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 Beyond The Clouds
Marisa Coulter
 Posted: Oct 8 2012, 04:40 AM
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Her heart was pounding within her chest. Her eyes gazed upon what lied ahead of her. Her hand softly squeezed the hand of her lover. Marisa couldn't believe it. Everything she had dreamed about, everything that had been called a lie, it was finally here.

The moment of truth was upon her. The moment where she crossed the barrier, walked into the new world and placed a foot in the sand. The white sand of a beach, with dazzling clear blue water and a jungle of palm trees. Past it was a city in the distance, with tall buildings and houses. Marisa tried to muster up a word to describe it and she found none that would serve it justice. This wondrous world, filled with grandeur and spectacular views, the deliciously gentle wind that touched her face, the brilliant beams of sunlight. Here to see, hear, touch, smell and taste. Her senses were awakened and invigorated in ways she never could have imagined.

As Ozymandias curiously filled his hand with the warm sand, Marisa wandered towards the shore. It was so beautiful. The ocean water looked so clean and pure, it almost seemed suitable for drinking. She was amazed. Was this worth losing everything? Was it worth being excommunicated from her world for life? At this breathtaking moment, the answer was yes. Just as it was when she first told it to Asriel.

A giant smile crossed her face. Her eyes were wide and she beamed with happiness as she turned to look at Asriel.

"I don't know what to say."she said, a soft laughter escaping her lips. She felt such bliss and joy that she could hardly contain it, yet at the same time, she was practically speechless. "It's all so... so.. No words can describe it. This place... "she sighed softly and looked at the sky. "I've never felt this way before."

Her emotion was so raw and true, not being covered up or twisted whatsoever. She fully embraced it, letting herself be, allowing herself to feel. Ozymandias didn't fight it either. He didn't tell her to stay composed and block out emotion completely. He ran his hands through the sand, ran up to the water to cup some in his hands, with a childlike curiosity that he never truly had. For once, the daemon wasn't caring about what appearance they might make. Like his human, he was enjoying the moment, soaking up everything around him.

There was such a delighted sparkle in their eyes. Both human and daemon felt connected, much more deeply than they ever had before. Ozymandias had finally discovered that Marisa had been right all along and it made him realize something. He shouldn't have judged her so harshly. Instead, he should have tried to connect with her all these years, not try and mold her into what he wanted her to be. He turned his head to glance at Stelmaria, feeling the regret of ever leaving her side. However, now was not the time for regret of their past choices. That was coming to an end. It was the time of joy and discovery. A new beginning.


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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Oct 10 2012, 05:47 PM
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Lord Asriel stepped into the new world, the city in the clouds. But now, more than a city. This was real. If only his "comrades" could see him now! The reputed members of the Royal Arctic Society, in the end, too cowardly to try. Only Mackenzie, a villain in his own right, with a hobbyist interest in the North would agree to help him.

Strange how things worked out in life. But he was not going to wonder why. Mackenzie no doubt, had an active interest in the other worlds. As long as he did not obstruct the Republic, they could both coexist.

And now, Marisa Coulter, agreeing to follow him and honour a promise made years ago. The Republican was silent at his lover's words. He was not going to lose his mind now, gabble on at how wonderful this world was. He had prepared his reaction for years. But this was slightly impressive...nonetheless. The architecture of this world was far different than his own. The layout of the city and the cobbled pavements reminded him of a perverted Italia and Constantinapole.

However, it was empty. Who was he to ask for the name of this place? Did this world only consist of one city? Or were there several continents? What was the name of that sea?

"Where are the people?"

The man looked around him. There were strange clothes in the display. Food, water. Would they be able to eat the food?

"We need to get supplies. I do not know how long we will be travelling, or whether the population here will be hostile. We will enter the first cafe or restaurant, and we will see what we can take. Keep an eye out for any human, witch or otherwise. It would be good to at least, ask them about this world."


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Marisa Coulter
 Posted: Oct 10 2012, 10:59 PM
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Marisa turned her head towards Asriel and nodded as she shed her coat. She brought it into her arms and walked over to the little bit of hunting supplies that they had, draping the fur over a large gun. She sighed.

"It's hot, isn't it?"she said. Sweat slightly moistened her face, the warm fabric of her long-sleeved dress beginning to feel uncomfortable with the heat. The only thing that was keeping her somewhat cooled off was the breeze. "We should find more suitable clothing for this weather."

Ozymandias walked towards the palm trees and found something rather troubling.

What is it, Ozy?

Well, the architecture here is rather odd. There's a cobblestone path up ahead, but before that is a rather wide ditch. Not deep, maybe just about ankle deep, but it has enough mud to get your boots dirty. Your only ones. And, no, before you ask, it's too wide to jump over.

Why would they just have a ditch surrounded by palm trees?

I have no idea.


Marisa looked at her lover again, her eyes gazing at him sweetly.

"Asriel? There's a ditch that we have to cross and I was wondering if you could carry me."


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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Oct 11 2012, 10:37 PM
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Asriel noted the sweat on his forehead. The climate in this city was far warmer than the North in his world. But still, far better to be overdressed than underdressed in this sort of circumstance.

"We will find warm clothes in the nearest clothes store or boutique. I'm not picky. But we will have to carry our furs with us. This world seems to be uninhabited, and I will want to see if we can travel from this world to another soon. We do not know the climate of the other worlds and we must take precaution."

He left her question for last as Stelmaria scouted the ground before him. Him? Carry her?

"No. Your feet are fine. Walk across the ditch like how I do. This is an expedition, not a holiday. You can walk. Do it."

Stelmaria gave him the green light, and the man squished across the ditch towards the other side.

"Well, come on. Hurry up."


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Marisa Coulter
 Posted: Oct 11 2012, 11:45 PM
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Marisa scoffed at Asriel's answer, frowning.

"Well, isn't that just like you."she hissed. "Why did I think that you would do anything to help me? You're always such an arse."

Ozymandias, of course, swung by the palm trees across the ditch with ease. Marisa glared at him enviously. She stepped lightly in the ditch, cringing as her boot squished into mud.

"Don't rush me."she snapped at Asriel. She began slowly walking through the ditch, a look of disgust on her face. The mud would never come out of these boots. Usually, she wouldn't mind getting her boots dirty on an expedition; she could just buy another pair. However, she had unfortunately left all of her money behind. She caught up with Asriel, a light scowl on her face as she looked at him.


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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Oct 12 2012, 01:17 AM
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Asriel scoffed at Marisa's "difficulties". At crossing a ditch! Where had the old Marisa Coulter gone? She went to the Iced Bear's Palace once without a single compain and shot a walrus!

"Rushing you? We don't know anything about this world. A wild beast could pounce at us at any moment, and here you are fussing over your clothes! I wouldn't hurry you if I knew this was too difficult for you, but it's not. You've travelled to the North with me before, entered the iced bears' palace and shot a walrus. And now you tell me you can't cross a muddy ditch? Has the Magisterium softened you?"

Stelmaria smiled smugly. Coulter had it coming. As she continued to dawdle, he stormed across the ditch and pushed her into it.

"There. Now your entire set of clothes is dirty. No need to be so fussy over where you're stepping. Now hurry up if you know what's good for you. We need to find a safe place to spend the night, and we have to find food and proper clothes."

The Republican walked across the ditch, and waited for her on the other side.


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Marisa Coulter
 Posted: Oct 12 2012, 01:45 AM
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Marisa was highly offended when he accused her of being softened. She didn't get a chance to respond, however, because she was suddenly pushed. She had tried to stay up on her feet, but Asriel was much stronger of course, so she went down easily.

Shock crossed her now mud covered face as she lied there. A mere second later, a scream of fury released from her.

"I'll show you softened!"she yelled as she stormed to her feet, running over to Asriel, throwing hard punches at him. This would be the last dress in her possession from her world for a very long time and Asriel ruined it! Her fists kept punching and punching, feeling such a wild rage overtake her.

Was it really because of the dress that she was so furious? In all honesty, no. That was only a small portion of the reason. Most of it was the fact that Asriel had the nerve to dare call her soft. She killed, she tortured, she braved thousands of hideous and dangerous tasks that many wouldn't be able to pursue, and he calls her soft just because she didn't want to get her boots muddy. He pushes her down and he calls her soft! Soft! Her damned love for Asriel was the only thing keeping her from pulling her knife out on him.

Ozymandias watched Marisa furiously attacking Asriel, completely out of control.

Marisa, calm down.

Shut up!


Marisa aimed another punch at Asriel's face.


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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Oct 13 2012, 01:53 AM
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Asriel pushed her away. The woman always had a trouble with her temper. Nearly twenty years of knowing her, and she still did not know how to control it. Her punches landed on him, but he had been through worse.

"Stop it, Coulter! You damned fool, you're going to kill us! How many times do I have to tell you that this is a new world? A wild beast could appear at any moment! The population here may be hostile! And you're wasting your time fighting me?|

He raised his hand, and attempted to slap some sense into her.

"Fighting me over your clothes! Even your daughter wouldn't do such a thing. She wrestles in the mud in Oxford everyday. Her mother should learn from her."


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Marisa Coulter
 Posted: Oct 13 2012, 02:03 AM
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Marisa felt the impact across her face and looked at Asriel for a moment, before finally backing off. She walked a few steps away from him, glaring.

"You idiot! You think I'm this upset over mud? You called me soft, Asriel!"she snapped. "I can't believe that you of all people would say such a thing!"


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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Oct 13 2012, 02:15 AM
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"I call it as I see it."

Asriel spat on the ground in disgust as Stelmaria carefully kept her fur away from the filth. She could not believe this argument was happening. Taking Coulter with them was a serious mistake.

"You were crawling over a muddy ditch, afraid of staining your clothes. Ten years ago, you shot a walrus with your arrow and hauled it back to camp without complain. So, yes. You have gone soft. Now stop complaining, and cross the fucking ditch."

He stormed ahead.

"Hurry up, or I will begin to regret this and leave you behind. You are compromising on our security."


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Marisa Coulter
 Posted: Oct 13 2012, 02:25 AM
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Marisa scowled, but followed, walking beside him.

"I didn't want to ruin my clothing because it's the only clothing I have left of our world. So, perhaps I have grown a tad sentimental. Believe me, I've tried to rid myself of it."she said. "If I was as soft as you think I am, I would be whining about how I'm covered in mud. However, as of now, I'm not, and I'm willing to do anything for you to take back what you said. I'll find this wild beast and bring you back it's head if that's what I have to do."

She didn't stop walking, but she was serious. She couldn't let Asriel think that she had grown soft.


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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Oct 13 2012, 02:43 AM
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"You will do whatever is necessary for this. Anything less, and you're already dead. So, I won't need you to kill a beast to prove your worth...yet."

Stelmaria snorted.

"We'll see if you can keep up with me. Look. There is a clothes shop."

Asriel entered without waiting for another word. The shelves were filled with strange designs and fashions. There were shirts and coats, trousers too. But they were not from Lyra's World. Some of them were not as thick, others had strange buttons and buckles.

And as usual, there was no shopkeeper to greet him. How was he going to pay for this? The Republican took a look at the strange till. It was empty, and with that, no clue to the money and currency used in this world. No sign of anyone, no economy. What was this world? Abandoned? Did the inhabitants simply walk away through another bridge to another world? Or did they come to his own world and live there?

Since no one was willing to take payment for the clothes, he took the nearest pair of trousers, shirt, and a thinner coat. There didn't seem to be any tie in sight. The man walked towards the nearest corner, stripped, and changed. It would be good to be in something less bulky.

Stelmaria stood in front of him and kept watch.


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Marisa Coulter
 Posted: Oct 13 2012, 03:00 AM
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Marisa nodded and walked inside.

"And by the way, as I told you years ago, just call me Marisa. Calling me Coulter is absolutely unnecessary. "she said as she walked past him towards a restroom. She washed the mud off of her body and stripped from her dress and boots, leaving only her undergarments on. Ozymandias discarded the dress, throwing it into the trash bin, as Marisa opened the door to exit. She walked out casually and began looking among the clothing.

Lovely tops, but I don't see any skirts or dresses. Tops and pants. Blouses and trousers.

"Asriel, I think this is a men's clothing store. Well, no, that wouldn't make sense; some of these tops are obviously for women. This isn't right... it says the women's section is right here."she said, pointing at a sign. She raised an eyebrow. "Is it possible that there are only pants in this city? This is the only clothing store in sight..."

Oh no.. I might have to--

Don't even think about that, Marisa! It's against the laws of society! Even women who are homeless on the streets have enough dignity to dress properly!

Ozy... I think this is all they have. I'll keep looking.


Marisa looked at another rack for a skirt or dress of some kind.

Ozymandias kept watch looking out of the window, making sure there were no bystanders getting a good peep-show.


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Lord Asriel Belacqua
 Posted: Oct 14 2012, 04:32 AM
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Asriel walked out, fully dressed in his new shirt and trousers. Coulter was there, still underdressed, and if he didn't know her better, looking for a dress, or a skirt.

"Coulter, hurry up and take your clothes. You can't possibly walk around in that."

His tone made it perfectly clear that that was certainly not going to be allowed. He studied her figure. Still the same.

A smile tugged at the corner of his lips, much to Stelmaria's annoyance. Her human couldn't be distracted by something like a woman! She glared at him, rifling through a rack which had the most strategic view of her perfectly formed arse.

"Here. Take these and dress."

The man threw her a shirt and a pair of trousers.

"And this."

A coat followed.

"Now hurry up. We're wasting time."

He knelt down and wrapped his furs into a small bundle, hiding the small grin on his face.


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Marisa Coulter
 Posted: Oct 14 2012, 06:02 AM
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Marisa glared slightly as she was tossed this ridiculous men's clothing.

"Fine. I'll wear it. As long as you take back that I'm soft and refer to me as Marisa."she stated as she slipped the shirt over her body. She stepped into the trousers and put the coat over her shoulders. She took her fur coat into her arms and carried it, Ozymandias shaking his head.

You look disgraceful.

Shut it, Ozymandias. I haven't the time.


She picked out a pair of shoes, and an odd pair at that. It was a sort of shoe with weird straps. She put them on and nodded to Asriel.

"Okay. Let's go."


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