Yaris is asleep. They dream of their basement; a well-organised room laden with boxes, bookcases and other miscellaneous items. A Persian rug sits in the middle of the concrete floor.
[[For some reason, they can't stop focusing on the bookcase against the back wall.->The room]]They close their eyes and are transported to a dark room. In the center of the room stands a man in a brown suit, around whom rainbow-coloured worm-like creatures dance. This man's eyes are glazed over and pure white.
[[With a shriek, all the dancing creatures catch fire.->Basement]]With a jolt, Yaris opens their eyes. The bookcase in the basement is gone, and in its place stands a door. The door creaks open.
[[Yaris is jerked awake.->Awake]]As if they had been shaken awake, Yaris jerks upright in their bed. A glance around their room shows, thankfully, its empty. They run a hand through their now sweat-soaked short blonde hair and take another look around their bedroom. The state of their floor and shelves would be best described as a controlled mess. Assorted items from niche internet fandoms are strewn about the place.
[[They reluctantly wriggle themselves out of bed.->Standing]]Stretching their back and arms, Yaris realises its still dark out. As they sleep with the light on, their well lit room is a stark contrast to the pitch blackness they can see between the curtains on their window. Sitting their glasses on their face and leap frogging between the clean patches on their floor, they venture to their door.
[[Time to see if their parents are home.->Hallway]]Standing in their hallway, Yaris is struck by the sudden memory of their dream. Illuminated by the light of their room, the basement door stands at the other end of the hallway. A series of less imposing doors stand on each side. Yaris swallows hard. It seems to have grown colder in the house.
[[Yaris has a poke around the house.->Explore]]
[[There's only one way to satiate this curiosity.->Basement 2]]An investigation of the house reveals, worryingly, that nobody else is home. Yaris' heart now thumps against the inside of their small frame as if it were trying to break out. Almost in a daze, they find themselves back in front of the basement door.
[[It beckons them forward.->Basement 2]]As Yaris reaches for the door handle, they can feel the chill coming off it. Grasping it and cautiously pushing the door open, they venture down the grey concrete stairs. Turning on the light at the base of the stairs illuminates the basement. They breathe a slight sigh of relief. Everything just as they remember it.
[[Even the bookcase.->Bookcase]]The stale air of the basement grows oppressive. It couldn't hurt to check, surely! Nervously, Yaris approaches the side of the wooden bookcase and [[pushes.->Bookcase move]]With a grunt and a great deal of effort, the bookcase begins to slide across the wall, revealing the surface behind it. As it moves, screeching against the floor, an indentation in the wall becomes clear. Squeezing their eyes shut tight, Yaris continues to push the bookcase until it has moved completely out of the way.
[[Stepping back in shock, blood running cold, Yaris lays eyes on the door.->Door]]There definitely wasn't a door here when Yaris and their family moved in. The hair on their legs stood up as if a cold breeze had filtered through. Nothing stood out about the door aside from the fact it was, well, //there//.
[[A buzzing sound grows louder in Yaris' ears.->Open]]The door is close. They reach their hand out. The buzz grows louder Receding into their sweater, half-controlling their own arm, they grab the door handle. Cold. It turns, and with a push, the door opens. The room inside is black as pitch. IS this where the buzz is coming from? A blink. Yaris is in the room.
[[The door slams shut behind them.->In the room]]The buzzing ceases immediately. The room is dead silent. Yaris, unable to move, shivers in the freezing temperature.
[[All of a sudden, as if they opened their eyes, Yaris is able to see.->Cave]]They are in a cave, lit as if it were day but with no discernable light source. The light brings with it warmth. The rocky surface travels upwards like an uneven tunnel to the surface. Yaris turns around.
[[The door is no longer there.->Cave 2]]Perhaps instinct would say this was a dream, but Yaris is smarter than that. This is all too real. Their knees grow weak. Turning back around, Yaris decides there's only [[one way out of this.->Cave mouth]]
After a short journey up the ascending slope of the cave, Yaris reaches the exit of the cave. They find themselves on the side of a hill overlooking a forest of (text-colour:cyan)[cyan] grass, trees with (text-colour:navy)[blue] leaves and (text-colour:#008000)[green] trunks and a navy blue night sky. With a rub of their eyes, Yaris confirms that this forest is, in fact, real. Just like the cave, it is lit as if it were day despite the sky.
[[A path ventures down from the cave mouth towards the forest.->Path]]The dirt path, parting the grass on either side, leads Yaris down into the forest. Their continued, aimless exploration down the path leads them closer and closer to both the sounds of [[running water->Urantia]] on one side and [[falling rocks->Lancey]] on the other.Following the sound of running water, Yaris spots a pond in the distance connected to a small running brook. On a rock by the pond, a white haired girl draped in silk sits on a rock, admiring the water.
[[With a degree of caution, Yaris decides to introduce themselves.->Urantia 2]]A right hand turn off the path leads Yaris closer to the sound of rocks clattering together. The trees part way to reveal a set of stone ruins playing home to a short person dressed in all black with short, scruffy, jet black hair to match. They stand at the top end of a fallen stone pillar, surveying the ancient wreckage.
Upon hearing Yaris' feet against the foliage growing nearer, they turn around in surprise, ready to defend against anything approaching. Seeing Yaris, their gaze, cast upon them with one (text-colour:navy)[blue] eye and one (text-colour:red)[red] eye, becomes one of startled curiosity.
[["What the fuck?" the figure exclaims.->Lancey 2]]The girl spots Yaris approaching with a look of surprise. She smiles and hops off her rock to come and meet Yaris.
"Oh, dear. You... must be new here."
[[She seems remorseful.->Urantia 3]]"Who... are you?" Yaris questions the girl.
"I am Urantia, dear. You must be so confused. We haven't had a new arrival in so long."
[["Where... am I?"->Urantia 4]]Urantia speaks softly, sympathetic to Yaris' plight. "We're not particularly sure... ''We just call it The Labyrinth.'' All of us ended up here the same way you did... assuming you came in through the cave."
[["We...?"->Urantia 5]]"Oh, of course! You and I aren't the only ones here, dear. There are a few of us that have come over time. Some have stayed, some... well we're not sure where they are."
"Come, dear, I'll show you to them."
Urantia holds out her hand, beckoning Yaris to take it.
[[Yaris takes her hand.->Urantia 6]]The two denizens of the Labyrinth make their way further down the path, Yaris lead by Urantia's hand. All of this was becoming a bit much for Yaris. It seems as if everything is happening on the edge of reality, past a boundary they never knew existed but not far enough to become unrecognizable.
[[It feels real, but everything other than that feeling feels wrong.->Village]]Yaris, startled by the aggressive surprise of the figure standing before them, freezes up. The figure, sensing this, loosens up slightly and, with great concern regarding the mere existence of Yaris, hops off the top of the stone pillar. "I'm not going to hurt you, just... where did you come from?" the figure asks Yaris.
[["I-I don't know... a cave...?"->Lancey 3]]As the trees parted to reveal a small gathering of neat buildings of wood and brick, Yaris is distracted out of their inner monologue. They're the kinds of houses you'd imagine yourself finding in a village somewhere in the 16th century, tucked into the English countryside.
[["This is the village, dear. We all stay here." Urantia spoke softly to Yaris, aware of their stress.->Village 2]]Seeming to understand Yaris, the figure nods in approval. "I see." Their face shows a depressed disappointment, a kind of sympathetic pity for Yaris' situation.
[["I'm Lancey. You are...?"->Lancey 4]]"Ah..." was all that Yaris could muster in response. How many people live here? There's only 5 buildings, all set in a half-circle to face the mouth of the forest Yaris and Urantia just exited, none of which seem occupied at the current moment.
[[Yaris feels their legs buckling underneath them.->Village 3]]Urantia, responding to the drop in Yaris' stature, props one of their arms over her shoulder. "Of course, you must be so tired, dear. Come with me, you can rest in my house. I'll introduce you to the others later."
[[Yaris still can't see any evidence of "others" aside from the houses.->House]]Opening the wooden door of one of the two-story houses, Yaris enters a hallway and then a room laden with wooden bookcases and furniture. Two couches sit around a small living room table. The dark oak table seems to stretch into the floor that appears to be made of the same material. There had to be a //lot// of people in this labyrinth if building all this stuff was to be possible.
[["Here dear, you can lie down on the couch if you like."->House 2]]Bewildered, full of questions and completely out of energy, Yaris accepts Urantia's offer and collapses onto the couch. The last thing they hear before tfalling asleep is the sound of Urantia walking up the stairs in the hallway.
[[Alone and at peace, Yaris quickly falls asleep.->Asleep]]Much unlike the last time they woke up, Yaris re-enters the conscious world calmly and unperturbed. Rubbing the gunk out of their eyes, they reflect on the deep and relaxing sleep they just exited.
[[They remember a dream of a distant fire slowly coming closer.->Awake 2]]"Y-Yaris..."
"Well, Yaris, welcome to The Labyrinth." Lancey stuffs their hands in their pockets and approaches Yaris. "I got here the same way as you, same goes for everyone else here. There's only a handful of us who've been around for a while and we all stay in the same area. If you wanna follow me, I'll show you.
[[It'd be best to tell the others there's a new arrival."->Lancey 5]]Lancey turns and begins to walk away from Yaris, back to the path. Expecting them to follow, Yaris tails them with a little distance. After a short, silent walk, the trees part, revealing a small gathering of neat buildings of wood and brick. They're the kinds of houses you'd imagine yourself finding in a village somewhere in the 16th century, tucked into the English countryside.
[["This is where we all stay."->Lancey 6]]Shaking the thought out of their head, they stand up from the couch, stretching their arms and back. Thankfully, their glasses they left on by accident before sleeping didn't fall off their face. A change of clothes was becoming necessary, however, as their bedtime shorts and turtleneck sweater weren't particularly appropriate attire for...
[[Oh yes. The Labyrinth. Like a ton of bricks, they remember where they had woken up.->Awake 3]]The thought sunk heavily to the bottom of Yaris' stomach. Looking around the living room's white walls, laden with dark oak furnishings, Yaris thinks of what to do next.
[[They decided to travel upstairs to find Urantia.->Upstairs]]
[[Left to their own devices, they poke around the first floor.->Ground floor]]Walking back into the hallway, Yaris ascends the stairs, searching for Urantia. One of the doors at the small junction at the top of the stairs is slightly ajar, letting the light from inside creep out into the hall.
[[Yaris tiptoes up to have a look.->Upstairs 2]]Yaris feels a little intrusive looking around Urantia's place without permission but, hey, she invited them in. Dark oak bookcases with all manner of texts line the walls wherever there aren't windows. Puzzlingly enough, these windows reveal nothing of the outside world.
[[It looks as if the house is in a white void.->Ground floor 2]]"A-Ah." Yaris, startled by the appearance of the two-storey buildings, becomes even more intimidated than before. "How many... people... are there?" There's only 5 buildings, all set in a half-circle to face the mouth of the forest Yaris and Lancey just exited, none of which seem occupied at the current moment.
"Well, there's only a handful of us. Some people come and go, dunno where they end up. All I know is that we all ended up here the same way you did." Lancey explains the situation to Yaris.
[["Come and go... Go where?"->Lancey 7]]"Fucked if I know. We've been looking for a way out for years. Maybe the lucky bastards found it."
The blood drains rapidly from Yaris' face. "Y-Years...?"
"Oh... yeah... sorry." Lancey looks sheepishly at the ground, aware what they had said wasn't exactly an easy introduction to Yaris' new environment. Yaris' knees buckle under them, and the world around goes dark.
The last thing they saw was the uncanny, navy blue night sky. It seemed like a gross imitation of the sky they were familiar with. The stars seemed to hang at the same distance away from each other. The uncanny light that seemed to emanate from the (text-colour:cyan)[cyan] grass itself lit up the leaves of the trees that Yaris could catch in their peripheral vision [[as the world shut closed around them.->Lancey house]]As if it were just a blink, Yaris re-enters the conscious world in a groggy state. Lying on their back on what seemed to be a dark leather couch, staring at a white ceiling, Yaris sits up. They're in what looks like one of the houses. A dark oak floor plays host to an abject mess of a place. Books are strewn about the place, dust gathers on distant shelves, chairs sit at perturbed angles away from their table.
[["Thank God, you're awake."->Lancey house 2]]Turning their head towards the source of the voice, Yaris lays eyes on Lancey, lying cross-legged on the opposite couch. In between them sits a low dark oak table that seemed to sink indiscriminately into the floor, being such a similar color. "You were only out for a short while, but I think the others have started to come back."
[[Yaris gives a groggy nod in acknowledgement.->Lancey house 3]]Peering into the room, Yaris spots Urantia sitting on their bed reading a book of some description. It looks to be an old religious text, but not much can be made out from the light provided by the candle on the table beside the bed.
[[With a knock, Yaris pushes the door a little more open.->Upstairs 3]]"Oh hello, dear! I hope you slept well down there." Yaris, creeping into the room as to not disturb Urantia too much, closes the door slightly behind them. "I did, thank you..." Urantia places the now closed book beside the candle on the table.
[["How are you feeling?" Urantia queries Yaris.->Upstairs 4]]Like a softer version of their post-sleep realisation, Yaris once again was cruelly reminded of their situation. "Alright... I guess.." They responded sullenly to Urantia. "Well, as alright as you can be I suppose. Would you like to go downstairs and be introduced to the others, dear?"
[["O-Okay..."->Going outside]]Lead by Urantia, Yaris ventures out of the room and down the stairs. Opening the front door back into the centre of the half-circle of houses, Yaris lays eyes on 3 very disparate looking people facing out towards the forest. One dressed in all black with short jet-black hair to match. Another dressed in purple parachute pants with spiky purple hair, again, to match. The last appeared to be an old man draped in white robes.
[[Hearing Yaris and Urantia exiting their house, they all turned to face them.->Going outside 2]]Nodding, Yaris recalls a dream of a distant fire growing ever closer. Thankfully, somehow, their glasses stayed on their face while they were asleep. Hopefully one of these other people staying in this village had a change of clothes - bedtime turtleneck and shorts wasn't going to cut it if they were going to be stuck here for a while.
[["Did... you wanna go meet the others?" ->Meeting L]]Addressing their puzzled expressions, Urantia speaks. "Hello everyone. We have a newcomer. Their name is Yaris." The group shares looks of concern as they approach the pair. The one with purple hair speaks up first.
[["Well, sucks to be you!"->Meeting]]"That's Purple Justice." Urantia introduces the pair. Yaris, thrown off already by the purple-haired clown, has a chance to look at the figure with jet-black hair. Facing them, Yaris realises one of their eyes is (text-colour:red)[red] and the other is (text-colour:blue)[blue].
[["You're unlucky, aren't you?" They exclaim.->Meeting 2]]"I-I guess..." What's with this group? "Can't you all be a little kinder?" Urantia lightly scolds the two colorful characters for their unsympathetic behaviour, then continues, now speaking in a soft tone to Yaris. "That's Lancey, the cynic in all black."
[["So, same way as the rest of us?" Lancey queries Urantia.->Meeting 3]]Before being able to ponder Lancey's question, Urantia answers. "Well, I'm assuming. They came from that same way. I found them wandering when I was at the pond by that cave." Yaris cocks their head to the side, puzzled, which prompts the robed old man to respond in a gentle voice. Upon further inspection, the old man's irises appear to be filled with diamonds.
[["We all come from the cave."->Meeting 4]]Urantia speaks up. "That is Diamond Eyes." Yaris, perplexed by the man's eyes is startled by his voice once again. "A pleasure to meet you, young fellow." Diamond Eyes extends his hand towards Yaris, who takes it. The two shake hands gently, as if they were both crafted from dust.
[[Yaris gets the feeling this man is wise beyond measure.->Meeting 5]]"Well, while you two were lollygagging, me and Lancey were checking out the museum. It looks clean, so we can all probably go in." Purple's voice, grating as it may be, sparks Yaris' curiosity. "Sooner rather than later, I suppose?" Urantia responds.
[["You gonna tag along with us?" Lancey prompts Yaris.->Meeting 6]]They had barely arrived in The Labyrinth and here they were, already about to go on some form of quest. Yaris can barely believe it. Gazing absently into the bright trees, Yaris thinks about the metaphorical road ahead of them.
[[The only way out is through.->Museum journey]]An image of Yaris' father popped into their head. Distracted by the image just for a second, appearing only as if they were pondering their current situation, Yaris responds to the group with a silent nod. "Well, let's get going then, shall we?" Urantia, who was keeping a watchful eye on Yaris' expressions, gets the group ready to head to the museum.
[[Whatever that means.->Museum journey 2]]Shaking their head, Occam's razor as blunt as ever, Yaris turns away from the window they're standing at to look at what seems to be the dining table. Neat and tidy, with a tablecloth to match. Turning away from the dining room, satisfied with their exploration of Urantia's house, Yaris realised that the only thing that seemed off about the table was a lone newspaper, laid open across the centre. One of the titles read,
[["The only way out is through."->Upstairs]]"Come. Time waits for no one." Diamond takes lead of the unorganised group as they start down a path leading away from the houses. "So, Yaris, was it? Did you really come from the cave?" Purple, walking backwards to face Yaris, stretches their arms behind their head.
[["Yeah... I did. Some kind of cave, at least."->Museum journey 3]]"Let me guess. You were just chillin' out somewhere, maxed out, and then BAM! You're in a dark room that looks like when you shut your eyes really hard. Then all of a sudden you open your eyes and WHAM! You aren't where you were. You're in a cave!" Yaris could do nothing but nod along.
[["Enough Purple, we're here." Lancey snaps at the clown, who is unbothered.->Museum entry]]Before the group now stands a building of dark stone. It looks like it could be a freshly constructed ancient Greek library. "We didn't go far in, but the whole thing's //clean//. Weird, but clean. Makes sense for how recently it //appeared//. " Lancey chimed out. "There's some weird shit in there man. Nothing my learned auteur brain can recognize. Everything in there looks like it was pulled from some primitive imagination. Probably Lancey's." Purple jests at an unresponsive Lancey.
[[Appeared?->Appeared?]]The group shifts nervously. "There is... a certain evil that roams this world." Diamond breaks the eerie silence. "Its presence is marked by coal. Fortunately, this place is safe." Whatever curiosity Yaris had was now accompanied by an equal amount of fear. Coal?
[["O-Oh... I see."->Enter Museum]]"What do you mean... appeared?" Yaris asks Lancey. "What, you think we //built// those houses? Nah, man. Shit just appears here." Purple receives a sharp look from Urantia who is intent on keeping a once-again-very-startled Yaris calm. "In a manner of speaking, yes. Sometimes we'll come across something new in these forests that wasn't there last time." Urantia continues.
[["O-Oh... I see."->Enter Museum]]"Oh... yeah." With the power of curiosity, Yaris stands up off the couch. Lancey follows them in kind and leads them to the door. "I hope you don't mind the mess." They exclaim over their shoulder. Papers and books are strewn about the place. On the way to Lancey's front door, Yaris catches sight of a quote from what, after looking away from it, could only be remembered as a newspaper.
[["The only way out is through."->Meeting L2]]A suitable quote for their current situation. A brief flicker of Yaris' father appears in their mind for just a moment before it skitters off into their subconscious recesses. Paused in the middle of the pile with Lancey waiting at the now-open door, Yaris continues their journey and walks through the door.[[walks through the door.->Meeting L3]]Exiting the front door back into the centre of the half-circle of houses, Yaris lays eyes on 3 very disparate looking people facing out towards the forest. One of them appears to be a young girl in a soft blue dress with beautiful, long white hair. Another dressed in purple parachute pants with spiky purple hair, again, to match. The last appeared to be an old man draped in white robes.
[[Closing the door behind them, Lancey lets out an "Oi!" to get the attention of the group.->Meeting L4]]The group, startled by Lancey's shout and then further by Yaris' existence, share a couple of concerned looks before starting over towards the pair.
[["Who might you be, dear?" The blonde haired girl speaks softly.->Meeting L5]]"Y-Yaris... my name is Yaris." Meekly, Yaris introduces themselves to the group. "They've just been at mine for now. Found them coming from the way of the cave when I was at the ruins."
[["Well, lovely to meet you, Yaris. My name is Urantia."->Meeting L6]]"Alright, we aren't getting any younger." A low silence hangs over the group before Lancey breaks it. "As far as Purple and I could tell, there are two wings: the east wing, and the west wing. I can take the west wing and Diamond will watch outside. Whoever Yaris doesn't go with, Purple will, keeping us in pairs. Call out as loud as you can at the first sign of trouble."
[[The group nods.->Enter Museum 2]]Lancey has taken up lead of the group. Despite their timid frame, Lancey seemed very strong. Urantia, elegant and caring, but seeming to possess some religious hinderances. Purple Justice is, well, indecipherable as of yet. Same for Diamond, who at the very least seemed like a protective force. Urantia's voice breaks the silence. "So, Yaris, who would you like to go with?"
[["I'll... take the east wing with Lancey."->East wing 1]]
[["I... want to go with you to the west wing."->West wing 1]]"Alright. Do be safe, dear." Urantia gives Purple a nod and starts towards the museum. "Looks like its me and you, then." Lancey gives Yaris a smirk. "You would be wise to take Urantia's advice." Diamond Eyes gives the pair a smile as they begin walking towards the museum.
[[The big front doors are already cracked open, inviting them in.->East wing 2]]"Right, well, its settled. Yaris shall come with me." A faint smile darts across Urantia's face. "Which leaves me with the clown. Come on, boy." Clicking their fingers as they turn heel towards the museum, Purple follows and, in turn, pretends to be a dog.
[["I'll make sure you're safe." Diamond reassures the two.->West wing 2]]The beautiful girl smiled back at Yaris. "Yaris... pleasant to meet you." The robed man spoke up to introduce himself. Upon closer inspection, it appears the man's irises are filled with diamonds.
[["That's Diamond Eyes. Just call him Diamond." Lancey elaborated.->Meeting L7]]"Well while you two were off doing... whatever it was you were doing, I was inspecting our new museum!" The purple haired clown spoke sarcastically to the group. "I beat you to it, Clown. I went there before hitting the ruins." Lancey responds with exhaustion before turning to Yaris. "That's... Purple Justice.
[["A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Yaris!"->Meeting L8]]"Speaking of the museum..." Urantia starts just as Purple interrupts. "Let's go, let's go! I wanna go, can we go please??" Placing one hand on their face, Lancey fires back. "Shut up, man. What is with you today? Of course we're gonna go."
[["You coming, Yaris?" Lancey shoots the question at Yaris.->Meeting 6]]Stepping into the museum requires a moment for Yaris' eyes to adjust. Candles line the dark oak walls (despite the stone construction outside) that seem to absorb most of their light before they can escape. And, in fact, the rest of this museum doesn't make much sense either.
[[In the centre of the reception stands a large globe sculpture.->East wing 3]]On further inspection, the globe appears to be a wireframe replica of Earth, with every mountain and valley represented. On each side of this globe are doors, presumably leading to the rest of the museum. Which didn't make much sense. From Yaris' recollection, both the doors on each side should open out the [[side of the museum.->East wing 4]]The doors unsettle Yaris to their core. They can feel their hair standing on end as Lancey begins to walk to the east wing door.
[["Come on Yaris, I don't want any dead weight."->East wing 5]]"O-Oh yeah... sorry." Yaris, snapping out of their somewhat-daze, follows Lancey over to the door. They watch nervously as Lancey opens the door. Behind the door is not the outside of the museum.
[[The door opens into a room of bookcases.->East wing 6]]"A-Ah..." Is all Yaris can get out. Despite this, Lancey seems to be in tune with them, and understands the reason for their shock. "Yeah... used scared me too. Should open up outside, right? Seems every building in The Labyrinth has some non-Euclidean quirk like this."
[[Lancey enters the room with confidence.->East wing 7]]Yaris, meekly following Lancey, continues into the room. The bookcases stand in the centre of the room. Various non-descript paintings line the walls. The bookcases themselves seem to be placed unusually. As if they're an art piece themselves, they overlap each other, blocking access to some of the shelves. The ends jut out at irregular positions.
[[Another door sits at the other side of the room, past the bookshelves.->East wing 8]]"Thank you, Diamond. We'll be safe." Urantia, taking Yaris' hand, leads them both towards the imposing stone museum. The doors are already open a crack after Lancey and Purple's journey through them, [[inviting the pair in.->West wing 3]]Stepping into the museum requires a moment for Yaris' eyes to adjust. Candles line the dark oak walls (despite the stone construction outside) that seem to absorb most of their light before they can escape. And, in fact, the rest of this museum doesn't make much sense either.
[[In the centre of the reception stands a large globe sculpture.->West wing 4]]On further inspection, the globe appears to be a wireframe replica of Earth, with every mountain and valley represented. On each side of this globe are doors, presumably leading to the rest of the museum. Which didn't make much sense. From Yaris' recollection, both the doors on each side should open out the [[side of the museum.->West wing 5]]The doors unsettle Yaris to their core. Something feels so... unreal about them. "Come on, dear. Let's go explore this west wing." Urantia starts towards the door on the left, leading into the west wing.
[[She opens the door.->West wing 6]]The door does not lead outside the museum. It leads into a room with pale white marble floors and dark oak walls. In the middle of the room stands a statue of the ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite. The room does not appear to have any other doors.
[[Urantia and Yaris step into the room.->West wing 7]]"How... peculiar." Urantia exclaims, walking just ahead of Yaris into the room. The space seems so large with only the statue to present its plain walls with any context. The floor, Yaris can tell through their dirty house shoes, is cold. Urantia approaches the statue.
[[In Yaris' head, a single tone begins to rise in pitch.->West wing 8]]Urantia is getting closer to the statue. The tone is growing in volume. Yaris' feet are frozen to the floor. The pitch of the tone grows higher. Urantia extends an arm towards the statue. "Yaris, dear, could you-"
[[Like a flashbang, the room goes white and Yaris' ears are filled with ringing.->Aphrodite]]The tone is gone. The squiggles that dance upon the inside of your eyelids, the ghosts of vision. These same figures play across Yaris' entire field of vision before they are able to open their eyes. They are standing in a white void, about a dozen metres away from the statue of Aphrodite.
[[The only way out is through.->Aphrodite 2]]Like two Gods lifting great pillars of earth, Yaris strains to move their legs forward. Step by step. It feels as if every blood vessel in their body has shrunk to a third of its circumference. Yaris can feel their pulse through the skin that protects their jugular veins.
[[The only way out is through.->Aphrodite 3]]Yaris is finally close enough to the statue to reach out to it. "What... did you... do to her...?" A voice that sounds a little like Yaris' comes out of their throat in coarse exclamations. Their hand is almost touching Aphrodite's left breast.
[[Lightning crashes all around Yaris.->Aphrodite 4]]The white void is the same now, only black. Taking their hand off the statue's breast leaves a dark handprint. Yaris thought if you squinted at it, it looked a little like they had covered their hand in ''charcoal'' before touching the statue. Yaris' blood freezes in their veins.
[["Play. Your. God. Damned. PART!!!"->Aphrodite 5]]A deeply strained, agonized voice screams out from behind Yaris. They spin around to face whatever was behind them, but instead find themselves back in the room with the marble floor. Aphrodite is gone and Urantia is lying in a heap on the floor where it should be.
[[Yaris rushes over to her.->Aphrodite 6]]Yaris, now at Urantia's side, turns her gently to lie on her back. Her pale, silky hair collapses over her face. Yaris rushes their hands to Urantia's neck and heaves out a sigh of relief. She has a normal pulse.
[["Dance with the leaves in the wind..."->Aphrodite 7]]Yaris' nerves have had just about enough of voices they don't recognize speaking to them from behind. This voice seemed like that of a middle-aged man. Not like the screeching voice from the void. Standing up from Urantia and spinning around, Yaris nearly falls back in shock.
[[The man from the dream is now standing in front of them.->Aphrodite 8]]Yaris can barely close their mouth. Maybe... this is all a dream after all...? Before they can make heads or tails of it, the man begins to speak. "I will now give you two clues. Follow these and you will make it out. They are as follows.
[[To some, heaven is what lies beneath Earth. Surely, it would be unwise to venture it alone."->Aphrodite 9]]Startled but with not much to say, Yaris simply nods. "I look forward to meeting you again." The man bids Yaris farewell before slowly disappearing. What... does any of this mean? Yaris can feel their heart pounding like a caged animal behind their chest. They look back towards Urantia. Past Urantia, interrupting the once barren wall, stands a door with a big, cartoonish golden lock around the handle.
[[Yaris, curiosity piqued once again, approaches the door.->Aphrodite Door]]
[[There's no time. They can do this as a group. Yaris goes to find the others.->Lobby]]Whispering a word of luck to the unconscious Urantia, Yaris bolts out of the room, leaving the door open behind them. Back in the lobby with the globe, Yaris sees Diamond Eyes hurrying into the museum. "Diamond?"
[["Something has gone terribly wrong. Find the others. Quickly."->Lobby 2]]Stepping around Urantia, Yaris approaches the door. The lock is huge, much bigger than the handle. It almost seems like a joke. As Yaris reaches out to touch the lock, a cackle echoes through the room. The lock and door handle disintegrate into piles of dust.
[[Yaris spins around. The other door is gone too.->Aphrodite Door 2]]Before Yaris can get a word in, Diamond rushes past them into the room with Urantia in it, door slamming shut behind him. Rushing towards the door to the east wing, Yaris pondered on how this whole "before they could get a word in" thing was becoming a trend.
[[Swinging open the door, Yaris finds an unusual arrangement of bookcases in the middle of a dark oak room.->Bookcase room]]The bookcases all seem to be overlapping with each other, facing in on one another and jutting out at unusual positions. Fortunately for Yaris, Lancey and Purple Justice are both there aswell. "Lancey, Purple... t-there's, something's happened! You have to come with me."
[[Startled by Yaris' sudden discovery of tone, Lancey and Purple nod to each other and run towards Yaris.->Bookcase room 2]]"What's happened?" Lancey queries Yaris. "T-There's no time to explain. Diamond... its urgent!" Yaris, panicking, turns to lead the group out of the room with the bookcases. "If Diamond's in here, we're really in the shit." Purple doesn't help to lighten the atmosphere
[[The group approach the door back into the west wing of the museum.->Back to aphrodite]]The door handle is much colder than before, Yaris realises as they grasp the golden knob and turn, swinging the door open. Urantia still lies in the middle of the room. To the right stands Diamond Eyes. He is staring at a figure at the other side of the room. The two are having a standoff over Urantia.
[[The other man appears to be a charred corpse.->Back to aphrodite 2]]"Don't come any closer!" The voice that shrieks out at Yaris sounds like a combination of Diamond's voice and the screeching voice from earlier. "Oh, fuck!" Lancey whispers in aggressive, panicked tones behind Yaris. Then, all of a sudden, like a lightning bolt from heaven, [[Yaris recalled the words of The Amnesiac.->Back to aphrodite 3]]With a rumble, the roof of the room begins to slide down towards Urantia and Yaris. Flinging their eyes around the room, Yaris can find nothing to help them. There is no exit to this room. Yaris runs over to Urantia and flings themselves over her body. Tears blur their vision. There is nothing they can do as they are crushed.
[[Go back.->Aphrodite 9]]Lancey, already moving towards it, prompts Yaris. "Hey, come check this out." Yaris joins Lancey at the door. With a shrug, Lancey pushes the door open. The room beyond the door is like a black void. Yaris can't tell if it was a room or a pitch black wall in front of their face.
[[Ice seeps back into Yaris' veins.->East wing 9]]A quiet rising tone grows louder in Yaris' ears. "Well... can't hurt to try, can it?" Lancey steps a foot forward into the room. The tone grows in pitch. "No, Lancey don't! This is just like-" Yaris' shout is interrupted by the effects of what seem to be a flashbang.
[[Yaris' vision goes completely white.->Ares 1]]The tone is gone. The squiggles that dance upon the inside of your eyelids, the ghosts of vision. These same figures play across Yaris' entire field of vision before they are able to open their eyes. They are standing in a white void, about a dozen metres away from a statue of the Greek god Ares.
[[The only way out is through.->Ares 2]]The white void around Yaris fades into pitch black. The statue crumbles to dust. A marble floor flies up from beneath Yaris to connect to their feet. A statue of Ares' lover Aphrodite gently falls from the sky, landing right next to the statue of Ares.
[["It... was... meant... to be."->Ares 3]]A voice, strained, screeching out from nowhere, echoes through Yaris' head. The statues begin to burn. A single tone grows ever louder, just behind Yaris' eyes. The cacophony of crackling fire and growing tone is unbearable. The fire grows.
[[Yaris wakes up on the floor of the east wing room.->East wing 10]]Standing up, first groggy and then, on recollection of previous events, hurried, Yaris is interrupted by a voice. This voice is different to the screeching, agonized one they just experienced. It seems like the voice of a middle-aged man.
[["Dance with the leaves in the wind..."->East wing 11]]Spinning around to face the man, Yaris' blood freezes to a halt in their veins. The man with the brown suit from the dream is now standing between Yaris and the exit from the room back into the lobby. The man begins to speak again.
[["I am The Amnesiac, and I have some more clues for you."->East wing 12]]Before Yaris can get a word in, much less comprehend the events of the last minute or so, the man continues to speak. "To some, heaven is what lies beneath Earth. Surely, it would be unwise to venture it alone." What does this have to do with Lancey? Where were they?
[[Yaris doesn't understand, but nods hurriedly anyways.->East wing 13]]"I look forward to meeting you again." The Amnesiac spoke one last time before slowly fading away in front of Yaris' eyes. Compartmentalising that experience to unpack later, Yaris darted their eyes back towards the door.
[[Lancey was in there. It was time to save them.->Lancey door]]
[[The words of The Amnesiac echoed clear in Yaris' head.->East wing 14]]Rushing over to the door and opening it, Yaris is once again greeted with the sight of the black room. It was completely silent, and the place stunk of soot. With a hesitant foot, Yaris steps into the room.
[["NO!!!" Yaris hears Diamond shout after them.->Lancey door 2]]"Surely, it would be unwise to venture it alone." Yaris turns and books it towards the door between this room and the lobby. Traversing through the door back into the lobby towards the west wing, Yaris nearly runs into Diamond who had just entered the museum.
[["D-Diamond?" Yaris exclaims.->East wing 15]]//"To some, heaven is what lies beneath Earth. Surely, it would be unwise to venture it alone."//
"C-Come with me, guys!" Yaris turns and runs back into the lobby, much to the surprise of Lancey and Purple. "What is it Yaris?" Lancey shouts after them. The whole museum feels as if it were shaking. A loud rumbling, like a distant earthquake, begins to sound out through the museum's halls.
[["The Earth!"->Back to aphrodite 4]]In the lobby are what appear to be 3 metal discs on the floor within the globe in the center. Recalling this, Yaris pulls the thin wireframe aside and steps inside the globe. "J-Just, get in here!" Lancey and Purple, confused but with no time to question, step into the globe.
[[The agonized voice from before begins to screech.->Back to aphrodite 5]]"S-Stand on these!" Yaris signals to their feet, bringing the two other discs on the floor to the group's attention. The rumbling has grown much louder. Lancey and Purple stand on the discs.
[["NO!!!" The agonized voice calls out.->Back to aphrodite 6]]"DON'T! FUCK WITH ME!" The globe begins to sink into the floor with the trio still inside. "What the fuck do we do?" Purple shouts at the other residents of the globe. The rumbling needs the group to shout in order to hear each other. Yaris, peering over the edge of the now-rising floor, gets enough of a view of the west wing room to see a wave of (text-colour:red)[blood] rush out of the room, streaking down the floor towards the globe.
[[The blood, of which there seems to be a great amount, begins to fill the cylindrical indent that now hosts the globe.->Back to aphrodite 7]]The (text-colour:red)[blood] quickly rises. The rumbling is deafening. The smell of iron in the (text-colour:red)[blood] overpowers the trio. After trying to drive their fingers through the wireframe like they had just done a moment ago, Yaris finds that the globe is no longer malleable. With the blood now at their neck, Yaris is completely unsure what to do.
[[This is how I die, they thought. Drowning in blood.->Back to aphrodite 8]] With what sounds like the scream of a little girl, and just as the (text-colour:red)[blood] began to seep into Yaris' hair, the globe breaks into a million pinpricks of light. The cylinder in the floor, now filled with (text-colour:red)[blood], contains Lancey, Purple and Yaris, who clamber hurriedly out of the (text-colour:red)[blood].
[[With no time to thank the higher powers for their lives, they all rush into the west wing room.->Back to aphrodite 9]]Diamond is sitting on his knees in the middle of the room. Urantia has her head on his knees. A dark patch of charred oak and marble paints where the charred corpse was standing just a moment ago. Interestingly enough, the marble floor is completely clear of any of the (text-colour:red)[blood] Yaris saw a flood of just a moment ago. "Holy... fuck." Lancey exclaims in a fit of relief.
[[Yaris, still covered head to toe in blood, rushes over to Diamond and Urantia.->Back to aphrodite 10]]Urantia, now conscious, looks up at a teary-eyed Yaris. "Yaris... dear..." Yaris couldn't hold it back. The last few hours... had all been too much. But... they had halted the fall into madness. Tears, streaking down their face, mixing with the (text-colour:red)[blood], fall freely.
[["You have done a great thing, child." Diamond speaks to Yaris.->Back to aphrodite 11]]Yaris closes their eyes and nods. Without noticing their arrival, Lancey and Purple had arrived and now knelt beside Urantia and Diamond. There was no rumbling. Yaris didn't notice when it stopped, and they didn't care. Blood soaked their clothes beyond repair, but they didn't care. They had saved the fall.
[["We all have much to talk about." ->Chapter 1 End]]Chapter 1 End.
Chapter 2 coming soon...
^^Thank you so much for reading! =w=^^"Something has gone wrong, Yaris. Find the others, quickly!" Diamond rushes past Yaris into the east wing room. Yaris' heart sunk as all meagre scraps of disbelief were cast into oblivion. Something terrible has happened to Lancey.
[[They need to fix it. Yaris rushes into the west wing room.->West from east]]Opening the door to the west wing room reveals a large space with a stark white marble floor, contrasted by the dark oak walls and a single statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite standing in the centre of the room. Urantia and Lancey are standing a distance away from it, and turn with surprise upon Yaris' hurried entrance.
[["What is it, dear?" Urantia questions Yaris.->West from east 2]]"S-Something happened to Lancey... q-quickly, come with me!" Urantia and Purple don't need a second word of encouragement to start them towards Yaris, who in turn runs back into the lobby, leading them across the dark floor to the east wing room.
[[Opening the door reveals a change in environment for the room.->West from east 3]]Diamond stands before the bookcases, looking at the dark room Lancey had just entered. The room, burning unrestrained, looked more like a wall of fire within the wall. "He is here. Get back!" Diamond shouts back at the group who huddle behind the walls each side of the door, peeking in from the lobby.
[[A corpse, charred black, walks into the room from beyond the wall of fire.->West from east 4]]"Oh-h-h-h fuck!" Purple scrambles behind the wall while Urantia, pale as her hair, takes cover. She closes her eyes and begins to say what appears to be a silent prayer. A low rumbling, like a distant earthquake, begins to sound out through the museum.
[[The words of The Amnesiac echo through Yaris' head as they lay eyes on the globe in the middle of the lobby.->West from east 5]]"To some, heaven is what lies beneath Earth. Surely, it would be unwise to venture it alone." Within the wireframe globe, three metal discs sit on the floor. "G-Guys! Come with me!" Yaris sprints away from the door towards the globe.
[[Purple and Urantia, in a daze of confusion and panic, follow them.->West from east 6]]Tearing apart the wireframe seemed taboo, like damaging an art installation, but the part of Yaris' mind that processed that information was being wholly ignored at this point in time. Standing on one metal disc, Yaris points down towards the other two and signals for Urantia and Purple to join them. The rumbling has grown louder.
[[Urantia and Purple step in.->West from east 7]]"I hope you know what you're doing, Yaris!" Purple shouts over the now cacophanous rumbling. "I believe you, Yaris." Urantia's voice cuts through the symphony of chaos. She looks Yaris in the eyes as both her and Purple step on their discs.
[[With a jolt, the globe begins to sink into a cylindrical column in the floor.->West from east 8]]The sounds of crackling, dancing fire have now joined the deafening rumbling. With the floor now above their heads, they could do nothing but hope everything topside was okay. Orange light began to paint the roof above. "Hey, uh, how far down does this thing go?!" Purple shouted over the now deafening noise.
[[Purple would shout no more as a wave of blood rushes over the top of the column, beginning to flood the globe.->West from east 9]]Yaris can see Purple mouth the words "Aw, fuck, man!!" The (text-colour:red)[blood] is filling the globe rapidly. The opening that the group entered through now leads to the wall of the column. After thrashing at the top of the globe for a second, Yaris realises the globe is no longer malleable.
[[This is how I die, they thought. Drowning in blood.->West from east 10]] "YOU'RE DEAD!!!" The screeching voice from earlier calls out over the cacophony of fire and earth as the blood rushes over Yaris' head. And just like that, the globe splintered and became a million pinpricks of light. There is no time to thank the higher powers.
[[Holding their breath as tight as they can, Yaris swims to the top of the blood pool.->West from east 11]]Taking their first breath out of the (text-colour:red)[blood] and practically leaping over the edge of the pool, Yaris turns around hurriedly to watch as Urantia and Purple, both drenched in (text-colour:red)[blood], follow them. Without a word or hesitation, the group start bolting towards [[the east wing room.->West from east 12]]Throwing open the door, Yaris sees Diamond on the floor over Lancey, who is lying on their back. "Lancey!!" Purple exclaims, rushing to their side. Yaris and Urantia follow. The metallic scent of (text-colour:red)[blood] fills the room as they squelch towards Diamond.
[[Upon closer inspection, the backs of Lancey's hands and the side of their face appear to be burned.->West from east 13]]"He is unconscious, but he is okay. He will be okay." Diamond, exhausted, reassures the group. Urantia grabs Yaris' hand and kneels down beside Lancey. "Yaris... dear... whatever you did... however you figured that out..."
[["You have done a great thing, child." Diamond tells Yaris.->West from east 14]]Before Yaris had a chance to stop them, tears had already started flowing freely from their eyes, mixing with the (text-colour:red)[blood] on their face. They had stopped the fall into madness. They were drenched in (text-colour:red)[blood]. The cacophony had fallen silent. They had stopped the fall.
[["We all have much to talk about."->Chapter 1 End]]Turning their head as they enter the room, the last thing Yaris sees is Diamond running towards them as fast as his legs could possible carry him. The smell of soot was almost unbearable. The door slams in front of Yaris, and the room bursts into flames.
[[Go back.->East wing 13]]