"Remus! I think we'll be staying here tonight; don't want to risk an ambush. Can you find a clearing nearby you think is best defended?"
Remus snapped to attention at the sound of the Prometheus' booming voice. He turned to face him and nodded. "Yeah...yeah, I think I can do that." He briefly looked around, taking in the surroundings. They would have to move further away from the shore on the chance that the water level might rise and drown them in their sleep. Worse still, there might be creatures in the water. Or beasts that came to drink out of it from time to time. He spied what seemed be a forest, with trees and bushes, lying nearby. While the woodland was even more likely to hold beasts than the water, being obscured by trees would be safer than being out in the open as they were.
Able, can you go with Remus; you can both share the spear. Oh. And take Andrew with you; don't want him running off and getting himself killed."
He turned to Andrew with a frown, albeit one far less hostile than the death glare he gave earlier. The doctor's own expression was a smirk that irritated Remus.
"No thank you sir, I'll manage to be on my own just fine. After all, I'd rather not get stabbed."
Remus resisted the urge to narrow his eyes into a glare. "No choice in the matter. You're coming." he said flatly. He then looked towards Able. "Come on, let's find a resting ground before it gets dark." he said before turning around, walking towards the forest.
"Errm. Nicole, Vera, Able, Etna; Can you gather firewood? Able, can you go with Remus; you can both share the spear."
Vera nodded and turned to the others and nodded. Personally she was glad for the task; something to take her mind of how annoying Andrew was being. It wasn't his sentiment so much - she could relate to not wanting to be on this suicidal mission and had made her feelings on it very clear, very early. No, it was his attitude about it that was bugging her. Still, she kept her mouth shut; "nothing nice to say" and all that.
She was about to make her way over to the group when Prometheus said something unexpected. "Where in hell is Aria!". Glancing around, Vera noticed the same; their favorite demi-god magic user was missing. Calling out to Prometheus "I'll find her!", Vera took her Wind form and blew into the surrounding area, hoping no evil-gods had gotten the bright idea to kick them while they were down.
Aria sighed, she'd managed to get her self lost and the setting of the sun didn't help much, that didn't stop her from blaming the Greek god of the underworld for not having the consideration to try and drown them near some kind of building, or some kinda enclosed space. As she rounded a tree she felt a presence she was familiar with in passing and groaned "Not now ..." the presence grew closer as Aria stiffened her self for some kind of an attack, how ever the attack that came was not one she was expecting. A rift opened under her, and dragged her into a dark place, away from the reach of the others.
She struggled against the tethers dragging her down, but to no avail, and with how the had a hold of her she was unable to teleport away. After a few moments she felt the pull stop but was still shrouded in darkness, she could still feel the spirit around her somewhere but couldn't pinpoint where to blast it and be done with it "Where are you, you hooded bastard" she muttered to her self as she looked for her captor.
From the shadows, seemingly every direction, a voice laughed lightly. The voice was deep and masculine, yet had a raspy quality which defied proper description. "Where am I? Why... I'm everywhere little demi-goddess. Or, should I say, WITCH!" It said, before returning to it's low laughter
Aria tried to lunge at the voice, but the restraints didn't let her get far, and instead pulled her down to her knees, her gaze still scanning for a viable target, but now angry, if there was one thing that still got her it was being called a Witch.
"Oh... did I upset you little Witch?" it said, not even trying to contain it's amusement. "What's wrong; you don't like being called what you are?" it said before going silent for a moment. Then, from Aria's left, a voice called out "WITCH!" Then, another did so from behind her. Two more, then four then ten, then more than can be imagined. Each was said in a distinct Texas accent; mimicking her former friends, The voice's built to cacophony, a veritable orchestra of "sing-song" shouts, all screaming the same thing; "WITCH!"
"I. AM. NOT. A. WITCH!!" Aria shouted back, pushing against the restraints holding her down, only to have them pull her back down, now starting to dig into her a little as if to say 'stay put', instead she tried shooting at the voices, she knew they weren't real people, but found her self unable to open fire. With no other recourse and the voices only growing around her she clasped her hands over her ears and started muttering 'its not real, they aren't there, just ride it out' over and over, hoping the spirit would slip up so she could destroy it.
As Aria placed her hands over her ears, the voices, all at once, stopped. "No" the spectral voice said, his voice rolling over her and through her hands. "you aren't a witch. If you were a witch, your parents would be alive." As he spoke, the darkness cleared slightly. From the shadows, a pair of powerful white lights appeared. For a moment, it seemed like the spectres hold was weakening, until the rest of the vision came to light. A steering wheel appeared in front of her followed by a large, bug-stained windshield. The white strikes on the pavement became vivid. The lights in the distance grew larger and larger, for just a moment, Aria could see them; her parents. They had a look of terror on their faces. Her mother reached out to cover the little girl in the back seat, her father pulled at the steering wheel but far too late. Time seemed to slow, imprinting the dying faces of Aria's parents into her mind. Then, in a flash of light, they were gone again. back to the blackness. As the darkness returned, the voice spoke again. "You could have saved them. All it would have taken is a single blast of your magic to push the truck back into the right lane. A single teleport could have pulled you all away to safety. Instead, you just let them die. I suppose I can't blame you; you just didn't want to be a lonely little witch with no friends. You didn't want to use your powers because you knew what the others would call you." it said, seemingly whispering into her ear, though nothing was there to speak. As he finished, the cacophony cried out again "WITCH!". "So-" the voice said, "-you let them die, bleeding out on the pavement, betraying all their love for you."
Aria froze, eye wide as she was forced to see the death of her family again, what was worse, the Wraith was right, she COULD have done something, COULD have acted and saved at least one of them, but didn't, and it always haunted her she didn't do anything, when she knew could have done something save least one of them, maybe both. Aria tried pulling away from the Wraith, and a gain was held firm. She opened her mouth to say something but the words failed to come, in there place, tears, she began to cry.
The Wrath - noticing her attempt to pull away - laughed again. "I can't let you go just yet little witch. I still haven't delivered my message" it said with another low laugh. "Do you know where I cam from little witch? I followed you and your... friends... out of Hell. It's a dark place down there. The place where all souls eventually go. It was there I met them: your "parents". They told me all about you little witch; how you let them die. Even now they're in that abyss, wondering why you didn't save them." he said, the words rolling from his invisible tongue. "They hate you little witch. They hate you so much they asked me - they told me - if I ever found you, to only call you "Witch"; because you don't deserve their name. They are taking it back "Aria Valentine"; from now on you're only Little Witch." he finished, the vitriolic words pouring from his mouth. As he finished, another scene appeared before Aria. It was a kitchen; "her" kitchen. They were standing there, speaking in low tones. "But what if she really is a Witch?" her mother said, before turning and staring at Aria's door. "We don't know who her REAL parents were; what if they practiced the Occult?" she continued in hushed words, turning back to her husband. For his part, Aria's father just stood there, the same fear in his eyes where his voice would not go. The vision faded. "They never really loved you little witch; no one ever did. Not them, not your school friends; none of them." he said, continuing.
A new vision of her old friends appeared. They were standing in her old school, whispering. "I hear she thinks she can see ghosts" one said, followed by another "She's such a freak". Another; "my parents say she worships the devil in that barn of her; that's why she was gone for that entire month: she was sacrificing all the animals to her dark master." The whispers grew faint, but thousands more came in to fill the gap in sound until nothing but the sound of whispers - devoid of words - and the vision faded. "No one has ever cared about you little witch. Even your new friends couldn't care less about you." it said, as a vision of the demi-god team sitting on the beach around a warm fire, laughing and eating; warm and happy manifested. This one quickly faded. "They haven't even noticed you're missing; or maybe they just don't care. After all, you've done noting to help them in their quest have you. You're just a burden. That must be why Dan left you." A new vision appeared of Dan, sitting in the Norse divine court, feasting on an endless supply of food, drink, and women; a look of content on his face. This faded quickly as well.
"But perhaps no one loved you less than your real parents. Your mother abandoned you to the mortal realm without a second thought, only bothering to speak with you when you happened upon the truth of your birth and your real father... well, he doesn't even know you exist." Another image appeared of a happy family, with three kids sitting around a table. The father bore a clear resemblance to Aria. "You're just a child born of an affair. If you found him, he'd just deny you and hate you for stepping into his life." The voice said, the malice in his voice palpable."Face it little witch; no one has ever loved you, no one ever will love you, and as far as everyone who knows you is concerned you're better off dead."
"LIER!!" Aria shouted, a sphere of energy forming in her palm as she lunged at him at again, only to be met with the same result as before, the sphere collapsing before she could make use of it "THERE NO WAY THEY'D BE IN THE SAME FILTHY HOLE AN ABOMINATION LIKE YOU WOULD CRAWL OUT OF!!!" Aria normally pretty face twisted by pain and rage at what the Wraith was doing, still there was that voice in her head that seemed to be on its side, that part of her that always questioned if anyone ever did truly care about her, even when they said and acted like they did. "... you have to be lieing ..." she said quietly, her tears rolling off her and onto the hard surface she was effectively tied to.
The wraith chuckled. "They would little witch and they are. How else would I know so much about you? You were raised in Texas in a baptist community. At 6 you could see the dead; you found out when you were visiting your grandmother in the hospital. All those spirits were just floating around, carrying on with their normal days. You didn't even know they were dead for the longest time. At 9 you started pushing people together, convincing them they were meant to be. At 13 you lost control of your magic and nearly destroyed your parents barn. I know all about you little witch; do you think this is by chance?" it said with an evil snorting laugh.
"But, perhaps this isn't enough for you." it said. As it did, the bonds on her disappeared. "Let me show you where they are." Around her, the world transformed back into the abyssal realm of Dis. But this was far from where she'd seen before. They were flying over the landscape, hearing the cries of the tortured and lost souls. Then, the vision landed in a pit; one of thousands like it in the horrid landscape of the dead. Aria traveled down the hole for what seemed like miles until they arrived at a two pair of chained souls who were unmistakably her parents and grandparents. Yet, something was odd about them. The souls were... darker, lacking in the brightness of some of the other souls around. Behind them, demons slashed away at them with razor sharp whips, their cries echoing into the darkness. For some reason, no one could see her.
"This is where I was born little witch; flayed by the whips of demons until I became what I am today. I was chained next to your mother. This is where all irredeemable sinners go." it said, letting the truth sink in. Then, it began to laugh again. "Do you want to know why they're here little witch? They're in this pit because they went against their god. They protected a little witch who should have been burned at the stake." He said, laughing as though it were a joke. "Your grandmother admitted her guilt in 3 days. Your grandfather in two. And your parents; they didn't last an hour. Soon, they'll be like me. You might have been able to save them from that fate; but you came all the way to hell and didn't even think to look for them. It's such a shame; I'd have liked to seen your mother and father tear you apart down there while your grandparents watched, but then I wouldn't have the pleasure of doing it myself. Go ahead and speak with them if you don't believe me."
Aria couldn't believe what she was seeing, the shock of it all just paralyzing her, robbing her of the strength to even stand and fell back to her knees, she had done this, by just existing she had brought the only people she ever loved eternal torment. What ever the God of Wine was planning, didn't matter now, what ever he was going to do, paled in her mind before this. " .... What ever your going to do to me, just do it ..." she said quietly taking one last look at what she'd done "I deserve worse .."
"Aw... you're no fun." The wraith said. "Don't worry little witch. It will be over quickly. There'll be no pain and your soul won't even return here for punishment. Maybe even one of the gods will have mercy and save your parents and grandparents." It continued as it finally manifesting beside her. The Wraith wasn't so much visible as not-invisible. It was humanoid in shape, a glowing blackness of negative, separated from the rest of the world by a micrometer thin line of white. It was like the negative of a photo; lacking definition and wrong. It was void.
"Thank you lord for the meal." it said, as it opened it's mouth - a void within a void - and moved to drain its victim
Vera flew overhead in all directions, searching for Aria. She wasn't able to call out in wind form much to her chagrin, but her speed and size were hopefully enough to compensate. She'd been searching for nearly an hour before she spotted it: a glow coming from the forest below. Vera swept in only to find a stranger sight than any she'd ever seen: a black mist-like substance surrounding Aria. Vera could see a strange pattern to it, with odd tendrils boring into (or perhaps out of) her head. The glow she'd seen was Aria's magic, pouring out from her.
Truthfully, she didn't know what to do. Was it some new power of hers or something altogether more sinister? "This is why I wish I'd taken Mythology" she thought to herself. She was about to go find Prometheus for aid when Aria let out a wimpier and cringed. Whatever it was wasn't good.
Gathering her wind, Vera smashed into the black-mist with all the force she could muster, trying to push it away from the resident Mage. "I sure hope this works"
Aria felt a blast of wind as as the 'world' around her crack, and felt a second gust of wind, this time the wind wrapped around, like it was checking her over to make sure she was alright, both the Wraith and Aria where confused for moment " ...Vera ...? You ... came looking for me ...?" Aria said, sounding and looking surprise. As the cracks in the wraiths Illusion deepened Aria stood, Vera still wrapped around her in her wind form to keep the Wraith from getting hold of her again, a look of pure rage on the demigoddesses face, as it slowly sank in the spirit was toying with her, trying to and succeed in breaking her "Don't know I'm gone is it? THEN EXPLAIN WHY VERA IS HERE!!!" her tone going from quiet rage to a full on shout her energy growing and building in her, the air starting to crackle and spark around her. The Wraith had crossed a line, bringing her family into it, using the only people she ever cared about against her, for this crime against her, against them, she would not show mercy, and she would leave nothing left.
Aria teleported forward, shoving her now glowing arm into the Wraith, doing the seemingly imposable task of grabbing a ghost, the Wraith's vague feature twisting to what one would call surprise. "Vera, thank you for coming to look for me, but clear out, I'm 'dumping the clip' on him" Vera hesitated a moment but complied when her wind form starting to crackle like the rest of the air around the now enraged demigoddess "Don't worry 'demon' your not going back to hell, your just going to cease to exist, on any plain of being" The Wraith didn't have time to fully react past lashing at Aria, putting a fairly deep cut on her face, before she 'exploded' with the force of a Daisy Cutter and rather bright and hard to miss 'dome' of blue/white energy.
The light show lasted only a few moments and the sky soon faded to darkness once more. every thing with in sprinting distance of Aria was ether gone or flattened, Aria her self was burnt here and there, and parts of her clothing hand been burnt away, though her right arm, the arm she grabbed the Wraith with was badly burned since that was the firing point for her attack, though none of the pain that accompanied such burns had set in yet. With no energy left to spend Aria simply fell back wards. "oww..." was the only thing she could manage to say, as she hit the ground and the burns she'd inflicted on her self started making them selves known.
Vera, thank you for coming to look for me, but clear out, I'm 'dumping the clip' on him" Aria said as she began to "charge". Vera paused for a moment, not sure what she was trying to do. However, when the air that made up her body started to ionize, Vera knew better than to stay put.
Vera took to the wind; literally.
She managed to make it 150 meters before the magical explosion happened. Without recourse, Vera pushed back with her wind; containing the explosion as best she could. Needless to say, her attempt was barely effective. It threw her nearly a football field back into the woods before she was able to take control of her wind again.
When Vera returned to the blast sight, she found the area as little more than a dust cloud in a crater. Still in wind form, Vera circled the crater, finding and extinguishing any fires in the area. Finally, she blew the dust out of the crater to find her friend.
Sure enough, Aria was in the center of the crater. Whatever the mist had been was gone; hopefully for good. Aria was, needless to say, not in great shape. Her burns looked serious and whatever magic she had was expended - at least for the moment. Still, she was conscious - made evident by her moans of pain; a (relatively) good sign. Transforming into warrior form, Vera landed in the crater and hurried to the Mage's side. "Are you okay Aria? What happened? What was that mist? What-" Vera said before stopping herself. Aria's injuries were of greater concern that her questions.
Vera reached down and wrapped the sorceress up in her Persian cloak. As carefully as she could and holding her by the least-burned parts she could find, Vera picked her up and made her way back toward the campsite. While she didn't really want to see Andrew, he was the man to see for the moment.
Unsure of what to say to the demi-goddess, Vera - unable to stand the silence - said "Everything's gonna be fine Aria; just leave the rest to me." A long moment later she added "I'm glad you're okay Aria; I'd hate to lose a friend."
Aria looked up at Vera, and smiled weakly, whimpering a little from all the burns as she was wrapped in Vera's warrior cloak and assaulted by a multitude of questions before Vera stopped her, or him self rather.
"Everything's gonna be fine Aria; just leave the rest to me. I'm glad you're okay Aria; I'd hate to lose a friend." Vera said on the way back. This simple line, and the fact Vera had come looking for her caused her to curl up closer to Vera "No, thank you for coming to look for me, you have no idea what that really means to me" the burnt demigoddess said trough a few more tears. "I'm sorry, for being such a bitch the whole trip" she added before just resting on Vera's shoulder
With Remus, Able and Andrew off to find a clearing, and the rest gathering supplies, Prometheus could do little but let Vera look for Aria. Alone, the titan decided to put himself to use, and started trekking through the woods. There would be ample firewood for the group to collect, along with numerous wild-berry, but that wasn't what he searched for. Laying eyes on a large, Sicilian deer, he tensed his muscles. He wasn't much for sneaking, and he hoped to use the last of his strength to spring the animal.
As he leaped, the broken leaves on the ground cracked underfoot. Spooked, the animal took flight, with Prometheus charging after it, his titan strength propelling him forward at a ferocious rate.
Diving, he tackled the deer, snapping it's neck; blood drooling from it's mouth and into his hands. It was then, as he lay panting, cradling the animal head, that he heard the explosion, shortly followed by a gust of wind.
"What in the name of..."
Slinging the animal across his shoulders, he jogged, exhausted, back to camp.
"I'm sorry, for being such a bitch the whole trip"
Vera smiled and nodded as she jogged. "I'm hardly one to criticize. I haven't exactly been the most pleasant person either." she said, thinking of how angry she'd been at Prometheus. "Anyway - you should rest. I'll make sure we get back to camp safe."
It took nearly twenty minutes of jogging before Vera found the lake, and another five before she found the camp again. She hurried down the beach, hoping to find Andrew as quickly as possible. She didn't know much about burns, but she knew they were never a good thing. When she burst into the camp, she made a beeline to the healer, calling out "Andrew; Aria needs your help!"
Aria smiled weakly at Vera's reply, and made her feel a little better, then closes her eyes and passes out due to fatigue, and remained out until they made it back to camp and Vera started calling out for Andrew. She really didn't want to see him, much less have him work on her, not after that look she saw through in Hades, but she was both out of energy and didn't know how to use healing magics anyway, something she silently swore to her self to fix as soon as she could.
Andrew had been wandering around, following Remus and Able as they had looked for a clearing, and taken the chance to be alone again after that was done. After a while, there was something like a large explosion, which he chose not to investigate. It was stupid to wander around into every sort of mess, even if you was curious or if you wanted to make sure it wasn't something dangerous. Well, it was stupid to do that unarmed and exhausted, at least. Besides, he could always just keep an eye on it.
Nothing happened for about 20 minutes, but suddenly Vera appeared, carrying Aria in her warrior form. Why was she carrying her?
She has probably twisted her foot or something.
"Andrew; Aria needs your help!"
Warrior Vera sounded rather desperate, and was running towards him. Andrew stood up and started examining Aria. It was dark, but he could already make out some of the details. She had burns, some of them rather serious, especially on one of her arms. He made sure the ground underneath them was fit for her to lie on, before speaking.
"Put her down," Andrew coldly stated, and added. "Carefully." He still couldn't see all the damage, but he knew enough to figure out that it would be difficult to do. The burns on her arm seemed to be as serious as a full thickness burn, a third degree. The usual treatment done in the hospitals were to remove the burnt skin and use skin-grafts, but they didn't have the time, nor the tools for such a thing. Andrew thought he might be able to do so himself, using his powers, but he could also attempt to heal the burnt shin itself. It would require more, and be more difficult, but it would reduce the time needed, and it would be less painful, by quite a lot. Considering the burns, the patient already was in a lot of pain. Not to mention, she also had a lot of other burns.
Andrew decided to start with the arm. Albeit the nerve endings in the damaged parts probably already had been destroyed, making the burn fairly painless, it was by far the most serious one. Given the time they had spent mostly wandering around, he knew that some of his powers had been restored, although that wouldn't be enough to heal all of the burns. He carefully grabbed her hand, and started working, it wasn't easy to know just how to proceed, but he managed to concentrate his powers towards the burn, and he could feel those powers repair the skin, slowly. He started with the outside, and proceeded with the rest of layers of skin afterwards. For a short amount of time, the patient should feel the pain increase for a short amount of time, until Andrew healed some more of the burn. He already felt drained when he had reduced that burn, and he knew that he couldn't completely heal her, only make the burns a lot less severe.
It took him five minutes to use what healing he had left, and by that time, he had removed some pieced of clothes from her burned skin as well as healed them up, her skin was still red in the location of most of the burns, and the pain wasn't gone. However, it was reduced from agonizing pain to something that should be akin to a bad sunburn. He grabbed the pain-killers and the bandages he had made sure to get a few days beforehand, and handed them to Vera.
"Two each third hour or so. You should soak the bandages and put them on her burns to lessen the pain as well," he said, as clearly as he could manage, considering his own state. Andrew didn't think that giving them to Aria would be a good idea, considering the amounts of pain she had been in. That always affected the mentality of the patient, one way or another, and taking too many pills in hope of the pain disappearing wasn't unheard of.
Andrew looked towards Aria. "You shouldn't move too much, even if it looks like a sunburn, the layers beneath are also still burnt. I can't do more than this right now." This time, it was barely a mutter, even if he was trying to speak up. Andrew realized that he wasn't going to be able to keep his posture much longer, and his pride forced him to move. Besides, now that he had done what he could, he had no reason to stay. He stood up, and took a few steps away, staggering as he kept walking, stubbornly. At around the seventh step, he fell down, passing out before he hit the ground.
"Two each third hour or so. You should soak the bandages and put them on her burns to lessen the pain as well," Andrew said, handing her a jar of pills and some bandages. Vera nodded in response. "Will do... and thanks for all the help. I shudder to think where we'd be without you."
After that was said, he turned and gave some instructions to Aria - mostly about the values of staying still. Vera paid attention to it as well; just in case Aria decided to ignore the doctor later that evening. "You've done more than enough Andrew" she said, letting him go "Get some sleep; you clearly need it and you've certainly more than earned it." She said it with full honesty. Sure he'd been a bit of a jerk earlier, but then who hadn't been on this horrid quest. If that's how he was, then so be it; he was still the best damned doctor on the planet.
She waited to ensure Andrew went to sleep then spoke quietly to Aria. "I'll be right back with some water and some wet bandages." Then, she got up and went down to the lake.
Remus walked through the woods for several awkward minutes. Not much talking went on between him, Able and Andrew during that time. Such silence was to be expected with Able's muteness and Remus' current moodiness. He walked glumly, his heels dragging slightly as a miserable look remained plastered over his face.
It wasn't long before they finally found a decent clearing. Remus looked around to make sure it was safe, and once finished that he realized that Andrew had run off. Before he could manage to get angry, Remus' attention was distracted by something else - the sound and feeling of an explosion nearby.
Brazen still despite his depression, Remus ran off in the direction of the explosion seconds after recognizing it. By the time he got to the crater though he found it empty. He poked around a bit but found nothing of interest, nothing that indicated what caused the explosion or why.
After that Remus' thoughts turned to the group. Whatever had happened here, it was likely something dangerous to him and the others. He needed to make sure they were safe. With that he hauled ass back to the lake.
When he reached the lake, Remus saw that Aria had returned. His eyes went wide when he realized she was injured. She looked mangled something awful. Even from a distance he could see gruesome burns on her flesh. Andrew was tending to her when he got there, which eased his concerns a bit. He then saw Vera, walking in the direction of the lake.
Remus darted over to Vera. "What the hell happened?!" he asked, his expression a mix of shock and distraught.
"What the hell happened?!" Remus nearly shouted in shock. Vera quickly hushed him "First, relax. Aria needs rest and the noise won't help much." she said, trying to calm him down. "Aria's going to be fine; though she's going to probably have a rough night. I'm not sure what happened exactly. I found her wrapped in a black mist out in the forest. When I cleared some of the mist away, she got very angry at whatever it was and blew up part of the forest; burning herself in the process." she said, giving out what information she had.
She was about to continue on the path to the lake when she added a few more details. "Right now, Andrew's pretty much drained. I'm going to be treating her the normal way until Andrew's fully rested. Which means wet bandages for the burns and pills for the pain." she said, holding up the items.
Aria had been trying to rest since Vera set her down and Andrew started working on her before he stopped, and went to sleep, or passed out, she wasn't sure, she gathered he was running on fumes before he ever started on her, but still he took a size able chunk of the 'edge' pf her pain. She still hurt all over, but least she wasn't in AS much pain as before.
Vera repeated the now sleeping doctors instructions about staying still, and went to fetch some water to moisten her bandages. Aria had no trouble complying, even moving her 'good' largely unburnt left arm hurt the burnt tissue, which cause her to sigh internally at her own rather foolish choice in dealing with the Wraith as she waited for the pain killers to kick in. Damn things never did start working fast enough.
The Remus showed up and started shouting, again Vera stepping in on her behalf, hushing him and explaining what she saw from her end. "The black 'cloud' was a type of evil spirit called a Wraith" Aria said to the two "They feed on souls, stronger souls, like I'd assume we have, would make one salivate" she continued, trying to get comfortable "They also, from what I've seen in a past encounter with a far weaker one, and this one, they are ruthlessly sadistic monsters that enjoy inflicting as much suffering as they can, before you just cave, and just let them devour you." Aria had been looking at the pair of them as she spoke, right up until the end, she broke eye contact, and her tone shifted from a 'matter of fact' tone to a much quieter one. This shift should have told them all then needed to know about what it had done to her.
Well this is fun. Able wandered along, stuck between Remus and Andrew. It wasn't like he could break the awkward silence. And his phone and ipod had finally fallen under the onslaught of nature and divine douche-bagery. Both of them now resting in their watery graves. Abe guessed he'd need to provide his own music to lighten the mood. Something to fit the scene.
We're all going on a -beat- summer holiday!
Able didn't know the rest of the words but he didn't need to! Because off in the distance was the thundering roar of an expolision and just like that one drunk girl at the party; explosions demand everyone's attention.
The three of them arrived on the scene to see that the only casualty seemed to be Aria, it looked like Vera had saved they day yet again, swiss army knife that she was. The whole thing pretty much overtook Able, leaving him in the background to observe. He was only really needed for hitting things anyway. He clutched the spear a little tighter. It had to be Odin's spear, right? They were going to see the Norse gods, Dio was looking to unbind a wolf, all that and the spear showing up; it couldn't be a coincidence. Nothing else had been so far.
And if they made it to Asgard or wherever the norse were hanging out then, Then maybe I can find Vidarr. And then maybe he could get some answers. About the day when the silence spread out from him and they day they met, about why he left and maybe he could even find a way to get his voice. Able told himself it was stupid to even hope something that stupid but he hoped it anyway.
But like everything else, Able knew it would have to wait for later. Either way it looked like they'd found a spot to set up for the night. Able began circleing the edge of the area, checking out the ground and surrounding area all while acting as if he'd gone camping at least once in his life.
Prometheus paced back into the campsite, where Aria and Andrew lay sleeping, or so he thought. Vera, Able and Remus were around, so all that was left was for the others to return. Hopefully with firewood.
Setting the deer down, he spoke softly to the group, his back against the tree. The clearing was short and circular, rounded with trees. The grass was short, and cold. It had become truly dark.
"Does anyone have a blade by any chance? And what happened to those two?"
Etna, Nicole and Steven weren't far off. Gathering wood, Steven reached for a particularly flammable branch, when his hand felt a twinge of pain, where the raven tattoo was. Lifting the branch, he saw a black feather, crumpled.
Neither Vera's or Aria's answers helped to calm Remus down. The fact she had been attacked, by a monster nonetheless, was rotten news that only agitated him. If such a creature managed to find them, then more could be around. Aria might have survived her encounter but she had gotten nastily burnt in the process. What if more of these wraiths showed up and attacked the others? This place isn't safe...people might die if we stay here..."
Remus' rubbed his forehead and groaned. All this stress was giving him a splitting headache. Before he could recover and speak his concerns though, Prometheus' booming voice was heard.
"Does anyone have a blade by any chance? And what happened to those two?"
He snapped his head around to face Prometheus. "They...they got attacked." Remus reached down to his side and grabbed the sword which Dan had given him. "Here I've got one." He lifted it up and tried to toss it for Prometheus to catch, but it slipped out of his hand and fell against the ground. Remus groaned again and rubbed his brow. "Sorry, I...I need to relax. I need a breather..." he said before walking away.
Remus walked back in the direction of the forest. He eventually stopped at a tree not to far from the location of the others, slumped up against it and began breathing heavily. He closed his eyes and tried to relax himself.
Steven held back his arm in pain. He pulled it back, then reached out again, testing to see if being near the feather caused more pain. The twitch of pain confirmed that thought. Steven grabbed a stick, and put a piece of duct tape on the end of it. Using the simple tool in his other hand, Steven grabbed the black feather. Steven picked up the wood he had already collected in his other arm.
"Etna, Nicole!" Steven said, looking around for the others that had been assigned fire wood duty, "I found this black feather that is making my brand hurt. Either of you have any idea what it might be?"
"Can the answer wait till I don't hurt all over and not super tired" Aria said with a yawn and a wince, her eyes barely staying open to say even that "Sides ... I really over did it ..." Aria mumbled something incoherent as fatigue from over exertion set in, but before it claimed her she did manage to get out 'it's dead' as she passed out.
Nicole wasn't sure why it took her so long to find some good firewood in the forest, but by the time she finished collecting it and gotten back to camp a lot had happened. Aria had apparently been set upon by some sort of monster and blown up half her arm fighting it, I hope she's ok.
Andrew had set about healing her and then collapsed, he's still an asshole, but at least he's still helping, she thought though the insult felt a bit hollow. Andrew just didn't seem worth being spiteful towards, though maybe that was just a result of her feeling the exhaustion of the day's events, just forget about it we need to stay as a team here. It felt a bit odd to be thinking so, she had never been much of a team player before, but then this adventure had probably changed a lot of things.
"I found this black feather that is making my brand hurt. Either of you have any idea what it might be?"
Steven yelled out from behind her, and she dropped off her firewood at the camp before heading over to see what was wrong. The brand you got from the lady covered in raven feathers? Well I dunno maybe its a RAVEN feather? her thoughts seemed more bitter than she was though, it had been a long day after all. I need to get some sleep, I'm starting to get grouchy...
She tried not to yawn or sigh as she approached and looked at the feather "Probably a raven feather, if it makes your brand hurt then leave it alone," she said, Etna might know more about the thing, or Prometheus for that matter but she didn't have much else to offer.
She turned back to the camp and started to walk over to Andrew and Aria, bending down next to Andrew to see if he was ok. She had seen fellow athletes collapse from things before, it usually wasn't a good sign. He didn't seem to have fallen too hard though, it looked to just be exhaustion for the most part. She rolled him over to check for injuries and finding nothing serious stood back up.
Tired - that word summed up the mood of the moment.
Etna had just been on autopilot while collecting firewood. Firewood meant a fire, and fire meant warmth which also meant food - something the group and her probably needed, having been on a trek to the underworld and back. She was snapped out of her daze when the question of the feather came up. She absent-mindedly replied to Steven's question, and began with the obvious answer, "A feather; obviously." But, a sudden thought came to mind and the answer grew to being a more helpful one, thought it was loaded with blind guessing. She continued on, snark dripping from every word, "We're near that place where we met Badb, yeah? Maybe she's left a trail for us." Still, it did sound like one of the silly things the war goddess would do. Etna added, "Or just you've gained an allergy to feathers along with that brand?" Then she shut herself up, and continued on to the camp, firewood in hand.
'Christ, Steven. Just what have you gotten yourself into?'
"Probably a raven feather, if it makes your brand hurt then leave it alone."
Steven really had to force himself not to face palm.
"I could tell what bird it was from," Steven said, "I meant did you know if it was a warning, a direction we should go, a clue, or... something like that. I thought one of you might of known something from mythology to tell why the god may be contacting us in such a vague manner."
"We're near that place where we met Badb, yeah? Maybe she's left a trail for us. Or just you've gained an allergy to feathers along with that brand?"
"Haha," Steven deadpanned, "That is more on what I was thinking. I doubt I have been cursed to be adverse to feathers, or the harpies we fought in Hell should had of effected me."
A snirk appeared on Etna's face, "Vague? That's her, alright." There was the reason Etna decided to fly the nest so soon rather than waiting until she had a permanent job of sorts. She didn't want to live with a person - never mind a god - that spouted vague statements all the time. And then the whole storm thing happened and she had been dragged into the world of the supernatural. Just when she had thought she had put that stuff behind her. And now Etna had to deal with that all over again. It was all such much bother. She had simply ignored that her part of life, until all this happened.
Steven and co. returned to the group, laden with both firewood and questions. Andrew and Aria were out for the count; Remus was off brooding. Vera and Able sat in the dark, quiet.
Prometheus was hunched over the deer, having just finished skinning it; Remus sword next to him. He turned and greeted the the group, his hands rather bloody.
"Hey, I've got dinner if you can whip up a fire."
Turning back to the beast, he began filleting it; removing organs, and burying them under small mounds of dirt. The forest was quiet, and the moon was bright, high in the sky.
"So did we settle on where we were going next?"
He spoke over the sound of the blade, stripping flesh from bone.
Shortly after taking off to brood, Remus returned to the grounds. Although his expression was flustered still and his face a bit on the red side, he looked more resolute than he had before. Taking a moment to think and breathe had helped him a little, as much as a little could help. He had considered crying but decided not to do so. The others might have heard him in the trees, and returning to camp with swollen red eyes would make him look soft.
Prometheus had just begun stripping a deer of its flesh when he arrived. It was a nostalgic sight. Remus used to remember his uncle doing the same when they went hunting.
"So did we settle on where we were going next?"
"I think we should get going now." he said, walking over to the titan. "Aria was attacked, almost killed, by a monster in these woods. There could be more. It's not safe here."
With no one asking her any more questions, Vera continued back to Aria. there, she placed some wet bandages over the burns to keep them cool. She was going to give her some pain medication as well, but sleep seemed to have overtaken her. "Good" she thought to herself; signing in relief.
There after, she got some covers for Andrew - who she now owed at least 2 favors - and moved him to a better resting position than "flat-on-his-face" where he passed out. That was when Prometheus began to speak. "Hey, I've got dinner if you can whip up a fire."
Vera didn't have any particular ability to start fires, but she needed something to do between the three hour shifts of bandage changing and pain relieving. Making and tending a flame seemed just the task to keep her awake, so she stood up and made her way to the proto-god to help build the flame. "I'm kinda surprised-" she muttered to Prometheus "-I thought fires were... you know... kinda your thing." There she went again, not knowing her myths. As far as she knew, Prometheus was know for giving fire to people... and something about a vulture. Whatever it was, she quickly sat down and started making kindling and looking for some matches.
Remus spoke up a few seconds later, responding to something Prometheus said which she had missed. "I think we should get going now. Aria was attacked, almost killed, by a monster in these woods. There could be more. It's not safe here." he said, giving them his opinion. Vera shook her head. "I don't think that's possible. Aria's in no state to be moved until Andrew's recovered and that's gonna take all night. Meanwhile, I don't even have the strength to light my sword up right now; much less carry either of them out of here." she said. "You make a good point, but I don't know if we can do anything about it." she finished as she finished cutting the tinder-wood.
A moment later she realized she was being a bit dismissive and rash in her judgement so she made an addendum. "I'm open to suggestions though."
Steven put the firewood down.
"Prometheus, I found this raven feather that was setting my brand off," Steven said, holding up the stick with feather stuck to the end, "I assume it was sent by she who owns my soul, but I have no idea what it could be. You know?"
Prometheus turned to Remus, dragging the corpse behind him towards Stevens firewood.
"I agree with Vera. I feel we're far safer in a defensible area where some of us can rest. We need food as well..."
Dropping the corpse, he moved the firewood Steven dropped to Vera's kindling. With a flick of a finger, a small flame leaped from the Titan into the wood, sparking the tinder. A small but warm fire began to blaze into life.
Looking back at Remus, he spoke again.
"If we move now, we have to carry Aria and Andrew; we're too weak to fend off foes on the move, especially thinned out in the forest."
As he was speaking, he tore flesh from the deer and started throwing it onto the fire. It wasn't going to be particularly tasty, but it would suffice for now. He cleaned the blade before handing it back to Remus.
"We'll take shifts, no? I'll take first watch; you look like you need rest."
He didn't know what sort of support to show the damaged Son of Mars, so he simply clasped him by the shoulders and nodded.
Walking back over to Steven, he inspected the feather.
"Hmm. I saw others like it across the bank, so I'm not sure. If it's hurting your brand then I guess it's still pretty...charged, if that makes sense. I'm sure we'll find answers in the morning."
The firelight threw shadows among the group, highlighting their weary figures and cracked faces. He spoke to them, encouraging rest.
"The deer will be ready soon; I suggest you lot rest up, you need it. I'll wake one of you up if I need a break."
With that, he left to circle the clearing, keeping his eyes peeled for movement.
"The deer will be ready soon; I suggest you lot rest up, you need it. I'll wake one of you up if I need a break.
Nicole nodded and found someplace to lie down decently comfortably, ending up sitting leaning back against a tree. She yawned and then closed her eyes to try and sleep, it seemed like it should be easy to sleep with how tired she was but her mind kept going back to everything that had happened today. Did we really go into the underworld? We did, even if it seems unlikely, we went into the afterlife and killed a god, geez where could we possibly go next from here?
She kept her eyes closed and forced the images from her mind, and soon began to drift into a light sleep, though somehow she doubted she would have much in the way of good dreams.
Remus could only frown as Prometheus and Vera voiced their disapproval of his idea. It was true what they were saying. Moving out when two of them were passed out from exhaustion wasn't exactly smart, especially if there were more monsters roaming about. Staying would be safer.
"We'll take shifts, no? I'll take first watch; you look like you need rest."
His gazed turned to Prometheus as the titan patted him on the shoulder. Remus sighed and shook his head. "I'll take both. I'm not going to be getting any sleep tonight anyway."
Remus picked the blade back up, sheathing it as his side as he looked around. He couldn't see much with the little firelight they had. He sat down on the ground, legs crossed as he lay near the fire scanning the surrounding darkness.
Day broke over the group; most had collapsed around the fire; Remus hadn't slept, his face marked by fatigue and stress.
Prometheus groaned, and stretched, waking everyone up in a similar fashion to their first night in the bar.
That feels like so long ago...
The last of the deer had been eaten last night; everyone was tired and hungry. The Titan hoped that they could stock up in town, before setting of to god knows where.
"Everyone up. Lets go, lets go; don't want to spend too much time out here."
Rubbing his head, he checked on Andrew and Aria.
"You two alright? Good to walk?"
"You two alright? Good to walk?"
Steven looked around at a nearby tree, "If you can't, I could make usable walking sticks for you two."
"You two alright? Good to walk?" Prometheus asked followed by Steven offering to make her a crutch of some kind.
Aria replied by mumbling 'five more minutes' before rolling away from them, on to her chard arm then yelped in pain rather loudly as she very suddenly rolled the other way clutching her still very much hurt arm, followed shortly there after by the rest of her injury's making there displeasure known about her sudden movement.
Aria pushed her self into a sitting position, keeping her burnt right arm close to her and still as possible "Anybody else feel like a baked potato?" Aira said, trying to make a joke as she pushed her self to her feet, which given the burn coverage on her body, hurt like hell. But she stood and faced the Titan "I'll be fine." She was of course, not fine, and though she was trying to hide it she was clearly in a lot of pain from just standing up.