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[IC] Skeletons in their Closet

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Claremont Academy, Bayview, Freedom City

4:25 PM

 

 

 

Classes had just ended and most people were now walking back towards their dorms. A few stopped at their lockers first, but many just continued through, not taking advantage of the lockers given to them. Amongst the many students was Lilly King, who had only very recently started at Claremont. She had gotten a basic tour around the academy, yes, but anything beyond the hallways getting the most traffic was still an unknown to her.

 

 

Today, she felt like exploring. Over the past few days, she had seen a few places that seemed to be removed from the action, with hardly anyone ever there. So, here she was. A small hallway in the basement of the main building. A few lockers were placed in a well-lit hallway, but the single path leading off of it, without a proper source of light, was where Lilly found herself now. She couldn’t quite judge how long the hallway she was in was, but it certainly didn’t stop during the next few dozen steps. Nobody had told her of this place so far, most people seemed to ignore it for one reason or another, yet here she was, slowly making her way down it.

Edited by olopi

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So far so good was Lilly's opinion of Claremont so far. It was still strange not to stick out as much than she did back at Thornwood High. Then again wearing black can not compete with cyan skin or being related to a Sasquatch in the strangeness department. It was oddly refreshing in a way. Still the sense of not being outright rejected by the student body had not stopped her curiosity about the place she was going to spend the next few years in. And so, she wandered. It did not take her long to get lost though. She could have sworn she saw something on the corner of her vision a few times. (A common occurrence since the Forest.) But now she could not find much in the way of natural light. 

 

She started to dig through her bag for her phone. Can't this place afford light blubs or something? Lilly wondered as she stepped down into the darkness, only sounds to be heard where her boots hitting the floor and the faint sound of her smartphone turning on. Thing could barely produce much light with a battery so low. This all combined into the vague feeling she was breaking various unspoken rules about horror movies. Still, a dangerous sense of curiosity had served her well in the past..

Edited by Darksider42

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The path continued for some more steps, progressively getting darker. The walls seemed to all be made of simple concrete. With the light produced by the phone, it was just ominously dark, not scary dark. Lilly continued onwards for perhaps a minute most, until then coming across the end of the corridor, a simple, plain wall. So much for that. It wasn’t particularily exciting, just a dark corridor, arriving at a sudden stop at a wall. 

 

She turned around, as something caught her eye. A crack in the concrete, caught by the edge of her phone. It probably wouldn’t have been anything special, this place didn’t seem to be maintained too well, if not for one thing. Below the concrete, there was brick of some sort. Old looking brick. So far so uninteresting. So the concrete was not the topmost layer, what about it? But, closer inspection revealed it was not just a brick. Something had been etched into it. Not writing, no. It seemed to be symbols of some sort, ones that Lilly may have seen on some occult website a few years ago?

 

And then, breaking the silence came forth a noise from the wall, sounding like a shriek. A shriek with a really low voice, which just made it sound unnatural.

Edited by olopi

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Lilly wracked her brain as she glared at the brick int he faint light. It seemed so familiar to her. It eventually dawned on her. It's a ward. And a pretty old one too. She concluded. But that raised more questions. What was it doing here? Why would the school need this? Was it keeping something out? Or in? Lilly jumped back, nearly dropping her phone on the ground from the sudden sounds coming from the other side. OK. Thats one way to answer a question. She though between deep breaths. Her nerves were starting to get frayed and her heartbeat would not slow down. The young plant controller took that as her cue to leave now and maybe find someone who actually knows what is going on.

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Almost immediately, Lilly turned around and left, quite in a hurry. Her feet managed to carry her a fair distance before the sound repeated, this time somewhat louder. She continued onwards, until she was almost back at the bigger hallway, when another ominous sound came from behind her. The sound of something hitting something hard. It repeated just a moment afterwards, but this time didn’t stop there. Next came the sound of crumbling stones, followed by what very distinctly was the sound of a brick flying through the air and hitting something afterwards. It sounded similar to the crumbling stone, suggesting the brick had probably been there for some time. The sound of more crumbling, probably the concrete, topped it all off.

 

Another shriek filled the air, but this time, it was much louder. Louder, and echoing down the hallway Lilly was still running down. Louder, suggesting whatever was producing it had just entered said hallway.

Edited by olopi

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Ohcrapitoutnowandit'safter. Was what was starting to play on repeat in Lilly's mind as she immediately picked up the pace. It was fortune she was adept in running in heavy boots. Without really thinking about it, Lilly willed vines of ivy to appear from crevices and lockers of the hallway. They started to snake from the walls, lacing and stretching across the hallway behind her as they started to form a crude barrier. There was no telling if this would actually stop whatever was comming, but it could at least slow it down. She looked back behind her, trying to see in the dark what was after her.

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As Lilly left the hallway and stepped out into the more lit, more open one that led to it, her various vines instead made their way inwards. They quickly filled parts of the corridor, forming a formidable barrier, something that would take effort to get through. Or at least, it would take something human some effort to get through.  The vines formed the various barriers, but it was probably best to continue moving.

 

As Lilly took the first steps down the main hallway, leading to a more open general room, she also began to realize that the room was empty. It seemed that everybody had left already, or at least wasn’t present in the room at the moment. Maybe it was just bad luck, maybe it was more. And just to make matters worse, as she once more began to run, the heard the sound of fire suddenly appearing, and burning. Burning through her barriers most likely. This suspicion was confirmed, when only a second after she dared to look back behind her.

 

What she saw was unpleasant at best. The shape of a human’s upper body, like a bust. But red and almost transparent, with its eyes burning.  What looked like stone covered part of her pursuer’s head, and limped down to its right like an arm of some sort. It’s glowing red eyes locked with Lilly’s, as she continued running.  

Edited by olopi

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Any internal monologue Lilly had now transformed into one long internalised scream. Her powers did little in slowing it down. It was starting to become even more apparent that she was going to need help if there was any hope in dealing with this thing, but as far as she could tell the building might as well be deserted. She took a few few deep breaths before continuing her run. Only real answer she could pull from her panic stricken mind was to head for outside and see if anyone can be found there.

Edited by Darksider42

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Lilly continued running, not gaining on whatever was chasing her. Yet, she managed to keep up the distance, with the …thing focused on chasing, but not really getting closer. The heavy boots continued to carry Lilly down the hallway, around a corner and down another one. She hadn’t gone through here before, but it was well-lit, and she saw a bigger room on the other end of it. Yet, there was still no sight of anybody else. And to make matters worse, she wasn’t quite sure what floor this was on.

 

Picking out her thoughts through the screaming raging in her head was not easy, but if she remembered correctly, wasn’t this the basement? Wouldn’t she have to first get up a flight of stairs to reach the outside? She wasn’t sure, and it was probably best to not think about it. Instead, she continued running, her body now warmed up and ready to pick up the speed just a bit. It probably wouldn’t last long until it turned into fatigue, but these few seconds of energy managed her to gain some distance from her pursuer.

 

And then, she arrived in the room she had seen. More lockers on the sides, and another hallway continuing onwards. And her previous suspicions had been correct, there was a flight of stairs leading upwards, where she saw a single open window, leading out onto the grass. Behind her, the …thing was slowly catching up, and her body was sending first signals that at some point in the not-so-far future fatigue would come into effect.

Edited by olopi

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She did the best she could to calm down, all things considered. This was not an idea situation for clear thinking, but somehow Lilly was able to clear her mind a little and focus. "OK. Do I take the stairs or continue running around blindly in the basement?" Saying it out loud to herself made it pretty obvious what the smart thing to do in this situation would be. She turned and ran up the stair, taking the steps two at a time in a mad dash to get to the top. Already she was starting to feel some soreness in her legs, though she was certain burning flesh would feel a lot worse.

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Going up the stairs took some time. Taking two steps at time helped, but the …thing pursuing Lilly still managed to catch up quite a bit. As she did her best to not slip, holding onto the railing with one hand, balancing herself with the other, her pursuer entered the room below her. It had probably sped up, as it had covered the distance in less of a time than it previously had when chasing her. Lilly continued taking step by step, as the red shape lifted upwards, now floating even higher, on a direct path towards the teen.

 

As Lilly lifted her foot up the final step, she did not need to turn around. It probably was better not to too. She felt the air behind her becoming warmer, clearly the thing was close. But, halfway across the room was the exit. A back exit, only a small door with a window going down it’s middle, one that didn’t seem like it should be opened outside of emergencies. And, perhaps best of all, there was another person on the other side of the door. Lilly had seen him in class before. A young man, quite pale, lean but muscular. With huge wings sprouting from his back, something to be noted. He was holding a wooden stick of some sorts, looking forwards with full concentration.

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Painting, sweating, straining the muscles in her legs, Lilly did all she could to keep running. She was terrified and just a bit annoyed this thing was still able to keep up with her. The fear was enough that she once again tried to summon forth a few paltry vines to try slow it down once again. Probably was not going to work but advanced planning was currently a bit beyond her right at this moment. But now she could see a door. It was the emergency door but certainly fire creatures chasing after you qualified as an emergency. Plus someone was there and by this point she would take anyones help. "Hey!" She shouted just as she slammed into the door, stumbling onto the ground outside.

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Today was a day like any other for Jann Fa-Re. He’d gone to class, learned some things he didn’t much care about and would soon forget again most likely. Afterwards, he’d gone to his room, loaded off all his material onto his bed, and chose one of the many training weapons in his room. For today, he’d gone with something more classical, something he’d neglected recently. He’d picked the wooden training scimitar he’d brought to Claremont and headed outside. On the way, he’d exchanged a few words with a few friends and classmates, them reminding him that there still was homework to be done.

 

Fancy numbers did not stop Jann, he was going to fulfil his daily routine, and if it meant skipping some homework. It wasn’t that useful anyways. So, he had retreated to his usual position, and was now working through his basic techniques. Here, he was relaxed. Relaxed, but focused. He felt the sword move with him, and he felt the air surrounding him, and nothing else.

 

And then, the door opened. He saw somebody come running out, immediately breaking him out of his mood. He turned towards Lilly, watching her stumbling onto the ground. He took a small step forwards, using his wings to follow up and cover most of the distance. In his hand, he still held his scimitar, as he landed next to Lilly, looking towards the door. His voice sounded focused, and he spoke with a fairly heavy accent Lilly couldn’t really place. “What is it?”

Edited by olopi

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Lilly tried her best to push herself from the ground, something that proved a bit harder when your arms and legs were starting to shake. "It's some fire thing-" She managed to speak between gasps as she got back onto her feet. "...from the basement. It's after me." Lillian turned to face the exit, taking a few steps back as she anticipated the thing to burst out into the open or announce its presence. If it did not there would be no doubt she would need to start questioning her sanity a bit more than she already did.

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Jann whipped around the scimitar, holding it in one hand. He held it out in front of his body, between him and the doorway, while at the same time bending his knees to lower his position. With his left hand, he reached out to Lilly, helping her get back up, as he spoke. Whispering, and tense.  “Something’s there. “

 

He waited for Lilly to get back up, holding his defensive position. From the looks of it, he was ready to dash forward and strike at any moment. His body did not move at all, but as soon as Lilly had reached the position behind him, he spoke again. He’d probably listened to her movements, or had some kind of 360-degree vision. “Not coming out. We’ll have to engage. Ready?”

 

At the same time, he switched up his stance. He no longer held the wooden sword in front of him, instead shifting to a stance where he held it at his side, and had his left arm in the front.

Edited by olopi

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Lilly tried to get her breathing back under control, trying to slow the rapid beat of her heart. She was not as successful as she would have liked. She clenched her fists. Vines one again crept up her arms with fine, needle sharp thorns slowly started to sprout from it. Lilly sighed "...About as ready as I can get." The plant controller told him, staying just behind him as she peered into the doorway. Not even a week in and I'm already getting into fights with things I don't understand...

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Jann continued looking forwards, nodding slightly when Lilly confirmed her readiness. He waited for just a moment, slowing down even his breathing, to the point where no part of his body moved. And then, all suddenly, he took a first step forwards. He pushed himself off the ground, flapping his wings at the same time. They came back closer right as his body went through the doorway, flapping again once inside the room.

 

He was heading straight for the stairs, covering the distance in even less time than Lilly had. As he was running/flying towards the stairway, Jann moved his sword arm, bringing it behind his head and swinging it around. The sword came back down from the top, over his shoulder as he reached the stairway. He attacked downwards, suggesting the thing that had chased Lilly here was still floating around the stairs. Judging by the lack of an impact noise and the abundance of “woosh”, as well as Jann bringing the sword back up, he had not hit. And the fact his lower arm looked slightly burnt hinted that attacking like this wasn’t the best idea.  

Edited by olopi

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The vines struck their intended target. And while the poison seemed to have some minor effect, no damage was done to the stone parts of the floating bust. It stared back, relentlessly, with its glowing eyes. It seemed more concerned with the Avian in melee distance than with Rosethorn however, and lifted its rocky arm slowly.

 

The teen dodged to a side effortlessly. And then, suddenly, a second attack, much faster. It hit him right in the mid-section, the full brunt force of the attack. And it was no weak attack by any means. As rock and body connected, the teen looked visibly ill. And then, his body sailed back towards the door, the force of the attack blasting him backwards. He hit the wall only a few feet away from Rosethorn, the wall visibly and audibly almost collapsing under the force. Cracks made their way down the structure, and the various crunching noises were not pleasant at all, even more so as their source was unclear.

Edited by olopi

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As he dodged, Jann looked like he did this every-day. He was in his element. And then, he was ripped out of it. The arm had struck him with incredibly speed. He’d had some luck, it had hit the center of his armor. Jann had some idea of the strength of an attack required to seriously break bones. This was above the threshold. The armor could only do so much, but it would protect him from major injuries.

 

As he sailed through the air, for just barely a moment, Jann braced. Leaving his wings in their natural position would mean a variety of fractures. But moving them too much could’ve meant risking a more serious injury. So, in the incredibly short span he had, he took minor adjustments, avoiding the most direct impact.

 

As he hit the wall, he relaxed. Pain was everything in his body. Pain was not good. The last thing he could risk now was falling victim to this pain. He could barely move his body. A few twitches, but anything else hurt too much. With whatever energy he had left, he pulled himself forwards, out of the wall. He fell forwards, dropping onto his knees, his entire body shaking.

 

Edited by olopi

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In hindsight it might not have been a good idea to go in fighting with a guy who's only weapon was a wooden sword as backup. More so since the thing was on fire. She looked down at her vine wrapped hand and focused. It grew longer and started to lose some of the tightness. Her improvised thorny gauntlet now resembled a series of spiky, toxic whips. It would keep her out of reach of those flames at least. She swung them around her before cracking them against the creature. It did not look like they had much of an effect other than singing her vines. Lilly could have sworn it wavered a bit from the poison.

 

Her eyes went wide. "Look out! Be care-" She could not finish as she saw Jann sent fling into the air by the sheer force of the blow and slam into the wall behind him. "Oh no." This was going a lot worse than she was expecting. The strange noises she was starting to hear were not helping in any way. Was this place built on an Indian Burial Ground or something? Such questions would have to come later. Lilly moved in the space between Jann and the fire monster. She swung her ships once again and struck a blow on the creatures face. Or what passed for a face anyway.

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The whips hit the …body of what had chased Lilly here. They did not seem to do much, as most of them went through the non-rocky part, only getting singed in the process. But, a few hit the part of the head that was made of rock, or the arm. The impact did not do much. The rock was stronger than the vines. They barely left a few small cracks. But, nevertheless, the incredibly sharp thorns dug their way into the rock. The whips covering the distance between Lilly and the stairs, all of them fully extended, and most of them stuck to the opponent.

 

Whether or not the Poison had any big effect was unclear so far. The floating body did not move higher up, staying on the stairs, just below ground level. But, the longer the vines were there, the more burned they got, which meant that very quickly, Lilly had to drag them back again.

Edited by olopi

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Jann was still on his knees, his entire body shaking. He did not look very hurt, considering what had just happened. The bruised fabric of his clothes showed something metallic below his t-shirt, which was probably what had allowed him to survive the attack. He seemed out of it either way, not focused like he had looked before. He saw Lilly attack, and that seemed to wake him back up. He lifted his sword arm, brought it up to his head, and threw his sword forward. It flew through the air, curving around Lilly like a boomerang, and flew towards the thing the two had been fighting. And then, the sword simply went through it, not managing to hit the solid parts of its body.

 

Jann did not seem to care however. His same hand had already wandered to his waist, and pulled out a short metal stick. He planet it on the ground, and it suddenly extended, pulling the teen up along it, and bringing him back into a standing position, even if his shaking legs suggested he had to put some effort into standing.

Edited by olopi

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The vines were ripped back and hit the floor, charred bits of plant fibre crumbling away. More was forced into existence by Lilly to replace what was lost. She jumped to the side when she was the wooden sword when flying past her. There was a bit of disappointment that it did not land a blow on the thing. Gritting her teeth, she swung her makeshift whip over her head and swung it. At first it missed, swiping the air just above anything solid. Then she brough it in with another swing and slammed it into its rocky hide, thorns embedded in the cracks. She turned her head to Jann just as he got back up. "You OK?"

Edited by Darksider42

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The vines came down hard. They were followed by the sound of a few cracks, as the thorns lodged into just those cracks. The floating head continued not to move at all, staring forwards with glowing eyes. And the vines continued to get singed, the smell of various things burning now quite noticeable. But then, as even more thorns got stuck in the rock, something changed. The vines did not seem to burn any more. They were in exactly the same position, but they seemed to not get any more damaged than before.

 

The glowing eyes became brighter and brighter, then extinguished. Rock crumbled down the stairs, as the glowing red body followed the eyes. And then, as the last parts of the body were disappearing, a massive howl filled the room, causing some ringing in the two teens’ ears. The remaining rock fell down, some staying on the step it was above, some falling down further.

Edited by olopi

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Jann held onto his quarterstaff, which had now extended to its full height. He was supporting himself on it, his entire body still shaking. His expression wasn’t as neutral as before, he’d certainly felt the attack. His breathing was uneven, and deep, and his speech was slow and shaky, more so than before.  “Will be fine. Adrenaline. Armor absorbed impact. “

 

He continued to breathe heavily, as he began shaking his limbs actively, probably to lose some tension. He managed to hold onto the staff supporting him all the while, doing so with a fair amount of finesse even.  He leaned his head to either side a few times, continuing to speak in the mean-time. “What was it? Where in the basement?”

 

Even with the damage he had very apparently taken, he still seemed ready to go, ready to push onwards. The shaking still affecting his entire body became less strong, as his breathing also became more controlled, and less just gasping for air.

Edited by olopi

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