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 Chapter 7: Brimstone Roads

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Pennywise
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PostSubject: Chapter 7: Brimstone Roads   Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:54 am

Chapter 7
Brimstone Roads

For jack walking along these roads of stone was something else, seeing all this naturally formed caves was. Interesting. In his time on earth it had always been believed that the underworld was somehow below the earth. Which in some sense was actually true. But the further he ventured into these caves and the deeper it went. Jack began to wonder just what was below hell. Curiosity. Always one of Jack's little quirks. One they would probably end up getting him killed one day. And much like him. The camp of researchers seemed to be much of the same mind as Jack himself. The glutton had defiantly came this way and yet, these people weren’t dead. Nor were they ravenously hungry and eating one another. The old world had strange ways of writing things and very little of what was left behind was understood. But these archaeologists on this site had been uncovering and attempting to translate what they could. Upon entering their camp, much like any other case of groups in the underworld they were treated with suspicion and brought to the head researcher. Who was. As expected. Not all too enthusiastic about them claiming she had to abandon the dig site due to the Glutton. She in so many words, explained what they were doing here, the importance of it. And of course. Told them to fuck right off if they thought the research was going to stop. Jonah remained persistent but. Jack was to be honest quite intrigued about the whole thing. So much so that he almost forgot about the glutton. Jack took Jonah by the arm and led him off to the side, taking a second to stretch his head around to the lead researcher and tell her that he needed a moment to converse with his " friend". With a flash of interest glazing his eyes Jack whispered to Jonah. " Think about this for a second Jonah, the idea of an arch demon trying to bring order to hell...even if this wasn't a great discovery in itself...threes the matter of the glutton at hand...think about it..really think...we know it came this way, yet these researchers are as of yet unaffected by its powers, or for that matter. Dead.". Jonah raised an eyebrow. " It’s strange I admit, but what are you trying to get at?". Jack chuckled lightly. " It’s simple...there must be some reason the powers of the glutton aren’t effecting them. The only real thing I can think of, is that threes something in this dig site warding off the powers of the glutton, I mean the thing surely must have sensed and heard them. If so, why did it avoid them when it came past?". There was a slight hint of understanding in Jonah's face at that point. The leader of fear seemed to be catching onto the idea.

" If theres something in this tunnel thats warding off the powers of the glutton Jack...then yes...we need to find it". Jack thumbed over to the head researcher, nodding lightly. Both walked back to the head of the site and Jack gave his best at trying on a nice smile. " Ok we've come to the decision that what you are doing is indeed worth the risk". The researcher rolled her eyes. " Well high didly dee that makes me feel so much more relieved to have your approval". Resist the urge to rip her head off. Resist. Those were the few thoughts passing through the mind of the pride demon as he kept up his smile. Acting like a pro. " We'd like to make a request if we can?". He said almost through his teeth. Worried that if he dropped the smile it would reveal his true intent. The woman looked suspicious. " What?". Jack once again, kept his patience in tow. Something that Jonah was surprised the man was capable of, particularly after his slaughter of the Sloth traitors he had found. " If we could, we'd like to see just what you've managed to uncover from this dig site, any information that would aid us in our fight against the Gluttony demon would be useful, and since none of you are effected by it, I can only surmise that the answer lies somewhere on this dig site". The head researcher thought for a moment and then shrugged. " If it'll get you out of my hair, fine". And thus began to trek down from the camps, into what looked much like a broken old steet, the architect gestured around her. " This is a collapsed section of one of the old city ruins top side. By the looks of it, whatever happened during the dawn caused it to fall through the earth and into here". The architecture looked rather gothic. And once again, Jack was beginning to feel that odd itchy sensation, and a headache. He placed his hand on his forehead. The looked to the left, noticing that Jonah standing next to him was doing the same. interesting if not somewhat annoying, this place seemed to be having an effect on both himself and the leader of fear. He had to wonder if it had something to do with psyche demons in general. If so. Was this what was keeping the glutton at bay? Then again, he couldn't really see a creature of such power being warded off by such little pain as a minor headache. Besides. He had experienced this feeling before when - door in the corridor. Blinking light. Moving towards it. Hand on the handle. Yellow eyes in the blackness- a sudden surge of intense pain came with the images. Jonah laid his hand on Jack's shoulder. " Are you ok?". The fear leader asked, A calm tone, not at all edged with concern however. " Fine". Answered Jack, bluntly. Harshly. Truth be told the annoyance of the headache was beginning to get old. He hated it all. But the eyes behind that dream, yellow eyes in the darkness. Thee eyes f a madness demon. One could only imagine just what was travelling through his mind at that point. " Ah crap". The last words heard by the archaeologist, before everything went black.

Ii

Not black as in dark. Black as in. Black. Things began to crawl out of holes in the walls, like a carpet of darkness moving out of it towards them, at first he thought it was some kind of liquid like oil, but on closer inspection he got a sense from it. Demonic in nature. And it wasn't just on tainted signature. It was...thousands. Millions even. His senses were almost completely overwhelmed, so much so that he had to for a time literally ignore them, cutting himself off from what had practically become as much a part of him as his eyes or ears. What he did was the practical equivalent of shutting his eyes. " Tunnel ants!". The archaeologist shouted out. Several demons ran out in front of them, throwing out their arms and when the wave of " ants" drew near. A barrier opened up like a dome around the encampment. The ants crawled everywhere, giving Jack a chance to see this city crawling with living blackness. " Tunnel ants?". He spoke aiming it at the archeogist or one of her obviously talented barrier producing friends. " Yeah, annoying as hell. Didn't know the things existed till we came down here, lost about half our survey team when they decided to show up first time, little bastards will strip the flesh from your bones in seconds if you aren’t careful". She gestured to the buildings and the ants. " Barrier magic seems to keep them back though, we've discovered patterns in their attacks, we think this area is their main hunting ground. And they come here every day at noon then retreat, it'll be a couple of hours before they return". Jack began to think, was the gluttons reluctance to enter the area something to do with these tunnel ants? Perhaps, but it still didn't explain the lack of physcotic cannibalism within the researchers. " How long before they let up?"The woman placed a finger to her chin and then looked around. " Judging by the size of this wave...couple hours, maybe longer". Jack shook his head. Patience wasn't really one of his best traits. But judging by the whole no choice factor in all of this. He would leave it with theme s it was. They group headed back to the camp. And it seemed the entrance too had been covered by the swarm of tunnel ants. The only area left uncovered in this place was the encampment. And only because of the barrier. Hours passed and yet the ants showed no signs of letting up. The researchers were getting twitchy. And Jack was getting annoyed. "They should have dispersed by now". The archaeologist seemed concerned. " No shit". Spoke Jack rather bluntly, earning him a glare. Jonah, leaning against a balancing pole in the middle of the tent spoke up. " Its the effect of the glutton I fear, if this is the ants hunting ground then its also where they come for food...if so, and the glutton is enarby, then they may have been infected by the hunger". Jack thought about it, made sense. He looked over at the archeologist with a shit eating grin. " Told you, you should have left before it was too late~". She wacked him over the head with a heavy hand. " Shaddap....Besides, you don't have any reason other than circimstance to believe that its this glutton thing causing the whole mess do you?".

Jack looked at Jonah, Jonah back to Jack. Both shrugged. " Nope". Truth was that despite having great reason to suspect that the glutton was behind this whiole mess they did have no physical proof. Nothing but cicrimstantial evidence. And no matter what court of law you played that in there was no way it was going to be accepted. For now it was just a case of wait and see whether or not the ants would disperse. But that also laid to them a delay in their leaving the tunnel. For Jonah this was more of an issue for Jack, for he had to wonder whether or not fear would accept being led by the leader of Sloth for a period longer than he had expected. Or even she had expected. That night none of them slept easily, for Jack it was mostly down to the steadily worsening headache that had started earlier on sink eye had came to this area. Before the ants had blocked their route forwards or backwards

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 7: Brimstone Roads   Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:11 am



A few days had passed withuin the camp, still no sign of the tunnel ants letting up had been shown. Already things were begining to take a much more dire turn as supplies usually brought from the outside could not make it through the swarm. In fact the first unlucky bunch who had tried to come down into the tunnels from the outside had been moved over and gone. And the project lead was right. Pure white bones. Not even a spec of blood remained. It had to be the effects of the glutton. Nothing made creatures that ravenous.

Meanwhile, Jack, Jonah and the team lead were sat around discussing the possibilities of hwo just to escape from this place without getting eaten alive. " I suppose we could just wait until the hunger drives them to eat one another". Jack brought up in a rather helpful cheery tune. But such a thing was laced heavily with sarcasm. " Food source for us! Each other, at least I know me and Jonah would be walking out of here alive!". Eyes met with the leader of fear as he smirked. " Well. I would be anyways". The team lead gave him a set of dagger eyes, a glare that would make a lesser man flinch. But Jack just met it with a cold passive stare of. " I don't give a shit". She spoke up. " We arn't going to resort to cannihalism". Jack leaned over. Forward onto his cane. " Oh?...then I'd like to hear just what you'd suggest". The archeoligist grinned. " We walk out".

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 7: Brimstone Roads   Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:36 am

A plan to just walk out of there. Genius. Jack just sat there, unimpressed. Was the plan merely to throw themselves at the waves of ants and hope that satisfied their hunger for demonic flesh, of course! Why didn't he think of it before. It was so engenius clearly it had escaped his mind to do so. " Ok...". Said Jack in a slow sarcastic manner. " Anyone got any workable ideas?". The head researcher looked at him with a sodded distain and then whacked him once again on the back of the head, walking into the centre of the room after doing so. " Its simple you clod. All we need to do is move the barrier with us". For a moment Jack thought about it. Moving the barrier. It wasn't a bad idea at all. If the mages were skilled enough to keep up the spell whilst moving then yes, it possibly could work. In theory. Of course,reality and theory very rarely ever coincided. So many unknown factors that could warp the outcome of any known event.

"Ok then"

Said Jack, " I'm convinced, but can your mages hold the barrier whilst moving?". It wasn't just the walking that had to be kept in mind, but the diea that this would not only be a case of holding back a tide, but pushing back against it as well. The force required for that would be more than it was currently for the defense. The archeologist scratched her chin. " You have a point. Forcing them back is another thing all together...". Jack nodded. " And don't forget. The tunnels get thinner the closer we get to the entrance, if we lower the barrier we die, if we thin it, not all of us will make it". The researcher shook her head. " Not happening, I'm not leaving anyone behind". Jack admired her bravado. But it only played into his hands. " Only one way to go then...". A terrible grin. Like a Cheshire cat.

"...We go deeper into the tunnels".

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 7: Brimstone Roads   Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:27 am

It was indeed the only way to escape with all of them alive. When he suggested it everyone in the room had looked at him as if he was some kind of madman. But the truth is that he was right. The tunnels widened up the further you moved in. More of the lava flow had formed large natural caverns. Thus to avoid the thinner trails. And the ants. They had to pass through the bottom, and find another tunnel from which to escape. Hopefuily. A tunnel not inhabited by these creatures. Or at least one far enough away from the glutton that the ants were not this ravenous. " As much as I'd like the chance to explore this place more deeply, our mages don't have the magical energy required to keep up the spell for that long". Jack grinned and looked at his hands. Jonah raised an eyebrow wondering just what the demon of pride was up to. Jack merely let out a sigh and a chuckle." Oh...they don't...but I do....or that is to say, I can provide them with enough magical energy". The archeologist raised an eyebrow. " Just hwo do you plan to do that?". Reaching over to the table next to him the pride demon grabbed a dinner knife and pierced the tip of his index finger. A small dribble of blood moving down his ashen skin. " Blood magic has many, many uses...Its a rather dangerous and forbidden art...using the power of the users life force...or the life force of others....to generate massive ammounts of magical power in the form of dark energy...and using that dark energy your mages can syphon off magical energy to fuel the barrier". The archeologist glared at him. " So...you are just going to go use your own life force to save ours? Out of the kindness of your heart?". Jack smirked. And then laughed at the idea of it.

" Hell no".

He shook his head. " I'll dribble blood, but so will all of youuuuu". He said as he pointed. " A little bit of blood each and we'll all make it out alive". The woman stared at him, disbelief in her face. " And what if we refuse. What if we say you can't have our blood?". Jack shrugged, clenched his hand into a fist. And the woman touched her face. A second later a small trail of blood moved out of her left nostril. Jack merely shrugged. " I don't have to ask". With the display of his power in the ready, the archeologists began to pack up their camp, taking only the essentials and some of the rarer finds with them. Jack could only hope that they had grabbed whatever item was currently holding back the Gluttons powers. Otherwise the moment they left, he suspected the hunger would begin to take hold upon them. And he doubted that even he could resist its effects. They were begining to move down the street, the mages pushing against the ants, you could see the strain on their faces as the barrier began to falter. " Now Jack". One of the mages called. And the pride demon was only too happy to obliege.

He slashed across the front of his wrist. The blood began to flow, and Jack began the process of changing blood into magic. The grin remained on his face despite the pain. He was used to slashing his palm. A thinner wound, less blood. His wrist however provided a more constant flow and would be more difficult to regenerate, that was...if he didn't feed. He cared and required none of these people after they escaped. So he likely would do just that. The barrier changed colour the moment the mages started syphoning energy from the blood magic. The barrier changing to a deep crimson dome encircling all inside. The mages looked no longer pressed for power. The architect looked at Jack and nodded. " I have to admit, I had doubts about just how well blood magic worked...but I have to say...they're gone now...". Jack reached his hand out at her and clenched his fist again. Blood welled up in her chest, seeping through her shirt, she keeled over in agony. Jonah grabbed her before she fell over fully. Keeping her up and moving along with them. Jack grinned through the pain and fatigue of his own blood to mana transferance and the blood loss of his wound. " Good...because its your turn". More magic flared up in the air, and the shield remained strong. The ants being pushed back as they moved slowly deeper into the tunnels.

Things were getting darker as they moved deeper in, the lights placed by the dig crews were begining to become something left behind in the distance. " We never came this far". Jack had guessed as much, from here on they were moving in unknown territory. Keeping the shield strong, Jack began to draw blood from everyone, bar the mages of course, drawing blood from them might cause one of them enough pain for the shield to be weakened or perhaps dropped entirely. And that wasn't a risk he was willing to take. " Crossing these ants is like crossing the sea...there is no end in sight". Jonah commented. And he was right. The blanket of blackness that was the hundreds of thousands of tiny tunnel ants didn't seem to end. Although then again, that mya have been because of the dark conditions. But still, it was rather concerning.

Keeping his head low just in case he hit any stalagmites in the cave ( god knows he got enough of that travelling back and forth between the under world and the human realm).Eventually however they did come into a clearing in which the ants hadn't reached. Why this was, was unknown. Perhaps there wasn't anything living in the area to consume. There were lava pits scattered here and there, providing enough light for them to make their way in. In the back of the room in what looked like a collapsed section of the cave. Jack almost stopped frozen. It was a court house. One that looked all too much like the seat of Pride. But it wasn't. The structure was slightly different. This one appearing more roman-esque in design. Jack looked at the group. " Theres no ants....rest here for now...". His eyes ever remained on that court house. What he didn't notice. Was that Jonah too couldn't stop staring at the place.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 7: Brimstone Roads   Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:12 am

It was strange, despite his current will to survive. Whilst taking the break for the night ( not that they could really tell which was which with so much stone above their heads). Sleep wa required, and yet he couldn't banish thoughts of that courthouse long enough for him to do so. Oddly. Jonah was much the same. Sitting down on a rock, fist to chin. Staring at the entrance. Jack looked over at him. And called upon the leader of fear. " Jonah, are you feeling it as well?". The fear demon looked slightly startled. when he heard his name, which was odd. Jonah was hardly ever surprised, and seeing that happen. Jack couldn't help but guess at the answer to his question. " Yes". Said the leader of fear, just as Jack had suspected. " What is it?". Jack looked again upon the court house. " I don't know, its almost like a spell of a desire demon, drawing you in...but its not....and it seems that we are the only two who can feel it...perhaps its something to do with the pysche aspect to us?". Jonah nodded slightly in agreement.

Jack stood and made his way over to the entrance of the court house. There was a slightly faded sign on the side of it, plated in bronze. He rubbed at it with the sleeve of his jacket. And the writing showed itself. Strange gibberish, much like all the other texts from the old ones. He shook his head. " The Court of Madness". Said a voice from behind him. The project team leader, " At least I think thats what it says". The court of madness? Was this once the home of the clan of madness? Thinking that they ever had the drive or will to hold a place of authority. Then again. Little about this dig site made much sense.

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