Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Chapter 98: Trial and Error

There are no visible doors, no windows, no handles. Just an endless sea of tiles.

Small tiles, big tiles. Ceiling tiles, wall tiles, floor tiles.

Which ones open? Which ones are more than they appear?

What is a corner? What is a dead end?

It's a labyrinth. A maze. It's a maze put here to drive him insane, he's sure of it.

He could die in here.

Then he sees her, and she sees him.

Help! HeLP hELphelpmEhelpmehelpmehELPMEHELpmeLEtMEout!

The telepathic buzz in his head causes him to stumble backwards.

She pauses. You can hear me?

"I hear you," Acheron says slowly. He steps forward again, courage renewed. He examines a panel on the wall, the only mechanism he can see. The screen flickers rapidly, its symbols shifting backwards, forwards, upwards, downwards, diagonally. He has never seen a lock like this, if it is a lock, yet he has the nagging feeling he should recognize it.

I would have your name.

He is closer, and her voice is louder in his head, though her lips do not move.

Your name.

The woman's eyes seem especially piercing and unnatural. The pupil is too small, the iris is too wide. Part of him, perhaps the part that is human, has the instinct to flee... but some other part of him senses familiarity. It's the second feeling that sends a chill down his spine.

She waits for his name. She is not the woman he normally sees in his dreams. She is not Claire. She's different, and he has yet to discern her importance.

She waits. She waits for his name.

"Acheron," he says.

She looks at her hands. There's nothing in them, but then again, creatures aren't locked away in forgotten places like these for no reason. She could be trouble. My brother said you would come.

Acheron's gaze drifts back to the panel with the changing symbols. "Where is he now?"

She doesn't see the cold, dangerous look in his eyes because she turns away, hiding her face.

He allowed himself to be captured. So he could rescue someone. A little girl, from... from the far past. And she got out, but... he didn't... and... so they... found me. They used our connection to find me. They did this to me... they made me into this horrible thing...

"I'll get you out." He feels the old sense of empathy returning. The feeling is intrusive and unwelcome; he needs clarity, not compassion. Acheron's jaw stiffens as he studies the panel. He does not see a pattern. He does not know where to begin.

How are we speaking? she pries. She has been here so long, but her thoughts remain logical and ordered, and a little too curious.

Acheron narrows his eyes. "I'm not sure. You're confined in a sort of cursed box. Nothing gets through but light."

He cannot use magic to get her out. That goes without saying.

Then our spirits speak to each other, she decides. How can that be?

Acheron shrugs. "Maybe Kay is right, and we are just all the same."

Realization hits her. Then you are...

"Don't think of me as Ceth's son. Think of me as the one who followed your research," he says bitterly. "I have taken Lethe's power and I need Loki to tell me how it is wielded."

She must be wondering how he managed to do such a thing, but she says nothing.

"I will use you to track him down," Acheron spells it all out for her, as if she hadn't guessed. "So do you know an unlock sequence for your cell, or not?"

YOU don't know?

"How the hell would I know?"

The Acheron should know.

Sigh. Has he come this far, only to be stopped by this lock?

He presses a finger against the display, touching the first glyph that appeals to him. It stops flickering. Carefully, he drags it a few centimeters to the left...

The pain that follows is intense enough to wake him. He dies in front of that cell, he's sure of it.

This was the sixteenth attempt to tamper with the panel.

He awakens exhausted, dimly aware that his skin and limbs are all where they're supposed to be...

...and yet, somehow very keenly aware that he has failed for the sixteenth time to deactivate the panel. He wishes he could tell the Acheron in the dream not to try to free the trapped lady; it's a little mean, maybe, but what if she's behind that anti-magic glass for a reason? What if she gets out and eviscerates him?

Acheron hates this dream. The details escape him quickly, but the memory of pain and anger lingers.

He isn't even sure why he's pissed off, but... the older Acheron is always seething behind that mask of calm. Something must be wrong. The Acheron of the here and now just cannot remember what.

Etc.: Seventeenth time's the charm???

I know Cayenne's altered eyes there being freaky is kind of... an informed trait, but I have to look at it from a sim's perspective. It would be like seeing someone with anime eyes in real life. Cute on paper, uncanny valley in reality.

If you're wondering why her hair looks so great even though she's trapped in some lab dungeon, the answer is because magic. If you're wondering why she doesn't look her age, the answer is because science.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More Questions Part 4

These are from Owly. Thanks, Owly!

1. Who's a historical figure you think is neat? Why?

Mark Twain. His criticisms of society are still depressingly relevant.

2. I've invited myself over for dinner. What are your making for me?

If you'd have warned me in advance, I'd have asked you what you liked to eat, and gone shopping. Maybe rice noodles, tofu, veggies and teriyaki sauce could have been involved. Since you just showed up at my door, maybe we'll order a pizza? If I really need to make it myself you'll just have to eat some spaghetti, or maybe a sandwich. I... have a condition... and panic when trying to handle certain raw foods, so that severely limits what I can cook. If we can get my boyfriend in the kitchen, you might be able to enjoy crab cakes, or scrambled eggs, but he's not going to be happy you showed up unannounced, so I wouldn't count on his help.

3. If you were a sim, which neighborhood would you like to live in?

Hidden Springs.

4. Who is your favorite premade sim? How about your least favorite?

It's hard to have a favorite, but I'm playing with Lela Whitfield right now, so I guess she's nominated.

Least favorite... wow... probably one of the dozen or so sunglasses guys in Monte Vista.

5. If you could program a robot to do one task for you so you'd never have to do it again, what would it be? It doesn't matter how complicated the task is; it just has to be something you could do yourself (so you couldn't program it to make gold out of water unless you can do that yourself, so no cheating!).

Clean the bathroom.

6. Okay, so now irony kicks in: what do you miss out on by programming the robot to do that task? (ex: you programmed the robot to tuck your children into bed at night, and now your children love the robot more than you)

The robot threw me out of the bathroom.

7. What would you like to improve about your writing, and what do you think you already do well? 

I'd like to be able to resist the temptation to reference songs and films.

As for things I already do well... uhmm... well I think I'm okay with characterization? All of my characters have specific backstories and motivations and thought processes, even if I don't make them all clear to the reader.

8. What object from TS3 would you like to have in real life?


9. What's your vice? You can tell me. I'm cool.

I crave food even when I'm not hungry. Then I have to either practice self-control, or pretend one more piece of cheese won't ruin my figure.

10. Where's your favorite place to be?

 Curled up with my significant other.

11. Are we--as humans--enacting order in a chaotic universe, or are we enacting chaos in an ordered universe?

We humans are a part of an ordered universe. Our brains follow certain chemical processes, and our actions follow predictable patterns. Uncertainty only comes from not having all of the variables easily accessible.