the fox has been outfoxed again
Joined: Jul 2011
Originally posted on MSPA
"'Beautiful sister'? What are you talking about?"
"...N-nothing. Th-this guy i--th-jjjour-journal... He... AAARGH!"
"Okay, I get it. Another one of those things is wreaking havoc with your mind. Can you please try to focus? There's something in the basement, and it's probably the cause of all of this. I'm going after it."
"N-no, it'ss d-danger-erous. Gggod... d-dammit... Sh-shouldn't g-goooOOOAUUUGH"
Letting off an ear-shattering scream, Eureka doubled over on the ground, clutching her head. As Syvex regained his bearings, creaking reverberated through the entire manor, almost as if it was breaking apart. The dull reverberations gave rise to a great cacophony, growing to unbearable levels before returning to normalcy as if nothing had happened. Syvex opened the door and gave a cursory examination of the hallway, noticing nothing out of the ordinary. Except the brief flashes of color, of course - they hadn't simply stopped. Altogether, that is. Though it had been hard to notice through the utter chaos and confusion, during that short time there had been a complete secession of color. Even afterward, the rate and magnitude of flashes had dropped dramatically. Eureka, however, hadn't fared so well.
"G..god ffug-k...king da...mit... M-my... s-sist... no..."
"...You know what? The 'ghosts' are causing all of this, and the 'ghosts' don't want us in the basement. That's exactly where I'm going. I've had it. ...Are you okay?"
Eureka struggled to pull herself off of the ground and face the serpent, clutching her head with one hand. A grimace fixed on her face, she barely managed to spit out, "D--do I look okay t...to you?"
"Better than you did a minute ago. Just... lock the door after I leave. Riko's out to kill you."
Not waiting for a response, Syvex headed out into the long corridor and quietly shut the door behind him. He had managed to take Eureka back to the guest bedroom where he had begun this ordeal. As he made his way back toward the stairs as he previously had, he noted (with some dismay) that the appearance of the colors had increased in frequency again. The large amounts of ornate paintings and lavish decoration made what should have been a simple trip down a hallway into a confusing ordeal for the serpent. As he reached the railing adjacent to the staircase, looking out over the manor's front hallway, Syvex noted with further dismay that he was growing accustomed to the all-too-frequent flashes of color.
The serpent hoisted himself over the railing to begin his descent of the wall, but immediately stopped himself. Riko is still down there, no doubt still out for blood. And with his... lightning powers? He could kill me pretty handily with those. I'd have no choice but to kill him, but he's too useful for it to come to that... Syvex clambered back up the wall to the second floor and entered another door. He found himself in what appeared to be some sort of odd lavatory, and wasted no time in opening a portal to the room below. But, something was wrong. Just ten or so minutes earlier he had had no trouble with opening rifts over fairly long distances, but now he was having a minute bit of difficulty just through a single floor. What had Riko been trying to say to him about the vial? I need to hurry.
Syvex leapt through the portal and fell into a cramped pantry, stocked with oddly-pristine food and spices. As he prepared to open a rift to the basement, however, the smell of the pantry reminded him that he hadn't eaten for... However long he had been in stasis. He wasn't exactly sure how long it had been. Nonetheless, he quickly took purchase of a loaf of bread and virtually swallowed it whole, almost as a second thought. He then proceeded to create a portal on the door, and attempted to open its counterpart beneath the floor. At first, he felt minor resistance. Channeling further energy, this resistance grew in magnitude, as the manor once more began to creak and groan before starting to shake violently.
- - - - - - - - - -
The Malevolence was displeased. Years had passed without intrusion, without incident. Any unfortunate soul who had managed to find their way onto the grounds was more often than not found dead the next morning, or driven away out of terror. After a while they had simply stopped coming altogether. The witch lay dormant in the eternally-placid lake, the manor house was in perfect order, the spirits were peacefully sealed away... just as the Malevolence intended.
Those years ago, The Malevolence had been sure to dispose of all the tenants of the manor, one by one. The first to go was, of course, the one who unknowingly posed a threat to it. The eldest one was of great help in the matter before The Malevolence ended him, too. Even in their deaths, the Malevolence held domination over all of them, ensuring they were to forever be held dormant. Ten years of utmost peace.
However, those ten years of silence had once more been interrupted by outsiders. These seven had appeared out of seemingly nowhere, apparently for no other purpose than to interfere with the stillness of eternity. The Malevolence was less than enthused. They had released the witch, who had already attempted to restore the grounds to their former hideousness, teeming with life. Worse still, the spirits had also broken free, wasting little time in inhabiting the minds of the intruders. The Malevolence could barely control most of them, retaining full influence on only the one who had been its puppet over a decade prior. One of these intruders had even tried to enter the Basement. The Malevolence could not allow that to happen. Even worse, that same one was trying to tear asunder the barriers placed there for that express purpose.
This was unacceptable.
- - - - - - - - - -
After much straining, the house stopped shaking violently and Syvex's portal opened successfully. Must've broken through. Here we go. Syvex leapt headlong into the deep purple rift, find himself deposited... into a bunch of clothing. Not a basement, but instead somebody's cramped, unimpressive bedroom closet. He threw off a few assorted socks and other detritus before proceeding through the door. Peculiarly, he found himself standing in a back hallway of some sort rather than a bedroom as would be expected in any sane structure. Listening intently, he heard the voices of Riko and the pirate echo faintly down the hallway.
- - - - - - - - - -
"So, um, you need help with cleansin' this serpent o' yours?"
"In so few words, yes. We cannot simply allow this demon to roam freely, now, can we?"
"...O' course not. We need t' exorcise this demon right away. You got some... erm... holy water on you?"
"Yes, of course. In my bedchamber on the second floor. By the way, Pastor, your manner of speech has seemed rather odd lately. Is something wrong?"
"Erm... no, nothing." Ripper cleared his throat, mainly for emphasis. "How do you expect we find 'im with this 'witchcraft' goin' on?"
"I wouldn't worry, Pastor. He's still around somewhere, I'm sure. Such are the ways of these devils. After we're through with this serpent, those deplorable demon-children will also have to go, quite naturally. Perhaps we should start with Mjnr. I doubt she is under any sort of protection right now."
"...I'm, um, sorry, I didn't catch that name."
"Fdji, my unfortunately possessed daughter, of course. Are you feeling alright, Pastor?"
"...Aye. I'm fine." Blackmask didn't like the position he had gotten himself into. Riko was possessed by another of these damnable spirits, rambling on about killing the others like it was nothing. The British accent certainly didn't help any. Somehow, Ripper would have to get the evil spirit exorcised. "Riko" kept calling him pastor... Ripper took on a rather unsettled facial expression. What if there was a pastor? And worse still, what if it was inhabiting him? Ripper was nervous at the thought, especially since on these haunted grounds it was more than likely.
"Something the matter, Pastor?"
"No, I'm, um, okay, really. In fact, I-"
"In my way again, pirate? Ah, and you've been joined by the scientist. How pathetic."
Ripper and the possessed scientist turned around to see Tamerlane, body covered in cuts and bruises, clothing stained with purple-black blood. Riko's eyes narrowed. "Scientist? What the hell are you talking about? Get out of my house, you miscreant."
Tamerlane's expression remained unchanged. "I seek the serpent. Get out of my way, and I'll spare you for now. I would not be opposed to killing either of you if you come between me and my target."
"You have a quarrel with this demon as well? We were on our way to kill him when you showed up unannounced."
"...I see I have no choice. This is personal, and I can't let you interfere. It ends here for both of you."
Tamerlane whipped a decent quantity of sand from his pockets and quickly flung it at Blackmask, pinning him to the ground. He then unsheathed his rarely-used sword and slowly approached the pirate, intent on a clean, effortless kill. What he was unexpectedly met with, however, was a jolt of electricity in the back. The sand mage pivoted angrily, only to be met by a very peeved Riko. Electricity crackled around his fingertips. "You would strike down a man of God? Blasphemer! Heretic!"
"A 'man of God'? This pathetic cretin? I think you are very confused, scientist. Perhaps I should simply strike you down instead."
Tamerlane instinctively sidestepped to avoid another jolt of electricity, then turned and kicked Riko in the stomach in the same fluid motion. He held the sword to the scientist's neck.
"You should've just stayed out of the way, scien-"
- - - - - - - - - -
Tamerlane was suddenly and abruptly cut off midsentence, and the sounds of the clash between the three were immediately silenced. Syvex thought this more than a little strange, and cautiously ventured out into the hallway where they had been just moments ago. What he found was unnerving. In the middle of the hallway was... the front entrance of the manor? The large windows stretched up to the ceiling and out to the walls, and were abruptly cut off. This can't be right. It's just another of these... "spirits". It's all in my head and I'm just going insane. Yes, that's it. I'm insane. This is all just a dream and I'll wake up any minute now. ...What am I even thinking? Need to keep going.
Syvex threw open the horribly misplaced front door, noting that, rather than the patio and the path to the lake, it instead lead directly out into a massive garden. He was greeted by rather grotesque images made from... trees? Very rarely did war-torn earth have greenery of any sort, yet here it was more than plentiful, enough to waste on such frivolities. Much smaller plants littered the landscape, divided only by stone paths twisting and turning throughout. The brief flashes brought him the dizzying amount of color in these small plants, much worse than the by-comparison mild coloration of the manor's interior. Over a large but low wall of rather blocky plants, he could see a massive group of trees, most bearing the (in his memory) very rare gift of fruit. Further along a different path, there seemed to be some sort of enclosure of the same wall-plants, these being well above human height. Further along this path was some sort of burial site, pockmarked with various stones placed at odd angles. Syvex couldn't make out much more than blocky generalizations of the objects beyond a certain point; his vision had further deteriorated.
Syvex turned back and headed through the side door of house, which to a casual external observer would appear perfectly normal. The door led him out directly into the conservatory where he had fairly recently smashed the stringed instrument to small pieces. The pieces had, of course, reassembled themselves in this time. Syvex closed the door behind him and scouted out the room, finding absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, nothing to allude to the fact that reality had stopped making any goddamned sense. Slightly unexpected, however, was the fact that the room it opened into was upside-down. Or so it seemed from Syvex's perspective - what Eureka saw as the door opened was an equally upside-down conservatory. She then saw Syvex enter the room upside-down and immediately fall to the ground after crossing planes of gravity.
"...Wasn't expecting that. Erm, I'd recommend being careful around doors. Or anything that you can't see, for that matter."
"Wh-what the hell did... youdispleaaaaase- no argh what did you do this time?"
"It may or may not have actually been my fault. I'm going to try to find the basement again, if you'll excuse me."
Syvex threw open the door to the closet, leading him back into the attic. Subtle as it was, Syvex became aware of a minute warping of the structure of the room itself. Strangely bent floorboards, slightly misshapen windows... Whatever it was that the manor was doing, it was much more apparent up here. Desperate, Syvex tried another portal, destination picked effectively at random, only to be met with further resistance. As he strained to open the aperture, barely perceptible whispers began to gather in his mind, slowly growing louder and louder, more and more audible. Without warning, Syvex was painfully stricken to the ground by some unseen force. The world around him faded into darkness, only to be swiftly replaced in quick flashes of almost-familiar scenes, as if from a memory.
In an instant, Syvex was in a cold, dimly-lit metal hallway, a hideously bright glow filling his vision. On each side, a heavily-armored human grasping him tightly by his top set of limbs. The other four were either heavily mangled or missing entirely, and the claws on what hands he had left had been brutally and imprecisely sliced off. He tried to speak, but found that he had been shot in the throat, doubtlessly by one of the assault rifles carried by the guards flanking the two "escorts". This scene was quickly replaced; Syvex now found himself on a familiar operating table. Unable to stop them, the serpent could only watch as the two "surgeons" (if such a description could even apply) approached with vicious-looking tools, a grim demeanor set in their narrowed eyes. In another flash, Syvex found himself standing in a dark forest, untouched by the devastation the serpent had seen through most of his life. It was completely unfamiliar, as compared to the painful memory invoked by the other two scenes. And yet... The unfamiliarity only served to worsen things.
Within seconds of the debacle's start, it was over. Syvex found himself to still be in the attic; however, the room melted away into an ornate dining chamber, which itself appeared to be impossibly twisted: its other end was nearly perpendicular to the end connecting to the attic. Syvex's mind was wracked with questions. Could the spirits of this manor have replicated those scenes just to torment him? At this point, it seemed almost certain. Knowing it would only be in vain, Syvex weakly lifted one of his hands to point at the ceiling, and attempted to open one more rift. To his surprise, the portal opened effortlessly, shears of wind stirring up papers nearby.
Syvex, genuinely surprised, hastened up the wall and, making use of his sharp claws, struggled his way to the purple-black hole in the ceiling. He reached through and began to pull himself through, and instantly, planes of gravity switched. He was now hanging high above the gardens, halfway through a portal which he could barely sustain. Before Syvex could turn back, the vial's energy abruptly ran out. Syvex could sustain the rift no longer. He felt the incredibly painful sensation of bisection beneath his lowest set of arms as the portal closed around him, severing his lower half and dropping him through the air. Barely conscious, Syvex plummeted and ultimately crashed to the ground in a grassy field, virtually on top of a wooden chest.