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Grand Ridge Academy
@Atrophy@Ruler Inc

Recollections again. Nate had slipped into consciousness at the far side of the bed, almost tipping over in a startled daze, haphazardly flapping his upside arm until his weight brought him back onto his back and away from hitting the ground.

While the thought occurred to him, he fumbled for his phone until he found it set on the nightstand and depressed the lock button until the light from his screen illuminated the darkened interior of the dorm room, accompanied by the thrum of its vibration against the wooden surface. After a moment's pause, he drew his weight forward until he was sat up and checked, continously for several minutes. No service. Even the time seemed off - it was reading as 04:48AM, even though he could see faint cracks of light spilling through the curtains. No service meant no internet, no messages, no missed calls. He couldn't check and find out if Quent or Viv had tried to get through to him.

Frustrated, Nate huffed and nearly threw the device away, but common sense returned to him after a couple of seconds and he felt somewhat comfortable at having woken in a real bed as opposed to in a hospital, even though it still wasn't his own.

With everything apparently deserted, even the streets immediately outside lacking the occasional traffic they'd had before, he'd questioned whether it was even safe to go out alone if the Glutton and their corrupted were looking for them, knowing he'd be sent to its own, personal hell to be tortured beyond existence. He didn't know what to expect. This whole situation, the Glutton, the Godforce, everything that had been running through his head, repeated over and over, he didn't want to expose them to it if they were still here. It was snowing, so.... what did that mean? Either the weather was becoming fucked up from the Glutton's influence, or their hospital stay had been longer than they thought. Neither would bode well, so Nate just hoped they got out, or at least took a vacation from town. Maybe thought wrong that he'd skipped the academy, run away to Bellevue and gone looking for him there. Somewhere that wasn't here.

And so, noticing Billy had no qualms with borrowing one of the spare dorm rooms, Nate had done the same. Breaking and entering, minus the breaking - because all he'd really had to do was seep through the door and unlock it from the inside. Nate didn't exactly have a spare change of clothes, nor did he feel like he could borrow anyone else's, but he did have access to the shower. That much, he was grateful for after he'd had a chance to really wake up. A spare towel had been left behind, which saved him the embarrassment of using the bedsheets to dry himself off. He spent a good ten, maybe fifteen minutes just enjoying the flow of heated water before finally stepping out and redressing.

He was probably up a little later than the others, but it didn't matter. Nate made his way to the lobby, then watched as they talked abstractions, secrets, drinks and dues to the dead...

At least, until Britney bared all.

"Yeah, your brother's really got a point about the weirdos in cloaks not looking out for us." Nate could already picture the death glare he was going to get before he'd even said it, but he didn't care at this point - he shifted his gaze towards Britney, then added, "Guess I wouldn't be wrong if I said I got the vibe that these illuminescence assholes blackmailed your family into joining them, right?"

After letting it hang for a few seconds, he followed on towards the real question he intended, "I mean, they wanted you to get close to John Reid to waste him, yeah? Is that the problem you're talking about, since we're all a bunch of 'awakened' working together? All those juicy powers, makes sense they'd want to take them from us for their own."
In as long as you are.


"I am a Primordial, something that was born from the source of life itself intended to watch over and guard the multiverse. Or at least, I should.. are you ready to see something beautiful?" Nate felt hesitation before he could take the outstretched hand, even if the Godkid didn't quite resemble a multi-tentacled eldritch horror like the kind of thing that had been chasing them in the school. What if this thing was fucking with them? Playing mindgames - he really didn't understand any of it, couldn't have understood even if he had really tried. It had helped them before, so there was at least a good chance it was telling the truth or at least what it thought- no, decided was the truth. But what would the Godkid consider beautiful? So far all he knew was that the least few hundred years of fundamentalists had been simultaneously proven right and wrong with their doomsday conspiracy theories and angel sightings.

Reluctant nonetheless, Nate finally pushed through his reservations and joined the others in their linked hands, pondering just what it was that had Britney so excited, that made it obvious she knew more than she let on. Light flared form behind them, he twisted around to get a view only for the floor to elude his weight, floating through to bear witness to a monolithic structure of light taking the form of... a tree? Stretching for miles, maybe continents in length. It reminded him of something he'd read about when idly looking up viking explorers and their beliefs. A vast tree which branched out into many realms...

"Yggdrasil," he involuntarily murmured, just barely aloud that the others might've heard it.

Yggdrasil. That was the name it had, if he recalled correctly. So far, if any kind of faith or religion had been debunked or disproven then this had just demonstrated that perhaps some of them were closer to the mark than others. They'd just been pulled through a portal to this place, from their world.

"Behold, the Godforce." Nate listened, making no comment. For this, he had no words - only a mass of formless questions and noises in his head, taking in the vastness of it. The Godkid was right, it was beautiful - or at least that word was the closest they'd ever get to describing it in human terms. Britney's voice was heard to utter the term 'Luminescence', though what she'd meant by that was unclear, unless she was referring to the light surrounding them. He listed as it casually explained why the universe existed, why they existed, that in essence it and its 'predecessors' were Gods in both the biblical and literal senses. Why they thought, felt - and why they had powers. Because of the 'Godforce'.

Questions steadily came in but, as for Nate, he could only watch and listen - this was beyond the help of phrases such as weird or mindfuck. Either this was real or it was all a bad dream, a really bad trip, or maybe, just maybe, he was still in the hospital bed, comatose, maybe hallucinating this whole thing. He ran a few fingers up the sleeve of his jacket and dug in hard, raking the skin until he felt himself wince and pull away. Flakes of skin were bedded under his nails, the pain real in contrast to the surreal nature of this experience, floating without weight before the norse vision of the universe.

"Do our powers come from memories and experiences?"

“…Is that why Scott ripped off the tattoo things of the people he killed? Because of the Godforce, and the glutton wanting it?”

Why did you allow for people like my mom to die? Like the guys at camp? Like Claire? Why have you just fucking watched while acting like we need to do all the work?

That last one from himself, no less, went unvoiced. A stupid question. It was a God, sure - but not their idea of the bearded, omnipotent asshole that Christian America had so eagerly latched onto.

Caela pressed on with a question about the Glutton, one he'd have probably asked if he'd not been beaten to the punch. "Why can’t you defeat the Glutton. Why do we have to do it? Why the fuck are we the ones who landed with these powers and shitty situation?”

It was disappointing to hear the Godkid tell them it couldn't. with each line of questioning, each answer they got was a riddle that unfolded into more questions and riddles with no plain solution in sight. Only the answer to why they had their powers, the nature of htem - that made sense, just a little more than the rest.

"Those who possess a powerful emotion inside themselves gain the potential to open their minds, hearts, bodies, and souls to the universe. To the Godforce. By doing so, they allow themselves to gain an ability that reflects them. Reflects their memories, experiences, and emotions. You all may have noticed that by now?" Ironically, it went through him. Nate didn't quite make the connection as to why his particular personality, his attitude to life meant he was able to stick his head through walls. Maybe he was a closeted voyeur, looking to get into some of that shower room peepshow action? He latched onto a select few words, "When the time is right, you can see a vision of the past-" and perhaps found some understanding. He wanted to walk away from it, at least - the past. Didn't want to be sat next to that bed, watching her connected to a machine as her automated breathing let out distinct rasps, a husk of what she was.

Surprisingly, it was the new kid, Cyrus who broke through that collective awe, that degree of wisdom and understanding to ask the Godkid about the Glutton once again, its features crinkling into something he could only describe as consternation. "... The Glutton craves creation itself." Not that it settled for being the eldritch horror seeking only to devour their group before, it would consume everything? And from showing up out of nowhere - it felt like they were getting into biblical levels again.

"It was no being created by my predecessors, it just... appeared and devoured everything, but there is something I must show you all..."

All of it blacked out, only for the space around them to fill with a mass of light, each connected to one another by a glowing thread."When my predecessors made creation, they created countless alternate universes... infinite worlds you might say,"

A vast tree which branched out into many realms...

"And it was beautiful... but now there are only a tiny fraction left."

By the thousands, the lights died out, until but a few remained. Nate had expected the Godkid to at least say something, but it hadn't slipped his notice that Britney had been pointing each one of them out and naming them. "-Shimmer, Glint, Spark, Gleam, Shade, Halo, Shine, Illuminate, Flash, Halo, Beacon, Flare, Torch, and Ray." Definitely involved, definitely in some illuminati conspiracy shit beyond understanding.

"What happened?" Justin had asked, receiving an answer which explained the God's saddened demeanour.

"The Glutton consumed them all."

Nate couldn't even think the phrase shit without beating himself over the head with a brick that it was an understatement. They were supposed to stop this thing, something that not even the Godkid or what came before it had managed to do. Was this a fucking joke? "How.." he began to form the words, but couldn't. Others spoke up for him, or at least he pretended they were when in fact they were probably just asking for their own sakes.

He felt like an ant going up against a tank, except an ant could be on the tank and go unnoticed. If it was killed by the tank, it would've just been as collateral damage, nothing more. Crushed and rolled over. The Glutton was after them and had already taken people with it for lunch. As the Godkid told them, they couldn't kill it and neither would anyone or anything else be up for the job. They couldn't stop it either, or at least not as Penny had asked. But it was leading them along, so that meant something, right?

"Eons ago, in the last stand of the people of Glint, the Glutton was weakened to the point where it was sealed inside of the mountain that overlooks the town," The Child started off. Midway through, Nate had echoed "Glint" aloud in a quizical tone, "Sealed behind three seals crafted from the Godforce, where it should have remained dormant for all eternity - but something damaged the seals and allows it to not only awaken but exert its dark will through the cracks." Cracks? Was that why he always felt uneasy when looking at the mountain, especially at night? Was that why there were so many rumours about people going missing around it? But now, they had a way to stop this thing - that energised him just a little bit more, a hopeful expression faintly creasing his features.

"It's not an easy task, you all have to bath yourselves in the raw Godforce... and the only way you could do that is by entering the mountain. But, you must also enter it with clear, open, minds, and with a clear understanding of the universe at large. With no doubts, with nothing holding you back. Or else the raw emotion, the raw memories, overwhelm your minds and break them." Nate's expression dissipated. No pressure then, he thought, then blinked as the view before them changed to that of their hometown. Decayed, in ruin - snow-blanketed corpses littering the frozen streets as others pressed through, shivering with torches, axes, knives, hunting rifles and pistols desperately clutched in their grasp. He saw a cruiser from the local sheriff's office crumpled against a fallen street pole, the driver's frozen husk slumped against the wheel. No distinction was required, he recognised it even from this distance.

And then the colour bled from his sight, and he saw that for each living figure were a dozen silhouettes. Nate felt the cold, biting at his face and fingertips.

"Do you understand? Will you do it for not just the town you live in, but what's left of the universe?"

"Okay..." Nate broke the silence and let slip a nervous chuckle, "No pressure, right? Just the Scooby gang here versus the closest thing to Cthulu-Satan the universe has ever known, what could go wrong?" He glanced towards the others, shrugging with his hands up before shifting his attention back towards the Godchild. "Y'know, I gotta ask. If we die - where do we go? You're the closest thing we've have to God, right? Am I gonna be fighting with Tupac and Elvis in fucking Valhalla if the Glutton takes me off the buffet plate or... like if-.. if our minds, thoughts and powers are made from this energy, we don't just disappear when we die, right?"
A pity this is full - hope the folks here get some enjoyment out of this.

"Stop being so dumb?" Nate echoed, "We're not all balls-deep in some fucking illuminati bullshit like you, how do you think we're supposed to explain or even deal with any of this shit? I can just see you," he gesticulated towards Penny, "It'll be 'Oh, hi mom! Look, I can turn this box of tic-tacs into a fucking twelve gauge!' Some of us have homes to go back to, and what do you think the sheriff's department are gonna do when they catch us running around town like we're the avengers? They have these wonderful things called phones these days, they take pictures, see?" For emphasis, he tugged out his own device and tapped at the lense peering through a gap in the casing. "One person sees us, they use theirs. We'll be all over fucking liveleak and youtube before it's done snowing."

It wasn't that he thought Britney was wrong on this, outright. She had a point, they couldn't expose any of this to the outside world. Nobody would believe them short of actually showing their abstractions, which itself invited other kinds of trouble. He still hadn't even fathomed how Quent and Viv would handle the idea of finding him in a hospital after being missing for what, days? Nevermind what they'd do if they saw him phasing through the walls.

But for now, in Britney's case it seemed she was too busy getting into a catfight with Sharon, at least until Lynette cut into the thick of it to calm them both down. For his part, at least, Nate was willing to shut up as the topic shifted back towards how to deal with it.

“So, we can’t kill it. Okay. You said something woke it up, right Britney? Then...then we have to make it go back to sleep, right? Do you even know what woke it up?”

"... You can, actually," a voice cut in once more, the same one that had been stalking them for the last week with eerily prophetic statements and warnings. Nate didn't deign to add his voice to the collective astonished remarks, instead darting his gaze towards the glowing shape in the room. "Hello, we never got a chance to meet or properly get acquainted. I am... The Child, the next One-Above-All. We have much to discuss."

".. Right. God-Kid outta fucking nowhere," he muttered beneath his breath, weary of the whole situation, but eventually he found some courage to address this ethereal entity, joining his voice to Cyrus'. "Yeah, what are you? And what is it-.. the thing we apparently can't kill but you say we can? How do we even kill it? Throwing rocks?"

St. Mercer Hospital

Content to observe as he made sense of the chaotic circumstances going on around them, it didn't take long for Nate to realise they were already turning on each other now that the immediate threat of death-by-alchemilla-nurse. “God, you’re nosy. Those things attacked. We fought them. We won. They killed themselves. Justin refuses to tell Zoey that her stupid friend was a dumb bitch and got herself killed. Happy?” Penny had once again gone straight for the jugular to one of the newcomers in their growing circle of glowing bodies - to Zoey, it seemed, who in turn seemed ready to tear her a new mouth-hole. "Listen here, bitch, I want you to fucking tell me what happened to Claire. Right. Now." For a brief moment, a knot formed in his stomach at the tension which had filled the room - then uncoiled, fortunately before he could soil himself, if he even had anything to soil after the timeless stay in hospital.

Jordan's arrival was a welcome change of pace, at least - even if she looked like she'd been dragging herself through the woods, one's own clothes were better than no clothes at all.

One change into an old set of clothes later, Nate at least felt somewhat more comfortable in his skin, not unlike a hermit crab that had ditched one of those glass shells for a bigger seashell. His phone, he was relieved to find out, had not been lost in the school's fight-or-flight situation - though he hadn't recalled turning it off. Once the dim glow of the screen returned, he felt a little relief - but any hope of getting in touch with Quent or Viv was dashed by two simple words.

Network unavailable.

He checked again, tried restarting his phone while the others made conversation - but the result was the same. Even the GPS was off, he couldn't figure out where he was. Couldn't make a call home to his family to let them know he was okay.

"Fucking hospitals.." It was just a murmur that slipped loose from his lips, but it was the truth. He hated them, in no small part because he could never get a fucking signal in them. He remembered in the hours following what had happened to Mom, seeing her hooked up to all those tubes, unable to get a hold of anyone to keep up to date - not Martin - his stepdad, who was at home trying to figure out if their insurance policy would cover anything, what their options for treatment were (for which there was nothing). Not even the old man, who was miles away on business. For all intents and purposes, he'd been alone then.

Now? Not so much, though the group he was with bore a great deal less familiarity to him than his family did. Case in point - Britney, her answers only raising more questions as the others pressed on her, understandably pissed off about the whole situation they'd been dumped into.

"How do we kill that thing?" The million dollar question. No - the billion dollar question, if Britney's response had been anything to go by. "Billions of people tried to kill that thing and not one person could do it..."

It was a phrase used often for emphasis, but one which you couldn't really understand unless you added the extra digits to it - all nine of them, plus whatever number you had at the start. Wrapping his head around it gave him a headache, but he had to make some kind of contribution to the discussion, no matter how small it sound. "I've got an-.. I know someone from the sheriff's department. We've gotta try, I dunno - there's gotta be something we can do to try and stop this... thing?"

Nate's voice strained a little at that, he knew it was a hollow statement. With all their powers they hadn't stopped it, Claire had died trying. What could Quent have done? Shoot it? Bullets probably tickled their Friendly Neighbourhood Cthulu.

And Britney had proved just about as helpful as the stalker's photo collection at the school. Dripfeeding them information, pulling conspiracy-level answers out of her ass whenever she was backed into a corner. It had to have some truth, or else half the crazy shit with their powers and the God-Kid and Glutton wouldn't have happened, but now that more of them had died it was beyond the point of frustration. As if to add an extra note to Kimberly's probing question, he seemed ready to speak up himself about just what they could actually do if the collective human population or its numeric equivalent had failed, when their red-headed companion butted in.

"Why did you bury a body in my front yard?"

Without any chance to explain, Nate shared in their collective vision of what had transpired at the farmhouse.

Suddenly the group was back on John Reid's farmhouse, and they were all transparent third parties within the vision. Everything beyond a very small radius was imperceptible due to an ethereal fog. The scene was quiet as it focused the body of Andrea Pasternack... A rather pretty, tall, blonde-haired girl that was completely mangled by a swarm of insects that Sharon unintentionally summoned. Her body rested there at the foot of the Reid Household, as she fell simply seconds before getting away to safety.

However, the first to step outside was Britney Williams, who noticed her before making a sickened face before she simply stared at the glowing brand on Andrea's forearm. Britney knelt down to touch the sigil before she came to an abrupt stop as the sigils on her palms began to glow. The wheat colored energy covered both sides of Andrea's body as roots sprang forth and covered her dead body before they pulled her into the ground. Britney manifested more plants simply to cover her tracks.

Before Britney stood straight up, sighing and moved on.

It was something which, in spite of having been a witness to the deaths already, seemed more real in retrospective. The sight of Andrea's corpse, contorted on the ground with countless welts and stings pockmarking where the plague of insects had unleashed their wrath upon her, it wasn't clean, or dignified. Disgust perhaps was the one thing Nate shared with Britney in this situation - his stomach roiled, an urge to throw up clawing at his throat as he witnessed the roots sprouting from the earth, only to draw the remains back in like a carniverous plant devouring prey, then more plants taking their place to disguise the scene of the crime.

He drew his fingers inwards, tightening them into a fist for emphasis - though it probably wasn't as threatening as he'd meant it to be. "Really playing the 'I know what you did last summer' vibe back there, weren't you? Jesus-... fuck, you know what that is? That's a fucking crime scene right there, you just illegally concealed a body.. you know what would happen if we got found out?" Quent's voice was in his head a little, though he was probably talking out his ass for some of it. "What about her fucking family? They'll just think she's missing - they.. they gotta know! It's not right." He knew that better than most, at least.

St. Mercer Hospital

It didn't take Nate long to realise he was very much naked in the metaphoric sense and not so far off in the literal one. Glancing back towards the direction he came from, he backpedalled to the bed he'd had and let his gaze hastily search for anything might've suggested he had visitors - Quent and Viv, maybe? Only there was nothing. Not a card, not flowers. Nothing. It had implications he didn't want to confront right now, so instead he blinked the thought away. Pausing, Nate took a glance outside the borders of his own unit. Around him in adjacent beds were familiar faces - they were all awakened, people who had abstractions, the powers that had kept them alive so far where others had been wiped out in the chaos-

Inexplicably, he found himself losing balance, disoriented by the experience. Instead of moving, or trying to form words, he'd just stood there - trying to make sense of this in his head and find some mental equilibrium. Voices that had begun to speak up, others shouting around him droned away, colour bleeding from his vision as silhouettes solidified from a blur to hard, oily black forms, only to dissipate once more. More droning, like a siren on a low pitch - more screams, more shouting. Nate's fingers tightened into a ball, not a fist - willing himself control of his situation. He didn't have time to screw around trying to find his stuff that might not have even been here - the God Kid had warned them. It had killed some of their kind - because what were awakened if not abnormal - already.

Once more, colour filled the world, vague shadows dissipating once and for all to be replaced with solid objects and people talking and moving, shouting and screaming. It didn't sound good - Nate found himself searching for the nearest thing that might serve as a weapon and decided that an empty IV stand by a bed would do the job, it was at least light enough to haul around without dragging constantly on the floor. As he approached, abandoning his bed once more, he arrived in time to see more of his fellow awakened and others, less familiar, scattered across the hall, some engaging in an impromptu wrestling match with nurse bearing the hallmarks of another Scott Reese-esque murder spree - and then to witness her drive a pair of scissors into her own throat, before he even had the opportunity to get involved and have his ass beaten down in the fray.

Posting because I've been a sick cunt and didn't get around to doing so previously.
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