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The Pit of Despair

 
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JewellRavenlock
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:36 am    Post subject: The Pit of Despair Reply with quote



Jewell had remained stoic as she kicked Kruger off The Bridge. She hadn't done anything more than blink when she accepted the Panther's Claw from Andrea. And she kept it together as she walked out of the Outback. She even made it all the way to The Line before her chest started heaving, a precursor to the sobs that were desperate to find release. She had held them back long enough, all the way through the last Spinkick.

Now that she had reached her destination though, the safe haven she had been seeking before she completely unravelled, she couldn't bring herself to go inside. Not even to clean off the drying mud that was thick on every inch of her skin and coated her blonde hair. Even on the city street, it felt like the buildings were closing in around her. How could she go inside anywhere? The tightness in her chest was building up to a painful crescendo as she withdrew down the street, reaching with trembling hands for the chain around her neck. Jewell shoved aside the barony ring hanging there, grabbing hold of the mud covered crystal instead. Her thumb ran over it, infusing it with a burst of energy as she called out for her friend, "Rayvinn." She had barely said a word since The Pit, and the name came out as a desperate, painful cry. "Dragon's Gate. Please."

Rayvinn had been training for the majority of the past seven hours. She was now furiously applying jabs interspersed with the occasional rapid knee assault and attempted kick to the head against the man that she had hired to train her in this style of fighting. Dripping with sweat, she had a dozen little gashes along her face and shins that stung from the salty fluid. Despite the amazing physical condition the elf was in, this new conditioning the trainer was putting her through had pushed the elf nearly to her limit. "Gloves up. Keep your feet moving and stop being such an easy target!" Raye growled as he chastised her but did what he said which spared her another kick connecting with her face. There was a method to the trainer's meanness, obviously.

As the crystal around her neck blinked to life, royal blue to indicate the "caller", Rayvinn took her attention away from her sparring partner long enough to look down which earned her a foot across the chin that snapped her head back and took her down to the mat. She lay there panting, dizzy, and seeing stars for what seemed like an hour (but was only half a minute), before she was suddenly sputtering as a bucket of icy water was poured on her. "What the hell, man!" Rapidly sitting up and wiping water from her eyes.

He stood there smirking at her. "Remember the first lesson...stay focused." The trainer grinned as the elf gave the one finger sign of understanding and offered her a hand up. She took it and stood with a groan; it had been a very long time since she had pushed herself to the extreme she had today.

"I've got to get this," pointing at the crystal. "It's my wife person."

"Your...wife person?" He actually looked surprised. "I wasn't aware that you were..." he let the sentence trail off, apparently either too uncomfortable to say the word or too polite to label her.

"Yes, my wife person. And no, I'm not..." allowing the words to trail off as he had, if only to be a smartass.

"So, if you're not....then how exactly do you have a...wife...person?" His dark brows arched.

"Yeah, don't ask. Mostly because I cannot exactly remember any of the details except making some dwarves extremely angry." She grinned as she pulled the sparring gloves from her hands and walked to the edge of the ring to grab her water bottle and to sit down.

"You are a very...interesting person, Raye." He was being polite again, laughing as he opted not to say the word "weird." This earned him a wide smile, full of teeth.

The trainer moved off to the locker rooms to give her privacy but called over his shoulder. "Tomorrow at 5am. If you're late, it's three extra miles." She groaned out her response and the irony was not lost on her that she was now in the same position as Jewell had been when she was being trained by Raye. Karma.

Rayvinn touched the crystal and her energy flowed into it and allowed the image of Jewell, and that desperate plea, to flow through. There was no hesitation. Even though her legs felt like jelly, even though her body ached to even move. She was up and vaulting over the ropes in the time it would take most people to process the message. Bare feet were silent upon the concrete as the elf raced out of the gym and into the night, headed towards Dragon's Gate. She hadn't even offered any snarky remarks; proof that the elf was genuinely concerned.

There were two places in the Dragon's Gate district that immediately came to mind upon hearing Jewell's desperate plea through the crystal: her barony or The Line. Experiencing extreme distress, as it had sounded, Rayvinn didn't think Jewell was with Ishmerai or she probably wouldn't have called her. So that meant she was likely at The Line.

Rayvinn arrived at The Line rather quickly and after a cursory glance around demanded, "Where's J?" Jerry and Rath stared at her for a moment (she was typically not so bedraggled in appearance or gruff in greeting) before the former shrugged. The elf actually growled as she bolted back out the doors and began searching in earnest, using a combination of tracking skills and heightened senses that were common to her people.

Jewell hadn't made it far from The Line. She had found a wall to lean against in the shadows away from prying eyes. The worn brick was rough against her bare back (she had left her shirt and shoes behind in the Outback), but she didn't really pay it any mind. She was trying to reason with her heart, convincing it there was no need to rip out of her chest. She was trying to force her lungs to cooperate and stop taking such shallow, gasping breaths.

She was trying not to curl up on the ground and cry. But the tears were already cutting through the dirt on her face, and she was slowly sinking down towards the sidewalk.

That's where Raye found her: forehead on her knees, arms wrapped in a vice hold around her legs, dreaming of every wide open space she had ever seen in the shadow of Fred's Wings N' Things (closed for renovations). She approached silently as her gaze shifted rapidly to assess for any level of threat. Finally, the elf dropped down onto the dirty pavement next to her best friend and slid an arm around her hunched shoulders. She didn't break the silence, wisely deciding to allow Jewell to speak when and if she was ready since she appeared to be without any major physical injury that would demand immediate answers.

The worst part about falling apart was that she could never fall apart a little bit. As soon as one little crack opened, all of her fears and insecurities dog piled her. So Jewell wasn't just thinking about the way the buildings were so close together. The way it made her feel like she couldn't breathe. The desperation and cold fear that feeling inspired. And how The Pit had smelled like death to her. Her death.

No, she was thinking about her children dying. The whisper of her true name in her ear. And all the other horrible material that constructed her regular nightmares.

Her body tensed a moment when Rayvinn slid her arm around her, but then she immediately relaxed a little and leaned against her. She would know her friend anywhere. Her shoulders quaked along with her voice as she admitted, quietly and brokenly, what had happened: "They closed The Pit over me." One sob at last broke free, "They closed The Pit and I couldn't get out."
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JewellRavenlock
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It had started out fine.

"Jewell and Aric," she heard Andrea say as she finished her beer. "Into the pit you go."

The petite Empress bitched and groaned about the ring choice, but she descended down into The Pit, where the mud came up closer to her waist than her thighs, all the same. ?Ew eww ewwwwww. It's squishing between my toes! And it SMELLS!?

She had even enjoyed some teasing banter when Aric had joined her.

"So! Mud wrestling with me?" He cracked a grin to Jewell.

?Just keep your hands where they belong!? she admonished playfully.

"Hey hey, my hands will stay in an appropriate place! Don't want Lir to get mad at me!"

?Yeah. About that.? Jewell eyed him sharply. ?So you and Lir are a thing now? Because that's awkward.. you know, since you had your tongue in my mouth.?

He had tried to take Jewell down in the mud at that point, but he was stopped by her fist connecting with his jaw, which staggered him back. "Ow. Yeah. I did, yeah. So you're mad at me for what?"

But she didn?t have time to answer him, to tell him she wasn?t really angry or that she was happy for the two of them.

The glow sticks fell down into the mud around them, and The Pit started closing.

How quickly she fell apart! ?No no no!? It didn't sound like a simple objection as Jewell tried to slog through the mud for the ladder. There was real fear in her voice. ?Andrea don't!? she shouted out to the caller. ?Please!?

"All complaints can be sent to Jin Chae,? was the last thing she heard from above before the pit fully closed and they were left in the ghoulish, green dark.

In the place of nightmares.

The duel had just begun but Jewell?s priorities had shifted rapidly. She now had one goal and it had nothing to do with winning. She wanted to finish the fight and finish it fast regardless of the outcome. She needed to get out.

Except, it was an increasingly difficult task. Her hands trembled every time she tried to punch him, sweat streamed down her face, and her breathing was uneven: too quick and too shallow.

She couldn?t get enough air. Her heart screamed in her chest.

She was drowning in mud. Suffocating.

Buried alive again.

[]Post adapted from live play in RoH--Outback on Wednesday, 13 July 2016[]
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JewellRavenlock
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She couldn?t really remember the first time. There was just brief impressions.

A woman who looked like her sister Midara.

Merille. Merille was her name.

Merille was laughing. Her features twisted with madness.

There was a pain in the back of her head.

She woke up in the darkest dark she had ever seen. There was no light. No fresh air. No way out.

She had screamed. She had cried. She had torn at the burlap that was the only thing between her and the crushing weight of dirt pushing down on her. It was crushing her. It was trying to push her further into the ground, to the very center of the planet, where she would disappear forever.

She was so little. So young. And the weight of the whole world was on her chest.

She was desperate. Terrified.

Then the air was almost gone. Her breathing slowed. Her thoughts became sluggish.

Jewell realized that she was going to die.
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JewellRavenlock
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the pit top opened all the way, Jewell froze. For one brief, crazy second, she thought she was back underground. She was back in that shallow grave that Merille had left her in to die. The grave that Brian Ravenlock had rescued her from so many years ago.

For one brief moment, she thought her brother had come to her aid again.

But no. Some other guardian angel had opened the top of the pit, but it was a fake freedom. There was no force of Ravenlock friends and allies to save her this time. There was no one there to lift her from her misery. She was still stuck in the mud, drowning in the mire.

She was still coming undone.

It was too little too late. There wasn?t enough light or air. There wasn?t enough of anything to save her. Her foundation had been shaken, so The Empress floundered in the mud. She needed to get out. Get out of The Pit, the Outback, the whole damn city. She needed to go to a place where she could breathe and where the weight of the world didn?t continue to push down on her chest and try to pull her under.

And there was only one way to do that. There was only one way out.

She put her trembling hands up and resumed the fight, covered in mud from head to toe. Clean lines down her face marked the trail of tears that she had shed in the dark.

It took her three more rounds to beat Aric. Three more excruciating rounds. He tried to cheer her up. Tried to show concern, but she was sinking too fast to be reached. She was doing the only thing she knew how to do when things got too tough: she retreated down as far as she could inside herself and waited it out.

She waited through the remainder of the duel. Waited while people watched her, hesitant and concerned, emerge victorious from The Pit. Waited while she pummeled Kruger straight off the bridge and accepted her prize.

Jewell waited until she could bury her face against her friend?s shoulder on the streets of Dragon?s Gate and cry.

[]Post adapted from live play in RoH--Outback on Wednesday, 13 July 2016[]
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