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Thread: Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World?

  1. #4601
    Roman LibrAARian comagoosie's Avatar
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    Ok, funny story, I had a dream last night:

    Canonized invited all of us, his most dedicated readers, to Venezuela to shoot a movie. Why Venezuela I don't know, maybe for its cheap gas. When we get there, we find out that everyone has brought a car (to take advantage of the cheap gas) except canonized. So then, the task befell on me to chauffeur the director around (I don't know why I dreamt this, probably due to my first driver's permit).

    We shot the movie inside a little cave (some hell that is). I forget who I was (maybe Riku or Willem). I don't know who was Madeleine, maybe some random Venezuelan chick. Anyways Grubnessul, decided that we should have a drag race to celebrate the end of the first shooting. Naturally, we all listened to his insane idea, and started drag racing. It happens that the kid that just started driving (me) wins and takes home a glorious twelve pounds (money that is).

    Next canonized wanted us to go to Jerusalem, and it went downhill from there.
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  2. #4602
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  3. #4603
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    You have a crazy mind, comagoosie. I want you to share more of your dreams with us!


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  4. #4604
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    Very funny, it was an interesting dream, too bad you don't remember more. Last night I kept dreaming with the Joker
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  5. #4605
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  6. #4606
    Your Friendly Dictator Grubnessul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by comagoosie
    Ok, funny story, I had a dream last night:

    Canonized invited all of us, his most dedicated readers, to Venezuela to shoot a movie. Why Venezuela I don't know, maybe for its cheap gas. When we get there, we find out that everyone has brought a car (to take advantage of the cheap gas) except canonized. So then, the task befell on me to chauffeur the director around (I don't know why I dreamt this, probably due to my first driver's permit).

    We shot the movie inside a little cave (some hell that is). I forget who I was (maybe Riku or Willem). I don't know who was Madeleine, maybe some random Venezuelan chick. Anyways Grubnessul, decided that we should have a drag race to celebrate the end of the first shooting. Naturally, we all listened to his insane idea, and started drag racing. It happens that the kid that just started driving (me) wins and takes home a glorious twelve pounds (money that is).

    Next canonized wanted us to go to Jerusalem, and it went downhill from there.
    LOL
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  7. #4607
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    Quote Originally Posted by comagoosie
    Ok, funny story, I had a dream last night:

    Canonized invited all of us, his most dedicated readers, to Venezuela to shoot a movie. Why Venezuela I don't know, maybe for its cheap gas. When we get there, we find out that everyone has brought a car (to take advantage of the cheap gas) except canonized. So then, the task befell on me to chauffeur the director around (I don't know why I dreamt this, probably due to my first driver's permit).

    We shot the movie inside a little cave (some hell that is). I forget who I was (maybe Riku or Willem). I don't know who was Madeleine, maybe some random Venezuelan chick. Anyways Grubnessul, decided that we should have a drag race to celebrate the end of the first shooting. Naturally, we all listened to his insane idea, and started drag racing. It happens that the kid that just started driving (me) wins and takes home a glorious twelve pounds (money that is).

    Next canonized wanted us to go to Jerusalem, and it went downhill from there.

    How many shower scenes including grubnessul, you or canonized did that film include?

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  8. #4608
    Your Friendly Dictator Grubnessul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avernite
    How many shower scenes including grubnessul and madeleine did that film include?

    Fixed it for you
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  9. #4609
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grubnessul
    It had better be
    I think you'll like it XD

    Davout: Slightly behind schedule as always I'm afraid but working on it nonstop today XD

    Quote Originally Posted by comagoosie
    Ok, funny story, I had a dream last night:

    Canonized invited all of us, his most dedicated readers, to Venezuela to shoot a movie. Why Venezuela I don't know, maybe for its cheap gas. When we get there, we find out that everyone has brought a car (to take advantage of the cheap gas) except canonized. So then, the task befell on me to chauffeur the director around (I don't know why I dreamt this, probably due to my first driver's permit).

    We shot the movie inside a little cave (some hell that is). I forget who I was (maybe Riku or Willem). I don't know who was Madeleine, maybe some random Venezuelan chick. Anyways Grubnessul, decided that we should have a drag race to celebrate the end of the first shooting. Naturally, we all listened to his insane idea, and started drag racing. It happens that the kid that just started driving (me) wins and takes home a glorious twelve pounds (money that is).

    Next canonized wanted us to go to Jerusalem, and it went downhill from there.
    ROFL ROFL !! wow ! Thank you so much for sharing I'm really flattered XD Tell us more ! I really want to hear what happened next !

    robou: ROFL you know I remember a while back that Judas Maccabeus saw on the news once that there was a Cardinal's player named DeWitt or something like that and he thought it was the panzerkardinal XD

    Qorten: Man , i wonder who else out there has had Timelines dreams XD they should definitely share !

    Capibara & ColossusCrusher: XD Don't spoil anything yet ! I haven't seen the movie yet !

    Grubnessul & Avernite: ROFL . Gosh ... terrible !

    Update is rounding the 10% mark (yes yes I know i'm terrible x.x) but don't worry the first 30 percent is the hardest so it'll be here very soon !
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  10. #4610
    Plus ultra! Capibara's Avatar
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    Well, we have waited a week, so I guess a little more won't harm
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  11. #4611
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capibara
    Well, we have waited a week, so I guess a little more won't harm
    I'm going to promise that it'll be up in the next 12 hours just to sweeten the pot XD
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  12. #4612
    Roman LibrAARian comagoosie's Avatar
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    Gah, really you guys want more. I guess I will be a fill-in

    Anyways, inside the miniature cave there was an even more miniature waterfall. As you might imagine we all convince the rather beautiful, yet random Venezuela chick to have a dip first. (Why did director canonized had to pick such a girl to play as Madeleine? Knowing him, he probably interviewed the whole city where we were staying, which I don't know where)

    It was funny when she got in, all of us were just staring. None of us went in and canonized received 50 pats on the back in a minute. Jokingly I flung some water, which appeared out of nowhere at "Madeleine" and laughed, "Here's some water." No one found that funny and the girl got annoyed and left the water, much to the disappointment of everyone. As punishment I was sentenced to a eat-off against Grubnessul (again, I have very simple dreams, so the main people are me, canonized, "Madeleine", and Grubnessul (why him I don't know)). What we ate, I am not sure, could have been coffee beans, but Grubnessul told me it was chocolate so I dove in and a nasty surprise awaited me. (I hate coffee ). Needless to say Grubnessul brought his portal coffee mixer and had 15 cups of coffee. And I think I won't divulge what he did next.... Joking, things start to get hazy, must have been the beans.

    And about Jerusalem. I remember arriving and then the dome of the rock...and then...a big lick in the face by my dog

    EDIT: If anyone cares, I had a doomsday dream two days ago.
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  13. #4613
    Your Friendly Dictator Grubnessul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by comagoosie
    Gah, really you guys want more. I guess I will be a fill-in

    Anyways, inside the miniature cave there was an even more miniature waterfall. As you might imagine we all convince the rather beautiful, yet random Venezuela chick to have a dip first. (Why did director canonized had to pick such a girl to play as Madeleine? Knowing him, he probably interviewed the whole city where we were staying, which I don't know where)

    It was funny when she got in, all of us were just staring. None of us went in and canonized received 50 pats on the back in a minute. Jokingly I flung some water, which appeared out of nowhere at "Madeleine" and laughed, "Here's some water." No one found that funny and the girl got annoyed and left the water, much to the disappointment of everyone. As punishment I was sentenced to a eat-off against Grubnessul (again, I have very simple dreams, so the main people are me, canonized, "Madeleine", and Grubnessul (why him I don't know)). What we ate, I am not sure, could have been coffee beans, but Grubnessul told me it was chocolate so I dove in and a nasty surprise awaited me. (I hate coffee ). Needless to say Grubnessul brought his portal coffee mixer and had 15 cups of coffee. And I think I won't divulge what he did next.... Joking, things start to get hazy, must have been the beans.

    And about Jerusalem. I remember arriving and then the dome of the rock...and then...a big lick in the face by my dog

    EDIT: If anyone cares, I had a doomsday dream two days ago.
    ROFL this just made my day! An eat-off with coffee beans, rofl!

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  14. #4614
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  15. #4615
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    Quote Originally Posted by comagoosie
    Gah, really you guys want more. I guess I will be a fill-in

    Anyways, inside the miniature cave there was an even more miniature waterfall. As you might imagine we all convince the rather beautiful, yet random Venezuela chick to have a dip first. (Why did director canonized had to pick such a girl to play as Madeleine? Knowing him, he probably interviewed the whole city where we were staying, which I don't know where)

    It was funny when she got in, all of us were just staring. None of us went in and canonized received 50 pats on the back in a minute. Jokingly I flung some water, which appeared out of nowhere at "Madeleine" and laughed, "Here's some water." No one found that funny and the girl got annoyed and left the water, much to the disappointment of everyone. As punishment I was sentenced to a eat-off against Grubnessul (again, I have very simple dreams, so the main people are me, canonized, "Madeleine", and Grubnessul (why him I don't know)). What we ate, I am not sure, could have been coffee beans, but Grubnessul told me it was chocolate so I dove in and a nasty surprise awaited me. (I hate coffee ). Needless to say Grubnessul brought his portal coffee mixer and had 15 cups of coffee. And I think I won't divulge what he did next.... Joking, things start to get hazy, must have been the beans.

    And about Jerusalem. I remember arriving and then the dome of the rock...and then...a big lick in the face by my dog

    EDIT: If anyone cares, I had a doomsday dream two days ago.
    This is what happens when canonized keeps us waiting for too much
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  16. #4616
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    I wish I could remember my dreams.


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  17. #4617
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    Quote Originally Posted by comagoosie
    Gah, really you guys want more. I guess I will be a fill-in

    Anyways, inside the miniature cave there was an even more miniature waterfall. As you might imagine we all convince the rather beautiful, yet random Venezuela chick to have a dip first. (Why did director canonized had to pick such a girl to play as Madeleine? Knowing him, he probably interviewed the whole city where we were staying, which I don't know where)

    It was funny when she got in, all of us were just staring. None of us went in and canonized received 50 pats on the back in a minute. Jokingly I flung some water, which appeared out of nowhere at "Madeleine" and laughed, "Here's some water." No one found that funny and the girl got annoyed and left the water, much to the disappointment of everyone. As punishment I was sentenced to a eat-off against Grubnessul (again, I have very simple dreams, so the main people are me, canonized, "Madeleine", and Grubnessul (why him I don't know)). What we ate, I am not sure, could have been coffee beans, but Grubnessul told me it was chocolate so I dove in and a nasty surprise awaited me. (I hate coffee ). Needless to say Grubnessul brought his portal coffee mixer and had 15 cups of coffee. And I think I won't divulge what he did next.... Joking, things start to get hazy, must have been the beans.

    And about Jerusalem. I remember arriving and then the dome of the rock...and then...a big lick in the face by my dog

    EDIT: If anyone cares, I had a doomsday dream two days ago.
    Wow good grief that's a crazy dream XD

    Grubnessul: ROFL I should feature you as a bad guy too sometime XD

    DarthJF: Thank you , sir And glad you're catching up ! And yes , I wanted to delve a lot more into the characters with that chapter

    Capibara: Sorry sorry , Dark Knight and other things kept me up all night XD

    Qorten: Always try to remember them as soon as you wake up !

    UPDATE IS NOW ! SEASON FINALE IS HERE ! just gotta upload it
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    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Chapter CXIII: Satan


    10 April 1610

    The pungent oppression of the stagnant water had seeped into Raul's nostrils as his body hoped to gasp-- hoped to get some air-- pretended it was not where it was now. A cloud of yellow was forming above him as he looked upward. The mixture of acid dust and water swirled against the dim light of frantic torchlights near the surface like locusts diminishing the sun.

    “Help me...” Raul wanted to cry out as he pushed his back harshly against the very bottom of the well. Even with the screams of his mind vibrating in his skull, he could still hear the faint screams of the people behind the deadly fog descending upon him. He pushed the last of his exhale out of his mouth but his voice found no friendly volume. Instead, his last breath was coordinated with a rough roaring sound followed by a thunderclap of water against water-- an object had fallen in.

    Like a comet streaming through the sky, a white rock rushed towards him in a cascade of white and grey that diffused outward covering up the yellow venom. It did not stop Raul's panic however. He felt it now: intense heat starting to tickle his skin and his eyes stung wildly. “What's happening?” he feebly struggled as the pain forced his lids closed and his body curled up with knees against his chest in the intense heat(1).

    He held onto the cracks in the rocks on the bottom as tightly as he could while he felt himself being pulled up like some tide beckoning him upward(2). Already, even the harsh dark colours that rushed across his eyes were beginning to slow and a darkness not only solidified and condensed behind his eyelids but began to strike lethargy all over his frame-- he was losing air. His heart-- racing as it was before-- now slowed and his grip on the bottom of the well slackened until even the solidity of the crack escaped him and his limp form rose up through the cloudy liquid.

    ---


    “Raul!” the voice penetrated those still waterlogged ears. Raul's eyes shot open coupled with a wet cough. His damp flesh felt the acrid air once again and multiple eyes now stared back as Raul adjusted his sight forward.

    “What...?” Raul tried to speak only to cough up a few more vowels of water instead.

    “That's what we were going to ask you,” Renault said to the young man. Raul tried to move and in that instant could feel the positioning of the rocks around him. His back was against the stone wall while his legs spread out in front of him. His attempts to move were greeted with the resistance of muscle still getting used to receiving oxygen again.

    “My pendant...” Raul began to say at first hoping to explain himself but stopping short to seize his chest with his fingers as if he was ready to claw underneath his skin.

    “Don't worry,” Madeleine sighed for him with some relief as she handed over the golden piece to him.

    “It got snagged on one of the keys,” Raul finished his explanation while putting the golden chain around his neck once again. “How did you get me out?”

    “We threw in one of the bricks from the wall,” Madeleine gave him his answer while pointing to the square gap on the opposite wall. “It neutralizes the acid...”

    “Then why not just put that in first?” Raul asked slightly indignant as he grunted his way back to his feet.

    “If you did, you would have died or have been injured just as badly... it's only when the acid is present does it ever work(3),” Renault provided the explanation.

    “Then why bother keeping those things around?” Raul pushed the water out of his ears.

    “Corrosive material means degradation and the destruction of society,” Madeleine said to him more gently while putting a blanket over his shoulders, “it's what this bolgia is about-- it showcases the evils that people can do to each other when they shun society by attacking it with lies. The only way to combat that is to be here as a group-- a small society. It's why you can't drop the brick in with you as you take the key, you have to trust someone else to save you.”

    Raul had been quietly entranced by Madeleine's explanation and eyed her with a curiosity that softened his pained scowl. He took a second to stare at the young lady and then at the others who held relieved smiles at his rescue before nodding as quickly as he could. “We shouldn't waste time here, then,” he said quickly hiding a little burning sensation in his cheeks.

    “The last obstacle,” Renault spoke up again as he led them further down the ring, “is to pass through the Giants' ring. They guard the final well into Cocytus below.” Stepping down the now unlocked corridor, the adventurers exited not into another confined ditch but a towering barricade of monolithic figures halted their progress forward extending in a large circle around a deep well like the spires of a crown. “Our poets were brought down by the Giant Antaeus so we shall go through our passage there.”

    “Is there a trap to this one?” Riku asked though he felt he could clearly anticipate the answer.

    Renault gave a sly smile and slapped his palm onto the Finn in the shoulder as if the delirious fatigue of the past few hours had given them a drunken edge, “An easy one. It requires that we memorize some markings on the giant Nimrod and then use that as the combination to open up the final stairway.”

    The walk around the final barrier to the final circle was still extensive despite being considerably smaller than all of the other circuits beforehand. It took a few minutes before Renault pointed them to the stone statue that he identified as Nimrod.

    “Although Nimrod wasn't a giant himself,” Madeleine noted as her uncle approached the base of the stone giant gingerly, “Dante put him here as an example of the contrapasso of the giants-- their pride and rebellion against either the gods of mythology or God himself cause them chained up at the very depth of Hell. Nimrod attempted to reach God through the tower of Babel and for that giant of a project, he's here with the other giants at the very inversion of that tower.”

    “Here it is!” Renault announced, “all we need to do is remember it.”

    It took a moment of the light shining onto the stone etched with the message did the others look towards their guide with some dissatisfaction. “It's gibberish,” Raul was the first to complain. “And it's seven lines long... how are we supposed to memorize all of this unless you know it all already.”

    Renault shook his head with another grin as if he was enjoying the puzzlement on the eyes of the young adventurers. Only Madeleine took a closer look at the inscription. “It's not a cipher or a code of some kind... there's no repetition that would make any sense and these symbols might as well be hieroglyphs-- they're nothing I recognize.”

    “Nimrod's punishment was the disunity of human language-- the babble you see here now. It would take a long while to memorize the entire thing especially since the symbols are not of our alphabet, but the solution shouldn't be difficult.” Renault followed his assertion up by procuring some paper and rubbing charcoal onto it thus impressing the dark areas with the black dust while leaving where the inscription was copied onto the sheet. “Now let's head over to the other side where Antaeus is waiting.”

    They hurried back towards the towering figure of Antaeus whom Renault identified by the hollowed out interior that contained a doorway. Rods with markings on their bases were neatly piled in rows like spears in an armoury on the left side of Antaeus's hollowed out belly. “I'm guessing these holes on the doorway here are where we have to put the rods in in order,” Riku noted as he examined the pieces.

    “Yes, but be careful with those. As you can see, the inscriptions are actually holes dug into the rod itself,” Renault cautioned them. Riku checked and confirmed that the symbology on one end of the dowel communicated with the other end through an empty space within. “If you place the wrong one into the wrong hole, more corrosive material will flow through the cavity in the hole and out through the inscription. Renault was quick to unfurl the copy of the gibberish while Madeleine held the torch close by.

    It only took a few minutes before the strange symbols found their way into their respective places and all was done with the care to avoid the possible trap that awaited any careless handler. With the final glyph pressed into its spot, the stone doorway gave way and Madeleine's torch illuminated a stairwell into a heavy darkness underneath.

    Closing the door behind them, Renault made sure to handle the lock on the opposite side that dislodged the rods and scattered them on the previous floor. The descent itself was a steep one and the staircase made out of the wall's rock was only a few feet across-- just enough to step forward without falling into the void beneath. Although no one could discern what was beneath, there were hints of sparkles here and there, and Willem mused to himself that perhaps they had gone so far through the earth that they would emerge onto the night sky on the opposite end.

    Eventually, the light of the torches began to reveal what awaited them at the base of the stairs. A sheen of shimmer and a dull reflection of black on white flashed at them as they waved their lights around. If it weren't for the evident heat in the air and in the rock, Madeleine would have thought that what they saw was what Dante had said of that place: a lake of ice.

    “Glass...” the young lady marveled.

    “Yes,” Renault acknowledged, “a thin layer of it at least to simulate the ice sheet at the bottom of Hell. We managed most of it by digging deep enough to the magma underneath to heat up the entire floor... it wasn't an easy process. The trap here is that we built several pits into the design of the glass sheet. Stepping on the wrong spot will send you tumbling into broken glass. At the very center is Satan himself-- you'll see his figure as we approach.”

    “I'm guessing Satan will have some kind of terrible trap to him...” Raul said with a sigh.

    “No, actually,” Renault looked to him. “Satan is as impotent in this Hell as he is in Dante's. Satan wanted power for himself and so he receives none in Hell as his contrapasso. The great irony of it all also is that it's Satan's wings beating a cold wind that causes the water here to freeze and cause him to be stuck in the ice. He's so prideful that he wants to escape by his own power and so he refuses to stop beating his wings and let the ice melt. In essence, Satan's imprisonment is his own doing and shows the underlying contradiction in pride...”

    A short and abrupt applause blitzed into the explanation from above them forcing all to screw their heads to the rear and grimace at the sight of a black figure descending the final steps. “An excellent explanation and adaptation, Dr. de Fronsac,” Herr Gehirn complimented, “and a most impressive work indeed you've done here.”

    “How did you--” Renault yelled up at the stairs before he was interrupted once more by the soft and calculated tone of Gehirn's German accented Spanish.

    “I told you before,” Gehirn grinned his whites that flashed a dagger's reflection at them as he took off his gloves. As he entered into the torchlight of those on the floor of Cocytus, his pale figure greeted them with an open palmed salute, “I've been through your maze before.” It was there that Renault saw for the second time the marking on Gehirn's hand while Madeleine was the first to recognize it as one of the symbols used to open the gateway to the disc of glass. “Unfortunately we did not have the benefit of your architectural notes,” Gehirn explained while waving his exposed hand around as if he was pushing a scent to his nose ceremoniously, “and so there were bound to have been some mistakes.”

    “It's not the last mistake you'll be making!” Willem confronted the German who suddenly raised what appeared like a jet black pistol at his face.

    Herr Gehirn wagged one of his free fingers and clicked his tongue inside of his mouth. Immediately, several of those heavily armoured figures appeared from the shadows as well with the ropes they used to repel down the well-shaft still swinging against the black wall. “You see, my dear boy,” Gehirn spoke to them like a disappointed father, “I had hoped to keep you all in my service until we had gotten to the Timepiece because although I had been through all of the previous eight circles, this last portion of Dr. de Fronsac's Hell was missing in the original dig(4). We had no idea what it was like and we had hoped that the good doctor or his niece would be our kind guides-- but no, I suppose you all had to resist that arrangement. Luckily for me, I had overheard your little explanation and, unluckily for you, that means I no longer have any need for your expertise.”

    Even before Renault could say a word in return, the group of soldiers opened fire.

    ---


    The spray of bullets illuminated the dark hole of Cocytus with blinding flashes of orange and yellow. Aside from the rolling staccato from the weapons, the splintering sound of glass cracking underfoot filled the air with a chaotic whirl of destruction. But when Renault opened his eyes once again, aside from some cuts from the spray of glass into the air, the group around him stood their ground. To his surprise, when he looked with a mysterious look at the assailants, they had been preoccupied with something else.

    Although he feared drawing any attention away from the seemingly distracted enemies, he couldn't help but raise his torchlight enough to see that the heavy black cylinders of the enemies' weapons glinted with a hint of silver-- daggers were protruding from their sides-- someone had deflected those guns away from them.

    “Who's there!?” shouted Gehirn before—without even waiting for an answer-- shooting a few bullets from his pistol into the stairwell where he came from.

    Guten abend,” a voice greeted them with a rapidity like a whisper rolling backwards.

    Gehirn wasted no time in shooting at the direction of the voice but again only caught void and rock. While Gehirn wondered who it was that had distracted them, Raul's nose tingled with recognition: the Ghost was with them all along. He faced his companions and immediately cocked his head in the opposite direction. “Run!” Raul's face said to them. Renault immediately hooked onto his wife's arm and all of them began to sprint behind the old man while he led the way. Gehirn sensed the movement and yelled for his men to fire a second volley behind the escaping party.

    There was no longer any accounting for the placement of traps, the rush of gunfire from behind them forced the group to fan out and hazard the floor themselves. “Criss-cross!” Raul yelled out to everyone as best as he could against the backdrop of miniature explosions. As the group braved the spray of bullets, they attempted to stay as close to Renault as possible as each crack on the glass beneath them erupted worries of falling into a pit of shards. But as they heard the cacophony of noise behind them begin to fade into some distance, their torch fires illuminated the obsidian figure in front of them. Several times larger than those giants that rimmed the exterior, a chilling stone form menaced them with outstretched arms and wings the span several men put end to end.

    Six wings, three hideous faces... there Satan dwelt with caricature corpses of Judas Brutus and Cassisus frothing with blood and pus in each one of the creature's three mouths-- a mockery of the Trinity above. “There it is!” Raul blurted out.

    “The Timepiece...” Renault huffed out already tired from the run, “should be in the chamber underneath the ice... you have to descend down the side of the obsidian figure just like--” he was already running out of breath.

    “Just like Dante and Virgil having to literally grapple with Satan and therefore grapple with Sin in order to get out of Hell,” Madeleine finished for him.

    Soon, the towering figure of Satan cast a black reflection at the sprinters as they approached his base. Breast deep in the 'ice', there was a gap between where the glass ended and the body of the Evil One took shape. “Use the stone to scale down!” Renault instructed to the ones up front who immediately found the stepping stones and holds along the dark sheen of Lucifer.

    Descending into the very pit of the giant figure's loins, a round cavity opened up underneath the glass sheet. Raul was the first to enter and then Willem and Madeleine before the rest of the train inched their way down Satan's hip into the round chamber where the Devil's body ran through and into the ground like a giant tree.

    It was there that their eyes adjusted to behold that strange orb that for so long had claimed the attention of so many. That swirling dark upon dark-- as if it ate up the light of the torch—sphere held them all entranced. “The Timepiece...” Riku whispered.

    Renault stepped forward onto the niche where it rested within the carving of Satan, and threw his torch to the side. With both hands did he carefully handle the orb and lifted it up from its resting place and put it hurriedly into his pack. The small pedestal that it rested on now slowly raised upward and locked into place after the weight of the Timepiece left it. “Another trap?” Willem gasped.

    “No... this is the safety mechanism that opens up the exit,” Renault said pointing to the faint etching of a doorway on the far side of the chamber. “Like I said before, you can't enter here through the back door, you have to go through the front way and take the Timepiece first before the back door unlocks. Father Valerio, if you could push that lever over there to--”

    A single gunshot came from the shank of Satan before contacting the side of Renault's shoulder tossing that man across the floor in a somersault. Hopping onto the floor of the chamber, Herr Gehirn did not give the others time to react as he let out another bullet into the leg of Father Valerio.

    Raul was the first to react being closest to where the German now assaulted them. The young man's rapier exited its sheath and swung angrily at the enemy's wrist. Gehirn quickly cocked his weapon to one side deflecting the metal's strike against his hand before parrying the blade to his right and opened another shot right at Raul's face.

    Raul leapt back anticipating the move and fell backwards as the bullet raced above him. It made contact with his skin, grazing his lower lip and forcing a burning path along his mouth until a sideways cross now formed on Raul's face from his lips and the bloody gash left behind by the projectile.

    Willem was next to leap at the opponent as Raul's back made contact with the floor; He ran across the distance between him and the German before sliding sideways and leaping off Satan's calf to lunge with his weapon at Gehirn. The German's reflexes adjusted beneath the incoming blade and then rose unceremoniously with his shoulder making contact against Willem's gut and sent him flying to his rear. Riku had taken the initiative right behind Willem hoping to catch Gehirn off guard but as the Finn almost made contact with his blade on Gehirn's chest, another blast splintered against his shoulder and sent him rolling to the side.

    Without hesitation, Gehirn raised the barrel of his gun at Carmen. “That's enough,” the German told his wounded and angered audience. “Clearly I have the advantage here,” he said without sympathy as he stepped slowly towards where Renault was attempting to recover on the floor. “The Timepiece if you please, Dr. de Fronsac.” Renault quickly looked at the resolute eyes of his wife. “I said the Timepiece now, Dr. de Fronsac unless you want to see Carmen and Madeleine collecting their brains from the walls!” the man growled.

    Slowly, the sphere dawned into the dimness of the room once more. Renault's wavering hand held it into the air in its obsidian glory. Renault's eyes once again looked towards his family with no little degree of pain. He did not even see it when Herr Gehirn swiped the orb from his hand and held the Timepiece close to his breast like a father would to a child. “If you really say that you and I are not dissimilar Gehirn,” Renault spat out, “then you will understand why I gave that to you.”

    The German, wiping some of the sweat off with his leather glove, looked sideways at the bleeding old man on the floor. “You over there, on that side where I can see you,” Gehirn growled at the three young men and the priest who limped towards in that side of the room where the de Fronsacs had congregated.

    “I have no qualms about letting you all leave,” Gehirn said quietly, “now that the prize is mine-- after my men dispatch whoever it is that is helping you up there, we will be able to use the Timepiece here and now.” He continued to point the gun at them menacingly.

    “Pull the switch,” Renault instructed with some pain. Willem obliged him and pushed the lever next to the doorway which opened up into an upward traversing tunnel. Gehirn menaced them with his weapon until all were in the shaft.

    “It was excellent getting to know you, Dr. de Fronsac,” Gehirn smiled finally as he flipped the door switch again slowly closing the doorways. He caught a glimpse of Willem whispering something in Renault's ear and Renault hurrying a response back to him, but what surprised him more was to the protestations of all of his companions, Willem Van Axel leaped back into the chamber surprising even Gehirn who jealously protected the Timepiece with his body as he let out two shots. However, Willem had not lunged towards the opponent, but instead had rolled himself to the side and hid behind the obsidian mass of Satan.

    “I'm afraid you'll have to shoot me if you want to keep that item,” Willem taunted loudly as he peaked from the side of Satan's shank. A shot immediately rang out and chipped the obsidian statue loudly cracking it in several locations. Willem's head sprung out from the other side again and once more another shot erupted from Gehirn's precise aim and smashed against the stone creating fractures along the entire side.

    “You're outclassed!” Gehirn shouted as he noticed Willem's head once more before letting another bullet slice into the body of the Devil. That's when Gehirn heard the strange nose. It sounded like the man on the other side of the statue was pounding into something. What could--

    With a sudden roar and the sound of thousands of mirrors breaking, the lower torso of Satan fissured along its median and the lower portion dropped further down the hole where it was fixtured precipitating a tremendous smash that rocked the surrounding chamber. Gehirn, finally being able to see his enemy could only watch Willem's grin. “You've fallen for Satan's own weakness, Gehirn!” Willem shouted over the sudden noise of rock rumbling against rock. “Because of your selfish pride, you've activated the failsafe mechanism! Now we'll both be trapped down here forever!” Gehirn could already see the soft movement of dust falling from the ceiling before another tremor... like a deep explosion, pushed both men to the floor-- the floor which now began to heat up. From where Satan's legs had fallen, a yellow glow.

    Willem took that as his cue as he leaped up to the remains of the fractured Satan and began climbing where he can. Gehirn was quick to follow on his tail as even he could feel the heat rising from underneath. Reaching the very top, Willem crawled further away from where the obsidian figure clutched desperately to the ledge while glowing a powerful hue of yellow. From that yellow, a shadow formed, and from that shadow, the image of a sphere popped up from the ledge before Gehirn's upper body followed it with some difficulty.

    Willem saw his chance, his body lunged forward as another tremor shook the basin. His left hand grabbed the Timepiece and his right brought his blade to point at the rising German. “It's over Gehirn! I have the high ground!” Willem shouted but another tremor and an explosion muffled his cry.

    “You underestimate my--” another set of explosions but this time, emanating from beneath Gehirn. A torrent of scalding steam burst upward as the German cried out in pain falling back into the pit underneath. Glass left and right cracked into a milky way of shards and the ground underneath Willem faltered. Falling to the ground, the precious round object left Willem's hands and traveled down into the fiery pit.

    Willem pushed forward attempting to recover the object and looked down at the chamber below. He could barely see in the intense heat but it was the body of Gehirn that lay on the surface slowly catching fire and writhing about that made him recoil. Duty, however, forced his eyes back to look at that darkened star rolling uncontrollably onto molten rock and sinking... sinking into the fiery furnace. “This... can't be...” Willem attempted to say as he watched for almost minutes. “What... what does this mean?” he tried to ask himself as he braved the blasting upsurge of heat. The Timepiece was long gone into the center of that molten pit but then-- like some sudden collapse another tremor rocked him and the sight below him dimmed. The light... the light of the lava... it disappeared! The moving liquid was now solid rock but something even more terrible gripped him-- a sudden and immediate darkness enveloped his total vision...



    Interlude


    “Someone once told me: 'ante albam nox obscurissima est(4),'” Lara said quietly as she spoke into the microphone. On the other end, Carlos seemed to have been calmed by that young lady's encouraging words. Somehow, however, in the pit of Carlos's stomach, he felt as if this indeed might be his last mission.

    He wasn't so sure why he felt that way, just the danger ahead of him was acute. Captain DeWitt was very keen in explaining to him that this Zio person should be approached with extreme caution. Indeed, Carlos felt as if the Captain himself was hiding something... as if the Captain knew something already... something not listed in the official reports.

    “How's the perimeter?” Carlos asked into the communications device.

    “Perfect,” Lara reported back.

    “Captain DeWitt and I will go in first, I want alpha team to back us up through the left corridor and beta team to come in through the windows like we discussed. Move on three...”

    ---


    Pablo touched the scar on his lip casually. The faded skin always reminded him of that night... the sting of the bullet was still as present as ever. “But that's alright isn't it?” the voice whispered into his ear again. “They're doing what we've asked them to do now... told them that 'Zio' could tell us where Mother is... the fools.” Pablo laughed. “They have no idea that she is the one who is our mother, do they? Our dear Lydia who tried to kill us; and she'll kill them too...”

    ---


    Dead bodies littered the halls of the Siberian station and the push forward brought Rodrigo and his team closer to the main Box... the warehouse like core of the facility. “Hold...” the Lieutenant at the lead stopped the team and Rodrigo tensed up once again-- another hallway full of dead bodies awaited his sights perhaps--

    “It's me,” the voice said down the hall as if they could sense the men hiding behind the corner. A probing scope eased past the hallway before the Lieutenant rushed out when he realized who it was.

    “You'll find the exit vehicle past G block down the hall,” the Lieutenant informed the lady he confronted. Rodrigo approached the front to look as well.

    “The double agent...” he whispered to himself looking at her.

    “My par--” Rodrigo tried to say but she also predicted his move as well.

    “They're already on the first medical transport out of here with Father Xavier. Here's the keycard to the E Block...” Rodrigo couldn't help but nod at the woman-- she was more beautiful than he had imagined, even at her age.

    There was no time to waste. “E Block authorization code confirmed,” the computer said to them as they sped into the main room. Immediately, gunshots from various corners both on the first floor and on the second greeted the newcomers.

    “Marco!” the Lieutenant yelled, “take flank with Sanders and bring Lopez to the corridor to block the escape!”

    Rodrigo had not bothered to listen to the tactical maneuvers of his handler... instead he was transfixed on only one face in the room. “Tom...” he said. But even that face faded when a white light beamed from a raised platform at the very center of the room obscuring Tom's head like the sun masking a planet as the object races over its surface. Rodrigo could barely say a word-- they've finally done it-- they've opened the Timepiece-- albeit only a small stable tear was manufactured.

    “Lieutenant... I have to get that platform,” Rodrigo said with a firm hand on his handler's shoulder. Lieutenant Burton nodded carefully before motioning with his signals to his subordinates and slid into the room.

    “Go now!” he yelled to Rodrigo as the young man sprinted forth from the hall.

    “Tom!” Rodrigo yelled as he ran past crossfire and the sound of men dying from the balconies above. “Tom!” he called out again to the lone figure on the central platform. Rising to the top of the metal plateau, Rodrigo raised his hand gun to the young man even despite the desperate shots ringing around him.

    “Marcus was right,” Tom said slowly without turning to face his old friend. “The Timepiece is finally open... I can go through and decide everything--”

    “Tom... you can't!” Rodrigo could only say but not daring to take another step towards the young man's back.

    “Yes I can!” Tom shouted with his head lowering slightly. “What makes you think you can decide for me?! I am my own person, Rodrigo! I won't be controlled by you.. by your country... or by your Church! I will use the Timepiece to bring the world that should be into existence and--”

    “You don't understand!” Rodrigo shouted back halting the other young man's ire. “You've yet to understand... don't you see? The best Marcus can give you are half truths... only half right things... You have to understand, Tom... the Timepiece... everything.. it's not as simple as you make it out to be... there's more-- There's so much I could tell you... do you... do you even know why your name is Thomas? There's a reason for that too! There's been a reason for ever--”

    “He already knows that answer,” someone said as if the voice was coming from the white light ahead of them... as if someone was speaking through the white portal glowing in the deathly atmosphere of the firefight around them. But the voice that spoke to Rodrigo... it was...

    “The Twin...” Rodrigo said as if only by reflex now... his hands slackened down along with the end of his pistol. “It means Twin...”

    It was then that Thomas Royce turned around to face him in the eyes. There was no expression on his face but one of subdued discontent. The one behind him... the one who now came forth from the light and stood behind Thomas Royce was that very reason why Thomas was Thomas-- Tom's other half had finally arrived... The Other Thomas was here... The Twins--

    “I'm sorry Rodrigo... I will have my right to choose,” the indecisive one said quietly.

    “You cannot stop us, Janus,” the Other spoke with a grin on his face. “Tom is free to choose and he has chosen.”

    “Yes...” Rodrigo sighed while looking down at the metal crosshatch that maintained the platform. “He has the right to choose... but so do I.”

    Rodrigo raised his gun and shot his old friend Thomas Royce in the back of the head.



    Epilogue
    “You know that the Romanfellow Foundation does not want to get involv--”

    “You're already involved in it whether you like it or not, Your Grace.”

    “Please... This was just a measure of Balance. If we do get involved it is to make sure that the scales are kept in Balance... we need the two sides fighting each other... Your side and theirs... we need that conflict in order to bring about lasting peace...”

    “I am a man of few words nowadays, Your Grace, as you can probably tell by my laboured breathing.”

    “Well yes...”

    “So I'll make this brief. In the coming months your organization must make the final choice and, yes, there will be pain in either direction. The work you are doing in space is excellent... which is exactly why you're the perfect candidate to be official partners with us.”

    “I'll think about it...”

    “I hope so, Your Grace. Just imagine... when that day comes we'll be close enough to speak with in person. Perhaps I could tell you the story about how I got the scars underneath my mask.”



    “I... I'll definitely give it a thought, Herr Gehirn... Watkins would you please shut off the viewer for me?”

    ---


    (1)Although Raul did not know this, an exothermic reaction had occurred when the object made contact with the acid cloud thus increasing the water temperature significantly.

    (2)Salt density in the water had significantly increased at that point and cause buoyancy to increase as a result.

    (3)Most likely a crude hydroxide or caustic potash. Although potash has been in use for centuries, the genius of making it into a potent alkaloid must be assumed to have been the tinkerings of Dr. de Fronsac.

    (4)The reasoning why the final level is not present in Gehirn's expedition is explained via context by the closing parts of this act.

    (5)I tried my best to Latinize "The night is darkest just before the Dawn" and yes , I did watch Dark Knight last night XD also Hence why this update is late !
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  19. #4619
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