Wednesday, March 30, 2011

9 Days to go: The Rescue

Who says the House Always Wins?

9 Days to go still, at least for a few more hours. We lost most of the day, but we rescued Kay. I’ll take it.
When taking on an abomination to man and nature, one must prepare very carefully. All that time I’ve been hinting about making preparations and having a cunning plan? All of it finally came into play today.

We found the house where they were keeping Kay. It had to be the right house, it was like a dimensional nexus of hell in a torn up neighborhood. Once you stop looking for signs of where something should be, and start looking for signs where there’s a distinct lack of where they should be, it gets a lot easier to spot this thing. The fact that the thing was in there waiting for us just made it all that much scarier. But I had a plan for that. Oh the plan I had for that.

Step one: pull out all the preparations done for Ritual One. I started with a circle of chalk, pouring on a lovely mixture as I did. The mixture was in a small vial, and was made of a variety of burnt objects made into ashes, including leaves from the Pine Barrens. The objective: to piss off the Jersey Devil, that’s right, THE Jersey Devil, and get him to come running our way. After dancing around the circle a bit, I knew we had his attention. Then I started throwing the other circle together. I want you all to understand the level of panic involved here. Being bisected by an ancient evil indigenous to New Jersey was NOT part of the plan.

Step Two: Slingshot. That’s right, the entire ritual for step two was basically one big banishing circle, designed to toss the Jersey Devil where I wanted. Which happened to be right in that house. Slenderdouche knew we were coming. Now it was time to get everything good and messy. When throwing two ancient and powerful evils in the same room together, they are NOT guaranteed to start fighting. But I had chosen my ancient and powerful evil well, the Jersey Devil is NOT known for subtlety. Having to put up with another ancient and terrible evil on his stomping grounds was not something he was ready to do. Entire armies had avoided the Pine Barrens during the 2002-2004 conflict in fear of getting the Jersey Devil mad. The fact is, I may have just earned the eternal enmity of a fucking eternal fear beast. I just hope to god it never finds out who I am and what I did.

As the fighting started, we made our way to the house. I deal in other dimensions for a living, projecting to them, sensing them, generally messing them up in my favor. It wasn’t a big house, and the key was to find a point of entry that would let me skip the idiocy and get straight to where Kay was.

I found it by a first floor window, and I could feel two presences through it. I normally can’t do that with ordinary people, only entities as a rule. Fortunately, they were in a dimension where the rules did not work normally. The rules I understand when I project applied. I took a moment to steady myself. I’d never actually leapt into another world with my physical body before. It could get bad. But I still sensed those two presences on the other side. One was hurting, injured, bent and beaten, but not broken. The other was a ten ton palooka with a whole lot of muscle and…I couldn’t understand it when I spotted the path to them. It didn’t make any sense to me. One way or the other, one of them was probably Kay. We had work to do.

I took off my coat, and used it to cover my face, neck, and hands. Then I leapt in, shattering the glass, and Ryuu followed close behind. Quick tip for anyone considering leaping through a window: always cover your vital points with cloth ESPECIALLY the neck and face.

We landed in the basement, and I could see Ten-Ton Palooka full on. Kay stabbed his arm, and I held my bokken forward in a ready stance, charging. When I look at people, I see aspects of them. I can feel how their emotions change, and I can “feel” their presence. I generally know at first glance whether or not I’m going to like somebody, and I can generally tell you why I won’t. Ten-Ton Palooka was a real piece of work, and we would never, ever be friends.

There are vines that grow on vast, mighty trees, and sometime they grow so high and so tight that they constrict that tree to the point of collapse. Before the tree collapses, the vines get a magnificent height advantage to gain the power of the sun. When the tree comes crashing down, the vines still find use of it, drawing power from the sun from the height of the fallen tree. It is never as good as when the tree was alive, but it is still a source of food. But the tree I was looking at here had been an ugly, hateful, gnarled thing even before the black vines had crawled up its length. It had not so much come crashing down so much it had leaned hard, its many sickly branches acting as a support that kept it from being fully uprooted even as it was torn to pieces by the vines. Just enough of its roots were in the ground that it could continue to survive. It could flow in the wind and grow leaves, and make the vines even stronger by giving them a better position in the sun for a long, long time. It would never fully collapse, always being supremely useful to the vines.

I wondered if this was what Morningstar was like. This hateful, horrible, brilliant proxy I saw. And I was charging him while he had a steel knife with my wooden sword. Exactly my kind of odds, considering I could tell at a glance that he had no idea how to hold a knife properly. If I was a little more confident in my year of martial arts training, I’d make him stab himself while he was using that grip. Or maybe pull the knife out of his hand and throw it away. Instead, I whacked his hand good and hard with the bokken, and the knife went flying. He was good and unarmed, and I was going to commence with the beating now.

Of course, then Palooka stepped forward and caught my next swing with both hands. You’d never try that against a real sword, but hey, wood. It’s a disadvantage. I was surprised he was using that arm so well after Kay stabbed him. That was okay though, because this was where Aikido came in. There’s a lovely disarm you can perform on someone holding a sword or a bat at this distance, and I tore the bokken out of his hands. That’s about when he punched me in the face. Just like in training, I breathed out fast and tilted my head a bit so he wouldn’t get me at a good angle and the force would be dissipated in my favor. I still stumbled backwards, hitting his table full of torture implements. They scattered against the wall, and I ended up dropping my Bokken. Look, I’ve only been doing this for a year, and Palooka had plenty of muscle to back his punches. I blinked, grimacing as he started toward me. My face and back were going to have a nice bruise in the morning. I had a pile of sharp, bloody tools behind me, but I wasn’t going to take one. I don’t know if I’ve actually killed anyone before, don’t ask me how I don’t know, I’ll explain later. The point being, I wasn’t going to potentially start killing people now, even if it would have made this so much quicker.

And then Palooka came in, and I was done messing around. I took my Karate front-stance. There’s a reason Japanese Karate has spread far and wide: it is a strong, hard style that will ruin any idiot’s day. Karate has no blocks: everything you do in Karate involves striking your enemy. EVERYTHING.

He came in with another punch to my face, I brought my left arm around with a twist for maximum torque, striking his lower arm with the area between my fist and my elbow with a practiced motion.  He pulled back his arm, grimacing. He would not be using that arm for a little while. Then I brought my right hand around in a heavy strike, twisting it into a fist at the very end and tensing at just the right moment like I had a billion other times in training. I’m not a strong guy, but the way his eyes bulged out informed me that I had spent that year of training well. Palooka brought his leg up for a kick, and it was a horrible, horrible kick. You see, real fighters train to have a “chambered” position for their kicks. You step into the “Chamber”, you kick, and then you go back into the chamber, so that you can either kick again or step somewhere else in perfect balance and control. He was just bringing his leg up like a moron. Lord knows it had no power behind it, and once again, Karate had a solution to horrible kicks like that. I brought that lovely portion of my hand between my wrist and my palm down HARD on his knee. I didn’t break anything, but I knew he wouldn’t be using that leg very well. So he had two arms that were injured, and a knee that was killing him. I was feeling pretty good about myself at that point.

Then of course, Palooka performed a desperate grab with both arms. I punched him in the gut, but he just kept coming. How the hell did he do that??? I struggled, kicking backwards as he lifted me up, catching my foot on the table covered with knives. I got stable on that table, and he had this really surprised look on his face as he found he wasn’t slamming my body on the table anymore. My body worked into that lovely Crane Stance where you’re hopping on that one foot, and I was grinning like a madman. My hands shaped themselves into crane-beaks, and I poked his eye and throat. Palooka stumbled backward, clutching his eye, his breathing completely out of whack from the throat strike, and I was back in business. Crane Kung Fu ladies and gentlemen, accept no substitutions.

I leapt off the table at him, and then I got another wakeup call as he managed to work his arms enough to catch me. He slammed me onto the ground, and I exhaled hard as he did. I could feel it all along my back, but exhaling at the right time had reduced the damage. Don’t ask me to explain the science behind exhaling as you get hit, but yes, it DOES reduce the damage you take. I rolled to the side as he tried to stomp on me, and hey! There was my bokken!

I got up as he charged forward and rammed the bokken’s blade into his groin. He doubled over, and I brought the bokken up for cut under his jaw. He toppled over, and I knew this was done. He wasn’t getting back up after that. He’d be out for a while.

I turned to see how Ryuu and Kay were doing, and stumbled forward a little. I used to be horrible in a fight, now I’m mediocre. Palooka was complete shit against someone who knew what he was doing, but goddamn! He just kept getting back up! He had a stabbed arm, a Karate-struck arm, a busted leg, and he was STILL throwing me around.

Ryuu gave me this look, and I pulled myself upright. I’ve got a nice ice-pack on my back in the present, and a lovely bruise on my face. I’ve never been able to say to someone after a fight “you should have seen the other guy.” Now I can. At the time though, she was probably thinking, “Oh fuck, is he okay?”

Of course I was okay, damn it. And that’s when I saw it. The entire house shifted and twisted as the Jersey Devil and SlenderDouche did battle above us.

I said, “Oh fuck me sideways, the maze shifted.”

And then I linked arms with Ryuu and Kay. I could perceive the dimensions around us just fine, but I wasn’t letting either of them get more than an arms length away. If the dimensions suddenly shifted, we could end up being separated in the house of the damned and never find each other again. We had to get the hell out, and get out fast.

I motioned to Ryuu where we needed to walk as we went. Up the basement stairs, ended up in a bathroom. Out the bathroom, and landed in a hallway. We started along the hallway, and I stopped us. There they were, just through the next hallway. When two shapechanging, extra-dimensional entities fight, they warp and twist their home planes in an attempt to kill the other in a crazy game that’s a combination of Go, Shogi, and Bare Knuckle Brawling. I pushed us backwards as the dimensions shifted in front of us, and we were in the kitchen. This was getting bad, Ryuu was looking at the doors as though there was something there during all this. I knew there wasn’t anything there, just illusions and glamour and all kinds of other weird magical horsecrap. I started us toward a side-door, and I was pretty sure I could see an exit in my mind’s eye.

Bam. We were on the third floor. I could feel the dimensions twisting more fiercely, and I knew: there was a way out. We had to leap out the third floor window. Our window for escape was closing fast, and we had no time to mess around. I pulled everyone close to me, and we crashed through it.

I could feel the world twist around us, and I reached out with my arms for our reality. Did I catch hold of it? I honestly don’t know. The next thing I knew, it was around seven at night, it was getting dark fast, and me and Ryuu were trying to put Kay in the car as carefully as possible.

And now we’re drinking coffee at the hospital, and I’m keeping my eyes open. This whole place stinks, and it’s not just the Janitor who’s out of place. I do not like our odds. I just have to hope they’re only here to watch us.


  1. Tell me something. When you know I am in the city, with a large group of Proxies, hunting for you, While you are WOUNDED. Why do you feel the need to inform us you are at a Hospital?

  2. Wow. Thats... Damn. Good job. I'm glad to hear you got Kay and you survived it all. Jersey Devil's real? Good to know. Never ever going to Jersey.
    I hope you recover soon. :)

  3. @Morningstar: Come and get me kiddo. ~_^

    @Hyocereus: Thank you. :D

  4. I would love to. But I cannot. So sorry.

  5. Really Lucy? Too bad. Would have been fun. >:)

  6. I know. It does sadden me. But we need you alive for now, since plan A failed. But if it makes you feel any better... I am within a mile of you right now. We could play Hide & Seek if you wanted.

  7. Okay. Lucy, It's not that I don't enjoy our banter. It's fun bantering with you, especially when my life is on the line! But at the way we go, we end up going for twenty odd posts in one discussion, and nobody can get a word in edgewise.

    Lets let everyone else talk a bit, eh?

  8. Brilliant. That's all I'll say.

  9. I love you guys. I'm a bit loopy right now. But I love you. Good job. Congratulations.

  10. summoned.....a devil?

    god, its worse than I thought.

  11. ...nice rescue.

    I'm not really sure what else to say besides dear God, Ryuu was so different back in the day.

    Oh. And meditating in the back of a moving car must be a migraine in the making. Can't imagine what pulling a bait and switch on the Jersey Devil must have been like in comparison...