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Dreamscape

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Noctis Lucis Caelum, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. Noctis Lucis Caelum

    Noctis Lucis Caelum Final Fantasy

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    August 10, Year 7
    tag; @Lunafreya Nox Fleuret @Prompto Argentum
    Noctis slept. 10 hours. 12 hours. 14 hours. Cat naps here and there were nothing out of the ordinary for him, and his see-sawing depression helped explain away those longer and longer hours. And he was full of so many ups and downs lately, emotions pulled taut as a string band. Frustration when he was desperate to not be so useless. But grabbing a snack from the cupboard above the kitchen counter turned into a tense adventure most nights. Physical Therapy with Gladio was exhausting, filling him with an unsettling mixture of satisfaction (there was progress -- he could actually get himself in and out of the wheelchair now without killing himself) and irritation at having to work so hard to do things that he had never had to even stop and think about before.

    But there were the ups too. Quiet moments with Luna, recalling old times or making new memories. Exploring his new strangely fluttery emotions when he caught Prompto's eye, their normal gaming sessions, movie nights, and just bro time accented by twining fingers and cuddles. The pair of them working together to prank Gladio, or Noctis flailing his arms, staring grumpily down as the big man just bodily carried him wherever he needed to go.

    But still he slept. He slept a good chunk of each day away, waking up refreshed and yet his eyes beginning to droop again only hours later. Settling down beside Prompto, he always seemed to sleep easily. Easily and better than he had in ages, honestly. The nightmares were few and far between, and Noctis didn't toss and turn as often in his sleep -- perhaps a side effect of his legs, though they had hardly stopped him from managing to shift onto his side or belly during some nights.

    The past few nights, however, had been different. No tossing. No turning. Just Noctis sleeping utterly still, breathing slow and steady, curled up against a warm body. No tossing and turning. No dreamy mumbles. Just Noctis sleeping soundly, until he finally stirred, dragging himself out of his bedroom later and later.

    Until the day came he didn't drag himself out at all.

    It wasn't strange at all for the morning to come and go without the slightest sign of the sleepy prince. In fact, it would have been cause for alarm if he had come strolling (or rolling) out of that room bright and early for no reason at all. And maybe it wasn't all that often, but it wasn't like the afternoon had never just crawled by without a peep from Noctis, despite the fact he had collapsed into bed by 10:30 the night before.

    Nope, nothing to worry about. Noctis just liked to sleep.

    A lot.

    Not like he just wasn't gonna wake up or anything.

    Until he didn't.

    The hours crawled by, and he never shifted to tug the blankets tighter or try and push them off. Never flopped onto his side or shoved his face into the pillow as he so often did. He didn't react to gentle pushes on his shoulder, or more violent shaking. Didn't react to raised voices, or any panicked, desperate attempt to wake him up.

    Noctis had never looked so peaceful.
     
  2. Prompto Argentum

    Prompto Argentum Final Fantasy
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    The day had started like most. Prompto woke up, and Noct didn't. Didn't even really stir as Prompto climbed out of bed, shooting the emo nerd an unseen smile, as he shoved himself out from under the covers. He had gone on a run, and came back; sweaty, gross, and about as unappealing as ever.

    And Noct was still asleep.
    Not unheard of, so he didn't think much of it.
    Just hopped in the shower, loudly humming the last song he had been listening to on the run.
    Wasn't like it'd wake Noct up anyway.

    All clean with styled hair, and smelling nice - Prompto wandered around the house - Tater Tot on his heels.
    And Noct was still asleep.
    Again, not that weird.

    He had crashed pretty early the night before, but the whole leg-dealio seemed to take a lot out of him. Prompto would just let him be. Wasn't really hurting anyone. Well, other than Tater Tot who was Awake And Needed Attention. She was like Noct in about a billion ways, but sometimes their needs didn't overlap.

    Touching himself up for work, Prompto pulled at his sleeves - hating that they existed. Pulling the kitten off from climbing his leg, he gently set the bundle of fur on a sleeping Noct and smiled. She wandered around his unconscious form, and whined; before finding a good spot on the bed next to him. Kneading, before turning into a tiny little Tot-ball. Shaking his head, Prompto placed the most-delicate-and-light-kiss-of-all-time on Noct's hairline - not actually wanting to wake him up at all.

    "Don't have too much fun, you two," he whispered, before offering both sleeping dumbasses fingerguns, and heading out.

    Hours later, he came back. Exhausted, kinda grumpy, and in the mood to not wear pants for at least twelve hours. Or sleeves. He barely waited until he was through the front door, before he ripped off (gently slid off) his button-up work shirt; making an over-the-type whine as he did. He'd at least wait until he was in his room before he took his pants off, and switched to either boxering-it-up, or some just...shorts or something. Maybe sweats.

    Prompto paused at the doorway of his room - dress shirt balled in one hand, as the other straightened his undershirt. The door was...mostly closed. Which was how he left it. Just open enough so Taters could slide her lil paw under it and escape if she needed to; but closed enough that if the Thunder God Gladio came around, it wouldn't wake either one.

    Realizing anxiety was doing its thing, he shook his head, and came into the room.

    And Noct was still asleep.
    Tater Tot still passed out next to him; both in slightly different spots but...

    A bad feeling crept up inside his stomach. Had they been awake at all? He had gotten...literally zero texts from Noct. Which sucked, but he got over it. Just assumed he was having a non-people sorta day; which stung, but Prompto was learning to deal. Kicking off his shoes, he wandered around the house - looking for signs of Noct being awake. A dirty dish in the sink, some wet food for Tater Tot, the living room messed up somehow, a wet towel from a shower. Something. Anything.

    But there was nothing.

    Prompto returned to the bedroom - chewing on the hangnails on his left hand; anxiety bouncing around like a child on espresso. This...this was nothing, right? Clearly he had woken up at some point, and just was taking another nap. That was all. Even if the air in the house felt super...stagnate. Even if there were no signs he had ever gotten up. It was just him being dumb. Him being too sensitive, as usual.

    "Noct?"

    But he couldn't shake the feeling.

    "Hey...Noct? Buddy? Super sorry to wake ya, dude..." he moved closer to the bed - sitting himself on the edge.

    Tater Tot woke up, and greeted him with what could only be described as a scream of excitement. She hopped up on Noct's side - using him to get to Prompto.

    And Noct didn't move.

    "...Dude?" Prompto half-ignored the cat that was now on his lap, a cold...terrible feeling crawling into his stomach, "Hey, this isn't funny Noct," he put his hand on Noct's shoulder and shook him slightly, "Hey!" voice raising, "Scarin' me, yo. This...this isn't..."

    Nothing.

    The cold feeling warped into a sick one - eyes growing glassy, which he quickly blinked back.
    Meanwhile, Tater Tot was deeply offended that Prompto wasn't holding her.
    She continued making sounds, as Prompto slid to the other side of the bed to actually face Noct.

    Well, he was breathing. Seemed relaxed.

    Prompto just...got weird with it. Booped his nose. Literally stuck his finger in his mouth. Stuck his finger in his ear (after the mouth) and swirled it around a bit.

    Nothing.

    Prompto covered his face, half-curling into a ball; way too many emotions hitting him like a fuckin' train.
    The fact was...Noct wasn't waking up.

    Grabbing Tater Tot, he held her for a bit - just trying to calm himself down, before snapping into action.
    What...did he even do?

    Luna.

    Noct had not woken up before. When he was a kid. The accident. That. And the Oracle was able to help, right? Somehow? Or...had the not-waking-up-part ended before the Oracle part? He had no idea, and wasn't about to start writing up a timeline.

    Wiping his eyes, he grabbed his phone and called Luna.

    "Hey...hey," his voice sounding raspy, causing him to clear his throat, "So...uh...I...really need you to come over, Lu. I..." he grit his teeth, not wanting to say it.

    If he said it, it made it real.
    But he needed help.

    "Noct's...not waking up. He was asleep when I went to work, and there's no signs he's moved since I came back. He's...he's not responding to anything. And...I'm scared, dude," he took a deep breath, "Please help."


     
  3. Lunafreya Nox Fleuret

    Lunafreya Nox Fleuret Final Fantasy

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    Luna sighed as she stepped through the entrance to her home. Her purse slipped from her shoulder, dangling on her hand before she finally let it slip onto the couch. Pryna and Umbra followed on her heels, heading in different directions as they went to go satiate their needs. Luna, on the other hand, let herself collapse onto the couch in exhaustion. One arm draped over her face. Her eyes slid shut.

    Another long day at the Healing Clinic, working under the more experienced healers and learning the ropes of her job. She'd only had it for a few weeks, but there was still so much to learn. Luna was no doctor after all. Her magic was the only thing that qualified her for the position. It made her feel inadequate. She couldn't contribute as much as a healer should. Sure, she was well learned, but that was no substitute for a medical degree.

    Prompto's ringtone sounded, muffled but audible from the depths of her purse. Luna's eyes popped open and she pulled herself upright. After a quick shuffle, she tapped the screen to answer the call and brought it to her ear.

    "Hello."

    Prompto sounded awful. Luna sat upright, instantly awake and alert. Pryna and Umbra both had eyes on her, suddenly aware of the change in their master. Something was very wrong. Luna listened carefully Prompto stumbled through his explanation. Her grip on the phone tightened with every word. It wasn't long before Luna was holding her breath. Noctis fell into another coma.

    "Take a deep breath. I'm on my way." Luna hung up and snatched her purse. Pryna and Umbra jumped to their feet as they followed Luna's dash to Noctis and Prompto's house. Minutes later she arrived and set to work.

    The first thing Luna did was examine Noctis. He looked well enough. Like a sleeping child. Only, she knew it was more than that. His leg had been bothering him even before she arrived. It wasn't physically damaged, nor did it respond to any of her previous attempts to heal it. Yet, Luna was sure it had something to do with this mysterious coma.

    "Prompto. How long has he been like this? What was he like before he fell asleep?" Luna asked.

    Her tone remained low and even, betraying none of her feelings. On the outside, she was the picture of calm and collected. Yet, her mind was a rush of possibilities and even a growing sense of panic. Her mother had helped Noct as a child, but this was different. What's more, she wasn't her mother. Could she even do this? What if she failed? What would they do if Noctis never woke again? It would be all her fault.
     
  4. Prompto Argentum

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    He wasn't sure what he was hoping for Luna to say, but the abrupt call wasn't...quite it. At least she was coming, right? Like...hadn't just blown him off and left him to deal with a coma boy all on his own. Somehow, he had been hoping something she'd say would...fix it. A quick explanation, and some magical doggo magic, and suddenly Noct was using him as a pillow and talking about Assassin's Creed. Instead, the call was short, and she was on her way. Her voice was soothing, at least. Asking for more than that was just...selfish. Prompto wasn't actually the one in danger, or not waking up.

    He was just the one with anxiety.

    Prompto paced the room - Tater Tot balanced on his shoulder. It was a little trick that had started as an accident. Just sorta set the fluffer nutter there, because he needed to quickly move the cat away from some spilled food and didn't really have anywhere better to put her. He had expected her to hop off and go find her mother Noct. Instead, she stayed. Stayed and watch Prompto clean up some spilled mac-n-cheese. Since, Prompto had been just kinda putting her there randomly - convinced she'd get tired of it. Instead, she always calmed down. Liked getting a free ride around the house, and getting to see things form up high.

    ...Not that Prompto was particularly tall.

    Growing annoyed at himself for pacing, he just...stopped. Stared at Noct from the other side of the bedroom, arms crossed in front of his chest. Man, he looked comfy. If he didn't know any better, he would have assumed Noct was in Super Relax Mode™.

    But...he did.

    Sitting back on the bed, Tater Tot screamed from the sudden drop, before resettling on his shoulder. Prompto's fingers slid between Noct's, gripping his limp hand with more force than was necessary.

    "I don't know what's going on, bud. But...we'll get you through it," his voice quiet - too aware of how the hand didn't react at all to his touch.

    Luna arrived - Prompto's fingers quickly dropping from Noct's.

    Wasn't like they were hiding their dating from anyone. Just kept it more on the subtle side of things, because they were still figuring it out themselves. Neither one had really...dated anyone before. So making other people aware of it just seemed...too soon. As much as Prompto wanted to climb on the rooftop and yell about how awesome his boyfriend was, he knew it wasn't the smartest thing in the world.

    He could just think it really, really loudly.

    "Hey, lemme know if I can get ya anything," Prompto moved away from the bed, so Luna could examine Noct - trying to keep his tone light, even if it did feel like his stomach was full of rocks.

    When the questions were thrown at him, he pulled Tater Tot off his shoulder to cradle her like a baby. She liked being held like that for some reason. Purred really, really loud, and snuggled down in his arms.

    "We went to bed pretty early last night. Uh...around...man actually he was out before me. He went to bed around ten, I wanna say. Was asleep when I woke up at ass-o'clock this morning. Uh...six. Was still asleep when I left for work. And...I got back a few minutes before I called ya and he was still...out," he slipped a hand out from under Tot to run through his hair.

    It felt like he was vibrating. Not even in a fun way. Just...shaking. Too much stress. Too much uncertainty. Man, he really needed to chill t-f out, before he threw up or something.

    "Before he went to bed, he was complaining about being super tired, I think. He's...actually been more of a sleepy bitch than usual lately," the hand that went through his hair, scratched his neck - his eyes on Noct, "Like...it's Noct. He loves to nap, yanno? But like...dude. Lately, he's just always asleep. Not like this obvs...but like," guilt started to pull at him for not telling Luna sooner, "Since his legs stopped working, I've noticed he gets tired really easily. Thought it was just depression naps, cuz like...bro. Dude. Him losing the ability to walk has really, really messed with him. I'm...doing what I can to cheer him up, but it's never enough," his voice growing tired, "But back to the sleepy bitch thing. It's just. Constant. He'll wake up from a nap, and like...what feels like an hour or two later he's back asleep. Just...not like this."

    Prompto swallowed - dropping his gaze back to Tater Tot. Fingers playing with the soft fur around her ears, as he leaned his back against the wall.

    He hated this.
    All of it.

    But if anyone could just...help, it was Luna.
    Homegirl could literally wake up the Astrals.
    So...Noct would be easy.

    ...Right?

     
  5. Lunafreya Nox Fleuret

    Lunafreya Nox Fleuret Final Fantasy

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    Prompto began his explanation in earnest, walking Luna through the series of events. A frown etched itself deeper into her features with every word. She tried to connect it to what she already knew. Noct's legs bothered him even before Luna came to Pandora. Yet, her attempts to heal him (or anyone else's for that matter) ended in vain. He started sleeping more too. But this was on a whole different level. Or... was it just a natural progression of whatever plagued him?

    "The last time Noctis fell into a coma, it was due to an injury from a Daemon." Luna said, thinking aloud. "From what I understand, it happened immediatly after his injury. This is more gradual. It must be related to his legs but there's nothing physically wrong with them. If we could just find the source..."

    If there was one thing she'd learned about Pandora, it was that the box was as unpredictable as it was inescapable. The cause could be anything from a curse to something beyond Luna's wildest imagination. She was a powerful healer. Even so, this could easily be beyond her skills.

    Luna's fists clenched into balls, pulling at the fabric of her dress. She took a steadying breath. It wouldn't help anyone if she couldn't keep it together.

    "We will wake him."

    Once more, Luna set to work. She ran her hands over Noctis, mumbling spells and pulling at every ounce of magic and knowledge she possessed to bring him back. Hours passed and yet he still slumbered. Luna could feel her strength waining. Her mind slowed. It wasn't long before her eyes drooped. Even keeping her head up became difficult.

    Exhausted, Luna pulled Noct's hand into hers and laid her forehead against their hands. "Please Noct." She whispered, almost inaudibly. "Come back to us."
     
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  6. Prompto Argentum

    Prompto Argentum Final Fantasy
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    He kinda wanted to throw up, but was avoiding it. Why? Because puking was gross. Even if his stomach was somehow both clenched and churning at the same time, thanks to all the super-duper fun stress. The whole leg thingy had been...well, pretty dang shitty from the get-go. But it just kept getting worse. Now...this. Uhg. Prompto felt at his emotional limit for dealing with unexplained medical shit. Nails idly digging into his arms as he watched Luna explain the last time - Prompto's eyes falling to the bedroom's floor in thought.

    It was the word daemon that caused him to make a few connections; mind slipping back to M-H's barrier falling. Man, that was a literal nightmare. Also, weirdly fun. It got Noct back on his feet, only to have them fail like...what? Not even a month later. Maybe the two were connected...? Like the daemons here weren't...the same. They were a different flavor. Like back in Eos they were nacho cheese and triangle shaped, but here they were cool ranch and circular. But...still. Something about it all fit too nicely. Prompto's brow pinching together as he leaned back against the wall - arms crossed. Tater Tot back on the bed, helping Luna heal.

    His mind slipped back to the first time he noticed Noct's legs being shitty. But...honestly it was impossible to tell. Cuz they were always shitty. Just the level of shitty was different; the messed-up-ness going to both instead of one leggy. So...when was the first time he noticed Noct's other leg fucking up his funky flow? Man, he didn't remember. There were a few times he thought he saw something weird, but like...it could have easily been his other leg having a hiccup, causing him to awkward on his good leg.

    Feeling like Luna would instantly shoot down his idea - but in a nice Oracle sorta way - he remained quiet.

    He got some water and snacks for them both at one point, but kept out of the way. Honestly, he had no idea how Luna's magic worked, and didn't wanna mess it up. He had...actually never seen her heal someone before. Even with the chaos with Leviathan - before Ardyn officially came out as a bastard - he had only seen her shoot some sparkles up, very briefly.

    Honestly, he was more focused on Noct.

    And - oh yeah - the giant snake lizard that wanted to eat them.

    Plus he made a point to never really think about that day. So much bad shit happened, it was hard to even idly relive. Too stressful. Too...icky. So he just acknowledged it happened, and moved on. Easier that way.

    Prompto was sitting on the edge of the bed, when Luna stopped. His head raising thinking that maybe - just maybe - she stopped cuz it worked. But...nope. She just looked on the verge of passing out. Dark rings under her eyes, as she whispered to Noct - pressing their foreheads together.

    Man, he felt bad about stealing her man.

    With a sigh, he leaned back in the bed - feeling a wave of fatigue from the day hit him like a bag of bricks. His shift hadn't exactly been a happy or fun one. That, on top of this b-s, was really taking a lot out of him. He felt kinda sick. Tired. Like he just wanted to crawl away from all of this, but also make it better. Uhg, it was so frustrating. Why couldn't he just fix it? But...he couldn't. Hell, Luna couldn't even solve it.

    "Don't hurt yourself, Lu," his voice barely above a whisper, as Tater Tot walked in quick little circles on his chest, before turning into the best donut of all time, "We've all had a long day, lady-dude," his eyes on the ceiling, feeling a weird numbness to everything wash over him, "Let's...take a break."

    It was only a matter of seconds, before his eyes fell shut.


     
  7. Noctis Lucis Caelum

    Noctis Lucis Caelum Final Fantasy

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    Noct didn't wake. He didn't stir when they called his name. Didn't flinch or shift when they tugged on his arm or shook his shoulder. His body was limp, no sense that there was somebody aware there as Luna pulled his unresponsive hand down. He only slept on, even when the mattress shifted a bit under Prompto's weight, breaths slow and even.

    At least his dreams were peaceful.

    But Noctis was somewhere far away, his slumber pulling him somewhere where not even those faintest of whispers could change the course of his dream.

    And yet they weren't alone.

    As Prompto and Luna's eyes drifted shut, exhaustion creeping over them, sleep pulled at them. But if they managed to look up at Noctis, sleepy gaze falling on him, they might see something soft and pale blue curled up against his neck, eyes closed, that small red horn glinting in the moonlight.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    Prompto and Luna were dreaming their separate dreams. But just as Noctis wasn't alone in his dream, they were no longer alone in theirs either. It was a gradual shift really. Little things and signs drawing them through their dreams, closer and closer to that soft white door that seemed as natural as any door did in any dream.

    All they had to do was open that door, and they would find the other on the other side. And suddenly their dream fell away as trees emerged from the mists around them, rising tall. The foliage was dense, but sunlight streamed down, a small babbling brook rolling noisily down the steep hills.

    A loud squeak, high and attention-seaking, and sitting before them, staring up at the pair was a small blue fox-like creature, his large ears twitching slightly. He peered up at them with black eyes, that small red horn protruding from his head.

    At his feet was a cell phone with a chocobo-themed case, which he nudged towards Luna with his nose as it began to vibrate and ping. It vibrated and pinged just like Prompto's pocket did, who apparently was never far from his cell even in his dreams.


    You found your way here!

    [​IMG]

    Noctis needs your help.


    Each message came in time with another squeak from that creature, looking up at them expectantly. He turned and jumped up a pile of rocks, three hops and a skip, to where that stream was tumbling down from.

    All around them, the forest gave way to tall rock-faces, rising sharply up. They were reminiscent of the cliffs of Tenebrae, dressed in greenery. The small fox sat down there, waiting for them to follow. It was the only path open to them, overgrown with thick vegetation, that stream running up and up. Literally running up, against gravity, as if it too was trying to show them the way.

    Another squeak. Another text.


    He won't listen to me. But I think it will be different with you two.

     
  8. Prompto Argentum

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    Prompto was walking down a street. It was the street to his house, back in Insomnia; but it seemed longer. Everyone was staring at him as he moved; eyes locked on the sidewalk in front of him. Above him, the sky was an unnatural violet; mixed with swirls of red, like blood in water. The sound of static steadily grew louder, as Prompto's footsteps grew quicker. He could feel his heart slamming in his chest, as he moved. A physical thing locked inside him, that was trying to escape. Bouncing around painfully against his ribs with every beat. A disembodied laugh echoed down the street.

    Arriving at his house, he paused in front of the door. It was the wrong color. The decoration on the wood was...ornate. Despite every fiber in his being telling him to run, he opened it.

    Fog clouded his vision as he walked through; the static in his ears, dying away to the natural sounds of a forest. Somewhere in the distance a woodpecker went to town on a tree. Another yelled, probably for a mate. Bugs made an idle hiss. The air felt...electric. Alive. Like right before a storm. Impossibly tall trees towered around him, as his footfalls silently fell into the underbrush below.

    It was possibly the most relaxed Prompto had felt in...ages.

    There was a subtle path that intertwined through the forest ahead of him; hard to see at first, but there if he focused. Eyes continued to take it all in as he moved - lips parting in gentle awe. He felt safe here. Protected. A brook started running along the side of the path, after a few twists and turns. Little frogs and fish seemed to be chillin' in the chatty water; Prompto briefly crouching down to watch them.

    If Noct was here, he'd probably try to catch the frog.

    Noct...

    The thought dragged him back to his feet; the path calling to him. A need to keep going, growing deep within his core.

    So he continued on.

    "Lu?" his brows rose, as another path converged with his - a sudden squeak in front of him, pulling his attention away from her.

    A...carbuncle?
    With a cell phone.

    His own phone suddenly vibrated in his pocket, causing him to fish it out - new messages appearing with every weird squeak, from a creature that Prompto was pretty sure wasn't supposed to be real.

    "Noct..." the thought tore at him again - eyes lifting to their new fluffy bff, as rocks suddenly shifted. Prompto took a step back, but ended up losing his balance. Back hitting the ground, as he watched rocks reform the area around them; a path being manually carved in front of them.

    Powerful fluffer.

    Again, his phone vibrated in his hands, causing him to unlock it.

    Noct needed them.

    Prompto's eyes jumped to Luna, as he shoved himself back to his feet, "So uh...wanna go follow an actual magical creature into the great unknown, and save Noct?" he offered a smile, as he dusted his ass off, "Cuz I have a feeling he'll eat us if we say no," grinned, before glancing back at the lil' buddy in front of them, "Kiddin' little dude. So...what's your name? We'll defo help Noct, just lead the way friendo."

    As light as his words were, he felt it. Something before them that was...waiting. The relaxation in his gut, slowly tensing up into a solid mass.

    But for Noct, he'd keep going.

     
  9. Lunafreya Nox Fleuret

    Lunafreya Nox Fleuret Final Fantasy

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    Luna stood in the center of her room. Not the one she had acquired in Misty Hollow, but the one back in Tenebrae. Polished, sterile marble lined the walls and floor. Fancy blue that only royalty could afford sparsely occupied the cold space. The symbol of a flower decorated every window in a golden lattice. Empty vases that normally housed sylleblossoms sat on pedestals by the entrance. A series of steps occupied the back half of the room. Normally, it led to her canopy bed. Yet, in its place stood her wedding dress; shredded, burnt, and torn. The window that looked out on Tenebrae was dark. Beyond it, fires burned on the mountain side and an eternal night gave birth to demons that wandered just beyond the castle walls.

    A heavy weight pulled at Luna's pocket. She reached in and removed the Ring of the Lucii. Noct's ring. He needed it. Luna's sharp gaze turned towards the door. Without even a single moment of hesitation she barged through the door only to emerge once more into her room. Luna balked. She turned around and went through the door again. Once more, she was back in her room. Again and again she tried, each time returning only to her room.

    Undeterred, Luna grabbed one of the chairs. She heaved it with all her might, pulling at her magic and calling to the gods to give her strength. By some miracle she managed to toss the chair into the window and it shattered. Luna leapt through the portal and landed once more in her room. Startled, she spun around and found the glass restored.

    Luna kept trying. She couldn't give up. Only every time she was returned to her room. Yet, it was only on the dozenth try that she noticed small changes. Her finery from Eos was mixed with the distinctly less fine furniture of her house in Pandora. The ring that once sat in her pocket at some point changed into the wrench she had used to try and fix the clockwork trolly. Sitting in her closet was her uniform for the clinic. Finally, a door sat behind the burnt wedding dress. It's soft white paint stood out from the polished walled. Sylleblossoms grew from patches of grass on either side.

    Was that it? Her way out? Luna opened the door and stepped through. She found herself on a forest path, mist dancing around her bare feet. A rush of sounds and smells flooded her senses. Birds, bugs, trees, mud, dew. Soft grass tickled her feet as she walked. Luna quickly became aware of another presence. When she looked over she saw Prompto on a similar trail and it wasn't long before their paths converged.

    Luna wanted to ask Prompto what was going on, but there was a high squeak. Luna's attention turned to the noise and spotted a carbuncle sitting in front of them. A Messenger! Luna inhaled sharply.

    It nudged a cellphone closer to Luna. She didn't recognize this one. Curious, Luna picked it. Almost instantly it vibrated and pinged. Several messages popped up on the screen. "Noctis... Prompto we-" Before Luna could finish her sentence, Prompto fell over. Luna flinched. At least they were in a dream, so he wasn't really injured. The carbuncle seemed keen to move as it skipped up a series of rocks before waiting for them.

    "It's a Messenger." Luna corrected gently even as she began to climb. "Like Pryna, Umbra, and Gentiana. If it says Noctis is in trouble than we must make haste."
     
  10. Noctis Lucis Caelum

    Noctis Lucis Caelum Final Fantasy

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    The little fox watched them quietly, tail swaying slowly behind him as he sat on that rock, waiting for the two to make up their mind. Not that he ever doubted they would make the right choice. Though there was an indignant squeak and another text with Prompto's ridiculous idea that Carbuncle would eat them.

    [​IMG]

    Carbuncle didn't require sustenance, of course.

    I'm Carbuncle.

    Another message on their phones. And this wasn't just a Carbuncle. The little creature they followed, the one who trusted them wholeheartedly to see this task through, was the Carbuncle.

    The fox turned away from them, content to know that they would follow. He hopped up rock after rock, making his way up the path with easy, bounding leaps. The water trailed upwards, the rocks glowing slippery and then icy beneath their fingers. Ice crackled and spread over stone and grass, running water freezing as it tumbled all over itself, droplets of water turning to ice in mid-air as the wind whipped up. It swirled harshly around them, the world whiting out as the chill bit at their cheeks.

    The world was cold. Cold and empty and dreadful, all life blotted out with endless white. The blizzard raged around them, tugging at hair and clothing, threatening to carry them away as shadows stood frozen upon an endless field. The snow-blinding gusts parted every so often, revealing a glimpse of a ruined city, buildings crumbled with age, the building and people iced over. There was a bloodied corpse over there, still crackling with fading magic. Half of a pair of spectacles, the frame twisted apart. A shield splintered into a thousand pieces. Photos lay scattered on the dirty, memories just as frozen as the world around them, until they to were stolen away by the storm.

    A ragged and dirtied strip of white fabric clung to a barren tree.

    A regal sword lay on a burial mound, the blade shattered in two.

    Carbuncle lowered his head against the blinding white, shivering as he struggled to push ever onward. His squeak was drowned out by the storm, but their phones still buzzed with the messenger's words.

    Hold on tight. I think it's getting worse.

    He's hiding in the center. In the castle.

    It was little more than a shadow at first. Seemingly impossible far, but straight forward through that storm. The castle rose high above them, a strange mixture of the grandness of the Citadel and the elegant tradition of the palace of Tenebrae.
     
  11. Prompto Argentum

    Prompto Argentum Final Fantasy
    Chocobro

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    A Messenger.
    Like Umbra.
    Like Pryna.
    Like Gentiana.

    Prompto's eyes drifted from Luna to the little puff-ball in front of him - a weird sense of both awe and panic pulling at his gut. In all honesty, he didn't have the slightest bit of idea what was happening. His ability to even remember how he got here, a fuzzy mess. But he knew something was...weird. This place felt funny.

    Glancing down at his phone, he snorted as his persona fav chocobo emoji was used. Yeah, he liked this little dude already. Then a name; Carbuncle. Prompto had heard of the mythical creature before. Which was totes what little homie was. Little dude with a horn, and fluffy looking. He had seen drawings in books and stuff back in school. That sort of small feeling settling within Prompto - one he had become familiar with when Noct got involved with the Astrals.

    Literal Gods.
    This just wasn't some cool magic Noct inherited, but a Being with a capital B.

    Shit, dude.

    Without protest, he hopped up on the rocks to follow Fluffy Dude - careful with his footing. He knew he wasn't graceful on the best of days, and this was a prime-time to just eat shit hard in front of a Messenger and the Oracle.

    Oh man, the level of pleb he was in his current company was just straight up redic.

    Whatever, he was here and wanting to help.

    The rocks they were climbing quickly got...bad. Slippery, wet, icy - Prompto nearly wiping out a few times. But he just kept going. Offering Luna a hand if she needed it, and trying to keep pace with the Carbucle who had to have some low-key hiking boots on. The cold went from slight, to heavy, to almost too much.

    "Is Shiva here?" he asked literally no one in particular, as he wrapped his arms around himself - teeth chattering - brows pinching together.

    Before them, was a dead landscape. Ruins - barely able to be seen through the straight-up blizzard.

    Honestly the last time the weather was this shitty, was thanks to him being shoved off a train. Side Quest of Sad as he referred to it, to himself. He quickly shoved down the thought, as they pressed forward - really wanting things to warm up. Or a magical jacket to find him.

    But then he saw...stuff.

    Broken glasses.
    A shattered shield
    Scattered photos.

    "What is this place?" the shake in his voice from way too many things at once; Prompto ducking down to look at the pictures. He remembered taking these.

    He glanced up to see white fabric around a tree.
    A sword on a burial mound - broken in two.

    "Iggy...Gladio...Me," he shoved himself up from the photos, a sick feeling shoving itself in his gut, "Luna...King Regis," his voice quiet, wondering what he was seeing.

    But...half these people weren't dead, in his time. The King and Luna, yeah. But...Gladio was fine. Iggy was blind, but fine. Last he checked, he was mostly fine.

    But what if Carbuncle knew more than he did?
    What if he was pulled into Pandora right before shit hit the fan?
    What if they all died?

    Another hard gust - Prompto feeling like he was just officially a Popsicle. His skin literally hurting from the cold - eyes glued to Carbuncle in hopes he'd take them somewhere...warmer at least.

    "Doin' okay?" he asked Luna, knocking some snow out of his hair.

    Then Carbuncle texted him that it was gonna...get worse. Cool. He could totally handle that.

    But then little homie mentioned the castle.

    "What--?"

    It was faint at first, before the super recognizable shape came into view.
    The motherfucking Citadel.

    Prompto almost stopped dead in his tracks, brows pinching together - before he sped up. The thought of not freezing his ass off overwhelming the weird emotions that were continuing to boil inside him.

    He hadn't seen the Citadel in years. Not since he left with Noct and the guys for the road trip. He had heard reports that it was still standing in Insomnia; mostly unmarred by the crazy shit. But...he hadn't been brave enough to go himself. The daemon activity was...too much. He knew he was literally engineered to easily get infected, and taking that risk for like no reason seemed...dumb.

    So he didn't.

    "What's waiting for us in there, little dude?" he asked - half-jogging towards the Citadel. Honestly it could be Ardyn with something called the Ass Blaster 9000 and he'd still be jogging, even if it was slightly warmer.

    Just needed to get the fuck outta this cold.


     
  12. Lunafreya Nox Fleuret

    Lunafreya Nox Fleuret Final Fantasy

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    The Carbuncle. A powerful magical creature described in the Cosmology along with the other messengers. The image of the carbuncle was popular enough to warrant dolls, stickers, and the like. Plenty have sighted the little creatures throughout history. However, a Carbuncle with Noctis? That was no coincidence. This was one of the Messengers.

    Luna pushed through the climb with absolute determination. It didn't matter how cold her fingers became or how hard the rocks under them. Her dress became soaked and the chill seemed to seep into her very core. Pink rose in her face and nose while blue touched her lips and the tips of her fingers. The higher they went, the worse it got as falling water turned to ice shards and bit at her skin. Small, bleeding cuts started to form wherever she was exposed. Even so, she climbed.

    Prompto's presence certainly helped. Both of them nearly fell on several occasions, yet Prompto still helped her whenever she got stuck. Prompto made a joke, but Luna was too focused on not falling to respond.

    Eventually, together, they made their way to a field of white. Luna's feet sunk in the snow as a blizzard raged all around them. She hugged herself tight, shivering in the chill. Yet, the horror came from what little color she could see. Luna recognized some of it. Prompto's photos. Gladio's shield. A piece of her dress. A grave for the king. Prompto said their names out loud, including one she didn't recognize. So she was right.

    A hard gust pulled at them and Luna took a step towards Prompto, her head bowed as she tried to stay strong. It was so cold. The sight of them like this... Luna couldn't react now. "I'm alright."

    Luna spared some time to glance at Carbuncle's text before moving on once more. A castle. The same one they saw in the distance. As they drew closer, it became more recognizable. The Citadel. Insomnia's crown jewel. Or, so it appeared. But the closer Luna looked the more she recognized glimpses of home. It wasn't a direct copy, but a mixture of her home in Tenebrae and the Citadel.

    "Oh Noctis. What have you gotten yourself into now."
     
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  13. Noctis Lucis Caelum

    Noctis Lucis Caelum Final Fantasy

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    As Prompto and Luna looked over the field of tragedy, Carbuncle only had one answer to Prompto's question.

    A nightmare


    It was as simple as that. Remnants of bad dreams, born from fears and guilt and worries of a future that Noctis knew must someday come. And the unknown that was beyond even that. But they weren't here for a nightmare or the storm. Only for who lay at the center of it all, ignorant of their presence.

    Carbuncle didn't know how to answer Prompto's question. He just gave a little chirp, both Luna and Prompto's phones buzzing with another text.

    I have no idea


    But Noctis is in there. He won't let me in


    The storm raged powerfully around them, Carbuncle struggling to push forward now, head ducked down against the freezing wind. Each gust was powerful enough to send the creature tumbling back, one time bouncing right back against Luna's legs.

    But all they had to do was keep pushing forward. Keep pushing until the storm was behind them and it was the citadel rising tall above them. A Citadel with a front gate that wouldn't budge, locked shut by the elegant vines of sylleblossoms that crawled up and tangled over themselves, winding between the bars.

    A shadow, small and quick, moved just on the other side, and the vines curled even tighter. "Go away!" a voice called out. It was not a voice either of them would ever have recognized. "We don't need you here!"
     
  14. Prompto Argentum

    Prompto Argentum Final Fantasy
    Chocobro

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    A nightmare.
    Right.

    That wasn't...super creepy or anything. Not at all. Just explorin' a nightmare with two mystical beings, while freezing to death. But...Carbuncle had said Noct needed them. Not just Luna. Not just his fluffy self. But them, including Prompto. He couldn't let how freaky this was, catch up to him.

    Even if he was literally a Promptsicle.

    Noct was here.
    And...was actively keeping Carbuncle out.
    With a big-ass gate, apparently. Prompto reached forward to touch it, before thinking better of it - hand falling back to his side as he stared at the pretty flowers. Then...something moved - causing him to jump back. Voice not exactly welcoming them to the party.

    "Uh?! What the hell was that?" he stared at where a shadowy form was only moments before - brow pinching together, "I-I don't think that was lil' Noct. That's not how he sounds. Lil fluffer - I don't think it's Noct keeping you out. There's...someone else here," his voice growing quiet.

    It was...a weird thing to remember, maybe. And yeah, maybe all kids sounded the same. But Prompto totally remembered what Noct's voice sounded like when they were little. He wasn't sure why, but he could hear it clearly in the back of his head.

    Hoo-boy, he did not like this.
     
  15. Lunafreya Nox Fleuret

    Lunafreya Nox Fleuret Final Fantasy

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    A nightmare made sense. The way this world worked seemed so far removed from both Eos and Pandora. No wonder its logic seemed so dreamlike. Seeing Noct's nightmare though... it was difficult. All his worst fears laid before them.

    Luna touched one of the sylleblossoms and her own hear broke. The flowers of Tenebrae. The ones she'd cultivated in the gardens of her palace, twisted and wrapped around the gates. Her fingers danced along the vines. How she'd longed to see these flowers again with Noctis, but not like this. Not in such an awful manner.

    "What was what?" Luna asked, her gaze tracking Prompto's. She'd been so focused on the sylleblossoms she'd missed the movements in the shadows. Her answer came though in the voice of a child. It wasn't Noct's voice though. Luna knew what young Noctis sounded like. That wasn't him. Not by a long-shot. It did sound like a child though.

    "That was not Noctis." Luna confirmed. She took a deep breath and put on her 'Oracle voice,' the one she used when she was being diplomatic or trying to keep those around her calm. "Hello! My name's Luna. This is Prompto. We're friends of Noctis. Please, won't you let us in?"