|Destination: Twisted Street|
The path to this spot is curious indeed. Among the seemingly endless, harshly jutting multitude of bridges, two awkwardly rise toward this distant corner - going on for miles until they are surrounded on three sides by forbidding rock. But the clumsiness ends as they curl gracefully inward; twin tails forming a stylised 's' about a rounded central platform of obsidian. It is wide, with ample space left to navigate this lofty perch.
At the platform's middle rises a set of narrow spiral steps, formed from some bizarre amalgam of ancient woods. Composed of alternating black and white steps around an ashen handrail, the staircase travels a full two dozen feet into the air before reaching its location... the real landmark of this spot. A giant shell, not only unnaturally large but covered in dark jutting spines, made yet stranger still by the effect as it rises toward the lurking ceiling of this impossibly immense cavern. The shell becomes transparent, the ends of those spines and the crowning tip itself all but completely invisible to the eye. As though this feature were not truly there; a ghost, a figment.
It would all be quite unnerving, if not for the calming sound of water. Off to the side of the forbidding shell - away from the thought of what creature may once have lain within - the rock wall warps and twists into thick knots of ice, clear and glistening. These quickly give way into crystalline torrents, forming a wide waterfall cascading down past the stony limit of Hell. It does not fall far below the base of the central platform, however, before it twists back into the rock. Where this occurs, the impact of flowing water upon obsidian sends up jagged spikes of mist, so constant as to seem frozen in a dream state.
There is a strange beauty in this place, the overall effect an odd spell of calm upon the area. Almost as though it were one space removed from the rest of the underworld; an ethereal haven of peace and positivism amongst the endless torment.
In sharp contrast to the situation earlier this mortal week, the atmosphere in this place is calm and constant. The shrieking beast that hovered above the ground has gone, leaving behind it's gigantic shell. A stairwell runs down from the unoccupied headspace to the obsidian platform below, where stands the Diaduin Emepherea, one slender hand upon the rail. Amber eyes scan past the curious waterfall she has created, and as she draws in a deep breath she allows her gaze to settle upon the greater depths of the Hells.
Senior Diablo arrives angry and dishevled. There's a fire burning in his eyes that he's not shown anyone before. This normally calm, almost gentleman-like demon is very much the opposite. Even the ground seems to suffer his wrath as a trail of darkness is left behind in his wake. Upon closer examination one would find this darkness is actually soot and ash where the very ground has been burnt. Upon reaching his destination he has to stop a moment before addressing Emepherea so that he can collect his thoughts enough to address her properly. "We need to hurry our plans a bit. I've just had a meeting with the head of Twisted's Council. Looks like they've finally decided to pay attention to our waiting room. If we're to keep your presence here a secret to the opposing Council, we're going to have to hurry you up there."
So much for the atmosphere.
Senior Diablo is doing a good job of controlling his anger, at least compared to how far it was built up when he first arrived. After taking a deep breath, the demon shakes his head and elaborates. "We have a place that resides between worlds where those who do not yet belong in the Heavens or Hells can go until their time comes. It's a ghastly place which we call the Waiting Room. This is the only point which we are guarenteed passage between this world and the Twisted Street without hesitation. Although I've done a fair job of protecting our Council from that knowledge. The passage from this side is blocked from anyone but the most powerful of beings to prevent escape, and likewise the other side of it can not find it unless a soul is actively searching for it. It's been a protected safehouse for eons." He pauses and glances at the trail he'd left in anger, a frown passes over his face as he plucks a glass from the air and sips it before attempting to continue. "Concordance and her enslaved creation Guarlesia intruded upon it while I was having a meeting with the dark angel Datenshi... if they know about it they'll return to it. I'd rather keep your aliance as a wild card on the table to prevent them from preparing for it in advance."
"I see," Emepherea murmurs as the concept of this 'waiting room' is explained. A whimsical name that does entertain on one level, if her picture of the place - having learned something of Diablo's twisted sense of humour - is at all accurate. Though whether he uses the word 'ghastly' with grim relish or in the sense another might would come to define a great deal. She enjoys the mystery for the moment, smile creeping a little further across her face.
The Waiting Room
As you enter the building you are instantly asaulted with offensive waiting room music. The kind that makes you wonder if it wasn't created specificly for the purpose of sucking out one's will to live. An appropriate thing for a place like this. There are no signs describing what the room is a waiting room for. The receptionist is always busy, and the only door that's not the exit seems to be locked at all times. Occasionaly someone will come in from outside and walk through that door letting out a disturbing red light and a destinct uncomfortable presence. Along the walls of this room are several long benches with some horrible magazines stacked atop them. Articles about what color socks are popular in cuba and things you can cook with salt seem to make up the headlines. There are always people randomly scattered about here, some reading magazines, some looking blankly into space. None of them will speak to you. Infact, most will 'shhh' you if you start making too much noise. There's a purpose for this room, right?
Senior Diablo says, "As you wish..." The statement made almost comicly as he turns away, letting her follow him as he goes through the twisting, chaotic, turns and leads her towards the upper levels of the regions and through the vast wastelands towards a single door. Despite the obvious great distance and Diablo's lack of words, the trip is made rather quickly - possibly due to the devil's own influence. The door, which floats an inch off of the ground, begins to glow with a horrible reddish light as Senior Diablo reaches for it's handle and pushes it open.
The trip is made in equal silence by the Diaduin. Not that she fails to appreciate the journey, bright eyes scanning the surroundings at every opportunity, occasionally returning to fix upon Senior Diablo's form as the way darkens or makes a sudden veer toward the labyrinthine. It is not a short journey by any means, and it is educational. It would be a lie to say she does not also think of the errant dark angel as she walks...
Senior Diablo smiles at her observations. "It is a waiting room, as I've stated before. It's only fitting that it look the part. This is a dull place that both the dead and the living can inhabit without upsetting one another. That's why appearances are so important." He guestures towards the large double doors that make up the main entrance to the room. "Out there, is Twisted Street for all it's tainted glory. I suggest you use stealth when passing through here 'least our opposition realise upon which side of the coin you've fallen." It's not that he's certain any of Twisted's Council is going to pass through here again, but it is better to be safe than sorry after all. "If you have the ability to disguise yourself, you may wish to use that to your advantage." Leaning his weight upon a staff he's somehow produced, the demon smiles looking for the proper way to address Emi's other question. "...and as for Datenshi? I suppose I got along with him as well as can be expected. I suspect he would have tried to attack me had we not been interrupted, but such is to be anticipated. Other than that I would say it was a good talk. I'd like to have him on our side if it where possible..."
So easy... but would it be, without the Devil's blessing?
Senior Diablo quietly nods his head. "We've all changed. We change, our worlds change. This is the way of things. Change can not be stopped, and it should be encouraged. Shame some people are so stubborn about this." His statement hangs in the air a moment as he steps towards the door, grasping the staff tightly in his hands. "I have work to attend to myself, so you won't be alone on the street, at least for now. But as you now know the way back so know you are not being forced upon one world or another. If I where you, I'd hesitate to tell anyone above or below about this passage. Better to leave the ignorant in their state of bliss, wouldn't you say?"
"I know," Emi replies easily enough as Diablo takes a step away, her gaze following him and coming to rest upon his tightening fingers. She idly stares beyond them, into some forgotten space between dimensions, as silence reigns. Change can indeed not be prevented; it can be enticed to occur a certain way, or perhaps more importantly not to occur in other ways. She thinks a moment longer, then dips her chin, agreeing or assenting to some internalised conclusion.