The Old Lady's Lair

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by Jadzibelle on Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:41 pm

Tanner stumbled to a stop, trying to pull away from the sudden swarm of light. He threw an arm up to protect his eyes, squinting as the swarm collapsed down and vanished, and took the whole hill with it.

He lowered his arm, slowly, breathing hard, and looked for Eve-

-Eve was lying at his feet, hadn’t been taken by the vanishing hillside, hadn’t made it into the cave.

He shook his head, and dropped into a crouch, reaching out uncertainly and pressing two fingers to her shoulder blade, a cautious alert of his presence.

“Don’t do that,” he said, worried, “don’t run off without the rest of us. C’mon, we- everyone’s scared, let’s-”

Eve wasn’t moving, hadn’t responded to the touch or his words, not so much as an ear-twitch.

“...Eve?” he asked, giving her a gentle push, and the clearing went silent, the anxious pulse of music vanishing into an awful, deliberate rest. He moved his fingers down, rested them on her ribs, and waited. Counted. One beat. Two beats. Three beats. Four beats.

Nothing. Nothing but stillness. Nothing but silence.

Oh, no.

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by Jodie on Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:47 pm

Izzy got to her feet feeling cold and trembly all over. She looked at Eve, so still on the ground, at Tanner and the grief so clear in his shoulders. And turned around and walked straight out of the clearing. She didn't stop walking til she reached the road and sat down heavily on the gravel, the backpack bumping behind her. She pulled her knees up and put her head down and concentrated very hard on her breathing.

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by yumearashi on Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:52 pm

Doc crouched by Eve's still form, his face a mask of rage and grief. He picked her up, cradling her as gently as one would a newborn baby.


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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by havensqueenbookwench on Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:57 pm

Before she reached the clearing, Lilybeth saw Izzy striding back the other way, her face seeming frozen. "Izzy?" she called out, "what's going on?"

But Izzy either didn't hear her or just didn't answer.  She didn't seem to be having trouble finding the path though, and Lilybeth felt rather silly holding onto her rope.

Then she stepped into the clearing and saw Doc holding Eve.  Oh, no.

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by BirdyMarie on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:14 am

Even if the light had not been bright enough from the road, Riesy would have known it was over when the discordant chime from the fae explosion punched shim in the gut and ripped all the air from shiz lungs.

When Izzy came out alone, s/he could only shake shiz head and cover shiz mouth to keep from retching. S/he dropped to crouch on shiz heels next to their fearless leader, closing shiz eyes and letting the sobs take over. They had been so close.

So close, but it was getting late.

With a giant heaving effort, s/he snorted all the tears and snot away, spit them out, and wiped shiz face. "Lilybeth," s/he croaked down the stretch of grass before the woods everyone had disappeared to. "Come on, love. We've gotta go." Shiz voice cracked. S/he let it. S/he reached out to put a gentle hand on Izzy's shoulder, not hiding the shake in shiz voice. "C'mon. We gotta go."

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by havensqueenbookwench on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:20 am

The whole situation still felt kind of unreal to Lilybeth, like she was having trouble grasping what had happened. That it had happened. But Riesy was right--they were burning daylight.

She let go of the rope and walked over to Tanner and Doc, putting her hand on Tanner's shoulder. She didn't dare touch Doc. "We, ah, we really do need to go. Sun's going down."

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by Jadzibelle on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:28 am

In the clearing, the low chime picks back up, a slow build of sound that sounds unlike any language the three standing within have ever heard, but nonetheless sounds somehow like it has meaning. From the bare dirt, a spray of silver lights once more emerges, sweeping up and filling the clearing, then rising higher, a fountain of brilliant orbs. The lights swirl around Doc first, then Tanner, and then Lily, moving fast enough to streak in the air, building an intangible lattice around them. The lights sweep off down the path, moving to the road in a blaze of illumination and weaving a cage of silver around Izzy and Riesy each in turn.

The light blazes brighter, going pure white for a single, eternal instant, as the chiming notes rise to a brilliant harmony that feels like sunlight.

And then it is dim, and quiet, and all of the members of the party are left with the ringing impression of words in their minds- THE DEAL IS DONE.

The party stands in the parking lot of the high school, whole and complete- all but Eve, who has vanished entirely.

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by Jodie on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:32 am

Isabelle blinked hard, staring in disbelief first at the high school looming before them then at her group who looked as shell shocked as she felt. "Are we back?" she asked. "Is it a trick?"

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by havensqueenbookwench on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:35 am

Lilybeth breathed out a shaky breath. "I--I guess we have to walk in and find out."

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by Jadzibelle on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:45 am

Tanner retreated immediately when Doc arrived, jerking his hand back from Eve’s ribs and scrambling to create space. He balled his hands into fists and tucked them beneath his arms, shoulders ducking down as he searched for some kind of explanation, some promise that he had tried, that- that he hadn’t simply let this happen, that he hadn’t known, couldn’t have known, that Eve would simply race off after the light, but he could think of nothing, not a single word could make it past the buzzing in his head. Past the sudden whirlwind of recognition and horror and guilt.

Past the sinking sense of loss he didn’t know how to quantify.

His fault, it was his fault, if he’d been just a little faster, if he’d just kept his mouth shut, if he’d jumped a second earlier, if he’d been less worried about the trees and more attentive to the road-

-noise and light and he’d thought, for an instant, that the sound was his Trouble, until it rolled over him in a cry he couldn’t answer, and then everything was light and vibration.

And then it wasn’t, and the trees were gone, the lights were gone, they were standing back where they’d started.

They were back where they’d started, and he looked around wildly, counting one-two-three-four but not Eve, Doc had been holding her but his hands were empty, now, they were back but Eve was gone.

They were back, but Eve was gone.

Izzy asked a question, and Lily answered, and Tanner heard them but didn’t process, couldn’t get his thoughts into any kind of order.

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by BirdyMarie on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:49 am

Riesy looked around, dazed after the searing peppermint of the light cages, slow and clumsy with grief. But then, there were Tanner and Doc next to shim and Izzy and Lilybeth. Shiz hand shot out on reflex and s/he grabbed Tanner's wrist. "You're not dead?"

S/he look around wildly, looking everywhere for a furry question mark.

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by Jodie on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:51 am

"I'm going to go give the book to Dwight," Izzy announced abruptly. She couldn't bear to look at the others right now. They were back and hopefully they were safe enough now. As safe as they could be in this godawful town. She wasn't responsible for anyone anymore. She never should have been. She walked into the highschool on legs that shook but there was no sparkling light, no sudden chime. Just the creak and thud of old doors and her footsteps were soon lost in the noises of the school full of refugees.

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by Jadzibelle on Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:21 am

Tanner flinched, curled further in on himself at Riesy’s quick movement, before he blinked, and shiz question registered. The world seemed to spin with his thoughts, and Tanner swallowed hard, fighting down a surge of nausea as he tried to find something to say.

The spinning got worse when he saw Riesy looking around, clearly doing exactly the same count that he had, and coming up one short.

...Riesy hadn’t wanted to go into the woods, the trees-

-Riesy didn’t know.

Expression hollow, the air ringing with a low, aching spatter of piano notes, Tanner shifted slightly under Riesy’s grip, and couldn’t manage anything more than a rasping, “She was too fast, I couldn’t reach.”

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by BirdyMarie on Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:31 am

With a despairing gasp that rocked shim back heavy on shiz heels, Riesy realized that was final. Eve was gone. S/he didn't know how, and likely never would. S/he had stood there and let her run off into it. S/he turned to Tanner and tugged on his arm, wrapping shiz arms around his neck to try and bely or at least share in his guilt. If he was guilty, so was s/he.

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Re: The Old Lady's Lair

Post by Jadzibelle on Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:51 am

Tanner froze, whole body going stiff, but Riesy was just- hugging him, curling into his space like s/he needed the support. Which didn’t make sense, it wasn’t- he was the wrong person for that, he was the wrong person for so many reasons, but-

-but Riesy was curling into his space like s/he needed the support, and he couldn’t fix this, couldn’t fix anything, but he could do what was asked of him. He knew how to do that. Carefully, he unfolded just slightly, so that Riesy wasn’t just pressed into his folded arms, dropping them to his sides instead, hands opening and closing in a meaningless search for stability.

“I’m sorry,” he said, and it wasn’t- it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t anything, but he was used to meaningless platitudes and they were the only words he could find.

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