Invasion, Part 16 - In Reflection

Jul 11th, 2020
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  1. <DM> *LAST TIME ON ZURPG - Corsava Edition*
  2. <DM> *Welcome to the Cursed Temple! In attempting to reunite with Nabooru and the others, you landed yourself in the origin of Koume & Kotake's dark powers, where you learned (through their master expositioning powers) about the Lens of Truth, the Gerudo's women-only curse, their buried history. And about Ganondorf, an actual "true son" of Koume & Kotake. But it came with a cost...
  3. <DM> *Only through the dark powers gained through the suffering of their own were the two able to conceive a true son. And his powers were passed onto you, giving you the Dark Mark, with the power to absorb the curses of the Gerudo. However, it would cause a great deal of suffering. In the end, you decided to throw the two witches for a loop with an emotional, yet logical, speech. So what if the Gerudo remain women-only? Who cares?
  4. <DM> *You then used your powers to remove the madness from Ahlma, who was still comatose. You succeeded, but unfortunately, the spirit of Destra, who was residing inside you, passed on to save Ahlma. And worse yet, as you found out...
  5. <DM> *The Dark Mark wasn't the thing making you seemingly immune to its madness. It was the light of Destra, the sister of Ganondorf.
  6. <DM> *Welcome to Majora's Madness.
  8. <DM> *You emerge from the eternal Loading Screen with distorted laughter echoing from one ear to the other, giving you all sorts of creepypasta ASMR. You try to ignore it, though as you hug Ahlma, you see little spiders creeping and crawling up her from the sand.
  9. <DM> [Ahlma]: Hmm? Is something wrong?
  10. <Corsava> [puts my hand on my head] I...I think I'm having some kind of hallucinations.
  11. <DM> [Ahlma]: I see.
  12. <DM> *She doesn't return the hug, but she does place a hand on your shoulder, staring back into your eyes with Gerudo ferocity. For a moment, the spiders seem to go dormant as she speaks.
  13. <DM> [Ahlma]: Stay strong, Corsava. You're still our Queen, and we need to get out of this place alive.
  14. <Corsava> [focuses on her eyes] You're right. I've just...not experienced this before. It's alarming.
  15. <DM> [Ahlma]: I'm sure it's nothing you can't figure out.
  16. * Corsava nods to herself.
  17. <Corsava> Right.
  18. <DM> *You try to reassure yourself, but looking down at her hand, her skin starts burning irrationally, even without a flame. It spreads rapidly from her hand back to her arm, and you feel that same burning sensation in the Dark Mark that's spreading across your own arm.
  19. <DM> *From behind Ahlma, the Chesire grin of the ever-so-Happy Mask Man appears, creeping slowly over her shoulder.
  20. * Corsava takes a deep breath and activates my sol mask and orb, hoping to dispel the illusions
  21. <DM> *Your Sol Mask pushes the Mask Man's face back into the darkness, but you can still see him smiling from one end of his Joker mouth to the other, just barely illuminated by the Sol Orb.
  22. <Corsava> [takes a deep breath and attempts to walk through him]
  23. <DM> *He opens his mouth to speak, but you don't anything. He pauses, then puts a single finger to his lips, ushering a "shh" motion as you pass through him. As you do, the hairs on the back of the neck are slightly brushed by the wind of his hush.
  24. <DM> *but you don't hear anything
  25. <Corsava> [me turns to Ahlma] I think I'll be able to manage.
  26. <DM> *You hear the rattling of chains, and in the rest of the room, the dead Gerudo begin to stand up once more, tripping and strangulating themselves over their own chains as they try to zombie over to you.
  27. <DM> *On the other side of them at the far end of the room, you can see the light of an open door.
  28. <DM> [Koume]: What are you just standing around for? Help them, Corsava.
  29. <DM> [Kotake]: You need their fleeeeesh, wear it on your skin, yes, yes!
  30. <Corsava> I've run into an issue on that front, actually. It seems that I've used up the last of my resistance to madness.
  31. <Corsava> I've begun to hallucinate.
  32. <DM> *Koume and Kotake continue to whirl around in the air, screeching at the top of their lungs at the excitement of being freeeeee!
  33. <DM> *As you say this, though, you notice a momentary lapse, where they pause, and you see them saying something, but all you hear is their screeching and the moaning of the dead around you.
  34. <DM> [Ahlma]: Corsava? Corsava, can you hear me still?
  35. <Corsava> [turns to Ahlma] That depends, were you talking before that last question?
  36. <DM> *Through all of this, it seems you can still hear Ahlma, though each time you look at her, some malformity has taken ahold of her, eating away at her. Your Sol Orb only seems to be making the visions more well-lit.
  37. <DM> [Ahlma]: No, it's just that those witches were trying to get ahold of you, and it looked like you couldn't hear them.
  38. <Corsava> I keep having these...I don't know what to call them...slips? Where everything seems to fade.
  39. <DM> *Suddenly, everything around you fades to darkness, leaving you the sole light in the dark. All the sound just gets sucked right out of the air, and you can only feel the sand beneath you, very steadily climbing up your legs.
  40. <DM> *A single light appears on the other side, where you saw the light from the hallway.
  41. <Corsava> [slowly makes my way toward the light]
  42. <DM> *You move closer to the light, but as you do, you feel as if the sand itself is grabbing at you, pulling you into the abyss.
  43. <Corsava> [struggles against it, trying my hardest to make it toward the light]
  44. <DM> *You force yourself through it, breaking free of the sand. You're about to reach the other side when you feel a crunch beneath your foot.
  45. <Corsava> Ahlma, what did I just step into? I heard a crunching sound.
  46. <DM> *All at once, the sounds of yelling and screaming return, and there's something gooey on your foot.
  47. <DM> [Ahlma]: Umm... Corsava... Why are you stepping through the skeletons?
  48. <DM> [Ahlma]: Aren't those our ancestors?
  49. <Corsava> "As I said, I'm not really in full possession of my senses, and I don't see them."
  50. <Corsava> "I'm trying to get to the door."
  51. <DM> [Koume]: Oh, you very well can see them.
  52. <DM> [Kotake]: You only need to look down.
  53. <DM> [Koume]: Look down, down at the consequences your actions have bestowed!
  54. <DM> [Kotake]: Or run away, free yourself of the responsibility, kyeh kyeh kyeh!
  55. <Corsava> "I'm not entirely sure I trust my senses." [looks down]
  56. <DM> *You look down, and you're stepping on the head of a Gerudo, crushing deeper into her skull as blood drenches your toes. She mutters back at you...
  57. <DM> [Gerudo]: What did I do to deserve this?
  58. <DM> [Gerudo]: Please stop. It hurts.
  59. <DM> [Gerudo]: It hurts.
  60. * Corsava steps off of the corpse
  61. <DM> *You shove past it, though as you get yourself to the hallway, you can still hear her muttering "It hurts", over and over in the back of your mind...
  62. <DM> [Ahlma]: Here, let me guide you instead.
  63. <DM> *You feel Ahlma's presence nearby. Very close, though you can't see her anymore.
  64. <DM> [Ahlma]: Hold your hand out.
  65. <Corsava> "I would appreciate that." [holds out my hand]
  66. <DM> *There's a pause, then some sandy, sinky footsteps before you feel someone grabbing your hand. Though you can't see her, you realize this is the first time you've actually held her hand. It's a bit coarse, feeling the callouses of her warrior hands, but it's warm, pulling you away from the hallucinations... for now.
  67. <DM> *The invisible lady slowly leads you out of the madhouse and into the hallway. Unlike the previous room, the sandstone walls here are not falling apart, you can feel the actual smoothed stones on the floor (instead of infinite sand), and it's nicely lit up by a pair of torches.
  68. <Corsava> [allows myself into a bit of a lull as she guides me, taking stock of my abilities, and how many of them rely on my senses...or with the use of madness, uncomfortable with the answer.]
  69. <DM> *The intensity of the previous room fades away, leaving just the crackling of the fire to soothe your ears and the reassuring feeling of Ahlma leading you forwards, step by step.
  70. <DM> *With this moment of quiet, you're able to take stock of your abilities decently.
  71. <DM> [Ahlma]: There, is that better?
  72. <Corsava> [takes a heavy sigh] Yes...I believe so.
  73. <DM> [Ahlma]: Good, that's good to hear.
  74. <DM> *For once, you actually hear Ahlma in a calm, casual manner, not screaming at the top of her lungs and rushing headfirst into battle.
  75. <Corsava> Well, there's going to be a lot of doubt about my ability to lead effectively now..
  76. <DM> *Halfway across, she suddenly stops and turns to look at the wall.
  77. <DM> [Ahlma]: That's some pretty old history...
  78. <DM> *Between the two torches, you can see some old inscriptions. You see the Lens of Truth hovering above an altar with the Eye of Truth emblem. Surrounding it seem to be tens of Gerudo surrounding it, worshipping the cursed item.
  79. <Corsava> [examines the inscriptions] Crazy it's still preserved...
  80. <DM> [Ahlma]: It's a dark part of Gerudo history. Though many of us try to forget it, it's not something that'll just go away, unfortunately.
  81. <DM> *You start to feel something creeping across you. That tightening you feel from the Dark Mark slowly weaves its way up your shoulder and through your chest. You start to have trouble breathing, and you notice the mark snake towards your other arm, towards where your hand is holding Ahlma's hand, who's still invisible to you, even in this well-lit room.
  82. <Corsava> [sighs] I've got the lens on me. I wish there was a way to just put it back."
  83. <Corsava> [looks down at my hand and pulls it away, into my pocket if I can]
  84. <DM> (which hand, the one holding Ahlma, or the one with the Dark Mark?)
  85. <Corsava> (the one with the Mark)
  86. <DM> *You pull your hand to your pocket, but that tightening sensation in your chest only worsens. The Dark Mark seems to have slipped from one arm to the other. It splits off your left arm, readying itself to strike at Ahlma!
  87. <Corsava> "Wha-"
  88. * Corsava takes my hand out of my pocket and looks at it
  89. <DM> *You look at your right hand, and the Dark Mark appears to be gone. There's a moment of euphoria as you witness, for the first time in quite a while, your right hand, without any markings.
  90. <Corsava> "I...didn't think it could do that."
  91. <DM> *Though, the grip within your chest gets worse, and you feel yourself unable to breathe, as if there was a pipe in your lungs. Around you, the torchflames gradually suffocate, pulling the room into a midnight abyss of darkness.
  92. <Corsava> "I suppose if it comes down to it, I could always remove the hand with the mark..."
  93. <Corsava> "That's not a healthy, rational decision...
  94. <DM> [Ahlma]: Wait, what?
  95. <Corsava> Just...weighing my options.
  96. <DM> *For a moment, you see Ahlma turn around, fully visible, before vanishing once again.
  97. <DM> *You feel another hand softly grip your left hand, cradling it.
  98. <DM> [Ahlma]: I don't think that's necessary. Besides, that mark doesn't seem to be there anymore.
  99. <Corsava> Wait...that part isn't a hallucination?
  100. <DM> *Whatever you felt wrapping around your lungs frees itself, and with Ahlma invisible, you see your left hand has completely blackened with the Dark Mark. Though, she probably can't see it, seeing as her hands are covering it entirely.
  101. <Corsava> "Why are you invisible? Are you doing that on purpose?"
  102. <DM> [Ahlma]: What are you talking about? I'm right here in front of you.
  103. <DM> *You see a snakehead of pure darkness separate itself from the mark, moving to wrap around Ahlma's hands instead.
  104. * Corsava jerks my hand away "Don't hurt her!"
  105. <DM> *At once, the lights go out, and she becomes visible, though... it's not Ahlma that's in front of you, standing in this complete darkness, but the scorned look of a certain blue-skinned Queen...
  106. <Corsava> "Oh shit..."
  107. <DM> [Midna]: Don't hurt her? You have no right to be saying that, after what you did to me.
  108. <DM> [Midna]: You betrayed our trust. You betrayed me.
  109. <Corsava> I didn't *do* anything to you!
  110. <Corsava> I was betrayed by the same person immediately after, by the way. We were *both* tricked.
  111. <DM> [Midna]: Hmph. It's only fitting, staying silent as you knew someone else was under Medlora's face.
  112. <Corsava> I'm still not 100% clear on who she was.
  113. <DM> [Midna]: How does it feel, lying to my face?
  114. <Corsava> I understand now that she meant a lot to you, but I didn't even know that she was a real *person* at the time.
  115. <Corsava> I thought she was just a made up alias, used to rise in the ranks of your city.
  116. <DM> [Midna]: So all that time that you tried to "love me". You never once respected my feelings.
  117. <Corsava> How could I have? Nobody had ever done that for me. I'd certainly never-
  118. <Corsava> [sighs] You're not really there. This argument isn't really happening."
  119. <DM> [Midna]: You didn't even try to get to know me. If you had, maybe you would've known how I felt about-!
  120. <Corsava> "I just feel guilty that I was a part of that situation and I'm hallucinating about it."
  121. <DM> *There's a long pause as her maroon eyes stare back into your soul. She slowly turns away.
  122. <DM> [Midna]: So be it. Run from your thoughts. Run from your mistakes.
  123. <Corsava> That's the common thread here, isn't it? My guilt? The things I've done that I can see in a different light now? My fears, dreams, and the people I care about.
  124. <Corsava> Well, I'd rather it was you than someone else. I already know how this ended.
  125. <DM> *You see her turn her head to side, still not responding. She stalls there a moment before turning back away from you, then walking forward, gradually dissipating into the darkness.
  126. <DM> [Midna]: As long as you recognize and don't forget it. Should you fail to face your past, you will fail as a Queen. Never forget.
  127. <Corsava> Huh?
  128. <DM> *She fades away, and the darkness lifts back up, revealing a now visible Ahlma, who's giving you a quizzical look back at you.
  129. <Corsava> How much of this am I even saying? How much is in my head?
  130. <DM> [Ahlma]: You think... I'm a made-up alias?
  131. <Corsava> "What?"
  132. <DM> [Ahlma]: Am I not a *real person* to you?
  133. <Corsava> "No, I was arguing with someone named Midna. She's not re- wait, this is another hallucination isn't it?"
  134. <Corsava> "I get it, I'm afraid of hurting your feelings out of my ignorance or by accident due to these hallucinations, and now I'm hallucinating that outcome.
  135. <Corsava> "But that...was out loud, wasn't it?"
  136. <DM> *She stares at you a moment, then gives you a slap on the face, which you fully feel the sting of.
  137. <DM> [Ahlma]: *giving you a mild grin* Does that feel like a hallucination to you?
  138. <Corsava> You know, I'm not even sure how I would tell. Apparently I can choke on a hallucination.
  139. <Corsava>, I know that you're here with me.
  140. <DM> [Ahlma]: Choke on a- do I need to slap you again?
  141. <Corsava> No, like asphyxiating. Earlier it felt like my lungs were being crushed."
  142. <DM> [Gerudo]: Like the way you crushed my head?
  143. <Corsava> But, I do want to assure you that I appreciate the help.
  144. <DM> *That voice from that one Gerudo you stepped a bit too far into echoes in your mind for a moment.
  145. <Corsava> "..."
  146. <DM> [Ahlma]: Very well. But the next time you insinuate I'm not a real person, I won't hold back on my slap.
  147. <DM> [Ahlma]: Now let's go.
  148. <Corsava> "Well, I'd actually appreciate it. Can you do me a favor and check my left hand for me?"
  149. <DM> [Ahlma]: Hmm?
  150. <DM> *She takes a look and inspects it.
  151. <Corsava> "I thought I was hallucinating that it switched hands, but you just said you didn't see it on my right hand earlier, so now I'm a bit worried.
  152. <DM> [Ahlma]: It looks normal to me. A bit babyish and one that lacks a lifetime of swordsmanship, but otherwise normal.
  153. <DM> *There's a rumbling sound, and you see sand trickle down the walls.
  154. <Corsava> "...Do you have any idea what the draw-strength is that it takes to load the Broken Bow?"
  155. <DM> [Ahlma]: ...
  156. <DM> *She dodges your question with an observation.
  157. <DM> [Ahlma]: This place doesn't seem the most stable. Let's get going.
  158. <DM> *She offers her hand. Though you don't see the Dark Mark on either of your hands, you still feel this sinking pressure around you.
  159. * Corsava takes her hand "Lead the way."
  160. <DM> *You decide to trust both Ahlma and your own hand, and with the headstrong confidence about the strength required to use the Broken Bow, you confidently follow her along.
  161. <Corsava> "So, what do you think the odds are that we find our way out of wherever we are before we run out of food?"
  162. <DM> [Koume]: I don't know, what are the odds? Kotake, your big brain, please!
  163. <DM> [Kotake]: Mmm, smells like bacon! Big, juicy muscly bacon from Ahlma's iron grip!
  164. <DM> *You don't see Koume, though circling you is the big brain of Kotake. Nothing more than oogly wiggly brainy brains.
  165. <DM> [Koume]: Makes you want to hold her severed hand...
  166. <DM> [Kotake]: And munch, munch, munch into it!
  167. <DM> [Ahlma]: Uhh, is there a reason you're salivating?
  168. <Corsava> "Maybe brain damage."
  169. <Corsava> With what they're saying, I hope that it's brain damage.
  170. <DM> *You see Kotake's big brain just shrivel into nothingness, while the singular floating mouth of Koume just snickers, cackling in cahoots with the floating smile of the Happy Mask Man.
  171. <DM> [Ahlma]: So you hear the voices too, eh?
  172. <Corsava> What voices are you hearing?
  173. <DM> [Ahlma]: Oh, these voices-
  174. <DM> *All at once, her voice of clarity is drowned out by a chorus of chants.
  175. <DM> *You enter the next room, where the warm orange glow from the torchlight is replaced by a cool, ethereal light of teal, Twili-esque flames, floating throughout the air. In the center of the room, you see an altar, orbited by these teal flames, with the inscription of the Eye of Truth on it.
  176. <Corsava> "Umm..."
  177. <Corsava> "Ahlma, I can't hear you again."
  178. <Corsava> "If you're speaking, please slap me."
  179. <Corsava> "If you're not, do you hear the chanting too?"
  180. <DM> *Surrounding this altar appears to be tens of Gerudo worshippers, prostrating themselves before the altar, chanting in unison with a singular voice, and yet somehow, you can't quite tell what they're saying.
  181. <DM> *There's a wacky high-pitched voice from someone you used to know, another Twili, one that's jumping up and down, floating above the altar as he spins and spins and doesn't stop spinning!
  183. <Corsava> "Umm..."
  184. <Corsava> "Yeah, I'm hallucinating again."
  185. <DM> *You assume you're hallucinating, but you don't feel Ahlma slapping you. You don't hear her. In fact you don't even feel her leading you along. And she's nowhere to be seen.
  186. <DM> [Zant]: Oh yes, oh yes, you can of course dismiss this, dismiss ME as a hallucination, kyahahahah! Nothing would make me happier!
  187. <Corsava> "Zant, if you're really there, nothing would make me happier than you not really being there either."
  188. <DM> *He spins around, twirling a whacked out ballet in the air, before arriving before you, his stone-faced Twili face staring you right in his cracked out eyes.
  189. <Corsava> "Ahlma, I'm currently seeing a stupid looking blue man. If there isn't one present, please slap me."
  190. <DM> [Zant]: Oh yes, of course, of course, that would make you ESTACTIC! In fact, I'd be LEAPING for joy myself, you see!
  191. <DM> [Zant]: But you see, there's a reason that I'm here. Here now, not before, not after, never later... but here now.
  192. <DM> *He giddily rubs his hands together, wraps behind you then... starts massaging your shoulders? Though, his fingers aren't exactly the most suited for it, so it's more like nails scratching the backside of your shoulders than an actual massage.
  193. <Corsava> "Umm..."
  194. <DM> [Zant]: You think you're so smart, oh so smart, that you believe that you're free of the Mark, free of the Madness, free of me!
  195. <Corsava> "If the blue person is touching me, I would like it to be known that I am not consenting to it."
  196. <DM> *There's still no slap. The chanting from the worshippers grows louder and louder, drowning you out.
  197. <Corsava> "Oh damn it. Am I even really talking?"
  198. <Corsava> "Am I even awake? Am I trapped inside my own head?"
  199. <DM> [Zant]: Yes, yes, yes you are, for I hear you!
  200. <SubconsciousEye> that is one too many yeses
  201. <DM> [Zant]: But of course, if you'd like to make sure, why don't you see for yourself with The Truth?
  202. <Corsava> "Okay, Zant, answer me one question."
  203. <Corsava> "Why you? Why, of all people in the entire world, would you be here, Zant?"
  204. <Corsava> "I'm not even sure where Ahlma would be if she's not beside me. So I'm pretty sure that I'm hallucinating this entire exchange."
  205. <DM> *He whispers in one ear, somehow creeping through the chanting.
  206. <DM> [Zant]: Well, it could be me...
  207. <Corsava> "And at the very least, Zant, I would like not to be hallucinating you fucking touching me!"
  208. <DM> *And then, from the other ear, someone else whispers.
  209. <DM> [Happy Mask Man]: Or it could be me!
  210. <Corsava> "It's not you either."
  211. <DM> *The Mask Man's whispers fade to nothing as Zant takes back over, back to spinning wildly in front of you. And not attempting to massage your shoulders.
  212. <Corsava> "I don't even know why you would be here. I *know* Ahlma is watching over me, and I *know* that I'm not experiencing my proper senses right now."
  213. <DM> [Zant]: Oh come now, do you have to be such a downer? Just accept it, just for a bit, what could be the truth!
  214. <DM> *Suddenly, you find yourself standing atop the altar, and all around you, the Gerudo are worshipping you.
  215. <DM> [Chant]: The truth will set you free.
  216. <DM> [Chant]: The truth will set you free.
  217. <Corsava> "Why would using the lens even make me think you could be really here anyway, Zant? If the madness is affecting my *senses*, I wouldn't necessarily see what the lens is trying to show me either."
  218. <DM> *You can hear what they're saying now, as they repeat that over and over.
  219. <Corsava> "I'd just hallucinate whatever through the lens."
  220. <DM> [Zant]: Well well well, look who we have here, a denier! She who denies THE TRUTH is she who denies who she really is!
  221. <Corsava> "What."
  222. <Corsava> "How can I be denying that. It's not even what we've been talking ab- why are my hallucinations stupid? Am I this stupid?"
  223. <DM> [Ahlma]: Yes.
  224. <Corsava> "THANK YOU!"
  225. <DM> *Ahlma proceeds to slap you across the face. Full force.
  226. <DM> (lessee, power stat this annnnd...)
  227. <DM> $35d10 Damage halved (it's just a slap)
  228. <Navi> DM: You rolled 35 Dice with 10 Sides. Results: 2, 1, 3, 6, 10, 7, 1, 2, 1, 5, 8, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 9, 10, 10, 7, 9, 9, 1, 7, 3, 9, 4, 3, 1, 8, 7, 3, 9, 10 and 8. Total: 187. Successes: 22.
  229. <DM> *Do you resist this or accept the slap?
  230. <Corsava> Accept it. No resistance.
  231. <DM> *Well, with no armor on your face, and not holding back, Ahlma proceeds to slap you. Full force. Across the face.
  232. <Corsava> "Wow...I can hear my ears ringing from that..."
  233. <DM> *Your head ends up slamming into the altar, breaking the fragile old thing apart.
  234. <Corsava> 0_o
  235. <Corsava> "Ohfuck!"
  236. <DM> *You enjoy a mouthful of sand as you reorient yourself to the realization that when Ahlma slaps, she slaps hard.
  237. * Corsava mutters quietly to myself "why did that turn- never mind."
  238. <Corsava> "So, could you hear me when I was asking you to slap me earlier?"
  239. <Corsava> "I was hallucinating a blue person."
  240. <DM> *Thankfully, this place is extremely old, apparently suffering from all kinds of damage and lack of upkeep, so you didn't hit your head on real hardened sandstone! Just sand... wow, there's a lot of sand everywhere.
  241. <DM> [Ahlma]: Yes, and there were purple people too, did you not notice them either?
  242. <Corsava> "Nope. Didn't see the purple ones."
  243. <Corsava> "What did they say or do?"
  244. <DM> *She grins back at you.
  245. <DM> [Ahlma]: Good. Because if you did, I would've slapped you again.
  246. * Corsava grins back
  247. <Corsava> "So, could you hear me earlier?
  248. <DM> *You realize the room you're in is just a big room filled with sand. You also appear to be halfway up towards the ceiling as the rumbling continues.
  249. <DM> [Ahlma]: What? No, of course not, we were swimming through sand.
  250. <Corsava> "Ah, I was having a full on argument with someone, so...good to know that sometimes people can't hear me. now."
  251. <DM> *You uncomfortably cough up some sand onto the sand.
  252. * Corsava floats above the sand
  253. <DM> *You bump your head on the ceiling.
  254. * Corsava glares at the ceiling
  255. <DM> *The ceiling smiles back at you, giving you a warm hug. A dog wanders up next to you, then walks away on its three legs.
  256. * Corsava sighs
  257. <DM> [Ahlma]: Well, since you're no longer seeing blue people, any chance you can try and find the exit here?
  258. <DM> *Looking around the half-sunken room, there doesn't appear to be a way out. Just a ceiling waving at you, and some observer waving at you from beyond the fourth wall.
  259. <Corsava> "Well, I can try."
  260. <Corsava> Let's see..."
  261. * Corsava scans around with my Spirit Vision
  262. <DM> *You look around for the spirit of a door with your Spirit Vision and you find the inklings of what appears to be absolutely nothing, you idiot. Doors don't have spirits, genius.
  263. <DM> *Except maybe Death's Door, but that's a doorway for another time.
  264. <DM> *You see her try to dig away at the sand, but more sand from the surrounding sand sands itself in.
  265. <DM> [Ahlma]: Ugh, it's just more sand everywhere!
  266. <Corsava> "I mean, we could try using Subterranean Flowers"
  267. <Corsava> "..."
  268. <DM> [Ahlma]: Subterranean wha?
  269. <Corsava> "By the way, I have Great Strength. It's literally a thing I have."
  270. <DM> [Ahlma]: ...
  271. * Corsava puts a Subterranean Flower against the wall
  272. <DM> [Ahlma]: The moment we find a table, we're arm wrestling.
  273. <DM> *You place the flower on an indiscriminate wall. It yelps and screams at you before receding back into the wall.
  274. <Corsava> "Fine. You'll probably destroy me but-"
  275. <Corsava> Umm...
  276. <DM> [Wall]: I won't destroy you.
  277. <DM> [Wall]: But you might.
  278. <Corsava> ...
  279. <DM> [Wall]: I'm gonna go now, I got a date with some sand, and I'm running late and- OH GOD! THE FLOWER!
  280. <DM> *Your flower finally triggers, burrowing into the wall.
  281. <DM> [Wall]: WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?!
  282. <DM> [Wall]: IT HURTS, IT HURTS SO MUCH!
  283. <DM> [Wall]: Hurt me more.
  284. <SubconsciousEye> oh no
  285. <DM> [Wall]: AHHHHHHHHHH!
  286. <Corsava> O_o
  287. <DM> *The flower spontaneously creates a pit, burrowing a large hole in the wall, one which quickly fills with blood from the bleeding wall, you absolute monster.
  288. <DM> [Ahlma]: Great. More blood. Just what we need.
  289. <Corsava> What.
  290. <DM> *You see her try to cave away at the blood a bit, but the blood just refills itself. She looks back at you, now covered in wall guts.
  291. <DM> [Ahlma]: It's just more sand.
  292. <Corsava> "I was hoping that the flower would destroy the new sand as it fell in..."
  293. <DM> *You see, with your Spirit Vision, your flower is budding and eating up the sand, but more and more sand keeps breaking in.
  294. <DM> *Just by standing, Ahlma's head is grazing the ceiling now.
  295. <Corsava> "How far below ground do you think we are?"
  296. <DM> [Ahlma]: I don't know. I could've sworn I saw sunlight in one of the previous rooms, so not that far. But with how much sand is filling in... we could be deeper than it looked.
  297. <Corsava> "Wait, if one of those rooms back there had sunlight, why didn't we go toward the sunlight?"
  298. <DM> [Ahlma]: What do you mean?
  299. <Corsava> "Also, how did we end up in the first room?"
  300. <DM> [Ahlma]: I... don't know. I woke up, and suddenly, we were here.
  301. <Corsava> "Right, but...if we fell here, wouldn't there be a hole in the ceiling?"
  302. <DM> [Ahlma]: Wait... how did we get here exactly?
  303. <Corsava> "I'm not entirely sure either."
  304. <Corsava> "If we go back to the room with the sunlight, couldn't we just...follow that light to the surface?"
  305. <DM> [Ahlma]: That sounds good and all, but... how are we going to get past all this sand?
  306. <DM> [Ahlma]: It's not like we can just magically fall through it.
  307. <Corsava> "We can. I have phase blankets we can use."
  308. <DM> [Ahlma]: Phase what?
  309. * Corsava puts a phase blanket around us
  310. <DM> *You wrap the blanket around the two of you, and suddenly the two of you are levitating, your feet passing through the sand. Though, keep in mind, you're not "flying" so much as slowly floating downwards.
  311. <DM> *Ahlma tries not to look at you with you so... close.
  312. <DM> [Ahlma]: Oh, it's the skin of a Ghini. We're bundled up inside a Ghini.
  313. <DM> [Ahlma]: ...
  314. * Corsava uses my cloak to give us some hover so we can fly up above the sand
  315. <DM> [Ahlma]: Just... get us out of here.
  316. * Corsava uses the Desert Cape to fly us up, through the wall and towards the world above]
  317. <DM> *You start to fly upwards when you notice, with your arms wrapped around Ahlma, that snake of darkness is back. And this time, both of your arms are fully covered by the Dark Mark.
  318. <Corsava> "I'm so mad, because I've just realized that I could have done this like...the whole time."
  319. <DM> *At least, you think you're going up. There's so much sand, you're just passing through sand, not really feeling if you're going up or down.
  320. <DM> *All the while, you feel a tightening in your chest again. You first assume Ahlma is overgripping you, but she's reluctantly holding you.
  321. <Corsava> [frowns a bit, but reminds myself that it's probably not attractive to be incurably insane, and...I can't really be surprised at her reluctance]
  322. <DM> [Ahlma]: Umm... Corsava? You don't have to prove your strength is greater than mine, that's enough grip.
  323. <Corsava> "What?"
  324. <Corsava> "I...I wasn't trying to hurt you. I just...also am a bit afraid that if I loosen my grip, you'll get caught in the sand and I won't be able to help."
  325. <DM> *You don't feel yourself squeezing Ahlma, but you see Ahlma gasping for air, trying to resist a great pressure. Something wraps around both your arms, threatening to squeeze them off.
  326. <DM> [Ahlma]: Too much, that's too much-!
  327. <Corsava> "Ahlma...something's attacking us."
  328. <DM> [Ahlma]: Something?
  329. <DM> [Midna]: Or is it just you?
  330. <DM> [Zant]: You can't hide from the truth forever, kyehahahah!
  331. <Corsava> "It's probably my mark..."
  332. <DM> [Ahlma]: Your... your mark? I thought you said... it's gone...
  333. <DM> *She's slowly losing consciousness.
  334. <Corsava> "I said I *hallucinated* that it was gone."
  335. * Corsava does my best to loosen my grip without letting go
  336. <DM> *You try to loosen up on your insane bear hug, but it doesn't seem to change anything.
  337. <DM> *You see a platform of some kind through all the sand. You're not sure if you went up or down, or if it's a way out.
  338. * Corsava focuses on heading towards it
  339. <Corsava> "Koume, Kotake, are you two there?"
  340. <DM> *You continue to break physics through the sand, all the while trying not to crush Ahlma.
  341. <DM> [Koume]: Kyeheheheh, we're always here!
  342. <DM> [Kotake]: Ready to eat some Ahlma bacon! Or are we past that now?
  343. <DM> [Koume]: Looks like you're giving her quite the crush!
  344. <DM> [Kotake]: Or maybe she's the crush!
  345. <Corsava> "As delightful as eating Ahlma sounds, I need your help getting us to safety."
  346. <Corsava> "I can't control my grip."
  347. <DM> [Koume]: Hmm? Your grip? Well well well, let's see...
  348. <DM> *The two souls float around and around you, phasing through the sand as well, inspecting your arms.
  349. <DM> [Koume]: It's not your grip...
  350. <DM> [Kotake]: It's not the bacon either!
  351. <DM> [Koume]: It's your heart, Corsava.
  352. <Corsava> "What?"
  353. <DM> [Kotake]: Smoked, fried, crisped and-
  354. <DM> *Kotake's soul is slapped by Koume's mid-flight. You have no idea how they did that or if you hallucinated it, or if it's just your brain going nuts.
  355. <DM> [Koume]: *continuing* You have to let go, Corsava.
  356. <DM> [Kotake]: You have to face the truth.
  357. <Corsava> "What truth?"
  358. <DM> [Zant]: The truth inside of you!
  359. <DM> [Midna]: The truth you left behind.
  360. <Corsava> "I don't understand..."
  361. <DM> [Ahlma]: You're crushing me... I can't... make it...
  362. * Corsava puts another phase blanket over her and lets go
  363. <DM> *Just before she passes out, you finally let Ahlma go. The Dark Mark loosens up, and instead you feel your heart sink as you watch Ahlma fall deeper, deeper into the sand... until she's swallowed entirely by the abyss.
  364. <DM> *At last, you reach the platform, and you find yourself all alone.
  365. <Corsava> [looks around]
  366. <DM> *The Phase Blanket over you seems to fade into nothingness on its own.
  367. <DM> *Silence greets your ears. No hallucinations, no stupid blue men. Just a slight, droning ambient noise.
  368. <Corsava> "Where am I?"
  369. <DM> *You find yourself at the edge of a cliff, overlooking a large chasm, as the temple around you seems to have collapsed into the nothingness before you.
  370. <Corsava> "What..."
  371. <DM> *Looking down the chasm, it appears to just be... nothing. Nothing's down there, nothing at all...
  372. <DM> *Above, you can see sunlight filtering in through gaps in the ceiling. You could probably leap from one ledge to another to get up there...
  373. * Corsava looks down, then back up
  374. <DM> [Bloodwind]: It's like it's inviting you.
  375. <Corsava> "I can't leave without her."
  376. <DM> *There, hanging on a ledge on the side, appears to be a hallucination of Bloodwind. At least, you're pretty sure it is.
  377. <DM> *He stares up into the sunlight, the light illuminating the darkness where his face should be.
  378. <Corsava> "Bloodwind? You still simping for your interloper?"
  379. <DM> [Bloodwind]: Hmm? Oh no, I'm just... relaxing at the edge of this pit. It's a pretty soothing place here, don't you think?
  380. <Corsava> "Okay, cool. Good to know you're a hallucination. Any idea how I can get back to Ahlma?"
  381. <DM> [Bloodwind]: Well, you dropped her. It stands to reason that you ought to go pick her back up.
  382. <DM> [Bloodwind]: But if you do...
  383. <DM> *He materializes the Twin Helix Blade in front of him, eyeing its edges. He turns back to face you, this time with Majora's Mask over his face.
  384. <DM> [Bloodwind]: There won't be anyone to stop me from killing your tribe.
  385. <Corsava> "Well, there's that you're not real, for one."
  386. <DM> [Bloodwind]: Are you sure?
  387. <Corsava> "Yes."
  388. <Corsava> "You'd have been *really* upset by the interloper comment."
  389. <DM> *You start hearing the ringing from the blade, as if he's about to launch something from it.
  390. <Corsava> "I'm wasting time talking to you."
  391. * Corsava puts on another phase blanket.
  392. <DM> *The ringing stops, and the Mask and Sword vanish as well.
  393. <DM> *As you put on another blanket and descend into the abyss below, he waves at you, getting swallowed up in darkness himself.
  394. <DM> [Bloodwind]: Well then, have fun down there! I've got a Spirit Sage to go kill, so cheerio!
  395. <DM> *His voice fades to nothingness as you let the droning ambience drown you. You fall, and fall, and fall, and fall... until...
  396. <DM> *At last, you reach the bottom. Your Phase Blanket, though still active, physically stops on something. Through your Spirit Vision, you see the blanket try to pass through the floor, only to light up and burn out in flames as it comes in contact with a barrier of magic.
  397. <Corsava> "Huh..."
  398. <Corsava> "Ahlma!?
  399. <DM> *You find yourself standing in what appears to be running water, with a glow from it that gives a bluish glow to the wide room.
  400. <DM> *Your call echoes several times before returning to you, as if the calling of her name was reversed onto you.
  401. <Corsava> [sighs]
  402. <DM> *In front of you is a mirror. On the other side of that mirror, you can clearly see Ahlma's soul, but it looks like the mirror is blocking your path entirely, sandwiched between a pair of dark walls.
  403. <Corsava> "Ahlma?"
  404. <DM> *You call out, but there's no response. Her soul fades away, as you realize you're now looking at your own soul.
  405. <Corsava> [sighs] It's a me. Corsava.
  406. <DM> *Etched into the edges of the mirror, you see some words:
  407. <DM> "Only those who see themselves for who they truly are may pass."
  408. <Corsava> "It's not a me."
  409. <Corsava> "It's a mirror."
  410. <DM> *And yet, through this mirror, you finally see yourself for the first time...
  411. <DM> *Clad in black and golden armor, decked out with artifacts of all kinds, and a Gerudo nose just pointy enough to make a knife blush, you admire your outstanding self.
  412. <DM> *How weak you used to be, and now this! All of this, befitting you, a Queen- nay, the Queen of the Gerudo!
  413. <Corsava> [sighs]
  414. <Corsava> "This isn't what I want."
  415. <Corsava> "Of course it's nice. Of course it's power..."
  416. <Corsava> "But...I just want to keep the people close to me safe."
  417. * Corsava puts a hand on the mirror
  418. <DM> *The mirror puts a hand on you.
  419. <DM> *... I mean, in the reflection. Your reflection. In the mirror.
  420. <DM> *There, seeping up your hand, you see the Dark Mark return, coiling itself back around your hand.
  421. * Corsava glances down at it and takes my hand off the mirror
  422. <DM> *Through the mirror, you see your reflection speak.
  423. <DM> [You]: But I can keep you safe.
  424. <Corsava> "I don't need to be safe."
  425. <Corsava> "I need *them* to be safe."
  426. <Corsava> "I need Ahlma and Nabooru and the rest of my sisters to be safe."
  427. <DM> [You]: But you can't save them if you don't save yourself first.
  428. <Corsava> "I've never been safe."
  429. <Corsava> "I've always been in danger."
  430. <DM> [You]: Not with me around. I've always been there, protecting you.
  431. <DM> [You]: You say you don't seek power, yet you are veiled in it.
  432. <Corsava> "I-"
  433. <DM> [You]: Why do you continue to reject me?
  434. <DM> [You]: With me, I can keep you safe, and give you the power to save those around you.
  435. <Corsava> "Because first it will be about protecting them."
  436. <Corsava> "Then it will be about protecting me."
  437. <Corsava> "Then it will be that in order to get stronger, I need to embrace some power I shouldn't."
  438. <Corsava> "And slowly, step by step, I'll become him."
  439. <Corsava> "I refuse to be another Ganondorf."
  440. <Corsava> "I won't let pursuit of strength be the only motivation in my life."
  441. <Corsava> "He wasn't born a monster, and neither was I. But I can at least learn from his example."
  442. <DM> *Your reflection becomes consumed by the Dark Mark, covering her whole body. Yet, despite having all the power, she stares back at you with a yearning look...
  443. <Corsava> "So, you see, I'm not denying who I am."
  444. <Corsava> "I'm choosing who I want to be."
  445. <DM> [You]: But then... what will I be?
  446. <DM> [You]: What will my purpose be?
  447. <Corsava> "You don't have to be a force for bad."
  448. <Corsava> "You don't have to exist just to prey on people."
  449. <Corsava> "You can look at yourself and decide who you choose to be too."
  450. <Corsava> "I hope you choose to be healthy."
  451. <Corsava> "I hope it makes you happy."
  452. <DM> *Your reflection blinks several times, looks around, then looks at herself, at her own hands.
  453. <Corsava> "I can't decide for you, only for me."
  454. <DM> [You]: ... I... have a choice? I... can choose?
  455. <Corsava> "The choice has always been there."
  456. <Corsava> "We just didn't see it before."
  457. <DM> [You]: Can I... see me?
  458. <Corsava> "Yes."
  459. * Corsava holds my hand to the mirror
  460. <DM> *Your reflection does the same at first, then grabbing the edges of the mirror from inside the reflection, she flips the mirror around to get a look at her own reflection inside the reflection...
  461. <DM> [You]: I... never knew I looked like that.
  462. <Corsava> [nods] That's what you look like. It's up to you whether you want to make that beautiful or not."
  463. <DM> *The Dark Mark transfers back to your right hand, then into the mirror, then into the reflection in the mirror, and back into her reflection before bouncing back and returning to you. As it returns to your hand, the reflection in the mirror vanishes (as does the reflection's reflection), and you hear one last thing from her...
  464. <DM> [You]: Thank you, you.
  465. <Corsava> "You're welcome. I hope your decision makes you happy."
  466. <DM> *Your right hand becomes blackened once again, but without the pressure or pain of before. Oddly enough, after speaking to your reflection and getting her to check out a reflection of herself in the mirror by checking out the mirror in the reflection to finally see you for your real self and her real self, your head feels clearer now.
  467. <Corsava> [smiles at my reflection in the mirror]
  468. <DM> *The mirror turns to glass, then seems to melt and liquify into the waters below, revealing a great door. Your Spirit Vision returns back to normal, and you can see Ahlma on the other side.
  469. <Corsava> [heads towards the door]
  470. <DM> *You walk towards the door while already being directly in front of the door, thereby walking into the door.
  471. <Corsava> [opens the door]
  472. <Corsava> (I thought the door was in the waters below)
  473. <DM> (... Oh. The mirrors messed with my head, it seems. Okay.)
  474. <Corsava> "Ahlma?"
  475. <DM> *Kay, you open the doors, in the waters below of course, and you walk on through them. Not sideways, for you're right-side up, in another room. What seems to be a Fairy Fountain, but... its waters have turned to blood. All the ambient energy of madness you'd felt earlier is welled up in a single point standing at the center of the fountain of blood.
  476. <Corsava> "What...the..."
  477. <DM> *You trudge through the bloodied blood, trying to reach Ahlma. There, you see her, in the center of that ambient energy. She looks up at you, trying to speak, but her voice gets cuts by silence.
  478. <Corsava> [takes a deep breath and reaches out towards her]
  479. <DM> *You try to reach, but all of a sudden, the energy swirls around her, wrapping her in inside of what appears to be a large, beating heart, malformed by horrid diseases.
  480. <DM> *It beats and pulses once, twice... thrice...
  481. <Corsava> "I...can't tell if this is real or not."
  482. <DM> [Koume]: It's both real...
  483. <DM> [Kotake]: And not real.
  484. <Corsava> "Well...that's exciting."
  485. <Corsava> "Did the two of you enjoy the therapy mirror?"
  486. <DM> *You see Koume and Kotake swirling around your head once more, but instead of seeing their souls inside them, you see... your soul?
  487. <DM> [Koume]: Therapy mirror?
  488. <DM> [Kotake]: I experienced it with you. Remember?
  489. <Corsava> [nods] "I was just asking how you liked it."
  490. <Corsava> "We need to help Ahlma."
  491. <DM> [Koume]: Well I have good news...
  492. <DM> [Kotake]: And bad news.
  493. <Corsava> "Yes?"
  494. <DM> [Koume]: The good news is I'm no longer trying to eat your friends.
  495. <DM> [Kotake]: Except the bacon.
  496. <DM> [Koume]: Except that.
  497. <DM> [Kotake]: The bad news is... you're still afflicted by the Madness.
  498. <Corsava> "I didn't assume I wasn't. So, does that mean she's not in danger?"
  499. <DM> [Koume]: And this here, is the heart of the Cursed Temple.
  500. <DM> [Kotake]: Quite literally.
  501. <DM> [Koume]: And figuratively.
  502. <Corsava> ...Oh.
  503. <DM> [Kotake]: With bacon.
  504. <Corsava> "So...that right there is the most dangerous thing for me, then?"
  505. <Corsava> "The heart of the temple."
  506. <DM> [Koume]: The only way to defeat it...
  507. <DM> [Kotake]: Is to see its true form.
  508. <Corsava> "So, I need to use the lens."
  509. <DM> [Koume]: Unfortunately yes.
  510. <Corsava> "But the lens will affect my mind."
  511. <DM> [Kotake]: Unfortunately yes.
  512. <DM> *The heart beats. The heart thumps.
  513. <Corsava> "But it's the best way to protect her."
  514. * Corsava takes the lens and looks through it without hesitation
  515. <DM> *You look through the Lens of Truth, looking upon the beating heart, which Ahlma is in, and it reveals its true nature, it's true form to you...
  516. <DM> -=LOADING=-
  517. <DM> -=LOADING=-
  518. <DM> -=SESSION END=-
  519. <Corsava> I see the true form of the Loading?
  520. <SubconsciousEye> the true form of the loading screen is just me
  521. <DM> *You look further, deeper into the Loading Screen...
  522. <DM> *And it's just-
  523. <DM> -=LOADING=-
  524. <DM> -=LOADING=-
  525. <DM> ...
  526. <DM> -=LOADING=-
  527. <DM> -=LOADING=-
  528. <SubconsciousEye> just like my life!
  529. <SubconsciousEye> ...
  530. <SubconsciousEye> that's actually kinda sad
  531. <SubconsciousEye> sad and depressing
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