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Beewolf

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About Beewolf

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  • Birthday 10/05/1992

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    Visual Artist

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  1. I only have a glimpse of the murky interior of the cathedral and sunlight glinting off of the scalloped plating of two giant sentinels before the doors close with a resounding bang, and Jack is eclipsed from view. I wipe my hands nervously on my pant legs and spin in a few frenetic circles as I try to orient my thoughts. "Okay, okay. We will both be just fine." I pause when my eyes catch on the gleaming star in one of the statue's hands. "Right, then." I climb up on the statue's stone plinth and gently prise the gleaming object from its loose grip. Might as well test drive another doodad while I'm at it. I plop it into my pocket and cross the distance to the clocktower in short, quick strides, entering and scaling the stairs to the top floor, where the frozen party is exactly as we left it: "upstairs is a lounge straight out of the great gatsby. deactivated people made of shiny metal and old clock parts stand around. THe tables are full of pearls,vases of flowers and bottles of alcohol.dented pocket watches hang from the light fixtures. A white wooden door stands unassisted in the middle" Before examining the 'alcohol,' I take a moment to more carefully survey all of the inhabitants of the room, looking for hints as to what may set their gears spinning into motion. Maybe it's curiosity, maybe it's their unnerving stillness making me feel like I'm trapped in a glitzy diorama, but the fact that there has been more depth to every location we've visited so far makes me think we missed something vital here.
  2. "No, no, that sounds good...." I trail off, thinking about the popping, fizzing static, the empty space between my ears while I was in the cathedral. At best, I'd probably be a liability to Jack. At worst, I might turn against him. Who knew what the Martyr could command me to do in close quarters? No, better not risk it. "Just one thing. There are these...crows, ravens, or whatever, sitting in the rafters, waiting to divebomb on command. I'd say bring food to distract them," I eye up the meat packages meaningfully, "but I don't know if that would actually help. I got the sense that they're totally loyal to the Martyr. Honestly, I don't know how to circumvent them, so just... don't provoke her, if you can help it." I stare at him worriedly for a beat. "We'll meet back here when we're done, okay? I'll just bring a bottle back with me and we can pass it between us until it needs a refill. I've got the pockets for it." I smile and stick my hands into my hoodie's pouch demonstrably, but my smile flattens as I turn thoughtful, my fingers brushing against metal -- the compass. I had completely forgotten about it. "Actually, you should take this. It might point you in the right direction if you have any questions come up while you're sleuthing." I offer the compass to Jack.
  3. Jack unceremoniously dumps his burden near the fountain, and I follow suit, the weight starting to tire my arms. To be fair, this place seems to have no time or weather, and there's been no other foot traffic here besides us and the procession of blind devotees, but a part of me still feels compelled to furtively nudge it into the unshifting shadow of the demoness's wings, just in case. I wipe away a trickle of shining ichor from my hand, shuddering. Must've been a haunch of celestial meat. "Okay, so, remember the bottles of alcohol in the clocktower? And how they're probably not alcohol? I was thinking we could test that theory out, the next time we're in there. If it's undrinkable, though, I'd wager our next best bet would be the ponds where the geisha were. Nothing attacked me when I took one of the doll smoke-bomb things, and I don't think they would begrudge us a drink. I mean, running water would be better, but...I don't really trust that river." I idly kick a pebble, considering my next words. "'Heathen' doesn't usually have good connotations, but I haven't seen anything be outright hostile towards you yet. The deer only seemed to think Katana and I should get the axe, and like, vaguely warned you to stay away from the Dear Leader." I glance around at the cathedral, its shadow stretching imposingly into the courtyard, completely at odds with the noonday sun. "So I'm thinking you may be a 'Heathen" because you aren't a follower or creation of the Martyr, but that doesn't mean the occupants of this place view you as an enemy or a threat warranting violence. They're just...warry of you...because you're unaligned, so to speak."
  4. "Eueueuergthththank you." I said, accepting my heavy, drippy share of the burden and shifting it in my arms with a grimace. I turned to look to make sure the butcher was out of hearing range before whispering conspiratorially to Jack. "Okay, so...I think I know where we might find water if we can't safely get it at the banks of the river or somewhere else, but we need to test it, first, and there would be a limited supply of it, if it is viable." I step out of the shop, trying to angle my foot to prop the door open for Jack to follow. "We also need to find some way to use this or store it, and we need to talk about what 'heathen' could possibly mean in your case."
  5. The word 'Saviors' conjures memories in my mind of crows lining the cathedral rafters, eyes beady and beaks snapping, razor-sharp. I stare at what look like plucked wings in some of the containers, thinking that as flying creatures, it would make sense if they could bring down an angel. My eyebrows shoot up as soon as Jack asks for a cut. Oh, okay. We're doing this then. All told, it wasn't a bad idea -- we could use the 'meat' to bait other creatures for food, or as a distraction. I eye Jack and school my expression. "Does that mean he's a 'heathen,' then? I was a Useless, if I remembered correctly, so I didn't think the label applied to me, but I wanted to be sure. "And what kind of meat do you have on offer, besides angel?"
  6. I watch the death mask quiver and undulate with the thing's -- Desperation's -- detached and informative speech, and feel acid crawling up my throat from nausea and an empty stomach. I'm hungry, getting hungrier, but I can't even begin to fathom what bad karma it would mean to eat an angel, or anything else in this shop, for that matter. I take my cue from Jack and start inching towards the doorway. "Okay, who are these 'Saviors?' And what sin did the angel commit to warrant death and dismemberment? And where do angels even come from, here?"
  7. As I watch in macabre fascination as the mermaid is defleshed, only for the remainder to then be cannibalized, it makes me wonder, not for the first time, about the wildlife of this place, and what might lurk beneath the surface of a pond or river here. In our last encounter with marine life, Katana was mobbed by arts and craft koi. Were all bodies of water in this world going to subject us to the same type of predation? Where would we source drinking water from, if they were? More to the point, did this nightmare sushi live in the river, the only other source of possible fresh water besides the koi-infested ponds that we'd seen so far? I was beginning to feel parched, and basic human needs were quickly becoming a point of concern. I hear Jack speak and the dreaded ringing of a bell, and turn my attention to the man -- no, the -- I feel my face spasm a bit as I try to gauge where the thing before us falls on the man-animal-monster spectrum of this place, with its uncanny, melted appearance -- and then point to one of the meat containers in answer, directing my finger to hover between parts which obviously belonged to a man, and parts that did not resemble anything sapien. "If I may ask, where do you source your meat from, er...sir?" I felt it politic to be polite, given the, by all appearances, fresh blood dotting his hands and apron.
  8. I flex my empty fingers in the air after Jack intervenes, my hope of permanently confiscating Katana's, er, katana, dashed. Ah, well. It was worth a shot. When we reach the butcher's shop, it takes everything in me not to retch. My eyes catch on the caches full of human flesh...and...other bits around the interior. "Soilent green is...people." I shudder, feeling skeeved, and then feeling even more skeeved at the knowledge that I'm interjecting foreign references again without even meaning to. I see a little brass bell on the counter, and feel a shiver crawl up my spine, thinking about what sort of horrors its innocuous chime may draw. My hand has been on the hairpin that I nicked from Katana this whole time, and my grip tightens further. I'm drawn to an eerie blue light on the counter next to the bell, and notice a murky fish tank, the little light filtering into the shop casting weird patterns on the walls via refraction. "What the hell is this...?" I whisper to Jack, edging just a little bit closer -- but not too close. I tap slightly on the glass with the pin, ready to pull my hand back at a moment's notice.
  9. I prop myself against one of the statues in thought, my eyes downcast as I absorb Jack's words. I hadn't considered that the deer could have been lying -- mostly because I felt it vain to hope with so little contrary evidence to go on. The idea that I could actually be real, and maybe even just another amnesiac like Jack, is electrifying in its implications, but I stubbornly quash it down, not wanting to risk dissapointment. I look back at the cathedral in worry at its mention, knowing that a more thorough exploration of its contents was probably inevitable, but all the same, still feeling a tell-tale sense of foreboding when memories of a throne draped in thick chains and inky black feathers rustling in vaulted rafters replay in my mind. I trace the compass through the fabric of my hoodie, coming to a decision there and then. Before I can reply, Katana has his sword pressed against his chest after seemingly slipping back into character with little warning, too eager to resolve Jack's hypothetical with a practical demonstration of his own. Part of me is intrigued by him wavering between two alternate identities so easily, even as I share a look of deep exasperation with Jack. I hold my hand out to him, letting my face assume the most solemn expression that I can muster in the face of this feudal melodrama. "I'll volunteer my services as executioner, then. I'm assuming this scenario would call for a beheading when a third-party is involved?" I ask, admittedly guessing at my role. I try to make reassuring eye contact with Jack over Katana's head, which is bowed somewhat in concentration, to let him know that I haven't truly given in to any homicidal ideation where our favorite samurai is concerned -- even if the figure in question did occasionally play havoc with my blood pressure.
  10. I blink rapidly at Katana's shift in demeanor, my mind whirling. "Um...okay, idea." I turn to address Jack. "When I was in the cathedral, I had this moment of wakefulness when you came in, and then when you left, it was really easy for the rest of the... congregation...to rope me back into their beliefs, lead me back unquestioningly to their perspective, you know? And when I went outside, and you were there, I started to come to again and see things as a...person. An individual. So I think there may be two things of influence here." I list my points on my fingers. "One, I think you are introducing information to this place, even if it's just information gathered from your subconscious. Look around us." I gesture at the crayon sky. Everything here is very juvenile, childlike. The Japanese garden was prosaic in its cultural understanding, but really...imaginative. Like a child's idea of a foreign land. And the Gatsby party going on at the top of the clock tower...I wonder, if one of us took a swig of the alcohol up there...if it would even taste like alcohol? Or is it just more set dressing, since most children wouldn't know what alcohol even tastes like? Which makes me think it's also very likely, since Katana and I happen to have a higher level of intellectual sophistication than our surroundings would suggest, that we need to be siphoning such information from another source. You, specifically, as the real, resident adult here. You're the only foreign invader, bringing your pop culture references with you, it would seem, so that they get appropriated by us, even though we, as a child's make-believe puppets, would have no real-world reference for them ourselves...it just seems like your presence is having...unforseen consequences on the world's inhabitants. Making some of us glitch, in a way. "But then the question becomes: who's creating these specific childlike pieces of our environment? Is it Big Sister? Because we don't know how old she was when she became...that thing in the cathedral. Or is it...Fate? Because we can't rule her out, either. I mean, I know it's a tenuous connection, but she does like to color." I point to the smiley, scribbled sun in the sky. "And like I said, I think there is another factor at play, here: physical distance from our point of origin. I struggled with my individualism when I was in the cathedral, and Katana seems like a totally different person now that he's been dragged away from the garden. I mean, he just referenced Sundance. Come on. Our samurai is gone, at least for now. So I wonder, if we cross that threshold again...if we'll revert." I stare nervously at the cathedral. "What I think I'm really getting at, is -- if we're going to get anywhere in this place, we need to start assembling a unified theory for why everything happens the way that it does here, but also take into account the mindset in which this 'wonderland' was constructed -- primarily that of a child, it would seem. So think less literal, and more abstract. Less logical, more...dream-like and emotive. "And look, I could be wrong here, but we really do need to start throwing out guesses for things if we're going to get anywhere, because this place doesn't seem keen to share its secrets with us. Like why you're here." I raise a contemplative eyebrow at Jack. Finally, I turn to Katana. "And since it seems you've been set back to factory settings -- Hi, I'm Sophie. This is Jack. We've been calling you Katana, but I think it's fair for you to choose your own name now. I did." I give him a half-hearted smile.
  11. Despite the revelation that Katana and I might be nothing more than thought forms who went a bit rogue, I'm not even given the chance to have a proper mental breakdown before Condescending Psychic Deer is opening his mouth to reveal a row of over-sharp teeth -- because of course there are carnivorous herbivores in this 'wonderland.' I stare at the deer's gaping, dripping maw, bite the inside of my cheek to pinch off a scream, close my eyes, and fist the sharp hairpin in my pocket, already bracing for the inevitable before Katana begins speaking again: Part of me wonders if Katana being singled out and sidelined would culminate in Katana being eaten, since he seems to have no other obvious usefulness to anyone in this place than harboring MacGyver-like resourcefulness for fishing drowning cats from rivers, being cryptically anachronistic and ahistorical, and menacing the local populace with his sword at unfortunate moments. And part of me -- a very, very small of part of me -- may be alarmed at the possibility. And admittedly, not just because I'm apparently wearing the only change of clothing I own, and trying to get bloodstains out of them would mean drawing on domestic knowledge that my brain hasn't had a chance to fabricate yet. "I, er...I can't believe I'm saying this, but we're a package deal. We'll keep an eye on him, and if he puts a toe out of line, we'll shake him down and confiscate anything remotely lethal." I look at Jack for solidarity, but then remember that he's been labeled the only non-wonderland native among us, and my expression probably comes off looking more tentative than I want it to. I can't help but wonder how he's taking the news regarding his companions.
  12. I pat the girl's back as she clings to me and works through the last of her crying hiccups. I take a short opportunity to glance over my shoulder at Jack to see how he's handling all of this, only to find him understandably boring holes into the back of Katana's skull with his eyes where Katana happens to be squatting next to me now. I let Katana take over the questioning as I look at the cuts that have yet to begin closing on Jack's arms and wince in commiseration. We all look a bit ruffled and bloody, but food has been hard to come by so far, so I figure that antiseptics might be an even taller order to fill. While I am looking away, I hear the clatter of hooves in front of me, only to glance back and see that we have what appears to be a forest guardian plucked straight from a JRPG in our midst. Suddenly, a voice rings through my head, and I find that I'm not thrilled by its dismissive tone. Face looking splotchy from crying and expression a tad sheepish, Fate rights her skirts, and finding an out-of-the-way corner, sits down on the floor to busy herself with parchment and what look to be hand-rolled crayons. I notice the stag twists it horns between Katana and I in an indicative gesture as it thinks this at us rather offhandedly. "...I'm sorry, condescending psychic deer...but what exactly do you mean by a 'Useless' and a 'Love?'" There is a sense of dread crawling up my spine at what his words might indicate, but I try to keep my composure in the midst of countless weaponizable paper drawings and their young, just recently becalmed ward.
  13. The inside of the tree is...busy, what with the woodland creatures who apparently had the same idea about sheltering in the tree that we did, the scrollwork papering the interior, and the little girl who scampers to stand shyly before us. Before I can open my mouth to respond, Jack has already posed his own question, and Katana is waving his blade wildly in the child's face and screaming. I roll my eyes in exasperation when she predictably bursts into tears (so much for first impressions), and am even less amused with every paper cut I sustain from a dive-bombing origami bird. "KATANA, STOP SCREAMING AT THE CHILD AND PUT YOUR SWORD AWAY! GOD, SHE'S LIKE, EIGHT! SHE'S OBVIOUSLY NOT A LEVEL BOSS!" Although, I also have to raise my voice to be heard over the fluttering of paper and the distressed croaking of a frog. I step in front of Katana's blade and place myself in front of the small girl, trying to ignore my own death by a thousand cuts in progress, and get on one knee to put myself level with her crying face. "Heeeeeey theeeere. Hey, no. Don't cry! Look, he won't hurt you, okay. He's just spooked. We've...seen some things. Anyway, who might you be?"
  14. Oh, no. I'm not used to being on this end of a non sequitur. I'm starting to feel like I'm the Jack to his Sophie, or something. Speaking of, I see Jack wander down a pebbly side path in my periphery as Katana hammers on, and find myself feeling slightly jealous of his physical distance from this conversation. I squint at Katana's back exasperatedly. "Thank you. That is somehow both vague enough to be unhelpful and oddly specific at the same time." I cringe as he moves to loosen the scabbard from his back. I can too easily imagine giving myself the kind of shaving nick that severs my femoral artery with that thing. "Errrrr...no thanks," I say, splaying my hands out as he gamely offers me his blade. "I'll just rough it. You know, camping rules--we'll just ignore each other's body hair for now. Although, food does sound good, and we can make a cooking fi--holy shit!" A koi made out of art and crafts supplies comes flying out of nowhere and bites Katana on the arm before flopping back into the drink. He yelps and drops his sword, where it lands with a dull thud on the loamy soil. We both peer at his arm to get a better look at the tattoo that begins to bloom and radiate from the wound: "grin and bear,deny and scream,you shall not live" "Welp, that's not ominous. Y'know, I think I'm going to go hunker down in that giant tree over there before I get a fun little souvenir like yours." I point at the leafy behemoth behind us. The noise of the kerfuffle has caught Jack's attention, and I motion to the tree to let him know where we intend to shelter before eagerly darting through the archway.
  15. The magic compass of doom was in fact pointing at the dome, which linked in to the idea that it listened to thought commands. Or voice commands, like a supernatural Siri. Obviously, this was something to explore later. As I listen to Katana's strange diction, an epiphany begins to take shape in my mind. It occurs to me then that there may have been an option C all along: he is obviously a committed member of a historical reenactment society. Part of me admires his dedication to the role, and part of me finds that level of factual denial worrying in the face of everything that wants to kill us. I also have to wonder what he is supposed to be cosplaying as. (Is it still called cosplaying if it's meant to dramatize history?) My first thought is that he's posing as a member of the Japanese shogunate, but the chosen name "Jack" would seem to shoot that theory in the foot. Hmm. "If something has eyeballs, I'll make it effective." I growl under my breath, but then I think back to the eyeless cult members I once communed with, and give an involuntary shudder. As I watch him struggle to unsheathe his sword from his scabbard, my hopes that we've found a worthy protector and ally begin to puddle somewhere near my feet. Jack squeezes the hand he has on my arm, and I share a commiserating look with him as Katana spins around, trying to pull the sword from a better angle. In the face of this underwhelming flubbery, I scan the treeline, and note that the wolves seem less concerned with triangulating an attack than using their menacing vocalizations to nudge us in the direction of the dome -- which is both reassuring and worrying in equal measures. Giving up, Katana undoes the sheath entirely and still has enough confidence to lead a victory charge. Despite myself, part of me is amazed at how unflappable he is. "Say, Katana, or insert-nickname-here-that-I-happend-to-miss-while-I-was-rummaging-for-weapons-on-your-person, where are you from exactly?" I wave a hand between Jack and I as we advance on the dome. "Because we can't remember much of anything at all. I mean, Jack Numero Uno here can remember his real name, which is more than I can vouch for, so I'm going by Sophie for now. All I get when I try to remember anything are intuitive flashes, like that I don't like peanut butter or onions whenever I think about food, or the fact that I shouldn't be this hairy because shaving day is every three days, and it looks like I just went full Earth Mother and gave up on personal hygiene altogether for the last two weeks." As we walk through the French doors of the dome, I am hit with the overwhelming fragrance of a greenhouse. Which is to say, fertilizer. I wrinkle my nose and stuff the compass back into my pocket for now.
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