New Mutants Unlimited 55

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New Mutants Unlimited #55 - At A Different Tempo
Post by Orchestra on Apr 11, 2007, 6:56pm

New Mutants Unlimited #55 - At A Different Tempo

Cover Description: Orchestra looking into two coffins, each with him lying inside.

Tonight is a night no different from all the others. Throughout the mansion most are asleep, but there are some that are not. As I sit here and ponder there are students sneaking in and out of the kitchen for snacks, or even more hilariously trying to find a secluded spot on the grounds trying to be alone with that male or female they desire.

I can see a pair of them now, rushing across the back lawn, ignoring the unusually cold wind that force most others back to the safety of the mansion.

No…that’s not right.

To them the gust may be a bit cooler than would be expected for this time of year (as is my understanding) but it does not cut them to their very core the way it does me.

I am Orchestra of the New Mutants and the cold, cutting wind that bleeds through the cracks in the most upper-level of the mansion, the room I call my own, is the only thing that prevents me partaking in one of the most horrifying experiences of my existence. Sleep.

Where I am from, the Underlands, sleep is a luxury awarded only to those who are truly sound in their belief that they are not surrounded from all sides by enemies. While our forms may occasionally crave it, we usually have suppressed the need by our second century of existence. Here things are different.

In this world the human need for sleep can be staved off with various concoctions (most of them foul) whose creation borders on alchemaic, but eventually it will catch up and the human will require sleep. Ever since coming to this world I have found myself with the same need for rest that they share, and I am unsure why. Perhaps my constant assuming of a human shape has permanently affected my psyche, leaving me not only with the memories and feelings of those whose shadows I have absorbed, but also some of their innate human needs.

Regardless of the reason for my newfound desire, I continually fight it off with all of my heart. I know that if I sleep I’ll…no, nightmare is not the proper term for it. What I see may be frightening, but it is no manifestation of my inner fears, what I see has actually occurred. In my research I have discovered that humans use the phrase “seeing memories of a past life” to describe what I experience, but I truly hope for their own sakes that what they claim to see is no where as detailed as what I do is.

While I have not slept since I have come to this world I have had…you could say…brief interludes from the realm of consciousness, and even a moment’s reprieve is enough to have the woes of my previous existences played out before me.

I am Vardøgr of the Thrice-Steppers, third and last in line directly from the Shadowcaster and is my ultimate sorrow.

Eons ago, before this planet had ever come together; the Underlands were a world of little more than war. Even the smallest tribe numbered in the billions and if there was ever a moment when they were not engaging in warfare with each other, or another tribe, it meant they had either all fallen in battle, or were celebrating their last victory.

The battles fought in those days were so fierce that the land, sea, and sky would shake three continents over, and even more telling of the magnitude of these events is that evolution had robbed many newborns of their ears or other hearing apparatus, since they would soon lose their use of them anyway.

Despite all the war and death there was still a tribe that sought peace with all the others, and a unity for all people. Needless to say, despite how charismatic their leader, one known only to history as the Shadowcaster was, this idea was not well-received, and at a “peace conference” of sorts, he and his people were gloriously massacred.

The peace that had once dominated his life now replaced with rage at the loss of the lives of his people, and the knowledge that his own life would soon be ending, the Shadowcaster performed an action that would gain him is moniker. No one is exactly sure what said or done, but what is known is this: The Shadowcaster, at the very moment of his death, partook in a powerful contract with an ancient god as malevolent as he was wondrously powerful. His dark powers transformed the Shadowcaster and his dying people into living shadows, formed from the power of the Underlands itself, capable of feeding on the shadows of others, almost instantly destroying them. From the ashes of one race a new breed arose, mine.

Within centuries the way of the Underlands had changed drastically. Where there had once been billions, there were now thousands. Where there once been great cities and sprawling continents there were now ruins and scattered islands. My people had destroyed everything in their wake in retaliation for the wrong that had befallen them in their past lives, but that is not to say there wasn’t a price. With their final victory over the last great tribe, nearly every member of the Thrice-steppers fell dead…only those that did soon arose again.

The Dark god that had graced them with their power may have been a being of chaos would forever be a mystery to all who tried to understand its true nature; it believed in a strict order for all beings and ingrained this sense of order into my people.

Within us all, in our heads, hearts or souls, I’m not sure how exactly to describe it, there is a list. This will be hard to believe but this list, filled a random number of “rules” for each member of my tribe, and are best described as “life goals.” When a goal is completed it is simply removed from the list, and when all the goals are gone from the list, our life ends. And we are born again, up to three times, and this is why my people are called the Thrice-steppers. We walk our life paths three times before meetings our ultimate fates.

Of course that isn’t to say that we cannot die before we complete our lists, but the contents of these lists are a matter of great privacy to each and every member of my tribe. It is very rare that anyone will reveal any number of their goals to another, so it’s impossible to know who’s simply died or fulfilled their destiny when they fall in battle. But that’s not very important, just another part of my back-story that I repeat to myself to fight off sleep.

As tired as I am, as much as my body hurts…I am not sure I truly need to witness in full the two lives I have previously led. I do not need to see myself die twice. It’s bad enough that only one thing remains on my “list.” When I came here there were two, the first of which was “Fight with a band of great warriors.”

I had initially jumped at the chance to flee from my home because I did not believe that this world could possibly have great warriors but I have since learned differently.

Only one thing remains now, something I continually ponder in order to stay awake.

“Lead my people into a battle that will go down in history.”

This one is pretty self-explanatory, and its meaning isn’t what I wonder, it’s just one tiny detail. Are my people the Thrice-steppers who I would lead as Vardøgr, third and last in line directly from the Shadowcaster, or will it be the New Mutants, who I would lead as Orchestra?

Only time will tell, but to be honest, it doesn’t really matter.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #55 - At A Different Tem
Post by Pester on Apr 11, 2007, 7:09pm

«Aww… Poor Orchestra. ;_; »


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #55 - At A Different Tem
Post by Orchestra on Apr 11, 2007, 7:26pm

Oh he doesn't let it get him too down, no need to shed e-tears for him.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #55 - At A Different Tem
Post by Pester on Apr 11, 2007, 7:27pm

The poor guy doesn't sleep so the nightmares of his previous deaths can't eat him. I say again: ;_;

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