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Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:19 am    Post subject:  

Tempora Crepusculi - Chapter Four

“Tony, this is just too much.”

“Well, again, dude, I don’t know what to say… this has never happened before, and I…”

“No,” interrupted Isaac, “you’re done talking. You’ve given me a lot of information, but you haven’t given me a single answer. I don’t know who you are, I don’t know why you’re able to tell me everything… and I still don’t know why I can remember this!”

“Isaac, calm down. I think I might know why you can remember the Crep. The crystal is what protects people from supernatural harm, and makes them forget, right? Well, if it gets cracked, it obviously won’t work right, so I guess…”

“You guess?”

“Well, I told you, it’s never happened before,” said Tony. “Back in the early versions of the Crep, the crystals were a bit more fragile. Demons and fey still couldn’t break them open, but if…”

“And we’re done here,” said Isaac, turning his back. “If you’re not going to help, then I guess I really am alone in this.”

“Isaac, please,” said Tony, resting his hand on Isaac’s shoulder. “I can’t imagine what this is like. But I’m here for you. Really, I am.”

“Oh? Then what type of fey will I become? What if I become a demon? Will you kill me on sight?”

“Isaac, it doesn’t… you won’t… that is, I…”

“Can you answer my question?”

Tony’s intent gaze shifted down to Isaac’s elbow. “I can’t answer you,” he said, after an awkward silence.

“Then that’s it, then. Thank you for you time- I’ll be sure to get in touch if I ever have any more scholarly questions I wish to have evaded. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to call Alex. It seems I’ve changed my mind about hanging out and playing beer pong. It’ll be my first party at his place. Funny, huh?”

“Alex!? Isaac, he lives in a fraternity! You can’t just… “

“I can’t?” said Isaac, crossing his arms. “The discussion I overheard hinted it might be a bad idea. You haven’t said anything about it, though. Care to comment?”

“Isaac,” replied Tony, taking a breath. “I know that you’re hurt and confused. I know that you’re not being serious when you lash out at me. But you have to trust me. Please don’t do this. Your petty anger is going to…”

“Petty? Is that all it is? And here I thought I had a pretty good reason for being ticked. Tell Itori that if he wants to come and find me, I’ll be at Alex’s place.”


“Isaac, are you okay?” Alex asked, shouting over the noise of the party. “You seem kinda down, and you’ve been staring at your watch all night.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry,” Isaac responed. “It’s nothing. I’m just, ah… I’m expecting a call around midnight.”

“What? Don’t answer that! Who’s calling you at midnight? Man, dawg, that’s what voicemail is for! If I were you, I’d…”

“You’d what?” asked Isaac, confused that Alex would stop speaking mid-sentence. But as Isaac looked around, it became clear. The Crep was starting.

Isaac was unable to control his body, so he could do nothing but watch as the familiar amethyst crystal began to grow around him, encasing him in a mineral shell. Normally, the Crep was a blip of reality- he would suddenly find himself encased. If he was watching the process form, it had to do with the crack. Sure enough, his crystal did not form as Alex’s had. The crack had reappeared tonight, and would quite probably reappear every night, until it was fixed or broken entirely.

Alex kept tracing a pattern on his crystal- he was mimicking the crack, Isaac realized- and pointing at the windows. He was also shouting something, but Isaac still couldn’t hear a word of it. Shaking his head, Isaac turned to look at the rest of the room.

There was not a single crystal in sight. Isaac could do nothing but stare at the scene of horror in front of him. What had been a group of freshman at a party was now a gross mockery of life. They all lay unconscious- dead- propped up in grotesque positions, as if the life had been removed from their bodies at the moment of the Crep.

Two werewolves walked out of the kitchen and into the lobby. They were laughing amongst themselves; the one of the left shoved one the bodies off the table and onto the floor so that it could reach the keg. It landed with a dull thump, crushing the plastic cup which had fallen out of its hand.

“Why, Alex,” said the other, noticing the two crystals in the room. “You’ve brought us a friend over. You recruit us, but not him? Why, I’m hurt!”

“He already wants to join us,” said the first, throwing aside his empty cup. “Look, his crystal is already half broken!”
“But he’s still trapped, brother,” said the other. “Why don’t we finish the job for him, hmm?”

“Why, you’re right, brother,” said the first. “I bet we can count this as community service…”

Instinctively, Isaac looked over as Alex for help; of course, Alex could do nothing, trapped as he was. Nevertheless, Alex kept pointing at the window. Isaac glanced over- the window pane was gone, but there was an eerie red glow shining through from the outside- from the garden.

It seemed to be his best option. The first werewolf was standing in front of the main exit, while the second was standing next to him, his fists raised high above his head. The lycanthrope was not significantly taller, but it was enough; he brought his fists down with all his might, hitting the top of the crystal and cleaving it into clean fragments.

He grasped at Isaac’s arm as he made a mad dash toward the window, skidding and sliding on the crystalline fragments at his feet. Isaac’s vision flashed white with pain- he could feel the gash in his left arm- but they hadn’t expected him to run for the window, they wouldn’t be able to catch up to him in time.

Isaac collapsed to the ground; the building had a basement level which opened up to the courtyard on the west side. Gasping for breath, he risked a glance behind him- they were not chasing after him. Or, if they were, they were going to leave through the main exit to run down the hill, herding him like a trapped sheep. He tried to lift himself up, only to stumble, face first, back onto the ground; he had tried to support his weight with his left arm. Taking the few precious seconds to lift himself up with his knees, Isaac looked around the garden.

The red glow was coming from the center of the garden. What had been a cluster of fences and hedges by day was now a giant, sinister pit. Yellow smoke coiled from fissures in the ground, and large spiral steps lead down into the darkness.

The tree was gone, but the bench from before was still there. Where Jacob had sat during the day, there was now a white-furred humanoid figure sitting there, arms crossed, feet splayed apart. The creature was half feline, its lithe muscles gleaming under the coarse fur, its tail twitching in annoyance.

“Human, you had better have a good explanation for this.”
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Joined: 12 Dec 2006
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Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:38 pm    Post subject:  

An exciting chapter - which raises as many questions as it answers. The exchange between Isaac and Tony was much more satisfying.

I found the last part regarding the basement a little difficult to visualise, but the scene outside was vivid.

It seems that the crystals are personalised - the crack reappearing as it did - something Tony would be quite interested to know, had the DP gone a different way and Isaac had allowed him to experiment. Logic would suggest that the crystal will no longer appear around Isaac, and he'll be free to roam in future Creps.

What I want to know is why crystals didn't appear around these freshmen, only Alex and Isaac - and also why the two werewolves knew Alex by name - and spoke as if he has more to do with them than it would appear.

Interesting that Alex, in the first chapter, invites everyone over to the fraternity after the first Crep - coincidence? Or perhaps something more sinister?

Isaac is now more aware of Alex's alternate consciousness during the Crep - the one that Alex does not remember during daytime. It would be fascinating to know what Alex has to say of his Crepuscular experiences - if only the memory could only be unlocked.

And I wonder, what will happen to all these lifeless bodies after the Crep?

Anyway, to the DP - we don't know who this white-furred feline is - whether it is Jacob or someone else, or whether it is friend or foe. What explanation can Isaac give? And how much time will he have to explain before the werewolves find him?

He's injured - I'm not sure running back towards Tony is going to be possible - and the way he is feeling about Tony at the moment, I'm not sure he'd want to. He's going to have to talk his way out of this. Difficult to know what playing smart or playing dumb will do - I say his response to the white feline would be to blame Tony - and see what reaction he gets.
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Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 40
Location: Somewhere between life and death, post Nano

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:19 pm    Post subject:  

Wow! Great Chapter and I agree with CF, I love the exchange with Tony.

Alright, well let's think....

I would have to say that Isaac should say something random due to adrenaline. Escaping, I figure, would have caused an adrenaline rush and when that happens, sometimes we say the most ridiculous things. Something to consider.
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Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject:  

Quote: Instinctively, Isaac looked over as Alex for help

Btw, Shille, would you mind posting the poll results?

This chapter was a lot better than the last. If I have any criticism at all, it's that I wish you had described the werewolves in more detail in order to create a terrifying contrast between Isaac's helplessness and the fierceness of the lycanthropes. In fact, you were on your way to exploit that aspect when you detailed the gruesome spectacle of the lifeless corpses. But still, not a bad chapter.

So, why were these freshmen lifeless and not encased in crystals? Perhaps these are the prisoners that Metos was talking about.

And why did the werewolves say Alex had recruited them? Should Isaac trust Alex? Furthermore, why were the werewolves not more surprised to see a cracked crystal-- which Tony tells us is an unprecented event?

These are all questions to keep in mind in the following chapters.

For now, Isaac has to decide what he will do when confronted by this feline creature (which one may infer is Jacob's fey form-- apparently he is yet another being who can live in both worlds).

1. Isaac tells him the truth and hopes he will protect Isaac from the werewolves.
2. Isaac bolts for the fiery pit of hell reminiscent of Dante's Inferno.
3. Isaac lies to him or tries to trick him.

I like the 3rd option because it has the most creative potential. Seeing as all these different groups among the fey are pitted against each other, it might be convenient to instigate suspicion in order to buy some time. For example, Isaac might want to make himself appear as a valuable secret weapon being nurtured by an opponent.

I think Isaac should do the following: Use Itari's or Metos' name in order to test the homo-feline's reaction. If the reaction to Itari's name is positive (or negative to Metos') then perhaps it would be best to confide in this creature and ask for help. If the reaction is negative to Itari's name (but positive to Metos'), then Isaac should make himself appear as a valuable weapon (or at least as a bait for Itari) in order to buy time.

P.S. Why are there no female characters in this story? I would like to see some brave, adventurous females in one of the next chapters.
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Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:24 pm    Post subject:  

Apologies for the confusion about the building- if it had been planned in advance, I would have slipped that detail into the second chapter. The idea is that the central frat garden is lower than the street level. So, the east side main entrance leads to the first floor, but the west side main entrance leads to the basement. The altitude difference is due to the slope of the ground.

As per the PS... I don't normally include female protagonists, because trying to balance the romantic tension while making sure they don't come off as a tomboy is really, really hard. I don't do it well. There are females- you just don't know it yet. I have a habit of putting them into offical roles.

And, here are the polls.

What should Isaac do?
Ride home with Tony. 40% [ 2 ]
Head back to Fraternity Row with Alex. 60% [ 3 ]
Follow Will home through the city park. 0% [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 5
Who Voted: Crunchyfrog, D-Lotus, Muaddib, Smee, Tikanni Corazon

What should Isaac do next?
Head back to the garden and try to learn more information. 0% [ 0 ]
Head out to the library and do some research on the Occurrence. 16% [ 1 ]
Send Tony a text message. 66% [ 4 ]
Stay at home, and wait until midnight. 16% [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 6
Who Voted: ChoKiba, Crunchyfrog, D-Lotus, Muaddib, Smee, Tikanni Corazon

Where should Isaac stand?
In the Grove. 33% [ 2 ]
Wherever Tony thinks he should stand- let's ask for more advice. 16% [ 1 ]
In Fraternity Row. 50% [ 3 ]
By the park sign. 0% [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 6
Who Voted: ChoKiba, Crunchyfrog, D-Lotus, Muaddib, Smee, Tikanni Corazon
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Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:31 pm    Post subject:  

...And the poll is now up. I'll check the results before the weekend, and hopefully I'll be able to hammer something out by next week. Real life is starting to get more hectic, but generally I've been able to make progress on this while I procrastinate on school work... so we'll see what gives. It'll be good.
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Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 1765

Posted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:35 pm    Post subject:  

I voted option 3 - tell the truth. I'm a big fan of truth telling so it made sense. Although now that I think about it not telling the truth might lead to crazier shenanigans.
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