|Into the Mists of Time|
Hell is always a confusing place, even for those who call it home. However, when you're intentionally trying to get lost? Sometimes you stumble upon the most incredible things. Deep under the sewers, and bordering territory he'd rather have not gone near, Caliga carefully steps into what lays before him.
Pure white mist flows endlessly over the ground, and while the shape of something can be faintly made out in the distance? Caliga is rather uneasy even being here. Something within him is telling him there is danger here, yet all of it feels rather familiar in a way.
The farther he travels in the fog, the more that shape seems to reveal itself to be a pair of double doors standing alone and connected to nothing. Well, not exactly alone. Standing watch over it is a very tall woman in a sailor fuku. Taking notice of Caliga she charges forwards at him at an impossible speed, her green hair flowing behind her freely, and brings the oddly heart-shaped end of her lengthy staff abruptly to his neck. She glares at him with red eyes and informs him, "This area is off limits. Leave immediately or suffer the consequences."
She may not look like a fighter, but she certainly moves like one. The air seems to grow colder and the fog more dense from her presence alone. Even the doors she's guarding are hard to focus on now. The woman doesn't seem concerned with who Caliga is, only that he leave. Maybe he should take this into consideration.
As he is charged by the Fuku wearing woman, Caliga comes to a stop, looking at the doors that now are there. He pays her no heed, only to kneel down and run a hand through the mist, allowing it to roll over his fingers. A brief look of fear rests on his face, only for him to look upwards at the woman. "Nothing in this realm is off limits to me. I am Caliga Satanas, Lord of the Endless Wastes, One Seventh Council."
The fear Caliga feels slowly starts to build to a quiet panic inside of him, only to turn his attention back to the door. "..Chronos. This feels just like.." Slowly his voice trails off, and he drops down to his knees once more. "Where.. is this? Is this still Hell?"
Her eyes narrow more as he states his title. Barring her teeth slightly she looks ready to try to remove his head from the rest of his body - at least until /that/ word is spoken. Instantly her look softens and she withdraws her staff with a slight sigh. Resting it on whatever qualifies as the ground here, the staff is nearly the full length of her body and the bottom resembles the teeth on a key. In fact it looks exactly like a giant key and mirrors the set of keys she wears across her waist on a thin chain. "This area is still off limits even to you. These are the mists of time. All points connect here. We are still in the netherworld, but no... this isn't exactly Hell. You aren't supposed to be here. Please leave." A bit of a one track mind on this one. However her tone has radically changed. Both the tone in her voice and the gaze in her eyes has shifted from anger to... sadness?
"This feels just like.." Slowly once more Caliga rises to his feet, allowing his eyes to stare directly into the womans. "All points connect there as well. /Who/ are you? Why is this here?" The similarities are too much, and while he is being told to leave? He simply cannot. This is something that has been hidden, and if the ones hiding it had motives to take advantage...
The woman's mood lightens slightly more at his questions once he asks about her name. One could almost perceive the beginnings of a smile barely touch the corners of her lips. "I am Setsuna Meioh, Senshi of Pluto, Guardian of Time and Protector of the Underworld." She turns and addresses the doorway as the fog seems to thin back once again. "This is here because it has to be. I am here because," Her eyes narrow, "...someone has to guard it and protect the flow of time." There's a look of distance in her eyes a moment before she returns to the present and continues, "You would do best to forget this place, Caliga Satanas. Go back to your Council." That look of sadness returns to her again. "Say hello to my mother for me."
"If I knew who she was..." Caliga stares at the woman for a few moments, only to shake his head. "I.." Too many things now run through his head, only for him to wince as they start to overload. "There are so many things to ask, yet..." A wistful look is given towards the door, only for the man to bow. He knows when not to push an issue, and this seems to be that time. "I thank you for your time, Lady Setsuna."
"...Emeperea?" Caliga tries to remember that name, but the memories are muddled, leaving him with a rather foul look upon his face. The look fades however, as he turns his attention once more to the doors. "There is so many things now I must know. I understand the need for secrecy of this place.. however. If this is where all points in time connect, then that means the past.. it still exists? I thought it was destroyed in order to rebuild Twisted?"
The Senshi smiles, "Twisted? Time does not flow in a solid line as it does for the rest of the universe on Twisted." She uses her staff to make an arc through the air, drawing a glowing line in the fog. "Normally time has a beginning and an end." She waves the staff through the line, breaking it up into small points of light drifting around freely. "But on Twisted time is stored in the individual. The waters of time are held in each person instead of a river through the cosmos. Store enough of it together and time seems to behave normally. Separate them..." She waves her hand, scattering the lights and making them grow dim. "...and they dry up, leaving those people frozen outside of time until that water can rehydrate them again." She smiles, "If you pardon the analogy."
The woman turns back to the door addressing it once again. "For this to exist we need an anchor. A source for that time to flow from and return to as that's the natural order of things. This fog is that 'water' and that doorway lets us pinpoint a precise moment. You cannot travel into Twisted's past, but other worlds? Other times? These are possibilities."
For once, that very rare occasion has happened and Setsuna has rendered Caliga speechless. "So, there is no past for Twisted, because.. time doesn't truly flow there. It flows for the person.." A brief look of understanding crosses his face as he remembers some of the local stories about the Wastelands. "The further one gets from Twisted, and the others.. the more they run down their own reserve.. Until eventually they dry up and vanish."
"However, Hell is different, because Time flows for it... Am I correct in that assumption, Lady Setsuna?" Slowly he's starting to work some of this out on his own, however if the implications of what Setsuna truly says are true? "Twisted is doomed because this is all being hidden from them.."
Setsuna shakes her head at his conclusion, "Twisted is saved because this knowledge is hidden. It was a location of pure chaos until Trinune created it by releasing the energies she had amassed to save the life of Cale Charis. It was bound to Chronos and because of that it was given time. Think of the world of Twisted like a weight being placed in the middle of a taught piece of fabric. As it pulls down anything placed there is pulled towards it. This gave stability to the chaos. That chaos is what prevents time from flowing freely. Now that time can be quantified, life can continue. Without it all of the people who find themselves here would die." She pauses a moment to let that sink in. "As I said, it is saved because that knowledge is hidden. Imagine someone learning they can simply exile someone to remove them from existence? Imagine someone learning how to travel with this gate and choose who can and cannot live here." The Senshi pauses to smile. "Ignorance in this case is bliss."
A frown rests upon Caliga's face as he stares at Setsuna. "My lady, things like that have already occured. There is no law, no rules. Everything is decided by the people themselves. There are those who wandered without knowing, and have vanished. If --" The man goes quiet, only to look down at the swirling mists beneath him, kneeling once more to touch it.
"Lady, tell me.. With all you have seen in your time here." The man's eyes now are filled with sorrow and regret, as if the convictions he just held were torn away with the realization he has come to.
"Tell me Setsuna? Were we wrong in what we wrought?"
Blinking in confusion, the woman finds herself stumbling over what to say. "Wrong? Morally? Ethically? These things mean little to me here." Her gaze hardens. "The only thing I find wrong is being promised that another would take my place here so that I could rejoin my friends only to have my replacement betray the position and force me back here." The grip on her staff tightens. "I haven't had visitors since then, really. I realize my position here requires secrecy, but..." She trails off. Probably to keep herself from saying something she might regret later.
"It gets lonely." A nod of understanding is given, as the man continues to play with the mist. "Lady, I will not make you a promise I am not capable of keeping. However.." A faint smile is given. "From time to time, I will come visit, as I have so many questions. However, it will have to be in secret. What you've told me.. goes against what I was already taught, save for some things. I have quite a bit to think about now, and I thank you for that."
Returning to his full height, Caliga steps back from the mists, allowing his eyes to remain on the sorrowful form of Setsuna. "I do keep my promises, and I will return to at least give you company for some time."
Allowing herself to smile, Setsuna nods her head. "I would like that, thank you." She pauses for a moment, and suddenly removes one of her keys and offers it to him. "Take this, then." Like her staff the base of the key has that heart-like design made into it. "Pray to this and it will return you here. Probably easier than roaming around the Hells at random." Smiling knowingly she turns to the gate, waving her staff over it. An electric hum fills the air as ancient technology activates and the doorway opens revealing the front of the Usual Restaurant. "Don't expect me to do this for you often."
"And a fair amount safer." Caliga places the key inside his jacket, once more bowing towards the Senshi of Time. He turns and heads towards the door now. He has been given a fair amount to think of, and right now, he needs plenty of time to mull this over.
As the doorway closes behind him she lets herself smile again. This time it lingers before her stoic look returns and she leans against the doorway, waiting for whatever might come next.