sixth_attack: (Reflection)
Sechs ([personal profile] sixth_attack) wrote in [community profile] damned_institute2014-04-12 04:45 pm
Entry tags:

Night 75: Underground Lake

[From here.]

The moment Sechs felt his powers seep away from his grasp he knew they had entered Landel's territory. They must have been just below the institute grounds at this point. He and Taura would have to make the rest of their trek without any significant boost to their speed. Thankfully they seemed close to the end of the subway and before long the claustrophobic walls of stone and moss gave way to a grand cavern. They had reached the underground lake.

"So... This is that lake Marc and Sora were talking about!" Sechs remarked with a whistle, taking in the impressive scene before him. The cavern presented itself as a collection of environmental contrasts, an open yet oppressive landmark with unnaturally white sand set against impenetrable darkness. The central lake was but a black silent spot in the ground, nearly indistinguishable from a solid or a liquid. For all Sechs knew, it could have just been an enormous pit with no bottom or an expansive ring of black ice.

Such comparisons reminded Sechs of his M-U, causing his back to twinge and ache. Slowing down to a burdened shuffle, Sechs stepped off the rocky ground onto the eerily white sand. There he stopped to recover his energy, crouching down upon the sand with his crowbar supporting some of his weight. "Didn't think I'd be visiting this place from outside of the institute!" he panted, "Now we just gotta get across..."
ninelivesonce: (aow: halt not)

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-04-13 12:47 am (UTC)(link)
Taura's powers were entirely due to the body she'd been born with, and going to Farwell hadn't returned it. So she didn't feel anything other than dread at reaching the Institute. Walking back into a trap after she'd gotten out was one of the tougher things she'd ever had to do; she wanted this, and it was the right thing to do, but it wasn't easy.

"Did they say anything about how we can get across?" She was a strong swimmer, but she wasn't sure it would be a good idea to dip Sechs' wounds in dirty water, and it would definitely do bad things to their radios and flashlights.

The sand was too perfect, too; it was pure white, and almost seemed to glow, though that was the contrast with the water, and the fact that this body's eyesight was almost as keen as her own.
Edited 2014-04-18 02:24 (UTC)
trolltaker: (112022353)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-04-18 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Ahh, the dulcet tones of a new pair of patients. It was something that Charon couldn't resist, nor would he, seeing how this was his job and he might as well carry it out whenever given the chance. Considering how boring things were otherwise, playing with the patients was about the most excitement he ever got.

Pathetic? Maybe, but at least he had fun with it.

And so the boat slowly skimmed across the water toward the pair, appearing out of the fog, though Charon himself was laid down in it so that they wouldn't spot him at first.

A little spook was bound to loosen them up, right?
ninelivesonce: (neutral face)

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-04-19 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
"Neither do I..." Taura answered. An autonomous boat didn't seem strange to Taura, but it did feel out of place. She prodded the feeling as they watched it draw nearer.

The only other thing she'd seen that moved on its own at the Institute had been the stairs to the third floor, and all those had done was get them up to I.R.I.S. a little quicker. She remembered the jolt of fear-and-anticipation that had gone through her when the floor moved on its own, out of their control.

Ah. He liked giving them the illusion of control. Dancing to his tune, maybe even now, but with seeming free will. Giving them hope -- or rope to hang themselves. Maybe the two were one and the same. "I guess we just have to hope it's going our way."
trolltaker: (112022352)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-04-24 01:56 am (UTC)(link)
As hoped, the boat did sail its way right up to the shore where Sechs and Taura were waiting, pausing when the front half rode up on the sand.

Before they could make any attempt to get in, however, there was a rattling sound and slowly but surely a spine and skull appeared as a living skeleton straightened itself up from the bottom of the boat.

The skull was fixed in an eerie grin and while it couldn't blink or move its mouth, a voice still came out.

"Well, here are some new faces. What're your names, kiddies?"
ninelivesonce: (neutral face)

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-04-26 01:09 am (UTC)(link)
The boat drew nearer, seemingly empty. No humm of a motor, and the lake seemed still except for a few ripples. If it was being propelled, whatever was doing it was very quiet, and definitely invisible.

She was watching it closely, and still didn't spot the bones tucked under the edge.

Taura's golden eyes went wide when the skeleton popped up, but she held her ground. The stunner would be useless without flesh to attack, but the throwing star could and would break bone easily. That was, of course, if Sechs left anything alive.

Was alive even the right word? What was it? How was it moving? How was it talking?

"Taura," she said, since it had asked a question and it was only polite to answer, even as Sechs swung his weapon at it. Her voice didn't squeak. Barely.
trolltaker: (112022355)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-04-28 02:46 am (UTC)(link)
It might have been Charon's intention to give the two patients a bit of a spook. He was a talking skeleton, after all! He had to play to his strengths.

But he figured that two tough guys like this pair wouldn't react so strongly, and so he wasn't prepared for the crowbar that came swinging right at his poor skull!

It popped off of his neck and he had to scrabble forward on his boat to catch it before it plopped into the water. Trying to wrest it away from those nasty souls hidden down there wouldn't be much fun.

His shoulders slumped as he affixed his skull back in place and then he straightened up again, pointing an accusatory finger at the one who'd assaulted him. "Some way to greet your ferryman! You'd better give me a pretty good reason not to sail off right now, kiddo!"
ninelivesonce: (smile)

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-04-29 11:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Taura was still trying not to stare. Mostly failing. She knew how awful that felt, like every glance was cutting right down to the bone. Um. Well, at least now she was trying not to giggle, and this time succeeding at keeping her thoughts to herself. Unless the Ferryman could read minds, but in that case, he was probably used to sifting through a lot of nonsense.

Besides, it had only been a rumor that anyone had managed to engineer that into people back home, though they hadn't managed talking skeletons, either.

She ignored Sechs' startled rant; she didn't think any less of him for being surprised, especially when he was still in a great deal of pain, but there wasn't anything she could say that would sound convincing rather than patronizing. So she turned to Charon and answered his question. "We're trying to find a friend. Is that reason enough?"
trolltaker: (112022352)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-04-30 09:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Charon might have stayed more upset if he wasn't so darn amused by how embarrassed this Sechs guy was for what he'd done. He laughed, the hollow sound echoing through the large cave around them.

"Hey, I asked for your name and you didn't give it! No need to get upset about it now." He shrugged his bony shoulders and then glanced over to Taura, who overall seemed much easier to deal with.

"A job's a job, and I'm here to do it. I guess I'll take you across." The question was, did he ask for a toll? Bah, they'd just pick smell anyway, and that was so boring he might as well expire on the spot.

He waved them into the boat. "Hurry up, now! Not gonna stay here all day." Except he was, because he was always here, but he could at least act like he was in a hurry.
ninelivesonce: (spaceship)

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-05-06 12:42 am (UTC)(link)
For a moment, Taura was sure she was going to have to sit on Sechs to get him to stay in the boat. If she could even get him in it.

Funny, how having him so angry and frightened made her less so. Any fear evaporated as the boat captain became less strange as he huffed and blustered like any small-craft owner. She half expected him to ask for their credit chits and to fasten safety harnesses as well.

That wasn't to say he wasn't Landel's flunky, but if he was, he was no less a person than any of the others. Even the ones that weren't people to everyone. Like the Sphinx, who was somewhere down here, trapped and angry.

She wrinkled her nose to show her disapproval of Sech's nickname, and stepped into the boat. Carefully, since she was big and it was small, but it barely rocked at all. "We're in the basement, right?" She hadn't seen a lake in the basement, but that was where they were supposed to be arriving, and they were definitely still underground. "Do you know where we should go next?"
trolltaker: (112022355)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-05-06 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
What the heck kind of nickname was that? Charon wasn't usually one to hand out his name so freely, but he'd rather be called that than "Cackle Bones."

"It's Charon," he corrected, shifting around in the boat as both of them got inside. There was more than enough space for all three of them, but he moved up near the front of his vessel and then gathered his row into his bony hands.

At least Taura had some sense to her, she was asking some questions that actually made sense. Though Charon still scoffed at that second one.

"Wherever the wind blows!" he said, almost singsong with his tone. "Nah, but you'll see where you are soon enough. Just hold your horses." He started to row, the boat pushing out into the water.
ninelivesonce: (look me in the eyes)

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-05-09 01:10 am (UTC)(link)
The lake was black, but space was blacker; Taura felt oddly at home on the boat as it slipped across the water, and she watched the shore recede and the other one draw near. She hadn't seen anywhere like this in the basement, but there'd been several doors she'd never seen the other side of.

Landel's creatures were usually straightforward; if Charon said she'd recognize where she was, she believed him. It might be somewhere horrible -- the sand pit arena would be the worst of tricks to play on them, when she was fairly certain that was the cause of Sech's injuries and why he was so frantic to get back to his friends.

Sechs, on the other hand, was using chit-chat as a salve for anxiety. She had to admit she was curious, though. Was this man of bones some other myth, like the Sphinx? So she added her own question, without turning away from looking out at the water. "Does it get boring? Not that much call for a boat captain down here."
trolltaker: (112022352)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-05-09 04:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Charon preferred that they talk, no matter what dumb things might come out of their mouths. At least it was something to fill the silence, and so as he continued his slow, rhythmic rowing to propel the boat across the water, he considered their questions.

"Sure, it gets boring! And quiet. I find some monsters to play around with if I get too bored, usually, but spiders aren't very good poker players," he grumbled to himself. Was he joking? Probably, but he said it all as if he was completely serious.

"And you expect me to remember back that far?" he asked Sechs with a barked laugh. "I've been here as long as I can remember! Don't really got anyplace else to go." Believe it or not, a talking skeleton didn't have much place in the world.
ninelivesonce: (the mind)

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-05-12 03:59 am (UTC)(link)
The opposite shore was closer than the one they'd left, if not by much, and Taura watched it draw near. Neither of the two men in the boat could see her smile as Charon spun his tales, but she did. If she didn't look at him, he seemed a lot like most of the mercenaries she knew; there was humor in everything, and the best bluff was a ridiculous story with just a hint of truth.

She still wasn't very good at it. But she could appreciate the art.

Sechs was like her; direct, and he drove to the heart of the matter. Was Charon one of Landel's victims, a co-conspirator, or something else entirely? And could they count on this as a way out if they needed one?

"How long has it been, really?" She knew what had been said -- seventy-five days, unless she'd lost track one of the times she'd overslept. That wasn't enough time, not for what Landel had built, and it was an awfully short time to have it all unravel on him.

Not that she was precisely complaining about the unraveling. Grabbing on with both hands, and teeth beside, and pulling as hard as she could.
trolltaker: (112022359)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-05-13 02:29 pm (UTC)(link)
The trip wouldn't take too long, all things considered. The lake wasn't particularly large, it was just completely impassable without a boat to ride on. Slowly but surely, more of the white shore became visible ahead of them.

They weren't really letting up with these questions, though, were they? "Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Maybe I just showed up without warning." Whatever the true answer might be, Charon wasn't giving it.

"Time doesn't mean so much when you're dead, y'know!" he said with a chuckle. "But this has always been my job, ferrying people around, so I can't say I'm not used to it."

Maybe it hadn't always been here. Maybe he had once existed in another realm, the same as all of them, until he was whisked away to this place. Charon wasn't interested in sharing.
ninelivesonce: (neutral face)

ack sorry I thought I'd posted this

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-05-22 01:01 am (UTC)(link)
Taura knew that feeling -- she'd been born to be a soldier, and even if she hadn't turned out to be pretty good at it, she certainly wasn't suited to anything else.

But she'd had the choice. If she'd wanted to, oh, try out for the zero-G ballet, Miles would have hugged her and told her he'd see her when he was in the neighborhood. And he wouldn't have laughed. She wondered, sometimes, what he'd been born to do -- and what he was running from. Something, but she wouldn't ask. He'd tell her, or not, and it didn't matter.

The likelihood of tourists here seemed kind of low, but she didn't bother pointing that out. "This isn't the only lake on the planet. Or the only planet." Though being dead might be more of an obstacle, since she didn't know what was keeping him animated.

Sand hissed along the bottom of the boat; they were pulling into the shallows. They might be the last people to cross here, ever; she wanted to end it on a good note. "Good luck."
trolltaker: (112022352)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-05-22 04:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Were these guys really trying to give them advice about what to do with himself when this was all said and done? Charon hadn't thought too much about it before, but maybe he should start. He wasn't convinced Landel was going anywhere anytime soon, but still, Charon was bound to outlive him. He was eternal, whereas Landel -- well, who knew with that guy?

"A boating business!" He snickered and shook his head, his skull rattling around loosely. "Not sure most people would be too thrilled to have a guy like me taking them around." The patients only made use of him because they had no other choice, and usually Charon enjoyed taking a toll from them. That wasn't going to be a selling point in most places.

When the boat ran up on the shore, Charon set his oar aside and then moved out of the way so that both of them could depart.

"Pretty sure I should be telling you two chuckleheads that!" He doubted he'd ever be seeing them again, but this had at least given him some entertainment for the night.
ninelivesonce: (*eyeroll*)

[personal profile] ninelivesonce 2014-05-24 01:21 am (UTC)(link)
There was someone out there willing to pay for anything, you just had to find the right customer. And the right pitch. The problem came when it wasn't yours to sell, but Charon's labor was his own, so that wasn't an issue. Lots of people would pay to be scared. Or for the illusion of danger.

Taura didn't like to think much about what she and her siblings might have been sold for if they'd been a little bit longer-lived. She'd fought, and done some serious damage, but there was only so long anyone could fight. She had plenty left for this battle, though.

She tossed Charon a lazy salute, and fell in behind Sechs as he headed to the door. "We'll take it." They were going to need luck -- everyone here did. They'd need it just to find Sechs' friends -- he was certain they'd be there, but Taura wasn't. Too many people had disappeared in the past few days.

But she didn't need to let him know that.
trolltaker: (112022352)

[personal profile] trolltaker 2014-05-26 01:23 am (UTC)(link)
They may have gotten off on the wrong foot, but these two had turned out to not be too bad. Charon still wasn't sure that people would really want to get boated around by a skeleton, let alone that they'd want to pay for something like that. He also didn't have much need for money, but if anyone wanted to temporarily give up one of their senses, that would be fun.

It was some food for thought, at least. Which was the only kind of food that meant much to him these days, so he appreciated it in his own way.

Not that he was going to let that show. He simply watched the two humans embark. "Hey, I told you, it's Charon!" he called out, his gravelly voice echoing in the large cave. Despite that, he chuckled to himself. "No hard feelings, but you better remember your manners next time! If not, I'm throwing you overboard!"

There probably wasn't going to be a next time, but Charon could play along.