#TeamDecoPunk - Part Three: The Frozen Maze - @JazzFeathers

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Love Guides The Wandering Star - Part Two - Holly_Gonzalez

Where was she, who was she? Tossed amid the breakers of space and time, her bearings faltered. A thought-voice of reason returned, an anchor locking to her own universe while the psi-waves churned about.

I am Inge-Margritte Helmrich, and I'm not lost!

The first trial ended in a flash of white light, and Margritte's vision coalesced. She still reclined upon the throne, beholden to the Psychometer. A vast murmur swirled through the crowd. She stretched her fingers and pushed against the restraints at her wrists and ankles. The sharp edges of the bands cut into her skin--her own skin, not Nathalie's.

The studio orchestra played an interlude as she slowly came to.

"That was astonishing, Fraulein," the Professor said. "How do you feel?"

She replied, her voice weak, "I'm fine, thank you."

How could she explain what she'd just experienced? Being an actress. she knew how to meld into a role. The transition of personalities hadn't jarred her much. What she hadn't expected was how much of herself had bled into Nathalie. Her most secret desires and traits had become entertainment for the entire nation--and the Party.

The Professor turned to the audience and clasped his hands behind his back. "We'll now hear the assessment from our distinguished panel of judges."

The first judge cleared his throat. The many brass and platinum medals on his coat denoted a respected Party official. "Fraulein Helmrich holds obvious ambitions for stardom and a desire to establish herself in a foreign land. Her core reasons for attaining such goals, however, are not duly established. Please continue to the next trial."

The other Party judges answered in a similar manner. None were convinced. Still four trials to go. Would it matter in the end? Margritte hoped Fray was right, that the trials could be sabotaged. There hadn't been any sign of a portal within that trial. Fray had instructed to watch for patterns, but nothing had stood out within Nathalie's corner of the multiverse. Maybe during the next trial Margritte would discover the clues.

Navigating psi-space hadn't been too difficult. There was a small trace of self-awareness as she inhabited another person's brain, seeing through a stranger's eyes, taking part in their joy and fear. Yet somehow she remained a mere spectator watching someone else's dream, much as the audience here watched everything upon the big telescreen.

"Are you ready to continue?" the Professor asked.

Margritte took a deep breath and nodded once.

The Professor waved to his team of technicians. In minutes, the Psychometer charged with an ominous vibration.

"This next episode is the trial of faith," the Professor said. "You must find the heart of the Labyrinth itself. The maze exists in many times, many different ways, and bears infinite paths, but there is only one entrance, and one exit. Your challenge is to cross it without fear. We are about to discover what--or who-- guides you when you've lost your way. And we'll learn who shines a light within your darkness."


The Frozen Maze

by jazzfeathers

Ingeborg went down the marble stairway, wrapping her wool coat around her, her eyes on the maze in front of her.

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