The Oracle's Hut


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Scene Title The Oracle's Hut
Synopsis A woman of uncommon memory gets a visit from a woman with practically no memory at all.
Date November 21, 2010

A Clearing in a Silver Forest

Unlike the forest of the Harbinger or the woods around the cemetery, the ones in this forest are full of silvery leaves that glimmer in the moonlight. Barely able to peek through to light the young woman's way as she steps down the path winding through the thick patches of undergrowth. Not that she needs the light to see, aside to keep herself from tripping. The crystaline orb gifted to her produces a glimmer of light all on its own and pulls in the direction she needs to go.

A break up ahead marks a large clearing within the deepest reaches of the silver trees, filled with tiny flowers and a thatch roofed hut. Not a sound can be heard, not even the singing of the nightingales that has kept her company through this leg of her journey. From behind one of the larger trunks, Delia peeks out into the meadow and her blue eyes drift over every minute detail, looking for whatever it is that stopped the music.

Edging off the path, the young redhead steps through the tall grass and bends to pluck up one strand of bell shaped flowers on her way to the little house. Its roof is covered in moss and small buds, every once in a while a tiny sapling can be seek eking its way out from between the tightly bound straws to reach its way toward the sky.

The house of the Oracle, the woman who knows all.

"What the…?" Inside the dreamscape, this sleeping woman's mind takes in suddenly changed scenery. She was having a conversation with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and some others about the meaning of various clauses in the Constitution and the state of the nation they worked so hard to found, but suddenly they're gone along with the locale of Federal Hall as it was in 1789 when Mr. Washington presided from there.

"We weren't done yet," she growls under her breath as eyes wander the inside of this building she suddenly finds herself in, with the various contents of her memories springing to apparent physicality as books and media items which contain them. There's a window she approaches soon enough, to look outside and see the meadow. Searching eyes scan the trees and the open plain, settle on the woman of red hair, and she speaks in a quiet voice.

"I know you."

From a silver string held tightly between her fingertips, Delia follows the crystal orb as it leans toward the hut. She pauses in the middle of the clearing to study the cottage before wrinkling her nose and speaking to the bauble pointing toward it.

"Are you sure this is right? This doesn't look like the cave of a shadow monster at all." In fact, it looks completely the opposite of where a monster that lives in shadows would dwell. It's bright and … pretty. "You have to be making a mistake," she utters to the orb. Though when she starts moving her feet again, she follows in the direction it is pulling in. Right toward the door.

When the young woman stops, the orb dims and falls limp from the base of its silver leash. Catching it up into her hand, she holds it tightly before using the other to knock softly on the door.

The door opens, and on the other side stands Cat in jeans and a Pat Benatar t-shirt, looking out at the person who knocks. One eyebrow is raised in her regard of the flame-haired visitor. To her right side is an unusual sight: a large black panther which comes up to her waist. The beast also regards the knocker, and lets out a low growl.

Then they look at each other, and the panther stands up on her hind legs, placing a paw on Cat's shoulder as if it were a hand and leaning there. And this is where things, depending on perspective, get even odder.

They speak, with the panther having a slightly feral version of the voice, at the same time.


Tilting her head, Delia studies the Cat and her cat with a small amount of confusion before she blinks a few times and takes a deep breath. "I— uhm… I… You don't look like you belong here." Her observation finally comes out in a blunt fashion after a fair amount of stammering. Leaning forward a little, the redhead's eyebrows furrow tightly together and her lips purse into something of a frown. Finally, her gray eyes fall onto the panther and she speaks to it, rather than the woman. "Are you a shadow monster?"

The question is voice in such an innocent yet accusatory fashion that it's almost comical. Resting her fists on her hips, Delia waits for whatever answer the panther is ready to give. The firm expression on her face suggests that she might not accept an answer that's anything but affirmative.

Both entities answer at the same time, each scoffing a little at the question. "Shadow monster? Oh, please. You know who we are, Delia Ryans. We are Cat." Then the doorway is cleared and room made for her to enter, in that action a simple unspoken invitation. On a white wall inside video imagery is playing out in full clarity, footage of the time in the park when Delia spotted a policeman and was obviously frightened, drawing Cat's scrutiny.

The video imagery is stared at with wide eyes and a gape to her lower jaw. Seeing her own face on the screen has the young woman somewhat baffled. Slowly, her eyes color with a light blue tint, spreading through the iris like bleeding ink. She watches the scenery for quite a while before turning to Cat(s) with a puzzled expression and pointing to the moving picture. "That's me… and you… and…"

The park is studied before Delia takes a deep breath and licks her lips. "That's… uhm… a.. uhm…" A few snaps of her fingers later, she furrows her eyebrows and shakes her head. "Somewhere I've been before?"

"Central Park, Delia Ryans," the Cats answer, followed by several seconds of quiet scrutiny from both after which the panther disengages from Cat's shoulder and paces toward Delia with a low growl emitting from her throat, a feral version of Doctor Chesterfield's own voice. "Now I have questions of you, Miss. Are you part of my own mind, manifesting in a dream for some reason? Are you a dreamwalker come to visit? Or are you someone else pretending to be Delia Ryans?" She lets out a quiet snarl, yellow eyes on the redhead.

"Because Delia Ryans shouldn't need to ask such questions."

"I— I'm on a quest," Delia answers as she turns from the video again to gaze into the yellow eyes. "I have to find the shadow monster to get more pieces to the puzzle… Then I can go home." The jilt in her logic is something akin to the plan of the underpants gnomes, there's a step missing.

Uncurling her fingers from around the orb, the young woman looks down at it and frowns. "It's supposed to lead me there, but it brought me here first. Do you have something for me to find it? Are you a piece to the puzzle?" Her blue eyes flit toward Cat again and her eyebrows twitch together. "I got lost… I can't find my body."

"We don't know who the shadow monster is," the Cats answer again in unison, with the panther relaxing somewhat. "And we are now certain you are Delia Ryans, dreamwalker, paying a visit. We are Cat, a woman of uncommon memory. Your body is most likely on Pollepel Island, fifty miles away from New York City. When we are awake, we will make inquiries about where it is and work to bring you together."

The video shifts to a different subject, now showing an image of Hokuto Ichihara. "Is this the shadow monster you seek, Delia Ryans? We would not label her so, though we do realize she has dark capabilities."

"No, that's… That's Hokuto." Closing her eyes, the image on the screen shifts until the image of Elisabeth appears on the screen. Dressed in a gown of white, she balances herself on a large jigsaw piece. The broken wings of an angel on her back become visible when the piece turns in the water. "The shadow monster is in love with the angel… I have to find him to make him tell more lies so she can finish the puzzle."

The image of the shadow monster never appears on the screen, though the umbrage around Elisabeth would suggest the water is somewhere dark. When Delia opens her eyes again, the image is replaced again by Hokuto.

"We see," the panther answers with a nod, another strangely human gesture from this beast which is for whatever reason tied to Cat and speaks for her in the dreamwalker's presence. "We know both the angel and the man of shadows. He is not a monster, though we do understand it may seem so. He walks in and manipulates shadows, simply, much as you walk in dreamlands. When we are awake, we will contact the angel to ask of this. Or, and perhaps in addition to that, you can make a mirror and take us with you through that mirror to find the angel as she sleeps. Hokuto has done so, though you may not yet be strong enough." Several beats of silence follow.

"Tell us, Delia Ryans, of the lies he must tell, and the puzzle your angel struggles with." Displayed for Delia now are the images of Elisabeth Harrison and Richard Cardinal. "This is the man of shadows."

Studying the images, Delia points to Cardinal and shakes her head. When she turns her palm upward, a chess piece, a black king to be exact, phases into view. "No, that's the Red King, I met him in the Shadowlands… That's not the shadow monster. The shadow monster loves the angel but she doesn't love him."

Closing her hand around the chess piece, she holds it as tightly as she holds the crystalline orb in her other hand. "The angel is confused, he tells her half truths and she has to piece together the lies to save the boy. I— I want to help her."

Curiouser and curiouser things get here in this hut inhabited by the Oracle. The panther displays a mannerism one might label Spockbrowing, which is echoed by the human image of Cat as they look at each other, then back to she who has hair of fire. "Intriguing, Delia Ryans. Show us the shadow monster who earns not the angel's love. Tell us who the boy to be saved is."

There's a slight menacing quality to the panther again, suggesting she expects to receive full disclosure. "It seems the angel and we do have quite the conversation to hold in the near future."

"I don't know… " Delia admits in a low tone of voice, "The orb was supposed to take me there." Taking a deep breath, she turns her blue eyes to Cat and tries to manage a smile. "I keep forgetting things, important things. The big Russian man said that I'm losing myself and that I'll only be found in dreams if I can't remember but every time I jump somewhere new, it starts all over again. Sometimes I don't remember anything, sometimes I remember everything."

Whatever small flicker of a smile she just gave fades away as quickly as it came. "If I find the shadow monster and the angel can solve the puzzle… maybe I'm one of the people she's going to save. Maybe I'll be able to go home."

"You don't remember your own name, or who we are," the panther replies with a nod in continuance of human mannerisms such a creature shouldn't have, let alone the ability to talk, "but will you remember enough to find me again here? We are a woman of uncommon memory, it presents no problem at all to us. If need be, we will remember for you when and if you find your way back. You must, thus, show us all you can of what and who is involved. Like the big Russian man." Cat's avatar allows several beats of silence to pass.

"We will speak with the angel and try to uncover details which can be remembered for you."

Turning to the white wall, Delia's eyes close and her adventure begins playing all from the eyes of the dreamwalker. Samara is on a pier with what can only be Delia's milk white hands clinging to her before they're ripped away into darkness. A cemetery and grave digging with bare hands. Fighting a tiny brunette with scraggly hair and a giant eagle beside a woman with one eye, Odessa. Entering a throne room and Logan's fading face just inches from her own. Chess in the middle of a barren land against a haggard looking Cardinal. A cement pier where gray skies and blowing wind give the impression of a cold and hard landscape while speaking with Dema. A burning village while Brennan and his family huddle together to watch the collected assembly of everything they've ever owned go up in smoke. Elisabeth as an angel, balanced on the jigsaw piece, floating in a vast body of water. Finally, sitting in a jail cell with Dante before he lifts her out of a window.

When Delia opens her eyes again, she stares at the images fading off the screen and lets loose a long sigh. "That's everything I can remember since I got here. I have to find something that I'm missing, I have to find it before I can go back. Maybe the shadow monster has it."

Some faces are recognized, others not, as Cat and her panther observe what Delia plays out for them. "What's your name?" the panther asks gently, to test that angle. "And what's our name?" That one too. "You didn't say whether or not you can find your way back here." They opt not to share names for any of the persons contained within that play of images.

"The angel gave you this quest, it may be she knows what you need to find, this item you can't identify but will probably know on sight. If, that is, you don't know what it is you're looking for. If you know what it is, tell us. If you don't, and the angel does, we will remember."

But, on the chance images might trigger something of value in this endeavor, they begin to show a succession of images lasting long enough to be seen clearly. Ben Ryans. Huruma. Gun Hill and the residents there.

"I don't know if I can find my way back. If the orb brings me back here, I can… I don't think that I'll be able to unless it does." As the images shift to her friends and family, Delia's eyes look blank for a moment before realization dawns on her. "I'm Delia Ryans, you told me that. You're Cat. That's my dad, Huruma, Tasha and Sable… and Kaylee." Some of the faces can't be named but they seem somewhat familiar to the young woman.

"I don't know what I'm looking for, my body.. but I can't find it unless I have.." She shakes her head and looks back at the screen as the video of their meeting in the park replays. Squinting at the images, it pauses and she studies the larger than life representation of herself on the wall. A small glint of gold around the woman's neck catches her attention. "… my necklace. I lost my necklace."

"Is that what you're looking for, Delia Ryans?" The panther's voice questions thusly as they glance over at the park meeting and the item Delia speaks of. They're both Spockbrowing again when two pairs of eyes settle on her. "We shall have to hope the orb leads you back to us, so you can have the benefit of our memory should you need it. We also advise confidence is the root of many things. If you believe you will find what you need, the chances of success increase. If you allow yourself to despair, you may by that fact sabotage yourself."

The pair of human and beast once again study Delia in unison to determine if the words make sense to her.

And within moments books of Carl Jung's works are shown open to the relevant pages, those which cover the components of a person, followed by imagery of Hokuto Ichihara explaining how the mind works. The three components, in the hope Delia will recognize which of them is the panther.

Staring between the book and the images of Hokuto's lesson, Delia seems alternately puzzled and skeptical. She glances at the beast every so often when the lesson turns to the shadow, but a wrinkle of her nose discounts that as a possibility along with the shake of her head. "I didn't learn anything like that from Hokuto, not that I can remember."

Had someone asked Hokuto, she might answer that their lessons were more about reigning the young dreamwalker in and attempting to teach her limits rather than theories on the brain. All in hopes of avoiding a situation such as this. "She taught me about my anchor… I thought I felt it when I was with the angel, but I think it was hers and not mine."

"From what we know of you," the panther states, "your anchor may well be your father or your sister. It's been some time since we spoke, I don't believe you had a romantic partner. You are also of the medical profession and a student seeking to advance in it, so you could anchor to a place as well. However, Delia Ryans, you did not answer my question about the missing necklace. Might that be your anchor, through some symbolic value?"

While the panther speaks with Delia, the human image of Cat is wandering across the hut to where a collection of guitars and other instruments appear and picking up a red Fender Strat.

"No… My anchor isn't a person… It's a place." Delia sounds a little distracted, perhaps by watching the human version of Cat reaching for the guitar. A dreamy look enters her eyes and without having to concentrate, the image on the wall shifts to a picture of a red haired woman in her forties. She's unconventionally beautiful and around her neck dangles a gold crucifix, the same one frozen on the image of Delia before.

When the human version begins to strum the Fender, it's not music that comes from the instrument but the obnoxious wailing of an alarm clock. Glancing at the screen, a myriad of confusing pictures and diagrams flip across it, multiple images of that same necklace worn by different women. Though the face changes, the position of the necklace is fixed on the screen.

The blaring of the alarm causes the scenery to fade and Delia herself is suddenly yanked upward as though pulled by a string. A crash through the ceiling and roof sends particles of dust and bits of straw swirls down around both Cats…

"Where is this pl…" The question doesn't finish, as Delia is jerked through the hut's roof and leaves debris in her wake. The panther stares after her, growling, and then…

She rolls over with eyes opening. "…ace?" Silence for a few seconds, the wall is stared at as images from the dream replay, mainly the several women and the necklace with the unchanging position, those pictures and diagrams. Is the necklace an actual item, or a metaphor? Cat doesn't know.

What she does know is there were references to a shadow monster who isn't Richard Cardinal and the angel. This morning will feature a trip to Battery Park City.

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