The rain had come and stopped by the time Four finished up with her business in the Town Hall. There were puddles still here and there, and the petrichor was strong. It hadn't been a completely useless stop at least, there was an article about Harper Industries considering an investment in Marasong. Specifically, helping to foster a more robust trading operation. There hadn't been any pictures, or names mentioned, but the article was from a year ago, and stated a representative would be visiting the town soon.
As she was heading toward the docks, having been given directions to talk to the proprietor of either the art gallery, or the shell and rock store, "Shell Rocked", something to her left caught her attention. Between the row of houses and the back of the shops on the dock, someone was apparently trying to peer into a window. Not likely their own.
They wore holey jeans, still damp from the rain, as was the tee shirt with a unicorn dragging it's butt along the 'ground' leaving a rainbow behind. The dark brown hair was pitched every which way, as if the man had run his hand through it several times while still wet. He was either trying to peer into the window, or listen in, based on how close his head was to the pane of glass.
: You're still holding a folded up printout of the article you found in the town hall. Having been in town only about a week and staying in the Marasong Inn, it's not long enough to recognize all the faces, especially from afar. However, it's easily deduced the individual is not at his own residence. Who tries to peer into their own window?
A week in Marasong had Four adjusting her schedule more times than she thought necessary. No more starbucks, no more subways and certainly no more clubs and bars. Not that she frequented the last two, it was more towards the business end of things. Not that she minded the dullness, she found a quiet appreciation for it and more often than not, filled the minute breaks with contemplation about Old Carcassone in comparison with Marasong.
It lacked a few things, sure. The guillotine for one, would be a sight to see in a modern world. The building tension among a furious crowd, obscenities flung with the occasional rock thrown in. Primal.
She’d arrived at her destination, chastising internally for zoning out again. The shell-rock store first, because she doubts she’d spend more than ten minutes there compared to the potential amount of time she’d spend reminiscing art at the gallery.
Her heels clapped to the ground like thunder, “You there, you wouldn’t know the direction to Shell-rock?” Spoiling a peeping-tom’s day would considerably make her own a little bit brighter. It took no effort at all to hide the disgust roiling behind her blank facade. Terribly dressed, not equipped for the weather. It could either be a pervert or a thief. None sat well with the enforcer.
mood: Curious, Devious| location: Town, Marasong |tags: Out Of Words
Like a whirlwind, Bill, shoulder-barging her way in through the doors of the Loving Spoon, paced over to the table where Aódh and Hatsu were sitting.
The signs of the earlier rainstorm were still about her, with the frizziness of her hair, the mud from her fall still present on some parts of her face, along with the choice of well-worn attire, confirmed to the Irishman that there was a sense of exigency about her actions, as she soon confirmed herself. The sight of her caused the reminiscence of the incident in the forest when he had, in an uncharacteristic show of his lycanthropic strength, hefted the still winded Scotswoman to her feet, after suffering a fall, in what were treacherous conditions. The proximity in which she put her next to himself and Hatsu, only served to heighten the feeling of guilt, unconsciously trying to graft his gaze to anywhere else but her earnest stare. But he knew he couldn't do that: he shouldn't do that. Despite the way in which they came to know each other, and the irritation that he felt at the time for trying to drag Beatrice away during the fire, Aódh felt Bill to be a person that wore her heart on their sleeve.
Plus, that wasn't the only thing noticeable about her; a scent wafted off her, that plunged the youth back to earlier in the day, when he was having breakfast with Beatrice, here, in the Loving Spoon, and thence, during the conflagration that lapped away at Hatsu's house, when rain, arrow-like, was rent loose against the town.
Petrichor...the Irishman thought to himself wearily.
A picture was beginning to form for Aódh, though the pieces would need to be collated at a later time.
Bill's appeal, urgency imbued with every word, required his attention now.
"You just missed him," the Irishman explained, gesturing towards the back of the café, "Tilly stole him away for a moment to talk about something. I couldn't tell ya what it was about, but I can't imagine they'd be in there too long..."
He sighed, and a resigned smile cast itself upon his lips.
"...but you can't wait, can you? If our first meeting was anything to go by, you wouldn't be pressing to see him if it wasn't important."
Aódh, glad that he had finished his food before whatever watery residue from Bill dripped all over it, lifted himself out from the seat and stood up. He glanced over at Hatsu, who still had something of a disconsolate look about him, not that the youth could blame him; he then shot his attention over in Jay's direction, finally returning the wave that he had motioned there way only a few moments ago.
The fox was still staring at him.
"Hatsu, you can join us if you want, or you can sit here, I'm sure Bill will to you in time, whatever it is she needs to talk to Wiri about," he said, before turning to Bill.
He looked down again, carefully constructing what he wished to say, looking to make it as unequivocal an apology as he could muster.
"I just wanted to say, before we head back there..." Aódh started, making sure that the words were mapping onto the script he had mentally written out, "...that I'm sorry for what I did in the forest. While I'm not sure why I ended up doing it, that I did it is the only thing that matters. Even though it may count for little, do know that I'm truly sorry for what I've done."
"You just missed him. Tilly stole him away for a moment to talk about something. I couldn't tell ya what it was about, but I can't imagine they'd be in there too long…”
The Irishman smiled, weary, and Bill wrinkled her nose at him. “But you can't wait, can you? If our first meeting was anything to go by, you wouldn't be pressing to see him if it wasn't important.”
Bill huffed a humourless laugh. “I wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t important, Paddy, ye have my word on that.“
She glanced behind the counter, considering whether it was worth interrupting Tilly. Even by her standards that was unacceptably rude, and Tilly halfway liked her, so she was a little reticent to get herself in her bad books.
She sucked at her teeth, pushing the damp hair back from her face, and thought about the weird black things somehow managing to escape the box, escape the circle, and crawl in between her floorboards, chittering away at each other. It was urgent.
She turned back to the other two, straightening up off the table slightly. Paddy cleared his throat, looking down at his feet.
“I just wanted to say, before we head back there…” he started, slowly and haltingly. It would have been endearing if he hadn’t just grabbed her and hefted her up like a rag doll a few moments prior. She crossed her arms and waited for whatever nonsense he had to say to her. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She knew this tone of voice; she'd heard it a thousand times from her sisters, and a thousand and one coming out of her own mouth. An appology was coming, and the least she could do was be receptive to it. It'd been a stressful situation, she told herself in a voice that sounded awfully like Bonnie's, and so maybe he'd lost his temper.
She tried looking him in his wide, sad eyes, but quickly sullenly directed her gaze at the floor.
With him stood up, he towered over her. Staring at the ground behind him was easier.
“That I’m sorry for-”
That thing by Hatsu's feet looks familiar, she thought.
"-what I did in the forest."
Maybe I've seen it before?
"While I'm not sure why I ended up doing it-"
Ah right, that's the safe he was carryin' with him through the forest.
"-that I did it is the only thing that matters."
That's the safe he was carrying through the forest.
Whatever the rest of the appology was, Bill wasn’t paying attention. Her eyes grew to the size of dinner plates. She was frozen still, staring at it as Mick finished stuttering out his apology.
“What the fuck,” she hissed, and swung herself around the table to crouch by the safe, examining it, tilting it from side to side. It was here. “What- fucking Christ, Mary mother of fuckin’-“ She turned to look up at Hatsu, eyes wide, face serious. Her fingers were still where they were clutching at the safe. “Is this the thing that was in your house? The thing ye were lugging all over the fucking woods?”
Before he could give much of an answer, she plowed on. “And you’re sure? You’re absolutely sure? Ye didnae set it down and pick it back up again, did ye?” Again without waiting for an answer, she sprung to her feet. “Fuck, where the fuck is Wiri, God fucking damn it, I cannae believe-“
She should have known better than to take random shite from the woods. She’d heard the stories about people nicking magical items from nature, ones where the fae took great offence, ones where they cursed themselves and three generations after them. She should have known better. She should have known better.
She wheeled around and started marching towards the back room. “Wiri?” she called, entirely too loud for the space. “I’ve got somethin' fer ye tae take a look at! Oi! Lazybones! I know ye can hear me! Wiri!”
The urgency in which BIll had enter the cafe made him realize that he probably wasn't going to get a relaxful evening. Hatsu was ready to go home and remove himself from any and all social interactions. Part of him had hoped that maybe BIll had just placed an order and forgotten about it, but then she made her way over to their table. Today will never end. Part of him was willing to say that he was busy. To make up some lie that he did have plans after all of this, but with Aódh and Wiri leaving him at the table with Bill- he felt like he didn't have much of a choice. Maybe it was mostly due to how institant she was about needing help or how Aódh, despite everything that had happened, was still willing to lend a hand. And Wiri would most likely drop everything to help her as well- so it would look bad if he was the only one that ditch. Fuck peer pressure.
Hatsu went to grab his wallet when he heard Aódh try to make some sort of apology to Bill, but he couldn't help but think that she was too busy look at his feet then listening to Aódh. He watched her for a bit before she dived under the table and grab his safe. There were a few things about her behavior that frustrated him. Firstly, she grabbed his shit. Secondly, she was being loud. Thirdly, he didn't like her tone. He get it, she was stressed and for whatever unspecified reason she needed help. Shouldn't she tell them why she needed help? "Yeah, its my fucking safe and it'll be best if you don't touch my shit." Hatsu said as he bent down to pick up the safe and plop it into the seat next to him. "Let me take my safe back to my place. Tell Tilly to charge my card and just text me your address." Hatsu said as he searched for a pen and wrote his number onto a napkin, "If you guys need anything else just text it to me and I'll pick it up."
Thankfully, he was able to charge his phone and he made it a point to turn up the volume all the way. He wasn't going to stay here long enough for Bill or anyone else to say anything else to him. Why was he even helping her again? It wasn't like she did much to help him when his house burned the fuck down. All she did was pull away needed hands and pretend that she had a bigger issue. He'll just be the better person and actually help her he guess. He left the cafe, not meaning to slam the door behind himself. Maybe it was best that he took the stroll to the inn. Nothing exciting should be happening there and he should have enough time to take a breather and get over this frustration bordering anger.
Something was nagging at the back of Indy's mind, some dull sense of residual panic that had never truly left since the day that raccoon had entered her apartment. Yet, it was quiet now, dulled and softened by the heavy weight of warm comfort wrapped in dull fog within her mind. She felt like a cloud, thoughts waning away as the soft constant beat of a familiar heart drummed beside her ear. She shouldn't be like this, she knew that; for some reason, she had avoided taking this form--though now, she couldn't possibly remember why. She only felt enclosed and safe. Even as the thoughts nagged a bit more, pressed for attention, she was quickly distracted by the darting string bouncing between her gaze as she reached soft paws up to try and snatch it.
No. She had to shift back, she had to turn back into her regular form. This wasn't right, there was something incredibly wrong--
Or there wasn't, she considered. Nothing could be wrong, not as the motion of her mother's arms swaying her side to side lulled her back into a sense of nostalgic familiarity that had been locked away in her memories but now was pulled back, unraveling like the thread caught between her claws. Her coin. She needed that coin. She wanted it back. All of these conflicting emotions bubbling up then washing away with the rising and falling tones of her mother's soft shushing. Despite herself, she could feel her eyes easing closed, a quiet rumbling purr vibrating up from her chest as she allowed her angst to be swept aside.
She rolled her head aside in Beth's arms, appraising her sister in slow, sleepy blinks. Roje was upset, Silver as well, but the reason why was slowly becoming harder to parcel out within her mind.
Somewhere inside of herself, a piece was screaming. Urging her to shift back. Indy rolled her head back in, snuggling into the crook of her mother's warm sweater, breathing in her familiar scent. She let the thought drift away.
After her fist had connected with Beth, the sound of screaming finally stopped, leaving her ears ringing in the process. Holy fuck that was one of the worst sounds I've ever heard. thought the vampire as she rubbed one of her ears. Surprisingly Beth just seemed to brush it off and call her rude, which only irritated her further. "Silv go inside the bathroom or something. I'll be right in." she said this as her gaze never left Beth "Is it under control? Really? We're not fucking animals. We're severely fucking stressed and you made matters worse by screaming like a banshee." it didn't take long for her to start trying to comfort Indy - Who was now a cat in the woman's arms - and seemingly starting to take the leader role, while also turned into tsking and asking about milk for Indy. This little bitch.. I'm really not in the mood for games. If this is my mother, well damn, I'm no where close to being related to her.
Taking a good look at the woman, she noticed the accelerated healing. Granted, the force she used for the punch probably should have knocked her out...But it didn't. Meaning she was 100% supernatural. "I don't know yet. We didn't get to sit the hell down for five minutes." looking for the stupid mini fridge, she went toward it, opened the door and looked inside seeing a small carton of milk. The ones you get for your school lunches. After taking a look at it, she tossed it at Beth and looked at Indy, who was getting comfortable in her spot. At least someone could get comfortable.
Wiri checked over his shoulder for a split-seocnd, as if he'd see Benny through the walls.
"She was 'ere fer a mo', tellin' me about some new folks? At th' inn. Only... one o' em, 'ad a shadow.. that weren't linin' up with them. "
Of course they did.
"Benny says it made her think of a wolf."
Wolves. Why is it always wolves? Wolves this, wolves that. Wolves, like foxes, were the kind of thing that went quietly in other parts of the world. Parts where they actually had populations of wolves and foxes.
Knitted in thought, his brow cleared quickly when he recognized Tilly's accusatory stare.
"Ye need to make sure they're all settled in like, an' direct 'em 'ere as soon as possible. I'll fix up some of my special roast. Fer everyone at dinner."
He canted his head at that one. Tilly had to know something was going on town - and now it was clear she knew this group in particular had at least one "interesting" person. But ever the polite host, Tilly was quick to arrange a welcome. How much was she getting into?
"I suppose I can round them up,"he murmured at length, "though I'd appreciate if you set a plate aside for me. Things've been pretty rowdy in town, and I'd like to be around in case they get the impression they can, uh ... 'use their outdoor voices' in a nice, quiet place like this." Wiri returned the smile, as genuinely as he could muster. He had no doubts that Tilly had methods for dealing with unruly customers, but he'd rather it didn't come to that. One more local at the table might make a difference.
"I don't know a lot about'em, they showed up on foot at the edge of town so I gave them a lift. One'a them was hurt ..." He shrugged lamely."Didn't see any major wounds but I was in a rush. I just focused on getting to town as quickly as possible."
His head dipped now and his eyes flicked to the side, like he was searching the room for the his own memories. "One'a them ... she said she was Beth's kid. Indy. They were headed into town looking for her - so I sent them to mum to get their friend looked at. Otherwise I didn't ask'em too much."
After the day I've had, it'd be nice to know who I just ferried into town. He grimaced for a moment, then hid it. "I'll go find'em. I might be-"
He stopped and half-turned his head toward the sound. Bill.
“I’ve got somethin' fer ye tae take a look at! Oi! Lazybones! I know ye can hear me! Wiri!”
"Sorry Tilly, seems like I'm everyone's favourite person today." He gave the woman a quick nod, before looking over his shoulder toward the main room. "I'll head over and chat to the new folks in a min. Right after I see what BILL IS BLOODY SHOUTING FOR."
So much for 'not using outdoor voices'. Wiri rolled his eyes and stomped back the way he came, re-emerging from the back room with a sigh.
"Alright, can we walk and talk? I've gotta get to the inn and apparently you don't have an inside voice, so I reckon we can take this chat outside."
Mind teaching me then, banshee? Silver wanted to blurt the words to the woman, her frustration reflecting instead as another guttural growl tossed at Beth’s lounging form. Unlike before, she wasn’t entirely trapped in the body of the wolf anymore, but part of her wanted to remained tucked away in it’s prowess and comfort knowing that she could shed her human responsibilities if she wanted. Silver’s gaze darted between Roje and Beth before she crept forward a little, both testing the strength of her limbs and also sniffing quietly towards Indy’s curled form to make sure she wasn’t being harmed. Her good ear pricked after Beth spoke, giving her a full glance for once when she noticed that both of them had been addressed.
Silver’s tail lashed at this, the gold in her amber gaze suddenly crackling with something indecipherable before the wolf huffed in response to Roje and trotted off, slipping back into the hallway from whence it was summoned.
Fluorescent lights had Silver squeezing her eyes shut, the hum of the bathroom’s exhaust fan thrumming in her bloodied ear that now rang with a tinny sort of noise. Even with her eyes closed, the lights seemed all too bright for the first few minutes and so she found herself simply gripping onto the sink for a while to keep herself anchored to something. When she pried her eyes open, the image she saw in the mirror was someone she barely recognized. Her eyes looked nearly black even in the well-lit room, sunken in from lack of restful slumber and contrasting how much paler she was than the last time she’d given herself a glimpse. A streak of crimson, sticky underneath her curious fingers made her wince.
How many times would something like this have to happen for her to maintain a balance with her wolf? She didn’t want to control it, she wanted to work with it, but at the same time she barely knew of what she even was. Nothing she’d heard of or read helped give her the definition she needed and besides that, she’d lashed out at Indy’s mother. The emotions were nearly tangible, spewing from all sides and she fed on it all to easily. It was like everything was off-kilter somehow. She was feeling far too much and too quickly all at once, it wasn’t normally like this yet she wasn’t fully sure if it was all her own doing. Something wasn’t right.
Silver rummaged quietly through the cabinet beneath the sink after washing her hands, locating the towels like Beth had predicted and soaking one of them under the surprisingly warm water. A squeak chirped from the knobs when she switched them on and off, a quiet hiss of pain leaving her as the tinny noise in her injured ear sharpened suddenly.
Her mouth pressed into a thin line as she took a seat on the lid of the toilet, cautiously sweeping away her hair and tucking some of it behind her ear to begin dabbing away at the dried blood on her face with a towel. She wished to shed her clothes and just sit under the spray of water for a while, but her good ear told her there was still much to be worried about even if Beth was here. Indy’s silence spoke volumes, her voice replaced by purrs of delight that had Silver glancing at the closed door with some level of surprise. Roje had told her to wait in here and her body was happy to oblige in finally sitting down but Silver couldn’t help the fact that things weren’t settling as well as they’d ought to be.
Riley Adler / Boy Location: That didn't go as planned
Tags: Out Of Words
It'd be another solid minute of watching the water before Boy decided to step a bit closer. Before he did though, he saw it again, the horned thing. Ha, he was sure he'd seen it!
The tail wagged a little bit, but otherwise he stood still, observing perplexed as it clearly moved slowly toward him. Sure, Boy was a shifter. And he knew something about magic, vampires, werewolves, he'd at least heard about a lot of stuff. But that, that which was coming toward him was something else entirely.
And he was baffled frozen as he watched the horned monster break the water's surface. Baffled frozen as he tried to take in every little detail the water revealed bit by bit, from the eerie mask with the dark, empty holes for eyes, to the blueish skin, to all the hanging kelp, and the dangerous looking hooks, barbs and animal skulls.
Perhaps it was the sight of what seemed like a weapon that made the bewilderment slowly give place to dread, or perhaps it could be the fact that the creature was continuously approaching. Fact was, Boy was starting to really feel the dread creeping in.
His fear increased enough to break the frozen perplexion, and he tried to bolt, only to realize it wasn't just perplexion that was keeping him from moving. And that's when panic ensued.
Just as he was about to let out a series of desperate, high pitched barks, he felt himself being shoved backwards and freed from the water's treacherous grasp. Hearing Augie's voice quickly made him regain his bearings, and he did give a couple of steps back as he observed the man now standing between him and that thing. The strong scent of kelp must've prevented him from smelling Augie approaching. Little by little, he started picking up Augie's emotions, which now shared the room with the still very present fear he felt.
He wasn't frozen anymore, but Augie had apparently given him some courage to not bolt right away. Part of him wanted to lunge forward, bark at the thing, or try to pull Augie away, but the creature had stopped moving. It'd listened to Augie somehow. If Boy did something and messed up, it could be much worse. So he waited, muscles as tense as they'd ever been in his whole life.
The horned thing stood where it stopped. One could tell only by the small movement of its head, where it was looking. It shifted between Augie and the dog a couple of times before just looking at Augie.
Augie held his ground, his brave demeanor not totally matching the emotions he felt at the time. There were traces of panic and fear, but he wasn't going to back down. Not if it meant keeping Boy safe. "My. Protection." His voice remained steady only because he broke the words up purposefully.
The thing jostled the weapon a couple of times, making the hooks and skulls thunk together. Either it was attempting to be more intimidating, or it was pondering attacking after all.
No, no, no... the tension was building up again, and what felt like a minimal relief was gone as that sound of metal and bone clanking together was heard. It wouldn't be long now before something happened.
The dog felt Augie's fear. He stepped forward, slowly and carefully, as silently as possible. He tried to approach Augie from behind, and to tug lightly at his clothes. They should get out of there, get out of the beach and of that thing's reach. Slowly. So as to hopefully not spark any sudden reactions.
Augie let the hand pointing at the thing fall to the side, where it lightly petted the top of Boy's head. He was forcing his breathing to be slow and steady, and trying to not be tense, but it was difficult.
However, after another minute, the thing let the weapon droop, and it gave a slow nod of its head. Then it turned, showing its back to the pair before wading into the water and eventually out of sight.
Augie held it together, stiffly turning around and moving back to the cave, clicking his tongue for Boy to come along. Once inside, he sat on the ground with a heavy thud, one hand pressing against his chest as he let out a very shaky breath. "Oh holy shit balls."
Boy was prepared to tug Augie backward with all his strength and make a run out of there, or drag him if he had to. But he didn't have to. Surprisingly, the thing nodded and turned around, wading back into the water. Boy could barely believe what he was seeing as he slowly let out a long breath. The thing sure didn't look like something to be reasoned with.
When Augie turned around, Boy followed right at his heels, and when the man sat down the dog hopped in his lap and started licking his face, trying to help reassure him they were safe and he was fine, while at the same time keeping himself busy as his own nerves calmed down. And saying thank you as much as a dog could say thank you.
Augie wrapped his arms around the dog and hugged while getting his face cleaned. "Let's not do that again, yeah? Stay far, far, far away from D.. that." He held on until his breathing found a normal rhythm again, and his heart wasn't beating like a racehorse.
"Good boy, Boy. Good boy."
The dog enjoyed the hug for as long as it lasted, and licked Augie's face until he felt he'd said enough thanks for now . As he started feeling more confident, the tail started wagging accordingly.
When Augie, too, seemed to be faring better and let him go, the dog backed off several steps, and stood facing Augie. He barked and barked, not satisfied with all Augie seemed to have to say.
Sure he was a dog, but Augie was a lot more talkative about a lot more pointless matters, now with this... that couldn't be it. He had to say more!
Augie ran his hands over his face, then just looked at Boy who was barking and barking. "Wish I spoke dog, but I don't. Are you hungry, Boy?" He was suddenly exhausted, even though he had just woken up from a nap. It had to be the adrenalin crash.
He moved to get up and go find Boy some food from the cooler. Pretty sure he stashed a bit of bacon from his breakfast. "Good boy, Boy." He'd keep him safe as long as Augie could.
Really? Yeah, bacon soothes the soul, bacon solves almost all problems, but not all of them. Ears perked as he watched Augie move to the cooler, but then he let out a frustrated bark and turned around, trotting outside.
Now, he didn't go more than a couple of yards outside, he didn't have the confidence for that. But he stood facing the ocean, and barking, barking, barking.
Augie frowned a bit, but followed after the dog. When Boy just barked and barked at the water, he moved to pet him and try to guide him back into the cave. "No, no. We don't want that coming back. Come on now. He's better off away from here. Come on."
Augie clicked his tongue and moved toward the cave, a small spike of fear that the horned thing might come back filled him. "No good, that's what he is. Up to no good, you want no part of that."
The dog stopped barking when he felt Augie's touch. Then he listened to Augie's words, and it wasn't long before he also felt Augie's fear, a fear that was also partly his own. As much as he wanted to ask questions, he really, really didn't want that thing coming back.
So he followed Augie back inside, taking a good mental note of his words, not that he needed Augie to reinforce he wanted no part of that.
Once inside, the dog headed straight for the narrow passage at the back, all the while whimpering quietly. He'd crawl through, and walk to the far end of the secret chamber, curling up there.
Augie tried calling Boy to him when the dot started to whimper and disappear to the back part of the cave. He murmured, "Awwww, Boy." Then there was some time getting the saved bacon out, bag and all.
"Okay, Boy. One moment." And then he moved to the small passageway, changing into the 'sea dog' and carrying the bag of bacon in his mouth. He waddled and scooted through, and once the area opened up, he could have changed forms, but he didn't.
It was a trick though, getting that damn bag opened with just his flippers and his teeth. Wound up tearing it open enough to shake the bacon out. once it was on the floor, he scooted the bag away, not wanting Boy to accidentally eat that, too.
The dog was curled up on the floor, chin resting on the cold rock, ears twitching as he listened to Augie as the man rummaged inside the fridge. Possibly looking for the bacon, as the scent hitting him again soon confirmed it.
Ears perked and even Boy's head perked up though, when Augie emerged from the narrow tunnel and into the secret chamber. A sea lion! Boy was right all this time! Or had he called Augie a seal a couple of times? Well, he wasn't sure, his memory wasn't what it used to be either, but Boy knew the difference between a sea lion and a seal, the visual difference that is, not really the scent difference. But yeah, now he could safely say Augie was a sea lion. And a very small one.
The tail wagged, the whimpering ceased, and the dog watched with a lot of interest as the sea lion did his best to open the bag, shook the bacon out and pulled the bag away. One might've thought he was interested in the bacon, but he was really caught up observing the sea lion, the excitement of having his sight back slowly but surely replacing back the fear and distress caused by the encounter with the horned monster.
In fact, Boy was so caught up watching Augie that it didn't cross his mind to go and help him, and he just lay there curled up, head perked and slightly tilted to one side as he observed.
It'd take a good minute for the dog to stand up once the bacon was on the floor, but he eventually did. He approached slowly, sniffed it a little bit, and grabbed a piece, plopping down om his stomach right on the spot and starting to munch on it without paying it much attention and without a lot of enthusiasm. His eyes, however, darted around and wondered at his surroundings. So that's what his secret hideout looked like!
From the moment he tasted Chase’s blood, Leif knew whatever was happening was different than any other time he’d entered someone’s mind in all of his lifetime so far. It felt like he was skipping timelines or universes again. Maybe he was, and the thought was both unsettling and frustrating. His grip on Chase’s head and torso tightened, and that, together with the powerful taste of his blood, helped ground the vampire and kept his mind from falling into distress.
His breathing was heavy but his mind was sharp as he observed the curtains of green and blue surround him, something akin to water but that at the same time didn’t really feel like being underwater. And then he heard sounds, two different voices, distant and distorted as if he was really beneath the surface of the ocean, eyes darting around but seeing nothing but green and blue, and that’s when Leif realized he was right where Chase had been confined this whole time. But Leif couldn’t tell whether he’d truly gained access to Chase’s mind, or some sort of memory of the last days or month.
His own heartbeat sped up and there was a level of fear when a sudden weight bore upon his shoulders and seemed to wrap around his chest, but just as his still focused mind reminded him he didn’t need to breathe, the weight was lifted. Maybe whatever it was really could suffocate him somehow, Leif didn’t really know what he was dealing with, but one thing he didn’t need was any fear or distress inducing thoughts now. The weight would return randomly, only to be randomly lifted off again, with no clear pattern or rhythm, but the more often it happened, the less it affected the vampire’s state of mind, and the more he focused and tried to identify anything about it that could hide valuable information.
And then he felt it, Chase’s voice. He barely heard it, although the distorted sound by itself carried enough familiarity Leif might have guessed it came from Chase, but it was the faint vibrations within the man’s chest in the vampire's grasp that caught all of his attention at once, just as he felt the grasp on his arm and the touch on his head. He was torn between stopping the drinking, leaving that underwater prison so he could really see what was happening, and continuing so whatever good effect it was having on Chase wouldn’t ebb away.
The spiking of Chase’s heartbeat, however, soon made it clear he didn’t really have a choice but to stop. And as soon as the drinking slowed, his world returned, he really wasn’t trapped in. However, Chase was. The man’s exclamation was heard clearly, as if Leif’d just emerged from the water just as Chase started sinking back in. Despite Leif’s tight grasp, Chase was slipping, and no more desperate action could be taken to keep him with him, not much else could be done as Leif pulled a few inches away from the bite wound, where the bleeding was gradually slowing down, only to bury his face in the crook of the man’s neck.
“Stay with me…” No, there was nothing he could do at the moment, nothing but beg. Which was what he did as he uttered the muffled plea. “Please…”
But Chase had already returned to the world of green and blue, of distorted sound and very little vision, of weight upon the chest and a feeling of hopelessness. And it wasn't his choice. Yet, his hand gripped the arm holding him just as tightly, and the hand along the side of the vampire's face remained. He could feel.
Chase's chest heaved with a sob though, torn asunder with his return to the nothingness world. He held onto Leif as he cried, tears tracking down his face. Leif was his lifeline then. He held on as if the vampire was the only thing keeping him from drowning.
Levi had left the door closed, and moved back into the room. His voice was quiet, and a little ragged, "What.. the fuck? Wh.. how.. what did you do?"
The lack of an answer stated Leif's fear to be at least partially true: Chase'd sunken again, and Leif could feel a wave of stinging frustration boiling up his throat. And Chase's warm tears mingled with his own and with the blood that hadn't yet dried off as a sob rocked his body.
Breathing came in heaves, and it was a good minute or so before Leif regained control of it. Chase's grip was tighter than ever though, and Leif just couldn't let go, not yet. Truth was, he needed that as much as Chase did. But he did pull his head back some inches, before he gave in to the temptation of a second bite. Not the temptation of blood, not this time. There was no blood powerful enough to overtake the temptation of trying to give Chase just a few more seconds of freedom from that underwater prison. However, despite still being awake, the faltering of his heartbeats was an unmissable sign that he'd need at the very least a few hours to recover.
Leif had registered Levi's questions, and despite not letting go of Chase, he looked up at the small man, gaze still slightly disoriented from all that'd happened.
"I don't... I'm..." He started. "Did he... was he here?" He had to make sure. Make sure he wasn't imagining it.
Levi was obviously uncomfortable with what he had witness, but he knew the truth of the end result. "Yeah. He was. I.. I ain't seen his eyes so clear for.. a while." He glanced to the man on the floor, and with a bit of a sheepish expression, moved to help the man up.
"I ain't sure what you did. But.. for a few.. it was Chase." He had a surprising amount of strength for his diminutive form, and would help Edwight up if the man didn't resist.
Eyes brightened considerably with Levi's answer, and Leif could feel his own heartbeats speeding up with renewed hope despite all of the frustration. Only then did he notice Edwin was on the floor for some reason, and he frowned with a confused expression.
"Why's he... down? Did I...?" A wave of concern struck him as he wondered whether he'd done more than just drink Chase's blood, and eyes sought any sign of blood or a wound on Edwin, the vampire letting out a sigh of relief when he found none. He had reason to be worried about that, especially when dealing with something he didn't fully understand and that put him in what felt like almost a trance.
Levi shook his head while helping Edwight up. "No, I's think he was trying ta calm mes." He gave Leif a bit of a scowl then. "Kinda discombobobulated me with all that there shadow thing and uh.. blood. and.. yanno."
"Oh., I..." He gave a nod, eyes staring at nothing for a second before moving back to Levi. Ok, that made sense. "That's good, that's good..." He let out a sigh of relief, apparently not paying Levi's scowl a lot of mind.
As his thoughts seemed to slowly boot up and his brain started fully functioning again, he gave a light shake of his head and eyes then focused Levi's face more clearly, and with more resolution. "I have as many questions as you do." Voice was still somewhat raspy, and his breathing had returned to a more normal rate, although it was still heavy.
It wasn't his intention to look menacing in any way, but the decided glare combined with the blood stained face might've been a little off putting. But if Levi hadn't bolted outside when Leif was latched on Chase's neck, he probably wouldn't do it now.
Eyes did move away from Levi after he spoke though, hovering over the windows within Leif's line of sight before returning to the man, the gaze less intense as it now tried to pose a silent question. Of whether it was safe to speak.
"We all have questions, and answers... I need to understand what just happened.... what I saw." The last three words were quiet, as if Leif wanted to make sure no one or nothing could overhear them.
Eyes now glanced around, looking for any ideas before landing back on Levi a few seconds later. "I could write..." And the word was stressed just the bare minimum for it to be noticeable. "... to a friend... who might know more..." The gaze was fixated on Levi as Leif pretty much shrugged the last part of the sentence off. "Do you have paper?"
Tilly's eyebrows lifted to the skies when someone was raising their voice inside her cafe. She was right behind Wiri, and she had to have her say. Her tone was firm, but not angry. More like the mother reminding their child of proper etiquette, only much more Scottish. "Ah wid kindly remind ye nae tae be raisin' yer voice in mah braw establishment, lassie." Her expression was slightly more firm as a very pointed gaze was leveled at Bill.
"If tis a habit o' yers tae gang aroond interruptin' people's conversations, ye micht wantae rethink yer habits." Miranda had just stood to the side, eyes wide from the moment Bill raised her voice to the end of Tilly's little rant. Oh, but Tilly wasn't done yet, she thwapped Wiri's shoulder with a hand towel. "N' ye! Joinin' in oan th' yelling, 'n' stomping lik' ye'r a bull in a china shop. Ah ken ye ken better than that." One hand was held out toward Miranda, with a vague gesture of her head toward the display case.
Miranda, still wearing a slightly surprised expression, quickly fished out two cupcakes based on which ones Tilly nodded at when Miranda's hand hovered over it. Two birthday cake flavored cupcakes, with her usual rich cream frosting and sprinkles, were handed over. Tilly all but shoved them toward Wiri and Bill, "Noo baith o' ye, oot wi' ye. Neist time ye shout in mah cafe ye'll be findin' frosting oan yer faces instead o` yer cupcakes. Clear?"
With another glace from Tilly, Miranda quickly returned to her tasks behind the counter. Tilly was back to her nonplussed expression, and she looked to Jay and Aódh, "Noo, dae either o' ye twa need a refill or something else tae sloch?" Her accent became heavier when she was emotional, but smoothing down her apron with both hands was helping her refocus on the other customers in the cafe.
Aódh & Jay LarryxAlter
: You both had a glimpse of the smallest, tiniest bit of scolding from the cafe owner, and you can tell she wasn't even really angry. You get the feeling that Hell hath no fury like an enraged Tilly.
Wiri & Bill Collidias RexBillieRoss
: You know enough about Tilly to know the cupcakes were a sign she wouldn't hold any grudges against either of you, but she really disliked loud voices in her cafe. Once you're outside, you can catch a glimpse of Hatsu farther along the docks, heading to the Inn with an agitated gait.
The foyer of the inn was currently empty save for Seraphim, when Hatsu entered. For a moment, it seemed as if he might have a clear path back to his room, where hopefully he would find relaxation, but it was proving to be just one of those days. Seraphim called out, "Oh! Hatsu! I have a message for you." Her head tilted slightly to one side, an almost apologetic expression on her face, but not quite. She had a job to do after all, and making sure the residents received their messages was one of them.
It was a sealed envelope with just Hatsu's first name on it, and his room number, 206. There wasn't any indication of whom it was from, and Seraphim seemed entirely too curious, hoping he would open it there at the desk. She was leaning forward on her arms, her expression well meaning, but it was just one of those small town things. Everyone felt like they needed to know what was going on with someone at any given time. Innkeepers were not immune.
However, her attention shifted when someone else entered the lobby, not from the front door, but the hallway of rooms to the side. "Oh, Bernard! I've a message for you, too!" And she pulled out another envelope from underneath the counter. Hatsu could see it bore Bernard's first name, and room number, 102. The man Seraphim was speaking to wore jeans, and a long sleeved shirt underneath a puffy vest to help against the natural chill in the air. He had combed black hair, with two grey streaks on either side of his head. His lanky formed seemed to lean toward the left slightly.
"Have you two met, yet?" Seraphim was friendly, to the point of being annoying sometimes. "Bernard arrived just two weeks ago, isn't it? Nearly. Nearly two weeks. Oh, how time flies." And in typical fashion, something else entered Seraphim's thoughts, and her attention jumped back to Hatsu. "Oh, Hatsu! I'm so sorry about your house burning down. Don't worry about the room fees for the rest of the week. I'm sure once it's rebuilt, it'll be better than ever!"
: You don't recall seeing the man before, but you have been a bit preoccupied with the house as of late. Also, now that you're out of the cafe, and the smells of food, you can sniff evidence of having been close to a fire coming from your clothes. Just more reminders of the absolute shit day you've been having. Once you open the envelope, I will send you the contents via Discord.
: Hatsu would smell of smoke and rain, of mud, disappointment, and anger. He looks like he hasn't had a moment's peace all day. As for the message, once you open the envelope, I will send you the contents via Discord.
As soon as Roje had tossed her the carton, Beth held it out and asked nicely, "Can you open it for me please?" Her hands were obviously busy, and trying to open those things with just one hand was always a pain. When it was opened, she gave a sweet smile, "Thank you so much." She set it down on the table next to the chair, then drew out a folded paper towel from a pocket. "Never leave home without one or two of these. Accidents happen!"
A corner was dipped into the milk, and held there to soak it up, while Beth continued to talk. "I wouldn't have had to scream if it hadn't tried to attack me. Indy could have been seriously hurt trying to protect her mama." Her voice was back to being all 'Stepford Wives' like, the not quite condescending, but slightly placating tone of some HOA member hyped on killing them with kindness. "You two sure have seemed to have a rough time of it."
The paper towel had enough milk, so Beth moved it to the small cat's mouth, letting it lick at the droplets of milk. She cooed a couple of times at Indycat, before speaking again. "Well, now you two are home, and you can relax. Just enjoy all that Marasong has to offer you. Even if you just plan on staying for a few days.." Pausing to praise the kitten with soft sounds, her head tilted to the side once her gaze lifted to settle on Roje.
"You have free room and board, free meals, and you simply cannot beat the view. I do hope you can relax and enjoy yourselves for a little while." There was a glance to the closed bathroom door, then back to Roje. "And once everyone has calmed down, maybe proper introductions can be made. Oh! Would you like me to have some meals brought to your room? Then you don't have to go out anymore today."
: She's much more calmer now, and the tension from her has seemingly melted away. The lullaby in your head is softer than it has been before, but it's there, only it feels different somehow. Still calming, the humming is rhythmic, and something that can be pushed aside, but present as soon you think about it again.
: Beth is rocking you slightly as she lets you have the droplets of milk, occasionally petting the top of your head with a finger or two. It brings back memories of Beth doing the same thing at the end of the day, to help you go to sleep and comfort you from whatever trouble you got into during the day. It's a warm blanket on a winter's night, everything feels like it is going to be okay.
: Your stomach growls, almost as loud as you did earlier. Even hearing the mention of food sends it rumbling all over again. The ear is already starting to heal, but you'll hear the tinny ringing through the rest of the day and night. It will be gone when you wake up, but another day before the hearing in the ear is as clear as it was before.
The place was likely just as Boy might have pictured it, save for the farthest wall. There was the faintest blue glow every now and then, and if one looked close enough they'd see the 'wall' didn't fully touch the floor. There was a sliver of space, where it looked like water, possibly from the ocean, lay mostly still. Periodically, it moved like the ebb of a tidal wave causing ripples this far back.
It helped provide some air to the smaller shelter area, and the glow likely came from bio-luminescent algae. It would likely be even more spectacular at night. And now that Boy was looking closer at the area, one section appeared to be man made. Someone, likely Augie, made a blockade with rocks and other assorted items. Perhaps there had been a hole there at one point, and could be again. Based on the number of items, and the work it had to take to make the makeshift wall, it would require a decent amount of effort.
Augie had changed back to his human form, and lay sprawled on the floor, munching on half a piece of bacon he snagged for himself. His gaze was up at the ceiling, one hand moving to pet the dog. "I hope if you ever smell that thing again, you just run. Get away from it, okay, Boy?" Followed by several good pets and head rubs before he muttered under his breath. "Fucking thing. If it tries to mess with you.. I'll eat its fucking kelp forest."
: Augie smells more relaxed, though a bit of anger is seeping in, especially as he talks about the creature you saw. If you look at the blockade closer, you'll see rocks, crates, parts of what looks like crumbled concrete, a literal hodgepodge of items. They are bound together with wire, possibly grout, and even more wires that are tethered to the rock wall on either side to what looks like rock climbing tethers and rings. Someone spent a good bit of effort to either keep something out, or something in.
From outside the house, there is a distinctive female voice, but not completely audible with everything else going on inside the house. Soon after, there is a small sound, something like a thud, right outside the window Levi had peeked out of before. Followed by another sound that quickly faded.
This seems to send a sharp spike of panic through Levi. Instead of getting some paper for Leif, Levi left Edwight where he helped him up, and rushed to the front door. He opened it and stood, small and defiant despite his fear, in the doorway. One hand clenched tight, and there might have even been a growl. Only it wasn't the type of growl Chase might give, but more of a deep rumbling, like an earthquake beneath the ocean.
Meanwhile, Four had startled the peeping tom, and he stumbled, falling against the house. Quickly though, he turned and ran away from Four, heading West, and into the surrounding woods fast as he could. A moment after, the door to the house was flung open, and a small, blond haired male stood, one fist clenched and making quite the rumbling sound. Until his head turned and he spotted Four.
Seeing someone other than who Levi expected helped de-escalate the situation. The hand relaxed, the sound stopped, and instead he seemed confused. Levi was torn between just going back inside and closing the door, and asking if the woman had seen someone.
Leif & Edwight KodakWolfThropian
: Chase's crying slowly subsides into just sniffling and sad wuffles, but he doesn't let go of the person holding him, not once. Leif, you get the feeling it would be a bit of a struggle now to free yourself from his hold. Edwight, you do feel a little off balance, but you remember seeing something while on the floor earlier. Something underneath the couch, something that seemed out of place. You couldn't tell what exactly it was, but it didn't belong there.
: The cobblestone path is a little hellish on your heels, but you've grown accustomed to it, in the week you've been in Marasong. However, the moment you step off the path and head toward the peeping Tom, your heels begin to sink in the rain soaked ground.
Bill cast a glance over her shoulder, halfway to calling out to get Hatsu to stop, but he was out the door with the safe before she got so far. She swore under her breath, with half a mind to follow immediately after, but-
"BILL IS BLOODY SHOUTING FOR!" came the muffled voice from the back room. Bill spun around as Wiri emerged from the back room, and she was so relieved to see someone who might be able to give her some answers she almost missed the thunderous look on his face.
"Alright, can we walk and talk? I've gotta get to the inn and apparently you don't have an inside voice, so I reckon we can take this chat outside," Wiri said, and Bill let the implicit insult slide.
“Aye we can walk and talk,” she said, and nodded at the Irishman to follow close, if he indeed was following. “Listen-“
Before she could get very far, Tilly's voice rang through the Loving Spoon.
"Ah wid kindly remind ye nae tae be raisin' yer voice in mah braw establishment, lassie," she said, in the exact tone of voice every aunt she'd ever known. Bill cringed, sinking into her shoulders a little, feeling every inch the scolded child.
"Aye ma'am," she said.
She knew she must look ridiculous, dripping wet and wearing an old hoodie, getting a scolding from an old woman wearing an apron. At least she wasn't the only one, and watching Wiri get a hand towel flung at him made her feel a little better.
"Aye, right, sorry Tilly," she said, doing her best to sound contrite. She meekly took the cupcake and made her way out of the café, demolishing the cake in a few large bites. She wiped the residual icing off her face as best she could and heaved a big sigh.
She waited until the door shut behind her and started talking, very quickly, under her breath, mostly directed at Wiri but loud enough that Paddy’d be able to hear, trying to keep Hatsu in her line of sight.
“After you all left to take Mick back tae town, Bea and I came across that safe Hatsu was lugging all through the woods. So I thought tae myself, ‘oh, the kind thing tae do is bring it back tae him, he must’ve dropped it on his way out,’ so I unlo-“
She caught herself and changed what she was saying midsentence. “-so I opened it, it was already unlocked for some reason, and inside was this weird scarf around this weird box, so I thought, ‘well, much easier tae just carry this.’”
“So I got home and unwrapped it and there-Wiri, there were these things in it, these weird black shrimp-type things making these weird gross noises, gave me the fuckin’ creeps and I’m telling ye, not much can do that, and it’s just in my house, and Bea ran off home, and I don’t know what they are and I don’t-I don’t know fuckin’ anything. So I thought, ‘ah fuck, what the fuck was this doing in a safe, what the fuck are these things, good thing Hatsu didn't take them back with him I guess, who do I know who will know anything about it and won’t wonder why I was wandering around in the forest in the middle of a storm or why I was lookin’ at a safe’, and ye were the only local around when we were out there in the rain, so I need ye tae- Wiri, what the fuck are they, and why the fuck were they in a safe in the middle of the woods, and Wiri-“
She paused, putting a hand on Wiri’s arm to get him to pause a moment. “Wiri, Hatsu still has his safe. It was adifferentone that I found the…whatever in. What…Who’d leave that out in the middle of the forest? What was it doing there? And like…” she huffed a sharp sigh, looked down at her feet, and then back up at Wiri. “How fucked am I now that it’s in my fuckin’ house? I know it was stupid, alright, I know I’m a fuckin’ moron, just…Can ye just-please. Please come look at them. Soon? I don’t know what tae do.” She ground the heel of her palm into her eyes trying to push back the frustration and humiliation.
The man must’ve been deep in his ‘observations’ to have been oblivious to her mud-skip approach; she took awkward steps, careful to not overexert her weight. Fucking tedious it was, she forgot how much she hated the consequences of rain in underdeveloped areas.
The man bolted as if his life depended on it, it probably did if her mood soured. But it was amusing to watch his retreating back disappear into the woods. She bit her lip, considering her choices now. She deliberated going back and changing her attire to suit this forsaken land, considering it would only get worse, after all. As she passed by the door, intent on resuming her pursuit, it creaked open. A diminutive man stood by the doorway, his posture slightly awkward as if forced. He had blond hair, worn in shoulder long bangs and skin as pale as porcelain. Heliophobia? No one escapes a little tanning in this country.
Then she heard the little fucker growl. He wasn’t particularly small, unlike a dwarf. But smaller than the normal folk she’d seen milling about Marasong. Which added more intrigue to the situation. More to the point, he growled. Who the hell does that? She reigned the indignancy in. She stole glances over his shoulder, perhaps it was obvious. Fuck it, he was short-stick compared to her she can’t even play it off.
He seemed relaxed then, and they stood there awkwardly. “Someone was poking through your window, I drove them off. You’re welcome.”
mood: Curious, Devious | location: Town, Marasong |tags: Out Of Words
The sound of an unknown voice outside quickly drew Leif’s attention, and the following thud prompted a spark of apprehension, intensified by the fact that’d been the window Levi had peeked out of earlier, right before disclosing he wasn’t able to talk then and there. And then there was Levi’s reaction that only corroborated it all, and a strange fading sound that Leif’s experienced senses guessed was that of someone getting away. Running away.
Eyes followed Levi as he rushed out the front door and moved to stand outside. The following rumble made Leif stare at Levi with both fascination and apprehension. He liked knowing exactly what he was dealing with, which wasn’t the case with Levi, although he might have an idea. Since the rumbling, quaking growl wasn’t being directed at him, however, he wasn’t too concerned about knowing what Levi truly was at the moment.
Leif could sense the fear emanating from the smaller man, and as much as he didn’t want to let go of Chase, it was his instinct to do so, or try to. Not much he could do to guarantee they were safe if he couldn’t move freely. The slightest attempt at pulling away, however, proved it wouldn’t be easy to make Chase let go of him. And while the man was no longer crying, the sniffling and the sad wuffles prevented Leif from attempting to free himself again.
Shortly after, Levi seemed to relax, meaning whoever or whatever he was scared of wasn’t who he found outside. A female voice was heard then, and she confirmed Leif’s theory that someone had runned off, and added something more concerning to it: they had been peeping in. With the rain gone, perhaps they could be tracked, or maybe the woman outside would know more about them. Regardless, it wasn’t a priority at the moment, Leif wasn’t about to bolt after an unknown person through the woods, so his focus was quickly turned back to those inside the house for now. The conversation between Levi and whichever neighbor was outside was kept in the background of his mind for the time being, while no other unnatural or suspicious sounds could be heard.
Leif started to slowly move to sit on the armrest of the recliner Chase was in, both hands holding on to Chase’s arms the whole time as he tried his best to keep the man from panicking again, to ensure him he wasn’t going anywhere but just moving to sit beside him. He had to gently pull Chase’s hands from his arm and face, one by one, slowly, holding onto both of his hands, shoulders or arms the whole time so he’d know he was there.
“Did you... do something, before he started screaming?” Eyes found Edwin briefly as Leif carefully stepped around the recliner, a small nod indicating Chase as he spoke. Now it was clear he didn’t really blame Edwin for whatever happened, but he really needed to know if it’d been something he’d accidentally done that caused the escalating of Chase’s distress.
Leif was able to find a new, comfortable position on the armrest, and Chase had remained relatively calm while he moved, so his mind soon started reeling again, in the seconds he waited for Edwin’s answer.
Before the interruption, Levi did seem willing to find some paper. Perhaps that would work, since talking was apparently not safe enough. Chase couldn’t listen anyway, Leif had been there, he knew what voices sounded like where Chase was.
A thumb made small, tender, reassuring circles on the back of one of Chase’s hands as Leif’s mind worked.
Chase couldn’t read or see anything either, not with the green and blue curtains shrouding his vision. No, he was unreachable until Leif could bite him again, could drain the darkness away for a few more moments while either Levi or Edwin tried to talk to him. Unless...
The thumb stopped, and now it was Leif's grasp on Chase's hand that tightened as his eyes widened slightly. He unconsciously held his breath, and the thumb started drawing a letter on the back of Chase's hand. H. Followed by another, forming the most basic word his now overhwelmed brain could come up with at that moment. Hi.
He'd draw it again, and again, with increasing pressure. He'd even use his nail if he had to, being careful not to break the skin and draw any droplets of blood. Because if anything, Chase could feel, he'd sort of proven that with the way he desperately clung to anything that could ground him.
Teeth were clenched, and the tremble had returned to the vampire's hands as he felt the fear of his hopes being crushed creeping in, but the thumb went on drawing.
Chase didn't register what was going on the first two times, but when Leif repeated it a third, and a fourth, the pressure increasing, he seemed to notice. His head tilted to the side, his eyebrows drew together, and blue eyes shifted slightly from side to side, like someone thinking.
He wuffled, the sound still plagued by his distress, but also with a curious note. On the fifth time, Chase got it. The blue eyes grew a little wide, and he even had a brief smile. His other hand fumbled around to find a wrist, and he squeezed.
He got it.
Eyes were glued on Chase's face, and brightened with the smallest sign of recognition. The breath was let out in a huff with a smile when Leif spotted the brief smile on Chase's face.
When Chase found and squeezed his wrist, there was a moment of hectic silence, in which Leif's mind tried to figure out the next steps, as if it hadn't fully believed they'd get past the first step. But they did. Chase got it.
"He's..." Leif blurted out, eyes quickly finding Edwin again, before fixating back on Chase. "...here." He finished, still unsure of how much it was safe to say, especially with the stranger outside. So he avoided the words 'talking', 'listening', 'communicating', and such.
And the thumb started drawing again. I - G - O -T... There were too many questions he should ask, and yet it felt too hard to formulate them just yet. But what he was writing instead, it wasn't any less important. U.
Leif would need to repeat it once more before Chase showed signs he understood. It was a little difficult the first time. The vampire could see when the weight on the chest was felt, as Chase's breathing had more force behind it, and it was distracting. However, that second time, he actually gave a wuffled laugh of sorts.
The squeeze to Leif's wrist was firm and held for a moment, before Chase let go. He had to rub at his chest until the heaviness upon it went away, a sensation Leif had now experienced for himself.
Leif observed Chase's reactions closely, and there was a grin when he seemed to laugh.
When he went on drawing the next letters, he attempted to pause whenever Chase showed difficulty breathing, continuing when he seemed better. He also turned Chase's hand around in his own, and drew on his palm, which was supposedly more sensitive than the back of the hand.
And here is where Chase couldn't understand what Leif meant, or wanted. He shook his head, and grew visibly confused to the point of nearing frustration. It wasn't clear however, if he didn't understand what the letters were trying to spell, or he didn't know what clues Leif was trying to refer to.
When Chase started showing signs of confusion, Leif held his hand between both of his, giving it a light squeeze and shaking it up and down until Chase seemed to focus again. It was okay. He'd try again as many times as necessary. When he drew again, it was slower, and with more pressure, and he observed Chase's reactions all the way, so he could repeat a word if he had to.
W-H-I-S-P-E-R. And a light squeeze of his hand. Q-U-I-E-T-L-Y. Squeeze. I. Squeeze. C-A-N. Squeeze. H-E-A-R. Squeeze. Y-O-U.
In room 102 of Marasong's local inn, the tall Danish physicist typed away on his laptop's keyboard. Despite being away from academia, his faculty duties never left him. Perhaps he should have specified a vacation trip, rather than a research one? What's done is done however so no use in bellyaching now, the man thought. As he reached the last sentence of the email, his tired eyes and stiff back finally got the better of him. Hitting send allowed Bernard to stretch himself which did bring him a modicum of relief. He has spent too long cooped up in his room today, might as well take an evening stroll.
Just before that he approached the queen-sized bed provided by the motel and slipped his hand underneath it. Pulling out a small, maroon-coloured, leather notebook, he sat on the bed to give it a quick skim. Much to his chagrin, Bernard did not find any overtly fantastical incidents. A fire (which on the face of it, doesn't seem too extraordinary) and the oddly, blue monsoon with rainstorm characteristics. All in all, he's been disappointed by this little town so far. There's still time to change that though.
Snapping the book closed, Bernard returned it under the bed. Throwing on his puffy vest, Bernard began to make his way downstairs to the lobby. Immediately, Seraphim had noticed his presence, she called him over to hand a message. Message? Odd, he wasn't expecting any. Picking up the letter, Bernard listened to Seraphim's small chat. With an equally smaller chap next to him. "My far would always say that if I think the time was moving too fast, that I should stare at the clock." As Bernard spent his time in Marasong, bit by bit he began to relax around the inhabitants. Hence why he used "far", the Danish word for father just now. His head tilted to view the short, 4'11" tall man. The smell particularly struck Bernard's nostrils, right now he'd better be respectful, this fellow seems angry. "I noticed him once or twice maybe, but never really spoke before." At the moment, that Seraphim mentioned his Hatsu's house burning down. "Aj, you have my sympathies. But as they say, you have to sow even after a bad harvest. If you need some help, don't be afraid to ask." While Bernard extended the offer, his hands opened the letter and he began reading the contents while keeping an ear open to the people around him.
This was the esotericism that Bernard had been anticipating since his arrival. The person who recommended Bernard travel to Marasong had finally contacted him again, and it seems as though it is right on time. Seeing how Bernard's faith had begun to falter. He carefully analysed it. A picture with two noticeable landmarks, the goods store -"Imported Booty" which was in the background, and a bar that underwent some restoration-"The Careless Shark Pub." A figure had been circled with a red pen, Bernard did not know why this person was important, but there was no doubt that he will find out in just a moment. The scanned article revealed what Bernard sought, albeit grainy beyond belief, there was no doubt in his mind that these two men were in fact one and the same! The Dane's eyes widened, could this be the bread crumb that he sought? Regardless, he must investigate.
"Seraphim, do you know this man?" Bernard inquired by pulling the photo of the bar and holding it in front of her. Hopefully, he didn't have to explain why this man is circled in red.
To witness Tilly, even if not angry in the slightest, to give the forcefulness of a person in such a state, was quite the sight. When Wiri, likewise frustrated that their conversation was brought to a halt by Bill's entrance, stomped out the door to the back of the café, the proprietress wasn't long in following him; though Aódh imagined that the ranger didn't expect himself to be the target of Tilly's critique as well. Her fellow Scotswoman, a firebrand even during the most subdued of occasions, was rendered shrewish as a result of the owner's haranguing. Then again, Bill wasn't exactly herself, if the state in which she arrived at the Loving Spoon was any indication, followed as it was by the urgency of her needing to see Wiri and Hatsu. It didn't help that Hatsu, more than rightly fed up with the scenario and the contingencies that seemed to swarm about him, got up and exited the establishment with an irritated pace in his step. Aódh sighed, but he couldn't blame the lad, feeling sadness vicariously for the man, knowing full well that Bill needed him, exigently.
She devoured the cupcake handed her to in a couple of chomps, thence making her way out of the Loving Spoon, holding the door open for Wiri, and if her lingering in the doorway meant anything, for the Irishman as well.
Aódh was conflicted however; even though she said that it concerned him as well, given the particular iciness of their current...relationship and the non-reception of his apology, owing to her mind being focused on more pressing matters, it left the Irishman havering to follow after them.
The youth espied the pair a short distance away.
The details of what she was saying to the ranger, in hushed but heated tones, laid bare whatever inner tumult the day had accumulated for her, no more than Hatsu. To confirm this further for Aódh, who was still planted against the frame of the door, was the motion of the woman clamping her palms over her eyes, as though the world itself was too much stimulation for her to bear properly. The stark contrast between the fiery, profanity-spewing, strong-willed character he met at Hatsu's house and her current state, spoke volumes. Let's...let's leave this one to Wiri, he thought to himself despondently, conscious of his own part in rendering the woman's current state.
Not wishing to infringe on the conversation, or worsen Bill's mental state, by ambling over there, Aódh caught Wiri's gaze and gave the ranger a wave, almost to intimate, 'Best of luck with it.' With that gesture, his gaze turned away from the pair, turning to enter the Loving Spoon, closing the door behind him softly.
"I'm sorry for the disturbance there Tilly, Miranda..." he said, aiming at rapprochement if his image had been lessened in their eyes, "I think, now that Wiri is with here, that Bill's humour will be lessened a bit. With that being said...I don't suppose could I get another cup of tea by any chance?"
Seeing an opportunity, now that everybody else had left the café, he made his way over to where Jay, as he had been called, was sitting and shuffled himself into the seat beside him.
"I didn't get a proper chance to introduce myself," the youth said, assuming a more formal tone, "My name's Aódh, it's a pleasure to meet ya."
Roje was just a second away from throwing the milk into this woman's face. Her patience was wearing thin, and not sure how much longer she could hold off. Snatching the stupid milk carton from her hand, she effortlessly opened it and handed it back. Only to be met with those annoying words with that annoying tone. Strawberry shortcake is the absolute spawn of whatever-the-fuck Who the hell does she thinks she is? Especially babying Indy like that while also basically assaulting the rest of the fucking group? Silver definitely needed to be checked up on, but the only person that was going to do that, was Roje. Beth was not going to get closer to any other part of the group and cause even more damage. "You're even more pitiful than I thought you were." she wasn't going to give 'sweet little Beth' the light of day and be friendly with her. "Yeah, of course we had a rough time. Thank you captain obvious, would you like a gold star?" her first defense was to insult, see how much her opponent could stand their ground before they snapped. It was also to drive away people who clearly weren't welcomed.
The only thing that left Roje's mouth was a simple "tch" as she put herself in the hallway to the bathroom, her arms crossed and continuing to stare down the foreign woman. Her eye felt like it practically twitched hearing her continue to baby Indy the way she was "I think going outside would be preferred. After what just happened, I don't think we want to be in this room any longer." though she couldnt speak for Silver if she wanted to stay, or go. "I'll happily talk with our third party about it and see what she'd like to do. Considering, well..." she gestured to Indy "Someone is already ahead of us." the pause in the room was large enough for her to hear that soft lullaby once again. The one she heard back at the medical clinic. At least that was the only thing going for her right now to keep her from ripping this woman apart.
Like Hatsu had expected, the inn was basically empty. He had hope to slip pass Seraphim and back up to his room- but of course his luck said otherwise. When Seraphim called out to him, Hatsu hadn't mean to huff as loudly as he did or narrow his eyes at her as he turned to face her. He was really in need of some alone time but it wasn't an excuse for treating her the way he just did. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a second- trying to just push that frustration back a bit more to make room for a more pleasant emotion. He had no clue if it work. He put the safe on the floor by his feet before he took the envelope from Seraphim with both hands. "Thanks, who was it from?" Hatsu asked not seeing any return address.
He ignored the fact that Seraphim was be a bit nosy as he opened the letter with his thumb, if he didn't then he might become more frustrated due to the lack of privacy. Hatsu was pretty sure it was junk mail. Maybe someone trying to sell him car insurance. Instead it was an invitation. Apparently there was going to be a Cove Campout that coming Friday. Hatsu wasn't sure if he wanted to go. He'd never been camping before. His nights out in the wilderness was always either city hotels or rented out houses pretending to be cabins. Sure, he's been to national parks and temples before but he never stayed the night there. Maybe he'll just go for the food and drinks then come back to the inn to sleep if he did go. He'll have to think about it.
Hatsu looked up just in time to see another man had join him and Seraphim in the lobby and she was handing him an identical letter with the room number 102 written on it. "Have you two met, yet?" Seraphim asked as he looked to Bernard, "Bernard arrived just two weeks ago, isn't it? Nearly. Nearly two weeks. Oh , how times flies." Just like most people, Bernard was taller than him and was wearing a puffy vest. Hatsu never understood vests. They didn't have sleeves, wouldn't a jacket just work better? All your doing is keeping your chest warm. Either way Hatsu had never seen this person before. Or at least he doesn't remember seeing Bernard. After he thought about it, even though he's been here for 4 months he didn't really see many people. Maybe he should try to stop being a shut in for a week or two and meet people. "I noticed him once or twice maybe, but never really spoke before." Either way, it seemed like Bernard had caught a glimpse of him once or twice. So maybe Hatsu had seen him before and just never really bother to notice him. "Well, then I'm Hatsu. Nice to meet you" Hatsu said formally introducing himself to Bernard as he started to fold the letter back into the envelope.
He had hope that was going to be the end of their conversation, that he could just say good bye and be back up to his room. However, it seemed like Seraphim wasn't done with him "Oh, Hatsu! I'm so sorry about your house burning down. Don't worry about the room fees for the rest of the week. I'm sure once it's rebuilt, it'll be better than ever!"
He couldn't help but groan, "It's not like you burnt it down- you don't have to apologize for it." He didn't really want her to tell him not to worry about room fees, but he wasn't in the mood to argue especially since Bernard was there. He'll just figure something out later. He just knew he would feel bad if he didn't pay for the room. And he didn't like the fact that he could smell house fire all over him. Hopefully he would be able to get it out of his clothes. He didn't like the smell of it at all and he was certain that the other two probably didn't enjoy it either.
"Aj, you have my sympathies. But as they say, you have to sow even after a bad harvest. If you need some help, don't be afraid to ask." Bernard had said as he started to open his own letter. It was probably another invite to the camp out. Maybe they'd run into each other there if Hatsu went. "I appreciate it. Both of you," Hatsu said with a sigh as he put the letter under his arm before picking the safe back up, "Although I would like to stay and chat- I do have to take care of something. See ya." Hatsu said leaving quickly after not giving either a chance to stop him. He learnt his lesson.
Hopefully nothing exciting will happen before he makes it to his room.
Jay wasn’t too unused to the strangeness and randomness that Marasong had to offer anymore. Of course, he was still surprised and taken off guard by much of what went on. Yeung and Yun made excellent warning systems for the things that did pop up out of nowhere and had plans to completely change the pace of the day or such. Bill’s sudden arrival back and Tilly’s scolding. Jay just chuckled quietly to himself, and went back to eating. Occasionally, he’d sneak a piece of pancake to both Yeung and Yun, the former not enjoying the breakfast food as much.
Yeung had decided at that point to go back to sleep once Wiri’s and Bill’s conversation took full effect. The rest of the occupants at the table, Hatsu, and Aodh as well, seemingly getting ready to go. Jay really only paid half a mind to the whole affair. His focus was more so on the food and keeping Yun stealing more than her fair share. She was a spirit! She really didn’t need to eat!
Once they were gone, Jay finally finished his food, while also successfully fending off Yun, and downed the rest of the tea, nearly scalding his throat. The hot beverage caused his eyes to widen, and he pounded a fist against his chest so as to not choke. “Bad idea…” he coughed out. Placing the mug back onto the counter, Yun hissed next to him, something that didn’t go unnoticed.
“Wet dog alert.” she said to Jay, who only now just noticed the approaching Aodh. He simply listened to his request, and raised his hand as well. “Make it two cups of tea, please.”
Jay was undeniably cautious, when Aodh sat next to him. Both his spirits were off put by the man, and Yun seemed to have a general disliking for him. The ‘wet dog’ comments didn’t help. Was he a spirit or something dog related? Jay didn’t really think he should pry… that just seemed kind of rude.
“Eh, uh… nice to meet ya Aodh!” he responded, turning to face the new guy. He chuckled as he struggled with the pronunciation, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment. “I’m Jae-eun, but everyone calls me Jay, kinda easier to do so. You, uh, new here?”
"Sorry Tills." Wiri echoed, mounting a sheepish grin. He hesitated for a moment, straddling the line between sincerity and haste until Bill grabbed her cupcake. He took that as his signal and grabbed one of his own, quickly following Bill out the door. He didn't know exactly where she needed to go, but he walked fast alongside her anyway on ... a direction?
“After you all left to take Mick back tae town, Bea and I came across that safe Hatsu was lugging all through the woods."
Wiri nodded silently. Heavy bloody thing it was.
"So I thought tae myself, ‘oh, the kind thing tae do is bring it back tae him, he must’ve dropped it on his way out,’ so I unlo- so I opened it, it was already unlocked for some reason, and inside was this weird scarf around this weird box, so I thought, ‘well, much easier tae just carry this.’”
He nodded again, watching Bill's increasing agitation. She had a fuckin mouth on her, sure - Wiri was hardly one to judge - but normally she kept it together better than this.
"So I got home and unwrapped it and there-Wiri, there were these things in it, these weird black shrimp-type things making these weird gross noises,"
Wiri's head swiveled to face her.
Shrimp? His brow furrowed as he watched her expression, listening to her speech hasten.
"-gave me the fuckin’ creeps and I’m telling ye, not much can do that, and it’s just in my house, and Bea ran off home, and I don’t know what they are and I don’t-I don’t know fuckin’ anything. So I thought, ‘ah fuck, what the fuck was this doing in a safe, what the fuck are these things, good thing Hatsu didn't take them back with him I guess, who do I know who will know anything about it and won’t wonder why I was wandering around in the forest in the middle of a storm or why I was lookin’ at a safe’, and ye were the only local around when we were out there in the rain, so I need ye tae- Wiri, what the fuck are they, and why the fuck were they in a safe in the middle of the woods, and Wiri-"
He paused as her hand landed on his arm. He met her eyes, but his thoughts were racing too quickly to take in every word. Mysterious safes in the forest. Boxes. Taking things from the forest. Fey? No, not fey. Metal boxes. Iron. Doesn't make sense. Someone planted it?
An image. A memory. A black horse.
Well. It looks like me and someone are going to have a conversation.
"A'ight, a'ight let's take a look." He clapped her on the shoulder, concealing his concern. "Lotsa things end up places they don't belong - this sounds like a bit of a mess, but we call it a 'mess' 'coz it can be cleaned up."
But an invasive species is often here to stay. His eyes narrowed momentarily, and he hoped she didn't notice.
"But at the end of the day, it's in your house-"And in my territory. "-so between us we can work something out. Let's swing by my truck - I'll grab my backpack and whatever I can find to help, and we can tackle this fully kitted."
They at least had that much going for them. Bill's home was hers and hers alone, her spiritual dominion. If whatever she was concerned with was intelligent, it could be reasoned with. If it couldn't be reasone with but it was a spiritual entity, they'd find a way to expel it. And if all other avenues failed ... well, silver buckshot and a little optimism went a long way against unreasonable corporeal creatures.