Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]   Posted by Archival.Group: archive 0
Archival
 GM, 9 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 00:50
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The dreams were pleasant at first.

Jeanne swam through beautiful shallows, mingling amongst colourful tropical fish, flitting between verdant kelp forests and swirling through brilliant coral reefs. All the while a light current tugged at her, gently urging her backwards, forwards, sideways or wherever it may have pleased. But it was easy enough to ignore and go about her dream-time adventures and exploration.

The dreams continued.

Jeanne sunk deeper and the waters grew darker as they swallowed the light. The current grew and grew, rising in intensity from a strong undersea gale to an overpowering tempest that threatened to hurl her bodily upon the rocks. The wildlife turned stranger and stranger, from vibrant, psychedelic dreamfish to horrid nightmare abominations. And all the while she could feel her body shifting and churning, growing stronger to fight back against the churning maelstrom.

At times, it seemed as if the waters were out to get her personally. It was hard to shake the feeling that they were holding her back, pushing her away from some greater destiny just out of reach. If she could just swim a little further without being swept away...

And then things got worse.

The dreams were bad enough on their own, but at least she could still force herself to sleep when she tried hard enough. It was only a matter of time before Jeanne began to catch things out of the corner of her eye, swimming in her water. Small flecks at first, near-microscopic little bits at first that looked like little more than bits of dust swirling about. Slowly, over days, they began to grow. They looked like those tiny sea monkeys that kids would raise, but they wouldn't disappear no matter how many times she dumped the water and refill it.

And they kept growing.

From tiny arthropods to guppies and anchovies, all the while looking far from natural with their gnashing little teeth, impossible colours and too-intelligent eyes. And still they grew and changed, taking more alien shapes. Swarms of glimmering, mind-bendingly hued krill that formed mosaics of scenes that Jeanne could almost name before they scattered and reformed into something new. A squid with short little tentacles and a papal mantle, two long tentacles clasped together as though praying. A fish that looked nearly like a shark, with a regal, boney crown of spikes and hungry, human eyes. Jeanne could turn on a tap and see something peering back at her even through the flowing water.

It was starting to become unbearable, pushing Jeanne further and further into madness and away from something just inches away. Peace, perhaps. If things kept up, it was only a matter of time before she was swept away and drowned beneath the waves.

...

The dream was the same that night. Jeanne pushed against a current in depths of the ocean that light had never graced. There was little to see this deep in the open ocean, and yet somehow there was an unshakable feeling that the slightest hesitation would see her swept away and thrown against jagged rocks just out of sight. If she steadied herself and focused hard enough, she could just make out something in the distance. A human figure, impossibly massive, that seemed to stretch into her field of vision no matter which way she looked. She was nearly close enough to make out details, nearly close enough to touch it if she just... reached... a little... further...

Something enormous hurled itself out of the blackness. Eyes that seemed too wide, needle fangs and a face that was just on the edge of familiar. It's maw stretched unimaginably wide as it barrelled down on Jeanne. Her vision was filled with tooth and gullet and stench and-

She was awake. She was home. Sweating and panting, but she was home. It was still dark, just about five in the morning according to the clock. Try as she might to go back to sleep, every time Jeanne closed her eyes, the sight of the beast snapped her back awake. Maybe it was time to get up...
HumansAreScary
 player, 2 posts
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 20:32
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
Jeanne Olbright never really liked dreams. Dreams were never a good sign - dreams meant something was wrong. They meant something wasn't working. They liked to leak over into reality, they liked to haunt her when they started.

It had been nice enough at first - exciting, almost peaceful. Tranquil. She'd never considered herself a diver or anything, but she had moved to Palmera mostly for the view of the ocean, and exploring an endless sea at night was comforting in a way. It made her feel more at-home than she'd felt in a long time, and every night it felt like she was drawing closer and closer to something amazing.

That amazing something wouldn't come easy, as became apparent soon enough. As the waters grew hostile, Jeanne began to sleep with her machete...again...something she hadn't had to do in a long time. It didn't help, of course, she couldn't just bring it with her. But she thought she almost might be able to, if she concentrated a little harder.

Soon after the dreams took a darker tone, Jeanne found that these comparatively nice dreams were as bad a sign as other dreams had always been - little bits in the water at the edge of her vision evolved, turned into unimaginable creatures. Her medication didn't help in the slightest, not going off of it, not doubling her dose. The dishes in her apartment went unwashed in favor of takeout, and she kept her showers short with her eyes squeezed shut, for fear that the torrent of creatures that lived in the water now would dig into her.

She didn't want to think about what she'd see if she looked over to that nice ocean view she'd enjoyed so much, either.

The dreams had gotten even worse as the hallucinations came, a terrible blackness in the water with nothing to defend her and currents trying to steal her away. There was something - someone there, and she was sure she could...end all of it, or something, if she could just reach it.

Naturally, she couldn't. Not tonight. That thing appeared in the darkness, swept her away before she could even raise the machete she didn't have.

When she awoke, part of her wanted to throw up and the other part wanted to douse the first with an entire carton of orange juice. When she closed her eyes she saw it, even when she did so little as blink, and laying in the darkness with nothing but street lights and her alarm clock to illuminate the apartment made her feel like it was waiting patiently for her, just out of view. She could feel her fingertips brush the blade of her machete, but somehow, it felt like she couldn't force herself to sit up...

This message was last edited by the player at 20:32, Sat 02 July 2016.

Archival
 GM, 11 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 21:08
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
As soon as Jeanne tried to get out of bed, it felt as though she were back in the dream. Every bone, every joint and every muscle screamed as something intangible tried to force her back into bed. It didn't didn't even feel like gravity - no, this was something actively pushing back on her, its massive strength wavering and uneven. Not only that, but something in the back of her mind gave her the uncanny impression that it wasn't just some blind force - that there was some intelligence actively trying to keep her from accomplishing anything.

Eventually, Jeanne managed to muster the strength to get out of bed. It wasn't so much strength per se as it was endurance and patience. Each step took nearly a minute at time, and it took everything she had just to root herself in place and not be swept ass over teakettle.

But she did it. Even if the clock said it had taken her twenty minutes, Jeanne Olbright had managed to get out of bed. Somehow, despite the difficulty of it all, she could feel something changing in her, little by little. What little confidence it could lend her was worth its weight in gold, though. She'd need all the motivation she could get just to make it through the rest of the day if this kept up...
HumansAreScary
 player, 3 posts
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 21:31
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
It was like the worst hangover she'd ever had times a thousand, combined with some kind of weird sleep paralysis she couldn't place, and, she did her best to rationalize, the most malicious hallucinating she'd done since...well, since she left the service. Even getting her hand down to the handle of her machete felt like a chore, and inching her way out of bed was a calculated effort that took something equal parts rage and determination, leaving her whole body burning.

[Piece of shit,] she hissed in French as she sent herself ass over teakettle off the side of the bed, then slowly, shakily pushed herself back to her knees, leaning hard on her machete, like it would help her against...whatever it was. Maybe it did, just by being there. "Fuck you."

She took a deep breath, then, and felt for a moment like she might be drowning...then started crawling toward the kitchen, stabbing holes in the floor as she went. Maybe it would be better after some orange juice or...something. Maybe she just needed to wake up a little bit to shake off whatever fresh hell it was.
Archival
 GM, 12 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 22:49
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The force never let up, never backed down. For every push forward, it pushed back twice as hard. But little by little, Jeanne managed to take two steps forward for each step back. Maybe it was the ground-stabbing technique, or maybe it was just that old grit coming back up to lend a hand. Maybe it was something new...

As Jeanne pushed her way toward the kitchen, there was a strange feeling that wormed back into her waking mind. When she blinked, she could almost see it again. It wasn't juice that she was working toward, it was something bigger. Something greater. She was close enough, if she just... reached.. further...

Her hand grasped the fridge door. Of course it did, what else would be there? When she pulled, somehow Jeanne managed to yank it open with far more for than she should have been capable of at the moment, nearly tearing it off its hinges. And yet, it felt like she'd hardly had any force to put in it at all. At least she didn't quite break it.
HumansAreScary
 player, 4 posts
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 23:13
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The light from the fridge lit up Jeanne's little kitchen as the door groaned and the whole machine rocked in place, sending the handful of groceries still sitting on the small shelves sliding toward the front. She wasn't entirely sure what to think, but right at that moment, the juice sliding just a little bit closer so she didn't have to reach and strain as far to get it was quite welcome.

She nearly tore the cap off of the little orange juice jug - literally, and just sort of flopped back, bringing the container to her face and letting it more or less pour down her throat. And across her face a little. She couldn't quite keep up with it, but this was a strange, strange morning, and even getting this far felt like a huge accomplishment.

The juice made her feel better, and she discarded it with the resolution to pick it up later, then kicked the fridge shut and stared up at the ceiling for a minute, sticky and panting (and not in the fun way).

...She just about tore the fucking fridge door open, so it wasn't just some weird sleep paralysis. Suddenly she'd lost her gauge of her own strength or...something, but even when she yanked the fridge door open it hadn't been like...that. With a clearer head, she felt strange all over. Her muscles still ached and burned. That awful weight was still pressing down. But weirdly enough...

Well, she felt alright. Kind of good, even. It felt a little like her days back in the Choir Girls, back when fucked up situations and crazy, sometimes overwhelming odds were the order of the day. She felt a vigor she hadn't since she'd retired, and after only a moment to catch her breath, she groped for a handle on the cupboard to try and pull herself up with...then thought better of it and forced herself to straighten up and reach for the countertop instead.

Jeanne needed to wash some of this fucking orange juice off, and right then, a billion little motherfucking fish monsters didn't seem quite as terrible.
Archival
 GM, 13 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 00:28
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
It wasn't just in her head. It was actually getting better. The pressure was just as strong, to be sure - it was Jeanne that was making it easier. Not easy, but easier than before. She could push back just as hard, as though she were wrestling herself for every motion. The force wavered as it pushed back, sometimes weak enough to gain a few steps at a time, and then an instant later it pressed back so hard her knees nearly gave out.

With great effort, she managed to make it to the bathroom. No longer was she inching her way there. Instead, it was starting to feel more like an exercise, the kind she hadn't done in years. There was a rhythm to it. Pause, relax and shove forward. Pause, relax, shove. One, two, three. One, two, three.

It was hard not to feel like something was changing. Maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. Whatever it was, though, it was going to happen today. And it was going to happen soon.
HumansAreScary
 player, 5 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 00:47
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
Simple, once she got the hang of it. Like treading water. Not easy, but simple.

Jeanne managed to turn the shower on without snapping the knobs off, which was not something she would have ordinarily considered a concern. Her eyes squeezed tightly shut as the water came out, and she fought the irrational sensation of slimy, slippery things splattering all over her, and she sunk down to the floor of the tub under the stream.

How long had it been since she got up? An hour? Every movement had been a struggle, but somehow she felt more alive than ever. The water felt good, almost ridiculously so. Fighting the pressure bearing down on her felt better. She sat propped up on her arms, as if to make sure she didn't relinquish that feeling.

...The soap was a pain in the ass, so she ignored it, hoping if she sat under the stream for a while she wouldn't smell too orange juice-y. It worked with liquor before, probably. At least it worked well enough that she hadn't been fired over it.

After a few minutes alone with herself, the water, the fish in it, and the feeling in her gut, she started to feel...sick? Ecstatic? One of the two? Maybe a mixture of both. Since she got up, something had been nagging at her. A change...an evolution? It didn't make sense. She wanted to dismiss it as another medication issue, but she'd...

It didn't add up. None of it added up, no matter how hard she'd tried to force it to add up. And if it was her condition acting up, it was a totally new kind of crazy.

But it was an old kind of excitement, for sure. Shit. Maybe it would be better to call in sick again... ...but it would probably be better than that to keep her job. She'd...yeah. If she could make it through the morning okay, she'd probably be... ...work was a bad idea.

With the pressure pounding down on her, it was hard to straighten herself up in the shower again. One, two, three...one, two, three...

Past that, it was a matter of drying herself off and changing, then...she wasn't sure. She'd deal with that when she managed to get some pants on.
Archival
 GM, 14 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 01:24
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
Getting up seemed harder than it should have been. Maybe taking the time to relax in the shower had let the pressure grow stronger. Or maybe it made Jeanne weaker. It was hard to tell, but the force's strength was renewed as much as Jeanne's should have. Drying herself off was a chore, and it still felt like the worst was yet to come.

One step out of the bathroom, two steps... And then it struck like a tidal wave. Jeanne's knees buckled and it sent her sprawling to the floor The weight kept holding her down, pinning her to the ground. It felt like she was there for hours by the centrifuge ride from hell. It was nicer there, against the cold floor. It let up when she didn't move, seemingly content so long as she wasn't making progress toward anything.

It took everything in her, but eventually Jeanne managed to make it to her feet. How long had she been on that floor? An hour? More? No... If her clock was right and not just another hallucination, it had only been an hour since she got up. Only. All she had done was go to the fridge, drink some juice and take a quick shower, and it had taken an hour. Yet, somehow it felt like it had been an eternity since she woke up. At least she was making better time than it seemed.
HumansAreScary
 player, 6 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 03:19
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
It had gotten tougher, she decided, because she rested for so long in the shower. She wouldn't make that mistake again.

Jeanne swore at the floor, at the fact she'd left her machete in the kitchen, at the extra forty pounds she'd put on since she started slacking on exercise, and she cursed God a little bit for good measure, fucking bitch that He was.

She wobbled her way back to her bedroom at length, feeling like she had to claw away at herself and the monsters in the darkness for every inch, and groped almost drunkenly at her closet, trying not to rip it open.

It took some groping to retrieve her jeans, and she all but tore a teeshirt down from a hanger, and...she had to make an extra trip to get to her underwear. Fuck.

It took longer than she would have ever liked to admit to even get her clothes on, and it left her feeling like an invalid in her own apartment. It also meant spending an uncomfortable amount of time naked and vulnerable, and even when she was basically done, she was left lying face-up on the floor, trying to dig the zipper for her fly out of the seam below so she could zip the damn thing up.

She wouldn't rest for long after that - though it wasn't that she needed to be anywhere, not for a while. No, resting would mean letting this...whatever the hell it was win. Even if she had to fucking limp outside, she was going to...do something. Take a walk. Anything but sit in the apartment.

The harder she fought it, the better she felt. The idea of fighting it all day was pretty intimidating, but also sort of exciting. The more anxious she got about it the more it felt like something in her life had been missing until she'd gotten up not even two hours ago.
Archival
 GM, 15 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 03:58
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
Jeanne struggled to the door, but kept her footing. It ended up being even more of a struggle to keep from slamming the door open. She was starting to get inklings of control over whatever superhuman(?) strength this was, but it sure wasn't easy. Once that was done, it was a mostly uneventful struggle as she pushed herself to the stairs and through the front hall of her apartment building.

The sun had started to rise while she was busy crawling around her apartment and admiring the hardwood, bringing the first signs of colour to an otherwise grey sky. The ground was still wet from what looked like a serious storm the night before. ...Funny, Jeanne didn't remember hearing anything like that. Maybe she was sleeping more soundly than she'd thought.

...And she could see them in the puddles. A school of blue fish with bright yellow eyes the size of their bodies. An eel looking creature with a crab's pincers and legs. A small shoal of those strange, praying squid. A massive cetacean silhouette moving in the distance. But strangest of all was the way they were hardly moving. They were far busier staring at Jeanne. Watching her struggle. Waiting for something.

That was new.

The streets were still dim and deserted this early. Even with the sun rising, it was still dark enough for the street lights to stay on. At least if she freaked out, there would be no one around to notice. On the other hand, if she collapsed, there wouldn't be anyone to come help. ...Which was just as true in her apartment, anyways.
HumansAreScary
 player, 7 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 04:08
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
"Fucking...ugh. Shit."

Jeanne smelled the rain in the air before she saw it, and she knew what it meant. It was almost enough to make her turn back into the apartment - almost - but she opted to press on anyway, doing her best to keep her eyes away from the puddles and, as always, away from the ocean.

...It was hard to avert her eyes completely, though. It was always a little hard. And she caught in the corner of her eye a sort of eerie stillness as the creatures watched her...and like a tyrant setting her minions straight, she made a point of stomping in a puddle.

Really, she wasn't on her way to anywhere in particular...she couldn't pretend to be. The morning air was bracing, filled the the smell of rain and the sea and the ever-present smell of fish, and the air was cool and pleasant.

...

[Fuck are you looking at?] she snarled at a puddle, stomping it furiously, almost expecting the fish to scatter. It was probably good nobody was around...though she was already the weird French teacher to most of the locals anyway, so this wouldn't be too strange, probably.
Archival
 GM, 16 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 05:08
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
They kept watching as she walked. Stomping the puddles scattered some of the small critters, at least. Maybe they were afraid of Jeanne, or they just had something better to do. Unless it was all in Jeanne's head and that's what she expected them to do. The bigger ones with bigger teeth were unfazed, and continued to eye Jeanne hungrily as she pressed on.

The weight never let up. Just when Jeanne would start to tolerate it, it would press down hard or suddenly let up and make her stumble forward a few steps. More and more, however, she could match its strength as she pushed back. It was hard to tell if she was actually pushing against anything at all, but it was something. Every now and again a car would pass by, but... Hell, they probably weren't paying any attention to Jeanne, right?

After god knows how long, Jeanne found herself passing by the gas station a couple blocks away. It was a dingy little place, but whatever, their slim jims were just as good as anywhere else. Just one car was filling up this early in the morning, probably someone squeezing it in at the last minute before work.
HumansAreScary
 player, 8 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 05:15
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
Every stumble almost sent her onto her hands and knees, but with a growl she forced herself to keep her balance. Whatever wanted to stop her, she could fight it, and she was going to fucking fight it until one of them was dead.

She did her best to ignore the cars - it wasn't the first time she'd been stumbling around the city at sixish in the morning, and she doubted it'd be the last. Rubberneckers could go to hell.

As she wandered, she started making a point of staring into the puddle, glaring down the hungrier-looking fish for the sake of glaring them down, and before she really knew it, she'd made it into the gas station parking lot...and straightening her back and trying to fake normal, she gently pushed her way inside, groping for her wallet in her pocket.

Thankfully she'd remembered to grab that and her keys before she left, only out of habit.

Some jerky or a morning hot dog or something would...probably backfire spectacularly. But she was going to get some anyway, and maybe some shitty coffee too.
Archival
 GM, 17 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 05:33
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The blonde twenty-something behind the counter eyed Jeanne with a look that said she'd seen a hundred drunks or stoners stumble in at this hour, and the Frenchwoman sure as hell wouldn't be the last. Half the time she wasn't even looking at Jeanne, instead checking her phone while she chewed her gum.

She was cute enough, with blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, topped off with a little uniform visor and a nose piercing. But now wasn't the time for that, right, Jenny?

When she passed by the refrigerated section on her way to the coffee counter, it was hard to ignore the feeling of being in an aquarium when she walked by the rows and rows of bottled water. Except somehow Jeanne was the one on exhibit. They just watched and stared, while every now and then something would flit by in the background and distract one or two of the predators.

Getting the coffee was a task in itself - she hadn't noticed just how hard it was to control her strength until she tried holding a paper cup - but the jerky was easy enough to come by. A hot dog, on the other hand, would mean talking to the cashier. But they did look so nice, rolling around on their rack all shiny with grease...
HumansAreScary
 player, 9 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 05:44
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
[Fuck off,] she mumbled unceremoniously to the rows of fish in the rows of bottles in the rows of the drink cases. They weren't bothering her as much this morning, they seemed almost less foreign. Or maybe everything else led to her downplaying their strangeness in her head. Talking to them didn't really help, but it didn't really hurt, either.

Jeanne must have crushed five different paper cups just trying to get a grip on herself. She still wasn't...entirely sure she'd developed super strength. But she was mostly sure. And even slightly sure it wasn't some kind of hallucination. The gravity of the whole thing didn't quite hit her yet - getting super strength by fighting some invisible force, possibly during a fit of hallucinations? That sounded like one of those edgy underground comic books that was trying really hard to be much too deep for anyone.

Eventually she managed to get herself some coffee, though getting it to the counter felt like holding a bird's egg and trying not to drop it while she got it back to the nest. Jerky was much more accommodating, jerky didn't care if you squeezed the life out of it.

...The hot dog, she decided, was something she needed this morning. Even if it would mean juggling things a little on her way out.

"'Ey. 'Ey, girl. Get me a 'ot dog. One of ze fresh, plump ones, none of zat wrinkly sree-day-old shit." ...Well, okay, they were probably all more than three days old. It wasn't Jeanne's first gas station dog. But whatever.
Archival
 GM, 18 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 06:06
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The girl didn't seem to pay too much attention to Jeanne until she got within a few feet of the counter. Her eyes snapped up to Jeanne with a mixture of... Shit, it was hard to tell, exactly. Fear, maybe? Was Jeanne that frightening in her current state? Did she really look like she was about to hold up the joint? But... No, not quite fear. Or at least, not fear alone. There was something else, just verging on awe, a mixture of dread and wonder in equal parts.

"Y-ye- Uh- Yes, right away, ma'am," she stammered, before heading off to find a suitable hotdog. Ma'am? She hurried back, half-forcing a smile that seemed just... just a bit too submissive. Too eager to please, but maybe just a little bit in the good way. "Would you, um, would you like anything on that?"

Something about the way she looked at Jeanne just felt right. It made her feel stronger, and for a brief moment seemed as though it almost lifted that damned weight off of her. Or maybe it was just pushing her to press her luck. Hell, the girl was looking at her like she'd give it away for free if Jeanne asked...
HumansAreScary
 player, 10 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 13:08
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
Jeanne was confused at first, more than anything. It wasn't like she'd never had someone falling over themselves to just do what she said before, but it sure as hell hadn't happened lately, and she thought she'd managed to tone down the crazy soldier girl bit. But this was...already a strange morning, so in a way, she almost wasn't surprised.

...It may have also been because she had so much trouble with the coffee. But she decided not to overthink that - the deer in headlights look kind of suited this girl, and it gave her a predatory bloom in her heart that seemed to calm even the...whatever it was, today. Briefly entertained the thought of trying to get her to take a seven minutes in heaven-style smoke break, but she wasn't going to push her luck that much...was she?

"Ketchup, mustaird, relish, and your name, ma bichette." She met the girl's eyes, grinning as she leaned on the counter. Jeanne was vaguely aware that was probably creepy as hell, but bullying a girl like this a little bit felt like the right thing to do, and all the better if she could walk away with a phone number amidst all this weird bullshit.

Her confident smile faltered a bit when she suddenly worried if she'd break the counter or something by leaning on it. That would be silly, though. It was all just...weird, right? It couldn't actually be super strength. And she didn't lean on it that hard.
Archival
 GM, 19 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 17:39
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
"Uh," the girl mumbled, giving Jeanne a weak smile and a nervous laugh, "Caitlyn. And, yeah. Yeah, okay. One moment."

She made a hasty retreat, making it hard to tell if she even realized Jeanne was hitting on her or just thought she was some strung-out creep. The counter creaked ever so slightly beneath Jeanne's arm, but didn't give way just yet. She could almost feel the pressure ebbing away - maybe because she was standing still - and it was making her strength a bit easier to control. Off to the side, something blinked at her from within Caitlyn's water bottle.

The cashier, Caitlyn, returned after a moment, pushing Jeanne's hotdog across the counter. She punched the numbers into the register and rattled off Jeanne's total. From the look on her, face she was just hoping Jeanne wouldn't hit her for daring to ask her to pay for her purchases. Somehow, it just made the Frenchwoman feel the slightest bit more powerful, and the counter creaked once again.
HumansAreScary
 player, 11 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 17:49
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The little pang of fear was intoxicating. Hell, everything about the situation was intoxicating - the feeling of the counter giving way just a little bit under her, the trembling, awkward girl across the counter. Even the way the fish in her water bottle stared at her now was sort of empowering in a way Jeanne couldn't describe.

She gave her best smile - a little flirty, a little dangerous - and paid for her breakfast without particular incident, lifting her coffee off the counter again with a gentleness normally reserved for a tender lover.

"'Ave a good morning, ma bichette," she called out as she left, lifting the hand holding her coffee in an approximation of a wave. After that, she sought out anything like a park bench to try and eat her hot dog without crushing it. And drink her coffee without crushing it.

Her jerky would probably be fine.

She kept her eyes off the ground so she didn't need to worry about fish watching her eat, too, though she knew they still were and it was a hard feeling to shake.
Archival
 GM, 20 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 21:29
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
As Jeanne left the gas station convenience store, she could almost catch Caitlyn shaking herself out of her stupor. The weight still seemed duller as she looked for a place to sit and eat, as if seeing her will to trudge on had made it lose its nerve.

Even eating her food and drinking her coffee was entirely uneventful. It didn't try to smack the hotdog out of her hand or spill coffee on her... Could it even do that in the first place? Either that, or it was biding its time until-

Until she tried to get back up.

The force crushed her against the bench, harder than ever before. Maybe she just wasn't allowed to take a break. Every muscle screamed in protest as the pressure built in her chest, squeezing the life out of her. This was the moment. She could feel it in her bones as the weight of eons threatened to pulverize them into powder. It was getting harder to breathe. Jeanne could fight back here, or let the waves break her upon this rock. If she focused, she could almost see it in her mind's eye, right there within reach. All she had to do was reach out and take it...
HumansAreScary
 player, 12 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 23:07
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
[Fuck you,] she hissed as she gripped the park bench. Her breathing became quick and uneven, she glared death into some invisible presence. Every word she forced out became one of a litany of curses, a typhoon of vicious oaths. It wasn't something she could try and pretend to deny anymore. There was no doubt about a supernatural presence there, right then, trying to crush her, trying to turn her into dust.

She closed her eyes and felt the ache from before, the triumphant feeling of bullying that poor gas station attendant, and more than that, stabbing her way to the kitchen and the bathroom and all the fuck the way out here, all on her own. This wasn't normal, but fuck normal.

[Fucking...kill you...]




Just reach out...and take it.




It was a dark sort of focus, a madness she had done her best to give up...no, to call it that would be oversimplifying it. That madness, somehow, felt like a tiny fragment of this...whatever it was. The tiniest, smallest bit of potential she had harnessed before, and now she could wedge it into something bigger. Something more. She seized the madness in her mind, held it firmly in her hand, let it dissolve in her grip and surround her.

The frenchwoman stood in front of a park bench with a little box for a hot dog, a jerky wrapper, and a coffee cup left lazily on it. Her back was straight, her eyes squeezed shut, her fists clenched. Divots had been left in the edge of the bench where she gripped it while she was trying to push herself up.

But she'd managed it. She'd managed one big, violent fuck you to whatever had tried to hold her back. She had no words for any of it, but she felt it running through her, a strength she couldn't imagine, a superhuman feeling.

...In less than two hours, she'd be in her classroom. She wasn't sure what she was going to do about that. But right at that moment, she wasn't sure she gave a flying fuck.
Archival
 GM, 21 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 23:39
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
And in that moment, as Jeanne seized what was rightfully hers, the waves abated. The weight on her body lifted. She could feel it, that this was something she had earned, through not only fighting it, but thriving and refusing to let it keep her from going about her business. She had earned the right to do as she pleased unmolested.

The power flowed through her, suffusing every vein and nerve with the strength and will of untold generations. Her muscles clenched and flexed as wisps of fog coalesced and dispersed around her at random. Jeanne could feel her very presence stretch and envelope the area around her. It was a strange sensation, as if someone had finally opened a forgotten corridor of her mind that had been locked since the day she was born. And as a last, brilliant star faded to the day's light, the power settled into place.

This was what she had been waiting for.

This power was hers.

...

...

The walk home was decidedly quiet compared to her earlier revelation. Anticlimactic, even. There was the distinct feeling that, while something great and awesome had occurred, there was no direction to it. It simply was, for the time being.

As she reached her apartment, now unburdened by... whatever had just happen, Jeanne caught sight of something waiting in front of her door. A package, addressed to her, about a foot long, nearly as wide and half as deep. It looked average enough, though a bit scuffed and the brown wrapping paper was a bit discoloured by age. But the post never delivered this early, did it? And they wouldn't just leave it in front of her door, would they? Hell, it was weird enough that they just so happened to have delivered it during the half hour or so that she'd stepped out of the house.

At the same time, Jeanne realized there was an odd odour and texture to the air in the hall way. It was wet and cloying, and smelled of sea salt, as if the hallway had somehow been transported to the seaside without Jeanne's knowledge. It seemed more pungent right around the package by the slightest little bit.
HumansAreScary
 player, 13 posts
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 00:04
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The trip back home felt distinctly uneventful without having to fight every step of the way...though it presented a lot of its own problems. For one, without having to fight against something, suddenly Jeanne felt vaguely like she might break anything she touched or even stepped upon. The other...

...the other was trying to piece together exactly what the everloving fuck. In her time in the Choir Girls she wasn't sure she'd ever encountered a phenomenon like this, or if she had, it was something she couldn't link to her current situation at all. But whatever it was...

It kinda made her want to use it. It made her want to go back and smash the park bench for no good reason, it made her want to rip off the front door to her apartment just to prove that she could. Somehow, she resisted the urge...for now.

The heavy feel of the sea hit her as she reached the floor her apartment was on, and she furrowed her brow as she followed it to her apartment, staring down at the lightly weathered package.

...She could probably break that and the door. If she smashed it into the door hard enough she could probably break the door with it.

Somehow, she resisted the urge...again...unlocking her apartment and bringing the box inside, instinctively averting her eyes from the kitchen and slamming down on the smashable couch instead-

Shit, she didn't always like breaking stuff this much, did she? ...Yeah. She did, a little bit. She just hadn't had the sheer strength to do it barehanded before.

Jeanne spent a long time staring the package down as it sat on her little coffee table, trying to decide whether this was weirder or less weird than...everything else today. They had to be linked. Maybe it was some kind of fucking...curse?

Maybe, she decided, she should just open the fucking box instead of staring at it...so she did, slitting the wrapping paper open before tearing it completely.
Archival
 GM, 22 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 00:35
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The first thing that she found in the box was more of that smell. It wasn't exactly unpleasant or fishy, more like the salt on a sea breeze. Except... if someone had stuffed something that smelled like the sea breeze in a tiny box for years on end. The smell burst out, a veritable confetti of stank splashing right into Jeanne's face.

Once the smell began to fade, it was immediately apparent where it came from. Biggest object in the package was a large book of some kind. A tome, really, its pale turquoise cover unmarked and covered with grit and barnacles. It looked old, too, like the sort of thing that out to have been in the library of some decrepit old sorcerer. Intermingled amongst the lightly-browned pages were much newer white papers not bound with the book - notes, most likely. It was the sort of thing she'd remembered some old friends do.

The second thing in the package was a plain white envelope with Jeanne's name written on the back in pen. Its contents were decidedly more modern than the tome it had come with: a simple, ordinary apology card, printed on glossy card-stock, as if it had been picked up at Hallmark or a drugstore. It wasn't particularly cheeky or overly cutesy like some of them, just a simple 'I'm sorry' on the front in big letters over a floral background.

What was written in the card, however, was an entirely different matter. Though the card itself was blank, a piece of paper had been tucked into it, with far more written on it than would have fit in a simple card.


To Jeanne, my beloved daughter,

If all has gone according to plan, by the time you receive this package, the most painful stage of your transformation should be behind you. You have now become something second only to our great ancestors, the gods themselves. For this and for many things, I only wish I was there to congratulate you in person.

For all the days of your life that we have been apart, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry. Because of circumstances beyond my control, we could never be together, and we may never for many years. Just know that you have been in my thoughts from the moment you were conceived and will be until the day I die.

As horribly cliché as it may be to say, today is the first day of the rest of your life. You have claimed what is rightfully yours. You have risen from the masses of sheep to become one of their shepherds. As your power grows, they will recognize your majesty by instinct and seek to appease you. Your followers are yours to do with as you wish, but always be on the watch for wolves amongst the flock. You are not a god yet, and you are not immortal.

Enclosed is a text which should teach you much about yourself and others of our kind. I have translated as much as I could in the time that I had. It is not much, but it should be enough for you to understand what you have been born with. Perhaps, in time, you will find one who speaks the Old Tongue so that they may finish transcribing the text for you.

Good luck, eldest of my daughters. Enjoy your newfound power to its fullest. Should you meet any of your sisters along the way, teach them what I have given you. And please try to get along.

With all the love in this world and the rest,
Your father.

HumansAreScary
 player, 14 posts
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 00:55
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
It took a moment for the sea salt to abate, stinging her eyes and digging into her lungs. It was a nice change from the scent of the dishes she couldn't make herself wash, at least, and once it cleared...

The book was curious enough, but the card was curiouser for Jeanne. Her eyes widened as she read it, then reread it, then reread it again and again, completely unsure what to make of it.

Papa...? she mouthed, not quite able to form the words, tears jabbing gently at her eyes, blinked away and rubbed out by the back of her arm as she slumped against the couch, letting the note drift to the ground.

There was no way it was him. She didn't have a father. She never had. ...But she hadn't had...powers a few weeks ago, either, and as strange as it was, somehow this explained things better than anything she could come up with.

Jeanne pushed herself to her feet, then wandered across the apartment, then hurried back to read the apology note again, then paced some more. The smell of the sea from the inside of the package seemed to linger in the air through her apartment, and she didn't know what to think about it. It was sort of soothing, but everything about this made her angry, too.

...Sisters. She had sisters? She was...descended from gods? And people would recognize her as such.

It felt like too much. She couldn't sit still. She abandoned her apartment for a minute to get a soda from a machine on the floor below, then took the long way back.

She set it down next to the book, still totally unopened, then gingerly picked the letter up again and set it aside along with the card, like she was afraid it would disintegrate in her hands.

The book she was slightly less careful with, but only slightly. It looked like a wizard book from a movie, and why the hell were there barnacles on it? ...Probably the same reason she saw fucking fish in the tap water. Probably the same reason she almost ripped her damn refrigerator door off when she got up!

...It took a minute to work up the guts to open it. It wasn't exactly her first rodeo with the weird and wild, but this was...well, it was hers. It had been given to her, a gift for her goddess bat mitzvah.

...Holy shit, she was a goddess, or...close. A demigod. Fucking Hercules. And...some of those other dildos. Charlemagne, maybe. She flopped back against the couch with the book more or less in her lap, then leaned forward again to retrieve her Doc P, then finally, finally turned to the first page, and began to glance through the script inside until she reached the first white paper.
Archival
 GM, 23 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 01:35
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The book was certainly the sort of thing that certain old colleagues would drool over. It was written in some form of ancient script, not unlike a kind of runic text. Try as she might, however, Jeanne's new power didn't give her any miraculous ability to understand it.

The first white page, on the other hand, did. It looked to be a word for word translation of the book's first page, written with what seemed to be an ordinary blue, ballpoint pen and formatted in keeping with the book's as much as possible. As she flipped through the rest of the tome, that seemed to be the case for each white page. Ultimately, however, there were only two dozen pages translated, out of what looked to be about a hundred.

What pages were translated, however, first discussed the alleged history of the Leviathans, complete with margin notes that someone - presumably Jeanne's enigmatic father - had jotted down. Most of the notes had a decidedly zealous bent, scoffing at any suggestions that their kind were anything less than the divine fruit of the progenitors. As the text continued, it discussed some of the power of the Leviathan and the nature of the Wake as the Leviathan's divine right to rule made manifest (for once matching her father's tone). From the text, it was hard to feel like there was any downside to this at all. The margin notes added a few mentions of how to best apply the Wake and amass followers, taking on a decidedly cult-ish feel. But... was that so bad? Wasn't that Jeanne's right?

The next chapter spent time detailing the various Schools of thought regarding the use of a Leviathan's power. Naturally, Jeanne's father made his own opinions clear, heavily suggesting that the School of the Sun was the most fulfilling and noble path to take. Even the text seemed to lean toward it, though it was hard to tell if that was yet more of the translator's own bias.

The last page began to detail something known as The Rift before being abruptly cut off before anything of worth could be translated.
HumansAreScary
 player, 15 posts
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 02:02
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
It felt like a ridiculous amount to absorb all at once, and thinking about it almost made Jeanne dizzy. She had to stop and take a breath now and again, rereading what she'd gotten through so far and pushing a little deeper each time. After a few reads, she was sure she got the gist of it, however.

This was all a sort of divine right passed down by their forefathers, the gods that, it seemed, actually created the world. It would have been harder to swallow if her morning had gone in any other way.

People other than her - and presumably, her father and her siblings, and anyone else with the blood of the gods - would be affected by a certain aura, the Wake, also part of her divine right. She'd seen that in effect already with what's-her-face with the cute piercing at the gas station. She was so cute and obedient, it was hard not to like the notion...

...and the idea of a...cult? Cult seemed sort of misguided. Cults were for lunatics worshiping dead gods and getting scammed by sociopaths. She would...yes. She would form a church.

...Okay, well, that still sounded kind of crazy. But it was a good kind of crazy. She was a god, sort of. Almost. She felt like a god. She was definitely more than a human, wasn't she? And if they were going to serve her anyway, she should just...go with it. Use it. ...She could guide them, even. Take them under her wing.

Much more lascivious thoughts flashed through her mind, but she wanted to pretend for at least a moment that her intentions were pure. Ish.

...Fuck, what was a person supposed to do when they were promised a cult? She'd deal with it as it came.

There were supposed to be other powers...Maybe like the first, strings of madness she could pull on for more strength. She could figure it out as she went, Jeanne decided.

And the schools...

...Her father made it pretty clear, at least to her. The School of the Sun celebrated the obvious, the others seemed more interested in trying to block it out or...something. And it seemed to be the one Papa...

...Not that she really cared what the man that had abandoned her for three fucking decades thought. ...Even if all of this felt like a sort of gift. She could tell reading it that he wanted her to follow in his footsteps, and it all snapped clearly into place from even a simple translation.

When she'd finished reading entirely, Jeanne set the book aside and dug around for a cigarette, lighting it as she finished her soda, quietly digesting everything she'd read and learned...and trying to sort how much of it was bullshit.

Some of it had to be. If she still had a bead on the old gang, maybe she could pass some of it along and try to verify it. They'd scattered to the winds, though, and...maybe it was for the best.

...This wasn't the kind of book they kept around for shits. It was the kind of book they stuffed in a library where some pencilnecks could sit and analyze it and figure out how to hunt every single god in it down. She would have jumped right on board with that plan two weeks ago, not knowing how important it really was.

No, this wasn't something she'd show anyone. This was hers. This was her birthright or it was an...amazing fucking joke. She'd stash it somewhere secret and quiet, and if she got time, shit, she might try to translate more of it using the notes Papa left. And in the meantime, she had divine powers - a whisper from God, an older and realer God than any she'd listened to before.

...It was kind of sobering thinking she'd still have to go to work. Maybe she'd call in again.

...Or maybe she'd see what Genevieve looked like when she had the cute, scared face as the little deer from before...that was well worth killing a day working bullshit per hour, right?
Archival
 GM, 24 posts
 I RUN THIS BITCH
Mon 4 Jul 2016
at 02:34
Prologue: Breaking the Surface [Jeanne]
The next hour or so flew by as Jeanne read. Before long, it was time to put down her new bible and get ready for school. She had a long way to go before she could afford to skip out on her job. Then again, where better to start her new life than among so many eager young minds?

With the book tucked away and her new power just begging to be used, it was time to get to work.

PROLOGUE END