“Can you hear me now?”
‘Yes, Chip, I can hear you. Are you ready to continue?"
“Thanks, Siri. Guess I’ll just keep going from where we left off… I take it from the scattered pixels and faint whiff of smoke that something has happened to the video… again."
“Indeed. It would seem that the engineers in the New Navy Video MeSs department have created a rather kludgy contraption for editing and storing moving pictures. Perhaps you should have upgraded to that skunkworks team working with our SEALs… IconfigureIT?”
‘Thanks, Siri. As always, your hindsight is 20/20. Well, as the beginning of this video-log, diary, what-have-you is now electronic vapor, and, I’m sure, the salient details of it are most likely to be covered by my companions… (team-mates is a bit strong for us, right now, given that I’ve seen better coordination between 6-year olds chasing butterflies than CrIsis currently displays), I’ll cut to the chase. Or, rather, the lock-down. Everyone knows we met King Avramson, raised the Pyramid a notch or three, got mobbed with adulation, and were rewarded with artifacts and feasting… I feel sure that the others covered those bits…
Did they mention the interrogations? I begin to wonder at some of the methods employed by our group to divine the truth. Indeed I do. While I subdued the Alu assaulting me, and others were, in their various ways, dealing with their own midnight assassins, the stirrings of a conundrum were set into motion. Never mind that some of us *cough Cava cough seem to think that the ends justify the means. Or that we would, in fact, gain useful information regarding these servants of Charun… no, never mind the pleasantries exhibited that evening… let us talk about the confrontation. Within our group. A crisis within CrIsis. Gods.
Once young Gavin was disappeared by an Amulet of Anubis, claimed from one of the Alu by Cava, and thrust into his sleepy, weary, and innocent hands, yes, once that small feat had been accomplished, we (yes, even I participated in this abhorrent conversation) set about each other with blame, and a round-robin of assertions were made.
Have we learned nothing?
Karma, our centaurina (Centauress? Just what do you call a female centaur? It’s easy to know when it’s a female dog…) had communicated with her Lance, and had determined that the destination set for the teleporting Amulets was Çynopolis… yes, I said ‘communicated with her Lance’. Apparently it talks back to her, though I could not hear anything said. I desperately wanted to learn more of this… being? But time was against us, and Tyvernos seemed as interested as I… another mystery for me. Just how does he do what he does? The few spells I’ve seen him cast bear resemblance to mine, yet remain markedly different. Perhaps he is just better attuned to this realm. Whatever the reason, I intend to glean more info about his practice during our travels… something strikes me about how he casts magic, and how I might do the same, with practice.
Çynopolis. Yes, you heard that, too. Very astute, viewer… I mean reader. The City of the Dead. The final resting place of all high-priests of my faith. A city ruled by Anubis himself. And not a place one simply visits. No. Not at all. In fact, I’ve not heard of anyone returning from the gloomy halls and fabled crypts. Ever.
Well, until now, that is. But I get ahead of myself.
So, with all of CrIsis gathered around Cava, holding the Amulet that had so recently sent Gavin to the dark defiles of Cynopolis, did we spring into action? Leap to save our departed friend and valued team-mate? Say a prayer to what must surely be a departed soul, along with body?
We bicker. Fight. Cajole and brow-beat. Heated words between our peace-maker and (formerly) possessed. Blithe disregard of a team mate by one of our newest recruits. True enough, I played my role in this farce. Extended it well past the point of reason. Even though I begged, pleaded with CrIsis to let me go, alone, to rescue the boy. I called upon their reason… something I now find lacking utterly. I called upon their devotion to our greater cause. Again, I begin to wonder how committed they all are to such a grand goal. I felt sure that I could, if I acted promptly, go to Gavin and return with him before harm had a chance to befall him… yet still we mucked about, calling names and flushing with anger.
This is not the way. Decisive action had to be made, and with no consensus looming, I took action into my own hands. Took the Amulet into my own hand. I heard howling as I left that room, unsure if it truly was Cava, or the Beast who used him previously…
Into the City of the Dead. Into Cynopolis. Alone. To rescue a friend. A team mate. A helpless and likely sleeping boy…
Glorious! It would have been a fitting death. Fitting, had not the welcoming committee (ten strong!) succumbed to my soporific spell. Without waiting for more to arrive, and taking no time to truly appreciate my surroundings, I gathered Gavin into my arms just as his last captor, a dwarf, used his own amulet and disappeared. Taking one of the fallen gaolers Amulets, I transported both Gavin and myself back to our rooms. We were gone no more than a few minutes, yet when we returned, the disappearing dwarf was taken in hand, and no sooner did we come back than did Rell rejoin us, having used the dwarf’s Amulet to come for us in Cynopolis.
Yes, this confused even me. World-championship ping-pong has less back-and-forth. I’ve seen old tri-corder vids of it waiting for slops from the galley on the Ticonderoga, I kid-you-not.
Finally, reunited, CrIsis returned to bed, while I stay awake until all hours of the morning, recording the latest of our exploits. The remaining Amulets, having relinquished their last mojo, dissolved into wisps of silver-smoke, removing temptation from eager hands, and relics from our inventory of Dark Magics to devote to our church.
It grows light, and even I must sleep…
Until I wake, I remain
“Oh, good night Siri.”
Posted by Chip in the early morning hours of August 9th, PA 109.
Çynopolis picture by IO9.