Tuesday Tales: Down The Rabbit Hole

Long Night

CAST OF PLAYERS:

Jeremy Whitener…………Korin Alabaster………………………Were Mongoose
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………Human Psionic
Aron Head……………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master

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** The Duke’s daughter? ** Casey searched her libido-fogged brain for the name. ** Percyndi? ** She moved through the crowd toward Pana’s mental presence. **Where? Can you take me to her?**

:: Not sure. But I can follow her scent. ::

After a bit of searching Casey joined the Malamute. ** Let’s go! **

Pana led her through a beaded curtain and into a long hallway lined with many doors. The walls were painted a dark red and trimmed in black molding. Illumination was provided by art deco style sconces. Turning a corner, the Malamute stopped in front of the wall, sniffing at the floor board. :: Here. ::

Casey glanced around the empty hallway, then back to where Pana was indicating. ** It’s a wall. You’re sure the trail stops here? **

:: Yes. Here. ::

Casey placed a hand against the wall and closed her eyes, reaching past the surface with her perceptions to get a sense of who might be on the other side. Like everything else here, the wall wasn’t as it seemed; she sensed something…someone…on the other side. But it was a fog, unclear.

She took a step back, giving the wall another frowning look. There was an illusion here, a concealment. She should be able to “see” it, but something about this place clouded her perceptions. She focused upon the wall, concentrating all her effort into seeing what had been hidden here.

A door blurred faintly into view. A panel to press…

“Thank you, Mr. Falco,” she whispered under her breath, sliding her hand over to push the pressure lock.

The door popped open, revealing a stone staircase turning tightly in a downward spiral. The walls were stone as well. There was no illumination.

Casey remained in the doorway for a long, indecisive minute or two. Clearly the thing to do at this point was to go back to the main bar and get some backup. Alseyne and Pip and Claws were in other rooms, but Casey or Pana could probably track them down. Tim and Tony would do in a pinch.

The staircase beckoned, dark and mysterious.

She took a step down, then another. Her skin tingled as a cool breeze came up from the dark shaft.

:: Company. ::

“Get the dog!” Voices shouted from the corridor behind her.

** C’mon, Pana! ** Casey pushed the door shut telekinetically as the dog bounded into the stairwell.

They were immersed in absolute darkness.

In the utter blackness, she stepped as quickly and soundlessly as safely possible down the staircase, perceptions wide open to detect threats from above or below. Pana padded down ahead, the click of her toe nails echoing. The sound seemed unnaturally loud in the black silence of the stairwell. Casey followed the disembodied clicking, wondering if this was the last impulsive whim she would ever indulge. Of all the directions she could have bolted, this chilly oubliette had to be the most foolish and dangerous. Fae were likely imprisoned down here…guarded…and what hope could she have that she wouldn’t be joining them permanently? Just another vanished victim of Sanctuary Austin, never to be seen again. She could’t even call for help, since her telepathy couldn’t penetrate the walls of this building. Fear settled into her stomach as the chill of the dark unknown crushed her from all sides, and she realized that she was trembling.

:: I’m here. :: Pana’s tone was comforting, soothing.

Casey focused gratefully on the dog’s reassuring calm. She wasn’t alone down here; between the two of them they should be able to put up a respectable fight. She reminded herself that there was more at stake here than just her own life and Pana’s. Right now they might be the only hope Percyndi and the other Fae had of ever regaining their freedom. She couldn’t let fear weaken her; she needed to keep her wits about her if she was going to get through this.

:: Light just ahead. :: And sure enough, a dim glow could be discerned.

** Good. It’s way too dark in here. ** Casey smiled grimly, deliberately reshaping her expression so that no fear would show on her face if they ran into someone. I am not helpless, she reminded herself. I have weapons they won’t be expecting. And I have Pana. They won’t take me.

Her features a mask of fabricated bravado, her perceptions reaching warily ahead, she walked steadily toward the light.

The steps ended on a dark gray stone floor. It was a room some 12 feet long and eight feet wide, with walls of dark brick. There were four heavy wooden doors, two on the left wall and two on the right, each with a small three inch tall, six inch wide iron grate about five feet up. Light was provided by three overhead globes. At the end of the room was an opening leading to a darkened corridor.

Pana looked about, nose wiggling and twitching. Casey walked slowly over to the nearest door on the left and peered through the grate, but the chamber within was dark. She couldn’t see what was in there.

:: She was here… ::

Casey looked over at Pana. ** Was? **

:: Yah. :: Pana padded deeper into the room… :: What is…? :: The Malamute paused before the second door on the right. She sniffed at the floor, at the space between the door and the floor. :: It’s… different… ::

Casey walked over and looked through the grate on that door. ** Her scent is different? Or this door is different? ** Still too dark to see inside.

:: The scent…is different. Not anything I’ve smelled before. It’s… It’s wild. :: Despite herself, Pana provided a sharp bark.

Casey’s head snapped up at the unexpected noise. Someone must have heard that…

Pana whined in frustration.

** Shhh… **

:: Sorry. Sorry. ::

** Let’s check it out. ** Casey reached for the door knob, just as a husky, frightened voice from within asked, “Who…who are you?! Where am I?”

This brought Pana up short.

Casey paused, her hand on the knob. “Percyndi?”

“You cannot hold me here!” The frightened voice responded in a frantic tone, filled with rage. “Why am I here?!”

“I came to help,” Casey said in a low, reassuring voice. “Your father the Duke sent people to search for you when you disappeared; I’m going to get you out of here if I can. But please, stop shouting…you’re going to have guards coming in to see what the noise is about.” She hesitated, then asked softly, “Have they hurt you? What have they done to you since you were captured?”

“I can’t remember…its all still so blurry. Can…can you get me out of here?”

Casey glanced down at Pana. Different, the dog had said. Wild. Had Percyndi been tampered with in some way? Altered…?

“I’m going to try,” she answered quietly. If only she could see into Percyndi’s cell! She looked around for something that might burn, something she could hold to the door’s grate for illumination. She searched her pockets, hoping to find a forgotten scrap of paper or money that her power could ignite…and came up with the cellphone that Falco had given her.

She turned it over slowly in her hands, her thoughts racing. This situation was too big for her; she needed backup. She could call Alseyne or Pip or one of the others…if any of them had given her their numbers. But none of them had considered the possibility that her psionic communication would fail in here, so they hadn’t come up with a Plan B for that eventuality.

Slowly, with conflicting emotions, she checked the phone’s menu to see if Falco had provided her with a number where he could be reached. She found an entry simply labeled “Falco.”

She looked at the name for a long silent minute, then said softly, “Percyndi, I’m going to try and call someone who might be able to help us. Don’t worry, I’m not leaving here without you.”

She moved away from the cell door and back to the bottom of the staircase, hoping to lessen the distance her voice would carry into the corridor at the other end of the chamber. Pressed Falco’s speed-dial button, unconsciously holding her breath as she lifted the phone to her ear and listened for an answer.

The connection was scratchy and weak. She could hear the signal cut in and out as the line rang.

“Falco >skkkk< …ere."

Relieved to have gotten through at all, she didn't waste words or time. As loudly as she dared, she enunciated clearly into the phone, "This is Casey. I need help. I'm at Sanctuary." On a sudden whim, she repeated the message telepathically, directly toward Falco's mind. *She* couldn't penetrate the walls of Sanctuary, but his powers were an order of magnitude greater than hers. He'd promised once that he'd always be able to reach her mind, no matter what obstacles might be placed between them. Maybe that meant he had the ability to pierce the Fae shielding, and could hear her message….

"What… skkskksksk… ion? Is Pana wiskskkkskksksksksksksk the way. Anythiskskskskskks…"

The line went dead.

Casey frowned at the silent phone in her hand. She considered redialing, but the connection probably wouldn't be any better the second time. If Falco's phone had shown him her number, or if he'd recognized her voice, he would at least know who had called him. He'd known where she was going; he knew she wouldn't have called him unless she were in dire straits. If he wasn't up to his neck in troubles of his own, he might come to help her.

Too many ifs. Falco would come or he wouldn't; either way she appeared to be on her own for the time being. Slipping the phone back into her pocket, she returned to Percyndi's cell.

Again she paused with one hand on the latch.

Different…wild.

After a moment she dipped cautiously into Percyndi's mind; not intruding into any private thoughts or making her presence known to the girl, just getting a feel for the state of things in there.

The first thing she noted was that the mind had a distinctly masculine taste to it.

…And yes… there was a touch of the wild to him.

A dual nature.

A creature that resided in his mind, only barely controlled.

Casey’s hand slid from the latch.

Was this Percyndi? Changed…altered completely?

Or was this only a place the girl had once been, now occupied by someone else?

"So you know my father??" The voice called from inside.

"No, I've never met him. I'm just part of the rescue squad."

If only she could see.

Stalling for time while she considered her options, she asked, "Do you know how long you've been here?"

"I can't be sure….days I think…maybe more..Dammit I can't remember!"

** Pana, are all of these cells occupied? **

:: Yes, they are. ::

** Do the people in them all have that same wild smell? **

:: No. This one… :: Pana indicated the cell next to the one where 'Percyndi' is. :: … Is a fairy. Over here is another. And that one… :: She indicated the last.:: …. Is a vampire. ::

** Wonderful. ** Through the cell door Casey continued, "Are you still wearing the same clothes you had on when you came to Sanctuary? Do you have anything in your pockets that might burn?"

"Flammable items? Just some cas…" There was an audible gasp. "Holy crap, where are my clothes?! I'm gonna need something to wear out of here…and stop lookin!"

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