Changeling - Season's Greeting

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ChristianC
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Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:18 am

Normality.

It's been nearly days since you crossed the hedge, bloodied and torn, pale-faced and sick. You left behind the world you've known for too many years, the horrifying place of constant change, uncertainty for the world you left behind. You are back in the place where roads won't lead you astray unless you pay their tolls, or where streetlights flicker because of a bad lamp, and not because the fire spirit caught inside is in a foul mood.

For some of you, this is not the world you left behind and you have sought refuge in a small shed at a school (Saltar's Point Elementary) closed during the summer. Amongst old pommel horses, mattresses, hula hoops and such you've waited, hiding, praying deeply that your former masters, your keepers, will not find you. Will not drag you back through the hedge, tear away what you've reclaimed of your old self and chain you even more securely.

Some of you have dared to venture beyond the school grounds and you have managed to find out that you are in Steilacoom, a small town in the state of Washington, USA, and that the year is 2008 and it's the end of June. Newspapers have thankfully aided you in that regards and you haven't had any need to interact with humans... unless you've attempted to. The clothes on your body are rags, remains from what you wore during your kidnapping, or barley-sacks and other scraps your keepers deigned worthless enough for you. While glamour makes you all seem dressed as you did back in Fae, you occasionally see flickers of what you are wearing. Unless you've decided to raid a shelter, a dangerous thing in itself, this is what you're wearing.

Food has been a problem, and unless anyone of you have resorted to theft, there is none to be had, although water has been gotten from a tap at the back of the school.

You've had little time to get to know each other, the fact that you escaped together might mean that you were friends in that place, but your memories are muddled, missing patches here and there. You know you ran, and that there were others running, but for now you've accepted each others' company on the sheer grounds of being in the same boat.

The sun is slowly setting on your second day of freedom and by now... the thought that your masters may not be coming for you after all is beginning to take root in your minds. What do you do?


[Please post your introductions, as well as what you've been doing for the last two days, whether it has been trying to scavenge food, talking with humans or finding out more about where you are... or just sitting in a corner of the room, huddled and scared, which is a completely natural reaction. Once everyone's settled in, I'll, ehr, shoehorn things along.]

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:33 am

Sorter cowers in a corner of the shed, his glance flicking from wall to wall as he still questions their good fortune, just waiting for the next shoe to fall and their masters to show up and haul them back to Faerie. His edges shimmer as always, his body somewhat hard for others to keep their eyes on for more than a moment at a time, a stolen khaki coat draped over his shoulders, his face and head completely featureless and cloaked in shadow. To those viewing his glamour, he looks like a purely average human of around 18, unnaturally unremarkable and completely forgettable.

Rolling a ball of white yarn between his hands, he jumps as a branch scrapes against the side of the shed, pocketing the yarn inside his jacket and just waiting for someone to leap out at him. When nothing happens, he speaks to the others, in a quiet and somewhat stammering voice, placing odd emphasis on his words. "...I'm hungry...do you...do you want me to find some more food?" He'd already gone out once, a trip that didn't exactly go well - they were lucky, honestly.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:43 am

Harry hadn't spoken much since the escape. He'd offered the others his name and taken theirs but he'd been too busy trying to sort his own head out to bother with conversation. Spazzing out wasn't going to help. Best thing was to sit tight and get a grip on things.

Harry was a big man. Bigger than he remembered, too. Everything about him broad, from his physical stature to the features of his face. He wasn't sure if he'd been like this before but it seemed likely. He remembered that his skin used to be pink though. Pinkish, at least. Not the light, speckled grey it now was. His hair was gone too. He'd liked his hair. What disconcerted him the most was how slow he felt. His joints were stiff, his actions clumsy. He'd spent the last half an hour flexing his fingers and try to get a feel for himself. Strange thing to have to do, that. At least he was still strong. That was good. Clocked a guy, some bum probably, a while back. A man needed pants, didn't he? Thems were the breaks. Did feel a little bad about it though. Was that different too?

He looked up at man in the corner of the shed. It was a man, right? Hard to tell. Seemed that wherever they'd been messed people up in different ways.

"Sure."

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:34 am

Mackenzy, or just Mac if the mood was right, swung her legs impatiently while sitting on one of the unused pommel horses. She chewed quietly on a twig of some sort, seeming to be slowly consuming it, rather than just occupying her teeth. Her glamour showed her as a mid teenage girl with very orangey hair that hung over her face, and vibrant blue eyes. For a teenager, she would be considered on the short side of short.

Her true form was much more impressive; a bright orangey color fitting of a being made of fire. She had spent the last few years as a lantern light in her 'master's basement, not ever knowing what time it was, stuck in a tiny glass prison. It annoyed her now, she didn't remember being even a little short before; that had to have been her captor's fault, as well.

She jumped down, her ill-gotten green long coat fluttering behind her, before tossing the twig away. "Nae." She said, flinching at her own newfound accent. "Ye should'nae n'daenjr yersilf. Ef yer hengrey, ey'll gae faeynd es sem fed."

It certaintly wasn't that, being a teenager, she was getting more than a little antsy, certainly.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:02 pm

Max Strix sat silently on the floor, the area around him littered with books, magazines and newspapers from the last two days. When they had stumbled on this poor refuge, the first thing Max had done was find the school library. He had found books on geography, history, government, a rather strange book concerning a lost gentleman in stripped clothing, 2 books of a series concerning a magical school and a book about bodily functions. While the others had ranged out in search of food, clothes and information, he had barely left the shed except for occasional trips back to the library, made more frequent the moment he recalled the difference between fiction and non-fiction. From the newspapers that others had scavenged and the books he had found, Max had begun to piece together where and when he was. The world had changed so much since he was last in it. Even now, he was skimming a story about how the US and China plan to develop an investment treaty; moments ago he was stunned to read a story about a democratic Russia. It was the real world though. That much he knew for sure. Everything else was a little more…. murky…. but this was real. The sun rose and set on time, a fact which comforted Max enormously, though he wasn’t sure why.

To the world, the man on the floor appeared skinny and small, with long, dark hair and cold eyes. He was perhaps 30, and looked frail in the way that a good librarian or devoted researcher might the product of too many hours spent pouring over old books and notes. HE is hung in rags of scavenged cloth, stained with blood and dirt from the hedge. The books and pages are arranged in a haphazard way, strewn about without any semblance of rhyme or reason. To those who could see him for what he was, the sight was a bit more… unsettling. In this view, he was just as skinny and small, the hair perhaps a bit longer, lanker and darker. His skin is the shade and texture of paper, his face is thin and stretched. His arms are a bit too long and end in large hands equipped with long, nimble fingers that have dark ink stains beneath their curved nails. He skims the books with 2 pairs of sunken eyes, set one above the other, each a different, muted color. He is quiet, his breathing contained and his movements small, as if trying to disappear into the background.

The people here were much too loud, but it was better than being alone. The occasional scrapping of a branch against the side of the building made him shudder involuntarily, and every time he caught the sudden, quick movement of a rodent or bug in the corner of his vision, he re-affirmed his appreciation for the others with him. In the last two days, he had hardly spoke, content to wait with his books and papers.

When the momentary silence was broken by the cloaked person in the corner, Max looked up from his reading. He watched the exchange between the few others without comment. He had no reason to trust these people, but then again, he had no reason not to trust them. If they were going to brave the world outside, Max figured he had better help somehow. He just wasn’t sure how.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:31 pm

Ellie had spent the past few days exploring, or rather, wandering. She had never expected to get away from that horrid place, with its honky-tonk piano and terribly tacky music. She didn't remember much from the past few years, but the music stayed with her, and it made her shiver a bit as she walked about the school grounds. Whenever she had dared to dream of running away from that terrible place, she had always imagined herself emerging into a sun-basked field of flowers. Instead, the sky had been overcast every day since she'd arrived, and the area around the school was not very interesting. She'd carefully stolen away into the school (one of the windows could be jiggled open) and explored through there, too, reveling in the colors on the corkboards. She had found the music room, which delighted her. She needed to sit down at a piano and calm herself down, but when she approached the piano, she saw that it had been clamped down and locked shut. She had wandered into the school's cafeteria and had been dismayed at not finding much food, though she did find a can of frozen peas that she had gladly shared with the others.

She looked at herself in a full-length mirror she had found in the girl's locker room (though she'd also peeked in the boy's locker room, which smelled fiercely, but of something horribly sweet and not of musk and sweat as she'd expected). She had always been tall, slender, and quite attractive, but now there was more to her. Even in the raggedy clothing that she was wearing, there was an unexpected beauty to it all. Her hair had always been raven, but now there was an odd lavender sheen to it, and her fingers had become much longer and more nimble. Her eyes used to be a dull brown, but now had speckles of green and orange in it that made her eyes seem to shine with its own light. Looking in the mirror she was mesmerized... but also scared. She didn't look like herself anymore. The girl peering out of the mirror at her wasn't her.

As for the others, she was glad for the company. Most of them were quite dour and gloomy, though she couldn't understand why. They had just escaped with their lives! They had their whole lives ahead of them to enjoy the things they never thought they'd ever see again! But instead, they were hiding in a musty shed, afraid of the outside world. Ellie had contemplated finding someone's house and stealing some clothing off of their clotheslines, though when she found a house and looked in on it from the safety of the woods, they didn't seem to have clotheslines. In fact, none of the houses she'd found had any. Obviously a lot of things had changed in the past thirty years. She returned to the shed, looking about at the people, or rather, creatures in there with her. She flumped down in a beanbag chair she'd found in the clutter. "Nothing left in the school," she said, a faint smile on her face that she couldn't seem to wipe away no matter how hard she tried, not that she wanted to.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:47 pm

Survival.

For each of you, the baby steps you've taken have been done cautiously, wary of the new world... so different from how you used to live. Some of you... have never been in this place, others have... long ago. The town has changed, you have changed, and as if on cue, a light summer rain begins to drop outside, the drops pattering on the roof of the shed and the faint chill and moisture of it creeping into the unheated shed.

For now, the school was a safe shelter, the only person around that you had noticed was an elderly grounds-keeper who seemed to drop by in the afternoon to check up on things, although he'd left the shed alone... and while being safe was good, the need for food, not to mention blankets, or other necessities if you were going to stay, would motivate those brave enough to venture further into the more populated parts of the town.

It was evening, which meant less people out on the streets, less chance of being spotted, larger chance of being alone. Would the keepers be looking for you? Did they know where you'd gone? The hedge was never permanent, some of you knew this, perhaps it had existed in this town for only a short while before moving on... perhaps it had felt your need to find shelter, perhaps it had been pure chance.

But for now, some of you would need to find food... or would the need to find your loved ones be more important? After all, with your return to this world came also the memories of the life you'd lived... and the people you'd left behind.

[Right, as things are right now, you have a can of peas... and most likely a can-opener. You have a few coats, the things in the shed and the library. During your previous venture out into town, you spotted a gas-station nearby, which seemed to be open more or less 24-7, and further away a grocery store at the start of a business street, chances would be high that there are stores with clothes and/or blankets and such there as well. Go ahead and discuss between each other who does what, if anything.]

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:01 pm

"Oh..." Sorter's shoulders slump when Ellie mentions the school's empty of food. He's still not sure what to think of these other escapees; Max seems to be the one understanding things the most, the only one that still wonders if they've even gotten away, but he's so much older it's hard to relate. The way Harry looms over all the rest of them is very unsettling to Sorter, as while he might be a precise 5' 10.5", he feels much smaller even when Harry's not around. Mackenzy seems to have a nice enough personality from the days they've spent stuck in this shed, but even on the opposite side of the room the glow of her body feels like it burns his skin. Ellie's far too cheerful for their situation...suspiciously so, even. And the others...he hasn't much formed an opinion on them yet.

But they're stuck together, and Sorter doesn't have anyone else right now...did he ever? It's so hard to remember sometimes...but his stomach gurgles, distracting him. He looks up and glances out the window. If nothing else, at least it's growing comfortably dark outside. And it's raining. He's always liked the r-

He's always liked the rain. That's something new. He smiles a bit at the realization, and looks back to Mackenzy. "I won't get spotted this time. We need food and we'll need to go far to find it. I'll go with you if you go so you aren't alone."

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:15 pm

Ellie stood up from the chair and looked outside. "We're going to need to get out of here, eventually. I know I will. Especially because we need to eat. We need to find some food, but how are we going to get any money to buy food. Unless we can steal it..." Ellie paced the room a bit, thinking of ways to get them some food and clothing. They had been left with literally nothing, and had no way to obtain anything. The only way she knew would be to find some of her family.

Then it hit her. What about her family? What had happened to her after she had disappeared? Had her mother and father searched for her? Were they still searching for her? She had to find them, as quickly as possible, or at least contact them. They might still be in New York, but she was on the other side of the country, 35 years behind the times. Then a thought occurred to her. When she disappeared, her father and mother were 52 and 50, respectively. 35 years later, they'd be 87 and 85. Her father might be dead. The thoughts she was having were clearly written across her face, these realizations twisting her face up into a terrible scowl. "My family..." she whispered. "Dad..."

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:27 am

Max considered the room. He was not especially thrilled to depart his new-found refuge for a mad scheme to find food. He knew he should help these people, but was it worth the risk? They were safe here, it was quiet. He had his books, and his notes, and there was work to be done...

He heard Ellie's whispered revelation, and considered his own family. He tried to conjure up images of his mother, or father. Perhaps he had a brother or sister? A kooky aunt? If he passed them on the street, would he recognize them? Was 45 years too long, were they even alive? And his replacement, that thing he helped construct, was it still around, or did it dissolve when his keeper’s deal did? His efforts were rewarded with a few, fleeting images, wisps of memory that he could not hold onto. He did, however, recall 38 different Fae words for mother, 12 for family, 8 for sister, 2 for brother and 650 for father. None for kooky aunt though. No, the memories of his life and family had been taken from him, like much of his life. His head had been hallowed out, and filled with... what? He looked at the books and pages around him. His mind was still in Arcadia. For the past two days he had huddled in this shed, as afraid of the world of his birth as he was of returning to that land. So he did the only thing he knew, he built his Arcadian prison here in this shed. He was keeping the lights dim and cataloging useless information.

Yes, his memories had been taken from him. Yes his mind had been hallowed out. What these things had been replaced with was a new perspective. A wild, weird and wondrous reality. He now knew things that no human had ever dreamt of, he could do things that would make physicists cry. He had explored and memorized the secrets of magic, the inner workings of a fantastic new world. He had suffered, and for what it was worth, he had survived, with new strengths. He just needed to use them, to develop them into something more, something stronger.

Ellie was right, after a fashion. They would get out of here. Max had used his powers before; he had beaten his keeper at the Fae’s own game. He would do it again, through magic, through knowledge, or through power. The first step was survival. He stood, small and frail, turning his eyes from his books to the people around him.

“Creeping Darkness,” he said quietly, his voice raspy, “Distraction and misdirection.”

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:42 pm

Mac shifted her weight from one foot to the other briefly. What was it with some of these people to continue to try and be weird and mysterious?

"Wit th' feck're yae taelk'n 'baet?"

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:24 pm

"Sun's goin' down." Harry rumbled. His own voice surprised him. It was familiar to him, and yet not. It took him a second to speak again. "We're starvin' and half naked. Unless one of yous got family about who don't mind feedin' a pack of freaks we need to go robbin'. Find some place with nobody home. Small town like this has gotta have a mini-mart that don't stay open all hours too." He rose to his feet. He was bigger than everyone else. That was good. Giving orders felt good too. Stability. Control. He'd never realised just how precious those things were until he'd been taken. "Any of yous charmed a lock before, or are we gonna have to smash and grab?"

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:28 am

The sun was sinking, no doubt, but it was a different matter whether it would sink enough to grant them the darkness to pass unnoticed, at least most of them... and the rain seemed to be picking up as well, drip-drop-drop'ing outside as they discussed what they would do.

Chances might be that there would be abandoned houses in the nearby neighborhood, from what Max had gathered the community of Steilacoom was fairly small, only about 6000 people all in all, and a lot of families at that, which meant a substantial few would be out on vacation somewhere...

Any mall in the area would probably be closed by now, the large clock on the side of the school-wall showing half-past nine.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:37 pm

Harry's question triggers another of Sorter's old memories, the itch of an old experience. Keeping his eyes averted from the intimidating figure, he offers a hesitant nod and speaks. "No charms, but I...thinkI've picked locks before...it feels like something familiar. If someone can show me there...oh, and tools. Need..." Standing up, he darts to a nearby roll of old, broken chain link, almost flowing across the room. He tugs at a broken section, trying to break off a suitable length of metal wire, not even noticing how scratched up he's leaving his hands. He grumbles with frustration but keeps at it, despite the uselessness of his efforts.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:12 am

Sorter's first few words stuck with him. Charm. That word didn't mean what it used to. It had something to do with the unreal now. Harry didn't like that. Good thing that the rest of the not-there man's words helped cool his temper and gave him a place in Harry's mind. This one was good with his hands. He was the muscle, as always. Defined terms were comforting.

"What about the rest of yous?" he asked, casting his gaze onto the others who'd holed up with him in the shed. "What do yous do?"

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:09 pm

Max blinked dully at Mackenzy. He was under the impression that he had explained himself perfectly clearly. Ellie's whisper had prompted him to consider his own family, which made him think about his capture. This lead him to examine his durance and what it had cost him. This, in turn, forced him to consider what he had gained, which lead to his freedom. From this, he considered his continued freedom, which implied survival and protection, which could be gained from his new gifts, which included extensive reading and research. During this research he had once read a factual account of the Emir of The Lidless Dunes' exile to the borderlands by the Mistress of Pale Weather because he was successful in his attempt to defend her realm from the machinations of a rival lord. This, of course, necessitated his disgrace and banishment, which was carried out in part to defend the greater good of her singing weevil gardens. Good, rhymed with food, which was a necessary component in survival and the first words of this particular book- spoken by the Emir- were "distraction and misdirection," which happened to be excellent advice for stealing food from a vigilant defender, such as a teenage sales clerk working in a convenience store. This distraction could be accomplished by inciting fear, which was easiest done when the sun had set and Max's own powers were at their best, a fact he had learned with his own contract with darkness, and the creeping things that go with it.

The logical connection was blushingly obvious.... to anyone familiar with the absurd logics working inside Max's head. Processes which he himself was intimately familiar with. Thus, the attempt at providing assistance. Max saw no need to explain it any further, so opted to blink dully at Mackenzy.

He turned his attention to the others gathered. He watched Sorter struggle with the metal wire. There was certainly very little help he could render there, although he thought he understood what the hazy changeling was going for. In answer to Harry's question, Max said, "I know things. Secret things. Magic things," without taking his eyes off Sorter.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Besyanteo » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:05 am

A sound came from the corner. The darkest corner of the room, which was whatever one happened to be opposite of Mac at that time. It would be easy to forget the fellow over in that corner, hiding from Mac's light, always trying to keep something solid between himself and her. At the moment it was a stacked line of cardboard boxes. On the other side was an abnormally tall, very quiet man. He easily pushed seven feet, everything too long and too thin. His skin appeared jaundiced, alternatively too smooth and deeply wrinkled, depending on how he moved or stretched. Every now and then, a dark shape would pass over that skin, and disappear as quickly as it had come. There was a pattern to those shapes, but it was never easy to make out. He wore nothing but a dark, faded red cloak made of material that looked and felt like slightly stiff leather. When he stood up, as he moved to do now, he looked comically like a slightly old, leather bound book. When the other's saw through this, he was still grossly distorted, but far less dramatically at a mere 6'7" with a terribly thin, hungry look about him. He wore the tattered remains of some kind of uniform, along with a dirty, mouldering paper hat that sat on his head at an angle. A fast food service uniform once maybe, but from when exactly? He didn't remember how long he'd been there. He didn't remember his name, either; He had for a long time been called simply "The Journal", and in lieu of another name he went by TJ.

He hadn't said anything the others anything yet... Which is not to say that he hadn't communicated with them, but he hadn't spoken anything but low, animal like sounds since they'd met him. Not for lack of trying. Sometimes he would look meaningfully at one of the others, and begin to work his mouth... but the right sounds didn't come out. He simply didn't seem to remember how to speak. It looked like this was going to be one of those times. He tried for a moment, his lips and cheeks moving awkwardly as he failed to produce any noise at all. Then:

"cugck...h-haa... ffmeh... ehm... ... ehm... hop."

He looked frustrated, as he generally did during these attempts, and then sat back down, rubbing his bald head while gritting his teeth. A too-long arm darted out from the cloak, and with surprising quickness and deftness penned out a message in fine, cursive black ink letters on the shed floor:

"I am hungry as well, but I do not think it would be wise for me to accompany anyone out. As for what I do... I have many things recorded in me, but I can not remember them all. So many things written down... too many thi"

The sentence was left unfinished as he ink stopped flowing, and the arm slowed to a halt. It just remained that way for a moment. Then TJ pulled it back, and was once again wholly lost to view, behind the boxes. He did this from time to time, stopping mid thought while his eyes unfocused for a short time. He often didn't remember the conversation he'd been carrying on afterward.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:35 pm

The occupants in the shed had decided, and amongst the six of them, only one would not be going, TJ. But even staying behind was necessary, apart from the old janitor occasionally making rounds, there would sometimes be children passing by, using the nearby fields for baseball, or basketball, or other activities. None had gone for the shed yet, which was a relief... but if only TJ stayed behind, he could hide himself well enough to avoid notice.

And besides, should he wish, there was still plenty of school left to explore. Although they would undoubtedly encounter less wonders here than in the hedge, or fey, it would perhaps be a welcome change of pace... and, if anything, there might be more, useful things there... or perhaps the library would offer the addled soul some peace. At least it would be quiet.

The wire Sorter was working on finally gave way, and although his hands had, at places, been scrubbed raw he now had something he could make a pick of.

---

As the five set out from the confines of their shed, the cool summer dusk greeted them, droplets of rain occasionally hitting them with surprising force, the small sizzle having turned into the lazy drop-drop of a soon-to-be-letting-up weather. In the distance was the sound of children being called in for the evening, the occasional rebellious laughter as some refused to stay outside and play. The bark of a dog echoed from somewhere down south, and a distance away was the low hum of cars driving past.

They would soon find that the way to the mall-area was quite clear of obstructions, it was the old arcade-style kind of a mall, open-roofed with two major streets forming a cross and shops lining them, a few small buildings on the side housing restaurants and fast-food joints. Most, if not all stores were closed, only the eateries still open for business. Things had certainly changed for many of the five when they had been gone. Fashion from another world lined the store-windows, complex electrical devices were sold as toys, there were even a place solely for the buying and selling of comic-books.

[At the moment, you have encroached upon the mall, and found it mostly abandoned, save for an odd vagabond or youngster-gang. Please declare what you intend to do and we'll continue from there, this goes for TJ as well, who now has the chance to spend some quality time alone]

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:24 pm

Though his hand still stings, Sorter's barely conscious of it, sparing it only the occasional rub or scratch. He stays in back of the group, jumping at the distant laughs, barks, and other sudden noises, suspecting each to be merely the harbinger of an approaching hunter from Faerie, always aware of how little he - any of them, really - has to fight back against anything like that. Beyond keeping with them, he hardly pays any attention to his fellow refugees, so taken by his skittishness.

When they reach the mall, Sorter doesn't seem as surprised as some; rather than gawking at the sights, he stays away from the lit windows and begins appraising what he can see, looking for the place with the best chance at having enough food for their entire group here. Somewhere where the food's already prepared would be best...and easiest to sneak into right now too. Better than one of the eateries for certain. Anywhere far away from the hum-...the others around here.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:53 am

Harry positioned himself at the front of the group, moving with a rolling gait and peering menacingly at the darkness. It was important that he did so. Nobody would mess with them now.

He didn't like the mall. So much of what was on display was unfamiliar. Gadgetry was everywhere. The clothes were odd. He didn't like it at all. Nor did he like how it made him wonder what else had changed. He needed to stay in control.

"So you gonna ch-work a lock off one of these joints or what?" he growled at Sorter.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:50 am

Sorter finds that there seems to be an area of the mall called the food court. It's little more than a small open-air plaza with cobblestones and a fountain in the middle. There's an italian restaurant still open, a place that serve what seems like Tha food and a pub with unfamiliar music mixing with the bustle of people. There are a few cafeterias, a small bakery and a pizzeria that seems to have closed for the day recently. There's a significantly larger grocery store further down the street, but it seems to be closed as well.

Harry's gotten his intimidation down right, and he can quickly spot how some late-walkers steer off down side-streets as he comes lumbering. A woman who seemed to have noticed too late hurried on, just a few metres next to them, with her eyes rather determinedly fixed on the ground.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:00 pm

Looking over his options, Sorter settles on the bakery as the safest and closest option with actual finished food for them. Keeping his eyes peeled for any sign of approaching people (though Harry seems to be taking care of that well enough), he starts at work on the lock with his improvised pick.

(How are you handling skill resolution, Christian? Do I roll, or do you?)

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Besyanteo » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:18 am

TJ, for his part, goes to explore the school when it gets darker. It's not hard for him to slip in or out, but he's always very careful about being seen. Inside, he would sit in the dark auditorium... and just be. The darkness and silence were reminders of the time he spent in Fey, but of the pleasant times- the times where he was not in use, the closest things to sleep. Time to organise, to rest, to almost dream. Now, on this side, he could sleep for real, but he still cleaved to the darkness and silence. Until the others returned, he would spend hours here... trying to remember how to do the things with the throat and the lips and the tongue the way the others did. He knew it was in him, hidden somewhere. Amongst thousands and thousands of pages, it was there. Maybe not tonight, but he would find it again.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:33 am

Harry kept an eye out for any trouble. He didn't stand too close to Sorter. If he'd done that then trouble would see them both as soon as Harry saw it. This way he could warn people. It was an old, familiar task. A bit of his life from before.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:32 am

Sorter picks out the small metallic wire he's worked into a makeshift pick and sets to work, remembering old and half-forgotten skills all the while Harry and the rest stands around. It doesn't take long, no more than a minute perhaps, before there's a faint click from the door and without a single soul having come close enough to see what they're doing.

The door to the bakery slips open and the faint whiff of bread seeps out. While obviously there's nothing freshly baked, the smell lingers in the small store. No one's around, nor does there seem to be any more complicated security system's in place, who'd rob a bakery after all?

Inside, there are a few tables and chairs propped up in a corner and inside the display case there are rows upon rows of cookies, crackers and other, longer-lasting produce. There are probably... at least a dozen different kind of cookies, everything from chocolate-chip to hazelnut, and a bit further down the lane there's an ice-cream case with three rows of 10 different flavors. They're closed for the evening, but it's not hard to imagine the soft, cold, deliciousness of mango sorbet, cinnamon & apple or Tutti Frutti. There are even a few cakes as well, but the real deal comes when the group spots the lines of loaves. There's dark bread, white, quite organic, you name it.

There's still a significant amount of bread missing from the shelves, but as the group enters, they can spot another room connected to the area behind the counter, it seems to be kitchen, as for what else there is inside, they can't see from here.

---

TJ, on the other hand, found quite some peace in the auditorium. It's not remotely big by any standards, but it's quiet, and airy, which suits him just fine. Slowly, slowly the memories boil up to the surface, he can remember having... done these things, once in his lifetime, but it seems the knowledge isn't stored inside him like everything else. It... it isn't something his mas- former master ever wrote, or even chose to speak about...

Caught up in his thoughts, TJ barely notices how time passes, the sky growing darker and darker until...

"Eherm..." a voice quite close to him suddenly clears its throat politely. "I hope I'm not bothering you, but would you be so kind as to... just... move a seat or two aside?" He can't tell if the voice belongs to a man or a woman and it seems to come from... everywhere really, or maybe inside his head... maybe it's just him thinking?

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:04 am

Harry moved for the door as soon as Sorter had opened it, not saying a single word of thanks. He had more pressing concerns. He didn't even stop to look around, his feet taking him to the nearest source of baked goods. Loaf in hand, he began to feed. He'd forgotten how good food could taste, even if it was just day old bread. He said something made unintelligible by the amount of food in his mouth but there was no doubt that he was a happy man.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Besyanteo » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:05 pm

TJ started at first, stopping just short of flailing his too-long limbs, before he realized that this couldn't be one of the gentry: They'd never have simply asked him to do something. Whoever it was, if it was someone at all, didn't sound overly hostile, either. With some trepidation, he stood up and did as requested. He waited nervously to see what, if anything, would result from this.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:53 pm

"Raeyght." Mac says, crossing her arms and looking around quickly. "Maev qwek, grib jes' th' aeld stiff, aen let's get aewttae 'ere qwek, 'fir naewon naytes's es."

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:11 pm

It must have looked comical to anyone watching the raggedly dressed and strangely sorted group. Max stared at the world in dumb wonder- his mouth agape and his eyes wide- as they came upon the mall. Everything was so different, so vibrant so....loud. He wandered along with his companions in a daze, lost in thought. The was some much here to learn, so many books to read and catalog. In this reverie there was no room for the when and where of his companions; he ran into several of them multiple times. It was, for him, a sort of sensory overload. The sight, sounds and smells confused him and he wished for a quiet place where he could sort it all out, put each in its proper place to be stored and used later. He knew he would have to get some modern history and technology books soon if he was to ever figure this new world out.

When they reached the bakery, Max stood stiffly, trying to remember why he had come. His stomach quickly reminded him as soon as the door to the bakery opened. He stepped in cautiously. This seemed a bit easy, but then again, good things always came in threes. Always. Without fail. That was something of a rule in faerie, he recalled. Always threes. So, if his escape was 1, and their shelter was 2, then free food would be 3. Unless, of course, he was forgetting to count something. In that case, this would be a trap. Or nothing at all. Or nothing that turned into a trap. Or a trap that turned into nothing. Naturally, this whole trap/no trap business could be avoided if Max ran away right now, but perhaps that was part of the trap. People usually meet their fate when attempting to avoid it. Unless, of course, his fate was to not die in a trap. Which would mean that, if he wanted to not die in a trap, he should endeavor to get killed in a trap, so as to attempt to avoid his fate and thereby meet it. Which would be, to not die in a trap by entering the building, which he thought was a trap. Then again, what if he was fated to die in a trap? Did the "meet fate when avoiding it" rule work backwards? Perhaps he should still attempt to die in the trap by entering the building. If he actively attempted to fulfill his fate, would that mean that he would never meet it? Unless the building was not a trap, but was in fact the third thing in the list of 3 good things, which would be avoiding his fate and would thereby ensure that the building became a trap and killed him.

Max stood at the doorway, debating the various merits of each eventuality. He was utterly perplexed.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:49 am

"Mph omph" Harry retorted before swallowing and selecting another loaf to tear into. The girl had the right idea, but that wasn't the point. He was in control. He'd leave when it pleased him. Right now, he wanted more food.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:09 am

With further exploration, the wayward vagabonds soon discovered that aside from the day old loaves of bread lining the counter, a significant amount had also been discarded in a large bin. While potentially unhygienic, the bin seemed fairly clean, most likely emptied every morning, and amongst the discarded things were plenty more sweetbreads and other baked goods.

Max, however, found himself the sudden subject of an inquiring glance as someone seemed to have noticed him standing in the doorway, and moving over it became apparent that the massive, three-headed figure was in fact three teenagers, two boys and a girl about... their mid-teens, all three dressing in a peculiar black way with strangely dyed, long hair. One of the boys had several piercings in his face and all three wore rather heavy make-up around their eyes.

"Hey, what's going on here?" The pierced one said with an unnerving smile on his face, "You breaking in, mister?" The two behind him sniggering, "what, nothing good in the trashcans?" It didn't look as if they'd spotted anyone in the store yet, just poor Max who was standing in the doorway.

---

"Much obliged, much obliged." The voice said solemnly and TJ felt a slight chill passing him by before the mattress where he'd been seated sank a bit, as if someone'd sat down right there. Except there wasn't anyone there. At all.

"I do hope they start soon, I do. Thomas is so nervous, I do hope it will go well. I would like to be there, of course, but I'm afraid I can't. Really unfortunate." The voice didn't seem chatty, it spoke calmly and conversationally, and occasionally paused as if TJ had spoken something and it was replying.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Grabbing smaller items - rolls, older pastries - and pocketing them, Sorter freezes as he hears the sounds from the doorway. The worst possibilities cycle through his head as he fades into the shadows, watching carefully. Even after seeing they're just mortal, he doesn't let his guard down, keeping utterly quiet and slowly inching to the far side of the room, his form hunched and his expression wary.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Besyanteo » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:42 pm

TJ isn't quite sure what to make of this. Of course, this has all the classic hallmarks of a ghost- to someone familiar with modern day sci-fi. However, TJ hadn't been around to watch The Sixth Sense like most other Washingtonians, and is quite perplexed. He looks at the spot where the coldness is coming from and wonders if maybe he didn't remember something about this... It could be? He looked, and looked. Good think he had that robe to keep him more or less warm.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:05 am

(OOC: Sorry about not posting, guys, life has been getting in the way.)

The entire way to the mall, Ellie almost skipped, wondering what it was going to be like going to a mall. She hadn't been to one in a very long time. She barely remembered what it looked like. After entering the mall, however, she was convinced that it looked nothing like the sort she'd been to. This place was much more glamorous and pretty. She stopped at each store front, staring inside to see what it sold, and always taking quite a while when she found a store that sold clothing. She was absolutely giddy.

When they found the bakery, she helped herself to the bread, as she was indeed quite hungry. She scarfed down as much bread as she could, and it was quite delicious, despite being slightly stale from having been sitting out all day. While she ate, she turned to Sorter and asked, "So, we need to put on regular people clothes, rather than these rags, and try and blend in. Do you think you'll be able to break into one of those clothing stores?" She was definitely looking forward to wearing something that wasn't raggedy and tattered.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ElComodoro » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:01 pm

Max's internal debate came to a screeching halt when he noticed the teens. He looked around helplessly. He hadn't been good at dealing with situations like this when he was human, much less now. To complicate matters, these three looked so strange, dressed the way they were. Max just wanted them to go away and leave him alone, but the leader of the group, the one with bits of metal, seemed to have other ideas.

The leader seemed so confident, like he knew something Max did not. Maybe this was no ordinary teenager. Maybe this was something more. Or maybe this was just a child, looking to impress his friends. Perhaps underneath were secret fears. There was an opportunity here, and it was not lost on Max. There were things to be learned, abilities to be tested. Max loved secretes.... and he knew fear. It was time these three left.

"Didn't anyone ever teach you not to talk to strangers? Hm?" Max croaked, widening his eyes and taking a step forward. He cocked his head to the side and looked at the three hungrily, "Didn't they warn you about people like me? Hm?" He recalled the many contracts he had struck and invoked the one he wanted, slipping through the loophole this situation created. He briefly inhaled the smell of dead leaves as autumn's power began its work. "Hehe. Dead things groan and darkness loans your terror to be known."

(ooc:Using 'Witches' Intuition' with the catch. I assume you roll?)

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Shinigori V2 » Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:51 pm

For now, Mac kept back, using her small stature to be of some use hiding behind a counter. It would be all too easy for those kids to rat them out in exchange for some sort of personal gain.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby darkknight61189 » Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:13 pm

When Ellie heard the invocation that Max began, she jumped clear out of her skin. She wasn't sure what was going on, but she had only ever heard her captors talk like that, with words so imbued with power. Was Max actually one of the Gentry? This was the first time since she had escaped that she had even begun to consider if she had actually escaped, and whether or not she'd gotten away scott free. She was suddenly very aware of her own vulnerability there, and realized the vulnerability she had put herself in by inherently trusting these others.

After the moment of panic came into the light of clarity, however, she realized that Max was turning his attentions to the kids that had seen them, who she had not noticed. She calmed down a bit, though she was still quite wary of the others and her mind began to turn towards paranoia. She watched the kids to see their reaction to the disturbing words and visage of Max.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Jak Snide » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:30 am

Harry stopped shovelling food into his mouth and took note of what was going on. Nosy kids? Hassle, but rarely trouble. Still wanted to deal with them. Messing with their plan. He trundled over to the doorway, wiping the crumbs from his face with a backhand gesture, wondering what the hell the one they'd left there was yammering about.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:49 pm

Though Sorter keeps quiet, not responding to Ellie's question while the kids are in the doorway, he can't help but have his attention drawn by Max. At first, his reaction is much like hers, until he comes to the same realization she did. He never even considered...they can use the same power? He's felt something before, but he never even thought about...

It's something to ask about. After.

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Re: Changeling - Season's Greeting

Unread postby ChristianC » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:22 am

Max felt a stirring in his mind as a silver thread of thought reached out and latched onto the young man leading the kids. For a few moments nothing seemed to happen, then he felt it. The emotion, the slight terror trembling at the base of the young man's heart as images of drunk, drugged homeless filled his mind. Trench-coated maniacs with sharp knives, killing in the dark, stalking between alleys and taking bad little children from their parents.

The young man himself seemed slightly unsure about himself, but regained his composure to blurt out: "Hey, watch it wiseass. You think you can scare us with that bullshit?" he took a half-step forward, trying to look intimidating... but Max had it now, he knew what made the boy pull up his sheet above his head at night... and he could exploit it.

(Sorry for the short post, really busy at the moment :| )

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