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The quiet movement had signaled someone or something was coming. However, Alenia began to call. The creature's head moved a little. Her pulse, her presence was returning and it pinged against its senses. And something else, too. Something smaller, behind her.
But the woman came closer, her quiet step on the stairs, creaking, stopped short a distance away. Too far away. The creature's head moved more, in that blind way that was nearly looking at her but not quite.
As Alenia crept closer, she could see there was movement from the creature. When she had first come across the creature, she had seen how the edges of his form shifted, frothed and played on the edges of her vision. And now it did the same thing. Though this time, it was tangible tentacles she could see that were moving, testing, quietly exploring the edges of their confines of their shadowy imprisonment of the corner of the landing.
You can come back.
The voice of the woman was reaching something inside.
But there was too much. There was too much going on. Feeling. Sensation. [i Hunger]. That was king, hovering over everything else. It muddled everything like dirty water, underwater, muffled, and then shot certain things into hyper-focus.
The woman's voice, like a needle, punctured in through what felt like a membrane of separation from everything else.
The head of the creature turned away, a low, coughing rumble coming from it.
There was a moment, as the cat stayed laid on the bed, that Alenia thought she might actually stay put. But it was not to be. She was determined to come along. And after a short battle at the door, in which the elf attempted to block her from exiting, she gave in and allowed the animal to follow. She just hoped that the not so little thing wouldn’t get fully riled up again. Myh had just calmed down and Alenia wanted to keep her that way. And luckily enough, she did. Sure, she looked on edge, so was the elf. But the animal managed to remain at the intensity and not begin to hiss as they sneaked in closer and closer to the landing. She wondered what it was going to take to fix this… It might be out of her league. Doubts crept up in the woman’s heart, but she stayed firm for the time being. She had to at least try.
Peaking over the banister down to the huddled mass, she looked down to the twisted form of her friend. With the lack of movement she believed he might have gone back into a sort of idle state, like when she had initially found him. But she didn’t want to chance it. So from that distance and with a quiet voice, she began to call out to the man. [b “Alvér?”] Her hands clung tightly to the railing she was looking over, nervous and a touch fearful. [b “Alvér.”] There was a sense of quiet urgency in her voice.
If the creature reacted to her soft call, she did not see it. So the elfin woman became emboldened. She started to make her way closer. Her movements were cautious, ever so careful not to make too loud of a sound, and she was sure to stay in the light as much as possible. Like this she was able to brave her way down a few steps, but stopped short by several meters of the landing he was on. It was a distance farther than she had seen any of his tendrils reach, so she was fairly confident he could not reach her. At least not without stepping into the light and enduring the venomous rays.
There she tried again, calling the drow’s name at the same volume as before, but closer and with a better view of him. [b “Alvér, it’s me, Alenia.”] She liked to think that might make a difference, however somehow she doubted it. Her eyes watched for any sort of reaction. She desperately wanted to help him, but Alenia had to know he was still in there somewhere first. [b "That's still you, right? You're still in there... just a little lost..."] she may have asked a question, but she stated it as if she was trying to convince herself. [b "But it is okay, because we are here now, you're not alone. You can come back out and everything will be okay."] Alenia's voice was soft and soothing, much like she had been with Myhrr just a short while ago. [b "...Please come back... we miss you."] She was certain she spoke for both of them there, but even if that was not the case, she missed him.
Myhrr stared at Alenia as she spoke again, looking as if in interest, and stayed put until Alenia started to shift. Then, she moved off of her and crouched on the bedspread.
When Alenia went to leave, the cat got up and followed, casual, as if she hadn't just been told to stay put, and walked with Alenia. Her movements were almost silent, especially as they got closer to the stairs again. Her steps got more fluid, more weight shift, her body language lowering a bit, pupils large, and ears forward.
She peered around the corner of the stairs out from behind Alenia, whiskers atwitch as she scented everything.
The creature, having settled itself in the corner of the landing, in the shadow of where the sun didn't touch, was deceptively still as Alenia appeared over the top banister.
It had laid down, curling up a bit in something similar to the coil that she had initially seen it in, but this time its upper body and Alvér's still, mask-like face was visible on top. It shifted, raising a bit as it heard her footsteps, muffled, creak over the wood floor beneath the runner carpet in the upper hall.
The cat did respond in kind, letting out a mewl of her own, but it did Alenia little good. The verbal gesture had no coherent meaning to her. Just like she was sure her words meant little to Myhrr other than that she was getting attention. Which she lapped up, even going so far as to demand more. The elf laughed. [b “You are silly.”] Still, she gave in and scratched at the animal’s ear as she sniffed her way up her other arm.
Her aura, magical signature and all, was odd. The woman couldn’t help but wonder what was going on inside the little creature. But she didn’t dwell on it. Whatever it was, it wasn’t of great importance. Myh seemed fine with the change, and the energy she was feeding into Alenia was warm. Though her tongue was ticklish on the bard’s skin. She attempted to be a good sport but eventually had to pull away. [b “Alright, that’s enough of that.”] Her voice remained bubbly, keeping good humor even if she was putting an end to the kitten’s fun.
However, her mood seemed to shift slightly as she leaned back. [b “I really should do something about this, huh?”] Sitting around and waiting wasn’t going to change anything. [b “You stay here.”] The elf tried to instruct the cat as she wiggled away from her so that she could stand and grab her lyre. If that thing really was trapped by the light, it would be bad to waste time here. If she couldn’t get a response out of Alvér, she might have to leave. And it was best to do that during the remaining day hour. Alenia was nervous enough to go into the woods again, so for everyone’s sake, she hoped for the best as she attempted to slip cautiously out of the room without Myhrr.
Myhrr gave a gurgling half of a meow that formed out of a purr, but never made it out of her throat, as if she were saying her own name. She closed her eyes, whiskers scritching over Alenia's skin as she made another pass of nuzzling.
Alenia separated them in a moment, Myhrr staring back at her as she spoke.
Mewing again, the cat started smelling around Alenia again, making her way down the bard's arm and to her palm, that she smelled at. She pressed her face into Alenia's relaxed palm, and with that contact, the caster could feel the magic in them both as if static. Myhrr moved again, smelling at Alenia's chest, around her collarbones, and then did the same, and Alenia felt the glow in response once more, much warmer. It was there that Myhrr, after smelling around a but more, started to lick at gently with her rough tongue.
Smiling at the way it almost looked like Myh could understand her by how she stared into her eyes, Alenia felt a little better. Turns out these cuddles weren’t just to help her not so little friend. She was especially delighted when the cat shifted up so that their faces pressed together and took no time to start nuzzling the animal back. [b “You sure do know how to cheer a girl up. I should have invited you in a couple of days ago.”] Maybe that would have helped her get out of bed and ended her moping a little sooner. Oh well, it was in the past now, but surely if she needed the support in the future, the redhead knew where to go. Perhaps Myhrr held the answers to other things as well.
[b “What should I do?”] Pulling back just enough to look into her milky eyes, Alenia didn’t know what she was looking for in them. [b “I know that somewhere in that thing is Alvér, but I don’t even know how to begin to fix whatever is going on… we could wait it out in here and hope that he can’t get in once the sun goes down. Or I can go out there and actually try something…”] Brown eyes intent on the cat’s face, she debated on which was the right answer, if either.
Myhrr's spine arched into Alenia's hand running along it, the cat shifting and rubbing her side along the woman's legs once, then turning around and doing it again. Each pass came with a gentle headbutt, that third eye closing to protect itself.
They were glimmering eyes with different fractals of milky color in them, pale like moonstone.
Her head turned up to Alenia when she talked, gazing at her. Giving another, purring, quiet meow, she sat back on her hind paws, bringing her front two up and onto Alenia's lap very carefully. Once situated, the cat leaned up and forward and close to the bard's face, smelling around her and then pushing her face over the apple of Alenia's cheek. From here, she could feel how Myhrr was purring, and hear it closely.
Pulling back to smell around the woman's face again, Alenia could see that the third eye was pupilless and milky. She pushed her face against Alenia's brow this time, squishing her ear against her.
It took a bit of effort on the cat’s part to get down, but Alenia was glad to see her trying. She praised the animal as she came slowly down from atop the tall bedpost. It didn’t take much more cooing to get her to come, which she was glad for. That bald little head bumped into her and the woman finally felt free to pet the overgrown sphinx. Patting her head only shortly, she moved on to running her hand down her velvety back. [b “It’s going to be okay.”] She was trying to convince herself just as much as she was Myhrr. [b “We are going to find a way to fix things back to normal.”] Well, as normal as Alenia knew things to be. She was certain she had disrupted Myh and Alvér’s life pretty thoroughly, so the cat’s normal her hers were probably very different.
As she mindlessly pet the previously pink kitten, Alenia started trying to think of ways to undo whatever it was that was going on. It was probably her fault in the first place… She had said too much the other day. Her heart felt heavy. [b “I wish you could talk to him Myhrr. I bet you would know just what to say to make things better.”] Though, even if that were the case it wouldn't be fair to her. If this really was Alenia's fault then Myh shouldn't have to be the one to clean it up.
Myhrr's gaze followed Alenia as she moved to sit down on the bed, leaning just that amount forward to be able to peer down at her from over the canopy edge.
There came a little, hoarse whisper of a meow from the animal. Despite her bigger size, her voice remained just as soft as it had when she was smaller.
Her ears perked forward at the tutting. She was used to that, it was a homey sound that Alvér would use for her. The cat almost started forwards at that. But she had to negotiate how to get [i down] now. Looking around there was the just straight jumping from the canopy option... and trying to claw her way down the post option...
The cat decided to do a mixture of both. She moved over to the corner and started smelling around a way down. First came the front paws, inching her down until she made it, stretched, partway, whereas the animal launched off and made it to the floor with a hefty thump.
From there, Alenia's cooing intensified, praising her for coming down and her attention turned to her. She paused, looking back at the door, ears swiveling, and stepped. Paused. Stepped closer.
Then finally allowed herself to run her face into Alenia's knee.
Stayed at the door for a moment, pointed ears listened for anything that might suggest the creature had escaped its prison of light. But nothing came. Taking in a deep breath, she let out a sigh of relief. They would probably be fine for now. There would be time to get her instrument and think about nonviolent countermeasures if he did come knocking on the door. However, before that, it would probably be best to attempt to calm the cat. Leaving her freaked like this felt cruel.
Looking up to the top of the ornate bed, Alenia saw the triad of eyes peering down at her. [b “Oh Myhrr,”] she called to the kitty as she approached her bed. [b “You look like a gargoyle all perched up high like that. Come on down. It should be okay for now.”] There was no way to tell that for sure, not without going and checking. But she was not willing to do that so soon, so she chose to believe her assumption and use the calm it brought to try and coax the cat down. Taking a seat on the bed below Myhrr, Alenia patted the soft mattress, calling her down with a repetitive click of her tongue.
Sat there, she also had a good view of outside. It told her how late in the afternoon it was. The bard estimated they had another hour of sunlight before things got dicey again. For a moment, her eyes flickered away from the cat and to her Lyre. It was on the nightstand, just where she remembered. It was in quick grabbing range should she need it. However, she let it be for now and continued to focus on the startled animal.
Running down the hall with Alenia, Myhrr was taking the lead. Her goal was the only other open door in the hallway, which was Alenia's, and she reached it first. Alenia ran in after her, seeing the cat leap and bound off of the table and the wall to go hide in the canopy of the bed, up top, where less things could get her.
So when Alenia finally put her back to the door, she saw three glimmering green/blue eyes staring down at her from the bed's roof.
The cat hunkered down more, head twitching toward the distant noise of the creature and just drawing back into more of a ball. Agitation sang in how she crouched, tail lashing and ears swiveling.
But when the bard moved again, Myhrr's head twitched back to watch her from her vantage point.
The slopping of his near-fluid body behind the two of them was nearly instant. Terror took hold of her heart just as fast. What would have happened if she hesitated a moment longer? She tried not to think of it, but the pounding in her chest quickened. The hammering was close to painful as she turned into the hall. Blood pounding through her veins filled her ears, but it wasn’t quite loud enough to cover the sound of shrieking. Alenia rather foolishly glanced behind her. She could not shake the feeling that Alvér was still somewhere in that thing.
Searching eyes caught the tail end of the monster’s skin crawling in the light and then it skittering down the stairs. She was glad she chose to continue toward the other wing. The goal was to get to her room, preferably with Myh, and lock themselves in there. That was where her lyre was, so she would at least be able to defend them to some capacity. That and considering it hadn’t escaped his room; she was hoping a door might be enough to stop it. If not there were windows. A jump from the second story, or on to the roof wasn’t ideal, but whatever worked.
She had to fight the urge to turn back and go to the fumbling creature. But since the cat was giving no such doubts, the woman continued on until they reached her room. Thankfully, she was breathlessly able to convince Myhrr to follow her in before she locked the door. Unlike Alvér, she wasn’t one for locking enchantments, but if worse came to worst she could fall back to some sort of holy defense for them. If that thing didn’t like light, she was sure it would hate that even more. But for the time being, she was practically praying that it wouldn’t come to that and that Alvér would snap out of whatever this was soon.
The sound of the creature followed her. The cat's and then the elf's sudden bursts of movement gave it a heading to start towards.
It used all of its appendages to push itself through the doorway and into the hall, finding the opposite wall and stopping against it. Not a moment later, the sound of pounding feet caught it's attention, the head snapping around and lurching the body into motion after it.
In the later afternoon, the sun was streaming through the tall bank of windows at the back of the stairs, flooding it with warm light that Alenia and the cat passed through .
The creatures kind of odd almost silence was broken by a strangled noise as its momentum carried it into the early evening sun. There it stopped, rearing a bit. On the side of its body, it seemed the flesh revolted, pulling back and disappearing from parts of the body, leaving it smoother, smaller.
It moved back, trying to find its bearings, and slipped down the first set of stairs to the landing, where shadow was found underneath that center bank of windows, where the sun didn't reach. It stayed low, wheezing a bit and being still. On its hands and knees, roughly, it felt around with blind hands and tentacles on the landing.
The sound it made as it pulled its unstructured body across the floor one arm-length at a time was unearthly. Or at least not the type of sound you expected to hear from a person. Alenia couldn’t break her gaze from him. It had gotten [i so bad.] How? Should she have come in sooner to try and break him of this? No, she knew the door was locked. He did not want anyone in to see this, though something was different now. The creature was moving to meet them, and with each inch closer it drew, the woman’s stomach twisted a little but more. It shouted at her. ‘Danger,’ it screamed. But she stayed motionless, transfixed on what was before her. He arched, much like Myhrr had before hitting the door. That bad feeling in her got worse. She could practically feel how stressed the cat next to her was. They needed to go. As the tangled monstrosity seem to hit the height of its bowing, finally, Myh gave up on her and bolted away. More on instinct, Alenia followed suit. She ran straight back to the door, not entirely sure where they were going other than away.
The empty eyes on the face were pulled slightly, misshapen, as the thing moved. It dragged the other limb out, what would have been Alvér's left arm. It was overrun by tentacles and flesh, sliding across the floor and stabilizing the thing. It seemed that side of the body was more pendulous, had more to it. More of its lower body coiled behind it, great rolls of large, knotted tentacle-flesh, and smaller, nimbler things.
The thing had to drag itself nearer, the head dropping and the tentacles and flesh nearly dripping off of it. It had a wheezing quality to it as it seemed to scent Alenia, as it had no perceivable eyes. But she knew she was being watched.
It seemed to stop for a moment, the empty head turning up again, and then around, lolling to the side as the body coiled up behind it. It pushed with all of the appendages on its body to come closer, the one good arm and the mass of surrounding body parts all searching around like whiskers for surroundings.
She called his name in a small voice.
Its head twitched to the side, the body shuddering. The back bent, further, arching. The hissing sound of flesh on flesh, of touching and moving over the things on the bare floor, and Alenia's breathing were the only noise aside from a low, growling warning from the cat.
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