7424/Themysciran Vacation: MEN!

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Themysciran Vacation: MEN!
Date of Scene: 18 August 2021
Location: Palace - Themyscira City
Synopsis: The Titans are taken to the Palace on Themyscira. Donna visits Terry, Gar and Kian to help them settle in. Kian gets drunk, Gar doesn't get a dress, and Terry faints again (kind of).
Cast of Characters: Donna Troy, Kian, Gar Logan, Terry O'Neil

Donna Troy has posed:
    There is a lot that happens after a battle.  Even when mysterious goddesses appear to remove the entire fallen enemy army from the battlefield, there's a lot.  When the battle is won, you do not just cheer and go home.  Winning the battle is just the start—the clean-up takes a lot longer.
    As soldiers and medics start picking through the field to tend to fallen Amazons, horses and kangas, they know they've got a long few days ahead of them.  The Titans only get to see the very start of this though, before they are taken away from the battlefield and lead by an honor guard to the palace.  Captaining the honor guard, technically her first ever command as an Amazon, is Aikaterine.
    Donna, or as literally everyone here calls her Troia, had stayed behind.  There had been some explaining to do, though a fuller debriefing will happen later.  The horseback journey across Themyscira takes some hours, and gives the Titans time to appreciate the scenery.  They pass the edges of a vast, dense forest, travel through gently rolling hills dotted with olive groves and flocks of grazing animals, and cross broad grassy plains.  The afternoon sun is hot enough to create a faint haze in the air, but the honor guard has full wineskins (the wine is crisp, cool, delicious and well watered down).  The sky is brilliant blue and clear, and the air is fresh and filled with the scents of fragrant plants—this is a place a flier can feel at home.
    Journey's end comes into view.  In the distance, against the broad blue sea, a mountain dominates the horizon, its slopes teeming with buildings.  While there is plenty of the brilliant white marble you'd expect of a Hellenic society, it's all far more colorful than might have been imagined too.  The buildings at the top of the mountain are huge, columnated temples and a vast palace.  There is water everywhere, flowing down the mountain in artificial cascades and short canals, with round pools of varying sizes reflecting the sun all around the city.
    The group of Titans is well into the farmlands around the city proper when they're rejoined by Donna, dropping out of the sky.  "Hey guys!" she calls down to them.  "Like it?"

Kian has posed:
    Post-battle, the birdman was probably more numb than anything else.  He spoke little, even to his /tenár'yw/.  It's almost impossible to tell if Kían is unhappy with the situation or not.  He's existing.  Anything beyond that is a bonus.
    Other than that, well, Gar and Terry both have seen Kían with a fair amount of alcohol in him, and if there is a saving grace, it is that the birdman is not a sloppy drunk.  For him, it's more like being stoned.
    Kían is stoned.
    From about the moment he discovered the Amazons have brandy, he hasn't been seen without a wineskin slung over his shoulder.  He greets Tána… nnh, Donna with a wave.  "It iss a beautiful place.  I could see livin' here, it remin's me of some places near my home on Kyshán."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Once the battle was over and done with, the MinoGar went back to normal.  There was anticipation as decisions were made and the honor guard was formed and led by Caitlin (calling her Aikaterine was still weird to him), with the Titans en route to the population center of Themyscira itself.
    Naturally, the rest of the horses were joined by a very green one, with a feline rider.  "Mister Ed's got nothin' on me.  If I was Thor, I'd tell people 'I say thee neigh!'"  Dispensing with the jokes only for a short while, like the rest his attention was taken up more on what they passed by.  The forest, the hills with a landscape that made him think of the Mediterranean, and all the sights and smells.
    Then, the mountain, the buildings dotting it, more densely packed in some places.  "Dude.  Vorpal, Kian.  Do you realize we're making history here?"  He abruptly—but not too much so that Vorpal is tossed—goes back to normal and pulls out his phone.  "Do you think I'd get in trouble if I took some video for later?  Look at all those waterfalls!  And the pools!"  He just about jumps at Donna's return.  "Oh!  Hey!  Uh, can I…?"  He waves the phone around.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Vorpal is unusually quiet throughout the journey.  Or, rather, he is not quiet, but he is not articulate.  Every new feature of the island, or every glorious vista is rewarded with a sound, but no discernible words.  It has been an eventful event for Terry, and it is hard to say what has impacted him more—knowing that he is on Eris' hit list, or knowing that he is setting foot on Themysciran soil.
    When the city finally appears, the Cheshire cat's eyes go as wide as they possibly can without popping out of their orbits, and he almost does get toppled over when Gar changes because it is very evident that he is not paying attention to much except for the city.  The cascades, the canals, the buildings.

      A gleam of splendour given of heaven,
      Then rests on them a light of glory
      And blessed are their days.

    The words of Pindar suddenly come to mind—'For them the sun shines in his strength, in the world below, while here 'tis night; and, in meadows red with roses, the space before their city is shaded by the incense-tree and is laden with golden fruits.  Some of them delight themselves with horses and with wrestling; others with draughts, and with lyres; while beside them blooms the fair flower of perfect bliss.  And over that lovely land fragrance is ever shed, while they mingle all maner of incense with the far-shining fire of the altars of the gods.  From the other side sluggish streams of darksome night belch forth a boundless gloom.'
    They had come out of boundless gloom, from the gates of Doom, and now they were here.  Here.
    When Donna descends, Vorpal doesn't react much, except to raise a hand and point at the city and, eloquently, say:

Donna Troy has posed:
    You come to Themyscira expecting the unexpected, but that doesn't really protect you from being surprised.  However much the mind might be prepared, and the Titans have seen photos of Themyscira taken by the female team members before, there are things that remain unexpected because you didn't even think about them being unexpected.
    One of these things is just how fast everything happens.  Everything seems to be organized in advance, nobody seems to need to ask what they're supposed to be doing, and everyone's in the right place and working efficiently.  There are no systemic delays because some small but utterly vital cog in the machine is underpaid, undertrained and undervalued in a misguided attempt at cost saving that costs far more than it saves.  Everyone seems happy with their lot in life.  It's not a surprise once you've been surprised by it—after all, these are people who have been doing their jobs for thousands of years.  It's more one of those surprises that makes you realize the assumptions you bring with you from your own home, that the way you are used to things happen may have no reason beyond 'because this is how we do it.'
    As soon as the party arrives in at the palace, there are grooms ready to take the horses away.  The guard leave for their next tasks without waiting for orders.  Palace workers have been notified of the party arriving before they arrive and are ready to lead the Titans to rooms already prepared for them.  Even Donna… sorry, Troia, who is perfectly capable of being lazy back home in America, seems caught up in it all, giving quick explanations of what the Titans see on the way dotted with promises that there will be plenty of time for a proper look later.
    She does stop for a selfie with Gar though.
    The rooms the Titans have been given are large and airy.  Kian will be delighted to discover that they overlook a large central courtyard in the palace, and behind wooden shuttered doors is a sizable balcony, ideal for taking off from.  The style of decorations are only slightly familiar even to someone who has studied the ancient Greek decorative styles, but they are certainly magnificent.  There are decorative vases, sculptures and paintings in each room that would make a Manhattan auction house owner drool.  Beds are low and of an unfamliar slung design.  There are tall windows that let in a lot of light, each with roomy window ledge seats, with a clear cool-tinted glass, panes decorated with stained glass borders.  There are colorful fabrics everywhere, and even the most functional objects seem to be created with exquisite care.
    Each room has a table with jugs of wine and cool water, and a plate of pastries waiting for the occupants, the water cool and the pastries warm.  There's hot and cold running water, but apparently no electricity—though there are semi-opaque glass globes hanging from the walls that look like they might be light bulbs, if you could only find the light switch.  Titans Tower is luxurious, but it's strange to think that this is Donna's home.  The whole princess thing is real.
    Kian, Terry and Gar have had about twenty minutes to accustom themselves to the rooms before there's a knock on the door and Donna's voice calls out to them.  "Guys, are you decent?  I've brought some more brandy for Kian, he looked like he could use it."

Kian has posed:
    Kian is spending a lot of time on the balcony, with a by now empty skin of brandy or wine, whichever he got his three-fingered hands on first, and anyone who can tolerate his quiet presence.  "I do not know how you define decen', Tána… nnh!  Donna," Kian calls back, "but I think if you come in you will not be embarrass."
    Ever-polite Kian.
    The birdman is not a mess, but he probably shouldn't be flying.  Fortunately, he doesn't look like he wants to right now.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gonna be a lot of selfies around here.  And pictures of this and that.  And Terry is probably already thinking of the exclusive story he can write, depending on the details they allow him to share.
    Gar is still in uniform, since that's the way he came here.  The water and pastries are gone for first once he gets to his room, taking in the styles and decorations only afterward.  Even the wine is checked out, sniffed at, and lightly tasted to see what he may think of it before anyone comes calling.
    "Yeah, as decent as I'll ever be!  This is awesome in here!  Are we going somewhere?  Where are we going?  Can we see the big kangaroos?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry, honestly, isn't even thinking as far as an article.  It hasn't even occurred to him what kind of shockwaves the 'Man On Themyscira' angle is even likely to cause at this point.  As he stands in the room, close to the balcony, not having had a chance to touch the pastries before Hurricane Gar passed through, he's come to debate whether or not what he is currently seeing and experiencing is but a trick of Eris, part of her promised revenge against him.
    She did laugh, of course, what could be more cruel than to let him think he was visiting Themyscira… without actually ever setting foot on Themyscira.
    "Donna?" Vorpal says, turning to face the door, "I… we're decent, yes," he says, with that distant, dream-like tone to his voice.  If this was an illusion of Eris', he was going to find a way to pierce it.  He just needed to make sure not to give away the fact that he had caught on.  "Yes, we're all dressed."  His uniform was a little torn from the battle, but he was decent.  He had managed to escape without much more than scrapes and minor cuts.  King Ixion hadn't discovered lasers, yet.

Donna Troy has posed:
    Donna stops in the doorways for a few moments to stare at the three Titans making themselves at home in a room of the Palace of Themyscira, and for a brief moment the silliest grin crosses her face before it vanishes.
    She walks over to one of the glass globes and waves a hand in front of it, causing it to illuminate with a warm light.  Another wave of the hand switches it off again.  "Lights," she explains.  "The rest you should be able to figure out, though faucets go the other way.  Blinds adjust with a lever, you'll want to close them at night if you don't want to be woken by the sun.  We get a lot of it here.  If you need anything, stick your head out the door and call for one of the guards and they'll pass on your requests to whoever.  If you need any clean clothes that'll take a few hours, but I'll send someone up to take measurements."
    She crosses the room to join Kian on the balcony, taking one of the seats there and putting a bottle down on the table.  "Kian, this is a lot stronger than the wine.  A lot stronger, be careful.  And if you need to throw up, do it in the bathroom please."
    She leans back, enjoying the sun on her face, and looks very, very contented.  "Gar… tomorrow.  Okay?  None of us have slept for like 36 hours.  We just climbed stairs for like six hours and then fought a huge battle.  If you're not totally wiped out yet, it's only because the adrenaline hasn't gone down yet.  For the rest of today you rest.  Stick to the palace and explore here if you're too excited not to.  There will be a celebratory feast in a couple of hours."
    "And… look.  I know I don't really have to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway.  You being here is… a big thing, okay?  It makes people uncertain.  It's a bit controversial.  Stay to the palace grounds, and yes the air above it Kian, when you're not accompanied please.  It's not that you're in danger it's just that… uh.  We've got something to prove, basically.  I want people to have time to get used to the idea that this is all good, okay?  And if… well a lot of people are going to basically see you all as clumsy, over-enthusiastic irrational children, basically.  As the first men to visit Themyscira in two thousand years, it would be a good thing if you proved them wrong."

Kian has posed:
    Kían tosses aside his current skin, which is empty.  He does not immediately pick up the bottle Donna brought, although he does make sure it is within easy reach.  Really, he looks more tired than drunk.  "I… nnh," he starts, then falls quiet again.
    Then he looks up sharply.  "I haf never struck in anger before.  An'… an' I do not feel bad about that, although I am sure that I shoul'."
    He looks around, at Donna, at Gar, at Terry… although he seems more to be looking past their shoulders as if expecting to see something else there.  "An' I haf seen thin's I do not understan'," he adds, without further clarification.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan mouths an 'Ooooh' at the demonstration of the light, which he goes over to repeat a few times.  It's the simple things.
    Squinting out at the sunlight, for the room is pretty bright with that beaming down at them, his head tilts back toward Donna.  "Has it been that long?  I don't even really feel that tired yet… oh, here it comes."  Massive yawn follows.  She just had to point that out, didn't she?  Maybe a nap before the feast would be good, so he doesn't faceplant in the Jell-O fruit mold, or the mashed potatoes, or… whatever.  Do they even do Jell-O fruit molds here?
    "Kian, you did what you had to do.  So did we.  Those things died a long time ago, and they would have trampled us otherwise."  He's not going to tell Kian that he probably could have kept above the fight and the rest of them would have still had it handled.  That would only lead to more questioning of self.  "You helped make sure we got through that.  And right now I feel like I could hug everybody, even Raven."  Does he know?  Surely not….
    Eris does not seem to be first and foremost on his mind, mainly because he doesn't know what that all meant back there, and… distractions.  Rapidly fading adrenaline.  A weariness growing.  He waves a hand toward Donna, adding, "Pish posh.  Who actually says that?  'Pish posh.'  That's silly.  We are clumsy, over-enthusiastic irrational children, and we… oh, we're not supposed to let them see that?  Sheesh, fiiiiiine.  But I'm gonna need my beauty sleep before the feast, and what was that about measurements?  For what kind of clothes?  Should we wear them for the feast?  With all the food and drink and celebrating?"  The expression shows eager curiosity and interest while the eyes are beginning to grow heavy.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Vorpal follows Donna as she moves around the room, and then spares a glance at the light.
    Of course.  He had seen the light at the cafeteria in the Arts Center.  Was this delusion being drawn from his memories?  He wasn't certain.  It was very realistic—utterly so, but then again that was the point, wasn't it?  The delusions of the stairs, the mepris de l'escalier s'il vous plait, was extremely believable.
    "Gar is right, Kian," Vorpal says, coming to join them out on the balcony, "Tartarus is the realm of the dead.  Even unmaking them there is likely to only be temporary…."
    He glances over at Donna, and that's where the first intimation that something is wrong might be noticeable.  The wonder isn't there in his eyes anymore—certainly not the wide-eyed stare that he first got when seeing Themyscira for the first time.
    "Sometimes the semblance of things are different from the nature of things.  Like the photo you showed me when we first met, remember, Donna?"  He leans against the balcony, enjoying the warmth of the sunlight, in part regretting it isn't real.  "The one with the poacher in the Amazon…."

Donna Troy has posed:
    Donna rests a hand briefly on Kian's shoulder, and gives it a squeeze.  {That you have struck in anger is not in itself a wrong thing.  It is all about context and control.  There are times when it is right to be angry at something that has happened, and it is right to use that anger to strike harder, so that it will not happen again.  The creatures we fought today were already dead.  Their souls were briefly reunited with their bodies by magical means to serve the purposes of an evil man who was willing to cause any amount of suffering to others for his own benefit.  You took no lives, but you did help to save lives.  It is good that you do not feel bad about it, but it is equally good that you feel you should, because this shows you remain acutely aware that such decisions are the heaviest decisions one can ever be asked to make.}
    "What kind of clothes is up to you," Donna says, lifting her hand from Kian's shoulder.  "Just don't ask them for jeans.  I asked them to make me a pair of jeans three years ago and I'm still waiting.  Apparently the concept of pants with rivets is fascinating and requires a lot of research and development.  I suspect that in about the year 2040 I shall receive a pair of jeans that would survive a nuclear explosion."
    Terry gets a long, narrow-eyed look from the Amazon.  She takes a pair of clean cups from the tray, and pours some brandy for herself and Kian.  "Okay.  Listen to me everyone.  What happened on the stairs… I don't know.  It takes everyone in different ways.  For some people it's an annoyance, quickly forgotten.  For other people, it changes them.  What you saw was lies, but hearing a lie can uncover truths you didn't even know where hidden from you.  I strongly suggest you talk it over amongst yourselves, what each of you saw.  Open up as much as you feel able to.  It will help.  But if any of you would like to speak to me privately about it, I'm here for you."
    Donna takes a sip of her brandy and her eyes go back to Vorpal.  "And just to be clear about this, it's over.  Okay?  We are not still on the stairs, Terry.  There was no photo of a poacher in the Amazon.  It is over.  We came through it.  We won the battle.  And you guys are now invited for a sleep over at my place.  That was a lie.  THIS is real.  Do you understand?"

Kian has posed:
    "Even though what I saw on the stairs seem very real," Kian says quietly, taking the cup from Donna but not drinking from it yet.  "An' very temptin' to give in to.  It was… it was plausible."  He looks into the cup, and sets it down on a nearby table.  "An' you were all in it, excep' as Akiár.  All of you, an' Rae too."  He gives Gar a very weird look.  "Like everythin' that has happen since las' year was a dream.  But it was not a dream, that I know."
    He sighs heavily, and regards Donna from eyes that seem a lot older than they really are.  "I am less bother by strikin' in anger, than in learnin' that I haf that kind of anger in me."  He picks up the brandy and drinks about half of it in one go.
    "But it shot my wing," he says with an unpleasant edge to his voice.

Gar Logan has posed:
    "Maybe I will, but not right now," is the only thing Gar says of the long and uncomfortable journey up the stairs.  There are reasons he hasn't mentioned any of it from that point to the present.  He does reach out to ruffle at Vorpal's hair, touch a few of Kian's feathers, and give Donna a typical winning smile.  "All in due time, right?  And… nah, no jeans.  If I'm gonna wear something else here, I want it to be traditional.  You know, 'when in Rome?'  It's like that."
    He's also going back in to check out the sleeping setup, probing at it with the Toe of Experimentation.  "Well, I've been Akiar before," he adds to Kian before he grows quieter, hiding another sizable yawn.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Is it really over?  Vorpal stares at Donna for a few seconds.  What is more likely—that this is all real, and that he really part of history, of Patriarch's World finally setting foot on Themyscira in An Historic Event (outside of, you know, That Other Guy)… or that this is an illusion by Eris, feeding into his desperate need to feel significant, meaningful, which at the end will turn against him in a 'The Lion, The Witch and the AUDACITY of this–' moment of sheer mockery and ridicule for daring to think himself worthy of such an honor?
    The problem with Occam's razor was that gods tended to shave their armpits with it.  Any universe where 'And then Zeus got horny–' is a bona fide prelude to a bloody conflict tends to do rather poorly when measuring likability.
    "I am not sure what to believe.  I don't dare believe I am really here because Eris has marked me.  This could all be just hoo-hah and I'm on the floor of that cave with a bump the size of Rhode Island on my head."  He rubs his forehead and turns to look out over the balcony.  "But at the same time… this is Themyscira—I have always wanted to be here, dreamed, never thought I'd even—but I don't know for sure if it's real.  Or any of you.  And…."
    He slides down to the nearest seat, still rubbing his forehead.  "It's as if it's the same waking as dreaming and I don't know which is it right now."  He may be putting Descartes before the horse, here.  Then he exhales and rubs his forehead again.  "Now I know how Alice must have felt."
    The Cheshire Cat, having an Unexistential crisis.  Who would've thought?
    "I wish I had some irrefutable, undeniable way of knowing…."

Donna Troy has posed:
    "There's nothing wrong with anger, Kian," Donna says, speaking in English rather than leaning in to use the mind-touch again.  "Only in letting it control you.  Anger can be a destructive emotion, or it can be a useful one that drives you to make the world a better place.  You had already decided rationally that it was acceptable to destroy this already-dead enemy.  The anger did not persuade you to change your rational decision, it only helped you carry it out."
    "I almost… something that I saw on the stairs made me angry.  Angry enough to threaten to kill the person I saw.  I feel some discomfort with myself at the anger I felt.  But I know I would not have gone through with my threat.  It isn't anger that's a problem, it's anger without control.  But I think having a little fear of your own anger is a healthy thing."
    Something traditional, Gar asks for.  A momentary smirk crosses Donna's face, but in the end she persuades herself not to have a peplos made for him.  He could look good in a nice khiton though.
    "How can you ever know you really woke up, Terry?  Every single morning you make the leap of faith you're still dreaming," Donna points out.  "When you stepped off that last stair, you woke up.  But you are Terry, and being Terry, you cannot stop yourself from wondering if Descartes' demon is squatting down there in Tartarus, laughing at you."
    Donna gives Terry a smirk, and gets to her feet.  "Luckily, you actually are in Themyscira, and right here and right now, we happen to have some irrefutable, undeniable way of knowing."
    Donna walks to the door, and leaves the room with a wink to Gar.  A short time later, she returns with her lasso in her hands.
    No.  Her lasso is still on her belt.
    Donna walks over towards Terry, wrapping the lasso around her forearm.  "We esaped the stairs, Terry.  You're really here in Themyscira.  I told you I'd get you here one day, somehow.  Can't claim I planned this, but I told you."
    She holds her arm out to Terry, still wrapped in the lasso.  "Did you just dream me saying that while my arm was bound in the lasso of Hestia, Terry?"  She gives him an enormous grin.  "Go on, touch the lasso."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    There.  There is something Eris can't replicate.  Chaos can't replicate order, can't replicate what order feels to chaos.  This is the answer.  The Golden Perfect.
    "Oh gods…."  He springs to his feet.  If Eris is bluffing that he won't touch the illusion of the lasso, satisfied with thinking that even she wouldn't dare such a bluff, she is disappointed.  And if it's the real lasso?  Well—in your face, Eris!
    A clawed finger touches the golden thread, and suddenly things come into very drastic perspective.
    "Oh man.  This is… this is some good shit—oh wow, it's such a rush… it's… it's like…."  He laughs and shakes his head, his words coming a mile a minute.
    "I didn't even think we would survive at first and then all of the things that happened and I was so worried about all of you—and I wanted to make you proud Donna because I've screwed up so much in the past and Kian and Gar I couldn't stand the thought of losing either one of you and I lov—"  He pauses.
    And then his eyes grow wide.  "Wait!  That means I am in Themyscira!  I am—AM HERE!" he shouts, suddenly, and lets go of the lasso as he gives one wide-armed twirl.  "I'm in Themyscira!  I'm in Themyscira!  I'm actually here!  I am!  I am…."  He pauses, his movements giving the impression of someone who is several stages in the quest for inebriation.  "Suddenly very dizzy… and…."
    The floor looks very comfy.  So comfy that he decides to crumple down on it right then and there, dissolving into quiet giggles that, soon enough, become full-lung snores.

Gar Logan has posed:
    By the time all of this has happened with Vorpal and the lasso, there is already a round of light snoring from over where the bedding is.  Finally, sleep has caught up to Gar.  Good thing, too.  He's going to have the appetite of a ravenous beast once it's time to eat, boy!