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Dead God's Inheritance

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"Hey, uh, you still have that map, right?" Maat asked. He kept his eyes trained on the muddy, thin road ahead. There weren't enough trees where they drove to keep the heavy rain off of them. It came down hard on the tin roof of their rollerbus. The vehicle was long and tubular, and though the road was bumpy and mostly covered by puddles and dense mud, the rollerbus' heavy treads were made for swamping. The ride was mostly smooth.

Next to him, the slender feline figure flipped the map back open again. Her amber eyes tried to juggle between watching the road ahead of them, and the map before her. Even while distracted, she managed to keep one hand close to the radio, which faithfully tried to maintain a connection to the only station within five hundred miles, which spat out distorted, but relaxing music. It sort of felt like coffee shop music, to the felinid. It faltered, again, and she twisted the 'seek' knob until it regained clarity.

"Yep, we should be coming up on the place any time now." She drawled tiredly. "Pellas. Population: Like ten people." It was probably less than that, Quill thought to herself. Until a few days ago, nobody knew this place even existed. It was a footnote, an addendum to the map of Taen. That's what made this particular adventure so curious.

Pellas was recently in the news for a reportedly good fishing season. Small villages around Taen weren't infrequent; it was a big place, so of course people would settle near rivers or freshwater lakes when they found them. However, none of these little towns made headlines over a huge haul of fish. It was like a farmer claiming his horse could do math, or that he had a chicken that laid golden eggs, only in this case the Horse was going to Arcturon to get a degree, and the eggs were, well...maybe the gold eggs were a better metaphor than the horse. But fishing? Fishing. Fishing. Fishing wasn't a headline-grabber, and neither was anything you could reef out of a mud puddle in the middle of the forest. Only, they weren't talking about a mud puddle in the news. No, they weren't fishing up guppies to make headlines, or a big alligator or anything, but a whale, apparently. Quill still used the word apparently, even though she held 'evidence' in her bag still. According to the story, a whale had washed ashore near Pellas, and the town's local whaling community had a field day with the body. It was a massive thing, reportedly--they'd send out thousands of cans of whale meat, produced hundreds of well-crafted bone tools, and brushes and instruments. Bone whale beads were in surplus, and while Quill didn't buy one, she was certainly thinking about it while they were there.

Only, there was a minor, kind of hard to overlook problem. 

Pellas was, as far as anyone knew, not near any notable oceans. No seas, no inland bodies large enough for an animal of this size. More importantly, there was no reason for them to have a whaling company there either, nor did any record of this company exist before now. 

The felinid grabbed the can from her duffel bag and examined the label. It was still boring: red label, white letters, no markings or imagery. No company name, either. Yet people were claiming now that it had always been there. She couldn't confirm or deny that, herself.

Quill and her partner Maat had decided, around then, to try and visit Pellas themselves, to get a better look at what was happening. Maat was a tall, sharp-looking half-elf. His pointed ears and arched eyebrows and his slender face always gave it away, more than his lithe, somewhat lanky body could. From the back, he almost resembled a normal man with his long, wavy hair and comfortable clothes. He didn't smack of the surreal. 

"See, I'm asking about the map because...I think there's a river ahead." He glanced in her direction, trying to look at the map.

She peered over the map, at the rain-smothered world ahead of them. It was dark, and the headlights of the rollerbus cut through the darkness like a hot knife through cold butter, only disrupted by the heavy rainfall. She couldn't see it at first, but when she did see what he was talking about, she also saw a number of other things, as well. Before the river was a large structure--well, two of them, tall and made of metal, about a car's width or more apart--and another two on the other side. She only saw those from the reflective white chevrons painted on the sides of the structures, markers in the dark. The river itself seemed far wider than they could have overlooked on the map, and immediately Quill wondered if they were just in the wrong spot entirely. Past the structures were a number of buildings as well--two large cubes of concrete, with large front-facing windows and folksy-looking white doors. In the building closest to them, Quill could read 'Live Bait and Tackle' and 'Liquor', as well as a few strangely unhelpful ads plastered in the windows. The lights inside were off, but the light on the outside of the second building was still on. This light cut through the darkness of night, and announced in large, blocky letters: FERRY

"They have a ferry to get a cross the river, too?" Quill asked, raising an eyebrow. "Are we actually in the right place? This seems a bit too put-together for ass-backwardsville."

"Looks like we can ask the locals," Maat pointed. They weren't alone out here after all. A few folk were outside as well, looking somewhat lost. He steered towards them, and slowed down the rollerbus before ducking out of the vehicle. He left the engine rolling, and approached the others. Outside of the vehicle, he quickly grew damp, and tried to shelter his attire from the falling rain. His haori--a rugged, but fashionable thing he'd picked up while they were touring the continent, immediately clung to his body. The cotton shirt beneath did not fair any better. 

"Hey, all." He flashed a warm smile. It came naturally. He gestured towards the ferry. He assumed it was a ferry, and not just a bridge or something. 

"This, uh...this takes us into Pellas, does it?"


@Zashiii @Tyler @Hydrangeas @Shatter @Rabbit 

For those who may be wondering how to first insert yourselves into the thread, I have a couple of suggestions.

Firstly, none of us can get into Pellas yet, as the Ferry isn't powered. Perhaps you are already at the Ferry station, and Maat is talking to you. That means you can, of course, describe how you got there, and why you're there.

Alternatively, Maat and Quill are riding in a rollerbuss, a sort of offroad mix between a camper and a bus. It has plenty of space for multiple people, and is built for this sort of travel. If you are comfortable with it, feel free to put yourself inside of the vehicle already. Maybe Maat and Quill picked them up while they were hitchhiking, or perhaps your characters even know Quill or Maat already. I'm treating Maat and Quill as throwaway characters, who likely won't have another appearance, so feel free to include them as your character's friends, travelling buddies or acquaintances if it makes your writing easier.

Lastly, perhaps you've found your own way into Pellas besides the ones listed above. If that's the case, feel free to write as you see fit. If you're curious about how to write in Taen, this page here has information such as the technology level in Taen, among other things. Hopefully, this will help you find your way into this curious little town.


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Iohmar followed the edge of the body off water, keeping at least several paces away. For it wasn't the wind, creatures or night that sent shivers down his spine. It was the large body of water, ever present in the corner of his eye. The sound of rain tapping against the hood of his cloak and bare feet squishing in the mud did not help, acting only as a further reminder of the element he'll have to face. Tabaxi's weren't well known for their love of water, Iohmar being a perfect example. His pure black fur was managing to avoid the wet, for now.

'Keep calm, collect yourself. Soon.....soon you shall be heading home and be with your books....stupid fucking master sending me on this investigation...'

His settlement had only just expanded into the fishing industry, so had little experience around it. With word of a nearby village catching hauls seemingly impossible, it was not something that be brushed off. The tabaxi had been sent to scout out the town for future engagements, whether that be for trade potential or less friendly encounters. What Iohmar thought to be a simple in and out was proving to be longer than he'd hoped. Previously pondered the idea of taking a row boat across, but decided that he simply couldn't trust himself. 

'Please, show me something other than water and trees. May the spirits guide me.... '

After another twenty minutes or so of walking past, before he saw distant buildings. Picking up the pace, he began a heavy sprint towards what appeared to be a small port town. Having tabaxi sight, he had no problem making out everything in the dark. Various stores seemed to dedicated themselves to tourists and fisherman alike, as to be expected. Iohmar stalked around, trying to catch sight off anything. But only one thing stuck out to him, the light coming from a building sat directly by the river. Acting as a beacon to what few seemed to enter.

'This isn't right, where has this bastard sent me to? Goddamn ghost town.'

Walking to boat, the word 'Ferry' sat in big letters above him. The tabaxi felt somewhat uneasy, desiring to return home and report his findings. The "rich fishing town" offered nothing, other than a cheap ghost story. He stood before the building, ready to turn back. But before he could, others had arrived. He caught the distance sound of a vehicle, which quickly rolled up beside the group.  

On 4/22/2020 at 8:36 PM, Jotnotes said:

"Hey, all." He flashed a warm smile. It came naturally. He gestured towards the ferry. He assumed it was a ferry, and not just a bridge or something. 

"This, uh...this takes us into Pellas, does it?"

"It seems so. But if what sits on the other side looks like this, then I have no interest in going to it. Has anyone here actually seen this town yet or are we all new here?"  

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Maat may have judged that a couple of the people who were outside the Ferry buildings looked "lost", but he had no idea how much of an understatement that was. Taylor quite literally had no idea what universe she was in, much less which planet, continent, country, principality, province or zip code. So definitely looked lost, for she was lost, and what was worse, she was in absolutely no condition to be lost. Her grey t-shirt was soaked and clinging to her skin, as were her blue sweat pants, which had the added misfortune of being caked in mud practically up to the knee. She wasn't even wearing shoes, much less waterproof boots like any sane person would wear into the wilds of Taen when spring rainstorms were such a possibility. If there was one consolation for Taylor, it was that at least she hadn't gotten lost out here alone...

Of course, that really just meant that she and her friend would die of hypothermia together, instead of alone. The greater good fortune for her and her comrade was not each-other's company, but the fact that they were lucky enough to stumble across a settlement after about an hour or two of hiking (or rather, slogging through mud) alongside the river. Unfortunately, Taylor had no money, nor any items of value on her, so she had no idea how she was going to pay for dry clothes or lodging. Hopefully the locals wouldn't try to take advantage of her mounting desperation, but she was fully expecting it.

"I hope these people aren't cannibals or some sort of satanic cultists..." she muttered to her companion, "Would just be our luck."

As they drew in closer to the buildings, they spotted two sources of light. One source was that which was illuminating the Ferry sign, the other was the two headlights of the rollerbuss, which moved in closer, before coming to a halt. Two figures then became visible to Taylor. One was emerging from the vehicle, approaching them from the left. To her right, she spotted a dark humanoid also slogging through the mod toward the buildings, arriving near the ferry sign at almost the same time as Taylor and her companion did. Subsequently, the fellow from the bus addressed both parties at once.

"Hey, all. This, uh...this takes us into Pellas, does it?" the man asked.

The other humanoid figure, who was some sort of cat-person (much to Taylor's astonishment), responded first.

"It seems so. But if what sits on the other side looks like this, then I have no interest in going to it. Has anyone here actually seen this town yet or are we all new here?"

"Very. New," Taylor nodded at the cat-man, "I have no idea what Pellas is, we're just trying to get out of the damn rain."

She looked between the two men, her arms crossed in front of her, trying to rub her arms to keep them warm, while the rest of her body shivered in the harsh wind. She couldn't make-out much of their features in the dark, though they had surprisingly reassuring and friendly voices. She wasn't sure whether to take comfort in that, or feel even more suspicious.

"I'm guessing that shop over there is probably locked, then?"

@Zashiii @Jotnotes @Rabbit

Edited by Tyler

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The sound of rain slammed against the roof of the rollerbus, stirring Lumina from her sleep. Her eyes slowly drifted open, revealing the bleak land outside of the window. Night obscured most of it, leaving only the silhouettes of trees to help Lumina understand the direction she was heading. The town of Pellas’ whale production wasn’t as concerning to Lumina as was the letter she had received from a family there. The two youngest children had fallen extremely ill, and the letter requested Lumina’s aid. The family explained that they had tried everything, from herbal remedies to elixirs. Nothing seemed to be working, however. After her time spent in Nehalen, word had spread between a variety of sources of Lumina’s healing abilities. The family contacted her as a last chance, and she was quick to journey to them. The only locational information she recieved was directions to the ferry station that would take her to Pellas.

Luckily, Lumina had become acquainted with a duo that had coincidentally been traveling to the same area as her. She was quick to make friends with them and join them on their Rollerbus. It was much easier than traveling on foot through the forest, and nightfall would make a difficult situation much worse. Eventually, the bus came to a stop. Maat exited first, leaving Lumina and Quill alone with the sound of rain. Other figures appeared in the dark, then, all gathered around the buildings in the surrounding area. 

“Introductions!” She whispered, a small smile forming on her face. Lumina threw up her hood and exited the vehicle. Wearing leather boots had probably been the best decision Lumina had made in a while. The mud clung to her feet, forcing her to take large steps to reach the buildings. 

“Hello, everyone! I’m Lumina. Terrible weather for an outdoor meeting, right?” Lumina announced, wiping a small chunk of mud from the side of her boot. Another person approached from the marsh, totaling 4 people around her. They all seemed to be confused as to what exactly was going on around them. The desolate stores seemed to be without workers and customers, and the ferry mentioned in the sign seemed to be missing.

"It seems so. But if what sits on the other side looks like this, then I have no interest in going to it. Has anyone here actually seen this town yet or are we all new here?" Another person asked, this one a cat-person. Lumina shook her head.

"I received a letter from a family with children that were extremely sick. They left directions that lead to here. Unfortunately, no other information was provided. I pray they're okay," Lumina explained, clasping her hands behind her. They ached from the cold. How could she have forgotten one of the most basic clothing items: gloves? In all fairness, she hadn't expected the whether to be as cruel as this.

"I'm guessing that shop over there is probably locked, then?" The girl in front of her asked, causing Lumina to glance over at another building in the distance. 

“There’s only one way to find out, I suppose,” Lumina replied, moving to make her way towards the store. She tried the handle first. It refused to open, prompting Lumina to knock on the door to see if anyone was home. She was meant with silence, unfortunately, and turned back to the group.

“Sadly, I don’t think anyone’s around. Maybe we can try the ferry station? The lights are on, someone may still be there,” she suggested, turning to look towards the sign once more.

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Just like her friend Taylor, June is pretty much in a rather sorry state. Cold, hungry and literally lost both in phyiscal and mental matters. Was it her fate then to suffer and die in a foreign land? Whatever fate has decided for her, June would keep on struggling for survival. Well, as much as an undergraduate young woman can struggle.

"I hope these people aren't cannibals or some sort of satanic cultists... Would just be our luck."

"More like dumb like," June grumbled back, "Cannibals and stanic cultists can be quite kinky with their kills."

Then she was silent as she resumed walking by Taylor's side. Soon, the two would find themselves in the presence of Maat and that weird cat creature. June was very silent while Taylor was conversing with the one human and that queer kitty creature. This left her just shivering in the cold. Perhaps the other strangers could have light or maybe the kitty would be open to some warm cuddling.

When the hooded woman decided to break the ice with some introductions, June was quick to answer without thinking.

"Nice to meet you Lumina! My name is June." Then she gestured to her companion. "And that is Taylor.' Then she giggled nervously. "Oh and we might be dying from the cold."

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A long distance ride like this might normally account in weather, were the rider wiser. Maybe one day, but he was very aware that this could all be fake. So, he had to disregard the possibility he might be riding through what felt like a rainy Hell on a simple bicycle. Still, there was a logical part of him that had enough sense to put on a translucent, plastic rain-coat with a hood. It was far from fashionable, and gave a blurry, indistinct impression of the color of his clothing beneath it, but it was functional. Still, he didn't believe the rain was really there yet. He needed more proof than the sensation he was soaked. In-fact, he couldn't even trust that one other person was soaked. This strange world he lived in could account for that. So, telling himself it could just all be a vision, he pushed his underfed body to its limits which was more than a foolish endeavor. Before he even reached Pellas, his bike chain snapped and he crashed into a mud puddle.


The puddle made him more of a true believer in the rain.


It was a long walk from there, and he didn't abandon his bike just yet. It was unlikely he could get his bike fixed in this town of all forsaken places a human could settle, but maybe a ride out would be easier. So, he walked alongside it, soaked to the bone with mud visible on the inside of his see-through raincoat. The color of his damp clothes just looked black in this lighting. He wore a black jacket that despite the cold, was not buttoned up, showing a green t-shirt beneath it normally. His pants were blue jeans, but those too were difficult to see on his muddy body. He sighed at this self-examination, just able to perceive it due to his Elven sight that allowed him to travel deep, dark forests with ease at night. There were no lights on this road, and so, once pushing himself as hard as he could and all the thoughts away with it, he was left to walk alone as the voices crept in.

When he saw the light of the distant building, he was quick to start off in a run, still guiding his bicycle alongside him. Just the fact that there were people was all that mattered, so when he rushed up towards the group he saw in front of the Ferry, he was out of breath, and didn't even know what to say. He began to blink a few times as he struggled with his words. He had a haggard appearance at this point and his long, wet hair stuck out messily in different spots under his hood. The wild look in his eyes seemed there might be a monster chasing him, and indeed there was fear in his eyes. There was always fear in his eyes. But as he caught a breath, he struggled to speak and correct any misunderstandings, so he blurted out the word, "Pellas!?"


He then groaned tiredly, smacked himself in the face, and started muttering, "Stupid, stupid..." He shook his head at himself while self-chastising in front of all of them as though they weren't there. He took in a deep breath, seeming to be calming down. He then asked meekly, "T-this is...P-pellas, right?" Despite his calmly stuttered words, there was still a frantic look in the Wild Elf's eyes. "I'm Cecil," He said as he glanced between them with a few quick turns of his head. 'It's all around me. It's closing in.' All the while, he was looking at his surroundings, perhaps the distance...or what seemed to be the rain. It would appear the drops of liquid falling down from the sky were his primary cause for concern.

'It's climbing up the banks of the river...'

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On 4/23/2020 at 4:32 PM, Rabbit said:

"It seems so. But if what sits on the other side looks like this, then I have no interest in going to it. Has anyone here actually seen this town yet or are we all new here?"  

Maat immediately recognized the discomfort on the tabaxi's face. Of course he did, given that he travelled with Quill, who wasn't quite as unnerved by the water as this guy appeared, but that was probably because she had access to an umbrella and her boots at all times. He'd seen her grow anxious in the cold and wet before, though, and this didn't feel much different, which is why, with great haste, he backed up a few steps, and yanked open the door to the rollerbus. Thunder growled overhead, and just behind him, somebody dashed past him, splashing in puddles the whole way. Maat ignored Lumina, it had to be Lumina, because Quill didn't run anywhere unless she had to, and grabbed his umbrella from beneath his seat. It was stuffed back there--behind some discarded fast food bags, and a tipped over empty cup.

"Looks like we have more company," Quill mused from her spot. She wasn't about to get out at first. If they could just take the ferry into Pellas, without any detours, she'd probably stay in the vehicle for most of the visit. However, the little hitchhiker they'd met with a while back hurried out in front of the bus, while Maat still fished for his own umbrella, and that stirred her to action. She hopped out of the vehicle, and grabbed her own umbrella. It was a cheap, collapsible thing she'd picked up from a convenience store about a month ago, and in a month she'd need a new one. She pressed a button, and the umbrella opened with an audible whoosh. The grinning pirate skull atop the blackened parasol was mostly unseeable right now, unfortunately, but she didn't mind.

Maat finally found his umbrella, and hurried back over to meet the group, while their passenger introduced herself to the newcomers. That's newcomers with an 's', because like Quill had pointed out, more folks had appeared, seemingly apparating from the dark, cold rain. He scrutinized them to the best of his ability as he walked within hearing range. 

On 4/24/2020 at 4:41 PM, Hydrangeas said:

“Hello, everyone! I’m Lumina. Terrible weather for an outdoor meeting, right?”


On 4/24/2020 at 8:11 AM, Tyler said:

"I have no idea what Pellas is, we're just trying to get out of the damn rain."


On 4/26/2020 at 3:04 AM, Zashiii said:

Nice to meet you Lumina! My name is June." Then she gestured to her companion. "And that is Taylor.' Then she giggled nervously. "Oh and we might be dying from the cold."


"What are the odds of a chance meeting like this?" Maat asked, with mirth. Before he got another word in edgewise, he immediately handed his umbrella off to the tabaxi he'd met when he first pulled up. 

"That should keep the worst off you, but if it doesn't, we having some spare towels," He suggested. Then, with a tug of his lips upward, he introduced himself to the slowly congregating masses. "Hello Taylor, June. My name is Maat."

He gestured to Quill as she sauntered forward. Whether she was trying to look cool on purpose, or was simply naturally cool, was up for the scholars to decide. 

Where Maat appeared a little more casual, in his atypical use of foreign clothes mixed with more modern attire, Quill's appearance seemed entirely hand-picked. The felinid was covered, head to toe, in short hair, with an appearance strikingly similar to that of a siamese housecat, with its off-whites, greys and a tint of yellow in there somewhere. Similarly to the tabaxi, she struck a more animal than humanoid figure--the only thing that really gave her any humanity was the upright way she walked, startlingly human-looking eyes, and her attire. It was largely spared from the rain, so it was easy enough to see the black, form-fitting tee she wore, and the long bug-striped arm warmers that hugged the full length of her arm, stopping just short of her elbows. Tufts of fur leapt out from the end, and her hands were small and slender, and covered in that same fur, as far as one could tell. The tee, speaking of which, appeared to be handmade, or at least hand-customized with the logo of some underground band. She wore several belts, with only one actually cinched around her waist, while the others were loose enough to hang low over the front and back of her skirt. The skirt, speaking of which, was probably longer at one point--it was a dull red and black plaid skirt, from some kind of uniform. Slashes and gashes in it were painstakingly sewn shut with glittering gold stitching. The hem was still jagged and roguish. She wore it with long, warm-looking black leggings that travelled up the length of her digitigrade legs, and a pair of heavy, scuffed combat boots.

Arguably the most catching thing she wore was the odd porcelain doll's head she wore in her hair as a sort of ornament. It was only the face, and not the rest of the head, but much of the doll's fine, dark curls draped down the side of the felinid's face, and the face itself appeared to be wearing makeup. It was easiest to see when she wasn't looking directly at you.

"Who builds a Ferry over a river out here, anyway?" She complained, gesturing behind the group. "Who has that kind of money, living out in the sticks?"

Maat glanced in the Ferry's direction too, and frowned thoughtfully. He didn't know much about Ferries, but Quill wasn't wrong. 

"If Pellas is as wealthy as the paper's claim, maybe they get a lot of funding for fishing?" He guessed. 

Quill strolled over to the rest of the group, and approached the other two left out in the cold. She caught their names as she'd wandered over, just barely hearing them over the roaring rainfall. She stepped close, and attempted to fit the three of them under one umbrella. When it didn't work, she sighed, and handed it over as well. She wasn't about to let Maat be the friendlier of the two.

"June and Taylor, right?" She flashed a toothy smile. "You both owe me an umbrella. My name's Quill."

More squishy mud, and the slapping of heavy footsteps gave the next visitor away. Maat turned to see whoever was approaching as they entered the illumination of the rollerbus. Another elf appeared, this one dragging a mud-logged and filthy bike alongside him, swaddled in filthy clothes. His breathing was heavy, his skin seemed clammy, and his eyes were wide.

Maat glanced back towards the rollerbus. Maybe he ought to grab those towels now, rather than later?

On 4/27/2020 at 3:07 PM, Shatter said:


Maat glanced back towards him. The way he'd forced the word out was strikingly familiar, like how you might lose your words if you overthink a sentence for too long. Before he could get a response in, however, the newcomer had a fit of sorts, mashing the palm of his hand into his own brow repeatedly as if berating himself for being hard to understand. It made the half-elf want to reach out and stop his hand, and offer a word of reassurance, but he kept his distance for a second.

Quill looked on, eyeing the newcomer's bike warily. When he started smacking himself in the face, she took a step back, giving him a bit of a berth. 

On 4/27/2020 at 3:07 PM, Shatter said:

"Stupid, stupid..." He shook his head at himself while self-chastising in front of all of them as though they weren't there. He took in a deep breath, seeming to be calming down. He then asked meekly, "T-this is...P-pellas, right?" Despite his calmly stuttered words, there was still a frantic look in the Wild Elf's eyes. "I'm Cecil,"

"Cecil," Maat repeated. Quill narrowed her eyes at him, catching on immediately to what he was doing. He ignored the felinid, and stepped forward carefully towards the elf, offering a pleasant smile. "Hi. My name is Maat. This is Lumina, June, Taylor and..." He didn't have the tabaxi's name yet, so he gestured at Quill instead, to deflect his momentary confusion. "Quill. We're all trying to get to Pellas, too."

Despite his words being mostly straightforward, and not really helpful, nor unhelpful, Quill had seen this more than once, the way his voice dropped somewhat, his tone grew soft. Maat's body language shifted too, as he relaxed his figure, and extended his arms, palms facing upward as if to show he wasn't armed. He did it all the time for Quill, or for their dads when he worked in the shop. It was the half-elf's own little form of magic; soothing people with a calm tone and nonthreatening presence. 

Quill, in the meantime, glanced back towards the buildings, and her soggy clothes. 

"Listen, if we're going to talk I'm fine with it, but can we head into the convenience store first?" She asked, jerking a thumb backwards. "I'd rather not stay out in the rain forever."

Maat agreed with her suggestion quickly, and clapped his hands together, before rubbing them for warmth.

"Quill's right. Let's pop on in, and see if we can figure out if the ferry is running or not," He suggested. "We'll grab some dry towels while we're in there, if we can, and maybe a warm round of drinks." Maat guided the group towards the buildings as best as he could, by falling to the back and attempting to keep tabs on everyone. Quill took the lead, and kept a brisk pace. Overhead, more thunder, more lightning.

As they approached the buildings from this side, it became possible to see through the windows of the convenience store. It was still dark, but the store seemed mostly stocked. Somewhere, in the far back of the building, a light was still on. She approached the doors, and gave them both a quick jerk. Neither of them opened, and she spun on her heels quickly and threw her hands up at Maat, who broke from the group quickly.

"Alright, I'm gonna go around and check the Ferry House." He told the group. The store had a small bit of shelter from the rain, if they stood beneath the door. "Just stay here, if you like, and I'll see if I can find anything. If not, I'll grab the rollerbus."

Maat ducked past the group, and headed round the building. There wasn't too much space between them, so he hugged the side of the shop as long as he could before he reached the garage. He didn't see any lights on inside, but the big Ferry sign out front was still on. He tried the door.

It slowly turned, and opened, and the half-elf wasted no time in shoving it open and ducking out of the rain. Immediately the droning roar of rain in the trees became the persistent staccato of heavy rain on the thick tin roof. It was dark inside, but he quickly found a light switch next to the door. He flipped it on, and the building hummed to life.

The interior of the shop was laid out a bit like a back room, and immediately the large garage door made sense. From the looks of things, there was enough space to back a vehicle, or a wagon into here, unload it onto the rows of shelves. He wandered through the shelves quickly, until he came across the first door he found. It groaned audibly as he shoved it open, and exited back into the rain, in some sort of yard between the two buildings.

Tall chain-link fences stood on both ends of the yard, as did a singular, ancient picnic table, and a knocked-over rubbish bin. Pushing past this space, he headed straight for the door opposite of the courtyard, and pushed it open, with, again, minimal effort.

Pushing into the store, Maat quickly noticed that the place seemed disturbed, but not terribly so. Many items were knocked from the shelves, things appeared in disarray in just about every aisle he glanced down. Yet most of the products were on the shelves still, and the place seemed stocked. Maat approached the door, and unlocked it quickly, letting everyone inside.

"Okay, get inside!" He ushered them all into the building, then shut the doors for a second. You couldn't hear the rain as well inside the store, as you could in the shop, but for some reason the wind seemed wilder from within the shop. He stared out into the cold rain, as if he expected to see...something. He didn't, of course, and turned his back on the doors. Everybody was sopping wet, but inside and out of the cold. Maat clapped his hands together, and spoke up.

"Well, this is somewhat illegal, but that's fine, we can sort it out later." He laughed mildly. Near the back of the group, Quill browsed some shelves slowly, curiously. "I didn't see anybody else in the back, so it looks like the ferryman isn't in right now. The shop had a lot of stuff in it, though. I think I'm going to check it out, and see if I can figure out how the ferry works. In the meantime, somebody needs to go look around and find a breaker for this place. Get the power on so that we can get the heat going. Everybody else, look around, and see if you can get comfortable."



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Luckily, June handled the introductions, so Taylor did not have to say anything in to the others about her name. It was well enough, she already more concerned with rubbing her arms to try and keep warm. So when Lumina began to move toward the shop to try the door, she was eager to follow. Just before she could though, Maat's companion emerged from the rollerbus and offered her umbrella to both Taylor and June. Taylor took it and managed to give the woman, another cat person, interestingly, a grateful smile.

"Thank you."

Even with the rain blocked out for a moment, the wind remained cold and harsh against her unprotected skin. But the last gust brought some sort of added chill to it, something that seemed to cause a bit more than just discomfort to Taylor. She had certainly been afraid after finding herself in his foreign place, unequipped, unarmed and with only her equally unprepared friend for company, but that fear had become largely consumed by annoyance and frustration with the weather as the two drudged across the landscape. Now though, the fear returned, but it there was a different feel to it now. No longer was it an obvious fear of being killed by wild animals or dying of starvation or hypothermia; no, it was something more distant, more subtle and foreboding.


"Heugh!" Taylor let out a gasp as she jumped in surprise at Cecil's arrival, somehow having missed the sound of his footsteps in the rain.

Even after realizing the new arrival was just another person, another elf as it were (meaning the group consisted of three elves, two cat-folk and only two humans, those being herself and June), Taylor couldn't help but continue to feel a tinge of dread, especially when looking into the mad eyes of the fellow who had just arrived. There was something wrong there, and when Cecil began bashing his own head in response to his outcry, Taylor began to back further way from him. Quill was notably doing the same thing. Maat, on the other hand, did not seem afraid, and he promptly addressed the newcomer by introducing himself and the others here.

There was something about Maat that was just reassuring to Taylor, though she wasn't sure what it was. Whereas she didn't feel so trusting of anyone else she had just met, especially not Cecil, there was a part of her that just believed she could trust the half-elf. She wasn't sure why, but he was a soothing presence to her, and his calm, collected demeanor was reassuring. Subsequently, it became a sudden source of distress when, after the group moved to the store and Quill confirmed the doors were locked, Maat decided to split-off and go around the building alone.

"Wait you shouldn't... go... alone..." Taylor spoke a moment to late, as Maat had already gone, and so her voice just trailed-off to a whisper by the time she finished.

It was for the better though, she tried to reason. She couldn't help him, even if there was something dangerous lurking nearby, which technically there was no actual proof of. If anything, she'd just slow him down. Besides, she needed to stay here and hold the umbrella over June anyway. Luckily, Maat soon appeared on the other side of the door, opening it to let them all in.

"Well, this is somewhat illegal, but that's fine, we can sort it out later. I didn't see anybody else in the back, so it looks like the ferryman isn't in right now. The shop had a lot of stuff in it, though. I think I'm going to check it out, and see if I can figure out how the ferry works. In the meantime, somebody needs to go look around and find a breaker for this place. Get the power on so that we can get the heat going. Everybody else, look around, and see if you can get comfortable," Maat spoke as the group filed into the building.

Indeed, it was illegal, and Taylor normally would have had considerable reservations about doing something like this. She didn't like breaking laws or rules that could get her into trouble, but right now she just wasn't worried about it. Maybe it was Maat's leadership that made her feel okay about it, since he was effectively taking responsibility by letting them in. Or maybe it was the desperate state her body was in, that she just didn't care about rules or laws right now, only survival. But she couldn't help but shake this underlying suspicion deep down inside... that the law simply did not matter right here and now.

"I'm gonna look for towels or clothing then," she told the group, offering Quill's umbrella back to her, "Thanks for that, appreciate it."

She then began searching the isles, much as the female catperson was. But while she was hungry, her first thoughts were getting out of these uncomfortable clothes, and maybe finding a flashlight to aid in their exploration of this dark building. Luckily, being as this was a well-stocked convenience store, there was a small isle of cheap flashlights and batteries near the main counter. After fighting to open the packaging, she managed to get one of the larger, heavily flashlights working.

"Now, to find something dry..." she muttered, walking back to the isles and swiping a few candy bars to munch on while she searched.

There was little to be found though, as this store was far more focused on groceries than on other goods. The best she found were some dish towels near the back, on a shelf as part of a small display of cheap, assorted cooking gear. They weren't gonna be much help, really, but she grabbed them anyway. With this being the best she could find, she turned toward the back corner of the building, where she remembered seeing a restroom sign. Maybe there'd be more towels there, though she doubted it. Either way, it would probably be the best, most private place to try and dry herself off and maybe ring-out her clothes.

Unfortunately, when she got there, she found the door locked shut. Odd. Why would the restroom be locked if nobody was here? Unless maybe it was just store policy to lock the restrooms before closing up, though she couldn't fathom why.

"Anyone in there?" she called into the room, banging against the door with her fist.

Naturally there was no response, so she tried shoving the door, but it was far too sturdy for her to bust it open. She'd need a key, if there was one. Having worked at a gas station years ago, she figured the most logical place would be either behind the counter, or in the stockroom, so she began to head back to the front of the store, making sure to give a wide-berth to the puddle being created by the leaky beverage machines.

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One by one a crowd gathered in the rain, some by foot and others by vehicle. Looking around, Iohmar could easily tell the rain had effected some more than others. It became apparent Iohmar was one of the more physically affected, as the individual who later identified himself as Maat would hand him an umbrella, which Iohmar would graciously take.  It also appeared that no one in the group had actually visited this mysterious town, but all were their to see it for different reasons. 

On 4/29/2020 at 8:39 PM, Jotnotes said:

"Hi. My name is Maat. This is Lumina, June, Taylor and..."

"Iohmar, founder of the Mechanicus Library." Giving a small bow of his head with his introduction, before letting him continue. 

The group made the smart choice of not standing out in the rain whilst figuring things out, opting instead to take shelter inside of nearby buildings. Opening the door to the ferry station, Iohmar followed Maat inside and closed the umbrella. Many shelves and boxes laid around, potentially left behind by the owner. The tabaxi smelt around, finding there to be an unpleasant smell lingering somewhere. What that smell was is something he care not to find out. 

"I don't think we'll have to worry about legality, I don't think many would care enough." Iohmar dragged his finger across one of the shelves, examining for it for dust. "I'll leave payment behind for anything taken or used, it can come out of my assignment funding. Just in case this place is actively used or someone is residing here."

Swerving by shelves, Iohmar began looking behind the counter. A large engine like structure sat bolted to the ground, with first observations of it being a long inactive asset. Jumping over the counter, the tabaxi crouched down and began examining the device. It appeared to belong to that of a cable ferry, with the cables leaving through a hole in the wall. Common sense indicated to Iohmar it was used to tow the ferry from each side of the river, whether that be its primary or secondary method. However, much like a butchered corpse, it had parts removed and left to the elements.

"Well, look what we have here." Iohmar said in a loud voice, clearly trying to catch the attention of others in the room. "Cable device, already set in place. We sometimes use these when docking our airships, simple and reliable. Without looking at the ferry itself, I could not tell you whether or not this is its only method of movement. Unfortunately, it appears to missing assets and not in the best condition. It is missing one of the larger gears and a primer bulb, it is also in need of a good cleaning. Of course, we also need to power it."

Iohmar stood, wiping the grease from his fur and looked other to those listening. "If we do plan on getting to the other side using this, as it appears there may be people in need of help, then let us make sure it is in the best condition we can get it in. We don't want it breaking down halfway through the tow." Iohmar plucked one of the barnacles sat on the machine, using it illustrate the state of the machine. 

"I don't mind what job I have in fixin it."

Edited by Rabbit

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Lumina tilted her head inquisitively as the newcomer approached the group. She wasn’t as much fearful of him as she was worried about his current condition. Traveling in weather like this would certainly do a number on the body if one was not careful. Who knew how long he had been traveling before stumbling upon the group. When he began to smack himself in the head, Lumina frowned. She wasn’t as fearful of him as she was worried. When Maat introduced her, Lumina flashed a warm smile and gave a quick wave.

“It’s so lovely to meet you all. At least we’re all here together; it would be unfortunate to be stuck out here on your own,” Lumina reasoned, laughing and moving away from the door to the store. It was a joy to her, meeting new people. Broadening her horizons was one thing that kept Lumina going on about her life. It would be so easy to just stay put and live life in one place. For Lumina, that meant little to no sense of achievement. The world was out there waiting for her, and it wouldn’t come to her on its own. She had to see it - to live it. 

Lumina had little argument with Maat heading around back to see if there was another way inside the store. Based on the party’s current conditions, waiting outside in the cold would only make things worse. When the door flew open behind her, Lumina felt herself flinch. How odd. There was nothing to be afraid of, so why was she on edge? Letting small noises like that stir her up would do no good. 

Focus Lumina, focus. 

Maat had managed to go around and unlocked the door from the other side. Lumina was sure the owners would understand the severity of the situation, and any issue that would arise from it could be quelled quickly with reasoning. June and Taylor both seemed to be suffering from the cold, and Cecil wasn’t doing much better.  Hopefully they wouldn’t be staying for long, and could find their way into Pellas before the weather got any worse.

“Oh! I should have mentioned this beforehand. If anyone needs any pains or injuries patched up, please let me know! I practice healing magic and would be honored to help if needed! It doesn’t matter how small the injury!” Lumina explained to the group as they entered the store.  She turned right upon entering, and began to idly walk down the aisles. One item in particular caught her eye: a pack of granola bars. She picked up the box and scanned it over. It seemed the item was made of different types of nuts and honey. Very interesting. In different circumstances, she probably would have bought herself a box. The low pricing, however, made her feel bad for taking it. Ultimately, she decided against the idea and put the box back on the shelf. Upon reaching the end of the aisle, she turned right and made her way towards the front counter. The door beside her opened up into what seemed to be another outside area. 

Stepping outside, she noted the entrance to the Ferry Shop across the yard from her, and another large door to her right. The grass in this area had become overgrown, sprouting weeds in certain areas. Out of the corner of her vision, Lumina could make out a small picnic table. She smiled and made her way over to it. It reminded her of the ones her Aunt had used when she invited Lumina and her older brother over for lunch. This one, however, was nothing like her Aunts. The wood splintered in certain areas, and the paint cracked due to age. On top of the table sat a red tin can with overflowing contents. Lumina scowled and turned to move past it. One thing, however, caught her eye. She had missed it the first time, but sitting beside the tin can was a single, yellow grip key. Lumina picked it up and studied it for a moment. A queer feeling began within her, neither unpleasant nor pleasant. She turned the key over in her palm, still unsure of what exactly she was looking for. Lighting flashed overhead, snapping her from her thoughts. She turned her eyes upward and felt her breath get caught in her throat. Something lingered in the sky with the vision the strike had provided. A large, heavy silhouette that broke up the monotony of the darkness. Lumina blinked, and the shape was gone. She rubbed her eyes, reasoning that she was only trying to scare herself. It was most likely a large rain cloud making its way across the land. Nothing more, nothing less.

Key in hand, Lumina turned to survey the yard once more. Her first thought was to try the large door across from the picnic table. Luckily, the key fit into the lock perfectly. The door was much heavier than she had expected, and it took several pushes to get it open the whole way. An intense red glow covered the room, and an unpleasant smell invaded Lumina’s nostrils. She flared her nostrils and decided she would have to survey the room from the doorway. In the corner of the room she could make out what seemed to be some type of large machine. Several different wires and tubes ran below it, and an odd light burned within. Lumina was probably the least qualified person to be messing with machinery, so she opted to return to the group in the store, instead.

“I found another room! I believe it may house a generator of some sorts. I was afraid of messing with it further, so I was hoping someone may be able to figure out what exactly it is,” Lumina called out through the shop to no one in particular. It was hard for her to conclude what each person’s strengths were, so she opted to instead ask the group as a whole.

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Following the others to the store, her eye did not miss the food on the shelves. Food in a sense. She had no idea if these things are still safe to eat, expired or damaged. All she had in her mind was to ease her hunger pains. A strong unknown form of energy seemed to fill her body as she stalked the shelves for anything to eat. At this moment, she forgot about her cold wetness and was unstead focused on her stomach. It seemed that June was the type of person to deal with problems one at a time. After a half-baked search through the shelves, the most she could deal with was a melted bar of chocolate and some cheap candy. Unceremoniously shoving the chocolate into her mouth, she pocketed the remaining candy hoping it would come in hadny later on. Once her need for food was slightly alleviated, the girl decided to go and search for fresh clothing. Or anything that she can use to cover herself while her clothes dry up.

Seeing Talyor going off on her own only gave June a misunderstoond conclusion. For some reason, the girl had deduced that it was for the best that everyone else go off and explore the area on their own. Was it crowd mentality that pushed June to leave on her own as well? The world may never know.It was her line of reasoning that lead her past the store's shelves and deeper in hopes of finding the office. Somehow, her instinct told her that there might be spare clothing or at least a coat inside the office. The darkened halls only made her shiver more. Without a light however, June had no choice but to retreat.

When she returend to the lighter part of the store where the others are, she raised her voice out loud. "Any ody got a light?"


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He reacted with a few confused mutters, "Wait-what-why-" As Matt rushed off before he could respond. He had stood there staring at him and studying him for several moments, not saying anything after everyone had been introduced. 'And when you look at it from that point of view...' He closed his eyes briefly, looking deeply frustrated with himself, moreso than he already did. He wrapped one arm around himself, the other holding up his bike, and said quietly, while turning away from them and looking at the ground, "It's a-a pleasure to m-meet you all..." He might have been stuttering from the cold, and surely some had come to that conclusion, but he wasn't going to stop stuttering anytime soon. Speaking with others was clearly a task for him, one that invoked immediate fear, especially when dealing with this many people. Still, it seemed that how Matt handled things had left the Wild Elf seeming less Wild. He stood there, frowning and briefly glancing at speakers then looking away again, not speaking until they got inside. The sheer embarrassment he was feeling now was more than enough. So, he simply showed he was listening when they spoke by looking.

He was sure that somehow was going to upset them too. If his body could fold in on itself, he wished to do that and disappear instead of dealing with this further. Once they were inside, he skulked over towards the counter where he set his bike against it. However, instead of getting on some task like everyone else when he came in, he briefly examined the stack of cans, took one, and watched them from the window. He stayed there, dripping, shivering, regarding them each with fear filled caution, like they might be the killer in this mystery. All the while, he could feel the rain coming closer behind him, trying to choke him and drag him under. It was right there, looking at him.


The sheer horrific chill from the line of thoughts that entered his mind froze him up while he watched June and Taylor move around the store and the others make decisions and head out the door. 'It must be right behind me,' He thought. But what? What could be there, waiting, watching. He had to know. He slowly turned around, teeth bared in a face of terror as he met with the rain, and saw something out there. It should have just been the rain. It could be moving closer, and almost immediately, Cecil stumbled away from the window, gasping and clutching his chest as he struggled against the sheer fear trying to overtake him. It would get inside if he let it. He couldn't let that happen. So, within literal seconds, the distinct appearance of a panic attack was wiped after he stumbled away from the window quite loudly. He lurched across the room, going to rest against the other doorframe while watching the others. He realized he could see June, but where was Taylor? After a moment, she appeared, and when she asked for a light, he nodded in June's direction. Seeing that she hadn't outright vanished into the dark seemed to actually relax him some and he turned to look into the courtyard again, busying himself with making sure no one vanished.

There was a curious moment as he peered at her from the side of the open doorway, in which he was sure she saw something too. 'Please, no...'

He stuffed that thought down with the rest of his feelings. He came here to deal with the problem, not fall apart because of it. Still, when he saw the fair Elf returning to join them, he immediately and obviously pulled himself from the doorway. He truly didn't want an Elf to know he was keeping an eye on them. He practically avoided speaking to his fellow Elves these days. It seemed clear that his interactions with Lumina thus far consisted of his introduction and looking away from her when she looked at him. He did that to everyone, but it seemed far more inconsistent when he regarded the nonelves in the group, usually not looking away when they noticed him staring at them, seemingly making sure they weren't getting up to no good.

The truth was, he was trying to impress upon himself as much of their personalities as he could. He studied everything about everyone in this group with every moment he could, taking in their walking gait, various tones, and how they interact with specific people. His leering gaze might prove unnerving for some of his companions, but his intentions may very well save their lives from his perspective. So, with that in mind, when Lumina returned and asked for help, he slowly peeked his head out from behind the shelf he had gone and hidden behind. His eyes met with hers, then he turned his gaze down and away while saying, "I-I can help you." He hadn't done anything so far and if he kept his distance from everyone, he wouldn't learn more about their particularities he could use to identify abnormalities in their activities. He stepped out from behind the shelf, and moved for the door while avoiding her gaze. He knew he had to try and look at her at some point just to catch her expressions and study those too, but for now, he just wanted to get through the rain as fast as possible with a power-walk and into the other building which smelled like-

"Blood..." He was quick to get inside and out of the rain, but once there, he didn't move an inch in deeper with a clear regard for caution. He took in all the little details he could, though colors were completely twisted by the lighting, making him frown as this was no time to be blinded by something so trivial. He thought of pointlessly breaking it, kinetic energies ramping up almost immediately in response. He had to quickly stow the emotions as the bulb immediately flickered after he put his hand to his chest, making it quite obvious he might have done that. He glanced at Lumina with an apologetic expression, then quickly turned his guilt-ridden eyes away. The less he interacted, the least likely people were to run away, right?

He slowly entered, gaze lingering on the locked box and pausing him in his step. He pursed his lips, eyes wide as he pulled away from it by a few steps, then turned towards the generator. His mouth opened in surprise. He was familiar with technology and had done many different kinds of work with many different models and tools. He had effectively experienced a large variety of lives by travelling constantly and preferring the wilderness. His life before that also-̴̝̄-̶̨̍-̷̝̊

The generator was nothing like Cecil had ever seen before. It did look like a generator, and it was in the right place to be a generator, but this did not look like a generator. Kneeling down beside it, he runs his finger along what appeared to be the fuel intake and licked it without a moment's hesitation. Then he began spitting it back out, saying "Worse t-than mud..." Standing back up, he turned to Lumina, then in an expected manner, turned away a bit to avoid facing her directly. For a moment, it almost looked like a normal conversation. He glanced at the can of whale meat in his hand, then back at Lumina while pointing with the bland can at the generator. "It's fish."

Edited by Shatter

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While everybody broke formation to find something to do, Quill gave Maat a nod as they passed each other near the doorway. It was kind of an ironic 'hey' kind of nod, like you might do if you were a sulky teenager in the halls of some crappy college somewhere, and that was the full breadth of the joke. She hit him with that deadpan tilt of the head and Maat, suppressing an amused grin, attempted to give her an equally stoic bob back.

Then just like that, he, and Iohmar, were gone. The droning of the heavy rain rose to a crescendo as the door swung open, then died off as it closed behind them. Once again, there was only the screaming wind and the rain hammering down on the roof.

With him out of the room, she resumed checking the shelves, and eventually decided to grab a stick of beef jerky. The label was faded and the coloring wasn't enough to determine the maker, but she didn't really care that much. After all, you had to try pretty hard to ruin beef jerky, or any jerky for that matter. She unwrapped the stick and gnawed on it slowly as she passed through the aisles, checking on the others, which consisted of June, Taylor and Cecil. Lumina had basically embraced Maat and Quill's 'wander-off' personality wholesale, and went off to find her own curiosities, while the other two looked for snacks and clothes. Taylor found herself a flashlight, and socketed it with fresh batteries, and the felinid considered grabbing her own, once she was done eating. The other girl, June, looked up and down the aisles for...something, and Quill was tempted to check in with her, but got distracted as the other guy flinched away from the window. 

Cecil was probably bad news, and not in the 'Oh, so dark and mysterious' way that Quill occasionally liked to try and pull off, but in a 'crack junkie with no crack' kind of way. His wild eyes, his mannerisms, the way he'd bashed his own head after attempting to speak with them. There was something going on there, something...disturbing, she supposed. So really, it shouldn't have surprised her when he reeled away from the window as if he'd seen a ghost, clutching a can to his chest as he did so. She walked down the aisles towards the pyramid he'd taken the can from, and quirked an eyebrow at him as if to say 'Jeez, pal.' Then, she glanced out the window.

Nothing. The windows were fogged up from their breathing now, and perspiration dribbled down through the clouds in little rivulets. Massive mud puddles spanned the road they came from, and she could still see the lights on in the rollerbus.

She squinted.

Wait, no, that wasn't the rollerbus. Another vehicle, maybe? She figured it would make sense for the owners of this place to have some kind of security system in place, should they ever have a break in like this one. This could be the owners coming to check on the place.

She glanced behind her, towards the door. She'd probably need to get Maat to deal with the authorities, if this town had a sheriff or something. 

The door burst open, and Lumina bounced back in, startling both Taylor as she moved towards the counter to look for something, and Cecil, who was probably one good scare away from passing out.

On 5/3/2020 at 2:22 AM, Hydrangeas said:

“I found another room! I believe it may house a generator of some sorts. I was afraid of messing with it further, so I was hoping someone may be able to figure out what exactly it is,”

The garage attached to the store was still dark and dingy, and the shelves cast a lot of shadows throughout the place while Maat and Iohmar passed through it. Maat looked to their left as they re-entered, keen on seeing how big the parking space was above all else. They could probably fit the rollerbus inside the garage until they got the ferry situation sorted out. It beat keeping it out in the rain and muck, after all. Iohmar continued through the winding shelves, while the half-elf made his way for the parking spot, sneaking between shelves overladen with stuff. The concrete was dark and slick with grease stains, and a certain rancid odor that Maat hadn't been able to escape since he'd first passed through the garage in the first place. Unlike the smell of diesel, or just plain gas, the smell was sort of earthen, in a sense, and difficult to get rid of once he caught wind of it. It was a familiar stench, kind of nostalgic, even. It was also pretty strong here, in the parking space. 

Curiously, Maat looked around slowly, checking for any clues. Parts, or pieces of some kind of vehicle would be a nice little novelty, something to tell him what kind of car or truck was kept in the garage. Perhaps a tow vehicle was put here, to drag the ferry's engine off the vessel from time to time? That seemed pretty plausible. He only found a small, immobile table of sorts, made of welded sheet metal and adorned with some greased tools. Curiously, he picked up a red can resting on the table as well, and examined the label. It was hard to read in the dark, but he was pretty sure he'd seen the can before...

On 5/1/2020 at 5:44 AM, Rabbit said:

"Well, look what we have here." Iohmar said in a loud voice, clearly trying to catch the attention of others in the room.

Maat looked up, and set the can back down. He wormed through the shelves, following Iohmar's voice to the back of the garage. Once there, he looked past him, at whatever it was the Tabaxi had found. It was a machine of some kind, and Maat looked at it curiously while the other explained what it was.

On 5/1/2020 at 5:44 AM, Rabbit said:

"Cable device, already set in place. We sometimes use these when docking our airships, simple and reliable. Without looking at the ferry itself, I could not tell you whether or not this is its only method of movement. Unfortunately, it appears to missing assets and not in the best condition. It is missing one of the larger gears and a primer bulb, it is also in need of a good cleaning. Of course, we also need to power it."

Maat let out an impressed whistle. Cool.

"Well," He clapped his hands together once, impressed. "Guess I'll go take a look around, tell the others what we've got. When I get back, I'll hunt around in here for the parts. You'd think they'd keep it close to the machine, right?" He scanned the close-by shelves and came up with...nothing, really. Well, not nothing, as he spied something of value quickly and reached for it, then turned it on. Light bloomed unexpectedly, nearly blinding the half-elf for a second as he shone it away from himself, turning the handle away.

"Whoa!" He laughed, turning it back off again and setting it by Iohmar. "That's a pretty strong light." It wouldn't be hard to take with him, if he needed a light source, but there was other stuff to carry around too, and he didn't really have enough arms to carry everything in one trip. It better served the solitary Tabaxi anyway.

Maat took his leave, and stepped out into the rain once again. His hair, already slicked against his head, his clothes clinging to his frame, were reintroduced to the deathly chill of the strange storm, and he hurried back towards the store, before stopping, and taking notice of the building next to them. The door, it seemed, was open.

Curiously, he walked over to it, and one of the people within moved unexpectedly, causing Maat to freeze for a moment before relaxing. It seemed like Lumina and Cecil had gotten the door opened!

On 5/10/2020 at 3:50 PM, Shatter said:

"Worse t-than mud..." Standing back up, he turned to Lumina, then in an expected manner, turned away a bit to avoid facing her directly. For a moment, it almost looked like a normal conversation. He glanced at the can of whale meat in his hand, then back at Lumina while pointing with the bland can at the generator. "It's fish."

"What's fish?" Maat asked unexpectedly, coming up behind the two. Noting how they jumped, he put his hands up quickly, as if to surrender, or at least apologize. "Sorry, sorry. Just ducking out of the rain for a second." He glanced at the engine they'd discovered, and the breaker box on the wall behind them. This was, most likely, the building's power supply, and there was that smell again! Maat coughed, and looked around. The room was red and rusted, like something out of a cheap torture movie. How come power rooms always looked like this in smaller towns? Did they just give up on maintaining them eventually?

The generator was strange-looking, and Maat couldn't make heads or tails of it, though his mind immediately went back to Iohmar, who seemed to know a lot about machines. If he had a chance to look at it, he'd probably know more. Before he did that, however, Maat experimentally pulled on the rip-cord of the generator. The engine inside turned over, and rumbled, but the tank was empty.

"That's two things that need to be refueled, then." He said with a shrug. "I can head back into the garage to look for some fuel. But hey," He gave Lumina an endearing, gentle clap on the back. "Good job finding the breaker, Lumi."

Quill remained behind with Taylor and June as Cecil followed Lumina out. Again, there was this strangeness to the man, where she noticed, quite plainly, that he just...refused to look anybody in the eye. Anybody! Including Lumina, who was arguable the easiest person to get along with. Quill knew that from experience having once bought the girl a lunch once because it was the polite thing to do, and getting far too many 'thank you's' for it. While that didn't necessarily make him a bad person, not looking people in the eye, it didn't help Quill's nerves, either. June returning from the darkened hallway, asking for a flashlight as Lumina arrived helped distract her from that, and instead of worrying about Cecil and his weirdness, joined June's attempts to explore the rest of the building. 

Behind the counter, at the far end of the building was a long, dark hall. It probably wasn't that long, and probably wasn't normally that dark and yet the time of day, and the cloud cover, and their shadows blocking out the already scant light made the room seem like it stretched forever, into some unfathomable depths. Quill suppressed the urge to cry 'Echo!' down the hall, and for good reason. Something felt alien there, even without Cecil around.

Quill offered to take the flashlight from June, and whether she received it or not, waited until the hall was illuminated to proceed down it. Or she would have, if she didn't see the bloody footprints first.

The felinid squatted down quickly, and examined the prints a little closer. It was too red to be mud, so she wasn't seeing things. The prints seemed somewhat fresh, too. She followed them down the hall, until they appeared to originate from a door to her right. She couldn't see underneath the door; something was blocking her view, yet there was a strong mettalic smell in the air, and the creeping chill of death.

The felinid stood up, and backed away from the door.

"I don't like the looks of that," She warned the other two. "Let's just avoid that door for now."

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Initially thinking to check in the back, Taylor instead decided to begin her search for the bathroom key behind the counter. She had just looped around the leaky beverage machines when Lumina burst into the room with a shout, nearly causing Taylor to jump out of her skin.

"Don't do that!" she snapped, then calmed down enough to realize it was her own fault for being so paranoid, "Sorry, just... this place unnerves me."

She then proceeded to the area behind the counter to begin to hunt for the key. It was a mess back there, and so she found herself shifting through all sorts junk, from cigarette packs and tins of chew, to magazines and receipts. Finally she found the register, but she didn't immediately think to look in the register for the key. In fact, she had been expecting to find it under one of the counters, in a cabinet or something. When that failed though, she just passively decided to open the register, curious if any money had been left inside. There was a little, but not enough to be of much value. She almost immediately forgot about it when she noticed there was a key inside the register, seemingly completing her mission by accident. With a shrug, she snatched up the key, recovered the towels and such that she had set aside, and began to head back to the bathroom to give it a try.

As she crossed the store again, she noticed Quill attempting to go down the dark hallway which likely led to the backroom. She didn't think much of it until she was nearly at the restroom door, at which point she faintly heard Quill say something about not liking the look of something, and avoiding the door. This caused Taylor to hesitate for a moment and look back toward the others. Quill apparently was referring to the door in the hallway though, not the restroom door. Even so, this left Taylor pondering whether she really wanted to open the locked restroom door while everyone else was across the room and she was over here alone.

An involuntary fit of shivers, seemingly because she was still wet and cold, changed her mind. She needed someplace private to strip and try to ring out and dry her clothes. Even better if there was a blow-dryer inside and someone could get the power reactivated in the next few minutes. As such, with the towels tucked under her arm, the big flashlight in one hand and the key in the other, she finally moved to unlock the door. The key fit and turned, indicated she had found the right one. However, the second she threw the door open, Taylor recoiled backward and let out a sound that was somewhere between a gag and a gasp. The smell was the first thing that hit her, that whiff of putrid odor that only those with the strongest of stomachs could withstand without reaction. It took nearly everything the young woman had not to hurl on the floor right then and there. When she finally recovered enough to actually focus her eyes ahead, she realized what her flashlight was shining on.

"EEEIAAAYAHH!" she shrieked, jumping backward and crashing into a cardboard display, sending it and its contents all over the floor.

What she had seen was only a fragment of the whole, but it was enough cause her troubled mind to jump to some terrible conclusions; imagery from horror movies, games and internet searches she had exposed herself to over the years were all being instantly dug out from the recesses of her mind. In that fraction of a second, her imagination had pieced the outside stimuli together with her internal memories to conclude that what she was seeing was some form of undead horror, and her first reaction was the assume it was about to charge forward and attack her.

In reality, she had only seen part of a face, but it had been enough. The bulging, lifeless eyes, the slack mouth pooling with blood, the sickly green-white skin and greasy hair, it was enough to convince her, if for just a moment, that she had encountered some abomination straight out of a dark fantasy game. But a second or two removed from the revelation, and she was able to see more clearly that the thing she was staring at was truly and completely dead. Stepping back to the door, she moved the flashlight up and down the body briefly, enough to see that it was a human male, pinned to the wall by a fishing knife through the throat. The throat wound had been bleeding all over the place, as nearly the entire floor of the bathroom was covered in blood. That was enough for Taylor, who didn't need to see any more. Lunging forward, she grabbed the door and pulled it shut, then stood there a moment to catch her breath and let her heart slow down.

"Sh-shit... shit, shit, shit, shit, shit..." she whispered to herself, realizing the implication of a murdered man in the building.

Though all of that had occurred in a matter of less than ten seconds, someone else had surely noticed her antics by now. Whether they did or not though, Taylor was not about to be shy about announcing what she had found.

"T-Th-There's a dead man in the restroom!" she blurted-out, barely able to speak with how shaky her entire body was, "Someone killed him!"

There was a murderer loose, that much was certain. The man in the bathroom hadn't kill himself, nor was the victim of some sort of accident. For him to be pinned like he was, someone had to have stabbed him with enough force to penetrate the wall behind him with that knife. In addition, Taylor was not well-informed enough to know how the body acted after death, so the fact that it was still bleeding seemed to indicate to her that it was relatively fresh. Not too fresh though, as obviously it had been in there a few hours at least, given how oppressive the smell of decomposition was. Either way, all indications where that a killer had been here within the last few days, possibly the last few hours, had murdered this man, and that no authorities or next of kin had arrived to claim the body and give it a proper burial. Normally Taylor might have left her mind open to the possibility that the man inside had been killed in self-defense, but with how paranoid she was feeling right now, the thought never reached consideration.

Instead, she immediately began to worry about the possibility of the killer coming back, or perhaps still being here somewhere. What if it was one of the very people she had entered the store with? It was certainly possible. She trusted Maat, despite herself, and by extension she deduced that Quill and Lumina must be okay, since they arrived in his company. And June was her friend and had arrived with her, so she was clear. But Iohmar and Cecil were entirely different matters. Iohmar had arrived at the same time as June and Taylor, also out walking in darkness and rain. While June and Taylor were lost and had no choice, Iohmar seemed at least a little more like he had arrived her on purpose, which begged the question of why. What crazy reason would one have to be attempting to hike to this town through the rain? Still, Cecil was the truly suspicious one, as he had only emerged from the shadows after everyone else was assembled. The fact that he had a bike with him only made him seem more out of place. Who rides a bike in the rain? Nothing added up with him unless you assumed one of two things: either he was hiding something, or he wasn't all there in the head. Both could be true, and both were good enough reasons to suspect him. Maybe he had been lying in wait for more people arrive before revealing himself. Maybe he had been inside the building, but saw the headlights from the rollerbus, prompting him to exit out the back way (and forget to lock it, which would explain how Maat got in), so that he could then approach the group and make it appear like he had also just arrived. Or maybe he had killed the man, then attempted to flee the scene, but got caught in the rainstorm and realized he had no choice but to return to the only shelter in the area. Any of these were reasonable assumptions in her mind, and after all, it was pretty damn convenient that four completely separate parties happened to converge on this spot all at once...

Wasn't it?

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On 5/14/2020 at 4:23 AM, Jotnotes said:

"Guess I'll go take a look around, tell the others what we've got. When I get back, I'll hunt around in here for the parts. You'd think they'd keep it close to the machine, right?"

"I would hope they'd have the common sense to do such a thing, but hope is seemingly not around. Worst case scenario, we can jury rig it. I just need....." Iohmar stopped as a bright light emitted from a device held by the half-elf, lighting up the room."Well, I guess that is a good start." Iohmar crouched back down, beginning his work on the cable machine.

His first job was removing the barnacles, which at first glance seemed easy enough. But as the tabaxi got further in, only realized the daunting task ahead. The barnacles were not the normal kind, but far more advanced in a manner. The first layer simply chipped off with a scrap of Iohmar's knife, but they got far larger and armored as he got further in. Any attempt to remove them seemed fruitless, even when attempted with a nearby screwdriver and hammer. The armored behemoths were determined to stay, threatening to block and clog the machine if used. The wind blowing through the hole in the water spat water at him as he tried to remove them, only frustrating Iohmar further. 

"This......shall not do." He muttered to himself in a grump. 

Iohmar took a firm grasp of the cable, then began emitting electric from his palm. It started of with low power, steadily growing. He focused carefully, ensuring he did not damage the machine or anything other than the barnacles. Within a few minutes the barnacles began spewing a black liquid, one by one falling off the cables. The tabaxi's natural night vision allowed him to see them fall as he put more power into the electric, barnacles dying off in an almost chain reaction like manner. 

"Perfection!" The tabaxi smirked at his own work, twirling his whiskers as if a villain. 

His next job was a far far more difficult task, rust removal. Something, unfortunately, bordering on impossible. The cables exited the building itself, travelling along the river to the other side. Scratching the cable with his claw, it was undeniably not in the best of conditions. There was maybe some hope, using electrolysis to remove the rust? A potentially option, that the tabaxi made a mental note of. If not he'd have to mention the cables condition to the group, if they decided to move on further with the journey. For now, all he could do is focus on the machine and get it in a good as possible condition. Wandering the store, he began scouring the shelves and boxes for the needed components and other useful items. 

Edited by Rabbit

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