The Prophets Of The Old World

[21:16] <Minaplo> [Andrew tumbled down the cellar steps. The secret cellar door jammed shut before he even hit the ground.-
[21:17] <Minaplo> [Almost as quickly he was up them, slamming his fists into the underside of the stone door. Rebecca, he shouted, over and over.-
[21:19] <Minaplo> [Gunfire, short and sharp, and the door rattled momentarily as something heavy struck it. Andrew ran a hand across the minute gap between door and ceiling, and his hands came back slick with the blood that now trickled between that space.-
[21:19] <Minaplo> [Andrew stared at the blood in his hand as it pooled into his palm. It crystallised. Small, smooth, perfectly round, a red sphere. It gleamed, it glowed, and when he curled his fist around it, rainbow light poured from between his pale fingers.-
[21:20] <Minaplo> [Quickly, but a moment later, he opened his hand. Before his eyes the stone dissolved into dust and blew away.-
[21:21] <Minaplo> [The cellar door was gone and now the steps stretched upwards into a sky of a billion diamond stars. Far above them, he saw a shadow, an outline, Rebecca, ever so far away. Andrew ran.-
[21:21] <Minaplo> [Stay, he called. Stay here.-
[21:22] <Minaplo> [But the golden dawning scattered her shadow into wisps of fog.-
[21:25] <Minaplo> [Andrew stared down at the illuminated world below. He stood on a great platform, and all around it were a great mass of people, dense and fluid like the oceans. As the sun grew old and white he saw them change, their faces giving way to skulls, their skulls twisting into those of deer.-
[21:25] <Minaplo> [One stared up at him, and its gaze was like a hammerblow that sent Andrew tumbling off the platform-
[21:26] <Minaplo> [… And before he knew it he was lying in mid-air, half a metre off the floor of his bedroom, the sheets half-twisted around him. Beneath him his AT Field shimmered and twisted gently.-
[21:29] <Minaplo> ["Wha' happened?" Asked a groggy voice. Andrew looked over at the bed, at its other occupant- a young woman with long black hair and sky-blue eyes.-
[21:30] <Minaplo> [Something in Andrew's face betrayed his own shock and confusion. The woman shook her head. "You screamed and threw your arms around. It was like you were being attacked."_
[21:30] <Minaplo> ["Oh." Andrew let himself sink to the floor.-
[21:31] <Minaplo> ["Nightmares again?" Said the woman. Andrew felt the slightly forced gentleness in her voice, which just made her sound weary.-
[21:33] <Minaplo> ["Don't act like I kept this secret." Said Andrew. He pulled himself to his feet.-
[21:34] <Minaplo> ["I wasn't." Said the woman- and her gentle tone became cool. "I'd just like a full night's sleep sometime this month, that's all."-
[21:35] <Minaplo> ["I'll sleep on the couch, then." Said Andrew. He grabbed a pillow and left before she had a chance to speak.-
[21:38] <Minaplo> [But Andrew didn't find any sleep on that couch, or in the recliner, or even in the spare bedroom. Regardless of where it was, he simply lay there and stewed.-
[21:43] <Minaplo> [Instead he threw his pillow aside and walked out to the balcony. The outside air was bitingly cold, naked as he was with dawn an hour away.-
[21:48] <Minaplo> [But there he remained, feeling his limbs grow slowly more numb. He stared down at the city below and let his eyes unfocus.-
[21:50] <Minaplo> [Sometimes, in times like this, when he wasn't watching what he saw, when he wasn't listening to what he heard, when he disassociated ever so slightly from his body, he'd see a shape.-
[21:51] <Minaplo> [It was a shadow, an outline, really. If he focused on this product of unfocus, his mind would fill in the blanks and illustrate the space.-
[21:52] <Minaplo> [An image of both who he had used to be, and what he had never properly been. His blonde hair long, his body clothed in alien silk, a golden staff with a red sphere at its head.-
[21:53] <Minaplo> [A beautiful image that his heart leapt to see, only to fade ever so quickly, leaving him yet emptier than before.-
[21:54] <Minaplo> ["Ezekiel. Emissary. Warmaster's herald." Said Andrew quietly. These words he repeated like a prayer of repentance.-
[21:55] <Minaplo> [Nothing happened.-
[21:56] <Minaplo> ["Andrew?" Called a voice behind him.-
[21:57] <Minaplo> [Andrew's reverie ended. "Sammie."-
[21:59] <Minaplo> [He turned. Sammie stood in the living room, clad in a sheer white nightgown. Her arms were folded across her stomach. "You ok?"-
[22:01] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." He said eventually. "Sorry for getting cranky earlier…"-
[22:02] <Minaplo> ["It's cold. Come inside." Said Sammie.-
[22:02] <Minaplo> [With a low sigh, Andrew walked inside and closed the doors behind him.-
[22:04] <Minaplo> [Sammie's gaze moved with him. "Let's talk."-
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["Ok." Said Andrew, sinking back onto the couch.-
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["Has it always been like this?" Said Sammie. "Nightmares and all?"-
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["Ever since Gestalt." Said Andrew. "It's gotten worse in the last few months."-
[22:07] <Minaplo> ["Mm." Sammie sat down opposite him. "Who was Rebecca?"-
[22:07] <Minaplo> ["How-?"-
[22:07] <Minaplo> ["You were screaming her name." Said Sammie.-
[22:08] <Minaplo> ["She was-" He froze, his eyes squeezed shut for a few heavy seconds. "My fiancee. She- didn't come back."-
[22:08] <Minaplo> [Sammie didn't say anything. The silence stretched on.-
[22:09] <Minaplo> ["Or more accurately, she didn't stay." Said Andrew.-
[22:11] <Minaplo> [Sammie averted her gaze for a moment. Then she stood, walked over and sat down next to him. "I'm sorry, baby. I'm here if you want to talk about it."-
[22:12] <Minaplo> [For a moment Andrew felt a burning in his chest. It spread rapidly, and he opened his mouth.-
[22:12] <Minaplo> [But the burning passed. When he spoke, all he said was, "… Thanks. But I don't think I'm ready."-
[22:13] <Minaplo> ["That's okay." Said Sammie.-
[22:13] <Minaplo> [Silence fell.-
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["I think you might need some help, baby." Said Sammie gently.-
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["No kidding." Said Andrew. "Nothing seems to help, though."-
[22:17] <Minaplo> ["… Maybe not." Said Sammie. "But I don't know if I can stay in your bed anymore until things change."-
[22:18] <Minaplo> ["Screaming that bad?" Said Andrew. "Sorry. I'll try to bite my tongue."-
[22:18] <Minaplo> ["… It's not just that." Said Sammie coolly.-
[22:19] <Minaplo> [Andrew glanced over at her. Then he looked again; on her left shoulder, stark against the fair skin, was a large purple bruise.-
[22:19] <Minaplo> ["… Did I do that?" He said softly.-
[22:19] <Minaplo> ["You were flailing around, remember?" Said Sammie.-
[22:19] <Minaplo> ["I- but your Field-"-
[22:21] <Minaplo> ["Didn't help." Said Sammie. "Baby, you flare your Field when you have nightmares. Your hands go right through my own, you're neutralising so hard. Sometimes I get psychic shocks, catch a bit of the nightmare…"-
[22:21] <Minaplo> ["Oh my god." Andrew's head sank into his hands. "I'm so sorry. I never- I mean- I don't even know how to neutralise. I didn't mean to hurt you-"-
[22:23] <Minaplo> ["I know you didn't, baby." She said. "But you did. And I dunno what happens to you when you have those nightmares, but whatever it is sends your Field berserk. And that's- dangerous to me. I'm not going to run out on you- but I need to make sure I'm safe before we go any further."-
[22:24] <Minaplo> ["Understandable." Said Andrew softly.-
[22:26] <Minaplo> ["But. This is something we can work through together, maybe?" Said Sammie, taking one of his hands in her own. "I dunno what, but there has to be something we can do."-
[22:27] <Minaplo> [Her hand was warm. He took it with both of his own, and looked up at her.-
[22:27] <Minaplo> [Andrew's heart leapt as he looked at her face.-
[22:27] <Minaplo> ["Rebecca?"-
[22:28] <Minaplo> [He looked down at his hands. Blood was oozing between his fingers, pooling into little red glass spheres-
[22:28] <Minaplo> [Rebecca- Sammie- jerked her hand out of his own. The vision passed.-
[22:29] <Minaplo> [Andrew couldn't help but feel his heart sink into his stomach as he recognised her.-
[22:30] <Minaplo> [Sammie was pale, her eyes wide. She averted her gaze for a moment, then looked back at him. "Andrew… You did it again. I saw some of that. I saw-"-
[22:30] <Minaplo> [Sammie went still.-
[22:31] <Minaplo> ["… She looked like me." Said Sammie. "Is that why-"-
[22:31] <Minaplo> [Andrew closed his eyes.-
[22:32] <Minaplo> ["I wondered." She said quietly. "Sometimes you'd look at me, but not at me, like you were seeing-"-
[22:33] <Minaplo> [Sammie pulled away. Stood up. "That isn't fair."-
[22:33] <Minaplo> [Andrew didn't say anything.-
[22:33] <Minaplo> [By the time dawn came, Sammie was gone. Andrew couldn't quite remember what she'd said. Needing time away, likely.-
[22:34] <Minaplo> [As she'd left, Andrew felt like what must've been an echo of a memory of sadness. Not much more.-
[22:35] <Minaplo> [He stared down at the floor. He let his eyes unfocus, sight becoming meaningless.-
[22:36] <Minaplo> ["Ezekiel. Emissary. Warmaster's herald…"-
[22:36] <Minaplo> […-
[22:36] <Minaplo> [Who are you?-
[22:37] <Minaplo> [I am one who has heard the cries of your people, held in bondage by the festival of harvests.-
[22:39] <Minaplo> [I am one who has come down to bring you out of your chains, to turn the splendours of the universe against your overseers.-
[22:39] <Minaplo> [I am the Solemn Exarch, and I have come to take you home.-
[22:39] <Minaplo> […-

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