Witness

Participants:

devon2_icon.gif dumortier_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif emily_icon.gif eve_icon.gif finch_icon.gif

isis_icon.gif kaylee3_icon.gif lashirah_icon.gif luther_icon.gif nathalie2_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

raquelle_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif rory_icon.gif seren_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title Witness
Synopsis Come together and bear…
Date December 31, 2019

The sky is dark, mottled with a sparse covering of clouds that obfuscate the sea of stars beyond. Little else can be seen in the nighttime hour, even the land feels abstract in its shroud of low-lying fog. A handful of leafless, old trees bristle up from this silvery carpet, stickbare branches grasping at the sky like skeletal hands. It is within this moonless gloom that a waking thought comes, intrusive and unwelcomed: Am I dead?

The night does not care to answer, nor does the fog pooling about their form as they awaken on a slab of rough concrete. It sits at a subtle angle, cool and damp to the touch, clung with dew. The fog feels like a blanket, sliding off their shoulders as they push up into a seated position, looking out across the vast expanse of foggy, starlit night. There is nothing, no one, and yet also a feeling of being watched. There is a lingering sensation that this is not, but equally that this is. The intrusive thought comes again, louder this time, with more palpable urgency.

Am I dead?

The answer remains unclear.

There's the sound of patting hands as pale hands slide down the form of Eve Mas. "Am I… no no." Was this a dream? It certainly feels like it. She would know… wouldn't she? The concrete slab, standing up shakily and breathing out icy breath with a wild look up to the sky.

"Hellloooooooo!"

Clapping her hands together loudly, trying to peer through the fog with glittering crimson eyes. "Is this… a dream within a dream!" She could have sworn she was dreaming of making brownies. Eve clings to her sheer black jacket the keeps the cold away, but does it? She feels it in her bones. Cupping her hands over her mouth and leaning forward almost out into an abyss,"Hellloooo!" She can't help but ask the question again in her mind.

Am I dead?

This is not where she went to sleep. Not unless she dozed off in the garden again, and she hasn't done that since the summer. The chilled kiss of dew does have that autumn quality to it, however.

Odessa pushes herself up from the blanket of leaves she's found herself bedded down in, bewildered. And slightly annoyed.

Again?

Once, Eve thought she was alone. There was no sign sight-unseen of another person amid the fog. Until, suddenly, there was. As Odessa rises up from the mist clinging to the unseen ground, familiarity breeds comfort. Gone is a sense of isolation and loneliness, replaced by something else: Hope.

But they are two, alone and isolated, in neither where they expected to be nor where they believed they were. The fog was endless, rolling across the hilly landscape forever and into the embrace of suffocating darkness. The stars only illuminated so much and the thin cover of clouds was growing thicker and darker.

The light was losing.

Seren lets out a hm of delight as they look up at the stars, arms wrapped around their shins. It's cold— the air carries too much chill. But in a way, it's nice here.

Bare toes tap lightly in the leaves and earth. The sky was beautiful tonight in this place that wasn't a place, though… though…

Ever the lucid dreamer, they reach up one hand toward the sky. From their hand trickles a sparkle of light, small until their hand glows with the effort. Warmth outpours toward the sky, seeking to save that beautiful sight.

"Cousin… cousin!!"

Eve shouts and rushes forward in a glimmer of red light as the feeling changes and the light begins to lose steadily, the clouds growing darker. "Des! What are you- where- oh hello!" The former seer grabs her cousin's hand and drags her over to the newcomer Seren, Eve leans in close. "Are you- ahhhhh."

Holding up her hand alongside Seren's, blood red light twisting around her form to intermingle with Seren's light, the former seer grins too widely. Leans too close, too familiar with the unfamiliar woman. "Banish the light? Sometimes darkness bares knowledge, what of a mix. What about…"

A gust of wind knocks her midnight hair out of her face, "Twilight."

“Carl?”

The fog starts to shift and move, then melt away another blond figure pushes herself up to sit. Kaylee looks around in sudden alarm. She had been watching a movie with her son on the couch and now she was here. Did she fall asleep? Fingers press against her eyes, rubbing at them as if she could wake up.

Looking up, Kaylee notices the stars… and then the humming minds around her. Recognizing them. “What…?” Odessa especially, gets Kaylee’s attention. “Odessa?” Were the fuck where they? She was suddenly reminded of another time and place… A chill settles into her stomach.

“Hokuto?” Kaylee calls out softly with worry. Was this her work?

The sense of dreaming is muted… but she's been pulled into too many dreams not to slowly realize she must be dreaming even if she's not sure she's dreaming. Elisabeth's eyes open to the strange twilight world of fog and starlight. A half-remembered image floats in the recesses of her brain, a silver-limned wing fluttering in her periphery. As she moves to push upright, the roiling clouds that are starting to obliterate the starry sky draw her eyes, if only because her eyes when they are turned skyward are always watching for …. something. She never expects to see beauty in the sky anymore. Only trouble.

"Hello?"

The sound is strangely flat here, uncertain and wary. "… Delia?" It doesn't seem like the kind of place the dreamwalker would awaken her. But then again, she always said it was Liz's head, so she was the source of the landscape. She must have fallen asleep laying next to Aurora. Or did she make it to her own bed? She doesn't remember exactly … sometimes Richard didn't wake her, just carried her back to their bed when he got home. Is she actually dreaming? Or is it something worse….?

"Teo?" Because she remembers he wondered if he might help her with her dreams too. Voices, familiar in their cadences, bring her around and to her feet, seeking out the sources. "Oh maaaaan…." Now she's worried.

He doesn't remember falling asleep. He doesn't remember waking either. But the feeling of existential dread, that's always lingering in the background of Luther's mind. Even as he lays on his back against a hard slab staring at the stars. Even as he squints to try and see through the covering fog. He could lie there forever. Until the thought threads through him yet again. The dread hasn't left.

The voices calling out in the darkness stir him. He rises, movements stiff and the throbbing of old aches telling him he is, in fact, yet living. Luther stands. Breathes. Looking out to the dark, he sees the light from a nearby glow and follows in, as any plain, fuzzy headed moth to a flame.

Cold sweat stipples across his brow, and his first breaths as he awakes come almost ragged, shuddering. Finding himself in the frighteningly unfamiliar, a cold and unforgiving slab instead of the warmth and comfort of his bed, plunge him into memories that threaten to overwhelm and drown with panic. Devon's eyes stare hard at the thickening clouds, the pinpricks of starlight that is quickly being masked. He draws in a deeper, shaking breath as he levers himself to sit, hands gripping the stone slab beneath him.

The void of memories is filled with alien knowledge that he'd died before. It gives him no reference for the place he finds himself in now. Even the similarities to that place of vague and disconnected recollections, the period of captivity following death, offers no compass to go by.

Except…

It's not the same place.

He'd left that place weeks ago and it was nothing like this. The realization, reminded, whispers in one ear like a close friend revealing deep secrets. It taunts the louder, more insistent wondering. Am I dead?

Devon draws his hands from the slab, shifts his weight to stand. Uneasiness still has a heavy hand upon his shoulder, with claws that remind him of the terror he holds at bay. His head turns slowly, eyes desperately seeking in the growing darkness. For what, he couldn't say for sure. An answer, maybe, a body to fit the hidden eyes upon him. Anything.

Lashirah wasn't one to go camping on a whim. This makes the place of waking very odd for the former FBI, Former Company, Former Ferry, Forensics person. A few blinks. And a muttered response. "If you have to ask, the answer is obviously 'not yet'." She sighs as she tries to get her bearings, as illogical as that might be. And to see if she's alone or if she actually does have direct physical company.

//Am I dead //?

It seems to echo all over again. At least for him. The sky is deepening and the world is chilled. Squeezing muscles quake for some added warmth, but it's not quite enough even underneath - - wait, where is it? A scramble of slender fingers find nothing to grip, no purchase on quilt. The stone is cold and Dumortier isn't dressed for that shock against cheek and limbs.

Even in the dark and fog there is a ghost of him - a faint halo of paleness against calico fibers; it flickers clearer in the reflection of Seren's efforts, flaxen hair loose and long, a silky mess that frames face and figure. For that he looks awoken and bleary, realization bolts Rene upright where he sits, breath gone and eyes wide with fright.

"Que se passe-t-il," He visibly startles when he sees others, a sound bordering a yelp. The fuck is this??

Nathalie lies on the ground, staring at the sky and feeling the fog against her skin. Feeling watched isn't an unfamiliar feeling for her, and it doesn't drive her to move.

The other voices do.

They're not the ones she's used to hearing in odd places and ethereal moments, so she sits up to peers over those she now realizes are around her. "Qui peut dire," she responds to Rene as she shifts to get up onto her feet. Her hands brush over her clothes as if she might need to remove some lingering fog, but it's just for comfort's sake.

"No. No no no." A young voice joins the fray. "I wasn't done yet."

Finch has shot to her feet before she even knew it, eyes wide and arms out by her sides like she's expecting the fog to solidify around her. None of the voices here sound familiar. Catching glimpses of movement through the fog seems to do little to calm her, eyes beginning to water watering as confusion and fear draws her downward again in one fell swoop. Hugging her knees to her chest, she tries to make herself as small as she can. Maybe death will overlook her. "I wasn't done yet. I wasn't done."

Am I dead? Strange thought, that one. Silas has thought, on occasion, about dying… but being dead? That's a new one. And a weird one.

Am I dead? that thought echoes again, and now that he's halfway awake he's got a vague suspicion that it… might not be his thought. He drags weary eyes open… and finds he's not where he should be. The hell is this? he thinks, carefully sitting up. "No," he grumbles his answer aloud… then he notices he's not alone. The hell is this? he thinks again. "Hello?"

The feeling of dread definitely filled him as his eyes opened in this place. Rory just laid on the ground not feeling the earth around him as he should and looking up at the sky. Had he had an accident at work? He didn't remember anything strange happening, though.

For a while, he chooses to close his eyes, as if that might suddenly transport him back into the bed where he belongs. If he ignores all the voices, maybe they would go away.

But then he hears a voice he recognizes, though not words he can really understand. Sitting up, he looks in the direction of Nathalie and then finally around at everything other than up. "What's going on?"

Am I dead? "Lying bastard promised me extra years…" The gray-wash effect of the fog turns fiery locks to mere embers, a subtle swish of vague color in the cloying darkness as Isis looks back over a shoulder with narrowed golden-hazel eyes. Restless eyes. Fearful eyes. They settle upon Finch, a gaze that softens almost instantly, though with a notable twinge of regret.

Isis takes a knee an arm's length from the huddled girl, turning her own gaze off to the unavailing blanket of mist. She takes a deep breath and sets her little chin higher. "At least it isn't nothing."

Snatched up from where she stands, Odessa stumbles forward as Eve pulls her along. "E- Eve! Hold on!" She nearly stumbles into Seren when the two stop abruptly in front of the seated woman. She's quick to apologize with a quiet, "Sorry."

The display of light is watched with fascination - especially Eve's. Odessa hasn't seen her new ability in action before. Slowly, however, fascination is crept up upon by other stronger feelings.

Fear.

Anger.

Dread.

Despair.

Confusion.

All of them familiar, but not in the right way. It feels like a spike trying to drive its way into — or maybe out of? — her skull to make room for all the conflicting emotions at once. Odessa whimpers and clutches at her head. "Ça fait mal," she complains, slipping into French as a response to hearing it around her, not wholly conscious of it.

There's a recognizable ping at the edges of her senses that she almost doesn't catch. "K- Kaylee?" She doesn't manage to lift her head to look for her friend in the fog, heel pressing against one eye socket as though she could grind out the pain.

"We’re at the edge of the world
A storm rages forever and more
All the rivers overflow to the deep
They trap us in dreamless sleep"

Eyes half lidded, Robyn Quinn sits on the cold ground, a guitar braced between her lap and one arm.. The motions she makes seem familiar, rote. So secondary that she barely seems to even be paying much attention to them. Am I dead? She answers that question the same way she always used to, once upon a time: With a song.

"Follow me into the dark
We’ll try this another time
This time we will hit the mark
We’ll be party to this crime
Party to this crime"

As the fog goes thicker her gray eyes close all the way - the world looks little different to her than it ever would. Gray. Dying. Dark. Lifeless. Am I dead? Well it had to happen eventually, didn't it? It's not like she has any real control over how the world plays out around her. So, as the air thickens, she just continues playing.

"I was told
Kid, just don’t try
No matter what you do
You won’t find out why
And I was told
Give up the fight
Nothing we can do
To stop the dying of the light"

As so many bodies rise up from the ground fog, it begins to dissipate. Patches still cling to lowland areas, but massive stretches of concrete are piece by piece revealed. Huge slabs of stone, broken glass, and twisted lengths of mangled metal that were once vehicles and aircraft. Dead vegetation covers everything, spreads as far as the eye can see through this twisted field of rubble and destruction.

The ruins are not recognizable, there is not enough left to make sense of what once was. The world is old, long-dead, and this place little more than a monument to its passing. It is not a city, not a ruin, it is a tomb.

Amid the rubble there are bleached fragments of what at first resembled old and dead wood, like burned trees. But it is nothing so clean. They are bones. Fields of crushed bones stuck in between the flattened heaps of crushed rock and twisted metal, filling in the cracks like mortar to an old stone wall. Cracked eye sockets stare back up at the sky, streaked by coal black clouds hiding myriad stars.

Kaylee feels something brush her shoulder, move along the back of her hairline, caress with familiarity the contour of her shoulder and neck. Then, rising up alongside her face flicks the gentlest touch of a tiny, black, forked tongue.

The serpent turns from Kaylee's shoulder, looking out over the risen with bright gold eyes. It's voice is a roar that fall from the sky like the beat of a great drum.

The Resurrection is upon us.

That is no serpent.

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The stranger with the crackling arm that places their hand near Seren's causes them to turn, eyes slightly widened. A face full of red-eyed Eve is unsettling under strange circumstances, but Seren takes the shift in perspective with a certain wide-eyed wonder. Their hand stops glowing regardless.

And then the fog parts.

With a slowly furrowing brow, they come to their feet to take a better look at their surroundings— at the many people that have appeared. Before, even in the cold and dread, wondering at their mortality, Seren had somehow still felt in control. It had just been a dream, right?

… This didn't feel like a dream anymore.

With a sudden frown, Seren lifts their hand high above their head, palm glowing again while they try to get their bearings. "Is everyone all right?" they call out. It's a question that dies almost as soon as it's shouted, turning instead to the sound of the voice. Unsettled, they slowly begin to lower their hand, though it loses none of its warm glow. The edges of their irises limn silver as their imagination starts to race.

Lash just brushes off wordlessly. Staring at the mess around her. Okay, she's in one piece. The world is a -wreck-, and it looks something like a scene out of Thriller, well out of season for such fun. The former (current?) agent sighs again as she eyes up what's around her. "… Okay, this is so not home. Did anyone make a deal with a strange Japanese man while I wasn't looking?" she asks the air with some degree of amused exasperation at the situation.

More bodies, more faces, more voices echoing all around. There isn't much time to wave Luther down before the scenery is changing and the light combined brings their surroundings into clear view. One by one, Eve clocks the faces of the friends she knows, "Jeune, jeune! Venir!" Towards Nathalie, but before she can make sense of who the others are. There is a voice, a voice that roars through everything.

The tomb.

Eve's eyes widen and she stares around. "Brace yourselves! The serpent is a metaphor!" Energy crackling around her as her body shifts and snaps from pale human form to the bloodred nimbus in the shape of a woman, hair like red lightning whipping around in a wild cloud above her head.

"We're… here! Together… strong numbers. United." Eve's voice is distorted as she looks around them rapidly.

"Gutes-asi." Eve whispers to her cousin before shaking her head. "ARE YOU HERE?"

When the fog parts, Odessa lifts her head slowly, squinting through the pain and watching everything gradually come in to focus. She thinks she recognizes this place. Or, at least, that she should be familiar with it. It's the dead world, isn't it?

But that isn't her world. And the version of herself that tied her to that world has been dead for the better part of a decade. Is this part of her mind? If so, why are there so many others here? The familiar faces she can understand, but there are those unknown to her as well. Something about this simply isn't right.

"I swear," Odessa growls through grit teeth, "if I see that Trebek motherfucker…"

That's when she finds Kaylee, and the snake in the garden. Blue eyes grow wide with awe and fear, and Odessa Price reaches for her cousin's hand.

There is no recognition in Finch's eyes when she swivels her head to look at Isis nearby, but there is some measure of gladness in knowing that she's not alone. It shows in the hope that, for a moment, shimmers in her expression.

At least, until more of the scenery becomes visible, and her attention is turned outward again. This is so far beyond where she's ever imagined herself to be, she has no time to process it before her chest rises in shock at the sight of death and destruction. By the time the voice comes, she ducks her head down and folds both of her arms on top. She's so out of place it's taking her all of her energy not to scream in panic.

Except she doesn't. Hearing others' words, she reaches one arm slowly sideways, blindly seeking support in rising to her feet. Noting in a desperately bewildered whisper, "What… I'm not supposed to be here."

On her feet, Kaylee was ready to join her friends, to call out to Luther, but…. The world changes and… she stops breathing. She doesn’t see the terrain or notice the shift in atmosphere. Anyone looking at her can see the telepath’s eyes open wide, terrified. The familiar weight settles around her shoulders… one she hasn’t felt in over a year… and she wants to scream, but the sound is caught in her throat.

The desire to brush it off is strong, but Kaylee seems almost paralysed. Slowly, her eyes shift over to see the familiar black sheen and feels the tongue flick against her cheek. Starting at the base of her spine a fine tremble causes muscles to tighten and she finally lets out a shaky breath. A part of her reveled in it’s return, even as her mind rebelled at the idea.

The booming voice makes her flinch, but she stands perfectly still. It’s can’t be real. Eyes seek out the others, she’s scared… conflicted. Kaylee looks towards Luther’s familiar mental hum as a tear slides from the corner of her eye.

The hell is this?! Silas thinks, eyes widening as the fog clears and he sees the world around him — a world of death. A tomb. Even the Flood hadn't had a patch on this.

Then that Voice speaks, and Silas's eyes narrow in confusion. A resurrection? The resurrection of… what, exactly? This dead place? Or… something else altogether? He looks around in confusion… and as he does, this time he makes out a familiar face. Is that… "Seren?" he calls.

The sound of a familiar language, even if not a familiar voice, has Rene swiveling where he sits, trying to find the source- - sources? Amongst fog and bodies. Already he passively recognizes several of them, and he lifts up to move a bit closer to Nathalie, stumbling on unseen terrain with no sound from his tongue this time. He just seeks, half-blind until suddenly, he isn't. One foot sticks and sucks inward between ash and bone, and whatever else was on his mind vanishes behind a flash of cold.

Like Seren, Dumortier attempts to hide behind the safety of his ability, but the shroud of brambles doesn't come, and he can't figure why. Perhaps the dead.

Of Eve he hears little, just- - shouting, indistinct past blood in his ears.

No… no, no, no. This cannot be good. She looks around at the group as the background around them all shifts and they find themselves in this lost and dead world. There are no identifying characteristics that she can pick out as telling of what world they're seeing. Familiar faces, familiar voices. It… doesn't feel like a dream. Odessa and Eve, Silas and Devon… oh God. Kaylee and the snake.

The voice!! She's not sure from the sound of it that it's the same one that called to them in the first world … but it's familiar. And it's talking about resurrection, so it seems a good assumption.

Putting her hands over her ears just isn't even going to help the bolt of terror that drops Elisabeth's heart to her toes. "Who the hell are you?? Why can't you leave us alone?? You don't belong here anymore!"

Nathalie turns when she hears Rory's voice and her expression falls. Finding herself here is one thing. Finding him here is another. She approaches him and puts her hands on his face, worry drawing her lips into a frown. Her eyes dart to the side when she hears the voice and then back to Rory. "Try not to let it see you," she says in a whisper. "There's something about its eyes."

She turns, moving to take his hand and move between him and the snake, even though she is not perfect cover. She's not even sure cover will be helpful in this particular situation. She's not even sure what this particular situation is. Her hand tightens around Rory's when she sees the devastation around them. She steps forward, reaching a hand down to brush her fingers over a bleached skull. Nothing left to bring back. Nothing living. Just debris cluttering around her feet.

Looking outward, she tries not to count how many bones lie bare in front of her, but she can't help but number them all. Her breathing shallows into short, panicked gulps.

Who are all these people? Rory has never seen a place like this before. Even during the flashes that some people had of a far away world, he had never once gotten one. Perhaps for the better, really, from what he had heard of them many had not been pleasant.

When Nathalie moves between him and the source of that voice, he doesn't protest or try to push her aside. He just squeezes her hand and looks around in other directions, so that he can warn her if something comes too close.

He doesn't recognize most the people in the fog, but Rory trusts her to protect them. She was Wolfhound, after all. "How did we get here?" he whispers quietly from behind her, not that he really expects her to know the answer.

"We’ve gone so colourblind
Can’t see to find the way
We stand here in this twilight
Was anything we did right?"

Fingers move across strings, as she hears the cries out of others. The damning proclamation, the all encompassing noise of the voice causes her shoulders to tense, a slightly off key note ringing out as her voice wavers. She swallows and shakes, feeling compelled to continue her song.

"Are we lost, fading away?
Trapped in our delirium
With nothing left to adore
Endless midnight we abhor
What else is in store?"

As more voices call out, some familiar, some not, Quinn's heart rate quickens. Taking a few shallow breaths between verse and chorus, She lets a finger slide slowly down a string, creating an almost echo like reverb as she strikes it once at the end of the neck.

"And I was told
Give up the fight
Nothing we can do
To stop…"

Finally opening her eyes again, Quinn's hands still and her voice drifts off as she takes in the deadlands before her. Eyes widen slightly, and slowly she rises up to her feet, eyes cast upwards at the sky. She swallows, grip loosening on her guitar as she trembles. "…The dying of the light," she whispers, finishing the lyric in an almost solemn tone.

The guitar slips out of her grip as she turns her eyes back downwards to the ruins around her. It falls. Nothing happens. In the moments between breathes, it vanishes before reaching the ground.

"Are you it?" the former musician whispers, eyes scanning around. "What I've heard before?"

Pupils dilate within pools of hazel-gold as the mist parts. There's a flicker of sad-tinged hope in Isis's gaze at the sight of Eve but then…

The nightmare that looms up from the other familiar figure, Kaylee, leaves the little redhead to mirror Finch's mindless groping. She clamps a gloves hand around the other girls forearm, rocking under the booming voice and the various outcries that follow it.

The voices are a distant thing that prickles into Devon's awareness. Some he recognizes, others are as unfamiliar as his surroundings. His eyes narrow, he squints through the murk and gloom to find indistinct shapes become bodies for those who brave calling out.

"Liz." In his soft spoken way he calls for the first known face. Others become clearer. Nathalie. Kaylee. Odessa.

Taking a step from the slab to migrate with the others, to join the congregation, brings a second revelation. Twigs snap beneath his feet, drawing a look to them. Not twigs but bones. The dawning realization tantalizes and teases at his fear, propels him to move forward. Faster.

"Liz." Devon calls again as he reaches for her first. His eyes fall on the serpent as he seeks the telepath next. "What… what's…" Words fail. Comprehension crumbles as easily as the ruins.

The shadowy forms of others in the strange realm of misty, starlit miasma Yi-Min finds herself in are unmercifully unknown to her as well. A troubling crowd of intruders in the fog. Why are these others present? She knew her dreams had been troubled of late, but—

This was different somehow.

Faces swim before her in abstracted gleams. Voices that she does not recognize, dislocating in and out of her consciousness. She only knows that this state of being is not correct. "My task is not finished," she whispers into the gloom, and a dissonance of innumerable whispered echoes rises to greet her in return. There is only one voice among them that possibly meets the threshold of any kind of familiarity, and though she thinks she recognizes it, she cannot make out the words.

Any of the words.

"Rene?"

"Wa tianh bo—"

Do not run. Do not hide. I brought you here. To witness.

The voice roars from the sky, so loud as to shake the ground and disturb the dust and ashes. The bones amid the concrete and glass rattle, the vibration so palpable and so real it feels as though the entirety of the world had come to an end and those here the sole survivors.

Eve's words reverberate with the same weight as the voice from the sky. The phrase Gutes-Asi shaking the ground when it is said, and the voice in the sky becomes louder and clearer.

Witness.
The voice commands, and the world's ruin is run backwards through a moment in time. Buildings rise from rubble and ruin, flames rise from ashes, flesh winds around bone, screams join the clattering of rock and metal, followed by riotous shouts that fill the air. It is clear now that this was at one time a street, that this was at one time a city, though the skyline still one of unfamiliarity. The clouds recede at the same time that a different, horribly familiar, roar builds in the heavens. Aircraft zip through the sky, fighter jets launching missiles into skyscrapers, napalm burning down entire city blocks. Screams in a chorus that would make God weep. Children catch fire, are burned to the bone in their parents' arms, the world is set aflame in a blackening shroud of death and chaos.

But amid the flames and destruction, Elisabeth recognizes something. A building, one of the many on fire, a skyscraper looming over a cityscape that she only now knows.

The Raytech head office.

This is Detroit.

Will be?

Witness.

Gunfire fills the air, indistinct shapes of violence haunt the periphery of all vision. It is at once a war and a massacre, a destruction that did not come to pass during the civil war to a city that survived intact. But this is not a civil war. This is not the past.
Dead soldiers lay amid the carnage, flags of foreign nations adorn their armor. Britain and Russia, the United States, countless more. All of this suffering feels like so much noise, so much senseless horror, until a single moment in time is crystallized.

Four teenagers stand against a brick wall. A soldier with a hand-held electronic device scans them one by one. They device clicks loudly, reporting a positive identification. The other soldiers raise their rifles.

Fire.

Gunshots like thunder, screams and cries, desperate pleading and merciless execution. History repeats itself.

Witness.

A wave of fog passes over the city, over the witnesses, and all is again a tomb.

Silent. Save for the serpent, ever hissing.

As it always was.

The voice booms from the sky.

As it will be.

Then, the proclamation:

Witness.

"… Huh. And here I thought they finally got this city back on the uphill trend." Lashirah quips as she finally recognizes her surrounds, or enough of them to realize she's -in Detroit-. "… And I have too many good guesses as to what THAT thing does." Lashirah reaches for where her sidearm should be, though it likely isn't, as wont to be in dreams.

"Hear me friends!" Eve tries to shout over the roar as the world around them changes to a place of horrors. "The Dragon tricks! It deceives! This may be a future…" Squaring her shoulders as flames rage around them. "But its a future it wants us to see!"

And see they do. The destruction and carnage.

Eve is no stranger to visions of this kind. The burning of children still makes her eyes widen and she shakes her head. "Fire and brimstone…" She was also use to this kind of haunting. But that voice… it was so loud.

Detroit.

"You cannot have this world! Not you! Not Adam! It's not yours!"

Snapping her face up towards the sky, Eve shakes her head, "You want us United?! Gutes-asi?! Leave these poor souls alone!"

Once voices and faces coalesce into recognizable parts, Luther picks up his pace. When the dissipating cloaking weather reveals itself to be a fog of war and the battlefield reveals its horrors, though, he slows to a stunned halt. To answer Seren's question, no. He's not okay. It's as if the flashes of Midtown, of the western coast of the country, and every nightmare he's seen in between waking and sleeping moments has landed. The roar is not a voice, not to him. Even though he can pick out the words, somewhere in the back of it all is only the sound of a nuclear explosion.

He shuts his eyes. Only long enough to battle down the dizzying sense of sickening horror at the scene. Until it changes again, rewinding - no, not rewinding, prophecizing - a future? The RayTech Detroit HQ, the soldiers, acrid smoking guns and burning bodies… No. No. NO. Not again.

Luther surges forward, legs and heart pounding for the faces and people he knows, towards Kaylee and her silent pleading expression of fear. Towards Odessa and that promise he made long ago, a photo tucked in a folded paper crane. To Eve's call to stand united.

The fuck? Elisabeth wraps her arm around Devon's shoulders as he finds her, as much for her own comfort as his. So much happening as all the people finally manage to get close enough to one another to sort of a loose group all together. Kind of. Witness? She's already witnessed this shit more than once. Blue eyes full with tears as she watches … again … a war tear the world apart. Children burning and shot against a wall. A city in flames around her. Detroit, New York… it doesn't matter which city.

"God… not again." Elisabeth doesn't want to live this again. Despair tears at her stomach and her eyes seek out the people she knows… and the people she doesn't. Her jaw firms at Eve's call to arms. "One possible future! The future is not a given!" Defiance. She can still shout defiance in the face of this. "We have stopped this before." She's so tired. "We'll stop it again!" And fuck you if you think we won't! We'll rest when we're through.

Likely never. She's so tired. But Elisabeth doesn't know how to give up.

As history begins to play out in forward and reverse, all those awful moments in time, the light held in Seren's hand flickers. Its power wanes. "No," they murmur. The awful nature of the visions are devastating to bear witness to. Their hand closes, their light fading entirely. "No."

"It won't be like this," Seren tries to hard to believe. Not so long as people stand together. They fought it down before. Belatedly they turn at the sound of Silas' call of their name.

"Silas!" Seren calls out in return, and at once their heart soars with hope. They won't be alone. They rush toward him, the hopeful glow that had shrouded them coming back as a dim aura.

They rush past others, one of them being a thin young woman with fair blonde hair that sweeps over one half of her face, her hands cupped up around her mouth. Unlike Seren, Emily Epstein can do nothing but watch and bear witness, jerking away from the fog that bowls through and claims all life again, leaving only that raging silence, desolate silence she'd awoken to here. Everything she's seen is the stuff nightmares can't touch, it's a myriad of Pollepel Islands all over again.

And still she can't turn away. She listens, the hissing filling her ears. And she bears witness.

Just as Finch is about to try and get up - though what for, she's not quite sure - she lands right back down again, knees buckling. Her grabbed forearm keeps her from toppling too awfully hard, but a yelp still escapes her in high pitched alarm.

Everything shown, everything told, she sits and soaks it in, sitting awkwardly on whatever makes up the ground beneath her, entranced by all that is around. By the time she sees the teenagers, lined up, even she knows enough to have tears start streaming down her fear-stricken face. There isn't enough time to understand, but plenty of time to feel.

"… 'Friends'?" She questions, barely enough breath leaving her to make a voice with, looking slowly toward Eve's form and reaching to put a hand on Isis' gloved grasp on her.

Fear of having the snake around her neck again, gives way to the shock of watching the world rewind into a horror show. While the fear still sits there like a nauseous brick in her stomach, Kaylee watches in horror as events unfold again. The snakes words echo in her ears, even as she turns to watch a fighter fly over head, ducking away as missiles strike the building.

Eyes falling in time to the kids lined up against the wall.

Her head shakes, denying what she is seeing. “N-n-no… This isn’t….” She wants to throw up as the kids are mowed down, but the scene does more than sicken her, it also hardens her heart… it could have been her children standing up there. She promised them and Joseph they would live in a better world. She looks at the others, her friends. People who fought so hard. They all did.

Eve’s words reach the telepath, hearten her, gaze falling to the empty sockets of the skulls at her feet. Her jaw tightens.

“This isn’t the world my father worked so hard to make.” Kaylee suddenly hisses out, finding the courage to reach up to try and pull the snake off. “We won’t let this happen. This is our world to mold.” She turns her head to look at the snake in those golden eyes, Kaylee definitely growls back, “I’ll fight to my last breath before I let my world end up like this.”

Silas's eyes are wide and wild. He sees. Oh yes. He's witnessing this alright, seeing it bright and clear, and in him now there is a fury, burning bright and steady and cold, visible on his face in the snarl on his lips, in how wide his eyes are.

He hears Eve off over there somewhere, through the roaring of blood in his ears… but it's not until someone actually calls his name that his attention returns to the here and now — wherever, whenever this actually is.

Silas turns, sees Seren rushing towards him… and for them he manages to muster a tight smile, gives a quick nod. Then his head is turning towards the sky. "I see. I'm witnessing, damn you… and so help me God, so long as there's breath in my body I'll do my best to stop it!" he says.

That may very well be the equivalent of saying 'smite me, o mighty smiter', but he'll be damned if he sees something like this and doesn't say something. Doesn't try to do something.

He made that mistake once before. Never again.

Witness.

Odessa shrieks and crumples to the ground, writhing and clawing at her head for the cacophony inside of her. It's like there's a nest of angry hornets buzzing in her skull and in her veins. Too much all at once. Too many emotions. Too much horror. Too much death.

Clutching at Eve's skirt, the empath wails, mourning the horrible loss they've all just witnessed. "No," she whispers, voice hoarse from screaming. "We can't let this happen."

An unending circle of death.

As bidden, Yi-Min bears witness to the abhorrent tableau of violence in silence, her eyes glittering and flat. There is no ambiguity now in anything that she hears, in that dark intonation filling up the air like a living presence. She has drawn herself up to her full height by now, which is not exactly considerable or impressive— but the far more important change is internal: the unassailable calmness that has reasserted itself into her bearing.

Despite all of this.

All of whatever this is.

And then she is behind Finch as the younger and taller girl topples, supporting her with the weight of both arms so that the transition into sitting does not happen too harshly, the bird-thin frame of the Taiwanese woman reassuring and surprisingly strong.

"There will be no fear," Yi-Min murmurs to the space around her, the assertion punctuated by the cadence of a silent breath, smiling with what looks unexpectedly like sadness. Perhaps she does not see a point in shouting at the presence directly, as others are doing. But there again: perhaps she is speaking to it after all.

"No fear."

Witness.

Quinn can't do anything but, staring ahead with ever widening eyes, stilled by the horror of the sights shifting and changing before her, shifting as flames flare around her. She winces at the voice's booming proclamation, more so than she does at any gunfire or the sight of bodies. Perhaps her stomach should turn a little, but at this point, she finds it takes something much more horrible to make her uncomfortable.

She lets out a hiss as other voices muddle the scene around her, but this time some of them get through. Some of them she recognises. It breaks her attention for a moment as she looks around, not for the first time realising others are here, but for the first time perhaps recognizing them for who they are.

As her gaze sweeps back ahead, it falls on the sight of the four teens lined up against a wall.

Immediately her breaths become shallow and quick, eyes widening as a hand grasps into a fist.

She's seen a seen like this before, in a vision. A dream. A something that felt too real then. Too visceral.

Hands shake as she takes a half step back, watching as rifles are raised.

"No no no no no n-"

As the gunfire rings out, she ducks down to the ground, armsoverhere head as tears well in the corners of her eyes.

Speak, Herald.

Nathalie's eyes flutter open and closed as the scene plays out before them in reverse. She can't quite look away, can't not witness. She looks at their faces. She hears their screams. She feels their pain. She feels everything.

While others take their stand and state clearly their determination, Nathalie shudders and falls to her hands and knees, ash billowing around her. The devastation lingers. She forgets to breathe until she's left gasping.

"We fail."

Her words are barely a whisper.

"I fail."

All fail.

To say that Rory feels sick would be an understatement. This kind of thing has never happened to him before. He hadn't been here for the war, and though his native country had problems, he had never been involved in any of the riots or horrors. He had fled before he could get caught up in anything. He had thought what little he had witnessed back home had been bad.

But this.

If he had anything in his stomach, he probably would have lost it. As it is, he finds himself leaning against Nathalie's back, chin pressed against her shoulder as he wants to look away, but barely stops himself. The arm not already being held by her wraps around her, he goes down on his knees as she does. He holds her, either as comfort for her or himself or both. It might have also served to keep her with him, if she had stood up like so many around them. But she did not.

In fact, he hears her words over the various gunfire and other sounds he'd really rather not have witnessed and responds quietly in her ear. "Don't listen to it. No one's failed yet."

"No." The word is a weak croak in Devon's throat, uttered as the scene shifts, the landscape changes. Time reverses. "No." Not this. Not again. He'd lived this horror before, fought against it in two lives.

Hands cling to his face, to cover his eyes lest he see another execution. Within Liz's arm he trembles. Her support keeps him from falling to his knees. The memories that are and yet aren't his are too vivid. He doesn't need, doesn't want to realize that path. "No. We changed it. That path isn't ours." Desperation gives his voice a hard edge.

"You're wrong," is belted out at the omnipresent voice. Defiance, daring the speaker to continue with its falsehoods. "You're nothing! You gain nothing by spreading your lies!"

Precisely.

They will always fear. Always hunt. Always destroy. From the dawn to the dusk, so it has been.

Emily's hands shake even cupped over her mouth, but the sound of the rising voices around her give her courage she didn't think she had. She hears them. She believes them. Not because it's a more pleasant truth, but because she hears how hard everyone is willing to fight to make anything but this vision become reality.

"We'll stand together." she calls out suddenly, her voice clear and strong.

Lashirah looks at the people talking, then instead, walks towards the 'hunters'. Or rather, stalks, in a way that might remind some people of Huruma. Her goal it would seem is to get up close and personal with the offending 'hunters' to disarm them. She's not going to 'witness'. Nor is she going to just -talk-. Her future or not, nothing is set in stone, and nothing is unchanging, and not acting is not in her personality.

A single individual has been witnessing. Knees drawn up wearing purple plaid pajama pants, no shirt. The japanese silk screen tsunami wave of a tattoo that makes up his left tattoo sleeve on display. The sunset and sunrise superimposed together that makes up his right sleeve on display. Japanese characters for 'Silence' and 'Voice' and the names of people he knew that died in the war and other such memorials woven into the designs. Glossy purple nails glinting as a cigarette is brought to his lips and Raquelle Cambria just sits. And witnesses.

Nipple rings and back tattoos aside…hair messy and toussled from sleep, the hairdresser takes another drag from his cigarette and tilts his head back as he exhales a cloud above his head.

He witnesses..not sure if he is too too high again for the first time in years, if he is dreaming or if he is dead. He witnesses with a steely cool blue stare. A few tears have escaped of their own free will and he takes another drag.

"You are more dramatic than a drag queen who lost their lashes, broke their heel and forgot their padding 10 minutes before a show…of course we are going to fail. That is what makes us human.."

His jaw sets as he takes another deep breath, he can break down later as he gets to his feet. "Bitch please…"

"Yi-Min?" It is finally her voice that breaks past the barrier of bleak memories and jolts Rene back to the present. He notes guitar strings, mixing under murmurs and song, and the hiss of something that seems to be everywhere all at once.

Desperation finds the slender woman in the field of the dead, and Rene simply rushes to her. She might lose some wind from the impact of him seeking shelter against her- - if this were not a fever dream. His features are stricken and Yi-Min has no trouble recognizing the panicked look of someone broken and affected.

Dumortier only makes a wheezing, strangled noise when the voice thunders its way into his head, falling away from Yi-Min and Finch, when the girl takes her tumble. No, this can't be happening. The world shifts again and despite witness, he hides his eyes. When he looks up again, crystal blue takes in everything until Fire.

"I can't… what's happening? What are they talking about…?" There's no chance that Yi-Min won't hear him, and the variations of defiance from those in his vicinity make him feel ashamed for his fear. But that's how it goes. Some people just don't recover like others.

Supported by both Isis and Yi-Min, both strangers she does not have the willpower to look at nor the distrust to refuse, Finch manages to stay upright. Her breathing is too rapid and irregular, her hazy attention on too many things at once. If any more words are reaching her, she's not showing it.

This is the furthest away from home she's ever been in more ways than she can count, and as she listens to the voice she doesn't know, and the words she doesn't think to question in this moment - struggling to climb halfway back up to her feet is all she manages. A small act of defiance, but an act nonetheless.

The landscape is ever-changing, a desolate tomb one moment, then in peripheral vision a riot is happening. In some instances it doesn't even look like the right era. Old tanks lay rusted in a muddy field, two screaming British men drag an American by his arms into cover with gunshots ringing out around them. There are moments that feel distinctly out of place, silhouettes only people like Elisabeth recognize — Pinehearst Tower — crashing waves smashing against the side of a sunken Empire State Building, carnage unrepentant and uncaring.

A quote comes to mind, in seeing this deluge of human cruelty.

The flood is already happening, it is too late for the raindrops to vote.

The voice booming from the sky, crackling from every fire, hissing in sibilant and serpentine whispers at Kaylee's shoulder, neither heeds nor hears the protests of those around it. There is just chaos, death, carnage, and then…

Finch's flesh boils, erupts in molten pustules like hot pizza in an oven. A reflexive scream erupts from her throat, while at the same time the soft tissue in Lashirah's body begins to break down. Collagen turns to water, causing skin to dislodge from muscle and bone, causes joints to fail, causes her to fold into a seething heap of ruptured entropy. Finch paws at her face, reaches out helplessly for Isis and Yi-Min.

Isis has seen this happen before. To herself, but in slower motion.

Finch dissolves into a pile of protoplasmic, bubbling soup in Isis and Yi-Min's arms, helplessly gurgling in her final moments.

This world wasn't mean for them.

The sky demands.

It wasn't meant for human kind.

The fire calls.

It was made for our kind.

The serpent insists.

The Resurrection is upon us.

The—


The Oracle Room

Cat's Cradle, NYC Safe Zone

December 31st

2:37 am


Smoke fills the room as Eve Mas awakens from a dream, or so it feels. She is on the ceiling when she sees the room, more a haze of perception of what a room is than a solid structure. The heap of blankets and pillows she'd fallen asleep in on the floor have caught fire, smoldering in thin wisps of black smoke. She is above it all, looking down, crackling with arcs of red energy, discorporated.

Yet even when as ephemeral as an angel's breath, it is like she can still feel her heart pounding in her chest.

This wasn't a prophecy.

It was a promise.


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