The Fault in Our Fionas

Known colloquially as the "Realm of Dreams", Emea is a mysterious place accessed primarily beyond the realm of consciousness as the mortal body sleeps in Idalos. The mind travels far at night and Emea's not without its unique risks and dangers, though Jesine's vigilance keeps mortals mostly safe.

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The Fault in Our Fionas

Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:14 pm

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24 Vhalar 718

Dubu, greatest of the Greater Bears of the United Kingdom of the Great and Lesser Bears, stared down at the Watoto of Mtu, the foreigners who had so rudely and loudly burst into the middle of their celebration, the celebration of the unification of Dunia after so many centuries of bitter, bitter war. Peace had been bought at a steep price, and though the greatest of the Greater Bears, the least of the Lesser Bears, the High Priestess of the Water Buffalo, the Old King of the Tribes of Hip and Po, the Vizier of the Meerkat Collective, the Governor of the State of Long-Necks, and the Child Prophet of the Baboon Theocracy had all attended the event upon the neutral ground of Undongo Waardhi, their tensions had run high.

And now, they were fit to shatter.

“They’re not real.” Fiona said loudly, staring up at Dubu, Greatest of the Greater Bears. The incredibly convincing offense on Dubu’s long-snouted face said otherwise. “They’re apparitions, figments of some sick mind who clearly lives in a fantasy wonderland where animals govern our every law and whim.”

“Silence, Watoto of Mtu - Grave Eater of the Seventh Night!” Dubu growled. “You stand trial in our holy court now. You will respect our traditions.”

The pale being beside her blinked, his bright eyes almost sorcerous in the silver light of the moon crystals that decorated the Hall of Law wherein they had brought their newfound prisoners. “What is a ‘watoto’ and where is-”

Silence.” Dubu may have been the greatest of the Greater Bears, but that didn’t mean his patience was comparable to his position.

Tumbili, the Child Prophet of the Baboon Theocracy, tall and thin, shook her hairy head - red nose flaring in thought. “They speak our language, but they do not seem to understand.”

“Look,” Fiona said, turning to her pale companion. “this is the least objectionable dream we’ve yet to encounter. I say we take the time to catch our breath. Let his farce play out.”

The pale one nodded and spoke no more.

“They speak of us as illusions!” came the voice of the Witch-Queen Hama, first of the Hyena diggers. “They speak of us as if we were not here! Their taint is steep, their wills are alien. Do we condemn them… or prostrate before them and learn their deep sorceries.” Hama smiled a wicked smile. “For the good of all, of course. For the good of all...”

Fiona pointed at Hama. “I think she’s the evil one.”

“She did just smile a wicked smile, so I would assume that is safe to assert.” Mathias tilted his head as he spoke, and all the creatures gasped - except for Kombamwiko, the Deep-Lord of the Dung Beetles. He chittered instead.

“SILENCE.” Dubu leapt down from his high podium, reared back his great head, and roared in Mathias’ face. Actually, he tried to roar in Fiona’s face but she quickly took a step back and to the side of their little box, pushing Mathias forward to face the slavering, roaring jaws of Dubu, Greatest of the Greater Bears with bright, fascinated eyes that squinted against the rush of hot, meat-ridden air that burst forth from Dubu’s great maw. “Obey the will of this court lest we deem you guilty by contempt.”

“That is not your decision to make, old fool.” Hama warned. “Secrets lost, secrets lost to justice! So much could be learned from their dark sorceries!”

Hama,” A new voice - the low, gentle hum of Tembo the Caretaker of the Grove, Gentle Guardian of the Gazelles. He was ancient, at least seven years old, and his horns grew tall and winding. His pale, blind eyes were kindly, yet his soft reprimand was filled with patriarchal authority, “You are here out of the deep respect we still harbor for your mother, Amah the Queen-Witch. Do not overstep your welcome.” Other animals murmured quietly in agreement.

Hama threw her snout back and loosed a cackle of defiance. “Then perhaps you will know fear of me instead…”

Though there were only fifteen podiums arranged in a circle around the two individuals in the center of the octogonal room, all along the eight walls were gathered animals of all shapes and sizes. Among them was a large following of hyenas who whooped and hollered at Hama’s challenge, their pleasure loud and raucous.

Fiona leaned over to whisper in Mathias’ saliva-flooded ear. “I apologize for ever calling you a primitive cannibal. You don’t stack up to the real deal.”

“What?” Mathias replied, tapping on the opposite side of his head in an attempt to dislodge the viscous mucus from the ear closest to her.

“Look! Look!” The shrill cry of Panya the Vizier of the Meercat Collective pierced throught he cacophony as he jumped up and down upon his podium. “Even now they seek to use our discord as cover to conspire! To conspire!”

“Can we start from the beginning, guys.” Fiona said, putting up both hands to try to ease the literal horde of animals demanding their heads. “What are we being accused of? What crime have we committed? I have spent my life caring for animals-”

Mathias stared at her and, quite intentionally, snorted in disbelief.
“-I am a friend to all livings creatures of the world.” Her lips quivered; she suppressed what was clearly a deep urge to laugh her head off.

Dubu raised a heavy, considering brow, before he finally settled on a grunt of acquiescence. “Fine. Fine. Msomaji, the charges.”

Msomaji, Daughter of Mwandishi of the Lowland Roaming Flamingo Nomads, nodded her bulbos pink head - beady yellow eye staring down at a torn leaf in one of her black, dextrous claws. “Uh… yes, it’s uh…” Msomaji may have been the greatest nomadic scribe known to Dunia, but she was cripplingly terrified of public speaking. “Y-you see-”

Kiboko, the Old King of the Tribes of Hip and Po, let out a heavy sigh, his massive form rippling from the whoosh of air. “No needa’ trama-lize that there Meesomohjee.” He shook his great, square-toothed head, and the other hippopotami echoed his motion - a subsequent wet flapping of tiny ears against blubbery skin filled the room. “Any wonna us can give these Wa Totos of Me Too a rec-erection of what went down before they went down.”

The other hippos all echoed a religious, “...before they went down.”

Kubeba Kidogo, the Least of the Lesser Bears, raised his tiny paw. “Allow me, Msomaji!”

Her pink head nodded in acceptance of his substitution, beady eye filled with thankful relief.

“Watotos of Mtu,” Kubeba Kidogo began, his proportionally large hazel eyes wide with gravitas, “You stand accused of sabotage, terrorism, and murder.” The animals gathered all gasped - again, except for Kombamwiko, the Deep-Lord of the Dung Beetles, who sort of rubbed his legs together in what was probably surprise. Kubeba Kidogo nodded sagely, before he paused, then shook his head, speaking a bit softer this time. “Er… wait, not murder just the first two things.”

“Which one do you think is the dreamer, shield maiden?” Fiona nudged her head towards Dubu, then shook it. “Too obvious, no? Maybe he -or she- has a bit of a villian fantasy.” Her gaze went to Hama.

“How do you plead?” Dubu, greatest of the Greater Bears.

“Confused,” Mathias replied, though with his eyes on the flamingo instead of the giant bear in answer to Fiona’s question.

“Con-” Dubu, the greatest of the Greater Bears shook his shaggy head once before anger boiled over once more, “Confused is not an acceptable or recognized plea!”

“Unsure,” came Fiona’s answer. “You’ll have to narrow it down. My acts of sabotage are legion.”

“Legion! She is of the dark!” Cackled Hama, wildly waving her furred paws in a maniacal dance of an ancient ritual of shadows.

“Hama, please,” moaned Tembo the Caretaker of the Grove, Gentle Guardian of the Gazelles. “Things are confusing enough as they are.”

“What, exactly, did you think we did?” Mathias tried again, to the point, bright eyes still settled on the now very, very nervous pink flamingo who wished she had never put down her other leg that morning.

“You attempted to dissolve the newly formed Federation of Friendship.” Kubeba Kidogo chimed in as the hyenas began a rhythmic chant in time to Hama’s continued ritual as Tembo started to bang his horns against his podium off-rhythm to confuse her.

“I would never.” Fiona protested indignantly over the rising ruckus as more and more animals began to get involved in the Witch-Queen and Gentle Guardian’s stand-off. It was almost believable. “We are but two ordinary humans trying to find our way to, uh, a watering hole.”

“A watering what?” Mathias blinked.

Fiona shrugged. “I’m starting to think we should take our chances with the next dream.”

He nodded, though there was, as always, a question on his lips. “Is it possible to exit from-”
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Re: The Fault in Our Fionas

Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:15 pm

Conspiracy!” screeched Panya the Vizier of the Meercat Collective. “Conspirators! They should be executed!”

“Any time.” Fiona said. She returned her attention to the animals. “Esteemed personages, we ask for mercy-”

No!” roared Butu as he charged forward, massive arm swinging toward them.

“No!” screamed Hama as she completed her dark ritual dance, the moon crystals shattering all at once and casting them into complete, disorienting darkness. Roars and squeals and screams and screeches filled the room as the centuries long war was sparked anew.

“That’s our cue.” Fiona said, flicking her fingers and opening a door -a wound- and swiftly stepping into it.

Mathias waved a hand through the pitch black air. “Farewell, anthropomorphic beasts.” He then stepped through the tear, narrowly avoiding, unbeknownst to him, a gargantuan, blood soaked claw that ripped through the space he left behind not a trill after his departure.

They were back in the endless expanse of doors. Back where they started.

“One person,” Fiona said, throwing her hands up in exasperation. “One person without a weird, fucked up mental psyche. Just one bleeding heart who can provide a proper example of how to coddle a dreamer. Instead I get sexual deviants, animal fuckers, the horrifically deranged, and, and, and-”

“I was quite partial to the death area made of… what did you call it? ‘Cake’?”

“... Do you really not know what a confectionary is?”

Mathias shrugged. “I have had... sugar before, but it is an absurdly expensive commodity.”

“Then let me be clear: Your Wounded God is not salvation; he is a blindfold keeping you from an ugly, repulsive world - that just happens to be undeniably, infinitely better than the desolation that you call home.”

“Yes, so I have been told.” He didn’t seem prickled at all, but impassivity was his natural state. “I should clarify: I was taken with the colors, less so the taste.” It hadn’t been an experience conducive to pleasant sampling due to the gladiators constructed out of a firm, taffy substance wielding wickedly sharp swords made out of crystalized sugar and their crazed, chocolate emperor demanding their heads be removed.

“Okay,” Fiona patted herself down, brushing off bear drool and fur from her shoulders and chest. “How did it feel? Any different from the Nightmare?’

He ran a hand through his saliva-damp hair which stuck out in every-which-way once his hand settled back at his side. “It seemed much less… believable.” Not that the dreams hadn’t had their own oddly realistic natures - but that was just it: they were clearly dreams and clearly not his own. “In the Nightmare I could… feel, intimately, my own mortality, but here,” He waved a hand to the opalescent door behind they’d shut behind them, dark pearl glistening in the light that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. “Everything is... distant. Removed.”

“Banal.”

He nodded.

Fiona was moving again, a quick wave of her wrist motioning him to follow which he did without question. “The goal of today’s exercise was to demonstrate the influence a dreamwalker has over a dreamer. UNFORTUNATELY, we’ve encountered nothing but self-indulgent fuckers lost in twisted fantasies. It’s never all that easy to find a dreamer once immersed in the dream. Once found, the lucid can cajole the dreamer, shift and alter his mood. Awareness is a weapon we, as walkers, possess and they will never, ever have; information, interrogation-”

Bright eyes - as they always managed to do inspite of how impossible it seemed - brightened. “Control?”

“Control.” Her eyes went vacant, distant, and for the first time he felt like he could have known her. “Always control.”

“So, the greatest challenge lies in locating the dreamer.” A summarization, not a question for once.

“One hurdle. People are… fickle. Varied. Like the animals of the world, they come in so many needless, pointless varieties.”

“Is it not different from how they are in the waking world?” Mortals were, by nature, exactly that, as far as he understood them.

“Regrettably no.” The distance in her eyes turned into cold, lonely anger. “We could have been optimized, instead we chose to squander it on every path in the world save solidarity - for some, finding the dreamer is the hurdle. For others, the influence on the sleeping mind has to be delicate. Surgical. I deal in information where I come from in the waking world.” One of the few times she had ever mentioned anything about herself.

Again, he nodded, only this time it was an indication that he understood - or seemed to, at least.

“This was supposed to be a gift. To find the very same challenges mirrored here… it’s a bleeding slap to the face.”

“A gift?”

“Scraps.” She amended. “I touched a goddess and a piece of her was left on me. She hasn’t contacted me. She has not requested my slavery. Either she’s playing a long game or she never intended to leave what she left.”

“Is this… surprising?” If he was trying to be snide, it didn’t read in his blank expression or calm, collected tone.

Fiona shrugged. They seemed to communicate more meaningfully in shrugs and tiny notes and blank expressions than the words that came out of their mouths. “Any creed that teaches you that there is an almighty, omnipotent force responsible for everything in your life is nothing more than a cheap hussle. I expect demands; silence is disconcerting. It’s like waiting to repay a loan I did not ask for, a debt I did not incur. Has your Wounded God asked anything of you?”

“Personally asked, like your goddess of dreams may do sometime in the nebulous future?” He shook his head. “I give my offerings to Him, but I do not expect anything back in return - whether it be as simple as communication or something… more.” For a religious fanatic, he didn’t seem all that fervent about it. “Our scriptures claim he already gave us what he had to offer. Unlike you, Quacia asked for help and He gave it. We are now simply repaying that debt.” Whether or not he believed what he was saying, it was stated in so clear a fashion that, had the words themselves not been precisely what he meant to say, she might have thought he was describing to her the color of his own hair.

“This one.” If she accepted his answer, she didn’t seem quite keen on sharing. “Let’s go through this one. If we fail to find the dreamer, we’re calling it quits for the night.”

“As you say.”

They entered the door and they field of scorched sand and broken bones.

“Nope. I’m out. This has been a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible series of minds I’ve had the cuntin’ misfortune to encounter. Out the door-”

And that was when the three headed, winged camel swept down out of the blindly bright sky, grasping talons aimed at their heads. They both threw themselves to the sand and the talons found only air as the camel dived past.

Or so they thought.

Fiona’s left back had the imprint of three deep, bloody gashes gouged into it. Her eyes widened, her breath was quickening, and she looked even paler than she usually was. This was all very, very, very real for a dream. That surreal divide between the distant dream and the encroaching nightmare was quickly narrowing.

“Are you-” He started, brow furrowed as the unmistakable scent of copper filled the aired space between them.

“Isn’t real…” Fiona gasped, trying to take a knee. Trying and very much failing. The camel ripped into the skies again, preparing a second go at their heads. “Isn’t real… wound. Open the wound.”

For a moment, he thought she was referring to the gashes. “Op-” The camel let out a long, smooth jazz chord as it pulled a tight ariel turn in preparation to dive toward them again. “Oh. Yes...” He extended out his hand as he’d seen her do time and time again, only… this time nothing happened.

Graciana’s ever present, observant voice curtly reminded him of the fact the humps on the flying camel were filled with protruding teeth-tentacles, for whatever depraved and pointless reason.

“Cunt. Open, cunt.” The scorched earth begin to shake violently and the bones clattered like shaky teeth.

“Open how, exactly?” He tried again. He tried envisioning the stone slab and dark pearl. He tried forcing it into existence. He even tried mutely asking the thing to appear. Each failed attempt was another trill lost to the advancing genetically manufactured weapon that hurtled through the air, tentacles clacking. The shaking only intensified and the bones were rising up slowly, as if some kind of great attractive power had exerted its will over it.

The Camel reached its apex… then it descended once more.

“Fiona?”

He’d seen her haughty, mocking, irritable… but he never would have imagined he would ever see her so weak that she struggled to respond. Come to think of it, he had never even seen her sweat before, and here she was; sweaty, eyes red with strain, a chunk of her shoulder gouged out, and trying to-

“WHAT? DO IT.”

Naturally, she still had control over that raspy, commanding voice of hers.

Clapping his hands together, Mathias tired the last thing he could think of. In a tone that was disconcertingly similar - if not identical - to Fiona’s own, Mathias opened his mouth and sneered out an aggravated, “Fuckin’ gape wide, cunt-hole.” as he shoved his hand through the very fabric of the dreamscape. Whether it was the shoddy incantation or the slight glimmer he’d seen in the air that wasn’t air, he could feel the smooth, dark pearl against his thumb.

Overhead, the Camel let out a smooth A-minor diminutive chord, nearly upon them, hooves flailing, tentacles writhing with sick hunger-

He would not make it.

He would not need too; the violent earth rose up to meet the Camel in the form of a thousand lances ripping into every inch of its sandy-colored flesh so hard and so fast that it was grinded into fleshy paste and he knew, in that moment, that the earth and the bones was no mood swing of the dreamer.

It was Fiona.

He sensed no magic in that act… nor could he even if he tried. Abrogation was not his here.

“Go!” she said. “Go, fuck you, go!”

And in the next trill, Mathias had the door open and unceremoniously yanked the still bleeding pustule of rage that barely passed for a woman through behind him as the claws and teeth and tentacles crashed into the sand in an explosion of harmonies.

And in the moments after where they crashed onto the floor of the veil and caught their breath, something was still off about the whole situation-

Fiona was still bleeding.

“I thought you said-” She didn’t even need to interrupt him. He could hear the edged retort in her eyes. Well, clearly there was some massive inaccuracy with my findings, MORON.
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Re: The Fault in Our Fionas

Wed Nov 21, 2018 1:37 am

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Name Zipper

Points awarded: 15

Knowledge:
Acrobatics: Ducking a dive-bomb run from a giant flyer
Dreamwalking: Crossing over fully can result in physical injury in the Dreamscape
Dreamwalking: Governing

NameMads

Points awarded: 15

Knowledge:
Dreamwalking: Crossing over fully can result in physical injury in the Dreamscape

Notes:
Okay, now I just want to read more about the Terrible And Fabtabulous Beast Wars of... Whoever The Fuck's Mind. Just... I don't have the words. And I'm having less and less the more I read. Outstanding, guys.

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"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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