DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Night 59: Main Hallway, 1-Center
overkill time.
train_tracer wrote in damned
[from here]

Just like last night, Vino turned the bend to find that he was first in the main hallway again. He couldn't decide if he preferred it or not. Patience wasn't his favorite virtue, but he supposed he'd have to wait. The two meeting places he would have to be at were right next to each other, right? So that was fine. If he had to wait a while, perhaps he could do some hunting while he was at it.

Vino waited, but tonight, his patience was wearing thinner at a faster rate. He didn't settle on leaning against a wall to wait. He paced, swinging the railing all the while. It was still bloodied from the night before. In his excitement, he'd quite forgotten his intention of stopping by a restroom and cleaning the thing off. Obviously, there were more important things he could be doing. In his mind, there was no time for anything else.

He was impatient. I wanted to be somewhere, he wanted to see everything, he wanted to explore, to experience, to hunt, to destroy--

But all in good time. Tonight was his night. Every night was his night. He owned all this. All of it. It would be fine if he bode his time. He had all the time in the world. He controlled it.

The shadows whispered and scratched. And Vino listened and watched. But stayed where he was for the time being. For the time being.

[Neku]

  • 1
[from here]

She could see the shapes of other humans in the hallway, stretching out long beyond sight, but nobody she recognized off-hand. It wasn't much of a surprise; she hadn't even been here a week, and wasn't entirely comfortable reaching out to strangers. Everyone was a stranger to her, even those who claimed to be from her same home. It was possible they were telling the truth, but... she had no way of knowing for sure.

Dead rats were scattered across the floor, but the overall violence was much less severe in this segment of hallway. To the left, the way to the Sun Room had already been pushed open, but along the right wall were a series of still-closed doors. They'd been on the map on the bulletin board too, she remembered, but the names hadn't caught her attention at all. And further on...

The girl pivoted on one heel, looking back to watch her companion. His "illness" wasn't what flagged her curiosity, but if it was something serious, she needed to be more aware. 'Friends' were foreign to her, and it was no sense of camaraderie or loyalty that etched subtle concern into her features. She just didn't want to see anyone hurt needlessly, that was all.

Edgar followed behind Terra, still a bit surprised at her initiative. In contrast to the reserved demeanor he'd seen thus far, she'd been the one to insist they move, leading the way without so much as a word from him. Though fighting sickness himself, he kept a close watch on her, wary of what might happen if what he suspected was true.

Of course, it was different for her: she was a natural magic caster, someone born with the blood of an Esper. Any spells he may have had were forced into his veins by the institute, the infusion forcing his body and mind to adjust and accept it. He loathed being pushed into such a position, but there was nothing to be done about it now.

Of course, the difference between them was what raised his concerns. He had seen her lose control before, but the circumstances had been different. There were no Espers in sight to cause the shift in her, and her powers hadn't been curbed in their world by some external force, as they apparently had been at Landel's. The more he thought about it, the more he realized she was probably the one with stability on her side.

That made him the dangerous element for the evening. He grimaced in the dark in irritation, the look disappearing as soon as he caught Terra's eye. He attempted to mask it by eyeing the corpses littering the floor.

He brought his eyes to meet hers after a moment's inspection. "I wouldn't be surprised if the entire building is like this by now."

His face was hard to read, for the terrible light and her unfamiliarity with him. Focusing too much would in the end prove useless, but the girl couldn't defeat her own curiosity. He spoke; she nodded once, acknowledging she'd heard. Carnage and violence would follow wherever the creatures went -- or wherever the patients did.

"Does this..." she started to say, her voice barely loud enough to carry, "...happen often?" Edgar claimed to have been here 'a while,' though how long that was she didn't know, and wouldn't be able to scale even if she did. What did weeks, months or seasons mean to someone still adjusting to the passing of hours and days? It was the active analysis of such things that was difficult for her, as she was then; action alone, and that which could be done without thought, were what came easy. A sword possessed no memory, but it could not forget how to slice through flesh.

Letting what answer he may have follow her, she moved cautiously to the nearest of the closed doors. She couldn't see a lock...

"This is the first I've seen something like this happen here," Edgar admitted, leaning on his shovel as he moved his light along the walls and up to the ceiling. "Strange occurrences at night are the norm, but this chaos, the magic on the walls..."

He trailed off for a moment, still wondering what said magic could be. Perhaps to contain them within the building? Escape would certainly be an issue if the patients had their abilities back, though trapping them in the building with the nightmarish creatures that roamed the hallways— and seemed to be drawn out in droves this night, at that— did not bode well for those without the skills necessary to protect themselves from either the Institute's horrors or the staff... or worse, those patients who'd rather cause destruction simply because they could with little regard for the safety of others.

"I suspect those of us with abilities have had them returned," he continued as he reached the doorway. "That would account for the number of monster corpses lining the halls, though what caused them to—"

His voice cut off as the beam of light hit something suspicious: long, spindly legs that skittered from the light as soon as they were revealed. They were not alone. Edgar brought his improvised weapon into striking position, adrenaline pushing through him. "Above us!"

She spun at the change in his voice, hand falling away from the door and her attention darting towards the ceiling. Unless whatever potential threat approached dropped down, or was knocked from the ceiling, she didn't have any physical weapon with reach enough. Knives were handy, but she wasn't trained for throwing them, even if they were weighted properly for it, and she didn't want to lose one to a foolish attack, either. Little could serve as a shield, save perhaps ducking behind Edgar himself.

There was really only course the girl could take, and she wasted little time in deciding -- stepping back, drawing from the deep pool of magic within her.

His light scanned the ceiling around them, then trailed downward to the walls. Though he only caught sight of the spindly legs one more time, Edgar could hear their owner skittering about in the darkness, staying clear of the beam. It was hard to tell their number- possibly two, or maybe one large spider... or at least that was what he hoped it was. Still, the odds were in their favor- this was an abomination of the Landel's variety (which meant it was likely to be as monstrous and deformed as the cats and rats, and that was a safe enough bet with the legs he'd seen), and they were trained fighters. Any injuries would hinder their progress, though- it was best to dispatch of their enemy as quickly as possible.

Edgar kept his eyes off Terra as his light landed on the very end of a leg in the middle of a far wall- the monster didn't stir. Heaving his shovel through the air, he struck at the darkness ahead with the edge of the blade. The hissing that came from the spot he'd attacked told him he'd hit his mark.

Unfortunately, what he hadn't seen was the webbing the spider had set in that spot- it ensnared his shovel, and finding he couldn't remove it with a quick pull, Edgar was forced to abandon it for the time being. His light illuminated the creature briefly: the spider that appeared was the size of a man, its pincers clacking menacingly as it pulled its wounded leg to it. Perhaps guessing it'd be as monstrous as the rats was an understatement.

Light gave her direction enough, but the girl could have cast her aim blind and hit her target. Power surged through her, racing from her torso down her arms, tingling in her fingers. Throwing her arms out before her, her shout of fire erupted as flames far ahead of her, several bursting out from the creature in quick succession, hitting its target.

Flame gave light to the hall better than either sirens or flashlights could, but the illumination lasted only as long as the flames. It was enough to show its full size; her breath caught in her throat.

How did something that large move through the hallways so quietly? The girl shook her head, exhaling sharply; it wasn't dead yet, and she still had more than power enough to try again.

The blaze that surged before them lit the hallway brightly, if only for a moment- it was long enough to get an eyeful of the creature they were facing. Indeed, it was a spider, though simply calling it large would have been a grave understatement. For something so massive to have appeared from seemingly nowhere and readied a web over a portion of the hallway was unnerving at best.

The fire died quickly, accompanied by the metallic clang of his shovel falling from the smoldering web. Edgar scooped it from the floor and thrust it into the darkness in one swift movement; the blade pushed against the abdomen of the creature, shoving it backward as it cut into its frail belly.

Knowing he was nearing the webbing he'd seen crossing a part of the corridor, Edgar stepped back, waiting for the spider to come to them. Terra's magic— a familiar sight from home, but one jarring in relation to his period of captivity, as magic seemed so uncommon in the institute— stirred something within him, his chest burning again. He swallowed that feeling down, focusing on the fight ahead of them.

It was a little strange; using this same amount of magic only the night before had left her feeling disoriented and drained. Now it seemed to boil over without end, each blast leaving her no weaker than before. However, now wasn't the time to contemplate this heavily; the monster was still alive, and she still needed to focus to actually use that magic. Her eyes had difficulty adjusting back to darkness after that bright flare; in her ears, she heard Edgar's motion and attacks, the spider's pace like the rapid strike of a war drum, and nearly drowning out all that was the relentless beating of her heart.

It smouldered and bled, but the creature still had its eyes, its limbs, and its hunger. Though it moved more quickly than a human could run, the tight quarters of the hall made this a pale advantage. What it did have was its keen eyesight, and its sticky traps: when it charged, it was instinct that had the girl twisting out of its path-- and predictably into its web.

Her "eek!" was entirely undignified, startling in pitch even to her own ears. The web clung to her back, her upper arms, was cold and sticky and yanked at the hair at the base of her neck. At least she could twist her hands to aim--she gave a breath of relief for that small mercy, resuming the cast. Just a few seconds longer, if the beast didn't rip out her throat, and then--!

Edgar dodged the other way as the spider came charging at them, taking an overarching swing as it passed- the blade of the shovel hit the ground hard, the impact rattling down the shaft and through his hands. His flashlight fell to the ground, illuminating the eastern end of the corridor, the entrance to the side hallway coming into view in the distance. Terra's cry broke his concentration momentarily, drawing his attention to her. In the dim illumination, he could see she was trapped in the webbing, much like his shovel had been only seconds before. He bit back his instinct to run to her, knowing that would only give the creature the opportunity to hit them both at once.

The spider they'd injured had passed them, but turned quickly as it realized it had an easy target. Its hulking mass scooted just out of the range of the light as it prepared for a second charge. He heard the clacking of the legs crawl onto the walls before them— or was that behind them? He couldn't risk turning to look, not when their obvious threat was waiting to attack. He took another blind strike at the darkness, hearing the sounds of movement as the monstrosity distanced itself again.

Two steps backward- Edgar was sure he'd heard something behind him that time, somewhere farther down the passage. He put his back to the wall, standing near Terra, watching both directions as tension mounted him. That bubbling in his chest stirred again; stronger now, it burned through him, fueled by the fight. He adjusted his weapon in his hands, the necessary words coming to him uncalled.

"Fire!"

Once more flame burst to life in the dim hallway, erupting below the creature like landmines, burning its legs, its abdomen, its cephalothorax; the chain raced up the creature until the bright orange fire caught the spider's mandible and eyes, burning through its sensitive hairs and muscles. Already wounded from Edgars's numerous blows, it had little chance to scurry free of this new attack. It fell; though not yet dead, the damage to its legs and muscles proved too much for it to carry its own massive weight. The spider tested the strength of its numerous limbs, trying to pull itself back up, but it was no use.

Still stuck in the web, the girl exhaled a shaky breath, pulling once more at her trapped arms. With incredible speed, this was going from frightening and gross to simply irritating.

The spider writhed and fell before them, its legs buckling under the weight of its immense body, its strength no longer enough to lift it from the ground. It continued to twist and move with an inhuman hissing. but it was apparent it could no longer stand. It may not have been able to attack, but that didn't mean it was completely harmless; however, it quickly became the less pressing threat as the sound from the other end of the hallway resumed.

Edgar turned, listening, his hand balling into a fist. In the beam of his flashlight, for only a second, appeared another slender leg; it was silhouetted as it crossed the light, disappearing into the darkness as soon as it made its presence known. Edgar cursed under his breath- two of them? One of the monstrous creatures had been bad enough, and a shock to find in the main corridor, which was usually devoid of trouble. Given the chaos they had already passed, he decided he shouldn't have been so alarmed. There was still the lingering question of what was causing the creatures to show up in such numbers, and what was happening with the institute at large in regard to the announcements.

There was a pause as Edgar watched the beam of the flashlight on the floor, looking for any movement in the area around it- as before, the creature had seemingly disappeared. It was biding its time. Without moving his eyes, he took a step toward Terra- his movement was met with reaction, the spider charging at them as its brethren had only moments before. He stood his ground as the creature approached, the click clicking of spindly legs on the hard floor growing louder and more furious.

He reacted unthinkingly as it neared him: his hand shot before him with his cry, calling the spell by name as a wave of flame erupted only a short distance from his feet, its crest touching the ceiling as it rose ever higher. The spider backed away, but wasn't quick enough as the flame sliced downward, burning him through to his core. As the webs around them caught fire, the hallway was illuminated, the creature's retreat visible.

Edgar watched as it skittered away, silently thankful as he put a hand on his chest and attempted to recompose himself. That fire that welled itself in his veins had been stoked again; he felt if he didn't let it out that his heart might burst. After a few swallowed breaths and a quick look toward the downed spider, he turned to his companion, tearing at the webs that bound her with the blade of his shovel, trying to free her as quickly as possible.

Finally: the answer. It lit up inside her with the same sort of intensity as the bright flare against her eyes. He'd struck her as different from the other few patients she'd met in this institute, and on some level he had struck some resonance with her -- she who could recall no past, no friends, no family. This, she thought, must have been what she had known all along but could not name.

As Edgar cleaved through what remained of the burned, disintegrating webbing, the girl had stilled in her struggling against the binding, her mind racing. He and Locke both knew about her magic, and told similar stories as to how her power had been used in their world. Her body sagged momentarily when Edgar finally cut her free, but aside from a staggered moment of lost balance, the girl paid it no mind. Her arms sank to her sides, but her eyes were wide, searching Edgar's face in the returning dark.

If he was the same as her, why hadn't he said anything? Why did he keep insisting she needed to discover in time what reverberated so strongly within her, if the answer were so simple as this? What did he gain from leaving her to flounder with confusion over a little spark of fire?

How much weren't they telling her?

Ready to move as Terra fell from her webbed bindings, Edgar turned once more, looking down both ends of the corridor for the wounded creatures. The one that had disappeared into the darkness near the eastern end of the passage remained there, the sounds of its skittering away having ceased; the other was still writhing, its feeble attempts to stand met with no success. He headed for that one first, taking the blade of his shovel and stabbing it through the spider's eyes again and again. After a few more hisses, the monster stopped moving, its many legs falling limply by its sides.

Shaking some of the blood from his sleeves, Edgar turned to wait for its brethren to come back. His eyes landed on Terra, who was neither trying to remove the webs still entangled in her hair, nor preparing to attack the creature upon its return; she was simply standing there, striking him with a look he couldn't quite decipher. He listened, trying to ignore her eyes on him. His breath was still heavier than he would have liked and made his efforts mostly for naught; sweat trailed from his temple from the heat burning within him.

Nothing came at them from the darkness. Edgar gave Terra another glance, her eyes still boring into him. She didn't look like she was hurt, so what was it? It briefly crossed his mind that his magic may have triggered something within her, but he was unsure of how to approach it.

To other things, then. He swallowed harshly, finding his voice. "While I'd like to be optimistic and think it's gone, we should go see for ourselves. It'd be unfortunate if it came across another patient in its irritated state, especially if they weren't as capable of defending themselves as we are."

And not a word about his power, either. She frowned, looking away from Edgar, down the hall where the supposed second creature might be lurking. Occupied with the first, the girl hadn't noticed sight or sound of a second creature, but it seemed likely to exist. There'd been two birds the night before, when she and another traveled together. She couldn't help but wonder if these things, like the others, were targeting her specifically.

Though, if Edgar were the same as her, wouldn't he be equal in their sights as well? She didn't know, and couldn't. Everything was still so confusing and uncertain...

She pulled at the webbing stuck to her clothing, peeling at her neck and tugging out weak strands of hair. "... Then let's go," said the girl, the tilt of her head and the roll of her slight shoulders indicating the beast's retreated path.

Edgar caught the frown that appeared on Terra's face as she turned away from him. Though she hid it well enough, he knew there was something unsaid between them, a lingering question that needed answering. He paused, gripping the shovel with both hands; the breath he pulled through him stifled the fire in his chest for only a moment. That energy he recognized as magic still channeled through him, ready to react should he call upon it again.

It seemed for the moment they were safe, relatively speaking; however, Edgar wasn't ready to drop his guard yet. They'd seen numerous corpses on the way, but nothing that size- to find two large spiders setting webbing traps for them was unnerving. Had they simply been unfortunate? Or were the more sizable creatures drawn to those who were capable of protecting themselves?

He pushed another breath through him- that was idealistic thinking, he reasoned. It was likely they were at the wrong place at the wrong time, and it was a minor blessing it had been them who stumbled upon the creatures rather than someone else.

Following Terra for a few steps, Edgar finally broke the silence again: "What was that look for? The one you gave me just a moment ago?"

She didn't stop walking at the sound of his voice, but the girl did glance over her shoulder. "What look?" she asked, a note of ignorance to her voice and painted in her expression.

Edgar's brow knitted together, a stern look coloring his own features. He slowed his pace. "When freed from the webs. You simply stood there, staring. You didn't turn until I addressed you."

She mirrored him in parts, in a twist in her expression and the speed of her stride. But where Edgar's features and emotions had a confident force supporting them she had none of those things; confusion, uncertainty, and hesitance gave her all the rigid structure of a spring reed on a windy day. "I was thinking," she replied, her eyes sliding away from his face.

His feet slowed again, finally coming to a stop as he watched her turn back to the darkened corridor ahead. "Thinking? Seems like an odd time to do that."

Her footsteps stilled only a moment after his did, her turn sleight, appearing caught halfway between Edgar's attention and their hypothetical foe.

"Why?"

Though his eyes were trained on her, Edgar kept a watch over her shoulder, should the wounded spider return. It seemed like it might avoid another confrontation if it hadn't taken its chance yet; however, as this was one of the monsters of the institute, he wasn't willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. They had proven themselves a danger enough.

His attention flicked behind her for only a minute before returning. "With creatures attacking us on both sides? Stopping simply to think isn't exactly wise."

Once again she frowned, looking away. "It's all I have. Knowing what's wise or isn't, or odd, or normal... I don't have that luxury."

"You have your instincts," Edgar said, taking a slow step toward her, followed by another. There was a degree of genuine confusion in his tone. "You know how to fight- you did just now."

"I was trained how to fight," she said, curling the shake in her hand to loose fists. "So I've been told. Even you said it. I was used as a weapon."

It was no small part of her, in weighing the determination they had for saying she was the Terra they knew, wondered. If she was meant to still be, or become, the girl they knew... did that mean she was meant to be whoever she'd been before that, too? And that question of human...

The girl shook her head. "Where do your instincts come from?"

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