The Eye of Zelda

Last night, mackerel clouds began to skitter across the sky, and by this morning, a thin, high, wind-twisted layer of clouds obscured the raging sun. This afternoon, the clouds grew thicker and heavier, while the wind began to rise and fall sporadically. As sunset comes on, a thin, dreary drizzle has begun, and the wind has fallen silent. The light outdoors is of peculiar quality, a yellow-green that makes the autumn landscape look bleak before its time.

Josh is scrambling through town, chuckling at his poor luck and lack of foresight. He doesn't have any heave covering against the weather, and is coming down from the mountain. He picks up his pace to a faster jog, leaving prints in the muddy ground as he beats feet towards the Diner for shelter. And some food, of course.

Layla comes down Katahdin Road. She is shaking trace water droplets out of her hair. She keeps glacing skywards at the ominious colour of the sky.

Dusty stands in front of the library, surveying his contraption attatched to the roof. He frowns for a moment. "That'll have to do." he sighs.

Sashenka stands on the porch of the boarded up Diner, taping a sign to the door. It instructs all comers to head to the new storm shelter in the library to weather out the storm.

People from the Farm have been back and forth through town all day, supplying extra wood, non-perishable food, and strong backs to the more elderly townfolk. They've been quite grateful for help from the Diner-folk. At this point, though, they have returned to their Farm, and the townsfolk are doing the last bits of battening their hatches. Old Man Collins is hammering a second layer of plywood over his vulnerable bay window, while Mrs. Collins helps a quite elderly neighbor -- Miss Anita -- into their house from her less fortified dwelling. Mrs. Whittaker, the town's telephone operator and postmistress, is making fast the shutters on the windows of the post office. Fred Lemisch, the librarian, can be seen, fluttering in and out of the library, peering upward with worried eyes.

Tan Sin is standing in front of the library. He tugs on one of the boarded up windows to check it's strength, and then glances back at Dusty as the boy speaks. "You did what you could do Dusty, which is more than any of us. It will be fine."

Fred Lemisch steps into the street, peering once more at the sky through his thick glasses. "M-m-mayb-be it'll m-m-miss us, hey?" he says hopefully to Tan Sin and Dusty.

Sashenka surveys her handiwork, then goes into the Diner. A moment later she returns, several jugs of water in her arms. She carries them to the library.

There is something about Josh that makes him look older than he actually is. The area around his eyes has a touch of darkness to them, made even more prominent by the sea-green pupils. His white-blond hair is starting to become unkempt, hanging to just below his ears on a smudges, though clean-shaven, face.
His clothes are rumpled, the bottom edges of his blue jeans and black sneakers showing more than the standard amount of road dust. The woven leather belt he wears is unraveled at the end, and a bit of white t-shirt is not tucked into the front of his pants. The white t-shirt is covered by a denim jacket, which is fading at the elbows. He carries a battered backpack over his left shoulder, and a crossbow hangs off of hsi belt on his right side, the left holding the bolt case.

She is a tall, willowy redhead with green eyes that curiously compliment her dark Mediterranean complexion. She has classicallyNear Eastern features.She speaks with a unplaceable accent - definately not the flat American accent, but otherwise unplaceable.She is wearing a long dark cotton dress with Indian embroidery.Copper jewelry colours her wrists.

The woman before you is nearly six feet tall, a massive but well-proportioned combination of soft, plump breasts and belly and rounded, muscular arms and legs. The roundness of her weathered brown face is sharpened by a slender, proud hawk nose. Her dark eyes are attentive, compassionate, and just a bit mischievous; the wrinkled reminders of her laughter spread out from them like fertile river deltas. Deep smile lines bracket her wide mouth. It's hard to guess her age, but she's probably within a few years of 40, one way or the other.
Sashenka wears battered black moccasins, stretchy grey pants with grass stains at the knees, and a tunic-like black blouse with grey and white animals woven into the fabric. A brown leather pouch hangs at her waist. Her long, white-streaked cinnamon hair is braided with scraps of indigo ribbon and loosely looped at the sides of her head; on her crown are small piles of braids reminiscent of rounded animal ears. She regards you with interest.

Dusty's a small boy, roughly 14 years of age, with a wiry frame and dishwater blond hair haphazardly chopped above his eyes. His head is typically bowed, and he rarely meets anyone's eyes; if you manage to capture a glimpse of his, you'll see they are a luminous blue. His manner is meek and quiet, but he maintains a wary attention to his surroundings. Dusty's clothes are a patchwork of incongruent items; the base of jeans and layers of dirty shirts has been repaired innumerable times with found objects. On his left shoulder is a patch of tin attatched with electrical wire, across his chest are several plastic lids stitched with yarn, he has vinyl duct material on one arm, and a thick layer of electrical tape hides the holes in his shoes. His scent envokes images of grimy workshops, metal works, and engine compartments.

Tan Sin
Tan Sin is a tall, lean young man. He is asian, with short black hair and amber eyes. The eyes are usually hidden behind small, round, mirror sunglasses. He is dressed in loose black silk pants and tunic, with carved bone buttons. On the back of his left hand, the shining green tip of a tail can be seen tattoed on to his skin. The rest of the tattoo disappears under his sleeve. He moves with a slow, careful grace and his gaze is a combination of serenity and insolence.

Fred Lemisch
This is a rotund young man with small features and large, square, black glasses. He wears a dress shirt that is somewhat dingy with age, and a touch threadbare at the elbows, but the collar is starched within an inch of its life. His trousers are a little large for him, cinched tight at his waist with a worn leather belt. His black shoes are freshly polished.
He moves nervously, although his hands are dexterous and gentle with the many books that fill his life.

Dusty looks to the sky. "Doesn't seem like it. Sasha, it's gunna hit us, isn't it?" To the librarian, he offers "Soory about the mess we made in your library."

Tan Sin says " taps one of the nails that hold the plywood to the window. "That's probably what this fellow said. I think it's time to just get ready for the blow.""

Josh arrives at the Diner entrance just as Sashenka is coming out teh second time. He looks at the sign, and eeps, offering his empty arms to the woman, offering soundlessly to help carry the jugs.

Sashenka hands Josh a jug with a silent nod of thanks. As she passes Dusty, she glances at the sky and sniffs the air. "Yeah, Dusty, I'm afraid it is."

Fred Lemisch waves his hands desperately. "No, no, no... p-p-please d-d-don't worry ab-bout it. You're saving the b-b-books! They're what's imp-p-portant. I'm so g-grateful for your help."

Tan Sin looks over at Josh as he approaches with the jugs. "Did you see any stragglers out there?"

Josh shakes his head quickly as he walks with Sasha, cradling a jug under one arm. "Nope," he admits, giving Tan Sin a curious look. "I was alone in the Cathedral when i saw te clouds start rolling on." Dusty, who he does know, gets a smile, and a free hand ruffles the boy's hair. "No worries," he says. "We'll be all right."

A gust of wind snaps through town, bringing a heavier deluge of large, icy water droplets with it.

Dusty smiles for a moment at Josh, but a look to the sky brings back a worried expression. "I sure hope so. I just don't know what a Wyld storm will be like."

Fred Lemisch yelps as the cold water hits him and retreats into the library at a quick pace.
Fred Lemisch steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

Sashenka winces as several chilly drops hit the back of her neck. She drops the jugs off inside the library door and heads back for more.

This small, square, red brick building used to be the most nondescript sutructure in town. Until someone put a huge metal cone on the roof, open on both ends and lying on its side, with ramshackle fins attached to the downward curve of the smaller end. This whole ridiculous assembly has been welded to an old tractor wheel, the axle of which impales the roof in its center. The cone is clearly quite heavy, yet it moves gently in the breeze.
The remainder of the roof is in terrible condition; its few remaining shingles flap miserably in the wind, and strong gusts occasionally send one sailing far away. The brick walls are pitted and crumbling. Yet on closer inspection you notice painstakingly patched blinds shading the windows, and a pristine welcome mat on the rickety porch. It is recognizable as the library only due to an ancient particleboard sign propped next to the door, with the words "City Library" in obsessively careful handwriting.

Tan Sin grimaces at the scatterd rain drops and then trots after Sashenka. As he catches up to her, he asks "Do you still have those radios that you told me about? The ones you used when you rescued your friends from the hive?"

Old Man Collins gives Sashenka a friendly wave as he retreats into his house and shuts everything up tight.

Josh drops off his own jug, catching up to Sasha, right after Tan Sin. He's there to help her out, that much is certain.

As the rain starts to fall, Dusty springs to action. He rushes about, once more checking the boards, the moorings, the cables that inexpicably eminate from holes in the library wall. After some time of checking, he stops back where he started, and mumbles "O.k., enough checking. It'll either work or not. I'm hoping for work."

Sashenka waves back at Old Man Collins, calling out, "Good luck, Mr Collins! You have enough journeycake, right?" Clearly knowing he does, she turns toward Tan Sin. "No, Higami took those back, unfortunately -- but we'll all be inside for this anyway, right?" She opens the door to the Diner and passes out jugs and jars to Tan Sin and Josh, from a pile she's made just inside.

Tan Sin frowns slightly as he accepts a jug. "Right." He glances at the Collins house, and looks back at Sashenka. "But if you ever sense a lull in the storm, or the eye, some of us might want to check on the others."

Sashenka nods. "Of course. Hmmm." She looks up at the sky, sniffs again. "Should have thought of that before. I think we have enough time to nail some ropes between the houses, so we can follow them around and not get lost if we need to go outside."

Josh bundles his arms with some of the jars and jugs. Hey, a little socialization never hurt anyone, right. As he wanders back to the Library, he asks Dusty as he looks up. "Ok, what /is/ that?"
More gusts of wind begin to carry rippling sheets of rain over the trees from the southeast, heading toward town.

Layla shudders and heads onto the library.
Layla steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

Tan Sin smiles. "That is a good idea. Tool shed, right?" Without really waiting for an answer, he turns and trots across the street, delivering the jugs. He then comes back, heading for the shed. As he goes, he calls out to Sashenka "Have you ever heard the parable about the Tiger who fought a hurricane?"

Sashenka sets her armfuls down next to Josh, in front of the library. "Josh and Dusty, can you carry these down to the basement? Tan Sin, let's hurry and get that rope/ We don't have long."
Sashenka notices that Tan Sin has already gone, and trots to catch up. "No, I haven't."

Dusty sighs. "That," he sighs, "is a wind-changer. It gathers the wind and changes it to push it down on the roof. The old roof, and the new one we built inside, are strong if the wid comes down on them. But if the wind turns upwards, then the roofs won't last long. I hope this fixes the problem." He pauses. "But we'll find out if it works pretty darn soon."

Josh just whistles, way impressed with that. "Well, damn, I hope it does work. You'll be a hero if it does. But, let's get that stuff downstairs, before Sasha gets mad."

Dusty nods, and, grabing some of the accumulating supplies, heads into the library.

Tan Sin looks over his shoulder as Sashenka as she catches up with him. "That's because there isn't one yet. I really hope it stays that way. Parables usually end up kicking someones ass, and I doubt the loser will be that." He points up at the clouds, and opens the door to the shed.

Dusty steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.
Josh steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

Sashenka laughs, shaking her head, and helps Tan Sin haul out the big roll of rope. Then she grabs two hammers and a couple of cans of nails, and starts nailing the end of the rope to the Diner.
The wind begins to rise noticeably, whistling through the trees. The rain begins to pound over roofs and ground, coming down mixed with small pieces of ice that sting the skin.

Tan Sin says "One rope from each building to the library? Like a fan, and we can try to remember where each one leads according to their order.""

Dusty exits the library, accompanied by its rich, musty smell.

Sashenka looks at Tan Sin. "I was thinking of making a circle. If you want to patrol, you'll want to be able to go quickly and not have to return to the Library after every building, won't you?"

Dusty says "You guys need help?""

Tan Sin smiles, and then winces as a piece of sleet cathces his ear. "Better idea. Let's do this fast."
Sashenka nods at the boy. "Yes. Roll the rope over to Mr. Collins' place, please."

Dusty scrambles over to the spool and rolls it as fast as he can.

Tan Sin glances at the boy and catches his shoulder. "Your better at this than me. Let's trade." He hands Dusty a hammer and then easily snatches up the large roll of rope. He then begins to run through the village, spooling the rope off as he goes, linking the inhabited buildings together.

Sashenka grabs a second spool of rope and, starting from the Diner, goes the other way with it, nailing and rolling as quickly as possible.

Josh exits the library, accompanied by its rich, musty smell.

Dusty rushes to keep up with Tan Sin, nailing the rope into the buildings as fast as he can.

Layla exits the library, accompanied by its rich, musty smell.

Layla pokes her head outside of the library. When she's hit in the face by falling raindrops, she exits the library and closes the door behind her to prevent water from getting in. She leans up against the library, using the wall for scant shelter.

Tan Sin charges up to the library, dragging a length of cold, wet rope. "Make sure this doesn't get pulled away, please." He dumps the end of the rope at Layla's feet and then charges back out into the rain to help Dusty finish.

Layla takes up the rope.

Josh is on duty, so looks around for a moment. "What else can I do," he asks.

As the two roping groups meet, completeing the rope circle, Dusty drops the hammer and rubs his arm. "Ow, I've never done this much hammering in my life!"

The sleet is slowly growing into hail, which clatters noisily on nearby roofs. The wind continues to rise steadily. The air is full of fallen -- and newly fallen -- leaves of all colors.

Sashenka hammers in a final nail. "I haven't either, kiddo." She ducks as the hail hits her head, grabs Dusty's fallen hammer, and races into the library. "C'mon, guys, let's get inside!"

The sky is an ugly, sinister gray-green.

Tan Sin takes a last look around and shrugs. "I guess that's it. Anybody bring a Mah Jong set?" He turns and heads for the door.

Josh looks up to the sky as Sashenka shouts, and pales, just a little. Taking orders well, the Kinfolk wheels around, scooting inside again.

Josh steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

Sashenka stands at the door, waiting for Dusty before entering the library.

Layla steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

Tan Sin steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

Dusty picks himself up and hurries his tired frame toward the library. As the cone on the roof lurches in the wind, he grins.

Dusty steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

Sashenka steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

The interior of the library has been drastically altered, and recently. At first, all you see is sheet after sheet of some kind of black material, attached together with wires, bolts, boards, and just about anything else you could imagine finding in a workshop. The sheets rise up to a point in the middle of the room, apparently forming some kind of cone-shaped internal roof inside the library. Stretched over the sheets are a myriad of steel cables; each stems from a hole in the wall, tangles with other cables, and escapes through yet another hole. Water that leaks through the outer roof sheets down the inner into a complex gutter system, which shunts it out the cable-holes in the wall. The books -- and their shelves -- are not immediately apparent.
One of the panels in the cone is hinged, and lifts easily to form a door. Peering inside, you find the books -- their shelves are arranged like the spokes of a wheel to support the massive inner roof.
Obvious exits:
Basement Main Street

Layla rubs the sleet out of her eyes and shakes the rain out of her hair.

Sashenka shakes her head, sending water and ice spraying about. "Darn, I forgot to bring towels." Brushing herself off, she heads for the basement.


Fred Lemisch nervously wanders from shelf to shelf within the cone, twitching plastic here, testing the strength of the wood of a bookshelf there. He smiles at Layla as she enters, and pushes his glasses up his nose. "Hello! It's so exciting, t-t-to have so many p-people here."

Dusty opens the door, letting in a wash of fresh air, and enters.

Layla moves in small circles as she takes in the sights. "Wow. It's really amazing with what's been done with the tarp."

Josh opens the door, letting in a wash of fresh air, and enters.

Dusty enters, carrying an armload of jugs and assorted other supplies. "Hi Layla" he pants as he lumbers into the basement.

Fred Lemisch somehow manages to look pleased and frantic at the same time, wringing his hands vaguely. "Yes! D-d-d-dusty and his friends are g-g-geniuses!"

As he disappears into the basement, Dusty pants happily "Well, we're not really geniuses, just desperate..."

Layla says "Hey" to Dusty in return. She is still looking at the array of pulleysand tarp in amazement.

Josh wanders in, carrying more thing. He chuckles at Dusty's modesty, and Layla gets a smile all her own. "Hi," he says, then "Excuse me," as he bustles past the others to head downstairs.

Dusty emerges from the basement, and rests against a taut cable, panting.

Josh gets out of Dusty's way, bringing down his own stuff.

Dusty squishes out the door.

Josh comes backupstairs, nodding once to each of the others before scrambling back outside to get more stuff.

Josh squishes out the door.

In the basement...

Fred Lemisch flutters a bit and descends into the basement to check on things there. He is, evidently, not used to being a host.

Fred Lemisch drifts uneasily around the room, looking at everything that has been brought in. When people begin to arrive, he startles and nervously tugs at the corner of a rug with his foot.
Tan Sin has arrived.

Dusty slumps into a corner, absolutely exausted. "Well, here we go," he offers weary but hopeful.

The library's basement consists of one damp, chilly room. A few brightly colored rugs, somewhat threadbare and moth-eaten, have been strewn on the cracked concrete floor. They are complemented by an array of beaten, crooked, and otherwise unhappy-looking chairs. The walls are lined with a bewildering array of jars, tins, and crocks full of dried and pickled foodstuffs, as well as jugs of clean water and other, more alcoholic-looking beverages. (Those who know Sashenka may guess dandelion wine and cherry cordial.) A few crates cluster near the chairs; on their sides, they provide storage space for a few books and table space for a collection of candles and hurricane lanterns.
Tan Sin
Fred Lemisch
Obvious exits:

A smile runs around the general location of Fred's mouth, but he seems too nervous to actually grab it and use it. He nods to Dusty.

Tan Sin surveys the room while brushing the water out of his hair. He glances up as Sashenka enters. "I don't suppose there are any towels?"

Sashenka shakes her head sadly. "I just realized that I forgot to bring any."

Josh stops halfway down the stairs, watching for the moment. The sounds against the roof make him a little quieter' now.

Tan Sin sighs and glances around the room. Spotting a pile of bedding in one corner, he fishes out a blanket. Unconcernedly, he strips down to his small clothes and hands his dripping garments out of the way. He then wraps the blanket around himself and curls into one of the chairs.

On the roof far above, the pounding of rain and clattering of hail set up a steady background of white noise, over which the moan of the wind sounds as it tests the library's structure gently.

Dusty lifts his weary head to fix his eyes on the ceiling.

Sashenka can't resist an appraising glance in Tan Sin's direction, but then she settles down to organizing the stacks of supplies, letting her braids drip around her.

Fred Lemisch turns crimson as he realizes what Tan Sin is doing, and he hurriedly busies himself with getting a cup of water.

Josh hasn't even really noticed, but that bedding looks very soothing. He hops off the stairs, moving around the crowd to get a blanket, which he spreads on the floor before lying down on it, facing the ceiling.

Thunder rolls overhead.


Long distance to Andreas: So, you're traveling down from the north again...
Andreas pages: I should really know better. ;)
Long distance to Andreas: Wwx snickers. Yes, perhaps after this, Andreas will change his route. ;)
Andreas pages: I hear nice things about a slightly more round-about path that leads from Canada through New York and then northeast. A few hundred extra miles, but so worth it. :)

Last night, mackerel clouds began to skitter across the sky, and by this morning, a thin, high, wind-twisted layer of clouds obscured the raging sun. This afternoon, the clouds grew thicker and heavier, while the wind began to rise and fall sporadically. As sunset comes on, a thin, dreary drizzle has begun, and the wind has fallen silent. The light outdoors is of peculiar quality, a yellow-green that makes the autumn landscape look bleak before its time.

There is also a buzzing, tingling feeling to the air that makes this feel, to your sea-rat's bones, Not Right. You've felt the edges of something like this once before: when your ship had a close run-in with one of Zelda's Children. The ship was never quite the same after that; the semi-sentient kudzu-kelp stuff was a bitch to scrape out of the hold.

Andreas scratches the back of his neck where hair would be standing up, if he had any, thoughts on long-dead weeds that crooned almost subsonically every crescent moon.

A small, blonde girlchild steps out from behind a tree onto the trail immediately in front of Andreas. She is wearing an immaculate, hand-knitted white sweater and a green skirt. Her feet are bare. Her eyes, as she looks up into the big man's face, are inhumanly beautiful, full of colors that defy the brain's ability to discern them entirely. "Hello," she says gravely.

Andreas, no fool, bends at the waist in Official Merchant Dealing with Nobility/the Very Rich/Fae bow #1. "Good day, lass. Wet out, I'm thinking."

"Very," she replies, inclining her head in acknowledgement of Andreas' obeisance. "And it will become moreso. You should beware the turn in the road with the old sugar maple." She backs off toward the trees, and an impish grins breaks over her face. "And you should run." Then she's gone, the only thing remaining is her laugh, playing over the raindrops as they grow heavier. "Tell Grandma that it will be all right!" her voice echoes. And then the wind picks up.

Andreas squints up at the sky, grumbles under his breath about no one ever telling him to do anything *enjoyable*, and starts picking up his large feet faster than before.

Just before you reach the bend, the wind whips up something fierce, like something alive. There is a screeching, rending sound to your left and up.

Andreas moves instinctively, diving right and forward before his brain has even fuly registered the sound.

The old sugar maple splits down the middle with a bloodcurdling scream that is almost human. The wind dances away toward the mountain, making a sound like laughter. An enormous branch from the tree lands where Andreas had been only seconds before.

Andreas picks himself up, brushing mud off, pale under his tan. "So *that's* what a maple looks like? Damn."

Long distance to Andreas: Wwx falls over.

Andreas makes a mental note and picks up the pace towards town.

Andreas pages: He's not exactly a floraphilic person. :)
Long distance to Andreas: Wwx giggles. We can fast-forward you to the town now, if you like. You're running into a rising wind, heavy rain, and bits of hail. :) There's a sign on the Diner door (for now) that directs people to the storm shelter in the basement of the library. You can just wander in and drip on folks. ;)

Andreas pages: Hustling towards Main Street, yah?

Long distance to Andreas: Wwx waves you on. :)


You paged Rowan with 'Where might you have been that would have taken you a while to get to town?'.

Rowan pages: Uhhhh... There farms out of town that aren't the main farm?

Long distance to Rowan: Wwx noddles. A few small ones, yes. Out there to warn them, or convey food or something?

Rowan pages: Warn, convey food, and help carry/batten down stuff they can't cope with.

Long distance to Rowan: Wwx nods. You were on your way back to town, clouds heavy, drizzle starting, when a little blonde girl, wearing an immaculate white sweater and green skirt, stepped out of the woods in front of you. "You need to hide quickly. You won't make it back to town in time." Her eyes are beautiful, but seem lit within by an unearthly light. "There is a small cave here. Hide there. Run to town during the Eye."

From afar, Rowan, therefore, hid. *grin*

You paged Rowan with 'She ran off, laughing, and said, "Grandma's in her element now, isn't she?"'.

From afar, Rowan calls after her, "And revelling!"


Something crackles in the corner of the room, and a blue glow limns one, and then several of the pipes along the ceiling of the basement. A ball of living electricity drifts down, sizzling and humming, to dance over the surface of a metal water jug.

Dusty jumps and presses himself against the wall. "DON'T TOUCH THE JUG!!!" he yelps.

Sashenka jumps and nearly drops a gallon jar of watermelon-rind pickles. "Good Mother!" she yelps, backing away from the jug. "What is that?"

Layla initially jumps, then settles into a low crouch.

Josh rolls over, coming up to a crouch. "Gah," he says. "Everyone, on guard," he says.

Andreas clumps in, a dripping, looming mass garnished with maple leaves, the odor of wet leather preceding him by several feet. "An Elmo, they're called. Never seen one inland, afore. There room for one more here?"

The ball of blue fire condenses into a sphere the size of a small fist, and then rolls in aimless circles around the base of the jug.

Tan Sin's head whips around to follow the ball lightning, and he sniffs warily at the sharp, ozone smell.

Dusty watches the ball with eyes wide as lanterns. He shifts slightly towards Andreas. "I... I.. Is it dangerous?"

Sashenka looks up at Andreas, surprised. "One of you, sure. Another of those, I don't know." She looks back at the "Elmo" warily. "Sorry, I forgot to bring towels."

Fred Lemisch backs away from the thing slowly, awkwardly feeling behind himself to keep from tripping over chairs. He fails in this endeavor, however, and totters over a particularly rickety one, taking it and himself over onto the ground in a loud clatter.

Layla asks the obvious in a nervous voice, "What's an Elmo?"

At the sound of the clatter, the glowing blue ball leaps up and buzzes along the table toward Fred.
Sashenka rises and moves around the edge of the room toward Fred, squatting next to him. "Fred, you okay?" She reaches a hand out to help the librarian up.

Dusty shouts "LOOK OUT!"

Fred Lemisch takes Sashenka's hand, large eyes pinned to the 'Elmo' even though his glasses are askew.

Andreas moves with a blur and a gleam of metal, and something long and thin flies through the air.

Tan Sin uncoils suddenly from the chair, his arm whipping out to grasp the back of Sashenkas shirt, yanking her backwards.

Sashenka's head snaps up at Dusty's shouted warning. She grabs Fred's hand and pulls him up, grabbing him by the waist as he rises and turning to put her massive back between the librarian and the buzzing ball. Tan Sin's yank sends her off-balance and she stumbles sideways and back.

The blue fire stops short and leaps to the knife now buried in the table. It sizzles happily up and down Andreas' blade.

Josh stays in his crouch, waiting to see where the ball goes next before he moves, and visibly relazes when Andreas' blade ground it for now.

Fred Lemisch yells and flails awkwardly for a moment before falling on top of Sashenka.

Tan Sin reels Sashenka into his arms and tries to ease the entire contorted affair of bodies to the ground in a controlled fall.

Sashenka twists and rolls, with Tan Sin's help, into a not entirely undignified heap with the two men. She looks sheepish. "Sorry," she says toi Fred, then repeats it to Tan Sin.

Dusty stays motionless, eyes reddening as he stares without blinking at the knife.

Andreas arches his eyebrow at the tangle of bodies on the floor and shrugs off his outer layer, which falls to the floor with a *squelch*. "Electricity sprite. Loves metal. Dangerous, but like an eel, not a Bane, if you know what I mean. Can anyone here talk to it?"

"No problem." Tan Sin gathers up his blanket again and reseats himself.

Josh blinks, impressed with Andreas' easy explination of it. "I...can't," he admits, sheepish himself now.

Fred Lemisch raises his head, only to realize that he landed face-down in Sashenka's bosom. If he was crimson before, he is... well, even moreseo now. He attempts an incoherent apology before trying to scramble off the heap without further embarrassment, falling over onto the floor again before managing to get himself upright. After a moment, he straightens his glasses. A moment more, and he remembers to smoothe his hair.

Layla asks "Talk to it?"

Sashenka sits up and scoots back to lean against the wall, acting nonchalant. "Umm, no, I can't."

Andreas gives Layla a smile and little shrug. "Out of my league, but I've seen it done once or twice." He pauses, remembering. "Of course, her hair stood up straight for a week..."

The walls shudder noticeably under a more intent assault from the winds.

Dusty pages: Dusty would like to try to talk to it, but has no idea if he can. He's thinking at it, if that does anything.
You paged Dusty with 'What's he thinking at it? :)'.

Sashenka scoots away from the wall and stands up, rubbing her arms.

Dusty pages: He's thinking 'Uh, hello, mr elmo, uh, can you hear me? Please don't hurt us, we don't mean you any harm, we're just trying to stay dry, uh, mr. elmo... uh'

The ball of lightning coalesces and drops off the table to bounce gently along the floor toward Dusty. It pops a couple of times.

Josh moves to the smaller boy's side, ready to shield him if need be.

Sashenka is next to Dusty -- well, largely in front of him -- almost instantly.

Andreas pages: This town is always so rough on my I in a position to toss my wet jacket over it?
You paged Andreas with 'Nah. Everyone's gettin' in the way. :)'.

Layla slides off a copper bracelet and slides it towards the sprite.

Dusty stiffens. "Uh, we really really don't mean any harm, Mr Elmo, sir. Please don't hurt us. Please. There is lots of n-n-n-nice metal outside, in a pile outside the diner... you'd like it, really..."

Sashenka looks down at Dusty quizzically, then at the Elmo.

Distracted from Dusty, the electricity curves toward the bracelet and encompasses it gleefully.

Andreas grabs his wet coat off the floor and tries to peer over shoulders and spot the electrical ball.
After a few seconds, the ball bounces up and down in an oddly friendly manner before fading out with a crackle and a whiff of ozone.

Sashenka relaxes with a sigh.

Josh flops back down on the blanket. "Dusty...geez, what kinda brain you got in there? You always think of thje smart stuff like that."

Dusty looks with confusion at Josh. "But, all I did was tell it about the old metal siding dumped behind the diner! Do you think it understood?"

Layla walks over to her bracelet. She crouches down next to it to get a good look at it before touching it.

Josh uses a hand to indicate the empty space where the elmo was. "I'd say so," he says with a grin. "Good deal."

Sashenka says "Well, it went somewhere, and looked pretty... happy about it. Or was that just me?"

Andreas sinks back against one of the walls, giving Dusty and Layla approving smiles. "Fast work with the jewelry, too."

Fred Lemisch sighs heavily and gingerly seats himself. He tugs his handkerchief from his back pocket and mops his forehead.

Dusty smiles at Layla. "I dunno what made it go away, but thanks for the decoy. I was thinking he wanted to try dancing around on me for a while."

Layla smiles quietly and picks up her bracelet. Her brow creases. "It's not even warm." She gives it a sniff before placing back on her wrist. At Dusty's comment, she says, "Oh. My pleasure."

Sashenka gives Andreas a perplexed glance, then hunkers down to prepare a plate of cold smoked salmon and pickles. She sets it on an unused chair, then adds a jumble of cups and sets a jug of water down next to it on the floor. "In case anyone's hungry..."

Josh shakes his head, laying back down. "Maybe later," he says, relieved. "Um...any ideas to pass the time? Unless something else this way comes?"

Dusty pushes himself up and trudges over to the supplies. He sniffs deeply, then plunges into a stack of journeycake.

A high, keening whine begins above and outside. It is joined by many similar voices, and the cacophanous chorus sings counterpoint to the wail of the wind, breaking occasionally into yelps and barks.

Dusty sighs in the middle of a journeycake. "What now?"

Sashenka's plump hands curl into loose fists. Under her breath, she mutters, "As if the wind alone wasn't bad enough."

Tan Sin rises out of his chair and stares up at the ceiling. "Anyone have an idea as to who that may be?" He moves across the basement and stops at the foot of the stairs, looking at the door above.

Andreas blinks some thoughts away. "Does anyone know what's going on? There's nine kinds of oddness outside, and I've got a gitchy feeling that I haven't felt since...well, a long time."

Sashenka nods. "Yeah. Hurricane. Zelda, I think? There's a great big Wyld-spirit in it, or so I've heard." She makes a face. "As if a hurricane isn't bad enough by itself!"

Josh props himself up on his elbows. "According to what folks here say, it's a Wyld Storm. Which'll explain most of the goings-on. But...Gaia knows what's up there now."

The eerie baying grows louder -- evidently closer. Close enough for the keen of hearing to discern low growling and barking. To the uninitiated, it might sound like a pack of werewolves running down their prey. But to those who know werewolves, it certainly isn't anything nearly so friendly and familiar.

Layla shivers visibly.

Andreas lets out a deep sigh and and reaches for the dandelion wine, hand trembling a tiny bit.

Josh nearly jumps. "That sounded...wolf-ish to anyone else," he asks, his own enhanced hearing picking up on the particulars.

Dusty slinks slowly back to his corner, grabing some salmon and another journeycake on the way.

Sashenka wraps her arms around her waist (well, a little way around her waist) and sighs. "Maybe whatever it is will just run on by?" She doesn't sound too hopeful. She holds out a cup to Andreas as he uncorks the dandelion wine.

Tan Sin takes a step forward, and shifts as he does so, his form pouring into that of a huge hunting cat. "I will see." he growls in the mother's tounge. The stairs shake lightly as the tiger pads it's way softly up to the door.

The whole building, basement and all, feels like it shifts a few inches as a wall of wind pummels it. The hail is clanking on the roof, probably leaving dents, as the hits sound particularly solid.

Andreas pours for Sashenka, saying something softly to her as he does so.

There are some clicking sounds from above as Tan Sin fumbles with the door, and then it creaks open, only to close again a moment later.

Sashenka takes a swig of her wine, then shakes her head. "Connecticut," she says, then turns her head toward the stairs. "Cats. Always running off by themselves." She takes another swig, sets her cup down, and turns to follow the were-tiger.

Dusty's hand reaches toward the ceiling, as his face grows dim. "I wonder what that sound was... I hope its working..."

Josh looks up again. "Looks like it." He stands up and starts pacing.

Dusty turns to Sashenka. "Be careful out there."

Sashenka nods. "You better believe it." She walks up the stairs and out the door. There is a definite creaking sound in the floor as she changes form upstairs, gaining several hundred pounds.


Tan Sin pages: Like I said, prowl the room trying to guess what's happening outside. If I hear Sashenka coming up, I'll wait for her before I put my head out in the rain.

You paged Sashenka with 'You wandering up to the library to poke your head out too?'.
Sashenka pages: Yup.

You can't sense much through the barricades, so you do have to peer outside.

Gathers Gaia's Milk comes up from the basement, shifting to her bear form after she closes the door. She pads out from under the cone-roof and up to the door to peer outside.

Tan Sin is crouched by the front door, obviously listening to the storm. He shifts his gaze to Sashenka as she comes through the door and growls softly "I'm going to look outside. Stay silent. And be ready to catch this door if it trys to bang open." He fumbles with the latch and begins to open the door.

The hail is approaching golf-ball size at times. You see a tree fly past, over the rooftops through the rippling sheets of rain. At the edge of your vision, you see a running form on four legs. And then another. And another. A touch of color here and there, flickering red and white hounds of enormous size, leaping with a peculiar, sinuous grace. The bays reach your ears, unimpeded by the walls, and the sound grates not on your eardrums, but somewhere in your gut, leaving a quivery feeling behind.

Gathers Gaia's Milk rears up on her hind legs and holds out a big, soft paw, ready to catch the door.

The door bangs into the big paw, with enough force to bruise even a bear.

Tan Sin sinks to the ground in a tense crouch. Golden eyes watch the hounds, tracking their movements, seeing if they are approaching any of the buildings.

Gathers Gaia's Milk grunts softly but holds on.

One flows to a stop and turns its lean, elegant head to look at the open door. Red ears prick with momentary interest, and eyes as indifferent as the dark between stars observe the two watchers. Then it turns, dismissing them, and runs on.

Gathers Gaia's Milk's bright eyes follow the flowing shapes, and her black muzzle twitches as it sniffs the air.

Tan Sin flicks a gaze up at Gathers Gaia's Milk and backs silently away from the door. "I think they care nothing for us" he breathes. "Perhaps it's best if we ignore them in return."

You paged Tan Sin with 'When it turned to look at you, you had a brief inkling of what it might be like to be a small cat, confronted by a large dog, looking desperately for a tree. :)'.
Tan Sin pages: Okay, sure, but will I admit that? I think not. Just silly spirits. Silly big, scary spirits...

Gathers Gaia's Milk slowly hauls the door back into position, careful to make sure it latches, but as quietly as possible. She nods her big head and backs away.

You paged Gathers Gaia's Milk with 'You caught a brief tang of something that could only be described as cold and otherworldly.'.

Gathers Gaia's Milk twitches her nose. ~I don't like their smell. I hope they run past and far away.~

There is a distant muffled boom.

Tan Sin snorts and turns to clean his fur. ~I think they were just passing through. I- ~ At the sound, the tigers head turns back to face the door and it's ears cock, trying to fine where it came from.

Gathers Gaia's Milk's head swivels toward the sound. She snorts softly. ~What now?~

Gathers Gaia's Milk pages: I presume it's not just thunder?
You paged Gathers Gaia's Milk with 'Nope. That was something... coming apart, you think.'.

The sound seemed to come from the side of town occupied by the Diner, but probably farther off. Maybe one of the houses beyond the Diner, or perhaps out on the Farm?

The wind ceases suddenly.
So does the rain and hail.


Andreas pries the knife out of the table and begins carefully sharpening it.

Dusty closes his eyes, and whispers "I hope they'll be o.k." His hands form tight fists as he pulls himself into a ball.

Layla listens very carefully to the creaking floor above.

Andreas smiles grimly. "A werecat and werebear on their home turf? Pity whatever's making the noise."

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

Andreas pages: I'm hoping that's water?
You paged Andreas with 'Sure *sounds* like water. :)'.
You paged Andreas with 'Doesn't smell like buckets of blood. :)'.
Andreas pages: Oh, good. I imagine ichor has a piquant aroma, too?
You paged Andreas with 'Yes, and you only smell 'damp.''.

Josh sidles over to Dusty, giving him a reassuring smile. "Hey, they'll be okay. Trust in that."

Dusty eyes shoot open. He stumbles to his feet and scans the ceiling, looking for dripping water.

The dripping sound is being elusive, echoing from all the dark corners and other hard-to-investigate places.

Dusty scrambles up the stairs, checking the plastic shrouds that seal the books, and checking the roof which heaves inches above his head.

The roof seems to continue intact, and the contraption on the roof seems to be working all right.

Dusty pauses after his check yield nothing, then rechecks. He heads downstairs. "Nothing, no leaks, the books are fine. Wierd."

Josh stands up again, watching the side of the room opposite Dusty. He looks around to see what jugs are empty now, just in case.

Drip. Drip.

Andreas picks a point midway between Dusty and Josh, listening carefully.

Layla watches the walls, the floor, and all places that aren't obvious.

The dripping sound is certainly louder in the basement than upstairs. And it seems to be coming from Josh's side of the room.

Dusty creeps close to Josh, trying not to make a sound. He starts inspecting each brick of the basement wall, feeling for wetness.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

"Um, Dusty," Josh says quietly. "I think something is over here."

No wetness, no water in view at all.

The wind ceases suddenly. So does the rain and hail.

Dusty steps back. "Oh, I see. It's an old drainage pipe right behind this brick." He taps a point on the wall. "It's just sprung a leak. Probably not a problem."

Layla shifts from foot to foot uneasily. "What can be taking them so long?"

Josh relaxes, some. "Okay..." he says, calming a little.

Andreas cocks an ear. "Odd..."

Andreas starts climbing the stairs. "Be right back...not every day I get to see Zelda's Eye."


Tan Sin glances up at the bear hulking over him. ~I think we lost a building. Do you want to risk taking a look now, or should we wait for a lull?~

Gathers Gaia's Milk's ears twitch. ~The houses!~ She jumps for the door, pauses as the wind dies, then continues.

~Well, that would be a lull I suppose.~ Tan Sin follows the bear outside in a wary crouch, senses searching for danger.

Gathers Gaia's Milk paws the door open and pads outside.

The wind has died down to merely a hair-whipping, leaf-dancing level and the storm likewise, the rain pattering off to a near-normal heavy rain. The comparative quiet is sudden, like a shout of silence, for all the background noise of the rainstorm. However, the air is electric with tension, all the more apparent for the lack of appropriate special effects.

Overhead, the clouds seem to be breaking apart, the rain coming in gusts with gaps, like torn clothing scattered by the wind. Suddenly, the rain ceases entirely, and overhead the clouds start to thin to dark gray. All around the horizon the black clouds of the storm still whirl, with this one area of gray set like a stone in a pendant. The spiral pattern of the storm is clearly visible, spinning in and out of this one gap in the center.

Gathers Gaia's Milk steps outside and gasps. ~The eye?~

Tan Sin nods. ~I think so.~ He turns and pads over to the basement door, clawing it open. ~We are in the eye of the storm~ he growls down the stairs.

Andreas has arrived.


Tan Sin growls down the stairs, ~We are in the eye of the storm.~

Dusty thrusts his arms out and starts to feel about. He lets out a little moan. "I... I... can't stop..." As he thrusts about, he knocks over a jug which spills its contents onto the ground.

Josh looks to the stairs, way too curious for his own good. "Rowan's gonna kill-" but he's cut off as Dusty starts to act. "Crap...Dusty, what is it," he says, getting closer to teh smaller lad.

Dusty blinks furiously, and rubs his eyes hard. "My eyes, they... can't stop" As he looks at Josh, his eyes widen and shift away. His eyes move to Layla, rest there for a moment, then a gasp escapes from his lips. He immediately buries his face in his hands and collapses to the floor.

Layla moves over to Dusty's side. She's very careful not to touch him.

Josh moves to Dusty's other side, but acts before he thinks. He puts a gentle hand on Dusty's shoulder. "What is it? What are you feeling? What do you see?"

Fred Lemisch sits up from the unintentional nap he took with his head buried in his hands. He watches what's happening with Dusty worriedly, more than a little bewildered.

Dusty keeps his face buried in his hands. "My sight... I... I can see through things, I guess. Like that wall, and... well, anything. But I can't turn it off!"

Josh looks up, wincing. "Anything made of Lead around here?"


Gathers Gaia's Milk looks around at the swirling clouds on the horizon. ~We'd better hurry.~ She moves with surprising speed in the direction the boom came from.

Tan Sin sniffs wairly at the air and growls softly. He then turns and bounds off after the bear.

In the street, in front of the Diner, lies a large, thick, wooden door. It doesn't look like it came from a house. It looks, in fact, very much like the door from the 400 year old barn over at the Farm. Various bits of timber lying the street, sticking out of a few holes in buildings, etc., seems to bear out this theory.

Andreas glances skywards warily before following the bear and tiger.

Gathers Gaia's Milk pages: Would this barn be the one Lucas is using?
You paged Gathers Gaia's Milk with 'No, not that barn. This was an unused barn on a distant part of the property, where there'd been a farm a few hundred years ago.'.
Gathers Gaia's Milk pages: Oh, well then.

You paged Tan Sin with 'You notice that a piece of straw has been driven cleanly through one particularly large chunk of timber.'.

Tan Sin stops to stare at the piece of straw that has imbeded itself in one of the chunks of wood. ~We should do this quickly, I think~

Gathers Gaia's Milk stops next to the door and sniffs it. ~Yes. To the farm.~ She dashes off in that direction.

The eye of the storm is now directly overhead. The hurricane winds, screaming out around the boundary of this still center, merely emphasize the relative quiet of the air here. Everything is balanced here, the weight of the storm, like a mountain of air, pressing hard on this one point. The gray light filtering though the clouds takes on an eerie aquarium glow, limning the edges of things with hints of color in the relative silence. You are the mouse under the hawk, as though you were completely without shelter in the storm's vast and pitiless gaze.

The tiger bounds along, occasionally rushing ahead, and then stopping to stare at the sky or a new scene of destruction. In general, he stays with the bear as they approach the farm.

Gathers Gaia's Milk dashes as fast as she can, head down, singleminded.

From afar, Andreas hmms...there's no way I can keep up with a bear or tiger going anywhere near full-speed.

Andreas walks around the library double-checking the structural integrity, keeping a careful eye on the sky.

Barn timber litters the area. Miss Anita's feeble old house has, in fact, come down, but as the Collinses foresaw the difficulty, there's nothing major lost.

Rowan, in hispo, almost runs into Tan Sin and Sashenka, so intent is he on getting to town. ~Whoa,~ he says. ~Need help?~

Without warning, the edges of something still too faint to determine emerge from the swirling pattern of the clouds. In moments, the outline is clear; a vast structure spiralling down from the eye of the storm along the cloud-edges to the ground. Just where it touches is hard to determine, like the end of a rainbow, but as you look you can see that the whole of it must be enormous, each spiral encompassing the fifty or more miles that is the circumference of the eye. Faint suggestions of distant architecture become apparent on this wierd apparation, then movement. Tiny figures, no more than misty pinpoints, are passing up and down this spiral staircase.

Gathers Gaia's Milk kids to a stop. ~Rowan! Safe. Good. Checking out farm,~ she pants.

Andreas bolts inside for a moment.


Andreas thunders down the stairs. "Friends and neighbors, there's something *very* strange going on out there. Some sort staircase? I--you might want to come and see."

Layla asks "Dusty, can you come?"

Josh looks up from Dusty, who's on the ground with his hands over his eyes. "Curious, but Dusty's got X-ray vision that now won't torn off. I need to get that helped."

Dusty takes his hands off his face, then lifts his head. He slowly opens his eyes, sees Andreas, and immediately shuts his eyes and puts his hands over his face, letting out a slight moan.

Andreas nods sadly. "I get that a lot."

Dusty regains his composure, and says "I.. think I can go upstairs... but someone will have to lead me up the stairs. I can't seem to see them."

Andreas glances back upstairs with worry. "I'll make sure the way is clear."

Josh takes Dusty's hand. "Here," he says, standing up. "I'll lead you. C'mon..."

Layla takes one of Dusty's arm. "Ready?"

Dusty takes his hands off his face and uses the support to stand up. He unconciously opens his eyes, blinks, then straightens. "Wait... there, its gone. I'm fine. Thanks, I'm sorry about all this." He turns to Layla, then blushes. "Sorry" he whispers, then heads for the stairs.

Layla follows.

Fred Lemisch wanders after the others, but is sidetracked by checking all the books in the library proper.


Tan Sin digs his claws into the ground and comes to a skidding halt, staring at the sky. His tail lashes with curiosity, and he strains to make out more detail of the phenomena.

Gathers Gaia's Milk's eyes wander up from Rowan and she falls back onto her haunches, gaping at the sky.

Rowan skids completely to a halt. ~Was helping the smaller farms,~ he starts to explain, and then follows the others' gazes to the sky. ~The hell?~ he asks, oh so eloquently.

Rowan pages: Hey, Heightened Senses.
You paged Rowan with 'You can just pick out the many, many individual shapes, moving as if in a dance past each other, up and down the stairs. They're very misty, flowing and changing constantly.'.

Tan Sin is staring intently at the stairway, trying to make out details. He spins in place, trying to find where it touches the ground.

Andreas emerges from the library, holding the door open for the people following him.

Townsfolk are emerging from their houses to look around. Over on the Collins porch, Miss Anita bursts into tears and is gently led back inside by Old Man Collins, whose wife tests the strength of their porch (which, as some may recall, was broken by the hoodlums in town a few months ago). Mrs. Whittaker emerges from the post office, shakes her head sadly at the broken house, tsks worriedly over the broken bits of barn, and then stares, amazed, at the sky.

Layla exits the library, accompanied by its rich, musty smell.
Josh exits the library, accompanied by its rich, musty smell.
Dusty exits the library, accompanied by its rich, musty smell.

A vast structure spirals down from the eye of the storm along the cloud-edges to the ground. Just where it touches is hard to determine, like the end of a rainbow, but as you look you can see that the whole of it must be enormous, each spiral encompassing the fifty or more miles that is the circumference of the eye. Faint suggestions of distant architecture become apparent on this wierd apparation, then movement. Tiny figures, no more than misty pinpoints, are passing up and down this spiral staircase.

Layla opens the door tfrom the libary and peaks out. When she sees the crowd, she moves into the street.

Sashenka, still staring, blurs and shifts into human form. She stands up, her eyes taking on a look that is somehow both intense and dreamy. She says something under her breath.... Maybe "the wind people"?... and echoes Tan Sin's turning motion, looking for the bottom of the spiral stair.

Josh scrambles up the stairs, looking at the staircase. "Ok, this is new," he says, trying to be witty.

Dusty walks out of the library, head hanging slightly. When he looks up he stands stock still. "My god..."

Rowan stares, jaw dropping. He'd help Mrs. Collins, but he's too busy being banjaxed. ~Wyld,~ he mutters, as if it made sense, and just continues looking.

The storm continues to travel northwestward, its progress marked clearly by the advance of the cloud wall and the strange staircase. The spiral of the staircase does not resolve clearly... perhaps it's a double spiral. Or a triple. Or quadruple. Or less. Or more.

Andreas squints and moves close to Dusty. "The pirates who assaulted the giant peach, maybe? What's it look like to you?"

Sashenka turns to face the oncoming edge of the staircase, and takes a step forward.

Dusty stammers "I... can't describe it. Is my vision still screwed up? A big staircase, maybe 4? That can't be real, can it?"

~Like magic, only real,~ Rowan mutters, still staring.

Josh grunts an affirmative. "Nope. I'm seeing the same thing."

As the eye of the storm approaches Katahdin, the lightning which has been discharging itself on the peak momentarily ceases. The strange glow of the eye limns the edges of the mountain like light glinting off a very sharp knife, then the very peak of the mountain begins to glow. Suddenly, the tip of the peak glows white-hot, discharging an immense beam of sunlight brightness upward to strike the eye of the storm. The slow but inevitable movement of the eye stops dead, as though snagged on the beam, and complete silence falls.

This requires silence, at least from Rowan. This requires silence, and utter astonishment.

Dusty stops breathing for a moment, mirroring the silence.

Josh looks, and makes a conjecture. "If that's an anchor, that cannot be good..."

Sashenka winces at the intrusion of this sudden light into her reverie, then stares.

The tiger shifts its eyes from the staircase to watch the mountain. After watching silently for a few moments, he shifts his gaze back to the staircase. ~I wonder... are we a stop on their journey perhaps? And if so, who might be coming to visit?~

The light on the mountain suddenly - and silently - explodes into a fountain of eye-searing brightness. Then it is gone, leaving only a dark imprint like the shadow of a massive tree on the aching retinas of those who were watching. The storm begins to move again, ponderously, inexorably.

Sashenka blinks and rubs at her eyes. "What WAS that?"

It takes Rowan a moment to gather his wits, and then he asks, ~What the hell was that?~ to the world in general, rhetorically, and then he's shifting and hastening over to ask Mrs. Collins, while in glabro, "Want some help on the porch?"

Mrs. Collins, still dazzled by the light, shakes her head slowly. "N-no, thanks. It looks like it's fine." Her voice is just a touch faint.

Dusty shakes his head. "I don't understand any of this." He sighs and rubs his eyes. "And my eyes are going to be killing me for the next week."

Tan Sin snarls to himself and shakes his head, trying to clear out the dancing spots the fill his vision. ~Or maybe I don't know what the hell is happening" he growls. As his vision returns, he trys to make out what has happened to the spiral.

The staircase fades from view; one moment it's there, the next it has become part of the swirling clouds that are drawing nearer.

Andreas rumbles deep in his throat. "Bad weather's coming back."

Sashenka lets out a tiny whimper as the staircase goes away. She stares at it for another moment, then shakes her head to clear it and looks down at Dusty. "After the hurricane, I'll make you some cool compresses for your eyes, if they still hurt. Now maybe we should go back in."

Rowan gets enough wits about him to ask, "Why were you going to the Farm?"

Dusty drops his head and clings to Sasha's side. "I've had enough of this. It can stop now." he says dejectedly.

Tan Sin tears his still blurry gaze from the sky. ~To check out the damage. I'm not sure we have time now, after that... distraction.~

Josh walks back, over to Rowan. He looks around, just complete puzzled by everything.

Sashenka puts her hand on the boy's shoulder. "It could be a while before the storm stops, Dusty. But we'll be fine. I brought some birch beer..."

The sky begins to drizzle on the town again.

Rowan tells the sky, "I get the hint." Generally, he says, "Checked some of the smaller farms. They're all doing ok. Let's go make sure /we/ do ok, yeah?"

Dusty lifts his head and smiles sadly at Mother Bear. "That would help a little, I think."

Sashenka tousles Dusty's hair. "Well, let's go get some then." She starts toward the library door, drawing the boy along with her.

Tan Sin seems to have no intrest in charging around in the coming storm. He turns and heads back toward the library, pausing outside on the porch to wipe his broad paws off on the mat.

Sashenka steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.
Dusty steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.
Tan Sin steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.
Josh steps onto the rotting porch, pulls the door open on silent hinges, and disappears inside.

You paged Andreas and Rowan with 'As the last folk upstairs, you notice that shadows, shaped like everyone who had been standing in the road watching the mountain, wander off, seeming to chat amongst themselves, heading for the northern road. They flicker out of sight before you can follow them.'.

Rowan starts at nothing in particular, rubs his eyes, and heads inside.


Fred Lemisch is sitting in the basement again, this time absorbed in a book.

Sashenka trots down the stairs, steps over to a wooden crate in the corner, and withdraws a birch beer. She pops the cork and hands it to Dusty. "Drink up!" she says, and retrieves her cup of dandelion wine from the floor.

Dusty guzzles the birch beer, stopping only to gasp for air. He tosses his head and lets out a little belch. "Ahhhhhh...."

Sashenka chuckles and sits down in one of the less rickety chairs. After a moment, she sighs and seems to deflate. She suddenly looks very tired.

Tan Sin pads down the stairs and grasps his blanket in his mouth, dragging it over to his chair. He drops it and spends some time getting his fur in order before shifting back to his human form. He then wraps the blanket around himself and settles into the chair.

Dusty sits crosslegged in front of Sasha. After a moment, "So, when do we get our fortunes told?" he asks with a giggle.

The wind begins to rise outside. The rain settles back into a steady staccato.

Sashenka can't help but smile at Dusty's question. She leans forward and drags over the wine jug, refilling her cup. "I need another one of these first."

Sashenka finishes her wine and sets the cup down on the floor. She crooks a finger at Dusty. "Scoot closer and turn around."

Dusty cocks his head with curiousity, then grins and does as he's told.

Fred Lemisch sighs as his lids droop over his book. He totters over to one of the sleeping areas and sits down, carefully peeling his black shoes off and unbuttoning the top button of his shirt before lying down. He folds his glasses carefully and sets them next to his pillow. In just a few moments, he's snoring gently.

Sashenka sets her palms on the boy's scalp, poking around in his haphazardly chopped hair. She makes a big show of saying "hmmm" and "ohhh" and "I see" a lot.

Andreas settles in, back against the wall and a careful eye on the stairs.

After a few minutes of this, Sasha drops her hands. "Very interesting." She pints to a spot over Dusty's right ear. "You have a little lump right here" -- she touches the spot -- "shaped like a violin. This clearly means that you will be an accomplished and well-known musician. Or marry one." She laughs. "Or, in your case, build a fabulous new machine that makes beautiful music."

Tan Sin yawns and watches the proceedings with half-lidded eyes.

Josh lifts his eyebrows, trying to be encouraging. "That I would be interested in seeing."

Dusty giggles. "I don't know anything about music, Sasha. The things I make just go thump and squeek and, occasionally, KA-BOOM!!" He lets the last word out with wide outstretched arms.

Sashenka laughs, but it's cut off by a yawn. "Well, maybe it'll be a percussion instrument then."

Dusty lets out a yawn himself. "Silly" he says, then leans his head against Sasha leg.

Sashenka nods, letting her hand fall onto Dusty's hair as her eyes slide closed. "Very silly," she says through another huge yawn.

Dusty's breathing slows, and his body slackens as he drifts into sleep.

Tan Sin somehow curls into his tattered chair and drifts off, listening to the broken rhythms of the storm.

Josh goes back to his makeshift pallet, collapsing quickly into sleep.