DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 45: Breakfast
Distant
mukuchi wrote in damned
Mori woke with a start. He lay on the bed for a moment, staring up at the ceiling and sighed quietly. Another day, another round of shifts and people and-- Wait a minute. Breathing in carefully, Mori's brow knit together as he realized that his ribs were no longer broken. After testing his collarbone, he found that it, too, was healing faster than it should have. Not that he was complaining, but there was something odd about broken bones setting so quickly. Pushing himself up out of bed, the teen shook his head, knowing that he'd have another day or two of the sling and then he'd be free from it.

But more important than that was finding out how Mitsukuni was doing. The last thing he remembered was the bathroom and gathering metal. Since they were together at the end of the night, Mori was certain that Mitsukuni would be fine, but...well, he still liked to confirm such things with his own eyes. With the twins gone and Tamaki still missing, Mori didn't want to take any chances anymore. Especially not with the strange announcements this morning.

As usual, his nurse came to collect him and helped him into his sling. Then he followed her quietly into the cafeteria, taking notice of the unusually empty bulletin board. They really were cracking down on it already. Weird. Even weirder? For once, he was the first into the room. Picking up a tray, he pointed out what he wanted, making sure to take double of the pancakes (asking to keep them away from the sausages for now), double of the strawberry jam and biscuits, and an extra helping of fruit. To top it off? Milk. It'd help his bones mend. Hopefully.

Going to a nearby seat, Mori took a look around the empty room and shivered. Kind of eerie in here without anyone else but the nurses. Someone was certain to come sooner or later though, right? He hoped so at least.

[for Chihaya]

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At least he hadn't died last night, that made waking up much easier. What was that strange little thing? He'd never seen anything like it in his life. Perhaps Mr. Smith would be available today to have a talk about it.

Abe took his breakfast with extra jam and biscuits, avoiding the sausages. Perhaps he could have a nice relaxed meal, do some research, rest up for the night ahead.

The board would need to be dealt with. They could censor all they liked, with a group this large there had to be a few polylinguists around who spoke more than Landel did. He could use that.

[Free, I think]

[Hope this is okay!]

The Scarecrow woke suddenly, as though there had been no time passed between his waking and his being in the clutches of that witch in the Horrible Hallway. He put a hand to his face, feeling for any injury- nothing unusual. His head ached oddly and strongly, as though he'd been wounded somehow- it was a feeling he wasn't fond of, but was certainly one he wouldn't forget anytime soon. He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed, putting his head in his hands. He wasn't sure which he'd rather face, if left with no other option- a lighted match, the Wicked Witch back for revenge, or that despicable hallway again. No good ever came from that place!

Among the other unpleasant feelings came the pangs of hunger. He'd hardly eaten the day before, and his body was obviously angry for it. He looked to the other bed in the room, noting it was empty. Depth Charge was probably getting something to eat. He made it to his feet, still dizzy from that awful feeling making circles in his head, and let the nurse outside the door lead him to the cafeteria.

After piling his tray with more food than he probably should have, the lady lead him to a table with only one other man. He'd hoped to find his roommate and make sure he was all right, but the nurse left him before he could get the question out. The Scarecrow frowned, assuring himself that Depth Charge was perfectly fine. Surely he wasn't hurt, or missing, or any other unpleasant possibility the strawman's mind could picture. He took a seat, deciding that the food and conversation would take his mind off those possibilities.

"Good morning," he said with a small smile as he eyed the man across from him.

Abe bobbed his head in greeting. "Good morning." The man before him seemed to have a calm, friendly demeanor, and was almost as thin as Abe was. Not near close enough to read psychically, but Abe liked the impression he had of the man. "Or as close as it gets to good here."

He went back to maneuvering a clump of jam onto a biscuit. They reminded him vaguely of the crumpets Dr. Brutenholm used to have whenever he could find an American store that sold ones of sufficient quality. "I don't believe we've met. I'm Abe."

"Scarecrow," he said in response. He'd been here for days, but it just seemed so weird to have to tell people his name, even without the title. He was used to folks just calling him what he was.

He stopped himself as he was about to eat his own spoonful of jam whole, instead picking up one of his own biscuits and his knife and attempting to mimic what the other man was doing. Everything seemed to have some particular way to eat it. "Have you been here long? It seems like more people show up all the time. I don't think I'll ever be able meet everyone here."

Strange name, but Abe couldn't talk.

Abe attempted another smile, carefully calculating the motions of his lips to not be freakishly large. "They seem to keep rotating them. As people die or disappear, more are brought in to replace them. I haven't been here long, but in the span of things many don't seem to stay here more than a week."

It made him curious as to the purpose of this place. Why bring in more, rather than preserving the ones they already had?

"I've met a couple of folks who say they've been here longer than that," the Scarecrow said as he took a bite of his jam-covered biscuit. A smile spread across his face as he eagerly spread more of the sticky substance on the bread.

Now that he thought about it, how long had he been here?

He paused his jam-spreading. "In fact, I'm pretty sure I've been here a week," he said. A week, and he'd still not managed to find his brains. What if he was sent home without them? Or what if he wasn't sent home at all? A worse thought came to mind- what if his new friends disappeared in the span of a week? Or his new roommate? Kaiji's loss had already hit him pretty hard.

He took another bite. Thinking about what-ifs was getting him nowhere. "I guess I'm in some sort of a minority, then."

"You must have something interesting about you, something they like. Or perhaps something they haven't been able to use yet." Abe scrutinized him again, wondering what the differences might be.

...oh, honestly. Had he already gotten so soft that he forgot the basic of his own body?

He held his hand out, palm to Scarecrow. "Might I touch you and know you better?" he asked politely, tilting his head to the side. It was a simple way of putting it for a man who seemed to be rather simple.

The Scarecrow's brow wrinkled as he listened to the man's words. Something they like? Something they haven't been able to use yet? Is that why they were bringing folks from all over the place to the Institute? And that was granted that Dorothy had been telling the truth when she visited him, and that he wasn't who he thought he was, but someone else entirely. Someone who had a home in Kansas and was needed there.

Still, he wondered what it could be that would make him valuable to anyone, aside from his brains. Without them, he felt pretty useless.

He eyed Abe's hand as it was offered. "I suppose that'd be all right," he said, taking his hand and giving it a small shake.

Abe folded his other hand over Scarecrow's, pressing them together and pushing his mind out to read him. His eyelids closed, then fluttered quickly as pain and information came to him.

Scarecrow. No, the Scarecrow, an actual one. Animate, somehow, like a golem of straw and cloth.

Abe's fingers went slack. "You are...a very unique individual," he managed, pulling his hand over his eyes to hide them from the light until he recovered. "Not a human, either. Some sort of construct?" He didn't act like any golem Abe had seen, he was too introspective.

The former strawman was pleasantly surprised- this man could not only tell he wasn't (or hadn't been, rather) human, but even used the same term that Zex fellow had used on the board. Interesting!

"You're a unique sort yourself, Abe!" he said with a grin, his hand returning to his biscuit. "I'm amazed you can tell all that from a handshake. I'm still not sure exactly what a 'Construct' is, but you're not the first to call me that."

He took a quick drink, trying to alleviate that strange scratchiness in his throat- he had no doubt it was from the encounter the night before. "From what the name implies, I guess it'd be safe to assume I'm one of those. Or was one."

Abe allowed himself a moment's pause to drink juice and let his headache fade. "A construct, although it's known by many other terms, is an animate creature constructed from nonliving material through magical means. I suppose a sentient scarecrow would fall within those perimeters." He knew a dozen scholars who'd give their left arm to be here. Between Demyx and Scarecrow there were overwhelming implications for the nature of the connection between mind, brain, and soul. "Perhaps that is why they want you. I can't say I've ever met a person quite like you."

The surprises kept coming! "I can't imagine why the wizard running this place would want a guy like me for anything." Maybe the Wizard Landel wanted his brains, and that's why he'd brought him here? That thought had crossed his mind before, but so had the next question: if he wanted his brains, why keep the Scarecrow himself here at all? He could have just taken the diploma and left him in Oz. It still didn't make a lick of sense.

"Now you on the other hand," he continued, taking another quick bite of his breakfast, "I can see why someone like you might be handy to have around. You could tell I used to be a scarecrow from a handshake? Incredible!"

The spots began shuffling out of Abe's vision and he was able to fully open his eyes again. It was touching to find someone who actually admired his abilities rather than despising them as many others had. It made him feel less of a freak.

His hands went into motion again, tracing the outline of the Scarecrow's body in wide, wavy gestures. "You were a sentient scarecrow. Autonomous constructs are rare, sentient ones are far rarer. They may want to study your mind to see how you function, although I'm not sure why they'd put you in a human body first." The same was true for Demyx, a man who'd managed to retain his personality without benefit of his 'heart', and for Beelzemon, who was...whatever he was. They were diverse creatures, a wide range of beasts for Landel's menagerie.

Abe's hands returned to focusing on his own body. "As for myself, I possess psychometric abilities. Those are quite rare but not completely unheard of, and since II became chained to this body my abilities have become greatly restricted. It seems very counterintuitive." Which lent strength to his theory that their captors were not human. Nonhumans often thought in ways that went far sideways of human logic.

"I was just thinking about this entire situation not making any sense," the Scarecrow said before finishing off his drink. He rubbed his neck with his hand, that scratchy feeling in his windpipe irritating his throat.

"It seems like all us who weren't human before coming here have been made human," he continued, "Or enchanted into human bodies somehow. I've met a surprising number of people in that situation. Rumor is that our original forms are somewhere on the third floor, though I've yet to find a way up there. I'm not going to stop trying, though!"

Abe hadn't known there was a third floor, the steps he'd found only went up to the second. "Has anyone ever seen them, or is it just a theory being passed around?"

Some of the bodies, such as those of the robots, seemed too large to house in an otherwise normal building without attracting attention. Of course that did include the assumption that this was an otherwise normal building.

"It's a theory," he answered. "I've not met anyone who has actually made it up there. I've tried a couple of times myself, but there's this hall on the second floor that's nothing but trouble!"

He shook his head thinking about that hallway. "If only there was some way to skip that second floor entirely. I don't think scaling the wall from the outside sounds very practical, though."

"I made it up to the second floor last night, but we were interrupted by a strange child in a gas mask and couldn't go any further."

Abe began jamming his second slice of biscuit. "Going up by the walls isn't the most unreasonable thought in the world, but the birds concern me. I..." Abe's lips pursed as he tried to find a way of approaching the subject with clinical delicacy. "I think I would have a problem with them."

"Not a fan of birds, huh?" the Scarecrow asked with a grin. "I've not met the birds here, but if I'm not sure I'd be worth anything against them, either. Not without my brains, at least." Oh, how useless he felt without them sometimes!

"Maybe there's a way the birds could be distracted, if they can't be frightened away?" he suggested. "Even if they weren't there, I'm not sure how we'd even climb the walls. They look fairly smooth, and it's not like we can fly up there."

Oh dear. "I had a look at Mr. Edgeworth's list, before the nurses removed it. The birds seem to be monstrous falcons or eagles of some kind, I doubt they'll be distracted by anything besides another source of food. And they, ah..." Abe moved his hands in confused circles, then finally realized that the chances of the Scarecrow being eagle-immune were minimal and probably not worth even talking about.

"We might be able to get some ropes or other support. But if we're climbing we might as well just try blowing up the ceiling and climbing through there."

"That would be one way to avoid the birds, I suppose," the Scarecrow said, picturing in his mind's eye the dangerous task of making a hole in the ceiling somehow. With all the rubble falling and witches about, it didn't seem very practical either- the noise would surely attract worse things inside the building than whatever birds could be outside.

He blinked, an idea forming in his mind.

"I wonder if there'd be some way to get all us folks who weren't originally like this together, to get us on the same page," he said quietly. "If we put our heads together, we'd surely succeed. I was thinking that making a hole in the ceiling might alert whatever it is that lurks around upstairs. Maybe if we had some folks designated to make the hole, and others to protect them while they were doing it?"

"With the recent censorship getting even a small group organized is going to be very hard," Abe mused. "Perhaps I can speak with the Evil Club about it, I know some of the members used to inhabit other bodies as well."

The Scarecrow raised an eyebrow. "The Evil Club? That sounds... friendly." And he thought the Munchkins had some silly guild names. A name like that made it sound like a group of bad guys. Abe didn't come across as one of those sorts in the least.

"I know I'd appreciate it if you could speak with your friends about it," he continued. "I'll ask my roommate about it, as well. He's one who wasn't originally human, as well."

Abe hurried to correct the Scarecrow's mistake. "We're really not evil, it's just a name someone came up with. A little joke, you know? They're very friendly people." A little too friendly, actually. Still, sexual tension aside they seemed to be dedicated and very interested in the destruction of this place with as few casualties as possible.

"Clever, too. I believe they have some skill with explosives."

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