Sage made a bit of a face, ears twirling, as he was obviously pondering his choices. Huffing, snorting, even stomped one hoof on the floor before he gave another glance to the still closed door. "Okay. Sage take. It big group now. Lots of doggies and their friends." He moved to the wall Razial and Maylee had been listening at and placed his hands against it.
Ears twirled a bit faster as he began to ask the rock to move for him. And what was a wall, slowly shifted aside, giving a glimpse to the secret room, albeit empty. "This... is where... Sage.. kept.. safe. Until.. recently." His words were separated with various grunts and snorts of concentration.
He tried to recall the full group while his mind was torn in more than a few directions. The spinning of the ears helped. "One, two, three... doggies. One doggy friend, who not doggy, but friend of doggy." Finally there was a doorway large enough to let Sage and Hayley enter the little room where there were signs of others having stayed here for a bit.
"A bear, a lady.. uh.. oh, a bird, a really talky talk bird." Snort. "Uh.. A mouse. Sage.. think that all. Sage might forget." He gave Hayley a little sideways sheepish grin. "Sage take to." And then he crouched, touching the floor to try and make a sliding chute again to take them down.
It began slowly, quietly, the serenading song of the sea. The coin was calling to Indy again, only differently, this time, it felt personal. It was personal. The song was crafted to pull upon minute threads inside Indy. Threads reminding her of home, the sea, family.
At first, it would be little more than a tingling sensation in the brain, then the ears would register the sweet siren serenade. The music would swell like the waves of the sea, filling her with a warmth only a few could know underwater. Soon, it would drown out anything Roje had to say, nearly drowning out Indy's very own thoughts inside her head.
However, it couldn't drown out the voice of the sea.
Daughter... help me.
It wasn't her mother's voice, it was the sea, something she could recall hearing as a very young child. And still the song was still being sung.
The coin's image flashed in Indy's mind, it pulsed with a heart beat of its own. Thrumming, vibrating through her, matching the grinding sound of the door to their room slowly sliding open.
Hayley observed his actions, her expression growing soft. It's okay if he doesn't allow me to see. I wouldn't blame him if he didn't. she thought before he said that he'd take her. Which surprised the Pyromancer as he moved to the back wall that Maylee and Razial had been investigating earlier. Wait, is that why those two were so adamant on this wall? glancing behind her, she thought about it. If Hayley hadn't come sooner, they may have been found, and who-knows-what could have happened to them. My interference most likely saved these others. These...'Doggies and Friends.' though she wouldn't give herself that much credit. Sage lied through his teeth just to protect them. He took the biggest risk of them all, just to protect those in need of help. "I look forward to meeting them, Sage." she then went on ahead and gathered up Rune in her arms, cradling him like a baby. All the while returning to Sage where the wall began to shift open, revealing another behind it. Though, she didn't spot any others within. Sage had clarified why there weren't any signs of life in the room, which answered her questions before she had a chance to ask "I see..."
As the Minotaur began to list off animals, she looked at him Three dogs, someone who isn't dog, but friend of a dog. Probably another race of some sort. Maybe a shifter that he doesn't know of yet. that non-doggy could be any race. So the Pyro pinned that to the front of her mind, just so she could ask if she had gotten the chance to meet them. Upon entering, she could see where there were some things scuffled about. As if previously inhabited. So they were here, as Sage said before. They weren't taken. If so, Sage probably wouldn't be here. More than likely he relocated them. From the sounds of it. He then continued his list, her eyebrow raising as he mentioned a bear -which would be the most worrisome animal- but she realized they could be a shifter too. A lady, and then a really talky bird, and a mouse. A mouse? So he was hiding in there. "I wonder what that mouse had done to get himself on the top of the Wanted list." she murmured to herself in thought.
Her hazel eyes watched as Sage gave her a grin before he crouched down, claiming he'd take her to them. His hands touched the floor and soon enough, the rock began to morph into what looked like a slide. Watching as it formed, it was quite intriguing and satisfying, definitely mesmerizing too. He could do anything with rock... I thought I've seen it all. Looks like I was wrong. a smile tugged her lips and once the Slide had finished, the large male gestured for her to go first. "Oh, we're actually... Sliding. Okay." moving to the start, she got down onto the ground, making sure her companion was held securely in her arms before she got comfortable and looked up at Sage "I'll see you at the bottom then, Sage." giving him another smile, she then scooted her behind till she began to slide down with ease. Spiraling down deeper into the rock with her giggles filling the space "I haven't done this since I was a child. I forgot how fun it was."
Before she knew it, the sliding came to an end and was now left in an empty hall. Upon getting out and looking around, she spotted a large globe that had some kind of twinkling effect while giving off light. The brunette tilted her head slightly, narrowing her eyes a bit in curiosity This twinkling look... It looks very familiar. upon further inspection, the globe seemed to be floating. But before she could even reach out to touch it, she heard Sage's deep voice, telling her not to touch it. To which, she didn't. "Okay, I wont." she was in his domain now. His home, his rules.
Rhevens, Dusk, and Silver disappeared into the one fairy house, followed by Edwin still in the spirit realm. Chase took the plate from Leif with more than a couple of wuffles, and set it in his lap for proper munching. Even made sure there was some room against the trunk of the tree for Leif if the man wanted to lean back against it.
Bug muttered to himself, hands pressing against his eyes so he wouldn't be inclined to touch anything. Only then he couldn't see where he was going, and proceeded to trip over a small rock. His momentum had him tumbling forward toward the small lake, though he could have stopped himself by sticking his hands out. He started to do just that, then caught a glimpse of something else just as shiny, and covered his eyes, screaming "NO TOU..."
Lew giggled, standing next to Clementine still. "Silly, silly bird man. Guess we should give him a hand." And she tugged Clementine toward the water, with the intention of helping the now soaked Bug get back to his feet. Even Chase gave a bit of an amused wuffle, but stayed where he was.
Lew grabbed Bug's hand with her free one, and was in the process of tugging him up and out. Though she stopped and Bug wound up falling right back in the moment she let go. But she had let go of both their hands, suddenly at alert. "Dusk there's someone nearby! I'm going to go identify!" And that was all the warning she gave before she poofed away leaving a small dust of pixie glitter in her wake.
Dusk stuck his head out with a growl, "Lew! Godammit." He stormed out of the fairy house, looking around for her. "LEW!" He rubbed a hand over his face, grumbling mightily about 'damn fairies', and something about being unable to leave the glade without her.
Lew’s hand slipped into hers easily as Clementine’s gripped it without thinking. She hadn’t been around this many people in a while, so her nerves shot through the roof. The surrounding garden seemed to help curb her anxiety as Lew’s hand kept her grounded. She took every stranger in carefully. With her free hand Clementine toyed with the loose threads on her sweatshirt.
She did recognize one person, however. The bearded man that stood outside her door before everything went even worse was standing in front of her again. She tightened her grip on Lew’s hand and took a cautious step forward towards him. “You,” she gestured to the wild looking man before her. “I remember you. You were at my door with that weird kid! What’re you doing here?!”
As she uttered the last of her sentence, the commotion of the new stranger sent a new wave of surprise up her spine. The noises and the scene before her was not something she witnessed before. The sound of bone and muscle tearing made her stomach turn as she hid behind Lew. Dusk’s quick call to action gave her a small sense of safety, but confusion as well. A skinwalker? She thought. I guess I know a lot less than I thought.
Clementine’s stomach was already full of Dusk’s soup, and the previous sounds did not help her appetite. However, she took a few bites to not be rude to her friend. She cautiously looked around at the others in the field and took a deep breath. “With a mountain full of coven I guess we will be together for a bit,” she muttered out quietly. She looked towards the bearded man in what looked like a hospital gown? “I’m sorry for shouting at you. But please tell me why you were at my house? Do you know anything about my family, anything that can help me?”
Winnie and Wendy (via Discord) | Location: Winnie's Room
As usual, Winnie flinched at the sudden intrusion of noise—even before her strange undeath, she had been pitifully jumpy; her sharper vampiric senses only exacerbated the problem.
Tensely, Winnie glanced from the now-bristling Banks to the door, her heart pounding in her throat as she watched it groan open. Who had come to see her? Was it that strange man with the mutton chops, perhaps? Or could it be Key, heaven forbid—?
When the door shifted to reveal the familiar yet alien figure of her little sister, now possessing a womanly grace Winnie herself would never grow to achieve, she felt her insides clench. How, exactly, was she supposed to feel about her sister? There was space for relief, she supposed—seeing Wendy alive and, by all appearances, in good health was welcome, or should be—it was tainted by far too many questions, far too much dread. What in the world had brought the sweet, bright-eyed girl from her childhood to Key, of all people? What unnatural force had halted her aging? What cruel hand had twisted her sunny personality to the cloudy demeanor Winnie now looked upon?
And, of course, coiled tightly around it all, crushing Winnie's insides to a pulp, was that searing guilt, the knowledge that, had she remained in that bear-trap of a home, she might have led Wendy to a kinder outcome. The place had sickened her, yes—a waking nightmare—but as the big sister, wasn't it her duty to shoulder the necessary burdens to protect Wendy?
(The ugly truth was that she had grown tired of carrying the burden, of cleaning up, smoothing over the tensions between her mother and brother, keeping Auntie away from her little sister at all costs. For years she had been waiting for someone to rescue her, and when it became clear she was waiting for a pretty lie, she had absconded beneath the crushing weight of the future she saw unfolding before her.)
The noise as Wendy sank into a chair seemed too loud, and Winnie flinched again, glancing nervously from Wendy—elegant, poised, icy—to Banks—tense, wary, ready to strike. The air seemed at once too cold, and she wrapped her arms around herself, fingers running nervously over the goosebumps that had popped out on her flesh.
She blurted out the only thing it seemed right to say.
"I'm sorry. I'm—I'm so sorry." Tears flooded her eyes, and she shook her head, biting her lip in an attempt to hold onto some vestige of composure. "I'm sorry, Wendy... I just... I don't... why are you... so young...?" Fingernails dug into her pallid, quivering flesh. "Are you... are you a vampire, too...?"
Before Wendy could answer, the door started to open. Banks moved and adjusted to keep an eye on the door and Wendy. Wendy smoothed out her dress, as Key entered but stood just inside the doorway. "Ladies."
Wendy raised an eyebrow and gave a small nod. Key held out a hand toward Wendy, but she didn't move to take it, much less stand up. "I'll join you later, I wish to talk with Winifred a spell."
"Perhaps later, we have things to attend to."
Wendy didn't agree. "Then go attend to them. I will join you later."
As confusing as she found her feelings towards her newly-returned sister to be, Winnie’s stance on Key was unambiguous: he was a terror, a danger, and the less time she spent in his vicinity, the better. As soon as he appeared in the doorway, she leapt from the bed and onto the balls of her feet, as if she were about to take flight—and then her gaze drifted guiltily towards Wendy.
So many years later, she thought reproachfully, and you’re still trying to run away. Winnie swallowed hard and balled her hands into fists where they gripped her skirt in a pale attempt to steel herself, and then she directed her gaze towards Key, her head bowed in preparation to receive orders.
But the orders did not come—not for her, anyway. Winnie felt an uncomfortable prickle start up her spine at a sudden friction between Wendy and Key, quiet but palpable. Nervously, she glanced at Banks—his presence was really the only thing keeping her brave enough to stand in place—and then back to Wendy, studying the impatient, defiant curve of her features.
For a moment, something like warmth flickered through her—her sister wanted to be by her side. Even if it was only temporary, even if it was only to lash out, it was enough. Winnie had spent a lifetime trying to find a vessel for the ugly, jagged feelings her childhood had nurtured within her, and if she could provide Wendy with such an outlet, perhaps it could be a small stone on the stepping-path to atonement.
The thought was fleeting, however, swiftly replaced by a visceral sort of dread drumming at the base of her skull, and Winnie’s fingers dug more tightly into the fabric of her skirt. Visions of a head splitting open like a red, pulpy fruit filled her mind, and her lungs constricted in a sudden and urgent terror. The things Key could do, the cruelties he could inflict—she had seen them with her own eyes, and now her own sister seemed to be challenging the man who could end a life in an instant.
The limo driver’s skull was replaced in her mind’s eye with Wendy’s, and she became certain then that Key would lose patience with her, would crush her just as quickly and thoughtlessly as he had shown himself capable of—
She needed to protect her sister, even if only a little. She needed to make some sort of reparation for that time she had failed her.
“Oh, no, please, that’s okay,” she piped up abruptly, her voice a little too tense in its forced cheer, “I... I don’t want to get in the way of any of your work. Wendy, um—I’m not going anywhere, right?” Her eyes flicked about the room, her cell, like a nervous bird. “So I’ll be here when you’re done. I can... I can wait for you to finish—“ Her voice tapered pallidly off at the end as her confidence faltered, but she tried to fill the gap with a jawbreaker-sweet smile.
Wendy merely raised an eyebrow and stared back at Key, who did a little movement with his hand as if to silently say let's go. She wasn't having it. "Oh, no, there's no work that needs my attention right now. Nothing that I've started and haven't finished." Very subtle venom in the undertone.
"Oh, but you go ahead dear, you have a few things you need to still finish, don't you?"
Key started to smolder, one could just feel it radiating off of him. He took a step toward Wendy as he growled, "We are leaving. Now." Even made like he would grab her wrist and drag her out of there if he had to.
Only Banks was there first. Apparently, Wendy also warranted his protection as it was Winnie's sister. Banks' eyes glowed, and there was the outline of his right arm that phased into existence, moments before the hand grasped Key's throat.
A helpless terror squirmed through her body as Winnie watched the sparks threatening to ignite between Wendy and Key. There was unspoken, unhappy history there; the image of Wendy's quiet resistance, Key's domineering anger, contrasted sharply with the tenderness Winnie had watched the two exchange in the cell block. What, really, was the nature of their relationship? Had Wendy come to this man of her own free will, driven by true feelings in her heart, or had she been—just thinking of the word was enough to send a dizzying sickness through Winnie—coerced?
Helpless terror. Had she ever been capable of anything else? Winnie knotted her hands together, teeth chattering, mind racing to come up with some panacea to defuse the tension building like thunderclouds. And yet, even as she fumbled, she remembered a time where something other than helpless terror had moved her hands—
They were in the kitchen, she and her sister, their hair drawn back with butterfly clips, as they hovered over a pot bubbling on the greasy little stove. A pinch of anxiety had run through Winnie at the sight of her little sister so close to an open flame, but Wendy had merely giggled with delight at the bubbling, frothing dance of the boiling water. Winnie's eyes had been fixed so firmly on her sister that she hadn't noticed Auntie Rosalind until the gentle but icy hand on her shoulder made her flinch.
She had smiled tensely, watching Auntie's hand migrate from her shoulder to the top of Wendy's head, tenderly ruffling her little wisps of dark hair, and then—her throat tightened as Auntie's hand drifted down to Wendy's shoulder, sparsely covered by a camisole to stave off the summer heat, and gently stroked the bare flesh.
In a flash, Winnie's mind had begun to roil, as frenzied as the pot of water frothing on the stove. It had started with the hand on the shoulder, hadn't it? When Auntie had brushed her hair, her hands had started to linger a little longer than before—first the shoulder, then the small of her back, then—
She imagined those touches, so warm, so needed at first until they became twisted into something more inimical than the motherhood she had projected onto her aunt. Even as she felt the nausea building within her, she had scrambled to pacify her burgeoning fear: this was what she had wanted, wasn't it? To be loved? If this was what it meant to be loved—it frightened her, she told herself, only because it was so unfamiliar. And yet, as the touches expanded from the living room to the bathroom to the bedroom, a tiny, violent little voice in her skull repeated again and again that this was twisted and filthy and wrong, that this was not love at all.
And then, standing in front of the stove, Auntie's hand swooping down to caress her sister's skin, she relived those nightmare-tinted scenes—in the tub, under the bedsheets—only her mind replaced the image of herself with that of Wendy, and her blood boiled over.
Winnie could still hear the hissing of the boiling water as it met skin now, her gaze frozen on Key's position towering above her sister. It was one of the rare, fleeting moments she had set free that anger, that Sawyer anger, that swam constantly through her veins, fighting against the overpowering tide of fear that pulled her limbs like strings on a puppet. Fear and its power over her—it empowered those who sought to harm her, too, and it empowered Key now as she felt her knees trembling, her feet rooted to the floor, even as the undertow of anger pulled within her.
And then Banks wrapped his phantom hand around Key's throat.
"Banks—!" she cried out, startled, frenzied; for a moment, her brain tried fruitlessly to send the signal to her legs to move, but she could only remain frozen in place as Banks once again threw himself under the guillotine for her.
In a panic, Winnie's eyes darted from Wendy—the sweet, vibrant little girl she had left to become a jaded woman—to Banks—the noble, brave guard she had transformed into an undead servant—and she thought of the countless times in her life she had been cowardly, what it had cost her, what it had cost those around her. Hadn't she, moments before Wendy arrived, sworn to be brave for Banks?
She sprang forward, then, her hands curling around Banks's corporeal arm, lightly tugging. "Banks," she said breathlessly, tremulously, "enough! That's enough. That's—"
Everything was trembling: her voice, her hands, her teeth, but the heat in her veins, the fire in her belly, the fever in her skull—they all suggested that something other than fear held the reins. The undertow had overtaken.
Eyes locked on Key, Winnie rewound every cruelty she had seen him commit: the violent death of the limo driver in front of the already-frightened prisoners, the order for the demon Coda to maul Banks, the callous taunting afterward as she tried desperately to heal him. And then, all at once, he was no longer just Key: he was every Cullen, every Auntie Rosalind, every harsh word flung between her mother and father, every slamming door when Dad decided to run away rather than face his children, every Lady ordering her this way and that until she had forgotten what it meant to want something for herself. And that thin, tenuous little thread—the thread that urged Winnie to be, above all else, a good girl—snapped.
"Enough," she said tensely through clenched teeth, but the words were directed at Key this time. "Enough."
She allowed her teeth to bare, allowed her fangs to gleam, allowed the snarl of rage that had been rotting her from the inside out to finally poison the air around her. And then she extricated her hands from Banks's arms and slipped off her gloves and flung them aside, her eyes almost feral as they bore into Key.
Maylee & Razial & Levi (via Discord) | Location: Living Nightmare
The clouded leopard was still able to hear the voices from above, the sound drifted down through the chute while he sat there stuck and sulking. He could maybe crawl back up the chute with a lot of effort, but it wasn't wise with the people still upstairs in the room of beds.
"I... don't know if that's my decision to make. What would she want? Maybe the pain is worth bearing for the chance to keep living. Maybe it's not. Maybe she'd rather be free of it all." The woman spoke. "In that case... I suppose I'd do it."
The banter went back and forth, the man's voice sending a chill down his spine. "She's a shifter, but sick. She's been here for a long time. When we've woken her up, she wound up screaming from pain. The only way to ease her pain was to put her back to sleep. But her tolerance for the medicine is fading, and with it, she'll wake, in pain. And we won't be able to help her. You can."
“I’d... like some more information. Who is she? What sickness does she have? Did she come here for... treatment? And... if she were suffering so badly, why hasn’t someone put her out of her misery before now? What makes me more qualified?” There was a small pause of silence before the female continued. “If this is what she needs, I’ll do it. But... I always do research before I go on a hunt. Scope out the area. Figure out the situation. Smart hunters need to know what they’re getting themselves into.”
"Would knowing her name ease your consciousness? She was going to be addressed today, but there was an incident in here earlier with Miss Alyce. If you'd rather we wake her so you can hear her screams yourself, it'll take only a moment."
"Wake her up." The voice sounded strained. "I... I need to make sure for myself. I need to know there's no other way."
And then the leopard's world exploded in emotion. None of it good. "Her name is Vivienne Moss."
When the woman began to scream, it confirmed they were talking about his mom. A mother he believed died when he was young, but he knew that voice. It haunted his dreams and nightmares. Levi was like his mother, they were both shifters, his father called it a curse. While Levi just wished he had more time with his mother before she disappeared, dead per his father. She sounded alive now, but not for long.
The leopard began scrambling to climb back up through the chute, claws digging and gouging at the rock for leverage. Panic and fear shot through him, his mind repeating 'Mom!' over and over in his head. One claw broke in the process, body trembled from the sheer adrenaline it took to climb back up with his mother screaming the whole time.
He made it in time. In time to watch as Maylee snatched a dagger from the male. He tried to cry out, to scream, to make them stop, but the woman's screaming was too loud. Until it wasn't. Until it ended with the slice of the blade along her throat. As his mother's blood spurted out, and her scream died, it was replaced with the leopard's own cry of fear and fury.
Roje was certainly speaking, though Indy had lost track of her words. Her lips parted and dipped, forming sounds and sentences Indy would never understand as temptation wrapped fingers tightly around her heart. Slick as smoke, a soft strand of familiar notes had slid into the room, unnoticed by Indy as she sat distracted by her sister's stories. A quiet voice tuned to wind chimes whispering words dancing on the edge of intelligibility, the song wove its way up Indy's legs and sunk into her skin. She noticed it all at once, finding it entrenched in her mind in a way that rooted it deeply within her memories of the moments before; it had always been in her. Of course, she had always been aware of its presence. Of course, she had always felt it--that soft spot at the nape of her neck, the sweet tingling sense of a hand hovering just over her, over the stray baby hairs that still curled behind her ears. Of course, now, as she picked up one heavy arm and waved it under the warm tension provided by a comforting blanket of the heavy sea, that Roje was something beyond her.
Indy was something beyond her. Of course.
Indigo stood, her legs carving a path through the weight of the water. She felt the rushing waves press against her skin as the song grew louder, the pitch rising along with the beating of her heart. It was painful, this echoing call for help, this need for assistance that dug steel hooks in her heart and dragged Indigo further, away from Roje, away from the bed and the magic closet. By the time Indigo reached the door her lungs had been squeezed tightly, the voice that echoed through the niches and corners of her body shifting into the voice of her mother, the voice of her childhood friends, her own voice--the one only found at midnight on the darkest days of her life.
She could barely hear her own desperate gasping as she hurled herself out into the hall, slamming heavily into the door with a contrary grace provided only by a creature familiar with following disobedient currents. Her fingers grappled with stone walls only to feel the shifting liquid of a watery tunnel as she was propelled forward, back to the room she had been in before--now empty, empty of threats that stood out of tune with the beating of her heart, the floor, the walls---
The epicenter. The pivot point. The center of a million concentric circles that wrapped Indigo in, pulled her forward, brought her home here to her mother, the life-giver, the song.
Indigo lept over the desk between her and the display case. Absently, she heard the dull echo of items clattering to the floor in her wake, but they were lost in the desperate singing that had grown to larger heights and now threatened an aching pain with the pitchy anguish. Inside the display case, the coin was shifting--a bubble of liquid metal in which the fish woman curled and spun, her reflective gaze never leaving Indigo's eyes as her tail whipped with soft encouragement.
Indigo made to reach for the cabinet but realized her fingers were already clawing at the wood, fingernails splitting and blood seeping from their tips as the display case pulsed with magic. Shit. Indigo pulled up her hand and slammed it hard on the case, but the movement was heavy and slowed by the weight of the water and resulted only in a pathetic thunk.
Panic was gripping her. She was shaking, the song now a thousand needles that burrowed in her eardrums and pierced her brain. Indigo gasped, her lungs now refusing any air as the invisible water poured down her open throat and made her chest swollen with furious anguish. She couldn't talk, couldn't take a breath, only part her lips in apology as she prepared to collapse against the case.
Then the fish woman opened her mouth and Indigo began to sing.
Those same twinkling, incomprehensible lyrics now dripped sweet electricity from Indigo's lips. Her lungs, swollen with sea, now compressed and blew waves out across her tongue and onto the display case, meeting the magical shields and spreading across them in search of web-thin cracks. Only a moment later, as Indy's face pressed closer to the magic barrier, did she feel it snap like a band under the tension, releasing with a flourish against her cheeks as the room crackled.
The case creaked. The song echoed, born both from and within Indigo now as she reached forward, idiotically blissful, and wrapped her fingers around the cool metal of the coin.
The white wolf halted at the entrance to the mushroom house that had manifested in the glade. It all seemed too convenient—Lew coming to their aid, tucking them away into a rift in the dimension, it nearly felt like. Dusk containing all the answers, if not most of them. They obviously didn’t work for the coven but their lack of hatred or frustration towards them was unusual for an organization that was against the one that appeared to be causing all the mischief. It was all so matter-of-fact. She glanced to the man that followed them closely; his existence was hand in hand with that of the bear’s and it made her wonder if it was the same between her and the wolf she’d shifted into. ”Do both you and the bear have names?” She questioned aloud in which only they could hear with her eyes now focused on the inside of the house. Silver stepped inside the surprisingly spacious abode, offering Rhevens a few glances to make sure he was doing alright hobbling about.
He’d probably need a bathroom to change into considering he had more than just her as an audience. She pricked her ears suddenly though as a thought flickered through her mind: could Rhevens even see the ghostly old man following them? He wasn’t dead nor did he carry any aura different from the other people around aside from the tether he had to the bear, so he couldn’t be some spirit loitering the glade.
”Can people not see you?” She added after a while, taking a spot at the foot of a nearby bed as she sat on her haunches. A pang of hunger reminded her that even as a wolf she’d still need sustenance. How much time had passed again between waking up in Sage’s garden to now? A flick of her ears sent the thoughts away—there was no point in questioning time here. People touted that time was an illusion as a joke and now she couldn’t help but believe it to be true. Her eyes followed Dusk as he gestured at Lew whom clasped Clementine’s hands playfully, not needing to see his expression to know why Lew’s blithe demeanor became a little more composed when he spoke of her needing to cut herself off from consuming a certain dust. A dust produced by the coven that was manufactured using the energy sourced from... other supernatural beings? With shifters having the most plentiful amounts? Either way it sounded threatening enough that a group like the coven was trying to grind people’s energy into seasoning.
Clementine’s voice cut through Dusk’s scolding soon after Lew vanished, the white wolf’s hackles raising when the girl approached the mushroom house. Her interest was in the old man that had followed them in but for some reason, she still couldn’t confirm whether or not he could actually be seen by everyone. A quiet growl rumbled in the fae’s chest as she watched the interaction unfold. She had wanted to grab a morsel of the array of dishes sitting out there but the desire to stay put and ensure Rhevens’s safety was a far higher priority than that of her audible stomach.
Alyce tilted her head one way, then the other, before a little giggle left her lips. "Well, we all have our family problems, hmm?" She grinned wide and then leaned in close, hand on his shoulder. "Want to see one of mine?"
Family problems—that was one way to put it. Somehow, he had a feeling that most family spats were a little less violent than some shithead kid ruining his sister's life by slaughtering their parents, but a problem was a problem, he supposed.
The problem is you, he reminded himself, a caustic sting burning in the back of his mind. His mother. Malik. Adrien. Maylee. The common denominator they shared, of course, was him. What sort of lives, he wondered, would they be living if he had never been spat out at them? Would Maria Lee have made her med school dreams a reality? Would Adrien and Malik go on to bring their daughter up sweet and strong and watch all of her milestones—sports games, graduation, marriage—with proud, contented eyes?
The burning under his skull had metastasized to his chest as he imagined the life he had stolen from Maylee. That kind, fragile-hearted girl he had grown so attached to, the only person who never lied to him—
(I'm sorry I cry so much, she mumbled, swiping at her eyes.
He shook his head. Don't be sorry. It's honest.)
—she had been infected with the same sickness that had blighted him from birth. The same violence.
Coda glanced sharply at Alyce as she leaned in, pulling him away from his thoughts; warily, he narrowed his eyes, trying to read her intentions. There was a sort of mirth in her eyes, a delighted sparkle that, he imagined, accompanied some twisted, gleeful thought of brutality. Like biting into a hard candy, only to taste the acrid salt of blood beneath its sweet shell.
He was curious: no use denying it. This strange, violent puzzle of a woman—winking and fluttering like the deadly flames she spewed—what did 'family' mean to her?
He had to know.
Coda did not return Alyce's smile, his eyes hard and serious, but he couldn't keep a certain hunger from creeping into his voice as he answered: "Show me."
Alyce giggled and patted his shoulder before turning to head toward what at first seemed to be just a wall. "It's deeper in the mountain. Restricted area." She said the words with such perverse pleasure, because she was one of the few who had access.
Though it was at this point it registered she had dropped the kitty's leash somewhere along the way, and the clouded leopard was no where to be seen. "Bad kitty. It better be waiting by my door when we're done." Wasn't the first time, she was a bit scatterbrained at times.
She pressed a hand to the wall, and three rings seemed to light up briefly before a door slid open. Alyce stepped in and gestured for Coda to do the same. It looked like an elevator or a sort. Soon as Coda was in, the door closed, and magic thrummed around them.
"It's a bit of a ride, but smooth." Alyce hummed in place of elevator music, giggling when they came to a stop. A door opened, and Alyce led the way out.
The room was of a darker stone, almost like cooled lava. It was quieter here, less people, restricted area and everything. "Now.. at one point, my brother was quite... troublesome. My father had influenced him too much."
She moved deeper into the room, where it looked like there were walls indicating another room in the middle. The magic here caused goosebumps the closer one grew to the room. "So.. I had to try and fix it."
Alyce led him to the front of the room, where there was a viewing window, thick with wards that shimmered faintly when you grew too close to the surface of the glass. She touched something along the wall with another ring, and the window allowed them to look in.
"We can see in, he can't see out." And inside was a small child, with wings on his back. Looked to be about two years, but looks could be deceiving with magical beings. "We've been able to play with time. So, I've taken him back to where we can start over."
Deeper in the mountain. Coda frowned suspiciously at the walls around them as they carried him and Alyce to their destination through some otherworldly force. He supposed he had known since childhood that there were things that were other in the world—he was one of them, after all—but only a day ago, he wouldn’t have imagined the phenomena he saw here existed anywhere but in the imagination. Verdant forest glades in the belly of a mountain, a dragon who danced in the skin of a woman, magical elevators—he stared steadily at the walls, willing himself not to so much as blink. Somehow, he felt that if he did, this strange, constructed reality would fall apart around him, and the rock would cave swiftly in on him.
It wasn’t death that scared him, but the thought of being forever entombed in an endless expanse of rock—irretrievable, forgotten by all—made his throat tighten and his lungs shudder.
Embarrassingly, the relief that flooded him when they exited the elevator was palpable. What would Alyce think of him if she knew he had been ruminating in fear? It was unbecoming for a guard; doubly so for a demon.
He hammered his features into their usual caustic scowl as he followed Alyce into the room, though he couldn’t keep his gaze from wandering curiously around the dark, coal-like walls. When she led him to a window, he peered hungrily inside—what did a dragon view as a ‘family problem?’—and felt a lurch of surprise at what he saw.
He wasn’t sure what, exactly, he had been expecting, but suffice it to say that a child with bat-like wings hadn’t entered his mind.
Frowning, he glanced from Alyce to the child who, evidently, was her brother. Once the shock of seeing the wings had worn off, Coda’s senses cleared up enough to take in the rest of the little boy in front of them—not even a child yet, really. More of a toddler. This was the brother who had caused so much trouble for Alyce?
No—she had played with time, apparently, reverting him to a fresh slate she could shape to her own desires.
Playing with time? he wondered. How far does that go? Could Alyce jump through time herself, or could she only affect individuals? Could she move forwards, advancing one’s age, or merely backwards as she had to her brother?
The depth of her powers was still a mystery to him, but it seemed as if she could manipulate both time and space. Where was the limit? What was her weakness?
And if she didn’t have one—could he be like that, too?
It occurred to him that he had been silent perhaps a moment too long, and he swallowed in an unsuccessful attempt to wet his parched throat. A bizarre sort of fever had seized him, his cells vibrating at the display of nigh-incomprehensible power he had witnessed today.
And it wasn’t over yet.
“The wings,” he said, nodding towards the child. “So he’s a dragon, too?”
As he stared through the warded glass, then, a thought leapt unbidden into his mind and twisted behind his eyes—peering in unseen on a little boy unaware of the dark eyes looming over him, he thought of another little boy who had hid from the voices that filled his nights. He hadn’t seen the eyes, either.
Alyce tapped on the glass, making the little toddler look up. He couldn't see anything though, but he giggled and banged one hand on the table he was using to help stay standing. The wings fluttered a bit with another giggle, then he went back to playing with a toy.
"Well, of a sort. Wyvern, actually. Those ugly wings actually grow into something very pretty." Her voice dropped a bit. "I'm a little jealous of how pretty they turn out." A strange smile crossed her face as she drew a finger along the glass, "Well, if he makes it to grow up."
She turned her head, placing her cheek against the glass. Tapping it now and then just to toy with the child inside. "What would you do, if you had a way to turn back the clock on whomever you wished?"
A wyvern? He had definitely heard the term before, perhaps from some movie or other cultural osmosis, but he couldn’t remember how, exactly, they differed from dragons. A match of frustration lit within him: he knew enough about vampires, shifters, and the like to get by, but he had had plenty of opportunity to meet living specimens. He had never considered dragons—or wyverns, for that matter—any more than a figment of storytelling, and if he had known he would one day be meeting some, he would have paid more attention to the details of those stories.
He hated being in the dark, hated feeling like an ignorant fool, but there were certain questions he barred himself from asking. Inquiring about the nature of the coven’s business with the moon was fine—it showed initiative, showed that he was serious about seeing it through—but dumbly asking what a wyvern was? Out of the question. The last thing he wanted to appear as was an ignorant child.
Coda stared at the little wyvern boy with something like resentment. What a stupid little brat, he thought contemptuously. Playing with his toys like a rat in a cage.
He glanced sharply at Alyce after her question, caught off-guard by its suddenness. Here they were, voyeuristically peering in at a regressed version of Alyce’s brother, moments after Coda himself had divulged the... sensitivity he still had for his sister. Was she implying what he suspected—?
No, he told himself. There was no way to know what she was thinking. More likely was that he was just projecting. Still—it was undeniable that his thoughts reflexively turned to Maylee.
“I don’t really see the sense in questions like that. Never been one to—indulge in fantasy.”
What if he could turn back the clock on what he had done to her? Would she grow up happy? Human?
“Though I guess it’s not fantasy for someone with the power of a dragon.”
No—if Alyce’s brother was any indication, the individual regressed while the world around them continued forward. Even if he turned the clock back on her now, she would still be growing up in a world without Malik and Adrien. Who would raise her, then? How would she turn out? There was no way to know.
If he reset her—he would be erasing all of the pain he had caused her, but everything that made her Maylee would go with it. That kindhearted girl who secretly relieved him of his hated vegetables at dinner and asked him not to tell Malik and Adrien she cried on Mother’s Day—she would be gone, too.
In a way, it would be worse than her grieving their deaths. It would be as if, to Maylee, Adrien and Malik had never existed. And at the same time—all of those scars he had given her—they would disappear, too. He would disappear from her memory.
The thought made him grind his teeth, a strange, possessive anger igniting in his stomach. No. To be forgotten was worse than to die. He would never, ever let her forget him.
“Depends,” he said after a moment, glancing from the wyvern boy to Alyce and back again. “Do dead people count? There’s a few choice words I’d like to to give my mother if I had the chance.”
Alyce giggled, "No, dead dead is dead." She turned her attention back to the winged child, tapping on the glass again before pushing away. "I could have made him dead dead, but... I wanted to see what would happen this route first. Kind of fun. For now."
She gave a shrug of a shoulder, moving farther away from the room in the middle of the black lava stone cavern. Now Coda had her full attention, eyes that tried to pierce through the outer skin to the inner layers.
"Tell me, what do you want, Coda? What do you really, really want?"
Dead is dead. Normally, Coda would find that difficult to argue with, but as of late, the dead had been crawling back all over the place. He tried to imagine his mother as the sort of ashen-skinned, glowing-eyed freak Banks had somehow turned into. Was it really the same as being alive? Or had the cop been suspended somewhere in-between?
Hell, with all of the earth-shattering revelations that had been tossed around lately, Coda couldn't be entirely sure he wasn't dead himself, trapped in some kind of bizarre Purgatory.
Alyce's next question drew his attention sharply, and Coda narrowed his eyes, reflexively suspicious of such probing questions. More pressing, however, was the cloud of conflict that began to rapidly swirl in his head. Power, he should have said, automatically and without thought, I want power.
But his tongue stuck in his mouth, and his head buzzed with memories of a little boy with his bedsheets pulled taut over his head, his fists pressed trembling against ears that would not block out the noise of the voices taunting him through the night. How he hated that boy. Despised him. And yet he had never been able to get rid of him.
"...I guess what I've always wanted, more than anything," he muttered, not meeting Alyce's eye, "was to stop being afraid."
The thought of admitting such a thing to someone like Key, someone like himself, even, sickened him, but something about Alyce's bright, beckoning eyes drew the words out of him despite his better judgment.
"When I was younger, I was... stupid. I thought love was what would save me from fear."
He thought of his mother, of those flashes of warmth between her swirling pits of despair, and how he had drank of them so hastily that he had only doomed himself to greater thirst.
"I came close to it, I think. To knowing what love was."
He thought of Maylee, his companion and confidant, a patient set of ears that heard his private fears and yearnings and hadn't run away. He often felt, he had admitted to her, like an animal, like something that fell short of humanity, and she had stared at him with her wide, bewildered eyes and said, I think animals can be better than people, honestly.
"But something like me—a demon—I was born of hate. Something like me was never supposed to know love."
Malik and Adrien's wide, empty eyes gaped at him, and he drew in a quick, unsteady breath.
"So I learned. Love couldn't defeat my fears. No—the only way to defeat my fears was to get stronger than them. To make them fear me."
He looked over at Alyce, fists clenched at his sides. "That's what I want. To be in control. To stop being afraid. And the only way I'll get there is by becoming something to be feared."
Alyce tilted her head. "Well, not completely wrong, but not complete right either." She strolled closer, laying both of her hands on his shoulders as Alyce looked into Coda's face. Fingers of one hand even started to toy with some of his hair.
"Love itself cannot defeat fears. Just as strength itself cannot defeat fears." Her head straightened upright, "And no, love AND strength isn't the right combination either."
She let out a little giggle, eyes glowing brighter for a moment. "I can help you though. I've gotten past my fears, doubts, nightmares. It took me a long while to figure it out, but I can help you." She started to let her hands fall away as she began to take a step backwards.
"Only if you want help."
Coda stiffened at the unfamiliar, disorienting sensation of Alyce gripping his shoulders and tracing her fingers through his hair. For years, he had despised the very thought of touch, had driven others back with his hackles bristling, but the slow, hypnotic rhythm of it stirred up memories of his mother, and he was forced to realize how starved he had been for that feeling.
The gentle, soothing gravity of his mother's hands stroking his hair and how he had mistaken it for love.
He stiffened his shoulders and willed himself to focus on Alyce's words. Love could not defeat fear, nor could strength. Coda found his muddled brain only further scrambled by the thought. Love, he had long ago decided, was useless, but strength? How could it be that strength was not enough? Those staggering displays of power he had seen from Alyce in her short time of knowing her—if that was not strength alone, then what was it? What else was there?
She drew suddenly back, and Coda's blood began to rush. It was the same, just like his mother—dangling sweet promises in front of him and then slipping out of reach. He was like a dog, feral and desperate, clamoring for scraps as he stiffly jerked out his hands and caught one of Alyce's retreating wrists.
"Help me," he said, half-crazed. "I want to know. I need to know. I need to be more formidable than any of the things that ever scared me."Coda stiffened at the unfamiliar, disorienting sensation of Alyce gripping his shoulders and tracing her fingers through his hair. For years, he had despised the very thought of touch, had driven others back with his hackles bristling, but the slow, hypnotic rhythm of it stirred up memories of his mother, and he was forced to realize how starved he had been for that feeling.
The gentle, soothing gravity of his mother's hands stroking his hair and how he had mistaken it for love.
He stiffened his shoulders and willed himself to focus on Alyce's words. Love could not defeat fear, nor could strength. Coda found his muddled brain only further scrambled by the thought. Love, he had long ago decided, was useless, but strength? How could it be that strength was not enough? Those staggering displays of power he had seen from Alyce in her short time of knowing her—if that was not strength alone, then what was it? What else was there?
She drew suddenly back, and Coda's blood began to rush. It was the same, just like his mother—dangling sweet promises in front of him and then slipping out of reach. He was like a dog, feral and desperate, clamoring for scraps as he stiffly jerked out his hands and caught one of Alyce's retreating wrists.
"Help me," he said, half-crazed. "I want to know. I need to know. I need to be more formidable than any of the things that ever scared me."
Alyce wriggled the fingers of the wrist Coda held as she gave a small smile. With her other hand, she slowly trailed fingertips along the side of Coda's face. "You have to stop caring. As the humans would say, you have to stop giving a fuck."
She tilted her head, fingers still trailing over Coda's jaw and chin. "If you want something, you take it. If you want to do something, you do it. No second thoughts, no doubting, no fucks to give."
She tapped a finger against his lips then. "There is no good, there is no bad, there is only your desires. When you stop caring, you stop fearing."
Coda found himself shivering with a sort of frenzied energy, a thread within him pulled tight and straining and nearing the point of snapping. Alyce’s hands were warm, a milder manifestation of the dragon flame that stirred within her and vaporized every enemy in her path. If she wanted to, he was sure, she could scald his skin off with a mere brush of a fingertip. How he envied that power—he was painful to touch, too, but only conditionally. His skin did not burn; only his blood did. He could not burn the world down without tearing himself apart first.
His first impulse was to sharply object: I don’t care. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. But he couldn’t lie about it, not even to himself. Every inch of him shuddered with the weight of caring. That vision of Malik had haunted him because he still cared. The mere mention of Maylee’s name had sent him into a fit because he still cared. His greatest weakness, indeed, was the caring that threatened to swallow him up from the inside. How could that restless, endless need continue to possess him if he stopped caring? How could anyone dangle love in front of him and then snatch it away—indeed, how could anyone hurt him if he gave them nothing to hurt him with?
“How do I do it?” He asked Alyce breathlessly. “How do I stop caring?”
Alyce let the hand at his chin drop down until it rested against his chest. She hadn't tried once to tug the other wrist free, just wriggled the fingers now and then. "You break yourself down, tear yourself apart, and build yourself back."
Her head tilted slowly, as her gaze started to roam over Coda. "I can help facilitate such. But, you'd have to be the one to tear yourself apart and build yourself back. It would mean facing some of your fears directly in the process. And.. you might not be able to do it. Not everyone can, but.."
She leaned in close to whisper right next to his ear, one hand still on his chest, the other still held by him. "Between you and me, I believe in you."
Tear himself apart? He was no stranger to the prospect. Indeed, as far back as he could remember, he had learned to count on pain as the only constant in a world that would never let him catch his breath. Over time, pain had stopped being a source of fear and had become an antidote to the very thing; when he began to feel the danger of the numb, endless void of being forgotten hovering over him, pain brought him back to the ground, reminded him that he was still real. The day he stopped feeling pain, he had decided, would be the day he knew he had truly disappeared.
But he wasn’t as impervious to the fear of pain as he liked to envision himself. No, it was true, there will still parts of him he shivered at the thought of pain touching. Beneath all of the bitterness and darkness and festering wounds, there was a boy who didn’t know yet who or what he was but that hoped it was something good. There was a boy who loved deeply, in his own messy, ugly way, a boy who wanted to be someone worth loving.
That was it. His greatest enemy. If he could just rid himself of that pitiful little brat, he would be free. The pain would pierce all the way down to his deepest layers, and he would become its master.
Instead of the little toddler with wings, Coda imagined he saw a younger, softer version of himself in that sealed-up room; sitting at the center of the room, unaware of the eyes appraising his every move, he rubbed at his eyes with tiny fists and snuffled and tried to go to sleep.
You’re the one I should have killed, he decided. The very first.
“When can I start?” he asked Alyce, his voice thick with manic eagerness. The sooner, of course, the better.
Alyce turned her head slowly, revealing what was just overlooked in the first glance through the room, or was it not there before, and she called it into existence now? Regardless, there was another room, similar to the one baby Shia was in.
Alyce started to head to the room, tugging Coda along by pulling lightly on the wrist he held. Looking inside from the one way window on the outside, it looked like a bare room.
Her free hand ran down the window, "This one is special. What you wind up seeing will be pulled from your mind's eye. If you think of something you fear, it will be manifested. If you remember a memory, you will experience it. This is more than just a vision, Coda."
Alyce turned to look at him then. "You will feel everything, but this.. like some type of a video, you can pause, rewind, change things. This is how you will tear yourself apart, and build yourself back up. You can't technically die, but you can lose your mind and all sense of yourself if you do not control it. If you do not conquer it, conquer all those parts of yourself that make you care."
She eyed the room again. "My father had a similar room, this is based on some of his earlier works in it. He thought it would make me a better person." She giggled. "It did, just not his version of better. He believed in good and bad, believed in caring about others." She shook her head, moving toward the door to the room. "Caring makes you fear, fear for yourself, fear for those you care about, fear, fear, fear."
Alyce opened the door and held it for Coda. "If you do this, you'll not have any sense of time while you go through it. And again, there's always the risk you won't make it out of this room, and you'll be trapped in the nightmares of your own creation. But.. I believe in you, Coda."
Coda started in surprise at the sight of the newly-appeared room. That hadn’t been there before, had it? Surely he would have noticed it, unless—could he really have been so distracted by some kid with wings that he wouldn’t notice another room in the middle of a cave system? Given the tenuous nature reality had always had for him, especially lately, he found himself disturbed by the thought that his senses had so crucially failed him.
He listened tensely to Alyce’s explanation of the room, another bizarre conjuration of hers he would have previously thought impossible. No, not Alyce’s—her father, she said, had been the first one with the idea, had tossed Alyce in as he would throw a prisoner in a cell. This was the second time Alyce had made reference to her father and her bitter disdain for him, and Coda found himself wondering whether she had taken violent revenge on him as he often fantasized toward whatever foul, unholy creature had conceived him.
His blood was pounding in his ears as he stared down the empty, innocuous-looking room that he now knew concealed a baleful beast. Being trapped in a nightmare constructed from the walls of his own psyche—it was the ultimate challenge. Nothing, after all, wanted to destroy him more than his own brain.
Do it. You're not afraid, are you?
No. Of course you are. You won't do it. That's all you'll ever be—half.
His teeth began to grind together, an electricity firing through his veins. What sort of scenes would the room paint for him? He imagined himself, again and again, clawing open the bathroom door to find his mother floating in the bloody bathwater, a scarlet Ophelia. He saw himself slashing Adrien and Malik's once-warm faces to pieces, again and again, saw Maylee's terrified eyes grow wider and wider until they filled his entire field of vision. He saw his hands wrapped around her throat, her grimacing mouth crying out in astonished anguish, forever.
Caring made him fear, and the boy who had lived all of those moments was as split between caring and fear as he was between the human and the devil sides.
Destroy him. I don't want him to get in my way ever, ever again.
Cold sweat was dripping down his ribcage, and he was trembling, but even as fear raged behind his eyes, an inexorable hunger burned there, too. He took another look at Alyce, the strange, powerful, mighty dragon who gently traced her fingers along his face and told him she believed in him.
"I'll see you soon," he said, and then he stepped into the room where he would face and devour his demons. He may be only half, still, but he was determined to emerge whole.
With the silence between the sisters growing, Roje slowly became awkward. Her hazel eyes studying Indy as she got a little weirder in her position. What is she even thinking about? Was my question really that complex?the Vampire asked herself before the door to the room had began to slide open. Causing her to look over as she waited to see who was opening it...Only...That there was no one there once it fully opened "What the fuck?" glancing quickly back at Indy, her feet began to move her toward the door. Where she poked her head out and looked down the hallway both ways "There's no sign of anyone out here. Plus I'm pretty sure the only one who can open this door is Co-" before she could finish, Indy went by and out into the hall "da...Indy what the hell are you doing? Where are you going?" she said, though, not in a whisper, but not screaming either.
Roje watched Indy as she rushed off in a random direction. Causing her to groan in an 'this is a bad idea' way. "I really hope I'm not gonna regret this." with that said, she caught up to Indy within seconds with her vampiric speed, trying to keep her pace up with her by walking after that sprint. During their travel, Roje looked around, kept an eye out, as well as ears. If they were caught out here, who knows what would happen. This was uncharted territory that had yet to be explored, though, the Vampire wasn't curious enough to go wondering off. But she did keep mental notes on where they were, how to get back, where to possibly run if things got rough. It's almost like a maze. As if they're purposely trying to confuse those who live here.Before she knew it, the pair was at a familiar door, one that opened and Indy threw herself into as she followed behind. Looking around the room.
"Why did you come here out of all places?" she asked, though, had a feeling it would fall on deaf ears since Indy hadn't said not one word to her since leaving Coda's bedroom. Hazel eyes landing on the other woman, she watched as she slammed on the glass of the display case behind the desk. "Indy." Roje called, walking over as the smell of metal began to fill her nose. Shit.with the clawing on the wood from Indy, she could tell that she was merely harming herself in the process of trying to get into this damn case. "Indy, snap out of it. We dont have time for this." drawing closer, she was suddenly stopped in her tracks as she began to sing, at a note that absolutely gave Roje's ears a ring to them as if a concussion grenade was thrown at her. Putting her hands over her ears to try to muffle the noise, she narrowed her eyes, watching as the glass shattered and decorated the floor with the glowing shards.
Then Indy reached out for the coin, and Roje dropped her hands "Indy can you please tell me what the fuck is going on? Now that you...Got your... fish coin there. I'm pretty damn sure you got the attention of everyone in the place with that singing."
And what didn’t? From Texas to Ecuador, the dragon, Tinker Bell, the coven inside a volcano, the siphons… what didn’t feel off? A skinwalker who knew a lot didn’t sound strange among all that. Still, Leif kept Bear’s words in mind. The words of an animal spirit were always worth listening to. They weren’t absolutely correct in every situation of course; they were spirits, not gods, and even gods aren’t always correct, are they? But worth listening to they always were.
Leif caught some movement from the corner of his eye as Bug tripped, but he only gave it full attention the moment Bug splashed into the lake, however that’d happened, and he let out a small chuckle. Then Lew moved to help him, but stopped halfway, leaving Clementine (and everyone else) behind in order to identify whoever was nearby.
That bit did put him on alert, but he didn’t move. There was nowhere to go to anyway, unless he could learn how to pixie poof. And Dusk confirmed it, when he stepped out of the fairy house to learn she was gone and mumbled something about not being able to leave the glade without her as Leif expected. But what did ‘someone nearby’ actually mean? Where were they, anyway? Perhaps they were in the glade only in their minds, while their bodies were still in the rock room. Who knew.
He didn’t ask, because again his attention was drawn to someone else, this time Clementine, who seemed to recognize Edwin (and possibly didn’t know that was Bear now; or had she actually met Bear before?). He’d been at her door with the ‘weird kid’, which was probably Levi, since it looked like they’d arrived together at the Wranch, but Leif wasn't sure of much. He didn't remember ever having seen Clementine before, and she wasn’t in the dream, nor was she even mentioned, but she seemed pretty certain of having seen Edwin before.
Because there wasn’t much else to be done at the moment, he observed, curious to listen to what Edwin would have to say. Being trapped in that glade honestly didn’t sound too bad, and Leif moved back a little bit to lean back against the tree for the time being.
There are cataclysmic events which happen purely by coincidence. A series of one event after another, which individually would normally not amount to much. However, when they occur at the same time, the balance is overloaded and things... happen.
In Winnifred's room, Key had started to struggle, trying to grasp Bank's arm. However, while Banks could grab him by the throat, Key could not grasp Banks. And when Winnie joined in the fray, his fate was sealed. The life force drain was quickly apparent, but more than that, was the magic drain Banks was doing. Sunglasses slipped down Key's nose, revealing his white, unseeing eyes. Though they were slowly fading, turning into a dull grey ashen hue instead. The same happened with his hair, and then his skin. Everything, even the veins one could see just below the flesh, was turning the same ashen grey. A dead grey.
Wendy didn't move from her seat. Eyes wide, but also tinged with a rapt fascination, she didn't make a single move to assist Key, her 'fiancée'. Though she might have gasped a little, when all that grey flesh started to flake off as it became little more than dust. Life, magic, everything was being drained away by Banks and Winnie's combined forces.
Winnie waited. Hands digging into Key’s flesh that was rapidly losing its color, its warmth, Winnie waited for the sledgehammer of conscience to rocket through her skull, the harsh rebuke that she had dared to stray from her martyr’s path. She waited for the sting of horror to flood her at the unmistakable, irrevocable truth that she had forsaken every desperate attempt she had made to be a good girl.
But it didn’t come.
With her hands pressed to Key’s flesh, Winnie watched his wide, sightless eyes burn out to a monotonous gray from the combined leech of Banks’s and her touch. Those eyes that had crushed a human head into a spatter of pulpy flesh, those eyes that had pitilessly witnessed Banks’s agonized death—they seemed almost fake, now, like a paper-mâché sculpture. The terror they had represented was dissolving with the skin that fell like sand between her fingers.
They would kill her for this, some distant, dissociated part of her brain knew; they would kill her, and they would kill Banks again, but what did it matter? What did it really matter? She had already died, again and again. She had lived a life of erasing herself, of healing wounds only to make room for more; she had lived a life of dying. It was only now, with the strength leaving Key’s body and entering her own, with Banks stalwart at her side, that she understood what not merely surviving but living could feel like.
In another room, deep in the bowels of the volcano, Alyce closed a door behind Coda, and made sure it was locked. There was a little intercom thing on the side she could talk to him through, and vice versa, as long as Coda was able to see the box next to the door. When the visions began, he likely wouldn't.
"Okay, first, you'll need to meditate. Sit on the floor in the center of the room, be comfortable. Close your eyes, monitor your breathing, try to stop thinking. When you have relaxed enough for the magic to detect, it'll start."
Suffice it to say that meditating wasn’t one of Coda's pastimes, and relaxing wasn’t exactly a talent of his. Coda followed Alyce’s instructions, sitting at the center of the room with his elbows resting on his knees, shutting his eyes, but the flurry of restless activity that always filled his head pushed defiantly against his attempts to summon, for once, some quiet.
What would he find in this twisted hall of mirrors, a lens magnified on every memory that had left a stinging mark? Where would his mind take him first? How many memories would he have to fight his way through?
Alyce had said that, in this other world, he would have no concept of time. Would weeks seem to pass? Months? Years? Would he relive his entire life, from the earliest fringes of awareness, until he had forgotten he was trapped in the past altogether?
The thought of dying did not scare him. But the thought of being lost, forgotten, buried in dead folds of time—it made him shudder violently from head to toe.
All the more reason, he told himself, to defeat it.
Ultimately, it was his old, faithful companion that held down the whirling storm in his head. Eyes still shut, he lifted a hand to his lips and sank his teeth viciously into the flesh. At first, a jolt of electricity shot through him, but then came the comfort of pain, the reassurance of sensation that tied him back to reality. And so, letting the blood run down his arm and lull his cells into a hypnotic, half-formed trance, he went quiet.
In the blue room, Indigo closed her fingers around a coin that had been haunting her dreams and waking hours from the moment she heard its siren song. The moment flesh touched the surprisingly warm surface of the coin, there was a bonding on an internal level. Indigo would willingly die to protect the coin, and to see it returned to where it belonged, where they both belonged. The siren song was still there, but quieter, a serenading deep in the soul, a melody one hears looping in their head, a mantra.
For Roje, an outside observer, Indy became washed in a blue light. It undulated, resembling being underwater with the sun shining down through the surface of the water to penetrate the dark depths below. Things lurked in the dark depths, shadows, figures swimming in the aura around Indy, figures with arms, and tails where their legs should be. When Roje spoke, it drew their attention, and as one unit, the shadowed sirens turned to face Roje, and so did Indy.
In a secret room created out of a sudden necessity to protect innocents from the coven's plans, Sage and Hayley approached the glowing orb in the middle of the room. Before Sage could decide if he should touch it or not, the light flickered and surged, growing brighter until the two had to shield their eyes from the light.
There was an audible 'pop' and Lew stood protectively in front of the orb, her hands raised as if to attack. When she saw who it was, she grinned and relaxed, mouth opened to say something. Only she never got a chance to say it. Instead, the orb of light behind her started to whine. It was quiet at first, but quickly building in volume and intensity. The light flickered, faster and faster to match the whining sound.
Lew herself wasn't looking too good. Her skin had gone pale, much paler than normal, and the twinkling around her wings had dulled to nearly nothing. Her eyes rolled back as knees gave way and Sage had to dive to catch her as Lew passed out. Inside the orb, the glade wasn't faring nearly as well.
The sky visually shook, clouds rolled in unnatural ways just before the glade itself seemed to tilt on an axis. The land shifted, where it was once level, it now started to drift toward a sloping angle. Water flowed over land more and more, anything not actually tethered to the ground began to move and roll. Chase only had his hands to try and stop himself from rolling. Rhevens darted out of the house, all but pushing Silver out, thinking it was some type of an earthquake. Bug did a lot of squawking until he just changed to his raven form and hovered off the ground all together.
Clementine's necklace suddenly started glowing, the white magic of her mother attempted to counter the effect, attempted to stabilize the world in an effort to protect the wearer of the pendant. It would soon be too hot to even touch as it desperately worked overtime.
The straw that broke the camel's proverbial back, happened in the sleeping room. Maylee was shivering violently, the woman’s screams tapering off into a strained gurgling that scorched her ears. When Vivienne’s agony had finally given way to the stillness of death, Maylee jerked her hands back and spread her palms, staring in horror at the blood that smeared her skin red. The knife slid from her trembling, blood-slick hands, and she heard it clatter to the floor with a startling noise and reflexively pressed her hands to her ears in surprise. Her fingers smeared hot, wet trails of blood down her cheeks as she then lowered her hands and let them go limp at her sides.
Why? Why was this sort of suffering happening everywhere, all at once? She thought of the blanched horror of her first kill on a hunt—an old, feral vampire whose mind had eroded with the centuries, ruling atop a nest of children snatched from their yards and on their routes home from school. The vampire’s cold, foul-smelling blood had taken hours to scrub from her hands, and she remembered pulling her knees up to her chest in the shower and weeping.
The comfort she had clung stubbornly to was that, in the vampire’s death, the children whose lives he had bled dry would find peace, but now, trying desperately to apply that same logic to Vivienne—that the long-suffering woman could now rest—Maylee found herself trembling harder and harder. What did it matter? Vivienne had suffered, and she had suffered terribly, and there would always be more—an endless tide of suffering rearing up over Maylee’s head and knocking her pitilessly aside. How could she delude herself into thinking she was somehow making a difference? No matter how she tried to dress it up in noble intentions, she was nothing more than a killer. If all of the blood she had spilled on her misguided quest for justice could pour down upon her now, all at once, it would drown her.
She wept. Razial was right there, but what did it matter? What did it matter if he saw her cry? If he saw fit to destroy her, let him. She would rather die now than live to become a heartless, hollow creature like him—
Another sound filled her ears, then, a high, raspy yowling; startled, Maylee turned to see a familiar clouded leopard, its fur bristling and claws unsheathed. “Levi!” she cried out. He was alive! She couldn’t imagine the sort of tortures he had endured, but he was, at least, in one piece. Impulsively, she lurched toward him at the same moment as he leapt at her, claws extended.
Extended at her.
With a cry of surprise, Maylee crossed her arms over her face to shield it, and then, without consulting her for permission, the dark magic within her flared up in automatic defense.
“Wait—“ she blurted out, but before she could spit out a proper warning, a great, pulsing burst of shadowy energy emanated from her chest, sending her and Levi flying in opposite directions.
Everyone can take ONE action, such as grab onto something, move, etc. Talking should be kept to what you could feasibly say in less than one minute and does not count as your one action (you can talk and take your action). If you have questions, ask in Discord.
Tag:Out Of Words
| Location: In the rock with the orb of light
Hayley stepped back slightly when the light flickered, almost as if it was attached to the power grid. Though that light went bright, causing the Pyromancer to turn her body away, hiding Rune's face as well as her own from being blinded. A pop had followed, causing her to look back over her shoulder and at a familiar Fairy. Wait, I've seen her before.in so little time, a whine had come from behind the fairy, the orb continuing to flicker out of control. It was as if something was attacking in the supernatural world, or even trying to suck the magic out of everything. Though that made no sense in itself due to the fact that she-herself felt fine. However, upon looking at the Fairy, her skin paled, her sparkling wings had gone bland, almost as if she was Tinkerbell when someone said they never believed in fairies. Her body collapsed, Sage caught her and in this moment, Hayley felt she had to do something. This girl helped her back then, helped her get stronger. Become a better magic user and one who knew that power was useful if the person didn't get corrupt.
With slightly widen eyes, she quickly placed Rune down and moved over to Sage with the fairy in his arms "We're not usually supposed to do this, Sage, but I'm going to try." looking over the face of Lew, surely an energy boost could work, right? "Her skin is too pale, her wings lost their sparkle...I feel like she may die if I don't try." grasping the fairy's hands, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, beginning to murmur under her breath, chanting something in Latin. The more she chanted, the more obvious it became. Her veins began to glow, movement being seen within them as they slowly moved to her hands where they connected with Lew's in an attempt to give her magic energy back. Unfortunately she was unaware of the orb and what it had contained. Her main priority right now was to get the Fairy back to health. Come on. Please work...the chanting continued, her Hazel eyes opening to look at her. Hoping this was doing something to help.
Roje never got a reply, instead, she watched her sister get engulfed in a blue light. Almost as if she was underwater in the ocean What in the fucking hell is going on? she thought, her eyes narrowing even more as she noticed shadows moving around Indy, clearly almost like mermaids. Hell, that's probably what they were. It didn't take them long to turn towards her, along with Indy before suddenly singing and blowing out her eardrums out almost. Covering her ears again, she held her hands tightly to her head, trying to drown out the singing.I can't even hear myself think! But I cant just let these things deafen me! looking around with her eyes, she thought of maybe trying to yeet something over at Indy. Though, upon looking around, the most she could use was little items. That alone wouldn't get her attention. So Roje thought of the only thing she could use as effectively: Her body. After all, she did work out, she was a Vampire. No doubt she'd knock some sense into Indy who seems to be best friends with some fish. Slam into Indy, and hope that her fish friends fuck off somewhere else. Sounds fair enough. Alright, let's go with that then. with that thought in mind, Roje raced toward her with the intention of possibly knocking her down and out of this trance she seemed to be in.
Leif noticed when the clouds started taking strange, unnatural shapes. He did because he’d been sitting there on the grass, back against the tree, watching the sky in silence for who knows how long, since time didn’t seem to play a very important role where they were. Yet it took him some time of watching to realize that the shapes edged towards the bizarre, and just as he was about to remark on that, the next step of the Pixieland apocalypse seemed to kick off. The land was tilting, slanting down, as if they’d been sitting in some sort of snow free snow globe that’d now been picked up and moved.
Glowing light caught his eye, and he looked over to where it's source was, expecting to see a spell being cast, only to spot the glowing necklace Clementine wore. What all that meant was left to be mulled over later, if at all, because soon the ground was at an angle that could no longerbe ignored, and it didn’t look like it would stabilize anytime soon.
“Fuck!” It would be his instinct to grab hold of the tree trunk as keeping his balance would soon become challenging, but if keeping one’s balance was hard enough with four functional limbs, with only two it was definitely more of a challenge, and it became quickly obvious when he looked over at Chase beside him. So instead of first reaching for the tree, an arm quickly wrapped around Chase’s chest to prevent him from rolling down, a move Leif likely wouldn’t have the time to make were he not a vampire. “This shit never ends.” Fuck. When was the last time the world was 'normal' again?
Clementine felt her stomach drop as Lew hand fell away from hers. She felt the air shift around them as her friend’s form began to change into something strange.
“Lew?” She called out weakly. As Lew uncharacteristically began to lose strength, Clementine stood frozen in place. Tears prickled the corners of her eyes and she clenched her fists into the worn fabric of her sweatshirt. “Lew,” she called out again weakly. “Please.” Tears carelessly rolled off her cheeks as she noticed the clouds beginning to shift from their natural shapes.
In an instant, Clementine felt her feet give out as the ground beneath her randomly turned. She desperately grasped at anything she could find as dug her fingers into the grass and dirt. Her arms screamed in protest as she clutched onto the grass, panicking as she hears the blades tearing from the earth. As she openly cried in sadness and fear, Clementine struggled to climb the inverted landscape towards a tree for protection.
She felt a burning sensation upon her chest and did not dare look down towards the light casted from the necklace. A surge of magic sent shockwaves through her body as her limbs tiredly pulled her along the inclined ground. Once reaching the tree Clementine grasped onto anything she could. Closing her eyes tightly, she wished to herself that she had been a witch.
Bear noticed the girl finally, the friend of the fairy. She was asking questions about family and home, questions Bear had no answers too. "I am sorry, I am not the man you think I am. I don't know-" his reply was cut off by the sudden shift in the landscape. He fell onto all fours and tried to cling on, but the human hands were unfamiliar. As he lost his grip, his adrenaline spiked, and he shifted to the form he was most familiar with.
As his fingers turned to claws, he dragged and climbed his bulkening body up the steepening hill. He climbed towards Clementine, unsure of her own climbing capability, and having no one else near him in danger. If she fell, he would be there to catch her at least.
"I am Edwin. The Bear Spirit, he has simply been calling himself Bear. Until recently, I actually hadn't been able to speak so directly with him." Edwin answered, though with Bear's vision of the area now blocked, it was hard to tell if he was still near the wolf or not.
He tried to follow the voice as it asked questions. "No, it seems to be only you and Bear that can see me. Bear has been my spirit guide for most of my life, but I don't know how you can see me."
As the group rushed back out of the hovel, Edwin caught sight of world outside, at how much things were tilting. In fear of what would happen if he were separated from his own body, he rushed quickly back to Bear, and clung to his back as best he could.
”Edwin. I’m Silver, nice to meet you.” The wolf’s ears flicked in acknowledgement towards the ghostly old man though she paused briefly at his mention of spirit guides. Her maw opened as if words would come out but it soon snapped shut as she widened the distance between them; unknowing of his lack of full visibility.
”I have one as well, but unlike you it appears I get to take the reins.” The fae swiftly ducked into the mushroom home whilst already turning the idea of whether or not she should’ve mentioned her wolf to this stranger so easily in her head too many times as she laid at the foot of a nearby bed. Her eyes drifted to a close but her ears twitched attentively.
A mere persuasion of sleep was all Silver could acquire before the sky began to waver like some sort of holographic image. Leveled earth had been angled unnaturally in an instant, bringing forth a swell of water from nearby water sources into the once calm glade. Silver saw a flash of movement just before the adjacent wall rushed into her peripheral, her body slamming into it as furniture screeched and slid in her direction.
The wolf scrambled for purchase as she attempted to dodge the nearby bed, chairs and tables that threatened to pin her down. An overdue snarl ripped from her throat, ragged and brimming with frustration as she lost her footing. A burning sensation erupted from her right flank as she was sandwiched between the some kind of armoire that had fallen over after it haphazardly spilt some of its innards, with its doors audibly cracking upon impact with the ground and the wolf it now held hostage.
Blood roared in her ears as her heart leapt into her throat, a flurry of growls and snarls accompanied by desperate clawing at the floor fueled by an inner anxiety to be freed washing over Silver as her human thoughts became feral as the ever angling slope had cabinet doors creaking open and the front door clinging to its drilled hinges. Even with the furniture jutting into her side, prodding painfully at her organs, the fae lunged at the armoire out of the pure instinct to tear into what was holding her down.
Underneath the increasingly chaotic events, a sound slowly reached everyone's consciousness. It started out like a high pitched ringing in the ears, a minor background noise irritation at best. Until it grew. Next, it turned into a constant whine, volume and intensity increasing over a short time frame. Louder, until each person could no longer ignore it, it was there, it was present, and it was overwhelming. The sound would be felt vibrating through the body, muscles trembled with the force, until one had to make the choice to cover their ears, or feel a sharp pain as the ears popped.
And with that choice, came the light. A bright, white light without any warmth, a light which obliterated everything else in one's vision. Even once the eyes were closed, the light persisted, swallowing everything and everyone. Nothing existed in that space but the light, even the sound had vanished, replaced with a stillness that sank into the soul. There wasn't any breathing, no sensation of the heart beating, even the brain failed to form words, thoughts, feelings. Everything just... stopped.
The next moment of awareness came in like a snap of a rubber band. Darkness faded when the eyes were opened, only to give way to a faint illumination from a fire in the stone fireplace along the wall at the foot of the bed. The light flickered and dance through the room, revealing wooden beam ceilings, and walls made of wood and stone. Faded cloth curtains covered up what was presumably a window, and a warm comforter was pulled up to the shoulders. The bed underneath was comfortable, if a bit lumpy, but the wooden frame was solid and sturdy.
The room size was modest, capable of holding a double sized bed, two side tables, a trunk at the foot of the bed, and a small rug with a single chair near the fireplace. There was a slight chill in the air, but under the blankets with the fire going, one would be toasty warm. Everyone was dressed in handmade clothing, linen pants with a matching tunic, of various patterns and colors. Beside the bed rested a pair of fur shoes, the sole meant to be worn inside only.
There was the sound, and smell, of the fireplace, crackling every now and then as the wood burned, with the occasional startling pop. Bit by bit, other sounds began to register. There were animals within hearing range, making muted sounds of stirring. The crow of the rooster might indicate it was nearly morning, or it might just indicate the rooster was a bit of a prick and crowed just to crow. Only a few people seemed to be moving around outside the curtain covered window. Everyone was alone in their own bedroom, but there was the sense of someone else in another room.
There was a horrible screech in reply and Indy leaped off the bed--the bed?!
She stopped, hands fisted in...the comforter?
Yes, a comforter. A bed. A fireplace that crackled from within a wall of stone and wood. This was not the extravagant room of the Coven's underground fortress, this was not the marble floors of Key's "safe house," this was something entirely new.
The screech rattled past the window again and this time it only took Indy a second to place the sound to a name; it was a rooster, the worst sort that started low and ended high in its battle cry against mornings. A fucking rooster.
"Roje?!" Indy shouted again, noticing now that she was dressed in soft linens, not dissimilar to those Alyce had crafted for her out of magic cloth. Indy pulled at them, feeling the fabric stiffen under her hands as her heart pounded through the whole of her body. "Are you fuckin--" had she been kidnapped again?! Drugged, again?! Some sort of new trick from Key and company, meant to drive her insane and separate her further from her sister? But when would they have drugged her, or caught her? The last time she remembered she had been locked in Coda's room with Roje and... No, no there had been something else. That song, the one that still rang in her ears--though she was less sure now whether it was truly there or just an echo cemented in her brain. She had been lured by that song out into that room, the one with the coin.
Indy hissed, leaping fully off the bed to whip around the room, throwing open the drawers of the small table closest to her and pawing through the contents.
She had taken the coin. She had broken open the display case, right, and taken the coin in her hands. The images were clearing up in her mind as she dumped the last drawer out onto the ground, shoving it aside to climb haphazardly over the bed, pillows flying, as she dropped next to the other side table.
She remembered singing. Or, she remembered a voice coming from her, and as she gave a frustrated growl she could feel the raw ache in her throat as if she'd spent the night screaming. There was a loose, distant image of Roje, staring at her and shouting with wide eyes but Indy had been too lost to respond, too absent for anything other than a vacant recognition of Roje's presence.
She was on the last drawer now. Something smelled suspiciously like bacon, sounds like footsteps and distant conversation coming from beyond the window--she needed to figure out where she was, find Roje, find that coin.
As she ripped open the last drawer something dropped heavily to the ground, chiming like a bell as it hit the wooden floorboards. Indy pounced on it, wrapping her fingers around the cool metal and watching as her relieved sigh fogged the polished metal.
Nothing. She remembered nothing after that singing, only a bright light, the song rising to the highest painful pitch. Then, this. A new place. New isolation. Another new set of clothes she didn't own; she really, really hated how often she had now woken up wearing someone else's clothes.
Had Key found them? Maybe Alyce had spotted them, hunched over one of her treasures and ready to steal it. Maybe Alyce was responsible for this, whatever spell she'd cast creating some new sort of nightmare hell for Indy to traipse through. Yet, if Indy was here, where was her sister?!
"Roje!" Indy stood again, the coin clutched tightly against her chest as she ran to the window and threw open the curtains.
She would kill him, rip Key from nose to navel. But first, she needed to find her sister.
Jumping awake from her position in bed, she was met with a burning fireplace not far from her rather than colliding with her sister. What in the fuck?she thought, suddenly looking around and taking in the surroundings This is not that room with that damn coin... Where the hell!? Looking down at her body, she noticed odd looking clothes on her. Nothing like her casual black clothing, black jeans, her great black boots and her favorite leather jacket. Grasping the blanket with a tight fist, she threw it off to the side, swinging her legs off the side of her bed and standing upon her own two feet. Roje's eyebrows closed together in anger, who the fuck took her clothes, taken her to some weird room, and took her fucking- "Indy!" shouted the vampire, jaw tightening as her hands balled into fists. Taking in a deep breath, she closed her eyes Relax. If you're angry you're just going to make things worse for you.if only she could just take her anger out on something that wouldn't matter. A punching bag so to speak.
As her hands slowly relaxed, she rolled her shoulders, cracked her neck, and directed her gaze at the covered window, taking note of it as if it were going to move when she wasn't looking. The only light within the room was the fire, the only sounds she could pick up were the sounds of a crackling fire, and a all-too-familiar animal squawking as if it was morning. Shadows had also passed by her window, causing her to tilt her head slightly and move toward said-window. Obviously I'm not underground anymore. Clearly above ground...But where?as selfish as it sounded, she needed to take care of her situation first before even looking for her sister. Can't save someone when you're trapped as well. Stopping before the window, rather than opening the curtains, she just seemed to kind of stare at them as if there was something wrong with them. With one movement, she spun on her heels.
Something or someone was making noises outside the door. Not directly, but more like people were walking by; something to that nature. The Vampire swiftly made it to the door, her hand coming into contact with the knob as she slowly turned it and pulled the door open. Just enough for her to poke her head out and take a look at what her location really looked like. The scent of Bacon slapped her nose, catching her off guard. Why were her senses so dull? Was it because she was sleeping for too long? Was everything she went through just a dream? How long was she sleeping for? There were so many questions, not enough answers, and she was more than willing to get answers.
The words kept coming from her mouth, her hands tightly around the Fairy's. She wanted to save her, save the one person who gave her even more strength to be powerful. Despite this want to both save and risk her own life, Hayley found her eyes fluttering open, the hazel hues meeting the wooden ceiling. Something that was oddly similar to the ceiling of her home by the lake. She was warm, and not by her own magic. It was by the comforter that remained on top of her. Turning her head, she looked at the night table, noticing it was nothing that resembled the ones at her home. "Wait..." she said softly, shifting herself in bed and sitting up. Inspecting the room she was in This... Where is this place? Where was Sage? Rune? The Fairy? "Sage? Rune?" she called out, her eyes landing on the fire not that far from her bed There's no way in hell that I drempt all of that... It felt so real. Holding the fairy's hands, holding Rune, talking and sitting with Sage. was it more magic? More magic to throw others off?
Moving the blanket from her body, she pulled her legs close and sat on the side of the bed, catching sight of of fuzzy shoes. More like fur, the more it was looked at. After seeing those shoes, she noticed her pants and soon enough, her shirt. All that which seemed handmade Something isn't right here... this thought didn't stop her as she put the fuzzy shoes on and rose out of bed, stretching her limbs and picking up the sounds of a...Rooster? Was she not in the mountain anymore? Her question had been answered when her eyes landed on the covered window. Maybe if I just...walking up to the window, she reached her hands out and pulled open the curtains, wanting to take a glimpse of the outside.
Unfortunately, the chances of her actually knowing where she was, was really slim. There was always the benefit of the doubt- Is that bacon? Sniffing the air a little bit, she picked up the faint smell of one of the most popular breakfast foods Am I in some kind of bed and breakfast? Who even is making breakfast? slowly the Pyromancer wrapped her arms around herself in a hug, continuing to stare out her window and think about her current predicament.Would it be a good idea if I walked out of this room? I could always defend myself if I need to. I'm not entirely defenseless... The person was distracted cooking breakfast...Would they notice her absence?I'll see what happens. I want them to come to me. after all, she seemed to be the guest at the moment.
Edwin Blut Location: Back at the start again.
Tags: All alone again maybe.
As the world litertaly tumbled around them, Edwin clung to the Bear. Together they clawed and fought against an apocalypse. They fought tooth and nail to the bitter end.
And a bitter end it was. Their world shattered under a high screech and a blinding light. If this was death, Edwin only regretted that Bear had to suffer it twice. After an indeterminate amount of time, it all stopped. Or maybe they stopped being, torn from existence. The thought that they had ceased to be was contradictory enough that they risked opening their eyes.
They were, potentially, still alive. Though they were in a bed, and the thought of having awoken in unknown circumstances again did not sit well with them. They rolled out of the bed, and dropped to a crouch behind it, watching and listening for movement.
Their body wasn't withered, and the room was designed for comfort, so it was a step up from the last awakening. Still, their trust had be tested, and this didn't seem the time to test further. They crawled along the floor, seeking any signs of other, ready to strike or flee as needed.
It didn't take them long to determine the room was empty. They grabbed whatever they could use as a weapon, and tried to door. A quick peek into the hallway, the door just open enough to see out.
Maddox Ward (Leif Hjalkarssen) Location: Wranch 2.0??
Tags: Out Of Words
The loud, stinging whine still vibrated through Leif’s skull, as did the pain, when the bright, white light engulfed everything and everyone and eventually silenced all the other disturbances. A gut wrenching stillness that felt like the end of everything, including himself. He hadn’t let go, they hadn’t rolled down the freshly created slope, but the light… there was no escape from it. It wasn’t warm, it didn’t hurt, yet it was what must’ve ended everything. On the one hand, it was a relief from the chaos, but on the other… that wasn’t the good kind of stillness, this was absolute, possibly worse than death stillness… or was it death?
As these thoughts swirled in his mind, Leif was absently staring at the wooden ceiling, a ceiling his eyes laid upon, but that he didn’t actually see, too immersed in thoughts to realize he’d woken up. Again. Realization eventually came, as he tried to recall what it felt like being within that light: it was hard to recall an experience in which there were no thoughts, no feelings, no sounds, nothing. Only then did he realize the light was gone, and that if he was remembering, and thinking again, he was probably still alive and back to a dimension that at least… seemed normal. That was an ordinary wooden ceiling after all, wasn’t it?
He still remembered the last time he’d woken up in a strange place, back then it was that rock room, and there was a familiar face that played a big role in soothing the anxiety that now bubbled within his chest. There was no one else in the room this time, or at least that’s what it looked like as he turned his head to check the surroundings.
At first he didn’t move, as if sitting down or rolling off the bed could accelerate his already racing heartbeat. It was only when heat started building up underneath the comforter that was pulled up to his shoulders that he was forced to pull it off to the side and move to sit on the bed, the cool air preventing him from starting to sweat. And slowly, he took in the surroundings.
The lack of any immediate threats allowed for anxiety to be replaced by some sort of frustration. This shifting reality thing was starting to get old. What year was it this time? Hands reached up to rub at his eyes tiredly as he tried to recall the past events, unsuccessfully looking for anything that could explain what he now saw around him. Fingers then wrapped around the linen of the tunic he was wearing as he looked down with a frown. What the hell.
It was only later that his brain seemed to process the other sounds and smells that were present in the surroundings. He might be alone in the room, but he definitely wasn’t alone in the area. There were animals, and worse, people outside and in the house. He remained mute, lest they figure out he’d woken up. Until he knew who they were, it’d be best to let them think he was still asleep. It didn’t feel like he was a prisoner, but still. With people, you never know.
Leif moved to sit on the edge of the bed, noticing the fur shoes that he disregarded, not needing anything else to trap body heat at the moment. He might not be freaking out, but he wasn’t relaxed either. He stood, and silently stepped to the door, pressing an ear against the wood and holding his breath in an attempt to pick out any sort of useful information, eyes on the curtain covered window. It looked like the sun hadn’t yet risen, but there was movement outside. It’d be safe to peek out there, at least safe from any scorching sun rays.
SILVER BLACKWOOD | location: some kind of farm | tags: Out Of Words
Crimson dripped from the white wolf’s muzzle as it stared blankly at the now thoroughly scored head of the armoire. Wood bore it’s splintered edges with streaks of blood, bringing Silver no solutions to get out of such a ridiculous situation of being pinned to the wall simply from her lack of strength. The longer she stayed like this, the more she could feel herself running out of options as the hulking mass continued to jut into her side with ever increasing pressure whenever her chest rose and fell. If only she had a better grasp of this form, maybe she could’ve dodged her way out of the wayward house before anything had tilted in the first place.
The mundane doubts simmering in her mind began to louden. It lingered in the back of her head like a fog until it thickened, grasping her mind in a vice grip once she realized the doubts turned into a whining noise that wouldn’t cease to lower its cacophony. The monotonous tone seemed to riddle her entire being with pain as it reverberated through her and pinning her ears did nothing more than focus it further.
Claws burrowed into any surface they caught, the armoire creaked and jittered as the body it kept hostage began writhing madly in place and the white wolf appeared to be nothing more than an oversized rabid dog with how it struggled to be freed. Hot liquid flashing down her ears should’ve registered as a relief from the noise but it only caused a hoarse caterwaul of pain to cut through the air.
Silver couldn’t even hear herself cry out. The effort released from her chest but never reached her ears. What she did hear next was pure silence. White entered her vision from outside the house and bleached the very ground she stood on to the walls and furniture that had kept her in place. An endless, blank room. Every inhale felt like she was dragging water into her lungs, choking herself with the very air she needed in order to remain tethered to this life. Every exhale was like giving up the little air she dared to drag in until there was just nothingness.
The scent of blood that had been trapped in her nose vanished along with the sensation of liquid upwelling through her ears and maw, accompanied by the dissipating of thoughts or the entrapment she once felt. There was nothing. She was nothing.
The scent of burning wood trickled into her senses followed by the glimpse of flames crackling against the neutral tones of the room she laid in. A comforter rolled slowly off her shoulders as she drew herself up into a sitting position on the bed, her eyes scouring the area slowly as they adjusted to the illumination of the room. The room was mostly brown and gray due to the earthy materials it had been built with.
Stone met wood in a rural sort of cabin house fashion, fit for something that Silver would’ve only seen in photographs of homes up north. The room was full of warm hues but it couldn’t fully melt the bite that the air retained. A tickly sensation had her hand swiping away at the side of her neck but when she lowered her hand back down to her lap, she frowned a bit. She was human again.
An almost disappointed sigh left her chest as she curled her hand into a tight fist before shifting her legs so that they met the ground so that she could stand. She eyed the furred slippers warily for a moment, wondering if she should take them but soon decided against it. They would make noise if she were to walk around in them.
Movement outside the window had her stopping in her tracks as she could feel her heart beat a little quicker. There was definitely no way of knowing where she was if she had begun to form any idea before. Was this place like Lew’s or was it real? The more she tried to think about the happenings from before, the more it started to manifest a type of exhaustion she didn’t know she’d been ignoring.
She attempted to remember the faces she’d seen but they were blurry and hard to remember like when she wanted to recall things from her dreams. With a sigh, Silver shuffled over to the other side of the bed in order to avoid being close to the window and instead stepped quietly over to the fireplace to warm herself up a bit. Being a wolf and meeting Rhevens couldn’t have been a trick of her imagination, could it? Her parents would never let her sleep this long nor could dreams be this vivid.
Plopping down into a cross legged position in front of the fireplace, her dark gaze swept over to the bedroom door. She could sense that there were others here and it was obvious there were animals as well, but what she wanted to know was who had brought them here in the first place. Now that she was no longer a wolf, snooping around didn’t seem to be a good option nor did peering out the window to notify those that were outside. She was nothing but a useless human once more.
Glaring at the flames before her, she drew her knees up to her chest, gripping her forearms tautly as frustration wracked through her and burned in her chest like a growl she couldn’t let loose. Despite it all, Silver knew it was best to remain silent so as to not stir her captor’s interest.