So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell? ~ Songwriters: David Gilmour / Roger Waters Pink Floyd
Lumira was blind. In the brief instant it had taken her to cross the portal's threshold she'd lost her ability to see. That wasn't quite accurate, her eyes still worked just fine, they hadn't been prepared for the intensity of the light on the other side. She held her hand in front of squinting eyes trying to block the white purple glow as she would the sun and stepped forward cautiously. Had there not been others about to traverse the same space she'd have remained in place until her eyes adjusted to the brilliance that burned across her retinas like wildfire. Two steps were taken the soles of her feet shuffling across the floor with an almost agonizing slowness, she took three more before she felt what couldn't be seen. The tip of her toes collided with...something. It was solid even if it lacked the hardness of stone and it moved at the gentle impact ever so slightly.
There is a certain feel that can only be recognized as flesh. Lumira would have known what it was even if she were immersed in darkness instead of light. It was still warm at least, the brief contact of her skin told her that much before she pulled her foot back. An arm most assuredly judging by the weight and how it had moved. If there had been a sound to hear it was lost in a cacophony of guitar like feedback in the key of D sharp, or perhaps E flat, which permeated the air heavy as a wall. She stopped her advance, moving vertically instead to kneel and grope for the impedance letting the scent guide her where her eyes could not. That hadn't been noticeable before masked as it was by the smell of sulfur from even her keen senses, not that she recognized him after so much time had passed. There wasn't even a bare emanation of the aroma the child in her memory possessed. It was still him though. Despite all the contrary input Lumira received from her five senses, a mother always knows in her heart. "Kruger..."
Tahlia didn't so much step through as wake up, her eyes ringed in silver as she, took the breath she'd been subconsciously craving since Kruger had put her into that strange half-existence. Rolling onto her side, she coughed, her brain certain she was drowning, and it took a moment for mind and body to sync back up to each other. Once they did, she looked up, her first thought, as always, for the giant selkie who was center and shadow, and was only distracted from that search by the sight of a slowly leaking form sprawled across the floor of the forge, with Lumira hunched over him. Not the one she'd been seeking, but one connected to him - to both of them, in his own way. Grumbling under her breath about the stubbornness of the entire family, the tiny blonde shifted to her feet, and stumbled over, sinking to her knees next to the smith. She laid her hands on his chest, and murmured come back, paying little attention to the fact that the blood pooling on the ground began to seep back into the man it came from - it was what she'd asked it to do, and she expected no less.
Eddie could have been insulted, even surly at how abruptly the opening closed as he passed through it. He would have been, and just as eager to lash out at the obvious orchestrator of that if there hadn't been one most excellent reason not to. It was far more important to be seen as the epitome of presence. That would be impossible if he made himself known by angrily chastising his brother, so he acted like it was nothing more than he expected. Sure he hadn't anticipated the blazing light and blaring noise that enveloped him, but he refused to let such banal things touch him... "I am not planning to help anyone pay for his utility bill... just don't even ask." His half smirk was only slightly besmirched by the need to shield his eyes, the need for it becoming far less as the tear in the air sealed itself fully and the radiance dimmed enough for him to be able to make out the person he most wanted to see him. He wasn't upset at all to see her kneeling with her hands on Kruger's chest, no not jealous in the least little bit. His face always looked that way.
Nim was alone, an unseen witness to events still being played out on two similar planes slightly adjacent to her own, or at least to the one she currently occupied. At least she was no longer subjugated to listen to the lunatic ravings of her daughter's fool of a son. Of course that only left her to listen to the sound of her own thoughts, things that nearly had her speaking them aloud. Craziness...she almost missed the boy...almost. He'd promised that he wouldn't leave her here with no way to get back, and yet here she stood wondering if she should try to leave and half afraid that if she did that she'd miss something important. So she lingered, letting her attention be drawn to the image of Lumira. A noise...certainly not a squeak...pushed out of her involuntarily as she watched and did not fail to notice the diminishing pool of blood or the creature responsible for it. She watched it unseep, or was it anti-seep from the savage crescent shaped wound on Kruger's chest.
The White Shark's bite was always vast and deep. Skin peeled back in the shape of wicked claws across an abdomen which until a second before had been pristine. Their depth should have been accompanied by gouts of red vitreous lifeblood, but it was suspiciously absent. She didn't need to see the raking blow Jax had delivered to Kruger's consciousness to know where it had come from. No, she was seeing things far more clearly now which only increased her suspicions of E.J's blonde distraction. There was more wrong with what was happening, the bite which had punctured the skin on Kruger's torso began to slowly knit itself back together leaving not even the hint of a scar behind. "How...why...who?" Nim finished the sentences that went with each inquiry silently in her head. It simply wouldn't do to be found talking to herself.
This close, Tahlia could keep her eyes closed, and focus her attention on keeping his blood where it belonged. Or at least, where they thought it belonged. Whoever kept taking shots might disagree. Eddie had seen her do this before, to herself, or to him - it didn't occur to her that there would be questions, or concerns - wasn't she using her powers for good, this time? Whatever fight Kruger was raging had given them the chance to get to the portal, and get away. Besides, she knew how much they meant to each other, even if it might actually kill them to say so. The healing...helped. It was easier to make the blood behave when it didn't have an easy way out, but there were more injuries. "Baby...could you come here? Your brother seems pretty intent on trying to get himself killed, and if I'm gonna be here a bit...I haven't been able to touch you for ages."
Eddie needed no more coaxing than the request, he'd have moved at a look from Tahlia. He stepped around his mother and knelt behind the blonde, slipping his arms around her waist and pressing himself against her back. Funny the kinds of things that brought out that I'm trouble smile. "I hope he wakes up soon..." Eddie wanted to be concerned for what was going on, the things that he couldn't see shouldn't be happening here and now. "...I think his stereo is broken." Wanting a thing and actually allowing himself to touch it were two completely different things. He did have the good sense to look abashed as Lumira frowned at him. He'd thought it was funny, maybe inappropriate but just a little. Of course the silent rebuke was just further proof that mom always loved Kruger better!! Eddie was not pouting!
Talia knew him, even if they never really talked about it - certainly not to say those words, and leaned back into his chest, snuggling into his arms and trusting him to move around her, tilting her head back and kissing the only part she could reach. Which turned out to be his jaw, but it didn't really matter. She could touch him again. She liked the smith just fine, but he was Eddie's brother and that meant she'd push herself to the point of exhaustion to help him as much as she could. The fact that he was healing, somehow, helped...it just meant she had to deal with the new wounds, and making sure there wasn't anything else mixing with it that could harm him. It had been a while, and between the massacre the night before, and tonight...Tahlia was tapping into reserves she hadn't used in years.
"He's trapped." Lumira's gaze was on Tahlia but the clipped tone was obviously meant as a mild rebuke for her youngest. At least she hoped it was mild, though who could really blame her if it weren't? It had been a long time since she'd had anyone else's feelings to consider when she spoke. Eddie would just have to learn to be understanding. "I don't know what's holding him there." She looked over her shoulder in Eddie's direction though her intent was focused more up where the portal had been. "The way back is closed. Either he couldn't hold it open or..." or he'd closed it on purpose, but that thought was folly. No one in their right mind would intentionally trap themselves that way. "We need a way to pull him back, or barring that sever the connection." Despite the intervention which seemingly came from the blonde, Kruger's body would only take so much. Her attention was drawn to a shimmering in the air, a space significantly darker than its surroundings which never really solidified into the form of her mother. "What did you do?!"
Things had become clear to Nim now that she was no longer distracted by conversation. Even that was now an obvious ploy to keep her from discoveries, being manipulated left her feeling a trifle sour. This was what she did, having it done to her had been inconceivable until now. Being alone had allowed her to observe things with far greater lucidity. Oh, she'd seen it all as it unfolded, but the barbs and droning of Lumira's whelp had prevented her from understanding exactly what she witnessed. This place she'd been brought to was an illusion, but it was most certainly based on fact. She could see now what she'd been missing, why the nexus of imagery centered itself over the anvil. Initially there'd been no reason to believe that it was anything more than a symbol. Now she surmised that it was more, she'd seen this particular artifact before. Maybe Georg had been right after all. Maybe they'd both gotten what they wanted.
"I'm a victim here, Mira, as we all are." Nim could feel the strain at her mind as she pierced the metaphysical veil though she refused to let it alter her opinion of anyone else. The sound of a disbelieving chuckle pulled her attention to Eddie. She looked from her daughter to him with narrowed eyes before letting them fall to Tahlia with what was a promise to have words with her later. "Scoff if you will, but I've been as impotent as a child since this began." Her footfalls made no sound as she moved her way around all of them to the place where until recently Tahlia had lain.
"Oh good...just what I was missing." If Nim was making promises, Tahlia was unaware, eyes closed, curled up as much as she could be in the warm, safe circle of Eddie's arms and trying her best to keep Kruger alive until they could figure out how to get him back. Assuming Eddie was looking, which, let's be honest, was all but certain, he'd be the first to see the gold start to fade, deepen into the color of blood in the ocean, and then to nearly the same shade as the liquid she was working her hardest to control in the smith. The tan faded out from her skin, and marks appeared that hadn't been visible before. A fleur de lys behind her right ear, and the edge of an oak leaf visible along her ribs, both branded into skin more porcelain than it had been before. The black pearl nestled in her navel shivered as she let out a slow breath, and leaned in a little closer, depending on the man behind her to hold her up. He was the only one who knew how much it cost her, to let that go. She didn't raise her voice, she was sure she didn't need to. Nim had never frightened her. "Look, much as I love your cryptic little entrances...and seriously, is that genetic? Because you ALL do it - if you're not going to be helpful, I really need to focus on keeping him alive...for as long as I can..."
"Perhaps you should focus more on what you're doing..BÃ³ na TalÃºn." Nim's face took on an innocent expression as Lumira squealed out MOTHER! You can't say that! It only lasted a moment, broken by the scrape of steel on stone. Nim bent taking the hilt so recently abandoned by Tahlia in hand.
"Your leanbh briste has linked itself to this place, Mira dear. It's up to us to know how to sever that connection. Fortunately the fool left us all the tools we'll need." She would need to find this place again, to claim the artifacts within for her own Just causes. Gaia's words were still with her. As she stood, the same transparently luminous blade extended from the Daedric hilt. "We just need to kill the heart of his manufacturings." Maybe she was Cryptic, it wasn't up to *that* woman to comment on it, right? Nim advanced on the prone figure of Kruger and the pair of kneeling women raising the weapon high over her head tempted if for a moment to cure the firstborn of this disease called living. Pity that her daughter would never forgive her, she could see that in the suspicious look in the woman's eyes.
Unseen behind her lids, the once and again blonde's eyes shot silver, and the voice that pulled from her throat was soft, but unbroken. "Nim, I swear by your precious Mother that if you swing that blade at either man I will take every drop of blood in your veins to heal them without so much as a blink. You mean nothing to me other than being their kin. Are we clear?" Small she might be, and nearly exhausted, but there was nothing in her tone to suggest that she was not capable of doing exactly what she threatened.
The weapon descended in an arc, faux blade falling swiftly towards the intricately carved anvil. She tensed for the impact, imagining (though it would be impossible to prove) the neck of a redhead stretched across the space. The crash never happened, the weapon's edge passed through the anvil as though both were made of smoke pulling Nim off balance enough to have her quick stepping to recover. The image was there one moment, and then gone like the bursting of a bubble. The only evidence that something had happened was the opening of Kruger's eyes and the sound of a child's voice surrounding them.
Mommy! Around them everything was following the anvil into oblivion. Where once there was an entire working forge, now there was nothing except for them. The only solid thing left which wasn't alive was the hilt in Nim's hands. Kruger reached for Lumira and then broke apart like smoke on water. Inside her head she could hear his voice...What's really going to break your brain later is when you wonder if I was ever here at all...
The sudden disconnect sent Tahlia falling back, and if everything was dark, she hardly noticed - mostly because her eyes were closed. At least she wasn't in a bikini, this time. Salt crusted leathers and a torn tank top weren't much better, but it meant she wasn't shivering. Blinking didn't seem to improve matters. "...he could have at least left the lights..." Not, really, that it mattered - a moment later, she slumped against Eddie's chest, reserves tapped out, head leaning on one gigantic bicep and trusting him, if no one else in the room, to keep her safe for long enough to recover some of her strength. There would be questions, later...both for her and from her, she was certain. All of that could wait. [/color]