Holes/Session 52

From Zaori


EXT. Midnight
It was a terrible idea. The worst. Like that thing with the treehouse and the dogs and all that cheese that one time.
Except this one might just work.
He was lost, but Amadi isn't. Here, in the black between blacks, even as small as she is, she's powerful.
Ellemerr (Amadi): Hey, I'm always powerful. I have sandwiches.
Searching for the Gravedigger isn't working. It's not the Gravedigger who was lost. The Gravediggers here aren't her Gravedigger.
So she searches instead for Hieron.
There isn't air here. There isn't really anything, beyond memories and half-constructed dreams, but Amadi make some air, and tastes it, tasting for the scent of strange madness. The sort of strange madness that compells a man to run off with a corpse and gibber, rather than simply bury it nice and cleanly where he is, without a fuzz.
It's like a piece of the world-dream they'd left, full of broken pieces and misconstructed objects.
There are things here. Other things. Lost things. Things she can't quite see or make out, colours that don't exist, realities that never were. It tasts of them.
And they taste Amadi.
Amadi lets the lost things know that they shouldn't mess with her by giving one of them a lick. It turns out to be a whale. The whale makes sad whale noises and drifts into the black.
Amadi pushes them for directions. She feels a bit off now, and the things don't really respond, but she pushes them anyway, and finally there seems to be a leadingness in a direction of sorts, and that direction becomes her, and the things shift.
Some of the things look very, very familiar.
A cat that is not entirely Amadi (though it is, very definitely, 'Amadi'). Something that feels like a dark, horrible shadow version of Hazz'ridan, spread out against the underside of the universes much like how the known Hazz'ridan spreads throughout the perceived insides. A whole lot of really, really random things. Trees. Buckets. A big, huge pile of poop. Marbles everywhere. Lots of spoons. Moose.
A bunch of cenva, staring.
Something about all this stands out. It's just... a different existance than Amadi's own, except it isn't different at all, is it? This is where she came from, after all. Part of her, at least. The part that kept losing everyone before.
But that was her. Amadi isn't really her, now is she?
Ellemerr (Amadi): Of course not.
It doesn't matter.
She keeps looking.

EXT. Midnight - wherever
The Gravedigger... no, Hieron Maranthana, is dead. But there's still something here. Something that hasn't been caught, just floating, vague, empty, yet full of memory.
SHADOW OF HIERON
Hmmm.

EXT. Midnight
Amadi's search falters.
He's here somewhere, of course. Everything is here somewhere. This is basically everything. And nothing. And all the things that almost became something and then weren't. Or were something and then weren't. Or will be. Or would be. Or could be.
But where?
A vague 'hmmm' drifts out of the black. (rolled 20 reality)
Amadi yells really loudly after it.
The yell bounces off Kyrule, suddenly next to her. This Kyrule is the one from before, but not. Amadi knows her. A sister, long-lost, almost, but not entirely, forgotten.
KYRULE
Yo.
AMADI
(pushing around Kyrule)
I'm not trying to find you I'm trying to find Gravy. You're not helpful. I need to find Gravy and you might distract me. It's easy to forget things here because there's so much here and I don't need sisters I need to find Gravy.
(she suddenly turns back at Kyrule)
...Can you help?
KYRULE
Yes. Don't worry, you've done this before. Or after.
AMADI
Are you sure that was me?
KYRULE
...nope!
AMADI
Maybe it just could've been me. No matter! I'll find him!
...How can you help?
Kyrule offers Amadi a skeletal hand.
Amadi takes the hand, and is rather disappointed when it doesn't even detach and suddenly just becomes a normal hand instead.
They are both so very, very small, surrounded by so very, very much. Nothing.
Kyrule pulls a new skeletal arm, complete with a grasping, skeletal hand, out of her pocket and starts waving it around like a divining rod.
It snags a cat, a full skeleton, and a pile of clothing. (rolled 10 reality)
Amadi pulls at the clothing, and it flutters into shape. This was the Gravedigger. Then it was Hieron. And before that, it was someone else entirely. It remembers. A closed room, small and barren, full of weariness and loneliness. An escape. Graves.
As Amadi and Kyrule settle down around the clothing, their feet drop to a floor that is suddenly there, and a room forms around them, though this is a much different room than the other. This one is large and wooden, rustic, with the stuffed heads of dead animals on the walls. It's a bit distasteful.
Amadi refills the clothes, drawing the presense into the form. This isn't the Gravedigger, but it isn't Hieron, either, but an elf who looks a bit like both, sitting on a sofa that is suddenly also there.
Kyrule sits down on another sofa across form him.
AMADI
Hooray!
GRAVES
Well. Someone fucked up. Even I can tell that much.
KYRULE
Yes. It wasn't even me this time.
AMADI
It wasn't me!
...I think. I guess it might have been.
KYRULE
Nope.
AMADI
Wheee!
KYRULE
Hello, Graves. Do you remember who you are?
GRAVES
For a given understanding of memory.
AMADI
Can you feel the rest of you? Can you wriggle your toes?
GRAVES
I'm a concept, kid. I don't have toes.
KYRULE
I'm a concept too. We all are.
AMADI
No, no; not your toes, your toes! It's a metaphor! You know, no word is free from it?
Kyrule hikes up her robe and wiggles her own toes for emphasis.
KYRULE
No world is free from it.
AMADI
Exactly.
Graves doesn't reply.
KYRULE
This concept of the Graves, of the underlying purpose, it is who you are. Your core and your idea, your ballance of sanity and madness. The person is an extension of this.
Remember.
GRAVES
Look, all I know is about digging holes in the dirt and putting dead things in them. That's the scope of my knowledge and understanding.
KYRULE
That's fine. Wiggle your toes.
GRAVES
Just fix this mess so I can fix the Digger.
AMADI
Pffff, that's rubbish. Can't you dig holes in other things?
Kyrule glances over at Amadi.
GRAVES
I don't do anything.
AMADI
Like... compost. Could you dig a hole in compost? Or concrete! ...Kidney beans?
I know! You could dig through a carousel!
A shadow of the Gravedigger appears, looming over the entire scene.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Hey, Sandwich Kid! And some lady!
And... oh.
GRAVES
Yep.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Oohhhh.
AMADI
...Hi! Carousels?
A shovel is impaled in the low table between them all. The shovel is large, but conceptual, much like Graves. It's not the shovel Gravy had been after, but very much like it, the idea of it, sticking out of the table like something perfectly, utterly normal.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
That's a cool shovel.
Around the edges of the room, other shadow figures linger - versions of Gravy past and future, and versions that may not be of him at all. Hieron. A boy with a cat on his head. A grave god. A prisoner. A student covered in silly string. A madman, who, though quietly waiting, seems as though he could explode at any moment.
A Gravedigger-shaped, Gravedigger-sized pile of Rasputin. The porridge starts jiggling, though the shape mostly holds.
Graves sits and waits.
KYRULE
It's yours. A part of you.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
I don't like this place.
One of the Gravediggers reaches out to take the shovel.

INT. Great rift at Sanessee - tunnels
The light is dim, more a memory of light than light itself, but to make things up, Greibel is glowing slightly as he leans over the Gravedigger, plying him with drugs. It's just what he does.
The Gravedigger lies dead, or mostly, with Rhu and Radek asleep nearby.
Apheori (GM): Greibel: You may have drugged him to death. Are you alarmed?
Bear Soup Guy (Greibel): Not particularly.
Greibel gets up and plays with a yo-yo, thinking.

EXT. Midnight
AMADI
We probably ought to go, if you can wiggle your toes. The others might be slightly annoyed at having to wait for us.
The Gravedigger pauses mid-reach and wiggles his toes. Then he does it - he pulls out the shovel. (rolled 10 wisdom) With it comes the Graves, suddenly all one and the same, standing in place, holding the shovel. The shadow figures around the edges of the room shift and reassemble, now in a different order, in different places, with different possibilities among them.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Right.
Ignoring the figures around, the Gravedigger reaches out with the shovel, feeling for a way out, the edges and gaps, the up. (rolled 1 reality)
The figures shift, some becoming more, others less.
The furniture is gone. It's just in an empty room now, much too large, full of cracks and holes, leading out to everywhere.
The balance of the figures continues to shift and pull. Of all the figures, the one that stands out most is the porridge.
KYRULE
(to Amadi)
We can let this continue, but if we do, we may never be able to go back.
AMADI
Are you coming back with us?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Hmmm.
AMADI
...C'mon, Gravy. We're going back, now.
Amadi takes Gravy's hand just as he reaches out to take hers, and tries walking him Out.
And so Amadi draws him Out. This is so natural now. She's done this so many times, it comes like laughter, though not so long ago even laughter would have been impossble.
The other selves come with, drawn up, trailing behind like strings of baby words, pasts and possibilities, graves and trails and cake.
Kyrule, meanwhile, sits down on the fading ground, smiling to herself as the room drifts vaguely back into the black of Midnight.

INT. Great rift at Sanessee - tunnels
Rhu wakes up gasping and stares about in panic.
Midoriki Hano suddenly appears, in full anime splendour, flooding the area with strange, alien light. She grabs Rhu's arm and forcible hauls him up onto his feet.
RHU
Ack! Did we do it? Is Gravy safe?
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
(sarcastically)
Safe. Yes.
Radek cackles in his sleep. Then the realisation hits him that he's not asleep because sleeping is an unproductive waste of time. His eyes open, staring ahead and unfocused, but unmistakably furious.
Rhu runs over to check on Gravy, (rolled 32 heal) but he's just dead. There's nothing overtly wrong. Aside from the deadity.
Radek curses, loudly and in a number of languages, as well as by reciting what might be actual curse incantations and several scientific terms that likely don't make sense as a means of expressing one's displeasure, and gets up.
RHU
(looking around for Kyrule)
Where's the other one? The competent one?
Amadi suddenly appears, drops a large sarcophagus lid next to Gravy, and glares at Rhu.
AMADI
Hey, what's that supposed to mean?!
The Gravedigger starts gasping for breath.
RHU
He's de-- aaaah!
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Aaaah!
Rhu backs away and sits down, his back to the wall of the cave, breathing deeply.
AMADI
Yeah, what do you take me for?
"The competent one"... I ask you!
The Gravedigger gets up and grabs the sarcophagus lid like it's been his all along, equipping it like a shield. It fits perfectly.
RHU
Well, that was terrifying.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Hello, Rhu.
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
(to Amadi)
I see we were equally insulted this time.
AMADI
...Well, she is more competent than you.
Amadi sticks her tongue out at Hano.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
(to Hano)
Which one are you?
Rhu notices Amadi and Hano glaring at him.
The Gravedigger looks at Amadi.
RHU
...what?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Right, that one.
AMADI
Yep!
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
Oh?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
I feel somewhat woozy.
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
It will pass. You were dead.
AMADI
I think you might have been somewhat dead for a little bit.
Not ALL dead, though. No worries.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Gosh. Dead?
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
(to Amadi)
If that was not ALL dead, then what is?
AMADI
Somewhat dead. Duh.
Midoriki Hano gives Amadi a disapproving look.
Amadi sticks her nose up at Hano.
The Gravedigger looks accusingly at the party.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
AND I WASNT BURIED?
RADEK
...We were unconscious.
RHU
We just got here! We were in... somewhere.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
That's a rubbish argument.
(he looks about)
I need disciples.
RHU
We were at a school.
(indicating Radek)
He had a fan club.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
That would explain the boobs.
AMADI
I don't think any of these could do a good burial, Gravy. And I was making sure you didn't go all dead.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
They could have tried! 0 out of 10 on effort, guys.
RADEK
Would you prefer to be buried even if there was a chance that you could be resurrected?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Burying is super important! I'd forgive you! Also I could probably get out. Grave tricks.
RADEK
Pfah.
Have we all recovered everything of importance?
AMADI
I recovered Gravy! And myself!
And almost Coraline, but she didn't come along. I thought Gravy was more important anyway.
Radek nods, and longingly strokes his beard again.
RADEK
Good.
The Gravedigger pats Amadi.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Thanks, sandwich kid.
AMADI
Anytime! Maybe a lot of times, too. I'm not sure. Time is weird.
RADEK
Well...
Radek wobbles a bit now that he's on his feet.
RADEK
If this blasted vertigo is any indication, we still have a task to finish.
Do any of you need a moment to collect yourselves?
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
(looking bored)
Yes, hurry it up, if you please.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Let's do science!
...Let's watch Radek do science!
Rhu stands up again and is clearly ready to keep going.
RHU
How did we even end up at that... school? Was that the Hole?
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
To put it very simply, yes.
RADEK
Hmph. All the better to end it once and for all.
RHU
Let's keep going, then. The sooner we fix the hole, the fewer schools we'll fall into.
Greibel raises an eyebrow at Rhu incredulously.
RHU
What.
Greibel goes back to doing yo-yo tricks as they head out.

INT. Great rift at Sanessee - more tunnels
It's dark. The light, whose ever it is at this point, pushes back shards of black, and darker things, gleaming at them from the edges. Everyone basically just ignores it.
KYRULE
(such that only Amadi can hear)
Are you reliable?
AMADI
(such that only Kyrule can hear)
Not in the least. What do you need?
KYRULE
(such that only Amadi can hear)
They all have... bits of hole in them. I'd rather not come into proximity for fear of a reaction. Could you get them out?
I'd ask Hazz, but I really don't want to ask Hazz.
AMADI
(such that only Kyrule can hear)
Ugh Hazz. Well, um... get them out or the holes, and which out, anyway?
KYRULE
(such that only Amadi can hear)
The holes in their minds, their souls. The corruption within them. Separate it from them and get rid of it, I suppose.
AMADI
(such that only Kyrule can hear)
Okay!
Amadi starts jumping around Griebel, making OooooOOooooOOooo ghost sounds. (rolled 27 intimidate)
Greibel drops his yo-yo and looks sheepishly at Amadi.
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
What... are you doing?
Amadi beams happily, pats Greibel on the head, and runs over to Radek. Then she drops low to the ground and starts stalking around him like some demented kitten.
Midoriki Hano fwips out a tentacle and sticks it in Rhu's head.
RHU
(squealing)
Don't do that! God.
The tentacle flips away and vanishes.
RHU
What'd you do that for, anyway?
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
A simple fix.
Amadi suddenly swipes a paw - er, a hand - at Radek's beard, like a kitten attacking a dangling string. (rolled 12 vs reflex; rolled 25 intimidate)
Radek successfully fends her off with fervent beard guarding, but then she's done anyway.
Radek tries to figure out what she was even doing, but all he can come up with is it's some sort of purification. A... cure. (rolled 28 arcana)
RHU
Geez. You're all touchy-feely here, but when we actually need your help, you're nowhere to be found.
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
You do not even know what you face, you impudent twat.
Amadi cackles and bounces over to Gravy, jumping onto his back and leaning over to lick his ear.
RHU
(to Hano)
Don't we? DON'T WE? We've lost a party member to a Hole, we're in the wrong universe, and the world is falling apart. We've all died, like, half a dozen times, including having my intestines torn apart by eels. We're miles from Sarathi, we don't know what we're doing, but we need to save... everything... somehow.
Isn't saving everything your job? And if you'd like us to help you do it, a little help now and again would be nice. That's all I'm saying.
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
And this hole will shred you. One hole, one instance. I have always been with you when needed, even as you faltered, even as you insult me and harang me and push me away. You need me now, here, and so I am here.
If you do not want my help, then you may die alone, be destroyed by the hole, but do not condemn your companions for your own blindness. This is bigger than you.
RHU
Yes. No. I... I'm sorry. We do need your help, and I am glad You're here. Thank you.
Rhu bows respectfully.
MIDORIKI HANO (HAZZ'RIDAN)
You are doing your part, no matter how small or large it may be.
Amadi licks the Gravedigger's ear. (rolled 19 intimidate) It... bounces.
AMADI
(confused)
Your ear tastes weird.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
No-one has ever told me that before.
AMADI
I might have to try something else. I really thought that would do it...
Amadi climbs onto Gravy's head and hangs over it to be face-to-face. Upside down.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Evenin'.
Amadi narrows her eyes.
Midoriki Hano comes over to watch up close. Awkwardly close. Right next to them.
Amadi licks Gravy's nose. (rolled 27 intimidate)
Midoriki Hano wraps Gravy's head in tentacles, getting Amadi in the process as well, though mostly it just goes right through her.
At this point the whole party is just sort of standing around.
The Gravedigger chops at Midoriki Hano with his shovel. (rolled 21 attack) It just bonks and bounces off. So then he attacks with the concept of shovel, to place the concept of holes in this TENTACLY ASSHOLE. (rolled 21 intimidate; 18 reality)
Ellemerr (Amadi): You know I think she might actually be trying to help for once...
The Gravedigger moves the holes. Conceptual holes. Old holes. Holes that have even become a part of him. He moves them, and he puts them in Hano, and then the tentacles retract and suddenly Midoriki Hano is just standing there all normal-like and tentacle-free again, looking smaller and slightly reduced.
Midoriki Hano nods at the Gravedigger, satisfied, and then backs away a bit.
AMADI
...I guess that does it.
Greibel looks around.
GREIBEL
You people are really strange, you know that?
Amadi leaps off Gravy and runs over to Rhu, walking backwards in front of him.
AMADI
Are you sure you're all good? Can I have a look?
Amadi doesn't wait for an answer before dragging Rhu's eye wide open and peering closely at it. She winds up walking on air to get high enough to do this.
RHU
Um.
Amadi peers in and sees only void. (rolled 15 insight) Like he's turning into a walking dead end.