Blackfeather Woods Seems I deal with things a bit differently.
Private  October 13, 2018, 12:16 PM
Titmouse
Undersea




Mou is avoiding the inevitable and he's using the cave, and its occupant, as a distraction from the storm that is brewing between himself and Maegi. He knows he can't resist the caves either, and so he makes a choice. He'll avoid Maegi for now and focus on the girl with the red coat; it was his mistake that brought the girl to the woods and he knows he can't make up for it yet, that she's ill and its his fault and everyone is in danger, but he's set in a mild panic about it and knows he's stuck. He may as well make the best of a bad situation, right? So he avoids Maegi and he faces the dark of the cavern despite the chill it leaves in his skin, the nagging of a vocie he doesn't recognize telling him to stay back and to keep out — maybe he's picking up on the girl's own fears because she most certainly is afraid right now, or maybe this is something more. Mou doesn't think he's ever investigated Wolfskull Cave before and yet, as he trails through the corridors, they leave an eerily familiar sick feeling in the back of his throat. A bitterness he can't explain.

So, he doesn't. He ignores it as best he can, traces a route using the nearest wall — the same way he travelled those tunnels for so many days, avoiding the ever-present jaws of death, and that ominous voice telling him to just die.

When he finds her this time, she's an ember dying on the hearth. She's flickering against the shadows, and Mou has to squeeze his eyes shut for a second to gather himself. He advances slowly and quietly towards her, not wanting to cause her fright or upset beyond what he's obviously created for her already; but he trips up on a discarded animal skull. The hare — what bits of skull she hasn't eaten has been tossed aside, and now tumbles in the dirt with a tail of vertebrae. The rattling of the bones startles him too and he flicks his wrist, drawing the skull towards him in the next instance (almost like he's dribbling a soccer ball), passes it to a hind foot, and kicks it away.

In the descending quiet he feels tension, and it only gets worse while he looks her over; how badly he wishes he could speak to her, to apologize properly, but Mou is here for answers of his own. His mind is buzzing with questions that he cannot fathom asking, so instead he clears his throat and mumbles, Hou felling? That isn't clear enough and he tries again, H-how, uh, how feel? His voice sounds so loud in this void-space and he's startled back to silence.
October 13, 2018, 12:22 PM
Fire
Lost Creek Hollow
Versatile





He is the last person she wants to see.  After everything he has done to her, it is still the image of Raven burying her children that sticks in her mind.  This isn't about love anymore (because how could Raven love someone like her?) but instead about revenge.  It was easier that way.

She is curled in a ball tucked as far back in the cave as she feels she can manage.  She still requires some of the light to reach her (for her sanity) but it's so terribly cold.  The temperatures have been steadily dropping, frost covers the ground in the mornings.  

She watches him kick the hare's skull away with surprising dexterity, and wonders if this whole invalid thing was just a ruse.

"Hou felling?  H-how, uh, how feel?"  There's that pressure to talk again, but this time she doesn't even try.  She knows she can't.  She feels powerless, trapped down here, and she knows it's his fault.

But wait — there's something he has that nobody else does.  He came from the Redhawks.  He should theoretically know Towhee's conlang, right?  She tilts her head and signs, -Tired,- a bubbling anticipation brewing in her.

October 13, 2018, 12:42 PM
Titmouse
Undersea



She doesn't respond and he feels that heavy weight of his terrible decision gain another few pounds. It presses down upon him like claustrophobia and for a moment he thinks he cannot breathe — but its only a moment. She stirs and they lock eyes, seconds ticking away, and she makes no move as to reply. Not verbally, anyways. She makes a motion in the dark and he's not sure what he's watching but, somehow, understands.

She says shes tired. How could he know that? Mou's face transforms in to a frown and his expression drifts among the shadows, confused and concerned but for himself rather than her. How does he know that? Where did he learn it?

He takes a step towards her with his head lowered, shoulders jutting above. He turns his face so that he can look at her with his good eye but doesn't see anything. Mou turns his head so that he can look at her with his stone-eye, with the eye of Sithis, as if that would garner more understanding, but it doesn't. He draws back like a snake ready to strike but rather than do any harm, he coils up, lays down.

Wha was det?
His voice might be frail and the sounds lacking harmony, but the question is as clear as he can make it. He's almost afraid to look at her because she might draw another sigil and maybe he'll understand that too. Then what?

October 13, 2018, 12:47 PM
Fire
Lost Creek Hollow
Versatile





There was recognition there, she could see it!  He stalks towards her, one yellow eye surveying her and she shivers as he turns the other one to her — the rotting one filled with something shiny and foriegn.  There's a shimmer there that makes her believe he can see out of it even though that's stupid.  After all, these woods are not all they seem.

"Wha was det?" he says, and she immediately launches into sign.  -Ptero,- she explains, using Towhee's word for her conlang.  -Do you remember it?-

October 13, 2018, 12:59 PM
Titmouse
Undersea



There — she motioned some more and he had an unnatural affinity towards it. He knew it, somehow. But this wasn't a knowledge he was ever taught within Undersea and he couldn't fathom where else it would have come from. She's motioning so fast and its so dark in the cave, but Mou doesn't miss a beat, and that frightens him.

Nnn, he starts, wanting to deny any knowledge of what she's doing but by answering her question would prove his lie. He's grimacing while she's motioning at him. His mind is blurring things. Maybe he knows what Sithis wants him to know, and maybe this girl is a test from his chosen god. Maybe she's telling the truth and they're friends — or more than that, but he is desperate not to fill in the blanks with the wrong answers.

What was more important right now was, How? I know — what say, I know. How? It was the clearest he had been in a while. But still, Mou dreaded to know the truth.
October 13, 2018, 01:10 PM
Fire
Lost Creek Hollow
Versatile





She can't help but pity his fear.  He knows what she is saying, but he does not know how.  If it was a ruse she doubts he could've kept it up this long, or that his reaction would have been this genuine.  She has knowledge that he doesn't, and that scares him.

He is lucky she isn't a liar.  She could weave him falsities and he'd never be able to tell the difference.  -You lived with me, Mou, on the Plateau.  With the Redhawks.-  But where to go from there? -I know how this happened to you.  I know how you got like this.-

October 13, 2018, 01:25 PM
Titmouse
Undersea


When the truth comes it doesn't feel right, it doesn't sound familiar, but he can't deny it either. His mind flares with what he does remember — the images of shadows made of feathers, of a red-tailed hawk slowly blackening. These images had confused and frightened him for so long but maybe, if she was telling the truth, they were more than just fantasies produced by his medicine. Maybe he was chasing something more than just the high — but this was the most frightening discovery, and he couldn't help but resist it. Mou shook his head slowly, then sharply, and fixed his attention upon the girl with a glare.

Nn... You..
He is agitated and defensive and afraid, all of it written clearly across his face, but she has her own truths written across her's as well. A conviction. She isn't lying. He wanted answers and now he's fighting against those answers — but Mou has to decide to trust what she's saying, signing, whatever, even if it doesn't make sense.

His jaw clenches and he looks at the dirt, his good eye moving frantically, trying to make sense, to justify, all of it.

Redhawk. He repeats. There is no recognition but he looks at her suddenly, as if to study her instead, to gauge how he should react or maybe just to find something to root himself upon. Everything seems to be spinning inside of him.

He thinks of Seelie and the recognition that she held too, but she called him something else, she had said,
Teamous. But it didn't mean anything to him either; maybe it meant something to his patient.
October 13, 2018, 01:33 PM
Fire
Lost Creek Hollow
Versatile





His fear-recognition is startling, frightening.  He is so unpredictable that she fears if she agitates him enough, he'll do something to her just like he did to Raven.  She steps back, but continues.  For now.

-Redhawks,- she says, as Teamouse means nothing to her and Titmouse wouldn't have either.  -We live on the Plateau, and we used to live on the Caldera that's just a little over,- she signs, frustrated.  She didn't know him that well, she didn't know what he knew of the Redhawks before all this happened, let alone now.

A different angle.  -Do you remember the apple tree?-

October 13, 2018, 01:39 PM
Titmouse
Undersea


Plateau. He didn't remember.

Caldera..? He thinks of the mountains and the stranger nesting there.

That tells him something. Mou realizes that the Blackfeather Woods are in more danger than he anticipated and that, yes, he's made everything much worse. If he could visibly pale that's what would be happening right now. He doesn't notice her shifting away from him against the wall, doesn't see her fear, and is too distracted by his own thoughts. So many things are going through his mind right now.

He needs to talk to Relmyna. He needs to warn someone - and likely be punished for his stupidity regarding the girl, but that's something he's willing to deal with if it means Maegi and the rest of them are safe. He can fix this.

But then the patient motions something else — apples. Something about apples. He almost misses it but it seems so alien among the rest of this strange conversation that he pauses to watch her. Apple trees?

Mou tries to focus on the concept of apple trees but - unfortunately for Fire - nothing comes to mind. He shakes his head, but having spent a little time trying to concentrate is good, he's much more composed.
October 13, 2018, 07:39 PM
Fire
Lost Creek Hollow
Versatile
So he remembers the Caldera (or so it seems) and not her.  She shouldn't be surprised, but it hurts, oh god, it hurts.  It wasn't fair that he got to be absolved of his sins, his memories wiped, and she had to live with hers every day.  Her hackles raised, and she snapped her teeth between them.  -Then go!- she signs furiously, -OUT!-

Before she kills them both.
October 13, 2018, 07:47 PM
Titmouse
Undersea


He doesn't want to leave but clearly his silence and mental absence has her flustered. She's hurting and that's the opposite of what he wants - but its unavoidable. Mou doesn't know where he comes from, he has only the slightest clues and no way to make sense of them. Now, with this girl, he has a big piece of that puzzle. A means to an end. But she's fighting back with all her might, snapping at him and flailing a sign or two. It no longer scares him that he knows what she's saying; in a way, this conversation served to give him all the answers.

He recoiled from her and scampered back along the wall of the cave, heading for a crevice of shadow that led to a corridor, and then to freedom. Mou could've stayed and demanded more answers but he didn't want to stress her out further - and he was afraid for himself too, afraid to know everything. What if she wasn't really a friend? That would crush him.

So, in typical Titmouse fashion, he ran.