Deep Cults

September 26, 2015:

Rowan, Mera and Ulani head to the Mariana Trench to test out Rowans theories - and they meet resistance

Mariana Trench

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Rowan has a hunch. Well it's more a leap of logic really. The news that the Lord of the Deep may have agents buried in the societies opposing him is not good. But it gives a starting point. The next logical place to find them, if not somewhere in Atlantis, is in the empty, desolate regions around the marianas trench. Which is why he's asked Ulani to secure permission for Mera to come. She's a powerful telepath. If anyone can find cultists in that blasted, empty abyss… it's her.


It doesn't take much for the Blue Envoy to gain the permission from her Government. They know how dangerous this situation is. Relaying the invitation to Mera, Ulani waits with Rowan. Of course she's told Mera where to meet … and has offered a hyrdraport if the Seaqueen would like it.


The chance of Mera saying no to this? Zero. Now, it might have taken a bit of discussion with Arthur for her to get approval to go with only the trio of Tide warriors accompanying her, but she refused to put anyone else at risk. So, with only the three ever-present warriors in her wake, she arrives at the pre-selected location via the hydraport that Ulani offered.


Rowan is punctual. He's also a reptile. About forty feet long, in fact, with bluish scales. It's probably a good thing that the tide are used to him because he doesn't exactly look friendly. And his voice is a lot deeper. Still, he seems familair enough when he stops near the diplomat and monarch. "Glad you could make it Mera. Ulani, whenever you're ready." Time's-a-wastin' as they say.


"Your majesty." Ulani greets Mera as she arrives. Of course, Ulani's trio of Tide are not far away either … after her own recent run-ins nearer to New York, she's quite happy to have them around.

Rowans form isn't a surprise - it might well be needed this trip. "I'm ready, Rowan… Shall we head through?" A second Hydraport opens to the location they agreed … and the Blue Envoy follows the others through.


Mera gives Ulani then Rowan a small bow in greeting, practically what might be offered to an equal. Then she goes through the portal first, her Tide following closely. She promptly moves out of the way to let lizard-whale-Rowan through, her guard watching their surroundings alertly.


The point of the hydroport is about fifteen or so miles from the mouth of the Trench itself. Which is, of course, not a small feature in the ocean floor. There's nothing out here. The Trench live in the Marianas Trench and no one particularly wants to live anywhere near them so despite these being formally Blue waters, the nearest settlement of any size is about a hundred miles away.

The first thing Mera in particular will notice is the overwhelming mental presence of something alien. It's not something a non-psychic would really place but it's there. Pulsing in the back of her head like a voice. There's a weight to it that indicates the vastness of the intellect behind it. Finding anyone in this psychic blanket will be a challenge. It won't be impossible, but also not easy.

For Rowan and Ulani the main feature is the shadows. This place is desolate… but it's definitely not abandoned. Nothing can be seen but pressure waves of things moving closer to the trench are easy to feel. Something, possibly quite a lot of somethings, is nearby.


Ulani looks to Rowan and creates a sword made from water. Obviously she's not going in unarmed and whatever she's sensing is unnerving her. "It's not abandoned." she may be stating the obvious, maybe she's trying to settle herself. "Your Majesty, do you sense anything."

Ulani's Tide fan out behind them… ready to protect if need be.


"Too much," Mera nearly whispers. "An intellect… it feels like the entire ocean is sentient, and smothering." She's squinting, as if that would make a difference. "It it going to take considerable effort to find any individual past this."


Rowan is peering into the middle distance. Like Ulani he can feel disturbances in the water, but because of his unique elemental attunement, he can do it so much better. "Something's coming this way." He murmurs. "If you think it wise to try, Mera, now is the time."

It doesn't take long for 'something' to arrive. It's a 'pod' or 'pack' of hammer head sharks, only crackling with electricity and larger than Rowan has ever seen them. Twenty feet at least from one end to another. They swim in perfect synchronization, breaking into two groups to encircel the small knot of intruders. That is not natural shark behavior, as if the glowing red eyes weren't tip off enough. "Here they come!"


Mera resists the urge to close her eyes while trying to isolate an individual mind past the smothering sensation encompassing the entire area. She doesn't have enough time, though, as the electrified hammerheads arrive to surround them. Are they really trying to piss her off this soon? She suspects the sharks themselves are simply the neutral creatures they appear to be, but they are going to have to be eliminated, and she is going to place the blame of their deaths squarely on the Lord of the Deep.

Mera's expression darkens into a glower and she prepares to turn the water all around them into a giant sea urchin-like mass of hardened water spikes.


Ulani's eyes widen as the sharks appear and divide. "So they are, Rowan." She's not seen the like before … not even when they were scouting the settlements. The sword she's summonsed isn't going to be much help here and it disappears … to be replaced by the beams of energy from her bracelets … three or four quick shots aimed at the eyes of consecutive beasts.

It's funny that Mera is going to use water against the incoming sharks, Ulani too starts shape water to upset that perfect formation.


Rowan unleashes a blast of sound that boils the water in front of him and sends the sharks to his left scattering like crows. The ones on the right though dive for Ulani, arcing energy which may try to shock her just from physics if they get too close. There's one coming in right above her and another that seems to aim to sandwich her from below while the others fan out, some headed toward Mera. The concussive blasts knock them off their courses though and they end up swimming past her rather than on her, circling back to try again.

Mera can just barely sense other minds. Pertinently, she can sense Atlantean minds which should, this deep in the pacific, not be a thing. They are also not far though the sharks may make getting to them challengeing.


Mera sends spears of cohesive water at the ones fanning toward her, mentally telling her Tide to not move too close to the sharks. If any of them are injured by the electrified creatures, she will be VERY irate. But, she has to trust them to defend her for a moment as she sharpens her concentration on the Atlantean minds she feels nearby. It's strange enough that she puts extra effort into making sure.


Seeing the beasts trying to fence her in, Ulani shapes water and sends out her own concussive blast in three directions, knocking them back and away from her and Mera, as she barely misses the arcing energy.

Quickly forming water again, the Blue Envoy creates multiples blades… that she sends flying at the sharks she's just repelled.


There are five of them. They came here with a purpose. They're involved in overseeing something for 'The Lord'. Recieving orders to execute on return to their various homes. They're… communing with it. Or it with them, somehow. Which can't be good for anyone's sanity, the way this thing feels even to Mera's shielded mind.

The sharks scatter again ans blasts and water knock them away. Two of them have gotten close enough to tangle it up physically with Rowan who is serpent-quick. The electrical energy burns and shocks and his grunts echo through the deep but his claws are sharp. In ten seconds both sharks are so much sushi fodder.

Ulani replicates that, slicing into the beasts nearest her. The ones behind them just throw themselves at her, heedless of the danger. They're definitely being controlled.


Five Atlanteans. If she tries to shield their minds from 'The Lord' here and now, it could simply make matters worse. So instead, she starts trying to glean the individual Atlanteans' identities from their minds, so once they're back in 'safe' waters they can be apprehended, freed from the mind controlling them, and then hopefully they can get some useful information from them.

However, this level of concentration is leaving Mera almost completely vulnerable to physical attacks from all around.


Ulani shapes water again, forming more water blades, but instead of flinging them at the sharks, she creates a swirling vortex with them… a mini waterspout like thing that she sends swirling into their midsts. It takes most of her attention, but she still holds out her hands, and uses the energy blasts from her bracelets on those that get near…


Controlled? Or did they come here willingly? Rowans information suggested the possibility that they'd lain in wait possibly for millenia, worshiping their Lord of the Deep and waiting for his return. Or did he simply kidnap and control them? That will have to wait until they're arrested. As Mera pushes through the interference she's able to get names. A city councilwoman. A military officer. But her interface with their minds does not go unnoticed and the Lord's weight suddenly falls on her own mind like a ton of bricks.

Even Rowan and Ulani can feel that one. "I think maybe it's getting time for us to leave!" They've already killed most of the sharks and Ulani's disabled most of the rest. But there's more somethings incoming. A lot more from the feel of it. Well, Mera is a very good target after all.


Mera mentally tallies the names she gleans, but before she can get any more that presence turns to her fully and LEANS. And all she can do is slap her hands to her head as she visibly recoils and try to slam down her mental defenses as far as posssible. It might not be enough. And, as if in unconscious reaction, the water around her also abruptly solidifies, though it's not urchin-spiky this time. More of a cocoon-like shell.


Ulani doesn't need to be told twice and moves backwards in the water to stop beside Mera, which is why she sees the Seaqueen recoil.

The maelstrom of water knives stops swirling and a Hydraport opens behind them. It will be up to Rowan or The Tide to help Mera through. Ulani can use her bracelets to cover them as they make their departure. "Move quickly."


You don't have to tell Rowan twice to get away from the horrible thing that's making Mera act scared. Anything that scares Mera scares Rowan. He scoops up the sea queen in a claw and Ulani too. She can cover them while moving. Back through the portal they go and before more company can arrive.

He only calms down once its shut and the danger has passed. The pressure relieves as soon as they're away. "Tell me we got something."


Mera gets conveyed through the hydraport thankfully, because there was no way she was going to be able to move under her own power. As soon as they're safely away, she practially goes limp in the lizard-whale's claws. "It… it saw me delving into the minds of the Atlanteans." And then the realization hits. "There are Atlanteans working for the creature. I couldn't tell if it was willingly or through coercion, but I did manage to get the names of at least two of them. We need to return to Atlantis immediately." She's turning to move under her own power again, trying to ignore that her brain feels like someone (or some THING) tried scoop part of it out of her head.


Ulani does not complain about Rowan scooping her up. She might look calm, but inwardly she's incredibly disturbed. As they exit the Hydraport, it closes quickly … she wasn't taking any chances.

As Mera speaks, another Hydraport opens, this time… if Mera agrees… right into Atlantis. This seems urgent. She, with Rowan, will see Mera safe in Atlantis.

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