Aaron heads out to the park where they lost Jesse and goes to the willow tree, sitting below it and meditating, trying to clear his head of all that’s happened and the visions that came to him in the night.  After a while he gets up, and then takes out his little mirror, giving it a spin while he looks for Jesse.

(Umbra) Jesse is there, sitting by the water with her arms wrapped about her legs and her chin rested on her knees.

Aaron sighs and sits down, spaking through the little mirror as it spins back and forth.  “I’m sorry, Jesse.  Are you alright?  I mean… aside from the obvious?”

(Umbra) Jesse lifts her head and looks around, wiping her eyes with her sleeve.  “Aaron?  I can hear you but can’t see you. I want to go home.”

Arthur wakes up and immediately calls Jesse on the phone, his hands trembling as the dial tone sounds.

Aaron nods his head and then jumps as Jesse’s phone rings, he picks it up and answers it.  “Hello?  This is Aaron.”

Arthur,”Are you with Jesse? I just had this most horrible nightmare. That she was trapped behind a mirror…”

Aaron sighs, his hand trembling a little.  “She is, in a way.  A spirit fought us last night and it came through the Veil…  she tried to seal the hole and it sucked her in before closing when the creature died.  She’s trapped in the spirit world.  If we don’t get her out… she’ll turn into spirit.”

Arthur lets out a long sigh of frustration,”Alright, I know some people who may be able to help, I’ll try to reach them. In the meantime, have you contacted Kara?”

(Umbra) Jesse perks her head up.  “Are you talking to someone?  Can they help? The unicorn is cool and all, totally in touch with my inner five year old but I am scared.”

Aaron nods, mostly to himself.  “Kara was here when it happened.  She is talking to Cory, because something he said makes me think he has a way to reach that place.  And yes, Jesse.  It’s Arthur, he says he might be able to help.”

Arthur lets out a deep breath,”Well it’s possible that Cory may contact my people, or it’s possible that Cory and my people will not work together for this. What I do know is that I will reach out to them immediately… Also does anybody have any strong aversions to making a pledge?”

<ST> The Unicorn walks slowly about the pond along with Coyote, both staying fairly close to Jesse and keeping her in their line of sight.

Aaron blinks a bit, “Possibly.  Why?”, he asks as he watches Jesse and the spirits, still sitting underneath the willow tree.

Arthur,”Um… it may be helpful… my people don’t often deal with outsiders as much and this is a big favor to get from them.”

With that he hangs up and dials his father Aleister.

Jesse tries her best not to sulk as she half listens to Aaron’s voice coming from seemingly nowhere.  “You think there are more of those monsters here?  I mean… Of course there are… This is where it came from…”

<Aleister> The phone rings several times before there is a response. “Yes?”

Arthur,”Father, there’s an Emergency. Activity from the Spirit world. One of my friends was attacked and sucked into some realm alongside… a unicorn…”

Aaron puts the phone away and sighs, looking back through the little mirror kind of sideways while watching Jesse.  “I am sure someone will get help.  Till then, I’ll stay here with you.”

<Aleister> “Alright, slow down. Now, what is it precicely you would like to do?”

Arthur,”We need to try to cross into the… a spirit world. One where the real Unicorns apparently left to. Then we need to get my friend back out.”

(Umbra) Jesse sighs and rests her head on her knees again.  “Alright.  Thanks.  You didn’t get hurt too bad, did you?”

Aaron shakes his head a bit, leaned against the trunk of he tree and keeping his voice low.  “No, I slept some of it off.  Just a little bruised today.”

<Aleister> “I could direct you to a portal, your little friend could open it. But the rest will have to be up to you from there. That place is not a safe one.”

Arthur,”Thank you father, Any limitations on the portal I should know about? Does it work both ways and can it let through more than one person?”

<Aleister> “I believe it is moon reactive, but the phase should be correct. It does mean though that if you miss the window back, it cannot be reopened for a month.”

Arthur nods in his phone,”Approximately how long is the window? We’ll prepare to leave at once.”

(Umbra) Jesse sighs and gets up, looking around the area and off toward the unicorn.  She should be happy, but all she could think of was home right now.  “That’s good.”

<Aleister> “I believe I said already. Remember, you need to learn to listen and pay attention. It will close when the moonlight is gone. But it is afternoon yet, and so it cannot be opened now.”

Aaron frowns a bit as he continues to watch Jesse, frustrated at his inability to do anything.  He holds his head a bit, a flood of the previous nights visions moving through his head again briefly.

Arthur,”Ah, sorry father, I thought you were speaking of the phases of the moon. Thank you, we will have her out by morning light. Where is the portal located?”

<Aleister> “Arrowroot park. Your little friend knows the way and how to open it.”

Arthur,”Thank you father. I love you, goodbye.” He then hangs up and dials Jesse’s phone again.

Aaron picks up the phone, answering.  “Hello?”

Arthur,”Hey, I found a portal, it’s at Arrowroot park. Here’s what I think we should do. Kara goes to Jesse and watches over here while you come with me to the park. I enter the spirit world and you walk me over to the park that Jesse is at, keep me from getting lost. Then I bring her back to the portal and we leave. All of this has to be done… tonight. As soon as the moon comes out we can try to head to her and we need to get her before daylight make sense?”

Aaron shakes his head a little bit at that.  “I don’t think that is a good idea.  If we go, we go together.  Even with that little dragon, that park is in the ghetto and you have no experience with the spirits of that world.”

Aaron thinks a moment.  “You should call Kara though.  I don’t have her number.  She might also have a response from Cory by now.”

Arthur nods,”Of course, but I would like you to guide me to Jesse. She should probably stay put. Spirit Worlds don’t always have the same landscape as the mundane and she could get horrifically lost if she moves. I’m going to call Kara now. Talk to you later bye.” He hangs up without waiting for a response and then dials Kara.

“Yes?” Kara practically shouts into her phone’s reciever as she picks up. There’s a slight muffling heard over the reception as she turns it to check caller ID. “Oh, Arthur! What’s awry?” She asks a bit too quickly, sounding somewhat out of breath.

Arthur,”Nothin much. Jesse is just trapped in the spirit world slowly dying and I’m going to try to rescue her. We have only tonight to do it and I’m hoping you would watch over Jesse while Aaron helps guide me to her.”

“What? Ohnononono.” Kara shakes her head emphatically, though the motion is wasted due to the nature of telephone communication. “Absolutely not. You are not prancing around the realm of spirits without me. Out of the question.”

Aaron just sits quietly under the tree still, occasionally glancing to Jesse on the other side but he remains quiet, not really knowing what to say.

Arthur,”This is already dangerous as it is and unless you have special means of moving us through the spirit world any faster than we already can, taking you along will just be an additional liability. Also we absolutely must have someone guard Jesse from any more attacks. If she moves we may not be able to find her in time and all risk getting trapped with her. Regardless, we cannot leave yet so we are meeting at the park where she was taken before heading to the portal. There should be plenty of daylight left for some brief planning. I will see you there soon yes?”

“Gah!” Kara lets out a frustrated exhalation. “You can be really frustrating sometimes, you know that Arthur. I’m coming to the park. We are not through talking about this.” Without waiting for a response, Kara hangs up, tosses her phone into her purse and hurriedly makes herself the bares minimum of presentable before grabbing a jacket and running out.

Kara returns a few minutes later, locks her door, and then takes off once again.

(Umbra) Jesse runs her hand through the coyote’s fur, taking some comfort that despite the strangeness of this place, it feels warm and alive.  Her eyes start to move over other things as she slowly starts to focus.

Arthur sends a text to Jesse,”Kara is on her way, as am I, and my friend who will guide us through the portal. See you soon.” With that he hurries off to the park as quickly as he can.

Aaron sits in the grass, the little mirror spinning first one way, then the other on it’s own and he continues to look across, sighing heavily.

Arthur arrives at the park shortly later, his cab skidding to a stop. He hops out and hands him the money, thanks him, bows, and runs over, somewhat awkwardly as if there is weight on his shoulder, to where Jesse is.

It takes Kara a little more than an hour to arrive at the park, though the long jog there has done little to calm her down, alter her mood, and absolutely nothing to improve her haphazard state of appearance. She quickly spots Aaron and Arthur, and heads over.

Aaron lifts his head up as Arthur comes running over.  “She is alright, she is staying with Coyote and Unicorn so for now she is safe.  They won’t let anything near.”

Arthur nods,”I didn’t know we had anyone looking out for her on the other side. A Unicorn and a Coyote? That’s good news. Either way I think that you should stay on this side of the veil Aaron, especially being that you can see through the veil, it may be what saves our lives. Kara are you insisting on coming to the spirit world or will you help on this side?”

“I already told you.” Kara says, testily, though her voice is still somewhat quick and breathless. “I’m not going to be sitting idly by on the sidelines while you’re off gallivanting around in the spirit realm.”

Aaron crosses his arms as he looks at Arthur, shaking his head.  “No way.  You don’t have expereince with those types of spirits, you need me on that side.  I can look from that side to this side to ensure it is the right path.  You can’t.  So if something happesn to me on this side, like in the ghetto, you couldn’t help me and I couldn’t help you.”

Arthur smiles,”Aaron I don’t believe you have met my little friend. I have a Dragon accompanying me and he is the one opening the portal. I believe he is pretty equipped to handle any spirits I run across. Zirathur would you please show yourself to them so we can finish this meeting?”

Aaron sighs.  “You aren’t seeing my point.  This side might be more dangerous than that side.  And, having that thing aggro the spiders there in the buildings is bad.  They can turn you to statues.”

Arthur,”If we all go, it could mean we all get lost. We will have no anchor to give us direction and time of day. We could all get trapped and turn into spirits. Make of it what you will. If you’re worried about getting jumped on this side we could call Cory and see if he will play bodyguard for you perhaps? Regardless, anybody that is staying here with Jesse should do so. The rest will come with me to Arrowroot park. We should leave now. Will you drive us there Aaron?”

Aaron sighs and walks off toward the car.  “Maybe Kara should call him anyway, he might have a way that won’t disappear on us.”

“I can try but I doubt it would help. Aren’t isn’t exactly our department.” Kara pulls out her phone and dials in Cory’s number before glancing up at Arthur. “I’m still cross with you,” she states simply, then hits call and holds the phone up to her ear.

(Umbra) Jesse closes her eyes and listens, slowly taking in everything around her.  She puts a hand on the unicorn, reaching up to feel its form.  Tracing from its twitching ears to its wet nose.

<Cornel> answers his phone on the first ring. “Yes?”, he says. There is an electrical sound off in the background, like lightning.

“Hey, Cory?” Kara asks quickly, “we’re about to enter the spirit real on a bit of a rescue mission. Do you know of anything we can do to provide an anchor or beacon or something so we can find our way back?” Then she blinks twice, listening to the line. “Is anything awry, Cory?”

Arthur’s {Mental Echoes} Do you hear it? The faint hum of wings…

Arthur whispers,”Zirathur is that you?”

<Cornel> sighs audibly. “You are serious about going in there?”, he asks, sounding concerned. “It’s fine, just something we are testing. It might cause some feedback though.”

Arthur’s {Mental Echoes} No… it’s me. Danu.

Aaron waits by the car, half leaned against it as he watches the others, waiting.  He puts the mirror back in his pocket.

“I didn’t spend all day obsessing over patterns in everything I see just to sit around in the park and not journey into another realm beyond the imagining of most.” Kara manages in one breath. “Yes, I know how crazy this might sound, but I’m not leaving a friend trapped in there if there’s anything I can do to help.”

Arthur stops mid step and gets on his knees in a medieval bow and says quietly but firmly,”Yes my lady, I do hear it, and I hear you. What would you ask of me?”

Aaron’s {Mental Echoes} You know you don’t need it anymore. Why keep it?

<Cornel> is quiet for a long time before responding. “There is a way in, and out. The trick is not getting calcified by the pattern spiders. And… if you go in, you may not come out the same.”

Aaron closes his eyes and gives a soft shake of his head, fiddling with his pocket before getting into the car.

Arthur’s {Mental Echoes} Do you remember me?

“I can do this, Cory,” Kara states firmly, her voice filled with determination, “I *know* I can.”

Kara’s {Mental Echoes} You can do it. It has been done before and all repeats.

Jesse’s {Mental Echoes} All that was once alive, all that ever was… exists here.

<Cornel> “We can open a portal in the lab if need be. We have never had to use it, it’s more trouble than it’s worth usually. But it offers a way in, or out.”

Arthur,”I remember the stories my lady.”

“We have a portal?” Kara hisses excitedly, momentarily distracted from the matter at hand. She makes a mental note to see about looking into upgrading her clearance level later. “Okay, that’s…wow. If it’s alright, I’ll be right over. Arthur and Aaron want to go as well, but I’m guessing you already suspected that.”

Arthur’s {Mental Echoes} But you don’t rememebr me… we used to talk before… perhaps in time. It has been a long while since you heard my voice. Since you got lost.

<Cornel> “Alright. We’ll be ready here.”, he says and then hangs up.

“Okay,” Kara puts her phone back into her purse and turns to Arthur and Aaron, “I’ve got permission to bring you to the lab. We’ll get in through there. I can give you directions there Aaron. Let Jesse know we’re on the way.”

Arthur nods,”Yes my lady, in time…” He then stands back up and snaps himself out of it.”What is this about a laboratory Kara?”

(Umbra) Jesse smiles, holding onto the unicorn, putting her face against it and feeling the spark of life there despite its spiritual form.  “I understand.”

Aaron waits for them to get in the car, ready to follow Kara’s directions to this lab. Though he is not any more pleased about that route, he keeps quiet…  it was more stable, but it meant dealing with types he might rather avoid.

Arthur shakes his head,”Kara what is this about a laboratory? We already have a way into the other side and it is safe.”

“No, what we have is an apparently time-sensitive way in that requires an anchor. What we’re getting is superior in both regards.” Kara corrects Arthur as she walks over and sits herself in the passenger seat of Aaron’s car.

Aaron looks over to Arthur.  “If this one is a permanent way in, it is a way out we don’t have to worry about closing up on us, or forcing some of us to stay behind.  Unless you have changed your mind on that suddenly.  In which case I would reather only use theirs as a way out if the first fails us.”

Aaron’s {Mental Echoes} You are right not to trust them. Their adherence to stasis will only hinder your growth.

Arthur’s eyes narrow.”My path doesn’t require any more of an anchor than yours does. I was suggesting an anchor because we can get lost regardless of where we enter. If we get lost we might not be able to find our way home. The lack of time-sensitivity is an advantage for an escape though.”

Arthur’s {Mental Echoes} Come and find me again. I do miss you so.

Arthur continues,”If we use one path it will be more difficult to find the other route. If we split up one of us could become forever lost. Aaron, you choose which way we should enter from, but we should keep the… alternate on retainer. If we cannot make it back out my way then can they attempt to open their portal for us? If so how will they know we are ready to exit?”

Aaron looks over at Kara, maybe we should talk to Cory and see if there is a way for us to find that place from the other side if we have to get out.  But seeing as how your lab is…  well, a lab… there will be these things called weaver spirits… and they don’t like intruders in their nests.”

Arthur,”What are ‘Weaver spirits?'”

Aaron makes a bit of a face, obviously not liking them much.  “They kinda look like spiders.  They hang out in places made by people in the spirit world.  So you find them in buildings… but a place like a lab… that will be crawling with them.  They aren’t terribly aggressive, but if you set one off, they have a hive mind and all of them will come after you.”

“So we be careful.” Kara shrugs. “It’s not a perfect solution, but we need to get Jesse out of there sooner rather than later.”

Aaron glances over at Kara and once Arthur in in the car, starts to drive.  “Yeah, but my thought is…  just hear me out…  that if we go in one end and come out the other…  then there is less chance of annoying the weavers.  See, if we go into their realm and upset them, we might get away… but then we’d have to go back through their nest to get out.  With them already pissed.  So we could go in the park side, since it has a time limit, and come out through the lab.”

“How are we supposed to find our way through to the lab’s portal once we’re in?” Kara asks, somewhat puzzled.

Arthur,”I agree with Aaron. Let’s head to the park. Is there any way we can try to contact Cory should we need him to open the portal for us?”

“My cell coverage doesn’t extend to extra-dimensional calls.” Kara deadpanns. “And even if it did, I doubt I could afford the rates.”

Aaron starts riving toward the lab first.  “We go to the lab and talk to Cory.  I can reach across the Veil from the other side to contact them on this side to tell them we need it opened…  but I need to go there so we can get an idea of where to go in the spirit world.”

(Umbra) Jesse sighs, watching the reflection of things in the pond there, and her eyes widen slightly as she lets go of the unicorn to look closer.  “It can’t be…”

<ST> The group arrives first at the Lab, which is a large, square building that is nondescript in the middle of town. It is a sad shade of borwn and doesn’t even appear to have windows.

Aaron’s {Mental Echoes} Really going in there?

Arthur gets out and makes a face of absolute disgust… and heaves for a moment then quietly whispers,”Zirathur I don’t think I need to remind you… but stay away from this place…”

Kara’s {Mental Echoes} Things make sense here. Everything has an order.

Kara steps out of the car and gives the building a look of fondness dispraportionate to it’s exterior appearance. “Well, here we are. Try not to look at anything classified while inside. I’m not sure what the NDA agreements are like for non-employees, but you certainly don’t want to find out.” Kara says jokingly. Probably. Hopefully.

Arthur smiles,”If they’re anything like the ones I’m familiar with, then a thousand bolts of lightning… followed by an execution in front of your peers… of your ghost.”

Aaron looks at both of them and sighs to himself, shaking his head as he steps in behind Kara.  “I’d hate to have to make someone fill out a bunch of paperwork on my account.  Or get fried… in general.”, he says, touching his still bruised ribs gingerly.

<ST> The inside of this place is made only slightly more cheery than the outside by the addition of some plants… except they’re all fake since they have no sunlight.

Arthur touches nothing and falls strangely silent. He looks seriously ill.

Kara sends Cory a quick text as the group enters the building, and looks a great deal calmer once she’s inside.

Arthur’s {Mental Echoes} This place… it is like where they first brought you when you stopped talking to me.

Arthur whispers,”Don’t leave me.” His eyes teary

<Cornel> comes from a room in the back of the building and approaches the trio. He looks at each one before sighing and nodding to himself. “Alright, so how do you want to do this? As I said, it is not particularly safe. We have a couple of weapons that might prove useful, however.”

Aaron looks at Cory and then toward the door.  “We are hoping to use your way as an exit to lessen the risk of pissing off the spiders.  We have an alternate entrance.  I can talk both ways across, so I could reach you here.  Weapons…  might be helpful.”

Jesse’s {Mental Echoes} Go on, you can touch it. Feel the Source of all life in the water.

Jesse kneels down at the waters edge, staring into it.  She reaches out and takes a handful of the water, watching it flowing through her fingers.

Arthur nods,”What are these weapons that you have?”

<Cornel> turns and walks toward another doorway marked with a strange symbol, not quite a hazard sign by the door. He comes back with a few things and starts passing them out. “Kara, this looks like a stun-gun but lets just say it packs a lot more punch than that. Arthur, this is a wand, watch where you point it… it will shoot a gout of flame on command… command is etched into it. Don’t say it aloud. Aaron, it’s a short spear but it will breach armor, sorry it was all that was left.”

Arthur’s {Mental Echoes} We have seen that symbol before. It is from an old Order.

Arthur’s jaw goes very slack as he rubs the wand as if it is made of gold.”A wand… an actual wand. You know me so well. Say… what is this symbol upon it?”

Aaron blinks, but nods his head in thanks.  “That is quite alright.  It’s better than trying to use my hands… like last time.”, he says with a nervous chuckle.

“Aww. A Christmas present? Cory, you really shouldn’t have.” Kara examines the offered weapon, carefully checking its outer mechanisms.

<Cornel> glances to Arthur, then at the symbol. “It is one of several used by the Order of Hermes. We’ll wait for your signal to open the portal here and let you back through. I meant what I said though… doing this, you may not come back the same as you left. If you do, well, that might even be more dangerous. But good luck. I hope you find your friend.”

Arthur smiles at the man,”Thank you so very much. I will cherish this. Are we ready to go to the spot now? It should be nearing time that the portal opens.”

“Don’t worry, Cory.” Kara says, trying to sound reassuring despite her nerves. “We’ll all come back in one piece. And we’ll bring the gear back too.”