Consensus In Purgatorio


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Scene Title Consensus in Purgatorio
Synopsis Hokuto Ichihara debates with herself how best to handle her student.
Date December 30, 2010


In Dante Alleghri's The Divine Comedy the Christian notion of purgatory is described as being a mountain, seven tiers tall and made from the rock and soil of the Earth that was pushed aside when Lucifer fell from heaven and crashed into the world, falling through into Hell.

A sixteen year-old Hokuto Ichihara once read that book. The representation of the seven-tiered mountain of purgatory, each tier of which represented one of the seven deadly sins, remained nestled in her subconsciousness. There it took root with other mythical mountains of literature both real and fictional. It may account for her current surroundings, a pastiche of memories of mountains stepped in both altitude and sin.

It is a snowy, ice-encrusted thing, Mount Everest if it could be cut against a slate gray sky filled with clouds and shrouded with freezing fog. Each layer of the mountain is terraced, resembling in some parts a step pyramid laden with snow drifts and crusted ice. Through the fog and clouds at the shrouded mountain's peak, a hellfire glow of orange saturates the cloud cover with its infernal glow. Mount Doom from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy also has a place in the heart and mind of a young woman who spent nearly every waking day around books.

The glow of rivers of magma cutting through a frosted mountain until they descend down into the ocean that surrounds it, forming gray clots of cooling volcanic rock golwing hot through the steaming fissures in the surface is an otherworldly vista. Seven levels of suffering and spiritual growth shrouded in cloying fog, lit by hellfire and cast at the center of a vast ocean that fades into gray.

This is where Hokuto Ichihara has decided to spend tonight, sculpting her own dreamscapes out of the mind of another, a host.

"My blood was so afire with envy that when I had seen a man becoming happy the lividness in me was plain to see…" Seated on a crumbling stone wall dusted with snow and mortared by ice, Hokuto speaks aloud to the fog and the stickbare fire-blackened trees encased in ice. One red-clad leg is crossed over the other, her suit of apple red temptation crisp and cut sleekly.

Gold eyes address the woman standing beneath the twisting branches of the frozen, fire-kissed tree. Also Hokuto Ichihara, though one dressed solely in shades of black and white. Her attire is not a business suit of varying red shades, but rather a formal kimono of primarily ink black color, white in trim and across her waist. Her equally gold eyes are averted to her feet, brows furrowed in consternation and lips downturned into a frown.

The saying is from the Divine Comedy and speaks of the second terrace of Purgatorio, the terrace of the sin of envy.

"It isn't like that," is a snappish comment, delivered by the dark clad Ichihara beneath the tree. Folding her arms across her chest, she turns her head aside and looks out beyond the mountain to fog-shrouded shores, her eyes distant and unfocused. "She needs to learn how to save herself. She can't… keep relying on other people to solve her problems."

The lady in red on the wall scoffs, rolling gold eyes up to the sky before settling them back down on her doppelganger beneath the tree's bough. "You're jealous that she has a life to return to. You want her to be like we are: lost/"

"That isn't true!" Hokuto whips her attention to her red-clad counterpart on the stone wall, arms flung down to her side and hands balled into fists. "I would never want someone to become like we are! I…" her throat tightens and voice hitches in the back of her throat, as if what were to be said next was simply caught like an awkwardly swallowed piece of food.

Silence hangs between the two mirror images of one another for a long while as emotions cool. "I'm afraid…" she finally admits, slouching back against the tree's icy surface. Her counterpart nods in understanding, her own teasing smile slowly fading to match her other self.

"Angela did so much for us when we were young," she admits in reluctance, letting one hand smooth over the icy stone wall. "Look how we turned out." There's understanding and sympathy between the two divisions, some semblance of synergy. "But leaving her to fend for herself," Hokuto alights gold eyes from the wall up to her treeward self. "It isn't going to engender her to trusting us… and then who will she turn to for advice?"

There's no readily available answer, none that either of them are happy to say at least. A chill wind blows across that side of the mountain, bringing with it drifting snow and howls of laughter and crying from somewhere else on the mountain.

"Dema," they both say in unison, meeting each other's eyes. "He would see her handed over to that shade, and I find that unacceptable." Still speaking in tandem, the pair seem to be of one mind in this. "I don't know what he is," one says to the other, "but Dema is his reaching hand, curling fingers into our domain." One begins to finish another's sentence as they rise up from the crumbling rock wall and step forth from beneath the tree.

"Can we agree, then, to protect her?" The red-dressed Hokuto asks to the one of monochromatic hues. Silence, then reluctantly, a nod. The black and white dressed dreamwalker steps forward to meet the distance between her red clas incarnation, offering out a hand to her.

She nods, the snow flecked in her hair glittering like points of starlight. "Dema is powerful, but together we are the sum of all of our friends and adversaries." The red-clas Hokuto agrees, taking her Other's hand, lacing fingers with it as the cold breeze blows and drifts across the mountainside.

"The Page of Swords can help us," they say in unison, each arching a different brow as if they had not expected the other to say the same thing. "We will find Jasmine, and be humble." As their hands squeeze together, there is a distant sound of rumbling stone and grinding rock, followed by several slow and crunching slams like the footsteps of a giant.

Through the fog, an enormous silhouette of a man approaches, made of stone and swept with ice and snow, carrying a book under one arm. Though merely a silhouette in the fog, both Ichihara's know the persona of the Nightmare Man when they see it, but it is not with fear or apprehension that they consider their third any longer.

They reach out their free hands, in welcome.

They have come to a consensus.

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