1964-07-11 - King's Men 6: Dead of Winter
Summary: The Inhumans find more about their past slipping through Thule's depths.
Related: [http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/plot:kingsmen]
Theme Song: None
crystal karnak nexus ianos 

The lyrical harmonics still radiate in the air from the harmonics resonancer purring away in the background. Its song still plays on the air, and as air moves through the valves and pipes, the shapes of long-ago Inhumans in their very differently styled robes and hairstyles replay the nuanced message to their many times removed descendants. The silhouettes are projected and given form through sound. The crystals and the metallic interface hum away, their energy spun along the finely spun filaments and other apparati buried into the depths of the glacier.

It's cold here, though not entirely uncomfortable for those in proper clothes and given a dose of human resilience. Further harmonies form purring intersections that Nexus can feel moving through a network of objects that were there all before, but roused from dormancy.

The machine blocks the chamber out. There's no way around it. However, the tunnel they descended heads back up.

"Other machines are waking up now that we have fixed the resonancer." notes Nexus, looking around with his eyes and their gently glowing circuits. "We should explore: there may be something here to help us— help us in our quest or just help our people in general.Some have taken refuge to the 'sea island', and some have taken refuge in the 'mountains where winter lies heavy' — in this time period, would not the former be Attilan? So the Grey Book may be 'mountains where winter lies heavy' — though that sounds like where Attilan is *now*. Augh, I did not pay enough attention to distant history."

Karnak looks over towards Nexus, and nods slightly, "Well, the quest is the primary concern, but anything found to assist our people is welcome." She considers, then looks up the tunnel from where they came, seeing if that's any different now that things are restored.

"This is what happens when you relocate your city rather than deal with the possibility of the outside world…existing," Crystal murmurs with a faint grimace, head tilting as she watches the recording one more time. "You lose things." She steps back from the projection, looking up the pathway where they came. "Well. Whatever this place is, we'd best at least make sure the doors are locked. I can't imagine what the locals would think if they wandered in here because we fixed this and it made all the doors open."

Concentrating a moment, Nexus reaches out, feeling those machines that come alive and making a mental map based on what he can connect to. He leads up the tunnel, "The humans knew nothing but war, and us having turned against the Kree, we rejected war. Taking refuge instead of domination and taming of the native tribes seems a reasonable choice to me." He heads up the tunnel, his step steady and maybe a little on the quick side. He might not have a perfect map of the place but surely he has some idea of what way lies interesting things. Once they're near to the entrance he heads down a side passage to head towards the only real chamber they can go for now. "But we should make sure whatever is here is secured." THat's him agreeing with Crystal, right? Right. Locked and secured mean absolutely the same thing!

The machine thrums and rumbles with its purpose. Whatever interior contents of gears, tubes, and more all work in synergy to produce that assuring voice of a man repeating his promise to future generations: "The leaders of our people are entrusted with our histories, but we have sworn to keep their words safe."

Ardala the Sage once more walks through open space, holding her heavy book in both hands to her chest. The other man bearing a scroll ventures away to join the opposite shadows.

Karnak actually snorts once at Nexus' statement, but simply says, "We should endeavor to do that, yes." She passes a look to Crystal, then she steps lightly behind Nexus, keeping an eye open for side passages. Or any sort of unpleasant surprises. Since dealing with unpleasant surprises is really what her job boils down to.

Well, and punching Maximus. Satisfaction is high.

Nexus trudges up a long, gentle incline to the point where they entered, and the slope continues ascending through the glacial blue walls. Every now and then, chunks of machinery emerge in smooth-sided glory. Pipes of some kind bend along organic planes, stippled by bracketing metallic lines conveying energy in sonic and plasmic form into other areas. Beside that display of retro-futuristic excellence, there are entirely unremarkable elements of destruction. Shattered, humble ceramics half-buried by the creep of ice lie on the floor. Scattered sprays of pale grey or white shapes emerge from the ground or in forgotten niches. Nooks all along the uneven pathway contain different things; heavily corroded metal objects that crumble into dust with a touch, many of them difficult to identify. Some aren't, they look like Attilan medical equipment.

'Rock' starts to emerge just before the rounded quartz curves in to a doorway bare of ice. There stands a tall portal marked by a pair of leaves unlike anything that grows this far north in Scotland. The corridor continues north and swings around, coming to another door marked by the same but more heavily damaged by scratched ice.

Crystal runs a hand along the wall as she walks, letting her senses sink into the stone and the ice around them. "At least it's clean here," she murmurs, taking a deep breath and letting it out on a slow exhale, grateful. "But why leave this behind?" she muses. "What reason would they have had to not take things with them?"

As they come to the door, Nexus tilts his head, and reaches out with his mind to trigger the mechanism to open it. It slides open. Because, like, other people press buttons. Pff. "The Core said this facility was outside the city itself: it could be the installation was not readily moved…" he pauses, "Though I admit that saying a city is 'readily moved' has certain implications, but this facility could have been built right into the island."

Karnak nods slightly, "Even if a city can be moved readily, certain infrastructure could be left behind. And if something was intended to be secret, then leaving it behind in a safe place would not be unwise." She glances over at Crystal, "After all, it seems to have been kept safe so far, right?" She actually is being somewhat social, perhaps the younger Inhuman's enthusiasm was a little infectious, or Karnak might just be in a better mood, such as it is.

Within lies a large chamber and its ambient lighting from the pallid sunlight trying to penetrate the ice gains additional. Additional rings of light track along the ceiling, shot through a network of intersecting beams directed off inlaid mirrors to radiate down. All the more impressive because those shadows lend motion to the still, carved limbs and arched bodies to the point of lifelike relief. The Inhuman explorers may well wonder if they've interrupted an operating theatre, albeit one of the more violent examples.

All around the chamber, a processional frieze displays a merging of art and function in shocking glory. Those who step within become part of the drama and the torment exposed in sharp, harsh relief. Faded hints of paint lend even more dynamic, lifelike detail to the excellence of the sculptors. Action, emotion, and movement pour through the alien humanoids engaging the smaller, slighter humans. The tale begins to the right of the door, the worked bluestone revealing a scene beautiful in its horror.

On these chipped tableaux, large humanoids loom over humans held to strange, oblong tables. Placed front and center, some kind of apparatus stalks over the prostrate figure like a distended bone scorpion, injecting thin protrusions deep into the body. For all the stylised, almost Hellenistic polish of the figures, no amount of beauty can disguise the pain contorting the woman's face or visible ribs on her rigid figure. Faded streaks of rusty paint mark blood and the open howl of her mouth. Beyond her lie others in various states of extremis, arching rigid against the constraining metal bands in a pallid net added to the stone so long ago the anchor points are rusted. Discarded bodies lie in a heap of the forgotten, sculpted hands reaching out in futility while the Kree emerges from the panel, higher and taller, confronting the viewer with a pitiless stare through time.

"Kree," Crystal says softly, lips a thin line as she looks over the images. "A better reason to have stayed hidden than humanity," she admits, stepping further into the chamber to take a closer look at the machines doing the work. "Although perhaps not so different from humanity either. When we broke into that facility where they were holding the mutants, it didn't look so different from this."

Nexus' eyes narrow as he takes in the sight of the displays, and he frowns. He looks angry. Its not a burning anger, more a cold one. "I can not imagine the arrogance that a being must have to steal a people and do this to them against their will. It is true, we are great for what we are, but we are great because of what we have done with what was done to us, and not because what they did to us." He takes a low breath and shakes his head, "I suppose this room is so that we never forget." He reaches out, seeking if there is any technology of interest or operating use nearby.

Karnak snorts a bit, "Inhumans, humans, mutants, Kree… there is little difference between their proclivities in the end. All species have the same sins in their past, it's part of evolution. True growth reveals itself in whether you bury it, or remember it as an example of what not to follow." She walks along the room, then tilts her head, weaving a curious path to where she finds something, "A drain system, hidden away. I wonder why."

Then she suddenly kicks down, looking to shatter the tiles covering the drain to see what lays hidden beneath.

The tiles weren't made to withstand the likes of the Shatterer doing her shattering act. Nor would they stand up to Gorgon. No doubt if he were about, he'd have one leg stuck down a transit tube and growl it was a Kree trap waiting to be sprung.

The broken tiles fly into the air, thin ceramic no match for a good punch. What's released is a dark shaft about the width of a bread loaf. Metal glitters from under a few pieces of old pottery and frozen rime.

"I'm just grateful they didn't find us," Crystal murmurs, throwing up a hand to shield her face when Karnak goes punching things. "I don't suppose we could be lucky enough that there's a drain system here because they just needed to drain water," she sighs, giving the images another speculative look as an unsettled expression starts across her features. "We left this behind. What if we left it because it wasn't ours? What if we left it because it was Kree? What if…" She looks around them, gulping. "I would imagine those machines left a good deal of blood."

"You suspect this is not for us to remember, but for *them* to memorialize what they did to us?" Nexus frowns and shakes his head at the very thought. He steps over towards Karnak, eyeing the drain for a moment, and then shaking his head, "If this was theirs it would explain much of why we left it. It gives me the chills." He heads over towards the far door, uncomfortable with this … experimental room, and he commands it open and sends his senses beyond, "There's a larger central chamber ahead, and multiple smaller chambers around it. We should move on."

Karnak hrms, "I suspect this is the equivalent of a scientific log. They were recording their results. Assuming, of course, that this was done by the Kree." She sees a metallic glint down in the drain, "There's something down there. Let's see…" She reaches down carefully into the drain, tilting her head as she tries to gingerly retrieve whatever is down there.

"Why shouldn't they?" Crystal looks over the images in a new light. "We were a great scientific achievement for them. And humanity was barely even human. It would have meant nothing to them how many people suffered through their experiments if they achieved their ends." She crosses her arms over herself, rubbing at her upper arms as she watches Karnak. "Be careful, Karnak." Not that the Shatterer wouldn't be, but…

But there's nothing like a razor-sharp metal spike intended to live in someone's ribcage for a poking hazard.

Nexus' circuits remain alight, "The outer walls… they are using sound as an energy source. An energy grid. It is as if this entire facility was encased in a chamber and it is keeping the sonic energy within. If I can study the technology… especially where this is being focused. I suspect the central chamber is where we should go first." And both disturbed and not finding anything of interest to him here, he moves into the hall beyond, walking up until he reaches the first intersection, and then he reaches out to see if he can find any information from the machines.

Karnak retrieves the object… and it's that scorpion-tail looking metallic probe. She holds it, then nods, "This might be interesting to study, to see if we can determine its purpose." With that, she follows along with Nexus, continuing to study the corridors they walk through as she continues to look wary.

Crystal gives Karnak a long look, then sighs, following the others out of the room with a last look over her shoulder at the horrible images. "Sound as energy," she muses. "If we could adapt that, Black Bolt would power…anything."

Nexus points along the right hallway, "There is a chamber that way that has multiple ports similar to what was in the resonance chamber— and along the way is the larger chamber that has some as well." Pointing the other hall, "That way has one chamber with them, and connects to the large central chamber" He nods to left, "I suggest we go that way, check out the first room, then return to the large chamber, then the chamber beyond it— then we can loop back to here. A circuit." He nods to Crystal, "It has… interesting potential. If it can be safely harnessed." And unless anyone overrides him, he leads the way down corridor A towards chamber 4.

On the way to the southern chambers, a long hallway shows more signs of abandonment rather in haste. There are further displays of violence: in the ice itself, a body stares out at them, the skin long since leathery and mummified, the face contorted into a slack gape of death. There are metal shards and glass filaments littered here and there among preserved, fragile cloth.

These panels provide a procession from hip height to the ceiling, an orgy of action caught by viewers in the high seats looking down at the stadium floor. Yet no stadium resembles anything like like this. Exclusively stained in shades of dun brown, burnt orange, and forest green, the paint survives better on the pale granite and marble figures than in the previous chamber. They slither down the hallway, marked by streaks of colour that accentuates those features that clearly mark them as increasingly less human.

A strange arena of some kind features flat discs arranged at different levels. Combatants wielding futuristic hammers, double-ended and alien, and metal 'spears' polished at harsh angles point their weapons at one another. The humans wear simple tunics and sport a few distinctly unnatural features: one has no eyes, another has elongated legs and arms with a discernible hunch, and another a crest. At the bottom of the panel lies a dead body hunched over, death wounds carved directly into his muscular chest and scorched onto his brawny arm.

Karnak considers, "It appears that we are witnessing the beginning of Inhumans as a species. Fascinating." She looks at the panels and their displays with a clinical interest, not pausing very long as she walks with the group down the corridor. Her own thoughts are hard to read, as always, but she looks more curious than anything else.

Crystal eyes the images as she walks, jaw setting against a low-burning rage. "If they could only see us now," she murmurs. "I can't decide if they'd be proud of themselves or if they'd finally realize what a mistake they'd made, making weapons that were much too powerful for them to control."

|ROLL| Crystal +rolls 1d20 for: 5

The background hum rises in spontaneous pitch, a chorus discharged in a pulse…

"A machine is coming alive." Nexus points at the energy shell, "I expect a message, or… something. Be cautious. Karnak?" He pauses, "I don't mean shatter anything now, though." He pauses, then adds, "I wonder if someone who engineers weapons is capable of the self-reflection to regret. But perhaps they were taught to."

A categorically loud wail rumbles through the hallway in a wash of sound that nearly has a presence. The waves are irregular and focused in narrow cones from some source near the southern door, rebounding and colliding in a fashion to take fullest advantage of overlap. For Karnak, that at least means an opportunity to avoid being momentarily deafened…

|ROLL| Nexus +rolls 1d20 for: 14

Crystal bites back a cry at the sudden sound in the hallway, one that turns to surprise at something she sees ahead of them, gaze widening. With hardly a pause, she thrusts out one hand, throwing a sudden gale of wind down the tunnel ahead of them, strong enough to send most men tumbling from their feet.

The door to the fourth room obligingly opens to the gust of wind unleashed by Crystal.

Karnak quickly ducks behind the door, avoiding the worst of the sonic waves. She glances at Crystal and her eyes harden as the fellow Royal takes the worst of the attack. She tilts her head, as if studying frequencies and amplitudes, analyzing what she can hear…

And then, when the door is blown open by the wind, Karnak moves to the doorway, drawing out the probe she retrieved from the earlier room and throwing it in a smooth motion towards the source of the sonic waves, seeing the weak spot as she sees them in everything.

Nexus was expecting something else entirely; he thought there'd be another message. Loud, sure, but not that. He ducks away and manages to avoid the worst of it, but he shouts out, "That was not what I expected!" But fortunately, Crystal has this.

Merrily the melody rolls on and on, chaotic but fascinating surely for someone who likes to hear the ocean's roar. For Karnak and Nexus, at least, the rolling breakers are a familiar enough noise.

The tale continues in two separate halves in a rectangular room, #4.

A miserable procession wraps around the western wall in marble. They are somewhere in high mountains given the distant peaks at the top. Children chained by stiff collars featuring spikes pointed inward march at the head. Divided into five ranks, none is old enough to wear a beard. Those closest to the front resemble the most human, and their features mold and melt like wax figures shaped by an artist. Some stoop like animals and others are scarcely human at all, dragging great claws and exoskeletons warped by the torments of their making. Terrigenesis, and its very dark side, are on full display. Behind them are the primitive, contorted beasts of horrific design when genetics run amok, ferocious, hideous things howling and snarling at the frightened men and women among their lot. From the way they are chained, they look like sacrifices. Increasingly horrific monstrosities overtake those feeble, small figures cowering and trembling.

On the eastern wall, the self-contained scene depicts a sacrifice en masse. High, soaring cliffs feature stone slabs held up in a great circle. The rank and file of Kree in their uniforms and stiff helms are arranged behind them, contained within the ring. Each slab has a body nailed to it in a form of crucifixion. Up close, the men and women appear within the slabs themselves. Symbols in different languages are carved into their chests.

"Karnak, wait!" Crystal exclaims, rushing forward past her cousin as flames come to light within her hands, her jaw set and features grim for combat. Just what she thinks she's going to fight, though, may be less than clear to the others…Until she skids to a stop, flames flickering out as her brows furrow. "I…" Sheepish, she winces. "So, apparently there are…other images these things can play back. Like in the resonance chamber."

Karnak rises slowly, stepping to the side, "Apparently so. Are you alright, Crystal?" Her voice actually reflects concern, which normally doesn't happen as she regards the other woman. Then she nods, and frowns a bit, "Kree works." She says that with no small amount of disdain. "What Maximus admires so much."

As Nexus takes in the children, children! Undergoing terrigenesis and all its horrible effects, "They didn't even know themselves the effects the mists would bring." He blinks at Karnak, "Maximus admires the Kree?!" He hadn't heard that little bit of one

A flicker of movement and the sonic images once more crackle to life. A middle-aged man stands in the middle of the room, seen in the resonance chamber. His is an expression prematurely aged, weathered cares grooved into his face. Greying hair is held back from his face by doubled metal bands, and there are blue-woad tattoos composed of exceptionally small glyphs around the corners of his eyes. Finer circuits vanish under his grey robe. "You see our shame, children." He stares at them entering the blown-open door with sad, haunted eyes. "The Kree Empire separated children from parents and transported our people to sites across the world."

He gestures at the carved sculptures of monoliths and humans on the wall. "We were transformed into our own subjugation and torment. Those experimental failures culled the herd of weaker, undesirable fodder unworthy of further experimentation. We eked out an existence more miserable than any animal surrounded by unfathomable knowledge and pitiless overseers."

He looks down briefly, the turmoil in his features plain as the sonic vibrations and air push through the embedded tubes and outputs throughout floor and ceiling. "May you find our redemption. The strength of our people lies not in the body but the indomitable spirit. We knew we must preserve our learning at the cost of our lives. For you. We left you our testimony, the Codex. The Grey Book."

Crystal pauses, head tilting as she listens. "All over the world," she echoes, looking to the others. "Well. That explains the girl," she muses. "Attilan has maintained itself, but if there were other enclaves, others like us…some might have died out, but others might have simply interbred with the locals until even they forgot who they were."

Karnak nods, "Likely. Particularly over the timespan that we are considering. This changes matters." She looks thoughtful, then adds as an aside, "We should keep an eye on that girl." With that, she looks over at Nexus, "Locating the book is a priority here, though it seems like we have uncovered something about our people that we hardly even suspected." Her eyes narrow a bit, as she starts calculating matters.

"Perhaps on our way back to the city, we should get a genetic scanner and keep it with us in New York. We can take… covert samples, test for inhumanity." Nexus reaches out to the databanks as the messages are displayed, and he opens a private secure enclave in the Core and encodes a security protocol he designed to it— and he feeds these messages he's seen into it. "I am preserving these messages into a secure enclave. The Book may have more— but the words and faces of our ancestors shoulde be preserved." He hesitates, "But I will release the files only to the Council until… they decide what to do with them." he notes to the others. But he heads towards the hall across the way, "There is another chamber of similar size there." He nods to Crystal, "There may be more to our people then we ever knew— the first chamber spoke of *two* refuges, too." And he heads towards the hall to head on to the next discovery. He nods to Karnak, "All that we can know of our origins is of use."

"I'd be cautious about bringing a scanner into the outside world," Crystal grimaces. "With so much strain between humans and mutants, I'd be worried that one of them would get their hands on it and use it against the mutants. But being on the lookout for unusual people would be worthwhile. Maybe the technology from the stones could be adapted. I imagine it's sufficiently advanced that the humans would be unlikely to reverse engineer it for their own purposes." She follows the others into the next chamber, though this time she hangs back a bit, more cautious.

Moving into the next chamber means they pass through another corridor. This one is clearly impacted by someone's flight or an engagement of a kind. There are scratches into the floor and walls that completely destroy the artwork there, and they run deep.

The door is nothing more than splinters and slag. Beyond, the room is terribly quiet. Four great statues stand here, fixed to round bases a foot high. They are larger than life, armed with crystalline spear-like weapons. Each dance around the other in their sinuous placement, though the staggered path mean there is no clear path through the dim grey-green chamber. Visitors must swerve around them and duck to avoid being smacked in the face by a spear shaft or a billowing stone cloak. Two of the figures are clearly human, or were, once. Tells of their augmentations are plain: one has long, thin tendrils for 'hair' and an unnaturally squat build. The other, male, has an elongated and sloped cranium under a thin double circlet. Their opponents are Kree, and they engage in a frozen battle. Against the walls, a small stream of people flee towards the neck of land between two vast lakes.

Karnak hmms, "It appears that our ancestors rebelled then, a holding action by these warriors while the others escaped." She doesn't quite start into the room, instead looking at Crystal, "While I should have little difficulty with the ice, perhaps you would care to manipulate things so you and Nexus would have less of a problem?" She sounds vaguely amused, not wanting to rush in and then get cooked, apparently.

"They wouldn't be able to use the technology." Nexus shakes his head slowly, "I'd gut it of essential components first and alter it so its readings appear random: it would be completely useless without the power of the Core behind it. Specifically, completely useless to anyone but me. And if push comes to shove I'd simply fuse it all into a solid chunk." suggests Nexus until he gets to the ice room, and he blinks. He looks at the woman with the tendril hair, "A primitive precursor to Medusa?" he wonders, before gesturing to the ice, "can you do something about this?" He flashes a grin ovre at Karnak.

"I dare you to say that to her face," Crystal smirks at Nexus, stepping to one side of the doorway to get a feel for the whole room. "I should be able to move it," she nods. "I think there's…a track of some sort under it. It may just take a moment, I don't know what sort of structural damage there may be, and I'll need to shore it up as I go." But ice is just water, and she starts to slowly shift it, melting it to water and moving the water aside to clear a path.

|ROLL| Ianos +rolls 1d4 for: 1

Karnak nods, looking at Ianos, "I could, conceivably, shatter the ice, but considering the situation, and the fact it is more than just myself present… Crystal's abilities would be far more useful." She smiles a bit at Crystal, "I may be a taciturn nihilist, cousin, but I am not suicidal." Wait, did Karnak… just make a JOKE?

Shifting around water gives the nearest of the statues to the path opportunity to start moving. The plinth creaks as it begins to spin. Naturally that would be one of the Kree taking aim at the nearest individual: Karnak.

"I am considered wise, when in Attilan." Nexus flashes a grin to Crystal, "I simply mean, clinically, it is like a rough facsimile of Medusa's own terrigenesis-effect, is it not? Primitive. Crude. Like apes compared to men compared to us." He nods with appreciation when Crystal starts shifting ice, but then something comes alive? He's too surprised to even try to shut it down!

Stone is within Crystal's purview as well, but with her attention on the ice and the more delicate work of trying to make sure that moving the ice doesn't damage anything structural, she can't grab the statue before it's moving toward Karnak.

With the ice out of the way, the impediment to the whole gear-ridden structure spinning and turning is removed. At least partly. The statue that spins to whack Karnak might even get her bruised. When her fist comes down, shards spray out… and bones.

Oh. So. Many. Bones.

One might think that Karnak would be distracted from the uncharacteristic display of what possibly be considered humor. But this is Karnak that we're talking about, and she immediately leaps into the air, narrowly dodging the spinning statue's weapon and landing close. Then she leaps up again, winding back her fist and punching the statue near its chest. Suddenly, there's a loud cracking sound, followed by a crash as Karnak managed to find the weak point in the statue, worn by thousands of years of age and decay. Looking down at the pieces of the statue, Karnak stands in the middle of the spinning platform, not looking phased at all by the rotation.

Though now it's a bit more clear why her alias is the Shatterer…

Nexus' eyes darken. "A pygmy subspecies or children again?" Either way, the anger in the technopath's expression burns again, this time not quite so coldly. But he makes his way across the clearing ice, quite wishing to be out of this room with all its bones, "Can your skill be taught, Karnak? Or is it ingrained?" he asks with some curiosity, but still.

Thule: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8LwOC5yXpM9SXJIajU2OHByMEk


"Karnak, would you-" Crystal cuts herself off, taking a breath and reaching out with her own powers to command the stone to halt. "Whatever these things are meant to memorialize, it isn't as though there are more of them where these came from. We should perhaps try not to destroy all of them if we hope to study them for information in the future."


The Inhumans dwell in the room of statues — two Kree warriors, one the man who spoke in another vision in the previous chamber, and a squat, proto-Medusa. Or perhaps recoil given the glacial ice Crystal shifts aside allows the first statue to whirl into motion. The others are fighting against inertia, oh so slowly rotating and starting to follow the unlocked gears beneath the floor. Nexus' disgust is written on his circuit-infused face as small bleached bones tumble to the floor among the shattered rock shards from where Karnak's shuddering blow shattered one.


Karnak glances back towards Crystal, and arches a brow, "Considering it was blocking the path in a rather hazardous fashion…" She shakes her head, "But I will acquiesce to your command, of course." She hops down from the wrecked statue's platform, frowning a bit at the sight of the bones amidst the rocks.


Crystal glances to the bones, grim. "I can never tell if this place is telling us new truths or just showing us new horrors," she says quietly, taking a few careful steps as she tries to hold the statues in place with her powers. "If those bones are Inhuman, the least we could do is bring them home to Attilan for a proper burial."


Those bones are decidedly bony, and their size indicates either a small being. Their shapes are familiar enough. Femurs, tibias, ribs, vertebrae, no skulls. At least not in that particular spill.


Karnak nods, "Both, I think." She frowns a bit, "If you wish, we can recover them now, or we could come back for them later. Since we don't have much way to carry them at this point." Her eyes look at Crystal, "The bones will not be disturbed any further until we can return, I believe."


Unless Crystal keeps an active hold on the statues, they mean to spin and turn on their bases according to the mechanisms freed of the jarring ice. Their speed and strength are considerable, tugging on her awareness with brutal demands.


"Let's move." Crystal winces a bit as the statues fight her hold, moving more quickly. "I want to see what they do on their own if they can't reach us, but I'd rather not be in the middle of it. Or see them destroyed unnecessarily," she adds. Though where her sister might use the words harshly, Crystal delivers them with a faint, wry smile as she hurries toward the other side of the room.


Karnak nods, taking the lead of the pair as they move quickly through the statues that are currently held by Crystal's powers. "That is something I find quite suitable." She almost smiles, her pace rapid to get to the other end of the room and the door that is there.


|ROLL| Ianos +rolls 1d20 for: 19


The push against the psyche builds, though Crystal balances those heavy demands long enough for Karnak to lead the way around the difficult, grinding path. Slippery with water and the icy remnants, the route requires caution to manage. Nexus takes up the back, edging along distrustfully and staring at the walls. The bright white of his circuitry implies a steady feed of information, perhaps more than is really safe. On the other side of the archway is a hallway that stretches forward and then swings immediately to the right.

And truly, it's something of a horror. Here the glacial walls are thick, but clear enough to reveal the frosty contours of pods or some kind of oblong cell that contain people. They are human, definitely, their shape and size much smaller than Crystal or Karnak themselves. Those figures within are still visible, holding up their hands or resting inert, as though intending to awaken at any moment.


Crystal breaks into a run, slipping the last few feet with a gasp before releasing the statues to their appointed dance. She gets only a glimpse of the figures in the ice, then she's turning to look back the way she came, to see what the statues do without any interference from them.


Karnak doesn't look at the figures, for while she is mostly unfazed by even the most gratuitous displays of horror… she doesn't exactly need to seek them out without reason either. Then she waits with Crystal, curious as well as to what will happen,.


Behind the trio, the whirling crash of ice slammed by the stone weapons and the gritting snarl of the gears fills the air with an uncanny, chaotic murmur. Their track doesn't extend into the hallway, but presumably anyone left behind in the fifth chamber might be squashed or beaten to pieces. The frenzy might speak to just how close Crystal came to running headlong into statues thinking she was fighting the real thing, and being bludgeoned for the privilege.

Where the hallway turns, they can see more of the frozen humans — or inhumans, it's hard to be sure — ranked in the depths around debris and discoloured ice. In at least one place, there's a broken, long-handled hammer and more of those metallic harpoons clearly depicted in the statues and friezes. The hallway ends in a door that leads to the main chamber, and that simply has rusted, gouged letters that aren't easily read for a modern eye across the front.


|ROLL| Crystal +rolls 1d20 for: 10


|ROLL| Karnak +rolls 1d20 for: 6


Crystal lets out a slow breath as she sees the statues in motion, grateful they managed to get through the hallway, before she finally turns back to the frozen specimens. "This is…" She steps slowly down the hallway, every step measured and cautious. "I suspect it would go very poorly for us if someone other than Inhumans were to find this," she murmurs, pausing in front of the door before she steps aside and gestures Karnak ahead. Sometimes it's smashing time.


Karnak moves forward, ready to smash if need be as she keeps a wary eye out for any more traps or surprises. Though despite the earlier statue, she would prefer to preserve this place. Still, if destruction is called for, she'll provide it. It's her purpose, after all.


By far the largest chamber thus explored, the grand room acts as a central hub. Ice cleaves down the western wall, obscuring a number of features, but for the most part, the metopes that form a sinuous narrative band are present. On the floor are a grand pair of interlocked spirals, one incorporating a band of ancient script and the other an even stranger one that is very likely Kree itself.

On the walls are several self-contained scenes. To the north, youths dressed only in robes storm a series of domed buildings. Launched into the sky are a number of spacecraft, and the front lines are frozen on the moment of converging on another Inhuman legion. To the east, the tubes of the harmonics resonancer appear from a cutaway cavern and a row of people head to the surface, placing goods carefully. To the south, a great flotilla of sailed ships, perilously thin and small, spread across the ocean. There is a star marked in the sky, and scrolling spirals painted on the sailors' chests and brows. To the west, a chipped, ice-shrouded man speaks. At his feet, men and women in robes record things upon scrolls.

Near the middle of the room stands a slab of faceted glass or quartz surmounted by a massive round gem contained under a filigreed bronze frame.


Crystal steps slowly into the room behind Karnak, following the images along the perimeter of the room. "What happened here?" she murmurs, brows furrowed as she shakes her head, until she reaches the gem. "Another image reflector, maybe?" she muses with a look to Karnak.


Karnak nods, "Quite likely. Rebellion, and then an exodus in case the Kree returned?" She hrms, "It looks like our people have spread much further than we originally supposed, as we have observed from the young one's appearance earlier." She looks curiously at the gem, standing close (and a bit protectively, to be honest) to Crystal.


The gem sits there among the lovely visions of artwork. It might glitter if enough sunlight got through. The room is otherwise filled by the faint harmonics of the resonancer, a cheerful melody in C minor.


Crystal frowns down at the gem, rubbing a hand over her brow. "Well. We've come this far. We might as well find out what it does. Let me see if I can find anything…inside of it." She drops her hand from her brow, holding it out toward the gem as she extends her other senses outward, feeling the structure of the gem with her powers, searching for other connections or foreign materials.


Karnak nods, watching the gem carefully. Actually, she watches everything carefully, just in case, because she still thinks that this has been far too easy to this point. Relatively speaking.


"It's…everywhere," Crystal says quietly, looking up and around the room, nodding toward the corners. "Not all of this is ice. Some of it's crystal as well. Metal and glass in the pillar. This…feels like just a gem. Perhaps we ought to wait for Nexus to have a chance to see if he can sense anything of it. I'm not certain touching it is the best idea, not without knowing more."


Karnak hmms, "We can mark this for later, then. Since you are correct. He would be the expert in such things." She pauses, then gives Crystal a wry expression, "As he would no doubt inform us."


Nexus, for his part, is rather zoned out with the influx of data he is receiving. Or he's on the Core uplink talking to his mother at the very inopportune time.


Crystal nods, taking a step back and moving toward the door at the northwest. "This seems like the natural path from where we came," she says. "Let's see what's here, then we can circle back to the other door after Nexus has a chance to look at the gem."


From the corners slip gems. Gems that roll from the ice, ice that ceases to be ice as jack-frost segments hasten them along on spindly, fine legs. Some from the ceiling, some spill from the broken spill of ice throughout the area. The swarm creeps up along the floor in a bobbing tide while larger quartzite chunks pounce.


Karnak nods, and glances at Nexus, "He seems… alright, if just distracted right now." She hrms a bit, "At least, it doesn't seem to be too dangerous." With that, she takes the lead towards the door. Then she blinks in surprise at the crystalline swarm, "I stand corrected."


|ROLL| Ianos +rolls 1d20 for: 1


Crystal comes to a sharp stop as the gems start to break free from the walls, stepping closer to Karnak and reaching out a hand. "That's new." She pushes outward with her powers, trying to force them away from the Inhuman pair, but she's already stretched herself today. She's feeling the strain.


The first of the unfortunates ends up squashed against a wall and flails around with segmented gemstone legs. It's not going anywhere quickly for all its efforts. The little ones pile up into waves, the swarm building and thinning out in a scrambling effort to find the reaches of Crystal's power. Several spring down from the ceiling in an effort to catch one of the Inhumans, all of them driven by some instinct worse than anything.


Karnak looks over at Crystal, noticing her strain, then she places one hand on the central gem, narrowing her eyes a bit as she tries to see if there's any way to make… contact? Take control of the swarm? Whatever it can do, she's willing to try it.


Crystal cries out as the gems start to drop from above, throwing up her other hand with a dome of air to guide them away from their heads. Controlling a thousand small gems is far harder than controlling one large element. She grits her teeth, turning her attention to the ice around them as she melts it and tries to reform it around the gems, trying to lock them down long enough for Karnak to find a solution.


The gems act much like insects: insects and spiders, assuredly, arachnids in their motions and insects in their swarms. The different sizes split back and tumble in their search for something to find ingress. Clattering legs spin melodies noisy indeed, impossibly so. They reflect the sound of the humming machine in the distance, and the bigger globs in their midst more aggressively pounce and strike a wall of invisibility. They roll back, only to strike and scramble again. Ice pins some of them to the ground. Another pile of spiders scratch at the ice in futility to get out.

Karnak has a moment to place her hands on the gem, the brass filigree around it mostly preventing skin-to-stone contact.


Enough, though. Karnak's flesh sears with a heat buried inside cool metal and inert crystal. The machine goes silent for a few seconds.


Karnak hisses out, "Delay them as best you can." She focuses, trying to reach some manner of commands for these swarming insects… dismissing them or initiating a manner of protection from them, depending on what she can access, as she says to the gem, "Stop the sentries, if you please!"


Crystal's nostrils flare as she forces a breath, manipulating elements like a spider in a web. Fire heats the ice, water flows over the gems, then freezes once more when they're trapped. Earth herds them into packs, while air protects the pair from above. "I can't hold this much longer," she warns. "If you can't get in, then we'll need to move, and quickly."


A pile of hopeful spiders has no chance of getting out. But they vibrate, and their vibrations carry an especially pointed message; single-minded effort to reach the other living bodies in the room. The floor hums. Ice crumbles in a patter to all the elementalism in motion.

There's an odd sensation in the distance, though, one that takes several seconds to register even to pressure sensitive ears like Crystal's. Karnak trying to address the gem doesn't have an immediate effect. Not until the pitched hum lowers to the point of being audible, not so high a frequency to hurt. But the damage is there as it builds, reflected off the walls and the ice, beautifully acoustic sound panels, and everything between. So this is what it might like on the back end of Black Bolt's whisper.

When the northwest doorway yawns open, the distortions blowing the metal door to falling shards, it won't matter. They probably recognize the signature of blue light as cracks fall in the walls and doors. It's disturbingly similar to Lockjaw's teleportation signature, a glowing wave falling on them. And with it, no more snow and ice.

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