

“Commencing showdown!”

Yousof hitched a breath as each player’s hand was revealed. Two royal flushes.

“Due to the tie, the two of you will split the pool equally,” the dealer announced.

Was this really happening? He knew he should have asked that question earlier, but even more so than a fever dream, the odds of both players getting a royal flush were nearly zero. The crowd’s jeers and Horus’ silence was enough for him.

Yousof more than doubled his pot and more importantly, this outcome wasn’t one of Horus’ doing. There was no acting in those bemused eyes or clenched fist. No amount of prediction could account for such low odds and on the zero percent chance that Horus cheated to assure victory then he did a terrible job of it.

And yet instead of prepping for another round, his astonishment turned into mirth.

”So you have finally stood up for yourself,” he smirked, ”I was afraid I’d have to hold your hand like the others.”

Hold my hand? What is he talking about?

Dropping back into his seat, Yousof moved to collect his earnings Horus held up a hand.

”There will be no need for that,” he said, ”this challenge is over.”

”No I’m not going to calm down. Tell me what’s going on!”

“Relax, lest you forget your purpose.”

With a wave of his hand, the audience, the table, and even Horus dissolved into sand, leaving Yousof and his joker basking in the moonlight.

Come back here, you coward! It took all his restraint to keep from yelling those words out loud and even more not to bang on the ground again. Instead, he laid on the ground, fidgeting with his card between his fingers.

He was so close to gaining a lead and for Horus to disappear like that was just unfair. He would have liked to say that Horus owed him an explanation of what was happening, where his friends were and how to leave, but truthfully, he'd gotten swept up in the match. That one-in-a-million tie was the closest thing he'd felt to accomplishment in a long time and for it to be taken away so easily was....painful. Standing up, he dusted himself off and slipped the card back into his pocket. In the distance there appeared to be a staircase that led towards another door, hopefully one that would allow him to leave this place.

If you wish to be a king, you must act like you are one.

Didn’t you just…

Glancing behind him, Yousof breathed a sigh of relief before jogging up the stairs. Even if he wanted a rematch it wasn't going to happen if he stuck around here.

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Character Portrait: Annette Ryeo
17 sightings Annette Ryeo played by EsmeBheart
"maybe i'm too emotional, or maybe you never cared at all"
Character Portrait: Cassidy Cooper
16 sightings Cassidy Cooper played by EsmeBheart
"I think about these things too much, My mind likes to wind itself up"

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View All » Add Character » 22 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Tarren Havenfield
Character Portrait: Nova Morrison
Character Portrait: Nancy Yoo
Character Portrait: Eden Montgomery
Character Portrait: Romeo Viljoen
Character Portrait: Charlie Addams
Character Portrait: Ethan Williams
Character Portrait: Fletcher Stone
Character Portrait: Soledad De Leon
Character Portrait: Yousof Farooq
Character Portrait: Sasha Floyd
Character Portrait: Adam Barrett
Character Portrait: Rahmi Farooq
Character Portrait: Lenny Cordova
Character Portrait: Rhiannon Carter

Newest

Character Portrait: Rhiannon Carter
Rhiannon Carter

Blessed by Artemis

Character Portrait: Rahmi Farooq
Rahmi Farooq

reluctantly Yousof's twin

Character Portrait: Adam Barrett
Adam Barrett

"With enough time . . . we could succeed."

Character Portrait: Sasha Floyd
Sasha Floyd

blessed by nephthys, goddess of air

Character Portrait: Yousof Farooq
Yousof Farooq

I got Horus in the back, Egyptian God attached, Leather jacket black, marked my eye to match

Character Portrait: Soledad De Leon
Soledad De Leon

Blessed by Bes, Fertility God of War

Character Portrait: Ethan Williams
Ethan Williams

sunshine boi

Character Portrait: Charlie Addams
Charlie Addams

"Luminous beings are we; not this crude matter!"

Trending

Character Portrait: Sasha Floyd
Sasha Floyd

blessed by nephthys, goddess of air

Character Portrait: Rahmi Farooq
Rahmi Farooq

reluctantly Yousof's twin

Character Portrait: Ethan Williams
Ethan Williams

sunshine boi

Character Portrait: Yousof Farooq
Yousof Farooq

I got Horus in the back, Egyptian God attached, Leather jacket black, marked my eye to match

Character Portrait: Nancy Yoo
Nancy Yoo

you know i'll take my heart clean apart, if it helps yours beat

Character Portrait: Nova Morrison
Nova Morrison

"I'm learning to walk again."

Character Portrait: Rhiannon Carter
Rhiannon Carter

Blessed by Artemis

Character Portrait: Soledad De Leon
Soledad De Leon

Blessed by Bes, Fertility God of War

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Sasha Floyd
Sasha Floyd

blessed by nephthys, goddess of air

Character Portrait: Nova Morrison
Nova Morrison

"I'm learning to walk again."

Character Portrait: Rahmi Farooq
Rahmi Farooq

reluctantly Yousof's twin

Character Portrait: Adam Barrett
Adam Barrett

"With enough time . . . we could succeed."

Character Portrait: Romeo Viljoen
Romeo Viljoen

"I always knew it..., I am the f*cking cat's meow."

Character Portrait: Nancy Yoo
Nancy Yoo

you know i'll take my heart clean apart, if it helps yours beat

Character Portrait: Charlie Addams
Charlie Addams

"Luminous beings are we; not this crude matter!"

Character Portrait: Tarren Havenfield
Tarren Havenfield

"Still fighting my demons, but I follow, follow you down."


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