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Penthesilea Arrives - Sleeping Woods - Open To Anyone
For someone who had received a very fatal stab wound while fighting in the most legendary war of all time, Penthesilea of Cyrene, Queen of the Amazons, certainly had a lot of expectations as to what could possibly happen next. There would be a boat; that much she knew for sure. Everyone from the Athenians to the Spartans, the Trojans to the Amazons' own neighbors in the West said that there would be a boat to ferry her into the Next World. And Penthesilea knew that that many people, who mostly hated each other and frequently disagreed just on principle, could not possibly be wrong.

She was not expecting to wake up on the ground, in dirt, with the sun glaring in her eyes. As she groggily sat up and pulled herself to her feet, Penthesilea wondered why she'd thought the After Life would be a dark place with perhaps the light of an eternal moon and stars. She couldn't exactly remember anyone saying outright that it was so.

Penthesilea tried to shake off the uneasy feeling she had. There was no reason do be so rattled by a sunny sky, even when dead. Especially when dead! With all the light she could easily observe her surroundings and protect her soul while in this precarious position.

As she looked around, Penthesilea observed that Land of the Dead was, indeed, in the West (a fact that she was sure would please the Amazon's Egyptian neighbors). And the waiting area of the After Life was evidently a very pleasant and temperate forest. There were many trees that she did not recognize, some of them larger than she ever could've imagined. But she supposed this was because these trees kept growing after they died.

Once she'd grown accustomed to her surroundings, Penthesilea heard the gentle rushing of a river and was quite pleased that it sounded so nearby. It took hardly any wandering at all to find it. And although she did not yet see the boat she expected to ferry her into the Eternal Resting Place, she was confident it would come. She eased herself down, to sit on the bank of the river, and waited.

Tags: penthesilea, white rabbit

From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/15/2007 15:25:44  

When Rabbit found himself at the bank of the river for the third time in the last two hours, he could only come to one awful conclusion: he was lost. Horribly, terribly lost.

"Oh dear! Oh bother," he muttered to himself as he took his watch out yet again to examine the time. At this rate, his little cottage was probably a pile of ash! And not to mention he'd be horribly late to Court and lose his head! Nevermind that it was a Saturday and thus his day off. He tended to sometimes forget little details like that.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/15/2007 16:32:41  

Penthesilea had been concentrating on the river so hard, searching for any sign of a ferry, she did not realize anyone was nearby until she heard a distressed voice. At the sound, Penthesilea immediately jumped up, her favorite dagger drawn.

As she slowly approached the apparently fretting man, Penthesilea realized he still hadn't seen her. This would certainly be to her advantage if he was some kind of demon intent on snaring her soul. She could surprise attack him first. But as she gripped tighter around the handle of her dagger, Penthesilea wondered-- what real use could a weapon be in the land of the dead? No, of course it'd be stupid to fight a dead man as she would a live one. But if this stranger was sent by the gods to trick her it would be best to engage in the inevitable mind games on her own terms.

"Who are you?" She demanded finally, a barked order more than a question.
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/15/2007 22:04:02  

Rabbit nearly jumped out of his skin, squeaking at the sudden sound of a voice. He jumped and flailed wildly as he tried desperately to keep hold of the pocketwatch he'd been holding. But it just bounced around in his hands like it had been slicked with butter - and considering he'd been baking earlier, that was entirely possible - and plopped into the waiting river to be quickly swept away by the current.

Rabbit's light eyes, already wide in fright, went impossibly wider in distress. "Oh no!" It was almost a wail, and his chewed on his lip, clearly upset. For a second he forgot about his company, distracted by the awful loss of his watch. It was the third one that month.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/15/2007 22:21:48  

Penthesilea could not remember any time in her life when she had been so blatantly ignored. Feared? Yes. Loathed? Sure. Dismissed as "just a woman"? Absolutely. But ignored was an altogether new experience and Penthesilea was already quite sure she did not like it.

"Hey!" She said sharply, stepping closely behind the stranger as he stood by the river lamenting the loss of-- whatever it was that he had dropped. Penthesilea only noticed the object long enough to surmise that it probably wasn't a weapon. "You didn't answer my question!"
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/15/2007 22:32:51  

Again, he jumped, another squeak surprised from him as he shrank away from the sharp voice and the strange...woman? - it was hard to tell under all those markings - it had come from. "I...uh...I...what was the question?" Rabbit was incredibly confused. He'd been lost, unpleasantly surprised, and his watch was now fish food. And now this woman - oh dear, she had a knife! - was yelling at him!
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/15/2007 22:54:14  

While it was nice to have the stranger's attention again, it didn't seem to be of much use. He apparently had an attention span about as short as Penthesilea's patience. She took a deep breath. It was okay. She'd fought along side with some very idiotic young men back in the Trojan War. She wasn't above repeating herself.

"Who are you?!" Penthesilea snarled obligingly.
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/15/2007 23:04:44  

The shouting was nto helping to improve Rabbit's situation. In fact, her loud tone had him backpedaling quickly - and stumbling backwards right into the river. He only barely managed not to be swept off his feet, but now he was soaked up to his knees in cold water. "R-rabbit," he stammered almost desperately. "W-white Rabbit." He was obviously terrified of this strange woman, and with good reason. She reminded him a great deal of the Cook. No, worse - The Queen.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/15/2007 23:26:58  

Penthesilea figured that this was an odd and unfortunate name for the pale and pudgy man to have been born with. The more she looked at him the more convinced she became that this man came from one of those cultures that named their young after seeing what the child grew to be. In his case the name was at the very least fitting (though perhaps not very flattering). He not only vaguely resembled a rabbit, but was just as twitchy and fearful as one.

His abject terror, however, endeared him to Penthesilea. Or at the very least convinced her that he was not some evil being sent to snare her vulnerable soul. She lowered her dagger and offered her other hand to him, "Come on out of there. Whatever you dropped in the river, you won't need where we're going."
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/15/2007 23:45:14  

Rabbit looked at her offered hand for a long moment, as if not quite sure if she was still going to hurt him or not. Then he took her hand hesitantly and let her help him out of the river. "But...w-where are we going? I can't imagine not needing my watch. I'm lost without out it, can't remember the time at all or where I need to be and I'm sure my muffins are burned by now. Bother..."
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/15/2007 23:53:17  

Penthesilea cringed at Rabbit's words. He didn't realize he'd died. Poor thing. Worse still, he only had Penthesilea to break the bad news to him. And she knew she was dreadful at the whole delicacy thing. But she gave it her best shot,

"We're going to The Other Side," She told him significantly.
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/16/2007 00:03:49  

His nose scrunched up in confusion. What was she talking about? "The other side of what?" The other side of the forest he'd accidentally lost himself in? The other side of the river? Poor rabbit was already confused and getting more confused by the moment.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/16/2007 00:30:55  

Penthesilea took a deep breath, bracing herself. She knew this would only prove to be more difficult, the more she minced her words. But the more she thought about it, the more it made sense to just put it out there, straight forward and to the point. What harm could telling the truth really do now? Telling him bluntly would just be easier (for Penthesilea anyways).

"The big spiritual Other Side. You're dead," Penthesilea explained. "We're both dead, actually," She added as if this somehow made it better.
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/16/2007 00:36:12  

"Uh..." Rabbit said eloquently, looking at the woman as if he wasn't quite sure she was sane. Which was saying quite a lot considering where he hailed from. "Um. I don't mean to be contrary, but...I mean, I don't knwo about you, but I'm fairly certain I'm not dead." He frowned. "You'd think one would remember something like one's own death, but I don't recall any such thing. I suppose the Queen could have had my head, but I don't remember her being angry at me." He was almost muttering to himself at this point, trying to work out what he knew past his confusion.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/16/2007 01:18:37  

"Well, I'm most certainly dead," Penthesilea assured him confidently. "I remember my death vividly. I was fighting in the war over at Troy," She began with a dreamy sigh, as if describing a fond, tender memory.

"My unit had just made an impressive push forward when I found myself face-to-face with Achilles. Of course, you'll have heard of Achilles--" But Penthesilea did not actually wait for Rabbit to tell her if he had or not, she just continued on with her tale, "Honestly, it was an honor to be slain by his hand. A good hard death. My sisters will be proud, I think. Sword to the gut on the battle field!"

She looked down at her stomach a made a slightly displeased face. "It makes me almost wish the wound was still there to be shown off."
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/16/2007 12:00:00  

It shouldn't have been possible, but somehow Rabbit grew paler as this strange woman spoke of war in aplace he didn't knwo with people he'd never heard of. And that ghastly wound she described! Rabbit was beginning to think that, dead or not, she was quite mad. He needed to get away, he determined, and soon.

"I, uh, I'm sorry?" he ventured, not qutie sure what else to say. "You, uh, you do have a rather large knife. If you wanted to, I'm sure you could recreate the wound," he added helpfully.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/16/2007 12:19:21  

Now it was Penthesilea's turn to wonder if Rabbit was mad. Or very very simple, perhaps. "I was killed by a broadsword," She explained to him condescendingly. "Do you really think anyone in the After Life is going to mistake the wounds of a dagger for the wound of a broadsword?" The correct answer was 'no' of course. There was clearly no room for any other interpretation. However, after a moment of awkward silence Penthesilea seemed to shake herself out of the condescending attitude and instead adopted a more self-righteous one. "Besides," She said suddenly, as if she'd just remembered. "That kind of trick would be dishonorable."
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/16/2007 13:45:11  

Rabbit somehow came to the conclusion that she didn't think much of him and his face fell. "I...didn't know. I'm sorry. I'm not very well versed in the martial arts." He wrung his hands, rocking a little from one soggy foot to the other. "I didn't mean for it to be a trick. Just, you know, if it would make you feel more comfortable." Then he blinked. "What's the After Life?" she'd said there were people there. Perhaps it was a city?
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/16/2007 16:06:30  

"You've never heard of the After Life?" Penthesilea was now genuinely concerned for Rabbit. Would they even let him in if he didn't know what the After Life was? Or maybe it was somehow her job to guide him the right way... Yes, that must be it. "The After Life is where you go when you die. Since we're dead we have to wait here for the ferry to take us over."
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/17/2007 10:09:02  

Rabbit shook his vehemently. "I've never heard of it," he reiterated. "And please, I do wish you'd stop saying I was dead. I truly don't recall dying and I really don't think I am dead." Though, with his current state of confusion, he couldn't say for certain.

He frowned at the river, narrow and swiftly moving, then looked at her. "Uh...I don't know as a ferry would fit in that river. Not very well at least. But if you're dead, I don't suppose that matters much. You really do look rather healthy, though. It's a shame...Anyway, I don't have time to wait for a boat," he added with renewed agitation. "I'm late for, well, everything!" Oh, the queen was sure to have his head and his cottage was burned down by now for sure!
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/18/2007 02:06:28  

"Well, if you're dead it won't really matter if you're late now will it?" Penthesilea snapped bitterly. Because really, the more she thought about it, the more she could see Rabbit's point. The river really wasn't big enough for a ferry. And shouldn't it have already done its job by now? And where were the other dead people? She and Rabbit couldn't be the only ones.

And Penthesilea was fairly certain she remembered everyone always going on about how you never felt time pass in the After Life. That was the reason so many restless spirits were confused. But she had been hanging around for this place for almost an hour now. She felt the time go by. Penthesilea looked up at the position of the sun in the sky and sure enough, she was right. Either an hour had passed or this was all part of some very elaborate trick by the gods.

"What exactly are you late for?" Penthesilea suddenly asked Rabbit.
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/19/2007 09:41:10  

"Everything," Rabbit said again as he started looking around, trying to determine which direction he'd come from and which direction he should go. Much as he hated the creature, he wished the Cheshire Cat was there so he could show him the way.

After a few moments of practically turning in circles, Rabbit settled on a direction that was vaguely South-ish and started off at a hurried pace before finally starting to elaborate on his answer. "I'm late for quite a few things. Least of which are the carrot ginger muffins I have burning my house down at the moment and most of which is being at Court which will have the Queen taking my head!" He hadn't checked to see if she was following him, he just assumed she was. "So, as you can see, I have no time to be dead."
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/19/2007 12:13:31  

The corners of Penthesilea's mouth curled up involuntarily. The way she saw it, there were two potential causes of death for Rabbit right there: Fire or beheading. But she did not let on to this. Instead she continues to question him.

"Which queen do you mean?" She asked him. "What land is this if not the Land of the Dead?"
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/20/2007 15:09:43  

He paused in his quick stride to give her a confused frown. "What queen? The Queen of heart, of course! She rules everything in all of Ozland and Wonderland." Where was this woman from that she didn't know of the Queen of Hearts? Obviously not from the area, which brought up the next question: where exactly were they? "I don't know where we are right now," Rabbit said honestly, a thin thread of anxiety clear in his voice. I'm fairly certain it's not Ozland....Maybe...Oh dear." He bit his lip, looking around at the large trees and the general wildness of the place. "I think we're in the Sleeping Woods."
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/20/2007 15:41:08  

Queen of Hearts, Ozland, Wonderland... She'd never heard of any of those. Even the Sleeping Woods was an entirely new term for Penthesilea, but as she considered, she felt it was possible that "Sleeping Woods" was perhaps just another name for the realm of the dead and maybe Rabbit just didn't understand that. She did not voice these thoughts, of course. Rabbit would've just dismissed them.

Instead she continued her questioning, "What makes you think we're in the Sleeping Woods?"
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/20/2007 16:05:24  

"Well, the trees were a big clue," he muttered under his breath as he continued in his vaguely southward direction. Louder, he said, "Well, I've been walking for a good while and have yet to come across any homes. And this area seems a bit wilder than the territories in Ozland. Also, if I'm not in Ozland, then the closest areas I'm aware of are the Sleeping Woods, a jungle I can't remember the name of, and a lake I also can't remember the name of." Anxious and uncertain he might have been, but his intelligence was still up to fair bit of deduction.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/20/2007 16:17:07  

Penthesilea followed Rabbit, warily, with an eye always on her surroundings, making sure she could find her way back should Rabbit prove as unreliable as he seemed. "Can you remember where the Sleeping Woods are in relation to Ozland?" She wondered, her tone clearly a bit critical. "Or anything else that might actually be helpful?"

Penthesilea's mood was quickly deteriorating, but it wasn't actually Rabbit's fault. A small part of her was beginning to consider the possibility that she might not be dead, that she could've been taken prisoner to some foreign land... But the rest of her was not ready for that line of reasoning yet. Penthesilea struggled to silence her doubts and thoughts with the simple, vivid memory of being stabbed to death. And that was bound to put anyone in a bad mood, really.
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/20/2007 22:16:46  

"Um...up?" Rabbit said not at all helpfully. He scrunched his nose as he thought about it. "It was up atop Ozland on the map. Does that help? I figure if it was above Ozland on the map, then going down" he point forward, unknowingly towards South "should get me back." A sense of direction or navigating maps weren't really Rabbits strong points. Rabbit holes, however, were an entirely different matter.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/20/2007 22:30:44  

Penthesilea cringed and inhaled deeply, trying to maintain some semblance of patience. After taking a moment to collect herself, Penthesilea spoke, thinking out loud more than asking questions really. "If 'atop' means North..." She looked up at the sky, judging East and West by the position of the sun; she then looked all around the forest, before finally deciding, "Yes. That's South. If what you say is true, that should work."
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/20/2007 23:20:13  

"Really? That's South?" Rabbit seemed both surprised and pleased that he seemed to have chosen the right direction. "Well then! If we're headed the right way, then there's not time to waste! Hurry up now!"

Rabbit picked up the pace considerably, from a brisk stride to a steady trot. Really, one wouldn't expect such a chubby little fellow to be able to move so fast. But he wasn't called 'rabbit' for nothing.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/21/2007 10:29:12  

No, Penthesilea certainly wasn't expecting Rabbit to move so fast. Between the surprise at Rabbit's speed and trying to look around in order to remember her way back should she need it, Penthesilea ended up quite far behind. She could still see Rabbit, his pale pudgy form bounding through the trees.

"Excuse me!" She shouted out to him. "How far do you think we'll have to go to get to your homeland?" It was a reasonable question, not a complaint. Penthesilea just wanted to know if she should be preparing herself for camping out at night in a forest that may or may not be the Land of the Dead.
From: [info]twodayslate Date: 06/23/2007 22:20:15  

"I have no idea," he answered cheerfully as he continued to hurry along. As far as he was concerned, all that really mattered was getting back to Ozland. How long it took to get there...well. That was bothersome. He'd been walking for hours already and now that he'd lost his watch he had no idea what time it was and...Rabbit's mood shifted from cheerful to anxious again in mere moments. "Oh bother! It'll take too long, I know it will!" He started to run even faster.
From: [info]nottobemourned Date: 06/23/2007 22:47:24  

One would think, having followed Rabbit for quite some time now, that an experienced warrior such as Penthesilea would begin to expect some of his erratic behaviors. But alas, she did not. She was still trying to keep track of her surroundings when Rabbit bolted even faster. Shocked still for only a moment, Penthesilea clumsily started running faster. As fast as she could. Sprinting, really, ignoring everything about her location, concentrating only on catching up. But Rabbit faded farther and farther away. With what little breath she had, Penthesilea shouted out to him, "Rabbit, slow down!" But from that distance she couldn't be sure if he'd heard her.
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