Written by Tanith
Shifting tendrils of mist flickered across the form of the young man trudging through the ethereal landscape. He didn't know how long he had been walking, nor from whence he'd come from, nor where he was going. His thoughts felt detached, as elusive as the ghostly puffs of fog around him. Mechanically, he followed a sparsely grassed path -- the edge of a garden path? -- forward, forward...
Somewhere else... or perhaps not quite somewhere else at all... another young man moved through a similar landscape, but one of shifting sand. His darkly tanned skin fit well into the blurry desert background, but his mind was just as detached and non-perceiving as the previous fellow's.
He had been walking for a long time now, through much that he did not think of or recall. All that registered in this dreamy land was the present, as shifting and unstable as the "present" was relative to it's captive audience.
Then, the young man stopped walking. Brows furrowing, he stared at the large stony fountain that had seemingly appeared from nowhere before him. His foggy mind tried to decipher what his senses were telling him. Images and sensations skittered across his mind, braely registering before disappearing into the depths of forgotten memory.
A stream of water... a stone - carved maiden... a green growing garden... words?... carved upon the fount... non-registering to the faculties of language... sands... sands...
The thoughts faded before he could grasp their full presence, leaving behind only a vague sense of confusion and thirst. Slowly, he dipped his head to the survace of the fountain pool. When he raised his head, mild surprise flash across his mind as he took in the sight of another young man just raising his own head from the fountain.
I know you...
Friend? Comrade? ...From somewhere far? - near? - from here...
A memory? Memories. Clawing their way from the mired blankness of their crypt.
Urgency... A feeling of duty... We are needed...
You should not be here
Two heads turned to regard the third person who had just appeared amongst them, unsurprised as they took in the starkly white form before them. Mortal eyes tumbled into orbs of endless starry blackness. A pale hand leisurely traveled in an arc through the departing mists.
Sand. Shifting, flowing, blinding. When they died down, only one figure remained in the ephemeral landscape.
Chalk white robes shifted, rustling soundlessly against an emerald gem that hung from the pale alabaster neck. Cool eyes of endless stars mused appraisingly at the mainden-figure caved atop the fountain, stopping at the single line of text engraved into the water jar in one of her hands.
Written by Chuckg
The Grand Vizier blinked, and stared bemusedly at his empty hand. Around him, his small and cramped quarters on the Dominion ship continued on as they had always been.
The Ring... where is the Ring? Where is that lackey Yeoman? What has happened to my triumph?, he wondered dazedly.
A stinging sensation in his hand caused him to look down. In his right hand lay an ancient runesword, an artifact of power. On his left thumb was a scratch, where he had accidentally drawn his own blood while testing the edge.
This blade... it is a weapon of power... but not Tyrfing of old. What is it? Why are... my thoughts, they are... muddled? What could blind my wits so?
Locke blinked in dawning realization, and horror. A small moan of utter disappointment escaped my lips.
Of course. The Sword of Stealth. Sightblinder, one of the Twelve. That blade which causes all those who gaze upon its wielder to see either their greatest desire, or their deepest fear. And I... I desired -- to gain power, ultimate power with which to rival even the Overlord's. To have at least one of the Inner Circle who was promoted over my head to witness my triumph and gape in awe at my prowess. To demonstrate my superior knowledge of mythology. I even managed to work a runesword into the dream. And... and above all else, to have the blame for that accursed debacle at Khazan to be someone's, *anyone's*, fault other than mine.
A single tear trickled down Locke's cheek.
But instead, all I had was an illusion. When the Overlord made me turn my own probability powers against myself, a lingering effect of that curse made me gash my hand upon drawing my Sword. And thus, instead of having the Sword make my sight keener, it blinded me. Not wielder, but victim was I..
A snarl of rage escaped Locke's lips.
There is no crueler fate than to have one's greatest desire in one's hands, to taste the victory one has longed for for all of time... and then to have it dashed at one's feet as having never been real. No curse could be greater than this, and thus my own bad luck power's charge upon myself is fulfilled. The Overlord's binding on me is broken.
Locke began to pace up and down the cabin.
And I still have my ace in the hole, that which let me climb up the ranks so much -- Sightblinder, the ultimate tool for a manipulator and deceiver. With it, none can spy upon my actions. With it, all who look upon me without Watcher's eyes will see only that which is not the truth. I still have some small measure of power... and my knowledge... and my wits... and secondmost precious of all, a shield to hide my activities from the gaze of both my enemies and my "friends".
Locke stopped, and smiled.
And most precious of all -- I am beneath all of their notice.
"For the first time in ages, I am the master of my fate again. I, and I alone, shall choose which path I follow."
The once and former Vizier then frowned in minor puzzlement.
"As soon as I determine which path that should be..."
Written by Tanith
Slowly, painfully, Ramz pulled himself into consciousness. He felt like he'd been hit with a planet-buster.
"Uh... anyone get the number of the ship that rammed into my head?" The groggy voice came from behind him, revealing that he was not the only one in such conditions.
Slowly, the bridge crew of the DFA pulled themselves to their feet. The bridge itself was dark, as if power was down all over the ship. As the officers scrambled to fix whatever was wrong, KK and Ramz conferred.
"Ugh. You remember what happened, dude?" KK gingerly put a hand to his temples. "I jus' remember that big ol' rip in space..."
"Didn' we tried to 'port the ship out?" Ramz frowned. His ears were still ringing. "We must've made it. We're still alive..."
After a few hours, emergency power had been restored to the ship, and the on board engineers were frantically trying to get everything else online. An officer approached the two commanders.
"Sir, we have some preliminary sensor readings and databank recordings."
KK nodded, then decided that wasn't a good idea as vertigo hit him again. "Yeah? What happened during 'port?"
The officer handed over a small datapad. "The Void affected our d-drive. Instead of an ordered port, it sent us off in a totally random direction. With our sensors mostly non-functional, we have no idea where we are right now."
"We're sittin' ducks here," murmured Ramz. "Any sign of Dominion ships?"
The officer shook his head. "No sir. We figure if being plopped down here by the Void didn't set off sensors over parsecs away, we must've landed in a non-Dominion controlled and pretty low tech universe... or maybe just a lucky one."
"Damage report?" Asked Kirspy Kreme as he looked around the damage on the bridge.
"Fairly extensive sir," was the reply. "Our FTL and sensors will be online any minute now. The shields and weapons systems will take a few hours at the most to set up. But the D-drive and some other systems were damaged very heavily. We're not sure about the time on that yet."
Nodding absently to dismiss the officer, Ramz sighed and looked over at KK ruefully. "This sucks. We'll never catch up to the rest of 'em. We don't even know where we are!"
KK could only nod in agreement.
Written by Krispy Kreme
Me: Nice to see you're handling the situation so calmly.
*KrispyKreme squints his eyes, peering into the distance, past the wreckage*
Me: Oh my god............ What the hell is that?!
*Ramz turns around in surprise, energy flaring in anticipation*
*but good ol' KK reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a couple of Hostess Apple Pies*
Ramz: I don't see anything, man. What did....... *turns his head as he hears the slight tear of paper* HEY! You said you didn't have anymore of those!
KK: Uh....... *hides the pies behind his back* Anymore of what?
KK: I think you hit your head dude. I don't see any pies.
Ramz: You liar, they behind your back.
KK: I have no idea what you're talking about
Ramz: Ahhhhh! *starts to dive at KK*