1964-07-17 - King's Men 7: Eternal Spring
Summary: Karnak and Crystal bushwhack their way to the next site… Mu.
Related: Plot: Kingsmen
Theme Song: None
karnak crystal ianos 


Blue lightning flashes.

The clean, sweeping ice of their glacial prison vanishes in a heartbeat. Chilly air no longer leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Instead, noses carry an aroma of cloying rot and the palpable moisture in the oppressive air.

Once the indigo shimmer fades, it leaves afterimages of thin toothpicks instead of statuettes and carvings plucked out from the wall. Shaggy foliage resolves in a gloomy hue, greens licked to the darkest end of the verdant spectrum. Water drips, water everywhere: condensation on trunks, dripping into puddles, shining on jewel-winged flies buzzing about. Arm in arm with heat, the sensation of being in a very low latitude, tropical location will resolve immediately.

Now imagine the fact of being unable to see the sky through the canopy and no more than a few feet ahead for the jungle leaves, and it's only reasonable to assume it's night.

"What-" Crystal turns in a quick circle as they find themselves transported to somewhere very different from where they started, brows furrowed in confusion. She's been teleported enough that it isn't the change that surprises her, so much as the nature of it. "Well. On the up side, it is nice to get to visit some few unspoiled places where it's still relatively easy to breathe."

Karnak wrinkles her nose a bit, "Relatively, that is. Rather humid… somewhere in Latin America, if I had to hazard a guess, though a quick view at the night sky would discern this." She looks at Crystal, then down at her hand, "Not quite what I had expected."

Hot, that, the temperature will never get cool even in the depths of a winter night. They hover in the torrid zone somewhere, if the plumeria trees and flame of the forest weren't warning enough. Shocks of bright, waxy flowers range in tone from white and yellow to intense orange-red, living flame to meet the eyes. Tangled bushes ablaze in their sticky ornamentation are overshadowed by torchwoods and copals, cycads, and chit palms. Their thick growth make it difficult to walk more than a few feet without tripping over fat roots plunging into the soil or some swampy part. Birds call out in the dim gloom, alarmed noises ricocheting in a thunderous burst here or there.

If there's a path, it isn't showing up anywhere.

"Are you all right?" Crystal asks Karnak, taking a step closer to look at her hands. "I'm not sure what that was or how it worked." She lets out a long breath, swaying on her feet for just a moment. She's expended a great deal of power in the last few hours, enough that the idea of sitting down for a few minutes is starting to sound appealing.

Karnak shrugs, and shows off her hand, "I'll be fine." She hmms, "We do have time, it seems. Let's take a moment to recover. It seems the jungle isn't going anywhere."

On the contrary, the jungle slowly strives to conquer the earth from the distant sea to the highest peaks arranged in a jagged volcanic backbone far away. Its hunger does not cease. Life pulses here, crude and vibrant, demanding and dark. Heavy plantlife creeps out to capture anything possible, the pitcher plants and Venus flytraps eagerly devouring the living. Bugs are plentiful, and bare skin likely to be under assault by bites, nips, and a holocaust of itching. Other than that, no immediate threat presents itself.

Crystal closes her eyes for a moment, simply soaking in the feeling of the life around her, the earth, the air, the richness of the water everywhere. "Well," she muses without opening her eyes. "If the last place sent us here, then I imagine they're connected somehow. Perhaps there are more ruins around here."

Karnak nods, "If we could get some perspective…" She looks over at Crystal, the insects not bothering her as she glances around, thinking of possibly going vertical it seems, "Since I don't have a blade available." Her eyes look somewhat amused.

Many a tree might offer sanctuary, or possibly a lot of stickiness. Some leak sap out to the ground, and with it, a home for a good many insects that equally many birds and small, furry creatures take advantage of. For the hungry, though, a bit of a relief. So too the fruit hanging thick and plentiful, rotting on the ground, adding to the stench of primal rot. It's exactly the sort of place Nexus surely /hates/.

For Crystal, the sense of earth is probably more intrusive than she wishes. Water and earth, the ground beneath riddled by a very high water table or something else. Stone and soil and so much jungle.

The air seems to all but vibrate.

"I'm thinking perhaps…beneath the surface," Crystal muses, sinking her senses into the earth. "Whatever energy transferred us, it seems likely that it would need to be close to the actual source to bring us here. Then again, with jungle this dense, it could be twenty fee away and we might not see it."

Karnak hmms, "Alright…" She pauses, looking down as she seeks to analyze the ground, looking for a weak spot. "There's probably a weak spot, or something covering the entrance if it is underground."

|ROLL| Karnak +rolls 1d20 for: 11

|ROLL| Crystal +rolls 1d20 for: 5

The weak spot in the jungle isn't found in a short walk. It requires moving away and trudging through undergrowth that snares and snarls, catches and snatches. Toes are favourite spots. Arms too. Any limb that swings awfully wide might find itself caught in the bushes, a natural hazard, but a plentiful one. The ground proves marshy and covered in centuries of vegetation. It doesn't help Karnak keeps finding bits of stone under the mush. Squishy point, hard point, squishy point, hard point. They do seem to follow some kind of path.

Crystal follows behind Karnak, trusting her cousin to find the path and protect them from anything on it. She has a slightly easier time moving through the jungle, though, aware of the ground on every step, shoring it up when she needs to. "If that location was connected to this location, do you think that all of the locations might be similarly connected?"

Karnak moves along the haphazard path, then glances back to Crystal, "I believe so, cousin. It seems likely that this is a network of locations tied together by the ancients. Before we even founded Attilan, I would guess. A pity the young one isn't along, she seems like one that would… enjoy, this exploration."

The ground doesn't require so much shoring. Moving gives an impression of following a serpentine dance through the trees that grow over whatever road they wander upon. It's not one that clearly has been trod by feet in any great time, and Crystal is likely to feel the water shimmering somewhere deep, deep beneath. The vein of water twists and turns, sometimes expanding and then deflating like a bladder.

"I'm still confused about where she came from," Crystal shakes her head. "Hopefully she wakes believing it was all a dream. Though I suppose she's unlikely to unleash a rush of alien truth stories. We're not ready to be revealed to the world just yet. Even if I do think we should sooner rather than later. Much better that we come out and control the narrative than wait for Attilan to be discovered."

The monk chuckles softly, "Considering her love of fantasy and fiction, I think we have little to worry about there. Others will probably think it's a story she's making up, and not real at all." Karnak continues moving along the direction of the path, noting also, "Narratives can't be controlled, only channelled."

Rock and stone: through the long, long path they walk, eventually the jungle ceases. It looks cleaved by a knife. Not one bird is there to escape the shorn bushes revealing sunshine from a pallid sky, an hour long past dawn. It might be hard to imagine leaving a bushy scrub to fall upon a long plateau, much less one cleared of any grass higher than the knee. Nor how they might have missed a rearing, massive stone pyramid and its surroundings in ruins, but here it is.

"Call it what you like," Crystal shrugs. "But it will come eventual-" She cuts off as they step into the clearing, blinking in the sudden sunlight and turning a half-circle to take it all in. "Eventually. Well. That was unexpected."

Karnak smiles, "As is life, cousin. All we can do is prepare for it." With that, she makes her way towards the pyramid in the revealed clearing. "Amazing work. Though it does seem different than the previous one." Her eyes flicker back to Crystal, "Ready?"

The pyramid is a hard thing to miss given it rears up over the plain around it, to the point where the shimmering heat of day would distort the grey stony top. Steps ascend and it may be guessed the locals keep a healthy trade in hawking fruit juice, fresh produce, and water to the few locals straggling through. A few languish under an umbrella on a path to the north behind the great pyramid. Other structures spread out over the large site cover high stone platforms and a series of what look like semi-collapsed pillars at another point. Clearly this wasn't just a one-off discovery in the jungle, but something hacked free on a massive scale.

"How could we be ready for any of this?" Crystal shakes her head, stepping forward. "It's fascinating to imagine, that we weren't always just hiding away, waiting for the world to happen to us."

Karnak smiles a bit, "Despite what some of our kind believe, we are a part of this world, not separate from it." She glances over at Crystal, "But I suspect that the final decision will rest with Black Bolt, as it should." Her voice is touched with something… unfamiliar, when she says that.

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