Chapter Two Part I
Throughout the night, some creatures drew close to the fire, but at a closer look they seemed to nearly be ordinary animals...save for the fact that they were mutated. A fox with four eyes, birds with three legs, a rabbit with six legs, a couple of snakes with horns, and a slew of other oddities came to the edge of the forest to watch the unusual people making camp. They did not encroach on their personal space, but watched from a distance instead, like little sentinels on watch for curiosity's sake. Olwen and RavenClaw likely saw a lot of them, as well as Thaeloc. Cecile pretended to sleep from outside Naledi and Emmie's tent, secretly keeping a watchful eye. They didn't harm anything though, and any time someone may have trailed close to them, they were quick to leave of their own volition.
The sounds coming from the forests all night were a different matter. There were inhuman screams, monstrous grunts, and heavy rustling and footfalls. Nothing chased the campfire, however, as if whatever beasts were inside had an innate fear of it for some reason. There may be a flash here or there of a monstrous face, but it would always still be deep in the woods, watching from a distance unless the firelight happened to glint in their eyes. That seemed to keep them at bay through the night.
Daylight was a curious thing. The sun definitely rose, but it was still like it's light was trying to penetrate a film. There were clouds, but they were dark, and even with it obvious that daytime was upon everyone, it still had a certain haze that kept its reach minimal. As such, it's dreary and overcast like it might rain sooner rather than later.
Katyin is early to rise, haven't slept as long as she can. At first, she feels hopeful, as if everything is okay...but then she remembers. Carlie is asleep beside her, and Katyin makes her way out of the tent carefully as not to wake her. Coldridge, even in the morning, is still somewhat dim, as if it swallows the very rays of the sun. It's much better than nighttime, but still lacking in the true, unfiltered sunlight that Katyin so desperately misses. She takes a look around camp to see who is where and what each person awake is up to before having a seat near the fire and staring out at the wheat field. It stretches on for miles in many directions. "I don't see the knapsack that Carlie was talking about," she says to no one in particular. "The wheat is so tall." She changes her mind about sitting then, pushing to a standing position and trying to find the knapsack that Carlie spoke of the night before. After a few minutes in silence, she points to the far east. "I think there's a...great. There's a body with a knapsack on way over there. Looks like he or she is propped up by a rock or something. How Carlie even saw that blows my mind." She glances at Olwen and RavenClaw then, as they were the lookouts from last night. "Should we wake the others and get an early start? We don't know what's in the wheat other than trouble."
Carlie wriggles out of the tent then, rather quickly at that. In the blink of an eye she is at Katyin's side, instantly shadowing her. She rubs her eyes some before blinking a few times and focusing the full brunt of her attention on Katyin. "I don't know if there is a cause to the razor-like movements of the wheat, like someone controlling it, or maybe it's sentient. I just know that it carved up my legs pretty bad. Part of my hips too. It's tall." Carlie leans her forehead on Katyin's arm, and Katyin curves her arm around Carlie's shoulders in a sisterly hug in response.
Katyin inhales deeply and exhales slowly, maintaining the hug loosely. "Maybe you should sit this one out too, Carlie. I worry about you."
Carlie looks incredibly upset at Katyin's suggestion, pulling away from her and scowling faintly. "I worry about you! Yesterday, you were more tired than I was, yet you still went into the water with everyone else! I can't just sit back while everyone else does the hard stuff. It's like you said yesterday, it's not fair. We're a team, right? Well we can't be a team with half of us stuck at a campsite. I'm going in again. I'm not scared, and I got enough sleep that I'm not even tired right now! I'm just hungry, but so are you! If you can endure, then I can too. That's just how it is."
Katyin frowns at Carlie's outburst, which was likely loud enough to wake anyone still asleep, and she hugs the girl to her chest. "Remember, we have to be quiet, Carlie. I yield, though. If you want to participate, I can't stop you. The wounds on your legs just don't look that great. It looks like more than cuts in places. More like the wheat carved pieces out of you. I know you have to be in pain, that's all. I'm sorry if my concerns offended you. If you feel up to making the trek, then I can't stop you. Now let's be quiet for awhile until everyone is up."
Olwen wonders how anyone could sleep with the sounds she'd heard all night long, or the critters that had ventured close to the campsite. She would feel more at ease with her sword, yet that wasn't an option at this point. There wasn't much to craft in the way of weaponry, aside from sticks and rocks - so hopefully today would yield better tools. The petite woman had procured some shells from the ocean floor, which she pocketed in case some cutting needed to be done. Katyin and Carlie's stirring draws her eyes that direction, still trying to decide if the two were indeed trustworthy...they might be their only way off of this rock, right? She'd finished putting on her armor the night prior, just in case any of those monsters decided to get ballsy. "So into th'wheat, eh?" Stepping close to the edge of it, a sneer comes over her face as the wheat reaches well over her waistline. "Th'f*** kinna sh** is this?" Carlie is stared at incredulously, as she is just as short. "Ain' jes' yer legs scratched up, nay? It's tall...Than' goodness fer armor." Ravenclaw is offered a look, "Thin' ya kin' hack it as a wolfy, Atlas?" Cecile might be okay with her abilities, but what of everyone else?
Cecile is still as she'd been the entirety of the night; unmoving while keeping track of emotions outside the camp, lest any unwelcome visitors manage to get close enough to ambush the camp proper. Those that neared the perimeter were observed carefully, relief felt when they decide not to challenge those still awake and guarding the area proper, while part of her mind drifts and dwells on the events so far. When they've been processed, the empath's thoughts turn to her daughter, the knowledge she was waiting used as a source of strength and resolve, all the better to protect those unable to defend themselves in any way. As the dawn finally breaks, only with the sounds of Carlie and Katyin speaking reaching her easily, does the vampire then slowly break the ruse of having asleep, a twitch of her head here, a foot movement there, until there's a stretch and her eyes open. Standing now while looking first to the sky and then the wheat field proper, there's a moment taken to muse on Olwen's words, and then a 'mornin' offered to those awake. Immediately after, "I'll carry you on my back," is said as Carlie is looked to, since there was an obligation to ensure no further harm came to the teenager, if it could be helped, while musing about the next step of the plan.
RavenClaw sits up as Katyin and Carlie exit their tent, having been taking a brief respite from watching the field as the sun began to rise and struggle against the permanent haze over Coldridge. He stands and trots a few feet away from Olwen, so that she isn't drowned as he vigorously shakes the morning damp from his shaggy fur. Staring into the wheat field as he listens to the others conversing, the wolf tilts his head, pondering. He bares his teeth in a low grunt as if an undesired decision has just been made, which is followed by the rather unpleasant sound of the large lupine coughing and gurgling under his breath. Eventually more familiar sounds are made, as with a final hack and a shake of his head, Raven speaks. "Ack, ugh...there. We go." He turns back to the group, looking a little worn out in the face from his brief ordeal. "Been years...since I tried to do this." His voice is clear enough, but intermixed with a low growling undertone, Raven struggling at first to make his words audible. "Wolf form...better for field. Thick fur. But don't like not being able to communicate." He coughs, but his words slowly become clearer. "Olwen and I should have a good chance of getting through." He glances between the motley assortment that makes up their group. "I don't really...know any of you, but we're all stuck together...until we get home. So hopefully we can...get along, aye?" He glances in the direction of Cecile and Thaeloc in particular. "Now, how do we want to deal with this angry field of weeds?"
Naledi had laid down the previous night in hopes of this being some awful nightmare and she would reappear in her bed in Lliwgar upon her waking. But sleep alluded the elf, how could it not with the hellish noises that permeated the normal night sounds? She would doze off during a few moments of unusual quiet only to be snapped awake by something doubly as awful as the last screech. By the time she heard the others stirring, Naledi had been properly awake for a couple of hours, made noticeable by the dark shadows under her eyes. With a grunt of discomfort, Naledi pushes herself up and gives a slow roll of her shoulder. The wound had properly clotted but it made her skin tight and she carefully goes about stretching it to loosen it without reopening it. Eventually she exits the tent she shares with Emmie to join the others. "Mornin'," she mumbles through a stifled yawn and pass of her hand through her tousled hair. Like nearly everyone else, her eyes are drawn to the field of angry wheat where their next horror awaited.
Katyin watches as Olwen approaches the wheat, and her comment makes the pyromancer smile just slightly. She was so small, but packed full of fire, and Katyin finds it endearing...until she realizes that Olwen is more at risk than everyone else. Katyin was fairly tall herself and five foot ten, so the wheat, while posing a threat, was not going to be as problematic as it was for Olwen. Katyin frowns at the thought, though Cecile's words to Carlie are surprising. The pyromancer looks at Carlie then, who seems to be watching Cecile curiously.
Carlie listens to Cecile's offer, looking a little dumbfounded. She didn't want to slow anyone down, and she didn't want to be a burden, so when Emmie rouses and says she's going to stay behind, Carlie frowns, then looks agitated, and says she will stay behind too. "I appreciate the offer...Cecile? I just can't do that though. The last thing I want is to be a burden, and you might be needed for something else more important. Being carried, I would be useless out there, so maybe it is actually better if I stay here at camp, like Katyin said. Thank you for thinking of me, though." Her large eyes convey much emotion and she turns to Kayin then, hugging her again. "This is the last time I'm sitting one out. I mean it. Please be careful out there. You saw what happened to my legs and even my hips. I'm going to worry until all of you are back."
Katyin hugs Carlie back, and tucks some of her hair behind her ears. "I do think it is better. Besides, I've seen you fight some monsters before. Thaeloc and Emmie could probably use your expertise."
Carlie laughs some, but it's a defeated kind of laugh. "Swinging burning branches is hardly fighting a monster, but I guess we already have a fire and wood nearby, just in case." Carlie watches as Naledi emerges, looking at her curiously. "Are you going to brave the wheat field or are you going hang back with us?" She motions to Thaeloc, who has volunteered to stay, and Emmie, who has decided to stay at camp as well.
Katyin kisses the top of Carlie's head and makes her way toward the wheat, which is swaying in a gentle breeze. Overhead, the skies darken and there is a crackling of thunder, causing Katyin to shudder. "Well, looks like we have a couple of miles to trek through the wheat. I'm not really prepared for this mentally, but it has to be done. I just hope there is some food in that knapsack. If I make it out of this alive, I'm going home and eating my weight in lasagna." RavenClaw's question about how to deal with the wheat is met with a sad smile. "It seems as though the only way to deal with it is just...run through. It's going to be hell on me, With that said, Katyin ventures into the wheat cautiously, its height about mid-thigh to her. Carlie watches as the group walks into the wheat field, giving Naledi a last glance. "Now's the time to make up your mind. It's a supply run." She points at a figure in the distance. "That body has a knapsack that looks kind of full. If we get it, it may prove to be our saving grace."
Emmie decides to stay back at camp, so Thaeloc makes the decision to stay and protect her and Carlie.
Thunder crackles in the distance, and lightning flashes here and there, but no rain seems to come just yet. The clouds are dark and brooding, and as the group progresses through the field, the electricity in the air becomes tangible. It isn't until the group is about half a mile in that the wheat begins to sway, slapping lightly against everyone's legs, and for the shorter individuals in the party, against their hips.
Rather suddenly, a single piece of wheat whips out toward Olwen's hip, and though it looks ordinary, if it finds purchase, it will leave a deep gash. If it draws blood, the wheat will come to life, shaking and whipping around as the breeze picks up with an intense chill. Two pieces of wheat reach out quickly to try and cut up RavenClaw's legs, but a few more that are perhaps more ambitious reach for his torso and face. Cecile is not forgotten, and the wheat reaches for her hamstrings, looking to slice them. Finally, Katyin's legs are assailed with attempts to chop them up, and she cries out as one actually hits it's intended mark. First blood has been drawn...and the field begins to whistle as it awakens and fully comes to life around the party.
RavenClaw shuts his eyes, hopping nimbly around as the wheat lashes toward him. Relying on his nose and ears, the lean lupine ducks and weaves to the best of his abilities, though unavoidably the occasional stem would whip along the matted fur of his neck and back. His ears flick as he listens for the soft whistling of air to judge the path of the wheat strands as they strike at him. The whole time he is straining his nose, trying to get a handle on the direction of the corpse in possession of the napsack; the smell of the body, a sign of food supplies, anything to point him on the right course through the field. Getting more frustrated than anything, Raven decides to test his luck and lashes back, attempting to snap his jaws around a clump of the whipping fibers near the base and tear them from their roots.
Naledi gives Carlie a rueful smile and inclines her head towards the field. "I'll go with them." As Katyin explains about going into the field she takes her place near the edge of it. "I run a lot," she offers with a shrug. Perhaps those near daily runs would prove to be useful beyond helping her shed those pesky five pounds. The elf's biggest lamentation is not having her running shoes on her. With a quick wave to the trio who stays behind, Naledi turns to follow the others into the field and despite nothing happening at first, the elf is obviously weary of the grain, her blue eyes darting back and forth. Of course it doesn't take too long before things take a turn and the wheat comes alive and begins to lash out at her teammates. Naledi is frozen for a moment, torn between staying and helping the others fight this or attempt to make a run for it to try and find the corpse that holds the pack. She takes a few strides ahead of the others, but does not stray far--she needed to stay close in case the others needed help, and there was no point in pushing ahead and leaving herself vulnerable and alone. Without any weapons or abilities of her own, Naledi does her best to dance out of the reach of the wheat.
The Wheat thrashes, closing in around the group, including the blades that have previously been mowed down by each footfall. Some blades are so propelled by the wind that they are removed from the ground and become projectiles. One of those shoots toward Cecile with perfect precision, while another looks to stab RavenClaw in the shoulder like a knife. Katyin has several blades of wheat whip at her hips as she runs, and Naledi is met with the same level of malice as Katyin, the wheat swaying quickly to hopefully slap against the elf's body like razor blades. Olwen seems to have multiple projectiles moving her way, and the wheat seems to gleam in the dim light. Just as things couldn't get any worse, there is a loud BOOM of thunder, and the rain finally lets down in a torrent, making the field slick with water and felled wheat. It only takes a few seconds to realize that the rain is unnatural, and it burns, entirely unavoidable.
Olwen stares at Ravenclaw when he speaks, adopting a sly sort of smirk. "Guess it ain' a proper magical ques' wit'out a talkin' critter, eh? Ne'er knew werewolves could speak in tha' form." She rolls one shoulder in a light shrug, watching as everyone else emerges from their tents. The smaller woman clicks her tongue at Naledi, "We need'a clean tha' out, a'fer it gets infected." It was a bite wound, after all. Once everything has been decided, she starts into the wheat with everyone. A bare brush is felt just at her backside, causing the Half-Gnome to glare, "This wheat is try'na get fresh, eh?" She is fortunate to have dodged the next whip toward her, though stares over the field with a wary eye. The whipping seems their only trouble, things steadily begin getting worse with the projectile wheat and now acid rain! Olwen flicks a few times with her thumb and forefinger, sending some projectiles of her own which hopefully blow up some of her foes. Some wheat manages to cut into her, the cut not even refreshed by the rain. She picks up the pace and runs faster.
Cecile , as she's heading into the field proper, makes sure Thaeloc is warned that he'd end up finding out what the earth, or tree bark... or both, tasted like if Emmie was hurt at all. Carlie's comment had been nodded to as well, and now Olwen, RavenClaw, and Kaylin are followed, the trip uneventful though her guard is up the entire time. With the feel of something brushing against her leg, the caution turns to full alertness as her companions are attacked. Moving reflexively, there's an attempt made to avoid it by twisting to the side with the grace of a ballroom dancer. Whether this helps is left unseen, and already the empath is rushing ahead toward the destination. Alas, the sudden downpour of rain doesn't help, as the expected coolness is nothing but pain, leaving her desperately wanting to cry out in pain and sucuumb to the unexpected shock of it. It's only survival instinct which delays such a response, though this is a detriment as well, for the wayward blade is aiming right for her upper back, unknown to the redhead.
Katyin watches as the group gets attacked, ignoring her own injury even as blood runs down her leg. She moves despite the pain, coming up beside RavenClaw after his injury. "We're still far away from the body," she says while still moving, narrowly escaping the wheat meant for her. "But it's this way. It looks like it is miles away from us. I don't know if we can make it..." Her voice trails off as she keeps moving, but looking at RavenClaw, she sees the blood and there is pity in her eyes. Unfortunately, Katyin is already winded due to her prior injuries and days without food. Each step is a struggle, but she perseveres. "This way..." She repeats, but she is suddenly assaulted by the wheat so fiercely that she gets knocked down and pummeled by it. Her cloak is ripped to shreds in the back and multiple lacerations open on the tender flesh back there. She lets out a scream of pain, but pushes through it to get back to her feet. She stumbles and hobbles, and eventually just ditches her cloak altogether. Maybe it can be fashioned into bandages later. Finally, with the body in sight, she sees that Naledi is the closest, and she decides to encourage her. "Go Naledi! It's right there! You can make it." Sure enough, Naledi has a clear shot, the wheat avoiding her it seems. There is a small clearing with a dead body that has a knapsack. It looks full of supplies. Now it just needs to be claimed.
Carlie watches from a distance with intense concentration. She stays just barely out of the rain due to the canopy of leaves belonging to the tree over their campsite, but she looks concerned. Any time Katyin takes a hit, it is all Carlie can do not to race after her. Instead, she remains firmly planted on the edge of the field, whispering something under her breath while wringing her hands in a nervous manner.
Naledi inhales sharply as a blade of wheat catches her in the hip, easily piercing through her shorts and biting her skin below. Stumbling back she manages to escape any lasting damage they may have caused thankfully. Unfortunately, this blood thirsty grain isn't the only horror the group needs to contend because the rain which, instead of offering some type of cooling relief to the stings of the wheat, causes its own damage in the way of burns. Naledi yelps as the droplets land on her pale skin and she whips her head around frantically trying to find something to help defend herself and her companions. But something else catches her eye--up ahead is the very corpse with a knapsack that is hopefully filled to the brim with necessary supplies. The elf poises herself to run but for a moment she doesn't move, looking back at the others who are struggling in their respective fights. However, it's Katyin's yell of encouragement that compels her forward. Naledi is off, running as fast and as steadily as her legs will carry her. Miraculously, she manages to make it to the body without any wheat-inflicted injuries. She doesn't allow her mind to process that this is a dead body, and instead keeps her gaze locked on the knapsack. Ignoring her burning skin, Naledi skids before the corpse and with a grunt, rolls it over and begins to yank and tug on the knapsack. It takes a few moments, the elf looking back frantically towards her group members, but she finally manages to work it free. Quickly, she slides it only to her on back and she's pleased to feel the weight of supplies inside. Securing the straps over her shoulders, Naledi begins to run once more, this time towards the group and into the fray.
Naledi gets a worn, faded, cloth knapsack.
Olwen has already had enough of the angry wheat and acid piss raining from the sky, she spits at the wheat and wipes away droplets that burn at her clothes and skin. Thank goodness for decent aim, those explosions bought a little time. "We need'a get off this devil's islan'. I need'a bottle up some'o this rain fer that pumpkin'...let her know wha' kin'a islan' she done sen' me to." Katyin's calls to Naledi brings Olwens focus to the elf, which in turn gives her motivation to speed toward Naledi. After the undead people beneath the water, she wouldn't be surprised to find this corse animated as well. A look is cast over the field, ensuring everyone is safe...or as safe as they can be. "She's got the pack!" Maybe they could get back to camp and into shelter, if the wheat would be so generous.
RavenClaw learns a harsh lesson as his teeth find purchase around the fibrous assailants, fighting back the urge to yelp as his maw pops back open and the big wolf hops back a step, heavy paws splayed in the soil. He runs his tongue gingerly along his gums, blood trickling from the side of his mouth. The distraction costs him further, and he barely notices in time as his ears swivel toward the spearlike stem of wheat lancing toward his shoulder. He twists to avoid it, but isn't able to fully evade as the projectile slices along his left shoulder, red streaks of blood matting the fur further. The pain is not alleviated by the rain, sadly, which only manages to sting the open wound further. Pondering his next move through the pain, his ears perk up with a start as Naledi races past them all, practically gliding through the field unharmed. Raven puffs a soft snort of admiration, and leaves the matter to the elf for now, turning to see how the others are faring. Katyin appears the worst off as Raven sees her buffeted to the ground, a wince creasing the wolf's face. He changes course a little and dashes toward Katyin instead, snatching her shredded cloak off the ground and sliding to a halt next to her. Olwen's shout gives Raven some relief--assuming Naledi can repeat her acrobatics on the way out--and he turns to Katyin, woofing past the tattered cloak in his mouth. He bobs his head back toward the camp, indicating they should take advantage of Olwen's distraction to flee the field. Assuming Katyin takes the suggestion, Raven will take point clearing the way, pushing a path through the wheat for the battered guide to follow.
Cecile keeps moving, adrenaline serving as a motivator to continue toward the backpack even through the unceasing torment of her skin figuratively being on fire. Thankfully, the razor grain had narrowly avoided making contact, only cutting through a leg of her pants in passing, a fact she becomes aware of only when Olwen shouts and lets loose more explosions. Turning in a half-circle, the empath is already heading back, only to feel and hear Katyin's pained cries even through the rain. Teeth gritted, it's the pyromancer she now heads toward, intent on bringing the wounded individual back to the relative safety of the camp, regardless of if it means she's hurt more in the process. Only the sight of RavenClaw taking the lead and assisting the guide stops this, and now it's back to the sanctuary Cecile goes, even with a sea of wheat ready to shred her good serving as an obstacle.
The Wheat continues to assault the party within it, not done just yet. It noticeably stays away from Naledi, who moves too fast for it to find purchase. As a result, it focuses its attention on the group she's partially left behind. Multiple projectiles shoot out toward Olwen's face with a razor's edge. The rain pours in, burning any skin it touches, and lightning flashes across the sky. Olwen's explosions, though effective in distracting the wheat, also manage to set the field on fire from the sparks. The fire, despite the rain, seems to be closing in on the group with the acrid scent of smoke, and whatever the rain is made of only causes it to spread rapidly. Now infuriated, the wheat attempts to thrash both Katyin and RavenClaw over and over again, and Cecile is met with several projectiles aimed for her chest and torso in general. The wheat attempts to trip Olwen so that it can pummel her with tiny blades while she's hopefully face down, so great is it's anger. Now the party is met with a rapidly encroaching fire, acidic rain, and the threat of the wheat field they've been battling this entire time...
Katyin sees that Naledi has the knapsack, and she looks at the path they've made from camp. She turns quickly, lightly touching RavenClaw's fur. "Come back with me. I feel kind of...weak..." She sees the blood trickling from his mouth and frowns, but she makes her best attempt to follow him even though each step feels so heavy. She's oblivious that Cecile wants to help her, even if the vampire does circle in closer, but the look on her face is weary to anyone looking at her. She tries to wet her top lip, but her tongue is dry, and the beating she took along her back slows her down. "Go on without me if you have to. You shouldn't have to slow things down to keep up with me. If it comes between you and me, choose yourself." It's loud enough that the entire group can probably hear her. Katyin sounds so close to giving up. She's spent ages here, trapped and tortured and starved, and she is lacking the will to move forward. She's walking, but her gait is slow and defeated, the rain starting to burn her bare shoulders until it leaves marks.
Carlie continues to stand at the edge of the field, watching the fire spread. It occurs to her that they won't be able to stay at camp if it continues to burn, so she tries to motivate Thaeloc and Emmie to pack up what few things they have. "We may need to get to the cabin sooner rather than later. It looks like we're dealing with a fire now." A few droplets of rain pass through the canopy of leaves overhead and dot the bare skin of her hands, and when she feels it burn, she gasps, realizing the bad way the group must be in. "Help me pack some essentials. We'll have to leave the tents. The rain...it burned me. It's burning the hell out of them now, plus there's a fire, plus the wheat looks like it's thrashed them something terrible." She trails off, grabbing blankets out of tents as well as a couple of canteens half full of water while she waits for the group to arrive.
Olwen feels some of the wheat try to ensnare her ankles and slap at her as she runs past, doing her best to ensure Naledi makes it back safely - though the elf appears to have luck on her side today. "Ah, F***..." is said in response to the burning wheat, the rain ill fitted to put out flames. Raven and Cecile appear to have Katyin under control as far as things go, so she will stick to having Naledi's back while running back toward camp. However, the moment things look dicey, she is certain to lend a hand to the rest of their party as well. Only once she's sure everyone has made it back to camp, will Olwen slide safely to the confines of the ground as well to catch her breath. "Who's got the wors' injuries? I still got some potions."
Cecile only lately catches Katyin's words, leading to a pivot back to where the guide is so she can be approached and assisted in getting back to the field's edge. This leaves the redhead unaware of what's coming, and even while sprinting toward the pyromancer, she gasps in pain and stumbles, feeling the razor wheat tear strike her back then exit through her chest and abdomen. Needing a second to refocus and block out the stinging of it and the rain, on she goes, intent on ensuring nobody gets left behind. Gritting her teeth, Cecile now says, "No. Nobody is staying in this nightmare, now please let me help you," even while offering herself as support to ensure the more wounded individual's safety was guaranteed.
RavenClaw ducks his head against the thrashing wheat stalks, taking hits that leave razer thin streaks along his head and flanks. Unable to speed through while he and Cecile provide escort to Katyin, he pushes through with just brute force, trusting in the durability of his lycan body. Finally he feels the impacts on his face recede as his nose pushes out of the edge of the field. He steps out into the bare mud surrounding their campsite, halting at the edge of the field until Katyin is out as well. Once she's exited the field, Raven walks heavily over to the camp and drops Katyin's ruined cloak next to the group, silently going to retrieve his trousers from the tent where he'd left them and returning with the garment in his mouth. There isn't time for him to bother shifting back, and his fur is hopefully a better defense against the burning rain than his bare skin would be, as injured as he is. He walks over to Carlie as the teen dashes about gathering supplied, and briefly lets go of his pants to speak. "The elf has the pack. Hopefully it was worth it. Where's..." he pauses, licking back blood that threatens to spill from his mouth. "Where is the cabin?"
Naledi doesn't know what luck she has managed to procure to be able to weave and dance and dodge around the worst of the predatory wheat blades. Sure some snag her but it's barely enough to cause any damage, superficial wounds really. The rain still burns her bare flesh (which thanks to working at a burlesque club means a lot of it), but having the knapsack bouncing on her back with each stride helps spur her forward back towards the camp. Occasionally she cranes her neck over her shoulder, encouraging the others to fight through the pain. "C'mon you lot! We're all making it out of here!" She stays with Olwen on the edge of the field, waiting until everyone makes it through. Only then does she also join the others in the campsite and takes a moment to rest her hand on thighs, back arched, and trying to catch her breath. "Here...maybe...potions..." she exhales heavily, sliding the back from shoulders and dropping to her knees to open it and peer inside.
The strands of wheat seem to chase the group, but despite their haggard appearances, knowing they have the supplies likely helps them move swiftly away. The wheat is definitely angry, but now it has to worry about the fact that it is on fire, so despite wanting to follow after the party, it stops paying attention to them altogether. Instead, a buzzing noise seems to come from the field, followed by a woman's furious scream. The fire goes out in an audible whoosh that has enough force that is likely sends the group flying forward like an explosion's aftermath. Once everyone is at camp, there is a crackling noise and a woman stands on the edge of the field. Her hair is the color of wheat, only drenched in blood, and she is wearing a white nightgown that is also bloody and covered in streaks of mud. She screams loudly from where she stands, strands of wheat stuck in her hair like a circlet, and every time she tries to leave the wheat field, she is met with resistance. It seems as though she is the spirit of the wheat, and she bound to it. A skeletal finger points at those watching, and slowly, her flesh begins decaying. She shrivels up and falls to dust in the wheat field, an apparition now gone.
Katyin feels the buffet of wind at her back and is flung forward forcibly, arriving at camp in a heap before she can even accept Cecile's help. She tries to get up, but her pain is so much that she collapses not far from the field. Her back is streaked in blood from being lashed severely, and she seems to have little strength. Once she catches her breath, she pulls herself into a sitting position after crawling close to the campfire. The flames soothe her, but she doesn't say anything to anyone. It seems her time in the field has broken her a little, and even without the lashes to her back, she still has the burns on her shoulders and back, arms and legs. So she sits, only looking up when the seeming spirit of the wheat rages at them. Her eyes grow wide in horror when the body begins to decay, and she dry heaves a few times at the smell, her stomach too empty and having nothing to purge.
Carlie doesn't seem to care when the spirit of the wheat shows up. Instead, she is fawning over Katyin, trying to get her to talk. Offering to wash her back with the canteen of water she found. Nothing seems to get Katyin's interest though, not until the canteen is mentioned. Carlie notices the look in Katyin's eyes and hands her the canteen, which Katyin eagerly drinks down so fast it sounds like she might choke. Emptied, she hands the canteen back to Carlie.
Katyin wipes her mouth and sighs a little, noticing that Olwen has potions. "I'd like one please. I got hit pretty hard out there. I don't even know how I made it back, honestly. Cecile was a huge help in motivating me though." Katyin looks directly at Cecile then, wearing a half smile. "Thank you. I needed the encouragement. I lost myself for a minute there." Realizing that there is an angry spirit nearby doesn't sit well with Katyin, so she turns to Carlie. "Maybe we should shoot for the cabin. Now that Atlas mentions it, it seems to be the best option. There's two ways that we can go, though. It's a shorter distance if we go down the beach to the west..."
Carlie looks thoughtful. "The Forest will protect us from the rain, but that's also where the monsters are. You're definitely in no shape to fight right now."
Katyin counters Carlie's concerns, just as thoughtful as her young companion. "The undead are in the waters though, so it's a calculated risk no matter which way we go. Getting to the cabin is faster if we go the beach route. The undead only come out of the waters when spurred. If we don't go near, they might not see us or might not bother. The forest route we'll be safe from the rain, but it's teeming with monsters that will kill us on sight...and they are a lot faster than the undead." Katyin falls quiet for a moment, in so much pain that she's gritting her teeth. "Hey guys..." She finally says. "We have to leave the campsite. There is a cabin in the woods that the monsters don't go near for some reason. There are two routes we can go. We can go through the forest, which is longer and there are monsters to worry about, then there is the beach route, which nearly a straight shot and much faster. We will have to put up with the rain, though. Which do you prefer?"
Olwen takes one of those potions from her pocket, passing it over to Katyin after the woman requests. She leans to see if anything can be made of the satchel Naledi digs in, worrying over the woman's lack of garments - she pulls her own shirt a bit more over each shoulder in response. However, the blast sends her to the mud in a heap, leaving her ready to get up and fight whatever caused it. Short people are full of rage! "The f***!?" she exclaims, frowning, then wrinkling her nose. "Any other surprises?" The tiny woman honestly hated to ask. Given their two options, a nod is afforded them. "Least the beach leaves us open an able to see wha's comin'. Forest is good cover, but tha' means more places fer thin's to hide, too. I vote beach." The rotting apparition has left a bad taste in her mouth, and a rotten stench in her nose.
Cecile is quite relieved to be out of the cursed field, though still she doesn't dare relax until confirming that everyone else has returned as well. With this done, there's nothing else to do but listen to the discussion of where to go, and the two paths that would lead to the cabin proper. Nothing is said by her yet though, for it's Emmie who is sought out, to ensure the artist was safe. Alas, the scream from the apparition leaves her doubled over, owing to not having been prepared for such a noise ambushing her heightened hearing, however briefly the experience is. Once recovered, to chime in herself, Cecile responds with, "I'm for the beach as well. Feeling like my skin's on fire is preferable to having to fight both wheat and whatever's in the woods in a short time," just because of the more injured and vulnerable group members.
RavenClaw could feel the air changing, and turns to brace himself just as the sudden force of the fires going out blasts into the group hurrying to vacate the camp. His claws scrape against the dirt, digging furrows as he's pushed back, but the wolf stands his ground. He snarls as the apparition makes its presence known, glaring at skeletal phantom until she vanishes. Relaxing as best anyone can after all of that, Raven turns to face the group as he hears them discussing their next course of action. "Normally I'd choose the woods..." he growls, stepping toward the others. "I can move faster through the forest than on sand. But..." He looks around. "We're in no shape to meet more surprises. I say we go back toward the beach. The injured should...use the blankets to shield against the rain. We need to move quickly." Ignoring that he's presently included among the most injured, the wolf goes to pick up his trousers again, twisting his head quickly to toss the garment onto his back.
Naledi opens up the knapsack and begins to riffle around in there, her shoulders sagging with momentary relief as she sees it does contain helpful supplies. At least the trip into the wheat field hadn't been for naught. The appearance of the figure on the edge of the field pulls the elf up short and she stares at the figure with wide, unblinking eyes and her mouth slightly agape. Her scream is enough to topple Naledi over she somersaults over shoulder and gags as the woman begins to decay in front of them. Bile burns in the back of her throat and Naledi squeezes her eyes shut and takes a few deep breaths for her mouth. Giving her head a shake she reaches into the knapsack and pulls out a potion before pushing herself to a stand and approaching RavenClaw. "You need this," she informs him, not a question but a statement. Naledi goes so far as to uncork the thing and push it towards the lycans mouth. She considers the two options afforded to them and decides to agree with the majority. "I think the beach would be best."
Katyin listens as everyone votes, frowning when Carlie votes forest. Katyin didn't feel like she could handle whatever creatures are in the forest at the moment. When most of the group decides beach then, she rolls her head from side to side. Anyone looking at her back after seeing her drink the potion would see the wounds healing up at an accelerated rate, though not closing completely. Some color returns to her face, color that the group has likely not seen before, and though her skin is bloody and burned, the potion eventually heals up the burns to scars. Relief washes over her, and she smiles at Olwen appreciatively. "Thank you for the potion. I feel so much better now."
Carlie looks around at the group, specifically watching RavenClaw. "You don't look so good either. I think you should have a potion too." She has a glance about the area, finding Naledi since she has the knapsack. "What's in it?" She pauses, looking inquisitive. "Anything good?" For the moment, she's trying to pretend that everyone didn't just out vote her, but there's nothing she can do about it if the group wants to go the other way. She'll just follow them. Besides, anywhere Katyin goes, Carlie goes, end of story.
Katyin listens as one by one, people seem to prefer the beach. Carlie's question to Naledi has her curious and she too starts looking the elf's way. "Is there anything useful in there, Naledi? You did a great job retrieving it, by the way. You're so fast. I would never have caught up with you, but I'm thankful for you." When it is fully decided that the beach is the way to go, Katyin stands up and takes the cloak of hers that RavenClaw kept from the wheat field. She looks around at those injured, and no longer being amongst the most injured, looks for the next person that could use the cloak. Seeing how damaged Cecile is, she wraps the cloak around her shoulder and ties it closed, pulling the hood up. Under her breath, where no one can hear, she whispers, "Thank you for the wheat field. Your works really motivated me, as well as your offer of help."
Carlie watches Katyin and Cecile from nearby, a conflicted look on her face. After a few moments of intense staring, she moves up beside Katyin and takes her by the hand. "Fine. You clearly win. We'll take the beach. Just stay close, okay? It scared me watching all of you out there. I should have gone too. I'm not sitting out anymore. Next time, I'm involved. I think I had a panic attack." Carlie leads Katyin away from Cecile, quite noticeably, and points to the north." North takes us to the beach, then we head west. Just follow us." Not breaking her hold on Katyin's hand, Carlie begins to walk north with Katyin following close by.
As the group walks along the beach, the undead stare at them from the waters. Surprisingly enough, they don't leave the waters to give chase. A mutated fox with three tails and four eyes stalks the party for a time, but it soon slinks off into the treeline, not to be seen again. The walk is long and sandy and as a result, a bit difficult, but soon enough, Carlie and Katyin lead the group into the forest on a southern path. There are plenty of terrifying noises as they travel, but the journey itself is almost a straight shot. Follow the southern path, head east, the cabin is right there. As the group enters, a feeling of peace might wash over them. The cabin feels safe upon entering, and though it is rustic and a little dusty with the occasional spider's web, it's much better than the campsite was. There are a few plush chairs, and the bed could probably fit three people at a squeeze. Overall, it's a nice little place to forget about the horrors of the island for awhile.
Katyin enters the cabin, still tired but no longer as broken. She goes right to the bed the second she's inside, grabbing a pillow and closing her eyes. The cabin feels safe. It feels secure. She takes a moment to compose herself before heading back out into the main room. "I haven't searched this place over, really, and neither has Carlie. There might be things we can use as weapons in here. I'm going to look. If you find any food or potions, let me know. I don't need anything at the moment, but someone else might. I'm pretty concerned about Atlas and Cecile."
Carlie remains right on Katyin's heels, wherever she goes, always. Mention of searching for weapons piques her interest, as if the thought had never occurred to her. She starts rummaging around, looking for weapons, but keeps coming up short. Eventually, behind a curtain in the corner, she finds a thick, wooden walking stick. She lifts it, tests her grip, and tests the weight, followed by a few swings to test how it feels in her hands. Carlie looks at Katyin then, who hasn't found anything, and briefly considers giving up her weapon. The girl ultimately decides against it, however, when she realizes she could use this to protect not only herself, but Katyin as well, and she'll personally whoop anyone that tries to take it from her.
Olwen watches Carlie stick to Katyin heels like dog poop on a boot, finding the younger girl's obsession a bit unsettling somehow. She wrinkles her nose and makes a note to maybe ask Katyin about it later on. For the time being, the small woman searches around for anything that might be useful as a weapon. She'd hoped to find a good hunting knife, or even a sword. Though she is left with knitting needles, which the woman plots to sharpen. Unable to knit, she could still use them to kill and maim. "Anyone else fin' somethin' good? Guess I got somethin' pokey. Atlas already got the one up, eh? Those fangs'll come in handy." Maybe not for the wheat, but for monsters surely.
Cecile answers Katyin, saying, "Of course," to the individual while an appreciative smile for the cloak is made. While she does sense Carlie's emotions, there is no commenting on the mood and for now, it's off to the cabin. On the way, the terrain is surveyed unceasingly to prevent any undead attacks as well as provide a way to mentally lessen the burning from rain. Once in the safehouse proper, she listens first to Carlie and Katyin speak again, relieved they and Emmie are alright overall. The cloak offered before is returned appreciatively, and as the others go searching for supplies, the same is done by her as well. Finding a crossbow among the choices, the empath claims it for herself, glad to have a ranged weapon as proven by a grin and, "Not a flintlock but it'll do," said. As for potions and the like, she probably finds one and puts it upon the pile so those more necessary can heal up. Afterward, "Do you all need me to do guard duty tonight just in case? Seems fair since others did so yesterday," is asked, all while she considers searching for some spare clothes.
RavenClaw quickly sniffs around the cabin upon their arrival, immediately on guard at the suspiciously quiet nature of the building compared to the outside. Still cautious, he excuses himself to the bedroom, clearly on a mission. Once alone, Raven shakes to drop his trousers to the floor and begins to shift back to his half-elfin form. He stifles a grunt in pain as the only barely closed wounds across his body contort under the strain of his shifting mass. Only in this moment does he feel a small sense of envy toward his more magical counterparts. He examines his injuries, tracing his fingers along the new series of scars he's likely to take home. The potion Naledi had forced him to drink helped a fair bit, but he'd be feeling these for a while yet. Looking down at the stained and salt-crusted pants he'd carried until now, Raven grimaces, then starts searching through the dresser for alternatives. Luckily he finds a similar pair of trousers, though they're a little short in the leg for his lanky figure. Pulling those on he finds a shirt to match, snorting softly as he pulls a red flannel out of a drawer. Better than nothing. During his search he also finds a pair of brass knuckles, which he stares at incredulously before pocketing. He goes to rejoin the group, still doing up the last couple buttons on his new shirt. He's still bare foot, but this will do. "There's a few decently clean clothes in the bedroom. Bit dusty though," he says, before sneezing as if on cue. "Found some brass knuckles, if you can believe it. Hopefully they won't be missed. Anyone else have any luck?" He glances around the room, lingering a moment on Carlie clinging to Katyin, making a mental note but not commenting.
Naledi flicks her gaze to Carlie when she inquires about the contents of the knapsack and smiles. "Yeah, lots of stuff to help us feel better. Is everyone alright with me carrying it?" she asks the group at large, not wanting to monopolize the pack. Assuming no one argues the point, the elf secures it over her shoulders once more and she falls in step beside everyone, making their way down the beach and towards this cabin where they would supposedly be safe. Upon entry, the elf observes the room at large and at the invitation to look around she begins to riffle through the room for any supplies. Naledi heads towards the bookshelf, her nose crinkling slightly when she spies the various specimens. Something behind the books catches her eyes, though, and she pulls out a curious looking doll. She flips it over and looks at the tag. "Divine intervention..." she reads aloud before looking around at the others. Realizing Cecile is a little worse for the wear, Naledi slips off the knapsack once more and riffles through the bag and grabs a blue hued potion. Moving towards Cecile she presses the bottle into her hand. "Here, you need this, too." Like RavenClaw, it isn't posed as a question, but rather a fact; however, the woman at least doesn't have the thing shoved in her mouth the way the lycan did.
With the group settling in to relax for awhile, monsters occasionally prowl by the windows, though they are oblivious to the cabin's inhabitants. Some are large and tall, while others are stick thin but lethal-looking. Nothing disturbs the cabin at all, however, as long as everyone remains inside. A few hours pass by peacefully, allowing the group to have a much-deserved rest.