RP Nonsilent Protagonists

Stitches

Resident Witch
Staff member

The Slate meeting was supposed to take place inside the event center’s main room. Walking through the building gave Harley a lot of time to think. He had just been recently assigned to Columbus, to Ashling, and the stress was building already. The woman was smart, smarter than Obsidian had given her credit for. He was going to have to play his cards right if he was going to keep up with her. At least he wasn’t lying to her about anything she would have reason to question him about. At least, not yet.

Harley couldn’t deny that the beginnings of guilt had started deep inside him. It didn’t take much to get him feeling guilty, though. Not really. He had a lot to feel guilty about, and this was just one more thing on the teetering tower of self-loathing. He smiled mirthlessly as he walked, looking down at the floor. A few people walked past him on his way down the hall, but by the time he arrived at the right door, the hall was all but clear. It gave him plenty of space to be alone with his thoughts.

He yanked on the handle of the door and stepped in– and immediately stopped. Bright fluorescent lights hit him, and he winced, pushing the sunglasses up higher. He could practically hear the whine of the lights. The door swung shut behind him before he could register what he was looking at.

He was in some kind of gymnasium. Like the kind at high schools, complete with lines on the floor to denote the basketball court. He looked around him with narrowed eyes and a furrowed brow. That was…. Not right. He turned around to walk back out, sure that he had taken a wrong turn, but the door behind him had changed into one of those push bar doors you’d see in schools, and it was locked. He jiggled it. It didn’t move.

He turned back toward the room, licking his lower lip in a quick motion. His head twitched to the side as he looked around the large room. In the very middle was a small circle of chairs. Four of them in total. Nearby were two fold-out tables. He could see some kind of sign on one, facing the circle. He slowly moved through the room, as though the floors might disintegrate at any time and send him plummeting to a well-deserved death. Instead, it stayed firm beneath his feet. Circling around the tables made the front of the sign visible, and he immediately sucked in a deep breath.

Sitting on the table was a plastic sign, painted with the words “Welcome to Group Therapy!”. Sitting in front of it were several pamphlets, all in different languages, most of which he had no idea how to read. One didn’t even look real. He picked up one of the two in English and began skimming it as he stepped away from the table.

It was full of “helpful” advice about discussing trauma with your family and friends, as well as instructions for how group therapy was supposed to go. It declared in a soft font on light blue laminated paper that they were to talk about their issues, find resolutions with the group, and then come back “weekly” for the best results.

He set the brochure down on a chair– one of the shitty all-plastic ones– and moved to the next table. There were three boxes of donuts, each proudly declaring they were from the Walmart Bakery. A box of powdered, a box of chocolate, and a box of sugared. There was a coffee pot, no machine in sight, full to the brim next to a small cylinder of what looked to be creamer. A small pot sat next to it with sugar. There was a kettle as well, and several boxes of shitty-looking tea. There were four water bottles next to it, and four mugs were lined up on the table, each a different color.

Harley turned and looked back around the gymnasium. There were doors at all four corners, and he knew his was already locked. It was safe to assume the others were locked as well. Was this some kind of fever dream? Maybe a hallucination? Was he being used as an example for a meta with illusionary powers? Everything seemed very real, and when he ran his fingers over things, they were the right texture and touch. Strange.

He moved back over to the chairs and picked the brochure back up, sitting down. He tapped the pamphlet on his thigh and sighed, running a hand through his messy curls, pushing them back from his face. Alright. Alright. This might as well happen. Surely something was going to happen that would show him what was going on. Surely.​
 
Natasha avoided the Red Guard best she could, her slightly trembling fingers brushed against the hilt of her sabre at every sound and movement. In her head, she repeated the movement and steps she would take to defend herself, but her mind became fuzzy at the end part where blade met flesh. It was that part that settled a stone in her gut. She would often remember Peter dispatching the guardsmen with a swipe of his sword, over and over again, the blood running over cobblestones. This only drove her to more eagerly hide and avoid conflict all together.

She'd agreed to check a building for Peter, as he'd heard rumour it may have been some sort of guard observation post posing as a condemned home full of squatters. She really wished Niko was with her, but he was quickly making himself too useful to the cause to be readily available all the time, and Nat felt the need to prove herself capable without a chaperone. Though she admitted, she just wanted more time with him, to make sure he was okay, and to make herself stop feeling guilty about dragging him into this.

These thoughts swirled around in her head and pushed out any semblance of caution or strategy, which was why when Natasha came to the old, dilapidated building she grabbed the handle and pushed right in without so much thought. Immediately she was hit with near blinding lights, and she flinched and tried to retreat, only to find the door locked and secure behind her. Thinking it was an ambush, Natasha pulled her sabre free with a metallic ring just as her eyes began to adjust. She whipped around, looking for enemies.

What she saw was a large room with polished wooden floor with lines marked on it. There were tables, strange poles with wide half circles and ropes on them, and a circle of chairs all facing each other. Sitting in one of the chairs was a man, curly hair, tan face, wearing heavy boots and a dark jacket. He wasn't immediately dangerous or suspicious, but this whole place had a strange feel about it, it smelt different, the air was different, like it wasn't in Chunwall anymore. Natasha waved the point of her sabre vaguely at the man, hoping she looked dangerous.

"Who are you? Where am I?" Natasha demanded, trying her best to sound authoritative. Of course, what Harley heard was "Kim jesteś? Gdzie ja jestem?"
 
Penelope waved off her boss, assuring Sandra that yes, she would get the damn cookie dough. She usually tried to avoid the freezer after Phyllis had locked her in a few weeks back, but they’d come to the agreement that wouldn’t happen again.

Only instead of the freezer she found herself in a room filled with obnoxious fluorescent light and tables. And pamphlets. And two other people.

They would see a young woman with copper hair, tied back, wearing a loose t shirt with a name pinned on the front, jeans and a black apron tied over a slight bump in her stomach.

Penny blinked a few times and read the pamphlet again. Therapy.

“Oh hell no, I’m already in therapy…” And surprisingly this wasn’t the strangest thing to happen to her. She turned to leave but when she turned the knob the door was locked. She turned around at the two locked in with her.

One had a sword. Penelope dug in her pocket and made sure her pepper spray was handy. “Who the fuck are you?”
 

Well, that wasn’t what he thought was going to happen. From the two doors he was facing entered two women. One was carrying an old-fashioned sword and had shorter brown hair and the brightest blue eyes he’d ever seen. She was pretty, and she spoke in what Harley thought might be some kind of Slavic language. The other had coppery red hair and thankfully spoke English and looked like she was dressed for work. Both of their doors locked behind them.

Harley stood, slowly, hands raised, and in a soft but raspy, drawling voice, he said, “Woah, there. Everything is fine. I’m not going to hurt either of you. Do either of you know where we are?”

His voice was just on the deeper side of average, and despite his softness, he sounded like he had smoked his entire life. His grey eyes flickered behind the sunglasses, looking between the two women. He already could tell that neither of them knew where they were either. He cursed under his breath and crossed his arms. He ran the nails of one hand against his lips, a thoughtful expression on his face.

This was making less and less sense as it continued. Clearly, this wasn’t a meta-powered illusion. Was this some kind of intervention? A forced group therapy session that none of them wanted to be at, clearly, but the real itch was why? Why these people? Why now? And who had done this to them? Had- had Obsidian signed him up for some kind of extreme therapy after his breakdown before Columbus?

That had to be what this was. There was no other easy answer, and in Harley’s experience as a PI, the easiest answer was usually the right answer. Your husband was less likely sneaking out to go and live a double life as a hitman at night and quietly keeping all the money from you than he was cheating on you. That’s just the way things worked. The simplest solution was often the right one.

So this was Obsidian’s doing. He sighed and scratched the back of his neck, then moved toward the table with the drinks and donuts. He checked the temperature of the coffee, pouring himself a mug with a generous amount of sugar as he spoke. “Listen, I think we’re all stuck here. I think this is some form of extreme therapy– you, do you speak English at all?”

He looked at the pretty brunette, then back at the equally pretty but much younger copper-haired girl. He frowned a little as the coppery hair brought to mind an image of golden flashing eyes and a soft, heart-shaped face. That was going to need to stop. And now. He pushed Ashling from his mind and focused on what was happening around him.​
 
The other door open and a woman walked it, Natasha immediately swung her sabre around to pint at her but hesitated. She was a young girl, and looked like she'd been cooking or perhaps baking. Likely at home, considering she was wearing just an undershirt and an apron. Her hair was orange, like the strange man she'd seen with Peter, was she from that island too? Natasha looked back at the man, he might have been foreign as well, certainly didn't look Cassimrian. He spoke softly and not aggressively.

The woman spoke, Natasha recognized fear in her voice, and then the man spoke, and she recognized an attempt to keep things calm. But they were both speaking total nonsense, some language she'd never heard. Foreigners in Chunwall, for what, why here? In any case, while the girl seemed afraid, neither of them seemed to want to hurt her. She watched the man pour himself a cup of what Natasha assumed to be workbrew. She lowered her sword.

"I can't understand you (Nie mogę cię zrozumieć)," she said, shaking her head. She slowly sheathed her sabre and held up her hands. Her voice was raspy and deep, like someone used to yelling or shouting both in anger and in joy. It had a smooth, warm qualityunderneath the edge. "Sorry about that, I was expecting an attack... you can't understand me either, right... (Przepraszam za to, spodziewałem się ataku... Ty też mnie nie rozumiesz, prawda)"

Carefully, she edged towards the centre, taking care not to make any more threatening movements. There was a sign with big bold letters she couldn't read, and a pile of documents with many different letterings all over them. She spotted one in Cassimiran and picked it up.

"You... should discuss... T-ra... trauma? With family and friends? (Powinieneś... powinieneś omówić... T-ra... traumę? Z rodziną i przyjaciółmi)" Natasha muttered as she read, many of the words she didn't recognize at all. What did trauma mean? She looked up confused, looking at the red hair girl and then back to the curly haired one. They both looked as if they didn't quite grasp the situation either, Natasha scratched her head, curling a hair around her finger tightly as she pondered what the fuck was going on "Kurwa (Whore)"
 
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atrisia pressed her back against the big, wooden library door. She sighed deeply. The exhaustion settled around her shoulders like an oversized cape. The whole night had been spent copying, translating, and memorizing phrases and words. Technically, she should be on break right now, but her grades had dipped somewhat this past semester. She needed to keep in practice if she was going to graduate properly next year. She could rest then, she assured herself.

Miriam worried, of course, and she warned her about staying up too late. Pat did plan to take a break at the end of the week, before classes started again, but for now she had energy to spare by night and time during the day to rest. With a borrowed copy of Sailor Birdsong in the original Brydlenesse clutched in one arm and her satchel of notes over the other shoulder, she pressed her weight through the heavy door and stepped blindly into the morning.

The sunlight was cool through her eyelids. They adjusted quickly, but she could feel there was something… off. When she took a deep breath, the air was cool but stale, tinged with something artificial. The ground under her feet wasn’t stone. It was too soft, almost wood, but with a slight stickiness. With a frown, her eyes opened from behind her glasses, and she squinted into the room.

Into a room?

It was an open space, but completely alien to her in layout. The floor was wood layered with something soft and semi-reflective, with lines marked on it periodically. There was a breeze coming from nowhere. The artificial sunlight came from harsh lamps hanging overhead. Pat couldn’t look at them for too long without shielding her eyes with her free right hand, and she looked down at the rest of the room.

Metal chairs were set up in a circle in the middle of the lined area. Either end of the area had high, open-ended nets suspended from a white board on a pole. There were two tables of an unfamiliar white material. One had what looked like booklets without protective covers. The other had open boxes of pastry and a metal spigot.

There were other people here, all strangely dressed. A tall man with an inland skin tone and black curls wore a reflective mask that hid his eyes while leaving the lower half of his face exposed. His black leathers seemed to be treated with something that made them almost as reflective as the floor. The two women weren’t wearing masks at all, so they must be familiar with each other. She lowered her hand to start rummaging in her satchel for her own deerskin mask.

One of the women had a curved, thin sword strapped to her side. Her hair was short and brown, and her eyes were a blue as intense as the northern sky. She spoke in a language that Pat didn’t recognize, and though it was adjacent to one of the island dialects, it wasn’t quite there. Then again, she didn’t know every language.

The last girl had Brydlenesse-orange hair, the straight kind seen nearer the seaside, unlike her own tight red curls. Though she didn’t have her mask on, she seemed wary. Her clothes were loose and revealing. Basin, maybe? They seemed a little much, even for Basin fashion, but Pat had given up on trying to interpret what was appropriate fashion in the Northwest.

Clearly, she was in the wrong place. Her momentary distraction faded away as she remembered, right, she was supposed to be outside the library, not… here. She stepped back toward the door, starting into an apologetic bow, when she felt it behind her.

It didn’t budge. Because, obviously, it was a pull-door from this side. Her face was getting gradually redder as she turned around to reach for the handle, and… stopped. Because it was a push-door. She pushed it. It didn’t budge.

It was locked. Slowly, she turned back around, fidgeting to swap her glasses out for her mask as she did so. The smooth green face with its leaf embroidery would at least hide the embarrassment for a while as she started further into the room, toward the table with the booklets.

“Sorry,” she said, choosing Imperial Common given the apparent variety of characters here. She never quite turned away from them. “It looks like I went through the wrong doors, and it locked behind me. I’ll just keep out of the way, don’t mind me.”
 
Tamar was simply over this day already. Fifteen minutes into setting the fertilizers in their correct basins, the bees had woken early to begin the examination of their meals. Normally, this would be no issue at all. Tam had scent familiarized herself with the colony since its inception, the guard drones may have been bigger than her head but they couldn't tell the difference between her and the gentle workers they protected.

However, today the shipment of fertilizer had been contaminated with a 'live one.' This too would, normally, be no problem at all. Tam had sufficient time to examine the fertilizer for viability and, if unsalvageable, crush its throat. But the bees had woken up early. The new scent agitated them, or maybe it was the 'live one' screaming when they realized where they were? Either way, the bees were quickly worked into a frenzied swarm and Tamar caught a drone needle to the shoulder.

The needles were four inches long and filled with poison, fatal within a day for an unadjusted Ank'yulian and within an hour for any other species. While Tam had sufficiently built up an immunity to the more fatal aspects of the poison, it still hurt like hell. After making her way through the tunnels and back to the little hole in the wall she called a 'home,' Tam had just finished dressing the wound when it happened.

She opened the door to her restoration room and, after closing it behind her, realized that was not where she was at all. The gathered sentients would observe Tamar as a woman, approximately 6'7 and built like a human tank. She wore baggy pants comprised of a shifting, chain-interlocked metal and a crop top of strangely multicolored fibers. The crop top exposed a massive tattoo of bees on her shoulder, a simple design, most likely an identification mark instead of just art. Her hair, white and shoulder length, had been tied in a ponytail designed solely to keep the majority of it from her sickly yellowed eyes.

Tam did not speak as she observed those gathered, nor did she listen to them talk, assuming the effects of the black bee sting had simply entered the hallucination stage. So she took pleasure in stepping past them toward a little table of goodies. If she already had to deal with intense hallucinations along with the inevitable shakes and pains, she was going to enjoy as much as she could. Wiping her cheeks, stained yellow from the sickly tears, she grinned and poured herself a cup of the savory-smelling black beverage.

As she did so, she took stock of those around her. A copper-haired girl with an apron, possibly a cook? Tam had never seen a cook so small, it was cute. There was a man with tan skin, a mask, and dark, curly hair, the tan skin was interesting. He looked a little like she imagined 'Miricuoscous Gerald' might look like. He was a character from that one sound drama that the comms box played during off-hours.

One of the other women, more reddish hair, was wearing the wildest-looking suit Tam had ever seen. There seemed to be multiple layers to it, multiple layers- just for fashion! It boggled Tam as to the limits of her own imagination as she was certain she had never seen anything like that before. And that mask, all green shapes and weird things that covered all of her face except her blue eyes.

The last woman, brown hair and blue eyes, was carrying a saber. A bloody saber, absolutely hilarious. Tamar had seen those before, of course of course, but she always found them to be a sort of silly weapon. Unless it was modified with an energy module, it wouldn't even be capable of warding off black bees. But some of the gangbangers in the red light sectors carried them, or other bladed weapons, as a 'deterrent' for the grotniks.

Having finished staring unashamedly at the others, Tam sat down in the little chairs with a cup of the nice-smelling liquid and took a sip. Immediately, she spat it out onto the floor and declared with a grin, "That tasted like shit!" Of course, unless anyone in the room spoke the same specific dialect of Ank'yulian, then they would near nothing more than a guttural clicking sound from vocal cords not evolved to make more 'proper' noises.
 
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Penelope reached for her pepper spray, but the brunette girl put her sword down, speaking in a language that sounded vaguely Russian, and she didn't understand a word. She left it in her apron pocket for now. Luckily the man, with dark skin and leather, spoke English, attempting to calm everyone down.

Unfortunately, before they could figure much out, two more people entered. A girl with a weird costume and wild red hair, and another white-haired girl. Neither of them spoke English. Penny ran her hand through her hair, and glanced back down at the pamphlets, and looked back at the only person she could understand. The girl with bushy hair was putting on mask- what was that about?

"I speak English, no I don't know where we are and I would really like to go," Penny said in one breath, growing increasingly annoyed and frustrated. "Do you know what the hell this is?"

Penny didn't touch the food, or caffine, but her feet were sore so she leaned against the wall, her eyes passing from one person to the next, trying to place if she knew them or seen them before, but at least three of them did not look native to Minnesota.
 
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Two more women entered the gym while he waited for answers from the others. The woman with the brown hair was mumbling when they entered, still in what Harley was growing convinced was Polish, or maybe Czech. Neither of them spoke English either. At least the younger red-head did. When the second red-head– this one’s hair was curly and closer to an orange shade than red, that almost gave him a heart attack as he thought for a moment of Ash, with her freckles and curls, but no, this young woman wasn’t Ash– began to affix a mask to her face, he raised an eyebrow. She was quickly overshadowed though, when the fifth person walked into the room from the final door. She was a giant woman, with hair of white, and Harley suddenly, and for the first time in his life, felt small.

Wait, a fifth?

He looked back around at the chairs as she got herself coffee and picked a seat. There were indeed five chairs now, whereas before there had been four. And there was a fifth door where there had originally been four. What the actual fuck was going on around here?

Harley took in a deep breath and walked over toward the chairs. As he walked, he tried to turn his brain off. This wasn’t making sense and it was starting to play with his mind. He took a seat across from the woman, his nostrils flaring as he took in the scents of everyone in the room. Coming from the direction of the youngest girl was the smell of a cafe, like bacon crisping on a stove, the scent of her pomegranate shampoo and conditioner, and underneath it was a hint of something chemical. Medication of some kind, one that affected her hormones. On the note of hormones– she was pregnant. Several months.

The most distant scent, the woman in the mask, smelled the most interesting to him. Spices like those in chai, but not quite. Chocolate, pure and dark, with just a hint of sweet and… pepper? Paper, leather, and maybe ink? The leather smelled like it could be deer. And underneath it all was a soft scent, earthy and sweet, grassy. This one liked chocolate drinks and worked with bookmaking, possibly. She sure carried the scents of it. It drifted off her old-fashioned dress and wafted through the room in a way the other scents didn’t quite manage.

But he could barely make those two out from the under the scents of the brunette and the white-haired women. The brunette smelled strongly of diesel and stale coffee. They wafted off her in waves, like they were buried in her skin itself. Underneath, he could just make out something sweet but earthy, in a much different way to the other woman. This smelled almost like gingerbread without the seasonings. Molasses, maybe?

The white-haired woman had the most concerning smells. Chemicals. Vile, horrific chemicals that burned out almost all the other scents. If he hadn’t smelled the women when they walked in the room before her, he might not have been able to smell them at all over the smell of chemicals. But mixed in with it and the weird scent of honey and what he could distinctly place as Vick’s rub, was the thing that really concerned him.

Corpses.

She smelled like corpses.

Just the scent of the decay on her made his mouth water in an uncomfortable way. He could smell putrescine and cadaverine from the cell autolysis. It was triggering his hunger, and he had to swallow in order to speak up.

“Well, whatever the case, we should maybe introduce ourselves. I’m Harley Fadel. As he spoke, something strange happened. He could almost hear his own voice, fracturing out and away from him, branching off into different languages. Almost. It was a strange sensation, but he knew that some of his words had been changed. He frowned and slowly leaned back in the chair, staring down into the coffee cup and hoping the chemical smell burning his nose would dissipate.​
 
Another woman walked in, at this one was dressed properly, but she also had that red hair. When she spoke, though, she spoke differently than the other two, another language? Nat's eyebrows knit themselves together as she tried to work out the mess of a situation. The new girl looked studious, like she might be a bluecoat, with a book tucked under her arm. She looked nervous, a tad scared, embarrassed, so much so she took off her glasses and replaced them with a strange mask just to hide her face. Natasha realized she might seem like she was scowling at her, and she softened her expression; judging by the reaction of the others, no one quite knew what was going on.

"It's okay, none of us are going to hurt you, (Spokojnie, nikt z nas cię nie skrzywdzi)" Natasha said, as gently as she could. She didn't think the woman could understand her, but she hoped her tone of voice would communicate her meaning.

She briefly forgot peaceful intentions when the fifth person came in, she was massive, the tallest person Nat had ever seen. Maybe even taller than Solotovich. With strange clothing - far too revealing - and... paint? On her skin? She looked bizarre with white hair and yellow eyes, Nat's hand twitched to the hilt of her sword only briefly before she took a breath. Now was no time to jump to conclusions based on appearance. She carefully watched the... woman? Go over to the table and take some of the Workbrew and knock it back, she expressed anger and disgust at it and Nat couldn't help but a small smile on her face at that.

The one in black, and Natasha jumped in surprise that she could understand a few of his words.

"ja tylko undertood you!" she said. She blinked, the words sounded like hers, but they also weren't. I'm Harley Fadel, that's what he'd said, in his language, but also in Cassimirian somehow. "Harley Fadel," she repeated back to him, her voice still in its deeper raspy quality, and when heard for Harley carried a slight accent. She pointed at herself and spoke carefully "I am Natasha."
 
Pat looked at the last comer, and at a glance identified her as Seelie. Unlike the Unseelie who kept to quiet corners of the Capitol and University, she’d only rarely seen Seelie in person, and never any this tall. The giant walked up next to her and served herself out of the metal spigot that, based on the smell, held some kind of coffee. Unlike Patrisia, there was no apology from her, no shame in being here. She took a seat in the circle, and then spat out her first mouthful of coffee on the floor.

Pat was distracted from the big woman, and the booklet she’d picked up, by the Islander addressing her in a calming tone. She tilted her head at her, then bowed a little at the shoulders in acknowledgment instead of apologizing again. She doubted anyone here wanted another apology. Now that she was looking, though, she realized that everyone shared the same look of confusion to some degree. Except the Seelie, everyone seemed a little wary of each other. It helped her relax. Maybe she hadn’t just stumbled in on everyone else. Maybe they had gotten here by accident, too. It would explain the strange sensation the air had, the smells and materials she didn’t recognize.

The man in the strangely waxed leathers spoke up, and, while she heard his language, she heard another language too – not Capitol common, but Brydlenesse, the language of her home. She found herself smiling a little as she walked over to take her own seat, careful to avoid the coffee on the ground. Something about this was starting to make sense. Not in a real way, but in a way that was real enough to a Keeper. Even a journeyman.

The man in leathers, who she was starting to doubt was actually from the inland seashore, was Harley Fadel. The brown-haired woman with the sword, who was probably not an islander, was Natasha. She spoke a different language from Harley Fadel, which could still be heard under the Brydlenesse. Pat could hear the language, and the other languages that the others must be hearing. Her nerves were quickly giving way to something else. Excitement. Excitement, and curiosity. She set the heavy copy of Sailor Birdsong on her lap, as well as the booklet advertising “therapy.”

Patrisia, she said, only a second after Natasha gave her name. She continued, not in the Common but in fast Brydlenesse, “I understand some of your words.”

Like Natasha, anyone listening would hear a slight accent from her. In the English, it would be difficult, if not impossible to place. The closest might be faintly Irish, or Scottish, or specific areas of New England. Her gloved hands folded over the books, but she rubbed the inside of her right hand with her left out of nervous habit.
 
Tam stood back up momentarily as the masked man spoke, stopping at the table as her ears caught some of his words. She froze in place, her eyes locked on the brochures on the table but seeing nothing as her full mind focused on what she thought she heard. His words- they weren't spoken in the common vocalizations of the crude insectoids that crawled the tunnels of Cyarp.

No, Tamar heard him in the tongue she had not even spoken herself in nearly twenty years. High Ank'yul, the language of gods, the secret language of her home. Swallowing hard, she picked up a brochure and moved to sit back down with far more interest in whatever was going on. This was no hallucination, Tamar dared not even dream in the language she cherished so deeply, something inexplicable was occurring here.

Grasping her throat, Tamar's fingertips would glow gently as she twisted and manipulated her vocal cords. She would not sit here, listening as others had their words reflected in her precious language and not speak it herself. As she shriveled, regrew, shriveled, and regrew them again and again, she spoke,

"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Waltz, bad nymph, for quick jigs vex. Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow."

Blinking as she felt satisfied, Tam took account of the names of those before her. The strangely dressed woman- Patrisia, the masked man- Harley Fadel, and the sabre wielder- Natasha. She needed only the name of the more simply dressed woman now, but it seemed as though it was not yet her turn to speak? Looking down at the brochure, Tam read the word 'therapy' and suddenly felt a wave of understanding wash over her.

Smiling gently, she looked at the others from her chair and introduced herself, "Tamar Stervyatnik. But speak my name as Tam. The pleasure is mine." While it seemed a little obvious, looking at the brochure and seeing the eclectic group gathered, what they were here for. Tam was only further confused as to how they got here- and why.
 
Penelope blinked. Paranoia made her acutely aware of these strange people, which was one thing. Weird things were weird things and thanks to Phyllis she had learned to take them in stride. Ghost, tall woman with white hair. Same difference really. Maybe she was too tired to care. But slowly, something even weirder happened. Like wading into water, the sounds of their foreign words morphed into something intelligible, until they were speaking English.

Tamar. Patrisia. Harley. Natasha. Penny was good at remembering names. They had a way of searing themselves into her brain and were hard to forget. They encompassed so much about a person.

She leaned forward off the wall, keeping her arms crossed, and walked over to the door again, pulling on the door once more, praying it would budge and she could leave this bullshit. Unfortunately the door stayed stucked. She sighed, resting her head on the door, and then turned back to the circle, snatching a pamphlet from the table, and untying her apron before she sat down on one of the chairs, taking a deep breath.

"Penelope...most people call me Penny."
 
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