Stop Calling

January 17, 2018:

Ripclaw and Lara Croft delve in to the spirit world in search of one of the artifacts trails. (NSFW Language)

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The basement of the Manhattan Curio Shop has become a thing not to be spoken of again. One look in and they all about-faced. Today is a new day, a day lacking of such horrors and human tragedy.

There has been a break in the wintery hell that has overcast New York. Enough of one to allow Robert and Lara a quick trip to the /sister/ city of Metropolis and it's very own French Quarter. The closest thing in the upper Eastern United States you'll find to New Orleans; part trend and a taste of the old world has made this a cultural hot spot and the next best target they can reach.

Where the street dips and starts to cobblestone out buildings drop to two stories, even stories and shops begin to look more like old plantation houses than places of business, a pub is hard to tell from an loan office, or a barber shop, thats just the 'taste' around this location, with the snow plowed off the roads and sidewalks in to high piles there is a bustle of activity still, the nightlife is embraced in the French Quarter, a college in walking distance helps.

Loud yells and shouts fill the streets, drinking is happening in gathered mobs from lit barrel to barrel and bar to bar, the homey feel of it also part of it's allure, its like walking up to someone's home or a bed and breakfast, instead, it's actually a bar or.. in Ripclaw and the Tomb raiders particular instance, Papa Donjo's House of the Dead. A themed shop, a place of herbs, hexes, spells and authentic voodoo. That word again, authentic.

Stomping off his boots Robert pushes the door open with a chime of bells and beads for Lara, warmth blasting from the inside in contrast to the outside world. Incense a very potent stench from beyond, soil a scent? If not it is here.

A break in the cold was a perfectly acceptable thing for Lara Croft to endure… This was supposed to be the 'easy life' here in the city, amongst all of the most densely packed population on Earth. This wasn't supposed to be hard living!

Lara had her hood up as she walked through the eccentric district with Robert, her hands were stuffed into the pockets of her leather jacket and her black leather boots were worn/tied high up her ankles to keep what snow remained comfortably out of her socked feet…

"One thing is for certain." The British woman said to Robert as he opened the door and she smiled faintly out from beneath her hood toward him. "I can tell we're going to be drawn to the most interesting of places within the city. If nothing else."

She'd pass him by then and step up into this new location, passing between the beads and letting her lips open to pull in the warm oxygen within the store, feeling it heating her face instantly with relief from the bone chilling winter air.

A wild haired rainbow dreadlocked young woman with pale skin and skull motif facepaint pokes her head around the corner, slowly as if it took effort to walk towards them she extends her arms, "Welcome to Papa Donjo's, shall I take your coats?" A Daria impression. The best of them.

"No thanks." Robert replies, the girl, doesn't even bother to wait for Lara's response she walks towards the back, "Don! Customers."

"He'll be with you soon… he's probably watching more Monk in the back."

Robert uplifts a brow and looks at Lara, a shrug given. The room to their left has glass displays and a cash register, wooden masks, once alive stuffed animals, hanging ornaments of bone, cliche, both the explorer and the medicine man have seen such things time and time again, a shrine in the corner to various Death Gods, an entire shelf of Voodoo trinkets.

There is a hacking and a coughing, smoke plumes out from behind a curtain, "Yeah, yeah, Imma comin'. You all just wait out dere."

"Our best option in these parts." Robert says with some measure of disbelief to Lara as they wait.

Lara shook her head at the offer of taking her jacket and a moment after Robert replied she quietly added a 'No thank you.' to the woman as well. Lara had most of her valuables on her inside of the various pockets of her jacket. Aside from her gun that was holstered to the side of her ribs beneath the jacket, everything she needed/wanted was in the thing. Not going to take it off and hand it over to someone.

A little smirk at the mention of watching Monk (Lara didn't know what that was, she assumed it was a thing about a literal Monk though).

"Interesting shop to say the least." She told the other. "Most of this stuff doesn't look very authentic, but that might just be a pessimistic early observation." She muttered to just Robert.

"Fake stuff is set out for tourists?" She asked, reaching for a doll to pick up and turn it over, to eye the details around it. "Pretty though." She admitted.

"Lets hope so." Robert comments as a heavyset man in bad white make up thats smeared and possibly hosting Cheeto dust on one cheek steps out, looks at the two of them and then reaches up to adjust his bowler cap on matted dark hair. A hand smudging over his tanktop, dirty and offwhite. Not its usual color. Likely from too much smoke.

"Dis ain't no bed and breakfast, what you two want?" He asks roughly.

"For starters no need for the accent, Donjo. English, clearly please."

"What say this an accent?"

Ripclaw looks at Lara then back at the man, "Whatever, we're here for an expert in Voodoo Dolls and information about these symbols." A piece of paper and a chalk drawing of several they picked up from the Curator's shop plus the tunnels under New York.

"Oh." The man says, "Those." His accent is now gone, he sounds very American suddenly, "I've seen those before. Thats the real stuff, the things behind the veil… fuck me. Okay, come upstairs you're going to want to meet the real Donjo."

Robert flashes a smile at Lara, "This is my usual people. When I'm not… " A tap tap of his metal claws together, "I'll tell you some stories sometime."

Again they're on their way in to the unknown, this time the unknown is a rickety stairwell in a musty hallway with a catbox in it, badly lit rooms and an old house that creaks to groans with each step until standing before a door.
"In here. just take this." He hands over an apple and a Snickers.

Lara sets the doll back down when the apparent owner makes his cheeto'y appearance into the shop's main room. She turns around to smirk at the bed and breakfast line and then glances toward Robert. He's doing the talking, which is fine with her… she figured he'd dealt with these kinds of people before anyway.

At the curious dropping of accents and then the offer to meet the 'real Don' … Lara's brown eyes went back to Robert with a quirked dark eyebrow over her left eye.

"Interesting, indeed." She muttered whilst following the other two.

Lara's eyes wandered over the dusty and musty old home, she wondered where the Cat was that went with that litter box… not that she was a big pet person, but she did admire cats and dogs, other people's anyway.

When the items are handed over, Lara naturally reaches for the Apple before the Snickers bar. "Th-thanks?" She questions.

"Good luck." The fake 'Donjo' says and turns away leaving them in that hallway before the door. Robert ventures forth a hand and shoves it open.

An musky odor beyond, illumination and heavy noises, gunshots, screams, loud music, tiny from speakers and obviously not actual. The room is dim, dark and there is cursing, "Fuck you, fuck you and fuck you! Teabag me!? Grow up you piece of shit!" Profanity spews and a recliners back is to them. A head waves back and forth, a game controller soon flying at the tv clattering off the protective casing the cursing soon ceases and there is a burbling sound, smoke begins to drift up from over the back of that piece of furniture, "Best have my grapes or a Butterfinger." The voice warns. Coughing, lots of it begins and smoke pounds out, the coughing becoming loud wheezing to hacking.

"Our real Donjo is apparently a stoner who likes GTA." Robert remarks.

Lara watched the fakeDonjo depart witha message of warning? She held the apple in front of her stomach and then turned to look at Robert before the cursing would draw her attention that way.

The explorer took a step around the visual block that was keeping her from seeing whomever was cursing so vehemently and when she saw him she saw the controller get thrown and then the man who thew it.

Lara looked back to Robert with a concerned look. "Whats GTA?" She asked quietly.

But soon she looked back to the upset gamer. "I have an apple." Lara Croft spoke up to him. "If that would help you calm yourself?"

Man? No. A monkey. A spider-monkey to be exact and clutched between his legs and arms is a bong. A squint of red lined eyes up at Lara and he grins wide at her, "Whoah, you're not Suze. Who are you hotness?"

"Now I know what I was smelling."
The apple is snatched with the animal deftness expected of a creature and chomped in to, a sniff at the air, "Give me my candy." He demands.

"A violent video game several of my old wards or… teammates used to play often. You are Donjo?"

"In the fur. You two must have the sight or at least talk the talk, only the real ones come up here. Whatchuwant?"

Grabby hands for the Butterfinger still happening at the air. At least he is polite enough not to try and take that from her also.

Lara was used to lecherous men like him making slimey comments at her and about her, she'd been around enough in her life to get rather accustomed to that. Many of them she'd actually killed though, which probably helped harden her resolve in shrugging off their words… because she'd bathed in the hot blood of many who'd said such things to her previously. Kind of changes a person.

"Well." Lara said to him, helping to grab the Snickers bar and offer it to him. "Its not a Butterfinger, but its what we were given for you…" She'd say.

A second later and Lara would turn around and look about the room for a moment. "We're here because we've gotten ourselves into a bit of a situation."

Lara would motion for Robert to show him the symbols.

She'd go into the story of their recent events, even detailing their run in with Krampus, she'd watch the Donjo as he'd consume his apple and candy as well while she explained.

The offerings are taken and Donjo listens, from jovial and clearly stoned to flat out staring and rubbing at his head profusely with one fingernail, "You people are messing with some big magic. Ugly ugly stuff. Old world." He reminds them, "I can help though, you gifted me I gift you."

The monkey's features warp in to what could be a frown as he watches Lara wander around then looks at Ripclaw, "You, Ghost Warrior, you know what this is?" He offers it up, the bong. "It's not the ganja you think it is. You know what it is." A grin, a wide monkey grin. "There a room over, you two take this and go to the room across from us. Go on a journey, a close one. You'll see what you're after… I'm not joining you for this though. I know where youre headed." The simian sounds afraid, actually exhibits the signs of it by dipping his head and covering it with his hands, looking not up but around them and down, at shadows, even lifting one paw then the other to make sure hes still on his cushion, "Thats my gift in return, room over, take this, smoke, take her on the trip. Find what you seek and don't bring this back to me, its some bad juju. Very bad. I be cleaning this place up for a year now."

"I got a game to finish, Heists to complete. Go go, take your bad future times with you." A chomp at the Butterfinger and a dismissive wave.

"All right… " Ripclaw says quietly, the bong clutched in a hand and he heads for the door, "Come on."

"Yeah, you, text me your digits. We'll hook up sometime but later. Right now, out, go find the things no one wants to find. You idiots. Morons… sad wastes." Rambling it turns around and puts a headset back on, that controller picked up, "Okay shitbirds, I am back and you are all my bitches."

Lara had seated herself on the arm of another chair in the Spider-Monkey Donjo's little gaming room here and she listened to his response and watched Robert react to it, she held her hands between her knees in front of her and watched the bong get passed over.

Lara wasn't really one for 'illegal substances' and though she understood how a bong worked (thanks college) she hadn't really indulged in any of that activity in several years.

"Really?" Lara said then, standing up. "Thats the route we have to take here?" She was only just, surprised by it.

Her hands at her sides, she watched the monkey gather up his gaming equipment and return to his video console thing.

Lara exhaled and turned to Ripclaw, her expression was questioning him on this path… even if she didn't verbally say it any further.

She'd follow him though, if he went anywhere.

"It is unlikely this is a trap, the old spirits play such games. Nothing is easy it all works in winding roads and riddles." Robert says quietly to Lara, explaination of it's own. The room indicated by the monkey is a sparse thing, dusty like the rest of the place with a bed, a folding lawn chair, a ripped up recliner with tape holding one arm together, posters of old pictures on the wall 'The Golden Child' with Eddie Murphy, MIB, Species, Pulp Fiction and Labrynth. A jade Buddha and an incense holder. The quilt on the bed clown faces. Odd room, nothing strange or out of place.

The Native shuts the door behind them and sits down in the plastic lawnchair, "Do you have a lighter?" He inquires, those crimson eyes lit up like beacons in the limited light offered by the single corner lamp with the dim bulb and broken shade.

Lara walked into the room trailing after him and while he went to shut the door she just let her eyes roam around the room and its interesting decor. She eyed the movie posters, some of them looked interesting, but she never was able to sit still during movies and pay much attention to them.

With a light sigh, Lara turned and sat down on the corner of the bed's foot and then looked at him across from her on the plastic lawnchair.

At his question she stiffened for a moment and then sat up and dug around inside her side pocket.

She presented a silver zippo and flipped it open, then offered it to him. "Its not your usual lighter. Its an electric charged plasma torch." She pointed at the head as she handed it over, she wasn't sure if he was familar with these or not. "It works though."

"No, not usual at all. " Not something anyone would normal use but right now beggars cannot be chooses and a roasted bowl will still get done what is needed, this smells potent enough and mixed with enough of the 'otherworld' to get the job done.

Sparked, burbling start and Ripclaw takes a large drag, "Don't worry about doing it yourself, "He says between the smoke, through it, as the room starts to immediately fog over, "This is not recreational at all." A warning, no, its not, sparks begin to appear to the minds eye, flickers as the clouds getting denser around them begin to resemble thunder clodus, lightening crackling from one lightning bulb to the next, the mutant vanishes in the smoke and Lara will feel herself falling through the foggy mess. Descending not from that bed to the floor but from the heavens down in to Metropolis from above the sky, where the city itself looks like hundreds of thousands of stars and tracers, she will know its Metropolis though just as Ripclaw does, they're now 'between' realms and somehow, she knows that until soon shes standing in the snow barefoot.

No cold. People exist but they exist in a hollow form, like cutouts filled with a myriad of colors, not real, only partial imagery that a photo captures.

Ripclaw is walking towards her, a man and a bear that blur, blend and shadow eachother, fast forward to roll back in on self, tall and proud, his glide across the snow is as though hes familiar with this, "Astral Projection." He explains. "Our bodies are tethered behind us… we're free to move towards this." A hand rises up and in his palm is the symbol the uncovered with the Pale Cannibal under New York.

Lara watched him closely as he prepared his 'hit' and then she'd take hers when it was that time… She fumbled with it a bit because she wasn't the most experienced at this but when she completed it… and found herself in something that was decidedly NOT like the last time she'd done this at one of Samantha's party's that her friend had forced onto Lara. "W-Wow." Lara said, hearing her own voice repaeted in a way that souned almost infinite in the moment.

She looked around her at the surroundings as they changed and adjusted, the people in-particular drew Croft's eyes… they looked and felt so wrong and unnatural. "Brillaint.." she muttered more.

"You've done this before?" Lara said back out toward Robert.

She watches his hand rise up, she stares at the symbol on his hand. "We'll find answers here?" Lara asked next.

"Near here." It's strange she recognizes this 'entity' as Ripclaw, in this world he is towering, tall and feels like him, looks like him in shape but the white skin has a faint glow, clothes don't exist, his hair is still dark but moves at the ends with the wind, eyes are crackling red embers and near her now she realizes he stands around seven or eight feet tall, a bear form constantly overlapping him or appearing in his place, he walks and it shifts from four to two legs, the snow doesn't show any footprints, where technology and lamp posts exist in the real world is dark splotches, black trees that are dead. Vibrant comes in the form of the people that were outside, walking around from barrel to barrel. Each appearing as something different but still, not here, they're there. Its like looking at the world through a fish tank from the outside and in.

The glowing image on his hand drops and he points forward, towards a dark cloud on the horizon, "There. Its what that Old One spoke of." Donjo, she knows thats what he means.

Lara was in full Egyptian Queen regalia. Golden headdress and accessories lining her body, a white airy garment draped over her shoulders and down her torso, cinched by an ornate belt. She looked, in the face, like a mixture of herself and someone else… very royal and fetching, with thick makeup perfectly applied.

Lara's eyes follow after the form that Robert had taken, she watched him adjust the number of feet he walked on and she tried not to repeat herself about how amazing and odd this was at the same time.

"Is he really a spider monkey?" She asked Robert the, clearly keeping her mind on the here and now. "Or is it some kind of glamour or trick?"

Lara walked past the strange surroundings. When he said 'There' though she looked, to his hand and then to where it was aimed and she saw the dark cloud.

"What can we do about it?"

"A little of both." Robert comments, "I imagine he started out as one or the other. Might be one of the first or might be a creature beyond our usual expectations of what is and is not that decided to be a monkey. I don't know. He is ancient that much I could sense." A look at her, head to toe and he gives a curious quirk, one of his hands rising up to brush over his chin as if considering her, "I had not expected that. Interesting. A lot is bared here so I apologize if you feel uncomfortable or vulnerable this is the world of dream and spirit, you'll see things. A lot of travelers come through here and never know it but there are things that live here some unfriendly." Turning away from her he starts to walk again, she'll realize he doesn't host the cybernetic limbs here, he has actual working forearms, hands and fingers. They just host claw tips at the ends and sometimes when he walks through shadows or they turn in to bear claws, large ones.

"We go see. A new world for you or have you spirit walked before?" A snake of rainbows travels by them, half floating half slithering through the snow. He walks over it, a large step. Two legs.

Lara's head gently nodded, with little golden ornaments jingling beside her face. She knew what she was dressed up as… it'd been a dream of hers since childhood to live in Egyptian times as royalty… even if in her adulthood she learned enough about them to make some of that dream tarnish at the truth of how it all 'was' back then. It was a childhood dream, and those tend to hold a wealth of nostalgia.

"I see." Lara said to his initial words before she followed after him and she did note his form 'chosen' which intrigued her a great deal.

"I have stood on the precipice to other worlds. In front of portals that I've witnessed beings step through, but I haven't ever personally gone through one, myself."

"Is this spirit walking?" Lara had to ask next as she trailed after him. At least in this attire, she still somehow wasn't freezing, right?

"Technically I suppose we are not through one yet. We are projecting ourselves, this is more our spirit our… psyche. We will remain as warm in here as our bodies are there, sensations are tethered there as well though you may believe you feel things as much as the mind allows and you can be hurt in a sense. Many poisons that afflict a person are not of the material." That is where men like his mentors specialize, Ripclaw motions past the houses which are contorted here, one looks like a cartoon shack the one next to it an empty tomb of grey, devoid of color. A stark contrast to it's neighbors, "You'll find the waking world and it's inhabitants also cause a change here, strong emotion and long emotion or memories. The overlooked is great here. I could show you much but we have little time."

A stop in his walk to turn around fully and face, "As much as it can be. Never? A first for everything. If you wish to turn back I can wake you and do this on my own."

"Fascinating." Lara commented after hearing his explanation and SEEING everything that was around her. It felt like some strange cross between reality and a dream, she wasn't at all uncomfortable so at his last question she shook her head again beneath that ornate headgear that she was wearing.

"No no, not at all." She'd tell him. "I've come this far with you and I'm not remotely disturbed by any of this, just… perplexed and out of my element, so to speak. I apologize for all the questions as well. I used to drive many of my instructors at University mad with them, it was always the sign of my favorite instructor… the one who seemed the least annoyed at my curiosity."

Lara looked up at the much taller Robert in his new form and she offered him a smile, her face done up in all that fancy royal makeup and her looks-themselves-somehow mixed with an imaginary woman from a fantasy bloodline of Egyptian royalty.

"I am okay with the questions. They're necessary if we don't ask them what is the point of us?" A shrug of his broad shoulders, "I intend to ask them as well though, why Egyptian? You don't look to be descended of that tribe of people." As he's turning away the smile catches him half motion, pausing as he looks down at her, it's almost as though hes trying to remember to human again. A smile appears back, some of his teeth sharp looking then not.

"I am intrigued. Not complaining." The man-bear-spirit explains as they're walking again, drifting past snow banks they don't touch and clusters of glowing people, shadows growing thicker and they start to enter a more residential area, homes, houses, places people live, "You'll see, each one is like their own small spiritual and emotional ecosphere… attachement points are always the hardest to work around. If we drift too close in our current state it can draw is in or we'll affect their dreams."

A tip up of his head, from a window above they can see the world expands in a bubble, a child is riding dinosaurs, racing with them and climbing hills, trees, turning in to a pterodactyl and flying… he vanishes as they keep walking, "Children are exceptionally strong dreamers. I avoid them always, we're in a very fluid place, whatever that Old Monkey gave us is potent, incredibly."

"Fascinating." Lara commented after hearing his explanation and SEEING everything that was around her. It felt like some strange cross between reality and a dream, she wasn't at all uncomfortable so at his last question she shook her head again beneath that ornate headgear that she was wearing.

"No no, not at all." She'd tell him. "I've come this far with you and I'm not remotely disturbed by any of this, just… perplexed and out of my element, so to speak. I apologize for all the questions as well. I used to drive many of my instructors at University mad with them, it was always the sign of my favorite instructor… the one who seemed the least annoyed at my curiosity."

Lara looked up at the much taller Robert in his new form and she offered him a smile, her face done up in all that fancy royal makeup and her looks-themselves-somehow mixed with an imaginary woman from a fantasy bloodline of Egyptian royalty.

"I am okay with the questions. They're necessary if we don't ask them what is the point of us?" A shrug of his broad shoulders, "I intend to ask them as well though, why Egyptian? You don't look to be descended of that tribe of people." As he's turning away the smile catches him half motion, pausing as he looks down at her, it's almost as though hes trying to remember to human again. A smile appears back, some of his teeth sharp looking then not.

"I am intrigued. Not complaining." The man-bear-spirit explains as they're walking again, drifting past snow banks they don't touch and clusters of glowing people, shadows growing thicker and they start to enter a more residential area, homes, houses, places people live, "You'll see, each one is like their own small spiritual and emotional ecosphere… attachement points are always the hardest to work around. If we drift too close in our current state it can draw is in or we'll affect their dreams."

Lara would look back ahead and follow alongside him. "I uh…" She laughed a little. "I grew up dreaming of being alive back in those days." She told him, explaining it as best as she can without nerding out on details. "My nose was always stuffed in a book or on the internet researching their culture and their ways… specifically the female idols, both real and fictional. It was, you know… childhood obsession and dreams. Nothing more."

Lara's eyes went up when they entered into the residential area and she looked around it while the two of them walked. "How long can we remain in this state?" She asked him. "I mean, how do leave it if we wish to return to our reality?"

"A progressive people, intelligent, amazing, rich in culture. I think a lot of little girls do." Robert agrees, more learned. One of the strongst human conversations hes close to had with Lara and this is them out of body.

"Until we sober up. If we are killed indefinitely we would be stuck here." He answers her, "I can hear there still, split my focus and our bodies are fine at Donjo's." For the moment, he will not worry here.

"Oh, we leave by me banishing us or if you return to your physical state here.. backtrack to 'you', if we got lost and wandered you would likewise be without form. Dangers and all. This is my second home though, I spend a lot of time in this realm." A wave of his hand and he parts a path before them, trees between a yard bending away like grass blown in two directions, a new cul-de-sac, it is getting darker, orange sky becoming purple or blood red, like some black tendril'd monster on the horizon they can see the source of the change, its chill threading through them. It's influence likewise spreading, those dreams they can witness becoming harsher, darker, screams now mingle, there is no laughter that is not sadistic or cruel carrying through the atmosphere here. The houses are reflecting it, curved, blacked out windows, haunted or empty looking, decadent.

"I know this." He whispers, he can't put his finger on it but he knows this feeling. This 'essence' that is overpowering the minds of so many so close. Bleeding out and corrupting fantasy, dreams, the spirit world.

"What a dreadfully terrifying thought." Lara murmered when he explained how they could die in reality and be trapped in here. She looked back over at him thne. "I mean, to think that we could be sealed here forever should something happen to our bodies. But, I suppose it could be worse… if you believe in the idea of a terrible afterlife. Or no afterlife what so ever. And admittedly, knowing that you're comfortable here… helps." She said that last part with a faint smile.

Lara's eyes went up when he parted the trees and gave way to the sight of the 'thing' "I am starting to wish that I'd have different childhood fantasies…" Lara said, eyes on the unsettling sights, the houses included. "I feel like I'm wrongly dressed for this sort of… threat?" She huffed out a sardonic laugh.

Her eyes went back to the Bear-Robert. "Do you believe this is some sort of… sorcerer from our reality taking this form within this realm?" She asked him next. "Using his powers in both, perhaps?"

"Disembodied is a terrifying concept. Yeah." Ripclaw agrees, stopping to look down the road then forward, past the current run of houses. "It is dangerous to proceed. These homes are not inhabited by just people any longer." A subtle shift at first, his skin changes color and then it becomes more gradual cracks appear across his body and lightning starts to crackle from each 'break' his size increases yet again, a hulking titan of a man's body but a bear head and talons.

"A show of power. I'm an avatar for my people. It affords me some respect and security here…"

He pauses at her comment, the bear's eyes looking at her Egyptian theme'd garments, "It's irrelevant here. You look attractive and it's pleasing to the senses but even if you believed yourself in armor or more, its pointless. Without the proper psychic conditioning you're an open and more or less defenseless. Your will is your best defense and weapon.. " A screech nearby, something above them in the clouds that are lower, it flaps and drifts by.

"Yes. A powerful one… if he is behind this we are not going much further in, just enough to confirm." Worry and possibly fear, shes evident in him. It's a color of his aura, a sense she can feel. Tangible almost.

"Come on." He murmurs and begins to walk towards the nearest house, it stretches, grows, expands as the doorway becomes a yawning open gateway, its flex and bend unrealistic, 'stretchy' like. The house groans at it's movements, the door spreading wide around them allowing them inwards as a white blast of light overcomes their senses, fills the minds eye and smothers them in absolute nothing but pale wash.

"Lara!" A voice calls, "Lara, you're not wearing the dress I bought you." A man with high widows peaks and premature white hair chides, a suit worn on his body. A dark green bowtie, shiny cufflinks. They're in a house, a large bedroom. Mirrors around them. The man has the door wide open behind him to a hallway, a staircase behind him. "If you're late we'll never hear the end of it from my mother. Please hurry up, honey." This man, this stranger steps over and puts a hand on the small of her back, his lips touch her cheek.
"You smell amazing."

"My will." Lara repeated. "Well then, in that case… this should go swimmingly." She jested and a slight smirk showed, but she was also being serious at the same time. Lara knew she was stubborn, strong willed, it was something she'd been told repeatedly throughout her youth and into her young adulthood. No few people had not noticed that attribute in the young woman, and not commented on it. So there's some confidence in this odd place!

She gently exhaled and followed after him toward the home, the general dreamy-state of it that made it feel like a movie Nightmare was unsettling, but it was far from the worst thing she'd experienced in her life (She'd dove headfirst into a pool of blood before, she can handle a groany house).

A quick startled breath was taken at the sudden hand on the small ofher back, her Egyption dress was open in the back so she felt the fingertips touch her skin and it made her skin crawl. The peck to the cheek only made it worse and Lara looked to the strange man, then pushed back away from him. "What is this?" She spat the words out. "Halucinations now?"

"Where on Earth did you get that anyways? It's not Halloween." He teases, his eyes openly taking her look in even as she pushes free. He looks wounded. Surprised. "Darling?" A hand ventures up, for her forehead and tries to press to it. "You are okay I hope? You caught Valiant's flu didn't you? Thats okay. We can stay in. My parents will understand."

A cry from elsewhere in the house, an infant. A keening noise. "Speak of our adorable Cherub… that boy has ears like a fox. Must take after you." A wink and he pats Lara's rump and turns away, his back to her looking at himself in one of those tall mirrors. More crying and he 'ahems', a frown appearing in his face, "Darling." He asserts more sternly. "You need to check on him." An absolute shift from loving and warm to domineering and somewhat creepy.

A groan from the wall, the house is shifting around her. She can tell shes still in that between world that Robert took her to, thats obvious. The house is older, several stories tall, upper middle American, not a mansion. There is even a wall phone, its cord hanging down. It rings. A rumble and the phone rings.
"Ignore that. It's another damn pyramid scheme. When you're done with Val get in here and put on something more appropriate. We may not be going out but you don't need to look like a whore."

In a situation like this, Lara wasn't really looking at this unkonwn man as though he were a real person… because she didn't think that he was, by any means. This was magick, trickery of some sort. But why? What purpose would it serve? To delay them?

Lara shook her head at the man's words, she looked down the hallway toward where this 'Val' was trying and then she felt that slap to her backside when drew her ire and her narrowed eyes back to the 'man' who passed by her.

"No." Lara said to him. She grew more annoyed when he referred to her as looking like a 'whore' and it was then that she turned around and left the bedroom, headed out into the hallway and let her eyes roam around.

"Robert?" Lara called out, searching for the Big Bear she'd come this far with. "Robert, where are you?" She called out again.

Lara passed by where the crying was coming from and curiosity made her eyes go and look into the room where the baby was apparently at, but she didn't hold any real care for the fake child's wellbeing, more-so just curious what was is there.

The 'no' has the man's face contort in a mixture of surprise and anger, it turns red and she can see his hate filled eyes follow her out of the room.

Typical older house, wooden floors, sparse decoration, boring to a person with taste beyond floral and cookie-cutter. The bedroom door to Valiant is open, a slow spinning toy dangles above a crib. Inside is an infant, one that looks more like her than the ma in the other room. Just young, pudgy and male. it is bawling loudly, crying until it sees her then it smiles a toothless gummy smile hands extended to her.

That phone rings again elsewhere, a loud rattle, the walls rumble around her at the sound and the child begins to scream again.

"STOP CALLING!" A shout from the other room, that Stranger with the green tie. "Call again and you'll regret it. You hear me?" The phone was answered. It does stop for now. When it does the child stops. Pictures in this room of the infant exist, of her, of the man, ones she won't remember.

Lara didn't approach the baby, she saw it and part of her did feel a motherly attachment to the thing… but she knew in her heart of hearts that this wasn't right. Her eyes swept over the pictures in the room, at the family times… none of this was like 'her' so it was even more foreign to her. Lara had no desire to be a housewife, or a mother even, not at this stage of her life. She still held her own 'family' history in high disregard after how badly it had all turned out.

When the man screamed into the phone she would move to look over at him, but as he dealt with that she took it as a chance to slip out of the room and move to get away, to get out of the house if she could.

"Robert!" Lara called out louder, the dangly gold bits on her headdress clinking as she wandered about to find answers and find her way out of this…

They'd stepped into this house and lost contact with each other, so her natural reaction was to step OUT of the house to get it back.

The house though not locked each door and window is unmoving, like some invisible force holds it closed. Struggle as he want it doesn't open to her. That child begins to wail, louder and louder, the scream echoing through the halls.

"Goddamnit Lara, I told you to see to him. You're disobeying me! You know what happens when you disobey me. Do I have to take off my belt?" His feet slam above, she can tell hes stomping through the hall. The infants door BANGs closed cutting off the noise. "Dressed like a whore and neglecting our child, what sort of mother are you?" He is coming down the stairs, the phone is ringing again, blaring through the house, a siren like wail. The man's hands fold up over his ears, his shirt is unbuttoned, his belt hanging around one wrist. His face… its wrong, his lips are too wide now, eyes pulled far apart and they look sickly, veins etch through them. "I do everything for you. I work myself to the bone and you… THAT FUCKING PHONE. STOP CALLING!" He yells at the air, loud, harsh, "You miserable fuck! STOP CALLING HER SHE IS MINE!" The ringing? It's coming from the kitchen. A phone on the island counter. It rattles there.

Lara was on her way toward the kitchen, mostly because she was trying doors and windows in the living room and they weren't working so she'd check the ones in there next… and because the general anger and tone from the man following after her was already grating on her nerves to the point where she could tell he wasn't going to suddenly get 'better'.

So upon entering the kitchen, Lara's eyes searched for a weapon. She looked toward the counters for a knife rack, or a rolling pin, anything.

But the phone…

Lara shot over to the phone and she picked up to pull the receiver toward the right side of her face.

"Hello?" He said into the mouthpiece. "Robert?" Her voice was a bit frantic because of all the ambience and chaos it was creating.

"Yes." The voice on the other side of the phone replies, there is static between them. An interferance thats both a crackle and an eerie howl. "How long have you been entrapped?" He questions, "Just don't play it's game and continue to remember your sense of self." Words of encouragement are all he can apparently offer at the moment. Ripclaw is doing his best 'elsewhere'

A knife rack, rolling pin, these things exist. Even an ironing board with a flat iron is across between dining room and kitchen divide. As she looks around that room though it flashes, from bright and clean 'suburbia Stepford' to burn, rotted walls and decayed. Then back again. Like someone is flipping rapidly through photos.

"Where are you slut? I'm sick of this. Sick of all of this. I don't know why I listened to your father and married you, that sorry fuck, too damn stupid to realize what sort of monster you are." She can hear a strange dragging sound, like something scraping through wood, leathery and hard all at once. "It will give me status in with the Brethern. Our families will merge.. you're filth. Fucking filthy, rotten, horrible filth."
A grey hand slaps against the wall that leads out, a head following it. That dark-haired man's hair is peeled back higher, his eyes wide, reptilian almost and his teeth are all serrated, a monster, his nose two slits. Tongue hanging from his lower jaw. Still in suit with the green bowtie. His hands she will see are capped off in sharp claws, his toes pushed through his socks, also clawed and the ground around them rutted up and ruined with his dragging gait. "Therrre you arre ssslut."
"Hang up that ffffucking phone hsss."

"Right." Lara said into the phone. "Willpower." She repated while she stepped away from the wall the phonebase was on and she pulled a knife out from the rack, a big shiney blade on it. "Its not too hard to resist his games when he's, whoever he is, is this charming." She muttered into the receiver.

Lara bided what few seconds she had and when 'he' came around the corner she just nodded to him. "Of course." She said, and moved to hang up the phone, hoping that his eyes would follow her hand.

Then, with a quick motion the knife-holding-hand shot up straight for the buttom of the man's chin! She hoped to slip the shiney blade right up into his mouth and up behind his nose! Lara had killed a man like this before, she wasn't afraid to do it again… this thing wasn't even a man, it was some kind of hideous monster. MIght not even be THAT either.

The Stranger's eyes follow the phone as she anticipates or Lara even manages to get the blade in, slide it up fast enough an sever through a portion of his jaw. He screams, a backhand lashes out for the explorer's face. Meanwhile he topples backwards, landing on his back and starting to spasm in place, twitching and thrashing back and forth.

As he does so the walls lose color, paper falls away, paint bleeds off, aged and burnt wood shows beneath, a smell of simmering many things fills the air. The cries upstairs pick up again and she can see flames spreading through the foyer, up the stairs and in that opposing lounge room.

A new tremor strikes the house, the house moans again, the structure crashed against, a large set of claws rip throguh the front door, a rending like through paper and gleaming red eyes the size of a baseball are visible, staring in.

Lara was struck by his counter slap and it knocked her back hard and down onto her ass on the ground. She slid backward a foot or so and her headdress came off and fell onto the floor leaving her braided black hair exposed with a few loosened strands falling across her face from the hit…

Stunned a little, Lara panted heavily and moved to get onto her knees with her dress making it a little harder to do so, but she manages. She crawls to the counter and reaches for another knife, then spins around to slam her bare back into the cabinets when she hears the fire and sees the claws reaching into the house.

Alright, so this was on anohter level… This was getting to be a lot more disturbing and frightening than the Tomb Raider had expected.

Lara pushed herself up, slid her back up the counters and back onto here sandaled feet, clutching a NEW life in her right hand she looked to the man she'd just stabbed, and then backed to the claws.

"Willpower." She muttered. "Lets… hope, thats enough?"

Fire going up the staircase toward the baby's room, the 'husband' on the ground writing in pain and the front door being invaded by an even larger monster..

Not many options here!

"Ssslut." The creature moans and starts to lie still, its hands clutching its face. He becomes human again, that strange man once more and hes rubbing his face, the sides of his head. "You murderer, you murdered him." No longer is he yelling, shouting full of hatred but he is weeping. Crying in ugly choking sounds. "I knew better." He laments, "I should have never gotten involved with your twisted family>"

A loud tear of wood and plaster, the door starts to peel outwards, another tremor and the flames start to spread from the other room to kitchen opening. The phone starts to melt in a plastic burbling mess. The cries upstairs cease.

"What is that?" The floored man suddenly whispers, a new fear in his voice and he reaches upto take the knife out of his neck, staring at it, at his face in it before he looks at Lara, 'You're not her. You're not that slut… that murderer… you're not Mabele." He steps closer, "Help me?" He pleads, the knife clattering to the ground his palms open, "Help me please!"

Lara had dealt with puzzles and difficult problem solving before, but those generally dealt with cultures that she knew enough about from her studies to piece together solutions that would solve the task at hand. This was, completely different!

Her eyes went away from the fire up the stairs to the phone that was melted away 'Hopefully Robert doesn't need to call again…' She quickly thought.

At the man's sudden change of tone and demeanor, Lara's eyes went to him when he pulled the knife from his face. "No, I certainly am not." Lara replied to him about not being Mabele. "You need to tell me how to get out of this. I came into this house and I was taken away from wherever I was. You have to tell me how to end this!" She shot back at the man who'd been calling her so many foul names up to this point.

"I.. I don't know how to get out of it. I locked myself in my home after… after the fires and what she did." The Stranger explains, his face gaunts, skin folds back to reveal burnmarks and crippled flesh, teeth exposed soot covered. A walking corpse. A partially burned one.

A racket once more, that door starts to bow inwards, wood shards explode and it is now open to the outside.

"Oh gods, what is that? I've never seen that thing."

That thing a shadow in the smoke, a paw slashes through and knocks aside fire and ember, a bear, all fours and large. It's pushing inside. The buidling moans once more, the man beside her lets out a keening wail and clutches his skull, thrashing once more.

"Lara?" The bear inquires, apparently hes who was trying to breach the door. "It took me a moment. This revenant was rather fixated on his drama."

The thrashing ceases and the burnt bone man on the ground lies still, chest holloed out and all ribs rises and falls, "Just leave." He whispers, "Leave me to my hell."

A ripple of fur and Ripclaw transforms to that 'avatar' state again, the bear head, claws and giant body with energy crackling free.
"You snapped him in to a lucid moment? Well done." The medicine man praises.

Lara's eyes went from the Husband down on the floor to the Door. She saw the door pushing inward and she was ready to stab whatever was trying to come inside, but when it finally did and she finally saw who it was she just sighed with a heavy relief and dropped the knife which clattered to the floor.

Lara took a step toward him. "It would seem so." She replied about waking the other man up. But it was the 'other man' who made her look back to him.

"No." She said to him, now moving toward him and offering him one (heavily decorated) hand. "Come on. If we're going to get out of here, then so are you. No one should be trapped in here."

What Lara failed to potentially realize is that this man MAY be dead in her reality, he may truly be in his hell permanently. But she was forgiving his misjudgements at the very least, after she wasn't a heartless person.

Ripclaw's shaggy head drifts form Lara to the Stranger, the fires picking up, snarling along the ceiling in their spread. It's fast.
"He's already a dead man. If you take him from here he'll be outside, he is safe in here. This hell of his… "

The man on the ground takes Lara's hand, cold lifeless fingers now, no warmth like before and he draws himself up, his jaw hanging down and his other hand wipes away tears, "I'm scared, the doors only open when someone enters… they never leave."
"They burn or… or… " He recoils and starts to stare at his hands, "I'm just like her." He starts to sob, to tremble."Just leave me… "

Ripclaw huffs, a strange annoyed bear sound and then sweeps in a full circle, arms out wide like hes some tribal dancer, the flames peel back and away from them, a protective circle forming. "We have but a few moments before this place reseals on us and he falls back in to his cursed cycle." The warrior warns her.

Lara seemes conflicted by these revelation and not in a good way. She looks down at where their hands meet and then she looks to Robert. "This is purgatory!" She shouts. "No one should be stuck here. If leaving this place could send him to the afterlife, then that is a better choice to take than staying here and… and being in -whatever this is-."

Lara looked back to the man who was imprisoned here. "If you can leave this place, you should do it. I would do it." She told him. "If this is the only way I had to live, I would rather no longer live at all."

But Lara would release his hand, she'd let the cursed man decide on his own afterall. The British woman would turn back to the large Bear. "Lets go then." She says him. Her hair was unraveling from the buns on her head, the headdress no longer there to keep the winds from messing it all up.

Lara would look back over her shoulder as she made for the doorway that Robert had torn open.

"No different than Earth." Robert informs her, "He's consigned himself here. His hell likely his own doing but I suppose I agree." Ripclaw flicks away mroe flames and leads them to the door, he stops at it, then steps through out on the shadowed streets. Hes visible out there again, standing and awaiting. His mouth moves but she hears no sound.

"I.. I deserve this but why are you here?" He asks, numbly following behind her and the bearman, "Cleopatra and a Bear… man. I never expected… " His head snaps left to right, he lets out a low moan and his body seizes up, jerking like a fast forward and rewound movie before hes staring at her, a hungry far away look then it slowly comes back to 'now', "I'm…tchch, losing again. I deserve this. I killed other people who entered, I strangled them and threw thier bodies in the crawlspace… I deserve this. Just leave me… " He puts his hand on the door thats reformed, keeping it held open for Lara, "If… my family, my name is Leonard Owler. Just… tell them I miss them… "

Beyond the open door Ripclaw's claw waves in the air, ushering her out. His mouth moves and yet again no sounds come.

"Iii… Ii, you slut, you slut. Kill my child, I'll burn you… " A chatter, his mouth flaps and he lets out a noise a strangle dsound, the Strangers hand cupping the sides of his head. As if hes trying to contain himself.

Lara knew that she couldn't really argue with the idea that someone who murdered a lot of people deserved their own personal hell… There really was no argument for that!

"I'm, sorry." Lara said to the man then before she moved toward the exit and glanced back to Robert. But when he gave his name, she turned around and stepped backward now. "I'll find them and I'll tell them." She replied to him, whilst stepping back out of the house. "I promise."

Lara moved then to get out of Robert's way, since the Big Bear obviously needed a lot of space. She watched Leonard start to revert to the Terror that he was before, but there was nothing she could do.

With a remorseful sigh, Croft looked away, her black hair a mess now and strands blowing across her face.

Leonards face contorts slowly, a shift, his head to the side then snapping back. At least while the 'killer' he is human looking, not a monster or a talking corpse. He doesn't even get to say thank you as she departs, his gleaming eyes staring through the open passage out at them, his tongue licking at his teeth.

Rejoining Ripclaw a hand reaches over to her shoulder and settles on it, no longer a paw but long fingers and human again, "Are you alright?" The door SLAMS shut before them. Sealing and locking as the house fades. "I lost you for several hours, I was forced to backtrack and find your scent… lucky for both of us not many around here wrap themselves in Egyptian perfumes as a fantasy." The pale skinned man smiles, a warm one, hes trying to be friendler and more empathic than usual. "This realm is not easy. There are many who are tortured and with this sort of… evil laced through it… it's more oppressive than usual. The beauty and colors are stripped. The soul is poisoned."

Lara felt the hand come down to her shoulder and she started to nod her head to the questions of her condition. "Yes. I'm fine." She said and then looked over and up at him. "This place is foul, but I understand it better now."

A soft and short laugh escaped between her lips at the bit about perfume. "At least it has some advantages in this place then." She'd say then. "Hours though?" She shook her head. "It was minutes for me."

With a heavy exhale she looked around where they were now, thinking and wondering about how many other souls were trapped in this place and how long they dated back to. She couldn't help but wonder if there were people from ancient times, ones that might hold a lot of amazing stories…

Focus, Lara.

"H-How are we still here?" She asked him. "As in… our bodies are still in Donjon's bedroom?" She'd ask then. Was the monkey still playing XBox? Important questions left unasked there.

"Just 'this' place is foul." The native looks away from her as if in indication towards the 'Stranger Things' reminiscent tentacles in the distance, where the darkness rests.

"You have yet to see the more wonderous and pleasing sides of this realm. " That hand drops back to his side and hes walking along the sidewalk, "Hours. The drug wore off on me already, my very nature doesn't let it last long, I had to put myself in a trance again. The drug has worn off on your body, you almost got stuck here but I was able to breath more of it in to your nostrils, I apologize beforehand but it was necesary. We waste a lot of time though and have to go back, I found nothing unfortunately at least about the artifacts."

Robert pauses and motions, "There, we have to hurry." His body again like a ripple effect transforms to a large cave bear, "Climb on and hold tight, we'll run. If we're stuck here it will

Lara moved alongside him as he explained and she quietly nodded her head to him and softly spoke. "Its alright." She said at the thought of him breathing smoke up her nose. There's worse places afterall!
5rShe looked up again at the ominous monster in the sky and watched it move, it was mesmerizing in a way, an evil way, but still.

At his transofmration she turned back to him and took a step backward. When he told her to climb aboard she needed a moment to figure out the best way to achieve that, but then pushed forward and started up his form until she was straddling his back.

"Okay…" She said. "I haven't been on a ride in a long time, lets hope I don't fly right off." She quietly commented, a little joking tease. "I'm ready." She added then and there, her hands up around his neck.

It's a lumbering yet fast run they pick up in, a lot to be seen as they race past the streets once more, a kid riding a unicorn beside them briefly, a dragon, darker creatures in the shadows, something even tries to snare her at one point but soon they're outside of Donjo's home in the spirit world. It's bigger here. A mansion, she likely didn't notice that on their way. Old and colonial in style, skulls everywhere, various glows escaping it, a garden with living plants and a sense of power, a pressure that is terrifying.

The bear underneath her doesn't stop, it clambers through the front door and strides up the stairwell, slowly beginning to shrink down again until shes got arms around Robert's neck and her knees clutching his bare hips and ribs, he doesn't say anything as they walk down the very very long hallway, insane cackling sounds bounding from one end of the structure to the next, "Donjo. You're likely feeling his aura now, he's not a god like I assumed or even an elder spirit. It's odd. If he was that thing that lurks in the darkness would have devoured him."

Lara stayed on the ride up until he shifted forms and reverted… Thats when she let her legs down and she dismounted (?) him and planted her feet on the ground again. "I've experienced a lot of interesting things… But I have to say that this place is certainly in the tops of that list so far." She said then to Robert after she over heard what he said to Donjon.

"I feel we've learned SOMEthing at the very least." She said then. "That 'thing' in the sky, its almost as though its trying desperately to merge our reality with this reality." She paced a bit on her sandaled feet. "At least, thats the sense I've gathered."

Lara looked around for Donjon then, suddenly realizing she hadn't seen him in this reality, she was curious what form he took here.

"The man in the house, did he speak of anything, names, other entities? Maybe even nightmares. I do not know what you learned in those hours… minutes? For you but if anything even a minor detail." The door their bodies are in is approached, no smell here at least, hallways massive, people wander them, smoke still hangs, the idea of 'party' is everywhere, neon glows, each room thats passed and is open has species of all kinds within, imagined selves or actual spirits its hard to say, lounging, coupling, dancing, it's lively, a very energetic vibe to it beyond the acid trip lunacy of it all.

Their door opens up to reveal her slumbering form on the bed and his seated cross legged beside her at the foot of it. It's like looking through a foggy mirror at them, a haze of that heavy smoke covering everything. A hawk sits in the room as well, perched on the back of that lawnchair, when they enter it dips its head and caws at them.

"Safe, as I told you."

Laughter in the hall and two forms tumble along the wall, kissing and hugging. It's a shared experience, even Lara can feel that opiate like influence of Donjo's mad house.

Once they were back in that room with their bodies Lara felt a sense of relief at seeing she wasn't, well, in danger or anything. She turned around toward the exit again though and spoke out. "Leonard Owler." She told the name of the man inside the house. "Thats all he really told me, and I don't think he had anything to do with any of this."

Lara's eyes followed some of the decadance on display in this place, spirits indulging themselves in these activities here, in each other. She wasn't surprised, most people did the same thing in reality… based on the college parties she'd gone to here and there in her University days.

Lara's eyes went back toward Robert then.

"Safe as can be, right?" She said then with a small smirk.

"Life or death safe, debauchery and the ideals of 'free spirit' being indulged in. Likely no." Robert ignores it though, his fingertip rubbing the hawk's brow ridge above glowing golden eyes.

"Donjo's drugs are still in your system. It will take you a moment yet to awaken, we have time to talk, I'd leave you here alone but… you're my responsibility right now." As if explaining, he sits not on the bed but on that taped up recliner or what passes for it in this alter-realm.

"Leonard Owler… nothing important stands out there. Anything else?" He questions further, studying the scant, Egypt attired woman, down to the make up. Historically accurate, no shocker considering who and what she is. It's now some form of emotion or expression shows, he smiles. A handsome one, its tilted to one side as if once upon a time he didn't know how to smile and now it doesn't fit right. "The more of you I learn, the more I grow curious, Miss Croft."

Lara made sure to shut the door, if she was to remain in here until the drugs wore off then she wasn't going to let those outside the room tamper with her mind with their distracting behaviors.

She turned around from it when she heard his voice from his new spot on the recliner and she showed a slight smirk. "I'm an open book." She told him. "So my court ordered therapist told me to be. 'Don't bottle things up, Lara.' 'Let people know the real you, Lara.'" She walked over to herself, watching herself on the bed.

"I don't think I Know who the real me is." She commented while staring at herself in the most quintessential form of an out-of-body-experience.

She put her eyes over toward him. "Needless to say I find you interest as well. Along with Sara and the others we've met in this little… journey."

"Just the beginning of our journey together." Robert feels like hes repeating this, as though hes heard it before. "It is new. I'm usually surrounded by those more… like me in some form or another. This, our strange fellowship… we are not what one would expect to gather."

A trail off as she sets eyes and that faint smirk his way, "You have been an open book so far, yeah." Robert agrees, one leg lifting up to rest his ankle on a knee. "Court ordered?" A thoughtful noise escapes his throat, he isn't one to judge there. The man's a wanted killer if the proper accounts are taken.

"You're the real you. Dressed as you are or not the spirit is revealed when we come here, you manifested looking very much like yourself but garbed in a world lost, a wonderous one we still try to discover and learn the hidden secrets of. That is very much you, Lara. You're a seeker."

He licks his lips and looks away from her, at the closed door. As if he is staring through it, his gaze even flickering around, studying something beyond. "Sara, the Witchblade, shes a justicar with a powerful weapon she'll fight the rest of her life for control of. Jackie, the Darkness, hes a man of blood, a warrior as well but I think hes just as lost as you. He'll have his own hell to face… "

One day his sister, Capri, a woman Ripclaw himself trained in use of that power. Eventually he'll have to talk about /that/ to Jackie or the rest.

Lara sat down beside herself and she turned her attention to look toward Robert, she smiled at his words about the 'real her' and then nodded her head about the Court Ordered part. "Long story." She told him, unsure of if he knew anything about her that the public had learned a few years ago after her highly publicized 'island adventure'.

"A seeker, that is quite true." She replied before sign and lifting her hands up to rube at the sides of her forehead and face. She listened to his rundown on Jackie and Sara and then lowered her hands to her lap.

"And you?" She said to him then. "My observations of you are that you are a very honorable man. One torn between a lot of places though, but who's heart is seemingly always in the right place. I've seen you go out of your way to ensure our safety. That, speaks volumes as to the nature of your character, Robert."

"Honorable?" Robert mulls that over, "I suppose, I don't want to bring pain to my own integrity or deface my ancestors. Thats honorable to some."

"It sounds ilke I put up a good front, you've likely done your research in to me. I'm a criminal, I'm a mutant and I'm less than man in the world of flesh." A bounce of those brawny muscle knotted shoulders, "I live. I protect. I appreciate life but I have no problem ending it if I have to. However that paints me, I suppose that is what is."

A hand rests on his ankle, "I did look in to you, your past. What I could find… you have been through a lot."

There is music outside, it's droning on and on like a techno-beat. Funny to consider spirits listen to hardhouse and still indulge in drugs.

"Torn is a fitting word.' He smiles.

The Hawk turns, hops off the chair and takes flight, sailing out the window. It's noises heard behind it and then its a memory only

Lara's head shook side to side at his question about her searching him. "I haven't." She said. "If Sara is a Detective then I've left it in her hands to do background checks on everyone involved in this." She showed him a sly grin.

"Hopefully she has. I've been trying to do my own research to… beef up my knowledge on these sorts of things. But its quite difficult to find 'real sources'. The internet is of no use and my connections at WAND are not assisting me a terrible much. I'm considered a bit of an outsider amongst that group, being that I… well, am not apart of their circle." She showed a sly grin. "I'm just the glorified 'coffee girl' for lost relics."

When he spoke of her being through a lot she nodded her head a couple of times. "I suppose I have." but she didn't say anything else on that topic. She still had nightmares from that island, sure she's see a lot since then too… but that was the start, that was the first, and it was the most horrific.

Lara's eyes followed the Hawk as it left the room and then she quirked an eyebrow. "Hopefully thats not a bad sign…"

"I know little of WAND. It's an institution I avoid." SHIELD, DEO, the police, FBI, all of it. Very wide birth for Robert.

"My background is not sterling. The people who did thi… that… " He nods at his body, the cybernetic arms from bicep on downward. "They stole my life, butchered me, made things difficult. Still do. They're legit. I'm one of the little people." His grin shows itself, a cruel quirk of pale lips.

"The Curator is our best source if we can trust him. Otherwise, you need or have questions, I am educated in such things enough for passing… " A flex of his 'spirit' hand as if reminding himself of it's presence, "Survivors." He says politely, not questioning further at the island. Not this time around.

"Masi is looking over us is all, hes a friend. Bored easy though. He doesn't like when people talk too much around him and we're doing that now. Plus, to fly, who can stray from that for long."

As her 'real' body stirs a little on the bed she'll find the spirit world around them getting a little blurry. Shes not awake yet but the walls have started to lose texture, detail and the sounds are a little more muffled. Robert glances past Lara and looks at her 'physical' self on the bed, through that foggy veil, "Soon."

Lara listened closely to his words and she softly nodded her head two times to them. "I'm not going to judge you for anything in your past, only what you do around us now. Like saving me from a spirit world madhouse with a terrifying murderous ghost inside of it." She showed the hint of a smile.

Lara had her own theories about the Curator fellow, ideas she had about him and musings regarding his true intentions, but for now he served a purpose at least.

Lara was about to say more when the world got blurry around her and she put another hand to her forehead, pressing fingertips to her eyebrows. "I think something is happening." She said, looking toward him again when he muttered 'Soon'.

"A madhouse I brought you to." Robert adjusts that statement, "You're my ward while here. I won't leave until you're safely in your body again, when the time comes you'll feel yourself drawn to your physical position, don't resist it, just let it pull you in and bring you back. It is a disturbing experience at first, you're going to be overwhelmed by your senses, this has caused novices in the past to have seizures at worst. You're a sturdy woman though, you should be fine." His smile is present again.

"I am glad you're open minded, in time you may change your opinions about me as we learn more about eachother but for now, I am enjoying our time together. Rare to meet someone so inquistive and daring rolled in to one lovely package."

The techno-beat pierces the buffered and muffled atmosphere, she'll realize it may be in both worlds. This and 'home'. As well as the scents in the air.

"Seizures…" Lara muttered softly at that. But she tried to put it out of her mind and focus on staying calm and collected. "Thank you for telling me that." She said sarcastically at him.

The Tomb Raider then chose not to be upright for this and instead she fell backward on the bed and closed her makeup-painted eyelids and placed her hands across her stomach in an almost burial-style pose.

She focused on the beat of the music and just let herself 'go' so to speak, part of her wondered if this is what dying was like. But then, one would have to assume that would feel like a great many things depending on HOW one dies.

"Just trying to prepare you… " Robert's smirk is one meant to tease but it's a final thing she sees before her eyes close and the music, its sound louder as she is drawn in, that spiritual form overlapping the body on the material plane, 'absorbing' it.

Senses overwhelmed? No lie. The music is loud, pounding, reverbrating through her frame and ears, blaring out the very sound of her own mind.

The scents? Magnified ten fold, her own smells, Roberts, the incense, herbs, drugs and very walls around them are caught, thrown at in a mass of inhale.

Taste? The smoke, her own saliva, the air itself, lip gloss.

Tactile? Perhaps the worst of all. Her body is hers again, each nerve alight with 'touch' where fabric meets flesh, the breeze, her hair, everything. As everything else augmented to peak wavelengths of intensity.

Bump bump bump drum drum… that music, it rattles the walls, lives in everything. She can feel again though, it's not a 'implied' thing here, shes not swimming through quintessence or ectoplasm, shes once more suffering gravity, reality, existance.

"First step… breath." Robert's voice, its loud, from everywhere around her. If she opens her eyes the room despite dim light is overbright, glowing from illumination. "Then flex toes, fingers, start working your limbs until they feel the way they should."

GASP! Lara woke up a little more violently than he or she may have wanted. She followed it with a coughing fit and then tried to do as he said, she tried to move her extremities like he instructed by she ended up falling backward again on the bed, beside where she'd been in her spirit-form.

Lara rolled onto her right side, ehr leather jacket making that leathery-noise of being moved around, she continued to cough but then leaned her head back and drew in a deep breath.

"God, all, mighty." Lara Croft uttered, her eyes opening again as she stared off the foot of the bed. "That… was, unsettling." She huffed out the words and moaned just a little at the strange feelings of waking back up isnide herself.

Robert's still seated with legs folded, hands upon knees studying her at the foot of the bed where his body was shown from 'elsewhere', "It is the first several times. You're now a traveler of more than just your own world, a momumental step. Congratulations." He teases, his head rolling side to side, stretching his neck and limbs out. He's been in that position for some time now, the body even with a healing factor doesn't always agree with a locked posture.

The moan has him looking up, a coy smile is visible, "Hrm?"

"Hold on to details as best you can as well, like a dream things often start to slip."

It's dark outside, past midnighta t this point and several hours from sun up. Cold, very, the wind howls through the French Quarter, the sounds of the partying streets a thing no more. Everyone has migrated indoors. Wisely so. Shutters on Donjo's House of the Dead clatter at the ferocity nature is displaying right now.

Within moments and Lara was sitting up on the bed and leaning backward against the headboard, she had her booted feet up on it with them planted on the comforter and her chin was down at her collarbone.

"I need something to drink." She muttered then, tasting the smoke on her tongue and down her throat, up her nose and just generally coating her inside. She hated smoke for that reason and since she WASN'T a smoker, it stood out that much more to her.

"Not that I want to be a wet blanket, but I'm not sure how readily I'll rush right back into diving into that world… unless coming back does get easier." She raised her head up tlook at him, a tired look on her youthfully pretty face. "Perhaps I'm just in a mood. Its been a long day."

Ripclaw recognizes the expression with the smoke. He is the same. It's used for sacred purposes, ceremony, rites, his limited spell work and it's nothing he enjoys either.

"It's not for everyone. You're ill suited and untrained, it was a gamble as it were but necessary."

"I'll get you some water."

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