Hide and Seek

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 19th September 2012, 10:36 pm

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Cage nodded. "He got there before me," he said. "He pretended to be Jack..."

Dom closed his eyes for a moment, taking a breath. "We were with each other the entire time. We... fled, while he was busy..." He opened his eyes again, his shame apparent. "I can vouch for these two," he said. "I figured there was nowhere else to go but here..."

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 6th September 2015, 11:29 pm

"Of course," Kieran said wryly. "This place is peaceful, safe, and friendly, where else would she be?"

He immediately felt guilty. Some of Raz's annoyance at her looked like it was rubbing off on him. But the Laura he got back now... she wasn't the friend he used to have. Hell, he probably wasn't the friend she used to have himself.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 6th September 2015, 11:48 pm

Natalie smiled understandingly. And sadly. "Guess we just have to...take our friends as they are."

"The healers have looked her over," Sarai cut in. "Her injuries are mostly healed and she should be good for rehabilitation by the end of the week. Take it slow and do not overdo it." She looked at Kieran pointedly. "Talk away all you like, but preferably more you until she gets her strength back."

"That is fine," Natalie said around a yawn. "You can tell me about this place, maybe show me around when the time--" The temple shook and the sounds of hissing and spitting filled the air for a moment. "The hell is he doing?!"

Sarai's voice was as far off as her eyes. "I do not know..."

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 7th September 2015, 12:03 am

Kieran was at Natalie's side during the next few days as she began her recovery, walking with her when she felt able and staying close to her side when she needed rest. Laura actually emerged from her den when she heard she was awake and visited her in the infirmary for a time before she returned to her hole.

Kieran and Natalie seemed to be doing well, but as the tremors caused by Raz grew more frequent and more violent, Laura got more and more anxious. The whole place brimmed with a growing unease, and Laura got the sense that all of it was building up to something - and she had to be ready for whatever that was.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 7th September 2015, 12:36 am

The following morning all hell broke loose. The loudest roar shattered the air at daybreak, and the temple began rumbling. And didn't stop. Instead, it kept on, steadily getting worse. At mid morning, it came to a head when it hit like a giant earthquake and dazzling lights began shooting out of the doorway Raziel had gone into all those weeks ago. The frame cracked and chipped as the spectacle was easily visible all over the valley.

Within the next hour, the howling, roaring, spitting, and hissing was constant, as if they were no longer getting glimpses of whatever was going on beyond the doorway. All of the Librarians were present, watching the doorway with trepidation, their bodies tense like coiled springs but without any knowledge of when they'd release.

A hideous slashing noise followed by the fiercest hissing yet was all that precluded the sudden explosion of light. A stream of swirling white light shot down to the bottom of the stairs--and spat out Raziel. He hit the ground rolling, skidding to a stop along the bridge. Some of the Librarians immediately sped to him, Sarai chief among them.

His hair was wild and disheveled, reaching almost to his mid back. He was thin and gaunt, looking all muscle and sinew, and his body was covered in crisscrossing slash marks, deep bruises and a seemingly infinite number of cuts. Several of the cuts and deeper slashes were still bleeding. His face was haggard, covered with long stubble that gave him a feral look, his bright yellow eyes sunken with dark rings around them, a deep gash along the side of his right face. In his right hand, he clutched a makeshift knife stained with blood.

"What happened?!" Sarai said, deep emotion playing on her face. "What was going--"

"Get out of here!" Raziel said, his eyes locking onto the lot of them as he rolled desperately to his feet and fell to a knee. "Flee from here! She's coming!"

"What?! Who?!"

There was another flashing of light from the direction of the doorway. The sound of a large cat howling rent the air and men and women began screaming. The body of one such man flew away from the top--nearly cleaved through in four different places.

The Librarians tensed and stood with weapons ready. Their eyes collectively widened as the apparition stood at the top of the stairs.

A panther larger than a horse stood on its haunches, an ethereal purplish black glow emanating from its pelt that bore cuts and gashes where blood flowed freely. Its head also had cuts and gashes, a particularly large one above its left eye, blood trickling down into its squinting eye. It was the eyes, though, that drew the most attention. A bright yellow, they shone like the sun, a wrath and malevolence that threatened to end all life in them that was almost palpable.

"Not...possible...!" some of the Librarians breathed in abject astonishment.

"A Great Spirit...!" Sarai exclaimed in a hushed whisper. "In the flesh. In our world!"

Its gaze swept over them all with contempt and malice until its eyes fell on Raziel. Its teeth reared back and it growled with something bordering on hatred.

"If you assholes value your lives," Raziel said in a hoarse voice, "you will get the everloving fuck out of here...!"

With a large howl of fury, the cat tensed and leapt forward. Raziel was already charging it.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 7th September 2015, 12:02 pm

When the temple began rumbling that morning, Laura geared up and left the room, making her way to the temple. The librarians had set up a perimeter, so she was stuck pacing at the base of the stairs as the earth shook. She'd run into Kieran on the way - he seemed like he was just as concerned, but rather than join her he ended up going to Natalie to make sure she'd stay safe, still recovering as she was.

She stopped pacing and turned to stare as the doorways let out a flash of light and spat out something at the bottom of the stairs. Instinctively she pulled her invisibility spell over herself and backed away, drawing her knife as a man hit the ground and rolled to his feet.

Holy shit. It was Raz. He looked like he'd been in the middle of fighting something, and so instead of running to meet him Laura turned to face the doorways as another light flashed, spitting out this time an enormous panther the size of a horse.

Laura shifted her grip on her knife. The beast seemed hell bent on killing Raziel - maybe enough that she could stick around and it wouldn't notice her...


Last edited by Red on 7th September 2015, 6:36 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 7th September 2015, 12:23 pm

Raziel cut under and to the side of the mammoth beast, narrowly missing being skewered by its claws and slashing along her chest and belly. The creature growled with pain, landed, and immediately spun, slashing with one of it paws. Raziel leapt back, but was grazed lightly, claws tearing into his left arm. They danced around each other in a circle, a series of near misses and dodges, but it was obvious who was in the better shape. Raziel was holding his own, but it was obvious he was extremely fatigued and adrenaline was the only thing keeping him in the fight.

The giant beast lurched forward and Raziel slipped a claw, stepped in and grabbed a handful of whiskers and leapt back, giving a mighty pull. The beast hissed and spitted wrathfully, its eyes narrowed into slits and pounced forward. Raziel rolled forward and onto his back, going under the beast's outstretched claws, and catching it at its chest with his legs. He used its forward momentum and kicked up, launching the creature high and aiming its trajectory off of the edge. It howled in surprise and went plummeting down below, hitting with a loud thump and a yowl of pain. Then angry snarls filled the air and there were people screaming and fleeing.

Raziel rolled over onto his stomach and pushed himself up, stumbling to a knee before he tried again, and crashing back down. Please...just a little more.

"What have you done?!" called one of the Librarians. "You have angered a Great Spirit!"

"Go fuck yourself!" Raziel roared at the man hoarsely, his voice bestial enough that the guy stepped back in alarm, his eyes glowing on par with the giant cat's below. "That cat was angry long before I ever got to her..."

Raziel growled and forced himself to his feet and took off running. He stumbled, but kept his footing. Sarai was running alongside him. "You are on your last legs," she said casually. "You cannot hope to defeat that."

"Doesn't matter," Raziel said. "It's my responsibility." He leapt clearing a ledge, jumping another, making his way awkwardly down where the beast was.

Sarai watched him, nodding approval. "Die well, Raziel of the Panterus tribe."

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 7th September 2015, 6:47 pm

Laura watched the exchange between Sarai and Raziel, and if she was visible one would be able to see her expression darkening like an oncoming storm. 'Die well.' Some fucking guardians these librarians were. That bastard wasn't dying today, even if these cowards weren't going to bother trying to help him. She wanted to damn well shove Sarai down where the panther fell and make her do something useful.

Her scowl deepened. The bitch would probably try to keep her from following them if she noticed her, and she didn't have time for that fucking argument. So as much as she wanted to spit on her as she passed, Laura forced herself to dart around her, muffling her steps as she passed, and she took a flying leap off the ledge after Razi. She managed to catch herself on another bridge before she plummeted down, and Laura scanned below her to find Raz. He wasn't going to last on his own, but that panther wasn't doing too hot either. All he needed was one golden opportunity... and that was certainly something she could provide.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 7th September 2015, 7:09 pm

"Take the left corner when you jump down the next ramp, you reckless child," Sarai called after her. "Your cloak is useless against the Great Spirit, so don't waste your energy." Her eyes looked far away for a second and she turned and strode off quickly.


Down below, the beast was rampaging. The Librarians were getting people to safety, but would make no move against the Great Beast beyond defending themselves. The Beast slapped them away like so much paper. As it made to finish off one the Librarians, Raziel landed against its head, kicking and diverting it, slamming into at tree. He flipped away, but far from graceful, stumbled. His eyes blurred. No, dammit! Not now!

The Beast stumbled, shaking its head and spitting, eyes focusing and glaring hate at Raziel. It pounced, Raziel couldn't move in time as it landed on him, savaging into him. Raziel kicked him hard in the face, stunning it, then pushing hard and launching it away from him. His chest was scored horrifically and his ribs showed through the slashes as blood began pouring out of them. This was his final stand.

He charged the beast beating it in the head with his fists, having lost the knife somewhere in the struggle. The beast howled as it tried to fend him off.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 7th September 2015, 7:47 pm

Laura twitched as Sarai spoke to her, and her scowl deepened. This didn't mean she would forgive her for giving up on Raz and leaving him to die. Still, when she jumped down to the next ramp, she risked taking that left Sarai suggested and found that it did, in fact, bring her quickly to the level Raz was fighting the panther on.

She dropped her invisibility as she stepped into the chaos - everyone was far too busy to care about what she did. The Librarians were scattered about, trying their best to evacuate the pilgrims as Raziel engaged the beast. Laura forced her way through the chaos, the duel dropping in and out of sight as she pressed through a crowd that towered over her small frame.

When she finally cleared the crowd, it was to see Raziel struggling to his feet, blood pouring from his chest. He lunged at the beast, battering it with his bare fists in a desperate attempt to kill it.

Laura muttered an incantation under her breath as she strode towards the shitshow that this battle had devolved into. As she finished her incantation, she raised her free hand and casually snapped her fingers.

The panther would hear the tiny sound amplified a thousandfold, louder than even the greatest storm, and more than loud enough to damage the creature's sensitive ears. "Raz!" she yelled as the creature recoiled in pain, and she tossed her knife over to him underhanded. She reached up for her bo staff to defend herself, but she knew damn well the stick wouldn't protect her from this thing. She certainly had it's attention now; once it recovered... Don't fuck this up, Raz.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 7th September 2015, 8:02 pm

The Beast roared in pain, thrashing and rolling, hitting Raziel and sending him flying several feet away. When Laura called his name, he looked as if he was seeing her from far away. "Laura...?" He focused on the knife she tossed and caught it. Immediately, he sped for the creature, leaping to drive the knife into its skull. "I'm sorry..." The beast was having none of it. One of its eyes popped open and its massive paw slammed into him, slapping him away. He hit the ground hard and the Beast gripped him in its powerful jaws and slung him into Laura and taking them both to the ground.

He did his best to roll off of Laura, but could only manage one knee. He smiled. "That was inspired," he said to her faintly, his breathing heavy and labored. "I'm...I'm glad I got to see you again, Laura. Run...run...I got nothing left. I'm so...so sorry. Fighting...for so long..." Frustrated tears fell from his eyes, but he stared ahead at the Panther as it growled and glared at them, then pounced.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 7th September 2015, 8:14 pm

"Shit - " she said, lowering her bo staff, and Raziel flew into her and took her to the ground.

She landed hard on her back, and struggled to breathe beneath his weight. Her staff ended up caught below her and she'd landed on it hard; now with Raz on top of her the wood dug into her back hard. He managed to roll off of her, and Laura pulled her staff out from under her back.

His blood had already soaked into her clothes in the short time he was on her, sticking her shirt to her skin, and as she looked at him kneeling next to her she got the sinking feeling that this time, maybe, she really was too late. "No," she said as he tried to talk to her. "No, shut up," she said, talking over him, "I didn't come here to find a corpse."

Laura stood up next to him, and at that moment the panther pounced. She stepped in front of him and brought up her bo staff, pointing one end at the beast's throat as it descended on them.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 7th September 2015, 9:34 pm

"Laura, no!" Raziel exclaimed in terror.

Suddenly a roar rent the air and something slammed into the Great Beast with the force of a hurricane. The Beast flew and skidded across the ground, yowling in surprise. In front of both Laura and Raziel stood his mentor, Arcturus. His eyes blazed like twin suns and his teeth were bared in a rictus snarl, glaring down the beast.

"Get away from my son!" he thundered. "I'll not lose another!"

"Arc...?" Raziel breathed incredulously.

The beast roared in fury, leaping to its feet--then stopped, staring at Arcturo intensely. Arcturo was braced with twin sticks, ready for its next attack, glaring unflinchingly down at the beast. Suddenly, all the hate and wrath in its eyes died as it gazed upon him. A voice boomed in all of their heads.

"My Child... came a voice with a decidedly feminine cast. But beyond that, the voice had a power to it, speaking of something ancient and primal. You have not been lost to the Void...

Arcturo stood stunned. "I thought Sarai was exaggerating..." he breathed. "You're the Spirit...!" He shook himself. "And if you mean I'm not dead, then yeah."

"Anansi, my Child," she said again. "Why have you fallen silent...? All my Children...I hear them no more...

Arcturo gasped. "Anansi...? That's the name..." he grimaced. "Wake up, old timer, of course she'd know." He looked at her directly, lowering his weapons and standing, but the tenseness had not left him. "Yes, that is the name of my spirit, Panterus" he said formally. "I guess it is technically your child. Shit..." he added under his breath, "I never even considered...! Oh, I'll have make sure I add this to the books when I get home." He took a long look at the giant Panther. "Okay, if I get home."

He cleared his throat. "Great Spirit," he intoned. "Why are you trying to kill my child?"

She looked upon him, then turned to regard Raziel, who tensed and shivered but met her gaze squarely. "Long have I suffered Man who sought my aid. Long have many of your kind failed to prove their worth, and even longer have I had to suffer my Children to be away, waiting until they could return to me. Until they didn't. You were the last, Anansi. Her gaze turned sorrowful. "Something has happened to my Children! I no longer hear their voices. Not even yours, Anansi. Save only the one who suffers with the Abomination. I hear her mewings even now. Why have you fallen silent, my Son? Where are my Children?!?" Her eyes turned wrathful again, no longer with malice, but with deep pain.

Arcturus' eyes glowed and next to him stood a panther the size of a small horse. "I, too, felt the connection stop, Mother," the beast said in the sound of a young male's. "I thought you had decided to leave me to grow away from your influence. I mourned, but knew I would return one day."

She roared with sudden fury. "I did no such thing!" she thundered. "Who has robbed me of my Children's voices?! They sleep not where I left them! What has Man done with them?!"

"I...know not, Bastet, Mother of Panterus," Arcturus said. "It was not any design of the tribe you have blessed. I am the only one left." His eyes flicked to Raziel. "Or was until the boy there."

"I felt his presence moons ago," she said, looking at Raziel again. "He fought one of Vaghdeva's brood and sought to protect the kitten. I had slept in silence for so long, but he awoke me. His calling had come. But I will suffer man no more like the one before him."

"Is that what happened to Sheena...?" Arcturus said in a suddenly quiet voice.

Bastet regarded him. "That had been the female's name. She came. I sent her spirit on. She inclined her head. "She was yours?"

Arcturus' eyes raged with sudden fire. "You had no right!" he roared with sudden fury. "I trained her! I taught her your ways and you murdered her!"

Bastet roared fury."Take your pain, Anansi's Other, and multiply it many fold and you'll know the loss I feel of my Cubs!" Her voice rumbled like thunder in their heads. "But...if what you say is true...then it is I who have failed in the Accord..." She regarded them all. "In my grief, I attacked without thought." She regarded Raziel again. "You who would walk with Panterus, I charge you."

"How dare you!" Arcturus thundered. "He's nearly dead and you have the gall--"

"Be silent, Anansi!" she howled. "My Children are taken from me and I'll have vindication on the Taker. He will seek them out and return them to me, or point me in the direction of the Taker! This I will see to myself. She looked at Raziel. "I name you mine, Other. You will hunt in my name.

"Get bent!" Raziel breathed. "You've terrorized me for...I don't even know how long! I'm not doing shit for you! I don't want anything to do with you!"

She growled. "The choice is not yours cub. Now begone before the last of your lifeblood is gone and you are useless to me." She turned and in one thunderous leap crossed several stories, heading back to the door.

"Get back here!" Arcturus roared. "You have a debt to me! Murderer of innocents!"

Bastet looked upon him. "I am sorry I pained you, my Child. Your cub fought well and did not suffer overlong." She looked to Raziel. "This one was too stubborn to die. We will meet again, Cub, I have named you."

"Kiss...my..." That was as far as Raziel got as he collapsed to the ground, blood pooling around him. The Librarians swarmed him in an instant, Sarai at the fore, speedily lifting him and charging off to the direction of the Infirmary with him in tow. Bastet, the Great Spirit, was already halfway into the door, fading away.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 7th September 2015, 10:15 pm

Laura didn't move as something knocked aside the panther midair, disrupting it's deadly path towards them. She stood stiff, stunned, until with a jerk she turned to face the panther again, her bo staff still held at the ready. Her heart skipped a beat as she saw Arcturus was the one staring her down, his expression downright vicious. When the hell did he get here...?

Even as Arcturus lowered his weapons, Laura refused to lower hers, moving her staff down maybe a foot to better cover Raziel. God, he was bleeding out as they chattered away, and Laura felt twitchy, exposed now that the chaos had stilled. Her eyes darted between Arcturus and the beast as they talked, and she realized her palms had started to sweat.

Her face darkened at the beast's demands of Raziel, but damn it, if putting up with this thing was going to save his life she could get over it. As the beast turned to leave Laura was shoved away from Raziel, and Librarians swarmed him, carrying him off to see if they could save him. Laura's hands dropped, and her bo staff swung by her side as she watched them leave, dread sinking into her bones.

Underneath that dread was a different kind of anxiety, the kind she was more used to. She was suddenly hyper aware of Arcturus' presence near her; wordlessly, she slung her bo back over her shoulder and paced over to her knife that Raziel left behind.

She picked up her knife and sheathed it at her side, silent. She got the feeling she was supposed to say something - but what?

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 7th September 2015, 11:20 pm

"That was damned brave of you, girl," Arcturus said, not looking at her and going over to the ground and picking something up. "Stupid, but brave. Would've never figured you had that kind of loyalty. You've been like the deer ready to bolt since I've known you." He looked at her then. "Thank you." Without another word, he turned and ran, leaping higher than any human should be capable of and running toward the infirmary.


At the infirmary, they had Raziel on a bed, with the Healers going over him with strange devices. Natalie had tried to heal him when he first got there, but only got retaught the lesson she'd gotten her first days conscious: wounds inflicted in the Trials resisted healing by magic. She'd thrown everything she had, but the most she had done was heal the infection in some of his wounds, and that had exhausted her. Kieran had had to carry her to her bed.

"He needs blood, stat. Type AB."

"His major wounds are showing almost no infection."

"Get the sutures, he needs lots of stitches."

Natalie and Kieran could only watch in helpless frustration. The Healers obviously knew what they were about, but it was clear Raziel's life was hanging on by a thread.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 7th September 2015, 11:48 pm

Laura didn't look at him as he left. He had praised her, but she didn't feel proud - she felt vulnerable. More vulnerable even than she usually felt around these beastkin. Like he'd taken a walk inside her head.

He was right, that had been a stupid, worthless gesture. It was the kind of thing that got you killed. She prided herself on being practical and yet lately she'd been doing one dumb thing after another.

Laura turned away and started walking. Part of her wanted to go to the infirmary, but she was terrified of being there and watching him die.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 8th September 2015, 4:16 am

"He'll live," Sarai said hours later. "We're not sure how long he was beyond the Gate, but it was longer than the two months here. His body bore several fractures, improperly healed bones, scar tissue, and that's not counting how malnourished and dehydrated he was. His body had been pushed to complete physical exhaustion to the point of breakdown. The Great Spirit called it: he's too stubborn to die."

"Fool always was," Arcturus said with something bordering pride. A tension in his body relaxed. "When can we see him?"

"Soon," Sarai told him. "But this portents heavily. We've checked the validity of her words. Something is severing the connection the Great Spirits. Even ours is being cut into. It was subtle, but knowing what to look for, we caught it. Whatever it was has fled."

"Bastet be damned," Arcturus growled. "I'll look into this, myself. And Sarai..." he added, his words suddenly softer. "I found this on the ground. Raziel's scent was all over it, but so is..." He handed it to her. "She'd have wanted you to have it. After all, you two were..." It was the makeshift knife Raziel had been using in his fight with the Great Spirit.

There was a tenseness in her body and her hands shook as she took the knife, holding it to her bosom. "Mí corazon..." she breathed hoarsely, more emotion in her voice than in any time that Kieran and the others had talked to her. "Thank you..."

"I wouldn't thank me," Arcturus said. "It was the fool boy who'd brought it back. Held his own against the Spirit!" Pride shown in his eyes.

"Foolishness runs in your family, old one," Sarai said, though there seemed to be fondness in it.

"Aye."

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 8th September 2015, 11:56 am

Kieran felt a great weight lift from his shoulders as Sarai told them Raziel would make it. He stood up as Arcturus and Sarai's conversation looked like it was turning more personal.

"I'll find Laura and tell her the news," he said, leaving quickly to give them some space. Whatever shared history they had... he had the impression it was a tender subject. Eavesdropping would be impolite.

Kieran went out into the city, starting to comb the streets for Laura. She was nowhere to be found. No one he asked had seen where she'd vanished to, and he checked ever corner of the place that he knew. Nothing. She had been so invested in saving Raz, why would she disappear now that they'd succeeded?

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 8th September 2015, 12:36 pm

It was a week before he woke up. Natalie had taken to helping the Healers with their duties, who had taken the shine to her, and in turn the had learned new things. Arcturus, of course, was seen in one lady's room after another. However, when Raziel had awoken, he had been in the infirmary. He had been leaning against a wall reading one moment, then his head shot up and he was next to Raziel's bed.

"So you're awake, boy," he said.

"Aye, you old goat," Raziel replied weakly, his voice hoarse.

Arcturus grinned and brought him a glass of water and helped him take a drink. Raziel nodded gratitude.

"Gave your friends quite the scare, there," Arcturus said.

"You shouldn't...have told them where to find me. Dangerous."

"That was their risk to take. You should hear the tales I've been hearing about the girl since she first arrived. Picking a fight with everything to get to you."

Raziel chuckled, then grimaced. "Natalie can be headstrong."

"No, boy, not Natalie, Laura."

Raziel blinked, trying to process. "Her? Here? But...they all have...yellow..."

Arcturus nodded firmly. "Aye, they have, and her fear is no less palpable. You've an impression on the lass, to be sure."

Raziel lie there for a moment. "Huh," he said.

Arcturus nodded, silent for a moment. "There is much we need to discuss when you're well again," he said finally. "No rush, of course. The Healers say you'll make full recovery, but it will take time."

Raziel nodded weakly. "I..." he said suddenly, tearing up, "have never been more frightened in my life. She...hunted me...every...every moment..."

"Shhh..." Arcturus said, squeezing Raziel's hand. "Anyone in your position would've been terrified, boy. There's no shame in that. I saw her wounds. You did more than most could've in your position."

"Didn't...want to fight..." he said, shaking his head, tears falling out the corners of his eyes. "No choice. She was...so angry...!"

"Aye," he said, looking far off. "A parent's love is a strange thing, boy. It's one of the things we'll talk about when you're strong enough. But something has been interfering with the link between her children. When something threatens a parent's children, they can get...erratic." He turned sharply as he thought Raziel was coughing but instead it was weak laughter--that turned into coughing. "Take it easy, boy! What are you laughing about?!"

Raziel gave him a lopsided grin and looked Arcturus in the eyes. "'Get away from my son,'" he said, amusement dripping from his tone.

Arcturus growled and looked to the sky. "Spirits alive I'm never gonna live that one down...!" he lamented.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 8th September 2015, 3:41 pm

Laura had found a hiding spot in one of the many libraries in the place, on the lowest of floors, where the library stacks wound like a labyrinth, and where most of the books hadn't been touched in what must have been ages. There were visitors down there, of course - pilgrims she easily avoided, and Librarians she couldn't. The Librarians oddly enough tolerated her presence there, and one of them repeatedly left her food so she wouldn't have to leave the stacks. They seemed to understand that right now, what she needed was time to be alone and to think.

Before news had passed down to her that Raziel would live, she had barely slept out of anxiety - now that she knew he would make it, she still rarely slept. She sometimes looked at the books surrounding her, but none of them gave her advice on how to handle how she felt now.

She'd known for a while now that she trusted Raziel - enough to choose him over Zanzibar at least. But it wasn't something she'd stopped to consider deeply, wasn't something she had time to think about. But now, she realized, it was something she'd have to think about, because suddenly she wasn't so sure who she was anymore.

She was supposed to be practical. For as long as she'd been living alone she had been - it was the first thing she learned to do in order to survive. She wouldn't have lasted if she hadn't been invested in anything more than her own life, she knew that, but now that was changing. Whatever feeling she had for Raziel were making her dumber. Significantly.

Was that a good thing? She felt a certain nostalgia as she thought back on her life in Utopia. Certainly she used to be that brand of idiot then, the kind that cared so much about others that she neglected herself; but the wilds had quickly driven that out of her. Was this a part of herself she wanted to reclaim or not? Hell, at this point, did she even have a choice in the matter?

Her heart told her she needed to see Raziel, make sure he was okay, but she was hesitant to do so until she was certain this was a part of herself she wanted back. If she gave in to caring for him, what was next? Would it spiral out of control, and would she return to the little girl she used to be? It seemed ridiculous, sure, but even a few months ago the idea of investing herself in another person was ridiculous. So did she disappear instead? No, she remembered how much Raziel walking out all the time pissed her off, and he'd have a much easier time catching up to her than she'd had catching up to him.

Laura still hadn't come to any conclusions a week later, when one of the Librarians of the lower stacks passed on the news that Raziel had woken up.

She felt in her heart now more than ever that she needed to see him, but she wasn't any closer to an answer to, well, any of her questions. And the thought of seeing anyone else made her feel sick - surely Natalie and Kieran and everyone else would be there fluttering about him. And Arcturus too. Laura shuddered. The man knew far more about her than she was comfortable with - she felt naked with him in the room. Almost like when she first knew Raziel.

She warred with herself like this for days after Raz woke up, until one night she finally resolved to go up and see him. She walked through the streets of the city and stopped at the door of the infirmary, waiting until she was certain he was alone in there to walk in.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 8th September 2015, 4:41 pm

Raziel spent the days mostly sleeping, but the experience had left scars on him that went beyond the physical. His sleep wasn't completely restful; many times he'd awake in a cold sweat, terror through him. Visions of claws and teeth and...being the prey of an irresistable force. It left him shaking--and weeping. So much of his time there had been...desperation, struggle, survival. Is this what Laura felt all the time...? If so, it was horrible and gave him new perspective. But...how did he help her when he himself struggled underneath it? He just...wanted to hide away from the world, from everything. But he couldn't, and especially from what he wanted to hide from the most.

Bastet. She was there. Always slumbering. Her presence...was unwelcome. Like a plague, an infection. He could sense her slumbering. She rested, waking occasionally to lick her wounds. And to remind him she was there. How was he to know who'd be in control? Having experienced the difference, the struggle before had been the wild instincts that came of the magic, and just the breadth of her presence. Now it was her full presence, and it was overwhelming.

He held his head in his hands. What could he do? And how could he stop feeling so afraid...?

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 8th September 2015, 5:05 pm

The silence told her, at the very least, that he was asleep. It was possible that someone was with him still, but as she kept listening she could hear no other signs of movement.

Laura took in a breath. Maybe he was asleep, that would make this less horrible. But she was here, and she could hear nobody else, and so she dropped her invisibility and slipped into his room.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 8th September 2015, 6:10 pm

In the back of his mind, he heard noises, but he paid it no mind, just sat there with his head in his hands on his knees. Probably just one of the Healers. He knew the others were worried about him. He'd been withdrawn and not the cheerful person he'd been before. Of course, he could technically have the justification considering he was wrapped head to toe in bandages. He had a fleeting thought about how they were administering fluids and nutrients to him without him eating them. AMI used those fluid rooms to achieve the same effect, but they seemed to do it some other way. Ancient technology was amazing. If it had been when he first arrived here, he'd have been astounded and insanely curious. Now...it just felt empty. Everything felt empty.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 8th September 2015, 6:18 pm

He was sitting on his bed, his head in his hands pressed into his knees. He didn't even look up when she came in. That worried her far more than the bandages he was covered in.

She wondered briefly if she should leave him be, and decided against it. "Raz?" she finally said.

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by EphPhoenix on 8th September 2015, 6:26 pm

He jumped, jerking and nearly falling off of his bed. He looked to see Laura. His face turned red and he felt embarrassed for some reason. That was another thing he'd been dealing with--being skittish and jumpy. A few times he'd actually leapt off the bed and thrown it up to hide behind for cover, growling and bracing. He'd lived like that for so long, he just...didn't know how to turn it off.

He rubbed at his eyes and wiped his face, reaching over for one of the "disposable handkerchiefs" they'd left for him and blew his nose. No sooner had he tossed it than it suddenly vaporized.

"Hey!" he said, trying for cheerfulness. "I was wondering if you'd make an appearance." Being honest, everyone was wondering where she had been. He hadn't. Guilt suddenly gnawed at him. He hadn't spared a thought for her he'd been so lost in his...whatever this was. That ordeal had to have terrified her. "H--how have you been? Um...also," he said, feeling awkward. "Thank you. I think you must've hit your head or something at the time, but...you didn't abandon me. That...um, thanks." He gave her a halfhearted look of admonishment. "You should've though. Not that I'm ungrateful, but...yeah."

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Re: Hide and Seek

Post by Red on 8th September 2015, 8:15 pm

Laura didn't move as he jumped, a hole growing in her gut as he rubbed at his face with a handkerchief. This wasn't right. That he hadn't even noticed her coming, that her arrival startled him so. This wasn't the Raz she knew. Whatever had happened in there during his trial...

Her hands clenched slowly into fists at her sides. That thing had done something to him. All the worries and questions she'd been holding in her head were forgotten as she grabbed a chair and dragged it over next to him.

"Well I did," she said, sitting down. "So there's no point in chastising me." Laura leaned forward, bracing her hands on her knees. "How're you holding up?"

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