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Thread Contributor: Luthien VogelerQuest Day 16: Arriving in Nantucket
Emberverse-Main

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#1
Even with Arjay's magic to help, it had taken a week for Luthien's shoulder to be healed enough to allow them to travel.

Thankfully the rest of the journey had been uneventful, the easy drive that Dean had promised when they'd arrived in this world.

Now, they were at the place the Sword of The Lady had Guided Them To Reach.

It was, truly, the Moment of Destiny.

The moment when The Fifth Age of Mankind would be Born.


However, at the present time, Luthien was standing in front of the door to City Hall on Nantucket Island, frowning as she read the sign that said "No Weapons Permitted"

"We can't just cut our way in." she said, much as she might wish to do so "And um, what is a metal detector?"
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Shadowrun-Tabletop edition

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#2
Queth leaned back and cursed loudly and clearly. Sighing she turned to Luthien. "A metal detector detects metal- like the sword you're carrying. Or Steve's shield. Or- you know- half of my body." She explained, rubbing the bridge of her nose with a groan. After the long travel- she wouldn't even be able to make it into the bloody building without subterfuge.

"Means we've got to find another way in. Doesn't need to be something all of us can pass through- we can strap all the weapons to me and I can go that way. The rest of you should be able to pass once you're all through- but if you'd rather just push a bag through a fence somewhere- I'll be here. Sitting in the car. Waiting for something to happen." She elaborated dramatically, lying on the van's floor and laying an arm across her eyes.

She was grateful that her fellow questers and her would be soon free of the world that a number of people had been in longer than they had anticipated- but she was coming to be sort of fond of the band- in the way she'd bonded with other runners in the past- it was... nice. So it was for the best it would be over soon- so that she could return to her usual self. No fuss. She sat up and absentmindedly started stretching with the expectation that she might be doing some acrobatics to get in.
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#3
Well, this was just lovely. Arjay could think of several ways to get themselves into that building and bypass what seemed to be the sentinels against intrusion. It would, really, be a laughably simple matter... if, of course, he had his magic. Which, as he had had many chances to lament so far, he did not. And, without his magic, he was truly loathe to go anywhere without his swords. What sort of a backward world was this, where people were denied their weapons? It still struck him as ridiculously naive.

So Luthien didn't think that they could just push through here, and he had no real way of arguing with that... since there were several things he was unsure of. "What, exactly, is our objective here?" he asked. "If, as you say, this will bring magic to this world, why can't we just push through? The moment we've accomplished the goal, and magic is available, I can remove us from the situation, and forgive me for saying this, but the place does not exactly seem to be an impregnable stronghold." And, really, it didn't. The building was sturdy, of course, but it was hardly a fortress defended by vicious guards. All the same, he admittedly didn't want to kill (or even maim) men who believed they were quite justified in keeping them from storming the building... so he supposed he saw what she meant. "Do we know anything more specific than that we need to get into that building?"
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#4
“Language!”

Okay. City hall of Nantucket. They had finally arrived at their destination, all of them were in fairly good health and spirits, even with how long their quest had taken. Longer than any of them planned on being away from home or Hub, that was for sure. These were all good things. They were so close to the end, they could all see the finish line. Now, they just had to complete the objective.

The problem became that none of them, not even Luthien, was entirely certain just what, exactly, their objective really was. Get the sword into the City Hall building, sure, but then what? Would Luthien just know what it was she was meant to do? Would some spirit or being appear to tell them? Would the sword itself do something? Luthien might know, but it was also possible that she was at as much a loss as the rest of them were.

One thing was certain: Queth wasn’t going to easily get past that metal detector. Even as imperfect as the technology of this time was, there was no way it would miss that amount of metal. And Steve wasn’t entirely certain if metal prosthetics were very common during this time period. He’d still been lost beneath the ice at this point in time, not yet found by SHIELD. ”No, it’s not anything near impregnable, but I don’t think any of us want to be hurting or killing innocent people if we can avoid it.”

Looking at the building, Steve considered their options. They had to get past the metal detector, but that was the primary source of security he could easily see. Before the events of 9/11, security had been far less than it was in the later 2010’s. This… Could be fairly straightforward. ”Well, one or more of us would have to go in and check it out, but… Most of us could easily get through the metal detector if we leave our weapons behind. So… Why not just go in unarmed and Queth can come in, or at worse pass us, the sword through a window? If we get in and there is a lot of security, or no windows, or something else unexpected, then we can always leave and reconvene to figure out a better plan.” Sometimes the simplest plan was the best one.

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Emberverse-Main

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#5
"That sounds like a workable plan." Luthien said thoughtfully. "We should walk around the building and see if we can spot a good window for her to pass the things through." a few minutes of investigation revealed one that appeared to connect to a bathroom, which was ideal for their purposes. A few minutes later and Queth was stationed outside of the window, and Luthien and the rest of the group headed inside the building.

As soon as they stepped inside, the world went mad.

The walls started to blur and shift. At one glance they would appear to be a charred, barren ruin, another and they were replaced by gleaming, sterlie steel, another and they were a lattice of glowing crystal, a third and they were covered in plaster and swirling, colorful zoomorphic designs, then she'd blink and the walls would be as they'd first appeared when she'd walked inside.

Worse, and more confusing, her sense of herself was shifting. With great concentration, she could remember that she was Luthien Vogeler, Elf-friend and Dunedain Ranger, born at Stath Ingolf, but she remembered other things as well. Remembered hiding and scrabbling in the forest that had taken over a city, barely human, barely capable of thought. She remembered tentacles of light coming from her eyes and hands, a being that had transcended humanity to be something cold and rational and profoundly, disturbingly Other. She remembered being dressed in a skirt made of string, dancing bare breasted around a circle of standing stones.

Stumbling, scrabbling, she stumbled towards where she thought the bathroom was, trying to reach the window where, she hoped, Queth was waiting.



(basically, at this moment, Nantucket Town Hall is a place in complete temporal and spatial flux, allowing people to see visions of an almost infinite number of other selves. Feel free to narrate whatever you want for your character.)
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#6
Arjay would have been rather content to just wait until the building was empty, personally, but something meaning that this quest was over sooner was, at this point, welcome. He was practically aching by now to feel the flow of magic around him, that gentle invigorating caress that he only really knew by its absence, it seemed. He let the others make these decisions, seeing no need to contribute where there was no problem, but as soon as they were inside…

A part of him wondered what those not in their little party were seeing when they looked at the group. Probably they were seeing people acting addled, but he had very little attention to turn to such matters, because at once, he was home in Myth Drannor, standing in the high temple of the Seldarine where those faithful came to seek his counsel on matters of the heart. But… no, that wasn’t right, he hadn’t become a priest, he was the war chief of the city. He’d fought off the armies of Drow, undead, the Zhentarim, and all of those powers that threatened his people. But…

Arjay shook his head, trying to clear it, trying to make sense of what was happening to it. He was remembering lives he’d never lived, outcomes he’d never known. He was seeing himself standing next to the throne of the Queen on Evermeet, a hero of the island, one of her trusted guards and counsels… but he knew that was false, he knew the span of his life that had gone beyond that place.

He saw himself in a small home in the trees, a simple place, but warm, inviting. He saw himself with a dusky-skinned elven maiden… though she must not be a maiden any longer, because there were two children in front of the fire listening to him play his flute, while a baby slept in the corner. But he knew this to be false as well… for though that could have been, he’d left her to see to his duty to his People, and by the time he’d returned, she had…

Pulling himself from the painful self-recriminations that idea brought, Arjay found himself wrenched into a memory of himself ascending to the top of one of the great towers of magic, taking his place as the center of the high mages there, preparing to cast a mighty spell that would defend the island… but he had not focused his attention on his magical pursuits. He’d forsaken them, in fact, at the behest of his goddess… or so he had believed. Sometimes, he had reason to doubt himself, naturally.

With a force of will, he focused himself on the reality that was true to him. He forced himself to shut out those memories, and concentrate on this reality, this one where he had not earned the regard of his people. The reality was that there were no accolades to his courage, no honors bestowed upon his house in his name, no mighty deeds for which he would be known. He would, in fact, be the first of his family in living memory to be considered completely unremarkable, with his greatest accomplishments buried in necessary secrecy and no one remaining truly close enough to him to choose to remember them. The thought left a bitter taste in his mouth, but it was solid, it was real, and it let him focus through the sudden invasion into his mind. He was an elf. He could resist enchantments such as this even if humans could not, and…

…Wait. Enchantments?

“Magic,” he managed to whisper, forcing himself to see this strange building as it really was as he guided the next person in line through. Yes, now that he wasn’t so distracted (or was ignoring those distractions) he could feel it. There was magic here, along with a warm presence that he’d also only really known by its sudden absence for the last month. Goddess, give me the strength of mind to remain myself, and I will make sure those trying to halt this quest know how greatly displeased with them you are.
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Shadowrun-Tabletop edition

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#7
Queth had kept stretching as she waited at the window- finally growing impatient (alright so not finally- Queth's patience was far less than her lifetime would suggest) she forced the window open, rolling her eyes despite herself at the fact that it wasn't even locked in place. Making certain the weapons were secure on her person- she hoisted herself up easily and through the window.

However the moment her feet touched ground- she found herself lost. Which was a strange thing to happen considering she was a mother of four- she had gotten good at juggling situations. Despite herself she looked around to call for her children only to feel like she had been hollowed out when she found weapons instead. Which- made sense. She wasn't a mother. She killed everything she touched- it was why she had become a mage who practiced death magic- And- that was wrong too.

No- she was- was she a knight? A fighting duchess- taking advantage of her uncle's knowledge to create a powerful new place for herself in this post change reality.

... Maybe? It almost seemed right. Certainly more right than many other facts had been from the other stories. Swallowing hard she counted out facts on her fingers to remind herself who she was.

"I was born in Portland." She started, extending one finger. "I have no siblings." She added- wondering at the lack of mirrors in the room- or if there were mirrors, then her lack of reflection in them. "My first name is Rachel. My last name is Lamont. My best friend is Dr. Sparkles." She managed, proud of herself for managing to count out five true statements about herself.

Content in her skin, she repeated the facts to herself as she went to go find her parents- who were undoubtedly holding her plush friend while she went to the washroom. She hummed happily as she did so before going towards the entrance area and not finding anyone she knew. Her bottom lip quivered even as she looked around wildly before approaching a man with blonde hair. "Excuse me." She managed to squeak- tugging at his sleeve before tears filled her eyes and she fell to the ground sobbing. "My name is Rachel, I'm 8 years old and I can't find my mommy or daddy." She managed to wail out, trying to rub away her tears and dripping snot. Only one side of her face was wet which was weird- but that made it easier to wipe off.
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DC- DC-TV-1

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#8
Do you know what it’s like to feel completely useless every moment? Belle did. After the last few weeks of standing/hiding/ and or cowering in the background while the more skilled members of the group dealt with the actual problems. Every time she came up with an idea she was too slow to say anything or was gently overruled by the more experienced people around her.

So far all she’d managed was to keep everyone fed and nag about silly things like showers. Heck she’d had half a nugget of an idea about maybe trying to drug the guards when they just decided to walk in.

In short Belle felt like a useless tag along.

Maybe that was what guided the visions.

Trailing behind the others Belle had half a second to see the others freeze when she was engulfed.

She was fire. Terrified and beautiful, she’d killed a man who’d been trying to hurt her-(Belle remembered that...but she’d run away..) and was reborn as fire.

She hurt anything she touched but one man found her gorgeous. Belle had given her love to him.

He had disappeared.

She had wings, and a mind that refused to be chained. A fairy who was found by a dashing pirate who saw past her size and gave her everything she wanted. Zarina had given him everything and he had betrayed her.

She worked in an office, gave her love for nothing, finally found a man who saw more than her pretty face. She’d made it. A doctor's wife. The ring on her finger didn’t stay long, broken fingers swell. And when the man who broke them was also a doctor why ever need to go to the hospital where someone might as questions?

She was a woman of many names, she’d learned long ago that love was weakness, the only thing it bought you was pain, better to use them before they used you.

Saffron opened her eyes, a small smirk curling her lips, she understood what was going on here. And better still she knew exactly What needed doing. “Sorry about mah friends.” She batted her eyes expertly, “I was wondering if ya could point me ta the Judge Ketcher?” She interposed herself between the dazed idiots she’d passed through, running her hands over the planes of her dress- hum no dress ah well jeans and a damn tight blouse worked just as well.

She had no idea if there was one, she just needed to hold attention long enough for the rest to pile through the arches.
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#9
“Language!”

It wasn’t the most complex plan, and maybe it wouldn’t work. But if this building ran anything like any of the governmental buildings from the past or Steve’s present, the worse that would happen was that they would have to abort and leave and come up with something else. Still, he hoped his idea, simple as it was, would work, because, like most of the others, Steve was very eager to get back to Hub, which had become home to him as of late. Odd how that had happened, but it was what it was.

They moved into the building as a sort of group, and Steve was focused on their objective. Get Queth in through a window, get the sword where it needed to go, and find a quiet way out if at all possible. Simple. Straightforward.

And then the world went insane.

He was back in the 40’s again, laughing with Bucky before either of them had been distracted and pulled away by the war. Then he was laughing with Peggy and the Commandos around a fire. They were all happy, though, and Steve looked across the fire over to Bucky, his arm around a gal, and… That wasn’t right…

The Avengers stood on stage, he and Iron Man standing shoulder to shoulder, Tony leaning just slightly toward him to mutter something inappropriate and funny, and Steve had to steel his face in order not to give them away…

Standing over a grave, tears in his eyes, his fists clenched as he dressed down a tombstone that proclaimed Tony Stark as Iron Man, beloved and missed, before pleading with it to not be real.

It wasn’t real. Steve knew that, he knew that these were just… Something else. Magic or illusions or something worse, but none of these were who he was. He was… He was on a mission, with other people, and…

The world shifted again, and Tony stood next to him, smiling and at ease, just relaxing as they stood and watched the next generation of Avengers train together. Sure, they’d fight till they were old and grey, both of them, but they also knew that Spiderman and his generation were going to be needed just as much as they had been, and…

This. This was the world, the possible future, that Steve couldn’t simply tear himself away from. A red-haired girl sparred with Spiderman, and a brunette boy watched, cheering on whoever seemed to be losing at the moment. And then an odd looking woman had his attention, asking for help finding her parents. But she said she was eight years old, and looking at her… Steve knew that wasn’t right. Still, mental health problems were something that SHIELD and the other Avengers (Tony and Clint, mostly) had made him read up on, and he didn’t judge, his voice and face softening as he heard her plight, “Don’t worry, Rachel. I’ll help you find them. I’m Steve, by the way.” He reached into his pocket to fish out a handkerchief, “You’re gonna need to stand up so we can go look for them, okay?”

He led her for a ways, sighting an oddly familiar redhaired woman, and calling to her, "I'm sorry, miss, but this young lady seems to have lost her parents, do you know her at all?"

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Emberverse-Main

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#10
Luthien reached the bathroom where her Companions were standing, their conversation telling her that some of them had been beguiled, lost in dreams of other lives, other selves, people who they had been, or might have been, or would be one day.

Queth was there, still holding the Sword of the Lady, holding it like it was a cherished toy.

Luthien stepped forward, and, seeing no need to argue against the delusion said "Thank you for bringing me my Sword, my lady." she said, speaking kindly to the child who looked out of the tall woman's eyes "May I have it now? I need it, please."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#11
Arjay wished, more than anything at the moment, that he had a spell to remove this enchantment from them, but sadly it was one of the areas that his magic was deficient. The most he could do was to try to help them resist its effects, but first, they needed to not be disturbed. As he followed the others into the bathroom, he cast an illusion over the door to make everyone else see an empty room, rather than a gaggle of people whose brains were currently in flux from the abnormal (for this world) presence of magical forces.

Luthien seemed to be herself, more or less. Steve as well. Belle seemed... odd, somehow, but at least she was composed. Quethadia, on the other hand... did not seem to be reacting well to the spell. He didn't check the others, this was enough to tell him that the magic was needed and so, for the first time in weeks, Arjay began calling upon his magic. He cast a blessing over the entire group, the spell taking hold like a welcoming warmth that he knew oh so well and had missed desperately in the past weeks. Then, one at a time, he began casting a protective spell to ward them against further intrusion into their mind. They'd have to fight through anything presently affecting them on their own, of course, but this and the blessing should make it easier. It was tempting to start throwing all of his magic at the problem after so long without it, but he couldn't waste all of his magic just yet. If he had his power, then anyone else might as well, and if their foes were as dangerous as they had been with the limited magic of the rest of this world, he knew they might be incredibly dangerous in this building.

"On your guard," he said in a low voice for those who were in their right minds (or close enough to it) at the moment. "If my magic is back, we might be in for new troubles when those opposing us inevitably find us.
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#12
“Language!”

An adult child, that’s what Rachel here was; adult in body, but her mind? She was obviously still very young. What had caused this, though, that was something that Steve had no idea about. All of the information that SHIELD and the Avengers had given him had been insightful and informative, but none of it had explained what might cause something like this in a person, or how to really deal with it.

In short, Steve was at a loss, and falling back on what he knew.

Seeing Luthien and Arjay, Steve blinked and frowned. He could almost remember these people, if only vaguely. Steve recognized them, he knew that the redhead and even this odd woman with the strange prosthetics and the young man nearby were all familiar, even if he couldn’t quite actually remember them.

And then Arjay spoke of magic and troubles and ‘those opposing’ them, and Steve sank into Captain America, clutching his trusty shield even as his focus narrowed down. ”Where do we need to go, and what do we need to do?” He needed parameters for this mission if they were going to succeed, if he was going to be a help at completing their goals.

He needed to know what, exactly those goals were....

“That’s not going away anytime soon.”
*
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Shadowrun-Tabletop edition

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#13
Rachel sniffed and rubbed at her damp eye, arguing with herself before finally giving the nice lady her sword. She choked the next sniffle back and gave a watery smile. "My uncle says one day I can be Queen. And that I can have a nice sword like yours too." She giggled slightly, finally done sobbing. Meant that when Arjay cast magic over the group, she noticed and processed it before it slid past her.

Rachel wrinkled her nose- magic always felt weird, and she had a program that could do that anyways- she had a program for that. Frag. Abruptly standing up, Queth stomped to the bathroom mirror as her brain began reinforcing her self from her memory banks.

Peeling off the mask long enough to wipe the snot that had seeped underneath it, she washed her face and she turned and handed out weapons. "I'd appreciate if we never again visited what just happened." She offered with a furious blush across the one side of her face.

"We should get going" Queth managed decisively, holding the door open so that the others might leave the bathroom with her.
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Emberverse-Main

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#14
Luthien took the The Sword of the Lady from Queth and once she was touching it, here, at this time, in this place, it started to glow, and Luthien fell to her knees, staggered and bathed in light. The Sword was held in front of her, and then she reversed it, so that the point was down and the tip plunged into the floor, and then vanished into the floor.

Then

There

Was

Light

Then the light dimmed, a little, and the Lady was standing in front of her, in the shape of Varda, speaking with the voice of Luthien's mother.

"You did well, child." The Lady said, gently "Its done."

"I killed a world." Luthien said softly. Because she had. The Change, and all the death that had come from it, that was on her. She was the cause.

"And saved a world, and let another be born." The Lady replied "And another world will be born, when the Change reverses itself. Not for a long while, the 6th Age of Man will not come for many years yet. But now it can come. Now the Powers can draw back from this world, and let the Story of this world belong to Men. The time of Legends is over, and you were the last, Luthien Vogeler. You did your duty, and now its time to go home. Or find a home. Or make a home. Or rest."

And with that, the Lady went away, and Luthien was laying in the ruins of what had been the Nantucket City Hall, with tears she couldn't explain adequately rolling down her cheeks. She sat up, and saw her Companions around her, coming to their feet, and a Portal open to the Hub where the door to the bathroom had been.

(With this the Quest is basically over. People who want can go back to the Hub now, or you can have your character go back to Montival with Luthien and catch the Portal there. Magic peeps should be aware that this universe is now magic free. Feel free to have The Powers tell your character anything they need to know, or just pat them on the head or whatever you feel like.)
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