Sleepy Fox Hollow The ice man cometh.
All Welcome  January 19, 2020, 01:46 PM
Titmouse

It has been weeks since his discovery in the dark. He had left the cave alone for as long as he could, but Mou was too curious even with his ample fear of that darkness. He drew close to the entryway on various occasions but he did not slip in to that narrow corridor, did not let himself linger for too long where the body's noxious gasses might reach him. The man was unable to remove the images from his mind from when he first discovered the creature; misshapen and foul as the body was, horrible as their situation must have been, Mou did not feel the same revulsion as before.

He saw the body in his dreams juxtaposed against bizarre memories. Each night they were stronger, holding him under. He would dream of Maegi and wake with the smell of rot in his nose; more recently his dreams slipped further from reality (as they often do) and he would wake within a layered dream-scape surrounded by faces he did not know. In the previous night alone Mou's mental escapades have taken him from a false wilderness to a poorly mimicked Blackfeather Woods, and when he woke he wasn't truly free of it.

He dreamt of a woman made of shifting black masses, smelling of dust, her angles skewed by the ravens whom composed her. He imagined climbing atop her; remembered this moment too, vaguely. The woman would open her mouth to scream and in that split second before his true awakening Mou would see the face of his sister Raven - it would morph in to Maegi, and he would spasm back to his own body. Each time the memories surfaced differently in his dreams but they always transmuted, shifting to the familiar, and he would always wake closer to that cave.

This time when he woke there was a distinctly sour smell in the air, as well as the scent of dust. He was groggy; the thin winter light of morning crept in around him, caught in his pale fur with faint illumination. The ground was stony and cold. Around him was a grey darkness - but as he focused on the light his eye adjusted and he could see -- the empty sunken eyes of the rotted dog corpse staring back at him. He had somehow brought himself in to the cave this time, not just close to it, and in knowing this he felt his blood run cold.
January 20, 2020, 03:26 PM
Maegi

She found herself a little lonely today and followed her mate's trail, wondering what he was up to. They were quite adept at dividing their time between being together and keeping to themselves; she hoped she wouldn't be a nuisance on this day. Though she doubted it very much—and even if she was, she doubted even more that Mou would make that opinion known.

Maegi entered the cave, her face contorting in distaste as the stench hit her nostrils. She came closer, finding Mou's pale form in the darkness. Her eyes, too, adjusted, and her mouth fell open in silent shock as she spotted the corpse, ostensibly the source of the smell.

Mou? she whispered, breath fogging in the frigid air. Maegi came to his side and pressed close, the hair along her spine lifting by instinct. Do you. . .do you know what this is? What happened? Poor dead soul.
January 20, 2020, 04:20 PM
Titmouse

He stared at that empty-eyed skull, with its sagging cheeks and rat-bitten little ears, until Maegi called to him. He startled more to her voice than the enduring company of death, and as he lifted his chest and propped himself up with his forelimbs, he finally tore his attention away from the body. She was close; drifting closer, horror-stricken face and all. What happened?

Mou wondered what was going through her mind. Revulsion was obvious - it was something they shared - but what else? Doubt? Did she think that he had done this? Found this foreign creature with its leather straps and too-similar-face, its exposed viscera discoloring the ice and stone with red-brown. The body was frostbitten. Freezer-burned, more like it; the cavern acting as a shelter while winter's chill froze out the death.

He opened his mouth to answer her, but. He didn't know what to say. The first words Mou wanted to use with his beloved did not have anything to do with such foul themes. He moved, shifting to his feet, sliding up beside her to eagerly share her space and find comfort in her warmth; more for his own sake than her's, immediately.

But then he drew his lips across her cheek, a soft love-nip. Sithis brought me here. It had to be Sithis; working through the void, calling for him. He would not have found this cavern without the daedra's influence, Mou was certain of that. He didn't care for the body even as he said this, he was watching Maegi - wondering, intensely, if she saw what he saw.
January 20, 2020, 10:01 PM
Maegi

Few things could have prepared her for it. An unmistakable fear entered her face as she took a step or two to the side, away from him. She stared at Mou like a deer caught in headlights as his words reverberated in her mind.

Sithis brought me — Sithis — Sith--

Cicero.

The name fell with devastating finality amid the chaotic thoughts, her father's smirking face rising up before her. Maegi shook her head, slowly at first, more emphatically with each second. Didn't he know? Had she been remiss in telling him of the horrors of what met her within the labyrinthine bowels of Blackfeather Woods?

No, she breathed, trembling. Not Sithis. It can't be, Mou; the daedra are demons. They revealed themselves to me as evil when I was trapped in the tunnels, when the earth shook.

They hate me. And, by extension, they hated Mou, too. This was a trick, a trap. They needed to leave.

And in her fear (and her writer's forgetfulness) she hadn't even noticed that his voice had returned once more.