The Nightmare Plague: The Prismatic Pearl

Marley trudged through the storm.  She was certain it wouldn’t be much and passed a number of potential refuges.  Of course it began to rage after she had nowhere to take shelter. She grimaced and pushed through the weather, but it was getting more difficult as her plush insides became soaked through.

She again regretted not setting off with Barnabus, but they needed information.  Thoughts of the bear came back to her and the concerns that something is changing within him.  His fury was growing, but so was his unstoppable strength.  He didn’t care for the nickname when she called him the Apocalypse Engine, that was evident.  He did not vocalize a complaint, though.  Marley smiled, knowing that she was the only one who could talk to him that way.

He went off on an unspecified errand and she found herself in some tropical climate, feeling the water squishing through her felt and plush body.  Something drew her here, but it was pure intuition.  There was no clue what pulled her attention to this place in the middle of what must be a hurricane.

The sight of a low overhang, further shielded by vegetation, was a welcome discovery.  Huddling into shelter, Marley’s mind began to replay so many thoughts that had been weighing on her.  Barnabas doesn’t lie, as such, but he is careful with what he divulges.  She was certain that he was withholding something and it gnawed at her.  A direct confrontation had no chance of success.  The bear would close up, she knew, and wouldn’t be talkative.  He had to be drawn out somehow.  Whatever he wasn’t saying could be disastrous for them all.  

Then the question of the bear Bilal came to her mind:  Who was he?  Teddy seemed to be familiar with him, but no word or sense of his presence ever reached her.  He was certainly a strong warrior and was seemingly defending Amman without aid, but how?  One bear defending such a large territory seemed preposterous.

While deep in her musings, the storm had begun to wane, and even some rays of sunshine were peeking through the clouds.  Dragging her sodden mass upright, Marley resumed her walk through the vegetation.  It wasn’t long before she reached a magnificent beach that stretched off to both sides, disappearing at the curve of the coastline.  She sighed and began to stretch, the water squeezing out of her in waves.  Through the sound of it smacking into the sand, a barely perceptible giggle caught her attention.  Marley turned slowly and saw a figure in the distance.  It had an odd sparkle in the sunlight, particularly around the center of the form.

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