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Off to a rocky start, literally

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Lara Croft, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft Guest

    June 25th, Year 7

    Blackness. That was all Lara could see. She struggled in vain against the tendrils, growing ever tighter. If only she had knife, or something sharp, just anything to get the bastards off her! Then, as quick as they’d appeared, they released her, fading away into the ground.

    That would’ve been fine – if they hadn’t dropped her halfway down a fucking mountain.

    Lara had no time to regain her balance, and tumbled down the side, its roughness cutting into her body, tearing her jacket, her pants. That was hardly any concern to her – not plummeting straight to her death was a more of a priority. The brunette grappled desperately for a ridge or snag in the rock face, anything she could latch onto. Blood poured from her hands and she let out several groans of pain.

    Finally, her fingers found a fracture; tiny, but enough for her to hold onto – barely. Lara let out a sigh, leaning her head against the rock, feeling battered all over. But her strength had all but run out, and her grip suddenly slipped. With a cry, the brunette began to fall again – luckily, she hadn’t far now to fall and landed with a thud on the soft ground.

    Clutching her side, cuts adorning her body and face, Lara stood shakily, tripping a few times before regaining her balance. Lush greens were spread out in front of her, a stark contrast to the gloomy atmosphere that had been outside Croft Manor.

    Where was she?

    She walked on, stumbling along. At least she’d had a soft landing.
     
    #1 Lara Croft, Jul 24, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2018
    Quirrel likes this.
  2. Quirrel

    Quirrel Hollow Knight

    Posts:
    558
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Explorer
    Location:
    Pandora Town
    Race:
    Beetle
    Age:
    Very old
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Directory:
    link
    As was often the case for the giant bipedal beetle, Quirrel found himself wandering in the middle of nowhere. Mount Pompeii was nice enough this time of year, and that was really all the reason he needed to spend a day or two just looking through the caves and cliffs that dotted the area. It was a nice break from the lush environment of Silverwood Forest, if nothing else.

    Unfortunately, as was also often the case for him, his wanderings would soon be interrupted by a newcomer to Pandora. The sound of something hitting the ground nearby caught the vigilant beetle's attention, and once he was listening closely he picked up on noises that told him that whatever fell was a living being. Well, Quirrel couldn't just walk away from what might be a badly injured individual.

    With a small bit of hesitation, the bug tore himself away from what he had been looking at. After walking up to the edge of small cliff and looking down, Quirrel caught sight of what appeared to be an injured woman stumbling around. She had cuts spread over her entire body, presumably from her fall. He definitely couldn't walk away now.

    Thankfully, the bug was used to falling. He simply hopped off the edge and let gravity do the rest before landing behind her without even stumbling. Quickest way to get to the woman, after all. Of course, his jump had probably created a noticeable enough noise when he landed that she might be able to tell something was behind her.

    Before she could even turn around, the bipedal beetle spoke. "Are you alright? I've got some bandages and such in my bag, and you definitely need them," Quirrel offered politely. It was very important that he made sure to speak before people saw him, or else they might get the wrong idea and attack him or flee at first sight. Being an almost six foot tall beetle in a predominantly human land didn't lend itself well to first impressions, after all.
     
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  3. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft Guest

    Come on, Lara, keep going. You’ve faced worse.

    That was what she kept chanting, over and over in her head as she slowly moved. Hopefully she could find some sort of refuge, or resources to help heal herself. Her breathing was laboured as she stopped as scanned the area, looking for any plants that she might be able to use to soothe her wounds.

    A noise behind her made her stop and she was about to turn when a voice accompanied the movement. Lara then saw who had spoken and it was not what she expected. It was a tall beetle…a beetle that somehow was bipedal and could talk. What was this place? She wasn’t as fazed as someone else might be, but it was clear from her expression that she was still stunned.

    “I…” the brunette started, before grimacing in pain at her injures, the hand on her torso tightening. "Yes, I’d be grateful for the help,” she managed to choke out. She wasn’t sure if she could trust them, but right now it was a choice between accepting their offer or succumbing to her wounds.
     
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  4. Quirrel

    Quirrel Hollow Knight

    Posts:
    558
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Explorer
    Location:
    Pandora Town
    Race:
    Beetle
    Age:
    Very old
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Directory:
    link
    Quirrel adjusted the mask he wore atop his head awkwardly as the woman processed what she was looking at. This was always uncomfortable. Even in the bizarre world of Pandora, the beetle was an odd sight. Never really got easier to deal with the stares.

    Still, she seemed to be taking it a lot better than most did. "Nicely subdued reaction you had there," he said amicably as he fished inside of his pack for his emergency medical kit. "Though I suppose you aren't in a situation where you can afford the time to really express confusion. Here we go!" Those last words were accompanied by his chitinous hand pulling out a rather bulky box from the bag he took off his back.

    As he walked over to the injured woman, he continued to speak. "There's bandages, gauze, disinfectant, even a needle and thread if you have any really bad injuries," Quirrel said, still sounding completely calm. "Will you need any help applying them?" While asking, he set the box down and opened it up, revealing the supplies he mentioned and more.
     
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  5. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft Guest

    After a moment, Lara averted her gaze as she realised how awkward the beetle looked, (beetles having expressions was an odd thing to think about, but nevertheless, she was being impolite.) The pain she felt was giving her more important than what was in front of her anyhow.

    “I suppose not,”
    the brunette managed to chuckle, feeling able to now meet the insect’s gaze. She watched as they rooted for what she assumed to be their medical supplies. “You’ve certainly come prepared,” Lara said as he approached her, impressed.

    “No, I should be fine,”
    she spoke with an air of someone who had done this sort of thing before. She reached down but hesitated for a moment, “Thank you.” She shrugged off the remains of her battered leather jacket, feeling at her wounds. Fortunately, her injures to her abdomen appeared to be nothing more than bruising; nothing appeared broken. Her cuts to her arms, face and hands needed more attention.

    Lara wasted no time disinfecting the deeper areas, gritting her teeth as it did its work. She wrapped the gauze around her arms and legs in various places, taking care to strip back the ruined fabric so the disinfectant could reach the wounds easier. She then bandaged her hands, taking care so that they were still functional. Her face was also injured but cleansing it was enough for now.

    “That’s better,”
    she breathed, clearly relieved. “I can’t thank you enough. I’m Lara, by the way.”
     
  6. Quirrel

    Quirrel Hollow Knight

    Posts:
    558
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Explorer
    Location:
    Pandora Town
    Race:
    Beetle
    Age:
    Very old
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Directory:
    link
    To be honest, if Quirrel actually knew the woman in front of him was a new arrival he probably wouldn't feel anything at all about the confusion. He had dealt with too many of those kinds to blame them. First time he had seen a human... well, that was an eventful day for both him and the woman whose closet he had appeared in.

    "An explorer lives and dies by how well they prepare," the beetle plainly stated. "Many of these supplies don't even work so well on my... decidedly non-human body, but one would be surprised how common it is for me to stumble upon injured individuals." Shoddily made emergency stitches couldn't really be done when you had a carapace too tough for needles, as just one example.

    Seemed like she was familiar with patching herself up. Fortunate for her at the moment, though it spoke of misfortune in her past. "Used to this, aren't you?" he asked rhetorically, not sounding particularly concerned now that it was clear her injuries weren't of the potentially lethal kind. "Regardless, it's no problem whatsoever. I simply was in the right place at the right time with the right items to help. A role I find myself in more often than I'd like, unfortunately, but one I'll take without complaint."

    "My name is Quirrel," the bug responded to Lara's introduction. "Just to get this out of the way, because everyone asks... Yes, I am a beetle and this is not just a costume. So, how did you end up taking a fall?"
     
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  7. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft Guest

    An explorer lives and dies by how well they prepare.’

    Lara was becoming more curious about the beetle by the minute; his most recent quote reminded her of something her late father might’ve once said. She still had a lot of unresolved feelings towards him, mainly since now she knew how right he’d been, and that he had to die alone and a laughing stock. She would be lying if she said she wasn’t frustrated at this turn of events – she needed to get back from wherever this was and make things right.

    She nodded at his question but said nothing more. Although his question had been rhetorical, it was clear it was something she did not want to talk about from the sudden tensness in her shoulders. “You come across people falling off cliffs often?” Lara instead replied, half-joking.

    She stood upright at his greeting, and managed to smile at his last comment. “You’re too realistic looking to be a costume,” the brunette pointed out, still trying to lighten the mood.

    How she had got here was a difficult question to think about, as she truly didn’t know. “I have no idea. As ridiculous at that seems. One minute, I was at home…and then, fighting to find balance.”
     
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  8. Quirrel

    Quirrel Hollow Knight

    Posts:
    558
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Explorer
    Location:
    Pandora Town
    Race:
    Beetle
    Age:
    Very old
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Directory:
    link
    She was a very experienced individual, it seemed. Nothing in specific gave that away, just something about Lara made him think that way. "Cliffs specifically? No," Quirrel responded, sounding slightly exasperated by the various incidents he was recalling. "But I seem to have a knack for finding people in... unfavorable situations. Though bad circumstances just as often seem to find me, I suppose."

    He let out a small chuckle at her response to his introduction. "Perhaps, but one can't ever underestimate an individual's ability to rationalize," he retorted. Literally every time he met someone new, every single time, they'd always ask him what he was. One of the few negatives of being taken from his world, really.

    Quirrel listened to her description of how she had gotten here in silence, processing the implication. Under his breath the bug muttered "Should have known it would be another one," before straightening up his posture a bit. It was an odd quirk in the beetle's fate that he couldn't seem to go a week without running into another new arrival. She just had seemed too calm, especially considering the circumstances, to be new. He had seen worse reactions to his insectoid appearance from some long-time residents of Pandora!

    Still, the fact that she wasn't being unreasonable right now should ease the challenge of enlightening her regarding what had brought her here. "I see," he began in an even tone. "I should have guessed. I assume you were grabbed by the black vines? Happens to everyone when they get taken here... which is to say, taken to Pandora." The bug reached into his bag for a moment, before pulling out a rolled up piece of parchment. He unrolled it and held it out so that Lara could have a look at the map written on it.

    "Not the best map in the world, but a proper cartographer would probably go mad trying to get one done correctly," Quirrel said in a more conversational tone before continuing his explanation. "To put it simply, Pandora is another world." Start off with the most broad statements, then he could get more specific when questions are inevitably asked. That was the strategy he preferred for informing new arrivals.
     
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  9. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft Guest

    The brunette could understand how Quirrel felt and the frustration from finding himself in these situations. When she’d been on Yamatai, it had done everything in its power to keep her from saving Sam and getting off said island. After everything, it was hard to remember a time when things were simple. Nothing ever had been, not since her mother’s death. Even though she hadn’t known her, the impact the death had left on her father…it played some factor into his own demise.

    She was glad to be able to find humour in this situation after those memories had coming flashing back at her. “I know what you mean,” she smiled, although it wasn’t as carefree as her previous one.

    Lara didn’t miss the beetle muttering under his breath in response to her frankly bizarre explanation. “…did you say another one?” She couldn’t not comment on it; had more people been taken like her?

    Her confusion was soon cryptically answered at the mention of ‘black vines.’ “What do you mean, ‘everyone?’” Was this just another Yamatai, pulling helpless people in? It was hard for the woman to keep her breathing steady and her vision clear. If it weren’t for Quirrel’s straightforward and business-like attitude, Lara feared she might’ve had a relapse there and then.

    And a map was always a welcome distraction.

    It wasn’t like any map of the world, though. The area appeared vast…but none of the places on it were familiar to her. There were no continents she could name, no capitals of note.

    “Pandora? As in Pandora’s Box?”
    Lara queried, noting a location called ‘Pandora Town’ on the North of the map.

    Her eyes searched the paper, before falling on a sketch that resembled rocks. “Am I to presume we are near here?” The woman’s finger pointed to the area between ‘Mt. Pompeii’ and ‘Morhall.’
     
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  10. Quirrel

    Quirrel Hollow Knight

    Posts:
    558
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Explorer
    Location:
    Pandora Town
    Race:
    Beetle
    Age:
    Very old
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Directory:
    link
    As expected, Quirrel's lackluster explanation had lead to several questions. This was a perfectly reasonable response, of course, considering how strange the situation was. The beetle would be a bit concerned if Lara just took this all at face value.

    "Alright, so to start with, there's a large number of individuals in this world," the bug began to clarify. "Every last one of those people had a similar experience when they came to this world. Black vines, tendrils, whatever you might want to call them... well, they grab on to them and drag them away. Next thing they know, they're somewhere random in this world." He decided not to mention that there were far worse ways to be introduced into the world than a simple fall. A not insignificant amount of people died soon after arrival due to unfortunate placement.

    Hopefully the map was adding some credibility to what he was saying. Not a common thing to carry around a faked map everywhere, after all. "That is where the name comes from," Quirrel confirmed. "Or so I've heard, the myth doesn't exist where I come from. Not sure how fitting the name is, but this world is definitely a box. Invisible unbreakable walls line the edges."

    Lara seemed accustomed to maps, seeing as she so quickly figured out where they were on the map. While it wasn't that hard to tell there was only one mountainous rocky region, that was still fast. "Correct," he responded while giving a small nod.
     
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  11. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft Guest

    “It’s a though some force is dragging them in…” Lara mused, an uncanny look of understanding dawning on her face. If Quirrel was perceptive enough, perhaps he’d see that this information was not unfamiliar to the woman. The brunette tried to keep calm and not reflect on the previous months’ of sleepless nights she’d had over Yamatai when her mind hadn’t been occupied. How many days had she stayed awake after it had happened? Just pouring over her father’s research and also trying to be there for Sam…

    “…I mean, the obvious force would be the tendrils, but something must trigger it.”
    Lara knew by now that whilst things were never always logical, there was an answer to be found somewhere.

    “You don’t have the story of Pandora’s Box?”
    She asked, surprised.

    If there were invisible walls, and Lara was inclined to believe Quirrel given how informative he was, she supposed air travel as a means of escape was out of the question. Again, flashbacks threatened to enter her mind, and she blinked them back.

    She was glad her assumption had been correct. “So…the nearest civilisation is Morhall, yes? Do you know how to get there?”
     
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  12. Quirrel

    Quirrel Hollow Knight

    Posts:
    558
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Explorer
    Location:
    Pandora Town
    Race:
    Beetle
    Age:
    Very old
    Alignment:
    Neutral Good
    Directory:
    link
    "Sounds familiar?" the beetle asked, sounding interested but not surprised. "From what I hear, it isn't necessarily the most novel concept in the multiverse. But Pandora does one thing better than all the other places people have compared it to from their own homes, and that would be keeping people in. No escape apparent yet, and they've been looking for at least seven years now."

    It was starting to seem like Lara might be some form of scholar, seeing as she immediately began thinking about causes for being brought to Pandora. An admirable attitude, to be certain, but one that had yet to bear fruit for any one else who bothered putting thought into the workings of Pandora. "If there is some sort of commonality between everyone brought here that could explain why they were brought here, it would have to be something incredibly subtle. People from all walks of life and all different species are brought here while doing all sorts of different things," Quirrel told her, just stating how impossible of a question it was. "Of course you're welcome to look into it if the matter interests you."

    Perhaps he hadn't made something clear, if Lara was surprised that he didn't have the same myths as her. "Apologies, I thought I mentioned the fact that people are brought here from entirely different worlds," the bug explained. "I, personally, am from a land where the only intelligent life that can be found are insects. No humans. With such a different background, it's no surprise mythology would develop in wildly different ways." Those cultural differences really fascinated Quirrel's scholarly side.

    Now, on to more important matters, she wanted a way up to Morhall. "It is the closest, yes," the beetle confirmed, looking up at the cliffs for a moment to get his bearings a tiny bit. "It was built in the cave systems of Mount Pompeii. That, of course, means one would have to navigate a bit up the mountain to get to an entrance. I've visited there several times, I should be able to help you get there." Now where was it? Though he was sharp, old age hadn't done his memory any favors. He tapped his weapon on the ground thoughtfully as he tried to recall.

    "I believe there is a path that leads there nearby," he said after a few moments. "You'd just need to circle around these cliffs for a little while to find it."