I smiled at May as Froid led me to her, "May," he said when we were close enough, "I believe you know Jaden. He'll be joining your squad on this mission."
"You think you can handle it?" she teased, "it's a little advanced." she nodded toward a man who was covered in weaponry I guessed he was about a level 3 or 4.
I looked back at May and smiled, "You just never get tired of teasing my upbringing do you? No matter how far we get from that time."
She shook her head, "Nope, and I never will. It'll be good to have you on this trip."
"Just like old times."
Froid cleared his throat and we stopped our banter. "Well I believe that's everyone, May. Have a successful mission and...come back alive."
That was the last time I saw May Penelope. That was the last time I saw any of those people. That was the last time I saw anything at all before my whole world went black. There I stood trapped in the darkness calling out for someone, anyone to hear me but no one was there. Days past, then months then a whole year still I sat in darkness. Knowing nothing, feeling nothing.
Then something happened. A small light appeared and I found myself being pulled out of the darkness. The light was blinding and I lifted a hand to shield my face. A moment later the light fades away and I look around to find myself standing in a small empty room with bleach white walls and a grey door.
The door opens and young man of about my age and carrying a computer tablet enters the room. He's wearing a blue T-shirt and khaki pants with large pockets. His blonde hair is in need of a cut and his blue eyes twinkle when he looks at me. "Have a seat!" He says motioning toward a chair that wasn't there before and taking a seat in another chair across from it.
I do as he says, terribly confused as to what is happening but knowing that I better obey. "My name is Cobalt Marshall but you can call me Agent Blue. I know you're confused but don't worry I'll explain everything but first the paperwork." He pulls out a pointer from behind his ear and begins tapping on the tablet then says, "Let's start with your name."
"It's Jaden...Jaden Waters. What is this place?"
He ignores my question and continues with his own, "How old are you Jaden?"
"Twenty-five...now where am I."
Blue enters the information and smiles. He points the tablet toward me and I see my picture staring back at me. "That look like you?" He asks and I can only nod. "Says here that you come from a story called Keepers of Time...is that correct?" I look at him like he's stupid, what on earth is he talking about. "Looks to me like your story went inactive over a year ago, does that sound about right?" I still don't answer and he just shrugs as if he didn't really expect me to answer.
He sets the tablet down on a table that's appeared next to him and leans back in the chair. "Alright Mr. Waters, I'm just going to give it to you straight. You are a character in a story or at least you were until that story went inactive over a year ago. Now you're here in the world of Rumplekammer. You're here because the woman who created you decided to put you here, it's as simple as that."
"But what about May or Froid or any of the others that I was supposed to travel with."
"They will remain in limbo unless their authors decide to bring them here. I wouldn't count on seeing them again. Your mission is now forfeit, Time Safe is no more."
His words remind me of the time I had first met May Penelope back in 2008. I hadn't believed her either. She was from the year 5004 and had come with Time Safe to fix the time rift in 2008. I had had a hard time believing her when she told me she was from the future but she had proved it to me, I had helped fix the rift and had demanded to join them. That was nearly ten years ago, we had worked side by side on so many missions and had so many adventures and now she was gone, I was here in this new world that this man who called himself Agent Blue said was some kind of limbo.
Blue stands to his feet and moves toward the door motioning for me to follow. "According to The Oubliette, your story hardly had a chance to get off the ground before it went inactive. You had all of one entry and then disappeared. Rumplekammer is a place of second chances, a place to discover who you are and continue live life despite the fact that it didn't go the way it was originally planned."
"Is that what happened to you?" I ask as he leads me out of the white room and into a place that looks very much like any 21st century home.
Agent Blue shakes his head, "My story was actually finished. I destroyed the enemy, got the girl and went home the conquering hero. But the author doesn't seem to be done with me. I've been instructed to lead Lost Characters into this new land and help them discover who they are."
"I know who I am," I say offended at his words, "I'm Jaden Waters 2nd in command to Commander May Penelope. I was born in 1992 and joined Time Safe in 2008, I've fought numerous missions and conquered many foes."
"But without Time Safe who are you?"
"I..." His question catches me off guard and I pause looking around this massive house and realizing that I really have no idea how to answer that."
Agent Blue just smiles, "That is what this house is for. This is the House of the Lost Characters and this is where you will discover who you are. You are Jaden Waters and you did join Time Safe, you have a history but you must learn what that means in this world. As of today you have two entries to your name when you get five you will have gained enough experience to leave this house and start a new life. Until then you must stay here. It's as simple as that welcome to the Rumplekammer."