Stuck in the closet [attn: Doc and Margot]
Does paradox have a sound?

That was a thought that could occupy the passing time between aftershocks of some poor sod's backlash. The aftermath of paradox has a sound- Sepúlveda and Holmes could hear that plainly. It had the sound of inhuman gurgling and the snapping of bones and flesh. It had the sound of shattering glass and blown electrical fuses. It also had the sound of a medical examiner slumping over and passing out from the barrage of dampened hits he'd taken in that janitor's closet courtesy of reality's temper tantrum (over-enthusiastic punishment?) The universe had, at that juncture, decided to punish anything that happened to be awakened and unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity. 

So, there was the sound of a five and a half foot tall man hitting the ground like a sack of five and a half foot meat. It was a fairly accurate description. The taller (arguably similarly dense) glorified waterbottle sloshed, but didn't take the blow quite as hard. William grasped for a nearby anything and found a mop bucket to revisit his lunch into. Fetid water mixed with Thai food, Fruit Loops, and enough Red Bull to literally give someone wings; William decided at that moment that he was going to start eating healthier. "Oh shit," he hissed.

William then looked up long enough, reeling from stomach pain and aching ribs and strained muscles to realize that Andrés was a little pile of unconscious (please just be unconscious) Etherite, "Oh shit."

No no no no no. This was not good. 

This was not good at all. Doctor Sepúlveda was the one who had managed to keep them from getting flayed alive in their makeshift bunker and, yeah, it was good to not have to deal with an angry wraith on top of this (you SON OF A BITCH you promised me! He would be here, Jensen was supposed to pay- [i]WHERE WAS JUSTICE?)[/i] but it didn't matter if some skin-riding revenge machine was out to take their frustration out on whoever was there. Paradox was going to slowly beat the two of them to death if they didn't get out of here quickly. And even then? If they didn't get out quickly they were going to have to contend with a potential ass-ton of Technocrats trying to figure out why a couple mages were hiding in a closet. Aberrations in reality didn't really get the benefit of the doubt when disaster struck. 

He went to check on the other man, being unskilled in any real sort of first aid, all he could really do was stare at him and do the quick check of breathing or not breathing. "Come on, Sepúlveda, I've had friends nearly get decapitated and they turned out fine, this is no big deal. You're fine." 

Will realized, at that moment, that it was good that the doctor was unconscious because I've had friends nearly get decapitated is not something you say to the mentor of one of your current friends and said mentor is only marginally aware of the degree of stupid things he's done. He looked at the doctor closely, and perception won out.

"Yep. Breathing. See? You're fine," he said as he went to grab the man under his arms to lift. Which... did no good. He couldn't get Andrés to budge, "and heavy."

Try again?


Nope. Plop- William sat unceremoniously down beside the other man. Well, less sat, more half-collapsed. "God, you're heavy. Deceptively heavy." Yeah, or you just have strained muscles and bruised organs and are one good hit away from a collapsed lung on top of being in only average shape, William. But we'll go with the Doctor being made of dark matter to save your pride, kiddo. Holmes did a quick butt sheck to be sure he didn't sit on anything important. Having not found anything save for a stack of paper towels, he sighed with relief and started digging through his bag again. Markers- check. Cell phone- check. Thread- check. Cigarettes and lighter? Also check. 

(You're leaving?! You can't leave- where is my justice? Jensen was here!)
"Ugh," he grumbled, "seriously? All you wanted me to fucking do was be here. That was literally all you said, you needed someone to show you where the courthouse was that he was being tried at and I did. We are done. I promised nothing. And we are going to fucking die and if you do not leave me alone I will find a friend to turn you into a fucking set of Stygian chains now go the fuck away."
(He needs to pay-) the wraith boomed. The door shook, but held. This time, it wasn't paradox doing the shaking.
"The universe has a way of righting wrongs, and you have to believe me what's happening now? Is ten times more brutal than the justice you wanted. Now leave."

He sighed heavily, exhaling long enough that it made him cough again. That's not good. That does not feel good. 

William decided, at that moment, to put himself on speaker and call someone who he was fairly certain would be able to respond quickly and would actually care (and, most importantly, would believe him when he said this wasn't our fault). He called Margot. William set the phone aside and kept it on speaker while he pulled out a red marker and got to attempting to roll up one of Sepúlveda's sleeves. "I swear I am not going to draw a dick on your forehead, but you don't get a say in this right now because you're heavy as fuck and we need to get out of here."
The day was supposed to be peaceful. The forecast predicted it would be sunny and breezy with occasional clouds to break the heat up. Margot had planned for a quiet day of studying and not much more. The day started with the standard amount of kitchen fuss that it usually did, with the littlest blood witch enjoying her morning coffee on the bench seat of the kitchen table and listening to her mentor bitching about having to explain to a room full of idiots exactly how and why 'going to town' on someone with a tire iron would lead to death.

The hours following that were as quiet as expected; Ned was holed up in the study trying to wrap his mind around Time, and Margot was reading about chemistry and the composition of materials out of a college textbook while enjoying the breeze from an open window in the living room. She had the television set on for quiet background noise and Yorick the Red Rabbit napping in her lap, and had been in this position for over an hour now when she lifted her eyes from the pages, stretched her arms and spine, and spied the bright red banner of 'BREAKING NEWS' across the bottom of the screen, accompanied by flashing lights.

She was just contemplating the familiarity of the pretty Vietnamese face from which the report was being told when her phone began buzzing aggressively for her attention on the coffee table, rattling about on the flat wood surface. 'Will' was the name in bold white text across the top of the screen, accompanied by a face that looked like a mask of sunshine and youthful blond bliss in a bubble below.

Concern and a sense of impending doom mixed to make for hesitation, just long enough that Will in the closet may worry that Margot wouldn't answer after all, but just before the phone went to voicemail, her voice picked up on the other end, absolutely drenched with skeptical suspicion.

There was the assured need for a contingency plan in the event that Margot didn't answer. He knew that much- something about eggs and baskets and chickens hatching or whatever. There were lots of things to be said about that. Outside, the world seemed quiet, or rather, the world seemed like it was just going on and there was the occasional dropping of something in the distance or shattering of glass. The aftershocks of chaos.

The phone rang. And rang. 

William sighed, which prompted more coughing on his part. Apparently theatrics were being punished whole-heartedly by his internal bits, so this was not the time for them. The reminder of the severity of all of this was enough to keep William focused; pain was a spirit of respect, after all. Respect demands that you be present. He was halfway done yanking Sepúlveda's shirt up to write on his chest when she answered. Thank god for speaker phone, because it meant he could still work and talk. 

"Hey Margot, it's a shit show at the court house," he sounded pained, but more than that William sounded distracted.
(It's not good enough) the wraith grumbled to the only person that could hear, (he should have suffered more.)
"Guy at trial decided to unleash some-"
(This is nothing compared to what he deserved. It should have been me.)
"... some..."
(Should have suffered like we suffered- like we suffered.)
"-anyway, yeah. Paradox and-"
(This was my moment.)
"Shut. Up. You selfish, short-sighted harpy-" William snapped at something that, by all accounts, did not appear to be there at all. His was the only other voice on the line, "I swear to God... yeah, reality decided to make a point, Doctor Sepúlveda and I are stuck in a closet, and he's in pretty shit shape. He's not gonna die but if we both stay at the courthouse there aren't any guarantees. I'm not good to drive, can you meet us in an alley and pick us up?"

He tried to get back to writing what he needed to write to make this man a little more portable but it was... difficult. Focusing had never been his friend and this wasn't making it easier. 

the devil
Forces 2: Manipulating kinetic energy to make this dude easier to move, diff 5 -1 (Specialized focus used)
Dice: 2 d10 TN4 (5, 10) ( success x 2 )

the devil
one more there
Dice: 1 d10 TN4 (10) ( success x 1 )

the devil
Aaaaaand again
Dice: 3 d10 TN5 (3, 7, 8) ( success x 2 )

*retroactively upping the diff on this to +1 for distraction (thanks, post theatrics) so that's only a total of 4 successes
"Oh my god..."

Will missed the expletive, for it was breathed more than spoken, and simultaneous with his snapping at the 'harpy'. She dug a heel into the couch cushion to push herself upright, jostling Yorick to wakefulness in her lap (rest assured, the lazy dowser was quick to try settling back in to snooze). After a moment of staring at the television screen as the gravity of the situation settled in the form of pressure within her skull, she shifted the rabbit and textbook both quickly from her person.

"Yeah, no..., yeah, I'll be there. I'm leaving now, I'll just-- fuck. I'll be there in like thirty minutes."

The call disconnected, and Margot snatched the remote from the coffee table to switch off the TV before springing up from the couch and sprinting toward the stairs.

Ned heard Margot well before she reached the doorway of the Study. For someone who couldn't weigh much more than a hundred pounds her footsteps landed heavily on the stairs as she vaulted them two at a time, swinging on the banister at the junction in the middle as she'd gotten into the habit of doing when in a rush. She came as a rush into the study, stopping her collision with the doorframe with her left palm and hip before standing braced in the doorframe, bright pink patches on her cheeks and a puff to her breath.

"Ned! We've gotta go!"

She'd explain on the way.
"I'm busy."

Distracted, Ned's reply comes from behind one of three different double-sided blackboards. edge to edge with one another. The study is awash in papers, open books and string. Lottttsss of string. Red, blue, yellow and green to be descriptive about it. The string is held in place by scotch tape and thumbtacks, roaming across the study like some intricate trap has been set and punching into various things soft enough for the tacks to be of use and hard enough the tacks have failed and the tape was brought out.

Tables, chairs, bookcases, one of the upper windows through which sunlight filters on hand-scribbled pages, nothing has been spared the plastering of various pages with scribbled notes, bulletins and sometimes a vague attempt at drawing that does absolutely nothing to suggest anything of substance or recognizable validity. It's as if a three year old went abstract during one of it's temper tantrums. The study is impassable, Margot having laid her palm slapping left hand on one of the red strings taped to the doorframe, two feet and six inches from the upper corner (the measurement has been scratched into the frame's wood with painstaking depth).

Ned's lower half is visible beneath the blackboard (each of which sports a tiny plaque engraved with 'Property of the University of Denver' on the lower frame length), the sound of flipping pages and scratching pencils audible from his location.

"Wait-" As if to interrupt any response she might have. There is a sharp sniff in the air as if he were taking in a scent- "You're using your 'The world's gonna explode' tone..." Another pause. "...I haven't heard the Doc drunkenly explode anything or fucking in one of the few rooms he and Kiara haven't defiled yet for a while either....what day is it?"

Another pause, Ned wandering out from behind the blackboard. His hair is longer, sculpted into oddness by lack of sleep and the pressures of studying. He glances at Margot with a perked brow, pale features regarding her evenly before he sighs in a frenetic awakening sort of manner.

"Right...right..." The book in his hand slaps closed. "Lemme get my knife..."

And he goes wandering off back behind the billboard, presumably to find his knife and follow Margot out to the Car.
The strings were dramatic enough a change from when she'd last viewed the room that Margot was given momentary pause from her urgency; just enough time to look taken aback and confused. It was short lived, and soon the witch was bouncing impatiently from one foot to the other while Ned reluctantly readjusted to interacting with the world beyond his research.

"There was an explosion at the courthouse, it's on the news, and Doc was there-- it was Paradox, not a bomb, and--..."

Shushed by a 'right right', Margot plucked anxiously at the red string taped to the doorframe a few times before abruptly pushing away from the room and hurrying down the hallway to the little room of floral wallpaper and a growing collection of oddities on the walls and surfaces. When she met Ned back in the hallway again she was strapping her favorite black fanny pack about her waist, one that, while a few people knew was packed with tools for her magick, everyone thus far has made fun of.

Coasting a good 15 miles over the speed limit most of the way (with two hurried slows for spotted speed traps), they made precisely the time that Margot had promised, and her intentionally-overlookable little car pulled up to the curb behind the block from the courthouse, the nearest space available to the mouth of the alley she'd spied, trusting it to be the one she'd find Will and the Doc within.
Meanwhile, at the courthouse

William was having one Hell of a time getting the doctor together. Amidst the talking and the threats and the continual checking to make sure Sepúlveda was still breathing, William spent some time checking over sigils and going through his bag for a different shade of red. He'd never figured that he would spend this much time writing on people and things, but he had to differentiate instructions to the universe about how precisely this was going to work. No wiggle room. No negotiation. No room for complaint. This. Will. Work. Because-

You impetuous child, do you know who I am? I was a king of industry- I could buy and sell peons like you-

William held the pen a little tighter, jaw clenched while some wraith continued to ramble on about his own importance. In a way it was sad; he was holding on to a life that he no longer had. Tried to wield status that he didn't have anymore and was still hoping that it would work. This might get some sympathy out of the Hermetic on a good day because William understood after a lifetime of hearing these stories that this was why they never moved on. The dead clung to things that once were and could never be, stuck in a Hell where transcendence is just a rumor at best. This was all still fresh for the ghost currently bothering them, but Will had work to do and his attention was faltering.

"And bodies beyond the notice of light-" William started, in some language only spoken by a select few and the universe itself. 
[No, you have to sleep sometime. You're going to listen to me, you're going to make good- someone has to pay for this injustice.]
"But not the notice of Truth-"

He muttered something to himself, either unimportant or half-voiced for the sake of getting himself on track. He was insistent, yes, but then again so was their current guest. The door shook again, enough to make William's attention snap back to it while his stomach. he wasn't sure whose fault it was that the door rattled that time- their spirit problem or the ministrations of Reality. Whatever the case- "Good enough, c'mon Sepúlveda."

William gathered up the man's thingsand started the rather unpleasant task of dragging him out of the closet and out to an alleyway. To his credit, he only ran the doctor into a trashcan once. 

[You can't leave yet!]
"Not used to being walked out on?"
[You're going to regret this, you're going to help me!]
"You're burned out, good luck making me regret anything right now," William replied. 

The barrage of threats continued until they actually got out of the courthouse. 


True to form, William was about where he said he would be, which was close enough to where Margot and Ned happened to be that the coordination of the effort was no problem as soon as he'd dropped the effect to stop being invisible and start being a right-and-proper mess waiting for assistance. 

the devil @ 3:02PM
[Forces 2: bending light to make yourself effectively invisible?
base 3+ forces 2 + vulgar-as-fuck1+ distracted 1= 7 -2 quint = 5 

Roll: 3 d10 TN5 (2, 3, 7) ( success x 2 ) [WP]
the devil @ 3:03PM
Roll: 3 d10 TN8 (5, 10, 10) ( success x 3 ) [WP]
the devil @ 3:03PM
(score, I figure five successes is enough to make two people invisible long enough to get into an alleyway]
Noel-Witness @ 3:04PM
"I'm pretty sure you better do the talking or I'm going to put my heel in his spine."

Ned says it casually while they're still driving. It's the only thing he really says the entire way, face eclipsed by a frown beneath the heavy bags of exhaustion. He's not serial killer blank in his tone(he's puffing his cheeks out and squinting, a level of expressive scrutiny that denotes calculation) but there is an air of the dismissive about the way he steps out of the car upon arrival. He's already scanning the scene, expecting police, expecting fire trucks, expecting the army for all his paranoia demands.What he gets is a distant view because the pair of Initiates had agreed to park some distance away. A block or two, nothing more. ("I'm not as noticeable in most circumstances, but this rust bucket of yours can be ID easily enough").

Margot would lead the way and the pair would be quick enough to track down the prone Doctor and William the Bloodied. A text message or something more arcane would do the trick and soon enough the alley was four mages strong and Ned was near the mouth of it, a small ways from Margot and William and the downed Doc. He is inspecting the outside of the alleyway, fetched up against a wall with his hands in his pockets.

One might think him a touch callous, but the air around the alley, perhaps a little deeper in, has been claustrophobic since they arrived. Ned's been working. He's glancing back toward the trio, that frown on his features exacerbated by the weariness of study. His hands are fists in his pockets and his distance is to keep his resonance at bay. Suffocation and panic were not something to add to a growing health issue. He'd learned that from his time as an orderly (another life).

Ned isn't seeing in the colour spectrum anymore. His eyes are blips of pulse monitoring. Of blood pressure drops and heart rates and the potential for things to go wrong inside the Doc or William. Ned observes. Carefully taut, letting the Young Witch take the lead because like he said in the car: Ned wasn't in the mood to talk.

Ned @ 10:04PM
(Life 1: Heart Monitor. Arete 2. Diff 4 - 1 for Quint))

Roll: 2 d10 TN3 (6, 6) ( success x 2 )
kenna witness @ 10:05PM
[witnessed! gj buddy]
Were it not for the occasional wail of a background siren and the ambient chatter of mayhem from the courthouse sharing a city block with the alley, Margot's approach would have been announced by brisk sneaker-falls on the pavement.  She and Ned had appeared in the alleyway side-by-side, but she peeled away from him and broke into a jog to rush over to Will and the crumpled form of her mentor.  While Ned lingered to keep careful watch of the space around them, Margot rushed up to a quick crouch to examine what shape and how weak-or-otherwise the Doc's pulse was.  Will was conscious, though there was certainly flashing concern over the visible injuries he carried.

"Whatever you were yelling at," she asked Will as a greeting, "where is it?"

As he answered, she gave the Doc a good look over before spreading her knees and stance to better brace herself for lifting.  It took some obvious effort, but even though the Doc had several inches on her he was still rather slight a person, so with a little help from Will she managed to get the Doc up on her back, arms wrapped about her shoulders and clasped firm to her chest for leverage.  He'd find the toes of his shoes scuffed to all hell, because they dragged all the way up the alley behind them as she hauled him back toward the mouth and where Ned was waiting.

"I'm parked a bit away...  How are you holding together, Will?  What happened?"

the devil @ 7:39PM

Margot @ 7:39PM
[Strength 2]
Roll: 2 d10 TN6 (5, 10) ( success x 1 )
Although he is very much unconscious, in large part due to the fact that whatever happened knocked his skull against an unyielding concrete wall after rattling him enough to knock him senseless for a few seconds, the kids have seen him after a backlash enough times to know that sometimes he just passes out afterwards. It's one of the downsides to keeping a rote going indefinitely. The laws of thermodynamics apply to the human body: eventually you're going to have to shut the hell up and sleep.

His heart rate is on the low end of normal, about half the rate it is when he's awake, caffeine and a hyperactive disposition keeping him tightly wound. His respirations are snoring, thanks to the position Will has dropped him in combining with a nosebleed that's going down the back of his throat. In spite of all the dragging and jostling, he hasn't so much as opened his eyes, and though he mumbles a bit as Will helps Margot hoist him onto her back, it sounds like gibberish.

Sepúlveda will be fine in a couple of days, whereupon he will not remember shit about the event in question. So it'll be just like any other day, only with more I told you that boy was no good than usual.
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon

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