1964-07-23 - King's Men 13: Eternal Summer
Summary: The Inhumans have to make their way home, sooner or later, aided by the bard, the paladin, and the barbarian.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
crystal rogue karnak thor kamala-khan ianos 


'AVAIKI

Inhumans, Asgardians, mutants, Avengers: a hard-won battle against the pernicious, aggressive star-sharks leaves them the victors, at a cost. A boat lies in flinders, no spar longer than a foot. Its ruins litter the black stone beach of a forbidding lagoon. Pacific Ocean waters in a stark blue run over a lack of sand, a place rendered barren by the apparent sudden rise from the depths. The cliff-faces rear up to great heights, sharp-edged basalt spires closing together to form a natural gateway choking a view much beyond the beach. Through those unfriendly notches, the rock gives way to yet more rock: valleys carved out, places where waterfalls might one day plummet into steep ravines, and a hell of a lot more black rock. There might even be magma.


Little Kamala, brown girl for the ages, was dangling from Thor's back when last we saw our intrepid heroes. Now, she's still there not because she's in any better shape. It's because she's almost naked, and really needs to do something about that. Dripping from her hair from Crystal's horizontal shower, she rubs her face and mumbles almost coherently about the pretty castles.


Crystal holds a hand to her side for a moment, taking a careful breath, then nods to the others. "Does anyone else need a…water refresh?" she asks, looking among the group. "Not that it likely matters, but it if makes anyone feel better, then at least we can focus on whatever we run into next. Which…" She looks to Thor, Scarlett, and Steve. "We have reason to believe we may encounter ancient Inhuman secrets here. If we do, I would appreciate it if you could keep silence regarding these things."


In his current state, Nexus is semi-functional and Steve merely slathered in shark innard-goo, stomach acid, and bits of castoff debris. Captain America might need some shore leave to get himself cleaned up. Let their silence stand to the need to figure out their bearings and the like.


Thor removes his cape— or rather what remains of it, after being zapped by multiple laser blasts— and pushes it around Kamala. She's small enough that the red garment easily covers her.

He looks up at Crystal, straightening, and nods. "Aye, as you wish," he says, clearly a little uncomfortable with Crystal's presence still. "No secrets of Atillan will utter from my lips."


Karnak is leaning a bit on Crystal as well at this point, looking somewhat the worse for wear as her outfit is in various degrees of tatters, her flesh scorched, bitten, and general abused. Oh, and she seems to be walking a bit stiffly as well, though she doesn't exactly say anything, because she is who she is. She then looks over towards Thor, then nods at what he says, looking back to Crystal, "We should take a look around, now that we have finally arrived."


"Thank you, Crystal, but I already had plenty." Scarlett's dripping, semi-shredded and functional, indicates entirely that previous submersion benefitted her considerably. The cloth wrapped around her left hand acts more as a safety device rather than evidence of a wound, though she took more than a little scouring on the obsidian cliff-sides.

"All due discretion." The glittering weight of her emerald gaze slips to Karnak, the woman fixed with a direct regard for a moment. Hey, she knows things. "I would not violate your right to revelation or the tales of your past, especially given my relationship to the House of Agon. Sworn by Odin's name."


Pulling the gigantic cloak tight, Kamala starts to come around. Mostly time, care, and having a few minutes with nobody eating her. Or trying to eat her. Batteries recharge at a good rate, she's almost able to quip again, that being the primary way to tell her level of health. She pushes herself upright, whispering thanks to Thor, and stretches. Then decides not to stretch, wardrobe being what it is.

She looks about, smiling at Karnak and Crystal for absolutely no reason, and then looks up at the lovely place they've found. "Where are we? It's lovely."


Crystal nods around, taking an extra moment to watch Kamala and make sure she's all right before turning a faint smile on Thor. No hard feelings, apparently, even if she notes the awkwardness. "Let's get a good look around," she suggests, dipping her chin toward the open court. "I'd say we're somewhere tropical," she adds to Kamala. "Just where, I'm not sure. Lockjaw, stay close," she calls over to the dog, transferring Karnak's lean there once he's close enough. "If there's any trouble, at least we can get out quickly."


The black gates surrender to the unforgivably rough terrain. The absence of seawater alone hints the mountainous isle hasn't simply jumped up from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, literally out of the blue.

Not a stick stands out. Not a hint of metal emerges from rough cliffsides. Not a shimmer of glass to glimmer down on them, not even a coconut. There is a confounded albatross flapping around, considering a possible landing on the high basalt walls. Clearly it wasn't expecting anywhere to land.

It's hot enough to be tropical. Marching off the beach through the stony gates will harm boots and shoes, bare feet shredded bloody. The rolling slopes angle upwards in spite of the volcano, high peaks thrust up elsewhere in a general ring.


Thor elects to fly, and offers to take one person with him before floating skywards ten meters. Mostly because slogging through the water is a pain in the ass; also, someone needs to offer some air cover. He cruises overhead with a lazy pace, suspending over nothing and clutching Mjolnir loosely in his left hand. He surveys the area with a scowl.

"This is a most dead and barren land," he concludes, finally.


Karnak doesn't visibly wince, but she does lean pretty heavily on Lockjaw when he ambles up to her. Fortunately, the dog is massive enough that supporting Karnak isn't much of a problem. She glances around, "If I had to guess, somewhere in the Pacific. Not sure where exactly, but considering the velocity we flew from Chichen Itza, it could be anywhere in that range."


With Kamala wearing sneakers, she's distracted by trying to get places without killing herself. But it doesn't take long before she's acting kind of annoyed. Then right annoyed. Then she flat-out stops, and says, "Why are we doing this? I mean, I know we need to search but this is…isn't it obvious where we need to be going?" She sticks out a lovely olive-skinned arm grumpily. Pointing nowhere.


Scarlett will offer an arm if necessary to those who require the assistance, her footfalls light and certain, the leather buckles and bands round her knees creaking slightly. She lifts up off the ground a fraction, her shoulders loosened. "You refer to a black valley among many black valleys?"


Crystal smooths the ground in front of them as they walk as much as she can for Lockjaw's sake and others, though the path she keeps is narrow, trying to preserve some energy for what they might encounter next. At Kamala's outburst, she quirks a brow, looking over at the girl. "Apparently not to us," she replies blandly. "What is obvious to you?"


Twin peaks rear in horns above a long plain near the island's heart. A fumerole or two steams away from the ground, the bird the lone hint of life. Boulders are strewn everywhere, in places a rockfall and not much else. Even to Thor in the sky there are cliffs, jagged sweeps, a choke-point below the double-horn — that might vaguely remind him of another battlefield where the goddess of death directed him…


Kamala stares at them. Her brow furrows, and she slowly lowers her arm. Then she turns around and starts walking a different direction from everyone else, needing to know if she's insane or if it's shark poison infecting her brain. Which would likely also be considered insanity if true. She's not following the group now; Kamala is heading for a certain black valley among black valleys.

Glancing back, she raises an eyeybrow then says, "Well? Come on."


The bohemienne follows in their footsteps, a silent wraith for the most part. She is there to lend a gloved hand for a stumble. Scarlett shakes her head slightly, dark braids swaying in a flaming veil. "I shall follow that if nothing else. Unless there be another direction to take."


Karnak hmms, and glances over towards Kamala, then nods towards Lockjaw, "Let's go ahead and follow her. She seems to have an inkling of something." She looks over at Crystal, "She was waiting for us at Thule. Perhaps there's a glimmer of a sense she has for these things."


Crystal tilts her head, eyes narrowing. "Or…" She follows, but her mind is working as she does. "Or they had some way of differentiating between pre-terrigenesis and post-terrigenesis inhumans," she says more quietly, pitching her voice for Karnak. "Or this is old enough that it doesn't recognize our genetics after terrigenesis? We change. Maybe whatever allows her to see what she's seeing was changed as well."


Kamala isn't waiting for anyone. She's still not sure if the group is being messed up or what, but they've been good to her so far..but this is still kind of new for her and she kind of got kidnapped to be here. So she's got to wrap her head around stuff. "Or maybe," she says, going over a rock in her path, "you're all enchanted or something. Magic is real, after all. Or maybe it's me, but you can't just not see this."

Nearly naked and wrapped in a borrowed cloak, Kamala leads back to the more level area and up to a rockslide in the courtyard. Bit of walking, but she's clearly got a goal in mind as she goes right up to a boulder, staring at it like she's looking right through it, and then looks back at the group.

"Seriously, right here," she says, as she waves her left hand at the rocks. Then turns and walks into the side of the boulder, vanishing as she walks into the solid rock like it wasn't even there.

Because it totally isn't.


|ROLL| Ianos +rolls 1d100 for: 92


Karnak blinks in surprise, "Illusion. Clever." With that, she moves forward, continuing to lean on Lockjaw as she glances to Crystal, murmuring softly back, "A possibility. Though, /I/ sensed nothing, and I should have if that was the sole reason. An interesting mystery, to be sure."


Barren rock leads past the peaks, on a walk long and high up the slope. Boulders and scree make for loose footing, treacherous and devious for anyone who comes along. They are altogether certain to be risking life and limb by rushing. Then Kamala simply walks through Mordor the black lands of a boulder and…

The world burns away. For Thor the view is the clearest, the crashing down of some manner of shielding that probably eluded or overwhelmed their resident technopath; maybe it amounts for Nexus' silence. Green erupts from charcoal. Layers of radiant jade and sylvan hues melted in overgrowth around symmetries of glass and steel, high archways and elegant pillars forming a building complex behind the round great forecourt.


Thor, hovering overhead, whistles low. "This is… no mere outpost," he marvels, finally. "Verily, 'tis almost a city in its own right." He shoots skywards to see how much of the city he can inspect from overhead, trying to get a sense for the scope of the ruins and where their center might reside.


Veils tumble and leave them surrounded in greenery of thick, abundant kinds. Leafy palms and curling ferns brush along Scarlett's sides, and she might well be caught staring into the sun for all she chooses to speak. "Where are we?" A question surely shared by the others with them.


"Or the gem?" Crystal muses to Karnak. "She wasn't with us when we used it to travel - maybe it somehow marked us? But then the others would have seen it…" Figuring it out is certainly on her list, but the moment she steps through to where she can see it all, she stops short for a moment, blinking. "Well, that is an improvement," she says quietly, turning in a circle to look back the way they came. "Sanctuary," she answers Rogue quietly. "Wherever our people fled when they won their freedom."


The courtyard forms a round relief, an arrow-straight path headed up into what forms a layered palace of sorts. A tree stands in the middle, although the Asgardian — and Nexus — can be absolutely certain it never once lived. Crystal's senses, too, might detect more sparks of fire and glass; no wood ever touched that place. The embedded runs of lights spark weakly to life and globes ignite in the bright sunshine, absorbing some of that energy to fuel the depleted batteries.

Double staircases lead within, a central shrine clearly visible perched in a court further back. Between the ornate steps stands an old statue, weathered some by time, corresponding to the reliefs they've seen: a woman holding a book in her hands and wearing a long robe. Every last flat surface has some kind of ornamentation, bas reliefs displaying a long procession of humans and humanoids with fins, wings, spikes, some short and many very tall, headed inwards.

Curiously, the crowning figure atop the domed heights is not a woman but a man, and not a man holding a scroll as they found in Chichen Itza and Thule. Heck, it was their crystalline pod they took the circlet from. It's a man gesturing to the northwest. Whatever he once held is absent.


Kamala is waving her arm up and down, having no idea that there's any barrier but hoping that people can see her. Standing on the front steps of the place. "I asked that ages ago!" she says to Rogue, looking exasperated. "How was I to know you couldn't see it? Literally everyone was acting like they knew where they were going til just now. Am I the only one who's willing to admit that I'm lost and confused? Probably hurt? Potentially molested by a shark…"

Okay, she's rambling now. Turns and watches Thor fly up and over, shaking her head a bit. "Bit of Chinese roots in the architectural style, but the engravings seem more in line with what I'd expect to see in an Aztec city. Patriarchical, the statue is masculine at least. Though it's a bit early to make that assumption."


Karnak chuckles dryly, "An important lesson about assumptions on our part, Kamala." She shakes her head, looking at the ornamentation, then she hrms, "The statue, is gesturing to the northwest." She then looks over in that general direction, still leaning on Lockjaw as she considers.


Thor hovers lower so he can provide a covering shield over the others; it's hard to argue with the God of Lightning providing air support. He floats along with a heavy scowl of suspicion.

"This is a dead and barren place," he repeats. "Nothing has lived here in aeons. But… I believe ancient energies still churn below the surface. As if some beast lies in wait—"

He snaps his head to the side, then the other, and his brow hardens at some threat only he can perceive.

Most people would hush and guide the others to cover.

"I AM THOR! GOD OF STORMS!" he bellows, his voice rattling the glass around them. "SON OF ODIN, PRINCE OF ASGARD! WHO COWERS IN THE SHADOWS, SKULKING LIKE RATS AT THE EDGE OF LIGHT? COME FORTH IN HONORABLE PARLAY!" he demands.


Exposed to an insufferable amount of New York architecture, some Brutist and hideous, others sublime, Scarlett ascends into the air for a better vantage over the glories of a place likely unseen by her ilk if ever. Hands clasp together and she drinks all the detail in, daring not to blink, lest the spell be broken. For his sake, she'll eventually drag Captain America up with her to better see what they are looking at. Hovering fifteen feet in the air still dwarfs her against the verdant mountainside, and the crush of green.

The moment Thor opens his mouth and the sky talks, though, she hasn't even the joy of covering her ears. One doesn't drop a national hero.


"I was rather assuming we were all lost and confused," Crystal replies to Kamala in that same, bland tone. When you spend enough time working at a school, you just can't get that worked up about upset teenagers. Besides, there are other things tugging at her attention right now. She's always peripherally aware of the air around her, but in an unfamiliar situation, she pays closer attention to it, sinking more of her mind into monitoring the ebb and flow. Which means she, too, has noticed that there is movement around them.

"We come in peace," she adds to Thor's demand, more evenly. "Inhumans of the house of Agon, descendants of the people who first came here."


|ROLL| Ianos +rolls 1d20 for: 7


One appears.

Then another.

Then roughly ninety of them emerge from… where, exactly, is hard to say. A rank of them on the courtyard's outer rim where the Inhuman party and their friends emerged from. More on the steps. They do not obey the casual weight of physics, standing slightly above the stones or in one case, partly within the ferns passing through them. Insubstantial as they are, in places they might be visible. Ashen some, others tinted faintly green, they take their hue from their surroundings.

And they're armed. All of them. Some bear hammers and others spears, a few precious blades. The obsidian macuahuitl's forerunner may be present, and a dozen other variations of melee weapons besides. Strange, carved masks cover their faces.

One raises a spear and points it flatly at Thor. Floating might be his advantage, naturally, but it's not exactly a problem for something not bound to the ground by gravity, either.

A lonely, strangely forlorn rumble echoes off the volcanic bowl the palace occupies. A spear is flung at the Asgardian. It may look like smoke. It's far from it.


Kamala Khan just shuts up. She's done her share for a while, having led the hobbits to Mordor. She's already writing the story in her head, and wishes beyond hope that she can get it all down in decent order. Then probably get turned down for publication AGAIN! The indignities. Ridiculous. Besides, she's totally not set up for telling Thor to turn down the volume a notch.

Dagger, ancient, unknown origin, check. Pendant of true seeing, check. Fabled city with potential danger and possibly a dragon, check. Knight of true virtue, mage, monk…she's starting to think maybe there's a game in this if she were to find a way to do something with it. When the orcs attack and she dives for cover behind a wall.


Karnak blinks as the ghosts emerge, and says, "We are Inhumans, not the Kree." She gathers herself up, studying the ghosts as she says, "These seem to match up with the images we have seen here, these spirits." In case the appeal doesn't work, she tries to figure out what the weak points of these things might be… even though she's not really looking like she's up for much of a fight.


|ROLL| Ianos +rolls 1d20 for: 5


Thor flings Mjolnir in front of him, blurring it in a whirring circle that defies tracking with the naked eye.

"Ambush! Cowardly scoundrels!" he bellows, infuriated by the sudden attack.

Lighting splits the sky and thunder peals from the clear blue, but a pressure front and darkening clouds instantly start to roll in. "I give you but one chance to lay down your arms and withdraw, or I will strike you down by the score!" he offers, his voice booming loud as the thunder overherad.


Scarlett drops back from the air, the better to give an advantage to hauling out the landbound as necessary. That puts her squarely behind Crystal and nearest to Karnak, the disruption of her landing marginal at best. "Please tell me you have some experience in dealing with angry spirits?" A statement made in soft tones, not meant to travel far. "Or else this may be an immediate evacuation."


"No, hold!" Crystal exclaims as the spear flies toward Thor, raising a hand and summoning a gust of wind to drive it off course. "He is an ally!" Possibly an overzealous ally, but an ally all the same. And she speaks like someone used to giving orders, someone who expects them to be followed. "I've no idea how to deal with spirits," she grimaces to Scarlett. "But I can hope that treating them like people works."


The spear possesses not substance, and yet, at a throw, it can skewer flesh with a distant, whispery cold. The spirits turn to stare down the woman daring to speak, though some maintain their empty stares up at the man in the air with his hammer. Storm and lightning should very well terrify them. Any mortal legion would react. These aren't mortals. Rank upon rank of hideous masks carved into shrieking, otherworldly imagery give the god of thunder little due.

Mind, it's also easy to be pissing your pants while a spectre, and the mask making it impossible to see. Wind might not displace them, for they edge in, hemming the courtyard.

But for the moment, hammers and swords aren't clashing. Yet.


Kamala Khan is hiding. She peeks out, only to say in a breathless tone, "NAZGHUL!" before going back behind the wall. Maybe she's the hobbit in this tale after all. Well, not bad, she thinks as she looks for a place she won't get stabbed and clutches her dagger. The hobbit's tale was worthy too.


Karnak blinks, and reaches up, placing a hand on Thor's arm, "Wait! They might not realize you're with us." She then says, quickly, "The Kree enforcers, or what you would call them, that oversaw the slaves of old, they used hammers to dispense their justice." She then says, "Calm down, and let's see if we can avoid a fight." Her eyes flicker to Kamala as she says, "Wait, you recognize these things?"


Thor glances at the allies below him, listening to their words; he's angry, but not a fool, and with considerable effort he calms himself and reigns in the lightning cracking the sky.

The clouds remain overhead, though, dark and brooding with his fury.

At KArnak's explanation, he grunts and tosses his hammer with a lazy, underarm motion— it twirls four times and hits the ground mallet-first, grip sticking up at an angle. He folds his arms across his chest, as disarmed as he intends to be for the time being.


Two non-flyers, one civilian, one injured. Doing the math mentally leads to an easy conclusion. Scarlett modulates her voice to a soft timbre, one not intended to focus on the bodies shuffling inward around them. "Should this turn terribly pear-shaped, I can evacuate the young lady and the gentleman. Or form a chain and off we go." Not quite addressing Karnak or Crystal for preference of watching everything, she is not even on the ground.


"Should this go poorly, everyone to Lockjaw," Crystal says quietly with a glance to Scarlett, even as she steps away from the dog and toward the shades, hands held out inoffensively. "We come to help one of our people," she says, turning in a slow circle to address all the shades. "One whose gifts are growing too great. We have been through Thule, been through Mu. Your ship brought us here. We offer no harm, no offense. We seek only sanctuary, healing, and peace."


Karnak's question gets Kamala's attention. As in, she stares at Karnak incredulously from her hidey-hole. "Seriously?" she asks, with a tone that implies disbelief. Yes, they're more like the cursed dead from book three than the Nazghul, but who doesn't get that reference in this modern day and age?

From her place where she's decided to stay til this is all over, Kamala's voice calls out in Karnak's general direction, "When this is over, call me. I can help," before hiding her vulnerable head once again.


No Nazghul here, but the ninety some-odd shades remain where they are. The expectancy about them is the eternal watch of the dead. None are spared the pitiless masks turned in their direction. They aren't talking; it may well be they cannot. But understand and hear, that they most certainly must despite the fact English came around twenty millennia from the exodus.


Looking a bit relieved at Thor standing down, and the ghosts also standing down as she gestures to Kamala, "Come here. They won't hurt you. You're one of us. They only attacked because they thought the hammer-wielder was a Kree. Even though he's not blue enough." She doesn't use Thor's name because, well, proper introductions weren't managed just yet. "You don't want to miss what happens next, do you, Kamala?" Apparently Karnak can see more than just physical weaknesses…


Thor leaves his hammer behind, floating along on his own power until he can land in the center of the pack. He's big, towering, and scowling like the thunderstorm overhead. And he just projects an air of ready violence around him, gruff and prepared to savage anyone who gets close enough to threaten any of the others in his proximity.


No more danger? The librarian in training comes out of hiding and wonders when she gets her spell book. That's how it works right? Kamala's imagination is funky, as she takes Karnak's hand and heads on in with the group. "No stabbing the mage. I'm not for stabbing."


The palace is, by any standards, lovely. It may not be the giant structure ruled by Odin All-Father in Asgard, but then this is a Pacific island and not the seat of Inhuman power. Nor is a refuge likely to possess such a thing. Defensive fortifications are present to the seasoned eye, at least in theory: arrow slits, plenty of high points to fire down, reinforced pillars and buttressed walls.

The immediate shrine visible in the upper open courtyard holds another of those enormous crystals that Karnak and Crystal encountered in Thule. Unlike that counterpart, it floats in a cage of thin filigree — platinum, rather than bronze — and the gem is very probably a fire opal. Strands of complex or very primitive language run around the arched roof. If Thor has seen Kree, it's very much on there. The long hall behind runs into a series of rooms spanned by multiple high walks.

It doesn't take an accomplished eye to see what on earth fired ceramic tiles and metallic insets all along the west wall depict: the creation of a city from the sea and the sky. To the east, the details are thrown onto a weird, glassy finish. Walking past creates the illusion of motion in the warriors in helms and fitted armour fleeing and falling before a human male crowned by a moon and holding the stars in his hands. As they advance, the war becomes a holocaust.


Thor is terrifying; Scarlett is not. She nevertheless takes the warning from Crystal as something akin to gospel and falls in behind the Asgardian. Not so much for her own protection as remaining generally out of sight due to his size. On the off chance anyone is alive, they might not realize the accurate numbers and surprise is the essential description of her other name granted by a Soviet assassin.


"Thank you," Crystal says quietly to Thor, reaching a hand for a light touch to his forearm before she steps forward again, moving toward the largest of the buildings. She tips her head back to peer over the mural as they pass, thoughtful. "Another of the gems," she nods toward the opal when she sees it, looking to Karnak. "If we're separated and things go poorly, if you can't get to Lockjaw, try to get to that. I don't know what it will do or how, but it's a better option than certain death." Optimistic!


Karnak looks over at Crystal, and says dryly, "Because everything has gone smoothly to this point, yes?" Apparently Karnak somehow picked up sarcasm during her time scouting out New York, as she then looks down at her hand. And the fact Kamala is holding it. However, she doesn't object, instead giving the girl's hand a reassuring (for her) squeeze, "Stay close to me. I'll keep you safe." Sure, the monk looks more than half-dead, but her eyes don't. And she means every word.


Various openings allude to stairwells up to the higher floors. Doors mark a few, open archways another. A quick peek reveals rooms just as carefully painted or detailed, if somewhat dusty and overgrown. No one has been here in a very long time, save the ghosts. They are present throughout the complex, standing vigil in windows and staring down on the Inhumans, Thor, and the humans.

The twin processional friezes of the great chamber lead to a pair of double doors marked with two figures facing one another: a man and a woman. Their hands meet at the seam of the doors.


Kamala Khan won't be far away. She does, however, give Karnak her hand back. "This is a war," she says, stating the obvious. The archaologist in her is happy to help. "I can't identify the people in it. I'm sorry, I'm not useful here." She follows them up the stairs, a witness for what happens next. And not much else.


Thor remains a relatively stormy presence, dwarfed even here by the columns and the vast roof overhead. His irritation leaves a charge to the sultry air, a threat of crackling static electricity and a gleam of blue light to his eyes. He glares at the shades; they return the blank stare. At least it can be said Scarlett's much friendlier about the matter. "It's beautiful in here. To think it went without notice."


"You've seen at least one thing we didn't," Crystal reminds Kamala. "I wouldn't call that useless." Her steps lead toward the doorway with the arched hands, a cautious hand reached for the door.


Karnak nods, "The Princess is correct, Kamala. You have noted quite a few things, and I am glad that you are along with us." Apparently there is a carrot setting for Karnak, not just 'stick', as she stays near Kamala protectively, even as she leans on Lockjaw a little. Then she looks at Crystal, "The doors?"


The door pushes open, swinging back to reveal a perfectly circular chamber lit by a round oculus in the ceiling. The acoustics are breathtaking, the merest whisper responding with spectacular dimensions. More of those panels form a sinuous story around the curving walls left to right. Veins writhe through the polished stone floor to the central 'hub' of the wheel, as there are twenty-seven spokes meandering in. Some kind of hanging apparatus overhead resembles a chandelier or an orrery, celestial spheres aligning metal and glass discs so a bouncing beam of sunlight strikes down on the central area.


Kamala Khan sighs. The praise is heard, felt, and taken in. She doesn't think they're any closer to what they came for though. She says, "huh," and otherwise shuts up, given the room's acoustics she's not sure 'echo' would be appropriate.


As the door swings open, Crystal steps inside, head tipping back to peer upward at the dangling spheres. "You know," she murmurs as she backs toward the center of the room, "I'm beginning to think we don't leave nearly enough instructions in our architecture." Which is when she steps into the ray of sunlight and…disappears.


To the west: This panel begins with Ardala the Grey Sage at the bow of a slim, narrow-hulled craft. She holds a book in her hand and points to a dramatic panel adjacent depicting a forest and rising islands imposed on the horizon. The sun stands at the peak of a domed building. Thinner spires and flat monoliths peep out of the trees enfolding them. That monolith probably looks familiar, in a style like Stonehenge or the other standing stones they've seen in Orkney.

Many other figures, all humanoid to some degree, stand behind her on the boat, and on the other vessels gathered in the background. Men and women carry gears and elaborate objects honeycombed by inclusions, possibly for lights or gems. Children hold lanterns high over their heads. All face forward save the final three Inhumans, who battle a massive Kree warrior in full armour. That hammer is terrifying, double-headed, and his features are shrouded by a hooded robe of a kind. Any better studied in exactly what that role would entail probably know what the heck an Accuser looks like. Their features mark the Inhumans as some kind of aquatic variants, their skin delicately scaled underneath their supple armour and their throats carved with gills. In place of ears, they have fantails like the plumes of a tropical fish.


Karnak blinks as Crystal just… vanishes. Then she looks at Kamala, "Careful." She then looks around, and does something that no one would even think her capable of. Namely, sing. She tries to sing a note similar to what was playing in Thule, after they got everything running again. Mainly to see what would happen.


A tone, and another. The humming sigh causes the crystal to shudder in its entrapment, the platinum sparking. Something hums up, a weak sound that will grow stronger if anyone sustains that note humming it. Volume control, of a sort:

"From the intelligence we acquired at cost, we have learned a truth of our existence. The Supreme Intelligence judged us abominations, anomalies. Our creators made in us their downfall, and they came to realize it. One of us shall destroy the people of the stars, the Kree, they have foreseen a ninety-seven percent chance of its coming. Their leaders declared their projects must be cleansed…"

A pause. "Us. They must destroy us, their weapons and their instruments of terror, for we will turn upon them and lay waste to their civilization. It is the promise we paid for in the ashes of war and the fires of rebellion. For this we are retreating from the world, to erase all hints of our existence. We pray their relays have not confirmed our survival to Hala."

The woman's voice is soft, faded by weariness even there. "We flee. We hide. No refuge has been sacrosanct until now. We brought all we could together in the aftermath of this war. Perhaps their prophecy is true, perhaps it is not. Brothers and sisters, you will be hunted every day of your lives should they know this. Our testimony is spoken on the seventh summer solstice at 'Avaiki, the isle of the gods, recorded in the Codex Regius. The Great Refuge awaits all true children of 'Avaiki."


Karnak looks down at the sunbeam, having heard and stored every word of that message, then lets her voice fade, absorbing that information. Then she looks at Kamala, "I think Crystal showed us the proper way to Avaiki." With that, she actually reaches out to take Kamala's hand, and with that, the two of them… well, three counting Lockjaw, walk into the light, vanishing just as Crystal did a moment ago.


No time like the present: thus go Scarlett, Steve, and Nexus because nothing spells quick transport like a sunbeam.


"This is going to end badly," Thor predicts, grumbling— he reaches behind him for Mjolnir, which flies towards his waiting grip with a singing song of steel and fury. He slaps the hammerhead into his palm, then rolls his eyes and walks into the light as well, head high and shoulders back.


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