DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 55: Courtyard [2nd Shift]
I'm in trouble aren't I?
sheepwood wrote in damned
After what seemed like an eternity of being amused, irritable, bored, in pain, in excruciating pain, and any combination of those, Guybrush was met by the same soldier who had led him to the cafeteria. He wasn't offered a trip to the Sun Room to check the bulletin board, but didn't push for it anyway. That would have been more walking, and moving was one of those many, many physical activities he didn't feel like doing in any capacity. Not today... or until next week, or whenever he'd stop feeling like he'd been on a date with a rough manatee named Large Marge. There was a slow minute of him feebly getting to his feet, then he followed the soldier without comment.

The comment came when Guybrush was handed a leather jacket on his way out the door. "A fine leather jacket... hah." He hissed as he pushed his right arm through the sleeve, settling to just leave the left draped over his shoulder. It was then he noticed the embroidery. At least Aguilar had a decent budget for clothing. If the pants worked, he'd be set.

There was something to be said about the General's methods, though. Why make the people who hadn't been in the food fight do the cleaning, while letting the guilty ones stand around? Sure, he wanted everyone to know who was responsible for the punishment, but wouldn't that just-

Oh. Wow, now that was a new level of crafty manipulation. Even LeChuck could be proud of it, if he wasn't behind it in some way. His disappearance made it possible- even probable- that his showing-up-and-playing-innocent-human-kidnapee routine had been an elaborate rouse, one even more diabolical than creating a carnival with which to recruit unsuspecting tourists into his undead army, more time-consuming than using a Mighty Pirate™ to look for a voodoo-sucking sea sponge so he could... get his mojo back? Oh yeah- Guybrush had died before that one reached Chapter 5. But if Landel's Institute was something LeChuck had cooked up so he could woo Elaine From The Past and change the future, then it was way, way more complex than his previous schemes.

And if it wasn't some incredible plot LeChuck had hatched because he finally grew tired of having his plans foiled? That made things even more complicated.

Guybrush made his way toward one of the benches, sprawling across it as he leaned his head against the backrest. Was the wall higher today? Maybe that was the aching in his chest talking. Either way, he didn't think he'd be going over it in an attempt to Escape from Aguilar's Institute™ that night unless they added a wheelchair ramp.

[Morgan]

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All things considered, even with the apparent military takeover, Rapunzel's day wasn't going that terribly. It wasn't worse than yesterday, anyway. And she definitely preferred the gruff-but-human soldiers to the monsters of last night. Other than the constant nagging worry running in the back of her mind about Eugene, Pascal, Maximus, and their collective safety from Mother Gothel, she was much farther away from all-encompassing despair than she had feared. 

Really, what had happened so far? She had gotten a change of clothes, cleaned the floor, got to know an android (!) girl - and now it was (ohmygosh gasp!) snowing! Honest to goodness snowing! And she wasn't stuck inside watching it pile up from above for once! Sure, she would have preferred this kind of thing happen on the outside with someone she felt close to, but hey, this was better than nothing, right? Rapunzel felt she was something of an expert at latching on to bright spots amid the drudgery of captivity, no matter how small. She kind of had to be at this point. 

Hugging the jacket around her tighter, Rapunzel found her way over to a courtyard bench, looking up at the sky, reaching for flakes (with hands and tongue alike), and twirling as she went. She sat down, beaming and giggling faintly as the thin layer of snow chilled her bum and got into the creases of her pants. She would enjoy this more fully in a bit. First things first - her hair needed braiding. 

[Scarecrow]

The Scarecrow was starting to regret skipping dinner the night before, especially once the breakfast shift had ended without any breakfast being served. His middle complained loudly as he was handed a jacket and shown to the courtyard. He wasn't entirely sure how long a human body could go without eating, but with as many times as the patients were fed during the day, he got the feeling it wasn't very long. He took comfort in the fact he'd be passing the time until lunch (granted it wasn't replaced with scrubbing, as well) outside. Something about the outdoors made him feel that much closer to home.

The courtyard greeted him with a sight that made him completely forget any grumbling that had been on his mind or in his body. "It's snowing?" A smile slowly overtook the Scarecrow's face as he put out a hand, catching one of the flakes that drifted from above. He was genuinely surprised by the feel of it, watching with marked fascination as it melted in his hand almost instantly. More clung to his clothes, staying far longer than any that landed on his skin. A major difference of being made of flesh and blood instead of rags was so perfectly illustrated in that moment.

"It's snowing!" the Scarecrow said a second time, his tone brimming with excitement. His exclamation was mostly ignored by his soldier escort, but the former strawman found himself so tickled with joy that he hardly noticed. After a few minutes of shameless dancing (during which he lost his hat to a tremendous spin and was given a single, harsh reminder from the soldier that his hat was his responsibility and was to be worn at all times), he caught sight of someone else doing some twirling. There certainly was something to be said about the lack of dancing and singing at Landel's. To see another soul enjoying the weather was a true delight!

As she took a seat on a bench, the Scarecrow approached her. "How do you do, Miss?" he asked with a formal bow, removing his hat with a flourish, the soldier's warning already lost on him.

Rapunzel caught some movement approaching into her sights not a few seconds after sitting down - and a pretty jaunty movement at that. So not everyone was in a rotten mood after the changeover, then, she thought with a relieved smile. She wasn't alone on that front; had the snow not been so darned neat she might have started feeling self-conscious about being the odd one out by now. 

"Ehhh, could be better," Rapunzel answered with a wry grin, gathering hair at the base of her scalp and unconsciously starting to split it into ropey sections. She figured she didn't have to explain how things could be improved around here (hint: a little redecorating wasn't going to cut it). "But things could be worse too," she added, her smile warming again as she went on: "I mean... I mean it's snowing! Do you have any idea how amazing it is to feel snow crunching under your feet? Or floating down onto the tip of your nose? I mean, just... Oh my gosh!" 

She was getting seriously tempted to just kick off her boots and wriggle her toes through the freshly-fallen blanket. She had a feeling, though, that if she tried that, the soldiers nearby would probably break all her toes before they got even one flake on them. One soldier was already shooting a dirty look in their direction for the older man's removal of his beret; best not push their luck, she figured. 

"I'm Rapunzel, by the way," she greeted, crossing sections one over another to get the braid started. "What's your name?" she asked. If the man in front of her was just as happy about the snow as she was, Rapunzel figured he was bound to be worth getting to know. 

"I'm Scarecrow," the former strawman replied, the thought of using his fake name slipping his mind as it was on other things. It occurred to him he was going to have to remember how he introduced himself to various people, and that things could be more complicated with two different names than with a single (albeit confusing, being human and all) moniker. As for where his mind had been, it was that he honestly couldn't say he'd felt either of the sensations she listed. He'd only seen snow one other time in his short life, and he hadn't any feeling at all when that happened. It was in his favor at the time to be made of straw, but he had to admit that he was curious. It was bound to be so different now!

He glanced over his shoulder toward his soldier escort, then down to his shoes, then quickly back to the soldier, catching a stern look of disapproval the second time around. In spite of the harsh warning only minutes before, the soldier simply made a motion of putting a hat on his head. The Scarecrow looked to the hat in his hand, returning the silent instruction with an apologetic smile. It probably wasn't the best time to be taking off his shoes, anyway- given the way the snow felt on his hands, he guessed it was probably similar when felt with his feet.

Unfortunately, guessing didn't satisfy his curiosity in the least. "To be honest, I really have no idea how snow feels crunching under your feet," the Scarecrow continued, pulling the beret atop his head in a most unfitting fashion. "I've only ever seen it once before, and it was under most unusual circumstances. What's it like?"

Rapunzel didn't think much of the name other than that she'd had no idea crows even needed scaring. Instead, she ended up latching onto the man's other words with a slightly crestfallen look. Only once? That was really kind of sad, she thought. Maybe she hadn't ever gotten to enjoy it fully, but at least she had seen snow and felt it on her windowsill before.

"I wouldn't really be the person to ask either. I see snow every year, but I haven't really felt it that much. I, uh, never really got out that much back home," she answered, gaze falling down to her hair as she lifted the braiding over the front of her shoulder. "Do you just come from a really warm place or something? Is that why you've never seen it before?" she asked after a moment, offering Scarecrow a place to sit next to her.

Edited at 2011-03-17 06:42 am (UTC)

At the offer, the Scarecrow took the seat beside Rapunzel. He did his best not to be homesick, in spite of her braid reminding him of Dorothy. Of course, he then thought of Oz and became homesick anyway, but at least he could say he'd tried.

"I don't really know," he admitted with a shake of his head. "I've never really wondered why it doesn't snow in Oz. I don't know much about snow to begin with, but now that I've experienced it a little, I'm eager to know more." There was only a thin layer on the ground, the flakes that clung to his pants starting to gather together as the snowfall continued. He turned his palms upward, catching a few of the flurries as they made their way from the sky.

"It must be a shame to see such a beautiful sight every year, but to not be able to enjoy it," he continued. "Why, I'm not sure which is worse: to know something is there, but just out of reach, or to not know about it at all." It was a question the Scarecrow had pondered himself: the more he experienced, especially as a human, the more he realized just how naive he was, even with a brain! He was sure he wouldn't be better off remaining ignorant- if nothing else, he'd be back where he started, and he knew how unhappy he'd been then. But had he been happier before he discovered what being human was like? And as much as he thought he'd like to go back to being made of straw, he couldn't help but wonder if he'd miss the wonderful experiences he had at Landel's.

"Why didn't you get out much?" the Scarecrow asked. "Were you stuck in one place with a pole up your back?"

Scarecrow's musing certainly gave Rapunzel food for thought, but probably not in the way he had intended. Rather than wondering if she had been better off knowing about snow but being kept from it, she could only think about the floating lights. Would she have been happier had the lights, say, appeared on a night other than her birthday? Or never appeared at all? Maybe, she thought. She wouldn't have had so much reason to question what the outside held in that case, or at least not such a strong one, anyway. She might have been content to stay with her mother, never breaking the illusion of a loving family relationship (strained though it could be at times). It could have been just them - together, happily ever after.

Then again, she might have never had anything to ask of "Flynn Rider" when he came climbing up into her tower on that one summer morning. Then she never would have trekked across Corona with him; she never would have learned his name. And she never would have fallen so head-over-heels in love. Much as everything after that had hurt and continued to hurt, Rapunzel didn't know if she could stand the idea of never experiencing that feeling in her whole entire life. 

"I . . . think I'm leaning toward knowing being better, myself," she answered, a bittersweet smile on her face. "I mean, you can never have a chance to shoot for something better if you don't know where the target is, right?"

She was going to ask Scarecrow about the place name he had mentioned, but another question came her way first.  "Ahhheh, well! I guess you could call it that. That is, if by 'pole' you mean 'tower'. Annnnd by 'up my back' you mean 'keeping me hidden for eighteen years'." She couldn't help the sarcasm creeping into her tone at that, but for the sake of the wonderful winter day and Scarecrow's mood, she didn't let it overtake things. "I didn't really choose it, but I did stick with it, so—" shrug "—there you go." 

Okay, now she could scratch that itch for more knowledge from her interesting new seatmate. "But that's kind of a drag, right? What about this 'Oz' place, huh? Is that the name of your kingdom?" Or space colony? Or planet? Or floating city? Or whatever other fantastic places were apparently out there beyond the borders of Corona? "What's it like? What kind of people live there?"

Wow, hidden in a tower for eighteen years? The Scarecrow knew he looked stunned, but couldn't help it. He'd jumped at the chance to leave the cornfield in search of a brain after only a few days! He couldn't even imagine being trapped in one place for eighteen years, and certainly hoped he wouldn't be in Landel's that long.

Still, her talk of aiming for something better did ring true with him. "You're absolutely right on that," he agreed. "As bad as this place can be sometimes, I don't think I'd take back anything that I've seen here. Especially the friends I've made and some of the more unusual things I've seen, like the snow."

Even with all the amazing (and sometimes frightening beyond all reason) experiences he'd had at Landel's, he did love to talk about Oz. "Well, there are a lot of kinds of people in Oz. There're the Munchkins of Munchkinland," he started as he traced a rectangle in the air and began pointing to various locations on the imaginary map, "the Winkies and Quadlings and Gillikin, Witches- both good and bad- folk made of china and others who roll everywhere they go, a cowardly lion and a tin woodsman..."

He trailed off as his mind caught up with his mouth. Now that he thought about it, didn't the people of Utensia look an awful lot like the utensils they were given at meals? That was an odd coincidence. Or maybe some of said utensils had made it to Oz and come to life. That made sense in his mind.

"Oh, and there are the people of the Emerald City!" the Scarecrow concluded. "That's the capital of Oz- a shining city of jewels found at the end of the Yellow Brick Road."

Rapunzel listened with rapt attention as Scarecrow went into detail about the people and places of his home land. If it had been physically possible, her eyes would have been sparkling right about then. For now, the muted sunlight reflecting off falling snowflakes made for a good substitute.

"A whole city full of jewels...! How long would it have taken to build something like that, I wonder? That sounds so amazing, you don't even know!" she half-squealed, just imagining it all now - towers and castles of green emerald, houses of ruby and sapphire, shining streets of diamond and gold, trees made of jade, windows of crystal! Rapunzel was sure she was over-imagining things, but she didn't care.

"And how far does that Yellow Brick Road go? All through the land, or just near the Emerald City? And what are the people all like? Tell me they're as wonderful as the people I met in my own kingdom's capital the other day!" She started muttering faster in slight embarrassment: "I mean Iknowyoudon'tknowthosepeople so you don't know how nice they might've been, butthat'sbesidesthepoint! You know what I mean! Are the people who live there just as incredible as the city itself?"

Someone was a little over-eager to make up for lost time.

Edited at 2011-03-24 07:18 am (UTC)

Rapunzel asked questions faster that the Scarecrow could even begin to answer them: "Well, it's really— Oh, the Yellow— I think it's— " He paused in his attempts at answering, unsure of how wonderful the people were in her own kingdom's capital, but right as he tried to ask about them, she started in again. He supposed he'd be just as curious if he'd spent eighteen years stuck in a cornfield.

Finally, she stopped to take a breath. By the time he was able to edge a word in, he'd forgotten most of her questions. Better start with something he knew. "I don't get out of the Emerald City much now that I live there, to be perfectly honest. The people are very kind, but I'm not sure who actually built the city. They don't seem like the sorts who would." He shook his head on that last note: the Ozites of the capital city spent most of their time playing and generally being unproductive with their time; however, he couldn't say he did much better, given that he'd spent most of his time thinking. At least he'd been exercising his new brain, making sure it worked well and whatnot. It had a purpose!

"Not everyone in Oz is kind, though," the Scarecrow added with a shake of his head. "Take the Wicked Witch of the West- when my friend, Dorothy Gale, dropped a house on her sister, she became the owner of the Ruby Slippers. The Wicked Witch would've done anything to get a hold of their magic, even if that meant kidnapping her and taking them by force!"

OMG I am so sorry this took so long to get back to! ;A;

And just like that, Rapunzel was suddenly the one who felt like someone had dropped a house on her.

She had been following Scarecrows words with continued eagerness up until the part about the witch. Rapunzel knew a little about witches from her storybooks, enough to know that they were never good, and they had dark magic and animal helpers to aid in their plots. Strangely enough, though, Gothel had never pushed them much in her scary tales or attempts to convince Rapunzel that the world was too dangerous for her. She didn't deny their existence, but tended to focus more on creatures, diseases, or evil men as the bringers of death and destruction. And all she could think of now was: why had this never seemed strange to her before?

Rapunzel's swiftly drying throat tightened, and her hands squeezed faintly over what she had done of her braid. "Kidnapping... Is that something a lot of witches do?" she asked hesitantly, leaving a hanging silence afterward.

When she found her words again, she shook her head. "But anyway, your friend got away in the end, right?" she asked. "Please tell me the witch didn't hurt her or keep her for long." She had to know, if only to confirm that there weren't more people out there who had gone through anything like what she had been through in her life.

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