The Forgotten Lane (A Divine Comedy) [Open]

Chase Rosewinds

Music is everything.
Hot, Red, and Dry

Gravel-riddled gusts were at a constant ferocity and there was never a day or night. It was odd that the residing "Proprietor" left a majority of terrain desolate and barren yet found the resources to provide uniforms, if one could call them that. The only uniform thing about them was that no outfit was kept pristine or neat. In fact, the severity of the elements above ground battered the uniforms quickly. This fostered a certain understanding toward one another when it came to the state of one's uniform.

The troops were able to find refuge underground. Beneath that orange gravel wasteland that stretched to eternity and back was a vast network of passages and dome-like clearings with structure similar to indoor shopping malls. The walls consisted of grainy red stone identical in color to the dust the colored the gusts above with an orangey red.

Some minor but precious pieces of modern luxury dotted the caverns and crevices below, mostly reserved for higher ranking officials of the army. Generals were generally granted basic home amenities like a chair and maybe a table with three stable legs. There were jolts of sleep that were usually never left peaceful. The Proprietor used the human brain's few moments of weakness to communicate orders or simply pollute with the obligatory haunting and torturous restlessness.

No two soldiers looked alike, beyond the unifying color code and remnants of their uniforms. Some had badges wrapped around their necks like dog tags, others had faded and torn jackets. Some had armbands with the lines of ranking left in embroidery on the torn fabric.

Some had suits on, there were rotting children that wandered above ground and came back underneath out of disorientation. Some were not human, roaring and winged with ripped flesh that snarled and spoke in tongues that weren't English. But a majority of them were Humans, fallen like the Proprietor to this afterlife of anguish.

Those that did not speak what the Generals spoke remained lower level at infantry. The ones who were of lesser mind were the first to have limbs and bile-infested waste showered over them during the ground level battles.
Like usual, the majority of soldiers lived to serve the ideal whims of the proprietor.

However, there were "independent contractors" that weren't permanent residents of the red, grainy, hot South. Some were just chosen and taken to this place. Others have had prior business relationships in the past that were twisted into extended servitude for this incident.

One thing was certain: there was never saying "No" to the Proprietor.

(( This is an open storyline for anyone to enter themselves anywhere on the grid according to Dante's Divine Comedy, specifically the 9 circles of Hell. Your character may be on any side of the war, on any of the circles, and at any rank. The Enemy side is called the Counter Cult, further details being in the next post. You do not have to be dead to be part of the Proprietor's army, nor does your soul have to be sold. If you have any questions or wish for more details before beginning, please feel free to privately message me on this site or on AIM. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Have fun! ))

Chase Rosewinds

Music is everything.
General Rosewinds of the 7th Circle

"A room with a view, isn't that special?" The sight sarcastically mocked was a river of boiling blood, a bridge made entirely of bones and skeletons, some of the very brickwork of the bridge groaning and writhing ever so slightly in an almost droning constant for eternity. The sorrow of the bridge's disemboweled parts and pieces of bodies became as familiar as crickets did at night with their droning sound that filled one's ears. It was always so humid and hot, at that point in heat against the skin that made it just below unbearable. It made you walk faster and flail about in reaction to the heat stinging and making nerve endings into relentless firework displays under and over your skin.

Her chair rocked back and forth, bobbing on one good leg while the splintered stub for the second, third, and fourth were the highest suspended. The woman was an acrobat all of her life, effortless balance and muscle control allowing the broken chair to function with little hindrance. Slitted pupils looked out into the red, hot water with disgust in her face and a brewing bitterness. Black mid-calf boots were battered and worn, layered with a fresh cakey coat of dusty red. Her uniform, or remnants of it, were reduced to a sleeveless frayed vest, badge of yellow made in the letter "T." It was there to label her as a "temporary asset" to his Army. It looked as if the former owner of the vest was torn in half from the thoracic cavity, some frayed fibers looking so bundled and long that they were similar to the rainbow dreads on her head.

Sometimes you could hear the harpies screeches and roars as they tore and pecked at the tree-like forms of the Suicides in the Middle Ring.

Echoes carried very well down here.

The force-fed tour given to her by her temporary leader, Lucifer, had kept her on the verge of vomiting the entire time. Boiling humid blood as a riverfront view, eternally running dogs that chased profligates, harpies picking at limbs dangling from trees with the owner being the trunk, the fiery sandy desert and embers raining from the sky like sun showers would in the summer: unexpected and chronic. It was enough to have anyone ready to hurl.

She remembered that tour as if it were branded on her repertoire of accolades. At the end of it, her hand was wrenched into a thorn of a nearby bush to be pricked. With the tip of her finger, she signed her name on the ground of the bridge's entrance. The blood blackened and fizzled before it sunk into the ground and vanished. She was given the bridge's safety as her priority. She wanted to vomit the most when she signed on the red, dusty ground.

She had hoped to evade this exact predicament. It was like being Lady Luck herself when a fallen love of hers had sacrificed some of his power to undo the bind on her soul. Try as she did, and hoped as she had, the proprietor always found a way. Guy's efforts were in vain after all. False positive or not, it was the best gambit she had ever seen. The worst part wasn't even the servitude itself but that she didn't know how he managed to regain custody of her. It was what she imagined her spectators felt like when they were mesmerized by a great magic trick but drove themselves mad trying to figure out how it was done.

Here she was, cooped up with dictators and murderers on one side of a bridge to protect the territory of the other side, the rest of the 7th Circle. The thing about His army was that nobody believed anymore, they only obeyed. For most, they had nothing at all to really lose. If they are struck down, they'll be quieted a while before they are manifested again at His whim. It was like owning an actual chess game set, with pieces that only got knocked out of the board.

They could be brought right back to their space after the game was through for the next one.

Chase admired the opposing underdog, Counter Cult. They had the stones to oppose an entire world in hopes of liberating billions upon trillions of souls. High stakes, high success, and high rate of failure. Now that was a team she could endorse.

Suddenly, part of her hidden frustration flared its ugly head as her hand drifted to play with the yellow "T" on her vest. One weakness and it was pulled like lever to trigger a fall of dominoes.

The stupid deal that lead her to be millions of leagues underground where bad souls came to suffer for eternity was all made by a meager courier in this Army. A pure, simple soul that was too naive to play the game as well as she: her husband, Brandon Holyfield. The simple man had never taken supernatural exposure with clear headed discretion, Earth bound his whole life until recently coming to Rhydin. The man had barely heard the deal laid out before blindly agreeing to it. It was his lack of listening that destroyed the opportunity of asking how all of this was even possible.

All Brandon knew was what the Proprietor had provided for him to know. Work in this war, and Chase is assigned to an indirect, less dangerous post. His soul was never owned by the Devil, but it was in danger of that very possibility now that he was residing down below until the conflict was over. The conflict happened to be minor but notable. They believed everyone deserved to serve their afterlives free of torture, servitude, and woe. It was honorable, their beliefs.

The Counter Cult didn't regenerate from ash like the soldiers here did, but were armed with some sort of acquired immunity of some internal means to allow them the privilege to infiltrate. She had only learned scattered facts gathered like bread crumbs from soldiers birthing into her troops from other regions of Hell out of spite. There were many useless reasons he used, but the one that mattered was where he chose to place you.

Chase watched the deal of her Fate be made, how limited and uninformed it was. The Devil used desperation, fear, and love to compel people and their limited faculties to sign away their souls. The sight of it was almost too pitiful to watch. Brandon had babbled holy Scripture before him in hopes of deterring the confrontation, drowning out the Proprietor's offer. If only he had just listened ...

It was admirable that Brandon was so devoted to her, but it was a moment like that one that had Chase disappointed in how blinded the man could be when what he cared for was on the line. He loved her to a fault, but he loved her. Perhaps the Gyp was used to it, having been in a myriad of similar situations with ethereal foes on the cobbles of the Rhydin streets. He was the boy scout type, while she was the underhanded hustler after all.

It made her angry every time she thought about Brandon's performance that night. It could have been handled in a million different ways.. 999,999 of those ways could have been better than what had transpired. A fist came down on the rotting table when she remembered how he didn't even listen to the Terms. She had heard them later during her tour with Lucifer, but they were intentionally kept apart until one of their duties collided with one another. He knew it would go down that way, she was sure of it.

"Like taking candy from a baby..." She muttered, scoffing as she bobbed back and forth in her chair. She watched the Proprietor work on human souls before, even took the reins of a large sum on her own back when she traded her Soul in for freedom of the Avatar that possessed her.

Avatar was down here somewhere, laughing and pleased that her old shell of a pawn was nearby to mock again. Chase was madly looking forward to seeing her again rather than dreading it like their last encounter. Now that she was locked into this thing, she wanted to rip her throat out of her pretty neck and watch it turn to ash in her hand. That could be their new handshake, or the way Chase saluted to her.

One thing she had to hand to the Proprietor was that his terms were solid when spoken. She was given a simple, dullard post with an army to control internally located. All her unit had to do was ensure no Enemy troops crossed a bridge leading deeper within the wasteland. The part of Hell she was taking refuge was hot and dry, barren and frustrating with its utter lack of anything useful. No homes, no water, and rations even came with tradeoffs. It wasn't a free war, and the Proprietor armed the troops closer to the Battlefront with top of the line.

Chase's duties were to hold the bridge in His name, and prevent that Counter Cult from crossing it. Her troops were all dealers of Violence. This was the Devil's delight, putting a smoldering Gypsy with rainbow hair and tight skin with the likes of Murderers and Arsonists. That was his little 'Fuck you' after Chase's lucky voiding of their previous arrangement in the past. It wasn't wise to end on bad terms with the Devil.

Violence was her Circle. Past her post and deeper within her Circle resided carnivorous forests of Suicides, the fallen souls of decadent lives, and finally the sodomites and blasphemers.

It was a whole other kind of a circus that she had never had the displeasure of being a part of. Instead of three rings, there were seven in this one.

"At least he stuck me with the Minotaur front'n center. Centaurs'll keep me honest too. Not having the same equipment takes most'a the risk out of it." Chase used humor like a junky used the needle and chemical to make it through the day.

The centaurs were the majority of soldiers that were sent first to the slaughter. They galloped to it with the complete devotion of a mindless owned creature. They were all owned by the Proprietor, with no miraculous deal keeping them here. They were the children of his, perhaps better described as puppets.

To make it in a place so horrid, comedy was salvation. Some would say piety was the true salvation, but not Chase. It was nearly impossible to have such perfect attendance to faith. Brandon was one of the few she knew could fit the bill, and that exact devotion blinded him into ignorance anyway. That level of love stole focus just as temptation would for someone less romantic, that kind of love made things and decisions illogical.

It was funny how many songs she wrote in her days as a Rock Star about that kind of love and the desperate search for it. Now she was annoyed by it, and blamed it for why she was cooped up down here in the first place.
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