One moment you are minding your own business in your own world. The next moment your vision turns white like an inverted fainting spell. Your stomach lurches as the ground drops from under you and a familiar sense of free fall hits your stomach. Except an overwhelming dizziness besets your mind as you fall straight back, like someone yanked you through space by your sternum.

Honestly, maybe they did.

Did you use any drugs recently?

Game Rules

- Anyone can join and leave this thread at any time.

- You can pick any human, creature, or item that has not been instantiated by another writer.

- If you want to write the next tag, then write the word "LOCK" in your post, and post this immediately. This signals to other writers that you are currently writing. Then edit this tag with the actual content you want to write.

- There should only be 1 LOCK placeholder at any one time in the thread. If you see two consecutive LOCK placeholders, then the writer who was last should delete their entry. Once the first LOCK has been instantiated with text, you can try again and put in your placeholder.

- Only write LOCK if you are actually sitting down to write. If a LOCK stays up unedited for more than 10 minutes, I might remove it to unlock the thread. The time limit will be arbitrarily enforced cause time zones and things.

- Try to write your posts so multiple people can plausibly respond to it. In practice - cause this is a free for all - there will likely not be much conversational flow, as the character you are trying to talk to is likely not controlled by the next writer who posts in the thread

As your vision clears, you find yourself standing on a rough hewn surface of marbled rock shot through with purple veins of slow-moving ichor. Around you lie three crumpled bodies, slowly moving and breathing, in a variety of clothing.

In front of you stands what looks like a man, dressed in red robes with a deep cowl. His hand is white knuckled from gripping a wood and iron-wrought staff, topped by a four-sided circle. Each of the four sides has a glowing creature next to it. The pattern matches the four-sided circular stone set at the base of the portal behind his back, except the creatures don't match.

He is arguing with his four compatriots, clearly younger and less experienced.

"Everything is FINE. We can stabilize the portal and prove our worth. We just need to capture these four ...", he cuts off as he notices you.

Story Premises

- You can pick any human, creature, or item that has not been instantiated by another writer. No one else will be able to control it throughout the story.

- You can pick any human, creature, or item in the environment that has been described so far, or you can arbitrarily have your character arrive in a portal that appears where ever you like. Your character then isekai's in to the setting from their home world, this will have happened randomly and unexpectedly to them, and they will have the same experience of teleporting in as the character described in above.

- All isekai characters can make any part of the portal world "more like their home world" in any way you like, provided that that part of Eshik hasn't been described yet by someone else. E.g., if you isekai from Earth, and your character is the first to walk in to a room in the temple, then that room might suddenly be an earth-like amusement park. (if you are wondering how the geometry works here, we are using Encanto-style spatial logic... buildings with closed off spaces are just graphs of connected rooms, with no plausible spatial relationships outside of that)

- If you character has native teleportation or portal magic or other displacement powers, these do not work in Eshik.

- There is no reason for the characters from different writers to be kind to each other. You can fight or form coalitions or ignore each other or do some other fourth or fifth thing.

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"Tsi-imbi.  Any time someone says 'just' I start to worry about the actual task complexity.  How long do we have to stabilize this portal?"

She has absolutely no shitting idea whatsoever what's going on, besides the general fact of isekai, but they don't pick pilots in dath ilan for being slow.


Also no shitting idea. He's slightly slower to react, as he's busy being a crumpled body for the first couple seconds, but once he gets his bearings he guesses that the four things Red-Robes is trying to capture are him, the Yellow Sparkly Person, and the other two crumpled bodies.

"No need for hostility; fully willing to cooperate with mutually beneficial portal-closing and worth-proving plans," his mouth automatically supplies.


Reverberations shake your body, as if a drum was hit with such a deep tone as to only be felt and not heard. The shock waves come from behind the gaggle of new arrivals, where anyone who might have been glancing that way would see a portal identical to the one behind the cultists wobble.

As heads turn to the destabilizing portal, the purple ichor in the stone is sucked toward it. The rocky platform you stand on is starting to crumble where ever the ichor is drained completely. It's slowly sanding away like dust from the edges, disappearing faster if the edge is closer to the disintegrating portal.


"No!", he shouts, "I was so close ... so close!"

He whirls around to his disciples.

"Grab one of the sacri... guests. The guests! Each of you grab a guest and teleport back to the temple!", he shrieks, his voice breaking two or three times as he tries to make himself understood.


Mordi lies in a crumpled heap, trying to get a grasp on his new surroundings. It's been a long day already and beneath the exhaustion and bruises he feels a certain bitter sense of unfairness. When you attempt magic you barely understand without tools in a tearing hurry it should have the decency to either give you the miracle or blow you to pieces. Not save you but also drop you with some cultists who are also being irresponsible with magic!


Oh, the fancily dressed noble(?) half-elf(?) lady wants to help them fix their portal. That's probably wise? Mordi does not know anything about portals but one being unstabe is probably bad?? If he thought he had some way to pay a ransom, like she clearly can, Mordi would probably stay to help. As it is, he just tries to unobtrusively roll over and get ready to spring up and run. 


He reconsiders when the second man offers to help too. Maybe they should be presenting a united front here.


But then the collapsing platform makes his decision for him. "Oh gods," he scrables to his feet, picks a direction, and runs.


(it is not a very impressive run. Mordi limps hurridly away, right hand pressed firmly to his chest.)


That guy in the red doompunk robe, who appears to think that he's in charge, is obviously not at ALL following anything resembling good procedure NOR is he staying calm in emergencies.  The Captain has a bad feeling about where she has landed inside the great competence/incompetence spectrum of the multiverse.

She will nonetheless leap off the platform in the direction of the people this guy just tried to give orders to, so she can be instant-moved back to whatever a 'temple' is.  It sounds vaguely organized.


A muscular man in rough grey robe, previously lying on a rock, jumps to his feet and looks around. He doesn't need to stand upright to fight or move, but it's not yet time to reveal his abilities.

That is the second time in two days he is finding himself in this exact situation - desperate cultists, trying to prove themselves; summoning people from another universe, immediate threat, down to referring to summon victims as "guests". The first time he was among the cultists, so he probably deserves that.

Yan considers dropping his robe - it is unpleasant and has no use outside the cave he was summoned from, but decides against. Everyone will see that he is covered in bruises, burns from mostly blocked fireball and a couple of incompetently healed stab wounds. Also, maybe he can get a better deal from the cultists as a fellow asshole moron summoner.

The two fellow victims who talked just seemed so reasonable, each in their own right, that Yan is already desperately missing Mikaela. He doesn't want to make a deal with cultists. He wants to team up with other summoned, beat up the cultists and then go on a nice adventure without cults or crazy knife-wielding witches for a change.

Yan jumps closer to the sparkly golden woman.


The four disciples fan out with a surprising appearance of efficiency. Two of them calmly step toward the lady in yellow and the grey robed man approaching them. They touch their left hand to the inside of their right palm where the same four-sided circle pattern is engraved on a metal armband. A thread of lightning runs from their hand to the brace, except the lightning seems almost frozen in time, moving like molasses up and down, but stretching and stretching as their hand moves away.

One tap, two tap, and a thread is strung from each of the the disciples and the two new guests.

A third disciple jogs up to the man who just got up, proclaimed he would cooperate, and then didn't move. Tap tap, and he is also tethered with slow lightning.

Meanwhile, a fourth disciple sets off in a headlong sprint for the runner who is dashing off in the entirely wrong direction! He slaps his bracer midsprint and reaches out to touch the man before he reaches the edge of the platform...


He slams down his staff on the platform and starts chanting in an unfamiliar language. The ichor starts glowing from where his staff touches the platform, slowly fanning out.


The moment you hear the old man's words reach your ears, you start feeling a slight numbness building where the slow-moving lightning is touching your body. It's not unpleasant. More like a lullaby and a local anesthetic are intertwining to make you feel a little more at peace, a little more removed from the world. Just the barest little bit, ever so slowly...


Caught in a magic thread and now entering some sort of dreamlike state... yep, it's drugs. Eric has zero prior experience being on drugs and doesn't really have many hypotheses for how he somehow ended up taking a hallucinogen. Someone on campus had been doing something with rohypnol recently, but when Eric looked it up he didn't see anything about hallucinations.





What surrounds them, exactly, other than two portals, one (hopefully only one) of which is unstable?


More floating platforms among the stars. Each platform seems to have more portals on it, four to your best guess. They are suspended in a stable configuration all around, some higher and some lower. The distance between them varies, but none are within a 100 feet.


Also off above you and behind the stable portal is a huge and imposing building with something like a landing strip extending in front of it. 

Light is leaking from both the purple ichor and a diffuse constellation of unusually bright stars that seem to envelop the space you exist in now.


(One more portal opens, spitting out a spindly blue body that ragdolls for a few feet before coming to a stop. One may find odd that, though his eyes are open, he makes no sounds from this abuse nor does his muscle reflexes activate in any way)

His first thought was that the sun went out

Impossible? No, though maybe improbable, but now he's blind and deaf and the threads connecting him to his assistants' senses-

Are gone

Wait, no, the lab-

Turn all senses back on: Ground, hard, rough, Vestibular Sense malfunctioning (shut off nociceptors), terrible endocorporeal vision, he sees a badly lit room, humanoid blurs, the gentle bluish neon glow of his lab behind him, the ground turning to dust between them-

Threads, thoughts, tickling at the edge of his senses, panic, inefficiency-derived-frustration, confusion. He searches for directives, common threads, what's he supposed to do, he's a Shard of Research, not a Shard of Decisions-

Run. Everyone must to the chanting Red Blur, good, he gets up, he tries to run, he stumbles, this body is made for slow precision, he still follows the directive, he gets in front of the red humanoid, he feels his stress, his anxiety, the way it causes marginal inefficiencies in his focus (there's a cultural gap when translating this word. Suffice to say, there's a failing of moral nature when he says this in his mind) and with a move practiced more than 20,000 times, he cuts off the disturbance at the root. Free of emotional disturbances, he will be able to do whatever he wishes to do in a flow state that, unless there are expert mind mages in this world, he has never experienced before for more than moments, let alone minutes.

He will then wait for further directives from the collective unconscious, pointedly not trying to synchronize with the red blur and the people around him at a time of obvious emergency


Were there previously five sacri-guests? He only remembers there being four sacri-guests, most if not all of which were human. Surroundings in dreams change all the time, though.

Rather than waking up, he seems to be growing more tired. He'll dig his fingernails into his hand to wake himself up, remember that his fingernails are too short to do that, bite his tongue (but not quite hard enough to actually draw blood), and then say "Is there any particular way I can help fix this portal that doesn't involve being sacrificed? Also, what the hell is going on here?"


"If everyone wants to ditch our hosts, I can get you to other platforms", sleepily says Yan, not really expecting any takers.


"I'm very new here.  Does anyone have additional information about why we should or shouldn't ditch them, besides pessimistic inferences from the apparent soporific effect?"

She's feeling a little more sleepy, yes.  She's also quite trained to operate while sleepy.


"They are obviously evil. Good guys don't wear ominous robes and don't rip people from their lives. No idea if we can find anyone better around here." - only after saying all that Yan realized she asked for a very specific, different thing. Well, maybe she didn't put together that red cultists planned their kidnapping, that would be additional information. 


Three threads flutter outwards, trying to synchronize but... don't. Was their emitter damaged in the transport like Shard of Research's eyes? It doesn't seem like a good time to prioritize synchronization even despite the emergency, the threads seem dim, lacking in willpower?

Still, Shard of Research wasn't upgraded to Shard of Decisions (how can such a directive even arrive, he's disconnected, how is this even possible, there are intelligent life forms in this roomemotions outside nominal parameters, suppressed back) so following the collective is what the algorithm demands of him

He tags gently at the three threads from Inefficiency Optimizer, Determined Rebel and the third thread (trying strongly to fight against a sensation- what is that, it feels like something blanket dividing preference quotients by so much (filed for later)) and gathers them together. When that doesn't do anything because they are still not connecting together, Shard of Research will start getting worried that the damage done is much more thorough than just the emitter being damaged.



Grief-Loss-Pain-Avoidance beyond nominal values. Complete suppression for an hour.

The Algorithm made clear demands. He shall then, carefully, with dexterity cultivated over countless hours in his lab, starts connecting them manually unless someone stops him


Mordi stumbles to a stop, having run out of platform.


Leap into the void or face the cultists??


He picks.

"AAAAAAH!" The wizard turns with his best battle yell, meeing the cultist charging at him head on. He drags the man down into a wrestle, punching and kicking and flailing, adrenaline and surprise bearing him for the first frantic moments. The pain and mundane exhaustion and whatever that spell was catch up with him though, his untrained strikes growing even clumsier.

"Let go!" he howls elbowing the man in the neck and grunting in pain when the strike is returned with a knee to the stomach.

Mordi is too busy to talk right now, but it sure looks like he wants to leave, if someone is planning that!

Unless that cultist was primed to teleport on contact, in which case Mordi is having this fight on the floor of the cult temple's teleport room! He's also too busy to be looking around!



Ehh, Yan likes the other two better. He is fresh out of minions and two non-screamy potential minions are better than one screamy.

If the cultist uses unreasonable force in return, Yan will restrain him, but for now he'll wait and try not to fall asleep.

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