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  #121  
Old 02-02-2018, 01:50 PM
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Ugly!? The thought is like a shout to Juniper, as the insult comes loudly into the room as they go forward. Revealing the existence of the fourth shiftshaper's life, the group is very aware that it is alive; it is not, however, aware that they though. Instead, it remains still, as they begin to look around. Already they are forming plans, it realizes, and already it becomes more and more concerned with its own well-being. Perhaps this was a bad plan, it realizes. Perhaps this is dangerous. Perhaps this could have been better planned. It will need to act, it realizes. But it waits, listening.

The cause of the mutilations is certainly not the rubble. It's possible that while falling the stone and masonry tore the hand apart, but these hands stick out and the wounds are not covered in the same kind of dust; the tears that are visible in skin here is often covered in dust. Thus, it can only be concluded that something, whatever that something is, did the mutilations by hand or by tool or by mouth or claw or something: but not masonry. That much is obvious to Victoria as she inspects the wounds on the hands.

The plan is multifaceted. Draw weapons and approach, but how to do that and not give it away? Victoria has a plan, and so does Coin. Appearing to offer no threat, Coin moves close to the being, while Victoria, drawing her weapon, acts as though she is going to start cutting off pieces of the shapeshifters. The creature thinks that is fine, and appears to know, from the smell, that Coin is near. Opening its eyes, the creature roars, standing up and ready to attack Coin. It meets a blade instead. Though Victoria strikes too, only Coin's blade draws blood, a devastating blow going down its torso. The shapeshifter changes, becoming an old woman in its orderly's outfit.

"Wait! Wait, no please! I, I... I'm just a scientist! I'll tell you anything you want to know, anything, just! No!" Juniper can hear its thoughts: it's willing to bargain, but it wants to escape, and is not to be trusted.

The old woman holds her wounds, having revealed she was never covered up by rubble despite the dust on her. A name tag on her outfit reads "Dr. Latchke." Behind the group, a door remains in the fallen wall, leading elsewhere, deeper into the domains of madness that they find themselves.
 
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  #122  
Old 02-04-2018, 07:48 PM
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It's all too much for the vermilion mage, having paid no attention to Juniper's warnings he is caught completely off guard as the creature roars and attacks "Aiieeeeeaahh!"

It's a scream made of instinctive fear and he finds himself on his arse in the rubble, his glasses having fallen off and his eyes wide "Wait what... what...?" he finds his glasses and puts them back on his face, stands up and regains his calm, pinching the bridge of his nose he takes a deep breath "Okay, I am starting to get very uncomfortable with this place."

 
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  #123  
Old 02-07-2018, 08:45 AM
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Victoria wasn’t sure if she should be happy with how far they had gotten with their deception or is she should be annoyed that the conclusion hadn’t gone as well. Or maybe the creature’s desperation was good enough. At least for the time being. She threw a glance towards Coin and Juniper, the two of them who clearly had noticed the creature as well. As long as the thing was halfway cooperative, it likely didn’t really matter who asked the questions. She might as well commence.

"Then I strongly suggest you start talking, before he finishes carving you up." Victoria indicated Coin. "Where are we? (And the answer better not be “in an asylum” or anything equally unhelpful.) How did we get here? What are you?" She glared at the creature, sword ready to strike again if the thing decided to make another attempt at violence. "Oh and who and what is Doctor Oathsday and where is he?"


 

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  #124  
Old 02-23-2018, 01:30 PM
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Questions: questions that need answering.

The woman, weeping, shakes her head. "Briarstone Asylum. You're in Briarstone; how do you not know that?" She looks around, at each of them, spending the most of her sparing glances on the red-haired Samaris. "You don't look like patients, nor orderlies. You must have been caught here when it began. The reckoning, when he appeared to us all bringing sweet gifts: to the willing, to the wise. And I accepted. And now...." She smiles, her teeth seeming to grow wider and longer still. She turns, suddenly becoming Victoria, in exact appearance save for her clothes. Even the same eye is missing. "I am you, of course." She turns into Coin, then Juniper, then Samaris, all in equal measure. "We all are." The shapeshfiter finds that amusing, but Juniper, still in the thing's mind, can tell that the creature has no idea what it truly is.

"And so you are outsiders. That must be it. Brought here by the master. Well, Dr. Oathsday will appreciate that, and will know more." The lead-in to the next question is sweet; Juniper feels that the creature thinks itself in control. Latchke looks down. "A wise leader, the leader of us all against the ghouls and the foolish souls who deny the master's gift and justice: only the worthy of those who choose the master can survive." She transform back into the old woman. "I can take you to the good doctor, to Oathsday. She can tell you, teach you the truth. Then you can know the master: unless you do, and you reject him?"

If they met the master, rejection is the only option. That... thing is horrifying. Juniper is uncertain as to what Latchke's plan here is, but the shapeshifter still wishes to escape, or at least turn this to its advantage. Ironically, it thinks itself in male terms. Yet it appears as an old woman?

An asylum indeed.
 
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  #125  
Old 03-01-2018, 08:32 AM
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Samaris' glare towards the creature becomes more annoyed the more it speaks, finally he waves his hand in dismissal "Be quiet now, you." he purrs, turning to his companions "If that thing is to be believed we're in southern Ustalav, near Thrushmoor if that rings a bell for anyone?" he waits for any flicker of recognition in the others before he goes on "There was something... I don't know, there is a wisp of memory that speaks about it being built upon something much older, but I can't recall having heard anything out of the ordinary happening here. Maybe if we could scurry over to the archives here it could prove.. interesting."

Looking down at the changeling in front of them, a mix of curiosity and irritation clearly visible "You spoke of ghouls?
Explain."
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  #126  
Old 03-04-2018, 07:28 AM
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Briarstone. It at least sounds like the normal enough name of some location. If only it rang a bell. Any bell. As it was, the shapechanger could have named any place and it would have helped Victoria just as much as Briarstone. The woman’s puzzling over the name was all that saved the shapechanger from being stuck by several feet of sharp steel when it turned first into Victoria herself and then the others. "Do that again," she snarled, "and it’ll be the last thing you ever do!" Those creatures were bad enough when they were not wearing one of their faces.

She continues to listen to the prisoner and then to Samaris’ explanations. Ustalav. That at least is a name that she has heard before. So this was somewhere at least remotely familiar. By name if nothing more. It was a tidbit that was at least partially comforting. Contrary to the mention of ghouls. Maybe some more explanation about that would be forthcoming. "And who and what is the master?" she adds one more question of her own.
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  #127  
Old 03-09-2018, 02:09 PM
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The old woman eyes Victoria carefully, almost brazen enough to grin in defiance, but not quite. She does not speak, as Samaris offers some thoughts as to where they are. It seems confused, though, as to why the mage is telling them this information; do they not know where they are? Juniper hears this in the creature's thoughts, and it leaves the shapeshifter wondering what else they don't know. At the mention of the Archives, there is something about the center of the building in the creature's thoughts, but that doesn't do Juniper much good. She doesn't even know where she is now.

"Ghouls?" What humor rode in the shapeshifter's face fades. "Disgusting rejects. They fail the test of the Master. They reject his gifts. And their bodies return, risen, held onto by his wide hand: his yellow hand!" The mention of that seems to drive something into them, an echo, and not in the voice of the creature that speaks to them but of something else. The one from the dream: the one who knew them. Not the ragged figure, no. Something else. Something more vile. Coin recalls the man in the coat, the man who had approached him. That voice, that familiar voice. Thrushmoor. That man. The dream. What came before.

Victoria asks another question: of the Master. The woman laughs. "You know the Master! You see him, as we see him! In your dreams!" She laughs more, more loudly too, and smiles. "He brings the one who came before into this world, and soon, we will be a part of the true city, the known city! A black star is rising, and soon we will rise to meet it! But not as the foolish men in yellow do, nor the damned ghouls, or those hidden cowards in the chapel: no! We know the master's true face, the true will!"

Whatever all this means, one thing is for certain: Latchke is truly mad.
 
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  #128  
Old 03-11-2018, 07:49 AM
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The creature’s words did not help clear things up at all. They just made everything more worrisome. More mysterious. Maybe this Oathsday would be able to shed some more light on things. If they could get their hands on her. One thing that the shifter had said stood out to Victoria: "What chapel? Where is it? What god is worshipped there? And who are the people hiding there?" Someone who was not in league with the mysterious Master and his followers might well prove to be allies. Possibly even folks who talked clearer.

Even with those questions still needing answer, it seemed as if they were fast approaching the point at which they had to decide how to proceed. Gather the proof to get through the barricade? Or try to find Oathsday? After all, the dead wouldn’t be running away. Would they need to get through the barricade to reach the Doctor? "Which way would we have to go if you were to take us to Oathsday?"

Victoria also threw a glance towards the others. How did they think about what to do with this creature now? Try to use it to find out more? Go and explore on their own? Just… would they just kill it in cold blood then? She was torn about that. On the one hand it was dangerous to have a being wander around that was able to look like just anyone. Especially one that was clearly deranged. On the other killing someone in cold blood had a distinctively different feel to it than taking a life in the course of combat. Even so, considering all this, she realized that she had truly meant her threat just moments earlier. And was that not the same?
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:07 AM
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Latchke studies Victoria carefully as she demands more answers from the questions she raised. Juniper feels her meticulously going over the issues: does she lie? Does she tell the truth? "False gods, gods of death and life and many gods: all gods are welcomed there, for the asylum has visitors from far off.... but the asylum is no longer welcomed for those gods." Latchke does not point, hoping to avoid answering where, but as for who these people are, she can but smile. "Fools and idiots, all of the insane and fickle inmates that did not see the light. They hide with her, the priestess of death, who came from outside just as these terrible things were happening. The Master trapped her, as he trapped you. For I have never seen any of you before." Given their lack of uniforms, she may be right.

And finally the question: where is Oathsday. Latchke openly smiles at that one.

"I can take you to her, that way." She points, back towards the door in the rubble, north of where they stand now, behind Coin. "But it's dangerous. Many ghouls. Many threats. The haunting of that poor soul.... But no matter. I can take you. I will. Please let me take you, Dr. Oathsday will very much love to meet you." There is a snideness to that Juniper detects, but to what end, she doesn't know. She can assume that Oathsday is likely the reason the experiments going on downstairs were going on that way. What will they look like up here?
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  #130  
Old 03-12-2018, 08:27 AM
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Coin shook his head.
"I'll be going nowhere with this thing. It's bad enough having to creep along down these halls and corridors without having to worry about a wolf in sheep's clothing in our midst."

He cast a quick glance around the room, while still holding the rapier poised for a jab at the creature in front of him if it tried any funny business.
"Either we look it in here and move on, or we find some cell to throw it in. If this is an asylum its bound to have holding-areas to rival that of any prison. Heck, we can even use the cells back down where we first woke up. We have the keys for those still."


 
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:04 AM
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"A cell?" Samaris raises an eyebrow in annoyed surprise "Remember what we need to get past that barricade, my dear." he looks at the creature wondering if what it had said was all true or if it was just making up nonsense, in any case the only thing that was of any use to them now was its head.
"Were this thing an inmate, then yes a cell would do. But it isn't, now is it my dear? It's a parasite that does not belong, just like this Dr. Oathsday. I would love to make some experiments of my own on it, but alas...." his eyes are cold as he steps back and draws a line across his neck with two fingers, indicating what must be done.
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:19 AM
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"Be that as it may, I am not about to strike someone down in cold blood. Doing so would make me no better than that make-believe nurse downstairs."

Coin gave a light shake of his head.
"Handing this thing over to the people behind the palisades back there is a death-sentence as much as anything, and I don't intend to parade it around these halls. So, the only option I see it place it behind bars until matters settle and a proper judgement can be passed on it by those with authority to do so. Authority, I'll add, that doesn't come from being the one holding the bigger stick."
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Old 03-16-2018, 11:08 AM
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The creature on the ground hears the exchange between Coin and Samaris and starts to wonder how to play this to her advantage. Juniper, looking down, sighs, and knows that she has to speak up.

"This entire time, I've been reading this Latchke's thoughts. Planning her escape, how to turn us against one another, how she can manipulate us and make us one of her experiments. She now knows that Scaen's experiments failed, assuming that's the woman downstairs. She wants us to be one of her experiments, specifically, and if that involves taking us to Oathsday, that's fine. It's a dangerous path, to get there and back, and not just because of ghouls. Most of what she's told us is true, to a point, and... quite a hornet's nest to be in, that head. I can't tell if there's any cells we can rely on; this the more the supply side of the asylum. We'd have to travel to the other side for an actual cell, from what I'm gleaning, and it sounds like we'd have to get through the barricade to get there. The other side is cut off, crushed." She looks around. "Kind of like this place. I think we're at the edge of things now, actually, we'd have a way to get to Oathsday, but...."

Latchke's features distort into hideous, almost animalistic looks. "You thieving cu—" Juniper's blade is out and at Latchke's throat in an instant, supporting Victoria's blade. "Language, first of all. Secondly," she sighs, looking to Coin. Coin has a tinge of a memory, not of Juniper or Victoria, but another red-headed woman, in that instant. "I don't think justice is a luxury we have time for. Remember that sky outside? That wasn't natural. I don't remember a whole lot of anything.... I know where Thrushmoor is, I have a sense of where we are, but if the authorities are coming, they'd be here by now, digging us out. That sky... I don't think we can count on authorities and courts of law. I may be wrong, and some god strike me down for it, but I think we have to rely on the law of the jungle now."

She turns back to Latchke, but hesitates. Giving Victoria a look, she waits.

Is Victoria the final vote?
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  #134  
Old 03-20-2018, 04:06 PM
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Victoria listened to each of them in turn, weighing their words, examining her own thoughts. Wondering what she would have done if the creature below had surrendered to them. After what they had seen it do. If she was honest with herself she didn’t believe that she would have just locked it up. Not after the carnage they had witnessed.

She threw a long look towards Juniper before finally making up her mind to believe the other woman’s words. "The creature is clearly unhinged and dangerous and we have no way of knowing exactly what it can do. If the cells below will even hold it with nobody there to keep an eye on her." She threw a glance towards Coin. "I think Juniper is right. Whatever is going on here, it’s clear it didn’t just take a few minutes to end up like it is. If we’re not in the middle of nowhere, someone should already have checked on things." Hell, it might even have been them who did that. Who could really tell? None of them knew about their pasts. "We are the authority here right now. And logic says it’s too dangerous to leave it behind, unguarded, and likewise too dangerous to take it along and give it time to ram a dagger into our backs."

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Old 03-23-2018, 06:02 AM
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His eyes dart to Juniper Reading her thoughts? "Clever girl." he purrs, a grim satisfaction in his tone "The sky is indeed an anomaly, as is the state of this place as a whole. Perhaps we are still stuck in a dream or perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the world and as much as I'd like to stay here and theorize and talk ethics and laws all day we just don't have the luxury of time, you see." he looks at the creature one final time, licks his lips and shrugs "Let's be done with it."
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