Chapter Two Part II
Nestled in the cabin in various ways, the group will have found true peace, if only for the moment, within the confines of it. Hidden away in a cupboard appears to be some well-preserved jerky, and it is doled out by Carlie when she finds it. While monsters prowl past windows, it becomes obvious that the cabin is unseen by them, giving the group an advantage. Those who rest, rest well, and those who remain awake, do so with added vigor. This peace isn't meant to last, but it is a welcome reprieve from the earlier events of the day as well as the danger of yesterday evening.
Katyin makes her way directly to a bed after eating some of the jerky that Carlie passes out, feeling wiped out and weary. She sleeps for a couple of hours, eventually forcing herself to wake up and join the group. She seems to look a little better with some extra rest and some food on her stomach, and she finds a few canteens that appear to be full of water. Katyin knows she should be wary, but for a moment, she feels reckless, and she downs the entire contents of the canteen she kept for herself. Minus hers, there are five other canteens, and Carlie takes one too, sipping at it.
Carlie is like Katyin's shadow. The moment she wakes up, Carlie does too, and she follows Katyin's every move. She takes a canteen for herself, sipping instead of guzzling the water like Katyin did. It seems Carlie isn't as reckless as her pyromancer friend. "Did you want more jerky?" She asks Katyin. "I barely touched mine. I feel sick to my stomach." She moves when Katyin does, but when the pyromancer sits in a chair by herself, Carlie frowns a little, figuring maybe she was bothering her. She moves to a chair across the room from Katyin instead, looking almost doll-like despite her bloodied attire.
Katyin waves off Carlie's offer of more jerky, sinking into a chair that is mostly secluded. She needed time to think, and though her adoration of Carlie was well known, she couldn't think with her nearby. So while everyone else did whatever they needed, from eating what little food there was, or getting some sleep, Katyin was busy trying to form a plan for their journey to the Manor. She knew it was going to be difficult, so she wanted to put as much thought into it as possible. Her fingers start to smoke a little, and she stares at them for a moment before waving them around. "Hey Carlie?"
Carlie looks up from her lap and turns her head to look Katyin's way. "Yeah?"
Katyin frowns. "I haven't been able to cast fire since we went to get the key." The pyromancer seems to think she is out of earshot. "I can't figure out why. I'm tired of being useless to the group as a whole. I need my fire but it won't cast. Do you have any ideas on why that may be?"
Carlie shakes her head. "No. Maybe you're still tired and should sleep some more," she suggests, a soft but sad smile gracing her lips.
Katyin shakes her head. "No. I've gotten more sleep than anyone here, I think. I'll just...keep trying. Maybe my head just isn't right for it at the moment. I was unable to find a weapon, so I'll need my fire. I'll keep trying. I'm gonna try to clear my head a little while I'm sitting here though. Don't let me distract you if you need to do something."
Carlie seems to understand. "Do what you have to. If you need me for anything, I'll be here unless pulled away for something."
Katyin smiles. "I appreciate you." Then she goes back to thinking.
Emmie apparently had the knack of sleeping anywhere at any time and pretty much within moments of being in the cabin, she had found a spot to close her eyes and drift away to a place not real. Unfortunately the wannabe artist was a sleepwalker as some might find out that night in the cabin. It did not happen every night but that night it did. The poor group might have had enough torment and horror on this isle already and there was certainly more to come but unfortunately the poor group was put through an ordeal that the island did not bring, Emmie dancing and singing the time warp in the middle of the night, completely unaware and glassy eyed. After that torturous five minutes, she went back asleep...and snored most of the rest of the time and then gradually awoke. Taking a turn around the room in slow steps, she starts to open cupboard and drawers, peering in them on the hunt for something, something in particular before she asks "Do you think they have coffee?" and glancing to Katyin, having overheard a snippet or two and pushing her specs up her freckled nose "You probably need coffee. Everything works better with coffee. My favourite is almond coffee...." and then the woman goes into a whole spiel of all her different flavoured coffees, what milks she likes with them, the pretty patterns that baristas can do upon the top and she just goes on and on and on about it before finally finishing with a well needed breath "but I would even settle for black right now."
Olwen sits up from sleep, she'd found a place close to the fire they'd built up in the hearth. The half-Gnome really needed the small bit of rest she did get, it was enough to form grit around her eyes - which she rubs away with a yawn. Her sleep had been disrupted by Emmie's singing and dancing, earning the woman a slew of curse words and a pelting with some pebbles she found on the floor. Immediately, Emmie receives a glare from the petite woman, oh she remembers...Carlie is given another wary glance, but the jerky is accepted with thanks. "I don' thin' there's coffee." Comes an answer to Emmie's query, "I do wish there were..." Might shut the woman up about her lavish fancy coffee for five minutes. One of the canteens is procured, a couple of tentative sips taken. She would gladly share with someone, if need be. However, for the moment, Olwen is sitting back near the hearth and chewing her jerky. "So wha's up next on this excursion?" A battle plan was already being laid out in her head, she had knitting needles at her disposal and explosive abilities.
Cecile , following the claiming of new clothes and a book to pass the time, first declines the offer of jerky with just, "No thanks, not really hungry right now," just to ensure Carlie didn't feel insulted by the refusal. Once those who were in need of rest have bunked down, the crossbow claimed is grasped and placed by a chair not already occupied. Comfortable now, the story is read half-attentively, as those slumbering were watched over in her own way without a single look up made, even with Emmie's sleep-walking incident. Only after the others begin stirring is the book then closed and put on the table closest to the pirate, waiting for them to speak first. Once Olwen has asked the important question, there are a few seconds of silence, before, "We try to get to the place that'll get us all back to whichever places we were at. Gonna need to see about getting an anti spirited-away charm for next time I take a mid-day nap," is said wryly. After that, she's again quiet, owing to years of following her Captain's instructions and not chiming in until enough information was given.
RavenClaw had been attempting to sleep for the first time since they'd arrived, tucked next to the fireplace in his wolf form. However Emmie's cacophonous singing woke him up in the middle of the night, and her subsequent snoring killed any chance of the werewolf dozing back off. With an irritable grunt from someone who had been unceremoniously torn from slumber, he slinks off to an unoccupied corner to retrieve his clothes By the time the rest awaken he's standing staring out the corner window of the cabin, human again and fidgeting with the brass knuckles he had procured the night before. He had sniffed out some of the jerky earlier, one such piece hanging from the corner of his mouth as he chews thoughtfully, still watching the outside. It had been bothering him since they arrived how this cabin is mysteriously unaffected by the curse that seems to have swept across the rest of the region. His keen ears do not miss Katyin's hushed conversation with Carlie, but he doesn't remark on it for now. Once everyone else is gathered and Olwen and Cecile start discussing their next step, Raven finally turns from the window to join the group, still chewing on the piece of jerky in his mouth. "Just a hunch," he says around a mouthful of dried meat, before he pauses to swallow it. "but I'd imagine our guides know exactly where that would be." His eyes turn to Katyin and her shadow. "So y'really don't have a clue why the monsters outside avoid this cabin?"
Naledi fell asleep rather quickly, which was surprising for her, after curling up on the softest bit of floor she could find in the corner of the room. Despite Katyin and Carlie's assurances that the cabin was a safe place, the elf was taking no chances and slept with the knapsack on her back--if something happened and they needed to make a quick getaway, she wanted to be able to jump up and go without having to fumble with a pack. Naledi was having a dream about a new chocolate pastry that tasted like the real thing with only a quarter of the calories as regular ones, when she was snapped awake by Emmie's singing and dancing. Even after her friend settled back down to sleep, Naledi's heart rate was still too high to get any decent amount of rest. She had been fully awake for at least two hours by the time everyone else roused and finds the proffered jerky from Carlie from the previous evening. After giving it a sniff and a tentative nibble, the elf deems it acceptable to eat (and a good source of protein!), as Emmie babbles on about the fancy coffee she gets at the shops back home. The elf is quiet as the others talk about a game plan on what comes next, but she piggybacks on RavenClaw's question about the cabin with her own. "And how did we even ‘’get’’ here?" She couldn't figure out how they were all connected and how they ended up on this nightmare island. Perhaps it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but she couldn't help being curious.
Katyin is snapped out of her thoughts by Emmie banging around in cupboards while speaking incessantly of coffee. It bothers her how out of touch this woman seems to be with reality, and after her sleepwalking shenanigans back at the campsite she helped build with Carlie, Katyin is a little weary of her presence. Still, she dons a kind enough smile and shakes her head. "I doubt you'll find any coffee here. That's okay by me though. I actually don't care for it, and a caffeine crash is the last thing I need." The pyromancer simpers a little before playing with the frayed edge of her shirt, flakes of dried blood coming off and sticking to her fingers in the grooves of skin that make up her fingerprints.
Carlie watches Katyin and Emmie interact, realizing that maybe Katyin is a bit put off by Emmie, so she calls out to her. "Miss Emmie, ma'am?" They had spent time together building the campsite after all. "I don't think you're going to find any coffee, but I can help you look, if you like." Carlie smiles kindly and her eyes brighten a bit, putting on her best show. She was loath to leave Katyin's side, but if the pyromancer needed some time to herself, she would try to ensure she got it. She's already heading to the kitchen and waving Emmie over. Olwen's question is met with a brief stare, and Carlie answers, "We have to go to the manor. It's south of here, through the forest. It's why we got the key, so that we could get in. We think the answer to getting off of this island lies there. That's what one of our last group members thought, anyway. It's worth a shot. We have no other leads right now, so..." Her voice trails off as she tries to help Emmie find some coffee.
Katyin listens when RavenClaw speaks, looking up from where she's been staring at her lap. The perceived accusatory tone he's adopted causes her to frown, but she shakes her head. "I don't know why the cabin is safe. I wish I had answers for you, but I don't." Her usual sad expression returns, and she looks out of the closest window. "I just figure that something is better than nothing. I feel calm here. I feel at peace here. I can't stay here forever though. I have a family to get back to. I have...I have a lover." She shivers for a second, pushing her hair back and away from her face. "I don't even know how long I've been here. It could be weeks, it could be months. I don't know ‘’how’’ I got here either. One moment, I'm snuggled up to him in bed for a nap, the next I'm falling and I wake up on the beach. There were others that showed up with me, but everyone is dead now except for me and Carlie. I wish I had answers for all of you, but I don't. I think whatever chance we have at getting off of this island will be found in the Manor, but it won't be easy. Monsters roam the woods. With our last group, only half of us made it there, then the manor was locked up tight and we couldn't even knock the door in. One of the guys mysteriously found a key, but he ran away from us. We chased after him and he jumped into the waves. He washed up later, but said he lost the key and that he didn't know what came over him. The whole thing was very odd."
Carlie shifts from foot to foot, having now abandoned her search for coffee for Emmie. "He told me later that a voice told him that we were monsters and it messed with his head. It doesn't matter now though. We have the key, and I feel like Atlas over there has a good head on his shoulders. He's not as broken down as the last key keeper was. At least, I don't think so."
Emmie nods at the plan to go search for coffee elsewhere and follows the little creepy girl to the kitchen to start the hunt for it. At some point during the search she zones out completely, staring blankly into a cupboard of dust and continues to stare at it as Carlie abandons all hope for caffeine and returns to the group. She is determined though, as if searching for something hard enough will make it miraculously appear and she finds a jar at the very least, the label so old and faded it was impossible to tell what it would have been, maybe coffee, maybe gravy granules, maybe rust, maybe the dried remains of the last humans that had stayed here. Padding back into the living area, fighting with the lid until it pops open and then waving it under Cecile's nose as she asks "What does this smell like to you?" and then glancing to Naledi, a little confused by her question and lofting her brow "We fell out of the sky." she says simply as if that were the most comprehensive answer and would make everything clear and crystal to the elf. Then a tilt of her head as she becomes even more confused, which right here, in this strange place just might as well be her default mode "What's the key for? What does it unlock...or lock?"
Olwen gets off of the floor and does a few stretches, limbering herself up for what's to come. "Well o'course. The key had better do somethin' after all tha' trouble we had, eh?" One arm bends above her head, hand behind her back as she stretches further. "If'n ye fin' some whiskey or somethin' similar, let me know." is called out to Emmie and Carlie as they make their way to the kitchen. Ravenclaw is offered an appreciative glance, taking in his attire and those knuckles. "Yer lookin' quite nice there, Atlas. Tha's a good look fer ya." Katyin is listened to and watched with a speculating glance, though she receives a nod from the petite woman. "Hopefully we're not completely f***ed." More of that jerky is chewed, casting a look at everyone before finally settling on Naledi. "Alls I know is, I had kicked back wit' a nice bottle or two fer the nigh'. Woke up here in this Karndamned hellhole. So I hope there's a way out."
Cecile remains silent and attentive, paying attention to what's said by everyone present in order to know as much as was possible without reading minds. With the questions sort of answered, she finally speaks again just to say, "Maybe it's a talisman," while refraining from saying aloud the guesses made based on everything overheard over the past day or so. After pausing to survey the room proper again, she answers Emmie with, "It smells like trouble, and not something you should be eating or drinking unless you fancy being violently sick for days," in a mostly snark-free tone. As for the matter at hand, she chimes in with, "Not that concerned with the how or why, 'cause we're here and things will be revealed in time," despite not sounding that certain. A shrug follows to dismiss that doubt, and then, "Just wanna make sure those two get out of the nightmare they've been in, and then get back to my daughter," letting down that cocky attitude only while in the sanctuary. As for Olwen's comment, there's an interested glance to the half-gnome, and she's told, "Interesting. Took a nap because the sun was high and I needed to recharge. Maybe that's what we have in common, or maybe it's coincidence and I'm just reaching for an explanation." Whatever the answer, it wasn't as important as getting home though, especially now.
RavenClaw furrows his brow at the replies, Carlie's in particular. Stuffing the brass knuckles into the dusty pocket of his trousers, his hand returns with the worn stone key, which he sets on the edge of the table, his fingers still resting on it. Olwen's compliment garners a chuckle from the unprepared werewolf. "Guessin' I'm stuck with 'Atlas' for the time being." Turning serious again, he taps his index finger on the key, staring at Katyin, his gaze turning slowly to include Carlie as he speaks. "You're saying the guy who had this key last somehow dove into the sea in a fit of madness, swam safely past all the monsters that tried to eat us, looped the key around the neck of one of those monsters, then safely returned with no memory of doing any of that." He frowns, then slides the key back into his pocket. "...We've come this far. Hopefully you're right about the manor, though my odds are on getting attacked again as soon as we walk in." Raven steps back from the table, crossing his arms and cocking his head to Cecile's remark. "I was dozing too, if that helps. I've a feeling we all were right before getting brought here. I keep hoping this is just some twisted dream, but I doubt I'd be that lucky."
Naledi frowns thoughtfully as she is left with more questions than answers. The only person she knew before waking up on the beach was Emmie and they hadn't even been together prior to arriving on this island. She had a particularly terrible evening at work and arrived home and collapsed into bed. She supposed she dozed off at some point. With a sigh she focuses her attention on her jerky, really she should finish the thing but she didn't have much of an appetite. Still she gnaws off another piece and chews on it for lack of something else to do. Her eyes swivel first to Cecile who is give a small smile--Naledi also had a daughter whom she wanted to get back home to, and then Thaeloc. She knows he's trying to formulate a plan, and for all she knows he's the perfect guy to do it. Still, authoritative men don't sit very well with Naledi and she finds her attention snapping towards the pyromancer. "What do ‘’you’’ think we should do, Katyin?"
Emmie lets out a forlorn sigh at the advice given at the maybe coffee, a wistful look shot at it as she screws the lid on and sets it down on a table, not returning it to the kitchen as she has not yet given up hope that it may just be what she wants. A wrinkle of her nose given at all this talk about going outside, why can't they stay here where it is safe? Mooching over to where her other belongings where...wings, headband with bumblebee pom poms and broken bottle, she straps the first to her back. Eyes lock onto Thaeloc as she lifts her headband to the crown of her head "I wouldn't live too much by the laws of the animal kingdom. Remember there are some critters where the women eat the men and..." a glance to Ravenclaw and back to Thaeloc "He has the whole puppy dog eye thing on his side so I am pretty sure who we would go for." A smile snaps on quickly as she looks to the remaining jerky and picks up a piece, chewing on it and muttering "Mmm, spiced dehydrated man, my favorite." and then back to moving around the cabin for anything that could make do as a bag, deciding then she wanted to take the maybe coffee with her, in case of emergency.
Thaeloc has been silent and listening in to everyone before he speaks up to the group. " We need a full fledge plan before we leave this...Cabin in the woods and try to make a move on anything else. From what I have seen and heard few of us have some skill with combat and can hold their own few are not as skilled. But it looks like we are all in this together and we will need to all make it out of here. So first off we have a few potions they should be given of course to the ones of us that are in the worse shape and try to get back to full strength before we leave this safe haven. And when we travel the more experienced need to keep the less in the middle of us. Much like animals putting the young in the center for protection. Now finally this Key I don't think just one person should have to shoulder the weight of it, if it will cause that person to go crazy and put it in the water again. It should be rotated around so the weight is on us all not just one." Finishing up the Degn looks around to get any other ideas or input to what he has had to say.
Katyin listens to everyone, but her attention is ultimately snagged by Emmie. "According to the last person who had it, it opened up the manor. He was convinced that rooting around in there would help us find a way out. I don't know if it will or not, but it's the only thing that we haven't done since being here. I guess it makes sense that we'd at least check it out. I have family and friends back home. I don't want to die here and never see them again. I want to live and grow old and have experiences that I haven't had yet. I want to see the world, go back to school. I have such much left that I want to do. If I have to do it by myself, I will...I just can't sit around and do nothing, especially now that we have the key." Katyin wipes at her eyes, looking frustrated. Not being trusted is taking a toll on her, but she gets it, so it also hurts her heart. "I've been here so long," she says in a broken voice. "I need to get home. I'm starting to lose hope." Naledi's question is considered, and she speaks soon afterward. "I think we go to the manor and check it out. I'll even go alone if I have to at this point. I'm desperate."
Carlie returns to her previous chair, Olwen glanced at for a moment when she mentions whiskey. Her gaze soon falls back on Katyin, the young girl frowning. "Please don't cry, Katyin. There's still time to get out of here, yet. I have faith that we'll be able to leave." The girl listens to RavenClaw when he speaks, seemingly processing everything he's said, and from the look on her face, she doesn't like any of it. She is about to say something when Thaeloc speaks up. Something about the way he is trying to take control rubs her the wrong way, and she sends him a glare. "No offense, but Atlas found the key. What if that means that he was meant to have it? I don't know the conditions that the last guy found it under, but what if he wasn't meant to have it at all and that is why he went mad? What if Atlas got it under the right conditions and passing it around just pisses the thing off? We don't know if it is more than a key now. We don't know anything. I say we let Atlas keep it until he is deemed untrustworthy, aka, he goes mad or starts to go mad."
Katyin is also listening to RavenClaw, and her brow furrows the further he goes on. "I guess I never thought of it that way. Madness. It could have been described that way. He did run away from the manor the second we got there, at least, once he found the key. You have to cut through a large section of the forest to get from the manor to the beach too. Some of us didn't make the trip back." Her body is tense now, and her expression remains troubled. "Yet it never occurred to me that something could have made him do that, or that there was a lapse in sanity. Things have been so strange the whole time I've been here. I've been more focused on surviving than anything else. I didn't know him that well though. He was in the group, but he made me uncomfortable from the beginning and I couldn't put my finger on it." Katyin is about to say something else after Carlie talks about the key when she tilts her head to the side, as if she's trying to hear something. "Is that...singing?"
Softly at first, then louder, the sound of singing nearby echoes through the building and the woods. It's sweet and pleasant, an aria of some sort that is pleasing and alluring. The building to the east appears to be its source, and as the music gets louder, it's draw becomes stronger. The cabin itself becomes unbearably hot, enough to make even the most cold-natured person sweat. It seems as though the cabin is no longer a viable option for rest. All that is left to do is investigate the voices to the east.
Carlie grabs her walking stick and heads for the door. "If we stay in here, we're going to be broiled. I don't know about any of you, but I'm not willing to do that. I'm going to go investigate." She looks to Katyin then. "Come on, Katyin."
Katyin looks hesitant, but rises to a standing position and follows along behind Carlie. "What choice do we really have now? We're kind of being smoked out." Slowly, Carlie and Katyin make their way out of the cabin then go east toward the sound of the singing. A tall church resides there, and the singing seems to be coming from within it. Katyin ascends the few steps and enters just behind Carlie. She casts a final look over her shoulder before entering the building.
Carlie is the first to enter, and she gasps audibly once inside. All manner of spirits are swirling in the air, gleaming like angels. It is only as everyone is inside that the door locks tight, and the singing becomes more and more discordant as it goes on. Carlie and Katyin cover their ears and try to kick open the door, instantly regretting their investigation. When the door will not open, Katyin has a brief lapse in confidence and hyperventilates some, trying to calm down despite the chest pains she is experiencing. Unable to be consoled immediately, she hunkers down by the door with her hands over her ears, watching the spirits darken as they swirl about in the air, eventually blanketing the pews with shadows.
A single ghost wavers in the space before the group, as if sizing everyone up. With an unnatural grace, it charges them...
The ghost disappears just a breath away from everyone, and as it disappears, the haunting voices stop and the other ghosts fade away with it. It's strange and curious, but the Church is definitely not deemed a place of safety like the cabin, and the aura in general feels malevolent and oppressing. The Church doors suddenly unlock and the air outside is surprisingly refreshing as the group travels down the stairs. The cabin is no longer a viable option for protection, so the only option remaining seems to be to head to the Manor.