Holes/Session 50

From Zaori


EXT. Large, shaded tree clearing - evening
Along with Kyrule and midgets, the party is loitering around the tree, near the new grave. Greibel is nodding vaguely to himself. Amadi is eating ice cream, pretending this is all completely normal.
KYRULE
The hole awaits. Are you all ready?
DAWN
What about Djieka? Shouldn't he have a marker?
TREE
I got this, guys. I'll tell anyone who cares he's there. I am a GREAT tombstone.
Like that big dark thing buried even deeper, I mark that like nobody's business.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Thanks, Tree.
KYRULE
You're supposed to be guarding that, not marking it.
TREE
Yeah, yeah, it's all bugs.
RHU
...big dark thing?
TREE
Oh, you know. It's big. And dark. And all that. Huge, like.
Rhu gives everybody a "huh?" look. It is probably indistinguishable from his usual expression.
RADEK
...Guarding, you say. From outsiders, or for the sake of outsiders?
KYRULE
Yes.
Radek smirks.
Ganelon (Radek): You might think that's a cryptic answer, but it explains everything!
TREE
Well, you know. They buried it, they forgot about it, they pretended it was never there.
Pretty easy when the entire history got rewrote, that.
RHU
Who buried... what? Exactly?
GREIBEL
Oh come on, Rhu. Keep up, man. The big horrible thing.
TREE
Yeaah, man, you'll...
KYRULE
(interrupting the tree)
Vivek, stop talking, please.
RHU
(to Greibel)
What big horrible thing? We have enough big horrible things. We don't need more big horrible things.
GREIBEL
That's why they buried it, man.
RHU
Oh.
TREE
Yeah, man. That.
Kyrule eyes the tree suspiciously.
Amadi takes a sip of tea and turns to whoever's closest. This turns out to be Dawn.
AMADI
Yes, Kyrule is still being terribly rude. Some people just never change. And gods are the worst. It goes with the job; having to represent things and stuff.
DAWN
So what do we represent?
Amadi takes another sip of tea, gets it down wrong and starts coughing like crazy.
The Gravedigger slaps Amadi on the back with a Gravy-sized hand. This doesn't entirely work and nearly knocks her over, so he then takes Dawn's hand and uses that to pat Amadi on the back.
Amadi stops choking.
AMADI
(coughing)
Thanks.
DAWN
Oing?
KYRULE
One last thing before we head out, then. We'll need to leave behind an anchor, something to mark this place and time in order to return to it.
I could try bribing a certain someone here with a lollipop, but at this point I believe your best option would be to have Dawn remain behind.
RHU
I... have a skull? Would that work?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Byedavethanksseeya.
DAWN
Um... okay?
KYRULE
(to Dawn)
Just stay here. And don't wander off. Have a cat.
Kyrule hands Dawn a sphinx. This is a different sphinx from before - sleek-furred and tortoiseshell, with mottled wings.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Really time to leave now!
RADEK
...You had better take that back when we return. It's enough of a burden keeping Dawn in line.
DAWN
(staring at the sphinx)
Uh...
The sphinx purrs.
KYRULE
Of course.
RHU
It might be useful to have someone who can fly with us. And besides, she can fight. Sort of.
AMADI
How about Squirrel? She likes it here and everything.
Squirrel suddenly reappears at Amadi's mention.
Amadi gives Squirrel suspicious glances.
SQIRREL
Squirrel!
KYRULE
(she shakes her head)
You need someone who can stay put. Amadi's... key might work, however.
AMADI
Would not! If it stays, I stay, and I'm not staying.
KYRULE
You could use Dawn as a temporary key while binding your main form to this plane.
AMADI
Eeeew.
Amadi makes a disgusted face.
KYRULE
I'm not sure if that is entirely a good idea, of course.
The sphinx tries to climb Dawn's face and she falls over, covered in fur and wings.
KYRULE
Very well, then.
And then everyone, except for Dawn, gets transported to somewhere else.

EXT. Great rift at Sanessee - badlands
The party is taken to a dark expanse of not-quite land. The ground here is twisted, distorted, black and glassy, the clouds low and roiling, full of lightning with no thunder, tinted with yellow. Dead plants lie scorched against the ground, all pointing the same directon as though blown over from some great blast.
Glints of purple and yellow glow from cracks and crevices, under rocks, beneath their feet. The very shadows are glowing. Off in the distance, in the direction where the trees' trunks point, the same glow rises out of nothing, painting the clouds in horrible splashes of sickening colour.
Even here, they can hear it whispering.
Radek gets mild vertigo. (rolled 12 fort) He maintains his balance for now.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Gosh.
Amadi wrinkles her nose.
Squirrel wrinkles her nose as well.
KYRULE
This is the result of a large rift, spreading its corruption through the land. Left unchecked, it would take out the entire world, until all remaining surrounding forces are all too weak to draw it further.
RADEK
You...
(he holds a hand to his forehead and tries to focus on the glowing horizon)
I'm supposed to close this?
KYRULE
It's a bit of a hike to the thing itself. We couldn't come out closer due to the space-time dimensional distortions.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Why haven't you? If you know it's here.
KYRULE
Technically I really don't. Strictly-speaking.
But this hole is new, existing within the general timeline for only a few weeks. It is an opportunity, and should your methds fail, then indeed I will need to close it through my own means.
Rhu tries to ask Hazz what he makes of all of this. (rolled 12 religion)
RADEK
Let me see the rift itself.
KYRULE
Stay close.
Kyrule leads the way toward the glow, picking around the dead trees and various rocks and crap.
The others follow, and Radek tries to use Gravy to support his own failing sense of balance, though this may or may not actually help.
Amadi gives Radek curious looks as they go.
AMADI AND SQUIRREL
(slightly disjointedly)
If you want a ride, you just have to ask, you know. Actually, I'm not even sure you need to ask. Gravy, can I have a ride?
Gravy grabs Amadi and places her in the correct position.
RADEK
I don't need a ride, I just...
Amadi whees and throws a cupcake at Squirrel.
RADEK
Pfah, never mind.
Squirrel whees and throws a cupcake at Radek.
Greibel chuckles.
AMADI
You just... don't know exactly how to stay on your feet? Teleportation-sickness? Or is it the intricate artfulness of this exquisite landscape that is messing with your otherwise impressive head?
SQUIRREL
Daeh evisserpmi esiwrehto ruoy htiw gnissem si taht epacsdnal etisiuqxe siht fo ssenluftra etacirtni eht ti si ro? Ssenkcis-noitatropelet? Teef ruoy no yats ot woh yltcaxe wonk t'nod... tsuj uoy?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
It is a pretty great head.
(to Amadi, despite beng right next to Radek)
Don't tell him I said that, it'll go to it.
KYRULE
In your timeline it would have been a few hundred years since these events, but leaving a rift like this open for so long would probably have spelled the end of the world.
According to our histories it was closed, here, on this day, though the exact details will be open to interpretation.
RADEK
Then... you're having us fulfill history.
KYRULE
Yes. One way or another.
The scenery gets worse as they progress inward, the landscape weirder, the sky scarier. Even the dirt is terrible, dry and glassy. Large bubbles of solid mud poke up in some places.
There are cracks in the ground now, deep glowing crevices where the earth has split. Most are small, no more than a few cm, easy to step across, or certainly jumpable, but others... others form ravines meters across, and as they navigate their way down the twisting spiral of sundered earth, the pattern becomes clear. The source is at the centre of all this, the middle. The twisting horror, full of voices and shadows, memories and possibilities, all wrong, wrong, wrong.
The dirt is becoming even difficult to distinguish as dirt.
Radek stops to take a sample of the horribly dirt. It's like stone, but sharper, finer, and he winds up having to chip off a chunk with a chisel.
As they continue on, there are whispers around them, and distant shouts, but nothing is all that distinguishable. Shapes, too, follow in the corners of their vision - shadows moving of their own accords, some glowing with the same weird un-light as everything else, some... not.
Greibel takes it all in like a really deep art installation.
The Gravedigger looks at Radek to do something smart.
They come to a ravine that's more sideways than the others, forming a bit of a cave entrance, glowing. Horribly.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
This is a mess.
KYRULE
Ye-es...
RADEK
This is... light is bleeding through from other dimensions.
AMADI
Yes! Innit shiny?
(she giggles and follows some shadows with her finger)
Shiiiiny.
Squirrel giggles and wraps a shadow in another shadow.
SQIRREL
Shiiiiny.
RADEK
So it's true, then. I truly could create a bridge between worlds like this...
AMADI
Or a gate or an elevator or... maybe even a river.
SQIRREL
Or a well or a portal or... maybe even a moribundis.
Amadi nods sagely to herself and Squirrel, who nods just as sagely back.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Maybe when the universe isn't falling to bits, hmm?
KYRULE
You could, but for now it would be better to focus on the immediate problems.
RADEK
Ah. Y-yes, of course.
They head inside.

INT. Great rift at Sanessee - tunnels
The entrance to the caverns is a narrow passage angling down into the glow, where the earth has literally split. Here, the glow is fainter, or perhaps it's simply permeating everything now, no escape. The soft vibrating that the party feels in their bones, it's nothing more than the humming air, handsaws twanging, cats purring too many to hear.
Amadi is eating a bananasplit ice cream with whipped cream, vanilla cream and chocolate sauce.
Squirrel is eating a really thick ice cream baileys frappuccino.
RHU
Is it supposed to be this... shivery?
RADEK
...Dreadful. Nothing here is as it's supposed to be.
KYRULE
(murmuring)
They went in here, just the two of them, alone, with only the thin tether of need to guide them. I sent them to their deaths... and worse.
Fucking hells.
Rhu doesn't hear this, or at least pretends not to.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
HEY RHU, DID YOU HEAR THAT SCARY OMINOUS STUFF THAT GOD JUST SAID?
Rhu doesn't hear this either, or at least pretends not to.
As they head down the passage, it seems to be getting darker, or possibly lighter. Eyesight fades.
Amadi gets distracted by something. She seems to be listening to something.
Squirrel gets distracted by something else, and starts skipping about, singing silently.
Then nobody can see anything anymore. There is only blackness and no light, only solitude and no others. They find themselves alone, completely isolated in the black, nothing to do or be or see.
But they just were right there, the others all around...
They all basically stop at this point, standing around in the darkness waiting.
Gaurav (Rhu): Rhu's pretty used to being in weird caves by now. He's not going to panic unless giant fish show up.
Something huge and fishy falls on Rhu, knocking him over. (rolled 12 reality vs something)
RHU
Ah!
RADEK
...Rhu? Are you still there?
Rhu scrambles out from under the thing and runs into the Gravedigger's legs.
RHU
Holy... what the hack was that thing?!
Rhu gets up and tries to get closer look at the thing that fell on him, fishing a light out of his bag.
AMADI AND SQUIRREL
(in unison)
That was a giant fish! That you don't want to look at! It's like... y'know... shadows cast by shapeless nothings and... hungers. Except it needs light. Wants light. I think.
Rhu turns on his torch, illuminating the fish and a bit of the surrounding passage.
AMADI AND SQUIRREL
(in unison)
...Oh, you have light. That's... great?
RHU
What?!
Rhu turns his light off, and at the same time, Kyrule floods the passage with even stronger light, light like daylight with no apparent source.
KYRULE
Light travels too slowly to turn it off now.
AMADI
...I guess that works.
SQIRREL
I suppose it works.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Aaagh light!
KYRULE
The shadows. The light will keep them at bay, but at the same time, it also gives them form. In the darkness, they have no power, for there is nothing to cast their edges. In the light... in the memory of light, they can only eat.
RHU
Is this where the giant fish on Sarathi came from?
KYRULE
No.
It's messing with you, trying to find an opening. Guard your minds. It will seek to exploit any weakness, open any wound.
AMADI
My mind is so guarded. I've got, like, archers and pots of boiling oil. Also, the princess is in another castle.
SQIRREL
(at the same time as Amadi)
My mind isn't guarded. I've got, like, sparrows and a piece of cheese. Also, the princes are all dead.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Why?
KYRULE
There is a presense, an... other within the darkness. I have sensed it a few times, though I do not know... what it is.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Have you asked?
KYRULE
Not successfully. Communication exists on different levels, but this... presense, if it even is, is so alien that I do not know where to begin.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Hmm.
AMADI
We should try. Should we try?
The Gravedigger nods thoughtfully, then breathes in, in a gravylike fashion.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
(booming down the passage)
HEEEEELLOOOOOOOO?
The shadows at the edge of the light roil with need, straining at the light, sharpest at its edges, but unable to come any closer.
KYRULE
Break down meanings into patterns, break down patterns into something else, and perhaps, perhaps you could try.
I once tried speaking to Kyrule in this way. He did not like it.
Amadi nods knowingly.
RADEK
Patterns, you say.
KYRULE
The mathematics are extremely complex, so much that even the Book could not parse it.
Brute forcing it didn't work either, of course.
And I love brute forcing things.
AMADI
Did I try bribery? I should've tried bribery.
SQIRREL
(to Amadi)
Or a brewery!
AMADI
...Both?
SQIRREL
Both?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Interpretative dance?
KYRULE
Dancing might do it, for all I know. If it's the right kind of dance. Ballet didn't.
Kyrule goes up on a toe for emphasis.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Maybe you need a beard.
Kyrule suddenly obtains a really long, white beard, and strokes it consideringly. It's a beard to rival Radek's own.
Radek strokes his own beard competitively.
Kyrule takes up the challenge, upping the ante with even more competitive beard stroking.
The bearding intensifies as Radek and Kyrule attempt to out-beard each other.
Kyrule wins. (Radek rolled 16 beard; Kyrule rolled 17 beard)
Kyrule looks slightly apologetic and then loses the beard a moment later.
And then that is the last thing anyone recalls.