The Hereafter
It's Like I've Been Awakened - Printable Version

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It's Like I've Been Awakened - Grace - 07-16-2020

She became aware, first, of the warmth of the sun across her skin: pleasant, comforting.

Then the birdsong, the gentle rustling of shifting leaves; and then the soft breeze that caressed her sun-touched hide.

There was earth beneath her: soft, cool, moist. Grass, and its scent was sweet in her nostrils.

Eyelids slipped back, and then blinked. Pale grey eyes blinked against the new light: it wasn't blinding, but it was bright. Massive head raised, the ivory teeth gleaming where the sun sparked over them, where they hung like smooth daggers over her lower jaw.

Her neck creaked; the muscle was strong, but... old. She felt that: age, her ancient nature, despite the fact that she had never awoken in the light, before; had never felt the sun on her skin, or the breeze, or heard the calls of the birds or the shifting of the leaves.

Grace--for that was her name, and she felt it in her old bones--lifted that heavy head, and slowly looked around. She felt no need to move, yet; there was no hurry. She was home--she was where she belonged, loved, content, and she felt that much immensely.

For a time she merely lay where she was, in the sun-dappled clearing, with the shade of leaves playing over her white skin. She learned things, in those few moments--little things. The flare of her nostrils taught her of the sweet scent of the cherry blossoms, and the freshness of the air; of the cold, fresh tang of water somewhere not far off. She learned of the movement of the leaves, constant and reassuring, lulling; of the flight of birds among their branches. And she was happy, here.

After a long while, the old tyrannosaur began to wonder what lay outside this clearing. She had no desire to depart: but she held dim and gentle curiosity for what else might be. So far as Grace knew, she was alone in this world, and the world consisted only of this white grove; she knew nothing of the passage of time, that day would fade into dusk, that the birds might sleep and that the sun would grow cool. She knew, though, of the odor of water and the curiosity that it brought her, and so she lurched with a heave to her feet, her eight-or-so-ton weight coming upright with smooth abruptness.

Then, slow and gentle, she began to pick her way with near-silent steps through the wide-spaced trees, the white leaves of the lower canopy brushing across her head and back.

She found the nearest creek by sound and scent; and there she paused, watching entranced at the dazzling light dancing across its ripples. The dim instinct of thirst struck her, then, and she paced along the water's edge until she found a shallow bank; carefully she stepped down until the water was licking over her toes, and then she bent down.

The tyrannosaur's massive snout dipped in, and for a moment Grace simply drank: sipping at the water, tilting her head slightly back to swallow, watching with contentment this new and pleasant world around her.

RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Vivilene - 07-16-2020

When left to her own devices, Vivilene liked to take a wander around the forest.

Not for any particular reason, mind you-- it was for leisure. It was nice to just walk and soak up the feeling of peace and quiet, and listen to the birds singing and gentle wind brush twinkling leaves high above her head.

She had wandered enough that she began to recognize places she'd been before. She could map out where to get to the green place from the river, or where the statue was, or the curve of cliffs overlooking a huge swathe of deep, blue water.

Certain trees and large rocks were good markers for her. Some were very large and very noticable, and in some places there were hardly any at all-- just long, moon-kissed grass and sweet smelling flowers.

Though, that rock seemed new.

At a long distance, Vivilene paused to watch. There was no real alarm or cause for concern-- not here, never in these woods --but there was, perhaps, confusion. Maybe she knew the forest a lot less than she thought, or maybe it was new?

Can rocks move? She wondered.

Aproximately three seconds later, Vivilene would find out that the answer, apparently, was yes. The silvery 'rock' pushed itself up in a very slow movement and began to wander off deeper into the woods with the leaves grazing the top of her massive, massive head.

Stunned, the elf stared with her mouth just a little bit open, long after it vanished out of sight, towards the stream. The possibility of rocks moving, Vivilene supposed, was not entirely out of the ordinary, she decided. The forests had said hello to her before, or so she assumed.

But it was big. Much bigger than any other moving thing she'd seen before. That was a little out of the ordinary.

A few moments ticked by before Vivilene gathered up the silver-leaf cloak and went marching forward through the woods, an elf on a mission.

When she approached she was accompanied by the sound of mad rustling. The ferns as she gently shoved by them, the grass parting beneath her feet, the cloak billowing between her thin hands-- but as the creature came into sight, leaning over to drink, she slowed again.

Her pale head slowly tilted upwards to get a look at the dinosaur. "Um," she said, because what else are you supposed to say to a sentient boulder? "Hello."

A few seconds came and went as she let go of the edges of her cloak again, ruffling it out like feathers. "Helllo," she repeated, softly, gently, grounding herself. "When did you get here? I haven't seen you before."


RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Grace - 07-16-2020

The rustling drew the tyrannosaur's attention, if in a half-aware and distant way; it was new, but not unlike the leaves overhead, or the rush of birds' wings. Head moved only fractionally, gently, pale eyes shifting to look--expecting to see nothing new--and then there was something new.

Another figure, not a bird, and not a tree: another living thing, like she herself, standing wreathed in flowing leaves. Grace's head came up, clear water streaming from her jaws, as she gave this newcomer her full attention.

And it spoke.

Grace considered, the lilting words striking her ears, and reverberating through her mind, meaning blooming like echoes. She blinked, and those massive jaws parted slightly--and she paused but a moment before forming a response; before forming words of her own.

"I have... just come here, I think;" she told the child--was it a child? It was very small; and then Grace turned, massive legs lifting and settling back in the mud of the creek's bank as she turned to face Vivilene. But her demeanor was unthreatening, attentively polite and a little blank, and nothing more. She looked at Vivilene: small, slender, pale--but Grace was pale, too; everything here was white.

"Have you been here... longer? I have not seen you, either," and her voice was old, and soft, like the creaking of the ancient trees.

"I am... Grace, I think." Hesitation, a touch of confusion. She was Grace; but was that what she was, or who she was? The tyrannosaur was unsure. "Do you know... where this place is? Are you new, as I am?" she asked.


RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Vivilene - 07-16-2020

Vivilene watched, and for a split second she was concerned. Maybe it couldn't speak and the rock was-- well, just a rock. Her hands clasped each other in front of her and twisted idly as she waited.

Soon, at least, Grace was turning, and she was talking, and she was-- well, still absurdly huge-large but the sense of gentle peace the forest brought was soon washing itself along Vivilene's shoulders like a distant embrace, soaking away the impending anxiety.

She paused, and then at Grace's words, her head dipped into a few understanding nods, her hair bouncing on her shoulders.

But the questions-- Vivilene didn't have many answers for her. She approached the tyrannosaurus carefully, her head craning further back up her neck to, politely, keep looking at her face.

"I think so," she replied, albeit with some fair amount of uncertainty. "I remember waking up here, one day. I don't remember anything else. Ahh... how I got here, where I came from. I think, maybe, I've always been here."

She was wildly unsure-- but if she couldn't remember anything else, then surely she must have been here the whole time? How long is 'the whole time,' anyway?

"I'm Vivilene," she said quietly, with a curious softness as though she were afraid someone were trying to listen in. "Ahh-- hello. It's nice to, um... see you. You're very big." She added, because she was.

For a moment, the elf looked around before she continued very gently. "This is the white forest, I think" (apparently you could be unsure what colour it was) "and there's a green one that way," she half-turned and nodded towards the distant west.

"I haven't... gone very far from this place. I'm not sure what else is outside it." She felt her hands fidgeting again, fingers twisting between each other.

"Do you know... what you're supposed to be doing?" She asked with a more cautious tone, though her voice never raised or (fortunately) lowered. "I don't think... anyone else really does...?"

She didn't hold much of it-- but there was some far-off flicker of hope that Grace would know what everyone was supposed to be doing with themselves.


RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Grace - 07-17-2020

As Vivilene approached, the gentle-mannered tyrannosaurus lowered her head. It was massive, some five feet in length or more, and her snout paused--if Vivilene allowed it--only a foot or two away. Nostrils flared, warm breath (the freshly-formed creature untainted by any foul odors) exhaled and drawn back in as Grace tried to catch the scent of her. It was instinct, this: to smell a thing was to know it, just as seeing it was important. The delicately-soft scent of lilacs filled her mind, and she committed this to memory, the scent of Vivilene now known.

Ahh, but there was conversation; and Grace's gradual mind switched to that.

"I have just... woken up, as well." Another pause, another inhale, audible, from massive lungs. "And you are very small," Grace observed, in response to the remark of her being large. Everything was small, in fact--or was it she that was large? She did not know, but her comment was certainly not meant to be insulting.

At Vivilene's gesture, to the west, Grace came fully upright once more, her head lifting to turn--fifteen feet in the air--and peer to the west. She was not so tall that she could see over--or even through--the tops of the trees; to her, west was a cluster of white leaves a dozen yards away. -And for a moment she watched those, entranced, as they danced and trembled in the breeze. A blink, and Grace remembered Vivilene, and swung that head slowly back down to her. Should she be touched--and she would not seem to mind--her skin was warmed by the sun, though not so warm as a mammal's. "A green forest?" A quiet 'hmm' of thought, then, and; "-What is it for?" This forest--the white forest--clearly this was a place of rest. It was not for anything; but what, then, was the need of a green one? Why would it be green, and of what necessity was it?

'Do you know... what you're supposed to be doing?' This question had the great, gray eyes blinking, the head swinging up a fraction in thought. Supposed to be..? That was a faintly troubling thought, in that it brought with it the slightest touch of urgency--was she meant to be doing something..? Had she forgotten, somehow--somewhere? Somewhen?

The tyrannosaur considered, for perhaps a tad too long, mulling over her very few memories once, twice, and again. "There have been... trees, and... leaves, and birds, and now there is water," she added, head swinging back down to regard, with fond interest, this newest fascination with its shining lights. Reflections-... that's what those were. It was strange, too, how the words came to her; she had not learned them, but she knew them. That was all she knew--so how could it be strange?--but she mulled it over nonetheless, marvelling over each new piece of knowledge as it came to her.

"And hello, to you--Vivilene," she went on, looking back, tasting the word on her tongue. It a good word--a Name, like Trees and Birds were Names, like Water was a name. And she was Grace--but why?

"Maybe... we are to give things Names," she offered, tentatively, at last.

It seemed as good a possibility as any.


RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Vivilene - 07-17-2020

Vivilene was confused, but she wasn't alarmed. Some deep-rooted instinct told her that Grace wouldn't attack her, even if she was getting quite close, to the point where Vivilene, if she wanted to, could have reached out and touched her snout.

She heard breath rumbling from the tyrannosaurus's throat before she actually felt it, and then she gently fumbled to get a hold of her cloak as she inhaled. A second later she realised-- sniffing? --and curiously, bewilderedly, Vivilene leaned over to offer a few quiet sniffs of her own.

Her nose wasn't nearly as refined, however. She only picked up the warmth of Grace's breath mingling with the forest-smells.

Her gaze flicked up towards Grace when she spoke, and she took a brief moment to consider. She supposed, in comparision, she was quite small, yes, but-- "some things are a lot smaller than I am," she gently pointed out. "Like the birds, or the grass. But there's a lot of things bigger than me, too."

Perhaps she was... somewhere in between? Medium?

Grace had gone quiet, she realised, when Vivilene decided she didn't want to think about being medium anymore. The elf didn't press, however-- she waited with her hands entwined, her head quietly turned to stare off into the woods, at the fluttering, pale birds weaving through branches and tree-tops, right up until Grace's head snapped back down.

She jumped, and looked up, blinking. --for? She wondered with some surprise. She hadn't considered that the forests were for anything-- they just were.

"I'm.. not sure," she murmured, her hand lifting worriedly towards her chin, fingers tucking beneath it in a much-too-delicate movement. "It has the same things-- birds, and trees, and water. It's just, ahh... green?"

Variety, maybe?

Trying not to think about it too much, Vivilene quietly nodded along as Grace listed off the things she'd seen. It checked out, at least-- Vivilene knew these things, too. She did not, however, entirely predict where the tyrannosaur was going to go with it.

Vivilene was halfway through murmuring another little "hello" when Grace made the suggestion, and she blinked a few times with her mouth idly opening and then shutting again.

Some seconds passed before her brain caught up. "Names?" She echoed firstly; then she thought some more.

She... supposed they could. Everything needed a name, didn't it? She hadn't really concerned herself with where these names had come from either, they just... like the green forest, were.

Maybe that's why they woke up here? Maybe--

"Oh!" Vivilene gasped a little abruptly, a little too loudly for the volume she had maintained the entire time. She found the quiet again only seconds later but her silver eyes were larger than saucers, and her hands were starting to fidget again. "There's a-- a thing," she... 'explained.' She was starting to head deeper into the woods again, half-wading into the water with urgency.

"I don't know what it is? Maybe we're supposed to give it a name," she went on. "It's this sort of-- big white stone, but it's not the little kind of stones?"

The elf paused, fretted, and then kept moving. "It, um, might be better if you see it."


RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Grace - 07-17-2020

The tyrannosaur turned, her massive, white-scuted feet lifting and planting carefully down so that she could face the direction that the possibly-child was going. She followed, then, with slow and measured strides, each one longer than Vivilene's body.

As the elf passed through the water, Grace dipped down her head, jaws opening, and scooped up--without slowing in her unhurried walk--an enormous mouthful of water. Drops streamed out between her teeth, sparkling, as she tossed back her head, gulping it down.

She did this once more, as they walked, but other than this, she followed: curiosity in her, and amiable contentment. Wherever it was that they were--whether it was names they were meant to grant, or something else, or nothing at all--she was happy.

"I have not seen any white stones," Grace observed, after swallowing her water down; "Only... little ones. Only--pebbles," she decided, the word coming to her as she eyed the ground below. There: the word had come to her, and she had named pebbles, successfully.

Great head tilted back, pale eyes blinking in the brighter light that sparked down, here and there, between the leaves. "Sky," she rumbled softly, and the massive head swung slightly to the left--"Sun." Each word was gentle, content, as she 'named' these things; other than that, she simply followed Vivilene along.


RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Vivilene - 07-17-2020

Vivilene kept marching forward, half-skittering and half-wading through the water. When she passed a glance behind her she caught sight of huge teeth and a mouth definitely much larger than she was-- ahh, terrifying --and she tried not to think too much about it.

Grace was naming things, which helped. "Pebbles," she agreed with a nod, and her gaze was cast upwards. Sky, sun-- she knew these. "Cloud," she suggested, her hand lifting to a wisp of white in the sky.

She shook herself out a little as she emerged out of the water, and then continued to plod through the grass. Briefly, she pointed downwards-- "dirt" --and then she curled her hands underneath her cloak.

The elf walked, and she thought-- wondering, is this right? It didn't give her the sense of... total satisfaction that she was expecting. She wanted the feeling of remembering, of snapping your fingers and realising that, yes, this was exactly what you were meant to be doing.

There was a quiet sense of sadness, like she was somehow missing out. If naming things wouldn't work, then what would?

Another little ruffle came from her cloak, followed by a pause. "Leaves," she said, gesturing to the leaves woven through the coverings.

Vivilene took a long breath as she came towards the shrine and the statue, pausing by it to look back towards Grace again. She gestured to it with a very gentle wave. "What do you think it is?" She asked.


RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Storyteller Dark - 07-17-2020

The shrine was a large slab of marble, on another, raised platform of white marble: the lower one a circle some twenty feet in diameter, upon which nothing grew and no dirt lay. A few white leaves and flower petals, driven by the light wind, had scattered across it, but nothing more; and even these were displaced as soon as more arrived, so that nothing old or withered remained upon it.

The slab was eight feet long, three high, and about three wide: a rectangle, though smoothed-edged, almost anvil-shaped. At its head was a statue: towering ten feet tall, gazing down upon the altar and the slab beneath. This statue appeared slender, humanoid, perhaps a female but it wasn't entirely clear; arms, palms-up, were held out as if beckoning, or gesturing gently toward the stone. The marble had been carved in delicate swathes, like cloth draped down over the body, hanging in sleeves; the face was mostly obscured by the way it fell, like a hood or perhaps a shroud. At the figure's back were two large wings, carved to look feathered. The entire thing seemed to glow a soft, translucent white, and in the daylight one might be forgiven for thinking it merely the reflection of sunlight across marble. At night, it truly would glow, giving off a faint, soft white light.

Behind the statue, behind the shrine, the land ended. Where most of the caldera was ringed by steep and mountainous walls, this white plateau simply dropped off to the sea. There were no trees, behind it: only open sky, the scent of the sea, the call of gulls and the steep drop to the ocean crashing and rhythmically receding hundreds of yards below.

The same sensation of peace and well-being lay here, as it did through the rest of the wood: as if this place were sacred; as if it were, perhaps, blessed.

RE: It's Like I've Been Awakened - Grace - 07-17-2020

Grace trod carefully on, each clawed step delicately-placed, quiet among the scattered white petals. The scent of the sea grew strong in her nostrils, the birdsong changing to the cry of gulls, and when the trees parted to reveal the shrine, she slowed and then came to a stop.

Muscled neck turned, this way then that, as she took it all in: the raised marble platform, the altar-?--and the statue. And after a moment, as Vivilene spoke, she plodded carefully forward again. "I don't know," she murmured, both puzzled and in awe. It was a wondrous place, glowing and peaceful, but what was it?

After careful placement of one foot, then the other, she was up on the platform itself--its lip was low, but still, a fall for a creature such as Grace would be painful, if not outright dangerous. There was the quiet rasp of leathery skin on stone, the click of claws, as she made her way to the shrine itself: as she touched her nose to the altar, as she inhaled its marble scent. "I don't think it's for... naming things?" she suggested, uncertainly, with a slow glance back to Vivilene. Grace tilted back her head to blink up, slowly, at the statue. "That looks like you, but it is--" (sniff)--"...Stone."

Then she was stepping back away, and down, and coming carefully to the edge of the world--or, at least, it seemed that way. There was blue, out there: the blue of the sky, and far, far, far below another blue: a deeper blue, a darker blue, one that gave off a distant whispering.

Instinct drove her back a step, away from the edge, despite the stone that ringed it like a low wall. "What is... this?" she asked, and then 'hmm'd' to herself again. "Is this--the end of the world?" And then she looked to Vivilene, as if somehow, the other creature might know.