Excerpt from: ‘The Artificer: Jordyn’s Exodus’

Hello all, here is a two part excerpt from my novel titled ‘The Artificer: Jordyn’s Exodus’. While it is a bit off of the topic of Omnism, it is the story of an Indigo who has the ability to keep the realm of imagination alive and flourishing. Things involving the end of the world have interested me throughout my entire life, and this is the story I have come up with. The second part to this is currently in the works, and I have had the pleasure of hearing some very nice words about this book. Even one word of encouragement is all a writer needs to get off of their ass and keep going. I hope you enjoy this excerpt. this book is available on Amazon, though I can’t stand the idea of marketing anything, I certainly hope you enjoy this, it is about half of the book, and if it keeps you wanting more, then look for it for free on kindle.

-Charles Poore-

PART 1: SEIGH POORE’S STORY

Arthur and Andrea Poore were on their way to becoming one of the power couples of the late eighties. They owned ‘Octie’s Ink’ on the side street of Casper in Gloucester City, NJ. Technology was beginning to move at a faster pace and the demand for ink was becoming a market for them to have the corner on. Living in a small city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia gave them a huge positional advantage. Andrea’s father, David Flowers III, had been a shipping tycoon who inherited his business from his father, David Flowers II. A man who was presumed to have lost his mind when he nearly burned his entire empire to the ground in the sixties. It was a catastrophic blow, causing quite a stir in business communities while putting the stability of the family into question.Arthur and Andrea Poore were on their way to becoming one of the power couples of the late eighties. They owned ‘Octie’s Ink’ on the side street of Casper in Gloucester City, NJ. Technology was beginning to move at a faster pace and the demand for ink was becoming a market for them to have the corner on. Living in a small city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia gave them a huge positional advantage. Andrea’s father, David Flowers III, had been a shipping tycoon who inherited his business from his father, David Flowers II. A man who was presumed to have lost his mind when he nearly burned his entire empire to the ground in the sixties. It was a catastrophic blow, causing quite a stir in business communities while putting the stability of the family into question. A very young Andrea was always curious about the truth behind this story, as she grew older she researched what happened. Her unquenchable curiosity always found her nosing for answers, whether she was ready to handle the truth, or not. Being ‘Octie’s’ owner in training, she had to answer the occasional questions about her grandfather’s mentality. Most times, she had to quell the questions with a shrug of the shoulder and a simple, “my grandfather was mentally unstable in his later years, but a good man for his entire life”.  She grew up business savvy under the wing of her father. Yet, she never felt like a normal person, not unless she was fantasizing about how to push the numbers across the board in defense of some opposition that may be trying to move in on the territory of her family. The woman proved to be tenacious and viewed life for what it was, learning to take the good along with the bad. David Flowers III was more into the idea of being a shipping tycoon much like his father had been. When Andrea finished college and saw an opportunity to start her own business in textiles (ink mostly), he was behind her one-hundred percent. He also saw it as a huge opportunity to expand on his own business. By being the first company to supply the mid-west with east coast style ink. His flagship was named ‘The Bruin’ and he loved going west and making his prescence known. What sunk the start-up of Octie’s Ink in the west was when ‘The Bruin’ sunk during a storm on Lake Michigan. David had been on board at the time. Andrea received the call late one night, after hearing the news she was left devastated. But, being the business woman that her father had taught her to be, she was able to maintain her composure when needed. Ceremonies were held, and naturally the upper-middle class all wanted to show their appreciation. Only to clutch what may be left of the late David Flowers greatest achievements. Andrea however, knew very little about shipping. What she did know, was from overhearing her father talking about it. It pumped through her veins to be a natural leader, but she was more focused on getting Octie’s textile division up and running. She took two weeks off after her father’s death, to mourn. She allowed Arthur to be in charge of the factory for the time she was gone. Everything ran smoothly in her absence and this was even a bigger draw for her towards Arthur. They shared the connection and were both able to feel one another on a much deeper level. It was also something that each of them had been hoping to find in a significant other.  After her father died, Andrea was alone, save for Arthur.  She was strong and aggressive, most people learned to fear her, Arthur hadn’t been intimidated by her lonliness. After she had found out about her father, Arthur seemed to instinctively know how she was feeling deep inside, and was there to console her. After she broke the news to him, he offered his services so she could take the time she needed to mourn. From that point on, she began to view him from more that just her office window. As a matter of fact, she took advantage of him being there and finally decided to open up to him. From then on, their relationship blossomed. They worked together so long that the fleeting glances turned into something more, something that they had both been searching for. They eventually married and together ran Octie’s into the powerhouse ink industry, supplying much of the ink needed for commercial industries. Spanning from New York City to Charleston. It was the two of them running a small little factory that would pump out the ink needed. It was big money, and they were both very caring employers. The workers were happy and well taken care of. That made the workers happy and willing to do anything needed, to get the job done.  One of the most important things Arthur and Andrea shared was that there was no family left between the two of them. Arthur had lost his tragically when he was a child. His mother died giving birth to him, and his father was a bridge worker that fell into a freshly poured pillar of cement on the site of one of the bridges built in Ocean City, NJ. That would forever remain the final resting place of Arthur Poore’s father. After marriage, life carried on and they worked for some time building Octie’s. Technology thundered forward and the demand for more Octies’s Ink brought the factory to it’s highest level of production. Granting the two of them the freedom that they so deserved. They weren’t the richest of business owners in the world, and most of what they didn’t need had been donated anonymously to build shelters for the homeless. Life had been treating them very well, they both decided that this was the most ideal time to begin raising a family. In November of 1981 Andrea Poore gave birth to twins, a little boy and a little girl. They named the boy Seigh and the girl, Darling. Both had dark hair, green eyes, and they reminded Andrea of her father. As they grew, she noticed how unusually strong of a bond they shared. Andrea knew twins were supposed to be close, but this had approached the point of a psychic link. At times, it troubled her when they would laugh while not saying a word. They would just look at each other and it would be as though she had been able to feel the connection they made. Arthur noticed it as well, and would assure her that there was nothing wrong with what it was they were doing. She would accept his reassurances and go with it for some time, until the days she would swear up and down to him that toys moved across the carpet on their own. Or, she would see books falling unnaturally slow on their way off the shelves and down onto the floor. The kids were very young at the time, prompting Arthur to suggest family vacations to spend some time away from Octie’s and the usual routine of running a home and business. Andrea thought maybe, the smell of ink was starting to get to her head. They took several two-week vacations every summer to a lake house they purchased. It was nestled halfway between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. The house they bought was quaint and the area proved to be a quiet retreat. It was like camping and the house wasn’t too far away from the conveniences of small town USA. It had the niceties of a stove and a refrigerator. Within walking distance were two nice little beaches in either direction. The Poore’s frequented the beaches and the kids would play together. There would be other kids there but Seigh and Darling always felt more comfortable playing on their own. Andrea took notice to this too, and the thought quickly turned to mild paranoia about their social skills. Arthur would once again reassure her by telling her that he had behaved the same way as a child; that perhaps it was something in the genes. But, Arthur had also had a very different upbringing, moving in and out of foster care. The thought of mentioning this to Arthur always made her feel uncomfortable, for fear of hurting his feelings. The fact that it would be nearly impossible for him to relate to the care that they had been giving their children. And that the parenting skills that he had were indeed above and beyond, but the feeling of attachment that a mother expressed could not be given by foster parents, and it was something that he was just now learning by being a parent, than simply observing one. Rather than drawing comparisions from her experiences, Andrea found the only way she could connect with this was by reflecting back and searching her past for the same feelings. This helped her to keep her composure on handling the most difficult situations. It was an instinct that all mothers have in order to have a deeper compassion for life. This would put her at ease for short bursts of time, to better understand her children through him. Most times though, she believed she was witnessing some metaphysical happening, that maybe, only she was aware of. She had grown up spending more time with adults than with other children. So, she learned quickly the skills of a man’s world. Had her mother been around things may have been different for her. But, as it stood now, she was who she was. Thankfully, she had met Arthur. He was enough to give her the kind, inner feelings, that she sought throughout her life. That was his biggest draw for her, his inner strength that she didn’t seen to understand for herself. That there was nothing in the world he couldn’t do. One horrible day for their son though, there was something that his father couldn’t do. ~#~

~#~

Seigh’s best memories of childhood were of the times that his parents would take he and his sister, Darling, to the lake. The age of eight, was the last time they had ever gone. Later that year, crossing the road, Darling and her parents were killed in a hit and run. Seigh had been saved by a team effort between Arthur, and the only Filipino kid in Gloucester City, named Billy. Seigh had been fortunate that the Billy had been standing there piecing together what was about to happen. Arthur had managed to salvage enough time quickly push Seigh behind him. Grabbing Seigh by the collar, Billy yanked him back into the crossing median and kept him safe from the impending harm. Arthur, Andrea and Darling had been caught in the blinding cross-hairs of a black junk-truck. The still-gaze of the headlights reflected the cold air on the early winter evening.
Arthur, had also tried grasping Darling before the truck swerved into her, so he could take the brunt of the impact with his back. But, the truck whipped into Darling, pitching her twenty-feet through the air. Her head struck a curb and her skull cracked like an egg, the curb was stained from her brain matter. Arthur and Andrea had been struck in the back and the truck pummeled them like a female grizzly protecting her cubs. The truck hitched up and down, as the weight of the metal in the back of the pickup shattered and crushed the bones in their bodies, puncturing lungs and vital organs. Andrea had survived for only a short time after, her gurgled breathing quickly stopped before either Billy or Seigh could notice. Darling and Arthur both died instantly, leaving Seigh alone with the well known stranger that saved his life. Standing together in disbelief, while the truck drove off into the silent night.

~#~

Following the tragedy, Seigh was traumatized from witnessing the loss of his family, causing him to fall in and out of a catatonic state. He would stave off depression by reminiscing about the times he and Darling played make pretend. The imaginary worlds that they would create and the connection that they had once shared. Sometimes at night, when he was lying awake, the feelings would come to him. It caused him to wonder why he hadn’t been able to cry. He knew he was sad, but he couldn’t bring himself to accept the fact that his family was gone. He had missed Darling most of all. He loved his parents dearly but Darling was the most important thing in the world to him. He began to imagine that there was some way that he would be able to connect with her again.
Seigh’s time spent at Mary Ethel Costello’s Orphanage was brief. The events that took place had drawn the attention of some very interesting people. Two weeks after arriving at the orphanage, Seigh found himself sitting on a swing staring at the busy ants that fascinated him for much of his young life. Every little move they made helped to drive his imagination further into the back of his mind. He used this ability of vanishing within himself to ignore his torments. The ants would help him to escape the quarrels tearing his young mind to shreds carrying his mind to a much brighter place that he and Darling had created together. They named this place 1derland and this is where he thought he could find her.
One day, while staring at the industrious ants his thoughts dissovled into the back of his mind. Suddenly, a rock struck his shoulder and broke his concentration. Seigh’s attention had been diverted to seeing the orphanage bully named Ron Cellars, and he had a very sinister smile on his face.
“Hey! YOU LITTLE FUCK! Didn’t anybody tell you that’s my swing?” Ron Cellars was a tall kid, and three years older than Seigh. His hair was slicked back and he wore a white T-shirt, with a denim vest. Delinquent in training, next in line for the asshole throne. He walked heavily over to Seigh and shoved him off the swing, shoving him face first in the dirt. “Next time, ask, you little retard! No wonder your parents dumped you here! You probably still piss the bed, too!”
Seigh had never encountered a bully before. He wasn’t completely sure how to act in this situation. His fledgling emotions had taken over at the mention of his parents. He had felt angry for the first time in his short, previously happy, life. He gott up and Ron had stepped on his back, crushing the wind from his lungs.
“Did I tell you you could get up you little faggot! You stay on the ground. When I tell you to eat dirt, or lick dogshit, you’d fucking better. If I tell you your sister’s a whore, you’d better agree, or your gonna end up a bloody mess like your mothers cooter does every month!” Unfamiliar with what a cooter was and having never heard the word whore, Seigh only responded to the negative tone from Ron that wrapped around the mentioning of his sister. His mind detached and his heart took over. He stood up as Ron approached him readying his fist to deliver a broken nose. Before Ron could strike, a swing wrapped around his wrist and lifted him off his feet. Another swing coiled Ron’s torso, digging into the meat between his ribs and constricting his lungs.
Ron’s deflating wails of pain were heard by Sister Mary Nash. She ran with arms outstretched towards the boy wrapped up in chains. In a vain attempt, she tried to remove the chains with her own strength. As panic took control, she turned for help and saw Seigh, motionless with an empty look in his eyes. She reached out to him and clutched his shoulders. Shaking him violently, hoping to break his concentration. He came too confused, and quickly collapsed. Simultaneously, the chains released Ron and he plummeted to the ground. Both boys were rushed to the Cooper Hospital, where Ron had sustained two broken ribs and lacerations to his torso and wrist. Seigh fell into a catatonic state for two days.

~#~

Seigh opened his eyes, to find himself standing in a vast, open field. The horizon that spanned in front of him seemed endless. Unaware of where he was, he looked up and saw a figure in the distance. Where Seigh was standing gave him a feeling of non-existence. There was no air to breath, but he could breath and the physical feeling of being had left the fabrication of reality behind. There was no feeling of a world around him creating a numb sensation, like when he would watch the ants and vanish off into his own world. Or, when he and his sister would play make pretend about the Cranberry King and the murder of the swans. It was there, but at the same time, it wasn’t. Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all is the greatest magic that children possess. Before he could realize it, the figure from the distance was standing next to him and took on the form of a man.
“Hello Seigh, I am known as Remliel. My sole purpose is to bring you to God consciousness and union with your eternal self. You have another day of sleep left in your reality. Just rest yourself there…childe…, your mortal soul still has a story to tell. I will tell you that your young mind is meant to be stretched and nearly broken in the time you have. You own a world in your mind, and you have yet to understand your true power. Keep your mind open to all suggestions and allow your will to be free in order to keep yourself whole. Hindrance will be your greatest enemy and there will be many obstacles that you will must overcome. You will awaken from this with a burden. That burden will stay with you until you die. Your job is to give back twice as much as you’ve been given. Your ears are meant for listening so your heart may hear. When the time comes, Seigh, you will know what to do.”
“But what if I can’t do it, mister? What if I get scared?” Seigh’s quivering voice echoed throughout the vibrating mindscape.
“You will at times be scared; your course is already set before you. You just simply have to keep it in motion. You have yet to endure what has already happened. Now rest your young, tattered mind, childe. I see you have a blemish on your cheek, let me wipe that.” Remliel licked his thumb and rubbed the blemish from Seigh’s cheek. The divine had touched him and pure energy surged through his ethereal body. The field he was standing in began to fade into darkness, and the sweet smell of honeysuckle crept into his imagination. He slipped back into his dream world and the field he was standing in faded into the eternity that gave it form.
He and Darling played along the lake. Every time spent with Darling returned to him in purple flashes of energy that would vibrate through the landscape of his subconscious. The times at the lake and the murder of the swans game that they had played kept coming through and drifting back out into the dark oblivion of his mind. The images turned to dinosaurs that swirled into shadows, they would be replaced by images of men wearing fedoras. Pain flashed instantly and ran wild through his subconscious. Graffiti walls took the place of the images of the dark men; he was running through the maze of his mind, across a bridge and through tunnels. Surrounded by monsters and taking refuge behind the giant calamity trees that were only familiar to him because of the serepentine designs in the bark. Fire branded his mind and jarred him into a flash of wild imagination. Flashes of indigo sky illuminated his sub-conscious. Half-suns and purple moons all danced through his mind over and over again, in and out of sight. They made their path over the horizon of the world he and Darling created. Then, he was falling; next he was flying. One does not know exhaustion in a dream, in this dream Seigh felt he was tired.

~#~

Seigh opened his eyes, to find himself standing in a vast, open field. The horizon that spanned in front of him seemed endless. Unaware of where he was, he looked up and saw a figure in the distance. Where Seigh was standing gave him a feeling of non-existence. There was no air to breath, but he could breath and the physical feeling of being had left the fabrication of reality behind. There was no feeling of a world around him creating a numb sensation, like when he would watch the ants and vanish off into his own world. Or, when he and his sister would play make pretend about the Cranberry King and the murder of the swans. It was there, but at the same time, it wasn’t. Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all is the greatest magic that children possess. Before he could realize it, the figure from the distance was standing next to him and took on the form of a man.
“Hello Seigh, I am known as Remliel. My sole purpose is to bring you to God consciousness and union with your eternal self. You have another day of sleep left in your reality. Just rest yourself there…childe…, your mortal soul still has a story to tell. I will tell you that your young mind is meant to be stretched and nearly broken in the time you have. You own a world in your mind, and you have yet to understand your true power. Keep your mind open to all suggestions and allow your will to be free in order to keep yourself whole. Hindrance will be your greatest enemy and there will be many obstacles that you will must overcome. You will awaken from this with a burden. That burden will stay with you until you die. Your job is to give back twice as much as you’ve been given. Your ears are meant for listening so your heart may hear. When the time comes, Seigh, you will know what to do.”
“But what if I can’t do it, mister? What if I get scared?” Seigh’s quivering voice echoed throughout the vibrating mindscape.
“You will at times be scared; your course is already set before you. You just simply have to keep it in motion. You have yet to endure what has already happened. Now rest your young, tattered mind, childe. I see you have a blemish on your cheek, let me wipe that.” Remliel licked his thumb and rubbed the blemish from Seigh’s cheek. The divine had touched him and pure energy surged through his ethereal body. The field he was standing in began to fade into darkness, and the sweet smell of honeysuckle crept into his imagination. He slipped back into his dream world and the field he was standing in faded into the eternity that gave it form.
He and Darling played along the lake. Every time spent with Darling returned to him in purple flashes of energy that would vibrate through the landscape of his subconscious. The times at the lake and the murder of the swans game that they had played kept coming through and drifting back out into the dark oblivion of his mind. The images turned to dinosaurs that swirled into shadows, they would be replaced by images of men wearing fedoras. Pain flashed instantly and ran wild through his subconscious. Graffiti walls took the place of the images of the dark men; he was running through the maze of his mind, across a bridge and through tunnels. Surrounded by monsters and taking refuge behind the giant calamity trees that were only familiar to him because of the serepentine designs in the bark. Fire branded his mind and jarred him into a flash of wild imagination. Flashes of indigo sky illuminated his sub-conscious. Half-suns and purple moons all danced through his mind over and over again, in and out of sight. They made their path over the horizon of the world he and Darling created. Then, he was falling; next he was flying. One does not know exhaustion in a dream, in this dream Seigh felt he was tired.

~#~

“Mr. Poore, are you ready to give your presentation? Mr. Poore….Hello! Earth to Seigh.”
“Huh, Oh, sorry, what’s up?” Seigh responded dazily, to Mark’s mockery of a sportscaster.
“Spaced out again, huh? I hope that doesn’t happen in the middle of this presentation. It’s big for us, and you really need to sell yourself. You’re the best on the blocks, and you need to be on point so we can expand into something bigger.” Mark, loved the show that Seigh put on for the customers when he was cutting, he turned the show into a bit of a gimmick. Seigh enjoyed indulging the patrons, so he didn’t mind putting himself out there while getting some work done. Mark caught wind of the big box investigating the area, and knew that Seigh’s talent, combined with his output, would be something that they may have been interested in buying. Seeing the trend of big business, the he last thing he wanted was to be crushed by the giant. So if you can’t beat em’…join em….
Mark was able to cut meat, as well. Seigh however, possessed an uncanny ability, it was almost superhuman, from Mark’s point of view that is. For instance, he was able to cut meat with his eyes closed (and he has as a part of the show), and there was more to it than simply that. He was a duck to water with it but, he was the duck that could throw his quack and have others fly towards it’s non-existant echo. It was his art and he had mastered it. Had he comitted his skills to working the big industry, he feared they may turn them into another set of hands, with a number and a knife. Today was the big day to showcase for that fat cats. They wanted to see what Mark and Seigh had to offer, and what they were seeking to invest in.
Seigh was distracted by trying piece together how he had gotten to work that morning. He drifted into his mind behind the wheel, as he so often does when he drives. He and Jax lived in a cozy, one bedroom apartment just outside of Hammonton. So, it wasn’t as if the drive was ever long. Despite the town being closer to the size of tiny, it was still too much hustle and bustle for Seigh. His mind often drifted farther into his own little world whenever he stayed sober for this long. It didn’t quite matter though, Seigh was the best in his business and he didn’t need to be there mentally to work the blade, it was a cusomary part of who he became. Mark decided he would drive them to the presentation, though his nerves were shot. He was worried Seigh would lose his concentration in the middle of doing what he does best. He knew Seigh had it in him to impress the fat cats but he had never seen him so distant, and it was beginning to worry him. He could chalk it up to a man being in the zone, but there was something off about this distance.
“Are you okay Seigh? Your distance is really rattling my nerves. I mean, I know you know how much is riding on this presentation. You have to be at your best, and I need you to pull through.” Mark said. He was dressed in his best button up shirt, clearly ready to impress. He was naturally good looking with dark eyes and short brown hair. He always reminded Seigh of a vampire in the looks department. Seigh dressed to match, but never fully understood the concept of trying to faking it until you make it, it felt too much like lying to him.
“I’m fine, I just had an odd dream last night.” Seigh’s eyes stayed focused on the mulched leaf that rested next to his foot. He was practically looking into it. Wondering what microorganisms lived on it. What crawled on it, accepting the fate of being the small, brown sliver of composition that took residence next to his foot.
“Fine you say! This is the biggest moment of my life and you’re off somewhere in your own little world, shaking hands with the fucking natives! How the hell am I supposed to know you’re not going to flake up there? I mean, it’s a lot of pressure, and these guy are going to throw some curveballs at you that you may not be ready for. What are you going to do if they call a cut out to you that you don’t know?”
“I’m not going to flake. If it’s something I don’t know then I’ll ask them how to cut it.”
“Oh, mister non-fucking-chalant, I can handle anything attitude. These guys are pros, and they want to make money with your showmanship. Do you get that? This is dollars on your art. How the hell do you plan on raising your baby if you fuck this up because your head is elsewhere? If we don’t get this, this place is probably going to crush us. Large markets, like the one these guys are opening, have a tendency to want to crush little guys like us.” Mark was getting red in the face at this point, and Seigh couldn’t care less.
“I’m completely comfortable Mark. I manage this shit everyday, so let me focus on my type of prose. I do what I do to satisfy my need for art, and it works for me at the moment to fill that void. If getting lost in there helps me to do my job, then let me do it my way. To me this is about more than just a buck.”
“I consider it art worthy. If anything, I am faster than you on the blocks, but you have hands that I’ve never seen. It’s amazing the way you move your knife. It’s almost as if you do it in such a way that you don’t have your hand’s on the blades. Sometimes, I think you really do take your hands off them. But, I live here in reality, and that stuff doesn’t happen here.”
“It’s a matter of fact, Mark. I just do what I do naturally. I happen to be that good at what I do and if my art is subject to questioning then I will be sure to take the time out to learn the part of my art I have yet to learn. So if someone asks me about a cut I don’t Know. Then I’m going to ask them how to make that cut, because I want to know it for my own knowledge. After they teach me then I will make it better. I will apply my art to the meat. Does that sound okay to you?”
“Okay, fine, sorry. Just, stay focused. Hey, anybody ever tell you that you talk weird?”
“Jax, all the time. So I just stopped talking.” Seigh said sulkily.
“That’s fucked.” Mark joked and they both laughed.
A jolly looking black man with a graying beard and dark hair approached the truck. He walked with a slight limp that stemmed from the hip, he guided them through the unpainted parking lot and pointed out a spot to park. The man walked towards the truck and introduced himself. “Hello fellahs. I’m Jake Dawson. You must be mistah Calley. S’pose you two’s the reason Phil’s coming around today, too?” His twang suggested he was from further south. Jake fit the bill of old fashioned southern hospitality. That sort gentle kindness was unheard of in NJ and the hand-rolled cigarettere said it all.
“Hello Jake, I’m Mark Calley. This is my associate and man of the hour, Seigh Poore. We have a presentation with Robert Davidson today.” Mark said, white knuckling the steering wheel.
“Dawson will do just fine if it’s all the same to ya. Even my son calls me that occasionally, he’s a good boy though, old enough to be a daddy him-sef. Thankfully, he managed to steer away from having kids all his own. Though, it’d be nice to be a pappy some day. Aside from him and this place, ain’t much else fo’ an ole fool like me to do ‘roun hea.” Dawson continued to talk as he escorted them through the front door and into the un-stocked store. “They gonna have some of the floor crew in hea stattin tomorra, they gon be stockin the shelves n what-not.” Dawson continued to yammer on about his wife and how he thought Stockholm syndrome was derived from marriage. He was a comforting, sweet old man, and his voice echoed throughout the vacant building. Making the place seem more a home for sages, with mountains of books and knowledge from…wherever….
Seigh supposed the overnights were lonely for him. So any company was more than enough for Dawson to dump his life into. It was a short walk from the truck to the meat room, despite the size of the building. Seigh had learned enough about Dawson to fill a scrapbook in a fraction of the time it took for him to escort them to the meat department. Mark just pretended to marvel at everything and continued ‘yes dearing’ the man that reminded him of Santa Claus.
Vacant, quiet places like this gave Seigh the shivers. Despite being woke up inside by the low playing music bouncing off the walls from, what appeared to be the receiving area, he couldn’t help but think that the depressing music played in retail outlets everywhere prompted shoppers to feel low. Causing them to buy more of the products that they didn’t need. It was a sick tactic used to collect every red cent and feed off the impluse of the every day shopper. But, it was indeed their money to spend. Mark tried this in their shop, but Seigh preferred to keep the music upbeat. He enjoyed the smiles and watching the ladies ‘shake it’ a bit whenever the beat prompted them to do so.
They finally reached the meat department and Dawson introduced them to the man standing in front of the open window, giving full view of the meat room. “Gentamen, I’d like you to meet Mista Davidson. Mista Davidson, this is Mark Calley. He is the local smoky looking to expand his business, and this guy hea is his meat cutter that is going to try to impress you, his name is…uh.” Seigh cut off Dawson and put out his hand. “Seigh, sir. Seigh Poore. Pleased to make your acquaintence.” Seigh held out his hand and Mr. Davidson gorilla gripped Seigh’s hand, giving him a hefty shake.
“Good to meet you too son. Got kind of a weak grip there for a meat cutter, wouldn’t you say? And please, call me Robert.”
“Not exactly weak. I think maybe your’s is just that powerful.” Seigh had a way of buttering people up. Robert was a man that looked as if he was approaching middle age. He was the same height as Seigh and Mark, about five foot ten, with a growing belly. He had beady eyes that seemed to penetrate and intimidate. Seigh could see right through them, though. He could also see that upon meeting Mark, that Mark was intimidated. Robert could sense it too. That put a funny little smile on Seigh’s face. Robert instructed them to follow and Mark and Seigh did so. They walked through the meat room door and Robert gave them a grand tour of the place, and explained things with a helium pitched voice that didn’t fit his physique.
“So gentlemen, this is the cutting floor. Here, we have three sets of blocks, two saws; some smaller equipment like the cuber and the slicer. There is an auto-wrapper for faster production and a hand wrapper for some heavier items. In the holding cooler we have the large grinder linked up to the mixer for all the burger needs. Plus, a small service grinder for special requests. We want the customers to get everything they ask for so they leave happy. That’s what keeps em’ coming back! As soon as my bag of shit brother Phil gets here, we can get this show on the road. He knows everything about the meat industry, he schooled the last three interviews we had. No pressure son.” Robert said to Seigh, with a sinister grin from ear to ear.
“None at all. Where can I set up?” Seigh asked smugly.
“That front block’ll do just fine.” Robert pointed towards the open window, it face out of the meat room and out to the sales floor.
Seigh strolled to the block and set up his knives. He put on his smock and apron, then took a look around. It was a tin (stainless steel) box. Large electrical wires that power the equipment dangled from the ceiling. A metal storage unit for files and spare parts rested in the corner of the room. Everything was brand new and stainless steel overwhelmed the decor of the room, sanitation at it’s brightest…Seigh gave it a month until something broke…. He was overly fascinated with the whiteness of the blocks, due to the reflection of the overhead fluorescents, he was nearly blinded by it. He couldn’t stop staring down into them and began to drift off into his own little world. For him, it was a wonderful feeling, songs by his favorite band would echo in his mind and it would allow him to get lost in the craft that he felt at home with.
The blocks turned into his personal indigo cloud lullaby. He would trance out and not even think twice about what he was doing. Like a blank canvas, he drifted into it as any painter would. He saw the prison that he had created in his mind that he named Dizzy Dim. Looking at it from overhead he could see it’s maze like structure turning here and there, coming to dead ends and crisscrossing corridors that he had already drew a line through. He loved mazes, and this one was straight out of Hell. He could almost drift down into it and walk the gray corridors, the word smims covered the walls and he could reach out and touch them. This felt very much like a trap of sorts, like he was the main attraction at a zoo.
“Son, you with us?” Taking notice of Seigh’s blank stare, Robert asked in a fatherly tone of concern.
“Yeah, sorry.” Seigh snapped away from his trance and glared over towards Mark. Just then, a much larger man than Robert entered the room. He was so large the refrigeration had to sneak out the back in order to free up enough space for him to fit.
“Ah, look who finally decided to show. Gentlemen, this is my brother Phil.” Phil approached Mark and Mark was shrouded from Seigh’s line of sight. He was more than rotund, this man had his own gravity, Seigh thought smaller items probably took orbit around his waist. Above that he stood about six feet three inches, so it wasn’t as if he was a sloppy large, he was properly proportioned. His hair was thinning and he looked like he drank a little too much judging from the bloodshot eyes and red nose. Seigh could relate, drinking is a much needed staple for any meat cutter‘s stability.
“Put er’ there, partner.” Phil shot his hand out at Mark. “I’m eager to see what you and your man have to offer our franchise. I’ve been all over the country with this business, so there isn’t much I don’t know. I’ve heard a lot about you two from the locals, so that’s why I wanted to have a look for myself. I may throw some knowledge at you, but I’m always willing to learn a new thing or two, as well.” This didn’t settle Mark’s nerves, Phil could smell his fear and Seigh looked on, holding back a smile.
“Nice to meet you sir, I’m Mark. That mild-mannered man over there, is Seigh. He’ll be doing the cutting today. I’m a cutter myself, but he has a knack that will hopefully leave you impressed; maybe even hypnotized. You’ll have to see for yourself what I mean.” His voice had a slight quiver to it, they were all astonished he could force the words out at all.
“Yeah? Last three guys pretty much said the same thing. From what I ended up seeing they were all bullshit artists, at the very best. Let’s hope the two of you aren’t wasting my time as well. Anyway, let’s meet this hypnotist of yours. How you doin’ pal?” Phil’s hands were nearly twice the size of Seigh’s he extended his had and Phil shook heartily. His grip felt firm and not overpowering. It gave the impression of a comfortable sense of respect towards others, and Seigh liked that.
“Hello sir, I’m Seigh, nice to make your acquaintance.”
“HA!” Phil bellowed. “I haven’t heard that word used since I was out west. Call me Phil. I’m not gonna dilly-dally. One cutter to another, I’m gonna throw some meat at you that I want merchandised out. I want to see finesse, clean cuts and speed. I’m not gonna be putting my market in the hands of some trough merchants. I’ve Seen one to many skirt through in my time and I’ll be damned if I let one pass through my market. I’m gonna be over your shoulder and in front of you asking questions. You got it kid?” Phil was a face talker, and clearly liked his vodka. Seigh shook his head to say he got it.
Dawson was given the pleasure of wheeling in the float of meat; Seigh took a look. His mind opened up and he immediately began to break down the seven primals taking up residence on it. In total, he could feasibly get twenty-eight different cuts from all of it. Making about seventy-one separate packages ready for the public to feast on, not including grinds. He turned to ready his knives and his mind crept back into it’s zone.
Seigh’s hands moved so swiftly that the blades mesmerized everyone watching. The questions asked by Phil were answered spot on by Seigh. Looking back on it, Seigh didn’t remember answering any questions. He only speculated on the way back to the shop that he nailed it. Mark was happier than a pig in shit and all the nervousness that once afflicted him had disappeared and he was back to his wired self.
“I think you fucking nailed it man! I mean I’m not going to say I’m happy about you stumping Phil with your own questions. But goddamn man, how the hell do you do that? You are sick on the blocks, and I’m not sure, but I would go so far as to say that the knife left your hands a couple times and did the work for you. Talk about crazy!” Mark said, nearly jumping out of the drivers seat with excitement.
“I’m not quite sure how I do it. Most of the time I’m not even paying attention. I’m somewhere else ‘shaking hands with the natives’, to steal your phrase.” Seigh said, looking over with a raised eyebrow and half a smile.
“Well, I don’t care where you go. Just keep doing it and we’ll be golden.” Mark was trying not to get ahead of himself. But his nerves had calmed and his excitement was overwhelming him.
“It’s confusing sometimes, Mark. I can’t remember half of what happens during my day, and what I do remember is gone by the time I wake up the next morning.” Seigh’s eyes drifted down towards the floor and his somber feeling almost killed Mark’s mood.
“Get some fucking help man. Cus’ that sounds like crazy talk. But, I be sure to keep the white coats from coming out to pick you up, just as long as you keep cutting like that. So cheer the fuck up man!” Mark said, patting Seigh’s shoulder as they pulled into their market. It now looked run-down and out of date to the two of them. They both accepted that it was indeed time for a change, if they didn’t get the job it was certainly time for an update, at the very least. However, two days later Mark received the call that they had the job.
“We are celebrating tonight Seigh. Tell Jax to come along too. I know she can’t drink, but hell, she can drive. So long little hole in the ground….HELLOOOOO SUCCESS!!” Mark was practically dancing a jig before he even hung up the phone.

~#~

The Pick is a bar situated on Rte. 206 in Shamong. It is known for its wings and it’s long history dating back to the early 1700’s, when it started out as mid-way rest stop for travelers. Its decor looks as though it hasn’t been remodeled since then and long time residents of the neighboring towns consider this place the local watering hole. Seigh, Mark loved going here if only for the ambiance. This is actually the place that had brought the two of them together, this place and a fist fight that landed both of them in the drunk tank for a night, that is. Its dingy atmosphere always gave the feeling of being a couple of weary travelers seeking a pint and a bed. The Pick was known now for serving the best wings anyone could find. It served cold beer btought by pretty waitresses and it was where Mark loved to go all of the time. The people there were friendly and the staff was always in a cheery mood. There was hardly ever any problems, most of the trouble wandered over from the bar up the road, but that was rare. This night happened to turn into one of those rare nights.
Mark sauntered through the door first, followed by Jax and Seigh taking up the rear. She was designated driver considering she carried the most important packages in her belly. She disliked the idea of this kind of celebration, mostly because she couldn’t indulge for herself. She did understand though, how hard Seigh and Mark had worked to make this happen for themselves. She used to love watching Seigh cut even before They’d met. It was almost as if he had been putting on some sort of a show. She wondered why she had bothered coming, all she could think about was a night that she couldn’t believe that she had remembered. It was a night that she continuously brought her mind back to. Now though, it was as if she could no longer tell the difference between the memory of it, and if it is actually happening before her eyes. She thought now that with the frequency of the memory, it was both.
She would sometimes ask Seigh where he drifted off to. But these questions would come out after they both had too much to drink, always resulting in a fight. He would shut down and that would rub Jax the wrong way. She had less of an imagination than Seigh and found any explaination difficult to comprehend. She would confide in people that she couldn’t handle the relationship anymore, due to his crazy outbursts and vacant moments. Truth was, she no longer wanted to try to understand her husband, she couldn’t accept the awful kind of person that she was for trying to make him out to be a horrible person. If anything, most of the pressure in Seigh’s life was brought on by her verbal assaults and ability to manipulate the people around her. She isolated him from everything but her and work, and played the role of victim very well. If anybody that had anything more than she had, she would squash it, she was jealous, but never wanted to admit to any of her own wrong doing. It was her nature, of being a spoiled brat, and that is the best that Seigh could surmise. This alone would have caused bitterness in any relationship, add the booze and it was a recipe for failure. They were doomed.
The marriage had gotten so bad that Seigh became convinced it was her purpose to drive him insane, it was only later, after moving her things, that he would find she was preparing for a divorce. She intended on blindsiding him and taking everything, she was a real bitch. He would have agreed to many aspects of the divorce, but the stabbing in the back caused him to believe that some people cant understand normal thinking. These actions taught him patience and instead of being bitter, it caused him to learn a more hearfelt forgiveness. But, apathy still had it’s merits, if not for his children he wouldn’t have cared at all.
Much of their drinking did stop after the news of Jax’s pregnancy. But, she still always had the same questions on her mind and she knew that the death of his family was always on his. Seigh was a man with a fragmented past. The time he had spent growing up with the Indigos was something that bothered her, too. She felt that this was more of a cult and it scared her, the thought of her children growing up with that kind of mentality was not something that she wanted to encourage. The fact that he held back from talking about it bothered her more. She wanted answers to everything. Yet, no matter how hard he tried to explain, she didn’t want to accept it as a truth. She would beat it into him that his entire life had been some delusional bag of bullshit, and the more she would try to pry for an actual truth that she could accept, the further away it drove Seigh.
The school had always been a bit of a mystery for those that didn’t attend. He never talked about his childhood there. All she knew from the research she had done on her own was that it was that Indigo philosophy was a bit of a cult fad that had developed in the late eighties. They encouraged the philosophy that certain children were born with special abilities. That the Indigo movement wanted to keep these kids safe and help them to understand their abilities. Most of the kids there had a family to go home to, though. Seigh was an every day staple in the place. He had no choice but to live there. She guessed he drank to smother his past. She pitied and kept a distance from him after an incident in the kitchen that Seigh had never been able to recall. Jax would go over the incident again and again in her mind. She chalked it up to her being drunk as well and blamed him for all the negativities that happened. She overlooked all her flaws and again, took no responsibility in regards to how much she would push for answers that just weren’t there.
“Seigh, I want to know how you feel about your sister. It was so long ago, and I really don’t like the fact that you hang onto the past like that. It’s time for you to bury that tragedy and move on with your life.” Seigh stared at her with a blank expression, wondering why these questions would only surfave after they had been drinking. He was weary from too much vodka and could barely stand, but his demeanor had changed behind his jade-green eyes. They went dark, and that urged Jax to keep digging. The alcohol always provided the courage she needed to dig without remorse and it fueled the drive behind Jax’s assaults. If anything, her high-pitched condescending tone did little more than pierce his ears and grab the attention of his frustrations.
“Listen Seigh, I want what’s best for you and I. I want a family with you, but you’re always so damn distant. It just always feels like you’re keeping things from me and I don’t want to live in a constant state of not knowing what is going on inside your head.” Reasonable questions, but the timing was always off.
“There really ism’t anything to open up to you about that I haben’t already said to you. Each time you neither believe, nor understamd.” Seigh slurred.
“Try me Seigh!”
“OK….you asked, just remember that.” Seigh hesitated and took several deep breaths to collect his thoughts, he hated having this conversation with her because he knew the end result would amount to a fight that he couldn’t win. “When I was a child, I was placed in an orphanage for a small amount of time.” Seigh explained to her about the incident with Ron Cellars. He told her the dream he’d had about Remliel, and that’s when she began to cut him off.
“Stop! This is all bullshit Seigh and you know it. How the hell do you expect me to feed into all that crap? I mean seriously, a fucking angel? C’mon. You don’t even know what happened to that kid other than what some frigging nun said. And this fairy-tale place just doesn’t exist.” Jax said as she began to turn red in the face.
“I told you Jax. Let’s just try to get some sleep before this turns into an argument. I have work in the morning.” Seigh said stumbling away and following his normal trend of shutting down.
“FUCK WORK! Don’t walk away from me. You’re already starting to close off and shut down. It’s like you’re trying to bring your sister back, and that’s just pathetic and stupid.” Jax was starting to raise her voice. Words like this, from the person that was supposed to love him the most always cut deepest. She was attempting to mold him to a life that he already had a difficult time adapting to. Thus, taking him away from who he is.
“Jax, please stop. You’re starting to escalate and I don’t want another drunken fight. You don’t know what you’re saying.” Seigh now trying to calm her down. Even drunk he still remained a peacemaker.
“That’s half your problem. You fucking puss out when push comes to shove and go off hiding in your own little nexus where no one can go. What did you and little Darling do? Make something up that you actually think exists? That’s stupid kid shit, Seigh. She’s dead, dead for years now, and all this make pretend bullshit has to stop!” Jax demanded slamming her hand down on the kitchen counter.
Seigh turned tried to retreat from her hollars, but Jax grabbed his shirt and turned him to face her. “Don’t fuc….” before she could finish the sentence she was choking or felt like she was being choked. But, no one was touching her. Seigh’s eyes were absent now, lost behind a dark shade of forest green, and almost glowing. Words of a song she recognized were running through her head as she was being lifted off her feet. The cabinet doors opened and shut and The plates were actually chattering music to the words in her head.
The choking stopped and whatever was holding her dropped her to her feet. The plates stopped their hypnotic chatter and Seigh turned and stumbled to bed. On his way out he said, “let’s just sleep it off Jax, please. I don’t want to argue. I tried to explain and you don’t seem to ever want to listen…only fight…. I’m not about to fight all night. Sleep well.”
Jax stood alone in the vacant kitchen, surrounded by the haunting reminder of the plate orchestra. She finally had a grasp on the scars that were left on Seigh from his childhood. She didn’t fully accept what happened, and still felt she held no blame for her assault. However, it left her feel too frightened to ask again. That fear began to drown her love for him. Two days later she found out she was pregnant.
“LAST CALL!” Jared, the Pick’s favorite bartender, shouted out to the patrons. The yell broke Jax’s concentration and she didn’t realize how much time had gone by.
Her attention was drown to watching Mark at the bar and peered over to notice Seigh with a queer little smile on his face. He wasn’t drinking much at the moment and was completely indulging in how much fun Mark was having. Between the two of them, she could see from what was left on the table that they both had a bit too much to drink. Mark, she thought, was making an imbecile of himself, and Seigh was off in his own little world…yet again…. “I’m going to get the car Seigh.” Jax said with a humble smile on her face.
“Ok, babe. Meme and Mark are gonna fimish our beer. An we will been out fromt to meent you out front.” Seigh said fumbling and slurring words.
“Whatever, you guys are so fucking wasted.” She was in a good mood, and actually felt a twinge of happiness for the guys. She gave Seigh a kiss on the forehead and made her way out of The Pick, waving bye to Jared as she walked by him. He waved back and said have a good night. Walking across the parking lot she crossed paths with a shady fellow known as Christian Devries. He wore an eye patch and carried a cane around with him, he had the look of a dingy pirate from the lower levels of the ship. He was completely hammered and making his way from Salties, the raw bar a half mile away. He always gave the bartenders a hard time at last call, and was likely ejected for a rude comment to one of the ladies that worked there.
“Hey-hey pretty, you going home alone tonight?” Even six months pregnant Jax would be considered a ‘Jersey dime’. Her auburn hair, high cheekbones and long legs would attract most men, and she always turned heads. To Christian , it didn’t matter, all he saw was a pussy. She kept walking and ignored the drunken cat calls from Christian, he continued to follow her through the parking lot and reached out with his cane, grabbing her arm. “C’mere girly, don’t you think you ought to have some company tonight?”
“Get off of me! My husband is on his way out right now!” He ignored this and pulled her in closer and grabbed at her with his free hand. She managed to pull away, jutting her elbows into his mid-section, but tripped and fell down on the asphalt as she backed away. “Oh, hard to get, I kind of like that girly.” Christian said walking towards her. Mark and Seigh exited the bar with their backs’ turned. Mark fell down coming through the door at about the same time Jax did. Seigh nearly went as he turned and tried to help him up. That’s when he looked up and saw Christian (three Christians, actually), as well as Jax, she was trying to get up from the asphalt and scramble away from him.
“Hey! What the hell is going on over there!? JAX! Are youm ulkay!?” Seigh shouted.
Christian turned and gripped his cane as any seasoned bar fighter would do. “Well, c’mon faggot. You gonna protect your bitch!?” Seigh looked down momentarily not wanting a fight. Jax made her way to her feet stumbling forward. The timing couldn’t have been worse. Maddie Wilson was gunning drunkenly through the parking lot in her 4×4. Little spoiled rich girl searching for her phone didn’t even see Jax. The last thing Maddie Wilson saw was Christian’s one eye staring at her as their heads collided.
Witnesses to what happened that night would tell the police that Christian began to beat himself with his own cane in a drunken fit that was normally common of him on nights of failure. Then he adamantly smashed his head into the grill of the 4×4 and threw himself through the windshield, and beat his own head into Maddy’s, killing her. Seigh was in the second coma of his life.

~#~

“Wake up, Seigh. Wake if only for a small fraction of existence, and bear witness to 1derland. The world that you’ve drowned out with alcohol.” Seigh woke up and stood in a field of flowers. The sky was indigo and the clouds looked like puffs of cotton candy and marshmallows. He tried to say something, but the sound of his voice was swallowed up by the sound of his screaming. The wind whispered haunting sounds of music that he could barely hear. Yet, he recognized the voice, it was his Muse, even though he never wrote a story of any kind. Next to him stood Remliel and Seigh’s scattered memories rushed back into his mind.
“You’ve forgotten your task set before you by God. But, this task exists regardless of your neglect for it. Someone else was capable of entertaining your thoughts as well. YOU however have lost touch with who you really are. You’ve squandered your abilities, to impress people. You have one last chance, Seigh. Your children will be greatly influenced by you, and for that reason you will be granted the time you need to set things right. Gaze out into this field and remember it well. Look at the surrounding mountains and the golden spire atop the highest peak. That is Mt. Misery, it is the last line of defense before the City of Schue is overtaken by the creation your neglect has created. Loch Loa and revelation breaks through to this reality…this world…. Much of this is your mind’s doing. But, there are others that contaminate this world, and you need to be the one to either stop it, or allow it to happen. If you do not set things right, then your children will bear witness to the destruction that Loch Loa intends to bestow upon their world. Here, in this field, your greatest ally will meet her end, to grant you the salvation you need to set the courses you see fit. Minds have been poisoned, and it’s up to you to stop them from poisoning others.”
Seigh looked out into the field of his dreams. He saw how colorful it was and the music became clear to him…aaaaaaall of me, her voice sang as the song brought to life feelings he hadn’t had since he met her. He reached down to touch a flower, and sure enough, it was paper. “Is there a way I can find her here?” Seigh asked. Remliel smiled and said “Good-bye, Seigh.”

Seigh woke, for the second time (dreaming within a dream), in a hospital bed. He had thought at first that he was a child again, and his whole life had been nothing more than a dream, but that wasn’t the case. This time, he was an adult, and there was someone he knew sitting there with him instead of a nun. In the chair by his bed sleeping, was Mark. Seigh had no clue how long he was out, or why. The dream with Remliel stood out in his mind. It left him with more questions than answers.
“M….Mark.” Seigh moaned. Mark stirred for a moment, then opened his bloodshot eyes to meet Seigh’s.
“Hey, hey man! Nurse! He’s awake. How you feeling buddy?” Before he could ask any more questions a nurse entered the room. She did the usual nurse Routine, fluffed the pillows for comfort, checked his eyes and blood pressure. Just before leaving, she whispered something into Mark’s ear, while gaving a desperate look back towards Seigh.
“So, hey man, welcome back to the land of the liv…ugh…! Bad choice of words to welcome you with; I’m glad you’re awake.” Mark said, stumbling with his words.
“What was that all about?” Seigh asked, nodding his head in the direction of the nurse.
“You’ve been out for days. We’ve gotten to know each other a bit and her name is Lanya. Incidentally she was at The Pick that night and had seen what happened. Listen man, you just woke up and I don’t want to overwhelm you.” Seigh could tell in Mark’s voice, that he had bad news.
“What happened?” Seigh’s intuition already kicked in, he could almost tell the story himself. He knew it
was bad, he still needed to hear it said.
“Good afternoon Seigh. Nice to see you’ve finally come around. I’m doctor Kassel, and I’ve been watching over you. Do you know where you are?”
“A hospital.” Seigh snapped.
“Very good, do you know what day it is?” Dr. Kassel asked in a calm, professional tone.
“Saturday?” Seigh guessed.
“No, it’s actually Tuesday, the 17th of November. Could you tell me the last thing you can recall happening?”
“No! I can’t! and he was about to tell me what is going on before you came in doc. Now where is Jax?” Dr. Kassel and Mark exchanged an uncomfortable glance.
Dr. Kassel got a “good Dr’s” feeling about Seigh and could tell that he was no worse for the wear at the moment. “Very well, he seems in good health. No brain trauma has been suffered and his vitals are normal. You take all the time you need gentleman, we can run some more thorough tests later.” Dr. Kassel returned the chart to the end of the bed, and walked out of the room clicking his pen.
“Thanks[Check this paragraph and see if I could give it more detail on the next edit.], doc.” Mark said, a deep sigh followed. Mark was never been good at collecting words well enough when it came to explaining difficult matters, this was the hardest news he’d ever have to give to anybody.
“Okay, let me find my words.” Mark drew another deep breath. “I’ll just start off from where I can best remember me being that night. After we finished our drinks, we walked out of The Pick. I remember falling down and then everything happened so fast. Jax got up off the ground and the girl, Maddie, was drunk and not paying attention. She ran Jax down, Jax had been sucked under the 4×4 and she was pinned. She got hit pretty hard, she was a mess, Seigh. You brought her to you and held her until the cops got there; then you just dropped. You saw it and then just blanked. I could see it in your eyes, you were gone.
The guy, Christian…I think… anyway, his cane started acting on its own. It beat him bloody until it broke. Then, he was off of his feet as if something was holding him by the ankles. Like a baseball bat, he was swung a few times into the grill of the 4×4 and then thrown through the windshield, into Maddie. Their heads collided and the 4×4…the damned thing just lifted off its front end, and, and Jax just kind of floated or levitated, or something right towards you and into your arms. Jax fought through Friday and finally died on Saturday morning, they couldn’t save her, Seigh. They did all they could. I’m…I’m so sorry. The happiest day of your life had to also be your saddest. Your wife is gone, but they were able to save your babies.” Mark said all of this and didn’t take his eyes from Seigh’s.
Seigh listened to this as all the flashes of his past rushed through his head. He always had a hard time containing things that he never had to contain. It was difficult to accept the fact that he inadvertently murdered two people, and now to be able to accept the fact that his wife was gone and that he was left with…
“Where are my children?”
“Yeah Seigh, twins. A little boy and a little girl. They are pre-mature, but they are alive and well, considering the circumstances. You can see them when you’re ready. I’m here for you man, just so you know, no matter what. Anything you need, just name it and I’ll be there. Just be ready for a cop too come sniffing around expecting a statement from you. Me, Lanya and the rest of The Pick crew explained everything as best we could. But, it was also a bunch of drunken statements. You should be pretty well in the clear. The story we all came up with made more sense then what everybody actually witnessed anyway. But, whenever you’re ready, you’ve got to tell me your side of things.” Seigh never did.
Seigh began to well up at the thought of losing Jax. He came to terms with the fact that, some time ago they began to lose their love for one another. But, in a strange way he could feel her coming back to him, back into his heart. That had been a hard feeling to let go of. It had to contend with the memories that were flooding into his mind about his childhood and fragmented moments of his life that he couldn’t quite piece together. They would always and forever be connected through their children, but that would be all they would ever share.
What Remliel had said to him was all starting to fall into place. Jax was gone, much in the same way Darling and his parents had been taken from him. The people he cared for most in his life have come full circle, and he knew now who and what he was. He knew his inner world was alive and kicking. It fought back as he had once fought to destroy it, instead of embrace it. This had been his life up until now.
“Mark.”
“Yeah buddy?”
“I want to see my babies.” Seigh said with a tear in his eye.
“I’ll let the doc know. Then we will go together.” Seigh began to cry for the first time in years. Mark hugged him, as any true friend would.
The go ahead was given by Dr. Kassel and Lanya escorted the two of them down to the ICU where babies were being watched over. He looked down at them. At how small they Were. He could feel how strong they were, despite their size. He recognized their little blue glow, he could feel that they were just like him. Just like Darling might have been, had she been alive still.
“What are you going to name them? Had you and Jax picked out any names yet?” Mark asked quietly.
“Jax wanted it to be a surprise. We had talked about names, but nothing was decided. Now, it’s just up to me. A boy and a girl, twins, just like me and Darling.” Seigh drifted off for a second. “Michael for the boy.” He finally said.
“And your little girl?” Lanya asked.
“Darling. Michael and Darling.”

~#~

Jax’s had worked for HP&G Insurance, this allowed her to set up a policy for both her and Seigh. When she died, she was on call, that had meant she was on the clock and her death resulted in an enormous insurance payout. This policy worked out for Seigh and their children. He was set for the rest of his life, and his kids were set for more than half of theirs. He opted to invest the money and simply live off the interest, leaving the remainder for his children, he hoped they would do the same for their children. He offered a large amount of money to her parents, as well. But, they were already well off and would have none of it, even though he had insisted.
The one bedroom apartment where they lived was certainly too small to raise a family. The lake that he visited as a child always crossed his mind and the town happened to be near by. He puchased a house in the quiet lake community of Collings Lakes. It’s where he remembered some of the last of his happiest times as a child. Seigh was able to find solace in this home and he enjoyed turning it into a hobby. Using his imagination he was able to turn the house into a home. Over time, every inch of the home reflected a part of him, and all his sublte touches brought about a sense of peace through arrangement, he had finally found that place to put to rest all the demons that plagued his mind.
He still made weekend appearances for Mark (Davidson’s was only a twenty minute drive up the road) on his own dime. The children would get to spend weekends with their grandparents. Be it at their shore house in Seaside, or if Clark and Clarissa would decide to visit them. They were still young and the exposure to someone other than their father was a good change for them. Seigh didn’t have any family left, Jax’s side of the family was the only way they would learn any real sense of having someone other than him to rely on. He appreciated them for this, they made him feel the sense of family that he didn’t ever learn growing up. As sad as it is to say, Jax’s death brought about more happiness in his life than when she was alive.
The house was humble and sat on two lots that equalled about one square acre. The hums of the Black Horse Pike would come echoing from across the lake, it was a reassuring sound. Reminding Seigh that life still existed outside the confines of his mind. The home relaxed him on nights that he couldn’t sleep, and the distance from the neighbors was just what he needed. There wasn’t a fast-paced sense of being in this area. People minded their own business and the spring brought about a lively amount of activity with the small woodland creatures. That was all the hustle and bustle he really needed.
He would also take his kids fishing quite a bit. Together they’d would walk the trails that riddled the area. Many of them led to long abandoned sand quarries that would give a feeling of emptiness and exploration. Their favorite adventures to go on involved following old tracks into the woods of the Pine Barrens. Sometimes they would take day trips to Batsto Village, and take in the old town as if they were a part of it. Over the years they frequented the Cape May Zoo, but that wasn’t much of a trip considering when they animals would always try to free themselves from their enclosures. Six year olds are something to protect, and despite how much Seigh wanted to put the animals in their place, he had felt a goodness about them, and couldn’t bring himself to attempt to control them beyond their will. He had felt at those moments, that it would have been like taking his own children and lifting them up just to scare them. This happened at every zoo they visited, so they simply stopped going.
Most of the time the children would be content playing in the yard and he would use his best imaginations to show them a world that they would begin to develop on their own. He told them about 1derland and it’s magnificent creatures. Trickle and Mt. Misery, the war between the angels and valkyries. Solomon the AI desk, the loubdres and four armed creatures that lived there and all the societies that existed in this realm throughout its history. They would enjoy hearing their father speak of his imaginary companions that he made up. He sometimes wondered if Jax would have squashed all of this impractical thinking. Those thoughts would vanish when he would see them smile and refer to her as the goddess of their imagination. It was a line they had picked up from one of Seigh’s favorite songs. They thought it made mommy immortal, he would listen to this and sometimes consider writing a story about who she was, just so he could make her immortal, it would all be lies though, he would have to make up much of the good things, and that just didn’t feel right.
They imagined themselves in the world he had created. Little did Seigh know that this would be the greatest gift that he would ever be able to give them. For him, it was as simple as enjoying them run free and not be held up by the troubles that affected the world around them. The small acre that they lived on supplied more than enough covey places for their wildest dreams to come to life. There was high grass on the empty lot and trees that looked like something out of an enchanted forest. They could begin to build their own world from this, he hoped it to be a much happier place than what his 1derland had become.
He would often wonder if they possessed any of the traits that he did. He never noticed anything out of the ordinary, but he could feel it inside of them. At their young age, it was probably what they would define as normal and that everyone was like that. Unbeknownst to him though, they would attract all the animals outside. The bees, squirrels, and birds would just be drawn to them. Stray dogs from the neighborhood would come and sit if only just to be near them. Had Seigh seen these little shows of the animals, he may have put two and two together about the zoo. Seigh never really thought twice about it though. He was only looking for specific traits, the traits he could recall of the other kids he had grown up with at the Indigo House.
Through Mike and Darling, his inner world had become more vivid, even in his own mind. There were things put there that he didn’t remember imagining. The fable creatures and the brightness of 1derland had been constantly bouncing through his subconcious. It was as if he had inadvertently passed the torch onto them. This worried him in some ways, but they made the place feel happier, before them it had been a dark gray area that was withering and dying in his mind. Seigh had tried his best to explain to them the type of people they were bound to grow up to be, and to stay open with communication with him at all times. That they were different, and people wouldn’t be able to understand it. Instead of speaking to them at a young age and perhaps frightening them, Seigh decided to begin writing it all down rather than taking the risk of scaring them.
Sometimes at night, when he was alone and no one was looking, he’d actually practice his telekinetic ability. Now, having full understanding and an open mind to the past he once buried, he could remember the Indigo House. It was a red brick, three story building located off the Delaware River on King Street in Gloucester. There was a lot of secrecy behind those brick walls, and Seigh was constantly exposed to it and never really noticed the difference. The only time he would ever be able to go out, was when he would be accompanied by teacher Gable.
He preferred to go to the abandoned factories that lined Water Street. There he would take out any underlying pain and frustrations on any window that happened to be left. Teacher Gable would allow him to practice his abilities in this seclusion. Sometimes, they would walk along the river under the cover of the shrubs and six foot tall punk plants that grew there. Teacher Gable would explain things to him, and often ask him questions. One particular conversation sticks out in Seigh’s mind.
“Seigh, you are blessed with a talent that the other children here at the Indigo House don’t possess, or anyone else in the world for that matter. I’m not speaking of your telekinesis, I’m speaking of the times you drift off and where you go in the moments. Be it in class, or when you’re out on the playground. Or, even at lunch when you wander away onto a plane of existence that none but you can see. I have yet to be able to touch that aspect of your mind. Even with my ability to see inside people’s minds, yours remains hidden. It’s powerful, and it’s as if you’ve been able to split your mind in places where you others are not allowed to access. Would you like to tell me about it?” Teacher Gable’s tone had always been soft, yet there was a certainty behind it that complimented his sagely wisdom.
Seigh, now a teenager, was able to map things together in his mind. He had thought numerous times about the figment he had named Square. Teacher Gable’s constant expressions of concern allowed Seigh to feel comfortable speaking to him. He felt that now may be a good time to open up about that. In time, and with much converstation, he would begin to drown out the pain of the thoughts that flooded in through the nexus into 1derland. The effect that it had on him was draining and he had learned to bring the shifting back and forth between both worlds, under control.
“When I was little, our parents used to take my sister and I to a lake. There would always be other kids there to play with. But, we would have more fun playing by ourselves. We always knew we were different from other kids, but our closeness made it easier for us to shy away. We made up stories about how she would be a winged heroine and I would be the person that she was rescuing from a scary place. The last time we played, it was about how The Cranberry King had murdered a group of magical swans. I was then left with the dilemma of saving her from the hands of The Cranberry King, or saving the rest of the world we created. I chose the world, and she went off and held The Cranberry King at bay while we escaped. We named the world 1derland. Not too long after that she had died, I was lost, I still feel lost in a lot of ways. Like, I was supposed to be the one that got hit, instead of her.” Seigh had a hard time opening up about Darling, a tear formed in his eye and he blinked it away.
“I’m sorry about the loss of your sister, Seigh. I know you wish she was here with you now. I can tell you that I do sense another’s energy inside of you. I can only imagine that it is her living on, through you. That’s part of the magic about you that I can only begin to comprehend. It’s almost like it is protecting you, as well as, your natural ability to keep your world barricaded. I just hope you don’t lose your path. You have something magnificent to introduce into this world. If you would ever like to open up to me more, I am always here to talk.” Teacher Gable strolled confidantly next to Seigh, and they both walked a little further along the rivers bank.
“You sound like a man in a dream I had a long time ago.” Seigh said solemnly.
“Are you certain it was a dream, or even a man, for that matter?” Teacher Gable asked.
“No, I guess I’m not too sure about that.” Seigh responded. He told teacher Gable the man’s name, Remliel. Teacher Gable explained the purpose of this angel in particular. That he is the angel of spiritual awakenings, and that he helps us to understand that there is more to our existence than this physical world. Our gaurdian angel calls upon him when we are at quandaries with differentiating illusion and reality. This angel exists as a translater between us and whatever you may think God is.
“Why is it we can’t make God have the same language as us?” Seigh inquired.
“I don’t know, perhaps that is something that your power will help the rest of the world to understand one day.”
The past is gone for Seigh. What he has, is a reflection of he and his sister, through his children. Sometimes they say things about 1derland that he is unsure if he even told them himself. That is an aspect of their abilities that he would be unsure how to explain. Mind reading was not a talent that he possessed. Seigh would write about all his thoughts as much as he could. His hope was that he could look back and have a 20/20 vision in hindsight to lay out for his children so they may have some kind of a guide. He explained his childhood and also their mother. He would write about any questions that they may ask him, so he would already have the answers prepared. He memorized these, so that perhaps they would read it from his mind and that’s how they would learn to communicate with him.
Though, what happened to Seigh should have been regarded as a tragedy for the children. They happened to know more about what was going on than they could even begin to explain in a rational way. Their young minds only perceived things in the world that he had imagined for them. They compared more of their life to that world, than they cared to pay attention to in this world. The events after Seigh’s death perplexed everyone, except for the children that seemed to understand more about what was going on, than could be comprehended.

~#~

Brian and Stephanie Moore live next door to Seigh. They were archeologists that frequented South America quite often. Most of the time their house was left vacant, and Seigh would get the pleasure of signing for any small packages that would arrive, ensuring their safe keeping, until the Moore’s came home. This particular weekend, they returned and invited Seigh over for some tea. Seigh had seen Brian coming up the driveway as he looked from the window of his kitchen, washing the dishes. Before Brian could ring the antique doorbell, Seigh opened the door with a package, already in hand.
“Oh, Hey Seigh, how are you doing this afternoon? Too funny, I was just stopping by to see if any packages came for us. Looks like you already know what I was stopping by for, though.” Brian said this with an undertone of sarcasm, which Seigh ignored. “Also, the real reason I’m stopping by is that Steph and I had wanted to invite you over tonight. She has some interesting tea that she’d like for you to try. So long as the kids aren’t around, adult stuff, I’m sure you know what I mean.” Brian had said with a wink and a smile on his face.
“Uh, well Sure, that actually sounds like a pretty nice break away from my usual routine of chores. Plus, I could finally get to see all the stuff you get delivered. I’m sure you have some pretty unique things over there. What kind a tea we talking here…hmmm…?” Seigh asked with a jokingly raised eye-brow.
“Its called ayahuasca. Certain tribes in South America use it in rituals to cleanse the spirit. Steph and I know you are a bit of a loner, but you have always been nice too us and we figured you might enjoy spending some time with some folks outside of work and kids. It‘s a fun experience and we like to share good times with friends; and neighbors.” Brian said.
“Sounds like it could be a good release, it’s been awhile since I’ve hung out. There’s been a lot on my mind that I’ve been wanting to reflect on. I’ll be over around five, how’s that sound?” Seigh asked.
“Whatever time is good for you, is good for us. Just give a knock and we’ll be there.” Seigh was excited for the first time in a while. Aside from his kids, he mostly kept to himself and the Moore’s were good neighbors, when they were home. It would be nice to finally get to know them a little better. Now at least he could have a little chance to get to know someone outside of Mark. He gave his kids one last call on the phone, and told them he loved them, for the last time.
Seigh hung up the phone and began his walk to the Moore’s. On the way out of the driveway he willed the rhododendron flower towards him, so he could give it a sniff. He walked down his driveway and the fresh smell of honeysuckle on the wind caught the attention of his scent. The honeysuckle bushes lined the homemade fence that wrapped the property. He turned and admired his home from the front before making his way towards the Moore’s. He made his way down their driveway and thought it wasn’t nearly as pretty as his yard, a little more over-grown, but their job kept them away, so they caught up on yard duties later in the spring. He passed the big oak at the center of their front yard and walked up the steps. He knocked on the door and Brian answered with a smile.
“Hey Seigh. Glad you could make it, c’mon in. I probably should have told you earlier, but we invited a few of our friends over, as well. You’re kind of the guest of honor tonight. Everyone is out back, we are going to light a fire soon. Would you like a bourbon, vodka, beer or wine?” Brian asked, and Seigh was reluctant to have a drink, but thought that it would help loosen him up around the extra company, and was now craving everything Brian had offered.
“I’ll just have a scotch, with ice please.” Seigh looked around the living room at the paintings on the wall, they were all of a behemian nature; and conflicted with the modern decor arrangement of the living room. He was particularly fascinated with the mummified remains of what looked like a child, encased in glass. “What’s this?” He asked.
“That is what we like to call ‘Little Charlie’ it’s over 500 years old. The Incan civilization in South America, as well as many other cultures, made sacrifices, and mummified the remains. This is probably the youngest sacrifice ever found. To me it suggests the brutality of humans. That they could do something like that to such a small child is nearly incomprehensible to me. But, it was a different time, and maybe this young one here was a God to them. If only ‘Little Charlie’ could speak. C’mon, I’ll introduce you around.” Seigh walked away with the shivers, like he knew Little Charlie. He pondered, while he followed Brian across the living room, through the sliding doors and out the back of the house.
They made their way out back and Seigh was actually shocked to recognize Lanya. He hadn’t seen her since she and Mark had gone on a couple of dates a few years back. Her skin was the silver night’s reflection off the lake, the dark water on the surface matched the darkness of her. She mimicked the night and was incredibly beautiful. The whites of her eyes shone as brightly as the moon, and behind them was the happiness he remembered of seeing her in the sun.
“Hey Lanya. Small world, wouldn’t you say?” Seigh asked in a confident way, yet the hint of joy was in his voice.
“Well, long time no see. Where have you been hiding yourself?” Lanya asked, equally surprised.
“Next door, actually. I have my hands full with Mike and Darling most of the time. Weekends they see their grandparents though. I usually work, but I decided to take the weekend off for myself, and lo and behold…here I am.” Seigh was smiling, he was happy to see her. She always made him smile the few times he met her, he knew they shared a connection, but those times have gone by, now may be their last chance.
“Well, that’s a good thing then. You ever had this tea before?” Lanya asked.
“Cant say that I have.” Seigh said, nodding his head.
“Well you just stick next to me then. It can be quite a wild ride.” She said this and put her hand on his shoulder, there was an instant connection that they both felt in this gesture. Both their eyes met for a fractal of time, and together they understood existence.
“Ok. So who’s everyone else here?” Seigh asked. He recognized a couple people from the neighborhood. He never really knew them, but had seen them around. The other three were unknown to him.
“Over there, is Daryll and Janine Mapp. They worked with Brian and Stephanie on a couple projects, from what I know. Over there are a couple of locals that work on their digging crew. They are also volunteer fire fighters when they are in town. Busy little bees. The fat one is Alan Fitchetola, and the skinny one is Mark Bruce. Good guys for the most part. That other person over there I only met briefly. I‘m not sure what he does, but he seems like a nice enough fellow. He doesn’t talk much, but he was all smiles when I was introduced to him. His name is Erik Dunn.” Lanya said pointing everyone out with her eyes and a nod of her head.
“How did you end up here?” Seigh asked. Completely giving her his undivided attention, but not particularly caring about who was who.
“I’ve known Steph and Brian for years. After what had happened with you at The Pick, I started to do some research about…well…that. What I had ultimately stumbled upon was a concept known as HSP. It kind of evolved from something named the Indigo children, back in the late eighties. It all kind of began to make sense to me after what Mark had told me about you. Steph and Brian were a part of a research team that had disbanded years ago. They never gave up their passion to dig for an explanation on how minds work. Long story short, I happened to tell them about you. I guess they put two and two together and, as you said…’lo and behold, here you are’. Hence, you being the guest of honor tonight.” Lanya said with a smile, she was delighted from the feeling standing beside him gave her.
“Everyone, gather ‘round. We are about to begin by lighting the fire. First, I would like to thank you all for coming out tonight. Most of you know what this ceremonial practice is about. But tonight, we have a special guest. As it turns out, our neighbor of many years, Seigh Poore, is a former attendant of the Indigo House, that Stephanie and myself had the pleasure of having fund out digs. With any luck, tonight he may be able to grant us some insight into the minds of these gifted people, we know as Indigoes. There are indigoes now that remain scattered around the globe. The search for them has been far and wide. They like to remain reclusive and mostly keep to themselves. Thankfully, Seigh was able to steer clear of many of the misguided routes that these gifted people tend to take. But, has also spent many years away from the Indigo House. So with his consent, I would like to continue.” Brian indulged everyone with his speech and put Seigh a bit on the spot. It was more to avoid the bond of good neighbors that Seigh accepted. Lanya touched his hand and it settled his nerves, putting his mind a little more at ease. Not to mention the fact that she was the prettiest lady he had ever seen. To feel accepted by someone was something new to him, as well. Breaking away from distraction he gave his consent by smiling and popping up a thumb.
“Ready when you guys are.” Brian made his way towards the fire pit and lit it. The fire was slow building flame, and it looked very nice, when coupled with the view of the lake. Stephanie had begun passing around some tea as everyone sat down around the young flame. Seigh stayed close to Lanya and with some hesitation began to sip the ayahuasca. It was bitter, but it had a small hint of mint behind it, which would take away the flavor of root. They all sat quietly, sipping their tea and admiring the calm brought on by the night. Before Seigh knew it the cup in his hands was empty and the visions of his once private world were escaping from his mind; making their way into the fire. Everything around him disappeared, what stood before him was the figment of a valkyrie that he recognized as his grown sister. This recognition was not that of a physical famiarity, it was a felt recognition. This was the final imagination he remembered her having of herself, when they played all those years ago. She looked worn, but beautiful. She had wings that almost looked metallic and she was saying something, but Seigh couldn’t hear it.
Seigh continued looking at her, as she was grasped by a gauntlet that shared its color with gold. The arm it was attached to looked as if it was a flowing liquid. It seemed to move and bend with everything around it. The spots of armor that did have color shared the same richness of the gauntlet. A red cape flowed behind him and the helmet he wore had horns that curved around the back of his head like a ram. Behind her, he could see the field from his dreams, burning in the distance. He saw too, a grim form of himself running towards her. He saw Himself get picked up and thrown into the air by a giant rock. Leaving his imaginary sister in the hands of this monster. He felt her explode in a final fit of rage that was meant more to protect his doppelganger, than out of any strike against the figure that was clenching her.
Instinctively, Seigh walked into the fire to help protect his sister. He was lost in his world now. The people around him remained unaware of what was truly Happening. They did however find the enlightenment they were looking for the next morning. When they had all come to, what was left of Seigh was a smoldering pillar of ash where the fire had been lit the previous night. It remained upright, as if he just stood there and burned alive without a struggle. No sign of pain nor a frantic wanting to be put out. The police would later deem it as a suicide.

~#~

 

PART 2: 1DERLAND

“You my little apple,
always to prevail.
You, my mighty ripple,
for in your eyes a windless sail;
With you, my journey begins.
I cannot break your ties,
push off the songs of the muse;
and let me see into your eyes.”

Blemish recited poetry to Jordyn as often as he could. His prose always hurt her in a way that she couldn’t quite comprehend. It lifted her up as much as it would bring her down. Though, in her heart she knew he meant to get as close as he could to her. However, her visions kept her from opening her heart entirely to him. She cared too much to allow him to get that close to her. Besides, how could a valkyrie and an angel ever manage anything other than platonic love?
“Lousy visions, I wish I’d never had them at all, Blemish. I wish I was able to forget them as soon as they left my mind. So this way, my fate would come to me as a surprise like any normal figment.” Jordyn said scathingly as she looked down at the ground.
“You have the plight of seeing your own fate, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to come true. All beings have the ability to change their fate. Even if they think it’s predetermined, even if it is just a dream. You bother too much with the thought of a quandaries about the future. You will know when to go. When the Muse sings through the indigo sky, you will know my little valk. Until then, enjoy the time you have, and rest assured that I will follow you into the dark of Dizzy Dim. Just say the word. Farrow and Down are also behind you when you are ready for your quest. We shall protect you at every turn. We have your back.” Blemish would always try to be a sound voice of reason to help her through the plaguing visions of her own demise. Blemish was a brave young angel, but still naïve and marveled at the thought of being her hero.
“Oh Blemish, if only all angels could give up the past conflicts like you. The quest through Dizzy Dim will be perilous, and I know the time to leave is close at hand. You know you can’t enter Limbo, let alone Dizzy Dim, you’d stick out like…well…like an angel in Dis. The shades will tear you apart, you have not been granted the divinity to enter yet.” Jordyn reminded him of his position as a fledgling angel.
“Then I’ll wait for you to arrive with Square in the outskirts of the Black Forest. I will face the perils with you and if the field of flowers is sung into life, then we will face that together, as well. Let’s just try to go around it though, if at all possible. Perhaps, we can change your fate.” Blemish gave her a wink and a smile. Always full of hope and disbelief in prophecies and stories. Always concerned with easing the pain from the visions of his valkyrie love.
“Very well, but don’t go falling in love with me. Even in death I couldn’t bear the thought of your despair. You have always been so kind and gentle to me since the day you found me, and every time I think about you mourning my loss, my heart sinks.” Jordyn said this and rested her hand and chin on his shoulder, looking into his eyes. Her face had only shown sadness for a moment and then toughened up with assuredness. She took flight leaving Blemish to ponder and think, then she hollered a reminder back at him.
“Also Blemish, we leave in a weeks time! Looking into your eyes gave me the answer I needed. I don’t know how, but it just did. Let Farrow and Down know, so that we can prepare for our quest.” Jordyn flew off into the purple sky that grew in front of the field of Schue. Blemish sat perched on one of the six ivory white towers that rose above the walled city. He watched her, as she lit the sky with her flame, leaving a streak of fire behind her while she glided away.

~#~

Jordyn was partial artificer of 1derland and, in a sense, she’s her own creator. She was born into this world as a product of her own imagination from reality. She knew all the stories about how the field of flowers will burn in the wake of a god. How the savior will need saving at the last glimpse of hope. It was so exhausting to be strangled inside with all her knowledge, and to only have this world of being an imaginary savior all to herself. All that she has sought to learn and care about only existed for her. Until things got bleak, and her home, the City of Schue, was the only place left not yet poisoned by Loch Loa’s divine ruination.
She would always have to break away to understand herself. Apathy was always her backwards way of showing how much she truly did care. As she grew up in 1derland, she became close with a group of friends and they would later name their outfit The Misfits. Despite her closeness with the rabble she’d grown to love, she always kept a distance on the inside. Her cycloptic gift to tell the future of her own fate was a constant reminder to keep true love at bay. Her loneliness was her greatest enemy, but it would keep her friends safe, and with all hope, give 1derland the opportunity to slow down the impending apocalypse.
Blemish had a muscular physique, with blond hair wrapped with an iron head band that restrained its feral look. His wings were as white as any cloud in the sky and his eyes were deep blue, with a black ring around them. His face was soft and delicate and not yet battle weary or scarred by any pain that he would soon endure. He was a beautiful creature and would never be anything less than that. She chose Blemish as a companion, someone to fly with and he was the one that found her after all. Though most angels would shun any valkyry in 1derland. There was a war a long time ago that both Blemish and Jordyn knew quite a bit about. Whenever civilizations of reality stopped believing in myth and legend, the newest warriors would come to dethrone the old God, or gods. Her race of valkyries was highly outnumbered when the angels came to their kingdom.
As ages cross outside of 1derland new versions of the old legends and myths are reborn and come to cross paths. Blemish and Jordyn happened to be a part of that new age. But, something has gone terribly wrong in this imaginary world. There was confusion in the artificer some time ago. Which brought about the existence of Loch Loa and the poison he wrought upon 1derland.
Farrow, the minotaur princess, is her most trusted friend. Jordyn confides in her many of her secrets and does not like venturing far from the sight of the taurine beauty. Her great hammer is said to have been cut directly from Trickle and on it’s own has magical powers that grant strength to those worthy enough to weild it. The head of the hammer alone outweighs the combined weight of the Misfits and Farrow is the only one that has the strength to even lift it. Her thick hide protects her from physical assaults and her stature, even as a female of her race, is twice the size of the little mage Down, whose eyes always see her hips.
Down, the outcast mage is, quite possibly, the best hidden secret in all of 1derland. His order threw him out for magically tattooing all the forbidden spells on his body. He doddled with the dark side and taught himself powers that even the highest of mages only regarded as evil. He is the most obnoxious of the group due to his cocky behavior and constant need for recognition towards the things he does. This is tied in with his youth and the amount of knowledge that floods his brain, the self-gratitude is a neccessity for him, lest he is driven to the brink of darkness in silence for the things that he knows. These are our Mistfits.

~#~

Draped in a drab green hood, and clad in heavy green armor made from the scaly hides of galatiles, the GJ’s would be invisible in a forest, with the camouflage that they donned. The worst kind of prison guards, in the worst prison imaginable. Dizzy Dim was total exile from the rest of Hell and only these creatures were there to break the silence. With every Indigo awakening the blisters on their tar-like, black skin, oozed with anticipation. The GJ’s themselves were once Indigoes in their former lives. But, the lack of help they received in being understood drove them to commit suicide. They were re-born into Dizzy Dim as these monsters and forced into servitude by Loch Loa. They were, in a sense, given a second chance at life. Dizzy Dim was created to capture their souls and Loch Loa had turned them into his personal army. The GJ’s are a colony of ant like beings, and Loch Loa is their queen.
Moving in small squads of three and four at a time, they very rarely kept a rank. Not one of them laid down or obeyed any command from the other. This had been a natural practice in ordered chaos for them. They would scour the corridors of Dim waiting for a new awakenings. Freshness of those poor souls was enough of a draw for them. They knew they would be one more stronger with each new Indigo soul that was captured before confronting Minos and being judged and sent into the lower levels of Hell. When prisoners awoke they would not be allowed to know what was up and what was down, hence the word SWIMS. Confusion was key to control in Dizzy Dim. Confusion in the ranks was necessary, too. That was how Loch Loa controlled, with the tactic of confusion. In his prison even his GJs were prisoners. This Loch Loa was cunning, baffling and powerful.

~#~

Seigh’s birth into 1derland took place in the prison known as Dizzy Dim. This is a prison that created by Loch Loa; and it’s only purpose is to catch and collect Indigoes that commit suicide, corrupting their souls and turning them into a dark force known as Green Jimmies, or the GJ’s. He took on the embodiment of the character that he created known as Square. Upon awakening, he felt the life fluid flow through his body, as his heart took its first beats. The blood that was filling his body had begun to stretch him out from the inside. Sight came next and the first hues of red, blue and green blended together to form shape and make a connection to see the grim surroundings. Despite the drab confines it was still far too bright for his fledgling vision and his eyes were forced to close again. What colors could be seen, began to make sense of shape. Fear was woven into his being the moment his ears were aroused. Sounds of agony entered into his ears causing his heart to beat faster and pump the blood more rapidly through his veins. A larger sense of fear entered more deeply into his newly formed mind as the screams of anguish continued to fill his ears. A chill crept upon him as cold touched his feet and wriggled down his legs. Thoughts of what could be touching him swept his mind, and the expression of pain continued to feed his growing imagination.
Square slowly opened his eyes again, better adjusting to the little light that filled the room around him. Forcing himself to look at the sight where the cold had been consuming his legs. What he saw was his own sweat beading, and trickling towards his mid section. Looking around the cell he could see it was covered with writing, and the rooms color looked as though it lost a battle with a black and white television. Very dim, dreary and, now that his vision improved, anything but blinding. A new feeling began to overcome him. It was a feeling of swimming, or floating. He was hanging upside down and shackled. His blood was rushing to his head, giving him a feeling of lightheadedness. At least the screaming had stopped, only to make him realize that it was his screams that he was hearing all along, turning his fear into desparate panic. A flash of light entered the room, causing him to wince and retreat back into the darkness behind his eyelids. His screams took over and his imagination, once again, started to run wild. A whispering voice quickly quelled his fear.
“It’s you, it’s you they are going to be coming for. If you don’t stop kicking and screaming, I won’t be able to free you. I know you can’t talk yet, but I will educate you on all you need to know, so long as we get out of here. My name is Jordyn. Loch Loa will not stop until you are gone. He knows of your birth and has already sent the GJ’s to retrieve you. We must move with haste.” Jordyn moved quickly to unshackle Square. A flash of light and heat freed his ankles from the shackles, dropping him on his neck and shoulders. Square’s grunt acknowledged his first experience in physical pain, and the wind was knocked out of him, letting him know now he has been breathing. His ankles were scorched from the tremendous heat that came from this creatures hands. They burned.
“Sorry. I did have to free your legs so you could move, but this next flash will not burn you. Just close your eyes this time, it’s going to be bright.” Jordyn said, hastily grabbing the chain in the middle and taking a step back. VVWANK! even with his eyes closed he could see how bright the light she created was, and the heat from that distance was enough to warm his face. Square opened his eyes and looked down at his ankles. The skin was already beginning to heal itself, and the color of his gray flesh was beginning to return.
“You heal quickly, my lord. That’s a very good thing to know, and a very wonderful power to have. To think, you’ve only just woken up. Here, take my hand so I may help you stand.” Jordyn said, offering her hand to him. Square took Jordyn’s hand and she rose from the ground, pulling him to his feet and filling the void where he was once hanging. She was beautiful. Wearing what appeared to be very light chainmail. She had an expression of intense urgency on her face and her green eyes looked as if they were glowing against the dark background of the tiny cell. She was emanating heat and a low, blue flame, surrounded her body. One could only hope that she was as powerful as she was beautiful. Her wings carried the shimmer of polished silver and they remained still as she hovered above Square, he thought her radiant.
“Now, my lord, you are free…naked gray wretch that you currently are…. If you take my lead, and make haste, we will flee Dizzy Dim together. The bonds that once held you captive will now serve as your weapons, but you must act and not think so that we may both leave in tact. We have a long journey once we are free from Dim, we have allies waiting for us in the Black Forest. Now though, you must walk.” Jordyn explained. Square sought balance as his legs trembled beneath him. If it wasn’t for the fact that the walls of his cell were so close, he would have fallen on his back again. But thankfully, the walls did catch him and gave him a chance to fill his legs with strength. Square noticed that Jordyn had vanished and he began to wonder where she’d gone, until he heard her voice squeaking from the other side of the far wall.
“This way my lord, follow the sound of my voice.” Square stumbled toward the sound of her voice and leaned into the wall “Now push, my lord!” Square leaned on the wall and his weight opened a door that didn’t even seem to be there. On the other side of the door there was a long hallway that extended endlessly in both directions. The walls were the same drab gray of his birth cell. The same writing was etched from top to bottom down each side of the hallway, it read SWIMS.
“Welcome to the corridors of Dizzy Dim, my lord. It is a prison located below Dante’s Limbo. Its halls are long and narrow. We must stay on guard, the GJ’s know you’re awake and will be searching for you. You must follow me, and we must hurry.” Jordyn broke to the left and glided down the narrow gray corridor. Leaving Square with little choice but to follow.
Struggling to keep up at first, he was able to keep his balance by leaning on the walls. He began to notice whenever he laid his hand on the wall, his entire body took on the shade of gray, along with the word written on the wall. He was able to blend in with the surrounding corridor and was quickly understanding language through Jordyn’s words and mannarism. However, he hadn’t yet been able to figure out expressing anything more than a grunt or a scream. He had questions flooding into his mind in the form of pictures rather than words. His own observations about how he was reacting to his surroundings were coming together for him. But, he was also aware of the urgency of fleeing the current confines.

~#~

Jordyn and Square raced through the labyrinth of Dizzy Dim. Square, after figuring out how to balance, was able to keep pace behind her. Had she gone full speed she would have completely left him behind. Strength entered his body every second, the chains that were fused into his wrists no longer weighed him down, they now an extension of is arms and a part of who he is. They moved in silence and no words escaped either of their lips, until they heard the echoes of the GJ’s approaching behind them. Had Square still been in his cell he would have heard the sound of a GJ‘s blade cutting the flesh and muscle of his neck. Instead the hoarse screams of unrecognizable language echoed off throughout the hollow corridors. Jordyn new now that the returning silence only meant that the GJ’s were already giving chase.
Their pursuit began, and the GJ’s foot falls broke the air through the corridors. They both moved as quickly as they could through Dizzy Dim. Square hoped that Jordyn knew the direction she was taking them. To him, each passage and turn around every bend looked the same as the last. The word SWIMS had been everywhere and made it that much more difficult to navigate. He couldn’t tell what was up and what was down. For all Square could tell they had been going in circles.
“They are catching up to us, I can hear their grunts getting closer. We are going to have to ambush them. You have to blend with your surroundings around the next turn. I will draw their attention. When they turn the corner, wait for my signal and hopefully they will not see you. You have chameleon skin, so use it! I will handle the front assault and you follow through with killing the the tail end of their squad.” Jordyn ordered, as they approached the next turn.
Square and Jordyn came to the next intersection. Square moved left and leaned his back onto the wall, placing his palms on it. His skin took on the color and the etchings took shape onto his body. “One more thing my lord. Keep your eyes closed. They glow so green and they will spot you.” Jordyn vanished further up the intersection leaving Square alone in the darkness with his eyes closed. His breathing was calm as he felt the GJ‘s getting closer to him.
The four approaching GJ’s had been so loud with their footfalls and grunts that element of surprise was not on their minds. But, this was their home and they hardly anticipated any kind of a fight…let alone an ambush…. Their thoughts were of beheading a naked prisoner and satisfying their master’s needs. The GJ’s rounded the bend and came to the point of the strongest scent they had been following, they quickly realized that it was now behind them. Jordyn glided back into view of the GJ’s shouting “COME AND GET ME ANT SWINE!” The GJ’s charged her with weapons drawn, hoping to catch a soon to be hot meal, and at the very least, eject a prisoner.
“NOW!” Jordyn’s voice bounced and echoed off the walls. Her light nearly blinded Square when he opened his eyes. There was a scream of phlegmy agony in front of the silhouetted bodies that shadowed the blast. In an instant the GJ that had taken the role of tail gunner had a chain around his neck. Pulling from both ends with immense strength and ease, Square sawed the chain through the GJs neck. Black blood erupted from the GJ’s and the body took two steps forward and fell. This was met with another blinding flash from Jordyn. Her initial heat was still there, this second eruption intensified it.
The second GJ in line was instantly set ablaze. Burning flesh from both the GJ’s was now the rising aroma permeating the air. Moans of hunger came from within the walls of the corridors and their sounds of eagerness for food was the pain that they were echoing. The third GJ tripped over the tail gunner, falling backwards and landing on his back, knocking the wind from his lungs and the mucous out of his mouth. Square rushed him and put his bare foot through the GJ’s head, crushing the already unrecognizable face. If the GJ’s could speak, Square would have thought it said ‘easy’ just before he ended its existence.
“Easy.” Square said, repeating what he thought was the GJ’s final word.
“HA! you learn quick. Yes, that was easy, but let’s not hope for more. There are more GJs here, and they are all after you.” Jordyn said, catching her excitement and toning it down to a whisper.
Square began disrobing the GJ who’s head he had squashed. He needed clothing, and everything he touched became a part of how he looked. He hadn’t yet learned how to control his chameleon ability, that would come in time. The smell and color of the creatures clothes were more than he cared to endure at that moment, but he felt it was a matter of necessity. He needed to find a more obvious way to hide in plain sight. He coiled the chains around his forearms and picked up a fallen GJ’s knife he the proceeded to lop off one of the fingers, and clenched it in his free hand. His skin turned black taking on the complexion of his dead pursuers.
“You’re a genius my lord, they will not notice you, all I must to do is stay out of sight, and I’m very good at that.” Jordyn whispered. They both examined the GJ’s nude body and saw that it had an extra set of legs. They didn’t assist much in standing up straight, but they imagined on foot they would move twice as quickly in open ground. Their attention was stolen away by the sound of silence that no longer filled the corridors. It was the moans coming from behind the walls and the concern now was when, not if, the GJ’s would hear it.
“They smell the cooked flesh my lord. These poor suicides have not yet been turned by Loch Loa, they will eventually be GJ’s. It is the price they pay for being an Indigo suicide. They end up here before they reach an eternity of damnation. what a horrid place Loch Loa has made this. I hope never to return to Dizzy Dim.” Jordyn said sadly.
“Su….A….Sides?” Square asked.
“Once again, I will explain more once we are safe, we still have farther to go before we reach the exit. Then, we have to cross the bolgia to gain access into The Black Forest. There, the Misfits are waiting for us.” Jordyn’s tempo quickened, but remained a whisper, she turned to leave then looked back with a child-like smile and said. “This disguise you put together should help greatly, just don’t let them see your eyes, they still glow like spotlights against these walls.” Then she glided up into the darkness of the ceiling.
Small lines of GJ’s continued to run passed him in opposite directions, all searching for him. Due to the deep connection that Square shared with them in the realm of reality, he could feel their thoughts. But, communication was still at a minimal other than the basic emotion of rage. Square thought this the normal mindset of these creatures and mimicked it. All the while Jordyn was able to stay hidden in the shadows above. She was nearly transparent and if the GJ’s moved up, she would have been a fleeting image and one not to waste time on. Square was able to keep his eyes dimmed and head down as they made their way through the GJ’s. They moved smooth and rapidly, much like ants as they form a line towards something good. Had there been more, Square wondered if they crawled over one another in much the same way.
A group of GJ’s swarmed in from behind them, Square let them pass and remained hidden as the tail gunner for this line. However, when they made a turn to the left corridor Jordyn tapped Square’s shoulder and they made pace in the opposite direction. “Stupid mongrels, and oh how they smell. Festering pimpled rotten GJ‘s. Let’s Fry them next time, so we don’t have to smell them alive.” Jordyn really Detested the smell of them more than even being in Dizzy Dim.
“Smelly mongrels.” Square said in a deep voice that seemed to almost echo from inside him.
“There it is my lord. Just ahead is the way out of here. Then, it’s not much more beyond that until we are out of Limbo. Don’t pay any mind to the shades you see after the exit. They speak, but their words are meaningless. They remain in their tortured land of nothing. I hope to never return here. Getting in was surprisingly easy. I thought I’d have trouble at the opening of the prison, but it was as simple as walking through. If I didn’t know any better it was almost as if they were welcoming me in. Having you as company on the way back has almost made this a delightful adventure.” Jordyn said getting more exited at the nearing sight of the exit. Square and Jordyn approached the exit. No guards, just an opening out to the ground that led to flat, dark lands. Square took sight of the landscape and the vastness of it was riddled with dancing darkness, he assumed these were the shades. He could hear the empty, echoing cries of woe and pain all around.
“Shades?” Square asked openly. He felt more comfortable speaking and was able to find his voice; it was hollow and stayed in your memory. It was almost as if it resonated inside of you so that you may better understand through feeling, rather than just hearing.
“Yes my lord, many of them. Ignore their words, and do not be drawn in by any of their pleas for help. Perhaps, your eyes will scare them off. This is Limbo, in the outskirts of Hell. It’s not my faith, but I know of others that could not enter as easily as me. Loch Loa built Dizzy Dim here to assault 1derland. His prison is meant to capture the tortured souls of those indigoes from the other side. Misguided fools. You, were different though my lord. This land is far as it is wide. Thankfully, Dizzy Dim was created close to the river. I will carry you over all of this, it is not a place we want to linger.” Jordyn said as they walked out of the mouth of Dizzy Dim and onto the dark expanse of Limbo. Jordyn had been a little more at ease now. The prison wasn’t far behind them, but it was rare for anything to come out of the mouth. She was not an angel, so the shades of Limbo wouldn’t touch her, even if they had tried she would have simply stayed out of their reach.
Jordyn ignited herself and stretched out her wings. She rose above Square without even flapping them, she glided on the silver lining of her wings, it was lighter than air. Radiant end to end, she was a magnificent creature that intimidated Square with her heat and size. Her metallic wings spread and she glided upward effortlessly. Her face was perfect, the armor she wore was light, and barely looked like enough to protect her. Bracers covering her arms to her elbows and her shins up to her knees. A breastplate that had a sigil design )—–\—–( he wondered what it represented. A headband that held her dark hair out of her face. Square still couldn’t shake the feeling that he somehow knew her.
She lowered to pick him up, and they were on their way over the shades. Her flight was flawless, and her flame lit the way as a a steady beacon. Below Square could see the sea of shades reaching up, just for contact. Some shades attempted to keep pace with her, pleaing to switch places, to rescue them from their current tribulation of denial towards something greater than themselves.
“An eternity in Limbo for these poor shades.”
The river Bolgia came and went and Jordyn’s flame subsided. They crossed the bridge that led them to the edge of Limbo, and they were relieved to put that sad place behind them. Square looked up at Jordyn, he could feel her power as she glided and her petite size did her strength no justice. Her flight was as elegant as would have been expected, it was grace that was studied and understood. She knew what she was doing and it seemed as though existence pivoted on this moment. In such darkness what, type of beautiful creature would devote her life to be this fools savior, and why, Square thought she had to be cursed.
The spirit given to Jordyn was endowed upon her by herself. She imagined herself as this figment creature, ultimately contributing to her own imaginary fate. She fell into this world, Blemish had found her alone and naked in the plains of 1derland. He took her back to Schue and helped her to regain her strength and her memory. Jordyn learned the skill of flight by watching Blemish. Though she quickly learned that she didn’t have to use her wings as much as he had to use his, in flight, they merely helped her to steer. In no time at all, her learning curve propelled her to greater speeds than Blemish could reach. There was the strength of 100 horses in her wings alone, and she was going to ride out every one of those horses.

~#~

Loch Loa, the manifestation of Seigh Poore. He had always been there. But, when Seigh had taken it upon himself to drown out 1derland, Loch Loa came to power. Seigh Poore remained unaware of who he himself truly was for so long, that Loch Loa began to imagine himself into existence. Now, after Seigh Poore’s death, Seigh was unable to control what happens to his imaginary world and it is now time for Loch Loa to take advantage of the fact that the new artificers don’t have a strong hold on 1derland. Now Loch Loa plots to take physical form in the realm of reality. There, he will take control of the artificers that have taken over in Seigh’s absence. Then, Loch Loa will make more worlds using their imagination, in time, he hopes to stretch throughout the universe and take the throne of the gods. But first, he needs to open the nexus beneath Schue in order to cross over into the land of reality. Imagination is only strong when he can control it.
For some time, Loch Loa visited Death’s door. Loch Loa would knock persistently, until finally giving up; prompting him to take matters of death into his own hands. 1derland was the realm of imagination created by Indigoes, and held into place throughout history by children. As the children grew older the world became more abundant with life. Creatures in this realm could be anything that the artificer Indigo’s wanted them to be, thoughts would be captured and stored here. Artificer Indigo’s used their imagination to bring about life for others in the realm of reality. Without the imagination of the artificer, things would not exist in fair balance between what is imaginary and what is reality.
Loch Loa hopes to attack reality with former creations of other artificer Indigo’s. The army he has built consists of what he could bring about from his own mind and the darkest of imaginations from past artificers. As the darkness of being a human overcame the artificer Indigo’s, the darkness in their imaginary world grew as well. As time passed the thought of these particular Indigo’s became lost in antiquity. They were left with the task of figuring things out for themselves save for those in the realm of reality that knew of the existence of these artificers.
History has a way of repeating itself. With each great civilization that’s fallen in the past. It was an artificer Indigo that would bring about the prophecies of doom that would fall upon the ancients. Seigh Poore had become aware of his power only after years of leaving it in the dark. Now, Loch Loa is going to make his march. Square is Loa’s greatest threat, the last line of defense for the nexus. If Loch Loa succeeds, he will bring about revelation. Square’s is also Loa’s best link to opening the nexus between reality and imagination. He needs Square’s mind, but only until he can get to the artificers on the other side.

~#~

Blemish waited in the tree tops at the outskirts of the Black Forest. His blue eyes were fixed on where he saw Jordyn enter into Limbo. His thoughts were steadfast in attack at any pursuers that may follow her out of the entrance. He cared more for her, and little for her prophecy. He believed this trek was insane, he and the rest of the Misfits. But, they were the outcasts anyway, and they had the right to leave and carry on adventures no matter how great the risk. He also knew that there was no stopping her, and he vowed to follow her, keep her safe and avoid the field of flowers at all costs. Though, that could be a lifetime away, but he would be there regardless. The fact that she had visions about her own demise was just a fairytale imagination to Blemish. But, she was certain that that would be her own end.
It’s not easy for an angel of Blemish’s size to balance on a limb. Angels can’s glide at a whim like the valks, they have to build up the momentum. Blemish sat balanced at the highest point that he could find for himself. His surveillance on the entrance to Limbo was more of an overly obsessive watch on a valuable item. Jordyn’s lengthy absence was beginning to worry him. The fact that he couldn‘t go in after her was driving him to the brink of madness, he kept his composure, though. If he entered the outer barrier into Limbo the powers of Hell would tear him apart. He was too young to be recognized as divine and had not yet been granted free reign of Hell, until divinity was granted to him. Finally, he saw her light and alerted the Misfits and took hasty flight to meet her.
“Farrow, Down. I see Jordyn, I’m going to meet her. Follow me.” Blemish shouted from the treetops before taking off. “Perhaps we should all go together, Jordyn can handle herself.” Farrow yelled back as quickly as she could respond, but Blemish was a little hard headed when it came to Jordyn, and he was already off.
Blemish flew over the outskirts of the Black Forest and above the open ground in between. His eyes remained vigilant on Jordyn’s light, as she exited Limbo. His anxiety subsided when he she appeared, only to have it replaced when he caught sight of the GJ that was following her. He drew his claymore and prepared for a fight. His wings pounded the air and propelled him towards Jordyn’s pursuer so fast, that Jordyn only felt a cool breeze as he rammed into the enemy behind. Before she could acknowledge what happened the GJ had taken Blemish’s hard tackle and subdued one wing with a chain.
“NO MY LORD!” Shouted Jordyn. “He is a friend. Stay your hand, he is only trying to protect me and you look like the enemy.” Square stayed his hand from putting the GJ’s blade into Blemish’s throat. His hesitation could be understood This thing, through Square’s eyes, had attacked him and he did manage to land on top after winging the angel. He removed the chain from Blemish’s wing and offered a hand. Blemish’s pride (and shame) caused him to stand with his wings spread, revealing his true angelic size.
“Beautiful…friend.” Square acknowledged Blemish in full scope and felt his good energy move into him. Quite the ally to have, is the thought that came to Square’s mind.
“Yes, my lord. This is Blemish, he is an angel and is part of my, our party…part of the Misfits. Are you ok, Blemish?” Jordyn asked with concern.
“I’m fine Jordyn, he is strong. This must be who we came here for, there aren’t many figments capable of taking an angel out of flight.” Blemish said. His voice was dignified and exactly what you’d expect an angel to sound like. From behind Jordyn, Farrow and Down came. Seeing what had happened to Blemish they were ready for a fight. After they saw the GJ help Blemish up they calmed down a bit, and gave Jordyn the chance to explain. Farrow approached Blemish and gave him a scolding for flying ahead without them.
“You need to stay with us Blemish and not fly so quickly ahead! How do you expect us hoofers to be able to keep up with you!” Farrow exclaimed. She had a deep voice, though immense in size, she was properly proportioned and had a very balanced disposition. She stood with pride as she wielded her great hammer.
Down, the dark mage, with incantations scripted all over his body, wore a dark blue vest and had an electric blue aura around him. He was about half the size of Farrow, but held an intimidating presence that suggested he is not to be trifled with. Down’s hands created an arc of electric over his head, and he had a playful smile on his face. His youthful appearance was no deception, he was young, just out of his teens. But, clearly gifted in the talents that he practiced.
“Quit showing off Down!” Farrow scolded again, being the oldest, she played the motherly role of this outfit. “Jordyn, If this is him then we should all be properly introduced. Hello my lord, I am Farrow, minotaur princess and at your service.” She bowed gracefully, but even still she was taller than Square, so was her hammer. “And this jubilant character is Down.”
“Oh please princess moo. Allow me to make my own introduction. Hello my lord, my name is Down. The best little mage in 1derland, at your service. Want to see what I can do? Or should I hold off to really impress you?” A spark of electricity rose from his hand and he held it there in mid-air. It sizzled and popped a hot white color and then he blew on it and it went out. He was far from humble, but the fact that he came along said that his bravery was not to be underestimated.
“I am Square. It’s as good a name as any, I guess. It’s nice to finally be around you all, Jordyn has told me to expect a welcoming party from her friends, but I didn’t expect to get into a squabble with one of you. My apologies Blemish. Next time I will ask before I lay someone down that is attacking me.” Square said, finding his voice and introducing himself. Blemish and Jordyn looked at each other and laughed, happy to be reunited and whole again as a party, complete with the plus one that they set out for. Blemish suggested they head further into the woods and make camp when they reach a safer distance. The GJ’s would be coming.

~#~

After making camp the Misfits took a load off. The comfort was there, and the forest itself provided ample enough darkness to remain hidden. Blemish and Jordyn held patrol in the skies and treetops throughout the night. They would see anyone, or anything that may have been following them. Both rarely slept, so they had that advantage over any pursuers. Square, Farrow and Down referred to themselves as hoofers, simply due to the fact that they were grounded. They, on the ther hand did require sleep, and they had to keep watch on the ground in shifts during the night.
“Jack of all trades and master of…well…master of all trades, too, come to think of it. There is more to magic than just lighting a fire you know. But I’m looking forward to knowing it all.” Down had made the fire that night as he did every night. He loved to talk about how good he was at things, cocky mage that he is. But, he had every right to be…he was that good.
“You know Down. There is going to come a time when you’re going to have to share your knowledge with others. You can’t keep it all for yourself. Your order wont allow that, even if they did toss you out. You’re basically turning yourself into that narcissistic figment that they write stories about.” Farrow said in her motherly tone.
“Please Farrow, I’ve probably already forgotten more things than any of those old curmudgeons know. Besides, there really isn’t much of my order left, and once this event is all said and done, it’s likely that 1nderland wont even exist. What I do happen to know is so compacted, that breaking it down would probably make some silly apprentice’s head spin. I’ve booby trapped some of my own made up spells just in case someone ever does get the notion to get into my head. Then, POOF! Goes the dynamite.” Down’s mannerisms followed his high and mighty tone, he moved smoothly as he spoke, his language was through body, as well as tongue.
“Yeah, well, if someone does manage to get into your head, I would pity them. They would end up lost in there because its gotten so big. I don’t know how it is that you haven’t floated away yet with all that hot air filling it.” Farrow retorted. If she was knitting an afghan and sitting in a rocking chair it would have given her the old lady feeling that she deserved.
“Since you brought it up Farrow…”
“Oh my Muse.”
“…check this out, you’ll appreciate it. It’s a little something I’ve been working on. I’m tired of being a hoofer and I wanted to join the ranks of our fellow flyers.” Down said, placing his hands at his side and palms parallel to the ground. A blue shadow surrounded his eyes and then, he was surrounded by what looked like a giant soap bubble. He lifted up off the ground and was moving side to side at the will of his hands. He could roll around and be upside down at his will. His reflection off the back of the bubble gave the appearance that he had duplicated himself. Farrow worried that there would now be two smart-mouthed mages to baby-sit.
“I call this my vitruvian bubble. I wanted to get a bird’s eye view of things. It’s still a little weak, but I’ll figure out a way to harden it.” Jordyn and Blemish burst down through the trees. Jordyn landed next to Down and with the tip of her wing burst his vitruvian bubble. Down fell out of the open air and landed flat on his rear. Bursting his pride, as well.
“Enough play, Down. If I can pop that little spell of yours than what’s the Use? Plus if it can’t carry all of you hoofers then don’t bother. It wouldn’t be fair to the others that you can take a load off while they can’t. So until you can do for all, don’t just do for yourself.” Jordyn scolded.
“It’s a work in progress, sheesh! Lighten up” Down said getting up, brushing off the dead leaves.
“Listen, we have a dangerous road in front of us. It should be easier considering we followed this path in. But, it’s as if this forest doesn’t want us to leave. Also, we are very likely being followed. Loch Loa wont hesitate to strike now that we have what he was waiting for. As soon as we reach the end of this forest we will be able to hear the Muse in the distance. Once we reach the plains it’s a two day journey before we get to Mt. Misery and meet back up with Jenga. Then, he will carry us back to Schue. But we all have to stay focused and keep a sharp ear. There is more than just Loch Loa’s minions following us to worry about. This forest still has unknown secrets, and they need to eat as much as we do.” Blemish had a way of speaking that wasn’t easy to dispute.
“I have a few questions that I would like some answers to, if someone would be so kind as to answer. Why did you risk so much to rescue me?” Square finally started to open up, and he could almost sense the answers in his own mind. But, he needed to hear certain things out loud.
“Because I knew you once, my lord. You are a part of my being and I have much of you to credit for my existence. In time, your memory will come back, just as mine did. Then all will come full circle for you, as it does, so it will come full circle for the rest of us.” Jordyn answered.
Square‘s puzzled look remained on his face. Jordyn‘s answer only led to more questions in his mind, but he decided to stick with the ones he wanted to ask to begin with. When he looked at Jordyn he could feel her not looking at him, but through him. This felt familiar to his being, as if it was a skill that he always had, but somewhere else. It was as if she was reciprocating this and he felt like he was looking into a mirror.
“Why is it I was born in Dizzy Dim, and what is it you meant by suicides, Jordyn? I’m a little fuzzy about that, too.” Square said knocking his palm on the side of his head, trying to keep the mood light.
“The realm of reality deemed you as a suicide. It was the manner in which you left, that cause you to be cast into Limbo, had it not been for Loch Loa creating Dizzy Dim, you would have been cast into the deeper circles of Hell. So, in a really strange way, you have him to thank for such a short distance to travel out of Hell. If you had been something other than an Indigo you would have been sent to the deeper circles of Hell upon Minos’ judgment. Had you died another way, you may have ended up elsewhere, Heaven perhaps…if there is one…. Had you gone there, there would have been no way for us to retrieve you. It’s not as if the gods would have let you go. Once a person is there, they are either recycled and filtered back into another existence, or they are kept. You were a rare soul, so the odds are they would have kept you there, as one of the chosen few.” Jordyn explained.
“What do you mean by that? I’m not exactly following you with this whole ‘chosen one’ thing. I don’t feel as though I’m that important, here or even anywhere. What makes me so different from any of you?” Square asked, nodding his head at each of the Misfits.
“You made this place, my lord. You were an artificer Indigo in reality. Every several generations someone like you is born to take on the task of keeping the realm of imagination alive. You’re not exactly alone in that on the other side though. There are other imaginations that have kept this world alive in your absence, you must have known it was time for you to go. They are susceptible to being taken over, just as you once were. If they fall too soon, then this world will cease to exist. Loch Loa is trying to break through to reality to take on form. As it stands now, he exists only in substance on the other side. But, he has companions over there as well, that he too can communicate with. Schue is the last stronghold keeping him at bay here. But, that is a battle that we must fight in this realm. Whether or not the artificer that is now in reality knows of Schue, I am not certain. What I do know is that you were called upon to come here, you kept this realm whole, and now you have to follow through with the task set before you.” Jordyn’s explaination helped Square to sort through some feelings that had been building inside of him. Square stayed silent in his these thoughts. He had a hard time digesting that he existed once before, and that this world was his creation. Could he manipulate what was to happen to them next? Jordyn had said there were others that helped to create this world, as well. Were they now controlling their every movement around this place? If only he could get into contact with them.

~#~

The flyers took off through the forest’s mid-section. They would scour from above, hoping to keep a low profile. It was important for them to keep a perimeter up above the hoofers. The hoofers were totally blind to anything that may strike at them from above. Even at the heights Jordyn and Blemish would fly, the forest seemed endless. There was nothing but dead treetops to view for what seemed to go on forever. But, being up here was at least somewhat peaceful. Farrow had the most diffuculty moving through the woods, they were thick and on the way in it seemed somewhat inviting. The journey to Limbo was much easier considering she and Down were carried by Jordyn and Blemish over this forest. Farrow didn’t like flying, it made her feel queasy, but it was the most efficient way for them to pass. The trails were narrow which made her walk that much more difficult. Thankfully, Down had the vitruvian bubble to get her over some obstacles that he and Square were able to move through with ease. Every time she was in that bubble, it made her stomach turn.
Everything in the forest now seemed to have a trick up its sleeve for them. At one point Jordyn was flying above the treetops and a murder of crows had attacked her. She acted quickly enough and burned them alive as they flew at her. A minor trifle for a valk such as herself. If anything, it gave most of them some fresh meat for the night. Except for the vegan princess, who refused to eat meat of any kind. She probably would have walloped Square, had she known what he did for a living in reality.
Down had once again been so busy talking about himself that, mid stroll, he failed to notice the quicksand that swallowed him up. He was up to his chest before he could manage to freeze the liquid in the sand. Had he acted any slower it may have shut him up for good. Farrow had to use her hammer to free him up to a point where he could use his hands again. Doing so allowed him to carve his feet out without having to thaw the rest of the pit. The electricity he used to cut it turned the sand into a pit of glass.
“See, you imbecile, you need to keep quiet and pay attention. The less your mouth is moving the better everything else is working. Now, we wasted enough time freeing you up. I swear, the more you learn the dumber you seem to become.” Farrow scoffed at the young mage.
“What I do is art in motion, Farrow. You can’t stop all this from happening. I could have gotten myself out. I was just watching you and taking a bit of a rest. Now, I’m fully prepared for any actual “baddies” that may come along and want to snack on my yummy self.” Down actually made the air quotation marks appear. Justifying how he never made a mistake, only capitalized on a situation he may have found himself in.
“Well, if we come across a galatile then I’ll be sure to let it know who to eat first. At least we will have some quiet when it‘s finished devouring you.” Farrow and Down would bicker back and forth like this every several hours. Down was small, but he had an acid tongue, and it was just one more thing for him to remind everyone how highly he thought of himself. Farrow would enjoy a little battle of words herself. So their love/hate relationship kept the trying walk through the forest a bit distant. It also helped break up the tension of the woods, too. Square was quiet most of the time, and would actually get a kick out of the comaradarie that they shared.
“What’s a galatile?” Square asked. Farrow sneered and answered.
“You see the suit you’re wearing from the GJ?” Farrow asked.
“Yes, it smells.” Square said.
“Well, that scaly armor is a small fraction of one. They are giant lizard-like creatures that are pretty much at the top of the food chain in this forest. Their snouts are long enough to take me out in one bite, just to give you an idea of their size. They have a powerful tail that could stun larger prey and devastate anything else. They can walk on all fours, or stand upright. Towering behemoths, if you’d like. I hope to not come across one, I’m somewhat shocked that we haven’t.” Farrow explained while keeping an open eye into the thick woods.
“Well Farrow, at least we know if one eats you it would have had its fill for the day and leave the rest of us be.” Down said, getting one off.
“That was kind of mean, Down, you should practice giving Farrow compliments. I think you two would make a pretty unequalled duo if you ever find out how to use your skills together.” Square said, seeing that the comment upset Farrow, but she was too proud to say anything. “What exactly is Dizzy Dim?” Square asked, changing the subject.
“Oh! let me take this one, Farrow.” Down said jumping with excitement.
“Fine, you’re such a jester. You belong in the comedy act, or Kermit’s court, I hope you realize that, Down.” Farrow said jokingly to him. Down laughed and continued on with his answer. “Dizzy Dim, is the prison that Loch Loa set up in Limbo. It’s purpose was to collect the souls of Indigoes that died under their own accord. Suicides, if you prefer. Limbo was made by another artificer a long time ago. It’s said that that artificer also brought this forest to life as part of his story. Loch Loa seemed to find Limbo the perfect place to set up Dizzy Dim in order to capture the souls and turn them into his own personal army. It was also just far enough for 1derland to not assault. In your absence, in your reality Square, Loch Loa did a pretty good job of leaving everything desolate. He destroyed crops, and poisoned waters and really left no stone unturned. Once Schue falls there isn’t going to be anything stopping him from entering the realm of reality and moving on to higher planes of existence.” Down was almost happy to be explaining such dark motives. As if he admired Loch Loa, Farrow knew it was more about the fear he felt towards him. Loch Loa was said to be the most powerful magic user in the land, and this intimidated Down quite a bit. Whether he admitted it or not.
“If 1derland and Schue are both that close to being lost, then wouldn’t it make sense to retreat and then take another angle towards Loa?” Square asked.
“1derland is a keeper realm of all imaginations. Every several generations there is a new artificer. But, there is also a voice that keeps the artificer Influenced, a ‘Muse’ is what we figments call it. The Muse sings to the artificer and we hear it here through the clouds. All the creatures here can hear it. It’s not constant, but when you were on the other side, you allowed the Muse to be a part of this world, as all artificers do, without that, this realm wouldn’t exist. Usually, when new artificers keep the balance in this world, the Muse typically changes, often times creating new figment creatures. We aren’t quite sure what the new Muse is going to sound like when we get out of this forest, but we do kind of hope it’s the same one. She had a beautiful voice, odds are it won’t be though.” Farrow explained.
Square was asking questions and connecting the dots in his mind. He was searching for the link, and an answer to help solve the problem known as Loch Loa. “How did Loch Loa come to be?”
“Loch Loa was created by a drowning effect that had happened to you in your reality. Now, you are here to stop him and set things right in this realm, he is a part of you that existed without you knowing. Loch Loa is the true evil that was trying to consume you, but something saved you in your reality and stopped him from getting any further in his assault on Schue. You are meant to stop him…we think…. The last time an artificer was here, their evil incarnate escaped into reality. Apparently though the evil didn‘t succeed. Otherwise we probably wouldn’t be here trekking with you through these, horrible woods. OUCH!” Farrow explained as a thorn bush reached out and pricked her leg. She pulled it out and tossed it, forgetting it happened.
“How did Jordyn know to find me in Dizzy Dim?” Square asked, undistracted by Farrow’s sharp movement towards the thorn bush.
“Our Jordyn, that poor thing, she is a valkyrie. It’s in their essence to find and rescue the hero, sometimes even fall in love with them. But, in Jordyn’s case it’s a little different. She was blessed with a foresight to find you, and was also cursed with the Cyclop’s vision of seeing her own demise. She knows neither when nor where, but she knows how; when the time comes we will stand by her, we are willing to sacrifice ourselves to stop it from happening, that’s how much we love Jordyn.” Farrow said, raising her head and hammer proudly.
“Speak for yourself Farrow, what would this world be like without Down in it? HUH?” Down said half serious and half joking. He even had a look of doubt on his face about it, there would be little question whether he would or not.
“A lot quieter, no doubt. I should have left you in the sand.” Farrow retorted furrowing her brow. At this time the conversation was interrupted by Blemish and Jordyn, flying down feet first through the treetops yet again. (They were starting to get into the hang of this “save the day” kind of entrance[I wonder why there isn’t both entrance and entrence.].)
“We’ve scouted ahead a few miles and saw some billowing smoke through the trees. We decided it would be wise to make camp now and approach in the morning. It’s worth a look to see if they perhaps have supplies, why anyone would live in this place, I do not know. Whatever we decide, we do it together. There is at least another two days travel before we are out of the woods.” Blemish didn’t want to admit it but he needed rest. Keeping up with Jordyn was exhausting work. Even if it was just circling above the hoofers. They agreed to make camp. Down began his ritual of lighting the fire. Farrow pulled some left over crow from her satchel. Her face grimaced in disgust, as she pulled out the cooked birds. In a separate compartment she pulled out a small gord for her to munch on, while the omnivores warmed their birds on a stick.
Jordyn and Blemish both stayed on the ground for a small amount of time. Square kept looking at her as if he wanted to say something, but had trouble finding the words or bringing the thoughts together in his own mind. Jordyn could feel this. However, she thought it best for him to discover things on his own. It would tighten the bond that he was developing with Farrow and Down. She wanted to be on the ground with him more often, but knew it was more important for her to patrol the skies with Blemish.
“Should we get back to the skyline Jordyn?” Blemish asked, breaking her concentration from Square’s study of her.
“Yes Blemish, that would be a good idea, I think.” She answered, and Blemish took to the air through the trees. Jordyn rose slowly and used her wings to cut through the branches of the trees. She left a small opening for the hoofers to view the approaching night sky of 1derland. They looked up at what stars they could see, enjoyed the food, and each others company.

~#~

Jordyn hovered above the trees watching the first sun rise. She is distant and locked into her memories, moving towards an intersection with the thoughts of her future. For her, it’s bleak knowing that her fate is already sealed. She had a hard time accepting that she was born into this, as a product of her own imagination. That she at one point in time had thought of herself, in former life, as what she is now. She reflected on when that had happened, when she and her brother would make pretend about the world she is living in now.
She wondered if the pain he felt at her loss was a part of the reason with what was going on in 1derland. If she had somehow remained there in reality with him, would there have ever been a chance to be where she was now? Would there have ever even been a reason for the decline of imaginations? Where is it she would go once her fate had finally caught up to her? Would she be sent with the Muse, to sing for eternity? These questions would nearly drive her mad. She hated having to chase these thoughts down, only to never have any full answer. She[What questions do I ask in these books, always be sure to answer them in Solomon] had come this far with all these questions criss crossing her mind. She wanted to let Square know about who he once was, and who she is to him. But, informing him of these things may make certain conflicts grow in his own mind. She thought it better to let his mind ease itself into the reality of what he was supposed to do, when the time had come to do it.
“You’re thinking again about the things you can’t control, aren’t you, Jordyn?” Blemish asked landing on the tree next to her.
“It never leaves my mind Blemish. It’s constantly there, and I can feel what’s to happen creeping up on me. I feel it’s close, and I’m going to miss this place. It was wonderful when I first arrived. Watching it die due to Square‘s own self destruction in reality, has even become a part of me here. I’ve been here so long, and I want to be a part of freeing it from Loch Loa. I want to be a part of watching it come back to life. I want to fight by your side when I need to. I want to be able to love, but I know I should never allow myself to do so for the sake of others.” Silence fell between the two of them as the night sky of 1derland could be seen in the distance. A hint of the stars were vanishing and the half sun was beginning to rise.
“Despite your lack of opening up Jordyn, I love you still. So does Farrow and Down. We know you do it only to protect us. That makes us love you more. We are all willing to protect you from your fate. We will lay down our own lives despite what you say. There are just certain things you can’t control, so thinking about them is only going to leave your mind restless. But you must come to accept that you can’t control others feelings for you.” Blemish spoke softly to her.
“I know Blemish. Let’s stop discussing this and just enjoy the sunrise together. I feel it may be one of my last.” They both peered off in the direction of the light of the first morning, making its appearance over the distant tree tops. It made even the Black Forest look beautiful, if only for a small amount of time. Blemish flew over to Jordyn and took her hand. She looked up at him and smiled, then turned back and got lost in the newly rising whole sun.

~#~

The usual day for the four armed witch-doctor would consist of sending her pet out during the day, to bring back food, then rattling on about crazy ideas as she walked circles around her shack. Shiva left 1derland before Loch Loa began his assault where her clan lived. At first, it was awful, but when he finished his regime, the four-arms would be all but wiped out, save for some stragglers. She happened to be one of those stragglers without even knowing it. The usual day for the four armed witch-doctor would consist of sending her pet out during the day, to bring back food, then rattling on about crazy ideas as she walked circles around her shack. Shiva left 1derland before Loch Loa began his assault where her clan lived. At first, it was awful, but when he finished his regime, the four-arms would be all but wiped out, save for some stragglers. She happened to be one of those stragglers without even knowing it. At first, Loch Loa had wiped out all of their crops and poisoned their lands. They simply hadn’t noticed that it was an outside source that was behind the fouling. When the children started taking ill is when they began to notice something a little off in their village. Contact was made with other clans and they had sent word in return that they too, were experiencing the same issues. Sometimes, the children would fall into a deep sleep and never wake up. They would be alive, but off somewhere else dreaming. Then the illness escalated and the children would be found bantering around the village and, at times, starting fights with the unaffected children. They would rattle on about the flashing blue and red lights in their heads when they closed their eyes. It was a horrible condition that confused more than just the children. Shiva had been the village’s doctor. When she could not come up with any answers or cures for what was going on with the children. Eventually, the villagers had come up with their own answer, they simply pointed their fingers at her. She fled just in the knick of time. She would have been put up on trial and ultimately killed as the village was beginning a clearance of whoever they may have deemed a witch. So she was dubbed, so she accepted it and fled. After taking flight from her village Shiva roamed about on the plains for quite some time. It proved to be too much open land for her after some near fatal encounters with the predators of the flat lands. Thankfully she was able to protect herself with spells that she had learned from the apprentice mage’s of Schue, that would wander near her village. After finally realize that she would never be able to last on the plains alone, she took to the Black Forest.  Shiva walked into the forest, after about a day and a half worth of walking she happened upon an abandoned shack in the Black Forest. It’s previous tenant looks as though they left in a hurry, everything was just left, frozen in time. Perhaps it was too lonely for them, or they were attacked by some of the forest creatures. Regardless, it was close enough to the plains if she ever needed to leave, but it was just far enough in the forest where very few ventured. She was had been handy enough to fix it up to her liking. The art work she adorned it with, were the leftover remains of small animals that she was able to hunt down or trap. She would weave baskets out of the needles that fell off the trees. She was quite lonely, but she managed to keep herself occupied in order to stave off insanity. Eventually, she befriended one of the more vicious forest occupants, that alone gave her some companionship. Despite its bleak reputation, the Black Forest was quite abundant for growing vegetables. She did miss the true crops of the village, however. Every now and again her pet would remember to share the spoils of its hunt. She would be able to have a small portion of whatever the beast remembered to bring back for her. She could never scold it, as that happened to be her only companion. Company was scarce in the forest, and being able to befriend something Proved to be a much greater help in keeping her sanity. At least she had the feeling of something listening to her speak, even though it could only respond with the tilt of it‘s head. She and her pet would sit outside together and wait for the nightly growth of the trees. It was something to not only see the trees grow. But, hearing them stretch towards the passing purple moon, was one of the few beautiful nuances of the forest. The darker shadows in between would be consumed by the blackness of the bark. The treetops were all dead, but the portion of the trees in the center happened to grow very well. Below on the ground, they managed to keep the whole sun from piercing through at it‘s highest point of the day. The smells of the forest were easily gotten used to. In Shiva’s opinion they were sweater than the smells of her village. The constant boiling of the leftover bones, to detach any remaining meat. Every house night after night had left a putrid scent in the air. This damp, mildewing wood smell that the forest had given off, was almost like a sweet reminder of home. What she had missed most though, were the succulent smells of the weekly roasts. The way her species made its own course in 1derland existed for as long as she could remember. Her race bred as quickly as rabbits, and there was always multiple births for each pairing. In a small amount of time they would have outgrown their own ability to maintain itself, had it not been for the discovery of cannibalism. Food was scarce for her species in the beginning, and their form of population control led to the realization immortality. The weakest of the children born would supply an ample supply of food for the four-arms. The strongest of the children would be allowed to live and grow, making for stronger groups of children to be born into future generations. The stronger the children that were eaten, the more youthful the four-arms would remain, and the stronger they would get. That allowed for them to keep their numbers to a reasonable amount, and keep them from extiction. It was a life feeds on life existence, but the four-arm race had flourished this way, and they lived forever. So, when the vegetable supply had started going bad it wasn’t much of a fear for her village. When the main source of food for them had started acting as they did, her race began to panic in fear that if they ate the sick children, they would become infected with whatever was afflicting the food source. Loch Loa had affected everything in 1derland, even the most cruel of figment species’ were not out of reach of his evil hand. Shiva and her pet had been sitting outside one dusk, waiting and listening for the evening show of darkness to consume the surrounding foliage. Up above the trees there was a new sound that entered into Shiva‘s ears. She heard the flapping of wings and hope jumped into her. She had recognized the sound and knew it was an angel; she was delighted to have something so close and rich in life eat. She was aging without the proper nourishment, an angel would be the exact meal she needed to survive for quite a long time. One arm from the angel would provide her with a longevity that would even outlast the nightly meals the weaker children of her race had supplemented. She readied herself for luring the creature in, though she would be surprised at the amount of food that would actually be coming her way. She just needed to keep her pet from eating it all.

~#~

Day break showed fragments of its existence through the tops of the trees. The party made its way toward the little shack. From a distance, Square could see how dilapidated the place was. The first thought that jumped into his mind, was that if somebody did live there, they needed some house keeping lessons. A strange thought for a figment creature, but one that knows how to take care of a household.
They approached the clearing and Farrow announced thier presence. “Hello! If anyone is here this is Princess Farrow of the Minotaur’s.” A response came from within the shack almost immediately.
“Welcome, visitors. I was only expecting an angel that I heard overhead last evening. Are you three accompanying the angel by any chance?” Shiva asked masking her normally high pitched voice with one of her overly practiced grandmother’s voice. Hoping to avoid the reputation that the four arm species had built over time. She hid beneath a dusty cloak only, revealing one pair of arms and curled her wrinkled lips over her pointed teeth. Had they discovered her hidden secret, they would either kill her, or worse, go around and she would continue to starve.
“Yes, we are five total. As I said, my name is Farrow, my companions here are Down and Square. There is also one angel, as well a valkyrie that patrol overhead. We are making our way to Schue and hoping perhaps that you could provide us with some provisions to ease our travels.” Farrow said, reluctantly. She didn’t think that this old woman would have much to offer outside of anything for herself.
Jordyn and Blemish came through the tree tops (once again in their heroic like fashion…wake me when the cliche is over) and landed on each side of the three companions making their presence known. They knew how to make an entrance and Shiva could barely contain her excitement. She nearly licked her lips when Blemish landed. She kept her composure, she knew she had some trapping to do. The odds were stacking up against her, and she quickly realized what she needed to do.
“Oh, oh my dearie, I usually only keep enough to provide for myself. But. I do have enough to at least make you a small breakfast and I have plenty of tea that I’d be willing to share. Unfortunately, I don’t quite have enough room for the winged ones in my shack. If you three would like to come in, I’d be more than happy to bring out some for the winged ones when it’s all done.” Shiva said turning towards the door to her shack. “Come come, spend some time with an old woman of the woods, there’s much I could teach you.” She waved her hands and insisted that they come inside.
They had all agreed to this arrangement. Jordyn and Blemish were used to staying at the outskirts of the party anyway. Down entered the shack followed by Square, and Farrow was the last one in, she had to duck her head to fit through the door. She also left her hammer outside, in fear that the weight may break through the weak looking floorboards.
Shiva had it all mapped out in her mind, she would drug them. She began to heat some water in a cauldron for the tea and made up a story about how she had come to be out here in the middle of the woods. “Me and my dear one, rest his unfortunate soul, moved out here quite a number of years ago. We wanted a quiet life on the outskirts of the Black Forest, as it turned out the forest itself crept up around our home. We had become, I wouldnt say trapped, rather, intrigued with the idea of the solitude that we had been looking for.” Shiva explained, as she added some herbs to the cauldron. It started giving off a sweet aroma as she continued with her story. “It was quiet, peaceful, and far away from any of the troubles that the plains would have given us. The storms out there alone were enough to frighten us after we had first built this shack. Over time, we began to realize that the soil around here was perfect for growing gourds.”
“GOURDS! you grow gourds!?” Farrow asked excitedly.
“Yes pretty thing, I still grow them, but not nearly as much as me and my Bo used to grow. He would tend to them on some days, found the perfect spot right out on the side of the shack for them to, ripen up! Hehe, the sun hit them ever so perfectly, even to this day they grow wildly, I’ve lost the strength to tend to them properly.” Shiva stirred the tea a bit, then walked to the table and sat down. She still managed to keep up the appearance of the old lady even sitting this close to them.
“What happened to your Bo?” Asked Square.
“Bo was his name, it also served as a cute ‘pet’ name for him. He ventured off into the woods one day to check the traps he set. He was an excellent trapper of the smaller woodland creatures. It would be enough to satisfy both he and myself, we lived quite humbly, until that day….” She began to trail off in reminiscing and began telling the story. “…I heard him screaming off in the distance as he made his way running towards our shack. I couldn’t make out what he was screaming, but just as quickly as I seen him, he was picked up by the claw of a galatile. The last thing of him I saw, was his arm. I try to remember his face out in our small field whenever I look through the window.” Shiva sighed, as if she was sad. She got up quickly and turned towards the tea, she didn’t want the party to see her smiling.
“That’s horrid! I can’t stand even talking of those beasts.” Farrow said in a bit of an anger. “Why did you decide to stay out here?” Farrow then asked.
“Oh dear! An old wretch like me trying to make it across the plains alone, that absurd! I chose to stay here alone and reflect everyday on the memories of a once happier time. Every day I see my Bo somewhere. He listens to me and sometimes I can hear his voice on the mild breezes that drift through, after a rough plains storm.” Shiva creaked, in a sad tone.
“Oh, well, I am sorry to hear such a tragic story. You seem like a sweet woman. At least you remain unbothered by the forest creatures.” Square said. He didn’t quite believe Shiva. He felt the lies, and she was good, as if she had practiced this routine.
“Yes, I feel as though my Bo is still protecting me. You have such beautiful eyes, Square. May I ask where you got the clothes you wear?” Shiva asked as she poured four cups of tea.
“All the better to see you with Shiva.” Square said, keeping a now curious eye on her. She brought the tea over to them and placed it on the table. They had all began to sip at the tea. It was delightful to them and they had asked what it was. She had said it was a local herb that was common in the forest, and just right for delicious tea. She began to make her way towards the door with cups of tea for the angel and the valk. That was when her cloak had gotten caught on a loose floor board. It exposed two little secret’s that she had been hiding under the dusty garment. Down spotted it quickly, but not as quickly as the tea had began to take effect. Shiva had laced the tea with a sleeping powder that she had gotten from a nearby plant. A plant that had nearly eaten her one day.
Square began to nod off, quickly after Down. His head fell face first onto the table making a clunk noise and rattling the bowls. Farrow, being the largest, had the best resistance to it. She had actually gotten up but the powder proved too strong. It overcame her and she dropped to one knee before tumbling down to the floor. Blemish and Jordyn had heard Farrow fall, their intuition had already told them that something was deadly wrong here. When they made there way back towards Shiva’s shack. Shiva had been standing out front with two cups of tea neither Blemish nor Jordyn had any intentions of accepting it.
“We would like to see the rest of our party. There is something we need to discuss with them.” Blemish said, with angelic authority.
“I’m afraid that may be a little out of the question. They are, shall we say, indisposed at the moment.” Shiva’s hinting suggested that the jig may be up. The cups of tea she held began to shake with the quivering of her hands.
“Then you need to stand aside!” Blemish made his way towards Shiva and began to draw his claymore. Shiva dropped the cups of tea and threw her cloak she conjured a wall of ice to surround her. With the flick of her wrist she had manifested an enormous block above Blemish’s head and just as quickly dropped it down on him knocking him unconcious. Leaving Jordyn to face the aged witch on her own.
“Well, a scrawny little valk to contend with, before I can get down to eating something that will actually restore my youth.” Shiva said with a sinister grin, exposing her pointed teeth.
“You’ll soon find I’m not the type that will go down without a fight, you decrepit bag of dust.” Jordyn ignited herself and she was lighting up the forest, drawing whatever attention the Misfits couldn’t afford to have. She threw balls of fire at Shiva, who was easily putting them out with her ice. As the flame met the ice, puffs of steam rose into the air, evanescing nearly as soon as it had formed. This fight was quickly becoming more than Shiva’s old age could handle. She wasn’t as strong as she once was and now she was actually beginning to fear for herself, she knew she had to act quickly.
Shiva clutched her elbow with her left hands and formed an enormous ice club extending from her arms, she swung it at Jordyn batting her to the ground. The ice club didn’t last long, just as it was knocking jordyn out of the air it melted and steam rose from Jordyn’s body. Jordyn wasn’t on the ground long, she was quickly up and in more of a rage than she had previously been. The heat generated by her body was a physical expression of her anger.
“Enough of this! I’m through with you.” Jordyn said, turning up the heat and gliding rapidly around Shiva’s protective igloo. Steam began to fill the inside of the ice shell, and the main course on her menu was beginning to change, she was being cooked. Shiva dropped the barrier, but not before the steam boiled her skin, covering her body with blisters. She writhed in pain and Jordyn watched for only a second, with little hesitation, she touched her thumbs together and her hands were now emanating more heat than the rest of her body. Shiva put her arms up to protect herself, but it was futile. Jordyn let out a line of fire torching Shiva on the spot. Shiva’s screams were short lived and she was reduced to a smoldering pile of burnt flesh, that smelled less than appetizing.

~#~

When Blemish finally gained conciousness, he looked up and saw the rest of the party had been sitting in a semi-circle outside the shack. Jordyn pulled them all out and they shared the same dazed look. He thought he must have been out for some time, considering the rays of light poking through were now coming from the other direction. The first sun was now setting and the half sun made it’s pass. Through the trees behind them he could see eyes peering at them. He at first thought it might have been his imagination. Then, he saw it began to approach the party. It was Shiva’s galatile…Bo….
Blemish picked up his claymore and rushed towards a fight. His unsuspecting friends had no idea what had been stalking them from the woods. Until finally, the galatile made its presence known. It’s roar had been deafening, and the sound pierced Square’s ears, momentarily paralyzing him. Catching sight of what was left of Shiva put the beast into a wild rage. It charged them at the same moment Blemish passed them to engage the monster.
Blemish clashed with the galatile head on. He wasn’t able to penetrate the monster’s scales and he knew, that alone, he was no match for the gargantuan lizard. But, he also knew that he had to distract it long enough for the rest of the party to gather themselves. He just hoped that his maneuvering would buy enough time for them to launch an attack of their own. It was quick with it’s fore legs, several times it’s monstrous hands struck his wings almost knocking him down to the ground.
Farrow drunkily stumbled back to the shack and fetched her hammer. With a weary head she managed to turn and made a charge at the behemoth. Down imbued her hammer with ice as she it swung it back, aiming for one of the galatile‘s hind legs. She swung her hammer at the beast’s knee, dropping it down a peg with the impact of her frozen hammer. The lizard, now injured, whipped it’s tail around aiming it at Farrow. Square’s ears were still ringing, but he took the chance to save his companion. He caught the tail of the galatile and stopped it from sending Farrow flying through the thick forest trees.
Down hands charged and an arc of electricity appeared above his head. He focused his energy, and a bolt shot from the top of the arc into one of the monster’s eyes, melting it in it’s socket. The galatile, screaming in pain and still in shock that it’s tail was being subdued, lashed furiously up and down trying to shake Square off. It succeeded, only to be met with Jordyn, muting it’s deafening roars. Jordyn ignited and shot a line of fire into the roaring monsters mouth burning its tongue and rendering it silent. Smoke billowed from its mouth and nostrils as it began to turn, attempting to flee. Blemish took to a height above the trees and dropped down at full speed driving his claymore deep into the back of the galatile’s long neck, finding the sweet spot in between the scales that protected it. The galatile, now crippled and partially blinded, was in agony and lost the ability to let out a scream to relieve its pain.
The final blow was dealt by Farrow. She raised her hammer above her head, with all her might, brought it down crushing the beast’s skull, it didn’t see it coming. It’s stillness after Farrow’s finishing blow was enough of a sign for the party to know they had won the day. For the first time, they could see how well they worked as a team. They breathed heavily, for a moment, that was the only sound in the now silenced woods, until Down decided to break it. “Well, that’s something I wouldn’t mind doing again. That thing didn’t even stand a chance. I’d say we make a pretty good team, the undefeatable five, led by Down, the magnificent master mage of magic, I kind of like the sound of that!”
“I would have to say that title is a little far fetched, Down. Besides, I still like being known as some a group of misfits.” Blemish puffed.
“Her intentions were to eat us?” Square said aghast at the thought.
“Yes, the four-arms are a species of cannibals. They receive prolonged life by eating their young. Certain other meals will grant them an amount of longevity, as well. But, their own children are, or were rather, their main source of nutrients.” Jordyn grimaced. “They breed at an incredibly quick rate and are always born in pairs, sometimes more. Over time, the council at Schue decided that the four-arms had been much better at maintaining their own population. Had they not fed in this manner, they would have over-run 1derland. They were however, excommunicated and exiled to the farther reaches of 1derland. How Shiva ended up here will forever remain a mystery to us.” Jordyn gave a look of sincere pity after this statement. As if some part of her felt sorry for Shiva. Even the most vile of figments were a part of this dying realm.
They gathered what supplies they could from Shiva’s shack. There wasn’t much to choose from. Farrow did however, take a large amount of gourds from Shiva’s garden. At least Shiva hadn’t been lying about that. It put a large grin on Farrow’s face that stretched from jowl to jowl. She munched at the first gourd she picked and continued picking up more until her satchel was full and nearly overflowing.
Blemish had considered stripping some meat off the galatile. Then he reminded himself of how difficult it had been in the first place to even cut though the scales at full swing. Let alone wasting the energy to get what he has heard of as, ‘sour tasting meat’. He gave the beast one last look and a feeling overcame him, it made him feel like they could conquer anything. A dark thought blipped through his mind, and for a moment he caught the same feeling that landed the giants, of lower Hell, where they are.
The party made their way through the remainder of the forest. They managed to avoid small groups of galatiles that riddled the forest. A single galatile had been one thing. But, a group of them with young, was to be avoided altogether. It was a tense time for the hoofers. They had to stay under cover, hiding in the musty smelling leaves rotting on the forest floor. Luckily for them, with each near brush, they were getting closer to the outskirts of the forest and the animals were getting smaller.
After falling through the quicksand, Down took careful consideration in the steps that he had been making. After his first couple brushes with death, he remained a little more on his toes. Despite joking about being able to handle it on his own, he was happy to have his companions. He now had a new sense of what it meant to be a team. After working together with Farrow he eased up on his immature knocks and digs. After all, she did saved him from the sand and they do make a good team.
Farrow was simply delighted at the amount of gourds that she had harvested from Shiva’s garden. She thought it a bit of an odd thing that something that relied so much on the flesh of it’s own kind, would even consider vegetables. But, it was some of the best gourds she ever had. She thought to herself that when all has been said and done, she would like to come back to stock up on the forest’s nutrient rich soil.
Jordyn and Blemish took to the skies again. They rejoiced together when they had caught sight of the open plains in the distance. Blemish grabbed Jordyn in mid-air, together they looked at poofs of marshmellow clouds surrounding Trickle, as he stood forever in silence atop Mt. Misery. They were nearly at the end of the forest and could see the foothills that carried on forever the endless open plains. Blemish held Jordyn and the thought to kiss her entered his mind. She merely hugged him, the thought would always be nothing more than that, a thought.

~#~

Loch Loa stood in his chambers at the top of the GJ-made palace that rose above Dizzy Dim. The view would stretch clear across the landscape and he could see the city of Dis in the distance. Several of his GJ’s entered and he was less than pleased with what they had to report. He was told how Square was able to escape with the help of a single valkyrie. He glared at them with his yellow eyes and they felt his disapproval in them. They were his own personal guard, they made up a large portion of his army, and they were his favorite little pets. It was all his army, but he favored the GJ’s. He had witnessed how their numbers worked together without any question and they were his and his alone.
He turned around to view Dis through his balcony and collected his thoughts about how to move forward with his next plan. Loch Loa did not anticipate a rescue mission, though he should have expected one. How the valk knew where to find Square eluded him. But, that was done and over with. The only thing left to do was move forward with a new course of action; catch Square, kill the Misfits and storm the gates of Schue. Before the awakening, Loa had sent a scouting team of duckdrills to patrol the perimeter of the mountains. It had initially been difficult for him to find a way past the Loubdres, until something was delivered to him that would decimate the rock men. Being able to poison nearly every land had been a large part of his campaign to destroy 1derland. The last stronghold left was the City of Schue. Once the city has fallen he could move forward and finalize his alliance with The Cranbury King and then, take his physical form. He would be able to use the artificers to make a new realms and grant him access to every corner of the universe, and eventually the heavens.
The artificer Indigoes were the ones Loa was after, very rarely did one make it down here. But, he had enough influence on the outside world to nearly bring this, Seigh Poore to Dizzy Dim. Something happened on the outside that sparked a change in Seigh Poore. He supposed the brats that he bore had something to do with it and eventually they would be Loa’s. Loa knew that without Seigh, they would have no direction on where to take their imaginations. There was another influence for the brats, one that brought Seigh Poore here, and one that kept hold of a part of him on the other side. An outside force that kept Square connected to his Seigh Poore artificer form. Loch Loa thought that was the anomaly valk that must have rescued him from Dizzy Dim.
Loch Loa’s communication with the GJ’s was telepathic. His orders were received instantly by the closest of the them and it was sent down the wire from one to the next. As long as there was a link close enough, the swarm was impossible to sever. It was alway communicated in flashes of pictures that went through their minds. Loa thought of a sight, and the GJ’s would ensure that it would happen. His orders were ‘…to advance on the Black Forest, track down Square and his party. The fastest are to move ahead, double-time, and alert the scouts in the mountains and make ready for an ambush…if you fail to find them in the forest, keep pursuit until they are sandwiched between you and the scouts…there is only one place they have left to go, and only one direction left to take…on the way out, alert my generals…’ The streaming line of thoughts between them was endless, so they could rationalize their own existence as figments.
‘…yes, master…’ A collection of voices responded together, as one. No true authority among them other than Loa’s command. ‘…how many of us do you want to give chase..?’
‘…it’s time to abandon Dizzy Dim…so all of you… Loa now walked the length of to his personal chambers. In it, there was a fire burning and a liquid that seemed to take form without any confinement. His gauntlets rested on his war chest. They had been forged in the levels of Hell that anger resides. The metal there is gold in color and it is harder than any metal located in Hell’s quarries. When near heat, it re-forges and strengthens itself. The only thing hot enough to disrupt its composition are the fires of Hell. He placed his hand over the liquid and it enveloped his body. He and the suit had a symbiotic relationship. The suit itself was a weapon that would protect him on all sides, combined with Loa the reflective surface would cause those that looked into it mad. His Cape was Red and Green and it flowed on it’s own. Acting as a physical form of protection, that would reach out and attack anything that approached him from a blind side. It stretched out to be twice the size of Loa and it seemed to surround him and move, as he moved, flowing and adding to the confusion that he would entice, even without the added effect of the living armor. His breast plate and helmet were crafted of the same material as his gauntlets, and completed the look of a ram. The helmet fit snugly over his head, the look was intimidating.
He now ruled the realm of imagination. The time had come to complete the ruination of this realm and move on to the realm of reality. The time for his awaking was at hand. The GJ’s moved hastily through the hallways of the upper levels in Dim. The swarm containing the swiftest GJ’s detatched towards ther exit. The remaining GJ’s made their way through the labryinth colony. They flooded the corridors, doubling and tripling their numbers with great speed. When they reached the entrance of the lower levels of Dim, where most had resided, the now countless number of GJ’s had divided themselves through-out the separate corridors. And began to assemble the war swarm at the entrance of Dim.

~#~

Before the GJ’s stood Loa’s Generals: Ka Dov, Rob Boun and Weeb Nire.
Ka Dov, a brilliant mastermind, stood taller than the other two generals and wore a silver armor forged from valkyrie wings and a smaller amount of the liquid armor that Loa donned. His eyes were clear and the reflection you would catch if you looked into them dwarfed that of his flashing armor. If someone were to look into them, they would be lost in an almost reflective distance, that would reverberate in their mind and drown out any sense of reason that would combat it. Ka Dov was the most intelligent of the three. His assumed over the duckdrill empire of 1derland, as well as, the more dignified of Dis’s shade residents.
Rob Boun had a much darker appearance about him and he didn’t wear armor. He wore a leather poncho and a cowboy hat. He was an average height, human figure. His skin was the spray on tan color of orange and a purple star shape was a type of birthmark on his face. A sweet odor permeated from him that was intoxicating enough to make weaker, less aware individuals drowsy. Boun was more prone to violence than his fellow generals. One of his favorite pastimes was taking out these feelings of rage on whatever GJ happened to be within his reach. The weapon he adorned was powerful and emited blasts of deafening sound, accompanied by turbulant vibrating known to knock larger animals from flight. It dropped groups of defending villagers to their knees in sickness and pain. His control was over that of the distance fighters and the cavalry. He was ruthless and mean in his tactics. Combined with Ka Dov’s brilliance, they have brought down entire cities within a day.
Of the three, Weeb Nire was the oddest looking figment. He had two heads that would finish each others sentences. One had sharp teeth and fancied a meatier diet, The other was more likely to indulge in fruits and lighter foods. Both heads carried themselves with a deceptive sluggishness that was not to be underestimated. Their combined brains allowed them control over the covert ops of Loa’s campaign. Weeb Nire’s a cephalopod, his color a mixture of dark red and amber that spirals down his body. The armor he wore was very light chain mail and bracers. He was extremely fast despite his sluggish look, and the armor complimented his movement.
“Word through Dim is that you filth failed on your mission to bring back the head of Square. What is it that Loa sees in you piteous fools that even makes him want to keep you around? You’re all disgusting even for this place, in my opinion.” Ka Dov despised the unrefined GJ’s. He couldn’t stand their look, nor their smell. If it had been up to him, they would all have been given a washing and a suit much more fitting of his army. However, Ka Dov was humbled with the control he had been given over the higher powers of Loa’s army. The GJ’s took only direct orders from Loa. Mostly they were left to their own sense of ordered chaos in the depths below Dim. Ordered chaos was how they work. Devotion to Loa was what they desired.
“What is it you’ve come here for jimmie? Make it quick. The sight of you does nothing but make me angry, and you’re smell is nauseating.” He knew the GJ couldn’t respond and Rob Boun already had it in his head that this GJ wasn’t making it out of the room. He was particularly angered at even the thought of them walking around in the tunnels below. He hated them, more, he hated the thought that there was something that he felt was being kept from him. Rob Boun removed his hat and walked toward the GJ. In one swift movement he gripped the GJ by the neck. He turned it’s head to one side, then the other. He proceeded to clench his hands together and push his thumbs through the GJ’s throat. He dropped the GJ and it’s body writhed for air while it suffocated. It’s empty eyes began bulging from it’s black head, but an expressionless look remained on the GJ’s face. Finally, the GJ gave up the fight for life and succumbed to it’s fate.
“I swear, I truly do not understand what Loa sees in those things.” Ka Dov said with his nose turned to the air.
“I think maybe he likes to beat them up just as much as I do. They never fight back and it just feels so, so rewarding to have something to kick around.” Rob Boun said smiling a psycho’s smile and thinking for a moment that Loa had a much more perverted reason for adoring the GJ’s. He stepped over the corpse and made his way with Ka’Dov down the hall, and up to Loa’s quarters.
The Generals entered Loa’s quarters and he stood at the end of his long table, fully armored. The room itself was hypnotic, both beautiful and ugly. Loa’s jaundice colored eyes peered over at Boun. Loa was now ready to show them his largest and most dependable secret. His own personal flood that he was about to unleash into the forest and clear the initial path for them.
“Follow me my generals, I have something I would like you to witness. But first, Boun! Know this, after what you are about to witness you will not touch another of my GJ’s. If you do, I will dispose of you in the manner that I see fit.” Boun’s face flushed with fear for a second, the dark starfish on his face turned yellow reflecting his cowardice, then back to submissive agreement. They followed Loa to his chamber and over to the other side of Dim‘s highest tower,and out onto the balcony. Below them, they saw something that gave full understanding of what it is that Loa saw in the GJ’s. A force so large had assembled in front of Dizzy Dim. All in the amount of time that it took for the generals to make their way up one flight of stairs and two hallways into Loa’s quarters.
“I had no idea that is/what existed below us.” Weeb Nire’s heads spoke in awe.
“Yes, Weeb Nire, there is no doubt that we all have our little secrets. I would expect you, leader of the Raven Elite and their dark tactics, would be the first to recognize this.” Loa said to his general, and turned his attention toward Ka Dov. “After seeing this Ka Dov, I hope that you have managed to find a new formed respect for my, what is it you call them…filth…?” Loa turned and walked out to the end of the balcony. The swarm of GJ’s looked up at him. Loa raised his right hand above his left shoulder and waved it across the front of his body. Without any hesitation the GJ’s turned and made their way through the dark lands of Limbo. Vanishing into the darkness.
“Indeed sir, that is impressive. I now have a new sense of respect for these, creatures. What is it, exactly, that you have them doing?” Ka Dov’s thick voice asked, as his clear eyes widened at the departing swarm of GJ’s.
“I instructed them to hunt and pursue Square and his companions. The fastest of my GJ’s are to press through the forest and make way towards the mountains, to alert your duckdrills of the parties arrival. When they do arrive, they are to be ambushed. All the while, my GJ’s will be approaching swiftly from behind. There is a duel effect going on, as the mass of GJ’s press through the forest they will flush and cut down any living thing that is in their path. Their march will spread miles across the forest and give our shades and army of cadavers to possess, uninterrupted.” Loa explained.
“Yes, but/even still. There is the forest/ itself to contend with. How is it we are to get/the army through that. It is thick/and growing every day. Even if there is nothing/to contend with. We still have the/forest itself against us. It is it’s own/defense mechanism.” Weeb Nire’s gurgling voice suggested.
“When the shade forces are assembled, my plan for the Black Forest will be revealed, Weeb Nire. The three of you gather the forces you have in Dis. That faction of the army is to be ready to move as soon as possible. Send out correspondence with whatever duckdrills you have under your allegience, Ka Dov. Send them to the outskirts of 1derland and to every corner beyond that. We are to rally at the foothills of Mount Misery, in a weeks time.”
“A WEEK! Forgive me for saying, my liege, but that’s absurd. It’s at least a months travel through that forest, with a force so large. Even if it could be cut down, it would still take up an enormous amount of time.” Ka Dov said.
“Just do as I say, Ka Dov. I wouldn’t think to disappoint you my magnificent looking friend. Just wait patiently and you will see.” Loa turned and looked directly into Ka Dov’s eyes with a sinister, I know something you don’t know, look. Ka Dov had his own eyes of manipulation. But, Loa could stretch much deeper into even the reflective eyes of Ka Dov.
“What of the Loubdre’s once we reach Mt. Misery? How is it you plan to go through them? Or is the journey going to be through the wastelands on either side?” Boun asked curiously. Being in charge of the cavalry, one of his main objectives was that the animals always be at their strongest. This was not the other castles that they had subdued, this was not a small village in the outskirts of nowhere, This was Schue.
The Raven Elite could make their way through the mountains as well as the duckdrills could fly over them. But, the mounted creatures were of Boun’s concern. The wastelands were harder grounds than the Black Forest. The steed each of the generals and Loa mounted had been suited for desolation. But the hounds of Dis were another thing to consider. The mountain pass would be the best route to take on foot. But, the Loubdres remained a neutral faction and would not allow any number so large to pass through, from either side of the mountain chain.
“The Loubdres will be handled when the time comes, Weeb Nire has seen to that. His black-ops were successful in planting the correct chemicals in the proper proportions, just where they need to be.” Loa stated. Weeb Nire’s heads smiled, suggesting satisfaction and pride. His bloodshot eyes lit up and, for a moment, he didn’t look tired. It had, however, been a short lived look of enthusiasm. “Now that our course has been laid out before us, assemble your troops. The time for revelation to unfold is close at hand. Now GO!” Loa ordered. The three generals bowed and made their way out of Loa’s Tower. They were all eager to get underway. They had questions, but from past experiences they all learned that it was best when Loa left a little for them to ponder. They separated just as the GJ’s had. Though, they moved at a much slower pace.

~#~

The music of the Muse entered the Misfits ears as they walked onto the open plains. Scattered across the land were large willow trees that provided ample amounts of shade from the full sun. The low hung half sun of 1derland made it’s way towards the horizon. With the light it provided Square witnessed, for the first time, the indigo skies that 1derland prided itself on. The storm clouds in the distance where both ominous and beautiful. This was in fact, a paradise. Square reveled in the thought that he created this as another being, in another realm. This was his imagination brought to life, it was the imagination of others, as well. What had been explained to him was that without the Muse’s voice, he would not have been able to bring this world into existence. The voice he heard from the clouds was both haunting and beautiful.
“Unless my ears deceive me, that is a new song, how is it there is a new song from the Muse, Farrow?” Down asked. But, before she had a chance to answer, Square explained it for him.
“It must mean that there is a new artificer on the other side. I’m getting bits and pieces of things from the realm of reality. I can feel energy from whomever that’s decided to keep the same Muse. It’s in the mind of the new artificer, it’s as if they had some connection with me that I don’t yet recall.” He said, looking up into the sky.
“Hey, there may be some way to make contact, you managed to get here. I mean, there is always some possibility of anything happening. Could you imagine if the artificer was actually aware of what they were doing? There have been hard artificers and easy artificers. You can always tell when there is a new one, because the Muse changes from one to another. Usually, the artificer doesn’t end up here you happened to be a bit of an anomaly, Square. The fact that your sudden disappearance from that realm into this one without a replacement artificer has me stumped. The Muse cannot hold this world together on it’s own. 1derland would begin it’s own downward spiral without even needing Loch Loa to push it along. Did you perhaps have a child over there, Square?” Down’s knowledge spans far beyond his age, he is as insightful as he is cocky.
“My memory hasn’t fully returned, so I couldn’t say for certain. The last thing I recall feeling from reality is, well…heroic, for lack of a better word. I remember other songs from the Muse, too. I remember dark times, I was absent for quite some time there. It was dismal for me, because I knew that I didn’t belong on that side. I remember trying hard seeking was to escape here, but I would always be pulled back. I remember the attempts to knock myself out, too vanish from the people around me. I remember that no matter where I went, I would constantly feel out of place. Never having a feeling of belonging anywhere. It was difficult for me to accept that I would never be able to go anywhere else but there. I remember towards the end, a feeling of hope that someone there actually did begin to understand what I was. But then, I was gone. Now…here I am….” Square said, he sounded as if there was an aspect of reality that he missed, and that he was frustrated about being unable to put his finger on what that was.
“Perhaps it’s better that way, my lord. If you always felt that way on the other side then maybe you do belong here in 1derland. You are, to my knowledge, the first artificer to come here. But, at the same time, you are going to have questions to answer as to why and how you created Loch Loa. The council at Schue will expect you to have all your recollections. They don’t yet know of your existence. When we set out on this quest our peers thought it a fools quest and a false prophecy. I myself am considered a bit of an outsider, even in this land. Blemish, Down and Farrow have been my most faithful companions for most of my existence here. Blemish was the one that found me when I was brought into this world. My memories came back slowly, but now I remember them fully. I was with you some time ago on the other side, my lord. Part of me stayed with you to keep the world we made, alive. Now, you are here with us, and I hope that everything comes back to you.” Jordyn said.
“If that’s so Jordyn, then I would prefer it if you called me by my name. That would also suggest that you are a partial artificer of this world. You connected with me on the other side. That, in turn, means that over there I would not have been able to create this world without you being a part of me.”
“I suppose, I never really looked at it from that perspective. I just answered to your imagination bringing me into existence. I am glad that you chose to keep me this way. I hope to be your greatest ally in your fight against Loch Loa. Well, for as long as I can. As far as your feeling of loneliness in the other world, I can relate. I am the only valk in 1derland.” Jordyn said sulkily.
“You were my sister, weren’t you?” Square asked abruptly.
“Yes! Yes I was, Square! I was lost to you when we were both little. I wanted to tell you for so long, but I thought it better that you see it for yourself. Do you remember my name?” Jordyn said clapping her hands together and spinning in the air.
“It was Darling. But that is confusing to me, because I have two separate memories of someone with the same name. Why do you think that is?” Square asked, hoping for insight.
“Perhaps you have a daughter after all, and she inherited your ability to create. She may be the only thing on that side keeping 1derland from crumbling. If that’s true, then there is hope for this realm. All we need to do is defeat Loch Loa. He must be on his way to Schue by now. But, he will have the forest to contend with, and that will buy us some time.” Jordyn said, pointing back to the Black Forest.
The cool air from the oncoming storm was enough to put the memories of the Black Forest behind them. In the distance they could see the top of Mt. Misery where the Loubdres resided. The colors of green and gold reflecting off the sea of grass, stretched as far as the eye could see. The Muse’s voice would come through the clouds from time to time. Sometimes, her voice would be strong and enforcing. Other times, she would sing slow, sad songs, Square was delighted to hear this. It helped provoke his memories of where he came from. When the storm finally did begin its light show show, the party took refuge under a willow tree. They sat around it’s enormous trunk and just took in the sweet fresh rain that dripped down from its weeping bows. They listened to the Muse through the clouds. The instruments in the background would coincide with the thunder and flashes of lightning from the storm, that was growing in strength across the plains.
Jordyn and Blemish took notice that the the willow tree was unable to hold back the amount of falling rain. They stood across one another as the party sat. They spread their wings and joined them over the heads of the rest of the party creating a canopy that kept them dry until the storm had slowed.
The sky was full of thunderheads, and the Muse was singing, echoing through the retreating storm clouds. Blemish took to the skies to keep a patrol. Jordyn chose to stay on the ground. Her wings may have attracted too much of the remaining lightning, this happened to be one drawback of having metallic wings. The animals of the plains were everywhere, they varied from smaller deer like creatures with six legs to animals much larger than what Square referred to as an elephant. The plains were teeming with predators, as well. When night fell they were thankful to have Down’s ability to create fire with the bare minimum. Had it not been for that, they might have been taken in the night by any number of various creatures that roamed the land. Farrow was especially susceptible to an attack. Though she wouldn’t have gone down as easily as some of her non-speaking relatives in the realm of reality.
One overcast day, Blemish caught sight of duckdrills above him while he patrolled the skies, the creatures were enormous. They weren’t predatory, but they were about the nastiest things to come across while flying. They had no inclination to share the skies with anything else that flew. Their size meant that they could bully anything that they chose. He took note of the direction they were coming and realized that they could only have been sent from Dim. Nothing else existed in that direction. He thought perhaps to double back and see if they were in any danger of being followed. But he already knew the answer to that.
Despite the tense feeling that was beginning to diminish, the party happened to slow their pace as they crossed the plains. Jordyn and Blemish did most of the hunting as the smaller animals were easier to pick off from above. Farrow would simply indulge in a grass salad. It wasn’t her first (or favorite) choice of food. But she gobbled down the last of her gourds she had, and the grass was abundant and nourishing, though bland. They followed the river that flowed from the falls of Mt. Misery. It had a sweet taste to it and most importantly, it was fresh. That was a blessing considering most of the water sources had been fouled by Loch Loa.
Square’s memory continued to return bit by bit. He and Jordyn would talk about his life after she was gone. About how she had no idea what had happened to their parents. If they had gone upwards with the gods, or had been sentenced to an eternity in Hell. Had they been like both of them growing up? They felt they would never get the answer to that. Square had remembered his name. He remembered how he was able to lift things at will with his mind, and found it funny that in a land of make-believe, he couldn’t. He remembered imagining the things in this world that he was now bearing witness to. How songs had inspired him to create figments. How certain things in his life in reality affected the world of 1derland. He remembered destroying things, and having dreams about 1derland so vivid, that he could almost reach out and bring it back with him.
He was able to remember his life better here than when he would look back on it as Seigh Poore. He thought how funny it was that even being face to face with things in reality, he would constantly find himself lost. Now, the memories of what he once was were clearer now than they had been when he was living through them. He thought to himself that at some point, this all had to make sense. That there was a loop that needed to be completed, and that he was perhaps the missing fragment.

~#~

Knowing ahead of time that the GJ’s would clear out any resistance the animals of the Black Forest may have presented. There was a great deal of ease that Loa had felt about the march. He knew it was one of the situations where everything was going to fall into place, because that is the way that he had intended it to be.
Loch Loa’s 1derland forces gathered in front of Dim. From behind the gates of Dis; from the deeper levels of Hell, Loa’s shade army gathered. In front of Dizzy Dim, the willing shades were eager to fill the souls of the realm where they once lived. The whole army was, in fact, Loch Loa‘s. Breaking them down among the generals made it easier to put his plans into effect. At any given moment though, he could take control of the army and any part of it. He had made that known before even bringing the generals into power. Loa had trusted them enough to know that he could control the generals, as well. So, if they decided to get ideas of betrayal into their mind, Loch Loa would show them a side of him that they had yet to bear witness to. That has not happened. But it was always on the back of Loa’s mind. He didn’t choose them as horsemen because they were known for their loyalty.
“Well now, my liege.” Ka Dov drew this out, as if to condescend in some way. “I know that getting underway is nearly at hand. But, would you mind telling me how it is we are to move this massive force through the forest? If it is at the wave of your hand, as you ordered the GJ’s, then I should wonder as to why we would even need an army to take Schue.”
“My magnificent friend, all will be revealed when we reach the forest. Until then, just remain patient. As I said earlier. I should hate to disappoint someone as…bright and shiny as you.” Loa retorted.
Loa’s army marched across Limbo just as the GJ’s had. Though, it was a slower process. The duckdrills had previously flown overhead and carried messengers that would be dropped off at the outskirts of 1derland. The four arms that decided to take up arms with Loa, the banshees that resided in the dunes of the desert were alerted as well. Outlander barbarians, cyclopses and mutants that resided in the wastelands were all alerted. Someone had sounded the Trumpet of war, that someone was Loch Loa. Those that were loyal united with Loa’s army of shades and were already preparing to accompany Loa on his war-path. Those that were not, were left behind as food for the wild animals. This world was to be abandoned when Schue was taken. Thus, having no real concern for anything that did not take up arms.
The army reached the edge of the Black Forest and assembled in a uniformed fashion along the outskirts of its dark wood. “Well, sire. We are here. I am eager to see your plan with this. The size of our army is long as much as it is wide. How is it that you plan to get it through?” Ka Dov asked eagerly. Loch Loa strode forward on his pale horse (recently acquired from Death itself) and rose into the air. The horse and Loa had become one, much like the armor he wore. And so began his pandering.
“Former residents of Dis. Beyond that forest is the next chapter in your existence. We will meet resistance at Schue. We will not relent until it is ours and the heads of our enemies have been taken. Then, you shades, will find your new existence in the souls of the next world. Your dismal existence in Dis has come to an end. Your previous ruler has yet to awaken. Still sleeping in the lake Lucifer stays frozen, long would you have burned and writhed in the miserable depths of Dis, had it not been for my arrival. You that have chosen to follow me, have not abandoned all hope. Those that stayed and remained loyal to the fallen may keep there dwellings in the confines of their own fiery, frozen existence. May the worms, hounds and foul demon creatures plague their minds and feast over and over again on their never-ending flesh!” Roars of approval rose from the former denizens of Dis. Combined with the forces of 1derland they would be unstoppable.
“The Black Forest acts as a barrier between us, and the realm of imagination known as 1derland. Now behold, my rabble of lost souls. Through this forest you will unite with the heralds I have claimed upon that land. You will unite and wreak havoc in the city of Schue. None will stand in the way of the alliance between you once lost souls and the figment creatures that chose to take up arms with us, to escape their rotting world. Do not be overwhelmed by the thickness of the forest. For I have freed the levelers of lands! I, Loch Loa, have taken part in a separate journey to the lowest levels of Hell, and have freed the giants! Nimrod! Ephialtes! Antaeus! Briarius! Tityos! Typhon! Come forth with the rest of your bretheren and clear a path. You will be the breakers of the limbs of this forest. You will be the liberators of those that are imprisoned by mere twigs beneath your colossal might.” The army roared again. But even the thunderous applause became drowned out by the footfalls of the giants. Nimrod led the giants from the lowest levels of Hell, through the plains of Limbo, where the remaining shades once again felt fear.
As they got closer, their steps shook the ground, a hundred of the treacherous giants arrived. Nimrod halted them and they paid homage to their new found savior. Once, a betrayer of his own god and sentenced to the lowest circles of Hell for his treachery, Nimrod now betrayed Lucifer. Even in his time of solitude, he still felt nothing for his former god, and would gladly like to pay him a visit. Perhaps, he and his brethren could storm Olympus again and reign as new gods in their former world.
Loa’s generals were astonished to see this. They were speechless, and seething with anticipation. Now it made sense as to how quickly they would get through the forest. The giants, fueled by furious revenge, would easily level it. Leaving nothing to stand in the way of open fields and beasts left for the shades to possess.
“My savior, my brethren and I answer your call.” Nimrod’s voice bellowed.
“How kind of you all to make it. I know you and you’re brothers are eager, Nimrod. So, I wont keep you waiting, it’s very self explanatory.” Loa’s voice dropped to a darkness that his generals had never heard. They caught a glimpse of why he truly is, who he is, as he said… “Have at it….gentlemen.” The giants wasted no time in their assault on the Black Forest. They panned out ripping trees from the ground as if they were weeds in a garden. They tossed them to the side clearing an area so wide that the army would easily be able to walk through.
“Doubt me again, Ka Dov, and I’ll be sure to cast you into oblivion, where remembering is all you will ever have.” This shook Ka Dov more for the fact that he fed on memories. Too much would cause him to get overly fat, and he simply could not have that. He was on a strict diet of memories from the genius kind. Too many memories and Ka Dov would be overwhelmed out of existence. “Now that we have a path in front of us, let us follow it.” Loa said smiling at ka Dov.
The giants were making such headway that they would be through to the plains even days before the army would get there. It was good in a number of ways. But, Ka Dov and Rob Boun were beginning to wonder what Loa had in store when they reached the Loubdres. When Weeb Nire was approached about it, he used the same tactic as Loa. Just be patient was his response.

~#~