Somewhere else.
He was headed for the stairs. William’s pace was slow, and he didn’t reach for Kalen for support nor did Kalen offer it to the young man. There was the sort of isolation that he’d grown accustomed to. You don’t reach for a hand, you don’t push for something, you don’t ask because-
Here, Dr. Sepulveda said, you’re welcome.
The voice seemed out of place, and was cause enough to make the Hermetic pause just outside of the hallway. Bloody hand print on pristine walls seemed cliché, and it was, but blood does not care for poetic devices. Mulled wine stained everything.
You okay?
You see that? "All this time, every time anything happens, it's cake with him. 'Is there going to be –
The rest of the speech was lost when William moved as quickly as his body would allow him back to the room. The argument between the two voices- Ned and Sepulveda- continued. “See? See- Kalen!”
He sounded elated, overjoyed when he called back to the other man to head back to the room. Kalen sighed, but moved back to the hellish sight of the study. “Do you hear it?” William asked, “They- it’s- they can’t be dead- listen! Sepulveda wasn’t here-”
“Fae, it isn’t-”
“I can hear them-”
Oh well ex-cuuuuuse me! I guess we're just going to forget about the time you thought making deals with a noncorporeal entity that calls itself The Keeper of Secrets was such a good idea you had to kick down my door in the middle of the night— Sepulveda crows.
-Says the asshole who brought a Dreamspeaker to our doorstep because he fucked up her ability to cross the bloody Gauntlet! How do you even-- Ned retorts
“It is natural to feel the way you’re feeling,” Kalen told the younger man.
“Listen- they- I couldn’t make this up- it’s real.”
“You’ve slipped before,” Kalen reminded him, “seen things that weren’t there. You know this, who is to say what is real and what isn’t save for what your own mind deigns to be real-”
“Kalen, please, I know I hear them.”
“I don’t doubt that,” he told his former student. Kalen’s voice was soft, almost comforting in the awkward way Kalen could be comforting, as though he did not understand the basics of how to interact but tried to emulate them all the same, “but you know that not every voice you’ve heard is the dead. You know that you’ve slipped before. This… I swore at first, when she died, that I saw Melody everywhere, but I know that isn’t true.”
“-It isn’t like that-”
“-and we have talked, and I told you- magic being real and your ability to wield it has no bearing on whether or not you’re connected with this world and what is true and True. You’re in shock, your imagination is filling in the blanks.”
The argument on the other side ends, the conversation between himself and Kalen having taken the time to drown out whatever words would have given the indication that he needed an anchor to reality, something that would give some indication that the world he was currently existing in was the false one and he just needed to find the way out again. In their own ways, the denizens of this world were aware they would cease to be if the wayward dreamer ever woke up.
Something inside of William Holmes had a self-preservation instinct.
“We’re going,” Kalen said, and as an aside or perhaps some olive branch, offered to help William leave. He moved out to the car faster than the other man’s body could probably handle at the time, more desperately than William seemed to realize at the time. They needed to leave; he needed to leave. Things in their infancy are vulnerable, fall apart quickly. Kalen Holliday, or whatever he was, wanted to live.
William was blissfully unaware of what was going on at that moment, though his body did seem tense. He blinked, though it was involuntary and slow. Sometimes, you just need to blink.
He really would have liked some cake right now. He always likes cake. 
When the pair well-experienced in the arts of healing and generally trusted in Putting Shit Back Together Again had arrived to find reality raw both in how it felt in compatibility with the world, and in the sense of the scene before them.  Will was wide-eyed with a pulse, but otherwise gone to the world.  Ned was coughing and drooling blood prone on the floor, and Margot was propped weakly in a chair with weak red trails where the bloody water of her wet hair had dripped over her face and neck.  Her expression was miserable, hating the state in which her home and Cabal had been left.  Eyes hopped over to Kiara and Doc when they entered the room, and followed Doc over to Ned to watch anxiously as he plunked out the familiar old chemistry set and set to work.

This delayed her recognition of Kiara in front of her, so she appeared slightly alarmed to feel the hand pass across her brow.  This made the air around her flex and cringe and seethe, but the elder Verbena didn't hesitate and still mended the bruises and cracks to her body and took the ache from her breathing once more.  The little witch with the wild whipping aura of ancient-feeling Magick (ancient as the Goddess, primordial) lifted her head from her hand, but slowly, and blinked a few times.  Stared at Kiara, but didn't seem to have any words in her to offer the thanks that echoed in her eyes.  She was distracted, reasonably, by her own state, the events that had just transpired, Will's state on the floor (her eyes had passed to check on him twice while she was being healed), and by the outcome of Doc's jabbing Ned mercilessly in the face with a needle.

Relief relaxed her brow when Ned was sitting upright and no more struggling for breath, grappling for full consciousness.  The appearance of impressive cake selections hardly seemed to register initially, and when Ned asked if she was the one that was alright her lower lip tucked and trembled like she was going to start crying (surprise to actually no one), but before she could answer the bickering broke out.

Stresses and tension ran high and Margot looked between the two as the argument unfurled.  Partway through she tucked her head into her hands once more and rubbed her fingers into her scalp and temples-- internally, the Goddess of Victory supped the potential for violence that mingled with the unhinged nature to the atmosphere, but Margot was exhausted somewhere deeper than her bones alone.  Many other nights she would have interrupted (read: joined in on) the fighting with her own voice, but tonight she was slow and tired.

Thankfully there was Kiara, and she put an end to the argument in one of the more memorable ways that she'd likely see.  Following that, she made a point, recalling their attention to William on the floor.  Margot peeked through her fingers first toward William (unchanged, unmoved, slow-blinking and still on the floor), then toward Doc and Ned (to diagnose the consequences of evoking Kiara's irritation), and finally, at long last, toward the science-born desserts.

One hand pushed the arm of the chair to help guide her to her feet, and she looked toward the other Verbena's back as she walked toward the door.  Next she looked between Doc and Ned and frowned, a look of mute disapproval and sadness making its way through the exhaustion and lingering daze.  At a loss for what to do for Will, what to do with either of them, she walked to the array of sweets, bent to pick up a cupcake of chocolate and peanut-butter, and made for the door; if unstopped, she'd go straight and slow to her bedroom, close the door behind her, and climb deep under the covers of her bed.
The second she raises her voice, Andrés knows he's in trouble.

Someone in this city once heard him announce, on the border of Normal Drunk and Grieving Widower Drunk, he would divorce himself from one of his testicles if it meant he would never be on the receiving end of a Witch's wrath ever again. Kiara must not have been the one he told this, or else he wouldn't have pissed her off to begin with.

This isn't really about her, or the cake, or Ned asking Margot if she's okay. Obviously she isn't okay. What happened here tonight would have traumatized someone of the Witch's or the Mad Scientist's experience and strength, but they have their ways of coping. What do the kids have?

A beat-to-shit Hermetic who is staring catatonic out at the world in a manner that betrays how much damage he's actually endured.

Andrés announces, "WHOA!" and holds up his black medical bag like a shield before literally throwing himself behind one of the couches to physically dodge whatever Kiara is unleashing onto the world. Though the effect catches hold of him and then fizzles, Ned is left on his own. No masculine solidarity tonight. The senior Verbena stomps outside, the littler one scavenges for baked goods, and the Etherite prepares one last syringe (well, okay, two, like Ned it takes a second stab to get the kinks out.

Oh Christ. Now Margot is joining in.

"You are WAY too young to be giving me that Look, Miss Thing."

It must not have dawned on him that Kiara has completely existed the building, because a few beats of silence to peel open the blond's left eye, then the right, popping a burst of penlight into both of them, has concern settling on him. He's already unsettled by the atmosphere. When he calls out Kiara's name, it's at a volume that suggests he thinks she's just in the other room. Then she doesn't answer.

"... KIARA?" Oh shit don't leave me with this little asshole he's not coming out of this. "... FUCK. No no no, Margot, don't go, I'm--" He clears his throat. Was that almost an apology? "... I need you to keep an eye on Pretty Boy, okay, please don't hide in your room."

He never says please. And he leaves his bag on the floor, indicating he has no intention of driving back to the city, before springing to his feet and trotting after the only other adult in the area.


Denver @ 8:36AM
Hey I just met Doc, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me Dedicated Dicing Den!

Doc @ 8:39AM
[perc + aware: he pissed off a Witch, does he even see this coming?]
Roll: 5 d10 TN6 (4, 7, 8, 8, 10) ( success x 4 )

Doc @ 8:42AM
[arete 3: WHOA SHIT DODGE IT DODGE IT. (countermagick rules per p. 545, you're on your own, Ned.)]
Roll: 3 d10 TN7 (4, 5, 10) ( success x 2 ) [WP]

Doc @ 8:48AM

[life 3: beat-to-shit is not a good look for you, william. blah blah modifiers blah.]
Roll: 3 d10 TN6 (3, 8, 8) ( success x 2 )

Doc @ 8:48AM
Roll: 3 d10 TN7 (2, 9, 10) ( success x 2 )

Doc @ 8:48AM
[mind 1: what's your problem? stupid fucking opposing resonance...]
Roll: 3 d10 TN6 (1, 5, 6) ( success x 1 )

Doc @ 8:50AM
[extending. incendiaré esta puta casa, que juro sobre la tumba de mi madre...]
Roll: 3 d10 TN7 (1, 3, 8) ( success x 1 )

Denver @ 8:55AM
~♥~ Welcome to Dedicated Dicing Den, I love What did you do?. ~♥~

What did you do? @ 8:55AM
Read my Name!
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
Ned is half-way through another insulting thought when the bellowing crash of a Verbena voice reaches across the space, through the feral haze and dripping persistence of the resonances lingering here and into Ned's guts. The Orphan gives a tiny little


Before collapsing to the ground with his eyes screwed tightly shut and his body in the smallest of balls. If one were expecting something smarmy or witty or outright talkative out of him while the Doc rushes to and fro in search of answers and the two Verbena go wandering off in different directions, they would be disappointed. The world is pain and fire right now and Ned is at the centre of it.

Eventually though, all that is left in the room is the Orphan in his tight ball, waiting for the pain to die away and poor William in his disconnected state. Ned has to physically and consciously unclench everything wincing as several muscles protest in the process. He climbs onto all fours and reaches out for one of the cakes. Then, the air febrile and vicious still, he drags it over toward William and settles down beside the young Hermetic.

Ned sucks in a calming breath, which comes out as a shudder. He's staring at the space where the Ritual once was. His hand digs fully into the cake, ruining the presentation and he smears some on his cheeks getting the palm full of treat into his mouth. For good measure, he wipes a little frosting and cake bit on William's upper lip to let the smell of the baked goods clear his sinuses.

Happy Halloween, everyone.
[OOC: I should have stuck this on my last post but I needed an adult to do math for me.]

Denver @ 10:44AM
One does not simply walk into Dedicated Dicing Den, WITNESSSSS.

Denver @ 10:46AM
Welcome to Dedicated Dicing Den, Doc.

Doc @ 10:46AM

(Backlash 6)
Roll: 6 d10 TN6 (1, 3, 3, 7, 7, 8) ( success x 3 )

Doc @ 10:49AM
[i laugh at you]
Roll: 3 d10 TN6 (4, 8, 10) ( success x 2 )

The smallest of taps across the chin.

Doc @ 10:50AM

Doc @ 10:50AM
Oh also for the record: spending WP to keep it from hitting him until he's outside.

Noted and Witnessed!
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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