In the Night - Whateley Theory Prelude

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[21:55] <@David-Visage> Aunt Dory hadn't been Emily's favourite aunt.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> She'd had other aunts, those on her mother's side and a large number of female relatives or friends of the family who were too young to be called 'granny', and Dory hadn't really impressed her.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> Her father's sister didn't visit too often and she'd not been the type to spoil her nieces and nephews. The woman dressed like she didn't have any one to impress, walked confidentially but not carelessly, and Emily had even heard a different 'aunt' suggest that Dory was 'probably one of those butch sorts'.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> Dorothea Lynch seemed to be quite different than 'Aunt Dory' had been.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> Emily had woken with the taste of blood and ozone in her mouth, biting her lip as she nightmares and memories mingled in her mind, and had been drenched in sweat for reasons beyond the heat of the summer night.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> Aunt Dory wasn't there.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> The idea sent a stab of panic through the teenager as she stepped hesitantly out of her room, out of the guest room which Dorothea had given her and carried to her when all she'd wanted to do was curl up and weep.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> Every other time her aunt had been there when she woke, somehow having known that Emily would need help or perhaps having heard her gasps from her own bed elsewhere in the apartment, but for the first time Emily was alone.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> Heat rushed over her skin, her nightclothes stirring as a scorching arid wind ruffled them, and Emily felt something stir inside her as she moved through the darkened apartment. Power offered itself to her, sang in her veins, but for now she needed help.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> She needed her aunt.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> She needed not to remember the smell of lighter flu-

Thoughts slid past each other, minds merged like drops of water, and memories merged in a container of flesh which gave them form and relevance.

From two came one and, once more, that one was alone again.

Just somewhat more than she had been before.

[21:55] <@David-Visage> -uid.

[22:06] <Patches> Slender freckled legs lock for a moment, the feel of heat against the skin and taste and scent of lighter fluid on the mind triggering a particularly ingrained response. Drop and roll. Drop and roll. She throws herself to the floor, too unfamiliar with the apartment to be wary of any furnishings that might be in the way. Pull your clothes off.. They're soaked in the stuff… They'll go up at any minute… And why… Why isn't it hotter? She lays there on the floor, panting, confused beyond any words.

[22:12] <@David-Visage> The rug on the floor provided a degree of padding, enough at least to lessen any bruises gained from such a sudden action, as Emily's nightmare clouded mind caused her to pursue such an abrupt course of action.

[22:12] <@David-Visage> The heartbeat was loud in her ears as she gulped in the air, warm yet not hot, and found there was no trace of actual fluid to be found. Part of her born from the nightmares insisted with lessening strength that it had to be there

[22:12] <@David-Visage> Yet the less panicked parts of her mind gradually dispersed such false beliefs as she lay there, her top half off by her own hands, and a quiet clatter audible as one torn off button rolled along a section of floor not covered by the rug.

[22:19] <Patches> A teenager may have began screaming at that point… Something she's done enough in her sleep without knowing. But these feelings of panic and horror meet a gentle acceptance, something that guides her body into evening out her breath, letting the pranayama slow her heart. A body that moves too easily, and hurts in unfamiliar places. A body that is surprised NOT to hurt in other. A panic attack… That has to be it… She rolled up off the floor, slim little arms wrapped around her as she tries to hold her PJ's top shut.

[22:27] <Patches> Her Aunt… She needs to find Dory. If she doesn't find her soon she's going to start screaming, and not just with her voice.

[22:30] <@David-Visage> With several buttons lost somewhere in the darkness the top wouldn't stay closed by itself, but one hand let Emily keep the white top aiding her modestly as she calmed herself. The taste of ozone still lingered, hints of an acrid scent of something corrosive also present, but there was no smoke. No fire.

[22:30] <@David-Visage> A clock on the hall table provided the only light here. Glowing digits showed the time as 03:42 even as they gave the hallway a vague and shadowy illumination and let Emily see that the door at the end of the hall was open rather than shut as it was when she'd gone to bed. There were a few others rooms, kitchen, the two bedrooms, pantry, and bathroom, in the apartment but if her aunt was awake then she'd likely be in the oversized lounge…

[22:36] <Patches> Bare feet bad softly across the elder wooden floors of the apartment, her slight weight barely enough to make a sound as she speed walks over to the lounge. She pauses at the threshold, her mind still a jumble. And so, she listens. Listens for breathing, listens for snoring, listens to small metal objects jostling…

[22:41] <@David-Visage> No sounds of breathing beyond her own, no snoring or snorting of a sleeping figure, could be heard by Emily as she walked passed the other bedroom. Unlike her family's home the apartment was quiet beyond the more distant sounds of the city.

[22:41] <@David-Visage> When she took the time to listen though, to pay attention, she could hear those distant sounds of cars in the streets outside. Feel the warm rush of air from the urban environment up in the cool air. Hear the pressures of stone against stone in the earth beneath the building.

[22:41] <@David-Visage> Something inside her, something old, gave her those things yet it could give her no trace of her aunt. Nothing that small so easily registered.

[22:51] <Patches> She continued through the apartment, padding gently along the long hall of the former row house. She poked her head into the lounge when she passed it, ears and eyes alert for any sign of the familiar. She strains her senses for any sign of that comforting presence.

[22:56] <@David-Visage> "Emily?"

[22:56] <@David-Visage> The voice asked the name as a question, a little rough but familiar after long nights hearing it reassuring her, called from across the lounge. A standing lamp was on, lighting up a recliner, and next to it sat Dorothea on a foot stool with a green plastic box on her lap.

[22:56] <@David-Visage> Dorothea looked over towards her niece and asked quietly, "Did you have a bad dream again? Sorry if I didn't hear it, hon…"

[23:02] <Patches> Tears well up in her eyes at this face that is.. frankly.. only dimly remembered until… until… She lets out a long, howling sob and runs at her, throwing her arms around the woman heedless of the box and or stool. Her rock. Her salvation. Her light in this storm running through her mind.

[23:04] <@David-Visage> Strong arms caught Emily, cushioned and slowed her as she hurled herself into them, yet somehow their owner didn't topple from her seat. Instead Dorotea held her niece and spoke soothingly, repeating reassurances to her, "Don't worry, hon. I got you. You're safe now. I got you…"

[23:10] <Patches> She was strong, she remembered that much. These feelings, of being held. Of being consoled. Everything tells her to hold on tighter and never let go!

[23:13] <@David-Visage> The plastic box was an uncomfortable thing, hard and jutting into Emily as it was crushed between the two by the embrace, but her aunt didn't complain. Instead a hand rubbed a soothing circle on Emily's back as she waited for the young girl to calm, or at least relax slightly, before speaking again, "Sorry for not being there for you. I had a visitor."

[23:16] <Patches> Part of her says that this isn't healthy. This level of need and dependency. But it's a small part at the moment, and fucks off nicely in the face of the soothing sensation of a hand rubbing her back. She tries not to death grip her aunt, and slips back into the controlled three stage breathing she used earlier to gather herself. Don't think about the future. Don't think about the past. Don't think. Just breath.

[23:23] <@David-Visage> Gradually the rubbing slowed until Emily was just held, supported by her aunt in a single pool of light within the darkened house, and that reassuring voice quietly guided her into breathing in the correct rhythm. Only when it had helped, when Emily was thinking more clearly, did the embrace ease and her aunt said teasingly, "Well, someone's been paying attention to some of my practices…"

[23:29] <Patches> "I have?" She can barely remember her aunt doing anything like this… But then… She can remember laying on a yoga mat, smelling humiliation as she contorted enough to… She shakes her head, raising her hands to pat her face a few times. Incidentally letting her damaged PJs show.

[23:33] <@David-Visage> "Well, not all of them." Dorothea corrected herself with a faintly concerned look for the redhead teen then carefully moved Emily out to arms length to study her properly, "What have you been doing to yourself, hon? I know it'd been a hot summer, but there's easier ways to get your top off in a hurry you know…"

[23:34] <Patches> "I thought I was burning…" She says softly…

[23:38] <@David-Visage> "The smoke alarm would have gone off." Dorothea replied simply and both could recall how it had been specially fitted for that purpose after one nightmare had ended with lightning scorching the bedsheets. She studied Emily for a moment longer then murmured, "You're not feeling all panicked about that still, are you? I'm pretty good at punching bad things, but bad dreams are a little beyond me."

[23:41] <Patches> She looks up at her aunt with wide wet eyes and nods her head, "I could… could…" She starts to tear up again, and then does a few deep breaths and holds them to stave off panic. "I could smell lighter fluid. I could taste it. And it was HOT…" She starts to shake and tremble as the full weight of those memories crashes down on her.

[23:47] <@David-Visage> "Emily Lynch." Dorotea said in an insistent but harsh tone, "You are not there. You are not in danger. And the nearest lighter fluid is three houses down where Steven lives and insists on smoking those ridiculous home rolled cigars of his. And if he comes near you with a lighter then I'll stuff it up his ass and then introduce the cigar box to his bowels!"

[23:50] <Patches> The name doesn't whip fear into her soul any more. Mainly because only half of her responds to it. But that only raises lots and lots of uncomfortable questions. "Who came?" she asks after a long quiet moment.

[23:54] <@David-Visage> "A friend of mine who is in town." Dorotea replied as she took Emily by the shoulders and moved her to sit on the recliner before starting to deal with the green first aid box which had been on her own lap, "He has a few issues with doctors and hospitals, but managed to get cut so he asked me to take a look at it for him and clean it up."

[00:00] <Patches> "Was he shot?" She asks softly. "That why he didn't want to go?"

[00:03] <@David-Visage> "No, hon." Emily said, shaking her head slowly, even as she popped open the box in an obviously well practiced motion and checked the contents, "Some moron had a beer bottle and, like they say, the best swordsman in the world doesn't fear the second best swordsman. He fears the worst one because he doesn't know what the idiot will do next… In this case the idiot did go to hospital from punching my friend holding it."

[00:05] <Patches> She looks at the contents of the box with great curiosity! "Ouch. Sounds like that really sucked." Didn't she have an uncle who'd done something like that…

[00:08] <@David-Visage> "The other guy's hand came off much worse, but my friend wanted me to check if any bits of were in the cuts and get them out for him." Dorotea said as she rewound unused bandage back onto a roll, "Drunks can be a problem when they're too on the sauce to realise they should be falling over rather than getting into fights."

[00:11] <Patches> "Yeah. Cause then they go whine to the clinic about not having ID and smell up the waiting room." She sighs without really thinking about it.

[00:13] <@David-Visage> Dorotea gave Emily a pointed look, "That better not be something you found out personally."

[00:15] <Patches> She blinks a few times… "I… MAY have fallen down when i thought I was on fire…"

[00:17] <@David-Visage> "That's changing the subject." Dorotea pointed out, but the declined to follow the matter up, "So, did you get any bruises to anything beyond your pride?"

[00:18] <Patches> "Just hoping I didn't hit my head." She says more seriously.

[00:21] <@David-Visage> "Come here." Her aunt said almost needlessly, strong hands gently running over Emily's head as they checked for non-existent bruises. Dorotea peered into her neices eyes briefly, seemingly untroubled by their startling hue, and after a few more checks finally nodded, "You don't seem to have hurt it… Does it hurt?"

[00:23] <Patches> "No…" She says slowly. She can't meet her gaze for long. Not with her eyes a stunning shade that can only be called electric blue. Combined with her milk pale skin and almost flame red hair, she'd be perfectly striking! Were it not for the generous dose of freckles that covered her skin like spots on a leopard.

[00:25] <@David-Visage> "There's that anyway." Dorotea allowed before letting go with a soft sigh, "I know they're going to teach you how to defend yourself when you're at the Academy, like I told you, but they're really going to have to start with the basics. I mean how to fall without getting hurt."

[00:28] * Patches pouts, "I wasn't really worried about the fall hurting…" she whines. "What else are they going to teach me there?" she asks, and then remembers the answers to her own questions.

[00:30] <@David-Visage> "I should make you write that sort of thing out if you're forgetting again." Dorotea replied even as her hands moved back to the box and resumed straightening the contents, "Like I said before though, you are going to learn how to keep yourself safe in a fight because it isn't good if you always have to fall back on tossing around lightning or fire at people."

[00:32] <Patches> "Lightning is fun?" She counters back.

[00:38] <@David-Visage> A stirring inside Emily tried to give her the feeling that it definitely could be. And more would be even more fun. Really.

[00:39] <@David-Visage> Dorotea shook her head as she clicked the first aid box shut, "Not always. And people'd get really jumpy if you did a tazer imitation all the time."

[00:40] <Patches> "Well then they shouldn't…" But she bites her lower lip, and with surprising maturity sighs. "Yes Dory."

[00:44] <@David-Visage> "That's right: 'Yes, Dory'." Dorotea stood up, put the box down on the stool behind her, then rolled her shoulders as though to loosen them before giving Emily another Look, "Now, if you do get the basics down quick then I'll see about teaching you something interesting when you're back here. For now though, can you get back to bed yourself or do I need to carry you?"

[00:50] <Patches> She takes a look down the long hall, dimly lit if at all… And with a shudders grabs hold of her aunt's hand. "I can walk…" She says, her voice quavering only a little.

[00:54] <@David-Visage> "I didn't turn on the lights because I thought it might leak under the door and wake you or something." Dorotea said as she gave Emily's hand a squeeze then stood up. "Let's get you back to bed though… Unless you really want to be sleeping on the recliner here if someone comes by in the morning?"

[00:55] <Patches> "It's gonna put a crick in my back. I can tell." She fusses.

[00:59] <@David-Visage> "I was thinking you'd be more worried about the morning client coming by and wondering who the girl whose lost some buttons is." Dorotea said with a faint smile before nudging Emily towards the bedrooms.

[01:01] <Patches> "Oh…" She considers, and then wrinkles up her face a little bit. "No, but if he tries to touch me I'm zapping him regardless." She takes a moment to hug Dory tight, really tight, before turning silently on her heel and drifting back to bed.

[01:05] <@David-Visage> The older woman walked with Emily to the corridor, clicking on the light inside to dismiss the shadows which had lingered ominiously before, then waited at the door to the guest room until she saw the teeanger in bed. Quietly she murmured, "You get a good night's sleep, Emily. Tomorrow could be a long day… but just call if you need help. You got that?"

[01:12] <Patches> "Yes Dory." She calls out of from her bed. "I'll try to get rest."

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Session Notes:

This session was run on 14 May 2014 between David-Visage (acting as GM) and Patches (playing Emily). Minimal alterations to content (primarily in formatting, removal of OOC comments, and correction of spelling) have been made.