Born under a Bad Sign

August 19, 2015:

Dreaming her way into the Astral, Reese is confronted by the Herald Ka'amara, scion of a darkling power.

Astral Plane

The swirling eternity where all things past and present exist; an endless grey void broken by an infinity of lives, ideas, and memories. Intent is reality is action.


NPCs: Ka'amara, the Herald



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The swirling aether of 'between' realities is the Astral. Truly limitless in size and scope, it is where all the leftover bits of reality seem to congregate. Forgotten civilizations live on here; the dreams of dead men, the songs of the future. Restless souls and powerful psychics can be found frequenting the vast expanse in which everything and nothing can be found.

On the astral grow demesnes, places of thought and power created to give context to the infinite sea of probabilities. They stand close and near, some mere hovels of focus, some vast cities of unimagineable scope.

For the man once called John Constantine, the Astral plane provides a welcome sense of relief from the harrowing pressures of reality and her subjugate planes of existence. Without thinking about it, he'd assembled a protective shell inside the Astral and climbed into it like a creature digging in the snow for warmth. The demesne had grown while he slumbered and nursed his wounds, exploding with unrestrained manifestations of power and will and nascent dreams, until it floated on astral eddies like a battleship made of basalt and dense, black steel, stoked with fires of an infernal hue. Those who merely sailed the astral eddies hastily moved out of its course, while the ones who held domain on this plane of notion and thought had given it a wary eye, recognizing a confluence of forces dark and abhorrent to nature coursing across the grey scapes.

'You always give, but do you know you can take?'

The swirl of red clouds her senses, all the while she remained in bed, presumably asleep, pillows bunched up and clutched like a death grip as her fingers nearly tear the sheets.

'Let me show you how.'

The moth that's drawn from the lips of the man next to her flutters and struggles to keep itself contained. Fighting against the tug and pull of death..

Until it slams back with an array of green and slams her soul down into the ethers. It was an unexpected change, possibly called by the dark to cool and quell. But little did they know, that piece of her, bound and ravaged.. it called to her like home. Home..

The body remained asleep. While she began to wander. It wasn't such a hard landing that would jar and shake, but it was a landing none-the-less in all typical ceremonial garb and eyes that can actually see.

A soft sigh draws from her lips as she draws the katana from it's sheath, the row of wispy hair that floats around her gaze gripped, twisted, and soon sheared off with two swipes of the glowing katana that outfits her ceremonia gi. Katana was slammed back home into her sheath with a minor hint of annoyance as she begins to walk, her steps purposeful, not rushed. The darkness. Should she fight it?

Or let it whither within the astral.. the ley.. the dragon lines in which it now calls home.

Because the battleship in the void is an extension of the man reposing within, it's aware of Reese's presence, the hard crash-landing of a personality slamming into awareness inside that floating waste. It senses that darkness, the frustration that she vents in her supposed dream.

And it beckons. It invites Reese in with the vague promises of answers, of assurances. A certainty that manifests as hard rock under her questing feet and the distant promise of light that pushes back the shadows of confusion.

It takes her not long; a few long moments of thought, of pursuing those whispers and the intangible answers suggested to her. The path leads to a cavernous space made of jagged basalt and old, weathered English hardwoods, something like Dante's take on a bar in hell. The place smacks of self-indulgence tempered only by self-loathing, and it seems to have a purpose that defies mortal understanding.

"You're new here," the man atop a twisted pile of rock says. It resembles a chair, but one not intended for humans. He's sunken in the cheeks, skin pallid, and he wears a heavy black trenchcoat that almost completely hides his form from view. And his eyes burn with a deep red tone, a sulferous light within. "But you're not here, entirely. What do you want?" he asks in a perfunctory fashion.

It was something new to her; the manifestation of being. Someone, who ever that could be, was strong enough in the spiritual sense to create a construct that could not only bring her to a beck and call but reach out into the dreaming; her own interpretation of something gone very wrong within the astrals, the lines. The dragon. So much that it caused her to physically lash out at another, to create a force so strong to beat her down into this space without the use of her will alone.

Was it intentional?

That pull was, so much that her feet nearly lift from the ground as she floats, but that float was a blur as short hair licks against the lobe of her ear, a hand reaching up to scratch as the other rests upon the hilt of her katana, that current of consciousness allowing her to land upon her own two feet to study the construct with a wary gaze..

"New?" Reese echoes out, turning not once, but twice.. until she looks up towards the .. throne, to the man. It was the first time she had seen a man, a conscious one within this realm. One that wasn't crying out in pain from torture, begging for release…

"Not hardly new." The hand does not relax, tightening just a little. "A moment like this would call for me to tell a joke or actually speak what I really want and need. But.. I didn't come here of my own volition. Something called to my soul and I was led here." One eye squints as she approaches the construct, momentarily drawing him out of view. She doesn't climb it, nor touch it, but she does lean forward.. her voice heard over the edge.

"What do you want?"

A cataclysm of thoughts assault Reese. It's a deluge, the patterns wholly alien and barely comprehensible to a human. Some primal thoughts, though, things that virtually all things that can think share. Pride. A desire for power, for praise. The thing in that man's body is a force of unspeakable power, awesome in the most literal sense of the word. It's old beyond all comprehension and as powerful as the turning seasons, as the turn of the Earth.

And there's that same sense that the being is looking at her, from inside that construct even as it tries to assimilate her into that floating battleship of intention, and there's nothing gentle or sparing about the examination, which maintains even as she ducks out of 'sight'; hiding in the shadow of the ship is hiding in the shadow of the being itself.

"I think I want you," the man/thing says, distant and close at once. "You are one of the Undying ones. Burning your soul to keep a mortal shell alive. You hunger but cannot feel your stomach burning," the being says, voice human and utterly alien at the same time. Gentle brushings of thought and promises of knowledge drift against Reese's awareness, enticing her closer. "A vestige of what you once were, a vessel that grows even as it empties. Why do you starve yourself?"

"How did yo-.." Words were stilled as the thoughts assaulted her mind, her body taking a slight step back as her skin.. her skin in the real world bears the feeling of crawling, which transposes itself to her avatar as a slight shimmer, a shiver.. a hand that releases the katana so that both of them could cover and protect herself as her foot catches upon a hitch to back away slightly.

It was as if all of the beings that lay within the lines drew into her mind, a form of telepathy that she never knew existed yet.. knew that she didn't have. It forced itself upon her, and she took it.. though she could feel herself bleed from the nose in the other world. It assaulted her soul and showed.

"Stop this violation.." She hisses out, her arm drawing up to use the sleeve of her gi to wipe away at nothing at all upon her face, the visible cringe of pain that rocks her head and allows tears.. tears that glitter, to slip from her eyes to disappear into the nothing.

His.. or its voice graces her ears and she immediately turns, staggering away from the construct .. no. She was getting closer. Wasn't she? She wasn't.. backing away? The power this thing holds was disorienting. "I do not starve myself. I only be because I am. Nothing more, nothing less!" She cries out, her soul was truly tugged. "You can't have me. We are not meant to own and possess. WHO are you? And what do you want?!" Enticing.. luring.. strip down everything that made her who she is, all that would remain is a woman with a corrupted soul before her rebirth..

..and as that hand reached out to touch..

"I am Ka'arama, the Herald," the man says, eyes glowing a more sullen hue. The words 'I Am' carry a frightening declaration of certainty, each time he speaks adding more bulk and shadowy mass to the hulking bastion of power that shelters his form. "I am the sullen cry of the nightbird. I am the last breath of the dead. The weeping sorrow of lamentations are my song and my voice is the endless cry of despair of the mournful. I walked Creation before humanity had descended from the trees," it explains, through the voice of the man in the trenchcoat.

"I was sent to usher in the Time of Renewal, the epoch of my dark master, May His Name Be Uttered in Silence," he says, not moving or blinking as Reese is drawn closer by compulsion and temptation and the raw, incredible power of the being. "The end of days approaches and I will champion him, for he is Immortal and Forever, the first of the Undying; he is the progenitor of the night and the steward of eternity. Step close and take heed of my words, for I sense you hunger for knowledge as much as life. Eat, Undying child, made in my master's image," the man says- his palm closes, then opens on a gleaming red-hot puck the size of a large coin. "Your soul starves. I will feed your hunger and slake your thirst, and you will know the cessation of the pain that gnaws your belly." The palm reaches to be within Reese's grasp, the man's pallid features utterly static and without any recognizeable expression.

His words draw her will forth to pull her hand back, her fingers bunching against each other as she keeps them knotted against her left cheek, those glittering tears still falling and disappearing, yet her will does not allow her to take a step back. To run, to rouse herself from her spirit realm and into her body to awakening. She was kept here; the darkness was growing all around her and it was clear that there was nothing she could do to stop it.

Her head shakes ever so slowly, the slow drag of her feet closer as she turns her gaze away, cheeks nearly burning with the desire to lash out, to draw her sword to cut the Herald asunder. But the darkest parts of her soul that Satana touched is wanting.. is stronger.. coupled with her own sins that span three decades..

"The first of the Undying.." She manages to breath out, her eyes finally opening to glance upon the puck, her own reaching out with hesitation to grasp the wrist that holds it still.. knowledge.. How she became who she was and her connection to this place. She knew that she was rebirthed and remade here.. that this place was carried within her spirit but she didn't know the depths, she didn't know the why, the how, the who. If she were made in his image.. would the Herald's Master be her father?

Her fingers clench that trench-coat wrist hard as she leans foward, eyes closing as lips part to draw the puck into her mouth. It was hot upon her tongue, swallowed immediately, lips remaining against the palm of that hand as she keeps it there for all time. Or possibly for the moment.

Action is thought is deed on the Astral, and the little shard of energy splinters and surges into Reese. Like a light shone into the dark shadows of an attic it illuminates old memories, emotions long forgotten. A flickering salvo flutters over her, emotions she'd not felt in ages. The embarassment of forgetting a friend's name. The pleasant creeping warmth of being comfortably awake well before dawn. The chiming of three bells. The sensations that make the memory of life so very, very human.

The man/thing puts his palm on Reese's hair in benediction, shadows swirling around him with the motion. "He Who Dwells in Silence has many sermons, and you will learn them at my feet," the shadowform says. "Our Master's words, which you are not worthy to hear in his hallowed tongue, but I shall utter here. 'Drink, that your thirst is slaked. Eat, that your hunger assuaged. To consume is to live; consume Creation to live forever."

The shadow form looks down at Reese, something massless and huge swirling behind and around it like a suggestion of that vast power manifesting around the otherwise frail-seeming body. "Kneel before me and accept this charge, to be Yogen-Sha, my Prophet, who bears His Words in Silence. As He is the first of the Undying, you will be the first of his new children. I am Herald, and you will be Yogen-Sha, who brings word of me to Creation so I might make way for Him, May His Name Be Uttered In Silence."

A life that began as harsh as hers was lived as harshly as well.

The most prominent memories of a smiling face, the gaze of her mother in a small little hut. The harshness of the light as well as the people who disown and cast her aside. The crying pleas to not go once a friend was finally found.. yet outcasted again and set to a cage on a compound of her mothers Master. The laughter as bits of rotten food was thrown to her, eaten.. freedom.. and war.

The pain of starvation, the quiet pleas for help, an arm around her shoulder as she crawls into the corner of a desolate building, begging for anyone to save her with her last.. dying breath.

The voices.. the shock of white.. the being as large as a sperm whale that passes through the blue.. the sudden awakening and clawing from the grave, to see nothing but blackness. And the harsher years there after..

Endless.. until now.

The hand upon her head rouses her from those memories, her body trembling as her eyes cast a glow red that she tries to fight back down, always tries.. her jaw clenched as she stares out towards the ground, her hand upright again as she curls fingers along the wrist whilst the sermon was being spoken.

She will not kneel. Action is thought is deed. She will not kneel. "Who do you wear." Her voice was quiet, eyes slowly drawn upright to the face that belongs not of his own. She could see the power, creeping, crawling in the backdrop. "Herald of my Father -who- do you wear?!"

One can assume, right?

"A brave and selfless man," the figure intones. "He saw my glory and did not fear me; he carried me in his breast while I purged the poison of our foes, and nurtured me while I rested. He followed me into the bowels of Hell and carried me in the busom of his soul once again until I was myself once more, and promised his eternal soul to me in service of our dark master."

"His name was John Constantine, who defied Creation itself, and I will honor his service to our dark eternity by carving his name into the bedrock foundation of reality itself."

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