|Characters:||Charity, Chastity, Darcy, Lucas and Taylor with Slip as ST|
|Summary:||A group of (mostly) werewolves converge on a thin spot at an apartment building.|
"This is it," says one tall, slender blonde. "I've not heard a thing from the Protectorate... but there's definitely something wrong." Chastity is leading a small expedition, Lucas and Charity with her. She's pressed dressed in black jeans, cut off at mid-calf length, black pants, and a black tee that's been cut into a crop top. She also carries a small backpack with her, loaded up with some oddities and trinkets from back home. Just in case. "Feel it?" she asks Lucas.
From the other direction: one Darcy in a pair of low-top running shoes, black jeans, and a black t-shirt with a single white circle right over his heart. He's walking, because he parked his very cherished automobile far enough away that any scuffle won't see it destroyed. He spots Charity and company and steers himself in that general direction. He's easy to spot, even in black.
"I feel... something," Lucas mumbles quietly in response, his dark green eyes gazing about the area as he shadows behind Chastity, looming behind someone even of her height. He feels slightly on edge, uneasy as she shifts, nose twitching as he's sure to keep his attention between everything else - and the two in front of him. That's when he sees the other figure heading their way. "Wait." The word is a quiet growl, and he even reaches out to grab a pinch of Charity's clothing to keep her there.
Just slightly shorter, but equally slender, Charity moves with her trio. Black leggings, a black lace bralette, and a pair of worn running sneakers on her feet. There's a narrowing of her amber eyes, and a twitch of her ears. She can't feel it - and there's an unhappiness that comes with that fact. She's jostled out of it, though, by that growl-and-pinch by Lucas. Looking up to see Darcy, she lifts a hand and murmurs to her companions, "Relax, loves. That's the one I mentioned. Mister Darcy."
Busking hasn't been getting any easier in the absence of crowds. It's gotten to the point that Taylor doesn't bother hauling their ramshackle guitar case with them as they wander streets they haven't had a chance to know any other way. Layered, despite the heat, in a black canvas jacket over a second-hand Smashing Pumpkins 'Zero' t-shirt. Too-long jeans with rolled cuffs, and a pair of beat up sneaks partly held together by duct tape. They gravitate with their interests, following rumors and that empty sort of weight along its edges. Their layered grey gaze shifts, presently, between focused and unfocused as they peek their senses across the gauntlet from the sidewalk across the street from the apartment complex. Nostrils on a button nose flare around a shiny septum piercing with a crooked neutrality of expression otherwise worn, uncertain, mouth skewed to one side.
A double take, when in the here and now, when they spot a familiar face in a small expedition. They lift a hand over their head and wave at Charity among her crew. Way to lay low. And on their way over, spots Darcy in turn; the wave replayed for another semi-familiar face while they're beaconed in the same direction, if he glances their way - while they inspect the even less familiar faces among those that they approach.
It's a four story building with a brick exterior above the fancier facade of the first floor, tall multi-paned windows looking in on a rustic lobby. It's the sort of place that might have a doorman, during different circumstances, but the security camera above the door will have to serve for now. It's squished between a seafood restaurant to the right and a narrow pink building to its left that might be a private residence before continuing on to more apartments. The street is remarkably quiet, dead, like nobody's even bothering to look out their windows anymore, leaving the gathering crowd surprisingly unbothered as they begin to intersect. It adds to that heaviness, an oppressive emptiness that grows more pronounced the longer they loiter.
Hackles go... up! Chastity's jaw clenches and she exhales a hot breath through her nose. Just like Lucas, she's on guard, and she's half stepping in front of her big sister. How *dare* someone approach them! But, then, Charity recognizes this someone. "Hmph," is Chastity's reaction, to being told to relax. She's staring at Darcy. Taking in his form. And she might keep staring at him for a long, long time... but then she's right back to tense, as another person approaches. Taylor snags her attention, and she starts her staring once more! Or... she'd like to, at least. But she can't keep her eyes from shifting, to sliding over to that building. "Mmmmrrrrr..."
To Charity: Charity might not feel that weight the way the wolves do, but Changelings are good at other things. It's hard to pick up, at first, but there's an edge of anxiety that's undeniable, a prickly bit of panic that maybe only an autumn courtier might catch.
Darcy walks at a leisure pace. He doesn't seem to be in particular hurry. Chastity's staring only gets a mild, friendly smile, same as Lucas. "Lizzie," he greets Charity, smile a little wider, "and Taylor," he adds, glancing over. And just like that, introductions. "You must be Charity's ... siblings?" Guess. They could be cousins!
- There's very little resistance from the Gauntlet when Taylor shifts their sight and smell from one world to the next. It smells barren and musty, with a tinge of fear. Over there, a rather large collection of spirits drifts and swims, slipping into the building through the cracks between the door and its frame. None of them seem present out here, on this side.
The name 'lizzie' makes his upper lip twitch, and Lucas doesn't let go of Charity's shirt. Lucas is staring as much as Chastity, though his is much less friendly. He offers Darcy a simple quipped "No." In response to his question before his attention turns to Taylor, gauging the second unfamiliar face quietly. Stare... stare.. low grumble growl of annoyance and a sigh. He didn't like this. Not one, little, bit.
Once again, Charity's hand is lifted in a finger-waggle of greeting. "And I know them, too," she offers for the sake of the others in regards to Taylor. All friendly, and warm. But she doesn't try and escape that light hold of Lucas on that bit of lace. "Darcy, Taylor. My sister Chastity, and our...Lucas." The hand that had been doing all of the waving lowers, and touches said Lucas on the shoulder. Shh. Good wolf. But then something shifts in her eyes, and for a moment they're more wolf than fox. A flare of nostrils, and a running of the tip of her tongue over one sharp canine. Why does she suddenly look...hungry? "I may not feel what you do, loves," she murmurs, breathily. "But I can taste panic in the air."
Taylor pauses, stops at the guarded qualities of Lucas and Chastity. In the street where they rock on the bald grips of their shoes between heel and toe. And they breathe as they keep their distance - longer, larger breaths that must be trying to substitute for that unnatural emptiness that eases a definition of a term into strangeness, when it 'radiates'. Their head tilting sideways toward the building even as they keep their regard pointed at the gathering group. "Taylor," they repeat, after Darcy introduces, and Charity confirms their 'known' status - which earns a broad smile of gratitude. "Or Tay. Either works. But preferably Tay. Hi. Chastity, Lucas." They keep their hands out of their pockets and stay at their distance, projecting body language intended to imply that the diminutive Hishu with the predator's aura isn't a threat. And despite the emptiness of the streets, they keep it vague while they're at a distance where they have to raise their voice to address the group. "Peek through. If you can," the Ithaeur urges while they rock. "It's thin, here. Heavily occupied. And there's" They wonder, keeping their senses in the now rather than repeat while in orbit of the group. "Fear?"
Chastity's chin ticks up, just a bit. She stands tall (quite tall!) and proud. An obvious show, to the other wolves, at least. But, they are, apparently 'friends'. "Darcy," she says. "Tay-tay," she says. She's looking over Darcy once more, before turning back to her sister. "Really?" she asks. "Him? ... Couldn't let the paint dry a little longer on that one, hm?" she asks, with a perfectly dry tone. But, Taylor's offering advice... and so Chastity does just that, turning her attention to the gauntlet... and past it.
Darcy just smiles at Lucas again. "Okay." He glances over at the building when Charity calls attention to it again and says, "Well, I didn't come here to socialize, but I can multi-task." He nods at the door and starts that-a-way. He snickers a little at Chastity, but doesn't say anything as he stops by the door. "You guys want me to go first, orrrrrr..?"
- There's very little resistance from the Gauntlet when Chastity shifts her senses from one world to the next. It smells barren and musty, with a tinge of fear. Over there, a rather large collection of spirits drifts and swims around their feet, slipping into the building through the cracks between the door and its frame. None of them seem present in the material side of things.
Lucas's attention shifts to Charity, lingering a moment as she does - whatever that staring, looky thing is - and waits. His eyes trail up and over the building while he does, eventually finding the door that Darcy starts heading towards, and eventually let's Chas's shirt go after Darcy passes. "A second." And he's buying time for Charity, that stare held on Darcy a moment, briefly flickering to Tay before he looks expectantly back at Char. "Well?"
Charity smirks, just a smidge, towards her sister. "Not sure you should be tossing stones about, innit?" A few blinks, and her eyes are back to normal - at least vulpine normal - and she looks to Taylor. "Tay, apologies. Lovely to see you about." Released by Lucas, she gives a little nod. "Let Darcy go first, if he wants." Meatshield? Meatshield. "But Tay's right, there's definitely some fear going on. I can't say more than that."
"Tay-tay," Taylor weighs on their tongue. Thoughtful as they straighten the tilt of their head back up, then nod, once, with sharp decisiveness, in Chastity's direction. "Tay-tay is also acceptable." The name has been judged and found worthy, as their broad smile shrinks and twists into a crooked grin that still carries some warmth behind it. And they join the group off the edge of the road, once those hackles have soothed down, amidst the cautiously territorial. "Likewise," they tell Charity. And, "Apparently Tay-tay works as well." It's official. They dip their head in additional greeting toward Lucas, acknowledging that flicker of gaze preceding their question. On a more serious note that doesn't yet hamper their grin, they address the fear, "I could smell it. On the other side." They glance at the security camera when Darcy approaches the door - just noting its presence, rather than seeming avoidant of its recording gaze. "If you're volunteering" they quip back at the question from Darcy, after Lucas and Charity have had their chance at input; getting a sense of how the ones familiar to one another interact and existing in the wake of it as they follow mutual curiosities.
"We can go in," Chastity decides, telling that Lucas. And she even starts that way herself. Though she doesn't make for the door. Instead, she stops in the front, next to Taylor, and squints at the security camera. "What have you seen, love?" she asks... the camera. Of course that doesn't stop her from glancing to Darcy, and waving a hand. "Well? Tick tock."
Lingering here begins to feel uncomfortable the longer they stand about and make their introductions and observations. It might be an itch of instinct, to not linger in the open like this for too long. It may, then, be a good thing that the door is unlocked, easily allowing entrance into the dimly lit lobby. It should be well-lit, but a few of the bulbs are dying or dead, leaving the illumination patchy. A wall of mailboxes off to the left has numbered units, some decorated with fading artwork, very few showing any names. To the right, what looks like a community lounge with old magazines, board games and a flat screen television and a few couches sits empty. A door to the Management Office can be seen across from the stairs leading up to the residences. Once inside, that empty weight grows all the heavier.
Darcy winks at Chastity and shoves the door open, stepping inside. He sinks into the dimly lit building's shadows, but there's no stealth here. He's no Irraka, that's for sure. Darcy glances up and around, taking a deep breath and turning slowly, pupils dilating, ears twitching. "I'm going to check the office," he tells the others, heading that way.
- The spirit of the security camera blinks lazily at the question asked, offering the impression that it maybe hasn't had all that much at all to witness lately, its resonance weakening. "Only the restless many..." it says, though it seems to consider the elodoth crossing the threshold as well.
- It's difficult to see, at first, but as Darcy moves through the lobby, he spots it: the edges of a very, very thin strange spirit tucked into a corner near the doorway to the lounge, edging back away from him.
Chastity's statement is enough for him. He nods once, satisfied, and follows the little group towards the door with a single glance over his shoulder. Hands in his pockets, Lucas meanders after, though his movement and body is stiff - on edge. "Go," He says with a nod towards Charity and Tay, urging them forward after 'Mister Darcy' as the other male steps inside - but he's not leaving Chas out here alone with that camera, and lingers with a sigh that's a mix between frustrated and resigned. He was sure this was one of her weird moments with an actual -purpose-. Probably...
Charity gives a flash of a grin towards Tay, and as she passes her sister there's a brief touch to her arm. Quick, reassuring. Trusting Chastity and Lucas to do what they deem they need to, and nothing immediately lashing out to end Darcy, she makes her way on into the apartment building. Ears twitching a bit, as she looks around.
Then there were two Ithaeur standing on the sidewalk and staring at a security camera over the entry to an apartment complex not defined by interminglings of what's cooking behind closed doors, but by fear. Taylor opens their mouth - at first, to answer, before realization kicks in. They mean the spirit. Probably. "Do you mean them, or-" they trail off, quietly. And mutual curiosity stills them there, with the other Spirit Master, wanting to know that answer as well, if they're not the one meant to give it. "You probably meant them." But Lucas urging gets them going, with a mock salute at the directing wolf that stays behind. "Let me know what they say?" in Chastity's direction, then they're in through the entry and looking about. They follow in the wake of Charity and Darcy. They reply to Darcy's stated direction with a nod, first. Then, with a more helpful and hushed for the discomfort of the place, "Ten-four." An attempt to look about snags on a celebrity magazine, where they try to determine if a younger Hemsworth has a tentacle nose hair or if the magazine just has a partial coffee ring.
The atmosphere in here is oppressively empty. Darcy didn't quite feel it when he stepped in, but it hits as Charity and Taylor follow, as they cross over into the building: profound loneliness, isolation, a disconnectedness from others, even those in this room. How well do they really know each other, after all? It aches uncomfortably. It's distracting.
Chastity stays outside. Waiting for her new friend to speak. She offers a polite smile, and a dip of her head. "Thank you, love," she tells the camera. And then there's Lucas beside her. She steps to him, then slides an arm about his waist. "It says there's not been much of anything coming and going... Besides us, now," she informs him. "Which is... odd," she decides. Then there's a little tug, and she'll start toward the rest of the group, bringing Lucas with her.
"Oops," says Darcy, spotting something out of the corner of his eye. He turns towards the corner of the doorway to the lounge and squints a little bit and furrows his brow. "Heeeey, Tay-Tay... I got something here. Little guy might actually be on this side of the Gauntlet _and_ out of Twilight." He tsks his tongue. When the tide of desolation rolls through him, he frowns, trying to shake it off. His thumb presses against the very simple ring on his right pinky, turning it listlessly as he takes another two steps -- slowly -- towards the thing creeping back and away from him.
It's so difficult to see, the way the spirit blends with the shadows in the corner, thin and stretched, but, to the trained eye, decidedly other, not native to this side of the Gauntlet. It stretches itself as the elodoth approaches, as he draws attention to it, pushing up into the corner of the ceiling with its narrow body tucked into the edges all the way down to the floor as if it were some tall, anemic plant... that's trying to be more intimidating and imposing than its size allows.
Lucas waits. He's trying to let the feeling of eerie get the best of him, keeping still as he stares at the camera. Eventually, Chasity seems to come back to him. He looks down at her quietly, listening with a furrowed brow. "Yeh. Odd." He doesn't like it, but he's not quite sure.. why. The tug pulls him forward, following the blonde inside with the others. Nose twitching and ears alert, he's tense again - eagerly peering inside from behind Chas.
It hits Charity like a punch to the gut, an all too-familiar feeling since her return from Arcadia. She doesn't double over with it - it's not that type of pain - but the shift in her demeanor is instant. No more warm smiles, and those ears aren't quite so perky any longer. "Fuck," she breathes out, shaking her head, trying to clear it. Her head turns to the sound of Darcy's voice, and while he called Taylor over, the not-a-wolf shifts her position so that she can see the creature, too. Her eyes narrow, and there's a flare of intensity from her...or at least an attempt at it. Listen, this would be a lot easier if she had actually become a werewolf like she planned.
In profound isolation and loneliness, a celebrity gossip magazine is given further import. It's a coffee stain. Taylor sighs in timing with Charity's utterance of 'fuck' and looks up from the magazine, idly lifting one hand to rub at the back of their head, through their hair. And they look between Darcy and Charity as they restlessly tap the toe of one foot on the ground. Then considering the mail boxes with names, and the ones that just hold numbers. Looking for a shaped absence in glue that might once have held a name. They squint, hard, nose scrunching, tracking to a number. "Looks like 2-0-4 vacated recently." 'Tay-Tay?' Their attention is recaptured, and they look toward the source of Darcy's voice.
They slowly approach, coming up behind Darcy but not too close, to look around the edge of one shoulder and peek at what they see. "You do," they confirm, gently - got one, that is. "Nice find," they add, complimentary, same soothing tone like they don't mean to startle a cornered mouse. "Hursih?" they question, in general. Speculating on rank. "Maybe a little Ensih." Their gaze focuses tight on that manifested outline as it stretches, pupils swallowing the whiter edge of gray iris as they focus.
Into the building goes Chastity, without a care in the world. Why would she be worried? She has a Rahu to defend her! Of course, there's no defending that sudden spiritual attack. A wave of sorrow for the empathetic wolf. Chastity lets out a little gasp, and then a frown crosses her lips. "This is terrible," she whispers out, and squeezes Lucas just a bit tighter.
The corner-creeping spirit actually seems to flinch for Charity's flare, finding something threatening about her posturing, but then... it is clinging to the corner just to avoid people walking about. Poor thing might be scared, which might, in turn, be why it lashes out at the Changeling, its shortening itself to put on some bulk and loom in her direction before retracting back to its corner creeping. And starting to edge around the doorframe to the lounge. Away from the increasing Uratha presence and observation.
"Hrm." Darcy considers the way the spirit is moving and then takes a breath, exhaling slowly. "We ... need to figure out if it's behind all this or just -- in a bad position," Darcy tells Taylor, glancing at them. "Can you do that or are we _talking_ to it?"
The wave of sorrow washes over him like an unexpected wave, and for a moment the large wolf falters where he stands. That mask of seriousness fades, breaking to lend way to an expression of brief pain. Pain for emotions he had tucked away a long long time ago, unprepared to face them so suddenly in a place like this. It's enough to make his blood boil, a growl rising in the back of his throat as he fights the feeling, purely out of a building, bubbling resentment. The squeeze of Chas offers him helps to settle. A breath exhaled, and Lucas takes a moment to re-situate himself, looking about the area to pin point the others. "More than terrible."
And suddenly, just like that, the loneliness inside of Charity finds a companion. It throws her off balance, and right out of the present. The not-a-wolf stumbles backwards, away from the spirit, and very nearly trips over her own two feet in the process. A shift in her breathing, and her heartbeat. Not okay. Not okay. Not okay.
It's piercing, the direct address of Taylor's grey gaze and the shrinking ridge of grey iris as pupils consume. "They're lonely. Loneliness. Isolation, or-" Sadness? Speculation gathered from what is seen, uttered distantly, a murmur over their bottom lip. They sound sympathetic in tone, with how this place weighs on them. They draw a deep breath, and they blink, coffee-brown lashes flashing over nearly iris-less eyes, shrinking the pupils back down, re-exposing layered grey. "They won't suffer the presence of another manifested spirit," they report. "They want to be alone." Their gaze draws left to right, trying to note the way that the spirit is moving as they banish the excess of light that pains as they return to mundane senses. "They're pained by helpful gifts - items given from one to another." They keep their focus forward. Hearing snippets of the newly sorrowed behind them, and only partly swivelling their ear toward them.
More directly, in answering Darcy's questions, they reply, "It might be." Behind this. Dire and sad in that admission. As for talking? They clear their throat, gentle, like they're making room for a song. What follows isn't music. It's the First Tongue, and their present form makes pronunciation rough. Too tangled up in blunted teeth and no snout. "Hursih. Would know your title? You shrink from others here out of Hisil?" They don't have Chastity's gift to impose a need to answer.
Sister in danger! Chastity is still with Lucas, and likely meaning to attempt to comfort the growly Rahu... but then sister in danger! Chastity releases Lucas and sprints over, to grab Charity, to keep her upright. "Char? What is it, my heart?" she asks, with modest panic.
Around the edges of the architecture the stretched spirit bends until most of it is hidden around a segment of wall to one side of the broad doorway which leads into the abandoned lounge. It's unclear if the part which remains visible qualifies as its head, per se, but it does seem to keep some part of its attention on the werewolves (and werewolf-adjacent), on Darcy still staring at it, talking around it, on the pair near the beast who'd tried to spook it, on Taylor as they address it. Words it knows. Questions. "Ensih," it corrects, rising slightly, pride for how strong it's grown, how quickly. "This is mine," it speaks in the First Tongue, a declaration of territory, but with a thread of ache and annoyance below the claim.
Spoke diplomacy it is, then.
Darcy takes a single step towards the spirit and speaks, in the oldest of languages: << No. It isn't. You are not bound to it and you are not bound to a Pack. >> Werewolves can instinctively tell a spirit that has become a Totem apart from those that have not. << You know where your place is, my friend; in the shade of world, not here. It's time to go home. >>
Lucas's attention is torn between the spirit and the sisters, remaining in place as Chas leaves him to rush to her sister's aid. He wouldn't know what to do for her, anyways... Chastity is probably all she needs - for now. There's only a moment of hesitance as he watches the pair before he moves towards Darcy and Tay, peeking around to find his own space in their little circle. The Rahu listens, for now, eyes squinting at the spirit with a wariness. His Wolf doesn't like the claim it's making - but for the moment he'll just be another presence. His expression doesn't look like he's willing to play negotiation with the spirit.
It's a subtle thing, how the spirit shrinks by the narrowest degree when Darcy suggests it should go home, but the elodoth catches it, that reluctance. Fear? Discomfort? It doesn't relish the prospect. "Home here," the isolation spirit insists. "Leave." Focused as it is on the Uratha intruding on its territory, it misses something else slipping through, one of those drifty little spirits glimpsed in the Hisil skittering along the floor in Twilight. Quickly. Toward the stairs. Taylor and Chastity catch the movement.
The words in First Tongue tug at the back of Charity's mind. Familiar, but out of her grasp. The world around her is a barely-grasped thing, and when there's suddenly hands on her, the Lost has her own flare of panic. She turns on her sister, and hisses at her. Shoving herself free, and skittering down the hall a few feet. "It needs to stop," she murmurs to herself, as much as anyone else. "Stop. All of it."
"Ensih. Apology," Taylor corrects. And their tone corrects as well, respectful in approach rather than merely sympathetic. Honoring rank. With a hand on their chest and a dip of their chin. They quiet as Darcy steps forward to inform the spirit, in turn, as to where they are wrong. They squint when they catch that movement, that shrinking. And Taylor takes some time to think, and to glance back at the state of those they'd heard suffering or panicking moments ago - noting Lucas joining them on the front line with a quiet nod, concern for Charity's askance to stop. And then beyond them, to markings on a mailbox. "Ensih," they begin again. Turning their attention forward to what peeks around the doorway once more.. "You are strong. Too strong for too few prey that will remain. They cease - perish - and they flee and you will starve, strong one. What made you will die and not return," they explain in that ancient tongue, not so suited to the mouth that wields it. "Would you accept gathra? Would you accept our tribute, mighty Ensih, and enter Hisil where there is yet prey to feed you? And would you tell us. What stops one as mighty as you from returning to the Hisil?" Gaze tracks movement, peripherally, and strangely. They partly turn their head to it, to watch it move toward the stairs. And they signal, one hand going behind their back to gesture pointedly at it, for those behind. Their fingers follow up with a guess. Two fingers. A shaped '0'. And four fingers. Room 204.
Chastity gasps... did Charity just shove her away?! No, this does not sit well with the Spirit Master. But before she can chase Charity, she catches that spirit out of the corner of her eye. A growl rolls out. "Something slipped through..." And then Taylor is giving directions, so Chastity glances to Lucas. "After it," she orders. Chastity is not to leave Charity by herself! "It needs to go, before we have a hole," she says, to Taylor.
<< Ensih, >> Darcy says, watching the spirit. << It is our duty to make sure you stay on your side; you are shadow-born, and so to the Hisil. We want to make it easy for you. >> But they don't have to, is the implication here. Hard to lie in First Tongue, anyway.
He doesn't know how he feels about Taylor's approach. He's much more on Darcy's side with this - straight, to the point. It can't stay. They won't let it. Lucas's green gaze remains on the spirit, focused, and oblivious to whatever might be skirting their attention - until he hears Chastity's voice. Lucas seems to know she's talking to him, though it wasn't particularly addressed to any wolf or not-wolf in particular. Instantly his neck cranes back, body shifting just slightly so he can turn and face her. His expression is serious, alert, even though he's not certain what 'it' is or where it went. "Where?" And he's moving, ready to go wherever 'there' might be.
The spirit sinks lower against the edge of the doorway as it regards the trio of Uratha before it, all but ignoring the rest of the commotion in the room. They aren't a threat to it right now. Not like these three. Two. Lucas takes off, and it doesn't care. Yes, away. Good. Seconds pass without verbal response, but the emotional assault pervading the room dissipates, the weight of isolation abating. If only that were all that was affecting Charity, her head still filled with distance, with the unsettling recollection of losing parts of herself, of not being whole. That might be harder to shake.
"Gathra," the spirit allows, accepting that their service is better than what the elodoth threatens. "Thin here. Easy to cross. Even for the Restless Many. Hursih." It hisses, chitters, displeased with the multitude of smallness. "Too many. Too thin. You will fix."
There is by the stairs, a fluttery little spirit intent on zipping upward, away from the mean old grumpy ensih. Is that little loop-de-loop it performs a taunt? Maybe. Or maybe it's just excited.
Charity is Not Okay. It's easy to see, at least for Chastity. The eyes a bit too wide, the slight showing of her teeth. And while the sense of loneliness has lessened, there's much more at play. She is not One of Them. No. Parts of her that were lost are pulled back into the forefront of her memory, and that sort of sorrow is...maddening. Not saying anything. But at least she's not taking a swing at her sister.
Taylor and Darcy may just be a duo, in this - good spirit cop, vaguely menacing spirit cop. Whether the spirit well recognize this dynamic may depend on how much television they've eavesdropped on, in their brief time in this world. Lucas might be a good metric for how they'd rate - preference for the tough, straightforward character that would likely steal the show. They nod at Chastity's urging, sharp and fast, understanding and serious as they play the good cop. Working on it.
They exhale, breathing easier, losing the tension that may be hard to see on the diminutive Ithaeur in too-many layers, when weight of emotion within the room dissipates. And they bow their head once more as gathra is allowed and the price is named, accepting those terms. They take their own seconds of impatient quiet - less stressed for the absence of that weight, but too aware of the timeframe Chastity has produced - and for the madness of her kin. They lift their chin. An idea. They think deep on how to articulate the right pronunciations with their current tongue.
"Ensih," they begin again, returning to the First Tongue. "What bore you was great pain of the lonely. And you have echoed that pain here, to power and excess. And made you prey that of the Restless Many. Without your echo, as you leave, they too grow hungry. Leave. Without essence pooled, the scavengers seek stolen prey in the else." In addition, "We will work to lessen the echo here. Will regrow the prey. Will scatter the little ones that steal." A plan, there, to follow through, should this one not deliver.
"There," Chastity orders for Lucas. A little spirit, but one that doesn't belong here all the same! But Chastity doesn't go after it. She stays right where she is, near Charity. She's not rushing forward, but she's also not leaving. "Charity, my heart... I'm right here. You're safe," she urges.
<< If you go -- _if you go_ and stay in the Hisil -- we will fix the damage; make this place strong. And you will receive Gathra. >> Darcy tips his chin up, staring at the spirit. << This is the moment where you choose. So many have chosen unwisely before. >> He takes one more step towards the spirit. << Go, Ensih. >>
'There', she says, and Lucas looks. Oh. That small thing? His nose twitches, watching as it loop-de-loops and lets out a sigh. "See it." He confirms almost under his breath, and makes it way towards the stairs where the fidgety thing is. He wasn't sure what he'd rather deal with - but did it matter now? Probably not. Approaching carefully he takes a moment to gauge it, wondering if it's going to stay put. Thing looks flighty.
The spirit's understanding of rightness may well be warped for how swiftly it grew, how well it's fed. The pitch from the ithaeur borders on promise, but it's what the elodoth adds, both promise and consequence succinctly laid out, that earn answer. Not with words of its own, but with action. It simply lets go, slipping back into the Shadow. Not quite gone, but not so very here anymore either.
The flighty spirit taunting Lucas is just a small thing, unlikely to maintain its Twilight manifestation for long. May as well get in its mischief now! Its aura isn't as potent as the big guy's, but Charity feels it, and Taylor. A pointed restlessness, a desire to move, do. Be somewhere else. Are those footsteps upstairs? Maybe it's time to go.
The words from her sister are heard, but Charity doesn't look overly certain of their truth. Is she safe? If she was, why would she feel this sudden need to not be still? Fight or flight pointing harshly to the latter. She shifts on her feet, and giving everyone wide berth, starts backing towards the door. Nothing to see here. Nope.
Once the spirit dissipates back into the Hisil, Darcy turns to watch as Charity inches back towards the door. He's not going to chase her this time -- that wouldn't be a great look. "Come on," he tells Taylor, tapping their bicep with the back of his hand gently. "Let's get out of here." He starts walking after Charity at a ... mild pace.
It's a weighty silence, even after the dissipation of the manifested emotion, that follows Darcy and Taylor's terms and answer; on gathra and leave. Taylor may find breathing to be easier, now, but their heart races as the seconds tick past. Darcy steps forward.Taylor waits. And the spirit fades, slipping back to its side of the gauntlet. "Good job," they breathe, sidelong, toward Darcy. Readopting an english tongue before they turn to face Chastity and Charity - watching the latter back toward the door. Relief quickly replaced by a knot of concern across their brow as they assess the state of the two, and toward the direction of Lucas' own spirit stalking. The gentle knock of their arm by Darcy gets them going again. "Are you all okay to move? We should go," they suggest, sympathetic but urgent. "Anyone else who wants to follow through with healing this place? I'll give you my number if you give me yours." They'll leave in turn.
"Handle it, Lucas!" Chastity calls back, as she starts forward, toward her sister. This time, though, Chas doesn't approach with kind words. No, in an instant, and with a strained half-growl, there's a wolf. Skinny and leggy, even in this form, Chastity pads after Charity, and gives a little whine. She leaves the others to finish up here.
Lucas wasn't going to take his chances. If it looked flighty, it probably was. And Chastity didn't want it around - so it was going to go. With a ripple and low snarl there's suddenly a large, furry wolf with a mean pair of teeth and a powerful chomp. With a single leap, Lucas lunges - and bites. Whatever part of the little spirit is left, he eats. And then it's gone. Good. A twitch of his tail and perked ears, he looks back just in time to see Chas bail out - but he's quick to follow, leaving the others in the dust. No number exchanging for him!