Once and Future
Colors like the aurora borealis transmogrified into dark swatches of black. Magic infused itself into the air, lightning slicing through the crimson land where creatures and beings of Arthurian legends locked themselves in battle. The woman screamed when an undead army of skeletal figures charged at a man clothed in blue. Lancelot, voices had whispered, bore a weapon that appeared forged from the streaks of lightning blasting the earth. Two King Arthurs battled, but Lancelot’s loyalties were divided.
Emilia: Is that…Lancelot? King Arthur? MERLIN?! Has this reality been shattered?
With no time to write, Emilia watched the reincarnated figures of lore fight with death, oozing through their bones. Lancelot defeated them, his agile body nimbly evading blows and dealing fatalities to the victims standing in his way. His foes were defeated nearly before Arthur, Merlin, and Galahad gained a chance to retreat from the losing war.
Emilia’s Journal: I write now after watching Lancelot slay hundreds of his enemies swiftly. I don’t know why there are Arthurian characters around me, but they are here, and they are viscerally real. Lancelot bows now to…Lady Guenivere! She reveals herself, electric blue flames composing her body as Lancelot pledges his allegiance to her. I can’t see her face, and I have no idea what threat she poses to —
The journal disappeared when she was composing her thoughts. The Higher Being required an object — a talisman of sorts — from this world, but not that location. She moved through the swirling cauldron of unrealities again. Thrust from the unbalanced darkness, she landed inside a castle. The Otherworld washed upon her in blinding technicolor.
Emilia’s Journal: Was that a mistake? Was I meant to witness that battle? I’ve landed in a place this older woman calls “The Grail Castle.” The sprawling architecture gives me ample room to shelter myself in the shadows and listen. An elderly woman, Bridgette, seems to take charge of the group. They speak in thick accents, but I hear her refer to the awkward-looking man as her grandson, Duncan, and his girlfriend (possibly?), the huntress-appearing woman named Rose. We are in the Otherworld, from what I can deduce, yet parts of England are nebulously intertwined with the realm here. Rose keeps begging to visit her parents in Bath, yet they speak of dragons and untenable security outside the castle. If I could check in on my parents, I would in a heartbeat.
Bridgette and Duncan converse about memories and lies. Manipulated memories hold Duncan’s mind in a state of distress. Bridgette yearned for him to understand how she tried to protect Duncan in his youth. Raising him as an innocent child, freeing him from the vice of monster hunting and succeeding her legacy, drove her to secrecy and lies. Family, Emilia understands, is haunted by the burdens of regret and wishes.
Emilia’s Journal: Bridgette finally agreed to leave the Grail Castle and journey to Bath for Rose’s sake. I snuck in the trunk of their car. Around me, I hear screeching whispers and feel otherworldly magic floating through the wind.
The crew of monster slayers and world-travelers stopped for respite. Upon them, an evil descended, bearing its teeth and sneering. A medusa, its head writhed with snakes, flicking their tongues out and rearing back to strike.
Emilia: What is that thing? I need to find this world’s object now!
And there, standing upright on the very edge of the rocks, a golden chalice sparkled. Though not the grail of legend, the item served its purpose. She did not hesitate before sprinting away from the lumbering giant in front of her and snatching up the glittering cup. The universe released its breath, blowing her away into another otherworld.
Martin’s eyes opened. He was back where he had fallen asleep, in the abandoned city. Stretching, he grabbed his notebook.
Martin’s journal: Alright, I’m back. Thought the idea was every time the sleep grabbed me, I was brought somewhere else. But maybe not. Maybe I’m reaching the end of this giant path that I’ve been strung along, and all this cosmic energy is winding down. Maybe there’s something in this world that I still need to find, still need to explore. But this has all been so chaotic that maybe it’s just trying to throw me for a loop again by doing something that I don’t expect.
Glancing up to the sky, he squinted. There was some sort of plane above him, and it was dropping what appeared to be giant mechanical cats, silhouetted against the sky in black and yellow.
Martin’s journal: I guess I know where I should head next if I really am supposed to keep track of all this stuff.
Yawning, he started to jog towards where the cats were landing. A few minutes later, he arrived. Spotting the drop point from around the corner, he pulled out the journal and continued.
Martin’s journal: The kids are back. Looks like they’re alright, which is good to see. I was worried about them. But now they’re facing off against some cats that I saw drop from the sky, a huge spider thing made out of glass… and a man in a red spacesuit. They’re talking about something now… seems like the man wants to stop the kids from doing something.
Martin saw something that shocked him. Dropping his journal, he scrambled to pick it back up and open it up to the right page.
Martin’s journal: OK… a giant frog just showed up. A golden one with a green tongue. Not sure how that happened. This world is… weird. But the frog attacked the guy in red! Wait, he grabbed a ladder, but the frog’s jumping after him! And… it’s got him!
Suddenly, the world was hit by a shockwave as a giant red being appeared out of thin air a few blocks away, slamming down onto the ground. Martin was knocked back, and he struggled to stand up before he was hit by another shock wave, knocking him to the ground as he blacked out.