The Long Road to Heaven
April 03, 2009 20:00
The storm clouds are gathering. The titans have been released, forcing the Gods themselves to brace against the coming wind. While they fight to protect their realms, Earth needs some divine intervention. Thus enter their Scions, true children of the Gods. They are charged with missions from their parents to prove their worth, grow in legend, and maybe, just maybe, save the world.
Our story starts in Queens, New York. Taylor (played by Kenne), the newest rock sensation and his band are taking a much needed brake from touring and performing. Like days of old, the band practices in his family’s garage, bringing back memories of their climb to the top. Halfway through the session, time literally stops, freezing everyone in place, except for the young Scion. Taylor braces himself for the possible attack. Instead, the garage door opens, revealing a young, short, brunette man, dressed in simple jeans and t-shirt, wearing a messenger bag. The man pulls a scroll from the bag made of papyrus, closed by a wax seal with a sun insignia stamped on it. Taylor breaks the seal and the room is filled with a bright light.
When Taylor opens his eyes he sees he’s been transported to a lush green field, and sees the messenger’s true form, that of a satyr. The satyr tells Taylor to read the parchment, that it is a message for his eyes only. It informs Taylor that he is being summoned by his father, the Sun God Apollo. But he is to travel to New York, New York first, for others will be traveling with him, as well as New Orleans. He is to trust fate to see them along and to trust his instincts to get to Las Vegas safety. When Taylor agrees, a flash of light blinds him.
When his vision returns, he’s back in the garage, his band staring at him, wondering why he’s stopped playing. He tells them to pack up, they’re going to New York. As the band questions him, Taylor gets a call from his agent, saying he’s booked them in a small, impromptu venue. Taylor smiles and prepares the band for the show and the upcoming trip.
In the Big Apple, Nodame (played by Violet), a famous and well to do international supermodel is attending another ritzy New York party, filled with pretty people, powerful shakers in the biz, and of course, booze. But the good stuff. As the night goes on, Nodame notices less and less people noticing her. This is rather unusual given her amazing looks. She realizes something is amiss when people ignore her attempts to communicate.
She goes upstairs to the bathroom, which has a huge vanity mirror. Looking into the mirror she finds that her reflection has been replaced. Staring back at her is an older gentleman of Asian descent wearing a very fine and formal business suit. He bows deeply, addressing her as one would a princess as the room fills with a thick fog. He humbly asks that she accept a letter from Nodame’s mother, the goddess Izanami. He hands her a scroll parchment through the mirror. She reads it, and in elegant yet ancient Chinese script, finds out her mother requests her services. She is to go to Las Vegas, but not by flying. Nodame agreed and said her goodbyes. The stranger bows deeply once more, says “May the ancestors protect and guide you” and walks in the opposite direction in the mirror.
As Nodame begins to leave, she sees two tickets for a show for that night, as well as a business card for a Private Investigator’s business in New Orleans, laid against a jade Ming vase, one that was not there before. She takes the tickets, pocketing them, and goes out to find her potential date.
On the other side of town, Julian (played by Shaun) was on his sailboat in the middle of the New York Bay. He is just finished dumping his latest victim to his brand of justice into the murky waters and takes a moment to relax and contemplate his self perceived duties. Though the ship is anchored, a strong wind begins to blow it towards the harbor. He finds that no matter where or how hard he steers, the boat keeps being propelled by the wind to the docks. He lets the wind take its course, but braces himself.
As the boat docks itself, he sees a canine shaped animal walking down the dock. A jackal, carrying a clay jar in its mouth stops at the side of the boat. It sets the vase on the ground and lays down, looking at Julian with red glowing eyes. After trying to communicate with it unsuccessfully, Julian jumps down and reaches for the jar, carefully eying the creature. The jackal does not move. Julian studies the ornately decorated jar and opens it. A gust of wind blows from the vase, bringing with it a mini-sandstorm, whipping around Julian and blanketing him in fine grains. His vision blacks out for a moment and when he opens his eyes, he is no longer on the dock.
Julian finds himself in the middle of a vast dessert wasteland, with only the full moon illuminating the scene. Sand dunes stretch out as far as the moon shines. Julian looks all over, trying to get his bearings, and stumbles upon an oasis. He heads towards it, trying to keep his footing on the hard to maneuver sand.
Arriving at the oasis, he steps near the body of water just as an ancient hand emerges from the inky blackness. Dragging itself from the depths is a human shaped creature, dark skinned, wearing an old toga like outfit. Where his head would have been is replaced with the head of a pug, human size but not anywhere near human. Julian demands to know what is happening, and in response, pug-man goes over to a random palm tree and begins to relieve itself on it. It says, in an oddly graveled and annoyed voice, that he had a message from Julian’s father, but he could not know what the message says. The only way to receive the message was to…do what dogs did best.
Looking embarrassed, it motions towards the tree and to Julian. Begrudgingly, Julian wanders over and sniffs. His head instantly fills with images of his father, Annubis the God of Justice, of going to see him in Las Vegas. He is not to travel by plane but he will have fellow travelers with him. As the images disperses, his vision clearing, he is once again back on the dock, the jackal gone, but the vase remaining. Inside the vase was a program for a very popular show happening in a few hours. Julian shakes his head with frustration and goes to get ready for his trip.
Nodame arrives a few minutes before the show begins. The line is out the door, but the tickets in her hand are for VIP access, as well as a backstage meet and greet with the band. She waits a bit, unsure as how to proceed having two tickets in hand. After a few moments, a luxury car pulls up, the driver stepping out and opening the back passenger door. Out steps Julian, looking elegantly stunning in his suit. He instantly eyes Nodame, quickly makes friends, and escorts her inside the auditorium. Nodame somehow knows that this dashing young man is the one intended for the tickets.
After playing one of the best shows they’ve had, Taylor’s band relaxes back stage. When told they have VIP members waiting to meet them, and knowing they had not been told of any such event before, they meet with Julian and Nodame. It is quickly discovered that they are all placed on the same path to Las Vegas, and to follow their parent’s wishes, will begin the journey together. Taylor’s band will travel in their van, while the chosen ones will travel in one Julian’s cars. They set off to New Orleans, the first stop on the long journey ahead.
The second half of our story takes place in the historic town of New Orleans. Mardi Gras is in full swing, and the town is overrun with tourists, college kids, and all manners of debauchery. It is a post Katrina state, and though the city was almost destroyed, its spirit and the perseverance of its residents kept it alive. Though parts are still uninhabitable, the people of New Orleans are made of tougher stuff.
Îella (played by Alexis) is on a case. As a private investigator, she takes cases that require her delicate and specialized kind of service. At times though, she takes on the mundane ones, just to give her a break and still earn a paycheck. She’s currently trailing a husband who is suspected of being unfaithful to his lawfully wedded wife. If that is the case, the wife would come into a decent sum of money, something that Îella is being paid to help procure. Being Mardi Gras though, it is both easy to hide her trailing him, but hard to trail him through the crowd. She weaves in and out of the crowds with a grace that is her birthright.
As she reaches the main street, with a parade in full effect, she notices that the group of party mongers begins to part. Reminiscent of the parting of the red sea itself, no one seems to notice that a path leading to a stopped float has opened up before her. Her curiosity piqued, Îella moves towards the float. A rather blasphemous one at that, with lingerie draped nuns, shirtless priests, and a paper mache makeshift chapel decorated the rickety float. Dancing moves exotic and enticing, the lead “priest” helps lift her up. Seductively inviting, he takes Îella into the chapel, which on the inside is more than it seemed. Inside was a large, old town style chapel, with a dozen pews leading up to a wooden altar, where a gold trimmed altar box rested. The scantly clad priest indicates to the altar, which Îella takes as an invite to sleep with him.
Which she does.
After a few…ahem….sweaty hours, the now naked priest once more motions towards the altar box. Îella, wrapped in a blanket that wasn’t there before, opens it up. A bright light explodes from the box and fills her vision. Images blast through her mind, informing her of the need to go to Las Vegas to meet her father, Kalfu, as well as meeting up with other travelers. She would know when the time is right to leave.
After the vision fades, and putting on clothes, Îella and the priest once more walk through the chapel doors. Emerging on the float once more, only having gone down a block, she quickly gathers her bearings. She smiles at the priest and jumps off, quickly finding the trail of her former prey. She figures she may as well finish the job before she began her next quest.
We check in next with Beau played by Sal), the stripper with the heart of….gold? Or gris-gris? We find her at one of the oldest orphanages in the city. She is saying her goodbye to the children that she visits on a regular basis. As she says her good byes, she remembers her own upbringing in the orphanage, how she fought to survive and tries to make sure that the organization has a small steady stream of income. Talking to her old nursemaid, she hands her a small envelope filled with cash. The nursemaid pats her hiney and tells her to go on her way, that she spends too much time there. As Beau’s leaving, a small child walks up to her; brave and confident in that child like way. She says “You’re pretty. Very pretty. You remind me of my mommy.” Beau smiles as the child walks away.
Arriving at her place of employment, Beau changes in her uniform. By the end of her act, she is wearing very little of what she had on before. Wowing the male audience, and amply emptying their pockets of bills, she walks to her dressing room. The bodyguard Bruno, a slightly flamboyant but heavily muscled man congratulates her on her dazzling performance, as usual. She barely sits down when a knock on the door interrupts her break. Bruno sticks his head in, almost embarrassed, informing Beau that she has a visitor. Beau knows that Bruno would not let just anyone in, so whoever wanted an audience obviously had something important to say. Or to give. Beau nods saying, let the person in. A balding, out of shaped middle aged man stands in the doorway. Putting on her best smile, she motions the gentleman in. As she closes the door, she notices a female casually strolling by, one who she does not recognize (Îella ). The door closes, and Beau forces the smile to get bigger.
After a rather awkward and embarrassing conversation, a deal is struck. An article of clothing for a rather large sum of money. Hiding her disgust and annoyance, Beau enters her walk-in closet. Rummaging through her hamper, the door closes and locks behind her. Her annoyance giving way to anger as she tries to open the door. As she struggles against the lock, the lights go out. Bracing herself for what may come next, she’s surprised when the lights come back on. Instead of being surrounded by her clothes, though, she’s in vast white room, so white she can’t tell how large it is. It is emptiness itself. Keeping her cool, calm demeanor, Beau waits to see what happens next. As she turns around a few times, a chair materializes behind her. Taking the hint, she sits and waits.
She doesn’t wait long before a wrinkled hand places itself on her shoulder. She doesn’t feel any menace, merely a soothing calm wash over her. The voice, kind and elderly, informs Beau that her mother, the goddess Erzulie, is expecting her in Las Vegas. She has a long trip ahead of her, but she will not take the journey alone. Beau begins to turn around, when the voice says “Your mother, she is proud of what you have been doing.” And is gone before Beau can see who the hand belonged to. She closes her eyes, thinking about what’s to come. When she opens her eyes, she’s back in her closet, the door shut.
A knock and weasy voice bring her back to reality. She composes herself and steps out, article of clothing in hand. The gentleman greedily takes it, hands Beau a white envelope, and quickly hustles out. Beau steps out for a bit, watching the strange man walk down the hallway. She’s surprised when she sees the woman he saw early emerge from the shadows and begin to follow the man. Deciding it’s none of her business, Beau steps back into her dressing room, pulling out the money to count. Inside the envelope, along with the payment, she finds a business card for a private investigator. Beau ponders this, as she finishes counting the money.
Beau arrives at the P.I.’s office the next day, just in time to see a van and a sports car pull up. It’s like a clown car parade as folks keep pouring out of both cars. Four of them go their own way while the remaining three walk in. She follows. Inside, they crowd the main (and only) desk in the small office, and quickly realize they are all being asked to the same meeting. They decide to spend one final night in New Orleans, so the residents can tie up loose ends and the visitors can enjoy a bit of Mardi Gras.